Hello...is anybody still out there? I've been uncharacteristerically silent here. I've been busy with a couple of large projects. Then Thursday was spent getting Zoe's boat out of the water. The motor seems to be frozen and I had to tow it with a row boat to the launch ramp to get it on a trailer and the tide was too low to get it on the trailer correctly and we...but that's another story. I've also been transferring a bunch of Whidbey Island oral histories from tape to .wav files for the South Whidbey Historical Society. I finished a website for The Shifty Sailors. And then there has been the heat wave. My computer runs warm. When it gets into the 90s outside, the inside of my house gets to warm for the little computer fans to keep up. For three days now, it's been too hot to run my computer after around 10 in the morning until around 8 in the evening. All of that has sure slowed down the blogging.
One of the projects was for Barb and Ralph at ShadowFax Jewelry. I've been making additions to their website and Barb has been making a ring for me. Actually, the ring was for Zoe.
Last night I picked up the ring, came home, and called up Zoe to ask her to go rowing. (I live on this little lake called Honeymoon Lake.) She was busy and didn't want to come until I said "pleeeeease". I picked her up (15 houses away) and we launched the boat from my back yard onto the lake. It was probably the most beautiful evening we've had on the lake. It's been hot but the lake was in shade (it was a little after 8 in the evening) and the water was like glass. We rowed a little way out and then Zoe said she wanted to row. I said that first I had something to ask her. I pulled the little white silk brocade covered ring box out, held it out to her, opened it up, and asked her to marry me.
I caught her completely by suprise. She said yes. We then rowed up, and then down, Honeymoon Lake while she tried to start breathing again.
Here is the ring.
It's in two pieces that interlock. Zoe is wearing the one with the larger diamond and, before the wedding, Barb will solder the two pieces together. When the two pieces are together, there is a little gap on the inside of the ring. Barb, as a wedding present, will put a small diamond there when she solders the rings together. Thanks, Barb, for a work of art.
Sharon actually seems to be conceding that some settlements have to go. Time will tell whether Sharon is telling Bush what he wants to hear or maybe Sharon has actually changed. Maybe the idiot in the White House will, like Nixon going to China, actually get something right. How far Sharon is willing to move from his concept of Bantustans as a Palestinian state remains to be seen. Hope springs eternal.
Bush tells Israel to abandon West Bank settlements
George Bush served notice on Israel yesterday that it must evacuate Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The US President gave the warning at a gathering with Arab leaders in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.
"Israel has got responsibilities. Israel must deal with the settlements. Israel must make sure there is a continuous territory that the Palestinians can call home," Mr Bush said.
"Did you know the tree owl can turn its head 270 degrees?" was the CBS trivia question last week in an apparent synopsis of its report on Israel's agreeing to George W. Bush's road map. Bush emphasizes the "W" in interviews with the Arab press, perhaps to hint that he's a new, more determined version of his father, who was also president.
Bush Sticks to the Broad Strokes
President Bush, who today begins his first high-profile effort at Middle East peacemaking, is convinced that Israel must accept a Palestinian state to ensure its survival, according to current and former aides who have heard him discuss the subject. But they say he has shown little interest in the details of the complex disputes in the region and remains skeptical of intervening deeply in the negotiating process.
Bush often has a viscerally negative reaction when officials try to delve deeply into issues -- such as the final borders of Israel and a Palestinian state, or the status of Jerusalem -- that are central to the conflict, according to people who have participated in discussions with the president. President Bill Clinton at the end of his term debated those questions at length with Israelis and Palestinians, but Bush dismisses them as "all those old issues," two participants in interagency debates said.
The president has baffled some of his aides with comments they thought minimized the obstacles toward the two-state solution he talks about. For instance, the president has told aides that the Israelis are wasting their money on expanding settlements in the West Bank because ultimately those projects will become housing developments for Palestinians.
Some aides suggest this is a naive view of the settlement issue, noting that experts on both sides of the issue believe unchecked expansion of the settlements would make it impossible to create a viable Palestinian state. Other Bush advisers say the president's comments simply reflected his determination to create a Palestinian state.
thanks to Altercation
To signify a new era of American peacemaking in the Middle East, the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers are to appear together publicly for the first time here on Wednesday, in the company of the American president.
A lot has stood in the way of this image: Palestinian terrorism, Israeli occupation, a swimming pool.
The Americans have dealt decisively with that last obstacle: White House operatives had the Jordanians build a bridge over the pool behind the king's new palace here, officials said, so that the leaders could walk over the water, side by side, toward the massed cameras.
The Electronic Intifada and others have warned on several recent occasions of Israel's ongoing slide into extremism, anti-democratic practices, and the increasing popularity of what is a blatantly genocidal policy of the population transfer of Palestinians. The active promotion of these concepts by American politicians and other public figures, and the tacit acceptance of these disturbing calls by US-based pro-Israel organisations and the US media should concern decent people everywhere (see the Related Links below for reports of these instances).
Today, an Israeli research institute is spelling out how widespread these views have become among Israel's Jewish population. Will we take note and take action, or will we continue to be lulled into inaction by the endless repetition of the oxymoronic phrase "Israeli democracy", even as Israel daily kills and otherwise drives West Bank and Gazan Palestinians off their ancestral homeland, and even as most of Israel's Jewish population fantasise about a country ethnically cleansed of the Arab citizens living within Israel's own borders?
thanks to Geisha asobi blog
The Day of the Jackals
Mesopotamia. Babylon. The Tigris and Euphrates. How many children, in how many classrooms, over how many centuries, have hang-glided through the past, transported on the wings of these words?
And now the bombs have fallen, incinerating and humiliating that ancient civilization. On the steel torsos of their missiles, adolescent American soldiers scrawled colorful messages in childish handwriting: For Saddam, from the Fat Boy Posse.
A building went down. A marketplace. A home. A girl who loved a boy. A child who only ever wanted to play with his older brother's marbles.
On March 21 – the day after American and British troops began their illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq – an "embedded" CNN correspondent interviewed an American soldier. "I wanna get in there and get my nose dirty," Private A.J. said. "I wanna take revenge for 9/11."
To be fair to the correspondent, even though he was "embedded" he did sort of weakly suggest that so far there was no real evidence that linked the Iraqi government to the September 11, 2001, attacks. Private A.J. stuck his teenage tongue out all the way down to the end of his chin. "Yeah, well that stuff's way over my head," he said.
... And The Truth The Victors Refuse To See
Iraqis, it now seems certain, are to be blessed this week with a visit from their Liberator-in-Chief, George Bush Jr. While Washington has been avoiding all mention of the trip, the new Iraqi newspapers - one of the few positive results of “liberation” here - have been happily speculating for days on Bush’s arrival.
And we all know what the American President would like to do when he arrives: to be filmed inspecting Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, the purported reason for the Anglo-American invasion illegally launched against Iraq. The problem, of course, is that there don’t appear to be any.
So how will the Bush public relations boys manage this particular piece of theatre? Here’s an idea of what they are preparing, the stage-managed “victory” tour of George W Bush. But first, this is what the President should be doing if he really wants to understand the epic crisis that now confronts the nation he was so keen to “liberate”.
First, join a gas queue. George Bush will help to push his limousine to the back of the three-mile petrol line by the Hussein bridge - many motorists run dry before they reach the queue - and here he will wait ... and wait and wait. Eight hours if he’s lucky, maybe 12. Maybe 24.
Boy, we've gone from expecting flower-throwing cheering throngs to shoving rifle barrels down the throats of passing motorists.
But please don't blame the troops. They have been placed in an untenable position by the Pentagon's Chickenhawk cabal.
The Pentagon Brass executed a brilliant war (helped, it turned out, by bucketloads of the best weapon in the US arsenal -- CASH), but now it must be forced to pacify a restless and hostile nation. And the more Americans die, the worse the situation becomes.
That picture must be of one of those Iraqi's enjoying their new found freedom.
thanks to Whiskey Bar
Iraq war looking less like a success
thanks to Whiskey Bar
Post-war Baghdad a city in chaos
U.S. Increases Role in Picking Iraqi Leaders
Personal Voices: Kilroy's Still Here
This handy device is as easy-to-use as it is brilliant! The Candlelight Rotisserie works exactly like the chicken rotisserie or the shish-kebab rotisserie. There's one major difference, though. It is smaller. Much, much smaller.
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
When someone like Noam Chomsky or Susan Sontag dares to criticize United States foreign policy, they are quickly labeled "terrorist sympathizers," and roundly denounced. Well, I wonder how soon the vociferious denunciations of these actual terrorist sympathizers will begin.
Crystal Davis doesn't quite side with Eric Rudolph, but she sympathizes with him.
"He's a Christian and I'm a Christian and he dedicated his life to fighting abortion," said Mrs. Davis, 25, mother of four. "Those are our values. And I don't see what he did as a terrorist act."
Yes, and--if the charges turn out to be true--nothing represents the values of the good, decent, salt of the earth, hardworking, churchgoing, loyal and patriotic citizens of backwoods North Carolina like planting a goddamn pipe bomb in the middle of the Olympics.
The townspeople in Murphy, North Carolina that cheered Rudolph, or at the very least kept their mouths closed about his presence in the town, did so because they also believe that America is under attack from blacks, Jews, immigrants, gays, feminists, and abortionists. They blame liberal bureaucrats in Washington for mollycoddling gays and minorities, usurping the Constitution and corrupting American values.
The legion of publications and websites, and in a few places radio stations, of the so-called anti-government activists read and sound like a who's who of white supremacy. They are crammed with the standard racist and gender baiting articles that proclaim that white Christians must rule America, the federal government is the enemy, and that terror is an acceptable weapon in their war to reclaim America. Rudolph apparently was a passionate believer in that view. The years that he spent on the lam, even with a million dollar price tag on him and his mug on the FBI's ten most wanted list, is ample proof that there are still plenty of people who share Rudolph's deadly, hate-filled views, and were perhaps even willing to aid and abet him. If he is a "lone nut' then he has a lot of company.
New stuff! Great scans!
EphemeraNow.com is a Web site dedicated to the advertising and illustration art of mid-century America.
thanks to Coudal Partners
all lies, all the time
The mystery of Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction has become a lot less mysterious. Recent reports in major British newspapers and three major American news magazines, based on leaks from angry intelligence officials, back up the sources who told my colleague Nicholas Kristof that the Bush administration "grossly manipulated intelligence" about W.M.D.'s.
And anyone who talks about an "intelligence failure" is missing the point. The problem lay not with intelligence professionals, but with the Bush and Blair administrations. They wanted a war, so they demanded reports supporting their case, while dismissing contrary evidence.
In Britain, the news media have not been shy about drawing the obvious implications, and the outrage has not been limited to war opponents. The Times of London was ardently pro-war; nonetheless, it ran an analysis under the headline "Lie Another Day." The paper drew parallels between the selling of the war and other misleading claims: "The government is seen as having `spun' the threat from Saddam's weapons just as it spins everything else."
Yet few have made the same argument in this country, even though "spin" is far too mild a word for what the Bush administration does, all the time. Suggestions that the public was manipulated into supporting an Iraq war gain credibility from the fact that misrepresentation and deception are standard operating procedure for this administration, which — to an extent never before seen in U.S. history — systematically and brazenly distorts the facts.
Even by the standards of the Bush Administration, last week was a remarkable one for diplomatic folly. Paul Wolfowitz, the Assistant Defence Secretary, disclosed that the US wilfully exaggerated the threat of weapons of mass destruction, to rally support for an Iraq war. Likewise, Wolfowitz's boss, Donald Rumsfeld, declared that he has little expectation of finding any WMDs. He then launched a new round of sabre-rattling against Iran. So much for the gleeful banner under which President Bush greeted a homebound American aircraft-carrier crew: "Mission accomplished".
The leading lights of the US Defence Department always made it plain that disarming Saddam was a pretext for regime change in Iraq. Yet that pretext was the basis of a massive American diplomatic offensive. Tony Blair explicitly told the British people that disarming Saddam justified taking Britain to war. That argument was fraudulent.
Some of us, who accepted public and private Whitehall assurances about WMDs, today feel rather silly. Robin Cook is crowing, and well he may. He said that WMDs did not exist. He appears to have been right. It is irrelevant that the Allies won the war. The Prime Minister committed British troops and sacrificed British lives on the basis of a deceit, and it stinks.
thanks to American Samizdat
This is what I don't understand: All of a sudden nothing seems to matter.
First, they said they wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive." But they didn't get him. So now they tell us that it doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man.
Then they said they wanted Saddam Hussein, "dead or alive." He's apparently alive but we haven't got him yet, either. However, President Bush told reporters recently, "It doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man."
Finally, they told us that we were invading Iraq to destroy their weapons of mass destruction. Now they say those weapons probably don't exist. Maybe never existed. Apparently that doesn't matter either.
Except that it does matter.
thanks to Cursor
thanks to The Solipsistic Gazete
With a record-setting 2 million people now locked up in American jails and prisons, the United States has overtaken Russia and has a higher percentage of its citizens behind bars than any other country.
Those are the latest dreary milestones resulting from a two-decade imprisonment boom that experts say has probably helped reduce crime but also has created ballooning costs and stark racial inequities.
"Why, in the land of the free, should 2 million men, women and children be locked up?" asks Andrew Coyle, director of the International Centre for Prison Studies at the University of London and a leading authority on incarceration.
thanks to Eschaton
LO ZOO DI CARTA
La rappresentazione degli animali costituisce, accanto alla raffigurazione dell'immagine umana, uno dei temi piů antichi e universali della storia dell'arte figurativa.
La mostra ripercorre un tratto significativo di questa storia: i tre secoli, dal Cinquecento al Settecento, che vedono la nascita e l'affermazione dello studio della natura come disciplina scientifica.
U. Aldrovandi, De piscibus libri V et de cetis lib. unus Bononiae, apud Io. B. Bellagambam, 1613.
thanks to Giornale Nuovo
U.S. communications regulators on Monday narrowly approved sweeping new rules that will allow television broadcasters to expand their reach, despite fears about reducing the diversity of viewpoints.
thanks to daily KOS
Today, after a long and ludicrous debate forced upon it by "interest" groups such as Internet users and those concerned with freedom of speech, the Federal Communications Commission will issue a completely just ruling. Let us all hail the abolition of an antiquated system of rules that prevents large companies from owning a newspaper and a television station in the same market! We welcome media companies, those most backward-looking of all capitalist enterprises, into the 21st Century. Please allow me to be the first to say: Howdy-do, neighbor!
The FCC's critics obviously have no conception of how the media works. I've worked for many newspapers and magazines, and appeared on television somewhere between four and eight times. I can tell you for certain that the corporate owners of media outlets never, ever, ever influence content, particularly when it comes to environmental news. So stop worrying, you ninnys. The situation has improved drasticallly. Why, I remember 1974 like it was 2000. At 4 PM on any given weekday, your only viewing options were Zoom on PBS, a showing of some old movie like Key Largo on a UHF station, and reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Now look at our choices. Surf Girls, for one, on MTV. J Lo's Top 10 Hot Motorcycles on VH1. Black Judge Court on WGN. Truth Report with Shep Smith on Fox News. And those are just my four favorite stations. There are so many more, some of them sports-related, some of them geared toward women, some of them showing loud Japanese cartoons. So how can people honestly say there's no diversity in media?
I believe it was my mentor at Oxbridge, Sir Francis Crapshoot, who said, "an excess of information, if controlled by a excess of providers, inevitably leads to public confusion, followed by free thought and free elections. This can never be healthy for a country fortunate enough to be led by a man sent by God to bring peace and prosperity to all corners of the earth willing to practice abstinence before marriage." I believe that says it all. Antiquated rules of media ownership just get in the way of our divine mission.
The Federal Communications Commission is about to make big, powerful media corporations in this country even bigger and more powerful.
It now appears all but certain that the FCC will vote — probably Monday — to significantly relax the ownership rules that have long kept alive, if only barely, a sense of competition and independence among the nation's news media.
thanks to Cursor
If Mr. Hyman's tan looked out of place in central Michigan, or if his commentary seemed ill suited to a city with a large population of minority groups, there was good reason. Mr. Hyman was actually in a studio just outside Baltimore, not sharing a set with the Flint news team. As he does most nights, Mr. Hyman also addressed audiences of local news programs in cities across the country, including Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City and Rochester, from right where he sat in Hunt Valley, Md.
Mr. Hyman is part of a national team of anchors, commentators and weathercasters that, when plans are complete, will report for all 62 television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair calls it "Central Casting." To the company, it is an efficient way to cut the costs of local journalism, bringing news to small stations that otherwise would go without.
But to opponents of a proposal before the Federal Communications Commission to loosen media ownership rules, the set in Maryland is a frightening sign of things to come.
The pictures from last night's TestingTesting, with Barton Cole, are up.
The show was a lot of fun, but now it's back to reality land. Customers are coming over and I will need to do some work that pays money. Back later.
The sound and guestbook archive is up for Barton Cole's show. Pictures up soon. The TestingTesting House Band was having entirely too much fun.
Well, it's that other Monday night again and time for another TestingTesting webcast from my living room. Our special guest is Barton Cole. Regular listeners to TT will recognize Barton as our token spoken word person, with his "Commentary from the Wires." Barton is also a fine poet who likes to read his poetry with musical accompaniment. Now, don't run away because of the poetry word. Barton, backed up by the TestingTesting House Band, is always a treat. So, click on in at 7pm (pacific) (other time zones at the website) for an evening of words and musical amazement.
The TT House Band will be Steve Showell, Joanne Rouse, Derek Parrott, and Lisa Toomey. Lisa said she has a new song she will be playing. We are looking forward to it.
A good time will be had by all. So, be sure to click on in.
Buy a book — feed a cartoonist. It's important.
This is a story about the comics business, but it's not funny.
One of the country's largest publishers of art comics, Fantagraphics Books in Lake City, says it's in crisis, facing debts of more than $70,000 and the possibility of shutting down or selling out.
The 27-year-old private company is one of the original forces behind the underground-comics movement symbolized by R. Crumb, whose infrequent new work it continues to publish.
Fantagraphics also published Daniel Clowes' "Ghost World," which formed the basis for the Academy Award-nominated 2001 movie of the same name. It produces a monthly magazine about the comics business, as well as 50 softcover books and 25 comic books a year by 50 artists nationwide, including three Seattle residents.
Fantagraphics Books Needs Your Help!
Buy Books! Keep Us Alive!
To Comics Lovers Throughout the World:
Fantagraphics Books has just celebrated its 27th year publishing many of the finest cartoonists from all over the world as well as our flagship publication, the magazine people love to hate, The Comics Journal. We are proud of our long-term commitment to comics as an art form and our dogged determination to push excellence down everybody’s throats. This is all very well and good but it doesn’t mean much in the face of brute economics — and it’s the wall of brute economics that we’ve just hit, hard.
Waggy Dog Stories
An administration hypes the threat posed by a foreign power. It talks of links to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism; it warns about a nuclear weapons program. The news media play along, and the country is swept up in war fever. The war drives everything else — including scandals involving administration officials — from the public's consciousness.
The 1997 movie "Wag the Dog" had quite a plot.
Although the movie's title has entered the language, I don't know how many people have watched it lately. Read the screenplay. If you don't think it bears a resemblance to recent events, you're in denial.
The Rise of a Bigger, Better Taliban
We told you so.
We warned the Bush Administration that invading Iraq would destabilize the Middle East and spread radical anti-American Islamism. We told the American people that taking out Saddam Hussein without a viable government to replace him would open a vacuum for anarchy, civil war and a power grab by radical Iranian-backed Shiite clerics. Now the antiwar movement's doomsday scenarios have been fulfilled so completely that military history scarcely mentions a more thoroughly botched endeavor – and we'll be living with the fallout for years.
It looks like the WMD story has legs. Driving the increasingly aggressive coverage is the willingness of many inside the US intelligence community to come forth with their frustrations.
The entire intelligence apparatus is suddenly under fire, and it has no intentions on taking the hit for Bush and Rumsfeld's politicizing of the intelligence process. It's making sure the blame rests squarely where it belongs, and it looks as though the media is looking at the right place.
Even Powell has come under fire for his LIES at the UN Security Council. Imagine that!
Straw, Powell had serious doubts over their Iraqi weapons claims
Jack Straw and his US counterpart, Colin Powell, privately expressed serious doubts about the quality of intelligence on Iraq's banned weapons programme at the very time they were publicly trumpeting it to get UN support for a war on Iraq, the Guardian has learned.
The leading American marine general in Iraq conceded yesterday that intelligence reports that chemical weapons had been deployed around Baghdad before the war were "wrong".
The admission came at a time when the quality of the intelligence underlying the US and British allegations against Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the conflict is increasingly questioned.
Lieutenant General James Conway, the commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said he had been convinced that before and during the war, shells with chemical warheads had been distributed to republican guard units around Baghdad.
"It was a surprise to me then - it remains a surprise to me now - that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites," he told reporters in a video-conference at the Pentagon yesterday.
"Believe me, it's not for lack of trying," he added. "We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there."
I was channel surfing while spending a Friday night scanning notes and watching DVD movies on my monitor when I saw Ken Adelman of PNAC say the "real weapon of mass destruction" was Saddam Hussein.
I was irritated when I saw him say such an idiotic thing, but I'm growing less worried about the lack of these weapons than the way we're deploying troops to Iraq. The 3rd Infantry Division needs to come home. They're getting mean and angry. The people around them are growing to hate them. These are conditions ripe for a massacre of some sort. By either side.
Look, every day this unit is in theater, the risk of something really, really bad happening grows. There's a growing sense of being trapped here. They have no idea when they're going home and every day they spend there is a day in combat.
So you now have a unit which has been deployed for eight months and in combat for two. Keep in mind. most WW II divisions saw 30 days of combat. The 3ID is looking at 75 days with no relief in sight.
The shocking extent of unexploded cluster bombs dropped by American and British planes, which litter Iraq eight weeks after the conflict, is revealed in detail for the first time today.
The first map based on military intelligence to show the exact location of unexploded anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs and anti-tank mines, obtained by The Observer, shows the vast area of the country which is at danger from live munitions.
Experts in clearing conflict zones of unexploded bombs say that millions of Iraqi adults and children are at risk, along with humanitarian aid workers, United Nations personnel, civilian staff and military officials.
Its revelation raises fresh questions for Tony Blair and George Bush, who insisted that post-conflict Iraq would be a safer place than it was under Saddam Hussein.
In 1938 the Spanish artist Joan Miró (1893-1983) created a landmark series of eight etchings in black and red. This Web site and the exhibition it accompanies celebrate The Museum of Modern Art's acquisition of an entire set of these etchings. The site, like the exhibition, is organized to explore several areas with impact on the significance of the Black and Red Series. These are: the learning process involved in the technique of etching; artistic currents of Surrealism, the prevailing artistic movement; the social and political effects of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39; and the specific imagery in Miro's art at this time.
thanks to plep
You won't find the latest in corporate
EMusic has partnerships with over 900 independent record labels to offer their catalogs in MP3. Our selection features all styles of music, but we specialize in genres that can be hard to find in traditional record stores, such as electronic, alternative/punk, urban/hip-hop, classical, jazz, blues, metal and world/reggae.
You can download (full length tracks, complete albums, unlimited access), play (download once, play anywhere, on your computer, on your portable player, on any MP3 or CD player), and burn (create and mix your own CDs, no limits!, burn as much as you want). Burn, baby, burn! These are high quality tracks and the labels and musicians are getting paid. They offer unlimited MP3 downloads for a flat monthly fee ranging from $9.99 (for a 12-month minimum) to $14.99 (for a 3-month minimum). I joined about a year and a half ago when I discovered they had many of John Fahey's early albums. Those albums are worth all the money I've spent at Emusic, not to mention the other 15 gigabytes of downloads.
J-Walk has a list of recommended CDs that he has downloaded recently. Check them out. I've added most of them to my EMusic Stash. Here are some of my recommendations.
Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Hot Sevens
Airto Moreira and Flora Purim
The Carter Family
Holy Modal Rounders
Maybeck Hall Series
Creedence Clearwater Revival
There is a whole lot more. Enjoy.
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
the end of democracy — of what little that is left
Tomorrow could well be the final stake into the heart of democracy, in this country.
Monopoly or Democracy?
On Monday the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to adopt dramatic rule changes that will extend the market dominance of the five media corporations that control most of what Americans read, see and hear. I am a major shareholder in the largest of those five corporations, yet -- speaking only for myself, and not for AOL Time Warner -- I oppose these rules. They will stifle debate, inhibit new ideas and shut out smaller businesses trying to compete. If these rules had been in place in 1970, it would have been virtually impossible for me to start Turner Broadcasting or, 10 years later, to launch CNN.
Rotten, Old-Fashioned Corruption at the FCC
This is a gross scandal. The Center for Public Integrity has a stunning study out on the concentration of ownership in telecommunications. The even more stunning news is that the Federal Communications Commission, which theoretically represents you and me, is about to make all of it even worse. And behind this betrayal of the public trust is nothing but rotten, old-fashioned corruption. It's the old free-trip-to-Vegas ploy, on a grand scale.
This series of pictures began after finding a dead wren at the front of my house. The tiny bird seemed so very still, in complete contrast to its active scolding life. I was struck by the parallel with photography - the stopping in time, the resemblance that isn't quite the same and the stillness. Impulsively I made a photograph.
As I made more pictures I began to realise that I was not only exploring these mysteries but also attitudes towards death in our society. Death is not part of our lives. We rarely see it, hear it or touch it - and yet we see hundreds of symbolic deaths everyday - on television, in the cinema, novels and comics.
In making the photographs I discovered powerful and often contradictory emotions. Death can be both tragic and comic, sad but welcome, or its violence tinged with relief. I have tried to understand some of the ambiguities that are woven into our discourse with death; and to confront the fear embodied in stillness.
thanks to The Solipsistic Gazete
People's reaction to dead animals is interesting. Death is denied in this society. But it is there and it is inevitable. Death should not be a surprise, but it so often is. I've done a scanning series on dead bugs. I also did a scanned picture of a dead bird.
For most of the last two generations, the global economic system operated under a paradoxical division of labor. Americans consumed, while Asians--and much of the rest of the world--saved. The vast American consumer market helped drive the whole world economy. But since Americans were spending at such a prodigious clip, they weren't able to save much. That created two problems: There wasn't a lot of capital for business investment and even less to make up for the country's huge current account deficit--a function of our buying more from foreigners than we sell them. That's where the saving of the rest of the world came in. Foreigners saved so much that they had plenty of capital to invest--and where better to invest it than in the galloping, consumer-driven American economy?
Foreign investors, banks, and other companies purchased American equities, treasuries, and greenbacks, and invested in the United States (According to a recent Merrill Lynch report, the United States absorbed nearly three-quarters of the savings of the world's major industrial countries in 2002.) This inflow of foreign capital has kept America's current account deficit stable and U.S. inflation low, making it easier for American consumers to keep on buying. Asians, meanwhile, needed our consumption-driven economy because their export-driven economies thrived on Americans who spent every dollar they earned, and then some. This division of labor may have been morally dysfunctional. But as a global economic order, it worked like a charm.
Of course, economists long warned that the system was inherently unstable. If foreigners suddenly lost faith in the U.S. economy and pulled out their billions, the market would bid the value of the dollar down dramatically. Indeed, since the stock market bubble burst in 2000 that's already begun to happen. In the last two years, foreign investment in the U.S. economy has plummeted to levels last seen in the early 1990s. With America at war against terrorism, anxious economists now worry that rising anti-Americanism or just the war-induced strains on the American economy could prolong the foreign investment drought or dry it up even more, leading to a sharp devaluation of the dollar, and perhaps even a cycle of worldwide recession.
There's no way to predict if any of this will come to pass. But the crux of the problem is that these possibilities remain outside America's control. The only way to truly solve the problem is for Americans to save more at home or sell more goods and services overseas. Ironically, though, what may bring the whole system crashing down once and for all is one of America's own most rapidly growing exports: credit cards.
beer is good
Some scarce or popular labels from my collection of Northeast cans. I'm very interested in acquiring cans from New England and welcome the opportunity to purchase or trade for them.
thanks to Coudal Partners