Swimming with the Razorfishes

Friday, July 16, 2004

Flickbook. Very clever.


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Some organization called "The American Assembler" has apparently correlated average intelligence with voting records for the last presidential election.

Now, I don't know whether or not "The American Assembler" is anything more than a farce, but, my God, what is going on in Mississippi? Could that possible be true?

Gin and Tacos claims to have analyzed census data to confirm the farce. Funny.

I wonder if the person who composed the Super Mario Brothers music had any idea it would be such a part of common culture.


I hope, for everyone's sake, that this isn't true or that it is being inaccurately reported.

There is, however, one sentence with which I agree:

[Seymour] Hersh [who broke the Abu Gharaib scandal] described the folks in charge of US policy as neoconservative cultists" who have taken the government over, and show "how fragile our democracy is."

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I'm really surprised at some of the reaction to the HTML extensions Apple announced in a demo at the WWDC. [Actually, I'm not surprised. Someone, somewhere on the internet reacts violently to any statement, no matter how mundane]. But I'm not interested in the "how dare Apple copy Konfabulator" reaction; I'm watching what the "standards wonks" have to say.

Tim Bray weighed in on the topic.

I feel Mr. Bray's pain, I really do.

But I rarely hear people say, "Yes, I understand that the this standards body has become a calcified bureaucracy, mired in minutiae. It really makes innovation difficult.." That would be too much concession, I suppose.

Apple's strategy, as outlined by Dave Hyatt, strikes me as rather pragmatic, and middle of the road. I'd love to hear more honest feedback that doesn't boil down to "everyone should rewrite all markup in [insert XML solution here]."

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I'd crack a joke, but this really isn't funny.

Having pangs of guilt:

To the tourist who stopped me at 5th Avenue and 48th street and asked where St. Pactrick's Cathedral was, I'm sorry that I lied to you and said "I don't know."

I should have told you to turn the fuck around.


"If you removed all of the homosexuals and homosexual influence from what is generally regarded as American culture, you would be pretty much left with `Let's Make a Deal.' "

A great quote by Fran Lebowitz starts off an interesting article in The Times about Calvin Klein's house in the Hamptons.

Monday, July 12, 2004

x180: Why MacOS X is better.


Texas prosecutors are investigating the activities of political action committees linked to Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay as they related to a Texas redistricting effort.

This case "is only one piece of a much larger picture," said Ronnie Earle, the Travis County district attorney running the investigation. "And the larger picture is a blueprint of what is happening in the country, namely a saturation of the political process by large corporate interests with large amounts of money." [via The Washington Post]

Some of the characteristics of fascist regimes (as shown by history) include: protection of corporate power; obsession with crime and punishment; and fraudulent elections.

Newsweek is reporting that the Department of Homeland security is investigating what would be necessary to postpone the presidential election, should the U.S. be attacked by terrorists.

On its face, the proposal seems like prudent planning.

But we've been through this before.

Following World War I, Germany was in ruin. American loans entirely propped up its economy, domestic industry was struggling. The great depression forced American investors to recall loans to German interests. This set off a chain reaction in the German economy.

The Nazi party capitalized on this, playing on fear and prejudice in the German population. A radical conservative movement, they slowly infiltrated the German government. Following the election of 1933, the Reichstag was bombed and burnt to the ground. Seeing the opportunity, Hitler and the Nazi party falsely accused a rival political party of the bombing. Civil liberties granted by the Weimar Constitution were revoked, and special "People's Courts" were established to try people deemed to be criminals.

The Nazis banned opposition newspapers and burned books. They concentrated power among a small group of party members. Finally, when President Von Hindenburg died, power was consolidated under Hitler. Hitler's radical plans for control of trade unions, religion, and the press were put into place.

All this happened gradually, in an otherwise democratic republic. Hitler and the Nazi party used the democratic structure of Germany to ascend to power, all the while rejecting the legitimacy of the very structure of the democratic government. And German citizens were sharply divided by the Nazi party; only after considerable manipulation did the Nazi party gain the necessary majority vote needed to assume power.

Fast forward to 2004. The United States suffered a bloody attack on its own soil. The Bush Administration vilified Sadam Hussein, leader of sovereign Iraq, making false claims about connections to the terrorist attack, as well as false claims about Iraq threatening national security. A radical conservative movement (i.e. neo-conservative) is rapidly gaining power in Washington, a group that openly denies the legitimacy of many fundamental tenets of American democracy. We are sharply divided between right and left, even more so because of the nature of the last presidential election. We have seen unprecedented domestic propaganda put before the American public by shady, government-connected organizations like the Carlyle Group. Many of these actions are justified by the constant state of "war" against terrorism.

And now, and unelected member of the Bush Administration is discussing suspending elections.

Please be clear: I am not calling President Bush or his administration Nazis, nor am I equating republican or neo-conservative policies to Nazi policies.

I'm drawing parallels to post World War I Germany to suggest that certain responses to national problems can lead to unintended circumstances. To show that playing to prejudice and fear and cultivating a constant state of war is no way to lead a nation. To show that openness and dialogue with the world is a far better response to crisis than bellicose wagon circling. And, above all, to suggest that absolute power corrupts.

Some decisions only look disastrous in hindsight. Please consider using the mirror of history to shed light on the United States' current situation.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

JibJab: This Land.

We are now stepping through Meet the Press on the TiVo, staring in rapt wonderment at William F. Buckley's terrifying, puppetesque countenance. Particularly when he smiles.

Smart guy, badly in need of some plastic surgery.

Via Mr. Mustard, SWAT hand signals.

And, by strange coincidence, I watched the DVD of S.W.A.T. last weekend. It was as profoundly stupid and improbable as you might have guessed. Don't waste the $.92 on it.