August 7, 2007

Paper cups and cigarette butts left in the sink

John Salvest, Paper Trail, 2003, Shredded Enron Letterhead

* New York Times. excerpt:

"It was appalling to watch over the last few days as Congress — now led by Democrats — caved in to yet another unnecessary and dangerous expansion of President Bush’s powers, this time to spy on Americans in violation of basic constitutional rights. Many of the 16 Democrats in the Senate and 41 in the House who voted for the bill said that they had acted in the name of national security, but the only security at play was their job security.

"There was plenty of bad behavior. Republicans marched in mindless lockstep with the president. There was double-dealing by the White House. The director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell, crossed the line from being a steward of this nation’s security to acting as a White House political operative.

"But mostly, the spectacle left us wondering what the Democrats — especially their feckless Senate leaders — plan to do with their majority in Congress if they are too scared of Republican campaign ads to use it to protect the Constitution and restrain an out-of-control president.
"In the Senate, the team of Harry Reid, the majority leader, gave up fast, agreeing to a deal that doomed any good bill. The senators then hurriedly approved the White House bill, dumped it on the House and skulked off on vacation. Representative Rahm Emanuel, the fourth-ranking member of the Democratic House leadership, said yesterday that his party would not wait for the new eavesdropping authority to expire, and would have a new, measured bill on the floor by October. We look forward to reading it.

"But the problem with Congress last week was that Democrats were afraid to explain to Americans why the White House bill was so bad and so unnecessary — despite what the White House was claiming. There are good answers, if Democrats are willing to address voters as adults. To start, they should explain that — even if it were a good idea, and it’s not — the government does not have the capability to sort through billions of bits of electronic communication. And the larger question: why, six years after 9/11, is this sort of fishing expedition the supposed first line of defense in the war on terrorism?

"While serving little purpose, the new law has real dangers. It would allow the government to intercept, without a warrant, every communication into or out of any country, including the United States. Instead of explaining all this to American voters — the minimal benefits and the enormous risks — the Democrats have allowed Mr. Bush and his fear-mongering to dominate all discussions on terrorism and national security.
"Mr. Bush’s incessant fear-mongering — and the Democrats’ refusal to challenge him — has had one notable success. The only issue on which Americans say that they trust Republicans more than Democrats is terrorism. At least those Americans are afraid of terrorists. The Democrats who voted for this bill, and others like it over the last few years, show only fear of Republicans.

"The Democratic majority has made strides on other issues like children’s health insurance against White House opposition. As important as these measures are, they do not excuse the Democrats from remedying the damage Mr. Bush has done to civil liberties and the Bill of Rights. That is their most important duty."

* Description and picture of, every gun used in Scarface.

* From a 2001 interview of Steve Buscemi. excerpt:

AW: In a relatively short space of time you did an impressive amount of character parts. You were also in New York Stories, directed by Scorsese, and you began your relationship with the Coen brothers. As an actor, was there a particular film-maker at that time, in the late eighties, who had a major influence on you?

SB: I'd say that the director I had most involvement with was Alex Rockwell in In the Soup. It was one of my earliest leading roles, and he gave me a lot of responsibility as an actor. In it I was playing a film-maker, and at that time I had already written the script for Trees Lounge, but I wasn't able to get it off the ground, so it's ironic that I was able to play a budding director in In the Soup and in Living in Oblivion as well. In the film I had to show a short film to Seymour Cassel's character, and he let me shoot that and edit it. I guess your question was about acting…

AW: I was going to go on to ask about directing…

SB: Well, acting with Seymour Cassel, who is somebody whose work I really admire from the Cassavetes films. I learnt a lot working with him as an actor. With Alex I was privy to the whole editing process, which I hadn't done before, so that was interesting to see how a director makes a film in post-production.
AW: Then in the mid-90s you did Trees Lounge, which, as you said, was long in gestation. I remember when you were here before and talking about the personal nature of the film, you said that you weren't sure that you would make another film that you wrote a script for that was so personal. What's happened in the interim?

SB: I haven't been able to do it again! I don't really consider myself a writer as such. When I was doing it in the theatre, I was doing most of it with Boone. Trees Lounge was really hard for me to write, so I was grateful to have other material come to me through Eddy Bunker that was already there. We worked the script a lot, and I did some writing on it, but… Hopefully, one day, I'll write another original screenplay, but right know it's more important to keep directing, so it doesn't matter so much where the material comes from. As long as it's good.

* "Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object." -- Albert Camus


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