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121 posts from May 2008

May 31, 2008

Follow up on the Scott story

A1_053008a(Photo: CBS News)
Scott McClellan's "war collaborators"   in the corporate media. Referred to by McClellan in his new memoir, "What   Happened," as "deferential, complicit enablers" of the Bush administration's   war propaganda.

  No sooner had Bush's ex-press secretary (now author) Scott McClellan accused President Bush and his former collaborators of misleading our country into Iraq than the squeals of protest turned into a mighty roar. I'm not talking about the vitriol directed at him by former White House colleagues like Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer. I'm talking about McClellan's other war collaborators: the movers and shakers in corporate media. The people McClellan refers to in his book as "deferential, complicit enablers" of Bush administration war propaganda. ( I put the rest of the article on anoter page, so click the continue reading ..)

Continue reading "Follow up on the Scott story" »

May 30, 2008

You don't say ...!!

M1_052808j1Photo: AFP/File/Tim Sloan
Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan speaking   to the media on board Air Force One in 2006. In his new memoir, McClellan has   charged that President George W. Bush was not "open and forthright on Iraq"   and relied on "propaganda" to sell the war

What we knew all along is finally starting to emerge as the truth in mainstream media

Ex-Press Aide Writes That Bush Misled US on Iraq

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that   the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated "political   propaganda campaign" led by President Bush and aimed at "manipulating   sources of public opinion" and "downplaying the major reason for going   to war."

    McClellan includes the charges in a 341-page book, "What Happened: Inside   the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," that delivers   a harsh look at the White House and the man he served for close to a decade.
He describes Bush as demonstrating a "lack of inquisitiveness," says   the White House operated in "permanent campaign" mode, and admits   to having been deceived by some in the president's inner circle about the leak   of a CIA operative's name.

    The book, coming from a man who was a tight-lipped defender of administration   aides and policy, is certain to give fuel to critics of the administration,   and McClellan has harsh words for many of his past colleagues. He accuses former   White House adviser Karl Rove of misleading him about his role in the CIA case.   He describes Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as being deft at deflecting   blame, and he calls Vice President Cheney "the magic man" who steered   policy behind the scenes while leaving no fingerprints.

    McClellan stops short of saying that Bush purposely lied about his reasons   for invading Iraq, writing that he and his subordinates were not "employing   out-and-out deception" to make their case for war in 2002.

    But in a chapter titled "Selling the War," he alleges that the administration   repeatedly shaded the truth and that Bush "managed the crisis in a way   that almost guaranteed that the use of force would become the only feasible   option."

    "Over that summer of 2002," he writes, "top Bush aides had outlined   a strategy for carefully orchestrating the coming campaign to aggressively sell   the war.... In the permanent campaign era, it was all about manipulating   sources of public opinion to the president's advantage."

    McClellan, once a staunch defender of the war from the podium, comes to a stark   conclusion, writing, "What I do know is that war should only be waged when   necessary, and the Iraq war was not necessary."

    McClellan resigned from the White House on April 19, 2006, after nearly three   years as Bush's press secretary. The departure was part of a shake-up engineered   by new Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten that also resulted in Rove surrendering   his policy-management duties.

    A White House spokeswoman declined to comment on the book, some contents of   which were first disclosed by Politico.com. The Washington Post acquired a copy   of the book yesterday, in advance of its official release Monday.

    Responding to a request for comment, McClellan wrote in an e-mail: "Like   many Americans, I am concerned about the poisonous atmosphere in Washington.   I wanted to take readers inside the White House and provide them an open and   honest look at how things went off course and what can be learned from it. Hopefully   in some small way it will contribute to changing Washington for the better and   move us beyond the hyper-partisan environment that has permeated Washington   over the past 15 years."

    The criticism of Bush in the book is striking, given that it comes from a man   who followed him to Washington from Texas.

    Bush is depicted as an out-of-touch leader, operating in a political bubble,   who has stubbornly refused to admit mistakes. McClellan defends the president's   intellect - "Bush is plenty smart enough to be president," he writes   - but casts him as unwilling or unable to be reflective about his job.

    "A more self-confident executive would be willing to acknowledge failure,   to trust people's ability to forgive those who seek redemption for mistakes   and show a readiness to change," he writes.

    In another section, McClellan describes Bush as able to convince himself of   his own spin and relates a phone call he overheard Bush having during the 2000   campaign, in which he said he could not remember whether he had used cocaine.   "I remember thinking to myself, 'How can that be?'" he writes.

    The former aide describes Bush as a willing participant in treating his presidency   as a permanent political campaign, run in large part by his top political adviser,   Rove.

    "The president had promised himself that he would accomplish what his   father had failed to do by winning a second term in office," he writes.   "And that meant operating continually in campaign mode: never explaining,   never apologizing, never retreating. Unfortunately, that strategy also had less   justifiable repercussions: never reflecting, never reconsidering, never compromising.   Especially not where Iraq was concerned."

    McClellan has some kind words for Bush, calling him "a man of personal   charm, wit and enormous political skill." He writes that the president   "did not consciously set out to engage in these destructive practices.   But like others before him, he chose to play the Washington game the way he   found it, rather than changing the culture as he vowed to do at the outset of   his campaign for the presidency."

    McClellan charges that the campaign-style focus affected Bush's entire presidency.   The ill-fated Air Force One flyover of New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina   struck the city, was conceived of by Rove, who was "thinking about the   political perceptions" but ended up making Bush look "out of touch,"   he writes.

    He says the White House's reaction to Katrina was more than just a public relations   disaster, calling it "a failure of imagination and initiative" and   the result of an administration that "let events control us." He adds:   "It was a costly blunder."

    McClellan admits to letting himself be deceived about the unmasking of CIA   operative Valerie Plame Wilson, which resulted in his relentless pounding by   the White House press corps over the activities of Rove and of Cheney aide I.   Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the matter.

    "I could feel something fall out of me into the abyss as each reporter   took a turn whacking me," he writes of the withering criticism he received   as the story played out. "It was my reputation crumbling away, bit by bit."   He also suggests that Rove and Libby may have worked behind closed doors to   coordinate their stories about the Plame leak. Late last year, McClellan's publisher   released an excerpt of the book that suggested Bush had knowledge of the leak,   something that won McClellan no friends in the administration.

    As McClellan departed the White House, he said: "Change can be helpful,   and this is a good time and good position to help bring about change. I am ready   to move on."

    He choked up as he told Bush on the South Lawn, "I have given it my all,   sir, and I have given you my all."

    Bush responded at the time: "He handled his assignments with class, integrity.   He really represents the best of his family, our state and our country. It's   going to be hard to replace Scott."

Soils Enriched With Calcium to Trap Carbon Gas

E3_052908tPhoto :EPSRC
In this Canadian prairie soil, a brown organic layer overlies gravel containing natural calcium-bearing carbonates, which could aid the fight against global warming.

Three mounds of soil, covered in wild grasses in an abandoned corner of the quarry. Apparently, nothing could be more ordinary. Unless you are David Manning, professor of geology at Newcastle University (United Kingdom), for whom they were the source of a very big surprise. These tumuli concretize an experiment that the scientist has been conducting since 2002 in this quarry for road works materials.

    There, David Manning tested a mixture of compost and quarry dust in order to evaluate whether it would make a good ground cover after the quarry's closing. In 2007, when he returned to the site, he observed that crystals of calcium carbonate - i.e., chalk - had formed in totally unexpected proportions. A subsequent analysis showed that the carbonates came from the plants and not from the stone.

    That observation led the geologist to think that there was a completely new way of absorbing carbon gas: stimulation of plants' natural carbon fixation process. We know that plants absorb CO2 through photosynthesis. But they secrete part of it in the form of organic acid. Why? "It's the result of stress," explains David Manning. "When they lack nourishment, they release an acid that dissolves the underlying stone and frees nutritive elements, such as phosphorus."

    In most soils, that carbon returns to the atmosphere. But in calcium-rich soil, the acid, which contains carbon, reacts with the calcium by forming calcium carbonate deposits around the roots. Isotopic analyses have shown that this carbon-trapping is significant: it could reach 150 kg [330 lbs.] per year per hectare in a field of wheat.

    The carbonates in the soil remain stable for very long periods and consequently constitute a virtually permanent geological carbon sink. "They could be used passively, the same way reed beds are used in lagoons to grab heavy metals out of polluted water," David Manning asserts.

    By enriching soils with calcium, we could, in fact, stimulate this process. Such calcium could come from volcanic rock quarries, which produce great quantities of it through the dust they generate. Demolition sites could also constitute another source of calcium, as could steelmaking.

    A Computer Model

    According to David Manning, the 2.5 million hectares of wheat cultivated in England could, in this way, absorb 14 million tons of CO2, or close to 3 percent of the country's emissions. But carbon could also be sunk on restored quarry or construction sites planted with vegetation.

    The validity of the method still has to be verified by a network of laboratories. The researchers will make up artificial soils, highly enriched with calcium, and grow wheat, lupin and sedum in order to measure the amount of carbon fixed. That will allow a computer model to be developed that will define the speed and the quantities of calcium carbonate formation in soils with different compositions. "This method of fighting climate change could be almost painless," David Manning believes.

    This experimentation is highly illustrative of the new interest soil arouses as climatologists discover it is a major actor in the carbon cycle. The planet's soils contain more carbon gas that the atmosphere and terrestrial vegetation: 1,500 billion tons in organic soils and 720 billion tons in carbonated soils, versus 500 billion tons in all vegetation.

51 years

Having dinner wih Roger & Lillian tonight

When I arrive , Roger had just trimmed some branches from his driveway and i snow clearing his driveway, so I give him a quick hand

While Lillian is sitting in the last bit of sun on her terras

And as of tomorrow, they will have been together for 51 years

everybody together now....aaaaaaaahhhh how sweet


May 29, 2008

Antwerp facade

Couldn't get the shot here the way I saw it, need another lens, anyway, I liked how there was this bright yellow steel frame holding up the facade with the space behind, blue crane and blue sky


3 faces of Christian Wijnants

Met up with Christian today, give him some photos to update his website , I will come back and do a proper portrait shot ( as opposed to with just the phone camera )

He's a pretty good looking guy, but did not like the way he looked in these pictures

So I made him scream then

to BBQ or not to BBQ

At the last minute I canceled a barbeque as the forecast was thundery rain showers. So , it then turns out to be a nice day, should not have relied on the weather man

Markets in Mechelen

Went to the markets in Mechelen, lots of fresh produce, but the big thing I noticed that it was all old people, maybe that's because I came early  ( from about 8 till 9 am ) or is it that people my age and younger don't see the value in going to markets, or are too lazy and just go to the big supermarkets instead ?

Just little old ladies lining up for their cheese. And if you are a cheese lover you would love these stalls, so much variety

Material by Product

What a great idea, bring in your old t-shirt for a make over

May 26, 2008

Wolfgang Tillmans-private view

tomorrow night London


An exhibition in two parts, the installation in the ground floor gallery comprises work that oscillates between black and white and almost monochrome colour photographs like Die Schwärze, which depicts a melting glacier’s majestic curve around a black, snow capped mountain. Surfaces vary from photographic paper, ink jet prints and photocopies to the bent and creased photographs from his ongoing sculptural series, Lighter.  Tillmans has produced the Lighter series without a camera, and as with all his photographs he considers the resulting works as objects. This process of bending and folding lifts the work further out of the two dimensions of the photographic image and into the space of the room where they are able to reflect and interact. In a recent interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Tillmans described these works as “compositions, but, at the same time, an object has been inserted into them”*

The photocopy works are another form of abstraction. Often associated with appropriation and the recycling of existing images, Tillmans began using photocopies in the late 1980s as a way to create ephemeral and inexpensive original enlargements. Ceremony from 2007 depicts a traditional English procession but the colour and detail that would anchor the scene in a specific place and time are missing, creating ambiguity, and allowing space for new interpretations. Your Dogs depicts two sleeping dogs obstructing a pavement; by not conforming with the relentless pace of daily life, they confront us with an alternative sense of freedom.

This exhibition presents a series of interactions between nature and man-made artefacts. In Non Specific Threat, spiders appear to invade an American cityscape from the sky, and in Growth, a creeping plant engulfs its host building whilst a young boy walks past, oblivious to the spectacle behind him.

The first floor gallery contains a large multichannel video installation combining previously unseen and rarely screened work from 1987, 1994 and 2003 with recent footage. Using minimal editing and ambient sound, this series of observational videos are moving images rather than narrative constructions. The installation of these works follows a logic established through exhibitions of Tillmans’ photographs, emphasising the connections and disjunctions between each piece. The presence of nature in the work in the ground floor gallery is echoed upstairs by the close-up sequence of a snail slowly traversing the artist’s hand. Another video observes the incongruous combination of the 1990 hit record Wind of Change played by street musicians in front of the Europacentre building in Berlin with its rotating rooftop Mercedes sign.

Tillmans’ solo exhibition Lighter is on at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin until 24 August. A new book also called Lighter has been published by Hatje Cantz to accompany the exhibition and brings together a large selection of photographs documenting installations of Tillmans’ work over the last two decades.

Wolfgang Tillmans was born in Remscheid, Germany in 1968 and lives and works in Berlin and in London, where he also runs the project space Between Bridges. In addition to Lighter, current and forthcoming exhibitions include solo shows at the Museo Tamayo, Mexico and the Stedelijk Museum CS, Amsterdam, and the 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, History in the Making: A Retrospective of the Turner Prize at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and Street & Studio: An Urban History of Photography at Tate Modern and Museum Folkwang, Essen.

Tate Britain will present a major installation by Tillmans as part of the BP British Art Displays from the end of May 2008.

* Wolfgang Tillmans and Hans Ulrich Obrist, The Conversation Series, Vol. 6. Cologne: Verlag Buchhandlung Walther König, 2007.