The River

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wow. Cindy Sheehan seems to have hit on the simple question that can be easily grasped as vitally important by one and all, but can't be truthfully answered by the masters of war. Mike Luckovich, one of the country's best editorial cartoonists, puts it to powerful use. Luckovich and columnist Jay Bookman stand out as bright jewels in the sea of drivel that is the AJC. But they would stand out anywhere. Kudos, Mike.

Click on the piece to go to Mike's blog and a larger, PDF version of the artwork.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cheeseburgers, rock-n-roll, jarheads and journalism

I found a collage I did in high school, possibly college, at my folks’ house the other day. It was all stuff out of magazines. There was a giant bottle of Michelob, a glass of champagne and a bottle of Seagrams, (hmmm…must have been college), people "alive with pleasure" from ads and a shirtless Mick Jagger in the throes of rock-n-roll ecstasy. A red sports car did a wheelie, ready to launch over the beer bottle. A large arm with a rolex ran along the bottom, somewhat covered by the consumerist din. Santa's reindeer sailed off into a starry-sky interior, upper center. A hamburger, four times the size of a quarter-pounder, sat in the middle of it all, buddha-like. Bruce Springsteen, young, tan and scruffy, was the smallest image, lost in the flood. Don't ask me about the large duck on the left, although he was, obviously, my idea.

Which is to say that it ain't easy to create art,


but if you can write an article about fast food and reference the Anthony Swofford Gulf War memoir Jarhead, Reefer Madness, and Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman, well, you're well on your way.

The challenge? Confronting the madness without losing your head; photo courtesy of

By the way, you can amuse yourself to death by simply putting Postman's title in Google.

But this is about the well-done burger article.

Can there be anything more American?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Just between us dictators

U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, left, is greeted by Zheng Shenxia, president of Academy of Military Science, upon arrival at the academy in Beijing Thursday, Oct. 20, 2005.

Hello, I'm one of the sickest motherfuckers on the planet.

Me too, me too.

Hoho. Piker. Get a load of this:

Abu Grahib? Been there, done that.

No, this, my budget, baby!

That is sick.


How do you do it?

What, 'n give you my secrets? Let's just say that officially, I'm all concerned about Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan's defense budget.


Officially. As in the officially sanctioned story is the one repeated, ad nauseum, by everybody. Doesn't matter if they're leftists or righties, academics or reporters, or whatever, they can never get past the official bullshit.

Oh yeah. Forgot. But what about the freethinking on the Internet?

Conspiracy theory. A few nutcases. Gulags. Scare 'em.

Always comes back to that, doesn't it?


But your control of the mass mind. Your techniques. It's so...sophisticated.



Nothing. Can you let go of my hand now? That's enough pics. Now about your military budget, how big is it, really? Do you have hidden trillions, like I do?

If that is true, it is truly frightening.

What can I say? I'm the best in the business.

We are but a developing nation, proud and resourceful. But our military-industrial complex can and will highjack our people's aspirations. And isn't that what you want to see, everywhere? Isn't that why you cozied up to Saddam Hussein?

That again? Ancient history. Only the Internet crazies give a damn. What they don't understand is we can build anyone up and tear anyone down. Look at Martha Stewart. I think she's on her second trip up right now. You will appear to our people how we want you to appear. And I am deeply concerned about your defense budget.

Cut it, Rummy. You don't rule the world. Or the world mind, just yet.

Sure, sure. A known unknown. But I know this: anything can be bought, sold, manipulated or disappeared.

Now we're speaking the same language. It's the same in any country, isn't it?

Yesir. Now about the unknown unknowns, what's up with your bioweapons program?

Insanely successful.

I knew it! Let's talk...

Monday, October 17, 2005

This cracks me up everytime. Audrey, 3 and a half, soon to be four, brought home some of her preschool artwork. She had done something egg-shaped. I asked what it was. She said it was Humpty Dumpty. Since Dad was so clueless, she tried to help me out. "He's one of the famous eggs," she said.

One of the famous eggs

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Spoonfed Society

A tale of two headlines

Quick finish to war likely tonic for faltering economy

-- Atlanta Journal Constitution, Saturday, March 22, 2003

Bush rallies faith in war

-- Atlanta Journal Constitution, Friday, October 7, 2005

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination

(Buzzflash excerpt)

The nomination of Harriet Miers, Bush's latest consigliore, is not only a testament to how the Busheviks are organized along the lines of the Mafia, which is to say that Omerta takes precedence over any claim to competence, or in this case even any prior experience as a judge.

What makes this book [Unfit Commander, by Glenn W. Smith] -- which was a belated counter-attempt to counter the lies of the Rove-orchestrated "Swift Boat Liars" in the last election -- so immediately relevant is that Miers was paid by the Bush campaign when he was Governor of Texas to "look over" his National Guard record for "trouble spots." Some claim that she was even party to "eliminating" troublesome portions of the record. But the biggest accusation was that she used a Texas state position to basically provide "hush money" to a man who could verify that George was given preference for a position in the Texas Air National Guard.

Miers has proven herself a total Bush loyalist and crony. She meets Bush's only requirement in a candidate for any position: complete and uncompromising loyalty to Bush and the ruling Republican junta.


Monday, October 03, 2005

Springsteen's Devils & Dust: The Palace at 4 A.M.

By Daniel Wolff


Without narrative or character development, without the release of rock&roll or its humor, without the social relevance that supported The Rising, Springsteen has deliberately constructed Devils & Dust as a bare stage. Like the narrator of "The Hitter," he places himself outside a locked door, alone, trying to describe where his life has taken him. If he can only get it right ­ make his voice as battered as the way he feels ­ maybe the door will open, and he can rest a while. Structured like an old mountain ballad, "The Hitter" refuses to ornament or build, repeating, instead, like the string of bloody fights it describes. It doesn't end with the door opening but with the fighter circling yet another opponent. What he does to survive (like the gunner in the title track, like most of the people on the CD) may well kill the things he loves ­ and his ability to love. But what he's gained in this exchange is a stark beauty. Finally, he's fighting to tell the truth.


From Dave Marsh's new blog, Holler If Ya Hear Me