Weblog Archives




  Saturday   April 29   2006

book recommendation

Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit
by by Vandana Shiva

Another story of the rich stealing resources from the poor and then selling it back to them until, of course, the land is all fucked up, the rich retire to their gated communitys with their spoils, and the poor are left holding the bag. From Amazon:

While draught and desertification are intensifying around the world, corporations are aggressively converting free-flowing water into bottled profits. The water wars of the twenty-first century may match-or even surpass-the oil wars of the twentieth. In Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit, Vandana Shiva, "the world's most prominent radical scientist" (the Guardian), shines a light on activists who are fighting corporate maneuvers to convert this life-sustaining resource into more gold for the elites.

In Water Wars, Shiva uses her remarkable knowledge of science and society to outline the emergence of corporate culture and the historical erosion of communal water rights. Using the international water trade and industrial activities such as damming, mining, and aquafarming as her lens, Shiva exposes the destruction of the earth and the disenfranchisement of the world's poor as they are stripped of rights to a precious common good.

In her passionate, feminist style, Shiva celebrates the spiritual and traditional role water has played in communities throughout history, and warns that water privatization threatens cultures and livelihoods worldwide. Shiva calls for a movement to preserve water access for all, and offers a blueprint for global resistance based on examples of successful campaigns.


 11:07 PM - link

The United States of Israel?
Breaking the Last Taboo

"John" is John Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago. Walt is a 50-year-old tenured professor at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The two men have caused one of the most extraordinary political storms over the Middle East in recent American history by stating what to many non-Americans is obvious: that the US has been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of Israel, that Israel is a liability in the "war on terror", that the biggest Israeli lobby group, Aipac (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), is in fact the agent of a foreign government and has a stranglehold on Congress - so much so that US policy towards Israel is not debated there - and that the lobby monitors and condemns academics who are critical of Israel.

"Anyone who criticises Israel's actions or argues that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle East policy," the authors have written, "...stands a good chance of being labelled an anti-Semite. Indeed, anyone who merely claims that there is an Israeli lobby runs the risk of being charged with anti-Semitism ... Anti-Semitism is something no-one wants to be accused of." This is strong stuff in a country where - to quote the late Edward Said - the "last taboo" (now that anyone can talk about blacks, gays and lesbians) is any serious discussion of America's relationship with Israel.


Hamas' Impossible Mission
Government in a Cage

It should be established by now that most Western governments are the least interested in honoring the decided democratic choice of the Palestinian people, which elevated to power a movement that is branded ‘terrorist’ by Israel, thus by much of the Western hemisphere.

Since facts and common sense are of little concern to those who hastily decided to withhold badly needed funds to support the battered economy of the Occupied Territories, there would be no need to once again marvel at the rhetorical inconsistencies of the Bush Administration and of the European Union.

So what if Hamas has adhered to a virtually unilateral ceasefire for over a year, while Israel did not? So what if the newly formed government has given ample evidence that it is keenly interested in dialogue, not violence? So what if the majority of the Palestinian people have adamantly and repeatedly -- according to recent public opinion polls -- expressed their interest in a negotiated settlement with Israel? Indeed, so many “so whats” that hardly matter now, since it is quite clear that the US and the EU’s real intentions are to topple the Palestinian government, along with the sham of a doctrine which claims that democratizing the Arabs is the ultimate policy objective of Bush and Blair.


 10:44 PM - link


John Thomson
One of the most significant travel photographer-explorers of the 19th century

Woodburytype of a man selling Couch Preventative Lozenges in the street, taken from 'Street Life in London' (1877), written by Adolphe Smith with photography by the Scottish photographer John Thomson (1837-1921). The aim of this book was stated as being: 'to bring before the public some account of the present condition of the London street folk, and to supply a series of faithful pictures of the people themselves'. It is one of the first examples of photography used as social documentary.


 10:37 PM - link


The Politics of Oil: The Discourse Must Change

We strongly feel that the leaders of both political parties are not only headed in the wrong direction with respect to gas prices, but we also worry that they fundamentally misunderstand the factors behind the current situation at gasoline stations around the US.

Public statements by political figures over the past several days would seem to suggest that oil companies and their record profits are the sole factor determining the price of gasoline. Not only is this untrue, but it is dangerous to give the American people the impression that only oil companies are to blame. The American people need to understand that the phenomenon of high gas prices cannot be attributed to a single source. They also need to understand that no one political party will be able to fix our current woes.

The major factor that determines gas prices is the price of crude oil from which gasoline is derived. When crude oil prices are high, so are gas prices. The following are just a few factors that affect the price of a barrel of oil:

1. Oil companies do not single-handedly determine the price of oil. The price of oil is set on the crude oil futures market. Simply put, these prices are affected by supply and demand because, at present, oil trades in a global commodity market where increased demand or reduced supply in one place instantly translates into price shifts everywhere. A variety of publicly available information sources show that supply is relatively static at the moment, while world demand continues to grow as economies grow.


An Economist response, or is it a techie Sunday?

Nor am I going to argue, at present about the longer-term existence of large volumes of oil. Rather, I would argue that the problem that we have is of getting an adequate supply of oil, each year, to meet the demand that there will be for the oil in that year. Under the current methods of production, and against an increasing level of demand it is becoming more difficult to produce enough oil to meet that demand. There are two major reasons for this, neither of which is properly recognized in the Economist article.

The first, and most critical issue, is the one that we call depletion. When an oilwell is first put into production, the oil flows into the well due to the pressure difference between the fluid in the rock, and the fluid in the well. If there is no difference in pressure, then no oil flows, (see Newton) and the greater the difference in pressure, then the higher the oil flow rate. As the oil flows out of the well, however, it reduces the pressure in the fluid. (Simple, crude experiment - get a bottle of soda water, shake it up and stand it in the sink. Open the top. The gas pressure will drive some of the water out of the bottle, but after a short while the pressures are equal and more than half the water is still in the bottle. )



America commuted back into the unknown country of $3-plus gasoline and $75-plus oil (per barrel) last week, and President Bush revisted the Tomorrowland of hydrogen cars in the absence of any reality-based response to the global energy crunch that will change all the terms of America's "non-negotiable way of life."

Actually, we are negotiating, or bargaining, as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross once put it in describing the sequence of emotional reactions of humans facing certain death:

denial > bargaining > depression > acceptance

Events seem to have dragged us kicking and screaming beyond the sheer denial stage, since this is now the second time in six months that oil and gasoline prices have ratcheted wildly up. Something is happening, Mr. Jones, and now we want to talk our way out of it.


The Biggest Gas Station on Earth

Now that gas is topping $3 per gallon, we should consider the heavy price the American people have paid to ensure that profits continue to soar for the oil giants.

In 2002, before the war, Saddam was producing 2.6 million barrels of oil per day even with the debilitating sanctions still in place. Currently, (given the success of Iraqi resistance attacks on pipelines) Iraqi oil production has dropped to a meager 1.1 million barrels per day. In other words, Bush’s war has taken 1.5 million barrels a day “off line”; the precise amount the global market requires to reduce prices to the $45 per barrel range.

Consider this: the United States has spent roughly $300 billion on the war so far. At 1.1 million barrels per day (396 million barrels per year) we are currently spending $274 per barrel which translates into $12 per gallon at the pump.

$12 per gallon!!!


 10:32 PM - link

movie recommendation

Good Night, and Good Luck

I remember watching Edward R. Murrow as a child. I even think I remember the Liberace piece used in this movie. I don't remember Senator Joseph McCarthy. But I do remember when news was news and not entertainment. I remember when the news was about something more then missing white women and car chases. Two things really jumped out at me. All of Edward R. Murrow's own words were used for the broadcast and speech sequences. The man could write. It makes what passes for news today sound so pathetic. The other thing that jumped out was that he smoked on camera. He always had a cigarette. Times change. Clooney did a great job. Too many parallels with today. From Amazon:

Genres: Drama, History
Tagline: We will not walk in fear of one another.
Plot Outline Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.
Plot Synopsis: In the early 1950's, the threat of Communism created an air of paranoia in the United States and exploiting those fears was Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. However, CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred W. Friendly decided to take a stand and challenge McCarthy and expose him for the fear monger he was. However, their actions took a great personal toll on both men, but they stood by their convictions and helped to bring down one of the most controversial senators in American history.

 10:15 PM - link

oil spills

One of my readers, Joe Leahy, from Valdez, Alaska, sent me this note:

As you may have heard, the State of Alaska and the United States government have the opportunity to pursue up to $100 million from Exxon for further restoration of damages to the natural resources of Prince William Sound caused by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. This opportunity was made possible through a clause of the original 1991 civil settlement entitled “Reopener for Unknown Injury.”

The original settlement paid the State for damages to public natural resources caused by the oil spill. Through the reopener clause, Exxon and the State acknowledged that there might be injuries to species and habitats that could not have been predicted at the time of the spill.

Research during the past 15 years has shown that such injuries have occurred, and that 23 of the 30 species and resources damaged by the spill have still not recovered.

The residents and communities of Prince William Sound, as well as others throughout Alaska, are banding together to encourage Governor Murkowski and the United States government to invoke the reopener for unknown injury clause and make Exxon pay for the ongoing damage its oil caused to the Sound.

This is a much broader issue than Prince William Sound. I believe it has implications to all places visited by the oil tankers to call to and from here; clearly, the residents of Puget Sound should take note of this especially in light of a major oil company's refusal to participate in an oil spill drill there recently.

Those who are concerned can assist this effort by contacting Alaska State Representative John Harris (Rep_John_Harris@legis.state.ak.us) and Alaska Governor Murkowski (www.gov.state.ak.us/govmail.php) to let them know that you want the State to invoke the reopener clause.

More information on the spill and the effort to press for invocation of the reopener clause can be found at www.exxonreopener.org.

 01:42 AM - link


Under the Influence
MM Blue-chip Panel Names the 25 Most Influential Directors of All Time

But who has had the most influence on other directors, as well as the public? In the past 100 years, which directors have made an indelible impact on our lives, and on the face of the movie industry? In what ways have these directors helped to define cinema as we know and see it today? With the help of some of our most celebrated moviemakers and industry professionals, we have counted down the directors who made the most difference—and continue to do so today.

1. Alfred Hitchcock (1899 – 1980)

Alfred Hitchcock did not invent modern cinema, but for much of the past century he has defined it. Inarguably the most imitated motion picture artist of all time, a slew of spine-tingling hits including Rebecca, Rear Window, Vertigo and North by Northwest brought international acclaim to the London-born director, earning him the moniker “The Master of Suspense.”

While Hitchcock’s work certainly tended toward the thrilling, it was not as much his ability to keep audiences on the edge of their seats as it was to pull them out of their chairs that made him a legend—drawing moviegoers into his films and challenging the role of viewer as detached spectator. Widely hailed as his masterpiece, 1960’s Psycho took audiences into the recesses of a disturbed mind, making use of a fast-paced, adrenaline-inducing editing style and a succession of POV shots. With a perfectly measured combination of style and innovation and seamlessly blended bits of humor and romance throughout his work, Hitchcock’s films are a whole experience, usually playing upon a variety of human emotions.

Though he was considered a legend in his own time, making more than 65 films in a career that spanned over half a century, the only Academy Award Hitchcock ever won for directing was an honorary one given in 1976, when he made history once again by uttering the briefest speech in Oscar history: “Thank you.”


 01:31 AM - link

global climate change

Ice caps melting faster than forecast

Global warming of only a couple of degrees Celsius projected by the end of this century is enough to trigger widespread melting of the massive Greenland ice cap and the partial collapse of Antarctica's ice sheets, prominent climate researchers warn in two studies published yesterday.

The findings are a stunning about-face from previous expert forecasts that such massive melting would take millennia to kick in, even with rising global atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

This new research, based on a comprehensive look at global warming in the distant past, says melting the two icy domains could eventually raise sea level worldwide by as much as five metres, enough to flood low-lying regions like the Netherlands and most Pacific atolls, as well push half a billion people inland.


  thanks to Juan Cole

Experts say global warming to blame for hurricanes

"The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change, and it's no longer something we'll see in the future; it's happening now," said Greg Holland, a division director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.


  thanks to Juan Cole

Bush Faces Growing Dissent From Republicans on Climate Change

Representative Bob Inglis, a South Carolina Republican, says he ``pooh-poohed'' global warming until he trekked to the South Pole in January.

``Now, I think we should be concerned,'' says Inglis, who heads the U.S. House Science Research subcommittee. ``There are more and more Republicans willing to stop laughing at climate change who are ready to get serious about reclaiming their heritage as conservationists.''


 01:13 AM - link

book recommendation

Morris Graves: Flower Paintings

Morris Graves died in 2001. My comment from that post:

As a young architecture student in 1963, my world was opened by the discovery of these 4 mystic painters. Sometime in the early 90s I went to a Morris Graves show and was shocked to discover that, not only was Morris Graves still alive, but he was doing his best work. He was painting flower still lifes. Where his early work pushed his eastern philosophy, his later work did not. And by not pushing it, these later paintings became all the more powerful statements of his mysticism.

He started painting these still lifes in his sixties and continued to paint these brilliant flower paintings well into his eighties. An inspiration in late life creativity. Great paintings.

 12:54 AM - link


The death of New Orleans continues.

I'm Sorry, Ms. Jackson - A Primer on Environmental Injustice

I'm probably not the best person to write this diary. My experiences with environmental justice as a discipline have been cursory at best. However, since I have been on the ground and seen this with my own eyes, I feel a certain sense of duty to share it with you all.

The place is Oakville, Louisiana. Some facts about Oakville: It is a small, African-American community in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, where Katrina made landfall. It was founded by newly freed slaves after the Civil War. It is mostly lower class trailer homes. Everyone knows each other's name. There are over 100 children in the community. And not ten feet away from the community is the Industrial Pipe landfill, violating almost every law on the books, owned and operated by Kenny Stewart.


Only "Best Residents" to be Allowed in NOLA Public Housing

Bush's Housing Secretary talks tough on who will be permitted to return to public housing in New Orleans:

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson shed little light Monday on the future of public housing in hurricane-battered New Orleans, but said that "only the best residents" of the former St. Thomas housing complex should be allowed into the new mixed-income development that replaced it.

"Some of the people shouldn't return," Jackson said. "The (public housing) developments were gang-ridden by some of the most notorious gangs in this country. People hid and took care of those persons because they took care of them. Only the best residents should return. Those who paid rent on time, those who held a job and those who worked."

Surely we can agree that criminal gang members shouldn't be out on the streets of any city; this is a law enforcement matter, not one for public housing.

But the definition of "desirables" in Jackson's is disturbing: Those who paid rent on time, those who held a job and those who worked. By those lights, tens of thousands of Michigan workers went in one day from some of the state's "best residents" to "undesirables," not based on their own behavior, but on the ruthless realities spawned by globalization. Our value as citizens and residents under this categorization is based solely on the economics of big business, as corporations do their periodic employee bloodletting to bolster the bottom line.


Eight Months After Katrina

Don't come back to New Orleans unless you intend to join the fight for Justice!

On Monday, April 17, 2006, two bodies were found buried beneath what used to be a home in the Lower 9th Ward. Their discovery raised to 17 the number of Hurricane Katrina fatalities that have been discovered in New Orleans in the past month and a half. Katrina is now directly blamed for the deaths of 1,282 Louisiana residents. Eight months after Katrina, the state reports 987 people are still missing.

Chief Steve Glynn, who oversees the New Orleans Fire Department search effort that found the latest two bodies, told CNN: "You want to put it to rest at some point. You want to feel like it's over and it's just not, yet."

Eight months after Katrina, there are still nearly 300,000 people who have not returned to New Orleans. While we can hope that our community is nearing the end of finding bodies, the struggle for justice for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people continues.


  thanks to Magpie

Will the levees hold this hurricane season?

It's a race New Orleans can't afford to lose — repair its hurricane protection system before the next storm season starts. The job is 73 percent finished, with 36 days to go, and the man in charge says it will be done June 1.


Things Aren't Going Swimmingly In New Orleans

I'll never forget that mass of humanity in the Superdome. I'll never forget their screams, as they wailed through the television to me begging for water, for help, for mercy. I can't forget the limp baby, laying listless in its mother's arms as she walked barefoot on the burning hot pavement, seeking shelter from the sun. The bodies--"bodies" is such an impersonal word, isn't it? The mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, and grandparents strewn in the street, or floating face down, or being nibbled on by dogs. You can't just forget that horror.

I look at New Orleans and I see August 29th all over again. But for others, the New Orleans they see is the one they saw during the wall-to-wall coverage of Mardi Gras: the colorful floats, the dry streets, the street pulsating with life.

Off camera, the city still dies.


 12:32 AM - link

  Friday   April 28   2006

book art

William Burroughs Book Covers


  thanks to Coudal Partners

 10:57 PM - link


Rove's days may be numbered.

Target Letter Drives Rove Back to Grand Jury

Karl Rove's appearance before a grand jury in the CIA leak case Wednesday comes on the heels of a "target letter" sent to his attorney recently by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, signaling that the Deputy White House Chief of Staff may face imminent indictment, sources that are knowledgeable about the probe said Wednesday.


Fitzgerald to decide whether to charge Rove 'within two to three weeks'

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the CIA leak case, is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks whether to bring perjury charges against Karl Rove, the powerful adviser to President Bush, lawyers involved in the case said Thursday, the NEW YORK TIMES will report Friday.


  thanks to The Agonist

Some thoughts on Fitz, Rove, and things

Having never had a case this enormous, I can’t really speak for Fitzgerald and how he is dealing with all of this. But I can say that when you are in the middle of a huge case — my last one was a very involved murder trial — the details of the case become everything, and the outside malarky just falls by the wayside a lot of the time. But you also struggle to have some semblance of a life around the edges, some time to sit back and take a deep breath or have a glass of wine and a nice dinner with friends or any of those things that makes all the hard work have meaning for you.

Here’s hoping that Pat Fitzgerald and his entire team get those moments around the edges. And that this feeling I’ve been having that something is coming like an inevitable bulldozer toward Karl Rove is right. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too far — the wheels of justice can turn very slowly indeed — but this has been a very interesting week, and the signs are not looking so good for Karl (or Scooter) at the moment.

Guess we’ll see — but ultimately, whichever way this case goes, this is the way a prosecutor conducts himself — with dignity and respect for the process and for the law. Good on you, Pat Fitzgerald, and your entire team, for playing by the rules and not making it about ego on your end of things.


 10:53 PM - link

that was the week that was

The first part of the week was busy finishing up some web projects. Yesterday was Zoe's birthday so Wednesday and Thursday were spent cleaning the house for last night's party. My asthma has been kicking up so that took longer than it should have. Lots of pollen in the air. The cars are covered with yellow-green pollen from the alder trees. A trip to the doctor and some meds are making me breathe again. It was a mad rush vacuuming, mopping, and waxing floors. Shopping for drinks, chips, and cake making supplies. Baking a cake. Decorating a cake. Getting cleaned up just in time as everyone arrive.

Not a really big party. My son Robby and his partner Hannah, my daughter Katie and her 6 1/2 year old dynamo of a son Mike, Kim and Doug, and Zoe's friend Rhonda. Jenny and William called from Colorado. It was a beautiful evening out and it wasn't too long before Robby asked where the croquet set was. Our lawn is anything but level and the grass is course and lumpy making it a game of extreme croquet. A wonderful evening outside filled with the sound of laughter and good spirits. I was shooting with three cameras. That has been one of the main ideas behind having multiple 35mm bodies. I could just pick up the camera with the lens I wanted and shoot. I had the 28mm Super Takumar on the Pentax H1a. (I realize I haven't mentioned the 28mm lens. It came in a week ago. $50 for an almost like new lens. I will get a picture of it up soon.) I was going to also put the 35mm Jupiter 12 on the Leica IIIc but it had last minute film advance problems as I was loading it. I will fiddle with it a little more but it may have to go back to Oleg for repair. I had the 50mm Jupiter 8 on the Zorki 3M. My medium format 90mm Vega 12, with M42 adapter, on my Pentax Spotmatic SPII. It was the first time I used a telephoto and it was fun shooting the croquet madness with it. Towards the end of the game an eagle landed and perched on a fir tree across the street. I use the Pentax 135mm Super Multi-Coated Takumar for the first time. It's a bummer about the Leica but it can be fixed and I have other bodies to take it's place in the meantime.

We then made it back inside for cake and ice cream. I made chocolate cake. Actually, it was Coale chocolate cake. When my mom made my dad his first birthday cake she asked him what was his favorite cake. Chocolate cake was the reply. So she mixed up some chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. My dad was dissapointed. "This isn't chocolate cake." It turns out that his idea of chocolate cake was yellow cake with chocolate frosting. This has been a running joke in my family for years although some (Jenny, you know who your are!) refuse to accept that Coale chocolate cake is a chocolate cake in any way, shape, or form. A great time was had by all. (I should disclose that I ended up doing the same thing to Zoe when she made me her first birthday cake for me. Chocolate cake with chocolote frosting is OK but I do love the Coale version best of all!)

This morning Zoe and I went up to vist her mom, Gerry, who has Alzheimer's and is living in a care facility in Oak Harbor at the north end of the island. In some ways she has been doing better. She is walking much better. She follows the house cleaning people around and does some helping and will try and help with the other residents. But emotionally she is doing worse. She is more depressed and fearful. She has been pretty emphatic about coming home with us. That is impossible. We see her doctor next week and we hope that adjusting her meds will help. It's been pretty traumatic for Zoe.

I will be doing some more shooting this weekend with the Burke & James and hopefully with the pano head on the Salut-S. I've got the film in to the lab of the pictures of the Burke & James in action. They should be back Monday and I will get them up early next week. And Sunday I will load up the Mamiya Super 23 for World Pinhole Day.

 10:39 PM - link

  Wednesday   April 26   2006

give us this day our daily photograph

Hoppel Poppel at Mike's Place in Langley

gordy's image archive index

A plate of Hoppel Poppel and biscuits, my favorite. Yummmm! This is a pinhole on a roll of film I had forgotten. Appropriate since this Sunday is World Pinhole Day. Everybody get their pinhole cameras out and expose some film or paper. I finally got most everything together and started shooting with the Burke & James. I took some pictures of the expedition into Freeland. A full report later.

 11:50 PM - link

book recommendations

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
by Jared Diamond

All my book recommendations are, of course, essential reading. It's just that some books are more essential than others. This is one of the most essential. From Amazon:

In his Pulitzer Prize–winning bestseller Guns, Germs, and Steel, geographer Diamond laid out a grand view of the organic roots of human civilizations in flora, fauna, climate and geology. That vision takes on apocalyptic overtones in this fascinating comparative study of societies that have, sometimes fatally, undermined their own ecological foundations. Diamond examines storied examples of human economic and social collapse, and even extinction, including Easter Island, classical Mayan civilization and the Greenland Norse. He explores patterns of population growth, overfarming, overgrazing and overhunting, often abetted by drought, cold, rigid social mores and warfare, that lead inexorably to vicious circles of deforestation, erosion and starvation prompted by the disappearance of plant and animal food sources. Extending his treatment to contemporary environmental trouble spots, from Montana to China to Australia, he finds today's global, technologically advanced civilization very far from solving the problems that plagued primitive, isolated communities in the remote past. At times Diamond comes close to a counsel of despair when contemplating the environmental havoc engulfing our rapidly industrializing planet, but he holds out hope at examples of sustainability from highland New Guinea's age-old but highly diverse and efficient agriculture to Japan's rigorous program of forest protection and, less convincingly, in recent green consumerism initiatives. Diamond is a brilliant expositor of everything from anthropology to zoology, providing a lucid background of scientific lore to support a stimulating, incisive historical account of these many declines and falls. Readers will find his book an enthralling, and disturbing, reminder of the indissoluble links that bind humans to nature.

The short review: We're fucked. Or, as an Amazon review noted: "There is no somewhere else." It's not like there is no hope but with the clowns in control there might as well be no hope. Or how about that a significant portion of this country believes that rapture is just around the corner so why give a shit? Collapse provides a much needed framework for understanding what is coming at us.

And be sure to read the book that came before, a worthy companion piece:

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
by Jared Diamond

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

 11:28 PM - link

  Sunday   April 23   2006

33 more months

If Past Is Prologue, George Bush Is Becoming An Increasingly Dangerous President
by John Dean

President George W. Bush's presidency is a disaster - one that's still unfolding. In a mid-2004 column, I argued that, at that point, Bush had already demonstrated that he possessed the least attractive and most troubling traits among those that political scientist James Dave Barber has cataloged in his study of Presidents' personality types.

Now, in early 2006, Bush has continued to sink lower in his public approval ratings, as the result of a series of events that have sapped the public of confidence in its President, and for which he is directly responsible. This Administration goes through scandals like a compulsive eater does candy bars; the wrapper is barely off one before we've moved on to another.

Currently, President Bush is busy reshuffling his staff to reinvigorate his presidency. But if Dr. Barber's work holds true for this president -- as it has for others - the hiring and firing of subordinates will not touch the core problems that have plagued Bush's tenure.

That is because the problems belong to the President - not his staff. And they are problems that go to character, not to strategy.


  thanks to Bad Attitudes

 12:06 AM - link


It's been awhile since I've been to this site. There are lots of live music downloads. But Blaine brought to my attention that they have hours and hours of public domain movies. Including all 12 episodes of Flash Gordon : Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe. Serial movies are a hoot. Bad acting and cheap sets. Absolutely wonderful.

Movie Archive


 12:01 AM - link