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al fresco 14 December 2008

Posted by marisacat in California / Pacific Coast, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, San Francisco, Viva La Revolucion!.


Coit Tower Mural under the PWAP

San Francisco PWAP

The largest of the projects sponsored by the PWAP is the Coit Tower murals in San Francisco’s Coit Tower. This project was also largely controversial because of the strong influence of Diego Rivera in the city, and the interest of the PWAP to keep publicly sponsored art projects non-revolutionary. Among the artists selected to work on the mural were Victor Arnautoff, Bernard Zakheim, John Langley Howard, Ray Boynton, Ralph Stackpole, Jose Moya del Pino, Otis Oldfield, Jane Berlandina, and William Hesthal. During the painting of the murals, the Big Strike of 1934 shut down the Pacific Coast. As a result, allusions to the event are were subversively included in the murals by some of the artists.Wikipedia

While I was fishing around on the WPA, I found this bitter-sweet momento from the son of one of the artists of the Coit Tower murals

June 1 2008

[A]t the height of it my father established his first marionette theater in the Monkey Block (Now the Transamerica Tower Building) in North Beach. I think it cost him $25 a month. On the floor above Ernest Bacon the composer could be heard playing the piano. Others like Ralph Stackpool had studios in the building as well

He became a part of a group of Bohemian artists including such notables as Stackpool, Victor Arnautoff, Lucian Labaudt, Maxine Albro, Jane Berlandina (two of the Coit Tower muralists), the three Bruton sisters, Bernard Zakheim, Otis Oldfield Matt Barnes, Peter Macchiarini, Giacomo Patri, Benny Bufano, Maynard Dixon, Ruth Cravath, and others.

Forty five of whom, along with my father, Ralph Chessé, were chosen by Ralph Stackpool in 1933 to work on the WPA mural project in Coit Tower. Of the 45, 26 were given a space to carry out their designs. This was their legacy to San Francisco and as such it should be left alone in tribute to them untouched by the commercialism they were dead set against.  [SF Parks and Rec wants to institute a fee to see some of the murals, Coit Tower entrance is historically free — Mcat]

The Bohemian artists of San Francisco of the 20’s. 30’s and 40’s represented a transition in art from the ornate and the neo- classicism of Maybeck, to the minimalism of the impressionists and the social realism of Diego Rivera and the South American muralist movement. Hosted by Ralph Stackpool, Rivera was invited to San Francisco in 1930 and 40 leaving behind several murals after each visit. It was an exciting time for art politically in San Francisco. Art was everywhere and nowhere was it better personified than by the murals of the Coit Tower.

Born in 1935, I can remember early trips to Telegraph Hill’s Well Baby Clinic and visiting with my father the artists living in North Beach. In 1938 & 39’ the Worlds Fair on Treasure Island again brought all the artists together again.  […]

Ralph Chesse with masks, 1928

Ralph Chessé with masks, 1928

A bit more:

[T]he art produced by the artists of the 30’s and 40’s in San Francisco was seriously devalued by their connection with Rivera and the left wing politics represented by the California Labor School which was put on the Attorney Generals list in the Early 50’s. Those connected to the longshoreman’s union run by Harry Bridges and Vincent Hallinan suffered as well. Those painting murals as well were devalued and the assumption was made that you weren’t working in other mediums.  …

The early 50’s created an era of mistrust. It branded the San Francisco artists as socialists, left wingers and linked them to the “Communist Conspiracy”. They became victims of the cold war and relegated them to a degree of obscurity. Where can you see their work or the work of the women artists of this era like Emmy Lou Packard, Dorothy Puccinelli and the aforementioned Maxine Albro, Jane Berlandina (two of the Coit Tower muralists), and the three Bruton sisters. With regard to the women have any of you out there heard theses names before or are familiar with their work?

The contributers to the Coit Tower are rarely represented in our local museums.  ….


And yet their influence could be seen in rise of the Bay Area Figurative movement of the 50’s led by David Park and others such as Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn and James Weeks. All of these artists were members of the Art Association and exhibited at the Art Annuals. […]  They were artists whose work, fortunately, became well known beyond the Bay Area and now command significant prices. They can also be found in important museums on both coasts. It is interesting to note that their path to prominence only came with their being recognized by the Eastern Art establishment.  …

The City of San Francisco should discontinue the turf wars and the internal power struggles. We memorialize the Coit Tower as being an Art Deco architectural wonder at the same time at events such as these while little is mentioned of the artists who created the wonderful murals within. Most of them were more then just muralists and the additional work they left behind is equally as significant and were responsible for encouraging and influencing later movements in art such as the “San Francisco Figurative Painters” that brought renown outside of our City as well as increasing their monetary value as opposed to those tagged as artists of the “Left” .

Bruce K. Chessé


Coit Tower – Chris Stewart – San Francisco Chronicle



1. marisacat - 14 December 2008

HA! McCormick, the editorialist at the Chicago Trib that Blago apparently threatened to have removed, has a piece up. hmmm think Fitzhoohooo claiming to lose sleep over Blago firing McC is dramatic effect. From Fitz, I mean.

The most dramatic accusation in the feds’ 78-page complaint is that Blagojevich repeatedly conspired to sell his office, including putting a price on the U.S. Senate seat recently vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. State law entitles the governor to appoint Obama’s replacement to serve the next two years.

If a Northwestern University journalism professor ever lectured on how to respond to this sort of thing, I slept in that day. Among last week’s surreal moments: U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald, the prosecutor who extracted testimony from Washington journalists in the Scooter Libby case, told Chicago reporters that he had lain awake at night worrying that the governor might get me fired. The alleged quid pro quo from Blagojevich if the Tribune caved: Illinois Finance Authority help with renovations at Wrigley Field, the iconic Cubs ballpark that our parent Tribune Co. is trying to sell along with the team. The FBI has the governor allegedly asking Harris what the proposed finance deal would be worth to Tribune. “To them?” Harris replies. “About $100 million . . . maybe 150.”

WP is acting up, or the filters are acting out: just FYI going off to heat some home made mushroom soup (from a neighbor who also offered fresh fish stock and fresh chicken stock, LOL I laughed and said but then I’d have to really cook to use those).. so back in a few mins.

2. Hair Club for Men - 14 December 2008

Speaking of San Francisco, I saw Milk today.

Other than the fact that Milk is using a Nikon S2 rangerfinder in 1971, I don’t think the movie had a false note.

They left just enough ambiguity about Dan White until the very end. That made his tranformation from not so bright loser into cold blooded executioner all that more gut wrenching.

I can’t believe the perfect timing either. I couldn’t look at Anita Bryant without thinking of Sarah Palin or hearing Proposition 6 without thinking of Proposition 8.

That made the ending even sadder. The guy who could have led the fight against Proposition 8 was assassinated 30 years ago.

3. marisacat - 14 December 2008

Comment of Intermittent Bystander.. from the last thread, snared in WP’s filters (sorry)

Well, before it went down, Ender thought you made good points at #1 above, and donkeytale smeared you as unstable, having voted for Ross Perot.

Laugh track goes here

4. Hair Club for Men - 14 December 2008

donkeytale smeared you as unstable, having voted for Ross Perot.

I’m amazed anybody could remember that. I also voted for Nader in 1996.

I’ve actually only voted for one Clnton, Hillary in 2000.

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 14 December 2008

Barney Frank is on 60 Minutes tonight, if you’re up to watching Lesley Stahl throw rightwing talking points at him.

6. marisacat - 14 December 2008

ugh. Maybe I could stand Barney with a big glass of wine. To drown out his whines.

7. Madman in the Marketplace - 14 December 2008

It was pretty appalling, both of them. She asked him crappy questions, then showed his short insulting response without the answer to the question (assuming there was an answer, which there very well probably wasn’t). It included an extended clip of him sparring with Bill O’Reilly.

The second story, about the second wave of mortgage defaults that is fast approaching, is scary, something called option ARMS.

8. marisacat - 14 December 2008


they have told us there are at least two more waves to come out here.

9. Madman in the Marketplace - 14 December 2008

Thanks for the history lesson above … I know little about those arts programs back then.

It’s sad how efficient the right is at stopping then detroying everything like that.

10. mattes - 14 December 2008

MinM, thanks for that driftwood link on the last thread.

11. Madman in the Marketplace - 14 December 2008


12. Madman in the Marketplace - 14 December 2008
13. Madman in the Marketplace - 14 December 2008

Tim McGraw for governor of Tennessee? It could work!

Nothing less than The New Republic thinks it could happen and that the country singer is now seriously considering a run as the Democratic candidate for the gov’s mansion in 2010.

Hey, if he wins, that would make Faith Hill the first lady of Tennessee.

14. bayprairie - 14 December 2008

in the last thread IB said

The Snows They Melt the Soonest (trad) sung by Susan McKeown, Wind and Rain by Crooked Still…

we must be on the same virtual page. before i arrived at cold rain and snow to post i was looking for a youtube of weather report suite that has a “wind and rain” within the lyrics. i also spent a little time at peter rowan’s site. On december 20th he’s playing a date in CA at the mateel community center with crooked still.

15. marisacat - 14 December 2008

LOL PSA from Mcat: “pff noom” left this in the previous thread:

Intermittent Bystander

“I suspect SS pulled the plug herself, but if she didn’t and she needs a copy, I had it open in another window at the time and can e-mail her whatever.”

can you post a link to it, I’d like a copy.


Mcat how r ya?

HCfM…sup bro


16. marisacat - 14 December 2008

We have a furious down pour of hail here… I am on the S side of the house, with big bay windows… LOL I am under assault! The trees are keeping it off the W side windows…

17. marisacat - 14 December 2008

Which them turned to a furious rain… now slacking off some. Back to the level of rain we had all day – and we are desperado for ran…

18. Intermittent Bystander - 14 December 2008

14 – Seems to be a pretty tight circuit . . . everyone gets to know everyone else who’s a part of the festival scene. Tony Rice plays around here a lot, but I don’t think I’ve noticed Peter Rowan’s name before.

15 – Oy. Short circuit!

I don’t have a link. FYI, “pff noom” is probably a d-tale iteration, created in the SS diary to banter with “random guy” (an entity currently playing a game of “what noom would say” at FSZ, post-banning-and-reinstatement) and extend bloggoggnospheric confusion. Don’t hold your breath for an e-mail, buddy.

19. Intermittent Bystander - 14 December 2008

Glad you’re getting some rainfall out there!

FYI – I think there are some tightly wound circuits in moderation.

20. marisacat - 14 December 2008

ogt it out IB, sorry!

as for “pff noom”

chuckle chuckle. I think they are all one. All of them. Why should I think differently… I should adopt the simplest assessment possible.


21. Intermittent Bystander - 14 December 2008

Occam’s chainsaw does free up quite a bit of spare time.

22. Hair Club for Men - 14 December 2008

“tens of thousands” ???


Bush arrived in Baghdad earlier Sunday on a farewell visit before he leaves office in January. The U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein triggered years of sectarian bloodshed and insurgency in Iraq, killing tens of thousands.

You’ve had over 4000 American soldiers die (and several times that many wounded). Tens of thousands seems wildly underestimated.

23. Intermittent Bystander - 14 December 2008

There’s a great WPA-era bas-relief at a post office in Columbia County, NY, without the slightest little plaque or label to indicate who the artists were or how the work was sponsored. As Bruce Chesse notes above, people must bump into these things all over the country with nary a clue about their origins or creators.

Someone posted a diary at DK the other day about the writers’ projects of the era, expressing hope for something similar under the future stimulus package of Ob. Wouldn’t that be dreeeeeamy? And I see that Katha Pollitt did a Nation column mentioning that the Great Big Infrastructure Plan is only likely to create new jobs in the “macho” sector of the skilled trades. She said Ob should consider similar investments in elder care, home health care, and preschool education, where women workers predominate, as well.

Somehow I’m wondering whether Ob’s biggest preoccupation at the moment might be quitting smoking in time for the mood swings to subside, in advance of inauguration. Having now promised not light up in the White House, on top of everything else.

Thanks for the info on the Coit Tower murals and all the folks involved.

24. bayprairie - 14 December 2008

IB said

everyone gets to know everyone else who’s a part of the festival scene. Tony Rice plays around here a lot, but I don’t think I’ve noticed Peter Rowan’s name before.

those we listen to are also listening to each other. my only real problem with tony rice is hes way too far down in the mix and i can’t hear everything hes doing. hes got a light touch so it doesn’t stand out with the mic in front of the guirar. he should give up the “tradition” and stick a pickup in the goddamned damn martin.

for posterity if nothing else.

one of my great “odd” regrets is that if an inebriated concert attendee hadn’t killed clarence white by pressing him into his car trunk after the show in CA in the early 70s we’d be talking about how good guitarist white was in the video with rowan and davies and gilchrist instead of hard-to-hear tony rice.

its a small circuit.

living or dead.

but isn’t it precious?

25. Hair Club for Men - 14 December 2008

Et tu Lawrence?


The developments could test Mr. Obama’s professed commitment to network neutrality. “The Internet is perhaps the most open network in history, and we have to keep it that way,” he told Google employees a year ago at the company’s Mountain View, Calif., campus. “I will take a back seat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality.”

But Lawrence Lessig, an Internet law professor at Stanford University and an influential proponent of network neutrality, recently shifted gears by saying at a conference that content providers should be able to pay for faster service.

26. marisacat - 14 December 2008


I think we have no clue how the Big Spend will roll out. I did catch a segment somewhere or other just recently that with the apparent decision to move on the “shovel ready” infrastructure lists that the states have (their running list of items that don’t seem to get in included in the yearly federal monies for infrastructure), that adds up to about 100 million. hmmm

Okaaaay. All I can say is there is a lot more. Don’t make some big showy game iwth the states and then start to let the money dry up.

If we don’t see mass transportation, some sort of inter-city rail system with many hubs across the country, then we remain fucked. Just loved Granholm with her twaddle today (MTP) that the Big Three are our best route ot being off Imported Oil. Our best route to an electric car (she did say that).

The workers need not to be out of work, but I don’t think the US car manufacturing system is our best bet. Unless they (esp Ford) start making all the small models they sell in Europe for HERE.

27. Intermittent Bystander - 14 December 2008

24 – those we listen to are also listening to each other.

I like how the MySpace music pages give performers a new way to “make friends” (and stimulate audience interest) across genres and regional circuits. I’ve had some fun just following the clicks from one artist to another to another, until eventually I hit a page with too many widgets and my browser freezes up.

if an inebriated concert attendee hadn’t killed clarence white by pressing him into his car trunk after the show in CA in the early 70s


but isn’t it precious?

Most definitely.

28. marisacat - 14 December 2008


Lessig is a mess. He has moved on to slobber love for Ob and a thing he has formed with … TRIPPI, Change Congress. Poor Lessig. Better not hand Trippi any cash to hold for the movement. Plus Lessig believes that if only the great burden of fundraising were lifted from those good but worried souls in congress all would change.

Poor lout. I have posted links to his appearance recently on Rose and to posts and comments at his site.

He says that net neutrality is well on its way and does not need him anymore. But [sob] congress does.

Poor sod.

29. Intermittent Bystander - 14 December 2008

Gov. Paterson to Propose $4 Billion in Taxes and Fees to Close Deficit.

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson will propose a $4 billion package of taxes and fees on a range of items, from sugary soft drinks made by Coca-Cola and Pepsi to luxury items like furs and boats, when he unveils his plan to close a deficit that has ballooned to $15 billion, people with knowledge of the plan said on Sunday.


Expecting a protracted battle with lawmakers and interest groups, the governor is introducing his budget more than a month earlier than is traditional. Assembly leaders were expected to push for broader-based tax increases to offset cuts to social programs, and spent much of last year advocating tax increases for the richest New Yorkers.

One of the biggest obstacles Mr. Paterson will have to overcome is a Senate narrowly divided between Democrats and Republicans that has yet to settle on a leader for next year, amid continued wrangling among Democrats.

Must sleep. ‘Night all.

30. marisacat - 14 December 2008

From the close of the WSJ report on Net Neutrality:

Richard Whitt, Google’s head of public affairs, denies the company’s proposal would violate network neutrality. Nevertheless, he says he’s unsure how committed President-elect Obama will remain to the principle.

“If you look at his plans,” says Mr. Whitt, “they are much less specific than they were before.”

31. bayprairie - 14 December 2008

its time i come clean. i am a total clarence white junkie. who knew?

gene parsons talks about clarence white, the telecaster and the B Bender. Invention of the StringBender (B-Bender) guitar

gene parsons no longer plays with the byrds. nobody does. he makes his living installing string benders in fender telecasters. my dream is to have him install one in mine.

one day soon i’m gonna do it.

32. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

Amanda Marcotte really gets to the core of Milk.


He’s also a chameleon who doesn’t even try to hide his absolute love of the political game, sliding right into favor-trading and P.R. stunts like a man born for it. That this stuff is the sleazy side that turns most people off politics doesn’t seem to faze him; if anything, using a little deceit to pull a political stunt causes him to go into a fit of back-patting.

There’s a real Mozart vs. Salieri quality to the conflict between Milk ad Dan White.

Milk is a naturally gifted politician who just enjoys all of the wheeling and dealing.

White is a crappy politician who has a rigid world view. He’s used to structured environments like the Police and Fire Departments, places where you don’t have to do a lot of independent thinking.

So when Milk finesses him on removing the mental health center, there’s nothing personal about it, any more than Kobe Byrant has anything against Vince Carter when he blocks a shot. Milk is just playing a game he enjoys.

On the other hand, Dan White thinks he’s owed something because “his people” used to be the dominent political force in the city. So when he’s repeatedly beaten by Milk in the political game, he takes it as an assault on his very existence.

Milk solipsistically assumes that White is a closet case, but there’s really no telling.

I think the film endorses that view. There’s a fairly explicit parallelset up between White and Milk’s abusive lover “Jack Lira.” They both come to Milk drunk off their asses looking to be “nurtured”. They’re both dependent personalities who think they’re owed something. Lira kills himself out of pure spite and White becomes a murderer because the idea that a gay man is stronger than he is drives him nuts.

33. marisacat - 15 December 2008

You know Milk had a list he planned to kill that day. Willie Brown as well as Carol Ruth Silver (she was on the Bd as well). I notice the movie buys the closeted Milk story. I am less sure. It IS true that he and Milk met, soemtimes weekly for breakfast int he Castro. Which USED to be Irish… LOL… and at that time there were still loads of old time Irish homeowners and old time working class Irish bars (and cups to collect cash for the lads in Ireland, we were a major support city for the IRA)

It was pretty clear that Northern Station here knew what he was about to do. Part of the dirty part.The City in the 70s was a lot more complex than who was in and who was out.

LOL I doubt Amanda could figure out much about Milk that she did nto lift from other writings.

34. bayprairie - 15 December 2008

from wiki

Clarence White helped popularize the acoustic guitar as a lead instrument in bluegrass music. With few exceptions, prior to White, the guitar was strictly a rhythm instrument. Tony Rice cites White as his primary musical influence. Rice owns and plays White’s highly modified 1935 Martin D-28.

35. bayprairie - 15 December 2008

LOL I doubt Amanda could figure out much about Milk that she did nto lift from other writings.


shes such a shill.

36. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

It was pretty clear that Northern Station here knew what he was about to do.

You mean when the cops called him in for a talk?

The film very artfully suggested that the cops called White into their office and sort of fucked with his head, pulled the “on” switch on the ticking time bomb and sort of pushed him in Milk and Moscone’s direction.

But it doesn’t come out and directly say it.

I thought the early scene where the cop is talking to Milk about the gay man who was murdered on the street was particularly strong. The cop doesn’t see a dead human being. He thinks its almost funny.

I also liked the drugstore processed quality to a lot of the film’s look.

And the very opening scene where you have even older photos of the gay men busted in the gay bars putting their hands over their faces. There was a concentration camp quality to that, as if all of them were having their souls murdered by being in the closet.

Just a great movie in a lot of ways, right down to Gus Van Sant’s echos of his older movies like “My Own Private Idaho”.

37. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

LOL I doubt Amanda could figure out much about Milk that she did nto lift from other writings.

The people in her comments thread seem particularly clueless.

They completely miss the fact that White (in the movie) turned Milk around, pushed him down to his knees and shot him in the back of the head.

That’s a very explicit visual reference to a South American death squad.

38. marisacat - 15 December 2008

How dirty the killings were is why the trial was rigged. I don’t think WHite needed much “pushing”.

As I said, the City in the 70s was a lot more complicated than who was in and who was out.

39. marisacat - 15 December 2008


As I mentioned the other night when you first linked to her review… the thread was hilarious.

40. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

As I said, the City in the 70s was a lot more complicated than who was in and who was out.

Of course the lightbulb went off in my head after seeing the movie. I was like “wow. San Francisco seems as homophobic as anyplace else in the country.”

Then I realized, well, of course, part of the reason San Francisco became a city where gays were safer than people in other parts of the country was precisely because of Harvey Milk.

Wingnuts in the more liberal parts of the country also seem particularly nasty in some ways. They seem to feel particularly victimized and entitled.

I keep thinking of the nj.com message boards (which have basically been taken over by some weird axis of “respectable” wingnutery mixed in with followers of some of NJ’s 35 or 40 white nationalist groups, as outlined by the SPLC).

These people HATE New York City and anything urban. They’ll go on and on about “getto trash”. They’ll cheer anytime there’s a story about black on black violence.

And the core of it seems to be that they see Manhattan moving out into suburbia and making it more liberal. They see their world being taken over.

41. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

And interestingly enough, a lot of them seem to be cops.

You’ll see long comment threads where two or three commenters are going on about “jungle bunnies” and “getto trash” then see these same two or three commenters pause and very rationally discuss the difference standards for plea bargains in Essex and Union counties.

42. marisacat - 15 December 2008


For a long time a lot of people, of all kinds, came west to ESCAPE. And because SF had cheap rents, big rangy Victorian flats.. One reason the 60s, which to this day scares people shitless with fear (God knows why) hippie generation, like the beats before them, found a footing here.

Harvey was a force of nature, but I would never think he made the City safe for gays. Anything but. Try to remember a home boy shot him. And shot Moscone too, the often forgotten victim.

43. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

And shot Moscone too, the often forgotten victim.

I get the sense that had White only shot Moscone he would have spent the rest of his life in jail and he had only shot Milk he would have walked altother.

The manslaughter verdict was just incoherent.

Either it’s manslaughter or not guilty by reason of insanity. Manslaughter is Milk getting into a fight with his boyfriend that escalates to the point where Milk’s boyfriend stabs him with a kitchen knife. Not guilty by reason of insanity means you’re so completely bats you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong .

This was more like jury nullifcation.

I need to read more on the whole case.

44. marisacat - 15 December 2008

As I have said before here, the trial was rigged.

45. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

Outside of San Francisco people mainly remember it as the “twinkie defense” trial. It tends to be defined by that one little sound bite.

46. marisacat - 15 December 2008

Because the defense atty used his eating twinkies as a defense..

The whole thing boggles any rational mind.

47. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

My favorite rigged trial was the Amadou Diallo trial.

First they move it upstate. Then the prosecution puts on a case so weak it was obvious to anybody looking at it he was taking a dive.

Then after the trial, the prosecutor shows up at a dinner celebrating the aquittal of the four cops.

It really doesn’t get any more in your face blatent than that.

48. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

Because the defense atty used his eating twinkies as a defense..

Looking at the entry in Wikipedia it says the defense talked about junk food, not twinkies, that Paul Krassner made up the term “twinkie defense.”

It says Herb Caan wrote explicitly about how it was a cop vs. gay trial, not even about junk food.

49. marisacat - 15 December 2008

Twinkies got talked about at the time. As well he had a fast food franchise down at Pier 39. The Hot Potatoe.

White was sinking fast and falling apart in all ways. What a mess… 10 days after Guyana.

50. Hair Club for Men - 15 December 2008

I just got my newsletter from Bruce Schneier about Mumbai. The correct comparison of course is Virgina Tech (although I’ve heard noone in the media mention it)

I’m still reading about the Mumbai terrorist attacks, and I expect it’ll be a long time before we get a lot of the details. What we know is horrific, and my sympathy goes out to the survivors of the dead (and the injured, who often seem to get ignored as people focus on death tolls). Without discounting the awfulness of the events, I have some initial observations:

* Low-tech is very effective. Movie-plot threats — terrorists with crop dusters, terrorists with biological agents, terrorists targeting our water supplies — might be what people worry about, but a bunch of trained (we don’t really know yet what sort of training they had, but it’s clear that they had some) men with guns and grenades is all they needed.

* At the same time, the attacks had a surprisingly low body count. I can’t find exact numbers, but it seems there were about 18 terrorists. The latest toll is 195 dead, 235 wounded. That’s 11 dead, 13 wounded, per terrorist. As horrible as the reality is, that’s much less than you might have thought if you imagined the movie in your head. Reality is different from the movies.

* Even so, terrorism is rare. If a bunch of men with guns and grenades is all they really need, then why isn’t this sort of terrorism more common? Why not in the U.S., where it’s easy to get hold of weapons? It’s because terrorism is very, very rare.

* Specific countermeasures don’t help against these attacks. None of the high-priced countermeasures that defend against specific tactics and specific targets made, or would have made, any difference: photo ID checks, confiscating liquids at airports, fingerprinting foreigners at the border, bag screening on public transportation, anything. Even metal detectors and threat warnings didn’t do any good.

If there’s any lesson in these attacks, it’s not to focus too much on the specifics of the attacks. Of course, that’s not the way we’re programmed to think. We respond to stories, not analysis. I don’t mean to be unsympathetic; this tendency is human and these deaths are really tragic. But 18 armed people intent on killing lots of innocents will be able to do just that, and last-line-of-defense countermeasures won’t be able to stop them. Intelligence, investigation, and emergency response. We have to find and stop the terrorists before they attack, and deal with the aftermath of the attacks we don’t stop. There really is no other way, and I hope that we don’t let the tragedy lead us into unwise decisions about how to deal with terrorism.

51. BooHooHooMan - 15 December 2008


Cheekiest headline of the Day to the NYT,
seeing as how its Michele
the once lucratively employed spouse
with the political hot potato
as the Rezko Blogo Health System connections come into view.:

Spousal Ties to Lobbying Test a Vow From Obama

The spouses of some candidates for jobs in the Obama administration are lobbyists, presenting a challenge.

Their Next obvious move is the classic bemoan-a-Fuddle bit…
How “public servants work at such sacrifice to their families
that ” many spouses have to work..leaving the kids..yada ya….”
none “cussing like that potty mouth Mrs Blogo tho…”
that ‘ PIVOT.

Good luck with That.

52. marisacat - 15 December 2008

The working relationship between the Daschles, who married in 1984, has come under scrutiny before. After three people died in the 1994 crash of a small plane operated by a friend of Mr. Daschle, he was accused of helping his friend’s firm evade oversight, and his wife was accused of helping her husband hide his efforts.

Both Mr. Daschle, who was then the top Senate Democrat, and Ms. Daschle, who then worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, were cleared of wrongdoing.

And so it goes.

In other news, apparently both Spielberg and The Elie Wiesel Holocaust Fund (SF was on his annual route) had exposure to Mad-Off.

What a shock.

53. wu ming - 15 December 2008

i remember when i first went up coit tower and saw those murals, i was amazed that anything so overtly revolutionary and working class had ever been painted, much less remained there without being painted over, all these years. absolutely blew my mind, that it hadn’t been silenced, even hidden away up there like that it is an incredible set of murals.

in fact, it was only after i saw that mural that i googled “san francisco strike” and found out about the ’34 general strike.

so much of our history is hidden from anyone who isn’t lucky enough to have gotten in on an oral history through older family or friends.

54. marisacat - 15 December 2008

Obviously if Arnold cannot do it then …

Has California Become Too Unwieldy to Govern?????

The only joy in the mess we are in, Arnold won office in the Recall promising he and his Nazy God Power would straighten us out. Esp financially. He had the Power and The Force was with him. Achtung!

Hasn’t worked. Apparently. 😈

55. marisacat - 15 December 2008


The Beach Chalet out at Ocean Beach is pretty wonderful too. Finally re-opened in the late 70s. A great place to go. Slightly raucous bar downstairs… (but people leave you alone too) and great Filipino weddings upstairs in the wonderful second floor. Thank god it was not razed, after being shut for years.

56. marisacat - 15 December 2008


[M]r Brown revealed during the Queen’s Speech that Britain was conducting its own review of strategy in Afghanistan. The US has made no formal request for more forces, and this is expected to happen only after Mr Obama becomes President. By publicising a much smaller increase in the number of troops now – an unusual move given that it is a military decision – Mr Brown will be hoping that Mr Obama will read the runes and not put public pressure on Britain to follow suit.

When asked about further British troop deployments next year in Kabul on Saturday, Mr Brown replied that nations other than Britain must bear the burden. …snip…

Seems the Brits under Brown want to go home. Or not. Well, they are both Christians leading Christian nations. They’ll work out the current crusades.

57. mattes - 15 December 2008

#52 MCat, the hits keep on coming:

“Bernard Madoff, one of Wall Street`s most respected financiers, apparently planned to carve up his last $300m (£200m) between friends, family and employees before making the shocking confession that his investment prowess was really the result of one of the world`s biggest ever frauds.”


58. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

so I wake up this morning, a day I took off to catch up on xmas shopping and standing in line at the post office to mail stuff, and it’s



Can’t they keep this shit up in Canada where it belongs?

59. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

25 – Et tu Lawrence?

I swear, the second someone gets too close to that fucking party their brains and integrity are surgically removed.

Fuck. I do you throw away decades of good work to support A FUCKING POLITICIAN?!?!?

60. mattes - 15 December 2008

More gloom:

The failed Muslim states to come
By Spengler

Financial crises, like epidemics, kill the unhealthy first. The present crisis is painful for most of the world but deadly for many Muslim countries, and especially so for the most populous ones. Policy makers have not begun to assess the damage.

Can’t say I understand all of the world finance, but it looks bad. And that guy on 60 Minutes said last night, that we are only 1/3 through the mess with mortagages?

When are the IMF and World Bank going to tank?

61. mattes - 15 December 2008

#58, snow in western Washington. Long as the heat stays on [this time], I am ok with it.

But, can’t wait to go south permanently. My body aches.

62. marisacat - 15 December 2008

Why bother?

December 15, 2008
Categories: Barack Obama

Report due in a ‘few days’

Incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs spoke (.mp3) yesterday to the Tribune’s Rick Pearson, promising to bring back the results of the “staff investigation” into the Blago mess in “the next few days.”

Also, a long discussion of the stimulus package, and the emphasis on “projects that can be funded and put people back to work immediately.”

By Ben Smith 09:19 AM

63. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

Outside of San Francisco people mainly remember it as the “twinkie defense” trial. It tends to be defined by that one little sound bite.

Being about 15 and growing up in the midwest at the time, that’s all I knew about it. How accurate (in a generally made-for-Hollywood way) the movie was I have no idea, since I went in knowing only very general things about it.

As for the “in the closet” thing … I think it’s more complicated than that. The scenes with White and his wife seemed very icy, and there was at least one where white has obviously been sleeping on the couch. I don’t know if being “closeted” is the problem that so-called “religious” and “normal” people have with gays. I think that many straights, especially religious straights, are so fucked up about their own sexuality, and sexuality in general that gays utterly scare the shit out of them … they see GBLT people ONLY in terms of the physical act of sex, not understanding the deep intertwining of self w/ body that gender and sexuality involve. That anger and fear seems underpinned with a deep current of JEALOUSY of the perceived freedom to “indulge” one’s impulses free from the demands of being “normal”. White could have easily had some other repressed aspect of his sexuality. He could have had an utterly sexless marriage (past making children for the princes of his church to abuse). Again, just now learning about Milk, if you tie that w/ the jealousy toward Milk’s obviously greater abilities at playing politics, and it seems that jealousy played a big part in it.


64. marisacat - 15 December 2008


are there places on your route to stop in for hot liquid? Coffee with a shot of cognac? It’s really the only way to get thru harsh cold weather. When reading o fthe loss of cafes in France, that is what i think of, or one of the things….. How to get thru a blustery nasty winter in some of the northern cities (Paris for one) without the amazing hot chocolate, several per block if needed.

65. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

50 – several indian bloggers I’ve read compared them to Columbine.

66. marisacat - 15 December 2008

The moderation is REALLY hitting “M”

Just snagged me along with Madman. It used to snag me then finally got over it over a year ago. Geesh.

67. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

63 – some good coffee cafes at each stop along the way. I’ve only got three stops today (got most done on Saturday). The big problem is the endless waits on street corners for various bus connections.

68. marisacat - 15 December 2008

He could have had an utterly sexless marriage (past making children for the princes of his church to abuse).

If only. Tho I agree it likely was a strained marriage. They managed to pop a kid while he was in prison. Supposedly without conjugal visits.. but I am sure he always got treats and freedoms denied to others.

The child was born iwth Down’s Syndrome. I felt then they should take it as some awful sign from their God.

69. wu ming - 15 December 2008

72 and partly cloudy in taiwan, with people bundled up in parkas against the balmy breezes. i kid you not, people look at me like i’m crazy to wear short sleeves.

temperature is relative, i guess.

70. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

68 – see, so much I don’t know! Above psychobabble was based upon the movie alone.

71. marisacat - 15 December 2008

Well… still, the picture drawn of the marriage is not all that far off. Things did not go right for White…Just one more part of it.

72. catnip - 15 December 2008


Poor baby!

73. marisacat - 15 December 2008

we had a brief torrent of rain this morning, really early, 5, 6 am.. now sunshine. We needed a few days of rain and snow in the Sierras…

74. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

72 – so you just had to share, huh?

75. catnip - 15 December 2008

74. so you just had to share, huh?

Misery loves company. 😉

At least I don’t have to go anywhere though.

76. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

Alleged Madoff fraud has worldwide exposure

The alleged victims who sunk cash into veteran Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff’s investment pool include real estate magnate Mortimer Zuckerman, the foundation of Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, and a charity of movie director Steven Spielberg, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Among the world’s biggest banking institutions, Britain’s HSBC Holdings PLC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC and Man Group PLC, Spain’s Grupo Santander SA, France’s BNP Paribas and Japan’s Nomura Holdings all reported that they had fallen victim to Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi, or pyramid, scheme.

The 70-year-old Madoff (MAY-doff), well respected in the investment community after serving as chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, was arrested Thursday in what prosecutors say was a $50 billion scheme to defraud investors. Some investors claim they’ve been wiped out, while others are still likely to come forward.

“There were a lot of very sophisticated people who were duped, and that happens a great deal when you’ve had somebody decide to be unscrupulous,” said Harvey Pitt, a former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a regulatory agency in charge of monitoring investment funds like the one Madoff operated.

The extent of the potential damage prompted a leading fund manager in London to lash out at U.S. regulators for failing to detect the fraud earlier.

“I think now it is very difficult for people to invest in things that are meant to be regulated in America, because they haven fallen down in the job,” Nicola Horlick, the manager of Bramdean Alternatives, which has 9 percent of its funds invested in Madoff’s scheme, told the British Broadcasting Corp.

“All through the credit crunch this has been apparent,” Horlick added. “This is the biggest financial scandal, probably, in the history of the markets.”

Among U.S. investors, the Boston-based Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, a charity that financed trips for Jewish youth to Israel, let go of its staff after revealing that the money for its operations was invested with Madoff.

New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, one of the wealthiest members of the Senate, entrusted his family’s charitable foundation to Madoff. Lautenberg’s attorney, Michael Griffinger, said they weren’t yet sure the extent of the foundation’s losses, but that the bulk of its investments had been handled by Madoff.

Lautenberg’s foundation handed out more than $765,000 to at least 100 recipients in 2006, according to the most recent listing on Guidestar, which tracks charitable organization filings.

The foundation helps support a variety of religious, educational, civic and arts organizations in New Jersey and elsewhere, and its contributions range from a gift of more than $300,000 to the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey to a $2,000 donation to a children’s program at the Hackensack Medical Center.

Reports from Florida to Minnesota included profiles of ordinary investors who gave Madoff their money. Some had been friends with him for decades, others were able to invest because they were a friend of a friend. They told stories of losing everything from $40,000 to an entire nest egg worth well over $1 million.

They join a list of more powerful investors that have come forward, all worried about the extent of their losses. The roster of names include former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman, New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and J. Ezra Merkin, the chairman of GMAC Financial Services, among others.

The list goes on in the article.

Just checked … 8 was the high for the day. Temp is falling … I suppose I better head out soon.

77. Madman in the Marketplace - 15 December 2008

Madoff investors burned by SEC, too

Not long ago the Securities and Exchange Commission reportedly looked into Madoff’s operation and found nothing wrong! Hell-oo?! Anybody home?! Did the SEC ask who the custodian of these investments was? I guess not. That’s disgraceful negligence on the part of the SEC.

78. marisacat - 15 December 2008

and Ken Salazar reportedly likely to become an Interior Secretary

Well according to Ben Smith, in aa spot decrying the loss of Martinez (retirement) Ob (we all know why) and Salazar.

Well that’s a lousy pick, if true.

79. marisacat - 15 December 2008

Do Democrats ever pick a position and hold it?:

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Caroline Kennedy to Pursue Hillary Clinton’s Senate Seat [1:57 p.m. ET]

For more, go to abcnews.go.com

80. marisacat - 15 December 2008


But since then, she has begun reaching out to key political figures in New York, including Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the State Assembly, and Thomas P. DiNapoli, the state comptroller. She has also hired Knickerbocker SKD, a prominent political consulting firm headed by Josh Isay, a former chief of staff to Senator Charles E. Schumer, to advise her.

81. catnip - 15 December 2008

Could Paterson realistically say no to Kennedy considering her family name?

82. catnip - 15 December 2008

Let’s twiddle our thumbs for one more week:

Obama: No “inappropriate” contact with Blagojevich

Washington – President-elect Barack Obama confirmed Monday his staff did not have ‘inappropriate’ discussions with embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich about the naming a successor to the Senate.

Obama said after Blagojevich’s arrest on corruption charges last week that he was certain his staff did not discuss the issue with Blagojevich or any of the governor’s aides, but said his team will review all contacts.

‘That review affirmed the public statements of the president- elect that he had no contact with the governor or his staff, and that the president-elect’s staff was not involved in inappropriate discussions with the governor or his staff,’ said Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director for Obama’s transition team.

Obama pledged to publicize all of the contacts between his staff and the governor. Pfeiffer said doing so has been delayed at the request of the US Justice Department, which is still conducting the investigation.

Pfeiffer said the information won’t be released until after December 22.

when Obamalama’s on holidays…

83. marisacat - 15 December 2008

Other people may help him to say no. But then Ob calls her a “dearest friend”.


84. marisacat - 15 December 2008


Now the story is that Fitzhoohooo says to wait. Not what Gibbs told the Chicago Trib… but who cares… LOL.

It really is funny. And my guess Blago holds on. This is a cock-up. Years sitting on Blago and then they move too fast. Fitzhoohoo blames Chic Trib.

I hope some tough Chicago rascal comes clean with the dirt. Can we draft Studs Terkel back from heaven?

85. marisacat - 15 December 2008

WSJ (they also have the “story” of moving too fast and how MADMADMAD Fitzhoohoo is about everything)

But, he said, the public release of that study will be delayed until next week, at the request of the U.S. Attorney’s office. (Read the full text of the statement.)

Gregory Craig, Mr. Obama’s choice for White House counsel, has been named the transition’s contact point for the federal investigation.

86. marisacat - 15 December 2008

Here is the politics page at WSJ (quite a few stories)… the “story” of the rushed bust is under Emanuel’s face if anyone is interested. Washington Wire at WSJ


87. marisacat - 15 December 2008

nu thred


…………….. 8) ………………..

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