6.11.08 - This week's links:
Rock NC, which still has room for 13 to 17-year-old girls in
its summer rock camp
a billboard, just
and get called "aggressive"
for it by Fox News
wife John McCain callously left behind" - UK tabloid Daily
Mail gets McCain's first wife to talk about how he cheated
on her, then dumped her for a millionaire heiress. Oddly, she still
6.4.08 - This week's Monkeytime links (if
the computer doesn't crash with Dreamweaver again):
I know he'd claim otherwise,
and I know I should honor that completely, but I can't help but
notice that Obama is not simply black, he's biracial,
unless 1) his white
never existed or 2) the one-drop
rule is still in effect.
comment in the MetaFilter thread about Obama's win from a mixed
It's okay. Those of us of mixed race have long
been used to not actually qualifying as a category of our own (though
they do now allow us to "Check all that apply"). But as
the official spokesperson for Halfrican-Americans everywhere, I
would like to announce that we're acutely aware that we've got a
nominee, and we're v. proud.
Really, though, it's not some kind of contest.
It's not a race... race or something. And most multiracial folks
are really pretty savvy about the whole thing. It's kinda like...
let the uniracial people have their field days, with their cute
little categories and pigeonholes and the like. We afford them the
respect you should afford the dying, because really; they're the
Jimmy Carter to Obama: Don't
pick Clinton as your VP
4.30.08 - This week's links:
South deserves credit for breaking the story of the completely
disgusting and deceptive robo-calls - tied to Clinton supporters
- that are deliberately confusing NC primary voters. There's no
way this isn't a deliberate and illegal attempt to fuck with primary
voters. If Attorney General Roy Cooper doesn't prosecute this one,
I'll never vote for him in a Democratic contest.
Jeremiah Wright you won't hear on Fox News
snubs black media, including the Winston-Salem Chronicle.
Be sure to read to this golden line: "...the Obama campaign is predominately
white and they don't get it. His campaign officials do not have
a clue as to the need to develop a relationship with the black media.
They just don't get it."
From last week: 1304
Bikes runs its free Earn-A-Bike program every Sunday from 1-5pm;
it's open to anyone who wants to put in ~8 hours of repair work
to get a free bike.
The Wikipedia page for Scrub
Me Mama with a Boogie Beat captures the controversy over
the film's racist stereotypes nicely and links to a copy at YouTube.
See also the page about the infamous "Censored
4.16.08 - Links for this week's Monkeytime:
NC Warn's quick
critique of Duke Power's plans for a new coal plant
protest against the state's permit continues
shell game Duke Power is playing with emissions [pdf]
The Clean Energy Myth: Time magazine, of all places,
nails how big
business and its political puppets (and, to a much lesser extent,
some environmentalists) created the push for a moronic, harmful
savage but fact-filled John McCain page
4.9.08 - Links for this week:
article about anti-Zionist Israeli punks and squatters, including
the band Nikmat
Olalim ("Toddler's Revenge"), named for an extremist
Jewish organization that set a pipe bomb in an elementary school
(much more about Jewish extremist attacks against Palestinians here)
Maximum Rock-n-Roll article about Israeli punk: "With
the seemingly hopeless political situation, mandatory military service,
and dominant religious traditions, you can begin to understand why
punk still feels important in Israel."
There's even a documentary: Jericho's
Echo: Punk Rock in the Holy Land
wasteful billing option from Duke and Progress Energy, recently
banned by the state utility commission
Idiotic confusion and dumb
incentives are interfering
with basic conservation of gas and electricity in North Carolina
3.12.08 - Wow, been a while. What
can I say, I'm a lazy monkey. Here are some links for this week:
The longer Democratic primary, which many pundits
insist is bad for the party, is actually adding
Dem voters to the rolls in states like Pennsylvania:
Pennsylvania Democrats have added more than 65,000
voters to their rolls since last fall, a reflection of the high
level of interest in the contested race for the party's presidential
nomination and the state's April 22 primary. The number
of Democrats increased 1.7 percent... as of March 4. GOP
enrollment grew by 0.1 percent...during the period.
That's 65,000 new Dems vs. 3300 new Reps for those
Reports That Drew Federal Eyes to Spitzer
(sorry, fellow lefties, but I don't see much of a
government conspiracy here)
Glenn Greenwald: Who
cares if Eliot Spitzer hires prostitutes?
An opposing view: The
Myth of the Victimless Crime, which claims evidence that "most
women in prostitution, including those working for escort services,
have been sexually abused as children"
kinda sad look inside the mind of one of Spitzer's whores
Ruth Sheehan gets one right about the
asshole way Raleigh's city council just banned in-sink garbage disposals
in new homes
I love language and so loved this Ask Metafilter
does Brett Favre pronounce his name that way?
don't like the sudden nationwide change to their name just to save
sportscasters a little effort
[more to come]
2.6.08 - Monkeytime TV links:
How did the pollsters do? Great
post-Super Tuesday roundup at MyDD.
MyDD also has links to two bloggers who try to calculate
the popular vote totals for the Democrats:
Won 48.97% to 48.04% -- or 50.2% to 49.8% (Forget the "expectations"
spins; how the hell is that not a tie?)
Great stuff at Political
Wire, including a link to an interesting article about the
possibility of a brokered convention:
Barack Obama's campaign is forecasting that the
Democratic presidential race will remain deadlocked after the primaries
end, and the outcome may depend on a fight over whether delegations
from Florida and Michigan are counted.
Here's an excellent post from Josh Marshall on exactly
why the Clinton campaign's attempt to seat the Florida and Michigan
delegates should not be allowed:
It was very debatable decision whether the DNC
should have punished Florida and Michigan with the loss of their
delegates slates because they broke the rules the party had set
down for scheduling their primaries...But that was the decision
-- one that each of the candidates at least implicitly agreed to.
Indeed, each agreed not to campaign in either of these states, again
implicitly agreeing to the decision not to seat the delegates.
The Clinton camp is just pushing to seat these
delegates now because the contingencies of the moment mean that
the decision would favor Hillary. She was the only one whose name
was on the ballot in Michigan, thus insuring her win. She has a
wide lead in every Florida poll taken this month.
Even Michigan was a matter of her basically pulling
a fast one on the other candidates by not taking her name off the
ballot. Each of the major candidates signed a pledge not to "campaign
or participate" in any primary or caucus prior to Feb. 5th
except for Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The other
major candidates adopted what seems like the only reasonable interpretation
of the pledge (see text here) and pulled their names from the ballot.
But then Hillary didn't, thus in essence guaranteeing
her win in Michigan.
The Clinton campaign said taking her name off
the ballot wasn't required by the pledge. But what can "participate"
mean over and above "campaigning" other than formally
being a candidate in the race?
A bit of follow-up here.
spent $1.16 million per delegate, a rate that would cost him
$1.33 billion to win the nomination." Huckabee has spent $50,000
for each of the delegates he's won, which isn't really a great sign
for democracy either.
Cue Twilight Zone music:
Egypt says onshore cameras show there
were no ships in the area of the two undersea cable breaks that
disrupted the internet in the Middle East last week. If ship anchors
didn't accidentally cause the breaks, what
did? Is this tinfoil hat territory? Did you know that "five
cables being operated by two submarine cable operators have been
damaged" over the past few weeks? If there was some kind
of evil conspiracy of sabotage, how would ordinary folks like us
ever know? How do you
fix an undersea cable, anyway?
Great map of the
internet's undersea world
maps of undersea cables
2.1.08 - I'll have links this weekend
for the topics on this week's show, but still have a pair of tix
to give away to the midnight showing of Pink Floyd's The Wall
Colony this Saturday. First person who emails
me the answer to this question gets them: What was the first
presidential ticket in U.S. history with a black man and a white
woman (sort of) running together?
1.16.08 - Tonight on Monkeytime,
our guest is Jack
Betts, associate editor and columnist at the Charlotte Observer.
He's been covering state politics for the Charlotte paper (while
living in Raleigh) since 1992 and is one of the more thoughtful
political commentators we have around here (here's his blog).
His column listing a few of the state's enviromental
success stories from last year is a good place to start, as
bit of perspective on our current drought. Check this
Wikipedia page for background and news stories about Charlotte's
newly inaugurated light rail system, too. We'll be handicapping
the governor and lieutenant governor races and talking about the
differences between development in Raleigh and Charlotte, immigration,
NC's now-very-late primary and whatever you want to call in and
ask him. 8-9pm on Time Warner cable channel 10.
11.14.07 - Monkeytime links:
The "Cool Classics" movie next week, The Muppet Show,
is being shown at The Colony, not the Rialto, sorry, at 7 and 9:30pm,
as seen here.
The Carolina Rollergirls' bout against San Francisco's Bay Area
Derby Girls is this Saturday at 6pm at Dorton Arena, info and tix
Former state legislator Russell Capps' hilarious
letter to the local paper about a
vengeful God's need for our repentence before sending us water from
It is significant that, while many Native American rituals involved
only men, or at least, were more concerned with their influence,
dance involved both men and women, showing the importance of
rain to the entire community.
Academy tries its best - and fails utterly - to define "animation"
for the Oscar nominations
the new mo-cap Beowulf count as an animated feature?
info about f8, the 2001 animation we showed clips from
tonight; to me, it still looks as good as anything produced today
- certainly as good as the trailers for Beowulf.
where you can buy a copy
exaggerated N&O story about a few neighbors' complaints
about a North Raleigh park
off-base business section story about the completely nonexistent
downtown "warehouse district"
Sorry for not getting last week's links up, but
on the bright side, I finished Moby Dick - a brilliant,
colossally insane mess of a book - as well as Benito Cereno
- not as great, but an interesting mid-1800s white man's take on
a slave ship rebellion - and am now almost done with Jean Toomer's
Cane. Here's the few things I promised:
Greenwald on the Ron Paul phenomenon (be sure to watch the video,
which is the same one all my lefty friends have been forwarding
me with "right on!" messages, but I remain highly skeptical,
thanks, not least because of the dick who's been going around town
stamping everyone else's flyers with "RON PAUL 2008! RONPAUL2008.COM!!"
Any candidate who attracts assholes like that surely has serious
geek photos of downtown Asheville from last month's vacation;
I also spent a beautiful day by the river taking
pics of Asheville graffiti
10.17.07 - Monkeytime links:
The phone-in guest was Ian Palmquist, head of EqualityNC,
the statewide GLBT rights group, whose "Our
State Our Rights" conference will be held Saturday November
Zombie Walk is happening Saturday, October 27 at 6:26pm in Moore
Square downtown. Their MySpace page is typically atrocious, but
check the blog posts for info and updates. I'll be out of town but
y'all have fun with the blood and the brains and all. If you don't
know what a zombie walk is, start here.
The music clip at the start of the show was "Vaseline
Machine Gun" from this great
early Leo Kottke album. You could do a lot worse for browsing
music than to type his name into Last.fm
and let them create a set for you. Almost as good as typing in Boards
Lambda Legal describes exactly
what's wrong with Barney Frank's move to eliminate language
protecting "gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms
or other gender-related characteristics of an individual" from
the House employment non-discrimination bill
ENDA Doesn't Protect the Transgendered, It Doesn't Protect Me"
nicely explains the importance of "sex-atypical characteristics"
to glb as well as t people
Frank on The Michelangelo Signorile Show (audio)
(Forgot to list those last few after last week's show, sorry)
10.3.07 - This week's Monkeytime links:
The cartoon we showed was Der
Shneeman (The Snowman), a 1943 gem made in Germany by Hans
Fischerkoesen. It's not up at YouTube, but the subtle anti-Nazi
element many folks see in Fischerkoesen's work may be more evident
in 1942's "Weather-Beaten
Melody" (I think I've mentioned it here before). It's 9-minutes
of pure joy, with some wonderful bits of multi-plane animation,
about a mixed group of insects and an abandoned phonograph in a
field. The simple fact that even at the height of WWII neither of
these films featured any Nazi propaganda at all should
be enough to make you think twice about what he was trying to do.
From the first link:
To fully appreciate Fischerkoesen's daring, one
must remember that the Nazis had forbidden jazz and swing as an
Afro-Judaic plot to undermine traditional German culture...
In this context, the discovery of an abandoned
phonograph takes on new meaning, especially when the record on the
turntable is a swing number with lyrics that say, "The week
wouldn't be worthwhile without a weekend when we can get away to
enjoy nature." Near the phonograph lies an "abandoned"
clasp from a woman's garter belt (with a lucky four-leafed clover
growing out of it!), which suggests that the interrupted picnic
that left behind the musical instrument had also involved erotic
play--something also strictly forbidden by the puritanical Nazi
codes. So from beneath the charming surface of this cartoon emerges
a subversive message: women, far from the unnatural Nazi-designated
stereotype of "children, church and kitchen," can escape
into Nature to be self-reliant and adventurous, erotic and free--they
can rediscover or revitalize a suppressed world of forbidden joy
in music and friendship between diverse creatures who may be brown
or white, frog or caterpillar--or even a pair of ladybug beetles
who may be a same-sex couple. Especially compared to the American
cartoons of this same period (profligate with gratuitous violence
and racist/sexist stereotype victims), the entire community of animals
depicted in Weather-beaten Melody is peaceful, friendly, fun-loving,
imaginative and altruistic--quite the opposite of the Nazi requirements
for a dedicated Aryan citizen.
The Soviets imprisoned Fischerkoesen after the war
as a Nazi sympathizer but he was exonerated in 1948, then escaped
to the West with his family where he continued making great
Here are the local Sierra
Club endorsements for next week's city and county elections.
Not sure why they only endorsed one person, Russ Stephenson, for
the two at-large seats, so here's the Independent's
more thorough list, which includes Helen Tart for the other
seat. Chances are the big
money behind Mary-Ann Baldwin will get her a spot, but vote
for Helen anyway just to make it close.
9.26.07 - This week's Monkeytime links:
For a nice antidote to the selective presentation
of facts in today's NYT
op-ed from Jena 6 district attorney Reed Walters (which I'm
sure will end up unchallenged in the N&O tomorrow),
you can't do better than the carefully
footnoted complex history at the Wikipedia page about the episode.
Some fave tidbits:
According to the district attorney,
Barker was blindsided by Mychal Bell, knocking him down, and
then kicked repeatedly until an uninvolved student intervened.
However, Coach Benjy Lewis, the only adult
witness to the incident, didn't place Bell in the attack and
stated that another student, Malcolm Shaw, was the initial attacker.
Lewis was never called to testify in Bell's trial.
Witness accounts conflicted
over his role, if any, in the attack. Public defender Blane
Williams, himself a black man, had urged Bell to accept a plea
bargain, did not challenge the composition of the jury pool,
and rested the defense case without calling any witnesses.
That the public defender didn't bother to call the
only adult witness to the attack - a witness who claims Bell wasn't
the attacker - is fun enough, but this is the part that really cracks
Police were called to the school several times
in the days after the noose incident in response to a rash of interracial
fights between students. The principal took action by calling an
impromptu assembly on September 6, 2006, in which students segregated
themselves into white and black sections. The Jena Police Department
asked LaSalle Parish District Attorney J. Reed Walters to attend
and speak at the assembly. Allegedly, Walters was unhappy with the
request because he was busy preparing for a case and, upon arrival,
felt that the students were not paying proper attention to him.
He warned the students that he could be their
friend or their worst enemy, and he stated that "[w]ith one
stroke of my pen, I can make your life disappear." Though
black students state Walters was looking at them when he made the
comments, Walters and school board member Billy Fowler, also present,
What kind of moron threatens high school students
with a statement like that? Oh, yeah - the district attorney who's
been prosecuting the Jena 6.
It's probably worth reminding folks who don't pay
much attention to Iran (and yes, that includes me) that Ahmadinejad
very well-liked by Iranians right now after making joking comments
about taking advice on the economy from his butcher. He also suffered
rejection in last December's Iranian election. If you really
care about this issue, be sure to follow the tons of great links
in that piece. Jews should pay particular attention to this bit
about Iranian reaction to Ahmadinejad's little Holocaust revisionist
Yet inside Iran - the country with the largest
Jewish community outside of Israel in the middle east - only the
conference's organisers and the hateful crew that attended seemed
to know about it; most Iranian citizens were oblivious to the gathering.
The former (Mohammad Khatami-era) vice-president
and cleric Mohammad Ali Abtahi is among many others in Iran to have
condemned the conference; he called it "irrelevant to the history
of Iran or Islam or to the needs of the people", adding that
such a conference "cruelly places the people of Iran - to be
perceived by the world - as flanking Nazis and fascists".
All the more reason not to start bombing them. Oh
yeah, and speaking of Iranian gays, you might enjoy reading up on
of Persia's most famous poets. Apparently,
"his reputation rests on his wine songs (khamriyyat), and his
poems of boy
between Chiquita bananas and right-wing narcoterror groups in Colombia.
More at MeFi.
Friendship and the New Narcissism" - a decent, thoughtful,
not stupid mainstream look at MySpaceness, etc.
[More later tonight]
9.19.07 - Monkeytime links:
Via the Raleigh
Drinking Liberally group, a scathing
dissection of Alan Greenspan's attempt to clean up his legacy
Glenn Greenwald on General Petraeus, public opinion and how
"the right-wing noise machine and their enabling media puppets"
screamed and ranted but got the story completely wrong, with sharp
shines light on murky world of Iraq security, with this great
The workings of security contractors in Iraq
are so unclear that the State Department, whom Blackwater protects
in Iraq, was still unable to say more than 48 hours after Sunday's
incident whether the company holds a legitimate license.
banned from Iraq? Probably not, from The
Spy Who Billed Me, a fascinating blog criticizing the outsourcing
of the war on terror
A panel came up with Best
Case/Most Likely/Worst Case scenarios for Rolling Stone
last March; it's still an interesting and relevant read, especially
if you haven't spent much time recently thinking about Iraq.
art in Sao Paulo, Brazil
The 2nd SparkCon
is happening this week. My favorite part of last year's event was
show, which was an unexpected blast. Held outdoors in downtown's
Moore Square, it featured a big racially and socially mixed, gay-friendly
crowd, art projected, great DJs and some really fascinating and
hilarious outfits strutting across the stage. The neighborhood communal
art vibe was a lot of fun, and I recommend this Friday's follow-up,
at 8pm, as much as I possibly can.
8.29.07 - Monkeytime links:
federal indictment of Michael Vick, including the details some
folks defending Vick (and dogfighting) seem to want us to forget:
1) the February 2002 execution by
shooting and electrocution of dogs that failed "test fights,"
and 2) the execution of other "test fight" losers in April
various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least
one dog's body to the ground."
The details of the arrest report of Idaho Senator
Larry Craig in that airport bathroom, where he was just taking a
shit with a "wide stance," are available in this
great Roll Call article. Here's a great
Metafilter thread about the news, with lots of backstory,
including the unsurprising news that closet gay-bashing homo Larry
voted against the 1996 Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which
would have given gay and lesbian citizens the same job protection
Christian fundamentalists have and lost
in the Senate by one vote.
If you're not one of the 15 million YouTube viewers
who've already seen The
Battle of Kruger, stop everything right now for the
best 8 minutes of nature footage you'll ever see. Just trust me.
Update: Here's that great New
Yorker article about pit bulls we talked about. It's 5 pages
long, but well worth it. My favorite quote:
A Georgia-based group called the American Temperament
Test Society has put twenty-five thousand dogs through a ten-part
standardized drill designed to assess a dog’s stability, shyness,
aggressiveness, and friendliness in the company of people. A handler
takes a dog on a six-foot lead and judges its reaction to stimuli
such as gunshots, an umbrella opening, and a weirdly dressed stranger
approaching in a threatening way. Eighty-four
per cent of the pit bulls that have been given the test have passed,
which ranks pit bulls ahead of beagles, Airedales, bearded collies,
and all but one variety of dachshund. “We have tested
somewhere around a thousand pit-bull-type dogs,” Carl Herkstroeter,
the president of the A.T.T.S., says. “I’ve tested half
of them. And of the number I’ve tested I have disqualified
one pit bull because of aggressive tendencies. They have done extremely
well. They have a good temperament. They are very good with children.”
It can even be argued that the same traits that make the pit bull
so aggressive toward other dogs are what make it so nice to humans.
“There are a lot of pit bulls these days who are licensed
therapy dogs,” the writer Vicki Hearne points out. “Their
stability and resoluteness make them excellent for work with people
who might not like a more bouncy, flibbertigibbet sort of dog. When
pit bulls set out to provide comfort, they are as resolute as they
are when they fight, but what they are resolute about is being gentle.
And, because they are fearless, they can be gentle with anybody.”
The article does note, "In epidemiological studies
of dog bites, the pit bull is overrepresented among dogs known to
have seriously injured or killed human beings..." but adds,
"Dobermans and Great Danes and German shepherds and Rottweilers
are frequent biters as well." It goes on to discuss the difficulties
in defining "pit bull" as well as the basic point that
mean pit bulls have to be bred to be mean. Another fave
A pit-bull ban is a generalization
about a generalization about a
trait that is not, in fact, general.
8.23.07 - This week's phone-in guest on
Monkeytime was science fiction author and NCSU prof John
Kessel. Here's an
interview about last summer's publication of Feeling
Very Strange, an anthology of what Kessel calls "slipstream"
fiction, and here are a few reviews. Here's the Hollywood
article about ABC's premature burial of the "Masters of
Science Fiction" series, whose first episode was based on a
Kessel story. And here's "Creating
the Innocent Killer," Kessel's biting critique of the moral
and emotional trainwreck of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.
8.8.07 - Quick Monkeytime links:
2004 Salon story about spying
on nonviolent dissent groups by Harry Dolan, Raleigh's new police
chief, when he was in Grand Rapids, MI. Here's more info on
surveillance of peaceful protesters by Dolan, and the documents
obtained by the Michigan ACLU after a Freedom of Information
details about peaceful protester Abby Puls, who says she was
threatened with arrest and the loss of her job by Grand Rapids police
The Jim Cramer meltdown is all over the net, but
you really have to see it in context, namely, that Cramer is a jerk.
Here he is last November telling
people how wonderful the housing market is doing and how they
shouldn't believe the naysayers. It's really damning.
Also damning is this
scathing response to Cramer's meltdown, which explains exactly
how shitty Cramer's whining truly is. The link was sent to BoingBoing
after Xeni posted an embarrassingly
ill-informed and shallow gush - "I've been a fan of Jim
Cramer for many years, and I've seldom seen him flip out as epically
and fantastically as he does in this clip," instinctively siding
with a guy whose generally horrible advice has probably hurt thousands
of small investors. Way to go, Xeni.
(I posted the above comment in this
MeFi thread, which has lots of good
commentary about Cramer's hilariously stupid and insulting outburst.)
Last month's closeted gay Republican bathroom
sex-for-cash scandal is back in the news via a hilarious,
very badly played race card, but at least Rep. Bob Allen, the
anti-gay closet case in Florida, was going for something he thought
was consensual. This week's lusty anti-gay hypocrite is Glenn
Murphy, the recently elected - now recently resigned - head
of the Young Republican National Federation, who allegedly tried
to take care of his needs by giving
a younger guy (whose sister's house the hypocrite was staying in)
a blow job while he was sleeping. Upon waking, the young gentleman
politely removed himself from the hypocrite's mouth and blew the
whistle in return. Full details are in the police
report [pdf] , which also notes
Murphy had been accused of a similar sexual assault in 1998.
You can't make up stuff this good, which is why
it's so nice of the closet cases to do it for us.
As discussed by our opening guest tonight, Skip
Elsheimer, who runs AV Geeks and
works for Archive.org
(you're a fool if you don't spend an afternoon sometime soon wandering
through its collection of amazing films), International
Home Movie Day is this Saturday. Read the FAQ
if you still don't get why some archivists and historians salivate
at the thought of seeing ordinary folks' forgotten flicks.
The music on this week's show included "Contract,"
my favorite song from this hoary
old classic (which every teenage punk should own), and "Fool
Yourself," from one
of the best rock albums of the 70s.
7.25.07 - Monkeytime links:
footage of the Dallas gas explosion, minus the moronic chatter
of talking news heads
raw footage, including the early stages where a worker tries
to put out the fire with a hose before flames appear to engulf the
discussion and links at MeFi
The Russian arms dealer we talked about near the end
of the show is a real piece of work - multilingual, amoral Viktor
Bout. If you're like the caller who was worried about vague Trilateral
Commission-type conspiracies, get specific in your concern by reading
this detailed Foreign
Policy article [pdf] about
Bout's position in the global business of stirring up bloodshed
by Douglas Farah, coauthor of the new book about Bout, Merchant
of Death. Or check Farah's piece about the U.S.
military's stupid cozying up to Bout in Iraq from last month's
Men's Vogue (don't laugh, mags like that publish great
stuff sometimes). Conservatives feel free to note the positive
review of Farah's book a few weeks back in the Washington
Here's Tuesday's NY Post article about fakery
on the new Discovery Channel show Man vs. Wild. The
on the story, too. The specific examples cited go way beyond the
editing for dramatic effect you, for some reason, usually let "reality"
shows get away with.
Oh, and here's
the album we played snippets from during the opening and break.
It's groovy Latin jazz from Blue Note, well worth picking up.
7.11.07 - Links for Monkeytime TV:
up you junkie whore!" Highlight reel of Lt. Uhuru (aka
Nichelle Nichols) as a foul-mouthed female pimp in the classic but
under-appreciated blaxploitation flick Truck Turner
6.27.07 - Links for this week's (and last
week's) Monkeytime TV:
The Record Industry's Decline
blog is good if you like film
wonderfully sharp column from the NYT's David Leonhardt
about the Thomas the Tank Engine-Chinese factory-lead paint situation
of the comments of F. Lane Williamson, head of the ethics panel
that disbarred Mike Nifong; page
three is where you'll find his hilarious mini-lecture about
why we're all wrong about recent slaps on the wrist given to NC
prosecutors by the Disciplinary Hearing Commission
6.6.07 - Links for this week's Monkeytime
(I was sick last week, for those who care)
Why does Linwood Wilson, the guy who bullied
witnesses in the Duke lacrosse case to get them to change their
story to match Mike Nifong's fantasy of events, and is continuing
to bully witnesses in other
cases that are also getting thrown out of court, still have
a job with the Durham DA office?
fucked-up and beautifully
designed web comics.
5.23.07 - So, the Netflix copy of The
Third Man got here, but as promised, before I
get to watch it here are some links we talked about on tonight's
Glenn Greenwald remains the most sharp and insightful
political blogger in America today; here's yesterday's pointed
take on the absurd, insulting conservative spin about the new
survey of Muslim-American attitudes towards violence against civilians,
and - even better - today's
post about the recent University of Maryland survey showing that
average Americans have an even higher rate of approval
of attacks intentionally aimed at civilians. Absolutely essential
Myth of Muslim Support for Terror," an article from February
in the Christian Science Monitor, also reported on that
University of Maryland study, noting that 24% of Americans as a
whole responded that "bombing and other attacks intentionally
aimed at civilians" are "often or sometimes justified."
Ok, can I watch the Graham Greene movie now? I've
been on this major Graham Greene kick - The Power and the Glory,
Our Man in Havana and The Quiet American are fantastic,
powerful, funny and gripping little books, and Greene's life story
and bristly personality are weirdly fascinating. Ever since a film
prof told me last week that The Third Man made the #1
spot on the British Film Institute's list of all-time best British
films, I've been dying to see it. So, see ya later.
5.3.07 - Ok, ok, blog's active again. Links
talked about on this week's Monkeytime TV:
Highlights from former Senator
Mike Gravel's wonderfully honest, if slightly spittle-ridden, performance
at the MSNBC presidential candidates debate
Gravel's site on CNN's
March decision to keep him out, and its
reversal, and the Metafilter
2.28.07 - Monkeytime TV:
There's an element to the story of the Enloe High
teacher who invited a rabidly
anti-Muslim evangelist to his class that hasn't yet been mentioned
in any of the media coverage I've seen: public high school history
teacher Robert Escamilla is a Bible-based
Christian member of the Alliance
for the Separation of School and State, and has signed
proclamation: "I proclaim publicly that I favor ending
government involvement in education."
Every teacher's entitled to his or her off-time personal
activities, of course (including gay and lesbian teachers,
a point folks like Escamilla often forget), but at what point does
Escamilla's behavior start to look like a pattern from someone doing
his best to evangelize to public school students on company time?
Good question, that.
2.21.07 - Monkeytime TV links:
Do nothing else before you read this
piece about Jim Black and the free ride he got from the editorial
board of the Charlotte Observer in the Charlotte alt
weekly Creative Loafing. I know I praised an Observer
columnist last week (hell, in comparison to the N&O's
columnist, anyone would be sharper), but Tara Servatius really nails
the mainstream paper for its tepid stance against Black's obvious
In other states with less dysfunctional political
and editorial environments, editorial boards call for the resignation
of those who merely accept junkets or illegal campaign cash from
interest groups and lobbyists.
Black took that to a whole new level when he moved
a lobbyist into his office to work as an unpaid personal assistant,
performing tasks like managing his daily affairs, raising money
for him and shaking her clients down for campaign cash. Meanwhile
her boss at the lottery company Scientific Games wrote parts of
the state's lottery law, inserting language designed to help the
lottery company's bid.
With the help of his pet lobbyist, Meredith Norris,
Black created a tourism job for the wife of one of her clients who
had donated $8,000 to Black. Moments later, the client shot back
a thank you e-mail and a pledge to give $2,000 more. In August,
former Republican legislator Michael Decker pleaded guilty to extortion,
money laundering and fraud charges for taking $50,000 to switch
parties and vote for Black for speaker. He hasn't yet said who paid
him, but he has named Black as a co-conspirator.
This is what the Observer calls "questionable
Even after newspapers, including the Observer
, started reporting this stuff, Black kept doing it. That's probably
because the one institution that could really have put some heat
on him clearly wouldn't. The Big O's editorial board eventually
made a tepid suggestion that he resign the speakership after the
public screamed about the paper's seemingly open-ended support of
As late as last year, Black
was still working on legislation for the chiropractors we now know
paid him wads of cash in the bathrooms of swanky clubs. I think
that's because he knew if he could avoid indictment, Charlotte's
political and social establishment wouldn't care what he did.
2.14.07 - Monkeytime TV links:
An AP story in the Boston Herald
details right now about Jim Black's resignation than the Charlotte
Observer, which tells us to "Read tomorrow's Charlotte
Observer for more details on this developing story." Amazing
how some news people still don't get the Internet. Luckily, an Observer
columnist has already posted a must-read
piece - the kind of piece the N&O's middle-of-the-roader
Rob Christensen would never be able to write - including the thought
that Black is "likely to do prison time":
The charge sounds so tame. Accepting
illegal gratuities. It's as if Jim Black walked
through a diner and filched the tips off the tables. But the charge
is no joke. It's a federal felony. Now that Black is expected to
plead guilty -- his lawyer confirmed that Tuesday -- Black is done
as a politician. And he's likely to do prison time.
illegal gratuities. We need better words to describe
what Jim Black is guilty of.
Let's give it a try.
He corrupted the office of speaker of the House
-- the fourth-highest position in N.C. government.
He blamed others -- underlings, enemies, the media
-- and denied he did anything wrong.
He stalled until he could win one more election
that he never would have won had voters known the whole truth.
He shamed his office, his party, his county, his
district, and all those people over all those years who trusted
him enough to vote for him.
That's a start.
One source told the Observer that the federal
charge isn't related to the scandals Black has been connected to
His ties to the video-poker business. The deals
he cut involving the N.C. lottery. Former legislator Michael Decker's
admission that he took a $50,000 bribe to keep Black in power.
To repeat: The federal charge isn't about those
things. It's something else.
Jim Black and his friends can always roll out
a list of the good things he did for North Carolina and especially
for Mecklenburg County. Anyone who stays in power long enough can
compile such a list. And the one thing Jim Black excels at is acquiring
power. He set a state record in money-raising for his first campaign.
He served two terms, then lost three straight elections but kept
trying until he got back in. He won his spot as speaker by one vote
in 1999 but kept his grip on it for eight years.
Yes, he helped Mecklenburg County. Yes, he helped
North Carolina. But most of all he helped
Jim Black. It's not clear at this point what Black took that led
to the federal charge. But he's also expected to plead guilty to
charges in state court. By the time the court appearances are over,
we should have a better picture of just how Black helped himself
at the public's expense.
At least the parts that prosecutors could prove.
And just to refresh your memory, here's the sleazy
$50,000 IHOP deal - that would be $38,000
in checks and $12,000 in cash.
1.10.07 - Monkeytime TV links:
Wall Street Journal article from November,
Minimum Wage Hikes":
During the 2002 debate in Oregon, foes of a minimum-wage
increase argued that it would chase away business and cripple an
economy that traditionally had higher unemployment than the national
average. "With so many Oregonians already unemployed, raising
the minimum wage and then increasing it annually would devastate
our economic recovery," Bill Perry, head of the Oregon Restaurant
Association, wrote at the time.
Four years later, though
it is impossible to say what would have happened had the minimum
not been raised, Oregon's experience suggests the most strident
doomsayers were wrong. Private, nonfarm payrolls are up 8%
over the past four years, nearly twice the national increase. Wages
are up, too. Job growth is strong in industries employing many minimum-wage
workers, such as restaurants and hotels. Oregon's estimated 5.4%
unemployment rate for 2006, though higher than the national average,
is down from 7.6% in 2002, when the state was emerging from a recession.
Media Matters is great for debunking the conservative
myths about the minimum wage, including the much-shouted
myth on the right that most of the people who'll benefit are
[A]ccording to the Economic Policy Institute
(EPI), a majority -- 71 percent -- of those who would be "directly
affected" by the Democratic minimum-wage proposal are age 20
In an October 25, 2006, briefing paper, EPI reported
that an "[a]nalysis of the 2005 Current Population Survey reveals
that the workers potentially affected by a minimum wage increase
are mainly adults who typically work full time and provide significant
income to their families."
Note the lack of similar studies to back up the conservative
Here's Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford's
NPR commentary this morning about the good
things that happened to an Alabama university that dropped its athletic
scholarship program, including more minority students,
more students playing sports and more alumni contributions.
Here's an excerpt from the
One of the great arguments against giving up athletic
scholarships was that it would damage campus diversity (ie. there
go the black athletes). Well, under the old system, the freshman
class was six percent African-American. This year it was 14 percent.
"It's a question of where you are looking," says President
Pollick. Birmingham Southern, you see, started looking more in classrooms
than on playing fields.
And oh yes, this too. With the money saved from
scholarships, a football team has been added at Birmingham Southern,
as well as four other new sports, male and female. Almost
twice as many students will actually play intercollegiate sports
than did before. Giving up athletic scholarships at Birmingham
Southern greatly improved, yes ... athletics at Birmingham Southern.
1.4.07 - 13
Photographs that Changed the World. [via]
1.3.07 - For tonight's Monkeytime TV:
James Brown video I've seen online since his death - "Mother
Popcorn," live (not lip-synced) on Music Scene, November
10, 1969. Music Scene was a short-lived ABC TV show
that looks to have been pretty
6-hour WFMU James Brown tribute show, from December 2001
Times article about transgender Pakistani TV show host Ali
Saleem, whose story highlights the existence of an urbane, relatively
enlightened middle class in Pakistan
with Saleem from She Magazine
12.20.06 - For Monkeytime TV tonight, a
couple of links to help talk to your family about the idiocy of
Cheney/Bush's Iraq policy:
to Defeat in Iraq. Good piece; scroll down for this quote from
Republican Senator Gordon Smith, who said last week that keeping
U.S. soldiers in harm's way for a useless strategy "may even
“I said [criminal]. You can use any adjective
you want...But I have long believed, in a military context, when
you do the same thing over and over again, without a clear strategy
for victory, at the expense of your young people in arms, that is
dereliction. That is deeply immoral.”
And yet neocons insist we have to "surge"
on. With other people's lives instead of their own as the currency,
Troops in Iraq? We've Got History on That - great article from
the Columbia Journalism Review blog about the press' failure
to remind America about the last surge of U.S. troops in
Baghdad, just a few months ago. All it did was create a surge from
the other side, which, judging from the chaos we see today, clearly
But despite McCain, Lieberman and Kagan's conviction
that more troops equals victory, Forward Together didn't work out
so well. On October 20, the Washington Post reported
that according to the Army itself, the tactic failed: "A two-month
U.S.-Iraqi military operation to stem sectarian bloodshed and insurgent
attacks in Baghdad has failed to reduce the violence, which has
surged 22 percent in the capital in the last three weeks, much of
it in areas where the military has focused its efforts ... The assessment
by Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV followed a 43 percent spike
in attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces in the capital since midsummer
that has pushed U.S. military fatalities to their highest rates
in more than a year." [link]
12.13.06 - For tonight's Monkeytime TV:
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was in my
neighborhood last week, making a mess and blocking streets on ridiculously
short notice but also doing a great deed for a really sweet, deserving
neighborhood family. A bit late but as promised last Wednesday,
here are links to a couple of discussions of the way ABC's lawyers
are using a "questionable
interpretation" of income tax law, which may have negative
implications down the line for those really sweet and deserving
recipients of free homes. This is not the property tax issue, which
is easily understood and planned for, and was mentioned in much
local coverage, but is a different,
deeper point entirely:
This is an unexplored area, but the families who
have received such goodwill from Home Edition have reason to be
wary. Aside from the known property tax ramifications, there remain
tens of thousands of dollars of potential income tax burdens lurking
in the shadows. The families' lawyers (in reality, the show's lawyers)
have assured them that there is nothing to worry about; but the
situation is not black and white.
More at those two links. Basically, it looks like
the show's lawyers are counting on the goodwill of the IRS to not
go after what seems to be a dodge, while telling journalists that
everything's all in order. In none of the (frankly excessive) coverage
I saw in our local daily on this story was this issue mentioned.
11.29.06 - Links for tonight's Monkeytime
article about scrutiny of "no-knock" raids
raid informant says he was asked to lie"
Police Raids, a map from the libertarian Cato Institute
Radley Balko at The
Agitator, a critic of paramilitary police raids against civilian
homes for a while now, places what went down in Atlanta in horrifying
context and asks some very
Instapundit Glenn Reynolds suggests police
raids should be videotaped.
More amazing animations:
- five achingly beautiful, evocative shorts from
Israeli university student Eric Lerner. I love Mr.
is a catchier, friendlier introduction; they're
all worth watching.
11.22.06 - Links for tonight's Monkeytime
Art," a brilliant short film from Polish animator Tomek
Baginski's previous short, the Oscar-nominated "Cathedral"
1930 to the present, of every poignant,
and, yes, kinda
cover of the magazine that started out as Astounding
Stories of Super Science and became Analog,
of changes in between.
Ask Metafilter: How
to deal with being stuck alone on Thanksgiving?
Glenn Greenwald writes Unclaimed
Territory, one of the best political blogs around; he's particularly
good when dissecting the stupidity
and moral vacuousness of beltway
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote
a few days ago on his blog
James Carville went after Howard Dean. The Hotline blog dissected
Carville's ridiculous claim of another dozen wins if only Dean
had spent more money in those races. Meanwhile, Carville is silent
on the "extraordinary
burn rate" of Hillary Clinton's campaign, which spent an
unbelievable $29.5 million on an extremely safe Senate race, much
of it "for catering, flowers and photography."
I've tried the Sullivan Street Bakery's amazingly
simple no-knead bread recipe (spread by Mark Bittman in the
NYT the day after the election, video here)
twice now, and can vouch for it wholeheartedly. Next time I'm adding
dill or rosemary.
11.15.06 - Links for tonight's Monkeytime
Fundamentalist public high school history teacher
preaches in class, telling students "you
belong in hell" if you don't believe in Jesus, then denies
it, but - oops - one student recorded
Polish high school foreign exchange student:
half-year in hell with a fundamentalist NC family
Info about Saturday
version of the story that leading pro-war neocon Richard Perle
now thinks invading Iraq was a mistake and we should have tried
"other strategies" first
NCWARN, our local
nuclear watchdog, has lots of information up about the recent safety
violations at the Shearon Harris power plant, which it (rightly)
calls "one of the most dangerous nuclear plants in America"
N&O story about the simultaneous
failure of the plant's 20-year-old mechanical sirens, which,
hilariously enough, didn't have battery backup, "rotate like
a weather vane and require belts, pumps and grease" to operate.
What is this, the 1940s?
9.6.06 - Tonight's Monkeytime TV focuses on
downtown Raleigh, with guests including Liz Masnik, owner
of The Borough (a great new neighborhood pub/restaurant), and Aly
Khalifa, one of the driving forces behind Spark
Con, a weekend of workshops,
talks and arts events that starts next Thursday, September 14,
and has at least one excitable reporter/activist spreading
talk about a Raleigh-based South By Southeast next year. Seems
a bit premature, but should be an interesting event nonetheless.
A few other quick links we'll be discussing:
talks with the N&O about the benefits of owning
a "retail condo" instead of renting downtown space for
piece by Aly about creativity and its difficulties in Raleigh
[more to come]
9.6.06 - Ape
Artists of the 1950s. From a great
MeFi thread about Cheeta
- yes, that
Cheeta - and his fabulous
paintings. You can buy
me one for just $135, you know. [link]
9.6.06 - Check this interesting WaPo
article about troubles
the FBI is having separating out real terrorists from "delusional
dreamers" whose worst crime may be that they let themselves
be encouraged by undercover FBI informants to keep plotting. Let's
nod to the complexities inherent in this kind of law enforcement
investigation in general before wondering if the informants didn't
cross a line trying to score a win in the Terror Wars:
On June 23, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
held a news conference to announce the destruction of a terrorist
cell inside the United States...But court records released since
then suggest that what Gonzales described as a "deadly plot"
was virtually the pipe dream of a few men with almost no ability
to pull it off on their own.
...lawyers for the defendants have raised questions
about where a government sting ends and entrapment begins. Not only
did government informants provide money and a meeting place for
Batiste and his followers, but they also gave them video cameras
for conducting surveillance, as well as cellphones, and suggested
that their first target be a Miami FBI office, court records show.
Keep reading the details; at every
step, it seems, the FBI informants were the folks materially advancing
the plot. But it's also true that the suspects followed along willingly,
talking a good murder game, swearing themselves into al Qaeda, taking
video of target buildings and more. It all ends messily, of course,
with political infighting among the suspects as the trigger.
Like I said, the article is an interesting window
onto this kind of investigation. I'm thinking this one looks kind
of like a waste of resources, though, and am gonna keep being skeptical
of official claims of foiling a major plot in press conferences
on the day of a terror arrest. [via Cursor]
9.5.06 - Private
Collection - a sarcastic gallery exhibit of not-so-rare
d'art stolen from famous European galleries. Apparently, it's
"a reaction to the commoditization of art and to gallery monopolies
that price art, dictate which artworks have value, and set themselves
up as the arbiters of artists' qualities," but don't let the
overblown opening paragraph stop you from enjoying the gag. [via
9.4.06 - Odd,
9.4.06 - Cool
article from Charlotte's Creative Loafing
about the new Fort Awesome School of Rock in Lansing, NC, sparked
last year by two artistic families with a vision of making something
interesting happen in an abandoned WPA-era high school in a tiny
town near the Virginia border. It's great that town residents appear
to be embracing the idea, helped by last month's Ola
Belle Reed Homecoming
Festival. Here's Reed's detailed Allmusic
bio (she's a much-respected early country stalwart and Lansing
native), along with a review
of one of her later albums by Greensboro's own Eugene
9.4.06 - Finally: The
Great British Venn Diagram. I have never understood
this stuff until now.
[both via the amazing Look
At This, which cures Internet boredom in five seconds flat]
can't stop now.
to August 2006
2005 (no January)
half of August 2003
half of August 2003
half of June 2003
half of June 2003
half of February 2003
and first half of February 2003