September 2005

Media&Politics22 Sep 2005 08:22 pm

Monica Lewinsky Osama bin Laden

Which one of the above had more impact on world affairs in 2000? Why did the media focus on Monica and ignore Osama until it was too late?

Mainstream media deserves a major share in the blame game for ignoring the developing global terrorism stories connecting the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi and Tanzania, and the U.S.S. Cole bombing leading up to the 9/11/2001 terrorism attacks on U.S. soil. Instead, the press chose to host a juicy media circus, pandering to lowest common denominator advertising ratings driven tastes and engaging in wag the dog games with national security. Most Americans had never heard of al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden until the days after 9/11.

To her credit Molly Ivins has written an exemplary article asking for a Media Accountability Day and providing attention to Project Censored. Their Top Ten Stories not covered by Corporate Media:

1. Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government
2. Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Deathtoll
3. Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage
4. Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In
5. U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia
6. The Real Oil for Food Scam
7. Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood
8. Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates
9. Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
10. Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy

Yes, there are smart, studious people out there who do not appreciate being sold on repetitive simplistic sound bite themes, and then hood winked, having the wool pulled over their eyes, jerked around, blown off… you get the idea. Some of them are graduate students at top universities, such as Al Franken’s research team of 14 Harvard students who fact-checked statements made by the right wing media. Franken and his team dissects these loud mouthed phoneys, who broadcoast unaccountable idealogical opinions, sold as facts in, Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.
Al Franken's Lies And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them


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Money&Politics22 Sep 2005 07:22 am

Gold Bars

A friend who watches precious metals carefully, e-mailed me some warnings about the U.S. economy, as reflected in the rising price of gold, not to mention black gold:

“That gold is above $450 for many days is significant. That was a level that the NY manipulating banks working with the Federal Reserve were able to hold for a long time. Anyone who thought that Greenspan would not raise rates when this major mechanism failed was knaive of hearts and mines.

The whole world is watching as the US flounders in muck like a banana republic, and its president talks about spending vast unexpected sums in addition to huge current debt like a drug addict digging into the home equity line.”

A similar sentiment is expressed at The Binary Circumstance, banner sub-titled, “Things either exist or they don’t”:

“The Bush administration and the Republican Congress do not raise taxes or veto any spending bills which means the only way to pay off the debt is for the government to counterfeit more money.

I think I can hear them starting up those printing presses now.

That means inflation.

Inflation is a hidden tax on wages, savings and the value of the U.S. currency which all decline in relation to hard assets like real estate and gold.”

Here is an interesting article about silver and metal prices by “the Optimist.” He predicts the price of silver will explode.

“For all those readers who have slept through the last week, the Optimist is excited to tell you that the price of gold has surged to $460, its highest price in almost two decades. Speaking of sleeping, however, the price of silver has been disappointingly dull compared to gold. Although everyone knows that silver will more than double from its current price of $7.20, and will eventually multiply by a factor with one or more zeros (i.e., 10, or 100, or 1,000, etc.), the key question everyone asks is when the explosion will happen.”

In a further reality check, the market analysis blog Rampant Speculations’ banner includes a great quote from sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” His article warns,

“The strength in gold and the weakness in high yield bonds of late cannot be good news for the finance based US economy.”

That about sums it up. The only logic I can see behind our leadership in U.S. government is that they prefer fewer rich elite people to compete with.

For historic gold price information, see charts at the Gold Information Network.

The Gold Bug

General11 Sep 2005 07:55 pm

Clarence Gatemouth Brown

The talented old Southern country blues man, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown passed away today. In poor health, and losing his home near New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina was too much blues to bear. This was a road trip Gatemouth had not signed up for.

Had the pleasure of watching and photographing Gatemouth perform awhile back. He was a rare character with an infectious smile, mischievious gleaming eyes, and able to make his guitar speak. Can’t help but feel the loss of a lineage going back through T. Bone Walker to Robert Johnson of original African-American musicians. He mixed Cajun zydeco, fluid jazz riffs and country fiddle into his sound. He was a corker.

Money&Politics08 Sep 2005 07:42 pm

“If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break,
When The Levee Breaks I’ll have no place to stay.”
– (Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant/Memphis Minnie)

Environmental Protection? What Did President Bush Do? Read David Remnick‘s coverage…
(excerpt below)

“In an era of tax cuts for the wealthy, Bush consistently slashed the Army Corps of Engineers’ funding requests to improve the levees holding back Lake Pontchartrain. This year, he asked for $3.9 million, $23 million less than the Corps requested. In the end, Bush reluctantly agreed to $5.7 million, delaying seven contracts, including one to enlarge the New Orleans levees. Former Republican congressman Michael Parker was forced out as the head of the Corps by Bush in 2002 when he dared to protest the lack of proper funding.”

See also John McPhee’s “The Sunken City”.

Led Zeppelin Lyrics, “When The Levee Breaks.”

Led Zeppelin in New Orleans

Media&Technology05 Sep 2005 04:38 pm

Google Maps Satellite View of New Orleans Superdome Before Hurricane Katrina and After

Checking out Google Maps to locate some neighborhoods where I had spent time in New Orleans. They have some post Katrina satellite photos up.

Much more detailed satellite photos showing the path of Hurrican Katrina can be found by going to Space Imaging and at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. From what I can tell, the ocean and atmosphere appear to be way beyond administration.

General03 Sep 2005 09:47 pm

New Orleans Parade, Jan. 1978 near Octavia Street

Just got through to my long time friend Bill Roberts on the phone tonight. He survived Hurricane Katrina! The electrical power just came back in St. Charles Parrish where he lives, and his home survived. Located a bit west of the city of New Orleans, he was fortunate not to be flooded. He just returned after evacuating north, finding the last motel room in a rundown place not listed on the internet.

Mardis Gras New Orleans 1978

In the early 70’s Bill moved from Miller Place, L.I., New York to New Orleans, with a head and heart full of ideas to write poetry and literature. He worked at the Brennan family’s Commander’s Palace restaurant and later transitioned into oil and gas related service companies. He invited me to come down and visit, so I did, a number of times.

Mardis Gras Clowns New Orleans

For a New Yorker, the city is magnetic, possessing many similarities: old world charm, a great coastal seaport, famous food and entertainment, struggles between rich and poor classes, and international flavor attracting tourism and late night partiers.

Mardis Gras New Orleans 1978

On a long visit in 1978, I stayed from early January working at Commanders Palace until business slowed down after the Mardis Gras festival. The town is very dependent upon conventioneers and tourism. During that Mardis Gras, which was cold and wet, I shot these black and white photos with a 16mm Minox “spy” camera. Bill was Harpo and I was a Clockwork Orange Clown.

Mardis Gras New Orleans 1978

Later on in the 90’s I returned to New Orleans as a SIGGRAPH computer graphics conventioneer twice.

Mardis Gras New Orleans 1978

I stayed at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Piano Bar in the French Quarter too late, overslept and missed my flight home the next morning!

New Orleans Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar

The visiter to New Orleans tends to forget about such things as punctuality, while releasing stress, and then not wanting to leave. That is, while the place is enjoying good times, not when under attack of a gigantic storm.


From what Bill told me tonight, this is devastation of Biblical proportions, and large pieces of coastal waterways have been taken away by surging ocean waters. Although he sounded as though things were getting back to normal, he also warned that all kinds of food and materials normally imported through New Orleans will be delayed and in short supply.

New Orleans Mardis Gras 1978

I hope this event draws more attention to preparing our own fragile infrastructure at home in the United States. The storm exposed many neglected problems and created more. There is much work to be done. New Orleans and much of the Mississippi coastline will come out better for it.

People’s Photos of Hurricane Katrina on Flickr.

Interesting quotes from the media, asking why our government failed to do more.