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1558- Tuesday, September 16, 2003

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  • Jerry Katz
    #1558 - Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - Editor: Jerry ... Peonies This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready to break my heart as the sun
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 17, 2003
      #1558 - Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
       

       
      Peonies
       
      This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
      to break my heart
      as the sun rises,
      as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
       
      and they open -
      pools of lace,
      white and pink -
      and all day the black ants climb over them, 
       
      boring their deep and mysterious holes
      into the curls,
      craving the sweet sap,
      taking it away
       
      to their dark, underground cities -
      and all day
      under the shifty wind,
      as in a dance to the great wedding, 
       
      the flowers bend their bright bodies,
      and tip their fragrance to the air,
      and rise,
      their red stems holding
       
      all that dampness and recklessness
      gladly and lightly,
      and there it is again -
      beauty the brave, the exemplary, 
       
      blazing open.
      Do you love this world?
      Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
      Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath? 
       
      Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
      and softly,
      and exclaiming of their dearness,
      fill your arms with the white and pink flowers, 
       
      with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
      their eagerness
      to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
      nothing, forever? 
       
        ~ Mary Oliver ~
       
       

       
      Iamom
      Live Journal
       
      Movie review:
      Words of My Perfect Teacher

      Not much on her site about it, but there is a blurb on the film here: http://www.ziji.ca/wompt.html.  It played at the Atlantic Film Festival here in Halifax tonight, and it was really excellent. The director and filmmaker, Lesley Ann Patten http://www.ziji.ca/lap.html, followed a particular Tibetan buddhist lama named Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche to several locations around the world, showing his relationship with herself as a student and a handful of others who accompanied her. Great film, and she was also very cool -- she spoke at the screening. She also has some interesting things to say about the film and TV industry at http://www.ziji.ca/overview.html. The music was also very, very good. I sent her an e-mail asking about that music and also to tell her how much I enjoyed the film.

      Interesting point raised about eating from the film. One of the students was talking about practicing mindfulness as you open the fridge door. Said, "Why are we really opening that door at ten o'clock at night, anyway? Are we really hungry? Do we need that food? Or instead, are we just trying to make ourselves feel happy for a moment?"

      I thought about that as I worked my way steadily through a big bag of popcorn. Thought to myself, "I don't need some crazy meal plan or anything to finish losing the rest of my weight, I just need to be more mindful of what I'm eating and when I'm eating it." A different student observed that Rinpoche never ate more than he needed and never said more than he needed. Focusing on eating what the body actually requires given its activity level each day would also be helpful, I think.

       
      September 15, 2003
       
      Three Easy Pieces for Any Decent American
      (from Michael Moore)
       
      There are many otherwise decent Americans who are either
      still on the fence about George W. Bush or they actually
      profess to like the man. They are the ones who make up the
      58% approval ratings and the 64% who say they still believe
      the war was a good idea. You know these people well. They
      work next to you, or they sit in the classroom next to you,
      or they may even be sitting at your kitchen table right now!
       
      I think that we need to hold out a hand to them, not in a
      partisan sort of way, and not with any condescension. I think
      that if we share with them a few pieces of information, and
      do it with common sense instead of politics, there is a
      chance we just might break through and turn things around.
      Perhaps it's my foolish optimism in the goodness that is in
      every person, and in their ability to ultimately know right
      from wrong.
       
      I would like to give you three little vignettes to share with
      them. They are so simple and so shocking in their very
      content that, if you pass them around the office, the school,
      the neighborhood or the bedroom, it may just do the trick.
      Here they are:
       
      1. GEORGE AND LAURA ON 9/11 -- A BARREL OF LAUGHS!
       
      The following is an interview with the First Couple from the
      current issue of one of my favorite magazines, Ladies Home
      Journal (Oct. '03). They are asked about what September 11,
      2001, was like for them personally, and, although over 3,000
      people had just perished, George W. was able to find some
      humor by the end of that day:
       
      Peggy Noonan (the interviewer): You were separated on
      September 11th. What was it like when you saw each other
      again?
       
      Laura Bush: Well, we just hugged. I think there was a certain
      amount of security in being with each other than being apart.
       
      George W. Bush: But the day ended on a relatively humorous
      note. The agents said, "you'll be sleeping downstairs.
      Washington's still a dangerous place." And I said no, I can't
      sleep down there, the bed didn't look comfortable. I was
      really tired, Laura was tired, we like our own bed. We like
      our own routine. You know, kind of a nester. I knew I had to
      deal with the issue the next day and provide strength and
      comfort to the country, and so I needed rest in order to be
      mentally prepared. So I told the agent we're going upstairs,
      and he reluctantly said okay. Laura wears contacts, and she
      was sound asleep. Barney was there. And the agent comes
      running up and says, "We're under attack. We need you
      downstairs," and so there we go. I'm in my running shorts and
      my T-shirt, and I'm barefooted. Got the dog in one hand,
      Laura had a cat, I'm holding Laura --
       
      Laura Bush: I don't have my contacts in , and I'm in my fuzzy
      house slippers --
       
      George W. Bush: And this guy's out of breath, and we're
      heading straight down to the basement because there's an
      incoming unidentified airplane, which is coming toward the
      White House. Then the guy says it's a friendly airplane. And
      we hustle all the way back up stairs and go to bed.
       
      Mrs. Bush: [LAUGHS] And we just lay there thinking about the
      way we must have looked.
       
      Peggy Noonan (interviewer): So the day starts in tragedy and
      ends in Marx Brothers.
       
      George W. Bush: THAT'S RIGHT-- WE GOT A LAUGH OUT OF IT!
       
      (end)
       
      Although America had just suffered the worst attack ever on
      our own soil, somehow this man was able to end his day on a
      funny note. I wonder how many of the 3,000 families who lost
      someone earlier that day had a funny ending before they went
      to sleep? Please read the above exchange aloud to anyone who
      will listen. It speaks volumes.
       
      2. WE HAVE JUST WRECKED OUR KIDS' FUTURE.
       
      The first paragraph in yesterday's New York Times story on
      how Bush has taken a record surplus and demolished it into a
      record deficit was one of the best lead paragraphs I have
      ever read in a newspaper article.
       
      Here's how it went:
       
      "When President Bush informed the nation last Sunday night
      that remaining in Iraq next year will cost another $87
      billion, many of those who will actually pay that bill were
      unable to watch. They had already been put to bed by their
      parents."
       
      Bingo. Gee, I hope the kids thank us some day!
       
      Here's the next paragraph (my emphasis added):
       
      "Administration officials acknowledged the next day that
      every dollar of that cost will be BORROWED, a loan that
      economists say will be repaid by the NEXT generation of
      taxpayers AND THE GENERATION AFTER THAT. The $166 BILLION
      cost of the work SO FAR in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has
      stunned many in Washington, will be added to what was already
      the largest budget deficit the nation has ever known."
       
      Every conservative friend of yours should weep when they read
      that, and then you should hug them and tell them that it'll
      be okay, once we all do what we need to do.
       
      3. WHAT WOULD $87 BILLION BUY?
       
      If you can't get through this list without wanting to throw
      up, I'll understand. But pass it around anyway. This is the
      nail in the Iraq War's coffin for any sane, thinking
      individual, regardless of their political stripe (thanks to
      TomPaine.com and the Center for American Progress)...
       
      To get some perspective, here are some real-life comparisons
      about what $87 billion means:
       
      $87 Billion Is More Than The Combined Total Of All State
      Budget Deficits In The United States.
       
      The Bush administration proposed absolutely zero funds to
      help states deal with these deficits, despite the fact that
      their tax cuts drove down state revenues. [Source: Center on
      Budget and Policy Priorities]
       
      $87 Billion Is Enough To Pay The 3.3 Million People Who Have
      Lost Jobs Under George W. Bush $26,363 Each!
       
      The unemployment benefits extension passed by Congress at the
      beginning of this year provides zero benefits to "workers who
      exhausted their regular, state unemployment benefits and
      cannot find work." All told, two-thirds of unemployed workers
      have exhausted their benefits. [Source: Center on Budget and
      Policy Priorities]
       
      $87 Billion Is More Than DOUBLE The Total Amount The
      Government Spends On Homeland Security.
       
      The U.S. spends about $36 billion on homeland security. Yet,
      Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) wrote "America will fall
      approximately $98.4 billion short of meeting critical
      emergency responder needs" for homeland security without a
      funding increase. [Source: Council on Foreign Relations]
       
      $87 Billion Is 87 Times The Amount The Federal Government
      Spends On After School Programs.
       
      George W. Bush proposed a budget that reduces the $1 billion
      for after-school programs to $600 million -- cutting off
      about 475,000 children from the program. [Source: The
      Republican-dominated House Appropriations Committee]
       
      $87 Billion Is More Than 10 Times What The Government Spends
      On All Environmental Protection.
       
      The Bush administration requested just $7.6 billion for the
      entire Environmental Protection Agency. This included a 32
      percent cut to water quality grants, a 6 percent reduction in
      enforcement staff, and a 50 percent cut to land acquisition
      and conservation. [Source: Natural Resources Defense Council]
       
      There you go. In black and white. A few million of you will
      receive this letter. Please share the above with at least a
      half-dozen people today and tomorrow. I, like you, do not
      want to see another approval rating over 50%.
       
      Yours,
      Michael Moore
       
      PS. Thanks for the astounding response to the Wesley Clark
      letter (and for your kind comments to me). Over 95% of the
      thousands of letters received favored the General tossing his
      helmet in the ring. All were passed on to his organization.
      More to come on the road to removing Bush...
       
      Contributed by Iamom to Live Journal

       
      Margaret Cho
       
      9/17/2003
      Revolve
       
      The Bible just got a makeover! There is a
      new teen magazine called Revolve, which is actually the New
      Testament disguised as a girl's fashion publication. So
      instead of JANE, it's MARY. It's not TEEN PEOPLE, it's TEEN
      DISCIPLE. It's choc-a-block full of sidebars of top ten tips
      like where to go on a date (Take cookies to an old folks
      home., Start a prayer group., Wash his feet with your hair!)
      to beauty tips (prayer, as inner beauty cannot compete with
      makeup or skincare). Then there are reminders of how to be a
      Revolve Girl - Don't call guys, don't kiss and tell, guys
      don't like that you show too much skin when you dress so be
      aware! I guess inevitably there will be dreamy pictures of
      Jesus, John the Baptist, and that bad boy Judas Iscariot (I
      just can't help it, he makes me feel dirty!).
       
      The magazine encourages the Revolve readers to be nice to
      underclassmen and to honor their parents, unless their
      parents want them to smoke pot, which is not God's will, so
      there is a little leeway in the Ten Commandments that anyone
      could twist and turn into their favor. I think this is the
      best thing to happen to the Lord since, well, since the
      reformation of the church, let by Martin Luther, not the
      King, the German dude. It's about making God appealing for
      teenage girls, because Christian opinion must think that
      these girls are so stupid that they will believe anything
      printed on glossy paper. To their credit, it is true. We are
      duped by the hi-shine veneer of fashion magazines, girls and
      women alike. From Teen to Mirabella, we believe, maybe not in
      God and the Holy Spirit, but Clinique and Zac Posen. We are
      devoted, but not to a religion that is old or particularly
      dignified.
       
      It really is a cult, whose main philosophy is that "If you
      adhere to our principles and commandments and buy what we
      tell you to, herein lies power." It is the empty promise that
      if you emulate as closely as you can the images underneath
      the gloss of the pages, you will be superior to other women,
      and therefore more likely to catch the approval of men, and
      that is really what we all want - right? I actually believe
      Revolve is a positive thing, because it doesn't pretend to be
      the way to our salvation as the other fashion rags do. It IS
      the ANSWER, in that it is the WORD, the SCRIPTURE, the
      MESSAGE - and whether you choose to believe or not - by the
      way - I tend to be on the 'not' side - they are honest in the
      fact that it is the fucking BIBLE. Not anything but the
      alleged word of God written by a bunch of hippies a long time
      ago when everyone wore sandals. Christianity is often
      villified by the left wing intelligencia, and for good
      reason. They are capable of the most idiotic behavior, but
      sometimes, the simple belief that we need to be kind to
      others and to ourselves is a nice one, and a bunch of
      Christians I know are like that. So I prefer some Gospel to
      some media propaganda that is telling me I have dark circles
      under my eyes which undermines my chance at happiness -
      therefore La Mer is the Golden Calf I must bow down to. Kinda
      want to get a subscription to Revolve. I wonder if they have
      a horoscope...
       

       
      Come and Go Series -- Boudoir, Pan Li-hong's current solo exhibition at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, originated from a Buddhist tale.

      An old Buddhist monk is about to die. His disciples surround him, waiting for his final guidance on life. "People come and people go. Nothing happens in between," with these last words, the master attained nirvana. Pan recounted the story at the opening of the exhibition to calming Chinese flute music. "Why hurry yourself and be so busy when such is life?" Pan asked.

       

      Drapes of white silk create a maze at Pan Li-hong's Come and Go Seriesv - Boudoir exhibition held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taipei.
      PHOTO: VICO LEE, TAIPEI TIMES
       
       

       
      The 'homeless hacker' talks
       
      By Declan McCullagh, Special to ZDNet
      18 September 2003
       
      ...nothing we do is wasted and that in the universe that we inhabit, it's a closed system under the laws of physics in which energy is never destroyed and everything that we do is redistributed and recycled to the place it should be.
       
      The past two years have been a wild ride for Adrian Lamo: The 22-year-old has publicly taken credit for tunnelling into networks belonging to Yahoo, Microsoft, Excite@Home and WorldCom.

      But unlike a typical electronic intruder, Lamo would inform the companies exactly how he gained access--a move which let them repair the security vulnerability he exploited while sneaking in. Some of his targets even went so far as to call him "helpful" for offering advice.

      All that changed in February 2002, however, when Lamo took credit for breaking into the network of The New York Times and snagging a database of about 3,000 op-ed contributors. That incident eventually led to a pair of federal criminal charges against Lamo and his arrest and appearance in district court in Manhattan last week.

      Lamo is known for a radically mobile lifestyle with no fixed address that's led to him being called the "homeless hacker." He likes to wander the United States on Greyhound buses, sleeping on friends' couches and, when necessary, camping in vacant or derelict buildings.

      Now his homeless days are over. U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman said last Friday that Lamo could be released on US$250,000 bail, but only if he agreed to stay with his parents in their home near Sacramento, California.

      CNET News.com caught up with Lamo at the airport last Thursday and interviewed him on his way to surrender at the FBI's New York field office.

      Q: When you were poking around inside The New York Times' network, did you ever think that you'd end up here today?
      A: I can't comment on which systems I may or may not have entered in the past.

      You've told reporters many times in the past that you've entered corporate networks without permission. Did you?
      Certainly not. (laughs) Yes, yes, I have.

      When you were entering those unnamed systems, did you ever think this would be the result?
      I always knew it was a possibility, but I always expected better of the government.

      How so?
      I expected them to allocate their resources in a meaningful and worthwhile way. I really just expected that they would know better than this. I don't see what they are trying to accomplish here, who they think they're going to help, what precedent this will set. It doesn't matter how much restraint you show or what good faith you're trying to act in. There's no point in bothering at all. They'll come after you regardless. And as such, really, where is the motivation for anyone to behave honestly?

      But if you violated federal criminal laws, isn't this a perfectly reasonable response?
      It's a perfectly appropriate response under the letter of the law, but I don't think it to be a reasonable response...I believe it has been a waste of resources. The sheer number of agents it took to stake out my parents' neighbourhood could have been doing many, many better things at that point in time.

      So your argument is that they should have been trying to find kidnappers or al-Qaida members?
      That's not something that I seek to use as a defence. It would be crass of me to invoke the whole "Why aren't they looking for terrorists" thing. I'm not going to do that. But I do think that they could have been doing something better.

      You could have done some things differently to avoid being here today, no?
      I believe that everything that has brought me here has been in its own way part of the design for the world around me, and I have faith it's going to work out for the best.

      So you believe in fate, not free will?
      Not at all. I believe that history tends to itself, the universe sees to itself, and that we are all equally facets of the universe. And even as the universe sees to itself, we contribute to its evolution and everything that we do causes a ripple that makes it a better place...That's the closest thing I have to a belief in a higher power.

      So you don't think if you had chosen to publicise your exploits a little bit less, things would have turned out differently?
      I think that things could have turned out differently if I had acted differently. But I think to act in a way other than what I feel I was here to do during my time would have been spiritual fiduciary misconduct.

      Are you mentally preparing yourself for a possible prison sentence?
      Faith manages.

      That's your favourite saying. What does it mean?
      It means that nothing we do is wasted and that in the universe that we inhabit, it's a closed system under the laws of physics in which energy is never destroyed and everything that we do is redistributed and recycled to the place it should be.

      I don't think it's my place to question these things. They may be unpleasant, but I've had good times, and now I'm having bad times, and I intend to see them through.

      How long do you think these bad times are going to last?
      Really as long as I continue to see them as being bad times. My time in the custody of the federal marshals could have been a bad time. When you go in there, the people in that small holding cell with you, it really does look like people out of a bad prison movie. But the reality was that just giving them a chance to be real human beings, they all warmed up conversationally. They were all being very supportive. They shared their advice and their experience and their troubles and what brought them there. We shook hands as best we could through our shackles on the way out.

      Not just handcuffs, but shackles?
      Actual honest-to-god shackles.

      What was it like?
      Everybody on the side of the U.S. Marshals was doing a job. Some of them were helpful, some of them were not. Some of them tried to get a rise out of me, some did not. One of the marshals, when offering me food, addressed me as "hey, thug." To the inmates, you're one of them and you're in it together.

      (The experience let me) do exactly what I always said that I'd do: take confinement and turn it into a learning experience like anything else. I think that the government feels that they can take away what I do by restricting me from computers and forcing me to get a job. But I'm of the opinion that they can't even see what I do. It's so inherently alien to them that they really don't even understand or see it well enough to restrict it.

      You've mentioned that some of the Feds have been treating you decently--that is, not as harshly as they could have. Is that true, and if so, why?
      I really couldn't speculate why except that perhaps I have a reasonable prosecutor. I also like to think that he has really unknowingly been passed inaccurate information by The New York Times in terms of the facts that they've given him. And once the truth comes out, he may revise some of his standpoints.

      As a condition of your release on bail, you're supposed to get a job or go to school. Which is it going to be?
      I'm considering going to school part-time. If I get a job, it will not be security-related. I have no intention of letting them whore out my talents at their command. If I go to school, I intend to go to school for general education in preparation for a career in law or journalism.

      What news organisation would you want to work for?
      You know, that's a great question. It's really hard to say because there are very few for which I really have a great deal of respect.

      You're friends with Kevin Poulsen and Kevin Mitnick, who are both reformed hackers. Do you see either as a role model?
      No, I do not.

      Are you hoping for a legal defence fund?
      A legal defence fund has been set up for me by Darcy, Kevin Mitnick's girlfriend. I'm not soliciting donations, and I'm not asking anybody to do so...

      But you're not objecting to them...
      No, I'm certainly not in a place in my life where I can tell people who want to give me money not to. We like to hope that the defence fund will cover some of our expenses.

      Is any of this a lesson to other folks, like younger would-be hackers, who might look up to you?
      I like to think that nobody would see me as a role model because I don't think there's necessarily value in repeating what's already been done. They should do something that's not been done before.

      It sounds like you think the law is there, but it's irrelevant when you feel it interferes with what you want to do.
      Not at all. I understand that the law applies to me and actions have consequences. I'm here today because I'm willing to face the consequences of my actions--that is, my alleged actions.

      So you're willing to violate the law as long as you accept the consequences. Is that right?
      I'm holding out hope that it will be found at the trial that I have broken no law...With the charges as they stand, I do not find them to be factual. I will not plead to charges that are not factual.

      You only have two counts against you. Do you have any fear that the FBI will investigate other incidents and add more counts?
      If that's the case I'll deal with those as they come. However, if they want to charge me for intrusions into companies that have thanked me for alleged intrusions, I don't know what kind of career they're trying to make for themselves.

      How are your mother and father taking this?
      It's been very hard for my family and those close to me. It's been extremely stressful. It's also been a bonding experience.

      Have your parents said: "Look, you idiot, your actions are going to cost us thousands of dollars that we can't afford. Our house will be staked out again by the Feds and camera crews and we've had to put up our home as bond to get you out of jail. Don't do this again?"
      No. My parents support me. They want me to stay out of jail. But they also understand that all the things I've done with my life are things that were important to me. And they support me in my happiness, and they understand the value of what I do.

       

       
      Mary Bianco
      NDS
       
      in a silent embrace we rest
      on a violet scented night
      gazing into indigo celestial rivers
      flowing and spiraling above.
      a shooting star streams across the heavens
      with energy to defibrillate hearts
      and polarize earth and sky.
       
      i and thou
      know not
      where this universe begins
      or we end.
      and, with a glimpse into each other's eyes,
      we disappear
      like stars at daybreak.
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