Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Michigan's Ford, Like New York Past, Has Dropped Dead

Well, it's been an interesting holiday week. James Brown (who will lie in state at the Apollo Theater in New York this coming Thursday) died on Christmas morning, while here in Michigan, our own former President, Gerald Ford, died yesterday in California. It's been on the teevee here for more than a few hours today, as I'm sure it's been on the teevee around the country. I don't think we're going to go Reagan-dead crazy, but I'm sure as a President has passed, it's going to be a long road, so to speak, until Ford comes back to Grand Rapids to be buried.

That's a snarky title, I will admit. I have no real feelings about former President Gerald Ford. I don't remember him from his days of representing Michigan, and I was a little too young when he was appointed President to have real feelings about Vietnam, Nixon, or Nixon's pardon. What little I do remember of this time was that a lot of people were dying on the teevee in the war, some gate with a lot of water was a bad thing, and the president was a liar. What he lied about I didn't necessarily know or understand, but I did know that he had done something very bad and had to go. It wasn't until I was a little older (I was ten in 1974) that I finally figured out what the hell had happened.

Ford refused to bail out bankrupt New York during his tenure, and I sorta remember fearing that my hometown, Detroit, was about to face a nightmare, too. Only in the last eight years when the words Rumsfeld and Cheney floated to my conscious brain did I realize that Ford begat both Rummy and Cheney, and let's not forget that he also ushered George H.W. Bush into the position of CIA chief. So, while a lot of people believe Ford to be an okay president (better than Nixon, at least), he hired a lot of people who I like to view as a bunch of pandering idiots. Smart and clever pandering idiots, but panderers and idiots nonetheless.

Sigh. Anyway, rest in peace, Mr. President. At least your long national nightmare is over, while we who are left struggle with those who you placed in positions of authority. Thanks, buddy.

Here's a Dana Carvey skit from years ago, as Tom Brokaw practices his "Ford death announcement."


Thanks, Gothamist for some of the above links.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Meet [Detroit] Tiger!


My mom's new puppy, Tiger. He's a cutie, his paws are huge, and he's about five months. We think he's gonna be mammoth!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Home for the Merryness in Detroit

Well, I'm sitting in a Starbucks in Detroit because Ma has no Internet connection at the house. I got in yesterday. I guess it's a good thing. I'm ready to end my pilgrimages to Detroit for good. It's my hometown, but it depresses me to be here.

It's my first Christmas without my dad, who passed in August. It's just not the same. It's nice to see my mom and the new puppy, Tiger, but still, I could think of a million billion other places I would want to be. Oh, just thinking about it gives me a brain explosion.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a good holiday.

Photo: 11 Spring Street Graffiti Project, "There is Hell in Hello," December 2006, NYC

Thursday, December 21, 2006

B.(ombs) O.(ver) B.(aghdad)

[Dre] Don't pull the thang out, unless you plan to bang
[Choir] Bombs over Baghdad!
[Dre] Yeah! Ha ha yeah!
Don't even bang unless you plan to hit something
[Choir] Bombs over Baghdad!
[Dre] Yeah! Uhh-huh

Outkast's "B.O.B." (Bombs Over Baghdad), Stankonia, 2000

I'm in an Outkast kind of mood lately. TIME named Stankonia one of the Top 100 influential albums of All-TIME, but then again, TIME likes to name things. It will be to my everlasting shame that it is that album, and not at the least its predecessor album, Aquemini, that was my first radar-glimpse of Outkast. Unfortunately, I spent Outkast's formative years in outcast land myself, otherwise known as grad school, over the period where they first came on the 'scene.' Grad school, work, more grad school and some tiny semblance of a theater life (I could never really leave it... ) kept me away from that *jazzhands* craaazzy beat. Anyway.... look at me now! I got me a j.o.b. AND I'm catching up on my music! Whew....

Anyhoo... One day, I'm going into the Outkast Time Machine and check out their stuff from before and after Stankonia (my life B.S. and A.S, I suppose). One day I might actually buy Speakerboxx/The Love Below, too. In the meantime, there's one song in particular that I can't get out of my head from Stankonia, which works well with annihilating the endless Christmas music currently stuck there. That song is B.O.B. or Bombs Over Baghdad.

I think Andre 3000, formerly known as Dre, had it right: "Don't pull that thang out unless you plan to do something." Well, we certainly pulled the thing out, but our plan after that in Iraq left us all with something to be desired: an intelligent strategy lead by a capable president. Man, did we get shafted.

I'm also thinking of this ditty because I have the feeling we're going to be dancing another ditty and singing another round of 'bombs over Baghdad' before the day is through. I hope not, but the White House's long PR march goes on...

Anyway, sometimes all you can do is dance it out...

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's All So Bloody Tiring

War violence this, Christmas that, Mt. Hood the other thing. Geez. It's enough to make you want to crawl into a very small hole until it was o.k. to come out again. The heartwrench got a little deeper when I noted that the Banana Splits was my favorite television show back in the day. Hey, I was eight, leave me the hell alone. And Kerik's little babe, Judith R., better not have said what I just heard that she said on her way out of the Murdoch News Corps door. Did she really pull the Jew card? That takes some balls when you're trying to defend yourself against publishing a fictionalized account of a possibly real event that polarizes every American along the line of race. Give me a break, lady. You got fired by your own hubris, which the Jews had nothing to do with. I couldn't pin that crap even on the Faux News Corporation, which is actually saying something.

Crazy things just don't stop happening for the holiday season, do they? It's enough to make your head explode.

JibJab's got it right this year. Fhit is nucking futs!

Wake me when it's over.

Or I'll just talk with you tomorrow.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holiday Gift Idea, Only $5000.00

Bryant Park Christmas Market, New York City

Just in case you know someone who needs a life-sized steel replica of the Predator. Just in case.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Is Kate Moss's Moon Real?

Great Jones and Lafayette, New York City

I was standing in front of the Acme Bar and Grill, where Dick Cheney's Holiday Spectacular is playing at the subterranean Ace of Clubs (which used to be aptly named Under Acme). Two girls were about to walk into the restaurant, and one says to the other, "That is not Kate Moss's ass. That has to be airbrushed. There's no way she could have an ass like that. It's too poofy."

Whether it's her buttocks or not, they are certainly splayed over Lafayette.

You be the judge.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dick Cheney's Holiday Spectacular 2006

Yes, that's Dick Cheney. Can't you feel the grope of Billionaire love? If so, come and see the Billionaires For Bush Follies show from December 3-20 (Sundays and Wednesdays, 8:00 PM) at the Ace of Clubs, 9 Great Jones Street at Lafayette.

This year's cast is great and the All New Election Season jokes will delightfully tempt you to laugh instead of cry at the present Administration. Sometimes, you have to laugh to keep from throwing something, thereby busting your television set.

Come and hear some of your cherised and beloved holiday tunes, such as "Rest Easy Wealthy Gentlemen," "Prison Cells," "Toys for the World (Are Made by Kids)," and the soul-rousing and sweetly stirring (as the driven snow), "Halliburton Chorus." Ah yes, good times, indeed.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, November 27, 2006

News to America: It's a Civil War


If this is not a civil war, Wolf, I don't want to see one when it comes.
-- CNN Correspondent Michael Ware in Baghdad to the Situation Room's Wolf Blitzer.
Today's news has several stories on whether what's happening in Iraq can now be called a Civil War. News Flash, Newsmedia: This question of "Is Iraq a civil war," was predicted for Iraq in 2004. I guess now that the violence has reached a point today were NBC can declare 'officially' that "Civil War" is the correct term for what's happening in Iraq, we can all freaking agree that it's a Civil War! Whooboy, thanks for that clarification, you news reporting, vanilla ice cream brain frozen media numbnuts, because I thought for the past few years that I was just going out of my fucking mind, cause to me, it looked like a Civil War a while ago. Dear Flying Spaghetti Monster in the beer mountain firmament, who in their right mind COULD NOT THINK A CIVIL WAR WAS A'COMING NOT TO MENTION, ALREADY HERE?!?

Jiminy freaking cricket!
Jumping jehosophat!

Ack.

I guess now we can 'safely' discuss the facts of this war.

The facts as I personally see them are:
Fact #1: We started this Civil War.
Fact #2: We started this fucking Civil War because our leaders are incompetent boobs who lied to us and adeptly went about this war to help their bottom line.
Fact #3: It's a Civil War. End of story. Move on.
Fact #4: We Americans, as a unified nation (some fucking how) have got to get off of our asses and really tackle the problem of Iraq. Together.
Fact #5: Unfortunately, we have no fucking clue what to do to fix the problem.
Fact #6: We're all fucked.

OK, there are some things we can do to fix Fact #5:
1. Get out of Iraq. I don't know what's going to happen to the people of Iraq. I do care about what happens to the people of Iraq. I care about what happens to our men and women there as well. I know that us staying there is not the solution and is only making the problem worse.
2. Go back to the drawing board. Go back to the place where we dropped the ball first: Afghanistan. Shore that up now.
3. Start talking to not only the Israelis, but the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Russians (and shall I add, tell them to stop killing journalists and ex-spies), the Saudis, the Koreans, the wooly space monsters. Talk to anyone about anything. Talk about the weather, for all I care, just start talking.
4. Start using diplomacy. God, I wish Colin Powell were at least still Secretary of State. Condi is too contaminated to be affective anymore. Powell still has some modicum of respect in the world, if only an iota.
5. Smack the American people up side the head to get them involved in this war thing. How do you do that? The draft legislation that Rep. Charles Rangel, of New York, talks about might be one thing to do, but another way is to actually have an administration that will stop using bullheaded rhetoric laced with Christian eschatology. Lou Dobbs tonight asked three former military leaders what they thought our biggest mistakes have been in Iraq. Retired General Bernard Trainor said, "We have failed to mobilize the Nation." To do what, I don't know, but it's better than not even knowing we are at war.

Here's some more coherent things we can do, as suggested by this 'gold-leafed' er, "blue ribbon" (whatever) panel, the Iraq Study Group.

Other that, I got nothing. I'm willing to put my head together with the rest of the Nation to figure this crap out. Fact #6, though, is that we're still all fucked. It's mindboggling. But at least we now know it's a freaking Civil War.


iOblivious t-shirt, in the RottenApples series, may be purchased from Good Storm.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sanjay Gupta, MD: Mythic TV Doctor Billboard


While on my little adventure last week trying to find David Blaine, I ended up in Times Square. I did two things (besides not seeing Blaine because I was two days too early).

First, I visited the much heralded "Charmin Holiday Toilettes," and secondly,


I saw the giant billboard of CNN's own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and started laughing.

He makes house calls around the world. I wonder if he goes to Peoria?

Notice that Dr. Gupta is "investigating, examining, reporting." Am I the only one disturbed by the lack of curing? And yes, I know, that Dr. Gupta is a dedicated brain surgeon. He looks like he cures, yes? Well, at least he looks earnest. I like Dr. Gupta, just not so sure about the larger than life advertising campaign.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Black Friday 2006: Fur at Bergdorf Edition

Anti-fur Protestors Start the Holiday Season at Bergdorf-Goodman, Fifth Avenue and 58th Street, Black Friday, 2006

One of my favorite things to do during the Holidays (of which, I have learned, there are both many holidays and many favorite things to do from October - December), is walking through New York looking at all the pretty things.

Pretty thing Number One, is the windows of Fifth Avenue and Herald Square! The longstanding Christmas Window Battle of Bergdorf, Saks, Lord & Taylor, Macy's and Bloomingdale's is historically funny. Each classic shoppe goes out of their way each year to make more elaborately intricate and fantastical window displays; it's a tradition and tourist attraction in New York as each retailer battles for your hard-earned buckaroos. Cartier has outdone themselves this year with a lava of lavish red boxes cascading down the front of its building, ending in a humongous Cartier box that romantically springs open every now and then, blazing synthesized Christmas musical gradeur out and about, and revealing its lush, but alas, diamond-less white satin interior. Fuckers.

Anyhoo, I don't make a habit of seeing the windows every year, but I just got a new camera (a Panasonic DMC-FX50 to replace my old Nikon 3200), and I wanted to test it out. I'm not the maestro of photography, but I do like to take a picture or two.

I got my days confused a few nights ago as I was trying to find David Blaine, who was gyroscoping somewhere in Times Square. I was two days too early. I should really pay attention to dates. Whoops.

Before heading toward my unsuccessful destination in the Square, I traveled to the Plaza Hotel, hopping off of the 6 train at 59th and Lexington first, then walking west towards Fifth Avenue. I wanted to see how the construction looked at the Plaza at night, and I like roaming around there just after dark, especially since the Apple Store opened.

(It was my first night shot, so shoot me.)

So, there's the Plaza at night! You'll notice that that pesky little Eloise will get to run around the re-hauled Plaza yet again when the residential units are opened. Damn her. Sigh.

I walked around the little plaza outside the Plaza, going slightly South toward Bergdorf-Goodman, that beautifully elegant and lush store, which I've only been in once. That one time, I saw Ivana Trump in a suit with gold-fringed epaulets. The sight unnerved the hell out of me, and I've been afraid of going back in ever since. I still shiver at the thought of it. Brrrrr.

The Bergdorf windows were amazing! The ones that faced the plaza were full of little mechanical machines mixed in with the glamourous silks and glittering fake diamonds. There were intricate metal-worked machines, wonderwheels, animals, and fantastical creatures!

I walked around to the front of Bergdorf, on the Fifth Avenue side, at the corner of 58th Street. I looked up, and before me was a lush display, full of light and play and color.

The horses were finely detailed, the lights just perfect, and the mannikin was dressed in a circuslike dressage outfit, complete with whip. I don't know anyone who would actually wear the outfit out, but I don't think that's necessarily the point. In fact, most of the garments in the Bergdorf windows on any given day aren't necessarily for everyday fashion, unless, of course, you are part of the fashionista mafia, and can afford such outrageously beautiful designs. Gold epaulets, anyone? Eek.

Anyway, the Fifth Avenue windows (as opposed to the 58th Street windows, which were amazing, as opposed to Fifth Avenue's magnificient), included two black and white windows, and one with a cascade of sweets and delicacies in every sepia tone available. Included in this display was an oversized curio cabinet inlaid with mother-of-pearl and filled with fake cakes and treats. I could eat the carefully constructed cakes and muffins, even if they were made of glue and paper.

I was completely in awe of how the displays were concieved, created, and mounted. Bravo, Bergdorf-Goodman, bravo!





The window that most caught my attention was the second black and white window that portrayed a bow-tied, humanoid polar bear, elegantly opening a glass door to a fur-clad woman seeking entrance to his abode. Looking at the window, I was immediately drawn to an allusion from an amazing series of children's book with grown-up appeal: Philip Pullman's, "His Dark Materials." The set of three books includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.

I first read the Pullman books on vacation in Martha's Vineyard in 2004 (the series was first published in 1998). I decided to reread them again when I heard that Daniel Craig would be featured in the upcoming film adaptation as Lord Asriel (Craig is perfect for the part... oh hell, he's just perfect), the paternal connection to the lead character, Lyra Balacqua, a child who fights to keep the Gobblers from cutting away children's daemons. The story is a wide-sweeping tale set in an interdimensional Europe where everyone has a visible soul companion in the form of animals or daemons, and visible to others. Lyra sets off from Oxford to the North to rescue the children from the Gobblers and her Uncle from the Slavbard armoured bears. There's a lot of talk in the books about animal skins and furs as the good and bad guys head toward the cold Northern reaches. Lyra eventually confronts the evil Mrs. Coulter (played by Nicole Kidman) and meets the inestimable armoured bear, Iorek Byrnison, a noble outcast from the bear kingdom. Eventually, Mrs. Coulter meets the King of the bears, and the window clearly plays on that theme. It's a beautiful display.



Which brings us back to the protestors. As you see from the photograph, both the bear and the beauty are wearing fur. And fashion fur in New York is a hot topic. The group, Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF), protested Bergdorf on Black Friday, and will protest at other venues now until Feburary: Steven Corn Furs, Antonovich Furs, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, and Saks. (More info here, scroll down.)

Now, I can appreciate fashion fur. Fur is beautiful, and in certain situations (those artic ones with indigenous human populations that need fur to survive the cold weather conditions), I can understand its use. I'm tentative regarding fur in high fashion, however. My mom offered me one of her mink furs when I was younger, and I turned it down. I did, however, accept a lambskin short coat with fox cuffs. I accepted it more for nostalgia, as it's my mom's coat from the 1950s and it's way pretty. However, I've never been comfortable wearing it. (I'm uncomfortable in real-life dress-up anyway. I really much prefer stage dress-up. That's me in the photo, right, at the bottom in a production of "A Man's A Man.")

I cringe a bit when I see folks in New York wearing fashion fur, even in cold weather. It's a natural reaction to feeling that the mink and the fox would much rather have preferred keeping their fur to themselves. But that's a little hypocritical of me because I do wear leather. Are the cows no less... animal?

I didn't write this post to down fur or defend Berfdorf-Goodman's use of it in its windows. I think I wrote it mostly to highlight the intersection of beauty and horror that can occupy a single space. I had been in search of a Pretty Thing in New York, and I did find it. When I saw the "Entertain" window (two nights prior to the protest, which I hadn't known about), my immediate thought was of the Pullman books and secondly, the fur. I thought to myself: somebody is going to have feelings about that fur. I had feelings about the fur; it was beautiful on the bear (not sure if it was real or not) and it was unnecessarily clad about the figure of the woman, but nonetheless, beautiful.

Animal protestors get a bum rap because they can be over the top and confrontational in their rhetoric. To them, it's a matter of life and death, as many things in this world are. Humans do kill an awful lot of animals for personal use: food, fashion, hunting. I am not of the opinion that all animal use is anathema, obviously. I can, however, understand the feelings of those completely opposed to the use of animals. I can also appreciate both sides of the argument. When you see a clothing item intricately made out of animal furs, you can't help but see the beauty in them, either. Again, though, I think the animals would much rather prefer to keep their fur. Don't you?

Black Friday is always full of interesting little things. Anyway, go and read my friend, Jennifer Michael Hecht's reverie on Black Friday in the New York Times. If, of course, you can get behind the Times Select Wall. Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging


I'm serious about the non-political postings for a bit. Sometimes you just have to take a mental vacation from the weight of the world.
So... here's Paikea! Happy Friday Cat Blogging!
(And finally, I remembered to do this on a Friday! Geesh.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This James Bond is So Hot...


... that I thought
I would
spontaneously explode.

I saw the new James Bond movie, "Casino Royale" earlier today. I don't care what anyone says about Daniel Craig, he's fantastic. He might walk a little chunky like with the bulked-up shoulders, but hell, that's really neither here nor there. Those shoulders are golden works of art.

This new Bond is a man's Bond: he runs, he tackles, he plays a hot hand of poker, and shows the bruises of his battles on his face. For the ladys: he loves, he's a smooth talker, and surprisingly tender. And oh my God, does he look smashing in a beautiful suit.

I breathessly await your return, Mr. Bond.

Now excuse me, I have to go take a cold shower.

Worst Places to Take a Dump in New York

I've gotten a bit political lately, and frankly, I'm tired of it. So, on to something really important!

It's rather difficult to find a public toilet in NYC. I mean, REALLY DIFFICULT. One of the golden places use to be the Plaza Hotel. You could walk into the lobby, obstentiously to look at the interior or just be a tourist, but then wander 'round to the olde toilette located on the first floor. New Yorkers used the public restrooms at the Plaza for those times when you just happened to be in the neighborhood and needed someplace to go. Oh well, those days are over at the Plaza: It was bought by a group that will turn it into condominiums and an updated hotel. So, I have the feeling that for 2.5 million dollar residencies, there'll be no more free dumps there.


Anyway, Gothamist.com (I love those guys!), posted a link to some guy who is doing an envaluable public service in letting us know where not to go if you need to go. I have the feeling the bathrooms on his site are either Unisex or Men Only (but if the men's room is bad, I can only imagine what the Woman's Room is like!) Unfortunately, when you have to go, you just have to... go. Oh well. Hold your nose, take some practical advice, and visit New York City and NY's "Wost Places to Take a Dump."

Ick!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thumping the Democrats, with Love

My friend, Carl Skutsch, sent me the wonderfully funny, happy, and poignant photograph that he took to the left. I was so giddy when I opened my email and saw the photograph. The last six years have been utter hell (and if you count the Clinton impeachment fiasco, the last 8 years), made moreso by an obviously partisan President and hoodlum Republican Party.

It's been a nightmare from the right, but it's been a nightmare from the left sometimes as well. In fact, I was so fed up with the Democratic Party after Bill Clinton (who I love dearly, even when I want to slap him upside the head), that I ended up voting for Ralph Nader over Al Gore. I was safely enconsed in New York State, so I figured I was safe voting for a third party.

I wish Al Gore were President. My bad.

The last six years have been particularly hard, mostly because I never had trust in President Bush to rule in a way that would be wise before 9/11, and he proved me right in the horrific aftermath of 9/11. Unfortunately, I had lost faith in the Democratic Party as well, but I looked to them some how and in some way, to act as a lever against the craziness of Bush and his Republican Party.

It's not easy to be a Democrat in America sometimes. I believe in their platform of government for the people, benevolent government that helps the people without being too much involved in their personal lives. That means healthcare, jobs, a sane foreign policy. Unfortunately, there's always a pull between the left of the Party and the right of the Party, but it's a damn big Democratic tent, and the only way you move forward is to listen to both realms of the spectrum, attempt to get along and attempt to work out problems for the good of the People. Then, you go to the Republicans and ask them what they think. Unfortunately, you've got to listen to them to, even if they were really bad at that in the last few years themselves.

So, it was a shock yesterday, after receiving Carl's photograph, to have to read a story about bonehead, James Carville, making a play for the head of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean.

Dean, hailing from Vermont as he does, represents the more progressive side of the Democratic Party. It was Dean's idea to begin a 50-State Strategy, a brilliant plan to actually start talking with people in States that Democrats have thought were lost to their influence, the Red States of the Northwest, Southwest, and the South. The strategy, to put it in a nutshell, actually worked. Go figure!

Carville is a political shill for Hillary Clinton's presidential run and mainstream Democratism. (Clinton is my Senator, and I voted for her.) So, since Dean isn't running for President in 2008 and doesn't necessarily represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party, but rather the ENTIRE Democratic Party with a focus on the progressive side of the Party, Carville decided to fire the opening gambit in an attempt to displace Dean as the Chairman of the DNC. Carville floated the idea of running the losing candidate in the Tennessee Senatorial race of last week, Harold Ford. Why? Well, allegedly, Dean didn't bring in enough money and didn't readily genuflect to the DCCC or the DSCC. Ford is a center-right candidate that would probably sit well with that good old Mainstream of America, the MoA. It's whispered that Ford would help Hillary more in her MoA run that Dean would.

Well, la-de-da.

I don't know if Dean didn't bring in a record amount of money, or bested the Republican National Committee machine (numbers make my head swim, and there's a lot of spin in regards to this), but one thing I do know, whatever Dean did, or whatever Chuck Schumer (head of the DSCC) did or whatever Rahm Emmanuel (head of the DCCC) did, WE won. Together.

Dean rewired and reconnected the network of the Democratic Party with the actual people, while Chuck and Rahm helped bring home the bacon. Finally, the Democratic bigwigs in Washington were able to actually talk with their constituents in States that the Party left behind (because, let's face, we in the Northwest tend to make fun of everyone else), and lit a fire in their hearts. Ford may be able to that too, but frankly, he's so far to the right, you might as call him a Republican.

Carville has been getting on my nerves for a good while now. I think Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire kinda brought the whole thing home to me. Yea, Carville wasn't the interviewee that day (Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson were), but still, remove Begala and replace him with his co-host Carville, and my head would still explode.

It took barely 24 hours after the Democrats won the Senate for Carville to begin the power play. The glow was still glowing, the feelings of happiness were still happy, and for the first time in months, the Democratic Party felt like a Party again. And then, BAM, like some sucker punch to the head, Carville comes out and starts the "divide the party" tactics immediately. Can't we let the Republicans do that for us again? It would feel much better.

I've got a piece of advice for my Party: if they want me to still be part of the Party (which may be somewhat doubtful on both their part and mine), then they need to shut the fuck up about removing Dean as head of the DNC. Carville needs to take a step back, just like his wife, Marlene Matalin (his counterpart mouth for the Republican Party) and realize that both of them have lost their power because 1) the Democrats have found their power in the people and 2) the Republicans have lost their power to currently rule.

Chuck Schumer, on Real Time with Bill Maher last night, congratulated Dean on his work. Joe Conanson in Salon wrote, "Rebuilding the Democratic Party in every state is as much a matter of pragmatism as principle. There would have been much less for the Democrats to celebrate on Election Night if Howard Dean hadn't been so "crazy" -- and so persistent."

So, for the record, Mr. Carville, keep your opinions and your candidates for a job you can't wrestle control of to yourself, because no one really gives a crap what you think right now.

I love you, Democratic Party, now shut up and change. Consider yourself thumped.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Thank You, America

From the New York Times, which has it just about right. You've got the House now, Dems, don't fuck it up. Rule sanely, if you can, caucus when you need to, kick their asses when you have to. Don't run too far to the right or you'll be in hot water. Gain the trust of the American people by doing the right thing. No corruption, be careful of those damned dirty lobbyists, too

Good luck. You're gonna need it.

The Democratic House
Published: November 8, 2006

There was only one explanation for the crazy-quilt combination of victories around the country that gave the Democrats control of the House of Representatives last night: an angry shout of repudiation of the Bush White House and the abysmal way the Republican majority has run Congress.

It was a satisfying expression of the basic democratic principle of accountability. A government that performs badly is supposed to be punished by the electorate. And this government has performed badly on so many counts.

The Republicans created their defeat by focusing obsessively on the right-wing “base,” ostracizing not only the Democrats but their own party’s more moderate legislators. The conflict between the extremist House and the conservative Senate created a phony center, far to the right of the general public’s idea of where the middle ought to be. Yesterday, moderate Republicans in heavily Democratic states were done in by their party’s excesses. In Rhode Island, more than 60 percent of the voters told pollsters that they liked their Republican senator, Lincoln Chafee. But he was soundly defeated anyway.

The Democrats won a negative victory, riding on the wave of public anger about Republicans. The new House majority will certainly call the administration to account on any number of issues, but it will have to do far more than run investigations if it is to build on its victory.

For years now, the Democrats have been not only the minority party, but a particularly powerless minority, elbowed out of virtually any role other than that of critic. The House Democrats will have to shift from the role of tactical opposition to shadow government. They will have to pass bills — bills that might not make it into law, but that would provide a clear idea of what their party would do if it were really in control.

And while they are trying to build a new majority, the Democrats need to remember what happens when a party in power loses its way.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote

Today's the day. Vote. That's about all I can say. You know who I want you to vote for, so I won't even say it again. All I can say is please don't abandon yourself, America. Please. Have a great day, and I believe in you. Don't let me down.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Save the Comics, Vote Republican

Who's Exploiting the Situation?

It's 2:05 AM here in NYC, and I'm up awaiting the forgone verdict on the guilt of Saddam Hussein mid-afternoon and a billion miles away in Iraq. It's funny how this verdict has been manipulated to coincide with the U.S. election. I've heard a lot of chirping lately from Republicans about Democrats manipulating this and blurting out that in an effort to sway the election. I guess what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander. What a crock of shit.

All I know is that if or when a verdict of guilt and a sentence of death comes out, all hell will break lose in Iraq. God be with us all when it does.

If you don't think this is all an effort on the part of the Bush Administration to manipulate the current election situation here in the States, then you just haven't been paying attention to how this administration works.

UPDATE: Rare88 has brought up a good point: Hussein was convicted for atrocities committed in 1982, when he shook hands with Rummy and was a considered a friend of America's. Not many journalists are bringing this point out. Robert Fisk has:

This was a guilty verdict on America as well

Published: 06 November 2006

So America's one-time ally has been sentenced to death for war crimes he committed when he was Washington's best friend in the Arab world. America knew all about his atrocities and even supplied the gas - along with the British, of course - yet there we were yesterday declaring it to be, in the White House's words, another "great day for Iraq". That's what Tony Blair announced when Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti was pulled from his hole in the ground on 13 December 2003. And now we're going to string him up, and it's another great day.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Abandoned in Iraq

The Bush Administration has abandoned us in the States; now they have abandoned a soldier in Iraq.

While President Bush is making puns out of John Kerry's missed punch line, a kidnapped American soldier in Iraq is lost in Sadr City [Times Delete]. American soldiers closed down Sadr City, but things got hotter within that hotbed, and Iraq President Maliki demanded that American soldiers be pulled out of Sadr City. The kidnapped soldier is still missing.

In the crazy times we live in, you can't make this shit up. 103 soldiers died in the month of October. One is missing in Sadr City. And the President of Crazytown plays political word games.

Jack Cafferty spoke about the soldier tonight:

You've got a choice to make come Tuesday, November 7. This war has been run badly from day one. We were lied into this war, and every step of the way it's been mismanaged and prosecuted. Our soldiers have not been able to do their job properly as the Republican goons in Washington, D.C. decide to play at war they have never been near. There is no accountability in Washington, no oversight, no give and take, no voice, no damned sense.

Change course by changing at least the House. The Senate would be icing on the cake. Bring back some oversight or we are going to head down a road that is darker and nastier than the one we're already on.

America: don't abandon yourself. There's already enough people in Washington to do that for you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

IT'S SCARY OUT THERE


I'm sitting here in my apartment on the night of Halloween. I was going to go out dressed as Andy Warhol (sans bullet wounds) and walk New York's Village Parade, but I decided to come home instead. It's too scary out there, and I don't mean the streets of lovely weathered New York City with its ghouls and goblins hobnobbing drunkenly on the streets.

I'm frightened because what I keep hearing from certain politicians scares the living crap out of me. There are Republican boogeymen around every corner, uttering scary phrases every which way I turn. Among the scary phrases:

1. Stay the Course.

2. Measuring the Drapes.

3. Democrats Want the Terrorists to Win.

It's scary stuff, folks. Please help me stop being so afraid by doing the following on Tuesday, Nov. 7th:



What are some of the scariest phrases you've heard lately from our Republican boogeymen?

Friday, October 27, 2006

FixAVote.com

The crazy thing is that 30 people have called Election Consultants to inquire about their services.

Go figure.

Web Site Offers To 'Fix' Elections - For A Price
Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Fri Oct 27, 11:00 AM ET

That's the mantra of Election Partners, whose slick Fixavote.com Web site offers such services as "real-time voter correction," and "enhanced retrospective tallying." The site features attractive stock-photography models and inspirational New Age music.

"Using state of the art technology, we overcome the challenges of competition and ensure election results for our clients," the Web site states.

But according to electronic-voting experts the site is most likely satire.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rush Limbaugh: The Bad News and the Good News

My friend Yvany and I were talking tonight about Rush Limbaugh's hoof-in-mouth disease in regards to Limbaugh's unfortunate comments on Michael J. Fox's commercial for Democratic candidate Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Fox, as you may know, suffers from Parkinson's disease and uses intense medication to regulate his ability to function in a somewhat normal manner. The commercial stars Fox offering his take on why we need stem cell research and endorsing the candidacy of McCaskill.

We thought it particularly kooky that Rush, on his radio chubbiehole cam, physically mocked Fox in addition to mouthing off about him. Said Yvany, "The bad news is that Rush Limbaugh is still alive; the good news is that we now know Rush is sicker than Michael J. Fox."

Indeed.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The View From Your Window

Taking a page from Andrew Sullivan's daily "View From Your Window":
Museum of Jewish Heritage Conference Room Looking onto New York Harbor and the Statute of Liberty, Battery Park, NYC, 3:30 PM

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

This is a Boom

This is a boom:

Mourners bid final farewell to murdered Russian journalist
Thousands of mourners have gathered in Russia to pay their final respects to murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Tributes have poured in from around the world in memory of the investigative reporter. Anna Politkovskaya was remembered as one of the few journalists to report on government policies and human rights abuses in Chechnya. Though members of the opposition were at the funeral, no high ranking Russian officials could be seen.

Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in the lift of her apartment block on Saturday in a murder widely believed to have been a political contract killing. President Vladimir Putin has said the crime would not go unpunished. There are reports that five people caught on security cameras are suspected of her murder.

The journalist has been buried at a cemetery outside Moscow, leaving behind two children.
And this is another sort of boom:

Fire, Explosions Light Up Night Sky Over Baghdad
Ammunition Dump Explosions Rock Baghdad


(October 10, 2006)—A fire and a series of violent explosions in an ammunition dump at Forward Operating Base Falcon Tuesday south of Baghdad lit up the night sky over Iraq’s capital city.

Early reports indicated personnel were evacuated safely from the base.

Military officials say there's no word of anyone being hurt.

But the blasts went on for at least half an hour and were felt several miles away.

Helicopters could be seen flying over the area.

Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

CNN reported there were concerns the flames could spread to adjoining residential areas.

Thousands of troops from Fort Hood’s 4th Infantry Division are assigned to the capital city and surrounding areas as part of Multinational Division Baghdad.


Neither are very good.

A friend of mine pointed out that Anna Politkovskaya died on Vladimir Putin's birthday.
Happy birthday, Mr. President. Happy birthday.
I hope your birthday candles didn't go boom, too.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Entering the "TERRA Phase" of Election 2006

Now that we are entering the TERRA Phase of the current election season, I believe that we should just ease on down the road and focus not only on Foley and what creeps like him bring to the electoral process, but also on how safe IS President Bush really keeping us? Sure the DOW is up, but how's it hanging for the average Joe? How do we deal with crazies like Kim Jong Il without becoming like him and his State?

You know it's going to be "9/11, 9/11, 9/11"-type rhetoric 24/7 until the election. Bush is going to call people who don't agree with him traitors and cut and runners and dimwits all he wants, but he's such a lame leader at this point that the hens (Ahmadinijad, Kim, and Chavez) are starting to hunt the fox.

Bush, Foley, and the lot of them in power on Capitol Hill are bleeding from self-inflicted wounds of the past few weeks, and many esteemed members on the right are questioning their resolve of obesience to the King. At the same time, they are too desiring of power to see the forest for the trees. Wounded animals are very dangerous. A firm hand and a tranquilizer usually does the trick. I fear, though, that the voting masses may just be the ones with the dart in their neck.

We need to focus not only on Foley, but on the whole enchildada. We can talk about more than one thing at a time. We can't allow them to get the upper hand in the "EVERYONE RUN FOR THE HILLS!!! AEEEAKKEHHHHH HERE COME THE [INSERT NAME OF ENEMY HERE"] TO DESTROY YOU!!!! portion of this movie. We've been here before.

It's almost as if we're paying our enemies to spout off just before the election.

Pshaw... conspiracy theories... It's a good thing I'm not into them.

Meanwhile... will we be fooled again or will our own political/personal agendas cause us all to fall down the rabbit hole? I'm trying to find yet one more metaphor to rip apart, because seriously, it's going to take a metaphor to get us the hell out of the situation that we find ourselves in.

Let the ELECTERRA portion of the TERRA Phase of the election cycle commence!

God help us all... and Go Tigers!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

To the Detroit Tigers

The Main Entrance to the Comerica Park, AKA Detroit Tiger Stadium
Dear Tigers,

The last time you guys won the World Series, in 1984, I had just left Detroit that September to attend New York University. I was a little sad that I hadn't been there to watch the Series with my dad, but a little happy to have missed the Bubba Helms mini-riot directly after the game. Dad and I use to watch baseball and football together all the time. I wasn't that into football, but I always liked the baseball, and dad taught me the rules of all the games and matches we would watch together. (I always impress men that I actually know how games work.)

So it's kinda funny that I left Detroit just when you guys last won the whole enchilada, which kinda means that's the year I left my dad, too. He and I were really close when I was younger, and from what I understand, when I moved, I kinda broke his heart. So now, you guys are back in it since 1987 and then he dies just before you make it back to the post-season. Strange. Possibly only to me, but strange nonetheless.

I told him the night before he died that I would come back and tell him what the game scores were; I didn't get the chance, as he died early the next day.

Anyway, my dad and I have been looking forward to you returning to the post-season game for some time. We badtalked you to no end at times, but he was happy when the new stadium went up. He only went once, but his legs were bad, and he didn't like the crowds, so he never went back. Vesti, over at the irreverent "Intellectual Comedy Salon," poked me with a stick when I kept saying how sucky you were. He quickly convinced me that it was "steady as you go" and that the team was rebuilding and doing well. I said fine, but I could still call youse guys sucky cause you weren't winning!

My dad owned a bar in Detroit, and back in the 1960s, baseball and basketball players from the Detroit teams would come into the bar. We don't have many pictures of the younger days at the Moonglow Lounge, but one of my favorites is a series of photographs of Detroit Tigers player Willie Horton, enjoying a night on the town at my dad's.

Detroit Tiger player, Willie Horton, at the Moonglow Lounge, 1960s

Dad passed away in August, so he won't be able to see you guys play. You might not win this year, but you're looking good for the time being. I'll look at the playoffs, like I usually do, with one eye on something else, but I hope you all the best against the Yankees.

I can see the Bronx bombers stadium lights outside my window, and I take the subway every day past the it on my way to work. The Yankees are tearing up trees and a park right now to make way for a new stadium right next to the old stadium. Actually, the trees disappeared three weeks ago. Steinbrenner throws money at things and knows that everything will work out in his favor. He took that park with promises that I only hope will come true for the immediate neighborhood. I personally, would like the Yankees not to win per year for every tree that was ripped out of the ground for the new stadium. For the trees' revenge. Someone's got to look out for them.

For my dad, I would really like to see you Tigers win. We'll see what happens.

Good luck. You're gonna need it. The score is already 5-0 (Yankees), bottom of the 5th, first game. It's gonna be a long night for someone.

Don't mess with me! I'll tear your heart out! I'm a tiger! Rooar!

Yours forever,
Edward and Elderta

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bring Me the Head of a Speaker!

Well... I would actually just settle for his seat, so that Nancy Pelosi can sit it in.

Dennis Hastert is now in a fight of his political life. Mr. Hastert allowed Representative Mark Foley (whoops, that link says "CURRENT VACANCIES; try THIS LINK instead) to continue in his position as a representative of the State of Florida, despite the fact that Hastert knew Foley may have been anathema to young boys. Mr. Foley is now hiding at an alcohol treatment and rehabilitation facility. Or maybe he's at Gitmo. Who knows these days?

So... go check out Hastert's opponent at Act Blue:

John Laesch

Image of John Laesch

From ACT BLUE:

Denny Hastert may have been an idealistic, albeit very conservative, legislator when he first got to Washington over 2 decades ago. If he was, he certainly isn’t any longer. A highly partisan street fighter bogged down in the minutiae of Inside-the-Beltway bullshit, Hastert has lost touch with Illinois Main Street values. Today he is a grotesque patsy for the worst of lobbyist abuses—a bought-and-sold congressman who is a disgrace to our Founding Fathers. John Laesch is a man of integrity, strength and vision, Hastert’s first serious challenger of his entire career. Probably too independent-minded to expect adequate financial assistance from Inside-the-Beltway, Laesch needs grassroots support to get his message of hope and renewal out to voters. We had a great live blog session with John at Firedoglake and you can read it here

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A House, Just a House (and a Senate Would Be Nice, Too)

Yesterday, I noted that I need a House, and I wouldn't mind a Senate, either.

For my dreams to come true, I believe Republicans and those Independents leaning toward the Republican abyss, should wake up and face reality. I posted a link to a comprehensive list of Republican corruption scandals, and now, a list of symptoms that you should consult to check yourself in case of rampant Republicanism gone wild.

Larry Johnson helps you to recognize if you have the Republican malaise. You should immediately seek medical attention OR vote for a Democratic candidate in the House or the Senate to cure Republicanism. Your life depends on fast action.

1. If you enjoy shoplifting while working at the White House, you might be a Republican.

2. If you enjoy soliciting teenagers and children for sex over the internet, you might be a Republican.

3. If you enjoy sending other people’s children to war while your kids go to college and hang out in bars, you might be a Republican.

4. If you start a war in Iraq while lying to the American people that Saddam was tied to Osama Bin Laden, you might be a Republican.

5. If you failed to complete your own National Guard service and your Vice President received five deferments to avoid service in Vietnam, but accuse political opponents who challenge your failed foreign policy in Iraq of being cowards, you might be a Republican.

6. If you call dark skinned people Macacas and Niggers, you might be a Republican.

7. If you ignore intelligence community warnings that Bin Laden is determined to strike inside the United States, you might be a Republican.

8. If you follow policies that squander a budget surplus and create an $8.5 trillion dollar budget deficit, you might be a Republican.

9. If you expose the identity of an undercover CIA officer in charge of tracking down Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, you might be a Republican.

10. If you believe the President should be entitled to jail, without recourse to Habeus Corpus, anyone he decides is a threat, you might be a Republican.

Larry's conclusion to a ready cure: "After careful consideration, I realize that I lack the moral bankruptcy, cowardice, and fiscal recklessness to call my self a Republican. I've decided, I am an American."

I say, Be an American: Vote Democratic.

There are more "You Might Be a Republican" symptoms posted at Johnson's site. Learn the signs and cure yourself!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hey Baby, Just Gimme a House. Or a Senate.

I think the Universe tipped out of balance a few years ago. Sure, the World Trade Center was the day "that changed everything," throwing things a bit whack; but I mean another balance that should never happen in America: all three branches of government under the same party.

It's unnatural, like being an old Congressman IMing underage Congressional pages. Yick.

Maybe Wayne Madsen's GOP Scorecard will help to at least get me a house. This is a must-take-a-gander-at-document.*

*hattip BASCOMBE!
Some have issues with Madsen, but a must-gander anyway.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sleepwalking to Their Own Agenda

Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror by Richard A. Clarke, page 186, published in 2004:
"... Now I feared that the timing of the President's interrogation about the scandel, August 17, would get in the way of our hitting the al Qaeda meeting.

It did not. Clinton made clear that we were to give him our best national security advice, without regard to his personal problems. "Do you all recommend that we strike on the 20th? [August 1998, bin Laden was to meet with his top staff that day.] Fine. Do not give me political advice or personal advice about the timing. That's my problem. Let me worry about that." If we thought this was the best time to hit the Afghan camps, he would order and take the heat for "Wag the Dog" criticism that we all knew would happen, for the media and congressional reaction that would say that he was using a military strike to divert attention from his deposition in the investigation. (Wag the Dog was a movie that had been released that year, in which fictional presidential advisors create an artifical crisis with Albania to attack it and divert attention from domestic problems. Ironically, Clinton was blamed for a "Wag the Dog" strategy in 1998 dealing with the real threat from al Qaeda but no one labeled Bush's 2003 war on Iraq as a "Wag the Dog" move even though the "crisis" was manufactured to "run on the war.")
On August 20, 1998, CNN reported President Bill Clinton saying: "there will be no sanctuary for terrorists." Clinton had ordered U.S. airstrikes against bases in Afghanistan and Sudan, which were "[part of] a long, ongoing struggle between freedom and fanaticism."

Americans who refuse to remember (or were not born/conscious at the time and have not learned history but have been told it through 3rd-hand pundits) are sleepwalking. It's maddening because they are sleepwalking to their own agenda, and that's an agenda of power, where they make the history and hope you're too dense or asleep to remember what actually happened.

(The Daily Show, in fact, had a brilliant piece tonight about the difference between a citizen pie eater in Budapest and a citizen pie eater in Springfield when both are told their governments have lied to them; the Hungarian stabs himself with remorse through the heart, the American just walks over to the other split screen and continues to eat pie as the Hungarian lays dying, but: To the Hungarians it's still about the idealistic faith; to Americans, it's about the pie. If you can't remember what kind of pie it was, then go back and read about how Hungary's leader lied about their economy just to ensure reelection. )

I remember screaming at the TV back in 1998, and living in New York as we were being threatened (yes, sure it was the entire country, but guess who had the bullseye painted downtown), and all I would hear from Republicans was that Clinton was wagging the fucking dog; all I remember hearing was that he wasn't doing anything about terrrorism, but then again, there was one useless and pointless "Gate" after another. While all this was happening, and we were really being threatened, 24/7 was a stupid battle over sex instead of action and concerted effort on the part of Republicans. The threat wasn't the Big Dog's sex life; it was the Little Dogs of the Republican Party trying to take him down, all day, all night, all the time. It never stopped.

Clinton may have fallen, but when the time came for the Republicans to cast aside their animosity and try and solve this al Qaeda problem, where were they? Questioning President William Jefferson Clinton about sex. Not al Qaeda. Why? Because of a blind, furious, and raging agenda to bring him to a place of humiliation, one way or the fucking other, no matter the risks we were under in the face of national security.

And that's the reality of the Clinton Years fighting al Qaeda. Republicans and all those who voted for Bush in 2000, and then again in 2004, betrayed the country as much as Clinton may have betrayed the sanctity of his marriage. I tell ya one thing, though, his wife forgave him; will the American people forgive Republicans when they finally wake from their long national sleepwalk? One day I will forgive myself for voting for Ralph Nader. Will you ever forgive yourselves for what you have done because you refuse to wake?

It's time, my friends on the right, who believe the hoopla of the Republican Party because of loyalty and not facts: It's time to wake up. Aren't you sick of being lied to? Aren't you tired of being scared? Aren't you tired of an administration of incompetent, blistering ninnies? I know I am. These guys in power today mean you no good.

Kick the bums out.

Keith Olbermann's ever sharp "Special Comment" (and the look on Joe Scarborough's face shortly thereafter) was priceless today. He basically told President Bush that the gig is up. The portable public chorus can't help you anymore, the truth is finally set free. Of Bill Clinton, Keith noted:

"At least I tried," he [Clinton] said of his own efforts to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. "That’s the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They had eight months to try; they did not try. I tried."

Thus in his supposed emeritus years, has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by anyone, in these last five long years.

The Bush Administration did not try to get Osama Bin Laden before 9/11.

The Bush Administration ignored all the evidence gathered by its predecessors.

The Bush Administration did not understand the Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."

The Bush Administration… did… not… try.—

I suggest you go on over and read or click below to see Olbermann's comment, maybe it will wake you up.



Olbermann also noted that the Bush Administration is constantly trying to rewrite history. Well, we're over it. Clinton is over it. Olbermann is over it. I'm over it. Americans should be over it. Wake up Republicans, you should be over it, too.

Wake the fuck up.

Pardon my french.

Friday, September 22, 2006

R.I.P.: 2nd Lt. Emily Perez

Second Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point in 2005. At West Point, she was the first black woman to serve as corps commander sergeant major, and finished academically in the top 10 percent of her class.

In Iraq, she served as a Medical Service Corps Officer and was assigned to the 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. She deployed in December 2005.

She died in Al Kifl, Iraq on September 12, 2006. She was 23 years old.



Thank you, and rest in peace, and I'm sorry.

Sign a legacy guest book for her family here.

The Daily Kos has more information on this remarkable young woman and American patriot.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I love Rep. Tim Ryan [again]


This guy is great.

See why I love Rep. Ryan of Ohio at Crooks and Liars. This is the second time I've heard him tell it like it is. Finally, a voice from the wilderness. Thank you, Representative Ryan!

Why won't the Dems listen to him?
...And you’re coming up with new phrases again, fascism and all of this stuff. $8.4 billion per month; $1.9 billion per week in Iraq; $275 million per day in Iraq; $11.5 million per hour in Iraq. If this is the legacy of the Bush administration, you know what? If I was in the White House, I wouldn’t want that talk about this either.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

When You Lie in Hungary...

Hungarian Leader Refuses to Resign After Riots

Filed at 6:10 a.m. ET

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- Police retook the headquarters of Hungarian state television Tuesday after violent clashes with protesters demanding the prime minister resign for lying about the economy.

About 150 people were hurt in overnight riots that Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany called ''the longest and darkest night'' for the country since the end of communism in 1989.

[snip]

The protests were triggered by a recording that surfaced Sunday. In it, the Socialist prime minister admitted lying ''morning, evening and night'' about the economy to win April elections.

Gyurcsany, who has not denied making the statements, refused to resign and called an emergency session of the National Security Cabinet.

[snip]

In the recording leaked Sunday to local media, Gyurcsany could be heard admitting that his government coalition, the first in post-communist Hungary to win re-election, had lied about the economy -- keeping it afloat through ''hundreds of tricks'' and thanks to ''divine providence.''

Gyurcsany's comments -- made in May to the Socialists' group of parliamentary deputies -- were full of crude remarks.

''We screwed up. Not a little, a lot,'' Gyurcsany was heard saying. ''No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have.''

''I almost died when for a year and a half we had to pretend we were governing. Instead, we lied morning, evening and night,'' he told his fellow Socialists.

President Laszlo Solyom asked Gyurcsany to publicly recognize his error, saying the news of Gyurcsany's remarks had thrown the country into a ''moral crisis.'' He also chastised the prime minister for ''knowingly'' jeopardizing people's faith in democracy.

Gyurcsany defended himself by saying that was he trying to convince his party about the urgent and inevitable need for comprehensive reforms and to change the political culture.

In trying to quell the riots, Prime Minister Gyurscany said that ''The street is not a solution, but instead causes conflict and crisis. Our job is to resolve the conflict and prevent a crisis.'' So, here's a guy that screwed up the economy of Hungary (whether he did it or not is not the point, it's his watch), and then lied about the health of the economy in order to win reelection, and then when the lies are totally exposed, and the country goes out of its mind, he says the streets are not the answer. That may be right, but doesn't he understand how angry constant lies can make a country's citizens? I think he does now.

Amazing what lies leaders will tell just to keep their jobs, and how far they will go to cover up those lies. Does it even matter anymore about governing properly? Gyurscany tried to cover his ass by saying that he lied in order to "convince his party about the urgent and inevitable need for comprehensive reforms and to change the political culture."

Uh... yeah. Sure, whatever. Tell that to someone in your country who would actually believe you. Because even if it's true, it's too little too late. Afterall, I don't think very many people in Hungary would believe you anyway.

Update: By way of the BBC, The Vigil has the complete text of Gyurscany's lies... er... speech to his government's insiders.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

An Andy Moment


Several Andys went to see the up coming Ric Burns documentary on Warhol. Catch it on PBS on September 20 and 21. It was pretty good. Covered the beginning and middle of Andy's career pretty well, though Laurie Anderson's voice was annoying and there was one art critic who could be visited by Val at some point in time... if you know what I mean.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bob Ney : Republican Criminal

Say it loud and say it clear: Corruption in the Republican Party runs deep: they want to take your money, take your son, take your retirement, take your lack of faith, take your earth and then, take your country away from you.

Never let them forget that you're on to them. What was it that Bush said? "Fool me once..."

We're fools if we get fooled again.

Rep. Ney Agrees to Plead Guilty

By James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, September 15, 2006; 12:50 PM

Rep. Robert Ney (R-Ohio) agreed today to plead guilty to conspiring to commit multiple official acts for lobbyists in exchange for campaign contributions, meals and luxury travel, sports tickets and gambling chips. He became the first elected official to face charges in the ongoing influence-peddling investigation of former lobbying powerhouse Jack Abramoff.
GUILTY!

Monday, September 11, 2006

9.11 pt. 3: Dear Michael

September 11, 2006

Michael Richards with a version of "Tar Baby vs. St. Sebastian," Studio Museum, Harlem.

I asked to write about you because you were an artist who died in the line of artistic duty, if you will. You lived to create and you lived to express a point of view. I did not know you nor did I know your artwork until you were gone. However, your images of iconic African-American symbols speak to me, particularly your Tuskegee airmen/St. Sebastian sculptures. I think you did well to capture both the honor and the torment of being a Tuskegee airman: to be the first of the race trained in the role of fighter pilot and having the honor that entailed to defend the country; to be tortured by continued racism and to know somewhere in your soul that your country still hated you. Your St. Sebastian, though, could not protect you from the plague that took your life on that Tuesday morning. Your not being here makes the world of art a little less bright.

I am sorry but I fear I may not do you justice by my 2996 posting. As I've noted previously, I've slacked off a bit for mental reasons really unbeknowest to me at the time. I was going to contact one of the fellow artists that I happen to know with whom you worked at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's World Trade Center "Studio in the Sky" project, but then I became afraid that I would cause him mental anguish as he lost all of his paintings that day, plus a friend, too. So, I decided to find things that people said about you. So here goes:

One cannot help but notice the eerie connection between the imagery in Richards’ work and his tragic death. Though ever forward in his conceptual art practice, Michael found sustenance in the subjects of the past, most specifically the triumph and tragedy of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. A team of World War II air force pilots, as famous for their flying skills as they were infamous for their alma mater, where black men were subjected to being live experiments on syphilis, the airmen represented a crucial space for dialogue and thought that Michael continuously mined. He worked with the inexhaustible history of the Tuskegee airmen for almost the last ten years, including his most recent works.
...
While Michael’s untimely death is a grave tragedy to us all, his life and work will be preserved by museums and galleries, and treasured by friends, family and new viewers, and recorded in the history of American art for generations to come. --Christine Y. Kim, Assistant Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Franklin Sirmins, independent curator and critic, September 18, 2001.

It's unknown how much art was destroyed because much of it was owned by private companies and kept in their offices. There were also 14 with studios in the trade center. One of them, 38-year-old sculptor Michael Richards, died in the attack. He had spent the past eight years working on a series of pieces about the Tuskegee Airmen, the black pilots of World War II.

Curator Franklin Sirmans, a friend of Richards, recalls the last time he saw the artist at an art opening just a couple of weeks before the attack. Richards was "running back downtown from the opening to get to his studio. He liked to be in the studio and making work." --NPR, "Lost Art," October 16, 2001
Studio Museum exhibit, 1995-96
The second work Michael installed in this show is a piece called "Winged". It is simply a cast of his two arms extended like wings, joined at the shoulders. Both arms are pierced with several featherlike daggers that enter at the topside of his arms and come out at the underside of his arms. This piece was suspended –– hung from the ceiling with monofiliment. About two weeks after this show opened; I got a call on a Saturday by a guard, telling me that the piece had fallen to the floor. The monofiliment snapped and Winged went crashing to the floor, shattering into a million pieces.

From the pile of broken parts, I kept one of his hands, and still have it in my office. Michael also worked as an art installer at various museums in the city. One woman, who worked with him at The Grey Art Gallery at NYU, spoke at the memorial service. She told us about the last conversation she had had with Michael, just three days before 9/11. She said it was one of those conversations about what you want from life – what you hope for. She told us that Michael said, emphatically, "I want to live hard. I want to love hard. I want to work hard, and then I want to die." --Memorial for Michael Richards by Anne Kovach (scroll down for full remarks).


The specter of death–anyone’s death, one’s own, Richards’s--is awful to behold. Words stick in the throat; it is unspeakable. How does a building give way and collapse? How does a human? Joists buckle, columns snap. Struck a massive blow, the head’s last thought is that it is thinking its last thought, the sphincter feels it, the knowledge moves like voltage down the spinal cord, vertebrae buckling as the information races past to break the ankles. In the inferno that ensues, a man-- two thousand eight hundred and twenty-four men and women--transmute into the mother carbon they were made from.

I didn’t know Michael Richards. I only know, from slight exposure to his work, a little of what it was like to be Michael Richards. We who still happen to be alive must let Richards know that his vision was real, that we saw it, and that we will preserve it. --Glenn Gordon, reflecting on Michael Richards and a work he created at the Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota

For many artists, Richards’ death has made him the symbol of the quintessential emerging artist … he went to all the right schools and did all the right things, and was just beginning to get the attention he deserved. “Michael was a generous, incredible artist,” says Moukhtar Kocache, LMCC director of visual and media arts. “I think his death widened the circle of people touched by the attacks … it affected New York’s whole cultural world.” --Crafts Scene by Heather Skelly.


In Kocache's assessment, "He's talking about men who were alienated and unacknowledged, using that for his own existential feelings as a black man, an artist, an immigrant [from Jamaica]. But these pieces also represent a generosity that is unacknowledged, tossed away. He's talking about someone's dislocation from culture."

That description casts light on certain new post-disaster dangers. Kocache, who happens to be Lebanese American, spent September 12 looking for Richards, making the now ritual trek that begins at Bellevue Hospital. In the middle of this search, he was verbally attacked on the street, spat on, called "a fucking Arab." A cop watched with his arms folded. "No one would come to my rescue," says Kocache. "I have never felt so alone."

Richards had composed an artistic statement, found in his computer and passed along by a friend. He notes that the Tuskegee airmen fought for democracy in the sky, but faced discrimination on the ground. They "serve as symbols of failed transcendence and loss of faith," wrote Richards, "escaping the pull of gravity, but always forced back to the ground, lost navigators always seeking home. --"Lost Horizons by C. Carr, Village Voice, September 19 - 25, 2001.


I'll end it there, Dear Michael, and say to you, I wish I could have been more present in writing of you. I wish you were here to create more art.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

9.11 pt. 2: The First Person I Called on 9/11

The first person I called on September 11, 2001 was my dad, Edward. This was, of course, after the initial hysteria of the day.

I had just gotten into work as a researcher for ABC-TV's "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire." There had been no announcements of anything untoward when I was on the F train getting into work. We did stop at 34th street for an abnormal amount of time, but hell, it's New York, that happens all the time. I finally got off the train, and started walking toward Park Avenue and 59th. I couldn't see downtown, as once you get to a place with a clear view south, the MetLife (Pan Am) Building, blocks your view down Park. As I was crossing Park, I noted how few people where on the street, and how only two people were walking in front of me. Two people who clearly didn't know each other were talking together. I had my earphones on, so I didn't really pay much attention, though one of the fellows was going into the same building I was.... on the elevator, he began speaking to me about how "they bombed the World Trade Center." My earphones allowed that extra layer of personal protection as to not really hear/comprehend what another person might be saying around you. It's NY, personal space is important. By the time I was able to take my earphone out, my floor appeared and I had to get out of the elevator.

I got to our office, and the television was on, right next to the door. I immediately walked in at the moment that the first WTC began its collapse, at 9:59 am. Needless to say, not knowing exactly what had happened (who did?), and coming in at a moment when something that CLEARLY wasn't suppose to be happening, was happening (one tower aflame; the other coming down), my mind broke down and I could only say, "This is war, this is war, this is war." A fellow co-worker had to calm me down. A little bit later, I went to my office. This was a little after 10:00 am.

I picked up the phone and called my dad's cell phone in Detroit. Our landlines were erratically still up, but his cell wasn't responding. I knew that he would probably be setting up at his business, the Moonglow Lounge, for the day, so I called the bar's landline, and he picked up. He had the bar television on and was watching it realtime. We didn't talk about much, just acknowledged that war was on its way, and noted that it was a bad time to have Bush as President. Dad said he thought something crazy was going to happen, and then said the strangest statement, "You know, Tanya, one day there's going to be a war right here in the U.S."

He didn't elaborate, and I thought to myself, it's possible.

My dad, Korean War veteran, actually told me on 9/11 that one day there would be a war in America. Only time will tell if he's right.

That conversation is neither here nor there at the moment, really. What is relevant, is that when tragedy has happened, or bigger than life events (or little events for that matter), the first person I usually called was my dad. I won't be able to call him anymore. We didn't talk about much, but at least I could talk to him. I am very very sad about this. I was hoping he'd be around a lot longer, as folks on his side of the family live well into their 90s, mostly. Fate, however, had other ideas.

My dad died of complications due to metastatic colon cancer. From what I understand now, he had been told in April that he only had two months to live. He didn't tell everyone, including my sister and I. He went on the chemotherapy drug Xeloda, and lived for five months. He went into the hospital with some sort of infection, and due to a miscommunication, his hospital-assigned doctor thought that he did not want treatment for the infection. He had signed a DNR, and was so sick and my mother so upset and the doctor so not communicative, that by the time the resident surgeon who had helped with his surgery got to his room, the doctors had fallen behind the eight ball in treating the infection. These last words came straight from the resident surgeon himself when I asked what had happened.

Again, this snippet of information is not really all that important to this post. What I want to bring out is that my father was the first person that I would call in times of tragedy. My father also had time to face what was about to happen to him. Dad had five months of contemplation, five months of getting his house in order, five months of being with his brothers, sisters and his family, five months of living in the house he loved and with the wife he dug a lot, too. He had five months of being with his friends, until he began to withdraw about the final month. He had time, albeit it a short one.

Unlike the people who perished on 9/11, in the planes, in the buildings, my father had a longer time to face death, and had 76 years to build his life and live it. He died with almost everything he ever wanted, except for that million dollars.

On the whole, he died happy.

I've often thought in the past few years about those moments directly prior to the planes hitting the buildings in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, and those moments directly after, before the buildings collapsed, and what went though people's minds during those short moments. How many seconds did 2996 people live? How many minutes? Half hours? Did the time feel like eons, or did it go by quickly? What did they do during that time? What were they thinking? Feeling? I do not want to imagine the fear that went through anyone, but sometimes I cannot help but to think on it.

I am sure that many people who perished in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania had a "first person when a tragedy strikes" loved one, and in turn, they were other's first choices as well. First people who they would have wanted to share good news with, cry with, die with. First people who were loved so much that they had to be reached out to, to make sure they were safe and to reassure others they had made it through.

There's a great sadness when those first people you would want to call pass away. Often, there are no second people. It's always really that first person who you will miss speaking with the most.