Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Ultimate Responsibility

This morning’s Washington Post quotes Michael Rubin, a member of the American Enterprise Institute and a former political advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority:

Five or six people have managed to soil the reputation of American soldiers worldwide.

Does this political spin artist mean the few US servicemen left in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison or Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rumsfeld, Rice and the Plan that wasn’t a plan?
You decide.

Cheney in 1964

As the world press is consumed with issues of responsibility, New York Times hack Kit Seelye is interested in blurring the relevance of Mr. Cheney’s avoidance of the Vietnam era draft:

Like 16 million other young men of that era, Mr. Cheney sought deferments. By the time he turned 26 in January 1967 and was no longer eligible for the draft, he had asked for and received five deferments.

Wow, only five deferments.
Kit does manage some brief lip service to balance with this graph:

Others contend that Mr. Cheney appeared to go to some length to avoid the draft. "Five deferments seems incredible to me," said David Curry, a professor at the University of Missouri in St. Louis who has written extensively about the draft…"That's a lot of times for the draft board to say O.K.," Mr. Curry said.

Sheikh al Thani reading his $8.8 million Audubon
as a parrot flys past.

While America faces increasingly tough times, the excellent Art Newspaper shows that it’s swell to be a sheikh with a look at the breath-taking spending of Saud al Thani of Quatar.
I mentioned the Sheikh last May 6 when it was reported by The Art Newspaper that he had purchased a 13th century Persian pencase for $1.79 million.
Today’s interesting Art Newspaper story, Meet Sheikh Saud Al Thani of Qatar, has further details on the artistic Sheikh’s purchasing habits:

The Sheikh has swallowed whole collections, such as the Bokelberg group of historical photographs, for an estimated $15 million, and the Spira collection of vintage cameras…He spent $6 million buying half the lots at the Jammes auction of photography in London in 1999, paying £507,000 for Gustave Le Gray’s “Grande vague à Sète”. In Paris, he swooped on Coptic textiles and Iznik ceramics being sold from the Kelekian collection at Drouot. Two major pieces of Western Islamic metalwork, a 10th-century Cordoba hind which sold for £3.6 million in 1997, and the peacock sold last year for £900,000, are his, as is the rediscovered Renaissance roundel which made £7.9 million at Christie’s last December. He also bought Audubon’s Birds of America from the collection of the Marquis of Bute at Christie’s New York in 2000 for $8.8 million; Redouté’s “Les roses” and the earliest text written in Arabic; and much, much more.

Photos: Reuters, The Memory Hole, Associated Press, The Art Newspaper
Thursday, April 29, 2004
The New York Times is, shockingly, reporting that US forces are withdrawing from Falluja and turning command of the city over to an Iraqi forces commanded by one of Saddam’s former generals.

Training Iraqi soldiers outside Falluja

This turnover will occur tomorrow!
According to the Times:

The new Iraqi force represents an about-face for the American authorities…The plan was drafted Wednesday night…It was unclear how much influence the new Iraqi force would have over the insurgents in Falluja…The insurgents have mostly snubbed the American demand [to turn weapons in to authorities] and continued to attack forward positions of the American forces in the city.

No matter how this is sliced, Joe Iraqi is bound to view this sudden withdrawal as a victory for the insurgents and a retreat by American forces.

Speaking of American casualties, the blog Eschaton posted a link from Poynter Online regarding this week’s upcoming Nightline wherein the names of soldiers killed in Iraq will be read aloud by Ted Koppel.
Poynter says the Website News Blues is reporting that Sinclair Broadcast Group is forbidding its ABC affiliates from broadcasting this particular Nightline and quotes Sinclair’s corporate council Barry Faber:

We find it [the Nightline broadcast] to be contrary to the public interest.

Here in the Cincinnati metropolitan area the Sinclair group owns WSTR WB64.
Call them (513) 641-4400
Cincinnati’s local ABC affiliate is WCPO (513) 852-4071.

Images: Reflex News, ABC, SBC
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

We know who the chicken hawks are. They talk tough on national defense and military issues and cast aspersions on others, but when it was their turn to serve, they were AWOL from courage.
--Senator Frank Lautenberg D-NJ, on the floor of the US Senate

According to the Associated Press, Lautenberg described a Chickenhawk as:

Having the shriek of a hawk but the backbone of a chicken

Don't forget the ambling gait of a chimpanzee!

Photos: Reuters, Martin Heldt
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
HoHo Howie Kurtz, my absolute favorite media sock puppet for RNC spin, today offers a textbook example of a Rovian smear blurred through the implausible pretext, in this particular case, of a reporter’s impartial analysis.

I added arrow but CNN added fuzzy filter and lipstick

Of all the burning issues, our Howie, today, is spewing ink and electrons over this shocker:

Kerry leaves people cold.

Shocking, huh?
And, familiar, too, as a retro retooling of Campaign 2000 media scripts about Vice President Gore.
Our Howie, not to be ensnared in partisan weeds, offers several actual reasons for today’s line of spinquiry:

Several pieces have been written…Obviously a few grains of truth here…he's not as natural as Bush…Republican flacks are peddling this line.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our Howie’s argument is supported by a vague belief that Kerry’s alleged dullness feels like it could be real, an unsupported identification of Bar’s eldest womb fruit as natural, the supposed publication of several unmentioned and linkless articles and, most importantly, Republicans themselves are advancing the anti Kerry line.
These (snicker) rock-solid supports pale next to Howie’s coup de grace:

Reporters are writing these stories because they're not particularly fond of Kerry…This, at bottom, is what the Kerry medals flap is about…whether he is so calculating that he did it deliberately.

Howie, Howie, have you no shame?
With the straight doughy face that protrudes through the opium smoke of your writing, you suggest, without proof, that the actions of a decorated American hero were calculated and self-serving and you imply that the current undecorated President took the election because he was more likable.

April 26th rainbow over Union, Kentucky

I had the good fortune, yesterday, to observe above our home a rainbow more beautiful and vibrant than any I have previously seen.
The photo doesn’t do it justice.

Helichrysum italicum

I’m particularly keen, this spring, on the herb Helichrysum italicum also called a Curry Plant.
While not used in the preparation of the Indian spice mixture, this beautiful plant with its resemblance to frosted Rosemary has an intoxicating curry fragrance and medicinal properties.
I’ve read that its taste is unlike Indian curry but I can attest that it is an extremely fragrant little plant and I look forward to watching it grow and flower.

I would also, this sunny day, urge the health conscious and the elderly to visit the Website.
I, personally, have been taking a daily dose of wild blueberry concentrate for about two weeks now with terrific results.
In the immortal words of the Absolutely Fabulous Edwina Monsoon:

Health, health, health, darling!

Check it out.
The concentrate contains substantial levels of the antioxidant melatonin, anthocyanins and bioflavonoids.
Significant evidence shows these substances improve the body’s circadian rhythms, fight cancer and reduce the pain associated with arthritis.

Photos: CNN,,
Monday, April 26, 2004

As President Bush wanders in the weeds of his own making let us enjoy a game of Dick Darts.

Or, arm in arm with our VP, let's scamper down memory lane to a July 8, 2003 post:

Yellowcake, yellowcake
Cheney’s plan
Fakes the bake like fast, man
Poll it
And spin it
And fund raise it too
An state it in the Union
As a UK clue.

Vice Grip Jan/Feb 2003
White House in Denial June 2003
Patty Cake Timeless child's rhyme

Photos: Reuters,
Sunday, April 25, 2004

From the always excellent Art Newspaper:

Twenty-three Iraqi museum professionals on a US government-sponsored tour of American institutions came face to face last month [March] with a head missing from a statue in the collection of the National Museum in Baghdad. The tour was...designed to show Iraqi curators how American museums work. It was sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs...At the University of Pennsylvania Museum the Iraqis attended the opening of “Treasures from the royal tombs of Ur,” the university’s travelling show of Mesopotamian antiquities.
Associate curator Richard L. Zettler introduced the group to the museum’s activities. When he led the Iraqis to a storage room, they recognised a black diorite head of a Gudea figure whose body is in the National Museum in Baghdad....Mr Zettler told The Art Newspaper that the head was acquired in the late 1920s from a New York dealer. In 1935 the museum sent a cast of the head to the National Museum of Baghdad which Iraqi curators then placed on their statue...He also suggested that the two museums might one day share the statue for alternating displays.

Lets see the head is sitting in storage and might one day be shared?
Oh, so that's how American museums work.

Image: USDOS Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

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