Dark Days Ahead...

"His favorite pursuits are sedentary. He shrinks from bodily exertion; and, though voluble in dispute, and singularly pertinacious in the war of chicane, he seldom engages in a personal conflict, and scarcely ever enlists as a soldier."

May 05, 2006

we are all sad for flea


when i woke up this morning
i was was confronted with the news that our record has been leaked to
the internet
it does not come out til may 9 but now it has leaked
and not that i know alot about this kind of thing
but i guess now it is possible to down load it for free if you want
well
that's not very nice
if you down load it now off one of these file sharing sites
you will be getting a pale imitation of the record
it will be of the poor sound quality of the technique they used to
get it on there
and that will break my heart
it will break john frusciante's heart
it will break anthony kiedis's heart
and it will break the heart of chad smith
yes, we worked for a year and a half to make the epic record of our
lives
and it is sad to me for the business reasons of course
i think we are selling something really cool and we put all we had
into it, 28 songs, 2 hours of the best that we can offer
and i think it is a fair deal for everyone
and for people to just steal a poor sound quality version of it for free
because some asshole stole it and put it on the internet
is sad to me
but, equitable business reasons aside
the thing that really bums me out is
we worked so hard, and so thoughtfully, all of us, for so long
to make this record sound as warm and full from top to bottom
as was possible
we spent day and night for a year making sure every little sound was
just right
that they were all put together in the most beautiful way we could
we did not leave a stone unturned in doing that work
i can not put in words how much this record, stadium arcadium, means
to us
how sacred the sound of it is to us
and how many sleepless nights and hardworking days we all had
thinking about how to make it be the best sounding thing we could
and now, for someone to take it and put it out there with this poor
sound quality
it is a painful pill for us to swallow
let me tell you
this bums all of us out
and i know that, as sensitive as john frusciante is about sound
the idea of anyone getting and hearing this thing that way
will devastate him
for people to not hear the work the way we meant it to be
will really hurt him deep inside
and all of us will hurt

yes, it is stealing from us, and that is lame
everyone has to live with their own conscience on that one
let it be your guide
but to take a version that has been defiled sound wise
a version in which some idiot has taken our year and a half of soul
baring work and pissed all over it
that will break our hearts

sincerely,

flea

This is a good argument against file sharing.

May 04, 2006

Should We Start Using The Word "Fascism" Now?


President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research...


Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.

Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.

In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.
[Boston Globe via the portside list]

Look, I'm not saying that this is a fascist administration, let alone government. We still have all the trappings of liberal democracy (even if it's only for certain strata of people based on criminality, immigration status, etc.). What I am saying is that this is really scary, that if Bush were a little more like Nixon we would all be in a world of trouble right now instead of just people in Iraq, people in Guantanamo Bay, people along the Gulf Coast, the poor in the U.S. and around the world, immigrants, etc. Once you lay the precedents, all you need are the right (or, rather, wrong) people to come into power and destroy everything.

May 03, 2006

Back To The Stress Factory


Okay, I never really left The Stress Factory--but it was geographically in a different place, at least.

In any case, here are the things I've learned, which I will share with you for your and my amusement alike:

1) The Motherf@cking Transportation Association of New York will pick the absolute worst time to have a train break down on you in the worst possible way and at the worst possible location. Think late for flight, broken brakes, line to get out of the train, massive line to get out of the station, shift change for taxis and therefore none available to take me to the airport. By the way, if you think they have a rapid response disaster plan, you're very wrong. Unless you were also thinking it consists of putting several hundred people in a subway station with completely clogged stairwells and platform and so little room to move that you actually look behind you to make sure a train isn't coming to hit you from the other direction.

2) The plane fare from Newark to Chicago (one way) was $2 more than the cab ride from Lower Manhattan to Newark. There's something really wrong with that.

3) Mexican people in Chicago really like speaking in Spanish. Except for one woman, who spoke to me in English. On the other hand, I like speaking in English and my Spanish is about as bad as their English. I think this is all my fault, but I'm too lame to take responsibility. In any case, I really like my exposure to Mexican culture (this dates back several years to when I actually went to Mexico).

4) Putting 700,000 people in a big park is a good way to make them look like less.

5) You should check what time your flight is leaving before you leave the house. I was off by 40 minutes and luckily did not miss the plane.

6) You can't sneak a laptop past the TSA, even when you're in a hurry. Trust me.

7) It costs $14 to get from Newark Airport to New York Penn Station. It costs about $4 or $5 more to get from Philadelphia to New York Penn Station by the same method. There's also something wrong with that.

Finally, 8) the Sears Tower looks really cool half shrouded in fog. I'll share a photo with you upon request and if I actually know you (or at least e-know you).

Happy May Day!

April 29, 2006

Ironic Quote of The Day


It’s intimidation when a million people march down main streets in our major cities under the Mexican flag,” said Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman volunteer border patrol group.

and now I'm really off! See you after May 1st!

April 28, 2006

Off to Chicago It Is!


Verdict is in. See you suckas on Tuesday if I don't post before then!

Your Mom Is More Tech Savvy Than the FBI


From the April 6th article, "February Bureau of Luddites," in Slate.

Two weeks ago, the FBI's chief information officer admitted that the bureau couldn't afford to provide e-mail addresses for 8,000 of its 30,000 employees. The e-mail shortfall is only the latest in a series of embarrassed confessions the FBI has made about its information technology. The most significant mea culpa came when an attempt to upgrade the bureau's case-management software had to be scrapped last year after $170 million had already been spent. A Justice Department report listed all kinds of excuses, from poor "enterprise architecture" planning to shifting design requirements. But behind the management analysis is a more implacable problem. Until very recently, being computer-savvy hasn't been considered much of an asset in the FBI, and clues were something you kept to yourself.

Somehow this is not surprising, mildly amusing, a source of concern, and, at this point, a source of relief as well.

You Should Go Read This


To be real, most blogs are not very good. This one is. Just look at this exquisite writing:

...I read a lot of Saki, of Jane Austen, of literature that reflected a world that was quieter, and more witty, and more delicate. I spent hours listening to Chopin, lying on my stomach in the hayloft with the pale stripes of light filtered through the lace of leaves fluttering as the wind changed. I stopped talking because no one understood a word I said. And so I rejected everything I knew because it was dirty and ugly. There were places, I was convinced, where people had all their teeth and pigs escaping didn't make front page news in the paper. I wanted to go there and live with people who liked what I liked and thought what I thought. Places where people didn't shackle their minds to what God wanted and what everyone would say to their grandmama when they found out.

So I left and went to live among the Real People. And those Real People didn't understand a word I said, because they were from towns with sidewalks and their parents sent them to Europe for summer and the idea of having drank well water for eighteen years was outside of anything in their experience but Faulkner. I marvelled at people who could go to Europe as if it were the state fair. And I found that those Real People irritated me with their assumptions about the people I'd been raised with as much as the people I'd been raised with annoyed me. These were people who had never had to sit in a dim room with their dying grandmother and hear the argument in the next room about who would inherit her trailer. These were people who thought they understood hardship and they thought hardship was not having enough money to rent movies. The Real People were soft with indulgence and fancied themselves strong.


Read the whole thing.

April 27, 2006

Stupid Airline Tricks


You know what's really fun? Clogging up Priceline with ridiculously low fare offers just to see exactly what the lowest fare you could have gotten would be. I mean, I suppose it's hypothetically possible that I could get a $5 flight to Los Angeles (btw, taxes and fees $45?!?!?). But it's more fun to do for the purpose of finding out what I'm be getting myself into, rather than relying on Priceline's Wizard of Oz routine :)

So the reason I look for airline tickets, aside from various other factors, is that May 1st (i.e. May Day, for some people) is supposed to be this big thing for immigrants rights...and hence my job--which is to write about such things. Well, people out West are saying it's going to be a big thing. People out East (i.e. New York) are saying rather lame things about employees and employers working together for joyous holding of hands across Queens. Meanwhile, people in Chicago are apparently largely unconsulted by the press, though they had the first major demonstration and were the ones who came up with the whole "use radio DJs" schtick (a year before these demos, actually).

I don't want to go to LA where I know there's going to be something that goes down (even if it's not 2 million people, though it really could be). I don't want to cover this lameass New York stuff and I know nothing better is gonna happen in DC. And Chicago, seems like it will be interesting as an organizer at that link tells Amy Goodman (aka The Best Firehouse Employee Ever) that the recent public-relations driven arrests of about a thousand undocumented workers by the government have mobilized people further.

So what say ye? Shall I book tickets to Chicago in the hopes that a 500,000 person demonstration that's actually interesting materializes, spending $184 I don't have? Or shall I rely on laziness and make phone calls from here? Or shall I try to play it both ways and belatedly rent a car or get a Greyhound or book an overly expensive last minute flight (yes, even more than last minute flight than this one).

I really can't handle any more demonstrations, to tell you the truth. But is this part of my job? So many questions...

Sometimes I wish I had a boss. Not often. Just sometimes. At least I'd have someone to be pissed off at then, while doing whatever it is I should have been anyway :)

Update So it seems that the a flyer for the May 1st thing in Chicago is being hosted at ICIRR, which is a board member of CCIR, the more moderate, DC-driven wing of this movement. So now I think Chicago might be both rather large and simultaneously a mixed bag. That actually makes is more interesting.

Operation Falcon II: The Empire Strikes Back (Again)


So, over a week or so last week, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies engaged in a dragnet to arrest over 9,000 people. Here's an excerpt from the article I read about it:

"Ten years to the day after allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl, a California man was arrested in a roundup of fugitives that law enforcement officials say snared more than 1,100 sex offenders.

The concentrated search for people wanted for federal, state and local crimes "targeted the worst of the worst," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Thursday at a news conference announcing the results of "Operation Falcon II."

Authorities arrested 9,037 people April 17 to last Sunday in a 27-state dragnet led by the U.S. Marshals Service and timed to coincide with National Victims Rights Week. Among those apprehended were 1,102 people wanted for violent sex crimes or failure to register as sex offenders."


and now here's the U.S. Marshall's website:

Operation FALCON II - Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally - This massive fugitive dragnet took place the week of April 17-23, 2006 and covered the western half of the United States. As a prelude to National Crime Victim's Rights Week, this cooperative effort removed some of the country's most dangerous wanted criminals from the streets.

Deputy US marshals teamed up with their state, local, and federal colleagues in the largest fugitive sweep to ever primarily focus on violent sex offenders. FALCON II resulted in the arrest of 9,037 fugitives and the clearance of 10,419 warrants. Of those fugitives arrested, 462 were wanted for violent sex crimes, 311 for other sex crimes, and an additional 783 failed to register as Sex Offenders.


For the record, the "more than 1,100 sex offenders" made up 10.6% of the cleared warrants (I don't know what "cleared warrants" means, but I assume that's what the 1,100 figure comes out of). I wonder who the other 89.4% were and why they aren't profiled extensively in the article or the press release or the Marshall's department website.

Well, for Operation Falcon I--also done as a press spectacular during Crime Victim's Week, last year, about 40% were drug-related and about another 20% were for burglaries.

So my question is this--did the AP writer just cut and paste the FBI press release or what?

Coming Close To Rock Bottom :)


I just put up a Craig's List ad to teach people intro Bangla :)

Freelance journalism, why hast thou forsaken me! (or my wallet, anyway :)

April 25, 2006

This Is The Last Straw


Yahoo! sucks anyway, and now it's collaborating with the Chinese government to get people arrested (link courtesy Chapati Flapati).

Google may not be perfect, but they both try a little bit and don't collaborate this blatantly (at least as far as I know). And of course they're better :)

Anyway, I would shut down my Yahoo! e-mail account completely, but that would mean some kind of sacrifice.

Jane Jacobs Passes


wiki bio and her foreword to her most famous book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities....

(news courtesy DOBS)