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9/20, 9PM





Thursday, November 04, 2004
11:20 AM      

Politics in a minute, but first: I've finally read through “Designing With Web Standards” by Jeffrey Zeldman for the first time. To fully appreciate what he's written, I'll need to do a close read of some of the sections and do some experiments, but I heartily recommend this book. The upshot is that designing with CSS and XHTML transitional is a lot more workable than I had imagined.

Some of my early experiments with CSS on less-than-compliant browsers like IE4 and even 5 for Windows left me feeling that CSS promised way more than it delivered. Zeldman corrected that perception for me, and his approach offers a solution that is robust, lightweight, and doesn't even need JavaScript to manage browser differences or rollover effects.

There are times where I thought Zeldman's writing was a bit too cute, and there were also times where I thought he was being a bit too verbose. But on balance, I think the book fulfills on two objectives: to make the case for writing content using web standards, and to ease concerns about making the jump. Zeldman's tone is at times like a cheerleader and at other times more like a pragmatic veteran. He keeps it relatively simple by cutting out irrelevant code in his examples, and he offers important work-arounds.


Move Over, Barbie

Hmmm... I never knew Paris wanted to look so much like Barbie when she grew up! I guess everyone needs an idol, even if she's made of plastic.


About half the country is still in aftershock. For that matter, maybe even the neocons are. Postmortems are being written everywhere... Steve sums it up this way —

Subject: Brain drain

Unbelievable. Pathetic. Sad. At least Bush really won this time, rampant cheating notwithstanding.

This country is a fool's paradise, that's for sure. Well, this is what the ignorant and deluded want, so I guess at least I'll get to say "I told you so" when they all go ashen faced at the flushing down the toilet of America's sadly brief half-century ride at the top of world opinion and prosperity. Get ready for the brain drain, y'all! The corporate elite and super-rich have just won their biggest victory since the turn of the 20th century. For everyone else who bought their shit sandwich, good luck holding onto your money! At least some of us are smart enough to know that washing dishes in a free society is better than being the inevitable cannon fodder left on the outsides of the gated communities none of you can afford to live in.

I hope the few hundred dollars they save on their taxes gets folks the treatments they need when their bodies erupt with cancer from unchecked pollution, their cities suffer horrible atrocities in retribution for the last 50 years of American foreign policy and they finally realize their lives have been shattered by the new theocratic feudal state we are now most assuredly on course for.

I don't want any attacks to happen, but the south, midwest and southwest have just voted against peace and security big time. It's interesting how "the terrorists" are described as religious fundamentalist extremists with repressive social agendas, but 58 million Americans have cast their votes to make sure this country's leadership fits that bill TO A "T". Now more than ever.

My family moved here 300 years ago to escape one King George only to now blindly follow another King George because they are afraid of being and unaccepting of what they were in England: a minority. New Zealand looks REALLY nice. Now more than ever.

Taking assessment and checking out checking out,


The folks at MoveOn were a bit more philosophical in their e-mail:

Date: November 3, 2004 9:39:32 PM EST
Subject: Because of you, there is hope.

... Our journey toward a progressive America has always been bigger than George Bush. The current leg is just beginning -- we're still learning how to build a citizen-based politics together. But it's a journey our nation has been on for a long time. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice."

Today, we'll take a breath. Tomorrow, we'll keep moving toward the America we know is possible.

The protest song is starting to re-emerge as an art form, though Clear Channel and other repressive media outlets are not likely to play them. Happily, there is the internet. Traditional media are controlled, or at least heavily constrained, by right-wing interests. The alternative point of view will need to use alternative means of spreading the word — in much the same way that quilts were used by the Underground Railroad.

And, organized response that started before the Iraq war continues within other parts of the art community, connecting artists around the world:

Subject: A call to artist/activists who want a new direction for America
Date: November 3, 2004 4:55:12 PM EST

Hi friends,
yow. what a brutal day today....
Below is information on an international collaborative
project for artists/activists discussion that will be
taking place at ABC No Rio (156 Rivington St. near
Clinton) this Friday evening, Nov. 5th. I thought some
of you might be interested in it or know folks who
would be.
with love in these hard times,


Workshop--America vs America
Trygve Svensson & Christoph Fielder

Our project, "America vs. America," started with a deep concern for the direction the American empire is taking. We, sitting in Scandinavia, felt a need to get in touch with Americans other than the ones we saw on TV brutalizing the world. We wanted answers to the question "How can we support people working for an alternative direction for the US and the world? If we allow ourselves to be critical towards
the US we should also point out what we think is positive.

Looking for the people working as artists and/or activists, we are putting together an exhibition that will be shown in seven larger cities in Scandinavia, offering a platform for alternative views on US. This is why we are here and are now inviting you to an evening discussion on the matter of planning strategies for change in America. We wish to emphasize collaboration between groups and organizations in the US and overseas.

This evening will be a round-table discussion on these
issues. We welcome your participation!


ABC No Rio
156 Rivington Street
New York, NY  10002
(212) 254-3697
InterActivist Network:
InterActivist INFO EXCHANGE:


[ link | e-me ]

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
1:59 PM      

A friend of mine wrote “I am embarrassed for America like I am for people on reality TV shows.” Yup, Crazy ol' America has gone and screwed herself again. This time, America authorized it. There will be no “technicality” defense.

Hello draft? Goodbye, Supreme Court. Brace yourself. The next balloon payment for the Iraq war will be due soon. If you thought Dubya was reckless during the last four years, the next four will look like reckless abandon. The steamroller will be on the move soon.


How to bury a story
I didn't bother to write yesterday about how I came across, but now that the article is still appearing in my Earthlink news feed, I realize it's worth commenting on. Here's how the link appears:

Notice that there's no reference to voting, Electoral College, or politics in the headline. You're likely to think hmmm... Some guy has come forward to say that he originated some web site... maybe he's not even doing it any more... lame story. The story doesn't appear under political news, and certainly not under U.S. news, so it doesn't have a lot of heat. It's definitely framed as a geeks-only kind of story.

Considering how dull the story appears, who would possibly bother to read it? I think that was their intention. They didn't want to draw additional attention to the site. Except, I followed the link specifically because the headline seemed so bland. I wanted to know why they would have bothered to post the story at all. Boy, was I surprised.

No matter. I found it. So did a lot of others — 675,000 people visited the site on Sunday, and they've been enduring denial-of-service attacks [surprise!], but they've weathered it all and even list alternate URLs in case the main site is blocked ( through

Seems they're doing a good job — good enough for somebody to want to suppress them. I'll be very interested to read the postmortem report.

Speaking of buried stories, did you know that 11 states were voting for Governor on 11/2? Go figure...

Why should you care? According to an article in the A.P.:

The party with a majority of governors [the Republicans with 6 more governors than the democrats] holds a prominent platform for presidential politics and domestic policies, such as the GOP's successful push for welfare reform in the 1990s. In presidential campaigns, governors can mobilize fund-raising efforts in their states, capture significant media coverage and help turn out voters.

[ link | e-me ]

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
12:49 PM      

Chasin' dem crazy baldheads outta town
I voted this morning it was a beautiful site to see a good turn-out. I have a good feeling about John Kerry.

What if all that “close race” stuff was bogus? Who do you suppose would benefit from keeping us all adrenalized? I just found out about, a site that uses a lot more than a handful of media-sponsored polls to predict what might happen tonight.

We know the Post has been rooting for Bush all along. This morning, the front page showed a beaming Dubya giving the thumbs-up, but maybe it's just the game face...

Doesn't look so close, does it? A couple of months ago, Rupert Murdoch's rags seemed to take a bit of a pause, hedging their bets on their sure thing and reducing the risk of alienating the Kerry camp, in case they won. I've heard that a week or so ago, some Republicans were saying that they might be suffering “post-election blues” tomorrow.

I think the Republicans have been watching the exit polls in the early voting, (it's been going on at least a week, right?) and they know something's up. The only thing they can do this late in the game, especially with all the bad news, is ratchet up the noise.

Assuming a decisive win for Kerry, I figure he gets no honeymoon with Congress.


For weeks, I've been wearing my politics.
I had three buttons on my backpack a couple of weeks ago — one said “Re-defeat Bush,” another read “John Vote John,” and the third was the classic international “No” sign superimposed over the letter Dubya.

I went into a Starbucks one day, and stood looking for a table. An orthodox Jewish guy was nice enough to flag me over and offer the table he was about to leave. As he stood up, I dropped my bag into the chair he'd just vacated. He looked at the bag, then at me, and seemed to stop in his tracks, poised to say something. I raised my eyebrows in inquiry.

He said “You don't beat up Republicans, do you?”

The question seemed so absurd, I guffawed, and said “No.”

“Good, because I'm a Republican,” he said.

“Are you still going to vote for him?” I asked, genuinely curious whether there would be any Republican rank-breakers this election.

His response: “I'm a Republican. That's all you need to know.”

There's a lot to that statement.



General Elections always fall 2 days after Halloween, but I've never felt the connection between the two theatrical spectacles the way I have this year. The costumery at the Halloween parade was perhaps indicative of the general state of mind in the city: lots of butterflies and angels, though seemingly half of the angels had black wings and black halos; lots of heroes/superheroes, but not much blood; devils were scarce while catwomen were plentiful; and there were a lot of political themes (including sex, which has a politics all its own).

Some people spent lots of money, others spent lots of time, and some just didn't bother. There seemed to be a number of women riding the subway in elaborate costumes while the men they were with were in their everyday costume — jeans, sneakers, and a comfortable shirt.

I had a good time shooting, but didn't go crazy. It surprises me that even when people dress up in attention-getting costumes, or disguise their appearance so much there's no way to know who they are, they still don't want to be photographed. At the opposite extreme were the picture-seekers. I took a picture of the guy in the skeleton mask, and his friend (in the red jacket) immediately said, “Hey, you were supposed to take my picture!” He pulled his mask on for the shot. It dawns on me today, that I should have taken the opportunity to take as many of my subjects as possible both with and without their masks.


Riding the bus the other day, a woman sat down next to me with a Burger King bag. The smell of fries and that distinctive smoked-grease smell permeated the air. That's when it hit me: Burger King, McDonald's and Wendy's each have their own unique perfumes. You can close your eyes, and know where that lunch bag came from.

[ link | e-me ]
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