Friday, December 09, 2005

Dickie's Quickies

Lots of them today:

I've been digging the sounds at BellyBongo.

DIYMedia has cut ups of U.S. politicians subverting their speeches and sometimes revealing truths that the polls would never have uttered.

Americablog has been keeping up the pressure on Ford over it's recent contract with the AFA to not advertise in gay publications or publicize gay events. Americablog has been detailing the Nazi-like hatred spewed by the AFA. Favorite line thus far:
If you call Volvo reaching a secret deal with a gay-hating extremist group to ban the image of gay couples from their ads "embracing diversity," then I have a few volumes of "The International Jew: The World's Foremost Threat," by Henry Ford, I'd like to sell you.
Ouch. And, yes, Americablog is reprinting excerpts from Ford's tome.

Words from a Christian that I can certainly appreciate:

Since American Christianity has often been a most bland, tacky, and stripped down version of the real thing, it seems Americans have a thing for filling in the holes with efforts at blending the religious and the civic. Who cares if the government buildings have a nativity scene on their front steps? I sure don't. In fact I sure don't want my tax dollars paying for the upkeep of decorations. Leave the government buildings undecorated. Let's not pretend that the government has ever had the best interests of the faith in mind. Then there are those parades that cost untold amounts of police overtime pay. I'd agree that "Holiday Parades" are stupid. They should be "Christmas" parades because that is what they are. But why have a parade at all? There are plenty of processions and rites to mark any holy day at my parish. When it's a religious holiday, I know it. I'd be overjoyed if every house in my street had a nativity scene out front, but I sure don't need the government or the check-out girl at Target to remind me it's Christmas or to make it "joyous."

Time magazine writes about the horror that was experienced by passengers on that plane in Florida this week:

"I never heard the word 'bomb' on the plane," McAlhany told TIME in a telephone interview. "I never heard the word bomb until the FBI asked me did you hear the word bomb. That is ridiculous." Even the authorities didn't come out and say bomb, McAlhany says. "They asked, 'Did you hear anything about the b-word?'" he says. "That's what they called it."
Laura Rozen follows up with these thoughts:

Guess what. Pit bulls like this don't make the passengers safer -- although pointing guns at little kids is a nice touch. They kill passengers, just like pit bulls, meant for protection, end up killing their own families' kids. Reinforced cockpit doors protect passengers. It's increasingly alarming that not a single passenger has been found by the media who heard the passenger trying to get off the plane say anything about a bomb. Remember the innocent Brazilian man killed by police in the London subway a few months ago, who police concocted a story about acting threatening? Turned out to be a total sham? (The British police ultimately apologized). It seems increasingly likely this is the same thing. I should say this scenario -- that the authorities made up or imagined the story about him saying he had a bomb -- never occurred to me when I was writing this morning that there had to be a better way for air marshals to deal with a mentally ill person already off the plane than killing him. And then a reader wrote in suggesting that it was strange not a single passenger interviewed by the media had heard anything about him claiming to have a bomb. Hours and several media reports later, that seems to be even more apparent.
According to the NY Times, the Bush administration used information attained from a prisoner through rendition and torture to justify it's claims of ties between Iraq and Al Qaida. From the article:
The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.
The article goes on to say that some information provided by the suspect turned out to be true and the claims of abuse have not been corroborated. Riiiiiiight. What other purpose does transporting prisoners from our shores/custody to a foreign country's shores/custody serve other than to enable torture? Oh, it's cloaked in language such as "countries with less rights for prisoners" (which I heard someone say on NPR this week), but that's just acknowledging torture. And, sure, as Kindasleazy Rice says, Americans and their employees aren't committing torture. That's because Egyptians and others are happy to do our bidding for us. This kind of nonsense is setting us up for larger conflicts and many of them for years to come. This is not how a democracy behaves, but rather how the Soviet Union and Banana Republics behave. Remember them? We used to berate, disdain, and mock their tactics. Now, we've become just like them. (Note: Some of us have suspected this for a long time. The Bush administration is just a LOT more brazen about it).

BBC News reports that the music publishing industry is going to crack down on sites offering lyrics and key tabs next year. Watch out.

Mr Keiser said he did not just want to shut websites and impose fines, saying if authorities can "throw in some jail time I think we'll be a little more effective".

Apparently, the music industry has not alienated enough people yet. In related news, a report commission by the Library of Congress outlines how copyright issues are inhibiting the preservation of our heritage in recordings.

June Besek’s study lucidly summarizes how audio preservation is affected by state and other laws. A number of laws impact how we may preserve recordings and what we may do with the copies we create. This work examines these laws within the context of preservation and provides an analysis that will be useful to the legal community as well as to archivists.

The laws governing sound recordings made before 1972 are not simple and, as this study implies, some may in fact impede effective preservation. Without this work we would not be aware of the challenges implicit in the laws and understand their full impact. This report will be of great value in creating a national preservation plan. We are grateful to Congress for supporting this significant work and to June Besek for bringing light and clarity to a complex topic.

Check this out: Playboy in braille.

No comments: