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Ten Best Smoking Gun Stories of 2002

Shift‘s profile of The Smoking Gun mentioned a number of great scoops the guys have put together over the years, but they’re only a taste of what the site has to offer — mere appetizers to fuel your hunger for dishes marinated in eau de political scandal and smothered in creamy, steamy celebrity hypocrisy sauces. So just in case you haven’t been logging on to The Smoking Gun on a near-daily basis like all of us in the Shift office, here’s a collection of the best stories from the past year.” [Be sure to browse through no. 3, the collected concert contract riders and mug shots of the stars.] [thanks, Walker]

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Richard Milhaus W. Bush

“Richard Milhous Nixon set an infamous standard for spying on Americans and abusing the powers of the Presidency. But Nixon wouldn’t have dared dream of the sweeping authority being claimed by George W. Bush.

Now, the Bush administration has on the drawing board at a top Pentagon research agency plans that would open America to an Orwellian future. Bush, who sees those not with him as with the terrorists, will soon have the means, motive and opportunity to make the domestic spying of the Nixon era look quaint.” The Consortium

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Trapped by the USA

Trapped by the USA

When the United States attacks Iraq, Israel will be the country most immediately placed under direct threat, not the USA. Already, the Israeli minister of security has informed Israeli citizens that, in case of war, “we are expected to be the victims.” Israeli newspapers report plans to evacuate the metropolitan area of Tel Aviv, and to transform parks and stadiums into temporary mass graves.

Yet, Israelis seem unable to express their vital interest against a war with Iraq. Why have Israelis adopted a passive mood of “expected catastrophe”? Why do many Israelis believe that the violent policies the United States is practicing in the Middle East will actually reduce the dangers to Israel in the future, instead of increase them? Tikkun

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Little lights

Marge Piercy:

 Tonight I light the first candle

on the chanukiya by the window
and then a second in the bathtub,
the yahrzeit candle for your death. [more]

Tikkun

…Happy Chanukah to you and yours.

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Exchanging Discs for Disks:

The art of spinning discs will finally be consigned to BBC history as Radio 1 DJs become “hardware controllers” in a technological revolution.

The tricky business of cueing up “poptastic” sounds while engaging in banter will no longer trouble the station’s presenters as, from next year, all its music will be stored on a digital hard disk.

Does this indicate that British usage reflects a consensus about the distinction between ‘discs’ and ‘disks’ all readers will appreciate? In any case, here comes perhaps the saddest aspect of this change:

But the high-tech revolution will remove once and for all the possibility of a DJ placing a favourite track on continuous repeat or smashing an offensive record on air. Times of London

I wonder whether this would be news at all in the US or if it is a foregone development given the greater penetration of homogenized corporate playlists in US radio.

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Richard Milhaus W. Bush

“Richard Milhous Nixon set an infamous standard for spying on Americans and abusing the powers of the Presidency. But Nixon wouldn’t have dared dream of the sweeping authority being claimed by George W. Bush.

Now, the Bush administration has on the drawing board at a top Pentagon research agency plans that would open America to an Orwellian future. Bush, who sees those not with him as with the terrorists, will soon have the means, motive and opportunity to make the domestic spying of the Nixon era look quaint.” The Consortium