Thursday, November 30, 2006

the Guardian hacked?

I'm writing in real time, which I don't always do-- I've been trying to access The Guardian's(UK) web site but I keep getting redirected to what looks vaguely like a soft-core porn portal, At first I thought it might be my PC's been infected(although this is still possible), but now I'm wondering if they've been hacked.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The flying carpet

Viktor Vasnetsov. The Flying Carpet (1880). Oil, canvas. Nizhny Novgorod Art Museum.

Vasnetsov was commissioned to illustrate the folk tale about Tsarevich Ivan and the Firebird. The painting represents Ivan returning home after capturing the Firebird, which he keeps in a cage.

Monday, November 27, 2006

but I've never even been to Philadelphia...

yet another quiz you probably should give no creedence to; via Lindsay Bernstein. (They tell you that you have a nice voice for teevee or radio because they want you to take more quizzes...)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dick Cheny, c. 1991

the image is just a still, so I thought it was a waste of bandwidth and time to put a standard size image up.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

If you haven't heard of 'em, they're new to you...

I've been meaning to update my blogroll for some time,adding some and removing a few others, but sloth has prevailed. I may also add another category for conservo blogs, maybe 6 or 8 or so, blogrolled separately. I'll do this shortly. In the meantime, below are some interesting web logs you should be aware of, and try not to drive like this guy. More on the midterms tomorrow next week.

In no particular order:

Julie Idyllopus, Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Andrew Ó Baoill, some Irish guy living in Illinois:

Photoshop varmint extrordinaire, Karena Espuela,

The unduly modest Rob Payne, Bird Lives,

Susan A. Kitchens:, and

Stan Goff, Feral Scholar.

Image: c. 1961 Willys Gordini courtesy note: before you email me telling me it's a Renault-- this is only partially correct. It was built under licence in Brazil by Willys.

Friday, November 17, 2006

the 2006 midterms: catching up

Sometimes I stifle my words, with my desire to fastidiously document my sources-- in part because I value solid documentation as a corrective to the wind of gaseous punditry that asks you to take all sorts of crazy-ass assertions on faith and authority, and partly because I guess I'm just like that. Today however, I'll just make some fairly general remarks, although I may add links later, in a subsequent post about the subject(s) at hand.

It's been 10 days since the election, and look at all that has happened in these past 10 days! Election day started with the pall of the recent corporate media meme about how it was beginning to look a lot like the democrats might not survive a late GOP surge in the polls, and ended with the essential certainty that the democrats had taken the house and looked likely to take the senate, pending the results in erstwhile red Montana and Virginia. Sanctimonious opportunist Joe Lieberman got his nasty self reelected, and nobody in the poll-examining-happy major media speculated about whether Bill Clinton's endorsement(which he didn't withdraw after the primary loss to Ned Lamont) had anything to do with that. Nobody speculated about erroneous exit polls either, presumably because the only Massachusetts Liberal© running was Teddy Kennedy, a safe bet for reelection. No other reason.

Then: empty cowboy hat George Allen folded like a Dixie® cup, after sufficiently large numbers of Virginia voters decided that in spite of teevee news hectoring, they could actually tell the difference between biography and fiction. Considering that he was at this point the very axis about which control of the senate pivoted, I couldn't help but think how odd it was that a little birdie would warble in his ear: "concede." Yes, other explanations are mathematically possible, but it was beginning to look like a narrative was unfolding...

cross-posted at Arvin Hill.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Children of Palestine

"children of palestine", from the Lancaster Friends of Palestine/youtube. (Via Mark Elf.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

No. 5, 1948

this is the most expensive(140 million smackers) painting in the world? Yes. Could it be another Pollock has popped up, one that a truck driver bought for five bucks in 1991?
Also possible.

image of Jackson Pollock's "No. 5, 1948" via

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Go Vote

will it make a difference? probably not. But if you don't vote,

you might as well
hug George Bush

sweatily, in front of thousands of people.
(Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

the Saddam Verdict

The verdict, of course, was no surprise. This is today's front page at Slate. To get to the specific links, go to:
Hitchens,here, and Philip Carter, here.

Baghdad Burning's "Riverbend" discusses the verdict as well:

I just read somewhere that some of the families of dead American soldiers are visiting the Iraqi north to see ‘what their sons and daughters died for’. If that’s the goal of the visit, then, “Ladies and gentlemen- to your right is the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, to your left is the Dawry refinery… Each of you get this, a gift bag containing a 3 by 3 color poster of Al Sayid Muqtada Al Sadr (Long May He Live And Prosper), an Ayatollah Sistani t-shirt and a map of Iran, to scale, redrawn with the Islamic Republic of South Iraq. Also… Hey you! You- the female in the back- is that a lock of hair I see? Cover it up or stay home.”

She also posts a couple of images from Baghdadi TV. I think this is the first time she has done this. The first one is a still logo shot that tells us that Zawra television "has stopped broadcasting by order of the government", and the 2nd is of a newscaster noting that 2 news networks have stopped broadcasting because of government order. River says they were told to stop broadcasting because they showed pro-Saddam demonstrations.

Interestingly, Tony Blair has announced that he's against the death penalty for Saddam.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam and the future

reuters photo

Over the weekend, at least thus far, the tv news networks have been all horserace midterm election 2006, all the time. I've been lackadaisical myself in discussing Iraq-related goings-on lately, in part because it's so discouraging.

Nevertheless, there's the small matter of the Saddam verdict, due out in a few hours. But there's little interest in discussing that, mainly because we pretty much know what it will be. But what will prove to be more important? When pope Ratzinger recently decided to suggest Islam is an inherently savage religion he didn't kill anybody, but would that Somali nun be dead if not for his words? Strictly speaking, I don't know. But I know there is a difference between formally evident guilt, if that's the right term, and more diffuse moral guilt. The Saddam verdict will also have substantial consequences beyond the event itself.

"Iraq waits nervously to hear if Saddam will hang"(also here)

claudia parson(reuters):
Saddam's chief lawyer Khalil al-Dulaimi said Saddam believed the verdict was timed to boost President George W. Bush before U.S. mid-term elections on November 7, and urged a delay.

Former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, who leads an international group of lawyers involved in the defense, said Saddam would almost certainly receive the death sentence but it would be "victors' justice." "It will create violence maybe for generations to come," he said, adding that the trial was politically influenced. "It's an unfair trial in more ways than you can count. Where have we seen a trial take place in the midst of such uncontrollable violence?," he said.

Saddam, 69, and seven co-accused have been charged with crimes against humanity for the killing of 148 Shi'ite villagers after an attempt on his life in the town of Dujail in 1982.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said Saddam's execution cannot come soon enough, fuelling charges of political interference in the U.S.-backed independent tribunal.

I can't help but remember George Bush jr's (supposedly) accidental on-microphone comments to Tony Blair this past summer at the height of the 2nd Israeli war on Lebanon, when Junior said,

``See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this sh** and it's over,'' Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll.

Now I wonder: has George Bush, grasper of buttered rolls and irony that he is, reflected on how, undeserving though Saddam may be, Bush could help facilitate peace in Iraq(and maybe even indirectly save US and Iraqi lives) by just "getting Maliki to stop this sh**" and commute Saddam's presumptive death sentence to life in prison? For Saddam's sake? No, but a champion irony-grasper should have no problem seeing this clearly.

If he did this, Bush, jr would also seem to (finally) have the gravitas that he wants people to think he has, and even seem to validate his comment from a few years ago about how Jesus is his favorite philosopher. But he'd have to stop caring about seeming like a tough guy in the eyes of delusional hicks who love him no matter what he says or does, and start caring about sh** that matters.

meanwhile. at least 42 people have died since Wednesday as Israel sustains rocket attacks against Gaza. But this is boring, or at any rate another hard-to-focus-on-thing with congressional elections going on.

also, from the BBC:"Tense Iraq awaits Saddam verdict"

update: from the Peninsula(Qatar):"Saddam rejects Rumsfeld offer of release*"(May 2005)

*I'll admit I didn't hear about this in 2005, but just now(via)-JV

cross-posted at Arvin Hill.