stAllio!'s way
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.

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