Saturday, July 29, 2006

Audit Finds U.S. Hid Actual Cost of Iraq Projects - New York Times

you know, when we had bush come in as president with the whole "CEO" style, IIRC, it was a good thing. clear up some bureaucracy, make stuff happen. and his biggest single contributor, again IIRC, was Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay. Further, the company that supplied the plane that Bush used when he was flying to and fro Florida to steal the election: Enron. Who, and i'm pretty sure IRC here, took california and treated her the way Jack the Ripper liked to treat a whore.

And here we are, a few years and a few hundred thousand people killed later, and what do we get?

The State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in reconstruction money in Iraq used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning cost overruns on its projects there and knowingly withheld information on schedule delays from Congress, a federal audit released late Friday has found.

The agency hid construction overruns by listing them as overhead or administrative costs, according to the audit, written by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent office that reports to Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department.

Called the United States Agency for International Development, or A.I.D., the agency administers foreign aid projects around the world. It has been working in Iraq on reconstruction since shortly after the 2003 invasion.

The report by the inspector general’s office does not give a full accounting of all projects financed by the agency’s $1.4 billion budget, but cites several examples.

The findings appeared in an audit of a children’s hospital in Basra, but they referred to the wider reconstruction activities of the development agency in Iraq. American and Iraqi officials reported this week that the State Department planned to drop Bechtel, its contractor on that project, as signs of budget and scheduling problems began to surface.

The United States Embassy in Baghdad referred questions to the State Department in Washington, which declined to comment immediately.

it sounds so very "Chewbacca" or "Star Wars" or whatever the hell andy fastow was calling his latest scam.

kee-rist, they literally turned the damn country into enron. on every possible level.
YesButNoButYes: But what about the children.

very funny website, generally, very funny post. of course, she already did the "same thing to monkeys" and in fact bulfinch is releasing a book of jill's monkeys in september. hopefully a bestseller!

Friday, July 28, 2006

some kind notes for jill from around the universe:

Subject: Jill Greenberg - No, I'm not writing for blood, oh contraire...

I just wanted to write a note of support for Jill Greenberg, you and your gallery. Of course I should tell you that I am a vocalist and artist, so my viewpoint might be affected by this, but only slightly, as this just seems to be about basic common sense.

I did view the portraits on her website, and although I might not have made the children cry (ah, would that I had the idea!), I agree that no babies were harmed, maybe just irritated a bit. Ok, that might seem a bit exploitative, but the art that came out of it is beautiful, and just creates a different sense of mortality, vulnerability and immortality.

It's such a shame that San Francisco isn't (exactly) around the corner.

Wishing you both success and much more art.


Laurie Amat

I heard an article on KCBS about Jill Greenberg and the outrage that followed her photographs of toddlers. Please tell her that I personally thought her message was POWER-FULL!! Based on the fact that each child had a parent with them AND the parent consented to they way the photographs were taken, she brought a message that people really need to take attention to.

I am bookmarking your web site as I look forward to viewing more from the artist that you support and if I'm ever in the Southern California area, we would love to visit your gallery.

Janet Mercer

I don't think anything was done wrong... if anything... if taking a lollipop from a child makes them burst into flames of tears... I think the parents need to take a look at the emotions of their child.

I do try and take natural photos... but I've never gone for a pose of a child in complete tears...

what about all the kids that cry on Santa's lap and parents buy those photos and laugh at how devastated they are?

Just a bit of support from another photographer!

Let Jill know...

Barb Farley
Photolady & Friends Photography

Jill Greenberg's photo's are excellent...I love the crying babies...My most treasured photo is of my, now 24 yr. old grandaughter...crying...sitting on Santa's knee...And I knew she was going to cry...But I did not feel like I had abused her....It is fantastic...and she loves the picture too....

Thanks for the good work....

Patricia S. Thompson

Dear Jill,

Joe Allegro from New York here. Congratulations on the End Times photographs. I love them. I am sure you have received much negative attention because of them, which in a way is a good thing. More attention for you and your work.

I certainly would have not heard of you were it not for the controversy surrounding End Times. I can understand the emotion the photographs evoke, no one wants to see children in pain, even if it is for a moment. BUT, I feel your work has much deeper meaning and has much more potential to inspire, rather than agitate. The inspiration for me lies in not only wanting to ease the pain of the children in End Times, but the pain of children worldwide. Children affected by and dying daily because of war, hunger, disease, poverty, oppression and hopelessness. Combine all of these things with the effects of Global Warming, which we are now beginning to see, and the world we are leaving our children does not look too pretty.

I only hope that all of the folks that are so upset over your work would get as equally upset about the condition of humanity, the planet and our future. If they do, it just might help make a difference. As for myself, I am very involved with a grass roots campaign to establish a cabinet level Department of Peace, which would research, articulate and facilitate non-violent solutions both domestically and internationally. There are chapters in every state. So as not to inundate you with details, our national website is take a look if you have time.

Once again, thank you so much for having the courage and vision to create End Times. Your work has touched many. It is my hope it will also spur them into action to create a better world and future. Sorry for the long email. Be well.

Joe Allegro


I'm Karen, a young freelance theaterdirector from Belgium.
This morning when I opened the newspaper, I saw the pictures of Jill
Greenberg, End Times.
And the idea about the lolly and the incomparison with the politic situation
in the US.
I don't understand the people who give bad comment on her pictures.
They are very conservative.
I looked up your website and the website from Jill.
I didn't know her work.
Now I am. And that's nice!

Greetings and a lot of succes,
Karen Claes

I would like to congratulate Jill Greenberg and the gallery on the
exposition End Times.

I read (in 'De Morgen', a Belgian Newspaper) there was a lot of protest
about it from concerned people about the suffering of those children
when the pictures when taken.
This is good news. I assume those people who thing, taking away candy's
for just a secund, is child assault, are sympathetic towards children.

I'm sure those people would do everything to help all the real suffering
children in the world, homeless children, poor children, children that
have to work on, the children who can't get healthy water, who can't get
food to grow up well, children who lost their parents or homes because
of war, aids, etc .....

I'm sure the criticasters would spend a big amount of their monthly
wages on organizations that try tho help them, and would vote for the
right politic party, the one that doesn't create hate, war or a polluted
future and who wants to create a fair economy in the whole world for them.

Kind regards,
Ive Van Krunkelsven,


I'm a professor at USC and run a regular series of art and science events. I was very moved by photographs I saw in the LA Times, and would like to contact Jill Greenberg directly. We're doing a program on End Times in September, and I wondered if she'd like to say something about her photographs. The program includes an astrophysicist from Caltech, a religious scholar, and novelist Caroyn See.

If you could pass this one or get me an e mail, that would be great.

Many thanks,
KC Cole


Read the LA Times article on End Times, and I think it missed the
point. The real atrocity is the one Greenberg was trying to illuminate
- clarified for me even further by the idiocy of how this thing has
been received.

Good work and keep it up.

best regards,

Elizabeth Wendell

I can understand why Jill Greenberg might not want to advertise her email
address on her website, given the adverse reaction from some quarters to
"End Times," but please pass to her, from this photographer and father,
that I think her series is priceless and perfectly done. I have no problem
with the temporary distress inflected, given the timeless results. Hurrah!
for her!

Stephen Haynes

Just a note a support (please also forward to Jill Greenberg.)
I just saw an article about the children's portraits.
I was blown away by the pictures and when I found out she was the same artist that did the monkeys I was even more impressed. I thought the monkey portraits were one of the best photo books I have ever seen and I have seen a lot.
I am amazed that people are up in arms about taking a lollipop from a child for a minute and we are living in a country whose president tries to make torture legal.
Can you please put me on the mailing list for the gallery.
Gary Steinborn

I just saw a news report on Los Angeles channel 7 news about the outrage against Jill Greenbergs End Times photo gallery. It was said that she is a child abuser by some and it is unfortunate by others.

I immediately looked her up on the Internet, which led me to your gallery and found her work with End Times to not only be real, but wonderful and acceptable.I am the parent of a 16 year old boy and a 4 month old girl and occasionally they cry and that crying is a part of life and emotion. Without crying in any capacity and age of our lives, we have reduced emotion. Withour recording this emotion in others, we would have lost our understanding and sensitivity to crying in our babies and children. Please assure Jill receives a job well done from me and much success in her future photo projects.


Rick Mitchell

i think the belgian "they must all be conservative jerks" is my favorite. thank you, karen! and ive, don't worry, not only do they not really care about the issue of child abuse, the guy who started this whole thing makes money by having a picture of a crying child on his own website!
so jill was on some right-wing radio station in seattle yesterday, having a back and forth with some mouth-breathing fool who commented about jill's being an environmenalist: "so what, you aren't a capitalist?"

now, that this is an either/or is so risibly stupid it causes actual pain in my neck. but while jill talked about RFK Jr.'s book, where he discusses allowing regulation to walk hand-in-hand with capital, i see a different issue.

the issue at hand is one of measurement. and until we fix it, we are probably hopelessly lost. economics (and, for that matter, the more meta econometrics) is a "science" that studies amongst other things the nominal "value" of objects in society. how much do we pay for a barrel of oil? well, 78 dollars is what standard economics tell us it is "worth". an economist will argue that in fact this is just the "Free Hand of the Marketplace" at work, establishing value, and that all they are doing is providing tools to measure the transaction, but that is a load of crap on two levels.

1. oil isn't really 78 dollars a barrel. oil costs 78 dollars a barrel plus all the money that must be spent in the future to deal with the ramifications of the use of that oil in the present. this should be obvious to anyone with a high school education. yet we blithely, as a society, pretend that there is no measurable future cost so that we can keep living the dream here in the present. funny word that, measurable, because it leads to...
2. the measurements of trade, which are our financial instruments, created by or weighed up by the "science" of economics and econometrics. and of course neither of those disciplines are able to force measuring the actual cost of things into their price, nor does the consensus in either discipline really try (and yes, there are plenty of economists who will take a crack at it, but they are on the fringe and don't seem to have any impact) to make a public argument about it.

so. we continue to pretend that our trade exchanges are based on some accurate measure of utility plus market valuation plus government regulation and so on. and it's all bullshit. plain and simple. if you factored in the true cost to our world of products in the energy sector, taking into account let's say 50 years or so of forward-utility, you would find that without question wind-generated power was cheaper than oil by a factor of...well, by a lot. and you could more accurately measure the cost of ethanol (cheaper because we don't have to ship it from the middle east where we cause wars over oil, more expensive because of the pesticides and energy needed to grow corn etc.) accurately. and so on. and when we discovered just how unbelievably wrong we were about the cost of a barrel of oil, or of putting a new coal plant on-line, we'd move to an alternative. and maybe in so doing, we'd make the world a little less horrible for our children. as well, to stop relying on oil, we'd be doing a HUGE favor to the person on the street in the middle east, whose leaders wouldn't be able to steal all the resources and buy them off with sops. instead, those countries would be forced to generate new ways of thinking and doing business.

now, back to our regularly scheduled husbandry.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jill on MSNBC. Rita Cosby wants to know: was she involved in kidnapping white women? No? well, we have to move on, but Jill thanks so much for showing up.

followed by two lawyers. we like the woman better.

also, ABC News goes for the sensational. viewers nowhere are shocked.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

this banner ad was taken from thomas hawk's website this morning. i don't know much about crying, or children, or crying children, so help me out here: does that, or does that not, look like a wee one feeling bad?

cough hypocrite cough hmmm what? well, it's apparently not so bad to "abuse children" (ed. note, not an admission of anything, just the largest amount of sarcasm i could compress into two words) if you are getting paid to advertise.
new stuff today, update en espanol:

world of wonder

the guardian UK (like Charlatans UK, sort of)

and here is the gallery of photos blowing up international!

y, en espanol, hola de mis nuevos amigos! clarin!

thanks go out, as well, to the person who bought six of the children photos yesterday. you know who you are.

Inside Edition and ABC airdates for Jill interviews to come.

Air America 1150's Harrison on the Edge show tonight live at 1030 PM as well. jill will not be discussing her lighting secrets.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


*****************GREATEST UPDATE I WILL EVER GET TO HAVE BELOW!!!!!***************

on the day when my wife and i are in the eye of the media storm (appearances on ABC, CNN Int'l, Inside Edition, and Scarborough Country for Jill), some thoughts on how Swift-Boating has become divorced from partisanship and transmogrified into a technique for disseminating information about any perceived enemies.

it's a very effective technique, as my wife has found to her chagrin. and its carrier is the Mainstream Media, an (un?)witting accomplice in spreading slander and innuendo.

this guy started the ball rolling. he quite reasonably had a strong opinion (and a strongly negative one) about jill's photos of crying children. the photos are provocative, and intentionally so, so much so that no one should be surprised that they elicited angry responses. as they are polemical as well, those responses could well have been on the level of either aestechics or politics (i've gone back and forth in my own head as to whether the photos' titles are too "on the nose" in their politics, but ultimately i think their lack of subtlety is appropriate to the times in which we live). the guy above did neither. he reacted, quite literally, as if jill had committed a crime, not just any crime, but child abuse.

it's a serious accusation. one would think that before making such an accusation, a rational person would in fact try to ascertain if indeed such abuse took place. as there were many people at the shoot (assistants, models' parents, agency reps etc.) and as they were all findable relatively easily, there was no need to make any such accusation without doing so. and the guy above did not. he just shot off at the mouth without thinking, and became his own worst enemy (he claims a left-wing mentality that is not apparent from his behavior).

here comes the swift boat part. as we all remember, the SBVFT were able to promulgate a series of lies about John Kerry through the intelligent use of the internet and of the mainstream media. essentially, what they did: they used a website to say all kinds of things about John Kerry's Vietnam service, in order to make him look like a coward rather than a hero. after their claims were put on-line, the MSM was able to report on "controversy surrounding john kerry's vietnam record" without having to actually find out if the underlying fact claims were valid. as superbly detailed by the daily howler, it took 2 months before any serious journalist actually dug into the claims made by SBVFT--that didn't stop cable news, the big papers, and everyone else from talking about it--and by that time, the charges (false though they were) had stuck. kerry was S.O.L.

all of this brings me to yesterday's LA Times article by Steven Anthony-Barrie. This is the first (and only) piece of journalism that has been done on Jill's work where the reporter actually...reported. he called parents involved in the shoot, the model agency, jill, and so on. this is how reporting works--two sources for every fact claim, that kind of thing. and the article, to my mind, is eminently fair and accurate.

which in turn brings me to the prior reporting from both "American Photo" Magazine and the New York Times (and, to a lesser extent, the Sydney Morning Herald). these papers merely "reported the controversy" without doing anything to find the underlying truths. they are and were, therefore, nothing better than gossip spreading half-assed articles written by lazy people with no ethics. harsh words, i know, but i believe strongly that the MSM is getting ever and ever worse about this. i blame various people, but really Drudge should shoulder the most blame. he says some bullshit, and that makes it ok to discuss in the MSM without verifying his claims.

well, i expect a farrago of insane comments (previous commenters from both that guy's site and from boingboing have said that amongst other things "you and your wife should have aborted your children" "you are nazis" and so on. those are the middle-lights--there are some higher!) as we are dealing with people who think nothing of leaving vicious comments on the guest books of children's websites. as this happened on both our children's sites, we have now had to password protect them. sad. pathetic. without question, the quality of commenter from boingboing in particular is extraordinarily low--all personal invective and no thoughtful anything. i guess that is what pseudo-techno-libertarianism will get you.

you can hear jill talk about the work here: as well, you can hear her talk about the work today on MSNBC/ABC and a few other TV places. maybe. we'll see.

comments are being heavily moderated--if you are enraged by the voices in your head, your comment will be deleted. if you think jill is a terrible photographer who doesn't know how to focus a camera, your comment will be allowed to stand.


Jill will be on MSNBC live with Rita Cosby filling in for Joe Scarborough WEDNESDAY at 615ish Pacific time.

***********GREATEST UPDATE OF ALL TIME**************************

the bullying creep who started all this, Andrew Peterson, has on his "Thomas Hawk's DIgital Connection" blog an ad that is running. that ad: a old man's face morphing into the face of a....wait for it...

wait some more...

oh hell, it's the face of a crying child.

LOLOMG11110000111010))!11111 pwned

what a loser. a hypocrite. and a wanker. i'm laughing so hard i'm crying. thanks to the reader of his blog who sent me this, as that person wishes to remain anonymous. after all, you can imagine what crap that person would have to put up with.

apparently, his ads rotate, so this one is not up today. but what a thing. it's not really surprising, is it? i mean, if you really cared about the poor abused children, wouldn't you actually do something more than leave a pseudonymonious blog posting? how, exactly, were we supposed to believe he ever cared about anything other than his career?