Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Apple's alleged Kindle-killing tablet appears to be on the runway for a spring 2010 takeoff. And in what may or may not be related news, two top-drawer US publishers are holding back ebooks of dozens of their upcoming major titles until the same time frame.
According to one analyst's "supply chain sources," mass production of Apple's long-rumored "iPad" is scheduled to ramp up in February, with release to follow in March or April. So says Yair Reiner, senior analyst for Applied Technology and Apple specialist at the Oppenheimer & Co. investment firm.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
So the plans would have to be altered if this were to become a permanent thing. I will have to compromise some level of autonomy in order to experience long term companionship.....and as I dip myself back into the flow of an intimate dynamic, I feel no clarity on the reference point question, middling confidence on having the capability of sustaining/creating a dynamic that mostly enriches, and real curiosity about what happens next.
"At that time, I didn't have a lot of knowledge about engines. I knew that there must be some problem with the engine's combustion [to have all that black smoke coming out] and I knew that an engine is about the combination of two elements: gas and air. I started looking into the gasoline side, but there had been lots of efforts to improve the gas - all sorts of additives - and none had really worked.
"So I started to think about the air side. I realized that if I wanted to change anything, I had to treat the air before it reached the combustion chamber."
From that initial brainstorm, after much trial and error, the Z5 emerged. In layman's terms, the device, built from a special alloy, improves the air flow into the engine in such a way that the combustion is much more efficient. By being more efficient, the car both uses less fuel and produces fewer emissions.
How does a teenager with a dream and lots of will power actually create a product? Trial and error, according to Badash.
"We had an old large generator in our house that used to put out lots of black smoke. I started trying to put different metals into the air filter. Then I would measure the amount of gas used and try and gauge whether less black smoke was coming out."
"It took a long time, with a lot of trial and error, until one day I realized that I was actually making a difference in the amount of smoke coming out," he recalled. "Well, I was very excited when I realized that I had discovered something which worked. It's not every day that a 16-year-old invents something.
"I went to my father and we took it to the next level. We spent two years perfecting it, finding the right metals. Now we've started to market it."
The next step for this budding inventor and entrepreneur is one familiar to most 18-year-olds here: Badash will soon be drafted into the IDF.
Asked whether he had any other ideas up his sleeve, Badash replied with a laugh, "We'll start with this right now and see where it goes."
Monday, September 14, 2009
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Seven young Chinese women suffered permanent lung damage and two of them later died after working for months without proper protection in a paint factory using nanoparticles, Chinese researchers reported.
Nanotechnology, or the science of the extremely tiny, is an important industry. One nanometer is one-billionth of a meter while nanoparticles measure between 1 to 100 nanometers.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Alex Zettl and colleagues note in the new study that some of today’s highest-density experimental storage media can retain ultra-dense data for only a fraction of a second. They note that William the Conqueror’s Doomsday Book, written on vellum in 1086 AD, has survived 900 years. However, the medium used for a digital version of the book, encoded in 1986, failed within 20 years.
The researchers describe development of an experimental memory device consisting of an iron nanoparticle (1/50,000 the width of a human hair) enclosed in a hollow carbon nanotube. In the presence of electricity, the nanoparticle can be shuttled back and forth with great precision. This creates a programmable memory system that, like a silicon chip, can record digital information and play it back using conventional computer hardware. In lab and theoretical studies, the researchers showed that the device had a storage capacity as high as 1 terabyte per square inch (a trillion bits of information) and temperature-stability in excess of one billion years.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Quakers recommend that, in our relations with each other, we should strive to respond to "that of God within everyone." In my own thinking, I have always related this to a supreme principle of respect. At least part of respect includes believing that everyone is capable of goodness. And at least part of the recommendation to look for and respond to "that of God" within everyone is also to assume that everyone is capable of goodness.
Immanuel Kant proposes something similar in his moral theory. One formulation of his "categorical imperative" is "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means" (Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, 429, trans. James W. Ellington, Hackett Publishing Company,  1981).
we will never win. not completely. that's not why we fight. we do it because there are things worth fighting for.
Monday, June 01, 2009
My wife and I spent a week in Dr. Tiller's care after we learned our 21 week fetus had a severe defect incompatible with life. The laws in our state prevented us from ending the pregnancy there, and Dr. Tiller was one of maybe three choices in the whole nation at that gestational age. My wife just called with the news of his murder, weeping. I can't really come up with some profound political statement just now, so let me just list some memories of Dr. Tiller.I remember him firmly stating that he regarded the abortion debate in the US to be about the control of women's sexuality and reproduction.I remember he spent over six hours in one-on-one care with my wife when there was concern she had an infection. We're talking about a physician here. Six hours.He told the story of his previous shooting, where a woman shot him twice in both arms as he drove out of his clinic. At first he wanted to run her down with his Jeep, but then he thought "she shot you already George, she'll do it again!"I remember being puzzled about a T-shirt he was wearing, which said "Happy Birthday Jennifer from team Tiller!" or something similar. Turns out it comemmorated the birthday of a fifteen year old girl who was raped, became pregnant, and came to Tiller for an abortion. As luck would have it, she was in the clinic the same week as her birthday. So the clinic threw her a party.The walls of the clinic reception and waiting room are literally covered with letters from patients thanking him. Some were heartbreaking - obviously young and/or poorly educated people thanking Dr. Tiller for being there when they had no other options, explaining their family, church etc. had abandoned them.I remember my wife, foggy with sedation after the final procedure, being helped from the exam table. He had her sit up and put her arms around his neck, and then he lifted her into a wheelchair. "You give good hugs" she whispered. He paused just for a moment. "You're just fine," he told her.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
A lightning rod in the bitter culture war over abortion, had already been picketed, bombed and shot in the arms.
He was shot to death just after 10 am (1500 GMT) in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas, police and city officials said.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.
Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.
Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.
Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.
Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.
The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.
Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
So I traveled by myself for a week in Costa Rica. There were several reasons for going by myself, but at a base level, mostly to see if I could do it. Well I did it. I nearly drowned (Thanks for the shitty signage J.W. Marriott Guanacaste) but I did it. I was able to clear my head a lot and think about some stuff that I have needed to think about. No grand conclusions, but I feel less harried.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
"'What we have created now is a situation where the banks who will be able to earn their way out of a hole, but by doing that, they are going to weigh on the economy.
'Instead of stimulating the economy, they will draw the lifeblood, so to speak, of profits away from the real economy in order to keep themselves alive.'"
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
TALF details suggest Obama doesn’t get it - Credit Writedowns: "Marshall Auerback here. As Ed lucidly suggested to me by e-mail:
“We see the Fed giving a loan for assets at the price as reported on the institutions’ books. Otherwise, you have to take a write-down just to get the loan. That’s a non-starter. So the Fed is going to take the asset as collateral at its reported value and will administer a haircut of 5-16%. This program is applicable only to certain AAA paper to diminish the possibility that more haircut would be needed (I am sceptical here).
If irrational despondency goes away, the loan is repaid. However, if the asset falls in value, the Fed has no-recourse. Given the fact that they have already mentioned the SPV, it suggests the investment company could then renege and have the collateral seized with no other penalty.”
But a lot of this is not “irrational despondency”. The reality is that large chunks of these toxic “assets” are not “impaired,” or “illiquid,” or “distressed”. They are worthless, now and forever – unless the peak real estate values of the bubble can miraculously be restored and a whole bunch of deceased LBOs can be raised from the tomb. The banks know this, investors know this, Geithner and Co. know"
Certain jokes I make feel as if I am pretending to be a me that is familiar to the people around me while inside I am almost totally disconnected. I had a conversation with someone who is struggling mightily in their life and the familiarity with that darkness almost felt like nostalgia. At least when I was swimming in chaos I knew I wanted to find my way to solid ground. There was an objective purpose to the expenditure of energies coupled with the uncontrollable onslaught of unpredictable emotions. I stood at the water's edge and for the first time there was no familiarity, no sense of coming home.
Now I am presumably 30,000 feet above the earth preparing for what I hope is another professional success and I feel different. I am different, but I don't understand how or why or what I am supposed to do about it. My friend who just recently became a mother can so eloquently articulate the way a baby alters your perspective and priorities and it clicked. Me too. But there is no baby, no reason for the switch.
At service this week, there was an attempt to describe the levels of the mind and how one can get beyond the voices in your head to the underlying mindful awareness. It was acknowledged that while in this space there exists incredible light, comfort and awareness, it is likely the same space as the darkness which is torture, confusion and absence. For awhile, again when I was struggling with the darkness, I sought out this level actively in order to calm the tumult. Now I look for it and it seems to look back at me expectantly. I fill my head with stimuli because the contemplation seems to demonstrate only absence, the horrible purposeless abyss.
It is quite possible that this is it. That this is the level that I am capable of existing at and interacting with the world. Maybe my limitations are far more severe than I imagined and the work I did to get out of the chaos has created a box so tightly fitted that it is not possible for really new things to penetrate.
Other people feel things far more than I do. It informs their existence in a way I don't seem to be able to really imagine. And then I think that maybe I was right at the beginning. The things that happen can permanently lessen you. In the same way that brain damage can rob you of your memory, traumatic events can permanently damage your capacity to feel wholly.
I think of all the times people told me to just wait and I would understand what they were talking about. I resented it when I was really young, but as I got older I changed my perspective to hoping that what they predicted would come true.
You will understand your mother when you are older.
You'll understand when you fall in love.
Everything happens for a reason.
If you have faith you will feel less afraid.
Nope, not so far as I can tell. Clearly I am doing this wrong.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
ASHINGTON – The net worth of American households fell by the largest amount in more than a half-century of record keeping during the fourth quarter of last year.
The Federal Reserve said Thursday that household net worth dropped by a record 9 percent from the level in the third quarter.
The decline was the sixth straight quarterly drop in net worth and underscored the battering that U.S. families are undergoing in the midst of a steep recession with unemployment surging and the value of their homes and investments plunging.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Mme Duflo has, above all, developed and promoted the concept of "scientific" testing of anti-poverty programmes – what works and what doesn't but also, crucially, why things work and why they don't. She believes – and has proved – that the effectiveness of anti-poverty programmes can be explored by "random testing", in the same way pharmaceutical companies test drugs.
Esther Duflo does her research not so much in government archives and university libraries but villages in India, Ghana or Kenya. She is left wing but in a "whatever it takes" kind of way. She has spent most of the past 10 years in the US, where she is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Three years ago, she founded the Poverty Action Lab, to put her ideas into practice. The World Bank incorporated ideas developed by "random testing" in 87 of its programmes last year. "Some of what we prove may seem obvious but we have to overcome prejudices," she said. "Many aid organisations, for instance, believe people should not be given bribes to improve their own health."
"We have framed tests in different countries, which show that people will take, say, de-worming medicine in far greater numbers if you give them a tiny incentive, such as a kilo of beans."
Thursday, February 26, 2009
A Spanish mother has taken revenge on the man who raped her 13-year-old daughter at knifepoint by dousing him in petrol and setting him alight. He died of his injuries in hospital on Friday.
Antonio Cosme Velasco Soriano, 69, had been sent to jail for nine years in 1998, but was let out on a three-day pass and returned to his home town of Benejúzar, 30 miles south of Alicante, on the Costa Blanca.
While there, he passed his victim's mother in the street and allegedly taunted her about the attack. He is said to have called out "How's your daughter?", before heading into a crowded bar.
Shortly after, the woman walked into the bar, poured a bottle of petrol over Soriano and lit a match. She watched as the flames engulfed him, before walking out.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Former Fed Chairman Volker speaks to Canadians..states the obvious.
There is a certain interest in what's going on in the financial world. And I will disappoint you by saying I don't know all the answers. But I know something about the problem. Let me just sketch it out a little bit and suggest where we may be going. There is a lot of talk about how we get out of this, but I think it's worth remembering, or analyzing, how this all started.
This is not an ordinary recession. I have never, in my lifetime, seen a financial problem of this sort. It has the makings of something much more serious than an ordinary recession where you go down for a while and then you bounce up and it's partly a monetary - but a self-correcting - phenomenon. The ordinary recession does not bring into question the stability and the solidity of the whole financial system. Why is it that this is so much more profound a crisis? I'm not saying it's going to get anywhere as serious as the Great Depression, but that was not an ordinary business cycle either.
When we finished with the ordinary ways of spending it - with the help of our new profession of financial engineering - we developed ways of making weaker and weaker mortgages. The biggest investment in the economy was residential housing. And we developed a technique of manufacturing class D mortgages but putting them in packages which the financial engineers said were class A.
So there was an enormous incentive to take advantage of this bit of arbitrage - cheap money, poor mortgages but saleable mortgages. A lot of people made money through this process. I won't go over all the details, but you had then a normal business cycle on top of it. It was a period of enthusiasm. Everybody was feeling exuberant. They wanted to invest and spend.
One of the arguments one hears in the compensation debate is that the bonus system used by Wall Street ....is there to “reward talent”. While I find this notion of “talent” debatable, I fully agree that incentives are the heart of capitalism and free markets – but certainly not that incentive scheme.
In fact, the incentive scheme commonly in place does the exact opposite of what an “incentive” system should be about: it encourages a certain class of risk-hiding and deferred blow-up. It is the reason banks have never made money in the history of banking, losing the equivalent of all their past profits periodically – while bankers strike it rich....
Take two bankers. The first is conservative. He produces one annual dollar of sound returns, with no risk of blow-up. The second looks no less conservative, but makes $2 by making complicated transactions that make a steady income, but are bound to blow up on occasion, losing everything made and more. So while the first banker might end up out of business, under competitive strains, the second is going to do a lot better for himself. Why? Because banking is not about true risks but perceived volatility of returns: you earn a stream of steady bonuses for seven or eight years, then when the losses take place, you are not asked to disburse anything. You might even start again, after blaming a “systemic crisis” or a “black swan” for your losses. As you do not disgorge previous compensation, the incentive is to engage in trades that explode rarely, after a period of steady gains.
Here you can see that this mismatch between the bonus payment frequency (typically, one year) and the time to blow up (about five to 20 years) is the cause of the accumulation of positions that hide risk by betting massively against small odds....
If capitalism is about incentives, it should be about true incentives, those resistant to blow-ups. And there should be disincentives to remove the asymmetry of the free option. Entrepreneurs are rewarded for their gains; they are also penalised for their losses. Now, by comparison, consider that Robert Rubin, the former US Treasury secretary, earned close to $115m (€90m, £80m) from Citigroup for taking risks that we are paying for. So far no attempt has been made to claw it back from him – only UBS, the Swiss bank, has managed to reclaim some past bonuses from its former executives....
[W[hen it comes to banks and other “too big to fail” entities, the problem is severe: we taxpayers in our respective countries are funding these global monsters and are coughing up money for mistakes made by bankers who retain their bonuses and are hijacking us because, as we are discovering (a little late), banking is a utility and we need them to clean up their mess....
Friday, February 13, 2009
Communism is dead, most pundits--the mainstream, stupid ones anyway--have been telling us since the USSR shut down in 1991. As it turns out, the libertarians were wrong. Half-right, anyway: Human nature may be inherently individualistic, as free market capitalists claim, but it's also inherently social. When economies boom, most people are sufficiently satisfied to leave well enough alone. Who cares if my boss gets paid 100 times more than I do? I'm doing OK. As resources become scarce, however, we huddle together for protection. The sight of a small rich elite hoarding all the goodies violates our primal sense of fairness.
"In Soviet times," a man in present-day Tajikistan told me, "we lived worse than we do today. But we were all the same. Now we live a bit better, but we have to watch rich assholes pass us in their Benzes." Which would he choose? No hesitation: "Soviet times."
In America, a French cliché goes, people are afraid of the government. In France, the government is afraid of the people. With good reason, too: the French have overthrown their governments dozens of times since the Revolution of 1789. The French are hard wired with class consciousness. Strikes, demonstrations and general hell-raising are festive occasions. Only when things spin totally out of control--as when Muslim youths rioted in the suburbs of Paris and other cities--are conservatives like Sarkozy able to make headway.
Riots over police brutality by disenfranchised minorities make the French nervous. But contempt for American-style "harsh capitalism," where citizens pay $800 a month for healthcare and write nary a letter to their local newspaper to complain, is 100 percent mainstream. The French don't think they should have to suffer just because some greedy bankers went on a looting spree.
Even Sarkozy is getting the message. "We don't want a European May '68 in the middle of Christmas," he warned his ministers in December. He shelved proposals to loosen regulation of business. Arnaud Lagardère, CEO of the Lagardère Group, told the financial daily Les Echos: "We're seeing, in renewed form, the most debatable aspects of Anglo-Saxon capitalism called into question."
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Democracy Now! | Bill Moyers asks: "Why will Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! never show up on 'Meet The Press?'" (watch video)
And this idea that the people in power were kind of outside the sphere of normal government, never made its way into the establishment press at all. The idea that Wilkerson could have been right, that the real radicals were running the federal government, never really penetrated their narrative at all.
BILL MOYERS: How do you explain the fact that so many in the press, pundits and others as well, were saying Obama has to be bipartisan?
JAY ROSEN: I think that the ideology of the press is not so much liberal or conservative. They think themselves the keepers of realism, of savviness. I think the real religion of the American press is savviness. And in their view, it isn’t savvy to say you’re going to mobilize the anger and frustration of the American people and bring that power to Washington to change it."
California is facing its worst drought in recorded history . The drought is predicted to be the most severe in modern times, worse than those in 1977 and 1991. Thousands of acres of row crops already have been fallowed, with more to follow. The snowpack in the Northern Sierra, home to some of the state's most important reservoirs, proved to be just 49 percent of average. Water agencies throughout the state are scrambling to adopt conservation mandates.
The Texan drought is reaching historic proportion . Dry conditions near Austin and San Antonio have been exceeded only once before—the drought of 1917-18. 88 percent of Texas is experiencing abnormally dry conditions, and 18 percent of the state is in either extreme or exceptional drought conditions. The drought areas have been expanding almost every month. Conditions in Texas are so bad cattle are keeling over in parched pastures and dying. Lack of rainfall has left pastures barren, and cattle producers have resorted to feeding animals hay. Irreversible damage has been done to winter wheat crops in Texas. Both short and long-term forecasts don't call for much rain at all, which means the Texas drought is set to get worse.
Augusta Region (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina)
The Augusta region has been suffering from a worsening two year drought. Augusta's rainfall deficit is already approaching 2 inches so far in 2009, with January being the driest since 1989.
Florida has been hard hit by winter drought, damaging crops, and half of state is in some level of a drought.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
- They've bought up the seed companies across the midwest.
- They've written Monsanto seed laws and gotten legislators to put them through, that make cleaning, collecting and storing of seeds so onerous in terms of fees and paperwork and testing and tracking every variety and being subject to fines, that having normal seed becomes almost impossible (an NAIS approach to wiping out normal seeds). Does your state have such a seed law? Before they existed, farmers just collected the seeds and put them in sacks in the shed and used them the next year, sharing whatever they wished with friends and neighbors, selling some if they wanted. That's been killed.
In Illinois which has such a seed law, Madigan, the Speaker of the House, his staff is Monsanto lobbyists.
- Monsanto is pushing anti-democracy laws (Vilsack's brainchild, actually) that remove community' control over their own counties so farmers and citizens can't block the planting of GMO crops even if they can contaminate other crops. So if you don't want a GM-crop that grows industrial chemicals or drugs or a rice growing with human DNA in it, in your area and mixing with your crops, tough luck.
Check the map of just where the Monsanto/Vilsack laws are and see if your state is still a democracy or is Monsanto's. A farmer in Illinois told me he heard that Bush had pushed through some regulation that made this true in every state. People need to check on that.
- For sure there are Monsanto regulations buried in the FDA right now that make a farmer's seed cleaning equipment illegal (another way to leave nothing but GM-seeds) because it's now considered a "source of seed contamination." Farmer can still seed clean but the equipment now has to be certified and a farmer said it would require a million to a million and half dollar building and equipment ... for EACH line of seed. Seed storage facilities are also listed (another million?) and harvesting and transport equipment. And manure. Something that can contaminate seed. Notice that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not mentioned.
Now scientists in China and the United States believe the weight of water, and the effect of it penetrating into the rock, could have affected the pressure on the fault line underneath, possibly unleashing a chain of ruptures that led to the quake.
Fan Xiao, the chief engineer of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in Chengdu, said it was 'very likely' that the construction and filling of the reservoir in 2004 had led to the disaster"
Monday, February 02, 2009
“Tasers are not the ‘non-lethal’ weapons they are portrayed to be,” said Angela Wright, US researcher at Amnesty International and author of the report. “They can kill and should only be used as a last resort.”
“The problem with Tasers is that they are inherently open to abuse, as they are easy to carry and easy to use and can inflict severe pain at the push of a button, without leaving substantial marks,” said Angela Wright."
"Example 2: I was in line at the grocery store last week when I had to pull out my food stamps to pay for my tiny amount of groceries (here in Mass., they give us what looks like a debit card).
One of the wealthy, trophy-wife yentas who lives around here (I've seen her in the store with her 2x older husband) in line behind me rolled her eyes, made that sigh of disgust the tut-tutters always do, and then audibly whispered this gem to one of her pampered spawn: 'Damn leech.'
So, in my best, most diplomatic tone, I cleared my throat and said, 'We can't all give blowjobs to secure our futures, sweetie. Some of us actually work for it.'
'Fuck you,' she said.
To which I gave my standard response (people in Mass. say F U a lot!), 'No, thanks.'
Two people behind her in line gave me the thumbs up, while the grocery clerk grinned and finished ringing my stuff.
Apparently, we are not alone!"
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and
sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather
stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the
treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the
terrible boredom of pain.
I have been in thinking mode again. raging, enormous, impatient and inherently
unsatisfying. I have thought too, about these periods where i think like this.The room is about three paces long and two wide: a mere broom closet
or disused tool room. In the room, a child is sitting. It could be a
boy or a girl. It looks about six, but actually is nearly ten. It is
feeble-minded. Perhaps it was born defective, or perhaps it has become
imbecile through fear, malnutrition, and neglect. It picks its nose
and occasionally fumbles vaguely with its toes or genitals, as it sits
hunched in the corner farthest from the bucket and the two mops. It is
afraid of the mops. It finds them horrible. It shuts its eyes, but it
knows the mops are still standing there; and the door is locked; and
nobody will come. The door is always locked; and nobody ever comes,
except that sometimes--the child has no understanding of time or
interval--sometimes the door rattles terribly and opens, and a person,
or several people, are there. One of them may come in and kick the
child to make it stand up. The others never come close, but peer in at
it with frightened, disgusted eyes. The food bowl and the water jug
are hastily filled, the door is locked; the eyes disappear. The people
at the door never say anything, but the child, who has not always
lived in the tool room, and can remember sunlight and its mother's
voice, sometimes speaks. "I will be good, " it says. "Please let me
out. I will be good!" They never answer. The child used to scream for
help at night, and cry a good deal, but now it only makes a kind of
whining, "eh-haa, eh-haa," and it speaks less and less often. It is so
thin there are no calves to its legs; its belly protrudes; it lives on
a half-bowl of corn meal and grease a day. It is naked. Its buttocks
and thighs are a mass of festered sores, as it sits in its own
They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have
come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They
all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and
some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty
of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of
their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their
makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of
their skies, depend wholly on this child's abominable misery.
I sometimes hope that the thought rages lead somewhere, let me develop a
truly more compelling understanding, but I hope I would choose to have them
even if they are no more than the unimaginative ramblings of a mediocre mind.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Burns much brighter today
I can see my path though
Clouds darken my way
Yeah I've got this feeling
It's something I find hard to explain
See I wasn't looking
But girl I'm glad I fell in your way
I don't get to watch the inauguration tomorrow because I will be working. I mean I will follow it on the sites who are made up of people who are as deeply invested in this moment as I am and that will help, but I will not get to watch it as it happens. I won't get to see for myself that the power structure has changed and death doesn't follow.
Maybe 2012 is the end of the world or maybe it is just the beginning of the age of Aquarius and I'll get to see it. These times, this life, the content of the story as it is written, are immense and deeply satisfying. I have seen more than I could have imagined and now feel capable of observing and grasping even more. Maybe for a moment I know that the abstract story with no obvious points of intersect is as fascinating as the story of those who get to execute to long known desires. I look forward to tomorrow with unabashed hope.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
By mid-December 2008, his popularity ratings had plunged to 23% - only one point from an all-time low in every poll taken since 1938. Still, at 30% this month, this means that almost one in three Americans still approve of his job. H L Mencken must be wallowing in horror in his grave.
Coming close to destroying a superpower and the global economy virtually single-handedly is not bad for someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth who never held a steady job until the age of 45 - until "turd blossom" Karl Rove, the little, fat, bald Machiavelli, engineered him as the ultimate, corporate-pleasing, Southern Strategy lethal weapon, and Bush family consigliere James Baker turned a massive electoral fraud, mostly in Florida and Ohio, into a hijacked mandate via the Supreme Court. (American corporate media, by the way, loved it.)
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
BART has not released the officer's name, but The Chronicle has learned that the officer is two-year BART police veteran Johannes Mehserle, who turned 27 on Monday and whose first child was born within a day or two of the shooting - an event that may be a contributing factor to why Mehserle has not yet explained the shooting to investigators.
Monday, January 05, 2009
An e-mail written by a senior FBI agent in Iraq in 2004 specifically stated that President George W. Bush had signed an Executive Order approving the use of military dogs, sleep deprivation and other tactics to intimidate Iraqi detainees.
The FBI e-mail--dated May 22, 2004--followed disclosures about abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and sought guidance on whether FBI agents in Iraq were obligated to report the U.S. military’s harsh interrogation of inmates when that treatment violated FBI standards but fit within the guidelines of a presidential Executive Order.
The FBI e-mail was obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The White House had emphatically denied that any such presidential Executive Order existed, calling the unnamed FBI official who wrote the e-mail “mistaken.”
The ACLU has called on Congress to demand that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate whether the President and other officials broke federal and international laws, “including the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Act, and federal assault laws.”
President Bush and his representatives have denied repeatedly that the administration condones “torture,” although senior administration officials have acknowledged subjecting “high-value” terror suspects to aggressive interrogation techniques, including the “waterboarding” — or simulated drowning — of three al-Qaeda detainees.