Weblog Archives




  Saturday   December 7   2002


Tim Flach Photography


thanks to Riley Dog

 12:26 AM - link


There has to be a special hell waiting for these "christians" who are willing to doom millions to death because they are so terrified of their children's sexuality. I don't even believe in hell, but I will for this. This is truly evil.

Bush’s War on the Condom
U.N. report documents the failures to curb AIDS

THE UNITED NATIONS’ LATEST REPORT ON AIDS, issued last week, underscores how the Bush administration’s war on the condom has blocked HIV-prevention efforts around the world. A key finding: Nearly half of all new cases of HIV infection are women. But in May, at the U.N.’s Special Session on Children, Bush formed an unholy alliance with Iraq and Iran — you remember, two-thirds of the “axis of evil” — to successfully eliminate from the official declaration any references to the right of the world’s children to “reproductive health services and education,” including condoms for HIV prevention.

In sub-Saharan Africa, where teenage girls are treated as chattel and forced into sexual submission to older men — either by economic necessity or cultural tradition — the U.N. report notes that about 2 million of about 4.2 million new HIV infections are among females. Yet Bush threatened countries with trade and aid reprisals if they didn’t toe the no-condoms, abstinence-only, anti-abortion line in the vote to weaken the U.N.’s commitment to providing life-saving information to those young women.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Countries like Cambodia have complained in public that U.S. policies preventing American foreign- aid dollars from being used to purchase, distribute and educate about condoms have crippled their HIV-prevention programs.

thanks to Progressive Review

 12:10 AM - link

  Friday   December 6   2002

things seem to be going downhill fast

Henry Kissinger In Hell
Because what we really need now is more murderous criminal masterminds in power
By Mark Morford

Gosh sometimes the colon clench-inducing Bush political cowpies stack up so fast you almost can't keep track.

It's getting so it's nearly impossible to follow which war-crimes monster or which convicted lying felon or which mysterious pro-corporate stable boy is heading what major investigative commission or sinister domestic-surveillance database or cramming what vile homeland-security bill with how many tons of conservative pork. Whew.

It's the GOP's infamous rapid-punch, pile-on strategy, and it goes something like this:

Overload our collective gag reflex with enough reckless laws and appointments, enough shockingly irresponsible decisions any one of which would, by itself, offend and appall anyone with a cognitive pulse, and they all simply become a numbing swirl of indecipherable atrocities no one has the will to object to anymore. Just like Liddy Dole's hair -- it's happening, it's unstoppable, why fight it?

Cryogenic Staffing
by Mark Fiore

 11:58 PM - link

raygun art



thanks to Museum of Online Museums

 11:56 PM - link

Asaf's Letter to the IDF recruitment office requesting to appear before the CO committee

Re:Request for exemption from military service as a conscientious objector in accordance with paragraph 36 of the Military Service Law (unified version) -1986

I, Asaf Shtull-Trauring, a 17 year old high school student, hereby present to you my request for exemption from military service (compulsory and reserve) for reasons of conscience, under the appropriate statutes.

I hereby declare that my political world view and basic values prevent me from serving in the IDF. I see in my refusal to serve in the Israel Defense Forces a basic democratic right, and my duty as a citizen. I cannot allow myself to be a soldier in the IDF, just as I would not allow myself to be a soldier in the South African army during the Apartheid regime. I cannot see myself being part of any military organization that uses its weapons and force against civilians, human rights, democratic rule and a just society.

Salvaging the Wreck

The Likud election results. Attacks in Kenya. More dead in Gaza. President Bush saber rattling about Iraq. Our unquenchable thirst for oil poisoning Spain's beaches and sea birds. Israeli soldiers killing UN officials and getting away with it. The largest US defense budget in history passes with little protest. Henry Kissinger and Elliott Abrams, criminals from years past, return to public office. The world is spinning towards war, hatred, chaos and uncertainty.

 11:53 PM - link

our very own terrorists

Homegrown Terrorism

Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser to George W. Bush, is on the Sunday morning propaganda programs saying -- with a straight face, no less -- that "the Iraqi people deserve a better president than Saddam Hussein." If I were watching at that moment, I might have shouted back to the screen with resigned irony, "And the American people deserve a better president than George Bush, toots."

But I am not watching, and I am not my usual ironically detached self. On this particular cloudless and frigid mid-November morning, I am standing outside the gates of the U.S. Army's Ft. Benning in Columbus, Ga., listening to the names of thousands of people -- men, women, children, priests, nuns, bishops, labor leaders, land reformers, intellectuals -- slaughtered in Latin America by soldiers trained right here on this patch of land in the Home of the Free. With my tax dollars.

thanks to the bitter shack of resentment

 11:45 PM - link

glass art

An Architect Designs Glass

Recognized today as one of the most significant architects of the twentieth century, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867- 1959) is less well known as one of America's premier designers of stained-glass windows. From his earliest architectural designs of 1885 through 1923, Wright designed over 160 structures with leaded-glass windows, of which almost 100 were built. This vast corpus of stained glass rivals the output of his contemporaries Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) and John La Farge (1835- 1910). Rejecting their taste for illusionistic glass pictures, Wright invented a new style that combined expanses of clear glass with touches of color in bold geometric patterns.


thanks to Museum of Online Museums

 11:31 PM - link

just as suspected

Bumper Mentality

Have you ever wondered why sport utility vehicle drivers seem like such assholes? Surely it's no coincidence that Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Dem-ocratic National Committee, tours Washington in one of the biggest SUVs on the market, the Cadillac Escalade, or that Jesse Ventura loves the Lincoln Navigator. Well, according to New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher's new book, High and Mighty, the connection between the two isn't a coincidence. Unlike any other vehicle before it, the SUV is the car of choice for the nation's most self-centered people; and the bigger the SUV, the more of a jerk its driver is likely to be.

According to market research conducted by the country's leading automakers, Bradsher reports, SUV buyers tend to be "insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are. They tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off- road driving, seldom go to church and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others."

thanks to Progressive Review

 11:21 PM - link

logo art

Don't (Lo)go West, young man

That's right, I'm saying it's time for a new NBA logo. ... The old one, featuring West's silhouette, though silky smooth, has run its course. The league has passed it by. Yes, there is something subtle and balletic about it. Yes, its lines are bold and clean. Yes, it's familiar. But I'll tell you what else it is: earthbound, Chuck Taylored, scrawny, short-shorted and unimaginative. It comes from a game that is long gone, my friends. Great as he was, West doesn't represent what guys can do now and his look has no connection to the style players are sporting these days. His image is an echo, a flash of light, from a star that exploded eons ago. An overhaul is in order. It's time to re- brand.

To keep things fresh and flavorful, I'll limit the search to guys currently playing in the league. Here are my candidates for silhouette status:

thanks to Riley Dog

 11:16 PM - link

the shitstorm cometh

Joseph Duemer has some thoughtful words on parallels between Vietnam and Iraq.

Historical memory:

In the run-up to the American War in Vietnam, there was considerable debate within LBJ's government about the best strategy to pursue. There was almost no debate about whether or not to escalate the war, despite the fact that Johnson had run for election on the grounds that Goldwater would dangerously escalate the American involvement in Vietnam. The JCS wanted an all-out war from the start, including the option to use nuclear weapons, while the civilians in DOD favored a slow build-up. While it is always dangerous to argue from historical parallels, it is nevertheless instructive to recall that debate today, in the context of the current run-up to war with Iraq...

This Time I'm Scared
US propaganda fueled the first Gulf war. It will fuel this one too - and the risks are even greater

I have a picture from the last Gulf war. It was taken in the basement of the Al Rashid hotel, the night the war started. The look on my face is one you might expect of a 28-year-old reporter at the center of one of the biggest stories of my lifetime: earnest, excited and thrilled to be in Baghdad.

Eleven years later, I'm on maternity leave and the news of an impending second Gulf war follows me around the kitchen. This time, I feel only a sense of intense danger as the Middle East lurches towards a possible chemical and biological war.

 10:57 PM - link

homeland insecurity

Homeland Security Act: The Rise of the American Police State
Part 1

Part 2
Part 3

"It is far more dangerous and threatening to our few remaining civil liberties than he appears willing to suggest," writes Professor E. Nathaniel Gates of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law about William Safire's recent article on the Homeland Security Act. "I had the rather grim and unfortunate duty of reviewing the legislation to which Safire refers in some detail," says Gates.

The Act, sponsored by Representative Dick Armey (R-TX) (whom the ACLU just astonishingly recruited as a consultant), and criticized by nearly every source on the internet, nonetheless passed the House 299-121. Why? Was it the continuing fear of terrorism?

I do not think so.

Is Bush’s “Homeland Security” an oxymoron?

Inasmuch as President George W. Bush has ingrained the appellation “Homeland Security” into the land of the free’s lexicon, as well as in the collective psyche of the nation’s populace, African-American News&Issues would be remiss (as watcher on the wall and editorial voice of Black America), not to take a long hard look at where the leader of the most powerful nation in the history of the world is coming from. If perchance the foregoing lament is too scholarly to fully comprehend, perhaps we should view it from a grassroots Black perspective.

The news in the ‘hood is that the Bush administration’s near phobic focus of keeping American’s homeland secure from outside terrorists, is simply a smokescreen to obscure the salient fact that terrorized citizens live in constant fear of becoming victims of violence in their own homes, insofar as we live in the most dangerous nation on the planet. Translation: Perceptive brothers and sisters that realize that they are more likely to be killed by a angry neighbor, racist cop, or even a crazed family member than Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction—has cause to pause and ponder why homeland security doesn’t start right here at home.


 10:53 PM - link

  Thursday   December 5   2002

say it isn't so!

Lovable trickster created a monster with Bigfoot hoax

Bigfoot is dead. Really.

"Ray L. Wallace was Bigfoot. The reality is, Bigfoot just died," said Michael Wallace about his father, who died of heart failure Nov. 26 in a Centralia nursing facility. He was 84.

The truth can finally be told, according to Mr. Wallace's family members. He orchestrated the prank that created Bigfoot in 1958.

 02:54 AM - link

bankrupt religion

What Happens When a Church Goes Bankrupt?

Faced with the possibility of having to pay more than $100 million in damages to alleged sexual abuse victims, the Archdiocese of Boston is weighing whether to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. What happens when a church goes belly up?

 02:28 AM - link

the shitstorm cometh

Being Set Up for a War on Iraq
The Inspections Are Going Smoothly. What Does Bush Say? "The Signs Are Not Encouraging"
by Robert Fisk

In North Carolina last month, a woman attending a lecture I was giving asked me when America would go to war in Iraq. I told her to watch the front page of The New York Times and The Washington Post for the first smear campaigns against the UN inspectors. And bingo, right on time, the smears have begun.

 02:26 AM - link

just what are those no-fly zones?

Persian Gulf—or Tonkin Gulf?
Illegal "no-fly zones" could be war's trip wire.

In a pair of editorials after the 1991 Gulf War, one of them titled "Don't Shoot Down Iraqi Aircraft," The New York Times called the plan to create vast "no-fly zones" (NFZs) in Iraq "legally untenable and politically unwise." The editorials, based on a careful reading of United Nations resolutions, were explicit: "The [cease- fire] accord permits Iraq to fly all types of aircraft and sets no restriction on their use. Shooting them down would put the United States in the position of breaking an accord it is pledged to uphold." Saying that Washington was entering "new and dangerous territory," the Times warned, "The purpose [of the NFZs] is unclear, probably unwise and maybe even illegal."

In fact, no UN resolution or other international authority exists to legitimize the NFZs, which are currently the scene of an intensifying air-to-ground firefight between an armada of U.S. and British warplanes and an ineffectual Iraqi defense system. The British-American presence over Iraq is a case of might-makes-right, and Iraq's feeble attempts to defend its skies are justified under international law. Yet the NFZs are immeasurably more explosive now because a unilateral U.S. interpretation of UN Security Council Resolution 1441, adopted on Nov. 8, provides a pretext for launching the war that President George W. Bush wants.

 02:28 AM - link

space art

Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Today, we understand that the universe consists not only of stars and planets, but also of galaxies, clusters of galaxies, streams and clumps of gas, and a component of unseen (or dark) matter. To learn more about these objects, we must first know where to find them, how they interact, and how they change over time. Many structures cover large areas of sky; others are so rare that we must look at millions of objects to find just one example. These ideas have guided the many projects in the last century to map the universe, over ever larger areas, to ever greater depths, and over an ever increasing range of wavelengths. Complete, scientific sky surveys are the best technique we have for discovering new objects and interactions of objects. Once we find enough objects, we can study them to derive the basic physical properties of the universe.

This survey, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), was created to study how galaxies cluster on the largest scales. The SDSS will map these clusters in greater detail than any survey so far. If we know how galaxies cluster, we can learn something about how microscopic matter and energy variations evolved from the earliest moments after the big bang, more than 12 billion years ago, into the structures we see today.


 02:21 AM - link

cut down the trees — you get a better view

Dead Wood
The lousy economics of Bush's new forest policy.

It's perhaps true, as Forest Service officials claim, that current forest- management rules are too complex and costly to administer. But if so, it's equally true that the proposed rule changes are essentially an effort to open national forests to more logging than they have seen in years.

Among those with fingerprints on the proposal is Mark Rey, the undersecretary of agriculture who runs the Forest Service. Rey was a longtime foe of logging regulations on national forests, primarily as vice president of the American Forest and Paper Association, an industry trade group that bitterly fought logging cutbacks during the early '90s. "This is a timber industry proposal, pure and simple," Charles Wilkinson, a University of Colorado law professor, told the Denver Post.

But the real problem with the logging changes is not that they are pro- timber industry, it's that they are economic nonsense. It's curious that an administration that is so business-friendly would take measures that actually would hurt business, let alone dozens of small towns across the West. But that's exactly what would happen.

 02:12 AM - link

if only we could follow the money

Slick business

This week the media has been thick with reports of the sinking of the oil tanker Prestige off the Spanish Galician coast. There have been many depressing pictures of the damage wreaked by the 3,000 tonnes of viscous sludge now poisoning local beaches and destroying local livelihoods. There has been much speculation about if and when the remaining 70,000 tonnes of oil will come ashore.

Yet very little has been written about the complex web of ownership and control behind the incident. The story that emerges shows once again that Governments and international institutions have utterly failed to ensure proper openness and accountability of the global economy.

thanks to Politics in the Zeros

 02:04 AM - link

earth art

Our Earth as Art

Welcome to the Landsat-7 Earth as Art Gallery. Here you can view our planet through the beautiful images taken by the Landsat-7 satellite. These images created by the USGS EROS Data Center, introduces the general public to the Landsat Program administered jointly by USGS and NASA. The Landsat: Earth as Art exhibit highlights images that were selected on the basis of aesthetic appeal. These images use the visceral avenue of art to convey the thrilling perspective of the Earth that Landsat provides to the viewer.


thanks to MetaFilter

 01:59 AM - link

the rite of the sprinkler

Orchestra had a very wet Spring

Fire sprinkler systems in Verizon Hall went off yesterday morning at a Philadelphia Orchestra rehearsal, sending musicians - including incoming music director Christoph Eschenbach - for cover, and ruining a $75,000 Steinway grand piano. The orchestra was playing Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring when water began pouring down, soaking the stage, balconies and seats in the front portion of the main hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Musicians sheltered their instruments and ran off stage, some drenched and others merely sprinkled, while Eschenbach emerged surprisingly dry. "It was like a natural phenomenon," the maestro said. "It was The Rite of the Sprinkler."

thanks to boingboing

 01:47 AM - link


Will Smith Set to Get Robotic Costars

Will Smith has never been accused of being a mechanical actor, but that label may apply to his next role.

Variety reports that the "Men in Black" star, 34, is set to star in the futuristic sci-fi thriller "I, Robot," based on an Isaac Asimov short-story collection from the 1940s that is credited for setting the groundwork for such films as "The Terminator" and "A.I. Artificial Intelligence."

Shooting on "I, Robot" is set to begin in April, with Alex Proyas ("Dark City," "The Crow") directing.

thanks to boingboing

 01:48 AM - link


Incredible panorams. This one is underwater.

Week 45 Bali - Tulamben wreck underwater panorama

thanks to boingboing

 01:42 AM - link

merry christmas

Six to Eight Black Men
A heartwarming tale of Christmas in a foreign land where, if you've been naughty, Saint Nick and his friends give you an ass-whuppin'
By David Sedaris

I've never been much for guidebooks, so when trying to get my bearings in a strange American city, I normally start by asking the cabdriver or hotel clerk some silly question regarding the latest census figures. I say silly because I don't really care how many people live in Olympia, Washington, or Columbus, Ohio. They're nice enough places, but the numbers mean nothing to me. My second question might have to do with average annual rainfall, which, again, doesn't tell me anything about the people who have chosen to call this place home.

What really interests me are the local gun laws. Can I carry a concealed weapon, and if so, under what circumstances? What's the waiting period for a tommy gun? Could I buy a Glock 17 if I were recently divorced or fired from my job? I've learned from experience that it's best to lead into this subject as delicately as possible, especially if you and the local citizen are alone and enclosed in a relatively small space. Bide your time, though, and you can walk away with some excellent stories. I've heard, for example, that the blind can legally hunt in both Texas and Michigan. They must be accompanied by a sighted companion, but still, it seems a bit risky. You wouldn't want a blind person driving a car or piloting a plane, so why hand him a rifle? What sense does that make? I ask about guns not because I want one of my own but because the answers vary so widely from state to state. In a country that's become so homogenous, I'm reassured by these last touches of regionalism.

thanks to reenhead.com

 01:27 AM - link

  Wednesday   December 4   2002


Jesus Drives A Hybrid
In which it is revealed what cool wheels the Almighty would desire, and why Satan drives a Hummer
By Mark Morford

And hot on the holy heels of the cute and endlessly annoying bumper-sticker-riffic "WWJD?" phenom, which apparently includes not only "What Would Jesus Do?" but also "What Would Jesus Drink?" and "Where Would Jesus Defect?" and "Why Would Jesus Disco?" is the mixed blessing of -- and no one is making this up -- "What Would Jesus Drive?"

It is a mini movement. It is a makeshift religious cause. It is, apparently, not a joke. "WWJ Drive" is a bizarre and adorable little group of sensitive soft-focus environmentally conscious caring Christian Bible thumpers who are clearly asking the most pressing questions of the day.

Most notably, if Jesus had been, say, cryogenically frozen like Walt Disney and was successfully thawed out today and really needed to hit the Costco or suffer the last temptation of Berkeley by enduring the hellspawn nightmare that is the Bay Bridge commute, what kind of vehicle would His Most Pious of Holy Selves pilot?

Jesus, of course, would drive a hybrid. Maybe a moped. Bike. Holy blessed Segway. This is the overall message of "WWJ Drive?" Jesus loathes them Earth-hating gas guzzlers.

 01:07 PM - link

duct tape — a man's best friend

Duct Tape Fashion

Duct Tape Fashion Clothing and Accessories. Stick out in a crowd, and show your true colors with our 12 Colors of Duct Tape!

Duct Tape products are top of the line, so look around and have fun!

thanks to Progressive Review

 01:01 PM - link

total information awareness

Subject: Total Information Awareness Demonstration for Poindexter

The SF Weekly's column by Matt Smith in the Dec 3 issue points out that there may be some information that John M. and Linda Poindexter of 10 Barrington Fare, Rockville, MD, 20850, may be missing in their pursuit of total information awareness. He suggests that people with information to offer should phone +1 301 424 6613 to speak with that corrupt official and his wife. Neighbors Thomas E. Maxwell, 67, at 8 Barringon Fare (+1 301 251 1326), James F. Galvin, 56, at 12 (+1 301 424 0089), and Sherrill V. Stant (nee Knight) at 6, may also lack some information that would be valuable to them in making decisions -- decisions that could affect the basic civil rights of every American.

Some people are suspicious that the degenerate Poindexter's Total Information Awareness system will be used to harass and track the activities of people who some significant fraction of society disagree with. They fear a replacement of today's general tolerance (and official blindness to one's Bill-of-Rights-protected activities such as speech and association), with specific harassment of those whose names pop up in the database. Such harassment of people who are not reasonably suspected of criminal activity would destroy much of value in our society, such as the presumption of innocence and the "live and let live" philosophy that encourages diversity. Offering dissidents "a death of a thousand cuts" by constantly harassing them and denying them the privileges of ordinary life would be far worse than charging them with a (bogus) crime, which they could clear up merely by demonstrating their innocence in court.

thanks to boingboing

 12:46 PM - link

you might want to sell that airlines and boeing stock

Flight fright
Will surface-to-air missiles be the terrorists’ next weapon of choice against airplanes?
By James Fallows

I avoid making predictions. But I’ll risk this one because if it’s wrong everyone will be glad, including me. The prediction is that Nov. 28, 2002, the day terrorists shot surface-to-air missiles at a chartered Israeli airplane in Kenya, will be a more important divide in the history of airline travel than Sept. 11, 2001.

HERE’S THE REASON: We can be fairly sure that attacks like those on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon will never happen again. We can be equally sure that other missile attacks will occur and that they will succeed. So, while the effects of Sept. 11 have slowed the airlines with ponderous layers of security, the effects of Nov. 28 could add a level of danger that deeply affects people’s willingness to fly.

thanks to Politics in the Zeros

 12:34 PM - link

we're number 1!

Israel No. 2 in West in social inequality

Israel is now rated second in the Western world, after the United States, in terms of social gaps in income, property, capital, education and spending, as well as in the extent of poverty. While many countries have suffered from a widening of social gaps caused by the influence of globalization and the technological revolution over the past 20 years, this trend is more pronounced in Israel than elsewhere.

Hey, Lucky Duckies!
by Paul Krugman

Carping critics of the conservative movement have been known to say that its economic program consists of little more than tax cuts, tax cuts and more tax cuts. I may even have said that myself. If so, I apologize. Emboldened by the midterm election, key conservative ideologues have now declared their support for tax increases — but only for people with low incomes.

The public debut of this idea came, as such things often do, on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. The page's editors, it seems, are upset that some low-income people pay little or nothing in income taxes. Not, mind you, because of the lost revenue, but because these "lucky duckies" — The Journal's term, not mine — might not be feeling a proper hatred for the government.

Aron, at Aron's Israel Peace Weblog, had this to say about the above articles:

One wonders if it is mere coincidence that the two most war-mongering societies in the West are No. 1 and No. 2 when it comes to social inequality.

Of course it isn't. If the leaders in a country can find no compassion for their less fortunate tribesman, how can one expect them to show any compassion for people of a different tribe?

 12:22 PM - link

war against some drugs

Asset forfeiture ass-backwards

And in other news ... the War on Drugs is ripping up the Constitution, endangering American liberty and encouraging law enforcement officers to act like bandits. The unpleasant ramifications of the War on Drugs are too numerous for one column, but the area of asset forfeiture deserves special consideration.

 11:49 AM - link

insect art

The Wonderful Caddis Worm: Sculptural Work in Collaboration with Trichoptera

Since the early 1980s, artist Hubert Duprat has been utilizing insects to construct some of his "sculptures." By removing caddis fly larvae from their natural habitat and providing them with precious materials, he prompts them to manufacture cases that resemble jewelers' creations. Information theory, as explained by biologists such as Jacques Monod and Henri Atlan, helps us understand what seems to be the insect's aesthetic behavior. The activities of the caddis worm, as manipulated by Hubert Duprat, are prompted by the "noise"---beads, pearls and 18-karat gold pieces---introduced by the artist into the insect's environment. This article is based on a conversation between the artist and art critic Christian Besson.


thanks to enthusiasm

 11:46 AM - link

arms inspection

A Nightmare to Love
How the Peace Movement Can Use Bush's "Almost Desperate Attempts" to "Destroy the Arms Inspection"

A nightmare scenario is facing the Bush Administration.

Imagine that Iraq continues to let UN arms inspectors inspect without impediment. By the December 8 deadline for reporting on its weapons of mass destruction, the Iraqi government makes an extensive declaration of activities and materials that might be used to make such weapons but also might have other purposes. The Iraqis then allow the inspectors to inspect all the sites they wish to enter. If the inspectors find some materials that might be used for weapons of mass destruction, they destroy them. The inspectors report to the Security Council; then most countries except the US and Britain declare that, whether or not Iraq once had weapons of mass destruction, it no longer does. Enforcement of sanctions begins to crumble and world pressure to lift them builds.

To prevent this scenario, the Bush Administration is working frantically to discredit the inspection process. As former assistant secretary general of the UN Hans von Sponeck recently put it, "No one, not even the casual reader, can miss the almost desperate attempts by the US authorities to destroy the arms inspection before it's properly begun."

 11:36 AM - link

why they hate us

Osama's 'Letter To America'

Just offhand, would you think that anyone in America is curious as to why Muslim fundamentalists hate us so much?

If we were given the answer, straight from the horse's mouth, would anyone pay attention?

If Osama bin Laden wrote, "This is why we hate you," and then laid it all out, chapter and verse, do you think we'd be curious enough to read what he had to say?

The answers to these questions seem to be no, no and no.

 11:33 AM - link

Fundamentalist logic
By Amira Hass

Kiryat Arba's settlers, with active assistance from the Civil Administration and the IDF, are keeping their promise to create "territorial contiguity between Kiryat Arba and the Tomb of the Patriarchs." Less than three weeks after the lethal Islamic Jihad ambush killed 12 soldiers and Israeli security officers, the appropriate Zionist response is taking concrete shape in the form of mobile homes and demolition orders - as everyone knew it would. Many Palestinian families no longer live along the route that connects the settlement to the old city of Hebron. They were driven away by fear of the settlers.

Israel accused of Hebron land grab
Palestinian homes to be demolished on link road

The Israeli army yesterday pasted notices ordering property seizures and house demolitions the length of a street in Hebron that Ariel Sharon wants to use to link two belligerent Jewish settlements.

The order horrified but did not surprise the residents of Al-Haram street after the prime minister's call three weeks ago for what Palestinians say amounts to ethnic cleansing and a land grab. But they still do not know whether their homes are to be destroyed or handed over to settlers.

Palestinian Children in the Night

It happened last night. Ramallah was pitch dark and the breeze was cool and brisk. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I was out during the night with my wife and two daughters, Areen, 8 and Nadine, 2. We were taking advantage of the lull in nightly curfews imposed by the Israeli military over the past year. We found ourselves in the midst of a crowd of over 300 cheering Palestinians. Between us and another group of a few dozen Palestinian youth were two United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representatives. The two representatives were clearly American, in looks and accent. A few of the Palestinians standing behind the UNDP representatives slowly walked up behind them and one pulled from a bag what looked like a one meter wooden bat. Our hearts beating, and before we could clearly make out what was happening, the Palestinian boy holding this object unraveled a most beautiful and colorful Palestinian embroidery piece. The embroidery was attached to a wooden rod and the Palestinian teenager proudly held it up and presented it to the two UNDP representatives as a gift for their support. This was the final few minutes in what was a moving and fabulous one-hour debut of the Palestinian Folk Vista, by Bara'em El-Funoun, a new generation of the El- Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe.

 11:23 AM - link

it's payback time

Industry Seeking Rewards From G.O.P.-Led Congress

A few weeks ago, officials of the American Petroleum Institute met in Denver to discuss their chief goal for the new Congress: an energy bill that would open up public lands in the Rocky Mountain West to further oil and gas exploration.

At that meeting, the oil executives decided among other things to undertake a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to convince voters in five Western states that new exploration in the Rockies would bolster their local economies while inflicting minimal damage on the environment. The campaign is timed to start early in the new year, just as Congress convenes with Republicans in control of both houses and eager to take up an energy bill.

 11:11 AM - link


This Modern World

David Horsey

Dick Cheney Secret Lair Play Set

 11:13 AM - link

  Tuesday   December 3   2002

books for commie kids


Among the many radical changes in the Soviet Union after the 1917 Revolution, the transformation of children's books offers one of the most vivid reminders of the vast ambitions of the new social order. Building simultaneously upon the progressive legacy of the 19th century Russian literature and upon the dazzling tradition of Russian Futurism, a linguistic, literary and artistic movement that galvanized Russian intellectuals in the early decades of this century, post-Revolutionary publishing for children introduced a vast array of new measures that transmogrified this previously undistinguished genre. In addition to the powerful visual impact of the boldly designed books, there were marked increases in the number of titles published annually, a skyrocketing in the size of individual editions and the creation of an entire branch of the publishing industry dedicated solely to children's literature.

thanks to reenhead.com

 01:57 AM - link

why doesn't somone just impeach the sonofabitch

At Justice, Freedom Not to Release Information

Today, at the Justice Department, some laws are more equal than others.

One 36-year-old U.S. law can be broken, it seems. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who is sworn to enforce all laws, has told federal employees that they can bend -- perhaps even break -- one law, and he will even defend their actions in court.

That law is known as the Freedom of Information Act.

thanks to Politics in the Zeros

 01:52 AM - link


Amsterdam Realtime

During two months (3 Oct to 1 Dec 2002) all of Amsterdam's citizens are invited to be equipped with a tracer-unit. This is a portable device developed by Waag Society which is equipped with GPS: Global Positioning System. Using satellite data the tracer calculates its geographical position. Therse tracers' data are sent in realtime to a central point. By visualizing this data against a black background traces, lines, appear. From these lines a (partial) map of Amsterdam constructs itself. This map does not register streets or blocks of houses, but consists of the sheer movements of real pepole.


thanks to boingboing

 01:48 AM - link

The real prize for terrorism

As expected, Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna's promise to withdraw from most of the territories, with or without an agreement, drew fire from the right. Two and a half years after the unilateral withdrawal from the killing fields of Lebanon, the argument that rescuing the soldiers from their colonolialist mission in Gaza will be interpreted as a "prize to the terrorists." Some say the Lebanon withdrawal in May 2000 proved to the Palestinians that Israelis only understand force. So, they say, the "surrender in Lebanon" led to the outbreak of the intifada four months later. According to that logic, Israeli soldiers should have bled to death in Lebanon to this day. After all, if Syria were to get up and remove Hezbollah from the northern border, the Damascus papers would rightfully write that it's a prize for settlement expansion on the Golan Heights.

Behind the curtain of ambiguity

During a United Nations General Assembly debate last week on the Palestine issue, Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dr. Yehuda Lancry, said Israel accepts the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security.

Lancry's statement indicated it drew its inspiration from the vision of peace articulated by U.S. President George W. Bush on June 24. The Lancry statement was recorded and published in the official registry of the UN. During the weekend, Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon told a gathering of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that "at the end of the day, most of the settlements will be evacuated." The Ya'alon quotes from his lecture were accurately documented by those present and given to Ha'aretz correspondent in Washington, Nathan Guttman.

A short while after Lancry's statement was reported, the Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying Lancry's statement had nothing to do with Ariel Sharon. Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his ministry to issue a statement to the effect that Lancry's speech did not reflect government policy and that the statement of disassociation was coordinated with the prime minister. The report about the chief of staff's remarks regarding evacuation of the settlements was accompanied by Ya'alon's own denials and reservations expressed by the political echelon.

 01:46 AM - link

i didn't know ramen needed recipes

The Official Ramen Home Page

Ramen (rah-men): A noodle phenomenon. Ramen has become the accepted standard college snack/meal food of choice. Whether you are tired of cafeteria food, or you need a quick snack, Ramen is the perfect food. It is cheap, easy to make, and it tastes good.


thanks to MetaFilter

 01:35 AM - link

everything you wanted to know about war crimes, but were afraid to ask

Crimes of War Project

It's a magazine, it's a book. Many articles on war crimes around the world.

thanks to abuddhas memes

 01:32 AM - link

the shitstorm cometh

Bush Skeptical of Iraq Disarmament

Despite the return of United Nations weapons inspectors to Iraq, President Bush said ``the signs are not encouraging'' about Saddam Hussein's willingness to disarm. (...)

As evidence, he noted that Saddam's regime has recently fired upon American and British pilots patrolling no-fly zones over Iraq and has responded to U.N. disarmament demands with ``protests and falsehoods.''

These aren't "patrols" — they're bombing missions. Saddam is firing back in self-defense and that is an exuse to go to war against him? Surrealer and surrealer.

 01:20 AM - link


Investigating the Renaissance
Examining material aspects of three early Netherlandish paintings using digital imaging techniques

Computers and new imaging technologies are fast becoming an integral part of the work of conservation. Conservators and scientists in the Straus Center for Conservation, located in the Fogg Art Museum, have been at the forefront of research into these technologies.

This interactive program demonstrates the ways in which computer technology can be harnessed to add to our knowledge about Renaissance paintings and how they were made.

Computer-assisted imaging can reveal aspects of the process of making art not visible to the unaided eye. It also reveals the alterations of intervening centuries, alterations that were intended to repair the ravages of time and use, and to adjust images to reflect changing aesthetic preferences.


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i've heard of cowboy poetry — but cow poetry?

When cows make poetry: No blank expressions from New York dairy herd

Banks, a 22-year-old student at Purchase College, painted single words (from "a" to "existential") on the flanks of about 60 cows near his upstate New York home, then let them wander around to see if they could compose poetry.

So Holsteins and Jerseys named Elsie and Maggie came up with phrases like "eccentric art," "performance as cow environment" and Banks' own favorite, "organic conceptual art as poetry."

One animal seemed especially inspired -- with "away" written on her side, she broke loose from the herd for a while.

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  Monday   December 2   2002


Homeland Insecurity
The Once and Future Shambles at the INS

 11:07 AM - link

Why Does the Leopard Hide his Spots?
by Uri Avnery

So why did I prefer Netanyahu?

Because Netanyahu is an unprincipled politician, ready to change his positions any time. He reminds me of Groucho Marx, who once declared: "These are my views. If you don't like them, I have others, too." He could easily exchange his rightist slogan for leftist ones.

Sharon is very different: he has a rigid outlook, which he has not changed for decades. He resembles an IDF bulldozer in Jenin, destroying walls on his way and demolishing houses on top of their inhabitants. His aim in life is to destroy the Palestinian entity and imprison the Palestinians in isolated enclaves, until the time is ripe for their expulsion from the country altogether. Nowadays he hides his unwavering attachment to this plan behind the mask of a benevolent, moderate grandfather, who has settled down and wants nothing more than to crown his career by making peace.

I prefer at the head of the Likud an unprincipled politician to a disguised true believer. He would have been easier for Mitzna to defeat.

The infrastructure of terror

The facts are well known: In the past eight months, the IDF has won, and has reoccupied the territories of the West Bank that had been under full control of Arafat and his underlings. Full security authority in the Palestinian cities, from Jenin to Hebron, was wrested away from the Palestinian security organizations, which were dismantled after failing to fulfill their role in curbing terror, and passed over to the Israeli defense establishment.

Every day since then, curfews and full closures are imposed on an alternating basis on the cities and villages of the West Bank, where life has been nearly paralyzed. Each day, leaders of military factions and those responsible for dispatching suicide bombers are captured or liquidated; and every week, we are informed of the discovery of explosives laboratories and the rounding up of wanted men. Nevertheless, it is clear that the infrastructure of terror in the occupied West Bank has not been impaired. Perhaps, it has even expanded.

thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog

 11:04 AM - link


Unusual Aviation Pictures


thanks to Travellers Diagram

 10:56 AM - link

war against some terrorists

Why we are losing the war
In the wake of Mombasa, Foreign Affairs Editor Peter Beaumont argues that the atrocities will continue until the West finally grasps the fact that we are fighting a lethal idea rather than a tangible enemy

It is the great heresy of free societies, so speak it softly, but the accumulating evidence of the past four years is that terrorism can - and does - work. And it is working on a global scale.

It is a simple fact that is more terrifying than any of attacks themselves - 11 September included. That a tiny group of extremists, for the most part using the most basic of technologies, could effect such a startling paradigm shift that has transformed the world we live in. But to what end? The answer is more surprising than our political classes appear yet to have grasped.

The undeclared war
Why Kenya takes last week's terrorist attacks as evidence of war -- waged by the United States
by Geov Parrish

Indicative of what's at stake is the reaction to the attacks by Kenyan's leading Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ali Shee, chairman of the Council of Imams. While unequivocally condemning the attack -- and forcefully denying, in response to the allegations of a French intelligence newsletter, that he was aware of or helped in its planning -- Sheikh Shee warned off Israeli and American tourists from coming to Kenya, saying, "There is an undeclared war between their countries and the Muslim world. It is not good for them to come until the [Palestinian] problem is solved." He also vowed to refuse any cooperation with Israeli or American investigators from Mossad or the FBI: "We will never cooperate with these people... They are criminals. This Bush is the worst leader ever. He is a man of war."

Ariel Sharon Has Walked Into a Trap.
And We Are Following Him

by Robert Fisk

With utter predictability, Ariel Sharon walked into the al-Qa'ida trap. He vowed "revenge". Thus any strike against the al-Qa'ida – by America, by Britain, by Australia – will be seen as an Israeli attack. America and Britain and Israel are now fighting on the same side. In the short term – and in his mendacious attempt to link Yasser Arafat with Mr bin Laden – Mr Sharon may have gained some advantage. At last, Israel's war on Palestinian "terror" can be placed on the same footing as its new war against al-Qa'ida. No longer will Mr Sharon's ghastly spokesmen have to justify their army's brutality towards Palestinians. Israel is fighting the same struggle of "good against evil" that President Bush invented for us just over a year ago.

But for Israelis, there is one big error in all this. By responding to al-Qa'ida's wicked assault on its civilians, it is taking on a mighty big opponent. For Mr bin Laden's men are not the hopeless suiciders that the Palestinians produce from their foetid refugee camps. The Afghanistan-trained men of Mr bin Laden's legion do not spring from the squalor of Gaza or the occupied masses of the West Bank. They are ruthless, highly motivated, intelligent – just for once, William Safire was right when he called them "vicious warriors" – and they may be more than a match for Israel's third- rate intelligence men. Israel's rabble of an army can kill child stone-throwers with ease. Al-Qa'ida is a quite different opponent. And if Mr Sharon wants to take on Mr bin Laden, he is ensuring that Israel goes to war with its most dangerous enemy in 54 years. Better by far to let the Americans tackle al-Qa'ida – and even they don't seem to be all that successful – than bring Israel into the battle.

Beyond Regime Change
The administration doesn't simply want to oust Saddam Hussein. It wants to redraw the Mideast map.

The new map would be drawn with an eye to two main objectives: controlling the flow of oil and ensuring Israel's continued regional military superiority. The plan is, in its way, as ambitious as the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement between the empires of Britain and France, which carved up the region at the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The neo-imperial vision, which can be ascertained from the writings of key administration figures and their co-visionaries in influential conservative think tanks, includes not only regime change in Iraq but control of Iraqi oil, a possible end to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and newly compliant governments in Syria and Iran -- either by force or internal rebellion.

thanks to Politics in the Zeros

 10:52 AM - link


Levi Strauss and the Price We Pay
The cost of apparel has declined for a quarter century, helping make Americans the best-clothed people in history. Just don't ask how it happened.

Brenda Pope sits at the kitchen table and stares sadly at her work-hardened hands. Inside one wrist is the purple welt of a surgical scar that runs halfway to her elbow. Twenty years at a sewing machine gave her the carpal tunnel injury. That scar and $15,000 in severance is what she has to show for those years. Near the edge of Blue Ridge, Ga., the Levi Strauss plant where she once worked now sits empty, a glass- and-brick shell overlooking acres of empty parking lot. Bored security guards stroll the grounds to protect what no one any longer values. A factory dies an honorable death when it falls apart from hard work and time. This one was cut down in full productivity.

 10:39 AM - link

cover art

Kayo Books

KAYO books is celebrating the third anniversary of our expansion, and is nearing the seventh anniversary of our existence. Thanks to all patrons and welcome to those who have yet to grace our doorway. We are a bookstore in downtown San Francisco specializing in Vintage Paperbacks from the 1940s to 1970s and esoteric books of all persuasions. Our small store is like a museum of pulp fiction and non-fiction. The stock presents a glimpse into the lurid past of dimestore novels, sleazy 1960s exploitation, and 1970s pop culture.


thanks to Riley Dog

 10:37 AM - link

wall street crooks

S.E.C. Facing Deeper Trouble

The Securities and Exchange Commission, still reeling from the recent resignation of its chairman, Harvey L. Pitt, and other top officials, is plagued by problems that go deeper than its leadership difficulties and have undermined its ability to police companies and markets, government officials and corporate law experts say.

 10:21 AM - link