Category Archives: Film

No comment needed: Michael Moore requests

His Tweet of the Hack of the Year:

BLOG hahahaha

The Ku Klux Klan’s noxious voting legacy endures

The Ku Klux Klan, created in the wake of the granting of civil rights to former African slaves in the American South, had died out by the time an American filmmaker resurrected their mythology in a motion picture in 1915 that would spark a resurrection of the society of hooded bigots.


The Birth of a Nation depicted the Klan as heroic saviors of the white woman’s virtue, galloping in their white robes to the rescue of a Southern belles beseiged by predatory black Union occupation troops intent of looting and rape man and bringing white audiences to their feet in cheers and tears:

Oh, and one of those galloping Klansman, a young aspiring actor named John Ford, would later become a famous filmmaker in his own right,

The film ends with Klansmen arrayed outside polling places, intimidating the freed slaves from exercising their newly won right to vote.

In the wake of D.W. Griffith’s film, praised by then President Woodrow Wilson as “like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” It wasn’t, true, of course, but that hardly mattered to a white Southerner like Wilson.

An ambitious young Missouri haberdasher would later join the Klan, though Harry S. Truman would also become the president who, with a stroke of a pen, abolished segregation in the nation’s armed forces. Another recruit, Hugo Black, would later write or concur with his fellow Supreme Court justices in decisions affirming the grant of full civil rights to all Americans.

The Klan also gained strong footholds in the North, capturing completed control of all branches of Colorado government from the governor’s mansion on down, by 1925 and leading to scenes such as this, via the archives of the Cañon City Public Library:

BLOG Colorado Klan r

The Klan faded briefly following the burst of post World War II prosperity, then surged again with the civil rights movement’s rise in the 1950s and 1960s, before fading again as integration became the accepted [but never actual] norm.

So whilst the boys in the white sheets have been largely relegated to the dustbin of history, does any of their presence remain?

From Brandeis University:

The Ku Klux Klan’s failure to defeat the black civil rights moment is well documented, but the group’s lesser-known legacy may be its lasting impact on the U.S. political system, according to a paper published in the December issue of the American Sociological Review.

David Cunningham, professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at Brandeis University, Rory McVeigh of the University of Notre Dame and Justin Farrell of Yale University report that KKK activity played a significant role in shifting voters’ political party allegiance in the South in the 1960s — from Democratic to Republican — and it continued to influence voters’ activities 40 years later.

The researchers studied county voting records in 10 southern states in which the KKK actively recruited members in the 1960s. The analysis of five presidential voting outcomes, between 1960 and 2000, showed that southern counties with KKK activity in the 1960s had a statistically significant increase in Republican voting compared to counties with no established KKK chapter, even after controlling for a range of factors commonly understood as relating to voting preferences. They also found that conservative racial attitudes among voters in the 1992 election strongly predicted Republican voting, but only in counties where the KKK was organized in the 1960s.

“The Klan’s efforts to link voting behavior to its social agenda in the 1960s disrupted long-established voting patterns in the South,” Cunningham explains. “The fact that such efforts continue to predict partisan allegiances today demonstrates how the impact of a social movement can endure long after the movement itself has declined, as well as providing a new explanation of political polarization in the U.S.”

Cunningham says their findings may have implications beyond providing a better understanding of how political agendas can have lasting societal impact. “Our research also illustrates how racial conflict can have wide-ranging effects that resonate across generations in ways that today’s voters might not easily or directly recognize.”

Recall too that the Republican Party and its financial enablers have been driving the push to disenfranchise people of color by imposing increasingly onerous burdens on the voting franchise, a tactic that is proving nearly as effectively as those ranks of hooded bigot and bigoted hoods to cinematically eulogized by D.W. Griffiths in the film that gave birth to the 20th Century Klan.

InSecurityWatch: Cop, hacks, war, drones, zones

And we begin with the cop, via Sky News:

Ferguson Officer Quit Because Of ‘Threats’

  • The police chief complains of “egregious” threats, as the mayor says Darren Wilson will receive no severance payment package.

The white officer who shot dead black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, quit because of threats against the police department, his lawyer has said.

Darren Wilson’s resignation with immediate effect was announced on Saturday, four months after the confrontation that fuelled violent protests in the St Louis suburb and across the US.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told a news conference on Sunday: “The threats (from protesters) have been egregious and counselling is available to the officers.” He was joined by Ferguson Mayor James Knowles, who said Mr Wilson, 28, received no severance payment package.

On to the war, via CBC News:

Gill Rosenberg, Canadian citizen, reportedly captured by ISIS in Syria

  • Canada ‘pursuing all appropriate channels’ to verify reports, is in touch with local authorities

The federal government is working to confirm reports that Gill Rosenberg, a Canadian citizen, has been captured by Islamist extremists in Syria.

According to the Jerusalem Post, websites “known to be close” to ISIS extremists reported the capture of the Israeli-Canadian woman, who joined Kurdish fighters overseas, on Sunday.

“Canada is pursuing all appropriate channels” to seek further information and is in touch with local authorities, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The newspaper said the websites give few details on the alleged capture, only that it occurred after three suicide attacks on sites where Kurdish fighters were holed up.

Another Bush/Cheney legacy from the Washington Post:

Investigation finds 50,000 ‘ghost’ soldiers in Iraqi army, prime minister says

The Iraqi army has been paying salaries to at least 50,000 soldiers who don’t exist, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Sunday, an indication of the level of corruption that permeates an institution that the United States has spent billions equipping and arming.

A preliminary investigation into “ghost soldiers” — whose salaries are being drawn but who are not in military service — revealed the tens of thousands of false names on Defense Ministry rolls, Abadi told parliament Sunday. Follow-up investigations are expected to uncover “more and more,” he added.

Abadi, who took power in September, is under pressure to stamp out the graft that flourished in the armed forces under his predecessor, Nouri al-Maliki. Widespread corruption has been blamed for contributing to the collapse of four of the army’s 14 divisions in June in the face of an offensive by Islamic State extremists.

An upcoming visit via the News in Lagos, Nigeria:

EU delegation visiting Guantanamo Bay prison

A delegation of five European officials led by French former justice minister Rachida Dati will visit the US military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba this week, aides said Sunday.

Invited by the United States, the delegation’s informal visit is meant to help give Europe ideas on how it can help the United States shut down the controversial jail once and for all.

Dati and her delegation of European Parliament members will visit on Tuesday and will also have a chance to see inmates’ prison conditions, said Philip Kyle, her parliamentary attache.

The Canadian Press covers spookery to the north:

Disclosure of ‘sensitive’ telecom surveillance details worried feds: memo

A move by telecommunications firms to be more forthcoming with the public about their role in police and spy surveillance could divulge “sensitive operational details,” a senior Public Safety official warned in a classified memo.

Company efforts to reveal more about police and intelligence requests — even the disclosure of broad numbers — would require “extensive consultations with all relevant stakeholders,” wrote Lynda Clairmont, senior assistant deputy minister for national and cybersecurity.

Clairmont’s note, released under the Access to Information Act, provided advice to deputy minister Francois Guimont on the eve of his one-hour April 17 meeting with representatives of Telus Corp. to discuss specifically what information the company was allowed to tell the public about electronic surveillance activities.

Telus released a so-called “transparency report” five months later, revealing it had received more than 103,000 official requests for information about subscribers in 2013.

The Los Angeles Times covers a devastating hack attack:

Sony movies leak online as computer systems remain dark

If Sony Pictures employees return to work Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend without computer or email access, it will mark the beginning of the second week of blackout for the Culver City movie studio after a widespread hack.

And Sony’s headaches do not appear to have lessened. Pirated copies of some Sony movies have begun to appear online on file sharing websites in the days after the attack. It is not known whether the two problems are related.

Among the titles that have popped up are the Brad Pitt World War II drama “Fury,” the musical remake “Annie” and the upcoming film “Still Alice.” Copies of “Mr. Turner” and “To Write Love on Her Arms” have also surfaced.

From the Hill, expect more:

Corporate data breaches ‘inevitable,’ expert says

A cybersecurity expert said in an interview broadcast Sunday night that data breaches such as those at top retailers including Target and Home Depot are “inevitable.”

“Nearly every company … is vulnerable,” Dave DeWalt, Fire Eye’s chief executive, told 60 Minutes. “Even the strongest banks in the world — banks like JPMorgan, retailers like Home Depot, retailers like Target can’t spend enough money or hire enough people to solve this problem,” he added.

“This isn’t a lack of effort. Most of the large companies are growing their security spend — yet 97 percent, literally 97 percent, of all companies are getting breached,” DeWalt said.

DeWalt said it takes 229 days, on average, to discover a security breach, which are often blamed on poor passwords.

A rousing dronal endorsement from TechWeek Europe:

London Needs More Drones To Beat Its Traffic Problems, Says Boris Johnson

  • Drones could prove the answer to the hordes of delivery vehicles clogging the capital’s streets, Mayor believes

The skies of London could become much more crowded after the city’s Mayor called for airborne drones to take the place of road vehicles.

Speaking at an event in Singapore during his six-day tour of south-east Asia, Boris Johnson called on the capital’s technology firms, particularly the financial technology sector, to come up with a solution to the traffic problems that plague the city, and suggested drones could be the answer.

“We have a problem, folks – all this internet shopping is leading to a massive increase in white van traffic dropping this stuff off – 45 percent it’s going to go up in London in the next seven years,” he said. “That’s going to be terrible for congestion in our city and doubtless the same will be true of Singapore as well.

“I look out at this brilliant audience here today, bulging with ideas, and I ask you possibly to solve it. We need a solution … Is it, as I hope, going to be drones? I want to be controlling an app that enables my shopping not only to be click and collect … I want my own personal drone to come and drop it wherever I choose.”

From the Guardian, a source of domestic insecurity:

Begging prosecutions increase dramatically across England and Wales

  1. Number of cases rises 70%, prompting concerns that cuts in support and benefits make more people resort to begging

Prosecutions for begging have rocketed across England and Wales over the past year with dramatic increases recorded in many police force areas.

The number of cases brought to court under the 1824 Vagrancy Act has surged by 70%, prompting concerns that cuts to support services and benefits are pushing more people to resort to begging.

Some areas have spiked spectacularly. The number of charges for begging in the area covered by Merseyside police rose nearly 400% from 60 cases to 291 in 12 months, while Thames Valley, which covers relatively prosperous Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, showed a similar rate of increase from 20 cases to 92.

Deutsche Welle covers a Colombian release:

Colombian rebel group FARC ‘frees kidnapped general, two soldiers’

Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, has confirmed that FARC rebels freed an army general captured earlier this month. General Ruben Alzate’s release may help restart Bogota’s suspended peace talks with the group.

The Colombian president wrote on his Twitter account on Sunday that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had also released two other hostages, Corporal Jorge Rodriguez and army advisor Gloria Urrego. Santos said General Alzate and his fellow captives would be reunited with their families soon.

“Freed … in prefect condition,” Santos wrote.

Fifty-five-year-old General Alzate was the highest-ranking Colombian military official ever to have been kidnapped by the Marxist group. Alzate, Rodriguez and Urrego were kidnapped by FARC fighters on November 16 when they were travelling to the remote area of Choco.

And from Xinhua, the Egyptian crackdown continues:

Egypt court jails Badie and 26 others 3 years for insulting judiciary

An Egyptian court sentenced the Muslim Brotherhood’s top official Mohammed Badie and 26 of the Islamist group’s leading figures to three years in prison for insulting the judiciary.

Badie and other defendants were in the criminal court of Cairo Sunday on charges of jailbreak during the 2011 uprising. The judge delivered the sentence after the group’s leaders offended the court during trial.

The trial of Badie and other defendants on the charge of escaping from jail has been adjourned to December 20.

After the jump, on to Asia and the ongoing Games of Zones, first with a seismic shift on a contested island, the crackdown on Occupy Hong Kong heats up with a city hall siege and a street-clearing, another Chinese crackdown, Uncle Sam ups the ante in the Game of Zones as China mulls missile sales and asserts insular singularity, Japan adds island-claiming amphibious boats, Tokyo stakes a secret documents claim, and Japan ramps up its cleanup of its chemical warfare effort in occupied China, plus odds on an apocalyptic scenario. . . Continue reading

And now for something completely different. . .

And that would be the Theremin, the instrument you play by keeping your goshdarn hands off it!

Invented in 1928 by Lev Sergeyevich Termen [Westernized to Léon Theremin], a largely self-taught Russian electrical engineer and inventor, the theremin is played by moving your hands closer and farther away from two antennae, one regulating frequency and the other amplitude or volume.

Here, from a Soviet film, is a performance the inventor himself via vlogger slonikyouth:

Leon Theremin playing his own instrument

We first because aware of the instrument though its presence in the sound tracks of the science fiction films and space operas we loved as a kid. In those pre-digital synthesizer days, only the theremin could produce those otherworldly sounds so appropriate to otherworldly films.

Here’s a thermin-scored clip from a 1951 film we loved, The Day the Earth Stood Still:

And here’s the composer of that score in a 1956 appearance on the Johnny Carson Show [not the Tonight Show, but an earlier talk show Carson hosted], via theremin artist Peter Pringle:

Johnny Carson Plays THEREMIN

Program notes:

This is an appearance that thereminist Dr. Samuel Hoffman made on the JOHNNY CARSON SHOW in 1956. The 1929 RCA theremin you see in this clip is currently in my collection.

And here’s Pringle himself, playing a theremin featuring a truly magnificent [speaker that we’d just love so have for ourselves]:

Mozart Theremin Concerto

Program notes:

This is the main theme from the “andante” movement of Mozart’s piano concerto #21 in C major (K. 467). The theme was used in the soundtrack of the 1967 Swedish film, ELVIRA MADIGAN, and since then it has been called “The Elvira Madigan Concerto”.

This is a theremin transcription of the theme played on the Moog Ethervox.

Here’s another latter-day theremin artist, Randy George, in a dimly lit performance of a work by Claude Debussy:

Clair de Lune – Randy George, theremin

Program notes:

Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy. Randy George, theremin.

For a higher quality viewing and listening of this video, I made a download available. I remastered the audio and video in March 2013 and compressed a higher resolution mp4. download it here (106MB):

My Facebook Page:

If you are new to the theremin, please discover it in more depth. It is the most fascinating musical instrument in the world (when played as it was originally intended).

The theremin entered my life seven years ago. It has been a tremendously challenging journey, but it is immensely rewarding. The theremin is absolutely deceptively difficult to play with musical precision and finesse.

Clara Rockmore introduced the theremin to the world as a serious musical instrument. Over the course of recent music history, this expressive voice was forgotten.

I feel it’s definitely time to reconnect with the roots of the instrument. With these classical theremin videos, I hope to light the way back home.

Finally, to take things to an absurd extreme, from Japanese vloogger mandarinelectron, a mass performance by nearly 300 folks who play theremin bulk to look like those nesting Russian matryoshka dolls:

“Symphony No.9, Boogie” by Matryomin ensemble “Da”

Program notes:

Recorded at auditorium of Jiyugakuen Myonichikan in Tokyo on 22 Jan. 2011.

InSecurityWatch: Spies, media war, terror, cops

And that Asian Game of Zones is heating up again.

We begin with the not-so-idiot box from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law:

I’m Terrified of My New TV: Why I’m Scared to Turn This Thing On — And You’d Be, Too

I just bought a new TV. The old one had a good run, but after the volume got stuck on 63, I decided it was time to replace it. I am now the owner of a new “smart” TV, which promises to deliver streaming multimedia content, games, apps, social media, and Internet browsing. Oh, and TV too.

The only problem is that I’m now afraid to use it. You would be too — if you read through the 46-page privacy policy.

The amount of data this thing collects is staggering. It logs where, when, how, and for how long you use the TV. It sets tracking cookies and beacons designed to detect “when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message.” It records “the apps you use, the websites you visit, and how you interact with content.” It ignores “do-not-track” requests as a considered matter of policy.

It also has a built-in camera — with facial recognition. The purpose is to provide “gesture control” for the TV and enable you to log in to a personalized account using your face. On the upside, the images are saved on the TV instead of uploaded to a corporate server. On the downside, the Internet connection makes the whole TV vulnerable to hackers who have demonstrated the ability to take complete control of the machine.

More troubling is the microphone. The TV boasts a “voice recognition” feature that allows viewers to control the screen with voice commands. But the service comes with a rather ominous warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.” Got that? Don’t say personal or sensitive stuff in front of the TV.

You may not be watching, but the telescreen is listening.

And on to the mounting tensions in familiar place, via BBC News:

Pakistan bomb kills 50 at Wagah border with India

More than 50 people have been killed and at least 100 injured in a suicide bombing close to Pakistan’s only border crossing with India. The blast hit near the checkpoint at the Wagah border crossing, near Lahore.

The Pakistani Taliban told the BBC that it had carried out the attack, although another militant group, Jundullah, also said it was responsible.

At least 15 people were badly injured, and officials said three members of the Pakistani border force had died.

The Wagah crossing is a high-profile target, with large crowds gathering every day to watch an elaborate flag-lowering ceremony as the border closes.

Negotiating with Reuters:

Qaeda’s Nusra lays out conditions to release captured Lebanese soldiers

The Syrian Nusra Front has offered to free Lebanese soldiers it has captured in exchange for Islamist prisoners held in Syria and Lebanon, the SITE Intelligence Group reported on Sunday.

The al Qaeda-linked front said in a statement monitored by SITE that it had presented a Qatari negotiator with three proposals for the release of the soldiers, taken when its fighters and militants from the Islamic State, which controls parts of Iraq and Syria, briefly seized the border town of Arsal in August.

According to the statement, which SITE said was posted on Twitter on Saturday, Nusra asked for the release of 10 “brothers” held in Lebanon, or seven prisoners in Lebanon and 30 female prisoners held in Syria, or six prisoners and 50 female prisoners for each captive soldiers.

And the McClatchy Foreign Staff covers a defeat:

US-backed forces in Syria suffer big setback

Al Qaida-backed militants Saturday stormed the base of the most prominent civilian commander in the U.S.-backed Syrian rebel force, forcing him and his fighters to flee into hiding in the Jebal al Zawiya mountains of northern Syria.

Jamal Maarouf, a contractor in private life, became internationally known for leading the successful offensive in January that forced the Islamic State from most of two northern provinces. His ouster from his own village was an enormous setback for him, the rebel forces and his international backers.

Even more ominous was that that the Islamic State, now far stronger and claiming to run a Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, reportedly had joined Jabhat al Nusra in the attack on the village of Deir Sinbul.

More from the Guardian:

US plan for proxy army to fight Isis in Syria suffers attack

  • Syrian opposition leader blames Washington for rout as air strikes on Isis seen as aiding Assad crackdown

The US plan to rally proxy ground forces to complement its air strikes against Isis militants in Syria is in tatters after jihadis ousted Washington’s main ally from its stronghold in the north over the weekend.

The attack on the Syrian Revolutionary Front (SRF) by the al-Qaida-aligned Jabhat al-Nusra came after weeks of clashes between the two groups around the city of Idlib, which has remained one of the last bastions of regime control in northern Syria throughout the civil war.

Militants overran the command centre of the SRF’s leader, Jamal Maarouf, in Deir Sonbol in a humiliating rout that came as US and Arab air forces continued to attack Isis in the Kurdish town of Kobani, 300 miles east, in an effort to prevent the town from falling.

From Techdirt, a spooky lobotomy:

Senator Wyden Attacks CIA Redaction Demands As ‘Unprecedented’

  • from the unprecedented-problems-may-need-unprecedented-solutions dept

It’s well known that CIA’s been stalling over the release of the officially declassified 480 page “executive summary” of the 6,300 page CIA torture report, put together by staffers of the Senate Intelligence Committee over many years at a cost of $40 million. It’s known that the report is somewhat devastating to the CIA and the CIA isn’t happy about it (at all). Originally, the CIA suggested redactions that made the report incomprehensible, even as James Clapper said it was “just 15%” that was redacted. Recent reports have focused on the fight over redacting pseudonyms. Apparently the CIA wants all names, including pseudonyms redacted, while the Senate Intelligence Committee thinks that pseudonyms (but not real names) should be left in so that the report accurately reflects if the actions were done by a large number of diverse individuals, or by some particular individuals again and again and again. The CIA, likely employing some sort of “mosaic theory” claim, say that they’re worried that even with pseudonyms, identifying the same person in a few different situations will make it easier for some to figure out who they are.

In response, Senator Ron Wyden has attacked the CIA’s position and noted that it’s “unprecedented” and that plenty of other, similar, reports have made use of pseudonyms, without a problem.

Spooks in court, via The Hill:

NSA phone program faces key court test

The National Security Agency (NSA) is getting its day in court.

On Tuesday, a closely watched case over the spy agency’s most controversial program heads to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the second most powerful federal bench in the country.
Along with other high-profile court cases challenging the constitutionality of the NSA’s spying, civil liberties advocates are sensing that the wind is at their backs, even as Congress has failed to push legislation past the finish line.

“We want [the court] to reach the constitutional issues because it has to be decided now, for the sake of the future,” said Larry Klayman, the conservative lawyer whose case against the Obama administration is before the Circuit court. “And all we’re really asking is that the NSA adhere to the law.”

Klayman’s case challenges the constitutionality of the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, a program revealed by Edward Snowden last summer.

And a blow to privacy Down Under from The Register:

Oz gov lets slip: telco metadata might be available to civil courts

  • Quite by accident, truth leaks out

A series of slips by the nation’s top cop followed by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has made Australia’s data retention bill even more of a potential horror than it seemed when it was introduced last week.

It started with the Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin saying that stored telecommunications metadata could be used to go after people who infringe copyright online. That statement, made on October 30, was unequivocal – he used the word “absolutely”.

It’s always a bad idea for police to rashly tell the world what they really think.

And from the Washington Post, the European memory hole reaches across the Atlantic:

Pianist asks The Washington Post to remove a concert review under the E.U.’s ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling

The pianist Dejan Lazic, like many artists and performers, is occasionally the subject of bad reviews. Also like other artists, he reads those reviews. And disagrees with them. And gripes over them, sometimes.

But because Lazic lives in Europe, where in May the European Union ruled that individuals have a “right to be forgotten” online, he decided to take the griping one step further: On Oct. 30, he sent The Washington Post a request to remove a 2010 review by Post classical music critic Anne Midgette that – he claims — has marred the first page of his Google results for years.

It’s the first request The Post has received under the E.U. ruling. It’s also a truly fascinating, troubling demonstration of how the ruling could work.

From, an Austrian internal security problem:

Armed youths attack Tyrol refugee centre

Police in Tyrol are investigating an attack on the Bürglkopf refugee centre near the market town of Fieberbrunn on Wednesday evening.

Five youths were heard shouting xenophobic slogans at around half past midnight, 35 metres away from the remote property.

They then shot a gun in the air and reportedly threw fireworks at the centre’s windows.

The youths were dressed in black hooded jackets and shouted things like “foreigners out” and “we’re going to kill you, pigs”, according to an anonymous witness quoted in profil magazine.

The Associated Press covers a political exclusion zone:

AP Exclusive: Ferguson no-fly zone aimed at media

The U.S. government agreed to a police request to restrict more than 37 square miles of airspace surrounding Ferguson, Missouri, for 12 days in August for safety, but audio recordings show that local authorities privately acknowledged the purpose was to keep away news helicopters during violent street protests.

On Aug. 12, the morning after the Federal Aviation Administration imposed the first flight restriction, FAA air traffic managers struggled to redefine the flight ban to let commercial flights operate at nearby Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and police helicopters fly through the area — but ban others.

“They finally admitted it really was to keep the media out,” said one FAA manager about the St. Louis County Police in a series of recorded telephone conversations obtained by The Associated Press. “But they were a little concerned of, obviously, anything else that could be going on.

At another point, a manager at the FAA’s Kansas City center said police “did not care if you ran commercial traffic through this TFR (temporary flight restriction) all day long. They didn’t want media in there.”

As in Ferguson, so in France from

Violent protests erupt in France over alleged police brutality

Violent protests broke out on Saturday in two French cities against alleged police brutality, leaving several people injured.

Officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas as demonstrators hurled bottles of acid and stones in the northwestern city of Nantes, injuring at least five protesters and three police officers. Police made 21 arrests in Nantes, while in the southwestern city of Toulouse, where clashes also erupted, 13 people were detained.

The protests were held over the death of environmental activist Remi Fraisse, 21, who was killed last Sunday during clashes between security forces and demonstrators at the site of a contested dam in southwestern France.

Initial investigations showed traces of TNT on his clothes and skin, suggesting he may have been killed by a police stun grenade.

After the jump, global urban insecurity, Mexican police as murder suspects, cartel killers’ Twitter terrorism, Spanish sins of the past threatened with Argentine trials, Egyptian press control tightens, next to China and tightened controls on foreign TV and film, drone-enhanced war games and a triumphant claim, Indian umbrage at a Chinese submarine visit next door, American angst over Chinese fly-bys, North Korea launches a ballistic missile sub, A Japanese ghost form the past pays a visit as the government refines its remilitarization drive, and the curious cost of Hong Kong domestic security. . . Continue reading

Peter Schrank: Is that a check, mate?

From the editorial cartoonist for the Independent:

BLOG Ebolatoon

The acknowledged reference for the cartoon is this scene from Ingmar Bergam’s brilliant 1957film, The Seventh Seal [and if you haven’t seen it, do]:

BLOG Bergman

Sculpture al fresco: Vanished public art

Our heart is utterly doffed to 3 Quarks Daily for evoking a chain of memories from the 1960s and ’70s from the years we first visited then lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, first briefly in Mountain View and Menlo Park, and then in a house at the very apex of the Oakland Hills.

One of our favorite sights sprouted from the tidal flats of Emeryville, on the Oakland side of the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

There, rising from the mud in exuberant irreverence erupted a tumultuous profusion of sculptures erected by whoever the hell wnated to throw something up where it would be seen, twice a day, by commuters creeping along in rush hour congestion.

In other words, an art gallery to relieve the frustrations of countless thousands of commuters daily.

Writing in a well-illustrated feature for Boom magazine, Robert Sommer captures one notable quality of the works:

Art museums exhibit sculpture in a consistent light. It doesn’t make any difference whether one visits in the morning, afternoon, or evening, or in winter or summer; the art will look the same. A changing visual panorama awaited the visitor to a mudflat gallery. The appearance of the sculpture changed as the sun set and color disappeared. Pieces that were relatively invisible during the day, due to the predominant gray-on-gray quality of wood against bay, become vivid silhouettes against a pink-hued sky. The flowering plants at ground level added color and verve. A first visit to a mudflat gallery brought home images of impermanence and mortality. Most of the wooden creatures still standing were in stages of decrepitude. Arms and legs missing, heads fallen off, everywhere was rubble where now-unrecognizable figures had stood erect until brought down by wind and tide. The center post embedded deep in the mud with a few dangling boards was the last to fall.

Needless to say, the politicians of Emeryville, busily engaged in trying to shore up tax revenues in an industrial barrens rightly dubbed Emptyville saw all that anarchic artistic adventuring as a negative when it came to hustling big buck developers, so they had to go.

And gone they were, by the late 1980’s.

Imagine our delight, then, when we paid a visit to 3 Quarks Daily and found French filmmaker/photographer/multimedia artist Chris Marker‘s 1981 short Junkopia, filmed while he was in the Bay Area to shoot scenes for another film.

From the Criterion Collection:

Junkopia – A Short Film by Chris Marker

Program notes:

Codirected by Frank Simeone and John Chapman, JUNKOPIA was filmed at the Emeryville Mudflats outside of San Francisco while Chris Marker was also shooting the Vertigo sections of Sans Soleil.

More images of the sculptures may be found here.