Friday, May 02, 2003
For Immediate Release
Office of the
April 30, 2003
By the President of the United States of America
To be an American is not a matter of blood or birth. Our citizens are bound
by ideals that represent the hope of all mankind: that all men are created
equal, endowed with unalienable rights to life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. On Loyalty Day, we reaffirm our allegiance
to our country and resolve to uphold the vision
of our Forefathers.
Our founding principles have endured, guiding our Nation
toward progress and prosperity and allowing the United States to be a leader
among nations of the world. Throughout our
history, honorable men and women have demonstrated their loyalty to America
by making remarkable sacrifices to preserve and protect these values. ...
Last September, I announced several initiatives that will help improve students'
knowledge of American history, increase their civic involvement, and deepen
their love for our great country. The We the
People initiative will encourage the teaching of American history and civic
education by providing grants for curriculum development and training seminars.
The Our Documents initiative will use the Internet to bring infor-mation
about and the text of 100 of America's most important documents from the National
Archives to classrooms and com-munities across
the country. These initiatives are important, for it is only when our children
have an understanding of our past that they will be able to lead the future.
The Congress, by Public Law 85-529, as amended, has designated May 1 of
each year as "Loyalty Day," and I ask all Americans to join me in this day
of celebration and in reaffirming our allegiance to our Nation.
I pulled these lines out of the
proclamation as it currently appears on the White House web site, because
sooner or later this post might be amended. It probably could have used another
edit or two, but then the White House is probably worse than the law firm I
worked at, where no one dared edit the big-wig lawyer's writing.
"Unalienable" is actually a word in the dictionary, although "inalienable"
is the more common usage. Notice that "Forefathers" is capitalized.
It's a way of showing reverence, as in "God." Notice also that "Nation"
is capitalized, but only when preceded by "our," which is not capitalized.
"Country" is never capitalized; apparently there's something particularly
solemn about the word "nation." Finally, "information" and
"communities" have inadvertent hyphens in them. I'm assuming that
this is a by-product of the text creation process. Someone probably typed it
up in Word, with the auto-hyphenation feature turned-on. When the text was copied
and pasted into HTML, the hyphens came along. They didn't spell-check after
the text got into the HTML editor.
Now to the content... I had no idea that Bush had declared a day of loyalty.
Somehow, that missed the press radar. I wonder how often that happens. Second,
he talks about a history initiative. This is interesting, because if you look
at what's happening with textbooks in Texas, history is being slanted in a very
History is [re]written...
A review board of sorts holds sway over what textbooks get into Texas classrooms,
and that board is powerful enough to block history books that don't tell it
the way the board sees it. For example, one history textbook stated that the
buffalo in this country were nearly made extinct by Europeans, who indiscriminately
hunted the animal for sport. The board recommended that the passage be edited
to assert that Native Americans also contributed to the decimation after the
white man gave them rifles -- supposedly they too began to hunt for sport rather
The amendment would mean the difference between whether the book would be approved
for use in the classrooms. The implication goes beyond Texas, because it represents
the largest market for textbooks. Anything that Texas rejects is not likely
to be published at all.
Which brings us back to the reference to a curriculum development initiative.
Shaping the portrayal of history is a very powerful mechanism for influencing
future generations. Several years ago, a group of conservatives banded together
to launch something they called the "Project for the New American Century."
It's pretty clear that their efforts are focused upon defining the quality of
the entire twenty-first century.
Don't believe the hype
[CBS' Dan] Rather called it a "production." NBC's Tom Brokaw, after
showing tape of the president landing on the aircraft carrier deck in a fighter
jet, said White House aides "openly acknowledge this photo is likely to
show up again as the president campaigns for re-election."
"There is some criticism coming that this is one big photo opportunity,"
- CNN's Paula Zahn.
"The president has put together one of the all-time great photo opportunities
and convinced the television networks to give him a prime-time" stage,
- Fox's Wendell Goler.
The above are all comments on Bush's speech from the deck of an aircraft carrier, marking the end of the main phase of hostilities in Iraq. Interestingly, several of the news broadcasts noted that he stopped short of saying the engagement was over.
Some time ago, I spent several years doing 1-man radio shows on my college
station. I'd tape the shows every time, and had a habit of listening back to
my "air checks" afterward, especially in the first year that I was
on the air. Listening back was very helpful in refining my on-air persona, but
I never had a coach, and I avoided developing the exaggerated radio voice that
I heard some other announcers putting on.
Now, I'm studying voice-over technique with a successful VO announcer and coach.
I'm listening to commercials to hear how they tell a story with their voices,
and I'm reading into a tape nearly every day. The practice is starting to pay
One of the first things I discovered, is how much preparation goes into finding
the vocal quality that will work best for particular copy. Another thing I realized,
is that as soon as you focus on what your voice sounds like, or what the words
on the page are, you already sound wrong -- more than likely, your delivery
will be tentative.
Listening back to the progress I've made over just the past 3 weeks, it's clear
that I wasn't ready to simply step into the studio and make a reel. I'm looking
forward to making something that's really competitive, and will give agents
something to work with.
I'm currently reading "The
Power of the Center" by Arnheim. The first chapter is dense, with a
very formal style of language that's taken a little getting-used-to. I find
myself reading some passages over, just to be sure I didn't miss something.
Still, the description of "centric" and "eccentric" forces
in imagery, sculpture, and architecture is very interesting. I'm looking forward
to reading about the application of this theory in the later chapters. Just
as with writing, there's a lot to visual composition.
Thursday, May 01, 2003
Now, That's a Rant!
OK, yesterday I posted a rant from some ham-headed pro-Bush sputtermouth. Today,
I'm linking to Emptybottle.org to show how
a rant's supposed to be done.
The Perfect Target
"We were not lying... But it was just a matter of emphasis." [The
real reason for the war was] that the administration "wanted to make a
Paul Krugman poses the question: "Does it matter that we were misled into
war? Some people say that it doesn't: we won, and the Iraqi people have been
freed. But we ought to ask some hard questions — not just about Iraq,
but about ourselves." He also raises relevant questions about selective
compassion and the true nature of democracy. Read
more [ NYT link - requires registration ]
1) Republican : Democrat :: Conservative : ??
Synonyms -- bourgeois, controlled, conventional, die-hard, fearful, fogyish,
fuddy-duddy, guarded, hidebound, inflexible, lunatic fringe, middle-of-the-road,obstinate,
old guard, old-line, orthodox, reactionary, red-neck, right-wing, timid, traditional,
traditionalistic, unchangeable, unchanging, uncreative, undaring, unimaginative,
unprogressive, white bread, bitter-ender, classicist, fossil, obstructionist,silk-stocking,
stick-in-the-nud, tory, unprogressive
Listed as a synonym of -- bigoted, intolerant, parochial, slow
Antonyms -- reckless, progressive, radical, revolutionary,left-winger, liberal
2) Republican : Democrat :: Right : ??
Synonyms -- appropriate, condign, conscientious, deserved, due, equitable,
ethical, fitting, good, honest, honorable, just, justifiable, lawful, legal,
legitimate, merited, moral, proper, requisite, scrupulous, stand up, suitable,
true, virtuous, absolute, admissible, authentic, bona fide, correct, factual,
faithful, genuine, immaculate, indubitable, inerrant, infallible, just, nice,
perfect, precise, proper, punctilious, rigorous, satisfactory, solemn, sound,
strict, sure, thoroughgoing, undistorted, undoubted, unerring, unmistaken, utter,
valid, veracious, veridical, veritable, watertight, desirable, favorable, felicitous,
fitting, good, ideal, propitious
Antonyms -- left, wrong, unsatisfactory, unhealthy, sick
Conclusion: Who picked these labels?
Wednesday, April 30, 2003
I visited the Art
Students League on 57th Street yesterday. Thought I'd sign up for a drawing
class. All of the courses are wait-listed, and it looks like maybe I can start
one next month. It would be 2 nights a week, but the instructor would be available
only one night. After a month, I'll see where I am. I'm looking for a little
foundation work. I need a hand with perspective and shadow. After that, it's
just a matter of practice. There are two places I already know of where I can
go for inexpensive sittings with a model.
I'll be curious to find out what my instructor will be like. I was the second
person on the wait list for my class. Other instructors have pages-long wait
lists, probably due to their reps. The league has a long history
of extraordinary instructors.
The gallery at the Art Students League is closed. They're beginning a massive
restoration project in the building, and they're moving classes into temporary
space while the work is being done. I wonder how long the restoration will take.
If you're interested in the compositional and structural aspects of page design,
I can highly recommend "Making
and Breaking the Grid" by Samara. Not only is it chock-full of solid
examples of grids and grid deconstructions, it has a bit of history and a good
bibliography to broaden the perspective.
I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to "Site-Seeing;
A visual approach to web usability" by Wroblewski. I think it will be a
good companion to the grid book.
A tale of two countries
The "Fox Effect" is not simply an invention of Rupert Murdoch. It
appears to ape the voice of people who claim to speak for all Americans. An
entry called "Hillary
and Bill, LEAVE This Country!" appearing on congress.org
contains the following:
SHUT UP MRS Hillary CLINTON! Do you have any ISSUES to talk about other than
Bashing the President of the United States?? Oh yea, America notices these
...You need to grow a brain stem, you and your crooked impeached husband
Bill! I am sick and tired of you and your Party bashing the Best thing that
ever happened to AMERICA!! CLUE: PRESIDENT G W BUSH! As a taxpayer and a Registered
VOTER of this COUNTRY, I demand it! ...
I am an AMERICAN THAT VOTES, and I resent the bashing and stomping on MY
VOTE and President BUSH!! ...
There are a couple of interesting elements here, besides the histrionic, ignorant
tone. (As I said once before, anger generally undermines your case.) The message
implies that Bush is addressing issues, and Clinton is not. Meaning that in
this person's mind, a President lying and overstepping authority should not
be an issue as long as that President was voted into office.
Another implication that stands out is the notion that the only people complaining
about Bush are people who didn't vote. This argument has been advanced against
Lenny Kravitz, who admitted that he didn't vote in the last election, and sees
it as a major mistake, but is speaking out now.
But whether the critic is a once apathetic potential voter who's awakened,
or a Washington insider, the message is "shut up if you don't have something
nice to say about the guy I voted for." Considering that stories ran yesterday
about Daschle's comments on the eve of the Iraq military engagement -- suggesting
that it might cost him his political future -- you can look forward to a campaign
season full of neo-McCarthyistic rhetoric.
Contrast that entry with "THE
AMERICAN DICTATOR Return War Powers to Congress":
In October 2002, George Bush convinced congress to surrender their constitutional
War Powers to him. The joint resolutions known as HJ.Res.114 and SJ.Res.45
authorize the president to "...use the Armed Forces of the United States
as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to-- (1) defend
the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed
by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions
Furthermore, in the joint resolution, Congress specifically relinquishes
its own authority granted in the War Powers Act of 1973, the purpose of which
was "...to fulfill the intent of the framers of the Constitution of the
United States and insure that the collective judgement of both the Congress
and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces
into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities
is clearly indicate by the circumstances, and to the continued use of such
forces in hostilities or in such situations." ...
The fundamental problem is that it is unfair to ask the citizens of the United
States to have blind faith in their leaders. When Congress surrenders its
authority under the War Powers Act, it undermines one of the all-important
checks-and-balances that protect the integrity of our great democracy. The
deferral of this authority to the president also robs the American people
of the chance of having their voice heard by their leaders. That is, a letter
to one?s Senator or Representative has a better chance of being read, and
of carrying some political weight, than a letter to the President. ...
Would the author of the first message consider this to be bashing? Would they
see the entry as having any relevance, or would they simply repeat the cry of
What are they thinking?
What brought me to these messages? I was looking on congress.org for information
on this: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States
to repeal the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. Bill # H.J.RES.25"
The summary is as follows.
Constitutional Amendment - Repeals the 22d amendment to the Constitution
(limitation on presidential terms).
This is not a good idea. Following on the heels of Congress signing over its
war powers to the President, it's further down the slippery slope toward a dictatorship
steered by global enterprises which are increasingly regarded as the only relevant
"American interests." What amazes me, is that 5 of the 7 sponsors
are Democrats. Not surprisingly, there's been no coverage of this proposal in
the press, and there should be significant coverage any time the Constitution
stands a chance of being altered.
I can hear some of the sound-bites already. When the issue of doing away with
the Electoral College came up a couple of years ago, a number of Congressmen
waxed about the prescient wisdom of the Founding Fathers and how we should not
mess with their intent. I suppose they might argue that this move is in the
same spirit -- effectively un-making a mistake.
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
9/11 and Bush's Record
To the Editor:
Re "Bush's Aides Plan Late Sprint in '04" (news article, April 22):
Since the worst terrorist attack in American history, which took the life of
my brother, occurred in New York on Sept. 11, it seems appropriate that President
Bush will be making his re-election bid from that city at that time in 2004.
Perhaps the millions of unemployed Americans, veterans whose benefits have
been threatened, families of dead civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, working
people who lost their pensions to corporate fraud, and 41 million Americans
without health insurance can come to town and join him in celebrating the other
achievements of his first term.
Cary, N.C., April 23, 2003
- Letter to the Editor on NYTimes.com
I have a hard time believing that April ends tomorrow.By the same token, I've
burned through the morning already.
Sunday, April 27, 2003
Monster will no longer allow posting of resumes or job openings originating
from Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.
In an e-mail explaining the change, Monster last week told consumers whose
resumes include a reference to one of the countries that "your resume
will be altered, removing all the sanctioned countries from your resume."
A spokesman for Monster, which is owned by New York-based TMP Worldwide,
said Friday the policy affects "a few thousand" of the 26 million
resumes posted on its site.
In some cases, the company has deleted resumes that list current addresses
in those countries. It has altered other resumes so that they no longer list
those countries as targets for employment or the location of jobseekers' education.
...after receiving complaints, it had re-examined its technology and beginning
next week would allow the countries specified to be listed in the education
Officials have not determined whether the company's action were correct,
except to note that limiting where a jobseeker obtained an education appears
to overstep the rules. [ The
whole story ]
Heston's farewell fade
ORLANDO, Fla. - Charlton Heston made his last appearance as president of
the National Rifle Association on Saturday, shuffling onto the stage before
a crowd of 4,000 NRA members but too feeble to give a farewell speech.
The actor, diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, was strong enough
to raise an 1866 Winchester rifle over his head and deliver his trademark
line, "From my cold, dead hands."
He received a standing ovation but only spoke three more sentences at the
annual NRA meeting Saturday. ...
Kayne Robinson, former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, took over
the duties of president on Saturday. ...