Lying Media Bastards

November 26, 2004

Damn. That joke would have been much funnier if I'd said "apprentice" instead of "intern".

Posted by Jake at 12:08 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 24, 2004

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."

-Jonathan Swift

Posted by Jake at 08:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mighty Thanksgiving Rerun

Wow, I is smart. Found this old post I made two years ago, and it's still good stuff. So I repost it, and everyone is happy.

Turkey Jive

I saw my fair share of anti-Thanksgiving articles this year, the standard "you are celebrating the genocide of the Indians" pieces. On one hand, they are correct, and it is probably a good idea to get up in the faces of white Americans on a regular basis to remind them (or teach them for the first time) about the aspects of their history that they tend to forget.

But on the other hand, the anti-Thanksgiving pieces tend to knowingly pretend that anyone who celebrates Thanksgiving actually does so because of their great affection for or gratitude towards the pilgrim colonists of the 1600s. Thanksgiving is more or less a forced annual family reunion, filled with poultry-centric gluttony and football games, officially marking the start of the dark consumer frenzy known as "the holiday season." I think that the anti-Thanksgiving writers know full well that to most Americans, the holiday has nothing to do with pilgrims and Indians. So when they lean on the "official" meaning of the holiday to make their point, I feel they are being slightly deceptive.

Anyhow, I found one good critical Thanksgiving piece that doesn't fall into that trap. It focuses on the history of Thanksgiving-- not the 1621 New England feast, but looks at how the holiday was or wasn't celebrated from that day till the present.

1621- "The First Thanksgiving"
November 1777- The Continental Congress declares a day of Thanksgiving to thank God for an American military victory over a powerful British general.
July 1861- Confederate Congress declares a day of Thanksgiving to thank God for their victory over the Union in the First Battle of Bull Run
April 1862- President Lincoln declares day of Thanksgiving to thank God for the Union victory over the Confederacy at Shiloh
September 1862- Confederate Congress declares a day of Thanksgiving to thank God for their victory over the Union in the Second Battle of Bull Run
August 1863- President Lincoln declares day of Thanksgiving to thank God for the Union victory over the Confederacy at Gettysburg
(see a pattern developing here?)
December 1865- President Andrew Johnson establishes a national Thanksgiving holiday to celebrate the Union victory in the Civil War
October 1931- President Hoover becomes the first president to actually make a rhetorical connection between the national holiday of Thanksgiving and the pilgrims

Maybe I'm just a history geek, but I find that fascinating. What we have come to think of as a centuries-old tradition honoring the roots of American society, was more often a series of quasi-religious celebrations to say with joy "our enemies are dead, but we are not! Thanks, God!" The "roots" aspects were inserted centuries later, and by now have largely been replaced by a more New Age "what should I be thankful for in my life" philosophy coupled with shopping and nostalgia poisoning.

I think the important lesson in there is about the evolution of meaning. Stories change, ideas mutate, "ancient" tradition dies and is reborn in unrecognizable new forms.

Posted by Jake at 01:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Lots and Lots of Stuff

Before I leave you for Thanksgiving (and I probably won't, I'm writing obsessed), here are a whole mess o' news links to look into.

Economic `Armageddon' predicted- so says the chief economist of Morgan Stanley. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that that sounds bad.

Some election comments...- didn't see this till today, but here are Noam Chomsky's thoughts on the recent election. His key point, "there is overwhelming evidence that the opinions of the majority of the population on major issues were simply off the agenda, either within the political parties or in mainstream discussion."

The Revolutionary- very long article by foreign policy analyst Walter Rusell Mead, in which he ponders Dick Cheney. Mead sees Cheney as the key architect of the Bush administration's policies, so he tries to figure out what goes on in Cheney's head, by talking to Cheney's fellow junta members, and to the Dark Cyborg himself. What is creepiest to me is that everyone tells Mead not to ask Cheney about his worldview, because he doesn't like talking about that. One of the most powerful players on the international stage, who regularly meddles in the affairs of people in dozens of countries won't talk about his basic assumptions about how he sees the world? That's kinda eerie.

Is Noam Chomsky A Senior Bush Administration Official?- Jonathan Schwarz looks at the article above and interprets a quote from a "senior administration official" about why the US invaded Iraq. If this source can be trusted (and I'm not sure he can), we invaded Iraq 1) to teach other world leaders that you cannot defy the US and get away with it, and 2) because if we took out Saddam Hussein, we could remove US troops from Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim world would no longer be mad at us. Ha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Intelligence on their designs- David Neiwert's musing about the political maneuvering of Creationists leads into a broader look at conservative ideological battle strategy-- predominantly, a propaganda technique called "card stacking." When trying to discern the truth, if you hear a bunch of people from one side say something, and a bunch of people on the other side say the opposite, then you'll probably assume that reality lies someplace in the middle, based on the assumption that these two groups represent equally popular opinions. Therefore, if you wanted to promote an unpopular opinion, it would make sense for you to try to send out as many spokespeople for your opinion as do the popular opinion folks, to invoke card-stacking-thinking among the populace.

The effect of this technique is greatly magnified by American news media's practice of faux objectivity.

Dan Rather Stepping Down- don't let the door hit you on the way out, jackass. Rather's not leaving till March, but now's a good time to link to this song by the Evolution Control Committee, which takes dozens of bizarre Dan Rather quotes and sets them to a jerky remix of AC/DC's Back in Black. CBS threatened to sue ECC over the piece.

More Proof that the Phone Company is Evil- apparently, a number of cities across the US are pondering the creation of city-wide wireless internet networks, accessible to anyone. Verizon is trying to make this illegal in the state of Pennsylvania, because if the people in that state have a free, useful service provided to them via their tax dollars, then Verizon can't charge you $40 a month for it. Fuck you, Verizon.

A Close-Up Look at Undecided Voters- mainly a long quote from a New Republic article. But since you need to register to read the NR version, you get this version instead. These are the reflections by a Kerry supporter who tried to convince undecideds to vote for Kerry. He comes up with some theories about the minds of these undecided voters that are worth thinking about.

Intimidation by Israeli-Linked Organization Aimed at US Academic - a Middle Eastern research outfit is threatening to sue blogger and Middle East scholar Juan Cole, essentially for calling them a pro-Israel organization. It seems destined to become a footnote in "The History of Bad PR Moves".

Limbaugh on NBA fight: "This is the hip-hop culture on parade"- "what I just said is going to be tagged as racist" says Rush Limbaugh of his latest comments, much the way that the words I've just typed are going to be tagged as English. Somehow, Rush tries to argue that the recent incident where a black basketball player attacked a white basketball fan who'd thrown a cup of beer at him, was a thuggish move by the player, and therefore is indicative of hip-hop itself. If he were as "fearless" as he claims he is, Rush would straight up say what he means to say: "white culture is superior to black culture, because white people are superior to black people." Pill-popping cracka.

I do, however, like how Limbaugh points out that NBA uniforms have changed so that they are now in "gang colors". Yes, those specialized gang colors, like "red" and "blue."

Jonathan Schwarz argues that Limbaugh is simply projecting.

Posted by Jake at 01:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

4000 Words

BAGnewsNotes brings us a series of photo funnies that I will politely link to rather than steal:

- iconic picture of Bush at the APEC summit

- behind the scenes with Condi (check her feet)

- 2 insane pics of America's brave horse-torturers/centurions (read the caption)

[edit]

Okay, are fucking cartoon devil pitchforks standard issue in today's military? What the fuck is going on?

[/edit]

Posted by Jake at 12:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 22, 2004

Several years of mild sleep deprivation and only one hallucination? That's pretty good.

Posted by Jake at 10:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims went up over 1000% right after 9/11. Which still put us in fourth place behind blacks, gays and Jews."

- Ahmed Ahmed

Posted by Jake at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 21, 2004

Hate Supplement

Ugh. AMERICAblog reports that Friday's print edition of the Washington Post contained a "magazine ad supplement" that was essentially one long attempt to encourage homophobia among African-Americans.

"BothSides Magazine" poses as a new publication about religious issues, and this particular issue just happens to be about the controversial social issue of gay marriage. Honestly, it looks primarily to be a self-promotional tool for Dr. Derek Grier, the editor (and pastor of the magazine's publisher, Grace Christian Church). Can't help but notice Grier's photo all over this thing, and goodness gracious, it also happens to mention that he has a new book available!

It starts off by trying to make it look like gays' demands for their own "civil rights" is a gross insult to the suffering and struggles of African-Americans in their own long fight for freedom and equality. Then it goes on to repeat tired (and often erroneous) arguments against homosexuality and gay marriage from religious and scientific "experts" (fanatics James Dobson and Paul Cameron).

I could tear this thing apart, showing every little lie and manipulation, but why bother? Their goal and message is transparent.

Obviously, the Grace Christian Church has every right to write and print their nonsense. And they have every right to try to get other publications to distribute their nonsense. But for fuck's sake, an allegedly objective newspaper of record like the Washington Post agreeing to include this shit?

You can read the magazine yourself via links here (most in pdf format), and AMERICAblog (which has been all over this story) also recommends contacting the ombudsman at the WP to tell them what you think about all this:

Mike Getler
ombudsman@washpost.com
(202) 334-7582

Posted by Jake at 02:45 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 20, 2004

Crack Is Whack, Boobs Are For Boobs

You've probably seen this one all over the blogosphere already, mainly because we greatly enjoying mocking things that are really, really stupid.

Internet Porn: Worse than Crack?

Our brave Senate gazed into the abyss this week, learning about grave dangers our nation faces from digitized pictures of naked people.

Two of the "experts" quoted in the article claim that "the internet is a perfect drug delivery system", because it causes masturbation, which causes the body to release "naturally occuring opioids", "the most perfect addictive substance." But this is incorrect. The internet is not releasing these drugs, the person's body is. Therefore the human body is the perfect drug delivery system, and must be stopped.

One "expert" labelled these opioids "erototoxins," which is fucking hilarious. Reminds me of a Yippie hoax back in the 60s, when the radical jokesters held a press conference to announce that they'd created a special mix of LSD and ecstasy that could instantly force people to have sex, and planned to spray policemen with it at protests.

But my favorite part of the article was when these anti-porn researchers were asked "what should be done to save us from this voyeurstic scourge?"

The responses were mild, considering their earlier indictment of pornography. Several suggested that federal money be allocated to fund brain-mapping studies into the physical effects of pornography.

Yes, after getting all fire and brimstone on internet porn's ass for hours, the experts didn't call for a ban on porn or internet filters or a tax or governmental regulation. They just quietly said "could we have some more money, please?" And I'm sure that the moralistic Senators making political hay out of this issue will be happy to oblige.

Gotta love symbiosis.

Posted by Jake at 08:25 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Countless

Feministing.com has discovered a tiny, two-sentence press release which announces that as of 2005, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics will no longer gather data on female workers. This makes it impossible to use those stats to find patterns of gender discrimination across the country. But that's just fine, because sexism in the workplace was completely eliminated in the If We Can't See It, It's Not There Act of 2003.

Why are they eliminating this data-gathering? "To reduce respondent burden." Yes, it's been terribly stressful on today's modern employer to tally up how many men and women they have on staff.

Posted by Jake at 07:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"8:45? And here I am yapping away like it's 8:35!"
-Ned Flanders

Posted by Jake at 07:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mega Mash-Ups

Earlier this year, DJ Dangermouse cleverly mixed together the music from The Beatles' "White Album" and Jay-Z's far more recent "The Black Album", to create "The Grey Album."

Now, an anonymous person (going by the moniker "R + P", I think) has created a music video for the Grey song "Encore", mixing together video footage of The Beatles and Jay-Z. It's fun, and the multiple layers of copyright infringement thrill me.

Posted by Jake at 07:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 19, 2004

Return of the Wingnuts

Back in the late 90s, I wrote an internet newsletter called "NewsWatch", which was a combo of media criticism, neglected news, and background of current events. Over time, I started receiving regular email from plenty of bright, informed people, but from eccentric, nutty, scary people as well. Often, the scary people wanted you to help them spread "the truth" about how Bill Clinton was a spy for Red China, or how we all needed to inject ourselves with some silver-derived chemical to protect us from the terrorist gas attack that would hit in 1998. Once I stopped writing the newsletter (and changed email addresses several times), these letters dropped off.

But I must be returning to form, because these letters are beginning to trickle in again. Nothing quite as loony yet, but I'm surely on my way.

So far, they've mainly been:

- "the election was obviously stolen"
- "Bush was behind 9/11, why won't you believe meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?"
-"here's my daily letter to the editor of some random newspaper that I've cc'd you and 300 other 'members of the media' on"
- "my impromptu quasi-newsletter email that you didn't subscribe to"
- "I don't know you, but I thought I'd send you humorous political email that you've already seen four times and that isn't actually humorous"

Nearly all of these have a liberalish slant to them, but my favorite so far was from a right-wing source, who obviously didn't bother checking me out before adding me to their cc list.

From: Columbia Christians for Life Subject: Town Council continues fight to pray in Jesus Christ's Name in Great Falls, SC

Town Council continues fight to pray in Jesus Christ's Name in Great Falls, South Carolina

A Wiccan high priestess (witch) filed a federal lawsuit against the town of Great Falls, SC for saying the Name of Jesus Christ in prayers before town council meetings. To date, the witch has prevailed at the U.S. District Court and 4th Circuit Court of Appeals levels, and the town council has ceased praying in the Name of Jesus Christ.

However, at Monday (11/15) night's meeting, the Great Falls Town Council voted 6 to 1 to continue the fight, and appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

This case is similar to the unconstitutional removal of Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in that it involves the tyranny of federal court rulings against the acknowledgement of God in the public square. It therefore marks another step in the direction of wiping out any public references or displays of Christianity in America.

The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..." Congress has not made any law law establishing a religion, but the U.S. District Court and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals are, unconstitutionally, in violation of the clear language of the First Amendment, "prohibiting the free exercise thereof" by the men of the Great Falls Town Council. The town council has not made any law establishing any religion, but they are, unconstitutionally, being prohibited by federal court tyranny, from the free exercise of religion. This is raw judicial tyranny, and should be opposed by Christians around the country as an attack on Christianity in America.

November 17, 2004
Steve Lefemine, pro-life missionary
dir., Columbia Christians for Life
CCL lobbyist
Columbia, SC

This was then followed by the text of a news article about said "raw judicial tyranny" from a local newspaper, and then, disturbingly, information about the "Constitution Restoration Act". This is an actual bill in the House of Representatives right now (HR 3799), part of which would prevent the Supreme Court from examining lower court rulings where the judge's decision was based upon religion instead of law (if the judge felt that "God [is] the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government"). That'll stop them thar activist judges. Or something.

Their letter doesn't mention when they intend to burn the witch, but I presume they'll do it in time for Baby Jesus' birthday.

Actually, I didn't notice the stuff about the Constitution Restoration Act stuff in the email till I sat down to write this. Now my pithy email reply asking if Jesus would rather spend his time on city council prayer or on aiding the sick and hungry seems... inadequate. Although if I'd written back with a scathing retort, he/they would probably get off on it.

Although the letter's lunacy is both legion and obvious, I feel like yelling about a few items:

- Rudy Moore built a shrine to the Ten Commandments and installed it on city property in the middle of the night without asking anybody. It has nothing to do with "public acknowledgement of God", you fucking pricks. If someone installed a statue of a golden calf in the courthouse, it would get the same treatment.

- "Public" and "governmental" are not the same thing. If the city council wants to go to the city park and scream about how much they love Jesus, they're free to do so. When they want to put it in their council meetings, it sorta comes across like the government endorses one particular religion over others...

- I understand that many conservative Christians believe that the First Amendment is supposed to be about keeping government out of your church. But many of the rest of us believe that the First Amendment is about keeping your church (well, all churches) out of our government. See how it goes both ways? See?

I was about to say something about this author being an idiot, but he's not. His signature says he's a lobbyist, so he's most likely very aware of what he's saying, how it does and doesn't work, and he is not as concerned with logic or truth as he is with results.

What is with the paranoia of American Christians? Nearly 80% of the country claims to be Christian, yet they talk like they're a despised minority, having to worship in the shadows for fear of their very lives. Yes, they used to throw Christians to the lions-- like 1900 years ago. Today's Christians now safely work in our nation's zoos and circuses, and churches are plentiful on our nations streets. The President is Christian, his recent opponent was Christian, the conservative Christian party holds both houses of Congress and much of the Supreme Court, and a non-Christian can probably never be elected to major office in the United States.

How can this country be oppressing Christians, Christians are the country, you crazy bastards!

Yeah, that's overly broad. A high percentage of American Christians are not part of this conservative faction. And I imagine that many of this conservative faction would argue that many Americans who call themselves Christians "aren't really Christians." But I think you see my point.

I've got a theory on this ("Jake, with a theory? Never!"). I believe that these conservative Christians have, as part of their theology, a focus on evil. All acts of evil or moral degeneracy are caused by the devil. At all times, the devil is working to weaken you, to tempt you, to make you turn away from Jesus and the Church. This point of view is, of course, paranoid. Perhaps it's simple to go from "the devil is out to get me" to "they're all out to get me."

One of the most interesting theories I've seen on conservative American Christianity today came from journalist and biting funnyman Matt Taibbi. In a recent article in Rolling Stone, he went undercover as a volunteer for the Bush campaign, and after dealing with many a conservative Christian, dished up this little tidbit:

The problem not only with fundamentalist Christians but with Republicans in general is not that they act on blind faith, without thinking. The problem is that they are incorrigible doubters with an insatiable appetite for Evidence. What they get off on is not Believing, but in having their beliefs tested. That's why their conversations and their media are so completely dominated by implacable bogeymen: marrying gays, liberals, the ACLU, Sean Penn, Europeans and so on. Their faith both in God and in their political convictions is too weak to survive without an unceasing string of real and imaginary confrontations with those people -- and for those confrontations, they are constantly assembling evidence and facts to make their case.

But here's the twist. They are not looking for facts with which to defeat opponents. They are looking for facts that ensure them an ever-expanding roster of opponents. They can be correct facts, incorrect facts, irrelevant facts, it doesn't matter. The point is not to win the argument, the point is to make sure the argument never stops. Permanent war isn't a policy imposed from above; it's an emotional imperative that rises from the bottom. In a way, it actually helps if the fact is dubious or untrue (like the Swift-boat business), because that guarantees an argument. You're arguing the particulars, where you're right, while they're arguing the underlying generalities, where they are.

Once you grasp this fact, you're a long way to understanding what the Hannitys and Limbaughs figured out long ago: These people will swallow anything you feed them, so long as it leaves them with a demon to wrestle with in their dreams.

I don't know if he's right or wrong, but it's a fascinating idea: conservative Christians' faith is actually very weak, and needs to be constantly strengthened by exposure to "enemies".

I'm thinking a lot about religion these days. I was pretty much raised agnostic. Near as I can figure, the issue of a bi-religious child was as big a concern to suburban parents in the 70s as having a biracial child is today. To avoid "making me choose" between my Jewish mother and lapsed Protestant father, there was no sort of worship in the house, no talk of gods or creation, and a rather secular celebration of Christmas, Easter and Hanukkah. About my only knowledge of religion came from an illustrated kids' bible at the doctor's office, a few weeks at a Jewish Sunday school, cartoons where Tom and Jerry went to Heaven or Hell, and two years at a Catholic school.

If that last one sounds weird, that's because it is. Long story short, my parents bought into the Montessori teaching philosophy (which probably helped make me the curious, insatiable learner I am today), and once I'd finished up at a local Montessori kindergarten, the only other nearby Montessori school was a Catholic school. At a Mission, no less. 200 years after educating the local Indians into early graves, young Jake went to learn his grammar and multiplication tables at Mission San Luis Rey.

Religion class was on Wednesday afternoons, and my Mom would take me out of school early on those days. But weird religious bits did drift in just the same. I remember Sister Judy taught us that the moon was a star and that the Sun was a burning planet. And one time she lectured us because "someone had smashed a germ on the wall of the girl's bathroom."

Now that I think about it, maybe that had nothing to do with religion, and Sister Judy was just a crazy person.

Anyhow.

Due to this upbringing, religion is strange, scary, kinda quaint and kinda stupid in my eyes. I pretty much see myself as a capital 's' Skeptic. It's hard for me to buy into anything without some decent evidence or logical deductions. I'm not an atheist because just as there's no proof of the existence of a god, there's also no proof of the absence of a god either (although our philosophy major friends say that you can't prove an absence, so...). I understand faith, I understand the idea of being raised to believe a certain thing and accepting it as a given, and I understand that assuming that the universe was "created" is in some ways the flip side of assuming that it didn't need to be "created."

But apart from that, I don't understand religion. The idea of believing the Bible to be true because the Bible tells you it's true simply baffles me. And the idea that your specific interpretation of a religious text is the only possible interpretation of that text, well, that just makes me wanna claw my fucking eyes out.

I guess I have two parallel visions of religion that I carry with me, one occasionally overtaking the other. On the one hand, I don't pretend to understand how the universe works. Therefore anybody's religion could be right, and I'm completely fine with anyone believing in any of them. On the other hand, I believe that one of the only life courses that makes sense is to wait for evidence to believe in anything. Which makes me think that anyone who is religious is being silly. I admit, sometimes this makes me feel superior to religious people. But I imagine they sometimes feel superior to me, thinking that I'm stupid for failing to see how obvious it is that Jesus Christ is our lord and savior and whatnot. So I guess we're even. Maybe.

But today, we're either seeing the return of the Christian Right as a political force (or, believing the hype, the Christian Right is seeking to flex their increased political muscle. Or, the media, believing the hype, is spending more time covering the actions of the Christian Right, making it seem as though they have returned as a political force. So hard to tell these days). And they do not, as I have, a tolerant, "let them do what they want, it doesn't bother me" attitude towards folks who's beliefs are different. Not only are they certain that their worldview is the right one (unlike myself, always doubting, and wondering even if there is a single correct view), they are taking action to change the laws of the land so that their worldview is imposed upon everyone.

Which, sadly, makes the Christian Right my enemy. Not because of their beliefs-- which in my eyes, are nutty-- but because of their actions. Their actions are hurting people, and will hurt even more people if they are not opposed.

But I've also got to wonder if that's enough. Okay, we've identified a group with blatant, obvious, concretely harmful goals. But there are plenty of folks who's religious beliefs aren't as deranged as those we'd call "the Christian Right", but are harmful just the same. General views like "gays are bad" and "women should be subservient to men" and "sex is wrong" and "you are better than people from other religions", are held by otherwise sane people, and they have effects and they cause damage.

And at their core, many of the world's religions are about obedience to authorities and to rules that are imposed from without. Does that mean that I should be opposed to most of the world's religions?

Yeah, I guess it does.

That's always been my favorite anarchist slogan, "No Gods, No Masters."

Posted by Jake at 08:24 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Grrr

I had been looking forward to today. I'd been planning on taking the day off, having taken care of a week's worth of part-time duties. I got to bed earlier last night than I have in weeks, so would wake up feeling more refreshed than usual. And I'd spend the day relaxing and lounging, maybe having a pleasant meal and taking in a flick. It'd be the sort of day where I'd spend the morning leisurely reading the paper while sipping iced tea on the veranda, if I subscribed to a newspaper, drank iced tea, or knew what a veranda was.

Instead, I woke up at 5am with a massively sore throat and couldn't get back to sleep. So I'm probably taking the day off anyway, but I'll spend it sick, tired, grouchy, and constantly pouring hot tea down my neck to keep my throat soothed.

Well, maybe it'll be okay; when you're sick, you usually feel worst right when you wake up.

Grrrr.

Posted by Jake at 07:38 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 17, 2004

Et Tu, TiVo?

I wonder if successful companies will ever learn that if you change your product so that it sucks, people will abandon it?

Like TiVo, for example.

TiVo was a clever product that recorded TV shows to a hard drive rather than individual videocassettes. It had a computer inside that let you tell it what shows you liked, so it would find them and record them automatically. It even would try to extrapolate what other shows you might like and record those too, just in case. And, of course, you could skip through the commericals with ease.

Until now, that is.

As one might guess, TV broadcasters were pretty pissed off that there was this device that let people watch their shows but skip their ads. That's the whole point of TV, to sucker people into watching advertisements.

But TiVo has now removed its ad-skip techonolgy and replaced it with "skip the TV commercial but watch an ad from TiVo while you're waiting." In other words, TiVo has crippled one of its own key selling points.

This pisses me off. More and more, media companies are trying to control the technological devices that you and I purchase, limited their usefulness to increase their profits. Luckily, there are usually ways around these limits, if you care to look.

As if that wasn't enough, all your interaction with TiVo-- the programs you record, the programs you watch, what you stop to rewind and watch again-- is recorded sent back to TiVo headquarters to be sold to advertisers as marketing data.

I hope people leave TiVo in droves.

I'm not too familiar with it, but a non-/less evil alternative to TiVo might be Moxi, which appears to do all the stuff that TiVo does, plus more, plus is Open Source.

Posted by Jake at 06:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Well Said

The National Field Director and deputy political director for the Republican National Committee Daniel Gurley solicited unprotected sex and multiple sex partners in an online profile at Gay.com, in seeming contradiction with the Partyís call for abstinence and positions on gay issues.

There's nothing wrong with promiscuous gay sex, and it's understandable for gays to want to stay in the closet in this homophobic world of ours. But if you hide your sexuality in order to get a job where you try to repress others' sexuality, well, it's open season.

I just posted this because I loved this part of the article:

His public profile [at Gay.com] states that he is seeking "action/sex," is in an "open relationship" and that his partner and himself "enjoy playing together when we can." His private adult profile is more direct, soliciting unsafe sex and detailing more personal information.

Asked if he remembered soliciting unprotected sex, Gurley said, "I donít remember specifics."

No, I don't suppose he would.

Posted by Jake at 11:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

Failure.

What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

Posted by Jake at 12:30 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 16, 2004

Up Close and Personal

Iraq Uncensored

"For months on end, these seven independent photographers and filmmakers have worked exclusively in Iraq documenting US troops and Iraqi civilians, resistance fighters and child laborers, imprisoned women and incarcerated youths. Using varied media and narrative styles ranging from photojournalism to first person narratives, cinema verite and found photography, Iraq Uncensored photographers present insights and subtleties beyond what daily news reporting can provide."

See their photos at the link above.

Posted by Jake at 06:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Schisms

David Neiwert is one of the first folks online I've seen to correctly identify the idelogical voter split in this country (urban vs. rural, not red states vs. blue states) and also come up with some ideas of what to do about it.

I think David is asking the right questions: why do rural folks dislike liberals? How can we change the Democratic party so that its policies include the needs of rural people? This is good, democratic (small "d"), egalitarian thinking.

Unfortunately, I don't think that's the popular set of questions at the moment. I think most liberals are instead asking: why won't those stupid rednecks vote for us? Don't they know we're doing what's best for them? What miniscule, symbolic steps can we take to trick them into voting for us?

I'm being a little harsh, but I think my central cynicism is accurate. Most of the post-election liberal musings I've seen have everything to do with message-craft and vision and strategy, and zero to do with finding out what voters want and giving it to them, let alone actually working with these folks as equals and collaborators.

Posted by Jake at 12:01 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

November 15, 2004

Fun With Headlines

Vice President Has Nothing More Than Cold- yeah, I know, given Cheney's heart problems, pointing out that the illness he has is not life-threatening is valid. But if we play dumb just a tiny bit, that headline is hilarious.

Trouble spots dot Iraqi landscape- when we look inside, we learn that "trouble" means "blowing up bridges", "executing police chiefs", "burning people alive", and "setting the governor's house on fire." I'd hate to see what a "dangerous" looks like.

Posted by Jake at 01:35 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tactics

Y'know, if I were an Iraqi insurgent holed up in Falljua (and I'm not), and I heard several weeks in advance that the US was sending a large force to take over the city, I think I'd say to my boys "hey, let's leave the city, let the Americans take it, and then snipe at them from the edges of the city for months, guerrilla style."

I don't have enough military knowledge to fill a thimble, but that just seems like common sense to me. The main power of a guerrilla army is that it doesn't sit there and present itself as a nice fat target the way a regular army does; it can move and split up and hide pretty easily, making any attack upon them difficult and complicated. I think that anyone running a guerrilla army would react this way to this particular US threat. And anyone with half a brain who was running a conventional army would realize this, and not go through with this Falluja-style invasion.

But what do I know?

Posted by Jake at 12:17 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Fine Cuisine

For the past year or so, I've been somewhat addicted to Mongolian barbecue. It's nothing fancy, just a kind of buffet-style stir-fry restaurant, primarily meat, vegetables and noodles, which is then cooked on a big open grill. The versions I've had are probably as authentic as calling an old car tire "hamburger", but I find it tasty.

I'd like to cook this stuff for myself at home, but I don't know what spices or seasonings to use to get the taste right. My impression is that Mongolian barbecue is largely flavored with soy sauce, garlic, red chili flakes, and oyster sauce, but I know there's some other stuff in there as well.

So to potentially solve this mystery, I thought I'd post one of those "hey, can anyone in the audience help me out here?" blog entries. So if anyone has any culinary knowledge to share, please drop me a line or leave a comment here. Gracias.

Posted by Jake at 12:07 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

November 14, 2004

Moral Mandate Myth

By now, it has become common "knowledge" that George W. Bush won the election because Christian fundamentalists came out in droves to vote for the president. However this is not fact, it's an interpretation of data, and a fairly inaccurate one at that.

This myth comes from exit polls in which 22% of respondents said that "moral values" were the "most important issue". It's fairly telling that the media has decided that "moral values" means "fundamentalist Christian."

But even more to the point, political scientist Phillip Klinker has analyzed the exit poll data from 2000 and 2004, and has found no signifiant increase in the turnout of religious voters. Bush got roughly the same percentage of votes from religious voters in 2004 as he did in 2000.

So where was the increase?

Rich people.

Which makes plenty of sense. Maybe some rich folks voted for Bush in 2000, figuring he'd serve their interests better than Gore. But after 4 years, Bush truly proved himself, so it seems many more rich folks turned out for that reason.

Unfortunately, everyone is running with the "rise of the Fundamentalists" myth. Either fundamentalists are believing the hype, or the media is suddenly deciding to cover them more, but these conservative Christians are trying to exert their influence on Bush since Nov 2:

- some pro-life folks are complaining that Bush's choice for new attorney general isn't conservative enough.

- at the same time, the Christian Coalition is praising Bush's attorney general selection.

- and now, conservative Christians are attacking Bush for letting Dick Cheney's daughter "flaunt her homosexuality"... whatever that means.

I feel like it's the 80s all over again, with an all new Moral Majority. And once again, they're going to try to save us from the "oppression" of the liberals by forcing their version of morality on everyone else.

Posted by Jake at 12:27 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

November 13, 2004

Housekeeping

- Some of you have started noticing the "comment spam." People create software that automatically posts ads in any and all available comment sections of blogs. I use a plug-in that prevents most of it (MT-Blacklist, I highly recommend it if you have Moveable Type-based blog), but some ads get through. To give you an idea of how bad the problem is, MT-B blocked over 300 spam comments TODAY. And it's only about 4pm by me. About 5-10 got through and I had to delete them by hand and add them to the prohibido list.

If it got worse, I would try to institute a comments system like the one they have at pandadon.net, where there's one extra entry blank where you have to enter a randomly-generated string of numbers that appears in each comment window.

But yeah, it's fucking infuriating. I put a lot of work into this blog as a public service, and destructive anonymous motherfuckers want to turn it into a wasteland of viagra and online casino ads.

Even worse, Tiny Revolution points out the most irritating new trend in blog spam: comment spam that advertises websites that don't even work!

- Some of you saw the alternate George Bush LMB logo I had up last week. I mostly stole that from this poster from the Obey-Giant guy. And some months before that, I also put up a temporary new logo based on the cult sci-fi movie They Live. It's just kinda fun to switch things up a bit without warning. If anyone would like to create some more fun alternate LMB logos, feel free to send em my way.

- Would anyone be interested in LMB t-shirts? I could make a silkscreen pretty easy and ink the logo (it'd have to be changed slightly to be one color) onto clothing.

Posted by Jake at 04:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 11, 2004

The First Rule of Craigs List...

This personal ad rules.

Posted by Jake at 11:12 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

It's good to know that with the slightest bit of effort, I can still get reallly, really lost in Los Angeles.

Posted by Jake at 12:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 09, 2004

Cavalcade of News and Opinion

US ready to put weapons in space- it is generally accepted among many lefties that the US plans for a space-based missile defense system is really just phase one of an effort to put weapons into outer space. Since the current missile defense systems don't actually work, this seems a pretty reasonable theory.

Unrest Sharply Increasing Through Much Of China- you're not hearing much about this one. The Chinese Communist Party's magazine, which one might expect to be a wee bit biased, has admitted that in 2003 there were an average of 160 "major incidents of civil unrest" every day in the rural parts of the country. And they seem to be on the rise.

Protestors Put Iraq Privatisation on Trial - Naomi Klein to Give Evidence- interesting one. Back in April, two British activists interrupted the "Iraq Procurement Conference," unfurling anti-war banners and lectured the audience about atrocities in Iraq. They were arrested for "aggravated trespass" and intending to disrupt a "lawful activity." The activists are using an unusual defense:

The defence will argue that the meeting was not a lawful event as it was facilitating acts in breach of the Iraq constitution - illegal under the Hague Regulations of 1907 and Geneva Conventions 1949. Britain and the US are signatories to both the Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions.

As I understand it, if the Conference was illegal, then the activists can go free.

Everything's Not Zen- an article about the corporatization of yoga. You heard me. Yoga.

Republican Election Theft Clearinghouse- pretty much what the headline says. A growing list of links to news articles about suspicious voting events. Maybe they're true, maybe they're not.

Fuck the South- this person is angry. At the South. I love the passion and the humor. I don't agree with all the points, but some nice debunking of common conservative arguments.

Christian Conservatives Must Not Compromise- op-ed from a fervent Christian radio show host. Nice insight into how some Christian fundamentalists actually believe that liberals are Evil, determined to destroy civilization.

They voted for this mess- Daily Kos regular "mg_65" emailed this essay/letter to blogger Steve Gilliard, who then posted it on his site. It begins as a few sad stories about poor American women on the verge of poverty who chose to vote for Bush because of his "values" (or worse, one "because her pastor told her to vote for him"). The letter then morphs into an angry rant against conservatives--the stupid, the common, and the vicious--and the idea of making peace with them. The author argues that these conservatives aren't being tricked into voting against their interests, he claims that they would rather vote to hurt others than to help themselves. It's long and it's angry and it's rambling, but somehow I feel that it's worth reading.

Posted by Jake at 07:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Which Old Witch?

Wow. John Ashcroft, Attorney General and Grand Inquisitor, is resigning. I think that someone at the Associated Press must have a sense of humor, because they chose to pair their article on the subject with an old file photo of Ashcroft standing in front of the famed naked Spirit of Justice statue that Ashcroft had hidden away. So symbolic of... everything, really.

Part of Ashcroft's resignation letter that will be quoted derisively by all liberals everywhere:

"The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."

Somebody better tell Batman.

I'm not going to make much of that quote, because it has to be taken out of context. It just has to.

[edit]

Okay, I guess it wasn't.

[/edit]

But don't rejoice yet. While Ashcroft was an incompetent religious zealot, we don't know who will take his place. It's possible that the new guy could be just as bad, or worse.

Me, I'm hoping they replace him with the dead guy he lost his Senate seat to.

Posted by Jake at 05:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 08, 2004

From the 101st Armored Hatter Brigade

"The enemy has got a face. He's called Satan. He's in Fallujah and we're going to destroy him."

- Col. Gary Brandl, United States Marine Corps

[via A Tiny Revolution]

Posted by Jake at 02:20 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Last Election Post

So what the hell happened in this election? Let's break it down as best we can.

First of all, I want to point out the people who weren't allowed to vote. In many states, there are laws preventing ex-cons from voting. I have yet to heard a good explanation for this (aren't we always saying that someone who's gone to prison has "paid their debt to society"?), and it seems to have come out of the same sets of laws passed after the Civil War that were intended to prohibit African-Americans from voting (ah, voter suppression, as American as apple pie and cross-burning). Regardless of their intent, these laws do disproportionately deprive African-Americans of their voting rights: about 13% of African-American men can't vote, about 8% of all African-Americans can't vote. All told 4.7 million Americans can't vote because of these felony disenfranchisement laws.

Then we see another 40% of Americans who can legally vote but did not vote. I think this figure is extremely important to keep in mind, but most pundits aren't bothering to. They keep acting as though the results of the election accurately reflect the ideological mindset of the country. "51% of Americans support President Bush," they say. No they don't, jackass. You can only say with certainty that about 31% of Americans (who are eligible to vote) support President Bush (or possibly don't support him, but disliked John Kerry). Maybe 31% support him, maybe 71% support him. We don't know, because we know very little about the non-voting folks. So pundits, get your damn facts straight.

Now let's look at all this Red State/Blue State bullshit. It's become conventional wisdom that the country is geographically split by ideology, with "blue" Democratic coasts and a "red" Republican middle. You can understand why media folks want to hold on to this idea, it's very simple and appealing. And wrong, but hey, if everyone else is saying it, you're not going to get in trouble for saying the same thing, right?

Here's what I'm trying to say: check out the helpful maps here. Let's look at Texas. On the state map, it's solid red. When you look at the breakdown by county (scroll down, second map on the page), we see that a number of counties voted for John Kerry. And when we look at the voting percentages, we see that 38% of the voters favored Kerry. That's not a "red" state, that's a state with a lot of Democrats but even more Republicans. The media's lazy charade in which states are solid color blocks, borders on irresponsible.

[edit]

Here's what I'm talking about.

Instead of going straight red-blue, this map marks how strongly each county supported Bush or Kerry. Not much red, not much blue, lots and lots of purple.

[/edit]

There, wanted to get those things out of the way. Now I can finally start talking about what I think happened this election.

The popular explanation of this election is that the Republicans mobilized religious conservatives to vote by putting Gay Marriage Ban referendums on many state ballots across the country. The evidence for this comes from exit polls in which 22% of respondents said that their number one concern when voting was "morality" (well, that and Karl Rove's public admissions that this was his strategy). First of all, I don't trust these polls. And second, saying that you're concerned with morals doesn't necessarily translate into "I wanted to vote down gay marriage."

That being said, it seems likely that these referendums did have an impact. At the very least, it made the voters in those areas think a bit more about their social values, and at most, turned the election into a referendum on whether or not that individual voter approves of homosexuality. And for the most part, Americans are very homophobic. This gay referendum tactic was also clever in that it played on the one inroad that Republicans have to ethnic minorities: religion. African-Americans and latinos are often devoted Christians, which often leads to conservative social values.

I think the biggest problem in analyzing the election is that commentators want to find a "magic bullet." They want to say that the nation loves Bush, or that Kerry should've used Strategy Z or that everyone just voted for Bush because they're scared of terrorism. Of course, people make their decisions based upon different criteria. Some people probably focus on candidates' policies and how it will effect that voter specifically, others will look at the best policies for society. Some will simply vote their party affiliation. Some will vote for the candidate they think seems most trustworthy. Some will vote for the person they think will make America look best. Some will vote for the person who they think will be the best leader. And of course, most people probably have not analyzed the way that they are making this decision, so you couldn't even ask them to find out. There is no one way to vote, but saying that won't get you a seat on the cable news talk shows.

It seems to me that the biggest predictor of a person's vote is whether they live in an urban area or a rural area. Check the second and third maps on this page to see that the rural areas (most of the United States) tend to have more Republican voters, while the urban areas (the coasts, the Northeast, and along the Mississippi River) tend to have more Democratic voters.

I'd say that if someone really wanted to understand the American political landscape, they'd first have to try to get a handle on the political views of non-voters. Not asking them "why didn't you vote?" as much as trying to see how they feel about various political issues. They could very well be strongly liberal or conservative, but just feel that voting doesn't make a difference. If you want to know what America thinks, you really need to tap into that mystery 40%.

After that, I think I'd try to interview folks in both rural and ubran areas, both Bush and Kerry voters, and try to get them to explain how they made their decisions. Then you could compare the responses of the urban and rural Democrats and the urban and rural Republicans and start looking for patterns.

But that's all the nice quasi-academic stuff. The core of this election was Bush himself. Bush ran on his public image rather than his record or his policies, and Kerry ran on a "Bush is doing it wrong" platform. I think your average Jo(e) would have, over the course of four years, gotten a clear image of Bush (whether that image is true or a fraud), and didn't think that Bush was doing things so badly that he should be thrown out (I think most Americans don't watch enough news to really fathom how badly Bush has fucked up the nation and world). I think that some voters are still afraid of terrorism and feel that Bush is a "strong leader" in the sense that if you were in a fort and were being attacked, that Bush would be a good guy to put in charge of the effort to fight back (this would be for people who bought into Bush's false image. I don't think he would fight the good fight in a fort siege, I think he'd be the guy who'd volunteer to go get another barrel of gun powder, and then hide in the storage room until the fighting stopped). Despite Kerry's military service, his image was never one of "good fort leader". He might be a good guy to run the fort before the attack began, but afterwards people would want the passionate fighter that Bush pretends to be.

Sadly, this election has made me fear that maybe there are so many Christian fundamentalists in this country that they can actually start acheving their goals of changing the government and culture to fit their own kooky interpretation of the Bible. I've usually been a very tolerant agnostic, but these election reults make me wonder if religion is my enemy.

And to everyone who voted for those No Gay Marriage propositions, fuck all y'all. You took your belief that some people are less human than others and made it law.

Posted by Jake at 02:16 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

November 06, 2004

I'm driving along and there's this ad on the radio for some kind of theater thing, "a reading of three plays by Native American authors". I zone out until the end of the ad, where they're talking about tickets, and they say, I shit you not, "Reservations recommended."

Posted by Jake at 10:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 03, 2004

Wrap-Up

Well, we've got possibly contradictory conclusions. John Kerry has gone ahead and conceded the election to Bush. But in the last post, commenter "johnk" (no relation) says that he worked at a polling station yesterday and that 10% of their ballots were provisional, and wouldn't be counted until later. He wonders how many other ballots are as-yet uncounted. Would it make a difference? And if it did, how legally binding is Kerry's concession?

Anyhow. I'll work on the assumption that Kerry lost.

I swear I heard Kerry and Edwards talk a lot about not giving up until every ballot is counted, but I saw the news about Kerry's concession before CNN had even finished filling out its electoral map. Reminded me of the saying of old labor organizer Big Bill Haywood: "A liberal is the guy who leaves the room when a fight starts."

[update]

Investigative journalist Greg Palast is claiming that Kerry won. He argues that if shoddy voting machines in African-American and latino districts in Ohio and New Mexico hadn't spoiled so many of those people's votes, that Kerry would have won those two states and therefore the election. I don't know if his numbers add up properly, but there is evidence that districts with large African-American populations tend to have more ballots deemed "spoiled". But since Kerry seems unlikely to investigate this issue, it seems that Bush is likely to remain the president-elect whether Palast is right or not.

[/update]

I want to point out that there seems to be a myth going around that young people did not come out to vote. They did. According to The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), 4.6 million more young voters turned out in 2004 than did in 2000, an increase of more than 9% (up about 13% in battleground states). I mention this because I've seen a few liberal sites bashing young adults for "losing the election" for Kerry. Hey, pundits! Leave them kids alone!

Also, it looks like conservatives are claiming that they and their agenda now have a "mandate". The term usually implies that you have won by such a significant amount, that the vast, vast majority of people support you. However, only 60% of the electorate showed up to the polls, and only 51% of them voted for Bush. So even being generous, the election only shows about 31% of the people behind the president. Quite honestly, the "don't care much one way or the other crowd" has the closest thing to a mandate

I'll admit, at one point I looked at the numbers and saw like 52 million Americans, more than half the voters, saying that they wanted George W. Bush and his crazy wars and his idiocy and his corporate plundering, and I thought "why should I care? If this is what Americans want, why should I make any effort to fight it?" It was bitterness, really, a feeling of "let this fuckers reap what they sow. Let them get what they deserve," aimed at all of these mindless Bush voters. But then I realized that while the American warlords are going to rain hell upon 250+ million Americans in the years to come, they are also going to run roughshod over the other 6 billion or so people on Earth. Opposing Bush, and the neocons, and the corrupt system that was here long before they set foot in the Oval Office, is necessary if we really care about the people of the world.

And I do.

So, everyone asks, what do we do now?

I'd say first thing, everybody take a breather. Take a day, take a few days, and don't worry about politics so much. Relax, see some friends, meditate, take a trip, get drunk, do whatever you need to do to unwind a bit, and get a little peace and perspective. You've earned that. And frankly, you probably need that right now.

Second, don't beat yourself up over this. Maybe you campaigned for Kerry, or donated to the Democrats, or tried to talk sense into your conservative friends, or simply tried to get out the truth. Some of you feel like you could have done more, or that you failed. Sure, maybe you could have done more, but you can't change what's past. You can learn from your mistakes (if indeed you made any at all), but it's best to not wallow in them. And as for failure, you only fail if this election is the endpoint of your politically active life. If your goal was solely to get John Kerry elected and then be done with it, then yes, maybe you did fail. But if your goal is to make a better world for everybody, then this was a setback on what will be a long and twisted journey.

After that, I suppose you have to do some thinking about what's happened, some thinking about what you want to happen, and some thinking about how to get there from here, sociopolitically speaking. That first bit I can help with. The second two are up to you. We can see just from the comments in some of my recent posts that y'all have got a wide spectrum of goals, ranging from getting Democrats in office, to building third parties, to reforming the electoral system, to some sort of radical rejection of all nearly all mainstream American policies. Frankly, I believe in the latter, but I'm not going to push that on anybody right now.

I'll post an article tomorrow with my analysis of what happened in this election, and try to explain to some of our foreign brothers and sisters why Americans do some of the crazy things we do.

So chin up, folks. Things are bad, and they might get worse. But our only real choices are to cave in and despair, or to stand up and fight back.

Posted by Jake at 07:54 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

November 02, 2004

Up in the Air

I am pretty baffled about the way that the media is treating this election. Well, maybe I'm not baffled; they suck. But it seems ridiculous to make any attempts to "call" the election till all the votes are counted. "Projecting" who will win is bullshit. Don't call the election based on exit polls. Don't call the election when 67% of the votes are counted. Don't call the election with 99%-- well, okay, 99% of the vote is probably safe to call. But I hate how the press worries more about being first than being right. I'm willing to wait a day or two if that's what it takes to get the facts straight.

I know a bunch of people who are saying at this time (11:40pm Nov 2) that this election is "basically Bush's". And maybe it will be. But given my skeptical nature, I don't feel that this has been decided yet.

But no matter who wins, this election makes one thing certain: tens of millions of Americans are stupid, stupid fuckers.

Posted by Jake at 11:40 PM | Comments (37) | TrackBack

The Big Vote

If you've ever visited this site before today, odds are you're some kind of liberal, progressive, environmentalist, communist, socialist, feminist, anarchist, radical or hippie. Therefore I probably don't have to convince any of you to vote against George W. Bush. If any of you are regular readers and still haven't ruled out voting for Bush, and my hundreds of articles about the way that Bush is turning the globe into a smoking ball of idiocy, blood and hate haven't swayed you, then I am an utter failure as a human being.

Voting for Bush is like voting for a swift, pointy kick in the sensitive bodily region of your choice. Well, it's actually more like voting for someone to steal your wallet, and then use that money to clearcut a forest, throw poor people in jail, firebomb Damascus, and then lie to you about it.

And if that's what you're looking for, go ahead and vote that way.

What will voting for Kerry be like? Probably like Clinton, except with a shitty economy and eternal war.

Posted by Jake at 12:40 AM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Quotes

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."

-Jonathan Swift

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Snapshots

Damn. That joke would have been much funnier if I'd said "apprentice" instead of "intern".

More Snapshots

Columnists Of Note

 

References

Sonic Resistance

 

Dead Trees

 

Heavy Rotation

Archives

 

Squiggles of Insight

SubvertWare

Credits

Design and Layout by Mark McLaughlin and Quang Tang
LMB Logo by Quang Tang

Alt "One Hell of a Leader" logo largely stolen from Obey Giant.
All other material by Jake Sexton (unless otherwise cited)

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