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Thursday, July 28, 2005 
photoshop ascending
following up on my earlier post about syntax's wallpaper bends...

syntax had posted the PSD (created in the GIMP) of his "ascent" bend, curious whether it would open and what it might look like if it did. well, it didn't. but something else interesting happened. the following is cross-posted from the comments on syntax's blog:

yeah, the file wouldn't open in either PS7 or PSCS2: i got the dread "not compatible with this version of photoshop" error. so i opened in the gimp and onscreen it looked a little different, so i saved as a JPG, but that JPG was identical to yours.

however, then i opted to re-save the PSD in the gimp. normally, re-saving a bent image within an image editor is a bad idea, as it essentially "fixes" the errors: instead of a corrupted file you get a "normal" file of the corrupted image. this eliminates the possibility of application-sensitive "re-bending" because it's no longer a bent file. but it did allow me to open the file in photoshop.

when i make a JPG out of the newly resaved PSD in the gimp, i still get that same result. but here's the surprising part: when i open the PSD in photoshop and make a JPG from that, it looks different (like it did onscreen in gimp):

maybe someday i'll write a thorough analysis comparing photoshop vs the gimp for opening PSD files, as there are definitely some peculiar differences between how the two render. photoshop usually seems to be the idiosyncratic one. the gimp is usually more straightforward, but not entirely so, at least in this case.

flippin' the bird
by now you've surely seen this picture, and maybe even the video it was taken from:

(i could've sworn i blogged about the video, but can't track down that post just now...)

last night leno aired some brand new video footage that appears to be bush yet again flipping off the press as he walks away from him. this morning, john at americablog posted about the video, along with a link. by the end of the day, the white house had called him to say that bush was in fact giving the "thumb's up" gesture.

but weirdly, when reporters asked scotty mcclellan about it, he refused to deny it.

if it's so outrageous that scotty won't even "dignify it with a response", then why did the white house bother to actually contact bloggers about the story? and if it's important enough to contact bloggers about, why can't scotty answer a question about it on the record?

watch it yourself: it's funny. maybe it is his thumb. but it sure as hell looks like a middle finger. and either way, the reactions--from the bile displayed in the onegoodmove comments to the bizarre bipolarity of the white house's response--are interesting.

bending wallpapers
the syntax of things has begun a new image databending experiment: he has started bending windows xp wallpapers!

i've put up this one as the wallpaper on my work machine:

check out this entry and this one too to read more and to download the full-sized versions.

and while you're there, check out this post for a bent photograph of the asheville skyline... that blue-green shift can be pretty effective for skylines (though i suspect a blue-red shift would look even cooler).


Wednesday, July 27, 2005 
raises for everybody!
by now, many have noticed that whenever someone in the bush administration fucks up, they get a raise. wolfowitz is now at the world bank. condi is the new national security advisor. and so on. so it's not a big surprise that, now that karl rove and scooter lewis are at the center of a big political scandal, one where they could be indicted and even sent to jail as convicted felons, bush is giving them a raise. (courtesy americablog)

some white house counsels also got raises. so why did bush hire an outside attorney to represent him in the CIA leak case when he has all these top-notch well-paid attorneys already in his administration? john dean, former counsel to the nixon white house and an important player in bringing down that administration, thinks he knows why: the logical conclusion is that bush knows more than he's admitted to knowing, and he can't confess that to white house lawyers becase ken starr destroyed the concept of "attorney-client privelege" in regard to white house counsel.

of course, the real news of the day is this washington post article with lots of new information:

The special prosecutor in the CIA leak probe has interviewed a wider range of administration officials than was previously known, part of an effort to determine whether anyone broke laws during a White House effort two years ago to discredit allegations that President Bush used faulty intelligence to justify the Iraq war, according to several officials familiar with the case.

Prosecutors have questioned former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials, and even a stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street.

the story does a good job of summarizing what we know about the investigation. and it confirms for the infinity+1th time that plame was indeed undercover and that the CIA explicitly warned novak not to mention plame's name:

Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified.

this post by hunter on dkos also very nicely collects some of the biggest revelations in the case that happened while i was AFB (away from blog) last week.

catching up on roberts
so supreme court nominee john roberts is a catholic... and apparently an actively practicing one. as a former catholic myself, that fact in itself doesn't trouble me much... after all, we have some pretty prominent liberal/centrist catholics in US politics, from the kennedys to john kerry. and politically, the majority of american catholics tend to be, like the kennedys and kerry, much more liberal than the church itself.

adam at ITA analyzes the religious breakdown of the supreme court and finds that if/when roberts is confirmed, there will be four catholics on the bench, more than any other faith. this is significant, as an indicator that anti-catholic prejudice has largely subsided in modern times. it wasn't that long ago that anti-catholicism was almost as widespread as antisemitism.

but adam also points out that these supreme catholics are not liberal, like most american catholics are. scalia is even a member of the arch-conservative double-super-secret group opus dei. in global terms, these guys are conservative catholics. in american terms, they (with the possible exception of justice kennedy) are extreme-far-right catholics.

adam thinks that much of the discussion of roberts's faith is simply an excuse to find bad things to say about him. in some cases, maybe, but we don't need to discuss the man's faith to find reasons to criticize him... his record has plenty others. but michael at americablog makes a very strong point about why it might be significant:

As a Supreme Court justice and a Catholic, Roberts will be faced with issues where voting one way could expose him to refusal of Communion and even excommunication from his Church. That is extraordinary and NEW pressure that Catholics have never faced before. In the past, the Church went out of its way to dismiss as absurd any idea that Catholic politicians would be puppets of Rome. Now the Church says very explicitly that politicians MUST do as Rome says or suffer the consequences. This is a BRAND NEW situation that has never been in effect. Roberts is the FIRST Supreme Court nominee who will be put into his lifetime position with this added pressure weighing down on him.

As a Catholic myself, I could state publicly that I see my duty to the American people first and my faith second and that the bishops are wrong to insist faith must trump the Constitution. We live in a democracy, not a theocracy, and I see a great danger in placing any one faith above any other in the public sphere. I would also challenge those bishops publicly on their inconsistency -- threatening to refuse communion over abortion but not over capital punishment; having the Pope condemn a war as unjust but insisting it would be a sin to NOT vote for the president that began it and so on.

indeed, we now live in a world where prominent bishops declared that john kerry (who is in many ways a typical catholic) should be denied communion. and not just that, but the new pope seems to agree. so, would roberts be willing to defy an increasingly belligerently hardline-conservative church? even if they threaten to deny him the eucharist? (keep in mind that eucharist is not symbolic for catholics: it is literally transformed into the body/blood of christ, so denying communion is a pretty big smack in the face.) it's the same problem that ashcroft had: it's fine if you're religious, but to be good at upholding/interpreting the law, you need to choose a master: the law or the church. we know that ashcroft chose poorly, so how would roberts choose? if it's true that "he would recuse himself from cases involving abortion, the death penalty or other subjects where Catholic teaching and civil law can clash", then he will be one sucky justice, as he'll have to recuse him from the bulk of the most-important cases.

anyway, since roberts has only been an actual judge for a couple years, those who want to know a bit about him have to look elsewhere to find his paper trail. unsurprisingly, the bush administration adamantly refuses to release what are probably the most controversial parts of roberts's record. but they have released some documents:

Newly released documents show that John G. Roberts Jr. was a significant backstage player in the legal policy debates of the early Reagan administration, confidently debating older Justice Department officials and supplying them with arguments and information that they used to wage a bureaucratic struggle for the president's agenda.

Roberts presented a defense of bills in Congress that would have stripped the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over abortion, busing and school prayer cases; he argued for a narrow interpretation of Title IX, the landmark law that bars sex discrimination in intercollegiate athletic programs; and he even counseled his boss on how to tell the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow that the administration was cutting off federal funding for the Atlanta center that bears his name.
In the rare instances revealed in the documents in which Roberts disagreed with his superiors on the proper legal course to take on major social issues of the day, he advocated a more conservative tack.

atrios pulls the most offensive quotes so i don't have to. the released documents paint a picture of a man who passionately despises roe v wade, affirmative action, equal treatment of males and females, and so on.

the docs also show that roberts is no stranger to the supreme court nomination process.

The trusted role Roberts played at the Justice Department was evident from his first day on the job when he began helping prepare Sandra Day O'Connor for her nomination to the Supreme Court. Roberts has now been nominated to succeed her.

In a memo, he outlined a plan for O'Connor not unlike the one now being undertaken on his behalf: "The approach was to avoid giving specific responses to any direct questions on legal issues likely to come before the Court, but demonstrating in the response a firm command of the subject area and awareness of the relevant precedents and arguments."

indeed, roberts and the bush administration are already using this tactic, as atrios eloquently puts it:

It's weird, really, that the Right wants to nominate people to the Supreme Court whose opinions are as unknown as possible and then make it impossible to know them. They've turned Roberts into Schrodinger's cat, locked him in the box, and then argued if we take a peek inside we might find out that he's a dangerous wingnut and the nomination would be killed.

Monday, July 25, 2005 
it's been a dirty secret in the music industry for years that practically the only way to get music on corporate radio stations these days is bribe someone. in the business it's known as independent promotion, or by the more scandalous name payola. sometimes they bribe the radio djs, but more often, i think, they bribe the program manager for the station. the practice was supposedly done away with decades ago, the last time someone investigated the practice, but it never really went away; it just transmogrified into a new form.

new york attorney general eliot spitzer has been on the case, investigating these illegal practices, and his first victim has fallen: sony has agreed to stop its payola practices:

"This agreement is a model for breaking the pervasive influence of bribes in the industry," Mr. Spitzer said in a statement. "Contrary to listener expectations that songs are selected for airplay based on artistic merit and popularity, air time is often determined by undisclosed payoffs to radio stations and their employees."

Sony BMG, which represents Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Lopez, among dozens of others, admitted to the misconduct in a statement. "Sony BMG acknowledges that various employees pursued some radio promotion practices on behalf of the company that were wrong and improper, and apologizes for such conduct," the company said. "SONY BMG looks forward to defining a new, higher standard in radio promotion."

It also suggested that such practices were common in the industry, even though state and federal laws bar record labels from paying radio stations for air time. "Such direct and indirect forms of what has been described generically as "payola" for spins has continued to be an unfortunately prevalent aspect of radio promotion," the statement said.
The attorney general said that the enticements took several forms. Station programmers received bribes like computer laptops and vacation packages, or the label sponsored contests for a station's listeners. In other cases, Sony BMG paid some of a station's day-to-day expenses, or it hired middlemen known as independent promoters to make illegal payments to radio stations. Some Sony BMG employees also tried to hide payments to station employees by recording them as prizes to non-existent contest winners, the attorney general said.

spitzer's not stopping there, either. he's well on his way to prosecuting the other major labels if they don't also opt to settle.

it's the end of the day so i don't have much time for my own analysis... and as loathe as i am to link to foxnews, this column has some interesting additional details.

more precious pub memories
oh crap... i almost forgot to mention this, and it was easily my favorite memory of the night:

the pub has one of those new-fangled jukeboxes (the kind that's a little box on the wall with a small computer monitor, not the old-school kind that has actual cds or records inside). in between acts, the jukebox would play: the usual classic rock + top 40 jukebox fare.

at around 11:10 or so, cher's "believe" came on the jukebox. some tipsy, tanned blond girl in a flower-patterned skirt and a white tube top (or maybe it had spaghetti straps?) decided to jump onstage and sing along while one of her friends snapped a couple photos. she didn't think the mic was on, but i know it was because i had seen the mixing board, and the mic level was potted up fairly high. not that you could hear her very well over the crowd noise, etc, and not that she would've stopped had she known it was in fact on.

she got the bright idea to start swinging the mic around in a circle like a popstar. (not over her head, but in front of her.) naturally, the XLR connection came undone and the mic flew off its cable, into the air, and thumped down on the stage floor.

i laughed for a good three minutes about that one.

Sunday, July 24, 2005 
most hostile audience ever
MMS and NAMM were overall pretty cool. on friday afternoon we walked the floor at the NAMM summer session. that was fun; we saw lots of interesting booths and i picked up so many free magazines that the large roland shopping-style bag i'd picked up broke. we saw one "new" really cool band, the goodhands team on friday night. and we had a bunch of nice meals at various downtown restaurants (as well as the original pancake house in norgate).

saturday night we had a nice dinner at the claddagh, but things didn't go quite so well at the show:

showed up at the pub and was informed that there was no stage manager, no soundman, no monitors, and no backline provided. not too big a deal; my gear is compact and easy to hook up and i don't need a backline (though a couple other acts that needed the backline either had to play solo or didn't play at all). the other musicians i talked to were extremely friendly and helpful.

jennifer appelquist (who was supposed to go on before me) apparently didn't show (or maybe she did and left instead of playing?). so i had plenty of time to load in and set up (which was pretty easy), but i didn't go on until my slotted time of 11:30 because i had a feeling the crowd wouldn't want me to play long.

i had only been playing a couple minutes when some blond boy in a baby blue golf shirt started heckling, to the dismay of his table-mates. a couple minutes later, he came onstage and started asking me "what is this? what are you doing?" unsatisfied with my answers, he went back to his table and continued heckling, yelling things like "check please!"

most people in the crowd were polite enough to just ignore me, but others started heckling too. my favorite line came from a guy who yelled "i'm a professional dj! what the f*ck are you doing?!"

another guy, with curly hair and an MMS badge, came onstage to give me respect for doing "my own thing" in the face of adversity. "this takes balls," he said. "i'll be honest; it doesn't sound that good, but..." he wasn't into it, but he was cool.

clearly this crowd didn't want me to continue, and even without the heckling, hearing what i was doing was tricky without monitors, so i threw on a remix of the teenage mutant ninja turtles theme and ended my set early (after about 15-20 minutes).

when i was walking out to go get my car in order to load out, i heard one or two guys say "that was awesome", but they were sitting suspiciously close to the "professional dj" so i suspect they might not have been sincere.

apparently the band that was supposed to play after me, dark house sweet, didn't play either.

i knew this would be a weird show as i was added at the last minute and everyone else on the bill was a singer/songwriter or light pop-rock act. still, i got my money's worth just from all the free magazines i picked up at the NAMM trade show. free magazines! lots of 'em!

update: i posted most of this story on IMN... some of the comments are entertaining, like this one from derek of lunar event: "next time ask the professional DJ what strip club he works for."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 
out of office
virago comes into town tonight, with cat in tow, for one last visit to wrap up some last-minute stuff before she moves here in a couple weeks. i'll be taking tomorrow & friday off to spend time with her.

also, the midwest music summit is in town (i'm performing 11:30 saturday night at the pub), as well as the NAMM summer session, which is a huge music industry trade show.

so with all that going down this weekend, i don't expect i'll find a lot of time to blog. i could be wrong, but don't count on it.

roberts linked to iran-contra
since john roberts has only been a judge for a few years, he could easily wave away a lot of the most controversial parts of his career... like his anti-roe comments. he could just say "i don't believe that shit, but i was working for reagan, and that was the reagan administration's position." kind of a wishy-washy excuse, but a valid one.

however, that excuse probably does not extend to any possible criminal actions he might've taken part in. sherlock google on dkos turns up a naughty nugget from roberts's past:

Channell had years of experience in raising funds for conservative political causes. As a result, he was asked by White House officials early in 1985 to help organize a "Nicaraguan Refugee Fund Dinner" to raise money for the contra cause. Channell became disenchanted with the way the dinner-planning had been conducted, and in April 1985 he approached White House political director Edward Rollins to offer his assistance in promoting President Reagan's contra policies.

He was referred to White House political aide John Roberts, who in turn directed him to Miller, a private public relations consultant who ran a firm known as International Business Communications (IBC).3 According to Channell, Roberts told him that Miller and his partner Frank Gomez "are the White House -- outside the White House."
In the spring of 1987 Channell and Miller each pleaded guilty to a felony: conspiracy to defraud the United States. Together they provided extensive information about their fundraising activities. The pleas were based on Channell and Miller's illegal use of a tax-exempt organization to raise funds for non-charitable items, including weapons and other lethal supplies for the contras.

matchmaker, matchmaker... roberts hooked these two aspiring contra-funders up with each other, and they went out to make beautiful felonies together. (congress had passed the boland amendment "to prohibit covert assistance for military operations in Nicaragua", so funding the contras in any capacity was at best quasi-legal and at worst damned illegal.)

the anti-music workshop
meatsock is an electronic musician, bad taste associate, and new member of animals within animals. he also has a radio show on WHUS (hartford CT).

his show, the anti-music workshop features a broad range of electronic musics, from breakcore to experimental to rough&dirty dance music. plus meatsock is known to premiere some of his own work, bring in guests, or just play around with mixing. it's a fun listen. (also, recently he's been including lots of stAllio! material in his shows.)

he now has a blog for the show, featuring mp3s and occasional playlists from past shows. it's not complete, but hell, it's only been there a few days.

i'm not in any of the shows that have playlists that are currently up, but i do know that he mixes in virtually the entirety of my true data 12" on his 6-30 show, archived here, and i've been played in at least a couple other shows that may or may not be included here now or in the future.

RIP james doohan
the man beloved to geeks worldwide as "scotty" on star trek has passed away. for some reason, i thought he had already joined deforrest kelley in the final frontier some time ago, but i guess i was mistaken.
James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and movies who responded to the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died Wednesday. He was 85.

Doohan died at 5:30 a.m. at his Redmond, Wash., home with his wife of 28 years, Wende, at his side, Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens said. The cause of death was pneumonia and
Alzheimer's disease, he said.

He had said farewell to public life in August 2004, a few months after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

obstruction of justice
i'm going to ignore john g roberts for the time being, as people are still out there gathering facts and it is yet to be determined whether he is indeed a partisan hack "along the lines of a scalia or a thomas or whether all that partisan hackery in his past is there simply because he used to work for a bunch of partisan hacks.

instead, i want to mention this murray waas piece in the american prospect that has been circulating in the blogs (but somewhat overshadowed by roberts talk).

White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.

The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said.

if this is true, it almost certainly means an indictment for rove on charges of perjury or obstruction of justice.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005 
john g roberts
when it was announced that bush would announce his supreme court nominee in a prime-time news conference tonight (one conveniently designed to detract attention from the rove scandal), there were a lot of rumors circulating about who bush would nominate for the supreme court. a lot of those rumors centered around the idea that bush would nominate a woman (specifically edith clement), but he didn't.

i just watched tim russert basically gush over how "capable" and "intelligent" roberts is, and how democrats were "holding their fire" to wait & see what his positions are. but dem advocacy have been very quick to issue statements and fact sheets, and these groups sure don't like john g roberts. for example, a quick scan of americablog's front page turns up statements or links to statements from NOW, alliance for justice, NARAL, & people for the american way... and that's just what's been found by one blog, and the news was just leaked a couple hours ago.

abc has a quick list of some controversial positions has taken in the past. (the list is obviously very truncated and i'm sure some of the cases have layers of subtlety not mentioned here.)
Roberts was principal deputy solicitor general under President George H.W. Bush, who first nominated him for the D.C. Circuit Court in 1992. He was opposed by Democrats and never received a vote. He was re-nominated in 2001, and his nomination languished until a third nomination by Bush in 2003, when he won unanimous confirmation.

He also was special assistant to U.S. Attorney General William French Smith and served as associate White House counsel for four years under President Ronald Reagan.

While deputy solicitor general, Roberts co-signed a brief in Rust v. Sullivan that argued for a ban on federal money for clinics that provided abortions, counseled women about the procedure or referred them to a facility for an abortion. The brief went further than the question presented in the case, arguing that "we continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled."

In a second abortion-related case, Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, Roberts signed a "friend of the court" brief arguing that Operation Rescue was not engaged in a conspiracy to deprive women of their constitutional rights.

Roberts co-authored a brief that argued in favor of clergy-led prayer at public school graduations. The case was Lee v. Weisman, and the government lost.

Roberts also co-authored a brief supporting a law that criminalized flag burning. The government lost, and justices including conservative Antonin Scalia voted against the law.

In his role on the Court of Appeals, Roberts wrote the unanimous decision for a three-judge panel rejecting the civil rights claims brought on behalf of a 12-year-old girl who had been handcuffed, arrested and taken away by police for eating one French fry in the D.C. Metro.

He also wrote a dissent from the decision of the full D.C. Circuit not to reconsider a ruling concerning the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act as it applied to a real estate development project.

you stay classy, san diego
trying out the new blogger image layouts...

i have some family history in san diego (my mom is from there; my parents met there; though i don't have any relatives there now), as does my girlfriend, so san diego news interests me more than it might if it were any other city. and some seriously crazy shit has been happening there lately, politically.

first there was last year's mayoral election, where write-in candidate donna frye got more votes than incumbent dick murphy, though in a recognizable pattern, the courts gave the mayoral mantle to the republican (murphy) on a technicality.

then there was the big real-estate scandal involving san diego's congressional representative, randy "duke" cunningham. this is a complex, multifaceted scandal that is hard to describe or summarize (or even find a definitive link to; josh marshall did an excellent job covering the story, so i'll just link to a search for "cunningham" on his blog: as you can see, lots of stuff there)... but basically, duke sold his house to a contractor (who paid a lot more than it was worth, and then later resold it for around half of what he'd bought it from duke for), lived on the contractor's huge yacht while not paying all the rents and fees a normal citizen would, "selling" his own yacht to someone else but never filling out the paperwork for it (and even trying to claim the "sold" yacht as his own for tax purposes), and more similarly shady dealings. it eventually ended in a huge raid where law enforcement raided his home, his office, the yacht, and everywhere else; not long after cunningham announced he wouldn't run for re-election.

not that murphy had happy days in front of him. in fact, he resigned on friday in light of the city's huge financial problems and a federal investigation into a scandal involving the city's use of pension funds.

so murphy picked deputy mayor and councillor michael zucchet to succeed him as acting mayor. but zucchet (a democrat) was able to one-up murphy as far as term length goes: zucchet resigned today over yet another scandal involving yet another federal investigation. remember, he only took office on friday. but this isn't entirely a surprise, as zucchet was already under investigation when he was chosen as the new acting mayor.

Acting Mayor Michael Zucchet and Councilman Ralph Inzunza were convicted Monday of trading political favors for campaign contributions from a strip-club owner — adding to the political turmoil gripping the city where the mayor has resigned and the pension system is under federal investigation.

Prosecutors charged that the two men, both 35-year-old Democrats, took $23,000 from the owner of Cheetahs Totally Nude club and his associates and, in exchange, agreed to work to ease a city law that prohibits nude dancers from touching their customers.
Under state law, Zucchet and Inzunza were immediately suspended from office without pay, although they will not be removed until the judge accepts the jury's verdict, set for Nov. 9, or their fellow City Council members oust them.

As the verdicts were read, Inzunza shook his head slowly and turned his gaze toward his wife. Zucchet, who had been sitting ramrod straight, pursed his lips and bowed his head.

"I believe I have done nothing wrong so I'm going to continue to fight this," Inzunza later told reporters. "I will be back."

Within two hours of the verdicts, the City Council named Councilwoman Toni Atkins as mayor pro tem through next week. Atkins promised residents in Zucchet's and Inzunza's districts that other council members would respond to their calls for service.

"The business of the city will continue," Atkins said.

Zucchet and Inzunza, each free on $25,000 bail, were convicted of conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion. Each faces a possible three to four years in federal prison.

now i'm all for getting rid of no-touch laws for strip clubs, but these guys were convicted of taking bribes. zucchet's lawyer tried the "everybody else is doing it" defense, claiming "There isn't a single public official in the country that hasn't done the same thing."

even if that's true (and it could be, though i suspect he's exaggerating), san diego is now on its third mayor in a week.

time zones exchange project, indiana chapter
looks like any hope that the recent DST bill was going to make "indiana time" any more logical has been destroyed... thanks mitch!

The way state Rep. Dave Crooks sees it, the federal government is letting Gov. Mitch Daniels skate on whether Indiana should be in the Eastern or Central time zone.

Daniels during his campaign said it made sense that as much of Indiana as possible should be in the Central zone. But he backed off that preference after taking office.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation said counties must make their own cases for switching time zones before it will consider hearings on boundary changes. That, Crooks says, leaves Daniels conveniently away from the fray and comfortably on the sidelines.
In the past, the specific information sought from counties included why a change would help commerce, where businesses get supplies and where TV and radio signals originate.

The agency has said it was unprecedented for a state, county or city to request a change without stating a preference. The only suggestion in an Indiana law enacted earlier this year requested no changes for five counties each in northwestern and southwestern Indiana on Central time and five in southeastern Indiana in the Eastern zone that observe daylight-saving time.

mitch promised us statewide hearings on the time zone issue, but because he didn't do the necessary work, we won't get them. at best, a few scattershot counties might get to switch, but there now appears to be virtually zero change of moving to central time, for example. (not that i was dying for central time, but part of the reason the bill went through was because a lot of hoosiers do want central, and a lot them are now screwed.)

doug at masson's blog has a roundup of pertinent stories and links, as well as an analysis of why doug thinks the whole debacle is mitchs's fault.

Monday, July 18, 2005 
so much info keeps coming out about the plame-name scandal that only the most diligent can keep up with it all. and i wasn't the most diligent blogger this weekend: i spent much of the weekend working on a new poster-sized collage to show (and possibly sell) at the collage show on august 12.

matt cooper has written about his grand jury testimony, releasing some new facts:

Time magazine's Matthew Cooper says a 2003 phone call with White House political adviser Karl Rove was the first he heard about the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson apparently working for the CIA.

Giving a first-person account of his role in a case that nearly landed him in jail, the reporter recalled that Rove told him, "I've already said too much" after revealing that the wife of the former ambassador apparently was with the CIA.

Cooper speculated in the piece, released Sunday, that Rove could have been "worried about being indiscreet, or it could have meant he was late for a meeting or something else."

"I don't know, but that signoff has been in my memory for two years," Cooper wrote.

"i've alreasy said too much" doesn't sound to me like he was late for a meeting. sounds to me like rove knew damn well he shouldn't be talking about plame's agency status.

but that's not all; we also learned that cheney's chief of staff, lewis "scooter" libby, was also one of cooper's sources:

Writing an account of a conversation he had with Libby, Cooper said, ''Libby replied, 'Yeah, I've heard that too' or words to that effect'' when he asked if Libby had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Africa to investigate the possible sale of uranium to Iraq for nuclear weapons.

back in 2003 when scott mcclellan and bush were stating that the idea that rove was involved was "ridiculous", they were saying the same thing about scooter. so now we know they've lied about two administration leakers, at the very least.

and it's looking like plame's name wasn't the only classified info that was leaked; there's also been a lot of talk about a june 10, 2003 memo that was apparently circulated around white house circles, documenting how plame allegedly recommended her husband for the fact-finding trip to niger where he discovered that the uranium stories were bunk. some bloggers, like dkos's pollyusa, were on top of this memo story days ago, and as pollyusa points out, the CIA has long disputed the memo's contents:

Sources said the CIA is angry about the circulation of a still-classified document to conservative news outlets suggesting Plame had a role in arranging her husband's trip to Africa for the CIA. The document, written by a State Department official who works for its Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), describes a meeting at the CIA where the Niger trip by Wilson was discussed, said a senior administration official who has seen it.

CIA officials have challenged the accuracy of the INR document, the official said, because the agency officer identified as talking about Plame's alleged role in arranging Wilson's trip could not have attended the meeting.

of course, leaking the memo's contents was illegal regardless of whether its contents were true or false. but if false, that just makes it worse.

Sunday, July 17, 2005 
boat of car
saturday night storms, which means the satellite reception keeps going in & out. actually, it seems to go out whenever a program i want to watch is on, and then comes back when a show i'm less interested in comes on. you might be aware that cartoon network is one of the few channels i watch regularly, and they premiere most of their good shit on saturday nights. fortunately, they'll re-air all the programs again later in the week, so i can still get them recorded. and some of the digital glitches in the video look pretty cool; i'll have to go back & "sample" some of them to my hard drive for later video work. but it's still frustrating.

this afternoon i went down to the big car gallery in fountain square to talk to jim walker about the upcoming collage show on august 12. jim contacted me about it awhile ago and it sounds like it's going to be great. the gallery walls will be stuffed with collage works by 11 different artists, including at least 3 poster-sized pieces by yours truly. there will be live musical performances by three acts, again including yours truly. there will also be video collage (some by me, some by jim walker, and maybe even others) and i'll even be showing my databent art, projected onto the big screen. it promises to be one hell of a gallery showing. here's the blurb from the schedule on the big car website:

August 12 - Latencies: A group collage show. Collages by: Lisa Barton, Doug Calisch, John Clark, Jose Di Gregorio, Penelope Dullaghan, Anna Rae Landsman, Jo Legner, David Mattingly, Kipp Normand, Jason Pierce, Eric Pohlman, Jackie Stover, stAllio!, Jim Walker, and Sue Anne Zollinger. Musical entertainment by: Experimental sound collagist stAllio!, The Hoover, and the Spontaneous Sound Collective. 6-9 p.m. Other video collage and on-the-premises collage making and object-related activities.
Open through Sept. 17

Friday, July 15, 2005 
the washington post now has its own variation on the "novak's 2nd leak" story. and this story pretty obviously comes from the same anonymous source as the nytimes and AP stories i blogged this morning. but it adds one crucial piece of information: that the anonymous source is a "lawyer":

White House senior adviser Karl Rove indirectly confirmed the CIA affiliation of an administration critic's wife for Robert D. Novak the week before the columnist named her and revealed her position, a lawyer involved in the case said last night.

The operative, Valerie Plame, is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador who had publicly disputed the White House's contention that Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium from Niger for possible use in a nuclear weapon.

The lawyer, who has knowledge of the conversations between Rove and prosecutors, said President Bush's deputy chief of staff has told investigators that he first learned about the operative from a journalist and that he later learned her name from Novak.

now what "lawyer" who is "working on the case" and even "has knowledge" about rove's testimony (not to mention rove's personal conversations with robert novak) would possibly want to talk to the press about this? and not just one reporter: the lawyer clearly shopped the story to at least three different outlets to ensure that it would be published.

my first post from this morning analyzed all the obvious contradictions in what the source was telling the times. my second post this morning linked to an article that analyzed all the obvious contradictions in statements that robert luskin has given to the press. through the magic of synchnocity, it turns out that if you add my first two posts of the morning together, their sum is this post. and this revelation:

luskin was clearly the source for the "novak's 2nd source" leak. it wasn't 100% obvious at first, because the times and AP articles only referenced their source as a "person". but now that the post has outed the source as a "lawyer", there is only one possible explanation.

hunter at dkos shows he too knows how to add. (in fact, he put it together before i did, as he read the post article first, but i had to post it here and "show my work" so to speak, because i had already laid out most of the proof in my previous two posts.)

courtesy of josh marshall we find this article in the new republic about karl rove's lawyer, robert luskin.

the article parses luskin's recent comments about the rove scandal and concludes that luskin constantly contradicts himself:

Not since William Ginsburg, Monica Lewinsky's hapless first attorney, has a lawyer had such an inept public debut. Legal veterans of scandals past are scratching their heads. "He's publicized his client more than his client might like," says one of the lawyers central to the Lewinsky drama. "I've been surprised by the disclosures. I don't know of any strategy behind it, and a lot of people are looking at it the same way."

so luskin's completely full of shit, which we already knew, but it is nice to see all his misstatements, lies, and spin compiled into one place like this. very effective.

but wait, there's more! the article also goes into luskin's history, covering the laughably inept "gold bars" incident. you might wonder who first broke the gold bar story. it wasn't josh marshall; he was simply the one to re-discover it in light of the rove scandal. in fact, republicans broke the story themselves because they used to hate luskin. that is, until he took on rove as a client. how wonderfully ironic that republicans gave us all this ammunition...

Over his 25-year legal career, Robert Luskin has defended a colorful cast of characters, including a drug kingpin, several figures on the fringes of the Clinton scandals, and, most recently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But scoring Rove was a coup. Luskin is an unlikely choice for a Republican, let alone Rove. In fact, during the 1990s, a wide swath of the conservative movement spent a good chunk of its time trying to destroy his reputation. For the last ten years, Luskin has served as the in-house prosecutor for the Laborers' International Union, where he has been charged with fighting corruption. The right was miffed that the Clinton administration let the Laborers clean house on their own rather than under the tutelage of the Justice Department, as was done with the Teamsters. One gadfly conservative organization, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), turned discrediting Luskin into its own personal crusade. They produced a highly unflattering 13-page report that set off a cascade of critical stories and editorials in the conservative press. Under the headline "Luskin's Ties to the New England/Patriarca Crime Family," the report documented a fishy episode wherein Luskin was forced to return $245,000 in legal fees that he received from a client named Stephen A. Saccoccia, who was sentenced to 660 years in prison for laundering South American drug-cartel and mob money. A U.S. attorney, accusing Luskin of "willful blindness," reasoned that, when Luskin started getting paid with solid gold bars (he ultimately received 45 of them, worth $505,125) and wire transfers from Swiss bank accounts, he should have known the payments were from illicit sources, especially since his client's crimes involved gold bars and wire transfers from Swiss bank accounts.

rove was novak's second source
hot story in nytimes and another in the AP: rove and novak spoke on july 8 about valerie plame.

it's clear from the story that novak didn't learn plame's identity from rove: in fact it somewhat weakly tries to suggest that rove learned her identity from novak. but the actual facts in the article directly refute that idea. so the nytimes piece probably would have benefitted from an editor to point out and remove the blatant contradictions:

Karl Rove, the White House senior adviser, spoke with the columnist Robert D. Novak as he was preparing an article in July 2003 that identified a C.I.A. officer who was undercover, someone who has been officially briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said.

After hearing Mr. Novak's account, the person who has been briefed on the matter said, Mr. Rove told the columnist: "I heard that, too."

(emphasis mine.) okay, it is possible that rove didn't know her "name" before speaking to novak. that might in itself be true. but the second bold phrase proves that rove didn't really learn all that much from novak: he basically alreday knew all this stuff. so this "a-ha!" moment was probably more like "i knew she was wilson's wife, but i didn't know valerie was her real name! eureka!"

let's keep on quotin':

The person who provided the information about Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak declined to be identified, citing requests by Mr. Fitzgerald that no one discuss the case. The person discussed the matter in the belief that Mr. Rove was truthful in saying that he had not disclosed Ms. Wilson's identity.

the "person" here is either full of shit or delusional. this revelation does not change the fact that rove leaked plame's identity to matt cooper.

Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, said Thursday his client truthfully testified to the grand jury and expected to be exonerated.

"Karl provided all pertinent information to prosecutors a long time ago," Luskin said. "And prosecutors confirmed when he testified most recently in October 2004 that he is not a target of the investigation."

come on, timesy times... all this statement shows is that rove wasn't a "target" 9 months ago. it does not show whether rove is now or was then a "subject" of the investigation (he probably was and is), nor does it show whether rove transformed from subject to target in the past 9 months.

On Oct. 1, 2003, Mr. Novak wrote another column in which he described calling two officials who were his sources for the earlier column. The first source, whose identity has not been revealed, provided the outlines of the story and was described by Mr. Novak as "no partisan gunslinger." Mr. Novak wrote that when he called a second official for confirmation, the source said, "Oh, you know about it."

That second source was Mr. Rove, the person briefed on the matter said. Mr. Rove's account to investigators about what he told Mr. Novak was similar in its message although the White House adviser's recollection of the exact words was slightly different. Asked by investigators how he knew enough to leave Mr. Novak with the impression that his information was accurate, Mr. Rove said he had heard parts of the story from other journalists but had not heard Ms. Wilson's name.

so who was novak's first administration source? could it be that rove isn't the only official facing possible indictment? also, who was/were the journalists who allegedly first told rove about plame? i have a hunch it was judith miller, which could explain why she's in jail right now.

Mr. Novak began his conversation with Mr. Rove by asking about the promotion of Frances Fragos Townsend, who had been a close aide to Janet Reno when she was attorney general, to a senior counterterrorism job at the White House, the person who was briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Novak then turned to the subject of Ms. Wilson, identifying her by name, the person said. In an Op-Ed article for The New York Times on July 6, 2003, Mr. Wilson suggested that he had been sent to Niger because of Mr. Cheney's interest in the matter. But Mr. Novak told Mr. Rove he knew that Mr. Wilson had been sent at the urging of Ms. Wilson, the person who had been briefed on the matter said.

pay attention here: the article makes it extremely clear that novak referenced plame by name. so rove's later assertions that he "didn't know her name" are apparently absolute bullshit. though his claims that he didn't "leak her name" might be factually accurate, although irrelevant and misleading.

but let's continue to the following paragraph:

Mr. Rove's allies have said that he did not call reporters with information about the case, rebutting the theory that the White House was actively seeking to intimidate or punish Mr. Wilson by harming his wife's career. They have also emphasized that Mr. Rove appeared not to know anything about Ms. Wilson other than that she worked at the C.I.A. and was married to Mr. Wilson.

this is another assertion that is disproved by other assertions in the article. we know this is false because we know that rove at least knew plame's name, as well as because when novak said all this crap to rove, rove's response was "i heard that too" or "oh, you heard about that" (depending on whether you use rove's or novak's wording).

but let's quote one more paragraph (the one immediately following my previous blockquote) and then we'll be done with this nytimes piece. i quote this because i have been tempted to blog about this fact for a couple days, and now i won't have to:

This is not the first time Mr. Rove has been linked to a leak reported by Mr. Novak. In 1992, Mr. Rove was fired from the Texas campaign to re-elect the first President Bush because of suspicions that he had leaked information to Mr. Novak about shortfalls in the Texas organization's fund-raising. Both Mr. Rove and Mr. Novak have denied that Mr. Rove had been the source.

just a little bit of history repeating.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 
google news

the wonders of automated news indexing...

this has already changed, since google news content changes every few minutes, but i just had to take a screenshot:

the rove story is blowing up all over the place. yes, those three stories are as bad you'd think they are from the headlines:

Bush Family Tradition: Ducking Scandal this is very thorough, not just going through the current rove scandal, but with juicy tidbits about iran-contra as well as prescott bush's nazi connections.

Bush's 'brain' leaked: Did Bush know? check out the graphic they're using for this story.

the thinkprogress link actually goes to a story titled How To Talk To A Conservative About Karl Rove (If You Must) and it's a point-by-point debunking of the currently circulating GOP talking points on the issue.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 
past blog entries about databending images
it has occurred to me that if google is going to point to me whenever someone looks up the term databending, then if i actually care about promoting the art of bending rather than just being a publicity whore, i should probably assemble a list of links to other noteworthy bending sites. there aren't necessarily a whole lot of them, but i could probably find a half-dozen or more good links to put up (the databenders list being the most obvious example; in fact, i will probably find most of the other links by browsing through the databenders archive).

so coming soon i'll update the image databending gallery to add a couple links sections to the right column of each page. one of those will be the previously mentioned "noteworthy bending links" section. but i will also add another section--blog entries about image databending--so that interested parties can easily find just about everything i've written on the subject (posts to forums and the databenders list aside). hell, i myself had forgotten about some of these posts.

if i were using a blogging service with a "categories" function, this info could be pulled automatically (so long as i had a "bending" category and tagged all such posts with it). but blogger has no such function, so i had to manually go through the blog and find them all. since i was doing that anyway, i decided to post them here in a fit of metablogging:

my first image-bending post!
update to previous
rr8 bent picture gallery
databent posters: my art on your wall
second bends
recycle your face
we didn't start the fire
application-sensitive image-bending
results of the image-bending experiment
and now for something completely tangential
the bollywood bends
big new bent gallery
bring out the GIMP (for image databending)
google-bending for databending
databending images in wordpad
the wordpad effect

so there you have it, in chronological order no less. i'll get to compiling a list of offsite links soon, but that's a bigger project and will require a little more time.


pointed talk
for the past couple days it's been hard to find republicans who were willing to comment on the scandalous revelations surrounding karl rove's leaking of valerie plame's identity to the press. not only was it a pretty indefensible act, but the white house is now caught in at least two blatant lies, so it's understandable why they wouldn't want to discuss the issue.

but now a few have started to come out of the woodwork, and rawstory has acquired a copy of the RNC talking points they're using.

what's most apparent about these talking points is not that they range from misleading to blatantly false (which they do), but that they're totally irrelevant! these talking points continue to try to discredit wilson (discrediting wilson, if you weren't paying attention, was the entire reason why rove leaked the info in the first place), but they don't even remotely address the core issues involved in the scandal.

facts about the case:

rove leaked plame's identity. whether he leaked or even knew her "name" is totally irrelevant. if i started talking a bunch of shit about your mom, would you care whether i know her name? of course not. and any reporter willing to do a couple minutes of research could have easily turned up the name of "wilson's wife". what those reporters couldn't have found out, without rove, was that she was CIA.

knowingly divulging an undercover CIA operative's identity is a federal crime. there's a lot of evidence that suggests that rove did know plame was undercover when he outed her. even if he didn't, that simply demotes his actions from illegal to unethical and morally reprehensible.

even if that wasn't a crime, rove still could have committed a crime if he lied to the grand jury during the investigation. we know he & his lawyer lied to the press and the american public, so it's not inconceivable that they would've lied to the grand jury also.

scott mcclellan adamantly denied that rove was involved. so either rove lied to scotty, or scotty lied to us to cover it up.

both bush and mcclellan previously promised that any leakers would be fired. we now know that rove was a leaker, therefore, if the president's word means anything at all, rove should be fired.

the RNC talking points don't address any of these vital facts. because they can't. the key issues in this case are relatively unspinnable, so instead they just come up with a bunch of BS about wilson, hopefully to distract attention away from the real scandal. but the press corps is pissed off, and won't be so easily distracted this time around.

also, i just want to note that the daily show was on fire last night. i was mildly concerned when the rove scandal wasn't covered on monday's show. but now i know why: because they devoted half if not two-thirds of last night's episode to the story! seriously, they had one short story at the beginning, then it was nonstop rove/plame scandal until it was time for the interview segment. you know a story is huge if even the daily show devotes that much attention to it. i don't think i've ever seen one story so dominate an episode of TDS.

update: more about the smear campaign in this post on tpmcafe by larry johnson, an actual former CIA agent.

stAllio! @ MMS
this should be interesting...

the midwest music summit is a big music conference/festival/thingie here in indianapolis, july 21-23; i believe it's in its fifth year. i played last year, and i registered again this year.

i wasn't listed on the first version of the schedule, but they sent me an email a couple weeks ago that they were still looking for a show for me, and were going to put me on the alternate list. "there are always cancellations" the email said, and while they couldn't yet promise me a show, i would at least get registrations to attend the conference.

by somewhat of a coincidence, virago will be in town visiting that weekend (her last visit before she moves to indy at the beginning of august).

well, they found me a show; i just got the info this evening. it should be an interesting show, as the bill is full of singer-songwriter types:

saturday, july 23 at The Pub, 30 E. Georgia St.
6:30-7:15 PMSteve NortheastNew York, NY
7:30-8:15 PMMatt MarkaMinneapolis, MN
8:30-9:15 PMAdam PayneBoston, MA
9:30-10:15 PMAaron WintersNashville, TN
10:30-11:15 PMJennifer AppelquistLos Angeles, CA
11:30-12:15 AMstALLio!Indianapolis, IN
12:30-1:15 AMDark House SweetIndianapolis, IN

my show is 21+ (duh; the venue is called the pub). cover is $3, or free with MMS badge or wristband. the wristbands are a good deal for music fans who want to check out a whole bunch of shows but aren't so interested in the "conference" aspect of it all... click here to buy one online for $25. you can also get them at the conference, but then it will run you $30, so if you want one, buy it now and save a few bucks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005 
the wordpad effect
after a bit more study, here is what is going on with the wordpad effect (as discussed in my previous entry).

the version of wordpad that ships with windows 2000 only supports 5 filetype options:
  1. Word for Windows 6.0
  2. Rich Text Format (RTF)
  3. Text Document
  4. Text Document - MS-DOS Format
  5. Unicode Text Format
(you can also open "Windows Write (*.wri)" files, but there's no option to save in that format.)

this could differ for various versions of windows, but i suspect it's largely the same (can't test on xp until i have spare time at home, which i probably won't tonight).

the default "save as" type is Text Document. so if you simply open a binary file in wordpad and resave it, seemingly doing nothing else and making no changes, what you are in fact doing is converting it into a plaintext TXT file, just one with a BMP file extension. (i can't determine what format it thinks the images are when you open them... i suspect RTF, or maybe DOC, because when you save it brings up a warning box that you will "strip out the formatting".)

so i decided to save multiple copies of the same BMP file and try to resave it in different formats using the "save as" function. so in each case, i opened the BMP in wordpad, selected "save as" from the "file" menu, and then chose a filetype to save. here are my results:

Word for Windows 6.0. renders file unreadable.

Rich Text Format (RTF)/ also renders file unreadable.

Text Document. this is the default, and the results i got appear to be identical to what dj empirical got when he did the same thing. so that's consistent.

Text Document - MS-DOS Format. this is the only other option that didn't break the file altogether. the effect is much the same as with Text Document, only moreso:

Unicode Text Format. rendered the file unreadable.

so yeah, wordpad is very effective for adding that wavy look (the wordpad effect) to uncompressed images, such as BMP or TIF. but i don't recommend it for any other databending use, because it adds too much junk to the data during the file conversion process. you could probably get away with using if for audio databending, but it's just too rough for serious image databending. you might get better results using microsoft word. or some other text editor that's more powerful and better than wordpad, like textpad.


databending images in wordpad
pursuant to my my post from saturday, dj empirical has tried his hand at databending images, using wordpad as his editing environment. this was his first successful bend:

what i did was:
  • open the jpg in photoshop
  • save the image as a tif
  • changed the extension to "txt" and opened it in wordpad
  • changed a random character (i think a "K" to a "J")
  • saved and closed wordpad
  • changed the extension back to tif and opened the image in ms paint
  • saved the image as a bmp

pretty cool, and not bad for a first bend. but something else was going on here... replacing one single character is simply not enough to bend a BMP file that severely. changing that K to a J would do little more than cause a one-pixel shift in the image, or maybe an RGB color shift (as discussed here).

syntax noticed it too and pointed out what had actually bent the image: merely opening the file in wordpad and resaving it adds a bunch of junk to the data.

to test the hypothesis, dje tried again, this time not making any changes of his own to the data, just opening a BMP in wordpad and resaving. this was the result:

as another test, i opened the original jpg in wordpad and resaved. that process rendered the file unreadable.

also note: the same phenomenon explains why this bend by rizzia looks the way it does, as the submissions and extras section of my bent image gallery tells us that the process was essentially the same: open in wordpad, change one character, and resave.

we might as well start calling that warped look "the wordpad effect".


Monday, July 11, 2005 
text selection in internet explorer
this morning dj empirical sent me an email about a puzzling experience he had when he was viewing my blog in ie6 and tried to select some text: no matter where he would try to click & drag, the highlighted selection area would start at the very top of the page. as you could imagine, this behavior makes it pretty difficult to do any text excerpting, block quoting, etc.

i'd never noticed this behavior, because i avoid IE whenever possible: it's crap, and i've been so spoiled by firefox that i could never go back to something as awful as ie6. (i use it for browser testing, but basically i just load the page to make sure it renders properly and the mouseovers work, etc. i hadn't thought to include text selection in my browser testing regimen.) and in fairness, dj empirical knows better than to use IE also, but was in an environment where he had no choice but to use it. i checked some other pages, and the same thing was happening in IE on montana & mcdeviltoast (which i designed) and syntax's blog (whose stylesheet i recently rewrote, to strip it down and to fix an unusual layout problem in IE). these pages all behave perfectly in firefox.

after some intensive googling i found the source of the problem: a bug in IE involving how it renders pages that use absolute positioning. internet explorer has more bugs inside it than oogy boogy, so that's not a surprise.

i found a couple workarounds. this one suggests removing the DTD URI from the !doctype tag (that is, delete "" from your !doctype tag). that seems to work for my blog, and it's the easiest fix, so that's the one i'm implementing. but in case that doesn't work for you for some reason, there's a javascript at the bottom of this page that you can insert into your <head> section, and it seems to work pretty well.

a rove by any other plame
so now it's undeniable that karl rove was involved in the valerie plame leak. we know this despite the fact that the white house has been explicitly saying for two years that he was not involved:

Q All right. Let me just follow up. You said this morning, "The President knows" that Karl Rove wasn't involved. How does he know that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. I saw some comments this morning from the person who made that suggestion, backing away from that. And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it's public knowledge. I've said that it's not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove --

that was september 30, 2003. so did rove lie then, when they allegedly asked about his involvement? or was scotty lying when he said he'd spoken to rove? or maybe was the lie that he had spoken to rove, and he & the president knew rove was involved, but scotty denied it anyway?

both the president and his spokesman also said that if there was a leaker in the administration, he would be fired. so will rove be fired? scotty was proud to say it then, but now he's just saying that he "can't comment". uh-huh.

but it gets weirder... remember that miraculously last-minute communique that matt cooper supposedly got from his source, personally clearing him to testify (despite rove already having signed a waiver that released everyone from their confidentiality agreements on the issue), and saving him from going to jail? well, the nytimes is reporting that it didn't quite happen like that:

"A short time ago," Mr. Cooper said, "in somewhat dramatic fashion, I received an express personal release from my source."

But the facts appear more complicated than they seemed in court. Mr. Cooper, it turns out, never spoke to his confidential source that day, said Robert D. Luskin, a lawyer for the source, who is now known to be Karl Rove, the senior White House political adviser.

The development was actually the product of a frenzied series of phone calls initiated that morning by a lawyer for Mr. Cooper and involving Mr. Luskin and the special prosecutor in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald. And the calls were the culmination of days of anxiety and introspection by a reporter who by all accounts wanted to live up to his pledge to protect his confidential source yet find a way to avoid going to jail as another reporter, Judith Miller of The New York Times, was about to do.

Mr. Cooper and his personal lawyer, Richard A. Sauber, declined to comment on the negotiations, but Mr. Sauber said that Mr. Cooper had used the word "personal" to mean specific. Representatives of Mr. Fitzgerald did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(josh marshall has an interesting take on this story here.)

not that luskin is a very trustworthy source: marshall has also been looking into luskin's past and found some big skeletons, like when luskin took half a million dollars in gold bars from a client who "who was trying to appeal his conviction on charges that he laundered drug money through precious metals dealers." interesting.

and now that rove has been exposed, why is judy miller still in jail? who is she protecting? she can't really protect rove anymore (unless her info is significantly more incriminating than what has come out already), so why hasn't she stepped forward to testify? could it be that she had an active role in the plame outing and she's actually trying to protect herself?

update: dj empirical points our attention to this full transcript in editor&publisher.

christian terrorists hit bloomington mosque
The Bloomington Police Department and the FBI are treating an early Saturday morning firebombing at the Islamic Center of Bloomington as a hate crime.

Nathan Ainslie, president of Bloomington's only mosque, said a rock was thrown through a window on the lower level of the mosque on 1925 Atwater.

Kevin Robling, corporation counsel to the City of Bloomington and Mayor Mark Kruzan's chief of staff, said the investigators found a Mountain Dew bottle filled with an unknown accelerant, along with a rock that broke the window and a Coca-Cola can that might have also been filled with an accelerant. The incident was estimated to occur at about 4 a.m., Robling said.

The suspects also placed a Quran, Islam's holiest text, in a paper bag and lit it on fire outside the 200-member mosque as well.

"It was a modern miracle that one of our members of our community was here," Ainslie said. "He came in very early for our morning prayer. He was going to use the restroom and he was carrying a jug of water. He smelled the smoke when he came in and he went downstairs and just put the fire out after only a couple of minutes of the fire being started."

note that the authorities are treating it as a "hate crime". which it absolutely is, no question. but i would say that a more accurate description would be an attempted terrorist act. of course, the irony, which will probably be lost on the penny kozinskis of the world, that this was an act of terrorism against muslims and was most assuredly perpetrated by far-right christians. which is why we have to call it a "hate crime", because the kozinskis of the world generally cannot grasp the concept of christian terrorism. to them, terrorist = arab.

update: jezebella has more, and the indystar article she links to probably comes about as close to branding these people "christian terrorists" as anyone in the corporate media will:

A fire at a Bloomington mosque early Saturday is being investigated as a hate crime by the FBI and members of its Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Task force members are officers from local police departments. The force is used to assist the FBI in investigating any domestic or international terrorist act, she said.

jezebella also links to an interesting exchange in her comments from a few weeks ago.

2nd update: the christian terrorists aren't just attacking mosques: they've attacked united church of christ churches as well (though not in indiana that i'm aware of) because of the UCC's recent decision to endorse same-sex marriage.

3rd update: oops! i was posting a comment on this atrios post (about ann coulter saying that "nothing like" recent attacks on london mosques "has happened in america" [funny, because this story sounds almost identical to those], and that the muslims probably tried to burn down their own mosques) when i realized that i had never posted a link to the indiana daily student article i linked at the top of this post. my bad.

Sunday, July 10, 2005 
every rove has its thorn
i almost posted this at 1am last night, david corn posted on the huffington post announced that newsweek was about the post this story. rove was definitely matt cooper's source, and definitely before novak printed his story.

so rove and his lawyer are lying, or at least bending the truth so far that it looks false. no surprise there.

newsweek in fact has at least two stories up about it. this one doesn't have much new info. the other article includes excerpts from an email cooper sent to his bureau chief.

It was 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003, and Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper was tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy. "Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" and suggested another reporter check with the CIA.
Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip." Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger ... "

rove still claims he didn't know plame's name, and nothing in the email suggests that he did. but he still essentially leaked plame's "identity" (wilson's wife/"works at the agency"). and june 11 was three days before novak printed his story.

so it looks like karl rove could be in a lot of trouble. especially if what he has told the grand jury in any way conflicts these facts: in that case, rove would be guilty of perjury.

Saturday, July 09, 2005 
google-bending for databending
if you google the word databending, the first two results point you to this site. specifically, they point to entries on this blog (this one and this one), though i would probably prefer they point to my image databending gallery.

if you instead do a google search for the word databent, the first two hits point to a message announcing my image databending gallery in the archives of the awiannounce list (the mailing list i set up for news relating to AWIA, stAllio!, and other AWIA/bad taste-related artists). close, but not quite as convenient as a link straight to the gallery would be. if you google these terms you actually get a lot of links that either directly or indirectly point to me. probably because all those other databenders out there are busy actually bending data and creating bent art while i'm online worrying about search engine results. still, at least google thinks i'm relevant.


björk on mtv (live 8)
wow, two songs. even after mentioning in the press release that artists wanted "full-set performances", they still only air full sets by a few artists, and one or two songs by other artists.

i will admit that that the coverage is much better: commercial free, with little to no chatter. and i'd rather see two songs from björk than none. still, reports:

Björk took the stage for the Live8 event on saturday in Tokyo with Matmos, Zeena and a japanese string octet by her side, and performed the following songs infront of 10,000 people; Pagan Poetry, All Is Full Of Love, Desired Constellation, Jóga, Hyperballad, Generous Palmstroke, Bachelorette and It's In Our Hands (Soft Pink Truth Remix).

i thought i saw matmos, and i guess i was right. but there was no mention of it on the matmos site.

i still want to see the full performance. and aolmusic continues to let me down by not including any content from the tokyo show. jerks. i would love to see a live version of the soft pink truth remix of "it's in our hands"... that's a killer mix.

the continuing de-evolution of the catholic church
courtesy of americablog, one more reason to be glad i got out of the church: a prominent cardinal has written an op-ed in the nytimes claiming that darwinian evolution is incompatible with catholic theology.

cardinal schönborn, who wrote the op-ed, said it wasn't officially approved by the vatican but that our new pope had personally encouraged him to write it:

In a telephone interview from a monastery in Austria, where he was on retreat, the cardinal said that his essay had not been approved by the Vatican, but that two or three weeks before Pope Benedict XVI's election in April, he spoke with the pope, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, about the church's position on evolution. "I said I would like to have a more explicit statement about that, and he encouraged me to go on," said Cardinal Schönborn.

the op-ed cherry picks quotes to suggest that not only does pope benedict not believe in darwinian evolution, but john paul didn't either, and the church never did either. this is a "clarification" according to schönborn.

turn off your irony meters before reading the final two paragraphs of the op-ed, because you might otherwise get some vicious feedback when schönborn claims to be "standing in firm defense of reason" against all those irrational biologists:

Throughout history the church has defended the truths of faith given by Jesus Christ. But in the modern era, the Catholic Church is in the odd position of standing in firm defense of reason as well. In the 19th century, the First Vatican Council taught a world newly enthralled by the "death of God" that by the use of reason alone mankind could come to know the reality of the Uncaused Cause, the First Mover, the God of the philosophers.

Now at the beginning of the 21st century, faced with scientific claims like neo-Darwinism and the multiverse hypothesis in cosmology invented to avoid the overwhelming evidence for purpose and design found in modern science, the Catholic Church will again defend human reason by proclaiming that the immanent design evident in nature is real. Scientific theories that try to explain away the appearance of design as the result of "chance and necessity" are not scientific at all, but, as John Paul put it, an abdication of human intelligence.

the mann report
courtesy of dkos, we find this piece in the nation analyzing fred mann's report to tomlinson:

The Mann report reads as if dictated by Cookie Monster while chewing on a mouthful of lead paint chips. Names of famous political figures and celebrities are chronically misspelled. PBS guests are categorized by labels--"anti-DeLay," "neutral," "x"--for often bewildering reasons. Mann appears to have spent endless hours monitoring programs with no political content, gathering such insights as that Ray Charles was blind.

Mann begins each of his PBS program summaries with a chart showing guests' ideological leanings. An "L" denotes guests he judges to be liberal; "C" beside conservatives; "N" beside those who are neutral. Among those Mann designated as conservative is the ex-rapper and actor Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg, best known for his role as a well-endowed porn star in the film Boogie Nights. While Wahlberg used his June 2, 2004, appearance on The Tavis Smiley Show to promote juvenile justice programs--a liberal hallmark--he also said in passing, according to Mann, that Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ "was a good thing."

actually, just about every movie i've seen with mark wahlberg in it had a liberal bent: what about three kings or i ♥ huckabees? conservative actors don't repeatedly take these kinds of roles by accident.

Another Tavis Smiley guest, Everlast, the rock-rapper who once fronted the Irish-American rap trio House of Pain, was dubbed a "C" for his opinion that some rap music is "sending a bad message to youth." And Henry Rollins, the former singer for the legendary hardcore-punk band Black Flag, was labeled conservative for stating, in Mann's words, that "people who have problems with the war should support the troops." Apparently, feeling sympathy for American servicemen and women is strictly "C."

Mann's liberals are an equally curious bunch. Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, garnered his "L" after speaking glowingly of Ronald Reagan in a discussion with Tavis Smiley. Hagel is, of course, that comsymp who earned a 100 percent rating from the Christian Coalition last year. Another Rehm guest, Washington Post reporter Robin Wright, earned her "L" by articulating an analytical point Mann apparently had not heard expressed before. "Ms. Wright's viewpoint was that U.S. intelligence was geared to fight the Cold War and did not adapt to the new threat of terrorism," Mann writes, describing why he put the "L" word beside her name. For investigating three of Tom DeLay's associates for illegal fundraising in Travis County, Texas, District Attorney Ronnie Earle, who was interviewed on NOW, was dubbed "anti-DeLay." Dr. Arthur Bodette was slapped with an "L" after discussing on Diane Rehm's show "the unlimited possibilities of new advances in DNA chips to screen for birth defects, cystic fibrosis, and mental retardation."

Another unintentionally hilarious aspect of the Mann report is its sloppy typos. Apparently Tomlinson's budget didn't include a proofreader. Former Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr appears as "Ken Staff," former Assistant Secretary of Defense Dov Zakheim as "Doug Zukheim" and former Congressman Newt Gingrich as "Next Gingrich."

and there's a bit more about fred mann's history:

Who is Fred Mann? For all we know, he could be a werewolf with supersensitive hearing that detects liberal bias inaudible to the average human's ear. But since he and Tomlinson have not provided the same level of accountability they are demanding from others, it is impossible to know. Reporters who have attempted to locate him, including NPR, have all failed. Perhaps only Van Helsing could uncover Mann's tracks. What is known is that in 1980, Mann worked on the senatorial campaign of Dan Quayle. Then, during Reagan's second term, Mann went to work at the Virginia-based National Journalism Center as its job bank and alumni director until he retired last year. The National Journalism Center is directed by M. Stanton Evans, a former editor of the conservative Indianapolis News, and a founder in 1960 of the right-wing youth group Young Americans for Freedom. Through the center, Evans nurtured movement activists like Mann and trained aspiring young media players, including Ann Coulter and Maggie Gallagher, the conservative Catholic columnist who took federal money from the Bush Administration to promote its policies.

when i previously blogged about mann's past i wasn't aware of the connection to the indy news, which was years ago swallowed up into the indy star. the heyday of the news was mostly before my time (though when i was in jr high i had an afternoon paper route delivering the news).

Friday, July 08, 2005 
live 8: new & improved reruns
a lot of people were pissed at mtv's coverage of the live 8 concerts last weekend. mtv would air a couple songs from a performance, then the vjs would chatter for awhile, then they'd move on to something else. it was pretty pathetic.

that was definitely the consensus view in my house, where my sister tried to watch some of the concert. and apparently quite a few others felt the same and let mtv know pretty emphaticly, because this saturday they'll be trying over, airing 10 hours of live 8 performances:

MTV and VH1 will each offer five hours of uninterrupted performance footage with differing artist lineups on Saturday. VH1 will air its Live 8 highlights from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, while MTV's batch of highlights will roll out from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

"At MTV and VH1, we're in a constant and candid dialogue with our audience, and in the wake of the live events last Saturday, our viewers have resoundingly told us online they want to see full-set performances from their favorite artists," MTV Networks Music Group President Van Toffler said of the move.

the performance i wanted to see was björk, and it looks like i could be in luck:

The complete MTV broadcast will include performances by: Paul McCartney & U2, U2, Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas, Destiny's Child, Green Day, Dido & Youssou N'Dour, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, R.E.M., Snoop Dogg, Orchestra Baobab, Madonna, Linkin Park, Linkin Park & Jay-Z, the Killers, Björk, Good Charlotte, Malaika, Audioslave, Mariah Carey, Robbie Williams, the Who, Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney.

The complete VH1 broadcast will include performances by: Paul McCartney & U2, U2, Coldplay, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Will Smith, Annie Lennox, Keane, Dave Matthews Band, Orchestra Baobab, Madonna, Maroon 5, Joss Stone, Velvet Revolver, Sting, Rob Thomas, Mariah Carey, Robbie Williams, the Who, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.

but when will she play? no schedule is listed, and i don't know if i want to watch all 5 hours of mtv coverage just to catch björk, although that might be the only way to see it on tv (rather than wait for it to show up on bittorrent, etc). mtv hasn't even updated the tv schedule on their website let alone tivo listing data; hopefully that will be fixed soon.

floating redux
google news is now turning up around 10-11 stories about the chesterton bin laden float. most just reprint variations of the same ap wire story that was in the indystar (though it's now been picked up by the chicago sun-times.

none of them have any photos, although we know that photos exist:

“Maybe they didn’t mean anything racist, but if I saw that coming down the street, I would have been offended,” said Tarek Shahbandar, who was shown a photo of the float Tuesday at the Northwest Indiana Islamic Center in Crown Point.

i couldn't find a website for either the northwest islamic center in crown point or the "supporters of the military" organization. so no luck finding photos (i'll post one if i ever find one), which seems like poor reporting considering that a large part of this story revolves around whether the character in float was obviously osama or whether it was just some middle-eastern guy in chains and bloody clothes. in contrast, there's a nice big cute photo attached to this story about "Sunday's pet parade at the Tri-Town 4th of July Celebration at Dogwood Park in Chesterton".

the ap stories also don't contain the juicy "ragheads" quote from penny kozinski, which i thought was the juiciest part of the whole article (other than the bin laden float itself, of course). maybe the ap just didn't get that quote before they sent out the wire story? because it's hard to see why they would intentionally cut the most telling quote in the whole article (that is, unless they cut it so kozinski wouldn't look quite so bad).

so far the only articles to include that quote are the ones hosted by which is a shame because on rereading it, i realized it was even more telling than i originally thought:

Kozinski said: "He was looking like an Arab, Iraqi, terrorist, whatever you want to call these people. I call them ragheads."

at first i was simply shocked that she was so ignorant that she would actually use a slur like "ragheads" while trying to defend herself and her organization against accusations of racism. i mean, that's just terrible PR, and "supporters of the military" seems damn lucky that the quote has not gotten more attention than it has (though the story could still pick up from here).

but on deeper read, what struck me was this juxtaposition: "Arab, Iraqi, terrorist... raghead". the "whatever you want to call these people" line suggests that these words are functionally equivalent. arab = iraqi = terrorist = raghead. same difference! "ragheads" isn't the only important word there: "terrorist" tells us a lot too. the fact that kozinski tosses that in there suggests that she's fallen for bush's "if you ain't with us" frame: anyone who defies the US presence in iraq or afghanistan is a "terrorist", as w repeatedly tried to convince us on tv a couple weeks back. not just that, but "arab, iraqi, terrorist" suggests that she doesn't see much difference at all between terrorists and normal everyday arabs or iraqi citizens. adding "ragheads" to the end is just the cherry on top of the dehumanization process.

Thursday, July 07, 2005 
how do you make a bin laden float?
the title probably sounds like a stupid joke... the obvious punchline would be to put bin laden in a glass and add ice cream.

but no, the way you make a bin laden float is to make a big parade float that looks kind of like osama bin laden (or some middle-eastern man, anyway), put him in a blood-splattered robe, put a leash around his neck lyndie england style, and then have uncle sam holding the leash.

at least, that's how they do it in chesterton, indiana.

Creators of the parade entry that took the ribbon for Most Patriotic at Chesterton's Fourth of July parade say they meant no offense by a figure of Uncle Sam leading a bound Osama bin Laden.

And they're frustrated that their main focus -- sending care packages to people in the armed services -- is being overshadowed by reaction to the parade display.

Getting the enemy was the message of the display, said Penny Kozinski, of Supporters of the Military, which sponsored the entry.

"We were just showing we were capturing the bad guys," Kozinski said. "We're going to catch the bad guys and then our guys can come home."

Kozinski's husband David is in Iraq with the Indiana Army National Guard and her son Micheal heads off for a third tour in Iraq with the Marine Corps later this month.

sending care packages to members of the armed services is a worthwhile cause. but putting him on a leash after the abu ghraib scandal? in a bloody robe? even if the float were so photo-realistic and there was no doubt it was osama, that's going a bit too far for what's supposed to be a family-friendly parade. and it's going way too far to win awards. and the float wasn't quite an exact likeness:

Eyebrows were raised because of confusion over who exactly the bound figure was supposed to be.

Kozinski said: "He was looking like an Arab, Iraqi, terrorist, whatever you want to call these people. I call them ragheads."

here's my two cents for penny kozinski: when you have a public relations disaster and you want to convince people that your organization is not made up of sick, racist scum of the earth, the first step is don't use racial slurs when talking to the press!

fox news ♥s terrorists
courtesy of mediamatters (though i originally saw it on dkos... this morning, fox's brian kilmeade said that the terror attacks in london "work to our advantage" because apparently terrorism is the only issue worth discussing. who cares about namby-pamby liberal crap like the destruction of the planet or a few million starving hiv-infected africans?

The following exchange between Fox News host Brian Kilmeade and Fox News business contributor and substitute host Stuart Varney occurred during breaking news coverage of the attacks on London subways and buses on the July 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

KILMEADE: And he [British Prime Minister Tony Blair] made the statement, clearly shaken, but clearly determined. This is his second address in the last hour. First to the people of London, and now at the G8 summit, where their topic Number 1 --believe it or not-- was global warming, the second was African aid. And that was the first time since 9-11 when they should know, and they do know now, that terrorism should be Number 1. But it's important for them all to be together. I think that works to our advantage, in the Western world's advantage, for people to experience something like this together, just 500 miles from where the attacks have happened.

VARNEY: It puts the Number 1 issue right back on the front burner right at the point where all these world leaders are meeting. It takes global warming off the front burner. It takes African aid off the front burner. It sticks terrorism and the fight on the war on terror, right up front all over again.

hooray for the terrorists because they focus our attention on themselves instead of the world's other problems! meanwhile, the 37 dead and 700+ injured are surely jumping for joy.

and just yesterday, a different fox news host, john gibson, had vomited forth a screed about why he wished that the olympics committee had chosen paris for the 2012 olympics instead of london. no, no, it wasn't because he realized that his (and other goopers') francophilia was misguided and delusional:

Paris was exactly the right place to pick and the Olympic committee screwed up.

Why? Simple. It would have been a three-week period where we wouldn't have had to worry about terrorism.

First, the French think they are so good at dealing with the Arab world that they would have gone out and paid every terrorist off. And things would have been calm.

Or another way to look at it is the French are already up to their eyeballs in terrorists. The French hide them in miserable slums, out of sight of the rich people in Paris.

So it would have been a treat, actually, to watch the French dealing with the problem of their own homegrown Islamist terrorists living in France already.

What would the French have done about rounding up their own citizens?

Would they have afforded their own terrorists the rights they insist we give the detainees at Gitmo? Not a chance. They'd throw them in the clink, or ship them off to North Africa pronto.

Would they have blocked terrorists at the border with unreasonable search and seizure — precisely what they say we should not do? Of course they would. Anybody looking faintly Arab would have had the gendarmerie on them in a flash.

It would have been a delight to have Parisians worried about security instead of New Yorkers. It would have been exquisite to watch.

this is a sick, malicious man. one can only presume that if the terrorists had bombed paris this morning, john gibson would have creamed his jeans in the sheer joy of thinking about all those dead frenchmen. but no, "i like the brits", he says. how dare those terrorists deprive john gibson of the opportunity to revel in mass murder?

london bombing
explosions rock london this morning as three explosions occur in the london subway system (the "underground" or the "tube"), and another bomb goes off in a double-decker bus. so far many have been reported injured but not very many have been reported dead. but it's still early.

blair was in scotland for the g8 conference and promptly announced that he was going home to london. nobody will blame him for that.

gerryinlondon on dkos has a diary called "getting to work in london today" about how this is impacting normal londoners.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005 
judging judy
on saturday, i posted the allegation that karl rove was matt cooper's and judy miller's secret source for the valerie plame outing. (rove's lawyer has tried to deny it, using weasel words such that rove could be both guilty and under investigation, yet the lawyer's statement could still be arguably true).

in that post, i mentioned that time was going to hand over cooper's notes, in what seemed to be an attempt to keep cooper from going to jail. whether that was indeed time's motivation is unclear, especially considering that the prosecutor later said that it wouldn't work: cooper would still have to go to jail if he didn't personally testify before the grand jury.

cooper would have gone to jail today, but shortly before the hearing he had a change of heart and decided to testify. he says he did so because his source explicitly and personally told him it was okay to testify.

judith miller, on the other hand, who became relatively famous for her extremely dubious reporting before the iraq war, where she penned quite a few now-proven-false stories that were spoon-fed to her by ahmed chalabi, still refuses to testify, and is on her way to jail. but who is she trying to protect?

Likewise, Fitzgerald has repeatedly said he already knows the identity of Miller's source and that person has relieved Miller of her duty to protect the source's anonymity. Yesterday, he suggested Miller will likely spend time in jail thinking about "whether the interests of journalism at large, and even more broadly, the proper conduct of government, are truly served" by her continued refusal to discuss her sources.

"Miller's views may change over time," he said, if her "irresponsible martyrdom" is later viewed by her industry colleagues as hurting, rather than helping, reporters' efforts to protect their sources, he wrote.

so the prosecutor already knows who the source is, and has a signed affadavit from that source authorizing others to testify. so what does she think she's accomplishing? same goes for cooper.

it's been pointed out repeatedly that this isn't a very good test case for journalistic privelege. shield laws and practices of journaltic confidentiality are there primarily to protect whistleblowers: those who want to expose wrongdoing but can't because of some risk to their own livelihood. maybe they would get fired if they spoke out. or worse: lynched, or driven out of town, or harassed, or smeared in the media. for them, the only choice is to go anonymously to the media.

but the plame situation turns that completely on its head. in this case, joe wilson was the whistleblower, and the journalists are trying to protect those who retaliated against the whistleblowers. instead of confidentiality being used to protect the powerless and vulnerable, it is being used to protect the powerful and punish the vulernable. instead of the press exposing a crime, the press was itself complicit in a crime, and now tries to protect itself. this is no deep throat scenario. this is protecting nixon while deep throat goes to jail.

garbage in, garbage out
like many, i work for a multinational corporation, pearson. i'm not proud of working for a megacorp, but generally as far as corporations go, pearson isn't so bad. it's european (london-based), for one thing, which means that our benefits are pretty good. hell, i got july 5 off work for a holiday this year, and i don't know anyone else who did. plus, compared to other global actors, pearson is generally pretty well-behaved, or at least i don't hear much in the news about unethical behavior there (or at pearson subsidiaries, such as penguin-putnam, the financial times, etc).

but i must say i'm pretty disappointed with penguin for publishing ed klein's the truth about hillary, the new anti-clinton diatribe.

of course, penguin has every right to start up a right-wing imprint and print conservative books, just as doubleday had every right to print kitty kelley's all in the family (which i blogged about briefly but never bought or read). but where kelley had actual named sources for her most explosive allegations (actual sources within the bush family), klein does not. in fact, as joe conason points out, "In the ultimate form of junk recycling, his footnotes cite books that relied upon anonymous sources."

and while the corporate media was immediately and viscerally hostile to kitty kelley, it was much more likely to give klein the benefit of the doubt... at least, that is, until people started fact-checking it.

a quick browse through mediamatters shows just how thoroughly the book has been debunked (for example, see here, here, here, and especially here). this book is so full of errors that even bill o'reilly, rush limbaugh, peggy noonan, and joe scarborough have come out to criticize it. rush even tried to make the ridiculous claim that liberals are the ones behind klein's book, in an attempt to put out something so false that hillary would be "innoculated" against any future criticism.

mediamatters's david brock and many others have publicly called for penguin to admit to the factual errors in the book.

this morning i received the latest edition of @pearson, pearson's companywide email newsletter for its employees. in it, near the bottom, was this section:

The truth about The Truth About Hillary
Edward Klein's The Truth About Hillary, the new controversial book about the former US First Lady and current US Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton, which Sentinel (Penguin Group (USA)'s conservative imprint) just published, has ranked as high as number two on the Amazon Top 100. The buzz surrounding The Truth About Hillary has generated often-intense commentary from across the public political spectrum with some media raising questions regarding the factual accuracy of Klein's book. Others have taken aim at Penguin Group (USA)'s and Sentinel's editorial standards. These issues were addressed in a Penguin Group (USA) corporate statement that is posted on the Penguin U.S. web site at:

so penguin has addressed these issues, huh? let's look at an excerpt from the corporate statement:

With regard to Penguin Group (USA)'s editorial standards,it is the long-established and legally recognized practice in book publishing that it is the author's responsibility to assure factual accuracy.

Mr.Klein's book received the same legal scrutiny that Penguin Group (USA)undertakes for other nonfiction books that it publishes, and during that process the author satisfied Sentinel that he could support statements in the book now under attack. What should also be understood is that factual accuracy does not mean unopinionated or unbiased. Mr.Klein's interpretation and characterization of what he reports is unabashedly his opinion. Neither he nor Sentinel pretend otherwise. He has the absolute right to express that opinion, and it now is for the reading public to decide whether he makes his case.

Having said that,it is also important to note that Penguin Group (USA) has never let public opinion or the media dictate what we will or will not publish.

the opening sentence of the statement is "The book publishing industry has always fought against censorship of any kind."... a little swipe that anyone who criticizes penguin or klein just wants to censor them. of course, i think penguin can publish as many hillary books as it wants to, so long as there is at least the illusion of a fact-checking process. kitty kelley was able to do very well on the talk shows, because although her book was probably not 100% accurate, she at least knew what she was talking about and it was clear she had done a lot of research.

so sentinel was "satisfied" that klein could support his claims: like the assertion that chelsea clinton was conceived when bill date-raped hillary? or the suggestion that hillary is a lesbian and that she had an affair with vince foster (a man?) or any of the dozens of claims that are so effortlessly debunked in the mediamatters articles i linked to above?

call me intellectually inconsistent if you want, because i didn't slam kitty kelley's bush biography in the way that i'm slamming this hillary bio. but while kelley's book did deal in rumors, there were also a lot of facts, and named sources. i'm not having much luck on google finding any lists of real inaccuracies in kelley's book, other than claims from one or two of her sources (one of whom, sharon bush, tried denying the story but her own publicist could not back her up). but i'm having no trouble finding page after page of flat-out lies, distortions, and inaccuracies contained in klein's book. and that makes me, a pearson employee, feel somewhat dirty.

Sunday, July 03, 2005 
did you come to earth for evil purposes?
for years, it has been no secret that tom cruise was a follower of the cult of scientology. but at least he was kind of quiet about it. but recently he's been making a real ass of himself in public, and recently had a bit of a breakdown in a televised appearance with matt lauer. cruise made various claims that psychoanalysis is a fraud, & that "there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance" (prompting lewis black to wonder "then what's happening to you right now?"). cruise had some harsh words for brooke shields, because she took some pills to treat postpartum depression.

these comments are no surprise to anyone who knows anything about scientology, but most people don't. and one positive effect of cruise's recent tv insanity has been to draw more attention to scientologists and their wacky, zany belief system.

not that there's a lot of coverage or that it's all good. if you want to see some hackery, try this piece in the tucson citizen, where the author's search for "understanding" led her only as far as picking up the phone to call the local scientology PR HQ, and to transcribe the phone call verbatim. nice investigative work, jenny.

if jenny had made a second phone call for her story, she might have heard that tom has been increasingly bringing his faith to the job site:

War of the Worlds is hardly Cruise’s Battlefield Earth, but Steven Spielberg’s film does make one Scientology-friendly tweak to H.G. Wells’s 1898 novel of Martian attack (the aliens’ war-making infrastructure has been implanted on earth for millions of years), and it’s no wonder Cruise chose the movie as his first production to benefit from an on-site Scientology tent. “The volunteer Scientology ministers were there to help the sick and injured,” Cruise told Der Spiegel, like a battle-weary soldier extolling the Red Cross

why was it so apropos that cruise wanted a scientology tent on the set at war of the worlds? because scientologists firmly believe in battling space aliens.

At the higher levels of Scientology, adherents learn they are infested with "spiritual parasites," Alexander and other former Scientologists say. To remove them, one must submit to expensive counseling -- $20,000 and higher. Scientologists call this level "The Wall of Fire."

That's when Alexander first heard the story of Xenu. It goes something like this: 75 million years ago, the intergalactic overlord Xenu brought aliens from different planets to Earth, killed them with a hydrogen bomb and dispersed their bodies into the atmosphere. Their souls now afflict humanity with "disconnected thoughts."

"The first thing I thought was, this doesn't really apply to me," Alexander said. "But then I decided I'm here on this course, I paid a bunch of money, so I'm going to read this stuff and see if it works."

For a while, it did. From 1993 to 1996, Alexander spent up to three hours a day on "self auditing," solo counseling which he said made him feel "like you're floating on a cloud."

During these sessions, he tried to communicate with the dead aliens to get them to leave his body. Using the E-meter, Alexander would sit in a room by himself and repeat the story of Xenu over and over in his mind.

but what the hell is an e-meter?

there’s the "e-meter," a sort of low-level lie detector. The person being examined — "audited" is the official term — holds two metal cans connected by a wire to the meter. Stress affects conductivity, so the auditor searches for words or situations that jiggle the needle. Scientologists believe that those jiggles are evidence of engrams.

Auditors focus on those areas, desensitizing the person through repetition, until the needle no longer jiggles. Scientologists believe that's evidence that the engram has been released. When they’re all released, the person is considered "clear."

Scientologists pay to be audited and for many other classes and training sessions. Some news accounts estimate that Cruise, a Scientologist for decades, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his training.

i used to play a game called "telephone" using two cans and a piece of string (back when i was 8). but i never thought to use them to clear my mind of engrams that might be blocking my mind from achieving happiness or clarity. it sounds like ghetto hypnosis to me, as it's actually relatively easy to create a trancelike state. hell, television creates a trancelike state. i'd imagine that staring at a jiggling needle would create one hell of a trance, perhaps even one that makes you feel like you're "floating on a cloud".

during early auditing sessions, an expert auditor will ask you helpful questions such as
  • Have you driven anyone insane?
  • Have you ever killed the wrong person?
  • Did you come to Earth for evil purposes?
  • Have you ever gone crazy?
  • Have you ever smothered a baby?
  • Have you ever castrated anyone?
  • Is there any question on this list I had better not ask you again?
  • Have you ever tried to make the physical universe less real?
  • Have you ever zapped anyone?
  • Have you ever had a body with a venereal disease? If so, did you spread it?

radar has more, and apparently even more only available in their print edition.

if you're unwilling to go out and buy a magazine but want some more reading, salon has a four-part series on scientology.

no more pop-up comments
yeah, i got rid of 'em. i didn't like the fact that they didn't match the visual style of my site, and i couldn't figure out how to change their formatting (which was pretty easy with haloscan). if i can find a way to do that, maybe i'll put them back. or just maybe i'd do it regardless, if people start clamoring for the return of pop-up comments. for some reason i don't expect that to happen, though.

other changes:

  • fixed/designed formatting for comments on individual post pages
  • added left border: i liked how the black had formerly bled off into the non-viewable parts of the monitor, but short post pages might actually have a narrow bit of crimson in there, which looks awful without a left border.
  • adjusted margins: this was necessary to compensate for the new left border, which tightens up the page nicely, but was probably too tight under the old margin settings
  • subtly animated the comment footers: i tried to make it subtle enough that you might not even notice if you weren't paying attention to it. is it too much? or just about right? if it's still too much, i could just change it to a static gradient or something similar.

the left border is pretty much non-negotiable, so you can complain about it but that won't make me change it. but i might be susceptible to complaints about the pop-up comments or the comment footer animation.

does anyone use the "email this post" feature? i never bothered to set it up for my blog but could do so easily enough if anyone would use it. i even found a blogger help article so that i wouldn't have to use the email icon that normally appears (if i had found that a few months ago, i would have used it my montana & mcdeviltoast design).

Saturday, July 02, 2005 
it was rove
last week, the supreme court refused to hear an appeal by journalist matthew cooper (of time) and journo-shill judith miller (of the new york times). cooper and miller had been ordered to testify in front of a grand jury about the valerie plame outing scandal: who in the white house outed valerie plame as a cia agent?

by refusing to hear the appeal, the supreme court ensured that either cooper and miller would talk or they'd go to jail. miller still refuses, claiming journalistic privelege. the court says that journalistic privelege does not extend to aiding & abetting a felon. cooper said he wouldn't talk either, but then time announced that it would turn over any documents in question, protecting him from going to jail. (robert novak, who was the one who actually reported plame's occupation, doesn't seem to be in trouble; the only explanation for this is that he sang like a canary some time ago.)

now that time has turned over the documents, msnbc's lawrence o'donnell announced that he's known for some time that white house mastermind karl rove was cooper's source.

the gop's past decase of unethical behavior has been catching up with them recently, and if this is true things are only going to get worse. the white house's chief political advisor being convicted of perjury would be extremely bad for the administration.

you like?
trying out a new design for the comment footer, on a separate line rather than tracked into the end of the post. i'm afraid that the only way to have a postscript character like this at the end of a post and to use the blogger images layouts is to enter the ¶ into the body of each post. this can be semiautomated by using the "post template" feature, but i still have a feeling that the ¶ will be gone from the end of all my old posts. maybe i'm wrong; i won't know until i publish. that's kind of a shame, as i think it's a really nice feature... sort of like the opposite of drop caps.

although it is nice to be able to choose whether there's a ¶ or not for each post, because it looks like crap when the post ends with a blockquote or other block element rather than text, at least with this design.

also, what do you think about the pop-up blogger comments? i don't like them. i like the pop-up functionality, but i think they look like crap, and i think the comments section on the individual post pages currently also looks like crap. i'm thinking i should make them non pop-up, and then i can format them pretty much like the comments on the bobby vomit blawg.

bring out the GIMP (for image databending)
so syntax emailed me a couple PSD bends that he'd done using the GIMP, a free image editing program. (more about his submission in the new submissions and extras section of my image databending gallery.)

not bad. but i was intrigued by the fact that it was a PSD file. when opening bent PSD files in photoshop, the majority of the time they render with that horizontal banding/replication effect that is in most of my PSD bends. but his image looked like he'd actually been pushing pixels around with that effect happening. on rare occasion, photoshop will render a bent file in that way, but i figured that the laws of probability were against his first PSD bend being one of those odd files. so i downloaded/installed the gimp, and started opening up my old bent PSD files.

sure enough, a lot of them re-bent when opened with the gimp. for example, this


so that's fun. it even opened a few files that wouldn't open in photoshop, like this one:

not all of them re-bent. i know that for at least a couple of them, i made the mistake of re-saving them while they were open in photoshop. this essentially "fixes" the errors: it's no longer a corrupted file, but a normal file of a jumbled-up image. a couple of the other files had been bent beyond openability.

so i've updated the bent image gallery: in addition to the new submissions and extras section, a have added several new "gimp" images to the RR8 gallery, as well as new "gimp" images to the DSCF0044, DSCF0047, and DSCF0049 pages in the RRX gallery.


Friday, July 01, 2005 
fixing the comments
i've gone through the first 100 or so posts and restored the haloscan comments to those posts that had them (that is, i hid the blogger comments on those posts, which unhid the haloscan comments). so everything starting april 2005 should be fixed, but i might've missed a couple. restoring them is not an impossible task, but it's fairly tedious. i don't really feel like doing any more tonight.

now i'm going to look into reformatting my comment footer so that it's on a separate line. i'll probably do it if i can come up with a format i like as much as the current one.

new blogger comments
experimenting with blogger comments. unfortunately the hack i discussed didn't work quite as well as i had expected.

When you enable comments on a blog for the first time, it mostly just affects new posts -- old posts are left with comments disabled unless you manually edit them to change this. We'll use that fact to show our alternate comments on those posts.

actually, it seems to have affected all my posts since may 2004. so my haloscan comments for the past year are currently hidden... they're not done entirely, but they're fairly tricky to get to right now. i guess i can still disable the blogger comments for those old posts that had them, on a post-by-post basis, but that will be time consuming if i end up doing it.

so give the new commenting system a try.

swift boats for iran
so iran recently had elections. and just like the united states, they elected a far-right religious fundamentalist who considers his holy text more "true" and important than things like science. if you don't like islamist government, give them elections so they can choose their new islamist leaders.

but now, six americans who were hostages in the 1979 embassy crisis have now come out to state that new iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of their captors.

a president of a powerful nation is accused of being a kidnapper! that's big news. of course, a lot more people have come out to say that there's no way in hell it was him. the white house has even said that they wouldn't be surprised if it were indeed him, though they claim to be still investigating.

can it possibly be true? i was only 3 years old at the time, so i wouldn't know. let's explore some options.

  1. he did it, but those running his campaign etc didn't know
  2. he did it and they knew damn well
  3. it's all false and is a smear campaign so bushco can further demonize iran, and possibly invade
  4. it's not false but it's not a smear campaign either; the former captors are just confused... maybe all persians look alike to them or their memories are just bad (it has been well established that one person's false memories can influence others into thinking they remember something that never happened)

i don't know about you, but none of those options sound very good to me. and by that i mean that they're all believable, but none would make me very happy.

update: cnn is reporting that there was already a hostage-taker high up in iranian govt:

The current Iranian vice president and head of the Environment Department, Massoumeh Ebtekar, was the chief interpreter and spokeswoman for the radical students who took over the U.S. Embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

Dubbed "Sister Mary" by the American press because her heavy head scarf resembled a nun's habit, Ebtekar gave almost nightly interviews during the standoff, denouncing the hostages as spies and accusing the United States of committing crimes.

o'connor retires
justice sandra day o'connor has announced her retirement. people figured rehnquist would resign first; after all, he has the cancer. but he still could.

now bush gets at least one supreme court nomination. considering the kinds of people he likes to nominate (john bolton, anyone?), that means trouble.

fred's fruity CPBbles
remember fred mann, the indiana mann who was hired by CPB honcho tomlinson to monitor "liberal bias" on public broadcasting? the one who the media has been trying to track down for weeks now, with little to no success? where is this guy hiding? well, his data has been released:

Mann's work was released Thursday by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who had requested a copy from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It details the views of guests on four public radio and TV programs -- "Now With Bill Moyers" and "Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered" on PBS, and "The Diane Rehm Show" and "The Tavis Smiley Show" on NPR -- that aired between October 2003 and June last year.

The report labels guests on these programs "liberal," "conservative" or "neutral" or categorizes them by such descriptions as "pro-Bush," "anti-Bush," "support administration" and "oppose administration."

It found "Now" to be rife with liberal views; of 136 segments reviewed, it said 92 "clearly opposed" administration policy, while the balance were "neutral" or "not about policy."

It also found that when "conservatives/Republicans" were guests, they "mostly opposed" the administration. Tomlinson has often cited the Moyers show in his public critiques.

But Mann never explains his labeling criteria or indicates in any detail which specific comment or comments earned a guest a particular characterization.

Dorgan pointed out that "red-blooded" conservatives such as Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and former congressman Bob Barr, R-Ga., were classified as "liberal" and "anti-administration" apparently for briefly expressing views that differed from administration policy. Dorgan called the report "kind of a nutty project" and an "amateurish attempt to prove a liberal bias," noting Mann had apparently faxed his findings to Tomlinson from Mary Ann's Hallmark, a card store in Indianapolis.

mary ann's hallmark store is at 15 e. market, in the heart of downtown. i can't tell if that's inside the city market or across the street, but it doesn't matter.

previously, we'd only known about the investigation into bill moyers. the news about investigating the other shows is new. and diane rehm is pissed:

"Is it being done to somehow force public broadcasting into some kind of retreat?" asked Ms. Rehm, who has been host of "The Diane Rehm Show," a news and interview program, on public radio for 25 years. "Is it done to frighten people to somehow alert them to the fact that they are being watched?"

Ms. Rehm may have had reason to feel aggrieved. When she interviewed Mr. Tomlinson on her program last month - nearly a year after Mr. Mann finished his largely critical, but then still secret, review of her show - Mr. Tomlinson called himself "a great admirer" of hers.

"Frankly," Ms. Rehm said Thursday, "I feel used."

he admired her so much that he hired someone to spy on her! that's almost like stalking.

more from the la times:
A summary of Moyer's programs from Oct. 17, 2003, to June 25, 2004, for example, concluded that 92 of 136 segments "clearly opposed administration/government policies." The consultant also took note of conservatives who did not hew to the administration line.

In one report, he labeled former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) as opposed to the administration for his criticism that the Patriot Act violated civil liberties. Radio host and former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock was listed as "anti-Bush" for saying the military was underpaid. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) was tagged "liberal" for an interview with Smiley in which he criticized White House policy in Iraq.

Hagel spokesman Mike Buttry called the report "silliness," adding that the senator's record "speaks for itself."

Half a dozen reporters drew scrutiny as well. Associated Press President Tom Curley was listed in a chart as "liberal/Democrat" and under "oppose administration" for discussing whether there was a need for more government openness on Moyer's program.

Other reporters similarly classified were former NPR anchor Bob Edwards, New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston and Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Robin Wright.

tucker carlson--the boy in the bow-tie who was a star on crossfire until jon stewart eviscerated the show (saying "stop, you're hurting america") and it was subsequently canceled--is not concerned about being investigated. but even carlson had some criticism:

Carlson, a conservative pundit, said he did not object to the monitoring of his PBS show but took issue with the methodology.

"I don't think bean-counting guests is a particularly accurate way to determine the political bias of a show," said Carlson, who now hosts a program on MSNBC. "I had mostly liberals on because I disagreed with them and I wanted an interesting discussion."

and remember last week, when the CPB board picked tomlinson's lackey as the new president? some are suspicious of that, and are launching their own investigation:

he Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds public television and radio, will begin an investigation into the selection of Patricia Harrison as its president, the agency's inspector general said today.

The probe, sought by Senator Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, should be done by mid-August and will be released to the public, Inspector General Kenneth Konz said in an interview.

``It's just one of several matters that Congress has raised related to CPB operations, and we intend to give them the full facts of the situation,'' said Konz, who reports to both Congress and the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Dorgan said in a June 29 letter that some board members of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting expressed concern to him ``that the process was unnecessarily rushed'' and not as ``open and transparent'' as previous executive searches.

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