Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, August 16, 2003
In the days before book sellers became drop-off points for multiglomerate produced and Chinese manufactured kitsch, certain SciFi tales postulated a near future America of separate territories warring over limited resources like energy and water. A decadent class-riddled America of sex, drugs, lurid omnipresent media and massive infrastructure decay. As kids on vacation are prone to yell from a car’s back seat, “Are we there yet?”
Certainly the images and sounds from the last few days so reminiscent of September 11, 2001 will linger in the minds of many Americans.
Blessedly, here on the western edge of the eastern grid with oversight by the sensible burghers of the metro Cincinnati utilities and by the grace of God, our invisible megawatts remained. Several things, however, stand out from the confusion of the largest power outage in American history:
The calm and civility of the people in the affected cities.
The effectiveness of the local and state governments
The absence of Federal representatives on scene or commenting
As thousands of people not stuck in subways or elevators swarmed out of Manhattan on foot, the similarities to September 11 were reinforced by the televised absence of the President. Almost five hours after the blackout froze clocks at 4:10pm, videotaped comments from Mr. Bush, ever busy fund-raising, were played by the networks.
Like September 11 the President seemed preoccupied. During the taped remarks, the Mr. Bush repeated, as fact, an unfounded rumor that the outage had been caused by a lightening strike at a power plant in Niagara, New York. He also, without supporting evidence, said that terrorism was not a factor.
Vacationing President shows great skill with pictured tool
I was struck by CNN’s continued insistence that the President, in the rugged wilds of wealthy Santa Monica, was unable to speak live to the nation.
I also thought it highly interesting that the Vice President, according to CNN, was also on vacation and “unavailable”.
I was surprised not to see the ever telepresent Tom Ridge.
Unsurprisingly, Wolf Blitzer, who remains unflappable no matter the nonsense he spouts, then said that Chief of Staff Andrew Card was in charge from the White House. Wolf [meaning Card] confided to the camera, “He’s very good.”
Yesterday, still on the photo op fund raising circuit, the President switched to the more politically advantageous:
I view it as a wake-up call. You know, I've been concerned that our infrastructure -- the delivery system is old and antiquated. And I think this is an indication of the fact that we need to modernize the electricity grid.
Update Aug14 Post
Yesterday, Friday August 15th, the fine people of CBS News broadcast a story about American wounded.
That story reported 450 wounded American soldiers from Iraq since the President’s speech on the aircraft carrier.
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Almost 300 Killed
This photo of American soldiers was taken yesterday in the dry sauna of Baghdad's merciless heat.
While its damn near impossible to pin the Defense Department to specific numbers, CBS News, in a story with an August 14 dateline, reports nearly 150,000 "military personnel" currently in Iraq.
Various alleged news organizations quibble over the the total number of Americans killed in action.
CNN, for example, reports 56 Americans killed thusfar in Iraq. CNN, like the Pentagon, reports only the number of specific troops killed by the direct action of the opposition. So, if a soldier is killed when his Humvee hits a land mine he is counted by CNN. If that soldier's buddy is thrown from the Humvee and killed by impact with the ground he is not counted by CNN.
CBS News, however, reports an accurate total of young Americans thusfar killed by "hostile and non hostile action" in Iraq.
That number, reported by CBS News, today stands at 267.
But, what about those soldiers wounded and maimed for life? We don't really see them on TV.
The President and members of his administartion do not attend funerals and do not seem to visit our wounded soldiers with any great frequency.
What is the total number of US wounded thusfar in Iraq?
Search if you want but your search will not be successful because either the Pentagon is not releasing that number or the media is choosing not to report it.
There could be well over 1000 American soldiers presently recovering from battlefield injuries sustained in Iraq.
Why are these brave soldiers being ignored?
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Rise of the Maria
According to this morning's LA Times:
Less than a week after entering the race for governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has already shaken up his campaign team...moves reflect both a scramble to assemble a campaign on the fly...and increased assertiveness on the part of the candidate's wife, television correspondent Maria Shriver, who has assumed a central strategy role, according to Republican operatives.
What's that squeeking noise out of Vacationland?
Q It's also the biggest political story in the country. Is it hard to go in there and say nothing about it?
THE PRESIDENT: It is the biggest political story in the country? That's interesting. That says a lot. That speaks volumes.
Q You don't agree?
THE PRESIDENT: It's up to -- I don't get to decide the biggest political story. You decide the biggest political story. But I find it interesting that that is the biggest political story in the country, as you just said.
Q You don't think it should be?
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I think there's maybe other political stories. Isn't there, like, a presidential race coming up? (Laughter.)
Remember how our tempestous chief action figure forced the vice action figure off a two-shot weekly news magazine cover a year or so ago? Hummm. Arnie's lucky he married a liquid steel Kennedy family political TERMINATOR!
I imagine a certain sister of President Kennedy is beaming with pride following a year recovering from major illness.
Be afraid, Arnie, be very afraid!
Photos: LA Times, Reuter's
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
While providing slim to no coverage of Vice President Al Gore’s August 7th speech at New York University, lemming-like ranks of corporate punditry raced to trash the Vice President’s ephemeral motivations and attempt to over ride serious charges, such as:
Too many of our soldiers are paying the highest price, for the strategic miscalculations, serious misjudgments, and historic mistakes that have put them and our nation in harm's way.
The US pulled significant intelligence resources out of Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to get ready for the rushed invasion of Iraq and that disrupted the search for Osama at a critical time.
We are losing millions of jobs -- net losses for three years in a row. That hasn't happened since the Great Depression.
The very idea of self-government depends upon honest and open debate…The Bush Administration routinely shows disrespect for that whole basic process.
The aptly named Gwen Ifil, hosting the wreckage of PBS’ jazzed-up Washington Week In Review, last Friday, after the mandatory mocking references to Vice President Gore, said:
I read that speech and that I watched portions of it and I was, I—I couldn’t get the answer to my question, which is: What was he doing?
I sent Ms. Ifil a brief note:
Gwen, I began watching Washington Week in Review when a started doing air control at WCET during my college days in 1972. I was a regular viewer for several decades. I stopped watching during the "bloodletting" that became your path to the anchor seat.
This isn't totally personal, Gwen, though I must admit to burning anger at Condi's recent gush over your cooking skills after you introduced her to the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Dallas.
Next time she drops by I would think you would be better served to, between courses, offer Dr. Condi some clothing and makeup advise.
I grow weary of the lightly accessorized monopastel Laura Bush look. Plus, it clashes with the Ricester's signature shifty-eyed flop sweat.
It is all so clubby! Washington was always clubby but now is private clubby in a flood of graft and sleaze that almost appears clean in its corporate dressage. WWIR simply reflects this corrupted change in Washington.
We are on to you, Gwen. And, on to all the other mediocre representatives of humanity and corporate journalism that haunt your semi-round table. I cannot imagine your audience except to know that it must be terrifically smaller than old rumpled Paul Duke's. Mr. Duke, while not enrobed in a tailored Neiman-Marcus creation, would have reported on Vice President Al Gore's recent speech in a far different fashion. He would not have wondered over the speaker's motivation but would have reported on the contents of the speech.
So, shame on you, Gwen. To many former loyal viewers your snappy hot color set represents the wreckage of the WWIR tradition. No one will remember the faceless PBS suits who likely share greater responsibility for WWIR's inferior transformation but people that count will remember you. So, in summary:
1-Makeup and clothing tips for friend Condi
2-Stop whoring for the Kool Kids
Quick Time, RealVideo and WindowsMedia streams of August 7th Gore speech
Washington Week In Review stream
Photos: Reuter's, CNN and PBS