Tuesday, May 27, 2003

 

Hi, folks.

Well, as you can see, there's no new site up. Oh, there's a new site, but it's sitting in happy little coding Purgatory right now courtesy of... you guessed it... Blogger fucking up again. Apparently this week's error decided to be "any changes you try to make to your template will be ignored, completely, in all respects, tough shit. Oh, now pay me for this awful system."

I've been away for two weeks, and I've lost a huge visit count, and I'm about to lose more because of this next delay... yet it's worth it. So folks, please forgive me for not presenting you the new xoverboard.com as originally expected, as the moment I finish posting this I'm transferring my domain to a new service that handles CGI scripting so I can switch to Movable Type.

As I already told Pyra in my e-mail to them an hour ago, this was the last fucking straw. I don't care about any new upgrades or installations they claim their servers need to do, I'm just fucking sick of it. My only regret, honestly- aside of course from the delay this now means for all my readers- is that I'm out the non-refundable 6-month renewal with my current host I made only a month ago.

But, as I said before, it's worth it just to think of the concept that a few days from now I'll never need to look at the shitbucket that is Blogger ever, ever again.

Update: Oh, fine, just because I feel so guilty: here's a rough mock-up of what the new site will somewhat look like. Salivate at will.
 

   

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

 

Not exactly a smoking gun, you morons

Well, I was going to say the New York Post should blow it out their ass, but I already used that gag for my last commentary on the New York City smoking ban.

Why would I insitigate this? Well, if you live in the city, you may have noticed Monday's front page blockbuster story from the Post, which we all know is simply the highest bastion of credible reasoned journalism. By "highest bastion," of course, I mean "quite possibly the most worthless waste of newsprint that dares to call itself a newspaper when if anything is a ridiculous tabloid that can actually make a person dumber by reading on a regular basis."

The Post, ever the defenders of whatever public opinion sells more papers by endorsing, printed their exclusive study of the recent public smoking ban with their report "Smoked Out: Cig Ban Leaves Lots of 'Empties.'" Let's run the conclusive analysis:

Business at New York bars and restaurants has plummeted by as much as 50 percent in the wake of the smoking ban - and the drop has already sparked layoffs and left some establishments on the brink of shutting their doors, a Post survey has found.

The new law prohibits smoking inside bars and restaurants but allows outdoor cafes to designate 25 percent of their tables for smokers. Cigar bars are exempt. Most of the establishments said they began complying with the law April 1, and most said they're suffering heavily because of the ban.

A half-dozen of those surveyed either laid off staff last month or are cutting back hours for bartenders and waiters because of slow business.

Across all five boroughs, 34 of the 50 businesses queried have shown a decline in business since April. Twenty-nine of those said their drops ranged from 10 percent to as much as 50 percent. The median of those reporting declines was a 30 percent cut in business.

Nearly every bar and restaurant owner acknowledged business was already suffering a downturn in the wake of 9/11 and from the stalled economy. But many believe the smoking ban has dealt a devastating blow to the city's $10.2 billion restaurant and bar industry.

So, anyone else notice the footnotes to this below-grade-school-level research report?

The New York Post surveyed 50 bars and restaurants. Across the whole of New York City. Of those, 34 have had a decline in business since the smoking ban started... on April 1st, 2003.

Six weeks ago.

In other words, The New York Post has concluded that because 68% of .001% of the food-and-liquor-serving businesses in New York made less money in April than they did in March- the month which, though I'm sure it has no bearing whatsoever on alcohol sales- contains both St. Patrick's Day and the NCAA finals- it's the complete and total fault of requiring people to smoke outside.

I'll remind you all again: this is a report from a publication that calls itself a newspaper. Yet if a fourth-grader turned this in for homework, they would likely be left back a year in school.

Granted, many dislike the ban, and likely many businesses ARE initially suffering, but this report is a baseless, sensationalist way of trying to make a case... truly the very nature of screeds like the New York Post. Even the article itself mentions 9/11 and the sagging economy as more-than-slightly-determining factors in this. I'll maintain that Manhattan is not going to slide into the ocean because you can't light up indoors anymore.
 

   

Monday, May 12, 2003

 

Well, come on, these stamps are heavy

I found a sheet of five postage stamps while cleaning my dorm room that I don't want to bother packing and taking home. The first five people to e-mail me with a snail mail address get a free XQUZYPHYR & Overboard sticker.

Update: Jesus! That took a bit less time than I expected. Why are you all up at this hour? Winners to be notified by e-mail that their sticker's in the mail.

Second Update: Winners have been notified and their stickers will be mailed shortly. If you didn't recieve an e-mail, then you weren't one of the first five. Sorry. Hopefully I'll get a merchandise section up soon, so there will be X&O related items in the future.
 

   
 

Local view

I recieved this e-mail from Kathleen [last name omitted by request] about the Georgia flag post the other day:

I read with interest your views on Sonny Perdue (May 10, 2003), and his "selling out" on the issue of the Georgia Flag.

"even if they're racist rednecks who actually voted for the chief executive of their entire state because of a goddamn swatch of cloth representing the time when their forefathers committed treason against the United States of America"

The flag does seem to have the front seat in this fight with Perdue. You've got to remember, though, that it is a symbol - a symbol of Southern Heritage, to be sure, but more than that. It also a symbol that people were ready for a change in government to one that actually represented what they believe.

There WERE other things that needed changing - first and foremost the idea that what's good for Atlanta is good for the entire state of Georgia. The voters had begun to feel that there were two Georgias - Atlanta and the rest of the state. Sonny's campaign gave us hope for a change.

The platform on which Barnes ran stated "Governor Roy Barnes has worked hard to bring about insurance reform because he believes that health care in Georgia must be both affordable and accessible". Last year, my insurance was "reformed" - premiums went up approximately 8%, but I got a 3.5% raise (This year premiums increased 20% and there was no cost of living raise). The benefits themselves did not increase, and in some cases are less than before. Accessibility of services in our area is another area of great concern - a certificate of need has been denied to a local hospital to open a much needed Heart Center - choices at present are Savannah, Valdosta, Atlanta, or Jacksonville (and now doctors in Jacksonville are refusing to practice in those hospitals because of the cost of malpractice insurance in Florida). Again, Sonny gave hope that he would listen to the people and contain costs to offer us some relief.

Barnes' education reforms also created a nightmare in Georgia's classrooms. Educators are leaving the field at an alarming rate - so much so that the state is having to rely on "band-aid" measures to get people in the classrooms. Educators have been made to feel that they are solely to blame for showing on the "state mandated exams". Paperwork and overcrowded classrooms added to the problems.

So, yes, it was about the flag. But it was also about the way our Governor has made a mockery of his office by NOT fairly representing the people who truly felt they were making the right decision by electing him. But now, the mockery we felt when Barnes was elected is back.

I am NOT a racist redneck - I'm a female educator who risked looking like a fool waving a flag to draw attention to a candidate in which I believed would again listen to the people of Georgia and not be influenced by a small part of the population. I also conducted voter registration drives, went door to door talking to people, and contributed to the Perdue campaign. I've been sold out - and I'm not going to be silent about it.

To clarify both publicly and to Kathleen, I did not mean to imply that she or every individual person who likes that flag was a racist redneck. However, to argue that the flag can be believably used as a symbol for anything other than what it's commonly used for is a bit farfetched.

I have little compassion for the idea of preserving the Confederate flag outside of an artifact in a museum. Like the manji, the multi-cultural symbol of strength and harmony, has been destroyed by its conversion into the swastika, the idea that the Confederate flag will ever be seen by about 90% of the country as anything other than a symbol of people who want to honor a way of life that revolved around the practice of owning other human beings is ludicrous. As I said in the earlier post, this is the symbol of a time when part of this country chose to secede from it, then start a war that caused an actual numerical percentage of the population to die horribly over it. How people celebrate this is beyond me. Jesus, at least the families of some Nazis express remorse. Meanwhile in our own country we've got people selling bumper stickers reading "had I known I would have picked my own cotton."

The idea to me of "Southern heritage" is irrelevant. Every aspect of American life can be considered part of our heritage; Massachusets doesn't have a flag depicting a burning witch. Calling somethng a "symbol of heritage" doesn't mean it still isn't a "symbol of a time when lots of people did horrible things to other people." Slavery itself was a major factor in the Southern way of life, and after the civil war so was deliberate racial discrimination and disapproval of Civil Rights... the protest of which was so great in Georgia that the state... oh, that's right- decided in 1955 to start flying the Confederate battle flag everywhere. If heritage is to be remembered, it must equally be remembered that the flag was not placed atop the capitol as a celebration of Confederate veterans- it was placed as a protest against laws allowing black people to use whatever water fountain they wanted.

The symbolism of the Confederate flag is permanent because of the media perception. It's the same media perception that made the national level of Perdue's campaign solely that of the flag. I understand and respect Katherine's opinions on the policy initatives of the candidate she voted for. But outside of her state they weren't an issue. "Southern Heritage" and "state's issue" was. Perdue garnered national support by taking one local issue to a national level, and sparking the public debate to get not-so-local support into his local campaign. On the national level, the flag was NOT being used as a symbol for change in government.

I sympathize with Kathleen on the flag symbol issue... I've said in previous posts about how I hate how the American flag has been co-opted by the pro-war side and that the only way it can be changed is by the anti-war side adopting it. Unfortunately for Kathleen, I don't think throngs of civil rights activists are going to start waving Confederate battle flags. Symbols are symbols, and the Confederate flag is eternally a symbol primarily for something seen beyond the local level as horrific; for Perdue to use a symbol as such is to both imply and attract those that support the most common inference of that symbol.

I printed Kathleen's e-mail to emphasize that this isn't just a one-sided attack on Georgia as a whole, and as Kathleen's eloquence shows, it's not a state of stupid people. But equally I have to clarify that I'm not going to take the side of the Confederate flag, even for the fraction of people who feel it represents more than racism. On the national scale, it simply doesn't, and never will. I know nothing of Georgia insurance policy, but I know that most of this country cares only to see a certain part of "Southern heritage" in a museum and not flying above state buildings. Wanting change is part of American politics, but I don't think anyone outside of Georgia is going to believe using the flag was a symbol for change in government... especially when it's so strong a symbol of reverting to sins of the past.
 

   

Saturday, May 10, 2003

 

This post literally applies to one specific person and I'm doing it for a friend so if you're not one of those two don't bother writing to ask me what the hell I'm talking about

Christine (or Kristine, not sure how you spell it)- I talked to Lenny today but he doesn't have your number either. E-Mail me and mention some sort of proof it's really you (like where we were talking yesterday) and I'll give you his phone number.

 

   
 

Weekend mailbag

Things are still hectic with this being my last weekend at NYU and an arseload of packing to do, but I got a lengthy e-mail that the writer obviously put great concern into that I would feel bad not acknowledging. From Dan Powers:

I am a graduating senior at Boston University, just finished watching a frontline episode with my (avowedly Republican) roommate
about the WorldCom scandal. And it just struck me as to the level of disillusionment and resentment over this and the other scandals of the late 1990s. After it was done we just yelled at each other about the level to which our individual families were left out to dry by the rampant insider trading of the area. We swapped stories of our childhood (and being the same grade as us I am sure you had a similar memory of your youth) whereby we both would watch the nightly news with our parents in Junior High and Highschool, see Dan Rather discuss major layoffs...and the inevitable boost in stocks that would occur in response. So we would both tell our parents that we hoped the stocks would crash because that would be the only way people would get their jobs back. Simplistic, yes, but the point is, so many people were fleeced, so many levels of our society were pillaged by this era and yet

there is no public outrage. I just don't understand why. Before today's report about Bernie Ebbers got the anger out of my roommate Steve, the only time I had ever discussed anything of the sort was with my coworker Pete, a 35 year old Black Teamster working for the Mass Pike, who once pulled me aside to, basically, discuss the issue to me in private due to the overt racism present working there.

This is rambling I know, and there is no real way to respond, but I am just baffled by the fact that so many of us have been duped, argue about useless tidbits of news, and yet the huge issues that dominate our lives, and that we worry about most on a daily basis, are just ignored. As though we have been outraged for so long, and cynical for so long, that a crime isn't a crime anymore. I couldn't help but feel the rage boil in my while I watched the Attorney General of New York pardon Bernie Ebbers and Jack Grubman while millions of Americans are worse off directly because of their actions (personally my families losses came more heavily from Lucent, but Worldcom was present in our portfolios). I just want people to bond together about this robbery of an entire generation.

While I'm here seperating the wheat from... the other thing that isn't wheat, Jim from Oregon sends me this article by Greg Palast about the Florida voting rolls; it's a good read.

On a final note, I said it before, but thanks again to everyone's recommendations of site hosts for me. Hopefully next week I can take advantage of the abundance of free time that shall be cast upon me to see if I can do something with all this information.
 

   

Friday, May 09, 2003

 

Oh look, he's a goddamned liar pt. 2

Backing away from a promise to allow voters the chance to resurrect a flag linked to slavery and segregation, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Thursday approved a compromise banner for the southern state.

'We as a state must heal the wounds, unite and move forward,' Perdue, a Republican, said shortly before signing a bill to replace a non-descript blue flag adopted in 2001 with one resembling a banner that flew in the state prior to 1956.

Perdue, the first Republican to govern Georgia since the 19th century, defeated former Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat, last year partly due to a backlash by white voters who were angry that he removed the 1956 flag without their approval.

No. You see, that's wrong. Pedue did run run his campaign partly on a platform of allowing white Georgians to vote to have their flag back. He ran his campaign solely on a platform of allowing white Georgians to vote to have their flag back.

I'm an equal opportunity angry person when it comes to Right-Wing hypocrisy, so I'm not going to ignore when a lying sack of crap sells out his own people, even if they're racist rednecks who actually voted for the chief executive of their entire state because of a goddamn swatch of cloth representing the time when their forefathers committed treason against the United States of America. Perdue doesn't want that pesky little complete boycott of his state that he seemd to declare insignificant when using it as an excuse to defeat his opponent. I'm all for getting rid of the Confederate flag, but it looks like it cost the career of a Democratic governor for no reason outside of his successor being a conniving back-pedalling weasel.
 

   
 

What, was it that stupid e-mail scam again?

Oil services giant Halliburton, already under fire over accusations that its White house ties helped win a major Iraqi oil contract, has admitted that a subsidiary paid a multi-million dollar bribe to a Nigerian tax official.

Halliburton, once run by Vice President Richard Cheney, revealed the illicit payments, worth 2.4 million dollars, in a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

"The payments were made to obtain favorable tax treatment and clearly violated our code of business conduct and our internal control procedures," Halliburton said.

Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), which paid the bribe, has been in the political spotlight since it was awarded a no-bid US government oil contract in Iraq in March.

KBR is building a liquefied natural gas plant and an offshore oil and gas terminal in Nigeria.

Halliburton told the SEC the bribe was discovered during an audit of KBR's Nigerian office.

Translated: we got caught, and we're really, really sorry about it. Getting caught, that is. Full article here.
 

   
 

Oh look, he's a goddamned liar

The Bush administration has quietly altered regulations for the nation's leading job training program to allow faith-based organizations to use ''sacred literature,'' such as Bibles, in their federally funded programs. Civil liberties activists say the new rules blur the line between religion and government.

In a separate action, the House is expected today to approve a change allowing private groups that run job training programs to discriminate on the basis of religion when they hire people to run them. That change, part of legislation to renew the overall program, would lift a ban that has existed in federal law for two decades.

Article here. I'm sure that this will apply equally to all religions, of course. I mean there's no reason to believe George Bush would only want this action in place to allow loads and loads of Christian groups to recieve federal funding now, wouldn't it? Obviously his core consituency would have no problem whatsoever with having groups in the program that won't allow anyone but Muslims to join.

Let's keep in mind as well that forbidding sponsored groups from openly pushing their religion and discriminating on basis of religious beliefs were two things Bush promised would be enforced with his Faith-Based Initiative plan. Mr. Bush has now lied his ass off. Of course, I'm much more interested in the concept that the Republican Party has actually, for the first time in 20 years, passed a bill that endorses bigotry. Seems to me like something politicians could make a point out of if, you know, they had balls.
 

   

Thursday, May 08, 2003

 

This is completely insane

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer concluded in a decision issued Wednesday that lawyers for the families of two Sept. 11 victims "have shown, albeit barely ... that Iraq provided material support to bin Laden and al-Qaida" before the attacks.

The decision outlines nearly $104 million in damages, and names the former Iraqi government, former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, bin Laden, al-Qaida, the Taliban and the former Afghanistan government as liable.

James Beasley, a Philadelphia lawyer who brought the case, called the ruling "a significant victory" because it represented the first time a judge linked al-Qaida and Iraq in the attacks.

He said it was unclear how much in frozen Iraqi and al-Qaida assets could be available to satisfy the judgment. To help pay for Iraq's revival, the Bush administration has started to use roughly $1.7 billion in Iraqi funds frozen in 1990.

The judge wrote that lawyers relied heavily on "classically hearsay" evidence, including reports that a Sept. 11 hijacker met an Iraqi consul to Prague, Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks to the United Nations about connections between Iraq and terrorism, and defectors' descriptions of the use of an Iraq camp to train terrorists.

Baer said the opinions of the lawyers' experts were sufficient to show that Iraq collaborated in or supported bin Laden's terrorist acts on Sept. 11.

The judge noted that the experts provided few hard facts, but noted that the experts provided a sufficient basis for a jury to conclude that Iraq provided material support to al-Qaida.

Some of you may have had blood shoot out your nose reading that thus making it difficult to get through. Allow me to clarify.

Despite the fact that, at least according to any public information (you know, that which could be used for legal basis,) the United States government has found no credible, tangible link between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the September 11th attacks, a judge has decided, all on his own, that despite saying himself there were "no hard facts," that Iraq had a hand in 9/11, and therefore the victims' families should be awarded damages. This was done with "testimonies" that have been proven to be incorrect, and logic that rivals that of Ari Fleischer's "just because there's no evidence doesn't mean it's not true." All this from the administration that wants to crack down on frivilous lawsuits and obscene monetary judgements.

Make no mistake about it- this was done with no concern for the families of Sept. 11th victims, most of whom have well been taken care of financially... this is a ruling that was made to allow the Bush administration to say "look, Iraq had links to Al-Qaeda... a judge said so! Jesus! Who told you to think for yourself?" I seem to recall our president making a speech a few months ago about how the wealth of Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people. I guess he made a mistake- the wealth of Iraq apparently belongs to the families of people murdered by Saudi Arabians based in Afghanistan.
 

   
 

Decide this, bitch

See, in the United States, we threw the Fairness Doctrine out the window... in Britain, however, the BBC still has "rules of impartiality" for their news networks, something which failing to adhere to brought about an investigation of Fox News.

In other words, Fox News might be banned from the United Kingdom because of unfair bias. It's rare, but the sun appears to be shining in England.
 

   

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

 

Golly, let's hope Newsmax isn't lying its ass off this time

Though Christian voters played a pivotal role in electing Bush in his razor-thin victory over Al Gore, NewsMax has learned that major figures in the evangelical movement are talking about withholding support from the Republican Party.

The issue came recently to the fore because of comments made by Ken Connor, president of the Family Research Council, a Washington-based public advocacy organization founded by Dr. James Dobson and affiliated with Dobson's Focus on the Family.

Conservative religious activists cite the latest insult: the Republican Party's failure to rally behind Sen. Rick Santorum, whose comments about the upcoming Supreme Court case on consensual homosexual acts triggered a national firestorm.

Along with other leaders of the politically powerful pro-family movement, Connors was appalled at the "muted defense" of Santorum, R-Pa., who has been under attack by the gay rights lobby and its liberal allies in the media and the Democrat party. That failure, Connors said ominously, raises the question whether the GOP is the best vehicle for resisting the Democrats' radical political agenda.

Dobson chastised the Republicans for getting too cozy with the gay lobby. He complained that Racicot met secretly with the homosexual group Human Rights Campaign but failed to disagree with it on the major issues. Connors said that Racicot didn't utter one word in defense of marriage and failed to make the case that the Republican platform makes - that marriage should be limited to one man and one woman - he simply went with the message of so-called tolerance and inclusion.

Famed and influential activist Phyllis Schlafly, who single-handedly took down the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, told NewsMax.com she was disturbed by the Republicans' failure to rally around Santorum. She called the administration's defense of the Pennsylvania Republican "pretty limp" and "most cowardly."

"There's no reason for Santorum to apologize or back off. What he said was almost word for word what Justice Byron White said in his Supreme Court opinion in the previous gay rights case a number of years ago," Schlafly said.

"I think the party and the administration's statements are pretty generally recognized as weak-kneed and that they're not backing up the constituency that elected George Bush. I think they'll pay a price for that."

Just checking that the constituency that elected George Bush are religious fanatics who want to make sure their representatives never "fail to disagree" with "the homosexual lobby." Oh, and as noted by Atrios (where I found this story,) Schlafly's son is gay. They must have fantastic conversations at dinner.
 

   
 

Oh, well that's nice

At the press conference yesterday announcing the settlement with the major Wall Street banks, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer compared his work to that of President Theodore Roosevelt, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission called the deal "historic." But there are reasons for skepticism.

First, the fines, while large in absolute terms, are tiny compared to the big banks' revenue. Merrill Lynch (nyse: MER - news - people ), for instance, will pay $200 million. But last year, the company reported revenue of $28 billion (down from $45 billion in 2000). That works out to $112 million a day, not counting weekends. So the total fine, only half of which is a penalty, represents 1.8 days of Merrill's revenue. Since the conduct Merrill and the others are accused of took place over at least four years, it's fair to say that Merrill is paying less than a day's pay for its transgression.

Full article here. Warning: Forbes.com has some kind of thing that tries to install something on your computer.
 
   
 

The return of &*%$!@

That does it, I'm getting new fucking site host. Anyone know a company that can do CGI, 5+ GB bandwidth, and 40+MB storage for under a hundred a year?

Due to some error that happened way too many times before for reasons I don't know, my site host's server suddenly decided I only had a 20 megabyte storage limit for the entire site, thus forbidding Blogger from uploading a new blog page, in this case, the index file. Hence the site gone boom. As of now, some of the older (1999-2000 era) comics have been removed to put the site size down.

If it's any consolation, the previous post below will explain how you really didn't miss much during the outage.

Update: Thanks to all sending suggestions; I'll try to check them out. My two biggest problems with this site are the host crashes and Blogger errors, both which can be solved by getting a new host that provides CGI so I can use Movable Type. As always, the actually getting around to doing something like this is speculative.

 

   

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

 

Almost over, almost over, almost over, must... not... sleep... just... yet

Some may have noticed the sudden drop in posting frequency; accept apologies and tack it up to burnout. I'm actually at FlickerLab right now posting this waiting for what could very well be the final render of my Senior film to finish. I started this thing in September, and after eight and a half months, I'm literally hours away from officially finishing my first film.

Granted, it's "only" a three-minute piece of animation, but for those of you unaware of the process, to make a three-minute fully colored, fully animated cartoon all by yourself requires nearly a year of research, writing, storyboarding, and hand-drawn animation- to be honest, it actually has to be animated twice- once for a pencil test and again with everything inked and cleaned up to scan each individual drawing into the computer, color with PhotoShop, and layout in AfterEffects for your film.

I'm really not trying to lay a sob story on you all, though by now you'd see the way I write about myself that's just unavoidable. I'm really not in pain or massive stress or in danger of anxiety attacks or anything silly like that; I just honestly have no time these final few days of school. It's weird because that's the first time I'm honest with that statement- it's not one of those "oh, no time because I went to the gym and have to do my laundry and played Command & Conquer for three hours" situations, it's one of those "I actually woke up at 9:30 AM yesterday and sat at my computer working on this thing until 4:30 AM the next morning" situations.

Finishing this stuff, especially with the advantage I have of a studio letting me work on it there, is a major accomplishment. Over the last eight months I've gained a lot of insight into animation, the industry, and the process in general. Over the last eight days I've gained about five pounds, because when you're awake at 3 in the morning for an entire week the only thing serving food at that hour is Gray's Papaya and the snack machine. Come Monday I have to become a salad-based life form. I'm writing the suicide note as we speak.

But, on the plus side, I'm technically an accomplished filmmaker. Also, come two weeks from now, the current job market indicates I'll have plenty of time to write on this site.

Update: To answer the possible incoming question, unfortunately no, I don't think the film's going to be online any time soon. Though I'm hardly near the levels of, you know, successful cartoonists, this site gets enough visitors in which a modest percentage of them linking to a video file hosted on xoverboard.com would destroy all my bandwidth within a day or so. The film is over 600 MB when rendered in best quality at full resolution; to make it a size capable of handling all who would want to see it online would require making a really, really crappy version of it.

I will, however, be submitting this thing to festivals, and with the upcoming site revamp I'll make sure to have a section listing any and all opportunities you'll have to see any of my work, the film included.
 

   

Monday, May 05, 2003

 

Uh-oh

It's time for one of those horrible damned-either-way scenarios. Who's side am I on? Aaaaaaaaaaaahgh!

(Thanks to Jesse Busen)
 

   
 

The debate

From the "Primary 2004: The Fight to Not Let Joe Lieberman be the Democratic Presidential Nominee For the Love of God and All that is Holy" desk: not much to say really, as 90 minutes minus commercial time left little room for any one of nine people to stand out among the rest. No candidate really looks more electable now, and the same group of "not a chance in hell"-ers remain. My only few notes about the debate are as follows:

  • John Kerry has officially begun the Kennedy analogies. And he's not very subtle about them.

  • Howard Dean's current disadvantage is the apparent inability to wipe that half-open-mouthed shiteating grin off of his face. I love the guy and most of his politics, but good god he's got a face you just want to smack around for a bit.

  • John Kerry continues to have a funny-shaped head.

  • I continue to have absolutely no idea who John Edwards is. This could be somewhat of a problem for him in the primaries.

  • I'd like radio stations across the country to make sound clips of Joe Lieberman saying "I'd like to come over there and strangle you." I know it was a joke, but Jesus Christ, was anyone else completely freaked out by that?

  • There is not a chance on earth Al Sharpton will become president. That said, I think he would be the greatest Press Secretary in American history.

 
   

Saturday, May 03, 2003

 

What if, eh?

Ted Rall reminds us all that he's brilliant. Go enjoy the hypothetical extravaganza.
 

   

Friday, May 02, 2003

 

Reminder #2

Tomorrow is also Free Comic Book Day, which is exactly what it sounds like.
 

   
 

Just a reminder

The first debate between all the major Democratic candidates for president in 2004 will be tomorrow night. When, I'm not 100% sure, because, you know, it's not like the future of our country would merit anyone telling you what TIME the event was being televised and all that.

Just watch C-SPAN all day tomorrow. Odds are the debate will come on some time. Personally, I have it on all day anyway, as C-SPAN is, of course, the most action-packed television station on earth, with the possible exception of the Weather Channel.

Update: Oh. Well. That's friggin' ridiculous.
 

   
 

A modest mailbag

I've had a few e-mails sitting around I never responded to; they've got some good links and sending you to them saves me some time. This is my last weekend to do work before final projects are due, so there's a high chance you all won't see much of me around here this weekend.

Thad Boyd alerts us to Hilary Rosen and the RIAA, who have taken charge of writing copyright laws... for Iraq.

As for the more tangible (and more profitable) aspects of Iraq's rebuilding, Roger Thoman's got that covered here.

Jape's apparently sending me links to porn. (Okay, not really.)

And, if you haven't seen it already, Lisa's got the link to the Daily Show video archive, including (for now) the "Bush vs. Bush" debate, which should be a required viewing for all history students for the next thousand years or so.
 

   

Thursday, May 01, 2003

 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

AAAAAAAAAAH!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
 

   
 

Too bad the Twin Towers weren't Democrat penises

Tinfoil hat time, via Newsweek/MSNBC:

Even as White House political aides plot a 2004 campaign plan designed to capitalize on the emotions and issues raised by the September 11 terror attacks, administration officials are waging a behind-the-scenes battle to restrict public disclosure of key events relating to the attacks.

The report was completed last December; only a bare-bones list of "findings" with virtually no details was made public. But nearly six months later, a "working group" of Bush administration intelligence officials assigned to review the document has taken a hard line against further public disclosure. By refusing to declassify many of its most significant conclusions, the administration has essentially thwarted congressional plans to release the report by the end of this month, congressional and administration sources tell NEWSWEEK. In some cases, these sources say, the administration has even sought to "reclassify" some material that was already discussed in public testimony- a move one Senate staffer described as "ludicrous."

[...]Entire portions remained classified. Some of the report-including some dealing with matters that had been extensively aired in public, such as the now famous FBI "Phoenix memo" of July 2001 reporting that Middle Eastern nationals might be enrolling in U.S. flight schools-were "reclassified." Hill has since submitted proposed changes to the working group, pointing out the illogic of trying to pull back material that was already in the public domain. But officials have indicated the "review" process is likely to drag on for months- with no guarantees that the "working group" will be any more amenable to public disclosure.

I think the first paragraph states my general outrage here. Only a few years ago the Republican powers-in-charge made their case to the media that every single thing Bill Clinton and his staff had done was necessary to be revealed to the American people. Now, a president who has since day one of his administration made every attempt to block as much public information as possible about his father, his vice-president, and himself- is heading a party that want to let quite possibly some of the most significant public information in American history be buried.

The way the Right is handling North Korea is a sign of the ridiculous hypocrisy of this. Not a week goes by that you don't hear the "reminders" that all the technology and nuclear capability we allowed North Korea came from and was approved by the Clinton administration. That in mind, how could you argue that a Democratic White House wouldn't be facing the most insane onslaught of demand from the Republicans about every single thing the president "did wrong" to allow September 11th? Had it been September 11th, 1997 instead of September 11th, 2001, Bill Clinton would have had a murder charge at his impeachment, and any of the media lunatics on the Right would be lying to say they wouldn't be peddling that level of spite.

Regardless of who's in charge, there is no doubt that September 11th was party due to an overwhelming timeline of outright fuckups in the United States government. Some under Clinton, some under Bush, hell- some under Reagan. It's not like this event occured magically one morning when a few guys got together in a bar in Saudi Arabia and one of them asked "hey, what do you guys wanna do today?" The reason this hypocrisy is so apparent right now, however, is from the very climate Bush created: an Jingoistic fervor of "what's wrong with destroying all forms of liberty? REAL AMERICANS have nothing to hide." So why isn't George Bush being a real American?
 

   
 

The threat to Haliburton has ended

Bush is apparently going to ceremoniously announce today that "the threat to America has ended" with our victory in Iraq.

You heard me.

Because, you know, we've managed to capture the mastermind of the September 11th attacks, we've discovered and eliminated all rogue Weapons of Mass Destruction on the planet, we've created a viable Palestinian state with a refurbished infrastructure, the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, and Iran all live in a harmonious democratic government, and North Korea has destroyed all of its nuclear weapons.

Additionally, be sure to note when Bush announces that, with the removal of the threat to America, that the USA PATRIOT Act is now null and void and thus abolished, the need for military force has now ended and Bush no longer has blanket authority to wage pre-emptive war anywhere, and the several hundred people stored in wire-mesh cages in Cuba will now be either released or put before a fair trial for their accused crimes.

You know, I really, really hate having to succumb to the simplicity of the "it's all about oil" rhetoric, but with that laundry list of things left out in the open and unresolved, how can you listen to Bush announce that this is all over and not consider for the slightest bit that the oil seems to be the only thing secured and protected?
 

   
 

Will Donald duck this one?

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rarely keeps his opinions to himself. He tends not to compromise with his enemies. And he clearly disdains the communist regime in North Korea. So it's surprising that there is no clear public record of his views on the controversial 1994 deal in which the U.S. agreed to provide North Korea with two light-water nuclear reactors in exchange for Pyongyang ending its nuclear weapons program. What's even more surprising about Rumsfeld's silence is that he sat on the board of the company that won a $200 million contract to provide the design and key components for the reactors.

The company is Zurich-based engineering giant ABB, which signed the contract in early 2000, well before Rumsfeld gave up his board seat and joined the Bush administration. Rumsfeld, the only American director on the ABB board from 1990 to early 2001, has never acknowledged that he knew the company was competing for the nuclear contract. Nor could FORTUNE find any public reference to what he thought about the project. In response to questions about his role in the reactor deal, the Defense Secretary's spokeswoman Victoria Clarke told Newsweek in February that "there was no vote on this" and that her boss "does not recall it being brought before the board at any time."

Rumsfeld declined requests by FORTUNE to elaborate on his role. But ABB spokesman Bjoern Edlund has told FORTUNE that "board members were informed about this project." And other ABB officials say there is no way such a large and high-stakes project, involving complex questions of liability, would not have come to the attention of the board. "A written summary would probably have gone to the board before the deal was signed," says Robert Newman, a former president of ABB's U.S. nuclear division who spearheaded the project. "I'm sure they were aware."

The full article is here. Keep in mind, to reference The Insider, that this comes from Fortune- not exactly a bastion of anti-capitalist sentiment. What I find most humorous about this is that these are light-water reactors that many say can't be used to produce nuclear weapons- so is Rumsfeld going to come out and say that, this implying North Korea doesn't have as much nuclear capability as we'd like to shape them as having, or you think this entire story will just get buried? Gosh, I wonder.
 

   
 

Well, of course we did, pt. 2

The United States has recently announced that it is removing U.S. forces from Saudi bases. As many may have forgotten, this action was one of the goals sought by Osama bin Laden in his terrorist plots.

In other words, as a result of the military action we started as a sign to terrorists that their way will never work, Osama's way has, in fact, worked.

Look, I can't get hypocritical here and act like I'm not glad Americans are no longer being positioned dangerously in defense of a monarchial quasi-dictatorship, but Jesus. Is anyone out there compiling a list of the sheer number of things Bush and his administration have now done almost the exact opposite of what he said was planned prior to six months ago? Can that list include how many of those occured in the last two weeks?

(story via Cursor, by the way.)
 

   
 

Grrrrrrrrargh

Seriously, just go read Atrios for now. Start here and go through the next two posts as well. I think there's sufficient outrage within, to which I can only say "ditto" at the moment.