In a statement made this past Friday, The F.B.I. revealed that they responded to a request by a foreign government [later identified as the Russians] for background information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 by "[using] U.S. government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history."
I get most of that - i.e., that most of that information could be culled from digital records generated by the normal processes/mechanics of business. Where I get more than a little concerned is with the phrase "derogatory telephone communications."
[more over the bad Jackson Pollock imitation ...]
In case you missed it, the big celeb/entertainment news yesterday was that princess Kate Middleton was pregnant and, given her royal lot in life, had gone to the hospital to get treated for morning sickness. The poor dear.
It took awhile for reporters to get the news that it was, in Kate's defense, a bit more than the normal morning sickness. So they, to be fair, began reporting that it was "severe," and then someone let them know she had a condition called HG (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) which they then began reporting as "an extreme form of morning sickness."
But calling HG extreme morning sickness is kind of like calling decapitation a bad sore throat. I know because my daughter had it, and you should know too, in case you or someone you love has the same misfortune.
Follow me over the fold.
Welcome to edition number 2 of a series introduced last Sunday. This week I have six more short films for you (total watching time: about 15 minutes). As with last week's films, they illustrate what visual artists are doing with recent advances in camera and computer software technologies.
Did anyone bring popcorn?
Something is changing. In the past few years, advances in camera and computer technologies have converged in a way that is sending shockwaves out into the world of visual arts. While it is too soon to tell where all of this is leading, what is clear is that nothing will remain the same. Well, that and the very delightful fact that we are already witnessing an unprecedented burst of visual arts creativity. Care to take a look?
I got my first introduction to some of the old neighborhoods, or barrios, near downtown Tucson, Arizona, this past Friday. As a photographer, new places with lots of color and character are always a treat and this was no exception. Follow me over the fold to see what I saw ...
The Supreme Court today has handed corporations another major victory in their battle to screw individuals with impunity. In a 5-4 vote they have allowed corporations to force customers to use individual arbitration instead of class action suits.
This further erodes the ability of citizens to act collectively in their efforts to protect themselves from the actions of amoral corporations. It is similar in that regard to what we've recently seen happening to the rights of workers to bargain collectively.
Notice anything odd? Look at the headlines on the major news sites. Look at the Daily Kos Rec List. You can't prove by any of them that less than a week ago tens of thousands of people lost their lives. Worse, you can't tell that many, many more are (right now as you're reading this) homeless, hungry, cold and psychologically traumatized beyond comprehension.
Maybe it's just human nature that we're both fascinated by the invisible monsters that might attack us, like radiation, and quickly overwhelmed to the point of numbness when actual catastrophes are too big to even imagine. Maybe ...
"[S]omething that's always been the greatest strength of America is a thriving, booming middle class, where everybody has got a shot at the American Dream. And that should be our goal. That should be what we're focused on. How are we creating opportunity for everybody [pause] so that we celebrate wealth; we celebrate somebody like a Steve Jobs, who has created two or three different revolutionary products? We expect that person to be rich, and that's a good thing. We want that incentive. That's part of the free market." —President Obama, Dec. 22, 2010 Press Conference
My heart sank a little bit more when I first read this about a week ago. Is there any justification for hope if the only thing government can dream of is getting back to "booming?" Is there anyone left abstaining from the free market kool aid long enough to wonder how "Grow, baby! Grow!" could ever be anything but a recipe for disaster?
Dear Elected Representative,
Please allow me to put the BP oil spill catastrophe into perspective for you:
Maybe it's just me, but it sure seems that, for all the advances we've had in in our computers and web browsers, it still takes for-friggin-ever to get a lot of web pages to load. And maybe it's just because I'm getting old and have earned the right to be cranky that waiting for-friggin-ever to view some article with a promising headline only to find out it's some content-less crap journalism fluff piece is beyond annoying.
That's why I've been really enjoying something new that Google Labs has been working on. And I'm thinking it might be something you'll find useful, too.
You aren't going to like this diary, but that's okay.
You know that uneasy feeling you get when you see some war footage that makes real death and destruction look as inconsequential as a video game? I'd like to suggest that part of the unease comes from what such footage reveals about us. It is a visual metaphor for how we engage in our country's military aggression. That is to say, how we keep ourselves remote from the wars we start because they feel nicer that way.
Just replace the video monitors with our mainstream media. Replace the high-tech controls with our day-to-day political involvement as citizens of a democracy. Replace the almost miraculous guidance systems with our abstract political-religious values ... You see? There we are, blindly excelling at making war in such a way as to convince ourselves that it is always someone else's doing.
What this diary attempts to do is yank the data cable out of the machine and jam it right into your heart.
Like I said, you aren't going to like it. But you should read this diary anyway.
A little more than a year ago I introduced many of you to Leslie Kammerdiener in a diary entitled broken wings - can you help?. Leslie is the mother of Kevin, an Afghanistan War veteran who suffered a near-fatal traumatic brain injury, the result of a suicide bomber who struck the Humvee he and three other soldiers were in.
At the time of my posting that diary, Leslie was having terrible difficulties getting her son the quality of care he needed. In her 225th entry to the daily journal she began when she found out Kevin had been nearly killed (dated January 11, 2009) she writes this about the Veteran's care facility her son was in:
I feel so trapped. Trapped because I don't feel safe here and yet we really don't have anywhere else that we can go. There are only 4 polytrauma centers in the US (and most of the people here have come from one of those four because they were so bad).
(more over the fold ...)