August 31, 2004
One at a time

truthout's William Rivers Pitt interviews (quicktime link) a GOP Jamboree member at a protest on Monday. He writes, "I was planning on taking this young Republican apart at the seams, and all on camera. It didn't quite work out that way.
    Once the interview was underway, I asked her what it was about Bush and the Republicans she supported. She hesitated, cast her eyes downward, and looked inexplicably sad. "I don't know," she said."

Posted by dbrown at 06:04 PM
Dear David

was looking for something else, but found this old bit in Coupland's Generation X:

"Blood rushed to my ears, and my heart went bang; I broke into a sweat andd the words of Rilke, the poet, entered my brain -- his notion that we are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die. The burning blood in my ears told me that Mr. Takamichi had somehow mistaken the [Marilyn] Monroe photo in the safe for the letter inside of himself, and that I, myself, was in peril of making some sort of similar mistake."

Posted by dbrown at 05:00 PM
August 30, 2004
Operation Enduring Image


New Richard Serra lithograph, one of 10 prints in a suite for ACT. Not sure what the Ellsworth Kelly is all about, but ain't that always the case.

Posted by dbrown at 05:16 PM

in case you're not reading Josh Marshall

"We have a clear vision on how to win the war on terror and bring peace to the world."
-- George W. Bush, July 30th 2004.

"I don’t think you can win [the war on terror]. But I think you can create conditions so that the — those who use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world.”
-- George W. Bush, August 29th, 2004

Posted by dbrown at 03:58 PM
August 24, 2004
Polls of the Day

two via Kos:

Florida, watching the trend lines; late July numbers in parens:
Likely Voters
Bush/Cheney 48 (50) Kerry/Edwards 47 (47)
Registered Voters
Bush/Cheney 46 (49) Kerry/Edwards 46 (45)

Maricopa County, AZ:
Registered Voters
Bush 46 (48) Kerry 41 (36)
This in a county with a 4:3 R:D split, which would mean a 57/43 split on party lines. As the poll firm notes, "since Maricopa County accounts for close to 60 percent of the vote in Arizona, the Bush lead appears to have narrowed to such a degree that the election could be determined in the outlying counties and, particularly in Pima County, which has traditionally favored Democratic candidates."

Then there was also a little-noted poll a few weeks ago where the numbers on the question of "Who do you think will win the election" made a startling change. In June, Rasmussen numbers had people 53/35 believing Bush would win. In July, it had moved to 46/45 Kerry. The war of perception has seemed the hardest to win -- the moral being always be positive. Kerry can become a fait accompli, in the good way.

Posted by dbrown at 03:20 PM
I Dream of Kerry

I had a dream about John Kerry last night. Some campaign related event, but he was just hanging out at the end of a fold-up table, talking with one friend. I sat down and apologized for interrupting, and asked him a question, I can't remember which. Kerry, who was younger "in person," was wearing a heavy cable knit sweater and seemed strong, ready, like a lumberjack or something. He gave a big smile and talked for a bit and then turned back to his conversation, like a regular person would.

Last week, on the F train, I bumped into an old friend/acquaintance, who relayed a now-similar story: He dreamed about Kerry, about just hanging out, what a nice guy Kerry was.

This is a brilliant campaign ploy, I think. Google thinks so, too.

Posted by dbrown at 10:07 AM
August 21, 2004
The Greatest Generation

Adam Gopnik writes about histories of the First World War in this week's New Yorker. It is, to my ears, a great essay, debunking versions of the story and revisions thereof. There is no strong hook, but clearly he is writing about a more recent war, too. He flirts with being corny toward the end, but the stakes, then and now, are high enough to allow for some sincerity:

'And the point we might still take from the First World War is the old one that wars are always, in Lincoln’s perfectly chosen word, astounding. They produce results that we can hardly imagine when they start. It is not that wars are always wrong. It is that wars are always wars, good for destroying things that must be destroyed, as in 1864 or 1944, but useless for doing anything more, and no good at all for doing cultural work: saving the national honor, proving that we’re not a second-rate power, avenging old humiliations, demonstrating resolve, or any of the rest of the empty vocabulary of self-improvement through mutual slaughter.'

Posted by dbrown at 11:16 AM
August 19, 2004
Jargon Watch

Rumsfeld comes up with a new way to say 'Yes, it seems like we fucked up, but hey, look over there':

"DONALD RUMSFELD: I said we had a significant lessons-learned activity that began at the very beginning, before the war ever started. It was done by the joint forces command."

on pbs, via tapped

Posted by dbrown at 02:25 PM
August 18, 2004
Ward 81


In 1976, Mary Ellen Mark and writer Karen Folger Jacobs spent 36 days on the women's locked ward at the Oregon State Hospital. The book that resulted, Ward 81, is shockingly intense and way, way out of print. It's now all on-line, at Mark's website. (Awkward web design makes direct linking impossible; go to books, then scroll down to ward 81.)

Posted by dbrown at 03:43 PM
August 13, 2004

Those fucking people with their iced coffees. It's like they're synthesizing the cure for cancer or something, a little milk, stir, taste, milk, stir, taste, stir, sugar, taste. Wait for it to settle. Jesus Christ.

Posted by dbrown at 09:35 AM
August 12, 2004
Doomed to Repeat


In 1999 I was working on the millennium issues of the Times Magazine, the last of which was about an actual time capsule the Times was building. Among other things, some artists and critics nominated images to go in the capsule; Arthur C. Danto chose a painting from Leon Golub's Interrogation series, documenting the torture of the central american wars led, covertly, by you and me. I didn't know much of Golub then; the Brooklyn Museum show of a couple years ago helped a lot. Golub never let up in his horror of the torment and pain of war, war led by actual men, and carried out by actual men. I hadn't thought about him for a bit, until I read of his death today. And now I wonder, how did he feel, when Americans reprised the poses of his Interrogation series, once again, in yet another country.

Posted by dbrown at 09:58 PM
August 11, 2004
Is Anyone Taking Notice?


The first great book of photographs from the Iraq War is out, Bruno Stevens's Baghdad: Truth Lies Within. Ursus has copies, if you want to see it in person. A selection of Stevens's images here. This image: "Baghdad, Iraq, April 5, 2003 Panic in the streets of Adamiyeh as US bombs fall near by during an air raid."

Posted by dbrown at 06:10 PM
What's on OBL's mind

I was pissed off this morning reading a Washington Times piece about Al Qaeda's threat(s), where unnamed officials said that AQ wanted "anybody but Bush." First, it's bullshit, but second, how fucking presumptuous is it to assume we know what AQ wants right now?

So I read with interest Alan Cullison's new piece in The Atlantic, describing the contents of one of the (stolen) AQ computers he bought in Afghanistan in late 2001. Read the whole thing, but I'll point out the drafts or actual notes written by Ol' Dirty Bastard himself. I am struck by how naive he was, particularly about the role Israel has/does not have in the American mind.

"To: The American People
From: Osama bin Laden
Folder: Publications
Date: October 3, 2001

What takes place in America today was caused by the flagrant interference on the part of successive American governments into others' business. These governments imposed regimes that contradict the faith, values, and lifestyles of the people. This is the truth that the American government is trying to conceal from the American people.

Our current battle is against the Jews. Our faith tells us we shall defeat them, God willing. However, Muslims find that the Americans stand as a protective shield and strong supporter, both financially and morally. The desert storm that blew over New York and Washington should, in our view, have blown over Tel Aviv. The American position obliged Muslims to force the Americans out of the arena first to enable them to focus on their Jewish enemy. Why are the Americans fighting a battle on behalf of the Jews? Why do they sacrifice their sons and interests for them?

To: Mullah Omar
From: Osama bin Laden
Folder: Deleted File (Recovered)
Date: October 3, 2001

Thus our plan in the face of this campaign should focus on the following:
—Conduct a media campaign to fight the enemy's publicity. The campaign should focus on the following important points:

a) Attempt to cause a rift between the American people and their government, by demonstrating the following to the Americans:
—That the U.S. government will lead them into further losses of money and lives.
—That the government is sacrificing the people to serve the interests of the rich, particularly the Jews.
—That the government is leading them to the war front to protect Israel and its security.
—America should withdraw from the current battle between Muslims and Jews.

Posted by dbrown at 05:29 PM
August 09, 2004

I wore Johnny Cash's clothes today. Was up at Sotheby's, doing a small bit of reporting on their upcoming sale of the Johnny and June Carter Cash estate. The department head was giving me a tour of the sale -- photographs, hand-written, unpublished lyrics, collection of honorary sherriff's badges, guitars guitars guitars, Mother Maybelle Carter's mandolin. And we got to the clothes. Four or so racks of them, a lot of June's, and a lot of Johnny's. For Sotheby's, one of the sale's highlights is Lot 701, "Manuel Black Fringed Coat, Featured in the 2002 'Hurt' Video." The dept. head pulls it out to show off its fringe, its arabesques of ornament on the lapels, the luscious material. I ask, What size was Johnny? A: 48 Long. I am a 46 Long myself, and I say so. And then, a moment later, I am slipping on Johnny Cash's coat. It fit perfectly; maybe an inch too long in the sleeves. It was heavy, and but also, it was full of him, and a wave of star-struck celebrity, the memory of that Hurt video, 20 or so years of listening to his records, and the vivid remembrance of how sad I was when he passed, how brave and noble he seemed in his last interviews, and just the enormous feeling of him, alive and dead, I never once thought of him being the same size as me, in the same way that I never once thought of him existing in the same plane as me at all, it all rushed in, and filled the coat up as much as I did, and fuck if it wasn't the most powerful coat I've ever put on. I'm not sure I'd want to do it again.

Posted by dbrown at 10:05 PM
A Good Start


Via first-draft, a nice piece of ephemera.

Posted by dbrown at 05:11 PM
August 08, 2004
Ulna & Radius

Excerpt from an excerpt of Aron Ralston's Between a Rock and a Hard Place, his account of self-amputation in a box canyon:

"An epiphany strikes me with the magnificent glory of a holy intervention and instantly brings my seizure to a halt: If I torque my arm far enough, I can break my forearm bones. ... There is no hesitation. I barely realize what I'm about to do. ... I put my left hand under the boulder and push hard, harder, HARDER! to put a maximum downard force on my radius bone. As I slowly bend my arm down to the left, a POW! reverberates like a muted cap-gun shot."

Posted by dbrown at 09:35 PM
August 07, 2004
Signal Rawlings


Tim Johnson checks out the wall of baseballs -- each bearing the name of a soldier who died in Iraq -- he helped his father build. (Globe Staff Photo / Stan Grossfeld)

... "Said [the elder] Johnson, "The mere fact that people don't know how many people have died makes this worth it."

But the project is not an antiwar protest.

"This is not meant to be a statement other than it is a memorial," said Johnson. "It's less about the war, more about the people who sacrificed their lives." ... "I was hoping that the war would be over and we could send these baseballs home to the families," Johnson said.

The cabinets have room for 900 baseballs. The American death toll was 868 as of yesterday.

"Hopefully we won't have to extend the case," said Johnson. "I hope to God it never comes to that." [ed: 8/7/04, 924 dead now, cabinet being extended]

[via the Boston Globe]

Posted by dbrown at 07:06 PM
August 06, 2004
Piece Work

A while ago, in comments to Hirmes' now-famous Dear Maury post, I remembered the bone-crushingly sad box full of letters from women wanting to become proofreaders. I was reminded of that box today, when I discovered that "Mrs. Businessman" is the Most Emailed story on A few of the jobs middle american moms apparently yearn for:

"If you love to shop, why not get paid for it? That's the idea behind mystery shopping.... She gets thousands of applicants a month and welcomes more. Right now, she has a shortage of shoppers in many rural and some suburban areas....

"Shirley Frazier, of Patterson, N.J., had an 11-year-old daughter in 1990 when she began making gift baskets filled with preserves, candies, and cheeses, or lotions and other toiletries.... "I would say perhaps 25,000 women are making gift baskets," says Frazier. "You can make a living as long as you market yourself aggressively."

"As small commercial embroidery machines have fallen in price, home embroidery businesses have blossomed, according to Margaret Batterton, a Waco, Texas-area mom who started Aunty M's Embroidery ( in 1999."

Posted by dbrown at 05:39 PM
August 03, 2004
Poll of the Day


SurveyUSA (PDF). 7/31-8/2. MoE 3.7%. (6/10 results)

Kerry 53 (47)
Bush 41 (46)

via dkos

Posted by dbrown at 10:47 PM
Can't Argue

Josh Marshall's snippet of GWBush today reminds me of the greatest rhetorical strategy ever, and one any one needing persuasive skillz should remember.

GWB: "Let me talk about the intelligence in Iraq. First of all, we all thought we’d find stockpiles of weapons. We may still find weapons. We haven’t found them yet.... And ... umm … but let me just say this to you. ... He had the capability of making weapons. He had terrorist ties. The decision I made was the right decision. The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power"

Ox, delivering his history report in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: "Everything is different, but the same... things are more moderner than before... bigger, and yet smaller... it's computers... San Dimas High School football rules!"

Posted by dbrown at 03:29 PM
August 02, 2004
Unintended Consequences of the Day

just looking for a book on amazon, instead I find this:

 David's Plog Beta (What is a Plog?)

What is a Plog?

The Plog™ Service provides a personalized blog for each customer. A blog is a straightforward and now widely adopted method of posting a reverse chronological diary on the Internet. Here's a list of some of the best and most popular blogs:

Boing Boing--A directory of wonderful things
Gizmodo--Reviews and charts the latest gadget trends
MobileWhack--Energetic discussions of mobile technology
Megnut--Evolving communication through blogging since 1999
John Robb's Weblog--Thriving on rapid change
Jeremy Zawodny's blog--Daily ramblings on life and technology Institute of Official Cheer
Gina Smith's BIOTECH--Tech/biotech journalist and author
defective yeti--The musings of Matthew Baldwin, Pretty Okay Guy Blogfather
Talking Points Memo by joshua micah marshall--A thoughtful contemplation of current affairs respected intellectual columnist blogger
Intel Dump--Near-real-time military analysis
Daily Kos--Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation
Six Apart--Six Log is the weblog of Six Apart, the company behind TypePad and Movable Type

Your Plog is a diary of events that will enhance your shopping experience, helping you discover products that have just been released, track changes to your orders, and many other things. Just like a blog, your Plog is sorted in reverse chronological order. When we think we have something interesting or important to tell you, we'll post it to your Plog.

Posted by dbrown at 06:24 PM
Tastes like Chicken

Subservient President, via boing boing

Posted by dbrown at 03:55 PM