A week ago, Jay Bookmand did a great piece: The president's real goal in Iraq. Donald Kagan replied: Comparing America to ancient empires is 'ludicrous'. Then Jay replied to the reply:
"If you go abroad in search of monsters, you will inevitably find them even if you have to create them," McDougall wrote. "You will then fight them, whether or not you need to, and you will either come home defeated, or else so bloodied that the American people will lose their tolerance for engagement altogether, or else so victorious and full of yourself that the rest of the world will hate you and fear that you'll name them the next monster."
Five years later, McDougall's warning seems about to come true. [read more]
thanks to Tapped
Perhaps the critics are too generous to suspect merely political gamesmanship or settling a score for dad, for the allies and enemies that Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney choose are exactly those of the oil industry they still serve.
Iraq crossed western oil corporations 30 years ago, and the oil executives have long memories. In 1972, Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath party nationalized the oil holdings of the Iraq Petroleum Company, which actually was owned by a group of western oil companies including Royal Dutch and American and French firms. [read more]
According to the Bush administration, the threat posed by Iraq is serious enough to risk the lives of American soldiers, to end the lives of what would undoubtedly be thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians, and to risk a chemical or biological attack on the American homeland, but not serious enough to interrupt prime-time television. None of the big three broadcast networks carried Bush's case-for-war speech Monday night because, they say, the White House didn't ask. Pre-empting Saddam Hussein is one thing, apparently, but pre-empting Drew Carey is another [read more]
You see, I'd tried to remind Australia that rushing to America's colours was, as demonstrated in Vietnam, a health hazard. Before we signed up for the war against terror, wherever that might lead us, I thought it important to remember that the US has been the most trigger-happy of nations. With a long history of bellicosity and a culture of violence.
It is now my sad duty to say... I told you so. As expected, Washington is spiralling out of control - and Australia has as much to fear from its powerful friend as it does from its putative enemies. [read more]
thanks to American Samizdat
thanks to BookNotes
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
They had been expecting Wagner; instead, they got "Wee on My Face."
When subscribers to the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra used Internet-based media players to listen to CDs sent to promote the orchestra's musical offerings next season, the playlist was not exactly classical music. [read more]
thanks to boingboing
Miles Davis' Missing Years
For those who hesitate to commit the money ($250 retail) or shelf space to a 20-disc box, try the single-CD Live Around the World (released in 1996, five years after his death), a compilation of performances, at various clubs and arenas, from 1988 to 1991. His take of "Time After Time" on June 6, 1989, in Chicago is more exquisite than any of the nine versions at Montreux. Yet the Montreux box supplies the you-are-there thrill of a complete live performance—and so many of them—by a band whose music was believed to have been so scarcely preserved. (And, by the way, the sound quality is superb.) "Time After Time" may not be "My Funny Valentine," and The Complete Montreux isn't the Complete Plugged Nickel. But this is legitimate jazz, exciting music, a fresh look at an unjustly dissed chapter, a satisfying document from a hidden archive revealing that the great Miles Davis did not fade out with a whimper. [read more]
Rhapsody has Live Around the World. I've never listened to it, nor to any of his recorded music of this period, although I did see him live in 1985 or 1986. I listen to the album about 6 times today. Wonderful.
The Challenger's Cup finishes the last flight of the first round robin. OneWorld wins again. The surprise was Oracle BMW losing to the British boat. The purpose of having so many challenger races is not to just to find out who is fastest, but to give everyone a chance to improve their boats and crews. Some get faster faster than others.
OneWorld has one make-up race with Oracle BMW to be raced to be raced Saturday (North America time). Round Robin two starts on the 22nd.
Mascalzone Latino Wins First Race
Views of the Gulf
Dino-mummy shows some skin
A mummified dinosaur, unwrapped from the rocks of Montana, has revealed how the creature looked and how it lived 77 million years ago — down to the texture of its skin and the contents of its stomach, scientists say. [read more]
Dollar Bill Origami
My daughter Katie sent me this site. I collect pigs and she loves origami. She was upset that there weren't any instructions on how to fold it.
Origami- the art of paperfolding- comes in many styles and varieties. This page is dedicated to models folded from dollar bills, some original folds by Bob and some classics designed by others. [read more]
But wait! There's more! Origami shirt, Dollar Bill Tetrahedon, Money Origami, Folding Diagrams for the Egress: A Dollar Bill Door (All 20 Steps), Origami Ganesh (elephant), and Dollar Bill Animals in Origami.
This is a must read...
It's an hour-and-a-half drive over switchbacks from the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca to the village of Capulalpan, a settlement of some 1,500 people nestled in the Sierra Norte Mountains. The thick forest and remoteness of this mountainous region has long enabled the local Zacateca Indians to maintain their cultural integrity and, to a great extent, write their own rules. When Mexican clocks were turned back for daylight saving time in the spring, the Zacatecans refused to make the adjustment, insisting that they live in "God's time," not in what they derisively call "Fox time," referring to President Vicente Fox in far-off Mexico City. Carlos Castaneda wrote about this region as a center for natural transcendence in his book Journey to Ixtlan. But over the past year, this tiny puebla among the cedars and the wild mustard of the Sierra Norte has been unwillingly thrust into the center of a worldwide controversy over something quite different than the quality of its peyote: genetically engineered corn. [read more]
An understanding of the creative principle transcends any time or place. The 10 Bulls is more than poetry, more than pictures. It is a revelation of spiritual unfoldment paralleled in every bible of human experience. May the reader, like the Chinese patriarch, discover the footprints of his potential self and, carrying the staff of his purpose and the wine jug of his true desire, frequent the market place and there enlighten others. [read more]
thanks to enthusiasm
Well, congress has just handed a loaded gun to the village idiot and his sycophants. I watched the last hour of Senate speeches on C-SPAN last night. Pretty depressing. It's hard to say whether I was watching extreme stupidity or extreme cynicism. There was a litany of terrible things that Saddam has done, most of which the U.S. was either involved in or the U.S. has done the same things. Buy stock in companies that make body bags.
My daughter made the mistake of getting into an argument, at work, about invading Iraq. Her coworkers honestly believe that Saddam was involved in 9-11 and that the U.S. has done nothing in the Middle East to warrant anyone being upset. If ingorance is bliss, then we are living in one blissed out country.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly early this morning to authorize President Bush to use force against Iraq, joining with the House in giving him a broad mandate to act against Saddam Hussein. [read more]
The White House is developing a detailed plan, modeled on the postwar occupation of Japan, to install an American-led military government in Iraq if the United States topples Saddam Hussein, senior administration officials said today.
The plan also calls for war-crime trials of Iraqi leaders and a transition to an elected civilian government that could take months or years. [read more]
Japan, in 1945, was *nothing* like Iraq is today. Our goverment is being run by crack heads.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney portray Saddam Hussein as so menacing and terrifying that one might think they've lain awake at night for years worrying about him.
But when Mr. Cheney was running Halliburton, the oil services firm, it sold more equipment to Iraq than any other company did. As first reported by The Financial Times on Nov. 3, 2000, Halliburton subsidiaries submitted $23.8 million worth of contracts with Iraq to the United Nations in 1998 and 1999 for approval by its sanctions committee. [read more]
Ah, fisking. Good clean fun. A favorite of warbloggers everywhere. But I wonder....do any of them realize what they really sound like? Like this, for example:
Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new Nation,
Jesus H. Christ, does Abe seriously think that our country got started by the Declaration of Independence? Since he obviously has trouble with anything that happened before he was born, I'll clue him in: it was the constitution that got us started, big guy. That was 73 years ago, not 87. [read more]
thanks to Tapped
Wall Street Crooks
So here's my theory: Michael Oxley, Harvey Pitt and George W. Bush are all Communist moles who have worked their way into the center of the capitalist system in order to destroy it. How else can you make sense of their actions? [read more]
Trying to close a can of worms
It begins to become interesting to see where the investigators and prosecutors will draw the line in their interrogations of corporate America. [read more]
OneWorld is the sole unbeaten team
All Eyes on Juliet
The opposition of Yesha settlement leaders to dismantling the illegal outposts, like the evasiveness of their great friend Ariel Sharon, show that neither he nor they are acting in good faith. The Yesha leaders are threatening that their people will dig in their heels at sites slated for evacuation, thereby compelling IDF troops to evict them by force. Between the lines, there have also been allusions to more active resistance and intentions to reoccupy the hills after the evacuation is complete, in order to make life more difficult for the army and basically, to taunt it.
This proves yet again that in the eyes of the settlers themselves, as well as their political supporters, the so-called distinction between "legal" settlements and "illegal" outposts is nothing but a disingenuous trick. What is not legal today will become legal tomorrow. All they have to do is maneuver properly in the halls of power. As proof, they point, justifiably, to three decades of successful maneuvering - always with the support of their patron, Sharon - and to the fact that they have stubbornly kept a grip on almost every place they have put down stakes. [read more]
The fact is that two of the major reasons for that unnecessary war are now with us again as though we had entered a time tunnel: addiction to force and a destructive culture of government. Before the creation of the State of Israel, force building was a sine qua non not only for victory in the War of Independence, but also for the very ability of the Yishuv - as the Jewish community in pre-1948 Palestine was known - to stay its course and absorb refugees from the war in Europe. However, as early as the 1950s, Israel developed the concept that the preferred and most effective way to deal with the Arab world was by force. The reprisal raids in the first half of the 1950s, culminating in the Sinai War of 1956, was the first implementation of this approach. Its peak, however, came after the victory in the 1967 Six Day War, when the view was that there was no problem that tanks and planes could not resolve. The entrenchment along the Suez Canal was due to the fact that no one really knew what to do, apart from using more and more force. So the simple solution was not to budge. However, because no reality remains long without an ideological patina, a conception gradually developed insisting that our situation was never better and that only the foolhardy would try to change it. [read more]
Sex and Death
One of the three scientists who shared yesterday's Nobel Prize was honored for identifying a death gene that may control cellular suicide in humans. What if this gene could somehow be switched off? Mightn't that be a first step toward bodily immortality? In fact, this seems to be precisely how a certain rather creepy form of immortality was conferred on one Henrietta Lacks of Baltimore. In 1951, Lacks, a mother of four then just entering her 30s, was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital with cervical cancer. A piece of her tumor was removed and, as it happens, passed on by the pathologist to a researcher who was trying to grow human tissue in vitro. [read more]
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
Not long before her death, Henrietta Lacks danced. As the film rolled, her long thin face teased the camera, flashing a seductive grin as she moved, her eyes locked on the lens. She tilted her head back and raised her hands, waving them softly in the air before letting them fall to smooth her curlers. Then the film went blank. [read more]
Nobel Peace Prize
Former President Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his "untiring effort" to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts and to advance democracy and human rights.
A well deserved award. It makes me feel a little better after listening to the Senate last night.
Remember that saying from chaos theory about how when a butterfly flaps its wings, it can cause a hurricane a month later halfway around the world? As several people have already noted, Google has made some major changes in their most recent update. The weblogging community was hit hard (for instance, I used to be the #1 "mark"; I am now #6). The changes appear to be the result of an attempt to stop two phenomena: explicitly selling ads based on PageRank, and Google bombing. [read more]
thanks to enthusiasm
I've gone from being the #8 gordon to #47. My feelings of inadequacy are inversely proportional to my Google ranking. Not to mention that all the money I've been raking in with that high ranking has evaporated. Fame and fortune are so fickle.
thanks to MetaFilter
Corporations have no conscience
The IBM Link to Auschwitz
The infamous Auschwitz tattoo began as an IBM number. And now it's been revealed that IBM machines were actually based at the infamous concentration-camp complex. [read more]
Sex gone terribly wrong
This is Britney on speed. This is Mary Kate and Ashley shot out of a gun straight into your fragile nerve core. This is powerfully sexual and physical movement and weirdly mesmerizing body energy entirely, tragically divorced from actual female sexuality, some horrid breakdown, a spectacular and all-American display of going-through-the-motions without having any idea what it means to move the body in such a way. And lo, it is strange. [read more]
THE BIG IDEA
For more than fifty years, the security of the world has been kept in fragile balance by an elegant idea, shaped in large part by a man who is a skeptic about big ideas. George F. Kennan, who is now ninety-eight years old, coined the phrase "containment," and with it the doctrine of deterrence designed to keep the world's superpowers poised in a perpetual standoff, relegated to their separate spheres of influence, forced into peace by the threat of a nuclear war too terrible to win. [read more]
thanks to Talking Points Memo
In 1995, after several years of deceit by the Iraqi regime, the head of Iraq's military industries defected. It was then that the regime was forced to admit that it had produced more than 30,000 liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents. The inspectors, however, concluded that Iraq had likely produced two to four times that amount.
Zunes: "If this is really a concern, then why did the United States supply Iraq with the seed stock of anthrax spores back in the 1980s?" [William Blum, "Anthrax for Export: U.S. Companies Sold Iraq the Ingredients for a Witch's Brew," The Progressive, April 1998, p. 18]
This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and is capable of killing millions.
Zunes: "This is like saying that a man is capable of making millions of women pregnant. It's a matter of delivery systems, of which there is no proof that Iraq currently has."
thanks to American Samizdat
thanks to Cursor
thanks to BuzzFlash
Again, the achievement is hard to grasp for non-musicians. Imagine, as a rough analogy, that a poet wrote a poem in which every successive stanza took the same words that were used in the previous stanza, and then displaced all the letters, substituting B for A, C for B, and so on. And not only did each stanza still make sense, it was a work of beauty. That would be only slightly more difficult than what Bach did with the Goldberg variations. It's just incredible. [read more]
thanks to Cooped Up
There and Bach Again
The one significant exception to this rule is Bach's Goldberg Variations, which he recorded twice. The first recording, from 1955, was his major-label debut and instantly made him an international star. The second, from 1981, was, eerily enough, his swan song, the last recording he ever made. Critical opinion of the first release is close to unanimous: It's considered a milestone in Bach performance and one of the greatest keyboard recordings ever made. The second enjoys a somewhat rockier reputation, although it has its passionate champions. [read more]
Oracle BMW Racing, OneWorld Continue Undefeated
It was a case of the rich getting richer on Race Day Seven of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Oracle BMW Racing and OneWorld kept rolling along, and both remain undefeated after a full flight of races was sailed for the first time in four days.
The wind is back. There are two more flights that OneWorld should win easily and then there will be the make-up race with Oracle BMW. That should be something. That will end Round Robin 1. Round Robin 2 will start on the 22nd.
War Against Labor
All in time
So why can't the two sides even sit down at the table together?
The ILWU charges that the reason is much broader: that after decades of having to honor hard-fought union victories, the PMA is out to break the union. Further, union leaders and members have every belief that the Bush Administration intends to help -- in fact, has already done so by invokation of the Taft-Hartley Act, organized labor's single most loathed law.
"The problem isn't the beginning of Taft-Hartley," says Vance Lelli, a spokesman for ILWU Local 23 and president of the Pierce County (Tacoma, Wash.) Central Labor Council. "It's what [the Bush Administration] can invoke at the end of it -- the forced contracts, the concessions." [read more]
Welcome to the B-EYE pages! Have you ever wondered how other creatures see the world? Here you can find out. Well, at least you can find out how HONEY BEES see the world. Well, let's say you can find out what we THINK the world looks like to a bee. Well, not the WHOLE world, really, but a subset of the world, namely a number of greyscale pictures. But, still, I'm sure you will find it an interesting experience...
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
Nervousness about disappointing earnings has prompted investors to sell stocks, extending the market's slump and bringing about the deepest bear market since 1937-38, according to data from Banc One Investments Advisors. The Standard & Poor's 500 index .SPX has lost almost 50 percent from its record close in March 2000. [read more]
thanks to DANGEROUSMETA!
Environment and Economy
Climate change is causing natural disasters that the financial services industry must address, a group of the world's biggest banks, insurers and re-insurers warned today. They estimated the cost of financial losses from events such as this summer's devastating floods in central Europe at $150 billion over the next 10 years. [read more]
Gee, climate change might have some negative economic impacts. Who would have thought?
Q: It is a weird moment in history, don't you think?
Kurt Vonnegut: Well, my late brother Bernie, who was a great expert on weather — at one point he knew more about tornadoes than anybody else on the planet, I imagine — was always approached by people who knew his background and wanted him to be an expert about it. "Bernie, isn't this weather unusual?" And he would say, "The weather is always unusual." I mean, this is a very special time in history, but every time is. [read more]
thanks to Travellers Diagram
Always a fighter, always a terrorist
These are the rules of war as laid down over the last two years:
A Palestinian is a terrorist when he attacks Israeli civilians on both sides of the Green Line - in Israel and the territories - and when he attacks Israeli soldiers at the gates of a Palestinian city. A Palestinian is a terrorist when an army unit breaks into his neighborhood with tanks and he shoots at a soldier who gets out of a tank for a moment, and he is a terrorist when he is hit by helicopter fire and is holding a rifle. Palestinians are terrorists whether they kill civilians or soldiers.
The Israeli soldier is a fighter when he shoots a missile from a helicopter or a shell from a tank at a group of people who gather in Khan Yunis, after the fighter or one of his colleagues fires a shell or a missile at a house - from which the army says a Qassam rocket was fired - and kills a man and woman. He is a fighter when he encounters two armed Palestinians in the brush. The Israeli soldier kills armed people and kills civilians. He kills senior commanders of battalions of murderous terrorists and he kills kindergarten-aged children and the elderly in their homes. More accurately, they are killed by IDF fire. Most accurately, they are killed, claim Palestinian sources. [read more]
thanks to wood s lot
The War Against Democracy
Is this the most important election in US history?
With his TV talk of war, George W. Bush has blown smoke over what's really at stake today: the future of democracy. Not in Iraq; here in the United States.
Never in US history have we ever been closer to an unchecked one-man one-party rule than right now. And as the world's sole military super-power, we have made the crisis truly global. [read more]
Zoe finshed the pictures for my grandson's third birthday. Zoe and I were alone with Mike before family arrived for his party. He used the opportunity to put on a show of jumping and cavorting.
My son Robby had been planning a tip to Vermont to see Phish on New Year's Eve — until last Thursday. It was then that I told him that I thought it just might be sold out. A check at phish.com proved me right. As everyone was leaving the birthday party, I told his sisters about the lack of tickets. We all started practicing the I Need A Miracle Ticket pose.
Zoe has all of Mike's birthday party photos at Ofoto. (some registration required.)
Workers of the World Unite!
In the second week of a shutdown that has closed 29 ports on the West Coast and is costing the U.S. economy upwards of $1 billion a day, the Bush administration amplified its involvement in the dispute between the International Longshore & Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association, by forming a "board of inquiry."
This is the administration's likely first step toward invoking the controversial Taft-Hartley Act, which would force union workers back to work for an 80-day cooling off period. (...)
And while many politicians are ready to use federal authority to control the docks due to the current economic implications, labor still has friends in Congress. In an attempt to dissuade Congress members from supporting federal intervention, California Democrat George Miller wrote that, "Taft-Hartley is rarely employed and is properly viewed as an aggressively anti-union weapon for undermining the collective bargaining rights of working people." [read more]
President Bush intervened in the 11-day shutdown of 29 West Coast ports today, successfully seeking a court order today to halt the employers' lockout of 10,500 longshoremen, because the operation of the ports is "vital to our economy and to our military." [read more]
Another great Library of Congress site.
The development of early American animation is represented by this collection of 21 animated films and 2 fragments, which spans the years 1900 to 1921. The films include clay, puppet, and cut-out animation, as well as pen drawings. They point to a connection between newspaper comic strips and early animated films, as represented by Keeping Up With the Joneses, Krazy Kat, and The Katzenjammer Kids. As well as showing the development of animation, these films also reveal the social attitudes of early twentieth-century America.
thanks to plep
Brazil's next president most likely will be an anti-American radical with an appetite for atomic bombs. Leading in the polls, Ignacio "Lula" da Silva could win either the October 6 first-round election or October 27 runoff. If so, Brazil, Venezuela, and Cuba could unite in hostility to the United States.
"We must prevent a nuclear-armed axis of evil in the Americas," says Constantine Menges, a senior fellow in the Washington office of the Hudson Institute. Since last spring, the former adviser to President Reagan has offered spoken and written warnings of da Silva's mounting menace. "Lula's a supporter of terrorism," Menges continues. "He will, I believe, permit covert support to be given to bring about anti-American regimes in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru." [read more]
thanks to bertramonline
These people are just fucking crazy and they will take us all down.
IT is a document that fundamentally questions the motives behind the Bush administration's desire to take out Saddam Hussein and go to war with Iraq.
Strategic Energy Policy Challenges For The 21st Century describes how America is facing the biggest energy crisis in its history. It targets Saddam as a threat to American interests because of his control of Iraqi oilfields and recommends the use of 'military intervention' as a means to fix the US energy crisis.
The report is linked to a veritable who's who of US hawks, oilmen and corporate bigwigs. It was commissioned by James Baker, the former US Secretary of State under George Bush Snr, and submitted to Vice-President Dick Cheney in April 2001 -- a full five months before September 11. Yet it advocates a policy of using military force against an enemy such as Iraq to secure US access to, and control of, Middle Eastern oil fields. [read more]
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
Inspection as invasion
thanks to Cursor
The Power Paradox
thanks to Cursor
Help Us to Stop the War
America's great misleader
enthusiasm is one year old. Marc raised a glass in Sydenham in celebration. I would like to say I went down to my local pub (the Doghouse in Langley) and had a pint in Marc's honor but, I'm afraid, it was a 12 oz. bottle of beer at home. It was still beer. Happy Birthday!
Since when has it been
The document that Abu Mazen's department has been drafting for the past month calls the settlements "colonies" and warns, "If the international community continues to remain unwilling to reign in Israeli colony construction and expansion, irreversible `facts on the ground' and the de facto apartheid system, such facts create will force Palestinian policy makers to re-evaluate the plausibility of a two-state solution."
According to the document, Israeli construction in the West Bank in general and in the area of Jerusalem in particular would leave the Palestinians with chances for a "state" in name only, that would more closely resemble an Indian reservation in the United States, with limited access to water and land. This is the opinion of the document's authors - a team of legal scholars, academics and geographers who have been working in the framework of what is called the "Jerusalem task force" for the past two years. [read more]
A spokesman for Prince Charles has scotched rumours that the heir to the British throne is the real author of a series of mysterious Amazon.com reader reviews that have perplexed and entertained Internet users over the past eighteen months. [read more]
thanks to reenhead.com
You Can Teach Your Dog to Eliminate on Command by M. L. Smith, Syd Stibbard (Illustrator)
Superb September 19, 2002
Big Brother is watching *you*
"[S]he does this all the time and she gets out of it because she's the governor's daughter. But we're sick of it here 'cause we have to do what's right, but she gets treated like some kind of princess. And everybody's tired of it, you know. We're just trying to get our lives together, and this girl's bringing drugs on property." [read more]
No wind — no race.
Racing Cancelled for the Day
Sailing on Race Day Eight has been postponed for the day due to lack of wind. All matches scheduled for the day will be rescheduled for tomorrow, Thursday.
Principal Race Office Peter Reggio said “everything looked good for getting some racing in up to two o’clock and then everything just fell apart out there.” The wind never quite made it to the minimum requirement of seven knots sustained for five minutes. [read more]
It’s very difficult, and perhaps unfair, to read too much into the early results we’ve seen in Round Robin One of the Louis Vuitton Cup. Several matches have been postponed due to too much or too little wind and many of the races that have been sailed have featured light and shifty conditions.
However it is clear that some teams have enjoyed early success, and others are disappointed in their results to date.
"There's an old saying," Belafonte began. "In the days of slavery, there were those slaves who lived on the plantation and were those slaves that lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master... exactly the way the master intended to have you serve him.
"Colin Powell's committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture." [read more]
Some People Have Way Too Much Time On Their Hands Department
Daniel Shiu and I worked on this as a joint project after we finished our rendition of Escher's "Belvedere", making it our third Escher picture rendered in LEGO (the first one was "Balcony"). No camera tricks, but the picture has to be taken from exactly the right place, and the final photograph was slightly distorted to emphasise the perspective effect.
thanks to MetaFilter
Wall Street Crooks
We just lost the whole ballgame on corporate reform -- without the news even making it to the front page. The sick, sad tidings were tucked away discreetly on the business pages: "SEC Chief Hedges on Accounting Regulator." Now there's a sexy headline.
All of you who were shafted by Enron, shucked by Worldcom, jived by Global Crossing, everyone whose 401(k) is now a 201(k) (I think that's Paul Begala's line), you just got screwed again. They're not going to fix it. [read more]
The ADL Smear Campaign Against Me
The recent dishonest, consciously distorted and insulting non-interpretation of my poem, "Somebody Blew Up America" by the "Anti-Defamation" League, is fundamentally an attempt to defame me. And with that, an attempt to repress and stigmatize independent thinkers everywhere. [read more]
Light winds caused the abandonment of three of the four races including the One World / Oracle BMW race. Bummer. It will be held after Flight 9 of Round Robin 1. Tomorrow is Flight 7 — OneWorld races the Swedish boat Örn. Or not. The wind forecast doesn't look any better than today.
The Hauraki Gulf played more tricks on the competing yachts today, with massive switches in wind strength and direction playing havoc with the fortunes of the teams. [read more]
Stockbrokers around the world are braced for a potentially calamitous week as alarm mounts over a looming, Thirties-style global financial crisis. A leaked email about the credit- worthiness of Commerzbank, Germany's third largest bank, yesterday increased fears of the international stock market malaise exploding into a fully-fledged banking crisis. [read more]
A man for all markets
Thoughts of Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments moved Galbraith to the ethics of the present. 'I have written a long essay, "The Economics of Innocent Fraud" about things that, for self-interest or convenience, we hail as the truth but have no particular relevance to reality.'
With an eye on the Bush administration Galbraith said one minor example of this was relevant now: 'You can't stimulate an economy by reducing taxes on the rich. That is popular for what it does for those who get the money, and not for what it does for the economy.' [read more]
A majority of Americans say that the nation's economy is in its worst shape in nearly a decade and that President Bush and Congressional leaders are spending too much time talking about Iraq while neglecting problems at home, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The poll found signs of economic distress that cut across party and geographic lines. Nearly half of all Americans are worried that they or someone in their household will be out of a job within a year. [read more]
We are on the eve of the 2002 Brazilian election, which will determine when the wobbly house of cards will collapse. It is either the "business as usual" candidate, Serra, who will roll over the debt, give more concessions to banks, increase taxes, slash expenditures, privatize gov't businesses (maybe even dish out a chunk of Petrobras, the quasi-state oil company; its exploration monopoly may be given up), and inevitably a serious currency devaluation maybe forced upon it. In the local vernacular, these policies will amount to "urinating in your pants to keep warm." Even these drastic measures will only yield a temporary reprieve before something must yield.
The alternative is Lula, the candidate on the left. His policies will favor improving the conditions of the majority of the population, and perhaps rectify the lopsided income distribution of Brazil. Such policies require improving consumption of the population at large, and investment in public services. The collision course with the policies needed to play the "debt roll over game" and this plan are obvious. One policy requires belt tightening forever, the extraction of the pound of flesh, whereas the Lula program requires that some of the crumbs reach the masses. [read more]
Brazil's Supreme Electoral Court confirmed today that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the leftist Workers' Party will face José Serra for president in a second-round runoff on Oct. 27.
Mr. da Silva, who was hoping to gain more than 50 percent of the vote to win the election outright, had 46.4 percent with 98.3 percent of the vote counted. [read more]
A belated birthday greetings. Yesterday was wood s lot s second birthday. May you have many more!
Scramble to carve up Iraqi oil reserves lies behind US diplomacy
Russian business has long-standing interests in Iraq. Lukoil, the biggest oil company in Russia, signed a $20bn contract in 1997 to drill the West Qurna oilfield. Such a deal could evaporate along with the Saddam regime, together with a more recent contract with Russian giant Zarubezhneft, which was granted a potential $90bn concession to develop the bin Umar oilfield. The total value of Saddam's foreign contract awards could reach $1.1 trillion, according to the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2001.
The Russian official said his government believed the US had brokered a deal with the coalition of Iraqi opposition forces it backs whereby support against Saddam is conditional on their declaring - on taking power - all oil contracts conceded under his rule to be null and void.
'The concern of my government,' said the official, 'is that the concessions agreed between Baghdad and numerous enterprises will be reneged upon, and that US companies will enter to take the greatest share of those existing contracts... Yes, if you could say it that way - an oil grab by Washington'. [read more]
The Bush administration has begun to produce what it calls evidence to support its claim that Iraq is moving very near a nuclear weapon capability. But a story in Sunday’s New York Times (September 8, 2002), especially as elaborated by administration officials on Sunday talk shows, actually suggests just the opposite—that Iraq is not as close as it was before the Gulf War. [read more]
Going out with a bong
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien seems prepared to risk the ire of the United States and decriminalise the use of marijuana. [read more]
Medicinal cannabis may be available within two years
The world's oldest euphoric drug is poised to make a return to the medicine cabinet. Cannabis, reputedly taken by Queen Victoria to quell her period pains but banished from Britain's schedule of medicinal drugs in 1971, is on the point of winning scientific backing for its role in easing the symptoms of chronic disease. [read more]
The violence continues but there is a court case that is important to follow. Marwan Barghouti is being prosecuted by the Israelis. Barghouti is an interesting case. He used to be a Palestinian peace activist but has become more militant in recent years. He is also one of the front runners to replace Arafat. The Israelis are using this case to prosecute the entire Intifada, while Barghouti is trying to turn it back against the Israelis. The Israelis are putting on a show trial but they may end up with more then they bargained for.
What a Show!
Who doesn't remember the picture: a Jew is put on trial in Moscow as a Zionist spy. Family members and friends come to observe the trial but are turned away. No place left, they are told, all the seats have already been taken. And indeed, KGB agents have filled the hall early, and with the entrance of the accused start to shout: "Traitor!" "Spy!" "Kill him!"
The day before yesterday I witnessed something frighteningly similar in Tel-Aviv. [read more]
The disturbances in the courtroom and the disorder last week that accompanied the prosecution's request to extend Barghouti's remand until the proceedings against him are completed made it clear to everyone that what had been intended as a fair trial is being presented to the world as a political trial, and this is having reverberations. Thus any judiciary decision, such as the one that will determine the question of whether the Israeli court indeed has the judiciary authority to try him, will be received only as a decision in which the dominant motive is not necessarily a legal one. What has been achieved thus far has been the granting of a convenient stage from which Barghouti can have his say. [read more]
The Islamic militant group Hamas threatened new attacks Monday after Israel fired a missile into a crowded Gaza street and killed 11 Palestinians. The United States said it was "deeply troubled" by the raid in which three other Palestinians died and 110 were wounded. [read more]
"The moment that the army went in there, they were fired on from every window and every opening, so our soldiers had to do the job," said Deputy Defense Minister Weizman Shiri. "The most militant of Hamas men are located there, and if damage was caused to innocent civilians, we can be sorry, but what can you do - this is war." [read more]
Yes, war against civilians — and civilians have the legal right to defend themselves against an attacking military occupation force.
Settlers killed one Palestinian and wounded two others yesterday during an attack on olive harvesters near Nablus, the latest in a series of such attacks, Palestinian residents said. [read more]
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments this week over the constitutionality of a 1998 law that extended copyright protection by 20 years. Experts on both sides of the closely watched case say that its outcome could reshape the way cultural products are consumed and how their profits are divided.
The court's decision will determine whether a host of material — including early Mickey Mouse movies, Cole Porter songs and Robert Frost poems — will become available for free to the public or remain in the control of their copyright holders. [read more]
Having vanquished the music swapping service Napster in court, the entertainment industry is facing a formidable obstacle in pursuing its major successor, KaZaA: geography.
Sharman Networks, the distributor of the program, is incorporated in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu and managed from Australia. Its computer servers are in Denmark and the source code for its software was last seen in Estonia. [read more]
The challenger's cup continues. The wind was light and shifty for yesterday's races. Two of the races didn't have enough wind and were postponed until after the last round of races, Flight 9. That was too bad because Larry Ellisons Oracle BMW boat was to have raced the Swedish boat — they are both unbeaten. The OneWold / Stars and Stripes race did get completed and OneWorld handily beat Dennis Connor's Stars and Stripes. Today's races (Flight 6) pit OneWorld against Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW boat. This will be the *big* race of the day.
OneWorld Drifts to the Top
A Heavyweight Division Begins to Emerge
Early results are suggesting the three top teams to be Oracle BMW Racing, OneWorld Challenge and the Swiss Alinghi syndicate. A mighty battle looks set to be waged between Team Dennis Conner and the Swedish Victory Challenge group for the fourth place.
Spithill, helmsman of OneWorld's USA-67 boat, which was 4-0 after besting Stars & Stripes today on the Hauraki Gulf, is a bright-pupiled pup in a world of droopy-eyed dogs.
At 19, the young Aussie gun was the youngest helmsman ever to pilot an America's Cup contest as he led the aptly named Young Australia crew into the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup trials. At 23, he's younger by half than most men he stares down across the green waters off New Zealand.
It is the end of a long day of racing in the Hauraki Gulf, and America's Cup racing boats are returning to Viaduct Harbor to be hauled ashore, hosed down and cloaked in skirts, to hide the secrets of speed that lurk below their waterlines. With their blunt bows, blade-like sails and carbon-fiber riggings tuned as precisely as a harp, the boats are among the most technologically advanced in the world.
The boat in the harbor that attracts the most attention, however — and the one that best captures the spirit of the ongoing America's Cup challenge, the Louis Vuitton Cup — does not have sails or a team of grinders whirling away at the winches. It is a gleaming white four-story sea monster with black wraparound glass balconies, a basketball court on the afterdeck and an oversize American flag drooping from the stern. It is Larry Ellison's yacht, the 250-foot Katana. The parking spot alone costs $200,000 a month. [read more]
Death Don't Have No Mercy
He removed the stone, the storm broke... and a massive flash of lightning lit up the excavation. The skeleton flickered horribly in its grave and the footballers turned tail and ran. They weren't the only ones to get a shock. For archaeologist Timothy Taylor, the incident brought home with stunning force how insulated most people are from the realities of death. In his new book he tries to redress the balance, as Kate Douglas discovered [read more]
thanks to Scitech daily Review
This is the Democratic ad that's causing coffee to come out of Republican noses.
Muggles take note: The world premiere of the new Harry Potter film will be on Nov. 3 in London. [read more]
thanks to follow me here...
I lived in Japan in the late 50s and vehicles like this were very common. I was 12 years old when I first saw them and I thought they were pretty cool. Now I'm 58 and I still think they're pretty cool.
As in the case of the Vespa, observing the day to day needs of the world around them led Enrico Piaggio and Corradino D'Ascanio to sense the potential of their new product. And from a "rib" of the Vespa was born the Ape, which Piaggio began selling in 1948. "This motorcycle van is bound to be a great success" wrote the magazine Motociclismo wrote." It's a highly modern vehicle with extremely low cost and fuel consumption and easily within the reach of the smallest of companies. But it has been conceived without false economy and according to very rational criteria, as regards both its functionality and its construction."
thanks to Travellers Diagram
Dismuke's Virtual Talking Machine
This site is devoted to vintage music from the early decades of the 20th Century. All recordings have been transcribed into streaming Real Audio from the original 78 rpm discs in my personal collection. It is my hope that this site will help further the creation of a new generation of enthusiasts for an exciting, vibrant and, sadly, all but forgotten era of American popular culture. [read more]
thanks to consumptive.org
You shone like the sun
The received wisdom is that you don't disturb him.The last interview he gave was in 1971, and from then until now, there are only about 20 recorded encounters of any kind. His family says it upsets him to discuss the days when he was the spirit of psychedelia, beautiful Syd Barrett, the leader of Pink Floyd. He doesn't recognise himself as the shambling visionary who, during an extended nervous breakdown exacerbated by his drug intake, made two solos LPs, Madcap and Barrett , which are as eternally eloquent as Van Gogh's cornfields. He doesn't answer to his 60s nickname now. He's called Roger Barrett, as he was born in 1946. [read more]
This is too cool. You too can be a Harold Edgerton at a reasonable price. Check out the pictures.
The Mumford Time Machine
The Mumford Time Machine is a programmable controller for special photographic effects. It allows you to trip the shutter of your camera or fire an electronic flash at specific intervals or in response to events in the real world. These trigger events can be sound, light, motion, or electrical signals. For example, it allows you to take pictures with an unattended camera, like pictures of animals that come around when you aren't there, or time lapse movies of construction sites.
thanks to consumptive.org
I spent some good time playing this weekend. We had a birthday party for my 3 year old grandson on Saturday. My three kids and both my grandkids were there. Zoe took pictures and I will put some up when I get them from her. We all went to Mike's place for breakfast Sunday, except for Robby who was at work. He was at work (he's a prep cook) at the Doghouse, which is across the street from Mike's Place. He saw us go into Mike's Place and joined us for coffee. A Pleasant time was had by all.
This put me behind on the blog but, as j p would say, I have much linky goodness for you. I will be putting it up as I try to catch up with everything else today.