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.


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.


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.

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.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

9.11 pt. 1: Five Years of Angst

A number of months ago, I decided to participate in the 2996 Project, brought to my attention by Simply Left Behind. I responded to blogger D. Challener Roe's call to speak about one of the many people who died during the early daylight hours of September 11, 2001. I specifically asked to write about Michael Richards, an artist who died in his artist studio located at the World Trade Center.

And then, I proceeded to do nothing.

At the time that I emailed regarding the project, I didn't really anticipate the possible impact of my decision. I knew my dad was sick, but I didn't expect him (who ever expects it?) to die. I did, however, really ceased to function from May (when I found out my dad had cancer) to August. Only now, looking back, do I realize that I had been so worried about my dad that I couldn't concentrate on anything else.

My dad died on August 24, 2006. I had known he was sick, but apparently he was sicker than he wanted me and my sister to know. I'm still a bit shocked that he's gone. I've been having an argument with a really good friend for the past few months, and I've been too chicken to really talk to her. In March 2006, I moved from the bestest apartment for one person in the entire Universe, after living there for five years. I needed to move from Brooklyn (the bestest borough in the Universe) to the Bronx to be closer to work and got a roommate again. I also finally started paying my student loan. Either the apartment or the student loan had to go. I chose the apartment, but at least I've paid my loan on time for several months now.

In January 2006, my cat of 11.5 years (who I had from the day she was born) passed away after being misdiagnosed, rediagnosed, and then going through a harsh operation. Several months earlier, I attended a conference in New Orleans. I left on the 21st of August 2005, one week prior to Katrina's landing. I was a bit emotional afterward, as I had also visited the city in 2004 for a family reunion. I also researched and published a major paper on the man who coined and defined the word, "genocide." That was fun stuff.

Luckily, I was in Los Angeles for the Great Friendly Blackout of the Greater Great Lakes in 2003. From early 2001-2003, all sorts of crazy things happened, beginning with my constant screaming at the TV from the first day of the Bush Administration's taking of the White House and continuing in a more satirical sense (and intact televisions), combating the overreaching banalities of the Bush Administration with the Billionaires for Bush. And of course, I still remember the smell of 9/11.

It's the thing of that day that I will never forget. I never want to smell that smell again.

Needless to say, I've been a little tense over the last five years. I also need a boyfriend, and dammit, I actually worked on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (Regis edition) until January 2002. Isn't that one thing humiliation enough without all the other nightmarish rigamorole? Hhhmmm?

At least I am typing this on a new MacBook, but that's beside the point.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the past five+ years haven't been so merry, but in actuality, they haven't been so bad, either. Except for the Bush thing. That's just been the worse thing (almost) ever.

I've had a lot of fun, and good laughs with a great many wonderful people. I've gotten into arguments, I've been there and I haven't, but all in all, good years, with some very hard blows. I try to stay optimistic and hope for the best, and all of my friends tell me to be optimistic. Let's just say I'm optimistically pessimistic. (Hell, I'm still thinking that maybe the Second Coming is really coming.) Truthfully, I'm a lot happier than people think I am; I just get down every now and then that my life and the world isn't exactly where I hoped they would be at this point. I really thought the world (and me) would be better by now.

Anyway, I kinda haven't been doing what I was supposed to be doing this summer (including apologizing to my friend, researching and writing about Michael Richards, and blowing off temporarily one project and permanently, I think, another). It's been that kind of summer.

It's been that kind of five years.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Dad

May 23, 1930 - August 24, 2006
Love You. Miss You.