Thursday, September 27, 2007

Real Courage

The man on the ground in this picture is Nagai Kenji, a Japanese photo-journalist. Actually I should say that he was a Japanese photo-journalist. The military junta that has ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, for decades has seen the largest anti-governement protests since 1988, when over 3,000 people were killed. Buddhist monks started publicly protesting about a month ago in response to the removal of price controls on fuel that doubled fuel costs. The protests and marches have gained support and momentum with each passing week. The last two days the governement has responded to these calls for redress with curfews, beatings, arrests and now by killing protesters.

This Japanese photographer was covering the protests when soldiers moved in and fired into the crowd to disperse it. He was shot and wounded, during which time he was still attempting to take more pictures. He later died.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sam's last night @ B-61

Monday, September 24, 2007


Conservatives may claim that, unlike liberals, they have backbone. In reality, liberals have backbone also, the difference is we choose to use the brain that rests atop it.

On Monday, Sept. 24 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got to speak at Columbia University. Shortly after stepping onto the stage, he would surely regret it. While close minded, lock-step conservatives and strutting chicken hawks, from the once admired John McCain to the unintelligent cesspool that is Rush Limbaugh, screamed bloody murder about Ahmadinejad being allowed to speak at Columbia, Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia, had different plans. See video below of his opening remarks before Ahmadinejad spoke:

What the McCains, Limbaughs and FoxNews-philes of the world don't understand in their limited black and white intellectual spheres, is that by letting someone talk freely, doesn't mean you agree with them. Indeed, sometimes the more you let someone like Ahmadinejad speak, the more of an idiotic, lying despot they appear. You'd have thought the Republicans would have figured that out after six years of Bush.

Lee Bollinger called Ahmadinejad out - to his face, by the way - not by blathering into a TV studio camera or a radio microphone. In case anyone forgot, Bollinger's pointed, stern, yet humble closing remark is what real intellectual leadership looks like. This video is from YouTube, we should hope it gets many millions of hits in Mr. Ahmadinejad's home country.

Goldstein of the Week

Yes, once again George Orwell must be somewhere laughing - or crying - or both. On the heels of al-Qaeda's fall season video premiers over the last couple of weeks. including "Tora Bora Martyr Makeover", the media and assorted local New York and national political 'leaders' have turned their collective blood-lust onto a new target- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Case in point:

Ahmadinejad announced last week that he wanted to visit ground zero, ostensibly to lay a wreath to honor the dead. The dead that he thinks were killed by a Zionist conspiricy, of course. I was of the opinion that he should've been allowed there, however surrounded by a few dozen members of the Ironworkers local, some off duty members of 'NYs finest' and a few guys from a half dozen FDNY ladder companies to boot. My guess is if he was stupid enough to go into his 'America is Satan' schtick at that point, he would've been choking on his own teeth after about ten seconds. Maybe these were the 'security concerns' that officials cited last week in their denial of his request.

That said, I think all the haters need to take a deep breath. If an auditorium full of Columbia undergrads and graduate students can't intellectually slice up this guy nine ways to Sunday, then we may have a bigger problem than we think. Actually, excluding the Holocaust denying, the Israel map wiping off and the Zionist 9/11 conspiricy stuff, this guy makes some valid points. Really, what has he said that was any more idiotic than "they want to take away our freedom"? Uhhh, no George, I don't think they give a shit about our freedom, and besides, they're not taking it away, YOU ARE! Not to mention making a holy f#*king mess out of everything you touch.

What gets a lot less play is that Ahmadinejad may actually be worse at running Iran than Bush is at running our country. Despite sky-high oil prices, employment is down in Iran, poverty is up, there is more underground unrest and the government is much less secular than in recent years - oops, my mistake - I guess we'll call that last one even.

(the style of this post inspired by JS, BM and of course HST)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Seen in Soho

9:38 am, 9/21. Lieutenant Petrosino square, Lafayette & Centre sts.

Sent from Mike Webster's Treo 680

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jena 6 Update

Today, 9/20/07, the NAACP has organized a protest in Jena, La that will probably outnumber the number of residents in the town (3600). Coverage here from The Washington Post.

So far, fortunately, things have remained peaceful.

The Jena situation has remained in the dark until the last couple of weeks, but the bright light of sunshine is the best disinfectant.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Hearst Tower

W. 57th St. @ 8th ave. NYC

Designed by Norman Foster - Foster and Partners. Opened, May 2006.

Sent from Mike Webster's Treo 680

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"Our Long National Nightmare Continues"

In the shadow of General Petreus' long awaited report on the status of the Iraqi troop 'surge', George Packer in The New Yorker has written a sobering - and depressing - assessment of our way forward. At the end of the piece, he dismally concludes:

"The war was born in the original sins of deceptive salesmanship, divisive politics, and wishful thinking about the aftermath. The bitterness of that history continues to undermine American interests in Iraq and the Middle East today. President Bush will have his victory at any cost, with one eye on his next Churchillian speech and the other on his place in history, leaving the implementation of his war policy to an Administration that works at cross purposes with itself, promising freedom and delivering rubble. The opposition is plainly eager to hang a defeat around his neck and move on from what it always regarded as Bush’s war. Before the U.S. can persuade the world to unite around a shared responsibility for Iraq, Americans will have to do it first. The problems created by the war will require solutions that don’t belong to a single political party or President: the rise of Iranian power, the emergence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, the radicalization of populations, the huge refugee crisis, the damage to a new generation of Iraqis who are growing up amid the unimaginable. Whenever this country decides that the bloody experience in Iraq requires the departure of American troops, complete disengagement will be neither desirable nor possible. We might want to be rid of Iraq, but Iraq won’t let it happen." (The New Yorker, 9/17/07)

Packer also draws the obvious conclusion that though many would like to make comparisons between our involvement in Iraq and the Vietnam war, the consequences of our folly this time around will be much more damaging.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

How Will He Reach the Gas Pedal?

Received in the mail on 9/14/07 (click on image for larger version):

An explanation here, for those not in the know...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Seen over the East River

Manhattan Bridge west tower

7:00 pm, 9/13/07

The burner still lives in NYC

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Where's Atticus?

(Thanks to Kat for the tip on this story)

The story of racial divisions between black and white students at Jena High School in Jena, Louisiana is, unfortunately, the type of tale that may be somewhat commonplace, though fortunately, far less common than in the past. However, the way that the authorities in Jena are handling the situtation could make one rub one's eyes in disbelief that this is happening in 2007 and not 1957 or 1937. This article from a story on NPR's 'All Things Considered' on July 30th outlines the escalation of events that led to the trial of the 'Jena 6'. Here is a follow-up piece from NPR on 9/7.

The articles talk about the heinous behavior of the students involved on both sides of the racial divide as racial tensions at Jena High bubbled to the surface. What is truly - amazingly - repugnant is the clear racial discrimination of the DA and law enforcement in the town. From charging to sentencing to jury selection to the shear negligence of the public defender assigned to the Mychal Bell trial, the entire system seems blatently racist.
"The first to go to court was Mychal Bell, the team's star running and defensive back. Bell's court-appointed lawyer refused to mount any defense at all, instead resting his case immediately after two days of government presentation. An all-white jury found Bell guilty." ( 7/30/07)

At least in 'To Kill a Mockingbird', Tom Robinson had Atticus Finch actually fighting for him.

If you're as outraged as I, please sign this online petition at

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Timeline

Well, another slick little gear-shift by the Bush administration this week. According to The Washington Post:

"President Bush plans to formally embrace the drawdown of U.S. forces as recommended by Petraeus yesterday, U.S. officials said today. In a speech scheduled for Thursday at 9 p.m., Bush will tell the nation he plans to end the 30,000-troop surge into Iraq by next summer but will caution that those and further cuts depend on continued progress in Iraq, the officials said."
Now mind you, if the 30,000 troop surge is ended by next summer, there will still be 130,000+ troops still there and at least that many private contractors. Additionally, ending the surge by next summer sounds an awful lot like Bush is setting a timeline. Yes, a timeline, that word that Bush heaped such disdain on after the new Democratic majority arrived in town last year. That word that practically caused Cheney and other neo-con think-tankers to spit blood.

Whether he's trying to steal the Democrats' thunder by talking timelines and troop cuts or simply making decisions in a political (and reality) vacuum, the fact remains that Bush won't be doing anything substantive to clean up his own mess. That will be up to the next resident of 1600 Penn. ave.

Seen on Columbia St.

Hello all! After taking a year away from the blog, I've decided to get back to it. I've now set it up for mobile blogging, so that I can post from almost anywhere at anytime with my Treo 'smartphone' - even with photos or video.

My 'plan' is that some of my posts now will be a little more fun, some more 'breaking news' oriented and with more about what's happening in my little corner of Brooklyn. Of course, if something nationally outrages me, I still have my poison pen at the ready, รก la Tierra del Ciego, v. 1.0