Editor interrogated for nearly 15 hours
When an Australian magazine editor flew to Los Angeles last week to interview Olivia Newton-John she had no idea she would become the story.
New Idea editor Sue Smethurst said she would lodge a formal complaint with U.S. authorities after she was treated as a threat to national security and deported back to Australia after nearly 15 hours of interrogation at Los Angeles airport.
"I would have walked across broken glass to get home," Ms Smethurst said today.
The 30-year-old said she was interrogated, fingerprinted, had mugshots taken and was refused access to a lawyer.
"I was being made to sign documents and swear oaths — and I was quite concerned that that could be misconstrued and I had no help at all," she said.
thanks to Badattitudes Journal
Has everyone just lost all common sense and perspective?
Heirloom Cantelope (stack) (2003)
thanks to wood s lot
AARP Gone Astray
"This is a good bill that will help every Medicare beneficiary," wrote Tom Scully, the Medicare administrator, in a letter to The New York Times defending the prescription drug bill. That's flatly untrue. (Are you surprised?) As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, the bill will force millions of beneficiaries to pay more for drugs, thanks to a provision that cuts off supplemental aid from Medicaid. Poorer recipients may find previously affordable drugs moving out of reach.
That's only one of a number of anti-retiree measures tucked away in the bill. It contains several Trojan horse provisions that are clearly intended to undermine Medicare over time — it will allow private insurers to cherry-pick healthy clients in selected cities, and it will heavily subsidize private plans competing with traditional Medicare. Meanwhile, the bill prohibits Medicare from using its bargaining power to cut drug prices; drug company stocks have soared since the bill's details became public.
Yet the bill has a good chance of passing, thanks to an endorsement from AARP, the retiree advocacy organization, which has already begun an expensive advertising campaign on the bill's behalf. What's going on?
It looks like the AARP now represents corporations and not their membership. The stink of corruption is everywhere.
thanks to Conscientious
The United States, alone among advanced democracies, still enforces the death penalty. The public's support for capital punishment, however, seems to be dropping in the face of numerous recent exonerations of wrongly convicted death row prisoners. So now the argument gets serious. When does a crime warrant the death penalty? Some say the ultimate punishment should be reserved for "the worst of the worst," the most horrific cases – yet attorney and best-selling author, Scott Turow, says that's exactly what can make for its undoing. Turow's new nonfiction book, Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on the Death Penalty, is about his shift from a self-declared "agnostic" on the death penalty to his current belief that it can never be made fair and accurate enough. Turow served as one of 14 members of the March 2000 Commission appointed by Illinois Governor George Ryan to consider reform of the capital punishment system.
I'm getting close to finishing a pinhole for my Mamiya and have been looking at pinhole photographs. Here are a couple of galleries of the things.
corrupt financial services
Funds and Games
You're selling your house, and your real estate agent claims that he's representing your interests. But he sells the property at less than fair value to a friend, who resells it at a substantial profit, on which the agent receives a kickback. You complain to the county attorney. But he gets big campaign contributions from the agent, so he pays no attention.
That, in essence, is the story of the growing mutual fund scandal. On any given day, the losses to each individual investor were small — which is why the scandal took so long to become visible. But if you steal a little bit of money every day from 95 million investors, the sums add up. Arthur Levitt, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, calls the mutual fund story "the worst scandal we've seen in 50 years" — and no, he's not excluding Enron and WorldCom. Meanwhile, federal regulators, having allowed the scandal to fester, are doing their best to let the villains get off lightly.
Exchange traders arrested in NYC
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
Fund Scandal Spreads to Sales
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
Cody, 4 and his sister Kelsey, 7, Anderson play
in Beaver Creek while their mother Teresa looks on.
thanks to Conscientious
death of the dollar?
The dollar today sank to record lows against the euro and three-year lows against the yen amid concern that the US will have trouble financing its huge trade deficit.
The sharp fall in the greenback followed a US government report showing a steep drop in demand for US stocks and government bonds.
Declining demand for US financial assets makes it harder for the US to finance its current account deficit, the broadest measure of trade and investment. The deficit, currently running at around 5% of gross domestic product, is one of the biggest drags on the dollar.
According to US treasury department data yesterday, foreigners' net purchases of US treasury bonds and notes fell steeply to $5.6bn (£3.2bn), down from $25.2bn in August.
One of the things that has been keeping me busy this past week is one of those projects where, once you start, it's best to finish. I have been having a CD crisis. I used to belong to Emusic, until they changed their pricing policies and I downloaded all that I could until they cancelled my membership. I've been burning these albums to music CDs. Piles and piles of music CDs. I finally stopped and organized all my music CDs. I built a bunch of trays, out of cardboard and duct tape, to hold and organize all my music CDs. It's done and now I can start burning the close to 600 albums I downloaded from Emusic over the past year.
And then there are the LPs. You know — those big black CDs. I have about 600 of those and have been getting ready to rip my LPs into CDs. I'm almost there. I think I'm a only a new cartridge away from that project.
I did rip my first LP.
It came out pretty good but there is a 60 cycle hum and some breaking up that is probably due to a poorly aligned 25 year old cartridge. I'm not a rabid audiophile but I do want the best sound I can get without breaking the bank. (And it's a small bank.)
Here is what I'm using to rip the LPs. The turntable is a belt drive Connoisseur BD2A from the 70s. (It's on loan from my friend Bill Feeley.) I put on a new belt from LP Gear. Needle Doctor is another great resource for turntables and turntable paraphenalia. I bought an Orbitrac 2 record cleaning system, a Discwasher stylus cleaning system and replacement fluid for my old Discwasher record cleaner. Clean records are good records. Bags Unlimited is a good source for archival bags to protect those nicely cleaned records. I'm using Nero 6 Ultra Edition to record the LPs. It has a very nice wave editor with declicking and decrackling filters. It also has a noise reduction filter. And Nero 6 is great burning software. Now, all I need is a new cartridge and a phono cartridge alignment tool from Turntable Basics. Rip on!
This a Salon article so you have to watch an ad. It's worth it. This country is heading for a bloody showdown between the forces of good and the forces of evil. It looks as if I'm on Satan's side. Too bad there isn't a Satan.
Lining up to fight "the forces of evil"
For conservative Christians, it's got to feel like the walls are closing in. In June, the United States Supreme Court struck down laws that criminalized oral and anal sex between consenting homosexuals. In August, the Episcopal Church appointed an openly gay man to serve as a bishop. And Tuesday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Commonwealth cannot deny homosexual couples the right to marry.
"It's a challenge holding back the forces of evil," the Rev. Louis Sheldon, head of the ultraconservative Traditional Values Coalition, told Salon Tuesday. "One of the responsibilities of the church is to be a resisting force, and I feel like a resisting force right now against those who would like to call evil good."
Nedan ser du målningarna i miniformat, tillsammans med en kort presentation. Om du "klickar" på en tavla genom att använda datorns mus, får du se den valda tavlan uppförstorad. Det kan ta en liten stund innan tavlan visar sig, eftersom den måste överföras genom datanätet, så ha tålamod.
Bianca Maria och trollen
variant av illustration till Bland tomtar och troll, 1913
thanks to cipango
GEORGE Bush's administration has called on US companies in Britain to relocate jobs to America in an astonishing move that could trigger a major trade war.
US-based multinationals have been told they will receive compensation from American trade authorities if they cancel contracts in Britain and take jobs home, according to CBI director-general Digby Jones.
This is such a pathetic attempt at keeping jobs in America. More magical thinking from the Bushies. They are pissing into a major gale force wind. Like the steel tariff, the net effect will more jobs lost.
The archives for last Monday's TestingTesting are finally up. Our special guest was sick so it was a show featuring the TestingTesting House Band. I think this is going to be one of my favorite shows. If you haven't listened to any of our shows, this is a good one to start off with. Spend an hour with Lisa, Joanne, Steve, and Derek playing music and having a fun time. Listen as they play their first songs. Listen to Derek tell his Beatle stories. Listen to some great music from my living room.
Lisa, Joanne, Steve, and Derek
Well, that's it for the day. I've got to get everything set up for tonight's TestingTesting. Our special guest will be Gregg Deer, a local musician here on Whidbey Island. The TestingTesting House Band should all be here and it will be another evening of music from my living room. Please join us by clicking in at 7pm (pacific).
Update: I just found out that Gregg, our special guest for tonight, is ill and can't make it. The TestingTesting House Band will be doing the show tonight. Join us.
These last few days have been tense- gunshots, helicopters, and explosions. A couple of days ago, we counted around 23 explosions. My cousin, his wife and their two daughters were at our house when the commotion began. A few explosions were so loud, the windows began to rattle with each impact and I had flashbacks of March and April.
The kids reacted differently- the older one, ran to sit beside her mother, as far away from the living-room window as possible. She once confided to me that the glass terrified her; four of the windows at her grandparents' home cracked during the 'shock and awe' phase of the bombing and she still remembers the incident. The younger one was silent and stoic. You can hardly tell she's scared except that if you sit particularly close, you can hear her grinding her little teeth, which is what she does when she's frightened. It drives my cousin crazy because the kid loses herself in a sort of trance when she does that and it's all we can do to keep her mind off of whatever she's brooding about. At one point she asked, "Is it war again?" No, it isn't war, dear… the helicopters, tanks, missiles, rattling windows and explosions aren't war- they are 'protection': they are Operation Iron Hammer, not to be confused with war.
When it got particularly heavy, and the helicopters began hovering above, E. wanted to go out to the roof and see what was happening and what exactly was being bombed. My mother declared NO ONE would go up to the roof- the helicopters were flying low and the troops haven't been too discriminating lately when it came to civilians- especially the ones in helicopters and tanks.
Incompetence — exacerbated by imperial arrogance and cultural ignorance — turned the occupation into a nightmare.
Now, all those traits are in play in the American plan to ostensibly turn Iraq over to the Iraqis.
The decision to hasten self-rule has little to do with installing real democracy. That's the patina the president needs to cover the panic suddenly gripping the White House.
The insurgency in Iraq is growing in intensity and expanding in geography. It will get much worse, according to a bleak assessment just offered by the Central Intelligence Agency.
More than the terrorism of Baathist "remnants" and "bitter-enders," or even "the 200 or so foreign terrorists" that the administration has been harping about dismissively amid its happy talk of progress in Iraq, the CIA says a full-scale insurgency is underway, with a majority of Iraqis opposing the occupation.
They are your enemies--The Suits--and they are the enemies of peace, and the enemies of your families, especially if they are Black families, or immigrant families, or poor families. They are thieves and bullies who take and never give, and they say they will "never run" in Iraq, but you and I know that they will never have to run, because they fucking aren't there. You are
They'll skin and grin while they are getting what they want from you, and throw you away like a used condom when they are done. Ask the vets who are having their benefits slashed out from under them now. Bushfeld and their cronies are parasites, and they are the sole beneficiaries of the chaos you are learning to live in. They get the money. You get the prosthetic devices, the nightmares, and the mysterious illnesses.
So if your rage needs a target, there they are, responsible for your being there, and responsible for keeping you there. I can't tell you to disobey. That would probably run me afoul of the law. That will be a decision you will have to take when and if the circumstances and your own conscience dictate. But it perfeclty legal for you to refuse illegal orders, and orders to abuse or attack civilians are illegal. Ordering you to keep silent about these crimes is also illegal.
I can tell you, without fear of legal consequence, that you are never under any obligation to hate Iraqis, you are never under any obligation to give yourself over to racism and nihilism and the thirst to kill for the sake of killing, and you are never under any obligation to let them drive out the last vestiges of your capacity to see and tell the truth to yourself and to the world. You do not owe them your souls.
Come home safe, and come home sane. The people who love you and who have loved you all your lives are waiting here, and we want you to come back and be able to look us in the face. Don't leave your souls in the dust there like another corpse.
Hold on to your humanity.
Liberal Arts Mafia provides us with the very finest in propoganda posters...
Four former directors of Israel's Shin Bet security service have given unprecedented warnings that the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is leading the country to catastrophe by failing to pursue peace with the Palestinians.
The criticisms, which follow a warning by the army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Moshe Ya'alon, a fortnight ago that the government's harsh treatment of Palestinian civilians was "strengthening terrorist organisations", provide further evidence that confidence in Mr Sharon is crumbling in the security establishment.
"We are heading downhill towards near-catastrophe," Mr Perry said. "If we go on living by the sword, we will continue to wallow in the mud and destroy ourselves."
Mr Shalom called the government's policies "contrary to the desire for peace".
The former intelligence chiefs said Mr Sharon's insistence on a complete halt to "terrorist attacks" before peace talks could begin in earnest was either misguided or a ploy to avoid negotiations and continue the policies of Israeli expansionism.
"[The government] is dealing solely with the question of how to prevent the next terrorist attack," Mr Gilon said. "It [ignores] the question of how we get out of the mess we find ourselves in today ... It is clear to me that we are heading toward a crash."
The Foolish American Jewish Leaders Who Come to Israel for the General Assembly of the Federations
If I were a delegate to the United Jewish Communities General Assembly, which opens its deliberations today in Jerusalem, I would be deeply insulted—insulted by the fact that the organizers of this important assembly continue to treat me like a fool, who only has to be shown one side of Israel—the brightly lit and pretty side—and has to be kept away from its dark backyard, as if it were on fire. I would be insulted by the fact that the organizers think that I will continue to believe that Israel is only biotechnology, kibbutzim, immigrant absorption, Yad Vashem and the Supreme Court; that the Israel Defense Forces is truly just a defensive army; that Israel is "the only democracy in the Middle East," despite years of brutal occupation; and that any criticism of the government's policies is heresy.
I would be insulted by the fact that 55 years after its establishment, the State of Israel continues to treat the Jews of the United States as walking charity boxes, that cheap propaganda is all it takes to make them reach into their pockets, and that it does not have the courage to show its real face—both the beauty and the ugliness—to its brethren in the Diaspora. If the most senior representatives of U.S. Jewry agree to this division of labor—propaganda in return for handouts and automatic support—then the Jews of America shouldn't be surprised that some Israelis hold them in contempt.
thanks to Conscientious
It is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid the conclusion that conservatives, subtly but unmistakably, are fomenting violence against liberals for the 2004 election. And if they succeed in doing so, America will be facing what has always been considered unthinkable here: a serious manifestation of fascism.
Regular readers, and those who've plowed through "Rush, Newspeak and Fascism", know that I've discussed at length the steady drumbeat of right-wing extremist memes that have increasingly pervaded mainstream conservatism for the past decade, and these constitute the main signs of the creep of fascism, all under the guise of "normal" politics. While the Republicans now running the country are clearly corporatist conservatives and not fascists, they also appear to be the kind who, if pressed, would align themselves with the thuggish and violent elements that are one of the real earmarks of fascism. Such an alliance would mean the real empowerment of these extremists -- and once empowered, they will be impossible to control.
I concluded previously that it seemed likely that any manifestation of fascism was some ways off, perhaps as long as a generation, if these trends were left unchecked. Now it appears that the timetable is moving much faster than that -- and countervailing forces are so far slow in coalescing, in no small part because of the utter, Stalinist ruthlessness of their opponents.
thanks to Conscientious
despots r us
MARC COOPER: Your new book focuses on Washington, Adams and Jefferson, but it seems from reading closely that it was actually Ben Franklin who turned out to be the most prescient regarding the future of the republic.
GORE VIDAL: Franklin understood the American people better than the other three. Washington and Jefferson were nobles — slaveholders and plantation owners. Alexander Hamilton married into a rich and powerful family and joined the upper classes. Benjamin Franklin was pure middle class. In fact, he may have invented it for Americans. Franklin saw danger everywhere. They all did. Not one of them liked the Constitution. James Madison, known as the father of it, was full of complaints about the power of the presidency. But they were in a hurry to get the country going. Hence the great speech, which I quote at length in the book, that Franklin, old and dying, had someone read for him. He said, I am in favor of this Constitution, as flawed as it is, because we need good government and we need it fast. And this, properly enacted, will give us, for a space of years, such government.
But then, Franklin said, it will fail, as all such constitutions have in the past, because of the essential corruption of the people. He pointed his finger at all the American people. And when the people become so corrupt, he said, we will find it is not a republic that they want but rather despotism — the only form of government suitable for such a people.
thanks to American Samizdat
So, you think you get green by mixing blue and yellow? Hah!
Do you know Isaac Newton’s Theory of Colour? Or maybe Goethe’s? We present you with a total of 59 easy-to-understand, richly illustrated colour theories from the Antiquity to modern times: in short, a complete cultural history of colour written by Prof. Narciso Silvestrini and Prof. Ernst Peter Fischer.
thanks to consumptive.org
TestingTesting is tonight. Click on in for an evening of music webcast from my living room.
the joys of going it alone
A number of folks have raised a ruckus over a point I made Thursday night about the strained relations between the United States and South Korea (ROK).
Their beef is with this passage …
the deep strains in US-ROK relations … have deep roots. Much of it stems from difficulties adjusting to the end of the Cold War and Korean democracy itself, which is fairly new. But in no small measure the stance of the current South Korean government is the result of the Bush administration’s aggressive and unilateral policies toward the Korean Peninsula.
How can I call White House policy unilateral, these folks ask, when the US has been trying to get six-party negotiations underway for months?
There is of course a telling and unfortunate parallel with the current situation in Iraq. Now that things are going south we're looking for help from anyone and everyone there too. But, again, that's desperation, not multilateralism. Does trying to get the South Koreans to send us a few troops change the fundamental character of our policy? Of course not. Everybody goes begging for help when they run out of options. That's human nature. The key is to avoid pursuing a policy based on recklessness and swagger that gets you into such a position in the first place.
In Iraq that is certainly where we are right now.
The president loaded us all into the family van, revved the thing up to 70 MPH, and slammed us into a brick wall called Reality.
I would vote for #2 if the voting was still open. Short shorts.
thanks to The J-Walk Weblog
What is an issue that sounds complicated, is full of jargon, affects the lives of 95 million Americans (more than twice the number without health insurance), but we have heard little from the Dems about?
It is the crisis in the mutal fund industry. We are talking about people's NEST EGGS here and its time for the Dems to make this an important issue in the campaign. See our previous posts on this: here.
The New York Times has a slew of articles on this today:
A front page article describes the scandal. It also explains how lax enforcement due to an underfunded SEC and industry meddling played a critical role. The article begins:
The Securities and Exchange Commission failed for years to police the mutual fund industry effectively because it was captive to the industry when writing new regulations, was preoccupied by other problems on Wall Street and was severely short of staff and money, current and former officials say.
"I believe this is the worst scandal we've seen in 50 years, and I can't say I saw it coming," said Arthur Levitt, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission for nearly eight years under the Clinton administration. "I probably worried about funds less than insider trading, accounting issues and fair disclosure to investors" by public companies.
Other labels tried to sign her; Mercury sent a cease-and-desist letter that blanketed the industry. They would not let her record and they were not going to release her. She recorded a solo electric record called Kind Hearted Woman and sold it exclusively at her shows in defiance of her label’s efforts to stop her. She toured relentlessly, reconfirming her consummate talent as a stage performer. Pioneering an artists’ rights paradigm, she sued Mercury using the 13th Amendment, the reform abolishing slavery. They settled the day the trial was to begin and for the first time in years, she was free again. She recorded a new version of Kind Hearted Woman (1996) with her band, releasing it on Private Music/BMG, but this time the contract gave her the option on them. Three months later, in a classic corporate shake-up, Private Music was folded into a different entity. She exercised her option and was spared the fate of so many artists in recent years, trapped in the consolidation of the recording industry. Michelle Shocked owns Kind Hearted Woman and her entire catalog of music. It is difficult to think of another major label artist who has ever been in her position.
It's good to see musicians getting control of their work.
the democratic party
It is no secret that the Democratic Pary has been split into two factions -- the "insiders" who have run the party the past decade, and the Howard Dean/Joe Trippi "reformer" faction.
The New Republic's Ryan Lizza has had some of the best coverage of the primary campaign, and has an eye-opening and extremely important look at this growing rift. The piece is subscription-only, but TNR was kind enough to offer the dKos community a free link to the article. It is clearly one of the most important reads of the year.
The division in the party over Dean is less about ideology than about power. Three years after Bill Clinton left office, he and Hillary still control what remains of a Democratic establishment. Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was installed by Clinton. Most of the powerful new fund-raising groups, known as 527s, and the new think tanks, such as the Center for American Progress, are run by the best and brightest of the Clinton administration. As National Journal noted in a detailed look at what it called "Hillary Inc.," the senator's network of fund-raising organizations "has begun to assume a quasi-party status." And some of the best Clinton talent is heavily invested in non-Dean campaigns, especially Joe Lieberman's (Mandy Grunwald and Mark Penn), John Edwards's (Bruce Reed), and Wesley Clark's (Bruce Lindsey, Eli Segal, and Mickey Kantor).
thanks to Conscientious
expect things to get worse — much worse
All of the hand-wringing currently circulating among the pundit class about the rising tide of "Bush hatred" misunderstands the nature of what really is happening. They mistake anger for hatred -- though in the case of conservatives, it's fair to say that the confusion is intentional.
Anger, for the most part, is a righteous and largely rational thing -- it arises from genuine grievances, and is typically a response to outrages of some form or another. Hatred, on the other hand, is an irrational thing; it comes from deep in the soul, and is usually an expression of some deep-seated imbalance on the part of the hater. Naturally, if anger is allowed to fester unaddressed long enough, it can easily mutate into hatred. But they are distinctive in nature.
We can all recall the Clinton hatred of the 1990s: wild accusations that he planned to enslave America in a "New World Order," that he'd had Vince Foster murdered, that he ran drugs out of the Mena airport, that he had fathered a black "love child," and on and on and on. As Bob Somerby recently observed on the topic, this wasn't just emanating from the fringe elements of the right, though it certainly had a significant audience there; this was coming from supposedly mainstream conservatives inside the Beltway, and it was broadcast throughout mainstream media. This hatred was grotesquely irrational, especially considering that Clinton was a political moderate by any lights whose policies on many fronts (international trade, welfare reform, balancing the budget) presented victories for conservative ideals.
Of course, the same conservatives who engaged in this lunacy -- projectionists that they are -- have a habit of accusing liberals of the very behavior in which they themselves avidly participate and foment. Thus they have now invented the "Bush hatred" meme, suggesting that liberals who attack Bush are the moral equivalents of themselves. ("I know you are, but what am I?" is the essence of these charges.)
But, as I have argued at length previously, the majority of this "hatred" is predicated on real policies and real actions by both Bush and his administration. This is not hatred: it is anger -- real, righteous and well-grounded anger.
Here is a nice photography history site...
Idea Photographic: After Modernism is a contemporary view of history from the photography collections at the Museum of Fne Arts in Santa Fe, the Princeton University Art Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
In the following pages, the concepts and themes found throughout the history of modern photography are examined, time and again, as they evolve, taking different turns and finding new direction.
The thematic groups, some in which late modernist works are paired with earlier works, offer a comparative context and establish historical relationships among some artists, interactions not previously recognized.
Throughout, Idea Photographic is intended to provide a rare overview of the evolution of photographic ideas from modernism into the new century.
Caponigro, Paul (American b. 1932)
Sunflower, Boston, 1965
Gelatin silver photograph, 7 x 6 1/2
thanks to consumptive.org