Just one or two. And it was 80°F, which was very nice.
Schneider 2x Tele. It was extremely hard to get the iPad to focus on this, and I was far enough away. The bud simply wouldn't "pop" into focus. I wasn't sure if the problem was that the branch was in almost constant motion, and was probably vibrating quietly even when I though it was at rest. You see why plants evolved windborne forms of reproduction; the air is almost never still! Read below the fold...
AS GOOD AS IT GETS
Carol Connelly: Stop it! Why can't I have a normal boyfriend? Why? Just a regular boyfriend that doesn't go nuts on me! I -
[Beverly (her mother) butts in, and Carol turns to her.]
Beverly Connelly: Everybody wants that, dear. It doesn't exist.
JC: I need to get out of here! I need to work! I need people! I need a social life! I need SEX!
Plumber: But, but ... but I’m a married man!
BROADCAST NEWS Read below the fold...
When Jason Levin crashed a meeting of the two major-party candidates for governor with the Pamplin Media Group/EO Media Group on Monday, it wasn’t the first time that the Pacific Green Party nominee had drawn attention to himself.
But Levin says that compared with the well-heeled campaigns of Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber and Republican Rep. Dennis Richardson, he has to resort to such guerrilla tactics.
You bet. More like this, please. Read below the fold...
These are all from a shady area. They flowered late, and are out of the wind, though the poppies in the front garden are all gone, now. The sun is sinking, to the left.
Schneider 2x Tele.
And more. I can't help myself! Read below the fold...
Schneider 2x tele. I see the idea here, in terms of the focal plane, or whatever they call it, but I still don't like the idea. I think if was DaVinci who thought distance was a function of haze; I'd rather think that way than in and out of focus. Still, the lens expresses what it can express and can't do anything else; it's only glass, after all. Read below the fold...
The outbreak of another Western-led military conflict in the Middle East is widely viewed as unwinnable. It is also viewed as counterproductive because of its potential to help its target, ISIL, the anti-Western fanatical social movement, recruit new volunteers in its crusade to topple Middle East regimes.
My view, as a political scientist, is that none of the players currently involved can bring peace or stability to the region. The "perpetual war" the protagonists appear to be unleashing is more likely to cause even more human suffering and displacement in the region on a scale previously unimaginable.
It is also my view that the failure of Middle East regimes to create functioning democracies that accord fundamental civil and political liberties to their populaces has created a barbaric monster born of hatred and rage for the regimes and their Western allies. ISIL's leadership is using its misrepresentation and misappropriation of Islam to recruit aggrieved and in certain cases mentally deranged individuals to its cause, instigating them to commit acts of barbarism not only in Iraq and Syria but throughout the world.
Since war is not the answer, and the majority of the regimes involved do not have functioning democracies enabling their citizens to govern their countries, what I and many others foresee is perpetual internecine warfare among the players until the entire region is devastated. The only solution I can envisage to preventing this region-wide quagmire of human misery is the bottom-up technological solution that I propose below. First, let me explain why I believe it may well provide the only possibility for ending the conflicts and bringing peace to the region and the world. Read below the fold...
The Intercept has two great stories on our famously free press. Here's the first, by Glenn Greenwald, with the Flexian parts excerpted:
The Camstoll Group was formed on November 26, 2012. Its key figures are all former senior Treasury Department officials in both the Bush and Obama administrations whose responsibilities included managing the U.S. government’s relationships with Persian Gulf regimes and Israel, as well as managing policies relating to funding of designated terrorist groups. Most have backgrounds as neoconservative activists. Two of the Camstoll principals, prior to their Treasury jobs, worked with one of the country’s most extremist neocon anti-Muslim activists, Steve Emerson.
Camstoll’s founder, CEO and sole owner, Matthew Epstein, was a Treasury Department official from 2003 through 2010, a run that included a position as the department’s Financial Attaché to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. ...
Prior to his Treasury appointment by the Bush administration, Epstein was a neoconservative activist, writing articles for National Review and working with Emerson’s aggressively anti-Muslim Investigative Project (Epstein’s published resume omits his work with Emerson). His pre-Treasury work for Emerson’s group, obsessed with The Muslim Threat Within, presaged Peter King’s 2011 anti-Muslim witch hunts. ...
Camstoll’s Managing Director, Howard Mendelsohn, was Acting Assistant Secretary of Treasury, where he also had ample policy responsibilities involving the Emirates; a 2010 WikiLeaks cable details how he “met with senior officials from the UAE’s State Security Department (SSD) and Dubai’s General Department of State Security (GDSS)” to coordinate disruption of Taliban financing. Another Managing Director, Benjamin Schmidt, worked with Epstein at Emerson’s Investigative Project before his own appointment to Treasury; a 2009 diplomatic cable shows him working with Israel on controlling financing to Palestinians. A Camstoll director, Benjamin Davis, was the Treasury Department’s Financial Attaché in Jerusalem.
On December 2, 2012 – less than a week after Camstoll was incorporated – it entered into a lucrative, open-ended consulting contract with an entity wholly owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Outlook Energy Investments, LLC (its Emir, the President of UAE, is pictured above). A week later, Camstoll registered as a foreign agent working on behalf of the Emirate. The consultancy agreement calls for Camstoll to be paid a monthly fee of $400,000, wired each month into a Camstoll account. Two weeks after it was formed, Camstoll was paid by the Emirates entity a retainer fee of $4.3 million, and then another $3.2 million in 2013.
In other words, a senior Treasury official responsible for U.S. policy toward the Emirates leaves the U.S. government and forms a new lobbying company, which is then instantly paid millions of dollars by the very same country for which he was responsible, all to use his influence, access and contacts for its advantage. The UAE spends more than any other country in the world to influence U.S. policy and shape domestic debate, and it pays former high-level government officials who worked with it – such as Epstein and his company – to carry out its agenda within the U.S.
Gosh. It seems that Israel and AIPAC et al. may not be the exception, but the rule. Read below the fold...
RFK’s son, hasbarist chair of the Trustees at the University of Illinois, on firing Salaita over tweets
Christopher Kennedy is the son of Robert F. Kennedy, assassinated senator and Democratic presidential candidate. Christopher Kennedy is chairman of the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees, politically appointed by Illinois Democratic Governor Pat Quinn. Kennedy has also acted as a fundraiser for Barack Obama and other Democratic candidates. Read below the fold...