Here's my tweets from yesterday, including me babbling away like all the other political junkies during the debates. I'm sort of ashamed I even clicked over to election.twitter.com at all...
Dear American: I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude. I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you. I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe. This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred. Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to [email protected] so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds. Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Henry Paulson
Hah. Heh. Ugh.
OMG, I just discovered this amazing, perfect rant that comedian Margaret Cho wrote, responding to what some Xian fundamentalists were saying about her after she wrote some critical stuff about Sarah Palin. It's the best. I never really paid much attention to her work but now I'm totally a fan.
Anyway, read it here: http://www.margaretcho.com/blog/2008/09/17/im-a-christian-you-fuckers.html
And btw, that's where it originally appeared, on Cho's blog. I'm glad that Sarah Benincasa (of Sarah Palin Vlog fame) referred to it and reposted it, but she didn't link to it, she just said it was on Cho's facebook page. So then I had to go hunting around on Facebook and after about 20 clicks of that, putting more money in the bank for the CIA or whoever really runs Facebook, I finally found it but found that it was a repost from Cho's actual blog. I would much rather link to her blog than lame Facebook so that's what I'm doing. yay. I guess I'm just a stickler for hypertextuality. Anticorporate hypertextuality.
For some months now I've been toying with, debating with myself about, the idea of going back to grad school and studying film. Each time I go back to the idea, I do research and think about it and conclude that, no, I don't need/want to go back to school, for many and various reasons.
I came across one more really great and reassuring reason not to go, in a book I've been reading about Werner Herzog, one of my favorite directors, whom I respect a lot. In this book, "Herzog on Herzog," he says "I personally do not believe in the kind of film schools you find all over the world today... It has always seemed to me that almost everything you learn at school you forget in a couple of years. But the things you set out to learn yourself in order to quench a thirst, these are the things you never forget... academia is the death of cinema. It is the very opposite of passion."
Here's a story from the Sierra Vista, AZ paper reporting that Glenn Spencer, local xenophobe wackadoo, is complaining that the Border Patrol is inflating their figures of how much new fence is finished out of the required amount that Congress mandated be done by the end of this year.
Of course this in common knowledge. But I think it's funny that they're getting attacked from both sides - the racists griping that the fence isn't getting put up fast enough enough, or secure enough, and more sane and humane people who say it shouldn't be put up at all.
The story also mentions and links to the Sierra Club video that I made. An interesting comment thread follows the story, including an admittedly good point made by one of the pro-wall nutjobs: Sierra Club shouldn't be calling it a documentary. If I've ever called it that I apologize now. It's not a documentary, in the sense that a documentary is at least nominally objective - this film is an advocacy piece that takes a clear position, and I was hired to take that position and deliver a very clear and specific political message. It's not impartial reportage, it's a polemic. Guilty as charged.
Anyway, I'm glad it's getting more and more exposure.
I had a bad scare yesterday. Having stupidly said "yes" to an automatic upgrade that Apple told me to install, I suddenly couldn't get final cut pro to start up. I tried something recommended by one Mac hints site, starting in safe mode and fixing permissions and re-installing by hand the Quicktime update that the upgrade included (the other thing that it included was the new version of iTunes, which includes the new, slightly creepy and very annoying "Genius" feature. bleah.).
That got FCP to start, but i was unable to capture or output to or from firewire devices. In fact I couldnt get any application to not crash when i told it to access my firewire DV deck. I was freaking out. What to do? Would I have to reinstall OS X from scratch? wipe my hard drive in order to go back to the old version of Quicktime?
Luckily after one more desperate Google search I found a page that described how to downgrade to an earlier version of any Apple package using a little program called Pacifist (funny coincidence that a program called Pacifist has enabled me to continue work on a film about resisting war!).
I got the shareware and followed the directions to install the earlier package, Quicktime 7.5, and restarted and things now seem hunky dory again. Whew. I think I owe a registration fee to Pacifist's creator.
Anyway, if you are a user of FCP (at least version 5.1.2) and you haven't upgraded to the new QT, you might want to think twice before doing it. Oh, and I recommend skipping the new iTunes as well. By the way, during my research into this problem I read that the "security fixes" that Apple lists as the reason for the upgrade actually have to do with Digital Rights Management (locking up content) rather than any sort of protection from your machine getting hacked or that sort of thing. So the new version is pretty unneeded anyway.
Check out this BraveNewFilms video clearly illustrating the distortions and falsehoods that the McCain campaign is spewing:
Reports are out today that Homeland Security is a little overbudget on the new border fence construction and they need Congress to hand out another $400 million so they can finish what they were asked to do by the end of this year.
"If we run out of money, unfortunately the construction will have to stop," Ahern said. He said it is not known exactly how much extra it will cost to build each mile of the fence, because the costs differ due to varying terrain and environmental issues.
This is hilarious stuff. Sarah Palin is such great comedy fodder...
I'm proud to finally post online the short version of the film I made for the Sierra Club concerning the border wall and its effects on the environment. This project started in January, finished (late) in August, and will be premiering theatrically later this month at an event here in Tucson with our local congressman Raul Grijalva.
The full version of the film is about 20 minutes long, but you won't see that one online for a little while longer. The Sierra Club local group is trying to use it to raise money for a new border job they're hiring for. They've pressed a few hundred DVDs of both versions and will be sending it around the country to Sierra Club chapters and other interested parties.
Anyway, it's a relief that this is finally done and out there, and I'm hoping it will do some good in helping to get the word out about the gigantic folly that is our increasingly militarised and draconian border infrastructure and the frightening loss of our constitutional rights as a nation.
I am so angry and frustrated about what's happening in the Twin Cities this week. Not at the cops - no, they're just doing what's to be expected of them. If you're surprised by their response to the protests, you've been deluding yourself about the state of civil liberties and freedoms in this country for the last 4 years, at least.
No, what I'm irritated about is all the wasted energy and resources and passion being spent by activists and independent journalists. Imagine all the other places and causes that could be aided by all that attention and effort. Not only protesters and reporters, but all the other 'support' for the protesters. For instance, this fragment from an indymedia report about some street medics from Portland who went to the DNC and RNC protests:
...we treated hundreds of injured people and took into our care an unexpected number of activists with additional health concerns, both related and unrelated to the events, plus tended to people with various illnesses as well as some difficult cases with chronic conditions.
We treated injuries from pepper bullets, pepperspray, beatings, strangleholds, clubbing, cuts, scrapes, bruises, handcuff injuries, exhaustion, dehydration, heat illness, exposure to the elements, asthma attacks, psychological emergencies, and some serious medical emergencies.
What if those activists, medics, and indy journalists all descended on a place that really needed their help, like Juarez for instance? They could escort women at risk of rape and murder to and from work, give medical care to them and their children, and make news reports about what they see. They could act as human shields when the police or army show up to abuse citizens. They could refuse to smoke any pot that comes from Mexico and they could form a posse to take down small time narcos and document the violence of the cartels.
That is just one example. They could also be in New Orleans helping people there in the aftermath of Gustav. There are numerous projects and causes available.
But instead these people go somewhere where they'll make absolutely ZERO positive difference. None of the people there for the convention, the replublican delegates and what not, are going to have their minds changed or swayed. Others out in the world might be, but they'll never see it because the mainstream media will never show it. And just as many might be swayed the opposite way, with all the reports of caltrops in the streets and broken windows. More bad press for anarchists and activists in general. So these people are not only doing no good, they also CREATE their own crisis because the cops of course respond as usual with extreme force, and then the activists expect to be helped and supported. Selfish, privileged dimwits, why didn't you people stay home so the medics wouldn't have to waste their time bandaging your meaningless wounds? So the videographers wouldn't be wasting tape on your sorry asses?
It's just so sad and maddening. And I saw it all coming. It wasn't rocket surgery to predict.
This is from Jenka, an Indymedia activist who sort of splits her time between Portland, DC, and New Orleans...
hurricane gustav is expected to make landfall in a little over eight hours, just west of new orleans, through the native nation of houma. the government has ordered an evacuation, with the national guard stepping in to enforce it. 1.9 million people have apparently gotten out, while tens of thousands continue to be stuck on the highways out of town. 14,000 people without cars were taken out on buses and trains.
FEMA says they have it all figured out, and are doing much better now:
If you listen to their accounts, all is running like a well-oiled
machine, and things are as they should be. They omit the computerized
'ID bracelets' that failed dues to computer glitches on saturday, the
hundreds of people left waiting for buses in jefferson parish, the
hospitals that had to get help from the canadian airforce
because they had been forgotten by FEMA's evacuation plan....3
hospitalized patients died during evacuation. 80 people have been
killed by Gustav in several Caribbean countries. But no one was killed
in Cuba, even though the hurricane went straight across the western
part of the island - that country has evacuation down to an art (the US
won't ask them for advice though, even after Katrina's precedent)
And other big questions remain.
Will the levees hold?
"As the US Army Corps of Engineers and local authorities rushed to
shore up levees on the vulnerable West Bank of New Orleans, which
largely escaped Katrina???s punch, officials made no promises that
up-armored levees would hold. Of particular concern is the Harvey Canal
in Jefferson Parish, widely seen as a weak point in the system. In
fact, only about one-third of the city???s $12 billion new levee system
has been completed. With storm-surge projections of up to 20 feet and
many levees at eight feet, overtopping seems likely if the storm holds
"Leading experts from the U.S. and the Netherlands say the [levee]
system is riddled with flaws. They say that even a weaker storm than
Katrina could breach the levees if it hit this season." - from an
article in early august...
Where are they taking people, and what is the plan to get them back
home? After forcing people to leave after Katrina, many were prevented
from returning for 18 months, two years....far from the 'few days' they
What about the prisoners?
The prison officials at Orleans Parish Prison, if you remember, simply
left the prison during Katrina. Prisoners drowned in their cells, and
were abandoned for days in cells filled with water.
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2005/09/22/usdom11773.htm Now, a
desperate call has been made by prisoner support groups in the region
to contact the sheriff and make sure that prisoners are evacuated too:
And what about those who can't, or won't (hey - you might be reluctant,
too, if it took you 18 months to get back home last time) evacuate?
"Those who stay will encounter a skeleton crew of law-enforcement
officers who will treat anybody on the street as a suspicious person,
says Aaron Broussard, president of Jefferson Parish. The idea is to
guarantee that property will be protected against looters ??? a main
reason so many residents decided to ride out Katrina. 'If you stay,'
Mr. Broussard warns, 'this will be no Mayberry.' 'We've learned from
our mistakes,' says New Orleans Police Officer B. Francois. 'And this
time, if we arrest someone, theyre not going to the local jail.
Theyre getting on a bus to Angola,' the infamous rural prison farm."
"Residents wonder whether by being vigilant -- or hysterical, depending
on one's perspective -- officials are putting themselves in a position
to be able to say 'I told you so' if anyone stays behind. This time
around, Mayor Nagin and all disaster-response spokespeople are making
it clear that if you stay behind and are stranded on your roof waving a
flag made from a bedsheet, it is you who will be held accountable, not
them. Many who are riding out the storm feel that's the motive behind
Nagin's emphatic plea during a press conference Saturday for citizens
to flee 'the mother of all storms,' and 'get their butts out of New
The law-and-order model that caused so much pain after Katrina is going
to be in force, and even more so, this time around.
Again, as during Katrina, many of those unable to evacuate are elderly
(according to a friend of mine in New Orleans now)
I am in touch with Common Ground Relief, the group I worked with in
2005, formed after Katrina and still going strong. Some have evacuated
to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and some are hunkered down in New Orleans.
If you want to help, or check for updates, check
You can follow the progress of the storm here: