Weblog Archives




  Friday   July 4   2003

happy 4th of july!

 10:27 AM - link

  Thursday   July 3   2003

good ol' 'merican justice

Man gets life in prison for spitting

A convicted rapist has been sentenced to life in prison for spitting on a police officer.

Creek County Associate District Judge April Sellers White followed the recommendation of a jury for the maximum sentence against John C. Marquez under a law that makes it a felony to place bodily fluids on law enforcement officers.

Marquez — I wonder what color his skin is?

 11:48 AM - link



Begun in 1975, Nixon's annual group portraits of the artist's wife Bebe and her three sisters comprise his most well-known series. Collectively, they represent a distinct take on the tradition of portraiture for their rigorous simplicity in mode of conception and overall romantic beauty. Through this picture-history of the four Brown siblings, Nixon chronicles, almost methodically, slivers in time of the dramatic, ever-changing aging process by way of which familiarity and permanence may also be found.

The Brown Sisters, New Canaan,Conn. (1975)

The Brown Sisters, Brookline, Mass. (1999)


  thanks to Coudal Partners

 11:41 AM - link


Bush to Iraqi Militants: 'Bring Them On'

President Bush on Wednesday had a tough message for Iraqi militants attacking U.S. troops -- "Bring them on" -- and said the U.S. military presence was sufficient to deal with the attackers.

Bush spoke in the face of increasing American concern about the rising casualty toll among U.S. troops. At least 23 American servicemen have been killed by hostile fire since Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1.

"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there," Bush told reporters at the White House. "My answer is: Bring them on. We have the force necessary to deal with the situation."

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg sharply criticized Bush for the "bring them on" comment.

"I am shaking my head in disbelief. When I served in the army in Europe during World War II, I never heard any military commander -- let alone the commander in chief -- invite enemies to attack U.S. troops," said Lautenberg in a statement.

dailyKOS comments on Bushes comment:

Bush is a badass

You know, it's really easy to play cowboy from the safety of a Secret Service protective ring in the United States.

Our soldiers in Iraq don't have that luxury.

"There are some who feel like that conditions are such that they can attack us there," Bush told reporters at the White House. "My answer is bring them on."

Our Cowboy in Chief is now daring Iraqi irregulars to attack our men and women on the ground?

Is he literally out of his fucking mind?

A Day After Bush Assurances, 10 U.S. Soldiers Hurt in Iraq

A day after President Bush asserted that coalition forces in Iraq were prepared to deal with any security threat, American troops came under attack again today, with 10 soldiers wounded in three separate incidents.

"We're still at war," Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez of the Army, the commander of coalition forces in Iraq, said in a news conference today. While saying that the attacks did not appear to be centrally or even regionally coordinated, he asserted that there had been an "increase in sophistication of the explosive devices used" against American forces.

 11:34 AM - link



HyperHistory is an expanding scientific project presenting 3,000 years of world history with an interactive combination of synchronoptic lifelines, timelines, and maps.


  thanks to The J-Walk Weblog

 11:21 AM - link


Reaping the whirlwind
Extreme weather prompts unprecedented global warming alert

In an astonishing announcement on global warming and extreme weather, the World Meteorological Organisation signalled last night that the world's weather is going haywire.

In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the year's end, highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a record month for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to climate change.

The unprecedented warning takes its force and significance from the fact that it is not coming from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, but from an impeccably respected UN organisation that is not given to hyperbole (though environmentalists will seize on it to claim that the direst warnings of climate change are being borne out).

The Geneva-based body, to which the weather services of 185 countries contribute, takes the view that events this year in Europe, America and Asia are so remarkable that the world needs to be made aware of it immediately.

 11:16 AM - link


Grace and Girth
by Kurt Easterwood

These photos were taken over two days at a recent Sumo wrestling tournament in Tokyo. I'm a big fan of Sumo, and while I'm interested in it as a sport, I'm even more interested in the way it combines "sport" with a certain ritualized ceremony, refined over the course of its 1500-year history.


  thanks to Esthet

[Disclosure: I love Sumo!]

 10:59 AM - link


Unemployment Rate Hits 9-Year High

The nation's unemployment rate shot up to 6.4 percent in June, the highest level in more than nine years, in an economic slump that has added nearly a million people to jobless rolls in the past three months.

Businesses slashed 30,000 jobs in June for the fifth straight month, with cuts heavily concentrated in the nation's factories, the Labor Department reported today.

The 0.3 percentage point increase from May's 6.1 percent rate was the largest month-to-month rise since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. That surprised analysts, who predicted a smaller rise to 6.2 percent. The last time the overall rate was higher was in March 1994.

Wall Street reacted with stocks falling. In late morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 54 points and the Nasdaq dropped by 8 points.

Good to see the Bush recovery taking effect.

 10:53 AM - link

light and dark

Demos of Lightness Illusions


  thanks to Solipsistic

 10:46 AM - link


Whispers of Genocide, and Again, Africa Suffers Alone

How bad does it have to get this time? How many Africans must die before the world is moved to action?

Once again, there is bloodletting in Africa, this time in a place called Ituri, in the dense equatorial forests in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). Machetes and Kalashnikovs are the preferred weapons. Ethnic rivals are the preferred victims, especially in batches and whole families. At the United Nations this spring, whispered fears of "genocide" were in the air again. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who has been down this road before, warned that the pattern of killing in Ituri could presage a far more disastrous conflict. He called for a more robust U.N. peacekeeping force than the 8,700-strong contingent already in Congo, and France is now leading a supplemental emergency force of 1,400 to try to quell the Ituri violence.

President Bush will travel to the continent next month. Among his stops will be Uganda, across the border from Ituri, where Ugandan troops once patrolled and supplied arms to combatants. Bush's trip will look nice. Last Thursday, in a speech to the Corporate Council on Africa, Bush outlined a broad-brush agenda on Africa, including an end to Congo's war. "To encourage progress across all of Africa, we must build peace at the heart of Africa," he said.

But don't count on the White House to support a beefing up of the U.N.'s role in Congo. And don't expect Washington to do anything aggressive to stop the killing. That is not Washington's way -- at least when it comes to Africa.

  thanks to Altercation

 10:41 AM - link




  thanks to Esthet

 10:41 AM - link

Israel defies peace plan with land grab on West Bank
Bethlehem pullout is a cover for new settlements, say Palestinians

The Israeli government has confiscated hundreds of acres of Palestinian land on the West Bank this week - for the purpose, Palestinians allege, of building settlements - in flagrant breach of commitments under the US-led road map to peace.

Yesterday, an Israeli official and soldiers were marking out swaths of olive groves and other ground outside the villages of Beit Eksa and Beit Souriq, north of Jerusalem.

"State land. Entry prohibited," read a sign erected on village land in the name of the civil administration of Judea and Samaria, the Israeli body that oversees military rule in the West Bank.

 10:29 AM - link

  Wednesday   July 2   2003


A must read.

Shadow of Extinction
by George Monbiot

It is old news, I admit. Two hundred and fifty-one million years old, to be precise. But the story of what happened then, which has now been told for the first time, demands our urgent attention. Its implications are more profound than anything taking place in Iraq, or Washington, or even (and I am sorry to burst your bubble) Wimbledon. Unless we understand what happened, and act upon that intelligence, prehistory may very soon repeat itself, not as tragedy, but as catastrophe. The events that brought the Permian period (between 286m and 251m years ago) to an end could not be clearly determined until the mapping of the key geological sequences had been completed. Until recently, palaeontologists had assumed that the changes that took place then were gradual and piecemeal. But three years ago a precise date for the end of the period was established, which enabled geologists to draw direct comparisons between the rocks laid down at that time in different parts of the world.

Having done so, they made a shattering discovery. In China, South Africa, Australia, Greenland, Russia and Svalbard, the rocks record an almost identical sequence of events, taking place not gradually, but relatively instantaneously. They show that a cataclysm caused by natural processes almost brought life on earth to an end. They also suggest that a set of human activities that threatens to replicate those processes could exert the same effect, within the lifetimes of some of those who are on earth today.

 11:48 AM - link


History of the Bronze Age Horns

Professor Peter Holmes of London believes that the first Bronze horns could have been cast in the North East of Ireland about 1500 B.C. These were quite small, relatively heavy and not highly decorated. Gradually as the culture surrounding them spread South through the Island, so too the casting expertise improved until the youngest instruments were made in the South West around 800 B.C. Because of this gradual evolvement, a wide variety of shape, design and size of horn were made. It appears that certain particular designs and tuning were indicative of the area where an instrument was made.


There are even sound files of the horns being played. Cool!

 11:41 AM - link


The Shia debate and wait

Despite the debate about the role of clerics in politics, it's clear that both factions are moving closer together on a fundamental opposition to any CPA-run council. And this is hardly limited to the Shia alone. The Sunni tribal chiefs and technocrats also agree that a CPA run council is unacceptable.

US officials want to pretend that the Shia clerics can be routed around and they can't. They command the loyalty of the majority of Iraqis and regardless of our opinions, these are educated, thoughtful people who are going to determine their future. Sadr's people are doing what the CPA was supposed to do, provide basic relief and limited security. Sistani and Hakim, while refusing to deal with the CPA, have given them a chance to do what they promised. Instead, they have suffered through three months of misadministration.

Time and again, Viceroy Jerry says one thing in the glib, company man way, favored inside the Beltway and the Shia clerics talk like serious men. They haven't rushed to kick the infidels out, or tell everyone to ignore them. They haven't acted like fanatics. But they are not men to be triffled with or ignored. Saddam came after them hard and failed. The US does not frighten them. It would serve us well to deal with these men before they decide to deal with us.

Just consider, guerrilla war in the Sunni belt is giving us fits. A Shia rebellion would start a war against the occupation we would be hardpressed to fight, much less win.

Five O'Clock Follies

No Iraq 'Quagmire,' Rumsfeld Asserts

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday the military is fighting a war against five disparate groups with their own agendas and not a guerrilla conflict waged by an organized insurgency.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Rumsfeld dismissed suggestions that 146,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are engaged in a guerrilla war or bogged down in a Vietnam-like "quagmire."

"That doesn't make it anything like a guerrilla war or an organized resistance," Rumsfeld said. "It makes it like five different things going on [in which the groups] are functioning more like terrorists."

TRANSLATION: I don't give a damn what anybody thinks. I like my fantasy world just the way it is and I'm going to go right on living in it!

W. Patrick Lang, former head of Middle Eastern Affairs at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said the situation in Iraq is "exactly" what a guerrilla war looks like in its early stages.

"It's not unusual for there to be more than one guerrilla group in an insurgency," Lang said in an interview. "It doesn't mean that they won't be able to sufficiently overcome their differences to have an effect against us."

TRANSLATION: The Secretary of Defense is a lying sack of shit.

Mistrust Mixes With Misery In Heat of Baghdad Police Post
Frustrated Reservists See a Mission Impossible

To Staff Sgt. Charles Pollard, the working-class suburb of Mashtal is a "very, very, very, very bad neighborhood." And he sees just one solution.

"U.S. officials need to get our [expletive] out of here," said the 43-year-old reservist from Pittsburgh, who arrived in Iraq with the 307th Military Police Company on May 24. "I say that seriously. We have no business being here. We will not change the culture they have in Iraq, in Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks."

To Sgt. Sami Jalil, a 14-year veteran of the local police force, the Americans are to blame. He and his colleagues have no badges, no uniforms. The soldiers don't trust them with weapons. In his eyes, his U.S. counterparts have already lost the people's trust.

"We're facing the danger. We're in the front lines. We're taking all the risks, only us," said the 33-year-old officer. "They're arrogant. They treat all the people as if they're criminals."

These are the dog days of summer in Mashtal, and tempers are flaring along a divide as wide as the temperatures are high.

Occupation, Resistance and the Plight of the GIs:
Bring 'Em Home!

"What's going on over there?" asks MSNBC's wide-eyed Alex Witt, of former secretary of defense and resident "expert" Lawrence Korb. "Is this normal?" Although Korb, like virtually all such experts appearing on the television news programs, speaks in support of the war and occupation, he explains that it is understandable that there would be negative reactions to the way the occupation has been conducted so far. It was a mistake, he says, to appoint a military man, Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, as the first administrator of occupied Iraq; that caused us to "lose a month." But never mind those nasty attacks on the troops; the U.S. will occupy Iraq for "at least a decade." "The idea that we will be in just as long as we need to and not a day more," scoffs Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, "we've got to get over that rhetoric. It is rubbish! We're going to be there a long time" (Time Online). That, at least, is their intention.

The logic of those predicting long occupation (including key officials in the administration) seems to be as follows. Since there is so much opposition, it will take years to quell. And since democratic elections would almost certainly produce a Shi'ite theocracy in the south, where 60% of the population live, the expeditious transition to Iraqi rule promised during the build-up to war has been ruled out. In an interview with the Washington Post (June 28), L. Paul Bremer III, the civil administrator of Iraq, said that while there is "no blanket prohibition" against self-rule, and he is not personally "opposed to it," he wants to "do it a way that takes care of our concerns. . . Elections that are held too early can be destructive. It's got to be done very carefully." In other words, he's not totally against democracy (for Arabs), but he needs time to reeducate these people, weaken the hold of Islam on their thinking, inculcate American political values, and assist Ahmad Chalabi and other longtime clients in establishing a support base. Only then can we leave.


Huge influx of troops sought to secure Iraq

Amid growing indications that some of the attacks against U.S. soldiers in Iraq are organized and coordinated, the chief civilian administrator and Army officers on the ground would like an increase of as many as 50,000 troops in the theater, according to knowledgeable sources.

A plea by U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer for the additional troops was discussed at a national-security council meeting several days ago. The White House has indicated it would be reluctant to agree to such a large increase, the equivalent of more than two divisions, the sources said.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was reviewing the request from Bremer, U.S. officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

A source outside the administration but familiar with the deliberations said, "The White House is aware that Bremer wants them," he said. "They're not happy about it. They don't want a formal request because then, politically, there's fallout."

More troops! More troops! Can you say Viet Nam?

 11:34 AM - link

money art

Scroll right.



  thanks to Iconomy

 11:09 AM - link

Israelis pull out but leave trail of devastation
Anti-terrorist assault destroys Palestinian homes and crops

The last Israeli tanks moved out of Beit Hanoun yesterday, exposing the worst destruction since the military assaults on Jenin and other West Bank cities more than a year ago.

Palestinians who returned to the small Gaza town occupied by the Israeli army for six weeks found that armoured bulldozers had levelled dozens of homes and factories, torn up roads and uprooted trees, up to the edge of the only public border crossing from Israel into the Gaza strip.

"I don't know why they destroyed it," said Mohammed Bishara who found his house flattened. "The Israelis say they had to do this because Hamas was firing rockets from here but they weren't. Everybody knows they were using the fields. Anyway, they destroyed my house and it didn't stop the rockets so I think it means they wanted to punish me for what Hamas does."

The Israelis said they went into Beit Hanoun to stop Hamas firing home-made rockets, known as Qassams, into Israel. It suits both sides to portray the rockets as fearsome but after more than 2,000 firings not one person has been killed and most miss their target by a long way.

The army said much of the town had been destroyed for "security reasons".

No end to the growing settlements insult

What is happening before their very eyes is the non-stop expansion of the settlements. Settlements are the unlawful transfer of an occupying population to occupied territory; they are the cynical theft of land reserves vital for the Palestinian cities and villages; they are the denial of territorial contiguity and the potential to develop; they are the wresting of control of irreplaceable water resources; they are control of roads. They are all that, and more.

The settlements embody all of the perceptions of Israeli lordliness that have developed over the years on both sides of the Green Line. It is an axiom now that "state lands" are only for Jews; that Palestinians need less land and water per head than Jews; that they do not deserve or require the same infrastructure or conveniences as Jews (see East Jerusalem and Galilee villages); that Palestinians live here because we allow them, not because it is their right.

The settlements provoke that deep sense of insult felt by anyone whom the regime decides is worthy of far, far less than his fellow man.

That is the discrimination practiced every day, and every minute of every day. It is an alienating, burning insult, the same one familiar to the blacks of South Africa, the blacks of the United States, and the Jews of Eastern Europe.

The Israeli defense establishment knows well why it is skeptical about the success of the cease-fire agreement. Because when the Palestinians, like every other human being, can again drive a distance of 10 kilometers in seven minutes rather than five days, they will also once again see on their territory the flourishing settlements and the Israeli army protecting them.

They will discover an Israeli political establishment that may at most discuss the outposts, but does not see the insult, the end-result of discrimination and thievery, and for whom Ariel, Alei Sinai, Ma'ale Adumim, Efrat and Nokdim are as natural and eternal as Tel Aviv and Raanana.

 10:56 AM - link


Photographic Atlas of Plant Anatomy

Nels Lersten has retired from teaching and is cutting down on his research schedule. John Curtis plans to do the same very soon. Between the two of us we have over 60 years of plant anatomy teaching and research experience. We felt it would be a shame if the thousands of plant anatomy images we have taken for teaching and research were to retire with us. Therefore, we have put many of these images on this website with free access given to anyone interested. We have made no effort to give a balanced treatment of anatomy topics although most topics are represented. Because much of our research has been on plant secretory structures, this set of image reflects that bias. We hope that these images will be useful to people teaching (and taking) plant anatomy and related courses.


  thanks to plep

 10:43 AM - link

this is, to put it plainly, just fucking insane

US-based missiles to have global reach
Allies to become less important as new generation of weapons enables America to strike anywhere from its own territory

The Pentagon is planning a new generation of weapons, including huge hypersonic drones and bombs dropped from space, that will allow the US to strike its enemies at lightning speed from its own territory.

Over the next 25 years, the new technology would free the US from dependence on forward bases and the cooperation of regional allies, part of the drive towards self-sufficiency spurred by the difficulties of gaining international cooperation for the invasion of Iraq.

According to the website run by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) the programme is aimed at fulfilling "the government's vision of an ultimate prompt global reach capability (circa 2025 and beyond)".

The Falcon technology would "free the US military from reliance on forward basing to enable it to react promptly and decisively to destabilising or threatening actions by hostile countries and terrorist organisations", according to the Darpa invitation for bids. The ultimate goal would be a "reusable hypersonic cruise vehicle (HCV) ... capable of taking off from a conventional military runway and striking targets 9,000 nautical miles distant in less than two hours".

We are becoming a threat to the whole world.

 10:33 AM - link


26 Words

From the Introduction:
" The words in this alphabet book
were selected from a dictionary. A series
of 26 prints was created to
accompany the words. Spontaneous
drawing marks were used to create
a chaos with the order of the
alphabet representing the human

The dimensions of the work are 12.5 x 14 x 4 cm and when extended fully it is almost 7 meters long. For the "metrically challenged" each letter comprises 2 panels 6" wide which equals about 29 feet in length. The illustrations are lithographically printed from hand-drawn plates with letterpress text on either tan or light gray


  thanks to Iconomy

This is part of an interesting book site...

The Book Arts Web

 10:24 AM - link

weapons or food — guess which is more important?

Arms and the taxman
At the recent G8 summit in Evian, Brazilian president 'Lula' da Silva proposed a tax on the arms trade. Why did no one listen to him, asks Gideon Burrows

It was exactly one month ago today that, buried among the empty speeches and photo opportunities of the G8 world leaders, the Brazilian president 'Lula' da Silva made a concrete proposal to tackle two of the worst problems facing the world today - extreme hunger and the trade in weapons.

There is a need for a global hunger fund, Lula told the G8, "that would not only give food to those in need but would also create the conditions necessary to strike at the structural roots of hunger. There are many ways of gaining financial resources for such a fund. Taxes could be levied on the international arms trade: this would prove advantageous from both an economic and an ethical standpoint."

Blink and you could have missed it. Only a handful of the thousands of journalists packed into the Evian press centre bothered to cover Lula's speech, let alone his proposal. Over the past month, in the UK at least, not one broadcaster or newspaper has examined the idea, nor asked the government for a response.

The G8's silence on the proposal, apart from a few platitudes from Chirac, betrays the fact that leaders from the developing world were invited to Evian as window dressing rather than to be listened to.

 10:14 AM - link


Vintage Japanese Kimono

The elegant Japanese kimono on these pages are one-of-a-kind works of textile art that can either be displayed or worn. A range of decorative approaches is shown in these kimonos: intricate embroidery in satin stitch or metallic couching, delicate shaded resist painting, applied gold foil, elaborate brocading, and intricate ikat or tie dye. For an explanation of these techniques, go to Japanese Kimono Design Techniques. Styles range from austere geometrics or subtle floral motifs to bold, dramatic statements--from subtle elegance to festive exuberance.


  thanks to plep

 10:08 AM - link

rites of summer

I will be regularly posting on this.

Pursuit of Tour's Champion Begins With Head Games

As the Tour de France approaches its start in Paris on Saturday, the two questions most asked by casual fans, especially Americans, are: "Will the French boo Lance Armstrong?" and "Is Lance Armstrong going to win again?"

On paper, where nobody has yet managed to conduct a race, the answer to both is "probably."

The booing first. There are 60 million French citizens, and surely five or six of them will be standing on a mountain road under a hot sun, having in all probability consumed wine in the hours before Armstrong rides by during the 3,427-kilometer (2,142-mile) three-week race.

As they did last year, that handful may jeer Armstrong, the leader of the United States Postal Service team. They shouted "dopé, dopé," for drug addict, as he climbed Mont Ventoux.

That was the second time Armstrong was heckled, a rare occurrence in the sport. In 2000, after his team dropped a popular French rider from its Tour crew, Armstrong was booed in the north, where the Tour started and where the rider lived.

Despite the criticism, Armstrong, a Texan, is respected by the French. A poll in the latest issue of the bicycling magazine Velo placed him second among "champions who best exemplify the Tour." Armstrong came in at 14 percent, just behind Bernard Hinault (16) and far ahead of Eddy Merckx (9) and French favorites like Laurent Jalabert (6) and Richard Virenque (5).

That's quite a testament for Lance. The French take this *very* seriously. I do to. Well, maybe not as seriously as baseball.

 09:38 AM - link

rolling homes

Camping Car


  thanks to Geisha asobi blog

The above link reminded me of a book that I used to have but haven't seen around for some time: Rolling Homes. I've been in the rolling home shown on the bottom of this page. It was really something.

Sharkey's Book Review of...
Rolling Homes

My main purpose of including this review is for those few viewers who somewhow escaped purchasing their own copy back in '79. The overwhelming majority of respondents to this site have had the book since the ink was still wet on the pages and none of them will agree to let go of their copy. So, if you see this book at a garage sale, or on the shelf at some used book store, snatch it up! It is already some kind of out-of-print cult classic collectors item. Paperback copies in good condition go for $125-150 and the rare hardcover editions sell for $500 !


 09:29 AM - link


I have the archives for Kim Acuna's show on Monday evening.

It's interesting to see how different musicians and the TestingTesting House Band get along. The TT House Band (Derek Parrott, Steve Showell, Joanne Rouse, and Lisa Toomey) is there to back up the guest musician and to do a little of their own music to provide some variety. Lisa doesn't use the term "back up". She likes to use the term "lift up" as in "We are there to lift up the song." Some musicians get very performance oriented and don't want the House Band to interfere. Others are much more sharing. Kim was a little apprehensive about playing with others — it's not something most singer/songwriters do. They're used to playing by themselves. Well, Kim let the House Band in, so to speak. As nice as her singing and guitar playing are, and they are very nice, indeed, it was even nicer with the House Band lifting her songs up. A tribute to both Kim and the always amazing TestingTesting House Band.

Due to summer activites, most of the House Band will not be available for the next scheduled show on August 14 so I am declaring a TT Summer Break. Our next show will be August 28. See you there!

 09:06 AM - link

  Tuesday   July 1   2003

busy morning

Light linking today. Last night's TestingTesting with Kim Acuna ran long and then everyone stayed even longer after the show playing and sharing musical ideas. I couldn't leave and go home because I was already home. Kim and the TT House Band really hit it off. Lisa Toomey is the resident TT House Band Queen of the Capos — she is really into open tunings. Kim uses double capos with one of the capos being filed short. Not being a musician, I don't understand quite what that accomplishes, but Lisa was practically jumping up and down with excitement as Kim showed her how she could use the extra capo and then Kim gave her an extra short one she had. So I will be gettting the archives up this morning and getting caught up on work. Great music last night!

 09:03 AM - link

  Monday   June 30   2003


It's Monday night and time again for another TestingTesting webcast from my living room. Tonight we have Kim Acuna from Anchorage, Alaska. Click on in for another evening of living room music. Check out Kim's website.

 11:48 AM - link

tax cuts and states unravelling

Oblivious in D.C.
By Bob Herbert

Those who still believe that the policies of the Bush administration will set in motion some kind of renaissance in Iraq should take a look at what's happening to the quality of life for ordinary Americans here at home.

The president, buoyed by the bountiful patronage of the upper classes, seems indifferent to the increasingly harsh struggles of the working classes and the poor.

As Mr. Bush moves from fund-raiser to fund-raiser, building the mother of all campaign stockpiles, states from coast to coast are reaching depths of budget desperation unseen since the Great Depression. The disconnect here is becoming surreal. On Thursday the National Governors Association let it be known that the fiscal crisis that has crippled one state after another is worsening, not getting better.

Taxes have been raised. Services have been cut. And the rainy day funds accumulated in the 1990's have been consumed. If help does not materialize soon — in the form of assistance from the federal government or a sharp turnaround in the economy — some states will fall into a fiscal abyss.

Some Americans are missing meals and going without their medicine, while others are enjoying a surge in already breathtaking levels of wealth. So what are we doing? We're cutting aid to the former while showering government largess on the latter.

There's a reason those campaign millions keep coming and coming and coming.

A Times article last week noted that the wealthiest 400 taxpayers accounted for more than 1 percent of all the income in the United States in 2000, "more than double their share just eight years earlier."

 11:36 AM - link

the silk road

Sean-Paul, of The Agonist, continues his trip along the ancient Silk Road.

The Silk Road Journal

Me [Sean-Paul] by the Seaside Missing My Wife Very Much! [In Azerbaijan]

Glorious Samarkand

When I approached it for the first time I was as giddy as a schoolboy. I took slow, deliberate, steps. I thought nervously to myself: “I’ve built this place for so long. For years I’ve dreamed of seeing this; for years I’ve thought of this moment. Will it be as I hope? Will my longings too see a place such as this, that most will never dream of seeing, be fulfilled? Will it be as I have imagined? The intricacy of the ornament, the audacity of the design, the sheer brazen beauty—will it all be there, as I had hoped?

I was actually quite scared as I thought, “What if it is like the famous Qin Terra Cotta army in Xi’an—It was so far to go for such a let down.”

When I turned the corner and took in the full measure of this powerful testament to man’s need to glorify the Almighty, chills ran up and down my spin like a thousand pleasant pinpricks.

Sean-Paul has recorded not only the places but also the people including this chilling encounter in Tashkent

Last night I met some soldiers here in Tashkent for a little R&R at the bar of a hotel. They’ve been serving with a unit near Kandahar. I’m not going to say which unit because I do not know how many are here in Tashkent for the time being and I might get them in trouble. However, they were both bright young men. They had that sharp look that soldiers who have seen combat have. Eyes never really still, always surveying, even while ‘relaxing’.

“So, what’s up with Afghanistan?”

He stared at me. It was not a pleasant stare.

“Tell you what. Since you’re from Texas I’ll talk. But no unit or location talk, except to say Tashkent and Kandahar. Opsec, man. Know what I mean?”

“Uh-huh. Well, all you really need to know is that it’s fucked. The pockets of resistance get bigger all the time. Of course the press is obsessed with WMD, Iraq and tax-cuts. They don’t give a shit about us guys bleeding in Afghanistan. Nor do the politicians. They got us into this crap and they aren’t giving us the tools to fix it. We CAN solve this problem,” he said, “as he slammed his drink onto the bar.

“Gimme another rum and coke,” he asked the bartender.

Turning to me he said, “They don’t even care about the guys fighting in Iraq. It’s getting bad there too. You want a drink partner?”

“Sure, water, still—no gas,” I told the bartender.

“What the hell kind of drink is that?”

“Got a bad stomach,” I lied.

“Ahh, yeah, that’ll do it. Reminds of this Afghani that was fighting for Hekmatyar. You know, the Iranian’s got their hands all over Afghanistan right now. Well, as I was saying, that boy, couldn’t a been older than 20, has a bad stomach now too. I put a couple of bullets into it,” he said, unable to look me in the eyes.

“It’s getting bad there. And Mr. Bush don’t give a shit. You got a phone number? I got a guy who might want to talk to you.”

 11:30 AM - link


U.S. Finds War in Iraq Is Far From Finished
Guerrilla-style attacks are growing. A military official vows to stay the course in quelling resistance and rebuilding the nation.

Facing a marked increase in the frequency and brazenness of attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq in the last two weeks, military officials are for the first time speaking more openly about the potential for a long-term fight to quell the resistance to the American presence.

Although the term is rarely used at the Pentagon, from every description by military officials, what U.S. troops face on the ground in Iraq has all the markings of a guerrilla war — albeit one in which there are multiple opposition groups rather than a single movement.

"The first clear message is: This war is not over. It's not ended," a senior military official in Iraq said Saturday. "All of us in uniform are targets, we're subject to being engaged."

The official said that the Americans would not give up until they had vanquished the resisters, but he added that the war would not be over until every Iraqi was working actively with the Americans to defeat what he called "the enemies of Iraq."

Military experts inside and outside the Pentagon said they fear that the U.S. has failed to assert itself strongly enough on the ground in Iraq because of political pressure to send a message that American forces would leave the country as soon as possible. That may have emboldened the opposition to try to speed the U.S. military's departure, with each killing or act of sabotage helping recruit more foot soldiers for the resistance.

"Clearly, they are emboldened by success," said a senior military official in Washington. "You have to go in and tell them: 'We're gonna do what we did in Germany and Japan. We're gonna write your constitution. We're gonna install your government. We're gonna write your laws. We're gonna watch your every move for a decade, and then maybe you'll get a chance to do it yourself.' "

This is just sheer delusional lunacy. They expect all Iraqis to fight "the enemies of Iraq"? And who are these enemies? They're Iraqis! Iraqis are the enemies of Iraq. And just what the hell is the occupying military force? I may be way off on this, but I would wager that most Iraqi's see the US as the enemy of Iraq.

The arrogance of the last paragraph is monumental. Again, I may be way off on this but, if I was an Iraqi confronted with this attitude my response would be simple: FUCK YOU! Which is exactly what the Iraqis seem to be doing. Except they are using the language of bullets and grenades. Can you say Viet Nam? Can you say body bags?

US begins Iraq crackdown as soldiers found dead

The US military launched a huge operation yesterday to crack down on insurgents in Iraq as the civilian administrator, Paul Bremer, promised that America would "impose" its will upon the country.

The show of force began as the bodies of two US soldiers, missing since Wednesday, were found near the town of Balad, north of Baghdad. They bring the death toll since the official end of major combat to 23 Americans and six Britons.

In a candid interview on the BBC's Breakfast with Frost, Mr Bremer said pockets of resistance in Iraq would be crushed. "We are going to fight them and impose our will on them and we will capture or, if necessary, kill them until we have imposed law and order upon this country," he said.

Can you say West Bank?

Time for baby steps

Occupation Forces Halt Elections Throughout Iraq

"In a postwar situation like this, if you start holding elections, the people who are rejectionists tend to win," Bremer said. "It's often the best-organized who win, and the best-organized right now are the former Baathists and to some extent the Islamists." Bremer was referring to members of Hussein's Baath Party and religiously oriented political leaders.

Bremer and other U.S. officials are fearful that Islamic leaders such as Moqtada Sadr, a young Shiite Muslim cleric popular on the streets of Baghdad, and Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Hakim, leader of the Iranian-supported Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, would be best positioned to field winning candidates

So, no elections until you get the right puppet government. Instead, we appoint Iraqi generals and colonels to run these cities.

How long will it take until the Shia clerics pick up their weapons and give the order for an uprising?

Hot enough for you?

Years ago I was on a painting crew that got a home weatherization project from the City of Des Moines. One of the routine jobs involved putting tar paper around the severely cracked foundation of an older home. It was 108° F. that day, and the normally rigid tar paper was flopping around like a sheet of paper. We took hourly breaks and were drinking quarts of pop like they were half full Dixie cups. 108° is damn hot. It's 109° again today in Baghdad, so I went looking for some news about Iraqi summer heat.

Even when there's air conditioning, the effect is relative. When it's 130 degrees F. outside, a room can be cooled to about 90 degrees at best. But air conditioning requires electricity. Journalists, royalty, and other "elites" get most of their power from local generators, but even those can be unreliable. "In the middle of our interview, the power kicked out and the room went pitch black. Within 30 seconds, the temperature in the room seemed to jump 30 degrees in the absence of air conditioning.

For me, the most chilling passage (so to speak) was Mo Mowlam reminding us that "It is only a matter of weeks before really hot weather arrives." [emphasis mine] Maybe our troops can handle it. Lots of them are from the South and more used to hot weather than some of us, but last I heard it rarely gets to 109° F. anywhere in the US besides Death Valley, and 130° F. is just insane. This is going to be a very long, very hot summer. How do you say My Lai in Arabic?

  thanks to Counterspin Central

Things are getting worse

To say that the resistance is only being done by irridentist baathists is silly. In Najaf? Amara? In a Shia neighbohood in Baghdad?

Saddam didn't have that many fans, but Americans may have that many enemies.

The US wants to use arrests and raids when the enemy is playing for keeps. The White House acts as if those actions don't breed more enemies. Iranians and Syrians clearly want the US to fail, but our actions, our indifference is making this situation spiral out of control. Iraqis are telling us, turn on the water, stop the sweeps and the US ignored them as if they are children. They pretend things are improving. 60 dead in two months. Even the media is saying this war is not over. And for once, they're right.

Death on the road to Basra

I still do not know why it caught my eye, why I looked ahead when I did - but I glimpsed a dark shape lying in the middle of the road.

The driver swerved to avoid it, braking sharply. As we passed I looked through window and caught sight of a body. Not the body of an animal, but the body of a child.

I asked the driver to stop, and we drove back. It was indeed the body of a young boy, his blood-soaked clothes scattered across the road. A few metres away, a girl is crying, screaming. She is inconsolable.

We see an American soldier and ask him to call for help. Ten minutes later, officers from the US Military Police turn up. In the blazing sun, a crowd is now gathering.

The girl is still crying - her name is Sabrina, she is 13 years old. She is barefoot and wears a ragged dress. She has dark eyes and long, brown hair.

She tells me how she saw her 11-year-old brother, Muhannad, had run up to an American military convoy trying to sell something to the soldiers, but was run over as he crossed the road.

The Americans did not stop.

Palm Bay man has eye for detail

On May 25, while scanning the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program images pipelined into his desktop from 450 miles in orbit, Hank Brandli skidded at a nighttime photo of Iraq. It looked familiar. But not exactly.

Brandli retrieved another DMSP image he'd archived from May 3. He compared the two. The most recent photo showed a blazing corridor of light running the length of Kuwait, south to north, all the way to the Iraqi border. The image wasn't there on May 3.

"It's going right up to Iraq's oil fields," says the retired Air Force colonel from his home in Palm Bay. "Maybe I'm full of s---. Maybe all they're doing is building a highway to put in McDonald's and sell hamburgers. But why go that way? I think we're in bed with Kuwait. I think we're pumping oil out of Iraq to pay for this war."

  thanks to Bush Wars

 10:59 AM - link


This is a must read. How do our neighbors to the north see us? Or, more precisely, how is it that Canadians and, by extension, other "aliens" see how the US sees them?


On April 27th 2003, in mid-afternoon, I stood on the stony northern shore of Lake Ontario: the most easterly of the Great Lakes in North America and framed this photograph.

In terms of the continent of North America, the map at right shows about where I stood.

Politically speaking-- although this map of the continent's landforms doesn't show the boundaries -- I was in the country of Canada, the province of Ontario, and the city of Toronto.

And I was looking south toward Upper New York State in the United States of America, whose shoreline was about forty miles, or sixty five kilometres away.

Then twenty two days later, on May 19th 2003, the so-called "Canadian Edition" of TIME Magazine hit the news stands with the cover at right.

(The date on the cover is May 26; I've never understood why TIME comes out a week in advance of the cover date.)

But I had to wonder as I looked at this cover, given the actual shape of North America:

Was this rearrangement of hemispheric geography some kind of wish fulfilment, for the editors and graphic designers of TIME Magazine?

Or some kind of warning?

Or what?

  thanks to wood s lot

 10:03 AM - link


Bridge Basics

Because of the wide range of structural possibilities, this Spotter's Guide shows only the most common fixed (non-movable) bridge types.


  thanks to The J-Walk Weblog

 09:47 AM - link


Interview: 27-Year CIA Veteran by Will Pitt

PITT: With all of your background, and with all the time that you spent in the CIA, can you tell me why you are speaking out now about the foreign policy issues that are facing this country?

McG: It’s actually very simple. There’s an inscription at the entrance to the CIA, chiseled into the marble there, which reads, “You Shall Know The Truth, And The Truth Shall Set You Free.” Not many folks realize that the primary function of the Central Intelligence Agency is to seek the truth regarding what is going on abroad and be able to report that truth without fear or favor. In other words, the CIA at its best is the one place in Washington that a President can turn to for an unvarnished truthful answer to a delicate policy problem. We didn’t have to defend State Department policies, we didn’t have to make the Soviets seem ten feet tall, as the Defense Department was inclined to do. We could tell it like it was, and it was very, very heady. We could tell it like it was and have career protection for doing that. In other words, that’s what our job was.

When you come out of that ethic, when you come out of a situation where you realize the political pressures to do it otherwise – you’ve seen it, you’ve been there, you’ve done that – and your senior colleagues face up to those pressures as have you yourself, and then you watch what is going on today, it is disturbing in the extreme. You ask yourself, “Do I not have some kind of duty, by virtue of my experience and my knowledge of these things, do I not have some kind of duty to speak out here and tell the rest of the American people what’s going on?”

  thanks to consumptive.org

 09:41 AM - link

postcard art

Les belles cartes postales


  thanks to Solipsistic

 09:35 AM - link

Analysis / Israel is demanded to do its share for the hudna

The three largest Palestinian factions - Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad - officially announced on Sunday their acceptance of a temporaray cease-fire on attacks against Israelis. While Yasser Arafat's Fatah party joined the hudna, by declaring a six-month mortarium on military operations, the other two organizations announced a three-month truce.

The hudna speaks of the "suspension of military actions against the occupation for three months, that will go into effect on the day of announcement" – but its problem can be found in the attached list of conditions to which Israel must adhere.

According to Palestinian reports, the conditions presented to Israel by the hudna signatories has changed several times. But after examining all of the reports, one finds the following clauses: "An end to assassinations, raids, house demolitions, closures, arrests and other aggressive operations carried out by Israel and the settlers against the Palestinians"; "lifting the closure on Arafat"; and "releasing all prisoners and detainees, especially those serving long sentences."

Drafts of the hudna declaration released by Palestinian media said that "if the Israeli government doesn't adhere to these conditions, it will be responsible for the failure of the agreement." Against this backdrop, it can be
asked whether the agreement as a whole is at all serious, because it is clear to everyone
that Israel won't release prisoners or fulfill the other conditions presented by the hudna signatories.


Israel dismisses intifada truce
Militant Palestinian groups accused of trickery, but soldiers and tanks begin to withdraw from Gaza

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement yesterday formally declared a ceasefire in the intifada against Israeli occupation that has lasted nearly three years and claimed more than 3,000 lives.

Hours later, the Israeli army began to pull its forces out of most of the Gaza Strip under American pressure to alleviate the plight of Palestinian civilians and bolster support for the US-led road map to peace.

But within minutes of the ceasefire declaration, Israel dismissed the truce as a "trick". The foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, told the US national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, that it was a "ticking bomb" designed to "maintain the infrastructure of terror".

A Palestinian cabinet minister, Yasser Abed Rabbo, welcomed the ceasefire and called on the Israeli government to reciprocate by "declaring an end to all violence against Palestinians as is required in the road map".

 09:27 AM - link


Old Card Illustrations

These illustrations were used by Parker Brothers before they settled on the Rich Uncle theme.


  thanks to The J-Walk Weblog

This site also has some interesting information on the early history of monopoly.

 09:08 AM - link


I have more to post but it will have to wait until the morning...oh, it is morning. Well, after I get some sleep. And don't forget that tonight is TestingTesting.

 01:36 AM - link


If you're having trouble sleeping nights — this won't help.

Seoul on Fire?

I've posted several times on this site (here and here) and over at Daily Kos (here and here) about Rumsfeld's plans to move American military forces in Korea back away from the DMZ -- and the potential dangers it could create if the North Koreans were to intepret it as the prelude to a U.S. preemptive strike.

It seems folks more knowledgeable than I are also worrying about this.

 01:30 AM - link

typewriter art

The Paul Smith Foundation


  thanks to Iconomy

 01:23 AM - link


I have been remiss in keeping my blogroll updated. Actually, utter failure is probably more accurate. There are new blogs to add as well as several that have changed addresses. I hope to update it this week. Reality just keeps getting in the way. Here is one that has changed addresses. Pagecount has morphed into...Out2Lunch.

"It was cocaine of the soul," snorts prominent blogger

Over the past few days, realising I was thinking of closing this blog without regret or second thought, I continued watching the river. I wanted to find the underlying cause of my dissatisfaction with things American and my recent belligerence towards perceived intolerance or indifference to the United States' role in moderating global interaction. So I read the blogs. My blogs; those I link to and some to which I don't for reasons that have more to do with time than anything else.

In a sense, I've been re-learning simple truths. I've been to all the same old places. Funny thing about the same old places. While they live in us, we put life on temporary hold as we revisit them. But they're there to 'remind us', but not to be lived in. We generally forget the good things we leave behind there, in those old places. I do, anyway. Now I'm back; older, uglier, and not much wiser. Life goes on. I accept these things. I am, after all, a blogger and a professional. I take these things in my stride.

 01:17 AM - link

beware the muggle curse

All copies of this book have a muggle curse that begins when you open this book. The curse won't let you put the book down until you come to the last page, which breaks the muggle curse. I finally broke the muggle curse, but now my daughter, Katie, has the muggle curse.

 01:00 AM - link