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Resonant Information is what grew out of an experiment into CMS systems, and is a place for a small group of people to explore the boundary between private and public thoughts. Things of interest to the general public get promoted to the main page, more personal entries and casual thoughts or links can be found by examining all blog entries. Those looking for a specific article may wish to peruse the indexes or use the search box at the upper right.

Bush administration blocks release of Abu Ghraib evidence

The Center for Constitutional Rights is reporting that the Bush administration has filed a last minute block of the release of the photo and video evidence of abuse at Abu Ghraib, probably because it utterly annihilates the party line that not much abuse actually happened, and that it was the work of a few renegades.

This is probably the really ugly stuff (including child rape) that was quietly admitted to a year ago. Quietly in the U.S., anyway: although it received practically no news coverage here, the rest of the world did take notice.

I hope that the U.S. press is awake enough this time around to catch it, even if only a year late. There are too many people trying to pass off all the abuses as trivial.

Canon BG-E2 Recall

I noted recently at DPReview that Canon has finally made good on its promise to put out a free repair for all BG-E2 battery grips with serial numbers less than 096000 and free replacement of all of the old-style BGM-E2 AA battery converters for the BG-E2. My own BG-E2 falls into this category, but doesn't seem to be as badly affected as many. I will probably send in the BGM-E2 for replacement, but I can't decide if it's really worth the downtime to detach the BG-E2 from my camera when the only problem it has is very occasional glitching, that may be not be fixed by a change in the way they handle the electrical contacts.

More information can be found on the above linked web page, or by calling (toll-free) 1-800-828-4040.

More Rove/Plame Spin Rebuttals

The Tattered Coat has another fairly comprehensive rebuttal posted, and long time traveler Hilzoy over at Obsidian Wings has an almost entertaining description of exactly how much of a nepotistic "boondoggle" it is to be sent to Niger, as Republicans are claiming.

Quoting Hilzoy:
Just think: if you were married to a CIA agent, you too could enjoy this sort of life: jetting from one desperately impoverished country to another, talking to scintillating government ministers about uranium ore, hiding from dust storms that deposit grit in orifices you didn't know you had: that's the good life. That's what I call champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

He even includes pictures.

The Rove/Plame Spin

With reporters actually starting to ask real questions of the administration for once, the White House spin engine is in full force, with some Republicans going so far as to say that Rove outing Valerie Plame was somehow a good thing, despite it risking the lives of dozens of operatives overseas.

Fans of non-skinny

It appears that at least part of the populace is getting tired of the "in-danger-from-a-strong-breeze" look: fans of actress Lindsay Lohan have started a petition to get her to "eat something" that has already amassed over twelve thousand signatures. They even have a web site devoted to the cause, complete with merchandise.

While I'm not fond of starved and fragile appearances myself (and find myself more amused than perhaps the situation warrants), I have to wonder with some sympathy what the actress thinks of all this. Although she might be healthier on a less restrictive diet, I'm not sure if having a crowd pressure you to eat more is any better on a social level than having a crowd pressure you to eat less. At some point, you're supposed to find the body shape that's healthy for you because you feel comfortable there.

People spend far too much time contorting themselves to meet the expectations of strangers as it is.

Trackbacks disabled

Despite having patched Drupal to run its anti-spam module on trackbacks, too much trackback spam is getting through, even of the form of stuff that it's been theoretically trained on and should know for certain is spam, and the attacks are coming ever more frequently. Thus, I have no alternative but to disable trackbacks until enough of the Drupal modules for 4.6.0 are working well enough for me to attempt a major upgrade and test the systems again.

Days like this make me think the Chinese had the right idea when they started executing spammers.

PBS is liberal: the report

Once upon a time, I actually might have agreed with the notion that PBS had strongly liberal leanings. Then President Bush appointed GOP partisan Kenneth Tomlinson to rectify matters, and now I tend to feel that it has slightly conservative leanings — at least in its All Things Considered news reports, though Garrison Keillor gets an honorable mention for his strong religious leanings that he mostly manages to keep out of Prairie Home Companion.

Environmental improvement is not impossible

Independence day has just ended, and in the spirit of a holidy, I have something positive to report: some parts of the U.S. are making significant progress in improving their environment, meeting the Kyoto standard even though the White House failed to support it — and rather than going bankrupt doing it, they're actually coming out ahead economically.

Following the money... into and out of Iraq

There is a fascinating, if depressing, article up at the London Review of Books by Ed Harriman, detailing where the money in Iraq has gone... and where it hasn't. For those that have been following the looting of the country since the war began, there really isn't anything new, but it was tied together nicely here.

You're putting WHAT on your face?

I've never been a fan of makeup. At best, it strikes me as a bizarre religious ritual, like war paint. At worst, it makes me think there is a carefully stage-managed deception going on. Often I have seen someone carefully dolled up and thought to myself, "Why do you put that crap on your face?"

It turns out that maybe the question should have been phrased, "Do you know that you're putting crap on your face?" — Professor Elizabeth Brooks from Rowan University conducted a 14-week university study of store makeup counters and found high levels of bacteria in the makeup, including dangerous levels of E. Coli from fecal matter.

Quoting Elizabeth Brooks:
"We're putting feces on our face. Not a fun thing to do."

So, ladies, please, stop putting crap on your face. You look better in natural colors anyway.

What it means to love America

Hilzoy at Obisian Wings has written an excellent essay on what it's like to be someone who loves the United States with open eyes. It's the answer to all the people who think that those that criticize the policies of President Bush hate America, and explains why his detractors are so passionate.

Link credit to Pharyngula, which is not where I expected to find such a link, but am glad I did.

Honest lawyers making a difference

The Center for Constitutional Rights, an organization of lawyers "dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights", has made the news recently by coordinating the legal representation for the prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, some of whom were picked up far from any battlefield and who have languished there years without any evidence against them being disclosed. Their actions have, along with the recent change in public opinion about how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been handled, have been causing increasing numbers of lawyers to go through the arduous process of gaining access to Guantánamo. The additional scrutiny alone seems to have already had a positive effect:

Bush administration to protect terrorist Luis Posada Carriles

The BBC is reporting that the United States has chosen to reject Venezuela's extradition request for Luis Posada Carriles on the grounds that they have not provided sufficient evidence. If this weren't so deadly serious a matter, it would be quite laughable, because even the declassified CIA and FBI documents on him link him much more tightly to terrorism than any of the people the Department of Homeland Security has arrested in the last several years.

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