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Atomized junior- The Web log

Friday, 29 April, 2005
 
Oh, I see, April is International Poetry month

Well that explains a lot. Anyway this is another poem I wrote. It's meant to go with the ones from last week, part of a set it seems. I think I will gather all these and others, and stick them into a single page under the "essays and stories" button at some point

Tydings

The air in the hallway is not stale
still I am reminded how much like the air
on the ship it is.
(the aircraft carrier I called home
one year)
steel passageways
sweat condensing on green and white paint
a bright scent cut by tones of motor-oil jet-fuel grease,
and linoleum tile

heat rises off the tile here
in the still hall
rather air heats and expands
thined out pushed around
colder denser air sinks and slips below
where the dark floor warmed
(by the sun radiating through the window)
waits
the sense of institution is carried up by this air
flowing easy warmth
chalkdust gathered in the cracks
pounded in like oakum,
lines that braced a word to a board
seal the deck
A memo stapled tight outlines its plan in
sure language
these hallways are all the same!
beyond the window, on the street outside
lens ripples curl the air above the black pavement
folding the open distance

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Thursday, 28 April, 2005
 
Federales, take two

 A small house keeping matter to take care of.I don't mind being eliptical at times, and I don't mind being vague. In fact I often work to arrange things that way.People don't value, don't believe, do not find useful, things which they have not figured out for themselves. Even if I have a certain notion finished in my head. I will strive to take it apart before passing it on to anyone else. No one makes a gift of a completed crossword or jigsaw puzzle after all. At the same time I feel responsible when I see that I have confused people and set about towards making amends Yes I know there are those out there who are shaking their heads now and saying: "that just isn't true".
 I had a post a few weeks ago which I titled "Federales" which suffering from an absence of any positive spelling check, and having not any direct target may have been a degree too far from suitable mooring. The post dealt with the federal goverment. two different agencies - plural. In the movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre a charactor named in the credits as Red Hat says, famously; "Badges, we don't have any badges, we don't need no stinking badges", he says this because Mr. Bogart's charactor has just asked to see them. This much is in  imdb. A moment before (and not in imdb so I proceed entirely from memory) Mr. Bogarts charactor had asked them who they are they. "los Federales" they say. Mr Dobbs: "Federal police huh, then where are your badges?"  But they have no badges. It was just a reference on my part to illegitimate or illegitimately assumed and exercised authority. Sorry if this caused any inconvenience.
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blind deaf and dumb

Apparently like the poor (of which I am one), the clueless shall always be with ye. ABC cut away from New Order in the middle of a live performance of Love will Tear us Apart. I have neither words, nor a conceptual framework to fit this into. Thanks for the try boys its not your fault.

Oh yeah. New Order played on the Jimmy Kimmel Show tonight, they played Krafty off of Sirens Call.


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Tuesday, 26 April, 2005
 
Memogate ii, iii?

 While I was looking over the 17 April outlook section (Washington Post)one last time before recycling , I glanced over Michael Getler's ombudsman column for that week  Getting Blogged Down in the News. When I first read it I had wanted to point it out. Better late then never. It has an illustrative quality.

  The column deals with the history of the expanding Shiavo strategy memo affair: truth or vast left-wing conspiracy. I missed the entire first half of this when it occurred (bad blogger so very out-of-the-loop). I think I read about it first in the Washington Post's style section commenting chattily about another internet teapot tempest. Soon after a staffer from the office of Sen. Martinez (R-FL)] admitted to authoring the memo and resigned. There was no general admission or concern amonst the tribe who had leaped on this that they had been wrong or had worked hard to spread false information. There was nothing more than silence from that court. I could imagine a general shrug being given, but there no concern perceptable. They seem to be working to a lesser standard, if not from a different standard. Possibly from no standards whatsoever. That's a personal choice, boys.

   Getler's piece makes it it clear that the story in its essential facts was solid from the start. A memo being circulated to republican leadership on the hill by republican staffers. The story was not handled strongly or consistently (largley due to weak secondary reporting work). This allowed those who desired doubt to claim it.   This brought to mind an article I also read last week (week before now)  AlterNet: MediaCulture:  The Two Faces of the Blogosphere Commenting on the apparent different styles between right leaning and left leaning. I don't buy the writer's premise entirely - Right wing web loggers are a closely coordinated on-message operative machine, the left is a loose collection of earnest engaged kids. It does mention that the Columbia Journalism Review did a report at some point on Memogate i  Blog-gate establishing that while the free republic and the powerline ended up being right on the questionability of The CBS piece, their initial set of assertions and material facts were not accurate. Normally I lean favorably towards claims for emergent values in networks - truth or "good information" its modern counterpart - being that value. If you're replacing that with something else you are just another non cooperator, and the game will withdraw from you.


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Monday, 25 April, 2005
 
Extracurricular Poetry

One of the several reasons that it took the better part of a week to write that last post is that I felt the need to drag out my undergraduate constitutional Law text books after listening to last Tuesdays Diane Rehm show and re read an number of cases. But that will be a future post.

Another of the reasons was Lulu Barnachea's annual poetry diversity brown bag lunch here at McKeldin. This where we attempt workplace diversity and understanding between cultures by sharing our favorite poetry. Tran had decided to read one, Khun Mat an Kin, by a poet named Lam Thi My Da, from a book which had her poems in the original Vietnamese and an english translation (book is called Green Rice I believe). And also read another folk poem she translated herself. She wanted me to come too and listen. I figured it would be just as easy to write a new poem than to think of one I liked to read. It nearly was. So I may as well make a post out of it

Tran's translation of Cong On Sinh Thanh reads as follows:
Parents merit.
Father's work as the great mountain
Mothers love as a source of waterfalls
Loving mother and respecting father
fulfilling piety to parents is a filial child.

I ended up writing two poems for this, again the exact reasoning here escapes me. And it seems to me it will probably take two maybe three more before its done.
In California

There is a sidewalk somewhere in California
I imagine this - see it only in this way
it is on an ordinary street
in a transparent part of town
away from the water
which is not far
behind a hill
The sidewalk ends here
where I see it
the road disappears on
to another part of town
The walk gives way to dirt,
gravel, to small crushed manufactures
of paper and metal
gathered around a street sign,
a vending box for a county paper
The scrub grass stays clear
for a distance then takes control
Gathering thickly
weeds creep through cracks at pavements edge
shortening its reach
even as far as its reach goes

the dawn rises behind us
who scan the low hills limb
beyond which the green land
slopes down to street then
across down sand, blade sharp grass and more sand
the foaming water draws back
down smoothing sea-saturated grains flat
hissing as water drains away
under them
tumbling round in ceaseless careless turn
as cycled wave comes over them again
About the Oceans

The oceans have their place
they pry the compass points apart
maintaining order, decorum, arrangement
in this world
a way they have
shared by mountains,
rivers drawing lines
across the land
but oceans accomplish this better
their opaque surfaces shield depths
where still great mountains
could lie unseen.
From shoreline, to shoreline opposite
a rivers length extended yet of equal
breadth, a wilderness
mutable unmappable
indescribable except by immediate part
and singular moment
Yet with a certain willful defiance
we treat them as paths
(blazed by a thousand flashing feeding forms)
wherever water gathers deep to the land
we declare a port and
having named this harbor
in hulls no more than husks
set out to find another.

There was a theme to this years event, yearning and longing. but I didn't find that out until later.


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Majority rules ok

Sen. Rick Santorum had an editorial in last Sundays Washington Post Outlook which struck me as odd: Majority Vote Should Trump Minority Rule. Majority rules? Well it is a tenant of Republican government; though nearly every other facet of our government is designed to keep that one from running amok. After this contentious pointedly worded title, he actually talks more prosaically about sentate conformation votes for appointed federal judges. Towards this end Sen Santorum believes in: the right(!) to an up or down vote for these lost souls. Apparently this is an enumerated right - somewhere. That he is witnessing an extreme and unprecedented arrogation of power, by democrats. The power of appointment of judges, belonging to the executive is a constitutional principle under attack. This is a pointless straw man, the democrats are not running black robed interlopers in through the back doors of America's courthouses. Somewhat tardily he acknowledges Advice and Consent (mentioned in the constitution) - as though he didn't remember it at first. Still its not a matter of politics, if they have nothing good to say, Senators ought say nothing. Whose ox is gored tells the clearest story. The primary difference seems to be whether appointments are obstructed by the majority or the minority party. By omission he seems to imply the former is so acceptable as to not need mention, the latter a destructive and audacious disrespect of the peoples voice.

  Initially in its discussion; Federalist No. 10 refers not to minority or majority, but to faction itself:
  AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction... If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens. To secure the public good and private rights against the danger of such a faction, and at the same time to preserve the spirit and the form of popular government, is then the great object to which our inquiries are directed. Federalist no. 10
  Sen. Santorum also makes statements on the matter of litmus tests. The Republicans are learning the value of more subtle litmus tests. Candidates are at liberty to hold forth on the "culture of life" in vettings, during hearings, or conversely, not seek positions in the judiciary at all. Leaving the more rude and indelicate questions to the opposition. Sen. Santorums stake in this seems to evolve from his seat on the Rules Committee, Judiciary is the provence of the senior Senator from Penn. Arlen Spector. Or possibly his re-election campaign threading the needle between a primary challenge to even his right and a main campaign against a strong Democratic candidateto his left, leaving him with a number of narrowly targeted positions bobbing in his wake.
 Despite what Sen Santurum may believe my senators are doing what I want and expect them to do - their jobs as representives. Sen Santurum leaves the greatest impression of simply disliking any continuing opposition. Again from Federalist No. 10
     There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests... The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government.

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Wednesday, 20 April, 2005
 
Active networks, flexible modalities

 This one is for my niece Nicole. Ever since learning of the great tradition of MIT pranking  she has followed this type of thing enthusiastically. I don't what the official 1 April hack was this year- which is usually a Cambridge-centric thing. There is a web site dedicated to this ( MIT IHTFP Hack Gallery). It's not strictly an MIT thing either
Slashdot | Caltech Pranks MIT's Prefrosh Weekend.  I like this particular one in todays news, it has a certain inevitable beauty to it: Scientific Conference Falls for Gibberish Prank.

  A couple of Grad students at MIT used a random language algorithm and put it to use turning out a paper or two that they submitted to a scientific conference. One was accepted - in advance of peer review the conference organizers now claim. The article does mention the Social Text affair back in 1996 engendered by Alan Sokal - which was the first thing that ran through my mind, when I saw this.That always struck me as more mean spirited - and far more agenda driven (Somewhere in my apartment I have a copy of that I made a few years ago). This was just a laugh, though. At least I'm laughing.


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Tuesday, 19 April, 2005
 
the new Pravda, or facts don't enter into it

We are in to a late phase of the Bolton confirmation hearings for his appointment to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. But apparently there is still one act left to go Senators Want Officials' Take on Bolton. It will be a few weeks more before he gets a vote. John Bolton has a long history of inflammatory statements concerning the United Nations; the concept of united nations, of any institution attempting to fill that function, of the existence of international law. As opposed to the concept of an imperial unity and order. It's reasonably clear he was not be sent to make it work better but to keep it from working at all. His supporters are among the first to acknowledge that.

At the confirmation hearings testimony came to focus on his bullying behavior. Then came a Washington Post article on his withholding information from his superiors Bolton Often Blocked Information, Officials Say (washingtonpost.com). Whispers that where ever he was, he was first working for the Vice President. For the first set of complaints frankly it doesn't matter much. The President gets to have his man, that is the custom and the norm. The quality and maturity of these men; is the measure of the man.These latter are a different matter. Political watch-dogging may be commonplace in large institutions, but when it reaches the level where the proper legitimate workings of a bureaucracy are breached this is malfeasance at the least. When it comes to reform of the abysmally in-adequate national intelligence programs one thing ought to be clear it doesn't matter how you restructure and re-invent the intelligence agencies. As long as men like John Bolton are arrayed on top of them they cannot be fruitful.

After a strange day on the hill Is John Boston Going Down? many more former co-workers have lent their rumors of working under him. Many of these stories tell of his berating people with lectures on professionalism, when always the issue at hand is professional analysts trying to include notes to intelligence products he has developed to cater to his prejudices.This manner of management in national security alarms people - and rightfully so. He has a long career where he has shown himself to an ideologue with a notion of the truth that pre exists any materialistic framework. He has one message. It's his truth out there, don't interfere with it.


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Friday, 15 April, 2005
 
Judges...

The outplay from Shiavo affair will be before us for some time to come it appears. Part of this is the right wings new national sport: threatening judges. I had no intention if I could help it of writing anything about Terri Shiavo at all. After looking over todays semi apology by Tom Delay DeLay Apologizes for Comments. I feel the need to say what needs to be said here. First, if you haven't read it already read Washington Post co-respondent Dana Milbank's article from last Saturday, And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is: Guilty (washingtonpost.com). Other articles have also commented on this loose talk campaign against the judiciary as it has evolved. Asking pardon from Godwin's law in advance: I say this is treading near explicitly fascist thug behavior. If it goes much further, it is nothing less and I am not going to accept it as anything less. It is what it wants to be.

A few weeks ago I was trying to explain to someone (one of my sisters) the - demogogic manner- I'll call it, and the type of intelligence it needs, Whether it is a politician or similar public figure, or initiator(s) of some popular culture entity looking after maximum effect seeking a pure manipulation. Pushing the publics buttons hard, playing on the stops of desire and fear like a well worked oboe. For the ability and cleverness of those who do this well, should we read discernment and reason? I always think back to Thomas Mann's short story "Mario and the magician". This is the personality type. Cipolla, Mario's Magician is Mussolini, an absracted model for the low instinctive cruel, mechanically reasoning intelligence of fascist demogogues.


I am willing to take this message on the judiciary's role out of its yellowed cellaphane wrapper and examine it on its merit. In what they want from the Judiciary, do Mr. Delay and Sen. Cornyn seek after rule of Rule of Law, consistency of legal ruling and moral philosphy? There was an argument I read recently, that that if you asked a Republican who his or her favorite philosopher was, they could tell you. Where by contrast few democrats could - or would even understand the question. It sounds like something David Brooks might say. In any case it reveals far more than it knows in its positing. Assuming that an acquaintence with some writer implies understanding, of either the writers thesis or the question at hand. Implying as it does that social justice does not depend on experience or empathy, but on a conceit of empty reason. There is a principle dating back to begining of nation the supremacy of judicial review Which comes to us from cases like Marbury v. Madison (Landmark Supreme Court Cases). As the nations affairs became more complicated - as we moved throught the twentieth century it was clear to most that our system of checks and balances relied on this notion to work. It is just this, we are now told, or one of those other bogus rulings from musty books that only people who read care about. This is the problem, they say. This is dead law - meaningless for right thinking people.Today's strict constructing conservative burrows back to the constitution on a ongoing basis to figure out what he wants the constitution to mean.

Paul Krugman was ridiculed for suggesting that this republican caucus wanted to overturn the new deal, perhaps sweep back prior to the dawn of 'progressive era' - to the gilded era and before. Its clear that part of republican party is in a burning revolution mode teetoring to the point of no return. In their rhetoric an pen declaration they intend to recast this nation to its very core. Essesntialy not as a democratic nation, but an authortarian theocratic nation. They proceed by a twisting and lowering of Christianity to support of a base know-nothing triumphalism. They are clearly playing with violence and/or the emotions of violence in a nasty cowardly fashion. While this vanguard storms the gates, others mill around. There was a memo that circulated on capital hill in the early days of the Schiavo matter - call it memogate ii. It was a set of talking points on the matter, on what initially seemed to some in the GOP a solid political opportunity, by the time the memo percolated into the press this was not so and it was already being represented as a fake, a liberal plant, to effect conservative distance. The significance here is that it wasn't: Counsel to GOP Senator Wrote Memo On Schiavo (although last I saw Michele Malkin was still working that angle).

This is how it begins. First in whispers then in shouts, then with tourches. They should remember, as they set into this game - after the brown shirts came the black shirts.

[L]et your zeal be quickened by knowing that they are powers stronger than reason or virtue and not so magnamimously ready to relinquish their prey.
Cipolla to his audience. Mario and the Magician -- Thomas Mann

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Wednesday, 13 April, 2005
 
Molly's Chambers

My main accomplishment so far this week has been determining that the song in the new Volkswagen Jetta commercial is called Molly's Chamber and is by a band from Tennesee called Kings of Leon.  Eventually went to the Volkwagen site to determine this, because this site didn't tell me anything.  All is right though because Molly's Chamber has changed my mind.

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Monday, 11 April, 2005
 
Another Ra5c Vigilante picture

After a bit of a false start* I have another picture here of the North american Rockwell Ra5c Vigilante. I suppose somewhere I even have pictures of the plane I took myself. In those days I was shooting ektachrome or kodachrome slides mostly with maybe one roll in three being tri -x pan. I can't think of a way of digitizing all those damn slides I have now. They don't even make slide projectors anymore. Anyway, this picture I believe was taken by my boss IS2 (within months IS1) Mark Ramsey (distinct from my fellow ISSN Mark Edmunds - Ramsey, as I can remember him now, looked like Ginger Baker the drummer from Cream). What I know abou t this picture is it was not taken on the cruise when I was with heavy seven (RVAH-7) , but would have been taken during the previous cruise on the Kitty Hawk. I was transfered into the squadron while they were finishing up that cruise. A picture named Vigi on Cat.jpeg

I recall that Mark was fond of this picture. I believe in printing this particular take he dodged the front a bit to bring out the detail of the steam in the rear of the picture to make it look more dramatic. It was either this picture or another one of a Vigi landing that I have he later put on the cover of our decommisioning booklet. I have that booklet somewhere... The navigator in this photo (indistinct in this small version of the photo is marked on the plane as a Capt. Breyer. This I believe was the Air force liason officer that was with us when I got to the squadron. That is he was an O-3 same as a Navy Lt. Pilot was Lt. Carroll.

* For some reason even though it was designed to make life easier I always let the Radio Userland picture uploading tool get me completely turned around.

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Sunday, 10 April, 2005
 
Augmented

Here's a web log called Augmentation. This is my friend Robert's find. An IT weblog run by graduate students out of U. Maryland's Government and Politics Dept. He came across it at a talk on Google's future for the library and higher education world ("Google Libraries / Google Scholar: Ideologies of Knowledge Work, Knowledge Retrieval"). Given by MITH (Maryland institute for Technology and the Humanities) who live in our libraries basement. Susan Schreibman the former head of MITH is now one of the Library's asst. deans and has edited a recently published large dense book: A companion to digital humanities.

That same day, elsewhere, I listened to a similar talk: OPACs and Our Changing Environment by a librarian, Dale Flecker, from Harvard. They also run an Ex libris Aleph 500 system. An OPAC is just one part of an ILS (integrated Library system). Google and Yahoo can search the whole web and come up with books in our libraries faster than our opacs can. Amazon can find books faster, suggest other editions, similar titles and give reviews. So can Barnes and Noble and they have a quirky facet search browser. All this on brute force keyword searching made presentable with various algorithms designed to tease out what the searcher might be looking for. Against this what libraries have is metadata: the MARC record, and subject and name authority files. This could be re-purposed to faceted classification arrangements The FRBR initiative may also help place the particular item the user wants to consume into his or her hands with the least amount of auxilary searching. Whats FRBR? Well, just Google it: define FRBR. All this is fine for books and analyzed serials. Then begin an OPAC's blind spots - nonanalyzed serials and nonprint materials. Flecker also indicated he thought the entire idea of  library "research ports" for outside db's was a move in the wrong direction. Less than seamless.. The MITH talk was less tied to library catalogs but the effect of Google on information generally traces a similar pattern.

Robert thought the whole affair at MITH was tedious and that meeting the people who run this Augmentation weblog was the highlight of the whole thing. Since they were from the GVPT dept, to which in a very technical sense I still belong, he threw it to me. I like this web log, such beautiful, focused, informative posts. I can never seem to write like that. Make your point, then stop wasting the readers time.


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Wednesday, 6 April, 2005
 
Lost @ histories end

I was talking with someone last week-end, a young women who does child care at our church Sunday mornings. She had the Sunday Washington Post with her, and a reaction to the headlines I suppose many have had. "Three weeks of Teri Schiavo dying slowly amid nonstop media stories, now a week of the pope lying in state on every station and every page." I don't mind the coverage on Pope John Paul, I believe the coverage really is a celebration of his life - more than just a ritualistic exercise. The conversation led on in that direction - her asking why I thought Pope John Paul was a great man, his role in keeping the Polish Church together under the deep shadow of the Soviet regime, lending a portion of his authority to Lech Walensa's Solidarity movement. She surprised me here: "Surely", she said, "Russia and Eastern Europe were far better off under Soviet rule, safe from capitalism. If the pope had a hand taking that away from them; then he inflicted a great calamity on them. Crime, Russian mob millionares corrosivley running and robbing the society. Prostitution rings selling women into slavery [catalogued this week : Human Traffic and Transnational Crime: Eurasian and American Perspectives]. Eastern europe is a mess everyone knows it." She said she had visited Russia and this is what the people there had told her. They especially didn't like Mikhail Gorbechov. "Before him Russia had order, respect, things were all right." Nostalgia is a perverse fiction that can make people believe a great many sad and unhelpful things, such beliefs warm and cheer the hearts of authortarians and police states everywhere.

"Didn't I think that communism was a just ethical system - the highest form of government ever developed", she asked. I mumbled something about the tendency of marxist governments to impoverish their people. A tendency to become - intolerent of internal dissent.
"Cuba", She continued, "now there is a happy nation where everything is fine and they all love Fidel Castro." I'm sure some do, particularly the ones who can also remember Battista. Cuba is a poor nation I pointed out.
"What of it", she said, "what can 'poor' mean if everyone is poor together and shares their lot equally." This is a fine and romatic notion, but Cuba is probably poorer than it ought to be; given its natural and human resources. Plus Cuba may not be all that egalitarian. Communist states arrange themselves into privileged elites, and unprivileged masses with an envied efficiency. Still even the World Bank's own statistics place Cuba's economy in the lower middle-income bracket, where one finds Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, the Philippines, even the Russian Federation itself World Bank Group - Data and Statistics, and they've maintained that with very little recourse to globalization.

I felt lost utterly lost. Lost like a driver on a cross Sahara dunebuggy race who's just noticed his GPS gadget doesn't work. I had been trying to think of things to say about Paul Wolfowitz taking over at the World Bank (better than his being at the Penatgon, or not significantly different). Thinking about the sincerity and direction of his committment to alleviating poverty. Speculating on the World Bank's endeavor to turn worlds wealth over to bankers and the financial service industry; whose primary product appears to be the creation of debt in countries and individuals. Contrasting this with the sincerity of his committment to U S control of the worlds remaining oil production. With Jafari and Talabani in as PM and President of Iraq  New Iraqi PM named - Guardian, 

Zalmay Khalilzad named as ambassador,  it seems his work there is done.

Ironic, needing to pause and beat the concept of old school command economies back into its box and mail it back to the 20th century, while the 'free' trade/'free' market privatized economy being constructed in Iraq will be the one of most commanded and least open to discussion economies, ever set forth in this world.


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Sunday, 3 April, 2005
 
Indie Rock god

While Listening to WZBC (Boston Colleges student radio station) Last week the Dj played a song by a guy I knew once. Not so bad in-and-of-itself. It happens every so often. On this occasion it got to me a little. I suppose it was the strongly phrased effusion that this person was a genuis of our time, a step above the ordinary genus humanus, a genuine indie rock god.
I didn't exactly think of him that way when I knew him. Oh, he was a nice guy. I liked him, liked the band. We were all students at the University of Maryland. I liked him even through minor differences of view, (Liz). It's just that I always saw him as mortal. But he's not, a complete stranger made it effectively clear: of Orpheus and the lot he belongs. No one calls me a indie rock god. I'd know if they did. What's worse is that it was a good song, Cath Carroll, that they played.  I know why he wrote that song. As I thought about it, several of his songs were good: Hydroplane, Sukey, Isabel, Wednesday and Proud, Even Malcolm X Park. All better than I remembered, better than I wanted to remember.
The whole incident tortured my sense of perspective on things. Only a few are allowed to be revealed as rock gods and fewer still get to live in that role outside of their youth and early adulthood. Similar maybe to being a winning Olympic athlete, unlike the original Olympics that no longer gets you free meals for life at the lyceum. One can be a life long musician, get paying gigs, be endlessly admired. If you work; though, they know you're human.

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Friday, 1 April, 2005
 
Sorry Wrong Number

The FCC made the news with a regulatory ruling. The issue was "BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. Request for Declaratory Ruling that State Commissions May Not Regulate Broadband Internet Access Services by Requiring BellSouth to Provide Wholesale or Retail Broadband Services to Competitive LEC UNE Voice Customers" The ruling is FCC Finds That States Cannot Force Bells to Provide DSL Service to CLEC Voice Customers. [order pdf] this along with Commissioners Copps and Adelstein [dissenting] Statement can be found off the FCC's home page.

As the ars technica article A death knell for naked DSL? points out it has its weird consistancy of dereglated competitiveness as long as the competition is outside their service monopoly, ie cable or satellite agaisnt dsl. This is similar to the FCC's long standing nonsensical notion that having one corporation own every TV, radio station and newspaper is ok; because these are all different things - the information is therefore different, and not possessed of one viewpoint.  In their separate statement Copps, Adelstein, dissenting in part, approving in part (principle of transportability of phone numbers across carriers): try to raise a flag on what they term "broadband tying":

A tying arrangement occurs when a seller conditions the availability of one product on the buyer ís purchase of a second product...this practice could limit consumer choice and reduce competition.

It seems starkly anti-competitive to me. It allows the baby bells to leverage one segment of the market to preclude customer choice. It massively raises the barrier to new competition entering the market. Newcomers will be left with the challenge of having to enter phone service, DSL , perhaps Voip markets at once to get customers clear of the Bells. This will likely chase out what competion in DSL ips there is - companies such as Toadnet (whom I like because they sponsor NPR's Soundprint) the existing regional telco's will have you over a barrel and will have the DSL option all to themselves.

Behind much of the extravigant posturing for freer markets is just a facile corporatism, the grinding down of choice, a grasping after rent seeking arrangements, the grinning reek of government-mercantile partnerships.


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2005 Paul Bushmiller.
Last update: 5/13/05; 18:11:34.