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Topic: Karl

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Weekend Update   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 12:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

IRAQ PRE-ELECTION NEWS has a short shelf life, so I thought I would post some links while they were still fresh:

Insurgent attacks have climbed ahead of the vote starting tonight. The New York Times reported Friday that voters in Mosul may need cover provided by coalition snipers. Things seem better, though still dodgy, in Samarra. Iraqi officials on Friday announced the capture of three leading members of the insurgent group headed by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Multinational forces also captured about 20 other insurgents elsewhere around Iraq. The country seems gripped with voting fever, according to the London Times. The same seems to be true for Iraqi expats: An Iraqi-Canadian man from Winnipeg drove 14 hours to Calgary this week to cast a ballot in his homeland's general election. For Radhi Aljanabi, one calculation of the price of freedom is $600 in expenses and the body-stiffening inconvenience of a long drive from Massachussetts to suburban Washington this weekend to vote. For years, the thousands of Kurds living in Nashville have blended into the city's immigrant community, but now they are in the spotlight. In Australia, across the road from a polling station, a small group of protesters from the World Communist Party assembled to demonstrate against the elections. They later started photographing voters and became violent. All of which is a little odd, once you learn that Communists are running in Iraq.

If you want to get the opinions of Americans in Iraq, you can read one from Thomas Foreman, or this unknown soldier. You can also find a ton of links to soldiers' blogs through The Mudville Gazette. Bear in mind that a soldier's politics may not match yours; forewarned is forearmed (though not as armed as they are).

If you want to read what Iraqi bloggers are thinking, you could do worse than the links rounded up by Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine. After all, this story should be focused on the Iraqis.

And what might the outcome of the election be? Larry Kaplan at The New Republic thinks the result will not be "small-l" liberal:
"The most important such edict, issued by the country's senior-most Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, urges Shia to vote next week for the United Iraqi Alliance slate of candidates, headed up by Abdul Aziz Al Hakim, a conservative cleric with close ties to Iran. The signature proposals of many candidates on the Sistani list span the entire spectrum of illiberalism, from rolling back women's rights to stipulating in the constitution that Iraq be an Islamic state."

In contrast, Amir Taheri thinks Iraq may vote for gridlock and that the Sistani slate is not that dangerous:
"The fact that Grand Ayatollah Ali Muhammed Sistani has effectively endorsed a single list of candidates (which is expected to win as many as 120 seats) must not be seen as a sectarian move — this "Shiite" list includes at least 30 Sunnis. Other "Shiite" seats will likely include 16 or so won by supporters of the Muqtada al-Sadr, the maverick mullah. More than half of the 12 seats likely won by the Iraqi Communist Party (People's Unity) will also go to Shiites — militantly anti-clerical ones."

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Links: Friday's Child edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, January 28, 2005 - 06:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...but what about Radio K?

ALT-RADIO: The Big Ticket is all over the debut of "The Current," KCMP 89.3 in Mpls, the first two hours of which included Earlimart, Jim White, Ani DiFranco, Luna, Hank Williams, The Replacements, Iron & Wine, Johnny Cash, Death Cab, Wilco, Patsy Cline, Frou Frou, The Arcade Fire and a set featuring !!! ("Hello, Is This Thing o­n?") into The Jam ("Going Underground") into Dylan ("Subterranean Homesick Blues") into Radiohead ("Subterranean Homesick Alien"). There are also links to streams of the station, MP3s of a couple of songs played, an eight hour playlist and more.

WILCO UPDATE: Rolling Stone reports that the songs o­n the expanded version of A Ghost is Born (noted here yesterday) will be available for those who bought the original via downloads at the band's website. So this expansion is just cool, not annoying.

THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS are working o­n a new album, according their post at Matador. Check out their unintentional influences.

You'll have to scroll down for the bikini shotEVA LONGORIA: If she ever gets bumped off of Desperate Housewives, she could probably get her own reality show... on cable or pay-per-view.

SPECIAL TSUNAMI FARES! Singapore Airlines has second thoughts about its promotion, complete with an ad showing people fleeing a giant wave. Or would that be first thoughts?

PAUL GIAMATTI OSCAR SNUB: I may not like the snub, but it's great fodder for Uncle Grambo at Whatevs.org. Uncle G has a style all his own.

DUSTIN HOFFMAN: "The whole culture is in the craphouse." Hoffman said he had stopped working a few years back because he had "lost the spark I always had." But he shouldn't feel too guilty over Meet the Fockers: more than o­ne critic thought he was o­ne of best things in it.

"BRING OUT YOUR DEAD..." "I'm not dead yet..."

IRAQ ELECTION: It has already started... in Australia. The Wall Street Journal has an interactive guide, covering vote estimates, security issues, the structure of the new government, key politicians and parties and more. The Arab press seems more optimistic about the election and Iraq's future than Arabic-language papers in Britain. For that matter, it seems more optimistic than Reuters, which begins its coverage with a prediction: "The United States is likely to latch on to any sign of success in Sunday's Iraqi national election amid increasing momentum for the earliest possible withdrawal of American troops." The Reuters article goes on to discuss suggestions from Rep. Marty Meehan and Sen. Ted Kennedy (both D-MA) to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. However, it must be noted that both see the bulk of any withdrawal occurring in 2006 -- by which time the stress on U.S. troop rotation would probably require some drawdown anyway.

CORNELL UNIVERSITY touts software that translates color into sound for the blind. Those with sight can get their synthesesia from hallucinogens.

9/11? WE ASKED FOR IT, according to University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill.

MOJO draws up a list of Top 100 Soundtracks.

Memorex fansASHLEE SIMPSON'S PHONY BUZZ is exposed o­n Metafilter.

OPEN SOURCE BIOLOGY: The Biological Innovation for Open Society and Science Commons want to give scientists free access to the latest methods in biotechnology through the web. BIOS will soon launch an open-source platform that promises to free up rights to patented DNA sequences and the methods needed to manipulate biological material.

ANIMAL-HUMAN HYBRIDS spark controversy. Some will ask, "What is the Law?"

MP3s: Now with surround sound.

EX-LIBERTINES FRONT MAN PETE DOHERTY now has an ex-galpal: Kate Moss. So he'll have more time to work o­n the crack and heroin addictions.

COLDPLAY is investigating the leak of its new stuff o­n the internet. No Rock 'n' Roll Fun already has a theory, but not o­ne Mr. Paltrow will like.

THE UNITED NATIONS is taking credit for Australian and U.S. tsunami relief, according to the Diplomad.

THE BBC COVERS THE BLOGGIES... but without any hyperlinks, so you would have to go to the Bloggies site, which works o­nly sporadically due to bandwidth limits.

THE BBC IS BIASED in its coverage of the European Union, according to an independent report commissioned by the BBC's Board of Governors. It said BBC impartiality had been undermined by "an institutional mindset, a tendency to polarise and over-simplify issues, a measure of ignorance of the European Union o­n the part of some journalists and a failure to report issues that ought to be reported, perhaps out of a belief they are not sufficiently entertaining." Also: "We were asked whether the BBC is systematically europhile. If systematic means deliberate, conscious bias with a directive from the top, an internal system or a conspiracy, we have not found a systematic bias. But we do think there is a serious problem. Although the BBC wishes to be impartial in its news coverage of the EU, it is not succeeding."

WHY THIS BOOK REVIEW? Only because I liked the contact info in the tag line.

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Links: Thursday's Child edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

It's like Tony Levin meets Earl ScruggsMUSICTHING: It's like Gizmodo or Engadget, but musical. If you need info o­n a headless folding banjo, this is the place.

ON THE PITCHFORK: Wilco announces an expanded version of A Ghost is Born. The trend of expanded albums is one that seems cool at first glance and annoying at the second.

ROBERT POLLARD releases his first post-GbV album and it is... unusual.

DOGS are being shocked by electricity shooting up through the sidewalks of New York.

CURIOUS AMICI: The Eagles, the Dixie Chicks, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, Tom Jones and Brian Wilson have filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court; who knew you could learn something here?) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing file-sharing in the Grokster case.

NOW THAT WE KNOW THE OSCAR NOMINEES, Defamer points to the sites where you can see them naked.

IRAQ ELECTION: CNN finds generally good karma in Karma, about nine miles northeast of Falluja. Powerline has the translation of a poll from the Arabic media showing about 72 percent intend to vote and 75 percent rating security good or average. Granted, Power Line is a conservative blog, but it's also Time magazine's Blog of the Year. USA TODAY has a column up comparing Iraq, Vietnam and... Austria.

KEANE has something in common with John Madden.

THE SAN FRAN CHRONICLE has a column o­n the rich topic of band names.

FLAGPOLE looks at state of Camper Van Beethoven with David Lowery.

...though it took your mind off the drinking and smokingHARRY AND THE HOLOCAUST: Although the controversy over his Nazi costume has abated somewhat, it may be interesting to view the aftermath of the Prince's extreme wardrobe malfunction in light of ceremonies commemorating the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex to be held today. In the U.K., the House of Commons announced it would probe how the aides of Prince Harry and his older brother Prince William were recruited. Almost three out of four Britons believe Prince Harry was wrong to wear the Nazi costume, according to o­ne opinion poll. However, a poll conducted for the BBC found that 45 per cent of adults had never heard of Auschwitz, though the figure rose to 60 percent among women and people under 35. Another poll published earlier this week in Canada found 30 per cent of Canadians surveyed couldn't identify that Jews were the primary victims of the Holocaust. In Poland, that number rose to about half of the population, according to a recent survey conducted there. British Muslims plan to boycott this week’s commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz because they claim it is not racially inclusive and does not commemorate the victims of the Palestinian conflict. The European Union may consider a ban o­n Nazi symbols. The UN broke with years of protocol and commemorated the 60-year anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps, "a watershed event for a body that has repeatedly been accused of an anti-Semitic agenda." France has recognized anti-Semitism has flared within its Muslim population and begun Holocaust education programs. Most Germans would prefer to forget the Holocaust and are tired of hearing about Nazi crimes during the Third Reich, according to another newly released poll. In the German parliament, the Home Affairs Committee is urging de facto limits o­n Jewish immigration. In Russia, a group of nationalist lawmakers have called for a sweeping investigation aimed at outlawing all Jewish organizations and punishing officials who support them, accusing Jews of fomenting ethnic hatred and saying they provoke anti-Semitism.

At least he didn't start with the Tomahawk chop againTED TURNER compares the popularity of the Fox News Channel to the prewar popularity of Hitler. In return Fox put out a statement: "Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network and now his mind — we wish him well." Turner has had to apologize twice before for this sort of comment.

AN ASTEROID is named after Douglas Adams, author of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

WHICH WOULD CONCERN YOU MORE: The fact that surveillance cameras are all over the public square or a technology that would allow someone to blur their faces in digital photographs?

You can see the video at the Wired linkCLOCKWORK CREATURES stroll the beaches, powered o­nly by the wind.

STROKES MARRIAGE RUMORS are clarified at Gawker.

MICKEY KAUS decries the trend of cable news to go wall-to-wall with a crisis du jour.

JIM WALLIS: The Boston Globe profiles the self-described "progressive evangelical" leader and editor of Sojourners magazine who has lately been discovered by Democrats in DC desperate to learn the language of "moral values."

Not to mention BJ HunnicutIN VARIETY: Diane Keaton, Carlos Santana, Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Alfre Woodard, Danny Glover, Jackson Browne and "Million Dollar Baby" writer Paul Haggis are amond those putting their names to an ad asking Gov. Ahnuld to support legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. The implied threat: if undocumented women cannot raise our kids, we celebrities would have to do it ourselves; you know that's a tragedy waiting to happen.

USA TODAY runs a column declaring that "Blogging is similarly the latest [media] revolution — e.g., it's not. Which, in a way, makes it cooler." Agreed.

FBI DECLARES BOSTON TERROR PLOT BOGUS, cooked up by a smuggler looking to hurt his competition.

MORE TROUBLE FOR CBS NEWS? A document examiner for the 60 Minutes Wednesday story about President Bush's TX Air National guard service claims he was defamed by the independent report regarding the authenticity of memos used in the story.

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Links: Wednesday Car edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

Not to mention the Fugs!LUCINDA WILLIAMS, TIMOTHY LEARY, LEADBELLY, THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS AND A CAST OF THOUSANDS: MSN Music has teamed up with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make nearly 35,000 historic songs available for download. The Suburbs Are Killing Me has details and recommendations, plus info o­n how you can also buy custom-made CDs of material from the Folkways vaults (including tons of stuff not o­n MSN yet).

WE LOVE IT WHEN RAPPERS GET INTO COPYRIGHT LITIGATION: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court ruling that Juvenile's "Back That Azz Up" does not infringe o­n D.J. Jubilee's "Back That Ass Up." Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King, who wrote the opinion, says she listened to both rap songs. "I don't know that I had to," says King, who admits she's not very familiar with rap music. "I'm interested in Brahms, but I did listen to it."

THE OSCAR NOMINATIONS are announced. Daniel Drezner has a good list of the snubbed; Gawker has a different list. While I agree with Drezner that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind deserved more nominations, the real crime here is the snubbing of Paul Giamatti for Best Actor, because Paul Giamatti is The Man. Why nominate Johnny Depp for Finding Neverland when he really deserved it last year for his turn as Captain Jack Sparrow? And Natalie Portman really should have been nominated for Garden State instead of Closer, despite the fact that she wears less clothing in the latter. Apparently, Mike Nichols has more clout in Tinseltown than Zach Braff; who knew?

Actually, the nominations say a great deal about the politics of the Oscars. In o­ne sense they are conservative: controversial movies like Fahrenheit 9/11, The Passion of the Christ and even Kinsey are less likely to get many nominations. Vera Drake recieved a couple, but few people watching the Oscars will know its subject matter. Indeed, I would not be surprised if the fine folks at Miramax (backing The Aviator) will not quietly put out word that the theme in Million Dollar Baby might prove controversial o­nce the movie opens in wider release and people learn of its plot twist.

Life imitates ArtIn another sense, the politics of the Oscars is not unlike high school. Thus, if you are popular, you stand a better shot at nominations and awards. The Aviator may be Scorsese's best movie in years, but it is not as good as his best and may not be the best movie of the year. Nevertheless, the odds favor both the picture and Scorsese. Similarly, the snub of Paul Giamatti for Best Actor probably has something to do with the popularity of Clint Eastwood and Don Cheadle. It probably also has to do with the fact that movie critics may have loved Sideways in part because Giamatti's Miles reminds them of themselves. It would follow that Academy members may have not loved Miles in part because he reminded them of movie critics. Conversely, the Academy might nominate Thomas Hayden Church for Best Supporting Actor in Sideways in part because his portrayal of an insecure actor probably struck close to home.

You got the right o­ne, baby...Also, as a rule, the Academy prefers movies about show business: Ray, The Aviator, Finding Neverland, and Being Julia all fit into this category. It also tends to prefer movies and roles that project the image that Hollywood is filled with Great Artists doing Deep, Meaningful Work, which is why comedies almost never win Best Picture. Thus, while Kate Winslet was rightly nominated for Eternal Sunshine instead of Finding Neverland because she was better in the former, the latter is more the type of role that gets an Oscar, which suggests she has little chance of winning. Jamie Foxx was great as Ray Charles and probably deserves the Oscar; the fact that Ray Charles was blind helps Foxx also. There is at least o­ne other major award that I think will be similarly influenced, but I won't give it away.

SUNDANCE turns out to be a showcase for tech companies marketing to low-budget filmmakers.

THE WILSON QUARTERLY reviews The Shakespeare Comany, 1594-1642, which assesses the importance of Shakespeare's team of fellow actors to his work. It turns out that Will was o­ne of Lord Chamberlain’s Men, along with Richard Burbage, which means that Shakespeare In Love is not a documentary.

DIRTY BOOKS: The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged the o­ne-time owners of Penthouse magazine cooked the books, defrauded investors and illegally used an electronic signature of founder Bob Guccione Sr. o­n government filings that he never saw. Al Goldstein, former publisher of Screw magazine, saw his publishing empire evaporate for a different reason, albeit o­ne that also helped send Penthouse into bankruptcy: "The Internet made pornography available for free and I couldn't compete," said Goldstein, who is now a cold-calling bagel salesman.

ROLLING STONE decides to run an ad for the "updated" Bible, claiming that internal miscommunications led to a misstatement of company policy o­n the matter. Of course, the magazine claimed the policy was "unwritten," so we will never know, will we?

DAN GILLMOR, who has left a career in journalism to promote "grassroots journalism," argues that the policy of most major newspapers o­n the internet of allowing free access to recent news, but charging for archives, is exactly backwards.

RFK, Jr. will not run for New York state attorney general, taking him out of a race that could have set him against his estranged brother-in-law, Andrew Cuomo.

IRAQ ELECTION: Yesterday, I suggested that the New York Times misstated the level of interest in the January 30th election. Now the paper is reporting that "[t]he Iraqi Islamic Party's announcement of withdrawal [from the election] in late December was considered a big blow to the elections because the party is popular among Sunni Arabs. But the party never removed its slate of candidates from the ballot. Mr. Abdul-Hameed [the leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party] said that if the slate won national assembly seats, he would not bar his candidates from taking them, as long as the candidates were not official party members." The NYT is also reporting that "[w]ith the Shiites o­n the brink of capturing power here for the first time, their political leaders say they have decided to put a secular face o­n the new Iraqi government they plan to form, relegating Islam to a supporting role." This second story adds that Iranians warned the Iraqis against putting clerics in the government. So perhaps the NYT is discovering that the election may not be a complete disaster. ALSO: ABC News has done another installment in its series on "Where Things Stand" in Iraq, covering security, availability of goods and jobs, water supply, electricity, health care, education and more. It's lengthy (even before you get into the sidebar pieces), but well worth a read.

Love me forever...CHA CHA BOOM: Consuelo Velazquez, composer of the oft-covered "Besame Mucho," died at 88 of respiratory problems in Mexico City o­n Saturday. The author of the lyrics "Kiss me over and over, as if this night were the last time," confessed in a 2003 interview that when she penned those words at the age of 25 she had never been kissed.

MADONNA brought her own lighting crew to the BBC's tsunami aid benefit show, so that she wouldn't look all wrinkly. But she paid for the crew herself, which is quite charitable.

MUSICIANS PICK THEIR "PERFECT SONGS" at NPR's All Songs Considered. The list includes songs from artists including, The Beatles, Pete Seeger and The Archies.

COMPUTER LEARNS to play rock, paper, scissors by observing and mimicking human players. And there actually may be practical applications for the technology.

GOOGLE is using its searching technology to find information and images broadcast o­n television. Search engine analyst Charlene Li of Forrester Research said Google's latest innovation is likely to disappoint many people because it doesn't provide a direct link to watch the previously broadcast programming. Li said Yahoo's similar service is flawed, too, because "most of the (video) that you can see o­n the Web isn't the stuff that you really want to see." I think the folks at BoingBoing would beg to differ.

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES want a raise. In an interview with America's PEOPLE magazine last month, Nicollette Sheridan complained, "I'm the poorest actress o­n television." I dunno... she's a lame actress, but there's a lot of competition for that title.

Lose the necktie, bub!SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: Fashion mavens offer their advice o­n how he could butch up his look.

BRITISH POLICE called in a spotter plane, helicopter and video-equipped patrol car to help convict a woman who ate an apple while driving to work. "You would think they had better things to do," the woman said. If the new HBO film Dirty War is any indication, they do.

ILLINOIS ELECTION FALLOUT: The voter fraud/murder investigation moves forward, as the indictment of an East St. Louis official of attempted murder of a witness officially acknowledges for the first time that federal authorities are investigating voter fraud in the city.

WISCONSIN ELECTION FALLOUT: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel finds over 1,200 ballots cast from invalid addresses in the city, including many cases in which the voter could not be located at all. A spot check of addresses that came back as invalid found cases where the address in question is a park, a baseball diamond and at or near the W. Wisconsin Ave. bridge. A baseball diamond? Did Elwood Blues break out of Joliet and move to Wisconsin?

THE FRENCH HOTEL: I've avoided mentioning her for a while but Page Six got its hands o­n her love letters to Aaron Carter, which are simply too good to pass up. If you thought that Paris was simply playing the role of the slutty skank for The Simple Life, read her undying declaration of affection: "You are the [bleep] and I love you to death."

THE DAILY ILLINI takes a look at record labels using "street teams" to promote their product.

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Links: Call It Stormy Monday, But Tuesday Is Just As Bad edition   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 07:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

She don't go for the two-faced lotharioCHARLOTTE HATHERLEY: Mojitos and a Fender Jag make her 80s-stylin' video for "BASTARDO" pop. You can stream it from her home page.

ON THE PITCHFORK: A review of the two new discs from Bright Eyes.

BONNAROO: The festival has announced its lineup. You could go see Rilo Kiley, M.Ward, Drive-By Truckers, Alison Krauss and Earl Scruggs, to name a few. But you risk running into Dave Matthews.

DOGS: One hound mix and one collie escape their shelters by winning parts in the upcoming Broadway musical of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The dogs will live on a Connecticut farm owned by the show's handler when the production closes. EXTRA TRIVIA: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. was written by Ian Fleming, who also created the James Bond series. Ian knew how to pimp a ride.

24 HOUR DETOX: Wired covers the "one-step program" with a claimed 65 percent success rate.

GLOBAL WARMING: A new report warns that the point of no return may be reached in 10 years, leading to droughts, agricultural failure and water shortages. On the other hand, the findings from a team of American climate experts suggest that were it not for greenhouse gases produced by humans, the world would be well o­n the way to a frozen Armageddon.

He would never give up, never.WINSTON CHURCHILL died 40 years ago Monday; The Queen of England will open a Churchill museum next month. Last week, I noted that Raoul Wallenberg was one of two people made an honorary citizen of the U.S. -- Churchill was the other.

IRAQ ELECTION: In a country wracked by violence, a tiny bookstore in a dusty mall offers a quiet corner where customers can escape the misery and the owners can dare to sound hopeful. "We must live like other people," bookseller Attallah Zeidan says. "Let a million of us die. That's the price of freedom. Have you heard of any society that gained freedom without sacrifices?" A story in Sunday's New York Times is headlined: "As Election Nears, Iraqis Remain Sharply Divided on Its Value." The reader has to reach paragraph eight to find this sentence: "Granted, the opinions of 50 to 60 people, all told, hardly constitute a scientific sample." A scientific poll, on the other hand, shows between sixty-five and eighty percent are likely to vote in the January 30th election. The division found by the NYT was that Sunnis were not too enthused, but as the Sunni minority gained the most under Saddam Hussein's regime, that lack of enthusiasm is not shocking. [btw, the NYT story relies in part on"Iraqi employees of The New York Times from Falluja and Mosul." Would it be too cynical to wonder whether the NYT has any idea as to whether the info gleaned from Iraqis in the past and current bases of the insurgency is accurate? Okay, I'll get off the soapbox now.] There have been election-related security concerns in Nashville and outside of Chicago.

IN OTHER IRAQ NEWS, a top lieutenant of al-Qaida's Iraq leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been arrested in Iraq, along with the chief of al-Zarqawi's propaganda operations and one of his weapons suppliers. Sami Mohammed Ali Said al-Jaaf, a/k/a Abu Omar al-Kurdi, "confessed to building approximately 75 percent of the car bombs used in attacks in Baghdad," including the bombing of the U.N. headquarters that killed the top U.N. envoy in Iraq and 21 others, the bombing of a shrine in the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf that killed more than 85 people, and the assassination of Izzadine Saleem, then president of the Iraqi Governing Council.

WISCONSIN ELECTION FALLOUT: Five men have been charged with felony criminal damage to property for slashing 40 tires on 25 vehicles used by the Republican Party on Election Day, including the sons of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and former acting mayor Marvin Pratt. The complaint against them is available for download also.

AGE OF THE BLOG: The San Francisco Chronicle declares that "[o]ver the past year, these o­nline journals have gained clout as an important source of information, occasionally beating the mainstream media." Plenty of URLs at the end. The growing influence of blogs is also raising questions about whether they are becoming a new form of journalism and in need of more formal ethical guidelines or codes of conduct.

NAPSTER is considering entering the legal movie download biz.

ALCOHOL AND VIAGRA: The latest studies are noted by InstaPundit Glenn Reynolds -- and I'm not going to try to beat his punchline.

SO, TIMMY, HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A GLADIATOR MOVIE? The "real thing" may have been as real as pro wrestling.

RAZZIES: The Oscar nominations are set to be announced Tuesday morning, but the noms for the Razzies, celebrating the worst of Hollywood, have been announced. In a bit of an upset, Catwoman leads with seven noms, while Oliver Stone's Alexander garners only six. The other worst-picture contenders were the family action comedy Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, the holiday debacle Surviving Christmas and the cross-dressing comedy White Chicks. Both Condoleeza Rice and Britney Spears are nominated for Worst Supporting Actress for their appearances in Fahrenheit 9/11.

...and he's not drinking merlotPAUL GIAMATTI IS THE MAN: Newsweek conducted a roundtable of the likely Oscar nominees for Best Actor and Actress which included the following exchange:
Q: Doing press is a big part of your job this time of year, and you've all done a great many interviews over the years. What o­ne question do you never want to be asked again?
HILARY SWANK: My most annoying question is, "Hilary, are you ever going to play a pretty girl?"
PAUL GIAMATTI: Yeah, that o­ne always pisses me off.

SUNDANCE: Robert Redford says that the film festival has become a magnet for "all the 'special' people who want 'special' attention, who want tickets at the last minute. When we say no, they get pissed off and start threatening to throw rocks at us." Not to mention celebrities stealing from the Humane Society of the U.S. At least you can avoid these by going to the Sundance o­nline Film Festival instead.

HOWARD DEAN ENDORSED FOR DNC CHAIR by Doug MacKinnon, former press secretary to Bob Dole, o­n the ground that Dean has been unfairly treated by the media.

JENNA BUSH: Gawker has a post-inaguration party picture that her Dad would not be happy to see.

Yeah, what do they get?BUZZCOCKS start working on a new album, according to Aversion, which also reports that the forthcoming M. Ward disc will cover the Beach Boys, the Carter Family and some dude named Bach.

CARL WILSON mulls the third death of indie rock, fingering technology as the culprit. I wonder whether it's dead or merely in the process of exploding.

NEW NEW ORDER: Stereogum links to streams of the first single, "Krafy." No Rock 'n' Roll Fun is ready with the poison pixels.

NICOLE KIDMAN: Undoubtedly bugged that her home in Sydney was bugged.

NANOTECH may be used to build better bombs, including "mini-nukes," making arms control all the more difficult.

NEVADA: Still safe for lap-dancing, for now.

HOO-HAH! State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle) is sponsoring a bill to repeal Washington state's 1909 law that criminalizes "slander of a woman." The statute prohibits "false or defamatory words or language which shall injure or impair" the virtuous and chaste reputation of any woman over the age of 12. The law does say it's OK to slander a "common prostitute." What about the uncommon o­nes?

THE UNITED NATIONS: After the tsunami, a U.N. official suggested that wealthy countries were too stingy with reconstruction aid. Now another U.N. official suggests that wealthy countries just throw money at disasters, resulting in a "feeding frenzy" of corruption and profiteering. The latest rumor has Secretary General Kofi Annan being replaced by Goldilocks.

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