Saturday, July 17, 2004

To Sir, With Love

LONDON (Reuters) - Tim Berners-Lee, the London-born scientist who
invented the World Wide Web, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on

He received the knighthood in recognition of his services to the
development of the Internet through the invention of the Web, a system
to organize, link and browse pages on the Internet.

Berners-Lee never cashed in on his invention, instead opting to work as
an academic in the United States and run the not-for-profitindustry
standards-setting body the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

He used the occasion to thank fellow Web collaborators.

"Everyone in the Internet community should be recognized by this
honor," he said in a statement released through the W3C.

"As the technology becomes even more powerful and available, using more
kinds of devices, I hope we learn how to use it as a medium
for working together, and resolving misunderstandings on every scale."

And thank you, sir!

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web
Sir Tim did not try to make money out of his invention

Famously modest, he said he had just been "in the right place at the right time" and did not want his photo taken.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Martha gets prison time for one little lie that cost pennies.

Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz walk around free men. How many have died for their enormous lies?

In the middle of the night ...

Miami has the largest foreign-born population of any city in the world, a United Nations report says.

Some 59% of people in the city were not born in the US, the UN Development Programme report said.

The city is home to many Cubans, as well as migrants from the Caribbean and South America.

The report said Canada's Toronto had the second-highest proportion of foreign-born citizens (44%), while Los Angeles was a close third with 41%.

Another two North American cities - Canada's Vancouver (37%) and New York (36%) - made it into the top five, the report said.

Outside North America, the town-state of Singapore scored highest (33%), followed by Australia's Sydney (31%), Abidjan (30%) in Ivory Coast, London (28%) and Paris (23%).

The report said that due to globalisation, numbers of migrants had soared in the last decade, particularly in high-income countries in Europe and North America, and in Australia.

It said some people felt their identity was being threatened by so many foreigners, and it urged the promotion of cultural diversity as the key to development and stability.

Why is it that new faces everywhere, even if they aren't foreign born, threaten some small group of natives' sense of identity? Here in Mapleberry, there is this knot of people who are so totally invested in the ridiculous idea that "newcomers" are somehow not equal to "long-timers," and all the backward politics that goes with that. There's a chilling cautionary tale in today's Guardian about the persecution of newcomers on the Isle of Lewis. They were rounded up in the middle of the night and charged with being child-abusing Satan worshippers. You can read all about it here:


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Suddenly it seems everybody is waking up all at once.

Tony Blair's Labour Party Loses Parliamentary Seat to Anti-War Party in Special Election

The Associated Press

LONDON July 15, 2004 — Prime Minister Tony Blair's governing Labour Party lost a parliamentary seat to an anti-war party and narrowly avoided defeat, according to vote results Friday.

The result is a further blow for Blair, whose popularity has slumped since the Iraq war. Labour fared terribly in local council and European Parliament elections last month and some in the party question whether Blair, once their most prized electoral asset, has become a liability.

The Liberal Democrats, who strongly opposed the war in Iraq, finished first in Thursday's balloting with 10,274 votes in Leicester, a city in central England with a high Muslim population. Labour was second with 8,620 votes and the Conservative Party had 5,796. Labour narrowly held onto another parliamentary seat, in the nearby city of Birmingham.

The two by-elections followed the publication Wednesday of a report exposing widespread British intelligence failures on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The new Liberal Democrat lawmaker for the Leicester South constituency, Parmjit Singh Gill, said voters had given their verdict on the war.

"The claims about weapons of mass destruction were exaggerated," he said in his victory speech. "The justification which Tony Blair gave for backing George Bush was wrong. Their message is that the prime minister has abused and lost their trust."

Storm Clouds to the South

People will talk and they are talking openly about getting Jim McGreevey to resign or replacing him as the candidate in the next gubernatorial race. (Call girls to the left of me, beach boys to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you, and I don't know what it is I can do. . .).

The party leadership knows what it wants to do. Call Jon Corzine. Steve Kornacki reports on NJPolitics.com: "Corzine plainly wants the job. Those close to him say he is preparing to run -- in 2009. That’s the politically correct line, since McGreevey would presumably be wrapping up his second term then. Corzine himself has ruled out a primary challenge to McGreevey next year. . . But if the heads of the state’s various Democratic fiefdoms came together and asked McGreevey to step aside, Corzine might not need a primary to replace McGreevey. Or, under that scenario, he could simply go back on his word and force a primary. With so much organizational support behind him, he’d probably be favored to beat McGreevey anyway."

And if that doesn't work, surely the one thing the state Democratic party is good at is parachuting in winning candidates at the last minute!

Back here in Mapleberry, rain clouds gather but not in time to dampen this week's issue of the News-Record, hot off presses with Round III of Bette White vs Fred Profeta slugfest! Looks like Fred Profeta organized a whole gang of writers to back him up this week, most of whom come across as if they're auditioning for the role of baton-twirling cops at the (possible) new police site: "OK, keep moving, folks. Show's over. Nothin' more to talk about. Let's just move it along."

Last word (for now) went to Carol Buchanan of the Hilton Neighborhood Association, who termed last week's White-site spear-carrier Alison Ziefert "insulting" and "arrogant" for asserting (without evidence) that the Hilton organization was bullied by the former mayor into voting against the Bette White site. "I think people who feel strongly about issues and actively perservere to achieve what they believe is best for the township should not be discouraged or considered suspect," she said pointedly to Wannabe TC Member Ziefert.

And this just in from out-of-work spies (and aren't there a lot these days?):

Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being
sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an
ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of
criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there,
and higher."

Who was it again who ought to resign?

Good Morning Mapleberry!

I'm going to be guest blogging for curmudgeon while he's off enacting democracy and other social goods in America's heartland. In a minute, I'll be off myself to catch some of this rare sunshine, but generally speaking I'm a 3-dot-'round-the-clock blogger, so stay tuned . . . Speaking of democracy, later in the day we'll be poring over the Letters to the Editor section of the News Record (hmmmm . . . anybody we know sounding off this week?) In the meantime, if you're feeling lonely, this might be the reason why: The Washington Post reports this morning that the coalition of the willing is shrinking by the day in Iraq, with four gone, four going, and the rest ostentatiously looking at their wristwatches. As Bush's Mama so often laments, you just can't get good help these days.

Speaking of the Bushes, Whoopi Goldberg got fired by Slim-Fast for her political remarks. (Are only Republicans fat?) And in case you missed it, here's what The Donald had to say yesterday about our Apprentice Wannabe President and his imperial war:

"What was the purpose of the whole thing? Hundreds and hundreds of young people killed. And what about the people coming back with no arms and no legs? Not to mention the other side. All those Iraqi kids who've been blown to pieces. And it turns out that all of the reasons for the war were blatantly wrong. All this for nothing!"

George, you're fired!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Remember that booming economy we were promised?

Thanks to Bush administration cheerleading (or was it arm-twisting?), the SCLM did try to convince us that the economy was on a huge upswing, but the numbers are bringing all but the most loyal acolytes back down to earth.

(via WaPo)
America's shoppers had a tight grip on their pocketbooks and wallets in June, dropping sales at the nation's retailers by 1.1 percent. It was the largest decline in 16 months.

The buying retreat, reported Wednesday by the Commerce Department, came after shoppers had splurged in May. In that month, they pushed merchants' sales up by a strong 1.4 percent, a showing that was even better than first estimated a month ago.

Bad weather and the lingering effects of high energy prices were blamed for the pullback, economists said. Another possible factor: a slowdown in the growth of the nation's payrolls in June. The economy added a net 112,000 jobs last month, less than half of the amount that economists had forecast.

The 1.1 percent drop in retail sales was the largest since February 2003, when sales fell by the same amount. June's decline was shaper than the 0.7 percent drop that some economists were predicting.


Dubya is still speechifying that he saved us from the horrible threat that Saddam Hussein posed. And it's still bullshit (or BUllSHit, as some bumperstickers have it). We could have made ourselves safer by really pursuing al-Quaeda in Afghanistan, but instead we're now swimming in more dangerous waters than at any time since 9/11. Juan Cole analyzes this nicely.
' The dictator in Iraq had the "capability of producing weapons of mass murder. And now, the dictator is a threat to nobody, and the American people are safer." '

Bush must think we are a nation of retards if he believes we will buy this language of Saddam having the "capability" to produce weapons of mass destruction. All countries have the "capability." The point is that Iraq had given up its WMD programs and destroyed the stockpiles. The US was not in any danger from Iraq, and so cannot be safer because it was invaded.

Worse, the American invasion of Iraq is a major recruitment poster for al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda's message was that the Americans are coming to Muslim lands. 'They will invade your countries, expropriate your property, rape your women, and humiliate your men,' al-Qaeda screams. What does Bush do? He proves al-Qaeda right. More angry young Arab men are ready to fight the United States now than ever before. Bush is less popular than Bin Laden in most Muslim countries according to polls.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

This sounds like a really BAD old Private Eye movie
(via PoliticsNJ)

Federal prosecutors are prosecuting developer Charles Kushner, a major fundraiser for Gov. James E. McGreevey and other Democratic candidates, on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of a federal investigation and interstate promotion of prostitution. Kushner is accused of hiring a call girl to have sex with a cooperating witness and videotaping the encounter in an effort to blackmail witness.

Monday, July 12, 2004

The AP was in town on Saturday
N.J. Same-Sex Couples Register for Domestic Partnerships on First Day of Law

By Krista Larson Associated Press Writer
Published: Jul 10, 2004

MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (AP) - Hundreds of same-sex couples gathered to register domestic partnerships on Saturday, the first day of a new law in New Jersey that gives gay partners some of the same rights as married couples.

More than 200 people attended a morning ceremony marking the law going into effect. Many arrived hours early, sitting on the municipal building's steps or on lawn chairs while filling out domestic partnership applications.

"This is a very great day in New Jersey's civil rights history," said Mayor Fred Profeta. "The civil rights achieved today are very important - don't anyone doubt that."

Some 40 applications, which attest to the signers being domestic partners, had been handed out as of 9:30 a.m. After completing the paperwork, couples planned to draw numbers to determine their place in a line to receive notarization.

Cathy Schenone arrived at 7:30 a.m. with her partner, Michele Tollefson, 46.

"It kind of validates that we've been together 10 years and deserve the same rights as everyone else," said Schenone, 40, of Wanaque.

The domestic partnership law, passed in January, grants some legal rights to registered couples, including the ability to make medical decisions for each other.

It allows partners to have some joint rights in filing state taxes, to be exempt from state inheritance taxes in the case of a partner's death and to extend the benefits given to state employees to cover domestic partners.

The law also covers unmarried heterosexual couples ages 62 and older. It does not legalize gay marriage and offers far fewer rights than those given to heterosexual married couples.

Many attending the ceremony wore buttons reading "The next step: marriage equality."

Schenone said she was pleased with the new law because she can be added to her partner's health insurance policy.

"There really are some great benefits to it," Schenone said. "Hopefully it will lead to marriage."

New Jersey is the fifth state in the nation to officially recognize same-sex coupling. In April, Maine's governor signed a bill creating domestic partnerships there.

Domestic partner benefits have been granted in California and Hawaii. Vermont has approved civil unions and Massachusetts recently legalized same-sex marriage.

Catholic and conservative groups have raised objections to the New Jersey law, but so far no lawsuits have been filed to block it, said Patrick DeAlmeida, a deputy state Attorney General.

Maplewood was one of several municipalities with large gay populations that planned to open offices this weekend; most other towns didn't plan to start registering couples until Monday.

The South Orange clerk's office was opening at 12:01 a.m. Saturday to register couples.

"We know it's an important event and something crucial in the history of the country and we wanted to add our blessings to it," said South Orange Mayor William Calabrese.

Couples must bring government-issued identification and show proof of shared financial assets to a municipal registrar's office. There is no waiting period.

AP-ES-07-10-04 1054EDT

Busy Busy

Work and volunteer committments have been keeping my blogging light the last few days. I hope to get something going later ... but never fear, I'm still here.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

You still have time
to go to MapleWoodstock, today from noon to 9 PM. The weather's great to hang outdoors and listen to some great bands. So go! Memorial Park, just back of the Maplewood train station. The tentative line-up:
Stage One
Noon - Background CD's Art Gartenlaub
12:30 - Warmup Band TBA
1:05 - 3rd Gear
1:45 - Mood Ring
2:30 - Bill Ware Band
3:15 - 13 Scotland Road
4:00 - The Nodes
4:45 - Jim Daves
5:45 - Walk the Dog
6:35 - Hardware Blues Band
7:00 - MonkeyWorks
7:50 - Primitive Soul
8:15 - Nightmares
8:50 - JAM with Everyone who can stay/play……Tune TBD

Stage Two
1:35 - Everyday People
2:10 - Ray Leone
2:55 - Madison
3:40 - Doo Woppers
4:25 - Wogbledoe
5:15 - Mark Abrahams Band
6:10 - Easy Rider and the Cruisers
7:30 - FELT

See you there!

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