January 31, 2004

We Are All Cosmonauts Now


volume. new club. williamsburg. huge. all white. concrete floors. projections everywhere. bright. everyone in white suits. an equalizer. maybe. everyone modifies. must retain individuality. 2001. clockwork orange. gattaca. this must be someone's decade old fantasy. like a rave. but different. not fun. almost performance art. vanessa beecroft. without organization. dub in the main room. loud. loud. sound system. black music. white people. old black music. semi young white people. no one dances. bye now.

Posted by Abe at 11:09 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 30, 2004

and yeah

I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little worried that this site is turning into a political blog.

Thankfully I've assured myself it won't. Its just that politics is in the air and I can kick out those reaction pieces in no time at all. And really I got no time right about now.

But yeah once me and time work out our differences I'll have some non political stuff flowing again, big Hollertronix post in the works, plus more social software theory, general randomness, and maybe even some pretty pictures.

So hold tight for me, ok? Soon.

Posted by Abe at 01:16 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

To All My Fantastic Readers Who Would Prefer a New President of the United States

I've been hearing too many nasty rumors about the Democratic presidential nominees of late. Some of them might even be true. But I don't want to be hearing them and I suggest you don't go round spreading them. Even if you don't like some particular dude, really just keep it on hush, ya hear? If you got a favorite, hype him up ok? Keep it positive. And get your ass in gear behind who ever wins this nomination. Cause I want a new president bad, and if you agree lets keep it moving positive. We can work out the differences once this election jammy is won, yaknowwhatimsayin?

and yeah, stay beautiful, I love you all,

Posted by Abe at 01:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 29, 2004

Links I've Been Meaning to Comment Extensively on But Don't Have the Time Yet

stevenberlinjohnson.com: Our Fragmented Web, which is a response to Politics of the Web: Meet, Greet, Segregate, Meet Again

my shorter comment: why does this need be framed as an either/or? Is there any reason at all that the two hypotheses can't both be true in different parts of this large space we call the interweb?

BarlowFriendz: The Counter-Revolution Has Been Televised

the shorter: Again, why is this framed as the conflict. Is the internet at war with TV? Did people stop talking because they learned to read and write? Did radio disappear when everyone got a TV? Perhaps we should be thinking about co-existence not conflict?

ProfessorBainbridge.com: The Immorality of Corporate Reparations

shorter: there is no shorter, this one needs to be addressed point by point at a later date...

Posted by Abe at 01:55 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out Mr. Trippi,

and good luck staying out of jail while you're at it...

Buried in the bottom of this NYT article is this factoid:

Some questioned the arrangements by which Mr. Trippi forfeited a salary as a campaign manager but collected commissions — said to be as high as 15 percent in some cases — based on advertising buys.

Say what?

The Mr. Trippi in question was until a couple days ago Howard Dean's campaign manager. He lead the internet hype, and he also blew threw $40 million dollars. And here he is getting 10-15% of each and every ad buy? Holy shit, wake up Mr. Media, that's a freaking story.

I've been wary of Trippi ever since I read (and posted) this article. The man was way to deep in the daytrading biz, alarm bell ringing in every direction. But the Dean campaign was blowing up er, an internet stock, so I held back. Part of me just wanted to be wrong. The other part hoped the bubble wouldn't pop until after the presidential election, after all the Bush team blows even more hot air then Trippi. But now that the Dean campaign seems to be doing about as well as the last stock Trippi hyped, its clear I hoped too much.

And Trippi? I don't know but it looks to me like he just scammed Dean big and hard. "I'll take the job, no salary" cool, but "all I want is a cut of the ad buys" ok sounds fair if you don't think too hard. Think again. Mofo is in charge of the ad buys. The more he buys the more he pockets. Repeat after me, the more ads Trippi buys the more money he makes. I sort of feel sorry for Dean cause he just got played and played hard, but damn that's just dumb.

The upside? The other candidates hopefully haven't made the same mistakes. And Dean/Trippi showed them how to raise more cash then they ever could before. Onward to November my friends, there will be plenty more drama for your enjoyment along the way.

Posted by Abe at 01:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 28, 2004

Kerry Cools Dean Dot Com Off

There is an awful lot of discussion about dean and the internet, especially in light of his disappointing finishes in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, and today's departure of campaign CEO and former internet stock speculator Joe Trippi.

Personally I'm more intrigued in John Kerry's rapid rise from being written off to top of the ticket. But Dean's decline and Kerry's rise are quite likely linked to each other. And while I'm not a huge McLuhan fan, I think there is actually a lot to be gained from looking at this campaign with his infamous hot media / cool media construction.

Kerry success I think has a lot to do with just how cool he is. Or perhaps Outkast puts it better, Kerry is straight up ice cold. No emotion, no expression, no action. Kerry is practically running his campaign leaning against the wall like James Dean.

McLuhan of course saw TV as the ultimate cool medium. Diffuse, low resolution, low information. Once Kerry found his stride he became the ultimate TV candidate, and lucky for him he caught his stride just as the ads started running and TV coverage picked up. Its not that people like Kerry, its just that his cool personality means they don't dislike him. Media season is on and Kerry is the tallest and coolest on TV. Mix that up with a good ground operation and the result is his victories.

Howard Dean in contrast is pure hot, passion and intensity. He fires up his people for sure. Back in the days of barnstorming and radio campaigns Dean would have blown away Kerry. But times are different and his main medium is the internet.

McLuhan never got the chance to put the internet into his hot or cold spectrum. It's a tricky case to figure out. On one hand inside a Dean chat room or a mailing list flame war, the internet feels like a blazing hot medium. Text is hot and internet has massive amounts of it flying back and forth at high speeds. But at the same time it's a low resolution, distributed medium, and that's cool not hot.

So is the internet hot or cool? Perhaps like light being photon and wave, its both at the same time. Isolate an individual point and odds are its going to be hot. Loads of focused, intense and detailed information. Hot. But look at it as a pattern and its different. There are plenty of scattered points of intense heat around. But they don't radiate, and the space in between is dead cold, there is nothing hot in 404 messages, fiber optic cable and blogs with just one year old entry.

So here we have Howard Dean and his sites are 4 alarm hot. The hot candidate fires up his people and the media notices and catches the intensity. But when it comes time to vote that intensity just doesn't radiate. Its diffuse, spread across the internet, spread across the country. Click on another web site and the energy is gone.

I suspect as voters walked into their primaries and caucuses, that they started to forget how hot Dean was for a second. The heat was localized and there's no internet in the voting booth. Kerry's cool on the other hand was just starting to reach them.

There's a little "dated Dean, married Kerry" meme percolating but I'm not sure that's on point. Its more like had a passionate fling with Dean, followed by a bit of an argument. Once you're out the room you can't quite remember why he seemed so hot. And there's Kerry, leaning against the wall, acting cool, ain't saying nothing. Never really noticed him before but all sorts of respected politicians seem to be down with him, talking him up while he just kicks it. Cool Kerry up against the wall, not a marriage, more like a crush. Lets see how long it lasts...

Posted by Abe at 11:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

NYC Events


And then next week good music comes to NYC!

The one to check Andrew Weatherall playing a disco punk set at APT a week from Thursday, watch out. Here is the word from promoter Roy Dank:

Andrew Weatherall is playing a special punk-funk set at Pop Your Funk, much like his coveted Nine O'Clock Drop mix CD for the Nuphonic label. This is the first time he's done this in America and quite possibly the most intimate gig he's ever done in NYC so this is indeed a special night! Brennan Green from Balihu, Modal and Peacefrog and Roy Dank of Mathematics (who will be touring Europe just a couple days later) will be playing on the night as well.

Thursday February 5th, Open Smirnoff Bar 9-10pm. Come early to ensure entry. $8 adv / $10 at the door.

APT is somewhere in the meat packing district, look it up cause I'm too lazy too...


On the more hyped tip Dizzee Rascal drops in to new Williamsburg venue Volume. Still not feel the anglophile hype dropped upon Mr. Rascal, but Matthew Dear is playing so there is a back up if Dizzee falls flat... And it's a Soundlab party which means it should be more creative then your average club night.

Saturday February 7, 9:30 - sunrise @ Volume, 99 N 13th St at Whythe.

Official opening of the club is apparently this weekend btw...

Last but not least, right down the street sits NY's best café St Helen. 150 Whythe, at N 8th, peep it while you still can get a seat...

Posted by Abe at 03:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack



I never quite understood why all my fellow New Yorkers stay in while its snowing out. The act of snowing is by far the best thing about this snow thing, at least in an urban space. Turns the city into this beautiful pure space. Seas of white, and washed out shapes shifting through the periphery. And best of all you can enjoy New York City with out all these beautiful people blocking your view...

The real time to honker down and stay in front of your fire/TV or whatever is when it slushy out. Slush is the worst weather condition ever, makes crossing every street a logistical challenge. Its like the city needs to beat the snow into submission and the result is a cold dark puddle of nasty on every corner. Stay away, its movies and food delivery time.

But when the snow actual falls, when its actually white. Time to head outside and enjoy it for once, this is as close to natural beauty as NY will ever get...

Posted by Abe at 03:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why the Democratic Nominee's War Minutia is Irrelevant

Tom Schaller has an interesting piece on Daily Kos on Kerry and Dean's Iraq war stance. And while it maybe interesting its also a big time red herring. Schaller seems convinced that the Democrats individual stances on this war are some how relevant.

News flash, they aren't relevant at all, except to the political fringe. Why? Because minutia aside the fact is that NONE of these candidates, with the exception of one of the irrelevant ones whose name is not worth typing, would ever have lead this country into this bullshit war. Kerry and Edwards voted on some bill leading up to it, so what? If either where president there is no way this war would happen. Not a chance. And most voters no this fact as well as they need to. Which is why Kerry can pick up so much of the "anti war" vote. Course the pundits can't quite figure this out as it involves common sense rather then analysis, but hey at least the voters know. And now you do too, spread the word for me, ok?

Posted by Abe at 03:22 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 27, 2004

to all 5 people who actually supported Kerry 3 weeks ago

Hey ya. Got no idea where you Kerry people got your magic from, but do me a favor will you, and save some of that for November. And make sure you share it with whoever gets this nomination, Dean, Edwards, Kerry, Clark whatever, I like people who know how to win elections the real way. Lets keep it clean for a bit cause November, well November is going to be nasty for sure...

As always I love you all,


Posted by Abe at 10:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

To All My Wonderful Dean Loving Readers

Hey, I understand your boy got outscored something rough by John Kerry tonight, it's a bit harsh. But you just hang tight and keep cool. The rumors them spreading about ya ain't doing anyone any good. Write in Dean for president, do anything to take down Kerry. Badness buzzing in my ear.

First off this thing is far, far from over. Two states have votes, two little states. Second off there is no question at all that John Kerry is a better man then George Bush, as are all the other Democrats, and about 95% of the rest of the population. And now he's proven he can win elections. That's good shit, respect him, learn from him and keep on campaigning. Just don't do Karl Rove's dirty work for free please?

It's a long road to November and the goal is to beat Bush, not beat each other, you hear?

I love you all,


Posted by Abe at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2004


Atrios and his readers have done us the great service of summing up every Tom Friedman NYT op-ed piece ever in one concise haiku, hours of reading have been saved!

If we had some ham
We could have some ham and eggs
If we had some eggs.

Posted by Abe at 01:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 24, 2004

UPS Rebrands Redux

Back in March when UPS rebranded, I shrugged. Sort of liked the tacky metallic of the new shield. And despite the fact that the new logo launched at the same time as the neocon invasion of Iraq I missed the violent symbolism of the shield.

But two UPS trucked ended that. West Broadway, in the heart of Manhattan's Soho shopping mall, two UPS trucks back to back. One with Paul Rand's old gift + minimal shield design, one with a glossy new school UPS shield. One truck branded to say "we deliver your presents safely" and another truck branded more like an armored car.

Its not a pretty contrast. Is this what Bush's new world order looks like? Even a parcel delivery company feels the need to wrap itself in the cold paranoia of security? Apparently when Paul Rand showed the old design to his young daughter and asked what it was she replied delightedly "a present!" But now it's the 21st century and all presents now must pass through a full security screening before they arrive...

Geopolitics aside though, its also clear that the old trucks are just plain better designed. The old globe makes UPS worldwide scope far clearer then the new "Worldwide Services" tag. They've tellingly dropped the "delivery" from that tagline. Clarity is apparently a weakness in times when Cheney and a Bonesman lead the worlds most powerful nation.

The url and well thought phone number (800 pick ups) are gone on the new truck as well. If you need them you'll find them I suppose, but its another step towards closing their doors to outsides. Perhaps on the flip side of the new truck is a drop of slot similar to the one you can see on the back of the old one. But perhaps that charming detail has been stripped as well. I wouldn't be surprised if the slots get used about once a year. Doesn't matter though, the fact that they are there speaks more of the thoughtfulness of the company then a cold metallic shield ever will.

(click for larger version)

Posted by Abe at 01:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

The New Political Economy

No, there is no new "political economy" in the academic sense, although I'd love to see/create one. Instead what we are looking at a potentially new economy of US elections.

Howard Dean of course laid the ground work, using blogs and email to forge a low threshold fundraising network that has made him the best funded candidate in this race, on the Democratic side of the game. But he may well have also laid the ground work of his own demise. He has a bigger bank to play with then his competitors no doubt, but they have the momentum. And unlike elections path, there is now a working model for turning momentum into donations quickly. And it looks exactly like Howard Dean's online fundraising model.

Both John Kerry and John Edwards have raised over $700,000 each online since Iowa's caucuses on Monday and that might be exactly the funds they need to keep in the game. The annuls of American presidential elections are filled with candidates that get hot for a state or two then die due to lack of funds in the next states. John McCain being the most recent examples.

But if a hot candidate can now turn a strong showing into a million dollars a week in new funds, momentum suddenly means real dollars. And in a tight campaign that might make all the difference.

Posted by Abe at 07:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Dean, The Dead

Don't know why Rob Walker doesn't publish his sporadic email blast, The Journal of Murketing, online. But its free and well worth subscribing too. From the latest:

I was interested to read, post-Iowa, a Dean media adviser comparing his man's events to Grateful Dead concerts. This strikes me as a more realistic assessment of Brand Dean's DNA than the earlier hype. The business of the Dead was built on fanatical loyalty, intense community -- and total indifference to the fact that most of the world can't stand the Grateful Dead. You can build a brand around that, but not a mass one, and you pretty much have to go mass if you want to be president.

posting the whole entry below since its unclear how else to send anyone to it, and it captures my own thoughts on the matter better then I ever did.

The Journal of Murketing shuns politics, but this whole Howard Dean thing can't be avoided. What has happened to this one-man brand? He was so hot, a champion murketer! Recently a business-magazine columnist (who presumably had a pre- Iowa Caucus deadline) pointed to Dean's grass-roots cultivation skills as a model for forward-thinking businesses, since "everyone knows" that his "web-driven campaign is a huge factor in his success." And just a month ago a heavyweight pundit said Dean's brilliantly viral, buzz-building use of the Internet was schooling the "political establishment" just as file-sharing and The Blair Witch Project "blindsided" the music and film industries. The meetups, the stealthy fund-raising -- it's like flash mobs, it's like Friendster, it's changing the paradigm! "The Internet," Dean campaign mastermind Joe Trippi lectured, "puts back into the campaign what TV took out — people."

It's true, people are a big deal in elections, something Trippi was no doubt thinking of while his candidate was being crushed in Iowa. One reporter hanging out at a caucus center wrote: "The precinct captain for the Dean campaign said he was hoping for 25 to 50 Dean voters between the ages of 18 and 25, but only one showed up. 'I think if we could blame [Dean's loss] on anyone, blame it on the 18- to 25-year-olds, because they were nonexistent,' he said."

Ouch! So is (was) Dean just a youth-driven fad? Or will he come roaring (or howling) back in New Hampshire? The Journal of Murketing does not make predictions. Instead, here are three thoughts. First, I suspect that a lot of the early buzz around Dean had little to do with him and much to do with the vague idea that he presented a "challenge to the status quo." Which can mean almost anything. Mystery and curiosity might help sell movie tickets or a trendy product, but it doesn't really work in politics.

Second, I was interested to read, post-Iowa, a Dean media adviser comparing his man's events to Grateful Dead concerts. This strikes me as a more realistic assessment of Brand Dean's DNA than the earlier hype. The business of the Dead was built on fanatical loyalty, intense community -- and total indifference to the fact that most of the world can't stand the Grateful Dead. You can build a brand around that, but not a mass one, and you pretty much have to go mass if you want to be president.

Third, the celebrated Trippi says he learned about the power of Web community as a participant on Raging Bull, a site for day-traders, in the heyday of the tech-stock bubble. He was entranced with some traders' devotion to a company called Wave Systems. I've read "Wavoids" explaining how "word of mouth" built a "loyal following" of investors who "kept the company afloat." Yeah? I'd never heard of Wave Systems, so I looked into it. It turns out that at the market's peak, WAVX traded at $50 a share. Today it's around $2.18. And even that price seems wildly optimistic: For the 12 months ended September 30, Wave had revenue of about $183,000 (that's thousands, not millions), which of course is not even enough to cover the annual salary of its president and CEO ($411,000); losses for that period exceeded $23 million. Last month the company disclosed that it is under S.E.C. investigation. This suggests that those Wave true believers Trippi was so impressed by were not so much a movement as a feedback loop. Again, no prediction is implied, but Dean fans better hope that his current viral, network-building efforts have a more solid foundation.

Posted by Abe at 05:48 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 21, 2004

The Ever Evolving WMDs

Kevin Drum provides a handy guide the ever changing Weapons of Mass Destruction:

March 2003: Weapons of mass destruction.
June 2003: Weapons of mass destruction programs.
October 2003: Weapons of mass destruction-related programs.
January 2004: Weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.

and from that we can predict a bit of the future:

April 2004: Weapons of mass destruction-potentially related program activities
July 2004: Weapons of mass destuction-potentially related imaginary program activities
November 2004: Weapons of mass destruction-potentially delusional related program activities

and lets hope it ends there with a new president, cause if not is going to get deeply newspeak...

Posted by Abe at 04:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

John Kerry, Last Hope for Sex in the White House?

Still not sure what to make of John Kerry's recent comeback capped with a victory in the Iowa. He was dead in the water 10 days ago, and then what? Best explanation I can come up with is that it some how involves the Stephan Marbury coming to the Knicks, cause they both happened at the same time and both involve a little bit of magic. Actually this article gives a hint, but one operative in Iowa is not the answer.

The eeriest aspect of Kerry's turnaround, to me at least, is how its effected my opinion of the man. I pretty much dismissed him from the get go, one of my least favorite candidates. The man looks like a giant shrivelled penis for christ's sake, how the hell is he going to get elected president?

Suddenly though I like him, he looks a little more like a cross between Keith Richards and Ronald Reagan. And the penis bit? perhaps that's actually a good thing. Maybe that's exactly what this country needs, someone to bring some sex back into the White House. Might keep us out of a couple wars. And shit, who wouldn't vote for the sex candidate? We all know that Clinton's approval ratings jump way up once it was clear he was pimping in the oval office.

Of course the core conservatives and religious right would start squealing louder then Dean with a gerbil up his rear, but they're only 30% of the vote. Plus elections occur behind closed doors and we all know damn well how dirty the deeply religious get under those circumstances.

Course Kerry isn't exactly the ideal candidate, but consider the alternatives. The way Dean has been acting lately you'd think Judy hasn't broken him off a piece since their freaking honeymoon. And someone should let Kucinich know that Friendster is still free, and there for a much cheaper way of finding a date then running for president. Gephardt proved his impotency as House Majority leader, and Clark would never consent to something as human as intercourse, would he? Perhaps Edwards is an option, but he doesn't look like he's past the age of consent. Sharpton, hell I love the mofo, but whether we like it or not this country just ain't ready to go black...

So there you have it, John Kerry the only option to bring sex back into the White House. Make what you want of it, I just write this shit.

Posted by Abe at 02:03 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Amplification and Stratification, tracing the linkflow in blog space

Joi Ito has an interesting post where he raises the concept of blogs acting of amplifiers. It's a good metaphor, and better yet it might actually function as an actual abstract machine. Worth exploring and fortunately an excellent example just flowed through this blog.

Back in 2000 one Linton Freeman published an article, "Visualizing Social Networks" in the Journal of Social Structure.

On Thursday I stumbled across a several day old link to Freeman's article on an excellent but relatively unknown (2 inbound links according to Technorati) blog, Social Fiction. In Social Fiction's post it was noted that they found the site via the web page for an application called Social Circles. I had actually visited that site, but never noticed the link to Freeman's article, which was buried in the footnotes.

The Social Circles link to the article is notable because instead of linking to the main page for the article, it linked to a page meant to be contained inside a frameset, that contained the full article, but no information about the journal that published it. This seemingly minor error will turn out to be quite important

After following the link from Social Fiction I realized I didn't have time to read the full article. But I posted it on my site mainly as a way to find it later, and also because it had beautiful graphs, one of which I displayed. Within an hour or so, Blackbelt Jones a significantly more popular website then mine (with 151 inbound blogs according to Technorati) posted the link, indicating that the link was found via my site. During this process the link also showed up in the "social bookmark management" system, del.icio.us and the link was duplicated on an even more popular (381 inbound blogs) site Many 2 Many.

So there we have it, an excellent tracing of how blogs (with the help of their symbiotic cousins like del.icio.us) can rapidly amplify quality information filtering it out of the general information noise.


Except its not that simple. While the blog network did do an excellent job amplifying attention to Freeman's article it also brought in an new element, distortion.

When the Social Circles site linked to the frameset subpage rather then the full page, a significant amount of context was stripped away. As the attention payed to the link amplified up the blogsphere, this mistake never got corrected. Important information, like where and when the article was published never circulated, and the article was never rendered in its proper context. Nor did the Journal of Social Structure receive any credit for publishing the article. And that brings us to another more complex issue which we'll touch on only briefly.

While the original article, and the distortion of omission both amplified rapidly up the blogsphere popularity charts, the credit for amplifying the article did not. By the time the link had hit blogs with sizable readerships all references to the two sites, Social Circles and Social Fiction, that did the most to uncover the article were gone. While information itself amplified well, the credit for filtering and discovering information did not. And in the attention based economy of blogs, credit for discovering and filtering information is potent currency.

Many blogs when posting links, will also include a link to the site that lead them to the link. This practice, bordering on a custom, creates a relatively smooth, fluid information space. While some sites may receive more attention then others, sites that continuously receive credit for finding new quality will slowly gain an audience and reputation.

For instance its possible to view the link to Freeman's article on Blackbelt Jones and then following the "via" links wind up in the footnotes of the Social Circles site where the link first entered into the blog space.

Unfortunately there is flip side to this fluidity. When the link credit "custom" is not upheld, a stratification occurs, where the most popular sites are able to dominate the flow of information, mining information off less known sites, and then hiding the existence of their "source sites" from the readership. This makes it harder for smaller sites to grow, and increases the value of the large sites that have knowledge of a broad array of "sources".

As blogs begin to emerge as economic entities, both as revenue sources and as means for people to build personal reputations and brands, the danger of stratification increases. When competition enters the picture, sources are no longer necessarily something to be shared, as they begin to take on real value. A medium size site represents a potential competitor to a larger site covering the same topic. A small site that provides quality focused information becomes a privileged source, a means for a site to gain information that distinguishes it from competitors.

These are the early days of the politics of mass information. The behaviors and patterns of the blog as a media are still in formation and largely undocumented. History warns us that this new medium will likely stratify into its own system of power, but perhaps we can do a better job then history...

update: corrected the mistaken presumption that the link appeared on Many2Many because of seeing it directly on a blog, in fact Many2Many's Clay Shirky found the link on del.ico.us an alternative link propagation and filtering system that at first glance appears to have quite a symbiotic relationship with blog space.

update2: this Wired article discusses a study that echoes and and confirms some of the ideas in this piece.

Posted by Abe at 12:33 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 20, 2004

Abstract Dynamics Turns One!

Holla! A year ago today Abstract Dynamics published its very first post. Hopefully my writing has improved since then. My audience certainly has. Thanks for reading, I love you all.


Posted by Abe at 04:22 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 19, 2004


Kerry and Edwards Turn Late Surges Into Iowa Success is the headline. And that's half the story of the Iowa caucuses, the first votes in the determining the Democratic contender for president. But the other big story is where the hell did Howard Dean go.

Now I wasn't in Iowa, but I suspect it has a lot to do with the internet. Dean's the internet candidate, he's mastered the medium. But as we learned a few years back in a bursting bubble, the relationship between the internet and reality is tenuous at best.

Dean has already changed the way campaign fundraising is run in a big way. He found where the internets strengths were. Now he's about to find its weaknesses. I suspect a good part of his drop in Iowa comes directly from his flooding the state with out of state volunteers. Online its easy to forget about the local, its easy to celebrate the common connections we share across geographic boundaries. Its easy to think sending a horde of foreign kids to another territory to support your cause is a good idea. And I suspect when the analysis is done, it will be clear that Dean's "perfect storm" was hammering in exactly the wrong message.

The other key change in the lead up to tonight caucuses was an increase in TV ads. I haven't seen the commercials running, but all indications are that Dean just isn't ready to run a media campaign. The internet is an isolator, an echo chamber. Across the Dean blog space, the energy is intense, but its also contained. The collective organization of Dean people online is a massive amount of potential energy, but its not quite ready to be focused right. Nor does it have anything to do at all with making good TV ads. Ads that are essential to reaching those millions of voters who are not confined within Dean's intense but distributed and unfocused network.

Like many internet ventures before it, the Dean campaign is not quite ready to scale. It's a bit too early to see if Dean's another bubble, or just a bit over optimistic on the earnings predictions, but in a few weeks we'll know a hell of a lot more.

And yeah, I forgot, the final factor. Kerry is tall. Dean is short. Make what you will of it, history shows it means far to much in these matters.

Update: check out what Matt Stoller has to say. Sort of what I'm saying, but from quite a different angle. Doc Searls has a good take too.

Posted by Abe at 10:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The History of Music Has Officially Ended

There is no need for anything new. We can all dedicate the rest of our lives to The Rough Guide to . . . There is enough in there to keep us musically happy for the next 50 years. By that time there might actually be a better bulletin board thread to read. For those with slightly less time I've compiled a Rough Guide to the Rough Guide thread. Well the first half of it anyway, too much in there...

Rough Guide To Baggy
Rough Guide To Bootlegs
The Rough Guide to New Orleans Brass Bands
The Rough Guide to Harpsichord Pop
Rough Guide to Screwston
Rough Guide to Italo-Disco
The Rough Guide to the 37th President of the United States of America
The Rough Guide to 20th Century Popular American Music
The Rough Guide to the Nintendo Entertainment System
The Rough Guide to Vocoders
The Rough Guide to DJ Premier
Rough Guide to The Dream is Over
Rough Guide to "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You"
The Rough-n-Tumble Guide to Steve Albini, Engineer:
The Rough Guide to '40s R&B
Rough Guide To Ohhhh Yeeeeessssss!: Ultimate Dance Breakdown/Build-Ups
Rough Guide to Sonic Youth Kissing Their Idols
Rough Guide To Timbaland
The Rough Guide to Allen Toussaint
Rough Guide To Thatcherism: An Indie Response

Posted by Abe at 07:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

If I Put This Animation on the Front Page My Bandwidth Would Blow Up But Watch it Anyway


creator unknown

don't steal bandwidth, you will regret it.

[via burnlab]

Posted by Abe at 11:14 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

A Brief Guide to the Democratic Primaries

The Iowa caucuses are hear heralding the start of the Democratic primaries. To aid any Democratic readers in their choices, Abstract Dynamics has produced a brief guide to the candidates:

Howard Dean: Finally some one figured out how to make money off this blog interweb thing!

Wesley Clark: Very smart, not a politician, also probably not born on this planet.

John Kerry: Tall, initials are JFK.

Dick Gephardt: Caught in his own private, once every four years, version of groundhog's day.

John Edwards: Go back to the future babyface, maybe they'll let you play with the pros in 8 years.

Dennis Kucinich: The Berlin Wall fell 15 years ago pappi, and no one really wants to build it again in DC.

Al Sharpton: This man needs a daily radio show not some white house.

That other guy whose name is vaguely familiar from the last time we played this game: Doesn't like movies, doesn't like video games, doesn't like hip hop. But somehow he wants people to like him.

Posted by Abe at 06:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 18, 2004

"The Problem" and it's problems

Steven Shaviro has an excellent post on the rising anti-State tendencies of the intellectual left.

His conclusion is one I can pretty much agree with, but with notes:

I take the rather unfashionable position that a progressive and democratic politics today must conceptualize and affirm some form of the State, and that “politics without the State” is a chimera.

note 1, the "today" is essential I's use it to mean now and for the short term (next couple decades most likely) future.

note 2, the "unfashionable" is pretty funny. Its true for a particular subsection of leftist intellectuals, but doesn't really scale much at all. The anti State leftists are on the radical fringes with Chomsky and Hardt/Negri being about as close as these ideas even get to major "progressive" information channels.

Now while I agree with Shaviro's conclusions, I'm not sure I can say the same with all the stops along the road. Here he gets into one of his major disagreements with the anti-State crew:

I wish that anarcho-collectivists, like Veroli et al, would get over their negative fetishization of “the State” as the source of all evil. I know this may make me sound like an old-line marxist fundamentalist, but I’m sorry: the State is not the problem, multi- and transnational capital is.

Its that last line that kills me. Its not like this is a multiple choice test, with either the State or multinational capital being "the problem". In fact I'd start by saying its far clear that anything at all is "the problem". There are problems for sure, problems with both states and with multinational corporations. But to bundle the multitude of issues up into "the problem" seems to me to be highly problematic in itself.

Fundamentally I find it really hard to take seriously anyone's claims that they actually understand how such enormous, interwoven and somewhat abstract entities such as "the State" and transnational capital actually function. The reality is that we just don't have a great understanding of their workings. Marx made perhaps the best attempt to break it all down. And a hundred years ago you could probably make a good case that he was reasonably accurate. But given radical economic transformations of the past century, his analysis doesn't look so accurate. Yet his claim that surplus labor will lead to the inevitable collapse of "capitalism" remains the only rigorous leftist critique of contemporary economic mechanics. And quite honestly its laughable.

Increasing I get a sense that the left has a deep seed personal need to believe that there is something seriously wrong with the world. And of course there are numerous localized problems that can identified. But there also appears to be a need to extrapolate these problems into a massive boogeyman of "capitalism" or "the State". The process of this extrapolation is beyond me.

Perhaps the same brain centers that produce belief in the supernatural are at work, those that have killed god seek to fill the void with another amorphous entity. The left traditionally looks to capitalism as jealous and vengeful god, while the right prefers the kind "invisible hand" god driven by "free" markets.

The action of producing these massive amorphous entities is also one of an odd personal liberation. Suddenly the problems of the world are driven by operations larger then the mind can quite grasp. They are several steps away from day to day existence, part of an imaginary system, that can be critiqued at will, but desperately hard to change and isolated from acts of living and working. Only the clergy, the hardcore protesters and activists end up dealing with the concepts and problems created by "capitalism" and "the State".

I've got no use for this bullshit. We live and world filled both with great beauty and substantive problems. And those problems are ones that we can do a lot towards solving. But in order to begin solving these issues its important to set aside many of tropes that have left the left stagnating in their own outdated concepts. Its time to move beyond the notions of "resistance", "revolution" and the excessive reliance on "critical" theory. There is no known war for the left to fight, no proven "system" to revolt against. There is a time and space for the critical, but there also need for the constructive and positive, both in reality and theory.

Posted by Abe at 02:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 17, 2004



Posted by Abe at 02:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Posted by Abe at 02:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2004

Martin Luther King

I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Body and Soul: Dreams and Nightmares has the best sum up of Bush's annual MLK day hypocrisy.

Posted by Abe at 04:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Imaginary Campaign Ads, First in an Occasional Series


Its election year in the US and in honor of it Abstract Dynamics will be presenting an occasional series of imaginary campaign advertisements. Feel free to use and abuse the images at will.

This first one is a "remix"/parody of an ad once used quite effectively, in another country, to put quite a distasteful lady into power. Time to repurpose it for a better task.

Would like to alter this one to have a nice picture of Mr. Bush fishing, but I couldn't find an image, even though I'm pretty sure on recently went out over the wires. If you have one please send it my way.

Posted by Abe at 11:36 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

As the RIAA Goes to War, the EFF Runs Away

LA Weekly: Music Industry Puts Troops in the Streets

Though no guns were brandished, the bust from a distance looked like classic LAPD, DEA or FBI work, right down to the black "raid" vests the unit members wore. The fact that their yellow stenciled lettering read "RIAA" instead of something from an official law-enforcement agency was lost on 55-year-old parking-lot attendant Ceasar Borrayo.

The Recording Industry Association of America is taking it to the streets.

Even as it suffers setbacks in the courtroom, the RIAA has over the last 18 months built up a national staff of ex-cops to crack down on people making and selling illegal CDs in the hood.

and if starting their own little, quite likely illegal, terror squad wasn't bad enough, the RIAA goes out and makes it clear just how racist they are:

"A large percentage [of the vendors] are of a Hispanic nature," Langley said. "Today he’s Jose Rodriguez, tomorrow he’s Raul something or other, and tomorrow after that he’s something else. These people change their identity all the time."

Say what? Not even going to comment on that one.

Then of course to top it all off with a cherry, the RIAA's biggest opponent the EFF condones these foul tactics:

"The process of confiscating bootleg CDs from street vendors is exactly what the RIAA should be doing," said Jason Schultz, a staff attorney for the San Francisco–based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Now that's apparently a misquote and Schultz corrects it on his blog. But honestly his answer doesn't make me particularly happy. Schultz and the EFF draw a broad line between digital file sharing and the alternative networks of CD distribution. And they have valid legal reasons for it.

But really what is the difference between the two? One is structural, P2P file sharing involves a computer and broadband connection while alternative CD networks involve physical goods, that are copied not stolen. The other difference between the two is socioeconomic. P2P is a middle class act, requiring expensive equipment and connections. The extralegal CD distribution networks operate in far less privileged spaces. And they represent a valid attempt by these communities to route around the restrictions the RIAA is attempting to impose. But since it doesn't involve extensive computer use the EFF can't be bothered to defend.

Just another reminder that techno-utopianism doesn't scale beyond the short confines of tech culture...

[article link via bIPlog]

Posted by Abe at 09:39 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 15, 2004

[grid::ritual] recursion

the second grid::blog is on, and focused on ritual. And I'm about to make it a bit recursive, because a blog itself is often a ritual.

For me perhaps its not as much a ritual as an emergent property a ritual. The site grows as an emergent property of a daily breakfast of information. As a nomad the ritual itself varies depending on the physical space I'm in. The past few months have found me waking up, visiting my own site where I mine the rss feeds along the sidebar, generating more site. The very codes that generate the content on this site are open and visible to all.

In other spaces the actions are different but the ritual essentially the same. Sometimes the info is obtained through a cellphone as I ride public transit. Sometimes it comes through a newspaper, or perhaps even a radio. And without a doubt new forms are in the works. But regardless of the form, morning in morning out, the info feeds are obtained before the first cup of caffeine.

Perhaps in this data rich age I'm just syncing myself to the network, like some intricate appliance? Perhaps as I scroll through the daily feeds, digitally crossing off data that has been scanned, processed and perhaps archived on this very site, perhaps I am just making my peace with the information gods, a 21st century nightly prayer.

The rituals of the digital are poorly documented. There is a rhythm of observation, transmission and creation that these millions of websites are paced to. It cycles across the globe paced to the sun, syncopated by the politics of time zones and regulated by the codes of the work day. The grid::blog peels back a window into these patterns and rituals. And then it dives right through that window, chasing its own tail into the next day, a recursion into an expression that this very post sits inside...

Posted by Abe at 06:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack



Seventy five years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. was born. He should be resting in peace but instead he is probably rolling in his grave. Protesters and the Secret Service are apparently squaring off over Dubya Bush's attempt to visit the great protest leader's grave on route to a GOP fundraising event.

Atrios hits on the hypocracy with his usual crispness:

From what I've been told, there are people in Atlanta who are refusing to obey police and leave the area so that Bush can go lay a wreath at MLK's crypt without having to actually see anyone.

Apparently, CNN, based in Atlanta, is unable to get a camera there. Odd - they always have cameras at Bush's appearances.

Posted by Abe at 04:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Visualizing Information


Carnegie Mellon: Journal of Social Structure: Visualizing Social Networks has absurd amount of information that I can't process at the moment. Tempted to hold it for a cold snowy day, except that would be now... Beautiful pictures though.

[via socialfiction.org]

Posted by Abe at 01:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 14, 2004

Move On the Super Bowl

So MoveOn wants to run their Bushin30seconds commercial during the Super Bowl, and CBS is poised to deny them.

A spokesman for CBS said the Viacom-owned network has received the request from MoveOn to run the ad in the Super Bowl, but added that the ad has to go through standards and practices before CBS will say if it can run an advocacy ad during the game. The spokesman said he didn't think it was likely that the spot would pass standards and practices.

Make what you will of it, and don't be afraid to let CBS know:

CBS Television Network
51 W. 52nd St.
New York, NY 10019

Main Number:

National CBS Television advertising sales:

Posted by Abe at 05:30 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Gorilla not Guerilla

"GoGORILLA Media was founded with a mission: to bombard and overwhelm consumers with advertising messages as they go about their daily lives. In our view there is nothing more regrettable than an empty space with no advertising printed on it. We believe that consumers must be told as often as possible which brands to buy and that they must be spoken with at every concievable oppurtunity. Our goal is to inject advertising into life's most mundane experiences..."

[via NewYorkish]

Posted by Abe at 10:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 11, 2004

The Mystery of Capital

-- unedited version, revisions to follow --

I've been aware of Hernando De Soto's The Mystery of Capital for a few years. A magazine article left me quite intrigued, amd I've picked the book up in story several times. Each time I recoil every time I see the names quoted on the back cover. Maggie Thatcher, Francis Fukuyama, Milton Friedman. Not my favorite people. His other book is worse, Nixon, Reagan, Bush... Now there are also more moderate voices I respect there too, Roland Coase, Bill Clinton. Still while the names might be impressive they sure weren't leading me to the cash register. Finally ordered the book from Amazon months ago, but the same quotes left it on the bottom of the too read pile.

I never should have waited. While De Soto's work has obviously been taken up by the neoliberal right, there is a hell of a lot more possibility contained within it. De Soto has quite a bit of the same faith in "the invisible hand" that underpins libertarians and other champions of the free market. But this faith is easily extracted from what makes this book important, his theory and his practice. De Soto also has a far broader intellectual range then his more conservative fans, he obviously has quite a bit of respect for Marx and free quotes thinkers like Foucault and Derrida that would leave most conservatives withering in disgust. To top it all off De Soto is a shockingly lucid and clear writer, for an economist that is.

There are two quite different aspects of The Mystery of Capital that both offer the potential to be quite revolutionary, one is his theory of Capital and the other is his process of economics. The theory gets all the attention, but its also unproven and there for may or may not wind up being important in the long run. His practice on the other hand is quite proven, both by his results and by years of use in other social sciences. Unlike so many economists, De Soto actually takes the radical step of going out into the field in order to observe and obtain data. Hardly a new concept, but one shockingly rare in a field obsessed with the metric. Lets hope De Soto's rise to stardom shakes this side of things up.

Of course, De Soto's practice hardly gets any notice when placed next to his theory, which ventures in to a place Marx and Braudel never quite reach by asking "where does capital come from?" Is answer is quite simple, capital comes from private property. More specifically though it comes from the liquidation, or abstraction, of private property. A simple concept, and De Soto's strength comes from his ability to clearly illustrate why this is actually important and relevant to the worlds poor.

De Soto spent years doing real fieldwork, in his home country of Peru and around the world, studying the parallel economies of those outside the official western style political economic system. Outside the "bell jar" of western capitalism, De Soto sees literally billions of people engaged in small business and building homes in extralegal spaces that are never formally recognized by governments and banks. And he values this economy at trillions of dollars.

The favelas, bidonvilles and barrios marginales all have their own codes of property and transactions, but they all exist in isolation. While governments sometimes go as far as paving and installing utilities in these extralegal settlements that house huge amounts of the worlds poor, there is no system for formal recognition of who actually owns these dwellings. Inside the neighborhood everyone knows whose house is whose, and there are usually codified processes for transferring ownership. But as soon as you leave the local those codes loose potency.

De Soto argues that by giving formal legal recognition to these extralegal property rights, the worlds poor will unlock access to vast amounts of capital that is currently frozen outside the law. Basically once given legal title to their land the poor can take out mortgages and capital can work its magic. Its at this point where his argument starts to sag. While he illustrates extremely well how people are locked out this system, he never really questions what the effects of the unlocking might be.

I suspect libertarians love reading De Soto's accounts of how it would take an unconnected individual 26 months of working 6 hours a day navigating Peru's government offices to obtain a legal taxi license and five years in Egypt to get a license to build on unoccupied desert land. The irony is that De Soto's solution is profoundly anti-libertarian, he wants the governments to formerly recognize the multitude of extralegal property codes, and untwine the conflicts between them. De Soto does share one thing with libertarians though, a seemingly unmitigated faith in the ability of capitalism to produce sustainable growth.

There is little question that capitalism produces just plain growth. When a bank hold 10% of its deposits in reserve while loaning out the rest there is 10x more abstract money circulating in the community. Phenomenal growth yes, but does it last? De Soto and fellow capitalists never really ask but roll by on faith that yes the system is sustainable. And I while I don't anyone for making that assumption, its one I sometimes make myself, I can never place any real faith in it. There are far to many unanswered questions.

De Soto also barely addresses the issue of culture. He mentions that his fieldwork has lead him to the conclusion that most of the worlds poor posses an extralegal property system very similar to the official ones in its definitions. But he never explores this point far. Is there a distinction between the extralegal codes of urban slums and spaces of rural poverty? Nor does he address any of the internal dynamics of extralegal spaces, do these cultures posses their own internal stratifications and conflicts? Of course one can not expect De Soto to cover everything and too his credit he does stress the essential need for policy makers to actually get out into the streets and learn from the culture.

In the end we can break The Mystery of Capital into three parts. One is a compelling and well argued theory on the origin of capital. A theory that could easily be worked into both capitalist and marxist economic theory, and hopefully some new ones as well. A second, less realized, part is De Soto's own extension of the theory into a capitalist view on poverty. But the most important part may well be his practice. Unlike most economists he's willing to get out into the world and see what goes on. And he makes it quite clear that governments can't solve the problems of poverty "by hiring lawyers in high-rise offices in Delhi, Jakarta, or Moscow to draft new laws. They will have to go out into the streets and listen to the barking dogs".

Posted by Abe at 12:27 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 10, 2004

Preemptive Preemption: The Planning of the Iraqi War From Day One of Bush's Presidency

Former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill is dropping his kiss and tell book from inside the Bush cabinet. It don't look pretty. Apparently Bush and friends were looking for an excuse to invade Iraq
from nearly day one
. Never even questioned why. Wonder if this has something to do with Cheney's tooth and nail fight to prevent his energy task force records from going public? Where the oil company execs parceling up Iraq back in the summer of 2001?

O'Neill will be on 60 Minutes tomorrow, if you do that TV thing check it out.

Posted by Abe at 09:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

3 New Sites

thickeye is still in the process of getting designed, but its already opened up new information flows in the art, tech, media space. Watch out for this one.

Jessica Miller is being hosted your's truly. Not sure what she has planned. Her her professional photographs can be found by following this link. But I'm hoping the blog equals loads more "unprofessional" photographs.

Napsterization.org is devoted to covering the stories of P2P's transforming our cultural and legal world. Run by Mary Hodder who is also the driving force behind the excellent bIPlog which is guaranteed to keep you more then on top in the latest news from the intellectual property battlefront.

Posted by Abe at 02:09 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 09, 2004

Good Morning Brooklyn


Posted by Abe at 10:24 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 08, 2004

Newsflash: the World Does Not Revolve Around Gigabytes!

To all the fools out there who think the iPod mini is a bad deal, would you care to explain why people buy 40GB iPods for $500 when they can get a Nomad Zen with 60GB for $400? Shit with IDE drives at $1GB why doesn't Apple just make a 3 pound $300, 200GB mp3 player? You'd just eat that up, right?

Personally I expect Apple to sell a whole load of the minis. Typical scenario, person walks into the store looking for an ipod. They can get a tiny colorful one that holds 50cds worth of music for $250 more. Or they can pay extra for something nearly twice as big, twice as heavy and it doesn't come in colors. Battery doesn't even last longer. All they get in return is... some exta gigasomethings. And for most people in the world, believe it or not, the world does not revolve around how big their hard drive is. For real. Hang tight and watch these players fly off the shelves.

Posted by Abe at 10:35 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 07, 2004


Posted by Abe at 01:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In Case You Were Wondering What I Look Like


Posted by Abe at 12:54 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

Linkflow --> --> -->

If you are reading this while on my front page, take a look to your right. You'll probably see a little space labeled "linkflow". From here on till I change my mind, that space is going to be where all miscellaneous links go. Interesting, funny things that don't really need my comments attached to them. Good for killing time and self education. Please enjoy.

Posted by Abe at 09:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Dumb Political Prediction

Clark has pulled up to Kerry in the New Hampshire polls. For those unfamiliar with US politics, New Hampshire is where the convoluted and archaic process of choosing the next US president starts getting turned into actual votes. There are about a million steps after that... But New Hampshire is the beginning of a major threasholding where the field narrows quickly.

Kerry was once the leader in this whole race, but his campaign has been going nowhere downhill since about day 2. New Hampshire was supposed to be his first trophy but now it looks like his grave. That's not the news though. Clark is the news. And if he wants to win he needs to keep making news.

Making predictions is generally a dumb move, so if I end up wrong expect me to ignore the fact... But I'm predicting Clark to get a sudden bump in his support. He's going to walk out of these contests with the surprisingly larger vote totals.

Why? He quite simply is far better at using mass media then any other candidate. Dean has the grassroots advantage and when it comes to backroom politics Dean and Clark seems pretty even. Clark has better cards with the tacit backing of former president Clinton and a lot of DC insiders, but Dean is playing his weaker hand way better, grabbing ex-VP Gore's support.

But both those games are pretty well developed, although certainly not over. The media game however is heating up like a Ford Pinto. And as a former TV commentator with team of Clinton/Gore vets, Clark seems to understand how to use the mass media far better then any other candidate. Whether that will be enough to win is another story...

update: on the other hand if enough people read this story Clark's campaign is going absolutely nowhere but to pieces.

Posted by Abe at 04:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Posted by Abe at 12:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 05, 2004

Quarantining Bush

The extent that the Secret Service is going prevent President Bush from encountering any protestors is becoming clearer. The motivations are not. Are these efforts made to tailor Bush appearances for the media, or are they made to protect Bush's frail psyche from the knowledge that nearly half the country hates him? Or perhaps it all just stems from power tripping handlers?

One thing is for certain, it has nothing to do with national security. Anyone truly out to harm the president can just pick up a pro Bush poster and get in close. The Bush bubble is there for another reason, and I for one would like to know why...

[via Just a Bump in the Beltway: Free Speach: The Memory]

Posted by Abe at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2004

January 03, 2004

J8, 2 Events

Next Thursday January 8th, is looking good for downtown NYC with two events round the corner from each other:

Aspects of Jupiter (pdf) is a benefit for the upcoming book Sound Generation: Recording - Tradition - Politics
which features several writings by our digital friend tobias c. van Veen.

Experimental Intermedia
224 Centre Street (btwn Grand/Hester)
Manhattan. 8pm. $5.

music and performances by:
tobias c. van Veen
Pamela Z
Marc McNulty
Annea Lockwood & Paul Ryan
Gregory Whitehead
Greyg Filastine
Larry 7
Ken Montgomery
Claudio Chea

but before heading over there be sure to check out the closing of Dream So Much 2, which we briefly reviewed here.

Artist talks, a catalogue launch, bear sponsor, car sponsor, should be good times. And only a couple blocks away to boot.

location: the AAAC
26 Bowery, 3rd Floor NYC (between Pell and Bayard Streets next to the McDonald's--red door)
6-9 pm

Posted by Abe at 05:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 02, 2004


WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: The Continuing Story of Lula is a pretty good update on what's going on in Brazilian politics and why its important.

Posted by Abe at 11:28 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sex + Advertising


The headline reads "Top 100 ad campaigns of the 20th century", but the article is about sex and advertising.

[via Agenda - Breaking News]

Posted by Abe at 11:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Permission to Speak? Rove

The Valerie Plame affair is heating back up in DC and Time magazine manages to shout that Karl Rove is guilty without actually saying it. First they run this quote which names Rove and no other official:

FBI investigators looking into the criminal leak of a CIA agent’s identity have asked Bush Administration officials including senior political adviser Karl Rove to release reporters from any confidentiality agreements regarding conversations about the agent.

Then to top it off they run Rove's photo with the tag line "Permission to speak? Rove". You can feel the Time editors just begging release the info. Word is that the identity of the leaker is an "open secret" among the Washington press, but they can't release the info publicly as its all "off the record".

But now everyone with half an interest in politics will know that Karl Rove is almost certainly guilty of the criminal act of revealing the name of an undercover CIA operative. An act that's criminal btw, because George HW Bush pushed for the law for half a decade until Reagan signed it into law.

More over at Atrios and Talking Points Memo.

Posted by Abe at 08:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Zapatista! + Nafta

Social Design Notes reminds us that 10 years ago yesterday the Zapatistas declared war on the Mexican government. On the same day Nafta (the North American Free Trade Agreement) went into effect. I'd be really interested is seeing some evaluations of what the effects have been over the past decade. From all sides of the issue of course.

In theory I'm all for free trade. But in practice it's a lot dicier. For one 'free' trade is generally used to indicate a freeing of borders for capital and goods, without a corresponding freeing of the borders for labor. Which is not really free trade at all. Its also really easy to see why that sort of action gets interpreted as threat to jobs, by keeping the borders closed to labor its possible to force and enforce a strafication of the labor market, with one country maintaining a lower level of personal income then the other.

That doesn't mean that "free" trade without free flows of labor is inherently bad. It's the situation we currently have with Nafta and quite honestly I don't know enough about its effects to evaluate its impact. So if you have the info, please send it along.

Posted by Abe at 07:02 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 01, 2004

Missing Foundation


Writing about Missing Monuments, must have put Missing Foundation into my head. Missing Foundation is one the few bands that are known more for their iconography then for their music. Even in their hometown of New York few have heard their raw industrial sound. But for years in the late 80's early 90's their upside down wine glass was spraypainted and stenciled all over Alphabet City. The defacto logo of the squatters and housing activists fighting a loosing battle against the gentrification of the area. And it quite literally was a battle, with squatters squaring off against cops in shantytown of Tompkins Square Park.

Of course now the hood resembles the Upper West Side with pr girls sipping lattes at the dog run, and its pretty arguable whether the city is any worse off for it. The spirt of the old Alphabet City has long since journeyed through the Lower East Side and Williamsburg and hovers over Bushwick and perhaps the northern tip of Greenpoint.

Meanwhile the music world is poised to move into an industrial revival as the cocaine highs of Electroclash, the Eighties revival and Garage rock comes crashing down together. September brings the Republican National Convention to New York, and I suspect the echoes of Missing Foundation will ring louder then they have in a decade.

Posted by Abe at 09:56 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Thank You 2003, Hello 2004

I'd like to start out the new year by taking a minute to thank some of the many people who made 2003 great. I love you all. Many thanks to:

Adam for amazing guidance towards the future
Brian for keeping the quality level super high
Chris Mr Brown for keeping it political
Coco, Michiko and the all bleep bleep techno heads for keeping the dancefloor live
Ethan for the unlimited and essential advice
Hiroshi for the best recommendation ever
Jen, Ed and everyone in Columbus Ohio for repping the midwest properly
Jill for being all state
Josh, Ashley, Tobias, Anne, Dan, Klint, Candice and the rest of the blogsphere especially those who say nice things about me and give me links for filtering the information
Layla for being the most delicious
Leigh for being the wonderful future of design
Mom, Dad, Toby for being the best family
Neil, Liz and Miranda for being extraordinarily generous in keeping a roof over a nomad's head
Nick and Troy and everyone at Punch for creating an amazing space to work
Peter & Sharif for loving San Francisco
Roy for keeping the beats rolling
Sam for the shwarma
Sasha, Mark, Philip, Jessica for the honor of hosting their sites
Seth and Chris for putting up with me for 4 years, RIP One Infinity, can't wait to see what you cook up next
Steph, Melanie, Chris and the rest of the SF/NY axis for making the world seem small

sorry if I forgot anyone, can't wait for an even better 2004.

All my love,

Posted by Abe at 08:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack