Friday, August 20, 2004


Craigslist announced on Friday that EBay had bought 25% ownership.

Is Craigslist selling out? Is this part of some bigger deal? What's going to happen now? I'm very confused. This article from the San Jose Mercury News has the story, but leaves many things unclear.


Many developements on the August 29th UFPJ march front --

(WAIT, time out, that's not a sentence, but rather a Shepard-Smith-style phrase, lacking a verb. Whatever.)

First, on Monday, the Times ran "F.B.I. Goes Knocking for Political Troublemakers", an article about how the FBI has been visiting activists across the country asking them for information about RNC plans.

This is stuff that had been reported in scattered news articles, but it was finally all put together into one big piece, and in the Times. So on Wednesday, a few congressional Dems called for a Justice Department investigation into these FBI practices (see Wednesday's Times article on this).

Separately, Bloomberg declared on Monday that protest is a 'privilege'.

Then on Tuesday, Bloomberg announced the creation of "Peaceful Political Activist" buttons. Pick one up at the RNC and you get discounts at restaurants, hotels, and museums! Right... The Times article explains the whole story and, in trying to give an example of people who this button might not be for, mentions two Wes alums! (in the paragraph about Code Pink).

On Wednesday UFPJ announced that it is suing the city over the rally site. Um, finally! This baby is going to come down to the last few days.

Of course, if the court or courts rule against them, or don't rule at all, it's bad news. But UFPJ has declared that "we are NOT marching to the West Side Highway, even if we do not win our fight for Central Park."

Take that, Mikey!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Outta here

I'm off to the other side of the country. I probably won't post much, if any. And then back for the RNC..

The big fundraiser party for the activists here got raided last night. Great.

Hopefully the west coast has more love than that.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


On Friday, the NYT reported on the unfortunate case of a man killed in an elevator accident. "Worker Dies as Freight Elevator Malfunctions in Times Sq. Tower" explains how somehow a freight elevator was propelled upwards until it crashed into a roof above the 37th floor. No good. But get this:

"Fire officials say that when serious elevator accidents occur, it is not unusual for cabs to be jettisoned up through their shafts."

Huh??? not unusual?? Yikes. I guess it depends on how often "serious elevator accidents occur". Hopefuly pretty rarely (the article makes this strangely unclear). But those few times they do happen, they often invovle the jettison-ing thing (?).

Uh, good to know.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Washington Post and Iraq

But first, regarding James McGreevey -- if you haven't caught the media spin on this one, the MSNBC 'breaking news' email update pretty much sums it up:

"New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey says he is gay, resigns position"

That's right, nothing about an affair or anything. He resigned simply because he is gay.

It's so good to know that not only do we have a liberal media, but one that is extra-liberal when it comes to social issues.

It's extra egregious because in McGreevey's press conference, he made it extra clear that he is resigning because of an affair and scandals, not because he is homosexual.


Howard Kurtz's front-page Post article on Thursday explored, finally, the issue of whether the Post had failed in its coverage in the run up to the Iraq war. The article was titled "The Post on WMDs: An Inside Story". Subheadlined "Prewar Articles Questioning Threat Often Didn't Make Front Page". Most of the article was a decent look at how stories that questioned the Administration's line were held from the front page, or killed altogether. Unfortunately, there isn't really much new information here (the Post ombudsman had done a piece on the issue back in June; same problem). Kurtz talked to people inside the newspaper -- writers and editors who were involved -- and that was helpful. But there were no huge new discoveries. All the critiques were ones that folks outside the Post have been saying for more than a year.

Final word in the article is given to the paper's executive editor, who says "People who were opposed to the war from the beginning and have been critical of the media's coverage in the period before the war have this belief that somehow the media should have crusaded against the war" ... "They have the mistaken impression that somehow if the media's coverage had been different, there wouldn't have been a war."

No, dude. You just don't get it, and that's sad. All we asked for was some basic journalistic skepticism -- asking basic questions, rather than simply taking the administration's word -- and we hardly got any in the Post, or anywhere else for that matter. When we did get it (as both Kurtz and the ombudsman concluded), it was most often burried deep in the paper.

It seems to me that while some of the working journalists are coming to terms with happened, the elite media bosses are digging themselves in deeper and deeper.

After his own people explained what happened, Downie still isn't willing to admit that he was wrong. That attitude is destructive to journalism.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Forrest Gump couldn't have made fortune from Apple Stock

Movie de-bunked! Read it here!

Anyway. UFPJ announced definitively today that it won't be rallying on the West Side Highway. But they didn't announce much else. So now what?? Each side waits to see if the other is bluffing? Won't Bloomberg win?

I think they must be headed towards a lawsuit.

The preliminary news coverage this afternoon was solid; it was relatively gentle in how it mentioned that UFPJ was recanting on an earlier agreement. But I think the fact that they agreed to the site a few weeks ago is going to hurt them, majorly, in the big picture.

Monday, August 09, 2004

What does UFPJ have up its sleeve?

Something, hopefully.

United For Peace & Justice will be holding a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, regarding the march on August 29. A few weeks ago UFPJ reluctantly agreed to the West Side Highway site, but now they are saying that there are more and more problems with it. You can read their teaser statement on NYC Indymedia.

What are they going to say??? What can they say? As I wrote at the time, I think they gave up most of their bargaining power when they accepted the site. They want the city to provide shuttle buses to the subway, and other assistance. But at the time they accepted the site, the city in no way granted any of those things. The city got off the hook.

Since they agreed to the site, various calls -- including one by a Newsday columnist -- have gone out to ignore the official march route and just exit the march at 34th street and stroll up to Central Park. Sure, some people can do that, but then we have people in two parts of the city, and isn't that also losing?

UFPJ could announce that they are just going to ignore the city and march straight up to Central Park. That would be bold, exciting, and would make for incredible free publicity. But would it actually work? Besides, UFPJ has said that it just wants to include the largest number of people possible, and that if people want to do something more radical they have a whole week to do it at other events.

I'm guessing that they're going to release some sort of new information tomorrow. Just saying that the city has not agreed to their demand of providing shuttle buses, or of providing free water, would look stupid. Maybe they'll present new evidence that beyond refusing to help, the city has been actively obstructing their organizing somehow. Maybe they've caught a police infiltrator, and will out him or her, and use it to make an argument that they are being obstructed, and then that gives them more sympathetic standing to make a an argument for marching to the park. Or maybe they're just bringing in a bunch of experts to speak -- one person to explain how the grass in the Great Lawn would be ok, one person to speak on how a rally on the West Side Highway is a potential medical danger, etc.

I just hope they have something new to say.

A family affair

So I just got back from a weekend with family and friends. Artis and Freya and I went to Fire Island, and it was very chill.

In the back shed, one found this:

So, it's like a refrigerator..

But what is that faucet-like thing doing stuck onto the door?


(scroll down)



Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Terror threat fake, and Ikea

Ok, second post of the night.

Does anyone else think this whole the-terror-threat-was-actually-primarily-based-on-info-more-than-three-years-old thing should be like the biggest scandal ever?? Are we really so numb to this kind of joke?

To Howard Kurtz, for example, the revelation was simply "amunition" for "those who question whether the orange alert was hyped".

The Times and the Post are both rolling out big appologies to the administration on Wednesday:

In the Times, we have "New Qaeda Activity Is Said to Be Major Factor in Alert". The story, relying on annonymous sources, is a stunning contradiction of Tuesday's "Reports That Led to Terror Alert Were Years Old, Officials Say". Which way is it, Doug?! You just have to picture the guy sitting at his phone, being spoon-fed garbage by the damage control folks, and then printing it. And dare I even ask what ever happened to the Times' new policy on annonymous sourcing?

In the Post's front-page analysis, Glenn Kessler tidies up the situation:
"The White House's failure to make it clear that the dramatic terrorism alert Sunday was based largely on information that predated the Sept. 11 attacks is a case study in the difficulty of managing such warnings for an administration whose credibility is a central issue in a difficult presidential campaign."

In other words, the threat hype wasn't something the administration cooked up, but rather something that was inflicted upon them, part of a "difficulty" in conveying the threat. Poor things.


In other news, the Ikea in New Haven is now open. Have you seen the food??? It looks amazing.

Did Kerry get a post-convention bounce?

Well, it depends who you ask.

According to Gallup/CNN/USAToday's survey of likely voters, Kerry was ahead of Bush by 1 percentage point before the convention, but behind by 4-6 points after the convention. Ouch. But according to the WashingtonPost/ABC poll, Kerry was behind by 4 points before the convention, and ahead by 2 points after the convention.

In two other polls that were conducted just after the convention, and looked at registered voters (as opposed to likely voters), Kerry is now ahead by 4 points (American Research Group), or 5 points (CBS).


In any case, even by the Washington Post numbers, Kerry's bounce was among the smallest in recent history.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Yay for

Yay, the 'Postcards from Boston' finally got published on The Nation website Monday, including one by yours truly (page #2). I hope you like. Some of them got sadly butchered for some reason in some last minute editing, making a few sentences just not make sense anymore or losing their context. But anyway, yeah.


John Stewart devoured his guest tonight, some Republican representative from Texas. He fooled the guy into pitching the "Kerry and Edwards are the 1st and 4th most liberal senators" line. Then he played stunningly dumb and pretended he didn't know where that assertion had come from; he kept asking the guest, who didn't want to say, and so kept digging himself deeper and deeper. Eventually Stewart explained to the audience that it was in fact a survey by the National Journal. Unfortunatley he didn't really have time to explain why it was wrong, which would have been key. But he did get the point across that conservatives are pitching a joke statistic that's not based in fact.

The part of the story Stewart didn't get to tell is this: even the National Journal has disavowed the way conservatives are using their data. No, the National Journal is not a conservative group. But what happened is that Kerry and Edwards missed so many votes in 2003 that when you look at just that year -- and use a tabulation system that makes these absences misleadingly give them relatively higher liberal ratings -- they end up as the liberals in the senate. If you look at NJ's analysis of all of Kerry's career in the senate, you'll find that he is in fact the 11th most liberal senator, while Edwards is in the more conservative half of the democrats.

Bob Somerby has a solid explanation of this all.


Naomi Klein says she "reluctantly joined the Anybody But Bush camp", and lays out good counter-arguments to the notions that it's somehow better to have Bush in office because he radicalizes Americans and/or radicalizes the rest of the world to stand-up against the US. I know we're all tired of reading about Kerry/Nader/Cobb arguments and what not, but I think this piece stands out as particularly convincing and somewhat different from the way others have framed it.

Sunday, August 01, 2004


WTF?!?!?! Is anyone else in '05 receiving their email? I haven't been receiving emails since the morning.


Saturday afternoon the Sox traded away Nomar.

And amazingly, none of us knew.

Dan Shaugnessy makes the argument that it was time for him to go.

It all sounds sadly reasonable to me.


An un-related Boston Globe article Sunday on baseball explored the issue of young kids in suburban Boston declaring that they are Yankees fans, and not Red Sox fans (can you top that lameness?!). Anyhow, the article, which came from the Metro section and not the Sport section, was amusingly graphic in describing one of the kids:

"Yet something has happened to Mark during the last two years, a strange and troubling transformation that is sweeping the elementary students of Weston like a bad case of head lice."


In other news, TIME has an apparent scoop claiming that some officials in the Palestinian Authority are profiting, through business interests, from the construction of the Wall.


Finally, a piece in the Times' Week in Review on Obama explores how "political analysts have wondered whether white voters don't also find him attractive because, while he is black, he is not the direct product of generations of black life in America: he is not black in the usual way."