Friday, March 30, 2007

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol.86

Welcome back.

This week we'll be continuing with our painting of the used car lot, featuring a 1959 Volvo. The photo which I am using is seen directly below.

When last seen here, the painting appeared as it does directly below.

Since that time I have continued working on the painting. I have worked extensively on the Volvo. The front end/grille is now just about done, and I've redone the wheels. The wheels are now more consistent with the refinements of the vehicle.

The white/chrome bits now have shading.

I've continued the dark shadow under the vehicle to the left. I've also begun to refine that vehicle.

The current state of the painting is seen in the photo directly below.

That's it for now, see you next week.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Death By Meta

The large room was dimly lit, just a few bare bulbs scattered amongst the beams of the darkened ceiling.

A figure sat in the shadows. The young man was literally tied to the chair. Before him sat a computer screen. On the screen were the bright logo and graphics of a web site, a political blog. It was, in fact, an extended comment thread. The abductee had been seated in a position to directly view the many, many comments.

"No, no more, please!!!", he pleaded. "No more meta!!!"

The man began to quiver violently. The pace of his shaking increased markedly. Suddenly he fell to the floor, eyes rolling back into his head.

Another victim of meta.

Give generously to the fight against meta.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bush Sez Varmints Gotta Go

Well not in quite those words.

Peer Link

Washington, DC — The U.S. Interior Department is preparing a wide-ranging set of regulations which substantially weaken the federal Endangered Species Act, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Center for Biological Diversity.

According to PEER, federal oversight would be history and the states would be responsible. Without centralized control, many species would likely again be on the decline.


Remove recovery of a species or population as a protection standard;
Allow projects to proceed that have been determined to threaten species with extinction;
Permit destruction of all restored habitat within critical habitat areas;
Prevent critical habitat areas from being used to protect against disturbance, pesticides, exotic species, and disease;
Severely limit the listing of new endangered species; and
Empower states to veto endangered species introductions as well as administer virtually all aspects of the Endangered Species Act within their borders.

This sums it up well:

“If these regulations had been in place 30 years ago, the bald eagle, grizzly bear, and gray wolf would never have been listed as endangered species and the peregrine falcon, black-footed ferret, and California condor would never have been reintroduced to new states,” added Suckling. “This plan makes recovery all but impossible for most endangered species. Simply stated, it is the worst attack on the Endangered Species Act in the past 35 years.”

There are many materials at the PEER link above, some of which I am just starting to digest. Go over, have a look and call your legislator.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Saturday Painting Palooza Volume 85

Welcome back.

This week we'll be continuing with our painting of the used car lot, featuring a 1959 Volvo. The photo which I am using is seen directly below.

When last seen here, the painting appeared as it does directly below.

Since that time I have continued working on the painting. I've begun to paint in the tacky tent in the rear. I will likely make more stripes than those in the photo. The few I've painted reflect those of the photo but don't seem like quite enough.

Considerable time has been spent on refining the Volvo. I've added highlighted areas and darker details. Actually the darker areas are the original red, the highlighted areas are the same red to which I've mixed in a bit of white. I've also refined shapes and edges. The window areas, grille, headlights and fenders are all much closer to how they will appear in the finished painting. The chrome strips are also much nearer to their final appearance.

THe current state of the painting is seen in the photo directly below.

That's about it for now, see you next week.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

May The Postage Be With You

George Lucas never seems to miss an opportunity to further merchandise the Star Wars franchise. And now the brand has been expanded to include postage stamps, and mail receptacles designed to resemble R2-D2.


Did You Know Androids Could Eat Mail?

WASHINGTON, March 21 — Trustworthy public servant, loyal friend, computer whiz and especially handy to have around when the starship is damaged during a mission — that’s R2-D2, the endearing android of “Star Wars” fame. Now R2-D2 has been enlisted for another task: collecting mail for the Postal Service.

In collaboration with Lucasfilm Ltd., which owns the copyright to the character, the post office has transformed 400 of its 280,000 blue collection boxes in 200 cities into R2-D2 look-alikes.

Those boxes, made to appear like the droid by a covering of adhesive wrap, are intended to generate buzz for the sale of a first-class commemorative stamp coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the release of “Star Wars.” The sale date will be announced at the March 28 unveiling of the design for the stamp, or stamps (the Postal Service is being coy about that point).

Although “we do all different kinds of promotions pretty routinely,” said Rod DeVar, the Postal Service’s advertising and promotions manager, this is the first time the agency’s collection boxes have been altered for one. The temporary boxes are also marked with a Web address about the promotion,

Fans may be delighted, but I suspect that the swashbuckling Han Solo would be terribly troubled.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More EPA Shenanigans

I'm running low on snark and woefully short on the makings for intelligent comments. So instead of the usual sparkling commentary expected from SLB, I offer instead a link (PEER) and excerpt about yet more EPA lunacy.


EPA TO DEFANG ITS INSPECTOR GENERAL — Immediate Buy-Outs to Remove Auditors, Criminal Investigators and Chemists

Washington, DC — Without waiting for congressional approval, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is moving this month to significantly downsize its Office of Inspector General (IG), according to agency memos released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The cutbacks will reduce the ability of the IG to audit Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contracting, investigate EPA enforcement actions and review allegations of political manipulation of agency science.

Please follow the link and read the rest.


It has been said that those individuals ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it, or something to that effect. And so such ignorance was/is on ample and ugly display today. Equating the circumstances of the Palestinians by way of the Israelis with those of the Jews of Nazi Germany is highly offensive, stepping over the line. Make no mistake, this blog does not offer support for the actions of the Israelis. However, Israeli actions do not rise to the level of those earlier ones, and it highly unlikely that they ever will. I will leave the details to google searches.

One can only assume that the diarist and those in agreement are lacking in knowledge of those earlier events. Very sad.

Monday, March 19, 2007

No Refuge

While millions disappear daily into the Iraqi quagmire, some domestic programs are collapsing.  One of these, the National Wildlife Refuge system, has previously indicated that the worst problems are in the southeastern quadrant.  Now, it seems that system difficulties are to be experienced with large cuts nationwide.

ENS Link

WASHINGTON, DC, March 12, 2007 (ENS) - In an attempt to cope with a huge budget backlog, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is cutting and redeploying staff in the National Wildlife Refuge System across the Southwest and the Pacific Regions. Reductions in services will impact refuges in Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Guam and several Pacific islands.

As a result of the cuts, environmental education programs for school children will be eliminated, there will be cuts in endangered species recovery programs, habitat management and law enforcement will be diminished.

Some refuges will be left entirely unstaffed as a result of permanent staff reductions.

According to the workforce plan that outlines the cuts, the Pacific region is leaving 32 positions vacant and will eliminate another 17 jobs by fiscal year 2009, resulting in a total of 49 eliminated positions. Because of these staffing cuts, 28 refuges, or 44 percent of the refuges in the region, will remain completely unstaffed and 21 refuges, or one-third of the refuges in the region, will experience further reductions.

The pacifice region, comprised of some 3.5 million acres of refuge (64 individual refuges), will go virtually without any law enforcement.

Only six full-time law enforcement staff will remain in the entire Pacific region.

Umm, for those mathematically challenged bloggers, that works out to more than one half million acres per individual.

And yet the cost of maintaining wildlife refuges is a fraction of national park expenditures.

Refuges are currently managed at a cost of less than $4 per acre. By comparison, the National Park System receives more than $20 per acre for management.

It's certainly not for lack of visitors.

On the 16,000 acre Tishomingo Refuge, which receives more than 200,000 annual visitors, there will only be one law enforcement officer who will split his or her time with Hagerman Refuge in Texas, impacting resource protection and visitor safety.

But war profiteers must get what's due to them, wildlife or not.  Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife.

"Wildlife refuges are national treasures, home to some of our nation's most imperiled wildlife and critical to ensuring our nation's waterfowl remains healthy and abundant," said Schlickeisen. "Neglecting these refuges and cutting back on staff, services and programs puts the mission of the refuge system at risk. Congress needs to fund the refuge system and continue to invest in this country's wildlife heritage."

Your considerable disgust can be expressed here, and to your legislators.  

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol.84

Welcome back.

This week we'll be continuing with our painting of the used car lot, featuring a 1959 Volvo. The photo which I am using is seen directly below.

When last seen here, the painting appeared as it does directly below.

Since that time I have continued working on the painting. Some changes are incremental, some are more dramatic. I have comtinued to add to the shadow to the right and behind the car. I have added some red to pick up the red of the car. I may need to make this more prominent.

I've also continued to add to the red body color of the car. I've attempted to reshape some of the contours in attempt to better represent the shape of the old Volvo.

I've also reshaped and reduced the rear wheel. This will make for both a more accurate portrayal and enhanced perspective. I believe that the rear wheel is now about as good as I am able to get it.

I've also started to paint in the sky. Right now it is just a solid blue. I will add to it in coming installments.

The current state of the painting is seen directly below.

That's about it for now, see you next week.

Note: Please feel free to post your own work in the comment section below.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tribal Council

Yes, we still have Tribal Council.

This week, our work has been made all too easy. His work promoting torture predated the inception of this blog. Nevertheless there is good reason for ALberto Gonzales to leave the virtual island. His role in the removal of the US Attorneys, the subject of current inquiry, is clearly of a political nature. A true Bush loyalist, he is now becoming detrimental to the administration. Hopefully, he will leave both the virtual island and his current office.

Mr.Gonzales, the tribe has spoken.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Foiled Again

Once again, a federal agency seeks to act in a fashion that avoids existing statutes. In this instance it is the Forest Service and the subject area contains old growth trees within a designated national forest. Fortunately, the judiciary has stepped in to provide temporary relief.

ENS Link

PORTLAND, Oregon, March 9, 2007 (ENS) - A federal judge has halted the last remaining proposal by the Forest Service to clearcut mature and old-growth forest in Oregon's Mt. Hood National Forest.

On March 3, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman handed down a ruling that killed plans to clearcut 184 acres in the Clackamas River watershed.

Bark, a Portland-based conservation group, had challenged the logging on the grounds that the Forest Service failed to use the best available science to protect old growth wildlife species in developing the timber sale.

Judge Mosman agreed with Bark, cancelling the sale until the Forest Service complies with the law. Judge Mosman’s ruling relied on a basic provision of the National Forest Management Act that requires the Forest Service to use the "best available science" in making management decisions, like authorizing timber sales.

Avoiding the law in the pursuit of rewarding industry has become a consistent practice of this administration. It has become so pervasive that when things go differently, it is cause for surprise.


"The Forest Service ignored its obligation to use the best available science before clearcutting old-growth forests. Judge Mosman’s ruling simply holds the agency accountable to its own requirements." says Erin Madden, an attorney for Bark in this case.

The assault on public lands to benefit private interests will continue, of course. But don't we all benefit from the preservation of these valuable natural resources? Or is it only the profits given to private industry that give pleasure? Yet more reason for public funding of elections.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol.83

Welcome back.

This week we'll be continuing with our painting of the used car lot, featuring a 1959 Volvo. The photo which I am using is seen directly below.

When last seen here, the painting appeared as it does directly below.

Since that time I have continued working on the painting. I started to paint in the red body color and the wheels of the car. Getting the wheels to appear in phase with each other has proven to be the most difficult part of this piece so far. Further adjustment is still needed.

I've also started to paint in the lot and shadow. Note that the lighting goes toward the rear of the car, yielding a long shadow behind the car. The shadow follows the segmented body style of the car.

I've still got much to do but I'm pleased so far.

The current state of the painting appears below.

That's about it for now, see you next week.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Of Captain Renault

Reading this,

NYT link

BAGHDAD, Monday, March 5 — Iraqi special forces and British troops stormed the offices of an Iraqi government intelligence agency in the southern city of Basra on Sunday, and British officials said they discovered about 30 prisoners, some showing signs of torture.

...I couldn't help but think of this,

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Captain Renault: [sotto voce] Oh, thank you very much.
Captain Renault: Everybody out at once!

If Captain Renault had been with those Iraqi and British troops that "discovered" the tortured prisoners, he might have made a statement of similar effect. "I'm shocked, shocked to find that torture is going on in here." In fact, such a statement would carry the same credibility as the earlier one. Our ill-considered actions in Iraq have set in motion a series of events that should have been anticipated, at least in part. While torture did not begin with American actions, it seems that a deluge has been unleashed. Had the administration spent even a short time considering likely scenarios, these stories might have been minimized.

And then there's our own misadventures in prisoner motivation, the events at Abu Ghraib. In the wake of these, can we really expect others to take the high road?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Saturday Painting Palooza Vol.82

Welcome back.

This week we'll be taking a detour from our Sedona, Arizona scene. We will go back to it soon.

Remember this painting?

Well, after painting the second car (foreground), I was just itching to paint the words low miles or creampuff in the windshield. And so it came to me that I might try painting a car lot. But what I thought, in my bizarre thought chain, is that a used car lot would be more interesting and dramatic. I found several photos of a lot in Arizona, and the following seemed appropriate.

Front and center is a 1959 Volvo, a car known for rugged durability and 1940s styling at a time when tailfins ruled. It will make for an interesting painting. My initial brushstrokes are seen below.

I can't wait to paint something in the windshield. See you next week.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Spare the Children

Today my 8 year old brought home one of those kiddie magazines that the schools hand out. Inside was an article about Condoleeza Rice. It described how as secretary of state she is in charge of relationships with other countries. An interesting way to phrase it, I thought.

Accompanying the "kidzine" was a written assignment consisting of several questions. Aimed at reading comprehension, one such question asked about describing her job. I suggested tool of the adiministration but to this madame boran was not receptive, and gave me a pointed look. Yes, we wouldn't want children to know the ugly truth, let them labor in blissful ignorance instead. I did not push the issue.

The next question asked what the student would want to ask Ms.Rice. I thought what is it like to be a tool of the administration but did not verbalize my thoughts. Ultimately, the boran2 boy came up with something uniquely childlike for his question, What are your parents names?

I chuckled to myself.