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Wednesday, March 31, 2004 
some basic medical info about pituitary tumors (apparently they're surprisingly common) and hypopituitarism. i'm pretty sure dad has the "insufficient thyroid-stimulating hormone production" (aka hypothyroidism). because the thyroid regulates metabolism, the result is kinda, sorta, kinda like an immunodeficiency. kinda.

so last thursday i was sick. i mentioned that a couple posts ago. i wasn't even sure it was an actual "illness" until connie got sick the next evening. so it was pretty clearly a bug, & i'm guessing i caught it from unszene's kid (although that is only a guess).

i thought it would end there, but then on monday, my sister & brother in law got sick! & my brother in law even got more sick than i did. so on monday my sister had to leave work early & take my nephew over to visit his grandparents (my parents). then on tuesday they both laid around at home recovering. but they both seem better (my sister's at work now), so i was sure that now the cycle was complete & the illness could move on.

then today i got the email that now my parents are sick! hoo boy! & now a bit of history...

when i was in high school, one day my father awoke to discover that he could not open one of his eyes. i don't remember which eye (left or right), but i do know that it was his good eye. so effectively he could not see unless he propped his eyeball open. good times. & that wasn't his only symptom either, only the most prominent one.

for obvious reasons he sought medical attention. & before long he was diagnosed with a tumor on his pituitary gland. if you don't know what the pituitary is, it's like the godfather of glands. it's very tiny, but with a little help from a couple other glands, the pituitary regulates pretty much everything in your body. not the ideal place to start growing tumors.

so he was out of commission in the hospital for awhile, & probably could have died (& almost certainly would have if things had not been discovered when they were). they cut out the tumor, but a significant chunk of the pituitary itself came off with it. so essentially there is a big hole in my father's brain, right in the control center. ever since, he's been prescribed a zesty cocktail of hormones that keep him alive. without his scripts he would almost certainly perish.

now those scripts work pretty well in normal conditions, but like i said his body can't really regulate on its own. so when things vary from situation normal, it gets all fucked up. the net result is that dad has a good old aids-style immunodeficiency. a common cold or flu bug can royally screw him up. the last couple times he caught an illness, he's ended up in the emergency room, half delirious.

so like i was saying before that arctangent... mom & dad have caught the illness. dad has a fever around 102. if his fever hits 103.5 he is supposed to go to the ER. but mom's sick too; she's puking aplenty. this is where i come in.

tonight i will most likely be staying at mom & dad's house. just hanging out, watching tv, reading comics, & if necessary, rushing dad to the emergency room at a moment's notice. because mom's sure not in any condition to do it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004 
someone posted the prison bitch name generator on imn. of course, these name generators are usually pretty lame (though not as lame as the "which pizza topping are you?" type quizzes that clutter up livejournal), but the first name it generated for me was The Crack Killer, which is kinda cool (much better than Fuzzy Nuts or Cum Stain, which i got for entering other variations of my name).

but what caught my eye there was the animation of the woman stripping in the top banner. so i clicked it to go the galleries, assuming that the galleries must be full of porn. i was fairly disappointed when the first gallery was just lame pictures of cycling. yawn. eventually i did find a few pics of people flashing in the "ragbrai" galleries, but more interesting than those, i thought, was the fan pics gallery.

how do these little websites get random strange women on the internet to write the site's name on their bodies & pose for nude photos? seriously, this would be a good skill to have. hell, even my own lovers tell me they're not interested in posing nude (not that i beg them for it; it just comes up. although it'd be super cool to have a couple shots of my lovely girlfriend, just something private to keep me warm on those lonesome nights at sea). so i can't even imagine what would be needed to inspire some woman i don't even know to write stAllio! on her ass & flash her snatch for the camera. hell, i'd settle for some seminude shots of girls wearing stAllio! thongs (which people keep telling me they're going to buy, but still don't)... ooh, or girls wearing awia t-shirts & nothing underneath. i mean damn, is there just a certain type of exhibitionist woman who goes around submitting these types of fan pics, or is it just part of the phenomenon of fandom that some of your fans get so excited their clothes come off? because if it's the latter, i need some better fans.

(yes, before you say it, i did get a friend to pose topless for the cover of maura's milk chocolate bath, but that was a very specific idea for an art project & photo shoot; she didn't just rip her blouse off because she loves me. very different scenarios.)

i mean, seriously, if people started sending me fan photos like the ones in that fanpix gallery, i would totally use them in the cover art for my next project, or print them for a collage on my wall, or something. they would be used for something (more than just pleasuring myself). they wouldn't just take up space on my website.

or maybe it's just that my girlfriend lives far away, so since i can't look at her sexy body very often i just beg for personalized porn from my blog readers. but even if that's true, i would totally get off on st! fan pics & try to do something productive/artistic with them. for real.

Sunday, March 28, 2004 
tonight was the special saturday-night breakcore/punk/dnb event at the melody inn. good turnout, especially considering it was saturday at the mel yet it was not "punk rock night".

got there early; not sure who was spinning at the time but they played a lot of 2-step & slightly more "accessible" dnb. not too bad, but i've definitely heard better in my (limited) experience at dnb night.

after that was the sump pumps. they are basically a punk rock band with a synth player. the synth player alternated between a moog & a "key-tar". since i generally don't like punk rock, it should be no surprise that i was not feeling these guys, but it seemed like everyone else in the room was, so i have to give them credit for that. i did like what i heard of the synths though. & their cd apparently comes packaged inside an old 5 1/4" floppy (yes, i've seen it before, but it's still a cool packaging idea).

next up was the skumfux (dj tagteam between jahba & sumone). they spun some good hard ragga jungle, with maybe a dash of breakcore (i have no idea where the line is between hard jungle & breakcore). they also spun a couple of their dub plates, which sounded pretty good.

throughout all this i sat by myself at a table drinking woodchucks & watching either the stage or the handful of hotties in the club, not speaking to anyone except enduser for a minute (& there was also a girl there who reminded me of a girl i met at goth night there 4 years ago & went on a date with... on the date i was really mopey & talked a lot about my loneliness for some reason... when she later rejected me in an email [which in hindsight probably shouldn't have been a surprise] i blew up & went on a rant... anyway, i have no idea if this was the same girl or not, but at one point we made eye contact & she asked if my name was alex. maybe it was her & she just couldn't place me).

when enduser took the stage i ran up to the front & stayed there, pretty much directly in front of him, dancing & rocking out for his set. he did a great ragga breakcore set like i expected.

maybe 30-40 minutes into his set i developed some gas pain, but i don't trust the melody bathroom enough to sit there as long as would be necessary. the pain didn't want to go away either. but i stayed right at the front of the stage supporting enduser like a good bwoy.

after enduser, 9mm took the decks. jahba announced on the mic that 9mm deserves our respect because he drives 5-6 hours to get in indy (from cleveland) & he's already been in indy 3x this month. that's all well & good; he sounded good; & he sounded good when i heard him previously on tuesday as well. but like i said to enduser: "my stomach hurts. i have to go." so i picked up some sonicterror merch, gave enduser a recycle shirt, & headed home to the commode. that was like 1:30. now it's 4am, i'm listening to my new acquisitions, & i'm up too late writing emails & blog entries...

i took connie to the bus station yesterday afternoon. it was depressing; we weren't ready to part yet, but i guess that's how it goes. at least we'll see each other again in two months.

all in all it was a great vacation & a great visit. she says she loves indiana (not sure how i managed that), & we had lots of good times & good meals. nice restaurants, a couple shows and/or club nights, & a trip to the new indiana state museum (which is actually pretty cool).

on thursday morning (the day before she left) i vomited. morning sickness isn't too unusual for me; it happens once every month or two just from exhaustion, hunger, & my weird digestive system. but the nausea didn't quite go away, which is a bit unusual, & i had other nasty symptoms like diarrhea, which gave way to gas & gas pain (how does that work?)

thursday nights are goth night, & i had committed to a couple people that we would be there, so all day thursday we just sat around watching tv & listening to records, hoping that i would feel fine again in time to go to the club. i thought i was going pretty well until i vomited again at 8:30pm (& once more later, dry heaves even). that was enough to tell me we weren't going out.

friday morn i felt mostly better, though my appetite didn't really return until dinnertime. i'm still not really sure what it was. one theory was just bad diet from being on vacation. another was that i picked up some bug when we were visiting unszene (since i thought i heard that his wife & kid had been sick recently). another theory was that it was just nerves because i was upset connie would leave again. most likely it was a combination of nerves & something else (connie apparently felt ill last night & this morning, so it seems unlikely to have been nerves alone).

but anyway, the illness wasn't so bad it invalidated the vacation or anything. overall i'm still really happy with the past week; there are just a couple illness-type details i wish i could've avoided.

(oh yeah, the show on the 20th was fun, although it was during spring break in bloomington so we got only about 14 paying customers at the door. but lots of great music, & i traded some test pressings for great bad taste t-shirts & buttons... look out for those soon!)

Thursday, March 18, 2004 
did the US try to plant WMDs in iraq? that's the story according to a retired navy/DoD whistleblower. you probably won't see this issue on US tv news...

i did see the daily show last night & they covered the scandal relating to bush's medicare VNR. the daily show is awesome: one of the few tv sources that will occasionally give honest news commentary (couched as it is in jokes). but you can tell that the people there are all comedians because they acted generally surprised by the VNR issue. if they were "real" tv newscasters they would know too well that VNRs are indeed common practice.

oh yeah, & if you thought constitutional amendments were the biggest hurdle for gay-marriage advocates to overcome, you obviously don't live in tennessee:

DAYTON, Tenn. - The county that was the site of the Scopes "Monkey Trial" over the teaching of evolution is asking lawmakers to amend state law so the county can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature.

The Rhea County commissioners approved the request 8-0 Tuesday.

Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who introduced the measure, also asked the county attorney to find a way to enact an ordinance banning homosexuals from living in the county.

"We need to keep them out of here," Fugate said.

connie arrives today! her flight is scheduled to arrive at about 5:30, & i'm taking the next six days off work so i can properly enjoy her visit... but first i have a few more hours of workday to make it through.

we'll be doing lots of exciting things like eating at restaurants i haven't gotten to check out yet, going to clubs & shows (now that it's spring, things are happening again), maybe travelling around indiana visiting other interesting spots... & of course enjoying some private time together.

anyway, since i'll have a guest i'm not sure how much time i'll have to spend blogging after i leave work today... naturally i will still check email & all that, but i probably won't make a lot of blog entries unless there are exciting events to recap (like the show on saturday).

it will be nice to go on vacation, even if i don't make it out of the bedroom very often.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004 
speaking of salon, remember that excellent expose on neocon infiltration of the pentagon that i posted last week? predictably, the right wing attack dogs have started in on its author.

Kwiatkowski's right-wing critics could not challenge her facts, not a single one, so they immediately reached for the tar brush. The Wall Street Journal smeared her as "something of a right-wing crank." Max Boot, a conservative columnist for the Los Angeles Times, trashed her as "flaky." Then Clifford May, a hit man for the Republican National Committee, was given free reign by John Gibson, host of Fox News' "The Big Show," to drag the 20-year Air Force veteran through the mud after Fox turned off her microphone -- one more bold display of the network's commitment to fairness and balance. Once she was silenced, Gibson and May smeared Lt. Col. Kwiatkowski as an "anarchist" with "radical associations" to political weirdoes like Lyndon LaRouche.

salon has a great interview with an npr commentator who was fired for dropping the f-bomb in a prerecorded segment (she & the engineer intended to bleep the word, but the engineer forgot to do so, so she got fired... while the engineer was merely "given some probation").

after acting all wishy-washy for days, her local affiliate finally offered her her job back. but she refused, saying "I would not feel comfortable going back to work there. How many times do you want to get shot through the cannon?"

hmm... so not only did bushco lie in order to pass the recent medicare bill, but they demanded that other govt employees also lie? check out the lead from
this editorial in the sf chronicle

AFTER FIRST covering up and then misrepresenting the facts about the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Bush administration is now shamelessly working to further mislead the public by staging phony "news reports" about how well the law will work.

Last November, during the heat of the congressional debate on the law, the White House reportedly threatened to fire a top Medicare official if he told the truth about the cost of what President Bush described as a $400 billion Medicare bill.

uh, what? but wait, it gets juicier:

In order to sell the complicated and skimpy plan to seniors, the Department of Health and Human Services is paying actors to pose as journalists in bogus TV "news'' reports. Videos have been sent to TV stations, along with government-prepared scripts for news anchors to read. The idea is to make propaganda appear to be unbiased news during prime-time viewing.

It's a covert effort to exploit both the press and public. Coupled with the misinformation about the bill, it paints an alarming picture of a White House unconstrained about using deceit.

tasty. but the wording suggests that nobody at the chronicle has ever heard of a VNR (video news release) before. VNRs are actually extremely common in television "news"; they're basically the video equivalent of a press release, & they are routinely passed on by "news" outlets as though they are news rather than mere public relations.

indeed, here are some things the nytimes has to say:

"The use of video news releases is a common, routine practice in government and the private sector," Mr. Keane said. "Anyone who has questions about this practice needs to do some research on modern public information tools."

But Democrats disagreed. "These materials are even more disturbing than the Medicare flier and advertisements," said Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey. "The distribution of these videos is a covert attempt to manipulate the press."

i definitely agree with the democrats, but to a certain extent i agree with keane too: VNRs are a "common, routine practice in government and the private sector". & people (hell, everyone who watches tv) should definitely "do some research on modern public information tools"... because anyone with even a sliver of ethical conviction will see what a disgusting fraud VNRs are. but here's more background from the nytimes:

"Video news releases" have been used for more than a decade. Pharmaceutical companies have done particularly well with them, producing news-style health features about the afflictions their drugs are meant to cure.

The videos became more prominent in the late 1980's, as more and more television stations cut news-gathering budgets and were glad to have packaged news bits to call their own, even if they were prepared by corporations seeking to sell products.

As such, the videos have drawn criticism from some news media ethicists, who consider them to be at odds with journalism's mission to verify independently the claims of corporations and governments.

Government agencies have also produced such videos for years, often on subjects like teenage smoking and the dangers of using steroids. But the Medicare materials wander into more controversial territory.

i hope this story shines some light on the deceitful practices of VNRs, since it seems the average person doesn't know about them. alas, i don't actually expect the story to get far before everyone starts to ignore it.

Monday, March 15, 2004 
took my car in for 30,000 mile service this morning. i actually exceeded 30,000 miles months ago (i'm closer to 37-38k now) & have been meaning to take it in, hell, probably since before the snowy season started in december (& can you believe we're supposed to have another winter storm tonight? beware the ides of march indeed).

but connie arrives in a couple days, & we might be driving around indiana looking at amish people & stuff like that, so i figured the time was right to actually take the car in for service. it's always good to have a well-tuned vehicle for road trips.

i waited in the waiting room for the dealer's shuttle to return so i could get a ride to the office. then, naturally, my manager was walking by right as i arrived here & sent me an email about how i should always call ahead if i'm going to be more than a few minutes late. oh well; it's not like i'm really in trouble about it.

someone from the dealer just called & recommended i have my wiper blades replaced, as well as telling me that my front brake pads are "borderline" & "it's debatable, depending how you drive, whether they would make it to the next service." i told them to go ahead & fix it all. i will probably wait too long for my next service anyway, so i'd rather have good brakes. that will add another $150 or so to my total, probably making this a $400 service, but whatever. my car should be in tip-top shape when they're done & that's worth some money. i do have the money (i think; today is payday & i get my bonus today in addition to my paystub.... the money for both has apparently been in my "available balance" since saturday night, although my "current balance" doesn't show it yet... it's odd to have such a big discrepancy between those two values, but i'm sure that will be resolved soon, probably within a few hours)

Sunday, March 14, 2004 
so when i got up this morning our internet connexion was on the fritz. every so often our roadrunner service gets so bad it's pretty much useless. that was enough to motivate to leave the house after lunch & venture to the new sam ash store (they bought out all the mars locations when mars went bankrupt). it's actually quite a lot like mars was: the layout has changed a little (but only a little, some rooms being moved around), & it can still take 30 minutes just to get some help from the staff. once you get them to help you, they'll pay a lot of attention to you, but it takes awhile to get them to help at all (which i think is probably symptomatic of the walmartization of all shopping: put tons of equipment in one store & then understaff seems to be business as usual now).

but eventually i got someone to hook up the display kp2 for me (he didn't hook up any audio inputs, but at least hooked up the output & midi so i could play with some of the synth functions. & hell, it would be fun to have just for the synths, without even playing with the 80 other fx. then the sales guy asked me what kind of stuff i do... i said "experimental electronic stuff" to which he said "idm" to which i said "kinda, if that even means anything." after chuckling about that, he asked "like venetian snares?"

other people in town know who venetian snares is now. weird. & just recently i found out that the peeps who run the local "dnb night" (drbmd & i have been meaning to hit that but haven't gotten to it yet) are booking enduser on march 27, then booking doormouse & blaerg on april 20. breakcore has broken through in indy... while we at bad taste still toil in relative obscurity, after 5+ years of promoting & producing in the area.

anyway, they had one kp2 in stock (in a box) & yeah, i bought it. soon i will hook it into my mixer & start playing around with it, but i think i need to get some cleaning done first... chores chores chores

i'm getting a huge bonus this year, which is a nice change from the past few years. but i guess we actually exceeded some goals for once (the brady games imprint was our biggest earner by far). payday isn't until monday but i think i already got my check (bonus included) & on top of that i should receive my tax refund soon.

with all this money coming in, it seems like i should treat myself to something nice. yeah, i'm getting records pressed but technically i'm using (old) inheritance money for that. & connie's coming to visit this week; i'm taking a week's vacation & surely i'll blow some money for that. but that's not quite the same either. i need some tech toy; something tangible to show for it. it's a disgusting consumeristic urge, i know, but hey... it's a lot of money (relatively) to come in at once... & although monday is payday, apparently my direct deposit went through sometime late this afternoon.

it would be nice to get a tivo; i definitely will be getting one of those rather soon. but then i just thought it would be pretty nice to get a KP2 kaoss pad. i can pick it up at sam ash for $300. quahogs played one at rr7 & it sounded awesome; unfortunately that set didn't get recorded so i can't listen again to verify its awesomeness, but i seem to remember him using it to get some pretty neat dsp fx. i've been dying to get some dsp fx in general, & have been hungry to add some new live fx to my live performances, so if it's half as cool as i expect it is, i should get one.

of course, if i want to use it for the show on the 20th, i should get it ASAP so i can practice with it. this is always how i buy these kinds of things. i make the decision to buy impulsively, & i will price shop, maybe stop at a couple stores, but then i always buy that same day. i actually was drooling over the KP2s a couple months ago but then money was tighter due to xmas/vacation bills (plus i hadn't paid any of the record expenses yet) so i knew i had to hold off buying it. then i forgot for a few months, & just remembered just now. i have the money, i have gigs coming up, i've only heard rave reviews... hell, i can easily afford the tivo and the kp2.

Friday, March 12, 2004 
ups & downs today. first microsoft word send me into a murderous rage. somedays the program is only irritating, & i only spend 5-10% or so of my time fighting the program to force it to do what i want (i mean, really simple basic things that it just doesn't want to do the easy way, or stupid glitches like when i'm spell-checking & it tells me "this feature has not been installed. would you like to install it now?" & i'm like "you stupid piece of shit, just spell check the document!" & then it goes "word could not find the french dictionary" & i'm like "what french?"). but days like today are much more intense battles, where i start to feel all violent & i just want to cut loose on some microsoft employee... it doesn't even have to be bill gates, just some m$ lackey from the office team i can toss around the room screaming "why is this software such a piece of garbage?!"

that wasn't really helped by the fact that i'd already heard on npr that the california supreme court had placed an injunction on san francisco, stating that no more gay marriage licenses could be granted until the court reviews whether newsom had the right to ignore prop 22 & issue the licenses. however, the court did not say that the licenses already issued are invalid, or anything of the sort. so the battle is far from over, & the homophobes still might lose in the long run.

it wasn't helped by the fact that i'd also heard that massachusetts took the first step to passing an anti-gay amendment, or that i read an excellent expose on salon about how the DoD twisted intelligence to suit neocon objectives.

and then i found out that i won't get my test pressings for true data until late next week or early the following week... to the extent that i'll be lucky if i even have my tests before the the show on march 20 (& it would be really nice to have those tests at the show so i can listen to them over the big PA)

but then i found out that i will appear on a huge new indianapolis-based mp3cd compilation due out next month. so that's kind of good news, especially since i am just about the only artist who already knows whether they're on it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004 
the miami herald has broken a story alleging that police are profiling rappers.

Officers say they have photographed rappers as they arrived at Miami International Airport. They stake out hotels, nightclubs and video shoots. They consult a six-inch-thick black binder of every rapper and member of his or her group with an arrest record in the state of New York. The binder begins with a photo and rap sheet of Grammy-nominated rapper 50 Cent. It ends with Ja Rule. Both men are embroiled in one of the most bitter feuds in the hip-hop industry, one that Eminem, 50 Cent's producer, has warned in the song Bully could lead to bloodshed.

The policing effort of top entertainers -- which hip-hop experts criticize as unnecessary stereotyping -- was created, police say, to protect the public and musical celebrities who have chosen to make South Florida their destination to live and party.

''We have to keep an eye on these rivalries,'' said Assistant Miami Beach Police Chief Charles Press. ``The last thing we need in this city is violence.''

yeah, no violence in miami... except for that whole "let's beat the living shit out of anyone who dares to protest the FTAA" thing.

the story (and the miami cops) even allege that the miami police received their "hip hop training" from new york police's "hip hop task force" (nypd denies that). boy am i glad that bush's tax cuts didn't cut into our police's "racial profiling" tax.

anyway, if you need a really offensively ignorant comment, a borderline racist comment from a cop to show just how stupid this is, you're in luck!

''A lot if not most rappers belong to some sort of gang,'' Miami police Sgt. Rafael Tapanes said. ``We keep track of their arrests and associates.''

whoa nelly.

asbury park NJ will stop issuing gay marriage licenses (did i miss the story stating that they would start issuing them?)

oh well; they're not giving up the fight entirely, just moving the battle into the courts:

Council members said they would seek a declaratory judgment affirming that a gay marriage ceremony performed Monday by the city's deputy mayor was legal and that the city could continue issuing marriage licenses to gays.

No timetable was set. In the meantime, officials said, the city would accept no more applications and consider all pending applications denied.

now this is just weird.

yesterday i quoted a newsweek article stating that bush had used actors in place of firefighters in his recent ads.

later i posted that the article had been changed, & the portion i'd quoted was missing.

but now, & this is the really suspicious part, it appears that they have changed it back. or at least, when i revisit the page now, the original version is back.

it'd be enough to think i was going crazy if several other bloggers hadn't also posted about the disappearance (so far it looks like only a couple have noticed the reappearance yet). so unless something is seriously wrong with my eyes or my internet cache, newsweek has changed it back.

so wtf was that about? i could've bought that the first change was simply a correction, that there were in fact no fake firefighters & newsweek had just done a sloppy job of correcting the error. i was suspicious, but i could've believed that. but changing it, then changing it back the next day (after several bloggers noticed the edit)? still with no disclaimer or explanation at the bottom of the page? that is too shady to be believed.

Monday, March 08, 2004 
i can't stop posting!!!!

remember a few hours ago when i posted the fake-firefighter flap in bush's tv ads?

buzzflash has noticed that newsweek has edited the original article i quoted... and has removed an integral section (including the part i quoted!). buzzflash kindly links to the google cache of the article.

here was the original wording:

Another less-publicized aspect of the ad flap: the use of paid actors—including two playing firefighters with fire hats and uniforms in what looks like a fire station. "Where the hell did they get those guys?" cracked Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which has endorsed John Kerry, when he first saw the ads. (A union spokesman said the shots prompted jokes that the fire hats looked like the plastic hats "from a birthday party.") "There's many reasons not to use real firemen," retorted one Bush media adviser. "Mainly, its cheaper and quicker."

& here is the redacted version:

Another, less publicized aspect of the ad flap: Everyone but the firefighters were paid actors. The firefighters posing in a firehouse was "stock" film footage of volunteer firefighters -- shot and available for purchase to the general public.

that's quite a significant change, with no little [ed] comments or errata notes to disclaim that a change was made. first there are two fake firefighters, and now there are none?

i suppose it's possible that this is an actual correction, & they were all real firefighters. but if so i would expect an editor's note/correction at the bottom of the page. the fact that there isn't one there is mightily suspicious.


damn. i guess knowing is better than the months of endless wondering & worrying that followed the original announcement that he had disappeared, but at least we could hope that he would turn up okay.

spalding gray, you will be missed.

supreme court ideologue anton scalia is in the news again for yet another alleged conflict of interest! this time for speaking in front of a gay-basher group while deliberating about the texas antisodomy law.

Scalia's activities outside the court in two other instances — both involving hunting trips — have also drawn criticism for suggesting partiality on cases before his court. But the Philadelphia dinner May 20, unlike the other cases, shows him appearing to support partisan advocates on a hotly disputed issue.

The code of conduct for the federal courts broadly warns judges against conduct that "would create in reasonable minds … a perception that the judge's ability to carry out judicial responsibilities with integrity, impartiality and competence is impaired."

It says a judge may participate in civic and charitable activities that "do not reflect adversely upon the judge's impartiality."

Supreme Court justices are not bound by the judicial code, which applies to all other federal judges. The high court makes its own rules on outside judicial behavior, but cites the code as its main guideline.

ps. this is my seventh post for today... a news blitz big enough to last the whole week!

political cartoonist ted rall has had his cartoons pulled from the new york times website.

rall is justifiably convinced that the decision was made in response to pressure from conservatives (why else does anything get cancelled these days?):

The ONLY reason they're dropping me is because they're tired of dealing with Republican hate mail--most of it from people who don't even read the New York Times, but fire off rote complaints against liberal bête noires as part of their daily regimen.

even the time ombudsman, while bending over backward to defend the decision, concedes it wasn't the ideal way to handle the situation:

Why not just continue what he and his colleagues have been doing, rejecting Rall cartoons that don't meet Times standards? It's worked up until now.

according to E!, family guy will officially come back with new episodes! and on top of that, seth mcfarlane has another new animated show in the works as well!

as a john waters fan, i don't know what to make of plans to remake hairspray as an onscreen musical. but my initial reaction is i don't like it.

i haven't seen the broadway version of hairspray & don't know if i'll ever get a chance to either. but considering how hard it it to do an effective movie musical, i don't have the highest hopes.

not only that, but E! hasn't been doing its homework.

Hairspray is the second major musical along the Great White Way to follow the screen-to-stage-to-screen trajectory.

In January, Universal Pictures announced plans to make a new Producers film based on the Broadway version starring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.

what about little shop of horrors? that started as a roger corman film, became an off-broadway musical, which was reinterpreted into a movie musical starring rick moranis... & now there's a broadway version. technically i guess it wasn't on broadway before the film came out, but so what? broadway is little more than a "brand" used to designate that some theatres are somehow superior to all others, simply because they happen to be located on one particular street, as if geography & quality really have anything to do with each other.

seattle will start recognizing gay marriages from elsewhere, says the mayor.

seattle will not start actually issuing marriage license, because that responsibility falls to the county rather than the city according to washington law. but at least gay seattlites who can afford it can take a trip down to portland, get married, & have their marriages legally binding in their own hometown.

gop threatens a young republican running for congress: "Just consider what you're doing now. You don't want to have the freakin' president of the United States mad at you for the rest of your life."

what was this young republicans offense, his crime so heinous that it would make an enemy of the white house? he dared to actually run for office! against whoever the gop has anointed for that seat. & who is the chosen son?

Incumbent Ralph Hall had represented the district as a Democrat for more than 20 years until January, when he switched parties and joined the GOP. "I think I can get re-elected much easier if I run as a Republican," Hall told The Associated Press at the time. The GOP, naturally concerned that their newest member could be attacked in a primary for his defection and his comments to the AP, wanted to make the race easier for Hall. According to Murphy, before getting the call from Reynolds, he was twice contacted by the Republican Party of Texas, which also advised him to drop out. He didn't, which is when the NRCC took over the "get-Murphy-out" push.

the gop howls like the wicked witch of the west when jim jeffords dares to defect from the gop & go independent. but if a democrat switches over to their side, they will go so far as to threaten other republicans to stay out of the man's way. interesting.

team bush recently started airing its first big tv ads for the 2004 campaign. a lot of people are pretty upset at the ads' cynical use of shots of firefighters & other 9/11 imagery for cheap emotional effect.

the fact that bushco would use such imagery is hardly surprising. after all, they've been taking advantage of the 9/11 tragedy ever since it happened. the interesting twist here is that the firefighters in the ads were paid actors, not real firemen.

"There's many reasons not to use real firemen," retorted one Bush media adviser. "Mainly, its cheaper and quicker."

so it's cheaper to hire actors & orchestrate a shoot than to fish around in the archives & find some actual stock footage of firefighters? somehow i doubt that.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004 
gay marriage licenses in oregon!

and nyack, a second town in new york, plans to start officiating same-sex marriages as well! that makes 4 chains!

but also in new york, state attorney general eliot spitzer is interpreting law to mean same-sex marriage is prohibited.

Mr. Spitzer made his decision based on the language of the Domestic Relations Law's references to "bride and groom" and "husband and wife." But he said New York's marriage laws raise constitutional questions involving equal protection, and that any uncertainty in that regard must be decided by the courts.

the end result of this is that new paltz's mayor jason west now faces 19 criminal charges against him. west is accused of performing weddings without marriage licenses.

Mr. West said he was upholding the state constitution's equal protection requirement by conducting the ceremonies.

Asked about the article of the state law that describes marriages as between a husband and a wife, Mr. West said that the law also had a list of types of marriages that were "voidable," such as any between "close relatives."

"That is a section that explicitly lays out who cannot be married," Mr. West said in the CNN interview. "Same-sex couples are not on that list."

He added, "We have over 1,200 couples on our waiting list."

Mayor West could be fined up to $500 and sentenced to up to a year in jail for each count. Ulster County District Attorney Donald A. Williams, who brought the charges, said a jail term was not being contemplated.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004 
"a modern way to have a modern kidnapping"

no matter how adamantly colin powell insists the allegations are "absurd", the idea that aristide was forced out of office by the US will not die. in fact, aristide himself is now the one saying he was "kidnapped":

Aristide alleged in telephone interviews Monday with CNN and The Associated Press that he was ''forced to leave'' Haiti by U.S. military forces who said they would ''start shooting and killing'' if he refused.

''I was forced to leave,'' he said. ``They were telling me that if I don't leave they would start shooting.''

When asked who ''they'' were, he responded, ''White American, white military.'' He added: ``They came at night. . . . There were too many. I couldn't count them.''

yet another case of whitey trying to keep a brother down? that's a definite contrast to the understated version of events put forth by us ambassador luis moreno:

Moreno, who has known Aristide for a decade, described their conversations early Sunday as ''amicable, but somber.'' He said at no time was there any pressure nor was Aristide physically forced to flee.

Moreno said he told Aristide that it was too bad he had to abandon his presidency. He said Aristide responded in English: ``Sometimes, life goes like that.''

i can just picture them both politely sipping tea through this conversation... too bad your career is in shambles, old chum, wot wot? moreno says, dipping his scone as he skims over the resignation letter. right spot of bad luck, aristide replies, now could you pass the milk?

according to the la times, some congressmen & some in the un tell a different story:

But in statements throughout Monday, Aristide and supporters including Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) — who spoke to him by phone — insisted that the story was quite different.

Rangel, after meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and five other members of the Congressional Black Caucus at the United Nations in New York, said Aristide's resignation letter had been dictated to him by American officials.

Asked if Aristide was kidnapped, Rangel replied: "That's subjective. You can either stay and get shot, or leave with the military. He chose to leave with the military. So I suspect that you may have a hard time prosecuting the kidnapping. But it was against his will."

Waters, in a news conference in Los Angeles, said, "I'm convinced that our country has been involved in a regime change." In the same way that the U.S. has sought to undermine leaders such as Cuba's Fidel Castro, she said, Aristide was pushed out because "these are leaders of governments who are not considered to be puppets of our country."

A Haitian diplomat said Monday that a copy of the resignation letter was faxed to him by the U.S. State Department. The diplomat said that led him to believe that Aristide did not write the letter and lent credence, he believed, to Aristide's claim that his departure was coerced. In his CNN interview, Aristide said that his resignation letter had been doctored.

obviously someone is lying.

Monday, March 01, 2004 
good news! there is at least one principled republican in indiana: or at least there was. maybe it would be more accurate to say there is now one fewer principled republican here:

The President's support of banning gay marriage is causing a Bloomington Republican Bloomington Precinct Committeeman to quit.

Mark Brostoff says he could no longer be a Republican after President Bush announced his support last week for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Brostoff says " I think gay rights is too important of an issue personally as an openly gay person to stand by when a party I've spent many many hours and financially to support, turns around and says we're going to try to amend the constitution and put you down to a second class citizen."

that "he could no longer be a Republican" sounds like there's a chance he isn't leaving the party, but i think it was just poor word choice. check the wrtv wording for a comparison:

Mark Brostoff said he decided he could no longer be a Republican after Bush announced his support last week for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

as an editor, i hope we hire a bunch of iranian authors soon. because then, it would be illegal for me to edit those books. according to the nytimes:

Anyone who publishes material from a country under a trade embargo is forbidden to reorder paragraphs or sentences, correct syntax or grammar, or replace "inappropriate words," according to several advisory letters from the Treasury Department in recent months.

Adding illustrations is prohibited, too. To the baffled dismay of publishers, editors and translators who have been briefed about the policy, only publication of "camera-ready copies of manuscripts" is allowed.

The Treasury letters concerned Iran. But the logic, experts said, would seem to extend to Cuba, Libya, North Korea and other nations with which most trade is banned without a government license.

speaking of us-backed coups against democratically elected officials, hugo chavez thinks the us is still trying to oust him (after a failed us-backed coup against him in 2002).

chavez also calls bush an asshole. if only he'd said major league asshole...

arisitide has fled hait, & us marines & french troops are on their way in. but how big a role is the us actually playing in this? the nytimes claims that aristide called up the american ambassador asking for ideas of where he could flee to.

but an alleged eyewitness says differently. he says aristide was forced out at gunpoint by american soldiers. (before anyone points out that this report is from a french news agency, also keep in mind that french troops are going to haiti too, so spreading false rumors about this story would not be doing france any favors)

could this be yet another us-led coup? we haven't had one of those in... well... months. or is this man alleging to be aristide's caretaker just an opportunist?

why did the us refuse to send troops until aristide quit? lots of people are suspicious, like according to the kansas city star/knight ridder, several congressmen & foreign diplomats think bushco was trying to force out aristide all along:

But Rep. Charles Rangel, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus who was deeply involved in restoring Aristide to power in 1994, said the United States must shoulder much of the blame for Aristide's fall and the chaos that brought it on.

"I don't know what's going on, but we are just as much a part of this coup d'etat as the rebels, looters or anyone else," Rangel, D-N.Y., said on ABC's "This Week."

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., echoed the sentiment. "Obviously the Bush administration had a plan from the beginning and it's played out now. Unfortunately so many Haitians had to lose their lives in that plan."

and also

At least one foreign diplomat who was part of the recent negotiations between Aristide and the opposition said it was clear that Washington had its own agenda during the mediation, when the United States refused to talk about sending in peacekeepers to help thwart the gunmen's uprising in the countryside as part of a peace plan.

"When they were refusing to address the security concerns, it was clear they had other things in mind," the diplomat said. "It was clear to me two weeks ago that Aristide was a goner."

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