Wednesday, December 28, 2005

UFPJ & ANSWER politics, woo

Ahh, everyone's favorite subject, the good old sectarian politics.

It seems that in the organizing for the September 24th dealie in DC, relations between UFPJ and ANSWER fell apart even more. Here are some documents:

UFPJ's December 12th statement, UFPJ Rejects Future Work with ANSWER; Ending the War in Iraq, Building a Broad Movement for Peace and Justice, And Our Experience with A.N.S.W.E.R.

ANSWER's December 16th statement, A.N.S.W.E.R. Responds to UFPJ: Our Position on Unity in the AntiWar Movement

Lots of fun gossip and even some very interesting points.

There's also this long, scathing critique of UFPJ by Tom Good -- on how it has avoided civil disobedience, and is anti-democratic.

But anyhow, maybe I'm way out of the loop, but did other folks know that ANSWER had a factional split last year, and that the the faction that maintained the "ANSWER" name isn't even the Workers World Party folks?

It's all explained in a recent critique of ANSWER by Bill Weinberg.

He writes: "Recently, Workers World has undergone a factional split, with a breakaway group apparently taking most of ANSWER with it. This has led the IAC and the faction that still calls itself Workers World to help found a new coalition, Troops Out Now! The recent split doesn't seem to have been about anything substantive, but the tactical question of whether to support WWP's presidential ticket last year or to acquiesce to the left's 'anybody but Bush' (meaning pro-Kerry) position. Behind this question seems to be a turf war between WWP cadre in New York and San Francisco, the party's two principal power bases. The breakaway faction, based mostly in San Francisco, is calling itself the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Troops Out Now!, which endorsed the Sept. 24 march, remains based at the International Action Center's New York offices."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Last night's Monday Night Football game was the finale of a 36-year run on ABC. The Patriots beat the Jets.

Next year, MNF will be on ESPN, which many fewer people are able to watch.

According to the Boston Globe, ABC's Monday Night Football was the longest-running prime-time television show, second only to CBS's 60 Minutes.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

You better watch out, you better not cry ... cause Michael Chertoff is coming to town. [NOT!]

Who knew that the Department of Homeland Security monitors interlibrary loan requests? A student at UMass found just that after ordering a copy of Mao's Little Red Book.

Here's the story in the Standard-Times, out of New Bedford, MA.

One other note: how is it that "interlibrary" is a word??? Shouldn't it be hyphenated? And if it's not even hyphenated, shouldn't the acronym be "IL", not "ILL"? (though I suppose the latter is kind of cool).



Hat tipped to Matt for being the first to find that this one isn't true [comments].

And here's the story on it in Saturday's Globe.

Some questions this all makes me wonder about:
-Why did the Standard-Times publish the story without actually being able to interview the kid? This is almost like the kind of second-hand stuff that might make it to the front page of the NYT -- i.e. 4/21/03, "Illicit Arms Kept Till Eve of War, an Iraqi Scientist Is Said to Assert". The story ran with no evidence; it was just the word of two professors, who were in turn taking the word of a student. Somehow if professors say it it makes it true? I thought it must've been that the paper had more info to substantiate the story that they just weren't able to use in the article for whatever confidentiality/legal reasons. But now it seems there was definitely nothing more they had to work with.
-Why did they not attempt to contact the Department of Homeland Security for comment, or at least not make any indication in the story that they had?
-Why did the Department of Homeland Security not contact the Standard-Times and make them retract it? Surely their news-trackers saw that this story was getting picked up in various places.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

another Ode

It has done good service for more than two years.

Purchased in September 2003, it knew little about where it was headed or just how important it would be.

It lived vivaciously in E4 that year, summered quietly on Antrim Street, then made a bold comeback at 19 Fountain.

It then summered again on Antrim Street, in a little box, before making it's final move to Brooklyn.

It has played key roles in many meals, most notably those involving potatoes and/or chicken.

It is the Rosemary bottle:

Recently it ran out. The moment was surprisingly un-dramatic, at best -- downright un-noticed, at worst.

But rest assured, this is just the end of one era and the beginning of another. It has now been completely filled with new rosemary, purchased in a small bulk bag at the co-op, for a sum of 15 cents.

And so life goes on.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mutual Aid

Wow, just a moment ago a guy was standing on the sidewalk in front of the house looking to hitch a ride (presumably into Manhattan) and it was less than a minute before he got picked up.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"Nice guys finish third" interview with Rafe.

Friday, December 16, 2005

disaster averted!

On a lighter note, I was just finishing frying up tofu and broccoli, and it was time to add the key ingredient, and I looked in the fridge and there was no Soy Vay!!! "Oy vay!" I said. But Artis pointed out that there was a new bottle in the cupboard.

Disaster averted.

Dinner time.

To strike or not to strike?

It's about 1:15am. By the time anyone reads this, the circumstances will likely have changed.

Midnight passed and no deal was reached. But neither was a strike called. I thought it was a deadline? So, wait, what happens now? Is there a strike or not?

Something about this is very postmodern.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

it's not even the FBI or the NSA

NBC news had an exclusive Tuesday evening reporting that the Pentagon has been spying on anti-war groups in the US. The story is based on a 400-page document listing such groups.

"The Defense Department document is the first inside look at how the U.S. military has stepped up intelligence collection inside this country since 9/11, which now includes the monitoring of peaceful anti-war and counter-military recruitment groups."

Sunday, December 11, 2005


There are some very good pictures in Time Magazine's The Best Photos of the Year 2005.

Ode to the Coliseum

The New Haven Coliseum, built in 1972, is that weird, huge building that you always see in New Haven by the intersection of I-95 and I-91. You really can't miss it if you're going to the train station, or even just driving through. It is a sports arena, covered by three or four levels of a huge parking garage. Or, it was.

According to the Save the New Haven Coliseum website, in addition to being the former home of the minor-league-arena-football New Haven Ninja's (yes, within arena football, there is a minor league), the Coliseum has been the site of shows by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks and Van Halen.

Several years ago the city decided it was time to take down the Coliseum; it was a relic of the 1970's that didn't belong in the city anymore. Some citizens organized to save it, though not successfully. After the city decided to take it down, they didn't have enough money to do so. So it's just been standing there the last few years.

Now they're finally taking it down. The asbestos was removed, and then they tore apart the insides. This is what it looked like the other week, with one side of the stands gone but the other still there, the innards of the goliath visible to all who passed by:

Once they finish the insides, the parking level will be all that's left, standing high above the ground in what's sure to be an odd sight. Then at some point, probably a Sunday in January, it will be imploded.

I never made it inside the Coliseum, and now I regret it. It sounds like it was the site of many a good time.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

1000th execution

"North Carolina Man Is 1,000th Executed" headlined an article from the Times a few days ago, which featured this stunning lede:

"A North Carolina man who said he did not want to be remembered as a number has become the 1,000th person executed in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976."

His name was Kenneth Lee Boyd.