Photography improves in a constant way, forever in the same direction. Films are faster, lenses more luminous, shutters are working at 1/4000 s. Images of our world that condescend to stay in our mind are such tiny moments, joined end to end, they rarely excess a few minutes. The waves of images are invading our daily world without giving us the time to really see them. Television, video, newspapers, magazines, publicity and posters bring everyday a stupefying harvest of what some still dare to call "choc des images" (image impact).
As a reaction to this tendency of photography, I wanted very much to find a way to depart, travel, photograph and send very personal and emotional images to some friends. I wanted this photography to be quite elementary (rudimentary) and concentrated. By concentrated, I mean that the concentration of the photographer, between the exposure and the final result, should not relax. A complete cycle of image creation would have to happen at the same place without discontinuity. The photographic image would then be able to become impregnated with the location and the confrontation of the photographer with his subject would last more than 1/125 of a second. The pinhole camera is the only solution because of its exposure time of many minutes.
Oprah Winfrey did a show on Iraq yesterday. I didn't see the whole thing, but what I saw was far better than I would have expected (except for the part where she was fawning all over Tom Friedman – Jesus, woman, he's Tom Friedman, not Tom Cruise.)
The focus on the first part was on how thoroughly the world opposes the war. She had CNN reporters doing person-on-the-street interviews in various capitals around the world, and – except in Kuwait -- all the people interviewed were universally against the war, and quite a few had disparaging things to say about Bush. This literally left Oprah trying to be "fair," and saying that she was sure there were some people in other countries who were in favor of the war, and who respected George Bush, but unfortunately the reporters weren't able to find any of them. Oprah may not be politically sophisticated, but she is too decent a person to play the rude "Why should anyone care about the opinion of foreigners?" game that most reporters play, so the criticism from abroad carried weight.
Everybody Loves A War Thug
So let's see if we have this straight. We still don't seem to have this straight:
Because there stands emasculated and completely Cheney-whipped Colin Powell, up in front of the U.N. Security Council and the world's TV cameras, scowling and pounding his fist and making a big show of indignation and showing everyone -- what? Some blurry satellite photos with little red squares? An audiotape of an alleged phone conversation between members of the Iraqi military, proving the existence of some biological agents we probably sold to them? Is he serious?
There is no real evidence. There is no smoking gun. There isn't even a smoking spit wad. There is only, basically, a smoking middle finger.
UK War Dossier a Sham, Say Experts
Downing Street was last night plunged into acute international embarrassment after it emerged that large parts of the British government's latest dossier on Iraq - allegedly based on "intelligence material" - were taken from published academic articles, some of them several years old.
For those that have illusions about the veracity of our fearless leaders, I highly suggest you read this. History is repeating itself.
The disquieted American
The subject of Daniel Ellsberg's memoir is the decadence of American democracy. The conditions he began fighting in 1969 are much worse today and far more dangerous to many more people. Yet central casting could not have produced a more perfect foil for the American imperial Presidency than Ellsberg.
An infantry lieutenant in the Marine Corps with genuine battle experience in Vietnam, a PhD in economics from Harvard, and a defence intellectual employed by the Rand Corporation of Santa Monica, with the highest security clearances, Ellsberg is as good as the American system can produce in the way of a male citizen working in the foreign policy apparatus.
His odyssey from Pentagon staff officer to the man who spirited 47 volumes of top secret documents out of the Rand Corporation, copied them, and delivered them to the New York Times and a dozen other newspapers is breathtaking.
the buffalo are coming!
The buffalo roam again
Outside the town of Rugby, North Dakota, just south of the Canadian border, is the geographical centre of the North American continent: the very middle of middle America. This is not a region that easily lends itself to extremes or superlatives. But North Dakota does boast the World's Tallest Structure, the KVLY-TV tower near Blanchard, which is more than a third of a mile high. And on a hillside at New Salem, it has the World's Largest Holstein Cow - a statue, you understand. ("Enjoy the view from New Salem Sue.") And on a bluff by Interstate-94 at Jamestown is a similar statue: the World's Largest Buffalo, 26 feet high, weighing 60 tonnes, and positioned in a way that suggests it is about to dump the World's Largest Buffalo Dropping in the direction of passing humanity. This might be appropriate because something remarkable is going on in North Dakota, perhaps the least-known but most troubled state in the union.
A century and a quarter after the white man colonised the place and drove the native Americans and the buffalo to the edge of oblivion, the roles are being reversed. The Europeans are facing extinction, and the ancient inhabitants may reclaim the land. The great cinematographic story of the American west has reached its end and is being rewound. From here, the inexorable spread of white people across this land now looks less like Manifest Destiny than a failed experiment, a brief historical aberration, what the geographer Frank Popper calls "the largest, longest-running agricultural and environmental miscalculation in American history".
Copies of Arnold Genthe’s 1926 photographic book on New Orleans seem to go for around $100-400 depending on condition, but I lucked out and found a water-soaked one for $15. While many of the pages are damaged and stuck together, I thought it was important to at least see the book in order to see how the photographs were captioned.
The meek shall inherit the earth
What Is He Thinking?
Sticker shock. That’s the reaction on Capitol Hill to President George W. Bush’s budget. The deficit numbers are staggering, even to Bush loyalists: $307 billion next year, more than a trillion dollars in five years. And that’s not counting the looming war with Iraq and the cost of a prolonged occupation. Bush talks plenty about war, but he doesn’t tell the country how he plans to pay for it. (...)
“It is nuts, stone-cold nuts,” Conrad said in an interview with NEWSWEEK. “And they’re not nuts, and they’re not stupid. They’re smart people, and they know what we know, that the deficit will explode when federal expenditures peak. And that’s when I had this revelation: the only rationale for what they’re doing is that they plan to fundamentally gut Social Security and Medicare.”
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
The war on the poor
This not a liberal fantasy. Conservatives acknowledge that Bush's long-term goal is to reduce the federal government's capacity to act -- yes, to spend -- without saying so publicly. The large tax cuts the president has put on the table, conservative columnist Donald Lambro wrote candidly this week, “are, in effect, Mr. Bush's stealth initiative to curb future spending -- big time.” Exactly. And if you look carefully, most of the spending cuts will be in programs for the poor and near-poor.
Stealthy redistribution upward is the theme of Bush's domestic program. Under the cover of promoting growth, Bush is shifting more and more of the tax burden away from the wealthy. That's the effect of his elimination of the dividends tax and the huge new tax loopholes being sold as “savings” incentives.
If Mr. Greenspan nonetheless finds ways to rationalize Mr. Bush's irresponsibility, or if he takes refuge in Delphic utterances that could mean anything or nothing, history will remember him as a man who urged hard choices on others, but refused to make hard choices himself.
This may be Alan Greenspan's last chance to save his reputation — and the country's solvency.
What Liberal Media?
Social scientists talk about "useful myths," stories we all know aren't necessarily true, but that we choose to believe anyway because they seem to offer confirmation of what we already know (which raises the question, If we already know it, why the story?). Think of the wholly fictitious but illustrative story about little George Washington and his inability to lie about that cherry tree. For conservatives, and even many journalists, the "liberal media" is just that--a myth, to be sure, but a useful one.
Taking a photograph with this camera is like, literally, embracing my environment, it is about being close to the people; a personal moment-- a way in which I can finally feel a part of this community; given my own history, as an outsider, as I was born in France and was only later naturalized as a Mexican citizen. At last, I feel some serenity; due to this balance which I have accomplished between my interests and my achievements.
thanks to Spitting Image
Rabid Rightists are Leninists of Today
Normally, I don't bother to follow the doings of the far right. Having lived in Texas all these years, I figure I don't have much to learn on that score. But I was much struck by a report in Salon, the online magazine, on the recent conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee.
It sounded no more than usually loony to me — equating Islam with fascism and terrorism, attacks on "feminazis," the dread environmentalists, family planning, Harry Potter and other menaces to civilization. No crazier than the John Birch Society or the militia movement I've known all these years. But reporter Michelle Goldberg noted one striking difference: The conference was attended by people in power. Vice President Dick Cheney gave the keynote speech, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao spoke, as did House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Senate Whip Mitch McConnell, Republican National Committee Chair Marc Racicot, etc.
"Most of the action took place in a ballroom on the second floor, where speakers lambasted liberals from a stage draped in red, white and blue, and backed by two American flags and two enormous video screens," reports Goldberg. "It was like a right-wing version of a Workers World rally, with one crucial difference. Workers World is a fringe group with no political power. CPAC is explicitly endorsed by people running the country. Its attendees are Bush's shock troops, the ones who staged the white-collar riot during the Florida vote count and harassed Al Gore in the vice presidential mansion."
minim ['mInIm] n: a statement expressed in proverbial or sentential form but having no general application or practical use whatever — compare MAXIM.
thanks to Riley Dog
Does This President Actually Believe His Own Words?
"We will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents, and other generations."
President Bush, State of the Union address, Jan. 28
"Even though hundreds of other government programs would be squeezed, the president projects the deficit will still hit record highs of $304 billion this year and $307 billion in 2004. Over the next five years, the deficits would total $1.08 trillion. . . . Taken together, the new stimulus measure and making the tax cut permanent would add up to $1.3 trillion in new tax relief, on top of the $1.35 trillion tax reduction Congress passed in 2001."
Associated Press, Feb. 3
The question is, does the president believe himself?
thanks to Eschaton
The American economy has fallen into its worst hiring slump in almost 20 years, and many business executives say they remain unsure when it will end.
With economic growth having slowed to less than 1 percent in recent months, about one million people appear to have dropped out of the labor force, neither working nor looking for a job, according to government figures.
The surge in discouraged workers is the most significant since the months immediately following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and it suggests that the pain of joblessness is worsening even though the nation's official unemployment rate, which counts only people looking for work, held steady at 6 percent in December.
electronic ballot tampering
Everybody loves a good conspiracy theory and the revelation that Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel once ran and is still a major stockholder in the company that owns the company that counted 85 percent of the votes cast in his very own 2002 and 1996 election races is a potential doozy. His 1996 victory, some will recall, was considered one of the biggest upsets of that election; he was the first Republican in 24 years to win a Nebraska senatorial campaign.
thanks to MetaFilter
This is an article about just three things: disclosure, conflict of interest and potential for manipulation. It is not a conspiracy theory or a political point of view. I think you'll agree with me: We don't care who wins the election, as long as it's who was VOTED FOR.
Black Box Voting
Recently, technicians and programmers for Diebold Election Systems, the company that supplied every single voting machine for the surprising 2002 results in the state of Georgia, the company that is preparing to convert the state of Maryland to its no-paper-trail computerized voting, admitted to a file-sharing system that amounts to a colossal security flaw.
When it comes, the U.S. assault on Iraq will explode as global spectacle, an awesome pyrotechnic display of rolling thunder and lightening death intended to shock and cow the entire planet. The effect, the planners fervently believe, will be comparable to that which occurred when cannon clashed with spears and arrows on the ever-expanding frontiers of European empire: incomprehensible devastation, soul-consuming terror, complete political disintegration, followed by abject submission. In the grand imperial scenario, the satraps and sultans of the Earth, heads bowed at angles of unmistakable subservience, will gather up their robes and beseech the Americans for life on any terms.
US media had suggested that Secretary of State Colin Powell was playing down what he would present to the UN Security Council about Iraq's alleged deceptions, weapons of mass destruction, and support for terrorism, so that when he made his revelations, they would have all the greater impact. Having heard Powell's presentation, it is now clear he was playing things down because his hand was in fact so weak.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council today wasn't likely to win over anyone not already on his side. He ignored the crucial fact that in the past several days (in Sunday's New York Times and in his Feb. 4 briefing of UN journalists) Hans Blix denied key components of Powell's claims.
No casus belli? Invent one!
Sources, foreign intelligence sources, "our sources," defectors, sources, sources, sources. Colin Powell's terror talk to the United Nations Security Council yesterday sounded like one of those government-inspired reports on the front page of The New York Times – where it will most certainly be treated with due reverence in this morning's edition. It was a bit like heating up old soup. Haven't we heard most of this stuff before? Should one trust the man? General Powell, I mean, not Saddam.
The nineteenth century was the turning point for technical development in color illustration. At the beginning of the century, books with color plates were hand-colored by the artist, using techniques dating back to the Renaissance. A hundred years later, the photo-reproductive techniques and the steam-driven printing press took printing out of the hands of the artist and introduced processes which would be used until the computer revolution of our day. Color Printing in the Nineteenth Century documents these changes in color printing technology by displaying some of the finest examples of books illustrated in color, published from the last quarter of the eighteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth century.
thanks to plep
N Korea threatens US with first strike
North Korea is entitled to launch a pre-emptive strike against the US rather than wait until the American military have finished with Iraq, the North's foreign ministry told the Guardian yesterday.
Warning that the current nuclear crisis is worse than that in 1994, when the peninsula stood on the brink of oblivion, a ministry spokesman called on Britain to use its influence with Washington to avert war.
"The United States says that after Iraq, we are next", said the deputy director Ri Pyong-gap, "but we have our own countermeasures. Pre-emptive attacks are not the exclusive right of the US."
Talking Points Memo
Watch very closely what's happening.
According to American satellite intelligence, North Korea is now more or less openly hauling those 8000 spent nuclear fuel rods off to be reprocessed into weapons grade plutonium and then, presumably, into nuclear warheads.
Let's be clear, this is exactly the act we were prepared to go to war in 1994 to prevent.
Robert Fisk: Don't mention the war in Afghanistan
There's one sure bet about the statement to be made to the UN Security Council today by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell – or by General Colin Powell as he has now been mysteriously reassigned by the American press: he won't be talking about Afghanistan.
For since the Afghan war is the "successful" role model for America's forthcoming imperial adventure across the Middle East, the near-collapse of peace in this savage land and the steady erosion of US forces in Afghanistan – the nightly attacks on American and other international troops, the anarchy in the cities outside Kabul, the warlordism and drug trafficking and steadily increasing toll of murders – are unmentionables, a narrative constantly erased from the consciousness of Americans who are now sending their young men and women by the tens of thousands to stage another "success" story.
Sometimes it's the expression on a face. Maybe it's the off-kilter sentiment expressed in the wording. Maybe it's just a monkey.
thanks to Travellers Diagram
The IBM 1403 printer was noisy, but it could also be musical! Clever engineers figured out what line of characters to print to make a noise at a given pitch, and how many times to print that line repeatedly to sustain that pitch for a given duration. In other words, the printer could play musical notes.
You will never be the same after listening to an IBM 1403 playing "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head".
thanks to MetaFilter
Coyle & Sharpe
January 13, 1964
thanks to MetaFilter
Tom the Dancing Bug: Scalia to the rescue!
This Modern World: Like father, like son
Maurits Cornelis Escher, who was born in Leeuwarden, Holland in 1898, created unique and fascinating works of art that explore and exhibit a wide range of mathematical ideas.
While he was still in school his family planned for him to follow his father's career of architecture, but poor grades and an aptitude for drawing and design eventually led him to a career in the graphic arts. His work went almost unnoticed until the 1950’s, but by 1956 he had given his first important exhibition, was written up in Time magazine, and acquired a world-wide reputation. Among his greatest admirers were mathematicians, who recognized in his work an extraordinary visualization of mathematical principles. This was the more remarkable in that Escher had no formal mathematics training beyond secondary school.
thanks to dublog
It is modern art's most powerful antiwar statement... created by the twentieth century's most well-known and least understood artist. But the mural called Guernica is not at all what Pablo Picasso has in mind when he agrees to paint the centerpiece for the Spanish Pavilion of the 1937 World's Fair.
For three months, Picasso has been searching for inspiration for the mural, but the artist is in a sullen mood, frustrated by a decade of turmoil in his personal life and dissatisfaction with his work. The politics of his native homeland are also troubling him, as a brutal civil war ravages Spain. Republican forces, loyal to the newly elected government, are under attack from a fascist coup led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Franco promises prosperity and stability to the people of Spain. Yet he delivers only death and destruction.
thanks to dublog
A tapestry of Pablo Picasso's powerful anti-war tableau "Guernica" has hung outside the U.N. Security Council since 1985, and it would be difficult to imagine a more fitting example of site-specific art.
The original 1937 painting depicts the terrorized and dying civilians at Guernica, a small Basque village in northern Spain that Generalissimo Francisco Franco's Nationalist regime, battling the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War, allowed the German air force to use for target practice. About 1,600 civilians were killed or wounded in three hours of bombardment. (...)
So it was a surprise for many of the envoys to arrive at U.N. headquarters last Monday for a Security Council briefing by chief weapons inspectors, only to find the searing work covered with a baby-blue banner and the U.N. logo.
"It is, we think, we hope, only temporary," said Faustino Diaz Fortuny, a Spanish envoy whose government owns the original painting.
thanks to dublog
Can we justify killing the children of Iraq?
I have spent the past few years discussing medical ethics with students who are often doctors or nurses. Their work involves them in life-and-death decisions. Our discussions have reminded me of what many of us experience when we are close to someone in acute medical crisis. When a parent is dying slowly in distress or indignity, or when a baby is born with such severe disabilities that life may be a burden, the family and the medical team agonise over whether to continue life support. No one finds such a decision easy or reaches it lightly. What is at stake is too serious for anyone to rush the discussion.
It is hard not to be struck by the contrast between these painful deliberations and the hasty way people think about a war in which thousands will be killed. The people killed in an attack on Iraq will not be so different from those in hospital whose lives we treat so seriously. Some will be old; many will be babies and children. To think of just one five-year-old Iraqi girl, who may die in this war, as we would think of that same girl in a medical crisis is to see the enormous burden of proof on those who would justify killing her. Decisions for war seem less agonising than the decision to let a girl in hospital die. But only because anonymity and distance numb the moral imagination. (...)
There is an extra dimension to the decision about this particular war. The choice made this time may be one of the most important decisions about war ever made. This is partly because of the great risks of even a "successful" war. The defeat even of Saddam Hussein's cruel dictatorship may contribute to long-term enmity and conflict between the west and the Islamic world. In what is widely thought in the Islamic world to be both an unjustified war and an attack on Islam, an American victory may be seen as an Islamic humiliation to be avenged. This war may do for our century what 1914 did for the 20th century. And there is an ominous sense of our leaders, as in 1914, being dwarfed by the scale of events and sleepwalking into decisions with implications far more serious than they understand.
a military man's perspective
Sean-Paul, at The Agonist, has been having an interesting conversation with a General friend.
thanks to wood s lot
I married an ice man. I first met him in a hotel at a ski resort, which is probably the perfect place to meet an ice man. The hotel lobby was crowded with animated young people, but the ice man was sitting by himself on a chair in the corner farthest from the fireplace, quietly reading a book. Although it was nearly noon, the clear, chilly light of an early-winter morning seemed to linger around him.
"Look, that's an ice man," my friend whispered.
At the time, though, I had absolutely no idea what an ice man was. My friend didn't, either. "He must be made of ice. That's why they call him an ice man." She said this to me with a serious expression, as if she were talking about a ghost or someone with a contagious disease.
The ice man was tall, and he seemed to be young, but his stubby, wirelike hair had patches of white in it, like pockets of unmelted snow. His cheekbones stood out sharply, like frozen stone, and his fingers were rimed with a white frost that looked as if it would never melt. Otherwise, though, the ice man seemed like an ordinary man. He wasn't what you'd call handsome, but you could see that he might be very attractive, depending on how you looked at him. In any case, something about him pierced me to the heart, and I felt this, more than anywhere, in his eyes. His gaze was as silent and transparent as the splinters of light that pass through icicles on a winter morning. It was like the single glint of life in an artificial body.
I stood there for a while and watched the ice man from a distance. He didn't look up. He just sat without moving, reading his book as though there were no one else around him.
thanks to wood s lot
Trading With a Low-Wage Tiger
When Robert Mao describes the fantastic manufacturing opportunities his company sees in China, he speaks with mixed feelings. "For the first time in the modern era," he marvels, "we have an inexhaustible reservoir of good, trainable labor." But Mao, who as president and CEO of Nortel Networks China has worked in the region for 20 years, also worries about what that means for China's neighbors. For the foreseeable future, he says, almost all new investment by Nortel suppliers will go to China and not to other Asian countries. So, too, he expects, will most major investments by other global manufacturers. "What can Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines do?" he asks. "They offer pretty much the same degree of technological sophistication as China but they are more expensive and lack the scale. What will they do?"
Now--one year later--things are very different indeed! The numbers in the back of the 2004 Budget documents project that the budget year that began when Clinton was still President will be America's last surplus year, ever. The policies proposed in the 2004 Budget are projected to see the deficit widen steadily to 17.5 percent of GDP by 2050. By that date debt held by the public is projected to be 229.4 percent of GDP--a debt and deficit level that no economy could possibly sustain.
What does this mean? It means that the (not very bad) economic news of the past year coupled with the provisions the Bush Administration has put into its 2004 Budget will, if enacted, put the U.S. once more on the path to national bankruptcy. Once again the commitments of the government--to defense, administration of justice, the safety net, and the large elderly programs of Medicare and Social Security--will be far beyond the reach of federal revenues.
Why would any administration deliberately unbalance the long-term finances of the federal government? Why would anybody want to set up a situation in which the taxpayers one and two generations hence will find themselves stuck with an enormous bill? Why set up a situation in which what HHS and SSA tell potential beneficiaries of programs is radically inconsistent with what the White House and Treasury tell taxpayers about tax burdens?
It really is beyond my comprehension why anyone would do this.
thanks to CalPundit
health care scam
It now appears that President Bush plans to privatize Medicare, meaning that HMOs could soon assume a prominent place in America's health-care system for the elderly. Past experience has already taught us that such a scheme won't work for seniors, who are likely to have multiple health-care needs that must be addressed in a timely manner. Bureaucratic restrictions, referrals and refusals governed by outside insurance are anathema to very sick people who must get tested and treated quickly before they are overcome by illness.
The way out of our current Medicare conundrum doesn't lie in privatization but in extending coverage and forcing changes in how drug companies behave. But Bush's plan won't help accomplish these goals -- and it will probably make things worse.
NASA is not simply a civilian space agency devoted to the high-minded cause of scientific discovery. The agency that originated as an extension of the Air Force has persisted in its often-disguised mission of military research. Columbia's tragic last mission was no exception, and was watched keenly by much of the world precisely because of its geopolitical and military significance.
Map of the World
thanks to Spitting Image
war against some drugs
After she and her fellow jurors found Ed Rosenthal guilty of federal marijuana cultivation and conspiracy charges in San Francisco last week, Marney Craig discovered that that she had made a terrible mistake.
Instead of the "businessman" she thought she had convicted, Craig learned that Rosenthal, was, in fact, a widely published marijuana advocate who had been asked to grow medical cannabis for critically ill patients. The judge had kept this information from jurors, because Rosenthal was tried under federal drug laws that do not recognize the medicinal use of marijuana.
"What happened was a travesty and it's unbelievable, unbelievable that this man was convicted. I am just devastated," said Craig. "We made a terrible mistake and he should not be going to prison for this."
A special thanks to Eliot Gelwan for reminding me about the death of this great American.
On this day in 1968 Neal Cassady died, at the age of forty-one. Cassady was not only Jack Kerouac's wheelman on the cross-country trips that inspired On the Road but a direct influence on Kerouac's style. His rambling, benzedrine-and-booze letters to Kerouac aimed for "a continuous chain of undisciplined thought," and invited his friend to "fall into a spontaneous groove" with him by mail. Only after getting this advice (and his own pile of bennies and his 120 ft. roll of paper) did Kerouac move beyond the "phony architectures" (i.e. traditional prose) of his rough draft into "innocent go-ahead confession, the discipline of making the mind the slave of the tongue."
This is a song about necessary dualities: dying & being born, men & women, speaking & being silent, devastation & growth, desolation & hope.
It is also about a Cassady and a Cassidy, Neal Cassady and Cassidy Law.
(The title could be spelled either way as far as I'm concerned, but I think it's officially stamped with the latter. Which is appropriate since I believe the copyright was registered by the latter's mother, Eileen Law.)
The first of these was the ineffable, inimitable, indefatigable Holy Goof Hisself, Neal Cassady, aka Dean Moriarty, Hart Kennedy, Houlihan, and The Best Mind of Allen Ginsberg's generation.
Neal Cassady, for those whose education has been so classical or so trivial or so timid as to omit him, was the Avatar of American Hipness. Born on the road and springing full-blown from a fleabag on Denver's Larimer Street, he met the hitch-hiking Jack Kerouac there in the late 40's and set him, and, through him, millions of others, permanently free.
The real genius behind the Beat movement in literature never published a book during his life. He appeared as a main character in many books, though, from 'Go' by John Clellon Holmes to 'On The Road' by Jack Kerouac to 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' by Tom Wolfe. His free-flowing letter writing style inspired the young Kerouac to break his ties to the sentimental style he'd picked up from Thomas Wolfe and invent his notion of 'spontaneous prose.' Without Neal Cassady, the Beat Generation would never have happened.
"In 1998 I decided to focus my artistic research mainly about a "fashion-fiction" visual story regarding an old passion of mine: weapons - objects full of symbolic senses. I want to mix, in an artistic way, traditional 'female stuff' like fashion with very traditional 'male stuff' like guns. It consists in a restyling of real military weapons into fashion items for ladies".
thanks to Riley Dog
To crush the poor
According to Human Rights Watch, the fourth brigade, under Ospina's command, worked alongside the death squads controlled by the paramilitary leader Carlos Castaño. In a report published three years ago, it summarises the results of an investigation carried out by the attorney general's office in Colombia. On October 25 1997, a force composed of Ospina's regulars and Castaño's paramilitaries surrounded a village called El Aro, in a region considered sympathetic to the country's leftwing guerrillas. The soldiers cordoned off the village while Castaño's men moved in. They captured a shopkeeper, tied him to a tree, gouged out his eyes, cut off his tongue and castrated him. The other residents tried to flee, but were turned back by Ospina's troops. The paramilitaries then mutilated and beheaded 11 of the villagers, including three children, burned the church, the pharmacy and most of the houses and smashed the water pipes. When they left, they took 30 people with them, who are now listed among Colombia's disappeared.
'A Sea of Fire,' or Worse?
The North Korean nuclear crisis is far more perilous than many people realize.
The White House, wanting to keep the focus on Iraq, did not even bother to tell us that satellite images show North Korea apparently taking steps toward reprocessing plutonium. It was left to my Times colleague David (Scoop) Sanger to alert the public a few days ago.
Can you imagine if it were Iraq that had been spotted moving nuclear fuel around? The news that the Pentagon is reinforcing its preparedness on the Korean Peninsula suggests that it doesn't believe the White House lullabies either.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has put 24 long-range bombers on alert for possible deployment within range of North Korea, both to deter "opportunism" at a moment when Washington is focused on Iraq and to give President Bush military options if diplomacy fails to halt North Korea's effort to produce nuclear weapons, officials said today.
The US will go to war against Iraq two weeks after Haj, which is scheduled to end Feb. 13, a former deputy secretary at the US Defense Department told the Saudi Arab News yesterday.
“During this massive air attack, the last thing you want is cluttered airspace,” a former deputy secretary at the Defense Department told the daily newspaper.
A picture emerges from the President's public statements--and even from such adulatory accounts as Bob Woodward's Bush at War and David Frum's The Right Man--of a President on a divine mission.
Call it messianic militarism.
Saddam's Arab 'brothers' desert Iraq
Never has the old maxim "hang together or be hanged separately" been more fitting than for the Arab states now quailing before U.S. President George W. Bush's evangelical crusade against Iraq.
thanks to Mother Jones
Take Back Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day has always been nothing more than a shameless celebration of promiscuity. In grade schools throughout the land, six-year-olds are encouraged to fill their classmates' shoeboxes with sexually predatory demands like, "Be Mine!" Hearts are everywhere - red and round like ripe baboon anuses when the monkeys are in heat. Grown women are running around with their hearts on fire for any stranger with a Whitman's Sampler. But all these people whipped into a fornicating frenzy have their hearts turned off to the one person who matters - Jesus! Well, we at Landover Baptist are going on record, saying our hearts are on for Jesus! Landover Baptist joins Christians nationwide in implementing the “I’ve Got a Heart On For Jesus!” campaign to teach children the importance of living chaste, sin-free lives. The program replaces the secular "holiday" of "Valentine's Day."
nuclear hero #1
The Case of Mordechai Vannunu
Each day we move closer to a Mideast war that could involve the use of horrible weapons, even nukes. In this darkest hour since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, the shining example of one man's courage has never been more relevant to the cause of peace. That man is Mordechai Vanunu, former Israeli nuclear technician, and may well be the longest serving prisoner of conscience anywhere in the world. Daniel Ellsberg recently referred to him as "the preeminent hero of the nuclear age."
In September 1986, Mordechai Vanunu was illegally abducted by agents of the Mossad for revealing to the world press information that confirmed the existence of Israel's often-denied plutonium separation plant. The plant is buried eighty feet below ground in the Negev desert, and had long escaped detection. Since the 1960s it has been used to recover plutonium from spent fuel rods from the Dimona nuclear reactor, located nearby. The plant continues to be an integral part of Israel's ongoing nuclear weapons program. Israel is believed to possess at least 200 nukes.
thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog
I’ve been asked to speak about "How to confront Empire?" It’s a huge question, and I have no easy answers.
When we speak of confronting "Empire," we need to identify what "Empire" means. Does it mean the U.S. Government (and its European satellites), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and multinational corporations? Or is it something more than that?
In many countries, Empire has sprouted other subsidiary heads, some dangerous byproducts — nationalism, religious bigotry, fascism and, of course terrorism. All these march arm in arm with the project of corporate globalization.
thanks to also not found in nature
Even if flight controllers had known for certain that protective heat tiles on the underside of the space shuttle had sustained severe damage at launching, little or nothing could have been done to address the problem, NASA officials say.
This collection shows ads from Oldsmobile from 1946 to the Fifties. Most of them were published in the Saturday Evening Post, the Country Gentleman, Holiday and Life.
thanks to reenhead.com
what to do with your kid
Playing together, staying together
thanks to Dumbmonkey
The U.S. government plans to require up to 24 hours' notice of all commercial shipments into the United States by October, a move Canadian exporters say will hit both economies hard.
The advance notification plan would force truckers to submit a contents list four hours before loading their cargo, an impossibility for just-in-time operations such as the Big Three automakers, which ship $100-million in components across the border each day.
thanks to also not found in nature
thanks to emptybottle.org
Another America not on the media radar.
war against some drugs
Cowed by a federal judge, a reluctant jury found Ed Rosental guilty last Friday afternoon. Rosenthal remains free on bail, pending sentencing in June. The defense will appeal. Rosenthal faces life in prison.
Within hours of finding famed marijuana expert Ed Rosenthal guilty on three felony counts of conspiracy and marijuana cultivation, a sobbing juror was overheard saying she and others jurors had been terrified that US District Judge Charles Breyer would throw them in prison if they had found Rosenthal innocent, although she herself had had a strong disposition to do so.
If you scroll down, there is a bonus rant on Pee-Wee, Townshend and Ritter.
Media Concentration is a Totalitarian Tool
Now here's a dandy example of the kind of thing that never makes it to the front page or the top of the news broadcast, but that affects absolutely everyone. The Federal Communications Commission, led by Michael ("my religions is the market") Powell, is fixing to remove the last remaining barriers against concentration of media.
This means one company can own all the radio stations, television stations, newspapers and cable systems in any given area. Presently, 10 companies own over 90 percent of the media outlets. Bill Kovach of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and Tom Rosenstiel of the Project for Excellence in Journalism say these are the most sweeping changes in the rules that govern ownership of American media since the 1940s. The ownership rules were put in place after we had seen how totalitarian governments use domination of the media to goad their countries into war.
The Sedlec Ossuary (a.k.a. Kostnice) is a small christian chapel decorated with human bones. It's located in Sedlec wich is a suburb in the outskirts of the czech town Kutna Hora. In 1996 I visited the place and fell madly in love with it.
thanks to dublog
To make their brands recognizable to dealers across the country, California's citrus growers generated a new commercial art form. In the 1880s, citrus growers in southern California began working with lithographers in San Francisco and Los Angeles to create colorful crate labels.
There has been a lot of talk about Shock and Awe. It turns out that the book promoting this war crime is online. Prentiss Riddle, at Aprendiz de todo, maestro de nada, sent me this:
Shock and Awe:
Perhaps for the first time in years, the confluence of strategy, technology, and the genuine quest for innovation has the potential for revolutionary change. We envisage Rapid Dominance as the possible military expression, vanguard, and extension of this potential for revolutionary change. The strategic centers of gravity on which Rapid Dominance concentrates, modified by the uniquely American ability to integrate all this, are these junctures of strategy, technology, and innovation which are focused on the goal of affecting and shaping the will of the adversary. The goal of Rapid Dominance will be to destroy or so confound the will to resist that an adversary will have no alternative except to accept our strategic aims and military objectives. To achieve this outcome, Rapid Dominance must control the operational environment and through that dominance, control what the adversary perceives, understands, and knows, as well as control or regulate what is not perceived, understood, or known.
Secretary of State Colin Powell is not bringing "a smoking gun" against Iraq to the United Nations next week but will have circumstantial evidence to make a convincing case that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction, a U.S. official said Thursday.
thanks to Village Voice
More smoke and mirrors.
war against some drugs
The Drug War Refugees
Now a new breed of American refugee has arrived, seeking asylum from a different kind of war--the fight over medical marijuana. By some counts, they number more than 100 expatriate U.S. citizens, many of them from California, the fiercest battleground in America's medpot fight. They are patients and activists who share an uneasy distrust of the U.S. government and dismay over its intolerance of their brand of medicine. And they often arrive scarred by schizophrenic drug policies that now pit the Golden State's lenient laws governing the use of medical marijuana against the federal government's zero-tolerance approach.
From the moment of its publication, Elihu Vedder's Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám achieved unparalleled success. The first edition appeared in Boston on 8 November 1884; six days later, it was sold out. Critics rushed to acclaim it as a masterwork of American art, and Vedder (1836 - 1923) as the master American artist. Now, over a hundred years after their first publication, all of Vedder's designs for the book, except the small publisher's mark, are available online from the Smithsonian American Art Museum's collection.
thanks to dublog
"Transfer" is nothing more than ethnic cleansing
It is widely feared that Israel may use the diversion of a war in Iraq to begin the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the occupied territories into one or more Arab countries. In Israel, this has euphemistically been referred to as "transfer." In reality, "transfer" is nothing more than ethnic cleansing. Apart from being morally outrageous, it is a severe breach of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) to uproot and exile a people from their homes. As a group that has faced ethnic cleansing in the recent past, we, as Jews and as members of Jews Against the Occupation, feel the need to speak out in order to prevent similar inhumane acts from being perpetrated on another people in our name.
The idea of "transfer" has moved increasingly from the fringes of Israeli society towards mainstream Israeli political discourse. As a proposed solution to both the Israeli "security" and "demographic problems" allegedly posed by the Palestinian population in the occupied territories, talk of deporting the Palestinians from these areas -- a.k.a. "transfer" -- has become an acceptable option to many Israelis. Recent polls show that more than 40% of the Israeli population is in favor of "transfer."
Posters, signs and bumper stickers featuring such slogans as "Transfer = Peace and Security"; "Them there, us here"; "Only Transfer!"; and "No Arabs, No Attacks" have been seen throughout Israel.
An Israeli military intelligence officer has been court-martialled for refusing to obey an order he said targeted innocent Palestinians in retaliation for a suicide bombing, and was therefore illegal.
Embrace file-sharing, or die
Irrespective of what we think should be done, it is still currently illegal to download copyrighted music that you didn't buy. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. The statistic discussed in the December meeting that there were 3 billion downloads the previous month shows that the law is going to have to be changed, unless you take the position that downloaded music is stealing and thereby criminalize the society. But how can 50 million people (over 200 million worldwide) be wrong? How do we reconcile the reality of downloaded music with the idea of intellectual property?
This is your assignment. Go to your local independent bookstore and buy these two books. Better yet, buy multiple copies and give them to your friends. Turn off the TV. Turn off CNN, NPR, ER, CSI and all that crap. Sit down with Dalton and Kurt and find out what's real and true and happening right now.
If you don't have access to an independent bookstore, you can get them at these Amazon links. It's been a long time since I've read these books. I hate it that it is again time to read them. Read them and pass them out.
Johnny Got His Gun
or the Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance With Death
Maybe Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel honestly won two US Senate elections. Maybe it's true that the citizens of Georgia simply decided that incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a wildly popular war veteran who lost three limbs in Vietnam, was, as his successful Republican challenger suggested in his campaign ads, too unpatriotic to remain in the Senate. Maybe George W. Bush, Alabama's new Republican governor Bob Riley, and a small but congressionally decisive handful of other long-shot Republican candidates really did win those states where conventional wisdom and straw polls showed them losing in the last few election cycles.
Perhaps, after a half-century of fine-tuning exit polling to such a science that it's now sometimes used to verify how clean elections are in Third World countries, it really did suddenly become inaccurate in the United States in the past six years and just won't work here anymore. Perhaps it's just a coincidence that the sudden rise of inaccurate exit polls happened around the same time corporate-programmed, computer-controlled, modem-capable voting machines began recording and tabulating ballots.
But if any of this is true, there's not much of a paper trail from the voters' hand to prove it.
You'd think in an open democracy that the government - answerable to all its citizens rather than a handful of corporate officers and stockholders - would program, repair, and control the voting machines. You'd think the computers that handle our cherished ballots would be open and their software and programming available for public scrutiny. You'd think there would be a paper trail of the vote, which could be followed and audited if a there was evidence of voting fraud or if exit polls disagreed with computerized vote counts.
You'd be wrong.
demented beer reviews
thanks to Riley Dog
With a rogue nuclear weapons program drawing world attention, North Korea has sent messages in every way it knows how that it wants direct talks with Washington — using shrill propaganda diatribes, silky diplomatic feelers, and this week, by stiff-arming a South Korean presidential envoy.
But Bush administration officials are flatly refusing, holding fast to the view that North Korea should be dealt with multilaterally, either by a group of its neighbors or by the United Nations Security Council.
I don't think ignoring North Korea is such a good idea. North Korea is moving ahead with whatever it is they are doing. They aren't going to wait for Iraq to be finished.
Today, back in Sydney, I went first to the pool then to the movies in an effort to escape the 39°C (102°F) heat (my house isn't air-conditioned). As the final credits began to roll at the end of The Quiet American, the woman sitting next to me turned and said: "This film should be compulsory viewing for everyone in the country, particularly that person in Canberra." Had I seen her in the lobby of the multiplex before the movie, I would have assumed from her clothing, her hairstyle, and her demeanor that she had voted for "that person in Canberra" (Prime Minister John Howard) in the last three elections and for his party throughout her entire life. Yet though she may have been a wealthy, elderly, conservative woman she saw as clearly as any starry-eyed young radical the parallels between Grahame Greene's tale of the beginnings of US involvement in Vietnam fifty years ago and the events about to unfold in Iraq—American arrogance and hubris being a constant in post-WWII history.
So this is what it's come to: strangers in lifts and movie theaters express to me uninvited their disapproval of the coming war with Iraq. Not out of some bitter or envious anti-Americanism, as the defenders of American imperialism like to suggest, but because—like most Australians—these strangers disapprove of the new world order Geoff Kitney describes, "in which America chooses which regimes stay and which should go."
thanks to reading & writing
But the demonstration effect goes far beyond Iraq. The intended audience in 1945 was as much Stalin as Hirohito; the audience for the Bush invasion of Iraq, in this age of global satellite TV, is the entire world. Iraqis, dead or alive, are secondary. The entire world, and American dominance of it, is very much the agenda for invading Iraq; Bush's State of the Union address delivered that message emphatically. The U.S. will not wait, for the United Nations or even its allies, before striking. We need not seek their approval or cooperation. It is the United States' judgment that Saddam Hussein, owing to various crimes against humanity and the oil industry, must go. It is also the United States' right to make that judgment, regardless of whether anybody else agrees, and it is also the United States' right to implement it, again, regardless of what others say, think, or do.
This is a formulation that goes far beyond the role of "global policeman"; this is America as cop, judge, jury, and executioner. It is not intended to serve the cause of human rights, or disarmament, or even the security of American citizens. It is a tool of empire, and George Bush and his administration are remarkably naked in their assertion that not only does America intend to rule the world, but it should rule the world, and the world will be better off for it. And if the world is not grateful, it just doesn't understand. Yet.
Drawing on America's Past
The Index of American Design was one of the most highly regarded of the 1930s New Deal art projects. Its aim was to compile and eventually publish a visual archive of decorative, folk, and popular arts made in America from the time of settlement to about 1900. Each object was recorded in a breathtakingly meticulous watercolor drawing.
thanks to dublog
Free book: 100 poets against the war redux
Ode to all concerned with that "baby milk" factory in Iraq
thanks to wood s lot
global climate change
Climate change and global warming mean the fabled Northwest Passage could become an accessible thoroughfare. This stranger, warmer world carries many potential ramifications — for the environment, for international business and diplomacy and for the native Inuit people, who cling to tradition in an era when change already comes too fast. In the words of one expert, "It'd be a whole new world up there." (...)
So in the summer of 2000, Burton gingerly nosed a 66-foot aluminum patrol boat into the heart of the Northwest Passage. Ice floes could crumple the boat like paper. Even the smallest iceberg, a growler, could rip apart its delicate hull.
But there were no bergs. No growlers. No thin cakes of pancake ice. To his surprise, Burton found no ice at all. A mere 900 miles south of the North Pole, where previous explorers had faced sheets of punishing pack ice, desperation and finally death, Burton cruised past emerald lagoons and long sandy beaches. Crew members stripped and went swimming. Burton whipped through the passage, "not hurrying," in a mere 21 days.
"We should not, by any measure, have been able to drive an aluminum boat through the Arctic," said Burton, still astonished and just slightly disappointed. "It was surreal."
warning — boring family stuff
I had a wonderful couple of days moving my daughter Katie. My body is starting to recover now. I may survive. We had a birthday party for my other daughter Jenny and her little girl Robyn while we were down there. And here are some pictures of Katies new place.
Katie and Mike in the background
and Robyn and Jenny in the foreground