stAllio!'s way
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:

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.

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