An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwayne’s Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.
That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.
It’s true that I haven’t shot anything on film for at least 15 years, but the end of the Kodachrome era still makes me sad. I still have fond memories of film photography from my younger days, from roughly age 12 (when my sister gave me her old Pentax Spotmatic) up through college (when I took a disastrous photo class with a professor whose aesthetic was the exact opposite of mine). And while digital is more convenient than film in so many ways (easier to process and retouch, ability to change ISO on the fly), it still can’t match it for quality and tonal range.
Floyd Abrams, comparing the WikiLeaks cables to the Pentagon Papers:
In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg decided to make available to the New York Times (and then to other newspapers) 43 volumes of the Pentagon Papers, the top- secret study prepared for the Department of Defense examining how and why the United States had become embroiled in the Vietnam conflict. But he made another critical decision as well. That was to keep confidential the remaining four volumes of the study describing the diplomatic efforts of the United States to resolve the war.
Not at all coincidentally, those were the volumes that the government most feared would be disclosed. In a secret brief filed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. government described the diplomatic volumes as including information about negotiations secretly conducted on its behalf by foreign nations including Canada, Poland, Italy and Norway. Included as well, according to the government, were “derogatory comments about the perfidiousness of specific persons involved, and statements which might be offensive to nations or governments.”
The diplomatic volumes were not published, even in part, for another dozen years. Mr. Ellsberg later explained his decision to keep them secret, according to Sanford Ungar’s 1972 book “The Papers & The Papers,” by saying, “I didn’t want to get in the way of the diplomacy.”
Julian Assange sure does. Can anyone doubt that he would have made those four volumes public on WikiLeaks regardless of their sensitivity? Or that he would have paid not even the slightest heed to the possibility that they might seriously compromise efforts to bring a speedier end to the war?
Can anyone tell me which war Assange has delayed the end of? Was there anything in the diplomatic cables he released that will prolong our occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan?
1 commentDecember 30th, 2010 at 07:07amPosted by Eli
Medicare is the main policy challenge here, because rising health costs are the primary cause of unsustainable entitlement commitments. But Medicare reform – the topic of intense, ideological debate – is a political nonstarter. While Social Security is a relatively small contributor to future deficits, reforming it would be a large symbol and a logical place to begin.
Social Security restructuring is not the obvious choice for Obama, but it is the smart one. It is achievable. It would invest Republican leaders in a constructive national enterprise. It would reassure global credit markets that America remains capable of governing itself. It would result in a more progressive, sustainable system. And it would make a dramatic, timely political statement: that the president is capable not only of expanding government but of reforming it.
So in other words, Gerson is perfectly happy to either impoverish the elderly or force them to keep working forever for the sake of a symbolic gesture that he himself admits would have minimal effect on the deficit. What a prince.
The worst part is that Obama doesn’t need any urging from Gerson; he’s going to do this anyway. And it’s not going to be a savvy political move, it’s going to be electoral suicide for him and the entire Democratic party.
3 commentsDecember 28th, 2010 at 02:12pmPosted by Eli
An arm of the United States Marshals Service undervalued what could amount to untold millions of dollars in assets forfeited by white-collar criminals — including some from the family of Bernard L. Madoff — and sold them for far less than they were worth, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan.
As a result, the lawsuit suggests, crime victims, including some who lost fortunes in the Madoff case, may have been deprived of millions of dollars in restitution.
The complaint filed in the case contains a range of accusations about the actions of Leonard Briskman, the leader of the marshals unit. It says that assets were sold without public notice or competitive bidding, and that Mr. Briskman assessed the value of certain assets, found buyers through his “business contacts,” and kept a secret bank account to which government auditors had no access.
While the lawsuit does not detail the potential losses to the Asset Forfeiture Program and, by extension, to crime victims, it cites Mr. Briskman’s handling in early March of a minority interest in the Delta Fund, which had been held by Ruth Madoff. The fund came under the purview of the complex assets group.
“During the sale, it became evident that the sale price did not have a corresponding valuation by an independent qualified professional, and that it was patently discounted sharply below fair market value,” the lawsuit alleged. “Upon discussion, it also became clear that Briskman had not sought multiple prospective buyers in the open market for this asset.”
Later in March, when Mr. Aryai reported his findings to his superiors at Forfeiture Support Associates and in the Marshals Service, he was transferred so that he reported directly to Mr. Briskman, according to the lawsuit. When Mr. Aryai tried to add his new supervisor to his professional networking profile on the Web site LinkedIn, he found that Mr. Briskman did not list himself as an employee of the Marshals Service, but as the chief executive of Asset Valuation Advisors.
When Mr. Aryai sought to look into Mr. Briskman’s company, he found that it “held itself out as a business with experience in the disposition of distressed assets, with examples that shockingly appeared to be U.S.M.S. forfeiture matters,” the complaint said.
So Briskman was riping off crime victims by selling confiscated assets to his business clients. Awesome. I’m betting Briskman and probably Morales lose their jobs, but get off with a slap on the wrist… while the DOJ tries to figure out how to put Julius Assange away for life.
1 commentDecember 27th, 2010 at 08:38amPosted by Eli
“When it’s all going to be said and done, Harry Reid has eaten our lunch,” Graham said on Fox News radio. “This has been a capitulation in two weeks of dramatic proportions of policies that wouldn’t have passed in the new Congress.”
Here’s the funny thing, though: Of the four significant pieces of legislature passed in the lame duck session, only the DADT repeal vote could be considered unambiguously progressive, and it was backed by the Pentagon’s own report saying that it could be done with no harm to military effectiveness. New START was the continuation of a Ronald Reagan initiative, Zadroga provided aid for 9/11 heroes, and the tax cut “compromise” was both a huge giveaway for the wealthy and a stealth attack on Social Security.
It is also worth pointing out that none of those four bills pose any harm to corporations or rich people, but I’m sure that’s probably just a coincidence.
“I was sipping a cappuccino on the Via Veneto when I heard yelling in the distance,” twenty-five-year-old graduate student Scott Gordon told Weekly World News. “At first I paid no attention to the growing din, thinking it was fans at a bar cheering a soccer match. I was wrong – dead wrong.
“Without warning, an Alfa Romeo sports car came sailing through the air as if it had been catapulted,” Gordon went on. “It turned end over end like a hanging curve ball before smashing into the Neapolitan pastry shop across the street!
“Following the crash came a throng of Romans cursing vehemently as they ran pell-mell down the street, fleeing from some unknown terror.
“Suddenly a vast, pink tongue flicked out from behind a tall building,” Gordon continued. “The fleshy organ wrapped itself around an empty sightseeing bus, then snapped back – taking the bus with it!
“The panicked mob surged forward, sweeping me along in their hysteria. As I was pushed down the avenue, I suddenly saw to ‘whom’ the tongue belonged – or more accurately to ‘what.’ Incredibly, it was a weird hybrid of a giant frog and a gargantuan mushroom!”
It was, in fact, the abomination the world would soon fear as Mushribbita!
“The immense creature, more than one hundred feet long, came after us on its amphibious legs,” said gelato peddler Al Tino. “Even in my nightmares I had never imagined something so hideous. Its frog head was encircled by a frilly, fungal dome dome attached to a mushroom stalk torso from which its webbed feet extended. It smelled musky and damp, like my socks after a day in the hot summer sun. But worse. Also, my socks don’t rip trees from the ground and eat them, as this titan was doing.
“As the crowd tumbled onto the Aventine, it ran smack into an onrushing police battalion,” Tino said. “While the police herded the terror-stricken mob to safety, I ducked behind my cart.”
The crack antiterrorist team, Unit B Speciale Thirteen, quickly threw a cordon around the rampaging monster. A phalanx of Rome’s Finest under the command of Captain Lucius Verona opened fire.
“My men blasted it with everything we had – bullets, tasers, grenades – all to no effect,” Capt. Verona explained. “Since Mushribbita was part spongy fungus, it evidently had no internal organs on which to inflict a fatal wound!”
As Mushribbita croaked in triumph, its deep voice caused windows to shatter in nearby buildings, showering police with glass.
[A]s swiftly as he had arrived, the monster leapt out of sight. For a few tense moments, the city was silent. Then the roar of F-16s shattered the quiet. Blazing across the sky, the Falcons flew in a tight V formation toward the ruins of the historic Colosseum.
“Mushribbita was scuttling up the walls of the ancient amphitheater as fast as its distorted physique could carry it,” Gordon revealed. “Like some improbably gladiator perched on a precipice, the monster bellowed defiance. Its webbed toes curled around the granite edifice as the goliath thrashed its forelimbs wildly at the incoming fighters.”
The behemoth’s pink tongue lashed out. The F-16s smartly looped, evading the taste-bud-studded weapon, then streaked down at Mushribbita. As the first tracers erupted, the barrage passed right through the colossus.
“Mushribbita suddenly became a formless, twinkling mist before vanishing into thin air – as if it had never existed!” Tino said later.
[T]he Italian Parliament blamed the incident on leftist extremists….
It’s the vanishing into formless twinkling mist that worries me. What if that wasn’t mist at all, but a cloud of spores? I’m definitely going to stay away from Europe for a while.
Rep Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Eileen Applebaum make the latest case for why the payroll tax holiday that Obama is so proud of is such a huge threat to Social Security. And I keep coming back to the same question: Was a payroll tax cut really the only way to put extra money in people’s hands? What was wrong with the Making Work Pay tax credit, which actually put more money in the hands of those who needed it?
There was either no thought put into this choice of vehicle, or considerable thought. And the potential consequences are so obvious that it’s difficult to imagine anyone overlooking them, so I find it almost impossible to believe that Obama did.
Just like I find it almost impossible to believe that he didn’t think that a deficit commission stocked and staffed with Pete Peterson apparatchiks and other mortal enemies of Social Security would come up with a plan that didn’t harm it, or that such a plan would acquire instant legitimacy even if it didn’t reach the 14-out-of-18-vote threshold that was supposed to be necessary to trigger a vote in Congress.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama is a much greater threat to Social Security than George W. Bush ever was. He disguises betrayal as bipartisanship and compromise, but it is betrayal all the same, calculated and deliberate.
In case there were any remaining doubt that Julius Genachowski is a completely corrupt dishonest bastard, or that the other two Democratic FCC commissioners are spineless jellyfish, check out their laughable explanation for why they gave wireless service providers free rein to block whatever they like:
Further, we recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android. In addition, we anticipate soon seeing the effects on the market of the openness conditions we imposed on mobile providers that operate on upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum, which includes Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile wireless carriers in the U.S.
In light of these considerations, we conclude it is appropriate to take measured steps at this time to protect the openness of the Internet when accessed through mobile broadband.
You see, it’s okay for the telecoms to block or throttle wireless access, because the openness of the Android operating system will magically cancel out any closedness of the spectrum. Awesome!
I suppose we should be grateful that Genachowski didn’t use the presence of open-source Linux in the wired desktop space to justify a clean sweep.
Apparently it wasn’t enough for Fox News to insist on calling the public option “the government option” or “the so-called public option” (whatever that means). Chief propagandist Managing editor Bill Sammon also insisted that Fox News talking heads “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based on data that critics have called into question.”
This is either truly shocking ignorance or appalling dishonesty on Fox’s part. Sammon isn’t just trying to deny that global warming is caused by manmade activity, he’s trying to deny that it’s happening at all, as if historical temperature measurements are somehow subjective or a matter of opinion.
That the 2000s were the warmest decade on record isn’t a “theory” (I’m not even sure what that’s supposed to mean), it’s an indisputable fact, and the so-called Climategate scandal had nothing to do with it. If you want to argue over whether that was caused by carbon emissions or sunspots or geological cycles, fine – I still think you’re a dishonest hack, but at least you’d be arguing about facts on the ground instead of being one of those idiots who claims that because it’s cold today global warming must be a hoax.
And tens of millions of Americans get their “news” from these shameless corporate liars. I weep.
Boy, that CREW crew just gets uglier and uglier every day. Last week this supposedly pro-transparency organization denounced WikiLeaks, comparing it unfavorably to Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel “Elsberg” (which even Ellsberg himself disagrees with), prompting Glenn Greenwald to resign from its board of directors, like so:
[T]he recent condemnation of WikiLeaks by Anne Weismann, purporting to speak on behalf of CREW, is both baffling and unacceptable to me. It is baffling because I cannot fathom how a group purportedly devoted to greater transparency in government could condemn an entity that has brought more transparency to governments and corporations around the world than any single other organization by far. And it is unacceptable to me because I believe defense of WikiLeaks has become one of the greatest and most important political causes that exists — certainly one to which I intend to devote myself — and I do not want to be affiliated with any group which works to undermine it.
I remain supportive of much of the work done by CREW and wish the organization nothing but the best.
In other words, “I can’t be party to this because it goes against everything I believe in, but CREW does good work and I wish them well,” which shows both integrity and class. By contrast, CREW’s snippy good-riddance response sounds like something one of the Palins might post on Facebook:
CREW executive director Melanie Sloan responds that Greenwald’s resignation is “quite welcome.”
“Glenn is using CREW merely as a foil for his own press ambitions rather than to make any real policy points,” she said, adding that she learned of his resignation from the press. “This is the second time recently Glenn has chosen to take his disputes with CREW public without discussing them with us.”
She accused Greenwald and other progressives of “demonizing us for disagreeing” on WikiLeaks.
“I guess the current position du jour is ‘You’re supposed to be on WikiLeaks side no matter what, and if you are varying from that, you’re terrible, you’re awful, you’re evil,'” she said.
Wow. She actually accuses Glenn Greenwald of being a self-promoting famewhore for standing up for his convictions, and then plays the victim card for being demonized for… demonizing WikiLeaks.
One theory of mine is that Mr. Obama — if one assumes that he is a liberal himself — sees less need to hedge his words when speaking to other liberals, in the same way that most of us tend to speak more bluntly to friends and family members than to relative strangers.
Aaaaaahahahahaha!!! Sure, that’s it – he calls us sanctimonious purists and unreasonable whiners because he’s so fond of us! That’s the ticket!
So it’s pretty clear that Obama’s political strategy is to antagonize the Democratic base in order to appeal to the independents (who, I must point out, would never be as motivated to turn out as diehard Democrats would). Looks like it’s about half-successful:
The poll was taken from Dec. 2 through Wednesday, as the president proposed a two-year freeze on federal civilian workers’ pay and cut a deal with congressional Republicans to extend expiring tax cuts — even those for the wealthy, which he’d opposed.
Overall, just 42 percent of registered voters approve of how he’s doing his job, while 50 percent disapprove.
Obama’s standing among Democrats dropped from a month ago, with his approval rating falling to 74 percent from 83 percent, and his disapproval rating almost doubling, from 11 percent to 21 percent.
Among liberals, his approval rating dropped from 78 percent to 69 percent and his disapproval rating jumped from 14 percent to 22 percent.
His position among independents remained virtually the same, with 39 percent approving and 52 percent disapproving. A month ago, it was 38-54.
The president’s continued failure to rally independents could ruin his bid for re-election. A hypothetical 2012 matchup showed him getting the support of 44 percent of registered voters and Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, getting 46 percent.
Epic. Political. Fail. Obama has sacrificed guaranteed votes (and contributions, and boots on the ground) in exchange for absolutely nothing. Even if protecting corporations and wealth was really his goal all along, I would still expect him to at least try to get re-elected.
I think this is just hilarious, especially considering how much of Palin’s identity is invested in how she’s such a mighty and experienced frontier huntress:
The Conservative blogosphere, usually a forum for cheerleading on behalf the Palin cause, was awash yesterday with suggestions that her outdoorsy image is an elaborate charade.
“I turned on Sarah Palin’s Alaska and she just shot four maybe even five times at a caribou and missed,” noted a typical comment on the Fox News host Sean Hannity’s website. “Needless to say I’m not impressed with her ability to handle a firearm let alone aim it and hit.”
Among the basic items of protocol blithely ignored by Palin as she set off into the wilderness in a Rambo-style headband was her failure to take practice shots, or check the sights of the rifle, which duly turned out to be off-kilter. She failed to carry her own weapon, relying on her elderly father and his companion, Steve, to lug it around. When a beast eventually wandered into range, Ms Palin left Chuck Snr to load the rifle, and discharge spent bullet casings.
“What a joke,” wrote one viewer on Palin’s Facebook page. “I was a fan before the show. No one who is a true hunter lets others carry their rifle or can’t load their own shells. Sarah, you are a phony.”
The Awl, a website which collated reactions to the episode, noted that, while being passed the firearm, Ms Palin immediately moved her finger inside its trigger guard, a breach of basic safety rules. After missing the caribou several times, she then appeared to panic and shot at the beast while it was still moving, a technique usually avoided by all but the very best marksmen.
On leaving her hunting camp one morning, Ms Palin pointed to the horizon and declared “Let’s go west.” There followed an awkward pause. “That’s east,” noted her father.
The cognoscenti was meanwhile perturbed that the fact that Palin seemed scared by her weapon, a small gun described by Chuck Snr as a “varmint rifle”. Several times during the episode, she anxiously asked: “Does it kick?”
“What kind of a question is that?” wrote a fan called Brad Schegel on Palin’s Facebook wall. “Doesn’t matter if it kicks or not, you shoot it the same. That was a girly question, momma griz.”
So. Lame. No one could have anticipated that Sarah Palin would turn out to be a self-aggrandizing phony.
I think we finally have a hook to get immigration reform passed! Sarah Palin and Joe Lieberman have accidentally shown us the way forward with their very rational and well-informed responses to Wikileaks’ Cowardly Attack On The Very Foundations Of Our Civilization.
No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange’s antics. This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.
All we have to do is point out that if the GOP doesn’t allow undocumented immigrants to become American citizens, they’ll never be able to legally charge any of them with treason! (Or call them un-American without looking like idiots, but obviously that’s not much of a deterrent.)
Thanks, Joe and Sarah, for showing us the way! You are like two radiant beacons of stupid, casting your blinding light upon a sea of, well, mostly more stupid.