Weblog Archives




  Friday   January 31   2003

and it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for?

I lied. Here's one for the road.

So You Wanna Go To War
A young person's guide to understanding ShrubCo's murderous attack on Iraq, and whomever else
by Mark Morford

Where do babies come from? Why does the sun go away at night? Does Saddam Hussein really deserve a swarm of painful rectal polyps followed by utter screaming death at the hands of the Great Liberator? Why do old people shrink?

Why are evildoers always so oily? Why is that priest being so nice to me? Why are we launching yet another unwinnable war? What's nuclear nonproliferation? Isn't it pronounced "nuclear" and not "nukuler"? Is Barney the Dinosaur gay?

Is Dick Cheney actually alive? Why is Mr. Rumsfeld so black eyed and sneering, and why does Mr. Ashcroft always look like he just swallowed a moldy slug and why is the world now run by cadres of crusty tight-lipped warmongering hawks? How about Spongebob? Is he gay? He sure seems gay.

These are the questions your children want to know. Future generations will want to know. Maybe you, too, want to know. But of course, you can't know. Isn't that cute? Isn't that patriotic? Of course it is.

But we must try. There are things you can say. Answers you can half-heartedly give to the youth of America, to your very own kids, to your own jaded heavily Ritalin-ed inner child.

 10:01 AM - link

No heavy shit today. I'm starting to get a little overwhelmed. My daughter Katie is helping her boyfriend move into his new house tonight. It's brand new — just been built. He's stationed at Fort Lewis just south of Tacoma. He ships out to the Middle East in a week. My new son in-law is stationed in Germany and was to go to South Korea in March. He packed his bags today for Turkey. We aren't sure if he will really go or not. I would say that the chances of him not going to Turkey are slim to none and Slim just left town. Jenny is not a happy camper.

So it's just eye candy today. Some visual wonders to delight and titillate and maybe take the mind off of things for a moment.

I'll be going off island today. Heading down to Tacoma to help Katie move (she's moving too) and to be with Jenny and the grandkids. I'll be back Saturday night.

Sometimes things just start getting a little too real.

 04:18 AM - link

parking art

Parking Spots


  thanks to Long story; short pier.

 03:53 AM - link

post card art

A Tour of LA Through Vintage Postcards


  thanks to plep

 03:41 AM - link

birth art

alexander tsiaras


  thanks to Spitting Image

 03:32 AM - link

surrealist art

Surrealist Do-ki Museum


  thanks to dublog

 03:19 AM - link

renaissance art

Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman


  thanks to MetaFilter

 03:10 AM - link

  Thursday   January 30   2003


Only one post today. Nothing else seemed worthy of posting after reading this.


William Russell, the great correspondent who reported the carnage of imperial wars, may have first used the expression "blood on his hands" to describe impeccable politicians who, at a safe distance, order the mass killing of ordinary people.

In my experience "on his hands" applies especially to those modern political leaders who have had no personal experience of war, like George W Bush, who managed not to serve in Vietnam, and the effete Tony Blair.

There is about them the essential cowardice of the man who causes death and suffering not by his own hand but through a chain of command that affirms his "authority".

In 1946 the judges at Nuremberg who tried the Nazi leaders for war crimes left no doubt about what they regarded as the gravest crimes against humanity.

The most serious was unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state that offered no threat to one's homeland. Then there was the murder of civilians, for which responsibility rested with the "highest authority".

Blair is about to commit both these crimes, for which he is being denied even the flimsiest United Nations cover now that the weapons inspectors have found, as one put it, "zilch".

Like those in the dock at Nuremberg, he has no democratic cover.

Using the archaic "royal prerogative" he did not consult parliament or the people when he dispatched 35,000 troops and ships and aircraft to the Gulf; he consulted a foreign power, the Washington regime.

Unelected in 2000, the Washington regime of George W Bush is now totalitarian, captured by a clique whose fanaticism and ambitions of "endless war" and "full spectrum dominance" are a matter of record.

All the world knows their names: Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Perle, and Powell, the false liberal. Bush's State of the Union speech last night was reminiscent of that other great moment in 1938 when Hitler called his generals together and told them: "I must have war." He then had it.

To call Blair a mere "poodle" is to allow him distance from the killing of innocent Iraqi men, women and children for which he will share responsibility.

He is the embodiment of the most dangerous appeasement humanity has known since the 1930s. The current American elite is the Third Reich of our times, although this distinction ought not to let us forget that they have merely accelerated more than half a century of unrelenting American state terrorism: from the atomic bombs dropped cynically on Japan as a signal of their new power to the dozens of countries invaded, directly or by proxy, to destroy democracy wherever it collided with American "interests", such as a voracious appetite for the world's resources, like oil.

  thanks to also not found in nature

There is much more. Read it. Please.

 01:00 AM - link

  Wednesday   January 29   2003

states of the union

After listening to Bush's State of the Union Address I felt like I needed cleansing. A rather deep cathartic cleansing. I found just the thing. (Played loud — very loud.)

Rage Against The Machine
The Battle of Los Angeles (1999)

The movie ran through me
The Glamour subdue me
The tabloid untie me
Im empty please fill me
Mister anchor assure me
That Baghdad is burning
Your voice it is so soothing
That cunning mantra of killing
I need you my witness
To dress this up so bloodless
To numb me and purge me now
Of thoughts of blaming you
Yes the car is our wheelchair
My witness your coughing
Oily silence mocks the legless
Boys who travel now in coffins

On the corner (corner)
The jurys sleepless (sleepless)
We found your weakness (weakness)
And its right outside your door

Now testify
Now testify
Its right outside your door
Now testify
Yes testify
Its right outside your door

With precision you feed me
My witness Im hungry
Your temple it calms me
So I can carry on
My slaving, sweating,
The skin right off my bones
On a bed of fire Im choking
On the smoke that fills my home
The wrecking ball is rushing
Witness your blushing
The pipeline is gushing
While here we lie in tombs

While on the corner (corner)
The jurys sleepless (sleepless)
We found your weakness (weakness)
And its right outside your door

Now testify
Yeah testify
Its right outside your door
Now Testify
Now Testify
And its right outside your door

Mass graves for the pump and the price is set, and the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set, and the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set, and the price is set
Mass graves for the pump and the price is set, and the price is set

Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now controls the past
Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now?

Now Testify
Its right outside your door
Now Testify
Its right outside your door

I feel so much better now.

S.O.S.tate of the Union
Code green Homeland alert: 'bought and paid for government'
by Molly Ivins

The state of the union is that money talks and public policy is sold to the highest bidder. Those who give money in political contributions -- less than one-tenth of one percent of the U.S. population gave 83 percent of all campaign contributions in the 2002 elections -- get back billions in tax breaks, subsidies and the right to exploit public land at ridiculously low prices.

The Handbasket Report
An alternative to President Bush's State of the Union address
by Geov Parrish

The State of the Union address is no longer, in any real sense, a report to Congress on the union's state. It's now advertising; invariably it will sound great and the applause will flow. They've got unlimited asphalt they disguise as good intentions, and they're paving over everything in a thousand planet radius. And if the Handbasket Report isn't to become an annual address -- or a daily one -- it's up to each of us to ensure that our country is not turned into George Bush's version -- an America antithetical to everything we've ever been taught that our country stands for. George Bush is the culmination -- so far -- of two decades in which our democracy, prosperity, and freedom have been stolen. It's time to get them back. And we will.

Burningbird's State of the Union Address

Make Jobs Not War

Thank you.

  thanks to emptybottle.org

Stavrosthewonderchicken's State of the Union Address

Evil is as evil does.

Thank you.

 01:42 AM - link




  thanks to wood s lot

 01:10 AM - link


Shock & Awe: Is Baghdad the Next Hiroshima?

Have your heard of Harlan Ullman? Everyone in the White House and the Pentagon has. They may very well follow his plan for war in Iraq. He wants to do to Baghdad what we did to Hiroshima.

U.S. Guilty of 'Shocking Double Standards' on Iraq - Butler

Former U.N. arms inspector Richard Butler said Tuesday that Washington was promoting "shocking double standards" in considering taking unilateral military action to rid Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction.

Why the US needs the UN

As the world once again contemplates the spectacle of ultra-high-tech electronic jamming, the thousands of smart, or not so smart, bombs, and the likely thousands or dozens of thousands of collateral damage, Washington will definitely need the international community for the mopping-up business of post-Saddam. Powell himself put it succinctly; the US would like to internationalize the intervention as much as possible, because later "there will be too much work to do". This is a basic tenet of the Bush doctrine: America bombs, and the rest of the world picks up the pieces.

 01:06 AM - link


Ridin' the Dog


  thanks to Riley Dog

 12:39 AM - link

Sharon calls for unity but Mitzna rules out
joining government

Ariel Sharon crushed Israel's left Tuesday to become the first incumbent Israeli prime minister to win re-election since the 1980's, and immediately launched an all-out bid to form a unity government with the decimated Labor Party. An aide to Sharon said that the prime minister would not form a narrow right-wing government, and that if he failed to cobble together a unity coalition he would not hesitate to call new elections.

`Alas, oh enemy'
The Arab press and intelligentsia are losing faith in Israel's desire for peace.

The e-mail sent to me by a Lebanese friend contained just four lines. "What a pity," he wrote, "that when I read Ha'aretz on the Internet I understand that we are again facing four years of no hope for peace. After all, you will again elect Ariel Sharon as prime minister. The Israelis are about to opt for occupation and oppression again."

 12:39 AM - link

a new world order they weren't counting on
by George Monbiot

Stronger than ever
Far from fizzling out, the global justice movement is growing in numbers and maturity

Mr Bush and Mr Blair might have a tougher fight than they anticipated. Not from Saddam Hussein perhaps - although it is still not obvious that they can capture and hold Iraq's cities without major losses - but from an anti-war movement that is beginning to look like nothing the world has seen before.

  thanks to also not found in nature

 12:10 AM - link

war against some drugs

Rosenthal's Federal Drug Trial Turns Surreal

They viewed the glossy color photographs of meticulously tended marijuana mother plants flourishing under timed lights inside an Oakland, Calif. warehouse. Then they watched a videotape showing DEA agents uprooting nearby marijuana cuttings to determine which had roots, and could thus be considered "plants" under the federal sentencing guidelines.

It was all in a day's work for jurors in the ongoing, and often surreal, federal drug trial of former High Times advice columnist ''Ask Ed'' Rosenthal, who is facing 20 years in prison for cultivating medical cannabis.

 12:13 AM - link


A new stop motion series by David Crawford.

Stop Motion Studies - Series 4


  thanks to consumptive.org

 12:05 AM - link

  Tuesday   January 28   2003


Animal senses: how do they perceive the world and what important things can they sense that we cannot?

In the next three lectures I will consider how we and other species experience the world around us and in particular how, as social beings, we and they recognise each other and have a capacity for self-awareness. All this, of course, requires at the outset some appreciation of how the senses work and how they differ between species.

An important starting point in considering the way we and other species sense the world is the simple statement that whatever sense is being used it is merely providing an interpretation of the outside world. In short we do not sense the world as it is but merely as our sense organs interpret it within the limitations of their design. One might even say that our senses provide us with the comforting illusion of experiencing an absolute reality that is, in effect, only relative and highly subjective. This illusion makes it difficult for any individual to appreciate the fact that the same world can, and does, appear very different to other species and indeed even to other individuals of one’s own species.

  thanks to also not found in nature

 11:54 PM - link


Opera 7 for Windows final

Download Opera 7 today to see why our users are calling this the fastest, smallest, most full-featured desktop browser on the market.


 11:48 PM - link

state of the union

A Credibility Problem
by Paul Krugman

Will tonight's State of the Union address restore George W. Bush's political fortunes?

Only a few weeks ago, that would have seemed an extremely unlikely question. Fresh off the Republican victory in the midterm elections, President Bush seemed invincible — and it's amazing how many stories you still read about his immense, unshakeable popularity.

But anyone who takes the trouble to look at the numbers knows that the thrill is gone. Mr. Bush's approval ratings have plunged over the last two months. A year ago he was, indeed, immensely popular; right now he's not significantly more popular than he was before Sept. 11.

 12:54 AM - link



Serious international developments are indicating that the first stages of the U.S. invasion of Iraq will begin unilaterally no later than next Wednesday and most likely as the President delivers his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night.

The Associated Press reported today, in a story little noticed by mainstream American press, that the Japanese government had today urged all Japanese citizens to leave Iraq as soon as possible. Japan has large numbers of its nationals working in Iraq in various trade and oil-related business ventures. According to a second report today on CNN Headline News the Japanese advisory was specific that all Japanese citizens should be out of the country by next Wednesday at the latest.

  thanks to Cursor

Robert Fisk: The wartime deceptions: Saddam is Hitler and it's not about oil

The Israeli writer Uri Avnery once delivered a wickedly sharp open letter to Menachem Begin, the Israeli prime minister who sent his army to defeat in Lebanon. Enraged by Begin's constant evocation of the Second World War – likening Yasser Arafat in Beirut to Hitler in his Berlin bunker in 1945 – Avnery entitled his letter: "Mr Prime Minister, Hitler is Dead."

Three meetings and a funeral

The diplomatic endgame starts now. This is the ultimate question: How long is the US willing to wait after Hans Blix's crucial January 27 report to the Security Council? Washington's verdict seems to be final: Saddam Hussein is guilty until pronounced guilty. A few days ago, American officials were talking about the wait in terms of "weeks", not months. Now there's every indication that they will be talking about a few "days", not weeks. The war against Iraq can be launched any time between mid and late February. But there are deep fears in the Arab world that it could be launched as early as the day after the so-called war council between George W Bush and Tony Blair on Friday, January 31.

  thanks to Mother Jones

The Problem is Peace - War is the Solution

Anticipation. It is almost palpable here. Rumors and speculation ride the desert winds and cruise across the horizon like the squall line of a coming sandstorm.

Everyone says they heard this or that. One rumor says the Japanese government has warned its citizens here in the Middle East to evacuate by Wednesday, or the weekend at the latest. My Egyptian co-worker said he heard on Arab radio that the war would start on the 14th of February. Others say they have read that the bombs will fall by mid-March and it will be worse than the first Gulf War. People all over the Gulf are stocking up on bottled water and fuel and extra food. Even the U.S. Embassy issued a "preparedness" email to Wardens telling American citizens to be prepared for hostile acts and terrorism increase and possible emergency evacuations of certain regions and countries.

All of this is in anticipation of Bush's Tuesday speech. No one expects this speech to be a "normal" State of the Union speech. As my British pal says, "It should be a short speech. After all, how long does it take to say that the state of the union is - bollocks." Translation = crap.

Gulf War 2 (aka World War 2.5)

This is a projection of the most likely outcome of a new war in the Gulf. I used sophisticated temporal algorithms and historical semiotic analysis to achieve an accuracy rating of 99.999%. It's the mother of all Flash games.

  thanks to MetaFilter

 12:44 AM - link

life's important question — part two

To be over or to be under, that is the question. j p sent the following in response to a previous post.

All things toilet paper

My goodness. Who knew that people were so passionate about toilet paper? Toilet paper. That stuff that is typically relegated to a dark corner. Some try to dress it up, but it's still toilet paper. Others create art with the left over cardboard rolls. Here's a little history on something we normally give the bum's rush.

[Disclosure: I'm an over kind of guy.]

 12:30 AM - link

health care

The Myth of US Health Care
The Lies that Are Killing Us

"Of all forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and most inhumane" -Martin Luther King, Jr. Need a good laugh? Here's a joke for you: America's standard of health care is the best in the world and therefore we should be willing to pay for it (as in high insurance premiums, high drug costs, high everything medical) so that we can continue to enjoy the best health in the world. Now, when you have stopped rolling on the floor with helpless mirth, your tears of laughter will turn to tears of frustration and grief as you read the following sad litany of facts:

The US has the newest medicines in world, spends more of GDP on medicine than any other nation, and yet has the highest rates for at least 10 cancer types and the highest infant mortality rate of all developed nations. The conservative politicians say socialized medicine is bad because you might have to wait your turn for some non-emergency services, up to a few months. Why is that such a bad deal when 42.6 million Americans face an even longer wait than that for all services because they have no insurance? That's the highest percentage of people without access to medical care in the world. We also have the highest number of uninsured of any developed nation, currently 42.6 million.

  thanks to also not found in nature

 12:21 AM - link

splash art

Andy Lee
PaperBrush Studios

About the art: These paintings were done in the traditional Cha’an Buddhist splash style which originated in China, circa 13th century B.C. Emperor Cha’an ruled during this era, making this period the Cha’an Dynasty. The Emperor was very strict and domineering. He permitted only specific styles of art and literature to permeate throughout his country. Anything not approved was illegal. Linework was very tight and the spoken/written word was extremely structured.

Because of these strict regulations, there because a backlash of artistic expression. Buddhist monks who lived during these times used bamboo brush, sumi ink and rice paper to “meditate” with. They would splash paint onto the paper and interpret the splashes and wild strokes further by adding a few lines here and there to create a recognizable image. The monks were not prosecuted because the paintings were deemed religious tools. Chinese splash painting was invented this way.

Eventually, Buddhist missionaries migrated to Japan. Cha’an Buddhism because Zen Buddhism. The splash art style also transcended geographical boundaries as well. The Japanese popularized this way of painting. It was officially an artform and not just a religious practice anymore.


  thanks to reenhead.com

 12:17 AM - link

truth in advertising

Lies, damned lies and more damned lies
by John Carroll

THERE IS A staggering chutzpah to the Bush administration's approach to public relations. They don't bother to deal with facts already in evidence; they just say whatever they want us to believe and deflect all questions and contradictions.

They believe that consistency doesn't matter because no one is paying attention. They believe that policy analysis is for wonks, and that the great American public wants broad strokes and stirring rhetoric. Already, they have trotted out the increasingly resentful ghosts of the tragedy of Sept. 11 to support everything from police-state surveillance measures to a war against a nation uninvolved in the attack on the World Trade Center.

Soon we'll find out that the terrorists are all involved in a plot to broaden abortion rights.

  thanks to Dumbmonkey

 12:07 AM - link

  Monday   January 27   2003

Weapons of light construction
by Amira Hass

Early Sunday morning, when the neighbors telephoned to Ismail at home to tell him what happened, all they said was that soldiers had dynamited the iron door to his print shop. Arriving on the scene, unshaven, he was shocked to find that his brand-new, $23,000 paper-cutting machine, ordered a month ago (from Israel, where else?) and installed only two days before the shelling, had been completely destroyed when the door was blown in. (...)

The five computers - the pride of the print shop and its staff - were overturned, broken, shattered. He hadn't yet had a chance to check whether their hard disks had been taken or not, since it was clear that what the shelling failed to accomplish, soldiers had seen to. They had climbed up to the gallery and confiscated a file with thousands of disks - with science and technology learning materials for children. "Futurekids", the series is called. Ismail printed the texts that go with the disks and was then supposed to have distributed them to schools and book shops. "That was the biggest shock, that they took these learning materials for children," said Ismail, who studied physics and math at Bir Zeit University and graduated in 1985.

The war within
Israelis are not only in conflict with the Palestinians. They are also bitterly divided among themselves over race, religion and politics. As the country goes to the polls, Jonathan Freedland reports on how deep - and hateful - those divisions really are

Take another look at Mitzna in that Bet Shemesh basement. He stands tall and impressive, in cobalt blue shirt and neat navy blazer. He has a distinguished, even noble face: modern rimless glasses, and an ancient, prophet's beard. He speaks fluently and well. Yet the key fact about him for many in this town - visible in the way he looks, dresses and speaks - is that he is not one of them. Instead, he looks the archetypal man of the Labour establishment - educated and Ashkenazi - which so many Mizrahi Jews continue to resent.

Israel Goes Too Far

In a development that probably shouldn't shock me, but does, Israel has publicly announced plans to murder people on U.S. soil. The story initially surfaced in a Jan. 15 report by UPI correspondent Richard Sale. Sale reports both the aggressive plan of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency to conduct targeted assassinations in other countries, but also the nonplussed reaction of U.S. officials.

I can't decide if Israel's new policy, or the American lack of outrage, is what disturbs me the most.

 11:59 PM - link


Nova Krizna Jama No. 2


  thanks to boingboing

 11:47 PM - link

social mobility

America is a class act
The US regards itself as the ultimate meritocracy, but social mobility is as feeble as Europe's - and declining

When Republican Senator Frank Murkowski was elected governor of Alaska in November it was his task to select his replacement in the US Senate. He scoured the state, and produced a list of 26 names, including the son of Alaska's other senator, Ted Stevens. In December, after careful consideration, he decided the best person for the job was - his daughter. "I felt the person I appoint should be someone who shares my basic philosophy, my values," said Murkowski as he named Lisa Murkowski as his successor. "Your mother and I are very proud."

Frank Murkowski is a principled opponent of affirmative action, with a voting record to prove it. Like most Republicans, he believes there is no need to address inequities based on race and ethnicity. Like most right-minded people, he believes the best person should get the job. In the case of the Alaska's seat in the US Senate, that person just happened to be his own daughter.

 11:38 PM - link


This Modern World


 11:36 PM - link


Falling Into the Gap
By Bob Herbert

Adolfo Jesus Recio suffers from asthma, depression and unemployment. His left hand was badly injured in an accident and is now almost useless. He panhandles in the middle of a busy street in the shadow of the downtown Miami skyline.

No one pays much attention to Mr. Recio's hazardous pursuit of a handful of dimes and quarters. We've closed our eyes to poverty in the United States. Government aid these days goes to the plutocrats, and the poor are being left further and further behind.

 11:30 PM - link

there is nothin' like a dame

A Night With Dame Edna
The Brassy Aussie's a Royal Pain Of the Side-Splitting Sort

It is the rarest of evenings in the theater when your watch says 10:25 and you think to yourself, "I don't want to go home! Please, don't make me leave!"

You're carrying on an interior monologue worthy of a petulant 10-year-old because you have been reduced to a convulsing heap of gag reflexes by a star with sculpted hair the color of lilacs and a sequined frock out of "Valley of the Dolls."

The curtain is about to ring down on "A Night With Dame Edna" and the star in question, Dame Edna Everage, has left you with discomfort in the stomach. That's pain, as in the physical suffering caused by uncontrollable laughing jags that overburden the diaphragm and stymie the flow of oxygen.

If you ever get a chance to see Dame Edna, do not, I repeat, do not pass it up. Trust me on this.

 11:24 PM - link


Photographic Views of Meiji: A Portrait of Old Japan

Unknown; Geisha in Winter, c.1880

The geisha picture is from a great site focusing on albumen printing. (Robby — you need to check this site out.)

albumen photographs:history, science and preservation

Presenting the art and science of albumen printing, this site brings together 19th Century technical instruction, contemporary research, an online forum for conservation treatment and a wealth of images. This unique resource is dedicated to those who value the application of technology to the creative process of image making. (...)

Albumen Photography's Place in History

Albumen prints were the new photographic technology in the middle of the 19th century. This period was squarely within the European Industrial Revolution and about 25 years after the discovery of light sensitive materials by Niepce and Daguerre.

Large scale use of albumenized paper began in 1850 and extended through 1890, although craftspersons (and hobbyist) still make excellent albumen prints today. In the Industrial Revolution, technologies and materials were being actively explored and developed at a blistering pace. This is analogous to our current digital revolution, allowing for today's massive increase in communications abilities.

You start with 3 dozen eggs...

 12:33 AM - link

israel elections — 1 day to voting

Israeli Democracy
Fact or Fiction?

Democracy is first and foremost a concept, a philosophical understanding concerning the rights of humans relative to the government that acts in their name. A Democratic government serves through the manifest consent of the governed. That government receives its authority through the citizens in whom the right resides. Inherent in this philosophical understanding is the acceptance of the rights of all citizens that reside in a state: each and every citizen possesses the right to consent to the legitimacy of those who govern, and each and every citizen must receive equal treatment before the law.

For a state to claim a Democratic form of government, it must have an established geographic area accepted by other nations as legitimate and defined. The need for established borders is both obvious and necessary with necessity arising out of the obvious. Without borders, there can be no absolute determination of citizenry, and, therefore, no way to fulfill the establishment of the rights noted above. What has this to do with the Democratic state of Israel? Everything.

The last days of democracy

This may be the last hurrah of 54 years of democracy in Israel. The elections next week are not about war and peace or even about the economy, social policy or clean government. They are about the very existence of the democratic regime in Israel. For years, many people claimed that the fact that we were able to maintain a democratic regime while being engaged in a conflict with the Arab world bordered on a miracle. The miracle business is in a deep recession just now.

Israel, like all other countries, is poised on a continuum between democracy and dictatorship. There is no regime that is 100 percent compatible with the ideal of liberal democracy. It's all a matter of dosage. A large number of Israel's citizens were raised and educated in authoritarian regimes. They have a most pitiful conception of individual rights, the rule of law, freedom of scientific creativity and freedom of expression. Until a few years ago, Israeli society was moving in the direction of democracy. In the last two years, we have changed direction. After the elections we may cross the line on the road to despotism.

Half a democracy
By Gideon Levy

What sort of democracy is this, if exactly half the state's residents don't benefit from it? Indeed, can the term "democratic" be applied to a state in which many of the residents live under a military regime or are deprived of civil rights? Can there be democracy without equality, with a lengthy occupation and with foreign workers who have no rights? And what about the racism?

For Whom to Vote?
by Uri Avnery

What a strange, eerie silence!

Fifteen times have Israelis voted for the Knesset, and every time has the campaign been stormy, raucous, even violent. No one could escape it, even if he or she wanted to. Every wall called out: vote for me!

This time the voting public is in a state of deep depression. A kind of silent despair: the situation is awful, but there is nothing we can do about it. There is no solution. There is no hope. So what can be done? Nothing. One has to be resigned.

 12:10 AM - link

  Sunday   January 26   2003


In His Time of Dying

In the lobby of the Ed Sullivan Theater, two perky handlers for ''The Late Show With David Letterman'' were giving their nightly pep talk to the people headed for the front rows. They encouraged laughter, the more enthusiastic the better. They warned against whistling, which could overload the microphones. They also had one more caution. ''If you hear sad news, don't make that sympathy sound,'' one instructed. ''You know, 'Awwwwww. . . . ' ''

The audience understood why. The show's only guest would be Warren Zevon, the songwriter known for the twisted humor of songs like ''Lawyers, Guns and Money,'' ''Werewolves of London'' and ''Poor Poor Pitiful Me'' and for troubled love songs like ''Hasten Down the Wind'' and ''Accidentally Like a Martyr.'' Zevon, 56, is a dying man.

Ry Cooder's Sound Judgment
'Buena Vista's' Social Director Makes a Return Trip to Cuba for 'Mambo Sinuendo'

"I'll never forget it."

Ry Cooder is talking about his first encounter with a guitar, more than 50 years ago. The guitar was a three-quarter-size four-string tenor. Cooder was 4 years old, well into a yearlong recuperation from an accident that had cost him his left eye.

"I was lying in bed one night, and the man who brought it over was a violinist who was a friend of my parents," Cooder recalls, and suddenly it's the night before.

"He comes into the bedroom and he sets this thing down on my stomach, as you would if somebody's lying in bed on their back, and he strums the strings . . . and that was all you need to know. Because there's something about a wood box, especially the figure eight . . . You know there's something going on here.

"I couldn't tell you what I thought, but I can remember the feeling of it."

 11:45 PM - link


Focus: Part one The human cost - 'Does Tony have any idea what the flies are like that feed off the dead?'
By Robert Fisk

On the road to Basra, ITV was filming wild dogs as they tore at the corpses of the Iraqi dead. Every few seconds a ravenous beast would rip off a decaying arm and make off with it over the desert in front of us, dead fingers trailing through the sand, the remains of the burned military sleeve flapping in the wind.

"Just for the record,'' the cameraman said to me. Of course. Because ITV would never show such footage. The things we see – the filth and obscenity of corpses – cannot be shown. First because it is not "appropriate" to depict such reality on breakfast-time TV. Second because, if what we saw was shown on television, no one would ever again agree to support a war.

When Will Arabs Resist?
A Panorama of Desolation
by Edward Said

Hasn't the time come for us collectively to demand and formulate a genuinely Arab alternative to the wreckage about to engulf our world? This is not only a trivial matter of regime change, although God knows that we can do with quite a bit of that. Surely it can't be a return to Oslo, another offer to Israel to please accept our existence and let us live in peace, another cringing, crawling, inaudible plea for mercy? Will no one come out into the light of day to express a vision for our future that isn't based on a script written by Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, those two symbols of vacant power and overweening arrogance? I hope someone is listening.

World Rebels Against America

Having positioned enough U.S. troops and equipment all around this Persian Gulf neighborhood, George W. Bush can launch a war on Iraq any time, with or without United Nations' approval. But he has already lost the political war.

Why Bush is sunk without Europe
Even while George Bush growls out his bellicose message, his country has never been in such an enfeebled state

WHEN THE STOCK market falls for a record 10 consecutive days, as it just has done, you take notice. Falls like these are usually the portent of something bad, even calamitous, ahead. The worry is obvious; Bush's intentions on Iraq could have potentially disastrous economic repercussions.

The US's economic position is far too vulnerable to allow it to go war without cast-iron multilateral support that could underpin it economically as well as diplomatically and militarily. The multi- lateralism Bush scorns is, in truth, an economic necessity. America may be a superpower that spends more on defence than the next nine countries combined and is preparing to increase defence spending this year by an enormous $48 billion, equivalent to Britain's entire defence budget, but it is a strategic position built on economic sand.

I'm losing patience with my neighbours, Mr Bush
by Terry Jones

I'm really excited by George Bush's latest reason for bombing Iraq: he's running out of patience. And so am I!

For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what. I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is.

As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one.

Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours.

They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people. Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace. But until recently that's been a little difficult. Now, however, George W. Bush has made it clear that all I need to do is run out of patience, and then I can wade in and do whatever I want!

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M o n o w h e e l s.
And other vehicles with insufficient wheels.

A monowheel (or motorwheel) is one big wheel with engine and rider INSIDE its circumference.


  thanks to boingboing

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Catch and Release
The inevitable consequence of America's high incarceration rate is a high prison-release rate—and the prisoners getting out are more often more violent or antisocial than they were before. It's time to rethink—and rebuild —rehabilitation and parole

Every day in America some 1,600 people will leave state and federal prisons. Most will start their journey with "gate money" (from $20 to $200), a one-way bus ticket, and little else. Many will be drug abusers who received no treatment for their addiction while on the inside, sex offenders who got no counseling, and illiterate high school dropouts who took no classes and acquired no job skills. A lot of them will be sick: rates of HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C are all considerably higher among prisoners than in the general population. Many of them will be obdurate "churners," who have already been reincarcerated for a new crime or a parole violation and are now being let out again. Only about 13 percent will have participated in any kind of pre-release program to prepare them for life outside. Nearly a quarter of them will be sent home unconditionally and with no supervision. And two thirds (up from one half in 1984), according to the Urban Institute, will return to just a few metropolitan areas in their states, where they will be further concentrated in struggling neighborhoods that can ill afford to accommodate them.

  thanks to wood s lot

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  thanks to consumptive.org

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