Politics: May 2006 Archives

The story is here.

"Sounds like a culture war" was James's reaction when I told him about the New York Daily News editorial on the Brooklyn College MFA show.

'Plan B' from outer space

The mewling you hear in Brooklyn emanates from Brooklyn College art students whose education obviously did not include informing them that, no, you can't do anything you want anywhere you please.

The young artistes are up in arms that borough Parks Commissioner Julius Spiegel closed their exhibit, "Plan B," at the Brooklyn War Memorial after some works - including a penis sculpture - were deemed inappropriate for display in a hall that is open to the general public and, just as important, part of a commemoration of valor. How dare Spiegel close the show without asking them? the students fume. And how dare the Brooklyn College administration fail to defend their rights to show their stuff just where they please?

Reality check, children: Not only can someone tell you "no," but - shocking! - being told "no" is not a violation of your First Amendment rights. Spiegel showed backbone, and the college made the wise choice in moving the show onto campus, where students, faculty and assorted Chardonnay sippers can muse about its merits. Get used to not being the center of the universe, kids.

Chardonnay sippers?! Everyone knows real men don't have anything to do with education and going to college!

[link via Carl Ferrero]


Jean Rohe was the speaker at the New School graduation before John McCain. Many of the students were understandably outraged that the president of the school, Bob Kerrey -- a war criminal -- invited McCain to speak at the graduation. His right wing ideology has nothing to do with the progressive history of the New School.

She has a post about her experience, including the text of her speech, at The Huffington Post.

Some excerpts are below:

It's been noted in several columns that anti-McCain sentiment coming from the left may actually help him to garner support from the conservatives by giving him the opportunity to paint us as extremist liberals, so we should all keep our mouths shut. I say we need some "extremist liberals" if we're ever going to get our democracy back. Others have said that he's a moderate at heart and that we should let him continue pandering to the religious right so he can get the vote. Once he gets into office he'll show his true colors and be the centrist he always was. I don't buy that. People who truly care about human beings don't vote for an unjust war, among other things, simply as a political maneuver. Enough said.

More importantly, I feel obligated to respond to one thing that McCain told the New York Times. "I feel sorry for people living in a dull world where they can't listen to the views of others," he said. This is just preposterous. Yes, McCain was undoubtedly shouted-out and heckled by people who were not politely absorbing his words so as to consider them fully from every angle. But what did he expect? We could've all printed out his speech and chanted it with him in chorus. Did he think that no one knew exactly what he was about to say? And it was precisely because we listen to the views of others, and because, as I said in my speech, we don't fear them, that we as a school were able to mount such a thorough and intelligent opposition to his presence. Ignorant, closed-minded people would not have been able to do what we did. We chose to be in New York for our years of higher education for the very reason that we would be challenged to listen to opposing viewpoints each and every day and to deal with that challenge in a nonviolent manner. We've gotten very good at listening to the views of others and learning how to also make our views heard, even when we don't have the power of national political office and the media on our side.

Here is the conclusion of her speech:

What is interesting and bizarre about this whole situation is that Senator Mc Cain has stated that he will be giving the same speech at all three universities where he has been invited to speak recently, of which ours is the last; those being Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, Columbia University, and finally here at the New School. For this reason I have unusual foresight concerning the themes of his address today. Based on the speech he gave at the other institutions, Senator Mc Cain will tell us today that dissent and disagreement are our "civic and moral obligation" in times of crisis. I consider this a time of crisis and I feel obligated to speak. Senator Mc Cain will also tell us about his cocky self-assuredness in his youth, which prevented him from hearing the ideas of others. In so doing, he will imply that those of us who are young are too naïve to have valid opinions and open ears. I am young, and although I don't profess to possess the wisdom that time affords us, I do know that preemptive war is dangerous and wrong, that George Bush's agenda in Iraq is not worth the many lives lost. And I know that despite all the havoc that my country has wrought overseas in my name, Osama bin Laden still has not been found, nor have those weapons of mass destruction.

Finally, Senator Mc Cain will tell us that we, those of us who are Americans, "have nothing to fear from each other." I agree strongly with this, but I take it one step further. We have nothing to fear from anyone on this living planet. Fear is the greatest impediment to the achievement of peace. We have nothing to fear from people who are different from us, from people who live in other countries, even from the people who run our government--and this we should have learned from our educations here. We can speak truth to power, we can allow our humanity always to come before our nationality, we can refuse to let fear invade our lives and to goad us on to destroy the lives of others. These words I speak do not reflect the arrogance of a young strong-headed woman, but belong to a line of great progressive thought, a history in which the founders of this institution play an important part. I speak today, even through my nervousness, out of a need to honor those voices that came before me, and I hope that we graduates can all strive to do the same.

[image from The Huffington Post]

jonathan tasini

The Villager has an article on the endorsement of Jonathan Tasini, who is running against Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for New York Senator. I bolded one of the things of interest in the paragraph below.

Turned off by Hillary Clinton's position on the Iraq war, plus the recent news that archconservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch will be hosting a fundraiser for her, the Village Independent Democrats last week threw their support behind one of Clinton’s rivals, Jonathan Tasini, in the September Democratic primary.

The New York GOP is in such disarray that they are unlikely to field a viable candidate. Now is a good time to let her know we don't like her support of the Iraq War and the PATRIOT ACT, or her views on gay marriage. She is also starting to move rightward on abortion.

Related: Joseph Lieberman is probably more vulnerable that Hilary Clinton to getting kicked out in the primary.

[image from Jonathan Tasini's website]

critical mass james wagner

James Wagner, Critical Mass on 23rd Street

Tomorrow Saturday night there is a party / fundraiser for cyclist legal bills related to Critical Mass. Check out the website for more information.

What's this all about? Search James's site for "Critical Mass," or just start with this post.

I learn from the New York Times that the Public Art Fund is sponsoring a new work by him at Rockefeller Center.

A mirror nearly three stories tall, fashioned from polished stainless steel, will stand at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Channel Gardens in Rockefeller Center this fall.

Unlike most of the art that has adorned Rockefeller Center, it will not be placed where visitors are used to seeing the giant tree at Christmastime. "Sky Mirror," the work of the Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, will be facing Fifth Avenue.

"Sky Mirror," to be on view from Sept. 19 to Oct. 27, is a 23-ton circular sculpture, shaped like a satellite dish, its concave side angled upward facing 30 Rockefeller Plaza, its convex side facing Fifth Avenue, reflecting pedestrians and the cityscape. The work is Mr. Kapoor's first public art project in New York City.

The online version doesn't have an image, but the paper does.

Let's hope he and Rockefeller Center manage photography a bit better than it was managed for Chicago's Millenium Park, or they're going to have some very angry tourists.

The Brooklyn College show will have a re-opening on May 24th from 6-9PM at 70 Washington Street in DUMBO. James has an update.

Note that none of the artists have been able to see their works since they were taken away by Brooklyn College without warning.

As always, visit the Plan C(ensored) blog for continuing updates.



Liza Sabater of CultureKitchen and Daily Gotham, was checking out her stats when she noticed a link from the New York Times. Like a good blogger, she went to check it out, and learned they had a test blog set up, using Word Press, for a new New York politics blog. They left the user registration system, open, so she registered and gave them a post to let them know they should secure their new blog.

Her initial post is here.


This page is an archive of entries in the Politics category from May 2006.

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