Thursday, March 31, 2005
"This is not only a death with the sadness it brings, this is a killing," said the Rev Frank Pavone, a spiritual adviser to Ms Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. For seven years her family had fought over whether to keep her alive. The feud continued up to and beyond the moment of her death, when her parents claimed that her husband Michael had denied them access to her bedside.
After Ms Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected two weeks ago, protesters streamed into Pinellas Park in Florida to keep vigil outside the hospice. There were 53 arrests as they tried to bring her food and water. [...]
Mr Schiavo's lawyer George Felos became a target of harsh criticism and threats while arguing that Ms Schiavo should be allowed to die."The most challenging aspect of this case, from a spiritual point of view, has been dealing with these forces of such hatred and negativity," Mr Felos said in an interview last year. "I cannot imagine what would motivate somebody to call up and say, 'We have put your name on a death warrant and if Terri Schiavo dies, you are next."' Such blind hypocrisy is flabbergasting, yet, at the same time, unsurprising. And that makes me sad.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Friday, March 25, 2005
Thursday, March 24, 2005
America No. 1?
America by the numbers
by Michael Ventura
02/03/05 "ICH" - - No concept lies more firmly embedded in our national character than the notion that the USA is "No. 1," "the greatest." Our broadcast media are, in essence, continuous advertisements for the brand name "America Is No. 1." Any office seeker saying otherwise would be committing political suicide. In fact, anyone saying otherwise will be labeled "un-American." We're an "empire," ain't we? Sure we are. An empire without a manufacturing base. An empire that must borrow $2 billion a day from its competitors in order to function. Yet the delusion is ineradicable. We're No. 1. Well...this is the country you really live in:
- The United States is 49th in the world in literacy (the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004).
- The United States ranked 28th out of 40 countries in mathematical literacy (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
- Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the earth. Seventeen percent believe the earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).
- "The International Adult Literacy Survey...found that Americans with less than nine years of education 'score worse than virtually all of the other countries'" (Jeremy Rifkin's superbly documented book The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream, p.78).
- Our workers are so ignorant and lack so many basic skills that American businesses spend $30 billion a year on remedial training (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004). No wonder they relocate elsewhere!
- "The European Union leads the U.S. in...the number of science and engineering graduates; public research and development (R&D) expenditures; and new capital raised" (The European Dream, p.70).
- "Europe surpassed the United States in the mid-1990s as the largest producer of scientific literature" (The European Dream, p.70).
- Nevertheless, Congress cut funds to the National Science Foundation. The agency will issue 1,000 fewer research grants this year (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004).
- Foreign applications to U.S. grad schools declined 28 percent last year. Foreign student enrollment on all levels fell for the first time in three decades, but increased greatly in Europe and China. Last year Chinese grad-school graduates in the U.S. dropped 56 percent, Indians 51 percent, South Koreans 28 percent (NYT, Dec. 21, 2004). We're not the place to be anymore.
- The World Health Organization "ranked the countries of the world in terms of overall health performance, and the U.S. [was]...37th." In the fairness of health care, we're 54th. "The irony is that the United States spends more per capita for health care than any other nation in the world" (The European Dream, pp.79-80). Pay more, get lots, lots less.
- "The U.S. and South Africa are the only two developed countries in the world that do not provide health care for all their citizens" (The European Dream, p.80). Excuse me, but since when is South Africa a "developed" country? Anyway, that's the company we're keeping.
- Lack of health insurance coverage causes 18,000 unnecessary American deaths a year. (That's six times the number of people killed on 9/11.) (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005.)
- "U.S. childhood poverty now ranks 22nd, or second to last, among the developed nations. Only Mexico scores lower" (The European Dream, p.81). Been to Mexico lately? Does it look "developed" to you? Yet it's the only "developed" country to score lower in childhood poverty.
- Twelve million American families--more than 10 percent of all U.S. households--"continue to struggle, and not always successfully, to feed themselves." Families that "had members who actually went hungry at some point last year" numbered 3.9 million (NYT, Nov. 22, 2004).
- The United States is 41st in the world in infant mortality. Cuba scores higher (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
- Women are 70 percent more likely to die in childbirth in America than in Europe (NYT, Jan. 12, 2005).
- The leading cause of death of pregnant women in this country is murder (CNN, Dec. 14, 2004).
- "Of the 20 most developed countries in the world, the U.S. was dead last in the growth rate of total compensation to its workforce in the 1980s.... In the 1990s, the U.S. average compensation growth rate grew only slightly, at an annual rate of about 0.1 percent" (The European Dream, p.39). Yet Americans work longer hours per year than any other industrialized country, and get less vacation time.
- "Sixty-one of the 140 biggest companies on the Global Fortune 500 rankings are European, while only 50 are U.S. companies" (The European Dream, p.66). "In a recent survey of the world's 50 best companies, conducted by Global Finance, all but one were European" (The European Dream, p.69).
- "Fourteen of the 20 largest commercial banks in the world today are European.... In the chemical industry, the European company BASF is the world's leader, and three of the top six players are European. In engineering and construction, three of the top five companies are European.... The two others are Japanese. Not a single American engineering and construction company is included among the world's top nine competitors. In food and consumer products, Nestlé and Unilever, two European giants, rank first and second, respectively, in the world. In the food and drugstore retail trade, two European companies...are first and second, and European companies make up five of the top ten. Only four U.S. companies are on the list" (The European Dream, p.68).
- The United States has lost 1.3 million jobs to China in the last decade (CNN, Jan. 12, 2005).
- U.S. employers eliminated 1 million jobs in 2004 (The Week, Jan. 14, 2005).
- Three million six hundred thousand Americans ran out of unemployment insurance last year; 1.8 million--one in five--unemployed workers are jobless for more than six months (NYT, Jan. 9, 2005).
- Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea hold 40 percent of our government debt. (That's why we talk nice to them.) "By helping keep mortgage rates from rising, China has come to play an enormous and little-noticed role in sustaining the American housing boom" (NYT, Dec. 4, 2004). Read that twice. We owe our housing boom to China, because they want us to keep buying all that stuff they manufacture.
- Sometime in the next 10 years Brazil will probably pass the U.S. as the world's largest agricultural producer. Brazil is now the world's largest exporter of chickens, orange juice, sugar, coffee, and tobacco. Last year, Brazil passed the U.S. as the world's largest beef producer. (Hear that, you poor deluded cowboys?) As a result, while we bear record trade deficits, Brazil boasts a $30 billion trade surplus (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
- As of last June, the U.S. imported more food than it exported (NYT, Dec. 12, 2004).
- Bush: 62,027,582 votes. Kerry: 59,026,003 votes. Number of eligible voters who didn't show up: 79,279,000 (NYT, Dec. 26, 2004). That's more than a third. Way more. If more than a third of Iraqis don't show for their election, no country in the world will think that election legitimate.
- One-third of all U.S. children are born out of wedlock. One-half of all U.S. children will live in a one-parent house (CNN, Dec. 10, 2004).
- "Americans are now spending more money on gambling than on movies, videos, DVDs, music, and books combined" (The European Dream, p.28).
- "Nearly one out of four Americans [believe] that using violence to get what they want is acceptable" (The European Dream, p.32).
- Forty-three percent of Americans think torture is sometimes justified, according to a PEW Poll (Associated Press, Aug. 19, 2004).
- "Nearly 900,000 children were abused or neglected in 2002, the last year for which such data are available" (USA Today, Dec. 21, 2004).
- "The International Association of Chiefs of Police said that cuts by the [Bush] administration in federal aid to local police agencies have left the nation more vulnerable than ever" (USA Today, Nov. 17, 2004).
No. 1? In most important categories we're not even in the Top 10 anymore. Not even close.
The USA is "No. 1" in nothing but weaponry, consumer spending, debt, and delusion.
Reprinted from the Austin Chronicle. www.citypages.com/databank/26/1264/article12985.asphttp://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8191.htm
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Japan's justice ministry made the decision after being shown documents proving Mr Fischer had been granted Icelandic citizenship, reports said.
The chess player has already been detained for eight months near Tokyo.
He is wanted in the US for breaking international sanctions by playing a match in Yugoslavia in 1992. [...]
Ah yes, a triplet forms in the heart and then passes to the keyboard: Iceland of justice
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Monday, March 21, 2005
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Imax cinemas screen science films and blockbusters such as Robots
Viewers at a US test screening judged films which contradicted religious descriptions of man's origins as "blasphemous", the New York Times said.
As a result science films were denied screenings in approximately 12 large-screen Imax cinemas.
Spokesmen for Imax cinemas in the UK were unavailable for comment.
Composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies has hit the wrong note with police
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, was cautioned over the discovery of the remains of a protected species at his house in Orkney.
He said the bird died after hitting a power line. When police called at his home he offered them swan terrine.
Press Association Sunday March 20, 2005 11:43 AM
The head of MI6 told Prime Minister Tony Blair that the case for war against Iraq was being fixed by the Americans to suit the policy, a BBC documentary claims.
In a meeting chaired by Mr Blair in July 2003, Sir Richard Dearlove, head of the Secret Intelligence Service, is on record as saying "the facts and the intelligence" were being "fixed around the policy" by the Bush Administration, according to the programme.
Friday, March 18, 2005
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Identity Protection is Up to You By Trevor Bauknight Last week, Atlanta-based Choicepoint (http://www.choicepoint.com), a giant consumer information clearinghouse revealed that some of the massive amounts of personal data the company stores on virtually every American citizen was compromised. We found out about this because some 30,000 Californians received mail warning them that the personal information in question may have belonged to them. That was the tip of the iceberg. Since the initial story broke, we have found out that the compromised information was not restricted to Californians. Only the notification was. Why? California is the only state where the law requires such notification. The company says it sent out an additional 110,000 letters when investigators told them that people outside California may have been affected; but the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office investigating the incident suspects that the number of people affected may reach half a million nationwide. What is ChoicePoint? ChoicePoint is a data broker holding some 19 billion records obtained from government, insurance and business sources. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC - http://www.epic.org) describes the company this way: "According to a recent quarterly statement filed at the Security and Exchange Commission, ChoicePoint sells: 'claims history data, motor vehicle records, police records, credit information and modeling services... employment background screenings and drug testing administration services, public record searches, vital record services, credential verification, due diligence information, Uniform Commercial Code searches and filings, DNA identification services, authentication services and people and shareholder locator information searches...print fulfillment, teleservices, database and campaign management services...'". Since its spinoff from Equifax in 1997, the company has built its massive databases through the strategic acquisition of some 60 companies, among them: Pinkerton, Inc., a pre-employment screening company; Bridger Systems, a USA Patriot Act compliance company and Bode Technology Group, a DNA identification company. According to EPIC: "At Privacy International's Big Brother Award ceremony held in Cambridge, MA on March 7, 2001, ChoicePoint received the 'Greatest Corporate Invader' award 'for massive selling of records, accurate and inaccurate to cops, direct marketers and election officials.'" Powerful stuff. What Happened? The ChoicePoint website points out (in boldface): "This incident was not a breach of ChoicePoint´s network or a 'hacking' incident, and did not involve any of ChoicePoint´s customer information." They're right. The data wasn't stolen. It was sold. And we can safely say that with a 22% growth on net sales of $918 million and 4% year-over-year growth in net profit, the company came out pretty well on the transactions. Sometime last year, about 50 companies were set up for the specific purpose of accessing ChoicePoint data and defrauding private individuals, and these businesses became ChoicePoint customers in their own right with working logins and passwords. They proceeded to guzzle and exploit ChoicePoint data; and in only a few months, at least 750 cases of actual identity theft originated in the abuse of this data. Organized crime has taken on new dimensions in the age of the Internet, and to say that this was "not a breach of ChoicePoint's network", while technically true, leaves the most important things unsaid. As the infamous computer hacker Kevin Mitnick (http://www.defensivethinking.com) points out in his book on "social engineering" _The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security_, a determined criminal need not be technologically-inclined to help herself to the data she wants. ChoicePoint's failure was in doing the very thing it claims to enable its customers to do -- verify that their customers are who they say they are. What Should You Do? Everyone is potentially impacted by this incident. As private individuals, you must be ever more vigilant of your personal identity. Some of the best ways to do that are outlined at the EPIC site above. Your credit report is usually the first indicator that something has gone wrong, and checking it rigorously and regularly for unusual queries, account activity, etc. should be your first order of business. Mechanisms are finally being put in place to allow you to do so free of charge, and details are available at [...]http://www.sitepronews.com/archives/2005/mar/16prt.html
One thing Green referred en passant struck me as both amusing and oddly resonant. Last year Geoff Travis was given some kind of Mojo Award for his lifetime’s contribution to British music, and at the ceremony, Green and Carl Barat from the Libertines appeared onstage to jointly present the award to their benefactor. That chalk-and-cheese pairing struck me as containing volumes--or at least a decent-sized essay--about the last 25 plus years of British independent music culture. The obvious thing to say would be to see it as symbolizing a contraction of vision, a loss of ambition, sonic risk, and a sense of purpose: from Scritti’s attempt to dismantle rock form and rock ideology to the Libertines rehashing of rock’n’roll's (in)elegantly wasted Romantic dissolute-ness, all that worn threadbare mythology and its attendant sonic clichés.Lovely!
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Monday, March 14, 2005
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Latte art. The Flickr Zeitgeist - ace! This is a real window on the wired world... Losing something physical (say a CD out of your glove box or a pair of knickers) is a lot easier to notice, it makes an immediate physical impact on you and it's also easier to trace (CD was in car, took car to garage, CD gone). Yep, absolutely. My point is though that it's rare that this happens as a result of using the services of a tradesman, as tradesmen want trade and not a bad reputation. We should all be very aware of the risks of identity theft and how data is stored on computers, but at the same time one day our hardware might be so trashed that only someone else can help us. The safety of our identity/personal data is always going to be an issue, so maybe we should put the brakes on holiding it on our hard drives before we get too digital? It's a thorny issue...
Friday, March 11, 2005
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
|D-Link Power Over Ethernet Adapter|
Monday, March 07, 2005
|1.||The Conet Project - Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations [ird059] Irdial 20,667 downloads|
|2.||Lackluster - You Are On My Mind EP [mtk119] Monotonik 4,402 downloads|
|3.||Aleksi Virta - ..Meets Torsti At The Space Lounge [mtk123] Monotonik 3,921 downloads|
|4.||Aphilas - Instrumentally Ill EP [mia049] Miasmah 3,687 downloads|
|5.||I, Cactus - I, Cactus [8bp033] 8bitpeoples 2,622 downloads|
|6.||Various - Monotonik Release Compilation #1 [mtk001-050] Monotonik 2,175 downloads|
|7.||Various Artists - Two Zombies Later [csr001] Comfort Stand 1,738 downloads|
|8.||Various Artists - Observatory Online Archives Vol.1 [os001-os014] Observatory Online 1,675 downloads|
|9.||Various - Monotonik Release Compilation #2 [mtk051-090] Monotonik 1,619 downloads|
|10.||Various Artists - Wakka Chikka Wakka Chikka: Porn Music For The Masses Volume 1 [csr049] Comfort Stand 1,496 downloads|