Tuesday, November 29, 2005

follow the

Thursday, November 24, 2005

penus Vestae

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

it's the signifier, stupor

These days, Labov found, the most extreme dialect change in the country is taking place in the Chicago area. “The ‘eah’ sound, which you hear in ‘happened’— heahppened — is a young, very invasive sound that is rapidly changing a number of other sounds around it,” he said. This so-called “Northern Cities Shift” is spreading toward St. Louis along I-55, transforming the Inland North dialect, which used to be the model for standard American pronunciation....

“Slang is just the paint on the hood of the car,” Labov said. “Most of the important changes in American speech are not happening at the level of grammar or language — which used to be the case — but at the level of sound itself.” here


She had this thing she did with her forehead that was like a gun kind of, like it was a gun lying on the table in front of her that she would sort of absently put her hand on, like she would put her hand on it now and again, just to let everybody know what was up. A frown with a lot of anger behind it. A warrior's frown. She was a neo-con ninjette.
Meaning it was intimidating, intentionally so - aggressive, with a lot of violence in back of it.
Her thesis, or talking point, or diversion - I don't what to call it because it doesn't matter, there isn't a pejorative for it, it's a release of chemicals, it doesn't have any higher attributes. here

Monday, November 21, 2005

what are you laughing at?

If the literature of antiquity was unable to represent everyday life seriously, that is, in full appreciation of its problems and with an eye for its historical background; if it could represent it only in the low style, comically or at best idyllically, statically and ahistorically, the implication is that these things mark the limits not only of the realism of antiquity but of its historical consciousness as well. ~ Erich Auerbach, Mimesis.
The relation of style, the low, comic - and by implication, genres that employ these styles - to consciousness and its other, however styled. What's adumbrated here by Auerbach is not merely literary or true of antiquity. We could do worse than explore the coincidence of the comedic type with the enforcement, however we understand that, of certain limitations. As with images: the appearance of the code, or mode, is intimately bound up with what is not allowed to appear.

Apply this to Friends. To the Times. To blogs, etc.

Auerbach continues:
For it is precisely in the intellectual and economic conditions of everyday life that those forces are revealed which underlie historical movements; these, whether military, diplomatic, or related to the inner constitution of the state, are only the product, the final result, of variations in the depths of everyday life.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Before Darwin's time, humans were not considered part of the natural world.
Darwin, at the American Museum of Natural History, looks like a lovely exhibit. ButAnd:

How is it possible for scientists and natural historians with their specialized grasp of complexity to consort so readily with this sort of tabloid nonsense? It seems something of a simplification and distortion of the ways the world understood itself before Darwin. Even the Western world. It might have prevailed as a bourgeois view in several salons 18th and early 19th century London, and a few other places, including today's New York Times.

The people who work in evolution and the people who work in museums could do worse than talk with the people who work in myth, history, anthropology, art history, comparative religion, etc. And with people who don't work in anything academic, but happen to live in the world.

-- photo by filip de bont

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

all yo' base

Google Base: This tool will make locating any user-generated content that's been uploaded nearly instantaneous, says the AP.

Upfront instantaneity -- Already the jobs data is filling with positions in non-profit orgs, which should be of interest to the philanthropically inclined.

There is a smidgeon of latency when you report a "bad item." As I just did on an expired job listing...

It may take up to four weeks for us to review this item and take action. Thanks for helping us keep Google Base useful and organized.

You beta!

Monday, November 14, 2005

No bruiting about it

I normally do not use the word "bruit." A check on the rumored etymology suggests a Latin form deriving from Celtic, as if the Romans had to venture far to stumble across a word for the abrasive noise, the abnormality, which can be received as rudeness, of a certain kind of brayed news or brute message, whether from the body (auscultation) or from the larger world:

bruit Audio pronunciation of "bruit" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (brt)
tr.v. bruit·ed, bruit·ing, bruits
To spread news of; repeat.
  1. (also br) Medicine. An abnormal sound heard in auscultation.
  2. Archaic.
    1. A rumor.
    2. A din; a clamor.

[From Middle English, noise, from Old French, past participle of bruire, to roar, from Vulgar Latin *brgre (blend of Latin rgre, and Vulgar Latin *bragere, to bray of Celtic origin).]

Therefore, without wishing to bruit, IMproPRieTies will simply note that Jeneane has news, good news, and is now at home here, where many will find her and request her help, not to bruit, but to make certain things known with Trinacrian fire, Czech wit, and Atlantean power. Welcome home, Jeneane.

Monday, November 07, 2005

8,000 Aspiring Supermodels Can't Be Wrong

After adjusting for medical inflation and using constant 2004 dollars, total federal spending on the safety net increased by only slightly more than one percent between 2001 and 2004. Because the number of uninsured grew by nearly 5 million people, federal spending actually decreased from $546 to $498 per uninsured person over this time - a decline of 8.9%.
mas: 1, 2, 3.

Courtesy of Don McCanne, whose healthcare Quote of the Day provides a daily antidote to Republican Kool Aid.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

doomed dialogue

locutor:"He who wishes to devote himself to painting must begin by cutting out his tongue." - h. matisse

interlocutor: Why?

Friday, November 04, 2005

FEMA :: the soylent mulching operation

A post entitled Supervised Exile gives us FEMA the Unspeakable:


FEMA is choosing the most difficult, most time-consuming, most labour-intensive, most expensive option imaginable for sheltering the former population of New Orleans. The option is geared toward depriving those rendered homeless by its staggeringly profitable "Operation Oopsydaisy" of access to employment, supermarkets, post-offices, schools, urban centers, and other people in the same straits, with shared interests in the rebuilding of New Orleans for their rehabitation.
Baker, La. - In the two months since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita swept the Gulf Coast, the federal government has spent almost $1.3 billion buying 95,151 travel-trailers to shelter evacuees - an effort many housing experts nationwide view as misguided and unnecessarily expensive.

The idea of purchasing tens of thousands of trailers and scattering them across four Southern states in parks, on driveways and in temporary trailer communities is a critical component of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's massive assistance plan for the Gulf Coast.

The bills for creating the first big trailer park, built along a dusty road in Baker, 90 miles from New Orleans, are coming in and they are eye-popping: $22 million to prepare the lots for 573 trailers. That is about $38,000 apiece, or more than twice the average price of each trailer.

Undeterred by the expense, FEMA is building 10 more trailer parks in the region, evaluating 79 potential sites and increasing its budget for park construction by hundreds of millions of dollars.

There are more costs to come. By building the trailer town in a remote Baton Rouge suburb, the government has cut off residents' access to everything from grocery stores to new jobs, meaning FEMA could be on the hook for their every need - from meal service to extensive bus transportation - for as long as New Orleans neighborhoods remain unlivable.

While life in the trailer park may be a relative improvement to emergency shelters, experts say the cramped 10-foot spaces between the trailers in Baker will soon become as claustrophobic as the shelters were. Crime will spike and domestic violence will rise, they say, as families remain out of work and helpless to improve their situations.
This is clearly not laziness - constructing body-soul-and society-destroying encampments of sardine cans in isolated locations when there is no need whatsoever for them, severing the survivors of the catastrophe from all avenues of contact with the rest of the nation's population, creating remote camps populated solely by despoiled people, traumatized, uprooted, disoriented, people who have no resources whatsoever, who have lost everything, who arrive with the clothes on their backs and nothing else. This unnecessarily costly and time consuming operation clearly does not reflect an "ideological" commitment to minimal government - a common rationale offered to account for the regime's more sinister policies - or a maniacal attachment to the dice throws of the market - an even more frequently accepted explanation. Neither can this be explained by a bureaucrat's lickpenny husbandry of public funds for diversion to Imperial projects.
"They may be calling them `transitional housing units,' but if these trailer parks were anywhere else in the world they would be called displaced-persons camps," said Susan Martin, director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration and Georgetown University's Certificate Program in Refugee and Humanitarian Emergencies.

Frank Toussard, 52, who has been living in a travel-trailer at Baker for a week with his wife and daughters, ages 8 and 11, said: "This is not a place where life gets back to normal."
- The San Jose Mercury

Within the paradigm which attributes Bush regime policy to a stew of "incompetence," "indifference to the poor," and "free market ideology," there is no explanation for these scattered concentration camps. They are an enigma. Another paradigm, of course, would relieve them of their mystery...


Oh, just read the whole thing.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

and no birds sang

In the introduction to Canaries in the Mineshaft, published in 2001, Renata Adler offered a scathing analysis of the shift in the New York Times from hard news based upon actual attribution of named sources to news porn lite, floating unattributed on the byline cred of boutique mannikin reporters like, to take an example chosen at random, Judith Miller.

Evidently by 2002, the canaries in the mineshaft between Cheney's bunker and the Times were too unhealthy to do much chirping, when this Smoking Gun hit the front page of the JuicePaper of Record on Sept. 8:
Hard-liners are alarmed that American intelligence underestimated the pace and scale of Iraq's nuclear program before Baghdad's defeat in the gulf war. Conscious of this lapse in the past, they argue that Washington dare not wait until analysts have found hard evidence that Mr. Hussein has acquired a nuclear weapon. The first sign of a ''smoking gun,'' they argue, may be a mushroom cloud.
And the first sign of a mushroom cloud may be a talk with Mr. Libby.

By the way,
  • The word "official" or "officials" is used 30 times in the course of this article (which contains 3400 + words), most often coupled with forms of the verb "to say."
  • Proper names including "Cheney," "Rove," "Libby" and "Chalabi," do not appear in the article.
  • The word "experts" appears seven times, usually with a form of "to say."
More here, here, here, here, here, here. Via Wealth Bondage.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Brown Nose

I swore off Michael Brown after it became public knowledge that he was a popinjay, but --
From the AP...23 pages of internal e-mail offering additional evidence of a confused and distracted government response, particularly from a Michael Brown, the former head of Federal Emergency Management Agency, at critical moments after the storm hit.

Brownie has outdone doing himself in. Not only was he by all accounts incompetent; he was also was a tad vain:

The e-mails show that Brown, who had been planning to step down from his post when the storm [Katrina] hit, was preoccupied with his image on television even as one of the first FEMA officials to arrive in New Orleans, Marty Bahamonde, was reporting a crisis situation of increasing chaos to FEMA officials.

Marty Bahamonde was the only FEMA official actually in New Orleans when the storm hit, and he might have been there by accident. But as the storm approached, he did his damnedest to get the attention of the Brown in Washington. The mind of Brownie had other things stuck to it, however:

"My eyes must certainly be deceiving me. You look fabulous - and I'm not talking the makeup," writes Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of public affairs to Brown on 7:10 a.m. local time on Aug. 29.

"I got it at Nordstroms," Brown writes back. "Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?" An hour later, Brown adds: "If you'll look at my lovely FEMA attire, you'll really vomit. I am a fashion god."
The most important thing about Brown, the reason he has become a vomit god in the eyes of the public, is that deep down, we all know that he is George W. Bush's Nose. It came off one day in church. Years later, it returned as the head of FEMA.

And it did a heck of a job.

Sen. Frist, alack, can't trust Sen. Reid

Legally, there are no significant differences between the investor fraud perpetrated by Enron CEO Ken Lay and the prewar intelligence fraud perpetrated by George W. Bush. Both involved persons in authority who used half-truths and recklessly false statements to manipulate people who trusted them. There is, however, a practical difference: The presidential fraud is wider in scope and far graver in its consequences than the Enron fraud. Yet thus far the public seems paralyzed.
Elizabeth de la Vega, a former federal prosecutor, looks at the legal case for indicting the administration for criminal conspiracy and fraud.

She concludes:
The evidence shows, then, that from early 2002 to at least March 2003, the President and his aides conspired to defraud the United States by intentionally misrepresenting intelligence about Iraq to persuade Congress to authorize force, thereby interfering with Congress's lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations, all of which violates Title 18, United States Code, Section 371
Whatever the merits of the ultimate case, is there an imaginable reason not to responsibly explore this line of questioning?

Afternote: Just spotted this: "for the sake of democracy, as well as for our standing in the world, we need to show that we think lying to get us into a war is a more serious offense than lying about blow jobs." David Weinberger.