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xml [LEMONS]


I Am Not A Terrorist

I'm just interested in the weather. Promise.

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Drew wrote one of the best new year's resolutions I've ever seen:
Make something creative every day. Try to make something that YOU will like every day. Something that requires real thought and something that you believe in.

Just make your new year's resolution to TRY to do that. Seize upon the qualities you like in yourself, and draw them out in what you do.

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Memorial Fund for Daniel Price

Self-portrait by the artist

After I wrote the "Five Seconds" entry (below), Daniel Price's brother Christopher left a message in the comments section about a memorial fund for stuggling New Orleans artists the Price family has established in Daniel Price's name. They are still in the planning stages, but here are the details so far:
"The fund will go to giving a young new orleans artist a scholarship to a college for the arts. We have not yet decided whether to restrict to visual arts or include music as well (daniel loved music). The artist will come from the public arts school daniel attended, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. please send any checks to:
Steve and Katherine Price
532 Audubon st
New Orleans, LA, 70118
Please make the checks to nocca marked for the daniel price memorial fund."
He also pointed me towards this excellent article in The New Orleans Times Picayune, and if you haven't ever seen Price's work, you can check it out here.

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Five Seconds

San Francisco artist Daniel Price was murdered in front of his wife as they came home from a night on the town. I've seen Price's paintings, he was very good. He was 28. He and his wife had been married for eight months to the day, when a thug shot him in the head just outside of his Cow Hollow apartment.

In September, on the same day that we went to see the opening of the Conservatory of Flowers, we decided to go out and have a drink. We don't go out to bars too often. But that night, we went out in the Lower Haight, to Molotov's and the Noc-Noc. It was a hell of a night. Harper, who confronts death at work on a regular basis, had been shaken by the loss of a patient, and we spent much of the night talking about life and death and God and the mystery of it all.

At 2 a.m., last call, we headed home. We walked up Haight Street to Divisadero, and ducked in a corner store to get a couple of It's Its. We rounded the corner, and walked up Page, almost home, when two men came up to us from the street, one of them said something about money.

I walk with blinders on much of the time. You have to, in this city. Or rather, you don't have to. But you do it. You do. My first instinct was to ignore them, to walk by pretending I heard nothing, saw nothing. I thought they were homeless guys, asking for change.

And then I saw the gun. Harper had stopped. I glanced at her, and one of the two had small pistol pointed at her stomach. Maybe a foot away. The other guy came up to me, and said something, I have no idea what. I handed over my wallet. I said to Harper, "give them your wallet!" She said she couldn't, she didn't have one. She was showing me, them, all of us, everything she had. It's-Its and a doggy treat, lose papers and pocket mulch.

"Just drop it! Just drop it on the ground!" From the back of my mind I remembered hearing that if you're ever mugged, you should drop your stuff on the ground and run off when they bend over to pick it up. I have no idea where I heard this, or if it's even good advice. But it bubbled up, and Harp let the It's-Its fall to the concrete.

"Go that way!"

"But we live up there," I replied, inexplicably. Idiotically.

"Go that way!"

And we did, walking a few steps, then running as fast as we could down the hill. At Chance's we beat on the window, and they let us in.

The cops who responded were aces. My hat's off to them. Of course, when it was handed over to the investigative unit, there was no follow-up. I couldn't even get my phone calls returned. This, despite the fact that the cops picked up a suspect a mere six nights later on the same corner, gun in pocket. The same corner where we came to learn 10 other people had been mugged over the previous two months. You can see it from our bedroom window.

For days afterwards, Harper was a wreck. On Divisadero, the day after, she broke down. I thought I was going to have to carry her home. It took a long time to get back to normal, if we are. I still look over my shoulder a lot these days. I worry about her coming and going when I'm not here.

Today, shopping for presents, a shopkeeper said something about needing to make sure that my Visa was, indeed, my Visa. I joked that there was someone around town with my Visa who wasn't me, and briefly retold her the story. After I had paid, and was on my way out, she asked in a near-whisper, "were they black?" This is one of the two questions I'm asked the most. "Were they black?" and "What time was it."

I think the answers to these questions are meant to absolve us of our fears. If I come and go at a reasonable hour, if I avoid black neighborhoods, this won't happen to me. I'll be safe. I'll be secure. Daniel Price was murdered in one of the city's safest, whitest neighborhoods. Here, in one of the safest cities in America. At midnight, yes. But not, apparently, by a black man.

As I left the shop, the woman--an older white lady with a Northeastern accent, in all other respects sweet and pleasant--told me that the problem stems from children born to single mothers running wild, and that black women who give birth to more than two children out of wedlock should be sterilized. I didn't know what to say. The vileness and sincerity of the remark took me by surprise. Blood in my water glass. Things like that, I don't even hear in the South. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I stood for a minute there in the lights, stricken and sick, stifling a cough and a running nose. I wondered if I should return the present I had just bought. I shook my head. I left.

This is what it is. There are guns and car crashes, there is disease and war and airplanes sometimes drop out of the sky. Race upon race and religion upon religion slay each other for the pleasure of certainty. And nothing is certain. Life savings evaporate in the blink of an eye, while terminal cancer patients wake, and walk again. You can work to be safe (and it's stupid not to) but you cannot make yourself so. Sometimes, no matter how often you wash your hands, you're going to catch a cold.

Life is too short to be cynical.

I still love this city. I still love this neighborhood. I still love this life. But more than anything else, I love my wife, and I want to make every second we have together the most vital, the most important, the most real moment of my life. All we have is right now. My heart goes out to the Prices.

Merry Christmas. Spend it with someone you love.

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Bush in 30,150 Seconds

The Bush in 30 Seconds spots are up for voting. There's a lot of great stuff, there, but I wonder how many of the ads will never be seen. I've rated 40 out of 1,017 and, quite honestly, have probably hit my limit. You would assume that most people won't view more than two or three. All of which is dandy... except that the ads seem to be presented sequentially, rather than randomly. So odds are that the first 100 or so ads will get lots of votes and views, while the final 50 won't be seen by more than a handful of people.

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When in Doubt, Chuckle

SAWYER: 50 percent of the American people have said that they think the Administration exaggerated the evidence going into the war with Iraq -- weapons of mass destruction, connection to terrorism. Are the American people wrong? Misguided?

BUSH: No, the intelligence I operated on was good sound intelligence, the same intelligence that my predecessor operated on.

The - there is no doubt, uh, that Saddam Hussein was a threat. Uh, the - otherwise, the United Nations, by the way, wouldnít have passed, yíknow, resolution after resolution after resolution demanding that he disarm.

I first went to the United Nations, September the 12th 2002, and said:

"Youíve given this man resolution after resolution after resolution. Heís ignoring them. You step up, and see that he honor those resolutions. Otherwise you become a feckless debating society."

And so for the sake of peace, and for the sake of freedom of the Iraqi people, and for the sake of security of the country, and for the sake of the credibility of international institutions, a group of us moved. And the world is better for it.

SAWYER: When you take a look back --

(Video clip of Dick Cheney saying, "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons -- ")

SAWYER: -- Vice President Cheney said there is no doubt Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. Not programs, not intent.

SAWYER: There is no doubt he has weapons of mass destruction.

Secretary Powell -- (Video clip of Powell at UN saying, "Iraq today has a stockpile -- ")

SAWYER: -- said a hundred to five hundred tons of chemical weapons.

And now the inspectors say that thereís no evidence of these weapons existing right now.

(Video clip of Bush at the State of the Union address saying, "significant quantities of uranium --")

SAWYER: The yellowcake in Niger. George Tenet has said that shouldnít have been in your speech.

(Graphic of Tenet and the quote "This was a mistake.")

SAWYER: Secretary Powell talked about mobile labs, again the intelligence, the inspectors have said they canít confirm this, they canít corroborate.

(Video of Bush at the SOTU again, saying, "suitable for nuclear weapons production -- ")

SAWYER: "Nuclear" suggested that he was on the way on an active nuclear program.

SAWYER: David Kay: "We have not discovered significant evidence of an active -- "

BUSH: Yet. Yet.

SAWYER: Is it, "yet?"

BUSH: But what David Kay did discover was he had a weapons program. And had that knowledge --

SAWYER: Missiles.

BUSH: Let me finish for a second. No, it was more extensive than missiles.

Had that knowledge been, uh, examined by the United Nations, in other words, had David Kayís report been placed in front of the United Nations, he, Saddam Hussein, would have been in breach of 1441, which meant it was a casus belli.

And, uh, look -- Thereís no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous person. And thereís no doubt we had a body of evidence proving that. And there is no doubt that the president must act, after 9/11, to make America a more secure country.

SAWYER: Um, again Iím just trying to ask -- and these are supporters, people who believed in the war --

BUSH: Heh-heh-heh.

SAWYER: -- who have asked the question.

BUSH: Well you can keep asking the question, and my answer is going to be the same. Saddam was a danger, and the world is better off because we got rid of him.

SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction, as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still --

BUSH: So whatís the difference?

SAWYER: Well --

BUSH: The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were acquire weapons [sic], he would be the danger. Thatís the -- thatís what Iím trying to explain to you.

A gathering threat, after 9/11, is a threat that needed to be dealt with.

And it was done after 12 long years of the world saying, "the manís a danger."And so, we got rid of him.

And thereís no doubt the world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone.

SAWYER: But, but again some, some of the critics have said this, combined with the failure to establish proof of elaborate terrorism contacts, has indicated that thereís just not precision, at best, and misleading, at worst. [sic]

BUSH: Yíknow, uh, look (shakes head). What (chuckle) what we based our evidence on was a very sound National Intelligence Estimate.

SAWYER: Nothing should have been more precise?

BUSH: I - I - I - I made my decision based upon enough intelligence to tell me that the country was threatened with Saddam Hussein in power.

SAWYER: What would it take to convince you he didnít have weapons of mass destruction?

BUSH: Saddam Hussein was a threat. And the fact that he is gone means America is a safer country.

SAWYER: And if he doesnít have weapons of mass destruction --

BUSH: You can keep asking the question. Iím telling ya, I made the right decision for America. Because Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction, invaded Kuwait. But the fact that he is not there, is uh, means America is a more secure country.

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We Met Jimmy Carter Today

carters and honans

We're staying with my dad this week down in L.A. (Lower Alabama), not too far from Plains, Ga., home of our 39th President, Jimmy Carter. President Carter teaches a Sunday School class fairly regularly at Plains' Maranatha Baptist Church, and we drove over this morning to hear him speak. He gave a great lesson, fantastically inspiring. Carter is one of my personal heroes. A Southerner, a scholar, a gentleman, and a true model of Christian charity and compassion. He's just about to take off for Bolivia on a Carter Center mission, to try and restore democracy to that troubled nation. His actions today spoke volumes about the man. He took time to have his photograph taken with every person who came to church. He and Rosalyn shook everyone's hand, and invited all to join them again. Afterwards, we stopped in a little restaurant to get some lunch, and as we approached the door, in walked President Carter with his Secret Service detail. He spoke to everyone in the restaurant, and smiled graciously as person after person interrupted his meal to take his picture. Obviously he could have gotten the Service to cordon him off, to keep the gawkers away. But no. He's a true public servant. A true statesman. He makes me proud to be a Southerner, and wish I were a native Georgian.

Now I need to buy his new book...

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I voted for Matt!

Updated 12/09:
Tomorrow Today's the day!

Vote for Matt Gonzalez!!!!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
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Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!
Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote!

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It's the end of the year. Or close enough. Which means that it's time for me to list my favorite albums of the past twelve months. I think. Some of these were released in 2002*, but it's all good because I was hella gone, yo. Whatever. Here you go, in no particular order:
And then one should really see this:
Best live shows:And yours?

*okay, so it was only one, but i didn't hear it until i returned from asia and it was a very lovely album. also: i probably would have included the shins new album, but i haven't actually purchased it yet. and i'm still smarting over that mcdonald's commercial. so. there you go.

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Like I Said Before...

Series on homeless draws protests
Steven Chester of the Coalition on Homelessness and others at the rally questioned the timing of the series, which was published the week before the mayoral runoff election. They said it was intended to boost support for mayoral candidate Gavin Newsom and his policies.

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Busy, busy, busy

I have a story today in Salon on Earth Station 5, and two others in Tech Daily on today's Cyber-security conference in Silly Valley. Now I need a nap.

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