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Apr 17, 2010

Old BAG --> New BAG

A note to our readers and commenters: Our friends at Weightshift have asked that you hold all comments on Sunday as they'll be in the processes of turning this space into our new site. (You might see the new site up for most or part of the day, but it will still be in test mode, so not "good to go" yet.) Because of how highly we value your comments, we wouldn't want to lose even one. On Monday, although I'm sure we'll be pulling all kinds of levers just behind the curtain, it should be safe to explore, poke around, and yes, get the discussion rolling again.

Thanks so much!


Tea Sequiturs #2

Tea Dont Tread Tattoo.jpg

I know, to the Tea Party folks, these symbols fit perfectly, the 2nd amendment, the guns, the "don't tread on me," the hate for the Fed. Do they all want out of the U.N., though, and the C.F.R.? (Because God figures prominently, if just embedded in the signature of a buck, it made me think how these people have appropriated the fervor of the religious right) What seems most ironic about this mash, however, is how much our friend -- Mr. "Greenback" -- stands for the almighty dollar.

(photo: Michael Conroy/A.P. caption: Darryl Herbertz, of Moorseville, Ind., displays his tattoo with the text of the Second Amendment, along with other images of protest during a tea party rally outside the Statehouse in Indianapolis, Thursday, April 15, 2010.)

Apr 16, 2010

Tea Sequiturs #1

Tea Party jewelry.jpg

Explain that. (I mean, is there a chronology here?)

(photo: Pat Sullivan/A.P. caption: Patsy Quinn sends mixed signals as she wears a peace sign with a gun necklace over a faded American flag t-shirt at a Tea Party rally Thursday, April 15, 2010 in downtown Houston.)

Apr 15, 2010

The Children's Crusade


by BagNews contributor John Lucaites

I don’t know what the average age of the American soldier is, but the typical photograph we have seen in recent times suggests that “he” is in his mid-twenties or later. And what such photographs show us are young men who have completed their training as fighting machines; indeed, many such images show us soldiers who have already seen battle and so, as young as they might be, they appear as veterans and far older than their years. What such photographs fail to show us—and in the process allow us to forget—is how much going to war robs such men of their youth and innocence … and no doubt much more as well.

When I first came across the photograph above I thought I was looking at a group of adolescents “playing” at being soldiers.

Indeed, the shooter in the middle of the image looks rather like “Ralphie,” the young boy from Jean Shepherd’s classic A Christmas Story who pines for a Red Ryder BB Gun only to have a department store Santa tell him, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” And those around him don’t seem much older as they all look awkwardly out of place in their clean camouflage uniforms and wielding what at first glance appear to be toy versions of automatic weapons. But of course they aren’t toy weapons, and these apparently prepubescent adolescents are actually recruits in basic training, “prepar[ing] to clear and secure a room.”

Continue reading "The Children's Crusade" »

Tea Party Demographics

Tea Party Crowd.jpg

Reading about the NYT poll on the makeup of the Tea Party, the most interesting data (beyond the anti-poor, anti-black sentiment) was that Tea Party members are wealthier and better educated than the general public. (The poll pegged their numbers at eighteen percent of the American public -- primarily Republican, white, male, married and over forty-five.)

If that's the case, you have to wonder how much the photos we've seen over and over, represented by the folks in these Huffpo slideshows or "the Teabonics element" have been much less reflective of the overall group. Of course, "stupid" sells, right? ...Which is not to say, of course, that there is the highest correlation between education and, at least, social intelligence in this swath of the public.

If we can assume just from looking, though, perhaps this crowd shot, taken last week in Illinois, gets the demographics about right?

(Scott Olson/Getty Images. caption: Tea Party supporters listen to speakers at a rally for the Tea Party Express national tour during a stop at Davis Park on April 6, 2010 in Rockford, Illinois. The Tea Party Express members are on a cross-country tour to rally support for the Tea Party agenda including their conservative causes and candidates.)

EnGendering The New BAG


Since The BAG is entering a new era next week, I just wanted to clarify (in response to a comment in yesterday's kick-off post -- and, at the risk that Salon Editor Sandra Roa, left, and Contributor Nina Berman -- wonderful photographers both -- might not simply love my rather quick iPhone snap from Nina's Whitney Biennial opening) that BNN's primary brain trust, if you include Deputy Publisher Karen Hull, Salon Moderator Cara Finnegan, and BAG consultant and R.I.T. professor Loret Steinberg, is actually 70% female.

Apr 14, 2010

Obama's Summit


My main take-away here, mindful of the radical difference between Bush and Dubya, and how Obama is really beginning to apply his vision to the presidency, and how Obama is so about disarming, and how everybody's caucusing, is:

Community organizer ... to the world.

(photo: Chuck Kennedy/White HousePresident Barack Obama talks with President Lee Myung-bak of Korea during the first plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., April 13, 2010. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina works at right.)

Come Monday (Cosmic Forces Permitting), Be Prepared for the Relaunch of BagNewsNotes!


What's in store...

>> An exciting new look by rockstar designer Naz Hamid of Weightshift.

>> Greater emphasis on what makes the BAG the BAG: the pictures and the discussion.

>> An archive you'll have fun playing around with and losing yourself in whether you're a history buff, a media junkie, a photographer, a media studies student, or just a fan of The BAG.

>> A dedicated photojournalism section, BagNewsOriginals, steered by long-time BNN contributor, Alan Chin. (Yes, that's Shaw and Chin in Chinatown, captured a few weeks ago, in a snow storm, from an iPhone, while hatching great plans.) We've got a powerful lineup showcasing World Press and Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Suau on the economy; Erin Treib on the war and its warriors; Jason Andrew on the road with the Tea Party; BAG's distinguished contributor, Nina Berman, fresh off her Whitney Biennial success, with a brief refresher on Wall Street's bust-before-last; and much, much more.

>> A Salon section managed by the talented photographer and multimedia producer, Sandra Roa, formerly of the Lens Blog, mixing audio slideshows and live chats, all focusing on key images of the day, and kicking off with an audio slide show featuring Ashley Gilbertson and a close-up look at the bedroom shrines of fallen US soldiers.

>> New contributors, including: acclaimed photojournalist Chris Hondros conducting exclusive interviews; leading visual academics Bob Hariman and John Lucaites deconstructing visual culture; Pete Brook illuminating the prison industrial complex; former White House photographer and now Columbian visual conscience, Stephen Ferry, on media's pictorial stereotyping of the third world; visual activism by Stan Banos; and thoughtful insight from Salon moderator and visual rhetorician, Cara Finnegan.

We can hardly wait for you to join us.

(photo: a friend)

Apr 13, 2010

Michelle Powers into Haiti


As the Administration's key "hope agent," Mrs. Obama -- walking not with Mrs. Preval or Mrs. Biden, but with the Haitian President -- conveys a weight and authority here that extends far beyond "the First Mom." Further boosting the impact, this White House photo was taken on the presidential grounds where part of the palace -- Haiti's crippled White House -- met the wrecking ball a few days ago.

It's not just the first Obama visit to Haiti since the earthquake, but also a symbolic plug for the Preval and Haitian empowerment. (It's also the first photo I've seen of the President in months -- of the very few that have appeared in U.S. media, at all -- and the first one I've ever seen of Preval smiling ... the emotion only lending more weight, of course, to the personality of the First Lady.

(By the way, here's the Reuters shot that was up top this afternoon showing Mrs. Obama with the situation well in hand.)

(Revised: 9:45 pm PST)

(photo: antha Appleton/White House. caption: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden tour earthquake damage in Port Au-Prince, Haiti, along with Haitian President Rene Preval, and Elisabeth Delatour Preval, the First Lady of Haiti, April 13, 2010. The damaged presidential palace is seen in the background. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)linked photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters.)

Arms (Legs and Plain Whole Body) Reduction

Obama Medvedev summit.jpg

I'm surprised how many of the opening summit portraits show Obama so small.

It wasn't completely because of the vantage, because the pictures on the newswires -- of world leaders meeting Obama before the opening banquet -- show a mix of scales. Could the shrinkage be due, at least in part, to the fact the Administration never really sold the significance of the summit, and Obama's anti-nuke diplomacy, to the American public and the domestic media? (These poll numbers seem telling along those lines.)

The photo offers the two otherwise heavyweights of the summit, a mini-Obama with the mini-Medvedev, if you could even tell.

Update: Now here's an explanation. The media is up-in-arms about being "sidelined."

(photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images, Nuclear Security Summit at the Washington Convention Center. Washington, DC, April 12, 2010.)

Apr 12, 2010

Afghanistan: Finished Before We've Re-Started?

Kandahar bus shooting.jpg

Kandahar bus attack2.jpg

With all our problems with civilian casualties, Karzai, and warding off the Taliban (even in the Helmand town we supposedly secured already), the question is: might today's US attack on a civilian bus in Kandahar, the key prize in McChystal's strategy and the heart of the enemy, represent a tipping point even before the surge is fully in place?

Specifically, in circling the bus are the Afghans circling the wagons against American intervention?

(photos: Allauddin Khan, A.P. April 12, 2010)

Locking Down the Capitol

Nuke Summit 1.jpg
Military police Summit DC.jpg \

Even hosting the largest group of leaders to hit the US since the founding of the U.N., does the nuke weapons summit in D.C. justify calling out the Army?

(edited. 2:40 pm)

(photo 1: Jose Luis Magana/A.P. caption: Army soldiers patrol around the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, Sunday, April 11, 2010, in preparation for Nuclear Security Summit. photo 2: Gerald Martineau For The Washington Post)

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