This Weblog comes from Mindy McAdams and resides at It's a personal blog and probably not of much interest to anyone but me. You are welcome to read and comment as you like.

April 27, 2006

14 out of 102

There's a list of 102 movies you reallly have to see if you want to have "any sort of informed discussion about movies." It's a good list. I like it.

These are the 14 I have NOT seen:

"The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) William Wyler
"The Big Red One" (1980) Samuel Fuller
"It's a Gift" (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
"M" (1931) Fritz Lang
"The Night of the Hunter" (1955) Charles Laughton
"Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) Sergio Leone
"Out of the Past" (1947) Jacques Tournier
"Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) Nicholas Ray
"Red River" (1948) Howard Hawks
"Scarface" (1932) Howard Hawks
"The Scarlet Empress" (1934) Josef von Sternberg
"Schindler's List" (1993) Steven Spielberg
"Tokyo Story" (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
"Trouble in Paradise" (1932) Ernst Lubitsch

Posted by macloo at 12:55 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2006

Punishing the Press

There's been a dust-up in Malaysia about police abuses of people in custody. I've been following the story in Malaysiakini, of course (story, 24 Nov 2005).

Now two newspaper editors have resigned, essentially to appease the Malaysian government. And why? Because they reported the police abuse? No, no, that is incorrrect -- they were fired because they got a fact wrong.

Which fact was that? Some detail about the brutal treatment by the police?

No. The fact they got wrong was that one of the women so abused was an ethnic Malay, but the newspaper said she was an ethnic Chinese.

For that error, two top editors at a Chinese-language newspaper, China Press, were required to resign. And the Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, said race is not at issue in their resignations.

The summary is that women who had been arrested were forced to strip naked and then perform "squats" -- which (as best as I can tell from the reports) means deep knee bends -- while naked, in front of police officers. Reportedly, at least one woman who really is an ethnic Chinese (and reportedly also a citizen of China) filed a complaint that she suffered this treatment after being stopped at a roadblock by police in a suburb of the capital city.

I think we can all agree that constitutes a mistreatment of a prisoner. It's not even clear to me that these women had been charged with a crime at the time of their humiliating treatment. Perhaps they had been charged. One of the first reports said the police believed the woman's Chinese passport was a fake. Later, it was shown that her passport was legitimate. In any case, it's not a proper way to treat people in police custody.

But now the spotlight that should be shining on the police and their improper practices has been grabbed and swung -- by the Malaysian government -- to a racial issue instead.

According to Najib, it's not a racial issue. Rather, the issue is that the press needs to be "more responsible."

I am going to go out on a limb and say that this seems to me to be a typical and long-honored tactic of the Malaysian government. That is, the government likes to make use of -- and even exploit -- a real racial tension in the country and slant it toward other purposes. Those purposes support an authoritarian style of government in a nominally democratic country.

In this case, as in some well-known past cases, a newspaper's mention of race is grasped firmly and twisted very deliberately to enforce fear among all journalists in Malaysia. The idea that the reporter made an error in fact is not the true foundation of the required "resignations" of two top editors. The real foundation that the government of Malaysia builds on is that the press must be kept on a short leash at all times.

The real problems of the country may not be discussed openly in its many newspapers.

If a newspaper becomes too enterprising, too bold, too honest ... then that newspaper will feel the firm grip of the government's hand.

I don't know what else the China Press has been writing about lately that has ruffled the feathers of the government of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, but that is not the main issue here.

What we can all see is yet another case where the Malaysian government exerts power over the press to keep it cowed and subservient.

Posted by macloo at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2005

Bolivia's Election

Here is a way to tell a story about a foreign country, a country about which most Americans probably care little, a country that has just had a momemtous election that might change its destiny. From The New York Times:

The New Dream: Rise of the Left in Bolivia

As multimedia, it's really nothing special. There is no on-site sound at all, just the reporter talking. But there are 19 evocative photos (by Times shooter Noah Friedman-Rudovsky) that take us to the heart of the issues that have now led to the election of Evo Morales, the county's first Indio president. The audio is straightforward and informative. The captions are excellent and add to the story.

If you saw one story like this every day, and each day it was about a different country, think how much more a citizen of the world you would be after only one month.

How different this is from TV.

So, while it's never going to win any prizes for outstanding multimedia presentation, this package is a wonderful example of how the Web can take us to places in ways that print and broadcast media cannot.

Posted by macloo at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

China Censors Blog

Chinese government authorities have blocked a Weblog called "Wang Yi's Microphone" after the site won some attention for being a rare voice of opposition in the world's most populous country.

This may serve as evidence that the Internet is safer in the hands of ICANN than it would be under control by a global consortium including countries such as China.

Posted by macloo at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2005


This is a geeky Flash thing, so stop reading now if that is not your cup of tea.

Sometimes we like to make a SWF and give it to other people (e.g., students) without the FLA file. The SWF alone should run "as is." Maybe it needs to be dropped into a folder along with some external files, such as plain text, XML, some JPGs, or an MP3. But sometimes you want to let those other people customize just one or two little things. Well, you can do that with an external text file, but then the Flash file always needs to find the text file, and maybe it won't load, etc., etc.

What I wanted to make was a portable Flash button that would control an MP3 audio file. I wanted the students to be able to put multiple copies of the same SWF on one Web page.

Continue reading "FlashVars"
Posted by macloo at 05:55 PM | Comments (0)