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Friday, May 02, 2003
10:18 AM      

For Immediate Release
Office of the
April 30, 2003

Loyalty Day, 2003
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation


To be an American is not a matter of blood or birth. Our citizens are bound by ideals that represent the hope of all mankind: that all men are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. On Loyalty Day, we reaffirm our allegiance to our country and resolve to uphold the vision of our Forefathers.

Our founding principles have endured, guiding our Nation toward progress and prosperity and allowing the United States to be a leader among nations of the world. Throughout our history, honorable men and women have demonstrated their loyalty to America by making remarkable sacrifices to preserve and protect these values. ...

Last September, I announced several initiatives that will help improve students' knowledge of American history, increase their civic involvement, and deepen their love for our great country. The We the People initiative will encourage the teaching of American history and civic education by providing grants for curriculum development and training seminars. The Our Documents initiative will use the Internet to bring infor-mation about and the text of 100 of America's most important documents from the National Archives to classrooms and com-munities across the country. These initiatives are important, for it is only when our children have an understanding of our past that they will be able to lead the future. ...

The Congress, by Public Law 85-529, as amended, has designated May 1 of each year as "Loyalty Day," and I ask all Americans to join me in this day of celebration and in reaffirming our allegiance to our Nation.

I pulled these lines out of the proclamation as it currently appears on the White House web site, because sooner or later this post might be amended. It probably could have used another edit or two, but then the White House is probably worse than the law firm I worked at, where no one dared edit the big-wig lawyer's writing.

"Unalienable" is actually a word in the dictionary, although "inalienable" is the more common usage. Notice that "Forefathers" is capitalized. It's a way of showing reverence, as in "God." Notice also that "Nation" is capitalized, but only when preceded by "our," which is not capitalized. "Country" is never capitalized; apparently there's something particularly solemn about the word "nation." Finally, "information" and "communities" have inadvertent hyphens in them. I'm assuming that this is a by-product of the text creation process. Someone probably typed it up in Word, with the auto-hyphenation feature turned-on. When the text was copied and pasted into HTML, the hyphens came along. They didn't spell-check after the text got into the HTML editor.

Now to the content... I had no idea that Bush had declared a day of loyalty. Somehow, that missed the press radar. I wonder how often that happens. Second, he talks about a history initiative. This is interesting, because if you look at what's happening with textbooks in Texas, history is being slanted in a very interesting way.

History is [re]written...
A review board of sorts holds sway over what textbooks get into Texas classrooms, and that board is powerful enough to block history books that don't tell it the way the board sees it. For example, one history textbook stated that the buffalo in this country were nearly made extinct by Europeans, who indiscriminately hunted the animal for sport. The board recommended that the passage be edited to assert that Native Americans also contributed to the decimation after the white man gave them rifles -- supposedly they too began to hunt for sport rather than food.

The amendment would mean the difference between whether the book would be approved for use in the classrooms. The implication goes beyond Texas, because it represents the largest market for textbooks. Anything that Texas rejects is not likely to be published at all.

Which brings us back to the reference to a curriculum development initiative. Shaping the portrayal of history is a very powerful mechanism for influencing future generations. Several years ago, a group of conservatives banded together to launch something they called the "Project for the New American Century." It's pretty clear that their efforts are focused upon defining the quality of the entire twenty-first century.

[ link | e-me ]

7:50 AM      

Don't believe the hype

[CBS' Dan] Rather called it a "production." NBC's Tom Brokaw, after showing tape of the president landing on the aircraft carrier deck in a fighter jet, said White House aides "openly acknowledge this photo is likely to show up again as the president campaigns for re-election."

"There is some criticism coming that this is one big photo opportunity," - CNN's Paula Zahn.

"The president has put together one of the all-time great photo opportunities and convinced the television networks to give him a prime-time" stage, - Fox's Wendell Goler.

The above are all comments on Bush's speech from the deck of an aircraft carrier, marking the end of the main phase of hostilities in Iraq. Interestingly, several of the news broadcasts noted that he stopped short of saying the engagement was over.


Some time ago, I spent several years doing 1-man radio shows on my college station. I'd tape the shows every time, and had a habit of listening back to my "air checks" afterward, especially in the first year that I was on the air. Listening back was very helpful in refining my on-air persona, but I never had a coach, and I avoided developing the exaggerated radio voice that I heard some other announcers putting on.

Now, I'm studying voice-over technique with a successful VO announcer and coach. I'm listening to commercials to hear how they tell a story with their voices, and I'm reading into a tape nearly every day. The practice is starting to pay off.

One of the first things I discovered, is how much preparation goes into finding the vocal quality that will work best for particular copy. Another thing I realized, is that as soon as you focus on what your voice sounds like, or what the words on the page are, you already sound wrong -- more than likely, your delivery will be tentative.

Listening back to the progress I've made over just the past 3 weeks, it's clear that I wasn't ready to simply step into the studio and make a reel. I'm looking forward to making something that's really competitive, and will give agents something to work with.


I'm currently reading "The Power of the Center" by Arnheim. The first chapter is dense, with a very formal style of language that's taken a little getting-used-to. I find myself reading some passages over, just to be sure I didn't miss something. Still, the description of "centric" and "eccentric" forces in imagery, sculpture, and architecture is very interesting. I'm looking forward to reading about the application of this theory in the later chapters. Just as with writing, there's a lot to visual composition.

[ link | e-me ]

Thursday, May 01, 2003
8:26 AM      

Now, That's a Rant!
OK, yesterday I posted a rant from some ham-headed pro-Bush sputtermouth. Today, I'm linking to to show how a rant's supposed to be done.


The Perfect Target
"We were not lying... But it was just a matter of emphasis." [The real reason for the war was] that the administration "wanted to make a statement."

Paul Krugman poses the question: "Does it matter that we were misled into war? Some people say that it doesn't: we won, and the Iraqi people have been freed. But we ought to ask some hard questions — not just about Iraq, but about ourselves." He also raises relevant questions about selective compassion and the true nature of democracy. Read more [ NYT link - requires registration ]


Word games

1) Republican : Democrat :: Conservative : ??

• Conservative:

Synonyms -- bourgeois, controlled, conventional, die-hard, fearful, fogyish, fuddy-duddy, guarded, hidebound, inflexible, lunatic fringe, middle-of-the-road,obstinate, old guard, old-line, orthodox, reactionary, red-neck, right-wing, timid, traditional, traditionalistic, unchangeable, unchanging, uncreative, undaring, unimaginative, unprogressive, white bread, bitter-ender, classicist, fossil, obstructionist,silk-stocking, stick-in-the-nud, tory, unprogressive

Listed as a synonym of -- bigoted, intolerant, parochial, slow

Antonyms -- reckless, progressive, radical, revolutionary,left-winger, liberal

2) Republican : Democrat :: Right : ??

• Right:

Synonyms -- appropriate, condign, conscientious, deserved, due, equitable, ethical, fitting, good, honest, honorable, just, justifiable, lawful, legal, legitimate, merited, moral, proper, requisite, scrupulous, stand up, suitable, true, virtuous, absolute, admissible, authentic, bona fide, correct, factual, faithful, genuine, immaculate, indubitable, inerrant, infallible, just, nice, perfect, precise, proper, punctilious, rigorous, satisfactory, solemn, sound, strict, sure, thoroughgoing, undistorted, undoubted, unerring, unmistaken, utter, valid, veracious, veridical, veritable, watertight, desirable, favorable, felicitous, fitting, good, ideal, propitious

Antonyms -- left, wrong, unsatisfactory, unhealthy, sick

Conclusion: Who picked these labels?

[ link | e-me ]

Wednesday, April 30, 2003
8:23 AM      

I visited the Art Students League on 57th Street yesterday. Thought I'd sign up for a drawing class. All of the courses are wait-listed, and it looks like maybe I can start one next month. It would be 2 nights a week, but the instructor would be available only one night. After a month, I'll see where I am. I'm looking for a little foundation work. I need a hand with perspective and shadow. After that, it's just a matter of practice. There are two places I already know of where I can go for inexpensive sittings with a model.

I'll be curious to find out what my instructor will be like. I was the second person on the wait list for my class. Other instructors have pages-long wait lists, probably due to their reps. The league has a long history of extraordinary instructors.

The gallery at the Art Students League is closed. They're beginning a massive restoration project in the building, and they're moving classes into temporary space while the work is being done. I wonder how long the restoration will take.


If you're interested in the compositional and structural aspects of page design, I can highly recommend "Making and Breaking the Grid" by Samara. Not only is it chock-full of solid examples of grids and grid deconstructions, it has a bit of history and a good bibliography to broaden the perspective.

I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to "Site-Seeing; A visual approach to web usability" by Wroblewski. I think it will be a good companion to the grid book.


A tale of two countries
The "Fox Effect" is not simply an invention of Rupert Murdoch. It appears to ape the voice of people who claim to speak for all Americans. An entry called "Hillary and Bill, LEAVE This Country!" appearing on contains the following:

SHUT UP MRS Hillary CLINTON! Do you have any ISSUES to talk about other than Bashing the President of the United States?? Oh yea, America notices these things!

...You need to grow a brain stem, you and your crooked impeached husband Bill! I am sick and tired of you and your Party bashing the Best thing that ever happened to AMERICA!! CLUE: PRESIDENT G W BUSH! As a taxpayer and a Registered VOTER of this COUNTRY, I demand it! ...

I am an AMERICAN THAT VOTES, and I resent the bashing and stomping on MY VOTE and President BUSH!! ...

There are a couple of interesting elements here, besides the histrionic, ignorant tone. (As I said once before, anger generally undermines your case.) The message implies that Bush is addressing issues, and Clinton is not. Meaning that in this person's mind, a President lying and overstepping authority should not be an issue as long as that President was voted into office.

Another implication that stands out is the notion that the only people complaining about Bush are people who didn't vote. This argument has been advanced against Lenny Kravitz, who admitted that he didn't vote in the last election, and sees it as a major mistake, but is speaking out now.

But whether the critic is a once apathetic potential voter who's awakened, or a Washington insider, the message is "shut up if you don't have something nice to say about the guy I voted for." Considering that stories ran yesterday about Daschle's comments on the eve of the Iraq military engagement -- suggesting that it might cost him his political future -- you can look forward to a campaign season full of neo-McCarthyistic rhetoric.

Contrast that entry with "THE AMERICAN DICTATOR Return War Powers to Congress":

In October 2002, George Bush convinced congress to surrender their constitutional War Powers to him. The joint resolutions known as HJ.Res.114 and SJ.Res.45 authorize the president to "...use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to-- (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."

Furthermore, in the joint resolution, Congress specifically relinquishes its own authority granted in the War Powers Act of 1973, the purpose of which was " fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the United States and insure that the collective judgement of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicate by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such forces in hostilities or in such situations." ...

The fundamental problem is that it is unfair to ask the citizens of the United States to have blind faith in their leaders. When Congress surrenders its authority under the War Powers Act, it undermines one of the all-important checks-and-balances that protect the integrity of our great democracy. The deferral of this authority to the president also robs the American people of the chance of having their voice heard by their leaders. That is, a letter to one?s Senator or Representative has a better chance of being read, and of carrying some political weight, than a letter to the President. ...

Would the author of the first message consider this to be bashing? Would they see the entry as having any relevance, or would they simply repeat the cry of "shut up"?


What are they thinking?
What brought me to these messages? I was looking on for information on this: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. Bill # H.J.RES.25" The summary is as follows.

Constitutional Amendment - Repeals the 22d amendment to the Constitution (limitation on presidential terms).

This is not a good idea. Following on the heels of Congress signing over its war powers to the President, it's further down the slippery slope toward a dictatorship steered by global enterprises which are increasingly regarded as the only relevant "American interests." What amazes me, is that 5 of the 7 sponsors are Democrats. Not surprisingly, there's been no coverage of this proposal in the press, and there should be significant coverage any time the Constitution stands a chance of being altered.

I can hear some of the sound-bites already. When the issue of doing away with the Electoral College came up a couple of years ago, a number of Congressmen waxed about the prescient wisdom of the Founding Fathers and how we should not mess with their intent. I suppose they might argue that this move is in the same spirit -- effectively un-making a mistake.

[ link | e-me ]

Tuesday, April 29, 2003
12:46 PM      

9/11 and Bush's Record

To the Editor:

Re "Bush's Aides Plan Late Sprint in '04" (news article, April 22):

Since the worst terrorist attack in American history, which took the life of my brother, occurred in New York on Sept. 11, it seems appropriate that President Bush will be making his re-election bid from that city at that time in 2004.

Perhaps the millions of unemployed Americans, veterans whose benefits have been threatened, families of dead civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, working people who lost their pensions to corporate fraud, and 41 million Americans without health insurance can come to town and join him in celebrating the other achievements of his first term.

Cary, N.C., April 23, 2003

- Letter to the Editor on


I have a hard time believing that April ends tomorrow.By the same token, I've burned through the morning already.

[ link | e-me ]

Sunday, April 27, 2003
11:40 PM      

Monster will no longer allow posting of resumes or job openings originating from Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.

In an e-mail explaining the change, Monster last week told consumers whose resumes include a reference to one of the countries that "your resume will be altered, removing all the sanctioned countries from your resume."

A spokesman for Monster, which is owned by New York-based TMP Worldwide, said Friday the policy affects "a few thousand" of the 26 million resumes posted on its site.

In some cases, the company has deleted resumes that list current addresses in those countries. It has altered other resumes so that they no longer list those countries as targets for employment or the location of jobseekers' education. ...

...after receiving complaints, it had re-examined its technology and beginning next week would allow the countries specified to be listed in the education entry. ...

Officials have not determined whether the company's action were correct, except to note that limiting where a jobseeker obtained an education appears to overstep the rules. [ The whole story ]


Heston's farewell fade

ORLANDO, Fla. - Charlton Heston made his last appearance as president of the National Rifle Association on Saturday, shuffling onto the stage before a crowd of 4,000 NRA members but too feeble to give a farewell speech.

The actor, diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, was strong enough to raise an 1866 Winchester rifle over his head and deliver his trademark line, "From my cold, dead hands."

He received a standing ovation but only spoke three more sentences at the annual NRA meeting Saturday. ...

Kayne Robinson, former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, took over the duties of president on Saturday. ...

[ more ]

[ link | e-me ]
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