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Wednesday, May 14, 2003
1:35 AM      

I plan to do the SONYA Studio Stroll this weekend. I've already marked my favorites. One of the photographers is named Amadou Diallo. At first, I thought it was a postumous exhibit. It's a different Amadou.


From "Why We Scapegoat the French" by John Edgar Wideman

A few months ago, before the war began, I visited the [French ] consulate again for business. I watched a squad of white guys, dressed like MTV hip-hop gangstas in baggy jeans and oversize hoodies (shades of the Boston Tea Party when terrorists disguised themselves as Indians, another suspect minority) plaster the consulate’s walls with anti-French slogans and U.S. flag decals, then duct tape two large American flags to the poles of the consulate’s entrance awning. ...

... Ugly words won’t be retracted or revised because the public is being manipulated. Instead of winning over public opinion through informed, principled debate, our leaders are pumping up addictive as oil. Anger at the French and blaming the French hid the actual reasons for waging war. ...a war the president needed so his reelection wouldn’t be squandered like his father’s. ... Anger at the French solidifies America’s complicity with the most militant, ruthless, intransigent elements of Ariel Sharon’s Israeli government. Anger legitimizes any and all aggression as a fitting response to 9-11. Finally, anger at the French is preferable to admitting the dismal failure of American diplomacy, preferable to acknowledging what seems to be the aim of our Middle East policy: transforming the region into a vast plantation where a major portion of the globe’s oil reserves can be securely harvested and profitably traded, with Israel, militarily dominant, our untouchable proxy, the overseer guarding American interests. ...

Rather than postulate another ponderous axis of evil, here is a more humble double-play combination that bears watching: Powell-Murdoch-Powell. In the campaign to vilify France and French people, the New York Post has been outrageously aggressive—smirking headlines deriding the AXIS OF WEASEL, French leaders at the U.N. with animal heads grafted on their shoulders. The Fox News Channel, an unconditional, often jingoistic supporter of the Bush administration’s management of the Iraqi war, has not lagged far behind the Post in the systematic vilifying of French political positions and French character.

...While the FCC ignores the threat to democracy posed by a media conglomerate with ambitions to monopolize public access to information, Murdoch, because he’s wealthy, determined and connected, continues to acquire media outlets, building an empire to control and shape public opinion. ...

It's worth a read.

[ link | e-me ]

Tuesday, May 13, 2003
10:12 AM is live! FTP'd it last night. What a cool feeling. It's like taking the paper down from the windows of a new business. We're officially open to the public. I'm happy to say, it was a very worthwhile effort, with a minimum of friction and stress.

Designed and built by yours truly; I even took a couple of the photos, edited the copy, and set up the hosting. Tools and technologies used: SSI, CSS, PHP, PayPal; and the usual suspects -- Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator. Hosting is by CornerHost.

This is phase one. Now, on to adding meta tags for the spiders and developing the expanded site -- coming this summer. With any luck, the site will generate both sales and investor interest.


Countering a wave of hate

For all the ugliness and tragedy of 9-11 there was a brief period afterwards where I held a great hope... I held onto a glimmer of hope in the naive assumption that something good could come out of all this. I imagined our leaders seizing upon this moment of unity in America, this moment when no one wanted to talk about Democrat vs. Republican, white vs. black or any of the other ridiculous divisions that dominate our public discourse. ...

And then came the speech. "You are either with us or against us" And the bombing began. And the old paradigm was restored as our leader encouraged us to show our patriotism by shopping and by volunteering to join groups that would turn in their neighbor for any suspicious behavior.

In the 19 months since 9-11 we have seen our democracy compromised by fear and hatred. Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear. A unified American public has grown bitterly divided and a world population that had profound sympathy and support for us has grown contemptuous and distrustful, viewing us as we once viewed the Soviet Union, as a rogue state.

- Tim Robbins on baseball and show business (sort of)


Taxing the enemy

"We've heard of enemies' lists, but this now looks like the White House and their friends in Congress want to start employing an enemies tax..." - Democratic consultant Jenny Backus

"It's interesting that this proposed tax wouldn't apply to lawsuits filed by corporations like Enron against its employees but it would apply to lawsuits filed by employees against Enron," - Carlton Carl of the Assn. of Trial Lawyers of America

Supporters of the bill say it would apply only to the largest lawsuits, but Carl says the measure actually would have much broader coverage. The $100 million threshold requirement can be met by adding up awards in many similarly filed cases.

Full story

::: is the site of the Center for Responsive Politics. They follow the $$$ in politics.

They have an interesting piece on the companies that were secretly asked to bid on contracts to rebuild Iraq:

The bidding process has been criticized for including only a handful of companies, some with substantial political clout and none of which is based outside the United States. USAID officials said the recent invitations to bid on reconstruction contracts went to U.S. corporations for security reasons, and that foreign companies may compete for subcontracting work... has a handy chart.

Also on

Americans may have been tuned in to battlefield coverage, but interest groups of all stripes were closely monitoring congressional action on a number of issues—taking advantage, in some cases, of the opportunity to score a quiet legislative victory. Here's a taste of what Congress was up to:

[ link | e-me ]

Monday, May 12, 2003
12:56 PM      

Patriot spam
Denise got an e-mail at work today with the subject "Last Chance! Get the Iraq Most Wanted Deck of Cards!"

It links you to Great USA Flags, which sells all kinds of jingoistic stuff including "Patriot Packs," flags, pins, and stickers. Here's some of the copy:

This deck is being supplied to troops in Kuwait and is produced by United States Playing Card Company, the leading playing card company in the world. We are the only company authorized to sell this deck, complete with "Hoyle ®Joker" cards, as it appeared in the original 200 decks given to Coalition soldiers.

... and remember, these are ...

But wait, there's more!

Why ignore success?! - And why give more attention to the bad guys... I know -- let's put together a set of...

Operation Iraqi Freedom Military Heroes Playing Cards

Great companion to Iraqi 'Most-Wanted' Decks!

This brand new deck of playing cards makes a great companion to the famous Iraqi 'Most-Wanted' Deck. 52 leaders and military heroes are featured on the standard playing cards. The deck also includes two joker cards featuring US Special Forces Operatives and a patriotic red, white and blue "cut card" like those used at blackjack tables in casinos, plus The Golden Aces card!

Printed on casino-quality stock. 56 cards .

Note: This item is brand new and is currently in production. Shipping will begin on May 30th.

Alright, they actually did give a little airtime to peaceful patriotism. There are at least two pins with a theme like this:

This one's got a slightly-anachronistic "hippie" look to it, and "i" is not capitalized - maybe suggesting one who's non-conformist and a bit out of touch with the times, but I guess it's the thought that counts, right?


Fun with HTML... I had one of those interesting rendering issues the other day. I'm using a form inside a table, and I'm using an image field to submit the form. There are several other images in the table along with the image field, and I needed to get all of them to align. The problem was that the image field kept popping up one pixel, and making the whole grouping look broken.

It occurred to me that the problem might be related to the "extra space" problem caused when you add carriage returns in certain places in your HTML source. Huh?! Yeah, if you have a carriage return inside the source code of your <a> tags, for instance, sometimes the browser displays the link text with an extra space.

I pulled all of the extra spaces and carriage returns out of my source code, and the image settled into place. The HTML's not quite as readable, but at least I don't have to redo the design.

[ link | e-me ]
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