Weblog Archives




  Friday   May 23   2003


Joseph Seigenthaler


  thanks to Coudal Partners

 11:35 AM - link


It's apparent that Washington has no clear plan for Iraq

In one sense everybody -- supporters and opponents of the war in Iraq -- got it wrong. Opponents denounced U.S. plans to impose neo-imperial control on the country. Supporters spoke of the good things the United States planned to bring to the Iraqi people once Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

It was only as the looting of Baghdad continued week after week and the United States visibly failed to get control of the situation that the bizarre truth emerged: Washington does not have any real plans for Iraq at all. It is making up its policy as it goes along.

Everywhere there are signs of the breakdown. A few weeks ago I nervously drove from Baghdad to Amman in Jordan along the great highway through the western desert of Iraq. As we passed looters, their elderly pick-ups and taxis piled high with junk, I wondered if it would occur to any of them that they could make a lot more money by stealing our car at gunpoint than they could by stripping old Iraqi government offices of broken chairs and filing cabinets.

But even then I thought that the phenomenon was probably temporary. At some point the Americans, whom we could see assiduously checking the papers of aid convoys from Jordan, would surely feel bound to secure the most important land route leading to Iraq. In fact it has gotten worse. Even tough Jordanian drivers, who drove to Baghdad at the height of the bombing, now often refuse to travel the road because of fear of armed bandits.

Iraq nuclear and oilfield chaos confront US rulers

Lawlessness in oilfields and a warning of a possible nuclear emergency reared up to confront Iraq's United States administration as thousands of Iraqis took to the streets of Baghdad to demand their own government.

The United Nation's nuclear watchdog agency said it was alarmed by almost daily reports of looting and destruction at nuclear sites, warning that the theft of radioactive material posed a security threat and a danger to health.

Oil officials said the looting and lack of security were also hampering efforts to restore oil output, vital for the devastated country's economic recovery after the US-led war to oust Saddam Hussein's government.

You've got to read this. The Army detains two Arab candidates running for a provincial council, they won't be able to run, and then:
It was still unclear who would replace the two candidates. The U.S. military will choose six further "independent" council members.

Free at Last

This is the kind of democracy your average Texas Republican -- not to mention your average GOP Supreme Court Justice -- could learn to love:

  • Step One: Handpick an electoral college of "delegates."

  • Step Two: Arrest the candidates you don't like and kick them out of the race -- even if they're not guilty of anything.

  • Step Three: Pack the council with your own "independent" stooges -- just in case you don't get quite the election result you wanted.

    Really inspiring isn't it?

     11:20 AM - link



    Originally published to wide critical acclaim in France, where it elicited comparisons to Art Spiegelman's Maus, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the h


      thanks to gmtPlus9

     10:57 AM - link


    A Tax Cut Without End

    True, the price tag on the tax bill the House approved this morning is officially only $320 billion over 10 years, barely two-fifths of the $726 billion President Bush proposed in February.

    True too, it is even smaller than the $350 billion measure initially passed by the Senate that Mr. Bush ridiculed as "little bitty."

    But the $320 billion figure, which is expected to clear the Senate today, is artificial.

    No one expects that tax breaks for married couples and a bigger tax credit for children, popular features of the bill, will be allowed to expire after next year. This is what lawmakers call a sunset. It was put into the measure to hold down the 10-year cost.

    Nor, barring a political upheaval that puts Democrats in the White House and in control of Congress, is it likely that the lower tax rates on dividends and capital gains will be allowed to expire after 2008, another sunset in the bill.

    If these elements of the tax cut are calculated on a 10-year basis, the cost in lost revenue stands to be over $800 billion, more than what the president proposed, according to the first analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priority, a liberal research institute.

    Unkindest tax cut is bound to fail
    George Bush's tax cuts are going to worsen the inequity in American society, writes Julian Borger

    The Bush administration prides itself on being a government of conviction, and rightly so. It sticks to policies even when circumstances and popular opinion change. It also sticks to them when they clearly don't work.

    The White House, for example, remained determined to change the regime in Iraq even after it became clear that very few nations were prepared to back the US, and that there was insufficient evidence to persuade them. Similarly President Bush has stuck to his insistence on successive, sweeping tax cuts, despite the uncomfortable fact that the premise on which they were first proposed - a large government surplus - has evaporated.

    ndividually these policies involve bold risks. Together they represent a recklessness that could inflict lasting damage on the US economy.

    Bush continues to rack up debt

    Bush has already scored record deficits, so it was only a matter of time before he would ask the nation to extend its credit line by a record $1 trillion. Okay, okay. The number is actually $984 billion, but that's like putting an item for sale for $19.99. We all know it's actually $20.

    And this $1 trillion debt increase comes on the heels of a $450 billion increase last year -- an increase that Bush has burned through in a single year.

    The GOP-led Senate will vote and almost certainly approve the debt increase. Another nail in the coffin of the illusion that Republicans are better stewards of the nation's finances. But this will offer Democrats a great opportunity to highlight the gross incompetence exhibit by the GOP-dominated Congress and their president.

     10:44 AM - link

    bus stop art

    Bus Stop Shelters in Ukraine

    Some are frescoed, some are etched, some are tiled mosaics -- all are beautiful. Most have fallen into a state of disrepair because the local governments can no longer afford to maintain them.


      thanks to Coudal Partners

     10:26 AM - link

    friggin' liars

    A White House Fluent In Language Of Fanatics
    by Arianna Huffington

    Maybe Karl Rove has moved his office into the "Matrix." Maybe Laurence Fishburne is auditioning for Ari Fleischer's job. Maybe it's all just a bad dream: "The White House Reloaded."

    I've been racking my brain, trying to reconcile the ever-widening chasm between what the White House claims to be true and what is actually true. After all, we know the president and his men are not stupid. And despite the tidal wave of misinformation pouring out of their mouths, I don't believe they are consciously lying.

    The best explanation I can come up with for the growing gap between their rhetoric and reality is that we are being governed by a gang of out and out fanatics.

    The defining trait of the fanatic -- be it a Marxist, a fascist, or, gulp, a Wolfowitz -- is the utter refusal to allow anything as piddling as evidence to get in the way of an unshakable belief. Bush and his fellow fanatics are the political equivalent of those yogis who can hold their breath and go without air for hours. Such is their mental control, they can go without truth for, well, years. Because, in their minds, they're always right. Oopso facto.

    That pretty much sums up the White House m.o. on everything, from the status of al-Qaeda to the condition of post-war Iraq to the magical job-producing virtues of the latest round of tax cuts.

    Who else but a fanatic would have made the outrageous claim, as the president did last Friday, just four days after the deadly reemergence of al-Qaeda in Riyadh, that "the United States people are more secure, the world is going to be more peaceful"? More peaceful than what? The West Bank?

     10:20 AM - link

    illustration art

    Boris Artzybasheff
    The Master of the Anthropomorphic

    If Artzybasheff is recalled today, it is for his magazine covers but in the 40's and 50's he was known for human machines that commented wittily on the parallels between mechanical and human forms.


      thanks to boingboing

     10:10 AM - link

    Background / Israel's dwindling anti-terror arsenal

    Dispatching a squadron of human bombs to kill a dozen Israelis in five attacks over 48 hours, the unrelenting Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of Yasser Arafat's Fatah have rocked Israel to the ropes.

    As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government prepares its response, its policymaking latitude has run into a fresh obstacle: the Israel military has all but exhausted its list of remaining new options for battling terrorism.

    There is one option that the Sharon government hasn't tried — negotiation. Maybe it's time Sharon stoped talking about painful concessions and actually made some. And don't talk to me about negotiating with terrorists — don't forget that the state of Israel was founded on Jewish terrorism. The Palestinians are fighting for the right of self-determination against a brutal military occupation. They aren't going to stop until the occupation ends and they can determine their own future.

     10:01 AM - link


    Week 21 2003 Easter Celebration in Elche Alicante Spain

    Elche in Alicante is known for several large fiestas, the Misteri d'Elx in August which is a lyrical drama from the Middle Ages is perhaps the most famous.

    At easter there are 2 celebrations. The first is the procession of the palms at Palm Sunday which is dated back to the 14th century.

    The panorama is from the Alleluyah Parade on Resurrection Sunday. During this celebration thousands of streamers and religious images are trown down from the windows and balconies along the procession.


     09:41 AM - link


    Jim — you'll love this one.

    Media Monopoly vs. Democracy

    "A popular Government without popular information of the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."
    --James Madison

    "If anyone said we were in the radio business, it wouldn't be someone from our company. We're not in the business of providing news and information. We're not in the business of providing well-researched music. We're simply in the business of selling our customers products."
    --Clear Channel CEO Lowry Mays

    On June 2 the Federal Communications Commission will take sides in the great American debate between James Madison and Lowry Mays, when it decides whether to relax the remaining limitations on media ownership. If the rules are maintained, the democratic value of media diversity wins. If greater consolidation is allowed, the media moguls will win -- and they will celebrate by launching a buying frenzy destined to reshape the American media landscape.

    The choice is that stark.

     09:35 AM - link


    Jukka Korhonen

    Olen kierrellyt kotikaupunkini Oulun Toppilan satamassa kamerani kanssa vuosikausia, ja usein löytänyt kaikenlaista outoa kuvattavaa. Paikka on ollut varsinainen runsaudensarvi, jonne olenkin yleensä suunnistanut, kun en ole muuta tekemistä keksinyt.


      thanks to The Solipsistic Gazete

     09:30 AM - link

    war against some drugs

    The US is Addicted to War on Drugs

    When it comes to drugs, the White House is singing loud and clear: Blame Canada. But many Americans are singing a different tune: Praise Canada.

    As the Bush administration tries to bully you into submission on drug-policy matters, please keep the following in mind.

    First, everything under way and under consideration in Canada is well-grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, as well as taxpayers' interests. Every independent commission to examine marijuana policy, from Australia to the United States, has concluded that punitive prohibitions do more harm than good.

    The medicinal value of marijuana is beyond dispute. As well, safer injection sites (such as Vancouver's) have proven effective in reducing drug overdoses, infections, risky injection practices and public nuisance. The White House may not like what you're doing, but you've got the evidence on your side.

     09:23 AM - link


    This is a Flash site, which means that the navigation sucks. Go to Gallery and then Yamazaki to get to his images. You'll see the link to the goldfish. Annoying site — cool pictures.

    Image Dive


      thanks to Esthet

     09:18 AM - link

    left and right

    Left Out By Right Rhetoric 

    Yes, all Americans have the basic metaphor of the nation as family, where we have Founding Fathers, and we send our sons and daughters to war, and so on.

    And politics is connected with the family via this metaphor, and connected very, very deeply. There are two different ideal models of the family that I'll call a Strict Father Family and a Nurturing Parent Family.... And this metaphor maps those models of the family onto our national moral and political life. And what you get are two very, very different models of the family, and with them two very, very different models of politics.

    Here’s how those differences play out. If you have the Strict Father models of the family then you’re assuming that the world is a difficult place and always will be, that children are born bad and have to be made good, that the job of the father is to be a moral authority, to protect the family, to support the family....

    The strict father wants his kids to become disciplined, pursue the self-interest, and become self-reliant and be good people because they are disciplined.... Now this comes into politics in many ways. First, it says that social programs are evil. Why? Because... social programs are seen as something that gives people things they don’t earn, therefore making them morally weak. Namely it hurts the people it’s supposed to help. That’s the conservative argument in politics.

    In foreign policy you see this in terms of the idea of the moral authority of the father. So the father in a strict father family doesn’t give up his moral authority. He’s supposed to be in charge, period. And no back-talk. And this administration says, "Of course, we know! No back-talk! ... We know what’s right, we have the authority and the power. And we’re not going to debate it. We’re just going to tell you what’s right and if you don’t like it we’ll punish you!" This is the Bush administration’s view not only of foreign policy, but a lot of domestic policy as well.

    On the progressive parents’ side, the idea of a nurturing family is very, very different. There it is assumed that the world should become a nurturing place, should become a safe place, a healthy place. And that children are born good and should be kept that way and developed. That the idea of a parent is to nurture children, and to raise children to be nurturers as well....

    This implies many things.... First a nurturant parent has to be fair, promote fairness. You’re not empathetic toward someone if you’re not fair with them.... Protection is an important value. Think of the things that nurturing parents want to protect their children from, not just crime and drugs but also cars without seat belts, tobacco, chemicals in the environment, unscrupulous businesses, namely all the things that liberals would like the government to protect citizens from.

      thanks to MyDD

     08:48 AM - link


    This is a great typographic reference.

    Free e-texts on typography

    This is a collection of links to some of the significant free electronic texts on typography which are freely available on-line which I have found or been told of. There are additional pages for certain topics, e.g., texts on TeX---a few of general interest are listed below and there is an additional page of free texts for that system. Other topics with their own pages include technical reference, typeface design and style guides.

      thanks to Coudal Partners

    This is from one of the free e-texts. The first half has great information on book design:
    Memoir is a new documentclass for LaTeX intended for typesetting books. The first half of this wonderful text covers basic design and page layout concepts every graphic designer and typographer should know.

    The Memoir Class for Configurable Typesetting User Guide [It's a PDF file.]

    Widows and orphans

    Inconvenient page breaks can also cause a hiatus in the reader's perusal of a work. These happen when a page break occurs near the start or end of a paragraph.
         A widow is where the last line of a paragraph is the first line on the page. The term is sometimes also used to refer to when the last word in a paragraph is on a line by itself. A widow looks forlorn. As Robert Bringhurst said, 'A widow has a past but no future'. Typographically, widows should be avoided. Especially to be avoided are widows that are the only line on a page, for example at the end of a chapter. Five lines on the last page of a chapter is a reasonable minimum.
         An orphan is not nearly so troubling to typographers as a widow. An orphan is where the first, one or two lines of a paragraph are at the bottom of a page. Bringhurt's memory trick for orphans is, 'An orphan has a future but no past'.


     08:11 AM - link

      Wednesday   May 21   2003


    Let's go watch the movie "The Three Stooges in Iraq."

    Allies to Begin Seizing Weapons From Most Iraqis

    Iraqi citizens will be required to turn over automatic weapons and heavy weapons under a proclamation that allied authorities plan to issue this week, allied officials said today.

    The aim of the proclamation is to help stabilize Iraq by confiscating the huge supply of AK-47's, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons that are used by criminal gangs, paramilitary groups and remnants of the Saddam Hussein government.

    Iraqis who refuse to comply with the edict will be subject to arrest. Only Iraqis authorized to use military-type weapons because of their police or military duties will be exempt.

    This should be fun to watch. I would feel a lot safer if our government would start taking automatic weapons away from US citizens.

    Who is the U.S. trying to fool?

    It is hard to see where the Bush administration thinks it is going in Iraq, or whether it grasps how much its dissimulation and bad faith over the Israeli-Palestinian "road map" will cost it.

    The situation in Iraq, even by friendly accounts, seems to be deteriorating, and unfriendly accounts in both the British and the French press are scathing.

    Major combat was pronounced finished a month ago, but U.S. authorities in Baghdad, seemingly still confused or in dispute over how to restore order and a functioning administration, have yet to get a grip on the situation. Visitors to U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad, situated in one of Saddam's former palaces, are given elaborate PowerPoint presentations on the military security situation, irrelevant to the reigning lawlessness and disorder Baghdad's citizens experience. U.S. officials go out only in escorted convoys.

    The civilian authority run by the newly arrived ambassador L. Paul Bremer, still locked in its own and Washington's bureaucratic struggle over what to do and whom to blame, remains inaccessible to aid organizations and nongovernmental representatives.

      thanks to Cursor

    Looting Is Derailing Detailed U.S. Plan to Restore Iraq

    Long before President Bush ordered the attack against Iraq, the White House and the Pentagon drew up a plan for rebuilding and running the country after the war that was nearly as meticulous as the battle plan.

    But over the past two to three weeks, the wheels have threatened to come off their vehicle for establishing the peace.

    The looting, lawlessness and violence that planners thought would mar only the first few weeks has proved more widespread and enduring than Mr. Bush and his aides expected and is threatening to undermine the American plan.

    Those pesky Iraqis just need to get with our program.

    Dinar Is Served
    Saddam Dinar Rises Against Dollar

    I'm shocked – shocked! – but it appears that neither Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld nor General Tommy Franks has read Ludwig von Mises, or even David Hume. Their economic ignorance has led to the only American defeat -- not on the battlefield, but on the economic front. The 'Saddam dinar' (picture on the left) has beaten the dollar hands down as the currency of choice in Iraq.

    "If you have one million pensioners getting $40 apiece, that's $40 million coming onto the streets," said Ahmed Muhammad Ali, a trader on Kifah Street. "What did you expect would happen?"

      thanks to Cursor

     10:52 AM - link


    The Insect Company

    Our catalogues contain a huge range of Butterflies, Moths, Beetles, and other insects from all corners of the World. Over 6,000 listings with more than 1,600 life-size reference photographs!

    Salvazana imperialis - Thailand


      thanks to The Solipsistic Gazete

    Go buy some bugs.

     10:36 AM - link

    Background/ Seeing the last of Arafat: Not if, but when

    The Leftist Meretz party suggested that all the cabinet talk about expelling Arafat amounted to a smokescreen. It charged that Sharon had produced another in a series of tricks in order to duck the demands of peacemaking.

    "He doesn't take the concrete step demanded of him, to evacuate [illegal settlement] outposts. He has taken no concrete steps to enable Abu Mazen and [Palestinian Minister Mohammed] Dahlan to fight against terror, for example, humanitarian gestures.

    "I don't see how Abu Mazen can do this. Abu Mazen needs to make every effort to combat terror, but if the Israeli government doesn't take steps to allow him to do this, we are being sentenced to more terror, more expulsions, more talks, more dramatically-announced cabinet meetings."

    In any event, the prophesies of doom regarding Arafat the leader have proven premature, just as new waves of terror have shattered the budding illusion that the Al Aqsa Intifada had ended in an Israeli victory, notes Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Aluf Benn.

    "Those same intelligence and security officials that already last year had dubbed Arafat a Dead Man Walking, and who had forseen his removal along with Saddam Hussein, showed up at the Sunday cabinet meeting in order to explain that Arafat was still strong, that he is spurring the wave of terrorism, and that he is sparing no effort to trip up Abu Mazen."

    A Conversation with Beshara Doumani
    An Arab-American historian charges that the media's representation of the conflict in the Middle East turns reality upside down.

    Numerous critics charge that, in the United States, ignorant or biased reporting of the conflict in the Middle East leads to a common perception of Israel as a beseiged democracy surrounded by Islamic fundamentalists and Arab populations bent on its destruction, even as Israel repeatedly holds out the olive branch of peace. According to associate professor of history Beshara Doumani, this is a deeply flawed picture, and one that is not common elsewhere in the world. “It’s very frustrating,” Doumani says, “to live in a country where popular perceptions are so fundamentally removed from the realities that exist on the ground.”

     10:29 AM - link

    collage art

    Twisted Vintage
    collage by claudia congleton

    Collage: "An artistic composition of materials and objects pasted over a surface,often with unifying lines and color."
    The origin of the word is French: coller, to glue.


      thanks to The Solipsistic Gazete

     10:22 AM - link


    Euro Climbs to 4-Year High as Dollar Continues to Weaken

    The dollar fell to its lowest level against the euro in four years today after Treasury Secretary John W. Snow seemed to suggest that the Bush administration would not be unhappy to see the American currency weaken further.

    "Empire and the Capitalists"

    No doubt, George W. Bush thinks he is in the forefront of those sustaining the world capitalist system. No doubt, a large part of the world left thinks that too. But do the great capitalists think so? That is far less clear. A major warning signal has been launched by Morgan Stanley, one of the world's leading financial investor firms, in their Global Economic Forum. Stephen Roach writes there that a "US-centric world" is unsustainable for the world-economy and bad in particular for the United States. He specifically takes on Robert Kagan, a leading neo-con intellectual, who has been arguing that American hegemony can only increase, particularly vis-a-vis Europe. Roach could not agree less. He sees the present world situation as one of "profound asymmetries" in the world-system, one that cannot last.

      thanks to wood s lot

     10:16 AM - link


    Dachshund Early Comics

    A History of Picture Stories : Over 200 scrolldown pages of comics, or comics-related illustration, dating from 300 A.D. to 1929  


      thanks to The J-Walk Weblog

     10:03 AM - link


    I was wrong. Free market trade policies hurt the poor
    The IMF and World Bank orthodoxy is increasing global poverty

    As leader of the delegation from the United Kingdom, I was convinced that the expansion of world trade had the potential to bring major benefits to developing countries and would be one of the key means by which world poverty would be tackled.

    In order to achieve this, I believed that developing countries would need to embrace trade liberalisation. This would mean opening up their own domestic markets to international competition. The thinking behind this approach being that the discipline of the market would resolve problems of underperformance, a strong economy would emerge and that, as a result, the poor would benefit. This still remains the position of major international bodies like the IMF and World Bank and is reflected in the system of incentives and penalties which they incorporate in their loan agreements with developing countries. But my mind has changed

    I now believe that this approach is wrong and misguided. Since leaving the cabinet a year ago, I've had the opportunity to see at first hand the consequences of trade policy. No longer sitting in the air-conditioned offices of fellow government ministers I have, instead, been meeting farmers and communities at the sharp end.

      thanks to also not found in nature

     09:51 AM - link

    lace art

    Jana Onuskova - bobbin lace

    Jana Onuskova is one of the most known makers of bobbin lace in Europe. These pages provide information about Mrs. Onuskova, her works, and how can you contact her.


      thanks to The Solipsistic Gazete

     09:48 AM - link


    Highway To $0.99 Hell
    Apple's iTunes music store: A rockin' revolution, or same ol' corporate song and dance?
    by Mark Morford

    Damn but how I'd love to believe that a nice hefty portion of the 99 cents I just dropped in the wonderfully simple and elegant and it's-about-goddamn-time Apple iTunes Music Store for Björk's glorious "Bachelorette" is going straight into Björk herownself's orange fur-lined pocket. You know?

    Instead of where I know my money is really going, which is straight toward some Universal records exec's Range Rover payments, with the remainder right into the vault inside Steve Jobs' gold-trimmed bedchamber. And most likely not a single dime to the artist who wrote and recorded and sang the actual music.

    This is the tragic flaw, the biggest disappointment of Apple's much-vaunted service. It is the underlying unfair evil that, if you're at all aware of the music industry's long-standing vow to gouge your ass to high heaven and screw their own artists out of royalties and keep the prices of antiquated CDs artificially high and continue to promote slick prefab hit makers to the detriment of new, quirky, more talented indie acts, bites your attuned consumerist butt every step of the way. Apple could've gone for revolution. They settled for mild rebellion.

     09:34 AM - link


    Medical Anomalies 5
    Hoaxed medical photos.


      thanks to The J-Walk Weblog

     09:31 AM - link


    The Arab Condition
    An Unprecedented Crisis
    by Edward Said

    My impression is that many Arabs today feel that what has been taking place in Iraq over the last two months is little short of a catastrophe. True, Saddam Hussein's regime was a despicable one in every way and it deserved to be removed. Also true is the sense of anger many feel at how outlandishly cruel and despotic that regime was, and how dreadful has been the suffering of Iraq's people. There seems little doubt that far too many other governments and individuals connived at keeping Saddam Hussein in power, looking the other way as they went about their business as usual. Nevertheless, the only thing that gave the US the license to bomb the country and destroy its government was neither a moral right nor a rational argument but rather sheer military power. Having for years supported Baathist Iraq and Saddam Hussein himself, the United States and Britain arrogated to themselves the right to negate their own complicity in his despotism, and then to state that they were liberating Iraq from his hated tyranny. And what now seems to be emerging in the country both during and after the illegal Anglo-American war against the people and civilization that is the essence of Iraq, represents a very grave threat to the Arab people as a whole.

     09:22 AM - link


    Laura Domela


      thanks to Esthet

     09:19 AM - link


    Organised paranoia of West blows threat posed by al-Qaeda out of all proportion

    America is now afraid of its own shadow. That was the mocking verdict passed by Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, last week, angry at the haste with which the US issued a terrorism warning against travel to his country. Not exactly the image of strength and conviction that the White House had hoped to project after victory in Iraq, is it?

    The West’s fearful response to each new threat or attack is acting as an open invitation to every little terrorist cell. The message is, “We are scared, so why not scare us some more?” All it takes is a few zealots with home-made bombs in Africa or Asia to have the Western world pressing the panic button.

    Since the bloody bombings in Casablanca, there has been much talk of a new global crisis. Yet in truth the world cannot be changed by the blowing-up of a Spanish social club and a Jewish community centre in Morocco, any more than by last week’s attacks on petrol stations in Pakistan. Only our overblown reactions to these local incidents can create a crisis.

      thanks to follow me here...

     09:12 AM - link


    No links here. Just a little picture Zoe sent me.

     09:07 AM - link


    One Nation, Under Informed

    Well, didn't we do gang-busters in Iraq, huh? I saw on CNN that a train was up and running again in Baghdad commandeered by a conductor smiling with his thumbs up. Schools are opening and the Iraqi people are liberated and naming their kids "Dubya." Democracy is just around the corner with fair elections and a sunny new day is coming when all Iraqis will love America and watch Fox News and dine in style on a "Whopper" with cheese and onion rings while they watch and wait for Wal-Mart to come to town. I just get such a warm and squishy, patriotic feeling everyday as I open my Gannett owned local newspaper (all four pages of it) and get the latest news of our victory. Boy, those Hussein people were really mean and nasty, weren't they? Good thing we got 'em, huh? We are so cool and so powerful! What a great war, I mean, hardly anybody got hurt or anything.

    And then - I still get shivers when I think about it - that magic moment. Commander in Chief, George W. came swooping down on that landing deck of the Lincoln to proclaim the end of the war! Oh, every time I think about it my socks just start rolling up and down. And the press just couldn't get enough of just how good he looked in that flight suit! Tom Cruise, eat your heart out!

    Kind of makes you wanna throw up, doesn't it?

      thanks to BookNotes

    Embed Catches Heat
    TV Sanitized the Iraq Conflict, But a Paper Gets the Hate Mail

    There must have been two wars in Iraq. There was the war I saw and wrote about as a print journalist embedded with a tank company of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). Then there was the war that many Americans saw, or wanted to see, on TV.

      thanks to BookNotes

    If Print News Were Like TV News

    If print news were like TV news, it would read something like this:

    Hello, and welcome to the column. Those of you who are regular readers know that we write about news, and so we shall. Coming up later in this paragraph, a sentence ending with a preposition. Also in this report, startling news about secondhand smoke. And still to come, we ask the important question: "automatic weapons -- can your children still afford them?" All that, coming up after the break, when we bring you more news you can't get enough of.

      thanks to the bitter shack of resentment

     08:59 AM - link

      Tuesday   May 20   2003

    work, work, work, work

    It's been a busy day. The pictures are finally up for Guy Le Roux's show at the last TestingTesting. Look at the pictures and listen to the show.

    Guy Le Roux

    Kim Acuna will be our next special guest on TestingTesting Monday, May 26. She's coming down from Anchorage and will be playing at the Folklife Festival in Seattle that afternoon. The next day she will be at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Check out her website.

    Kim Acuna

     06:57 PM - link


    I'm busy this morning but I will be interviewed on Whole Wheat Radio at around 12:30 (pacific). Listen in.

     11:30 AM - link

      Monday   May 19   2003

    iraq, the patriot act, and everything else

    This is a must read.

    Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy
    (Buy One, Get One Free)

    by Arundhati Roy

    Some of you will think it bad manners for a person like me, officially entered in the Big Book of Modern Nations as an "Indian citizen," to come here and criticize the U.S. government. Speaking for myself, I'm no flag-waver, no patriot, and am fully aware that venality, brutality, and hypocrisy are imprinted on the leaden soul of every state. But when a country ceases to be merely a country and becomes an empire, then the scale of operations changes dramatically. So may I clarify that tonight I speak as a subject of the American Empire? I speak as a slave who presumes to criticize her king.

    Since lectures must be called something, mine tonight is called: Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free).

    Way back in 1988, on the 3rd of July, the U.S.S. Vincennes, a missile cruiser stationed in the Persian Gulf, accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner and killed 290 civilian passengers. George Bush the First, who was at the time on his presidential campaign, was asked to comment on the incident. He said quite subtly, "I will never apologize for the United States. I don't care what the facts are."

    I don't care what the facts are. What a perfect maxim for the New American Empire. Perhaps a slight variation on the theme would be more apposite: The facts can be whatever we want them to be.


     11:01 AM - link

    beetle art

    Carbon Dust Illustrations

    The illustrations in this gallery were created by hand using the carbon dust technique, a drawing method which renders images of exquisite visual detail. The accuracy is important to researchers concerned with insect morphology, that is, the study of the physical forms assumed by various species.

    Scientific illustrator Frances Fawcett (see Contributors) created the majority of these images, while entomologist Christopher Marshall produced the last two bugs in the gallery using a hybrid technique of hand-drawing and computer shading.


      thanks to The Solipsistic Gazete

     10:57 AM - link


    I didn't have any links about Iraq this weekend. Let's check to see how things are going...

    In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off

    Baghdad pays the postwar price: 242 die in three weeks

    For Iraq's children, a new war has begun

    2-month-old Ali Mustafa struggles for his life at a Baghdad hospital, where he is being treated for severe diarrhea.


    Odyssey of Frustration
    In Search for Weapons, Army Team Finds Vacuum Cleaners

      thanks to Whiskey Bar

    Iraqi Troops Say US Owes Them Back Pay
    Bitter Soldiers Threaten Attacks on American Forces, Sabotage

    The Spoils of Victory Have Become a Huge Mess

    Oil boss paid $1m a year by contract bidder
    America braced for criticism over rebuilding plans and claims of human rights abuse

    Well, I'm glad to see that things are going so much better for the Iraqis since we took over.

     10:50 AM - link

    American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Digital Collection

    "For 500 generations they flourished until newcomers came... much was lost; much was devalued, but much was also hidden away in the hearts of the dispossessed...

    ...Their voices insist upon a hearing and the cumulative wisdom of their long residence in this land offers rich insights to those willing to listen. The challenge now is to find a way to make knowledge of the ancient traditions, the experience of change and the living reality accessible and available..."


      thanks to plep

     10:36 AM - link

    Moving toward permanent control of the territories
    By Danny Rubinstein

    Based on what has been happening lately in the West Bank and Gaza, it's apparent that one must get used to the idea that the Israeli regime in the territories, in its current form, is becoming permanent. The elements are familiar: The Israel Defense Forces have taken the place of the Palestinian security services, which the army obliterated in the West Bank and partially destroyed in Gaza.

    Palestinian cities, towns, and villages are under various forms of siege ("closure" in the official terminology), with severe limitations on freedom of movement for the residents, and the Palestinian Authority's institutions and services are barely able to function. Last year's Operation Defensive Shield practically destroyed the sovereign existence of Area A, which had been under full Palestinian control in the West Bank. In recent months, Gaza's Area A has been going through a similar process of elimination.

    From several perspectives, the worse things have become for the Palestinian residents of the territories, the better things have become for the settlers. Though settlers are targets for unceasing Palestinian attacks, and settlers have left some places, the overall framework of Jewish settlement in the West Bank continues to develop apace.

    The civilian and security infrastructures for the settlements have been greatly strengthened. There is nearly complete Israeli control on the roads in Judea and Samaria. The electricity and water systems, as well as various other services used by the settlers have become nearly completely independent of the Palestinian infrastructure. All the planning bodies in the territory are under settler control. The Defense Ministry's civil administration, which in the past handled all matters in the territories, has become an instrument to extend Israeli control over about half the West Bank.

    Israel's 'We have the right to kill you' visa for Gaza

    Analysis: Sharon-Abu Mazen talks a useless media exercise

    The "Separation Wall" - separating Palestinians from their land...


    The Children's Teeth
    Sharon's Second Front
    bu Uri Avnery

    Let there be no illusions: Sharon's final goal is turning the whole country, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river, into an exclusively Jewish state. In this vision there is no place for Arabs, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel proper. Whoever opposes this vision is an enemy (if an Arab) or a traitor (if a Jew).

    Therefore, paradoxically, the struggle over Sheikh Ra'ed, the religious extremist, is also a battle for the future of Israel as a democratic, secular and liberal state.

     10:26 AM - link

    glass art



    Zoe and I went on a tour of Chihuly's Boathouse studio a few years ago. We took a lot of pictures.

    Dale Chihuly's Boathouse Studio Tour


     10:13 AM - link

    good ol' american terrorists

    Fear and Loathing in Guatemala City

    As I mentioned in my last post, many of those now leading the human rights charge in Iraq are themselves veterans (in a policy, if not a military sense) of the U.S. government's own dirty war in Central America.

    But they were on the other side back then -- supporting and if necessary concealing the mass murders of their thuggish surrogates. If not worse.

    I say "if not worse," because for years, these bureaucrat warriors insisted they had no idea who controlled the shadowy death squads running the Central American reign of terror.

    These were such feeble lies, such pathetic lies, that they raise the question in my mind of whether they were even intended to conceal official knowledge of the death squads and their supporters.

    Instead, I suspect the deceptions may have been designed to steer investigative attention away from the question that should have been asked, which was: Were the death squads in fact controlled directly from Washington?

    I'll never know the answer. But of the feebleness and transparency of the Reagan Administration's lies I am certain. Why? Because I was there. Because I saw the death squads. I even saw where they worked.

     09:46 AM - link

    sand art

    Sand As Medium: Concept

    Sand As Medium: a sand installation/sculpture/medium concept created by Jean-Pierre Hébert. A ball etches the sand, pulled invisibly by concealed means. This quiet, interactive installation can create beautiful sand etchings for the beholder enjoyment and for the spiritually inclined meditations.


      thanks to The Solipsistic Gazete

     09:40 AM - link


    So, what is in a word? Wampum first explained the meaning of this word to me. The most powerful explanation of the meaning of this word is in a song that you can hear at Whole Wheat Radio. Click on the Requests button on the left and search for Reverend Goat. Select Redskins. It will play.

    Fightin' words

    Oh gee...I must have misread the word. It said "Redskins". What a relief! Call off the liberal masses with their torches and pitchforks. Its just a term which obviously "honors" American Indians. In fact, here's an excerpt from an op-ed by Linda Cypret-Kilbournem, an Anishinabek, on the subject of mascots:

    "Redskins" means murdered, scalped and skinned Native Americans. This is the true meaning. When bounties were set upon Natives, they were murdered and then their bodies were skinned from the neck down and scalped. Using the word "redskin" is institutional racism. We understand that people did not intentionally use the word to cause hurt, but once you are told something like this is hurtful and you continue to use it, then it becomes racism.

    There were bounties on the scalps of Maine Indians until 1888. Yes, Maine - not South Dakota or Arizona. And Vermont and Connecticut, late into the 1800s as well.

    Its not just a word; its a call to murder, even a call for genocide. Great name for a sports team, eh? Don't suspect though that Oliver or many other fans, black or white, would be cheering the Lynched Niggers. Doesn't have quite the same ring.

    Here is the op-ed by Linda Cypret-Kilbournem that Wampum mentions. Go read it.

    Marshall Redskins: Should name be changed?; Term belittles an entire culture

    Here it was the 4th of July, "Freedom Day," but who was truly free? When the Declaration of Independence was signed, African-Americans were enslaved, Native Americans (Indians - Anishinabek) were murdered. When Britain (the English) came over to force control on the colonists, it was called a Revolutionary War, but when the Native Americans (Indians) defended themselves against forced control, it was called an uprising. When they won a battle, it was a victory; when Natives won, it was a massacre. This is what we do with words, just like the word "redskin." You really have to know history from the Native Americans' side, not what you read in school history books or saw in Hollywood movies. The Pilgrims came to this country for freedom of religion, but ironically they imposed Christianity on the Native Americans and we were put in prisons for practicing our own religion (if you must call it that, for us it is a way of daily life). We could not practice our own religion until 1975 legally.

    People say why now? Why, 71 years later, are we saying "Redskins" is an offensive word? It always has been an offensive word. Recently I have been told that this has been addressed several times in the past 60 years. I know for a fact that the Marshall school board has been addressed about this issue since 1991. It is not something that just came about in the year 2000. Marshall has had plenty of time to make this change.

    The Reverend Goat song, Redskins, describes how Andrew Jackson's indian fighters would skin Indians from the waist down to make a pair of pants. It was an act of terrorism. An act of terrorism that became fashionable. He reminds us that calling a football team the Washington Resdkins is like calling a football team the Auschwitz Lampskins. This is the foundation that America is built on. I'm going to be sick.

     09:32 AM - link

    internet radio

    There is a lot of Internet radio out there, but there is nothing quite like Whole Wheat Radio. Jim and Esther webcast from a two-story 12 x 12 cabin (maybe cabin is too fancy a term) in Talkeetna, Alaska. This is interactive guerrilla radio at it's finest. This is the anti-Clear Channel. Good music 24/7 brought to you by people to whom music is important. No, music isn't just important to Jim and Esther — it's their life. As it should be.

    Tomorrow morning, at around 12:15 (pacific), Esther (hopefully Jim will put in a couple of words — like, he couldn't not put in a couple of words) will be interviewing Zoe and me about TestingTesting. Esther is a great interviewer. Don't miss it.

    The Whole Wheat Radio home and studio
    (the webcast is from the second floor — for real).


     08:44 AM - link

      Sunday   May 18   2003

    It's been a strange day. This morning my brother called to let me know my niece, Gerrianne, died last night at age 28.

    This afternoon I've been listening to a Dave Van Ronk tribute at Whole Wheat Radio. Dave died in February last year.

    Just reflecting on people gone.

    If you see this today, go on over to Whole Wheat Radio. What Jim is doing is totally amazing.

     03:05 PM - link