Weblog Archives




  Saturday   September 18   2004


Riverbend is back. Word from the streets of Baghdad. Riverbend, a young Iraqi woman, is always a must read.

Fahrenheit 9/11...

I constantly wonder, three years after 9/11, do Americans feel safer? When it first happened, there was a sort of collective shock in Iraq. In 2002, there was a sort of pity and understanding- we’ve been through the same. Americans could hardly believe what had happened, but the American government brings this sort of grief upon nations annually… suddenly the war wasn’t thousands of kilometers away, it was home.

How do we feel about it this year? A little bit tired.

We have 9/11’s on a monthly basis. Each and every Iraqi person who dies with a bullet, a missile, a grenade, under torture, accidentally- they all have families and friends and people who care. The number of Iraqis dead since March 2003 is by now at least eight times the number of people who died in the World Trade Center. They had their last words, and their last thoughts as their worlds came down around them, too. I’ve attended more wakes and funerals this last year, than I’ve attended my whole life. The process of mourning and the hollow words of comfort have become much too familiar and automatic.

September 11… he sat there, reading the paper. As he reached out for the cup in front of him for a sip of tea, he could vaguely hear the sound of an airplane overhead. It was a bright, fresh day and there was much he had to do… but the world suddenly went black- a colossal explosion and then crushed bones under the weight of concrete and iron… screams rose up around him… men, women and children… shards of glass sought out tender, unprotected skin … he thought of his family and tried to rise, but something inside of him was broken… there was a rising heat and the pungent smell of burning flesh mingled sickeningly with the smoke and the dust… and suddenly it was blackness.

9/11/01? New York? World Trade Center?


9/11/04. Falloojeh. An Iraqi home.


Iraq on fire
by Helena Cobban

The Bushites, who dominate every single rung on the ladder of violence-escalation in Iraq, have recently been systematically choosing escalation over de-escalation... And escalation is what they have got. Only a small portion of this news is even getting heard in the US.

We heard a little about the incident on Haifa Street in Baghdad on Sunday, when Iraqis crowded jubilantly around a burning US Bradley Fighting Vehicle and then were strafed by US helicopters shooting down at them from the sky. Many Iraqi civilians were killed, and many more injured. One of the injured was Salam's friend Ghaith, who went to the scene as a photog to get some pix. Salam urges us to go look at some of the pix Ghaith was able to shoot, anyway, regardless of his injuries.


Far graver than Vietnam
Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale

"Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.

But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."


Seymour Hersh's alternative history of Bush's war
The crack investigative reporter tells Salon about a disastrous battle the U.S. brass hushed up, the frightening True Believers in the White House, and how Iran, not Israel, may have manipulated us into war.

Turning point
A journalist who was embedded with the U.S. Marines in Fallujah explains how the Bush White House lost the key battle of the Iraq war.

On Sunday, at his change-of-command ceremony, the outgoing top Marine general in Iraq, Lt. Gen. James Conway, gave tragic voice to what thousands of servicemen throughout Iraq have believed for months. He announced that the April assault on Fallujah had been an overly aggressive mistake and that the often-vacillating American approach to the town had undermined U.S. efforts to win the hearts and minds of local Iraqis.

I arrived in western Iraq shortly after the siege of the town was called off, and whenever the subject came up, young Marine officers -- men with crew cuts in the duty-honor-country mold who evince an almost pathological optimism about all things Iraq -- would look away wistfully or just shake their heads in disgust. Many of the Marines involved in the attack would have preferred to complete the assault once it started, despite the likely huge increase in civilian casualties. Those who fought on the ground have complained about the timing, intent and restrictive rules of engagement of the White House-ordered assault.


GIs claim threat by Army
Soldiers say they were told to re-enlist or face deployment to Iraq

Soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit say they have been issued an ultimatum - re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq.

Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last Thursday, said two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity.


  thanks to Eschaton

General Warns of a Looming Shortage of Specialists

The chief of the Army Reserve warned on Thursday that at the current pace of operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army faced a serious risk of running out of crucial specialists in the Reserves who can be involuntarily called up for active duty.

The remarks by the officer, Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, throw a spotlight on the military's existing mobilization authority, under which Reserve and National Guard personnel can be summoned to active duty for no more than a total of 24 months, unless they volunteer to extend their tours.

As military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq continue with no end in sight, General Helmly said he was increasingly concerned that a growing number of soldiers with critical specialties that are contained mainly in the reservist ranks will exhaust their two-year stints, making it increasingly difficult to fill the yearlong tours of duty that have become standard. The skills include civil affairs and truck driving.

"The manning-the-force issue for me is the single most pressing function I worry about," General Helmly told reporters at a breakfast meeting.


Our savage numbness

Been meaning to comment on this for more than a day, but busy unpacking. A big damn deal, though. I am deeply saddened by the following. This is no longer a country I fully recognize.

Y'know how gradual changes, which can eventually become radical transformations, are sometimes only obvious to people who weren't around much? Aunts and uncles are always saying the kids have grown so much -- which, of course, they have.

I've only been gone for almost a month. Maybe it was like this before I left and I'm just now noticing...

Yesterday, I'm working and unpacking, and I've got CNN on in the background. And I hear Wolf Blitzer, barking in that constant breathless get-the-kids-excited-for-Christmas, here-comes-another-shiny-pebble pacing of his, mentioning a video of a civilian journalist, Mazen al-Tumeizi, and about a score of other civilians (reports vary) getting killed in a U.S. airstrike. About 60 other civilians were injured.

I didn't actually see the report live -- Wolf had already moved on to his next story -- but I was struck by how casual this was: innocent civilians killed in a U.S. airstrike, and it wasn't even the news hook; the death of the reporter was. (CNN doesn't have a transcript up for the report I saw. They do, however, have one for a later, similar report. Scroll down, or just search for the words "I'm dying." The entire mention of the U.S. inflicting over 70 civilian casualties is exactly four sentences long. The Batman guy, meanwhile, got thirty.)

So, through the miracle of TiVo, I rewound. And there it was.



Being killed by a U.S. airstrike.

Non-combatants. Celebrating on a disabled U.S. vehicle, granted. But civilians nonetheless. Certainly not in combat against any U.S. troops.

In the foreground, a reporter just doing his job, frowning over some little technical glitch, maybe something he forgot to do...

Bang, boom. No warning. Just an incoming U.S. aerial attack. "To prevent looters from stripping the vehicle," the Pentagon later says, classifying everyone within thirty feet as "looters" and sentencing them to summary execution.

Blood splashes on the lens. The camera spins. Tiny glimpses of terrible carnage.

Without a beat, without reflection, without even a moment of minimal thought, Wolf Blitzer moves on. As do we, collectively.

And that's that. America kills innocent civilians. Lots of them. And it's no big deal now. Not controversial. No reason to ask questions or rationalize or even pretend to soul-search like the national media once did. America kills civilians. Lots of them. Just part of the fabric of things now.

Happens every day.

We are numb now.

We are killing. We are killing in large numbers. And we are numb to what we are doing.


 01:41 PM - link


In the beginning

Sebastião Salgado is embarking on the last of his great photographic projects, which will appear regularly in Weekend over the next eight years. He is seeking out places that are still as pristine as they were in primeval times, places that provide hope. First stop, the Galápagos Islands. Simon Hattenstone talks to him.

Marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus)
Like other reptiles, the marine iguana is an ectothermic creature so it must regulate its body temperature. As soon as the sun rises the marine iguana lies flat, exposing as much body area as possible to the sun. When it reaches a body temperature of 35.5C it changes its position in order to avoid overheating. To swim, to move about and to digest, the marine iguana must have a high body temperature.


  thanks to Street Photography mailing list

 01:01 PM - link

A Kosher-Stamp on Murder
by Uri Avnery

Two shocking manifestos were published this week. Both call for comment.

The second manifesto declares that the Halakha (Jewish religious law) commands the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians if this helps to save Jews. It is signed by the heads of the "Arrangement Yeshivot," the West Bank settlement rabbis and other religious leaders. They were later joined by one of the two chief rabbis (the Sephardic one).

The second manifesto is far more dangerous. A religious doctrine that calls for the killing of civilians in the name of God is very serious. Such a decree signed by the rabbis of the "Arrangement Yeshivot" is tenfold worse.

In order to understand this, one has to know that these Yeshivot are in fact military units. They constitute a unique phenomenon in the Israeli army: whole units formed on an ideological-political basis, obeying their own leaders.

The only religious voice raised against this appalling document was that of a small and courageous group called Rabbis for Human Rights, which opposes the dirty messianic current that has submerged almost the whole religious camp in Israel. Their statement discloses that the Yeshiva heads have intentionally falsified the Talmud passages "quoted" by them. The actual text forbids a Jew to kill innocents even to save his own life. After all, God created all human beings "in his own image" (Genesis 1:27).

Unfortunately, this statement will have no impact whatsoever on the IDF's religious militias, and even less on the settlers, who now set the tone in the army.

Many of the most heinous crimes in human history were committed in the name of religion. The Book of Joshua says that God commanded the Children of Israel to commit a general ethnic cleansing in the land of Canaan. The crusaders carried out horrible massacres in this country (and against the Jews on the way here) while shouting "Deus le volt!" (God wills it). Three years ago today, Osama bin Laden sent his people to kill thousands in the New York Twin Towers in the name of Allah.

May God protect us from those who would speak in His name.


Sharon Repudiates the Road Map
by Juan Cole

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in remarks on Wednesday repudiated the American-sponsored "road map" to a peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Sharon insists on acting unilaterally, intends to occupy the Palestinian population indefinitely, and intends to permanently incorporate much of the West Bank, conquered in 1967, into Israel, while leaving the Palestinian population stateless. They lack so much as a passport or a country, many of their children are hungry, unemployment is astronomical, and their lives are ruined by a dense network of Israeli roads and checkpoints that make it difficult even just to go to the hospital.

I am sure that most Americans are not even aware that Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation and that every day Palestinian territory shrinks as it is stolen by fanatical Israeli colonists. These fanatics do not differ in any obvious way from the French colonists in Algeria, which the French also proclaimed "French soil." But colonialism is just another word for grand larceny. (Most Americans would be appalled if the United States suddenly chased all the Iraqis out of Baghdad and brought in Americans to permanently take over their apartments and other property, instead. But that is an exact analogy for how the Israelis are behaving.)


This Laura Rozen post has some good links on the fears of a civil war in Israel.


Wieseltier's piece echoes the alarm raised by the Israeli press the past few weeks, warning of "the coming civil war." I was at an Erev Rosh Hashana dinner the other night with a law student -- a Democrat who plans to vote for Bush because he supports the White House approach to the war on terror -- who was saying violence between Israeli troops and the settlers they will be ordered to evacuate would never happen, as many Israeli papers are warning. But it was only nine years ago that Rabin was assassinated by a right wing Jewish fanatic. One does wonder, how did so many people in American Jewry get so out of touch with what's happening in Israel? Why do so many seem to harbor so many illusions? As one Israeli reader recently wrote me, "the contradictions in Israeli society are about to explode in a violent way." But this topic of the very real potential for 'us vs. us' violence in Israel is treated either as a remote possibility or almost a taboo topic among American Jewry, despite the recent history and warnings.


 12:54 PM - link

poster art

Partisan Project

15 designers and artists using their time and talent to help bring about change.


  thanks to follow me here...

 12:16 PM - link

why they hate us

I've read several books on the history of the Middle East to try and figure out how we got to where we are. But they had an Israel/Palestine focus and it was like looking at the problem through a knothole. The subject is larger than that. I'm reading an excellent book that covers the fall of the Ottoman empire and the creation of the modern Middle East. It's David Fromkin's Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. Here is a review from Amazon that says it pretty well...

Is the Palestinian Problem an "Ancient Struggle"?

I only just picked it up and started it a second time. This time however, I ploughed right through it. It is tremendous to remind ourselves in this time some of the REAL causes of Middle East conflict. Remind ourselves that much of the current problems were laid between 1914 and 1930. This is a frustrating work because you can see the root of so many problems and you have to bear through the story knowing how it ends, or continues as it were.

The root causes of the Middle East conflicts are not ancient, they are fairly recent. Much of them based on the Western systems "inflicted" on them during the times described here in Fromkin's book.

Fromkin has an easy style and his research and study cover an exceptional breadth. Rather than looking at certain isolated instances, he throws up a mosaic of the whole region and how it intertwines with the West and the East.

If you never understood what the Ottoman Empire was or why the Middle East seems so complex, pick up this book.

As I read the book I am horrified at how the people who made the decisions that created the modern Middle East had almost zero understanding of the people and lands. It's also clear that it was oil that drove the process. Some things never change. This is essential reading if you want to have a clue as to the root causes of the violence in the Middle East. They want their world back.

Here is a little history of US involvement since WWII.

Democrats, Republicans and U.S. Hegemony in the Middle East
A bloody history

What there is no disagreement about among the ruling elite—whether Republican or Democrat—is the need to hold onto Iraq as part of a strategy of domination of the entire oil-rich and strategic Middle East. Control of the region has been a central objective of U.S. international policy for six decades. Domination of the area is a foundation stone of the National Security Strategy (NSS-USA) adopted as the official doctrine of U.S. foreign policy in September 2002.

Iraq and the roots of the "national security strategy"

Although the NSS-USA is perceived by many as a creation of latter day neo-conservatives, its roots are bi-partisan and extend back to World War II. In the latter stages of that war, the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, dominated by big banking, oil and other corporate interests, were determined to restructure the post-war world to ensure the dominant position of the United States.

The key elements in their strategy were: first, U.S. military superiority in nuclear and conventional weaponry; second, U.S. domination of newly-created international institutions like the United Nations, International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and the establishment of the dollar as the world currency; and third, control of global resources, particularly oil.

In pursuit of the third key element, the United States was intent on taking hold of certain strategic assets of the British Empire, regardless of their wartime alliance. Among those assets was Iraq.


  thanks to Politics in the Zeros

Eric Margolis has some thoughts on the end game of this 100 Years War in the Middle East.

Why West is losing

The threat today facing America "is the defensive jihad (holy struggle), an Islamic military reaction triggered by an attack by non-Muslims on the Islamic faith, on Muslims, on Muslim territory." Muslims are increasingly fighting back.

The Muslim world believes it is under total attack led by Bush -- a massive effort to crush all who oppose U.S. domination, destroy Islam's inherent political role, eliminate Muslim charities, impose western values on the Islamic world and maintain puppet rulers -- "spreading democracy" in Bush's lexicon. Terrorism is merely the tactics of the poor fighting the rich.

The ultimate taboo

"U.S. military operations in the Muslim world," he adds, "validate bin Laden's contention the U.S. is attacking Islam and supports any country willing to kill or persecute Muslims."

Scheuer, breaking the ultimate taboo, observes of Washington's "one-way alliance" with Israel that "Israelis have succeeded in lacing tight the ropes binding the American Gulliver to the ... Jewish state and its policies."

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are lost causes, Scheuer concludes. The U.S. is totally unable to create legitimate governments in either chaotic nation, only puppet regimes, supported by American bayonets.


 12:02 PM - link


Rock Art Portfolio
Alain Briot

Rock Art consists of images either painted or pecked onto rock surfaces. These images have been created by Native Americans from prehistoric to historic times. Although dating rock art is difficult it is usually accepted that some images found in the Southwest may have been created several thousand years ago. Painted images are called pictographs while pecked or carved images are called petroglyphs.

Shaman and Bighorns


  thanks to wood s lot

 11:26 AM - link

propaganda machine

Tentacles of Rage
The Republican propaganda mill, a brief history

As long ago as 1964 even William F. Buckley understood that the thunder on the conservative right amounted to little else except the sound and fury of middle-aged infants banging silver spoons, demanding to know why they didn't have more—more toys, more time, more soup; when Buckley was asked that year what the country could expect if it so happened that Goldwater was elected president, he said, "That might be a serious problem." So it has proved, if not under the baton of the senator from Arizona then under the direction of his ideologically correct heirs and assigns. An opinion poll taken in 1964 showed 62 percent of the respondents trusting the government to do the right thing; by 1994 the number had dwindled to 19 percent. The measure can be taken as a tribute to the success of the Republican propaganda mill that for the last forty years has been grinding out the news that all government is bad, and that the word "public," in all its uses and declensions (public service, citizenship, public health, community, public park, commonwealth, public school, etc.), connotes inefficiency and waste.

The dumbing down of the public discourse follows as the day the night, and so it comes as no surprise that both candidates in this year's presidential election present themselves as embodiments of what they call "values" rather than as the proponents of an idea. Handsome images consistent with those seen in Norman Rockwell's paintings or the prints of Currier and Ives, suitable for mounting on the walls of the American Enterprise Institute, or in one of the manor houses owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, maybe somewhere behind a library sofa or over the fireplace in a dining room, but certainly in a gilded frame.


  thanks to wood s lot

 11:18 AM - link


Photographer Quotes

Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.
Henri Cartier-Bresson


  thanks to Street Photography mailing list

 11:08 AM - link

  Tuesday   September 14   2004

this is so sick

Zoe and I saw this on The Daily Show. At first we thought that this can't be real. But it is. This country is sick. Very sick.

Freedom Tower Silver Dollar

Today history is being made! For the first time ever, a legally authorized government issue silver dollar has been struck to commemorate the World Trade Center and the new Freedom Tower being erected in its place. It's the U.S. territorial minting of the 2004 "Freedom Tower" Silver Dollar from CNMI. Most importantly, each coin has been created using .999 Pure Silver recovered from Ground Zero!

No, this is not a misprint. The silver used in each gleaming dollar coin is from Ground Zero! You see, when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, a bank vault full of .999 Pure Silver bars was buried under hundreds of tons of debris. After months of salvage work, many of the bars were found. Now, the same silver that was reclaimed from the destruction has been used to create the magnificent 2004 “Freedom Tower” Silver Dollar.


 11:47 PM - link


On Father's Day, 2002, I did scanner portraits of my family. I've been wanting to update them. We've changed and there are new members in the family. Zoe and I were playing with catscans and then she wanted her hand scanned with her mom's. I guess this is the start of the 2004 family scanner portraits.

Family Scanner Portraits

Gerry and Zoe




 10:31 PM - link


"Questioning Perceptions"
by Pedro Meyer

Oscar Guzmán, who has been working over the past two decades in 3D environments, showed me his work, that unwittingly, connected me directly with the theme of multiple receptors commented upon by Dr. Chopra, only this time from the perspective of photography. Our potential to view the world in so many different ways became immediately apparent. The metaphor of the various forms of receptors by the bee, the bat, the snake and the chameleon, became all too eloquent

Oscar, pulled out his camera and took a portrait of me sitting at my desk in my studio, and then stitched those same images into so many different polar combinations, none of which in fact related to the optical representation that for centuries had been the sole method of photographic points of view. Thus giving visual forms to the words spoken by Deepak Chopra: “What is the real shape in the world? And the answer is, there isn’t such as thing. There are only an infinite number of possibilities, all coexisting at the same time.”

I could perfectly well imagine myself traveling in that space made out of the void rather than atoms, that Dr. Chopra mentioned, as moving through those clouds as the plane was about to land, was a very magical representation of space and time, with that fluctuating energy all around me.


Visual Cartography.
By Oscar Guzmán


 08:05 PM - link


Here are three articles on Iran going nuclear and the hysterical US reaction. I have to agree with Helena Cobban on this.

Iranian nukes: are we scared yet?
by Helena Cobban

Hands up anyone who is not terrified that "Iran might be on the brink of acquiring nuclear weapons".

[She looks around her.]

Am I the only person sitting here with my hand up? Sometimes, it sure seems that way. The entire tone of the public discourse here in the United States is to stress two things:


Iran Threat Grows Amid U.S. Divisions
The lack of consensus on how to deal with Tehran's nuclear program is complicated by allies' opposing views and the stakes involved.

Deep divisions within the Bush administration are hampering U.S. efforts to defuse the growing nuclear weapons threat posed by Iran, a cross-section of Middle East specialists say.

The differences — between those advocating a tough, confrontational approach and those convinced that engagement on a variety of issues is the best way to stop Tehran's quest for a nuclear weapon — are so strong that nearly three years after President Bush declared Iran part of an "axis of evil" threatening the free world, his administration still has no widely accepted approach to the problem.

The search for common ground has been complicated by a variety of factors, including the sharply opposing views among America's closest allies and the stakes involved. Arms control specialists and regional analysts argue that a nuclear-armed Iran could endanger Israel's existence, touch off a regional arms race in an already unstable Middle East and — because of Iran's medium- and long-range missile technology acquired from North Korea — very quickly pose direct threats to Europe and the United States.


US's impasse over a 'nuclear' Iran

Washington's latest buzz about Iran is that there is no consensus on whether to confront it about its nuclear aspirations, or engage it with a view to abandoning it. Such a description creates an impression that the administration of President George W Bush could be serious about engaging Iran and is interested in initiating dialogue. However, if the past performance of the current administration establishes one reality, it is that there is not likely to be dialogue with Tehran in a second Bush administration. It should also be noted that the arms-control community was stunned this month to hear from the United Nations' watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran "planned to convert 37 tons of milled uranium, known as yellowcake, into a compound that can [not only] be used in a peaceful nuclear power program but also can be used to make weapons-grade enriched uranium".

Washington's non-proliferation community lives in a make-believe world of addressing heady issues without injecting a heavy dose of reality into that discussion. There are issues related to Iran that, when not viewed from the viewpoint of realism, portray a different - or even an incorrect - picture. One such reality is the conventional wisdom in that Iran, by going nuclear, presents a serious threat to Israel. Needless to say, Israel plays a leading role in making sure that such conventional wisdom not only stays alive, but that it constantly drives America's policy that ensures that Iran never becomes a nuclear power. No one bothers to ask why a nuclear Israel is not a threat to Iran, or why a nuclear Iran's paramount purpose would be to threaten Israel, knowing full well the implications of such threats for its own survival.


 07:53 PM - link


Shakespeare's Leap

A oung man from a small provincial town -- a man without independent wealth, without powerful family connections and without a university education -- moved to London in the late 1580's and, in a remarkably short time, became the greatest playwright not of his age alone but of all time. His works appeal to the learned and the unlettered, to urban sophisticates and provincial first-time theatergoers. He makes his audiences laugh and cry; he turns politics into poetry; he recklessly mingles vulgar clowning and philosophical subtlety. He grasps with equal penetration the intimate lives of kings and of beggars; he seems at one moment to have studied law, at another theology, at another ancient history, while at the same time he effortlessly mimics the accents of country bumpkins and takes delight in old wives' tales. Virtually all his rivals in the highly competitive theater business found themselves on the straight road to starvation; this one playwright by contrast made enough money to buy one of the best houses in the hometown to which he retired when he was around 50, the self-made protagonist of an amazing success story that has resisted explanation for 400 years.

How did Shakespeare become Shakespeare?


  thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!

Treasures in Full
Shakespeare in Quarto

On this site you will find the British Library’s 93 copies of the 21 plays by Shakespeare printed in quarto before the theatres were closed in 1642.


  thanks to J-Walk Blog

 12:20 PM - link


We're Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore
By Garrison Keillor

Something has gone seriously haywire with the Republican Party. Once, it was the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships. They were good-hearted people who vanquished the gnarlier elements of their party, the paranoid Roosevelt-haters, the flat Earthers and Prohibitionists, the antipapist antiforeigner element. The genial Eisenhower was their man, a genuine American hero of D-Day, who made it OK for reasonable people to vote Republican. He brought the Korean War to a stalemate, produced the Interstate Highway System, declined to rescue the French colonial army in Vietnam, and gave us a period of peace and prosperity, in which (oddly) American arts and letters flourished and higher education burgeoned-and there was a degree of plain decency in the country. Fifties Republicans were giants compared to today's. Richard Nixon was the last Republican leader to feel a Christian obligation toward the poor...

In the years between Nixon and Newt Gingrich, the party migrated southward down the Twisting Trail of Rhetoric and sneered at the idea of public service and became the Scourge of Liberalism, the Great Crusade Against the Sixties, the Death Star of Government, a gang of pirates that diverted and fascinated the media by their sheer chutzpah, such as the misty-eyed flag-waving of Ronald Reagan who, while George McGovern flew bombers in World War II, took a pass and made training films in Long Beach. The Nixon moderate vanished like the passenger pigeon, purged by a legion of angry white men who rose to power on pure punk politics. "Bipartisanship is another term of date rape," says Grover Norquist, the Sid Vicious of the GOP. "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." The boy has Oedipal problems and government is his daddy.


 11:10 AM - link

cover art

Badger Cover Gallery


  thanks to Spitting Image

 11:06 AM - link

jesus politics

The Bush Campaign's TV Commercial If He was Running Against Jesus


 10:58 AM - link



The toy camera photographer eschews the modern developments of camera technology, the reliance on computerised exposure systems, motorised film transport, PPI, TTL, CCD, DOF, the drive for higher and higher resolution, for gizmos, gadgets and carbon fibre tripods.
They believe focus is an over-rated commodity in most photographs and a focusing ring to be a needless gimmick on your average camera.
They may however enjoy painting their Holga a pretty color.


 10:54 AM - link


Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Four Years Ago?

Politicians lie, but numbers don't. How does the economic record of Bush, Jr. (and Sr.) stand up against Clinton's on Unemployment, Job Creation, the Stock Market, and the Budget Surplus/Deficit. No one statistic paints a true picture, but taken together, life under a Bush is dark and not very prosperous.


  thanks to J-Walk Blog

 10:19 AM - link


I finished two more days of entries, with accompanying photographic coverage, from my journal of my trip to NY and DC.

Gordy and Madelane's Great Pilgrimage — Observations and Digressions — Day 7

Gordy and Madelane's Great Pilgrimage — Observations and Digressions — Day 8

 10:13 AM - link