Shared Items

Things have become very busy for me (I need to find a new place to live, among many other things) so my blogging has become quite eratic.  I have published my shed feed on the right, the best of the blog articles I read, sometimes with annotations.  See the panel on the right.

Note that the RSS widget displaying the articles mucks up the link in the heading: use the link above it (below my email address).

Deenver: An Evaluation

Brian Appleyard’s take midway through the convention (early Wednesday) is amusing and not a little ironic.  The Democrats are squandering their natural advantages in that the media loves that narrative and will continue to run it at every opportunity.

I think this is the story of the Democratic convention: Buchanan’s assessment of Obama’s acceptance speech.  I found it very moving.

If you want to see any of the speeches from the Democratic convention then get it from the DNC—it is in a different class from any other internet video I have seen—the first high fidelity media I have ever seen on the internet.  The whole production is very, very classy.

Gordon Brown’s Uncool Blog

I have had my head in WordPress themes recently and was amused to find that the company that provided the blog for No. 10, New Media Maze, incorporated part of a freely available WordPress theme into the blog they sold to No. 10 for a non-trivial sum.  Everyone agrees that the theme they delivered bears little relationship to the original, but the CSS file still credits the original and the directories used to hold the theme are named after the original.

If you go to the No. 10 blog, view the source, and look at the CSS link, you will see:

and if you inspect this file you will see:

Theme Name: NetWorker
Theme URI:
Description: An adsense ready theme from
Version: 1.0
Author: Anthony Baggett
Author URI:

Bearing in mind that the fees that NMM are likely to have charged No. 10 for developing this blog, it is not surprising that the original designer of the theme, Anthony Baggett, is none too happy about receiving no credit, and nothing at all except grief; as you can imagine there has been a back and forth between Anthony and NMM.

Now I have worked in the IP business, and you take extra special care not to get contaminated by IP if you want to sell it on, and NMM look soooooooo contaminated—it is being screamed to the whole internet—and would surely have a really hard time establishing that their work is in no way derivative of Anthony’s.  What really astonishes me is that the agency has no awareness of the first law of holes and is continuing to dig, talking about libelous claims and demanding an apology from Anthony.

Given the horrible mess they have made of this they would really do much better to stop being defensive and think about coming to some agreement with Anthony.  Looking over the email correspondence as listed on the NMM website I am horrified at the way they have handled it.  The fact that the stakes are so high should make them less prickly but they are coming across as more prickly than a prickly thing.  I have not read anything anywhere that is wildly out of line with what all the parties are saying.  NMM started with Anthony’s theme and have produced something which is now quite different.  The minutiae of the exact relationship between the two is hardly the issue; everyone agrees they are substantially different, but it looks so much like a derivative work, and the credit remains in the CSS file, so why no compensation and all these damands for apologies, especially as Anthony appears to have taken great care to stick to the facts of the case on his blog?

Polk on Iran

William R. Polk

William R. Polk

William Polk has a guest piece at Informed Comment warning us about what is likely to happen if we carry down our current track to a war with Iran.  How many M.E. specialists, historians, soldiers, reporters–none of them alarmists or peace-niks–do we have to hear?  This is just what was happening in the run-up to the Iraq war, except the stakes are much, much higher (for us).  It is like we are stumbling along the edge of a precispise with only some aware of what we are doing and praying that we pull away from the edge.  But on we go.

The Russia-Georgian War

1,500 Reported Killed in Georgia Battle

1,500 Reported Killed in Georgia Battle

Robert Farley has some excellent coverage and analysis of the Georgia-Russian war here and then here.

So what gives?  We have an American Ally, being groomed for NATO membership, at war with Russia.  Russia and the USA of course still retain the ability to annihilate humanity if they got sucked into a total war.  And nobody is freaking; the olypics carryon serenely, the UNSC isn’t in session recalled; the duct tape remain on the shelves.

And of course this is an entirely rational response.  What was entirely irrational was the schemes to expand NATO right up onto the Russian border.  The much commented-on discussion between Fukuyama and Kagan included some revealing exchanges that shed much light on this.  Fukuyama tried to explain the absurdity of the current US position of demanding to have everything from Russia: accepting missile defence in eastern Europe, NATO expansion (while excluding Russia), that Russia sabotage their lucrative relationship with Iran, accepting the NATO settlement on Kosovo, return to internal democratisation, be nice to their West-facing neighbours, and, no doubt the moon on a stick.  Kagan resisted but later on made a revealing comment: that the the hubris didn’t start in 2001, but the Clinton administration (or, I would say, Bush I).  Right!  The neocons could not have been so successful in pushing their agenda, and remain so influential, if they weren’t pushing at an open door.  To some extent we have all become neocons and they are really a pathological examples of a much wider movement based on hubris and delusion: how else to explain HR362 and the absurd Iran policies.

What we are seeing now is a tragic ‘correction’ where the Russians and the Georgians are exposing our priorities for us.

Update: via Robert Farley it seems that the Washington Post doesn’t get it and is still very much in delusional neo-con land.

Update II: has some deatailed reports on the war and these reports suggest that the Georgians very much started it.

The Chauffer-Terrorist Fiasco

Commander Huber puts the latest Gitmo trials in prespective at the Pen and Sword.

Ritter: We are at war with Iran

After my previous article on whether we will go to war with Iran, Scott Ritter posts an article at TruthDig to say that we are already at war with Iran.  This is so true.  And it remionds me of why it is so important to read people like Ritter, Hedges and Fisk with an established track record in seeing these things clearly when everyone else is stumbling around.  Check it out.