Well. My goodness.
I daresay it's just as well that the US walked out of the conference over Zionism; can you imagine the firestorm that the Shrub's administration would have faced if they walked out over this? And make no mistake, they WOULD have walked over this; with the difficulty the country is having over reparations, I can't imagine that they would have wanted to be anywhere near this resolution, and it would have looked extraordinarily hypocritical for them to have refused to sign on.
I do wonder what the apology does for people, though. (Though apologizing for colonialism, which was more recent, might actually mean more to some.)
@ 02:20 PM CST [Link]
I would really like to know what on earth United's staff thought they were DOING. What earthly difference would it make what clothes he was wearing? And they'd let Ms. West fly dressed as a woman before, even to foreign countries.
Frankly, it sounds like Ms West unfortunately ran into some extraordinarily narrow minded staff, people who were more interested in exercising their power than anything else.
I dare say United will settle; the publicity is hideous -- what there is of it -- and frankly, for a lawsuit against a company the size of UAL, $50,000 is chump change.
But what WERE they thinking?
@ 02:14 PM CST [Link]
OK, that really IS different. I hope and pray. I'd hate to discover that all my colleagues were living a wild and crazy life and I just never knew. (On the other hand, I'd really rather not know, so there you go.)
@ 04:34 PM CST [Link]
You know, people need to decide. Either you serve your time for a crime and get out -- and society takes its risks -- or the crime is considered too heinous and you simply never get out of jail or the mental hospital or wherever. I mean, on the one hand, I have relatively little problem with someone who commits repeated relatively minor crimes against property getting out of prison. (When I was growing up, our house was robbed eight times, so I do have some experience of being on the wrong end of property crimes.) Things, in that sense, count for less than people. On the other hand, I've also been at the wrong end of a gun, and I wouldn't mind anyone who repeatedly hurts or injures other people being sent to prison for life, if they continually demonstrate that they won't or can't stop. I mean, quite honestly, I have no problems whatsoever with a demonstrated serial rapist being held for life. You rape four women, one after having been punished and released, then it's at least understandable for society to say, "You know what? It doesn't matter if you wind up being cured. We gave you a chance, you blew it, and we aren't going to give you another one because the risks to us are too great. Your chance of committing direct personal harm to another is too great for us to let you go." That's understandable.
The conditions on this person's release, aside from being largely unenforceable, are extraordinarily onerous. For example, I don't understand why the Court feels that being denied contact with your wife when you're outside confinement is constitutional; surely this constitutes prima facie cruel and unusual punishment.) (He's married? Why would any woman stay married to a serial rapist?) He's forbidden to have contact with children -- I'd love to see them completely enforce that. He's supposed to stay off the internet, but do they plan to follow him into public libraries and watch each and every thing he does? (And what the hell does the internet have to do with someone whose last crime was committed in 1985, for heaven's sake?)
It's actually going to cost quite a bit more to have him outside prison than inside; $100,000-plus per year to monitor and treat one man is beyond ridiculous. And what happens if all of the "sexually dangerous" people in prison end up out of prison at the same time? California seriously intends to spend $32.5 million per year on these people? There are surely entire sections of the state budget without that much money in them.
@ 03:38 PM CST [Link]
A fascinating interview with Clive Barker in LA Weekly. Conducted by Dennis Cooper. I wonder what on earth gave them the idea to work that combination of people. Whatever it was, it worked out well.
Of course, the things he's done that were the least commercially successful are the things I like the most. (Although I still think that the person who recommended Sacrament to me on the basis that it wasn't horror was on major drugs. Then again, maybe I just have a very broad definition of horror.) And his views on writing in general, how he works, are really interesting.
I have a hard time believing that the man in that photo is 48 years old, though.
via pursed lips, indirectly
@ 01:20 PM CST [Link]
I mean, yes, there are a couple TV shows that started out in some sort of Web incarnation. The formerly syndicated CNET show that's now a shadow of itself on CNBC, for example. That irritating Technews thing that I can't remember the name of. But they've all been geek stuff or business stuff, really. Shows that try to bring business or technology into a more general area.
Naked newscasters are something entirely different. Thing is, I can see that watching naked people reading news on the web can be amusing, in and of itself, but I can't imagine that its web viewers either want or expect it to be at all arousing. It's just an idle amusement. It's news reading, for heaven's sake; what's sexy about that? However, someone watching Viewer's Choice Canada is, in fact, watching a television channel purely for its wank value. They may not quite appreciate going from, say, a somewhat censored version of "Sorority Babes in Space" (well, or whatever) to hearing about the problems that the European Union is having getting businesses to use the Euro, or about Brazilian inmates giving up their lunches to homeless children, or the arrest of a serial killer charged among other things with the death of a pregnant woman and her fetus. The context could be a tad ... offputting.
And entirely as a side note: apparently Lucas Tyler has gotten much more comfortable with his role on the show. Seldom have I seen a newscaster report a bombing in Belfast with such exuberance and enthusiasm! (But he still can't figure out what to do with his hands.)
And another side note: watching a debate about whether and why people may prefer male newsreaders to female -- it's the voice, apparently -- on a site where 80% of its users watch its female news feeds in preference to the male ones, and the draw has nothing to do with their voices or authoritativeness in the first place, AND they're naked ... well, it's just bizarre.
@ 12:43 PM CST [Link]
So. It turns out that the Suzanne Westenhoefer appearance I mentioned yesterday is part of a benefit series for the Lesbian Community Cancer Project. The organization provides health care to women generally, regardless of the name. Interestingly, there seems to be a loose organization of such projects: organizations exist in Seattle, in Portland, in Atlanta, in Jacksonville, Florida, and in Washington DC, among others. (The DC Project is the only one that contains links to the others; I get the vague impression that somehow, they seem to be completely unaware of each other.)
500 seat theater in the Harold Washington Library Center. (I did not know that. Hmm. Learn something new every day, you do.) AND it turns out that Marga Gomez is part of the bill as well. (You gotta like a person who bills a major film appearance as "See Marga Dead!") There's also another comedienne appearing, and I'm afraid that I totally blanked on her name, because it immediately followed "Marga Gomez" and I just thought Marga! AAAAAAAAAAA!, and, you know, it's hard to hear when your brain is doing little happy dances in your head, really. Jessica ... something. (Sorry.)
So. We got a worthy cause (tickets only $30, which is amazingly inexpensive considering that it's a benefit performance -- by contrast, their lakefront cruise starts at $90 [which is still unusually low for a benefit cruise] and goes up a bit from there), and we have two of my favorite comics and someone else whom I'm sure will be wonderfully entertaining.
I am so there .... (Although, somehow, I'm vaguely nervous that it's going to be me, the organizer that I talked to, and 498 lesbians wondering "What the hell is he doing here?)
@ 11:37 AM CST [Link]
OK, color me impressed. Only six months in, and already, the Shrub is invoking executive privilege. Weirdly, he's doing it in the service of Clinton administration papers, which makes less than no sense, given his demonstrable antipathy to all things Clinton. (The hack job they did on the once elegant and informative Whitehouse.gov and State Department sites, for no other reason than that they were started by Clinton, is enough to make a geek weep. Still.) The only thing I can think is that (1) the papers contain exculpatory information, or (2) he's actually trying to defend the papers purely for institutional reasons -- he doesn't want to set any sort of precedent for his administration to hand over information to Congress, because when he really does want to hide things from them (and he will -- all presidents do), it will be less startling and cause less public notice when he refuses if he's already set a precedent for refusal. I expect the answer is a goodly part of both, really.
It is interesting to note that Burton, whatever else you may call him, is consistent in some ways. He was a pain in the ass for Clinton, and he's clearly going to be a pain in the ass for the Shrub.
@ 10:52 AM CST [Link]
So, you know how sometimes you'll stick something in a browser and actually get results? I was working with some files I'd downloaded -- legal copies, thanks, from the late lamented AudioHighway.com -- and now that we have one of the zippy new Apple G4s (and, more importantly, I've got a Philips Expanium that reads MP3 files) I decided to burn some of them to CD. While I was at it, for no apparent reason other than the files I'm working with come from her CD, I threw a name into the browser and actually got a result. And, it turns out, that she's going to be here, according to her schedule: September 15, Chicago, IL: Harold Washington Library Center Aud. (312) 444-5503. (OK. I know I'm a bad bad gayboy for saying it, but ... that rainbow theme on her site is kind of relentless, there. I mean, I understand, but ... yow. Of course, with ... let's see ... lavender, outright purple, blue, green, white, yellow and red in various places on just this page alone, I'm in a perfect position to criticize, right? Right. So. To continue ...)
What the heck is going on at the library of all places? (Hey, I'm a librarian. I can say that.) They can't be charging all that much. HWLC doesn't have anything all that big; I'm not even sure where the auditorium is. Maybe they're talking about the Winter Garden ... anyway, must remember to check that phone number in the morning (nobody there at 6pm, understandably enough).
And a new upcoming HBO special, too! Totally cool ...
@ 06:00 PM CST [Link]
Coming to Your Bookstore: The Sponsored Novel. You know, this really is product placement taken to absurdities.
What I would expect the next step to be -- and I'm not being remotely facetious -- is that there would be product tie-in all the way through the process. For the next James Bond book, for example, which already would have a guaranteed movie sale, they'd make sure that all the same products were mentioned in the same place in the book as they'd be viewed in the movie. An endless row of Aston-Martins gets blown up. Lovely Rolexes used as exotic weapons. All the stuff that actually happens in Bond books and films, but with actual product names prominently mentioned.
@ 12:43 PM CST [Link]
You know, it's a real pity that this article appeared in The New Republic and not the National Review. It might actually do some good there. In TNR (and here, for that matter), it's only preaching to the choir.
Mind, the only argument that would attract conservative attention is the concept that if you get the police to cooperate with a community, rather than beat it into submission, you can get better results for less money, because they're all about not spending money on government, unless it's defense.
However, the chance that conservatives will listen to a teacher from something called the "Maya Angelou School" is vanishingly small -- the name alone would keep them from listening.
It will be interesting to see what happens in four or eight more years. What happens when we've had four or eight years of conservative -- pardon me, compassionate conservative rule. How much deeper the wedges between people will be driven.
@ 01:43 AM CST [Link]
I think there are a few lessons here: (1) No, they really don't care about you; (2) There are no real people actually working at Earthlink -- it's all machines and Chris P of Customer Service is in fact a program like Ananova (but apparently considerably less intelligent); (3) Don't piss off a journalist, because they'll write about you. It may be in a journal with an ever declining readership, but still ... someone may read it. And then they'll tell someone. And so on and so on and so on ... or maybe not.
@ 05:55 PM CST [Link]
Hum. All I can say is, installing IE 6 on a Windows 2000 machine is a relentlessly interesting experience. First, you have absolutely no control over the process; it's the first time I've ever actually had more control of a process on Win98 than in Win2000. (For example, it would have been nice to have been able to decide whether or not I actually wanted to upgrade Media Player, for example, which I was able to do on Win98.) Second ... it's apparently a kindler, gentler version of itself. For example, aeons ago, I installed NS 4.78 after installing IE 5, and Netscape took over the file associations -- in fact, I installed in that order for exactly that reason. Then I upgraded to IE 5.5, and in the process, the installer asks if you want IE to take over the HTML file association. I said no. And it left the association alone ... for everything except Outlook Express, which associated internal email links with IE. Um ... OK, whatever. Installing IE 6, on the other hand, returned the HTML association to Netscape even within Outlook Express. Very strange.
Oh, and counters on everyone's sites are now broken. Apparently, they all work by setting some sort of cookie (well, OK, I knew that) and I gather that IE 5.X didn't actually pay strict attention to the security policy in the system. I gather that because on every site I've visited with a counter since installing IE 6, the counter cookie has been automatically refused and that never happened before. (It's refusing my own counter, which I find thoroughly amusing. Although it probably explains the rather startling dropoff in some -- but only some -- numbers coinciding with the rise in IE6 hits.)
Also, may I just say that I love the idea that AOL is refusing to support anything but its own browser. Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that, almost certainly, they've got techs refusing to support the Netscape browser which is produced by AOL itself. And wouldn't that just be public relations fun?
@ 05:47 PM CST [Link]
Is it just me, or have there been a long string of"lamb eats lion" mergers lately, in which a purportedly stronger company somehow gets merged into a weaker one and disappears?
And is this not exactly the type of merger that the Federal Trade Commission is supposed to protect us against? 70% of the market of one type of product in the hands of one producer? (HA HA HA HA haha! The FTC objecting to a big merger! Oh, my goodness, wouldn't that be a concept? Even under Bill Clinton, of late, the FTC never met a merger that it didn't think was just peachy keen and hunky dory. Under the "Anything for business and the rich" Shrub's administration, I can just imagine that they'll be positively wetting themselves at the idea of HP/Compaq as Big Business with its Big Campaign Contributions and Big Layoffs to Ensure Profitability. That said, depending on what the European business components of each company are, the merger may well not survive the European Trade Commission's scrutiny; they're considerably more skeptical than the US counterpart of the idea that Bigger is Better For Consumers.)
And could someone explain to me why HP wants into the technology consulting field so badly that it's apparently ignoring its shareholders, who haven't at all been in favor of these acquisitions?
@ 05:16 PM CST [Link]
Um ... Yow. Extremely dense site about political and financial scandals. There's a LOT of information and analysis. The articles about "US Political and Financial Scandals in General" are somewhat informative and wholly depressing ... if displaying a left-ward tilt in general that makes me look positively Republican.
@ 12:43 PM CST [Link]
@ 10:40 AM CST [Link]
12/19/2001: vive la france
12/19/2001: princess, redux
12/19/2001: yemen and rumsfeld
12/18/2001: you're NOT in the army now
12/18/2001: interesting donation
12/18/2001: shame on winn dixie, indeed
12/18/2001: saudi princess
12/17/2001: new resolve
12/17/2001: a victim of the attack ... yeah, right
12/17/2001: polluters ho!