February 2003 Archives

Art under attack

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Go read James's posting of Nicolás Dumit Estévez being arrested while doing a public art project on Valentines Day -- giving people flowers in the subway.

Not directly related:

Has anyone else noticed that the NYC media basically never mentions the fact that there are National Guardsmen with automatic weapons in the subways? Are we supposed to just expect things like that now, without comment?

Bridge to Baghdad

Very cool project, info from MattS originally:


You are invited to join BRIDGE TO BAGHDAD: A Youth Dialogue.

This Saturday, March 1, from 11:30am to 2pm, DCTV will be hosting a live, satellite conversation between students in Iraq and students in America to include the voice of a younger generation in the current public discourse.

The live conversation will feature a panel of American students representing diverse ethnicities, religions, and political viewpoints; a panel of students in
Baghdad; and a live studio audience that may participate or simply listen. The session will be turned into a program for television.

The program is free and open. Please reserve by writing to justin@dctvny.org or calling 212-925-3429 x243. You must arrive by 11:15am on Saturday to ensure your reservation.

The program will take place at the Cyberstudio at DCTV at 87 Lafayette Street, between Walker and White Streets, near the A, C, E, N, R, Q, W, 6 trains to Canal Street.

More info here.

Josh Marshall/Talking Points Memo

Busy with work, so I'll let Atrios explain it for me: why I don't link to Josh Marshall's web site anymore. Arguing that it will diminish our standing to not bomb Iraq, even if it's a bad idea, is outrageous, stupid, and immoral.

Senators against war

A bipartisan group of former United States Senators today announced its opposition to the Bush Administration's plans to invade Iraq.

Video with Ari

No War Blog: Ari gets laughed out of the room -- C-SPAN has the video. You can hear a reporter say "Laughed off the stage" after Ari leaves.

Ari laughed off stage

Ari Fleischer is laughed off the stage by reporters when he says, "You're saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable. And that is not an acceptable proposition."

Kieran Healy's PSA

Kieran Healy has a Public Service Announcement that everyone should read.

U.S. Warns France in Struggle Over Iraq

The United States fired a warning shot Tuesday across the bows of France, the leading critic of its Iraq policy, saying it would view any French veto of a new U.N. resolution authorizing force as "very unfriendly."

Sherpa internet cafe

A sherpa plans to create the world's highest internet cafe on Mt. Everest.

Peter Vallone, Jr. on Iraq


What an idiot. There is no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, but here is Peter Vallone, Jr. on why he won't support and anti-war resolution in the NYC Council, from Newsday:

Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said the council may have been reluctant to take action on the original resolution because of the attack on the World Trade Center.

"No one felt a greater loss than New York City," he said. "No one needs retribution more than New York City.

"I will not support any anti-war resolution, no matter what the wording, and neither will the large majority of my constituents," Vallone said.

On Pollack's arguments for attacking Iraq

Daily Kos has a great summary of the Carnegie Endowment's critique of Kenneth Pollack's op-ed piece in the Times on why we have to invade Iraq. They describe it as "a house of cards".

Open letter to Salon

Go read Atrios's open letter to Salon

INS Demo

I wasn't feeling well, so I stayed home from the INS Demo, but James went and wrote about it.

Joe Ovelman @ Daniel Silverstein

I went to Joe Ovelman's opening on Friday night before going to the Public. HIGHLY recommended. There is a new series called "Snow Queen", of Joe in drag photographing himself in a snowy Central Park at night, which totally blew me away. I expect I will have to buy at least one of those.

New York Makes Me Hard

I saw "Radiant Baby", the new musical about Keith Haring, at the Public Theater tonight. My title above comes from one of the less successful songs of the evening, but overall I think it worked. I really don't like conventional musical theater, with songs that sound either like pop songs or something from a 1950s Broadway musical.

It starts off slowly, but it becomes quite compelling once we reach the Paradise Garage. The scene begins with a diva (sung by Angela Robinson) holding a note for about 45 seconds before the house music begins. The whole scene is a funny and hot tribute to a time that once was. It's also the first time the music is actually interesting.

Three children (actually sung by children) act as the chorus, and given the fact that Haring worked with children throughout his career, it's my favorite aspect of the musical. Other highlights: the incredibly talented cast; Aaron Lohr is compelling and very hot as Keith's lover Carlos, and Julee Cruise as Andy Warhol.

I hadn't realized that Tseng Kwong Chi and Haring were so close. Some of the iconic photographs of Keith's work, like the body painting of Bill T. Jones or of Grace Jones, are by Kwong. He is a major character in the musical.

The visual design is quite good, and I like the fact that when they talk about his work near the end of his life they end up with his Ignorance=Fear / Silence = Death ACT UP poster.

I think it's worth seeing, but because of the history and the people involved, rather than because it is a great achievement in theater. I really felt that a musical about Keith Haring deserved music with more edge than this, except for certain fabulous scenes like the Paradise Garage, provided.

And we wonder why we have no allies

Full U.S. Control Planned for Iraq

The Bush administration plans to take complete, unilateral control of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, with an interim administration headed by a yet-to-be named American civilian who would direct the reconstruction of the country and the creation of a "representative" Iraqi government, according to a now-finalized blueprint described by U.S. officials and other sources.

Gen. Tommy Franks, the head of the U.S. Central Command, is to maintain military control as long as U.S. troops are there. Once security was established and weapons of mass destruction were located and disabled, a U.S. administrator would run the civilian government and direct reconstruction and humanitarian aid.

In the early days of military action, U.S. forces following behind those in combat would distribute food and other relief items and begin needed reconstruction. The goal, officials said, would be to make sure the Iraqi people "immediately" consider themselves better off than they were the day before war, and attribute their improved circumstances directly to the United States.



Good set of new photos up on Quarlo

Art Spiegelman

Art Spiegelman on why he left the New Yorker -- good, but frankly I think comparing smoking restrictions with post 9/11 civil right abrogations is ludicrous


U.N. inspectors say tips from the U.S. are garbage.

Uppity Negro

Go read Uppity Negro on how bad American media has become.


Lynn Johnston, creator of one of my favorite comic strips, says it will end in a few years when her syndication contract is up.

Things to ponder

Things to ponder about war with Iraq, from CalPundit.


I love Pandagon's new design.

Open source code better

A study says that open source code for operatings systems is of higher quality than that of closed source systems.

Bombs for democracy


I think the logic of all of the people who say anti-war protesters are coddling (or appeasing) a dictator boils down to this: "If those Iraqis knew what was good for them, they would let us bomb them to rescue them from Saddam Hussein and bring them democracy."

Iraq Timeline

Michael Tomaski provides a good timeline on how we got to this point on Iraq.

INS protest on Friday


If anyone has a better link for this, let me know. I'm going to protest the INS special registrations downtown at Federal Plaza on Friday.

More info on this topic may be found here.

David Neumann - Sentence

Go go go! Right now!

Go to the P.S.122 web site and get tickets to see David Neumann's Sentence. I saw an earlier version of it last summer at the Whitney at Philip Morris (aka Altria) and thought it was one of the best dance/theater works I had seen in a long time. It's fabulous -- definitely a favorite of the season so far. It's also your last chance to see his regular collaborator Stacey Dawson for a while: she's moving to Hollywood. Another reason to go: Adrienne Truscott of Wau Wau Sisters fame. Andy is right - she's stalk-worthy she's so brilliant.

I'm sure James will write about this too, but I wanted to make sure people heard me say, "Go! Buy tickets right now!"

Democracy in Iraq

Get your war on

I'm nine days late for this: new Get Your War On.

Americans for War

Lighten up! The war will be in someone else's country. -- Americans For War

iPods at Grammys

Even though they can't play any of the music available through the music industry's "legit" music-distribution sites like PressPlay, iPods will be distributed to attendees at the Grammy Awards. [via Boing Boing]


GOP Senators threatened the GAO with a budget cut if it did not drop the lawsuit against Cheney to get him to reveal information about his energy panel.

Joe Ovelman

Joe Ovelman opens at Daniel Silverstein Gallery:

Untitled (Self Portrait as Michael Jackson), 2002, c print, 24 x 20"

Opening: Friday, February 21 6 - 8 pm

February 21 - March 22, 2003
Daniel Silverstein Gallery
520 West 21 st
212 929 4300

There are more images on the gallery's web site. We were the first people to buy a work by Joe, and I think he is incredibly talented. He is one of those people I expected to "make it" within weeks of meeting him.

Barry photo

James provides a photo of me, for those that are curious.

Israel / Germany 1938

Is Israel today vis-a-vis the Palestinians the equivalent of 1938 Germany?

Souter gay?

Is there a gay man on the Supreme Court?



- I love my dead gay son.

- How do you think he would have felt about a limp-wristed son with a pulse?

- My teen angst bullshit has a body count.

I watched Heathers a few nights ago. It has its moments, but I don't think it has aged well.


Ann Telnaes cartoon - yes the networks are all sheep.



Yes, NYC really is under occupation. James comments on the personal account of Dan'l being handcuffed on a subway platform.

This letter explains a lot

... about why I'm such a Europhile -- from the NY Times:

As an Italian living in the United States, I see that Americans have more or less embraced the idea that food is an industrial product, while Europeans, especially the Italians and the French, see it as part of their culture (news article, Feb. 11).

The idea that food should have a shelf life of 30 days to be economically viable is anathema to the Italians and the French. Modifying foods to satisfy the needs of industrial distribution is preposterous.

It is unfair for the United States to try to force the Europeans to accept genetically modified food, casting in economic terms what is a matter of culture.

San Diego, Feb. 11, 2003

Laura Bush/crying wolf

Laura Bush says the media is just being irresponsible and needlessly scaring the public by reporting so much on terror news alerts.

Yahoo/I love NY

Featured photo on Yahoo! Photos: gay couple with twins in Madison Park on East 23rd Street.

Code Pink

Code Pink and other feminist peace groups, including the Raging Grannies are making waves.

Snow day

central park bridge

outside our window


From No More Mister Nice Blog, an excerpt from an interview with Chirac. Do you think any of our "leaders" have worked in menial jobs in Europe, even really know anything about it?

greg.org on Struth

Go read greg.org on Thomas Struth.

Great Gibbon Quote


Courtesy of Travelers Diagram:

"If all the barbarian conquerors had been annihilated in the same hour, their total destruction would not have restored the empire of the West: and if Rome still survived, she survived the loss of freedom, of virtue, and of honour."

–Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter 35

CIA sabotage

Senior Democrats have accused the CIA of sabotaging weapons inspections in Iraq by refusing to co-operate fully with the UN and withholding crucial information about Saddam Hussein's arsenal.

I can't find this anywhere else.

But there's more to it than that. The Bush administration - which is in the midst of trying to sell the war to the public - filed a brief urging the judges to uphold denial of the permit. And the Bloomberg administration has no intention of forcing a St. Patrick's Day standstill instead of a parade - even though it's bigger and likely more raucous.

Thanks to Atrios for the link.


Update: The Village Voice wrote about it in this week's issue.

Americans are babies

Even though I think the 250,000 number is low for NYC, look at the numbers in this Reuters story:

NYC: 250,000
London: 500,000
Berlin: 500,000
France: 300,000 (For the whole country? Maybe because their government is on the right side?)

Barcelona: 1.3 million
Rome: 1 million

Dissent is Hot

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The weather was cold, the dissent was hot. I got back a little while ago from the anti-war rally. Unlike Tom Moody, who was part of the crowds that the police kept away, I made it to First Avenue. I was marching with the truly fabulous GLAMericans, including Justin Bond, Cathay Che, Mike Albo, and Florent Morillet.

GLAMericans are a non-partisan group of funky Americans committed to non-violence and its promotion through glamorous, media-savvy, cultural events. We believe in America’s potential to be a peaceful and powerful force in the world. We believe that war is bad for our country, bad for our environment and bad for our travel plans.

Among the GLAMerican chants and signs:

  • Glamour not War

  • Dior not War

  • Makeup not War -- sounds like "Make Love not War"

  • Foreplay not Warplay

  • Peace is not a Fringe Movement

  • War is so last century

  • Resistance is fertile

  • Money for shopping, not for bomb dropping

  • Fake Fur Real Peace

  • Peace the Ultimate Luxury

  • Couture not War

  • Peace is Pretty

Other non-GLAMerican signs:

  • Tony Blair / Yankee Poodle

  • God Bless Hysteria

  • The last time we listened to a Bush, we wandered in the desert for 40 years

I heard some of the speakers, including Desmond Tutu, Danny Glover, and Angela Davis. Poet Saul Williams read an awesome poem -- my favorite line was "Your prayers between rounds".

As Tom Moody indicated earlier, the crowd control was pretty ridiculous. There could have been more people around First Avenue, but the police were really trying to prevent huge crowds from getting there. There were also no portable toilets -- the police claimed they would be a "security hazard". Of course terrorists would hide bombs in those rather than cars and trucks. I heard stuff about arrests and police using horses to charge crowds on the radio, but I didn't see any of that where I was. Go read James on this topic.

I put some photos in the gallery area. My favorite thing I saw was a group of junior high or high school kids carrying images from Picasso's Guernica.

There is an AP story that was quoted at the rally by the moderator that talks about the U.S. and Great Britain maybe backing down a bit:

Rattled by an outpouring of anti-war sentiment, the United States and Britain began reworking a draft resolution Saturday to authorize force against Saddam Hussein.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the final product may be a softer text that doesn't explicitly call for war.

P.S. Last night I saw National Guardsmen with automatic rifles and camouflage (in Manhattan?!) at two subway stations.

What he said


The world is a hornet's nest and we now have the profound bad luck to be living in it under a child armed with a big stick while a bunch of his friends "double-dog dare" him to just do it and see what happens.

Of course we'll help rebuild Iraq

The United States Congress has stepped in to find nearly $300 million in humanitarian and reconstruction funds for Afghanistan after the Bush administration failed to request any money in the latest budget.

Why don't people trust the U.S. when we tell them we're bombing them for their own good, and to promote democracy?

Thanks to Atrios for the link.

The Mirror (UK):


New York Post:


February 15 Anti-War Rally


I'll be starting here.

If you're interested in getting a Blue Button, we just updated the web site with more information on how to get one, including a list of galleries that have them.


The "orange" alert was likely based on fabricated information.

Fifth of July

Go see Lanford Wilson's Fifth of July at Signature. We saw it a few nights ago and I had not expected it to be so wonderful.

Calling all non-profits/starving artists

As part of a class-action settlement, Toshiba is giving away computer equipment "for underserved individuals."

This could get messy

Here is a map of all of the feeder marches planned to join the anti-war rally around 1st Avenue/49th Street this Saturday, Feb. 15.

The city has not approved any marches, only the stationary rally.

The same web site provides legal info regarding your rights as a demonstrator in NYC.

After my experience with the Matthew Shepard march in 1998, I don't trust the police to follow the law. Their approach has often been to break it anyway and let people sue.

Open letter

Go sign the open letter of MoveOn.org and AlterNet.org thanking our friends in Europe and asking them to stand in solidarity with us this weekend against the Bush administration's push to make war on Iraq.

Cool Art

Cool art projects for Feb. 14: Love A Commuter.

I love the picture of Maria Alos from last year's version. She's the one who did this.

A federal judge has denied a permit allowing the anti-war march on February 15 to march to the U.N., saying that heightened security concerns posed by up to 100,000 protesters would threaten the public safety and security of the U.N. Instead a stationary rally will be allowed five blocks away. The judge says it is constitutional to ban all marching in Mahattan.

NY Newsday also reports that the NYPD has approved no permits for demonstrations since the fall of 2002.

Apparently things like the St. Patrick's Day Parade don't have the same kinds of security concerns that political speech does.

A reminder: I'll be joining this group, assembling at the NYPL on Fifth Avenue. If you're going to be there, send me an email if you don't have already have my cell phone number, so we can meet up.


Update: Jim Henley has good ongoing coverage of this.

Germans: America as warmonger

57 percent of Germans polled agree with the statement: "The United States is a nation of warmongers."

The Economist has an interesting article on a recent paper by Robert Gordon, an economist at Northwestern. The article has a link to the full paper for my hardcore economics readers. As someone who travels there regularly, I have always been uncomfortable with standard economic analyses that show that Europe is much poorer than us, because I just don't see it, even ignoring the median vs. mean issues involved in comparing countries with radically different wealth distribution profiles.

A significant part of his argument is that GDP is so bad at measuring things like quality of life. Our spending on air conditioning and heat, because our climate is harsher, counts towards our higher GDP. So does our inefficient transportation system -- we spend more on cars and roads rather than on public transit -- and the fact that we spend much more on home and business security plus prisons, since we have a much higher crime rate.

Any time's a good time for a photograph

contrasts.net: Any time's a good time for a photograph

David Rees

L.A. Weekly has an article on David "Get Your War On" Rees, including a nice photo.

Lou Harrison MP3

I should have done this a few days ago, when I posted about the death of Lou Harrison.

Here is an MP3 (2.4MB) of Lou Harrison's "To John Cage" from "Seven Pastorales".


Saudis plan to end U.S. presence after Iraq?

US may use biochemical weapons

The U.S. plans for the use of biochemical weapons in Iraq. Apparently we're allowed to gas Iraqis, but Saddam Hussein isn't. [Link via atrios]


Sarajevo prepares a plaque and a museum on the assassination that started WWI.

German class

I forgot to mention that I started German class at Deutsches Haus a couple of weeks ago. I've wanted to study German on a more rigorous basis for a while. I love the country, its culture, and its people, and the events in this county since November 2000 have made me think about leaving, at least temporarily, at some point. Germany is a country that makes it relatively easy for technical workers to legally work there. It is also a place that values high culture in a way even NYC barely does these days -- except perhaps in the visual arts. I could never hear a daring contemporary opera at Lincoln Center, but even provincial cities in Germany do it all the time. You also have to love a country where the equivalent of CNN or Time put "Culture" and "Books" on the list of main navigation links on their homepages.

Several things struck me as I was reading the introductory material in the textbook. One is that the texts talk about diversity -- specifically referring to one woman as both Turkish and German. Another is that they don't shy away from the ugly aspects of Germany's 20th century history. In a section devoted to the story of two women tourists, one mentions wanting to see the city's synagogue, and the explanatory text (with photos) describes it as built in 1913, destroyed in 1938 by the Nazis, and now restored as a Museum. Can you imagine such a thing, say concentration camps for Japanese citizens, in an American English-for-foreigners textbook?

On a lighter note, I'm amused, as a New Yorker, to see references to the exact time that a bus or train arrives somewhere. In my experience in Munich, I could count on a streetcar (S-Bahn) to arrive at the time indicated on the schedule at the stop. One last item from the textbook: some of the vocabulary words include political words like "protest".

I was reminded to write this entry after going to pick up my new toy, at an Orthodox Jewish-owned store, no less.


Great essay by Tom Moody on the K48 show

More on Bill O'Reilly

Not content with harassing the children of WTC victims for being unpatriotic, Bill O'Reilly refers to Mexicans as wetbacks, or coyotes.

Breslin/Anti-war rally

Go read Jimmy Breslin on the city's refusal to grant a permit for the Feb. 15 anti-war rally.

Screened Out

Simon Callow reviews Richard Barrios's history of gay men and women in the movies, Screened Out.

Harper's Index-style facts on Iraq

From the Village Voice: A Harper's Index-style listing of facts on Iraq.

Rumsfeld on Germany

Rumsfeld, appearing before a Congressional hearing, compares Germany to Libya and Cuba for not supporting an attack on Iraq.

Bill O'Reilly vs. WTC Victim's son


Carpeicthus supplies us with a transcript from Bill O'Reilly, where he attacks the son of a WTC victim for being unpatriotic, for bringing up the fact that we trained the mujahadeens in Afghanistan, who trained al Quaeda.


O'REILLY: You are mouthing a far left position that is a marginal position in this society, which you're entitled to.
GLICK: It's marginal -- right.
O'REILLY: You're entitled to it, all right, but you're -- you see, even -- I'm sure your beliefs are sincere, but what upsets me is I don't think your father would be approving of this.
GLICK: Well, actually, my father thought that Bush's presidency was illegitimate.
O'REILLY: Maybe he did, but...
GLICK: I also didn't think that Bush...
O'REILLY: ... I don't think he'd be equating this country as a terrorist nation as you are.
GLICK: Well, I wasn't saying that it was necessarily like that.
O'REILLY: Yes, you are. You signed...
GLICK: What I'm saying is...
O'REILLY: ... this, and that absolutely said that.
GLICK: ... is that in -- six months before the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, starting in the Carter administration and continuing and escalating while Bush's father was head of the CIA, we recruited a hundred thousand radical mujahadeens to combat a democratic government in Afghanistan, the Turaki government.
O'REILLY: All right. I don't want to...
GLICK: Maybe...
O'REILLY: I don't want to debate world politics with you.
GLICK: Well, why not? This is about world politics.
O'REILLY: Because, No. 1, I don't really care what you think.
GLICK: Well, OK.
O'REILLY: You're -- I want to...
GLICK: But you do care because you...
O'REILLY: No, no. Look...
GLICK: The reason why you care is because you evoke 9/11...
O'REILLY: Here's why I care.
GLICK: ... to rationalize...
O'REILLY: Here's why I care...
GLICK: Let me finish. You evoke 9/11 to rationalize everything from domestic plunder to imperialistic aggression worldwide.
O'REILLY: OK. That's a bunch...
GLICK: You evoke sympathy with the 9/11 families.
O'REILLY: That's a bunch of crap. I've done more for the 9/11 families by their own admission -- I've done more for them than you will ever hope to do.
O'REILLY: So you keep your mouth shut when you sit here exploiting those people.
GLICK: Well, you're not representing me. You're not representing me.
O'REILLY: And I'd never represent you. You know why?
O'REILLY: Because you have a warped view of this world and a warped view of this country.


Go read the whole thing. O'Reilly eventually has his mic cut rather than debate him, and apologizes to his listeners that he put such a person on his how.


Update: Tom Tomorrow seems to have a more "official" transcript.

Corps. back affirmative action

Dozens of big companies are backing the University of Michigan and its affirmative action policy before the Supreme Court, saying such programs help produce better workers of all races and ethnic backgrounds. Microsoft, Intel, American Airlines, Proctor & Gamble, Eastman Kodak and PepsiCo are among more than 40 Fortune 500 companies siding with the University of Michigan.

Coliseum Books

Great news! Coliseum Books will reopen across from the Public Library on Fifth Avenue in April.

NYC job losses

More than one in five of the jobs lost nationwide over the past year were in New York City, according to the Center for an Urban Future, which says that the city accounts for only 2.8% of all jobs in the country.


Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said on a radio call-in program that he agreed with the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. There are some good posts on this over at David Neiwert, but I can't link directly because blogspot's archives are broken.

India and Iran

India and Iran unveil a new strategic partership, bringing hope for a new way towards stability in the region.

Williamsburg Galleries

Time to start selling ads! The number one result on Google when searching for Williamsburg galleries is me.

Go Liz

... and Go Richard Gere:

From Liz Smith:

MONDAY NIGHT'S American Foundation for AIDS Research fund-raiser, honoring Anna Wintour, Lorne Michaels and Richard Gere, while not by any means a somber affair, seemed definitely more serious and committed to the cause than has been evident recently.


Gere was typically passionate and fired up, perhaps too fired up. Winding up remarks, he looked at Hillary Rodham Clinton and said, "I'm sorry, Mrs. Clinton, but your husband didn't help us much."

You have to love a gossip columnist who started and ended a column a few days ago with quotes by Doris Lessing and Gore Vidal.

Images from the first Gulf War

Peter Turnley is a photographer who refused to join the pool covering the first Gulf War, because he knew that it was designed to be "a major impediment for photojournalists in their quest to communicate the realities of war". He has now published his photos of that war online.

A new study says that thicker insulation might have prevented the collapse of the WTC towers, or at least allowed them to remain standing for much longer.

It is widely accepted that the collapses were caused by the failure of the buildings' steel structure as it was weakened by the heat of the fires. But Jim Quintiere of the University of Maryland, College Park, thinks the thickness of the surviving fire insulation, rather than the destruction of insulation during the impacts, explains why the towers collapsed when they did.

The south tower was the first to fall even though it was hit after the north tower. The insulation on its burning floors was only half as thick. According to Quintiere's calculations, if the insulation had matched that in the north tower, the south tower would have stayed standing longer.


No one doubts that the planes killed many people on impact and started the fires that led to the buildings' collapse, says Quintiere. But if both towers had had insulation over 50 millimetres thick, he says, they might not have collapsed at all. His analysis calls into question the safety of other buildings constructed to the same standards as the twin towers. However, the Port Authority of New York, the owner of the twin towers, rejects his theory


If the NIST tests back Quintiere's theory, attention will turn to why the insulation was thinner in the south tower than the north tower. The New York City building code stipulates that the insulation on steel structures should be at least 38 millimetres thick. However, the Port Authority's special legal status means it does not have to comply with the code.

When the twin towers were built in the early 1970s, fire insulation just 19 millimetres thick was sprayed onto the trusses. But in 1996, Lombardi recommended the thickness be doubled. "I made the decision, since there was a question from a general contractor as to how much thickness is needed to provide a two-hour fire rating of the floor joists and floor assembly that would be in conformance with New York City building code," he says.


Despite the recommendations by Lombardi, thicker insulation had been applied to fewer than a third of the trusses in the twin towers by 11 September. This, Lombardi says, was because it could only be done as floors became empty.

This is another example of how monstrous it (still) is to exempt the Port Authority from city regulations. The WTC complex was exempt from city smoking laws, and all PA territory, including the airports, is considered "private property" and exempt from free speech rights such as demonstrations or leafletting.

They appeared to have changed the caption to this picture in the online version of the story about the raid on a London Mosque.


My print edition had this:

Lost your chewing gum?

I was shocked when I saw this. What's next? Asking Jews at the Wailing Wall whether that's a nervous tic?

This is the one

Here is where I'll be for the anti-war demo on February 15.

Note that there is still no march permit. NYC has refused to grant one so far.

France preparing for war?

France is quietly preparing its military in case it decides to join the new Gulf war.


Lou Harrison

Lou Harrison, an important American composer, who was a sweet gay artist and activist, has died at 85. I had the honor of meeting him and his lover a few years ago.

There are few people one meets that give one the feeling of gentle saintliness. I felt that way when I met him, and I felt that way when I met Paul Cadmus.

Art in Nacogdoches

Two artists in Nacogdoches create their own memorial to the astronauts.

Guernica covered up

The reproduction of Picasso's "Guernica" at the United Nations has been covered up because it was an inappropriate background for the U.S. Ambassador to have while talking about war. See also: NY Times.

Tom Friedman: idiot

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Sunday's NY Times had a column by Thomas Friedman on Iraq/American/Europe that was laughably bad. I can't believe it even ran. I wanted to write something about it, but Tom Coates at plasticbag.org has done a much better job.

Anti-war at the Goyas

Much of the audience and presenters for the Goyas -- Spain's equivalent of the Oscars -- wore anti-war pins.

Who gave him the weapons?

Attack on Iraqi water/sanitation

The British Ministry of Defense admits Iraqi water and sanitation systems could be military targets, which would result in a huge humanitarian crisis, and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Mac switcher

A computer security expert says he's considering switching from Windows to Mac because Microsoft's security is so bad.

Cheney / Confederate Flag

The Right Wing has been all in a tizzy over ANSWER sponsorhip of anti-war rallies. In short, the argument is that protesters are tacitly endorsing ANSWER's leninist ideology by attending those rallies.

Well, in that case, VP Cheney endorses the Confederate Flag and thinks Janet Reno is a child butcher. [Daily Kos]

William Pfaff in the International Herald Tribune (emphasis mine):

American commentators like to think that the "Jacksonian" frontier spirit equips America to dominate, reform and democratize other civilizations. They do not appreciate that America's indefatigable confidence comes largely from never having had anything very bad happen to it.

The worst American war was the Civil War, in which the nation, North and South, suffered 498,000 wartime deaths from all causes, or slightly more than 1.5 percent of a total population of 31.5 million.

The single battle of the Somme in World War I produced twice as many European casualties as the United States suffered, wounded included, during that entire war.

There were 407,000 American war deaths in World War II, out of a population of 132 million - less than a third of 1 percent. Considering this, Washington does not really possess the authority to explain, in condescending terms, that Europe's reluctance to go to war is caused by a pusillanimous reluctance to confront the realities of a Hobbesian universe.


It cannot be emphasized too often that not one of the principal figures associated with the Bush White House's foreign policy, with the exception of Colin Powell, has any actual experience of war, most of them having actively sought to avoid military service in Vietnam. Their inexperience and ignorance could not be better displayed than by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's recent comment that draftees have added "no value, no advantage really, to the United States armed services over any sustained period of time." Who does he think fought World War II - the 174,000-man prewar regular army?

The American regular army has never been truly effective until large numbers of flexible, brainy and nonconformist wartime civilian soldiers were integrated into its command, staffs and ranks.


Germany's current resistance to President George W. Bush's war coincides with the re-emergence in Germany of articulated memories of exterminatory bombardment, pillage, population expulsions and mass rape, suffered in the final months of World War II. That devastating experience has for years been deliberately repressed in the German consciousness, in acknowledgment of Germany's responsibility for the war and the crimes committed by German forces.

In recent months a series of books and articles have at last recalled what the Germans themselves call taboo subjects, at a time when the youngest generations of those who experienced these events are mostly still alive.

This has not been to argue the merits, justification and (minor) actual effect on the German war effort of allied saturation and firestorm bombing of German cities, but in order to establish a moral and aesthetic coming-to-terms with events that, together with the firebombing of Japan's wooden cities, rank among the worst things ever done in or by Western civilization.

Pilger: "Blood on their hands"

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Go read James's post about John Pilger's column on our likely attack on Iraq. We are becoming a rogue nation, and it is laughable to pretend we are doing this in the interest of "democracy".

Art acquisition

We bought several works at the opening of the Cynthia Broan show, including work by Michelle Weinberg -- ours is related to but smaller than the one on that page, Eric Stormes, Nicolás Dumit Estévez, Tim Thyzel, and William Crow.

Also, head over to James's site to look at an image of our latest work by Charles Goldman.

Gallery going

We wandered around without a plan in Chelsea today after having lunch with friends. Normally, James has a very planned itinerary, so it was nice to find things serendipitously.

Things I liked:

  • Run, do not walk, to the $99 Bargain Store Show at Cynthia Broan (curated by Tim Thyzel)
  • Matthew Northridge at Gorney Bravin + Lee. I felt less strongly about some of the work in the main room, but the collages in the project room at the back were exquisite.
  • Jan Dibbets at Barbara Gladstone. I love the way the works read as beautiful abstracts at a distance, while the individual elements are wonderful photographs on their own.

  • "Air", a group show, at James Cohan. For me the standout work was a video by Hiraki Sawa titled Dwelling -- another still here -- in which airplane models fly about an apartment. In an era when flying machines conjure negative thoughts, it was soothing to watch a happy, magical work with flying planes.

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