May 16, 2006

got on the bus half-drunk again the driver glared at me

ada and vincent in the car, alex katz (1972)

* Brian Eno's 1999 Wired article The Revenge of the Intuitive, [via] concludes:

"Since so much of our experience is mediated in some way or another, we have deep sensitivities to the signatures of different media. Artists play with these sensitivities, digesting the new and shifting the old. In the end, the characteristic forms of a tool's or medium's distortion, of its weakness and limitations, become sources of emotional meaning and intimacy.

"Although designers continue to dream of 'transparency' - technologies that just do their job without making their presence felt - both creators and audiences actually like technologies with 'personality.' A personality is something with which you can have a relationship. Which is why people return to pencils, violins, and the same three guitar chords."

* Molly Ivans: Could Lunacy Explain Bush's Policies? excerpt:

"Militarizing the border is a totally terrible idea. Do we have a State Department? Are they sentient? How much do you want to infuriate Mexico when it’s sitting on quite a bit of oil? Bush knows what the most likely outcome of this move will be. He was governor during the political firestorm that ensued when a Marine taking part in anti-drug patrols on the border shot and killed Esequiel Hernandez, an innocent goat herder from Redford, Texas. That’s the definition of crazy—repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

"I suppose politics could explain it, too. It’s quite possible that lunacy and politics are closely related. It’s still damned hard cheese for the Guard, though. The Guard is heavily deployed in Iraq, currently 20% of those serving, down from 40% last year. Some soldiers are sent back for multiple tours. Lt. Gen. James Helmly, head of the Army Reserve, said the Reserve is rapidly degenerating into “a broken force” and is “in grave danger of being unable to meet other operational requirements.” Happy hurricane season to you, too. The Guard is also short on equipment and falling short on recruiting goals."
"The Washington Post editorialized, 'Budgetary dishonesty, distributional unfairness, fiscal irresponsibility—by now the words are so familiar, it can be hard to appreciate how damaging this fiscal course will be.'

"Both President Bush and Veep Cheney are still going around claiming if you cut taxes, your tax revenues increase. No, they don’t. Now we’re just in whackoville. It’s not true. Their own economists tell them it’s not true, but they go about claiming it is with the same desperate tenacity with which they clung to false tales of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. How pathetic.

"Speaking of lunacy, the saddest report from Iraq is that American soldiers showing signs of psychological distress and depression are being kept on active duty, increasing the risk of suicide. The Hartford Courant reports that even soldiers who have already been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome are kept on duty. This has led to an increase in the suicide rate—22 soldiers in 2005. And as I have reported before, the military is unprepared to deal with the flood of head cases coming back from Iraq. How many ways can we mistreat our own soldiers, while the right makes an elaborate show of devotion to 'the troops.'"
"As for the Iraq fantasy and those who pushed it on a reluctant country through lies, disinformation and bending intelligence—isn’t there a law against that?"

* From the June 2006 edition of Harper's:

-- Percentage change in U.S. discretionary spending during the first five years of George W. Bush's presidency: +35

-- Percentage change during Lyndon Johnson's and Bill Clinton's first five years, respectively: +25, -8

-- Percentage change since 1990 in the number of Americans who describe themselves as 'nonreligious': +106

-- Chances that an American says he or she uses the word 'fuck': 2 in 3

-- Amount a Pennsylvania t-ball coach paid a player last year to hit an autistic teammate with a ball: $25


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