Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New York Times: Too Cloudy For Newsprint

The NYT, today, has a story about new research into Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. It mentions one of the fine details that new techniques have unveiled and then laments, "The images are too cloudy to be reproduced on newsprint."

Mickeleh's Take: But I'm not reading your low-res newsprint. I have a high resolution computer monitor in front of me. Gimme a break here.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Brain Dead Thing about Technorati

I love Technorati. I play the tag game. I check my blog rankings. I know some of the folks there. I like them. They're very smart. But...

They sort everything on the blogosphere into one of these five topics:
  • Entertainment
  • Life
  • Sports
  • Business
  • Tech
Just those five. Nothing on current events, news, or politics. So, under which of the five does politics show up?

If you guessed Entertainment, you are correct.

Technorati home page this morning, under What Everyone is Blogging About (Entertainment): I find:
That's Entertainment? I was expecting, maybe, the clown with his pants falling down or the dance that's a dream of romance or the scene where the villain is mean. Wasn't expecting the scene where the screamer is Dean.

Maybe they're making a profound editorial comment on the vacuousness of political discourse. Democrat or Republican? It's just casting. The script is the same and the show must go on. Maybe they're saluting the quip that "politics is show business for ugly people" (which Google tells me is Leno's or Carville's—but whoever came up with it, have your lawyers call these guys, who are trying to make a buck out of it).

MSM is talking about how the bloggers are hijacking political discourse, and the world authority on blogging doesn't have a tab for politics? Hmmm.

Guess what, Technorati? Of your top 20 blogs this morning, six are political blogs. You'll find them at numbers 5 (Huffington Post), 6 (Daily Kos), 10 (Crooks and Liars), 12 (Think Progress), 13 (Michelle Malkin), 17 (Instapundit). Of your 30 hot tags as of this writing, nine are political.

Mickeleh's Take
: Maybe they're afraid of alienating righties or lefties. Or maybe its an oversight. But I'm calling them out on it. And I'd like to see an enhancement. Please give us a Current Events tab.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

In Bush's America, We Torture the Innocent

And then there's the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen that the U.S. had whisked off to a Syrian prison for "aggressive" and "alternative" interrogation, or as the reality-based community calls it, torture. A Canadian inquiry just pronounced him kosher. Did he have information about a pending terrorist attack? No. Was he a terrorist? No. But he was brown. He was seen talking to another brown man. That's all we need, really. The blogosphere is full of this case today. (The righties, simply blame Canada).

Atrios, puts it succinctly:
So, in Bush's America it's ok to kidnap a Canadian citizen and send him to Syria to be tortured. Turns out he's not guilty of anything.

Of course, we already knew that because he can't be guilty until... he has a trial.

It's possible that it could've turned out he was actually a bad guy. But they didn't know he was a bad guy. So he didn't have a trial. They just had him tortured.

Freedom. Smell it! Smells like freedom fries.
Mickeleh's Take: Two questions: When is Bush holding his next press conference? Will anyone ask him about torturing the innocent?

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Must Read: Paul Krassner's letter to Katie

I'm on deadline (nay, past deadline). But here's something much better than anything I would have written in the most optimal circumstances.

Paul Krassner on Huffington Post has an Open Letter to Katie Couric.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Princeton Researchers Create Vote-Rigging Virus

Princeton researchers have uncovered serious vulnerabilities in the widely used Diebold AccuVote-TS voting machine. From the abstract to their paper:
"... an attacker who gets physical access to a machine or its removable memory card for as little as one minute could install malicious code; malicious code on a machine could steal votes undetectably, modifying all records, logs, and counters to be consistent with the fraudulent vote count it creates. An attacker could also create malicious code that spreads automatically and silently from machine to machine during normal election activities — a voting-machine virus.
The site includes a ten-minute demo video showing the process in action.

Mickeleh's Take: No reason to suppose that folks who routinely practice vote suppression, push-polling, intelligence cooking, harsh interrogations (not torture), misleading, outright lying, warrentless domestic spying would actually steal elections outright, is there? They believe in Democracy, don't they? Oh, yes, but they also believe that those who question them are aiding the enemy.

Active discussion on Kos in Jules Siegel's diary.

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Ann Richards Keynote to the Democrats in 1988

Not living in Texas, I don't have many memories of Ann Richards as governor.

But I recall vividly the keynote address she gave at the Democratic convention in 1988. There is, of course her line about the first President Bush, which will be quoted endlessly in her obituaries.

"Poor George. He can't help it - he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."

Digby tells the story of how Karl Rove got revenge for that line with a foul bit gay-bashing that helped the second President Bush defeat Ann Richards to become governor of Texas.

The heart of Richards' 1988 keynote speech was this:
I'm a grandmother now. And I have one nearly perfect granddaughter named Lily. And when I hold that grandbaby, I feel the continuity of life that unites us, that binds generation to generation, that ties us with each other.

And sometimes I spread that Baptist pallet out on the floor and Lily and I roll a ball back and forth.

And I think of all the families like mine, like the one in Lorena, Texas, like the ones that nurture children all across America.

And as I look at Lily, I know that it is within families that we learn both the need to respect individual human dignity and to work together for our common good. Within our families, within our nation, it is the same.

As we sit there, I wonder if she'll ever grasp the changes I've seen in my life. If she'll ever believe that there was a time when blacks could not drink from public water fountains, when Hispanic children were punished for speaking Spanish in the public schools, and women couldn't vote.

I think of all the political fights I've fought, and all the compromises I've had to accept as part payment.

And I think of all the small victories that have added up to national triumphs. And all the things that never would have happened and all the people who would have been left behind if we had not reasoned, and fought, and won those battles together.

And I will tell Lily that those triumphs were Democratic Party triumphs.

I want so much to tell Lily how far we've come. You and I.

And as the ball rolls back and forth, I want to tell her how very lucky she is. That for all our difference, we're still the greatest nation on this good earth.

And our strength lies in the men and women who go to work every day, who struggle to balance their family and their jobs, and who should never, ever be forgotten.

I just hope that - like her grandparents and her great- grandparents before - that Lily goes on to raise her kids with the promise that echoes in homes all across America:

That we can do better.

And that's what this election is all about.

Thank you very much.

Mickeleh's Take: There's another bit in that speech that we should remember this season:

"We want answers and their answer is that something is wrong with you. Well, nothing's wrong with you. Nothing's wrong with you that you can't fix in November."

Let's win one for Ann.

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Olbermann's Question of the day

In an interview with Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, Keith asked, "In particular, regarding Iraq and Al Qaeda, and the link that does not exist except in the minds or at least the speechifying of the administration, is the essential problem here... is the turning point... the hinge what the noted political historian, Daffy Duck called 'pronoun trouble'? I mean, does the current administration see all terrorists as equal and one and to them, there really is a link between all bad guys? Is it that simple?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Christopher Buckley: A Conservative Looks at W.

Christopher Buckley (son of Wm F), surveys what W has done to the Republican Party, the conservative movement, and the middle east. His headline, "Let's Quit While We're Behind." Excerpt:
George Tenet’s WMD “slam-dunk,” Vice President Cheney’s “we will be greeted as liberators,” Don Rumsfeld’s avidity to promulgate a minimalist military doctrine, together with the tidy theories of a group who call themselves “neo-conservative” (not one of whom, to my knowledge, has ever worn a military uniform), have thus far: de-stabilized the Middle East; alienated the world community from the United States; empowered North Korea, Iran, and Syria; unleashed sectarian carnage in Iraq among tribes who have been cutting each others’ throats for over a thousand years; cost the lives of 2,600 Americans, and the limbs, eyes, organs, spinal cords of another 15,000—with no end in sight. But not to worry: Democracy is on the march in the Middle East. Just ask Hamas. And the neocons—bright people, all—are now clamoring, “On to Tehran!”

What have they done to my party? Where does one go to get it back?
One place comes to mind: the back benches. It’s time for a time-out. Time to hand over this sorry enchilada to Hillary and Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden and Charlie Rangel and Harry Reid, who has the gift of being able to induce sleep in 30 seconds. Or, with any luck, to Mark Warner or, what the heck, Al Gore. I’m not much into polar bears, but this heat wave has me thinking the man might be on to something.
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Monday, September 11, 2006

The Path to... becomes a new ABC series

From Andy Cobbon on YouTube.

ABC is so pleased with the reaction to their new right-wing programming, they've decided to make it a series...

Performers: Josh Funk, Rima Yazbeck, Andy Cobb. VOs by Marc Evan Jackson and Brian Hendricks.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mark Fiore Remembers

The Path(ology) to 9/11 2006.

I found this animation by Mark Fiore unexpectedly powerful. He attacks with the propagandistic uses that Bush has made of the 9/11 (2001) attacks, and the lies and deceptions. But he never lets a viewer avoid the fact that this is a memorial weekend.

Mickeleh's Take
: The Bush voice is a little jarring at first, but, it works as a Brechtian distancing device. the voice, pacing, music, and simple line drawings force us to consider and reflect on the underlying message.

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Why I must see "The Path to 9/11"

I'll tell you why I need to see this film: star power, pure and simple. The part of Condoleezza Rice is played by Penny Johnson Jerald. That's right... the women who portrayed cunning, devious first lady Sherry Palmer in 24 is going to play National Security Advisor to President Bush.tags:

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Watch the Documentary behind the Schlocumentary

The central character in ABC's "The Path to 9/11," played by Harvey Keitel, was the subject of a Frontline documentary on PBS, "The Man Who Knew." You can watch it online.

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5/2/05 The Earliest Report on "The Path to 9/11"

The New York Post, carried this light-hearted story on May 5, 2005:
Here it comes, the miniseries no one wanted to see.

Nevertheless, ABC seems to be readying a major and secret "fictionalized" multi-parter about the history of terrorism, from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the disasters of Sept. 11, 2001.

From the looks of it, the story is going to be about how stupid the government was: If only they'd listened to one man, all would have been right!

The title offered on call sheets for actors is "The Untitled ABC History Project."

Last week, the call went out for dozens of Arab actors. Today, ABC showed a little more of its effort by putting out requests for 16 characters.

The main one? Former FBI agent John O'Neill, who seems to be the lead figure in this 'history.'


Historians should have a field day with this version of the decade-long terrorist plot. But why not? Screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh got his start on another soap opera, "Falcon Crest." He also wrote the upcoming miniseries "Into the West" and was cited for "The Day Reagan Was Shot." Marc Platt is the producer, and David L. Cunningham — who helmed the recent miniseries revival of "Little House on the Prairie" and several B-movies — will direct.

The remaining 15 characters needed to make this story of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history include former local New York TV reporter John Miller, who interviewed Usama in 1998; Richard Clarke ("soon finds himself at odds with high-ranking members of the Administration, even as he chairs meetings devoted to the extermination of Al Qaeda..."); Sandy Berger, national security adviser to President Clinton; a number of FBI agents such as Neil Herman and Bill Miller; some of the actual plotters, such as Mohamed Atta; as well as former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine.

And there will be more to come, as the miniseries casts for just about everyone involved in national security and the plotting of the Sept. 11 tragedies. Who will play bin Laden? Or Saddam Hussein? Agents, consult your clients: History is going Hollywood.

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Blumenthal: the Path to "The Path to 9//11"

Max Blumenthal in the Huffington Post claims that the ABC mini-series, "The Path to 9/11" that has ignited a firestorm of outrage because of its disortions, inventions, and lies is the work product of a "well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias." He fills in some of the background and connections of the film's director, David Cunningham, and screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh.

Mickeleh's Take: How come we hear this two days before the airing? Over the past week, the response of the progressive blogosphere, the Democratic Senate leadership, Olbermann, and many others has been remarkable and impressive. But how did this sneak up on us? Blumenthal notes that the project was first pitched as "untitled history project," but, he notes, that it was reported in the New York Post in July of last year.

Here's a movie whose theme is the missed opportunities to discover and stop the plot to attack on 9/11.

And the movie itself managed to sneak up on us. Where was our equivalent of the August 6 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing--the one titled, "Cunningham Determined to Strike in Hollywood"?

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Help Katie find a signoff

CBS News is running a contest to come up with a sign-off for Katie Couric's newscast.

I proposed: "On behalf of Rush Limbaugh and the Karl Rove Noise Machine, This is Katie Couric, dancing on Ed Murrow's grave."

Hmmm. Last night, Katie Couric gave some airtime to Rush Limbaugh--on the grounds, I guess, that the poor fellow has no other outlets for making his views (that is to say, Karl Rove's talking points) known to the public.

Keith Olbermann having appropriated Ed Murrow's "Good night and good luck," and Cronkite's "And that's the way it is" still in retirement," they're open to suggestions

Seems to me like a good way to offer CBS News a little constructive feedback on how Katie's doing

If you have a good one please send it to CBS.

BTW, I've cross-posted this to my Daily Kos diary, where it's getting more traffic and some additional suggestions.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Had Enough? Vote Democratic

I just put my "Had Enough? Vote Democratic" bumpersticker over my "No More BU**SH**" sticker, when I noticed this "Had Enough?" ditty on Horse's Ass. Kind o' catchy, I think.

Spread the meme.

The oh-so-catchy track was produced by recording company mogul turned political activist Howie Klein. Vocal is by Ricky Lee Jones with Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher (Squirrel Nut Zippers). Tune is by Tom Maxwell. The story behind the music is up on MySpace.

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Where is Steve Jobs on the Path to 9-12?

Thoughts on the countdown to ABC's airing of a distorted, anti-Clinton dramatization of the Countdown to 9-11:

Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder of ABC's parent company. He's also a member of the board of directors. He sold me the magnificent computer I'm using right now. And he also sells ABC and Disney product at the iTunes store. Boy do I have mixed feelings about this. I wonder if he does.

Back in 2000 near the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where Democrats met to nominate Al Gore, Apple Computer honored five progressive heroes in a twelve-story billboard, as part of the "Think Different" Campaign—Cesar Chavez, Martin Luthor King, FDR, Robert F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt.

There's a beautiful shot of the billboard here on Flickr.

Today, having sold Pixar to Disney, Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder and a member of the board of the parent company of ABC.

I wonder if Mr. Jobs has anything to say about the distortions in the upcoming mini-series, "Path to 9-11."

It's worth noting that 9-11 is directly on the path to 9-12, the day Apple is planning a major product announcement. Observers expect it to include a movie download service on iTunes. Disney movies will almost certainly form the heart of the first offerings

I wonder if this mini-series will also be offered on iTunes.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

New on the blogroll: Local progressive blogs

Cast your eyes to the right and you'll find a new heading on my blogroll: I'll be pointing to Washington State progressive blogs, as well as a locally-produced podcast, Podcasting Liberally, which is recorded each week at Seattle's Drinking Liberally.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rove: "I change constitutions. I put churches in schools."

As mentioned Lloyd Grove's column in the Daily News, here are a couple of choice quotes from Rove and Bush on their visit to the Clinton Library (as chronicled in Sydney Blumenthal's new book, How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime.)

Bush: "A submarine could take this place out."

Rove: (on whether he's dangerous) "Yes. I am. I change constitutions. I put churches in schools."

Mickeleh's Take: These are the leaders we have. Are these the leaders we need? Are these the leaders we deserve?

We're in a bubble of books examining the dynamics of the Bush regime. And I'm swamped. I'm still working through Nunberg (thanks, Glenn), Suskind, and Ricks. (And Ricks is thick.) Maybe I'll get to Blumenthal after that.

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Couric Debuts with Bush: Can she followup?

Tonight Katie Couric takes the chair in the first broadcast of CBS Evening new with... The big get: George W. Bush.

Will he dance away from her as easily as he danced away from NBC's Brian Williams last week? Here's our first chance to see if the Couric anchor personna is perkily pleasant or perkily persistent.

We know from Bush's style and training that any tough question will be skirted, deflected, or dismissed with a goofy "heh-heh, heh-heh."

So the key will be in the follow-up.

Mickeleh's take: She won't lay a glove on 'im.

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