August 2008 Archives

Following up on James's post on the subject, here are some links to recent news about police raids in the Twin Cities of activist houses. They are knocking down doors and coming in with semi-automatic weapons to arrest people and confiscate belongings, including computers, journals, and political pamphlets. They have also arrested National Lawyer Guild lawyers trying to find out more information.

Here is one video from a visit by Glenn Greenwald to a house after it was raided:

At one time we pretended to have a constitutional republic (see previous post) but now we're not even pretending. Check out this paragraph from an AP story on the raids:

Protester Michelle Gross said a fourth home, this one in St. Paul, was being raided Saturday afternoon. Two people were outside the home in handcuffs while police awaited a search warrant, she said. St. Paul police spokesman Tom Walsh said a search warrant was being executed but could not confirm whether anyone had been arrested.

Meanwhile, I don't even see this story on the home page of Daily Kos. Boing Boing, which normally covers such things, and did so regarding Tibet protests in Beijing, is ignoring this and giving us crap like moon-cake USB sticks. Shameful.

It's not only the Twin Cities where the police are out of control. Check out this video and story of an ABC reporter in Denver being shoved and arrested by a uniformed, cigar-smoking cop.

Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.

OK, I'm done. Enjoy your election, people. This is disgusting, and I hear nothing from any of our elected officials. They like things this way. Keeps everything tidy.

Remember when Nancy Pelosi said, even though the Democratic Party was set to have a majority in both houses of Congress, that "impeachment is off the table"? As Lewis Lapham said at the time,

Democracy is born in dirt, nourished by the digging up and turning over of as much of it as can be brought within reach of a television camera or a subpoena. We can't "lay out a new agenda for America" unless we know which America we're talking about, the one that embodies the freedoms of a sovereign people or the one made to fit the requirements of a totalitarian state....

Like it or not, and no matter how unpleasant or impolitic the proceedings, the spirit of the law doesn't allow the luxury of fastidious silence or discreet abstention....

The Constitution doesn't serve at the pleasure of Representative Pelosi any more than it answers to the whim of President Bush, and by taking "off the table" the mess of an impeachment proceeding, the lady from California joins the president in his distaste for such an unclean thing as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Rightly understood, democracy is an uproar, the argument meant to be blunt, vigilant, and fierce, not, as the purveyors of our respectable opinion would have it, a matter of liveried civil servants passing one another polite synonyms on silver trays.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are unilaterally disarming against the GOP, which has no qualms about using nasty tactics. The Obama campaign told Dennis Kucinich to remove this line from his speech:

They're asking for another four years -- in a just world, they'd get 10 to 20.

Related: Glenn Greenwald on what's missing from this convention:

First, there is almost no mention of, let alone focus on, the sheer radicalism and extremism of the last eight years. During that time, our Government has systematically tortured people using sadistic techniques ordered by the White House; illegally and secretly spied on its own citizens; broken more laws than can be counted based on the twisted theory that the President has that power; asserted the authority to arrest and detain even U.S. citizens on U.S. soil and hold them for years without charges; abolished habeas corpus; created secret prisons in Eastern Europe and a black hole of lawlessness in Guantanamo; and explicitly abandoned and destroyed virtually every political value the U.S. has long claimed to embrace.

Other than a fleeting reference to such matters by John Kerry in a (surprisingly effective) speech which most networks did not broadcast, one would not know, listening to the Democratic Convention, that any of those things have happened. Even our unprovoked and indescribably destructive attack on Iraq, based on purely false pretenses, has received little attention. Those things simply don't exist, even as part of the itemized laundry list of Democratic grievances about the Bush administration. The overriding impression one has is that the only things really wrong during the last eight years in this country are that gas prices are high and not everyone has health insurance. Those are obviously very significant problems, but they are garden-variety political issues which don't begin to capture the extremism that has predominated in this country under GOP rule, and don't remotely approach conveying the crises on numerous fronts the country faces.

Art e-mail deluge

The art season is about to start up, and I know people want their shows listed on ArtCal, but sending info to ArtCal, James, me, and Paddy asking to be listed is counterproductive. Very counterproductive. Extra demerits if I receive the email at more than one of my personal addresses. Please just sent it to ArtCal to the proper address with the information we request.


artwork by Tom Sanford

If you find yourself in Seattle in early September, don't miss William Powhida's opening at Platform, our favorite gallery in that city. I hear there will be music, record swapping, and more. To get prepared, check out Bad At Sports's interview with him on their podcast. He starts about 8 or 9 minutes in. You can hear his side of the story on Zach Feuer getting his NYC gallery (Schroeder Romero) kicked out of the NADA Art Fair because of an artwork by William in which he put a hex on Zach.


CBS Outdoor decides billboards such as this one by Suzanne Opton as part of her billboard project cannot be run during the Republican National Convention.

[Click here if you don't see the video]

Minneapolis police confiscate equipment, notes, and computers from the Glass Bead Collective without their consent. The collective are the people who released the video of an NYPD officer assaulting a bicyclist. The Minneapolis police officer told them they were confiscating their belongings for "Homeland Security" reasons.

Kiki and Bubu discuss the problems of the unfettered market and the possibility of planned economies. Go here if you don't see the video above.

Created by monochrom.


Good Anti-McCain ad

Via Paul Schmelzer. Go here if you don't see the video above. Actually you might as well click on that link anyway if you want to see wacky comments. "Obama is 100% Marxist" for example. In this country anyone who wants something other than a banana republic with a rich elite and no middle class is a crazy lefty.

And better yet, why does anyone consider her a Democrat or a liberal or even a rational human being? As BooMan says:

I still run into old friends occasionally that not only think Maureen Dowd is a good columnist but that she is a liberal and uses her column to advocate for the Left. Without fail, these friends are busy people that have not spent the Bush years reading alternative media and blogs. They're somewhat like Democrats that were trapped in amber sometime in 2000-2001, just before the rise of the Blogosphere. They have puzzled about why Dowd spent the last three months of the 2000 campaign writing about how horrible Al Gore was as a candidate, but then they remember those zingers she put down on Dick 'Big Time' Cheney and his geographically-impaired sidekick. Ooh...that felt sooo good.

This is a message to my old friends trapped in amber. Maureen Dowd doesn't root for Democrats. She uses her column to mock Democrats, drive wedges between Democrats, and to reinforce negative stereotypes about Democrats. Yes, she is somewhat irreverent and she does her share of blasting Republicans. Occasionally, when her righteous ire is up, she can really let the Republicans have it. But you can start a count now. It's August 13th. Dowd does two columns a week. If she doesn't take any time off, she'll write thirty-three more columns between now and the election. I guarantee you that the majority of them will not be helpful to the cause of Barack Obama. Today's column is about as unhelpful as it gets.

Dowd is also the columnist that said, in the run-up to the 2000 election:

Al Gore is so feminized and diversified and ecologically correct, he's practically lactating.


Matt and Kim: Yea Yeah

[click here if you don't see the video above]

tod seelie - nolahouseandlines

Nola House and Lines, 2008, Digital C Print, 15 × 15 inches, edition of 8

tod seelie - bicycleriotcops.jpg

Bicycle Riot Cops, 2007, Digital C Print, 12.25 × 8.25 inches, edition of 10


Dead Man (Mississippi Series), 2006, Digital C Print, 12" × 12 inches, edition of 8

Tomorrow (Saturday the 9th) is the last day to see Tod Seelie's show, titled Slowdancing to Slayer, at Cinders Gallery in Williamsburg -- their first photo show. They've had something come up and are not open today, so head on over tomorrow for some great photography at bargain prices. The prints are approximately $200-600, framed. There is something for everyone, from portraits of people along the Mississippi to shots of punk shows in abandoned warehouses.

In addition to really loving this show, I have another connection. Everyone asks about the balsa wood squirrel sculpture in our living room, hanging on an old column. It's by Kim Schifino and James and I bought it a year ago at The Porch Show at Cinders. Tod is currently touring with the band she formed with Matt Johnson, Matt and Kim, and CSS. Check out his blog for photos. You can buy Matt and Kim CDs at Cinders. That's where I got mine.

All images above are from the Cinders Gallery website.


Anonymous Postcard

Anonymous Postcard is a new project of Tucker Nichols and Dakin Hart. Their description:

Anonymous Postcard is designed to allow anyone to openly communicate to a third party without the complications of personal contact. After being vetted by our staff of experts, a claim found to reflect the civic spirit of the project will be transformed into a vague and largely indecipherable postcard and mailed toward the intended recipient.

This is my favorite one so far:


To: Liz Pate of Greenwich, Ct
Claim: She was recently quoted in a New York Times article in which she opposed a Wiffleball field some local teenagers had built in a vacant lot. I thought the teenagers should be commended for doing something positive and I love Wiffleball. I happen to have an excellent slider with a Wiffleball which most hitters find untouchable.

See the archives for more.



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