Is Iran next?


We've all heard the beat of the war drum against Iran. Does the resignation of Admiral William Fallon, the US military commander for the Middle East, a staunch opponent of war in Iran (did you get that? He's a military commander and he's against war in Iran), mean Bush is one step closer to getting what he wants?


This is an interesting article on Al Jazeera with a couple of perspectives on why he retired. Be sure to read the interview in the sidebar from September 2007.


Nuclear Power and Obama


I read a very interesting article in this month's GQ magazine on nuclear power, titled Meltdown, by Wil S. Hylton (GQ March 2008, p 306, and online here). I found it so interesting and enlightening that I immediately logged on to www.barackobama.com to see what Obama's position was on the issue. It was mostly encouraging but buried deep (I had to download a PDF of his energy plan to find the information I wanted), so I interpret that to mean it's not high enough priority to put on his Energy & Environment page.


I encourage you to read the article, and read his position on it in the PDF (just search for nuclear). And if you feel strongly about it, write him a letter. I did.



NUCLEAR POWER



I recently read a very interesting article on Nuclear Power and its state in our country in the March 2008 issue of GQ: Meltdown, by Wil S. Hylton, p304. If Senator Obama has not yet read the article himself, I strongly encourage him to do so.



I will preface this letter by saying that virtually the entirety of my "knowledge" of nuclear power comes from this one article, but it was a compelling enough article to get me to write.



This article discusses the fear around nuclear power, but compares it to the reality of its safety, including the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents. It compares the cleanliness of nuclear power (zero carbon footprint) to coal and oil. It compares our general mistrust of nuclear power, along with that of most other nations, to those who continue to use (and profit greatly) from it, such as France and the United Kingdom (France profits $4B per year from sold nuclear energy). It goes on to discuss storage of waste, and what it deems "waste", or spent uranium which can be easily converted (extracted) into plutonium and put back to work as additional fuel - but is inexplicably illegal in this country (even though the UK actually cleans spent uranium from other countries and profits from it). And of course it discusses Yucca Mountain, the heavily disputed but most viable solution for long-term nuclear waste storage.



After reading this article I immediately logged onto barackobama.com to see what Obama's stand on this issue was. I had to dig into the Energy Plan to find what I was looking for, but I was encouraged to read that he is a supporter of nuclear power and believes that it has a great future, albeit with some important issues to address. Unfortunately I also read that "Barack Obama believes that Yucca Mountain is not an option". From what I've read in this article, there seems to be NO other option even close to the viability of Yucca Mountain, and it seems that before nuclear energy can be put back on the table for voters to support and get behind, a solution to the storage needs to be solved quickly. And Yucca Mountain appears to be that solution.



Between changing the law so that plutonium can be extracted from spent uranium, virtually turning all of our waste into fuel, and only then storing the true waste in Yucca Mountain, we have the solution to power staring us in the face.



We can radically reduce our dependency on foreign oil, reduce our carbon emissions massively, and lower energy costs. When Obama is president, he could well be the man to get our nation behind nuclear energy again and make up for nearly 30 years of lost time.




Sincerely,

a supporter and donator,

-Joseph Linaschke

Obama v Clinton v Clinton v Obama


I just read this article on CNN.com about tonights debate in South Carolina between the Dem's. I'll say, first off, that while I know far, far less about the candidates, the election, and politics as a whole than I care to admit, I also know that I'm more aware and involved than a massively disproportionate percentage of our population. Frankly it's pure shite how little we as Americans know. And that's the problem isn't it… the politicians know that. They know that the American public bases their voting decisions off 30-second sound-bites from the Great Big TV in their Living Room. So all they really have to do to win over said public is throw enough mud at their opponent to stick to the minds of the viewers. Mission accomplished (*ahem*). "He smoked pot! + I didn't inhale"… "He voted for the war! + I was lied to!". And on and on and on.


I support Obama. Not because he's black. Not because he's male. But because he's the first politician in a long time that isn't feeding me sound-bites. And he says things that are realistic, not just what I want to hear. You know who I keep hearing him referred to? Kennedy. A bit before my time, but from what I know, I liked that man. I'd like to support Hilary. I have no problem with the idea of a woman for president. What I have a problem (well OK I have many) with her is that she's trying to act like a man. But more importantly, that she's slinging mud. Lots of mud. Stupid mud. Bad mud. Hell it's not even mud. It's dirty water.



Here's a quote from the article linked above. Hilary, in reference to Obama's position on the Iraq war, said "It was more about the distinction between words and action. And I think that is a fair assessment for voters to make". This is slinging dirty water. In other words, give me a fucking break. Hilary, you bitch, you know Obama opposes the war. And you also know that he voted for it. And you also know, and I know you know because I know, and I don't have an army of political advisers and researchers behind me, that Obama voted for the war only when he was under the impression (because of our so-called intelligence) that Iraq had WMD's. He believed the intelligence. Why shouldn't he? Our idiot president said he believed the intelligence, and something tells me that the man in the highest power position on the planet has access to a wee bit more information than a senator for Illinois. So when Barack says he believed the misinformation, and therefore voted for the war, I don't begrudge him that. But now that he has the information, he wants that war to come to an end. And you Hilary? Everything I've read says you keep voting for this little Vietnam because you want to prove you have the cojones to go to war. Here's a thought… stop acting a like a man and give me a reason to vote for you for fuck sake.


All three candidates are quoting in reference to getting troops out of Iraq and/or ending the war. Their comments, as referenced on the above-linked CNN.com article, are:



Hilary said: "I'm looking to bring our troops home, starting within 60 days of my becoming president"



Edwards said within his first year as president he would have all combat troops out of Iraq and there would be no permanent military bases in Iraq.



Obama said: "I want to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in, but I want to make sure that we get all of our combat troops out as quickly as we can safely."



So Hilary is saying that she'll start bringing troops home within 60 days. Sounds nice doesn't it? Guess what, troops have been coming home pretty much since we started sending them (sadly some in body bags, but I digress). Thing is, we keep sending more out. So what she's saying is absolutely nothing of interest. Next!


Edwards said he'll have ALL combat troops out of Iraq within ONE year of him being in office, with no permanent bases. Wow. Really? Come on. Seriously!? How can you do that? We're nearly five years into this war, by the time you would take office it would be nearly six, and you realistically think you can have all our troops out within a year? Right. And in high school, I heard a candidate for office promise to put coke in the water fountains (Coka-Cola… it was the '80's but not that '80's!). That's ridiculous. I can't move out of one house and settle into another in 12 months. You want to move 200,000 people with guns out of that country in a year and don't expect a problem? Do you know what happens when you pull a knife out of a body and don't patch it up? The body bleeds to death. That's what we are. A knife in the body of a country with far more history and complications than our oldest soul has, and if you yank that knife out you're gonna really, really fuck things up over there. I wish it were that easy. But I'm afraid it just isn't. It's a stupid, stupid thing to say. I'm sorry, Mr. Next President, that you have a mess to clean up. But you do. A big one. And you can't just pull out and walk away. Pulling out never works. Just ask any pregnant teenage girl.


Mr. Obama. The voice of reason. He says, and I'll quote it again because I've been rambling for some time now, that "I want to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in, but I want to make sure that we get all of our combat troops out as quickly as we can safely". You know, that is reasonable. Sure it's non-committal. How the fuck can he commit to anything; he's not in office yet, and he doesn't have access to the "intelligence" that our Commander in Chief does. He's saying he'll do the right thing. He's saying he'll do his best. And he's saying that there is no easy answer, because if there was, even W would have figured it out and done it by now. See that's the kind of honest I can get behind. A man who says, "look man, I don't have all the answers… but I know this war sucks, and I know you don't want it to go on any longer than it has to, and I'm gonna do my best to get our kids home". And when it comes to the economy, or health-care, or [insert topic here], he has a realistic view on it.


Here's one I heard from one of his earlier podcasts, back when I was trying to decide who to support. He started talking about religion. Now, that's a touchy subject for me. Religion, spirituality, God and god, all have special interest for me because I've seen a lot of it. I've seen what it can do, what it can't do, how it can hurt and how it can heal. So here's my opinion on the topic. Ready? Keep it to your fuck self. Really. It's a private thing. I don't care if you want to worship the flying spaghetti monster. I really don't. In this country, we have this little thing called the separation of church and state. It's an amendment. The first one. Or something. Anyway, point is, not only do I not give a shit, it's the law. That I don't give a shit. So believe whatever you want to believe, but don't knock on my door preaching it. Or at least if you do, have the courtesy to go away when I ask you to.


So here's what I got out of his podcast. He started talking about religion. I turned up the iPod. Because I really, really didn't want to hear that this dude that so far, I really liked, was about to tell me what to think. He started to talk about how he's a Christian. He talked about his beliefs. He talked about his passion. And… he talked about privacy. How religion, or belief, is a personal, private thing. And I thought, "damn… now this is a man who gets it". A man for the modern age, who understands that while we all look at the world in different ways, for the most part we want the same thing. Love. Happiness. A good job that we enjoy. Enough economic freedom to not have to worry. The ability to see and experience the world, try a few new things, and have a little fun along the way. And to NOT have to worry that some fuckwit in office is going to screw it all up for me, and that I won't have to say to people in foreign countries, "American? Me? No, I'm Canadian… eh?"





Barack Obama in San Francisco


Barack Obama spoke at the Billy Graham Civic Auditorium last night on November 14, 2007. After nearly three hours in line outside, I got in and pushed my way near the front on the floor. People tend to get out the way of a big lens.


I was able to move around a bit, but not without some resistance. Oh well, all in the name of getting an image.


These are all shot on the Canon 5D, 70-200 f/4.0 lens. It was fun to shoot the president. Wait that came out wrong… it was fun to photograph the next president! (I actually was talking to a photographer who does follow the current president and photographs him regularly, and asked him how the secret service thinks of that term, because of course photographers always "shoot" things. He chuckled and said they get used to it).













Nangpa La Pass International Day of Action



Yesterday I volunteered to photograph the International Day of Action at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco for various organizations as they protested the killing and detaining of Tibetans following the Nanpa La pass incident. I have posted a selects gallery and a complete gallery for the organizations to use. I've also posted my favorites on www.josephlinaschke.com For more information on the incident, please visit http://www.sftyc.org/nangpa