Thursday, May 29

US PLANS DEATH CAMP IN CUBA - I have seen this headline a couple places, and it seems to not be coming under fire. So when does it hit the major press?
Researchers are reporting today that first-person-shooter video games — the kind that require players to kill or maim enemies or monsters that pop out of nowhere — sharply improve visual attention skills. I don't find this so surprising. It seems to me like it's tied to some evolutionary hunting and survival core in us, from back when we had to be on the look out in an eat or be eaten world. (ny times again! holy cow, what's going on here...)
It's the details, really, that make this administration so awful. (NYTimes article, you know the drill; login: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Wednesday, May 28

Who pays for U.S. government propaganda dressed up as primetime entertainment? Canadian taxpayers, that's who!

Who writes it? Canadians living in Hollywood, of course!

Who thinks up these almost military exercises in spin? That you can blame on a Texan.

Tuesday, May 27

The teacher concluded by giving the students tips on what to do and not to do to reach Muslims: Don't approach them in groups. Don't bring them to your church ... Do bring them chocolate chip cookies. Do talk about how, in order to get saved, they must accept Jesus. Oh yeah, the chocolate chip cookies are sure to win them over for sure. Lordy, I know people like this, people who are so damn isolated in their own little religious world, totally oblivious and disrespectful to others around them.

I can't even begin to articulate my disgust for Christian groups who go about the Middle East, or Africa, or wherever, trying to force their religious beliefs on others. Organized religion, what a crock of shit. These people should take the advice of Rev. Robert Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches:

...if judgment is to be made it needs to be made by God and not by those of us who have divided ourselves up around a particular ideology.

Amen, brutha. Thanks for the link, Jason. (NYTimes article, you know the drill; login: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Oh man. Trust in the Military Heightens Among Baby Boomers' Children in today's NY Times... Look at this : 'A poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics, based on interviews with 1,200 college undergraduates last month, found that 75 percent said they trusted the military "to do the right thing" either "all of the time" or 'most of the time.'

Holy cow. Young kids so ready to trust an organization that did this. (NYTimes; login: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

'The lunatics are now in charge of the asylum.' So wrote the normally staid Financial Times, traditionally the voice of solid British business opinion, when surveying last week's tax bill. ... Paul Krugman relentlessly exposing the evil of the Bush economic policy. (NYTimes; login:opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Sunday, May 25

This is one of the most powerful, most amazing stories I've ever heard. (From the archives of This American Life, Real Audio Player Required.)

Friday, May 23

Ladies and gentlemen, it's another day, another blog. That's all. Maybe more. Maybe not. It's a grey, not so sunny day here, but I wouldn't know, I am stuck inside for most all of it. In world news, governments abused their power, people starved to death all over the world, pockets of resistance and hope rose up from places far and near, and the earth kept flying through space at thousands of miles per hour without throwing anyone off. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 21

Given all the coverage bestowed today on last night's final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I probably don't need to write this blog. Publications as diverse as The New York Times, Slate, Salon, and The Washington Post have weighed in. Who knew the Chosen One had so many friends? I haven't much to add -- I'm still too overcome by emotion to analyze the show's passing -- except that, dammit, I'm gonna miss her and him and her and him and him.

Tuesday, May 20

Report from Canada: a new series of surveys shows that the gap between U.S. and Canadian cultures has been widening for decades, and, contrary to popular opinion, has not closed since 9/11. U.S. of Americans continue to attend church, defer to authority, and evince a patriotic fervor more than their northern neighbors. Those three trends, developing together during a vague but constant "war on terrorism," seem doomed to erode the liberties the U.S. is so admired for. But this nice, informative article is ruined when it concludes with the usual grotesque, cliched implication: "Canadians responded to 9/11 with heartfelt sympathy and outrage, but also with many questions. They asked why young Muslims would do what they did in New York and Washington." It's an intellectually stimulating query to ask, but morally and ethically it misses the point by two enormous skyscrapers.

Monday, May 19

"An unarmed Haitian father of two children is shot by a seedy-looking undercover narcotics officer after angrily refusing to help the cop buy drugs. (It was intended to be a "buy-bust" operation.) Ironically, the victim worked as a uniformed security guard and had told his family that he hoped one day to become a police officer."
Details can be found here, similar stories are here... (thanks to the agitator)

Sunday, May 18

WHAT!!?? You mean white suburban kids columbine sometimes do genuinely columbine bad things? That goes against everything columbine my pure and sacred core values columbine tell me!

Thursday, May 15

Follow up from 5/6 - Salon.com talks to Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, about his new book, Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market, and has a review here. salon.com - click through ads to get article but no reg. required.

Monday, May 12

Some people want you to have a healthier diet, and some people are nuts (is "Nabisco Nazi" the appropriate term for these wackos?)
With this president, having federal agents in high schools (interrogating students) is becoming a regular practice.

Sunday, May 11

Great…I can see it coming: The uninformed are going to use Friday’s hostage situation at CWRU in Cleveland as an example of why not to build unconventional, progressive architecture. (“How can we catch terrorists if we don’t have right angles?”) You watch, someone will extrapolate this argument to the design of the WTC very soon.

Thursday, May 8

The future of interactive tv - a future where you are watched as much as the shows? No, it's not reality television, it's the companies learning everything about your viewing habbits. The home is sacred no more. salon.com article - click though ads but no reg required

Monday, May 5

A graphic comparing the relationship between workers and bosses in the U.S.A. to that of other countries (via mefi). Further investigation asked for on this one...

Sunday, May 4

Fuel Economy Hit 22-Year Low. The technological and engineering leaps of the last two decades have been poured into everything but fuel economy... Since 1981, the average vehicle has 93 percent more horsepower and is 29 percent faster in going from 0 to 60 miles an hour. It is also 24 percent heavier, reflecting surging sales of sport utility vehicles. ... over the same period, fuel economy has stagnated, contributing heavily to the nation's rising oil consumption. Cars and light trucks — S.U.V.'s, pickups and minivans — account for about 40 percent of the nation's oil consumption and a fifth of its carbon dioxide emissions, which many scientists see as the leading contributor to global warming. (NYT; user name: opensewer; password: iswatching.)

Friday, May 2

Say, Johnny, do you think it's any coincidence that May 1st is also our nation's "National Day of Prayer"?
Following up - I got a nice tip on the strange convergence of Loyalty Day and May Day and a reminder of what May Day meant/s in communist countries - state mandated loyalty celebrations. A very brief history on Loyalty Day here and here (worth noting that I found these web sites while googling for " 'may day' communist loyalty ").
May 1st has other meanings, too, with labor connotations. Its even older pagan origins were stamped out in the US by those damned puritains. So did anyone have a Maypole yesterday? (pop-up ads warning)
Whatever the roots, I find the notion of a "Loyalty Day" pretty damn repulsive. Was I supposed to celebrate by attacking anti-war demonstraters with buckets of water?
In case you missed it, yesterday was officially Loyalty Day in the U.S. Next year, expect participation to be mandatory.