another pocket camera
Solinar, over at the Rangefinder Forum, was kind enough to send me a working shutter for the Agfa Isollette II and it arrived this afternoon. He read that my old shutter wasn't going to work without professional intervention and cleaned up an extra shutter he had. He sent me a Prontor-SV which is newer that the one that came with the camera. The big difference is that it has both M and X synch. It's all back together and loaded with Tri-X. I had to use gaffer's tape to seal the bellows. There will be a new bellows in the future. Red, maybe. And it will fit into my pants pocket. Not bad for a medium format camera (2 1/4 square.)
I'm running out of camera projects! The Leica IIIc will be going off to Oleg within the month (I hope I hope I hope) followed by the second FED 2. That leaves the ultimate box camera — my Series D Graflex 4x5 SLR. This is the camera that my Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar 210mm came from.
It's a 4x5 single lens reflex with a focal plane shutter with shutter speeds up to 1/1,000 of a second. I plan to use it as a studio portrait camera although a lot of very famous pictures were taken with one of these hand held by people like Margaret Bourke-White and Dorothea Lange.
The Answer Is Fear
One benefit of the new AM progressive talk radio in cities around the United States is that the call-in shows have opened a window onto the concerns – and confusion – felt by millions of Americans trying to figure out how their country went from a democratic republic to a modern-day empire based on a cult of personality and a faith-based rejection of reason.
“What went wrong?” you hear them ask. “How did we get here?”
You also hear more detailed questions: “Why won’t the press do its job of holding George W. Bush accountable for misleading the country to war in Iraq? How could the intelligence on Iraq have been so wrong? Why do America’s most powerful institutions sit back while huge trade and budget deficits sap away the nation’s future?”
There are, of course, many answers to these questions. But from my 27 years in the world of Washington journalism and politics, I would say that the most precise answer can be summed up in one word: fear.
Gerard Laurenceau: photographies
thanks to Conscientious
a voice in the wilderness
Joe Bageant is a writer to watch for.
An Interview with Joe Bageant
You have probably read one of Bageant's articles, but who exactly is Joe Bageant? We interview him on his life, his work and his newly found internet cult status.
AP: Thanks Joe for agreeing to be interviewed by a tiny online magazine like ourselves. I know that you are a person who has always championed the little guy. Why is that?
Bageant: Well. hell. I come from a long line of little guys. My daddy never made more than $55 a week in his life, until he was finally so sick he had to go on the dole and get Social Security. He never got past the eighth grade and worked his dick into the dirt. Had his first heart attack before he was 40. And I myself have worked construction labour, in car washes, loaded rail cars, even once had a job chopping up dead rotten hogs with an axe on a big hog industrial farm. I come from America's invisible and non represented people, the ones who shovel the shit and seldom complain. So now I am finally in the middle class, sort of, but I still write from the vantage point of my people because it's the only thing I really know much about. That and lobbing hand grenades at this rogue nation of mine.
thanks to wood s lot
The Politics of the Comfort Zone
The Sleep of Reason Amid Wild Dogs and Gin
By JOE BAGEANT
The hardest thing for garden variety American liberals to grasp is what a truly politicized and hateful place much of America has become---one long mean ditch ruled by feral dogs where the standards of civility no longer apply. The second hardest thing for liberals is to admit that they are comfortably insulated in the middle class and are not going to take any risks in the battle for America's soul not as long as they are still living on a good street, sending their kids to Montessori and getting their slice of the American quiche. Call it the politics of the comfort zone.
Ever on the lookout for free food and brand name booze, I slipped over into the comfort zone on New Year's Day, 2005 to a lovely literary party of urbanites who'd flown in from upper East Coast. They all seem to have country places down here in the Shenandoah Valley these days. So as I minced over fresh salmon with a chic liberal book editor, she said: "I am coming to understand how Karl Rove drove so many of the American people to vote for Bush during the election." (pronouncing "people" in that way of overeducated urban liberals everywhere, indicating that she did not consider herself one of them .) And I am thinking: "JESUS CHRIST LADY, IT'S NOT AS IF IT WERE A LONG DRIVE!"
Thy Will be Done, On Earth as It is in Texas
The Covert Kingdom
By JOE BAGEANT
Not long ago I pulled my car up alongside a tiny wooden church in the woods, a stark white frame box my family built in 1840. And as always, an honest-to-god chill went through me, for the ancestral ghosts presumably hovering over the graves there. From the wide open front door the Pentecostal preacher's message echoed from within the plain wooden walls: "Thank you Gawd for giving us strawng leaders like President Bush during this crieeesis. Praise you Lord and guide him in this battle with Satan's Muslim armies." If I had chosen to go back down the road a mile or so to the sprawling new Bible Baptist church---complete with school facilities, professional sound system and in-house television production---I could have heard approximately the same exhortation. Usually offered at the end of a prayer for sons and daughters of members in the congregation serving in Iraq, it can be heard in any of the thousands upon thousands of praise temples across our republic.
After a lifetime of identity conflict, I have come to accept that, blood-wise, if not politically or spiritually, these are my people. And as a leftist it is very clear to me these days why urban liberals not only fail to understand these people, but do not even know they exist, other than as some general lump of ignorant, intolerant voters called "the religious right," or the "Christian Right," or "neocon Christians." But until progressives come to understand what these people read, hear, are told and deeply believe, we cannot understand American politics, much less be effective. Given fundamentalist Christianity's inherent cultural isolation, it is nearly impossible for most enlightened Americans to imagine, in honest human terms, what fundamentalist Americans believe, let alone understand why we should all care.
The Best of Joe Bageant
some people have way too much time on their hands
Computerized Etch A Sketch
Anyone who has tried to use an Etch A Sketch knows that a good deal of co-ordination is needed in order to draw anything but horizontal and vertical lines. It quickly becomes obvious that a computer would be far better at controlling the horizontal and vertical knobs than a human.
thanks to The Cartoonist
If anyone has any lingering doubts that a rather enormous bubble has been inflated in the U.S. housing market -- at least in those regions benefiting most from our debt-fueled economy -- this news release should put them to rest:
Average U.S. home prices increased 12.5 percent from the first quarter of 2004 through the first quarter of 2005. Appreciation for the most recent quarter was 2.21 percent, or an annualized rate of 8.82 percent. The new data represent the largest four-quarter increase since the third quarter of 2004, when appreciation surpassed any increase in over 25 years.
This exciting news (for real estate speculators anyway) comes to us today courtesy of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, the obscure federal agency charged with overseeing (snort) and regulating (giggle) the giant federally chartered mortgage twins not-so-affectionately known as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- which between them now hold some $1.7 trillion in mortgages or mortgage-backed securities.
the mother of invention
I've done all my product photography with my Mamiya Universal/Super 23 and the 100mm Mamiya lens. Until the shutter jammed. I haven't had it fixed and I needed to shoot some bags for Ace Leather Goods so I pressed the Burke and James into service. The only lens I had mounted was the 254mm Elgeet which is pretty long with the 2.25x3.25 back. I took the Kodak Ektar 127mm lens off the Speed Graphic and built an adapter lens board to do the job. The pictures came out great and it was easier using the Burke and James than the Mamiya. I decided to do a quick and dirty lens test while the camera was set up. I had several other lenses, some that were pretty old, that I wanted to check out to see if they would be useable.
The lower left lens is the Kodak Ektar 127mm from 1947. It's wide angle on 4x5 (36mm equiv.) and slightly long on the 2.25x3.25 back (55mm equiv.) To it's right is a 150mm Carl Zeiss Jena Tessar from a 1930s Speed Graphic. The lens on the upper left is a fast (f3.5) 210mm Carl Zeiss Jenna Tessar from a Graflex Series D 4x5 SLR probably also from the 1930s. Middle top is a 210mm Schneider G-Claron (1972) that Marja-Leena sent me. Upper right is the lens that came with the Burke and James, a 254mm Elgeet from somewhere around the 1960s to 1970s. It's a normal lens for 5x7 but equivalent to a 91mm lens on the 2.25x3.25 back.
I took a series of shots of my work station with the lenses, except for the Elgeet, taped onto the adapter board. I kept backing up so that each lens saw the same scene. The lenses were set to F22 and I used a 1 second exposure.
The red squares are the areas I enlarged for comparasion. I figured the Zeiss 210 would be the worst since the front element was covered with what looked like fungus, some which had etched onto the glass. Then the order would from old to new. I was surprised at the results.
The Ektars have a good reputation so I was surprised to see it last. Maybe there was a little tripod shake. The Zeiss 210 with the fungus did way better than expected. Short on contrast but pretty sharp. I've since taken cold cream to it and the fungus is gone. It should do better. It was a toss up between the Elgeet and old Zeiss 150. I was very surprised the Zeiss did this well. And the Shneider is scary sharp. I expected sharp but this is really sharp. I think all the lenses will be most useable and the two 210s will complement each other. The Schneider is a copy lens and needs to be stopped down to f22 to work. It's f9 wide open which will make it hard to focus in low light. More testing to do.
These pictures were taken with a 2.25x3.25 back but all the lenses will cover 4x5. The border shows the extra area.
And the Schneider and Elgeet will cover 5x7. The border shows the extra area. I have a 5x7 back for this camera I need to repair.
I really only need to pick up a 100mm Wide Field Ektar and I will have a pretty nice and complete set of lenses for very little. And there are some nice 310mm and 350mm Russian lenses that can be had for 35 to 40 dollars. I do need to get some sheet film!
the wait is over
We got word this evening that all three of Zoe's biopsies were cancer free. A weight has fallen. Gloriowski!!
I'm in a bit of a quandry. I'm going to be creating a site for my photography. A lot of the Photography section of this site will be moved over to the new site. I also want to have a blog over there that would be focused on photography. The question is what form does this blog take? I know that some just read the photography and art related links while others just read the political links. I imagine there are some who read both. Should I have a political blog and a photography blog or should I keep them together? Enquiring minds want to know and I do have several minds about this change. Let me know at email@example.com. Don't we all just love change? Thanks.
Sometimes You are Just Screwed
by Juan Cole
In an ideal world, the United States would relinquish Iraq to a United Nations military command, and the world would pony up the troops needed to establish order in the country in return for Iraqi good will in post-war contract bids. But that is not going to happen for many reasons. George W. Bush is a stubborn man and Iraq is his project, and he is not going to give up on it. And, by now the rest of the world knows what would await its troops in Iraq, and political leaders are not so stupid as to send their troops into a meat grinder.
Therefore, I conclude that the United States is stuck in Iraq for the medium term, and perhaps for the long term. The guerrilla war is likely to go on a decade to 15 years. Given the basic facts, of capable, trained and numerous guerrillas, public support for them from Sunnis, access to funding and munitions, increasing civil turmoil, and a relatively small and culturally poorly equipped US military force opposing them, led by a poorly informed and strategically clueless commander-in-chief who has made himself internationally unpopular, there is no near-term solution.
In the long run, say 15 years, the Iraqi Sunnis will probably do as the Lebanese Maronites did, and finally admit that they just cannot remain in control of the country and will have to compromise. That is, if there is still an Iraq at that point.
Risk of Civil War Spreads Fear Across Nation
Many worry that strains between Sunnis and Shiites could ignite a conflict that would overwhelm U.S. troops and the government.
Explosions rip through marketplaces, scattering blood and vegetables and leaving women wailing in the alleys. Bodies bob in rivers and are dug up from garbage dumps and parks. Kidnappers troll the streets, sirens howl through morning prayers and mortar rounds whistle against skylines of minarets.
Iraqis awake each day to the sounds of violence. With little respite, many wonder whether strange, terrible forces are arrayed against them. They fear that weeks of sectarian and clan violence, claiming the lives of all types from imams to barefoot fishermen, are a prelude to civil war.
"I'm worried 24 hours a day," said Zainab Hassan, a university student majoring in computer science. "Whenever I hear bomb or shooting, I call my mother and husband to check if they're OK. I can see a civil war coming, it's obvious. Everybody is talking about it. We have to be more careful."
thanks to Antiwar.com
he Dead and the Undead...
She stood in the crowded room as her drove of minions stood around her...A huddling mass trying to draw closer to her aura of evil. The lights flashed against her fangs as her cruel lips curled into a grimace. It was meant to be a smile but it wouldn't reach her cold, lifeless eyes. It was a leer- the leer of the undead before a feeding...
The above was not a scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer- it was just Condi Rice in Iraq a day ago. At home, we fondly refer to her as The Vampire. She's such a contrast to Bush- he simply looks stupid. She, on the other hand, looks utterly evil.
The last two weeks have been violent. The number of explosions in Baghdad alone is frightening. There have also been several assassinations- bodies being found here and there. It's somewhat disturbing to know that corpses are turning up in the most unexpected places. Many people will tell you it's not wise to eat river fish anymore because they have been nourished on the human remains being dumped into the river. That thought alone has given me more than one sleepless night. It is almost as if Baghdad has turned into a giant graveyard.
In Baghdad there's talk of the latest "Operation Lightning". It hasn't yet been implemented in our area but we've been hearing about it. So far all we've seen are a few additional checkpoints and a disappearing mobile network. Baghdad is actually split into two large regions- Karkh (west Baghdad) and Rasafa (east Baghdad) with the Tigris River separating them. Karkh, according to this plan, is going to be split into 15 smaller areas or sub-districts and Rasafa into 7 sub-districts. There are also going to be 675 checkpoints and all of the entrances to Baghdad are going to be guarded.
We are a little puzzled why Karkh should be split into 15 sub-districts and Rasafa only seven. Karkh is actually smaller in area than Rasafa and less populated. On the other hand, Karkh contains the Green Zone- so that could be a reason. People are also anxious about the 675 check points. It's difficult enough right now getting around Baghdad, more check points are going to make things trickier. The plan includes 40,000 Iraqi security forces and that is making people a little bit uneasy. Iraqi National Guard are not pleasant or upstanding citizens- to have thousands of them scattered about Baghdad stopping cars and possibly harassing civilians is worrying. We're also very worried about the possibility of raids on homes.
Tomgram: Dahr Jamail on Living in Two Worlds
It isn't an accident that, after 11 weeks, only as I'm leaving again, do I find myself able to write about what it was like to come home -- back to the United States after my latest several month stint in Iraq. Only now, with the U.S. growing ever smaller in my rearview mirror, with the strange distance that closeness to Iraq brings, do I find the needed space in which the words begin to flow.
For these last three months, I've been bound up inside, living two lives -- my body walking the streets of my home country; my heart and mind so often still wandering war-ravaged Iraq
Even now, on a train from Philadelphia to New York on my way to catch a plane overseas, my urge is to call Iraq; to call, to be exact, my interpreter and friend, Abu Talat in Baghdad. The papers this morning reported at least four car bombs detonating in the capital; so, to say I was concerned for him would be something of an understatement.
The connection wasn't perfect. But when he heard my voice, still so far away, he shouted with his usual mirth, "How are you my friend?" I might as well be in another universe -- the faultless irreconcilability of my world and his; everything, in fact, tied into this phone call, this friendship, our backgrounds… across these thousands of miles.
I breathe deeply before saying a bit too softly, "I just wanted to know that you're all right, habibi."
The direct translation for "habibi" in Arabic is "my dear." It is used among close friends to express affection and deep trust.
The lies that led to war
A leaked British memo, and other documents, make it clear that Bush intended all along to invade Iraq -- and lied about it to the American people. The full gravity of his offense has not yet sunk in.
by Juan Cole
Lalla Essaydi — Converging Territories
Laurence Miller Gallery takes pleasure in presenting Converging Territories , the first New York one-person show of Moroccan-born artist Lalla Essaydi. Converging Territories is a series of large-format color portraits of women and children taken in a large, unoccupied, family-owned house in Morocco, the same house that as a young woman Essaydi was confined to for a month at a time whenever she transgressed her permissible roles.
Revisiting that house, Essaydi creates a mysterious and timeless space with a cloth background, entirely covered with Islamic calligraphy that she herself has written in henna. She then painstakingly covers the women and children with henna before photographing them in front of the cloth. Essaydi’s intent is to explore cultural patterns within both Arab and Western societies, to reach beyond stereotypes, and to convey her own experience as an Arab woman. She states: “Through these images I am able to suggest the complexity of Arab female identity – as I have known it – and the tension between hierarchy and fluidity at the heart of Arab culture.”
thanks to Marja-Leena Rathje
What do you think of when someone mentions the word “Kansas”? Maybe what leaps to your mind is that it is a farming state that is flat as a pancake, or if you’ve been following current events, the recent kangaroo court/monkey trial, or perhaps it is the drab counterpart to marvelous Oz. It isn’t exactly first on the list of glamourous places. I admit that I tend to read different books than most people, so I have a somewhat skewed perspective on Kansas: the first thing I think of is a magic word.
Late in the 19th century, there was a stampede to the American West to search for fossils of those spectacular beasts, the dinosaurs. Entrepreneurs everywhere were in on it—P.T. Barnum bought up old bones for his shows—and even scientists got caught up in the bone fever. Edward Drinker Cope of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences and Othniel Charles Marsh of Yale were famous rivals in the bone wars, sending teams of men to Wyoming and Utah and Colorado and other Rocky Mountain states to collect the bones of the extinct terrestrial behemoths of the Mesozoic. Kansas was also a target, most famously by the Sternberg family, but it had a different reputation: Kansas is the place to go to find sea monsters.
There is a geological formation in Kansas called the Niobrara Chalk. Actually, it’s not just in Kansas; it extends all the way up into Canada, but the Niobrara has been exposed by erosion over much of northwestern Kansas, making it easy to dig into. And this is where the Sternbergs and Cope and Marsh went hunting for sea monsters.
The author of the above wonderful piece also has his own blog that has become a regular read: Pharyngula. And don't miss out on this cartoon...
Tom the Dancing Bug
thanks to Pharyngula
I've linked to Burtynsky's pictures before. I'm not sure I've linked to his site but there are pictures here I haven't seen before and those that I have seen before are worth seeing again. And he won an award.
thanks to Marja-Leena Rathje
Jim Kuntsler doesn't separate his posts so I have to give you the entire thing. Read his other stuff. Despair.
The Clusterfuck Nation Chronicle — May 16, 2005
by Jim Kunstler
I was in Tallahassee, Florida, last week talking to a large room full of planning officials. My message was pretty straightforward: every new housing subdivision, every new strip mall, every parking lagoon and big box chain-store pod that you issue approvals for from this point on will lead your country deeper into tragedy.
The response was apathetic, as though I were giving a class in Chinese algebra.
Florida is one of the multiple epicenters of a hypertrophic suburban growth machine that has taken the place of the US economy. Reforming it is unimaginable because without the business generated by a cancer-like replication of car infrastructure, the economy would consist of little besides hair cutting, fried chicken, and open heart surgery. In places like Florida (and California, and northern Virginia, and Las Vegas, and Dallas), all citizens are complicit in the drive toward tragedy because all want business-as-usual to continue. The idea that any set of circumstances might put a stop to it is laughable to them. What can you do for such a people determined to commit civilizational suicide?
Meanwhile, a glance at Sunday's New York Times Magazine shows what the supposedly thinking class of America is preoccupied with these days: rescuing architectural Modernism, that 20th century system of asthetic pretensions that affected to celebrate mankind's triumph over nature by way of technology. Those boys are in for a surprise when they discover that nature gave the human race technology in order that we might choose to shoot ourselves in the head when the time came. This is what comes of humans bethinking themselves smarter than nature. Apart from it. Superior to it.
The tragic futility of the suburban growth racket and the towering hubris of Modernism go hand-in-hand. Both rest on ideologies that drive relentlessy toward death. Both depend on a condition of widespread and extreme narcissism among individual members of society to continue their operations. Both represent a kind of wickedness that does not require religious transliteration to understand. Both will be defeated by reality.
Kenro Izu: Light Over Ancient Angkor
the un and iran
In an interview two months ago with Raw Story, former weapons inspector Scott Ritter raged against the neocons as godless parasites whose only gift is for destruction. He argued that the mission of Bush appointees--Rice at the State Department, Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank--is to undermine and subvert the very institutions they run to render them ineffectual and incapable of resistance. And Bolton as the U.S.'s UN representative? Same deal. "A high level source, a NeoCon at that, within the system has said to me directly that John Bolton's job is to destroy the UN..."
"My reliable sources tell me it is because there is a timetable that makes it urgent for Bolton to be ready for action in June in order to cripple the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) as part of the plan to bomb the Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr. That's because Bushehr, under construction with Russian supervision, will soon be ready to receive the Russian fissionable material enabling it to produce power...
"On a recent, quite incredible Fox News special, Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said we are already moving aircraft carriers into positions from which we could strike. He was then asked: 'If you had to put a percentage on it, the chances that the U.S. will eventually have to take military actions against Iran, what would you put it at?' to which McInerney replied casually: 'Well, I would put 1 percent of using ground forces, boots on the ground in Iran, I would put up 50 percent on a blockade, and I would put up 50 to 60 percent on precision air strikes on their nuclear development sites.' He also observed casually that Iran wouldn't dare take on the United States. Perhaps the 60 million Iranians would greet our bombers with garlands and sweets. Do you see what I mean? Fox News, as you may know, is commonly known as 'The War Channel,' for similar work it did in promoting the war against Iraq.
Tomgram: Dilip Hiro on the Iran Nuclear Crisis
The European negotiators seem aware of the dire consequences of military arracks on Iran by Israel or the United States. Until now, they seemingly wanted to keep the talks simmering along, hoping that a pragmatic winner in the presidential election on June 17 could open the way for accommodation on the issue. "Pragmatic" is their code word for Ali Akbar Hashemi Rasfanjani, a wily politician who, along with Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei, is now the only surviving member of the top leadership that was instrumental in bringing about the Islamic revolution in 1979.
The Iranians do not seem unduly worried that the emergency meeting of the IAEA governors will postpone the discussion of the Europeans' complaint to their regular quarterly meeting, due to take place just a few days before the Iranian presidential election. Even if the issue is referred to the UN Security Council, there is a very strong chance that China and Russia will veto any resolution imposing sanctions on Iran. Overall, The Iranians feel that this issue, if pushed into the international arena, will cause a global divide between the developing world and the Western world. It may be that they are overestimating, but there is no doubt that this is an issue of paramount importance in international affairs.
chainwheel tattoo project
thanks to Coudal Partners
Israel's identity crisis
For decades, Israelis have put off facing a simple question: Is Israel a Jewish state, or a state of all its citizens? But with Palestinians soon to become a majority, the issue can no longer be ducked.
Demography is the underlying force driving Israel's policy toward the Palestinians. It determines political debate over the Jewish state's identity and borders. And it is the unspoken, but crucial factor behind Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decisions to unilaterally withdraw Israeli settlers from the Gaza strip, to build a "separation barrier" in the West Bank, and more recently, to approve a controversial law preventing any Palestinian who marries an Israeli from becoming an Israeli citizen. All these measures are aimed at preserving the Jewish majority, seen as a pillar of long-term national survival. And they are forcing Israelis to address head-on the most fundamental and delicate questions about their national identity.
When Israeli Jews mention "demography," what they really mean is their fear of becoming a minority in the land, given the Arab population's higher fertility rate. Public threats by their adversaries, that "the Palestinian womb" will eventually decide the decades-old contest for Palestine, are fueling this fear. The recent intifada, the four-year Palestinian-Israeli war of attrition, convinced many Israelis that their country's future as a Jewish state, as opposed to a binational one, is dependent upon winning the demographic war. Even diehard right-wingers, former believers in "greater Israel," now advocate partition along ethnic lines, with a large Jewish majority on the Israeli side. And in recent years the "demographic left" has grown stronger, certainly compared to Israel's shrinking ideological left. In the end, it seems, births have helped the Palestinian cause more than bombs and bullets.
The Palestinian Gandhi
So the problem is the perpetrators, not the victims: it's Israel, not the Palestinians. The Palestinians don't have to watch the Gandhi film. They fought the First Intifada with stones (1987-1993) and were answered with Israeli bullets. They fought the Second Intifada (2000-2004) with weapons and were answered with Israeli tanks, Caterpillar bulldozers, and airplanes. And they now start a Third Intifada, a popular, unarmed, nonviolent struggle against the strangulating fence, which is answered with Israeli undercover soldiers who throw stones and want us to believe the Palestinians have done it.
There are thousands of Palestinian Gandhis out there, then: whole villages that demonstrate daily and peacefully against the robbery of their land and livelihood. Alas, their voices are unheard – because of the Israeli undercover soldiers who throw stones from within these peaceful demonstrations, and because of commentators and movie stars who then wonder, "Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?"
PALESTINE HAS NEW POWERFUL FRIEND
The Chinese push to line up a web of interlocking alliances and accords and trade agreements is historic and astonishing and amusing to witness particularily since 90% of this activity is deliberately hidden from the American people by our own media which considers this to be a non-story.
It is the biggest story. Bar none. Bigger than anything else going on right now. Tracing this activity and understanding what it means is very important. The latest conquest without firing a shot: Palestine.
Pictures from the end of the USSR
JUNE 1992 Almalyk, Uzbekistan Smelting copper and drawing copper cable at the Order of Lenin and Red Banner Metallurgical Factory. Both mine and mill are in the Fergana Valley, a rich source of strategic minerals. Workers here have always been well paid, so it’s no surprise they support the old system.
The Worst Blunder Bush Could Make
I regard a war with China – hot or cold – as perhaps the greatest strategic blunder the United States could make, beyond those it has already made. The end result would be the same as that from the 20th century wars between Britain and Germany: it reduced both to second-rate powers. In the 21st century, the real victors would be the non-state forces of the Fourth Generation, who would fill the gap created by the reduction of both Chinese and American power.
Given my foreboding – in George W. Bush's Washington, it seems the rule is that any blunder we can make, we will make – I was struck by the title of Robert D. Kaplan's article in the June Atlantic Monthly, "How We Would Fight China." Kaplan has written some excellent material on the breakdown of the state and the rise of non-state elements.
Here, however, I think he gets it wrong. Kaplan sees the 21st century being defined by a new Cold War between China and the United States, rather than the clash between states and non-state forces. I believe this phenomenon will be far more century-shaping than any conflict between states.
I've revised my gordy's camera straps web site. I've been adding more options so I've made it a multi-page site. I now have red thread and can get a variety of other colored thread.
I've also started a gallery page with some of my customer's cameras with their gordy straps.
If any of my readers have cameras (we know you all do), purchasing one of my camera straps is a good way of supporting this blog and getting a super camera strap in the bargain! Just a thought. You can get them here.
Running Out of Bubbles
by Paul Krugman
Remember the stock market bubble? With everything that's happened since 2000, it feels like ancient history. But a few pessimists, notably Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley, argue that we have not yet paid the price for our past excesses.
I've never fully accepted that view. But looking at the housing market, I'm starting to reconsider.
In July 2001, Paul McCulley, an economist at Pimco, the giant bond fund, predicted that the Federal Reserve would simply replace one bubble with another. "There is room," he wrote, "for the Fed to create a bubble in housing prices, if necessary, to sustain American hedonism. And I think the Fed has the will to do so, even though political correctness would demand that Mr. Greenspan deny any such thing."
As Mr. McCulley predicted, interest rate cuts led to soaring home prices, which led in turn not just to a construction boom but to high consumer spending, because homeowners used mortgage refinancing to go deeper into debt. All of this created jobs to make up for those lost when the stock bubble burst.
Now the question is what can replace the housing bubble.
We still don't have the results back from Zoe's biopsies. Friday the nurse said the results were "inconclusive". What does that mean!? Hopefully we find out more tomorrow.
The good news is that we have all of Gerry's (Zoe's mom) stuff moved out of her house and that is done with. Now we have a garage full of stuff we need to homes for. It's not that bad. Another day and that will all be put away.
Now to see if I remember how to make entries with links!