June 2002 Archives

Paul Lombardi

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Inspired by Sam, I located the video of Paul Lombardi in his sleeveless t-shirt covering the "Opening of the Pools" in NYC.

As I was getting ready to purchase a few gifts for my Mother's birthday, such as this recording of Mendelssohn's Elijah, I see the usual Amazon thing of "Customers who bought this also bought"... which gives me

Blinded by the Right by David Brock (No, don't go buy it!)


This could lead to civil war

Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said he would uproot 10 rogue Jewish outposts in the West Bank Sunday, setting the stage for possible confrontations with militant settlers.

I see sites like these: Media Whores Online, or (on a smaller scale) leftyblog; which seem to think of themselves as the left side of the political spectrum, but what they really stand for is the Democratic party. By the standards of any real politics, the Democrats are a centrist party. In most western countries, many of their positions are center-right:

  • lack of support for universal healthcare
  • support of the death penalty
  • feeble support of gay rights and reproductive rights
  • problematic on church/state separation
  • supportive of massive military spending
These people think the Green Party and Ralph Nader are the enemy as much as the GOP. After what I've seen in the last couple of years, I'm not sure I can vote for the Democratic politicians that "represent" me. In the last presidential election, I got to watch Joseph Lieberman state, "the Constitution promises freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. We are after all not just another nation, but 'one nation under God.' " He also said that morality was impossible without religion. These are not the statements of a "liberal" political party -- they are those of a religious party.

I see Richard Gephardt saying that, with the new threat of global terrorism, the United States must be "ready to strike, not just deter."

I see the USA Patriot Act pass 356-66 in the House, and 98-1 in the Senate.

I see the Senate unanimously approve a resolution sponsored by its Democratic and Republican leaders that expressed support for the reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance. The statement by the DNC chairman says: "Today's decision by the Federal Appeals Court is unfortunate. The pledge of allegiance is a reflection of the values of America and have been an important, patriotic tradition for more than a century. I trust that the judicial process will ultimately overturn this wrong-headed decision."

I see the Democratic party support the failure that is the War on Drugs.

I see the Democratic party support abortion, but not public funding. They believe the "right to choose" is for those who can afford such a right. They don't seem to have a problem with my tax dollars going for plenty of things I don't approve of.

As a gay man, I find it laughable that anyone could vote for the Republican party, but "they're not as bad as the GOP" is not a good enough reason for me to vote for the Democrats. They must earn my vote -- they do not have a "right" to it. Given the ways the party has acquiesced as the Bush administration has shredded the Bill of Rights since 9/11, I will not vote for a Democratic candidate again unless I see a fundamental change in their behavior.

Kate Clinton on marriage

The fabulous Kate Clinton has a column on marriage -- Veiled Threats. Homos as weapons of destruction?

On May 15, 2002, six members of the House of Representatives introduced a proposed constitutional amendment that says, "marriage shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." Don't throw your rice pudding at me until I finish telling you why I'm all for this prenuptial agreement. Hint: my "We Don't Want Your Stinkin' Marriage" campaign never caught on.


As if heterosexuals all by themselves were not completely capable of degrading marriage through divorce, pricey annulments, child abuse, domestic violence. Straight people have been doing the aerial bombing of marriage for quite some time. Now gay people are the robot drones sent in to do the hand-to-hand combat and mop up operations in the Canna caves?

As if homosexuals were that powerful. Although, come to think of it, we have been recently credited with the destruction of the US Catholic Church through bouts of "ecclesiastic flamboyance." Sidebar: you just wish sometimes that the Church protected children as much as they protect fetuses.

Add to our degradation of same-old-sex marriage, our devastation of the military and it should become clear to someone - hullo, Donald Rumsfeld - that we are an underused weapon of capital M and small m, mass destruction. We're a veritable Triple Crown: The Priestness, The Breeder's Cup, The Kandahar Derby.

FAZ English edition shuts down

How depressing! I've been relying on the English version of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for news of Germany, and in general, a view from "the continent" of world news. They've decided it no longer makes economic sense to publish it, so yesterday was the last day.


Courtesy of The Guardian, a guide to Sigmund Freud on the web. This one's for Gabriella, daughter of a psychoanalyst.

Now that's riot gear

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My friends Charles and Ray (not to be confused with Charles Ray) took some rather interesting pictures (scroll down to the bottom) of riot police in Vienna preparing for a rightist march.

Column on Zionism

Ha'aretz has a good column by Ze'ev Sternhell on the original basis for Zionism -- "an answer to an existential danger that threatened the Jewish people during the first half of the 20th century" -- and the danger of having it become mere colonialism regarding the lands siezed in 1967.

For everyone who talks about how the Arabs teach their children to hate Jews, we should also remember what's happening in the settlements:

Indeed, this fanatical nationalism, which is brutal not out of necessity but out of deliberate choice and rational decision, is already beginning to sprout noxious weeds that arouse disgust. I am referring to the settler mentality in its latest manifestation in the form of letters that students at schools in the territories wrote to fighters in Operation Defensive Shield. These children did not ask the soldiers to wipe out terror and strike at the terrorists, but "to kill as many Arabs as possible." One asked: "For me, kill at least 10"; another made an even simpler suggestion: "Ignore the laws and spray them."

Sexy Israelis


Interesting item from my web statistics...

Given that I'm very unhappy about the behavior of Israel towards the Palestinians and the Occupied Territories, it's funny that my site shows up first on a Google search of sexy israelis.

A happy story

The NY Times has a beautiful story about "The Castle" -- a new 59-bed center on the western edge of Harlem, run by the Fortune Society. They are a pretty fabulous organization that provides services to people that have served time in jail to help them re-join society. I heard about them after they helped the brother of a friend, and I highly recommend supporting them.

The place is the first of its kind in the country to accept men and women leaving prison with no strings attached, its owners say — the jobless, the homeless, drug addicts and AIDS patients, those with no family or no prospects, those with nowhere else to go.


"We've known for years that housing was a desperate need," said JoAnne Page, the executive director of the Fortune Society, an inmate advocacy group that owns and operates the Castle. "People are coming home, and the question is whether they'll come as a resource or a risk."


Now, the neo-Gothic facade has been restored and the rooms are furnished with captain's beds and blond wood dressers. Pass-card locks have been installed on every door. The interior color scheme is a palette of whites and soft, pale greens. It was selected by an expert in feng shui, the Chinese art of design.

"We tried to do this beautiful because beautiful matters," Ms. Page said. "Beautiful tells people they matter."

Cover of 4'33 results in fee request

Mike Batt, a British composer and producer, heard from the royalties police after doing a "cover" of John Cage's 4'33". Story courtesy of The Blackwood Channel.

Keep donating, good Catholics...

NY Diocese Made $997,500 Sex Abuse Settlement

The confidential $997,500 settlement, the latest revelation in the sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church, fell just short of the $1 million ceiling above which the Albany diocese would have been required to get consent of its finance council, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

Anthony Goicolea


Cool... Anthony Goicolea has a web site. I love his work, and I seem to keep seeing him in the neighborhood lately.

100 Years of Japanese Cinema

In These Times has a good essay on 100 years of Japanese film -- Popcorn and Sake. The online version is missing his list of eight films to start with:

  • Rashomon
  • Floating Weeds
  • An Actor's Revenge
  • Double Suicide
  • The Funeral
  • Ran
  • Princess Mononoke
  • After Life

B'Tselem, the Israeli rights group, has issued an informative report on the settlements in the Occupied Territories -- titled "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank".

The research reveals that while the built-up areas of the settlements constitute only 1.7% of the land in the West Bank, the municipal boundaries are over three times as large: 6.8%. Regional councils constitute an additional 35.1%. Thus, a total of 41.9% of the area in the West Bank is controlled by the settlements.

As this map shows, Palestinian communities have become settlements in an Israeli West Bank.

FBI checking library records

Washington Post article:

The FBI is visiting libraries nationwide and checking the reading records of people it suspects of having ties to terrorists or plotting an attack, library officials say.

The FBI effort, authorized by the antiterrorism law enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks, is the first broad government check of library records since the 1970s when prosecutors reined in the practice for fear of abuses.

Note that it is illegal under the Patriot Act for a librarian to state that they have turned over records to the FBI. The FBI has to obtain a search warrant from a secret court and must only "show it has reason to suspect that a person is involved with a terrorist or a terrorist plot – far less difficult than meeting the tougher legal standards of probable cause, required for traditional search warrants or reasonable doubt, required for convictions."

This country is becoming a police state.

After a court ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance containing the phrase "under God" (added in 1954) is unconstitutional, our elected leaders all rushed to proclaim their support for God:

House members gathered on the front steps of the Capitol to recite the Pledge of Allegiance en masse. The Senate unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by its Democratic and Republican leaders that expressed support for the reference to God in the pledge, and instructed the Senate's legal counsel to intervene in the case. The vote was 99 to 0, with Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) absent.

When the phrase "Under God" was added in 1954, Eisenhower said the change was being made "to recognize a Supreme Being" and advance religion at a time "when the government was publicly inveighing against atheistic communism".

Corruption, what corruption?

On a slightly smaller scale than the WorldCom disaster, 15 of the city's 24 plumbing inspectors were arrested.

Remember Lebanon

The Guardian has good article by Charles Glass, who was ABC's chief Middle East correspondent in the 1980s and was kidnapped in Beirut in 1987. Many of the tactics currently being used in the Occupied Territories are the same used by Sharon in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Bush's corporate connections

Handy chart of the Bush administration's corporate connections.

Perl is the Yiddish of the Internet

My friend David sent me an article on why Perl is Internet Yiddish. It's not all tech-y until the end -- worth reading for a commentary on the evolution of Yiddish.

Welcome to the end of internet radio. I don't buy top 40 albums, and I certainly don't listen to the radio stations on offer in NYC. The US government has decided that webcasting music is the equivalent of publishing, so that a webcast station is now subject to royalties and publishing fees, unlike radio broadcasts, which are only subject to the former.

Here is the homepage of Save Internet Radio, and here is a 90-second version that explains what's going on. For more information, I recommend reading the relevant articles on slashdot, Plastic and kuro5hin.

I think one of the important points to make here is that even broadcasters like soma fm or Tag's Trance Trip that rarely play RIAA-associated musicians, will still be subject to the fees. The RIAA's position is that they will sue anyone who doesn't pay, and it will be up to the "victim" to document and prove that they don't play any music that has fees attached.

This ruling is also retroactive to 1998. Webcasters can be present with a bill for the last four years if the RIAA so desires.

One other nice item contained in the DMCA that our lovely congress and president (Clinton) passed in 1998, just as an example of how stupid politicians can be: It is illegal to play more than 3 songs by the same artist in 2 hours. Radio stations that broadcast over the air and online can't play a full album anymore. They can do it on their radio broadcast, but they have to replace it with something else for the online stream. If you have a web station and want to play an hour of John Lennon's music on the anniversary of his death, you can't. It's illegal.

If you can find the MP3s on Kazaa or Limewire, do it. If you can buy it at a used CD store, do it. Remember: many of those "indy" labels are still owned by one of the biggies. Here is RIAA's own members list.

Outness, jobs, etc.

I could not put it better. Scott is SO RIGHT. (The link to a direct article isn't working right - I'm talking about the Thursday, June 20 entry starting with " A Convoluted Gay Pride Entry" and the related posts.) He and James should talk really soon.

Spend it all on weapons

I live in NYC, and I worry about what might happen that could destroy this city. Our "leaders" are doing nothing to make this world a safer place. It's stupid to spend $400 billion a year on defense. We now spend more on our military budget than the rest of the world combined. In fact, the $48 billion increase requested for this year is larger than the total budget of any other country. Is it making us safer? Is having huge military budgets the way to protect what we believe in? I don't think so. Look at the Cessna scare -- the Reuters headline is US Fighters Arrived Too Late to Guard White House.

It's some kind of scary Old Testament belief. America has always been about deterrence and punishment to prevent bad things from happening, rather than prevention. How else can we explain the war on drugs? Why do we prefer to spend money on prisons and police rather than education?

Maybe the "Old Testament" thing is more of an excuse than we deserve? One could argue that we prefer punishment because there is more money to be made that way. It's hard to measure the profitability of foreign aid (and we're at the bottom of industrialized nations for our foreign aid budget). It's easier to measure what the defense contractors are making.


While talking about the Dixon Place Queer Hot Festival, I mentioned that Armen Ra was one of the performers. (See Musto on her.) She performs on the theremin, which is a pretty fascinating instrument invented in 1919.

While contemplating that such an amazing piece of musical technology was invented so long ago, I started to think about the conundrum that is America. What has made us great is the ability to ignore history and forge ahead, more than any culture in history. However, I think this "ahistorical" attitude is also our biggest weakness. We're like children, thinking that each thing we discover is the first time anyone ever thought of it. If we had any idea what other cultures have accomplished, from the Romans, to post-war Europe, which created great welfare states capable of providing basic healthcare for everyone (in countries devastated by war), we could learn from those achievements and build on them.

No more birthday celebrations

My mother learned that her birthday (July 6) is shared with our duly selected president. She has announced:

I refuse to celebrate July 6 anymore.

barry supply co

Voice of the People

I love the letters section in the NY Daily News, known as The Voice of the People.

Ozone Park: There is no shortage of fools in America and, specifically, on Long Island. That became abundantly clear as I watched hundreds of simple life forms stand in the rain for hours while yet another grossly overpaid golf pro played at the U.S. Open.

Now, this bedraggled clan of pitifully complacent wage slaves will undoubtedly rush off to Shea and Yankee stadiums, where their complaints about overpriced food and beverages will be lost in the irony of their continued, obsessive demand to purchase these items, as well as tickets with skyrocketing prices.

They will pay for the privilege of standing in the rain — wet, clueless and cold.

Even a dog couldn't be conditioned to behave with such staggering loyalty.

Richard Iritano

How do they keep a straight face?

Bush's handlers claim his speeches are influenced by his knowledge of the great thinkers:

On the morning of June 14, on the way to a college commencement address in Columbus, Ohio, Bridgeland, director of USA Freedom Corps, briefed reporters on a speech President Bush was about to give. It would be, according to Bridgeland, based on the works of George Eliot, Alexis de Tocqueville, Cicero, Adam Smith, Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth, Pope John Paul II, Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

"And we've actually discussed [Aristotle's] 'Nicomachean Ethics' together," Bridgeland said, apparently with a straight face. "Yesterday, he was talking in the Oval Office about how Lincoln had completed or addressed the concern that the founding fathers had when -- Madison in particular, when he rejected Patrick Henry's request to include a declaration of rights in addition, because of the concern that future generations would not remember that there are duties associated with protecting the country we love so much. He made that very case yesterday in the Oval Office."

The article is worth reading for the comparison of Bush's speeches with the words of Jefferson, de Tocqueville, etc.

Brian Ferry

Nice essay on Brian Ferry in Salon. As the photos show, he is aging very nicely.

9/11 photographs

I found this page after noticing his weblog in my referrer logs. It's a very good first-person account.

Mullet Haiku

Today's mullet haiku, courtesy of Mark Morford:

Oh you hot mama
In your white jeans and teased hair
Come see Ratt with me

Great photos of Albee

I won't tell you what I was doing on this site. OK, I will. I looked at it because Choire linked to it in a very undertandable need for escapism.

Georgians are more honest

Found via cursor.org:

In a press conference with Rumsfeld, the Georgian defense minister tells the press that there are basically no al-Qaeda in his country, and that the USA has been pumping huge sums of money into the country:

it's very difficult to me to say how much billions were spent by the U.S. I wish to assure you that what was done during these years, and especially since 1998 up to this day, is much bigger than any millions you can count.

Manhattan at dusk



House Passes Mormon Land Deal

The House quietly passed legislation yesterday allowing the Mormon Church to buy more than 900 acres of federal land in Wyoming to commemorate a religious site.

Then this is the weird part. What's up with the House? A secret Mormon cabal?

Despite the controversy surrounding the bill, just two lawmakers -- Hansen and Rep. Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich.) were present to say "aye" when the measure came up to a vote. The legislation will face a tougher time in the Senate, where both of Wyoming's Republican senators, Craig Thomas and Mike Enzi, oppose the bill.

"The Martin's Cove area is public land in Wyoming, and I feel that decisions regarding our public lands ought to reflect the will of our people," Thomas said.

Maybe not for my "pretty" category

Early 90s flashback time at east coast/west coast.

Popularity through intimidation

Covering Bush's commencement address at Ohio State Univeristy, The Washington Post tells us:

The commencement addresses of George W. Bush serve as guideposts to a presidency first troubled, then revived.

A year ago, he received an honorary degree from his alma mater, Yale University, where he was booed, heckled and greeted with a sea of protest signs. Scores of professors boycotted the ceremony because they thought Bush undeserving, an image Bush himself indulged. "To the C students, I say, 'You, too, can be president of the United States,' " he said then.

Today, at Ohio State University, Bush basked in the adulation of 55,000 people who treated him to waves of standing ovations in Ohio Stadium as he received an honorary doctorate. University officials bestowing the ceremonial hood on the president hailed him as "the most sought-after commencement speaker in the nation" and praised his "common-sense approach," his "unwavering faith in the nation" and his overall leadership since Sept. 11, which "comforted and inspired us all."

According to FAIR, protesters were threatened with arrest for so much as turning their backs on the President during his speech:

According to the Columbus Dispatch (6/15/02), students were warned ahead of time they faced arrest if they showed any signs of dissent: "Graduates had been warned during rehearsal on Thursday that they faced arrest if-- as was rumored-- some stood up and turned their backs on Bush during his speech." The warning continued on the day of the event as well, according to the Associated Press (6/14/02): "Immediately before class members filed into the giant football stadium, an announcer instructed the crowd that all the university's speakers deserve to be treated with respect and that anyone demonstrating or heckling would be subject to expulsion and arrest. The announcer urged that Bush be greeted with a 'thunderous' ovation."

What a beautiful lesson in patriotism. The students from OSU have a web site covering the event, and the followup, including statements by protesters at www.turnyourbackonbush.com.


Courtesy of Zoomata - video of a fashion shoot with Azzurri, the Italian soccer team.

Or maybe this will get me to pay attention, at least to the end of a game.

Get them while they're hot: Jesus Inspirational Sport Statues. I think I'll take the ballet one on page two. I hadn't realized it was a sport.

Where do I order one?


Nude farmers creating stir in Sweden

A calendar featuring nude farmers armed with pitchforks, shovels and wheelbarrows is creating a stir in Swedish agriculture circles.

A national farming organization, which presented a similar, hugely successful, calendar last year, is worried that the new version made by a local group of farmers could defeat the purpose of the original calendar.

"They're surfing on our wave of success," said Ann Linden, one of the creators of the national 2002 calendar.

Linden said the first version, featuring waist-up, black-and-white photographs of nude, young farmers in farm settings, was designed to change the image of Swedish farmers as "grumpy old men with hats."

Linden said her poster boys were "attractive guys about 25-30 years old, who breed chickens, cattle or work in forestry."

From the IHT:

When Antonio Garullo and Mario Ottocento got married last Saturday in The Hague, they crowned a long-standing dream, and began what promises to be an even longer judicial nightmare.

The gay couple chose to marry in the Netherlands because it is currently the only European Union country that grants heterosexual and homosexual unions equal legal standing. Garullo and Ottocento were the first foreigners to be married in the country and they are the first gay Italians to legally wed.

Homosexuality and Art

The Art Newspaper has an interesting article on two books dealing with homosexual themes in art.

A Hidden Love: Art and Homosexuality is a newer one that I haven't seen in person yet - it should appear in the USA this month.

Mr Fernandez begins with something of a Gay Eden, or Olympus—a Greece where man-boy love was a crucial part of an instructional passage from youth to manhood, hence its regular depiction in sculpture and on vases. As cultures proscribed homosexuality, works of art reflected its enduring presence. The author savours biblical examples from Rembrandt, Orazio Gentileschi, and others. The broad range of Mr Fernandez’s enterprise calls to mind the discipline of systematic theology, from St Sebastian to St Genet.

We have the other one: Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art. It consists of four case histories of queer artists that were the targets of censorship for homoerotic content in their work: Andy Warhol, Paul Cadmus, Robert Mapplethorpe, and David Wojnarowicz.

I had the honor of meeting Paul Cadmus in person in June 1999, at the opening of a show at the Aldrich Museum. He was a beautiful, gentle, man (he was 95 at the time). I felt like I was meeting a saint, and in a way I was.

I love that the Navy's web site has a page on The Fleet's In.

Bill Blass

Nice obit of Bill Blass from PlanetOut. I never met him, but I have a friend who was close to him, and another who worked for him for years.

In New York, Blass is also remembered as a generous and influential supporter of AIDS treatment services since the late 1980s.

"He was a major donor to Gay Men's Health Crisis at a time when prominent people were silent about AIDS," said Ronald Johnson, associate executive director at GMHC, a New York-based agency that serves people with AIDS. "His visibility was important in raising consciousness about HIV/AIDS."


Jonathan Jacobs, executive director of the AIDS Care Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital, remembered that Blass first visited when the center was a "threadbare clinic" in 1988, and he became a major fund-raiser thereafter.

"He understood the spirit of what we were trying to do," Jacobs told the Gay.com/PlanetOut.com Network. He also praised Blass' attention to detail, noting that Blass quietly made sure there were beautiful flower arrangements in the center's waiting area each week for the past 14 years.

"We never had to ask him," Jacobs said. "He was always there for us."

A couple of political cartoons

Tom the Dancing Bug - Bush insists "Up is down"

Doug Marlette

Under Mayor Giuliani, municipal workers were forbidden to talk to the press without permission. Not surprisingly, the city lost a lawsuit over this. Now that we have a mayor who has heard of the Bill of Rights, the city won't appeal the decision.

Posts on other blogs

I'm not writing much on the blog, as I have an icky sinus thing and the drugs are making me incoherent. Here are two recent posts on other blogs that I've enjoyed:


mr. trinity

How do they sleep at night?

As I've heard Ann Northrop say more than once, "How do they sleep at night?".

Bob Barr, Georgia Republican and the House impeachment manager during the Clinton impeachment travesty, is suing Clinton, James Carville and Larry Flint for $30 million, claiming "loss of reputation and emotional distress". (This is a Salon Premium article, so unless you're a subscriber you'll only see the beginning.)

Barr has quietly filed a suit against Clinton, Carville and Flynt for "participating in a common scheme and unlawful on-going conspiracy to attempt to intimidate, impede and/or retaliate against [Barr]" for his role as an impeachment manager in 1999.

At the same time, he's championing a bill that would limit non-economic medical damages to $250,000, saying "a national liability insurance crisis is ravaging the nation's healthcare system."

There's a mention of the lawsuit in the Washington Post, but not the bill limiting damages.

Speaking of Bob Barr... here is a nice little anecdote that was reported on the local NBC affiliate, plus the Alanta Journal and Constitution, about him calling an airport guard an "idiot little nigger".

On a happier note...

Matthew Engel of The Guardian, on Fifty ways to love America.

I'm not making this up

Actual AP headline: Bush pledges fight against evil:

"Evil is evil, and we will fight it with all our might," the president said.

Current listening

I am bouncing around all of the stations at soma fm.

White House Faces Disclosure Suit

Interesting article in the Washington Post:

A conservative group is suing the Bush administration for access to documents about last fall's anthrax attacks, asserting that top officials might have known the bioterrorist attack was coming.


Larry Klayman, chairman of Judicial Watch, said administration officials said last fall that some White House staff members had begun taking the antibiotic Cipro on Sept. 11, weeks before the anthrax attacks were made public.

"We believe that the White House knew or had reason to know that an anthrax attack was imminent or underway," Klayman said. "We want to know what the government knew and when they knew it."

The New Festival

I'm not posting much lately because I'm going to a lot of films at the New Festival. I'll make comments later on my favorites. Almost nothing I've seen has been sold out (since I tend to shy away from this sort of material), so all of you reading this should go see some movies!

Is It OK To Hate Bush?

I think I better plan my trip to Sicily soon. This might change it, and not necessarily for the better.

From the Times of London:

They have endured taunts from male colleagues and abuse from passengers, but the army of women drivers recruited by the London Underground have proved that they are better than men at making Tube trains run on time.

The number of women driving Tube trains has almost doubled in the past year, and managers believe that their influence has helped to end a culture of absenteeism and militancy in the workforce.

For the first time last month, London Underground recorded a week in which none of its 5,000 peak trains were cancelled because a driver had failed to turn up for work.


An artist who amuses me, Eric Doeringer, got a mention (and photo) in Artnet for his bootlegs project. His show at Caren Golden opens June 14. A visitor to my apartment today mistook my bootleg Rob Pruitt for the real thing.

No wonder I voted for Nader

Can someone explain to me why I should even consider voting for one of the 2 major parties at this point? The people in charge are too stupid to figure out how to make the world safer. They're doing everything they can to destroy what good will we had from the rest of the world after 9/11.

Gephardt Backs War on Terror

House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said yesterday he supports military action "to terminate the threat" from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but said he is "deeply concerned" that the administration has moved too slowly to improve homeland defenses.

Gephardt, a prospective 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, offered broad support for President Bush's war on terrorism. He endorsed views outlined in the president's commencement speech at West Point on Saturday, saying that, with the new threat of global terrorism, the United States must be "ready to strike, not just deter."

New "Get Your War On" !!

The latest "Get Your War On" episode was published on May 22 and I hadn't even noticed until today.

Depressing story

Juan Gonzalez has a column in today's Daily News about what happened to the only independent Palestinian public television station in the West Bank during Israel's recent invasion of Ramallah. The head of it, Daoud Kuttab is a respected figure and the first Palestinian journalist allowed exclusive interviews with top Israeli leaders, among them former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. He has also been imprisoned in the past by Arafat for covering corruption investigations involving the Palestinian Authority.

Al Quds specializes in children's programming. Its most acclaimed effort, created with Israeli educational television, is a Middle East version of "Sesame Street."

In the series, Israeli and Palestinian children learn to respect and appreciate each other's culture while playing on two sides of a divided street.


When the soldiers left, station employees immediately returned. What they found, according to Kuttab, was heartbreaking. Six digital broadcast cameras, VCRs and computers had been stolen. Bullet holes were found in computer monitors. Hard drives, fax machines, video equipment and laser printers had been destroyed. Doors were smashed, furniture overturned.

Then there was the graffiti. "Instructions: 1. Eat, 2. Drink, 3. Destroy" wason one wall. Other graffiti included, "Palestine, Never" and "Death to Arabs."

Do you have blacks too?

Tom Tomorrow's blog has a story on Bush's visit with Brazil's President, in which he asked, "Do you have blacks too?"

The original story is in Der Spiegel. I'm not surprised this one didn't make it into the U.S. papers.

I suppose this could be an urban legend, but the point of the story is that with Bush we're not sure. I don't think we could imagine Clinton or Carter or even G. Bush I asking such a thing. With Bush II, it seems possible.

The Bush 9/11 Scandal for Dummies

I've been reading this essay: The Bush 9/11 Scandal for Dummies, by Bernard Weiner, on the always useful Common Dreams web site. While I don't subscribe to the full conspiracy theory aspect of this, I think there are some things worth considering.

My take on this is that the Bush administration knew that something was likely to happen, and decided to take a calculated risk that it wouldn't be too bad. Their other alternative was to panic the U.S. and possibly bring our already shaky economy into a deep recession. Perhaps they feared that if they had warned us and nothing happened, they would have been roundly criticized for "crying wolf".

The problematic aspect of this: Apparently administration officials thought the risk was high enough that they changed their behavior over the summer to avoid the risk to themselves of commercial airline-based terrorism:

It seems they weren't the only people with advance warning:
  • San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was warned by "an airport security man" on September 10 to rethink his flight to New York for the next day

  • Many members of a Bronx mosque were warned to stay out of lower Manhattan on September 11

It would be easier to brush the author off as just another "conspiracy theorist" if the Bush administration hadn't refused to allow any serious investigation of the intelligence failings that led to September 11. If administration officials felt that the warnings they had were enough to warrant changes in travel plans for the President and members of the cabinet, and failed to warn the American people, I think it's fair to say their behavior was treasonous.

Queens Pride

We went to Jackson Heights for Queens Pride today - photos here (automated slide show here). I think the thing that moved me the most was Colega. Colega (Colombian Lesbian and Gay Association) had people dressed as angels, marching in memory of Edgar Garzon.

The noise level of the crowd was less than I expected, and I think it was because it was the straightest crowd I've ever seen at a queer parade - a lot of Latin families out with the kids to see the parade, plus a smattering of South Asians (Pakastani, India, and Bangladeshi). It was cool to see people of all kinds mixing in the crowds for the parade and the festival stages and booths.

We had a late lunch/early dinner afterward at Jackson Diner. It was quite the crowd, thanks to the parade -- including Douglas Crimp. As we told Penny Arcade when we talked with her and Chris Real, I don't think I've ever been to a restaurant where she and Crimp were both present!

After picking up a few Hindi CDs and DVDs, we headed back home to rest for a few minutes hopping back on the subway to see Tom Donaghy's new play boys and girls at Playwrights Horizons' fabulous new space. I like his plays -- I've seen Minutes from Blue Route and The Beginning of August. I'm too tired to write more right now, but I recommend going to see it. Good play, great cast, and great direction.

Paul Davis, from ACT UP Philadelphia, has a good interview in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

James - Voice of the People

A letter by James made the NY Daily News' Voice of the People section.


We saw Reno tonight at the Zipper Theater on West 37th. Cool space, fabulous show. It's a bit more "produced" than when I saw her at La Mama. I love her, and highly recommend seeing it. She hates Telecharge as much as the rest of us, so you can go buy tickets at the box office instead.

Afterward we went to Market Cafe. Bargain! $12 entrees, great wine list, and a waitress that reminded me of Amy Sedaris. I ordered a bottle of Morgon (pronouncing it the French way), and she said - oh, you mean Morgon, like Morgon David.

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