24 September 2014


I started this blog on September 24th 2005. That is just over 3700 posts ago. The intervening years have - in personal terms - alternated between the worst and the best of my life. And the blog, and especially you readers, has been helpful as I navigated all that. I have met many, many smart and kind people here virtually all virtually. I thank you all for dropping by. For the past year or so, however, I have found it increasingly difficult to devote time to this enterprise. So I have decided to stop altogether. I hope to keep writing about photography and politics elsewhere. But at the moment I'm on my way the store to pick up the moth balls.


17 September 2014

Rick Lowe - Project Row Houses (aka MacArthur Fellow, 2014)

Quite some time ago I posted here on a brilliant, inspiring public art project in Houston called Project Row Houses. The project is coordinated by a man named Rick Lowe who, today, was named a 2014 MacArthur Fellow.He is a member of a ridiculously impressive "class" of recipients. These fellowships typically go to immensely smart, dedicated people. But their real function, I think, is to remind us of the wonderfully rich intellectual and creative ecology here in the U.S.; that is a dimension of the society that we can easily overlook.

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15 September 2014

Local Event - UofR Roundtable Sponsired by Frederick Douglass Institute

This ought to be a provocative event! Highly recommended. More information here.

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Mark Your Calander

14 September 2014


This morning 3AM Magazine published this provocative assessment by philosopher Alex Rosenberg of Paul Krugman's views on .... well, economics.

Of late, economists have been worrying about capitalism, democracy and threats the former poses to the latter. You can read Robert Schiller 's concerns here, Joseph Stiglitz's here and Dani Rodrik's here. All at Project Syndicate.

On a lighter, but no less pointed, note The Yes Men have a new movie out you can find a review here.

Apparently, not all politicians are craven knuckleheads. As evidence for the seemingly preposterous claim,  here at The New Statesman is the text of a speech (on 'Freedom & the Left') that Lisa Nandy (Labour MP - Wigan) recently delivered.

Finally two recent pieces on jazz and its cultural resonance in the U.S.; neither is persuasive to me. But this is a hard subject to sort out .... first, this dire assessment at WaPo last weekend .... then this only modestly well-targeted reply at Jacobin.

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11 September 2014

40 Movies about photography every photographer should watch

You can find the list here.


08 September 2014

Coase, Reclining

Nerd alert: I have a post at The Monkey Cage, a bog of political science research (broadly construed) that is hosted by The Washington Post. You can find it here. It is only nominally about the recently newsworthy conflicts between recliners and reclined upon among passengers on domestic U.S. flights. It is really about the willful mis-use of social science research by libertarians. In this case, Josh Barro, writing in The New York Times, invoked "the Coase theorem" to rationalize his personal boorishness. He did so in ways that more or less completely distort what Coase actually claims. And his claim is just a small scale instance of the sort of boorish, venal policies that libertarians often promote.

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07 September 2014

Torture Images ... in Court

The punch line from this editorial at The New York Times last weekend regarding legal disputes over access to photos of personnel from the U.S. military (and, I suspect, our 'intelligence community') torturing detainees.
"Images of war are frequently appalling, and the safety of American citizens and soldiers is vitally important. But the greatest threat to that safety lies not in the photographs of horrific behavior; it lies in the fact of the behavior itself. The treatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was a shameful episode in U.S. history."

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06 September 2014

Markets, Copyright, Photography

As, I've noted here before, Vivian Maier's work is astonishing. And now it is being bound up in legal knots by a bunch of men who never met her. You can get details here at The New York Times. I suspect nothing good will come of this.

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Lies White Men Tell About Black Men Shot Dead by the Police

The Police Chief in Ferguson, Thomas Jackson, released to the press tapes of a supposed robbery that Michael Brown had allegedly perpetrated. Well the store owner didn't report any such event. And, it turns out, the Chief lied about having received FOI requests for the tape. No such requests are on record. Here is Chief Jackson:

 And then there is the campaign, started by Chicago Firefighter Kevin O'Grady, to convict Brown on social media for putatively attacking the officer who shot him dead. There is the picture of a man, allegedly officer Darren Wilson, in a hospital bed seemingly badly beaten. Well, the man is the picture is not Darren Wilson. And, of course, there are eye-witness accounts suggesting that Brown never attacked Wilson at all. Here is Mr. O'Grady:

And, of course, there is the line of distortion, pursued by conservative blogger Charles Johnson (no relation!), suggesting that Brown was a thug with a ongoing record of serious criminal behavior - except that is false too. Here is Charles Johnson:
Let's set aside the inconvenient fact that even if all the allegations leveled by Jackson, O'Grady and Johnson were true, none is a capital offense. A young black man is dead. Senselessly. And white men have mounted concerted efforts to speak ill of him. Could any of this be blatant racism?

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05 September 2014

Passings ~ Roger Mayne (1929-2014)

I missed this last spring, but The British Journal of Photography has noted the death of Roger Mayne.