Saturday, August 25, 2007


In an article titled The Trouble With Anonymity on the Web , Annalee Newitz, columnist at Alternet, states "It turns out that the people who are hiding behind anonymity online for nefarious or selfish reasons are not little guys in pajamas but the very bastions of accountability that haters of the Web have deified. It's not a mean dude with a grudge who is spreading lies on Wikipedia but rather a member of the federal government or a journalist at The New York Times. Cultural anarchy online is coming not from the hordes of scribbling bloggers but from the same entities that have always posed a danger to culture: corporations and governments who refuse to take responsibility for what they're doing."

A software designer named Virgil Griffith has created a tool called Wikiscanner, which you can use to quickly check on who has been editing Wikipedia entries anonymously. Newitz writes "Virgil Griffith created Wikiscanner for a frankly political reason. As he told the Times of London, he did it 'to create minor public relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike.' In the process, however, he's revealed something far more fundamental than the fact that acolytes of Pepsi and the CIA will stop at nothing to propagandize on behalf of their employers: he's undermined the myth of the anonymous blogger in the basement."

Now we need a tool to get by the proxies being used by woman-hating anonymous group assaults on feminist and Lesbian websites.

Also posted at Alternet, Barbara Ehrenreich remarks in Smashing Capitalism! we may be witnessing "the first case in history in which the downtrodden manage to bring down an unfair economic system without going to the trouble of a revolution."

She explains: "The American poor, who are usually tactful enough to remain invisible to the multi-millionaire class, suddenly leaped onto the scene and started smashing the global financial system...First they stopped paying their mortgages, a move in which they were joined by many financially stretched middle class folks, though the poor definitely led the way...Then, in a diabolically clever move, the poor - a category which now roughly coincides with the working class -- stopped shopping. Both Wal-Mart and Home Depot announced disappointing second quarter performances, plunging the market into another Arctic-style meltdown."

"All the evidence suggests that the current crisis is something the high-rollers brought down on themselves. When, for example, the largest private employer in America, which is Wal-Mart, starts experiencing a shortage of customers, it needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror. About a century ago, Henry Ford realized that his company would only prosper if his own workers earned enough to buy Fords.

"Wal-Mart, on the other hand, never seemed to figure out that its cruelly low wages would eventually curtail its own growth, even at the company's famously discounted prices. The sad truth is that people earning Wal-Mart-level wages tend to favor the fashions available at the Salvation Army. Nor do they have much use for Wal-Mart's other departments, such as Electronics, Lawn and Garden, and Pharmacy."

Go read it -- Barbara Ehrenreich is our consolation prize for losing Molly Ivins.

Painting by Lindee Climo
A post by Iva Skoch lists the Top Ten Least Religious Countries in the world:
1. Sweden (up to 85% non-believer, atheist, agnostic)
2. Vietnam
3. Denmark
4. Norway
5. Japan
6. Czech Republic
7. Finland
8. France
9. South Korea
10. Estonia (up to 49% non-believer, atheist, agnostic)

Skoch comments: "The one that surprised me was Israel, ranking 19th, with up to 37% claiming to be non-believer, atheist, agnostic. Compare that with the US, ranking 44th, with 3-9% non-believers, atheists, agnostics."

She quotes the survey as saying "high levels of organic atheism are strongly correlated with high levels of societal health, such as low homicide rates, low poverty rates, low infant mortality rates, and low illiteracy rates, as well as high levels of educational attainment, per capita income, and gender equality. Most nations characterized by high degrees of individual and societal security have the highest rates of organic atheism, and conversely, nations characterized by low degrees of individual and societal security have the lowest rates of organic atheism. In some societies, particularly Europe, atheism is growing. However, throughout much of the world – particularly nations with high birth rates – atheism is barely discernable." [emphasis mine]

(Thanks to Shadocat for the cartoon!) has concluded its contest for Best Political Bumper Stickers for 2008, and the results are below:


5. "GOP: Never surrender" -- LiberalArtist.
4. "It's our mess, it's only fair we clean it up" -- Drachen.
3. "GOP in '08! No, seriously!" -- DerekJ.
2. "9/11/2001. 9/11. 911. NineEleven. Boo! GOP in '08" -- monsteroflove.

And the winner:
1. "GuantánamoRE!" -- dirge.


5. "Remember America?" -- norm wilner.
4. "Bush/Cheney '08" -- :~)face.
3. "We Shouldn't Even Need A Slogan" -- ScottyRVA.
2. "Osama Still Has a Job. Do You?" -- myiq2xu.

And the winner:
1. "I'll drink beer with my friends, thanks" -- OMalley8.

Lastly, Dinah the Crack Kitty insists I mention an article on a study about How Felines Create Memories which indicates "memories involving actions are more long-lived for cats than those involving sight." She says this justifies her need to personally test out whether pushing an object off a high shelf will actually break said object. It's all about kinesthesia, she claims. I'd put her exact phrasing but you likely wouldn't be able to read it and it's obscene, anyhow.


shadocat said...


I have one more theory regarding the fall of Wal-mart's profits.

Afew months ago, I read an article online that stated Wal-mart was discontinuing their lay-away program. A spokesman from the company was quoted as stating Wal-mart was looking for a more "up-scale customer base." One of the comments on the article summed it up succintly;"Well, there goes Christmas."

As you know, lay-away is the working person's Mastercard. Unable, or just unwilling to get credit, lay-away is one of the few ways a cash-challenged person can buy big ticket items. Take that away, and those of us who use it are forced to shop at the few remaning businesses that still use it.Target doesn't have it; the only major store I know of that still provides the service is K-mart---when that goes, it's going to really be tough for a lot of people.

Maggie Jochild said...

Wow, Shado, I'm sure your right. Why on earth would they stop layaway? I mean, it's just like Christmas Clubs that banks used to have -- they get your money for almost a year, interest free, before you actually make the complete the sale. And I'm sure a lot of people failed to make all the payments and the stores got to just walk away with their money. I remember that happening to me once with J.C. Penney's, back in my 20s.

You and Barbara Ehrenreich, thinking in sync. Thanks for the insight!