synthetic zero


September 29, 2005

Please note the schedule change: the next Synthetic Zero loft event will not be this Sunday, October 2, but will rather be Wednesday, October 5, 6pm-10pm, and Saturday, October 8, 5pm-9pm. Also: there will be an art exhibit, curated by Laura Napier, at the Mott Haven branch of the New York Public Library, half a block away at Alexander Ave. and 140th; the opening is Saturday, October 8, 2pm - 5pm, so you can check that out first then come over. Please tell your friends!

September 28, 2005

Andrew Sullivan draws attention to the awful case of Captain Ian Fishback. Captain Fishback has been concerned about widespread abuse of Iraqi detainees, and as reward for his efforts to try to get to the bottom of this, he has been harrassed and subjected to interrogation by the Army, and he been cut off from people. Reports have it that Rumsfeld has taken a personal interest in the case, reportedly saying "Either break him or destroy him, and do it quickly." Captain Fishback's words in his letter to Senator John McCain really stand out: "I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is 'America.'" It's unspeakable what they are doing to this man. It's a national outrage --- outrage upon outrage, this Administration has crossed all the boundaries, it's hard to know how to continue to be outraged. Yet they still seem to provide us with ample reason to be outraged again and even more so.

September 23, 2005

Dreams and waking life at McBickle Eyes The Transom, well worth a read.

Via betty ray, the endlessly amusing Grow Cube (and other games).

September 15, 2005

Sometimes I can be really, really, really stupid and then dig myself deeper until there's nothing left to do but give up and try maybe to do something that makes up for the stupidity, just a little. Yet, when you do something really stupid, and inadvertently hurt someone's feelings, it's difficult to ameliorate things in a way that would really just be a pure expression of a desire to help mend the error. I rarely if ever mean to hurt someone's feelings, but the fact that it is nearly impossible for anyone to hurt my feelings means that I tend to forget how carefully I need to take care of other people when I speak and flail around. I am not invulnerable, but I am hard to hurt --- which is not to say I like hurting others, but I sometimes assume they are not as easily hurt as they actually are. I forget this, like Superman trying to have sex with Lois Lane --- recipie for potential disaster. What to do but apologize and accept the consequences and try to be more careful the next time?

Of course, nothing I have done could ever come close to the crassness of Positronic Industries. They have belatedly reversed their decision, yet still have the nerve to say "We still have a strong, strong sentiment among employees that our action was correct." God in heaven.

Heather reminds us that the situation in New Orleans for pets is grave.

September 12, 2005

I've been reading hurricane accounts in great depth over the last several days. It's fairly clear that blame for the disaster rests with all levels of government --- however, it is the Federal failure that is the most significant, for the simple reason that, had they had their act together, most of the problems at the state and local level could have been alleviated or mitigated significantly. Furthermore, a lot of the failures at the state and local level would have been significantly less bad had FEMA been doing its job of helping state and local officials plan --- funding for which was cut significantly every year Bush has been in office --- inexplicable in times like these.

Belle Waring's list of whose to blame, in reverse order of level of culpability. Criticism of Bush and the Federal government has come not only from the left, but also from the right; the ordinarily execrable Robert Novak excoriates the Bush Administration's failure, Belgravia Dispatch continues to take them to task, and even Trent Lott has harsh words for FEMA.

My friend Heather is calling for people to raise their awareness of the plight of stranded and starving pets in New Orleans.

Please consider donating to DonorsChoose if you would like to help Katrina victims --- the nonprofit I am working for has gotten teachers from the areas DonorsChoose serves to come up with projects to aid students and teachers in hurricane affected areas. As it happens (unrelated to Katrina) DonorsChoose is also in a competition with nine other nonprofits and if we raise more money than the other nine, Amazon will match every donation made through its website, thus potentially doubling the impact of your donation.

September 2, 2005

I am angry, so angry at the tragedy of lost life and suffering and destruction in New Orleans... and this anger is even greater because the Bush Administration slashed funding for levee repairs, and instead spent it on the war in Iraq and the homeland security department. Further, one of the levee breaches was in a section that had been rebuilt but had not yet been reinforced --- the delay due to budget cuts. As one article put it:

The Newhouse News Service article published Tuesday night observed, "The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. ... In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need."
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration gutted FEMA as well. Last year, the Baltimore Citypaper wrote an article on how low FEMA had fallen:
...former FEMA director James Lee Witt recently restated it in strong terms. "I am extremely concerned that the ability of our nation to prepare for and respond to disasters has been sharply eroded," he testified at a March 24, 2004, hearing on Capitol Hill. "I hear from emergency managers, local and state leaders, and first responders nearly every day that the FEMA they knew and worked well with has now disappeared. In fact, one state emergency manager told me, 'It is like a stake has been driven into the heart of emergency management.'"
I am furious. These arrogant, shameless, incompetent assholes have wreaked havoc on the nation and the consequences are only beginning to roll in. It's nearly beyond belief, but at this point it's difficult to be surprised by the depraved destructiveness of these smirking, self-satisfied morons.