One of my photos goes viral… sort of.

October 24, 2012, 11:12 PM

So apparently one of my photos has gone viral.  Remember this photo?

Code Pink demonstration on July 4

I took this photo on July 4, 2006 in front of the White House.  It first appeared on Schumin Web in a Journal entry posted July 5, 2006 about a trip I made to DC on July 4.  It also ran as the Photo Feature later in the same month.

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The Iraq War is over?

December 15, 2011, 9:37 PM

So apparently the big news today is that the Iraq War is over. It’s an announcement that’s come eight years, eight months, and 26 days later than it should have (truth be told, it should never have even started), but it’s better late than never.

Of course, I’m not entirely sure if I want to believe our government when they say that the Iraq War is over. I want to believe them – I really do – but considering that the Iraq War was built entirely on lies from our federal government, I have no reason to take them at their word. How many different rationales were there for our going in? Weapons of mass destruction? Yellowcake uranium? Bring freedom to the Iraqi people? Bringing the fight to them before they bring it to us? Others? As it turned out, there were no weapons of mass destruction. The yellowcake was a lie. The first victory announcement (“Mission Accomplished”) in 2003 was a lie.

We also expended scads of money – much of it off budget – for a war we should have never been in, while people go hungry in this country, while teachers must spend their own money on necessary school supplies, and while we still don’t have universal public health insurance (don’t get me started on the shortcomings of Obamacare). And what did we accomplish in Iraq? Nothing. We are no safer today than we were when we went in. Our own freedom as a nation was never in question. No one fought for your freedom or mine in this war. The war was all about oil, and I don’t believe we even managed to get our hands on that (good!). Your tax dollars at work.

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Categories: Anti-war, News

One conflict, two viewpoints, and disagreeing with both of them…

July 10, 2011, 10:18 AM

About a month ago, anti-war group ANSWER had announced an anti-war demonstration for noon on July 9 in front of the White House. I had expected a typical ANSWER demonstration, with a stage somewhere, sound, a zillion speakers all talking about their own pet issues (whether it’s really on message or not), and a zillion people all handing out their group’s flyers. This was not that. This demonstration was a small demonstration, with ANSWER-sponsored demonstrators marching in a small circle in front of the White House, and then a row of counter-demonstrators nearby.

And here’s how it looked, first the ANSWER side:

The ANSWER side of the demonstration

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Categories: Anti-war

What a strange place to have a demonstration…

March 20, 2011, 11:21 PM

This weekend was pretty fun. Two demonstrations in two towns in two days. Saturday was the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and an anti-war protest was held in front of the White House. Then on Sunday, everyone piled into their cars and in buses and headed about 35 miles south to Triangle to have a “Free Bradley Manning” demonstration outside the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Prince William County, Virginia.

Saturday’s event was pretty typical for an anti-war protest in DC. The only major difference was the lack of younger folks. Seriously, this march had a large showing from the over-40 crowd, and while there were people in their twenties present, it was definitely less so than other marches. And no red-and-black flags flying this time, no SDS, and no black bloc.

Somehow I sensed what the tone of this event was going to be (I must have a sixth sense for these things), and planned accordingly. Usually when I go to demonstrations, I bring a backpack, and carry supplies. I carry water, I carry items to protect from pepper spray, and I also carry extra clothes in case I have to ditch the ones I’ve got on due to getting sprayed. I’m not one of these people who will change clothes at a demonstration in an attempt to make themselves untraceable. I have always considered that a waste of time. But I would take extra clothes with me in case things got hairy. But this time, the backpack and all of the extra supplies stayed at home, and I just brought my regular camera bag with me. Trust me when I say that was much easier to handle than the backpack with all of its contents. Plus on a day with weather like Saturday’s, I wouldn’t need to bring water along.

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Categories: Anti-war

So I decided to talk and drive again…

July 8, 2010, 2:19 PM

So on Wednesday evening, I decided to talk and drive again. I set the cell phone in the GPS holder once again, and started talking. I started at approximately 16th and T Streets NW, heading north on 16th Street:

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We hijacked the march!

March 20, 2010, 10:02 PM

And another demonstration in the bag. Today, I attended ANSWER Coalition’s anti-war march in DC, and it was very much typical of ANSWER’s marches. ANSWER’s demonstrations usually consist of an initial rally (at the White House in this case), hours of speeches, and then a stop-and-go march, usually following one of two patterns. One pattern takes a circuitous route around DC, ending back at the origin site. The other pattern takes marchers from Point A to Point B, usually going from one key location to another key location in a fairly direct manner. Of course, there are variations in each, with some circuitous marches ending in a different location, and some Point-A-to-Point-B marches taking a somewhat circuitous route. The September 24, 2005 march followed this former pattern, and then the March on Crystal City followed the latter pattern. Note, however, in both of these cases, I participated in a radical feeder march before joining the mainstream march, and so in observing ANSWER’s patterns in those demonstrations, I want you to disregard the initial black bloc activity. This march followed the first pattern, where the march left from Lafayette Park, took a circuitous route around DC and then returned to its origin point.

Also realize that many in the anti-war community hold ANSWER in somewhat low regard, yet they still come out to their marches. I think I put it best today when I described ANSWER as “the Wal-Mart of protest movements”. And it makes sense. ANSWER, like Wal-Mart with their stores, has this amazing way of getting people to come to their events. But at the same time, both are held in somewhat low regard, even by those who attend. ANSWER demonstrations usually draw groups that have a heavy socialist lean to them, and there are too many people handing out literature. One may remember that I used to collect the various literature that was handed to me and scan it all in as part of the photo set. I stopped doing that in 2006 because it gave unbalanced coverage to various groups, not all of which I supported and believed deserved coverage in my photo sets (I am considering dropping these literature pages in the ongoing redesign, but haven’t decided yet). Additionally, ANSWER itself is closely aligned with the Workers World Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which I’m not too keen about.

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Categories: Anti-war

Funk the War 9…

March 19, 2010, 10:33 PM

First of all, let me just say that Funk the War 9 was absolutely awesome. It had a lot of energy, though based on my experiences attending three past Funk the War events, things didn’t go completely as planned.

This one started at Farragut Square, and marched in the street through DC past the Project for a New American Century at 17th and M Streets NW, and then to the Armed Forces Recruitment Center at approximately 14th and L Streets NW. There, a paint bomb got thrown at the building, and a demonstrator was arrested for it. MPDC Captain Jeff Herold declared the march an unlawful assembly, and the crowd was removed from the street under threat of arrest, and had to march on the sidewalk from there on. Take a look:

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Categories: Anti-war

Funk the War 8 got the anti-war message out, and had a blast in doing so…

October 8, 2009, 8:16 PM

On Wednesday, October 7, anti-war protesters hit the streets of Washington once again in the form of Funk the War 8, organized by DC SDS. Demonstrators marched, danced, and all in all, had a great time in the process.

This Funk the War was a lot tamer than others I’ve been to – only one clash with police, no arrests, and no black bloc for the most part. Police let the unpermitted march take the streets rather than stick to the sidewalks. That last point in particular is important – when taking to the streets, it makes the demonstration far more effective, rather than pushing demonstrators to the sides. This also frees the sidewalks for regular pedestrian traffic. The crowd was also a bit smaller than in March, but while our numbers were smaller, it definitely gave the demonstration a more intimate feeling.

The message this time was specifically the war in Afghanistan. Much of the energy of the anti-war movement has been focused on Iraq, and Afghanistan has kind of taken a back seat. The march was timed to coincide with the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan, and we were out there reminding all that this war must end, too.

The route was fairly predictable, going around downtown Washington, visiting the Washington offices of various companies allegedly engaged in war profiteering.

And so the people marched…

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Categories: Anti-war

And this is why we don’t normally write Journal entries in the early morning…

March 18, 2009, 11:09 PM

So I was reading over the previous Journal entry, and I remembered why I don’t normally write Journal entries in the early morning. Yeah, I was a bit scattered, as my writing was kind of all over the place, there. I don’t even remember writing about the conservatives being back on their meds, for one thing, but there it is, and then I kind of went off on a shoe tangent at the end.

Lesson to take from this: Writing Journal entries while still half-asleep is bad.

But nonetheless, I’m excited for tomorrow. Funk the War ought to be fun, as long as I’m smart about my cameras. It’s supposed to rain on and off, and after losing Big Mavica in a rainstorm, the policy is that as soon as it begins raining, Duckie becomes the active camera immediately, even if it means I am denied use of the Canon at a protest for the second time in a row. So we’ll see what happens on this final day of winter, as we, like, rock out in the streets and denounce the war.

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Categories: Anti-war, Schumin Web meta

Two demonstrations in three days?

March 18, 2009, 4:50 AM

Yeah, I’m going to two demonstrations in about three days’ time, which is something unusual for me. Usually things aren’t spaced so closely, but this is what happens sometimes.

Thursday is the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, and that day will be full of activism in DC for it. I’m planning to attend another Funk the War demonstration with DC SDS, and hopefully, unlike last year, all my equipment will come out intact this time. The Canon didn’t get to come out for the Anon raid last weekend, so Funk the War will be its first protest, provided the weather cooperates. According to AccuWeather, it will be in the mid-50s, and raining on and off throughout the day. Thus it might be Duckie’s time to shine again, but hopefully I’ll get to see how the Canon does in the bouncy conditions of a protest. Duckie, meanwhile, is a known quantity at protests, and does quite well in the daytime, as it was pressed into service, by necessity, as the primary camera for the NSM Counter-Protest last April.

Then on Saturday, March 21, there will be another march on the Pentagon, sponsored by ANSWER Coalition. This hopefully will not be a repeat of the March on the Pentagon from two years ago, but we shall see, I suppose. Recall that I described the previous Pentagon march as a poor idea, since it was in not-very-visible locations, and the final rally was in the Pentagon’s somewhat-isolated north parking lot – in front of an office building that would be mostly empty on the weekend. Of course, what a difference two years makes otherwise, though – last time, I had received numerous threatening messages from right-wing wackos just ahead of the event, and this time, I seem to have slipped in under the conservative radar. And when you consider that the de facto leader of the Republican party is Rush Limbaugh, of all people, they have more pressing matters to worry about than threatening activists. And with the right-wing wackos safely back on their medicine, AccuWeather indicates that it will be sunny and again in the mid-50s on Saturday. Excellent!

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Categories: Anti-war, Shoes

Well, the Big Mavica era is over.

March 21, 2008, 12:22 AM

The era of Big Mavica has officially come to a close, as the screen is busted, wrecked due to water at the March 19 anti-war protest in DC. Due to the age of the equipment, I determined that a repair is not worthwhile. And the new camera is on order. The new camera is a Vivitar ViviCam 6200W, a 6.0 megapixel waterproof camera.

Well, that’s actually only half the story. This Vivitar will be my all-weather “hazard conditions” camera. This would be the one I’d take on the beach, to protests where showers are expected, and any other situations where I would expect the camera to take some abuse. In theory, this camera should be able to withstand a pepper spray to the face and keep on firing. Just don’t forget to wipe the lens. Isis, a photographer friend of mine, actually recommended this camera to me for bad-weather imagery. And I got a really good deal for it on Amazon.

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Categories: Anti-war, Cameras

After almost five and a half years, Big Mavica may very well be done for…

March 19, 2008, 5:38 PM

First of all, the “Funk the War” protest in downtown Washington, for which I took the day off at work, went very well. I got a lot of great photos, but it was really rainy. It rained. Hard.

Which brings me to point number two. Big Mavica took on water, as it’s done in the past, but this time, I think it might be a goner. It quit shooting photos, and the screen is all white. Something tells me that something might have shorted out in the camera. Hopefully once Big Mavica gets time to dry, it will be up and kicking again. And if not, well, it might be time to finally upgrade. After all, five years is a long time for electronic equipment. So if it’s to the point where I’m faced with sending it out for repair or just replacing it, I’m going to replace it, and retire Big Mavica.

And if this is the end for Big Mavica, at least it went out in a blaze of glory. In Part 3 of the Virginia Beach 2005 photo set, I said, “If I’m going to lose Big Mavica, it might as well be in the process of shooting a great photo set.” And when it comes to shooting a huge protest, I can’t think of a better time or place to lose it.

And the photo set won’t be toast, either. I can still recover everything that I had shot prior to the camera’s going out on me, and my friend Isis is going to help me fill out the remainder of the set.

So we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it won’t be the end of Big Mavica, but we’ll see…

Categories: Anti-war, Cameras

Meanwhile, next Wednesday, the 19th, will be SO fun…

March 11, 2008, 6:41 PM

Wednesday, March 19, will be SO fun. I’m taking the day off at work, and I’m going to be participating in “Funk the War 3”, which is kind of like a dance party to various organizations involved in the Iraq War, in order to register our opposition to the war. It’s sponsored by DC Students for a Democratic Society, and so this will mark my first anti-war action of 2008. Good to get an election year off on the right foot when it comes to protests.

And if you’re wondering what Funk the War 3 will be like, here’s a movie about Funk the War 2, courtesy of DC SDS.

Funk the War 2: electric boogaloo Reportback from Daniel Meltzer on Vimeo.

So we’ll see what happens. Like I said, it should be fun. And now, to take the car over to Vienna for my trip to Stuarts Draft…

Categories: Anti-war

Would you believe it’s been two years already?

September 25, 2007, 2:42 PM

Would you believe it? Two years! As of yesterday, it’s been two years since this…

Black bloc participants take a moment to stretch before the march.

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Categories: Anti-war, Black bloc

Which leaves you more winded?

September 17, 2007, 2:23 PM

Which leaves you more winded? An anti-war protest, or the Dupont Circle escalator? The escalator. This morning, coming out of the Metro on my way to work, the “up” escalator was not running at Dupont Circle. So I had to climb up rather than ride it up. And for those not familiar, Dupont Circle is a DEEP station. So that’s a lot of steps. And stopping is not an option, either, as you have a whole bunch of my fellow morning commuters right behind me, already cranky for having to climb the equivalent of several stories’ worth of stairs to get to work, before the day’s first cup of coffee. So that was no fun.

And out of three escalators, the only working escalator was going down. But hey, I got my cardio workout for the day.

Meanwhile, since I mention it, I did go to the September 15 protest, and what a great time I had. I went with Maddy, Olga, and Jeff, and went with the Radical Cheerleading DC group. What an awesome time. I also ran into Isis, whom I’d first met in June. And I also spent some time with SDS. It was awesome!

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Categories: Anti-war, Friends, WMATA