Saturday September 17 2005
3172 Security Check-in
With conveyor belt to screen luggage and a metal detector.
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
You need to socialize the little bastards early. Get them used to Big Brother watching you.
The Mosquito and the Hammer
A Tomdispatch Interview with James Carroll
TD: You said we "forgot" Islam. A theme of your writings and maybe your life -- if you'll excuse my saying so -- is an American-style willed forgetfulness. Two key concerns of yours that seem "forgotten" in American life are the militarization of our society and nuclear weapons. Your father was a general. Your next book is about the Pentagon. What's the place of the Pentagon in our life that we don't see?
Carroll: When George W. Bush responded to the crisis of 9/11, two things came into play: his own temperament -- his ideological impulses which were naïve, callow, dangerous, Manichaean, triumphalist -- and the structure of the American government, which was sixty years in the making. What's not sufficiently appreciated is that Bush had few options in the way he might have responded to 9/11.
What was called for was vigorous diplomatic activity centered around cooperative international law enforcement, but our government had invested little of its resources in such diplomatic internationalism in the previous two generations. What we had invested in since World War II was massive military power, so it was natural for Bush to turn first to a massive military response. The meshing of Bush's temperament and a long-prepared American institutional response was unfortunate, but there it was. As somebody said, when he turned to his tool bag to respond to the mosquito of Osama bin Laden, the only tool he had in it was a hammer, so he brought it down on Afghanistan and destroyed it; then he brought it down on Iraq and destroyed it, missing the mosquito, of course.
Something has happened in our country since the time of Franklin Roosevelt that we haven't directly reckoned with. The book I've just written has as its subtitle, "The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power." That polemical phrase "disastrous rise" comes from Eisenhower's famous military-industrial-complex speech where he explicitly warned against "the disastrous rise of misplaced power" in America -- exactly the kind that has since come into being.
WHY DOES THE WEST HATE ISLAM SO MUCH?
I have spent much of the last four years scavenging for medieval manuscripts, in an attempt to study medieval European representations of Islam. I am generally averse to sweeping statements, but I will say this: I am yet to encounter a tradition and historical experience as profoundly distorted as Islam's has been and continues to be to the present day. . .
Check out the Coastal Pinholes. I wish they were bigger.
thanks to The Analog Photography Users Group
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
Where do you begin? As bad as it is Bush continues to make it worse. When will the American people impeach the bastard?
How Bush Blew It
Bureaucratic timidity. Bad phone lines. And a failure of imagination. Why the government was so slow to respond to catastrophe.
It's a standing joke among the president's top aides: who gets to deliver the bad news? Warm and hearty in public, Bush can be cold and snappish in private, and aides sometimes cringe before the displeasure of the president of the United States, or, as he is known in West Wing jargon, POTUS. The bad news on this early morning, Tuesday, Aug. 30, some 24 hours after Hurricane Katrina had ripped through New Orleans, was that the president would have to cut short his five-week vacation by a couple of days and return to Washington. The president's chief of staff, Andrew Card; his deputy chief of staff, Joe Hagin; his counselor, Dan Bartlett, and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, held a conference call to discuss the question of the president's early return and the delicate task of telling him. Hagin, it was decided, as senior aide on the ground, would do the deed.
thanks to Political Animal
People and business are leaving and they aren't coming back.
We will never return, say survivors of drowned city
As the tide of evacuees rolls into Baton Rouge, Jamie Doward learns that thousands will not go back to New Orleans - and the effect on the economy across the South will be deep and prolonged
For Many Evacuees, There's No Going Home, So They Plan to Stay
There's help finding jobs and housing for Astrodome-dwellers. Two former presidents are there to launch a fundraising effort.
thanks to Cursor
New Orleans Photographers Weigh Their Options
In the eight days since Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, most if not all of New Orleans' professional photographers have moved to temporary homes in other parts of the country. Like everyone else who called the city home, their future is uncertain. Here are three of their stories.
thanks to Conscientious
Cover-Up: Toxic Waters 'Will Make New Orleans Unsafe for a Decade'
Toxic chemicals in the New Orleans flood waters will make the city unsafe for full human habitation for a decade, a US government official has told The Independent on Sunday. And, he added, the Bush administration is covering up the danger.
Bush suspends prevailing wage rule; more profits for Halliburton
Bush continues to act outrageously and opportunistically to advance his ideological and political agenda and enrich his political allies in this time of national crisis. He has suspended rules for pollution control, tried to use the crisis to enhance fears about social security, hire Halliburton, etc...now he suspends the "prevailing wage" rule in the areas that need decent jobs:
Those Louisiana ports, once again
They truly are of fundamental importance to the US economy - particularly the agricultural economy of the Midwest. George Friedman of Statfor asks a good question? How effectively can a port function without a city to house, feed and shelter its workers?
The Color Line
As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander's assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.
We questioned why we couldn't cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the 6-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their City. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.
From Superpower to Superchump
"But it is the image of the U.S. that will be the most affected. When El Salvador has to offer troops to help restore order in New Orleans because U.S. troops were so scarce and so slow in arriving, Iran cannot be quaking in its boots about a possible U.S. invasion. When Sweden has its relief planes sitting on the tarmac in Sweden for a week because it cannot get an answer from the U.S. government as to whether to send them, they are not going to be reassured about the ability of the U.S. to handle more serious geopolitical matters. And when conservative U.S. television commentators talk of the U.S. looking like a Third World country, Third World countries may begin to think that maybe there is a grain of truth in the description."
Koichiro Kurita: Yin • Yang
thanks to wood s lot
Koichiro Kurita : Terrasphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere
thanks to wood s lot
Here is an overview on Iraq. Remember Iraq? And by an actual member of Congress.
HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
BEFORE THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Why We Fight
Many reasons have been given for why we fight and our youth must die in Iraq. The reasons now given for why we must continue this war bear no resemblance to the reasons given to gain the support of the American people and the United States Congress prior to our invasion in March of 2003. Before the war, we were told we faced an imminent threat to our national security from Saddam Hussein. This rationale, now proven grossly mistaken, has been changed. Now we’re told we must honor the fallen by “completing the mission.” To do otherwise would demean the sacrifice of those who have died or been wounded. Any lack of support for “completing the mission” is said, by the promoters of the war, to be unpatriotic, un-American, and detrimental to the troops. They insist the only way one can support the troops is to never waver on the policy of nation building, no matter how ill-founded that policy may be. The obvious flaw in this argument is that the mission, of which they so reverently speak, has changed constantly from the very beginning.
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
Most of the books I read seem to be a wee bit on the heavy side, but not all. Sometimes a boy just has to have some fun. Zoe turned me on to this one — Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Sort of a prequal to Peter Pan. It has no social redeeming value whatsoever. It's aimed at the 9 year old and older crowd. That fits me! I couldn't put it down.
OIL DAMAGE + MORE HURRICANES
OIL INDUSTRY INFRASTRUCTURE IN SHAMBLES
The following was just recently posted in RIGZONE - an industry oil industry service & information center. The estimate of damage - some 3 times hat of Ivan is exactly what I told my clients was coming last week. Normally, this would have led to $80/bbl oil. But through the magic of having 2 very influential oilmen in the Whitehouse -- about the only really smart thing they did was listen and act immediately to what Oil industry execs told them to do. Had they not waived a number of legal restrictions immediately -- many U.S. cities east of the Rockies would be running out of gasoline completely this week.
The list of completely off-line refineries is Staggering. Another 'moderate storm' could easily push us into a major energy crisis unlike anything seen in our history -- with the economic impact to the national too obvious.
4%, 11%, Who the Hell Cares?
Who cares about the depletion rate? It's some small fussy number that we don't know, right? Peak Oil is PEAK OIL! Once we hit the peak all bets are off.
Wrong, I say. Once we are post-peak, the depletion rate is going to be the single most important variable by far. I argue it controls whether peak oil is minor unpleasantness, or Overshoot-style die-off. If we understand these issues, I think it can help to clarify exactly why one might choose to live at one or other end of the peak-oil spectrum - complacency or panic.
Internal Memos Show Oil Companies Intentionally Limited Refining Capacity To Drive Up Gasoline Prices
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) today exposed internal oil company memos that show how the industry intentionally reduced domestic refining capacity to drive up profits. The exposure comes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as the oil industry blames environmental regulation for limiting number of U.S. refineries.
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
Storm Stretches Refiners Past a Perilous Point
For the nation's oil refiners, Hurricane Katrina was a disaster long in the making.
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
I found this link at James Luckett's consumptive. These little stories seem to calm my mind. I've read many of these before. I will try to share them with you regularly. Our minds all need a little calming. The first one is one of my favorites.
1. A Cup of Tea
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
KNOCK-KNOCK, HU'S THERE?
Hu has been knocking about the planet on carefully prearranged trips. He has come with a briefcase stuffed with papers to sign and is successfully closing many important deals. His latest trip has been to solidify China's relations and influences with two important future allies: Canada and Mexico.
Our neighbors and two major borders. This is a classic Go game move. Our main body of stones are now flanked on both sides with increasingly hostile stones. If we try to "flip" them we can go down in ruins. We have stones crimping China: Japan and Taiwan. We used to have South Korea, too, but have rapidly lost influence over them and now they are very questionable.
I like reading diplomatic stories. If I had to read American ones, I would go insane since most of them are a chronicle of our blundering blunderbuss approach to getting our way which seems more and more desperate. Just this week, in preparation for the UN celebrations of their founding, Bush is busy begging Blair to help him in his PR disaster called "Hurricane Brownie." Maybe Bush can get Hu to help him, too. Hu is meeting with him. The Chinese have prepared for this by sending a top diplomat to meet quietly and secretly with Bush Sr. in Maine last month. Now they lick their chops, seeing a fatally damaged President as the person they get to dissect at their leisure.
the photographer's friend
A roll of gaffer tape has become an indespensible part of my photography kit. It took me a few years to get around to switching over from duct tape. Gaffer tape is cloth backed without the plasticy surface. The adhesive side isn't as sticky which is important. It's for temporary use. Whether it's for taping electrical cords out of the way or taping down some seamless paper it does it's job and then is easy to remove. Great stuff. I will never be without it again. I get mine at B&H Photo.
global climate change
Global warming 'past the point of no return'
A record loss of sea ice in the Arctic this summer has convinced scientists that the northern hemisphere may have crossed a critical threshold beyond which the climate may never recover. Scientists fear that the Arctic has now entered an irreversible phase of warming which will accelerate the loss of the polar sea ice that has helped to keep the climate stable for thousands of years.
They believe global warming is melting Arctic ice so rapidly that the region is beginning to absorb more heat from the sun, causing the ice to melt still further and so reinforcing a vicious cycle of melting and heating.
The greatest fear is that the Arctic has reached a "tipping point" beyond which nothing can reverse the continual loss of sea ice and with it the massive land glaciers of Greenland, which will raise sea levels dramatically.
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
The mind is an amazing thing. At it's best it can create patterns of sublime beauty. It can create great symphonies and theories of realtivity. All that from a brain of firing electrical impulses and chemical reactions. Truly amazing. But sometimes the electrical impulses don't fire because the cells aren't there anymore and the chemicals are all out of balance.
Gerry, Zoe's mom, has Alzheimer's and is living with us. Her Alzheimer's is getting worse. She tries hard but knows that something is wrong and she doesn't know what it is. Something is terribly out of whack and she doesn't know why. And that scares her. It gets worse at night. She repeatedly has to check that the doors are locked. She can't lock the door to her bedroom so she moves furniture in front of the door.
As her meds are adjusted sometimes it gets better and sometimes worse. Sometimes she can barely speak. She can't find any words or the words that come out are nonsense. Other times she appears fine but it is only an appearance for she is still confused. She is not sure of what is going on around here or where she lives or whose house this is.
The only thing I can relate it to is being stuck in a bad acid trip and not knowing that is what was in the Koolaid. Only the trip doesn't end.
A year ago she became fearful of living alone and last November she moved in. Now, particularly later in the day, she is afraid of being in a room alone. This has been hard on Zoe since she likes her privacy. She doesn't have much anymore. I take Gerry out when I do errands. It's been helpful that I am self-employed and work from home. I can set or interrupt my schedule to take care of Gerry. When I am at my computer my ears are always listening for noises downstairs. What is Gerry doing now? Does she need help? Yesterday, she said she was going to toast some English muffins. I went upstairs. Soon I heard some beeping and then the microwave was on. I rushed downstairs and she had the muffins in a bowl in the microwave. I turned off the microwave and showed her the toaster. "How do you know these things?" she said. Other times she appears fine. We never quite know what to expect.
It's a burden and not a burden. As I took care of my kids, I take care of Gerry. (My brother Terry is doing the same for my mom.) It's part of life. We take care of those around us as best we can.
an absurd camera
I want this camera. It's on sale at eBay: Burke & James large format camera 6' track. If I had the $195 (it probably won't go for much more) and if I still had my van and had the time to pick it up in Salt Lake City and if I had the room for it I would get it. Fortunately I have none of those so I'm safe.
In 1972 (I was 28) I needed a job and a friend got me a job at a photo-finishing shop in Seattle. This was my first photography related job. I worked the night shift running a copy camera just like this one. It was one of the best jobs I ever had. It didn't pay much but I was by myself all night in a darkened room making copies of other people's pictures. I loved it. It was the dance of the voyeur. I would stand at the counter on the left side of the camera with my back to the camera. I would open an order, take the photograph out, turn around, step towards the camera and place it on the the board with magnetic strips, step back, move the lights into position, focus the camera with the two handles under each standard, move the sliding 70mm back into position, press the electric shutter release which fired the shutter and advanced the film, move the lights out of the way, step forward and remove the photograph, turn around and step back to the orders and replace the photograph and pick up the next order. I would do this for hours. Most of the photographs were pictures taken with cheap cameras. But they were pictures of moments that were important to the picture taker. It was an evening of found photographs. As I took each photograph out I would wonder about the occasion that prompted the taking of the picture. They were sacred items worthy of great care.
I have vague notions of using a camera like this for 8x10 or 11x14 (it will take an 11x14 back) still lifes. Probably not the best idea. Or I could just set it up, turn on the camera lights, turn off the room lights, and put a snapshot on the board and spend the evening turning those handles and focusing the camera.
thanks to Coudal Partners
The Long Hot Summer, the Long Cold Winter
Over the weekend Barron's ran an interview with two hedge fund managers and dedicated short sellers, Lee Mikles and Mark Miller, who argued that we were at a dangerous juncture vis a vis the economy and stock market. Since short sellers benefit from falling stock prices, they're prejudiced to the down side, but that doesn't mean they're wrong.
The Shoestring Economy
Never in modern history has the world’s leading economic power tried to do so much with so little. A saving-short US economy has long pushed the envelope in drawing on foreign capital to subsidize excess consumption. But now Washington is upping the ante as it opens the fiscal spigot to cope with post-Katrina reconstruction at the same time it is funding the ongoing war in Iraq. Could this be a tipping point for America’s shoestring economy?
thanks to The Agonist
Katrina, an Economic Tipping Point
By any measure, Katrina is a shock to an economic ecosystem already seriously out of balance. It has reduced national wealth by several hundred billion dollars, displaced hundreds of thousands of citizens, aggravated bloated budget and trade deficits and reduced the political odds for permanent tax cuts on capital. And with so much still unknown, the risks, as they say at the Fed, are on the downside.
Metro Arts and Architecture
thanks to Geisha asobi blog
The Tipping Point On Iraq
September 2005 could go down in history as the month in which Iraq policy finally turned around. By all indications, members of Congress returning to Capitol Hill this week will come back having heard, loud and clear, from their constituents that it’s time to end the war in Iraq, victory or no. And it’s not just Democrats.
“I’ve been hearing from a lot of folks on the Hill, from Republicans, who are worried about Iraq,” says a former senior state department official. “They’re calling me to ask: How long can this go on?” And when members of Congress ask, “how long,” they mean: "Can it go on like this until November, 2006?"
thanks to Antiwar.com
Right now Congress is gearing up to spend 100+ billion on Katrina. The first appropriation bill for some $52 billion is set to go for only the first five weeks. That's $1.4 billion a day according to CNN. Meanwhile, according to the Guardian the Iraq reconstruction is collapsing because corruption, waste, and security costs are exhausting funding. What are the chances do you think that we'll be able to throw another $20-50 billion at Iraq now to get it working? Logically, we could just add it onto the national debt tab. Politically, people are already balking at the war and that was before Katrina made them resentful about resources diverted to Iraq.
Iraq charter update fails as U.S. fights in north
Iraq's main Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim sects abandoned efforts to amend a draft constitution on Tuesday and a version rejected by many Sunnis will be printed.
thanks to Antiwar.com
UN holds presses as Iraq constitution said amended
The United Nations said it refused to start printing Iraq's draft constitution on Thursday, delaying yet again efforts to get millions of copies to voters before a referendum now fixed for October 15.
thanks to Juan Cole
Some Iraq Projects Running Out of Money, U.S. Says
The U.S. will halt construction work on some water and power plants in Iraq because it is running out of money for projects, officials said Wednesday.
thanks to Juan Cole
The Art of the Archive
Fotografien aus dem Archiv des Los Angeles Police Department
A large crowd gathers outside a jewelry store where a 65-year-old customer was shot and killed. The victim, who entered the establishment as a robbery was taking place, defied a gunman’s orders to move into the back room along with the store’s owner and a clerk. Three men were later arrested in the killing, and one of them hanged at San-Quentin-Prison in 1933. 07/23/1932
thanks to gmtPlus9
Iran's strategy in Iraq
"If Iran wanted, it could make Iraq hell for the United States." So said Iraq's deputy Foreign Minister Hamid Al Bayati last February.
Well, Iran not only wants to, it already has. The scenario is well known to the intelligence community on both sides of the Atlantic. Iran began enlarging its already wide footprint in Shi'ite Iraq as the U.S. buildup for the war on Iraq began in Kuwait in 2002.
Now, according to Time magazine's recent exclusive on intelligence reports from Iran, the United States and United Kingdom, the U.S.-Iran geopolitical confrontation runs through Iraq. The Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi government and the new Iranian government are moving steadily closer and forging a strategic relationship. Since Ibrahim al-Jaafari took over as Iraq's prime minister, U.S. officials have concluded anything said or shared with the Iraqi government winds up in Tehran.
thanks to Antiwar.com
Ralph Gibson and the Leica Lens
I mention all this because Leica has issued a new lens catalog, illustrated with b&w photos taken in the Leica lens factory by Ralph Gibson. You can buy it from a Leica dealer for $10, or download the PDF file from their website.
Tomdispatch Interview: Howard Zinn, The Outer Limits of Empire
Zinn: I was 20 years old. I was a bombardier in the 8th Air Force on a B-17 crew that flew some of the last missions of the war out of England. I went in as a young, radical, antifascist, believing in this war and believing in the idea of a just war against fascism. At war's end I was beginning to have doubts about whether the mayhem we had engaged in was justified: the bombing of cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the bombings I had engaged in. And then I was beginning to suspect the motives of the Allied leaders. Did they really care that much about fascism? Did they care about the Jews? Was it a war for empire? In the Air Force I encountered a young Trotskyite on another air crew who said to me, "You know, this is an imperialist war." I was sort of shocked. I said, "Well, you're flying missions! Why are you here?" He replied, "I'm here to talk to people like you." [He laughs.] I mean, he didn't convert me, but he shook me up a little.
After the war, as the years went by, I couldn't help contemplating the promises that had been made about what the war would accomplish. You know, General Marshall sent me -- and 16 million others -- a letter congratulating us for winning the war and telling us how the world would now be a different place. Fifty million people were dead and the world was not really that different. I mean, Hitler and Mussolini were gone, as was the Japanese military machine, but fascism and militarism, and racism were still all over the world, and wars were still continuing. So I came to the conclusion that war, whatever quick fix it might give you -- Oh, we've defeated this phenomenon, fascism; we've gotten rid of Hitler (like we've gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, you see) -- whatever spurt of enthusiasm, the after-effects were like those of a drug; first a high and then you settle back into something horrible. So I began to think that any wars, even wars against evil, simply don't accomplish much of anything. In the long run, they simply don't solve the problem. In the interim, an enormous number of people die.
I also came to the conclusion that, given the technology of modern warfare, war is inevitably a war against children, against civilians. When you look at the ratio of civilian to military dead, it changes from 50-50 in World War II to 80-20 in Vietnam, maybe as high as 90-10 today. Do you know this Italian war surgeon, Gino Strada? He wrote Green Parrots: A War Surgeon's Diary. He was doing war surgery in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places. Ninety percent of the people he operated on were civilians. When you face that fact, war is now always a war against civilians, and so against children. No political goal can justify it, and so the great challenge before the human race in our time is to solve the problems of tyranny and aggression, and do it without war. [He laughs quietly.] A very complex and difficult job, but something that has to be faced -- and that's what accounts for my becoming involved in antiwar movements ever since the end of World War II.
from this humble beginning a mighty darkroom will spring forth
I picked up my darkroom sink from Blaine (Thanks, Blaine!). It is a stainless steel kitchen sink from a remodel he has been working on. He also scavenged a bathroom exhaust fan. The fan is in the sink. I bought a sink drain and plastic pipe that will empty into a bucket. I need to build a frame to hold it up and some shelving. There is a cabinet making company in Freeland that has some great laminated scrap for shelves and stuff. The basement has an unfinished room that has storage and my studio on one end. This is on the other side of the wall from the unfinished room. The concrete pad extends a little beyound the wall and then it is dirt under the plastic. There are vents in the wall so I will develop film at night. Eventually I will plumb the sink and frame a room in. I don't plan to develop prints, just film. This sink is just about perfect. I pretty much have all the tanks, reels, and hangers I need but for 5x7. I still need tanks. Blaine may help me make some out of ABS. He has an ABS welding rig. Getting close.
I've been helping in the care for Zoe's mom, Gerry. She moved in with us almost a year ago with Alzheimer's. It's getting closer to the time she will need to move into assisted care living. She has become increasingly fearful, particularly at night. It's called sundowning. At times she doesn't remember that she lives here. She doesn't believe me when I tell her her bedroom is in the other room. When she goes in she sees her furniture and remembers. She remembers Zoe and I although, a couple of months ago, she woke up one morning and didn't know who I was. Her doctor adjusted her meds and things did get better. She becomes agitated when one of us leaves. Something in her world has changed and she doesn't know what and the fear increases. It has become more difficult to go down into the basement to work on projects like the darkroom since she becomes afraid when I am out. I can grab an hour or two in the morning but evenings are getting increasingly hard to do. It has given me an appreciation for what those who don't have family or can't afford medical care must go through. It's a nightmare that doesn't end. For me there is good news and bad news. The good news is that this will pass. The bad news is that this will pass. I get pretty maxed out at times but I'm not looking forward to her leaving. But all things do pass. It sucks.