March 2004 Archives

Air America Radio

Air America Radio has launched. I'm listening to The O'Franken Factor.

Mixed Greens collectors interview

Thanks to Paige West, our collectors interview on Mixed Greens is on their website again.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell


If gays in the military are such a bad thing, why does the number of dismissals fall when we're at war?

As the United States military continues to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan, discharges of lesbian and gay military personnel plummeted 17% in FY2003, according to a new report from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

Conduct Unbecoming, an annual review of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, finds that gay-related discharges fell to 787 last year, down from 906 in 2002. The 2003 figures mark a 39% decrease in discharges since 2001, the year before current conflicts in the Middle East began. The number also represents the fewest gay discharges since 1995.

“Gay discharge numbers have dropped every time America has entered a war,” the report says, “from Korea to Vietnam to the Persian Gulf to present conflicts.” It goes on to note that “more of our allies have dropped their bans, and our American troops are fighting alongside openly lesbian, gay and bisexual allied personnel in the war on terrorism.”

If our military leaders are so concerned about homos serving, they should be consistent and refuse to work with most of our allies. According to SLDN, the United States and Turkey are the only two NATO countries that do not allow openly gay soldiers.

Williamsburg openings

The day after tomorrow will be another Friday night in Williamsburg for us.

To see:

Peter Hendrick at Schroeder Romero, 6-9

Icelandic Love Corporation at Jack the Pelican Presents, 7-9 -- I wonder if a certain Icelandic singer will attend?

Jennifer Nuss at Monya Rowe, 7-9

Heraldic Pomp Exhibition Opening for the Repellant Zine Festival at Brooklyn Fireproof, 6-11

Craig Hein at *sixtyseven, 7-10

I was struck by the huge range of ages, ethnicities, and types of people in the demonstration today.

This is how the NY Times presents that diversity:

The protesters were middle-aged mothers, tongue-pierced students, veterans and bearded professional dissenters, who all came together in what organizers described as a broad-based protest of the Bush administration's foreign policy not just in Iraq, but in Haiti and Israel.

This is what the Washington Post, not particularly good on coverage of the Iraq War, had to say:

The crowd along Madison Avenue represented an array of professions, ages and backgrounds from the East Coast. They arrived by bus, caravan and subway.

Look at the photos that James took of the people we saw today. The Times is becoming Fox-like in its approach to news.

Not fit to print

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Right now, the NY Times home page has no mention of the anti-war demonstration here in NYC (we just got back but it's not finished yet). Instead they have a photo of G.W. Bush at a rally in Florida. The Times doesn't want to acknowledge that such as thing is happening in the city, but it's hard to ignore 100,000 marchers.

There is a small link lower down on the page under another Iraq story about worldwide demonstrations, but if fails to mention the New York one.


Newsday has an AP story, which is where I got the 100,000 number. Also, on the page with the story is a link to a photo gallery.

James now has a photo gallery of his own up.

Begin the impeachment hearings


Of course, that won't happen while the GOP is in charge of Congress. War and terrorism threats are useful tools to hold onto power, not things our country should actually do anything about.

They wanted to bomb Iraq after 9/11, even though they new it had nothing to do with it -- dead Iraqis for "revenge."

Frankly, I don't understand right-wingers at this point. Do they honestly believe what this administration is doing will make us (or anyone else) safer?

See you all tomorrow!

From an article that TBOGG pointed out:

In truth, however, September 11 became a political football on September 11. Conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, blamed the Clinton administration. "The decision to get down and dirty with the terrorists, to take their threat seriously and counter them aggressively, was simply never taken," wrote Sullivan. Senator Orrin Hatch referred in 1996 to the terrorist threats, threats which compelled Clinton to attempt the passage of a comprehensive anti-terrorism bill that would have gone a long way to stopping 9/11, as "Phony threats." After September 11, he joined the 'Blame Clinton' chorus.

During his administration, Clinton offered legislation that would give the Treasury Secretary broad powers to ban foreign nations and banks from accessing American financial markets unless they cooperated with money-laundering investigations that would expose and terminate terrorist cash flows. The legislation was killed by Texas Republican Senator Phil Gramm, who was chairman of the Banking Committee. At the time, he called the bill "totalitarian." It was revealed later, of course, that Gramm killed the bill because it would have blocked Enron officers from laundering stolen stockholder money through the same offshore conduits the terrorists were using. Gramm, from Texas, was beholden to Enron, and killed the bill at their behest. Of course, he joined the 'Blame Clinton' chorus after the attacks, and never mind the facts.


The Bush administration received a blizzard of warnings before September 11 that something huge was about to happen. The security agencies of Germany, Israel, Egypt and Russia delivered specific warnings about airplanes being used as bombs against prominent American targets. FBI agents were raising alarms in Minnesota and Arizona. Donald Kerrick was a deputy National Security Advisor in the late Clinton administration. He stayed on into the Bush administration. He was a three-star General, and absolutely not political. He has reported that when the Bush people came in, he wrote a memo about terrorism, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The memo said, "We will be struck again." As a result of writing that memo, he was not invited to any more meetings. No one responded to his memo. He felt that, from what he could see from inside the National Security Council, terrorism was demoted.

Richard Clarke was Director of Counter-Terrorism in the National Security Council. He has since left. Clarke urgently tried to draw the attention of the Bush administration to the threat of al Qaeda. Richard Clarke was panicked about the alarms he was hearing regarding potential attacks. Clarke is at the center of what has since become a burning controversy: What happened on August 6, 2001? It was on this day that George W. Bush received his last, and one of the few, briefings on terrorism. According to reports, the briefing stated bluntly that Osama bin Laden intended to attack America soon, and contained the word "hijacking." Bush responded to the warning by heading to Texas for a month-long vacation. It is this briefing that the Bush administration has refused to divulge to the committee investigating the attacks.

Regarding Clarke, this was a non-partisan anti-terrorism professional and member of the National Security Council. His latest revelations are that the Bush administration wanted to bomb Iraq on 9/12, even though they knew it had nothing to do with 9/11:

A former White House anti-terrorism advisor says the Bush administration considered bombing Iraq in retaliation after Sept. 11, 2001 even though it was clear al Qaeda had carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Richard Clarke, who headed a cybersecurity board that gleaned intelligence from the Internet, told CBS "60 Minutes" in an interview to be aired on Sunday he was surprised administration officials turned immediately toward Iraq instead of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

"They were talking about Iraq on 9/11. They were talking about it on 9/12," Clarke says.

Clarke said he was briefing President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld among other top officials in the aftermath of the devastating attacks.

"Rumsfeld was saying we needed to bomb Iraq. ... We all said, 'but no, no. Al Qaeda is in Afghanistan ," recounts Clarke, "and Rumsfeld said, 'There aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq."'


Saint Sebastian Carhood, 2004
Enamel on Carhood, 55 x 63 inches

We're big fans of Carlos de Villasante's work, as you can see from my various blog posts.

He has a solo show at Heriard-Cimino Gallery in New Orleans at the moment. When we visited New Orleans a few years ago, the gallery was one of our first stops because the fabulous director, Jeanne Cimino, is a friend of Margaret Evangeline.

Closer to home, we'll be headed out to Williamsburg on Friday for the Williamsburg Gallery Association's Third Friday event. All galleries will be open until 9pm. It will give you a chance to see a few things I recommend. Several of these are opening that night:

Suzanne Wright at Monya Rowe - extended through March 21

Reed Anderson at Pierogi 2000

Christopher Johnson at Plus Ultra

Josh Stern at Parker's Box

The always fun Brooklyn Fire Proof should be the place to end up, with their Fashion Social.

Of course, this whole schedule may change drastically when we find out more details on Cory Arcangel's performance at the Whitney on Friday night.

Spam poetry

I received spam today with this subject:

Imagine Super Viagrá! A norwich atheist gremlin.

A quote from a Time article, via Pandagon:

Administration sources tell TIME that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration's efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month.

The Center for American Progress has a report on the things we are NOT doing to make us safer.

After 9/11, we attended demonstrations to say that we wanted justice for the awful attacks of that day, but we did not want innocent people killed as the USA lashed out in anger. There is a difference between combating terrorism and killing innocent people to make (some of) us feel better. I remember "patriotic" New Yorkers screaming awful things at us during these demonstrations.

Those who argue that dealing with terrorism as a crime is somehow appeasement are arguing that American lives are worth more than the civilians we kill when we drop bombs from 30,000 feet in revenge. We still haven't caught the people responsible for 9/11, but we have killed tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan. It is as if Italy chose to deal with the mafia by carpet-bombing Palermo with cluster bombs.

We diverted resources to attacking Iraq rather than chase after Al Qaeda, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. We have now killed at least 10,000 civilians in Iraq.

I'm saying all of these things because I was just looking at photos of the anti-terrorism demonstrations in Spain. Our country is ready to descend into barbarism over the War on Terrorism. Spain is saying they want justice for the attacks, but they do not want innocents killed in the vain hope of making them safer from attack. At least 11 million people demonstrated around the country on Friday.


Spanish people holding posters saying 'Peace' protest over lack of information on Thursday's bombings on trains outside the ruling Popular Party's headquarters in the center of Madrid, Saturday March 13, 2004. Some 3,000 people chanted accusations that Spain's government is hiding the truth about bombings that killed 200 people. (AP Photo/Denis Doyle)


Barcelona's Brazilian player Ronaldinho, second right, and Luis Garcia, second left, wear shirts with, No to Terrorism, Yes to Peace, on them before a first division soccer match against Murica in Murcia, Spain, Sunday March 14, 2004. The shirts are a protest against the Madrid bomb attacks on trains last Thursday that killed 200 and injured another 1,500. The other two Murcia players are unidentified. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)


Barcelona's Dutch player Edgar Davids, second right, protects a fan from a security policeman after the fan ran on to the pitch with the words No to Terrorism, and Peace written on his chest during a first division soccer match between Murcia and Barcelona in Murcia, Spain, Sunday March 14, 2004. The fan was refering to the bomb attacks on Madrid trains last Thursday that killed 200 people and injured another 1, 500. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)


A girl gets out of her car to applaude as she sits in a traffic jam waiting for several thousand demonstrators to pass by as they march through the center of Madrid, Spain, early Sunday morning March 14, 2004. Later Sunday the Spanish population will vote for general elections, but demonstrators took to the streets protesting the government's failure to link the Thursday March 12th bombings which claimed the lives of 200 people in coordinated attacks on commuter trains, to al-Qaida. Sign at rightreads 'Peace'. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)


A hand written sign in Spanish saying 'peace' is seen on one of the windows at Madrid's railway station Atocha, Saturday, March 13, 2004. Powerful explosions rocked three Madrid train stations, including Atocha on Thursday, March 11, 2004, killing 200 rush-hour commuters and wounding more than 1, 240 in Spain's worst terrorist attack ever. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)


We put up a cross at the WTC after 9/11 (and it's still there). Can you imagine someone painting a peace sign there?

Art burn-out

Yes, I have been to both Scope and The Armory Show, this weekend (one day for Scope, two for Armory).

At the moment I'm too exhausted for a blog post, other than saying that I was really impressed by the quality of the San Francisco and Los Angeles galleries I encountered at both fairs. The SF galleries were also much braver about showing political art dealing with the War on Terror and 9/11 than most NYC galleries (except for a few like Barbara Gladstone, the only blue chip NYC gallery to do such a thing with its Thomas Hirschhorn installation).

What was with the food at The Armory Show? It wasn't so bad last year, and this year it was horrible, expensive, and accompanied by enough tables to seat about 5% of the people getting food at any one time. Also, BUY SOME DAMN BENCHES FOR THE ATTENDEES.

One more thought: No one came up to me to tell me how much they loved my weblog, which cannot be said about James.

I was reading an article about Jocelyn Elders, and she pointed out that about half of the children in America qualify for free or reduced lunches. I just went searching for the government numbers on this. As far as I can tell from the chart, the number for FY2003 is 58.5%.

We are #1 in GDP, in wealth, in military technology, in military spending, in health technology, but we haven't figured out how to be better than last in rankings of child poverty among the 18 wealthy industrialized nations.

Wondering about the title of my post?

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?" — George W. Bush, Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

I have written before about Charlie before, the swearing, anti-Nazi parrot alleged to have belonged to Winston Churchill.

Yesterday the NY Times had a follow-up to this story, including these remarks showing the level of journalistic professionalism at the tabloids.

According to The Mirror, using a detail that was widely repeated in other British newspapers and indeed by the news media around the world, Churchill taught Charlie to curse — "particularly in company" — to the point that "many an admiral or peer of the realm was shocked by the tirade from the bird's cage during crisis meetings with the prime minister."

The Mirror account was written by Bill Borrows, an editor at large for Maxim U.K., who said in an interview that he could not recall, exactly, where he got the information that Charlie used to swear about Hitler, but that he might have read it on the Internet. He said he had not met Charlie in person, but had tried, unsuccessfully, to conduct a telephone interview.

"The bird didn't say anything, but I've had worse," Mr. Borrows said.

Appearing several weeks ago on BBC Radio 4, Mr. Oram said that although the bird did indeed have a history of swearing, she always sounded "parroty" rather than Churchillian. As for the content of Charlie's remarks, Ms. Martin said she had never heard her curse about Hitler, or even about any of the lesser Nazis.

"She lived for a time in Mr. Oram's father-in-law's shop, and all the market traders were teaching her all sorts of swear words," Ms. Martin said. In disgrace, she added, Charlie was exiled to the nursery in Surrey so that her cursing would not scandalize the shoppers.

But whatever Charlie said or did not say, she is not saying it now. Ms. Martin said that as the bird has grown older and more fragile, she has uttered less and less. From time to time, she might suddenly come out with a stray operatic high note, but nothing more. Nor does she fly, except for the occasional swoop.

I love birds. If I ever become a shut-in, I'm getting a smart parrot to play with.

The Civilians - April 16 benefit

Of course we'll be there, and I welcome any of my readers to join us. The Civilians are one of my three favorite theatre companies in NYC. The other two are Target Margin and The Wooster Group.

It's $60 for the whole thing, or $20 for just the after party.


GRAND HARMONIOUS VAUDEVILLE Friday, April 16th, 8pm Ticket price includes a buffet of Chinese appetizers. Complimentary vodka and tequila cocktails courtesy of Grey Goose and Corazón. Cash bar for other drinks.

Grand Harmony Restaurant
98 Mott Street (Chinatown, between Canal and Hester)

Performances of never-before-seen texts by Civilians Advisors John Guare and Charles L. Mee, Jr.

New renditions of Civilians songs including selections from our upcoming show Nobody’s Lunch.

Tony-Winner Karen Ziemba (Never Gonna Dance, Contact)
Bayne Gibby (HBO's Out on the Edge)
Mo Rocca (Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”)
and more to be announced soon.

10pm – Midnight
with dancing and music by DJ Kozmik

Here is the link to the benefit page, including how to get tickets.

I have written about The Civilians quite a bit. If you want to hear what some of their songs sound like, I have some MP3s here.

Queer news = style section

While I'm glad the New York Times is choosing to write about the issues facing transgender people, I am baffled by the placement of the article.

What is an article about transgender college students doing in the Sunday Styles section? No wonder Choire at Gawker refers to his "ritual cleansing" after reading the Sunday Times.

More on our subway adventure

Ray Sanchez has a column in today's Newsday on our little subway adventure. I think it's quite good. I never had an experience with the media before where the point I wanted to make actually made it into the article.

If you run out and buy the print version, you get a photo of us.


I Miss You Already, 2004
Tracey Baran

Tracey Baran at Leslie Tonkonow. We have several works by Tracey. We have followed her work since we first bought two photos from Liebman Magnan at the Gramercy Art Fair, before she had even had a show.

Ester Partegas at Foxy Production. She was in the show "Soft Cell" at Foxy which I mention often.

Column on Haiti

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This column from Mark Weisbrot provides some interesting background on the situation in Haiti. A sample:

The latest coup is in many ways a repeat of the military coup that overthrew Aristide in 1991. Although many Americans know that President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore Aristide to the presidency in 1994, they do not about Washington's role prior to that.

The United States, which occupied Haiti militarily from 1915-1934 and had plenty of support for the murderous Duvaliers who ruled the country from 1956-1986, had a problem when Haiti held the first democratic election in its history.

Aristide, a populist priest who preached liberation theology, was elected by a landslide in 1990.  After serving seven months in office, he was overthrown by the military. The officers who led the military coup were, as later reported by the New York Times, on the payroll of the CIA. But the Washington connection did not end there.

A death squad organization known by the French acronym F.R.A.P.H was formed, and murdered at least 3000 of Aristide's supporters over the next three years. The founder of the organization, Emanuel Constant, stated in an interview on CBS' 60 minutes that he was paid by the CIA to create and maintain the organization during the dictatorship. He now lives in New York.

Constant's second in command, convicted murderer Louis-Jodel Chamblain, was one of the leaders of last week's insurrection. The New York Times report on Tuesday summed up the situation after the coup: "These men, whom Mr. Powell characterized last week as "thugs," and a few hundred of their followers are for now the domestic face of national security in Haiti.

Theatre non-recommendation

Ugh. We saw Nicky Silver's Beautiful Child at Vineyard Theatre last night.

I hated it so much I don't even want to talk about it. If I hadn't been on the second row I might have walked out.

I was actually angry when I left the theatre. It's bad enough to see a mess of a play that's a comedy, but to see an awful play about a child molester is just too much. If I had been The Vineyard, I would have told Nicky, "we're not producing this one." It was like bad dinner theatre Albee.

I wonder what Rex Reed thought? He was in the audience.

I'm headed out to vote for Dennis Kucinich in the primary. Go read Matt Taibbi on the Congressman from Ohio who actually believes we all deserve health care.

I've set up Jay's web site ( with Movable Type and started putting some more information up for him.

For people looking for background information or articles and letters related to the NY Times dismissal, that's the place to look.

What country am I in?

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This is considered an appropriate question from a New York Times reporter in a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates?

Q. Really fast, last, on a Sunday morning, President Bush has said that freedom and fear have always been at war and God is not neutral between them. He's made quite clear in these speeches that he feels God is on America's side. Really quick: Is God on America's side?

I love the "really quick" part.

Becoming an expatriate in Germany or France is looking better and better.

photo from James

James and I had an adventure yesterday in the subway - he has a more detailed write-up plus more photos. Around 5:30 our F train stopped between Broadway/Lafayette and West Fourth because of a homeless man throwing debris onto the tracks. Around 6:20 it moved briefly, then there was arcing and noise from the 3rd rail visible from our car's windows, along with some smoke in our car. People were pretty calm, and they told us to go to the front of the train. We then spent an hour standing around near the front of the train, until they told us to go to the rear of the train to exit via an emegency exit to the street. During that hour, they kept telling us that the police and fire departments were "on their way." Let me repeat that: they were "on their way" for an HOUR.

From the stories I've seen online we had it pretty easy, as we didn't have much smoke at all. I think it was much worse in some places.

New York Times
New York Post

Even though what we personally went through wasn't that bad, I was pretty shaken up once I thought about it later. Why did it take two hours to get us 15 feet to the emergency exit? Is the MTA, and its coordination with city emergency services, really that bad? We couldn't see significant smoke out the windows and we had the car windows open for the last 30-45 minutes. Is the city really that incapable of dealing with something bad happening in the subway?

This is the kind of thing that makes me question living in NYC. I'm not sure the people in charge are really capable of preparing this city for possible calamities. A single homeless man throwing some garbage can cause people to be trapped for hours in the subway?

I'm also disturbed that the "we're not prepared" angle seems lost to the media. Newsday put the article on page 17, under an article about Joan Rivers and the Oscars. The NY Times story, which didn't make the print run, is just ridiculous. They can't even calculate time properly. The last time I checked, 6:20-9 is not two hours, and in any case our train first stopped at 5:30.

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