Weblog Archives




  Saturday   February 23   2002

Camelot didn't seem to be like this

The Castles of Wales

Welcome! Croeso! My name is Jeffrey L. Thomas and I'm pleased to be your host as we explore some of the most impressive monuments of the Middle Ages, the medieval Castles of Wales. Along the way we hope to educate and enlighten you about not only Welsh castles, but about the unique history of the Welsh people and their centuries-old struggle to preserve their land, their culture, and their ancient language.

[read more]

thanks to wood s lot

What is it about the Welsh? (Disclosure: I'm part Welsh.) The English conquered them in the 13th century and they still haven't given up. Many of these castles were built by the English to keep the Welsh in line.

I used to work with an engineer from Wales. A co-worker made the mistake of referring to him as English once. Only once.

 11:53 PM - link

Chuck Jones Again

As I noted earlier, Chuck Jones died. He was involved with creating Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and that poor coyote. All are icons of today's culture.

Chuck was 89. I got to thinking about the year he was born.

Chuck was born in 1912. An 89 year old that died in 1912 would have been born in 1823, the year of the Monroe Doctrine. President Monroe was our 5th President. William Taft was President in 1912. There were 17 Presidents during Chuck's lifetime. The Wright Brothers had their first flight 9 years before. The Model T had been in production for 3 years although Ford's first moving production line wouldn't start for another year. The first refigerator, for home use, wouldn't appear for another year. World War I was still 2 years away. The first transcontinental telephone call was three years away. The Russian Czar Nicholas would be Czar for another 5 years. Women would not be allowed to vote for another 6 years.

Some events in 1912. Captain Rober Scott's Antarctic expedition ended in his death. The first ad for Crisco appeared (it had been intoduced the year before.) New Mexico and Arizona were added as states to make 48 states. The U.S. Marines intervened in Nicaragua to protect American business interests (some things haven't changed.) There was a war in the Balkans (some more things haven't changed.)

 11:17 PM - link


U.S. Debating Wider Assault on Colombia Rebels
Latin America: Officials point to link between guerrillas and Libya. Military role would test Congress' support for campaign against terror.

Alarmed by signs of weapons traffic between Colombian rebels and the Middle East, the Bush administration is weighing a proposal to declare the destruction of leftist guerrillas in the South American country an explicit goal of U.S. policy.

Some senior officials are also pushing for the administration to assert, for the first time, that the Colombian rebels are a specific target of the worldwide U.S. war on terrorism, administration officials said.

Such declarations would mark a significant toughening of U.S. policy and pose an important test of how much leeway Congress will grant President Bush to expand military operations around the world in the post-Sept. 11 era. For six years, Congress has strictly limited the U.S. military mission in Colombia, fearing that if the anti-drug campaign escalated to a broader fight against insurgents, the United States could sink into a costly quagmire with echoes of Vietnam.
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The Bush Oil-igarchy's Pipeline Protection Package
by Arianna Huffington

In a shameless handout to a poor-little-me corporate mendicant, the president wants to spend close to $100 million to help Occidental Petroleum protect an oil pipeline unwisely built in war-torn Colombia.

And now the oil-igarchy in the White House has chosen to reward this shining example of the idiocy of capitalism with a no-strings- attached corporate welfare check. Testifying before Congress last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell summed up the administration's position: "We thought a $98 million investment in Colombian brigades to help protect this pipeline is a wise one and a prudent one. What makes this pipeline unique is that it is such a major source of income." Income for whom? It's the new, improved Powell Doctrine: "U.S. military might should never be used -- unless it helps Corporate America turn a profit."

The question is: where do we draw the bottom line in the sand? According to Ambassador Patterson, there are more than 300 additional sites with infrastructure of strategic importance to the United States in Colombia. Are we going to pay to protect all of these, too? And what about the other pipelines around the world that are "a major source of income?" Will "investing" our military to keep them up and running prove "wise and prudent" or a foreign policy nightmare?
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 01:19 PM - link

Goodbye Bugs

Oscar-winning Animator Chuck Jones Dead at 89

Chuck Jones, the animator who helped give life to that wascally wabbit, the portly pig, the lisping duck and the tormented coyote, died Friday in his Corona del Mar home. He was 89.
[read more]

The Official Site of Chuck Jones

 01:06 PM - link

Two Bright Shiny Things

I get so easily distracted by bright shiny things.

I am blown away by WinStep. I find it a much better way to organize the desktop. It's not just about the cool themes. The way they set the dock up and let you modify it is *really* nice. At least it works for me. I'm still exploring all of it's functionality. I spent to much time today playing with it. Did I say it's *really* nice? It's so liberating setting the desktop up the way I want it. And getting rid of all those annoying icons that Bill won't let me delete. Fuck you Bill!

The other bright shiny thing that has been a distraction is American Samizdat. It's an invitational blog hosted by the esteemed Dr. Menlo. He sends out invites to other bloggers that gives them access to add posts to American Samizdat. No instructions. No rules. Just access. Have a good time!

I was invited tonight. My first post at American Samizdat.

What the hell is a Samizdat, Americian or otherwise, you say?

Main Entry: sa.miz.dat
Pronunciation: 'sä-mEz-"dät
Function: noun
Etymology: Russian, from sam- self- + izdatel'stvo publishing house
Date: 1967
: a system in the U.S.S.R. and countries within its orbit by which government- suppressed literature was clandestinely printed and distributed; also : such literature

thanks to Higgy's page

Or, as the esteemed Dr. Menlo puts it:

As title implies: underground word lines especially needed by progit-heavy U.S

I need to add American Samizdat, as well as several other blogs, to my links on the left and I have lot's of other links to share, but I'm going to bed. Say "Goodnight Gordy!"

 01:42 AM - link

  Friday   February 22   2002

Another Time Sucker

Doc Searls had an interesting link to a piece by Andrew Orlowski, who publicly abandoned OS X. It was an interesting read but what caught my attention was the following.

5. When Metaphors Roamed The Earth: Docks aren't necessarily evil. The popularity of the NeXT-alike shell WinSTEP on Windows, and the WindowMaker window manager on Linux shows that NeXT's original UI endures. It's a nice way to organise things.

Off to WinSTEP.

Winstep Software Technologies develops a suite of award winning, skinnable applications for the Windows 32-bit environment. The purpose of this groundbreaking suite is to provide usability enhancements to the standard Explorer shell while at the same time providing the user with unlimited flexibility. All Winstep applications are compatible with Win9x, ME, NT4, 2000 and XP.

It looked cool and I downloaded it. It's kind of nice having an alternative to how Microsoft wants you to organize things. There are a lot of ways to customize this package. It's sucking up some time learning it but I'm liking it.

First I dumped Outlook Express for Eudora, then IE was replaced by Opera. Now I'm moving away from the how Bill wants me to use my desktop. I hope he doesn't mind.

 03:21 PM - link

  Thursday   February 21   2002


Why blacks love Bill Clinton
DeWayne Wickham talks about African-Americans' overwhelming support for the 42nd president, and why they like him more than Colin Powell and Jesse Jackson.

A Clinton-hater might say that he just knew how to play the game. But there was something else that many of the people you interviewed touched on, something about his ease, that they could really sense? What was it?

It's what we perceive. Black folk have a built-in radar for B.S., particularly when it's racial B.S. It started with slavery, when the master would turn to the slave and say, "We need to clean this yard." The slave knew that "we" weren't going to clean this yard. That meant, "You better clean this yard." We understood that there was a kind of a false sense of familiarity that many white folks have with black folks. And the key to Clinton was not so much what he sought to do, but how what he did was perceived by African-Americans. For most African-Americans, he was real, and he connected in a way that others didn't

Let's go back to this whole pandering suggestion that comes from a lot of folk: "He was just playing to the black community." OK, let's say that that's the case: Then he's better at it than anyone else in the history of the presidency. If that's all that there was -- and I would argue that that's not the case -- but if that's all that there was, then come on, whatever happened to the Gipper, the Great Communicator? Why couldn't he pull that off?
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thanks to follow me here...

 12:23 PM - link


Chris, at Waeguk is not a soup, has a good piece on a subject most ignore hoping it will go away.

That said, how about we talk death a bit?

This is probably the first time I've written about those times, that I can recall, although I've told the stories many times since they first came rushing back when I was in my early twenties. The deaths in my family, coming for the most part as they did early in my life, may have given me a slightly different perspective on it than some. Although I love life, with a great, chest-thumping passion, I am...matter-of- fact...about dying. I understand the grief and loss that people feel, but I simply can't get terribly worked up over it, anymore. This comes not from being hard-hearted, as some have assumed over the years - old friends will attest that I'm nothing if not self-indulgently sentimental - but from a baked-in knowledge, not intellectual but deep in my guts, that death is at the end of the road for all of us, each and every one, and what is, is good.

I've tried to live as many lives as possible in the time allotted to me, however long that time may be, and I think this awareness of an End is one of the things that has driven me out onto the Road most of my adult life.

To regard the death of those you know and love as a natural thing, to turn the painful experience of their loss into something that enriches and strengthens your own life (because, face it, they ain't got one anymore) - that's the mostly truly reverant eulogy and memorial one can make. Which is trite, perhaps, but people seem to forget it, again and again.
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 12:10 PM - link

Samuel F. B. Morse

The Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress

The online presentation of The Samuel F. B. Morse Papers at the Library of Congress comprises about 6,500 items, or approximately 50,000 images, that document Morse's invention of the electromagnetic telegraph, his participation in the development of telegraph systems in the United States and abroad, his career as a painter, his family life, his travels, and his interest in early photography, religion, and the nativist movement. Included in the collection are correspondence, letterbooks, diaries, scrapbooks, printed matter, maps, drawings, and other miscellaneous materials. The papers included date from 1793 to 1919, but most are from 1807 to 1872. The collection includes the original paper tape containing the first telegraph message, "What hath God wrought?," sent on May 24, 1844. The digitization of the Morse Papers is made possible through the generous support of the AT&T Foundation.
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First telegraphic message---24 May 1844

This is part of The library of Congress' website American Memory

American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections.

The photograph of the paper tape of the first telegraph message is one item. Only another 7 million, or so, items to go.

 11:51 AM - link

Nuclear Madness

Liberal Arts Mafia has some good nuclear links. Nothing to give you any confidence.

Chernobyl and the Collapse of Soviet Societ

The three books reviewed here thus offer a key insight to the baffling mystery of why Soviet society collapsed so quickly after 1986, with a suddenness that completely upset the world's geo-political balance, leaving even the CIA bereft of its raison d'etre. It is the sad fate of the Soviet people to have made great sacrifices in stemming the German Fascist tide in World War 2, and comparable sacrifices in warning us now of the dangers of future Chernobyls of our own. The US and the UK have already experienced similar nuclear disasters in 1957 (Windscale in England), in 1970 (a meltdown at the Savannah River Nuclear Weapons plant, first revealed by Sen. Glenn in 1988) and in 1979 (Three Mile Island).[13] Chernousenko's book should prepare us for the nuclear horrors that may come with another such catastrophe, if we do not heed Sakharov's warning and put an end to all forms of nuclear emissions released into the environment.
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Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)

The threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons didn't disappear with the end of the Cold War. In some ways, these threats have become more dangerous. The terrorists who planned and carried out the attacks on September 11th showed a willingness to take innocent lives, limited only by the capacity of the weapons available to them. The world's security may depend on who moves faster - those trying to get weapons material and know-how or those trying to secure them.
[read more]

United States I: Administration Plans to Develop Nuclear Arsenal, NGO Says

Bush’s Intentions Questioned

The report calls into question U.S. President George W. Bush’s claim to significantly reduce the number of U.S. nuclear warheads (see GSN, Feb. 15). The Bush administration plans to keep many more nuclear warheads ready for deployment than some government statements have suggested, the report says.

“The Bush administration is actually planning to retain the potential to deploy not 1,700 to 2,200 nuclear weapons, but as many as 15,000,” the report says.

“Not since the resurgence of the Cold War in [former U.S. President] Ronald Reagan’s first term has there been such an emphasis on nuclear weapons in U.S. defense strategy,” the report states (Natural Resources Defense Council report, Feb. 13).
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Cold War Weapons Testing Increased Human DNA Mutation Rate

 11:23 AM - link

  Wednesday   February 20   2002


It never fails to amaze me how many incredible art resources there are on the web.

The Age of King Charles V—(1338-1380)
1,000 Illuminations from the Department of Manuscripts.

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thanks to wood s lot

 02:32 AM - link

Better Living Through Modern Chemistry

Tale of the Radioactive Boy Scout.

Golf Manor, a subdivision in Commerce Township, Mich., some 25 miles outside of Detroit, is the kind of place where nothing unusual is supposed to happen, where the only thing lurking around the corner is an ice-cream truck. But June 26, 1995, was not a typical day.

Ask Dottie Pease. Cruising down Pinto Drive, Pease saw half a dozen men crossing her neighbor's lawn. Three, in respirators and white moon suits, were dismantling her next-door neighbor's shed with electric saws, stuffing the pieces into large steel drums emblazoned with radioactive warning signs.

Huddled with a group of neighbors, Pease was nervous. "I was pretty disturbed," she recalls. Publicly, the employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that day said there was nothing to fear. The truth is far more bizarre: the shed was dangerously irradiated and, according to the EPA, up to 40,000 residents of the area could be at risk.

The cleanup was provoked by the boy next door, David Hahn. He had attempted to build a nuclear reactor in his mother's shed following a Boy Scout merit-badge project.
[read more]

thanks to MetaFilter

 02:25 AM - link


The Enron Voice Mail System, 2002
We called Enron. This is what we heard.
(Plays automatically. Requires Flash.)

 02:20 AM - link


Complete collapse of North Atlantic fishing predicted

The entire North Atlantic is being so severely overfished that it may completely collapse by 2010, reveals the first comprehensive survey of the entire ocean's fishery.

"We'll all be eating jellyfish sandwiches," says Reg Watson, a fisheries scientist at the University of British Columbia. Putting new ocean-wide management plans into place is the only way to reverse the trend, Watson and his colleagues say.
[read more]

thanks to Unknown News

 02:18 AM - link


It's been a bad day in the middle east. 6 Israelis dead and 8 Palestinians killed in retaliation in the worst day of violence since the Intifada started.

Death Toll in Mideast Mounts as Recriminations Spiral

In an audacious attack on a West Bank outpost on Tuesday night, Palestinian gunmen killed six Israeli soldiers and then escaped, stunning an army that had already been reeling from the deaths of seven soldiers since Thursday.

With the death toll mounting and more Israelis drawing a parallel between this fight and the army's 18- year war of attrition in Lebanon, some politicians and analysts are urging the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip; others are calling for a partial or complete reoccupation of the territories, some of which Israel has ceded to Palestinian control; and still others are demanding the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli soldiers.

The debate has not gone unnoticed by Palestinians. One Palestinian analyst of Israeli affairs said on Palestinian television, "Israeli society is disintegrating and fragmenting. Sharon is now in a historic dilemma, and he is completely hopeless."
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Israel's leaders are up against the old guns and butter promises. You can't have both.

Occupation or prosperity

In the past year, it has become increasingly clear that it is impossible to conduct a normal economy while the state's resources are aimed at perpetuating the occupation and the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The real remedy for the economic crisis will be found when Israel deals with the root causes of the conflict with the Palestinians. Only a determined effort to reach reconciliation between the two peoples, based on ending the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state beside the state of Israel, can result in peace and economic prosperity. By promising it can have the territories as well as peace, security and prosperity, the government is deceiving the public.
[read more]

Israeli society is polarizing. It probably always has been. Now it is all coming out in the open. The left wants to pull out of Palestine and the far right wants to kill all the Palestinains.

The beginning of the end, perhaps

True, it is far from the end of the politics of blind force. The killings still feed the rage, vengeance and tank-barrel policies. And even if there is mounting criticism of Sharon, it could yet bring back Benjamin Netanyahu. That failed former leader has no more valuable asset than the hazy national memory. But on both sides of the spectrum there is mounting pressure for a change in direction. For Uzi Landau, Benny Elon, Effi Eitam, Avigdor Lieberman and their like, it's time to conquer territory, smash the Palestinian Authority and banish the Palestinians to God knows where or how. Landau suggests doing to them "what the Iraqis did to the Kurds."

On the other side, after a lengthy and paralyzing trauma, some sleeping forces have awakened. Their demonstrations haven't yet reached a critical mass. They don't have a remarkable leader. The movement to refuse service in the territories will continue to encounter a majority worried about undermining the existing order, even if that same majority believes there's not much order left, only a huge mess. Military Intelligence has begun to be convinced that the assassination policy is inefficient. The Council for Peace and Security, a large reservoir of retired senior officers, is lobbying for unilateral withdrawal, evacuating settlements and returning to negotiations. Simple, tragic facts are contributing to the deepening sense of unease. More Israelis are being killed while the government just recites its mantra about how it will break the intifada.
[read more]

When the speak of "what the Iraqis did to the Kurds" we must remember that the Iraqis slaughtered them. 300,000 of them.

Israelis are calling for peace...

20,000 Israelis rally for peace
Speakers urge nation to end occupation of West Bank, Gaza Strip

and destruction...

Right: Dismantle PA or dismantle government

 02:07 AM - link

Justice thanks to DNA

Yet Another DNA Exoneration

The lesson is that the laws governing post-conviction DNA testing need to be relaxed enough to make it the rule, not the exception, where a claim of innocence can be verified or refuted on the strength of a new test. There have been more than enough of these cases to demonstrate that a certain humility -- the flexibility to correct errors -- needs to be built into the criminal justice system. Even in the absence of more permissive rules, prosecutors need to be more open to testing that could undermine a verdict. You just never know when a seemingly airtight case will melt on close inspection. Mr. Godschalk had been asking for seven years that this material be tested. Someone should have recognized earlier the possibility -- however remote -- that he was telling the truth.
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thanks to the bitter shack of resentment

 01:27 AM - link


abuddhas memes pointed out the first of these pieces. He found it at insurgent. I went to insurgent and found the second piece.

They both speak to why I gave up a "good" job at Boeing, only 1 1/2 years from retirement, to become a small-town web designer. Yes, my mother worried that I was giving up a job with a good paycheck. Well—I'm making a lot less but I'm feeling a lot better. I rent a one room cabin (two if you count the bathroom/laundryroom) on a lake on an island in Puget Sound. It's a cheap rent. I can't afford a car so I ride a motorcycle. It's been lean at times but work is picking up. My commute is about 8 feet. That is from where I sleep (Japanese style with cushions on the floor) to my computer. I can look up from my work and watch a Great Blue Heron glide across the lake.

The God That Sucked

The social panorama that Ehrenreich describes should stand as an eternal shrine to the god that sucked: Slum housing that is only affordable if workers take on two jobs at once; exhausted maids eating packages of hot-dog buns for their meals; women in their twenties so enfeebled by this regimen that they can no longer lift the vacuum cleaners that the maid service demands they carry about on their backs; purse searches, drug tests, personality tests, corporate pep rallies. Were we not so determined to worship the market and its boogie-boarding billionaires, Ehrenreich suggests, we might even view their desperate, spent employees as philanthropists of a sort, giving selflessly of their well-being so that the comfortable might live even more comfortably. "They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for," she writes; "they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high."

These are the fruits of thirty years of culture war. Hell-bent to get government off our backs, you installed a tyrant infinitely better equipped to suck the joy out of life. Cuckoo to get God back in the schools, you enshrined a god of unappeasable malice. Raging against the snobs, you enthroned a rum bunch of two-fisted boodlers, upper-class twits, and hang-em-high moralists. Ain't irony grand.
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If what's wrong for me, on a fundamental level, is wrong for the planet, then saving the planet isn't about trying to be righteous and green; it's about saving your own life, and the life in the world in the process. You find happiness by working for the forces of life, not death. You try to build your life around reducing suffering. As much as possible, you try to be motivated by compassion and the desire to help others. And in the meantime, in my case, you quit your job. I just stood up one Friday afternoon and said, "I've had enough. I'm off."

They said, "Right. See you on Monday."

I said, "No, I'm off. That's it. I'm going."

People reacted as if I were committing some kind of suicide. My sister thought I was going crazy. And maybe, from the perspective of the culture, I was. But given the nature of our culture, that's a kind of compliment!
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 01:18 AM - link

Right Wing Myths

Shades of Purple - the Myth of the Red and the Blue America

In a now-infamous opinion piece titled "America at War", Andrew Sullivan wrote on 09/16/01:

The terrorists have done the rest. The middle part of the country - the great red zone that voted for Bush - is clearly ready for war. The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead - and may well mount a fifth column.

The "great red zone"? "Enclaves on the coasts"? Such homeopathic dilutions of facts in a solvent of virtually pure bullshit could safely be ignored as not even worthy of refutation. That is, if the myth of the "great red heartland" had not become a fact among the dittoheads of the loony right, a "fact" that is being used to legitimize the illegitimate presidency of George W. Bush.

It is therefore necessary to replace that artificial red-blue map that was obtained by rounding 49% down to zero and 50% to one hundred by a more accurate map that reflects how the voters actually voted. I have created such a map by simply mixing red, blue and green for each state, with the ratios equal to the percentage that Bush, Gore and Nader received in the 2000 election.
[read more]

thanks to follow me here...

 12:46 AM - link

Social Security

Four Lies About Social Security

A CBS News poll taken in August 2001 found that a majority of Americans do not believe that Social Security will be able to pay their retirement benefits. A similar majority believe that investing part of our Social Security funds in the stock market is a good idea.

That speaks to the success of a brilliant, multi-year public relations campaign engineered by rich Wall Street firms, in conjunction with their friends in conservative Washington think tanks. Their goal: to convince the public to consider dumping Social Security in favor of private accounts. It's a campaign built on misinformation, distortion, and outright lies.

What's Wall Street's stake in all this? They want to get their hands on the one trillion dollars currently sitting in the Social Security trust fund -- probably the largest single stash of dough ever amassed in human history. If Social Security were privatized, that giant trust fund would be sliced up into individual retirement accounts, managed by the banks, one account for every man, woman and child in America. Each one of those accounts would generate management fees for the banks, a never-ending Niagara Falls of fees, cascading forever into the coffers of Wall Street.
[read more]

thanks to wood s lot

 12:40 AM - link

War Against Some Terrorists

Off on a Terror
How to be intellectually honest about terrorism.

By the same token, the al-Qaida attacks on the Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000— because they focused on purely military targets without intentionally endangering civilians—were horrible, but not terrorism. And yes, these attacks were sneaky, but so what? War is not fencing, where the rules require the prior issuance of an "En Garde!" If there were such a requirement, then for instance the nighttime U.S. special ops raids last October on a Taliban airbase and on a Mullah Omar compound were terrorism too, since our troops attacked without warning.

Let's face it: We cannot define terrorism so that only the other side's military can be destroyed or so that only our weapons can be used.
[read more]

 12:36 AM - link

  Tuesday   February 19   2002

JennyWillRobyn and KatieMikey came over this afternoon.

They were over a couple of times this weekend and each time Robyn came running in. "look at my purse!" Then she would open it and remove her treasures.

She has part of the picture taking process down.

And Jenny showed off her new rings.

 03:21 AM - link

Designs From The Past

This site has some beautilful drawings!

Designs for Democracy

"Designs for Democracy" is an exhibition of nearly 125 design drawings selected from the vast holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration and its Presidential Libraries. The designs, all permanently valuable Federal records, were selected to illustrate 200 years of Government drawings. They are also works of art. Displayed here are elegant watercolor paintings, exquisite ink and wash drawings, bold charcoal and pencil sketches, and finely executed engineering details. Some bear a well-known designer`s or artist`s signature or the imprimatur of approving Government officials, but many are unsigned and their creators unknown. This exhibit is organized chronologically to demonstrate changing styles and technological advances, as well as to illustrate the evolving role of the Federal Government in American life.
[read more]

thanks to American Samizdat

 03:12 AM - link

Into The Wild Blue Yonder

Taking a Flyer on a 100-Year_Old Plan

The test pilots said the aircraft was a handful. The nose pitched up and down like a ship in a gale. And the whole thing tended to weave through the sky with a queasy oscillation called a Dutch roll.

Flying low was frightening. The craft would dip and then climb. Landings had to be aborted. "Flying techniques successfully employed on other airplanes were not necessarily appropriate" for this one, the Air Force pilots wrote.

This was no hot new jet. It was a computer simulation of the Wright Brothers' 1903 Kitty Hawk Flyer. And as next year's centennial focuses such fresh research on the Wrights' feat, four teams of experts across the country are pondering anew: How, exactly, did they do it?
[read more]

 03:02 AM - link

Send In The Marines Department

Tell it to the marines... we've invaded the wrong country

An attempt to show off their prowess at dawn assaults went badly wrong for a unit of heavily armed British Royal Marines at the weekend when they accidentally invaded the wrong country.

The platoon of some 30 marines stormed from a landing craft on to the San Felipe beach in the Spanish town of La Linea, carrying 60mm mortars and SA80 assault rifles, and took up defensive positions on the sand.

Instead of being fired on with blank rounds by fellow British soldiers pretending to be the enemy, the marines found themselves being stared at by startled local fishermen.
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 02:52 AM - link

War Against Some Terrorists

Pledges Not to Move Alone Unless It Does

Bowing to international pressure not to act unilaterally, the United States reversed course today and promised to consult with its allies before doing whatever the hell it was going to do anyway.

"Prior to taking action against any enemy nation, such as Iraq, we will confer with our allies, as well as other countries in that region," pledged U.S. President George W. Bush. "We will sit down with them. We will begin by explaining what our position is, and then we will... no, wait. That's it."
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 02:49 AM - link


Record Labels' Answer to Napster Still Has Artists Feeling Bypassed

Last December, the major record labels responded with two Internet services of their own where fans pay monthly fees to download songs. Under this arrangement, however, the performers still don't get a dime: for each song downloaded, they stand to get only a fraction of a cent, according to the calculations of disgruntled managers and lawyers.

And, artists and their managers say, the labels, like Napster, aren't putting the music online with proper permission either.
[read more]

Did anyone really believe the music industry was looking after the musicians?

 02:44 AM - link


Tracking "Pug" Winokur, wolf in the Enron fold

As headlines bellow outrage over Olympic Games figure skating fixes, no mainstream media ink has been devoted to the Enron fix, which is quickly becoming one of the biggest cover-ups in history. This fix began two weeks ago with the quietly accepted testimony of Enron board member Herbert "Pug" Winokur, an appearance that ensured that the charade would leave criminals protected and free, and plundered monies hidden.

In his report, Winokur, the chairman of Enron's finance committee (which is responsible for ensuring the financial soundness of the company) blamed the rest of Enron management, and the auditors at Arthur Andersen, for deceiving him. Members of the various investigating committees quickly accepted this implausible deflection and moved on, eager to avoid crossing the notorious Winokur.

Opponents of Winokur have ample reason to be petrified and silent.
[read more]

thanks to American Samizdat

 02:39 AM - link


Global warming 'unstoppable for next 100 years'

Sea level rise 'seriously underestimated'

both thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!

 02:32 AM - link


Good news first.

An Intriguing Signal From the Saudi Crown Prince

Earlier this month, I wrote a column suggesting that the 22 members of the Arab League, at their summit in Beirut on March 27 and 28, make a simple, clear-cut proposal to Israel to break the Israeli-Palestinian impasse: In return for a total withdrawal by Israel to the June 4, 1967, lines, and the establishment of a Palestinian state, the 22 members of the Arab League would offer Israel full diplomatic relations, normalized trade and security guarantees. Full withdrawal, in accord with U.N. Resolution 242, for full peace between Israel and the entire Arab world. Why not?

After I laid out this idea, the crown prince looked at me with mock astonishment and said, "Have you broken into my desk?"
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Reserve generals back unilateral withdrawal

After four months of intense discussion, the Council for Peace and Security, a group of 1,000 top-level reserve generals, colonels, and Shin Bet and Mossad officials, are to mount a public campaign for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from all of Gaza and much of the West Bank.

Taking care to avoid the term "separation" - council member Shlomo Avineri, a former foreign ministry director general, said it smacks of apartheid - the organization is calling for evacuating Gaza, dismantling 50 settlements, the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state, and immediate peace talks with Palestinians, whether there is a cease-fire or not.
[read more]

Survey: 70% of Palestinians favor final status talks with Israel

Screw the bad news. There's no shortage of it but let's just hope that sensible heads will finally prevail.

 02:24 AM - link

  Monday   February 18   2002


The siren song of the scanner called again. I climbed up to my storage loft and liberated the boxes and shopping bags full of prints and negatives. I just did a quick survey and found *many* lost friends. I need to catalog them and get them stored properly. I've been a bad boy. But I grabbed a few to scan.

I'm still learning this scanner and software (Epson Perfection 2450 and SilverFast) and I'm discovering how dirty some of my negatives are. When you scan at 2400 dpi you see a lot. Oh my god!

But my mind has been totally boggled. I look at my prints of these images and am amazed how much better the scanned image is. There is just so much control over the tonal range and contrast when you are manipulating images in Photoshop.

This image is part of a series of doors and windows in a couple of early 20th century school buildings in Seattle. The were shot on 4x5 sheet film.

School Doors 1974

The plan is to eventually print these images using Piezography on an Epson 1200 inkjet printer. Hextone printing. There seems to be a movement among large format photographers to print digitally. There is still no substitute for 4x5 sheet film in the digital world. At least for those whose income is in the real world. But scanning 4x5 sheet film at 2400 dpi gives some amazing results. The image below is the doorknob in the above picture.

The school pictures were the last images I printed. I was never satisfied with my prints and I couldn't afford the darkroom that was needed to print these right. With the Epson scanner, Photoshop, and inkjet printing I can do better that I could possibly have done in the darkroom. Any darkroom. I'm jazzed! I only had to wait 28 years! I'm completely rethinking my thinking about photography.

I wasn't always into prints with an actual tonal range. I had a brief fling with gimmick photography. I call it my Kodalith Phase. (Kodalith film is used to create offset printing plates. It is *extremely* high contrast.) A self-portrait from 1972:

I think every photographer goes through a gimmick phase. More of my images.

 12:31 AM - link

  Sunday   February 17   2002

The War Against Some Terrorists

OK, George, make with the friendly bombs
by Terry Jones

To prevent terrorism by dropping bombs on Iraq is such an obvious idea that I can't think why no one has thought of it before. It's so simple. If only the UK had done something similar in Northern Ireland, we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today.

The moment the IRA blew up the Horseguards' bandstand, the Government should have declared its own War on Terrorism. It should have immediately demanded that the Irish government hand over Gerry Adams. If they refused to do so - or quibbled about needing proof of his guilt - we could have told them that this was no time for prevarication and that they must hand over not only Adams but all IRA terrorists in the Republic. If they tried to stall by claiming that it was hard to tell who were IRA terrorists and who weren't, because they don't go around wearing identity badges, we would have been free to send in the bombers.

It is well known that the best way of picking out terrorists is to fly 30,000ft above the capital city of any state that harbours them and drop bombs - preferably cluster bombs. It is conceivable that the bombing of Dublin might have provoked some sort of protest, even if just from James Joyce fans, and there is at least some likelihood of increased anti-British sentiment in what remained of the city and thus a rise in the numbers of potential terrorists. But this, in itself, would have justified the tactic of bombing them in the first place. We would have nipped them in the bud, so to speak. I hope you follow the argument.
[read more]

Doubts cloud US Taliban case
FBI accused of botching crucial 'confession' from fighter

Robert Pelton, whose interview with John Walker on CNN last December is one of the main strands of the prosecution case, told The Observer of his concerns.

He said there were a number of instances where the script accompanying the Walker film had been presented by prosecution lawyers as comments made directly by the accused. This made Walker appear more knowledgeable about the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the war in Afghanistan than he really was.

'These were words that I was writing to narrate a report with,' Pelton said. 'I am making assumptions because I know exactly what Walker did and where he came from, but at the same time let's say I'm a good journalist and I get my facts right. There are plenty of bad journalists out there - and if it becomes a precedent that the FBI uses television reports to convict people, God help us all.'

His remarks came as it emerged that the FBI agents who obtained Walker's alleged confession may have broken the agency's rules by failing to get his statement either on tape or in writing. The only record of the two-day interrogation is a summary written afterwards by one of the agents who carried it out.
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Eyeing What You Read
FBI in Libraries and Bookstores
by Nat Hentoff

The December 25 issue of Capital Times, a newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin, contains a warning about how the FBI, under Attorney General John Ashcroft and the USA Patriot Act, can order bookstores to provide lists of books bought by people suspected of involvement in terrorism.
[read more]

 07:48 AM - link


How star blasts forged mankind
Cosmic radiation two million years ago had a crucial impact on our evolution

Two million years ago, just as the Earth's primitive apemen were evolving into big-brained humans, a pair of supernovae explosions occurred near Earth.

Our planet was buffeted with blasts of radiation - with devastating effects. 'These supernovae would have blown away our protective ozone layer,' said Dr Narciso Benítez, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

'Earth lost its protection against ultraviolet solar rays and for several hundred years the planet would have been battered by intense radiation. All sorts of mutational damage to animals' DNA would have occurred. New species could have emerged as a result. It is possible Homo sapiens may have been one of these.'
[read more]

 07:25 AM - link


Justice identifies 'major' complaints with Microsoft settlement deal

When the government asked the public what it thinks about the Microsoft antitrust-case settlement, two of the most condemning responses came from Microsoft's back yard.

A Kirkland programmer and Seattle-based RealNetworks filed two of the 47 public comments deemed "major" and substantive by the U.S. Department of Justice and made public yesterday.

Only five of the 47 supported the settlement, a few criticized Microsoft for not disclosing political contacts that may have influenced the agreement, and the rest attacked it as an inadequate response to the illegal, monopolistic behavior courts found in the company's business practices.
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Judge Says Microsoft Must Give States Windows Code

Microsoft Corp. will have to supply the computer code for its Windows program to a group of states seeking stiffer antitrust sanctions against the software giant, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

Nine state attorneys general had argued that they needed to see the Windows source code in order to verify Microsoft's claim it could not offer a simpler version of the Windows personal computer operating system, stripped of features like the Internet Explorer browser.

"It seems to me that if your side has access to it, then the other side, frankly, should have access to it," U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly told Microsoft's lawyers in a conference call with attorneys from both sides.
[read more]


I'm sure this caused heart seizures in Redmond.

 07:13 AM - link


Shooting and handing out candy

It is only a very small minority of people who support the refusal to serve in the territories and also back up their beliefs with actions. A decisive majority of Israelis oppose non-compliance with draft orders; some are convinced that Israel is not guilty of war crimes, others think that Israel has the right to carry out crimes, while still others hold that refusing to serve is prohibited in all cases, especially where the Israel Defense Forces is concerned.

But there is a third group that is attempting to have its cake and eat it, too. Members of the moderate Zionist left, from Ami Ayalon to MK Ran Cohen (Meretz), from the left of the Labor Party to Meretz, say - often halfheartedly - that Israel is doing terrible things but fiercely oppose the refusal to serve in the territories for various reasons and call on soldiers not to carry out illegal orders.

Apparently, more than 35 years of occupation and more than 16 months of siege are needed to claim that even from a practical point of view, a soldier who is attempting to preserve his humanity has no other option besides the refusal to serve in the occupied territories. Apparently more time must pass and more blood must be spilled before Israeli society realizes that it is impossible to serve in the territories today without breaching the Geneva convention.

The Americans who refused to serve in Vietnam and the French who refused to serve in Algeria said - without engaging in evasive, casuistic formulations of refusing illegal orders - that they would not serve in occupied territories. They were considered traitors, but today they are considered heroes by most of their compatriots.

Service in the occupied Palestinian territories, just like service in Vietnam or Algeria in the past, cannot be done without carrying out illegal orders. It is, itself, completely illegal.
[read more]

Analysis / There is no military solution

No longer the silver platter

In the 1950s, the state's war against terror was fought with a completely different attitude, primarily because it sensed that it was defending its home. Today, the IDF is playing its cards very carefully in the face of Palestinian terror because it has to consider the degree of national consensus for its actions. The sense that there is no alternative, that the victims are an inevitable price to pay in the struggle to guarantee our national existence is no longer taken for granted; in any event, it is not shared by all sections of the public.

As a result, the right wing's expectations for a government decision on an all-out war against the Palestinian Authority are going unanswered - not only because such a war is likely to ignite the entire region; and not only because reoccupying the territories will, in the end, only bring the two sides back to the bloody crossroads at which they now stand; but also, and perhaps primarily, because a full-scale war is likely to exact hundreds of casualties from among the IDF, and it is becoming more and more apparent that Israeli society is not prepared to pay such a price.
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Legitimizing vile talk

Comments filled with contempt for Palestinians in the territories and Arab citizens of Israel have recently been echoing widely through public forums. Right-wing politicians have started to speak openly about a need to remove Palestinians from the territories. Sometimes they are careful not to use the word "transfer" which still carries a public stigma - but transfer is nonetheless exactly what their suggestions mean. In an atmosphere of frustration and despair stirred by the lethal conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, such proposals win an unprecedented measure of public support. In a poll Ma'ariv published this weekend, 35 percent of respondents supported transfer.

The government, the Knesset and the main political parties are failing to clamp down on the degenerating norms of public discourse. Racist, fascist formulations attain quasi-legitimacy when they come from the mouths of ministers, Knesset members and rabbis. Minister Binyamin Elon's comments supporting transfer and a public campaign staged by Moledet on this subject have not been met by a single denunciation. Blunt statements made by Minister Uzi Landau suggesting that we do to the Palestinians "what the Iraqis did to the Kurds," and vituperative comments made by Minister Avigdor Lieberman, have been condoned as natural expressions. It appears that media outlets eyeing improved ratings prefer such spokespeople to more temperate speakers, and so they give them ample air time.

Israeli society is not alone in being exposed to such extremist viewpoints during a time of national crisis. However, the tensions now gripping the society are not some warrant that justifies a gross slippage of national moral standards or the corruption of public discourse by extremist right- wing leaders who managed to carve a place for themselves in the consensus. Israel's society is not just locked in a struggle to achieve security - it retains a strong obligation to preserve its values, and to protect them, even in circumstances of crisis. This is a crucial task which should not be under-estimated.
[read more}

The Israeli right wing wants to do the Palestinians what Hitler did to the Jews. If the Palestininas won't leave, they are willing to destroy them. The Palestinians left their homes in 1948 and couldn't go back. They aren't going to leave again. Israel is sliding into a right wing hell. The Israeli peace movement has been quiet. It seems to be waking. Not a moment too soon.

Revenge suicide bombing fails to derail Israel's peace movement
Support for the anti-war campaign is growing even as a blast killed diners at a Jewish settlement, reports Graham Usher from Jerusalem

This endless cycle of armed combat is not the only reminder of Lebanon. Last week the Palestinian death toll from the intifada reached 1,000, 248 of whom have been children. The Israeli death toll reached 256. As Israeli analysts noted, this is the same number of Israelis who lost their lives during Israel's post- 1985 occupation of southern Lebanon. The difference is the Lebanon war lasted 15 years, and most of the Israeli casualties were soldiers. The intifada has lasted 15 months, with the death toll including 164 Israeli civilians.

If the 'national consensus' behind Sharon is starting to fracture, so too is the consensus of the Israeli peace camp. For years movements like Peace Now - which called last night's demonstration - made full withdrawal from the occupied territories conditional on a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

But many among the protesting reservist officers - as well as new grassroots movements, like 'The Green Line - students for a border', are championing more unilateralist solutions. 'They believe the priority for Israel is to leave the occupied territories, with or without an agreement with the Palestinians,' said Arie Arnon, a leader of Peace Now.

He said the call for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal was gaining ground within the peace movement and Israeli society, akin to the protest movement that helped pull Israel out of Lebanon.

Noam Kuzar, 18, typifies the new generation - the first Israeli soldier to refuse to serve in the occupied territories in the present conflict and one of the youngest, he believes it is time for ordinary Israelis to take action.
[read more]

 06:43 AM - link

Dave Van Ronk

Up at 0:dark-30 this morning to tape WFUV, which is doing a three hour show on Dave Van Ronk. Christine Lavin is co-hosting. They are streaming it form New York. It starts at 8 Eastern Standard Time or 5 Honeymoon Lake Standard Time.

 04:18 AM - link