stAllio!'s way
Wednesday, September 22, 2004 
i wrote this hours ago, but srn was suffering from yet another bout of chronic unscheduled downtime, so i've been unable to actually post...

so yeah, i've been reading more blogs the past few days, because just browsing headlines at sites like google news or buzzflash isn't really using the power of blogging to its full advantage, right?

so the other day i came across a link (probably on dailykos) to an analysis on mydd comparing the top right-wing and left-wing politiblogs. there are some interesting conclusions there about why/how the right-wing blogs have been more effective at pushing stories into the mainstream media (see "memogate", for example). there's also some interesting stuff about "stickiness":

The lower the stickiness of a blog, the higher the relative traffic value of a link from that blog to the blog being linked. In other words, a blog where there isn't much to do besides visit (no comments, few or no special pages, short articles), will cause a higher percentage of its traffic base to visit a blog that it links than will a blog with high stickiness (diaries, long articles,
polls, comments, arguments, many special pages, etc).

i like comments, and stickiness. it's very nice to see people commenting on my posts, even if the posters tend to be from a small subsection of my circle of friends (there are exceptions, like when the great white hype replied to my post about him or the guy who seemingly posted a comment to my "rev moon coronation" post simply to pimp his book on the subject).

another nice thing about the mydd analysis is that it lists/links to the top 7 politiblogs (on both the right and the left, in terms of traffic), so i've taken the opportunity to browse through all seven progressive blogs, a couple of which i hadn't been very familiar with.

that's a lot of stuff to read, since some of them (especially dailykos) have quite a lot of content. one of the most interesting phenomena at sites like dkos are the "open threads". these are threads where the actual poster doesn't post any content at all (!), leaving it up to the commenters to take control of the discussion and see where it leads. these aren't small threads either: some have 200-300 comments or more! that's a lot of stuff to wade through: some of it's very high-quality, but wow, so much material...

on one of those blogs (i thought it was atrios but i can't find the post) linked to this site, which lists a bunch of progressive blogs organized by state. naturally, indiana is colored in pink to indicate the strong hold that the GOP has over all the rednecks and corn farmers here.

i went through some of the indiana blogs and stumbled across a blog by one of my co-workers (at least she works for the same parent company, in the same building) where there was a nice post about the awful "auto-flushing" toilets here in the building, which constantly

speaking of malfunctioning, i noticed on steph's blog that she was a member of a few webrings: indianapolis blogs and indiana blogs. the links didn't work in any logical fashion (sometimes clicking next or prev would take you to the same site, and the random link wasn't very random) but i browsed through some of the indiana blogs for awhile... i found a few progressive blogs, a few more conservative blogs (highlight: andrew sullivan is a "traitor" for daring to back down from his once-fawning deification of bush), and countless "day in the life of a college student" blogs.

that's a lot of blogreading, & i haven't even gotten my friends' personal blogs (tfy, quahogs, your girlfriend, &c.)

more on the horrible threat posed by cat stevens
hoo boy

According to government officials, Islam, 56, was red-flagged by a computer system that analyzes passenger data before international flights enter U.S airspace. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection's National Targeting Center matched Islam's name on the passenger list for the D.C-bound United jet, then relayed the information regarding a possible terrorist match to the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA, in turn, requested that the plane land at Bangor International.

The Washington Post reported that Islam is identified as "Usef Islam" on several government watch lists, including the no-fly list. According to some print and broadcast reports, Islam's name is on the lists because he allegedly contributed funds to groups supporting terrorism.

However, he was allowed to visit New York as recently as May for a charity event without incident. No immediate comment from the feds on why he was permitted to fly then and not now.

danger danger! don't let that man on a plane or else he might whip out his checkbook! let's hear what reuters has to say (as reprinted in wired):

Homeland Security spokesman Brian Doyle said Islam would be put on the first available flight back to Britain after his Washington D.C.-bound plane was diverted on Tuesday to Maine for security reasons.

"Why is he on the watch lists? Because of his activities that could be potentially linked to terrorism. The intelligence community has come into possession of additional information that further raises our concern (about Islam)," Doyle said.

A law enforcement official who asked not to be identified said the United States had information Islam had donated money to the militant Islamic group Hamas.

Islam was denied entry to Israel in 2000 after the authorities there accused him of supporting Hamas. The former pop star strongly denied the charges and said his charitable donations were for humanitarian causes.

so homesec has no answer except the vaguest of allegations. okay then. it's not like he has friends in the higher echelons of western democracy, right?

In Britain, Muslim groups also decried the deportation of Islam, who heads a trust that oversees Muslim schools in the country. He has met with Prime Minister Tony Blair, Home Secretary David Blunkett and heir to the British throne Prince Charles.

"This incident comes only to confirm the farcical and ultimately draconian standards and practices exercised by U.S. immigration authorities," said Anas Altikriti, a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain.

tony blair? prince charles? are they in the habit of hanging out with islamic terrorists?

there's a thread on dailykos suggesting that kerry should adopt a cat stevens song for his campaign. there's even a poll to vote for which song would be the best (i haven't voted).

like i posted on imn, this is a PR disaster any way you look at it:

option 1: he is innocent. the TSA and the govt look like chumps for preventing an innocent, world-famous celebrity and peace activist from entering the country.

option 2: he supports terrorists or is one himself. his name is on the watch list but this wasn't discovered until he was on the plane and the plane was already in the air. if he had somehow snuck a bomb on with him, he could've blown the whole plane to the promised land and the govt would look like chumps for failing to enforce their security watch lists.

although i suspect the truth is option 3: he's innocent, & the govt looks like chumps both for denying him entry and for not noticing he was on the watch list until it was too late.

the most astonishing thing is that i checked the "quickvote" poll on this cnn story and right now 56% have voted yes that "the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens be denied entry to the U.S. on national security grounds?"

where the fuck do these people come from? i know his music is annoying, but...

he should've taken the peace train instead
the only thing i really remember about cat stevens is that i hated his music the last time i had to listen to it. i thought it was the most annoying kind of hippy music. but i would still let him into the country!

i thought i was a music snob, but apparently the us govt is a harsher critic. today, cat (under his current name, yusuf islam) was on a plane to dulles when someone noticed that his name is on a government terror watch list. his plane was then diverted to bangor, and the peace activist/muslim teacher was refused entry into the united states.

the jokes come easily on this story but the whole thing is so ridiculous that no joke you could make would be as absurd as the story itself. of course, it's not the first time the us has refused entry to an allegedly pacifist muslim scholar, but it's the first time that scholar has had top 40 hits to his name.

(thanks to prnewswire, dailykos, and others for spotting this one... i've been reading a lot of blogs in the past couple days: maybe more on that to come)

Monday, September 20, 2004 
six feet photosculpture
if you've been watching six feet under as i have, you might've been intrigued by the art pieces featured in the final two episodes of this season: photo collage work where macro photos are taken of a subject's face, then torn up; the pieces are then pasted back together to create a collaged face mask, which the original subject wears while portraits are taken. that description might not be very clear, but these are some badass photos.

in the plot of the show, of course, this is claire's art (no more spoilers here). but who is the real artist responsible for this work? i even went to hbo's six feet under site hoping to find some of the images for download, but couldn't find them anywhere. mercifully, salon has a feature about artist david meanix, creator of the photos, along with a link to his website, with nice jpegs of his six feet under "photosculpture" along with a lot more of his work. thanks salon!

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