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  • 310177.1952

    The Guardian on Televisa's role in electing the favorited P.R.I. candidate in the upcoming national election. Their exclusive:

    Televisa refused to meet the Guardian to discuss the allegations. It first ignored requests for comment, then proposed a meeting with legal counsel present. When the Guardian submitted a list of eight questions with a small sample document attached, a spokesman cancelled the meeting, saying the documents had not been not been submitted in a "timely" fashion.

  • 310162.1256

    "The Watergate that we wrote about in The Washington Post from 1972 to 1974 is not Watergate as we know it today. It was only a glimpse into something far worse. By the time he was forced to resign, Nixon had turned his White House, to a remarkable extent, into a criminal enterprise."

    -from Nixon Was Much Worse Than We Thought, Washington Post June 10

    For texts, obviously both All The President's Men and Final Days are critical bestsellers by Woodstein that explore the scandal from differing narratives. APM is a detective/procedural yarn, FD is reportage. FD best resembles the storytelling that Woodward continued in Wired, The Bretheren, Veil. Strangely the definitive Watergate book is neither of these. Barry Sussman, who was the city editor of The Washington Post, wrote it and called it aptly, The Great Cover-Up. Sussman's book examines each revelation as an element of a puzzle, or of a chess game in which moves are secret with only pawns and a king visible.

    "Before anyone else at the Post, Sussman saw Watergate as a larger story, saw that the individual events were part of a larger pattern, the result of hidden decisions from somewhere in the top of government which sent smaller men to run dirty errands... - David Halberstam Powers That Be

    For the operatic side of things Nixon, Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon by Anthony Summers, a book filled with rumor, innuendo and corruption that makes Harding's sold presidency look soft. Here's one example, the story of Chris Silberman...

    Silberman was a rogue commodities trader (American Metals Ltd) who appeared in a Life Magazine photo on a remote Bahamian dock with Nixon in 1969. He claims former Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt met with him after the 1969 Nixon meeting and openly wondered what kind of money could be made if the gold window was closed. The gold window is the only opening for the commodity in the U.S. for foreign markets and had never been closed before. Its closure, a matter of public record, allowed Silberman to take a sizeable sum of money from Laxalt and bet widely on gold futures. After making over $10 million, Silberman claims he drove it into the U.S. across a pre-arranged Canadian border crossing and handed the truck over to unknown drivers. Nixon closed the gold window against the advice of Paul Volcker without offering any substantial reason. One of many fascinating, loosely corroborated tales in the book. A must-read for any Watergate aficionados.

     

  • 310153.0008

    A geologic time short. Two galaxies cross and then fuse. Andromeda is visible with binoculars near Cassiopeia, and in dark sky with the naked eye. Watch her come.

  • 310151.2135

    Geoffery Wheatcroft slowly, staidly plots out recent Murdoch/News Corp. developments in the New York Review of Books. He spots the corruption of language used by the supposed perps. Does it reveal their corruption? A good read.

  • 31081.1150

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/17/facebook-dark-side-study-aggressive-narcissism?cat=technology&type=article

     A typical 18-24 year old week...

    8 Hours: Visiting social networking sites.
    8 Hours: Listening to music
    7 Hours: Watching full-length television shows.
    4 Hours: Watching full-length movies.
    4 Hours: Watching video clips (e.g. YouTube)
    4 Hours: Instant messaging

  • 31074.1503

    Zulawski's 166 minute sci-fi freakout involves a group of colonizing cosmonauts who establish a society on an earth-like planet at the edge of a sea. The movie opens, ostensibly on another colonized planet, with a tribal horseman (whether he's indigenous or spawn of the colonists is never explained) that returns a probe from space containing recordings of a long missing mission. The recordings dominate the first half of the film with brilliant uses of both continuous POV and textured jump cuts.  The interplay of POV and intermittent 'camera-removal' is effortless, this might be the greatest use of POV in film history, Zulawski stages scenes in the most diverse series of empty landscapes while easily isolating dramatic arcs in the recordings' limited range of height and movement. He makes careful use of panoramic sweeps. An early, green hued chaotic sequence, the crash landing inside the spaceship, establishes the film as daring, energized science fiction. By approaching science fiction experientially and avoiding the genre's easy fetishes like technology and effects, Zulawski raises the bar on fantasy storytelling (later the coupled cosmonauts' primitive yurt-like hut duplicates the capsule's claustrophobic beginnings). By keeping a loose focus on locale he disorients the audience at the core: what planet is this becomes the film's underlying twilight zone arc. We're never really sure where earth is with the staggering exception of Zulawski's later added voice-over which hints at the beginning: "we will end on the silver globe in 1987". He decides, rationally, the most astounding things to see aren't events like meteoric probes, space travel or crash landings, but the myths that these spawn.  After their crash landing that eventually kills one of them,  the remaining crew survive a flood and establish a colony by a shore. Delerium is mixed with the fear of solitude, slowly both are replaced by the notion generously planted in the audience that humans spread chaos wherever they collect. The sole female lives with one cosmonaut but mates with both surviving men to ensure a dispersed genetic pool. One cosmonaut, the woman's lover, finally goes mad and the planet seems to respond with a series of supernatural explosions that kill him. Then the female dies in childbirth after a girl is born, leaving the unattached male, a monk-like thinker, as the last father figure to a rapidly expanding horde of feral children that worship their dead mother like a goddess. Years pass. The new children both fear and awe the old cosmonaut. Rites, rituals and ceremonies sprout up as fast as the initial adults die. Once the recordings end the film cuts between what appear to be three planets, the colony, an earth (from where another earth is mentioned), and an alternate dimension/planet, where the dead raving cosmonaut has reappeared. There he's driven across desolate landscapes in a monstrous shark finned 50's funny car (a nod to Jaws, released only a year before Globe's production?). Long winded monologues are stuffed with insufferable, banal and resonant thoughts. An astronaut sent in response to the recordings discovers the progeny by-the-sea and confronts an abandoned city and the Shem, a race of peaceful cyclops that both read thoughts and overtake humans. He's crucified out of fear that he's a cast-off rather than a prophet sent from Earth: a mirror to the origin planet's religious suffering. The strongest, most elaborate sci-fi epic ever (almost) made. Nearly completed in the 70's, production was shut-down by Polish authorities. A decade later Zulawski completed the film with a minimal voice-over. Forget the sterile Jodorowsky, or the naturalistic Tarkovsky, come home to the master. A must see. Shown at BAM Cinetek Saturday St. Patrick's Day. Two shows only.

     

  • 31066.1826

    Korg's masterpiece device (and iPad program) is a loop manager with a Saturday Night Fever unicolor track-pad. The dial accesses 200 instruments and distortions and beat structures, all played by gliding fingers across the pad. Only the limitations of the MIDI, which restrict its greatest functions as local, keeps an orchestra out of its reach, but no doubt later generations of this will have deeper MIDI control. It slums as a techno-beat machine, but soars as an exotic loop management device. As a riff on Mattel products via Japanese electronics, the object is a dream come to life. Every child should be taught this. Even better, there are two of them...the second one (in red) is an effects processor, it makes no sounds on its own.

  • 31038.0842

    An excerpt from the New York Review of Books's We're more unequal than you think:

    Using US Census reports, I estimate that since 1985, the lower 60 percent of households have lost $4 trillion, most of which has ascended to the top 5 percent, including a growing tier now taking in $1 million or more each year.1 Some of our founders foresaw this happening. “Society naturally divides itself,” Alexander Hamilton wrote in The Federalist, “into the very few and the many.” His coauthor, James Madison, identified the cause. “Unequal faculties of acquiring property,” he said, inhere in every human grouping. If affluence results from inner aptitudes, it might seem futile to try reining in the rich.

  • 31037.2242

    Prosecutors hit Calabrese with an extortion charge for allegedly participating in a heated sit-down to discuss a financial settlement over a secret pizza sauce recipe that a Bonanno-associated Staten Island pizza joint allegedly stole from Brooklyn’s L&B Spumoni Gardens, which has ties to the Colombo crime family. Calabrese was caught on a secret FBI tape saying, “I went there and argued . . . I f--king had a screaming match with the f--king Colombo guys for three hours.”

  • 31030.1743

    This revealing, staccato biography of the sometimes mythic retaker of Jerusalem and uniter at times of the Eastern, Arabic and Persian worlds, Anne-Marie Eddé tackles the subject in several phases: dry history, military strategies, religious aspects, myths of both the demonizing and lionizing kind. Oblique at times, Saladin cannot be perceived as a complete narrative biography (events like the siege of Acre are only partly described, stories of places like Tyre are left unfinished) but it searches for deeper meaning with a variety of views. For a time, Saladin's realpolitik empire spanned deep Egypt to beyond Syria and Beirut, and it required an as yet unseen mastery of both diplomacy and risk. Many gestures divided enemies and allies, deftly. Aspects of duty, taxation, customs, even seasonal challenges like winter storms halting sea-trade are laced with personality and conflicts. Poetry, diaries, contracts are all cited to great effect. Several oft repeated tales drive the effects home, including the determinism to die poor: at death he had only a few dinars left. Nuances like short histories of the sultan/Seljuk title, interspersed, are amazing. At times a travelogue tragedy. An ocean of desert at night for a knife at throat bedouin raid, the march of entire cities leaving every valuable behind while others are left untouched. In between slaughter is chivalry, common good will, suicidal assasin sects, wholesale ransoming, pilgrimages, somehow proof humans achieve their sense of greatness only on a vast scale. And in human cost. Extensive quotes from William of Tyre.  The cover above is from the french original.   Translated.  Harvard-Belknap Press.

    Saladin's Palace, Syria