al gore talks of the administration’s hubris

No time to really write a decent post about it, as I have my hands full with Shadow Art Fair related stuff right now, but I wanted to pass along this link to GQ’s interview with Al Gore. (via Metafilter) Here’s my favorite part. It’s Al’s response to a question about whether or not he would have taken the warnings of an impending Al Qaeda attack more seriously than Bush.

…It’s almost too easy to say, “I would have heeded the warnings.” In fact, I think I would have, I know I would have. We had several instances when the CIA’s alarm bells went off, and what we did when that happened was, we had emergency meetings and called everybody together and made sure that all systems were go and every agency was hitting on all cylinders, and we made them bring more information, and go into the second and third and fourth level of detail. And made suggestions on how we could respond in a more coordinated, more effective way. It is inconceivable to me that Bush would read a warning as stark and as clear [voice angry now] as the one he received on August 6th of 2001, and, according to some of the new histories, he turned to the briefer and said, “Well, you’ve covered your ass.” And never called a follow up meeting. Never made an inquiry. Never asked a single question. To this day, I don’t understand it. And, I think it’s fair to say that he personally does in fact bear a measure of blame for not doing his job at a time when we really needed him to do his job. And now the Woodward book has this episode that has been confirmed by the record that George Tenet, who was much abused by this administration, went over to the White House for the purpose of calling an emergency meeting and warning as clearly as possible about the extremely dangerous situation with Osama bin Laden, and was brushed off! And I don’t know why–honestly–I mean, I understand how horrible this Congressman Foley situation with the instant messaging is, okay? I understand that. But, why didn’t these kinds of things produce a similar outrage? And you know, I’m even reluctant to talk about it in these terms because it’s so easy for people to hear this or read this as sort of cheap political game-playing. I understand how it could sound that way. [Practically screaming now] But dammit, whatever happened to the concept of accountability for catastrophic failure? This administration has been by far the most incompetent, inept, and with more moral cowardice, and obsequiousness to their wealthy contributors, and obliviousness to the public interest of any administration in modern history, and probably in the entire history of the country!

I know that it pisses some of you off when I say this, but this is the man that I want to be our next president.

Posted in Politics | 7 Comments

ypsi company makes the national news for violating british airspace to deliver bunken-buster bombs to israel

Who would have thought that our little town might have something to do with the international fight against terrorism? Well, here’s a clip from the Associated Press that proves it’s so. (Thanks to the Hamtramck Star’s Hillary Cherry for the tip.)

Scottish prosecutors decided Tuesday not to file charges against a U.S. defense contractor that flew bunker-busting bombs to Israel via British airspace during the conflict in south Lebanon.

Kalitta Air, of Ypsilanti, Mich., was reported by Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority for failing to have proper documentation to transport the laser-guided missiles through Prestwick Airport in southwest Scotland in August.

The flights briefly strained ties between London and Washington and resulted in President Bush issuing an apology to British Prime Minister Tony Blair…

[Will someone please remind me to get Kalitta Air involved the next time we have one of our local business things? I’d love to get them on a panel along with the folks from DejaVu, the Wolverine Diner and Bicycles in Town.]

Posted in Ypsilanti | 8 Comments

planning in the shadows

During the course of planning the upcoming Shadow Art Fair, we came up with what I think were some really great ideas. We talked, for instance, about having a face-painting table for kids where, after asking the little tikes whether they’d prefer butterflies or tiger stripes, we’d invariably respond by giving them little Hitler mustaches. There was also an idea floated of having a booth where people could partake of an absolutely unspeakable sex act that we’d invented, known as a “chocolate unicorn.” My favorite idea, however, was to have a veterinarian there, for the duration of the event, to put people’s pets to sleep. I loved the idea of having flyers screaming, “Have a Pet Euthanized While You Shop. No Questions Asked.” Most of the more creative ideas that we had were shot down by our board of directors, but we were able to sneak a few by them. Most notably, we got a letter off to Santa (smuggled out of the Shadow compound in an intern’s hollow leg), asking that he make an appearance on Friday night, at the opening. So far, we haven’t heard anything back, but we’re hopeful that he and an elf or two will show.

Posted in Special Projects | 17 Comments

ypsinews video cracks google’s top 75

Scott Trudeau sent me a note earlier, alerting me to the fact that this footage of a town meeting with our Ypsilanti police chief had been downloaded more than 15,000 times by Google Video users. As I think we only have about 22,500 people live in Ypsi, my respnse was, “bullshit.”

Actually, I think my exact words were, “someone must be gaming the system.” I couldn’t imagine, and still can’t, that 15,000 people would care enough about our local jail overcrowding to start downloading the file. If it’s true, it’s hugely impressive, and speaks very well of the citizens of Washtenaw County. I just can’t imagine it could really be that 1 of every 21 citizens in this county (Washtenaw County’s population is approximately 322,895) are interested in this?

Whatever the cause for the huge numbers, Steve Pierce, who videotaped the event and put it up on Google Video, isn’t letting the opportunity go to waste. He just issued a press release making the case as to why local businesses should buy advertising on his newly launched videoblog, YpsiNews dotcom.

Here’s a clip:

…”We just launched in the last two months and it is nice to get this early recognition. We have had almost 1,000 people look at our other videos in the past two months”, said Pierce. “Readership is way up and there is a real interest in what is happening in Ypsilanti. We have also had a great deal of interest from local businesses wanting to advertise with We have several new features and announcements in the next couple of months so we are very excited.”

Pierce also said that that readership of the email service is up with a 3% increase in subscribers in the past two weeks and a phenomenal 50% click-thru rate, which is well above industry norms for email newsletters”

I’m really confused as to what to make of all of this.

Posted in Ypsilanti | 9 Comments

“if i had attempted to buy the most recent issue of hustler”

Here, in the spirit of OJ Simpson’s failed “If I Killed Them (This Is How I Would Have Done It)” book project, is my imagined interaction with a local convenience store owner.

Me: Hello. Do you have the most recent issue of “Hustler” — the adult magazine?

Store Owner: (pointing to a rack) Yeah. It’s over there.

Me: (awkwardly) You see I have a friend who’s supposed to be in it.

Store Owner: (raises his eyebrow a bit)

Me: Oh, not “in it” in it. He was interviewed for an article on Charles Fort… the famed researcher of anomalous phenomena. (picking up a copy and walking back to the counter)

Store Owner: (silence)

Me: (handing him the plastic-wrapped magazine) I also bought a copy of the last issue of “Fortean Times” that he had an article in… So, it’s not just the porn… I, uh, like to support my friends… Yup.

Store Owner: (ringing it up) That’ll be $10.60.

Me: Hmmm… (pulling back a five dollar bill) That much, huh? I don’t suppose there’s any way that I could open it up and look through it first to see if I’ve got the right issue here… I’d hate to spend that kind of money and not have there be anything on Charles Fort…

Store Owner: $10.60.

Posted in Mark's Life | 8 Comments


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