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the dredwerkz

Today I will be celebrating the 27th year of my existence by going skiing at Prospect. I know, there are other, uncharted territories where I should be out breaking ground, but I never lost the love for my old, familiar turf. To go to a place where the wooden deer still gaze out of upstairs windows, and where signs still warn to keep your gloves off the stove (it is HOT!) Today I will ski a trail between the old and the new - connecting the ghosts with visions of what is yet to come. Maybe you need to go back in time to see the future - or maybe, more than anywhere else in the world, this is where I want to be.

posted at: 2005-02-01 08:58:10 with 5 comments

so i'm minding my own business, watching what is currently a rather lackluster season of 24, when on pops a new ad for the cherry vanilla diet dr. pepper.

i'd link to it, but can't seem to find it anywhere - but i will send you this way towards the inspiration for the spot - enjoy! and if anyone finds the actual ad, please let me know...

posted at: 2005-01-31 21:33:33 with 1 comments

I'm avarice, melancholy, sloth and discord.

posted at: 2005-01-30 15:05:11 with 2 comments

This happens to me in DC a lot. I find about some hip music-related event, let's take for this instance last night's monthly moving New Wave 80s dance party, Strange Love. I psychologically steel my ego in advance for all those immaculately yet shabbily donned and coiffed hipsters doing their best (but not their very best) tongue-in-cheek Human League impressions. I ready myself for the attitude at the door, at the bar, at the dj booth ... only to find that I am the chic hipster, and my friends are the somewhat awkwardly but well-dressedly bored crowd prone to enthusiastic bouts of dancing when they condescend that the music is cool enough.

I LOVE IT.

The "scene" in DC exists, but it's a friendly one. In New York, say, or at my alma mater, it was a competitive sport.

Strange Love is a perfect example. Someone forwards you an email. You visit the website, RSVP, and get in for free (this month it was at Zucchabar, a comfortably divey-chic train-car space on Columbia). In any other city you would expect either the tragically hip or gaggles of sorostitutes assuming the garb of their favorite John Hughes characters. In The District you somehow, luckily, get the best possible group for an evening of dancing to self-indulgent music from the me-generation - the unembarrassed.

When my friend and I arrive around 10pm, we pass by the utterly attitudeless doorperson and bouncers and enjoy ludicrously expensive drinks out of plastic cups while awaiting the rest of our posse. Although the floor is a little sparse when we first show up, groups are already eagerly gettin' down to "I Wear My Sunglasses at Night." The music does not disappoint. The entire night. The floor packs and jams at a comfortable pace. The DJ is friendly and amenable to suggestion. I am probably the most eightiesed-out cat in the joint. In the cute unisex bathroom, gaggles of girls cramming into one stall to blow their noses are nowhere to be seen. This is, after all, DC.

Overall? I'd give it an A+ for awesome. Go with your dancingest friends. I'll see you there.

(We cap off an evening of spastic dancing with a little Amsterdam Falafel. If you haven't been, run don't walk. There's something strangely satisfying about self-serve falafel pockets. Mmmmm garlic sauce ...)

posted at: 2005-01-30 10:43:57 with 2 comments

I have been trying to put the largely un(der)employed hours of my post-graduate life toward discovering how to take what I do naturally and turn it into some sort of lucrative career. Turns out some bastard's gone and done it already.

In an LA Times article highlighted by News of the Weird, editor Frank Kelly Rich has this to say:

Calling serious drinkers an "oppressed minority," Rich said he himself has about eight drinks a day, sometimes up to 30 (when he frequently blacks out). Said Rich's wife, of her husband's career, "When you find your calling, you have to go with it."

I'm glad to finally find my very own oppressed minority to belong to, but I'm not just a little upset that Rich has found MY calling. Modern Multiple Substance Abuser just doesn't have the same ring to it.

posted at: 2005-01-29 09:46:25 with 1 comments

While checking out the latest TNR I came across one of the most amusing headlines to a story ever: "Character Education by Steve Hely" - How the Secretary of Education can fight a smarter, more effective war against lesbian cartoon characters.

Thinking such a story had to be at least half as amusing as the title, I decided to go ahead and peruse. I was wrong. The story was at least twice as amusing as the title. Go read it yourself. Here's a small highlight sans spoiler:

For too long we've allowed the Department of Education to go unequipped, while lesbians and children only grow stronger. The sooner the Secretary of Education has human intelligence and first-strike capability, the better.

Yes, indeed, the department with a red barn out in front might need some new humint.

posted at: 2005-01-28 14:32:24 with 1 comments

If you're interested in reading other blogs opinions about Gonzales, be sure to checkout the No to Gonzales website. If you have a blog or a website you maintain and would like to add a link to the list, head over there as well. Some other guy named Ed had this to say.

And I don't want to hear any hair-splitting on what constitutes "torture." This is not cheerleading camp, Rush, it's a violation of basic human rights, countless treaties to which we are a party, a violation of international and U.S. law, and a morally reprehensible enterprise. It's beating prisoners. It's using attack dogs as terror tactics. It's raping and abusing women.

I will have NO MERCY for ANYONE who votes Yea on Gonzales, because he has helped destroy America. We are no longer the standard bearer of human rights and freedom across the globe. We're more like the man who beats his wife for the first time —— no matter how you try to apologize or repudiate your actions or convince me that you're not like that, that you'll never do it again, the fact of the matter remains that you hit your wife

Well put.

posted at: 2005-01-28 13:54:55 with 0 comments

Edward that is the craziest answer I have ever heard. If you ask me we should do the opposite of all this crap and actually do something useful. How about we doing nothing. I am sorry but if you live in DC you know what we are facing. I am talking about all the stupid barriers that have been put up around all the government buildings. Has everyone gone mad. Ok so lets get into it, I will make the assumption that terrorist are low tech. How would I go about scaring a massive population, well lets see I think I guy and a son did that about three years ago with nothing more then a high powered rifle. What else well if you want to cause problems a good way is to disrupt traffic. I believe it was in '99 when one man on the Wilson Bridge cause one of the most ridiculous traffic jams in DC. That isn't hard to do and you don't even have to die for that. I mean Edward has it right about the train and fire it doesn't take a lot. Now lets assume these people are smart well I don't see how our government could prevent computer viruses from destroying our systems infrastructure. Anyway with all these regular easy possibilities whats the point. I am fine living in a state of fear. I mean look at people in Iraq they do it everyday. I am not voting with the "evil doers" I am just saying we are spending money on some stupid shit. Lets think about this, Bush cuts taxes but increases spending. Well now I don't know a lot about this but it seems that we are spending alot on Homeland Security and Defence. Well I bet if we cut Homeland Security and didn't go to war we wouldn't have such a bad budget and perhaps another tax cut could happen. Am I the only one in this country who would rather be free then safe. Perhaps the Pres would think twice about the way in which he deals with another country if he had to worry about the reaction from its people. Think about it, thats all I am asking.

posted at: 2005-01-28 12:48:46 with 5 comments

I've had this conversation several times with co-workers over the past days, on the heels of a report I saw estimating the costs of arming every passenger plane with anti-missile defense systems. Let's roll the tape:

The report estimated that it would cost $11 billion to install laser jammers on the 6,800 planes in the U.S. commercial fleet and $2.1 billion a year to maintain the systems.

The report acknowledged that the loss of even one commercial jetliner to a shoulder-fired missile would be significant, estimating the cost of the aircraft and legal settlement of numerous deaths at $1 billion. The cost could grow to $15 billion over several months from a single attack, if travelers were then reluctant to fly, the report said. "Well-financed terrorists will likely always be able to devise a Manpads attack scenario that will defeat whatever countermeasures have been installed, although countermeasures can make such attacks considerably more difficult and less frequent," the report said. "Installing countermeasures to Manpads attacks may simply divert terrorist efforts to less protected opportunities for attack."

Now, my initial reaction, colored by recent events, was that the entire reason for the study seemed suspect. Let's recall the latest disruptions to the varied American transit systems. On September 11th, of course, hijackers used knives and mace to capture four aircraft. More recently, a homeless man started a fire to stay warm, permanently crippling NYC's MTA system and a handyman's aborted suicide attempt caused the deadliest rail accident in six years.

So, in order of weapons, we have:

  1. Knives and (possibly) mace.
  2. A trash fire.
  3. Parking a car in the wrong place.

More troubling, two of these three scenarios didn't involve terrorists, but just ordinary people...one of which was a complete accident, the other surely not intended to harm others. I just don't understand why any terrorist would seek to acquire Man-pad systems to shoot down aircraft when they could pay a bum to disable an entire transit system. Or park their car on some railroad tracks. These aren't sophisticated attacks. But they all should be easily preventable without spending billions of dollars. If my house can have a smoke alarm, why not an important computer switching center? If a Chrysler can have a deer avoidance system on it, why not a train? These aren't billion dollar solutions: they're simple common sense. Something we desperately need more of if we're going to be serious about terrorism.

If I install a fancy $10,000 alarm system on my house, but fail to have any $2 smoke detectors, I am to blame if a fire starts. We need to focus on fires before we try to prevent the master thieves...

posted at: 2005-01-28 12:14:19 with 0 comments

...whose unceasing quest for stories yields a never-ending font of shocking revelations.

Update for the lazy:

image of CNN showing UBL

I always attribute these sorts of mistakes to interns in Atlanta who are having fun...but maybe they really are that stupid.

posted at: 2005-01-28 10:18:40 with 1 comments

So I’ve been mum about my misadventures, thinking no one cared. Apparently I stand corrected (or maybe not, since I don’t live in the DW house, or even in DC).

But lately I’ve had more than a few. Case in point, I punctured another tire last night.

Three things galled me about the experience. A) It’s my fourth flat in exactly two weeks, and on a brand-new tire (thankfully insured and under warranty). B) I’d had a night of exercise, Lean Cuisine, CSI, and a bath planned that was ruined. C) I pulled into the Baltimore Convention Center drop-off area, and the guards/reception people just watched as I changed it.

Two weeks ago in DC (see below), despite the rain, time, and location (or maybe because of those factors) I was twice asked if I needed help or a phone (once from a middle-aged white woman, the second time from a young African-American couple, for those doing theses on race relations in auto crises contexts). Yet at the Convention Center, whose job it is to make the city attractive, not one person, employee or otherwise, offered to help.

Of course, I was bundled in my winter clothes (read: camouflaged army jacket) so, frankly, I looked like a terrorist or militia nut. But if that was the case, you’d think they’d call the cops or something. (Then I really would have had a story to tell, assuming I survived—"This is the police! Drop the tire iron now, smart guy!"). But no, they just sat watching.

No, it’s not their job to help me (and they did let me in to watch the tire schmutz off my hands) and it was damn cold. But I would have liked to have engendered some reaction from them—positive or negative. All they had to do was come out and say, “Do you need a hand?” or “Can we call a tow?” and I would have said, “No, I got it; thank you, sir” and I would have had a totally different impression of the evening. Instead, I was gawked at like a zoo exhibit.

And what if I had been a convention-goer from another city? What impression would that have left? I’m always trying to convince people Baltimore’s pretty cool, and usually it is, but nights like last night make me feel somewhat dumb for being the apologist.

And of course, NTB was out of my replacement tire, so I’ve left my car in Columbia since the parents were nice enough to help me out. I’m left with the amusing task of trying to parallel park my ’rents’ minivan in the meantime. At least it has a CD player….

posted at: 2005-01-28 10:02:50 with 1 comments

I'm one of those girls who's not embarrassed not to know about sports. I like sports, I like watching sports, I especially like the eating and drinking rituals which accompany watching sports; but apparently there's more to it than that:

If you do not want to look like a football-watching rookie, you must first focus your attention on your attire. Now read carefully, ladies, because a fashion faux pas as minor as a crystal brooch can mess up your entire football ensemble. Real football fans do not show up to a game in Jimmy Choo heels or cashmere ponchos.

What? I can't wear my Manolos to the Superbowl party? That's good because I left them in Houston. But now I wish I hadn't, dammit.

A suitable outfit could be jeans, a fitted T-shirt, fashionable sneakers and an NFL hat. But beware of the "cap trap." If you pick your NFL hat based on which team best matches your outfit, you may find yourself sporting a very attractive, yet unpopular Cardinals cap (a dead giveaway that you are a football faker since no one is a Cardinals fan these days!).

And, lucky me, I get sound tutelage not only on my attire, but also on refreshments and even commentary. Fortunately we aren't watching a game this Sunday, so I have extra time to bone up on my jargon. I think I'll make flash-cards.

Scenario No. 8: The Patriots jump on top of the Eagles by 20 points or more.

You say ... The AFC sure kicked the NFC's butt this year! or ... This is a dynasty in New England!

posted at: 2005-01-27 15:09:35 with 4 comments

I had meant this as the second article, and find we’re already up to #4. Brad is a machine!...

Another great starting point for watching anime isn’t a Japanese cartoon at all—it’s Teen Titans. Why am I recommending TT for newbies? Several reasons:

1) Ease of viewing: Almost every cable provider offers Cartoon Network, and it’s on at a reasonable time…several reasonable times, actually. I work out to it after work, and watch it in the evenings when I know I’ll be too beat to stay up for The Daily Show.)

2) A sense of normalcy: No culture confusion—the TTs are American kids—and none of the ingrained weirdness inherent in many anime cartoons (“Of course, we are all ninja assassins in schoolgirl outfits! Why do you ask?”)

3) Familiarity with a twist: The TTs are the sidekicks and lesser lights of the DC Universe. So it’s the world you’ve grown up with (Super Friends, Batman, Justice League), but in a neighborhood you probably haven’t explored if you’re not a comic reader.

4) Art and iconography: Anime and manga—particularly those with comic or romantic themes—have developed highly stylistic forms for denoting emotions. Sometimes this is very expressionistic: when a character is mad, they might turn into a volcano, or hit another character with a hammer (At first this seems strange, but it’s really no different than the “wild takes” of a Warner Brothers cartoon, with the eyeballs and hearts popping out. It even occurs in a kind of live-action anime, Jackie Chan’s City Hunter.) Other times, a kind of shorthand is used: when a character is mad, an asterisk appears on their forehead; when nervous, a giant bead of sweat; when happy, little upside down Us or Vs. (This is also why you see sometimes see smiley emoticons that look like this ^_^ instead of this :-) .)

TT uses both Western and Eastern styles: Robin, embarrassed, will blush and grit his teeth as he would in a Batman cartoon, but he’ll also have the anime giant sweat droplet. As such, TT is a useful Rosetta Stone for watching anime in general.

5) Smart writing/directing: One recent episode involving a magician was divided into vaudeville acts with outlandish and punny titles displayed on cards with carnival playbill lettering. Another episode should have been terrible, given that the villain, Mad Mod, is simply an evil Austin Powers rip-off, but great design decisions (when Mod takes over the sky becomes the Union Jack and the buildings all look like cutouts from the Times) and rapid-fire in-jokes (Monty Python and Yellow Submarine homages, among them) pulled the affair off seamlessly.

6) Great stories: TT understands that all the superhero combat is (or at least should be) a continuation and animation of the characters’ emotional dramas. And—like the first two generations of Digimon (one of the only “kids with monster pals” shows that doesn’t royally suck)—the drama here is the trials and tribulations of teen angst...a source of endless conflict, and hence, stories worth telling.

Extra bonus) The TT site has an episode guide, so you know which episodes you’ve seen, and in what order they were meant—crucial in a series with emotional arcs and recurring villains (Terra, Red X, Slade) and for those of us now accustomed to watching series in order on DVD.

posted at: 2005-01-27 14:56:40 with 2 comments

Let’s not lie, I was a teensy bit drunk when I pressured Edward into giving me blogging privileges on this site. After all, I thought, I do live in the 'werkz now. And I really wanted to be able to leave comments. About how I have no gray hairs. That was my logic at the time.

But now that I’m sitting here, trying to write, I’m having more trouble. What’s my shtick? When it comes to politics and technology I'm a relative moron, and pop culture seems pretty well covered.

So, for the moment at least, I’ll content myself to being shtick-less (what would Lacan say?)*. And - as I while away the hours contemplating my seemingly interminable future as a delinquent intern - I will leave you with this appropriate, if not anxiety-inducing, link.

Even the title stresses me out.

*I am not the pomo blogger. Maybe I could the fauxmo blogger. Or the fauxcialite blogger? I could handle the Dredwerkz' bustling society page. It'd be like a Dredwerkz Page 6.

posted at: 2005-01-27 13:15:02 with 5 comments

This is cool.

Of course, as usual, our nation's capital is not one of the cities listed. Can you imagine any other country that treated its seat of government with so little respect? I mean, hell, even Denver got to test this out before us.

I'm sure they'd mumble something about "security" in response, but that's just a smoke-screen.

I demand cool technology! In DC! On the bright side, you can submit pictures of your own to supplement the official A9 ones. Perhaps it's just a big ploy to get suckers like me to take snapshots of places. Which, now that I think about it, is an even cooler idea...kind of a giant image wiki that is automatically semantically better than the standard google images because each image is chosen to match up with a particular business which has already been indexed in the yellow pages. The starting cities therefore are just seeds for the idea.

As much as I dislike helping giant companies create proprietary databases, I have to respect Amazon's approach. If it allows people to extract the data in xml the way they have their other services, A9 could be great.

posted at: 2005-01-27 10:28:02 with 0 comments

Read this WaPo story. Try to ignore the god-awful picture of one of the thieves involved...

Separately, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and nine colleagues released a report showing that the Bush administration spent more than $88 million last year on contracts with public relations firms, an increase of 128 percent over the last year of the Clinton administration. Medicare and Medicaid officials have spent the most on outside publicity firms over the past four years, the report said.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher was touting Bush's "healthy marriage" initiative while working on the program under a $21,500 contract from the Department of Health and Human Services. The news followed an earlier controversy over conservative commentator Armstrong Williams, who has apologized for not disclosing a $241,000 Education Department contract to promote the president's No Child Left Behind law.

I'm not sure why it costs so much to get this people to flack for administration initiatives...perhaps, as some have speculated, this is really more about providing low-wage jobs for low-level GOP operatives.

posted at: 2005-01-27 10:05:51 with 0 comments

It's weird, but there's an odd turing-test-ish device out there, a AIM bot called "SmarterChild". If you're using an instant messaging client that supports AIM, just add "SmarterChild" to your buddy list and then say "hi!" to them.

The concept is very cool.

The execution leaves a little to be desired, but it's super fun to fool around with. Go give it a shot. The only error I've discovered is that sometimes around lunch time the service gets overloaded. Considering the number of people who have it though...

Here's a brief sample of my last conversation:

(15:34:24) Edward: can i track stocks?

(15:34:25) SmarterChild: What if I want to track stocks?

(15:34:31) Edward: i don't know

(15:34:31) SmarterChild: Well think about it then.

Hilarious.

posted at: 2005-01-26 15:21:37 with 1 comments

Have you read Hersh’s New Yorker article about the Pentagon and Iran? Everybody—even those folks in the billabong—is talking about it. (Thanks to my friend A. for pointing me to the Carlton piece; I knew about Hersh outing Abu Ghraib, but was stunned to learn he broke the My Lai story.)

posted at: 2005-01-26 14:22:36 with 2 comments

consider me inspired by another eight inches o' snow (20 cm, adriana!) to review the finest bit of storytelling in a long while. and no, for once, i'm not exaggerating terribly.

for those that have heard the hype, skip to the review. the rest of you hosers should check out this trailer first, though it requires real player and doesn't really tell you anything about the show other than there will be sword fights.

it's samurai champloo - a heavily anticipated anime from shinichiro watanabe, the dude who brought you cowboy bebop. he's changed the setting and the story, but in many ways sc is like a younger brother to cowboy bebop - far less interested in cool and more interested in action.

it's set at the close of feudal japan, during a time of chaos when the old ways and codes are dying. for various reasons, a quiet ronin and a loud-mouthed vagrant end up promising a girl that they will help her find a samurai who smells like sunflowers. along the way they'll battle yakuza, ogres, and hungry stomachs while trying their best to kill each other when they get frustrated...

but while bebop's true appeal was how it mixed jazz and blues into the very structure of the show - champloo does the same with hip-hop. hard to believe? i certainly thought so, but after the first fight, i was convinced. the vagrant, mugen, wields his katana like a street-fighter, mixing it with moves that are half-capoiera and half breakdancing. and while the ronin, jin, and the girl, fuu, seem a little more constrained, their philosophical approaches mesh with the solid beats.

i could rave about the animation (again, the fights are incredible) and the amorality of the protagonists (they each have a sort of code) but you really have to check it out yourself. far east meets the west side ~ i promise you'll love it!

posted at: 2005-01-26 10:31:24 with 4 comments

First off, if you haven't signed up for my cool walmart fact page please do! As soon as I get two levels of sign-ups, the viral map will start to look much more interesting. Come on, help me out! You could win $1000!

Second, if you haven't read them, you should check out Ted Turner's thoughts on the current state of the media. Some highlights:

On Fox News: While Fox may be the largest news network [and has overtaken Turner's CNN], it's not the best, Turner said. He followed up by pointing out that Adolph Hitler got the most votes when he was elected to run Germany prior to WWII. He said the network is the propaganda tool for the Bush Administration. "There's nothing wrong with that. It's certainly legal. But it does pose problems for our democracy. Particularly when the news is dumbed down," leaving voters without critical information on politics and world events and overloaded with fluff," he said.

On TV news in general: "We need to be very well informed. We need to know what's going on in the world. "a little less Hollywood news and a little more hard news would probably be good for our society."

On media consolidation:"The consolidation has made it almost impossible for an independent. It's virtually impossible to start a cable network." Broadcasters and programmers "don't want more independent voices out there. They own everything. That's why I went into the restaurant business. Either that or I'd work for a salary for one of the big jerks.

Ted's a smart guy. But this piece in TNR is wrong.

The problem with Hollywood and Democrats isn't that Dems need to be more vocal about the levels of sex and violence. This is a central fallacy of many left-leaning commentators: that the average american is a gun-lovin' nascar watching bible-thumping gay-hating person who can't stand higher taxes. But all of these tropes work against each other: the rural voter who wants low taxes and watches nascar while drinking beer is not a bible-thumper. Likewise, the uber-conservative gay-hating crowd hates all sin not just popular sin. The fact that the GOP has managed to unite these two groups reflects their ability to convince both that they need to be afraid.

That's why the idea that Dems can rally "against the market" in the TNR piece is so silly: it's not that most Americans think there's too much violence on tv. Most Americans are happy to play GTA to their heart's content. Here's the bad graph from the TNR piece:

Once you get past the issue of free speech--more on that in a minute--attacking the entertainment industry is a natural fit for Democrats. Republicans court charges of hypocrisy when they bash crass popular culture, since it is a relentless focus on the bottom line, typically an unquestioned good on the right, that propels the entertainment industry forward, as anyone who works in Hollywood can attest. For Democrats, the connection between an unfettered market and toxic values is exactly the point--and a point that can serve as the linchpin of an authentic new progressive moralism.

The argument here is simple: When financial self-interest is touted as one of society's greatest virtues, as it has been lately, individuals will behave badly. The recent paroxysm of greed and dishonesty at places like Enron, Tyco, and scores of other companies is evidence of this point. So is the terrible ethical climate in law and medicine, where a money culture is increasingly subverting professional ethics. The epidemic of cheating in schools and even the steroid problems in sports also show how today's outsized imperative to get ahead can bring out the worst in people.

I'm not sure that the unfettered market/toxic values connection applies here. But I am sure that having Dems defend a kind of popular elitism (the "you should listen to NPR" idea) is a bad political move. And furthermore, often the type of programming that is critically acclaimed is extremely popular. There just isn't a connection between morally bankrupt shows and profitability. Otherwise every show would be awful.

The problems with the media are important...but Turner grasps them better. Instead of focusing on violence in the media, why not concentrate on the sad fact that the news coverage ignores Africa, where real violence takes place every day? Why not emphasize harder news which would help educate people? I'm willing to bet that the tsunami coverage exposed more Americans to foreign lands than anything before. Was it violent? Sure. Was it tragic? Sure. But Americans responded to the disaster in a way not seen since September 11th.

That's how I differ from TNR. I think Americans are savvy media consumers. If a network has good programming, we'll flock to it. We're not quite as dumb as many would like to think.

posted at: 2005-01-25 16:15:00 with 3 comments

I think that Rice should not be Secretary of State.

I think that Gonzales should not be Attorney General.

Let's focus on the latter for the moment. Gonzales personally condoned the use of torture as a technique for interrogation. Ignore the fact that it doesn't work and let's focus on the legal implications. Let's go back to what actually happened:

  1. The CIA asked the White House if it could use torture to elicit information from subjects at Gitmo.
  2. The White House (through Gonzales) said that the Geneva Convention statutes no longer applied to certain individuals. It gave the green light to torture.
  3. The techniques applied at Gitmo were exported around the world, frequently to groups and individuals in a variety of settings that not only failed to elicit information, but actively harmed our soldiers in uniform.

Torture is wrong. As the world's leading country, we need to lead by example. Yet with that said, I can certainly see step #1 occurring. What's crazy, in my mind, is that #2 would ever take place. By setting up a legal precedent, Gonzales knew #3 would occur. His legal arguments (outlined in the infamous August 2002 Bybee Memo) were slipshod and amounted to a usurpation of the division of power outlined in the Constitution. Gonzales argued that the President, as Commander in Chief, could arbitrarily refuse to enforce laws he didn't like.

Think about that. There's another word for that.

It's called a dictatorship. Yet Gonzales thought it was not only necessary, but good! He provided the legal framework, shoddy though it might be, to allow the President to imprison any American citizen without access to counsel, to subject any individual suspected of terrorism to torture, etc.

Such a man could never be elected to public office. American's wouldn't countenance such an evil. But to have such an individual chosen to be the nation's top police officer is just as evil. Democrats and moral Republicans must stand united against this nomination.

posted at: 2005-01-25 14:00:56 with 0 comments

when you're stuck in a blizzard and you just finished your last netflix disc, the long but rewarding once upon a time in america - you need to do something other than watch illegal cable.

so off i trudged through yard-thick snow to tower, which remained curiously open despite everybody else being closed. cool, eh? where i decided to fork over megabucks for a couple boxes of ghost in the shell:stand alone complex which proved to be as enjoyable at three in the afternoon as it previously was at one in the morning. you know, if they actually moved adult swim to a more reasonable hour, i think i might stop wasting my snow-blind days.

i digress, as usual. ghost in the shell:stand alone complex, which acronyms terribly into gits:sac, is great across the board. the storyline is kinda like an offshoot of the popular movies, wherein the major has not completely deevolved into a net-inhabiting ghost yet. sound odd? well, that's part of the appeal of both the movies, and according to rumor, the original manga.

essentially it's just a crime show, with the characters working for a super-secret CT force. but the twist is that in this near future, 2030, mankind has become so entwined with our computers and machines that nearly everyone has a cybernetically augmented brain, in addition to various body parts, of course. though this sounds run-of-the-mill, the writers focus almost exclusively on the philosophical and ethical (note how i separate those two) puzzles that breed in such a situation.

from soul or 'ghost' cloning machines to brain hacking to adorable police tanks, stand alone complex provides nearly flawless storylines, with just enough mystery to keep you guessing. the animation is a mixture of CG (i.e. for car chases) and more typical fare - fights are good, but there is a tendency to favor richly colored scenery over detailed action. plus one kinda has to roll one's eyes at the buxom major's getup - lingerie paired with a military jacket is laughable. and the music puts the series over the top - yoko kanno is, as always, incredibly versatile and gifted at matching music to story. she apparently even noted that the somewhat thin character development and dense dramatic nature made her want to pair it with a lighter, airier music, which she does to great acclaim.

all in all, stand alone complex shines in a sea of mediocre animation, and would be far and away my best pick for tv animation were it not for one late contender - more on that later...

posted at: 2005-01-25 11:17:53 with 1 comments

go back a week...

...go forward a week