Thursday, August 02, 2007

March 2007

March 28

Speaking of my old high school pal Paul R. Shaffer, who needed to know what Marshall Rogers was like, he now does this. He works as a psychologist and apparently he's better looking than I am. We sort of took a turn away from each other when he went to Oral Roberts U but we still trade emails occasionally. I will, however, never forgive him for stealing my Dave Cockrum run of the X Men. He has a very cute daughter. He's also divorced despite writing a book about relationship counseling. Related: I also grew up with two drummers. You might have heard of Joffo. He plays with a little known band called the Houserockers. He can be seen briefly singing the praises of His Mentor and Patron Saint Joe Grushecky in this Youtube clip.

(Jeff "Joffo" Simmons doing his best Billy Cobham, or more accurately in the talent department, Buddy Miles impression...)

And he's married to this...woman? No fuckin' way...! Now I'm jealous...wasn't he married to Jill West for awhile...I'm not going there....(His wife has a nice voice too...) I would never say this to his face but I'm really proud of him. Also: one of the best natural athletes I've ever known. Jeff used to ride his bike from hilly Penn Hills, and it was a crappy yellow 10 speed, to hilly Monroeville, atop the hill where the Showcase theater used to be, everyday and he never walked his bike. I wish I could have persuaded him to go out for the track team. (He used to run miles with ex pro football player Tom Flynn...) He would have gotten a free ride at a college somewhere...

Jeff's wife. In the immortal words of Frozone "That ain't right". I can't even get a date for a movie. True, I'm not trying anymore but still....Gawd I hates you rock n roll people...

My other best high school pal, Bob Napolitano, was probably a more talented drummer (and Jeff, who used to, I don't know, really good. Loved that short lived two lead guitarists band that played the Rush covers Joffo was in....) but I don't think he has an internet presence. So he doesn't exist. That's life in the Matrix booboo...

March 27

Earlier, or down below since I won't update my permalinks, I made the point that I was too dangerous for Duquesne University as my site would no longer appear on Explorer. It turns out that I am not, sniff, too dangerous for college kids. Turns out that IE blanks out when certain types of javascript are introduced to your code. I have since removed that script, but I suppose I have accidentally learned a way to block all IE users. I'm not sure if that's something that I want to do. I will work on being more dangerous in the future, however. So that even college kids must be protected from my dangerous dangerous thoughts.

Rest in peace Marshall Rogers, one of the best Batman artists ever. He was also a really nice guy in person. And as my buddy Paul asked me after I met him (and Len Wein) at a 1980 comicon "was he kind of a genius type?" I said "yep". Below: Another candidate that Bill Peduto wouldn't run against because he didn't want to go "negative". Drawn by the late Marshall Rogers.

March 26

Early Monday Morning Around the Internets

New piece from my blood cousin's wife. Looks good.

So what do you want to do with this blog? That was a question asked at another blog but you could ask it here as well. Well, the big answer, for blogs of a progressive nature, is to completely displace the corporate press and create a truly progressive press, that probably believes in all those things that Joe Klein says we believe in--except that you don't have to be some "radical" to believe in these things. You just have to be an ordinary American who finds that this system just doesn't work very well for you. You could be without healthcare or decent work or afford the training that would get you the decent work if those jobs aren't off shored anyway, but you're certainly not living like Tom Friedman or Joe Klein. That's most of us.

If I had money, say a million bucks, then I would hire reporters for about four beats. Essentially every city and county council meeting would be covered. Lots of arts stuff, even book reviews. Without a dime to my name, pretty much my current state, then you have the site that you have in front of you. Generally, I try to write about things that I'm passionate about that the corporate media outlets don't write about. Lately, that's been atheism and the vote theft issue. Wash, rinse and repeat. The Internet should be a place to get the things that you need that the corporate media isn't giving you. Yes Craigslist has the infrastructure already in place to build that network but he doesn't have the money. (If you're worried about the corrupting influence of 500 million put it in writing what limits--say, no more than 2 million a year for personal use--you think a decent man should live under. It's called contract law....)This is why some of us wish he would take those google ads or create some other revenue stream.

Speaking of the vote theft issue, these convictions probably confirm what I have long thought: that the Ohio election not only was stolen, but that a fair recount was never heard in a county where there were probably enough votes to put Kerry over. Thanks for not fighting for me John. I guess I'm not worth it. Seems to be going around.

So, for you future historians out there, here's the big story: The reason the Earth may be headed for an unstoppable Venus like global warming is that the Republican president stole not just one but two national elections. I just hope there are future historians O journalists of Dune...Here's more from those original stories:

First criminal convictions from Ohio's stolen 2004 election confirm recount was rigged
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
January 27, 2007

The first felony convictions of two Cleveland poll workers stemming from Ohio's stolen 2004 election confirm that the official recount in that contested vote was, in the words of county prosecutors, "rigged."� The question now is whether further prosecutions will reach higher up in the ranks of officials who may have been involved in illegalities�throughout the rest of the state.�

The convictions have come down in Cuyahoga County, where Democratic candidates traditionally run up huge majorities.� Suspicious vote counts and other irregularities cut deeply into John Kerry's margins in 2004.� Official vote counts gave the state---and thus the presidency---to George W. Bush by about 118,000 votes out of 5.5 million counted.��

A statewide recount, paid for by the Green and Libertarian Parties, was marred in 87 of the state's 88 counties by the types of illegalities that led to this week's convictions. Only in Coshocton County was a full, manual recount performed.�

Throughout the rest of the state, under the direction of Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, mandatory random sampling was not done, as prescribed by law.� Instead, poll workers illegally chose sample precincts for recounting where they knew there would be no problems, and then routinely recounted the rest of the ballots by machine, rendering the recount meaningless.

Go to the Free Press election page to read the other stories.

Related: Brad Friedman on the new voter rights bill. Not sure where I stand on this but they should try to pass the strongest bill they can. The republicans only have to corrupt one state in a close presidential election. It was Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. Who knows what state it will be in 2008.

Looks like the next Watchmen film could be really good. It will at least look good. Interview with Zach Snyder here. At the Youtubes: a Sin City version of Watchmen and another scene acted out entirely with a Very Fat Nite Owl. Dennis Hopper should be Rorshack. Even a Watchmen trailer...

The first episode of This Modern Life is online. This show has had very positive things to say about election reform and atheism in the past.

March 25

Porn for Atheists

March 24

Best commentary on the House vote: Wise old Max Sawicky who I think is near death.

Now would be a good time for me to score some points by attacking Nancy Pelosi from the left for an inadequate anti-war resolution, but I don't want to. Markos and David Sirota are right. This is the best we're going to get at the moment. There is simply more work to do at the grass roots, and at the task of browbeating mainstream media If David Obey is too conservaive for you, you might as well move to Sweden.

I certainly don't fault the House Progressive Caucus for trying to throw sand in the gears. That's their job. They are better situated to judge when it's time to hold or fold.

We've got wobbly liberals who want the U.S. out but, for good reasons, go queasy over what happens to those we leave behind. And there are Red State types who elected centrist Democrats who may be vulnerable to the support the troops by supporting the mission idea.

We've also got wobbly Democratic politicians running for president who are fuzzy on Iran and on the manner in which they would end the Iraq engagement. They need to be harrassed as well.

Arithmetical majorities in polls are not enough. To beat the champ, you have to knock him out. This is why I rant about flaky anti-war arguments. To get stronger mobilization, you need a better story.

My own thoughts on this: if its the fall 2008 and we're still in the war and gas prices have risen with no penalty on the horizon woe unto the dems. Yes, it would be a great opportunity for a progressive Third Party if there was one.

March 23

Two really interesting blogs that I should be permalinking soon. Muzzlewatch and the Consumerist.

I think this is the deal Peduto cut: If he gets out of the race, then he gets to become City Council President after Shields, presumably, wins the Controller's seat. Furthermore, he would get to solidify his power, gather chits among the committeemen and watch what looks to be a disastrous Ravenstahl mayoral term come to an end within a year. I don't think that was a principled deal to take and I can't prove it. That's just the way it looks. Its just a theory. I guess we'll know if Peduto becomes the next City Council Chairman. Related: Couldn't you have taken the same possible deal a week before the primary and not rewarded the Lying King for ducking out on the black community and going to Hooters? Arrrrrrghhhh...and I mean that. (It also would have been nice to see how strong the netroots have become in helping a candidate. I guess we won't know for awhile...We certainly would have fought for you Bill even if you weren't willing to fight for yourself. )My other theory is that he just plain ran out of money and that reflects better on him! I saw that happen in the Pennacchio. Somebody canceled his Hollywood meeting. Of course, I think you have to take pac money from labor and environmental groups. You should be doing their work anyway...would like to know the final state of Peduto's finances.

Note to Mullah Rob: I don't give a fuck if you don't think my blog is interesting. I began my writing career because I needed to do it. I vent therefore I am. Sometimes I've made good money doing it. Sometimes not. I only left that comment because I know how lonely it feels when people don't respond to your fiction. I'd prefer negative hostility rather than nothing. But don't worry. Jesus loves you in the end. In fact, I don't know why you don't hurry up and die and meet him faster! That would certainly end your incessant whining about your depression that Jesus with his infinite power can't cure or your diabetes (ditto), but the fantabulous afterlife that Jesus has promised that's a fucking certainty, I mean right? What a heavyweight. And he's listened to or read Feynman's lectures. Oh I'm so fucking impressed. He's so smart. It's all written in the book of life don't you know...Feh, indeed. But of course you won't be reading this anyway darn the luck...

Its another day and we need another cool Black Panther party poster! (Hint: You could do a remix here and and change that to Iraq, Iran, France, etc...)

March 22

I'm shocked by Peduto's decision. "Negative" means swiftboating or impeachment over blowjobs, not pointing out that your opponent is an incompetent inexperienced liar. This ain't beanbag. I don't blame the Post Gazette. Peduto should have stayed in until the final bell. He either took a deal or there were incriminating pictures...did he run out of money? Can't figure this one out...

Black Panther Press posters for sale. Incredible graphics...just like the GOP owned Pittsburgh Courier...

March 21

Toon from the Black Commentator. And why people think this here and here.

March 20

(Approximation of evil blogger far far too dangerous to be allowed on the Duquesne University campus bhahahaha....)

So, anyways, I was looking at Ms. Laura's site looking for more evidence that Bill Peduto is a better candidate than the Lying King and I saw this. I presume it was meant for me.

Dear Three Rivers Alternative,

Everytime that I try to reach your website via some of the computer labs at school, the system aborts.

Is there a possibility that you have either been killed by an intelligence agency or your website has been filtered by a school filter?

Please let me know.

My answer was this and I also gave her some secret on the QT advice as to why some people buy PCs. Laura is in mourning over her lost Apple laptop...

I'm still alive. But yes its probably true. I'm too dangerous for college kids. I would like to know more about your university's filtering policy though. I wonder whether its the atheism or the porn? I've always wanted to be dangerous though and, no fooling, I really do discuss a lot of dangerous ideas on the site. I guess this proves it. Just call me Shropshire. Phil Shropshire. Shaken not stirred.

I guess I could update my backup site Mirror Universe, which they probably haven't banned the batcave!


Name's Shropshire. Philip Shropshire. and later tonight:

PS: By the way, buy a decent used desktop PC that has at least 1 gig of ram and 1.5 ghz chip. You can get one of those for about 300 bucks at the Goodwill computer shop in southside. That's one of the sad secrets of us nerdy bespectacled PC buyers: sometimes you don't have an extra grand to buy a decent Apple laptop...

March 19

Early Monday Morning Around the Internets

How to surf anonymously without being caught. Related: How to not be seen. Hint: Don't stand up.
Interesting New Wired Blog about the military called Danger Room helmed by Noah Schactman of Defense Tech.
My Television Station, full of song and what they call "kitsch", looks better and works with all browsers at the Series of Tubes Website. I warned you Reginald Hudlin said with my fist clenched. You...shall pay.
Incredibly blunt analysis of AIPAC in the comments section of Calpundit--who originally supported the Iraq War and doesn't like the very democratic referendum process because its "messy" and/or democratic--where every question is discussed. I noticed it was taken off the frontpage pretty quick...
10 online ways to save the world. I'm only impressed with 1: Leave for Mars.
Mostly positive review of the 100 dollar laptop. I'd like to have one in black. The price sounds right.
So you want to be an eco terrorist huh? Well, life in the Pen isn't so glamorous Stephanie McMillan...
Interesting post from Ms. Staniland about Ralph Nader and working within vs. working outside of the Democratic Party for real change. I actually have a response to what she wrote when I have time to write it...

March 18

Your Sunday Atheism Moments

First from an incisive piece called "God's Dupes" from Sam Harris that I think hits a number of points. I guess the premise is that the relatively sensible Mullah Rob (Can't let this one go: Could you name those angry atheists? Could it be that the overwhelming number of studies--there's more than one--show no positive correlation or perhaps these unnamed angry atheists understand the placebo effect?) gives cover to Catholic Jihadists like Funky Dung. So they must all be...destroyed. Okay he didn't say that last part. He has said that people who take the Old Testament God at his angry off oft times malicious word should be taken as seriously as, say, palmists and astrologers. Sounds good to me.

Here's a snippet:

PETE STARK, a California Democrat, appears to be the first congressman in U.S. history to acknowledge that he doesn't believe in God. In a country in which 83% of the population thinks that the Bible is the literal or "inspired" word of the creator of the universe, this took political courage.

Of course, one can imagine that Cicero's handlers in the 1st century BC lost some sleep when he likened the traditional accounts of the Greco-Roman gods to the "dreams of madmen" and to the "insane mythology of Egypt."

Mythology is where all gods go to die, and it seems that Stark has secured a place in American history simply by admitting that a fresh grave should be dug for the God of Abraham — the jealous, genocidal, priggish and self-contradictory tyrant of the Bible and the Koran. Stark is the first of our leaders to display a level of intellectual honesty befitting a consul of ancient Rome. Bravo.

Oh here's the whole thing. Its that good.

The truth is, there is not a person on Earth who has a good reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead or that Muhammad spoke to the angel Gabriel in a cave. And yet billions of people claim to be certain about such things. As a result, Iron Age ideas about everything high and low — sex, cosmology, gender equality, immortal souls, the end of the world, the validity of prophecy, etc. — continue to divide our world and subvert our national discourse. Many of these ideas, by their very nature, hobble science, inflame human conflict and squander scarce resources.

Of course, no religion is monolithic. Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief. Picture concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers — the Muslim jihadis, for instance, who not only support suicidal terrorism but who are the first to turn themselves into bombs; or the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death.

Outside this sphere of maniacs, one finds millions more who share their views but lack their zeal. Beyond them, one encounters pious multitudes who respect the beliefs of their more deranged brethren but who disagree with them on small points of doctrine — of course the world is going to end in glory and Jesus will appear in the sky like a superhero, but we can't be sure it will happen in our lifetime.

Out further still, one meets religious moderates and liberals of diverse hues — people who remain supportive of the basic scheme that has balkanized our world into Christians, Muslims and Jews, but who are less willing to profess certainty about any article of faith. Is Jesus really the son of God? Will we all meet our grannies again in heaven? Moderates and liberals are none too sure.

Those on this spectrum view the people further toward the center as too rigid, dogmatic and hostile to doubt, and they generally view those outside as corrupted by sin, weak-willed or unchurched.

The problem is that wherever one stands on this continuum, one inadvertently shelters those who are more fanatical than oneself from criticism. Ordinary fundamentalist Christians, by maintaining that the Bible is the perfect word of God, inadvertently support the Dominionists — men and women who, by the millions, are quietly working to turn our country into a totalitarian theocracy reminiscent of John Calvin's Geneva. Christian moderates, by their lingering attachment to the unique divinity of Jesus, protect the faith of fundamentalists from public scorn. Christian liberals — who aren't sure what they believe but just love the experience of going to church occasionally — deny the moderates a proper collision with scientific rationality. And in this way centuries have come and gone without an honest word being spoken about God in our society.

People of all faiths — and none — regularly change their lives for the better, for good and bad reasons. And yet such transformations are regularly put forward as evidence in support of a specific religious creed. President Bush has cited his own sobriety as suggestive of the divinity of Jesus. No doubt Christians do get sober from time to time — but Hindus (polytheists) and atheists do as well. How, therefore, can any thinking person imagine that his experience of sobriety lends credence to the idea that a supreme being is watching over our world and that Jesus is his son?

There is no question that many people do good things in the name of their faith — but there are better reasons to help the poor, feed the hungry and defend the weak than the belief that an Imaginary Friend wants you to do it. Compassion is deeper than religion. As is ecstasy. It is time that we acknowledge that human beings can be profoundly ethical — and even spiritual — without pretending to know things they do not know.

Let us hope that Stark's candor inspires others in our government to admit their doubts about God. Indeed, it is time we broke this spell en masse. Every one of the world's "great" religions utterly trivializes the immensity and beauty of the cosmos. Books like the Bible and the Koran get almost every significant fact about us and our world wrong. Every scientific domain — from cosmology to psychology to economics — has superseded and surpassed the wisdom of Scripture.

Everything of value that people get from religion can be had more honestly, without presuming anything on insufficient evidence. The rest is self-deception, set to music.

He also makes the same point at the Beyond Belief conference here:

And let's not forget Multi Medium's Sunday feature Mr. Diety.

More Pittsburgh thoughts that touch upon life here. I've been to the new Sav A Lot in Wilkinsburg and the new Trader Joe's in East Liberty. I can say that the people at Trader Joe's are definitely better looking but I do most of my shopping at Sav A Lot because I'm a despicable dirty poor person who likes bargains. Plus, the Sav A Lot is about 500 yards away as opposed to the three miles that I have to hike to the Trader Joe fella. I will make that hike to get their really good pound of European chocolate. It really is a pound. About four bucks. Pittsburgh story part two: I found myself in Shadyside and fell into that snazzy new Apple boutique for all those computers that I can't afford. And as someone who used to sell computers for Dell I can tell you why Dell's fortunes have faded while Apple's have improved. Whenever you see one of those poor Dell salesman at one of their mall kiosks ask them if you can use the Internets. He'll probably tell you no. I could sort of understand that. You don't necessarily want some 10 year old exploring the World of Porn on one of your fancy Big Screens. What I would never tell you as a salesman is that I wasn't allowed to look at the Internet, either. Think about that for a moment. Think about all the ways you could use the Internet to sell a computer and how I couldn't do it. For the record, we just hacked one computer and we did have internet access, but here's the thing: We probably shouldn't have had to do that if we were working for a reasonably intelligent computer company to begin with. How does Apple do it? Every one of their machines has Internet access, of course. I spent a good half hour just surfing the net and putting the machine through its paces. So, being that the public had access to the Internets I'm going to presume that the Apple salesmen had the same rights as well. Here's a crazy thought: The value of computers is the Internet. One company gets it and the other doesn't...

March 17

Another great animation from Tom Moody. He didn't do it but he did find it.

March 16

Here's a Watchmen like question: Who is the real bad guy: people who mug old ladies or folks who kill a half million Iraqis? If you really wanted to stop crime, then who would you kill first? I think that's the premise for this comic called "Black Summer", which I heard about at Warren Ellis' great site. (Editor's note: I used to just post those comments here but it looks like it turns off Explorer. So instead here's the original link at American Samizdat.)

For the record, and for the edification of the prying eyes of either Homeland Security and/or the secret service, I do not support the murder of the current president of the United States. However, I think there are people who may have come to the conclusion that our political system is broken and that all nonviolent avenues have been exhausted. So, I guess I'm saying I wouldn't be surprised if someone took a shot at him. Then again, its only a comic book ha ha ha and ha.

March 14

From Truthdig.

March 13

From the always superior Gravity Lens: atheism logos. Related: One congressman comes out of the closet as a nontheist. Rep. Stark I salute you. 40 million more politicians to go...

I went back to that Angry Arab link and found that people still weren't that thrilled with Obama, even though there have been reports that his speech to AIPAC wasn't nearly as subservient as others. I thought this one comment kind of captured the truth.

If you parse Obama's words carefully you will see that his promises amount to very little, it is always that he will try to do something, not that he will. If he supports the Palestinians in any way, he will never get elected. If he panders to AIPAC, he might get elected. Once he is elected he can say and do what he really wants to. I suspect that someone who treats the Israelis and Palestinian equally could never get elected in the first place. I strongly suspect that, with the advantages of an incumbant, someone who treats the Israelis and Palestinian equally could get re-elected.

Related: I also think that's why he supported Leiberman, not that Hillary or Edwards didn't if I recall...still, a notch down for Obama. I have to admit one thing though: after seeing him speak at that Selma thing I believe he is a more talented politician than either Edwards or Hillary. That charisma thing matters in politics. As far as a ticket: how about Obama/Richardson? Or Obama and a woman? I don't think Hillary would accept the VP spot.

This is kind of old but it looks like all of the stories are online. I've only read the one about jetpacks. Working my way through it...

March 12

I first saw this at the Warren Ellis site. I believe in science fiction. Looking for good online stories? Aussie Greg Egan, arguably the best hard science fiction writer alive, has most of his short stories online. They're all disturbing and leave you with an itch at the back of your mind that you just can't scratch. Disturbing. Really. Try "Oceanic" here. Some people think he's a horror writer in drag. This is why. And for Mullah Rob: "Oracle". Features an alt reality with fictionalized cameos by Alan Turing and C S Lewis, where Lewis has to choose between eternal life that he controls or death and an opportunity to meet with his God. Guess which choice he makes...Also: nice Cory Doctorow story here. 0wnz0red. I'm also going to listen to the podcast of "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth". For your information, in case you don't know this, Cory Doctorow is a copyleftist. He thinks you probably shouldn't go to jail because you've downloaded an MP3 or uploaded a copyrighted video. Lots of people say that but they don't put most of their work online for free. (And yes: my two science fiction efforts are online here and here.)

Related: Tom Moody's take on the most important science fiction novels of the last 50 years. His list here. I've always kind of wished Woody Allen would adapt "The Space Merchants". Or any science fiction for that matter...I've read all of those writers but I tend to focus on short fiction and not novels. So, I'm not well read enough here. "Watchmen" is an inspired choice.

A.A. Attanasio - The Last Legends of Earth, Radix
Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons - Watchmen
Brian Aldiss - Non-Stop, Hothouse
Philip K. Dick - Ubik, Martian Time Slip
J.G. Ballard - The Crystal World, High Rise
Pohl & Kornbluth - The Space Merchants, Wolfbane
Bruce Sterling - Schismatrix Plus, Heavy Weather
The Strugatskys - Roadside Picnic
Stanislaw Lem - Solaris
Greg Egan - Quarantine
Greg Bear - Blood Music
Octavia Butler - Earthseed novels
Michael Swanwick - The Iron Dragon's Daughter
Doris Piserchia - Doomtime
John Brunner - The Shockwave Rider

March 11

One of the things that always angered me about some of these right wing pundits--mostly the now thankfully retired from punditry USS Clueless guy--is that we're just not smart enough to move beyond fossil fuels. We need to know our limitations. Oh sure, you can now carry more memory on your keychain that used to fill up your desktop hard drives but that fossil fuel thing...better to kill a half million Iraqis than even Think about moving away from the old energy infrastructures. And yes I'm an operative for Big Oil. (Or at least I always thought he was. His handler was probably Glenn Reynolds. Note to self: hack into Glenn's puter and get the NOC list...)

So, this is the blurb from Fast Company:

The electric-car quandry is almost over. Until now, you could get either a low-speed "neighborhood" vehicle that couldn't break the 40 mph barrier, or an electric supercar like the Tesla Roadster that sells for $90,000. But Ontario, California--based Phoenix Motorcars is about to unveil a $45,000 truck and an SUV that will go from zero to 60 in 10 seconds, travel 200 to 250 miles, and keep up with highway traffic. At the heart of the Phoenix is a new variant of the lithium-ion battery, made by Altair Nanotechnologies. It replaces the carbon anodes of old with nanosized lithium-titanate particles, which don't overheat and allow the car to recharge in about 15 minutes using a special charger, or in six to seven hours using a wall socket. The first two production runs--500 this year, 6,000 in 2008--will be sold to fleet owners to work out the final kinks before the Phoenix is offered up to the general public. "What we're saying," says Phoenix CEO Dan Elliott, "is you can have your cake and eat it too."

I might note that Mr. Clueless wrote his precious theories before we realized that Wind is a winner. Who knows what we could have done to move away from fossil fuels had there simply been the political will and intelligence to do it. I also hope the makers at Phoenix and Tesla have watched "Tucker: A Man and his Dream" very very carefully. Hold that tiger...

A related miracle tech that Mr. Clueless says can never happen from MIT's Technology Review. There are claims that it can't be done but the batteries either work in cars or they don't...

March 10

Mac Booker is definitely the most interesting writer at Metroblogging, although Laura is still the cutest. (Of course, if you're still creating content for free I can't call either one of you the "smartest"...) He actually seems to know things. He also did a nice review of the PG blogs. I do have to disagree with Macbooker's assessment of "My Homewood" that a Family Dollar being built isn't much news. If you live in a poor community, hey, that's news. Take it from me I live in Wilkinsburg. When I first moved here I pretty much had to walk a mile and a half to buy fresh milk and eggs. Now that there's at least a drive in Giant Eagle on Penn Avenue near the McDonalds and the Save a Lot has opened its a pretty big deal. You can actually walk to a store and buy fresh food. If you live in Homewood, well, you can pretty much walk to Wilkinsburg and/or East Liberty. That's a big thing if you're poor and don't have a car. I'm also guessing that the Mac Booker hasn't had too many bullets flying through his window. I'm not saying that its war reporting but on that guy's salary he could live in a lot nicer places than Homewood. Would be nice if he updated it more. Does he have stronger opinions and can he express them on his blog? See next post for answer...

Here's my own review of those PG blogs here: They can't fuckin' swear. Actually, they might be able to but the thing is can they do it without looking over their backs and being tossed out the door the next day? Can any of those music blogs play a Youtube vid without clearing it with legal? Out here in the mostly independent burgosphere Richard Scaife can blow me. Don't really care if he doesn't like my work. The same for whoever edits the PG, especially if its that adorable Samantha Bennett. I can say all kinds of things out here and often do and don't really have to worry about being fired for saying them. While my annual income hovered around $5000 last year--I can live on twigs and cable, which isn't that hard when you don't have any pesky "family" bothering you with their "demands" regarding food drink habitation and whatnot-- I have much more power and much more say so over my content than any PG writer. I won't even go into the right wing theocratic sweatshop that is the Tribune Review.

Welp, all done. I'll be back fuckin' tomorrow too barring death. I'll stop writing when you pry my ergonomic keyboard from my cold dead hands. Oh, what's that, the bosses in Toledo don't like my strident style...well they can blow me too. What would you rather have: power or money? (Trick question: I'm actually striving for both...) One more thing: I was kind of hoping that maybe contract negotiations would have stalled and the writers of the PG took a shot at creating and owning their own paper, because if it worked a newspaper owned by its creators would be a great force of good in this world.

Nice Peduto ad here. It strikes up the adult vs. kid theme quite nicely. Note to anyone canvassing for the Peduto campaign: It would probably be cheaper to burn these on a cd and hand deliver them door to door than pay to put this on the teevee. It is, afterall, the future. Update: nevermind.

March 7

Funny toon by Stephanie:

The Angry Arab says Hillary will trot out this pic of Obama speaking with Edward Said, who's a bad person because he thinks Palestinians are people. Bu there wouldn't necessarily be an overt rebuke. The poison would look more like this.

By the way, Said said things like this (from Wikipedia, although with a second's worth of googling you could probably find several Democracy Now Interviews):

In August 2003, in an article published online in Counterpunch, Said summarizes his position on the contemporary rights of Palestinians vis-à-vis the historical experience of the Jewish people:

I have spent a great deal of my life during the past 35 years advocating the rights of the Palestinian people to national self-determination, but I have always tried to do that with full attention paid to the reality of the Jewish people and what they suffered by way of persecution and genocide. The paramount thing is that the struggle for equality in Palestine/Israel should be directed toward a humane goal, that is, co-existence, and not further suppression and denial.[41]

Pris has a great videoblog, even though I can't really afford all that fancy organic food.

March 6th

My fave fantasy serious film experience got a modest box office over the weekend. Note to self: move this poster to the Red Light District where it belongs. Related: Multi Medium guy is spreading a false and malicious rumor that this proposed new Burger King movie (probably being produced by the same people who want to turn the Geico cavemen ads into a sitcom...oh, that will do well...)will be using a V for Vendetta style advertising campaign. Or as the ad campaign will say: The Burger King Shouldn't Be Afraid of His People, The People Should be Afraid of the Burger King.

Speaking of thinly disguised pornography, I see that the county--aided, probably, by Dan "The Boss" Onorato and the Rendell machine, so sez Thomas at Mark Rauterkaus--committeemen endorsed Luke Ravenstahl, in case you're wondering how a mediocre man like Bush became the President (its because dumb guys are less threatening to the status quo...) over the grown up Bill Peduto for the mayor. Laura of Ideas Bucket offers her depressing take. And she even has a video, with some old skool alice cooper as the soundtrack. Maria is not full of sunshine, either.

I still think Peduto has a great shot at winning. My take from the last election is that Lamb and Peduto split the anti establishment vote (I'm terrified that Obama and Edwards will do the same thing at the national level and hand the thing to Hillary...) and handed it to O Conner. Right now, it's just Peduto versus the popular kid. I wish Peduto well. I just hope that he's well funded for these final 10 weeks. And Mark you're wrong: May 15th really is it, unless the Arnold comes into Pittsburgh with a 10 million dollar independent run.

March 5

Well well well, looks like MTV is losing money. Turns out lame reality shows not as interesting as breaking a band like the Sugarcubes or U2. Really. I never would have guessed that. That means that BET on J probably isn't doing that well either. Roll over Beethoven and somebody tell Reginald Hudlin the news.

The velocity of change has left MTV occasionally looking as if were being programmed by an 83-year-old namely Sumner M. Redstone, the chairman of Viacom, which owns MTV. The network, itself a stately 25 years old, has suffered a decline in ratings and cultural cachet.

Last week, MTV Networks, an umbrella which includes MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, laid off 250 employees, including some executives. The idea was to trim bodies in the television ranks and ramp up hiring on the Internet side of the business, investing the savings to make sure that its various channels don"t end up like the dad in the basement at the teen party.

As a brand, MTV has been beyond durable, managing to reinvent itself continuously and in doing so presenting a fast-moving target that left many would-be rivals in its wake. Shows like MTV's Real World deserve much of the credit, or blame, for demonstrating that reality can make for compelling viewing.

March 2

Even though I criticize the dems I still think they're the only game in town. I'll say this again: You give me 35 million then I'll give you a viable third party movement, or I'll show you a way to throw a lot of races to the Republicans. It's the winner take all system and people who win with the winner take all system aren't in a hurry to change the winner take all system. I was having a little fun with one of my Amsam comrades. Here's the original toon. I'm sure he'll take it well or he'll tell me to stick it where the sun don't shine. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm adding several local Pittsburgh blogs. One is the The People's Republic of Pittsburgh and the other is Metroblogging Pittsburgh, whose premise of making some other guy rich who won't share any of his revenue with you seems like a bad idea. You could just as easily start something called Three Rivers Online Metroblogging and you could share in the google ad revenues, instead of giving it to some "guy". But some of the writing is pretty good.

March 1

I'm getting more breaking news from my informative piece about ACORN called "My Brilliant Career at ACORN" over at Indy Media.

Here's the latest from people who have gone through the ACORN experience:

acorn blows
by nonya Friday, Jan. 26, 2007 at 8:37 PM
Yeah, I just washed out of training with ACORN. There were three of us, two with masters degrees, and two fluent spanish speakers. All three of us were gone within three days.

We read an article by Cesar Chavez about his work organizing. Two things that stood out to me were 1) the UFW offered tangible rewards for dues paying members, such as subsidized gasoline, auto repair, credit union, cheap groceries, and other benefits. 2) The issues were decided primarily by the workers themselves.

At ACORN, there are no benefits. They take your money, and they make you protests, and the only benefit is that a law might be passed after years of struggle. No one joins a union, and pays $120 dues, just to win political victories. They do it for very specific, personal benefits, like keeping their electricity on, getting discounts.

But the issues that they are fighting for may or may not be in everyone's self interest. For example, the head leadership decided to have paid sick days as the primary goal. But really, each individual has their own personal reasons for joining a group, like getting the crack heads out of their ally, having their street snow plowed, or stopping people from doing doughnuts on the street. I am not sure that the ACORN organizers are really listening to their constituents. Rather, it seems like they are trying to get money and warm bodies to support their pre-determined leftist causes, (like stopping Wal-Mart, for example).

Because the ACORN workers, especially the managers, are paid so little, you end up with this children's army of workers. At the typical ACORN office, everyone is stressed, no one is smiling, the office is in disarray. Their database is out of date, so you call the same deceased person five times without anyone taking him off the list. They don't give a damn about their workers; I never got fifteen minute breaks, nor did I get lunch breaks. You work 55 hour weeks, no overtime.

Truly, the only people who work work for ACORN are too inexperienced, too unprofessional, or too sketchy, or too radical to get a job anywhere else. Instead of expanding their organization, they should shrink it, pay their workers more, offer their members tangible benefits, and otherwise get their act together.

Yep. Sounds about right. Keep fighting the Power Maryellen if she's even still there...