Sunday, January 29, 2006

Though the question of how it can be put to action remains, here is another set of Articles of Impeachment drafted against the President and top associates.

So far, the site from which those Articles can be found has amassed nearly 650,000 votes across the country.

Though I do not agree with some of the provisions, overall for the sake of our Constitution and the future of the United States it would be for the better to throw these people out of our government, peacefully and constitutionally.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Excuse Me Here One Time

Campaigns are afoot against Wikipedia and file sharing, and have been for some time. The former is a vehicle for democratic knowledge-building; the latter is a people-to-people network.

All of which hints at this: the assault on them is anti-democratic.

The questions, respectively, are about credibility and intellectual property. Starting with the second, file sharing is not theft, nor is it piracy. Record label conglomerates that produce "corporate music" are destroying music, good real music. Not to mention having done their share of fucking over musicians.

To keep it short, the first question goes to Wikipedia. "Credible" means elite knowledge, pre-approved by "expert" opinion. They don't want anybody with the ability to freely register to add to a public encyclopedia.

Keep them alive.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

No more words
Wish they were here
Now for them to guide
Me along the way home

Friday, January 13, 2006

Snakes On A Plane!


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Not some fucking musical expert here, just a consumer with eyes and ears. Picked up the new album by The Strokes, First Impressions of Earth, today. Judging from their debut, the classic Is This It is foolish because they've moved on. Whether that's good or not, another thing maybe.

The first thing I noticed is the impressive album art. "Ask Me Anything"... real strange track. Got nothing to say, again and so on. Enjoying the subliminals. CAN OUR MIND EVOLVE TO BE SOMETHING OTHER THAN AN EXTENSION OF OUR ANIMAL NEEDS? Almost had missed that one.

Function o'th' artwork looks to have the songs as vignettes o'sorts, each own's style. Declares Julian Casablancas, "An entire generation that has nothing to say." Rob Sheffield limitedly praised it, their efforted junior-album with compliments of "ambitious, messy ... forward momentum" to "a killer groove band."

But personally it's the poignant moments of "Killing Lies" and "Evening Sun" that, for whatever reason, take me back somewhere to an unconscious, impossible collective memory, not quite my own, also not quite all of ours. Hard to explain.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


"I'm an outsider by choice, but not truly. It's the unpleasantness of the system that keeps me out. I'd rather be in, in a good system. That's where my discontent comes from: being forced to choose to stay outside."

-- George Carlin

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Walter Reich wrote in the Washington Post about Spielberg's new film, "Munich". Having seen the film last night in a sort of advance screening, I can say it is a heavy work that grapples hard with the 1972 massacre of the 11 Israeli athletes and the retributive killings that follow.

Not a ponderous investigative documentary of any kind, "Munich" is drama to a not-so-provocative caliber. Of course, denying its impact would destroy the complex emotional web that such times exploit. Spielberg appears to have intended to avoid a simplistic portrayal, with a clear delineation between good and evil. But none of it excuses terrorist criminality.

Avner, the protagonist, is assigned by Mossad with four other agents to track down and kill the Arab terrorists and their orchestrators. The agents are nameless, their mission secret. The words of one agent (Ciaran Hinds), onto their first target in Rome, is worth heeding: speaking of the Pharaoh's armies who drown in Sea of Reeds, he says God told the Israelites not to rejoice, for they had smote "a whole multitude of [His] children."

Another agent, their bombmaker (Mathieu Kassovitz), ultimately cannot live in their line of work without his soul, as he tells Avner. The greatest strength of "Munich" is how it demonstrates that taking life, however just, psychologically brutalizes you. Reich, in the Post, rejects Spielberg's "protestations" that his film is only asking questions for the audience. "Munich" is instead "a very strong political statement" because we are made to rethink the logic of how we are fighting terrorism. What Reich felt excluded from Spielberg's film was, of all things, the history of the Zionist movement. Okay, maybe that's too simplified, but Reich does feel that the director seems to suggest that the Israeli state has no history prior to the Holocaust. But I disagree with Reich if he is presuming that Spielberg is historically ignorant.

David Edelstein, in Slate, feels obligated to explain that he does not "consider a movie that assigns motives more complicated than pure evil to constitute an apology." Referring to "commentators" like, perhaps, renowned huckster Jack Cashill (who excoriated Spielberg in a recent column), Edelstein argues that "an expression of uncertainty and disgust is not the same as one of outright denunciation."

It is that ambiguity which bothers me about the picture. The ever-reputable Roger Ebert describes it as "an act of courage and conscience." He traces the parallel Spielberg not too overtly presents to today's geopolitical climate, and the unending cycle of violence that plagues the Holy Land. Borrowing a paraphrased line from Golda Meir, in which Ebert writes that she said "civilizations must sometimes compromise their values," he asks about costs versus benefits. The real question is about the line between vengeance and justice.

Manohla Dargis, in the New York Times, discusses the character of Avner in particular -- whose "humanity, however compromised ... gives 'Munich' the weight of a moral argument," which is to its core a statement that "blood has its costs, even blood shed in righteous defense." So the film "is as much a mediation on ethics as a political thriller," Dargis writes.

Yet again we see the defensive nature in reviewing this film: " ... 'Munich' has already been strafed by op-ed attacks. The accusations might make sense if the filmmaker took us into the terrorists' homes for some moral relativism. But Mr. Spielberg is doing nothing more radical here than advancing the idea that dialogue ends when two enemies, held hostage by dusty history and hot blood, have their hands locked around each other's throats" (some emphases). Don't understand it.

(Below is an excerpted portion of the Post's LiveOnline chat with Mr. Reich, where one of my questions is posted.)

"Munich" has been labeled controversial and provocative, and there is little doubt to the powerful impact the movie delivers, but hasn't its central point, that retributive killing breeds a cycle of violence, been shown to be all too obvious?

Walter Reich: I think the "cycle of violence" formulation is more a formulation than a reality. Terrorists like it because it takes the onus off them--they didn't start the process. But anyone who wants to believe that this formulation is true should be able to prove that if you don't respond then terrorism will stop--that terrorism is caused by the attempt to stop terrorism. This doesn't make sense, either logically or in real life.

Sunday, January 01, 2006