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Friday, January 30, 2004 
so there's a lot of buzz right now about fcc indecency fines. apparently bono used the f-word during a live broadcast of the golden globes & people flipped out that nbc wasn't punished because of bono's actions (although if bono had, say, taken a handgun & started shooting people, legally the gun manufacturer wouldn't be liable... so i'm not sure why nbc is liable for what bono says during a live awards show, but anyway)... congress is even proposing to ban curse words from broadcast altogether.

(not surprisingly, the fcc hearings on localism aren't getting nearly that much attention... clear channel gets coverage for naughty content, but not for being an oppressive monolithic entity.)

specifically, one proposed bill would outright ban the use of the following words:


it seems to me that, in light of all this controversy, right now would be the best time ever for some daring broadcaster to actually use all these supposedly indecent words on the air. not in just some salacious swearfest, but a serious, in-depth linguistic analysis of these words & their place in our culture. in a sense, that would be the ultimate "fuck you" to the prudes that be: a no-holds-barred real discussion that shows the function of these words, & how an unconstitutional prior restraint against them would not be in the public interest.

so far a few brave print/online periodicals have actually printed these words when discussing this story (like rolling stone), or at least the main word at the crux of the controversy, fuck (for example, forbes, the daily vanguard, & even reuters). but i haven't heard of any broadcasters who have the balls to really let loose & explore the issue (i would say you can't seriously discuss this kind of language if you're afraid to actually use the words in question).

now, some who discuss this story rightly bring up fcc v pacifica, the famous supreme court/george carlin "filthy words" case. this was the case where the supremes decided that the govt had the right to try to regulate what it called "indecent" programming & set up the "safe harbor" system. but so far, i haven't seen anyone mention why the pacifica station (was it wfmu?) broadcast the "filthy words" monolog in the first place: because they were doing a serious discussion of contemporary attitudes toward language. in the pacifica decision, the supremes said that they had the right to regulate so that kids couldn't hear that kind of content on the air (which i passionately disagree with, but let's ignore that)... but at the same time, the content wasn't "obscene" & banning that stuff outright would stifle free speech, quite different from protecting the public interest.

that was the whole point of the safe harbor to begin with! some overly uptight assholes might not like those words, but they are constituionally protected speech, therefore banning them would be a prior restraint, & prior restraint is unconstitutional.

there is no way such a ban could pass constitutional muster. so why are these congressman wasting everyone's time even discussing it? don't they have better things to worry about than f-bombs? like maybe real bombs?

so yeah. this is my challenge to some ballsy broadcaster out there. i want to hear a serious intellectual discussion of the linguistic function of these words, & contemporary attitudes toward them, on the air. in fact, if someone has a recording of the original broadcast that brought about the fcc v pacifica case, re-airing that show would be awesome.

please? pretty please with pussy on top? (wait, pussy isn't one of the potentially-banned words... i should say cunt instead...)

Thursday, January 29, 2004 
i just got interviewed... on soulseek! totally out of the blue. in case you hadn't noticed, the internet age is definitely upon us.

so yeah, i was just minding my own business on the internet when i got a message from a stranger on soulseek. i wasn't going to mention the person's username (for privacy's sake, even though they weren't sharing much & therefore probably aren't going to get sued by the RIAA) but i guess i don't know this person's gender, so i'll just call them Xenom instead of "them" or "hse" or "it"...

anyway, Xenom started off the chat with "i heard some of your tracks and they're great!"... not the first time i've gotten a comment from a stranger like that (not that it happens often, either), but it's always nice when it happens. but i was not expecting the next thing Xenom said:

[Xenom] i work for pulse! magazine would you care describing your creative process for our readers?

that was a first for me (at least the first time in a chat environment).

apparently pulse! is doing 'a small "unknown artists" article' so we chatted for a few minutes about my musical techniques, my upcoming true data 12", & so on. Xenom had never heard of databending before & seemed pretty intrigued by that, so assuming it wasn't all a scam, my guess is i'll make it in the article.

but i had never heard of Pulse! before, & before i got to ask if there was a website, Xenom had logged off. my google searches all seem to be leading me toward tower records... i guess it's a magazine tower puts out? i think i need to ask snuggle wtf it is, but if anyone here has any comments about pulse! i'd love to hear them (hell, Xenom might even be reading... hi there!)

okay, so chief us weapons inspector david kay, who was once such a bush lapdog that you'd think he had his mouth surgically attached to bush's foreskin, has conclusively stated that he doesn't think there are any WMDs in iraq. none. not a one. "we were all wrong" he says. of course big dick cheney won't acknowledge his mistake. he spouts the same old lies to npr & basically gets a pass from his interviewer. but that's hardly a surprise.

meanwhile, the so-called "hutton inquiry" has announced the conclusion that tony blair did not "sex up" intelligence claims & lambasts the bbc for announcing that he had. turns out i'm not the only one skeptical of the hutton conclusion: half of brits polled called it a "whitewash". i mean, if there are no weapons, what other conclusion can be reached other than that the evidence was sexed up? kay, still a faithful lapdog even when he's effectively calling the prez a liar, asserts that the intelligence community is to blame. which is funny, because i've seen that uncovered movie & there are so many pissed-off intelligence analysts in that movie that you'd think langley must've been a ghost town during the filming...
[edit: good old palast has some interesting things to say about this one]

Tuesday, January 27, 2004 
remember the ad from last yeat's super bowl stating that illegal drug use helped terrorists? i do; i thought it was one of the most offensive ads i'd ever seen. & another white house ad will appear on this year's super bowl. so if cbs can air that garbage, why can't they show the relatively innocuous ad from moveon? click the banner for more info:

Sunday, January 25, 2004 
my cd drives work!

i have no idea why it took so long to find this document. i'd already thought of flashing the bios but we hadn't tried it yet... but once i found a document basically saying that upgrading would fix my exact problem, i knew what had to be done.

the asus bios upgrade instructions were poorly written & poorly organized, but after a few rereadings i managed to figure it out. & now i can use my cd drives again!

i've been taking the opportunity to upgrade my other important software, so i think once i'm done with that i'll be better off for being forced into upgrading...

Friday, January 23, 2004 
well i wouldn't say my computer is "fixed" but at least now it's relatively usable. barry managed to get windows installed while i was at work. it still won't recognize my second IDE interface. we messed with that for awhile but it wouldn't install the drivers off the cd (maybe they were too old). eventually we changed focus to getting it to recognize my internet card; it didn't really want to do that either until barry swapped the card into a different port.

but i can browse the internet, play games, listen to mp3s, & do most non-cd-related functions, so i'm satisfied for tonight. tomorrow we'll tackle the cd drives again. (i say "we" but barry does most of the work...) & when those finally work i'll begin reinstalling the rest of my important software, drivers, & stuff like that...

well they've arrested someone in the screener case. good to see how quickly the fbi can work on when the case is something important like internet downloading, as opposed to a trivial matter like... i dunno... national security, catching terrorists, or other such trifles.

what kills me is that i heard this from snuggles, where someone posted the cnn story (sorry i can't link to it, cnn is hosted by aol & aol is blocked on the network here in the office... a policy i can't say i disagree with). what struck me about the cnn story is that it repeatedly claimed that this sprague guy was selling these movies online. like i pointed out last week, that's just stupid. what kind of moron would go online to buy a bootlegged movie? if you're looking for pirate content, why on earth would you pay for it when you can get it for free? i knew that had to be wrong, so i looked around & found the hollywood reporter article i linked to above, which contains this telling quote:

Johnson, the U.S. attorney, said that there was little financial incentive for Sprague to upload the films to the Internet -- if that is what he did -- beyond the simple trading of movies with others.

"There is often a quid pro quo among the Internet piracy community," Johnson said.

"There's no evidence Sprague was duplicating these movies and selling them," he added. "But anything is possible."

so my question is: was the cnn article just shoddy journalism? or was it intentionally shoddy journalism? (ie. did they just fuck up & get a critical detail wrong, one that nobody else got wrong, or did they get it wrong on purpose to help demonize sprague, caridi, & internet "piracy" in general?)

in related news, the RIAA has filed hundreds more lawsuits even though they don't even have names for their victims anymore: they're just suing a bunch of IP addresses... jeez.

& if you thought that was fucked up, strap your brain in before it explodes: remember all those little kids the RIAA sued last time? the ones they got such horrible PR for? now those little kids will appear in a pepsi ad about an itunes promotion. & the RIAA claims they support the ad!

who says irony is dead? irony 0wnz you!!!

this is kind of a long picaresque narrative so it will take a minute to get to the important part.

there's a user on slsk called "fingerinthenoise". this user shares some pretty good underground, unreleased material (including a large chunk of my mp3 discog & other bad taste goodies). i'm not sure if i've ever chatted with this person before (they're on my userlist but maybe i just discovered them on my own, or added them because they were downloading good material from me).

[ed. note: i've since learned the correct website is]

so last night i came across a different user with a note in their shares saying to go to for free radio. so i went to the page, but it didn't seem to do anything but bring up an animation script. since i was using mozilla i thought maybe this was a browser compatibility issue, & maybe if i tried IE there would be more content (like an actual radio stream or something).

when i opened IE it went straight to windows update, at usual. it listed 15 "critical" security fixes, so i figured i might as well install the things.

near the end of the install process the computer prompted me to find some file. silly windows 98, how am i supposed to know where your stupid file is? once it was clear that it wouldn't find the file on its own, i managed to get it to skip that file & keep going. when it rebooted (because win98 can't tie its own shoes without needing a reboot), explorer crashed & the OS didn't really load. or more simply, when i rebooted, it just didn't reboot. eventually i managed to bring up the boot menu to try safe mode, but safe mode wouldn't load either. it appeared that my win98 installation was dead.

in case you missed the irony above, i'll italicize it for you: attempting to correct so-called "critical" problems in windows caused windows to break altogether. what was formerly a working install was now broken because i had tried to "fix" it.

i'd been meaning to upgrade to winxp eventually anyway, so now that 98 was rotting away i figured it was the right time. i began my new xp install, only to eventually hit a snag similar to what had happened when i was "fixing" 98: xp said it needed files off the cd (which was in the damn drive) & prompted me to find the files. again, once it was clear i couldn't get it to acknowledge the files, i got it to skip that step... it happened a second time & i skipped that too. eventually setup completed (but not really) & it booted into xp for the first time.

then i noticed that xp was not acknowledging either of my cd drives. they just didn't show up.

after concluding that the BIOS did still recognize the drives (i could even still boot from either cd drive), i tried to "repair" my installation. once again that only made things worse. now setup would prompt me to locate the cd files as soon as it got to the graphical GUI setup stage. now i couldn't even get into the OS because setup could not complete (or even pseudo-complete, like it had previously).

i spent an hour or two trying to repair & the same thing happened every time. eventually i tried a fresh install & that sorta worked (as well as it had worked the first time): i could get into xp again, but it still wouldn't acknowledge my cd drives. i also discovered that i had no internet connection (IE wasn't even installed), no games, no volume control, & who knows what other massive chunks missing from the operating system. i was actually excited when i figured out how to play mp3s (& also when i got DataDada to work; this program is a databenders wet dream, if you can get it to function... it's rather buggy).

surprisingly, i was not very upset about any of this, except for that time in the middle when i wasn't sure i could get xp reinstalled at all.

right around bedtime, barry came up with a theory why it wasn't working. one of his computers has an asus motherboard, & when installing xp he had to load a special driver to get it to acknowledge the second IDE interface (the one both cd drives are on). i also have an asus board, probably with a similar chipset. (i think it might even be the same board.) if that is indeed the problem, in order to fix it he'll have to open the box, swap the connections for my second hard drive & one of my cd drives in order to load the driver, & then try to complete the xp installation. we'll see if that works. if not, i might have a severely crippled computer until we figure out a fix that works.

i just hope i don't have to reinstall win98, because it really does suck...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004 
i am drunk.

at dinner barry & i were joking about the idea of a drinking game revolving around tonight's state of the union speech. later i saw people on the imn boards joking about the same thing.

then i saw there was already a state of the union drinking game! this is even the third year running! (maybe i heard about this last state of the union, but it's been a year since then so if so i forgot)

i mixed myself a huge (at least 20+oz) but weak drink of vodka & juice... the kind that would usually last me an hour or two. (and even that is technically cheating because you're supposed to use beer/cider or shots.) within 15 minutes i had a strong buzz. within 30 minutes my huge drink was gone & i was pouring irish creme into my cup just to keep playing (even though i was as drunk as i ever like to get). i have now quit playing (the speech is still going on). there's no point anymore.

ps. if you think i'm not drunk because you see no typos, rest assured that my proofreading skills are the only thing letting me catch all my mistakes before posting. if only you could see all the mistakes i've already fixed.

Friday, January 16, 2004 
so samhain is home, though totally exhausted and a bit traumatized. he's mostly been resting. everybody was really happy he was back (& that goes for the baby & the cat as well).

i guess today was just the right day, because barry found him almost as soon as he started looking this morning, about 4 blocks north of here. it wasn't far from where barry spotted him yesterday either... so he probably never really left the neighborhood. i can't even imagine what that 36 hours was like for him, endlessly wandering around the same area trying to find his way back home. i know we went all over that area a few times yesterday & the night before; who knows how many times he did? barry is going to take him to get chipped next week & we're going to make sure he wears his collar from now on. we were all pretty spooked. but now things can start returning to normal.

now the fbi is investigating the screener leaks. jesus, doesn't the fbi have better things to do than suck off jack valenti? you know, like searching for terrorists? or for the valerie plame leak?

samhain is home!

i just got the email from my sister. she has no details yet, but good news! i'll post further details later.

i feel so helpless. samhain has been missing for more than 36 hours now. barry thought he spotted samhain while driving around yesterday, but then lost sight of him, and by the time we got back out, there was no sign of him. at this point my main hope is that animal care & control picked him up, because it's been well below freezing...

but there's not much i can do about it, at least not while i'm at work. i could conceivably take a personal day and go to animal control myself, or cruise the neighborhood one more time looking... i just hope that barry finds the time to get down there. this morning he was watching the baby. i'm sure mom would be happy to watch her grandson while barry goes out looking, checking the pounds, and so on, assuming she can (and that's a different story).

Thursday, January 15, 2004 
my heart really isn't into tracking this screener story right now, what with a missing dog, but...

the academy is shocked--SHOCKED--about allegedly finding two more screeners online. allegedly one of them even showed up on ebay. and they gleefully smeared the name of another academy member, some guy called ivan kruglak.

typically, the major media are still doing nothing more than repeating press releases (or more accurately, the AP is repeating the press releases while the rest of the media just runs the wire story)... so one must turn to the bloggers for news. the "related" stories link on google news has little of value; you must actually search google news to find the juicy bits.

most significant is this blogger, who does some real research and shows that screener leaks are all over the place... he finds a long, long list of recent movies circulating the p2p networks marked "screener"... & while perhaps not all of them are actual academy-leaked (anyone who's used p2p software knows files can be mislabeled), there are enough comments from others who've watched pirated screeners to show that the academy was clearly full of shit when they claimed that something's gotta give was the first screener ever leaked to the net. screener leaks happen all the time.

if the academy really thinks those are the only four screeners on the net, they're clueless. so the question remains: why are they scapegoating kruglak and caridi? what are these men really being punished for?

samhain the dog ran away last night.

i was chillin' in the attic a bit before 8pm. geoff was on his way over, to hang out and have barry do some work on his computer.

suddenly i heard three gunshots. they were loud & booming. no mistaking them for anything but three pointless gunshots going off in the near-ghetto. i shut off the stereo and went to look out the window in case i saw anything. i didn't, so i wandered on downstairs. barry was in the living room looking out the window, having heard the same thing. then we tried to let samhain in (he had been outside in the back yard).

there was no sign of him in the back yard. my immediate reaction was that someone had shot him; maybe he was barking and they were trying to shut him up, i thought. but there was no body...

we went out in the front yard to look for him. it was raining outside: freezing rain. the police were also showing up around this time too, to investigate the gunshots. i talked to a couple of them about our lost dog and where the shots sounded like they came from, but there were no dogs in sight (and at most 5 minutes had passed, so it wasn't like he had time to get far (so we thought). this was around the time when geoff arrived; with us outside looking for a dog, police cruisers in the neighborhood, and officers sweeping the area with flashlights looking for evidence of the shooter.

barry drove around the neighborhood off & on for an hour or more. he heard reports from neighbors on our street who said they saw him running but "one of them was like 5 or 6 blocks up"... if it was samhain, he was really spooked. (he's always hated loud noises, so although we don't know how he could've gotten out of the yard, the predominant theory is that he was startled by the shots and took off running.) he has no collar either, & i rather doubt he has one of those big-brother-style tracking chips either.

dad went out driving around looking too, with no luck, despite dad being sick (but that's another story).

eventually barry came home, feeling defeated. by this point samhain had been missing for an hour and a half. things were not looking good. we've all heard stories about dogs who find their way home across great distances, but samhain was never all that familiar with the neighborhood, and it was probably 20 degrees or below last night. he has a lot of fur but how much does that really help?

the only positive side was that somehow the baby did not wake up during all this. that would've made the search a lot harder.

by this point samhain has been missing a bit over 13 hours. right now our main hope is that he finds his way back today somehow, or that he got picked up by animal control sometime in the night and we only need to get to the right shelter to find him. there's always a chance.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004 
the MPAA alleges that copies of two of its movie "screeners" have appeared online. researching this story will turn up lots of hits, even though it appears that only maybe 6-8 stories at most have been written (most other periodicals are just reprinting an AP story or occasionally a reuters story)

the fact that there are so few real articles mean that information is very sparse. but already the great game of "telephone" has begun and the media echo chamber has begun to feed back, distorting what little info is out there to the point of obvious falsehood.

like check this lead from the story on

LOS ANGELES ( - Despite a highly publicized anti-piracy campaign over the past year, a second movie screener has been found for sale on the Internet.

On Tuesday, Jan. 13, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that an unauthorized copy of Warner Bros.' "The Last Samurai" was found for sale online, according to the AP.

wait... did that say for sale? seriously? hell, it even says "for sale" twice in the first two grafs! how incredibly inept do the so-called reporters have to be, if they can't even comprehend the AP wire story they're rewriting? do they really think people go online and pay to download so-called pirated movies? is that sheer ineptitude or perhaps intentional misinformation?

funny; i came across the zap2it story because i was looking for souces that actually did some research or put some thought into the story, rather than just running the story off the wire. but if that kind of blatant factual error is what happens when zap2it writes their own stories, maybe they should just fire their "reporters" and run the wire straight.

anyway, ignoring that farce, let's look at the facts:

  • pretty much everything cited in all stories is "according to the academy"... no real evidence has been made public. it would be interesting to find the original MPAA press releases, to see how much of the wire stories were simply rewritten or copied/pasted directly from the press releases (i suspect quite a bit)
  • re: the first movie allegedly found online (something's gotta give), even though " Academy Executive Director Bruce Davis declined to say which Oscar voter was being investigated", the la times happily reports that "[a] person familiar with the academy's probe said the offending videocassette had been sent to Carmine Caridi, a veteran film and television actor who appeared in "The Godfather: Part II" and played Det. Vince Gotelli on the television series "NYPD Blue."" apparently caridi has no right to privacy, but whatever MPAA goon leaked caridi's name does. other stories cite the la times as the source of the name, rather than "an anonymous coward who spoke to the la times".
  • caridi needs a better agent. his agent told the press that caridi was "vague and not forthcoming" about how the movie got online. caridi's rep is being smerared, & that's the best his agent can come up with?
  • allegedly MPAA screeners have coded information that lets them track where copies come from. this is how they allegedly know these online movies are from screeners, as well as how they allegedly know the copy of something's gotta give that allegedly showed up online allegedly was destined for caridi.
  • i'm getting really sick of typing "allegedly", but someone's gotta do it.
  • both movies (the other one is the last samurai) are big-time hollywood movies (not "independents", who really need screeners to reach an oscar audience) and although the stories don't say so, there are probably dozens of other (non-screener) pirate copies of these movies online.

as you can probably tell, i'm a bit skeptical of this story so far. i'll keep tracking it and hopefully have more insight soon....

Tuesday, January 13, 2004 
for every one of these page-long news analysis entries i write, there are a half dozen or more other stories that intrigue me, but i simply don't have time to write about each one in depth. so here are some quick headlines-type thingies:

here's an article about the effect of new mad cow restrictions on mexican cuisine. it's kinda a fluff piece, though it is nice to see a mad cow article that takes an angle other than just parroting the USDA's insistance that beef is safe.

if you've ever been to an authentic taqueria and wondered what was in dishes like tripas, barbacoa, or menudo (i know i have), you'll find some of the answers here (the answer = cow intestines, cow brains, and cow stomach, respectively)

more on the o'neill tell-all book: today the buzz is about the bushco response to o'neill, specifically that the administration is calling into an investigation over how an allegedly "secret" document appeared on 60 minutes (though none of the document's contents were aired; just the cover sheet... i wonder how that probe would fare as opposed to the valerie plame probe).

abc news claims that bush gave a "strong defense" of his iraq policy, but in saying so they seem to equate "strong defense" with "vociferous use of a weak excuse". note what bush actually says: that he simply inherited the "regime change" policy from clinton:

"[T]he stated policy of my administration toward Saddam Hussein was very clear," he said. "Like the previous (Clinton) administration, we were for regime change. And then all of a sudden September 11 hit," Mr Bush said in Monterrey at a press conference with Mexican President Vicente Fox.

i'm not quite sure i believe that was clinton's policy (i thought clinton was more in favor of sanctions, un inspections, and the like), but if it was, that must've been the only one of clinton's policies that bush didn't immediately strangle. we all know that clinton had policies against osama bin laden but bush didn't give a damn about him until the towers fell.... either way, this admission does prove that going to war against saddam really didn't have a damn thing to do with 9/11 or "terrorism".

o'neill has tons of evidence and some damning things to say, but unfortunately he's still a politician, so he gets all wishy-washy, saying things like "It was not my intention to be personally critical of the president of anybody else," and even saying he would "probably" vote for bush again in november! come on, paul, stand up for yourself.

however, the same could not be said for the army war college, which issued a scathing report saying that the war on iraq was "unnecessary", the "war on terrorism" is "unrealistic", and that bush has basically fucked everything up. how bad must things be if a warmongering republican president faces this kind of insubordination from his own military?

the white house is trying to blow off the army war college report, too, as though those decades of miliary service mean nothing compared to bush's time going AWOL. look at this quote (printed in the washington post) from top pentagon spokesman lawrence diRita:

"People are publishing stuff all the time. That's the value of kind of having people throw analysis out there. You learn even from analysis you don't agree with. I don't even want to characterize it as something I don't agree with because I just haven't read it," said Di Rita, adding that he does not know if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld plans to read the document.

okay, that seems fairly innocuous, right? but now check out this quote, also from diRita, printed in a different washington post article:

"If the conclusion is that we need to be scaling back in the global war on terrorism, it's not likely to be on my reading list anytime soon."

whoa nelly! does that totally, absolutely, 100% contradict the previous quote or what? okay then larry: how can you learn from analysis you don't agree with if you flat-out refuse to read that analysis? this second quote sounds a lot like the quote i cited last time, that one referring to paul o'neill (printed again here for effect):

"We didn't listen to him when he was there," said a top aide. "Why should we now?"

not only can the bush administration not handle any kind of criticism, they refuse even to listen to policy analysis that they don't agree with. it doesn't matter who it comes from: treasury secretary, the intelligence community, the military itself... i wonder, if jesus came back & personally told bush how un-christian war-mongering is, would bush listen? or would he just try to smear jesus like he does to everyone else?

Sunday, January 11, 2004 
bush's former treasury secretary paul o'neill is a major source in a new tell-all book & he's making the media rounds, giving interviews with time and tonight he has a big interview on 60 minutes with lesley stahl. the last lesley stahl sequence i watched was the grossly unfair propaganda piece called pirates of the internet. but if i remember i will probably watch anyway, because o'neill has some interesting things to say.

one of the major allegations he makes is that bushco started planning to oust saddam from the very start of their administration, which gives a lot of weight to the idea that the war in iraq was never about terrorism & 9/11 was just a convenient excuse. but o'neill brought with him a flood of documents, and paints a general picture of a white house driven by ideology and politics instead of trying to make correct, informed decisions.

the white house is not amused with about the book & has begun their slime campaign, like in this quote from the time article: "We didn't listen to him when he was there," said a top aide. "Why should we now?" (um, yeah, wasn't your unwillingness to listen the problem from the start?)

on the other hand, bushco might have a harder time blowing off the upcoming book by terrorism expert and former bushco insider richard clarke.

Thursday, January 08, 2004 
the big story of the moment is bush's new proposal for allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the country provided they have jobs. (though the plan might not actually be implemented anytime soon, if ever)

now in theory it's nice that bush is acknowledging that our current immigration policies are totally fubar, and on its surface this plan might look like a boon for illegal immigrants. of course nobody is really happy with it: the republicans are complaining that this policy would be going too easy on people who don't follow the rules (because illegal aliens are, after all, illegal). & democrats point out that this policy doesn't give any real hope of the immigrants ever gaining citizenship or permanent residency, and that immigrants aren't likely to sign up if it means they will eventually be deported. and there are other complaints as well. but when i was listening to the soundbites on npr this morning, i noticed something hidden in the subtext that nobody seems to talking about:

"Reform must begin by confronting a basic fact of life and economics � some of the jobs being generated in America's growing economy are jobs American citizens are not filling," Mr. Bush said to cheers from an audience that included cabinet members and representatives of Hispanic groups.

but wait... isn't this a tacit acknowledgment that bush's economic recovery policies are simply not working? that for all bush's talk about job growth, the only jobs he's capable of creating are such dangerous, low-paying shit jobs that american citizens would rather stay unemployed (while the jobs we're losing are all higher-paying, relatively skilled jobs)? that the whole economic upswing that they tell us we're in the middle of is a complete sham?

this just reminds me of the recent brouhahahahahaha about steel tariffs, and how the simple fact that bush would allow steel tariffs at all proved that he didn't really believe all that garbage he spouts about "free trade"; he only want the freedom for us to export. (actually, the steel tariffs were only the latest example to show this hypocrisy, but it's the freshest in my memory & i don't need to research it)

but back to the immigration issue... the last thing i want to sound like is a reactionary who wants to prevent immigrants from taking "our" jobs. because frankly bush is right that the jobs illegal immigrants take are generally among the worst jobs out there. american citizens are too vain and proud to take jobs cleaning up slaughterhouses or public restrooms. but these immigrants don't care. if you want to know the real meaning of the phrase "american work ethic", look at mexicans or other illegals. they truly have the work ethic to do the important, hard jobs. (mexico is a part of america after all)

so while at first glance it may look like this guy (from some organization called the federation for american immigrant reform, an obvious pr industry front group if ever i've heard of one) and i are in agreement, we really aren't but on the most basic level:

"With nine million unemployed Americans and the nation in the midst of a jobless recovery," a spokesman for the federation, David Ray, said, "we need a foreign guest worker program like we need a hole in the head. It's going to have a huge downward pressure on wages and working conditions. It will basically allow employers unfettered access to cheap exploitable workers. If they claim they can't fill a job with an American, they can fill it with a foreign worker."

this guy's argument and mine might start in about the same place, but he goes about it totally backward. employers already have access to cheap exploitable workers. in fact they have such tremendous access that they're addicted to it, so dependent on cheap disposable labor that they need bush to legitimize their business practices. because our economy has been so thoroughly demolished, and the status quo of american business is so corrupt, that the only real choice is whether to export all our jobs, or import workers who will work for cheap (because the main alternative, raising pay and improving working conditions, is just not the american way). now admittedly, bush is not entirely responsible for this, but it's hard to deny that his economic policies have been the equivalent of the old "fake hand" hanging-from-a-ledge gag... you know how the joke goes: our hero (for example, let's say batman) is hanging from a ledge by his fingertips. if he lets go, he will fall thousands of feet, likely to his death. then the villain (let's say the joker) feigns compassion and reaches out a hand for batman to grab onto, so the joker can pull him to safety. batman grabs the hand, thinking it will save his life, only for the joker to reveal that the hand is made of rubber! it's fake! worse yet, it's not attached to his arm! having fallen for the trick, batman can no longer support his weight, loses his grip, and falls to a bloody painful death.

the only real difference here is that DC comics will never kill off batman, because the character is such a cash cow for them (how many fucking monthly batman- or gotham-related books are there, anyway? tons)

Monday, January 05, 2004 
it's a new year! time for some news updates!

the periodical chuck d once referred to as "150 years of continually fucked-up news" reports about the newest weapon in al qaeda's arsenal: vaginas. the theory is that qaeda wants to plant plastic explosives inside a woman's womb, which she could then detonate while in-flight (note that they did not actually catch a woman doing this). seems like an odd approach, considering that al qaeda generally supports harsh clothing restrictions for women & other sexist policies... so it's taboo for a man to catch a glimpse of a woman's ankle, but it's okay to shove CB4 up her snatch?

there are so many great jokes to be made here that there is not enough time in the day to think of them all (but if you come up with some good ones, that's what my "comment" links are for). i'll just say for now that this gives a whole new meaning to the term bomb ass pussy. expect foxxxxxy brown to release a new version of her song by that name any day now.

moving back to that other front in the war, the story about how the kurds, not the US, really caught saddam has finally started to creep into US & UK news sources, like the scottish sunday herald and the christian science monitor. even fox news has acknowledged the rumor, although unsurprisingly fox attributes the story solely to "a british tabloid" (the sunday express), ignoring the dozens if not hundreds of legitimate media outlets reporting on the story.

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