The West

I associate Ravel’s Bolero with, if not softness itself, the soft curvature of a woman.

Imagine my surprise to find it as the website theme American Police Force, a group that sells arms in Afghanistan, and is a general one-stop shop kidnap and ransom/fugitive recovery/spousal infidelity service group that also does international military and paramilitary operations, cruise ship and shipping security, and trains special forces.

Oh, and this they’re the new residents of the Hardin, Montana jail.

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I often find myself checking out the White House Flickr stream, partly because I like Pete Souza’s photography, and partly because Souza uses the same camera and similar lenses to me which makes me curious about his shots (and Flickr posts much of the metadata so the nerds can check out lens, aperture, etc.)

I also find that on the White House Flickr stream, one can find really candid and interesting photos. For example this one, where the Park Ranger at Grand Canyon is clearly holding the President’s ear while the Obama kids are bored out of their skulls, hunched over in the hot sun with that “dad, can we just go now” body slump.

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They are walking in prayer today in Church Rock New Mexico, thirty years after the largest radioactive accident in U.S. history (Three Mile Island happened a few months earlier, in March 1979). When the dam broke at the United Nuclear Corporation’s Church Rock Uranium Mill in the early morning hours, eleven tons of radioactive wastes and ninety million (90,000,000) gallons of radioactive waste poured into the Rio Puerco with such force that the liquid waste lifted manhole covers throughout Gallup twenty miles downstream and people fled to hospitals complaining of burning feet.

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Elk, Yellostone National Park

While Yellowstone is posting record numbers of visitors this year, National Parks as a whole have seen attendance slide in recent years.

In hopes of reversing the trend and re-introducing folks to our wonderful public lands heritage, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced back in June that the Department would waive entrance fees nationwide to all parks on three prime summer weekends. This is no small offer as park entrance fees have really climbed in past years. Nearby Yellowstone sits at $25 for entrance (that does give in and out privileges for 7 days).

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If we have learned anything from the past year, we should have learned that we are plagued by a kind of dark age, an age of ignorance, an age of economic illiteracy…

We rely on the priests and the prophets who have unmediated access to the gods of commerce. They translate the dense, opaque, confusing world to the rest of us. And they wield enormous power. They are often referred to in otherworldly, nearly priestly terms. Warren Buffet is interchangeably the “Sage of Omaha” and the “Oracle of Omaha.”

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Science has a way of creeping up on you. It’s sneaky—like classical music can be sneaky. One day you’re thrashing to the Ramones and Nine Inch Nails and the next you find yourself in tears in the middle of your living room because you just heard Lazlo Varga play a cello in ways you never thought possible and the strings’ vibrations reached out and bent you into a kind of fetal position of perverse ecstasy.

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