February 2003

John Brady Kiesling, Political Counselor in U.S. Embassy Athens, writes:

The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America’s most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of international relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger, not security.

The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?

The Home Recording Rights Coalition writes “In ruling that home time-shift recording of television programming for private use was not copyright infringement, the Supreme Court relied on testimony from television producers who did not object to such home recording. One of the most prominent witnesses on this issue was Fred Rogers.” (via Boing Boing)

Laurie writes, “The world isn’t run by a clever cabal. It’s run by about 5,000
bickering, sometimes charming, usually arrogant, mostly male people who
are accustomed to living in either phenomenal wealth, or great personal
power. A few have both. Many of them turn out to be remarkably naive –
especially about science and technology. All of them are financially
wise, though their ranks have thinned due to unwise tech-stock
investing. They pay close heed to politics, though most would be happy
if the global political system behaved far more rationally — better for
the bottom line. They work very hard, attending sessions from dawn to
nearly midnight, but expect the standards of intelligence and analysis
to be the best available in the entire world. They are impatient. They
have a hard time reconciling long term issues (global wearming, AIDS
pandemic, resource scarcity) with their daily bottomline foci. They are
comfortable working across languages, cultures and gender, though white
caucasian males still outnumber all other categories. They adore hi-tech
gadgets and are glued to their cell phones.”

Ken Gao, CNETAsia, reports:

Microsoft on Friday signed a pact with the Chinese government to reveal the Windows source code, making China among the first to benefit from its program to allay the security fears of governments.

In addition, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates hinted that China will be privy to all, not just part, of the source code the government wishes to inspect.

Hear on shortwave: The Devil Has No More Use For Him [MP3] (24k)

Jesus wouldn’t bomb anybody. Is this a Christian message? Yes. Also Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Atheist. Does anybody really think that bombing a country, or twenty countries, will deter terrorism? War is Terror.

Daniel Lewis (New York Times) writes, “Fred Rogers, the thoughtful television neighbor whose songs, stories and heart-to-heart talks taught generations of children how to get along in the world, died yesterday at his home in Pittsburgh. He was 74.”

“The cause was stomach cancer, said David Newell, a family spokesman who also portrayed Mr. McFeely, of the Speedy Delivery Messenger Service, one of the regulars on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

gilbert writes, “8:28pm. For those of you just joining us, we’re having a baby (something we’ve been working on for about 9 months). Quinn’s doing most of the work, though. Please note that if you were expecting Quinn or Danny or Gilbert to do anything tonight or in the next few days, you’re probably going to be out of luck.”

“Also, for those of you who are on the East Coast, *no* we’re not going to the hospital, we’re having a home birth. The human race has been giving babies in the wild for tens of thousands of years; none of us see any reason to stop now. Plus, hospitals scare us.”

Thomas J. DiLorenzo writes, “Lincoln claimed that the federal government was really created by the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, despite the fact that the former document does not have the legal authority that the Constitution has. But the Declaration itself is an expression of state sovereignty, a fact which contradicts Lincoln’s whole thesis. The concluding paragraph declares to the world that the colonists were seceding from the British Empire as citizens of the free and independent American states, not as the people as a whole. “These colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown . . . and that as Free and Independent States, they have full power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

Tim Hadley writes, “The New York Times reports that the U.S. Air Force Space Command is contemplating arming some of its intercontinental ballistic missiles with conventional weapons. I imagine that an ICBM with an appropriately designed, guided, conventional re-entry vehicle could be a very effective rapid-delivery system. But remember, launching even one of these things sets off alarms all over the world. Talk about tooth-grinding anxiety as the Space Command tries to convince Beijing that, no, it’s not nuking anybody, certainly not China, no, it’s just delivering conventional weapons to North Korea, yes, really.”

Happy Birthday to You, the four-line ditty was written as a classroom greeting in 1893 by two Louisville teachers, Mildred J. Hill, an authority on Negro spirituals, and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, professor emeritus of education at Columbia University.

The melody of the song Happy Birthday to You was composed by Mildred J. Hill, a schoolteacher born in Louisville, KY, on June 27, 1859. The song was first published in 1893, with the lyrics written by her sister, Patty Smith Hill, as “Good Morning To All.”

Happy Birthday to You was copyrighted in 1935 and renewed in 1963. The song was apparently written in 1893, but first copyrighted in 1935 after a lawsuit (reported in the New York Times of August 15, 1934, p.19 col. 6)

In 1988, Birch Tree Group, Ltd. sold the rights of the song to Warner Communications (along with all other assets) for an estimated $25 million (considerably more than a song). (reported in Time, Jan 2, 1989 v133 n1 p88(1)

In the 80s, the song Happy Birthday to You was believed to generate about $1 million in royalties annually. With Auld Lang Syne and For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow, it is among the three most popular songs in the English language. (reported in Time, Jan 2, 1989 v133 n1 p88(1)

Happy Birthday to You continues to bring in approximately 2 million dollars in licensing revenue each year, at least as of 1996 accounting, according to Warner Chappell and a Forbes magazine article.

(via http://www.ibiblio.org/team/fun/birthday/)

Dr. George Friedman, Chairman and Founder of Stratfor writes, “For nearly a year, Iraq has been the centerpiece of U.S. President George W. Bush’s foreign policy. There were multiple reasons for this obsession, but in the end, Bush created a situation in which Iraq became the measure of his administration. However, over the extraordinarily long run-up to a decisive confrontation with Baghdad, massive, global opposition to U.S. policy on Iraq has emerged on both the public and state levels. Creating the sort of coalition that the United States enjoyed in 1991 has become impossible. This war, if it comes, will be fought in the face of broad opposition. The question now has arisen as to whether the United States would back away from war in the face of this opposition. Our analysis is that, at this point in history, the United States has few choices left: The constraints that now surround U.S. policy indicate that Washington will have to choose war.”

“Stock prices are no longer tied to the number of unique visitors you have. Now investors have this little idea of being profitable.” says Online-ad researcher Rex Briggs, on the dwindling significance of Web traffic counts, in The New York Times on 24 February 2003. (via ditherati)

United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, reports (For Immediate Release, February 25, 2003):

United States Attorney John McKay, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special-Agent-In-Charge John Bott, National Park Service (NPS) Acting Chief Ranger Tim Simonds, and United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Acting Inspector-in-Charge William P. Atkins announce today the Indictment of four Washington State residents for manufacturing and conspiring to manufacture psilocyn, a controlled substance, commonly found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. The Indictment in this case, returned by a Federal Grand Jury on February 22, 2003, charges ROBERT WILLIAM McPHERSON, age 56, the owner of Psylocybe Fanaticus, and his wife, MARGARET M. McPHERSON, age 48, both of Amanda Park, Washington; STEPHEN COGGIN, age 51, of Neilton, Washington; and JUDITH CHRISTINE KREIGH, age 47, of Amanda Park, Washington, with conspiracy to distribute psilocyn and the manufacture of psilocyn in Western Washington. The charges carry a maximum sentence of twenty years’ imprisonment.

According to court records, the investigation of ROBERT McPHERSON and Psylocybe Fanaticus was prompted in September 1999, when law enforcement agents around the country received calls from concerned parents whose children had received packages from Psylocybe Fanaticus. Those packages contained syringes and instructions on how to grow hallucinogenic mushrooms. Psylocybe Fanaticus is a mail order business that sells hallucinogenic mushroom spores. ROBERT McPHERSON operated a website on the internet, WWW.FANATICUS.COM , and advertised in the High Times magazine to promote the sale of hallucinogenic mushroom spores. The website provides instructions on cultivating mushroom spores to manufacture a hallucinogenic strain of mushrooms. Psylocybe Fanaticus’s web site and advertisement in High Times magazine state that the mushrooms grown with the spores will be magic mushrooms. The website also provides a first person description of the mental disorientation and physical sickness that results from eating hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Let’s dance in style, lets dance for a while
Heaven can wait we’re only watching the skies
Hoping for the best but expecting the worst
Are you going to drop the bomb or not?

Let us die young or let us live forever
We don’t have the power but we never say never
Sitting in a sandpit, life is a short trip
The music’s for the sad men

Can you imagine when this race is won
Turn our golden faces into the sun
Praising our leaders we’re getting in tune
The music’s played by the mad men

Forever young, I want to be forever young
do you really want to live forever, forever and ever
Forever young, I want to be forever young
do you really want to live forever? Forever young

Some are like water, some are like the heat
Some are a melody and some are the beat
Sooner or later they all will be gone
why don’t they stay young

It’s so hard to get old without a cause
I don’t want to perish like a fleeing horse
Youth’s like diamonds in the sun
and diamonds are forever

So many adventures couldn’t happen today
So many songs we forgot to play
So many dreams swinging out of the blue
We let them come true

Forever young, I want to be forever young
do you really want to live forever, forever and ever
Forever young, I want to be forever young
do you really want to live forever, forever and ever

Forever young, I want to be forever young
do you really want to live forever?

Boing Boing reports on an, “interesting Washington Post story stating that 46% of all duct tape sold in the USA is manufactured by an Ohio-based company whose founder donated over $100,000 in the 2000 election campaign cycle to the Republican National Committee and other GOP committees.”

His son, John Kahl, who became CEO after his father stepped down shortly after the election, told CNBC last week that “we’re seeing a doubling and tripling of our sales, particularly in certain metro markets and around the coasts and borders.” The plant has “gone to a 24/7 operation, which is about a 40 percent increase” over this time last year, Kahl said. The company had more than $300 million in sales in 2001.

And Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge keeps pushing the product. “You may want to have a safe shelter for four or six hours,” he told PBS’s Jim Lehrer on Wednesday, “until . . . the chemical plume moves on.” So “you may need that duct tape.”


Sparks from Great White’s pyrotechnics display appeared to ignite soundproofing. (WPRI-TV, via Associated Press)

PAM BELLUCK and PAUL von ZIELBAUER (New York Times) write, “WEST WARWICK, R.I., Feb. 21 A raging fire ignited by a rock band’s pyrotechnics display ripped through a nightclub here late Thursday night, leaving at least 96 people dead and 187 injured.”

Plumes of fire and smoke were visible throughout the New York area after an explosion near an oil refinery in Staten Island. (Associated Press)

New York Times Staff and Wire Reports said, “The explosion, which could be heard several miles away, occurred at the edge of Port Mobile, near the Outerbridge Crossing that links the island to Woodbridge, N.J., in the southwestern part of Staten Island, said a spokeswoman for the Staten Island borough office.”

Michael Amodeo, on the ladder, auctioning the contents of [Agency.com’s] cafeteria. (Justin Lane for The New York Times)

Leslie Eaton (New York Times) wrties, ” That is the fate of the former cafeteria in the skyscraper, one reason the equipment had to be auctioned to get it out of the way of potential tenants.

But also on display at that auction were the optimism and determination that New Yorkers like to think characterize them as much as their gift for complaining does. Despite the poor economy, several bidders were planning to open new bars or restaurants in the city.

One was Aricka Westbrooks, 32, of Brooklyn. Until about a year and a half ago, Ms. Westbrooks had one of those “only in New York” careers that combined fashion, public relations and the Internet. But after she was laid off twice she decided to go into business for herself, she said.

So, if all goes well, she will soon open a takeout restaurant in Brooklyn called Jive Turkey (after the house specialty, which will be deep-fried).

It is not at all what she expected when she moved to New York City seven years ago, she said, but she has no intention of moving back to Chicago.

“Never that,” she said firmly. “Never, ever, that.”

[That] reminds me of a very famous two-part French cartoon (ca. 1896 or so) in regards to the infamous Dreyfus affair. The first cartoon depicts a very fancy french dinner table with distinguished guests, women in their finerie, wigged servants behind each guest pouring wine. The caption under the cartoon says “Ils n’en ont pas parle” [They did not speak of it.] The second cartoon shows the same dinner table, but the guests are no where to be seen, the chairs overturned, the glasses broken, the candelabra crushed, the food spilled and spoilt. The caption read “Ils en ont parle” [THEY spoke about IT.] Draw (no pun intended) your own conclusions.

– Albert Knapp MD Photo.net Patron, February 18, 2003; 06:41 P.M. Eastern


Ambulance passes by an air escape near a subway station in Taegu, about 320 km (200 miles) southeast of Seoul February 18, 2003. Fifteen people died, 128 were injured and more than a dozen feared trapped underground on Tuesday in a suspected arson attack on a subway train in South Korea’s third-largest city, officials said. KOREA OUT NO ARCHIVES NO RESALES REUTERS/Yeongnam Ilbo

Tara of the Scented Forest

Tibet House presents, “21 Taras: Joan Bredin-Price” from February 18 to March 21, 2003. The opening reception is February 18, 6:00-8:00 P.M.

Katrina Douglas (left) and Lakesha Wilson stand outside the [E2] club, looking for information about Wilson’s cousin Nichole Rainey. (AP photo by M. Spencer Green)

The Chicago Tribune reports, “There was a great deal of talk in recent days about the rising prospects for a calamity at home. It was anticipated–to the extent anyone can anticipate the advent of chaos–that this would be the handiwork of terrorism. We were supposed, somehow, to prepare for it.”

“Nobody, nobody, could have prepared for this: Chicago suffered a breathtaking calamity early Monday morning that started on a hot, crowded second-floor dance club on South Michigan Avenue. At least 21 people were killed, dozens more injured, in the pandemonium that was apparently triggered by the efforts to quell a fight.”


A cross county skier passes through the nearly deserted streets of Times Square in New York early February 17, 2003 as a winter storm pounded the northeast United States. The storm was expected to leave 18 to 22 inches of snow in New York City, which had 1,300 plows and 148,000 tons of salt ready to clear streets. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Dave Jenkins writes, “Steichen said, near the end of his long and distinguished career, “The function of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself. That is no mean function.”

Documentary photography, with which the Leica camera has been most closely associated throughout its history, is about human beings and their doings. One cannot delve very far at all into the doings of human beings without running up against politics and religion, because they are two of the principal motivators of human action. It is disingenuous to think that photography can be divorced from these two great motivators.

From earliest times, many of the great photographers have been people who have had a point of view and have used photography to express it. In fact, it would be safe to say that is usually the reason they are regarded as great photographers. Their points of view have invariably been molded by politics and/or religion (or the lack of it, which is a religion of its own).

We must recognize and respect the power of political ideas in the work of other photographers, even if we do not ourselves espouse those beliefs. For example, I suspect that Rob Appleby and I are political opposites. But I respect the fact that he has a definite point of view and uses his photography to present it very effectively. I would hope to do as well in advancing my own point of view.

We may proclaim ourselves apolitical and may deeply wish to be so, yet, we cannot excape politics. It is integral to all human endeavor, photography not excepted. Instead of being contentious and flaming every one whose beliefs vary a hair’s breadth from our own, let’s use our cameras to express our own points of view about what’s right and what’s wrong, and what is valuable. Democracy thrives in the free marketplace of ideas, and truth will ultimately prevail even though it may be wilfully held down.”

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