Weblog Archives




  Saturday   September 13   2003

dead dreams

Cities have symbols that define them. For Seattle it is the Space Needle. Before the Space Needle, it was the Kalakala. I was the worlds first, and probably only, streamlined ferry. It was sold in 1967 to an Alaskan cannery. It eventually ended up with a blown engine and was used as a stationary cannery until the cannery owners went bankrupt. In 1988 Peter Bevis discovered the Kalakala and spent years trying to save her resulting in her eventually being towed back to Seattle. Alas, all the effort went for naught and the Kalakala was sold at an auction today and will eventually end up in SanFrancisco, where her hull, but not the streamlined superstructure, originated. It's not right. So it goes. (Thanks to Blaine England for bringing the auction to my attention.)

Here are some excellent postcards of Kalakala in her prime...

~ ~ ~ KALAKALA ~ ~ ~


Digging Out the Kalakala

Kalakala Foundation

For sale: One historic ferry, goes by Kalakala

Kalakala sold for $140,000

 10:51 PM - link


The Slaves of Money...and Our Rebellion
The Death Train of the WTO
By Subcomandante MARCOS

Brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world, who are gathered in Cancun in a mobilisation against neo- liberalism, greetings from the men, women, children and elderly of the Zapatista National Liberation Army. It is an honour for us that, amid your meetings, agreements and mobilisations, you have found time and place to hear our words.

The world movement against the globalisation of death and destruction is experiencing one of its brightest moments in Cancun today. Not far from where you are meeting, a handful of slaves to money are negotiating the ways and means of continuing the crime of globalisation.

The difference between them and all of us is not in the pockets of one or the other, although their pockets overflow with money while ours overflow with hope.

No, the difference is not in the wallet, but in the heart. You and we have in our hearts a future to build. They only have the past which they want to repeat eternally. We have hope. They have death. We have liberty. They want to enslave us.

Body and Soul has some very good links on the WTO meetings in Cancun...

More from Cancun


Activists must follow the money
Protestors in Cancun understand that neo-liberalism is a form of war
by Naomi Klein

On Monday, seven anti-privatisation activists were arrested in Soweto for blocking the installation of prepaid water meters. The meters are a privatised answer to the fact that millions of South Africans cannot pay their water bills. The new gadgets work like pay-as-you-go mobile phones, only instead of having a dead phone when you run out of money, you have dead people, sickened by cholera-infested water.

On the day South Africa's "water warriors" were locked up, Argentina's negotiations with the International Monetary Fund bogged down. The sticking point was rate hikes for privatised utility companies. In a country where 50% of the people live in poverty, the IMF is demanding that multinational water and electricity companies be allowed to increase their rates by a staggering 30%. At trade summits, debates about privatisation seem wonkish. On the ground, they are as clear and urgent as the right to survive.

After September 11, rightwing pundits couldn't bury the globalisation movement fast enough. In times of war, they said, no one would care about frivolous issues like water privatisation. Much of the anti-war movement fell into a related trap: now was not the time to focus on divisive economic debates, but to come together to call for peace.

All this nonsense ended in Cancun this week, when thousands of activists converged to declare that the brutal economic model advanced by the WTO is itself a form of war. War because privatisation and deregulation kill - by pushing up prices on necessities like water and medicines, and pushing down prices on raw commodities like coffee, making small farms unsustainable. War because those who resist are routinely arrested, beaten and even killed. War because when this low-intensity repression fails to clear the path to corporate liberation, the real wars begin. The global anti-war protests grew out of the networks built by years of globalisation activism. And despite attempts to keep the movements separate, their only future lies in the convergence represented by Cancun.

 10:15 PM - link


The New Color of Money


  thanks to Coudal Partners

 09:28 PM - link


Baked Alaska on the Menu?
Nicholas D. Kristof

Skeptics of global warming should come to this Eskimo village on the Arctic Ocean, roughly 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. It's hard to be complacent about climate change when you're in an area that normally is home to animals like polar bears and wolverines, but is now attracting robins.

A robin even built its nest in town this year (there is no word in the local Inupiat Eskimo language for robins). And last year a (presumably shivering) porcupine arrived.

The Okpilak River valley was historically too cold and dry for willows, and in the Inupiat language "Okpilak" means "river with no willows." Yet a warmer, wetter climate means that now it's crowded with willows.

The warming ocean is also bringing salmon, three kinds now, to waters here. The Eskimos say there were almost no salmon a generation ago.

"The weather is different, really different," said 92-year-old Nora Agiak, speaking in the Inupiat language and wearing moose-skin moccasins and a jacket with wolverine fur. "We're not getting as many icebergs as we used to. Maybe the world moved because it's getting warmer."

In the past, I've been skeptical about costly steps (like those in the Kyoto accord) to confront climate change. But I'm changing my mind. The evidence, while still somewhat incomplete, is steadily mounting that our carbon emissions are causing an accelerating global warming that amounts to a major threat to the world in which we live.

 09:21 PM - link


Noah Grey Photography


  thanks to dublog

The is the photography site of Noah Grey who also wrote the code for the blogging sofware that runs this site — Greymatter.

 09:14 PM - link

nuclear madness

The Heavy Stuff
Cobalt casings and more, below the decks.

My source–I’ll call him "Ethan"–is dead, and now, having kept our agreement, I’m finally free to write about this horror story.

The officer came around a row of missiles, and Ethan asked him the question he had for him about his TAD request, and then asked him, "What the hell kind of missiles are these?"

"Those aren’t missiles; they’re cobalt jackets."

"What are they for?"

"Well, this is ‘need to know,’ so keep your mouth shut, but they are designed to slide on over most of our conventional ordinance. They’re made out of radioactive cobalt, and when the bomb they’re wrapped around detonates, they contaminate everything in the blast zone and quite a bit beyond."

"So they turn regular ordinance into nukes?"

"No, not exactly. The cobalt doesn’t detonate itself. It just scatters everywhere."

"Well, what? Does the radiation kill people?"

"Not immediately. Cobalt jackets will not likely ever be used. They’re for a situation where the U.S. government is crumbling during a time of war, and foreign takeover is imminent. We won’t capitulate. We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we arm everything with cobalt–and I mean everything; we have jackets at nearly every missile magazine in the world, on land or at sea–and contaminate the world. If we can’t have it, nobody can.

"Just another example," Ethan told me, "of what treacherous creatures our leadership is made of."

  thanks to consumptive.org

 08:59 PM - link


Eccentric Design and Tatoo


  thanks to dublog

 08:50 PM - link

  Friday   September 12   2003

johnny cash 1932 - 2003

Country Singer Johnny Cash Dies at 71



Watch this video. Johnny Cash's version of NIN's Hurt is incredible. Be sure to have tissues ready for the tears.

Everyone I know goes away in the end. — Trent Reznor

 11:11 AM - link

U.S. blocks cabinet move to exile Arafat

The United States yesterday blocked Israel from immediately expelling Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat from the territories. However, the security cabinet approved a decision in principle to "remove" Arafat, "in a manner, and at a time, of its choosing."

Minister for International Cooperation Nabil Sha'ath said the decision itself was "a declaration of war on the Palestinian people," and though the PA had received American and European assurances that the decision would never be carried out, "anything could happen with this [Israeli] government."

Some 4,000 Palestinians converged on Arafat's office in Ramallah to express support for him after the cabinet decision and a few thousand more staged demonstrations of support in other cities in the West Bank and Gaza.

The U.S. State Department responded by reiterating America's opposition to Arafat's expulsion, saying that though it continued to regard Arafat as "part of the problem, not part of the solution," it believes that expelling
him would make the situation worse.


The gun is loaded and cocked. Oh yes, and there is hair trigger. I would be suprised if Arafat survived any attempt to remove him.

I've linked to the article Billmon refers to here, before. It's worth reading again and it's worth reading Billmon's comments.

The Politics of Despair

There's more, most of it dealing with the bleak choices Israel now faces as the dream of Greater Israel collapses into reality of an endless intifada.

One can argue with some of Berg's assumptions. Like many Israelis, he clings to certain myths about the nature of Zionism and the creation of the Jewish state -- just as many Americans refuse to part with some dear but distorted perceptions of U.S. history.

But his conclusions are inescapable: Israel has run out of time. Time for "muddling through" -- refusing to choose between peace and the settlements. Time for giving lip service to a two-state solution while quietly doing everything possible to make such a solution impossible. Time for pretending Israel can remain both a democracy and a Jewish state while still preserving the status quo in the territories. Time for believing that somehow, American power could rescue Israel from its dilemma. Time for illusions and delusions.

Berg's piece zeros in on the bottom line: To perpetuate the status quo is to choose, and that choice is Israel's destruction -- not now, not next year, but eventually, perhaps within a few decades.

 02:55 AM - link

there is one bright spot in this dreary world

Opus Returns

On November 23rd, after an absence of almost ten years, Opus returns to the nation's Sunday comic pages.

We can't, at this time, go into detail as to what he's been doing during his mysterious missing decade, as Opus is deeply embarrassed about most all of the rumors, especially the one involving his biting off Michael Jackson's nose during a pajama party at Jackson's estate in 1999. It will all become clear soon.


  thanks to Politics in the Zeros

 02:32 AM - link

paul krugman

This is a must read!

Paul Krugman, New York Times Columnist and Author of "The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century"

BUZZFLASH: Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform and a board member of the National Rifle Association and GOP advisor, made a comment that he wants to shrink the size of the federal government so small that he could drown it in a bathtub. When you look at the Bush economic policy, are we dealing with an ideology to destroy social programs and the federal government? Or is it mismanagement? Or both?

KRUGMAN: I think you have to think of this as there's more than one player in this thing. If you ask Norquist or the Heritage Foundation about where the economic and social policy intelligentsia really stands, their aim is to roll us back to Herbert Hoover or before. Norquist actually thinks that we've got to get back to before the progressive movement –- before the McKinley era, which actually is one of Karl Rove's guiding lights as well. So there's definitely an important faction in the Bush administration and in the Republican Party that really wants to unravel all of this stuff and basically wants us to go back to a situation where, if you are unlucky, and you don't have enough to eat, or you can't afford medical care, well, that's just showing that you weren't sufficiently provident. And then, for these people, there would be no social safety net whatsoever.

Other people in the party, and other people in the coalition, have deluded themselves into thinking that somehow this is all going to be painless, and we're going to grow our way out of the deficit. Other people really don't care about any of that and are viewing their alliance with these people as a way to achieve their social goals -– basically roll back the revolution in social mores over the past few decades.

So there is a coalition, but there's no question that if you ask what do the core ideologues want, the answer is they want to roll it all back. If you looked at what the Heritage Foundation says, they use the terms "New Deal" and "Great Society" as essentially curse words. Everything Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson did to provide a little bit of a cushion for Americans having bad luck is a bad thing, from their point of view.

 02:30 AM - link

coffee sculpture

Museo delle macchine per caffè


  thanks to Giornale Nuovo

 02:23 AM - link



Here's part of what Sen. Robert Bennett, chairman of the Joint Economics Committee, had to say on CNBC on Friday.

Bennett, a Republican, was discussing how he didn't believe the U.S. was bleeding jobs and that it was simply a calculation mistake, then he got off the topic.

"If you go back into the '90s and Alan Greenspan's examination of where the economy was, the productivity numbers that he was getting through traditional means all indicated productivity was down. And Greenspan gathered the economists . . . and the Fed together and said this cannot be right."

"They said, 'We are doing it the way we've always done it, so the numbers have to be right.' And [Greenspan] challenged them and said if you look at the other data they make it very clear that productivity has got to be going up.

"They went back and recalculated and discovered that their productivity numbers had been wrong for months if not years," Bennett concluded.

So, let me get this straight.

The Fed chairman doesn't like an economic statistic, so he tells some lowly economists to take a mulligan and do the calculations over. Amazingly, they discover exactly what the Fed wants them to discover - the politically important productivity miracle.

The Soviets had a habit of calculating their wheat crops in such a sloppy manner until the starving citizens wouldn't take it anymore.

  thanks to thoughts on the eve of the apocalypse

 02:15 AM - link


The Pre-Raphaelite Passion

In 1848 in England, a group of young painters got together and decided that they had their own idea of what a painting should be. Thus, in rebellion to The Royal Academy, they formed this secret society called The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB).


  thanks to wood s lot

 02:11 AM - link

boycott the riaa

Music-downloading suits could create backlash

But record companies now risk a backlash that could damage far more than their financial results, while still not making a significant dent in music piracy, some observers say.

A day after firing off 261 copyright lawsuits against individuals it accuses of each sharing hundreds of music files online, recording industry officials fielded a few calls from defendants eager to avoid paying thousands in damages.

The Recording Industry Association of America said it settled the first of the suits yesterday for $2,000. The defendant was Sylvia Torres, the mother of 12-year-old Brianna LaHara of New York, who was accused of downloading more than 1,000 songs from Kazaa.

'Amnesty' for Music File Sharing Is a Sham

Here is an excellent source of anti-riaa information and resources...


I've run across a number of blogs outraged at the RIAA and the music industry in general but are asking "Where can we hear non-RIAA music?" I'm glad you asked.

Whole Wheat Radio
Not only does Jim only play indie music, he has it set up so that, when a track is playing, you can click on over to the artists site, or click to CD Baby to buy the CD, or click on an email link to thank the artist for the wonderful music. This is not to be missed. All from a 12 foot by 12 foot shack in Talkeetna, Alaska.

An excellent source of indie MP3s. Download and burn all you want for under $10 a month. Be sure to check the RIAA list at Boycott-RIAA.com to make sure.

This is my webcast. No RIAA musicians here! All indie all the time. We webcast every other Monday and have about a year's worth of our old shows archived for your listening pleasure.

 02:09 AM - link

illustration art



  thanks to cipango

Be sure to check out the panoramics. Particularly the second one. It's of one of my favorite parts of Seattle.

 01:38 AM - link

whistle ass is getting desperate and you know what they say about cornered rats

Exploiting the Atrocity
by Paul Krugman

Now it has all gone wrong. The deficit is about to go above half a trillion dollars, the economy is still losing jobs, the triumph in Iraq has turned to dust and ashes, and Mr. Bush's poll numbers are at or below their pre-9/11 levels.

Nor can the members of this administration simply lose like gentlemen. For one thing, that's not how they operate. Furthermore, everything suggests that there are major scandals - involving energy policy, environmental policy, Iraq contracts and cooked intelligence - that would burst into the light of day if the current management lost its grip on power. So these people must win, at any cost.

The result, clearly, will be an ugly, bitter campaign - probably the nastiest of modern American history. Four months ago it seemed that the 2004 campaign would be all slow-mo films of Mr. Bush in his flight suit. But at this point, it's likely to be pictures of Howard Dean or Wesley Clark that morph into Saddam Hussein. And Donald Rumsfeld has already rolled out the stab-in-the-back argument: if you criticize the administration, you're lending aid and comfort to the enemy.

This political ugliness will take its toll on policy, too. The administration's infallibility complex - its inability to admit ever making a mistake - will get even worse. And I disagree with those who think the administration can claim infallibility even while practicing policy flexibility: on major issues, such as taxes or Iraq, any sensible policy would too obviously be an implicit admission that previous policies had failed.

In other words, if you thought the last two years were bad, just wait: it's about to get worse. A lot worse.

 01:29 AM - link


Kurt Nimmo Photography


  thanks to wood s lot

 01:27 AM - link


Things are heating up in in Cancun. Body and Soul has an excellent selection of links on this important meeting of the WTO. The little people are fighting back. A must read.


All you people who claim to care about fairness for the developing world, and who say that trade rules often end up being sticks to beat back the poor, and that the interests of multinational corporations weigh far more heavily than those of workers, listen up: You're old. You're boring. Your chic moment -- if you ever had one -- has passed. Capitalists are younger, better looking, and more glamorous than you are. And if you don't understand that youth, looks, and glamor are important -- well, that just goes to show how out of touch you are. Machine tool tariffs and wheat grass subsidies! Honestly, people, don't you understand how unfashionable that is?

I just love the junk that shows up in the Washington Post. They can find humor in just about anything.

At least the New York Times acknowledges that "globalization remains a flawed game whose rules have been fixed by rich nations," and demonstrates the effect of the rigged game on a Ugandan cotton farmer (on top of an extensive analysis of trade subsidies yesterday). At least someone recognized that ultimately it's not about wheat grass subsidies, it's about human beings.

Of course, suffering human beings are not as amusing as wheat grass subsidies.

How serious are the little people taking this?

Farmer commits suicide at protests

A South Korean farmer died last night after stabbing himself in protest against WTO policies in south east Asia.

Lee Kyoung Hae of Jeompbuk province stabbed himself on the police lines as hundreds of international protesters tried to pull a security fence down. "Korean farmers' lives are devastated by WTO policies," said a colleague, Kim Seok, from a group of Korean trade unionists with Mr Hae.

"Their lives are getting worse. There is a huge amount of debt. Sometimes the farmers commit suicide at home. No one knew he was going to do this, but he did it to express his anger."

Last night a vigil was being held at the fence in Cancun, with demonstrators in tears.

The death cast a long shadow over a peaceful march by 10,000 peasants, unions and students from more than 30 countries. It ended in a two-hour pitched battle between police and a small group of demonstrators, with police firing tear gas into the crowd.

 01:19 AM - link

poster art

American Social Hygiene Posters
ca. 1910-1970


  thanks to Everlasting Blort

 01:08 AM - link


A good article on the jam the Army is in. It's not good.

Army troops, budget stretched to the limit

The U.S. Army division that perhaps worries Pentagon force planners the most is the 101st Airborne, and this worry goes a long way toward explaining why senior uniformed Army leaders have begun talking publicly about the need to increase total Army troop strength for the first time in decades. By the time of its scheduled relief in February-March 2004, the 101st will be one of the first divisions to have experienced the Army's new one-year deployment cycle, twice as long as the six-month deployments that are the norm for Navy, Marine, and Air Force units. What really concerns Army force planners, however, is that the division scheduled to relieve the 101st—an international division that is supposed to be made up of foreign troops in America's Iraq coalition—is nowhere to be found.

In fact, despite months of arm-twisting, no countries have yet stepped forward to lead or to fill out the 15,000-or-so troop slots of the new multinational division, which remains largely a force on paper. Given devastating car and truck bombings in Baghdad targeting the Jordanian Embassy and the U.N. headquarters, and the mosque bombing in Najaf—as well as intensifying guerrilla warfare and rising U.S. casualties—Army planners are increasingly worried that international will to send forces to Iraq is waning. Recently, for instance, Japan and Thailand have reportedly delayed the planned dispatch of several thousand peacekeepers until next year at least, and other nations are also balking.

"If the security situation in Iraq doesn't improve, and the coalition division fails to materialize in the next few months, we will not be able to continue this level of effort without introducing very serious new strains on the Army," said a knowledgeable Army force planner, who noted that influential lawmakers such as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., are already calling for an increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq. "If the multinational division doesn't materialize, we're already probably going to have to call up many more reserve units in the next month or so in order to provide them the necessary predeployment training, or send soldiers and units back to tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq sooner than anticipated. In that scenario, you're talking about having to send the 3rd Infantry Division back to Baghdad in 15 months' time," he said. "No one wants to do that."

  thanks to Badattitudes Journal

Jerome Doolitle, at Badattitudes Journal posted this article with the following empathetic comment...

As a former private first class who was once investigated by the Army Counterintelligence Corps for the military crime of disaffection, the whining of generals leaves me oddly unmoved.

You’re the guys who spent four years sabotaging Carter and eight years undermining Clinton and most of you voted for Bush with whimpering anticipation. So now you can eat your own droppings.

It just goes to show — be careful what you ask for.

 01:04 AM - link

fantastic art

The Fantastic in Art and Fiction

wood block 1863


  thanks to The J-Walk Weblog

Only a couple of days ago J-Walk promised us he was quiting. He lied. He found out how many people needed his sick links and is continuing to bring back to us the weird and twisted. For that, I am grateful. Welcome back, J-Walk!

 12:50 AM - link

  Thursday   September 11   2003

Pray to whatever being or thing you want. Pray that this doesn't happen. The only result from this is that even more blood will flow.

Israel Decides to Expel Arafat

The Israeli security cabinet has agreed in principle to expel Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

The cabinet is understood to have asked the army to draw up a series of options for Mr Arafat's expulsion from his compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Expelling Arafat would be a huge mistake: Mubarak

Expelling Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be a huge mistake, possibly leading to a new upsurge of violence in the Middle East, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said here Thursday as the Israeli cabinet met to consider such a move.

  thanks to Information Clearing House

 01:17 PM - link

9-11 questions


NO EVENT IN recent history has been written about, talked about, or watched and rewatched as much as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 - two years ago today.

Not only was it the deadliest terrorist strike inside America, but the hijackings and attacks on New York City's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington were also a seminal event for an information-soaked media age of Internet access and 24- hour news.

So, why after 730 days do we know so little about what really happened that day?

No one knows where the alleged mastermind of the attack is, and none of his accomplices has been convicted of any crime. We're not even sure if the 19 people identified by the U.S. government as the suicide hijackers are really the right guys.

Who put deadly anthrax in the mail? Where were the jet fighters that were supposed to protect America's skies that morning? And what was the role of our supposed allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan?

There are dozens of unanswered questions about the 2001 attacks, but we've narrowed them down to 20 - or 9 plus 11.

  thanks to Eschaton

Enquiring minds want to know.

 11:56 AM - link

9-11 & 9-13

This is an editorial from the American Jewish publication Forward. This says it all.


Anniversaries, especially somber ones, are customarily times for introspection. We remember the painful past, take stock of the present and reflect on the future. Honoring the past helps keep us human. Considering the future is meant to help keep us alive.

By extraordinary coincidence, this week marks the anniversaries of two pivotal events in what has emerged as the central drama of our time, the war on terrorism. One is the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization on September 13, 1993. The other is the second anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington of September 11, 2001. Understanding these two events and how they brought us to our current situation ought to be a central preoccupation of public discussion these days. Sadly, we're getting a lot more remembrance than stock-taking. We seem intent on learning the past only so we can repeat it.

The relationship between the two events is complex. One was a peace accord between two warring peoples, signed amid much fanfare on the White House lawn and exciting worldwide hopes of an end to decades of war and terrorism. The other, eight years later, brought the full weight of Islamic terrorism to America's shores and turned the simmering conflicts of the Middle East into a world war of sorts.

We mark the two anniversaries this year in an atmosphere of deep gloom. The hopes of 1993 lie in ruins. The devastation of 2001, which seemed to represent a bottom point from which we could only go up, has proved only a way station on a descent into hell.

The lesson most often drawn from these two events is the theme continually sounded by the political conservatives who hold sway in Washington and Jerusalem. The solution to terrorism, they tell us, is to attack the terrorists wherever they may be found. Never negotiate. Never compromise. Never seek to understand, much less redress, any "root causes" that might have led terrorists or the populations in whose name they speak to the point of despair where they would abandon all human decency. No — only strike, and strike again, and yet again, until the terrorists are dead or ready to surrender. Do whatever it takes, as the leaders of both nations are fond of saying, to "protect your population."

It seems entirely to have escaped the attention of our leaders that their strategy of striking out blindly has done nothing to protect us or make us safer. The more they strike, the angrier and bolder the terrorists grow. Israel has been seeking a "victory" against terrorists for three years, and its streets only grow bloodier. America has been pursuing a "victory" against terrorists for two years, and now finds itself bogged down across the globe.

The real lesson of the last decade is that blunt, unilateral force is virtually useless as a tool for defeating terrorism. Unless it's matched by progress toward solving those "root causes" — coupled with tough-minded defensive measures, like fences and properly funded police, of the sort our leaders too often shy away from — it will only prolong the pain. And pain, as this week's anniversaries and explosions remind us, is something we've had too much of.

 10:37 AM - link


Here is a picture and comment I posted two years ago...

I'd have to say that it's worse than it appears.

The events of the past two years have made that into an understatement. It's time to reflect on those that died on this day, two years ago. The 2,792 who died at the World Trade Center. The 125 dead at the Pentagon, as well as those aboard those airplanes of death. It's also time to reflect on the deaths that have happened between then and now. Over 3,000 died in the US bombardment of Afghanistan. Over 7,000 died in Iraq. There are the 342 coalition soldiers that have died in Iraq. There are the tens of thousands of wounded with arms, legs, and lives destroyed. The number of dead continue to rise every day. And don't forget the deaths, in Afghanistan and Iraq, from depleted uranium that will continue for years. There is also the death of institutions. Our Consitution and Bill of Rights are dead. Our Judicial system is mortally wounded. Our economy is dying.

And what do we have to show for this death and destruction? Has Osama been captured? Has Saddam been captured? Has terrorism dimished? Is there democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq? Is there democracy in America? No. There is only the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer — or dead.

 09:11 AM - link

  Wednesday   September 10   2003

iraq — vietnam on internet time

What the fuck is going on? Are we watching a mass exhibition of cognitive dissonance? Or is everyone just holding their hands tightly over their ears while screaming "I can't hear you! Lalalalalalalalala!"? Everything is going down the shitter and people still think that Whistle Ass and his sycophants are rational human beings? Has it just been a long day? I can't even call my mother without ranting.

Read what Riverbend has to say about Whistle Ass's speach...

Friends, Americans, Countrymen...

“Since the end of major combat operations, we have conducted raids seizing many caches of enemy weapons and massive amounts of ammunition, and we have captured or killed hundreds of Saddam loyalists and terrorists.”

Yes, we know all about the ‘raids’. I wish I had statistics on the raids. The ‘loyalists and terrorists’ must include Mohammed Al-Kubeisi of Jihad Quarter in Baghdad who was 11. He went outside on the second floor balcony of his house to see what the commotion was all about in their garden. The commotion was an American raid. Mohammed was shot on the spot. I remember another little terrorist who was killed four days ago in Baquba, a province north-east of Baghdad. This terrorist was 10… no one knows why or how he was shot by one of the troops while they were raiding his family’s house. They found no weapons, they found no Ba’athists, they found no WMD. I hope America feels safer now.

On top of it all, the borders between Iraq and Iran have been given to Badir’s Brigade to guard. Badir’s Brigade. Unbelievable. I thought the borders needed guarding to prevent armed militias like Badir’s Brigade from entering the country. We have a proverb in Arabic: “Emin il bezooneh lahmeh” which means “Entrust a cat with meat.” Yes, give the Iranian borders to Badir’s Brigade. Right on.

Just a couple of days ago, two female school principals were ‘executed’ by Badir’s Brigade in Al-Belidiyat area in Baghdad. They were warned to resign their posts so that a ‘sympathetic’ principal could replace them. They ignored the threat, they were shot. It’s that simple these days. Of course, that’s not terrorism because the targets are Iraqi people. Terrorism is when the Coalition of the Willing are targeted.

The abridged version of the speech…

“Friends, Americans, Countrymen, lend me your ears… lend me your sons and daughters, lend me your tax dollars… so we can wage war in the name of American national security (people worldwide are willing to die for it)… so I can cover up my incompetence in failing to protect you… so I can add to the Bush and Cheney family coffers at your expense and the expense of the Iraqi people. I don’t know what I’m doing, but if you spend enough money, you’ll want to believe that I do."

What are we doing to the Iraqis? Riverbend...

Under the Palm Leaves

The water was off and on again today. We filled all the bottles and containers. The water pressure was really low and evidently, our super-low garden faucet is one of the only ones in the area dribbling water at intervals. The neighbors have all sent buckets, pots and messages of love and gratitude… perhaps I have found a job.

The sun was just beginning to set and the sky was a combination of blue, orange and gray. I was standing, in the warm, dry grass, waiting for a pot to fill with water, when I heard someone knocking the garden gate. It was Ihsan, our ten-year-old neighbor across the street. He was holding freshly made ‘khubz’ (something like whole-wheat pita bread) and squinting across the street at his next-door-neighbor’s house.

Ihsan: They found Abu Ra’ad…
Me: What?! Did they? Is he…
Ihsan: He’s dead. Ra’ad and his sisters are at my house.


Farah tried to plead with the US troops but she was killed anyway
The death of two innocent Iraqis was thought so unremarkable the US military did not even report it, but Peter Beaumont says it reflects an increasingly callous disregard of civilian lives in coalition operations

Farah Fadhil was only 18 when she was killed. An American soldier threw a grenade through the window of her apartment. Her death, early last Monday, was slow and agonising. Her legs had been shredded, her hands burnt and punctured by splinters of metal, suggesting that the bright high-school student had covered her face to shield it from the explosion.

She had been walking to the window to try to calm an escalating situation; to use her smattering of English to plead with the soldiers who were spraying her apartment building with bullets.

But then a grenade was thrown and Farah died. So did Marwan Hassan who, according to neighbours, was caught in the crossfire as he went looking for his brother when the shooting began.

Back to Whistle Ass's speach...

Other People's Sacrifice
by Paul Krugman

In his Sunday speech President Bush made a call for unity: "We cannot let past differences interfere with present duties." He also spoke, in a way he hasn't before, about "sacrifice." Yet, as always, what he means by unity is that he should receive a blank check, and it turns out that what he means by sacrifice is sacrifice by other people.

It's now clear that the Iraq war was the mother of all bait-and-switch operations. Mr. Bush and his officials portrayed the invasion of Iraq as an urgent response to an imminent threat, and used war fever to win the midterm election. Then they insisted that the costs of occupation and reconstruction would be minimal, and used the initial glow of battlefield victory to push through yet another round of irresponsible tax cuts.

Now almost half the Army's combat strength is bogged down in a country that wasn't linked to Al Qaeda and apparently didn't have weapons of mass destruction, and Mr. Bush tells us that he needs another $87 billion, right away. It gives me no pleasure to say this, but I (like many others) told you so. Back in February I asked, "Is this administration ready for the long, difficult, quite possibly bloody business of rebuilding Iraq?" The example of Afghanistan (where warlords rule most of the country, and the Taliban — remember those guys? — is resurgent) led me to doubt it. And I was, alas, right.

Surely the leader who brought us to this pass, and is now seeking a bailout, ought to make some major concessions as part of the deal. But it was clear from his speech that, as usual, he expects to take while others do all the giving.

Here are three by Billmon that are required reading...

Mission Creep

Short form George Bush: "Iraq is now the central front in the global war against absolute evil, but it's not so important that we have to roll back any of my tax cuts, send more U.S. troops to Iraq or do anything else that might make swing voters slightly less likely to vote for me next year. Thank you and God Bless America."

Small Potatoes

Waiting for the Barbarians

Billions are hard to comprehend. Here are some clues...

Monthly costs of Iraq, Afghan wars approach that of Vietnam Missions' tabs expand deficit but are still less than 1% of U.S. economy

Iraq Estimates Were Too Low, U.S. Admits
Even the additional $87 billion sought will fall short of rebuilding needs. Officials will look abroad for funds, but donors may be few.

Maybe I'll fell better after some sleep. Maybe it'll be worse.

 02:39 AM - link


Elena Kachuro-Rosenberg p h o t o g r a p h y



  thanks to Conscientious

 01:55 AM - link

The Peace Plan Is Dead
by Charley Reese

"To sum up: The Road Map is dead, because Sharon was against it from the beginning, Bush saw it only as a photo opportunity on a nice background and Abu Mazen did not get from Israel and the U.S. anything that he could present as a Palestinian achievement."

Those are the words of an Israeli writer, Uri Avnery. He is exactly right, despite Condoleezza Rice's schizoid claim that the peace plan is still alive. It's stone-cold dead. Heck, I told you so the day it was announced. The peace plan was bound to fail because President George W. Bush is too gutless to confront Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon, and a Palestinian state is the last thing in the world Sharon wants.

The Palestinian prime minister, Abu Mazen (also known as Mahmoud Abbas), got a cease-fire, but, of course, Sharon simply continued to assassinate Palestinian leaders until he finally provoked the bus bombing. It was Sharon who violated the cease-fire, just as it was Sharon who started the intifada, but America's lap-dog media will never tell you that.

  thanks to Aron's Israel Peace Weblog

The empty square
By Gideon Levy

Are there not at least 100,000 Israelis who are shocked by what Israel is doing to the Palestinians these days? Isn't there at least a tiny minority of a few tens of thousands who are losing sleep over the targeted assassinations? Or over the separation wall that is tearing Palestinians from their land? Or over the mass imprisonment that an entire nation has been living in for almost three years? Or over the abuse and humiliation an entire nation is being subjected to? Aren't there at least 10,000 Israelis who are not willing to remain silent? Does nothing that happens to our neighbors under the occupation have anything to do with us?

Judging by the conventional criteria of public mood and public readiness to act, the answer to all these questions is a resounding no.

The occupation has disappeared from the Israeli agenda and the Palestinians are not present as long as they don't perpetrate terrorism. Every day of quiet in Israel is another day of crass disregard of what is going on in our backyard. If there's no terrorism, there are no Palestinians.

Cornered, besieged and in charge
By Danny Rubinstein

In his letter of resignation as Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) cast most of the blame on the Israeli government, which is continuing its previous policy in the territories. From the Palestinian point of view, Abu Mazen's government took a series of steps in an attempt to implement the road map, while the Israelis did zero in return. The Palestinian Authority established a government in order to bring about orderly governance, Abu Mazen instituted a reform in the PA's financial system and, most importantly, his government achieved a cease-fire on the part of the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. And what did Israel give? A meaningless release of a few hundred prisoners, most of whom were due to be released soon anyway, and a minority of whom were criminal offenders whose release the Palestinians had not even requested. In addition, the Israeli administration opened a road in Gaza and took down five roadblocks in the West Bank, out of nearly 220.

Qureia calls on US to lean on Israel

Ahmed Qureia, the man nominated to take up the post of Palestinian prime minister, said today that he would only accept the job if the US guaranteed Israeli compliance with the latest peace plan.

"I want to see what kind of change on the ground the Israelis will make, what kind of support [I will get] from the United States in this regard," he said.

Betrayal at Camp David

It was the first day of the Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations, after Anwar Sadat's visit to Jerusalem. They took place at Mina House, a hotel rich in history near the Pyramids. In front of the building, the Egyptians had hoisted the flags of all the Arab countries they had invited (none showed up, of course). On one of the poles the Palestinian flag was fluttering merrily. I was going up the stairs, when I saw the Chief of the Israeli Security Service coming down in a great hurry. He was a bitter enemy of mine, and therefore I was rather surprised when he addressed me:
"Uri, you must help me! What does the PLO flag look like?"
"It's not the PLO flag," I corrected him,
"It's the Palestinian national flag." On a piece of paper, I drew its likeness.
"O my God!" he cried, "The Egyptians have hoisted this flag!"
He hurried back to the conference hall, and a few minutes later the Egyptians suddenly took down all the flags, including the Palestinian.


 01:46 AM - link

street photography


Joel Meyerowitz wrote about one of his own street photographs saying "surely life produces moments crazier than we can conceive...all one can do is gasp and shoot and thank the one-eyed God who watches over photographers". This, for me, is the spirit of all street photography. You just need the eye, and the speed, to capture all the things that happen in front of you. You need not travel far, or book expensive models or hire large studios. Just walk out of your front door with a camera and come back a day or so later with images that are more precious to you than all your other possessions put together.


  thanks to Conscientious

Great pictures but they have this little problem with insulting their viewers. I sent them this email after viewing their news page with Opera 7:

When I went to your news page I received this message:

ha ha!
The iN-PUBLiC News scroller won't work for your browser. Don't you feel stupid??
I suggest you go get a newer one.

Well, guess what? I have a newer browser. Not an outdated one like IE. I use Opera 7. Your site has great pictures but you might be a little more successful if you didn't insult your viewers. You might also consider making your website usable by the newer, updated, and more standards compliant browsers such as Opera. Seeing a message like that just makes me want to say "Fuck you!" Your great pictures and support for street photography makes me want to give you another chance. Don't you feel stupid??

 01:18 AM - link

views from the outside

Through Eyes of Foreigners: U.S. Political Crisis

THANKS to several exchange programs, every year I have the opportunity to speak with dozens of journalists and professors from around the world who tour the United States to "increase mutual understanding, " as the U.S. State Department's "International Visitor Program" puts it.

Last week, it was two Indonesian professors. Before them, it was a Japanese professor, a group of Middle Eastern journalists, a delegation from Latin America. In the past five years, I have met with people from every continent (except Antarctica).

My job in these meetings is to answer their questions about U.S. media and politics, but the exchanges are truly mutual; I learn a lot about their countries. The most important lesson I have learned from these visitors, however, is about the United States and the crisis in our political system.

Every person with whom I have talked in these exchanges -- and I mean literally every single one, whether from Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia or Australia -- has made the same two observations about U.S. society. They all were surprised to discover:

· How skewed to the right the political spectrum is.

· How depoliticized the entire society is.

 12:44 AM - link

medical treatment

Islands of Shame
Still home to Japan's lepers

In 1907 Japan enacted the Leprosy Prevention Law. Under this new segregation policy, and despite the fact that a cure had been developed, Japanese authorities forced thousands of patients to be confined in sanatoriums. Japan's lepers remained quarantined until the law was repealed in 1996. Colonies, set up on islands, were chosen for the many advantages they offered for segregation.

These islands are still home to the majority of Japan's lepers.


 12:43 AM - link


SLO Voting

Last month, I wrote a brief post about voting machines, acknowledging that I understand very little about the controversy, except that even I understand that it isn't a good idea to have people vote using computers with no paper trail. I wasn't concerned about our local system, though, because we use optical scan machines. The machines are made by Diebold, which looks about as fair and balanced as Fox News, but there's a paper trail -- boxes of scantron cards that anybody could look at if there were any suspicions of fraud, or even honest error. What could go wrong?

Plenty. In the March 2002 primary election, the vote counts from our absentee and mail-in ballots showed up on Diebold's Web site in the middle of the afternoon -- four and a half hours before the polls closed.

What the hell was Diebold doing looking at our vote counts in the middle of election day? And how did they get those votes?

 12:33 AM - link

  Tuesday   September 9   2003

commercial art


This collection of art and photos all came from the Ray Patin Studios. They produced hundreds of amazing black and white TV commericals all through the 50's and early 60's.


  thanks to The J-Walk Weblog

This appears that this may be my last link from J-Walk's blog. He has called it quits. I will miss him. Well, not him. He will still be hanging out at Whole Wheat Radio and I will be seeing him there. (So can you!) I will miss his quirky links. Good job.

 08:35 PM - link

the little guys are starting to push back

Brazil leads hard line on farm trade reform call

Developing countries have adopted an uncompromising stance on the critical issue of farm trade reform ahead of the World Trade Organisation's ministerial meeting that begins in Cancún, Mexico, on Wednesday.

Ministers from 20 poor countries, led by Brazil, will meet tomorrow in Cancún to co-ordinate their approach during the five-day talks in support of their call for deep cuts in high tariffs and subsidies maintained by the European Union and other industrialised nations.

Brazil's backers include some of the most influential developing-country voices in the WTO, including India, China and South Africa. Between them, the 20 countries account for more than 60 per cent of the world's farmers and a sizeable share of agricultural trade.

Brazil, one of the world's largest agricultural exporters, has warned that without a clear commitment to change farm policies in the industrialised world there can be no progress on other issues at Cancún.

These include lowering barriers to trade in industrial goods and deciding whether to pursue negotiations on investment rules, which the EU and Japan have made a central priority but which is opposed by India and most other developing countries.

  thanks to The Agonist

 08:05 PM - link


Collections from the Russian State Library: Photographs

The Amur Railroad Album
The Department of Printed Art

This album of photographs records the construction, in 1908-1913, of the western portion of the Amur line of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. The entire line was completed in 1916. Before its completion, the only Russian rail link to the Pacific was via the Chinese Eastern Railway in Manchuria, which linked to the Trans-Siberian just east of Chita. Produced by the artistic studio of the Obrazovanie [Education] association in Moscow, this sequence of 282 photographs represents one of the more comprehensive views of railway construction in Siberia in the tsarist era.

Barracks filled with ice pushed up from within by underground water.


  thanks to wood s lot

 07:14 PM - link


Ly Lan

Falling Asleep in a Café

A riverside café garden
An evening of light rain
A breeze shifting over the water
The river bubbles with a dribble of lights

Get some sleep, man—forty year’s heart weariness
Forty years to let go of a first love
Swaying lanterns flicker white hairs among the black
Close your eyes on the human stain

Get some sleep beneath the early moon
The rhythm of the running tide swaying the wharf
Close your eyes on the world
Learn to take some pity on yourself.


Writing Vietnamese

Language Hat explains the origin of the name Vietnam in doing so takes readers on a short tour of early Vietnamese history. Only thing that I'd add is that most of the Chinese borrowings in Vietnamese come from Han Chinese. And the Vietnamese use of Chinese characters took two forms. Initially, the Vietnamese emperors simply used Han Chinese as the official language, but before long scholars wanted a way to write Vietnamese & a system called chu nom was developed in which most Vietnamese words were represented by a pair of Chinese characters, one for the meaning & one for the sound. The system was devilishly difficult & never fully formalized. There has been a recent revival of interest in preserving old nom texts spurred on by John Balaban's translations of the poems of Ho Xuan Hung, the 19th century proto-feminist & wife of a court official. A computer font to print nom was developed in order to print the poems in their original form alongside the translations & the modern Vietnamese texts.

Here is Language Hat's link...


I was visiting Nelson's blog and ran across the statement "For example, the Cantonese term for Vietnam is 'Yuet Naam,' and the pronunciation is such that they could conceivably be derived from similar sources." I was going to leave him a comment letting him know his guess was correct, but when I tried to compose it I realized I could either say "Yes" and leave it at that or tell a longer story than would suit a comment box, so I chose the latter, and here it is.

This is where I beg, again. (It worked once before!) Joseph Duemer mentioned Ho Xuan Hung. I've had her book, Spring Essence, in my Amazon Wish List for some time. It looks like it will stay there for some time more unless someone should buy it for me. Short of that, buy it for yourself.

 06:33 PM - link

button art

Button Information Index


  thanks to MorfaBlog

 05:49 PM - link

off for more tests

I'm falling behind on links again. Yesterday Zoe and I went off island to see a gastroentererologist for her ongoing pain. (She's tired of a liquid diet.) Today it's back to the mainland for one of those tests where she drinks something that is probably not real pleasant and they watch where it goes. I hope to get links up later today. No shortage of links since Whistle Ass and his buddies are getting desperate. There are two things that I want to leave for your consideration, before I take off.

After you digest the above graphic (it leaves me choking) go on over to Craig's to see his tribute of links to Warren Zevon who died Sunday from cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. A great musician who went with uncommon style and grace.

 08:54 AM - link