Media perspective
Jun 29th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Spinning…When a Pres­i­dent who Seeks Dic­ta­to­r­i­al Pow­ers in an Ille­gal Move is Removed by the Con­gress and by the Supreme Court, is it a “Mil­i­tary Coup”?.

The media dis­cus­sion of events in Hon­duras is remark­ably con­fused. Here’s CNN:

The pres­i­dent of the U.N. Gen­er­al Assem­bly sched­uled a noon ses­sion Mon­day to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion in Hon­duras, fol­low­ing a military-led coup that oust­ed the sit­ting pres­i­dent.


Michelet­ti, the head of Con­gress, became pres­i­dent after law­mak­ers vot­ed by a show of hands to strip Zelaya of his pow­ers, with a res­o­lu­tion stat­ing that Zelaya “pro­voked con­fronta­tions and divi­sions” with­in the coun­try.


The coup came on the same day that he had vowed to fol­low through with a non­bind­ing ref­er­en­dum that the Hon­duran Supreme Court had ruled ille­gal.

Imag­ine that George Bush, Barack Oba­ma, Bill Clin­ton, Ronald Rea­gan or some oth­er Amer­i­can pres­i­dent had decid­ed to over­turn the Con­sti­tu­tion so that he could stay in pow­er beyond the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly lim­it­ed time. To do that, he orders a nation­wide ref­er­en­dum that is not con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly autho­rized and bla­tant­ly ille­gal. The Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion rules that it is ille­gal. The Supreme Court rules that it is ille­gal. The Con­gress votes to strip the pres­i­dent of his pow­ers and, as mem­bers of Con­gress are not that good at over­com­ing the president’s per­son­al­ly loy­al and hand­picked body­guards, they send police and mil­i­tary to arrest the pres­i­dent. Now, which par­ty is guilty of lead­ing a coup?

This is anoth­er exam­ple of pop­ulist, dic­ta­to­r­i­al, anti-democratic thought parad­ing as “demo­c­ra­t­ic.” I dis­cuss the issue in my recent lec­ture on endur­ing democ­ra­cy in New Del­hi.


The answer is “yes,” if the would-be dic­ta­tor is a social­ist and the main­stream media is report­ing.

Cassandra syndrome
Jun 24th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

What It’s Like To Be a Lib­er­tar­i­an.

A bit self-pitying for my taste, but the gist is spot-on.

[The Agi­ta­tor]

If you’d like a taste of what it feels like to be a lib­er­tar­i­an, try telling peo­ple that the incom­ing Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion is advo­cat­ing pre­cise­ly those aspects of FDR’s New Deal that pro­longed the great depres­sion for a decade; that prop­ping up failed and fail­ing ven­tures with gov­ern­ment mon­ey in order to save jobs in the present mere­ly shifts resources from rel­a­tive­ly more to rel­a­tive­ly less pro­duc­tive uses, impedes the cor­rec­tive process, under­mines the eco­nom­ic growth nec­es­sary for recov­ery, and increas­es unem­ploy­ment in the long term; and that any “eco­nom­ic” stim­u­lus pack­age will inex­orably be made to serve polit­i­cal rather than eco­nom­ic ends, and see what kind of reac­tion you get. And trust me, it won’t feel any bet­ter five or ten years from now when every­thing you have just said has been proven true and Oba­ma, like FDR, is nonethe­less revered as the sav­ior of the coun­try.

Kodachrome cancellation
Jun 22nd, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Kodachrome Ends 74-Year Run.

HaasroseBy Ernst Haas

East­man Kodak announced this morn­ing that it will cease the man­u­fac­ture of Kodachrome this year.

Cel­e­brat­ed in song (lit­er­al­ly!) and sto­ry, Kodachrome is the old­est film in pro­duc­tion and the longest-lived film prod­uct in the entire his­to­ry of pho­tog­ra­phy. Devel­oped by Leopold Godowsky and Leopold Mannes (known as “God and Man” with­in Kodak) in 1935, Kodachrome had excep­tion­al­ly low con­trast (a good thing in a trans­paren­cy film) and an inim­itably rich, beau­ti­ful col­or palette. For decades it was by far the best col­or mate­r­i­al extant. Among oth­er things, for many years around mid-century it rel­e­gat­ed fam­i­lies to long ses­sions in dark­ened rooms with a slide pro­jec­tor and a screen, the best way peo­ple had of show­ing each oth­er their vaca­tion and birth­day par­ty pic­tures. Many lead­ing pho­tog­ra­phers even today, includ­ing Sam Abell, William Albert Allard, and Steve McCur­ry, did much of their impor­tant ear­ly work on Kodachrome.

How­ev­er, it is inher­ent­ly slow and very dif­fi­cult to man­u­fac­ture, and dev­il­ish­ly intri­cate to process. Only one lab in the world is cur­rent­ly pro­cess­ing it—Dwayne’s in Kansas, USA. The best arti­cle about Kodachrome was pub­lished in Pop­u­lar Pho­tog­ra­phy and reprint­ed in the book The Best of Pop­u­lar Pho­tog­ra­phy. (I should be able to pro­vide issue and page num­ber, but I can’t seem to put my hands on it.) Many film users—including avowed Kodachrome fans—have moved away from it in recent years. It cur­rent­ly accounts for less than 1% of Kodak’s shrink­ing film sales.

It might have been ’97 or ’98 that I first wrote about the com­ing demise of Kodachrome, in the pages of Pho­to Tech­niques, at the time Kodak sus­pend­ed in-house pro­cess­ing ser­vices. If mem­o­ry serves, how­ev­er, Kodak promised back then to con­tin­ue man­u­fac­tur­ing the film for at least ten more years. It kept that promise.

GodandmanGod and Man, inven­tors of Kodachrome. I own a large dye trans­fer print of this pic­ture, but I’ve nev­er been sure who was who. I think Godowsky is at the piano. (Thanks to Helen Bach.)

This end was inevitable, but it was cer­tain­ly a fine long run! Not for noth­ing is the press around the world this morn­ing call­ing Kodachrome “one of the icon­ic prod­ucts of the 20th cen­tu­ry.”

Bra­vo to God, Man, Kodachrome, Kodak, and “those nice, bright col­ors.” R.I.P.


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[The Online Pho­tog­ra­ph­er]

Kodachrome is my favorite col­or film. The patent for it has to be long-expired by now, so maybe we’ll get lucky and some­one else will start mak­ing it (under a dif­fer­ent name), the way that Fuji makes Polaroid film.

Seen on a bumper sticker: Bewa…
Jun 17th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Seen on a bumper stick­er: Beware of invis­i­ble cows.

This sounds familiar
Jun 16th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

NASA To Trig­ger Mas­sive Explo­sion On the Moon In Search of Ice. Hugh Pick­ens writes “NASA is prepar­ing to launch the Lunar Crater Obser­va­tion and Sens­ing Satel­lite, which will fly a Cen­taur rock­et boost­er into the moon, trig­ger­ing a six-mile-high explo­sion that sci­en­tists hope will con­firm whether water is frozen in the per­pet­u­al dark­ness of craters near the moon’s south pole. If the space­craft launch­es on sched­ule at 12:51 p.m. Wednes­day, it will hit the moon in the ear­ly morn­ing hours of Octo­ber 8 after an 86-day Lunar Gravity-Assist, Lunar Return Orbit that will allow the space­craft time to com­plete its two-month com­mis­sion­ing phase and con­duct near­ly a month of sci­ence data col­lec­tion of polar crater mea­sure­ments before col­lid­ing with the moon just 10 min­utes behind the Cen­taur.” (Con­tin­ues, below.)

Read more of this sto­ry at Slash­dot.


Some­body bet­ter warn Moon­base Alpha

@sethdill It’s copper
Jun 10th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

@sethdill It’s cop­per

Great name for a pet-related app
Jun 5th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Ken­net­tNet intros Clarus 1.0 pet man­ag­er. Ken­net­tNet has released the first ver­sion of Clarus. The appli­ca­tion is used to man­age a vari­ety of pet-related doc­u­ments, includ­ing vet­eri­nary bills, expense receipts, and insur­ance or med­ical records. The soft­ware can also gen­er­ate posters for miss­ing pets, com­plete with pho­tos, details and reward infor­ma­tion.… [The Mac­in­tosh News Net­work]

Long-time Mac users will remem­ber that Clarus was the name of the famous dog­cow.

Quote of the Day
Jun 5th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Peo­ple don’t like to be med­dled with. We tell them what to do, what to think, don’t run, don’t walk. We’re in their homes and in their heads and we haven’t the right. We’re med­dle­some.

Riv­er Tam

Totally predictable outcome
Jun 3rd, 2009 by Ken Hagler

War­rant­less sur­veil­lance law­suit thrown out. companion photo for Warrantless surveillance lawsuit thrown out

Fed­er­al dis­trict judge Vaughn Walk­er has reject­ed law­suits that aimed to hold telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies account­able for their role in a con­tro­ver­sial war­rant­less sur­veil­lance pro­gram that was orches­trat­ed in secret by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. The Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion and Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union are prepar­ing to appeal the dis­missal.

The war­rant­less sur­veil­lance pro­gram is one the more con­tentious con­tro­ver­sies that still lingers from Bush’s tenure in office. The Bush admin­is­tra­tion attempt­ed to lever­age the State Secrets priv­i­lege to block lit­i­ga­tion that aimed to hold par­tic­i­pants in the sur­veil­lance pro­gram account­able for vio­lat­ing pri­va­cy laws. When it became clear that the courts were going to allow the law­suits to move for­ward, Con­gress inter­vened and passed a FISA amend­ment to grant the tele­com com­pa­nies explic­it immu­ni­ty. Pres­i­dent Oba­ma vot­ed in favor of immu­ni­ty, despite con­sis­tent­ly promis­ing to oppose it.

Click here to read the rest of this arti­cle

[Law & Dis­or­der]

A gov­ern­ment judge rul­ing in favor of the government’s inter­ests? Imag­ine that.

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