Music would be so different without Alan Lomax.
Alan Lomax, the legendary collector of folk music who was the first to record towering figures like Leadbelly, Muddy Waters and Woody Guthrie, died yesterday at a nursing home in Sarasota, Fla. He was 87.
Mr. Lomax was a musicologist, author, disc jockey, singer, photographer, talent scout, filmmaker, concert and recording producer and television host. He did whatever was necessary to preserve traditional music and take it to a wider audience.
Although some of those he recorded would later become internationally famous, Mr. Lomax wasn't interested in simply discovering stars. In a career that carried him from fishermen's shacks and prison work farms to television studios and computer consoles, he strove to protect folk traditions from the homogenizing effects of modern media. He advocated what he called "cultural equity: the right of every culture to have equal time on the air and equal time in the classroom."
Elliot's mom, Leslie, has been saving some bugs for me. I scanned a couple and put this one up. More to come.
Checkout the big pictures.
Tour de France
j p, the Incomparable d'Monquis, sent me this link that I had been unaware of. It's a good piece on what multi-stage bicycle racing, especially the Tour de France, is all about. It also is the best writing I have seen on just what Lance Armstrong is accomplishing. There isn't another athlete that is even on the same planet as Lance. The Tour de France, as a sporting event, has no equal — and Lance Armstong is becoming a Tour de France legend.
THE LONG RIDE
A couple of weeks ago, on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, I found myself in the passenger seat of a small Volkswagen, careering so rapidly around the hairpin turns of the French Alps that I could smell the tires burning. Johan Bruyneel, the suave, unflappable director of the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, was behind the wheel. Driving at ninety kilometres an hour occupied half his attention. The rest was devoted to fiddling with a small television mounted in the dashboard, examining a set of complicated topographical maps, and talking into one of two radio transmitters in the car. The first connected Bruyneel to the team's support vehicle, laden with extra bicycles, water bottles, power bars, and other tools and equipment. The second fed into the earpieces of the eight U.S. Postal Service cyclists who were racing along the switchbacks ahead of us. The entire team could hear every word that Bruyneel said, but most of the time he was talking to just one man: Lance Armstrong.
The sun was shining on Lance Armstrong at Friday's 199km stage 12 of the 2002 Tour de France. The three-time defending champion woke up wearing the maillot jaune for the 37th day of his career. Movie star buddy Robin Williams kept things light at the start, joking with fans and signing autographs. And though Friday's hot, long, five-climb stage through the French Pyrénées was much harder than Thursday's two-climb stage, the result was the same.
Armstrong won the stage in a much more familiar style, attacking with 6km to go. He dropped a group of 11 riders and finished alone. ONCE's Joseba Beloki fought the brave fight to finish third and solidified his hold on second place.
OVERALL after 12 stages
Tomorrow's stage will be mostly decent and flats. It will be a sprinter's race.
But the next day's race will be up a wall.
The curse of the Ventoux
Then a day's rest and then onto the Alps and the most difficult stage of the race.
From Left and Right, Critics Assail Sharon's West Bank Clampdown
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's month-long military clampdown on Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank faced growing criticism from across Israel's political spectrum today after two deadly Palestinian attacks in as many days.
The United States on Friday criticized a proposal to deport the families of Palestinian militants from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, saying it would not bring security to Israel.
"We expect that Israel's actions in its campaign against terror will be based on information related to an individual's culpability and not on personal or family relationships," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.
The Israel Defense Forces this week cynically capitalized on an earlier public relations coup, releasing yet another snapshot of a Palestinian toddler posed with weapons. The photograph, purportedly seized during a military operation in Hebron, is reminiscent of last month's notorious "Terror in Diapers" photo, which showed a Gaza child decked out as a suicide bomber.
But as I watched Zionist spinmeisters drawing ugly conclusions on CNN, I couldn't help flashing back to fond memories of dear old Camp Milldale, where -- to borrow a phrase from the ADL -- I myself was "schooled in hate" during the summer of 1967.
One of the best-kept secrets in Israel is that most Israelis are fed up with the occupation, and just want to get out.
According to June's findings by Mina Zemach, Israel's foremost pollster, 63% of Israelis are in favor of "unilateral withdrawal." In fact, 69% call for the evacuation of "all" or "most of" the settlements.
thanks to Dr. Menlo @ American Samizdat
IF ONE NEEDED further proof that Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's real intentions are not just the suppression of terrorism but the relentless termination of Palestinian national aspirations, you need look no further than the recent closing of the offices of Sari Nusseibeh, the Palestinian representative for Jerusalem.
The Oxford- and Harvard-trained Nusseibeh, president of Al Quds University, is one of the Palestinian camp's most articulate voices for compromise between Palestinians and Israelis. Fluent in Hebrew as well as English, Nusseibeh is on record as recognizing the Jewish people's rights in the Holy Land, and he has publicly told the Palestinians that they must give up the right of return to Israel proper. He was also a leader in the recent move among Palestinian intellectuals to denounce the use of suicide bombings. He is also a voice for reform within the Palestinian leadership.
One might have thought that Nusseibeh was just the sort of leader President Bush was calling for to replace Yasser Arafat. As Israel's opposition parliamentarian, Naomi Chazan, told National Public Radio: ''This is a man who has courageously opposed terrorism.... This is a person who has been a pillar in the creation of a Palestinian-Israeli peace coalition and really a man who is a moderate voice and a very key person in the attempt by Israelis and Palestinians to keep some channels open.''
But Nusseibeh has earned the enmity of two powerful players in the Arab-Israeli drama - extremists in Hamas and the Islamic Jihad who are against compromise with Israel and the Israeli hard right, personified by Sharon and his security minister, Uzi Landau, who are against compromise with the Palestinians.
How to keep track of all those links
While some put up links as they find them, I generally save them and organize them before posting. Favorites, in IE, never worked for me and I don't use IE anymore. My browser is Opera and it's Hotlist was much better but it was still lacking for organizing all my links.
Wall Street Crooks
Who're you calling 'we'?
Is This America's Top Corporate Crime Fighter?
The cult of the CEO (as some business gurus now call it) promoted a celebration of testosterone and greed that has coarsened the culture and damaged economic life in severe ways. The adoration of corporate executives--those with a tough-guy disregard for their employees and social norms--seems to be receding now, along with stock prices and disappearing profits, but it does resemble a utopian cult, in which the followers obsessively worship a few strong guys said to possess superhuman qualities. The major media were taken in, but so were many sophisticates. The New Yorker published many admiring character studies of these new titans and even resurrected J.P. Morgan as a worthy icon for our time. Now that icons are falling all around, it seems daft that so many respectable, presumably rational citizens fell under the spell. The establishment's first line of defense- -"only a few bad apples"--has been completely crumpled by events. Leaders from finance are now solemnly promising "business ethics" reforms, anxious to restore "trust" in a system that runs on other people's money.
Can Liberals Save Capitalism (Again)?
In a few short weeks, America's political economy has been stunningly transformed. The Bush administration, the Republican Party and three decades of conservative ideology are facing a potential rout. Yesterday's conservative clichés are today's political embarrassments. Americans are getting a vivid if painful education about the limits of the marketplace and the salutary role of government. It will be a very long time before anyone can say with a straight face that markets always work better than governments. But market fundamentalism has been so ascendant for so long -- politically, culturally, financially -- that this is only the very beginning of an ideological sea change. It remains to be seen whether liberals will manage to save capitalism from itself, for the second time in the past 70 years.
The relentless expansion of corporate control over our political economy has proven nearly immune to daily reporting by the mainstream media. Corporate crime, fraud and abuse have become like the weather; everyone is talking about the storm but no one seems able to do anything about it. This is largely because expected accountability mechanisms -- including boards of directors, outside accounting and law firms, bankers and brokers, state and federal regulatory agencies and legislatures -- are inert or complicit.
When, year after year, the established corporate watchdogs receive their profits or compensation directly or indirectly from the companies they are supposed to be watching, independent judgment fails, corruption increases and conflicts of interest grow among major CEOs and their cliques. Over time, these institutions, unwilling to reform themselves, strive to transfer the costs of their misdeeds and recklessness onto the larger citizenry. In so doing, big business is in the process of destroying the very capitalism that has provided it with a formidable ideological cover.
thanks to Ethel the Blog
Bud Selig's buddies
I've been covering sports business -- which by definition means mostly baseball business -- for 22 years now. There have been times when I've been amused, surprised, peeved and angered by the coverage of labor problems in the sports press, but 2002 is the first time I've ever felt disgusted. A collective insanity seems to have spread into nearly every corner of sports media, and in some of those corners -- I'm thinking of talk radio as typified by the hosts on WFAN -- it's a form of hysteria.
As I write this, it looks very much as if Major League Baseball is going to have another strike. In point of fact, it has been looking this way for more than two years, or ever since commissioner Bud Selig came up with the idea for a "Blue Ribbon Panel" to evaluate baseball's economic situation. That was the first sign that Selig was planning a war, and the panel actually had some limited success in winning over the press and public. Even the New York Times supported its conclusions in an editorial. Amazingly, no one in the press seemed to notice that the panel contained not a single representative of the Players Association or even of the Society for American Baseball Research, SABR, the organization that baseball trusts with its Hall of Fame research.
Tour de France
Lance takes Stage 11 and the yellow jersey.
Armstrong back in his favorite color
Lance Armstrong is back in his favorite color of summer.
The three-time defending champion won Thursday's 158km stage 11, erased a 26-second deficit and moved into the overall race lead, just as everyone had expected.
To hear Armstrong tell the tale, however, it wasn't quite as easy as in years past. Yes, he made his trademark move in the first mountain stage. Yes, he took time out of his opponents. But Armstrong said he couldn't have done it without superb work from his U.S. Postal Service teammates.
Nine stages to go. There is still a lot of racing.
Hallmark — not!
thanks to Bob Morris @ American Samizdat
Gaza and the West Bank: Israel’s present and future penal colonies
The new stage of Israel’s ‘separation’ can no longer be compared to the apartheid system in South Africa. As Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa’s Minister of Water Affairs, said in an interview with Al Ahram Weekly (28 March–3 April 2002): “the South African apartheid regime never engaged in the sort of repression Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians.” We are witnessing the daily invisible killing of the sick and wounded who are being deprived of medical care, the weak who cannot survive in the new conditions of poverty, and those who are bound to reach starvation.
Nevertheless, the public debate in Israel revolves around questions of efficiency. Is it possible to stop terror by such methods? Even if so, is it permitted? Is this what we (Israelis) want to be?
Over forty years ago, conga player Mongo Santamaria brought his infectious Cuban rhythms to America. Today, Latin music's popularity illustrates Mongo's mesmerizing and influential sound. By wedding fiery Afro-Cuban rhythms to bebop, Mongo helped develop a new art - Latin jazz. Mongo's musical contributions also helped break down cultural barriers. On this edition of Jazz Profiles, we celebrate the musical life of Latin jazz pioneer, Mongo Santamaria.
thanks to reenhead.com
Lloyd Hart: So there is a new word around these days. Maybe you could define neo- liberalism for me.
Gregory Palast: Yeah neo-liberalism, like new liberalism well it's very odd because what we think of as liberal is bleeding heart, concerned about the rest of the planet, about social and environmental issues, progressive and positive. Where as the term as it has been seized upon by the right wing, liberalism, liberalization, reform, all these new things are now related to selling off public property, privatizing and eliminating protections for the environment and consumers etc. So when they talk about reform they talk about smashing unions, eliminating state pensions, selling off state owned water systems. Neo- liberalism or new liberalism is Milton Freidman, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and it's all about selling off public systems, eliminating controls on business, in what they call liberalization. Liberalization means removing barriers, well its just like removing the guard rails and speed limit signs on the highway and needless to say there are a lot of dead bodies on the side of globalization highway.
thanks to wood s lot
Tour de France
I asked Hunter if yesterday's results meant his teammate, Botero, was stronger than Armstrong.
"Not at all," he replied. "It's totally different. And Armstrong will soon demonstrate that no one can match him in the climbs."
We are not too far from the hometowns of Cyrano de Bergerac and D'Artagnan. It's 85 to 90 degrees. The riders have 1,200 miles to go. And 28 major mountains to climb.
No matter what the current standings say, Lance Armstrong is the Tour's leader. The rest of the world is the peloton.
The top postions remain unchanged after today's race.
Overall after 10 stages
Today's blistering pace (52 kph for the first two hours of racing) is going to affect everyone's preparedness for tomorrow's mountain stage. Much of Stage 10 was ridden faster than the team time trial, and even in the draft, 50+ kph is a hard pace to maintain. ONCE spent a long time sitting on the front of the peloton this afternoon, which is beneficial to Lance and the Postal Service.
Regardless of how much work ONCE did today, the team will be aggressive tomorrow on the Col d'Aubisque and La Mongie. Several men will be anxious to fire the first shot in the battle for climbing supremacy.
Lance Armstrong is still the man on everyone's lips as the leading contender for the overall victory. He thrives in hard conditions, and he finds strength from being put in desperate situations. While the yellow jersey gives its wearer strength, seeing it on anyone else's back gives Lance incredible motivation.
Lance is an intense individual all the time; it is part of his personality. The intensity he displays during the hardest parts of the Tour de France is frightening. He will carefully choose his moment to unleash his climbing power, but no one will fail to notice when that moment comes.
Stage 11 starts in about an hour and a half. The preliminaries are over — let the games begin.
Just getting a little depressed reading the news. So, instead of chronicling the disentegration of the world around us, I scanned another bug. I feel better now.
Check out the large versions of this one as well as the others. There doesn't seem to be any shortage of bugs.
One Big Hizballah
OK, so we are going to kill Saddan Hussein. America wants it. And if America wants something, we want it, too. Right?
After all, there can be no doubt. The last time, Saddam threw Scuds at us, just in order to win popularity in the Arab world. (At that time somebody invented the story that "the Palestinians are dancing on their roofs"’ and Yossi Sarid wrote his article "From now on, the Palestinians can search for me".)
Now all this has become topical again. George Bush Jr. wants to start a war, the same war that George Bush Sr. stopped in the middle. The son wants to finish the job begun by the father. How touching.
thanks to Ethel the Blog
The above article had some links to other articles by Uri Avnery including this most cogent analysis of the right of return.
The new scarecrow is the “Right of Return”. Not as a practical problem, to be dealt with in rational terms, but as a hair-raising monster: now the Palestinians’ sinister design has been revealed! They want to eliminate Israel by this terrible ploy! The want to throw us into the sea!
The Right of Return has again widened the abyss, which seemed to have been narrowed to a rift. We are frightened again. The end of our state! The end of the vision of generations! A second Holocaust!
It seems that the abyss is unbridgeable. The Arabs demand that each and every Palestinian refugee return to his home and land in Israel. The Israelis staunchly object to the return of even one single refugee. On both sides, everything or nothing. There goes the peace.
In the following lines I shall try to show that the scarecrow is indeed a scarecrow; that even this painful problem can be resolved; that a fair compromise can even lead to a historic conciliation.
This dude was making more sense than everyone else combined. He has a website — Uri Avnery's News Pages. Check out his biography. He has seen it all — firsthand. Many, many excellent articles.
A well-known Israeli theater critic once left the opening performance of a new play after the first five minutes and then wrote a withering review about it. When his colleagues said that this was unfair, he answered: "I don't have to eat the whole egg in order to know that it is rotten."
One does not have to read the whole long interview with Ehud Barak, published in The New York Review of Books (June 13, 2002), in order to know that he is - well, not exactly an enlightened statesman. It is enough to read the following words of his:
"They (the Palestinians, and especially Arafat) are the products of a culture in which to tell a lie…creates no dissonance. They don't suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category…The deputy director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation told me that there are societies in which lie detector tests don't work, societies in which lies do not create cognitive dissonance (on which the tests are based)."
This passage speaks volumes.
JUST above the northwestern shore of the old island of Hispaniola -- the Santo Domingo of our day -- and separated from it only by a narrow channel of some five or six miles in width, lies a queer little hunch of an island, known, because of a distant resemblance to that animal, as the Tortuga de Mar, or sea turtle. It is not more than twenty miles in length by perhaps seven or eight in breadth; it is only a little spot of land, and as you look at it upon the map a pin's head would almost cover it; yet from that spot, as from a center of inflammation, a burning fire of human wickedness and ruthlessness and lust overran the world, and spread terror and death throughout the Spanish West Indies, from St. Augustine to the island of Trinidad, and from Panama to the coasts of Peru.
thanks to reenhead.com
On the Edge of a Precipice
There is an army of pundits out there willing to say that there is little to worry about. Policy makers everywhere are oozing reassurance, intoning the mantra that the economic vibes are good. Lawrence Lindsey, George Bush's economic adviser, was at it in the Financial Times yesterday, insisting that a recession in the US was "unlikely".
In reality, of course, nobody knows for sure what is going to happen. Financial analysts have their charts which are supposed to be able to predict the future from the past, and these now spell trouble. Economists who look at the hard economic data say that cheaper money and higher spending means things are getting better. But both presuppose that economics is a science rather than a modern form of alchemy, and that the practitioners in its black arts are anything more than highly-paid witch doctors. The only theory that is really relevant to the stock market is chaos theory. The recent history of the dollar is a case in point. For at least the past five years, the strength of the US currency has been eating into corporate profitability and contributing to a record trade deficit. Markets knew that the dollar was overvalued, but kept on buying it regardless. Over the past two months, the mood has changed and the dollar has fallen by 14% against the euro, breaking through the one-for-one parity level yesterday for the first time in more than two years. When will the fall be arrested? Who knows? On some estimates, the dollar is still 30% overvalued, but a rapid fall of that size would feed back into the equity markets, with foreign investors rushing for the door.
Another dead bug scan. I have some new bugs to scan but have just been too busy.
Check out big pictures and other bugs.
White House Crooks
Why are George W. Bush's business dealings relevant? Given that his aides tout his "character," the public deserves to know that he became wealthy entirely through patronage and connections. But more important, those dealings foreshadow many characteristics of his administration, such as its obsession with secrecy and its intermingling of public policy with private interest.
As the unanswered questions about Harken Energy pile up — what's in those documents the White House won't release? Who was the mystery buyer of Mr. Bush's stock? — let me now turn to how Mr. Bush, who got by with a lot of help from his friends in the 1980's, became wealthy in the 1990's. He invested $606,000 as part of a syndicate that bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in 1989 — borrowing the money and repaying the loan with the proceeds from his Harken stock sale — then saw that grow to $14.9 million over the next nine years. What made his investment so successful?
Reelection — not!
Presidential Reelect. For the first time since this series of twice-monthly polls began in January 2002, far fewer than half of all registered voters say they would vote to reelect George W. Bush as President if faced with the choice today—the rolling average of the mid-June and early July polls show only 45% definitely intending to vote to reelect Bush, and the most recent survey of 777 registered voters, conducted over the weekend (July 11-14, 2002) finds only 42% ready to reelect Bush:
thanks to Tapped
War Against Some Drugs
It's a different war, but some things never change.
Forty years ago, Americans fled to Canada to avoid fighting in Vietnam. Today, American medical marijuana patients are following in their footsteps, claiming to be political refugees of the U.S. government's war on drugs.
"I'm a member of a class of society they're trying to oppress or wipe out completely," says Renee Boje, from her home in Vancouver, British Columbia. Boje is probably the most famous American fugitive in Canada. The U.S. is currently trying to extradite her to face charges for conspiracy to cultivate hundreds of cannabis plants at the Los Angeles home of Todd McCormick, a cancer patient and medical marijuana activist. If convicted, Boje, 32, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years -- a penalty so severe that she's become the poster child for the increasing numbers of U.S. citizens heading north to take advantage of Canada's liberal pot laws. "There are hundreds of Americans here," she says, "because they're being persecuted by their own government."
Tour de France
"Most Americans," says commentator Paul Sherwen of the Outdoor Life Network, "don't realize that the Tour de France is a three-week bike race."
After the first 941 miles, across the flat and rolling hills of northern France, the Spaniard, Igor Gonzalez Galdeano, was in first place with a time of 32 hours, 18 minutes, 46 seconds.
Lance Armstrong was eighth, but behind by only 34 seconds. To put this in perspective, last year, after missing a breakaway in a monsoon, Armstong was 32 minutes behind before the mountain stages -- and he made up over 35 minutes from there.
The dust was still settling a day after Lance Armstrong's narrow defeat in Monday's 52km individual time trial. The 182 riders remaining in the 2002 Tour de France flew down to Bordeaux on two chartered airplanes while everyone else - mechanics, journalists and hangers-on - made the 500km drive by autoroute from Lorient.
Most teams went on an afternoon training ride after the trip down. Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team went on a two-hour ride for about 80 kilometers. Riders idled away the afternoon, taking naps and relaxing as much as possible.
Following Wednesday's transition stage to Pau, the Tour de France enters the decisive phase of the race. Six hard climbing stages packed in eight days.
Awards of Dubious Distinction Department
David Weinberger, at JOHO the blog! has been playing Google games again. He noted an article about a writer trying to get his name as number one on Google.
Top of the Heap
It started as a joke, but it became an obsession. I wanted to be the top-ranked David Gallagher on Google, and I wasn't going to let some 16-year-old TV star stand in my way.
Now the writer, David Gallagher, is working on getting his first name as number one, it is currently number 32. David Weinberger checked his first name and it came in at number 8. So he created the Top Ten First Names at Google award and awarded it to himself. He has made the award available to other Top Tens.
Because of the different spelling of my last name, Gordon Coale takes up all but two entries on the first four pages of Google and it isn't until the fifth page that other Gordons and Coales start showing up. But just the first name? I came up tenth! So I can award myself the dubious award of the Top Ten First Names at Google award. Cosmic, man! Where is the prestige? Where are the pageviews? Where is the revenue? I'm waiting... I'm sure they will be here any minute now.
While I'm waiting, I think I will listen to Barenaked Ladies' Gordon
thanks to Travellers Diagram
A piece by a great comix artist.
Anyone interested in crossing the ever-narrowing divide between High and Low culture ought to contemplate the work and troubled career of Bernard Krigstein (1919-90), a postwar comic-book illustrator who had the privilege and the misfortune of being an Artist with a capital "A" working in an Art Form that considered itself only a Business. Krigstein was never associated with a specific character (the most sure ticket to comics success), and he never wrote his own stories (a handicap in a narrative medium). He wasn't beloved by publishers, editors, or readers. What reputation he has rests on a handful of short stories he illustrated in 1954 and 1955 for EC comics (the folks who brought you Tales from the Crypt and Mad), but one of those stories, "Master Race," was an accomplishment of the highest order—a masterpiece.
thanks to Robot Wisdom
War against Some Terrorists
Ten months after last September's terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush's efforts to keep the nation focused and enthused about his war on terrorism appear to be running out of steam.
The steady slide in the stock market, which plunged to levels not seen since 1997 shortly after Bush delivered a rousing but largely hollow speech to Wall Street CEOs Tuesday, not only highlighted growing worries about the health of the U.S. economy but also raised questions about Bush's grasp of the problem of corporate corruption. More than one columnist suggested after the speech that, like his father in 1992, Bush ''doesn't get it.''
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
The Eagle Has Crash Landed
The United States in decline? Few people today would believe this assertion. The only ones who do are the U.S. hawks, who argue vociferously for policies to reverse the decline. This belief that the end of U.S. hegemony has already begun does not follow from the vulnerability that became apparent to all on September 11, 2001. In fact, the United States has been fading as a global power since the 1970s, and the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks has merely accelerated this decline. To understand why the so-called Pax Americana is on the wane requires examining the geopolitics of the 20th century, particularly of the century's final three decades. This exercise uncovers a simple and inescapable conclusion: The economic, political, and military factors that contributed to U.S. hegemony are the same factors that will inexorably produce the coming U.S. decline.
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
Iraqi exiles expected to participate in a future government of their country warned yesterday that an invasion by American and British troops would bring widespread destruction without removing Saddam Hussein.
Opposition leaders stressed that a large-scale offensive by Washington and its allies would not be supported by opponents of the Baghdad regime, either inside or outside Iraq.
This page is the gateway to a unique collection of wide-field astronomical photographs, mostly made with the telescopes of the Anglo-Australian Observatory by David Malin.
thanks to plep
A large American Prospect supplement...
Making a Change
Research shows that 99.9999999% of the world's population is simply unable to make a difference, let alone change the world, and should immediately stop trying. According to the researchers, a detailed analysis of human history reveals a startling trend of excess ineffectual and futile activity performed under false pretenses and misguided inspiration.
thanks to Shou?
The War Against Some Drugs
There is nothing more crazymaking in American society than the crashing crosscurrents of the drug war. On the one hand there is a population that has gone on record numerous times supporting decriminalization of pot and legal use of medical marijuana. On the other hand there is a rabid federal drug apparatus that clashes with local law enforcement and ignores public opinion expressed in statewide votes. Instead we are getting aggressive raids and punitive prosecutions. Between the clashing of these two world views, there is no middle ground.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court, led by Clarence Thomas, has extended the power of school districts to test and search students for drugs, underscoring once again, as Herman Schwartz writes in the Nation: "that for the Supreme Court, the rights of young people are shredded when they walk through the schoolhouse gates."
The latest crushing blow dealt by the Feds came on July 12 in Sacramento, Calif., where Bryan James Epis, a 35-year-old electrical engineer, was convicted for conspiracy and manufacturing of pot. Epis says he smokes pot for his own chronic pain and was cultivating it for other sick patients. He faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years.
BILL ALLOWS PILOTS TO CARRY GUNS;
The U.S. House of Representatives this week overwhelmingly passed a bill allowing flight crews to carry guns aboard aircraft, a measure strongly supported by pilots, who boasted they could now be both armed and loaded.
"This legislation allows us to respond appropriately to any situation in the air, whether we're called upon to be a shooter, or just do a shooter," said America West Capt. James Greeveby.
Bush's plan for conquering the Middle East has Turkey as a bastion to the north. It may not be a bastion for long.
Praying for early elections
BULENT ECEVIT finally admitted on Monday July 15th that his crumbling coalition government will not survive until the elections scheduled for April 2004. As defections from Mr Ecevit's own Democratic Left Party continued, the leader of his right-wing coalition partner, the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), declared that he would not pull out of the coalition and bring the government down but instead looked forward to elections in November. The Turkish parliament will be recalled early on September 1st to discuss the prospect of elections. Whether the government can continue even that long remains to be seen.
Tour de France
Lance doesn't win the time trial. Surprise, surprise. He's moved up to second, 26 seconds down. Still a good position to be in heading into the mountains. He just wasn't as dominant as expected. I guess this is why they run the races. Tomorrow is a rest day followed by another "flat" stage. Thursday will be the first day in the mountains and this will be where the real racing begins. The big boys come out to play.
Here are the two stage profiles.
Just when everyone was ready to ordain Lance Armstrong as winner of Monday's 52km individual time trial, the Tour de France delivered another surprise.
In blustery conditions, Armstrong was out-motored by Colombian Santiago Botero, the same racer who beat the Texan at the Dauphiné Libéré time trial in June.
The result stunned many, who expected Armstrong to blaze to yet another dominant victory. Instead, the U.S. Postal team leader finished second, 11 seconds slower than Botero, and didn't eat up enough time to grab the maillot jaune from Spanish rider Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.
OVERALL AFTER NINE STAGES
1. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spa), ONCE, at 33hr 21min 23sec
Listening to the voice of the stone
The formulation of a strategy that will enable the Palestinian people to liberate itself from the occupation, to replace institutions and bureaucratic mechanisms in the Palestinian Authority, and to restore the operational capability of the Palestinian civil society - these are the main points of a document entitled "The Palestinian National Initiative," which has been issued by Dr. Haydar Abd al-Shafi, from Gaza, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, from Ramallah, and the engineer Ibrahim Dakkak, from East Jerusalem. The three, along with other Palestinian intellectuals, including Prof. Edward Said and Prof. Hisham Sharabi, called for the establishment of an emergency national leadership, the holding of democratic elections as soon as possible, and the implementation of reforms that will meet the needs of the Palestinian people.
Holding a cruel mirror up to Israel
At the exit to Baka al-Garbiyeh there's a sign in Hebrew and Arabic directing drivers toward Tel Aviv. Someone has splashed white paint over the Arabic letters, erasing them. The message: Arabs - stay in Baka, don't go to Tel Aviv.
The IDF shuts away the sea at Rafah
The entire coast-line between Rafah and Dir al-Balah has been closed to Palestinians. IDF positions, replete with rifles poking out of watchposts, and the occasional jeep or larger army vehicle which races up and down the road, ensure that nobody trespasses beyond clearly demarcated borders. The sea, a natural place of escape from the over-bearing heat and an idyllic leisure spot for children during the summer holiday, has become an inaccessible place visited only in dreams.
It cannot be reached, even though it's only a 10-minute walk, or a two- minute car ride away. Those who have permits remind themselves what the waves are like when they travel up to Gaza City. But these are just a minority of lucky Rafah residents; few have the NIS 14 needed for a round- trip journey.
During recent months, when the IDF has enforced a policy of "cutting-up" and isolating the Gaza Strip, and has blocked movement between northern and southern areas for hours or days, the sea off the Gaza coast has become no more than a memory.
Well...life seems to have been getting in the way of blogging. The annual Langely Arts and Crafts Fair was this weekend. I had to spend time down there. The weather was overcast in the morning and sunny all afternoon — both days. The clouds came in at the start of the street dance but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's enthusiasm.
It's always a day of seeing friends and listening to live music. Oh yes — I have to eat bad food too.
And then there were major changes to make to two web sites. That's done now. Back to the non-productive.
This is excellent background on the colonization of Palestine by European Jews and how colonization ultimately corrupts the colonizers. Not to mention the resultant destruction of the native inhabitants — the Palestinians.
A Process of Dehumanization
Massacre, theft, torture, destruction, and ethnic cleansing: the Palestinian native is well aware of his history-not an ancient history recalled through myths and symbols, but a sharp, painful history reinforced decade upon decade, day upon day, hour upon hour. It is not the history of the comforting textbook held in one's hand, but of the dagger thrust into one's side. The Palestinian cannot-no, dare not-forget it, not if he wishes to stay alive at any rate. For if he fails to remember that his home may come crashing over his head at the whim of a bulldozer, that his crops may burn at the arrival of a settler, that his life may be ended at the command of a soldier, he is all but finished.
A Process of Dehumanization
Following the 1967 war Israel seized East Jerusalem, forced out all of the 6,500 residing Palestinians, and bulldozed their religious centers. The UN reported that by 1971, 48 Palestinian villages were destroyed, and by 1974 the Red Cross counted almost 20,000 Palestinian homes crushed by Israeli bulldozers. The surviving refugees joined their 1948 counterparts in squalid camps. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders had come to a certain consensus about the nature of their victims, namely that they were all animals. "Two-legged beasts", "grasshoppers", "snakes", "drugged insects", "cockroaches"-terms employed not by random Israeli fanatics, but rather very well-placed ones, i.e. prime ministers, defense ministers, and so forth-have been used to describe, or rather dehumanize, Palestinians. One wonders if Israeli leadership plans on erecting zoos across the country to house the newly dispossessed 'Negroes': it would be a welcome respite from the hovels and ghettoes that comprise much of the Occupied Territories.