Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, July 25, 2003
President George W. Bush signs the executive order renaming the President's Committee on Mental Retardation to the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) in the Oval Office Friday, July 25, 2003.
Photo: Paul Morse, whitehouse.gov
Profiles in Deregulation
Over half of the top-rated half-hours of local news broadcasts that aired in the weeks leading up to the 2002 midterm elections did not contain a single story about the campaign, a new report from The Lear Center Local News Archive at the University of Southern California said. Of the more than 10,000 broadcasts analyzed by the study, only 44 percent contained at least one campaign news story...seven percent of the broadcasts analyzed contained three or more campaign news stories, while nearly half - 49 percent - contained three or more paid campaign ads. The overall ratio added up to nearly four campaign ads for each campaign story aired during an average newscast.
Thursday, July 24, 2003
Possibly in a coordinated Midwestern response to tonight's highly entertaining and uplifting Queer Eye for the Straight Guy I was subjected to several irate reader outbursts along the lines of, "Where's the promised seafood recipe?" and "I've seen only one ceramic pot in the last few months..." Thank God you people can't pick through my cupboards and underwear drawer with bar-b-cue tongs!
8-10 oz fresh picked White Crabmeat
1 Yellow Pepper, seeded, chopped
3-4 Green Onion, chopped
1/2 Cup Parsley, fresh, chopped
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
Assemble ingredients. Chill several hours. Add a dash of Rice Vinegar before serving. Serve with shredded Iceberg Lettuce and fresh sliced Tomatoes. Bliss.
Anxiously awaiting the arrival of this 6" square Herman Mueller Kensington design bearing the American Encaustic mark. Likely designed in the early 1880's, Mueller, in the manner and spirit of the itinerant artists of the time, could have taken a mold or two along on the trip from Newport, Kentucky to Zanesville, Ohio around 1888. Mueller's classical designs from the Kensington Tile Works and the American Encaustic Tiling Company are very hard to find. This looks to be a particularly good mold but only close inspection will tell the tale.
Today the Vice President of the United States ascended from his subterranean lair for another no-question-asked ex cathedra pronouncement in this newly orchestrated counter-attack on critics of his credibility-plagued Executive branch.
The Bush administration’s Eminence Gris, looking a tad more gris, tried to maintain the fig leaf of an involved CEO President while claiming the administration’s factual support came from a document the President and his National Security Advisor have publicly claimed not to have read in its entirety.
The October 2, 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, assembled through intra agency haggling and politics, said:
"We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction program in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions. If left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."
The basis for these broad claims rests on the famous Dodgy Dossiers; forgeries of Nigerian government documents stolen by unknown parties from the Nigerian Embassy in Rome, Italy early in January of 2001.
The “crude forgeries” indicated that Iraq was attempting to purchase uranium yellowcake, restated in the immortal words of President Bush II, from Africa.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported two separate memos from the CIA were sent to Assistant National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley on October 5th and 6th 2002 that disproved an Iraqi interest in acquiring yellowcake; memos Hadley claims to have forgotten until recent events jogged his memory.
We have been told Mr. Hadley is a fine Assistant National Security Advisor. I suspect if the Congress is able to get past claims of privilege we will find him, like so much else connected to this administration, to have been only “darn good”.
Mr. Cheney forgets that most Americans have already witnessed events oddly similar to this yellowcake flap in a past still recent from traumatic memory.
A stark reminder of that other time when the President discounted an intelligence briefing during a lazy August vacation in Crawford came with today’s release of the sanitized Report of Congressional Investigation into the events surrounding September 11, 2001.
Ironically, through the same tightly coordinated efforts of the media Wurlitzer that enabled and maintained their power, the Bush defense, in the yellowcake matter devolved into noise, pointing fingers and thinly veiled threats.
Americans, with our short attention spans, are not as good extracting information from dense word convolutions as we are at quick subjective judgments.
Able-bodied Bush lackeys, echoing through the Wurlitzer, have been working double and triple overtime (unpaid, I hope) executing the Vice President’s attack on the hyped build to the Iraq II war. The exuberant avalanche of media could’s, might’s and maybe’s that herald massaged news have prompted a dizzying array of random images and irrelevant concepts. But, some concepts, like a 14 year-old boy dying in a firefight, poke through the numbing blizzard.
Concepts like Presidents and their PhD advisors who do not read the brief and beautifully typed classified reports placed so carefully by fussy sub-assistants on their uncluttered highly polished desks knife cleanly out of the darkness to command an occupied American’s attention.
Clearly, Mr. Vice President, the President has not been served by your direction of his government. As former Presidents and their advisors have counseled, the only course for the self-described “man in the bubble” is the complete frankness of a Nixonion “total hangout”. The Vice President could have taken a major step today by simply taking reporter’s questions at the conclusion of his AEI remarks. Truth can take the heat; funny business withers merely in the glare.
Photo: David Snyder, Reuter's
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Monday, July 21, 2003
From the caught in headlights look in his eyes a certain Hardballer seemed startled with his own metaphoric excess during this evening's MSNBC program. Discussing the fate of Tony Blair and that fate's impact now that the US and UK have become "one political circulatory system", Chris Matthews, with humor as black as the LA Times cartoonist Michael Ramirez, said:
When one conjoined twin dies the other one usually does too.
--Chris Matthews, Hardball
What, Me Worry?
Ironic Times reports Bush getting needed support.
From Al Kamen's In the Loop column in today's Washington Post a peek inside a new book by Peter Stothard, former editor of the Times of London. The reporter was allowed unusual access to Tony Blair during 30 days that included the start of the Iraq II war:
"Rice begins gently to suggest to her boss that some of their colleagues back in Washington might not be best pleased. When she becomes more vigorous," Stothard wrote, Bush "leads her away from the crowd. "He looks at first concerned, then a bit frosty."
Later, at a photo session, "Rice continues her commentary on the excess vitality of the press conference," Stothard writes. "'Ease it, Condi, ease it,' says the president. The dispute ceases."
Shortly thereafter, Rice is "sitting on a bench under a large tapestry of Don Quixote tilting at windmills and talking on her mobile phone to Washington.
"'Yes,' she says firmly, 'a vital role for the U.N. I just want to make sure that the DOD doesn't say anything wrong about this. Yes, it's important that we all use the same language.' "
Condi isn't the only one to tilt at windmills.
Cliffnoted Remarks by the President on Iraq
Cincinnati Museum Center - Cincinnati Union Terminal
Tonight I want to take a few minutes to discuss a grave threat to peace…The threat comes from Iraq…It possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons…Iraq stands alone -- because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place… Some ask how urgent this danger is to America and the world. The danger is already significant, and it only grows worse with time. If we know Saddam Hussein has dangerous weapons today -- and we do -- does it make any sense for the world to wait…We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents…Iraq possesses ballistic missiles with a likely range of hundreds of miles… We've also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles…We're concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVS for missions targeting the United States…Sophisticated delivery systems aren't required for a chemical or biological attack…that is the source of our urgent concern about Saddam Hussein's links to international terrorist groups…Confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror…The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein has held numerous meetings with Iraqi nuclear scientists, a group he calls his "nuclear mujahideen" -- his nuclear holy warriors…Iraq is rebuilding facilities at sites that have been part of its nuclear program in the past. Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons…We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people…Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud…We have every reason to assume the worst… Saddam Hussein still has chemical and biological weapons and is increasing his capabilities to make more. And he is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon…I hope this will not require military action, but it may…We could wait and hope that Saddam does not give weapons to terrorists, or develop a nuclear weapon to blackmail the world…Some worry that a change of leadership in Iraq could create instability and make the situation worse. The situation could hardly get worse…I have asked Congress to authorize the use of America's military, if it proves necessary…Vast oceans no longer protect us from danger…We did not ask for this present challenge…By our actions, we will secure the peace.
Photos: BBC, whitehouse.gov
Sunday, July 20, 2003
Rupert Murdock owned London tabloid The Sun presses a case that is helped by Dr. Kelly's death and provides some interesting details:
The body of Dr Kelly, 59, was found on Friday in woods near his home in Southmoor, Oxfordshire.
--Newschopper footage of crime scene showed the medical examiner test set up in a field next to a wooded area.
He took Co-proximol painkilling tablets, then used a small knife to make a vertical cut along a vein in his left wrist.
--Appears to be exactly the kind of suicide a doctor would perform.
Mr Jackson [former Tory minister] blamed the Corporation [the BBC] for the germ warfare expert’s death...
--Previously heard his weapons inspector expertise was BIO but this is first I've noted in print.
The Scotsman focuses on Dr. Kelly's neighbors:
"I think they picked on him," she said. "I’m very angry and I think they have killed him as I think most of the village do."
"That was so unlike David. He was so sensible and so level-headed and he had a lovely wife and lovely family," he said. "He was a great guy. He’d have a laugh and a joke with you. He’d have a giggle, but never anything over the top." Ward was visibly angry over Kelly’s death and was among those in the village who were suspicious of Blair’s role in the affair. "But I don’t think we will ever get to the bottom of this, we won’t be allowed to."
"We believe that Dr Kelly knew what was true in regard to the Iraq situation but we don’t know what that truth was or is. What we do know - what history teaches us - is that truth is not always well liked and those who stand up for it are frequently not well treated. Now it has brought tragedy and dismay to our village." --Local newsletter. The KBS News
Photo: The Sun
'David's professional life was characterised by his integrity, honour and dedication to finding the truth, often in the most difficult of circumstances. It is hard to comprehend the enormity of this tragedy.'
--Kelly Family Statement
London Guardian's Sunday Observer
He sent friends emails hours before his death, talking of being haunted by "many dark actors playing games".
--The London Telegraph
Superintendent David Purnell of Thames Valley police...said the scientist killed himself by cutting a wrist with a knife, possibly after taking powerful painkillers.
London Guardian's Sunday Observer
The BBC has disclosed that Dr David Kelly was the principal source for its controversial report claiming Downing Street "sexed up" an Iraq weapons dossier.
Photos; Reuter's, BBC