January 31, 2007

Creation and Destruction


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Aren't these creative? They are grazing on a lawn in a town by the sea. It occurred on me that making birch reindeer may be an old Scandinavian custom, but a quick and googlie research project yields next to nothing. Real live birch trees have however been chopped up in the process, raising the question of whether this project is purely creative, or could be viewed as destructive as well, from a certain point of view.

Natalie d'Arbeloff and her snappy altercartoon Augustine have published "The God Interviews" which you can order in print, download, or sample ( if you scroll down some....sorry) All of us here at Dakota find the Interviews very creative, but can imagine that there may be some fundamentalists who would would not, since the interviews puncture the more primitive projections of what/who/where constitutes God.

On the other hand, there are those projects that are essentially destructive (in our humble opinion) but amazingly creative., like the National Rifle Association's Graphic Novel .

Or how about the creativity required to develop a harmless new weapon . The Active Denial System (catchy name) is a neuroincineratior, that microwaves a human target , and causes said target to feel like they are about to burst into flames -- a sensation that is said to make an enemy want to drop his weapon. Ingenuity at its finest. Soon they will be adapting these things for low scar tissue torture -- a thriving market under this administration.

And how about "Scooter" Libby who was asked to destroy Joe Wilson, created a story for the grand jury, .and now it looks like he's going to destroy the wraps under which the illegal manipulations of this adminsitration have taken place.

All in a day of living in duality.

Photo note: Reindeer grazing on a lawn in a city by the sea, but you already knew that

Posted by Dakota at 05:10 PM

January 29, 2007

Peeking through the Curtains


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David's upstairs neighbor, Sophina, began leaving him notes. David published her notes on his blog in the collection entitled The Astoria Notes.

Meanwhile, while looking for material that might interest the kids who struggle with reading in his high school English class, Ryan discovered "The Astoria Notes" on David's blog. Ryan asked David's permission to use them for a class exercise. The results are entitled "Dear Sophina".

Ready for another behind-the-curtain peek? Another creative collaboration? This one requires a little concentration, but it's important. It's about creating a war.

"Scooter" Libby's defense team just released certain documents that had previously been classified. Fortunately for democracy, eRiposte , a blogger at The Left Coaster, who has been following the lies that led up to the invasion of Iraq for quite sometime, was right on top of it.

If a Peeping Tom were to pay close attention, there's alot of underwear to be seen --Tony Blair's, Pat Robertson's, Colin Powell's, and the CIA's.

Okay, it's complicated, but thanks to Patience of comment #13 and Dave Chappelle, we have the film version.

The lesson: In the age of cyberattention, even though Big Brother may be watching us, we're watching him, and taking pictures with our cellphones. Our politicians are being held accountable for their words and actions.

Then, of course, there are those who have stopped bothering to hide their actions altogether, and shamelessly screw the nation right out in public.

Photo note: A pretty picture for not such a pretty picture.

Posted by Dakota at 08:22 PM

January 28, 2007



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Up close and out of focus

Highly scattered.

Spent yesterday getting my ducks in a row because, when I tried to apply for a visa, I discovered that I had only three months left before my passport expires. China requires six. As a consequence, I need an expedited passport, as well as a visa. You know how much I love having my picture taken ---slightly more than I like filling out forms and paying late fees.

Have I neglected to mention that I'm going to China for a couple of weeks at the end of the month? Since others in my party have spent time in the big Chinese cities, and I am loathe to vacation in pollution and chill, we are headed southwest to Dali and Lijaing.

I will, of course, take my camera. I have recently been saturated with breathtaking photos of China from Fodor's -- Let's face it, the entire country has already been shot, and beautifully. I have, nonetheless, ordered two 2GB cards for my trusty digital. I will try to learn how to do a panorama before I leave, but don't count on it. Upon my return, I will undoubtedly toss my collection into cyberspace, with 60 million others.

The saddest thing --- Fodor's, or Baedaker's or one of those guide books reports that there is very little wildlife left in China. The Chinese people have paid a huge environmental price for rapid economic expansion.

Speaking of which, I woke this morning to the excellent but strangely placed (Sunday at 6 AM !?!) NPR program "LIving on Earth". Steve Curwood's long running, award winning environmental news should be on in prime time. I tuned in just in time to hear that tuna is in trouble. Are we surprised?

I then roused myself sufficiently to see what the world wide web had to say about Paul Farmer, physician and medical anthropologist, hero of Tracy Kidder's book about Farmer's work in Haiti, "Mountains Beyond Mountains", in which I am currently immersed. While web browsing for him, I became hopelessly entangled in the website, "Americans Who Tell the Truth" where Dr. Farmer is quoted as saying, “If access to health care is considered a human right, who is considered human enough to have that right?”
Not one of the blogging truthtellers show up on this site , yet-- Atrios, Digby, Arianna Huffington, Kos, Jane Hamsher to name a few. It must take awhile to paint a portrait.

And then I followed the slippery cybertrail to Paul Farmer's partner of many years Ophelia Dahl. She is the daughter of author Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal. Ophelia's niece Sophie Dahl modeled for the beautiful Opium ads. And what does that have to do with anything?

After all, there are important antiwar protests happening today. The Washington Post headline reads "Thousands Protest Bush Policy", while the Huffington Post headline reads "Tens of Thousands Rally for Troop Withdrawal." Well, which is is? Are we underreporting again? I thought we had learned our lesson, and taken upon us the weighty responsibilities that come with being members the Fourth Estate.

JUST STOP -- Right here -- shut up and push the publish button, Dakota.

Photo note: Ducks (avians, you will note, the kind that have the flu in Asia) in a row on top of a toaster, along with other unrelated items in the window of the hardware store. You can almost smell the plastic vaporizing.

Posted by Dakota at 05:55 PM

January 27, 2007

Getting Juicy


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Everything anyone ever suspected about the manipulation of the press by the Bush administration is all true. Cathie Martin spilled some of the beans yesterday in the Libby trial. She is a University of Texas (what a surprise!) and Harvard Law (class o' '93) graduate. Having worked under Mary Matalin, she was a senior public affairs official in Cheney's office when Joseph Wilson, enraged Cheney with his famous New York Times editorial "What I Didn't Find in Africa" , which contradicted the administration's claim that Iraqis had been sniffing around Libya for Yellowcake Uranium. Cathie, in keeping with the administration's reward system, has since been promoted to Deputy Communications Director in the White House.

The woman went to law school, she knows Scooter is on trial for lying (and not the myriad unethical behaviors in which he has participated over the years) , and she wisely saw fit to tell the embarrassing truth on the stand. Reportedly she twitched and wriggled and pulled at her hair.

Dana Milbank writes about her testimony:

"I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Martin testified. "It's our best format." [Dak -- the administration's BEST FORMAT !?! -- another robotic institution topples]

It is unclear whether the first week of the trial will help or hurt Libby or the administration. But the trial has already pulled back the curtain on the White House's PR techniques and confirmed some of the darkest suspicions of the reporters upon whom they are used. Relatively junior White House aides run roughshod over members of the president's Cabinet. Bush aides charged with speaking to the public and the media are kept out of the loop on some of the most important issues. And bad news is dumped before the weekend for the sole purpose of burying it.

With a candor that is frowned upon at the White House, Martin explained the use of late-Friday statements. "Fewer people pay attention to it late on Friday," she said. "Fewer people pay attention when it's reported on Saturday."

Martin, perhaps unaware of the suspicion such machinations caused in the press corps, lamented that her statements at the time were not regarded as credible. She testified that, as the controversy swelled in 2004, reporters ignored her denials and continued to report that it was Cheney's office that sent former ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate allegations of Iraq's nuclear acquisitions. "They're not taking my word for it," Martin recalled telling a colleague.

And this is just the beginning Stay tuned. The folks at Firedoglake are blogging live from the scene every day.

Lest you think some of us here at Dakota are too delighted by the discomfort of sociopaths -- please note that lying hasn't been exposed and punished enough to put a stop to it. Lying is business as usual for this administration. Scooter got caught, but only for trying cover up lies. Hopefully we are beginning a process of peeling back the many layers of dishonesty and corruption, and bringing light to democracy once again.

Photo note: Looking at the center of a many layered succulent. We're counting on our friend Herman of Soekershof to identify it. It was found on the shelf at Whole Foods, but that's probably not it's native environment. The sticker on the side says "Desert Rose".

Posted by Dakota at 07:35 AM

January 25, 2007

Speaking the Truth - It's Quite Shocking


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Yesterday Republican Senator Chuck Hagel addressed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting on the resolution against the president's troop increase in Iraq. It's quite astonishing to hear a politician speak the truth. Please watch the movie, or, for fans of the written word:

But I will not sit here in this Congress of the United States at this important time for our country and in the world and not have something to say about this. And maybe I'll be wrong. And maybe I have no political future. I don't care about that.

But I don't ever want to look back and have the regret that I didn't have the courage and I didn't do what I could to at least project something.

This resolution, by the way, does not tie the hands of the president of the United States. It does not tie the hands of the president of the United States in any way.....

These young men and women that we put in Anbar province, in Iraq, in Baghdad are not beans. They're real lives. And we better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder. We better be as sure as you can be.

Evidently speaking the truth can ruin a person's political future. Tragic. Tragic in so many ways --22,000 at the very least.

Photo note: Graves of dead people

Posted by Dakota at 07:33 PM

January 24, 2007

State of the Union


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Having reviewed an advanced copy of the State of the Union Address, Tony Snow was asked by reporters "What was the best part?" He said "You know, it's difficult to say. It's like looking in a drawer full of diamonds."

The speech did take my breath away, if not for its sparkle, for its unabashed chutzpah, and bad ideas.

The divine Nancy P. was magnificent. We've come to depend on that. She sustained an expression of benevolence throughout the speech, with an only an occasional, slight facial movement -- (she must have studied Ekman and Izard) to indicate disagreement, or show a smidgen of disapproval. She spryly leapt from her chair to applaud and smile when thrown a shred of anything she could get behind. Midway she did experience a bit of trouble with either a dry lower lip, or a shard of protein stuck in her molar, but that seemed to settle down.

It is quite a feat to stare directly at the American people over the President's shoulder as he flings another pile of doodoo, and maintain a sustained blank expression. The Dick, who sitith on the right hand of Bush, had the complaisance of a man who doesn't have to worry about popularity. He wore an expression of dictatorial entitlement, I'd say -- displaying the self satisfaction of someone whose agenda has already been implemented.

After it was over, Nancy gave Bush the old Clinton two-hander, all the way up his arm. Warm, warm warm. We love her. Not only does she look great over Bush's left shoulder, she has lots of experience setting limits with adolescents.

Photo note: Same old, same old

A better review

Posted by Dakota at 11:20 AM

January 22, 2007

Scoring Low


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In preparation for the State of the Union Address tomorrow. I took "The Republican Loyalty Quiz -- 10 Questions to Test Your Allegiance to the GOP".

Here's my score, and, honestly, I was trying NOT to choose inflammatory answers.

"Your score is 0 on a scale of 1 to 10. You are a pure, unabashed, die-hard Democratic loyalist. You are appalled by the way Republicans are transforming America into a theocratic, corpo-fascist police state, and you'd walk through a furnace in a gasoline suit if it meant casting a deciding vote for a Democratic president. In your view, there is no higher form of patriotism than defending America against the Republican Party and every intolerant, puritanical, imperialistic greed-mongering, Constitution-shredding ideal for which it stands."

Guess they have my number.

If you too scored 5 or below, you might be interested in following the Scooter Libby trial. So far they've had a terrible time selecting the jury. They can't find anyone in DC who scores 5 or below.

The best place to follow the blow by blow is at Firedoglake -- scroll down to find the entries. Thanks to Arianna Huffington, the Firedoglakers secured one of the limited press passes. Sadly, Jane Hamsher, a key contributor to the blog, had cancer surgery last week, and will miss some of the proceedings.

And finally, in the takes-one-to-know-one department, when asked about passing problems on to future Presidents by USA Today's David Jackson Bush said:

The war on terror will be a problem for the next president. Presidents after me will be confronting with this, with an enemy that would like to strike the United States again, an enemy that is interested in spreading their vision -- I call it a totalitarian vision of governance -- an enemy that will kill innocent people to achieve their objectives and an enemy that would like to acquire weapons that could do serious damage. . . .

Projection at its finest.

Photo note: Shot in Kennebunkport, Maine

Posted by Dakota at 08:41 PM

January 21, 2007


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Saturday night I saw "Children of Men", Alfonso Cuaron's new film adaptation of a P.D. James novel This is not the P.D. James of my memory -- Oxford dons detecting on campus, nor is it an adolescent sexual road romp like "Y Tu Mama Tambien" . No friends, "Children of Men" is dystopia at its finest.

I, of course, loathe sci-fi -- especially sordid sci-fi. I much prefer the world of pretty and clean cut. I consider this to be one of my many spiritual flaws. But enough about me.

The film is set in 2027 London eighteen years after the last human baby was born Humanity has waltzed itself right into barrenness. Folks are living the end of human existence, consciousness, knowing that it will be lost in two generations. The situation, understandably, leads to generalized social despair which is more than evident in the movie. I'm not crazy about despair either. Just as permanent human infertility seems inevitable, a woman becomes pregnant. Our hero, the dashing Clive Owen, is called upon to save her/ humankind.

On the front page of the official movie website there is a video critique by Slavoj Zizek which is well worth watching.

Morsels transcribed from his commentaryabout "Children of Men":

. it shows the signs of the effects of social oppression on the fate of the individual hero
. we see the deterioration of society in the background even more clearly than in the foreground
. if you look at the effects of oppression too directly, you cannot see them (ask Al Gore).
. the movie is an example of the "paradox of amorphosis" --we are able to see the truth only in an oblique way-- only if it remains in the background
. there is tension between foreground and background.
. the theological despair of true infertility is the lack of meaningful historical experience.
. Classical statues (in the movie) are totally meaningless when they are taken out of their historical context.
. the movie approaches the problem of immigration
. the movie shows the ideological despair of late capitalism
. it is set in England, only there can despair be felt because England relies on its substance of traditions -- loss of historical dimension, substance of meaning is much worse in a society where substance of traditions existed in the first place
. in the loss of historical dimension, there is a loss of historical feeling
. Jasper (the hero's best friend, changed from the book) is presented as an old obscene impotent retired hippie, in all its ambiguity -- makes the old leftist look infantile and ridiculous -- the decadence started there, in the sixties
. the movie avoids sex -- fertility is reinstalled as spiritual fertility -- to find the the meaning of life.
. precisely because it doesn't make a political moralistic parable, it works
. the resolution in the film is made by the metaphor of a boat floating -- it doesn't have roots-- the condition of renewal is that you cut your roots
. only films like this will make certain that cinema as art will really survive

Let me not get bogged down in deep philosophical thought here. As with housekeeping, I have had to come to terms with the fact that philosophical thought is not my strength. You can watch the Zizek video clip yourself, or the movie, for that matter.

In the mood for something lighter? Merrill Markoe recommends Uncle Saddam, a documentary about Iranian architecture etc.

Among various highlights, the movie contains a fascinating tour of Saddam's 21 palaces, one of which was totally underground and had an underground airport runway! And one of which came complete with an entry hall floor mosaic of George Bush's face labeled with the inlaid mosaic tile words "Bush is Criminal." As insane-dictators-freed-from-budgetary-restrictions go, Saddam scored pretty well on the creativity scale.

A commentator asks, "I've heard about that floor... Who does them? Can I have one done?"

Cheered up yet? I am.

Photo note: A taste of the dystopic behind Gerard's Greenhouse

Posted by Dakota at 07:00 AM | TrackBack

January 20, 2007

Expanding Patriotism


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I am so proud of the Democrats -- they had their ducks in a row, and have been introducing legislation on a daily basis that's really hard to vote against, unless, of course, a legislator wants to look like an overt criminal, even if he is one.

The minimum wage passed, legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with Big Pharm, (which W. is expected to veto). Interest rates on student loans have been lowered, oil company subsidies rolled back, and most of a more rigorous ethics package has been passed without giving W. line-item-veto power. It looks like the Democrats have also organized some bipartisan opposition to the war. Go, Nancy, go.

And the administration is showing signs of flexibility. Well, maybe it's more like the administration is taking steps to cover behind. Gonzales announced yesterday that wiretapping would be reviewed by the FISA court, sort of . There is a rumor afloat that opposition to the Kyoto Treaty will be softened. Perhaps last week's snow in California/loss of citrus crop, polar icecap shed into the sea, ice encrusted Midwest and European hurricanes, make global warming a tad too obvious. Oh and federal prosecutors are being replaced en masse by neoconservatives, so no criminally involved Republican will ever have to face a loose cannon like Fitzgerald. We also said goodbye to the adoring but feeble Harriet Meirs in favor of brighter buttons who could defend a president should he be ensnarled in legal difficulties. For those of you who will miss Harriet, you will be delighted to know she has a blog though it's a little out of date.

Hopefully the Scooter Libby trial will publicly expose the corrupt relationship between the Bush administration and the press, as well as the slimy path to the war in Iraq. .

All in all, there is reason to be optimistic. We urgently need to do something about global warming, leave Iraq (George McGovern has some ideas), and take back government from the corporatocracy. We can all find a way to do our part. The clock is ticking.

Photo note: A multidimensional American flag, for a change.

Posted by Dakota at 08:52 AM

January 18, 2007



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All of us here at Dakota are fading fast, but nonetheless feel compelled to throw something into the universe before we retire.

Here's a clever site that could keep you up for another half hour. It's called Things My Boyfriend Says.... A small sample follows to encourage deeper exploration::

me: So you're all right with vegan bread? e: I wasn't aware that there were any animals in bread, unless grain has become a form of life that must suddenly be preserved. me: I'm going to make you a meal that's nothing but vegan bread, yellow mustard and flat Coke. e: Why don't you just cut off my thumbs and call it a complete evening.

e: I'd get a bunny if they weren't so stupid.
me: They're brilliant!
e: They chew extension cords!
me: So do you!
e: Yeah, but for me it's a religious obligation.
me: What religion is that?
e: I'm not allowed to tell outsiders.
me: How do you know I'm not a member?
e: Obviously, you'd be chewing extension cords.

Photo note: A shot of one of the many displays that the folk who staff the town dump have created from discarded items for the amusement of we dumpees.

Posted by Dakota at 10:07 PM

January 16, 2007

Putting It Up


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All of us here at Dakota are having trouble getting organized. Lest you think we have gone under, we will slap up some stuff haphazardly in hopes that you will read the clickies rather than the ramblings.

First, it doesn't look like the Pres convinced anyone with the surgical speech. His overall ratings dropped 3 points, from 37 to 34%, and he is more unpopular than ever. Bush even told Jim Lehrer , "If I had to take an opinion poll on Iraq I'd say 'No, I don't approve of what's taking place'. "

Atrios reminds us that when Clinton's ratings hit the low fifties, there was a call for his resignation. Hark, do we hear the call?

Meanwhile, The Dick has been busy demonizing Iran, and idealizing Scooter. ("I believe he's one of the more honest men I know." which may, for once, be true.)

Competence and courage has not been rewarded in this political climate. Jebediah Reed reviewed the current status of journalists who have written about the war(s), correctly and incorrectly. Seems that the blind and the lying have been wildly overcompensated, and the prescient left to hobble along, unacknowledged.

And that's it. Just put it up girl!

Photo note: a complicated picture. light and shadow, up and down

Posted by Dakota at 07:09 AM

January 15, 2007

Whistlin' Dixie


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You might have missed the President's appearance on 60 minutes last night, where he describes himself as a "flexible, open minded person", once again takes responsibility for a couple of little mistakes in the war, pretends to be as surprised as we were that there were no weapons of mass destruction, gives Congress the figurative finger, and shows us, the American people, his strength and resolve to do the right thing. The settings were fabulous-- places where we've never been before -- inside and outside Camp David, aboard Air Force One, with costumes to match. Landed right in my subliminal.

The President did look very pale after meeting with families of dead soldiers, but took the opportunity to spin the meeting into supposed surge support. Heaven forfend that a loved one died in vain.

He's absolutely shameless. When are we going put a stop to his delusions? He has destroyed Iraq, killed over 600,000 Iraqi citizens and more than 3000 American soldiers and he still thinks he's just working hard, doing the right thing, for God, of course..

Scott Pelley does manage to ask a few probing questions. I wonder if he'll be in trouble this morning.

I'm going to stop huffing and puffing and go blow a shamanistic whistle.

Photo note: A Peruvian whistling vessel -- or a ghoul getting an infusion from a source that wishes to remain anonymous.
Addendum: A sample of modern Peruvian music as long as we're on the subject --- note the bagpipes

Posted by Dakota at 06:28 AM

January 12, 2007

Speaking of Rabbits


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I hope you haven't missed the story of Karl Szmolinsky, the East German who has taken up raising rabbits in his old age ---really really big rabbits. Their portraits are quite impressive. I have a hard time imaging an entire flock of these big bunnies hopping around their hutches -- kinda like having a yard full of kangaroos.

But I digress. North Korea has invited Mr. S. to set up a big bunny farm there. They are hoping that breeding big bunnies willl help with food shortages.

Last year I had a discussion with a dear and lose personal friend who runs an organization in Uganda that helps women establish their own businesses. I warned her that bird flu was coming toAfrica, and that chicken farming could be risky business, in more ways than one. She was angry with me because, she said, chicken was a fast growing source of protein, ( vs. cows and sheep), and there were no substitutes. That's when I thought of rabbits -- I didn't even know they came in economy size.

And what a loose cybercoincidence! Two of my favorite newsthinkers,Arianna Huffington and Keith Olbermann mentioned big pink rabbits yesterday, as they discussed Joe Lieberman.

Photo note: A skewered farmer, rooster at heel, stuck on a stick on a lawn in a town by the seashore. Not a bad metaphorophoto, for the text-- farmer, chicken -- but what do you make of the rest, especially the part about dropping the ho'. I get it! ho:(noun): "Anyone who dehumanizes themselves by selling their soul to others. The term can be applied to either a man or a woman or--as in the case of --both."

The farmer has a neighboring fairy equivalent who was our cover girl about 1000 entries ago.

Posted by Dakota at 10:09 AM



Smart people are worried that Bush has devious plans in place with regard to Iran and Syria.

Eric Alterman, in an article entitled The Madness of President George concludes:

My fear, expressed best by Harold Meyerson, is that Bush will further double down on disaster by expanding the war into Iran. Bush hinted at this last night. And he gives every indication of having no connection to reality, but many to his own twisted notions of his God-appointed role in Biblical prophecy.

If you're not terrified, you're not paying attention.

At Alterman's suggestion, I clicked on Harold Myerson who suspects that Bush is modeling his plan after Nixon's clandestine invasion of Cambodia. As I recall that one brought out the protesters. The mastermind of that evil plot, Henry Kissinger, is still around, and making visitations to the White House lately.

addendum from Michael Froomkin

Photo note: If you would like one of these magnetic ribbons for your very own fender, all you need do is send a (preferably interesting ) post card to the artist,, John Bullitt, and it is yours. While you're looking for his address so that you can send a postcard requesting a ribbon, you might take a spin around his site.

Posted by Dakota at 09:59 AM

January 11, 2007

No New Strategies, Same Old Insanity


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Keith Olbermann did a lovely pre-speech summary last night. And then we listened to our President, standing up in the library, rather than sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office, which was a bad sign according to David Kuo who should know.

Then The Man took the podium and made it clear that he IS the decider. Not only does he decide issues for our country, he decides what's real.

I guess he slept through class when they talked about hubris as a fatal flaw: Aristotle's definition as follows:

to cause shame to the victim
not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has
happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the
requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its
cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own
superiority the greater.

He must have missed the warning about worshiping gold too, (where was that anyway?) as well as the fact that freedom fighters usually fight FOR their country, IN their country, against invaders. Freedom fighting does not mean picking fights across continents where you might be mistaken for an invader. Although it may seem like Bush isn't listening to anyone, it looks like he's listening to his personal GOD, a
fig newton
of his demented mind.

Bob Cesna thinks he must have been high.

I think he needs neuropsychological testing, if not for sociopathy, for Wernicke's/ Korsakoffs syndrome. In psychiatry, when people are judged to be a danger to themselves or others, they can be legally committed to a mental institution for further evaluation. This man has just put 20,000 (at the very least) men and women in grave danger. I think that counts.

It's time to set the limit and impeach the arrogant bastard.

How about if we all buy tasers. -- but perhaps that's entering into the area of perpetration.

Hopefully, he'll hang himself by his own petard, the question is how many soldiers and Iraqis he will take with him..

Photo note: While driving through town, I caught the fire department raising the flag over the church steeple. They had to use their ladder truck, because all their able-bodied personnel have been surged. For metaphorophotographic purposes, I'm fortunate to live in a town that starts with a W.

Posted by Dakota at 01:21 PM

January 10, 2007

The Pig


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now the war
has gone awry
a glaring error
he'd 'soon deny
based upon
a bald faced lie

the Presnit thinks
it's worth a try
to send more soldiers
off to die

even if he must defy
all the wise men
standing by

let's hope our Congress
won't comply
and the purse strings
they will tie

as they raise
a hearty cry
"You can surge dude
when pigs fly"

Photo note: Sometimes a photograph simply inspires poetry

Posted by Dakota at 08:22 AM

January 09, 2007

Abominable Snowman


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Our smug President did have something up his sleeve --- here it comes, folks -- a distraction from the alleviation of human suffering worldwide, contamination of the earth, an unforgiveable act of aggression against another trumped-up enemy. Maybe it's job security for the power junkies, the gruesome threesome, Olmert, Bush and Blair --- or perhaps they are just salting the fields behind them as they leave office.

There are increasing rumors that the USofA is supporting an Israeli plan to blow up nuclear reactors in Iran (read, blow up the Middle East). Gee, that might be one way to inspire the development of alternative energy sources. Of course the war will be initiated by Israel, and Iran will have been sufficiently demonized to justify their aggressive action. Israel will do the dirty deed and Americans, standing by in shock, will be able to maintain the myth that they are benevolent.

Hurry, Nancy. Hurry

Broader view -- It is the challenge for those of us who seek spirituality in the traditions of the West to live in the duality of creation and destruction, life and death, past and future, conscious and unconscious, spiritual and material.

So is it any big surprise that there are individuals (or weather patterns, or bullldozers) whose purpose it is to destroy -- to break down old structures, so that something new may emerge that uses the containers and technology of present time-space. Coming face to face with unwanted circumstances provides contrast, to help us clarify what we really want.

Photo note: Metaphorophotographically speaking, it's the ubiquitous inflatable snowman, under a twisted American flag, wielding a candy cane, or is that a modified machine gun? A girl never knows exactly what she'll shoot. Whatever it is, it's not a pretty picture.

Posted by Dakota at 06:50 AM

January 08, 2007

Them Devils are Hard to See


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I had a discussion with a friend this evening who finds me too adamant when we talk about what is going on in our government these days -- not since Nancy got her gavel, of course, but before that.

I think my friend advocates a more balanced view. I do not think she understands that she is trying to find balance with criminal behaviors -- to discover a middle ground with sociopaths, to reason with a narcissist supported by sycophants.

I just finished Kristin Breitweiser's book "Wake Up Call: The Political Education of a 9/11 Widow". Kristin's husband made a very good living as an investment banker. He greatly admired Dick Cheney. She voted for Bush, but didn't pay much attention to politics. She was a lawyer, staying at home with her two-year-old. They were among America's elite. When her husband died, she simply wanted to make sure that the events surrounding 9/11 were examined carefully so that another terrorist attack might be prevented.

This is the story of how her efforts were met by this administration. It is a story about why we should all be adamant --adamant about what we really want, but first we must clearly see what we already have.

Photo note: It isn't until you turn the photo sideways and blow it up that you can see all those little devils in the pretty picture.

Posted by Dakota at 09:36 PM

January 07, 2007

Loose connections


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View in context

A dear and lose personal friend emailed yesterday to ask if something was technically wrong here at Dakota, since he had not been able to make contact for two days. Technically, the only thing that's wrong, (other than the mess you-know-who has made in this world), is that all of us here at Dakota are sluggish from the globally warmed, 70 degree air, got lazy and failed to post.

Since only one email was received on the subject, it's a pretty good possibility that Dakota only has one regular reader. We used to worry about that sort of thing, but now we consider the world wide web to be the edge of creation, and think that anything anyone contributes to that creation, using whatever unique gifts they have, is really important.

You might have missed the picture yesterday, over the quotation by John Gage, the Director of Science at Sun Microsystems."The Internet is not a thing, a place, a single technology, or a mode of governance. It is an agreement. " By the way, everyone at Sun is encouraged to have a blog, within limits, of course.

A loose connection. The folks at Improbable Research who award the yearly IgNobel Prize, did a hilarious experiment to test the limits of the post office. The Post Office should be a model for all of us.

Do we seem incoherent and disorganized this morning? Apologies. We just wanted you to know we're connected however feebly

Photo note: When shooting ubiquitous exposed hanging wires for wiretapping diatribes, this shot popped up, loaded with sacred geometry.

Posted by Dakota at 07:49 AM

January 05, 2007



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Another internet story for those of you who hold a day job which prevents you from getting up to speed in the world of the world wide web.

This is the story of the making of a memeplex . The story of a video that unintentionally explodes into cyberfame, does a quadruple flip, and propagates.. You can follow its metamorphosis on Metafilter, but you may find a translation helpful.

It all begins with Yale senior, Aleksey Vayner's excellent job-hunting idea. He made a video CV that he sent to a few select investment banking firms. The kind he thought might be interested in eugenics, perhaps. To their everlasting credit, rather than rushing to interview Aleksey, Wall Streeters laughed and forwarded the video to a few of their friends. It spread as only these things can do in cyberspace, practically closed trading one day, and became a meme.

When I first saw the video, I hoped that Aleksey had his tongue in his cheek, and was, himself, out to expose the underbelly of investment banking, the but he did not. Personally, I found it chilling that this is what one Yale senior was thinking. So did his peers. IvyGate The Ivy League blog set about investigating Aleksey's claims and summarily finished off his investment banking career before it started.

Ah, but then the parodies began on YouTube. Michael Cera, of Arrested Development stars in "Impossible is the Opposite of Possible" and others that may or may not be jokes, that you can find yourself by following YouTube suggestions.

Photo note: Recycling. Creativity propagating at the town dump - a metaphorophoto of sorts

Addendum: more fun

Posted by Dakota at 05:12 PM

January 04, 2007

Nature Photography


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When last we parted, I had just discovered George W. Bush's trick in bipartisan clothing on the editorial page of the Wall Strreet Journal, (when was the last time a President wrote an editorial for The Wall Street Journal, pray tell?-- guess Carl Rove's given up bullying the New York Times to do his bidding, and goes directly to his constituency), and was slathering myself in my own bile, when I remembered that I had seen a most beautiful film that I wanted to share. After all, we don't need to think about unpleasantries, exclusively.

Gregory Colbert has released the moving version of his breathtaking, still photography exhibit Snow and Ashes

It is a finest appreciation of the communion between animals and humans, the possibilities that arise with attunement, and the most convincing environmental movie you'll ever see. Think screensaver.

All this splendor at risk, and scientists have been forbidden to mention the words Kyoto or climate change.

Down, girl,down. Go play with an elephant.

Photo note: Two windshields parked in front of a laundromat, presented sideways, if you must know. It's all I can do with nature photography in the city in the winter. You have to admit, it has a certain flow.

Posted by Dakota at 06:33 AM

January 03, 2007

Up His Sleeve


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What does the world's #1 villian have up his sleeve for 2007? Robert Parry writes for AlterNet:

The first two or three months of 2007 represent a dangerous opening for an escalation of war in the Middle East, as George W. Bush will be tempted to "double-down" his gamble in Iraq by joining with Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair to strike at Syria and Iran, intelligence sources say.

President Bush's goal would be to transcend the bloody quagmire bogging down U.S. forces in Iraq by achieving "regime change" in Syria and by destroying nuclear facilities in Iran, two blows intended to weaken Islamic militants in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories....

Since the Nov. 7 congressional elections, the three leaders have conducted a round-robin of meetings that on the surface seem to have little purpose. Olmert met privately with Bush on Nov. 13; Blair visited the White House on Dec. 7; and Blair conferred with Olmert in Israel on Dec. 18.

All three leaders could salvage their reputations if a wider war broke out in the Middle East and then broke in their favor

Have you noticed that Bush's new buzz word is "sacrifice"? Not his of course. He isn't even wiling to sacrifice his pride. Hurry Nancy Hurry!!

Keith Olbermann, once again, speaks eloquently to this point. It looks like he's going to keep his job too.

Photo note: Just a sleeve that was handy, propped up by a yard stick, stuck in the dresser drawer. Now that I look at it, I think thi entry calls for a shot that's a little more ominous

Addendum: Bush Declares War on Democratic Congress. Eeks. What did I tell you.

Posted by Dakota at 08:12 AM

January 02, 2007

The Funerial Distraction Tactic


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I guess we got our royal funeral, after all. We know it must be important because the stock market is closed. Big distraction from the first day the democrats control Congress.

The Ford family, bless their hearts, nixed the jewel encrusted funeral carriage pulled through the streets by twelve white horses in favor of something a bit plainer. Nonetheless, we have a national day of pseudomourning for a man who died in peace at 93, distracting us from the real deaths of the day. Let's see how much TV time is sopped up on this one.

NPR ran a story about Ford this morning. When he was traveling as President, he was once assigned to a room at a hotel named "The Emperor's Suite". He didn't like that and had the secret service tape over the plaque on the door and write "Gerry Ford's Room" over the tape. If he knew how he was being used, he'd be tuning over in his flag draped coffin atop the pedestal in the Rotunda right now.

Will we never learn from history ?

Photo note: Just a simple American flag, nailed to a stockade fence, in front of a big red pickup.

Posted by Dakota at 06:24 AM

January 01, 2007

Red Berries 2007


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Red Berries for the New Year, a day late unintentionally. Hopefully the purple box will compensate.

Bet you thought we would end the year with scenes from the dump, but we simply didn't have the heart to puncture your illusions

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and, most importantly, peaceful New Year from all of us here at Dakota.

Photo note: self explanatory

Posted by Dakota at 09:53 AM