Saturday, December 27, 2008

Life Goes On

A few things have been on my mind a lot lately.

The first is the somewhat suspicious death of Mike Connell. Connell was the technical guru for Karl Rove, and as such ran Bush's online operations during the 2004 elections. He provided the same service for John McCain this election season.

The day before the election, November 3rd 2008, Connell was removed from his position as the administrator of a Ohio website responsible for providing live election results. This is part of a ongoing court case first brought against Connell in August 2006, which alleges racially based vote tampering, and voter fraud.

The case was brought by Clifford Arnebeck and Robert Fitrakis, two Ohio attourneys who have testified that Connell funnelled electronic voting data through private servers before they were processed. The servers belonged to SmarTech Inc., a Tennessee IT company that has done more than $5 million in business with the republican party, including hosting the 2004 Bush/Cheney website, and is listed as donating between $2,500 and $2 million to the New York City Host Committee, which organized the republican national convention in 2004.

What is very interesting here is that the whistleblower in the case in a man named Steven Spoonamore, a computer security expert who happens to be a very conservative republican. Spoonamore, who has worked with many large banks and credit card companies, says that anytime sensitive data goes through a private computer, it almost certainly means fraud has been perpetrated.

Connell also created the private White House email accounts that were used to discuss that illegal, politically motivated hiring and firing of US District attorneys under former attorney general Alberto Gonzalez.

This is where it gets crazy. In a letter dated July 24th, 2008, Arnebeck sent a letter to US Attonrney General Mike Mukasey, stating that "a source we believe to be credible" informed him that Karl Rove threatened Connell's wife, a washington lobbyist, with prosecution for lobbying violations unless Connell agreed to "take the fall."

The text of that letter is availible here:

On the 19th of December, 8 days ago, Connell died in a plane crash. The Velvet Revolution, a non-profit voter protection group, stated following Connell's death that he had recently said he was afraid George Bush and Dick Cheney would "throw [him] under the bus."

This is a quote from Mike Crispin Miller, proffessor of media culture and communication at New York University, from his interview on Democracy Now (link below).

[Miller] "Well, I cannot assert with perfect confidence that this was no accident, but I will say that the circumstances are so suspicious and so convenient for Rove and the White House that I think we’re obliged to investigate this thing very, very thoroughly. And that means, first of all, taking a close look at some of the stories that were immediately circulated to account for what happened, that it was bad weather.
That was the line they used when Wellstone’s plane went down. There had been bad weather, but it had passed two hours before. And this comes from a woman at the airport information desk in Akron. We’re told that his plane was running out of gas, which is a little bit odd for a highly experienced pilot like Connell, but apparently, when the plane went down, there was an explosion, a fireball that actually charred and pocked some of the house fronts in the neighborhood. People can go online and see the footage that news crews took. But beyond the, you know, dubiousness of the official story, we have to take a close look at—and a serious look at all the charges that Connell was set to make."

This whole thing stinks.
Read about some other suspicious deaths, like Karen Silkwood, a union activist, and Paul Wellstone, the senator from Minnesota.

Sources and Additional Reading:
The BRAD BLOG : BREAKING: Federal Judge Compels GOP IT Guru Mike Connell To Give Deposition in Ohio '04 Election Case

Democracy Now! | Republican IT Specialist Dies in Plane Crash

Washblog || Michael Connell, Rove's IT Consultant, Dies In Plane Crash

SMARTech Corporation - SourceWatch

This has been my break! So relaxing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


This month has been quite eventful. First, I finished up with class at Western, and moved out of my house up there for good. That was a bit of a strange experience. I had settled in more than I realized, and it was a bit sad to go.

I stuck around a few extra days to take part in a parkour related training. This fellow Erwan Le Corre, the founder of MOVNAT, came from France to put on this workshop. MOVNAT is a retooling of le methode naturelle, one of the precursors of parkour.

This is an explanation of the MOVNAT way from Rafe Kelley's Blog, Natural Athletics.
"MOVNAT (MOUVEMENT NATUREL/MOVE NATURAL/MOVEMENT IN NATURE) MOVNAT is an outdoor functional training method designed to develop, maintain or restore the full range of the natural human movement capacities such as walking, running, jumping, climbing, moving on all fours, balancing, lifting, carrying, throwing, catching, swimming and defending.

Through practice, fundamental physical qualities such as speed, strength, endurance, coordination and flexibility are developed.

Training also necessitates and promotes the growth of essential mental and moral qualities such as, self-control, courage, will, focus, alertness, and respectfulness, solidarity, cooperation, and reciprocal altruism.

Last, just as MOVNAT promotes the return of the bodies natural physical capacities so it encourages respect and concern for nature. We train to be able to move naturally, we train in nature, and we train to connect ourselves with the natural world and to care for it."

Here is a short video of Erwan training MOVNAT in Corsica:

It was so much fun, I have started to change the way that I move after this class. I am planning on doing a lot of barefoot running over the summer, today was actually the first day. I went two miles or so with my dad through Seward Park and then went for a nice refreshing swim.

This is my favorite picture so far from the training, although I have only developed half of them. There was a children's session in the morning, and I snapped this:

A Wrinkle in Time

It looks a lot better in my opinion if you View Large On Black

Since then I have been settling back into Seattle. The Fremont fair was this weekend, I should have some pictures from that on flickr soon. Tim left for Spain for two months, he is going to teach english and photography. It has been great to see my friends. Possibly bread making with theo and abby tomorrow, and arayas with siena, brendan, and ab sometime? Oh, I started the Greenpeace job as well. It makes me feel good. Blah, I'm about to pass out and I've got to put the clean sheets on my bed. night!

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Emerging Police State

We all worried when the Patriot Act came into action, Habeus Corpus was suspended, and prisoners were held for years with no charge and no legal representation. Now DCist reports that the DCPD, in response to rising violence in the city, is creating Checkpoints at the entrance to the worst neighborhoods, where all people are stopped, questioned, and arrested if they don't comply.

The scoop is here:

An incredible video:

This climber Alain Robert climbed the New York Times building, all 52 stories of it, with no rope yesterday to bring attention to global climate change. This is his website:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Slate grey mornings and spots of blue peppering the sky in the evening

Things that I am excited about:
Aquaponics; combining fish farming and hydroponics to remove the barriers to each while increasing productivity.

Vibram Fivefingers: This will be my next shoe purchase.

The Phoenix Lander on mars.

"In this sweeping view, the 10 kilometer-wide crater Heimdall lies on the north polar plains of Mars. But the bright spot highlighted in the inset is the Phoenix lander parachuting toward the surface. The amazing picture was captured on May 25th by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Though the lander looks like it might be dropping straight into Heimdall, it is really descending about 20 kilometers in front of the crater, in the foreground of the scene. The orbiter was 760 kilometers away from Phoenix when picture was taken, at an altitude of 310 kilometers. Subsequently the orbiter's camera was also able to image the lander on the surface. The parachute attached to the backshell and the heat shield were identified in the image, scattered nearby. Of course, the Phoenix lander itself is now returning much closer views of its landing site as it prepares to dig into the Martian surface." from Astronomy Picture of the Day and NASA.

Mom and Meg on Kauai:

Zola and Tippie:

Saturday, May 24, 2008


This is just a brief update, a few things on my mind lately.

Firstly, this article explains how the military has concealed the magnitude of suicides among active duty soldiers and veterans since 2001. They found that up to 15,000 soldiers (not a typo) have killed themselves in the past 7 years.

Second, this article explains that between 25% and 33% of the world's wildlife has died since 1970, the greatest period of extinction in millions of years. Worst hit are marine species.

Lastly, here is a shot of my dad, taken on our recent Kauai trip. I like this one.
Hello father

Monday, May 12, 2008

It all comes together...

Its very easy to be pessimistic about the state of the world these days. Its easy to unload the problem on other people, and blame the Chinese, the rich, or the neighbor for the environmental crisis. But the fact is, every one of us is contributing to the problem, to some degree or another. It is supposed to be the job of the government to mobilize the people from all walks of life to take action, and thats why I am so excited about this guy.

On a bad side note, the oceans are being rapidly depleted of fish, and destructive techniques used in modern industrial fishing are ripping entire ecosystems to shreds.
This article details the problem, and this article tells you how to help.
If the current fishing practices continue, the world's major fish populations will be extinct within 40 years.

To quote Mother Teresa, from an interview with Time Magazine:

Q: Is materialism in the West an equally serious problem?

A: I don't know. I have so many things to think about. Take our congregation: we have very little, so we have nothing to be preoccupied with. The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. But the less you have, the more free you are. Poverty for us is a freedom. It is not a mortification, a penance. It is joyful freedom. There is no television here, no this, no that. This is the only fan in the whole house. It doesn't matter how hot it is, and it is for the guests. But we are perfectly happy.

Q: How do you find rich people then?

A: I find the rich much poorer. Sometimes they are more lonely inside. They are never satisfied. They always need something more. I don't say all of them are like that. Everybody is not the same. I find that poverty hard to remove. The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.

And a few of the latest photographs.

seen at WWU.

Whatcom Falls, Bellingham
seen at Whatcom Falls Park.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I am taking a class this quarter on Religions of China and Japan. Its a pretty good class, and we are currently studying Buddhism, which is quite interesting. My teacher made an offhand comment today that caught my attention; he said that Monasteries and Churches were essentially the first corporation. That is, no one person held control of the property of the corporation, but it rather belonged to "the Church" as a rather amorphous entity, and the dominant institution of that age.

For anyone who has not heard of it, you should check out a movie called "The Corporation" (link). It is a documentary which psychoanalyzes the corporation as a human being, which it is under the law. The conclusion that is reached is that the corporation is a psychopath, an entity which is incapable of self-recrimination, and is by definition a blame-mitigating device.

This has some interesting parallels to organized religion... what do you think?

Uncurling for spring

Sunday, May 04, 2008


It is here. There are telltale signs everywhere, for those that care to see. The canada geese hatch their young, and are leading them out on longer and longer forays. The snow peas in the earth outside unfurl and even now climb to the sky, hungrily. In the north, chalk floats in the air among the rocks as the climbers dust off their bodies. Dandelions bloom in their tens of millions, yellow strokes across yards and parks. Vitamin-D deficient people emerge from their homes, squinting up at the sky.

Time passes so quickly. It was my twentieth birthday on Thursday. Unfortunately, I was caught in the depths of a phlegm-filled sinus, from which I just emerged. Today was quite nice, I went for a refreshing two hour kayak on Lake Whatcom, which borders Bellingham to the east. I made the first spring pilgrimage to the world-class climbing destination of Squamish, B.C., about an hour and half north of here, just last weekend. It felt great to stretch the muscles a bit, and to feel some solid, unyielding granite again. I've got a busy schedule coming up; hiking this weekend, kayaking the next, and then Otis is visiting May 22-25th. The lucky guy has no class Thursday or Friday...

Meanwhile, I pray for Obama on a daily basis. Lets just hope that Hillary's business-as-usual politics doom her as they should, and that Obama lives up to some of the hype.

The latest out of the lens: I have a backup of about 6 rolls of film that I am too poor to get scanned, mostly from Kauai but a few random rolls as well. The advantages of digital... I hope to get a place next year with a space for a darkroom.
Old Main
Old Main, the original building of WWU.
These guys are sprouting up everywhere.
These too.
Vancouver Skyline
The Vancouver skyline, on the way to Squamish.
Baba Hari Das
My new friend Brian took this one, that is me on top. Not to be confused with Bryan, the climber who I went to Garfield with.
This is Art climbing, a firefighter in Kirkland and a cool guy. Bryan is the hatted one on the right, and Daniel is spotting left.

Monday, April 07, 2008

More Kauai...

Jurassic Park
They filmed Jurassic Park on this island.

Tree Fern
A cool fern.

Valley of Mist
This valley is on the north side of the island.

Taro Fields
Taro Fields.

New Friend
Tippie the dog.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Kauai et alii

Hello everyone! I am sitting at my kitchen table back in Bellingham. I spent the spring break in Kauai with my family, which was a wonderful vacation. We stayed in a little gilligans island style cabin on the northeast coast, and it was beautiful. Here is some evidence.

Monk Seal Response Team
The Hawaiian Monk Seal is super endangered, there are only about 35 left in the main Hawaiian Chain.

Anahola Bay
My aunt Sydney, uncle Rhoul, and cousin Zola were on Kauai at the same time, and it was great to hang out with them. Our cabin was abut 20 yards from this beach.

Humpback Breaching
I got out of the shower one morning and this was the first thing I saw.

The Godfather, pt. V
This was breakfast on our porch.

Rollei Automat 111
This is my grandpa's camera made in 1938. It works great, I just finished my first roll on it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Free Tibet.

Since 1951, the Chinese occupying forces have killed 1.2 million Tibetans.
Recent protests have been covered a bit by western news outlets, but this is what you don't see. The dead. Why is this not recognized around the world as a genocide?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


The quarter is over, I leave for Kauaii in 5 days.


Thursday, February 28, 2008


Finally a real ecological footprint calculator that asks realistic questions.
Check it out, you may be surprised by what you read.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Make sure to remember

The Cost of a Lapse in Concentration

"A strong mind is essential in Parkour and provides the foundation for the rest of our armour. Our ability to move is dependant on the ability of our minds to tell our bodies what we want to do... and what we can do.

The latter is something that we need to teach ourselves. Only with time and experience will the mind learn what its body is capable of and with practice it will allow its body to do so without interfering with doubt and worry."
- Blane

even though I seek perfection, I wear my scars with pride.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Don't live in fear

Super tuesday! I can only pray for some obama love, hillary frightens me a bit... she seems lacking in foresight and caution, not to mention humility and wisdom. I'm feeling a bit sick, there is a bout of coughing circling western these past few days. Hope everyone is well.


Where is the other limb?

Sunday, January 27, 2008


It snowed today a bit, only the second time in two weeks.

Siena, Rachel, and Joseph came up from Seattle for the weekend, it was great to see them. Siena is about to leave for Central America!

Hope all is well.


Monday, January 21, 2008

08' live

Hello there, its Max again. Welcome to my blog.
Perhaps you ask yourself, what has Max been doing up there in the bellingham? Well, I have been splitting my time recently between homework, listening to strange hip-hop instrumentals, reading crazy fantasy novels, taking photos here and there, watching and playing basketball (first inter mural game is Wednesday!), cooking, climbing, and bit of parkour here and there.

All of my roommates are out of town this weekend, the house has been eerily quiet. I like having solitude though, at least periods of it. I went to party a little earlier. I have gotten into the habit of biking more at night now than in the day, because the buses run during the day. Today was freezing, about 28 degrees before the 20mph winds are added on. It was beautiful by 11pm and I was biking to the party, clear skies, still air, bright stars, and nearly full moon flanking me. By the time I headed home about 2 hours ago, the wind had picked up again, and it was fully below 20 degrees. I had a stiff headwind in my face as I made my slow way home, bundled warmly, but nose numb. All the puddles had the undulating freezing patterns twisting across them, like little mirrors reflecting the moon back a thousand fold. Much better than sitting in a car for a few minutes. Especially once I step inside, make a snack, and read before bed.

I am a possessor of many habits.


Building a snow cave on mt baker with ko and cameron.

Columbia and Mountain

On the way home from mazama.


Parents )

An Open Book

Evidence of a skier.

Snow Falls

Scrabble face, slow flakes.

The Hustle

Bama, card hustler.

Cole's Breakfast

Post Basketball tournament, a diner in Arlington.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Blusterous Day (and a newspaper article)

Its a blusterous day
gust, raindrop
grey clouds loom like sullen fortresses
tears as arrows
peppering the footsoldiers
for the bus

The calvary charge by
close enough to reach out and touch
armor clad beasts
we shy away from
rubber-shod hooves

Ping! Ping!
the barrage continues
unabating as we are whisked to the hilltop
I watch the faces as
they board and depart, looking
bored, tired

A rare smile like the sunrise
thickly cloaked in a shroud of mist
a beam cuts through
and paints a confused rainbow on the face
of the girl across the aisle

Check out this article in the Western Student paper. Its got photos by Otis and Veronica, and I am quoted a bit. Its on page 8.