Lumpin’ proletariat:

Jon Udell, who runs Radio UserLand, is big on RSS aggregators, as he explains in this Byte magazine piece. And, for your newsreading edification, this list of RSS aggregators is cribbed from his weblog:

Here are a few more I’ve found in my travels:

A chart comparing the attributes of several of these can be found here. Very useful information about RSS, reading and creating feeds, etc. is compiled here.

Slouching toward Baghdad:

This chart exploring the possible scenarios proceeding from the coming invasion of Iraq, from uggabugga, is being broadly linked to (and stressing out ugga’s server to no end, apparently..). It pretty much says it all, with tongue strongly restrained by cheekwall.


From uggabugga:

‘There has been some commentary following Bush’s apparent failure to recall the familiar expression: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

This brings to mind the whole set of malapropisms by the President – commonly referred to as Bushisms. These Bushisms haven’t been analyzed in any thorough manner, so we decided to take a look at the current set, and see if there was a pattern. There is…’

Pick hit of the day:

Bach: Goldberg Variations (recorded 1955 and 1981) by Glenn Gould have bee re-released in a gorgeous and essential 3-CD set to mark this month’s 70th anniversary of his birth and 20th anniversary of his death —

Glenn Gould’s extraordinary career was bracketed by the Goldberg Variations. It was his first recording of the work, in 1955, that established Gould as a pianistic force of exceptional gifts, while the second studio version he made in 1981 (there is also a Salzburg festival performance from 1957) proved to be his last visit to the recording studio; it was released in September the following year, just days before his sudden death at the age of 50. In the subsequent 20 years, Gould’s reputation and stature as one of the most important pianists of the 20th century have been maintained, and these two recordings especially have achieved near legendary status.

Reissued together now to mark the 20th anniversary of his death, the two recordings of the Goldberg Variations provide a fascinating comparison. The earlier one has been scrupulously remastered for the new album, and sounds more lifelike and immediate than ever before. The set also includes a disc of outtakes from the 1955 sessions as well as an interview Gould gave in 1982, in which he discussed the differences between the two performances. The most startling contrast is in the sheer length of the performances. In 1955 Gould got through the work in 38 minutes, while in 1981 he took 51; in the later account he does observe some repeats (there were none in 1955), but there is also a broadness, a sense of contemplation in a work that clearly meant more to him than any other. Guardian UK

Nation of Sheep Dept (cont’d):

Travelers would trade privacy for shorter lines:

In a poll of frequent business fliers, the overwhelming majority said they would welcome more intrusive personal identification technology if it streamlined airport security check-in. The poll was commissioned by Johnson Controls.

About three-fourths of the frequent air travelers polled said they would be “extremely” or “very” willing to undergo a fingerprint scan at the airport if it helped streamline and shorten flight check-in time. Nearly two-thirds were just as willing to undergo an iris or facial recognition scan. And 61 percent said they were extremely or very willing to use a national ID card with thumbprint.

The poll’s release follows recent relevant testimony from James Loy, acting head of the Transportation Security Administration. Before a Senate committee last week, Loy voiced support for the creation of a “trusted traveler” program to reduce airport security waits for frequent business fliers. The proposed program would involve voluntary, in-depth background checks for frequent travelers who would then receive a badge embedded with some type of personal identification technology and become part of a registered traveler database.

Johnson Controls, of course, has a vested interest

in the broad adoption of such technologies…

Deconstructing ‘The Sopranos’

Five books about The Sopranos considered:

“Maybe higher education isn’t such a good idea after all. The fourth season of The Sopranos is finally here, and professors of various stripes are having a go at explicating the first three seasons. Literary critics and historians, neo-Marxists and theoretical feminists, postmodernists and pre-post-post-structuralists are scrambling to stake their claims to David Chase’s series. The name-dropping in these books borders on the felonious — why stop at Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese when Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin are available? — but unfortunately the RICO statute doesn’t yet apply to the academic racket.” NY Times

Recall last week’s discussion here of whether readers should take my multiple postings about Wilco as an indication of my own tastes? Well, I’ll short-circuit any similar speculation about my fondness for Sopranos blinks by making it explicit that, yes, they signify my fondness for the show. One of the reasons, of course, is my endless fascination with the pivotal role a psychotherapeutic relationship plays in a popular TV show. While I do think it is about the most responsible portrayal of psychiatric treatment I’ve seen in the popular media, that doesn’t make it problem-free… There’s also that giddy, somewhat delectable dissonant experience of feeling empathetic toward and invested in a mobster as an audience member, which of course parallels the supportive and empathetic stance one struggles to maintain toward whomever one is treating as a psychotherapist.

Of course, self-described ‘conservative’ columnists such as Suzanne Fields would have a different take on my appreciation of the show:

It has been widely remarked that the Sopranos are a 1950s family with a ’50s family sensibilities, reflecting a traditional reference point for right and wrong. But if the microcosm resides in hearth and home, the macrocosm is hell on earth. The Mob follows a vicious immoral code and the lead characters resemble Satan, Moloch and Belial, the fallen angels in Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” who seek ways to attempt to wreak vengeance against God.

William F. Buckley argues that the popularity of “The Sopranos” depends on the degeneration of its audience, but this, I think, ignores the way the series raises legitimate questions about the nature of evil and its seductive qualities. If we sometimes find ourselves in sympathy with vile criminals, we’re confronted with our own gullibility and susceptibility to behavior we know is wrong. These gangsters aren’t “role models.” Nobody in his right mind would want to be in Tony Soprano’s shoes.

[Does anyone, by the way, have a reference for the Buckley observation? FmH]

Addendum: Here

it is

Readying for War:

“U.S. pilots patrolling the skies over Iraq are taking a new approach to defending themselves against Iraqi gunners by striking at the command and communications links in Iraq’s air defense system rather than its guns and radar, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday.

The switch, which Rumsfeld said he ordered more than a month ago, is designed to do more long-lasting damage to Iraq’s ability to shoot down the American and British pilots whose fighter jets have been patrolling “no-fly” zones over northern and southern Iraq for 11 years.” Washington Post

Russia demands to see US proof over Saddam Hussein


“Russia says it won’t support military action against Iraq unless the US shows enough evidence that Saddam Hussein is a threat.” Ananova

Bush plans first strike against any foreign foe

: ‘U.S. President George W. Bush unrolled a sweeping blueprint for global supremacy yesterday, vowing to wage military, economic and ideological battles around the world to destroy terrorist threats and promote U.S. values.

In a report to Congress, Mr. Bush said the United States is prepared to launch pre-emptive military strikes against security threats even when they are not imminent, and will not shrink from “compelling” others to fall in line.’ Globe and Mail

The Legality of Using Force

Bruce Ackerman, professor of law and political science at Yale: ‘As Congress confronts the prospect of war, it should consider some constitutional fundamentals. The Bush administration would have us believe that international law contains only ambiguous or advisory requirements. In fact, the United Nations Charter was ratified as a treaty by the Senate after World War II, and the Constitution explicitly makes all treaties “the supreme law of the land.”

The president has no power to pick and choose among the laws that bind him — unless Congress tells him otherwise. This is what makes the precise terms of any Congressional authorization for war against Iraq so important. According to judicial precedents, treaties like the United Nations Charter can be trumped only by subsequent legislation. The Charter would lose its status as governing domestic law if Congress explicitly authorizes the president to make war in violation of its terms.’ NY Times op-ed

More Sci- Than Fi, Physicists Create Antimatter

“Physicists working in Europe announced yesterday that they had passed through nature’s looking glass and had created atoms made of antimatter, or antiatoms, opening up the possibility of experiments in a realm once reserved for science fiction writers. Such experiments, theorists say, could test some of the basic tenets of modern physics and light the way to a deeper understanding of nature.” NY Times

The Vision Thing

Paul Krugman: “This is the way the recovery ends — not with a bang but with a whimper. O.K., I could be wrong. Industrial production is falling and layoffs are rising. But it’s still not a sure thing that the months ahead will be bad enough for the business-cycle referees to declare a renewed recession. And on the other hand, the administration seems determined to have a bang sometime before Nov. 5.But right now it looks as if the economy is stalling, and also as if the people in charge have no idea what to do. In short, it’s feeling a lot like the early 1990’s.” NY Times op-ed

But who’s noticing? G.O.P. Gains From War Talk but Does Not Talk About It: “Republican Party officials say the prospect of weeks of Congressional debate on Iraq is letting them block Democrats from using domestic concerns as campaign issues.” NY Times

Mr. Fox Goes to Washington:

TV show set to select a presidential candidate:

“…Applications will be accepted from naturalized U.S. citizens who will be 35 years old by January 20, 2005. The candidates must produce a petition signed by 50 supporters.

A panel of experts will choose 100 semifinalists, two from each state, who will be introduced to viewers in the series’ first episode.

Episodes will be broadcast live from locations like Mount Rushmore, Gettysburg and the Statue of Liberty, where the candidates will compete with such things as debates and stump speeches. Viewers will gradually eliminate candidates…

The series will begin in early 2004 and culminate around July 4 with a live show at The Mall in Washington, D.C., where viewers will choose their favorite candidate for president.

FX has no idea whether the winner will then actually run for president.” CNN

Likening Bush to Hitler:

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder apologized to President Bush yesterday for the offense caused by a report that his justice minister had compared Bush’s methods to Hitler’s.

The election-eve report in a regional daily angered a US administration already upset about the center-left chancellor’s voluble, and highly popular, opposition to a possible US-led war on Iraq.

Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-

Gmelin tried to calm the trans-Atlantic dispute yesterday by denying the report, but reporters pressed her for more than an hour on what appeared to be not only a breach of a German political taboo, but an affront to Germany’s ally. Boston Globe