there we go... lots of places have "highlights" or "excerpts" from bush's press conference last night, but it took a minute to find a full transcript
(courtesy usa today). i admit i haven't read the "speech" portion, although i'm not sure there's much worth reading there. but here is the text of some of those questions/answers i posted last night.
QUESTION: (david gregory) Mr. President, I'd like to follow up on a couple of these questions that have been asked.
One of the biggest criticisms of you is that whether it's WMD in Iraq, postwar planning in Iraq, or even the question of whether this administration did enough to ward off 9-11, you never admit a mistake. Is that a fair criticism, and do you believe that there were any errors in judgment that you made related to any of those topics I brought up?
President Bush: Well, I think, as I mentioned, you know, the country wasn't on war footing, and yet we're at war.
And that's just a reality, Dave. I mean, that was the situation that existed prior to 9-11, because the truth of the matter is most in the country never felt that we'd be vulnerable to an attack such as the one that Osama bin Laden unleashed on us.
We knew he had designs on us. We knew he hated us. But there was nobody in our government, at least, and I don't think the prior government that could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.
The people know where I stand, I mean, in terms of Iraq. I was very clear about what I believed. And, of course, I want to know why we haven't found a weapon yet. But I still know Saddam Hussein was a threat. And the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.
I don't think anybody can — maybe people can argue that. I know the Iraqi people don't believe that, that they're better off with Saddam Hussein — would be better off with Saddam Hussein in power.
I also know that there's an historic opportunity here to change the world. And it's very important for the loved ones of our troops to understand that the mission is an important, vital mission for the security of America and for the ability to change the world for the better.
i'm not sure what question the prez was answering here, but it sure wasn't the one that was asked... note that the word "mistake" does not appear in his answer (nor any of its synonyms)
here's the question about why bush-cheney must testify together (& it has a bonus question about iraq!)
QUESTION: Mr. President, why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9-11 commission? And, Mr. President, who will we be handing the Iraqi government over to on June 30th?
President Bush: We'll find that out soon. That's what Mr. Brahimi is doing. He's figuring out the nature of the entity we'll be handing sovereignty over.
And, secondly, because the 9-11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.
President Bush: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9-11 commission is looking forward to asking us. And I'm looking forward to answering them.
now that is one hell of a non-answer. i don't think anyone was fooled. (although "we'll find out soon" regarding who will run iraq on july 1 is very encouraging, don't you think?)
here's the third question i mentioned last night. (i'm sure there's more similar content; this is only what i personally noticed while watching it last night.) i'm not sure whether this is worse or better than the first question, but at least he does use the word "mistake" (once)
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa.
You've looked back before 9-11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9-11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have learned from it?
President Bush: I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it.
John, I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could've done it better this way or that way. You know, I just — I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet.
I would've gone into Afghanistan the way we went into Afghanistan. Even knowing what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would've called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein.
See, I'm of the belief that we'll find out the truth on the weapons. That's why we sent up the independent commission. I look forward to hearing the truth as to exactly where they are. They could still be there. They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.
One of the things that Charlie Duelfer talked about was that he was surprised of the level of intimidation he found amongst people who should know about weapons and their fear of talking about them because they don't want to be killed.
You know, there's this kind of — there's a terror still in the soul of some of the people in Iraq.
They're worried about getting killed, and therefore they're not going to talk. But it'll all settle out, John. We'll find out the truth about the weapons at some point in time.
However, the fact that he had the capacity to make them bothers me today just like it would have bothered me then. He's a dangerous man. He's a man who actually not only had weapons of mass destruction — the reason I can say that with certainty is because he used them.
And I have no doubt in my mind that he would like to have inflicted harm, or paid people to inflict harm, or trained people to inflict harm, on America, because he hated us.
I hope — I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.
on sci-fi channel right now there's a movie called the magical legend of the leprechauns
that totally appropriates my idea of a war between the faerie & leprechaun from conf story
! at the time i wrote it (yes, before
this movie was made) i was pretty sure i invented the whole concept of war between those two races.
they didn't take my idea for a play-writing competition to determine leadership. they did take my trite idea of a forbidden romance between the races (obvious as it was), but they did not, however, use the creative twist of a child by that union, infected with a dread disorder known as biggism
the funny part is that there's a scene in conf story (specifically at 11/16-11/17 in hunter pt 4
) where stAllio! goes to see a movie allegedly based on his life then burns down the theater in outrage after seeing it. the movie was fairy tale: a true story
, which was a real movie at the time...
was the nbc news guy pressing the "mistake" issue. after the conference he suggested the president was "filibustering".
then i flipped over to abc & stephanopolous was talking about the mistake issue, saying almost exactly the same thing i just wrote: people just want the pres to admit that he is in fact human, and therefore fallible. but he won't, or can't, do it.
a few minutes later (still abc) terry moran suggested that another reason bush couldn't admit a mistake was because one of his goals for this speech/conf was to "project strength". ie, it was all about image, & even a token admission of fallibility would go against the supersoldier persona he wants to project. of course, this only served to make him look arrogant.
dammit, 24 is preempted tonight because of the presidential press conference
. now 24 is scheduled to air sunday night, which kind of screws up my sunday schedule (now i'll have to catch deadwood at a different time)
so i was about to start flipping the channels & ended up watching the pres for a few minutes. no wonder this guy doesn't hold regular press conferences: he's no good at it. i haven't been watching long but i've already noticed him do a terrible job avoiding a couple important questions.
obviously there's no transcript yet, but a few minutes ago someone (i think from nbc news) mentioned the common complaint that bush will never admit a mistake, & asked him flat out if he had made any (in regard to certain issues). this would've been a perfect attempt for bush to at least make some fluff comment about some little trifling mistake he made once. it wouldn't have to be of any substance, even a token admission of his humanity would've gone a long way. instead he just blabbed about how he had no way of knowing the terrorists would fly planes into buildings.
a few minutes later someone asked why the pres & vp will be testifying together for the 9/11 commission. he basically said "because they want to ask us questions". the questioner reiterated: no, why must you testify together
rather than separately
, & once again (though more flustered) his answer was "because we want to answer their questions."
ooh, a follow up about the mistake thing!!! the questioner flat out asks if he's made any
mistakes since 9/11. first bush said he wished he would've received the question in writing beforehand. then he paused, then stumbled, then another long pause... "i'm sure historians looking back..." "something will come to me..." then he rambled on about saddam for a minute. the answer is no, bush could not think of a single mistake he's made since 9/11.
this is more like a really bad speech than a conference... it's like a speech with a bunch of awkward tangents. but it's definitely not the president answering questions.
dammit! i just wrote the first 3 grafs of my fantomas/melt banana/end review then accidentally closed my browser! i hate websites that resize your browser & get you all confused.... try #2
started the show with a killer 1/2 hour laptop set of mod-inspired breakcore. big hard beats & breaks, with a strong flavor of '50s/'60s movie soundtracks. at one point drbmd commented that it sounded like end's samples were coming from pretty similar places, like bond films... coincidentally, at that moment end was playing a track named "bond"!
unfortunately, like i said to end after the show while buying a t-shirt, virtually nobody in the audience knew who he was. while he does have a brand new release on ipecac
, his previous releases were on hymen records
, a label that no record store in indianapolis carries (i could go on a rant about that, but won't). so while i was pretty familiar with end before going to this show, i suspect i was in a very small minority.
after end's set, whoever was running the cd player in between acts played the exact same cd that had been playing before end's set.
next up was the legendary melt banana
, a 4-piece noisecore band from japan. out of the three acts, i was actually least interested in seeing melt banana simply because their sound is a little too close to punk/hardcore or grindcore (done really really well, of course) for my liking. that said, there is no denying their sheer power, energy, & talent. i'm not sure what the guitar player was doing, whether he had fx or what, because he was getting some pretty crazy tones. they hopped & leaped around the stage, banging out the noise & really drawing in the crowd. the audience didn't really know what to do when end was performing, but they were all over melt banana.
(interesting aside: during the melt banana set, enduser and a couple others from the sonic terror crew
arrived at the show, & sat right next to us [in fact they sort of stole our seats!] enduser said he had come to see end, but arrived too late [in part screwed over by the new time difference between here & cincinnati])
last up: fantomas, the headliner, & deservedly so. fantomas is four very talented guys (known for their other bands), although mike patton is the clear ringleader: not only did patton do his trademark avant-garde vocals, he also had an electronics rig including a large synth/keyboard, a kaoss pad (looked like a kp2, which he apparently ran the vocals through), & other gear, & on top of all that he sometimes played the role of conductor, giving cues to the rest of the band.
if any "rock" band needs a conductor, it's fantomas. their material is extremely complex: one moment they'll be playing the most intense metal, then the next they'll be ambient, then they'll sound like a film soundtrack or cartoon music, then metal again. for those familiar with their recorded material, i can testify that these guys can really pull that material off in a live setting. i recognized most of what they played (even if i couldn't give song titles, or even necessarily tell what came off what album in some cases).
patton was fun to watch as he directed the band, playing synths & occasionally yanking a mic from its stand so he could spaz out & jump around. but dave lombardo (famous as the drummer for slayer) was something to watch as well. he had the most elaborate drum kit setup i'd ever seen, including a gong and an array of cymbals that were turned on their sides (vertically). during certain numbers he would use a bow to play the edges of those cymbals & produce eerie high-pitched tones. at another point he tapped the cymbals & start them spinning. i've seen some weird stuff but i had never seen cymbals played like that.
fantomas played two encores, which struck me as a little excessive. maybe i just don't get the point of the encore, but it seems to me that if you're going to play for an hour, you should just play for an hour, not fake like you're quitting halfway through (when it's exceedingly obvious that you're not; both times, when the band left the stage there was a monstrous noise playing the whole time, a pretty blatant clue that they would return in a moment... because of that, some people i spoke to didn't even realize that the first encore was in fact an encore). but both encores were very strong. for the second encore, they brought out the guitar player from melt banana to jam with them for a minute, in what looked like an improvisation, where patton would individually cue each player as he "sang" along, before bringing the whole band in for a raucous noise.
altogether a great show. it's rare that anything comes to the vogue that i'm remotely interested in seeing.... last time i was there was june 2001, so at this rate i'll be back at the vogue in february 2007.