It was time when they both loved each other best, without hurry or excess, when both were most conscious of and grateful for their incredible victories over adversity. Life would still present them with other moral trials, of course, but that no longer mattered: they were on the other shore.

Love in the Time of Cholera

RIP dear Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, whose words carried colors no one else’s ever did.

(via beenthinking)

posted 2 days ago

Comments (View)
Hottest new band right now. Slug Collective.

Hottest new band right now. Slug Collective.

posted 2 days ago

Comments (View)
When I spoke to Randy Huffman, the man Manchin had named the state’s chief environmental regulator, he described the Freedom Industries spill as an unforeseeable accident, and one that would not have been detected by more inspections. “Nobody could see the hole forming in that tank,” he said. “So the leak was going to happen.” He believes that environmental activists will never be satisfied with his agency. “What am I supposed to do when people know the truth but they deliberately manipulate it in order to make their point? That’s being an activist.” He added, “We’re not perfect, but we’re not evil.”

LOL!

By way of fatmanatee, here’s this really great New Yorker piece on the West Virginia chemical spill back in January. It’s a great piece, all in all, although it leans a bit too partisan (Like, does it matter whether its a Republican or a Democrat that ends up selling West Virginians out to lobbying interests? Not to me! But whatever).

It was hard to narrow down, but this quote struck me as particularly hilarious. The head of the state’s environmental enforcement. Demanding to not have hazardous chemicals in your drinking water is somehow going too far for him.

Thank goodness special interest money is speech, because now they can just buy their corrupt politicians directly. Oh, here’s another hilarious section:

But the Freedom Industries spill exceeded the public’s capacity for tolerance. Governor Tomblin announced that his office would propose legislation—the “spill bill,” as it was known—to govern aboveground storage tanks of the kind that leaked at Freedom Industries. To understand who had a hand in creating the bill, Ken Ward, Jr., of the Gazette, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for communications between the Governor’s office and lobbyists and lawyers connected to the chemical and coal industries. He received a hundred and fifty-eight pages of e-mails and documents. They revealed that the Governor’s office had arranged a closed-door meeting for what it called “the stakeholders,” which included the Chamber of Commerce, the Oil and Gas Association, and the Coal Association. No citizens’ groups or environmental organizations were invited.

Hahaha! I guess if anyone knows about spilling chemicals, the oil, gas, and coal industries would be hard to beat! What a fount of knowledge (and [redacted: those chemicals are totally safe]) to tap!

What’s my favorite part of America? It’s definitely the ever-expanding and suffocating oligarchy. Thanks, Obama!

posted 3 days ago

Comments (View)
I meant to post about the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, but I kept thinking about it and then forgetting about it, which is pretty symbolic for the genocide itself and how we generally respond to distant tragedy.
But it’s been twenty years and this book, Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, is still one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read, and somehow put the tragedy in both personal, human terms as well as broad, big picture terms. It’s where I first heard the story of Paul Rusesabagina, the Don Cheadle character in Hotel Rwanda.
The genocide feels so far away now, like every act of horror before 9/11 is a distant, shadowy thing that was unusual because the status quo of the world was “peace” and not “terror,” or something. In 1994 as the genocide was happening, we were finding out Kurt Cobain was dead. We had troops in Bosnia. NAFTA had just been created. And now Rwanda is one of the brightest spots on the continent. The world has changed so much in those twenty years.
One section of the book that has always stuck with me is a transcript of a conversation between a reporter and the State Department spokeswoman Christine Shelley. The Clinton administration had forbade any confirmation of “genocide” in Rwanda, because that would increase pressure to actually do something. Instead, the line was that “acts of genocide may have occurred.”

"Q: So you say genocide happens when certain acts happen, and you say that those acts have happened in Rwanda. So why can’t you say that genocide has happened?
Ms. Shelley: Because, Alan, there is a reason for the selection of words that we have made, and I have -perhaps I have- I’m not a lawyer. I don’t approach this from the international legal and scholarly point of view. We try, best as we can, to accurately reflect a description in particularly addressing that issue. It’s- the issue is out there. People have obviously been looking at it.”
Shelley was a bit more to the point when she rejected the denomination of genocide, because, she said, “there are obligations which arise in connection with the use of the term.” She meant that if it was a genocide, the Convention of 1948 required the contracting parties to act. Washington didn’t want to act. So Washington pretended that it wasn’t a genocide. Still, assuming that the above exchange took about two minutes, an average of eleven Tutsis were exterminated in Rwanda while it transpired.

I don’t know why that stuck with me. The perpetrators of the genocide were able to kill close to a million people in a 100-day time span using mostly machetes, which is 10,000 people per day.
I think maybe we have a hard time caring about a thing unless that thing is so dramatically devastating that it’s cathartic to care about it. It is hard to get worked up about a famine if the famine is successfully prevented. But also, ever since our disastrous involvement in Somalia, administrations generally don’t want to risk American lives for non-American interests. Which is valid but also cruel. And sometimes there is just nothing to be done. As commonplace as it has become, violating another country’s sovereignty is still a pain in the ass. So we let things run their course, because pissing off this country would threaten our relationship with that country and we need their airbases in case of a threat from this country, et cetera sic transit gloria.
I don’t know, I’m just riffing. I just think it is worth thinking about, at least a little bit. The book is heartbreaking, but worth reading. It’s important to know these things happened.

I meant to post about the anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, but I kept thinking about it and then forgetting about it, which is pretty symbolic for the genocide itself and how we generally respond to distant tragedy.

But it’s been twenty years and this book, Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families, is still one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read, and somehow put the tragedy in both personal, human terms as well as broad, big picture terms. It’s where I first heard the story of Paul Rusesabagina, the Don Cheadle character in Hotel Rwanda.

The genocide feels so far away now, like every act of horror before 9/11 is a distant, shadowy thing that was unusual because the status quo of the world was “peace” and not “terror,” or something. In 1994 as the genocide was happening, we were finding out Kurt Cobain was dead. We had troops in Bosnia. NAFTA had just been created. And now Rwanda is one of the brightest spots on the continent. The world has changed so much in those twenty years.

One section of the book that has always stuck with me is a transcript of a conversation between a reporter and the State Department spokeswoman Christine Shelley. The Clinton administration had forbade any confirmation of “genocide” in Rwanda, because that would increase pressure to actually do something. Instead, the line was that “acts of genocide may have occurred.”

"Q: So you say genocide happens when certain acts happen, and you say that those acts have happened in Rwanda. So why can’t you say that genocide has happened?

Ms. Shelley: Because, Alan, there is a reason for the selection of words that we have made, and I have -perhaps I have- I’m not a lawyer. I don’t approach this from the international legal and scholarly point of view. We try, best as we can, to accurately reflect a description in particularly addressing that issue. It’s- the issue is out there. People have obviously been looking at it.”

Shelley was a bit more to the point when she rejected the denomination of genocide, because, she said, “there are obligations which arise in connection with the use of the term.” She meant that if it was a genocide, the Convention of 1948 required the contracting parties to act. Washington didn’t want to act. So Washington pretended that it wasn’t a genocide. Still, assuming that the above exchange took about two minutes, an average of eleven Tutsis were exterminated in Rwanda while it transpired.

I don’t know why that stuck with me. The perpetrators of the genocide were able to kill close to a million people in a 100-day time span using mostly machetes, which is 10,000 people per day.

I think maybe we have a hard time caring about a thing unless that thing is so dramatically devastating that it’s cathartic to care about it. It is hard to get worked up about a famine if the famine is successfully prevented. But also, ever since our disastrous involvement in Somalia, administrations generally don’t want to risk American lives for non-American interests. Which is valid but also cruel. And sometimes there is just nothing to be done. As commonplace as it has become, violating another country’s sovereignty is still a pain in the ass. So we let things run their course, because pissing off this country would threaten our relationship with that country and we need their airbases in case of a threat from this country, et cetera sic transit gloria.

I don’t know, I’m just riffing. I just think it is worth thinking about, at least a little bit. The book is heartbreaking, but worth reading. It’s important to know these things happened.

posted 5 days ago

Comments (View)
DANGER BEES!

DANGER BEES!

posted 1 week ago

Comments (View)
Came home to discover that Erica made Rice Krispie treats!!! What a way to start the weekend.

Came home to discover that Erica made Rice Krispie treats!!! What a way to start the weekend.

posted 1 week ago

Comments (View)
This is a density map of marine vessel routes because there is a website, fittingly called Marine Traffic, that tracks all the boats in the ocean, or at least nearly 500,000 of them. And they are all the time moving back and forth across the oceans, creating these colors.
It’s very similar to the live flight data you can see at www.flightradar24.com and you wonder how those planes don’t run into each other because there are so many.
Globalization, man.

This is a density map of marine vessel routes because there is a website, fittingly called Marine Traffic, that tracks all the boats in the ocean, or at least nearly 500,000 of them. And they are all the time moving back and forth across the oceans, creating these colors.

It’s very similar to the live flight data you can see at www.flightradar24.com and you wonder how those planes don’t run into each other because there are so many.

Globalization, man.

posted 1 week ago

Comments (View)

Shh, shh, everything is going to be alright. Just let this take you.

posted 1 week ago

Comments (View)
kateoplis:

"[A]ccording to NASA, a highly unusual ‘Tetrad’ – four successive total ‘blood-red’ lunar eclipses each followed by six full moons – will, indeed, start next Tuesday and finish on September 28 2015. The incredible alignment has only happened a handful of times in the last two thousand years but, remarkably, on each of the last three occasions it has coincided with a globally significant religious event.”
NASA: “This is the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 - a series known as a Tetrad. …The 565-year period of the Tetrad ‘seasons’ is tied to the slowly decreasing eccentricity of Earth’s orbit. Consequently, the Tetrad period is gradually decreasing. In the distant future Tetrads will no longer be possible.”
Pastor and author John Hagee: “According to the Biblical prophecy, world history is about to change dramatically.
Every time this has happened in the last 500 years, it has coincided with tragedy for the Jewish people followed by triumph. And once again, for Israel, the timing of this Tetrad is remarkable. The first of the four blood moons will come on April 15 this year, during Passover. The second will be on October 8, at the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles. On April 4 2015, during Passover, we will have another blood moon. Then finally, on September 28, during next year’s Feast of the Tabernacles, the fourth blood and final moon will dawn.” 
Apocalypse Now

The Mayans didn’t mention this, but obviously we are all doomed.

kateoplis:

"[A]ccording to NASA, a highly unusual ‘Tetrad’ – four successive total ‘blood-red’ lunar eclipses each followed by six full moons – will, indeed, start next Tuesday and finish on September 28 2015. The incredible alignment has only happened a handful of times in the last two thousand years but, remarkably, on each of the last three occasions it has coincided with a globally significant religious event.”

NASA: “This is the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 - a series known as a Tetrad. …The 565-year period of the Tetrad ‘seasons’ is tied to the slowly decreasing eccentricity of Earth’s orbit. Consequently, the Tetrad period is gradually decreasing. In the distant future Tetrads will no longer be possible.”

Pastor and author John Hagee: “According to the Biblical prophecy, world history is about to change dramatically.

Every time this has happened in the last 500 years, it has coincided with tragedy for the Jewish people followed by triumph. And once again, for Israel, the timing of this Tetrad is remarkable. The first of the four blood moons will come on April 15 this year, during Passover. The second will be on October 8, at the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles. On April 4 2015, during Passover, we will have another blood moon. Then finally, on September 28, during next year’s Feast of the Tabernacles, the fourth blood and final moon will dawn.” 

Apocalypse Now

The Mayans didn’t mention this, but obviously we are all doomed.

posted 1 week ago

Comments (View)

brightwalldarkroom:
theatlantic:
Why The Conversation Should Be Required Viewing at the NSA
Technology—iPhones, Google Glass, tablets, and the like—makes our day-to-day lives easier to quantify than ever. That’s a good thing, in many ways; more information about how people live can help, say, improve healthcare.
But fiction, from George Orwell’s 1984 to this weekend’s box-office hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has long warned us about the ways that data collection can also threaten privacy, freedom, and happiness. The most powerful cautionary tale for the Age of Big Data comes from an unlikely place: Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, which turns 40 today.
Read more.
A great article on a near perfect film.

What’s really interesting is that The Conversation ends with Harry Caul tearing his apartment to pieces looking for microphones that he’s convinced are there. If that isn’t a great analogy for our national security attitude post-9/11, I don’t know what is.

brightwalldarkroom:

theatlantic:

Why The Conversation Should Be Required Viewing at the NSA

Technology—iPhones, Google Glass, tablets, and the like—makes our day-to-day lives easier to quantify than ever. That’s a good thing, in many ways; more information about how people live can help, say, improve healthcare.

But fiction, from George Orwell’s 1984 to this weekend’s box-office hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has long warned us about the ways that data collection can also threaten privacy, freedom, and happiness. The most powerful cautionary tale for the Age of Big Data comes from an unlikely place: Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, which turns 40 today.

Read more.

A great article on a near perfect film.

What’s really interesting is that The Conversation ends with Harry Caul tearing his apartment to pieces looking for microphones that he’s convinced are there. If that isn’t a great analogy for our national security attitude post-9/11, I don’t know what is.

posted 1 week ago

Comments (View)