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Thursday, July 25, 2002
Blogger on Blogging

Find a good idea. . . Use it. Here's how to create an
in house blog for your company. Got the idea from . . . Blogger. Where else?

Does this mean I've forgiven them? No. It still takes two or three attempts to get anything posted. I'm still looking for an alternative. Not as easy as I thought, though.

posted at 11:15 PM

Better than TIPS, the new corps of self-appointed guardians of your every move will be known as
Calumny for the

Thanks, Bill C.

posted at 2:45 PM
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
History Lesson(s)

kuro5hin makes history accessible. And impartial.

K5 has published two versions of the history of the land and peoples who inhabit the Middle East. In the absence of absolute certainty (no problem for fanatics), I'll take balance.

posted at 4:43 PM

I'm trying to join TIPS. Really. I want to do my part to sabotage this unreasonable search of the people by the people. I fully intend to send a large amount of extremely useless information about government officials that I do not like. There are certainly a lot of them.

So, my first move is to go to the
TIPS site. There we learn that TIPS is part of your government's "Citizen Corps". Any red-blooded American snitch wants to get the dirt on their neighbors. What a great opportunity this war on terror is for mean little self-serving creeps to cause trouble. Too bad about any real threats to the country.

But it's not as easy as just signing up. You have to be part of a community:
If your community is not listed below, please call your local officials to encourage them to start a Citizen Corps Council soon.
[ Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | Wisconsin | West Virginia | Wyoming ]

Notice anything funny about these communities? They're all states, right? Yeah, but where I work it's not a state. The federal government apparently doesn't want residents of Washington, DC in its Citizen Corps. (Sorry, a pet peeve. DC is often ignored because our status as a federal colony is unusual. They don't really mean anything by it. Do they?) The actual sign-up form does ask for a person's state in the address section and DC is included in the choices. So is Puerto Rico.

Anyway, I did sign up. Easy and painless. You can check off which part of the program you want to be involved in. Some of these sound interesting and even helpful:
Community Emergency Response Teams
Neighborhood Watch
Volunteers in Police Service
Medical Reserve Corps
Operation TIPS
Citizen Corps Councils

The one I really wanted was, of course, Operation TIPS.

The thank you note promises that I'll be contacted at the email address I gave them with "periodic e-mail updates on new ways that you can help make America more secure." Oh boy, I can hardly wait.

posted at 2:56 PM
The beat goes on

My boy
Dick Cheney is doing what he does, still working hard but saying nothing to the press. Like the consummate corporate manager he is, the Vice President of the United States of America is covering his a** while he hunkers down for the SEC ordeal. Keep your head down, Dick. They didn't get your boss when he had his little dust up. They'll be sure to "thoroughly vet" your situation, too, and "completely exonerate" you.

posted at 11:56 AM
Let's bring 'em both to trial

Drudge reports that the Palestinian Authority plans to accuse Ariel Sharon in front of the International Criminal Court.

Yes. I say, let's have Sharon and Arafat in a smack-down face-to-face showdown in front of the whole world. No kidding. Someone get busy and prepare the indictment. It shouldn't be hard.

Should Sharon be worried? After this week, he should. See below.

posted at 11:49 AM
What were they thinking?

military officials apologize. Like the racing fans in Washington last weekend, the leaders of Israel have acted like petulant children. Do what you want first, then take the slap on the wrist.

From time to time we read a criticism of Sharon's activities based on practical considerations of advancing Israeli interests. That's what I want to read. Sharon satisfies a certain blood lust for those who are angry about the homicide bombers encouraged by the Palestinian Authority. But his behavior and policies are not really advancing Israeli interests in the long run. His actions are counter productive.

He cannot for much longer keep open minded people from agreeing with this view from inside Palestine.

UPDATE: See FFM for a much more vehement commentary from as committed a supporter of Israel.
posted at 11:24 AM
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Here's how

A real writer does this:
acey amapola

Good work, J________.

posted at 3:19 PM
'Participatory Democracy' turns 40

Republicans under Richard Nixon have invoked the rhetoric of participatory democracy in campaigns. U.S. Catholics have used the slogan in their current movement to correct serious problems in the Church. Management theorists, various anti-poverty organizations and even the Green Party have turned this idea to good purpose. Where did it come from?

Port Huron Statement was published 40 years ago at the Students for a Democratic Society national convention meeting in Port Huron, Michigan, June 11-15, 1962.

To see how its authors, Tom Hayden and Dick Flacks, see it after all these years, read The Nation.

posted at 10:36 AM
Sexism still sells

No, I don't usually read the
Moonie Paper, aka the Washington Times.

This morning's front page caught my eye, though. I was scanning the headlines in the WP and the NYT. All bad news. But WT has a great big picture of two leggy female models in Santa suits. Not on the web site. Tough.

Never mind. The article filling the space at the bottom of the page is the real throwback piece. From the Associated Press, comes a "scientific" study that "proves" Husbands forget spats, wives never do.

This kind of story belongs in the category of urban legend. It's an old canard that has been "common knowledge" for so many centuries that nobody really questions it. When someone claims to have scientific proof, folks just go along. Whether the study was actually done or not is questionable. If in fact someone actually reported these results in a scientific journal, their methodology ought to be questioned pretty thoroughly.

The champion web site for debunking urban legends,, warns us, "Just because you find something printed in a book or a newspaper doesn't mean it's true, and items published on the Internet are even more likely to be spurious." Snopes debunks similar reports related to gender and sex here, here and here.

posted at 10:08 AM
Monday, July 22, 2002
Archive 7/4/02 - 7/13/02

This stuff got lost in the recent BLOGGER snafu. In case we never get the archive back, here it is.
[7/12/2002 2:47:45 PM | T Leeves]
Whose side are you on, anyway?

Years ago, I asked a fellow-hippie that question. She said simply, "Mine."
An honest, if disappointing, answer.

Last night, I saw a young woman on the subway in Washington, DC, with this sign on her T-shirt: "Free Palestine". Along with the words was a picture of a young Arab man throwing a grenade over a wall.

She was a young white woman with curly blond hair. She looked a lot like one of my friends from 35 years ago. She didn't look like a crazy person. She had a sweet serene expression on her face while she waited for the train. At first, all I saw was the word "Free" and I thought, "Yes, she seems to be. God bless her and let her celebrate it." But when I saw the rest of the message, I was troubled. Whose side was she on, anyway? She couldn't be just in it for herself.

As politely as I could, I approached her. I'm a man, in my 50's. She was a lone woman, in her 20's at most, in a big city, after 10p.m. You've got to be polite, at least.

"Excuse me. May I ask you about your T-shirt?"

She let go of a smile that showed some relief from the too ordinary fear. An intake of breath and the renewal of the smile within less than a second seemed to indicate a summoning of the courage one needs to speak one's true mind to an unknown audience. Here stands youth with all its inability to keep a poker face.

"Sure," she said.

"I'm an old leftist," I began. "But I don't understand your position. Can you explain it to me?"

At first, she naturally wanted to get my position, perhaps the better to couch her own words in order to get through to me. I resisted the impulse to overwhelm her. I wanted to tell her how stupid I thought her T-shirt was, how insensitively cruel, how insanely misdirected. I spoke haltingly for a minute before I finally made clear what I wanted. "I don't want to give you my position. I really want to know what yours is because I don't understand it," I said.

She told me about genocide. She claimed that Israel was responsible for killing "hundreds of thousands" of Palestinians. Maybe she said "hundreds and thousands". Could she really have used so large a number? Was she exaggerating?

She claimed that the Palestinian terrorists were acting out of desperation to free themselves from a horribly oppressive Israeli occupation. She claimed that the harassment of Palestinians amounted to something equal to concentration camps. She said that the Palestinians were equivalent to the Jews who fought back against Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto.

"If that were true," I conceded, "I would have to support Palestine, as well. But I can't believe it."

"I can't believe you don't believe it," were the words that escaped her gaping mouth. "Do you believe what you read in the American media?"

So, I bought a copy of her "Socialist Worker" newspaper. She happened to have a knapsack-full, which she had picked up in order to distribute.

The train arrived. I gave her a two-fingered v-salute. "Peace."

[7/11/2002 2:38:43 PM | T Leeves]

I don't want to say this, but let me say it again: BLOGGER SUCKS.

Since at least July 8 my internal links don't go anywhere. And links to the sites of others on the same system don't go anywhere either, or they go to the wrong place.

For example, try going to any of the "10 most recently published blogs" on the BLOGGER site.
This link is from The bitter shack of resentment, an all too appropriate name. You can get to the main site, but not the internal link to the particular item.

The URL of the competition at Radio Userland is

[7/11/2002 1:59:12 PM | T Leeves]
Making News

Really making news, creating news, manufacturing news. That's what WSJ seems to have done in the case of the DaimlerChrysler ads.

One person wrote a letter complaining that some new ads "serve to whitewash the history and criminality of the Nazi regime." The headline cites "some Jewish groups," but further on the article mentions only one rabbi. And why did this particular rabbi comment? Because WSJ sent him advance copies of the ads and asked for his comments. We get that information in paragraph 7.

I'm glad that WSJ admits, even as late as paragraph 7, that it had stirred up its own controversy. But why go through the whole exercise in the first place?

[7/10/2002 4:43:01 PM | T Leeves]

Dick Cheney is named in a lawsuit to recover losses from Halliburton's Enron-style overstatement of revenues. Judicial Watch filed the suit. Judicial Watch's disdain for politicos left and right seems honest enough. They still have several suits pending against Clinton cronies.

[7/10/2002 10:28:58 AM | T Leeves]
Comments on Bush's Speech

Longinus believes the president's heart is in the right place.
Linking is difficult due to some server problems at BLOGGER. The item was the last one posted July 9.
NYT says talk is tough but not enough.

WP coldly claims "Measures Not Likely to End Abuses."

cut on the bias admits the rest of the right is pretty darn quiet about the Harken connection.

WSJ has very complete coverage, including the Harken problem. They even get the award for quote of the day: "As if investors weren't frightened enough, the politicians are now offering to help."


[7/9/2002 5:02:59 PM | T Leeves]
Bush's Speech
didn't mention his own record as a CEO, but he did call upon others to do a better job than he did.

Particularly poignant was his decrying abuses like these:

"We've learned of CEOs earning tens of millions of dollars in bonuses just before their companies go bankrupt, leaving employees and retirees and investors to suffer."
Yes, in fact 12 years ago, Bush himself pulled off a nifty little trick (with the help of accountant Arthur Andersen), which created a $10 million phantom profit and allowed him to sell his holdings and escape from Harken Energy just before it went bankrupt, leaving employees and retirees and investors to suffer.
See Balance below.

[7/9/2002 3:53:48 PM | T Leeves]
Classic IRS

First, let me say that I am not in favor of more Bush tax cuts.

Now, what about my personal tax problems? They're not very interesting, but I have to straighten them out. IRS has a really cool website at

But I need to talk to someone. So, I'm on the phone — right now, even as I write this. The number for questions is 1-800-829-8815. The automated gatekeeper is not too hard to navigate. The people, once you get to speak with them, are polite and informative.

But I'm on hold at the moment. That's ok. It's even ok that the expected time I will have to wait is 10 minutes. I'm glad the robot told me that in the beginning. I just don't know whether to be amused or angry that the music they're playing to entertain me while I wait is Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite."

[7/9/2002 2:15:31 PM | T Leeves]
Washington, D.C., Registers Domestic Partners

Congress Blocked Law for 10 Years

Basic human rights and common decency are coming to citizens of the nation's last colony after a 10-year battle to implement a local law over the opposition of the U.S. Congress.

Wash. Post reports that the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 was finally implemented yesterday. The first couple to register, Thom Metzger, 32, and Vince Micone, 35, had been waiting since the law was first passed.

Political questions surrounding this issue include states' rights, "special rights," civil rights, hospital visitation rights, voting rights, and the right to self determination.

If Washington, D.C., were a state rather than a federal district, it could enact and enforce its own laws instead of being supervised by the paternalists in Congress.

Of course, that might mean that gays, who enjoy some respect here, and blacks, who are in the majority here, might someday gain the freedom that other United States citizens have.


[7/9/2002 10:05:17 AM | T Leeves]
Israel to sell El Al

Air Cargo World reports:

Israel will sell its national airline, El Al, to private investors, Israel's Cabinet secretary said in a statement Monday, reversing an earlier decision to keep 51 percent of the company in the hands of the government.

. . . El Al has been losing money for years, and the recent Palestinian-Israeli violence has hit tourism to Israel, cutting into the airline's earnings.

At my synagogue recently we read, "Woe to him who hears the news and thinks only of business."

[7/8/2002 5:04:25 PM | T Leeves]
Where's the balance?

Ok, I'm looking for a balanced view on Bush's delicate situation regarding corporate scandals. All the leftists (including Dana Milbank and Mike Allen in the Wash.Post, Paul Krugman in the NYT, Eric Alterman at MSNBC, and of course Bush Watch) have posted snide, or at least smug, assessments of the hot water Dubya will soon find himself in.

Howard Kurtz has dismissed the controversy, but no one else on the right has even mentioned it. WSJ doesn't mention Bush in any context at all on its front page. Is the right ignoring the problem in hopes that it will go away? Or is everyone being responsible little journalists and waiting until Bush opens his mouth on Tuesday?

Personally, it will neither gratify my anti-Bush feelings nor amaze me to find that there have been financial shenanigans at the highest levels of government. Clinton excited both left and right with his amorous affairs. Bush will no doubt get some people upset about his financial affairs. Affairs of state will suffer as a consequence.

N.B.: you read it here first: Bush is involved in politics, which Ambrose Bierce defines as, "A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage." There will be neither shock nor outrage registered here when he is found to be no less self-serving than anyone else in his line of work.

posted at 5:09 PM
Another First

I don't know why I like this kind of story. I feel like it's one for "our" side. Whose side am I on, anyway?

WSJ reports that Merrill Lynch & Co.'s board elected E. Stanley O'Neal to replace David Komansky as chief executive. O'Neal sounds like a good Irish name.

Mr. O'Neal will be the first African American to head a major Wall Street firm. Equal opportunity may co-opt civil rights activists. Power to the people.

posted at 3:32 PM
Noise Imperils 2003 Grand Prix

WP reports that the Grand Prix race held in Washington, DC, this weekend created noise that was up to 105 decibels in the surrounding residential neighborhood, 45 decibels above the permissible limit. We feel honored that Grand Prix promoters have chosen our city, but . . .

Yesterday on the subway I overheard three racing fans talking. They knew that the race promoters would be fined for excessive noise. They knew that the fine would be $500. With 70,000 fans coming to the event, that's not a major expense.

They agreed among themselves that putting on the event first and worrying about the fine later was the right way to go. One mentioned that he had used the same tactic as a teenager when he had wanted to do something his parents would forbid.

Another mentioned that if the promoters had been honest about the amount of noise in the first place, "The tree-huggers would have kept it from happening at all."

I don't know what the stereotype of a race fan is supposed to look like, but these three middle aged men were dressed very well. They were in clean, pressed T-shirts with automobile logos. They wore really fine rings and watches. Their hair had been cut in a manner that indicated the hand of a stylist who is used to dealing with executives. As another part of their rambling conversation, they discussed a retreat for corporate executives.

These were men who could afford an expensive sport, men who could laugh about a fine of a mere $500. These were men who should be literate enough to read all the way through today's news article to find the comments of local resident Peggy Turner, 84, who said, "This is ridiculous. I guess we are all too low on the totem pole," adding that her baby granddaughter had been frightened by the noise.

posted at 11:59 AM
Sunday, July 21, 2002
The irrationality of Clinton hating

Not to blame anything that's happening on Wall Street on GWB, but let's examine the bursting of the bubble economy.

Some would have us believe that Clinton was in no way responsible for the economic good times of the '90s. The boom was supposedly the result of "irrational exuberance" over tech stocks, which turned out to be worthless after the dot bomb bubble burst. Now, we're reaping the consequences. So the market collapse is not Bush's fault; it's Clinton's.

Well, if the bubble wasn't his fault, neither is the collapse.

Be that as it may, there seems to have been more to the economics of the '90s than just dot coms. Some of the actual conditions we enjoyed are outlined in James K. Galbraith's
editorial in the Washington Post of July 21. Here's the key paragraph:
But the fact that profits were lower than we thought is not all bad news. Living standards were actually higher than many realized at the time. The '90s were a good time for American workers, who enjoyed full employment, rising wages and unprecedented access to credit. Poverty fell during these years, health improved, crime declined and inequalities in pay (though not wealth) diminished. Home ownership reached record levels. These things, unlike profits, cannot be faked.

So, I return to my favorite mystification: Clinton put more money in our pockets than any president in our lifetime; so why in the world do people hate him?
posted at 9:23 AM


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Tom Gallagher is
the web editor at He has been Webweaver for Bet Mishpachah Synagogue and headed web related operations at ELS Language Centers in Washington, DC.