R.I.P. Nam June Paik. He was the first -- and one of the most incisive and thought-provoking -- video artist around.
Yep, a heck of a job.
Well, it wouldn't be a normal week in America if either Pat Robertson or Ann Coulter didn't publicly yearn for the death of somebody.
This week it was Ann Coulter, calling for Supreme Court Justice Stevens to be poisoned.
She said it was a "joke" -- but this is nothing new for Coulter, who has, "jokingly", I'm sure, called for the death of other Supreme Court justices, journalists, Muslims, liberals, American citizens, foreign leaders, and the entire staff of the New York Times. (Thanks to August Pollak for pointing this out.)
But this, of course, isn't as important to the "liberal media" as Hillary Clinton saying "plantation."
Speaking of which, here's Michael Kinsley's take on that:
This particular stone soup would be overheated even if the ingredients were fresh and sincere. But the fuss is obviously cynical, coming as it does from people (talk-radio jockeys, the editors of the Wall Street Journal—you know the type) who usually stalk the microphones in order to denounce excessive sensitivity and its smothering effect on political debate.
What's especially impressive is how the get-Hillary campaign was not even slowed by the discovery that Newt Gingrich had used the same metaphor back when he was somebody. A hilarious op-ed this week in the Wall Street Journal explained that while Hillary's remark was "pandering" and patronizing ("Must blacks have their slave past rubbed in their face … ?"), Gingrich "had the good taste to cast himself as a slave who would 'lead the slave rebellion.' " Well, each to his own good taste, I suppose.
But that metaphor of a corrupt plantation seemed more familiar than just one of Newt's old ravings. And indeed the Wall Street Journal editorial page has used it more than once. In 2001, for example, the man who now runs that page, Paul Gigot, wrote (in reference to Sen. Joe Lieberman) about "how…the black liberal establishment can punish a Democrat who strays from their plantation." The previous year, an editorial about the Massachusetts congressional delegation actually carried the headline "The Liberal Plantation."
And then (just to show what a little Googling can do), there was a small 2001 item in the Wall Street Journal's news section about Vice President Cheney spending the weekend shooting quails at the "plantation" of a rich Republican contributor. Hillary Clinton uses the word "plantation" while Dick Cheney actually goes to one.
How is it I've never run across youtube.com before today?
Check out all the cool stuff I found:
East of Central Park is the Upper West Side, home to a dynamic array of creative types pursuing the arts, such as actors, artists and writers. To the west of Central Park is the Upper East Side.
(Memo to the City Guide: Only a tool disables right-clicking on their website. It's not like it's hard to get around it, anyway.)
(Via Grant Barrett.)
Is Karl Rove no longer in charge at the White House?
Because I'm watching Bush's news conference right now (we haven't gotten to the question-dodging part yet) and he's utterly incoherent, jumping from topic to topic. More incoherent than usual, even. (Hilarious technical problems aside, which I'm sure you'll see on tonight's Daily Show.)
WTF is going on? Why did they call this surprise press conference with one hour's notice? Usually they only do that when there's big news, and there doesn't seem to be anything compelling here.
"Being President is hard work."
Actually, I have a modest proposal, inspired by the photo above. Our government is corporate-sponsored already, just like NASCAR. Why not let the corporations plaster their logos and slogans all over the White House? Why shouldn't Bush be required to wear a jumpsuit (make that a flight suit, actually...he likes to wear those) emblazoned with the logos of all the coporations that underwrite White House policy?
Excerpts from a spam I just received:
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If you value qua]ity in sex, try our $oft Cia]is Tabs.
F0r your wife’s last b-day you gave her a vibrator because of your hopeless Erectile Dysfunction.
By taking our new Soft Cialis Tabs you are bound to
give her the best sex ever instead of miserable “battery dick”.
You tr1ed everything to fight away the Erectile Dysfunction: the best porno $ites, the m0st exotic movie$, hot playboys,
sex on the phone and even the most expensive prostitutes.
With our Soft Cialis Tabs you will be able to chop the wood with your dick.(Warning: don’t try it).
You always wanted to use your penis as a billiards cue.
For the record, I would like to state that billiards, wood-chopping, and beer-opening do not figure in any of my genital-related activities.
And, if I ever start a band, I want to call it Miserable Battery Dick.
In the 48 hours before Hurricane Katrina hit, the White House received detailed warnings about the storm's likely impact, including eerily prescient predictions of breached levees, massive flooding, and major losses of life and property, documents show.
A 41-page assessment by the Department of Homeland Security's National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), was delivered by e-mail to the White House's "situation room," the nerve center where crises are handled, at 1:47 a.m. on Aug. 29, the day the storm hit, according to an e-mail cover sheet accompanying the document. . .
The documents shed new light on the extent on the administration's foreknowledge about Katrina's potential for unleashing epic destruction on New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities and towns. President Bush, in a televised interview three days after Katrina hit, suggested that the scale of the flooding in New Orleans was unexpected. "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm," Bush said in a Sept. 1 interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
To quote New Orleans-born Chuck:
You fucking lying sack of shit.
You knew, and you and Brownie and all your buddies sat there and did nothing, and then tried to blame it on our weak governor (who has enough to answer for), saying that she wasn't specific enough when she called to beg for "everything you've got."
We don't buy your bullshit recasting of that statement as "He said A, but what he really meant to say was B, which we would have never said he said until you called us on A." We can't believe that the warning you got also wouldn't have mentioned the storm surge up MR-GO which wiped out St. Bernard Parish and New Orleans East (including my family's home), either. You knew, 48 hours in advance, what was going to happen, and where were you and your people? Playing guitars, seeing Broadway shows, shopping for shoes, working on your vacation homes, eating in Baton Rouge restaurants and bitching about needing at least a full hour to do so and about your FEMA attire.
Given the above, it's truly amazing in retrospect that Bush didn't try to blame 9/11 on Manhattan Borough President Virginia Fields.
Or was that day's PDB entitled "Katrina Determined To Attack New Orleans"?
George W. Bush, September 6, 2005:
What I intend to do is lead a -- to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong. And I'll tell you why. It's very important for us to understand the relationship between the federal government, the state government and the local government when it comes to a major catastrophe. And the reason it's important is, is that we still live in an unsettled world. We want to make sure that we can respond properly if there's a WMD attack or another major storm. And so I'm going to find out over time what went right and what went wrong.
The New York Times, January 25, 2006:
The Bush administration, citing the confidentiality of executive branch communications, said Tuesday that it did not plan to turn over certain documents about Hurricane Katrina or make senior White House officials available for sworn testimony before two Congressional committees investigating the storm response. . .
In response to questions later from a reporter, the deputy White House spokesman, Trent Duffy, said the administration had declined requests to provide testimony by Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff; Mr. Card's deputy, Joe Hagin; Frances Fragos Townsend, the domestic security adviser; and her deputy, Ken Rapuano.
Mr. Duffy said the administration had also declined to provide storm-related e-mail correspondence and other communications involving White House staff members.
These, of course, would be the photos that Time reported on, saying that they appear to be official photos. And aren't official photos in the public domain? They were taken by photographers paid by the taxpayers. Unless the White House is prepared to declare them classified information that's vital to national security (and don't think I wouldn't put it past them right now), they should release them.
After all, Scott McClellan promised a "thorough report" "very soon" on Abramoff's contacts with the White House. That was on January 5, and it appears to be yet another broken Bush Administration promise. Why should we be surprised?
The grubbykid points out that, on Google Maps, the roofs of the White House, Treasury, and the OEOB are no longer obscured. Has the threat posed by Google passed?
Incidentally, the Capitol and the Congressional office buildings, also formerly obscured, are also now in the clear.
However (and more interestingly), Cheney's residence is still pixelated.
Guess we know where the real power is...
The military has quietly released new rules for conducting military executions, characterizing them as "a major revision." As this Reuters article notes, this may signal an imminent execution -- the first conducted by the military since 1961.
One interesting wrinkle to the new rules: they allow executions to be carried out at any military prison, not just the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, which houses the military's lethal-injection chamber. So, as the BBC article on the change wonders...are they gearing up to execute people at Guantanamo?
So the Bush Administration is defending its illegal spying on Americans, saying that it would have prevented 9/11.
But weren't they also saying that Clinton did it too?
And weren't they saying, once upon a time, that Clinton didn't do enough to prevent 9/11?
No accountability at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Not for the past five years and four days.
So Scott McClellan has been jousting with reporters lately over the Abramoff scandal. (Oh, for the halcyon days when
James Guckert "Jeff Gannon" crouched in front of the podium, happy to oblige Scotty...) McClellan is refusing to discuss "staff-level meetings", yet says that if "you have anything specific," he'd "be glad to take a look into it."
Okay, then. What about May 9, 2001? Did Abramoff meet with Bush?
If there's nothing to hide, then the Bush White House should release the information reporters seek, right? After all, they've been the ones telling us repeatedly that if you keep your nose clean (and don't forget, they're checking up on you), the government will keep you safe from Big Bad Terrorist Guy.
And where are all the Republicans that were baying for Clinton's blood a few years back? Aren't they interested in the "rule of law"? Aren't they interested in ethical, appropriate behavior? Don't they care about whether laws were broken? Why are they looking the other way?
Bring the light.
I've long been a Superchunk fan -- poppy, anthemic punk from the Tarheel State can be a truly wonderful thing. Lead singer Mac McCaughan has had a side project, Portastatic, for a few years now, but I've never really been that interested in what I've heard. It's struck me as, frankly, boring...which is odd, considering McCaughan's obvious gift for melody and structure; if he were thirty years older, he'd have had an office in the Brill Building. But, as I said, Mac's solo stuff usually struck me as noodly and almost mopey.
What a difference a couple years makes. Apparently, he's expanded Portastatic to full-band status, adding Superchunk bassist Jim Wilbur and his own brother, Matthew McCaughan, on drums. And recently I ran across a track from their latest record (Bright Ideas) on Salon.com's excellent Audiofile column. "I Wanna Know Girls" absolutely blew me away, and it has wormed its way, earwig-like, into my brain. It's perfect: sunny and propulsive and chock-full of hooks (and even a Public Enemy reference!) Grab it here.
Now, you and your friends say love is blind
But I think it’s easy and kind
Or anyhow it could be
It buzzed me like it would be
You think we’re in the movies
But movies never move me
Don’t think that you can lose me
‘Cause love is like an Uzi
Oh yeah, my love weighs a ton