« October 2006 | Main | December 2006 »

Thursday, 30 November 2006

God Save

I’m about halfway through Diane McWhorter’s brilliantly written article. I share much of her alarm regarding the docility of us Americans after so arrogant and so successful a series of power grabs by the executive and the unquestioning acceptance—and in many cases outright support—of the legislature. Decent Americans must shudder when considering the connivance of large segments of the judiciary.

I’m going back to finish the article, of course, but my sense at this point is that McWhorter’s fear (if that’s what it is) and her trenchant analysis are elements of a warning best-heeded but not a signal for large-scale civil disobedience. Yet. I say this because none of what I have so far read mentions the American military without whose cooperation US-conducted genocide within national borders is not possible.

As long as this is true—and let’s pray it never becomes untrue—we Americans are not liable for our docility, though we are responsible, morally and spiritually, for the ones who are lost. end of article

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Make Symbolic LInks in the Finder Using AppleScript

As much time as I spend “under the hood” (as opposed to in the ’hood) in OS X, I’m surprised I haven’t encountered this problem before, which is: aliases made in the finder (with Command-L) are not navigable from the command line. I was shocked.

Having need for a quick-and-dirty way to make symbolic links in the GUI, I whipped up the following AppleScript. Copy the following code 1 and paste it into a new Applications > AppleScript > Script Editor.app window.

on open (docpath)

tell application "Finder"


set docpath to docpath as text

set search_string to ":"

set replacement_string to "/"

set oldDelims to AppleScript's text item delimiters

set AppleScript's text item delimiters to the search_string

set docpath to text items of docpath

set AppleScript's text item delimiters to the replacement_string

set docpath to text items of docpath as text

set unixpath to "/Volumes/" & docpath

set AppleScript's text item delimiters to the oldDelims

end tell

if last text item of (unixpath as text) is equal to "/" then

set unixpath to (text 1 through ((length of unixpath) - 1) of unixpath)

end if

do shell script "ln -s " & quoted form of unixpath & " " & quoted form of unixpath & ".sym"

end open

Save the file as a “Run Only” application (with or without “Startup Screen”) or download a precompiled copy of the application.2 When one drops a file or folder onto the resulting application, a symbolic link will be made in the same directory as the file with the extension “.sym”. end of article

20061201 UPDATE: My hint is now up at MacOSXHints.com, and you can check yourself for useful comments and/or modifications. I will post any modifications I find helpful.

For now, the editor of MacOSXHints.com, Rob Griffiths, has collated links to several other hints helpful to those of us who “work with symbolic links and aliases in Terminal and Finder.” One of those linked hints I found particularly useful as it provides an elegant means to cd into the directories to which system aliases point.

1 I submitted the main contents of this post to MacOSXHints.com. If and when that submission gets posted, I will provide a link from here as well as detailing any MacOSXHints community contributions I consider to be improvements (e.g. batch functionality).
2 Applying Apple’s Security Update 2006-007 or something that happened between 30 November 2006 and 1 December 2006, appears to have changed the behavior of the way in which Apache uploads AppleScript MIME types or in which Safari downloads such MIME types.

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Patchwork Copyright

I am surprised by your unqualified use of the term “intelligent machines.” To apply the descriptor “intelligent” to machines assumes that intelligence can be measured across types (e.g. humans and computers) with no relationship to the specific embodiment of the processes collectively referred to as “intelligence.” Similar ideational permissiveness produces at least one other interpretive indiscretion. That is, how can it be that “[i]n the heart of the computer . . . the distinctions between character, writer, and reader blur into strings of ones and zeroes . . .” when the specific context and embodiment of such information (voltage and magnetic differentials contained in the discrete registers and electrons “flowing” through the busses of a computer architecture) is separate from the imagined scene of “ones and zeroes” flowing, undifferentiated, through a computer? This is precisely the kind of substitution Norbert Wiener makes when he defines information as an abstraction separable from the context in which it occurs. Strings of “ones and zeroes” never blur one into the other except under circumstances of electronic or ontological crisis. end of article

Thursday, 23 November 2006

The only one I know

Do you worry too much people have only instrumental use for you? Life is only that way if you only have instrumental uses for people, which I know is not true about you. Focus on your emotional connection to each other and let that guide you. Unless you’re not feeling it.

But, yeah, Barbie is an acquaintance with friendly feeling. Still, this is not a use situation, so that’s good.

My mother is Korean. Even regarding family, she has strong ideas about mere instrumentality. I've been told there is no Korean single word equivalent for “close,” as in emotionally close to another person. Is such a thing true?

The crust must be rolled with a juice jar, only flour, water, vegetable shortening, salt. No butter.

Happy Tky Day,

sqk end of article

One Way to Fall

A vanishingly small fractional percentage of all humans are people to whom you will be directly and reciprocally introduced. Among the designators of proximal relationships between humans, stranger will be the most apt for most of even these. Over time, fewer still will be people who recall you by name and whom you recall by name, even fewer by first and last name. Within and among these people (name remembered or not) will be those known as friends, lovers, acquaintances, and family.

Perhaps one or two dozen of these people may bring you to the point of love (due to no action of their own), and/or we inspire in them deep, intense love. Very rarely, is such love mutual, reciprocal, and cooperatively acted upon, whatever expression that cooperation may take: a trip to the mountains, a shared meal or holiday, a phone call, a hug or a kiss, a leave-taking.

Some relevant nouns: my mother and my brother. Jimmy Koo. My father. My uncle, aunt, and cousins, Hyon Ju, Rachel, and Gina. My maternal uncles. My Hawaiian aunt. Tom, Sarah, Mandy, Jason, George, and always, always, always, my beloved Sarakittie. Both for your love and for my love for you, I am unspeakably thankful.

When I try to answer the questions and calls of love, I am always humbled, always surprised, caught always off guard by the distance that yawns between my heart and my hands. end of article

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Niceties of Conversation

No time at all, but I came across the video below1 through the blog of oneautumnleaf, who replied to a comment I left on Sarah O.’s blog. It articulates how the battle for Net Neutrality in the United States is one of the most important for the continuation of free speech in both the U.S. and the world at large.

Be informed; raise awareness. end of article

Informational video regarding Internet Neutrality2
Clicking downloads a 25.4 MB file.
Please be patient while the file loads
Ctrl/Right-click here to “Save File As . . .”
1 I apologize for the frightening image of (likely) Walter Freeman conducting a transorbital lobotomy. I’ll replace it with something more informative and less sensational when I have a chance. Done, but the image is still in the first few and last seconds of the video.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Double Stitch

For the past two weeks, I’ve wanted to follow up on my post regarding the ending of Spamland #1 (the only one I’ve as yet seen.) My argument was to have identified the retroactive constitution of subjectivity through the chain of signification, something Slavoj Žižek details (through the four phases of Lacan’s graph of desire) in The Sublime Object of Ideology (100-114).

My concern, now, is neither the suturing of subjectivity in Spamland #1 nor the formal structure of suture in narrative. What captures me is the experience of perfect clarity after subjectivity is sutured through the mechanism of desire. About this Žižek explains

A crucial feature at this elementary level of the graph is the fact that the vector of the subjective intention quilts the vector of the signifier’s chain backwards, in a retroactive direction: it steps out of the chain at a point preceding the point at which it has pierced it. Lacan’s emphasis is precisely on this retroactive character of the effect of signification with respect to the signifier, on this staying behind of the signified with respect to the progression of the signifier’s chain: the effect of meaning is always produced backwards, après coup.

Over half a year ago and apropos of nothing, Catherine forbade me from becoming erotically involved with her (different from Catherine): a true non sequitur. Amy did the same: that is, non sequitur and the same her (different from Amy, of course).1 The same prohibition at different times and, I’m guessing, each issued without knowledge of the other prohibition. Why?

Tom said they probably knew something I don’t, had access to a piece of information that pointed toward likelihood, potential, or intention. While the content of the letter remains unknown, its hallmark is reduplication by women connected to my desire. Still, why?

In her analysis of Charles Vidor’s Gilda (1946) Mary Ann Doane explains that Ballin’s “exclusion of the feminine” in the phrase “[g]ambling and women don’t mix” is an ideological product (7).

Within a capitalist patriarchy, gambling and women do not mix because both demand full concentration (they “use up” energy), both are risky, and both entail high stakes. The gambler’s desire for money and his desire for a woman are incompatible precisely because the money and the woman are substitutable objects within essentially the same system and logic of exchange. (7)

The film, of course, ends up being nothing more than cinematic wish fulfillment, unconvincingly rehabilitating the femme fatale and producing a narrative that annihilates itself by barring “the elaborate and prolonged construction of a threatening, explosive image of female sexuality and the devastating effect of that image upon Johnny” (Doane 15).

How perfect is the experience of clarity once subjective intention punctures, in backwards fashion, the signifying chain. How perfect “the cell of elementary desire” (Žižek 100). The letters Catherine and Amy sent were motivated by no reason, no produceable structure, no psychological remnant, no emotional vestige. end of article

1 When I say non sequitur, I mean precisely that. The topics of conversation in both cases had nothing to do with sex, the her, or anything nearly related. In both cases, I asked why and both times the prohibition was repeated as its own reason. I even told Amy that months previous Catherine said the exact same thing. She offered no explanation.
Works Cited
Doane, Mary Ann. Femmes Fatales : Feminism, Film Theory, Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge, 1991
Žižek, Slavoj. The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso, 1989

Wednesday, 08 November 2006

Election 2006: Blue is the New Black

Beth Q.: V for Victory
M. Stratton and Beth Quitslund,
Liz Miller (background)

Such a simple and cheesy gesture sums up the initial 2006 Election results for moderates, centrists, Democrats, and liberal educators (among others). But rather than shout out, “Democratic mandate” (whatever such a thing would mean), I’m cutting relief with gravity and determination. In my opinion, many Americans have been betrayed by the special interests of incumbent politicians. Moreso even than rural socially conservative Republicans, yellow dog Democrats and liberals of all stripes have been sold down the political river, fronted by cowards too afraid to stand for the civil liberties of all people under the keep of the United States of America. The undermining of the writ of habeas corpus, the practical repeal of the First Amendment in the service of copyright protections, and the flouting of the Fourth Amendment with widespread, arbitrary, and unmonitored surveillance of all Americans are follicles in the filthy hide of corrupt American politics. For the last five years, the beast of American bi-partisan politics has transformed seemingly principled liberal humanitarians into sniveling, self-interested Republican toadies: too afraid to expire Patriot Act 1 (and adding to the damage with Patriot Act 2), too addicted to plug pork barreling, and too short-sighted to give voice to a true humanitarian politic. I understand pragmatics and practicality, but justice and dignity-loving liberals have been cuckolded. The coats we are wearing aren’t just singed; they are burning.

Yes, the general shape of the 2006 Election is more about our horror that our brothers and sisters (American and otherwise) are dying in a pointless war that should never have been started than it is about some move toward a progressive liberalism that supports people who love as God guides them to love. The piecemeal elevation of the slave wage is not about dignity or security for all who labor as much as it is a constructive, if only partially adequate, expression of political rage over the tallying of record corporate profits while the working poor still cannot obtain either sufficient or affordable health care, let alone retirement security.

Election 2006 outcome of State issues
Image of Election 2006 outcome on Ohio State Issues (Original source, Columbus Dispatch)
I moved to Ohio in 2002 and was inspired by geographical hints of ancient majesty in the foothills of Appalachia. When our little corner of Ohio seemed the only corner not possessed by war-time hysteria, I thought, “better an island than no land at all.” This morning changes my perception, again. Ohio said that bolstering education with the ills of gambling is not a social good. This new blue swinger also voted to support its working poor who are suffering because there is as yet no progressive vision among Ohioan entrepreneurs and politicians. And while it may seem trivial to some, when voting Ohioans chose a comprehensive ban on public smoking as opposed to the tobacco-sponsored wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing, they said that they could read through political dirty tricks as well as voicing their sense that clean air is a right that should be protected for even bar-goers and service workers.

As Virginia inexorably and clumsily embraces its ill-at-ease Democratic senator (who ran against an openly, if apologetic, racist), Americans may be able to reassess the importance of greater freedom in an age of fear, why helping all our brothers and sisters have a chance at shared happiness will increase our own, and why doing more increases life satisfaction better than having more.

The squid, however, was not made for preaching; the squid was made to celebrate! end of article

exit poll optimism
Liz Miller 1 cheers early exit poll results
(M. Stratton in background)
Blue Posse
Liberal educators UNITE!
left to right: Beth Quitslund, M. Stratton,
Nicole Reynolds, and Johnnie Wilcox.

1 This year Liz mobilized me and her husband, Matthew, to work for Emily’s List, “a political network for pro-Choice Democratic women.” (Working for Emily’s list, for me, was as much about participating in an effective liberal get-out-the-vote campaign as it was about protecting the right of women to maintain full reproductive control of their own bodies. )

Liz was tireless as a canvasser, working the long election weekend through Tuesday in Columbus, Logan, and Athens, Ohio. Following Liz’s lead, I learned the satisfaction of reaching out to voters and interacting with even the resistant. Every quickly closed door meant at least five who listened with some interest, and I had nothing to sell except the power of enfranchisement.

The first canvassing assignment Liz, Matthew, and I received was poorly organized, the walking map unmarked and incomplete, and the database printout had been merely alphabetized instead of ordered by geographical contiguity. At the end of canvassing on the first day, I pulled the files for two precincts and marked up the walking maps, cross-referencing the street names against an alphabetical list. The portions of each precinct not represented on the walking maps, I researched using Google Maps. My data obsession and computer nerdiness paid dividends in bottom-up political action. I can’t thank Liz enough for giving me a chance to do something positive with pipsqueak (my 12" iBook).

Spending time with Liz and Matthew on the way to and in Columbus, Ohio, helped break some of the ice around my heart. Their political dedication and emotional generosity are what drive liberal humanitarian political action; they are the moist nuggets of human feeling.

Friday, 03 November 2006

Athens 44

I’m tired and today is my birthday. I wish there was enough time in the day for us to celebrate the love and care you have shown me today, Matthew, Liz, Jeremy, Paul, Carla, Catherine, George, Sachiko, Mark, Carey, Mandy, Sarah, and mom.1 Maybe next year.

In the meantime, some serious goings on and a post hopefully not too late regarding absentee ballots in Athens County.

Below are clickable thumbnails of the four-page absentee ballot for Athens 44 (each thumbnail links to a full-size image). Except for columns B and C on page three (3) which pertain to items for different precincts, people voting absentee in Athens County will use ballots identical to the one depicted below.

2006 Athens, OH, Precinct 44 absentee ballot, page 1

page 1

2006 Athens, OH, Precinct 44 absentee ballot, page 2

page 2

2006 Athens, OH, Precinct 44 absentee ballot, page 3

page 3

2006 Athens, OH, Precinct 44 absentee ballot, page 4

page 4

The problem with the ballot involves the bottom-right corner of page 1 and the top-left corner of page 2 which, together, comprise the ballot item “For Judge of the Court of Appeals (4th District).” The ballot item lists two candidates on opposite sides of the ballot sheet. Confused or inattentive voters who accidentally fill in bubbles for Roger L. Kline and William H. Harsha will produce invalid ballots that will be discarded


There are two ways to avoid this problem: 1) do not select any candidate “For Judge of the Court of Appeals” (that is, leave the item blank on both sides) or 2) choose either Roger L. Kline or William H. Harsha. The problem concerns layout as the following images make clear. (The detail images below can be are clickable links to images which show the context of each detail).

Choose either Kline or Harsha, or choose neither. DO NOT CHOOSE BOTH.
detail of 2006 Athens, OH, Precinct 44 absentee ballot, page 1
bottom-right corner of page 1 (page 2 on reverse)
detail of 2006 Athens, OH, Precinct 44 absentee ballot, page 2
top-left corner of page 2 (reverse of page 1)

As they say, “Vote early and vote often.” end of article

1 This is just a note of appreciation for those who wished me a happy birthday. If I didn’t mention you, it does not mean I don’t love you; it just means I didn’t hear from you regarding my birthday or that I forgot you wished me happy birthday. You do know that I love you, right?

Wednesday, 01 November 2006

Memento Squiddi

I changed my mind. end of article

« October 2006 | Main | December 2006 »