| contact: drbenway at priest dot com
| blogging since Oct '01
This is Gordon Osse's blog.
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"He who does not at some time, with definite determination consent to the terribleness of life, or even exalt in it, never takes possession of the inexpressible fullness of the power of our existence."
all faces followers of
All colors, beams of
-- Akhenaton, "Hymn to the Sun"
Opt your children out of Pentagon harassment
WHO I WORK FOR: Mount Hope Wholesale
Wholesale nuts, grains, fruits and spices (and more) shipped from Cottonwood AZ
(Tell them you heard about them on Gordon's blog!)
WHAT I'VE SEEN LATELY:
(r) = re-viewing
God Told Me To (1976, Cohen)
Whispering City (1947, Otsep)
Times and Winds (2006, Erdem)
Dirty Money (Un flic) (1972, Melville)
10th District Court (2004, Depardon)
RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy (2007, O'Sullivan)
The Furies (1950, Mann)
In a Lonely Place (1950, Ray)(r)
The Adjuster (1991, Egoyan)(r)
Mad Men The Buddha of Suburbia Intelligence (2006, Haddock) Family Guy
SUGGESTED VIEWING: The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004, Curtis) [available for streaming/download here]
Paul Rockwell: I understand that all the incidents -- killing civilians at checkpoints, itchy fingers at the rally -- weigh on you. What happened with your commanding officers? How did you deal with them?
Sgt. Massey: There was an incident. It was right after the fall of Baghdad, when we went back down South. On the outskirts of Karbala, we had a morning meeting on the battle plan. I was not in a good mindset. All these things were going through my head -- about what we were doing over there. About some of the things my troops were asking. I was holding it all inside. My lieutenant and I got into a conversation. The conversation was striking me wrong. And I lashed out. I looked at him and told him: 'You know, I honestly feel that what we're doing is wrong over here. We're committing genocide. ' He asked me something and I said that with the killing of civilians and the depleted uranium we're leaving over here, we're not going to have to worry about terrorists. He didn't like that. He got up and stormed off. And I knew right then and there that my career was over. I was talking to my commanding officer.
Paul Rockwell: What happened then?
Sgt. Massey: After I talked to the top commander, I was kind of scurried away. I was basically put on house arrest. I didn't talk to other troops, I didn't want to hurt them. I didn't want to jeopardize them.
I want to help people. I felt strongly about it. I had to say something. When I was sent back to stateside, I went in front of the regimental Sergeant Major. He's in charge of 3500-plus Marines. 'Sir,' I told him, 'I don't want your money. I don't want your benefits. What you did was wrong.' It was just a personal conviction with me. I've had an impeccable career. I chose to get out. And you know who I blame? I blame the President of the U.S. It's not the grunt. I blame the president because he said they had weapons of mass destruction. It was a lie.
Robert Upshur Woodward, grew up the son of a Republican judge in Illinois, and later attended Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. While there he joined Phi Gamma Delta and one of the "top" second tier secret societies, Book and Snake.
Three days after leaving Yale, he entered the Navy and was assigned to the recently recommissioned U.S.S. Wright, a National Emergency Command Post Afloat (NECPA). In his book, "Secret Agenda," Hougan quotes Rear Admiral Francis J. Fitzpatrick who said the Wright was designed to "stand in readiness to embark the President and take him to sanctuary at sea in the event of national emergency." But according to a "highly placed U.S. government official" who spoke to Havill, the ship was an "at sea Pentagon."
In "Deep Truth," Havill writes that Woodward’s clearance was "top secret 'crypto'" giving him "access to nearly any classified document as well as codes. He also ran the ship’s newspaper, which gave him an excuse to speak to anyone aboard." After leaving the Wright, he boarded the U.S.S. Fox, which was based along the California coast and also outfitted for communications intelligence. The Fox got as close as twenty miles from the Vietnamese coast. After his four-year obligation in the Navy, he stayed on one more year.
He was assigned to the Chief of Naval Operations where, Hougan writes, his duties at the Pentagon included presiding over "top-secret communiqu?s from the White House, the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the NSC ... That is, during his year at the Pentagon, he was one of a handful of officers chosen by the Navy to brief the government’s most important intelligence officials on events and operations around the world."
He's Navy intel, folks. Always has been, always will be.
Seattle's new Rem Koolhaas-designed library sounds very cool -- and for once everyone in this usually divided city loves it
To its fans, the new library is everything Seattle has never been. It is bold instead of trite, unabashedly modern instead of apologetically primitive. It marries outlandish form with visionary function. More important, it could become the public commons the city has always needed but had never found the moxie to create.
Mr. Koolhaas's creation, a shell of angled girder and glass, pushes every aesthetic envelope without offending. What makes it all work - why 500 people a day have been getting first-time library cards - is the raw power of so much function inside of the form.
The 11-story cathedral is 100,000 square feet larger than the old library. Because of this, the public has access to 75 percent of the library's collection, up from 33 percent before. The building is filled with Wi-Fi hot spots for people to connect their laptops to the Internet. Acoustic sound domes allow you to play music - yours or the library's - as loud as you like. Microchips embedded in each library item allow computers reading radio frequencies to sort and transport books, freeing the library staff to work with customers.
He was never in his life ever going to fight al Qaeda. Van knew that perfectly well now. Cyber-security was all about computer policy. Infowar was a form of war for high-tech people sitting quietly at desks. Bin Laden didn't surf the net. Al Qaeda were Third World fanatics on low-tech bicycles who talked only to their mullahs and their cousins. Al Qaeda guys got recruited in madrassas and sent to live in Pakistani slums and Afghan villages. They were bitter, freaked-out culture-shocked men. They existed in such a frenzy of rage and wounded pride that suicide was a blessed relief to them. Being a martyr was so much, much better than being al Qaeda that they leapt at a chance to explode themselves in the midst of much happier people. "We long for death more than you long for life." That was their bumper sticker.
Terrorists didn't fight wars. The whole point of terrorism was to kick a government so hard, in so tender a spot, that the government went nuts from rage and fear. Then the machinery of civilization would pour smoke from the exhaust. It would break down. Back to the tribes and the sermons, the blessed darkness of a world without questions. (pp. 228-9)
The Internet belonged to a world of the 1990s, a Digital Revolution. The people in the 2000s were way over the Digital Revolution. They were deeply involved in the Digital Terror. The nervous system of global governance, educaiton, science, culture, and e-commerce, it was all in a spasm. It had all broken down in a sudden terrible panic in the last mile. The last mile stood between those great, big, fat, global, huge, empty, terrifying fiber-optic pipes, and the planet's general population.
The Net had not just broken. It had been abandoned, cast aside in fear and dread. Because the movie companies, and the telephone companies, and the music companies had suddenly realized that their "intellectual property" would not remain their property for one pico-second, when everyday people around the world could click, copy, and forward all their movies. All their music. All their calls home to Mom. And the people did that. The children of the Digital Revolution were a swarm of thieves. More people had used Napster than voted for the President of the United States. Nobody paid for that music.
People didn't pay. The people were free. In a world like that, there wouldn't be a music business. There wouldn't be a movie business. There would be no such thing as long-distance charges. There would beno long distances. There would be no business. Nothing but it, the Net. And the horror of that freedom could no be endured. (pp. 240-1)
Accessible Sterling, fun to read because of his insights into TechLand, but as usual not much in the way of catharsis. Which may be part of the point, I guess: his characters are hard-wired to their jobs or the Post-9/11 Terror and how they don't live their lives is the story.
Despite the reactionary clamor & questionable polls...
As the Supremes counter the anti-gay marriage stands of both candidates and OK the Mass. law, the mainstreamingMainStreeting of same-sex culture seems a fait accompli
Unlike Provincetown and Guerneville, though, Wilton Manors [FL] is not a resort town. Nor does it does conform to clich?s about what the United States' third-gayest city would be like. Its homes are modest, built mostly in the 1960's and of no particular architectural interest. There are no chic restaurants, no gym.
Indeed, as a gay magnet, Wilton Manors has returned to its Middle American roots. While the debate over same-sex marriage may rage in places like Provincetown, which is to begin issuing marriage licenses on May 17, the concerns here seem more typically provincial.
"Gay marriage is not a lightning-rod issue here," said Gary Resnick, one of three openly gay men on the five-member City Commission. "For the most part when people call the City Council they're calling about local issues ? noise, road work, things like that."
Wilton Manors is to urban revitalization what "Will and Grace" was to prime-time television ? proof that people may be more accepting of gays than polls suggest. The gay and straight worlds have integrated without much incident here. A Kiwanis Club cookout draws a mix of straight and gay people, as does the annual canoe race. Straight families take in the city's annual Stonewall Festival, a gay pride event. Young gay couples befriend their straight retiree neighbors.
Ross Carson, a 39-year-old anesthesiologist who moved here two years ago with his partner, said he had been impressed by the balance.
Gayness, Dr. Carson said, is "a nonissue here, and that's what I like about it."
I also found reference at TCM to an early film by Kinji Fukasaku, Rage: If You Were Young, which I see Netflix carries. He's apparently known more for his yakuza flicks, it's all new to me. But I'm watching more Asian fare lately, with mixed but interesting results, so I'll check it out.
It certainly took long enough, but the late Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku finally broke through to bona fide Western cult status at the tender age of 70 with his powerhouse dystopian classic, Battle Royale, perhaps the most widely-seen feature film never released in any home video form in America. Fans looking through his earlier work for glimmers of the same material will find plenty to mine in If You Were Young: Rage (1970), a youth-oriented melodrama bemoaning the status of a Japanese society which favors bureaucracy and the almighty yen over the natural resources of its young people.
The recent reappraisal and discovery favoring Fukasaku's astonishing yakuza films might hit a stumbling block here, as Fukasaku embarks on something closer to a neorealist drama gone haywire. Five youths come to Tokyo looking for work, with most of the focus kept on Kikuo (Tetsuo Ishidate) and Asao (Gin Maeda), both determined laborers left flailing after job opportunities dry up. The group pools money to buy a dump truck, nicknamed "Independence No. 1," as a means of becoming contractors for hire; however, the world proves less than hospitable to their hopes and dreams.
"basically the movies are commercials for the DVD's"
DVD revenues outdo theatre receipts, resuscitate series about to be chopped (e.g., 24, and for awhile Family Guy), and provide the industry at least a temporary hedge against losses due to "piracy"
The old Hollywood model of needing to recoup three times the production cost at the box office to make a profit is long gone. But many are asking: What is the new model?
The answer to that may lie with a little-known movie called "Office Space" (1999). The satire by Mike Judge, co-creator of the animated television series "King of the Hill," cost 20th Century Fox about $10 million to make, and took in just $10 million at the box office. But on DVD the movie has become a hit, with the studio so far selling 2.5 million units, well over $40 million worth.
There are other examples of surprising windfalls. The Lion's Gate comedy "Van Wilder" was renamed "National Lampoon's Van Wilder" and has unexpectedly become a hit on DVD, where it sits alphabetically next to other National Lampoon movies.
A moderate hit like the DreamWorks comedy "Old School" starring Will Ferrell took in $73 million at the box office, but made an astounding $143.5 million on DVD.
There's little satisfaction for those of us who knew the Iraq invasion would become the tragic debacle it has, now that the shit is knocking over the fan...
...but when you send troops untrained and unprepared for prison detail to manage the largest prison run by the US Army -- then tell them they can't go home and have to stay another year what do you expect? And when the guy in charge "resigned under pressure as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an inmate died while shackled to a restraining chair for 16 hours. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was kept naked the whole time."?
"You're a person who works at McDonald's one day; the next day you're standing in front of hundreds of prisoners, and half are saying they're sick and half are saying they're hungry," remembered Sgt. First Class Paul Shaffer, 35, a metalworker from Pennsylvania. "We were hit with so much so fast, I don't think we were prepared."
The battalion -- including insurance agents, checkout clerks, sales people and others -- ultimately would follow a grim trajectory into the episodes of prisoner abuse that have shocked the nation. The soldiers found themselves in charge of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq at a time when the increasing rage of the anti-American insurgency, along with the desperation of American commanders to glean intelligence, magnified the pressures on the unit...
Within days of the American invasion of Iraq, the 320th was in Kuwait, and the unit moved swiftly into southern Iraq, first to a prisoner of war camp overseen by British troops and then to a sprawling barbed-wire American camp in the desert. Known as Camp Bucca, the American camp was home to a legion of Iraqi prisoners.
"We were supposed to be the experts on this, but all we knew is what we learned in our summer camp," said Scott McKenzie, 38, of Clearwater, Pa., a sergeant first class who has since been discharged from the service. "We never learned how to deal with a riot, what to do when we were being assaulted."
And the buck stops with Bush, as far as I'm concerned.
He's the "Commander-in-Chief", right?
Both stories linked above are worth reading in their entirety. The second notes that the
[p]hysical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern, according to corrections officials, inmates and human rights advocates.
In Pennsylvania and some other states, inmates are routinely stripped in front of other inmates before being moved to a new prison or a new unit within their prison. In Arizona, male inmates at the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix are made to wear women's pink underwear as a form of humiliation.
At Virginia's Wallens Ridge maximum security prison, new inmates have reported being forced to wear black hoods, in theory to keep them from spitting on guards, and said they were often beaten and cursed at by guards and made to crawl.
The corrections experts say that some of the worst abuses have occurred in Texas, whose prisons were under a federal consent decree during much of the time President Bush was governor because of crowding and violence by guards against inmates. Judge William Wayne Justice of Federal District Court imposed the decree after finding that guards were allowing inmate gang leaders to buy and sell other inmates as slaves for sex.
This is the "freedom & democracy" we're exporting?
...I love the way the people look. Coming back to the UK last month the airport was like a scene from Dor? or Dickens' vision of Bedlam; everyone looked diseased and deformed somehow. Not only that, but the Thais are, by and large, a truly sweet and generous race, you can smile at the scariest looking thug in a dark alley and, chances are, he (or she) will be flattered and flash you his (or her) most charming grin. And the food, what can say? I love it. Western food seems bland and unbearably heavy to me now.
One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments. And the federal government did nothing to stop it.
The justification? The kids had been labeled feeble-minded, and were put away in conditions that can only be described as unspeakable.
Now, a new book, The State Boys Rebellion, by Michael D'Antonio, reveals even more: A large proportion of the kids who were locked up were not retarded at all. They were simply poor, uneducated kids with no place to go, who ended up in institutions like the Fernald School in Waltham, Mass.
Cinco de Mayo is widely acknowledged here in AZ among the large Mexican population -- and increasingly across the US (at least in supermarket ads & bars) -- but in Mexico no one pays much attention outside of Puebla, the city where the 19th century battle it celebrates occurred
Eduardo Duran, a Puebla coffee-shop worker, said Cinco de Mayo definitely has had little more than a regional flavor. He attributes it to private industry paying little attention to it as a day of celebration.
Jos? Calder?n, a former teacher who owns a Mexico City ice cream shop, blames it on the influence of the media and the rapid cultural expansion of the United States into Mexico City.
"I remember as a child here in Mexico City that it was a far more important event than it is today. The children of today have very little knowledge of our history beyond what they see on TV," Calder?n said.
But the fact is, no one knows: the weather could change tomorrow. Many past Western droughts have ended suddenly, with a bang of precipitation. But some dry spells persisted for generations. From about 900 to 1300, scientists say, periodic drought in the West was the norm. Only a few times during that period, according to tree-growth measurements, was precipitation anywhere near the relatively high levels of the 20th century.
"What is unusual is not the drought periods, but the above-average wet periods," said Dr. Robert Webb, a hydrologist with the Geological Survey who specializes in the Colorado River.
The uncertainty has local, state and federal officials along the 1,450-mile river scurrying to secure water allotments while also preparing for the worst.
Already in Las Vegas, the regional water agency is removing the equivalent of a football field of grass every day from front lawns, playgrounds and golf courses to save on outdoor watering. Farther downriver, Arizona officials are pumping billions of gallons of water into aquifers to save for an even less rainy day.
Electricity has become a concern. The Western Area Power Administration, the federal agency that distributes power from hydroelectric projects in the Rocky Mountain West, plans to reduce by about 25 percent the amount of electricity it can promise in future years.