signs of the times
Before the invention of modern billboards, sign painters used to paint advertisements and company names directly onto building walls. These gradually fading painted signs are known as ghost signs.
thanks to 12.s
All the President's votes?
Georgia was not the only state last November to see big last-minute swings in voting patterns. There were others in Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois and New Hampshire - all in races that had been flagged as key partisan battlegrounds, and all won by the Republican Party. Again, this was widely attributed to the campaigning efforts of President Bush and the demoralisation of a Democratic Party too timid to speak out against the looming war in Iraq.
Strangely, however, the pollsters made no comparable howlers in lower-key races whose outcome was not seriously contested. Another anomaly, perhaps. What, then, is one to make of the fact that the owners of the three major computer voting machines are all prominent Republican Party donors? Or of a recent political fund-raising letter written to Ohio Republicans by Walden O'Dell, Diebold's chief executive, in which he said he was "committed to helping Ohio to deliver its electoral votes to the president next year" - even as his company was bidding for the contract on the state's new voting machinery?
Alarmed and suspicious, a group of Georgia citizens began to look into last November's election to see whether there was any chance the results might have been deliberately or accidentally manipulated. Their research proved unexpectedly, and disturbingly, fruitful.
thanks to BookNotes
Diebold Election Systems has had a tumultuous year, and it doesn't look like it's getting any better.
Last January the electronic voting machine maker faced public embarrassment when voting activists revealed the company's insecure FTP server was making its software source code available for everyone to see.
Then researchers and auditors who examined code for the company's touch-screen voting system released two separate reports stating that the software was full of serious security flaws.
Now a former worker in Diebold's Georgia warehouse says the company installed patches on its machines before the state's 2002 gubernatorial election that were never certified by independent testing authorities or cleared with Georgia election officials.
If the charges are true, Diebold could be in violation of federal and state election-certification rules. The charges also raise questions about the integrity of the Georgia election results and any other election that uses patched Diebold systems that have not been re-certified.
thanks to BookNotes
Bad grades for a voting-machine exam
Artist: Pham Luan Title: Gia Ngu Street
thanks to wood s lot
1. Don Quixote Miguel De Cervantes
2. Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan
3. Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
4. Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift
5. Tom Jones Henry Fielding
thanks to follow me here...
I've been without power the last 22 hours. Our first big windstorm of the year. Being without power is a novelty that wears off quickly. That, and other travails too numerous to mention, have kept these pages silent the last few days. I hope to resume regularly scheduled programming by tomorrow.
Israelis and Palestinians are ready to sign a peace accord. Unfortunately, although the Palestinians have approval from their leaders, the Israelis don't. The Israelis who are involved are left wing Labor. The right wing Israelis, which includes the government and military, are clutching at their hearts and twitching violently over this. The Palestinians are making a historical concession by giving up the right of return. Now the Laborites have to sell this to the public. There is another option on the table. Maybe there is hope. (Is that like saying I hope there is hope?)
The government's response to the new peace initiative, attributed to Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, and to the terrible bombing at Haifa's Maxim restaurant, prove the validity of the expression that whoever holds the hammer tends to see every problem as a nail.
The proposed plan, details of which have not yet been made public, resulted in an instinctive response by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon: he attacked it and accused the Israeli initiators of cooperating with the Palestinian enemy. In other words, Sharon rejects even the attempt to present the public with an alternative to his policy toward the Palestinians. The prime minister automatically rejects a diplomatic solution and thus
Sharon is realizing his approach from the beginning of his tenure. He has led a forceful, intense approach against the murderous Palestinian terrorism, by far more powerful and extensive than his predecessor, Ehud Barak. He has enjoyed broad public support for his policy: it is viewed as beyond reproach and as the proper response to Palestinian violence. Sharon's stance has led to the reoccupation of the West Bank cities, to curfews and sieges, to air attacks and assassinations, whose legality is questionable and whose implementation raises ethical objections. The Israel Defense Forces has made use of nearly every form of violence in order to block Palestinian terrorism, but the prime minister's policy has failed if we
A prison that keeps getting smaller
Israel's Arsenal Is Point of Contention
Zdenek Mezl studied at the High School for Fine Arts un Prague after which he attended the Fine Arts Academy in Prague from 1953 to 1956, under Professor Vladimir Pukl. The artist aso got a schollarship to the Bulgarian Academy in Sophia and finished his studies in 1960.
During his years at the Academy he already started with his first illustrations in the woodcut medium, which would remain his favourite throughout his life. As woodcut printer, he illustrated more than 70 books, created three postal stamps and a number of graphic prints, pictures and sculptures.
Life and Death
thanks to cipango
US soldiers bulldoze farmers' crops
US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops.
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
Khudeir Khalil was a simple quiet Iraqi farmer before U.S. forces drove tanks onto his property.
Claiming his lush date and orange groves provide camouflage for resistance fighters, the U.S. occupation forces leveled Khalil's plantations.
But he feels skeptical, wondering "what kind of civilized people are those who are destroying my plants".
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
I'm sure that destroying people's orchards will make lots of friends. Look how well this tactic has worked in Israel. I can't believe they are doing this. Let's see how many Iraqi's we can really piss off.
A great majority of foreign aid workers in Iraq, fearing they have become targets of the postwar violence, have quietly pulled out of the country in the past month, leaving essential relief work to their Iraqi colleagues and slowing the reconstruction effort.
Crime puts Iraqi women under house arrest
Amina is putting her beauty salon up for sale. She has recovered from the episode last June when armed men burst in and robbed her clients of cash and jewellery, and she has learned to live with the gunfights that erupt with regularity at the coffee shop next door.
But within the space of a month, she says her teenage apprentice narrowly escaped abduction, a customer was held at gunpoint in another kidnapping attempt, and one of her regulars was dragged away by the hair and gang raped.
Such is the pace of events in post-war Baghdad, where the US occupation has ushered in an explosive rise in crime which has wreaked havoc on once genteel areas, and driven women indoors.
“I missed Vietnam,” my friend said at lunch. “I thought about retiring after Desert Storm. I should have.”
I couldn’t help but notice how much older he looked. More lines in the face. More gray in the hair. More emptiness behind the eyes.
Was it that bad? I had to ask.
“Bad,” he said. “Classic FUBAR.”
In military terms, FUBAR is the worst-case scenario. Most military operations start out as SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up). If things get worse, they graduate to TACFU (Totally And Completely Fucked Up). When things get really bad, they reach FUBAR (Fucked Up Beyond All Repair).
“A mission without a goal,” he said. “An engagement without rules. The intel was pure FUBAR. No exit strategy. We’re going to be there for a long, long time. Maybe people are right. Maybe it is another Vietnam.”
Many soldiers, same letter
Letters from hometown soldiers describing their successes rebuilding Iraq have been appearing in newspapers across the country as U.S. public opinion on the mission sours.
And all the letters are the same.
thanks to Yolanda Flanagan
I've mentioned street photography before and the excellent iN-PUBLiC. Pedro Meyer, at zone|zero, has had a couple of excellent essays on street photography. The site uses frames so I have linked to the essays out of the frame.
It used to be that up to the 80's photographing on the street and walking around with a camera was a safe practice. If you respected people's privacy and were gentle in your approach towards the subjects, more often than not, people were either glad to participate in the ritual or at worst tolerated it.
I started to notice a gradual disappearance of what traditionally was called "street photography". I could not find a suitable explanation for that until I traveled extensively throughout the United States in pursuit of fulfilling a Guggenheim Fellowship that I had received; the subject of the project was to capture street life in the United States.
Two major issues came to my attention. One was the disappearance almost everywhere of any downtown life. Those parts of the city had become populated mostly by parking lots and empty streets, with whatever was left of "life" taking place inside tall buildings. What used to be a bustling environment around commerce, had now been displaced towards the "shopping mall" located in the suburbs. "Street life" changed from being in a public -city- space to that of a private -corporate- one, the mall. The malls usually forbid one to walk around taking pictures. I was personally evicted several times for doing so without permission: I was on private property,
Four years ago, this very month, I wrote on the topic of "street photography". I was disheartened then with the problems related to making images on the street. Be those in conjunction with the security of the photographer or his equipment and the shear refusal of so many people to being photographed. Many of you wrote us sharing your views on this matter, some disagreed but most of you did find equally discomforting experiences.
We also received considerable comments on the lack of interest of Galleries and Publications for this genre of photography. It also seems that the number of you making pictures on the street has reduced in numbers judging by the Portfolios section in ZoneZero, in contrast to the high numbers of the long standing tradition of "street photography" done in the past.
Out of a total of 480 Portfolios, published in ZoneZero, only 49 have images one could consider as "street photography". We have therefore decided to do something about this, by creating in the Portfolios area, an entirely new section, dedicated solely to the genre of "street photography". Something which looking back, we should have done already four years ago.
Here are the zone|zero portfolios. Click on Street Photography.
Probe Focuses on Month Before Leak to Reporters
FBI agents investigating the disclosure of a CIA officer's identity have begun by examining events in the month before the leak, when the CIA, the White House and Vice President Cheney's office first were asked about former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger, according to sources familiar with the probe.
The name of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, a clandestine case officer, was revealed in a July 14 column by Robert D. Novak that quoted two unidentified senior administration officials.
In their interviews, FBI agents are asking questions about events going back to at least early June, the sources said. That indicates investigators are examining not just who passed the information to Novak and other reporters but also how Plame's name may have first become linked with Wilson and his mission, who did it and how the information made its way around the government.
Administration sources said they believe that the officials who discussed Plame were not trying to expose her, but were using the information as a tool to try to persuade reporters to ignore Wilson. The officials wanted to convince the reporters that he had benefited from nepotism in being chosen for the mission.
What started as political gossip and damage control has become a major criminal investigation that has already harmed the administration and could be a problem for President Bush for months to come.
After reading the above excellent article, go read the comments on it by Josh Marshall and Billmon And then you must suffer throught the ad (it's at Salon) to see Tom Tomorrow's latest. It will be ad-free at working for change tomorrow, but you cant wait. Trust me..
thanks to Eschaton
Slowly, and steadily, more information about the unauthorized disclosure of Valerie Plame's CIA identity, and the reasons for it, have become available. As it has, I've been examining, assimilating, and trying to understand it. I've also realized that the apparent criminal activity may be more widespread than it initially appeared.
thanks to BookNotes
Ernst Haeckel: Die Radiolarien
These are the 35 copper plates that accompanied Ernst Haeckel's Radiolaria book from 1862.
I like to see large versions of prints and photographs. Just having small images misses much of what is in a print. This site provides you with large and really really large. The detail in these prints is really beautiful. Here is a detail of a really really large version of the above print.
thanks to 12.s
A friend of mine recently compared Shrub to Lyndon Johnson, the president who put the term "guns and butter" in the economic dictionary. And superficially, at least, he had a point.
There's the Texas angle, of course -- although unlike Shrub, LBJ was actually born in the Lone Star State. There's also the lies (Gulf of Tonkin, WMD), the abuses of power (COINTELPRO, Wilsongate), and the cronyism (Bobby Baker, Dick Cheney.)
Even the paymasters are the same: Brown & Root greased the skids for LBJ, and now Halliburton, Brown & Root's corporate parent, is doing the same for the Rove machine.
But when it comes to economic policy -- which is what my friend and I were discussing -- I actually think LBJ stands up pretty well by comparison to the current wrecking crew. In his absolute devotion to political expediency, and his contempt for the long-term consequences of his actions, Bush reminds me much more of Richard Nixon, the president who helped put "stagflation" in the economic dictionary.
Explaining the similarity between the Man from Midland and the Werewolf from Whittier requires a quick review of some crucial years in modern American economic history.
The pictures are up for Andy Baker's TestingTesting show. Another evening of very fine songs in my living room. If you haven't listened to this show yet, please do so. Andy writes some very tasty songs.
Andy Baker, Steve Showell, and Derek Parrot.
My head is in the back.
One of the themes of the 2000 election was that sure Bush wasn't so bright, or at least was clueless about the world and foreign policy, but that it would be okay because he would surround himself with smart people who would handle that stuff. Some people tried to point out at the time, and since, that it the idea of delegating responsibility for these things was a recipe for disaster. And, now we basically have that disaster - in the middle of an actual war, and in the middle of dealing with the very real threat of international terrorism, we have the State Department and the Pentagon and the CIA playing out a civil war through their intermediaries in Bush's cabinet. As Digby says:
The problem is not just Condi Rice. In fact, it isn't really about her at all. It is about a president who doesn't know what's going on and who no one listens to or respects. His administration is awash in infighting and backstabbing and the result is, as the article says, a dysfunctional foreign policy that is incoherent and ineffectual.
Read Atrios' and Digby's comments. Here are the two articles they talk about. There is a difference between looking like you are in charge and actually being in charge. We are stuck with the former.
Rice Fails to Repair Rifts, Officials Say
Last week, the White House announced that national security adviser Condoleezza Rice had been given the new responsibility of managing the struggling effort to rebuild Iraq. In the words of one official, Rice would "crack the whip, frankly."
The announcement was met by puzzlement throughout the foreign policy community: Isn't that what the national security adviser is supposed to do in the first place?
President Bush has lost control of Iraq policy because of infighting among administration officials, the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday.
Author of more than 30 books and more than 2,000 stories and essays, Ellis Parker Butler is most famous for his short story "Pigs is Pigs" in which a bureaucratic stationmaster insists on levying the livestock rate for a shipment of two pet guinea pigs that soon start proliferating geometrically.
from American Magazine (September, 1905)
Mike Flannery, the Westcote agent of the Interurban Express Company, leaned over the counter of the express office and shook his fist. Mr. Morehouse, angry and red, stood on the other side of the counter, trembling with rage. The argument had been long and heated, and at last Mr. Morehouse had talked himself speechless. The cause of the trouble stood on the counter between the two men. It was a soap box across the top of which were nailed a number of strips, forming a rough but serviceable cage. In it two spotted guinea-pigs were greedily eating lettuce leaves.
"Do as you loike, then!" shouted Flannery, "pay for thim an' take thim, or don't pay for thim and leave thim be. Rules is rules, Misther Morehouse, an' Mike Flannery's not goin' to be called down fer breakin' of thim."
"But, you everlastingly stupid idiot!" shouted Mr. Morehouse, madly shaking a flimsy printed book beneath the agent's nose, "can't you read it here -- in your own plain printed rates? 'Pets, domestic, Franklin to Westcote, if properly boxed, twenty-five cents each.'" He threw the book on the counter in disgust. "What more do you want? Aren't they pets? Aren't they domestic? Aren't they properly boxed? What?"
He turned and walked back and forth rapidly; frowning ferociously. Suddenly he turned to Flannery, and forcing his voice to an artificial calmness spoke slowly but with intense sarcasm.
"Pets," he said, "P-e-t-s! Twenty-five cents each. There are two of them. One! Two! Two times twenty-five are fifty! Can you understand that? I offer you fifty cents."
Flannery reached for the book. He ran his hand through the pages and stopped at page sixty-four.
"An' I don't take fifty cints," he whispered in mockery. "Here's the rule for ut. 'Whin the agint be in anny doubt regardin' which of two rates applies to a shipmint, he shall charge the larger. The consign-ey may file a claim for the overcharge.' In this case, Misther Morehouse, I be in doubt. Pets thim animals may be, an' domestic they be, but pigs, I'm blame sure they do be, an' me rules says plain as the nose on yer face, 'Pigs, Franklin to Westcote, thirty cints each.' An' Mister Morehouse, by me arithmetical knowledge two times thurty comes to sixty cints."
Mr. Morehouse shook his head savagely
"Nonsense!" he shouted, "confounded nonsense, I tell you! Why, you poor ignorant foreigner, that rule means common pigs, domestic pigs, not guinea-pigs!"
Flannery was stubborn.
"Pigs is pigs," he declared firmly. "Guinea-pigs, or dago pigs or Irish pigs is all the same to the Interurban Express Company an' to Mike Flannery. Th' nationality of the pig creates no differentiality in the rate, Misther Morehouse! 'Twould be the same was they Dutch pigs or Rooshun pigs. Mike Flannery," he added, "is here to tind to the expriss business an' not to hould conversation wid dago pigs in sivinteen languages fer to discover be they Chinese or Tipperary by birth an' nativity."
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog