Ghosts in the Hollow

Photographer Jim LoScalzo toured lost ghost towns in the Appalachians, once thriving mining towns which became deserted when those mines closed down, leaving the decaying, abandoned structures as ghosts of the past, crumbling monuments to the everyday life of the many men who toiled beneath the ground and their families who they toiled so hard for (and often lost their lives for, deep below, away from the light of the sun and the caress of the wind). Link from Selectism, via Jonathan Carroll.

Ghosts in the Hollow from Jim Lo Scalzo on Vimeo.

Reminded me a little of a day wandering around Prestongrange mining and industrial museum, early in spring, not another soul around, just me and rusting rail tracks, the long-disused winding wheel and old machinery. Not quite the same as his piece with the abandoned homes but still that feeling of ghosts of people, of a whole way of life gone forever, although at least here people can still come and explore that part of their industrial heritage.
Prestongrange mining museum 3

I was also struck by another of his works, this time a more modern yet no less haunted ghost town, empty areas of New Orleans, street lights still working but few people returned or some neighbourhoods even devoid of those who once lived there...

Twilight in New Orleans from Jim Lo Scalzo on Vimeo.

Super Tuesday!

Its that magical time in America they call Super Tuesday. For those who are utterly bewildered by the arcane and frankly crazy workings of the US electoral system (which is almost everyone, including most Americans) the term Super Tuesday is a hangover from the 1940s when Superman used to volunteer to fly the ballot papers from all the states to the counting centres faster than a speeding bullet (which is handy when flying over the southern states where drunken rednecks take potshots at anything flying overhead). In these modern, digital days when Republican party operatives can fiddle an electoral result by computer (a process called doing the Florida Harris waltz) the Man of Steel no longer flies the ballots about the country, but the name has stuck.

Meanwhile in Britain we have Pancake Tuesday, where we all make nice, fresh pancakes and smother them in yummy toppings (sod the healthy living, let’s have full cream on there today!). I think I prefer our Tuesday. But whether you are tossing pancakes or voting for a bunch of tossers, we wish you a happy Tuesday!

Creationist whackos get science teacher fired

Yup, once more the intellectually feeble throwbacks who constantly espouse ‘intelligent design’ (which is basically the utterly discredited Creationism dressed up in laughably bad science clothes) have made a move to decrease the IQ of the world a bit more: they used a flimsy excuse to get a science education officer in Texas fired. Christine Castillo Comer’s crime? She forwarded an email as an FYI which she had received from one science educational professional to some interested groups about a talk by an author in the area, an author who has looked into the fake ‘science’ these Intelligent Design wankers keep trying to sneak into school curriculums while also trying to have evolutionary teaching curtailed (no, they haven’t realised the 19th century is over).

Her boss’s boss dropped her in it claiming simply forwarding this message was tantamount to the education board endorsing it, which is ridiculous since she didn’t express an opinion, simply passed on details of a scientific talk to science professionals. Besides which anyone who works for a government department or large corporation knows full well their emails are usually issued under a ‘the ideas expressed in this email do not necessarily promote the ideals of the blankety blank department’. Interestingly enough this boss is a political appointee – a Bush-loving one. And the head of the board openly endorses Creationist nonsense and talks yet hangs out one of his science professionals for simply passing on details of a talk involving scientific matters to other scientific professionals.

Sadly this sort of attack on actually using our brains to logically interpret massive amounts of careful scientific date amassed over many decades by many people from paleontologists to genetic researchers is not confined to a few religious crackpots in Jesusland (as Richard Morgan terms the Texas area in his recent novel Black Man) since there have been attempts to push this nonsense in schools in the UK too. This really does infuriate me – NPR has a radio interview with Christine on their site and the whole thing stinks of a political-religious set-up for these right wing fundamentalist eejits to shove someone out the way so they can then install a new person who will agree with their retarded ideology. And if you are a Creationist don’t bother explaining to me why your view point is valid, because it just isn’t. You’re entitled to hold your view but please feck off and don’t inflict it on others much less try to infect schoolkids with your idiocy. If you believe this crap you are an anti-intellectual moron brain-washed by fundamentalists who like using their religion as a way to gain more control over people and what they can say or think – and that’s the nub of it, these idiots don’t just believe this fairy tale nonsense themselves, they demand it be taught to the rest of us. Thankfully the few attempts here have been laughed at in much the same way as trying to each that the Earth is flat would be, but these idiots keep trying… (link via Boing Boing)

Yanks to the world – fuck you all, we can do what we want

The Times reports on a rather chilling legal message (and I use the term ‘legal’ quite wrongly) from the Home of the Free – America claims that it is perfectly legal under their barbarous legal system to kidnap foreign citizens in any country, even kidnapping citizens of allied countries such as British citizens in their own country. Bad enough the extremely dodgy and morally bankrupt practise of extraordinary rendition but now they claim this highly immoral and illegal (at least in any civilised country which has actual rule of law) is perfectly acceptable according to their own legal standards.

Well, what laws they set in their own borders is up to them, of course, but to act in this arrogant, cavalier manner in other countries, breaking the laws of those nations, is normally what we would refer to as the actions of a ‘rogue state’. And since that’s a rogue state who ignores international law and has weapons of mass destruction then by the warped logic of their own retard monkey president then surely they should invade themselves and impose a regime change? I mean we all know the current administration is of the opinion it can do whatever it wants anywhere and get away with it, but it is chilling to see such a barbarous set of actions given official blessing by the judiciary of a supposedly civilised democratic society. (link via Boing Boing and Warren Ellis)

How to protect America from dangerous British politicians

Boing Boing has a story which is hilariously funny (and a bit disturbing) on so many levels it ain’t true – British Member of Parliament and government minister Shahid Malik, a Muslim, has been stopped for a second time by airport security in the USA. Airport security and immigration have never had the best rep )and US immigration always had a lousy rep for being officious and unfriendly) and since 9-11 they’ve been even worse, with some obviously delighting in abusing the extra (usually downright stupid) rules and powers they can wield – complain and they can make it even worse. They’ve even stopped a UN diplomat travelling on a white passport (which should clear customs almost immeaditely as far as I am aware), now the same British minister twice, presumably because he is Muslim.

The fact he is a member of America’s strongest ally’s government doesn’t seem to have entered into their minds and you have to assume if it is a second time then presumably their superiors don’t give a crap about insulting an allied government in this manner either, which makes you think what can any of us ordinary citizens expect when trying to enter America these days – not sure I’d care to travel there right now, to be honest. Ah, but it gets better – on both occasions the MP was in the US to take part in talks on how to co-operate more closely on fighting terrorism and tackling extremism! Talk about farcical… Don’t y’all feel safer with these fartknocker protecting borders?!?!? Strange we don’t often hear of US senators being harassed at UK immigration.