Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
As the mandate of heaven failed, despite 3 years of zealous protestations to the contrary, to descend so too did George Bush, now seemingly in the wake of History’s fulcrum, fail to effectively wear the heavy cloak of his appointed office last evening.

As the retro-Riefenstahl Bloomberg News photo suggests the trappings of this most unusual presidency were bountifully visible in the War College-reinterpreted-as-Throne Room-by-wacky-TV consultant setting.
The setting overwhelmed and, unfortunately, poll-panicky White House image consultants further hindered their candidate’s cause with a high-tech safety net observed by the Washington Post’s Tom Shales:

Bush appeared to be using three prompting devices: one to his left, one to his right and one in the center, mounted on the camera used for the head-on shot.

The President, having the noticeable smell of toast wafting about his televised image, said this, gallingly, without an apologetic preface:

The swift removal of Saddam Hussein's regime last spring had an unintended effect…the terrorists are likely to become more active and more brutal.

He then, with that blank look of smug self-righteousness, lost himself in the weeds of a proposed Iraqi bureaucracy and even had the brazen temerity to wave the slim straw of Iraqi oil profitability:

Iraqi oil production has reached more than two million barrels per day, bringing revenues of nearly $6 billion so far this year.

At $4 to 5 billion per month, I guess, that means Iraqi oil has covered about one month and one week of costs as opposed to the pre war claim that Iraqi oil would underwrite the entire effort and be a cost-lowering American import.
I’d laugh but I’m too busy hunting for twenty bucks to pay for 10 gallons of gas.

As Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez is suddenly removed from CentCom command prior to a Joe Dowdy Memorial chopper ride to Kuwait and as the Army plans to submit two thousand accidentally deleted pages from the Taguba Report to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Torture Scandal deepens with news of off-the-book “ghost detainees”:

The memorandum was obtained by The New York Times. It was described as an agreement between the Army intelligence unit assigned to the prison and "external agencies," a euphemism for the C.I.A., to halt practices that bypassed both military rules and international standards…The memorandum provides the clearest indication to date that military officials were troubled by the practice even before General Taguba wrote his report. A senior intelligence official said last week that the practice was intended "to keep the capture of a small number of terrorists quiet for some time," but was discontinued in January.

Searching through the White House web site, yesterday, I came upon this photo of the President’s French-cuffed hand by White House photographer Eric Draper.
The photo was from a set of State of the Union prep photos and I’ve been unable to rediscover the specific link after a pesky computer shutdown.
I was taken by the image of a frail soft hand, the unusual marks on the President's wrist and the, likely gold, W cufflink pinning the starched French cuff.
This unlikely image, to me, typifies the real man far more than any of the scripted banner-rich environments I’ve observed over these past three years.

The garden, no matter the aphids and the pitifully few cicadas observed atop these high Kentucky hills, remains deeply satisfying with a surprise springtime hit taking the form of these, soon to be repotted, young pumpkin vines in this charming, if mass-manufactured, ceramic frog pot.
I fell under the spell of these spiky vines last year.
This year I hope to discover if the oddly beautiful pumpkin blossom is as delicious as the insects in last year’s inner city garden found the pumpkin vines themselves.
Additionally, on the infrequently posted food front, if time permits today or tomorrow, I’ll post a recipe for a Rhubarb Crisp and a supremely delicious Stuffed Manicotti in meat sauce.

Photos: Bloomberg News,, White House
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