It's Not My Fault!

I think I've managed to trace the problem. NTL is doing funny things with their transparent proxy servers at the moment, and they're mangling all HTTP POST requests, thus making it impossible to update the weblog. I've switched to another proxy server, and so far it seems to be working.

More later…

currently playing: Tori Amos - Silent All These Years

I Give Up

Something's not working right. But I'm too tired to try and look into it any further tonight. The Electric interweb is rusty at the moment...

All Music, All The Time

Except, of course, for the fifteen minute advert breaks.

Liz Phair responds to the NYTimes review of her latest album. Genius, or a further indication that she's completely lost the plot?

The British Phonographic Industry threatens to follow the RIAA's lead and sue P2P users. Meanwhile, there's renewed interest in the anonymous Freenet Project. This next-generation P2P platform is designed to allow untraceable filesharing. Oh, and it works.

Officially endorsed R.E.M. and U2 trading posts, collecting hundreds of live recordings.

Cat Stevens is slightly better off as of last weekend, as EMI settles a lawsuit over similarities between his "Father and Son" and The Flaming Lips' "Fight Test".

In other news, I'm grateful to Apple for giving me lots of warnings about installing Panther. I've decided to wait until the official release comes out, as the Preview can't be upgraded to the final version. That's probably not a good idea. I can wait. Honest.

In further other news, my face appears to be peeling off.

  • I will wear sunscreen in future.
  • I will wear sunscreen in future.
  • I will wear sunscreen in future.
  • I will wear sunscreen in future.
  • I will wear sunscreen in future

currently playing: Radiohead - Knives Out

Devious Technology

You have to give the record industry some credit. Orrin Hatch recently spoke about destroying the computers of people who break copyright laws. The industry is way ahead of him on this; copies of Tubular Bells 2003 are reported to be destroying CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and DVD drives. Nice. Why can't this technology be applied for good? If only all the copies of Fast Food Rockers CDs were similarly inflicted…

Okay, so that's the depressing news. To compensate, I present: THE GREATEST PRINTER IN ALL RECORDED HISTORY. I have to admit that it sounds a little far-fetched, but it looks really cool. I hope they're producing a henna ink-cartridge - instant henna tattoos!

Finally, in case you need a laugh, have a read of the latest RSS Wars. Yes, even software developers act like four-year-olds who take their toys home when things don't go their way.

currently playing: Brassy - Play Some D

Weird? Me?

Okay, so I dreamed I had pizza at McSweeney's last night. Eating foodstuffs at imaginary restaurants based on a literary magazine. Is that weird?

I should just stop talking now, right?

currently playing: Longpigs - Far

Domo-Kun!

Domo-Kun! Domo-Kun! Domo-Kun!

currently playing: The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

New Music Friday

Well, new in the sense that you may not have heard them before.

Cat Power - Wonderwall

Chan Marshall does her deconstruction thing on Oasis. As a free bonus, the MP3 includes John Peel (i.e. I couldn't be bothered to edit it down).

Neko Case - Porchlight

Ooh.

Lauren Laverne - Mexico

Sigh. Could somebody get this girl back into a recording studio, and away from cheaply-made TV programmes? Thanks.

Mos Def - Travelling Man

Because rap isn't all about gangsters and money.

Shonen Knife - Daydream Believer

Bouncy! Japanese! Monkees!

currently playing: R.E.M. - Cuyahoga

Random Linkage

RIAA to make criminals of almost every student in America. We'll accept asylum applications in the Fall…

One of those poor record labels releases KRS-One's album, despite the fact he hasn't finished it yet.

Glastonbury webcam. I'll be watching it on BBC3.

UK Government accuses the BBC of lying. The BBC tells the Government what it can do with its demands.

Chris Evans is described as "petulant and given to sulking and walking away from situations whenever he considers himself thwarted", by a High Court Judge today, after finding against him in a £8m claim for damages.

The US Supreme Court strikes down Texas's anti-sodomy statute. Justice Scalia gets bonus points for referring to the "homosexual agenda". This man will most likely be Chief Justice when Rehnquist retires, everybody.

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf turns himself in to American forces in Iraq. A TV series awaits…

UPDATE: The Supreme Court kicks further ass. Nike can be sued for false advertising over a publicity campaign to defend itself against accusations that Asian sweatshops made its footwear.

currently playing: Sebadoh - Flame

No News Today

The next Pixar film: The Invincibles The Incredibles. Out in November 2004 (unless you live outside the US, in which case, I'd suggest you start reserving seats for February 2005).

Yes, I know that making fun of Scientology is like shooting fat fish in a small barrel, but this promotional leaflet from the 1970s is hilarious. My favourite part is when they talk about the Locational Assist Technique (yes! You can give people directions! And guide them when they're drunk!). Genius.

(link found via jwz)

How to know that you've been assimilated into the Cult of Mac: you spend far too much time hitting reload during Steve Jobs's keynote address, wanting to find out just exactly what features will be in the necessary $129 upgrade in the Autumn. I have crossed over to the dark side, my friends. Expect the black turtleneck jumpers soon. Oh, and when I go back to Chapel Hill in October, can people please keep me away from the Apple Store? For my own safety? Thanks.

currently playing: Nick Cave - Bring It On

Exhuming McCarthy

From http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/senate/senate12cp107.html:
Gen. Telford Taylor, an American prosecutor at Nuremberg, charged McCarthy with conducting "a new and indefensible kind of hearing, which is neither a public hearing nor an executive session." In Taylor's view, the closed sessions were a device that enabled the chairman to tell newspapers whatever he saw fit about what happened, without giving witnesses a chance to defend themselves or reporters a chance to check the accuracy of the accusations.

McCarthy and his staff also called hearings on short notice, and often outside of Washington, which prevented the other Republican senators from attending. Senators Everett Dirksen and Charles Potter occasionally sent staff members to represent them (and at times to interrogate witnesses). By operating so often as a "one-man committee,'' Senator McCarthy gave witnesses the impression, as Harvard law school dean Erwin Griswold observed, that they were facing a "judge, jury, prosecutor, castigator, and press agent, all in one".

Theoretically the committee, rather than the chairman, issued subpoenas, Army Counsel John G. Adams noted. "But McCarthy ignored the Senate rule that required a vote of the other members every time he wanted to haul someone in.He signed scores of blank subpoenas which his staff members carried in their inside pockets, and issued as regularly as traffic tickets.'' Witnesses repeatedly complained that subpoenas to appear were served on them just before the hearings, either the night before or the morning of, making it hard for them to obtain legal representation. Even if they obtained a lawyer, the senator would not permit attorneys to raise objections or to talk for the witness. Normally, a quorum of at least one-third of the committee or subcommittee members was needed to take sworn testimony, although a single senator could hold hearings if authorized by the committee. The rules did not bar "one-man hearings,'' because senators often came and went during a committee hearing and committee business could come to a halt if a minimum number of senators were required to hold a hearing.

If witnesses refused to cooperate, the chairman threatened them with indictment and incarceration. At the end of his first year as chairman, he advised one witness: " During the course of these hearings, I think up to this time we have some--this is just a rough guess--twenty cases we submitted to the grand jury, either for perjury or for contempt before this committee. Do not just assume that your name was pulled out of a hat. Before you were brought here, we make a fairly thorough and complete investigation. So I would like to strongly advise you to either tell the truth or, if you think the truth will incriminate you, then you are entitled to refuse to answer. I cannot urge that upon you too strongly. I have given that advice to other people here before the committee. They thought they were smarter than our investigators. They will end up in jail. This is not a threat; this is just friendly advice I am giving you. Do you understand that?'' In the end, however, no witness who appeared before the subcommittee during his chairmanship was imprisoned for perjury, contempt, espionage, or subversion. Several witnesses were tried for contempt, and some were convicted, but each case was overturned on appeal

In 1950, Senator McCarthy denounced "those Communists and queers who have sold 400 million Asiatic people into atheistic slavery and have American people in a hypnotic trance, headed blindly toward the same precipice.''

If witnesses disagreed on the facts, someone had to be lying. The Fort Monmouth investigation, for instance, had been spurred by reports of information from the Army Signal Corps laboratories turning up in Eastern Europe. Since Julius Rosenberg had worked at Fort Monmouth, McCarthy and Cohn were convinced that other Communist sympathizers were still supplying secrets to the enemy. But the Soviet Union had been an ally during the Second World War, and during that time had openly designated representatives at the laboratories, making espionage there superfluous. Nevertheless, McCarthy's pursuit of a spy ring caused officials at Fort Monmouth to suspend forty-two civilian employees. After the investigations, all but two were reinstated in their former jobs.

In July 1954, Vermont Republican Senator Ralph Flanders introduced a resolution calling for the censure of Senator Joseph R. McCarthy for conduct unbecoming a senator. The resolution was referred to a select committee chaired by Utah Republican Senator Arthur Watkins. In September, after the Senate had recessed, the Watkins committee issued a report recommending the senator's censure. Following the November congressional elections, when Democrats won narrow majorities in both the Senate and House, the Senate returned in a lame duck session to debate the Watkins report and vote on censure. Friends from both parties appealed to Senator McCarthy to avoid censure by apologizing for his conduct, but he would hear none of it. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted 67 to 22 to condemn McCarthy's conduct for having been "contrary to senatorial tradition.''

Yes, Ann. The man was a hero. As ever, you miss the point. Yes, there were Communists in the USA during the 1950s. Yes, there were spies. The reason why McCarthy is justly vilified is not because he tried to find spies, but due to the methods he used; the browbeating of witnesses, testimonies taken contrary to Congressional rules, shoddy investigations, and blatant scaremongering to try and drum up public support for his witch hunt. Your President recently railed against the idea of 'revisionist history', so perhaps you might want to turn your focus onto subjects more worthy of your attention, like, say, Tom DeLay's dubious attempts to redistrict Texas, the embarrassing lack of WMDs, or the increasingly Vietnam-like conditions around Baghdad and Basra? Just a thought.

currently playing: Wilco - I am trying to break your heart