Front page Archive Dec. 2004 thru March 2005





March 29th


Oh my God. I'm going to actually break some national news, or at least news you won't see in other media outlets. This is a first for the paper I think. I hope it's not the last.

Here goes: Pacifica announces its Purple Strategy. From their website and the letter I received in the mail, go check out the Pittsburgh Progressive section. Short version: They're trying to raise a million dollars in order to affect the 2006 elections in swing areas around the country. I suppose they figure if people can hear a progressive message perhaps they'll vote that way.

Out here in Swissvale, I don't get the radio station that carries Amy, nor does my seldom used public channel carry Democracy Now, and of course Adelphia doesn't carry Link (which shows Democracy Now five days a week) or the BET on Jazz channel, which makes me want to rip out my hair as well. So, here's to expansion.

Speaking of Democracy Now, they've been on a tear as of late. First, they broke that Naomi Klein story, where she reveals that the Italian journalist was shot from behind while she was on an "alleged" safe road, contrary to initial reports that we've seen. I also mentioned some time ago how the corporate press was so powerless that they can't even bring up the senseless murder of their colleagues at their media outlets. Well, that won't stop Democracy Now. They can spend a whole hour on the topic. And of course, DN had those first great pieces by Greg Palast about the oil war. Palast also gives a real interview to those real libertarians over at I actually thought that interview made his points more clearly. Short version: Big oil not only likes our dependence on OPEC, they like the high oil prices, which Sam Smith at Undernews thinks are being inflated anyway. Will someone please tell that idiot at Powerblog the news?

(Long aside: It's official: The United States has become the villain. I've got to start rethinking my positions when watching films and television. I am Gul Dukat.  The occupation of both Bajor and Iraq are justified, except for minor enslavement, unavoidable torture, and Democracy at the point of a gun. Little things. Oh, one person in Florida who has lost sentience, now that's important. Thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, not so important. O America.

Likewise, I should be rooting for Senator Palpatine in Stars Wars. Of course, we should suspend the constitution and kill all who oppose us. Damn those annoying Jedi insurgents. Thank God he never became vice president. You might as well have a Mossad operative gunning for the presidency. I'm sure that would create a great disturbance in the force.)

Around the Internets: Blogs are Coming and Going from Pittsburgh's Most Notable Blogs

Both the writers of Madgeworld and Forward Retreat have left the building, so to speak. They have hit the road and have headed or will head to New York and San Francisco respectively. Starjewel left for Silicon Valley about a year ago and the guy who writes Moby Lives, the best book blog out there, needs permalinks though, left the city years ago for New York and is now a big time publisher, of left leaning tracts I might add. These are pretty talented people. What does it say that they've hit the road?

Anyway, I gotta go to my bench. I'm adding several leftie bloggers and one science blog called Signal Plus Noise. See the results stage additions in red...


Week of March 20th thru March 26th

You can see more of  Jeffrey Scott's incredible work at his site or at the Red Light District.

For more on this meme, check out the Democracy Now interview with former Newsday writer Laurie Garrett. (Quick background: She's one of the foremost experts on bioterror in the country. But don't worry you'll get your Michael Jackson coverage...)

March 20th

I see they pulled the comments of both the salesman and myself at that tough talking anonymous Tribune Review bitchfest site. I could see where that's fair in that the "Salesman" started the confrontation (Isn't that a failed WWF character? Oh no that was the "IRS Accountant"...check.) and I responded so they canceled both our comments. Actually, the moderator came in with a statement about how he wouldn't tolerate the name calling (just negative anonymous hostile innuendo here folks...we gots standards.) and I responded by saying:

 "What, no name calling or threats? Fascists...!
Seriously, folks, forgive me if I didn't quite comprehend the high tone of the "room"...Post Gazette sucks yeh!"

And that went down the memory hole as well...So, we have niceties at a plainly mean-spirited, anonymously spawned gossip site? Go figure.

 But here and here they remain for anyone to read. Just scroll down or click appropriately.. "Kaplah!" and all that.

I will also restate my claim to help organize any workers at the Tribune Review who wish to be organized. I'm sure there won't be any meaningful retaliation against me.

Meanwhile, in other news, I make this declaration: Not only should you not enlist, but you should choose jail if they draft you because that would be more honorable, as least as long as the Bush crew is in power. I'm pretty sure I'm the only Pittsburgh publisher on the record as saying that. Some people are going further and they're making it harder for military recruiters to recruit on campuses. More power to them. There's an excellent profile on these activists, and the consequences of activism, over at Friday's Democracy now, which I just finished listening too. An actual member of Congress, Jim McDermott-D (of course he's a democrat) is working to pass a bill that would make it easier for parents to opt out of military recruitment, being that you might get killed and all. I don't know what the bill does in case the draft returns, perhaps one way tickets to Canada or Mexico...Check out the interviews with the student activists as well. Eye opening.

I really think that what McDermott and Boxer--she's calling for a boycott against the Arctic drillers--are doing represents a stronger kind of leadership for the Democratic Party. They have to be more innovative...And Presidential nominee Barbara Boxer, I'm beginning to like the sound of that...

March 19th

Oh look. I see that someone has responded to my last message at the Tribune Review bitchfest site. I've been urging them to think about unionization.

Date Posted: 10:28:58 03/19/05 Sat
Author: Salesman
Subject: Re: another tribbie quits?
In reply to: Philip Shropshire 's message, "Re: another tribbie quits?" on 07:47:13 03/17/05 Thu

Shropshire, you fool.

The reason the PG is facing those conditions is because of the union. I'd rather have a job with lower wages than to sink the whole ship in some idiotic revolution.

Why are you so concerned about starting a union at the Trib? Do you get a cut of the money or a commission for spreading this economic disaster plan?

Unions pull companies into bankruptcy and gov't unions fleece the the taxpayers.

Take your sales pitch elsewhere.

You know, it's one thing to write propaganda, it's another thing entirely to believe in it. Unions are meant to protect workers against the excesses of management, period. You can be as enlightened as the machinists or as evil as the teamsters, your call. I suppose it's karmic that someone who has a sucky job where they get abused would have an attitude like that I guess...

Anyway, I decided to vigorously respond to his incendiary retort. Or: Never pick a fight with a guy who buys his ink by the pixel...

Date Posted: 12:51:46 03/19/05 Sat
Author: Philip Shropshire
Subject: Re: another tribbie quits?

Ahhhh the Internets. Where anonymous cowards get to call you names...

For the record, I get no cut. But if someone wants me to contact the guild or the Communications Workers of America for them, you know where to email me. Let's talk...I'm not going to lose my job at the Trib if I help organize you guys...

I just read your complaints and frustrations and I offer you a solution. You can quit, complain on a message board, or organize. Those are your options as far as I can see. Please choose the option that makes the most sense.

As far as your low wages go, that's what the people at the Pittsburgh Courier told me, while they were threatening me personally I might add. Years later, after Rod Doss fucked them over anyway, they could see the wisdom of what I was trying to do. Furthermore, its been my experience that management and not labor causes a company's decline. Or at least that's what I see at Worldcom and Enron. Of course, it might be that journalism is a field where you can make money, just not as much money as stock holders demand. Again, we need some new models...

You might want to take a look at this Laurie Garrett piece..

My fave quote:

"In a blistering memo to her colleagues at the paper, she ripped Newsday's parent company - the Tribune Company - for putting profit over quality journalism. In the memo announcing that she is going to work full time at the Council on Foreign Relations, she wrote that "All across America news organizations have been devoured by massive corporations - and allegiance to stockholders, the drive for higher share prices, and push for larger dividend returns trumps everything that the grunts in the newsrooms consider their missions." She went on to write, "This is terrible for democracy. I have been in 47 states of the USA since 9/11, and I can attest to the horrible impact the deterioration of journalism has had on the national psyche. I have found America a place of great and confused fearfulness."

She continues: "It would be easy to descend into despair, not only about the state of journalism, but the future of American democracy. But giving up is not an option. There is too much at stake."

Philip Shropshire

PS: I'll be downtown Tuesday. We can meet and you can call me a fool to my face you fuckin' cowardly anonymous bitch...Be warned: I'll probably call you some more names as well. Don't worry, there's a chance that I'm a diminutive lil' fella....

Publisher's Precautionary Note: I don't drink. I don't smoke and I don't do drugs. I don't own a firearm. I don't think I'll be drunk in any bathrooms where I will then commit "suicide". Just a note in case I don't make it back Tuesday night...

March 17

Jeffrey Scott is a talented artist. See more of his work over at the Red Light District.

You know the difference between me and Eason Jordan? I think journalists were targeted by US forces. It's a pretty certain thing that Al Jazeera was. The difference? I can say that and still keep working. We're an evil occupying army, doing evil things for oil. Over 100000 dead in Iraq so far. Of course, we'd shoot a few writers. Big deal. And if you wanted to know how weak and ineffectual corporate press writers are, they can't even write about these problems at their own bought off, right leaning media outlets without getting fired. You would think reporters getting gunned down would interest other reporters. Please reread this as to how their self-censored survival instinct works. And yeah the Evil Republicans are probably capable of cheating on elections, too. Shocker.

First, I gave you that Paul Sorvino line from Goodfellas. Now, here's another one taken from Annie Hall as to why people need the Internet: "Because we needed the eggs."

Here's a bloggy goodness omelet of links for you:

Greg Palast on how the War for Oil Goes. (Note: Scaife backs the Heritage Foundation):

Ariel Cohen, of the neo-conservative Heritage Foundation, told Newsnight that an opportunity had been missed to privatise Iraq's oil fields.

He advocated the plan as a means to help the US defeat Opec, and said America should have gone ahead with what he called a "no-brainer" decision.

Mr Carroll hit back, telling Newsnight, "I would agree with that statement. To privatize would be a no-brainer. It would only be thought about by someone with no brain."

New plans, obtained from the State Department by Newsnight and Harper's Magazine under the US Freedom of Information Act, called for creation of a state-owned oil company favoured by the US oil industry. It was completed in January 2004 under the guidance of Amy Jaffe of the James Baker Institute in Texas.

Formerly US Secretary of State, Baker is now an attorney representing Exxon-Mobil and the Saudi Arabian government.

View segments of Iraq oil plans at

And here's a big fat warning sign that they're gearing up for the draft. Looks like they'll be coming for our overly well compensated doctors first. I guess that makes me feel better about those nonchalant residents I couldn't get to register to vote in Oakland last summer...

There are already signs that the Selective Service System (SSS), as it is known, is gearing up for business. By Mar. 31, the SSS boards in every state must certify to Washington that they are ready to induct the first young men within 75 days.

”They're putting in place the mechanisms to actually do a draft,” said Dustin Langley, a spokesman for the Troops Out Now Coalition representing more than 400 labor, community and human rights groups.

”In the past the SSS has basically been a mailbox. They haven't even prosecuted people for not registering,” he said. ”In their latest Performance Plan, they talk about increasing efficiency, but it is more than that. The report goes way beyond basic housekeeping.”

”They need two sets of boots at home for every one on the ground overseas. If you do the math, it's clear that they can't maintain the current level of the Iraq occupation -- let alone send troops anywhere else -- without a draft. It's impossible.”

Community activists note that youth of color are already being deployed at higher rates than whites. Minority groups make up 35 percent of the military, and black servicemen and women alone make up 20 percent of the total. That far outstrips the percentage of African Americans in society, where the figure is about 12 percent.

By the way, it's evil to participate in this war. Just say no to any forced enlistment. Jail would be a more honorable choice. Uh oh, my bosses at CNN and our big advertisers (we have none for the record) and the Tribune Review editors don't like my Big Angry Talk...who cares? It's the Internets, where there is actually a Free Press, and a very good online site called the Free Press. Go figure.

March 16

I honestly just can't get enough of Broadcast.  I recommend Papercuts, their only official video, although they have live performance stuff at their site. This band is fulfilling my Esthero and Portishead Trippy-Hop fix. You can find more of their music online here, at Phil's Online MP3 and Video Music Emporium.

Meanwhile, I've been putting up more pro union propaganda at that Tribune Review gossip site. I guess they would just rather complain. Sigh.

Date Posted: 14:29:50 03/15/05 Tue
Author: Philip Shropshire
Subject: Re: another tribbie quits?
In reply to: Legal Eagle 's message, "Re: another tribbie quits?" on 03:05:15 03/14/05 Mon

"First, I don't work at the PG and I never said starting the union would be easy. It's really hard. But I think its worth it. Otherwise, you have no rights, as you've noticed. That's why people form unions by the way. They meet real life and desperately would like a better deal. In fact, I did start a union at the Pittsburgh Courier and I was promptly fired a week later. I didn't get a lot of help from the Reagan era NLRB by the way. On the other hand, people who had threatened to beat me up at the time and who didn't support us thanked me for my efforts years later...I'm actually quite proud of that...

I think organizing a union is a hard thing worth doing. You're just going to quit and get frustrated anyway. You might as well try to make your horrifically bad workplace better for the next guy.

And of course, if you did file an overtime complaint with the appropriate federal or state body, wouldn't it make sense to do it as part of a unionized effort? That way you wouldn't be the lone malcontent with a target on his or her back...just throwing it out there folks....

Philip Shropshire

>Someone brought up an interesting point. It always
>makes me laugh when PG people suggest on this board
>that the easiest way to do harm to the Trib is to
>start a union. There's nothing easy abhout that, but
>filing a complaint about the Trib's blatant abuse of
>overtime laws WOULD be easy."


March 15

Speaking of the failures of the corporate press, I wish they would do just a tad more investigating on our faulty voting machines. I mean, I like the work that Bill Moushey is doing at the Innocence Project and Dennis Roddy is one of the finest reporters/writers in the country but determining whether we have a functional democracy, well, that's more important than whatever it is they're putting their time into. Consider that an Indy Press value judgment. Greg Palast shouldn't have to do all the hard lifting.

(Aside: Notice I didn't mention the Tribune Review? I figure why bother. Plus, I clearly think management is on the other side. Lately, I've been having just a ton a fun at their decisively mean-spirited media gossip site, where I suggest that organizing a union might solve their problems. Or as I wrote:

"Date Posted: 13:45:37 03/14/05 Mon
Philip Shropshire
Subject: Re: New Policy
In reply to: The Moderator 's message,
"New Policy" on 23:29:07 03/12/05 Sat

Don't look at me. I just wanted you guys to get a union. That's why the PG staffers make more money, I would think. With a union, you get rights and implied and/or explicit just cause termination rights. Without union, you got jack. We'll treat you any way you
(sic, should have said "we") want and you'll like it or you'll quit or we'll fire you. On the other hand, that is a reflection of the Scaife worldview. What? You thought that creating third world conditions in the US didn't apply to you...? Next, you'll think you won't get drafted..."


I haven't gotten a response yet from those anonymous tough guys...ah well. Aside over.)

Luckily, we have the Internets. By the way, the value of the net is kinda like the value of the mafia that was explained by the mafia don in Goodfellas: "People come to us who can't take their problems to the police." Likewise, people go to the net to get information they can't get from corporate media sources. Let me offer this news item from Black Box Voting's Bev Harris (an admittedly controversial figure on the left who's been accused of pumping her book sales more than solving this problem of democratic malfunction, but she's done some eye-opening work, that I'm not getting from the PG or gawd help us local television news stations...)...

Bev explains to us how easily hackable these machines are over at her site.

Now, I'm printing this in its entirety. It's that important. Nothing today on NPR, CBS, gawdawful local television news, even the "liberal" PG (They remind me  of the print version of the Democratic Party in that they don't really fight for anything, at least not when it comes to raising taxes or bond issues to keep Lazarus afloat or the Pirates in town...) will be as important.

TUESDAY MAR. 8, 2005: Investigation Update (Submitted to members of the House Judiciary Committee on Mar. 4 and Mar. 8.)

In mid-February, Black Box Voting, together with computer experts and videographers, under the supervision of appropriate officials, proved that a real Diebold system can be hacked.

This was not theoretical or a "potential" vulnerability. Votes were hacked on a real system in a real location using the actual setup used on Election Day, Nov. 2, 2004.

In October, Black Box Voting published an article on this Web site about remote access into the Diebold system. After examining the Diebold software and related internal e-mails, local security professionals were able to demonstrate a hack into a simulated system.

In February, we were allowed to try various hacking techniques into a real election system. To our surprise, the method used in our October simulation did not work.

However, another method did work. The hack that did work was unsophisticated enough that many high school students would be able to achieve it. This hack altered the election by 100,000 votes, leaving no trace at all in the central tabulator program. It did not appear in any audit log. The hack could have been executed in the November 2004 election by just one person.

This hack stunned the officials who were observing the test. It calls into question the results of as many as 40 million votes in 30 states. We are awaiting the response of the House Judiciary Committee to this new development for their investigation.

In another real-world example, Black Box Voting obtained the actual files used in the Nov. 2 election in a specific county. In this situation, the local officials did not know how to run their Diebold system, so a Diebold tech ran the election in that county. Election officials remembered the Diebold tech's first name, but not his last name.

The Diebold tech had gone home after the election, and no one in the county was able to access their own voting system, leading to some consternation because they could not provide our public records request.

Because local officials could not access their logs, we were given permission to sit down and copy files. (We have since found that this is not an isolated problem -- many local officials are painfully unfamiliar with their own voting systems.)

Local officials did not know their password, so Bev Harris asked if they would like her to hack the password. They said "yes" (!)

Later, to our even greater surprise, Bev Harris found that the password set by the Diebold tech on this real election file, used in the Nov. 2004 election was ... drum roll please ... the diabolically clever password: "diebold." (This took only two tries to guess.)

The significance of these two reports is this: By hacking into the central tabulator so easily, we showed that Diebold has not told the truth about the security of its system. Indeed, the software being used in BOTH examples is still extremely vulnerable, with little or no effort made to correct its security flaws.

We have offered to meet with public officials at several different levels to provide more documentation on these problems.

By the way, my colleague Doc Menlo has organized all of these sites over at American Samizdat. Here's his listings: 20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA : The Brad Blog : Ohio Election Fraud : Rotten in Denmark : : Help America Recount : Votergate : : : : Instant Runoff Voting : Black Box Notes : Diebold Variations

Week of March 6th thru March 12th

March 11, 2005


Girlydyke jumps on the Pennacchio bandwagon. She's surprised that all Democrats aren't the same. Here's an old saying from the black movement: "Not every brother is a brother."
By the way, the most important story that isn't being told by the corporate media is the possible election fraud of 2004. Or as one writer phrased it in one of those appropriately named Free Press stories: Nothing else matters if this is true. You no longer live in a democracy. And in a related story: Republicans work to get the Voting Rights Act killed. By the way, this is why I'm not impressed with the Lynn Swann run...How many Jews joined the Nazi Party?

And recently from Three River Tech Review:


This is from Katie Nice, of Spumco (Ren and Stimpy) fame. (Site down due to heavy traffic. Sigh.)

I got this from a blog I'll be stealing from looking at. It's called "Drawn" I usually don't permalink a site until I get to know it better but in this case...
And oh look: I just stepped into the Internets and found this public archive of art. Amazing those Internets.

You can't really stop Robot Wisdom, you can only contain him. Kneel before his almighty powers of linkage: (Kneel before Zod!)

Detailed history of political blogs and the Gannon affair
Pakistani terrorists target Indian programming outsourcers
Evidence that the Iraqi resistance has no head
Voting Glitch Haunts Statistician

OBL dotting I's and T's Before Nuclear Attack?

Corporate Watch UK
I like this quote: "The Earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses." - Utah Phillips
Hitler's Bomb

It says Do Not Press and I know I shouldn't touch that red button, but, oh well...
Look, I don't know if you can judge a book by its cover, but judging from the trailer, Sin City may be the greatest film ever made...


From Chromasia, via Grainbag


March 8th


Senate candidate Chuck Pennacchio (or as I call him Chuck P.) will be on Air America today at around 10:30 am. He'll be interviewed by Chuck D coincidently enough. (Update: No he won't.) I thought that Atrios had the best analysis as to why you might want a pro choice candidate running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania.

"The 4 suburban philadelphia counties are critical in PA politics - Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware. In these counties, Gore won 51-46.

Santorum got 565083 votes in these counties. Klink got 419439. Leaving off the small party votes because I'm too lazy, that makes it about a 57-43 race for Santorum in these counties.

Basically these counties have a lot of middle of the road pro-choice voters. And, in an midterm election you're going to be asking them to hold their noses and actually go vote for an anti-choice candidate.

If Casey can't win and inspire large turnout in these counties he really can't win the election. A contested primary would give him the opportunity to figure out how to appeal to these voters.

Every true believing conservative resident of Pennsyltucky will get out and vote for Santorum. Can Casey inspire voters?

Generally, I think the uncontested primary idea is a really bad one for Democrats, though they still cling to it. So, I'm glad that
Pennacchio at least is still in the race, even though the press is trying to pretend he doesn't exist."

I would actually go a little further. If anything, the choice issue is more important now than it was in 2000. There's actually a very good chance that abortion will be outlawed in certain states. We're just a few Supreme Court justices away from that. Furthermore, the agenda of the completely insane religious right, isn't to stop at abortion but contraceptive and stem cell research. Actually, if you listen to them carefully, the Catholic hierarchy has come to the conclusion that health and wealth dampens the need to "find the spirit". That makes sense. You give me someone who's poor, scared and desperate and without the EU's social safety net and I'll give you somebody who needs Christ, or at least needs the welfare money being pushed through American Churches. Or as Saint Bertrand Russell has said: "Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand."

I want someone in the US Senate who won't compromise on these issues in the Senate, especially the choice issue. I don't need another senator who's afflicted with a terminal case of "Joementum", especially when I need someone to strengthen my forty (until they outlaw that of course) or at the very least offer an opposition party "contrast".

Update: The gentle ladies over at 2 Political Junkies agree:

Or as the delicate womenfolk  state it: ""Fuck that, I am being pragmatic."











The European artist Zdzislaw Beksinski who I had never heard of and whose first name I can't pronounce, (although he reminds me of Jacek Yerka), was found murdered in his home. I like his dark style. I wonder if he would have preferred his gruesome demise...?

You may have seen this guy's ads at all over the usual suspect lefty blogs (Daily Kos, MYDD, Oliver Willis, etc...). I like what I've seen and heard at his site. His run sounds like another professor's grassroots run that I admired from long ago: Paul Wellstone. (I did offer him some advice through an email about not taking short plane rides...seems to be dangerous only for Democratic Senatorial candidates.)

He sounds like a Reform Democrat, or the Daily Kos definition of that phrase. (Would an alliance with Peduto be smart politics...the Reform Democrat slate? Sounds good to me.) I'll support whoever the democrats run against Santorum, but it would be nice if I could support someone who I could actually believe in. I suppose we've seen this debate before with Kerry vs. Dean. We ended up with the safe compromise candidate...did that work? I don't think it did. He didn't even fight for a vote that he was probably robbed of.

I wouldn't mind fighting for a fighter. Check out Chuck's give and take over at his Daily Kos entry. Oh, and as for that one guy who thought Chuck didn't have a chance, keep in mind that's what the Internets are for.

Uh, one word of warning: stay consistent on message, otherwise the attack ads will resemble this. Actually, given the Jeff Gannon GOP message machine these days, you might see it anyway. But don't make it easy.

posted by Philip Shropshire at 9:17 AM

March 4, 2005

I am not a fan of the folk music. When John Belushi destroyed the guitar in Animal House I felt he was talking to me. I don't think Bob Dylan is a good singer. When I saw Richie Havens live I thought he was so so. And so on.

So, when I recommend that you listen to this folk tune by Willy Mason, I don't do so casually.

You can listen to the song here.

Here are the lyrics.

I like this part the most:

We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.


In a perhaps related story, the segment on the New Journalism at the Daily Show last night was right on target. And, again, it sounds like you Rodger Morrow.


March 3 2005


I got these from Reminds me of Micah's work.








Shortened Week of Feb. 16 thru Feb. 20th



If you like that above piece by the late, great and unpronounceable Zdzislaw, you might like these interesting pages of surrealistic art here and here.

My arch foe (He shall rue the day...) at Gravity Lens has some interesting posts. These animation shorts by Doug Chiang truly are impressive. He also alerted me to a site called the Venus Project. They're building the Brave New World here on Earth. They're just not too sure about that constitution yet.


And Robot Wisdom is Back!!! And he's baaaaaader than Eva...! I have some affection for Jorn and hope he conquers his problems.
And some great catches from Jorn already: Iraqi corporate profiteers, CIA drones over Iran, and this profile of Wikipedia over at Wired.
One of the ironies of the Iraqi and Afghan elections: They get more democracy than we do. (Well, not really, but on paper it's not too bad...)
Of course the BTK killer is devoutly religious. Time to reread Bertrand Russell's "Why I'm Not a Christian."

Oh and here's a good point. Reminds me of the stem cell research debate.

How the Churches Have Retarded Progress

You may think that I am going too far when I say that that is still so. I do not think that I am. Take one fact. You will bear with me if I mention it. It is not a pleasant fact, but the churches compel one to mention facts that are not pleasant. Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, "This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you must not use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children." Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue.

 That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness; and when you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. "What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy."

Oh, and this rings true:

Fear, the Foundation of Religion

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing -- fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand.

And I like Bertrand's approach to the future:

What We Must Do

We want to stand upon our own feet and look fair and square at the world -- its good facts, its bad facts, its beauties, and its ugliness; see the world as it is and be not afraid of it. Conquer the world by intelligence and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it. The whole conception of God is a conception derived from the ancient Oriental despotisms. It is a conception quite unworthy of free men. When you hear people in church debasing themselves and saying that they are miserable sinners, and all the rest of it, it seems contemptible and not worthy of self-respecting human beings. We ought to stand up and look the world frankly in the face. We ought to make the best we can of the world, and if it is not so good as we wish, after all it will still be better than what these others have made of it in all these ages. A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men. It needs a fearless outlook and a free intelligence. It needs hope for the future, not looking back all the time toward a past that is dead, which we trust will be far surpassed by the future that our intelligence can create.

A-Fuckin' Men.

New space plans from Japan.
China leads the way in alt fuels. Well, someone should.
How to make a podcast.
And on a related note, I'm adding New Media Musings to the blogroll.
News of an incredible treatment drug.
Miss the Sopranos? Here are some impressive Voice stories about the Mob by Tom Robbins (He's gonna get whacked(!)...or have one of those accidental suicides that investigative reporters are so fond of...) here and here.

And this is long overdue: I'm adding Worldchanging to the Blogroll.

Writers Wanted. It's sort of commission based. Read more if interested...


I just started a paper called I need writers.

I need writers for one of four sections: Pittsburgh Arts, Pittsburgh Tech, Pittsburgh Progressive and possibly the Red Light District.

You will get 25 percent of the ad revenue of your section. For example, if your page generates 4000 a month in revenue, you would receive $1000 a month in payment. You are allowed to sell ads as a writer (up to a point and no I haven't determined that yet), which would give you another 25 percent of revenues.

While we don't have a lot of ads up yet--just several at this count--this model, in theory, could make for very well compensated writers. For example, once our readership grows, we would move to biweekly and weekly rates. Do the math.

I'm looking for writers who read. English majors are welcome.




This is more of the stunning work of Brendan McCarthy, of Rogan Gosh fame.

Picture of now out gay lady Maya Keyes kissing her hot girlfriend. Me always likey the hot lesbian action. On a related note, I'm adding Girlydyke to Pittsburgh's best blogs. I really liked her comments on Summers. She's absolutely right. I've seen this from a racial perspective and it's the same. In fact, it's worst. At least they were nice enough to hire her in order to abuse her.

Get Nude Gannon pic over at Red Light District...stole gif animation from 2 Political Junkies. I added a link to the pic of our own local media whore and Talon News Stringer aspirant. Because its appropriate.


Around the Internets:

I'm permalinking Americablog over at the left. It's also evidence that the blogosphere can do actual reporting.

I just discovered Red Pepper, sort of a British Alternet.
Interesting site about direct democracy, which I'm researching. Don't be put off by the use of the word confederation. They're from Norway. (However, I refuse to call my new Martian society the Confederacy. Sorry.)
There's more on Ohio vote fraud case here. The attorneys who are pursuing this have provided about 900 pages of evidence. Both scary and depressing.
I found two new nan sites run by scientists here and here.
McGovern (That's former darkside CIA operative McGovern) on how it's a war for oil, if you haven't guessed already.
Interesting Overview of Digital Activism, and there's a link to something related.
Another Interesting Boycott Company

Bill McKibbon, who I often don't agree with, addresses the obvious conundrum/problem of how environmentalists can be against Wind.
New Fangled Drug Tests (Scary part of story: New Federal law that could allow for testing of drugged drivers--no matter how unimpaired you may happen to be.)
New Nanotech Display Screen

How to beat Napster's DRM scheme. Done, seemingly, within seconds.
Russian MP3s Sell for 20 cents a song.
Nathan Newman's Labor Blog.





This is the stunning work of Brendan McCarthy, of Rogan Gosh fame.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Had to Pay Some Bills


Sorry for the lack of posts during the last week. I guess Three Rivers Online won't be a real paper unless I can figure out how to keep it from shutting down for a week or two....

As you may or may not know, I do everything around here. I'm dirt poor, so I can't out and out hire anyone to help me. But I can ask for help and so I will. There is an overall plan (a paper run by direct democracy, figuring out a site constitution, getting other folks involved, seeing if my cheapo digital camera can work at all and etc...) but not a firm timeline. The goal is to be in a position to affect change by the 2006 elections.

Please bear with us. Once I finish paying the rent, there will be more time to write and post.

Philip Shropshire

posted by Philip Shropshire at 4:19 AM 0 comments

Week of February 6th thru February 12th



Yet another Tom Moody sampled produced original

Looks like the Bush administration tried to stop this from entering the country. Yet you can watch this toon online.

Links N' Things:

Alan Moore Interviews Brian Eno. But the link doesn't make it clear where...(Oh Click on the latest show link on the upper right hand side. Not sure where Moore's last interview is. He was interviewed last week...)

"Rall" /Rall/ verb To brawl with or maul a right winger whose views you find offensive and lacking in common sense or where you sense financial reward was exchanged for spouting his/her nonsensical thinly veiled fascist propaganda... A left version of Fisking, a wingnut term used to deride a courageous journalist (probably marked for death) who goes to war zones and writes what he thinks is the truth. Two things that you will never see the Instapundit stringers for the Talon News Agency do.

How to use in a sentence:

Ted Rall ralls this right wing nutjob but good over at his online blog.


Juan Cole completely Ralls and destroys Jonah Goldberg. Cole even challenges Goldberg to a debate, A courageous man would have immediately accepted the challenge. We're still waiting for Jonah.


Notable Pittsburgh Bloggers


Update: Ales Rarus is out. I just find his prattling about the nuances of his fantasy belief system to be really uninteresting. He also doesn't write about science, unless he's denouncing it. I find it offensive and baffling that this man works as a research scientist. Bill Joy did eventually resign from Sun...He'll still be found in link collections. But his site is just about as interesting as someone who writes about Hobbits everyday or the Great Pumpkin, which is to say not interesting at all. I mean there are other conservatives on the blogroll which I'm going to enjoy Ralling when I have the time (The Bell tolls for thee Rodger Morrow...)but they at least try to make a point. Jesus, no pun intended. I mean, contrast the Unspace (moderate/conservative Christian who sings in the church choir) post on the Dobson attack against Spongebob vs. crazy Funky Dung's defensive take that there is a homosexual conspiracy that needs to be fought and the criminals killed, by implication I guess. (Read this for more on this kind of pathology logically extended...)

To fill the void, I've added Bizz Bang Buzz, whose writer is actually attempting to do four blogs. I can state without hesitation that what he's trying to do isn't easy. It might also be time to admit that lawyers make really good bloggers. Just the way it is.  He also seems to be more excited about science as a lawyer than Ales Rarus is as a scientist.











Week of January 16th thru January 22

This can also be seen over at the Red Light District. The artist is David Perry.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Around the Internets: Kurt Nimmo Sez Iran is Next and Different Takes on the Iraqi Elections


AROUND THE INTERNETS (Pittsburgh Progressive)

Kurt Nimmo says the Fix is in Concerning Iran

Some Crazy People Think Iraq Vote not As Kewl As it Looks. Juan Cole, the best for my money and remember he originally supported the invasion so he's not automatic for the leftist cause, has his well articulated doubts. Raed thinks the government used the monthly food rationing cards to bribe the vote. Christian Parenti thinks there could be a backlash if Shiite majority votes and then gets no say...Isn't that the norm? I saw what happened in Ohio. Robert Fisk, who's in Iraq risking his life unlike certain pinhead Instapundits I know and their local Pittsburgh clones, says that folks voted so they can tell the US to get the Hell Out. I agree with Ted Kennedy that that would be proof of self determination and independence if they asked that. By the way, if you're not aware of it, Democracy Now is easily one of the best if not the best news program in the United States. And when they accuse Democracy Now of being "left" media I can agree with them. Also check out Brit leader Jack Galloway, in case American politicians are wondering what an "opposition" is supposed to sound like:

GEORGE GALLOWAY: They're a farce. They're rigged. An election held under foreign military occupation is always, by definition, utterly flawed. But one which is held in the kind of conditions in which this one is being held is flawed beyond redemption. The facts are that it is simply impossible to hold an election when there is a full-scale war going on between the occupying armies and the resistance forces. The Sunni Muslim population, which if you add the Sunni Kurds and the Sunni Arabs together, is some 40% of the population, are deeply anxious about the way in which the occupying forces are deliberately trying to divide the country along confessional lines. The Sunni Arab population has boycotted the election almost in their entirety. The Iraqis living outside for whom security was not an issue, three quarters of them have voted with their feet and boycotted the election. Less than a quarter of the eligible voters have registered to vote and fewer still have cast their votes. So, this is a festival, a farce that's been held to validate the American-British invasion and occupation of Iraq. But it will not validate it, neither in the eyes of the world opinion, nor, more importantly, in the eyes of those Iraqis who are resisting the foreign occupation and the war will go on, I'm sorry to say.

When I was arguing for embryonic stem cell research over at Ales Rarus the topic came up about fascism and religion. The crazy religious people over at Ales (He wants to ban contraception. God told him too...) made the argument that fascism was a distinctly secular enterprise. I thought they were wrong. And it's not just the argument presented by Fromme in "Escape from Freedom", it's the fact that both religion and fascism both share a kind of love for the irrational. They're fundamentally anti-reason. You can invade Poland or France or Iraq and Iran and nothing bad will come of it. Likewise, your enemies will be thrown into an eternal pit of hellfire, something a loving god would do of course.

I came upon this quote over at a weekly Daily Kos piece called the
"The Week in Fascism" that supports my take. Mussolini: He likes religion.

"The Fascist conception of life is a religious one, in which man is viewed in his immanent relation to a higher law, endowed with an objective will transcending the individual and raising him to conscious membership of a spiritual society. "Those who perceive nothing beyond opportunistic considerations in the religious policy of the Fascist regime fail to realize that Fascism is not only a system of government but also and above all a system of thought.
In the Fascist conception of history, man is man only by virtue of the spiritual process to which he contributes as a member of the family, the social group, the nation, and in function of history to which all nations bring their contribution. Hence the great value of tradition in records, in language, in customs, in the rules of social life."

Benito Mussolini
The Doctrine of Fascism, (1932).

On a related note, Robert Kennedy, who might run, calls this administration the "F" word....

(Pgh. Tech) Around the Internets: Folks Blast the MC anti-global warming book, More on scary evolutionary computing and man made chimeras are Kewl...


Other Wondrous Pics of Titan (click the title link in order to go ahhhh...)

There have been justifiably rough reviews of Michael Crichton's new anti-global warming book. You can read this from the New York Times or you can read this critique from the Brookings Institute (where Crichton spoke) and Chris Mooney regularly picks on him on because its good clean fun.

Interesting New Tech Column That I'll Be Permalinking (Check out his interview with the creator of an open source TIVO-like product.)

Artificial Lifeforms that Evolve

Article on Computerized Home Fabs (From Gravity Lens who complained about the cliches of "It's soooo science fictional...")

Animal Hybrids, Which I'm Perfectly Comfortable With. As I've written in the past, I have always fancied a Bjork/doe chimera, which would no doubt die because of unbearable cuteness...

Tattooed Love Gals Over at Red Light District

More tattooed love gals over at the Red Light District. I am assuming that you have broadband, otherwise it's a slow yet rewarding download.


Week of January 23rd thru January 29th


The above photo of Titan was rendered by an "amateur". It looks like a nice place to visit, even though it's all methane and explosive gases. Why doesn't it go up in a ball of smoke? They must get lightening on Titan. Looks pretty though.

Interesting Hellraising Atheist Site (He's starting a Carnival of the Atheists.)
A Presidential Run by Robert Kennedy? He would be great. I've seen him in action...And I now predict a plane crash and/or lone gunman will kill him in 3, 2, 1...
Dennis Roddy on Race Haters and the Local Rush Limbaugh Archetype that Sustain Them. More at Honsberger is a liar.

Also at Common Dreams:

10 Worst Corporations (From the guys at the Multinational Monitor)
New Essay From My Indirect Former Boss George Soros

Ted Rall on Tort Reform (Short Version: Won't reduce insurance rates, backdoor way to make your accidental death affordable...check out Public Citizen for more.)
Jackson and Palast on our Ever So American Apartheid Voting System

Why Do We Have Reproductive Choice Laws?


"These women came in dying from botched abortions and infections. It was just such a waste of human life," says Tyrer.

The first deaths "sear the soul," says Tyrer, and they remain fresh memories for her, as do images of women lined up on gurneys outside the operating room 18 hours a day, "waiting for doctors to take them in and scrape out the remnants of what was causing the hemorrhaging and infection."

"One woman came in already in shock, she was hemorrhaging so much. The first thing we did was to give her blood to rebuild her strength so she could go through the surgical procedure to remove leftover tissue from the partial abortion. Despite getting a transfusion, she continued to bleed," says Tyrer, who then discovered that the abortionist had torn the cervix and the uterine artery. Tyrer had to cut through the abdomen and tie off the uterine artery to stop the bleeding

Free Juliana Hatfield Downloads Right Here
The Essential Ken Layne Columns on Secession. Here, here, here and here.

Excerpt or two:

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

To Balkanize Or Not To Balkanize ...


Lots of people are asking -- on blogs, on talk radio, in my e-mails -- how do you chop up a country? Has it been done recently? Can it be done without horror?

Yes, it can be done peacefully, with good will and good riddance toward all.

A dozen years ago, I lived in a country that found itself in the same situation the United States faces today. One part of the country was mostly modern, intellectual, secular, democratic and (as usual) comparatively wealthy. Another part -- with only a third of the population -- was mostly economically backward, socially conservative, fond of "strongman" rulers, xenophobic, reliant on a state-sponsored economy, and (as usual) comparatively poor.

The country was already divided by culture and slight (though exaggerated) linguistic differences, but the elections of 1992 made that divide especially visible. The "Jesusland" in this case chose an authoritarian nationalist as leader of its region. He promised an impossible combination of independence and confederation. The wealthy side was led by a Thatcherite secularist and co-governed by liberal intellectuals.

It took about six months of tense meetings and the dismantling of the federal constitution, and then the two sides shook hands and walked away. That country was Czechoslovakia. (Here's a boring economics article I wrote at the time; none of the good stuff is online. Maybe someday ....) Interestingly, Czechs and Slovaks were overwhelmingly against breaking up the country. It was the political elite who brought about the "Velvet Divorce," mostly because the Slovak leader was impossible to deal with.

Today, the Czech Republic is stable and secure, with a GDP of about $160 billion, a strong export market, low inflation and robust foreign investment. It has weathered various political and financial troubles with relative ease and was rapidly accepted by political and economic alliances.

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Has Built A
Timeline for Real Molecular Manufacturing (Short version:10 to 20 years)


You can now get your own Jesusland T-Shirt Here.


When in doubt, go with Grainbag.

Please check out the Buy Blue link on the lefthand corner. It's one way you can show your displeasure with the Bush administration more than once every four years. In other words, you must give up Walmart for Costco. (Horrible Confession: I have shopped at Walmart even though I know how evil they are. I feel like those people in the Southpark cartoon. When we were registering voters before the election there were some cool places that allowed you to register without hassle. Most Giant Eagles, unionized, for example allowed us to register voters. Waterworks in Homestead shooed us away in under 30 minutes. Took Walmart about 10 minutes. Eeeeevil company that Walmart. SEIU union firebrand Andy Stern is planning a jihad against the Big W.)




We're going black today to protest the inauguration. I sure hope the day is eventful.


The above photo is from an online Pittsburgh gallery called Grainbag. The artist's name is Fran Dwight.

The artist is Mundania Horvath. Also from Grainbag.



When In Pittsburgh got bought out those many years ago, there were a number of columns and writers that just didn't seem to be too welcome. One writer was Kathy Jo Kramer, who wrote about life from a working class perspective and her adventures on Pittsburgh buses. There was a labor writer. And then there was the Media Watch. I wrote some of those columns and I'm proud to say those columns were some of my best work. I define best as relentlessly cruel, yet perceptive. New "alternative" ownership, however, effectively killed off those features. I suppose this is what gave me my first insight into how far right so called "alternative" media had gone.

Out here on the Internets, however, there is a free press. With that in mind, I now bring back Media Watch, which will not only feature our usual corporate media suspects, but bloggers of every stripe and hue, local and national...

Watch this space for updates.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Four New Blogs Added to Pittsburgh's Best Blogs

I probably should have added these sooner, but I wanted to take a deeper look at them.

Unspace. (Rare Science blog. They don't get a lot of hits but they're important. Check out his recent posts about Titan.)

Ant In A Hailstorm. (Should have been included originally. Check out those scary and futuristic animated gifs. Looks real science fictional. Does more hip hop writing than the Pittsburgh Courier, which explains its problems and why its back to once a week publishing.)

2 Political Junkies (Leftie political site. I'm a leftie. Do the math.) (Group that wants a nonviolent overthrow of the government.)

I'm still ignoring
Tunesmith and Anthony out of vengeful spite. That's just the way I am...















Week of January 9th through January 15th




These are pics from the new Richard Linklater film "A Scanner Darkly", taken from the Phil K. Dick novel of the same name. He's using that incredibly fancy animation technique that he used in "Waking Life".

From David Langford (Ansible) who apparently writes for Amazon:

Editorial Reviews
Mind- and reality-bending drugs factor again and again in Philip K. Dick's hugely influential SF stories. A Scanner Darkly cuts closest to the bone, drawing on Dick's own experience with illicit chemicals and on his many friends who died from drug abuse. Nevertheless, it's blackly farcical, full of comic-surreal conversations between people whose synapses are partly fried, sudden flights of paranoid logic, and bad trips like the one whose victim spends a subjective eternity having all his sins read to him, in shifts, by compound-eyed aliens. (It takes 11,000 years of this to reach the time when as a boy he discovered masturbation.) The antihero Bob Arctor is forced by his double life into warring double personalities: as futuristic narcotics agent "Fred," face blurred by a high-tech scrambler, he must spy on and entrap suspected drug dealer Bob Arctor. His disintegration under the influence of the insidious Substance D is genuine tragicomedy. For Arctor there's no way off the addict's downward escalator, but what awaits at the bottom is a kind of redemption--there are more wheels within wheels than we suspected, and his life is not entirely wasted. --David Langford,





Pittsburgh Tech: More Debate Over Stem Cells with Ales Rarus

My Private Little War with Ales Rarus: The Final Conflict

I tried to respond to some of the counterarguments you've offered.

"I forgot a point. Go to post-haste and educate yourself."

I did check out that site and I found it to be a kind of propaganda. I'm not saying that the catholics who make up the founding members don't have a right to spout propaganda or that propaganda in itself is a bad thing (In fact, that's what I like about the net is that I have a much better sense of the biases of the authors.), but these are people who will stick to their position no matter what the evidence says. And again, and I hate to repeat this, we do the research to find out things. There may be a way to do embyronic stem cell research without violating the "sanctity" of the embyro. And if you were rational about this your immediate response would be "great". But it wasn't, and so I presume that you're not making your case based on reason and evidence but religious sophistry, ever so circular and ever so arcane.

I feel that the site is on a par with what tobacco companies say about the cigarette/cancer link or how polluters feel about global warming.

I suppose I choose to get my information here at the
Union of Concerned Scientists, or from the Henry Waxman website. I might note that I have nothing against adult stem cells. In fact, I probably have a lot more adult stem cells than I do embryonic stem cells. I simply think that the research is very exciting. We could cure many a disease, perhaps even figure out our genetic workings. I think these things should be done.








Red Light District: Pro Birth GOP Front Pittsburgh Courier Enters the Jet Beefcake Biz
  And for this next selection we go no further than our Republican pro life  birth black newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier. It's not just the fact that the Courier sells out the black community that bothers me, it's that they get so little for their betrayal. Where's the Armstrong Williams payola money? Where's our Courier stuffed with ads? Seems like its hard to find.

Is this what I think it is? A
re they doing softcore, just like Jet magazine...? That aside, those models are quite good looking..


posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:07 PM






Both Will Eisner and Frank Kelly Freas passed away during the last several days. These were two legends in science fiction and comics circles. Full links on Eisner here.

See some extra pics of Freas over at Pittsburgh Words, Sounds and Pictures.








Pittsburgh Tech: A Stem Cell Debate With Ales Rarus/1-6-05
I made some snarky comments at this Ales Rarus post. He responded. Here's my counter response.

First, excellent rebuttal. It's always good to debate somebody who actually knows something. I'm also not sure if I can win since I made such a horrible mistake on getting the South Korean story mixed up with other promising results regarding embryonic stem cells. Then again, I am the guardedly optimistic atheist who expects his vote for democrats to actually be counted...Into the breach...

1) Embryonic stem cells have done nothing noteworthy. Adult stem cells have.

One: That's actually not true. There have been promising embryonic research results
here, here and here. (I read them carefully this time! One of the problems with starting a paper all by yourself is that you're usually in a rush...!) This also skips over the point of basic research. We do research because some of us aren't in the common everyday communion with Our God Jehovah Cthulu or the Great Pumpkin. We do research because we wish to find out. That should be left up to Scientists by the way and not the same clergymen who tortured Galileo.









Pittsburgh Progressive 1-6-05

Your Fire, Car Wreck And/or Tsunami/Natural Disaster Story


There was a car wreck, fire and possibly a tsunami in your town today.

People were hurt, burned beyond recognition or swept out into an unforgiving sea in no particular order. Imagine me sticking a microphone into their faces and asking them how they feel. They will say something like "Ouch. The twisting cacophony of metal caused me some discomfort...that and losing my six kids" or "Yowtch. That fire sure was painful. We lost everything, including possibly the cat, or something" or "Glub glub. Nearly drowned. Thank God the
supermodel survived".

These kinds of stories, interesting though they may be after 7000 versions (plus murder and petty theft) on your local television news, serve primarily as a distraction. Please
study these rules for further explanation and this website for the Bigger Picture.

Meanwhile, there's an excellent possibility that your
presidential election was stolen and that aside from that there's a continuous effort to privatize your public institutions and to get you to pay for rights and things that you used to expect for free, perhaps because you thought you lived in a decent country. You were wrong. You should discard a corporate media that doesn't tell you this every day, every hour, every moment.




Happy New Year. Your election may have been stolen.
Talk amongst yourselves.







Pittsburgh Tech
12/30/04--I have nothing local in Pittsburgh Tech because I simply haven't done the reporting work yet, other than linking to that Byron Guy at the PG, who as an online science writer I resent deeply. He can pay his rent. On the other hand, I did link to all kinds of bloggy goodness (as they say) regarding the new Wired, a reaming out of the new Wired tech magazine's policy on Digital Rights Management by Cory Doctorow (no comment from fellow Wired staffer Xeni Jardin (Who's hot!) on Cory's rant, which I think is on the mark) and tons of links that I had been saving for Three River Tech Review. There's also an animated centrifuge--whatever that is--that's designed by Tom Moody, who I'll permalink to as soon as I grow another three typing arms. There are also some links featuring ID from Chris Mooney and the Pittsblog guy. (Get the full blog entry over at Pittsburgh Tech)


Pittsburgh Progressive 01-01-05

HAPPY NEW YEAR. YOUR ELECTION MAY HAVE BEEN STOLEN. TALK AMONGST YOURSELVES: I spent midnight watching a Souixsie Sioux and the Banshees live show on VH1-Classic--a station that's extremely disappointing at times but not last evening--and was surprised by how much they  rocked. Killer guitar riffs throughout every tune. I thought I was at a Motorhead concert or something. Her drummer and I think husband was just an incredible player. Every beat sounded triumphal and anthemic. Never saw a guy use mallets like that. Most drummers just live on their hi-hats. You could take those beats to war. Only downside: A woman pushing 50 doesn't have to take off her top. Besides, with her money she can pay to look mid 30s forever. Spend it. Still a great set though...

Later on in the day, without the hint of even an appropriate transition, still watching TV (The sad man's family...) I caught up with my old friend Jerry Starr on CSpan, who's been a one man lobbyist machine for a fair and decent public television. I ran into him when I wrote a media watch column for In Pittsburgh back in the early 90s. I made the argument then (1995 I think) that the net would be our salvation because the Conservative Washington DC players would never allow a progressive public media to emerge, or even an American BBC--I once begged George Soros to create such a thing using his own trust fund. No word yet and no checks yet for your humble site. Jerry still hasn't gotten decent public television but he does have a website. He also promotes a number of shows that you can only see on the Internet, at least here in Pittsburgh. I think I won that point. See the links on the right if you're wondering what a progressive media would truly look and sound like.

This is also kind of what this paper aspires to be, a real alternative to the corporate press. And I don't mean alternative in that I can say "fuck" and post pictures of nude women--which I enjoy certainly. I mean alternative in the sense that I can say that the system is fucked up. It's not fair. It's not even close. You should be thinking about not ever joining the military--either voluntarily and certainly not by a forced draft. The Bush administration is evil enough to steal the election. They've already done it once. You need to respond by getting involved politically and you should measure your every action, your every purchase, by how you can achieve the current regime's overthrow. Happy New year. Join the Resistance. And with that, I will end my writing for the day and go spend some time with my real family.

posted by Philip Shropshire at 2:16 PM 0 comments




Pittsburgh Tech
12/30/04--I have nothing local in Pittsburgh Tech because I simply haven't done the reporting work yet, other than linking to that Byron Guy at the PG, who as an online science writer I resent deeply. He can pay his rent. On the other hand, I did link to all kinds of bloggy goodness (as they say) regarding the new Wired, a reaming out of the new Wired tech magazine's policy on Digital Rights Management by Cory Doctorow (no comment from fellow Wired staffer Xeni Jardin (Who's hot!) on Cory's rant, which I think is on the mark) and tons of links that I had been saving for Three River Tech Review. There's also an animated centrifuge--whatever that is--that's designed by Tom Moody, who I'll permalink to as soon as I grow another three typing arms. There are also some links featuring ID from Chris Mooney and the Pittsblog guy. (Get the full blog entry over at Pittsburgh Tech)




Week of Dec. 19 thru Dec.. 25



The Sin City Trailer looks good. It feels like the comic and Rourke as Marv is an inspired bit of casting. He's played ugly men before. I still think that Ronin or Martha Liberty or even his Batman books would have been better as films but I can see the gritty appeal that Sin City would offer. Elijah Wood plays a very cerebral killer if that's the character that I remember. I threw in a second Sin City pic over at PWSPs.

(This wins my award for the blog with the horniest logo. Update: And they're mock proud I think.) 

I took a look through just about every blog that was listed over there at the Pittsburgh Webloggers site. I wanted to link to every site that I thought would be worth looking at on a daily basis. There were some blogs I left out because they simply didn't post enough or I didn't think they were interesting or because they were just starting and had only one or two posts (Jam Sandwich I'm talking to you.) There were also sites that I had trouble initially looking at because their site link was apparently their RSS or Atom feed and I don't have a newreader and I was kind of in a hurry. So, I'll try to rectify that when I have a few hours this weekend. (My Bad.) And for some reasons I didn't like any of the sports blogs, especially about the Phillies...(yeech.).

I posted all of those blogs that I thought to be interesting, readable and updated frequently here over at a page
I call Link Collections. I didn't say it was a poetic name.

I'll take another look at these sites in several months.

I'm posting these sites on the main page because I think they're interesting enough to read every single day. Obviously, my politics are left of center (to say the least) so there aren't a lot of conservative sites out there but there are a few that are noteworthy. I might also add that most of the sites are liberal sites. I really think that the Internet trends left in that sense. If you're not a rich guy, then this is the place to make your voice heard. Where else would we go...Talk Radio...?

So here's my top slightly more than a dozen Pittsburgh blogs.

0Madgeworld: I actually was more impressed by the design than the content here. But it's a very impressive design. I feel like I'm entering another world, a particularly kitschy period of the 50s perhaps, redolent of toys and mannequins. Content wise, it's strictly personal diary stuff, almost like it's being whispered...

A Green Conservatism: I'm not entirely sure what this guy is up to but it's interesting.

Ales Rarus: This is also a conservative site, but interesting. It's kinda religious.

Anklebiter: Yet another deep thinker. Definite high brow type.

D Young.: A really talented African American blogger who stunned me with his design skill. That's an incredible graphic on his screen. My only complaint is that I think the fonts are too tiny. But then again I'm old and I'm getting older.

Danny Boy: A site about design. Talented writer.

Forward Retreat: This is a very intimidating arts site. Incredibly well educated.

Grassroots Pa: This is as close to Frontpage as you're going to get in Pittsburgh. Very right wing. But I think they're good at what they do. Evil though that may be...

Inner Bitch: This is a site run by two geek women. I really love all the sci fi and comics stuff that they do. They also seem to be establishing themselves as the social nexus of the Pittsburgh blogosphere. Kneel before them I guess...

Innocence Blog: A very important blog that I thought I was going to get a lot of stories out of, but they're affiliated with the Post Gazette so no go. If memory serves, I think it's being run by former PG staffer Bill Moushey, one of the most talented investigative reporters I've ever seen. This is why, of our two corporate media papers, I've always found the PG to be the decent one. It's kind of like being the decent business party that nonetheless allows fascism to flourish but there is a difference...

Photosuperstar: I've already stolen some of his pics and I plan to steal many more.

Pittsblog: I suppose if the Instapundit was a decent man with decent politics then he would write this blog. I think it's the best blog in Pittsburgh.

Teacher, Wordsmith, Madman: This person would probably be 2nd or third best. He's clearly a professional writer. He's wide ranging and interesting. He has a style and he's worked on it.

This Isn't Writing, It's Typing: The title is taken from a notorious comment that Truman Capote made about Kerouac's "On the Road". The writer runs a premier freelance writing shop that never got back to me. I was bitter. Of course, now that I know that he aspires to be the Pittsburgh Instapundit (he even links to Postrel and others of the notorious neoconned crew...) I could see where he wouldn't like my politics much. Yet he's a very good wordsmith. Thoughtful, interesting.

You can find the rest of the blogs that I thought were worth taking a look at over at the
Link Collections. I even categorized them a bit.

And you can read all of them over at
Pittsburgh Webloggers and make your own choices.

posted by Philip Shropshire at 8:38 AM 0 comments







Happy Kwanza Christmastime Hanukkah Everybody!


I brazenly stole this from Tom Tomorrow. I'm sure Sparky would approve.

And don't forget novelist China Mieville's version of a Christmas Carol. Keep in mind that China's in Europe so that means he's a real socialist.

"So I'd been getting all that ready, but then the most extraordinary thing happened. I won the lottery!

I mean, I didn't win the lottery. But I was one of a bunch of runners-up, and it was a peach of a prize. An invitation to a special, licensed Christmas™ party in the centre of London, run by YuleCo itself.

When I read the letter I was shaking. This was YuleCo, so it would be the real deal. There'd be Santa™, and Rudolph™, and Mistletoe™, and Mince Pies™, and a Christmas Tree™ with presents underneath it."

And just to make sure you that get it that perhaps this isn't the most joyful of Holidays, please check out this Daily Kos Diary: The Week in Fascism.


1. Powerful and continuing expression of nationalism. Ivolsky found for us that the White House rational comes as surprise to Iraqis. This is based on a poll performed in Baghdad in October. The Iraqi’s do not believe the U.S. is in Iraq to create a free and independent nation. Looks like the Iraqi’s believed Presidents Bush’s announcement before his first term that he did not believe in nation building. But if you hear the rhetoric from the Government and the “talking heads” on the right you would think the average Iraqi is overjoyed that we are creating a new peaceful county. 2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The biggest news item out this week is the President may have issued Executive Orders that allowed for torture of detainees and prisoners in the “War on Terror” Descrates brought to our attention the fact that the FBI Email Mentions Executive Order TEN Times. The best is yet to come. Where an Executive Order actually makes torture legal then Bush’s statements “that he only authorized techniques that fell under existing US law” were technically correct. This is a definite sign that we have crossed the line to the point that the things we used to condemn others for are now made legal for us just because the President says it is. 3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. Nob told us that Inhofe says Clinton's cuts made Iraq mess. What a load of bull! The prime sign of scapegoating is blaming someone else. It does not matter that Cheney, as Bush the first’s Secretary of Defense started the Defense in 1991 and Clinton only approved the programmed cuts he scheduled. Now it seems that no democratically leaning spokesman has even came forward to challenge these statements. That is a bigger travesty.


(Another pic from Grainbag)


December 22nd, 2004

I have began my first updates over at Red Light District. Hard work. Very hard work.

December 21st, 2004

We are making progress, slow and sure, but we're making it. What have I been doing? I've been creating some mock ads to give away. My former sales rep thought it was a bad idea but she's no longer here so I shall forge ahead with the idea. I'm also figuring out how often to update these pages. Right now, it looks like all the time. it's the main advantage I have over conventional press outlets. I can be on all the time so why not...?

Meanwhile, here's some pieces I worked on over at Three River Tech:


Perhaps you've seen this flag. I think the man behind it is probably joking.

On the other hand, I sincerely hope that the people behind Move On California are quite serious. I support them. There has to be a more vigorous way to show our dissent other than voting for Democrats who won't even fight for our votes. I can't think of anything more serious than secession. I might add that I'm willing to fight and die for things I actually believe in, as opposed to slaughtering Iraqi civilians for fossil fuels. It's aggressive. And it puts the right on the defensive. To use the crudely inappropriate football metaphor that our Moron in Chief uses to describe the War on Terror, we get to take it to them. We get to ask what's so great about the United States? You clearly don't give a fuck about us. We don't even have basic healthcare. We get to say that if you criminalize stem cell research or a woman's right to choose, then we're out of here. I've emailed those Move On folks and I'm not clear if they've thought of the ballot initiative. I guess there's a question of legality and this is where you would need some leadership with some balls that would say: "You just try and stop us from taking this vote and you'll have a civil war on your hands." And for some strange reason I could imagine Arnold mouthing those words. Offer him a shot at being the King of Cascadia or something, or vote someone in who has the guts to move for radical change. Time it for the 2006 Gubernatorial elections. Condition it's adoption based on the choice issue or approval of transparency in the voting process.

More here at Pittsburgh Progressive:

posted by Philip Shropshire at 6:23 AM Comments (5)




For those of us who long for another Portishead record or keep on wondering what happened to that gorgeous vocalist who headed Esthero (Update: Esthero just put out a new album and the first song is here. Kinda of a rockin' tune where she says Britney and rapists of little girls (R. Kelly I think but that seemed consensual, urine notwithstanding...) get way too much vid time. Mentions MTV mediocrity by name. I guess I won't be seeing her video too soon..), Ilya might just fill your need for cinematic grooves and beautiful soulful lyrics. If you don't believe me, then watch the incredible video for Bellissomo. It's stunning. Trust me. You can watch it either here at Soundgenerator (A great online site for videos by the way in case you're sick of MTV. They do this relational thing where they point out that if you like Portishead, you might like Ilya. And they were right.) or at the band's site. And here's an interview with the band. The new album, blaring in my personal background, is called They Died for Beauty.

If you're looking for more of this kind of music, I highly recommend Soma online, which actually plays about several different brands of Acid Jazz. I usually have the Secret Agent stuff in the background...

All Hail the Return of the King: And speaking of stunning artists you won't be seeing on the MTV countdown anytime soon--or anywhere on MTV for that matter--Kaki King has a new album out. You might remember I declared Kaki the best female guitarist that I had ever seen, just narrowly beating out Joe Pass Protege Mimi Fox, also incredibly gifted. At her website, she has about three video downloads where you can check out her incredible Stanley Jordanesque tapping style. You can also find a Kaki King NPR interview, which features another video and four of her tunes.

Her compositions are just as mind-blowing as her technique. You're watching a living legend, once in a generation kind of artist. Now, if they would only play her on the radio. All Hail the King.

December 9th, 2004

(The Art Above is from the Pittsburgh online gallery GrainBag)


At long last, it looks like I'm about to get this dog and pony show on the road. It's not like I have anything else to do. Pittsburgh ACT has closed down.