TRAVELBLOG: ENTRY FIVE (SAT NYC)
Co-conspirator, sister, and potentially violent protestor A. and I got up early to head over to the National Lawyer Guild's Legal Observer headquarters on E. 35th in Manhattan. We picked up our green hats and badges and were assigned to go monitor the NARAL Protest, with started at City Hall in Brooklyn, went across the Brooklyn Bridge, and ended with a rally at City Hall in Manhattan.
A. and I were assigned to Team Giraffe (cute, I know) with C. as our team leader. The three other members of the team were middle-aged (or elderly) and all pretty lawyerly. A. and I are relatively young and were much closer in age to C. than the others.
The rest of the team headed directly to Brooklyn. A. and I stopped at Duane Reade to buy granola bars and water (you can never be too prepared) and then at a cafe to get a lil' breakfast and some coffee.
And whaddaya know but about fifty cops walk in:
Many of them had bundles of very thick plastic cuffs dangling from their belts. Each also had an unfamiliar-looking squarish canvas bag attached to their belts; I assume that they contained gas masks.
[A. and I had the phone number to call if we got arrested scrawled on our calves in black magic marker; I think a cop spotted it and smirked.]
We arrived at the rally point in Brooklyn, and it seemed like a pretty big crowd.
You think these guys were actual protestors or plainclothes cops? [Love the jerseys...]
And here are some of the protestors:
TRAVELBLOG: ENTRY FOUR (FRIDAY NYC)
No legal observer stuff today. Today instead was spent recovering from a wild Thursday night with old friend and gadfly S. that began at her pirate radio show in the East Village. Then there were bars and a club, or something, but it's all a little hazy.
Monstrepo arrived and has temporarily taken human form -- he even has a car! Hours were spent driving around in Brooklyn, lost. Badly lost.
Saturday: Legal Observing!
PHOTOBLOG ONE: WORD ON THE STREET (NYC)
TRAVELBLOG: ENTRY THREE (NYC)
Last night was the NLG training session, held at a good ol' lib church (Universalists?) on the Upper West Side. The attendees spanned a wide range of ages and ethnicities; some were dressed in suits, some in hipster garb.
CBS Sunday Morning showed up early on to tape the proceedings for a segment this Sunday.
The job of the Legal Observer (LO) is pretty interesting. Turns out our primary duties will be documenting police "incidents." We get the names of people arrested, try to photograph incidents as they take place, and relate that information to HQ so they can get legal help to people. LOs are encouraged not to be "active" participants in the protests; we watch the police and try to act as a deterrent to conflict. If that fails, we document as much as possible for future trials.
I feel totally comfortable in this support role. LOs facilitate protest and help to ensure that protestors' rights are protected. It suits me well.
LOs are identified in potentially tense protest situations by their green hats, pictured here:
I'll probably begin my own LO saga on Saturday. Too much to do until then. Sunday is the day that the biggest protests might take place. Check back often!
LOTS OF COPS
The New York Police Department and the largest armada of land, air and maritime forces ever assembled to provide security at a national political gathering are being deployed in New York for the Republican convention, according to federal, state and local officials. They said yesterday that they were planning an intentionally huge response to intelligence that Al Qaeda hoped to carry out an attack to disrupt this year's elections.
. . .
The backbone of security is being provided by the 37,000-member New York Police Department, which has a budget larger than all but 19 of the world's standing armies. To prevent an attack, the department will flood the streets with officers and employ high and low technology, from seven surveillance helicopters to plainclothes detectives traveling the subways and eyeballing other riders.
Up to 10,000 officers, many reassigned from narcotics and other duties, will be part of an enormous show of force around Madison Square Garden. That display will include special heavily armed "Hercules" antiterror squads, snipers and phalanxes of officers set up around the arena to search buses and trucks before they enter the area. In addition to the helicopters, several of which can feed close-up video surveillance images to mobile command centers on the ground, 26 launches will patrol waterways, and officers will use 181 bomb-sniffing dogs, many of them borrowed from other law enforcement agencies.
I've been here two days, been nowhere need Madison Square Garden and I've still seen tons of cops. One popped her head into the A train at 59th St/Columbus Circle but I couldn't pop a photo of her in time.
Enough for tonight. Tomorrow, the NLG Training Session! With photos! CBS was there!
BIKES AGAINST BUSH
You've got to see this
Bikes Against Bush is a one-of-a-kind, interactive protest/performance occurring simultaneously online and on the streets of NYC during the upcoming Republican National Convention. Using a Wireless Internet-enabled bicycle outfitted with a custom-designed printing device, the Bikes Against Bush bicycle can print text messages sent from web users directly onto the streets of Manhattan in water-soluble chalk.
LIMB FROM LIMB
THE MADISON, WI ZOO
Although I know all of you are hungering for pictures of animals, these cuties are presented more to test out the camera:
Yeah, gotta figure out how to rotate. No time now, however. I'm off to be educated about police brutality!
[Rotation services provided by monSTREPOOOOOOOOOOO, Inc.]
TRAVELBLOG: ENTRY TWO (NYC)
So now the serious blogging starts in earnest.
I arrived here in the afternoon on a cramped puddlejumper flight from Chicago Midway. To my dismay, there was no sign of potentially violent subversives on the flight or at LGA. Where are all the bangers?
Old friend M. is providing lodgings in one of my old haunts: Park Slope, Brooklyn. I had a nostalgic walkaround and saw lots of old friends (the Donuts Luncheonette; the pizza place on the corner of 7th Avenue and 9th Street; Prospect Park; the Pavilion movie theater; etc., etc.).
No sign of potentially violent co-conspirator (and sister) A. yet. To evade pursuit, she may have had to take the indirect way to the city: through the subway and sewer tunnels. Our contacts with the lefty mole-people contingent may have paid off.
[Confidential to F. in Western Mass.: I have left the package at the dead drop, as we had arranged. Be awfully careful with the big box. I hope that "cough" you have clears up.]
I'm still getting the digital camera download situation sorted out. Pictures soon, I promise.
Tomorrow [Wednesday 8/25]: Training with the National Lawyer's Guild for the legal observer thing. This will, of course, be the perfect way to shroud my nefarious activities (of which you will hear much more about very soon) with a veil of legitimacy.
And don't forget: as soon as the delegates start arriving, only on SALTO:
GOP FASHION DISASTERS: THE PHOTOBLOG
NOTE TO THE FBI: If you really want to find me for your speech-suppressing intimidatory interview, I'm staying at this dude Robert Hanssen's
house. He's in the book, I believe.
BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU STAY IN NYC
The story is here
TRAVELBLOG: ENTRY ONE (WI)
I'm typing from my mom's house in Wisconsin on an ultra-slow dialup. The fam is doing well; it's fish fries and leisurely walks in the sunny Wisconsin summer. Open space is appreciated more than ever.
I'm recuperating from city tribulations and figuring out how to work my borrowed digital camera (zoo images coming soon!). I've synchronized watches with my co-conspirator protestor, sister A., who is heading down from Vermont in a non-linear path designed to evade followers from the FBI, Customs, and Secret Service.
We're meeting at the center of the George Washington Bridge for the handoff. From a mailorder store I have purchased the false beard/curly sideburns combo and, also, the black trenchcoat/tophat combo: my Hasidim disguise is almost complete. A. has carefully constructed a crack-ho disguise: sweatpants, bandanna, artificially blearied eyes, practiced look of desperation.
The heat can't get us if the heat can't find us.
BONE UH FEED DAYS
Salto is happy to announce that, in addition to full bloggy coverage of all of the protests goings-ons, Salto is going to be a Legal Observer
at the protests for the National Lawyer's Guild.
Salto has begun his travel odyssey.
Therefore, use this post to discuss anything you'd like.
right-click and download this:
The crowd--his own hand-picked crowd, mind you--laughs at him.
It's really worth a listen. C'mon. It's only 400k.
TERRORISM: A THOUGHT
If terrorists want to influence the election here like they did in Spain, wouldn't it make more sense to target swing states
between now and the election, instead of larger media-heavy cities in states that are gimmes, like New York and California and Illinois and Massachusetts and Texas (and lots of other states according to this electoral vote count
In fact, perhaps terrorists would target these states:
Barely Kerry (<5%)
[STATES WHERE KERRY BARELY LEADS -ed.]
West Virginia 4%
Barely Bush (<5%)
[STATES WHERE BUSH BARE--oh. ok. -ed.]
North Carolina 3%
There are counterarguments, like Al Qaeda plans in advance, they think they'll be able to push polls dramatically
in one way or the other in any state they like, etc., etc. Aw, just forget it.
PAS/CAL IN NYC 8/28
PAS/CAL! PAS/CAL! PAS/CAL!
I'm almost more excited to see this band
than to be on hand for the protests.
Download the .mp3s for "The Bronze Beached Boys (Come On Let's Go)" or "I'd Bet My Life That You'd Bet Your Life" and just let go, man. Let go.
[They're playing with My Favorite
August 28th at sin-e
, 150 Attorney Street @ Stanton.]
OUR COUNTRY RULES, BRAH
According to the brilliant analysts at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, sixty-six million workers, or 54% of the workforce, does not get a single paid sick day after a full year on the job.
That statistic, I think, is one of the best indicators of the two classes of the labor market, and how the divide is not so much about wages and income as about benefits and security. And those of us on the relatively secure side of the divide cannot really understand how different life is in a world where you don't have any paid sick leave. I might think I understand what it is to earn low wages -- $10,500/year, in my first job -- but I've never had a job that didn't offer sick days. Can't even imagine it.
LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!
Decay. Everywhere decay.
RETURN OF THE MAN
I feel like Chicago '68 is coming.
Here's the link
WASHINGTON, Aug. 15
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been questioning political demonstrators across the country, and in rare cases even subpoenaing them, in an aggressive effort to forestall what officials say could be violent and disruptive protests at the Republican National Convention in New York.
F.B.I. officials are urging agents to canvass their communities for information about planned disruptions aimed at the convention and other coming political events, and they say they have developed a list of people who they think may have information about possible violence. They say the inquiries, which began last month before the Democratic convention in Boston, are focused solely on possible crimes, not on dissent, at major political events.
But some people contacted by the F.B.I. say they are mystified by the bureau's interest and felt harassed by questions about their political plans.
"The message I took from it," said Sarah Bardwell, 21, an intern at a Denver antiwar group who was visited by six investigators a few weeks ago, "was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.' ''
The unusual initiative comes after the Justice Department, in a previously undisclosed legal opinion, gave its blessing to controversial tactics used last year by the F.B.I in urging local police departments to report suspicious activity at political and antiwar demonstrations to counterterrorism squads. The F.B.I. bulletins that relayed the request for help detailed tactics used by demonstrators - everything from violent resistance to Internet fund-raising and recruitment.
In an internal complaint, an F.B.I. employee charged that the bulletins improperly blurred the line between lawfully protected speech and illegal activity. But the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, in a five-page internal analysis obtained by The New York Times, disagreed.
The office, which also made headlines in June in an opinion - since disavowed - that authorized the use of torture against terrorism suspects in some circumstances, said any First Amendment impact posed by the F.B.I.'s monitoring of the political protests was negligible and constitutional.
The opinion said: "Given the limited nature of such public monitoring, any possible 'chilling' effect caused by the bulletins would be quite minimal and substantially outweighed by the public interest in maintaining safety and order during large-scale demonstrations."
Hey, FBI: I know someone planning a violent demonstration. It's my left nut. And it's planning to MAKE A ROMANCE INSIDE YO MAMA, BITCH.
Suppression and repression piss me the fuck off. My parents asking if I "should go protest," with that concern in their voices: that pisses me off. Not at my parents, but at our atrophied, decaying political system. When you need to sign a loyalty oath
to hear the FUCKING VICE PRESIDENT (who is a GODDAMNED AGNEW RETREAD, SERIOUSLY) speak at PUBLIC EVENTS, and the right of protest is being consistently undermined, and protest is considered unsafe, and "you never know what might happen?"
I'm fuckin' pissed. And that's why I'm going to NYC.
Fucking hyperbole isn't even necessary. That's scary.
At the start of the game you will receive a manila envelope containing the following:
A picture of your intended target
The home address of your intended target
The work address of your intended target
The name of your intended target
Upon receipt of these items, your mission is to find and kill (by way of water gun, water balloon or super soaker) your target.
You can hunt your target down any way you see fit; you can pose as a delivery person and jack them when they open the door, disguise yourself and take them out on the street, etc.
If you are successful in your assassination attempt, the person you killed will give you their envelope and the person they were supposed to kill becomes your new target. This continues until you work yourself through all the players and retrieve the envelope with your picture and name in it. Then you win. Cash. But first live in fear.
I would try it at least once. Lookin' out for the "hit" might add some excitement to my incredibly bleary life. Notice that this is set in NYC and they're starting this game on 9/3: a day earlier and someone gets shot with a real gun by overzealous Bush security. Seriously.
COOKING WITH ROCKSTARS
An interesting concept
Archived interviews currently include Supergrass, Jack Black, Iron and Wine, Apples in Stereo, Interpol, Rilo Kiley, etc., etc.
EBAY BUYS 25% OF CRAIGSLIST
Here's the NYT
Here's Craig's take
Meanwhile, people seem to be angry here
Will they start charging? And what for? And what will replace craigslist when they do?
His homepage is here
An appearance on Conan is here
A must-watch. I almost peed myself.
THE DUDE ABIDES
READ STEVE GILLIARD
He's really so good
, isn't he?
"But Rove's campaign is imploding like a car in GTAVC [Grand Theft Auto: Vice City] after a couple of crashes. Why would Bush bring up Vietnam? Kerry has been cool about it, but Bush's desertion/AWOL/UA whatever is going to come back up. Kerry is all smiles and manners, but his heart is that of a MacArthur or a Sherman. He is cautious, except when it's time to be audacious.
Kerry's language is aggressive, more than Clinton's ever was, who would get angry, and there is a differene, and he is challenging Bush. Not on policy, but on subtext of his manhood. Kerry is going to thrust up in Bush's face as long as he can."
Now go bookmark his blog, please.
IRAQ IS ON FIRE
Just because we "handed over" "sovereignty," don't let your attention slip (like the media has
) from the godawful mess that is Iraq right now.
Key quote [from Juan Cole]:
It seems to me possible that this recent outbreak of fighting has initiated an endgame. It is hard to imagine Allawi and the Americans putting up with this challenge. The question is whether they can crush it without fatally wounding their own authority. I still think "Iran 1978" is the worst case scenario for Iraq, and a massive crackdown on the Sadrists, with Muqtada killed or captured, could set that ball rolling.
Al-Obeidi says the Americans allege that they have killed 300 militants in Najaf. I at first thought this must be a typographical error for "30." [But it is being repeated on US television news this afternoon. If 300 is correct,it is an enormous toll for a couple of days. In all the fighting in April and May less than 2000 Mahdi Army fighters were killed. I wonder if the Mahdi Army has gotten careless and come out in the open, and were mown down by AC 130s. Or has the US figured out where the safe houses are and just bombed them?]
George W. Bush was a goddamned coke-snarfer. Lots of evidence suggests not only that Bush snarfed tons
of coke in the 70s, but that he got busted for it, and it was only his pappy that saved him from spending some quality time as a bitch for some burly felon in a Texas state prison. Not only that: Bush was given a free ride
on this both during the 2000 campaign and
since from the librul media. God, he's loathsome.
This post is incomplete. Check back for the full version!
BUY FOR SALTO
Not only will you come prepared, but you'll look extremely cool when you say, very casually, "Oh yes, I've got it right here," and whip out your Swiss Army knife to plug in and pull up your pictures, music, data files or big presentation. No ordinary USB-memory sticks, these particular micro storage pieces are made by Victorinox, the first-class company behind the original Swiss Army Knife, and Swissbit, the renowned electronics company. The 64MB SwissMemory sticks flip in and out of a classic 58mm pocket tool to deliver the utmost in Swiss performance.
...also, perhaps someone could buy me one of these
. I don't care which. They're all nice!
...just noticed: "These cups are made of plastic and you should not drink out of them.
WORTH CLICKING JUST FOR THE 'PICTURE'
The hottest hooker in Beasley, Canada, is a sexy Bigfoot named Helen, say dozens of satisfied customers.
Fascinated by her incredible erotic powers, men are drawn to her like flies to honey. "Helen is over seven feet tall and covered with soft fur," says frequent patron Jacques Barbette.
...sadly, this may in fact be the best Salto post ever.
BUSH-HATE: A CONTINUING SERIES
Fuck the feel-good, optimistic tone at the Democratic National Convention. We here at Salto don't need to appeal to the mushy middle, those incredibly clueless 10% who can't be arsed to pick up a goddamned newspaper once in a while. Our [mysteriously large] readership is far too well-informed to be pandered to. Salto speaks truth to power, too. Did I mention that? Word.
Salto is proud
to be a locus of Bush hate. Yes, we here at Salto revile
Bush. We loathe
the sad motherfucker. And I'm happy to announce that, from now until the election, Salto will be running a almost-daily feature:
50 REASONS TO ABSOLUTELY LOATHE GEORGE W. BUSH
And we'll collect 'em somewhere easy to find on the site for handy reference.
Look for installment number one tomorrow (Wednesday), August 4th.
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
STUNNING NEWS OF THE DAY
Salto has a robust readership. Inexplicably!
Many more visitors than I thought pop in and out.
HE HATE ME
Not a big fan, but this
is pretty funny.
SALTO TRAVELBLOG ADDENDUM
Yeah, I guess I'll have to avoid the financial district in NYC. Sheesh