September 5th, 2006

Chris Keeley

This Can’t Be Love

This Can’t Be Love 

This Can’t Be Love

The Approach Mantises prepare to mate. With luck the female may not be hungry. 

This Can’t Be Love

Across the eastern United States, a gruesome ritual is in full swing. The praying mantis and its relative, the Chinese mantis, are in their courtship season. A male mantis approaches a female, flapping his wings and swaying his abdomen. Leaping on her back, he begins to mate. And quite often, she tears off his head.

The female mantis devours the head of the still-mating male and then moves on to the rest of his body. “If you put a pair together and come back later, you’ll just find the wings of the male and no other evidence he was ever there,” said William Brown, an evolutionary biologist at the State University of New York in Fredonia.

Sexual cannibalism has fascinated biologists ever since Darwin.

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Chris Keeley

Of all the upper-crust British families who came to this country and never left, one is more famous

Soysambu Ranch is the jewel in their crown, 50,000 acres teeming with giraffe and zebra in the heart of Africa’s great Rift Valley.



Guillaume Bonn for The New York Times

Sarah Njoya, with her four children, was widowed when her husband, Robert, was shot by the most important white landowner in the Rift Valley in Kenya. Murder charges against the white man have divided Kenya. 
Kenya Killings Put Aristocrat in Racial Fire

SOYSAMBU, Kenya — Of all the upper-crust British families who came to this country and never left, one is more famous than them all: the Delameres.

They had the most glamorous parties, the most fabled pedigree (going back to William the Conqueror, they said) and, not insignificantly, the most stunning land.

Soysambu Ranch is the jewel in their crown, 50,000 acres teeming with giraffe and zebra in the heart of Africa’s great Rift Valley. The scenery is straight off a postcard — the golden pastures, the sculptured hills, the sense of getting so much of the world in one big gulp.

But Thomas Cholmondeley, the cravat-wearing scion of the family, who until recently was on track to be the sixth Baron of Delamere, is no longer here. He is in Kamiti maximum security prison in Nairobi, the rare white face behind bars in this country, awaiting trial in a murder case that is dividing Kenya.

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Chris Keeley

The other possibility was that the nineteen hijackers were the equivalent of a pickup basketball tea

Amy Davidson talks to Seymour M. Hersh, Jon Lee Anderson, and George Packer about Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, and whether America is stronger now.

The World After 9/11
Amy Davidson talks to Seymour M. Hersh, Jon Lee Anderson, and George Packer about Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, and whether America is stronger now.
Issue of 2006-09-11
Posted 2006-09-04

Amy Davidson talks to Seymour M. Hersh, Jon Lee Anderson, and George Packer about Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, and whether America is stronger now.

AMY DAVIDSON: Sy, in your first article after 9/11—just a few weeks after—you quoted a senior C.I.A. official who, you wrote, “confirmed that the intelligence community had not yet developed a significant amount of solid information about the terrorists’ organization, financing, and planning.” He said, “One day, we’ll know, but at the moment we don’t know.” Has that day arrived?

SEYMOUR M. HERSH: No, not in my view. He also said at the time that there was a debate about whether the attacks were a long-planned, deep-cell operation, and we were going to be looking at cell operations like this throughout the country—major embedded groups of Al Qaeda, what you will. The other possibility was that the nineteen hijackers were the equivalent of a pickup basketball team that made it to the Final Four. His guess was the latter. I think that’s true. I think the nineteen guys, however skilled, were more lucky than anything else, because of our lack of preparation. But we really know very little about how that operation worked, even now.

DAVIDSON: Why is that?

HERSH: Because the nineteen guys are dead. Despite all the arrests we’ve made—of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others—I’m very skeptical of the information we’ve got from interrogations, basically because, once people get into the interrogation process, even today, the torture is such that they invent stories to make us happy. So we’ve got an awful lot of bad information, along with some good. But certainly a lot of bad stuff. So we don’t have a good picture of what happened.

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Chris Keeley

e clandestine life of America’s top Al Qaeda source.

He showed us that bin Laden was like any other C.E.O., and that Al Qaeda was a real bureaucracy

JUNIOR
by JANE MAYER
The clandestine life of America’s top Al Qaeda source.
Issue of 2006-09-11
Posted 2006-09-04

For nearly a decade, a former Al Qaeda operative named Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl has been living in the United States government’s witness-protection program, under an assumed identity. A Sudanese citizen and a onetime confidant of Osama bin Laden’s, Fadl is expected to serve as a central witness in the prosecutions of at least two suspected terrorists being held at the U.S. detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Fadl, a dark-skinned man with close-cropped hair and a mischievous smile, entered government custody in 1996, after walking into the U.S. Embassy in Eritrea and confessing to membership in Al Qaeda. Since then, he has lived in at least half a dozen American towns. (He spent the first eighteen months in a Residence Inn in New Jersey, guarded by several armed F.B.I. agents; subsequently, his wife and children joined him in America, and the family was transferred to a series of undisclosed locations.) Fadl, who is now in his forties, is arguably the United States’ most valuable informant on Al Qaeda; he has provided crucial intelligence about the group’s operations and has made positive identifications of suspected members. At the same time, Fadl—an incessant troublemaker who is known to a small group of F.B.I. agents simply as Junior—has tried the patience of the officials in whose care he resides. “Junior’s a problem child,” Jack Cloonan, a former special agent for the F.B.I., who is now the president of a crisis-management firm, says.

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Chris Keeley

climaxes with Gerhard Richter’s great, sepulchral suite of fifteen paintings about the lives and, mo

climaxes with Gerhard Richter’s great, sepulchral suite of fifteen paintings about the lives and, mostly, the deaths of the Baader-Meinhof terrorists, “October 18, 1977” (1988).

NEW AND OLD
by PETER SCHJELDAHL
MOMA’s latest contemporary-art installation.
Issue of 2006-09-11
Posted 2006-09-04

“Out of Time,” the third annual reinstallation of the rehoused Museum of Modern Art’s capacious contemporary galleries, is a mixed bag of works from the past four decades, with a trenchant and, considering MOMA’s history, somewhat melancholy theme. Here is a museum, the museum of the twentieth century, whose founding idea was a time line: the march of modernization. That story disintegrated in the nineteen-sixties, when minimalism rejected the framed and pedestalled suggestiveness of historical painting and sculpture in favor of the droning presence of taciturn objects and arrangements. (The epoch called “contemporary” grows longer year by year, as the era that minimalism instituted bids to be eternal.) Since then, a great deal of ambitious art has espoused, or, at least, countenanced boredom—the forced consciousness of passing time.

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Chris Keeley

Jasmina Tesanovic: Slaughter in the Monastery

Jasmina Tesanovic: Slaughter in the Monastery


(Photos by Bruce Sterling)

Ohrid, Macedonia -- August 31, 2006
by Jasmina Tesanovic

Again a long trip by bus, to Macedonia this time, the town of Struga on Lake Ohrid.

Thirty Women in Black and a young bus driver. It is his first drive, he is cautious and it is a good thing too, because he saves the lives of several reckless fools in the narrow mountain roads where the speeding fines exceed those in Los Angeles but slow down nobody.

We stop several times, for "a piss and a smoke." We have no local money, Macedonian denars, but we do have one dollar bills. A beer for a dollar, a piss for a dollar? The first one is cheap, the second tremendously expensive for such a rich natural environment with so few people.

This used to be my own country, and my heart still leaps at the beauty of these Yugoslav mountains. Only at the last moment did remember that I had to take my passport to Macedonia. America's Colorado was never this green. My ever-skeptical American friend says: it's pretty here, but I've seen prettier.


Still, Lake Ohrid is astounding even him. He says: this is ridiculously pretty. Green reeds are swaying on the wind and the waves are climbing the shore below our room. The glossy local postcards look dull compared to reality.

An Orthodox monastery stands next to our hotel on the lake. A sign says: in 1942 an illegal Communist meeting was held here. Tito's red star is still on the monastery and the nuns are proud of it. They also make an excellent brandy. My American friend asks how Macedonian-Orthodox nuns could also be revolutionary Marxist atheists. I have no explanation. Nobody is perfect, especially in Balkan history.


More...


posted by Xeni Jardin

Chris Keeley

The slaves were herded onto a Portuguese slave ship in Angola, in Southwest Africa. The ship was sei

Solved: 400-year mystery of first African slaves in N America

In the Washington Post this weekend, a fascinating tale of historic sleuthing for the origins of the "20 and odd," the very first African slaves to enter Virginia in the 1600s. Until now, it was believed that they came to the continent by way of a Dutch warship from the West Indies....
Now, new scholarship and transatlantic detective work have solved the puzzle of who they were and where their forced journey across the Atlantic Ocean began.

The slaves were herded onto a Portuguese slave ship in Angola, in Southwest Africa. The ship was seized by British pirates on the high seas -- not brought to Virginia after a period of time in the Caribbean. The slaves represented one ethnic group, not many, as historians first believed.

Link. Image: Flyer for an auction of "fine healthy negroes," which advertises the fact that "the utmost care has already been taken, and shall be continued, to keep them free from the least danger of being infected with the SMALL-POX, no boat having been on board, and all contact with the people of Charles-town having been prevented." Sounds like smallpox was big in "Charles-town" at the time. Via Library of Congress. (Thanks, Ned Sublette)

Reader comment: Anonymous says,

Slaves were present in North America a bit earlier than the 1600s, but south of the current U.S. border. This site describes results from a recent archaeological project in Campeche, Mexico that uncovered the remains of African slaves who were brought to Mexico during the 1500s. They were identified by the chemical composition of their teeth which reflects the geology of the area where you grow up, which in their case was West Africa.

posted by Xeni Jardin

Chris Keeley

Bansky Strikes Again

Bansky

Banksy shop-drops 500 remixed Paris Hilton CDs

UK graffiti virtuoso Banksy has smuggled 500 doctored versions of Paris Hilton's new CD into stores across the country. The CD contain Banksy's remixes and have titles like "Why am I Famous?," "What Have I Done?" and "What Am I For?"

His spokeswoman said he had tampered with the CDs in branches of HMV and Virgin as well as independent record stores.

He visited cities including Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and London, she added.

A spokesman for HMV said the chain had recovered seven CDs from two Brighton shops but was unaware that other locations were affected...

A spokesman for Virgin Megastores said staff were searching for affected CDs but it was proving hard to find them all.

"I have to take my hat off - it's a very good stunt," he added.

Link (Thanks, Jason!)

Update: Here's the pix! (Thanks, Robert, Scott, Xeni and others!)

Update 2: Here's the remix tracks from the disc, and here's the video that accompanies the prank -- thanks, Rene and Nick!

Chris Keeley

John Graham and his team have been webcasting the burn for years on a shoestring budget.

John Graham and his team have been webcasting the burn for years on a shoestring budget. 

http://www.burningman.com/blackrockcity_yearround/special_events/2006webcast.html

Live webcast of Burning Man

Following up on yesterday's BB post about Current TV's television project at Burning Man 2006, ronjon reminds us:
Current TV has the RVs and editing suites and satellite trucks here in Black Rock City, but John Graham and his team have been webcasting the burn for years on a shoestring budget. They're broadcasting live now and will be broadcasting the burn this Saturday night. Check it out.
Link

posted by Xeni Jardin

Chris Keeley

“House and Car, Near Akron, Alabama, 1981.”

“House and Car, Near Akron, Alabama, 1981.”



Country Roads

WALKER EVANS casts a lengthening shadow over contemporary photography. For well over half a century, what he called his “documentary style” — images so deadpan they seem not to exhibit any style at all — has shaped several generations of artists, especially here and in Germany. His rigorous artlessness, along with a keen historical conscience, permits broad latitude of subject matter within a straitening aesthetic. Once you get Evans (a long process for many), other photographers can look like preening or bumptious show-offs.

William Christenberry has moved in and out of the Evans penumbra all his life. Born in the same year (1936) and in the same region (Hale County, Ala., and its environs) where Evans and James Agee initiated the project that became “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,” Christenberry grew up among the same sorts of places and people — tiny wooden Baptist churches, roadhouse shacks, tenant farmers — that those two visitors from up north turned into icons of the impoverished rural South.

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Chris Keeley

Review: Katie Couric and CBS News Just Bombed

   Just saw the program. It was a disaster. It could not have been
worse.  If it receives an even half-good review, there is no honesty
left in TV reviewing.  We will not again be watching CBS News. What a
Tradition! What a loss! It has nothing to do with her being a women.
Please. This was the very worst debut of an evening news program ever
seen. Ford resigned from Ford Motor Company today. A lot of people
should resign from CBS News tomorrow.   I will spare you the details. If
you saw the program, you don't need them.
Chris Keeley

ella's e-mail.

ella's e-mail.

The known tatic of the Israeli lobby is to label anyone who disagrees
with their dogma and propaganda and many incorrect facts both
historically and in the present as anti-semitic.  Do not accept this
false labelling.  By the way, George Soros, a great philantrhopist as
well as many other things happens himself to be Jewish.  Love, Mom
Chris Keeley

Valerie Plame Story--David Corn, The Nation, 9/05/06

Valerie Plame Story--David Corn, The Nation, 9/05/06

   *What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA*
   By David Corn
   The Nation

   Tuesday 05 September 2006

   In the spring of 2002 Dick Cheney made one of his periodic trips to
CIA headquarters. Officers and analysts were summoned to brief him on
Iraq. Paramilitary specialists updated the Vice President on an
extensive covert action program in motion that was designed to pave the
way to a US invasion. Cheney questioned analysts about Saddam Hussein's
weapons of mass destruction. How could they be used against US troops?
Which Iraqi units had chemical and biological weapons? He was not
seeking information on whether Saddam posed a threat because he
possessed such weapons. His queries, according to a CIA officer at the
briefing, were pegged to the assumptions that Iraq had these weapons and
would be invaded-as if a decision had been made.
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Chris Keeley

Valerie Plame and the AIPAC Spies

Valerie Plame and the AIPAC Spies

I apologize if this is repetition, but I have been away for five days
and don’t know what has been circulated in email. Two things struck me
in the news last week.
The first was the revelation that Richard Armitage had been the original
source for Robert Novak’s outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA employee who
had allegedly arranged the great reward for her husband, Joe Wilson, of
a trip to Niger to look into the allegation that Saddam had sought to
obtain some yellow cake from that country. I guess if one is thoroughly
bored with life a trip to Niger might sound appealing, but I’m sure Joe
had better things to do with his time. If you’ve ever been to Niger you
know what I mean.
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