News & Links: Saturday, October 14, 2023

#373  [archive]

     Should I say something about the latest killfest in the Middle East? Probably, but I have no original thoughts about it. There are no original thoughts about it. It's been going on longer than I've been alive.
    10/7/2023 reminds me of 9/11/2001 — people who'd been treated like garbage for a long time, fought back.
    That's not justification. There is no justification. Justification implies morality, and nothing could be less relevant than that. It's ugly. Lots of people died. Lots more will die.
    Same as 9/11, nobody in power asks why people get so angry they'd kill. They don't ask because they already know, and don't care.
    Israel plays the role of America, and the Palestinians are the Native Americans. Ask Crazy Horse how this is going to end.

Palestinians flee northern Gaza after Israel orders 1 million to evacuate as ground attack looms
    Israel's completely expected over-response is horrific, of course. Their leaders are calling it "a complete siege" — constant bombing, a blockade to prevent food and fuel from getting in, and they've pulled the plug on Gaza's electricity.
    That's a war crime, maybe several. The UN will no doubt issue a scathing memo.
    Hamas, of course, would do the same or worse to all of Israel, if they had the military capability.

BBC explains why they don't call Hamas militants 'terrorists'
    Excerpt: Terrorism is a loaded word, which people use about an outfit they disapprove of morally. It's simply not the BBC's job to tell people who to support and who to condemn — who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.
    We regularly point out that the British and other governments have condemned Hamas as a terrorist organization, but that's their business. We also run interviews with guests and quote contributors who describe Hamas as terrorists.
    The key point is that we don't say it in our voice. Our business is to present our audiences with the facts, and let them make up their own minds.

    Me again: Strikes me as a fair position, unique in major media so far as I know. 

 • New legislation in New York would require parental consent for anyone under 18 to access the algorithm-based feeds on TikTok, Instagram and other platforms
    Not a perfect solution, but not stupid. Kids could still access TikTok, Instagram, etc, but not the part that feeds users endless posts tailored to their personal interests and user-history.

Clarence Thomas wants the Supreme Court to make it easier to sue journalists
    Like almost everything Republicans say and do, this seems very out of the ordinary. Have there been past Supreme Court Justices who said, We need to look for a case that'll let the Court make big changes?
    I've foolishly envisioned the Supremes waiting to see what appeals arrive, not advertising to activists what case they want to hear and how they'll rule on it.

How the media should handle reporting on Trump
    Excerpt: Journalists cannot ignore him.
    But when he says something that illustrates his continued descent into fascist rhetoric, the real news is not so much the particular thing he said, it’s that he said it and that Republican leaders and Republicans generally still aren’t renouncing him.
    The thrust of these stories should be that the current state of American politics is such that he isn’t being roundly condemned by his party even as he threatens core American values like the rule of law and freedom of the press.
    Me again: I don't disagree, but it's futile. Once they've hit the big time, and they're working for major newspapers and TV networks, it's way too late to explain to journalists what journalism is and how to do it.

Is Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker about the gulags? Chernobyl? EU immigration? 

•  "We figure if we get a lawsuit it will be a lot of fun" — the zine of birth control, when abortion was illegal and the pill was for married couples only 

1966 — San Francisco's last, and longest, obscenity trial over a literary work 

The whole of the Whole Earth Catalog is now online at Whole Earth Index 

The secret history of jaywalking: The disturbing reason it was outlawed — and why we should lift the ban 

The Police Problem
    This is my ongoing collection of police brutality, beatings, and general corruption.

Amusing, Interesting, Outrageous, or Profound
    And this is my Lemmy page, for anything that's amusing, interesting, outrageous, or profound (in my opinion).

♫♬  MUSIC  ♫

All I Know — Art Garfunkel 

Green Onions — Booker T & the MGs 

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) — Kenny Rogers & The First Edition 

One is the Loneliest Number — Harry Nilsson 

Suite Judy Blue Eyes — Crosby Stills & Nash 







👁  VIDEO  👁

The 1964 New York World's Fair
    The World's Fair was brought to you by Sinclair gas stations, mostly, but also GE and GM, and jeez, it looks like a gawdawful festival of advertising and corporate-branded amusements. Doesn't look like fun to me. Looks like downtown Dystopia.

One of skateboarding’s most unfathomable stunts 

Swinging The Lambeth Walk, by Len Lye
    (1939; 3 mins, 30 seconds)


Jeff Burr 

Ryan Carson 

Michael Chiarello 

Phyllis Coates 

Claude Cormier 

Terence Davies 

Charles Feeney 

Alice Fraser 

Thomas Gambino 🖕

Keith Giffen 

Dorothy Hoffner 

Mang Hoi 

Rudolph Isley 

Jack Leathem 

Louise Meriwether 

Lucy Morgan 

Kevin Phillips 🖕

Russell Sherman 

John Tilley 

Shawna Trpcic 

Hughes Van Ellis 

Allan C. Weisbecker


Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited. 

Tip 'o the hat to the AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Kottke,org, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, MetaFilter, Miss Miriam's Mirror, RanPrieur.com, @soberscientistlife, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration.

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo emeritus, John the Basket, Dave S, Name Withheld, and always extra special thanks to my lovely late Stephanie, who gave me 21 years and proved that the world isn't always shitty.


  1. You are pro Palestine. I guess that isn't surprising, being your against religion.

  2. That ban on algorithm access for kids is only posturing. It'll never pass the legislature and if it did it would be struck down in any court.

    Fuck Israel and fuck Hamas.

  3. I gave up on all of it long ago. Israel is determined to drive all the nonJews out, and Hamas wants to kill all the Israels. Killings forever. I have more sympathy for the Palestinians but all I see is murder everywhere.

  4. Your take leaves out so much. Israel is a nuclear superpower and has been stealing land and killing Palestinians since Day One. There is nothing Palestine can legally do to assert their right to exist, so they fight back through attacks the oppressor calls terrorism.

    Free Palestine. Israel has no right to exist until they recognize Palestinians right to exist.

  5. My last dreamy reverie as I drift off to sleep every night is a fervent prayer that I wake the next morning to the glorious news that all of the middle east, much of Africa, North Korea, Washington DC and parts of Texas and Florida have been flattened to sheets of volcanic glass by nuclear bombs dropped by Volodymyr "Paddington Bear" Zelenskyy.

    Fuck all politics and fuck all religion sideways with a rusty butter knife.

    1. What the fuck are you talking about?


    2. Oh my. Are you two about to have an enjoyable argument?

      I have nothing to say, but will cheerfully butt in if/when I do.

  6. Oh my. Somewhere between 6-10 million Jews slaughtered in a ten year period because -- well --they were Jews. The Jewish people decide the only way to survive is to establish the long-promised state of Israel. The United States, under the leadership of one of the great Presidents of the United States, Harry Truman, is the first state in the world to recognize the state of Israel. I recognize it as well. Hamas slaughters hundreds, maybe thousands of innocent civilians and when Israel strikes back they're the outlaws.

    Long live freedom. Long live Israel. The only nation in the middle east that actually elects its leaders.


    1. Nothing nothing nothing makes everyone angrier than mentioning Israel or Palestine. Mention both and you gotta wear a raincoat, so I took yesterday off from comments here, just to let the tidal waves crest and pass.

      Cashews, am I pro-Palestine? Didn't know that, and also don't know what being against religion has to do with anything but good sense. Sam Sam the doublefuck man, you're probably right about algorithms. Amy, I generally root for underdogs, but it's hard when Hamas is always stupid and murderous and happy about it. Big Bobby, if I included all the details I'd be writing until after I'm dead. Claude, I have a dream too, but a rusty butter knife seems risky. John, even the worst things that happened 70 years or a week ago don't justify ongoing state-sponsored mass murder.

      Anything else?

    2. Trump
      Gay rights in America
      The use of atomic/nuclear bombs
      The place of Elvis in the rock cosmos
      Religion: any religion in any time
      Global climate change
      Taylor Swift and other lip sync-ers

    3. > I am blessedly unaware of Israel committing anything like mass murder.

      Then you're simply not looking. Turn the TV on.

    4. I just did. It was Rock-a-day Johnny singing "Tell Your Ma, Tell Your Pa, Our Love's a-Gonna Grow, OO-aa, OO-aa".


    5. Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn’t see?

    6. One of the things I like about your news page is that you don't go to the fucking "holy land" very much. You made a good effort here but forgot that nobody wants a solution. Both sides want to kill each other and so they will.

    7. I wish they would finish the job so the rest of us normal humans can get on with our lives. I'd be happy to help them if anyone wants to place the suitcase in my lap:


      These fucking animals have been at this for 2000 years. It's about time we repurpose the entire middle east as a parking lot for the mother ship

    8. In the scheme of things they're just behind the "civilized" world. Florida is a few months closer to Armageddon than the holy land.

      They pave Paradise and put up a parking lot
      With a big hotel, a boutique and a swingin' hot spot


    9. October 18, "the Holy Lands" is where all the world's most deeply religious people want to kill all the other deeply religious people. It's top-10 level irony.

      Generally I stay away from the topic because it makes friends into enemies, and I have no friends to spare.

      Claude, The Dead Zone, man. One of Stephen King's best, also one of David Cronenberg's best, because it's not just scary as shit to be scary as shit, there's a purpose beyond. Maybe there's even a political message, but it's been so long since I've read/seen the book/movie I don't remember.

      Less important but also, how crazy that Martin Sheen went from playing a maniac would-be president to playing President Bartlett, while Christopher Walken went from the good guy to playing a lot of nutzoids.

      Something's in the Middle East water, same as the American South, and whatever it is sure keeps people stupid. I wonder if anybody's done a serious scientific study of it. Is it only religion that keeps them killing? Religion plus a long tradition of killing, celebrated like we celebrate Christmas? Make it "a parking strip for the mother ship" and we're on our way to a catchy pop song people will kill each other over.

  7. It's not an insult but you hate religion and Israel is a nation run by its religion. It is the Jewish state.

    1. Nobody''s god has ever killed anyone, since nobody's god has ever existed. Nobody's god matters to me at all beyond laughing at it.

      Please don't make me keep typing the obvious.

    2. You never go a week without saying how bad religion is. I'm supposed to think that's unconnected to you instant;ly arguing against Israel.

    3. Doug, you don't say dumb things often. You say them rarely. But separating somebody's religion from their deity is taking very little off the top at the Universal Barber Shop. People who blow up other groups of people, usually subsistence people, because their religion tells them to are following the mandates of their God whether she exists or not. And religion is but one of many opiates the people play around with. They say Allah blew up the hospital by causing the rocket to fail shortly after launch (like half their rockets do anyway) you want to argue that it didn't happen because Allah doesn't exist? Of course Allah and all the other gods that spring into existence because of our bumbling brains and understandable need for eternal existence exist. We are their creators.


    4. This, dear nuts, is why I rarely broach the subject of the Middle East. Everyone misunderstands everything, either from decades of indoctrination or plain dumbness.

      Being against religion is not why I think Israel should stop bombing people.

    5. You're losing me, mate.

      The bombings don't happen or not happen because some God does or doesn't exist. Gods have edicts like leprechauns have whiskers, but the edicts are as fictional as the whiskers and leprechauns and gods. What god someone fancies might matter at a negotiating table or in the news, and it *definitely* matters as people launch missiles, but it's irrelevant to me.

    6. Well,, it's relevant to many people in the middle east and they don't give a rat's ass what your religious persuasions are. Because the United States is sort of multicultural these days it's easy for us to forget that there are places in the world where your religion is your identity. Some of those identity groups have been fighting for a couple thousand years whether you think it's a good idea or not. Again this week there's been an upsurge in fighting over land and language and natural resources and weapons, all in the name of religion. Real people are dying because of religion. You might think it's dumb, but they're dying nonetheless.


    7. The "I was just following orders" argument doesn't sway me, even if the orders came from "god." I should take such nonsense seriously?

    8. I'm so nice the Googs displayed it twice.



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