Sunday, October 24, 2010

Marking the End of Buddhist Lent

The start of the rainy season in Thailand also marks the start of the monks’ rain retreat or the start of what’s popularly known as “Buddhist Lent.” It’s a three month period when the monks stay on their temple grounds meditating and praying. The monks don’t leave the temple in the mornings to make their rounds, instead the people bring food, candles (to harken back to time before temples had electricity and to provide spiritual illumination) and daily necessities to the temple. 
Ok Phansa Day marks the end of Buddhist Lent and falls on the full moon of the eleventh lunar month - Oct 23 in 2010. In Thailand, the day is marked by thousands of people visiting temples and making vast donations to the monks. 
At Wat Pa in Chandler, about 100 people, Thais and Westerners, brought rice and Thai delicacies to the monks, who led the people in chants and prayers. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Looking for a Leader

Several hundred Tea Partiers gathered at the Arizona capitol in Phoenix today to greet the Tea Party Express and demand lower taxes, reduced government spending, the repeal of health care reform (but don’t touch government provided medicare) and the end of “Big Government,” however that is defined. 
The “surprise” speaker was Sarah Palin, who quit as the governor of Alaska halfway through her first term. She was toting Trig, her youngest son. The Tea Partiers talked a lot about the gains they’re expecting in the national election, from Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell in Delaware, to Sharron “the second amendment remedy” Angle, in Nevada, to Joe “unemployment is unconstitutional but I’ll take some” Miller in Alaska the next Senate could have some interesting characters making laws for our nation. 
Most of the speakers blasted the “Lamestream Media” for being in the tank for President Obama, but only one radio reporter had the temerity to ask Palin a serious question when he asked her if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s decision to curtail ACCCHS for patients on transplant lists was at all like using Death Panels. Palin refused to answer the question. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Remembering Daniel

A woman holds up a candle during a candlelight vigil and protest at the Phoenix police department this evening. 
A week ago Daniel Rodriguez got into an argument with his mother at their trailer home in Phoenix. His mom called 911 and the Phoenix police department dispatched two officers. 
According to court documents and an account in the New Times, Rodriguez, who was unarmed, struggled with the officers. When Rodriguez objected to the officers’ presence in his trailer, one of them, Robert Chrisman, allegedly held a gun to Rodriguez’ head and said, “I don’t need no warrant motherf@@*er.” Rodriguez struggled with the officers, Chrisman used a Taser on him, which put Rodriguez on the floor of the trailer. When Rodriguez got up, Chrisman pepper sprayed him in the face. Then Chrisman apparently turned and shot Rodriguez dog, which had been barking but not attacking or biting, which angered Rodriguez. 
The second officer tried to calm the situation and Rodriguez tried to leave on his bicycle but Rodriguez and Chrisman continued to argue. Chrisman then allegedly shot Rodriguez “three or four times” from about three feet away. Chrisman has been arrested on felony assault charges. 
The Latino community is incensed by Chrisman’s actions. They want the officer charged with murder. They are holding nightly vigils and protests at the Phoenix police headquarters. Monday night about 300 people attended the protest. 
There are more photos of the protest in my archive and available from ZUMA Press.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dancing for the Virgin

The Phoenix Catholic Diocese marked today as the Day of the Rosary with a large prayer service downtown. The celebration started with a procession to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Queen of the Americas. The procession went from Immaculate Heart Church to the Convention Center. About 500 people participated in the procession.  
There are many photos of events honoring the Virgin in my archive. More photos from today’s procession are available from ZUMA Press

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's All About the Kids

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (center) walks around the parking lot at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix Monday morning accompanied by a bunch of kids and hospital staff. Their short saunter was to mark Brewer’s declaration that October 4 would be Arizona Child Health Day.  
Brewer became Arizona’s governor in 2009 when President Obama asked then Governor Janet Napolitano to be his Secretary of Homeland Security and is running for governor in her own right. Napolitano is a Democrat, Brewer a Republican. Napolitano stood up to some of the extremists in Arizona’s GOP controlled state legislature. Brewer has not (she signed SB 1070). When Arizona’s budget hit the crisis stage, Brewer looked for cuts everywhere and settled on some social programs, like All Day Kindergarten, and KidsCare, the state’s popular health insurance program for uninsured and under insured children
The irony was not lost on the reporters at the event. Their first question for the Governor was about the irony of hosting a children’s health event while curtailing children’s health insurance. Brewer didn’t have an answer for the question, instead choosing to criticize her opponent for politicizing children’s health insurance. Another irony considering Brewer has staked part of her campaign on politicizing and opposing President Obama’s health care plan. 
There are more photos from the event available in my archive or from ZUMA Press.  

Friday, October 1, 2010

Let's Get Small

There was a time, back when men were men* and photojournalists used film that transmitting on deadline was a major production. 
Back in the day, I used to travel with a footlocker of gear that contained an entire traditional wet darkroom, from film processing reels and tanks to an enlarger, and an AP transmitter, which was about the size of a portable typewriter and took 24 minutes to send one color photo over landlines. 
The digital revolution made all that obsolete. (I sometimes miss the days of using film. I never miss the days of turning my hotel bathroom into a functioning darkroom. The enlarger always went on the toilet, which meant the toilet couldn’t be used as, you know, a toilet.) 
Now a traveling photojournalist works off of a MacBook Pro and wifi (or a cellular aircard) and you transmit from where ever you are. But there are times when even working off of a MacBook Pro and looking for wifi can be too time consuming. 

Hello iPhone. The iPhone 4 was my first iPhone. Before the iPhone I had a Palm Treo 680, slick when it was new, way back in 2006, but starting to show its age now. The iPhone has quickly become an indispensable tool in my digital toolbox. At first it just replaced my Treo - I used it for checking email, surfing the web and making phone calls. Now it’s way more than that.