not as much change as we need but I will settle for liberty
Obama and the Fall Into Tyranny
The Hard Choice
Where is the hope when Obama endorses a foreign policy that benefits only Israeli territorial expansion and an economic policy that benefits only multimillionaires and billionaires?
The answer is that Obama’s election would signify the electorate’s rejection of Bush and the Republicans. Considering the cowardice of the Democratic Congress and its reluctance to hold a criminal regime accountable, electoral defeat is the only accountability that the Bush Republicans are likely to experience.
It is not sufficient accountability, but at least it is some accountability.
If the Republicans win the election and escape accountability, the damage Republicans have done to the US Constitution, civil liberty, and a free society will be irreversible. The Bush Regime and its totalitarians have openly violated US law against spying on Americans without warrants and US and international laws against torture. The regime and its totalitarians have violated the Constitution that they are sworn to uphold. Bush’s attorney general Gonzales even asserted to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the US Constitution does not provide habeas corpus protection to American citizens.
When federal courts acted to stop the regime’s unconstitutional practices and abuse of prisoners, the Republicans passed legislation to overturn the court rulings. The Republican Party has shown beyond all doubt that it holds the US Constitution in total contempt.
Today the Republican Party stands for unaccountable executive power.
To reelect such a party is to murder liberty in America.
Two of the photography blogs on my blogroll got together. The Nocturnes Night Photography Blog had an exhibition and invited Mark Hobson of The Landscapist to be the juror.
The Nocturnes 2008
Welcome to our fifth biennial celebration of the original exhibition from which this show (and the Web site) takes it name: The Nocturnes; in this, our Seventeenth Year! Installed at Gallery Sanchez, in San Francisco in 1991, that critically-acclaimed show brought together ten intrepid San Francisco Bay Area Night Photographers, to show 50-plus pieces, and was curated by our own Tim Baskerville! It is in the spirit of that original show - a spirit of discovery, experimentation, and mystery - that we initiated these biennial shows, and indeed, the Web site itself!
aren't things going well?
by Jim "Happy Talk" Kunstler
A catastrophe for Iowa farmers will not be just a catastrophe for Midwestern Americans. In the Iowa floods, we'll see more evidence of how the problems of weird weather (climate change) combine and ramify the problems associated with peak oil. In this particular case they lead to an inflection point sometime around the 2008 harvest season, which will also be our time of political harvest.
These are not your daddy's or granddaddy's floods. These are 500-year floods, events not seen before non-Indian people starting living out on that stretch of the North American prairie. The vast majority of home-owners in Eastern Iowa did not have flood insurance because the likelihood of being affected above the 500-year-line was so miniscule -- their insurance agents actually advised them against getting it. The personal ruin out there will be comprehensive and profound, a wet version of the 1930s Dust Bowl, with families facing total loss and perhaps migrating elsewhere in the nation because they have no home to go back to.
Iowa in 2008 will be an even slower-motion disaster than Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Beyond the troubles of 25,000 people who have lost all their material possessions is a world whose grain reserves stand at record lows. The crop losses in Iowa will aggravate what is already a pretty dire situation. So far, the US Public has experienced the world grain situation mainly in higher supermarket prices. Cheap corn is behind the magic of the American processed food industry -- all those pizza pockets and juicy-juice boxes that frantic Americans resort to because they have no time between two jobs and family-chauffeur duties to actually cook (note: reheating is not cooking).
Behind that magic is an agribusiness model of farming cranked up on the steroids of cheap oil and cheap natural-gas-based fertilizer. Both of these "inputs" have recently entered the realm of the non-cheap. Oil-and-gas-based farming had already reached a crisis stage before the flood of Iowa. Diesel fuel is a dollar-a-gallon higher than gasoline. Natural gas prices have doubled over the past year, sending fertilizer prices way up. American farmers are poorly positioned to reform their practices. All that cheap fossil fuel masks a tremendous decay of skill in husbandry. The farming of the decades ahead will be a lot more complicated than just buying x-amount of "inputs" (on credit) to be dumped on a sterile soil growth medium and spread around with giant diesel-powered machines.
Why typewriters beat computers
They're clunky, dirty and can't access the internet, yet every year thousands of people buy typewriters when they could probably afford a computer. Why?
When asked how he writes, Frederick Forsyth has a simple answer. "With a typewriter."
He admits this is to avoid the more difficult business of describing his creative process, but it also means he can celebrate old friends.
There was the steel-cased portable he used as a foreign correspondent in the 1960s. "It had a crease across the lid which was done by a bullet in Biafra. It just kept tapping away. It didn't need power, it didn't need batteries, it didn't need recharging. One ribbon went back and forward and back until it was a rag, almost, and out came the dispatches."
And after 50 years and a dozen novels including The Day of the Jackal, why change now, he asks. "I have never had an accident where I have pressed a button and accidentally sent seven chapters into cyberspace, never to be seen again. And have you ever tried to hack into my typewriter? It is very secure."
Although he laughs as he says it, Mr Forsyth identifies the continuing attraction of a typewriter for thousands of people. They find a computer distracting, unreliable or just plain terrifying, and they have a love for the tangible. As he puts it, "I like to see black words on white paper rolling up in front of my gaze".
Mr Forsyth's novels are so popular that he could write them in the sand and publishers would still queue up for his business. But who else is still pounding rather than pressing their keyboard?
middle east clusterfuck
The West's weapon of self-delusion
here are gun battles in Beirut – and America thinks things are going fine
by Robert Fisk
So they are it again, the great and the good of American democracy, grovelling and fawning to the Israeli lobbyists of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), repeatedly allying themselves to the cause of another country and one that is continuing to steal Arab land.
Will this ever end? Even Barack Obama – or "Mr Baracka" as an Irish friend of mine innocently and wonderfully described him – found time to tell his Jewish audience that Jerusalem is the one undivided capital of Israel, which is not the view of the rest of the world which continues to regard the annexation of Arab East Jerusalem as illegal. The security of Israel. Say it again a thousand times: the security of Israel – and threaten Iran, for good measure.
Yes, Israelis deserve security. But so do Palestinians. So do Iraqis and Lebanese and the people of the wider Muslim world. Now even Condoleezza Rice admits – and she was also talking to Aipac, of course – that there won't be a Palestinian state by the end of the year. That promise of George Bush – which no-one believed anyway – has gone. In Rice's pathetic words, "The goal itself will endure beyond the current US leadership."
Of course it will. And the siege of Gaza will endure beyond the current US leadership. And the Israeli wall. And the illegal Israeli settlement building. And deaths in Iraq will endure beyond "the current US leadership" – though "leadership" is pushing the definition of the word a bit when the gutless Bush is involved – and deaths in Afghanistan and, I fear, deaths in Lebanon too.
My computer is in our bedroom. It's a big bedroom with lots of room. But when Zoe is having a pain day the clack-clack-clack of the keyboard and the click-click-click of the mouse is too much. I've been trying to find a quiet solution. I tried all the keyboards at OfficeMax and bought the quitest which was a Logitech. No quiet enough. It was also cordless which I realized was a mistake when I started feeding it batteries. I finally found a quite keyboard and a quiet mouse.
It's a Kensington SlimType Keyboard. There are PC and Mac versions. It uses the type of keys found in laptops. Quiet and compact.
The mouse is also a source of noise. There is now a Quiet Mouse. Both keys as well as the scroll wheel are silent. With both the keyboard and mouse it helps to have a pad. The keyboard and mouse have passed the Zoe test. My search has ended. As a bonus, they are both USB. No more batteries.