Monkey Media Report Archive

A North Carolina
news and arts Weblog
August 2005

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8.16.05 - I haven't been regularly posting since God's voice first cracked, so I figure most of you reading this either watch my Raleigh cable access show or arrive via my user page at faraway blogs like Mefi. That being so, I feel a bit of a challenge to dig for posts that'll please both groups. Here's the first in what will hopefully be a long series of brilliant observations (if, that is, I manage to keep my anti-writing demons at bay [back, you fucking bastards]):

Triangle-based artist Phil Blank has been doing an amazing blog for almost a year, focusing on drawing, Buddhism, Beat philosophy and the psychology of creativity. He's a former co-worker I haven't seen for years, but the cool art and depth of insight he's been putting on display have been truly inspirational. Plus, he was the first person to clue me in to the fact that Robert Crumb is working on a comic book adaptation of the Book of Genesis, the beginning of which just so happens to have been the Torah portion I read for my bar mitzvah. That's as good a reason to keep on living as most others, right?

In a sane world Phil would be near the top of any of those moronic blog-rank schemes, but in this world he's nowhere close.

Gosh, what does that tell you? [link]


8.11.05 - If you haven't read the full text of the article about online privacy that pissed Google off so much it blacklisted CNET reporters for a year, do yourself a favor and get to it. The piece, which begins with easily Googled information about company CEO Eric Schmidt, is filled with thoughtful analysis of the issues raised by the new - and potentially hugely profitable - databases of information search companies are compiling about their users. It's going to be very difficult, monkeys, for any publicly-traded company to ignore the profit lurking in that data. In fact, I'd be surprised if Google isn't right now selling off lists of IP addresses and search terms to data-miners. It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that what really bugged the company wasn't the inclusion of Schmidt's personal info, but rather the red flags the article raises about what search companies are up to. Google's not used to that kind of thing from a mainstream news outlet.

The hypocrisy of attacking a reporter for, er, using your product as intended is truly hilarious, but what really takes the cake for me is the Google PR flak who offered "no comment" when asked about the blacklisting. Wasn't Google supposed to be a New Media company? You know, one of those ultra-cool places with an awesome cafeteria and happy-smiley corporate culture?

Yeah, whatever. Google-worship has now passed into the realm of lunacy. [link]

8.10.05 - Links for this week's show:

How Bill O'Reilly smeared Crawford-protesting mother Cindy Sheehan

The real story

News Hounds: We watch FOX so you don't have to

CODEPINK: Women For Peace

When it rains, it pours; three provocative pieces in the last week have questioned the "METH EPIDEMIC!!" hype:

The Methamphetamine Epidemic -- Less Than Meets the Eye
...15.4% of 12th graders in 1991 reported ever using amphetamines. By 1998, that figure had inched up to 16.4%, but by last year the figure had declined back to 15.0%, indicating that amphetamine use over the past decade has remained essentially flat. When MTF looked only at methamphetamine, which it separated out from other amphetamines only in 1999, it found that the percentage of seniors who reported ever using the drug actually declined from 8.2% in 1999 to 6.2% in 2004.

Meth Madness at Newsweek
Looking elsewhere in the drug database for evidence of a meth epidemic, we arrive at the number of seizures of the actual drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration, a number Newsweek doesn't bother to include, perhaps because it undermines the "crisis" thesis. Accord to DEA, seizures of meth peaked in 1989 at 174 million dosage units. The last year for which the DEA chart records numbers, 2002, shows 118 million dosage units seized.

Debunking the Drug War
(from conservative/libertarian NYT columnist John Tierny)
Nor is meth diabolically addictive. If an addict is someone who has used a drug in the previous month (a commonly used, if overly broad, definition), then only 5 percent of Americans who have sampled meth would be called addicts, according to the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

By the way, I should tell you that I've recently decided the not-blogging thing isn't working for me psychologically, as a writer at heart. So, that sound you hear could be the sound of ratcheting up.

Shhhhh. Don't tell anyone until it actually happens. [link]


8.3.05 - Read this instead of watching "Over There" tonight:

So who are the real leaders of the insurgency? Based on what I know about other insurgencies, I can give you a profile. First of all, none of them are Mister Big. There is no Mr Big in this insurgency. They're more like a few thousand Mr. Middles, a whole crowd of ex-Army officers and local clan leaders in every Sunni town or village who have some kind of loose control over some of the insurgents. Nobody controls the whole insurgency. There are hundreds of insurgent groups fighting, and they don't answer to Al Qaeda or anybody else. They started the fight for local reasons, like the demonstrators killed in Fallujah, and they stay in it out of local loyalty, to their clan or the Sunnis or some patriotic idea of Iraq, or Islam. [link]


7.15.05 - Interviewed David Mills, executive director of the Common Sense Foundation, on this week's show (if you're in Raleigh and have Time Warner cable, it reruns tonight at 11pm on Channel 10). Mills was sharp and insightful as he discussed the legislative status of various bills in the state House and Senate, including lobbying reform efforts (waiting to come to a vote in the House), the lottery bill (probably dying in conference since the House and Senate versions are highly incompatible), voting reform (currently being decimated in a truly disgusting way) and the death penalty moratorium (weakened but alive and ready to come to a vote). Everyone in North Carolina should be calling state lawmakers in these critical days, as the push to kill or cripple essential bills like these intensifies. Call your state senators and representatives now. Especially you folks who complain that I don't post enough here.


7.13.05 - Anyone who wants a detailed, factual response to the oceans of spin coming out of the White House (and the right-wing amen chorus) about the Karl Rove/Valerie Plame scandal should check American Progress' latest bulletin on the subject, which is full of excellent links and sharp commentary. It's a must-read, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.


7.6.05 - The Wikipedia page about the London terrorist bombings, constantly updated and corrected by folks like you and me, has been very useful this morning and is highly recommended, not least because it links with intelligence to multiple news sources. For-profit news sites like Fox and CNN won't do that, which makes them relatively narrow portals in cases like this. The Wiki contributors have been sorting quickly through the confusion about the incident, and while not every change suits my copy editing taste, the page remains a smart, self-correcting clearinghouse of links and info about the London attack. You could do a lot worse than Wikipedia on this one.


7.6.05 - Links for this week's show:

Ok, I didn't post any more links last week. Sue me. I did get to Wrightsville Beach, though. Amazing what mimosas and ocean waves will do to overcome a cloudy day.

Anyway, this magic crap might keep you happy for a few minutes:


6.29.05 - Links for this week's show:

Great review of Bush's speech last night at Slate: was disingenuous and offensive for Bush to stand there and say with a straight face, "Terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand." After all, terrorists came to Iraq only after Bush invaded it, then failed to secure it, practically inviting jihadists across the region to come perfect their bomb-making talents against the American infidels.

Nevertheless, the inescapable fact is that terrorists are making their stand in Iraq now, abetted by Baathists, criminals, and tribal or nationalist resisters. The Iraqi military is not nearly strong enough to stave them off. If the United States withdrew now or announced a date of departure in the near future, there is a real danger that Iraq could turn into another Afghanistan—or spark the tinder of a regional war...

President Bush claimed the war is important, even vital. But he didn't acknowledge for a second that any mistakes have been made, that any correction in course might be necessary. He defined the war as a regional, even a global, conflict—yet he outlined no new ideas on how to attract more allies. He did not lay out a strategy, except to continue along the same shrapnel-strewn path and hope for the best.

Yep, that about covers it. I'll post more links after the show. I mean, soon.


6.22.05 - Fun links discussed on Monkeytime TV this week:


6.8.05 - Fun links discussed on Monkeytime TV this week:


6.1.05 - My first political memory is sitting in the kitchen of the apartment shared by my grandma and great-aunt Goldie, watching my dad bang his fist on the table and yell at the televised Watergate hearings, "They're all goddamn crooks. All of them." Funny, then, that I've never really given a fuck about who Deep Throat was. It always seemed to me that Watergate's significance had very little to do with the actual, oh-so-secret identity of the leak.

But, damn, did I laugh out loud when our current Republican liar-in-chief was quoted today saying the news "caught me by surprise." Whatever. Mark Felt has been the leading contender for at least 13 years now, since this article appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in May 1992. Timothy Noah at Slate has been not-so-subtly pointing at Felt since 1999. And Bush - who surely has access to files journalists don't - says he's surprised?

Riiight. Like I said, over the years it never occured to me to spend time with this particular non-story, but please don't insult my intelligence by telling me G.W. Bush and his pals weren't on it like white on rice. And now the rightwing amen chorus is going to use the revelation to whine about the idea of an adversarial press, and wax poetic about the need for everyone in the federal government to be diehard loyal to whatever morons happen to be leading the executive branch. Watch for it.


5.11.05 - For tonight's show, here's a link to the Alan Colmes radio clip where one of the leading lights of the extreme right, Neal Horsley, tries to explain to Colmes that everyone who grows up on the farm has historically had sex with animals, including him, and that liberal city folks "are so far removed" from "domestic life on the farm" that they just don't understand that "your first girlfriend is a mule" when you grow up on a farm in Georgia.

No, really.

[via Wonkette]


4.20.05 - Links to topics on tonight's Monkeytime TV:

[more later]


4.13.05 - My former Raleigh pal Lisa Whiteman, who has one of the most warm and engaging writing styles I've ever seen in a blog, recently posted a neat photo essay about New York City barbershops. [link]

You can't stop now.


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