.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

It's coming!

Thursday, July 29, 2004

I don't have a cell phone, but I want one. I don't have an iPod, but I want one. I have a factory stereo in my car, but I'd love something better.

I'm holding out for one unit to do it all, and here are two articles I read today that suggest that we're getting closer.

Apple, Motorola to bring iTunes to cell phones

Alpine offers details on forthcoming iPod interface

My mouth is watering.

Unity or Cowardice?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Josh Marshall made a post to his blog last night that is very tempting to believe. He talks about the tone of the Democratic National Convention as being starkly different from the tone of the campaign amongst the candidates for the nomination. Much has been said in the media about how the rhetoric of the DNC has been surprisingly light in terms of attacks on the Bush Administration, and Josh offers his explanation in two points:

First:
On the surface, the fiery rhetoric and animus of 2003 and early 2004 were directed at President Bush. And to some degree of course they were. But the punch of that rhetoric derived not so much from Democrats' antipathy for President Bush as from a pitched battle, almost a rebellion, within the Democratic party -- the grassroots of the Democratic party insisting that Washington Democrats were compromising with the president over particulars when he was leading the country in a direction that had to be opposed across the board. Fiery rhetoric against President Bush was fiery rhetoric against compromise and accommodation with him. In other words, it was to a very real degree aimed at other Democrats.


Second:
Anger is often, and rage is almost always, an emotion rooted in powerlessness. That was certainly the position of Democrats in early 2003 (on so many levels), though less so as the year went on. These Democrats don't feel powerless. The mood is one of cautious optimism that they can drive the president from office, that the wind is at their backs.

So, Josh thinks the change in tone is a sign of unity and optimism. That certainly is a glass-half-full way to interpret it. Yet, while I'd rather be optimistic, the polls showing Bush and Kerry in a dead heat, despite the glaring fact that the Bush Administration has dragged this country through the gutter, erode my ability to believe that the Democratic Party has what it takes to beat the Republicans. What Josh sees as a new found confidence, I see as fearful, tip-toe dancing around the swing voters.

The point that anger is "almost always" rooted in powerlessness, while likely true, rules out the potent combination of anger and confidence, righteous indignation, that occasionally surfaces during struggles for freedom and justice. As a model, I look to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK spoke the plain truth and there was no way to hide the legitimate anger he felt about racism. He had utter confidence that he was right and deep faith that he would succeed.

I find it deeply ironic that the most successful movies in America are blockbuster action films with heroes who act out of righteous indignation. It is a classic American icon, yet somewhere along the line the Democratic Party decided that this formula doesn't work. Yes, the media jumped all over Howard Dean for his post-Iowa pep rally. The key, however, was how the Dean campaign, and the Democrats in general, reacted. Rather than defend the emotion that Dean was showing, which I contend was much more that of enthusiasm than anger, they apologized and toned it down.

This is classic pacification, and the worst part is that it is self-inflicted.

Screw the primary system: the Democrats are lost

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The New York Times > Week in Review > What Boston Can Do for Kerry: "Yet for all that, the American convention remains a singular moment in the nominating process - a relic of a bygone time, perhaps, but a relic that nonetheless keeps driving the story line of a presidential election. And that is no small matter for John Kerry, the likely Democratic nominee.

Mr. Kerry will head to Boston - where the convention begins next Monday - remembering and trying to duplicate Mr. Clinton's success. Americans do not seem overly enthused about him. If polls showing him tied with Mr. Bush are to be believed, Mr. Kerry has so far been unable to take advantage of abundant evidence that Americans are looking for a change in the White House.

Mr. Kerry's advisers say that it is not that voters don't like him; it is that they still do not know him, even after $80 million worth of television advertisements, close to 50 candidate debates and almost two years of campaigning. Yet Mr. Kerry's aides see these polls, and are clearly hungering for these four days in Boston to break this deadlock, preparing with a level of intensity and detail that serves as the ultimate validation of the power of conventions."

This year, the Democratic National Convention is taking place merely for Big Dems to glad hand one another and for some Little Dem wannabes to wait for the party to collapse.

What is emphasized above I stated was Kerry's electability problem back in February/March (not here but elsewhere as t-floss hadn't been around then). Back then I was even leaning to voting for Bush if the Democratic National Party allowed the early primaries to elect a candidate who may have been winning the party faithful but had no chance of winning over the Democratic population at large. Sooner or later (with Kerry it may very well be later), the Dems need to wake up and realize they are flailing about in an identity crisis. That they have allowed themselves to become Republicans in dress and Democrats in name only is shameful. The Democratic Party needs an overhaul. Badly. Gore losing to Bush was plenty evidence. How many more Senators must they run out there to be slaughtered?

As many others opine, Americans do recognize that Bush has his failings, but many of those same Americans look at Kerry and wonder. And think, ummm, that's a haggard Al Gore with a big coif. The insincerity meter runs high around Kerry in comparison to Bush. And that meter often sways elections (no, really, it does!). Bush may be a word-fumbling dolt on stage but he's a sincere word-fumbling dolt on and off stage. Voters who have doubts will go for the sincere incumbent every time no matter how much he bungled things.

Kerry? Unlike rabble-rouser Howard Dean and his yyyyyyyyahp!ing, which in the long run would have been a positive, Kerry has said and done nothing to convince those "looking for a change" to look his way.

It has been 52 years since a convention really chose the candidate - when Democrats in Chicago nominated Adlai Stevenson. Over the next 40 years, conventions became the stage for presenting a running mate, as a way of keeping some interest in the event. Even that little gift of news has slipped away over the years; Mr. Kerry selected Mr. Edwards three weeks before the convention.
Granted, the conventions are more about rallying and grooming but never (?) before were the early primary returns allowed to run roughshod over the entire primary process. The West Coast complains about early returns on the East Coast affecting elections, well, what about primaries?!

Thankfully, Edwards was named to the ticket. If it wasn't for him, I'd be voting same as I did in 1976, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Don't expect the DNC to change that matter. That is unless the Big Dems wisely allow John Edward to run the show from here on out. He is capable of reaching those seeking change. He is positive and upbeat. Kerry is a reminder of the past. A reminder of the shell the Democratic Party has become. Edwards is the future. Stumping will return. Speechmaking will return. But the candidate must be earnest. He must not be afraid to make mistakes. Kerry? Copies GW's advertising and doesn't differentiate himself in the least. He wouldn't want to do something the focus groups don't approve. He's a deer in the headlights. Rather, a deer in the bed of the Grand Ol Party's hemi.

This is jek and I approved this blog.

P.S. Edwards/Kerry

Short links

Monday, July 19, 2004

Well, I done didn't do nuttin'. The fort was robbed and the muffins are gone. It's all about HoJo, the man with the vision.

Here's a little sumthin'-sumthin' to try and makeup for the absence:

You know how amazon loves long links? And how those long links break apart in e-mails? Well, there's a handy tool to crunch those link-a-dink-a-overhill&dale-a-roozies down to something more reasonable. The service, TinyURL, can be placed in your (browser's) Links toolbar. It's a snap!

Out of Office Auto-Reply

Friday, July 09, 2004

This will likely be my last post until Monday, July 19th, as I will be on a road trip with my family around the Selkirk Mountains, and I don't have a laptop. Oh, the shame!

In the meantime, I leave you with these few items:

1. Update on Michael Moore's blog. The pattern appears to continue as he's only made two posts since his July 4th launch. I'm watching you, Mr. Moore.

2. Saturn's rings.

Scientist believe Saturn's rings formed a few hundred million years ago when debris from colliding comets and moons was drawn into orbit around the planet by its gravitational influence.

I read this to a co-worker and she said it's pretty funny to her how scientists think they can really determine that a few hundred million years ago, given the vastness of space, that comets, which on earth we only get to see every 50 years or so, actually collided with moons and the debris resulted in the rings. Science or science fiction?

3. Sticks and stones will break my bones... I took real pleasure in reading about the sound ass-whoopin' the Bush administration received at a recent benefit concert that raised $7.5 million.

After celebrities raised $7.5 million with a concert for Democratic candidates John Kerry and John Edwards , an angry Bush campaign challenged their opponents on Friday to release a videotape showing performers calling the president a "liar" and a "cheap thug" during the show.

Actor Chevy Chase drew laughs and cheers from the Radio City Music Hall audience when he described politicians and their hobbies: "Clinton plays the sax, John plays the guitar, and the president's a liar." John Mellencamp sang "Let me tell you a story about the Texas Bandito," a tune that referred to Bush as a "cheap thug."

"If John Kerry is going to praise last night's star-studded hate fest and characterize it as the 'heart and soul' of America, he should share these values with voters everywhere," Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman said Friday in a statement. "We call on Kerry to release the video of this event so that all Americans can see what John Kerry has called America's 'heart and soul.'"

The Bushies hate bullies. Now that's funny!

Apples and Oranges

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Josh Marshall's got a post up today about news from Afghanistan concerning a mercenary of sorts who "...was arrested with others for conducting a 'self-appointed counterterrorism mission that included abusing eight inmates in a private jail by hanging them by their feet.'"

Josh goes on to question what someone is doing operating a private jail, especially since it is very unclear who, if anyone, hired him.

His last paragraph reads:

It just seems like someone must have been paying this guy to do something, unless it's like a blog where you just set up shop and figure that someday a revenue stream might turn up.


Sure, I see the intended humor, but I find myself very uncomfortable with the comparison.

All in all, a disturbing story if you choose to follow the link to the ABCNEWS.com page it appears on. Makes me think of all those movie moments when a CIA agent or Special Forces soldier is given an assignment, and when he is told that the mission is top secret, he responds, "What mission, sir?"

Music that matters

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Wilco has another great album out (A Ghost is Born), there's a lead story on Wilco and Jeff Tweedy in Rolling Stone, and still so few people, it seems, appreciate what Wilco has accomplished.

From their inception and through the masterpiece Summerteeth , Wilco were master chefs, taking ingredients from their myriad influences and whipping them up into the yummiest of delicacies. Homage is a word that often comes to mind when listening to Wilco, since the musical references are so overt that it is impossible to label them as rip-offs.

Yet, what is most remarkable about the band is what they have done in their last two albums - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and now A Ghost is Born. What we've seen, or perhaps more appropriately heard, has been the metamorphosis from a band of masterful interpreters of classic pop/rock/country music, to the creators of their very own, unique sound. Yes, the influences are still there, but they are now relegated to background filler or the occasional, brief keyboard or guitar lick.

It will be very exciting to watch where they will go from here.

What's in a name?

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I don't know whether to be amused or disturbed by this article in Tuesday's (7/6/04) Washington Post. On the surface it seems like a simple look at how silly things get in the world of domain names. Six years ago, an Indianapolis bail bondsman, Kerry Edwards, created his own web domain - www.kerryedwards.com. According to the article, the day it was announced that Sen. John Edwards would be Kerry's running mate, Indianapolis Edwards was called by the Kerry campaign to discuss purchase of the domain name. Apparently, the asking price was too high.

So, it seems like a fairly harmless, humorous human interest story. Right?

Reading on we learn about other cybersquatters who have purchased domain names, hoping to cash in:
Other obvious choices for a campaign Web site – KerryEdwards04.com, KerryEdwards2004.com, KerryEdwards-2004.com and KerryEdwards2004.net – have already been registered, according to publicly available Internet records.
Yet, the disturbing part comes in this disclosure by one of these hopeful opportunists, Kevin Draftz of Chicago:
Draftz said his first choice of buyers is the Kerry campaign, but would not rule out selling them to the competition.
And we, or at least I, wonder what is wrong with democracy in America.

It's for sale.

Stellastarr*

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

I've mentioned Stellastarr* before -- well, not here and maybe not on the web, wait... -- but they just ripped out a great song on Kilborn. Stellastar* is a little bit Bowie, a little bit The Cure, a little bit Joy Division, a little bit Talking Heads and a whole lotta 21st century brass ones. Plus, they've a blonde on bass. As in ace. Or ass. Depending upon where you're staring. Anyway, blonde on bass. Win-win, baby!

My Coco - WMP
My Coco - Real

What took so long?

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Michael Moore celebrated Independence Day by launching a blog. It's amazing that it took him so long since blogging seems like a natural fit for him.

July 4th, 2004 10:15 pm
My First Blog Entry

Hey, my first blog entry! Welcome fellow bloggers and blog readers! Blog doggers and blog loggers. Blogging away for the common good or just to keep from watching whatever crap is on TV right now. What is on TV right now? No new 6 Feet Under tonight. The Practice has been bounced. Can't Jon Stewart do a Sunday show?


It will be interesting to see if he can keep it up. He's tried an online diary before, and subscribers to his email list can confirm that he regularly promises to write more often, but does not. The nerve! It's almost as if he thinks that writing best selling books and Academy and Cannes award winning movies is more important than communicating with his fans.

MultiMediaTasking

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Seventy Percent of Media Consumers Use Multiple Forms of Media at the Same Time, according to a study for The Media Center at API
Key study findings include:
* People who regularly or occasionally watch TV and read the newspaper at the same time: 74.2%
* People who regularly or occasionally watch TV while going online: 66.2%.
* For simultaneous online users, TV viewing is down 8.8% among 18 to 24 year-olds and down 12.2% among 25 to 34 year-olds in favor of video games
* What people do as they wait for downloads from the Internet: listen to the radio (52.1%); watch TV (61.8%), read the newspaper (20.2%)
* Importance of word of mouth when it comes to making purchase decisions: 72.5% of all consumers say it's very important versus 80% among cell phone users.
One way to read this news is to understand that the quality of each medium does not warrant focused attention. Or Americans, ADHD, all of 'em. BTW, this is old news from March 24.

Wasting hours: browsers, spam/virii, and media players

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Hey, if you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, don't be a dope, update it. And install Spybot Search & Destroy, Spysweeper, AND HiJackThis. Then run each of them.

If you want to try out other browsers, which I suggest, then I suggest Firefox or Opera. Both have their plusses and minuses but both work well once you get used to them. Currently, I am trying to get used to Firefox and how it ain't so Google friendly (takes an extra click to access some of my favorite features like Blog This!, News, Images, Search This Site, etc. (Well, that's what I call the features. Google prolly has other, longer names.) Opera is fast but too many sites are "slightly" incompatible with it. And for quasi-neatniks, it can drive them batty.

If you don't have anti-virus protection, get some. And if you get a buttload of spam, it is your own damn fault. You're too liberal. With where you poke your head. Porn and shopping and sites will be the death of your PC and/or your time.

If you are looking for a new media player, then I suggest Media Center. iTunes (nearing 100M songs sold, BTW) is for kids. At least on Windows. It has too few features to be worth using. RealPlayer is for databases that need rebuilding and people who restart their PC several times a day. No link provided. If you are that stupid, here. Windows Media Player is anti-mp3. WinAmp is for skin dweebs. MusicMatch is a better RealPlayer.

File this under: it's 1:27 AM and I've not posted squat here. Plus, I see Gonzo has simplified the look and wanted to let him know: Good job!

P.S. Molly got WordPress!, which is where my 'poisonal' blog is going once I crawl out from under CSS and XHTML and design guru wars.

Note to self: if I'd manage my time better, I'd... No, if I focused more, my time would not cover more yet not as much. If that makes sense.

P.P.S. This blog appears different when viewed by MSIE (like the Blogger screenshot) or Firefox (no 'graphics', squared corners, poor type handling). Will be testing Opera soon.

Imagine if they printed more stories like this...

Friday, July 02, 2004

Spare the Rod, Save the Child
Missouri's youth prisons focus on small groups, therapy, caring. Officials in California's punishment-oriented system are taking a look.


By Jenifer Warren
Times Staff Writer

July 1, 2004

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — There are no handcuffs, no razor-wire fences, no uniforms, no cells. Missouri does things differently in its prisons for young people, and it shows — in what you see and what you don't.

Inmates, referred to as "kids," live in dorms that feature beanbag chairs, potted plants, stuffed animals and bunk beds with smiley-face comforters. Guards — who are called "youth specialists" and must have college degrees — go by their first names and don't hesitate to offer hugs.

At the maximum-security lockup in St. Joseph, two cats, Midnight and Tigger, curl up on laps as the state's toughest teenage offenders explore the roots of their anger, weep over the acts of abusive parents and swap strategies for breaking free of gangs. At another facility in Kansas City, boys who rack up months of good behavior earn the right to attend summer basketball camp.

"The old corrections model was a failure; most kids left us worse off than when they came in," said Mark Steward, the chief of Missouri's youth penal system. "So we threw away that culture, and now we focus on treatment, on making connections with these guys and showing them another way…. It works."


This is a must read, but it requires free registration, sorry.

Bootstraps, anyone?

Friday, July 02, 2004

Very interesting stuff brewing in the African-American community. Just when you thought it was the politically correct thing to do as a white male, to blame racism for the ongoing struggles of blacks in America, Bill Cosby upsets the apple cart and says there's no excuse.

During Thursday's speech, Cosby said his detractors were not facing the facts about poor black communities and were just trying to cover up what he called their "dirty laundry."

"Let me tell you something, your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day, it's cursing and calling each other n----r as they're walking up and down the street," he said.

Cosby continued railing about the state of black youth in America. "They think they're hip," he said. "They can't read; they can't write. They're laughing and giggling, and they're going nowhere."

To African-American men, Cosby ranted, "Stop beating up your women because you can't find a job."

He complained about rap music: "When you put on a record, and that record is yelling 'n----r this' and 'n----r that' and cursing all over the thing and you got your little six-year-old and seven-year-old sitting in the back seat of the car--those children hear that. And I am telling you when you put the CD on and then you get up and dance to it What are you saying to your children?"

And he also ripped into sitcoms targeting African-American audiences: "Comedians coming on TV [saying,] 'I am so ugly, you are ugly, yuck, yuck.' That's all minstrel show stuff. I am tired of it."

"I can't even talk the way these people talk, 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is'...and I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk," Cosby said in May. "And then I heard the father talk...Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth."

On Thursday, Cosby further elaborated his thoughts on the subject, saying once again that white people aren't to blame for teen pregnancy and high-school dropout rates.

"For me there is a time...when we have to turn the mirror around," he said. "Because for me it is almost analgesic to talk about what the white man is doing against us. And it keeps a person frozen in their seat, it keeps you frozen in your hole you're sitting in."


Easier said than done coming from a very wealthy man? I don't know. Does he minimize the very real impact of ongoing racism and socioeconomic inequality clearly held in place by a dominant white power structure? Could be. Does what he say have value? No doubt. It is not 'Uncle Tom' to take a hard look at how racism and inequality become internalized by the oppressed, to examine how this internalization often manifests as irrational, sometimes self-destructive behavior and cultural trends.

It took guts for Cosby to take this stance and I'm glad Jesse Jackson is supporting him.

Damned Hippies!

Friday, July 02, 2004

It's crap like this that gives hippies a bad name:

Rock musician David Crosby , founding member of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, pleaded guilty Friday to a gun charge, was fined $5,000 and sentenced to a conditional discharge.

The singer was arrested March 6 at the DoubleTree Suites Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Police said they found a Colt .45-caliber handgun, three clips of .45-caliber ammunition and two knives in his luggage.

Police also said the musician had a plastic bag containing an ounce of marijuana, a wooden container with a marijuana cigarette in it, a package of cigarette rolling papers and two other plastic containers with marijuana residue.


What a shame. All the lovely music he's made and the mass movement of love and peace that he was a part of is overshadowed by the ridiculous behavior of an old drug addict. Way to go, Dave. More talking points for chronically uptight fascists in training.

There are no perfect humans that I know of. For every David Crosby there's a Jack Ryan.

Best of T-Floss

Friday, July 02, 2004

Welcome
What's in a name?
And I thought I was smart
Better Coffee through chemistry
Greener Grass Department
More Green Grass
winner and champion
Muse Held Hostage
Muse released, in recovery
test your sanity
news from the hood
Patagonia time!
My thoughts, exactly?
Ah, literature
christopher reeve
Thorough debate analysis
cheney discovers aids
Affirmative Action Out of Control
Editorial correction