March 31, 2004

One more cup of coffee for the road

* "As most of America slept early last Sunday morning, the Bush administration hustled and bustled to prepare for the Sunday morning talk shows – among others Colin Powell was appearing on 'Face the Nation' and Donald Rumsfeld was booked on 'Fox News Sunday.' Condoleezza Rice was not scheduled to appear until prime time, when she would make a star appearance on CBS' '60 Minutes' – the last in a long line of media appearances that caused 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben Veniste to quip that 'Condi Rice has appeared everywhere but at my local Starbucks.'

"Well, others in the Bush administration did, apparently, make an appearance at the local Starbucks. And as the Washington Post reports today, one of them – obviously readying himself to prep Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld – left his notes on the table. Talking points, hand-written notes on spin tactics, and a hand-drawn map to the Secretary's house were found by a resident of DuPont Circle, who made them available to the Center for American Progress. The name of said resident is being withheld at his request, as he fears that he may be accused on national television of being 'disgruntled.'"

To see the documents left at starbucks click here. [via lendmesomesugar]
Nighttime's the right time

* From a 1979 interview of Throbbing Gristle founder Genesis P-Orridge:

Interviewer: ...But Burroughs said a lot of things about drugs, what do you think about drugs and heroin?

G. I think they stop people from being able to realize their full potentials. Heroin is basically a drug that shuts out the real world - even morphine. You're turning away from the world, and I just don't believe in doing that. I think it's one of the most successful ways of destroying youth culture and potential, and a lot of intelligent creative people. It's very easy in this world to feel despair and to feel that everything's worthless and a waste of time. And when something like heroin is easily available, I'm sure governments make sure it is, it's in their interest. If you've got somebody that's very creative, or an anarchist, or a junkie, which would the government prefer? - a junkie, every time. Because a junkie is the easiest persons to control - they'll do anything for heroin. And if you want to arrest them you can always do it, if you want to kill them you just give them a bad overdose. So it's the best way of getting rid of opposition. There's also the fact that people think they're doing something rebellious, so it's like making a whole generation commit suicide. A generation that otherwise would be very constructive and create a lot of trouble. So for those reasons alone I'm very anti-drugs.

I. I've written some strange comic stories, basically about music. In one of these stories there is a very powerful man who pays Lou Reed to sing 'Heroin' so that a lot of kids can idenify themselves in this song in order to sell a lot of heroin.

G. It's not such a fantasy, that seems very reasonable to me. I think that's more likely to be truth than most other things. All western governments have a vested interest in people becoming junkies, because it stops people caring, it switches them off. Burroughs kept saying that it's the best control drug, and it is, it's the ultimate control, and you don't even have to sell it - once they're on junk you don't have to convince them to keep buying it like any other product. There's no advertising needed once they've started. And I think rock music is another form of drug. The vinyl junkies - that's what I call them.

I. Like religion, TV, drugs...

G. Yes, Mum and dad have TV and beer and wine, the little kids have rock and roll, heroin or dope. When you get older you switch your symbols, but they're still the same thing. Yet each lot despises the other as if they were different. The parents think the kids are outrageous, the kids think their parents are, but they're doing the same thing. They've just got different versions of it, they've got no real freedom.

I. But I think that the nighttime is the most creative moment.

G: Yes, that's because all the stupid people are asleep and they don't blanket you with their negative energy. You see, round about eight or nine o'clock you start to feel deadened because they're all getting up and rushing around generating all this useless energy. All the stupid people going to work and then in the evening about five or six o'clock, they all come home and start to watch the television, then it gets a bit better, you feel more (the creative people) start to feel better. And as they are all going to sleep around eleven o'clock, you start to get ideas. Midnight till four they're all fast asleep and you get really good ideas. I think it's just the blanket of their negative energy eating up all the positive energy in the daytime. That's why the nighttime's the best time to work. So it's alright to sleep in late, you know, go to bed late and stay asleep in the morning because you can't do anything anyway, because all the stupid people are rushing about and getting in the way.

Only Time Will Tell If Dreams Become Reality

* Star first amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams slams U.S. government for shutting down Iraqi newspaper. an excerpt:

"Of all the messages the United States could send to the people of Iraq, the sorriest is this: If you say things we disapprove of, we'll shut you up.

"That, regrettably, is precisely the message American administrator Paul Bremer has sent to Iraq by shutting down Al Hawza, an anti-American newspaper that frequently criticizes U.S. conduct in that country. According to the media liaison for the U.S.-administered government, the 'false information' in the paper 'was hurting stability.'
"But shutting down the newspaper will surely inflict even greater harm. In Iraq, we are engaged in a raging battle of ideas and ideology. Our claim that we are not only liberating the Iraqi people from a monstrous human-rights violator but bringing democratic self-rule to the Iraqi people is met daily by the cynical response that the American invasion was driven by a desire for oil and political conquest. The results of that battle are unclear and will remain so for months, if not years, to come.
"In the heat of ongoing conflict in Iraq, it may be difficult to recall Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' plea that we must protect even the speech we hate. But we will pay dearly if we abandon our principles at the very time and in the very place that we need to display them with the greatest pride."

* Cost of a pound of pot [via drug war rant]

"Vietnam Veteran Douglas Lamar Gray had a roofing business in Moulton, a wife and a son. In 1989, he bought $900 worth of marijuana in a motel room...

"Until then, the longest Gray had been locked up was a few months for a burglary in his teens, then two more burglaries in his early 20s....

"A police informant with a criminal record had lured Gray to the motel. Gray bought the marijuana...
Gray was sentenced to life in prison without parole. That no one was injured during his crimes doesn't matter. Gray, 49, will die behind bars.

"Before the drug bust, he had not been arrested in 14 years.

"'Made real good money, owned my own house, my own land,' he said. 'Watched my little boy grow up, then they set me up and sold me a pound of pot.'

His wife divorced him. His son, now 16, is in trouble with the law. 'He said he was going to get into trouble and come to prison so he could be with me,' Gray said.

"The state has spent $150,000 to keep Gray locked up. So far.

"How much more the state spends depends on how long Gray lives.

the whole article can be read here.

* E.J. Dionne Jr. weighs in on the Clarke testimony. And he is right. Much of what Clarke has said, has been published before, in some cases what Clarke is alleging mimics what president bush himself told Bob Woodward for Woodward's book 'Bush At War.'

March 30, 2004

will my pony recognize my voice in hell

* Jack MacAndrew: The trust between elected and electorate is violated with deceit. an excerpt:

"The revelations of this trusted senior bureaucrat in three government administrations are a major bombshell in themselves, coming as they do as President Bush begins mounting a re-election campaign based on his record as a fearless and peerless leader who has made America safe.

"So quite expectedly, the Bush people have launched an offensive in which they accuse Clarke of being in the camp of Senator John Kerry, the adversary for the President's office.

"Said Clarke during the 60 Minutes interview: 'Yes, I expect they'll launch their dogs on me.'

"But Richard Clarke's revelations are neither political nor self serving. They have the ring of truth about them, and they are verifiable by a long list of people present at the time, who can be called, as Clarke has been called to testify before an independent commission investigating the events surrounding the attacks of September 11.

"And if Bill Clinton could be summoned to impeachment for his casual sexual dalliance with a consenting female intern, what then can be said about a President who willingly practiced the deceit that led his nation into an expensive and unnecessary war responsible for the sacrifice of tens of thousands of lives, and even thousands more lives ruined forever by the trauma of war?

"What does this say about the values of a political party, a government and a nation that could excuse such deceit at the very core of its professed democratic ideals?

"Does it not occur to people that a professed rationale for the Iraq war as a way to bring democracy to the Islamic world, crumbles to dust when the very precepts of democratic government — the trust between elected and the electorate — are knowingly and willingly violated with deceit? "

* DC band the caribbean unveils their new lineup for the hometown crowd tomorrow night at 9 at the Warehouse Nextdoor (1017 7th Street NW).

* Condi Rice to testify in front of 9/11 Commission. I'm rooting for Jaime Gorelick to ask some difficult and complicated questions. I want Condi to leave with this look on her face:

We're trapped inside the song where the nights are so long

* Here are some short quicktime files of david berman speaking and performing at Chicago's empty bottle last week. be sure to check out will oldham bobbing his head and dancing on stage left as Berman sings "New Orleans."

* Thomas Pynchon on sloth. From a 1993 essay published in the New York Times Book Review. an excerpt:

"Writer's block, however, is a trip to the theme park of your choice alongside the mortal sin that produces it. Like each of the other six, Sloth was supposed to be the progenitor of a whole family of lesser, or venial, sins, among them Idleness, Drowsiness, Restlessness of the Body, Instability and Loquacity. 'Acedia' in Latin means sorrow, deliberately self-directed, turned away from God, a loss of spiritual determination that then feeds back on in to the process, soon enough producing what are currently known as guilt and depression, eventually pushing us to where we will do anything, in the way of venial sin and bad judgment, to avoid the discomfort."

"But Sloth's offspring, though bad -- to paraphrase the Shangri-Las -- are not always evil, for example what Aquinas terms Uneasiness of the Mind, or 'rushing after various things without rhyme or reason," which, "if it pertains to the imaginative power... is called curiosity.' It is of course precisely in such episodes of mental traveling that writers are known to do good work, sometimes even their best, solving formal problems, getting advice from Beyond, having hypnagogic adventures that with luck can be recovered later on. Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do. We sell our dreams. So real money actually proceeds from Sloth, although this transformation is said to be even more amazing elsewhere in the entertainment sector, where idle exercises in poolside loquacity have not infrequently generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue."

* Krugman: This Isn't America. an excerpt:

"The truth is that among experts, what Mr. Clarke says about Mr. Bush's terrorism policy isn't controversial. The facts that terrorism was placed on the back burner before 9/11 and that Mr. Bush blamed Iraq despite the lack of evidence are confirmed by many sources ? including 'Bush at War,' by Bob Woodward.

"And new evidence keeps emerging for Mr. Clarke's main charge, that the Iraq obsession undermined the pursuit of Al Qaeda. From yesterday's USA Today: 'In 2002, troops from the Fifth Special Forces Group who specialize in the Middle East were pulled out of the hunt for Osama bin Laden to prepare for their next assignment: Iraq. Their replacements were troops with expertise in Spanish cultures.'

"That's why the administration responded to Mr. Clarke the way it responds to anyone who reveals inconvenient facts: with a campaign of character assassination.

Some journalists seem, finally, to have caught on. Last week an Associated Press news analysis noted that such personal attacks were 'standard operating procedure' for this administration and cited 'a behind-the-scenes campaign to discredit Richard Foster,' the Medicare actuary who revealed how the administration had deceived Congress about the cost of its prescription drug bill.

"But other journalists apparently remain ready to be used. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer told his viewers that unnamed officials were saying that Mr. Clarke 'wants to make a few bucks, and that [in] his own personal life, they're also suggesting that there are some weird aspects in his life as well.'

"This administration's reliance on smear tactics is unprecedented in modern U.S. politics ? even compared with Nixon's. Even more disturbing is its readiness to abuse power ? to use its control of the government to intimidate potential critics."

March 29, 2004

I was hoping for replacement when the sun burst thru the sky

* Last weeks top ten conservative idiots.

* Neil Young weighs in Bush and other issues:

says Neil:

"The war with Iraq and the occupation were obviously done for oil and revenge. Those are the American motives, controlling the flow of oil, which is now miraculously stronger than it was before the invasion. Yet they destroyed the museums, lost all the art and had no plans for protecting the culture."


"Why is it that Martha Stewart is getting more headlines for a $200,000 infraction than (Vice-President Dick Cheney's former company, U.S. military supplier) Halliburton for a $61-million infraction against the American people? Stewart's crime wasn't against the American people, it was just a company she was trading. It wasn't like she was trading in somebody's future or taking away someone's Social Security. But the media's obviously controlled."

While Young thinks America is "slipping into darkness," he's encouraged by the record voter turnouts in the Democratic primaries.

"It doesn't matter who the hell they vote for as long as they vote Democratic. So there will be change as long as there's a fair election."

and on albums v. cd's:

"CDs don't do it. The information isn't there, and there isn't enough variety in the information that's carrying the music. It doesn't have the depth of the media we were using before digital. While the master was the best and everything else a copy, in digital the master is clonable but doesn't have nearly the depth of the master I used to make before the 80s.

"The pure joy of making records and listening to what you created was lost in 1982. These two things wore me down: not being able to get on the radio, and having the records not sound as good as they did before, when I started making records."

Back then "I had the joy of mixing and listening to it and taking it home and listening to it again. Smoke a J and sit there and listen to it maybe 10, 15 times in a row, just feeling it. People don't do that any more because digital doesn't allow that to happen. You can go for content instead of going for transcendence and a kind of washing of the soul; you've got to go for intellectual content, and digital allows that through.

* Democracy in Iraq. Ha!
There are brighter things than diamonds Coming down the line

* Richard Solomon says that Clarke's testimony has done serious damage to the public relations "scam" the White House has been running for two years. an excerpt:

"Whether the Bush campaign can regain control of 9/11 as a political football remains to be seen. We should never forget that real people died on that day, and real people are still dying in Iraq because of depraved political games in Washington.

"People in positions of enormous power are never more dangerous than when they see their power seriously threatened. The counterattacks on Clarke have only just begun. And during the next several months, the Bush-Cheney-Rove administration is sure to reach into its very large bag of media tricks. Whether the trickery is successful will largely depend on whether journalists do their civic duty or kowtow to the White House."

* Karl Rove ain't got no soul.

* Japan Times on will oldham. [via timothompson]

"Nevers assembled a crack band of Nashville veterans, including the legendary blind pianist Hargus "Pig" Robbins, bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan and drummer Eddie Bayers. 'They're all these great studio musicians who never get a chance to play together anymore,' Oldham says. 'They have to play on modern country shit that they're not happy playing on. I mean, they're happy that they have work, but it isn't fun. So Mark thought it would be awesome, because he'd never gotten to work with all these musicians in one session. I said, 'Let's do it.'

"Musically, the songs are a perfect fit. Oldham's melodies are already loitering somewhere in the country neighborhood. Set against the sometimes rollicking Grand Ol' Opry arrangements, his voice sounds smokier, more seasoned. What's missing sometimes are the emotional subtleties that made the original Palace songs so striking and disturbing. 'You Will Miss Me When I Burn,' a true downer ('When you have no one/no one can hurt you'), has been filled out with lilting pedal steel, weeping fiddle and complementary female vocal, changing the emotional tack of the song from despair to longing."

March 26, 2004

She builds you up to just put you down, what a clown

1978 Dinner conversation between Nicolas Roeg, Lou Reed, Victor Bockris, Gerard Malanga and William Burroughs. excerpts:

"BOCKRIS: I understand you met Céline shortly before he died?

BURROUGHS: This expedition to see Céline was organized in 1958 by Allen Ginsberg who had got his address from someone. It is in Meudon. across the river from Paris proper. We finally found a bus that let us off in a shower of French transit directions: 'Tout droit, Messieurs . . . ' Walked for half a mile in this rundown suburban neighborhood, shabby villas with flaking stucco-it looked sort of like the outskirts of Los Angeles-and suddenly there's this great cacophony of barking dogs. Big dogs, you could tell by the bark. 'This must be it,' Allen said. Here's Céline shouting at the dogs, and then he stepped into the driveway and motioned to us to come in. He seemed glad to see us and clearly we were expected. We sat down at a table in a paved courtyard behind a two-story building and his wife, who taught dancing-she had a dancing studio-brought coffee.

"Céline looked exactly as you would expect him to look. He had on a dark suit, scarves and shawls wrapped around him, and the dogs, confined in a fenced-in area behind the villa, could be heard from time to time barking and howling. Allen asked if they ever killed anyone and Céline said, 'Nooo. I just keep them for the noise.' Allen gave him some books, Howl and some poems by Gregory Corso and my book Junky. Céline glanced at the books without interest and laid them sort of definitively aside. Clearly he had no intention of wasting his time. He was sitting out there in Meudon. Céline thinks of himself as the greatest French writer, and no one's paying any attention to him. So, you know, there's somebody who wanted to come and see him. He had no conception of who we were.

"Allen asked him what he thought of Beckett, Genet, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Henri Michaux, just everybody he could think of. He waved this thin, blue-veined hand in dismissal: 'Every year there is a new fish in the literary pond.'

"'It is nothing. It is nothing. It is nothing,' he said about all of them.

"'Are you a good doctor?' Allen asked.

"And he said: 'Well . . . I am reasonable.'

"Was he on good terms with the neighbors? Of course not.

"'I take my dogs to the village because of the Jeeews. The postmaster destroys my letters. The druggist won't fill my prescriptions. . . The barking dogs punctuated his words.

"We walked right into a Céline novel. And he's telling us what shits the Danes were. Then a story about being shipped out during the war: the ship was torpedoed and the passengers are hysterical so Céline lines them all up and gives each of them a big shot of morphine, and they all got sick and vomited all over the boat.

"He waved goodbye from the driveway and the dogs were raging and jumping against the fence."


"MALANGA: Do you have a lot of secrets?

BURROUGHS: I would say that I have no secrets. In the film The Seventh Seal the man asked Death, 'What are your secrets?' Death replied, 'I have no secrets.' No writer has any secrets. It's all in his work."


"Reed asked whether Rechy had read Burroughs.

BURROUGHS: I didn t ask him, no.

Changing his tack radically, Lou said he'd heard that Burroughs had cut his toe off to avoid the draft.

BURROUGHS [chuckling]: I would prefer to neither confirm nor deny any of these statements.

Lou then wanted to know why Bill had used the name William Lee on Junky.

BURROUGHS: Because my parents were still alive and I didn't want them to be embarrassed.

Reed asked whether Burroughs' parents read. BURROUGHS: They might have.

Reed told Bill that he felt Junky was his most important book because of the way it says something that hadn't been said before so straightforwardly. Reed then asked Bill if he was boring him.

BURROUGHS [staring blankly at the table]: Wha . . . ?"

somethings happening here what it is ain't exactly clear

Two Poems by Charles Bukowski

We Evolve

at first it seems like fucking is the big thing,
then after that -- social consciousness,
then intellectual accomplishment,
and then after that
some fall into religion
others into the arts.
after that begins the gathering of money
and after the gathering of money
the stage where we pretend that
money doesn't matter.
then it's health and hobbies,
travel, and finally just sitting around
thinking vaguely of vague things,
rooting in gardens
hating flies, noise, bad weather, snails,
rudeness, the unexpected, new neighbors,
old friends, drunks, smoking, fucking,
singing, dancing, upstarts,
the postman and weeds.
it gives one the fidgets: waiting on


here were all these males tuning their guitars
not a women around
and they were content with that.
then they started arguing about who was best.
and what was wrong with the so-called best.
and a couple of them had been famous
and they sat there on my rug
drinking my wine and beer and smoking my

two of them stood up
to duke it out
and that's when I ran them all off
with their guitars and their guitar cases
out into the moonlight
still arguing.

I closed the door.
then I leaned against the couch and drained a beer
fast and I
not a very good night:
it was full of

March 25, 2004

Each wound is perfect

* Detailed 9/11 timeline.

* Just Concerts is a deep archive of complete concerts -- both audio and video formats. check it out. [via chromewaves]

* Noam Chomsky has a blog.

* The Following was issued by the Kerry For President campaign this evening:

How Out of Touch Can This President Be?

"George Bush insulted me as a veteran and as a friend to many still serving in Iraq. This act lowers the dialogue about weapons of mass destruction. War is the single most serious event that a President or government can carry its people into. No weapons of mass destruction have been found and that is no joke - this is for real. This cheapens the sacrifice that American soldiers and their families are dealing with every single day." -- Brad Owens (Iraqi War Veteran, US Army Reserves)

Speaking at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington last night, President George W. Bush showed a stunningly cavalier attitude toward the failed search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Administration's rush to war.

"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere," Bush mimicked, as a slide of the President looking under furniture in the Oval Office appeared on the screen.

That's supposed to be funny?

If George Bush thinks his deceptive rationale for going to war is a laughing matter, then he's even more out of touch than we thought. Unfortunately for the President, this is not a joke.

585 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in the last year, 3,354 have been wounded, and there's no end in sight. Bush Turned White House Credibility into a Joke George Bush sold us on going to war with Iraq based on the threat of weapons of mass destruction. But we still haven't found them, and now he thinks that's funny?

George Bush didn't tell us the truth about the economy, about job loss, about the true cost of his deceptive prescription drug plan, or about the existence of weapons of mass destruction. There's nothing funny about that.

From skimble: If it walks like a chicken....

being in Florida has done a number on my blues

* Joe Conason: Loyality to Bush, means lying for Bush. an excerpt:

"But during the past two years of international crisis, Dr. Rice has been dispatched to prevaricate repeatedly in defense of her boss. She was caught spreading a false story about Sept. 11, claiming that Air Force One flew the President to Oklahoma after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon because "intelligence" indicated that terrorists were aiming for the White House and the Presidential jet. Later she testified that the U.S. government had never anticipated an assault by airliner, when in fact there had been many warnings of exactly such tactics—most notably during the summer of 2001, when Western intelligence services set up anti-aircraft batteries around the Genoa summit to protect the President.

"Memories are short in this country, so Dr. Rice escaped those embarrassing incidents with her reputation more or less intact. Then last year, as the determination of the White House to wage war on Iraq became plain, she began to promote dubious stories about Saddam Hussein’s regime. As national security advisor, she had access to all of the sensitive intelligence about Iraq, so the press and Congress took her pronouncements seriously.

"More than anyone other than the President himself, Dr. Rice stoked fears about a "mushroom cloud" rising over an American city unless the U.S. waged war on Iraq. To promote such dread, she warned that a shipment of aluminum tubes purchased by the Iraqis could only be intended for a uranium-enrichment device. Long after the International Atomic Energy Authority debunked that claim, the national security advisor continued to insist that it must be true.

"Still, she had gotten away with those whoppers as well, thanks to the complaisant national press corps. Lately, however, she has engaged in deceptions that are too obvious and too simple to ignore. Not only is she responsible for the false allegation about Niger uranium in the State of the Union address, but she dishonorably forced C.I.A. director George Tenet to say that was his fault rather than hers.

"Dr. Rice knew that the C.I.A. had questioned the veracity of the Niger uranium tale. She knew because Mr. Tenet had warned her deputy, Stephen Hadley, of its dubious quality three months earlier. Yet she permitted that sentence to be uttered by the President. Now she tells us that those 16 words were "accurate" because the information was attributed to British intelligence. She wants us to believe that until last month she had never heard about the mission to Niger undertaken by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who reported back to the C.I.A. and the State Department that the Niger uranium story was a fake."

* Article from the Los Angeles Times on David Berman.

an excerpt:

"If the indie rock movement has created a David Byrne figure -- an oddball intellectual with a creative afterlife that grows out of his music career -- it's the wry troubadour David Berman. The only permanent member of the puckish, twangy Silver Jews, as well as an acclaimed poet, the
Nashville-based Berman writes inventive, oddly homespun songs and verse about sudden bouts of high-fiving, about a 'community college in the rain,' about 'mounds of dead Ataris' clogging the hillsides.

"But while Byrne is a media-obsessed New Yorker concerned with performance and celebrity, Berman is a Southern recluse who resists strong statements and has no interest in world domination. 'I force myself to travel periodically like other people force themselves to go to the gym,' he says by e-mail, the only way he'll do interviews. 'I get bored in other cities. Usually the postcards in the airport satisfy my curiosity.'

"The closest he'll come to a credo is when he sings that 'a lot of what I say has been lifted off of men's room walls.'"

* I can't; can anyone make sense of this?

March 24, 2004

Those Were Different Times

Snapshot Photographs, by Gerard Malanga

JOHN ASHBERY (1971) John used to refer to this as his butch photograph. Now when I look at it, it looks a little gay to me. But I guess he saw himself in a very masculine light. This was on Eighth Street, right near the Eighth Street Bookshop. I photographed him again in 1975 in Chelsea. He took me into the grounds of the Episcopal seminary. It was beautiful. Like walking into Harvard Yard. The vines and the ivy, the red brick. This has always been my signature shot of John.

TED BERRIGAN (1971) There's a bit of innocence involved here, and enthusiasm – shared enthusiasm. A kind of camaraderie. I seemed to recall that the Gem Spa entered into Ted's poetry in some way, so this was a natural location to choose for Ted. We went all over the city that day. Up near the St. Regis Hotel we ran into John Ashbery on the street. I got this great shot of Ted goofing off on John. You see part of John's face being blocked out and this big mischievous grin on Ted's face. Those are moments that you just can't orchestrate. It was a funny afternoon.

WILLIAM BURROUGHS & CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD (1976) This was taken in The Bunker. We were about to go out for dinner. They hammed it up. And Bill is smiling too. You don't often get a smiling Bill. He was great to photograph. I always thought L'Uomo Vogue should've put him on the cover. He was the perfect model, very accommodating.

TERRY SOUTHERN (1974) This is a one-off on a roll I shot in Larry Rivers's studio in Southampton during Thanksgiving weekend of 1974. The painting is from a series of Japanese erotica that Larry was working on and would later be shown at the Marlborough Gallery. Larry was a very close friend. We used to go pick up his girlfriend Diane at high school everyday at three in Larry's Cadillac convertible. Those were wild times.

For more shots, click here.
I See a Darkness

* The New Yorker's John Anderson says that Baghdad is a much more dangerous place than it was a year ago.


"The fall of Saddam has improved the lives of many Iraqis, especially professionals such as doctors, engineers, and teachers, whose salaries have significantly increased. And the streets are clogged with traffic, which wasn?t true before the war. A great many Iraqis took advantage of the temporary suspension of import duties at the border with Jordan and bought cheap secondhand cars. The Internet, which was strictly controlled under Saddam, is available everywhere, as are a wide variety of computers, domestic appliances, and cell phones. These life-style improvements notwithstanding, very few people venture out on the streets after dark, and almost no one I know dares drive after ten-thirty. This is because of the staggering increase in the number of rapes, murders, armed robberies, carjackings, and kidnappings. Saddam emptied the country?s prisons a few months before the war, and perhaps a hundred thousand criminals returned to the streets. Young girls are now walked to and from school by their fathers or brothers, for fear they might be snatched. Women generally dress much more modestly than they did before, wearing either baggy black abayas or helmet-like hijab head scarves."

* Journalist apologizes for his coverage of the Iraq war. excerpt:

"Gradually, it dawned on me that the military had herded us into the press center so that we could be kept away from information.

"The press center was sealed off from the rest of the base, and access was controlled by armed guards. A reporter's contact with military personnel of any rank was controlled by a press officer.

"All military personnel, except the press officers, were restricted to the base, so there was no opportunity, as in past wars, for reporters to meet officers or enlisted men for candid appraisals of the fighting as it unfolded.

"The entire anti-information campaign was run by a Texan named Jim Wilkinson, a Republican political operative who once worked for former U.S. Rep. Dick Armey.

"Wilkinson, now communications deputy for National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, was one of a score of Republican operatives who descended on Florida during the balloting recount in the 2000 presidential campaign. Wilkinson also helped sell the impression that Al Gore claimed to "Despite his penchant for desert camouflage uniforms and military jargon, Wilkinson, a civilian, was essentially a political commissar who controlled information about the war as if he were running{<>} an election campaign.

"His assignment was to keep the operation 'on message.'"
"In retrospect, I realize now that I should have filed a story the first day of the war saying that no information was coming from Central Command.

"Although most reporters individually treated the press operation with the disdain it so richly deserved, there were no stories revealing it for what it was.

"There were no publishers making angry phone calls to the Pentagon or the White House -- no letters, no outrage.

"In this, we all failed the American public."

* Drudge's anti-Kerry campaign.

March 23, 2004

truth has a way of beginning an end

* Floor Statement of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle on the Administration Attacking Good People for Telling the Truth. an excerpt from this must-read:

"When former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill stepped forward to criticize the Bush Administration's Iraq policy, he was immediately ridiculed by the people around the President and his credibility was attacked. Even worse, the Administration launched a government investigation to see if Secretary O'Neill improperly disclosed classified documents. He was, of course, exonerated, but the message was clear. If you speak freely, there will be consequences.

Ambassador Joseph Wilson also learned that lesson. Ambassador Wilson, who by all accounts served bravely under President Bush in the early 1990s, felt a responsibility to speak out on President Bush's false State of the Union statement on Niger and uranium. When he did, the people around the President quickly retaliated. Within weeks of debunking the President's claim, Ambassador Wilson's wife was the target of a despicable act.

Her identity as a deep-cover CIA agent was revealed to Bob Novak, a syndicated columnist, and was printed in newspapers around the country. That was the first time in our history, I believe, that the identity and safety of a CIA agent was disclosed for purely political purposes. It was an unconscionable and intolerable act.

Around the same time Bush Administration officials were endangering Ambassador Wilson's wife, they appear to have been threatening another federal employee for trying to do his job. In recent weeks Richard Foster, an actuary for the Department of Health and Human Services, has revealed that he was told he would be fired if he told Congress and the American people the real costs of last year's Medicare bill.

Mr. Foster, in an e-mail he wrote on June 26 of last year, said the whole episode had been 'pretty nightmarish.' He wrote: 'I'm no longer in grave danger of being fired, but there remains a strong likelihood that I will have to resign in protest of the withholding of important technical information from key policymakers for political purposes.'

Think about those words. He would lose his job if he did his job. If he provided the information the Congress and the American people deserved and were entitled to, he would lose his job. When did this become the standard for our government? When did we become a government of intimidation?

And now, in today's newspapers, we see the latest example of how the people around the President react when faced with facts they want to avoid.

The White House's former lead counter-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, is under fierce attack for questioning the White House's record on combating terrorism. Mr. Clarke has served in four White Houses, beginning with Ronald Reagan's Administration, and earned an impeccable record for his work.

Now the White House seeks to destroy his reputation. The people around the President aren't answering his allegations; instead, they are trying to use the same tactics they used with Paul O'Neill. They are trying to ridicule Mr. Clarke and destroy his credibility, and create any diversion possible to focus attention away from his serious allegations.

The purpose of government isn't to make the President look good. It isn't to produce propaganda or misleading information. It is, instead, to do its best for the American people and to be accountable to the American people. The people around the President don't seem to believe that. They have crossed a line–perhaps several lines–that no government ought to cross.

We shouldn't fire or demean people for telling the truth. We shouldn't reveal the names of law enforcement officials for political gain. And we shouldn't try to destroy people who are out to make country safer.

I think the people around the President have crossed into dangerous territory. We are seeing abuses of power that cannot be tolerated.

The President needs to put a stop to it, right now. We need to get to the truth, and the President needs to help us do that."

I'll never be a rock and roll saint

* H.L. Mencken said:

- "Freedom of press is limited to those who own one."

- "Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."

- "A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass; he is actually ill. Worse, he is incurable."

- "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for. As for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican."

* A poem by David Lehman:

Every so often my father comes over
for a visit he hangs his overcoat and hat
on my hat rack I brief him on recent
developments and serve us coffee
he is surprised that I like to cook
once when he made an omelette
he flipped it in the air much to my delight
and it landed on the floor yes that
was the summer of 1952, he remembered
the high breakers and how fearless
I was running into the ocean anyway
the important thing is to see you doing
so well he said and took his coat and hat
and left before I remembered he was dead

In memory of William R. Fox, July 12, 1944 - March 23, 2002

Tell Me When We Will Be Rid of These Men

* Freedom of speech, according to Bush. [via rewindpauseplay]


"When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up 'free speech zones' or 'protest zones' where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.

"When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, 'The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.' The local police, at the Secret Service’s behest, set up a 'designated free-speech zone' on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush’s speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president’s path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign. Neel later commented, 'As far as I’m concerned, the whole country is a free speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind.'”

* The Washington Post's Richard Cohen on Bush v. Clarke. an excerpt:

"Rice's real gift is situational rhetoric. Now, with Bush under criticism from a respected terrorism expert -- and a Republican, to boot -- she makes common cause with the Clinton administration. But that was not always the case. Last October, she faulted previous administrations for doing little about the terrorist threat. In a New York speech, she said of the terrorists: 'They became emboldened, and the result was more terror and more victims.'

"A similar point was made back in 2002 by Vice President Cheney's chief aide, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby. He, too, virtually blamed the Clinton administration for Sept. 11. In a New Yorker interview, he listed terrorist attacks on U.S. or allied interests going back to 1993 and concluded that America had shown only weakness in response. 'The Americans don't have the stomach to defend themselves,' he quoted an imaginary Osama bin Laden as saying. 'They won't take casualties to defend their interests. They are morally weak.'

"Libby has a point. The United States did do precious little. But it took a while to stir the United States and pinpoint bin Laden. That juncture was reached during the Clinton administration when, among other things, an attempt was made to kill bin Laden with missiles. If the Clinton administration had indeed acted slowly, what can then be said about the Bush administration, which had been warned by Clinton aides about al Qaeda? Clarke says the Bush team refused to come to grips with bin Laden. Among other things, he asked for a Cabinet-level meeting or access to the president to discuss the al Qaeda threat. For eight months, he got neither."

* When The Lies So Big, by Frank Zappa:

They got lies so big
They don't make a noise
They tell 'em so well
Like a secret disease
That makes you go numb

With a big ol' lie
And a flag and a pie
And a mom and a bible
Most folks are just liable
To buy any line
Any place, any time

When the lie's so big
As in Robertson's case,
(That sinister face
Behind all the Jesus hurrah)

Could result in the end
To a worrisome trend
In which every American
Not "born again"
Could be punished in cruel and unusual ways
By this treacherous cretin
Who tells everyone
That he's Jesus' best friend

When the lie's so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We'll be rid of these men!

Just who do they really
Suppose that they are?
And how did they manage to travel as far
As they seem to have come?
Were we really that dumb?

People, wake up
Figure it out
Religious fanatics
Around and about
The Court House, The State House,
The Congress, The White House

Criminal saints
With a "Heavenly Mission" --
A nation enraptured
By pure superstition

When the lie's so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We'll be rid of these men!

March 22, 2004

The dwarf plays pool to prove his height People play games when they lose at life

* To Hell With Poverty: an interview of Martin Bramah, a look at the beginning of The Fall. an excerpt:

"Way back in 1976 four characters were blazing a strange trail around the pubs and clubs of Manchester, experimenting with life, the way you do when you're a teenager. They were into listening to music by the likes of the Stooges, Velvet Underground, N Y Dolls, Can and Captain Beefheart which tended to set them apart somewhat from their contempararies. They were Martin Bramah, Una Baines, Tony Friel and Mark Smith. They had already started writing songs together, practising in the attic room of Mark Smith's flat, when the Sex Pistols played Manchester for the first time at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. Knowing very little about the Sex Pistols other than they were a group with short hair that covered Stooges songs, the embryonic Fall attended and were completely bowled over. Realising that the time was nigh they advertised for a drummer and a later, chance encounter with Pete Shelley led to the group's first gig. The Fall had come into existence, and as the old cliche goes, nothing would be quite the same again..."

Two early records by The Fall will be released tomorrow.

* Tequlia Mockingbird posted a wonderful story about growing up.

* An article on my homestate, New Jersey, and its current contributions to film. [via freakgirl]
believe it or not I'm walking on air

* Supplies to make WMD found, in Texas.

"Krar and Bruey will soon be sentenced to lengthy jail terms, but their capture has revealed a gaping hole in America's war on terror: the home front. The FBI fears that other chemical bombs, built by Krar, may already be in circulation. The case has now sparked the biggest domestic terror investigation since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

"Critics say the case shows that the authorities, obsessed with Islamic terrorists, have ignored the deadly assortment of domestic extremists. America's right-wing groups, though diminished in numbers since 1995, have become bent on acquiring weapons capable of mass slaughter.

"'The radical right is going to seek ever more deadly and extreme forms of weapons,' said Daniel Levitas, author of The Terrorist Next Door. Levitas estimates that far-right groups have about 25,000 members, with 10 times as many sympathisers. The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), which monitors hate groups, has identified 708 of them. Since Oklahoma City, more than 30 plots by US terrorists have been uncovered, including attacks on oil refineries, politicians and army bases. "

* Excellent Billmon on the Richard Clarke 60 Minutes interview.

* Largeharted Boy pointed us toward this repository of MP3's of television theme songs of

March 19, 2004

Happy Birthday, Ornette Coleman

Time will tell if dreams become reality

-- by Mary Campbell

Coffee: the tightening at the heart,
The wreath of ice, like thorns
Arranged there to give pleasure,
The interpenetration of the nerves
And mind, until thought
Bites at your breast -- keen lover
Or gourmand to a sentient peach.

A little later in life, not much,
Cold beer ungirdles that tight
Garland, turns the nerves to rivers,
Gives them sense of their own
Latent, riotous joyfulness, as if
They were in bed in fact, always in beds,
And by them willows loosing their long hair.

And oh, the cigarette: beyond
These sexual illusions, the pure bliss
Of smoke loved for its own sake
The moment at which the body of man,
Alone among the animals,
Finds itself satified by nothing,
Or by a desire crafted to fulfill
A source of satisfaction.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, on the first paragraph

"One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily. In the first paragraph you solve most of the problems with your book. The theme is defined, the style, the tone. At least in my case, the first paragraph is a kind of sample of what the rest of the book is going to be. That's why writing a book of short stories is much more difficult than writing a novel. Every time you write a short story, you have to begin all over again."

March 18, 2004

words you don't understand are all makin' sense tonight

* Rep. Henry Waxman creates Iraq on the Record, the Bush Administrations Public Statements on Iraq. [via lendmesomesugar]

"This database identifies 237 specific misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq made by these five officials in 125 public appearances in the time leading up to and after the commencement of hostilities in Iraq. The search options on the left can be used to find statements by any combination of speaker, subject, keyword, or date."

* Terrorists for Bush:

A statement said the group "supported President Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom.

"In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization. Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."

* Il Cavallo Cattivo has three excellent, though not particularly safe for work, pictures of Charles Bukowski.
Potluck Setlist

Mirrors -- Hands in My Pockets
Rockets from the Tombs -- Amphetamine
Pere Ubu -- The Modern Dance
VU -- Thats the Story of My Life
The Undertones -- Teenage Kicks
The Jam -- The Modern World
Dangermouse -- What More Could I Say
Black Tambourine -- Throw Aggi From the Bridge
Ghost -- Hazy Paradise
Deerhoof -- Dummy Discards a Heart
Bill Fox -- Let's Be Buried Together
GBV -- Hot Freaks
Julian Cope -- Out of My Mind on Dope and Speed
Weird War -- Store Bought Pot
Patti Smith -- My Generation
Pavement -- The Classical
Superchunk -- Basement Life
Yo La Tengo -- Big Day Coming
Mark Bolan -- Thunder Wing
Oneida -- Sinister Purpose
Galaxie 500 -- Flowers
Apples in Stereo -- Seems So
Belle & Sebastian -- Legal Man
Zombies -- Tell Her No
Royal Trux -- Delta 70 of Hearts
Blond Redhead --Without Feathers
Metal Urbain -- Ghetto
Television Personalities -- Favorite Films
Greg Ashley -- Apple Pie and Genocide
Smog -- Butterflies Drowned in Wine
Silver Jews -- Self-Ignition
Neil Young -- Walk On
Rolling Stones -- Before You Make Me Run
Circulatory System -- Yesterdays World
Slumber Party -- Behave
Fugs -- Supergirl
Wrens -- Faster Gun
Cornelius -- Thank You For the Music

March 17, 2004

Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten

* Excellent Denver Post editorial on the continued failure of the US Drug policy. an excerpt:

"In the early 20th century, labor leader Samuel Gompers set forth his reasons to Congress why opium should be criminalized: 'Opium gives the Chinese immigrant workers an unfair advantage in the labor market.'

"Racists in Congress supported drug criminalization in order to suppress the 'Jew peddlers,' while the State Department's 'opium commissioner,' Hamilton Wright, urged criminalization of cocaine on grounds that it turned African-Americans into rapists of white women.

"On such specious and racist foundations were drugs criminalized. (It is perhaps not an irony that today, at a time when African-Americans struggle for economic opportunities, they make up 90 percent of those actually prosecuted and incarcerated for minor drug offenses. The devastating impact on the families, social fabric, and economic opportunities for African-Americans is virtually impossible to measure.)

"Indeed, drugs were considered only a 'minor medical problem' prior to criminalization in 1914. In the 1920s, Congressman Richard Hobson was one of the first to realize the specious justifications for criminalization and its terrible consequences: 'Ten years ago \[before criminalization\] the narcotic drug addiction problem was a minor medical problem. Today, it is a major national problem, constituting the chief factor menacing public health today.'"


Will Oldham on Bonnie Prince Billy and Bonnie Prince Billy on Will Oldham.

* Easily one of the most amazingly jaw-dropping statements made during an Administration of jaw-dropping statements: Bush on John Kerry informing the media that foreign leaders are backing him, not Bush: "If you're going to make an accusation..., you've got to back it up with facts." Apparently, Bush is above the schoolyard dictum: practice what you preach.

* And, you can dress him up, but you can't take him out: Dress-Up Jesus:

My friend has my favorite teeth they bend backwards when she breathes and whistles

* "Justice? You get justice in the next world; in this world you have the law." -- William Gaddis

* The article, The Sins of the Bush Administration ends:

"So, has this administration sinned? Let's see... it has broken all of the commandments that an administration can break (excluding the six that don't apply to an administration) and violated each of the seven deadly sins. Obviously there's some work to be done on the most basic issues before it goes after minor things like gay marriage or stem cells.

"Perhaps before the administration speaks so rightously about how others should behave, it should take a good look, as its god might do, on how it behaves. If it truly looked at its worshipped commandments and prohibitions, it might find, as we all do, that there's a sinner in all of us. In some ways, this administration is the biggest sinner of all. "

* Onward Christian Soldiers. [via skimble]

"No one likes to see people murdered in cold blood. But the very presence of fundamentalist missionaries in Iraq (as part of the official relief effort, no less) is a cultural and political abomination, as well as a classic example of just how seriously the Bush admnistration takes the struggle against terrorism -- which is to say, not very seriously at all."

March 16, 2004

R. Crumb Says

the way you say goodnight I dream of all day long

* Big Oil and a Drunk Nun: the state of we're in.

* Yeah Yeah Yeah's Karen O on how she eats a banana:

"What I like to do is break off the end, peel it a little bit and then just suck on the end of it for a while until it gets nice and mushy. And then, basically, after sucking on the tip for a little while, then I just go at it and gobble it down." [via no rock and roll fun]

* So We Lied, so what? an excerpt:

"As we all know, Bush&Co. act forcefully, aggressively, arrogantly, in both the domestic and foreign arenas. They don't seem to care if what they do is based on lies, or immorality, or illegalities. Once the deed has been done, the Bushies say it's senseless to look back and examine how those decisions were made. That's old history, it's time to 'move on.'

"As Bush himself has suggested, whether his Administration gave true or false reasons for going to war is not the issue - he blithely said "What's the difference?" The supposed biological and chemical weapons ready to be used on U.S. troops and delivered by drone planes to the U.S. mainland, the supposed nuclear bombs that could be detonated over American cities, the supposed close links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden - all these constantly-repeated charges are, according to Bush, no longer worth discussing. 'What's the difference?'

"But to members of Congress and to us ordinary American citizens in the run-up to the war, those reasons - delivered as proven facts by the likes of Cheney, Bush, Rice, Powell and Rumsfeld - were accepted as genuine. Not only did it turn out that those assertions that took us to war were untrue, but now we're told that they don't really matter, anyway. According to Bush and his cronies, the war happened, Iraq is occupied, and it's time to 'move on,' nothing to see here, folks.

"You see how the magic trick is performed. First, you make the war 'inevitable,' then you make the United Nations and other protesting agencies and allies 'irrelevant' because, you see, the war is 'inevitable.' And then, once you've launched the war and got lots of people killed and maimed, then - according to this non-logic - it doesn't make any sense to keep debating the rightness or wrongness or morality or practicality of what you did. It's a done deal, and the U.S. citizenry needs to 'move on.'

"This is the same Bush&Co. that, in true conservative fashion, talk endlessly about the need for folks to assume personal accountability and responsibility for their actions. (They're even pushing a 'Personal Responsibility' bill right now, with regard to food consumption.) But personal responsibility is for the other people, the little people. Bush never assumes responsibility for anything that goes wrong on his watch. If he's forced to admit that 'mistakes were made' - notice the intransitive language - he'll find a scapegoat to take the hit. "

* From the Washington Post: Jessica Simpson, whose verbal gaffes are also legendary, pulled another one Sunday visiting the White House, our sources say. The singer was introduced to Interior Secretary Gale Norton and gushed: "You've done a nice job decorating the White House."

March 15, 2004

the truth is of the moment the believer is to blame

* Washington Post editorial on Bush's lack of truth so far in his campaign ads. excerpt:

"But voters are entitled to a minimum level of honesty in the argument. On that score, Mr. Bush's initial attacks fall short. For example, the respective views of the two candidates on the proper use of intelligence in the war on terrorism are a legitimate -- indeed a critical -- issue in the first election of a president after Sept. 11, 2001. Yet Mr. Bush's attack on a Kerry proposal nine years ago to cut the intelligence budget does more to distort than to illuminate. When Mr. Kerry proposed a $1.5 billion cut over five years in the intelligence budget, the United States was reaping the "peace dividend" from the Cold War, and the center of congressional debate was not whether cuts could be made but how much could be cut from Pentagon and CIA spending. Mr. Kerry's proposed 1 percent cut was not a 'gutting,' as Mr. Bush alleged."

* Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Bush's Crimes Against Nature.

"George W. Bush will go down in history as America's worst environmental president. In a ferocious three-year attack, the Bush administration has initiated more than 200 major rollbacks of America's environmental laws, weakening the protection of our country's air, water, public lands and wildlife. Cloaked in meticulously crafted language designed to deceive the public, the administration intends to eliminate the nation's most important environmental laws by the end of the year.

"Under the guidance of Republican pollster Frank Luntz, the Bush White House has actively hidden its anti-environmental program behind deceptive rhetoric, telegenic spokespeople, secrecy and the intimidation of scientists and bureaucrats. The Bush attack was not entirely unexpected. George W. Bush had the grimmest environmental record of any governor during his tenure in Texas. Texas became number one in air and water pollution and in the release of toxic chemicals. In his six years in Austin, he championed a short-term pollution-based prosperity, which enriched his political contributors and corporate cronies by lowering the quality of life for everyone else. Now President Bush is set to do the same to America. After three years, his policies are already bearing fruit, diminishing standards of living for millions of Americans. "

* Kerry proposes to debate Bush monthly until the election, on the "the great issues before us."
Of course, Bush's people dismissed the idea, stating "Senator Kerry should finish the debate with himself before he starts trying to explain his position to voters."
The blessed grace of waking up of breathing in the sheets

* In the weeks after 9/11 three tragedies burdened our souls. While unemployment rose, shattered families mourned, and bombs still fell in Afghanistan, Bush turned to his budget director, Mitch Daniels, and said,"Lucky me. I hit the trifecta.".

"When that quote was published I expected a White House denial. Instead, Bush turned it into a laugh line at a series of private fundraisers. Time and again it served as the punch line for the most tasteless joke ever told.

"You see, both the president and his well-heeled contributors knew that he could not sustain their massive tax cuts without shifting the cost to the remaining taxpayers - the middle class - by running massive deficits.

"But he had promised not to do that! He needed a loophole - an excuse to give the voters. So he manufactured his trifecta joke.

"'You know, I was campaigning in Chicago and somebody asked me, is there ever any time where the budget might have to go into deficit? I said only if we were at war or had a national emergency or were in recession. (Laughter.) Little did I realize we'd get the trifecta. (Laughter.)'

"To appreciate the tastelessness, remember the context. His audience knew the game. Bush needed political cover for their lavish tax cuts. That's why the transcript shows the strange notation (Laughter) when he mentions war, national emergency, and recession. And why they laugh again when he happily calls them a trifecta - racetrack jargon for three "lucky winners" in a row!

"Is depravity too strong a word?"

* If you are not already aware, largeheartedboy is posting some great mp3s for your listening pleasure.

* Yesterday, I stopped at Cleveland Park's best spot, Vace. There was a long line, spanning back to the door. Besides the line, the first thing I noticed upon entering was a super annoying, five(ish) year old -- whose mother looked very familar -- running around the shop, being very noisey, and without trying, drawing lots of attention to herself. Hungover and hungry, the little girl was about the last thing I needed. I couldn't understand why the parents were not asking her to quiet down.

At one point, when she sat on a barrel full of dried pasta, her father told her, "its rude to sit on food," apparently pleased with his rhyme. It wasn't until the father used the mothers name to call across the shop to ask how many anchovies they needed that I realized the women, with the completely annoying child, was former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers.

March 12, 2004

Join us on St. Patrick's Day for another exciting edition of POTLUCK.
Bill Evans on Art

"My creed for art in general is that it should enrich the soul; it should teach spirituality by showing a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise...a part of yourself you never knew existed."

"I think some young people want a deeper experience. Some people just wanna be hit over the head and, you know, if then they [get] hit hard enough maybe they'll feel something. You know? But some people want to get inside of something and discover, maybe, more richness. And I think it will always be the same; they're not going to be the great percentage of the people. A great percentage of the people don't want a challenge. They want something to be done to them -- they don't want to participate. But there'll always be maybe 15% maybe, 15%, that desire something more, and they'll search it out -- and maybe that's where art is, I think."

* And, The Exorcist, in 30 seconds, re-enacted by bunnies. [via silver jews bb]
Frightening quotes

Quotes taken from this piece.

* "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

- George W. Bush, discussing Kosovo, Houston Chronicle, 04-09-99

* "Probably nothing."

- Jeb Bush, during his losing 1994 bid for Florida Governor, when asked what he would do for black people, quoted by Salon on 10-05-02

* "My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building."

- Ann Coulter, New York Observer, 08-26-02

* "I don't understand how poor people think."

- George W. Bush, confiding in the Rev. Jim Wallis, New York Times, 08-26-03

* "Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."

- Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Alaska Public Radio, 08-19-96

* "Two things made this country great: White men & Christianity. The degree these two have diminished is in direct proportion to the corruption and fall of the nation. Every problem that has arisen (sic) can be directly traced back to our departure from God's Law and the disenfranchisement of White men."

- State Rep. Don Davis (R-NC), emailed to every member of the North Carolina House and Senate, reported by the Fayetteville Observer, 08-22-01

March 11, 2004

Two Poems by Thomas Lux

The Late Ambassadorial Light

Light reaches through a leaf
and that light, diminished, passes through
another leaf,
and another, down
to the lawn beneath.
Green, green, the high grass shivers.
Water over a stone, and bees,
bees around the flowers, deep-tiered beds
of them, yellows and golds and reds.
Saw-blade ferns feather in the breeze.
And, just as a cloud's corner
catches the sun, a tiny glint in the garden — the milk
of a broken stalk? A lion's tooth?
Or might that be the delicate labia
of an orchid?

To Help the Monkey Cross the River,

which he must
cross, by swimming, for fruits and nuts,
to help him
I sit with my rifle on a platform
high in a tree, same side of the river
as the hungry monkey. How does this assist
him? When he swims for it
I look first upriver: predators move faster with
the current than against it.
If a crocodile is aimed from upriver to eat the monkey
and an anaconda from downriver burns
with the same ambition, I do
the math, algebra, angles, rate-of-monkey,
croc- and snake-speed, and if, if
it looks as though the anaconda or the croc
will reach the monkey
before he attains the river's far bank,
I raise my rifle and fire
one, two, three, even four times into the river
just behind the monkey
to hurry him up a little.
Shoot the snake, the crocodile?
They're just doing their jobs,
but the monkey, the monkey
has little hands like a child's,
and the smart ones, in a cage, can be taught to smile.
And you laugh at all the sailors freezing on the sea

* Excellent Chicago Tribune editorial on medical marijuana. excerpts:

"The current Bush administration has been equally horrified by the idea that marijuana could be anything but evil. Not long after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when you might have thought the Justice Department had more urgent priorities, federal agents continued raiding 'cannabis clubs' that furnish pot to patients whose doctors have prescribed it, in accordance with state law.

"As if it weren't enough to dictate what goes into patients' mouths, U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft also took it upon himself to dictate what could come out of doctors' mouths: The administration made it illegal for physicians to prescribe or even discuss marijuana with their patients as a treatment."

"But that hasn't stopped the president's lieutenants from pursuing their vendetta. Andrea Barthwell, deputy director of the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, denounced the 9th Circuit's reasoning. "There is no scientific evidence that qualifies smoked marijuana to be called medicine," she declared.

"Her opinion rejects the view of many medical professionals, including those at the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, which has called for rescinding the federal ban. It also ignores a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences, a federal body, which recognized 'the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation.'"

"The next administration might be better, or it might not. John Edwards has rejected marijuana as medicine while endorsing the federal raids on cannabis clubs. John Kerry, however, supports federal legislation allowing the medical use of marijuana with a doctor's approval. Asked last year if he would halt the Drug Enforcement Administration raids, he didn't give one of those long-winded answers that Edwards has mocked. His reply was a model of brevity: "Yes."

"On this issue, Kerry is in perfect step with public opinion. Ten states have legalized medical marijuana, and more than 30 have passed resolutions in favor of it. Polls indicate that the great majority of Americans think cannabis should be available for whatever medical value it has.

"But Bush and Edwards want to continue a vindictive policy that ignores the experience of medical professionals, shortchanges science and treats suffering people as criminals.

"It's enough to make you ill."

* Calpundit on george tenets testimony and his relationship with dick cheney.

* As military and congressional investigators continue to pore over Halliburton's books, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is raising questions about cost estimates that fluctuate by as much as $700 million or that rely on information from sacked subcontractors.

March 10, 2004

Three poems by Ed Sanders

The Ice (a true tale), from Peace in a Raging Century, Selected Poems 1961-1985

It was new year's
Eve 1959 and there was
no where to make love

the were sitting in te Figaro Cafe
at MacDougal & Bleecker Streets
sipping an orzata and a grenadine

bought a small bottle of brandy
went to
fort tryon park
washington heights
columbia boat basin

climbed high up in the
rocks there had been snow

making love
steep incline between rocks
tennis shoes gripping
opened his coat and they
wigged off the rock
and slid down the ice flow

"we're sliding." they couldn't stop
& the ice thrilled her buttocks.

Anger Farms & Gambling, from America: A History in Verse 1900-1961

In the USA that summer [1930]
the huge wheat crop
let to a collapse in prices

while in Nevada the Depression
drove it to legalize gambling, quickie non religious marriages,
& divorces after six weeks,
after which there wasn't much more of a money problem
unto the century's end

Fred & Ginger, from America: A History in Verse 1900-1961

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
began their dance films

Their dances were filmed
in long, flowing takes
with full figure solos &
pas de deux

Dancing, in the days of the Hays Code,
was as close to balling
as the Nation could see

As Katherine Hepburn allegedly said, "He gave her class, and she
gave him sex."
Lost your love of life? Too much apple pie

* An 'unknown soldier' just back from Iraq speaks about the war, and what is happening in Iraq. an excerpt:

Do you think the American public is well-informed about what is happening in Iraq?

No, I really don?t. I see young people on my medical table all the time, people who have lost their legs or arms or had other terrible injuries. No one back home sees any of that. I?ve been home for a month and I haven?t seen a casualty yet on television. I?m still waiting. Where are the casualties? It?s as if it doesn?t exist, as if it doesn?t happen.

What about Iraqi deaths and injuries?

We don?t care about Iraqi deaths. It?s something that does not even count. The hospital was told not to keep count. The Iraqi infrastructure does not keep an account of the deaths anymore.


The American government told them not to. We do always keep a list of the Americans injured and the number that die. But here in America you don?t see anything about these soldiers coming back. You don?t read anything about the funeral. It?s like it?s a secret, like these people didn?t exist.

Was it like this in previous wars?


What brought about the change?

From what I gather, it used to be that the president would go out to the area to meet the [deceased] soldiers coming in. They would drape the caskets and they would actually watch and give a moment of silence as the coffin came by. The Bush Administration felt that was too much for Americans to handle, so they secured that part of the ceremony so that no one knows when that fallen soldier comes home. It?s an injustice to the military, because you gave your life to the country and the country should give something back to you. Even just a moment of silence. Every day that someone dies, the flag should be lowered to half staff. Not just because a politician died.

Those guys are good people. They work hard. They do anything and everything that is asked of them. And they gave the ultimate sacrifice. It should not be that you have to go to a website to find out who died.

* Where's the Wi-Fi? Click here to find it in your area.

* NME's best records of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

* Say hello to arm sasser.

March 9, 2004

I'm a footnote at best I envy who comes next

* Il Cavallo Cattivo shows us what keeps Aussie's warm: Possum Fur Nipple Warmers.

"Possum fur nipple warmers are new, fun, and functional. Great for cushioning your nipples by placing inside your bra, protecting from cold and excessive "show through." No more embarrassing pointers on nippy mornings. Great comfort for breastfeeders with tender nipples." If you want a set, they also have Possum fun g-strings.

* Request: Anyone out there willing and able to copy for me the wren's secaucus??? Drop a line. I'd be grateful.
Our lowly liquor lobby longs to back a road to old time songs

* Girl gets new cell phone, somehow is given Chris Rock's number. Gets calls from Spike Lee and Adam Sandler. [via freakgirl]

* New York (55 percent) and Washington DC (37 percent) lead the nation in percent of commuters that use public transportation. The national average is five percent.

* Artists for Literacy presents a list of songs inspired by literature. [via maud newton]

March 8, 2004

The Day the Music Died

Its a sad day here at the dust congress, as we have learned (officially) that our friends at Now Music & Fashion announced that, like many other indie record stores in the area and nationwide, they will be closing their doors very soon.

"After over 4 years in business, the owners of Now! Music and Fashion have decided to close permanently, so we can move on and pursue other opportunities. We've had a blast talking to you about music, putting on instore performances, and participating in the local community. But the best thing about running a record store has been the opportunity to meet you. Many thanks to our loyal customers and friends we've made along the way."

Until they close, everything in the store is 30 percent off, so head on down to Alexandria next weekend and grab that cd you've been meaning to order online. They are open Thursday through Saturday from 12 to 8. And Sunday from 12 to 6.

there's no hope for generating electricity

* How's your pot etiquette: take the quiz.

* Some of the flips and flops of president bush.

* the capitol years play dc's black cat this Wednesday night. Be sure to be there, if you want some rock and roll fun.
sprouting clumps of mushrooms like a world surreal

* A picture from one of the many events at 'Arnold Fitness Weekend.' California Governor and former body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger will make an appearance at the event.

* Charlize Theron and the apple.

* LowCulture's "get well soon" to hospitalized attorney general John Ashcroft.

March 5, 2004

Three Poems by Frank O'Hara

Alice Neel, "Frank O'Hara," 1960. Oil on canvas

As Planned

After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even your own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweden
for they are words that you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
or what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don't you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?

A Quiet Poem

When music is far enough away
the eyelid does not often move

and objects are still as lavender
without breath or distant rejoinder.

The cloud is then so subtly dragged
away by the silver flying machine

that the thought of it alone echoes
unbelievably; the sound of the motor falls

like a coin toward the ocean's floor
and the eye does not flicker

as it does when in the loud sun a coin
rises and nicks the near air. Now,

slowly, the heart breathes to music
while the coins lie in wet yellow sand.


Alone at night
in the wet city

the country's wit
is not memorable.

The wind has blown
all the trees down

but these anxieties
remain erect, being

the heart's deliberate
chambers of hurt

and fear whether
from a green apartment

seeming diamonds or
from an airliner

seeming fields. It's
not simple or tidy

though in rows of
rows and numbered;

the literal drifts
colorfully and

the hair is combed
with bridges, all

compromises leap
to stardom and lights.

If alone I am
able to love it,

the serious voices,
the panic of jobs,

it is sweet to me.
Far from burgeoning

verdure, the hard way
in this street.

late for work and you go home early

* DC bands in NY: Metropolitan plays Siberia tonight (free show, late set) and the caribbean will be at the Knitting Factory on Tuesday March 9 (FREE show). Both bands are kicking off short tours with the New York shows.

Metropolitan will play the Warehouse Next Door (DC, March 7); The Khyber (Philidelphia, March 10); Kings Barcade (Raleigh, March 12); the Rock for Choice show (University of Richmond, March 26); and will be back in New York at TISWAS at Don Hill's (April 17).

The Caribbean is at Doc Watson's (Philidelphia, March 12); AS220 (Providence, March 17); Zeitgeist Gallery (Cambridge, March 19); Pete's Candy Store (Brooklyn, March 20); The Talking Head (Baltimore, March 23); and will be back in DC at Warehouse Next Door on March 31.

* The Guardian on Bonnie Prince Billy.

* Listen to Pink Nasty cover the strokes, and others.

March 4, 2004

I watched it for a little while I like to watch things on TV

* George Bush and the Gilded Age, an essay by Yoshi Tsurumi (Professor of International Business, Baruch College, the City University of New York) who formerly was Bush's professor during the Harvard B-school days. Read what he has to say about how Bush then:

"At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that 'people are poor because they are lazy.' He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to 'free market competition.' To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was 'socialism.' Recently, President Bush's Federal Appeals Court Nominee, California's Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown, repeated the same broadside at her Senate hearing. She knew that her pronouncement would please President Bush and Karl Rove and their Senators. President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary, and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal."

* reviews the new Bush campaign ads.

* Too Busy
--- by David Budbill

Have ambition and ego ruined my life?
Where have my easy days gone?

If only I had a monk friend to wander off
into the mountains to visit. If only I were
so idle I had time to visit him. If only we
could while away the day drinking tea,
playing flutes, and talking. If only, as the
moon rose, my friend could point the way
home through the dark mountains with
the night sky's lantern to light the way.

If only I were happy with that.
woke up in a burnt out basement sleeping with metal heads

* Australia's political Porn Star Party forced by authorities to remove a billboard because of fears it is so "steamy" it will cause a crash. Picture at the link, what do you think?

* TMFTML fan mail sparks debate.

* Ask Auntie Pinko.

March 3, 2004

crime and punishment

* Returned from lunch today to find most of the street by my McPherson Square office blocked off by yellow police tape. Apparently, some guy tried to rob an armored truck delivering money to the bank next door, and was shot in the leg by the driver of the truck. The robber had a shotgun, which he pulled on the driver, on the sidewalk, in broad daylight, at the height of lunch hour. Not the brightest bank robber ever... Everyone had to wait a long time before the police would let us back in the building. Spotted famed Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee at the scene -- he was eating lunch at the outrageously expensive Gerard's Place when the shooting occurred. The press flocked to him to get a statement, but he kept walking.

Washington Post article on the shooting.
everyone's their own producer

* "The fact is I don't trust a man who uses the word evil eighteen times in ten minutes. If you're half evil, nothing soothes you more than to think the person you are opposed to is totally evil." -- Norman Mailer

* Interesting Will Oldham interview which mostly focuses on the recording process. [via twinkle twinkle blah blah]


"JDK: What was it like recording with Johnny Cash?

BPB: It was uh. (Pauses for a long moment.) An inspiration. It was SO cool because it was so much more exciting than I had expected it to be, which is a rare occurrence. I didn't have a lot of expectations, but I didn't expect it to be such an involved and invigorating day.

JDK: Are you a bourbon drinker?

BPB Uh huh.

JDK: What kind of bourbon do you like?

BPB: My favorite bourbon...What have we been drinking lately? WL Weller is what I've had mostly in the last six months. Overall my all-time favorite is just Maker's Mark.

JDK: I had Van Winkle the other day, which

BPB: Yeah, that's really good.

JDK: You have to plan your schedule accordingly, though, you drink it and wake up a hundred years later.

BPB: Right exactly. Old Rip Van Winkle. I used to drink Evan Williams a lot. Probably because it was inexpensive, but I thought it was delicious as well. I always feel like Maker's Mark is the standard, it's the benchmark, in terms of not being too rarefied, and it's delicious, and it makes you feel good."

* "All civilization ever does is hide the blood and cover up the hate with pretty words." -- Ursula K. LeGuin

March 2, 2004

My senses have been stripped, my hands can't feel to grip

* The American Dialect Society lists the 2003 Words of the Year.

* Michael Jackson's Thriller video recreated using Lego (scroll to bottom for link). [via chromewaves]

* Review of Hunter S. Thompson's Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century. an excerpt:

"What truly makes Thompson’s book a worthwhile read is that he is still an astute observer of politics, and his writing in these sections is Hunter at his best. Only Thompson can paint a picture of American politics (and American life) in such a dismal, doomed manner, yet still have the reader laughing uncontrollably at his offensive satirical approach. Hunter S. Thompson, whose distaste for former President Nixon was never a secret, pays Nixon a compliment of sort when giving us his own personal feelings towards current President Bush:

'Let’s face it—the yo-yo president of the U.S.A. knows nothing. He is a dunce. He does what he is told to do—says what he is told to say [...] To say this goofy child president is looking more and more like Richard Nixon in the summer of 1974 would be a flagrant insult to Nixon. Whoops! Did I say that? Is it even vaguely possible that some New Age Republican could actually make Nixon look like a Liberal? (65).'

Writing while events in the Middle East were rising to newly heightened pitches, Thompson graces us with his personal insights about American politics and politics in general.

'Politics is the art of controlling your environment… Never forget it, or you will become a Victim of your own environment. Rich nerds and lawyers will stomp all over you worse than any A-rab, and you will be like the eight ball on some country-club billiards table near Atlanta—whack, over and out [...]

'And so much for that, eh? Jews don’t play pool anyway, and neither do A-rabs. They are tribal people, which means they are primitive thinkers. They feel a genetic imperative to kill each other, and it tends to get in their way… Or maybe that brutal compulsion comes from the Holy Bible, which is definitely true. The Bible is unforgiving. There is not a scintilla of mercy or humor in the Holy Bible. None. (17-18)."