Zoe turned me on to this one. Our local library has it but she couldn't wait and bought it. It's worth buying. From Amazon:
With gasoline prices approaching $4/gallon, fossil fuel shortages, unrest in oil producing regions around the globe and mainstream consumer adoption and adoption of the hybrid electric car (more than 140,000 Prius' sold this year), this story couldn't be more relevant or important. The foremost goal in making this movie is to educate and enlighten audiences with the story of this car, its place in history and in the larger story of our car culture and how it enables our continuing addiction to foreign oil. This is an important film with an important message that not only calls to task the officials who squelched the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate, but all of the other accomplices, government, the car companies, Big Oil, even Eco-darling Hydrogen as well as consumers, who turned their backs on the car and embrace embracing instead the SUV. Our documentary investigates the death and resurrection of the electric car, as well as the role of renewable energy and sustainable living in our country's future; issues which affect everyone from progressive liberals to the neo-conservative right.
Who Killed the Electric Car? is a 2006 documentary film that explores the birth, limited commercialization, and subsequent death of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the 1990s. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in limiting the development and adoption of this technology.
I was waiting for Zoe to get her hair done so I took this series along a block long section of Fidalgo Ave. in Oak Harbor. I took these with my digital Pentax DSLR. I also took identical pictures with my Leica IIIc, Industar 50/3.5, and Kodachrome 64. I will be comparing them.
Transforming food into fuels is a monstrosity. [...]
Regardless of numerous official statements assuring that this is not a choice between food and fuel, reality shows that this, and no other, is exactly the alternative: either the land is used to produce food or to produce biofuels.
Read the whole thing. His basic point is that the more land used to grow biofuel stock, the less land is available to grow food. Worse, most of such growing will be done in third world countries, making the lives of the desperately poor and hungry even worse.
The global rush to switch from oil to energy derived from plants will drive deforestation, push small farmers off the land and lead to serious food shortages and increased poverty unless carefully managed, says the most comprehensive survey yet completed of energy crops.
It's hard to venture around this land and not feel like you are living in something like an obsolete Las Vegas hotel exquisitely rigged for implosion. The massive system that we've poured all our national wealth into, and elaborated to the last limits of refinement over half a century, is poised for failure. The prospect is so dreadful that no legitimate authority in politics, business, the news media, or even those cultural outlands of the arts and religion, can bring themselves to express a plausibly coherent view of what happens next to a living arrangement with no future and an economy of no purpose.
The system I refer to, of course, is the car-crazy infrastructure for everyday life, and all the activities supporting it, that most Americans now living regard as the natural and normal medium for human existence, as salt water is the natural and normal medium for squid. The public brings no critical reflection to being in it, and so its failure will eventually come as a deadly surprise -- as a red tide surprises the denizens of a tropical sea. When it occurs, the public will not be able to escape from their investments in this way of life. Some may feel swindled, but they will not lose their sense of having been entitled to a happier destiny, so the chances for the acting-out of massive political grievance are high.
In case you're wondering why crude oil prices are down from last year, hanging around at about $60 a barrel, while gasoline prices have soared past $3.10/gallon nationwide, just check out the latest profit reports from the oil companies. They are at record levels.
Few have been unaffected by the rapidly increasing price of gas, which has inched its way up toward $4 a gallon in some parts of the United States. And consumers aren't feeling those effects just in their wallets, a Florida State University professor has found.
Spring comes late up here. I was down in Georgia back in February and the daffodils there were already gone by, for goodness sake. But up here, they had barely sprouted as of the last week in April. The landscape (and townscape) had a horrible sort of laid bare look -- like an old person in the intensive care unit getting a sponge bath in bed. The ground itself looked scrofulous, with vast quantities of plastic flotsam littering the roadside swales, and tatters of windblown plastic supermarket bags hanging off the sumac bushes, and no foliage yet to hide any of it.
But it was the buildings that really got me. You have to wonder: have Americans forgotten how to build dignified houses, or are we simply not dignified people anymore? Virtually every building put up after 1950 looked terrible and many of them were rotting into the ground. Most of them are little more than elaborate packing crates with a few doo-dads screwed on -- exactly the kind of buildings, by the way, that Venturi and Scott Brown celebrated in their writings. They called them "decorated sheds," the vernacular expression of the mainstream American soul.
The design failures of these things might be attributed to a loss of knowledge and a lack of attention to details, but I think a deeper explanation has to do with the diminishing returns of technology. We've never had more awesome power tools for workers in the building trades. We have compound miter saws, electric spline joiners, laser-guided tape measures, and many other nifty innovations, and we've never seen, in the aggregate, worse work done by so many carpenters. For most of them, apparently, getting a plain one-by-four door-surround to meet at a 45-degree miter without a quarter-inch gap is asking too much. In other words, we now have amazing tools and no skill. What you wonder is whether the latter is a function of the former. Is the work so bad because we expect the tools to have all the skill?
This souvenir sheet commemorates the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, by English colonists in 1607. On the front of the sheet is a first-class stamp featuring a painting of the Susan Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery—the three ships that carried the first settlers to Jamestown. Artist Griffith Baily Coale completed the painting in 1949. The stamp is shaped like a triangle, as was the fort raised by the Jamestown settlers shortly after their arrival in 1607.
The artist Griffith Baily Coale, that painted the ships, happens to be my grandfather. The link goes to a site I've been doing about him. The original mural is at the Virginia State Capital. It was the last mural he painted before he died in 1950. The sheet of stamps is pretty spectacular. The back has a painting of what the original Jamestown settlement is thought to have looked like. Cool stamps!
What can you say? Millions are uprooted, hundreds of thousands are dead and the carnage continues. And the Republicans say give Bush a chance. Fuck Bush. Fuck the Republicans. Get out now, while we still have the chance.
On a personal note, we've finally decided to leave. I guess I've known we would be leaving for a while now. We discussed it as a family dozens of times. At first, someone would suggest it tentatively because, it was just a preposterous idea- leaving ones home and extended family- leaving ones country- and to what? To where?
Since last summer, we had been discussing it more and more. It was only a matter of time before what began as a suggestion- a last case scenario- soon took on solidity and developed into a plan. For the last couple of months, it has only been a matter of logistics. Plane or car? Jordan or Syria? Will we all leave together as a family? Or will it be only my brother and I at first?
After Jordan or Syria- where then? Obviously, either of those countries is going to be a transit to something else. They are both overflowing with Iraqi refugees, and every single Iraqi living in either country is complaining of the fact that work is difficult to come by, and getting a residency is even more difficult. There is also the little problem of being turned back at the border. Thousands of Iraqis aren't being let into Syria or Jordan- and there are no definite criteria for entry, the decision is based on the whim of the border patrol guard checking your passport.
Since the shock-and-awe invasion of Iraq began in March 2003, that country's explosive unraveling has never left the news or long been off the front page. Yet the fallout beyond its borders from the destruction, disintegration, and ethnic mayhem in Iraq has almost avoided notice. And yet with -- according to United Nations estimates -- approximately 50,000 Iraqis fleeing their country each month (and untold numbers of others being displaced internally), Iraq is producing one of the -- if not the -- most severe refugee crisis on the planet, a crisis without a name and without significant attention.
At 3 am on January 11, 2007 a fleet of American helicopters made a sudden swoop on the long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in northern Iraq. Their mission was to capture two senior Iranian security officials, Mohammed Jafari, the deputy head of the Iranian National Security Council, and General Minojahar Frouzanda, the head of intelligence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. What made the American raid so extraordinary is that both men were in Iraq at the official invitation of the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who held talks with them at his lakeside headquarters at Dokan in eastern Kurdistan. The Iranians had then asked to see Massoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, in the Kurdish capital Arbil. There was nothing covert about the meeting which was featured on Kurdish television.
In the event the U.S. attack failed. It was only able to net five junior Iranian officials at the liaison office that had existed in Arbil for years, issuing travel documents, and which was being upgraded to a consular office by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry in Baghdad. The Kurdish leaders were understandably furious asking why, without a word to them, their close allies, the Americans, had tried to abduct two important foreign officials who were in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi president. Kurdish troops had almost opened fire on the American troops. At the very least, the raid showed a contempt for Iraqi sovereignty which the U.S. was supposedly defending. It was three months before officials in Washington admitted that they had tried and failed to capture Jafari and General Frouzanda. The U.S. State Department and Iraqi government argued for the release of the five officials as relative minnows, but Vice-President Cheney's office insisted fiercely that they should be held.
If Iran had undertaken a similar venture by, for example, trying to kidnap the deputy head of the CIA when he was on an official visit to Pakistan or Afghanistan, then Washington might have considered the attempt a reason for going to war. In the event, the US assault on Arbil attracted bemused attention inside and outside Iraq for only a few days before it was buried by news of the torrent of violence in the rest of Iraq. The U.S. understandably did not reveal the seniority of its real targets -- or that they had escaped.
State of Surge Bush's Pacification Plan Has Failed; It Will be a Long War
It will be a long war. The rumble of artillery broken by the clatter of helicopters passing overhead resounded across Baghdad late last week as US forces fought insurgents in the sprawling district of Dohra. Twenty five miles south of the capital five a bomb killed five American soldiers and a further three are missing.
Four years ago on May 1, President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln wearing a flight suit and delivered a speech in front of a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner. He was hailed by media stars as a "breathtaking" example of presidential leadership in toppling Saddam Hussein. Despite profound questions over the failure to locate weapons of mass destruction and the increasing violence in Baghdad, many in the press confirmed the White House's claim that the war was won. MSNBC's Chris Matthews declared, "We're all neo-cons now;" NPR's Bob Edwards said, "The war in Iraq is essentially over;" and Fortune magazine's Jeff Birnbaum said, "It is amazing how thorough the victory in Iraq really was in the broadest context."
How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? "What the conservative media did was easy to fathom; they had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President — no questions asked. How mainstream journalists suspended skepticism and scrutiny remains an issue of significance that the media has not satisfactorily explored," says Moyers. "How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?"
Turning the Holocaust into a political asset serves Israel primarily in its fight against the Palestinians. When the Holocaust is on one side of the scale, along with the guilty (and rightly so) conscience of the West, the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homeland in 1948 is minimized and blurred.
The phrase "security for the Jews" has been consecrated as an exclusive synonym for "the lessons of the Holocaust." It is what allows Israel to systematically discriminate against its Arab citizens. For 40 years, "security" has been justifying control of the West Bank and Gaza and of subjects who have been dispossessed of their rights living alongside Jewish residents, Israeli citizens laden with privileges.
Security serves the creation of a regime of separation and discrimination on an ethnic basis, Israeli style, under the auspices of "peace talks" that go on forever. Turning the Holocaust into an asset allows Israel to present all the methods of the Palestinian struggle (even the unarmed ones) as another link in the anti-Semitic chain whose culmination is Auschwitz. Israel provides itself with the license to come up with more kinds of fences, walls and military guard towers around Palestinian enclaves.
ON THE MORROW of Independence Day, a newspaper reported that an Arab child had refused to stand up while the national anthem was sung. The paper was furious. I was not. In fact, it raised a childhood experience from the depths of my memory.
ON SATURDAY, April 7, ending a seven-day visit to Israel, I finally got an interview I had sought for a year. I sat down in a Palestinian National Authority office in Ramallah with a leader of Hamas, the extremist organization that won last year's elections. He pushed a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution and deplored suicide bombers. But officials in Washington seemingly do not want to hear Hamas calling for peace.
In early April the rumors about Dr. Azmi Bishara, the most famous Arab Knesset member, began circulating on the Internet: Bishara is afraid to return to Israel; Bishara intends to resign from the Knesset; the Israeli Security Agency has decided to accuse Bishara of treason and espionage. The gag order preventing the publication of any information about Bishara's actions made the rumors all the more intriguing. What did Bishara, in fact, do?
Bishara, a Christian Palestinian citizen of Israel from Nazareth, established the National Democratic Assembly known as Balad in 1995 and became a Knesset member in 1996. Since then he has been interrogated several times by the Israeli Security Agency, and has been charged and found not guilty twice: once for organizing visits to Syria for Israeli Arabs who wished to visit family members and a second time for speeches he gave in Syria and Israel praising Hezbollah's resistance in southern Lebanon and Palestinian opposition in the occupied territories. His visit to Beirut following last year's Lebanon war, alongside his claim that Israel was committing war crimes in Lebanon and carrying out genocide against Shiite Muslims, was, for many Israelis, yet another indication that Bishara has been using his parliamentary immunity to harm Israel. Many Jewish members of the Knesset have argued for years that Bishara is a fifth column and that Israeli democracy has a right and indeed an obligation to defend itself against the Bishara threat.
But what, one might ask, are Bishara's new offenses? It is, after all, highly unlikely that he is a spy on the payroll of a foreign entity. And while one may not like his uncompromising opposition to Israeli and American regional policies and his admiration for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's militancy and strategic intelligence, expressing such views does not in and of itself jeopardize Israel's existence. Bishara, it seems, is a threat not because of any particular action or statement but because he has become a symbol of a new kind of opposition within Israel.
Already condemned to a life of imprisonment by the Israeli Government for just being a Palestinian in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, every Palestinian lives in fear of being arrested and imprisoned in Israel for wanting to be free. And, international law and conventions are no source of comfort to Palestinians seeking a way out of this double jeopardy. The world has repeatedly shown that it is not prepared to hold Israel to account.
Instead, Israel is allowed to continue its illegal occupation and also to blatantly disregard universal legal procedures and rules by allowing the military to introduce its own regulations and enforce them on the Palestinians. Under such conditions, it is no wonder that Palestinians feel entrapped and helpless to change their miserable circumstances.
I've come late to William Eggleston. He is one of the first modern color art photographers. I missed him in the 1970s but better late then never. My local library has two other Eggleston books I've recommended: William Eggleston and William Eggleston, 2 1/4. While most of his work is in 35mm, for a brief time he worked with a 5x7 view camera. This is a new book with those images. A lot of the black and white was shot in a bar with open flash. Amazing. You can do that with a 5x7? I was most interested in this book since I have a 5x7. There are more possibilites than I thought. Here is a review with some pictures.
After roaming around San Francisco one day last year, photographing with a friend, we went to see a one-time-only screening of William Eggleston’s “Stranded in Canton“. It was the kind of experience that leaves you scratching your head, in the best possible way. Eggleston’s experiment (filmed on a PortaPak in 1973) was so ahead of its time it almost didn’t exist.
Fittingly, the film’s settled into memory as more of a hazy dream than a movie. There’s no story, no plot, no traditional anything - but it’s loaded with characters: real people playing themselves, as they might have, drunk and singing while an observant friend glided around them with an infrared video camera in 1973.
What I didn’t know was that Eggleston was making portraits with a 5×7 view camera around the same time, with help from one of his Canton friends on strobe patrol. Beautifully printed in “5×7” from Twin Palms Publishing, the 57 plates in the book speak distinctly where Canton mostly mumbles.
William Eggleston’s latest monograph features photographs taken during the early 1970s using a large format 5x7 camera. While the book includes imagery typical of the Eggleston oeuvre– streetscapes, parked automobiles, portraits of the strange and disenfranchised–the book also offers never-before-published photographs taken in the nightclubs Eggleston used to frequent.
Smithsonian.com has just posted Emily Yellin’s article about the true story behind this William Eggleston photograph.
There are often interesting stories behind fine art photographs, but artists sometimes choose to let photographs (and viewers’ personal interpretations of photographs) tell their own stories. I personally feel this is one of the most beautiful parts of the experience of art.
Yellin grew up in Memphis, and interviewed Eggleston and the two women in this photograph. It is an interesting look at the story behind the photograph. As many of you know, I lived in Memphis and worked with Eggleston for a few years. During that time, I heard many interesting stories about the circumstances behind photographs that I love.
They Needed to Talk And family friend William Eggleston, his camera at his side, felt compelled to shoot By Emily Yellin
The details are a bit sketchy now, but everyone agrees the picture was taken in Memphis, Tennessee, on a late summer night in 1973. Karen Chatham, the young woman in blue, recalls that she had been out drinking when she met up with Lesa Aldridge, the woman in red. Lesa didn't drink at the time, but both were 18, the legal age then. As the bars closed at 3 a.m., the two followed some other revelers to a friend's house nearby. In the mix was a 30-something man who had been taking pictures all night. "I always thought of Bill as just like us," Karen says today, "until years later, when I realized that he was famous."
The past week was way to busy. Zoe and I did go down to Mukileteo Coffee Company Friday night for some music.
We got there late but the band played on. Celtic harp, hammered dulcimer and concertina/penny whistle. Lovely music. Not much crowd when we got there. Robby and Hannah were there. Robby was working. Ryan and Melanie (I think that's her name.) were there. Melanie works there during the day.
Robby treats his dad right. He keeps me in my drug of choice, which is an Organic French Roast.
The band and Ryan and Melanie left and Zoe and Hannah chatted while Robby and I caught up while he was shutting the place down. A good time.
Saturday was not near so much fun. I had to install new brake pads.