Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

September 20th, 2001 - Aftermath Now.

This was The Daily Show's first broadcast after September 11, 2001. I missed it at the time. Just today it occurred to me to look it up.

As I see this today, I have the advantage of looking backwards across all the intervening years. I recall how that day's events affected and wounded me, reflected in Jon Stewart's recorded face. I see the journey our country has traveled since that day. And I see the spine and good character inherent in this man. A man who since that time has become one of my personal heroes, for the great aid and sometimes even life support he's given to the soul of America.

Thank you, Jon.

Going meta on those who are going meta on the AP

The AP is the latest of old-media princesses to start flailing around in rage and desperation, because the blogging peasantry is usurping their rightful place. US and international copyright law isn't doing enough to keep the commoners handing over coin, so the AP is threatening to sue bloggers for quoting or linking to their articles.

Tech Crunch lays it all out beautifully:

...the Associated Press...went after Drudge Retort for having the audacity to link to their stories along with short quotations via reader submissions...frankly the fact that they are being linked to should be considered a favor.

...[The AP] do not want people quoting their stories, despite the fact that such activity very clearly falls within the fair use exception to copyright law.

Even such natural enemies as conservative and liberal bloggers are united on the absolute shite-suckitude of AP's position. That's because this position is basically "Waaaaaah!" It's certainly not every day when a liberal blogger like me actually agrees with Conservative Yankee. His rather funny and pointed idea: bloggers should turn around and start charging the AP, for fact-checking their awful-to-the-point-of-negligence reporting.

Just doing a quick check of my content from the present back until the beginning of May, the Associated Press owes me editorial services fees of $2,580 for 1,032 words correcting AP stories dating back to May 2.

But of course, such an ideological truce is not to last forever. Not when further delicious meta-memetic ironies can turn in on each other.

Thus the liberal commoners commentators at Sadly, No! responded with an invoice, for the amount of words they've expended correcting Confederate Yankee's occasionally fact-free invective.

This is snark times snark, or snark cubed if you will. It is like candy-coated crack to me. I love the fact that such a beautifully involuted snark can even take place. That is a really beautiful aspect of the interlocking networks of information which we have now. Real beauty emerges from beneath the surface, and can be created at any level. The savage ballet of ideas in battle can now be performed on any floor, of a palace as large as we care to make it.

Notwithstanding the efforts of the AP to either snatch the lease or knock it down.

Monday, June 16, 2008

time capsule: expectations from obama

I had a beer with my friend Jason last night. After discussing women for a while, we moved on to topic with slightly less baggage and heartbreak: politics.

At that point I was challenged to place my expectations of an Obama presidency into a time capsule, so we can check back and see what actually happened in the next few years. Since it seems pretty likely that Obama will defeat McCain, unless he's found in bed with a live boy or a dead woman.

1) Universal health coverage that's a step towards a single-payer health care system. It'll probably still have insurance companies in the loop, unfortunately, but it will be much better than what we have.

2) An Apollo Program-style alternative energy initiative - similar to the JFK initiative, to place a man on the moon in ten years. This would be the intelligent thing to do, and Obama isn't directly beholden to oil company interests, so I think this actually has a high probability of being started.

3) Tax cuts rolled back on the upper class, meaning an effective increase on their current taxes - and lower taxes on the middle class and poor. This fits in clearly with Obama's more Clintonian tax policies, which simply work well. As opposed to trickle-down theories based on the aptly named Laffer Curve, which simply don't work and have never worked.

4) investment in education funding and loans for college - pretty much a done deal.

5) renewed investment in crumbling infrastructure - simply because it has to happen. Our roads, bridges and other structures have been neglected for 7 years now.

6) an EPA that actually goes after companies again.

7) other regulatory agencies actually doing more of their jobs again as well.

8) a considerable reduction of lobbying among all elected officials. Obama's already put this in place for his Presidential campaign - in order for your donation to be accepted, you have to certify that you are not donating on behalf of a corporation, or on behalf of any other individual person - just you, yourself.

So, with this policy already in place for Obama's presidential campaign, I think this is a rather safe prediction.

9) Sadly, a continued Iraq occupation - *but* no attack on iran.

I do think that we will maintain some military presence in Iraq indefinitely. Hopefully the occupation will be less violent, and will settle down to some sort of uneasy peace.

I think the best possible solution to the Iraq issue would be to just split it in 3 nations. Unfortunately that has it's own host of political difficulties to be ironed out - our ally Turkey will be furious about an independent Kurdistan, and Iran will have much more influence over 1/3 of Iraq's oil resources due to their cultural affiliation with their fellow Shiites in Iraq. But in this a bad situation, I think that's the least terrible solution...

No matter what happens, I still expect a continued US military presence until there's no more oil in Iraq. And if other oil remains in the region, possibly even then.

I've never met Obama personally, so for all I know he's fooling me and everyone who's voting for him. *But* an attack or invasion of Iran would be so suicidally stupid for us at this point, that there's no way I see an Obama presidency making this happen - even if the Obama administration were amoral and venal enough to consider it.

10) Finally, it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway: my number one expectation that I'm certain Obama can't help but deliver on, is to be better than McCain. We've dodged one huge bullet already: President Giuliani (shiver). If we can just not have the GOP in the White House for the next 4 years, we really have a good chance to undo all of the damage that has been done. And even to move forward.

I remember what it was like, to feel like our country and our world was heading forward on all fronts. It was so nice...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Information Highway Road Test

Filing this blog from my phone, at Cafe Brasil, around the corner-ish at 10831 Venice Blvd- where, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I had a lovely chat and meal with friend and writer Julie Orlov.

Today, the mission of life is on target.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The latest in video gaming. (The Onion)


'Warcraft' Sequel Lets Gamers Play A Character Playing 'Warcraft'

A tunelet

I got home late from a night of great music at a place called Studio Blue. It gave me a looping riff in my head, actually; so I stayed up til 4 having a blast with it in Reason.

Here's the loop:


At this point, it's all about figuring the next place to take it. I could layer in stuff on top of the same riff, or chop it up, or half-time, etc.'s like stumbling in the dark until I find the rocket launcher.

Monday, June 9, 2008

McCain campaign possibly getting all COINTELPRO on Obama's ass

The end of her campaign also means the beginning of GOP divide-and-conquer ops. Not at all surprising, but still interesting to see. If this email is genuine, of course.

From :

McCain's Plans to Wrest Clinton supporters from Obama

To: *******
From: S. Schmidt
Date: May 15, 2008

Subject: Clinton Strategy

...the Democratic Party is becoming increasingly polarized along certain segments of its base...[There is a] growing bitterness between certain supporters of Clinton and the Obama camp in general...

The specific group we are targeting is a cross-section of white, female voters over the age of 40....

This age group matches up with feminists who are more likely to identify with Hillary personally. They are also less likely to fear the SCOTUS ruling against Roe v. Wade, simply because they are at a much lower risk for pregnancy. Thus, they are less likely to face personal consequences of the conservative nominations a President McCain would make to the SCOTUS .

...We have already worked to reinforce the Clinton campaign’s narrative about the unfair treatment that some networks, specifically MSNBC, have given her camp....

Thus reinforcing the meme that Clinton lost due to sexism, and not because she simply didn't campaign as well. And very specifically, she didn't even have staff in many states that Obama did; Obama won 11 of these states straight in February. If Hillary had won even one of these, she might now be the Democratic nominee.

Simultaneously, our team has been testing new lines of attack through independent pro-Clinton communities on the Internet. Our hope is that our message here will spread by word-of-mouth.Our local community organizing has also been successful. We have organized dozens of “meet-ups” across the country for Clinton supporters, and we have used that time to stress the importance of punishing the DNC for choosing the undemocratically selected far-left Obama.

The COINTELPRO method - spread disinformation under the false flag of a movement colleague. In this case, I suspect this is done while posing as a friendly fellow Clinton supporter.

As for "undemocratic selection" i.e. superdelegate selection - as we know, those are the rules, which Hillary and Obama agreed to before they started. Obama just started wooing superdelegates earlier and did it better - and more importantly, Obama was ahead without superdelegates. They were only needed to take one candidate over the line.

But these are all logical points - which are always less likely to be refuted from within the ranks of a losing group's supporters.

At the moment, this is nothing more than a headache for the Obama campaign. With a greater commitment on your part, I hope to see it metastasize into something much more.

The only other thing I have to add is: look out.

Why do so many celebrities go broke?

Interesting feature in the "Freakonomics" blog - Why do so many celebrities go broke?

I agree with a couple of the commenters, that I'd like to see some stats on what percentage of stars actually blow through their money. As compared to people who make a quick load of money and *aren't* famous - say, entrepreneurs, lottery winners and unsuspecting heirs.

But I must say that, at least in LA culture, there is a sort of "meta" perception about perception: that you need to *look rich* in order to *be* rich. And this is grounded in a bit of truth - the perception *among the masses* that you are glamorous and successful will make a studio more likely to hire you, even if they know better.

This results in some celebrities *barely* maintaining extravagant means in order to maintain their status in the work market. Therefore: leasing not owning, spending not saving, borrowing not investing. If they're "between movies" - i.e. unemployed - for too long, they can try to pawn some of their sport cars, motorcycles, jewelry and other swag. I have read of discreet, exclusive LA pawn shops for just this purpose.

All of which means that if there's a long-term drop-off in work, there can be a grim financial reckoning. After all, not everyone can come up with a Thighmaster.

The solution? Financial education should be taught in all schools, public and private. Screw Home Ec. You can sew buttons and bake bread when you're relaxing in retirement.

and this is a strong part of why i love the universe

Every now and then a situation so complete, so elegant in its own perfection comes around, that a divine pattern and purpose underlying everything seems to manifest.

Case in point:

I mean, don't get me wrong: It's dark humor. But it's *beautiful* dark humor.

Life has what's right and wrong, but also what's funny. And what's funny can be an entirely separate category.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

welcome aboard. mission already underway.

It looks like I'm actually going to start keeping this meta-ship's (b)log on a regular basis. So, I've decided to lay out my purpose and direction in a solid fashion.

what i'm about.

i have been fascinated by information from a very early age. As i've grown to see many of the ways that we humans deal with information - at the individual, the group and even at the species level - the strangeness, charm and beauty of information itself, and the many ways it shapes and gathers, has intrigued me ever more.

This fascination is a common thread throughout my life, and has led me to the meta and physical places I am today.

what this blog is about
This blog is about everything that fascinates me, which always is related to information. [Although it's fair to say - what isn't related to information?] Specific topics will include:
  • politics - i'm hooked.
  • art - what does and doesn't suck, and why
  • science
  • metaphysics and new-agery - i see no contradiction between enjoying the perspective and fruits of proven science, and exploring possibilities that may reside outside it
  • creative work - my writings, movies, photographs, and music
  • id eas(e) - whatever might strike me, and especially something that leaves a mark
  • the random and bizzarre - meme rocks i smoke to feed my info addiction

In all of the above, the information that lights me up could be profound, or silly, or both, or neither. Sometimes i want a gourmet meal, other times a fat juicy and righteous hamburger.

warnings and commitments
i will tend to write quickly and rather off-the-cuff. i am actively involved in many fronts of the meta wars - I'm a technical writer, a creative writer, a musician, a photographer, a mystic, and "just" a human American with a blue-collar background, an intellectual lust and a penchant for the fantastic. So i want to get my thoughts out here clearly without taking too much time.

i will also, from time to time, indulge in adult language. Not just for the juvenile fun of it. The right curse word can communicate with a speed, clarity and completeness that is rarely matched by more polite circumlocution. For instance, let's say an innocent man [cough]Don Siegelman[/cough] is sent to prison by unjust prosecution. Would it be most accurate to say he was treated in a shockingly unfair manner? Or would it be most accurate to say he was fucking shafted? It's my blog, so i get to make the call.

i will also edit previous postings, if i wrote something terribly the first time or if my facts that were just plain wrong. In the latter case, i pledge to always show the correction as an update, with the original text visible as strikethrough.

i also pledge to only say something is true when there is direct evidence. And, if and when challenged, I will produce my backing facts or correct my initial posting. This includes all my possible metaphysical new-agery information wanderings.

what are the meta wars?
This what i call what we as a civilization and a species are involved in, right now. we can now interconnect and see all our species' information, from everywhere else in the globe. we can now put everything together, and see what information works as promised or hoped - and what does now, but may not in the future. this is causing and will continue to cause huge shits - heh, a typo, I think I mean "shifts" - in our outlook individually, and as a species.

In the middle of this, our species' corporations - which are so huge and organized that they can almost be considered independent consciousnesses from humanity - are attempting to find ways to control information, manage it, distort it, spread it, process it, sell it, buy it...while governments, our previously emergent group consciousnesses, are attempting the same, while also trying to hide their information, monitor everyone else's, and buy from or sell to corporations a discreet chunk at a time.

In the future the amount of information we can experience will continue to increase, and we may also soon experience a "coming singularity" by creating intelligences which are smarter enough than us, that we may not even be able to understand them.

Welcome to the meta wars. This an incredibly fascinating and beautiful time to be alive and sailing. It's a fascinating ever-changing ever-unfolding infoverse, that is transforming and transforming us before our eyes and i's. We are all making our choices and commitments to this struggle.

i'll be examining this all, from my own political and cultural and life perspective, time and time again. Most likely forever.