micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
Please send him email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holmquist's full archives are listed here.
Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)
Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)
Sunday, June 30, 2002
To follow up on Friday's entry, I am back in Cadillac now.
As I wrote on September 8, "Cadillac is the type of place where people fly Old Glory out of patriotism. [insert your own comment here.]"
Friday, June 28, 2002
Head over to jazzreview.com and check out my concert review, "Composition is Improvisation is Composition is Improvisation: Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang's Summer Solstice Concert."
If you read it, you might notice these lines:
This performance was significant to me because it came near the end of my nearly year and a half living in Chicago and seeing live improvised music on a nightly basis. Soon I will be returning to my native state of Michigan to further my career in journalism.Yep I'm moving to Michigan and, more specifically, at least for a little while, back to Cadillac. Don't ask as I don't feel like explaining right now.
Despite how much I'll miss Chicago and The Reporter, it is a good thing. I'm tight for time right now but hopefully next week I will explain what I'm up to as well as give some more reflections on Chicago. For now, let me just say that I don't believe the future has all been written by the past and I'm not sure I felt that way when I came to Chicago.
One more thing is that it will be interesting to see if the people of Cadillac are more into flying American flags or Detroit Red Wings flags.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
The Center for Responsive Politics -whose site is one of the most useful found anywhere on the web, IMHO- has put together a chart on the corporate connections Bush's Cabinet.
Sunday, June 23, 2002
In an article called "The Bible and the Apocalypse," Time's Nancy Gibbs writes:
A TIME/CNN poll finds that more than one-third of Americans say they are paying more attention now to how the news might relate to the end of the world, and have talked about what the Bible has to say on the subject. Fully 59% say they believe the events in Revelation are going to come true, and nearly one-quarter think the Bible predicted the Sept. 11 attack.For more on this topic from the perspective of the people who believe this stuff, check out Prophecy Forum or Rapture Ready.
Monday, June 17, 2002
I just checked Ken Layne's blog to see if any substantial responses to the comments I made on Tuesday, and mentioned in this log on Wednesday, have shown up. None have.
Sunday, June 16, 2002
Ted Rall has a great column out called "GEORGE W. KAFKA: Bush's Police State Kicks Into Gear."
In less than two hours I begin the grocery store job that I mentioned on Tuesday. If you read this, wish me luck.
Actually this job combined with my blossoming career as a reporter have me feeling as good about myself as I have in a long time.
Saturday, June 15, 2002
An article in yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times reads:
Today is Flag Day--the 225th birthday of the flag of the United States.Say what you will about the U.S. Flag Code but don't regard it as some sort of legally binding law. It isn't.
But for the sake of the argument this Eagle Scout asks you to assume that it is a legally binding law. Here are two other provisions of the Flag Code:
The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.On September 14 and then again yesterday the Sun-Times included a paper version of the flag, which in the lower right hand corner read "Chicago Sun-Times". The Sun-Times is apparently breaking "the law."
In a report from Thursday, the Associated Press' Christopher Newton writes:
The United States will not bring American terrorist suspect Jose Padilla before a military tribunal, the Justice Department told lawmakers Thursday, according to congressional and Bush administration officials.As least as disturbing as these details is that these details have not caused outrage from the press or much of anybody else.
You know I really can't see why I am supposed to have so much respect for Bush's "war against terrorism" when its illegal under the 1973 War Powers Act and I've utilized the means of responsible citizenship in a democracy to make him aware of this.
(Thanks to Tom Tomorrow for linking to this story, and he got it from xoverboard.com.)
As of right now, if you do a search for "micah holmquist" on Google you get 719 hits. Not only is this log not included but neither are any of the pages from micahth.diaryland.com.
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Yesterday Ken Layne made two very weak arguments about Ralph Nader. One entry called Nader's 2000 run a "shameful presidential campaign" apparently for the very fact that Nader ran. I guess democracy and dissenting views aren't acceptable to Layne. The other incorrectly accuses famed consumer advocate of alledging a conspiracy in NBA officiating even though he has done no such thing.
I've commented on both posts but received no substantial response, let alone anything approaching a rebuttal.
So in the grand tradition of Layne, let me just say It's 2002...
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
Due to various commitments and technical difficulties, my blogging schedule has been thrown off. I will, however, try to keep updating this page on a somewhat regular basis.
The Associated Press' Ted Bridis writes today:
President Bush said today that Jose Padilla, the man arrested in an alleged plot to spread radioactive material across parts of America, is one of many "would-be killers" the United States has in custody. And there will be more, he promised.O.K. is Bush threatening to arrest more people or announce arrests his administration hasn't publicly revealed? Or both? There is a difference.
And should every "bad guy" end up being "detained" without due process?
Personally I think so long as war has not been declared those accused of terrorist actions or plotting terrorist actions should have full access to the legal system.
Well I have now found another source of income through gainful employment. A place called Carnival Foods in Lincoln Park has hired me as a stocker, to work in the evening. I'll still be writing for the Reporter but I needed another source of income.
Finding another job has been a difficult and frustrating process. I am going to try to write more about it in the future.
Although I may mention this job from time to time, I have no intention of discussing the day-to-day details. That isn't what this log is about. At least now now. (Of course, if you peruse the archives of micahth.diaryland.com, you will find me entries that did chroncile my life in plenty of detail . That was then, this is hopefully now.)
Now I have to find a place to live before June 30. In the past finding an apartment has been nearly, but not quite, as unejoyable as finding a job. Hopefully this time will be different.
Sunday, June 09, 2002
By fiat President Bush creates Homeland Security Department:-)
Some reporters seem to be giving President Bush some extra-presidential powers.
The Friday edition of the Chicago Sun-Times featured a sidebar, credited to the Associated Press and Gannet News Service, entitled “Homeland Security Department Facts,” which lists the number of employees, branches included, “Affected Departments, agencies,” and proposed budget for Bush’s proposed department.
What is odd about is that in three out of the four sections, the Homeland Security Department is described as a fact as opposed to a proposal that would need congressional approval.
Seriously, in all likelihood, this just sloppy editing and writing, and perhaps only on the part of either the AP or Gannett News Service, but in another way it seems like a perfect statement how much power has been ceded to Bush and his advisors for the sake of the War on Terror.
Roger Waters once sang:
What God wants
God help us all
Has Bush become the new national deity?
Since I haven’t been able to find the piece in question anywhere on the web I have transcribed in its entirety below.
HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT FACTS
Employees: 170,000, making it the third-largest federal agency
Branches included: The department would assume control of the Secret Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Customs Service, Coast Guard, the new Transportation Security Administration and the now-independent Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Affected departments, agencies: The new department will draw from the budgets and jurisdictions of Cabinet departments or Cabinet-level agencies including Justice, Treasury, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Energy, Commerce, Defense, Interior and the General Services Administration.
Budget: $37 billion
AP, Gannett News Service
Wednesday, June 05, 2002
Well I live in Chicago and am wondering about other bloggers are here in the city that has wind most of the time. Please urls in the comments section.
Sunday, June 02, 2002
In today's Chicago Tribune Michael Tackett writes:
Though the Justice Department cited threats posed by terrorists in rolling out guidelines that allow FBI agents to conduct domestic intelligence operations, it easily could have offered another justification: Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Ari Schwartz of the Center for Democracy & Technology has a piece worth reading called "FBI Guidelines Changes: More Surveillance, Less Purpose."
David Zucchino has a piece called "'The Americans . . . They Just Drop Their Bombs and Leave'" in the today's Los Angeles Times. The article interviews Afghans who aren't exactly happy with what the United States military has done there. It also looked at the number of Afghan civilians who died as a direct result of U.S. military actions and says:
The Times reviewed more than 2,000 reports of civilian casualties from U.S., British and Pakistani newspapers and international wire services. After eliminating duplicate accounts, the review identified 194 incidents of civilian casualties from the start of the bombing on Oct. 7 until Feb. 28, when the air campaign was largely completed. The reported death toll, including estimates in some cases, was between 1,067 and 1,201. The Times excluded 754 civilian deaths reported by the Taliban but not independently confirmed, as well as 497 deaths that were not identified as either civilian or military.
For the sake of the argument if you add together all three numbers -including the high end figure on the first number-, you get 2,452 civilian deaths which is considerably lowers than the findings of University of New Hampshire Durham professor Marc W. Herold who has estimated "3,000 - 3,400 [October 7, 2001 thru March 2002] civilian deaths" but has been sharply yet thoughtfully critiqued by Lucinda Fleeson in American Journalism Review and sharply and not so thoughtfully critiqued by Iain Murray at Tech Central Station, amongst other places.
A couple of things are worth noting here. Fleeson’s piece makes it clear that civilian deaths in places like Afghanistan are hard to chronicle and just because it can’t be chronicled doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Secondly, the number of indirect civilian deaths may very well be much higher, and equally difficult to quantify, and those people are just as dead. (Perhaps should at least lead to considering the argument Noam Chomsky makes in 9-11 that reviews of U.S. actions should have to consider all of the deaths caused directly and indirectly, intentionally and unintentionally by the U.S. military and other government agencies as that is the standard applied to Mao Tse-tung.)
...the war on terror will not be won on the defensive. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act.
You can agree or disagree with this but it is pretty serious stuff especially when the Bush's "war on terror" has yet to apprehend those Bush has said perpetrated the terrorist acts of September 11.
The above graphic is the cover of the latest New York Times Book Review. Hopefully Homer J. hasn't been smoking cigars as the reading, sleeping and smoking combination lead to real problems in "Homer the Heretic."
"Despite the prison-construction boom of recent years, the rate at which inmates released from prison committed new crimes actually rose from 1983 to 1994, suggesting that the increased number of criminals put behind bars has not been an effective deterrent to crime, according to a Justice Department study released today," writes Fox Butterfield in today's New York Times.
Later in the piece Butterfield writes:
Criminologists generally agree that the prison binge of the last 25 years, in which the number of Americans incarcerated quadrupled to almost two million, has helped reduce the crime rate, but largely by simply keeping criminals off the streets. But there has been debate about whether longer sentences and the increase in the number of prisoners have also helped deter people from committing crimes. The new report suggests that the answer is no.
The article is worth reading as I assume the report itself would be. It doesn't appear to be online but here is the press release from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. It is interesting but not really suprising that the main page of the U.S. Department of Justice is far more interested in talking about terrorism and its counterterrorism measures than this report. Keep the public aware of the evils that still have sex appeal. Ignore those that nobody even pretends to have a clue on how to stop.
Saturday, June 01, 2002
Richard Poe argues in a May 31 column that criticizing Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones means that one can not be "wholesome and normal."
This is so absurd and illogical that it is even being criticized by posters on freerepublic.com. A visit to the site of the ChildCare Action Project -which bills itself as "Christian Analysis of American Culture" and refers to Roger Ebert as "porn film screenwriter" presumably for his involvement in the Russ Meyer's films Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Up! and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens- finds the group labeling Attack of the Clones as PG but also noting a lot of objectionable material.
Andrew Sullivan implies in a Thursday entry that he favors the United States causing regime changes in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as a necessary part of winning the "war on terror."
Say what you will about Sullivan but I give the British citizen and Washington D.C. resident credit for openly rooting for the U.S. to not have any rivals. It may not be my philosophy but at least it is a lot more honest than the many bloggers and columnists in the U.S. who share that sentiment but would never come out and say so.
I just got back from seeing Lee Roy Parnell at the Chicago Blues Festival. (Check out the capsule review that I did of Parnell’s Hits and Highways Ahead.) No promises but I will try to write more about this show.
I saw one woman at the concert with a shirt reading in a playful font, “I Survived The Cincinnati Riots And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt.”
To which, I composed the following response in my head, “You know we all have problems. But I don’t tell everybody at public events about my over indulgence in sesame sticks and I would prefer if you did the same with your inability to acquire a DVD player.”
Of course festivals in downtown Chicago always inspire driving that may both explain and problematize the popularity of NASCAR. When I see some indecisive driver putting along and tying up a crowd of pedestrians that but for a lack of organization and will would control the streets, I can’t help but think of Bill Hicks’ line, “Step on the fucking gas, man.” (You can hear that line and much other good humor on Arizona Bay as well as Philosophy: The Best of Bill Hicks. You can also probably download as an MP3 through a search for "step on the fucking gas" without all that much effort.)
Seriously one thing I love about Chicago is the great music I can hear live. Last year on June 23 I saw Fugazi, The Ex and Shellac perform at the Congress Theater. (I was hipped to the concert by my friend fivestring who I last mentioned on May 22 while discussing Fugazi.) Six days later I saw George Clinton perform in the late afternoon and then in the eveingthe trio of Fred Anderson, Harrison Bankhead and Robert Barry at the Velvet Lounge –some notes on that concert are found in the review of Anderson and Barry’s Duets 2001 that I did for jazzreview.com- and the day after that I saw (the now) late Waylon Jennings perform what I believe was his last show in Chicago in Grant Park.
WOO HOO!, as was typing out the previous entry, I realized that this blog has received its first comment and it is from none other than Matt Welch, who I disagree with on a lot but I do respect his work especially on the 2000 Ralph Nader presidential campaign. (Which isn't to say I don't disagree with a lot of what he wrote on that.)
I have added another contribution to the thread on freejazz.org discussing my essay "The Limits of Politics in Avant-Garde Jazz." Yesterday I mentioned this discussion.
The contents of yesterday's first entry inspired me to spend much of last night reading Seymour Hersh's hard hitting biography of John F. Kennedy, The Dark Side of Camelot. With evidence to spare, Hersh destroys myths and presents JFK as nothing more and nothing less than a cynical politician who loved power wielding power in both actions defending U.S. business interests against the aspirations of freedom of people in underdeveloped countries and to protect his life of affairs and parties.
Hersh's journalism in this book, and throughout his career, is an inspiration to all reporters who, like me, seek to speak truth to both power and powerlessness.