asian autumn country road wallpaper, some other links and stuff

asian autumn country road wallpaper

I’ve written about ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) before. One doesn’t need Glenn Beck’s chalkboard, imagined plots, or individuals with highly inflated powers to find a group that is doing so much to undermine of spirit and the republican foundations of the U.S. Few people have heard of ALEC, but they and their agenda are not hard to find, ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection

ALEC and the Kochs often pursue parallel tracks. Just as ALEC “educates” legislators, Koch funding has helped “tutor” hundreds of judges with all-expenses-paid junkets at fancy resorts, where they learn about the “free market” impact of their rulings. But ALEC also operates like an arm of the Koch agenda, circulating bills that make their vision of the world concrete. For a mere $25,000 a year, Koch Industries sits as an “equal” board member with state legislators, influencing bills that serve as a wish list for its financial or ideological interests.

It’s a pittance for the Kochs but far out of the reach of working Americans. Ordinary citizens rely on our elected representatives’ efforts to restore what’s left of the American Dream. But through ALEC, billionaire industrialists are purchasing a version that seems like a real nightmare for most Americans.

Anyone who has followed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s radical agenda – cutting education funding while cutting corporate taxes – knows how effective ALEC and the Koch brothers can be.

sleeping head by Lucian Freud. Freud died on Wed. July 20. Lucian Freud, Who Recast Art of Portraiture, Dies at 88

In paintings like “Girl With Roses” (1947-48) and “Girl With a White Dog” (1951-52), he put the pictorial language of traditional European painting in the service of an anti-romantic, confrontational style of portraiture that stripped bare the sitter’s social facade. Ordinary people — many of them his friends — stared wide-eyed from the canvas, vulnerable to the artist’s ruthless inspection.

Whether Freud( grandson of Sigmund) started it or it was just one of those turning points in art like the Impressionists, Freud was at the front of a peculiar British movement of garish unsentimentalized nudes. If your artistic point of view has been strongly shaped by Renaissance artists, Rococo art, neo-classical or the Impressionist you’ll find many of Freud’s jarring to your sensibilities. They are more about accuracy and mood rather than hazy romantic interpretation. An interesting starting point for asking oneself about perception is why Freud’s nudes seem almost in your face, yet similar figures painted with their clothes seem almost childlike, as though they would make good illustrations for a children’s book. There is a slide-show at the link.

Richard M. Hoe's rotary-type printing press

On this day in 1847 ( or at least by late July) Richard M. Hoe patented the rotary-type printing press.

In 1843, Richard invented a lithographic rotary printing press that placed the type on a revolving cylinder, a design much faster than the old flatbed printing press. It received U.S. Patent 5,199 in 1847, and was placed in commercial use the same year. In its early days, it was variously called the “Hoe lightning press,” and “Hoe’s Cylindrical-Bed Press,” and was later developed into the “Hoe web perfecting press.”

Fans or the simply curious might find this article on Marshall McLuhan interesting – Why Bother with Marshall McLuhan?” There are reasons not to. He did like to talk and some of what he said was babbling at best. Conversely he also managed to predict the invention of the internet.

This lesson too was not lost on McLuhan. Everything he wrote that would make him famous he wrote as a professor of English literature, rooted as a scholar in the technological, scientific, and religious upheavals of the early-modern world, and fascinated as a thinker by the immensely ambitious attempts of the great Modernists to use the resources of the past to respond, critically but constructively, to the twentieth century. Perhaps the best way to think of McLuhan is as a belated Modernist: born a generation or so later than Eliot, Pound, and Joyce, and working in a different intellectual medium than they worked in, but one with them in interest and ambition. The Gutenberg Galaxy is as much a document of magisterial Modernism as Ulysses, the Cantos, or The Waste Land.

This idea of the past mixing with the present still seems important. Why do people behave, believe and have particular ambitions for the future, Not because those thoughts appeared as unique apparitions in the person’s mind, but because they were issues to Plato and Lincoln and their grandmother. Ideas about morality, intellect, family life, individual rights, work, compensation, justice, revenge, forgiveness and so on goes back centuries. Individuals tend to have the same conversations over and over again, but humanity’s history is one long conversation involving the same issues and personal concerns. Only the technology seems to change.

This image is from Portraiture by Tomek Jankowski.

Much of the media heard about the terror attacks in Norway and immediately jumped to the preliminary conclusion that it was done by Muslim radicals. Jennifer Rubin at WaPo was one of the offenders ( Nancy Grace syndrome may not be contagious as much as a deeply ingrained psychological and sociological issue). Michelle Malkin jumped on the bandwagon. Understandable since Malkin long ago established her credentials as an ideological sheep. To her credit she admitted she was wrong, but proceeds to bury her apology in the others are worse/they did it too/ and up yours with a rubber hose anyway rant. In said rant she gets her facts wrong. James Fellows writing at the Atlantic says Rubin should apologize for calling Rubin out. Whether Rubin, the NYT or other media outlets should apologize is worth some discussions among the editors at those outlets. Once again, even having had time to reflect and gather more facts Malkin either lies or did not bother to do some reading and check time stamps. She defends Rubin sans fact checking,

Atlantic editor James Fallows — in a prominent rant — is now clamoring for the Post to “apologize to the world” for Rubin’s post and fumes that the post has not been updated. There may be any number of reasons for her not updating yet and being offline — family obligations, Sabbath, etc. I’m pretty sure the reason is NOT that she’s purposely ignoring or misleading her readers or intentionally insulting/smearing “the world,” as Fallows seems to suggest.

No, Rubin has since written other posts – no family obligations or religious reasons stopped her, and no correction to the original. Rubin uses the acts of one right-wing Christian to claim, hold on for the sharp turn in logic and the threadbare connection to defense spending,

In our own debates about national security, conservatives argue that national security spending is deserving of a higher priority than other expenditures. The defense budget is not numbers on a balance sheet as some of those on the left and right insist. Cutting defense spending is not the same as cutting domestic spending. That light rail project can wait, or states can do it, or we can decide it’s a boondoggle not worth doing even if we had the money. But national security is solely a federal function, and it can’t be put off.

We already live in the never-ending surveillance state. Obama has increased defense spending to yet another new record as a percentage of GDP. How will building another aircraft carrier or intensifying domestic spying prevent a jihadist or a right-wing nut from perpetrating another terror attack in Norway, or here. At what point will military spending as a percent of GDP be enough. Defense spending is necessary, but considering that spending on defense not only costs on the front end, it cost the economy in total jobs created as well. There has to be some logical cut off point. Everyone, including conservatives gets upset when someone is hurt by a terrorist. The problem with zeroing in on violence as the worse that can happen is that it leaves death by other means begging. Which is worse to die by the hand of a terrorist or a lingering death by way of being malnourished –  Senior Hunger In America: Shocking Facts Vs. Popular Myths. I have some expertise in human physiology and I can say without doubt that whether a person dies from starvation or a terror attack they’re just as dead either way. So if you want to maximize life saving in the USA one way to do that is to trim the substantial fat off the defense budget and put more into food security for seniors and children.

Besides repealing health care reform, the 2010 midterms were all about conservatives creating jobs. GOP’s First 200 Days: No Jobs Bills

Tomorrow marks 200 days of Republican control of the House of Representatives–House Republicans have passed 81 measures, none of which create jobs, and some that actually destroy jobs. The GOP has instead focused on divisive bills and their budget to end Medicare, while providing tax breaks to Big Oil and companies that ship jobs overseas.

By the numbers:

200: Number of days GOP has been in charge (Saturday, July 23, 2011)

2 Million: Jobs potentially destroyed by GOP legislation that’s passed the House

0: GOP jobs bills

10: GOP votes against Democratic jobs bills

House Republicans have passed bills that destroy nearly 2 million jobs and create economic uncertainty:

HR 1 – The House-passed GOP ‘So Be It’ spending bill destroys 700,000 jobs, stalls our economic recovery, and protects subsidies for Big Oil.

HR 2 – The GOP Patients’ Rights Repeal bill puts insurance companies back in charge and repeals the Affordable Care Act, thereby destroying more than 300,000 jobs.

Republican Budget (H.Con.Res. 34) – On top of ending Medicare as we know it to pay for tax breaks for Big Oil, millionaires and corporations shipping jobs overseas, the Republican-passed budget cuts key investment to our economic future like education, college aid, life-saving medical research, infrastructure, and clean energy.  This will cost Americans 1.7 million jobs by 2014, with 900,000 jobs lost next year, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

Second Vote on GOP Budget — House Republicans doubled down on ending Medicare by passing a Rule on the Homeland Security Appropriations bill which “deems” that the Republican budget, with its cuts in Medicare and investment in our economic future is passed. House Democrats unanimously opposed the Rule.

Third Vote on GOP Budget/Cut, Cap, and End Medicare (H.R. 2560) — Just this week, the House passed a measure that incorporates the House GOP Budget Plan that ends Medicare and destroys jobs, and then calls for deeper cuts with a constitutional amendment.   Republicans even rejected a Democratic effort to prohibit any provision in the bill from going into effect if it would result in the loss of jobs or slow economic growth, but Republicans voted NO.

HR 658 — The House Republican FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act will destroy 70,000 jobs, undermine our nation’s infrastructure, and jeopardize runway safety and improvements.

In addition, Republicans have also unveiled a proposal to slash critical investments in rebuilding our roads, transit, and bridges in this county that will cost us more than 600,000 jobs.