14 April 2024

She fills her drawing book with line

All I know is it was identified as "Bobilo art" and I liked it.

My favorite video from this eclipse is not of the sun itself, but of the pinhole camera images left by the light through the leaves.

I haven't processed the fact that Netanyahu is trying to start Armageddon, yet. So far, Iran has been restrained, and Biden has apparently told Israel it "will not participate in any retaliatory strikes" on Iran, but he's still saying he backs Israel and a lot of people are holding their breath to see if he's going to show any backbone.

The Likud-backed Israeli government has been busy rubbing our faces in their murderous arrogance. I first noticed the story of the targeted assassination of World Central Kitchen workers, which underscored their real beef with UNWRA, which is not any imagined relationship with Hamas but that they are bringing aid to ordinary people in Gaza. Or did I notice the massacre at Al Shifa hospital first? (Electronic Intifada has a number videos and reports from on the ground.) And then I saw that they'd bombed the Iranian embassy in Syria. Then I saw that they'd banned Al Jazeera. They all seemed to happen at once, like a one-two-three-four punch, each one leaving people gasping. There's no question of the WCK murders being "accidental" — this is yet another case of clearly identified vehicles who had coordinated with IDF so they knew exactly who and where they were. Meanwhile, foreign policy commentators were incredulous at seeing anyone bomb an embassy, which they regard as an attack on the very idea of diplomacy itself. And of course, since the defenders of Likud's policies regard any journalist that isn't embedded with IDF as "Hamas mouthpieces" anyway, of course they are continuing their program of clearing any of the world's real journalists out of Gaza. As Eric says in his Forward piece, "The decision was announced Monday, on the basis of a law, passed after Oct. 7 and recently renewed, which gives the prime minister and communications minister the authority to order the closure of foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if they are seen to pose 'harm to the state's security.' But while Al Jazeera poses a significant nuisance to Israel, it cannot be said to constitute any kind of genuine 'threat.' Meanwhile, by banning the news service, Israel has shown itself ready to employ the typical tactics of an undemocratic dictatorship to keep its own people, and much of the world, in the dark about its own often-indefensible actions."

"Israel Created 'Kill Zones' in Gaza. Anyone Who Crosses Into Them Is Shot: The Israeli army says 9,000 terrorists have been killed since the Gaza war began. Defense officials and soldiers, however, tell Haaretz that these are often civilians whose only crime was to cross an invisible line drawn by the IDF"

Surprisingly, this appeared in The Washington Post: "I'm Jewish, and I've covered wars. I know war crimes when I see them. How does it feel to be a war-crimes reporter whose family bankrolled a nation that's committing war crimes? I can tell you. [...] As Israeli forces grind through Gaza in what the International Court of Justice defines as a 'plausible' case of genocide, my family's history of philanthropy runs into my familiarity with war crimes. When Israel bombs and shoots civilians, blocks food aid, attacks hospitals and cuts off water supplies, I remember the same outrages in Bosnia. When people in a Gaza flour line were attacked, I thought of the Sarajevans killed waiting in line for bread, and the perpetrators who in each case insisted the victims were slaughtered by their own side. Atrocities tend to rhyme."

This story by Dave Ettlin in 1980 tells us that when giant ships that didn't exist way back when the Francis Scott Key Bridge was built started swirling around in Baltimore's harbor, this was gonna happen. In the right-wing-o-sphere, of course, it's all about wokery.

"Suicide Mission: What Boeing did to all the guys who remember how to build a plane. John Barnett had one of those bosses who seemed to spend most of his waking hours scheming to inflict humiliation upon him. He mocked him in weekly meetings whenever he dared contribute a thought, assigned a fellow manager to spy on him and spread rumors that he did not play nicely with others, and disciplined him for things like 'using email to communicate' and pushing for flaws he found on planes to be fixed. 'John is very knowledgeable almost to a fault, as it gets in the way at times when issues arise,' the boss wrote in one of his withering performance reviews, downgrading Barnett's rating from a 40 all the way to a 15 in an assessment that cast the 26-year quality manager, who was known as 'Swampy' for his easy Louisiana drawl, as an anal-retentive prick whose pedantry was antagonizing his colleagues. The truth, by contrast, was self-evident to anyone who spent five minutes in his presence: John Barnett, who raced cars in his spare time and seemed 'high on life' according to one former colleague, was a 'great, fun boss that loved Boeing and was willing to share his knowledge with everyone,' as one of his former quality technicians would later recall."

"Prison-tech company bribed jails to ban in-person visits: Beware of geeks bearing gifts. When prison-tech companies started offering "free" tablets to America's vast army of prisoners, it set off alarm-bells for prison reform advocates – but not for the law-enforcement agencies that manage the great American carceral enterprise. The pitch from these prison-tech companies was that they could cut the costs of locking people up while making jails and prisons safer. Hell, they'd even make life better for prisoners. And they'd do it for free! These prison tablets would give every prisoner their own phone and their own video-conferencing terminal. They'd supply email, of course, and all the world's books, music, movies and games. Prisoners could maintain connections with the outside world, from family to continuing education. Sounds too good to be true, huh? Here's the catch: all of these services are blisteringly expensive. [...] The future isn't here, it's just not evenly distributed. Prisoners are the ultimate early adopters of the technology that the richest, most powerful, most sadistic people in the country's corporate board-rooms would like to force us all to use."

The blockade of Cuba has imposed terrible hardship on its people, but Biden hasn't reversed Trump's reversal of one of the few good things Obama did: relaxing the embargo. Interestingly, Cuban Americans supported Obama's policy until they didn't. Why didn't they? Larry Lessig enlightens me: "Yet if we dig a bit deeper, there may be a way to understand the economy of influence that pushes Cubans in America to punish Cubans in Cuba. Because it turns out that our government gives tens of millions of dollars in government contracts to Cubans in Florida to spread the anti-Cuban message. These contracts are extremely lucrative: This year's budget promises $25 million (a 25% increase) to 'promote democracy' in Cuba, which means millions to run websites or Twitter feeds meant to rile up native Cubans and drive hatred toward the Cuban government. We spend another $25 million on radio and TV broadcasts targeting Cuba. Normalization would obviously starve the beneficiaries of this propaganda welfare. So Cubans in Florida feeding at this trough are keen to avoid that subsidy disappearing. It's good money in exchange for very little work. Who wouldn't fight to keep it?"

"Trina Robbins, Creator and Historian of Comic Books, Dies at 85: Trina Robbins, who as an artist, writer and editor of comics was a pioneering woman in a male-dominated field, and who as a historian specialized in books about female cartoonists, died on Wednesday in San Francisco. She was 85. Her death, in a hospital, was confirmed by her longtime partner, the superhero comics inker Steve Leialoha, who said she had recently suffered a stroke." I'm glad I knew it was coming because hearing about that stroke was painful. I loved being around her, she was so vibrant and energizing. I guess that's why Joni Mitchell put her in the first verse.

RIP: "Louis Gossett Jr, first Black man to win supporting actor Oscar, dies aged 87." I really liked that guy, and I howled out loud when re-watching an old episode of The Rockford Files and seeing him turn up in an afro. "Is that... Lou Gossett with hair?" Luckily, when the same character turned up in a later episode, they'd ditched the wig.

RIP: "Vernor Vinge (1944-2024): Vernor Vinge, author of many influential hard science fiction works, died March 20 at the age of 79. Vinge sold his first science-fiction story in 1964, 'Apartness', which appeared in the June 1965 issue of New Worlds. In 1971, he received a PhD (Math) from UCSD, and the next year began teaching at San Diego State University. It wasn't until almost thirty years later, in August 2000, that he retired from teaching to write science-fiction full time. His 1981 novella True Names is often credited as the first story to present a fully fleshed-out concept of cyberspace. He won Hugo Awards for his novels A Fire Upon the Deep (1993 — tie), A Deepness in the Sky (2000), Rainbows End (2007), and novellas Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002), and The Cookie Monster (2004). A Deepness in the Sky also won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and in translation won Spain's Ignotus Award, Germany's Kurd Lasswitz Preis, and Italy's Italia Award." For a long time I was only peripherally aware of him as the former husband of my friend Joan Vinge, but A Fire Upon The Deep changed all that.

RIP: The legendary "John Sinclair, MC5 Manager and Activist, Dies at 82: John Sinclair, a counterculture icon who managed Detroit rockers MC5 during their peak years, has died. He was 82. His representative confirmed that the Michigan native died of congestive heart failure, The Detroit News reported. In addition to managing MC5, Sinclair was known as a poet, a political activist, a vocal marijuana advocate and the leader of the White Panther Party, an anti-racist group named in response to the radical Black Panther Party."

ROT IN PERDITION: "Joe Lieberman, Iraq War Cheerleader and Killer of Public Option, Dead at 82: 'Joe Lieberman's legacy will live on as your medical debt' [...] 'Up until the very end, Joe Lieberman enjoyed the high-quality, government-financed healthcare that he worked diligently to deny the rest of us. That's his legacy,' said Melanie D'Arrigo, executive director of the Campaign for New York Health, which advocates for universal, single-payer healthcare. As Warren Gunnels, majority staff director for Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), explained, 'Joe Lieberman led the effort to ensure the Affordable Care Act did not include a public option or a reduction in the Medicare eligibility age to 55.'"
"Joe Lieberman and the Venality of Elite Bipartisanship [...] Lieberman was a reliable Bush ally on the 'war on terror' and other issues, and had long been a suspect Democrat, let alone progressive lawmaker in general. His entire career was built on his conservatism, having beaten (with the support of William F. Buckley) liberal Republican Lowell Weicker in 1988 in a campaign where he supported bombing Libya, invading Grenada, and maintaining the US freeze-out of Cuba, all of which Weicker opposed. Lieberman also supported the death penalty for drug traffickers, a stealth form of school prayer, and strict spending cuts for the purpose of balancing the budget."
Jeet Heer commenting to Rick Perlstein on Facebook: "There are many good people who died younger than they should have because Lieberman put the kibosh on the public option. Not to mention the many dead because of the criminal wars he supported. So I say that speaking ill of him is the best way to honor the innumerable dead." (Rick had posted a link to his own little tribute to Lieberman.)
This gallery was described to me as, "Joe Lieberman with a bunch of people I'd like to punch in the face," and wow, it's breathtaking!

"Subprime gadgets: The promise of feudal security: "Surrender control over your digital life so that we, the wise, giant corporation, can ensure that you aren't tricked into catastrophic blunders that expose you to harm": [Link] The tech giant is a feudal warlord whose platform is a fortress; move into the fortress and the warlord will defend you against the bandits roaming the lawless land beyond its walls. That's the promise, here's the failure: What happens when the warlord decides to attack you? If a tech giant decides to do something that harms you, the fortress becomes a prison and the thick walls keep you in."

Department of Great Deals: Camp David: "But wait. Didn't Barak, as his defenders say, offer Arafat land from Israel proper in return for the annexed 9 percent? Yes. But the terms of the trade bordered on insulting. In exchange for the 9 percent of the West Bank annexed by Israel, Arafat would have gotten land as large as 1 percent of the West Bank. And, whereas some of the 9 percent was choice land, symbolically important to Palestinians, the 1 percent was land whose location wasn't even specified. I'm trying to imagine Yasser Arafat selling this 9-to-1 land swap to Palestinians—who, remember, are divided into two camps: the 'return to 1967 borders' crowd and the 'destroy the state of Israel' crowd. I'm not succeeding. And Arafat would have had to explain other unpalatable details, such as Israeli sovereignty over Haram al-Sharif (site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque), which had been under Arab control before 1967 and is the third-holiest site in Islam. The Camp David offer also had features that kept it from amounting to statehood in the full sense of the term. The new Palestine couldn't have had a military and wouldn't have had sovereignty over its air space—Israeli jets would roam at will. Nor would the Palestinians' freedom of movement on the ground have been guaranteed. At least one east-west Israeli-controlled road would slice all the way across the West Bank, and Israel would be entitled to declare emergencies during which Palestinians couldn't cross the road. Imagine if a mortal enemy of America's—say the Soviet Union during the Cold War—was legally entitled to stop the north-south flow of Americans and American commerce. Don't you think the average American might ask: Wait a minute—who negotiated this deal?"

"Burning Man Was Never Radical: How the world's most famous countercultural event is actually a preeminent evangelist of traditional neoliberal values [...] Our modern neoliberal system eschews disciplinarian control in favour of a significantly more effective prison built on the principle of ubiquitous freedom. When everyone is believed to be free to lead any life that they choose, then the life that they are living must be a result of personal choices. Individual choice is seen — above all else — as the primary driver of change. Concerned about the warming climate? Shop local and drive less, never-mind the corporate emitters. Worried about waste in our oceans? Stop buying plastic straws, never-mind the disposable nature of continuous consumption. Systemic solutions to these problems are seen as either impossible, or made up entirely of the individual choices of independent consumers. If change isn't happening, consumers must not want it badly enough."

Chris Hedges interviews the general's son, "The IDF's war crimes are a perfect reflection of israeli society: Miko Peled, author and former member of IDF Special Forces, explains how Israel indoctrinates its citizens in anti-Palestinian racism from the cradle to the grave. [...] That's what this so-called heroism was, it was no heroism at all. It was a well-trained, highly motivated, well-indoctrinated, well-armed militia that then became the IDF. But when it started, it was still a militia or today they would be called a terrorist organization, that went up against the people who had never had a military force, who never had a tank, who never had a warplane, who never prepared, even remotely, for battle or an assault. Then you have to make a choice: How do you bridge this? The differences are not nuanced, the differences are enormous. The choice that I made is to investigate for myself and find out who's telling the truth and who isn't. And my side was not telling the truth."

Could it be true? Could ice cream be good for you? "Nutrition Science's Most Preposterous Result: Studies show a mysterious health benefit to ice cream. Scientists don't want to talk about it. [...] But the international media coverage didn't mention what I'd seen in Table 5. According to the numbers, tucking into a 'dairy-based dessert'—a category that included foods such as pudding but consisted, according to Pereira, mainly of ice cream—was associated for overweight people with dramatically reduced odds of developing insulin-resistance syndrome. It was by far the biggest effect seen in the study, 2.5 times the size of what they'd found for milk. 'It was pretty astounding,' Pereira told me. 'We thought a lot about it, because we thought, Could this actually be the case?'"

As God is my witness, I thought eggs could fly!

Play xkcd Machine.

Joni Mitchell - "Ladies of the Canyon"

1 comment:

  1. I never knew the the Trina of Joni's first verse, was that Trina. It is one of my favorite songs of hers. Especially having lived in LA during that time, it resonates, even now.