Thursday, June 30, 2011

A mysterious geyser of water in Farmington yesterday
1/32 Of An Inch

The fire threatening the Los Alamos nuclear radiation laboratories is only 3 percent contained and continues to expand and endanger 20,000 steel drums full of plutonium infested waste stored above ground on a concrete slab.

Lab officials continue to assure us that there is no danger of plutonium getting into the environment. Supposedly everything else at the lab is OK, too. More than 10,000 experiments were underway at the lab when it was evacuated Wednesday, according to a Fox News story, such as ones trying to extend the life of old nuclear bombs from the 1960s.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

As Los Alamos Burns

As I was coming down to Albuquerque today, through Cuba and San Ysidro, through the Jacarillo Apache and the Zia Reservations, through mostly trackless desert, I saw the plumes of smoke rising from the wildfires just across the Jemez Mountain range, where the so called Los Conchas fire has caused the complete evacuation of Los Alamos, NM, where Los Alamos National Laboratories is, causing concern far beyond New Mexico. Located between Santa Fe and Taos, Los Alamos is where American nuclear bombs are made and designed, and where a lot of other nuclear radiation research takes place. There are numerous problems there, with reactors, with above ground and underground nuclear waste storage, and with contaminated groundwater, as has been documented by the Los Alamos Study Group and the Concerned Citizens For Nuclear Safety, whose web site was hacked just as the fire was beginning and remains inoperative but who maintain a Facebook page that is working.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

 When They Come For Vous

Firooz Zahedi photo
As US President Barak Obama expands the Bush surveillance state and Joe Lieberman mumbles in the Senate about an internet kill switch, and many Americans worry about an erosion of their civil liberties that continues unabated, the web site Payvand has a nice article that may prove to be of help to Americans before long -- A Review of Censorship Circumvention Tools In Iran.

The tools mentioned, such as secure web sites a government can't read, and a host of techniques for reading and posting information a government is trying to block, will work in any country. Many were developed to help the Chinese people get around government censorship there.

Payvand is a nice web site in and of itself. I don't think I ever saw it before but it seems to follow the art world of Iranians and Iranians living abroad, who collectively have a long and rich history of accomplishment in the visual arts, literature, and so forth.

For instance there is an review of a showing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art of photographs of Elizabeth Taylor during a trip she made to Iran in 1976 taken by a young photographer who accompanied her, "Firooz Zahedi, today a successful Hollywood photographer but then a recent art school graduate just learning his craft."


Country Without Seasons

Out of God's open hands
a horse came eyes glowing red galloping
over the sand brown dust rising
circling the sun coloring the land
with music with shadows
We sang

     Out of God's belly laughter came
     smiting the land We watched
     a horse gallop away
     with music with shadows the
     land glowed red as it ran
     sinking slowly into the sand

Friday, June 24, 2011

Good News,
Bad News,
Good News And Bad News


 Protests seem to be spreading to Aleppo  and Damascus, Syria's two largest cities, which would be a significant development. The  protests against the brutal Bashar al-Assad government, which daily result in 10, 15, 20 shooting deaths of protesters by government security forces, had been limited to smaller cities and government forces had so far been able to keep protests out of Aleppo and Damascus.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Only If You're A Banker

Moose M Scheib - photo
A young Arab American lawyer in Michigan, Moose M. Scheib, has a company that has saved many people across the country from foreclosure. They renegotiate loans, often uncovering bank fraud, according to the Arab American News, which is a nice little paper, by the way, that serves the large Arab American community of Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit.

Scheib's company is called

I haven't seen any indication yet that Scheib has been accused of being a terrorist, although there may be a banker or two who is a little uneasy when he walks into their office.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Watching America

I just added the web site Watching America to my "blog roll." It is run by volunteers who translate into English opinion pieces from different media outlets around the world having to do with the United States. The pieces are commentaries on issues affecting relations between that country and the US, or about things the US is up to that affect everyone, or just about what is making news in the US that the author wants to weigh in on. For instance, there have been some pieces about Sarah Palin; what is the meaning of Sarah Palin, from their point of view.

Often you get very interesting conceptions of things American that are probably not even possible in an America that is largely self referential.

The pieces are, by and large, primarily written for local consumption, which is part of the fun. The web site simply translates the pieces and runs them, without commenting on them or providing any context, and it is up to you to try to figure out the world view or politics of the writer and what the writer means to convey to her or his countrymen. We, Americans, often take a slap in the face, but also, you see sometimes why the rest of the world, as is sometimes said, is "fascinated" by us.


The photo above, by the way, I did on a nice little free -- as in, absolutely free --  image editing program, that will run on almost any operating system, called HeliosPaint. Click here or simply Google HeliosPaint. It runs in Java. I don't know what the significance of that is, but it must be good because unlike a lot of freeware I have tried, this runs pretty well on my old Apple iBook G4, which came with a stripped down version of Apple's image editing program, iPhoto, that doesn't do much at all, and is the only thing I have found that is free and that also has as many tools as it does and that runs on a Mac.

Sometimes, if I have had my computer on a long time, it runs really slow, but if I shut everything down and restart the computer and then just run only the HeliosPaint program, it runs fine.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oprah Please Come Back

My imaginary Syrian girlfriend has announced she is leaving me for a woman, and that unless I can think of a place for them where there's plenty of closet space and they can have pets, I will have to let them have my apartment.


Sunday, June 12, 2011


Jemez Mountains, driving south on US 550 near Cuba, New Mexico

A Rising Tide Sinks All Boats

In my world there are no protests, no protesters, no complainers. Truck drivers pretty much take whatever is dished out to them. We pay more for traffic violations, higher tolls, higher per hour rates for mechanics, more for our driver's licenses, more for insurance. At truck stops, where we eat and sleep, where we spend most of our time, besides that spent driving -- 10 or 11 hours -- and at loading docks -- another few hours --  prices are higher, too; a dollar more for the buffet than the buffet in town, and the merchandise in the truck stop store is overpriced, too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We Are At The Bottom Line, Folks

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Seven workers at an Intel Corp microchip manufacturing complex outside Phoenix were injured by a small explosion there on Tuesday, fire officials reported, but the company said production was unaffected.

The blast of undetermined origin occurred shortly after 2 p.m. local time in a support building at the Intel site in Chandler, Arizona, just southeast of the state capital, said Chandler Fire Department Battalion Chief Brad Miller.

A spokesman for the world's leading chipmaker said the accident site was under construction at the time and that production was uninterrupted.

Shares in the Santa Clara, California-based company were holding steady in after-hours trading.