Saturday, July 20, 2002
Tour de France
j p, the Incomparable d'Monquis, sent me this link that I had been unaware of. It's a good piece on what multi-stage bicycle racing, especially the Tour de France, is all about. It also is the best writing I have seen on just what Lance Armstrong is accomplishing. The Tour de France, as a sporting event, has no equal — and Lance Armstong is becoming a Tour de France legend.
THE LONG RIDE
How did Lance Armstrong manage the greatest comeback in sports history?
A couple of weeks ago, on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, I found myself in the passenger seat of a small Volkswagen, careering so rapidly around the hairpin turns of the French Alps that I could smell the tires burning. Johan Bruyneel, the suave, unflappable director of the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, was behind the wheel. Driving at ninety kilometres an hour occupied half his attention. The rest was devoted to fiddling with a small television mounted in the dashboard, examining a set of complicated topographical maps, and talking into one of two radio transmitters in the car. The first connected Bruyneel to the team's support vehicle, laden with extra bicycles, water bottles, power bars, and other tools and equipment. The second fed into the earpieces of the eight U.S. Postal Service cyclists who were racing along the switchbacks ahead of us. The entire team could hear every word that Bruyneel said, but most of the time he was talking to just one man: Lance Armstrong. [more]
Another Postal One-Two; Armstrong, Heras tops in Stage 12
The sun was shining on Lance Armstrong at Friday's 199km stage 12 of the 2002 Tour de France. The three-time defending champion woke up wearing the maillot jaune for the 37th day of his career. Movie star buddy Robin Williams kept things light at the start, joking with fans and signing autographs. And though Friday's hot, long, five-climb stage through the French Pyrénées was much harder than Thursday's two-climb stage, the result was the same.
Armstrong won the stage in a much more familiar style, attacking with 6km to go. He dropped a group of 11 riders and finished alone. ONCE's Joseba Beloki fought the brave fight to finish third and solidified his hold on second place. [more]
OVERALL after 12 stages
1. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal, at 46 h 47:47.
2. Joseba Beloki (Sp), ONCE, at 02:28.
3. Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Sp), ONCE, at 03:19.
4. Raimondas Rumsas (Lit), Lampre, at 05:15.
5. Santiago Botero (Col), Kelme, at 05:44.
Tomorrow's stage will be mostly decent and flats. It will be a sprinter's race.
But the next day's race will be up a wall.
The curse of the Ventoux
The 'Giant of Provence' is not like other climbs.
Then a day's rest and then onto the Alps and the most difficult stage of the race.
Friday, July 19, 2002
From the Citizen Corps’ Citizen’s Preparedness Guidebook:
You have a great asset to draw upon-your experience-when deciding what blogging is suspicious. You know what is normal blogging. If a blog post seems to be outside the norm or frightening, let law enforcement and authorities know. Just remember it’s your job to watch out and report. Let law enforcement officials handle the investigation and take further action. That is what they are trained to do.
When reporting suspicious blogging please cut and paste the offending post into the body of your email and include the URL.
Contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) immediately if you see blogging that
- states that the War on Terror is not done to fight evil but for America to secure oil supplies/transportation routes or to increase the approval ratings of the President.
- addresses academics and journalists such as Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, John Pilger, and Robert Fisk in a non-critical way.
- professes sympathy with the Palestinian cause or the civilian casualties of the War on Terror.
- shows concern for the erosion of civil liberties and the Constitution.
- implies that defense contractors and energy companies may monetarily gain from the War on Terror.
- calls America a “police state.”
- criticizes the Citizen Corps.
If you believe you have information that would help authorities, do not take any action other than to inform your local police department or the FBI as soon as possible. You can contact the FBI by
- calling your local FBI field office. To find out your local office go to www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/info.htm or check inside the front cover of your local phone book.
- reporting online at www.fbi.gov/complaint/terrorist .asp.
Conservatives are just as appalled by this as liberals. This following is from the Cato Institute.
One odd thing about this story is that is was broken by SMH of Australia on Monday July 15, certainly an odd place for a story this big to appear first. Then, as far as I can tell, it spread meme-like through blogdom that day and night, appearing on many. By Tuesday, major media was running the story. By Wednesday reaction was already strong against it.
"Sanitation is more important than independence", Mahatma Ghandi
Excerpts from the Human Waste Project, from WaterAid, "the UK’s only major charity dedicated exclusively to the provision of safe domestic water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion to the world’s poorest people. WaterAid works in 15 countries in Africa and Asia with a wide variety of different cultures and communities".
Improper disposal of human waste is one of the developing world’s most serious health problems. The statistics are staggering: nearly two million children die each year from diarrhoea.
The Gary Sheraton Hotel (465 Broadway, Gary, Indiana). "...The exact date of the hotel's closing is difficult to pin down - no record in the newspaper exists. Most accounts place it in 1984 or 1985, but it could have closed even a few years earlier. Thus a symbol of failed urban redevelopment overshadows City Hall only a few steps away - the mayor and the city council park their cars in what once was the hotel's shared front parking lot." From Lost Indiana. A fabulous chronicle of the lost, abandoned, and derelect.
Depression and Islam.
"Al Yusra is here to provide information about mental health issues in Islam. We are coming towards the time that the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mentioned in a hadith. This is the time when mental illnesses will be prevalent. One of the coming signs of the Day of Judgment is that people believers and non-believers will "lose their minds" and suffer from mental illnesses. These mental illness manifest themselves in a number of areas such as depression, paranoia, post-partum depression, pre-menstrual syndrome, amongst others.
There are solutions out there for the believers although there is very limited information that has been compiled in one place for Muslims. Our goal is to find all of the information available and place it here at Al Yusra. "
israelinsider: Spreading the Secret
One of the best-kept secrets in Israel is that most Israelis are fed up with the occupation, and just want to get out.
E-mails Bare Coverup: "The Justice Department apparently didn't tell the whole truth when it denied that new curtains were meant to hide a bare-breasted statue that loomed over Attorney General John Ashcroft's news conferences."
Thursday, July 18, 2002
Scott Ritter: Bush Could Not Do More For Al-Qa'ida
You don't allow a friend to drive drunk. We have now got a drunk at the wheel of America; Britain needs to take the keys away from him.
Operation Snitch Is Comink!
to a neighborhood near You!
from the Op-Ed page of the SF Chronicle,
Peter Y. Sussman, Your Neighbor Is Watching.
my neighbor better expect an Eyeful!
Ralph Nader has taken much heat for his role in the 2000 election, but here is an article that reminds one why Mr. Nader became a candidate in the first place: cutting insight to the root of a problem being ignored by mainstream politicians. In this case, corporate greed and the sick form of capitalism being promoted by a bough-and-paid-for government:
"Corporate socialism" -- the privatization of profit and the socialization of risks and misconduct -- is displacing capitalist canons. This condition prevents an adaptable capitalism, served by equal justice under law, from delivering higher standards of living and enlarging its absorptive capacity for broader community and environmental values. Civic and political movements must call for a decent separation of corporation and state.
McRice meals rattle small Hong Kong restaurants. "With McDonald's charging HK$22 (S$5) for the rice meal, local restaurants fear the marketing push will gobble up their remaining market share. Business has been bad enough this year, with dozens of traditional Chinese eateries closing down amid an economic slump and a record unemployment rate of 7.7 per cent."
Hamas and Hezbollah supporters sue Bush and Powell. "The suit's anonymous plaintiffs focus their complaints on Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the leaders of the Israeli military and security services, whom Cohen accuses of 'genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, racketeering, acts of murder and torture, bodily harm, arson, kidnapping,' and other crimes. They target Bush and Powell for allegedly failing to comply with federal laws requiring the executive branch to certify to Congress if U.S.-made weapons exported abroad were used to commit human rights abuses. In this regard, the suit also targets American arms manufacturers, including Boeing, McConnell-Douglas, and Textron-Bell Helicopter. The plaintiffs also accuse American Jewish and Christian groups, including a Lutheran church, of crimes because they sent aid to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank."
Gaza and the West Bank: Israel’s present and future penal colonies
The deep background of the recent conflict is Israel’s post-Oslo military plan for total control of the Palestinian majority areas. Its pretext might be a war on terror; its underlying logic is to reduce the population of the occupied territories to destitution. From the consequences of this nightmare prospect, there is no escape except full Israeli withdrawal.
The new stage of Israel’s ‘separation’ can no longer be compared to the apartheid system in South Africa. As Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa’s Minister of Water Affairs, said in an interview with Al Ahram Weekly (28 March–3 April 2002): “the South African apartheid regime never engaged in the sort of repression Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians.” We are witnessing the daily invisible killing of the sick and wounded who are being deprived of medical care, the weak who cannot survive in the new conditions of poverty, and those who are bound to reach starvation.
Nevertheless, the public debate in Israel revolves around questions of efficiency. Is it possible to stop terror by such methods? Even if so, is it permitted? Is this what we (Israelis) want to be? [more]
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Ex-U.S. Officials Warn that U.S. Policies Threaten Repression
Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher and former FBI and CIA chief William Webster challenged administration policies dealing with terrorism suspects Tuesday, and Christopher warned that secrecy threatens to lead America down a path to repression... In a panel discussion of national security and civil rights, Christopher raised the specter of the kind of repression once common in Argentina.
MOACIR: Works by Moacir Soares Farias. "...Moacir Soares Farias is an artist that lives in São Jorge, a small village next to the entrance of the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park in the state of Goiás. 'Seu Nô' suffers from bone malformation, and has speech and hearing impediments. Nowadays he lives off his art, but before he searched for crystals. He began drawing on local stones using colored rocks when he was eight years old. Crying, he would often ask his mother to make his visions stop. Most of his works are done with crayons. He paints and draws his visions. According to him, the images he creates are all things he sees. Moacir has no formal art instruction, and believes in the beings he depicts in his paintings." New from Lost Art em São Paulo. (br)
Barak: A Villa in the Jungle
by Uri Avnery
A well-known Israeli theater critic once left the opening performance of a new play after the first five minutes and then wrote a withering review about it. When his colleagues said that this was unfair, he answered: "I don't have to eat the whole egg in order to know that it is rotten."
One does not have to read the whole long interview with Ehud Barak, published in The New York Review of Books (June 13, 2002), in order to know that he is - well, not exactly an enlightened statesman. It is enough to read the following words of his:
"They (the Palestinians, and especially Arafat) are the products of a culture in which to tell a lie…creates no dissonance. They don't suffer from the problem of telling lies that exists in Judeo-Christian culture. Truth is seen as an irrelevant category…The deputy director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation told me that there are societies in which lie detector tests don't work, societies in which lies do not create cognitive dissonance (on which the tests are based)."
This passage speaks volumes. [more]
The Right of Return
by Uri Avnery
The new scarecrow is the “Right of Return”. Not as a practical problem, to be dealt with in rational terms, but as a hair-raising monster: now the Palestinians’ sinister design has been revealed! They want to eliminate Israel by this terrible ploy! The want to throw us into the sea!
The Right of Return has again widened the abyss, which seemed to have been narrowed to a rift. We are frightened again. The end of our state! The end of the vision of generations! A second Holocaust!
It seems that the abyss is unbridgeable. The Arabs demand that each and every Palestinian refugee return to his home and land in Israel. The Israelis staunchly object to the return of even one single refugee. On both sides, everything or nothing. There goes the peace.
In the following lines I shall try to show that the scarecrow is indeed a scarecrow; that even this painful problem can be resolved; that a fair compromise can even lead to a historic conciliation. [more]
This is hilarious: Scoobie's Interview With Ann Coulter . . . I found this just tonite via MeFi, and, perhaps, by coincidence, had never heard of Scoobie until yesterday (well, Monday now), when I saw him highly recommended by The Rittenhouse Review--another site which is new to me. Scoobie's main site is here.
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
BECAUSE WE'RE JUST NOT KILLING ALL THE COOL STUFF ON EARTH FAST ENOUGH....
New bill allows the US Navy to use ultra high frequency sonar waves to detect the new quieter subs of China and Russia, more than likely harming marine mammals who use sonar themselves...bad enough- but the pathetic joke is that the 4 ships scheduled to use this sonar are "supposed to check visually to see if there are any turtles or marine mammals in the vicinity, and turn it off if there are..." Ummm... right.
"Environmentalists' fears are partly based on the Navy's deployment of a powerful mid-range sonar in March 2000 during a submarine detection exercise in the deep water canyons of the Bahamas.
At least 16 whales and two dolphins beached themselves on the islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama and North Eleuthera within hours. Eight whales died. Scientists found hemorrhaging around the brain and ear bones, injuries consistent with exposure to loud sounds."
Brothers and sisters, can I get a "Duh"!
Cara Scissoria has political greeting cards, done in collage style. That's Dubya poking his head in the door, with the caption saying "Did someone say dim son?".
Rantburg Reports - Tehran Coppers Tear Gas Workers
"Iranian police on Tuesday used tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesting workers in central Tehran after they tried to storm the labour ministry, witnesses told AFP. Hundreds of workers, protesting against low wages, pushed their way through the ministry's entrance in the centre of the city, witnesses said."
"They don't need jobs! They need religion! If they were devout, by Allah, they wouldn't worry about their families starving! Ardeshir, flog them!"
Operation RATS - the Retrograde Activities and Treachery System -
will be a nationwide program giving millions of American bigots, paranoiacs, nosy neighbors, snoops, snobs, and others a formal way to report innocent actions by others that offend them. Operation RATS, a project of the U.S. Department of Anachronisms, will begin as a pilot program in 10 cities that will be selected based on the number of statues they have erected to Senator Joseph McCarthy ...
Neighborhood Watch or... the U.S. Republic of Fear?
(Adding something to a previous post...)
"Who is an informer? In Ba'athist Iraq the answer is anybody."(1) And in the United States of America? One million informers in just 10 cities?
In August, the pilot stage will begin of operation TIPS - the Terrorism Information and Prevention System. The Washington Post summarizes: operation TIPS will, in the pilot stage, involve a million workers, who, "in the daily course of their work, are in a unique position to serve as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement." It will offer them "training ... in how to look out for suspicious and potentially terrorist-related activity." It will also provide "a formal way to report" that activity "through a single and coordinated toll-free number."
The Opinion Journal is being rhetorical, doesn't see any reason for concern and compares it to the Neighborhood Watch. Ritt Goldstein, in the Sydney Morning Herald, compares the system to the Stasi secret police of former East Germany. Goldstein warns and plays with numbers:
"[TIPS] means the US will have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East Germany ...
... According to a 1992 report by Harvard University's Project on Justice, the accuracy of informant reports is problematic, with some informants having embellished the truth, and others suspected of having fabricated their reports.
... The targeted individual will remain unaware of the existence of the report and of its contents.
The Patriot Act already provides for a person's home to be searched without that person being informed that a search was ever performed, or of any surveillance devices that were implanted."
The Washington Post writes that the description on the TIPS website poses more questions than answers. And those questions have to be answered:
"Public vigilance is a good thing ... But having the government recruit informants among letter carriers and utility workers - people who enter the homes of Americans for reasons unrelated to law enforcement - is an entirely different matter. Americans should not be subjecting themselves to law enforcement scrutiny merely by having cable lines installed, mail delivered or meters read. Police cannot routinely enter people's houses without either permission or a warrant. They should not be using utility workers to conduct surveillance they could not lawfully conduct themselves."
The quote with which I started this post (1) is from the book "Republic of Fear, The Politics of Modern Iraq" by Samir al-Khalil. Some more food for thought from his book:
"Nothing fragments group solidarity and self-confidence like the gnawing suspicion of having an informer in your midst. Therefore, to the extent that the public polices itself - a function of the number of informers - it inevitably disintegrates as an entity in its own right, separated from those who rule over it. Informer networks invade privacy and choke off all willingness to act in public or reflect upon politics, replacing these urges with a now deeply instilled caution. In so doing they destroy the reality of the public domain, relegating what little remains to a dark and shadowy existence. In such a world the more well-known violence of state institutions - executions, "disappearances", murders, reprisals, torture - take on a new societal meaning. Nothing is as it seems, and nothing can be taken for granted. (Page 63.)"
"The Ba'thist [the party in power in Iraq - IB] postulate that society depends for its very existence on having an unbreachable basic moral norm entails as a necessary consequence that all deviance is immediately and directly an act of treason. The new Arab order must be a seamless moral web. This is the fundamental source of the party's coherence, and its license to violence. (Page 206.)"
"Once political identity is accepted as belief in an absolute moral imperative, and once morality itself is seen as a striving for perfection towards an unrealizable ideal, then no aspect of conduct is in principle outside the purview of the political organization of the state. Moreover, there is no way to avoid the implication that such all-embracing interference is justified. Justice as the problem of arbitrating between claims on society (rights) never arises, and is not expected to rise. (Page 208.)"
For those readers who are a little confused now: TIPS is an American project, not an Iraqi project. So, nothing to worry about... of course...
where will we find salvation & relief...
from the woes besetting us, courtesy the current administration?
from Robert Scheer, courtesy the L.A. Times,
Cheney's Grimy Trail in Business.
The IDF shuts away the sea at Rafah
by Amira Haas
The entire coast-line between Rafah and Dir al-Balah has been closed to Palestinians. IDF positions, replete with rifles poking out of watchposts, and the occasional jeep or larger army vehicle which races up and down the road, ensure that nobody trespasses beyond clearly demarcated borders. The sea, a natural place of escape from the over-bearing heat and an idyllic leisure spot for children during the summer holiday, has become an inaccessible place visited only in dreams.
It cannot be reached, even though it's only a 10-minute walk, or a two- minute car ride away. Those who have permits remind themselves what the waves are like when they travel up to Gaza City. But these are just a minority of lucky Rafah residents; few have the NIS 14 needed for a round- trip journey.
During recent months, when the IDF has enforced a policy of "cutting-up" and isolating the Gaza Strip, and has blocked movement between northern and southern areas for hours or days, the sea off the Gaza coast has become no more than a memory. [more]
Monday, July 15, 2002
Two Blogs of Interest to someone. But who???
"Manufacturing Consent since 2002" - and mincing no words about wrongheaded individuals, groups and viewpoints in the process!
"Devoted to smashing conspiracy theories and humiliating their purveyors!"
Posting these items feels a little like tuning in to Radio Moscow for better coverage of your own country's nuclear freeze movement ... or turning on Rush Limbaugh because he's sufficiently upset with your buddies that he's putting them all over the national airwaves for free. Perhaps someone's up for digging through the informational manure and "spreading it skillfully on the field of enlightenment," as the guru suggested.
Homeland Security May Require Environmental Sacrifices
The Bush administration's proposed new Department of Homeland Security could cause a variety of harmful environmental side effects, ranging from increases in invasive species to restricting the types of information available to the public.
Earlier in the week, House and Senate committees debated provisions of homeland security legislation that would exempt industries providing security information from the Freedom of Information Act.
One such provision would bar the federal government from disclosing information regarding environmental hazards, health hazards, product defects and other dangers, including reports of accidental spills. The exemption also would give industry shelter from the consequences of violating the nation's environmental, consumer protection, and health and safety laws...
Military-industrial-complex salesman G W Bush in Poland. "We hope the Polish government picks quality. If they do they will of course come our way. We will offer a fabulous product called the F-16 and we will work with our friends in order to compete on an above-board basis."
Arthur Andersen was everywhere
Halliburton, formerly headed by Vice President Cheney is being investigated by the SEC for questionable accounting practices, while Harken, the firm that Dubya was a director of, had similar accounting practices challenged successfully by the SEC.
Halliburton and Harken had the same outside auditor. Arthur Andersen. What a coincidence.
But there's more. The former head lawyer for this accounting firm, Harvey Pitt, now heads the SEC, the very entity charged with the investigations. I'm sure he'll be completely unbiased, aren't you?
Sunday, July 14, 2002
Thank God I'm a fuckin' Canadian. US planning to recruit one in 24 Americans as citizen spies. "The Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS, means the US will have a higher percentage of citizen informants than the former East Germany through the infamous Stasi secret police. The program would use a minimum of 4 per cent of Americans to report 'suspicious activity.'" Here's the Citizen's Corps website.
This is excellent background on the colonization of Palestine by European Jews and how colonization ultimately corrupts the colonizers. Not to mention the resultant destruction of the native inhabitants — the Palestinians.
A Process of Dehumanization
Raping the Palestinians
Massacre, theft, torture, destruction, and ethnic cleansing: the Palestinian native is well aware of his history-not an ancient history recalled through myths and symbols, but a sharp, painful history reinforced decade upon decade, day upon day, hour upon hour. It is not the history of the comforting textbook held in one's hand, but of the dagger thrust into one's side. The Palestinian cannot-no, dare not-forget it, not if he wishes to stay alive at any rate. For if he fails to remember that his home may come crashing over his head at the whim of a bulldozer, that his crops may burn at the arrival of a settler, that his life may be ended at the command of a soldier, he is all but finished. [more]
A Process of Dehumanization
Raping the Palestinians
Part Two: Brutalities of Colonial Occupation
Following the 1967 war Israel seized East Jerusalem, forced out all of the 6,500 residing Palestinians, and bulldozed their religious centers. The UN reported that by 1971, 48 Palestinian villages were destroyed, and by 1974 the Red Cross counted almost 20,000 Palestinian homes crushed by Israeli bulldozers. The surviving refugees joined their 1948 counterparts in squalid camps. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders had come to a certain consensus about the nature of their victims, namely that they were all animals. "Two-legged beasts", "grasshoppers", "snakes", "drugged insects", "cockroaches"-terms employed not by random Israeli fanatics, but rather very well-placed ones, i.e. prime ministers, defense ministers, and so forth-have been used to describe, or rather dehumanize, Palestinians. One wonders if Israeli leadership plans on erecting zoos across the country to house the newly dispossessed 'Negroes': it would be a welcome respite from the hovels and ghettoes that comprise much of the Occupied Territories. [more]
listening to NPR on a sunday morn...
caught the news re item in the Charlotte Observer,
decoding the prices Duke Energy sold electricity to
California utilities during last year's "energy shortage"...
Duke prices in California soared,
a fine piece of reporting by Stella M. Hopkins.
The Bush Administration today issued a red alert for a new "suspected terrorist", saying they have received important confidential information that the Bogeyman, long thought to be just an imaginary childhood fear, is actually real and further, is a long-time member of underground terror organization Al Qaieda.
"Children should have their parents look under the bed for them, or have trained Office of Homeland Security agents do it", warned a spokesperson. They also advised citizens to be on the lookout for the Wicked Witch of the West and the Big Bad Wolf.