Can you honestly look at this and say that the vice president elect isn't pure evil? 6:20:31 PM
As my new city of residence (come August), all I can say is YES! (well-written article as well, which is a surprise given skateboarding's terrible treatment in the press). 10:13:58 PM
Those stands of magazines before and during the buying process at most grocery/drug stores usually are a good show of our culture at its strangest (or best, or worst, however you want to look at it). Yesterday, while buying batteries, I saw a magazine called Lucky, subtitled, "The New Magazine About Shopping." It might be enough to stop writing and let people draw their own conclusions, but I thought to myself, what exactly is the use of a magazine about shopping? Do people need help with the shelf to cart transfer, or is there philosophical depth to "paper or plastic?" that is worth getting into? I wonder if they offer tips on effective pre-checkout magazine browsing, or maybe that'd be hitting a little too close to home.
Ok, a little searching, and the reality is far less interesting that I'd hoped. 6:28:14 PM
I think the political system is chancy on issues like truth and integrity, but I think the media's generally worse. The media-sponsored vote recount can do nothing more than to further separate the country, especially if Gore really did win. I don't have much of an interest in "bringing the country together" as GWB likes to say, but I think when you're doing something that will obviously hurt the country and from which nothing positive will come, for the end purpose of creating your own news (which is something newspapers have begun to do more and more), that perhaps you should stop immediately. 8:40:58 AM
If one wishes to view humanity at its worst, they need only to visit a nearby mall today or tomorrow, and attempt to find parking. 2:19:22 PM
Back home in New Jersey (as reflected by the webcam), reading mail and drinking warm tea while it snows outside. 10:16:26 AM
"...and I know this, I know what I am doing now, that I am doing something both beautiful but gruesome because I am destroying its beauty by knowing that it might be beautiful, know that if I know I am doing something beautiful, that it's no longer beautiful." - Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius 8:40:20 PM
For the most passive act of doing good:
One might argue (as I've seen argued) that this sort of passive activism is along the lines of recycling- relatively easy to do, but not particularly important. To that I say that any small thing that an individual can do to benefit other people/environments/etc. is worthwhile no matter what effort it entails, i.e., the amount of effort put forth should not dictate a "progressive ratings system" that praises some acts and disparages others. Thanks Rebecca. 8:28:46 AM
Walking in to Tower Records yesterday and seeing four copies of my zine among the other skateboard/snowboard magazines was pretty neat. Walking in today to see only one left was even better. 7:59:33 AM
What the hell? 2:07:51 PM
I've written a number of times about the sanctions in Iraq which have continued to do little to weaken Saddam Hussein and much to weaken Iraq's population. Before the Gulf War, Iraq had some of the most advanced medical care in the world, now, over two hundred children are dying a day, from diarrhea and malnutrition among other easily treatable diseases
This essay (with excellent photos) explains the situation well. Other sites I've found include images of children placed two to an incubator that is held together with tape and filled with flies, children reminiscent of Ethiopian famines, too tired to wipe the flies off of their faces, healthy children who died of treatable diseases, and children who were never given a chance
Recent reports show that 10,000 people died in Iraq last month, 7,556 were children under the age of five. For those who might argue that it is Saddam, not the US who is at fault for this tragedy, it is helpful to compare this number to the number of infant fatalities in 1989 before the sanctions started: 258.
Bombing continues on the country of Iraq, and with that bombing, civilians continue to be killed (warning: explicit photos), despite claims that there are no "confirmations that missiles killed any civilians."
I only say all of this because things are about to get worse. 10:15:12 PM
"...across Europe, the president-elect is known primarily for something else: 'He's the world champion executioner,' said former French justice minister Robert Badinter. 'He is a horrible symbol of your mania for the death penalty.' " -Many Europeans See Bush As Executioner Extraordinaire.
What makes this article so relevant is that the death penalty is a product of new nations, and nations that routinely engage in severe human rights violations (China, Congo, Nigeria). To hear such objections from members of the European community reflects hundreds of years of history, not just the two hundred of the U.S. 9:14:13 AM
Andy Goldsworthy combines a deep understanding of nature with skillful photography to create beautiful images. I especially taken by this one.
He recently came out with a book called Time which Char and I briefly flipped through at Borders. One of the most interesting collections of images involved him lying down on a flat surface (like large rock, or a road) just as it began to rain. After his surroundings (and him too, I'd imagine) got suitably wet, he'd photograph this human-shaped dry spot in relation to the rest of the surroundings with incredible results. 8:00:28 PM
It bears repeating that Ted Rall writes a funny, brilliant, politically progressive comic. 3:04:34 PM
MSNBC has compiled the 25 best photos from the last year. Some of them are truly stunning (#'s 2, 3, and 7 are incredible), though the picture of Al Gore kissing Tipper seriously weirds me out, it seems pretty apparent that that's the first time they've ever kissed like that. For a daily photo fix, the Post's Day in Photos is quite good. 1:03:12 PM
Today, in front of the White House, there was a demonstration by FBI employees (agents?) urging President Clinton not to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.
Peltier's case has a lot of similarities to Mumia's. Both involve a minority being accused of killing a law enforcement officer (2 in Peltier's case), and both cases have obvious holes, but in the end it's not clear (to me) whether they are actually guilty or not. What is abundantly clear though, is that neither of these men received a fair trial, and regardless of whether either of them are guilty, they are in jail because of fabricated evidence, poor legal respresentation and witness coercion by the police/FBI.
When I arrived at the White House around 1, things seemed to be winding down. There was a crowd of about three hundred people, mostly men, mostly dressed in dark coats and dark glasses. The partner (pictured in the Post article) of one of the FBI agents killed on that day in 1975 was there and giving interviews. While he was being interviewed, he got very choked up a number of times, and seemed overwhelmed by the microphones and cameras being held inches from him.
The mood of the protest was intentionally somber-- there were no chants, few smiles even, and I only saw one person carrying a sign, and she looked particularly out of place. For awhile the crowd was completely silent, which really created a stunning and uncomfortable sight, and I think the tactic was very effective. 10:30:38 PM
New photo ("News") up in the (soon to be revised) photo section. 3:02:36 PM
An excerpt from GWB, the first hundred days of presidency:
February 3: Bring Democrats and Republicans together.
February 4: Bring peanut butter and chocolate together. 11:35:09 AM
As a nice conclusion to voting issues in the election, one might want to read about a young Chief Justice William Rehnquist. 11:30:33 AM
Brief thoughts on the Bush presidency:
I can't imagine a better way to incite the Left in this country than having such a disreputable president. Still, it's a frightening prospect to look into the future and imagine what effect the governor of the most polluted state in the union could have on the environment. Gore is no walk in the park on environmental issues either, but at least he pays lip service to them. Reading this conjured up visions of national parks being paved over, and corporations being given the green light to dump their toxins wherever they see fit.
I think on a larger scale, people in this country have strange, and ill-informed ideas about the environment. Most see it as a place that they can take something from. A national park isn't used to preserve a piece of land, it's used to put it on display. Parking lots and viewing points spring up around the most scenic pieces of land, and trails are cut into the wilderness so that people can get even closer.
A professor of mine helped set up a national park in Sierra Leone. This park was a preserved piece of land. People were not allowed to live there, and the only people entering the park were rangers making sure no one was poaching. Visitors to the park were given a tour of the local flora and fauna on land outside of the park, thereby allowing them to appreciate the land without actually entering the park.
In this country we put the words conservation (saving things) and development (building things) in the same sentence, yet the two cannot be combined. As my professor said, "Dead stuff is everywhere, this is the legacy of mankind." Anything that is done to develop wilderness areas is done at the expense of those same wilderness areas.
Whew.. these "brief thoughts" got a little out of hand. 10:56:22 AM
You can also look at the results so far. 8:21:56 AM
Ok, WDC v2.0 is up, notable changes:
- It takes longer to load (more graphics)
- There /daily page is now the front page, since I think the little splash graphic in the beginning was a little unnecessary
- There's an 'about' page (to make this whole thing a little more personal, it's not quite done though)
- A webcam will soon be up, pointed out my window, refreshing every minute or so
- The other pages are being integrated into the same format as this page, so that there's a little more continuity in this site.
And a link: Democracy as a contact sport. 8:07:48 AM
I'll be out for a few days redesigning this site, be back soon. 11:56:13 AM
"Some scholars have speculated that we're moving into an age similar to the Paleolithic, but that now we're hunters and gatherers of information rather than food, the era when people are nomadic and have no loyalty to specific physical settings and everyone is involved in everyone else's business." -Stephen Friedman, "City Moves" 5:21:53 PM
Neat story about going down to Chiapas to hear Subcomandante Marcos give a press conference. 2:10:31 PM
Did Al Gore say it, or was it the Unabomber? Take the quiz, (I scored a terrible 42%). 8:45:32 AM
There's a little bit of springtime in the back of my mind,
That remembers when there was a time
when we danced and laughed an spent some time drinking wine,
and somewhere in there,
There's a little child without a thought,
without a doubt that every cloud is silver lined.
He is warm and everything is new,
and everything is clean and everything is free
and there were still so many things to see.
So many things still left to be.
You're a very small drop in the middle of a big sea
of high and mighty things.
Your fascination for larger than life,
Your brand new appetite, as though we'd invented it.
There's a little bit of springtime in the back of my mind,
That remembers things, perhaps as they should've been,
rather than lies, rather than the cruelty,
That sometimes we were guilty of and as everyone knows,
We were only young and really couldn't have known.
We were very young and it's nice to know there's a place to go
and still so many things left to see.
You're a drop in the middle of a big sea of high and mighty things.
Your fascination for larger than life,
Your brand new appetite.
As though we'd invented it.
It could be the longest time and I'll remember it.
You don't know what's in store, when we laugh.
Proof that television programming exists to fill the space between commercials, and subsequently, that television networks will do anything they can to ensure that this advertising money continues to pour in. 9:07:42 PM
I realize I'm probably overdoing these sunset pictures, but the view out my window continues to keep me amazed, and I think it's worth sharing, which reminds me of an interesting story:
After years of armed hostility between Chiapas and the rest of Mexico, it appears that there could be some hope for a peaceful outcome between Mexico's government, and its southernmost indigenous people. After Vicente Fox was elected president, ending 71 years of opposition party rule, he made a speech where he said (among other things) that he wanted to make peace with the Zapatistas.
Subcomandante Marcos, the charismatic leader of the Zapatista movement (and publisher of a children's book) has agreed to meet with Fox, saying, "You are beginning from zero and you will have the opportunity to choose the way between war and the dialogue for peace in Chiapas." 8:07:59 AM
Last week, when I posted the picture of the sunset, I received an e-mail from someone who recognized the skyline, and remembered similar views from his time living in Dupont Circle. He was just curious where I lived, and thought it might be washington because of my occasional Washington Post links. I e-mailed back to him that I did indeed live in that area, and noted the building name and floor. He wrote back, telling me he lived in the same building, same floor, and a mere three doors down from where I live now. Incredible. He has a weblog, too. 2:12:10 PM
Forty drunken Santas marching down the street, musically accompanied and preaching the ills of consumerism. It's not some weird nightmare, no, it's Santarchy. 1:40:41 PM
The tide of racism runs deep, and weird. 9:55:40 PM
For the past five days, DC Homes not Jails have been occupying and fixing up an abandoned house for a homeless family to inhabit. Last summer, their efforts were quickly thwarted when police came and arrested these revolutionary homemakers.
This time, they've received more press, and seemed to have been dealt with fairly by the police. Still, there is the difficult issue of the neighborhood not supporting their efforts. This seems to be a clear case of NIMBY (not in my backyard)-type thinking, and I'm inclined to take a (Benthamite) utilitarian stance and see the greater good of giving a family the gift of a home as greatly more important than the concerns of homeowners that a rundown, vacated house is being vacated. 8:48:49 PM
The ease of having someone else scan my pictures in has resulted in three new pictures up under /photo: reflections, another self portrait, and some wheatpaste art (warning: the new photos appear in popup windows, which frames them a little better), (warning #2: a complete redesign of this site is coming, honest). 8:18:30 PM