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Luke Melia

Why elephants do not fly

Jeanhee has the answer along with an account of our whirlwind Thanksgiving weekend.


This Thursday (December 2nd), my calendar shares the delightful news of two back-to-back Chelsea art openings by friends. First, starting at 5pm, Valerie Allard’s SuperSize opens at Pleiades:

Valerie Allard’s SuperSize … packages high culture as digestible consumer products. If a painting cannot be supersized, should it really be marketed? If history cannot be presented in entertaining, purchasable units, can it engage us?

Allard introduces new forms of art – Cigarette Art, Placemat Art, Space Saver Art – ready to bridge the ever-widening gap between fine art and modern consumer culture.

Then, from 6pm, our friend Michael Foley presents the unusual work of Thomas Allen at the new and eponymous Foley Gallery.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Santino in America: LEADER-MART

Santino, er… One Leader Great Leader, has some holiday shopping guidelines for his people. Check ’em out.

Happy Thanksgiving

The pumpkin pies are in the oven and midnight passed about two hours ago. It’s Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. I’m grateful for my health, for my wonderful wife, for the opportunity to challenge myself mentally and physically, for my friends and my family, and, yes, grateful to live in interesting times.


This morning near waking, I shared with Jeanhee an uncomfortable feeling. It’s the disconnect between the good stuff of my daily life and real distress of so much else in the world. I recognize this is an everpresent dichotomy. While one couple is making love, another is hurling plates at each other, and another is mourning the loss of their children to war or disease.

Tonight, I wrote a poem/song about it. “Wedding and a War” [mp3 / 1:29 / 1.8MB].

You’ll have to forgive the ample evidence of me having way too much fun with GarageBand…

Outgoing Bushie watch

Two more high-level CIA resignations yesterday. Professor and retired CIA officer Lee Strickland comments:

The recent tumult at the CIA should terrify the nation. The exodus of top, professional leadership almost amounts to a revolt against the management of the agency’s new director, Porter Goss. It’s a clear indication that Goss is headed in the wrong direction – exactly what you would expect to happen when a new administration begins to politicize the agency.

       Mr. Goss brought in his political staff from his days as chair of the House Intelligence Committee to make changes at the agency. But when Deputy Director John McLaughlin, an officer who is the ultimate professional intelligence expert, retires from the agency in disgust, it is a blow to American national security. And the rapid exit of other senior professionals offers clear evidence that nothing less than a political purge is taking place.

Jeff Tweedy: Music Is Not a Loaf of Bread

Wired has an interview with Wilco front-man Jeff Tweedy, a man who as my friend Alec says “reminds you of all that is good in the world.” The subject is music “piracy.”

A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that’s it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it’s just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work.

The whole interview is good. Check it out.

On the CIA Shakeup

I had been having some second thoughts about yesterday’s post about the CIA Deputy Chief resigning. My thought was, maybe a shakeup is necessary at the CIA; they certainly have had some big failings in the last few years. Josh Marshall brought an interesting perspective to this question today:

But the larger point is simple and clear. On every significant point of conflict between the Bush administration and the country’s cadre of intelligence professionals, the Bush political appointees turned out to be wrong. Often very wrong, and with disastrous consequences. Sometimes the intel folks were wrong too; but when that was so, the appointees were always more wrong.

This is not argumentative or hyperbole or even up for much serious dispute.

And the upshot of all that we’ve seen, the result of all those struggles over the last three years is that the ‘appointees’ are purging the ‘professionals’. Another way to put it is that the folks who were always wrong and often catastrophically wrong are rooting out the folks who were often right and sometimes somewhat wrong. The answer to politicized intelligence, it turns out, is a more thorough politicization of intelligence and the elimination of those who resisted political pressure.

If you think this is just a Washington squabble or political debating point you’d be mistaken. Because your lives, and those of your families and friends, may very well be on the line.

Outgoing Bushie watch

Colin Powell has handed Bush his resignation. Colin Powell I don’t know whether this will prove to be good or bad. Atrios says “Thanks for nothing.”

But would we have been worse or better off the last four years had Powell not been fighting for some approximation of reason and prudence? Sure, he lost most of the battles, but so did we — liberals fighting the last few years. Powell failed to convince the military machine to apply the Geneva Convention to those taken prisoner in Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of us failed to convince the military machine to refrain from invading Iraq.

Yes, Powell failed. The greatness of a once great man tarnished. And we as American people failed. The greatness of a once great nation… May we both and all have the good fortune to redeem ourselves.


Who enlists the week U.S. troops invade Fallujah? New York Magazine stopped by the recruiting station in Times Square to find out. Puts the “volunteer” in “volunteer armed forces” into some perspective. [via Choire]

LukeMelia.com created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!
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