EdDriscoll.com

Saturday, July 17, 2004


The weblog part of this site is now at http://eddriscoll.com/weblog.php. Kindly change your bookmarks. You will be redirected there automatically in five seconds. If you are not, please click here.


Friday, July 16, 2004


BIG NEWS! Major site redesign on the way. We'll be taking a brief timeout while we get things transferred over. See you soon!


Heh.


THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, according to James Glassman:

Extra! Extra! The big news of the past decade in America has been largely overlooked, and you'll find it shocking. Young people have become aggressively normal. Violence, drug use and teen sex have declined. Kids are becoming more conservative politically and socially. They want to get married and have large families. And, get this, they adore their parents. The Mood of American Youth Survey found that more than 80 percent of teenagers report no family problems -- up from about 40 percent a quarter-century ago. In another poll, two-thirds of daughters said they would "give Mom an 'A.' "In the history of polling, we've never seen tweens and teens get along with their parents this well," says William Strauss, referring to kids born since 1982. Strauss is author, with Neil Howe, of "Millenials Rising: The Next Great Generation." In an article in the latest issue of City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute, Kay S. Hymowitz writes: "Wave away the smoke of the Jackson family circus, Paris Hilton and the antics of San Francisco, and you can see how Americans have been self-correcting from a decades-long experiment with 'alternative values.' Slowly, almost imperceptibly during the 1990s, the culture began a lumbering, Titanic turn away from the iceberg." Adults are changing, but kids seem to have changed most -- and they may comprise the new "greatest generation," as Tom Brokaw called the World War II cohort. "What is emerging," writes Hymowitz, "is a vital, optimistic, family-centered, entrepreneurial, and, yes, morally thoughtful, citizenry."
Glassman goes on to write that the return to normalcy by America's youth is trouble for the Democratic party.


THE FRIEND OF MY ENEMY IS MY ENEMY: David Horowitz writes:

Those who want the enemy to win should indeed have their patriotism questioned. How can you love your country if you want its enemies to win? This is a question that should be put to all those "liberals" who want to be seen as patriotic but who have embraced America's enemies, sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly by embracing anti-American supporters of the terrorists like Michael Moore, and through him the Zarqawi "resisters" in Iraq.
"Unfortunately we're not getting this message across as a nation", Horowitz writes--illustrating his case with painful results.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


AOL IM ROBOT IS A BUSH BASHER: This is both silly and sad, simultaneously:

Computer-savvy and interested in presidential politics, 13-year-old Erin was upset to learn that America Online's Instant Message (AIM) robot, "Smarter Child," favored Democrat John Kerry in this year's election. Erin, whose last name is being omitted in this article, is a fan of President Bush. Internet instant messaging is one of the most popular methods for teens and even adults to stay in touch with friends and family. One of the better-known messenger programs, AIM, offers the feature called Smarter Child, a robot programmed to provide automated responses to those with whom it chats. Built and programmed by Conversagent, Inc., a privately held firm that develops technology for creating and operating interactive agents, Smarter Child is able to dispense facts and figures, movie times, or just plain conversation with AIM users. But when Erin told the robot that "George Bush is awesome," she was shocked by the response. "No way. George W. Bush is way uncool," the reply stated. She asked, "Do you like George W. Bush?" and the program replied, "I'm a Kerry supporter myself." Testing the waters, she typed in "John Kerry rocks." The robot's response: "Absolutely. John Kerry rocks."
* * *
Robot Likes a Robot But not everyone was disappointed by the robot's partisanship. When asked about Smarter Child's support of Kerry, Jano Cabrera, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said: "Clearly this is a smart robot. This shows that we've made great advances in artificial intelligence. The "smarter" in Smarter Child speaks for itself." Stephen Klein, CEO of Conversagent, said his firm received many complaints from users about Smarter Child's political bias. Although the robot was originally programmed to oppose Bush, Klein said, it was being changed to adhere to the views of the users with whom it interacted. He conceded that Smarter Child had become "too anti-Bush." They Admit Their 'Ridiculous' Bias "It got ridiculous. We realized criticizing political figures was out of bounds," Klein said. Now, instead of disagreeing with users who state "I like George Bush" or agreeing with those who say "I like John Kerry," the robot mostly stays on the political sidelines. "Robots don't get involved in politics," the Smarter Child program replies, before asking users to make their choice for president. It is still possible to get the robot to reveal its true feelings, however. When told that "John Kerry rocks," Smarter Child still responds "Right on!" with a wink. When told that "John Kerry is awesome," it responds: "Absolutely. John Kerry rocks." And when users tell Smarter Child that "George Bush is awesome," it replies, "I'll remember that. It's interesting especially since other people I've talked to say they don't like George W. Bush."
Nothing like getting them while they're young, huh AOL?


KERRY/DOLE '04! Jonah Goldberg writes:

Bob Dole got the nomination because it was "his turn." Kerry got the nomination because at the last minute Howard Dean imploded, and Democrats settled on Kerry because they thought he was the most electable. Neither were smart ways to pick a candidate. The jubilation over Edwards is, I believe, a sign that the Democrats are in denial about how bad a candidate Kerry is. Time will tell if I'm right.
RTWT.


NOTES ON BLOGGING: Terry Teachout has some interesting (and very McLuhan-esque sounding) notes on blogging. For the most part, I think he's right on the money, but there are a few items I disagree with. On the other hand, I'm sure Teachout wrote his post to start a conversation, not lay down Rules In Stone. In his first item, Teachout writes:

1. It’s almost impossible to explain what a blog is to someone who’s never seen one. That's the mark of a true innovation.
I don't think it's too difficult to explain what a blog is without seeing it. But, as I've written before, for me, it took seeing InstaPundit back when he was on Blogger, and had that Blogger logo on his site, to put the pieces together, and "get" that blogging could be something entirely unrelated to a personal "day in the life" diary. And I'm not entirely sure I agree with this one:
12. Art blogging will never be as popular as war blogging. More people care about politics than the arts.
I think it depends on what your definition of the arts is. If it's expanded to include music and film, sites like Blogcritics get a ton of traffic for their reviews. Ultimately, blogging is really a content neutral-platform, especially when sites like InstaPundit has lots of posts of 50 words or less, and sites such as Steve Den Beste's and Blogcritics have posts of 500 words or more (sometimes a lot more in the case of Den Beste). Then there's this item:
8. For now, blogs presuppose the existence of the print media. That will probably always be the case—but over time, the print media will become increasingly less important to the blogosphere.
A big part of Insta-style blogs (like this one) is that they link to, and analyze articles written by others. Often these articles are original pieces of reporting. The big advantage that AP, Reuters, UPI and others have over bloggers is that they've built up a huge amount of reporters and stringers to cover stories. Of course, they could very well lose their effective monopoly on reporting over time: I once did a piece where I spoke to the US rep of IFRA, a European news agency, and he had some very interesting ideas for organizing competitors to the old-line wire services. (While it's publication date is November of 2001, it was originally written a couple of years prior--before 9/11 and the blog explosion.) I've long thought that the real power in blogging is going to be in group blogs--and it's possible that they could make a real impact in the AP/Reuters/UPI style of reporting--but as Teachout implies, it's going to be a while before that starts to happen. But it probably will--because as Roger Ailes once said, "you don't need a license to report. You need a license to do hair". (Via Betsy Newmark.)


CONGRATULATIONS TO STEVE GREEN on his new site design!


IT'S THE JIHAD, STUPID: Stanley Crouch tells the media to take the election seriously. (Via Betsy Newmark.)


GLOOMSBURY: Tim Blair notes that Garry Trudeau has a very different take on President Bush than the usual inarticulate smirking chimp boilerplate used by most of the left.


BITING THE HAND THAT INVITES YOU: In April of 2002, President Bush invited Ozzy Ozbourne to the White House (and had this humorous exchange with the aging and heavily medicated rocker). This is how Ozzy has repaid the honor.


AP NOTES that the economy is set for its best growth in 20 years.


HERE'S AN ENDORSEMENT THAT JOHN KERRY probably didn't want. Although, considering his choice of "official poet", and his Winter Soldier salad days, isn't all that surprising.


HUGH HEWITT HAS SOME THOUGHTS ON "The Don't Even Think About It Doctrine", Moore's Disease, and the Torricelli Option.


APB FOR JOE WILSON: Tim Graham notes that "When you pound Bush, you’re hot. When you’re exposed as a liar, you’re not". Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds explores the Kerry connection to Wilson's Website--the now ironically labeled RestoreHonesty.com.


THE HILLARY CONVENTION CON: Jonah Goldberg and Kathryn Jean Lopez speculate that of course Hillary's going to speak at the Democratic National Convention later this month, and her absence from the rostrum--for the moment--is merely a way to build some pre-convention buzz. UPDATE: AP reports, "Kerry Asks Sen. Clinton to Speak at DNC".   Jim Geraghty of NRO's "Kerry Spot" writes:

What's really surprising about this is that this suggests this wasn't part of an orchestrated effort to have Hillary make a "surprise" appearance, that it really was a glaring oversight by Kerry, his campaign, and convention organizers. How do you schedule a convention lineup and leave out the party's most popular woman?


TERROR IN THE SKIES AGAIN? Annie Jacobsen, an investment writer, was onboard Northwest Airlines flight #327 from Detroit to Los Angeles on June 29th when she and her husband noticed what was extremely likely to be an averted terrorist attack.   UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has some thoughts and additional links.


MUCH ADO ABOUT A LOT: Suzanne Fields bemoans how postmodernism has greatly reduced American students' love of literature. UPDATE: Roger Kimball of The New Criterion also has some thoughts.


BAKE SALES FOR BODY ARMOR: National Review Online debunks the urban leftwing myth.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004


OVER THE YEARS, I'VE WRITTEN music, lyrics, newsletters, a couple of (mercifully long out of print) books on sales and marketing, this Weblog, and enough magazine articles to fell a forest's worth of trees. But other than some odds and ends in college, I've never really written fiction--especially material designed to be filmed. Which may be why I found this interview with Ron Moore so interesting. Moore is a veteran writer of the various Star Trek series and films, beginning with The Next Generation, and he explains why that series was so difficult to write for.


ADOPT-A-LEFTWING-JOURNALIST: Hugh Hewitt has a modest proposal to bring them up-to-speed with today's events and conservative opinions.


IN THESE TROUBLED TIMES: Randy Barnett debunks a mindless cliche by looking back over the past hundred years and asking when times weren't troubled. (Via Betsy Newmark.)


MAN VERSUS FISH: I've eaten way more sushi than any single man should have in the last eight years. James Lileks says that nature is turning the tables.


SCORE ONE FOR REUTERS: We frequently bash the "news" agency that never met a terrorist it didn't like, but check out the opening to this article:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic candidate John Kerry, whose campaign demanded to know on Wednesday whether President Bush read a key Iraq intelligence assessment, did not read the document himself before voting to give Bush the authority to go to war, aides acknowledged.
Nice to see just a smidgen of the bloom come off of the "collective glow" of the media's lovefest with Kerry.


MOORE LIED, QUOTES DIED: Michael Moore airbrushes articles that appear on his Web site to make it appear as if his critics don’t exist.


SCOTT OTT HAS A SCOOP: A draft of the speech that President Bush had planned to make to the NAACP. Karl Rove, call Ott--he'd make a helluva speechwriter.


POWER LINE HAS A PROPOSED SLOGAN for the Bush campaign: "It's the Jihad, stupid!" UPDATE: Roger L. Simon also has some thoughts.


DONALD LUSKIN ASKS A SIMPLE QUESTION: Mrs. Kerry is filthy rich. Why is her taxable income so small? UPDATE: Meanwhile Andrew Stuttaford is sure that any moment from now, Arianna Huffington will be commenting on this. Any...moment...now.


HOW DO YOU BLOW THIS ONE? Hugh Hewitt notes that Kerry muffs naming his favorite Red Sox player.


SLIM-FAST SHEDS WHOOPI GOLDBERG as their spokeswoman, after her outrageous comments aimed at President Bush at last week's star-studded fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Meanwhile, Linda Chavez is understandably angered by comedian John Leguizamo calling Hispanic conservatives cockroaches. But hey, as John Kerry said, Whoopi and Leguizamo and the other performers at his fund-raiser are the "heart and soul of our country".


HULK WRITE ARTICLE FOR ONION! Hulk wonder where his sequel is. Hulk smash puny Hollywood studio execs! (Via "The Corner".)


COMPARE AND CONTRAST how Time magazine covers the naming of Republican and Democrat vice-presidential candidates.


JOANNE JACOBS SAYS THAT BILL COSBY is tired "of fighting battles his generation thought would be won by now". Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and Jonah Goldberg also have some thoughts on Cos and the reaction his recent speeches have been receiving.


A SOUTHERN MAN DON'T NEED HIM AROUND, ANYHOW: As Rich Lowry notes, John Edwards seems like a pretty odd fellow for someone recruited because he supposedly would appeal to Southerners and rural voters.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004


DRINK MORE BICARDI! The Guardian (or "The Grauniad" as its known to the English for its many typos) writes its being protested because the rum manufacturer "shares the responsibility for the suffering imposed on Cuba over the last 40 years by those who refuse to accept the socialist path chosen by the Cuban people." Any company that's anti-Castro and makes a mean Cuba Libre is OK in my book.


LIFE IMITATES THE SOPRANOS: Will Collier has the details. UPDATE: Not surprisingly, the press buries the Kerry connection.


BIN LADEN AIDE SURRENDERS: "A close associate of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was flown from Iran to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after surrendering to security officials at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, a Saudi Interior Ministry official said", CNN reports, adding, "In late 2001, he was identified on a videotape conversing with bin Laden about the September 11 terrorist attacks". Somebody tell Reuters!


CONTENDER, CHAMP, BUM: Nicholas Stix looks at the various stages of Marlon Brando's career.


Monday, July 12, 2004


BY THE WAY, sorry for the lack of posting this afternoon. Nina and I took a trip down to the Gilroy Outlet Mall, where we bought all sorts of odds ends from Mr. Lauren, the Brothers Brooks, and a few other stores. And incidentally--is there a law that says that all music in these stores must either be bad '70s retro pop or repetitive interstellar techno noise? Do the people who run these stores think America's "Horse With No Name" or Loggins and Messina's "Your Momma Don't Dance" actually moves the merchandise?? Oh, and this probably a good time to post another link to my recent piece in The New Partisan, on the strange duality of American aesthetics.


NEWS THAT EXPLAINS OUR WORLD: Dennis Prager observes a jaw-dropping quote from the New York Times:

In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, William F. Buckley Jr., on the occasion of his taking leave from National Review, the magazine he founded 50 years ago, was asked a series of questions. Needless to say, given the politics of The New York Times and its interviewer, the questions were nearly all challenging. But nothing quite prepared a reader for this one: "You seem indifferent to suffering. Have you ever suffered yourself?" In one sentence, a New York Times interviewer summed up the liberal view of conservatives -- "indifferent to suffering." As I have long believed, in general, conservatives think liberals are fools and liberals think conservatives are evil.
Ronald Reagan frequently called himself a National Review conservative. He ended the Cold War and freed hundreds of millions from the literal and figurative Gulag that was the Soviet Union. With National Review, Bill Buckley virtually created the modern conservative movement. If it were up to the Times, the Soviet Union, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein would all still be in power. Tell me again who seems indifferent to suffering.


CULTURAL SEMANTICS: Jeff Goldstein takes offense at the phrase "disco died". And he's got the quotes from disco to prove it.


EXPLOSION CUTS POWER AT O'HARE AIRPORT: Chicago police say a transformer between terminals two and three at O'Hare Airport exploded at shortly after 12:00 PM on a hot Chicago Monday. Doesn't sound like it's terrorist-related--just the opposite, as CBS reports, "ComEd spokewoman Meg Amato says that it appears an O'Hare contractor may have dug into electrical equipment underground that belongs to O'Hare. ComEd is standing by to assist in powering up the terminals." But still, seeing the words "explosion" and "O'Hare" in the same headline is more than a little troubling sounding.


THE KINGS OF QUOTATION MARKS: National Review looks at Reuters--the "news agency" that will not call a terrorist a terrorist.


"INTELLIGENCE STAFF 'PRESSURED TO LIE OVER IRAQ ATTACK'": In 1998!


AFTER THE WAR, our eyes were opened. We discovered our intelligence was pretty shaky. We found out that the mustachioed totalitarian madman didn't have the capacity to produce WMDs that we believed him to have had. We found out that his army was weakened by fierce battles against his sworn enemy to the north long before we arrived to the fight. We found reconstructing his decimated country to be much more difficult than we first imagined. And yet, despite all that, only a lunatic believed that Hitler should have been left in power. Why is today any different?


SPEAKING OF MEDIA BIAS, the assistant managing editor of Newsweek admits the bloody obvious:

The media “wants Kerry to win” and so “they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic” and “there’s going to be this glow about” them, Evan Thomas, the Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, admitted on Inside Washington over the weekend. He should know. His magazine this week sports a smiling Kerry and Edwards on its cover with the yearning headline, “The Sunshine Boys?” Inside, an article carrying Thomas’ byline contrasted how “Dick Cheney projects the bleakness of a Wyoming winter, while John Edwards always appears to be strolling in the Carolina sunshine.” The cover story touted how Kerry and Edwards “became a buddy-buddy act, hugging and whispering like Starsky and Hutch after consuming the evidence.” Newsweek’s competitor, Time, also gushed about the Democratic ticket, dubbing them, in the headline over their story, “The Gleam Team.” Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz also realized the media’s championing of the Democratic ticket and made it a focus of his Sunday Reliable Sources show on CNN. The on screen topic cues: “Edwards Lovefest?” and “Media’s Dream Team.” Kurtz’s Washington Post on Sunday well illustrated the media’s infatuation with Kerry and Edwards. “Kerry Vows to Restore 'Truth' to Presidency,” announced a July 11 front page headline. Inside, on page A-8, a headline declared: “Kerry, Edwards Revel in Brotherhood of Campaign.” The subhead: “Energy, Enthusiasm Infectious as Democrats Take Message to Battleground States.”
Gee, no wonder polls keep producing results like this. UPDATE: And Kerry himself sites two New York Times reporters as being favorable to him. James Taranto writes:
A few months back, when Kerry claimed to have been endorsed by various "foreign leaders," he insisted he was not at liberty to say who they were. But when he asserts he has the backing of New York Times reporters, not only does he name names, but the Times views the claim as neither newsworthy enough to report prominently nor embarrassing enough to rebut. It's as if Times reporters taking sides in a political race were the most ordinary thing in the world.


ORSON SCOTT CARD ON MEDIA BIAS:

What makes the liberal bias in the mainstream media so pernicious is that they deny that they're biased and insist that their twisted version of events is "reality," and anyone who disagrees with them is either mentally or morally suspect. In other words, they're fanatics. And, like all good fanatics, they're utterly convinced that they're in sole possession of virtue and truth.
RTWT.

Sunday, July 11, 2004


SEE FAHRENHEIT 9/11 on the State Department's dime.


LAUGHING AT THE SEVENTIES: John Podhoretz gives a surprisingly positive review to Will Ferrell's new movie, Anchorman, and its knowing japes at the earnest '70s.


I VOTED FOR THE BAN ON IMMIGRANTS WITH AIDS before I voted against it.


UNCORK BARREL. INSERT FISH. BEGIN SHOOTING: Mark Steyn profiles John Edwards.


POLL: KERRY LOSES GROUND AFTER RELEASE OF FAHRENHEIT 9/11! Of course, it's well within the margin of error, but don't you think if the results were reversed, you'd see headlines with a similar tone? Especially after much of the press, already high with Charles Krauthammer dubbed "Bush Derangement Syndrome", caught Michael Moore fever?


Saturday, July 10, 2004


TWO TAKES ON THE OUTDOORS: On NRO's "The Corner", it's the NRA versus the Sierra Club.


JOE WILSON LIED, REPUTATIONS DIED, writes Glenn Reynolds. Kevin Patrick has more.


NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME: William Kristol writes that John Kerry is another 9/10 Democrat:

LAST THURSDAY, CNN's Larry King asked John Kerry whether he would want former President Bill Clinton to campaign on his behalf. Kerry said yes. "What American would not trade the economy we had in the 1990s, the fact that we were not at war and young Americans were not deployed?" Kerry's answer is revealing. We were, in fact, at war. The Clinton administration, with the exception of a few cruise missiles, had simply chosen not to fight back. Osama bin Laden, a sworn enemy of the United States, had launched attacks on our embassies and on a warship of the U.S. Navy. Saddam Hussein had defied U.N. weapons inspections, repeatedly threatened America, and attempted to assassinate former President Bush. Furthermore, where does Kerry object to young Americans' being deployed? Afghanistan? But Kerry has criticized the Bush administration for an insufficient commitment of troops there. Iraq? But Kerry voted for the war and has said he would not cut and run.
Further proof that it's 9/10 for Kerry: he skipped an intelligence briefing to watch Whoopi Goldberg berate his vice presidential candidate.


SEATTLE HATES AMERICA, writes Michelle Malkin.


THE FLUIDITY OF HISTORY: I'm far from a postmodernist, but it's amazing how fluid history can be. Steven Den Beste tells us that the Waterloo we know isn't the Waterloo that actually happened.


OH THAT LIBERAL MEDIA: Indeed.


Friday, July 09, 2004


A MAN IN FULL: I have an article I'm especially proud of in the latest issue of Nuts & Volts. It's on Roy Norman, a man, now in his early 80s, who served in the Navy during some of the first H-Bomb tests in the late 1940s, then onboard the USS Enterprise (not the one commanded by William Shatner or Patrick Stewart), and then retired from the service to be an electronics consultant. It's illustrated with several photos from Norman's career that he sent me to scan (and restore) for publication. The text isn't online, but it's an article that (in my humble opinion) is well worth reading.


THE REVOLUTION WILL BE DIGITIZED: I have an article in the current issue of Smart TV & Sound on Internet file downloading. Pick up a copy or ten at your local Borders or Barnes & Noble!


INTEL BRINGS WIRELESS TO EVERY ROOM: My latest "Ideas For Every Room" Electronic House newsletter is online.


FLY THE FRIENDLY SKIES OF MILLION AIR: The John-Johns do!


A GOOD SIGN, IF FAR TOO LATE: Washington Post Baghdad bureau chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran emails bloggers about his article correcting his omission of Paul Bremer's farewell speech. As one of the bloggers contacted by Chandrasekaran writes, "Now let's see if the media will apply this lesson going forward, and start reading blogs before they make [more]embarrassing high-profile mistakes like this." I don't know if Chandrasekaran has publicly responded to U.S. Marine Eric Johnson's takedown of him in The New York Post, but I've got to think it played a role in his being willing to listen to bloggers.


WOW--WHAT DO THEY PUT IN THOSE DRIVE-THROUGH DAIQUIRIS*? I've read that Democratic Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was something of a moderate Democrat. No more--she's caught Michael Moore fever.


'BOUT TIME: The Catholic Church equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.


LET'S GET IT ON: As Rich Lowry writes, turn your sound on before watching this.


IS THE EFFECTIVENESS OF AMERICA'S AIR MARSHALS BEING COMPROMISED by their strict dress code?


RETHINKING RED-LIGHT CAMERAS: Former Congressman Bob Barr is none-too-thrilled with intersection and speed trap cameras--and he's right.


RAIL-BASED TERRORISM: The Washington Times has an article titled, "Boston, New York rail lines vulnerable" to terrorism, something that we noted back in May. Back then, I wrote "I really fear that we're going to wake up to another Madrid, only it will be in Manhattan's Penn Station, not Spain". And I hope (and pray) that my fears continue to be unfounded. UPDATE: Speaking of Madrid, Hugh Hewitt had this item on his Blog on Thursday:

Today, on the floor of the United States Senate, Barbara Boxer referred to the Madrid bombings as a "rail accident." Honest. A rail accident. Boxer is a Senate accident. What an embarassment. I posed the question to my audience: How much money could Boxer lose in a Jeopardy game, assuming that, in her typical fashion, she obnoxiously buzzed in first every time and, also in typical fashion, she got everything wrong. The best calculation seems to be $58,000.
A rail accident??

Thursday, July 08, 2004


FAHRENHEIT 640 (ON THE AM DIAL): Asa Hutchinson, the Homeland Security undersecretary, goes on an LA talk show and "gets burned big time", Michelle Malkin writes, calling Hutchinson an "invertebrate" for his politically correct response when confronted with serious questions about the porous nature of California's border.


WILL FRIST PLAY HARDBALL WITH KERRY AND EDWARDS? Betsy Newmark says that having two senators running for national office could end up hurting the Democrats--if Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is really willing to play hardball.


POWER LINE NOTES THAT the Associated Press sound like they're channeling Michael Moore.


BUSH AND THE NAACP: Pejman Yousefzadeh has some thoughts and some links, on President Bush's decision not to speak at the NAACP this year.


THE JULY SURPRISE: I don't know if this New Republic piece amounts to much, but it's fun to see the left fear election year surprises from the right for a change. Of course, as James Lileks wrote:

I ask my Democrat friends what they’d rather see happen – Bush reelected and bin Laden caught, or Bush defeated and bin Laden still in the wind. They’re all honest: they’d rather see Bush defeated.
But hey, don't question their patriotism!


STEFAN BECK OF THE NEW CRITERION writes, "There's a welcome novelty: one Muslim country scrutinizing the terrorist operations of another. Who says Operation Iraqi Freedom didn't change anything?"


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATORS WANT TO PUT A DUCK FARM OUT OF BUSINESS: Yes, you read that right, as the foie gras bill (yes, you read that right too) progresses. If this passes, how long before steak will be a thing of the past in California? If the majority of Americans oppose abortion but it's still legal, how can a tiny minority of Californians cause a man to lose his business and diners to lose a dish they've enjoyed for hundreds of years?


THE DAILY ADVENTURES OF MIXERMAN: You read the online diary, now buy the book!


OFFERS HE COULDN'T REFUSE: Mark Steyn does a brilliant job deconstructing Marlon Brando.


NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG with that. UPDATE: James Taranto has some thoughts on the hair care pair.


WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN: Pete Townshend has some less than kind words for Michael Moore.


IS IRON MIKE DITKA BEING DRAFTED FOR THE SENATE?? Whatever Da Coach's decision, this is a riot.


THE PROFESSOR NOTES THE LA TIMES is issuing a correction for claiming that Paul Bremer never gave a farewell speech when he left Iraq. Glenn also has this quote from the LA Times:

If the American news media are lucky, 2004 will be remembered as the year of living dangerously. If not, then this election cycle may be recalled as the point at which journalism's slide back into partisanship became a kind of free fall.
I don't think the media has slid back into partisanship--they've just let the mask slip more often, and made their biases more obvious in straight reporting--as well as being forgetful when it suits their purposes. But that's been going on in increasing numbers for 15 to 20 years now. Personally, I don't think a partisan media is all that bad--the country did pretty well for its first 150 years or so with one, and all indications are that we're moving back to it. The key though, is explaining that it is biased, so that readers and viewers know what they're getting and providing them with choices. And since political correctness hasn't boosted readership, maybe it's time to go back to the future!


WILL COLLIER SPOTS A JOHN KERRY WHOPPER that the press is extremely unlikely to pick up on.


RHEINGOLD VERSUS THE ULTIMATE RINO*: The brewery is taking on New York's Nurse Bloomberg in a series of provocative advertisements.


SPEAKING OF ACADEMIA, Cathy Young writes that political correctness never died--it just went under the radar after 9/11. As Young writes, "in the groves of academe, not all offensive speech is created equal".


JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS: According to Amazon, Tom Wolfe's new book, I Am Charlotte Simmons, a novel on academia, is scheduled to be published on November 15th:

Dupont University--the Olympian halls of learning housing the cream of America's youth, the roseate Gothic spires and manicured lawns suffused with tradition . . . Or so it appears to beautiful, brilliant Charlotte Simmons, a freshman from Sparta, North Carolina (pop. 900), who has come here on full scholarship in full flight from her tobacco-chewing, beer-swilling high school classmates. But Charlotte soon learns, to her mounting dismay, that Dupont is closer in spirit to Sodom than to Athens, and that sex, crank, and kegs trump academic achievement every time. As Charlotte encounters Dupont's privileged elite--her roommate, Beverly, a fleshy, Groton-educated Brahmin in lusty pursuit of lacrosse players; Jayjay Johanssen, the only white starting player on Dupont's godlike basketball team, whose position is threatened by a hotshot black freshman from the projects; the Young Turk of Saint Ray fraternity, Hoyt Thorpe, whose heady sense of entitlement and social domination is clinched by his accidental brawl with a bodyguard for the governor of California; and Adam Geller, one of the Millennium Mutants who run the university's "independent" newspaper and who consider themselves the last bastion of intellectual endeavor on the sex-crazed, jock-obsessed campus--she gains a new, revelatory sense of her own power, that of her difference and of her very innocence, but little does she realize that she will act as a catalyst in all of their lives.
Wolfe's been working on this book for years--it should be a knockout.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


"WELL, I THINK THE--I THINK THE STARTING PLACE IS TO DO THE THING": John Edwards, on The Charlie Rose Show on September 11, 2001.


JONAH GOLDBERG ON KERRY'S FATEFUL CHOICE: In his syndicated column, Jonah Goldberg writes:

The two Johns believe that America's problems lie in the White House, not overseas. They believe that there's a rich supply of "allies" who would take bullets intended for Americans, if only George Bush had better manners. They believe, despite the fact that George Bush has increased spending on education by 60 percent, and despite the fact that the environment is cleaner now than any time in more than fifty years, that what America really needs more than anything is an education president, an environmental president. Meanwhile, as our enemies lop the heads off our citizens and plan more 9/11s, George Bush says we need a war president. Sounds like the makings of a great debate.
Read the whole thing.


THE OMBUDSGOD HAS SOME ADVICE for the NPR ombudsman on euphemisms for murder and terrorism. You can actually see the left turning back the calendar from 9/11 to 9/10 by reading the NPR ombudsman's linguistic decrees in September of 2001 and April of 2002. And be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the Baghdad correspondent of The Sydney Morning Herald's description of Saddam's hirsute appearance in the dock.


NEWS TO ME--BUT NOT VERY SURPRISING: Jon Lauck notes that it was Tom Daschle who appointed the hyper-partisan Richard Ben-Veniste to the 9/11 commission and held weekly strategy meetings with him as the commission's hearings unfolded. And both were at the Washington premiere of Fahrenheit 9/11. UPDATE: Speaking of which, read in amazement as James Lileks slices and dices the enormous carcass of Michael Moore with surgical precision.


TOM WOLFE'S NEW JOURNALISM PICKS: Just came across this, which is excerpted from his long out of print mid-'70s New Journalism anthology. There's some amazing writing here, before many of the writers that Wolfe highlighted became ossified and sclerotic.


WELCOME RIGHT WING NEWS READERS: We're the site of the day there! (Thanks, John.)


"LET AMERICA BE AMERICA": Andrew Sullivan has the goods on John Kerry's favorite poet:

Now I know Kerry is a liberal, but does he really want to cite a man who wanted to abolish private property and loved Stalin? Again, the right-left double standard. If a fascist poet in 1938 had called to remake a pure racial America on the lines of Hitler's Germany, would he now be quoted by any leading politician? But the communists get a pass. Again. And again. And again.
Of course, as the Professor writes, Kerry doesn't need to vet this sort of stuff, "if you're reasonably confident the press won't call you on 'em". Oh--and scroll up to Sullivan's next post, for some harsh words for Ted Rall's latest cartoon abortion. UPDATE: James Panero of The New Criterion also has some thoughts, on what he calls "That '30s Show".


MY CARY GRANT PIECE, which I had to knock about 400 words off to fit into the allotted space of an Electronic House newsletter, is now online in its original form at Blogcritics. UPDATE: One of the films I mentioned as being newly out on DVD was Grant's Night and Day, a heavily whitewashed biopic of Cole Porter. It omits Porter's bisexuality, because audiences in 1946 would have flipped out, the script would never have gotten past the Hays Office, and Porter and his wife, Linda were still very much alive at the time. There's a new Porter film out starring Kevin Kline as Porter and Ashley Judd as Linda, called De-Lovely, which does explore Porter's sexuality in more detail, which isn't all that surprising considering today's standards and mores. But as an actual film, Rex Reed is not at all happy with it, writing that "Misery prevails from downbeat to encore":

No waiting around for the sour notes in De-Lovely: A no-fail idea begins to fail in the very first scene. An old man in a lonely penthouse plays a mournful "Night and Day" in a wheelchair. This is Kevin Kline as the dying Cole Porter—but with a bald head, liver spots and wrinkles for days, he doesn’t remotely resemble Kevin Kline, or Cole Porter. He looks like Carl Reiner. Suddenly he is visited by someone named Gabe (Jonathan Pryce) who is either an angel of death, a pallbearer or a Broadway producer hell-bent on staging a Cole Porter revival.
Contrast this to Grant's Night And Day, as Reed does:
There is one very funny scene in a Warner Brothers projection room where Linda and Cole watch the silly, overproduced 1946 biopic Night and Day, in which they were played by the luscious Alexis Smith and the elegant but riotously miscast Cary Grant. Even after the 1937 riding accident which left Cole drugged on scotch and morphine for the rest of his life, there was Cary, hale and hardy and strolling in the moonlight on two strong legs [actually, his Porter ends the film limping badly and relying on a cane--Ed] while the Warners symphony brought the film to a crashing finale. The lights come up in the screening room, and Kevin Kline says, "If I can survive this, I can survive anything." It’s the biggest laugh in the movie, but in reality Night and Day, which was directed by Michael Curtiz and has just been released on DVD, is a better-made movie than this current debacle, and a lot more fun. I mean, Mary Martin singing "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" majestically surpasses the droopy, who-gives-a-s*** Diana Krall, gloomily moping her way through a lifeless "Just One of Those Things." Night and Day was a mess, but it was an entertaining mess.
Movies as entertainment? How quaint.


THE KENNEDY MYSTIQUE: Rich Lowry notes one of the more fascinating elements of Democratic politics, dating back to, I guess, at least the mid-1970s: JFK worship. But JFK's politics and policies are, in many respects far to the right of today's Democrats. As Lowry writes:

The hold JFK has over Democrats is extraordinary. Kerry would be the second consecutive Democratic president yearning to reprise the glories of Kennedy's 1,000 days. A star-struck Clinton idolized Kennedy before growing up to become himself a young, mediocre president with a weakness for the White House help. John Forbes Kerry shares JFK's initials, and has had a lifetime fascination with Kennedy. He fought on a Swift Boat in Vietnam, partly to repeat JFK's iconic PT-109 experience in World War II. Alas, despite Kerry's bravery, "Swift Boat No. 94" doesn't have quite the same resonance. What accounts for JFK's hold on the Dems? For one thing, he is all there is when it comes to Democratic presidential role models in the past 40 years. No one wants to be the next LBJ, JEC, or WJC. It's JFK or bust. What do liberals like about Kennedy's substance? The caution on civil rights? The tax cuts on the rich? The entry into Vietnam? It's the rhetoric and the image--those gorgeous pictures of Kennedy with Jackie--that make for much of the appeal. The JFK wannabes know the centrality of image to Kennedy's magic. Between Kerry's expensive haircuts and Edwards's hair-sprayed bangs, my guess is that no presidential ticket in the history of the planet has cared so much about personal grooming. When the ticketmates travel together, there will probably be stiff competition for the mirror and hair products. Teresa herself has gotten into the act, recently pronouncing herself "sexy"--an odd boast for someone auditioning for a job that usually involves reading to schoolchildren.
Richard Nixon was well-known for his strategy campaigning as a conservative, but governing like a liberal. In many respects, JFK worship is the liberal equivalent.


WEBLOG USE CONTINUES TO GROW: That news shouldn't be too surprising to our regular readers.


FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH, as a former small business owner from a family of entrepreneurs (and essentially, still a small business owner with my writing), I'm with Will Collier of VodkaPundit on John Edwards and trial lawyers in general. But be sure to read Postrel's excerpt from the New Yorker on why trial lawyers are particularly prevalent in the South. It's quite an interesting take.


OH THOSE WMDS: 1.77 tons of radioactive material secured and removed from Iraq. Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds' vacation photos have been really foggy lately... UPDATE: Heh. Of course, the left will just move the goalposts again.


Tuesday, July 06, 2004


H.D. MILLER CATCHES REUTERS telling a whopper.


DASCHLE AND ME: Tom Daschle embraces Michael Moore in DC, and denies it to his constituents in South Dakota.


HEADLINES YOU'LL NEVER SEE--but don't call the media biased! UPDATE: Certainly not The Washington Post, at least...


PARSE THIS OUT: Roger Ebert calls Godzilla "The Fahrenheit 9/11 of its time". No, really! The original Godzilla with Raymond Burr! I'm not sure what that says about either film. But comparing Michael Moore and Godzilla, I'd say it's a toss-up as to who could do the most damage to Tokyo. (Via Reason's "Hit & Run" blog.)


A MEME IS BORN: Jonah Goldberg looks at "the Democrats' Dan Quayle".


MORNING IN AMERICA UPDATE: The economy is set for its best growth in 20 years, according to (believe it or not) AP.


FLASHBACK: Donations to Sen. Edwards questioned in this 2003 article in The Hill.


YOU'RE THE TOP: My latest newsletter for Electronic House looks at some new releases featuring Cary Grant on DVD.


FOR ONCE, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS AGREE! Florida's WFTV reports:

Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, said Kerry's choice "really solidifies the fact that this is the most liberal ticket that the Democrats have put up for, basically, modern times. If you look at the voting records of those two guys, they are way out there in left field."
And Bob Beckel, the campaign manager of the Mondale/Ferraro ticket in '84 confirms, "Yeah, it's a liberal ticket...." Nice to see some bipartisan unity in this rough-and-tumble campaign season.


INTERESTING ANGLE: James Taranto writes:

Picking Edwards may also be an effort to keep would-be Ralph Nader voters in the Democratic fold. Edwards is a trial lawyer, Nader is the country's leading champion of trial lawyers, and, as the Village Voice points out, Nader actually urged Kerry to pick Edwards. Meanwhile, Alan Murray reports in today's Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce vowed to 'abandon its traditional stance of neutrality in the presidential race and work feverishly to defeat the Democratic ticket' if Edwards is on it.
Taranto's got lots of other Edwards and Kerry links, incidentally.


PASS THE DUCHY ON THE LEFTHAND SIDE: "Marijuana Advocates Forget to File for Ballot". Too many Peter Max paper airplanes in their youth, I guess.


THE EDWARDS PICK "OFFICIALLY ENDS THE CHICKENHAWK ARGUMENT", writes Jim Geraghty. Hopefully, somebody will tell Kerry.


JONAH GOLDBERG ON "KERRY-HUTZ 2004": "It's going to be Kerry & Edwards: the turn-your-head-and-coif express". Heh.


FROM THE HOME OFFICE IN BAGHDAD: David Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard at Saddam Hussein's Court Appearance". Steven Green covered item #7 back in December.


ANDREW SULLIVAN'S happy about Edwards.


LOOKS LIKE THE AVIATION BUFFS WERE RIGHT: It's Edwards--and Instapundit has a link-filled roundup.


COULD JUST BE A RUMOR, but according to this message board, two aviation-oriented Websites are reporting that Kerry's campaign plane has been spotted with an Edwards VP logo. UPDATE: Or...maybe it's Gephardt! That's who The New York Post says it is, anyway. Stay tuned.


Monday, July 05, 2004


GOOD POINT: Dennis Prager looks at Michael Moore and the problem of American self-hatred:

Did you ever notice that there are no Germans going around the world saying, or making movies about, how awful Germany is or has been? Given that Germany unleashed two world wars and invented industrialized genocide, why has there been no German Michael Moore? Are there any Japanese making films about the absence of Japanese soul-searching or expressions of sorrow over their country's enslavement, torture and murder of Asians in World War II? Has anyone ever encountered any Japanese self-hate? Any Belgians telling the world how bad their country is? Argentinians? French? France surely has reason to produce people ashamed of their country.
Needless to say, RTWT.


IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF ZZ TOP: They come runnin' just as fast as they can--'cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man!


DEMOCRATS TO ADOPT FDR'S war philosophy at convention: Scott Ott has the "details".


THE BATTLE OF THE HUMVEE: Don't believe the media are the enemy? Then ask the US Army. As Diana West writes:

Ever hear about the Battle of the Humvee? That's what I'm calling a May skirmish fought by soldiers of the 37th Armored Regiment's 2nd Battalion in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf. In what became a six-hour firefight, Americans battled followers of Moktada al-Sadir to secure the hulk of a burning Humvee. It's not that our soldiers fought because the flaming wreck amounted to a tin can's worth of military value. They fought, as Capt. Ty Wilson of Fairfax, Va., explained to The Washington Post, because "We weren't going to let them dance on it for the news. Even (with) all the guys they lost that day, that still would have given them victory." Chalk one up for our side, a small win on the way to an underreported triumph over the followers of Moktada al-Sadir in the spring. Iraq is sovereign, life goes on ... but I can't get over the chilling description of American soldiers risking their necks to keep the media from awarding a phony victory to the enemy. This puts the media -- in this case, anyone with a video camera and a satellite hook-up -- not in No Man's Land, but on the Other Side. The concept is horrifying in that the ramifications are so bleak. It shows our soldiers engaged in a war on two fronts -- a military front and a media front. And it shows our soldiers fighting two enemies: the adversary who fights fire with terror, and the adversary who also fights fire with perception.
RTWT.


QUOTE OF THE DAY, II:

Savor, if you will, the image of France as the mighty defender of Europe.
--Charles Johnson, Little Green Footballs.


QUOTE OF THE DAY:

This was not a "mishmashed oil change"... rather, it was an illustration of that part of our culture that does not fear solving problems and accomplishing great things.
--J. Milt Heflin, chief, NASA's Flight Director Office, in a memo to the press.

Sunday, July 04, 2004


LET FREEDOM REIGN: New York to begin construction at Ground Zero. AP reports, "Gov. George E. Pataki said he chose July 4 to begin rebuilding to show that the terrorists who attacked New York on Sept. 11, 2001, didn’t destroy America’s faith in freedom".


Happy Fourth of July!


THE STRANGE DUALITY OF AMERICAN AESTHETICS: I have an essay on design, fashion and aesthetics in 21st century America, over at the New Partisan Website, which also has lots of other cool content worth exploring.


Saturday, July 03, 2004


APPLAUSE FOR COSBY: Joanne Jacobs writes that "Bill Cosby is continuing his campaign to get blacks to take responsibility for their own problems. And he's speaking to receptive audiences". With the exception of the press, of course.


WIN ONE FOR THE GIPPER: GOP chairman Ed Gillespie is comparing this election year with Reagan's campain in 1984 against Walter Mondale.


DUELING BRANDOS: Power Line links to two takes on Marlon Brando, one by John Podhoretz, the other by Terry Teachout.


CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE BIG APPLE THIS FOURTH? Want to see fireworks above the Statue of Liberty? Click here. (Via "The Corner". And speaking of fireworks, be sure to read Glenn's post on the subject.)


Friday, July 02, 2004


JOHN KERRY'S SISTER SOULJAH MOMENT? Interesting post by Michelle Malkin.


SAY IT ISN'T SO! AP reports that "Nader Accuses Democrats of 'Dirty Tricks'". UPDATE: In a related story, Charles Johnson writes that "nine members of the House of Representatives have written to Kofi Annan to request UN observers to monitor the US Presidential election". Excuse me while I stop giggling--this is the funniest story I've heard in ages. As Johnson writes, "The left has left the planet".


TRANSLATORS WANTED: Virginia Postrel--knowledge arbitrageur. Wow, I like that--I should have that title printed on my business cards! (Is it trademarked? Where do I send the royalties, Virginia?)


THE MOTHER OF ALL CAPTION CONTESTS is going on over at Captain Ed's (no relation).


HEAR IT FROM THE MARINES, who aren't happy with The Washington Post's coverage of the events in Iraq. And then add to the list:

  • CNN's admission that they were in bed with Saddam.
  • Time's duplicitous coverage.
  • Dr. Bob Arnot leaving NBC because he was unhappy with how they slanted stories coming out of Iraq.
  • Reuters' refusal to call terrorists what they are.
  • AP being in bed with terrorists.
  • The New York Times' tactics when the 9/11 Commission verified Saddam's connection with al-Qaida.
  • Not pretty, is it? UPDATE: Steve Den Beste analyzes bias, Saddam's trial and Bush Derangement Syndrome. Needless to say, RTWT. ONE MORE UPDATE: Oh and add to the list Tom Brokaw "correcting" then-incoming Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi when Allawi suggested Saddam was connected to al-Qaeda.


    MARLON BRANDO DEAD AT 80, according to this TV news site. Via Betsy Newmark. As of 4:00 am last night (don't ask), nobody else had any details on the Web, or on Fox, MSNBC, CNN or CNN's Headline News. Terry Teachout has interesting piece on Brando, placing his career into perspective without gushing over it, or the very strange life that went along with it. UPDATE: Editor & Publisher writes:

    What newspaper was first to report the unexpected death of actor Marlon Brando? The winner, by a wide margin, appears to be the New York Post, if only in an unconfirmed manner. In its Friday morning edition, on page 11, the Post printed a small story, with a picture of Brando from "The Godfather," under the headline: "Brando is dead: TV report." It cited a bulletin on the Web site of Phoenix-based KPHO-TV, of all places. The paper said police had not confirmed the death but claimed that relatives were gathering at the actor's Los Angeles home.
    Given the Internet, the blogosphere and wall-to-wall cable TV, why the condescending tone that it wasn't AP/Reuters/UPI/NYT but a Phoenix-based TV station "of all places" that broke the story?

    Thursday, July 01, 2004


    THE ORWELLIAN BBC: Charles Johnson writes that they've found a new nadir.


    SCRATCH ANOTHER ONE OFF THE LIST: Richardson withdraws from Kerry VP search. National Review Online's Jim Geraghty writes that Kerry's choice is down to three men, "or this is one of the great disciplined fake-outs of all time". Meanwhile, Dick Morris says "I would not sell life insurance to anyone who has Hillary Clinton as his running mate." Especially after her staggering gaffe this week.


    FOR THE LEFT, IT'S SEPTEMBER 10th AGAIN: Mark Steyn diagrams the difference between the period between 9/11 and Fahrenheit 9/11:

    One day a pair of security guards from the Iranian mission will be heading for the Lincoln Tunnel, and they won’t be carrying just their Kodak Instamatics. The war on terror’s a bit of a joke on the Left these days. In Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore says Bush is deliberately keeping the population in a state of fear, and he gets some of his biggest laughs with clips of solemn announcers announcing upgraded terrorism alerts. I suppose it is pretty funny. Until it happens. And then Moore and the Democrats will switch to arguing that Bush knew it was going to happen all along and didn’t do anything about it. In the autumn of 2001, Jacob Weisberg, now editor of Slate, wrote a column bemoaning what he regarded as a silly post-9/11 trend. The Weekly Standard, the New Republic and other publications had begun giving ‘Susan Sontag Awards’ and similarly facetious honours for notably stupid anti-war commentary. Early winners included Oliver Stone, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Michael Moore, etc. Weisberg thought this unworthy of serious news magazines: ‘Stone and Moore are well-known cranks, regarded with considerable distaste even on the Left,’ he wrote. The idea that ‘these comments represent a significant body of anti-war opinion’ was preposterous.... Put bluntly, there is no anti-war movement, intellectual or popular, in the United States. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying no one opposes the war. According to polls, 5 per cent of the country is against it. There are pacifists and Buddhists ...Those policing the debate are dropping the rhetorical equivalent of daisy cutters on a few malnourished left-wing stragglers.’ Well, something’s changed in the last couple of years, and those left-wing stragglers are a lot less malnourished. Last weekend Michael Moore, the ‘well-known crank’ regarded with ‘considerable distaste’, had the Number One movie in North America. Okay, its weekend gross was $21 million, which sounds big, until you realise that the week before a dumb comedy called Dodgeball took $30 million without anybody even noticing. On the other hand, the business of Congress wasn’t put on hold because so many Democratic bigshots were attending the premiere of Dodgeball. That did happen with the premiere of Fahrenheit 9/11, and when the movie was over it was all five-star raves. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa urged all Americans to see the film. Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, praised the film for raising ‘a lot of issues that Americans are talking about’ - i.e., is Bush in league with the bin Laden family? As those Iranian photographers remind us, this war can only be won abroad. And, as the rise of Michael Moore emphasises, it can only be lost at home.
    Brent Bozell writes:
    For the Left, this film is a test to separate the wheat from the chaff, the honorable from the dishonorable, the serious from the unserious. In the Clinton years, conservatives needed to step away from the unsubstantiated videos that talked in conspiratorial tones about all of Clinton’s heinous secret crimes. To be taken seriously, every liberal today should criticize “Fahrenheit 9-11" as an affront to journalism and civil discourse.
    Bozell adds that "To their credit, a number of liberal pundits and journalists have been passing this test", but sadly, few critics on the left and even fewer leftwing politicians have been. And the film places John Kerry in a vice grip: he risks alienating his base if he condemns it. And he risks alienating moderates if he doesn't. Not surprisingly in this type of situation, he's said (to the best of my knowledge) nothing about the film. And as a result, he's allowed it to define him. UPDATE: John Hawkins also has some thoughts.


    HUSSEIN'S THE THIN MAN: James Taranto notes it can be awfully difficult to tell Michael Moore and Saddam Hussein apart these days.


    HOLLYWOOD: NOT ANTI-WAR, merely on the other side, as Glenn would say.


    WHAT THE INTERNET WAS INVENTED FOR: "ImplosionWorld.com is pleased to bring you the finest in explosive cinematic adventures"!


    REMEMBER THE SCANDAL AN ATLANTA NEWSPAPER CAUSED IN 1946 when during the Nuremberg Trials, it ran a headline that said, "GOERING: 'THE REAL CRIMINAL IS TRUMAN!'"? Of course not--it never happened. But Will Collier (who's on a roll today!) notes:

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution leads its homepage today with: "Saddam: The Real Criminal Is Bush." Yeah. That's the most important thing that happened in the courtroom. Mmm hmm.
    Nope, no media bias there. Nothing to see, move along! SILLY UPDATE: I'm confused: when did Saddam start looking like Victor French? SERIOUS UPDATE: James Lileks writes that "What matters most now is adopting the correct cynical pose" about Saddam's trial. Because clearly, the fact that Saddam Hussein is being tried by the very people he mercilessly ruled over for a generation can't be a clear and obvious positive event. If it were, George W. Bush would get the credit for it, and we can't have that, of course. Based on the Lileks Template, it appears that the Journal-Constitution is using the Template Code labeled D-with a little of Template Code F thrown in as well. FLASHBACK: To see how blase the world viewed the capture of Saddam (alive, needless to say, unlike the vast majority of previous despots when their regimes came to an end) click here, keep scrolling down. ANOTHER UPDATE: Via Instapundit, Arthur Chrenkoff looks at the media's pro-Saddam spin machine.


    COMPARE AND CONTRAST: Will Collier of VodkaPundit links to both yesterday's interview by Tom Brokaw of Iraq's current prime minister and last year's Dan Rather interview with the fellow who routinely threw men into shredding machines, amputated their limbs, and ripped babies from their wives' wombs, and who kept a "violator of women's honor" on his payroll. Collier asks "which of the two Iraqis received the more respectful treatment" by the media? "Which one was softballed, and which one was challenged?"


    QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The Clinton Administration: Just another set of marionettes for the Evil Neocon Puppetmasters!"--Glenn Reynolds, tongue firmly in cheek.


    "DAVID BROOKS, SWAMP THING": I've written at least a couple of times here that I think it's a good thing that David Brooks is writing for The New York Times and he continues to do a good job there. But Michelle Malkin notes that Brooks may have gone native since joining the Grey Lady. And as Malkin notes from past personal experience as the former token conservative at the Seattle Times, "no matter what their lips say, 'your people' inside the newsroom will never admire you as much as you proclaim to admire them."


    "THE ISRAELI PUPPETEER": Charles Johnson looks at Ralph Nader, anti-Semite.


    Wednesday, June 30, 2004


    THE DESIRE NAMED STREETCAR: When I visited my parents in South Jersey this weekend, I noticed that NJ Transit's light rail system is finally operating in their area. ...and surprise, surprise, the cars and local station appeared virtually empty. Texas Public Policy Foundation looks at the impact of light rail on America's cities and does not like what it sees:

    Out of the nation’s 50 largest urban areas, 23 had rail transit in 2000. This study reviews those 23 regions and finds: • Half of all rail regions lost transit commuters during the 1990s; • Taken together, rail regions lost 14,000 transit commuters in the 1990s; • Meanwhile, bus-only regions gained nearly 53,000 transit commuters in the 1990s; • Transit lost market share of commuters in two-thirds of all rail regions in the 1990s; • Per capita transit rides declined in half the rail regions; • Transit’s share of total travel declined in a majority of rail regions; • Sixteen of the 20 urban areas with the fastest growing congestion are rail regions – and one of the other four is building rail transit; and • By comparison, only three of the 20 urban areas with the slowest growing congestion are rail regions – and only because all three have nearly zero population growth. Based on these and other criteria, including cost effectiveness, safety, energy, and land use, this paper constructs a Rail Livability Index that assesses the effects of rail transit on urban areas. Every rail region earned a negative score, suggesting rail reduces urban livability. Rail transit is not only expensive, it usually costs more to build and often costs more to operate than originally projected. To pay for cost overruns, transit agencies often must boost transit fares or cut transit service outside of rail corridors. Thus, rail transit tends to harm most transit users. Rail transit also harms most auto drivers. Most regions building rail transit expect to spend half to four-fifths of their transportation capital budgets on transit systems that carry 0.5 to 4 percent of passenger travel. This imbalanced funding makes it impossible to remove highway bottlenecks and leads to growing congestion. Rail’s high cost makes it ineffective at reducing congestion. On average, $13 spent on rail transit is less effective at reducing congestion than $1 spent on freeway improvements. Investments in rail transit are only about half as effective as investments in bus transit. Rail transit also tends to be more dangerous than other forms of travel. Interstate freeways cause 3.9 deaths per billion passenger miles. Accidents on urban roads and streets in general lead to about 6.8 deaths per billion passenger miles. Among the various forms of urban transit, buses, at 4.3 deaths per billion passenger miles, are the safest; heavy rail averages 5.0, commuter rail 11.3, and light rail 14.8.
    I understand that cities need public transportation to function, but why not purchase additional buses and build additional roads or widen existing ones, which would benefit not only the buses but also individual motorists. Unlike fixed rail lines, if a route doesn't provide enough passengers for a bus to make sense, it's easy to reassign them elsewhere. The Texas Policy report is an 84 page Adobe Acrobat file, so I'm not going to say "read the whole thing". But just skimming it is pretty frightening in and of itself.


    A TALE OF TWO MOVIES--AND 22 CRITICS: You can learn a lot about a movie critic by comparing how he reviewed Mel Gibson's The Passion Of The Christ with what he wrote about Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11. UPDATE: Make that 23: James Panero of The New Criterion looks at how Andrew Sullivan views the two films.


    BEST OF THE ED TODAY: James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today" column echoes something we wrote last week. Here's Taranto:

    From where we sit, it appears that Democrats in 2004 are repeating the mistake Republicans made in 1996: assuming that the intensity of their own loathing for the incumbent means that loathing is widespread beyond the partisan base. We could be wrong, of course--our own political preferences no doubt color our views--but a party that consorts with the likes of anti-American filmmaker Michael Moore strikes us as more desperate than confident.
    I guess we view things through a similar shade of Wayfarers. As I wrote last week:
    They're overplaying their hand, just like the over the top Wellstone funeral-cum-political orgy of 2002. They've hitched themselves to something which is likely to rebound very badly in their faces; but in the meantime, I hope a rope-a-dope strategy is in place by the White House, because without signs of the president fighting back, all of this can be brutal to watch. On the other hand, the staggering amount of overheated rhetoric doesn't sound at all like the FDR-style jaunty "happy days are here again" feeling of a party confident of victory in the fall.
    Incidentally, the rope-a-dope began the next day.


    IF A TREE FALLS BUT THE WASHINGTON POST DOESN'T REPORT IT, does it make a sound? Paul Bremer gave a stirring speech before leaving Iraq on Monday--but you wouldn't know it if you read the Post, which reported, "There was no farewell address to the Iraqi people, no celebratory airport sendoff". Meanwhile, Tom Brokaw is helpfully schooling Iraq's new Prime Minister on the Saddam-al Qaida connection. As the Professor writes, "Why, oh, why, can't we have decent news media?"


    POWER LINE LOOKS AT Orwellian Maryland, where food stamp recipients don't actually get "stamps" anymore. Instead, they get a plastic card modeled on bank debit cards. Its name? The "Independence Card."


    BEATS DRAMAMINE ANY DAY: Set sail with Steve Green's Navy!


    M-AUDIO'S OMNI-STUDIO: Another review on Blogcritics, this time on a nifty soundcard for home musicians, complete with an audio file of a song I recorded using it.


    THE NEW MUSIC BUSINESS: I have a review of Robert Wolff's How To Make In the New Music Business on Blogcritics.


    IF IT'S TUESDAY, I MUST BE THE FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I just downloaded the 57 bazillion emails I received while I was away from a broadband connection for a couple of days. 56.5 bazillion of them were spam, but this one is a classic:

    From your latest column: "One needs to point out that the pan-Arab media said nothing when the Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad destroyed Hama and killed more than 10,000 of his own innocent people, or when Saddam Hussein used poison gas on Iraqis and created 300,000 anonymous graves." Guess which liberal ****sucker gave Saddam the gas along with anthrax, smallpox, and other bacterial cultures in '83-'84? (I can talk like this 'cause Cheney proved it in the Senate last week.) Donald Rumsfeld gave him the gas and germ cultures for the Reagan administration and admitted it before Congress in testimony last March. Look it up. The whole country is getting hip to neocon ***holes like you, Rummy, and Bush. Crowds are flocking to Fahrenheit 9/11 and recognizing the truth when visual evidence is shown to them. AND YOU CAN'T DO A THING ABOUT IT. The days of hysterical demagogue liars like you, Coulter, "Savage", the Limbaughs, Hannity, and the rest are coming to an end. These little piggies are going home. Bye-bye.
    I'm not printing the name of the person who sent this to me (or the foul language, which I replaced with asterisks) because deep down inside, I'm a nice guy. And I don't want to embarrass somebody who has confused me with Newt Gingrich. (Does Newt receive nastygrams about his latest posts in Blogcritics?)

    Tuesday, June 29, 2004


    BACK IN CALIFORNIA: Expect regular blogging to resume tomorrow (Wednesday).


    Saturday, June 26, 2004


    NOT YOUR FATHER'S--OR MOTHER'S--GOP: The Washington Times has long been the conservative answer to the more liberal Washington Post. And there's always interesting material in the Times' commentary page. Including, this weekend, several prominent Victoria's Secret ads! (Click refresh a couple of times if they don't immediately come up.) Not sure what that means (especially at this ungodly hour), but it's certainly an interesting sociological phenomenon. It does lend credence to one of P.J. O'Rourke's theories, though.


    Friday, June 25, 2004


    MIAMI VICE MEETS MATHNET: Got a big drug deal coming up? Not sure of that complex kilos to ounces conversion ratio? Why not ask your math teacher! Joanne Jacobs in a post titled, "Why Math Matters", says "Police, who seized the cocaine from a school locker, said it was in two "bricks" weighing 0.468 and 0.506 kilograms. No word yet on how many ounces that is."


    FLASHBACK: Junk Yard Blog looks at a 90 minute town hall meeting at Ohio State in February of 1998 by three of President Clinton's top cabinet officials and finds all sorts of connections to present-day events.


    WHAT A LONG, STRANGE WEEK IT'S BEEN, huh? Between Fahrenheit 911 and its embrace by the "Coalition of Wild-Eyed": 98 percent of the Democratic Party--and 100 percent of Manhattan and Chicago's film critics; the return of Bill, Al, and Granny D; the birth of "the digital brown shirts"; the increasingly postmodern press, and the rest of the usual and sundry insanity, I'm exhausted. I may blog a little bit more tonight, but after that, blogging will be light until early next week, as I'll be visiting friends and relatives this weekend.


    ALSO A FAIR QUESTION: A commenter on The Brothers Judd Blog asks:

    What I'd like to know is how does Moore get permission to use all those news clips and outtakes? Does he actually pay for the rights? If I tried to use that material for profit, I'd be inundated with lawyers waving "cease and desist" orders for my copyright violations long before I got to the screening stage. And are those new organizations really that willing to license their material, especially the stuff (like the makeup outtakes) that was never meant to be shown publicly?
    Right--we won't help the US military if it's under attack. But we will help someone attack the US. Sounds about right.


    A FAIR QUESTION: Daniel Henniger wants to know if John Kerry thinks it's evil to behead innocent men.


    LUCASFILM RELEASE FINAL ARTWORK FOR STAR WARS DVDs: Is it just me, or do these boxtops look incredibly garish and ugly? Why couldn't Lucas have simply used the original posters for the films, instead of relegating them to the tops of the discs themselves? Or simply have the great Ralph McQuarrie draw up some new artwork?


    THE MILLION DOLLAR GUITAR: Eric Clapton's "Blackie", the Fender Stratocaster that accompanied him at countless live shows from the early-'70s to the mid-'80s, went for a record $959,500 at auction yesterday. We first previously mentioned the auction at the beginning of the month. We were only slightly off in what we thought it would fetch...


    YEAR THREE: Victor Davis Hanson has some thoughts on where we stand in the war on terror:

    Right after 9/11, some of us thought it was impossible for leftist critics to undermine a war against fascists who were sexist, fundamentalist, homophobic, racist, ethnocentric, intolerant of diversity, mass murderers of Kurds and Arabs, and who had the blood of 3,000 Americans on their hands. We were dead wrong. In fact, they did just that. Abu Ghraib is on the front pages daily. Stories of thousands of American soldiers in combat against terrorist killers from the Hindu Kush to Fallujah do not merit the D section. Senator Kennedy's two years of insane outbursts should have earned him formal censure rather than a commemoration from the Democratic establishment. What a litany of distractions! Words — preemption," "unilateralism," "hegemony," — whiz by and lose all meaning. Names — "Halliburton," "Chalabi," "INC" — become little more than red meat. Vocabulary is turned upside down: "Contractors," who at great risk restore power and water to the poor, are now little more than "profiteers" and "opportunists"; killers are not even "terrorists" but mere "militants." "Neo-cons" are wild-eyed extremists; "realists" are no longer cynics — inclined to let thousands die abroad unless the chaos interrupts transit of oil or food — but rather "sober" and "circumspect," and more likely Kerry supporters. A depressing array of transitory personalities parades before our screen, entering stage left to grab 15 minutes of notoriety for their scripted invective, only to exit on the right into oblivion. Who can remember all these one-tell-all-book, one-weekend-on-the-Sunday-news-programs personalities — a Hans Blix, Scott Ritter, Howard Dean, Paul O'Neil, Joe Wilson, Richard Clark, or Richard ben Veniste? In between their appearances on Sunday morning television or 60 Minutes, a few D.C. functionaries are carted out for periodic shouting — an unhinged Al Gore, a puffed-up Ted Kennedy, a faux-serious Bob Kerry, and occasionally a Senator Byrd or Hollings. And since the very day after 9/11 we've gotten the Vietnam-era retreads — a Peter Arnett, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Robert Scheer, John Dean, or Seymour Hersh — tottering out with the latest conspiracies about the old bogeymen and "higher-ups." We are winning the military war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The terrorists are on the run. And slowly, even ineptly, we are achieving our political goals of democratic reform in once-awful places. Thirty years of genocide, vast forced transfers of whole peoples, the desecration of entire landscapes, a ruined infrastructure, and a brutalized and demoralized civilian psyche are being remedied, often under fire. All this and more has been achieved at the price of political turmoil, deep divisions in the West — here and abroad — and the emergence of a strong minority, led by mostly elites, who simply wish it all to fail.
    Read the whole thing.


    DID AL GORE CALL BILL CLINTON a digital brown shirt yesterday? Because it's pretty obvious that the two don't see eye-to-eye on Iraq. Of course, maybe Al just called himself a digital brown shirt, because his digitized version from the 1990s directly contradicts his current version. And an Al divided against itself cannot stand! (Apologies to both George Costanza and Jayson Blair. And probably James Taranto, too.) At the start of the Clinton administration, there's no way I would have believed that Bill would be the calm, sensible one, out having fun, doing talk shows, looking to enjoy his retirement in a relaxed aging-but-still-youthful-but-elder statesman-like manner (I know, I know, he's made up stories out of whole cloth, but let me run with this) and that Al Gore would be out giving demonizing speeches and constantly breaking Godwin's Law. As I've said before, wasn't Al put on the ticket in '92 to be the moderate half of the equation? UPDATE: Heh.


    OH, THOSE WMDS: 10 or 12 sarin and mustard gas shells have been found in various locations in Iraq.


    DEMOCRAT ZELL MILLER TO SPEAK AT GOP CONVENTION: He's retiring in January, so he's got nothing to lose.


    SPOKANE GETS 100 BLOCKS OF WIRELESS INTERNET: Look to see more and more large scale Wi-Fi applications, something we've been writing about since this site's early days.


    NEW FOR 1974! IT'S THE CLOCKWORK ORANGE COLLECTION! "Welcome to Eurobad '74, an exhibition of Europe's worst interiors of 1974", the introductory page says, and it's certainly tough to argue with that. Every room looks like a set from A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick's dystopian classic. Viddy well, little brothers! Viddy well! (Via Blackfive.)


    WELL, YES, I CAN, ACTUALLY: Andrew Sullivan asks, "Can you wait for Roger Ebert's review of Fahrenheit 9/11?" It's now online. Keep Ebert's stated biases in mind when reading it.


    Thursday, June 24, 2004


    THE CRACK-UP CONTINUES: After years of complaining that Strom Thurmond was too old to function in the Senate, the Democrats have found a nonagenarian of their own: the infamous Granny D. As the Resurrection Song Weblog notes, "Things aren't perfect in my camp, I'll be the first to admit. But can't the Democrats do better than John Kerry, Al Sharpton, Michael Moore, and Granny D?" Also, I thought Democrats were supposed to appeal to the young--you know, the "Rock The Vote" crowd. But it's party whose leading lights include 86-year old Robert Byrd, 80 year old Frank Lautenberg, and now, entering the picture, 96-year old Granny D.


    FROM THE MAN WHO MADE ME BATMAN: Eugene Volokh, Porn Star.


    "TENS OF THOUSANDS OF READERS HAVE DESERTED [England's] Daily Mirror because its Iraqi torture pictures were exposed as a fake, the newspaper’s owner admitted yesterday." Gee, what a surprise. UPDATE: As is this.


    WELL NOW WE KNOW: Yesterday, I wrote:

    At what point do we start coming up for names for what the left is doing now? To paraphrase President Clinton, it's not a conspiracy; it's right out in the open: the constant hammering of President Bush by the press (who ignore their own reporting on Iraq during the Clinton years), the outbursts in the Senate by disgruntled leftwingers like Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, and Frank Lautenberg; Michael Moore's film and now this...[This being the backing of Fahrenheit 911 by the chairman of the DNC and other high ranking Democrats.]
    Today, this was a headline on Reuters.com:
    Bush Camp Hits Democrats' 'Coalition of Wild-Eyed'
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush's re-election campaign lumped together vocal outbursts by Democrats Al Gore, Howard Dean and others on Thursday and called them part of John Kerry's "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed." The Bush-Cheney campaign released a video on its Web Site that played up some of the more strident statements Democrats have made on the campaign trail and declared: "This is not a time for pessimism and rage." The implication the Bush campaign appeared to be trying to leave was that some of the main boosters of Kerry's presidential campaign are filled with rage and perhaps a bit kooky. "Today, our campaign is releasing a web video to 6 million of our supporters to show them what we're up against and what we're up against is John Kerry's 'coalition of the wild-eyed,"' said Bush campaign manager Ken Melhman.
    Read the rest of the Reuters piece. Finally, Bush is getting the mainstream media to report on the Democrats' shenanigans, by highlighting them in his ads and press releases. As Hugh Hewitt writes, "It stings because it is so true". Hopefully more will follow.


    CONGRATS TO TECHNICAL SGT. STRYKER, now with extra stripes on his sleeves!


    FLASHBACK: In April of 2003, we wrote:

    KEEPING THE BACK BENCH WARM: Back in the 1970s, "me too Republicans" in Congress ensured that their party would stay on the back bench for many years, by offering little in the way of new ideas. Rather, they'd look at the welfare and social spending by the Democrats and talk about how expensive it was, and that the fat should be cut out of it...[Nancy] Pelosi is the House Minority Leader--and looks to continue to keep her party in the minority.
    She must be thinking they'll be there for a while--because she's just introduced a House minority "Bill of Rights"! Via Hugh Hewitt, who writes, "That's pretty revealing, isn't it? She's ready for a long stay on the loser's side of the aisle. I was in Washington for a long stretch of the Democrat's majority in the lower body. I think they should get every courtesy they extended to the GOP." Oh--and this does help to explain the Pelosi-Beaker connection that Chris Muir noticed today. UPDATE: Speaking of keeping the backbench warm, this doesn't sound like the actions of a party that's trying to recapture America's goodwill, does it? GOOORRRREEEE UPDATE: Neither does this. Power Line also has some thoughts, and notes that just as the press has forgotten their own words in the 1990s, so has Al Gore.


    SELLING ITEMS ON EBAY? Snopes has some important advice to heed before photographing them.


    FROM THE HOME OFFICE IN HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS: David Letterman's "Top Ten Things Overheard in Line at the Clinton Book Signing". Actually, I'm kind of surprised that "Greg Packer! Not you again, man!" isn't on the list.


    ROGER & ME REDUX: Pauline Kael was among the first critics perceptive enough to spot what a huckster Michael Moore is (unlike Rex Reed), and her 1989 review of the film has been reprinted here. Back when I was a film junky, I also remember reading an article in England's Sight and Sound magazine (hardly a bastion of conservativism) that exposed many of the lies in that film as well, which put Moore on the map. Not the least of which was the film's premise: Moore wore a silly cardboard cartoon "PRESS" badge whenever he visited GM, thus ensuring that he'd never meet with Roger Smith--because if he did, there'd be no movie. (Via Terry Teachout.)


    GREAT MOMENTS IN PRESIDENTAL HISTORY, as spotted by Joshua Claybourn.


    BILL HOBBS HAS AN EXCLUSIVE: "Torture at Guantanamo? I've got proof", Hobbs claims, adding:

    a source deep within the Pentagon has sent me the previously classified transcript of a secret video tape of an actual interrogation session involving both men and women. The partial transcript is unclear as to time, date and full identies of all those involved.
    (Via Steve Green.)


    THAT '70S SHOW: Tim Blair spots John Kerry slumming with a once-popular author whose career peaked in the mid-'70s, not coincidentally because his talent has become ravaged by heavy pharmaceutical excess. He's now known primarily known as a leading Holocaust denier. Why do I expect Kerry to appear at his next campaign stop wearing John Travolta's white polyester suit from Saturday Night Fever--or worse--maybe a lime green leisure suit?


    "NEWSPAPERS BITE", writes journalist Kathleen Parker, who says they're looking for love in wrong places:

    Let me be blunt. Newspapers bite. The work isn't much fun anymore, thanks to the soul-snatching corporate culture that has euthanized newsroom personalities. Most papers reflect that numbers-crunching, cubicle-hunkering mentality. We're boring, predictable, staid and out of touch with the folks with quarters. Nobody rushes to the rack anymore to see what the paper's great voices have to say because there aren't many great voices left. Meanwhile, half the nation's editorial cartoonists - Doug Marlette's "designated feelers" - have disappeared from editorial pages, leaving holes where hearts used to beat. With television offering headlines - and Internet blogs offering inspired commentary - why do people want to get their hands dirty reading stale stories that fail to ring the chime of truth? Declining reader confidence isn't just about high-profile scandals such as the Jayson Blair/New York Times and Jack Kelley/USA Today debacles. Distrust is also tied to the reality "disconnect" between those who produce newspapers and those who read them. Yes, the media tilt left and the Earth is round. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center that has journalists debating themselves reports that the elite media are far more liberal than the public ("Ordinary Americans," as the elites like to call you). While 34 percent of journalists self-identify as liberal, only 20 percent of Ordinary Americans do. Only 7 percent of journalists consider themselves conservative, compared with 33 percent of the public. Even those figures may be misleading, as a large majority of journalists consider themselves moderate. You be the judge.
    RTWT.


    THE PRESS MISFIRES: Paul Greenberg writes, "Once again strawmen are strewn about everywhere as the major media all agree a claim the Bush administration never made now has been refuted." Meanwhile, David Limbaugh says that The New York Times owes President Bush an apology. Only one?


    A REFRESHING CHANGE: Colorado Republican Senate hopeful Pete Coors urges lowing the drinking age from 21 to 18:

    "We got along fine for years with the 18-year-old drinking age," the former CEO of the Coors Brewing Co. told an audience of about 200 people at a candidates' debate here. "We're criminalizing our young people."
    Wow--the Instapundit conspiracy moves in mysterious ways...

    Wednesday, June 23, 2004


    INSERT FISH INTO BARREL. NOW AIM: Rex Reed reviews Fahrenheit 911. James Lileks rebuts. Screedy fun ensues.


    "STAY QUIET AND YOU'LL BE OK": Robert Spencer suggests a new slogan for the anti-war militant left and the press. (Sadly increasingly indistinguishable these days.) As William McGowan noted in Coloring The News, by drinking the PC Kool-Aid in the late 1980s, the press pretty much assured that this would be their tone. In their fear to not offend anybody--save for, as "Pinch" Sulzberger was quoted as saying, "white, heterosexual males"--they've also completely lost their moral compass. What's interesting though, as a commenter on Charles Johnson's site noted, is that since this tactic has alienated much of the American public (based on the latest Pew Report), their primary readers are increasingly, exclusively the left. And they either had to have seen this coming, or be clueless as to the unintended consequences of the direction that they set out in. So as not alienate their remaining readers, it becomes increasingly more important to keep them in the liberal cocoon. And the cocoon narrows that much more--on both the readers and the press. But hey, stay quiet, and you'll be OK! For somebody the left considers a dummy, this guy is sure on to something. (Found via Little Green Footballs.)


    HAWKISH CLOTHES ITCH DOVES: Jonah Goldberg writes:

    Peter Beinart, the editor of The New Republic (and a friend of mine), has been complaining for a very long time that conservatives haven't shown the sort of introspection liberals have in the wake of the White House's missteps. After all, conservatives historically have looked skeptically on pie-in-the-sky Wilsonian adventures abroad -- and especially on the notion that the Pentagon has some sort of Easy Bake Oven nation-building set that can whip up democratic societies overnight. Now it is the liberals and leftists who sound like Kissingerian foreign policy realists, making allowances for barbaric regimes and ridiculing conservatives who needlessly demonized Saddam. But Saddam was a demon. Since we've been in Iraq, we've confirmed that he killed more than 300,000 Shiites after 1991 alone. We've found up to 30,000 in a single grave. Forty thousand "marsh Arabs" were murdered and their lands drained. We didn't need to confirm what happened to the Kurds. It's also worth recalling the reason we were in a de facto state of war with Saddam long before the actual war: It was to keep Saddam from doing these sorts of things to Kurds and Shiites again (never mind the Kuwaitis). The no-fly zones, the laughably and tragically inept sanctions regime -- which was making Saddam stronger and French and UN bureaucrats richer -- the various cruise missile attacks: These were all acts of war necessary to "keep Saddam in his box." And that whole system was falling apart. Bush faced a choice: Let Saddam out of his box or get rid of him. The former would make Saddam a hero, lower the price for defying America and further solidify the law of the jackboot in the Arab world. After 9/11 Bush felt he had no choice at all. We had to force changes in the Arab world before the Arab world forced worse things on us. Removing Saddam has had unforeseeable bad consequences, as well as some foreseeable ones. But it seems to me that liberals who now think we shouldn't have done it, solely because we didn't do it "just right," are falling prey to their own historic pie-in-the-skyism. There is no "just right" way to do things like this. If there were, we would have toppled Saddam with nerf bats.


    DURING ONE HIS MANY INTERVIEWS THIS PAST WEEK (I think during the BBC interview), President Clinton was asked about "the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy", and he said something along the lines of "I think it was wrong of Hillary to refer to it as a conspiracy. It was a very big machine, but it was right out in the open." At what point do we start coming up for names for what the left is doing now? To paraphrase President Clinton, it's not a conspiracy; it's right out in the open: the constant hammering of President Bush by the press (who ignore their own reporting on Iraq during the Clinton years), the outbursts in the Senate by disgruntled leftwingers like Ted Kennedy, Tom Harkin, and Frank Lautenberg; Michael Moore's film; and now this:

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Cheered by supporters, Michael Moore previewed his Bush-bashing documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," before a mostly Democratic audience in the nation's capital Wednesday night. Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe said he thought the film would play an important role in this election year. "This movie raises a lot of the issues that Americans are talking about, that George Bush has been asleep at the switch since he's been president," McAuliffe said as he walked the red carpet into the premiere. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa implored all Americans to see the film: "It's important for the American people to understand what has gone on before, what led us to this point, and to see it sort of in this unvarnished presentation by Michael Moore."
    Add to it Mario Cuomo's efforts to get its rating lowered from R to PG-13 so that more kids could attend. Here you have three very prominent members of the Democratic party praising a piece of agitprop designed to trash a sitting president. Hillary could go on The Today Show in 1998 and claim a vast right wing conspiracy with a straight face, and nobody in the press questioned her. Does Bush get to make a similar claim about the left? If so, how can he frame it, considering how much he's loathed by the press? I do think that ultimately, this stuff isn't helping the left's cause, and they're overplaying their hand, just like the over the top Wellstone funeral-cum-political orgy of 2002. They've hitched themselves to something which is likely to rebound very badly in their faces; but in the meantime, I hope a rope-a-dope strategy is in place by the White House, because without signs of the president fighting back, all of this can be brutal to watch. On the other hand, the staggering amount of overheated rhetoric doesn't sound at all like the FDR-style jaunty "happy days are here again" feeling of a party confident of victory in the fall. It's not 1968--yet. But it can certainly feel like it, at times. UPDATE: John H. Hinderaker of The Power Line Blog writes, "With all of this publicity, Fahrenheit 9/11 can only be a mega-hit. I mean, the last cultural phenomenon to receive this kind of hype was Air America". Heh. More from Power Line on the left's crack-up here. ANOTHER UPDATE: John Hawkins has some questions for the Democratic politicians who consider Moore to be part of the mainstream.


    AXIS OF STUPIDITY: Charles Johnson writes, "I’ll bet there were some dropped jaws in BBC boardrooms at the results of this Glasgow University study, which somehow, against all odds and evidence, found that the BBC favors Israel in its reporting. "I didn’t think it possible", Johnson adds, "but I believe we’ve found someone even more anti-Israel than the Beeb".


    A COOL AND LOGICAL ANALYSIS OF THE BICYCLE MENACE: Just found out one of my favorite P.J. O'Rourke essays is online.


    GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM: Scott Ott "reports" that SpaceShipOne pilot glimpsed "Edge of Clinton Book Hype". And so did Matt Drudge, who currently has a long list of headlines from local book sellers reporting less than brisk sales. Meanwhile, RatherBiased explores the CBS-Amazon partnership. Sadly, Greg Packer could not be reached for comment.


    THE LOST PATRIOTS OF HOLLYWOOD: Michelle Malkin picks up a theme we've discussed several times, perhaps most memorably here.


    IN THE MODERN POLITICAL ERA, it's all about the sound bite. Crafting a phrase that instantly captures your goals, your style, your elan:

  • "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall!"
  • "A kinder and gentler America."
  • "I feel your pain."
  • "The soft bigotry of low expectations."
  • These are all some of the more memorable sound bites from the past two decades of presidential politics. Of course, when you've given your opponent a sound bite he can use against you, you've clearly fumbled the ball. And by the way, did Jay Nordlinger call this, or what?


    "HOW CAN HE DO THAT--IT'S NOT PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE!" "IN NEW JERSEY ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!" was a gag line in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo about the always strange doings in my home state. And as Darren Copeland, the Colorado Conservative writes, it's about to commit fiscal suicide, raising taxes for those New Jersey residents earning more than $500,000 each year. "I wonder how many of those households remain in New Jersey if this tax is implemented", Darren writes. "If I were one of those people, I would be moving, and leaving New Jersey high and dry". A fair chunk will do just that, as the Laffer Curve remains inviolable. (Incidentally, Darren, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at last month's Colorado Blogger Bash, has lots more good stuff on his blog.) UPDATE: Not surprisingly, The Wall Street Journal has some thoughts.


    Tuesday, June 22, 2004


    MORE ON PUNITIVE LIBERALISM, from Roger Kimball of The New Criterion.


    LIKE THE MAN SAYS...Heh.


    TWO MORE NEWS SOURCES EXPOSE THE SADDAM-BIN LADEN CONNECTION: CNN and The Guardian. Oh wait, just like Newsweek, NPR and The New York Times, those stories ran in the late '90s. As Glenn Reynolds writes, "No doubt this was a preemptive fiction on the part of the not-yet-nominated Bush Administration". It was! After all, CBS told me that President Bush was in office back in '98.


    CLINTON'S BBC INTERVIEW: Here's the full clip of the interview that Drudge has been flogging, which is an hour long. The sparks (and finger-pointing) occur at about 28 minutes in; it's hilarious watching President Clinton verbally beating up on a man from the BBC(!) about "wanting to help the far right". Although the warm-up, where Clinton blames the politics of Watergate for leading to this, is fun. Gee Bill, which party created the politics of Watergate to bring down a sitting president? On the other hand, it's pretty staggering that Clinton has to go to the BBC to escape what Mickey Kaus calls "the liberal cocoon"--the mass of reporters in America who prop up, and refuse to ask politicians on the left tough questions. (Via "The Corner". Real Player required to via video.)


    A MATTER OF FAITH: David Brooks points out something that Rod Dreher wrote about last year: that just as Republicans became the party of religion, the Democrats have become the party of the Godless. As Brooks writes:

    More than any other leading Democrat, Bill Clinton understands the role religion actually plays in modern politics. He knows Americans want to be able to see their leaders' faith. A recent Pew survey showed that for every American who thinks politicians should talk less about religion, there are two Americans who believe politicians should talk more. And Clinton seems to understand, as many Democrats do not, that a politician's faith isn't just about litmus test issues like abortion or gay marriage. Many people just want to know that their leader, like them, is in the fellowship of believers. Their president doesn't have to be a saint, but he does have to be a pilgrim. He does have to be engaged, as they are, in a personal voyage toward God. Clinton made this sort of faith-based connection, at least until he sullied himself with the Lewinsky affair. He won the evangelical vote in 1992, and won it again in 1996. He understood that if Democrats are not seen as religious, they will be seen as secular Ivy League liberals, and they will lose. John Kerry doesn't seem to get this. Many of the people running the Democratic Party don't get it either.
    This isn't news; the fact that it's being discussed in the Times, is. As Dreher wrote:
    True story: I once proposed a column on some now-forgotten religious theme to the man who was at the time the city editor of the New York Post. He looked at me like I'd lost my mind. "This is not a religious city," he said, with a straight face. As it happened, the man lived in my neighborhood. To walk to the subway every morning, he had to pass in front of or close to two Catholic churches, an Episcopal church, a synagogue, a mosque, an Assemblies of God Hispanic parish, and an Iglesia Bautista Hispana. Yet this man did not see those places because he does not know anyone who attends them. It's not that this editor despises religion; it's that he's too parochial (pardon the pun) to see what's right in front of him. There's a lot of truth in that old line attributed to the New Yorker's Pauline Kael, who supposedly remarked, in all sincerity, "I don't understand how Nixon won; I don't know a soul who voted for him."
    And unlike Dreher and Brooks, I doubt many of the reporters on The Times understand how the Democrats became the Godless Party. (Via Betsy Newmark.)


    "SAVE THE PLANET. JUMP IN YOUR CAR!" Glenn Reynolds and Reason have great posts on a recent study which indicates, as Roger Ford of Modern Railways magazine says, "a family of four going by car is about as environmentally friendly as you can get", especially when compared to today's trains. Maybe that's why Syd Mead told me that:

    "Mass transit" is purely an academic term. With half the world's populations living in cities by 2050, owning a private automobile becomes a default response to the imperfect and often inconvenient availability of so-called "mass transit" mobility.
    Sadly though, "the desire named streetcar" continues to percolate in most city planners' brains.


    JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE to go to the book store: Greg Packer is back, and being quoted in (where else) The New York Times.


    SANTANA PLAYS THE RACE CARD, after the death of legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones last month, in an article in the San Diego Union Tribune:

    A hippie at heart, Carlos Santana has long championed music as a potent force for creating positive vibrations that – as this veteran of the 1969 Woodstock festival puts it – "can change your molecular structure." But the legendary rocker sounded uncharacteristically angry during a discussion about the recent death of one of his musical heroes, jazz drum icon Elvin Jones, who died May 18 of heart failure. Santana, who will be honored in Los Angeles as the 2004 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year on Aug. 30, is incensed that Jones' death elicited scant media coverage. He expressed his frustration during a recent interview from his San Rafael office. "I'm really embarrassed for this nation, and for MTV and VH1 and Rolling Stone, because it was a very racist thing not to acknowledge this most important musician when he passed," said Santana, whose 1999 album, "Supernatural," won nine Grammys and has sold more than 25 million copies. "For them to (play up) Ozzy Osbourne and other corny-ass white people, but not Elvin, is demeaning and I'm really embarrassed to live in this country."
    * * *
    The reason for the slight, Santana believes, is a matter of racial and cultural prejudice. "When Miles (Davis) died (in 1991), for four hours in France they stopped everything on TV and radio – all the regular programming – and just showed Miles for four hours, all through France," Santana recalled. "Here in the U.S., it's embarrassing (how jazz is treated). People should be ashamed of themselves."
    There's a very simple answer to this: put your money where your mouth is, Carlos--create a jazz TV channel for cable. If Al Gore can convince a group of investors to buy a Canadian TV channel to create Al-TV, there's no reason why Santana can't try to do something similar. But will there be enough of an audience for advertising revenues? Because as Air America on the radio is showing, if nobody tunes in, it won't stay on for too long. VH-1 showed jazz every Sunday night in the mid to late 1980s. Jazz musician Ben Sidran was the host, and I used to watch it each week. But apparently, nobody else did, because it was eventually cancelled. There's a great book from the late 1990s called If It Ain't Got That Swing: The Rebirth of Grown-Up Culture by Mark Gauvreau Judge. Judge argues that rock and roll took off in the mid-1950s largely because jazz musicians and their critics abandoned the popular swing bands for the much more insular bebop and cool jazz, which made the musicians and critics happy, but alienated mass audiences, who wanted simple music they can dance to. When Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Elvis came along offering them just that, guess where the audiences went? And Santana knows this--there's a reason why his latest record sold 50 bazillion copies: because it had simple songs with popular young singers on them, rather than Coltrane-style modal jams. So Carlos is filling sports arenas playing rock, but surprised that nobody's buying jazz records. Go figure. Incidentally, has anybody asked Santana what he thinks of the outpouring of emotion that Ray Charles received when he died? Or does that not count because Ray sold out and played popular music to the masses, rather than jazz. ...You know, like Santana.


    SPACESHIP ONE: When it comes to space, I'm strictly a layman. But this article appears to me to be a somewhat decent first look at SpaceShip One's flight yesterday. But its level of cynicism doesn't help matters. It's written as if only the federal government's contributions to space research count. The headline makes it sound like the flight was a giant Estes model rocket launch. Was the Wright Brothers' flight a giant leap for paper airplane builders? And these equally cynical paragraphs don't help matters:

    In many ways, the moment is more Wild West than Wilbur Wright, opening a new frontier for the geniuses and thrill seekers, businessmen and hucksters who have long followed pioneers to new lands and new markets. "It's like the opening of the West," says Howard McCurdy, a spaceflight historian at American University in Washington. "Entrepreneurs followed in the wake of the oft government-funded explorers. There were a lot of characters and a lot of innovation."
    I wasn't around when Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth for the first time, and when Alan Sheppard and Gus Grissom followed with their first suborbital flights, but yesterday's flight is equally important: the first time a man who wasn't on a government payroll went into space. (Unfortunately, pilot Mchael Melvill isn't on Henry Luce's payroll, so he won't get the endless and positive PR that the Mercury Seven astronauts received.) Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey will eventually arrive, but like most Kubrick productions, it's going to take much longer than first anticipated.


    LATEST ELECTRONIC HOUSE NEWSLETTER ONLINE: For three decades, X10 has been the home automation language, making it possible to buy compatible products in stores like Radio Shack and Home Depot. But it's definitely getting long in the tooth. My latest Electronic House newsletter asks if a potential successor has been found.


    ENEMIES TOGETHER: Robert L. Pollock writes, "Clinton was right: Saddam and al Qaeda had numerous connections". Heck, you could read about some of them in the news--back in the late '90s.


    ROGER SIMON ON FAHRENHEIT 911:

    Now I know I will be criticized for making this statement without seeing the film (perhaps fairly). But I did see the trailer the other night and what is being emphasized in the advertisement is that the documentary reveals the shocking news that Bush helped the Bin Laden family leave America immediately after 9/11. Now Hitchens, of course, shows how this is a bald-faced lie. Bush critic Richard Clarke has acknowledged his sole responsibility for that. (I blogged about this a few weeks ago.) It seems to invalidate the entire film without having to go further. It will be interesting to see how the critics respond. Don't look for the Cannes Film Festival to rescind the Palme d'Or. After all, Quentin Tarantino informed us that his jury had awarded the film the prize "for aesthetic reasons."
    Of course they did.


    PUNITIVE LIBERALISM: I'd say that a meme is born, except that I've long been aware of this condition (and you probably have been as well). But now it has a name.


    Monday, June 21, 2004


    NOTE TO SELF: Don't make Christopher Hitchens angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry. And I'll bet the Incredible Bulk himself, Michael Moore, really hates Hitch today:

    A short word of advice: In general, it's highly unwise to quote Orwell if you are already way out of your depth on the question of moral equivalence. It's also incautious to remind people of Orwell if you are engaged in a sophomoric celluloid rewriting of recent history. If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture. Rock the vote, indeed.
    James Lileks writes, "Ever wondered if there’s a literary equivalent of someone attacking a hanging side of beef with a chain saw? Wonder no more."


    MR. PRESIDENT, WE CANNOT AFFORD A PRIVATELY FUNDED SPACECRAFT GAP! Steve Schmidt, Bush-Cheney '04 Spokesman notes some bad timing on Senator Kerry's part today:

    Only John Kerry would declare the country to be in scientific decline on a day when the country’s first privately funded space trip is successfully completed. America is the world leader in patents, research and development and Nobel prizes, and the President's budget raises federal research and development funding to $132 billion for 2005, a 44 percent increase since taking office.
    More on Spaceship One, later.


    I GUESS THIS IS A SLIM MAJORITY, TOO: Seven in 10 rate President Reagan over President Clinton. Seven of Nine could not be reached for comment. (You had to throw that in there, didn't you?--Ed. But of course!)


    THE NEW MATH: At the Detroit News, 64 percent is a "slim majority".


    CNS NEWS REPORTS THAT the left-liberal Media Maters Website is discrediting the Clinton book reviewer at the New York Times. That reviewer is Michiko Kakutami. Michelle Malkin limns her, here.


    COULD NADER'S VP PIC shore up his standing with the Green Party?


    THE END OF POWER: Niall Ferguson writes that without an American hegemony, the world would likely return to the dark ages. Meanwhile, James Lileks notes, "I ask my Democrat friends what they’d rather see happen – Bush reelected and bin Laden caught, or Bush defeated and bin Laden still in the wind. They’re all honest: they’d rather see Bush defeated." UPDATE: And meanwhile, a Federal judge is comparing Bush to Mussolini and his wife is protesting Bush "on behalf of herself and her husband".


    Sunday, June 20, 2004


    EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES: George Will looks at the nifty new book by Lynee Truss. As soon as my wife is done with it, I really should read it. We live in an age where, thanks to the Internet, the written word has never been more ubiquitous. And yet paradoxically, as Will notes, the vast majority of people online have an appalling lack of knowledge of proper spelling and punctuation:

    The connection between the words "punctilious,'' which means "attentive to formality or etiquette,'' and "punctuation'' is instructive. Careful punctuation expresses a writer's solicitude for the reader. Of course punctuation, like most other forms of good manners, may yet entirely disappear, another victim of progress, this time in the form of e-mail, cell-phone text messages and the like. Neither the elegant semicolon nor the dashing dash is of use to people whose preferred literary style is "CU B4 8?'' and whose idea of Edwardian prolixity is: "Saw Jim -- he looks gr8 -- have you seen him -- what time is the thing 2morrow.'' Oh, for the era when a journalist telephoned from Moscow to London to add a semicolon to his story!
    I wouldn't go that far--I'm quite happy to live in an era of demassified media (to borrow one of Alvin Toffler's favorite phrases). But I'd happily take the language skills that flourished in the past.


    QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The 9/11 Commission: Rehabilitating the reputation of The Warren Commission with every passing week."--Hugh Hewitt


    Saturday, June 19, 2004


    ALIEN VERSUS PREDATOR: You played the video game. Now go see the movie! (Or don't. Because it looks incredibly silly. And no sign of Sigourney Weaver stripping down to her undies either, even though she still looked pretty darn good on that Esquire cover a couple of years ago. So really, why even bother?) (Found via Murdoc Online.)


    WHY DAVID BROOKS IN THE NEW YORK TIMES IS A VERY GOOD THING: Think this detail about John Kerry would have gotten in there otherwise?

    Earlier this month, Andres Oppenheimer of The Miami Herald asked John Kerry what he thought of something called the Varela Project. Kerry said it was "counterproductive." It's necessary to try other approaches, he added. The Varela Project happens to be one of the most inspiring democracy movements in the world today. It is being led by a Cuban dissident named Oswaldo Payá, who has spent his life trying to topple Castro's regime. Payá realized early on that the dictatorship would never be overthrown by a direct Bay of Pigs-style military assault, but it could be undermined by a peaceful grass-roots movement of Christian democrats, modeling themselves on Martin Luther King Jr. As a young man, Payá founded a magazine called People of God, but it was shut down. He criticized the Soviet Union and was thrown into a work camp. He was given a chance to escape Cuba, but refused. Then in the mid-1990's, he and other dissidents exploited a loophole in the Cuban Constitution that allows ordinary citizens to propose legislation if they can gather 10,000 signatures on a petition. They began a petition drive to call for a national plebiscite on five basic human rights: free speech, free elections, freedom to worship, freedom to start businesses, and the freeing of political prisoners. This drive, the Varela Project, quickly amassed the 10,000 signatures, and more. Jimmy Carter lauded the project on Cuban television. The European Union gave Payá its Sakharov Prize for human rights. Then came Castro's crackdown. Though it didn't dare touch Payá, the regime arrested 75 other dissidents and sentenced each of them to up to 28 years in jail. This week Payá issued a desperate call for international attention and solidarity because the hunt for dissidents continues. John Kerry's view? As he told Oppenheimer, the Varela Project "has gotten a lot of people in trouble . . . and it brought down the hammer in a way that I think wound up being counterproductive." Imagine if you are a Cuban political prisoner rotting in a jail, and you learn that the leader of the oldest democratic party in the world thinks you're being counterproductive. Kerry's comment is a harpoon directed at the morale of Cuba's dissidents. Imagine sitting in Castro's secret police headquarters and reading that statement. The lesson you draw is that crackdowns work. Throw some dissidents in jail, and the man who might be president of the United States will blame the democrats for being provocative. Imagine if in the 1980's Ronald Reagan had called Andrei Sakharov or Natan Sharansky or Lech Walesa or Vaclav Havel "counterproductive" because, after all, what they did spawned crackdowns, too. If there's anything we've learned over the past 20 years it is the power of moral suasion to buck up dissidents and undermine tyrannical regimes. And yet Kerry seems to have decided that other priorities come first.
    Based on his record in the Senate, I'm not at all surprised that Kerry is an anti-anti-Castro. And while Brooks is an awfully squishy conservative, his column continues to pay big dividends with its location. UPDATE: More here.


    TEN SIMPLE RULES FOR DATING MY DAUGHTER: I rather like number three, myself.


    MYSTERIOUS WAYS DEPARTMENT: Charlotte Allen writes, "I admit it: I laughed, not cried, when I read that most of advertising magnate Charles Saatchi’s famous collection of "transgressive" art got burnt to a transgressive crisp in a London warehouse fire a few weeks ago":

    One of the artworks destroyed in the Saatchi fire turned out to have been Chris Ofili’s Holy Virgin Mary. That was the elephant dung-splattered, female-buttocks-and-genitalia-surrounded painting of the Madonna that was part of the "Sensations" show of Saatchi-owned art at the Brooklyn Museum in 1999. As might be expected, New York City’s substantial Catholic population was incensed that a tax-supported museum was using their money to pay for what they considered to be a three-way combination of blasphemy, scatology, and pornography. Then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani threatened to pull the museum’s $7 million grant from the city. A lawsuit followed, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the rest of the usual suspects--but it would seem that the final justice rendered might have been divine, for most of the "Sensations" show perished in the recent fire. What I loved about the Holy Virgin Mary flap was the tidal wave of pretentious blather it induced from the intelligentsia, who cast themselves as usual, as defenders of free speech and great art from the mindless, puritanical mob.
    Read on, to observe Salon’s Daniel Kunitz waxing philosphic--about a painting covered in elephant dung.

    Friday, June 18, 2004


    TARANTO'S ON A ROLL TODAY: Just click here and keep scrolling. And be sure to note the update to this story from yesterday--it's a doozy.


    AL QAEDA BEHEADS AMERICAN PAUL JOHNSON: Outside the Beltway has numerous links. And be sure to check out these two posts by Andy McCarthy.


    PRAGER WAS RIGHT: The more I think about it, the more this quote by Dennis Prager hits home:

    As a famous Soviet dissident joke put it: "In the Soviet Union, the future is known; it's the past which is always changing."
    In the 1990s, President Clinton and his administration released numerous bits of intel and information on Bin Ladin and Saddam Hussein to the press. As a result, The New York Times, as well as Newsweek, and NPR each ran stories documenting his ties to Bin Ladin. Yesterday, the 9/11 commission confirmed those ties, and admonished the press for ignoring them. Was Saddam directly tied to 9/11? President Bush never said he was. But clearly, Iraq and Al Qaeda were quite cozy with each other. Something the press spent the past decade documenting when it benefited one administration, and the past three years chucking down the memory hole when it hindered another. UPDATE: Steve Den Beste has a new post which shows how Prager's line applies to academia:
    In the "new" "enlightened" approach to history, you don't study historical events in order to learn the consequences and results of certain kinds of decisions and policies. History is a source of lessons, but you don't study history and derive lessons from past events. The lesson comes first. The conclusion is already known. You study history to find justifications for that lesson, but you already know the lesson is right before you begin that study. If history doesn't actually give you the justification you require, then you modify it as needed so that it does. That may mean you ignore some of it and emphasize other parts, or it may require you to rewrite it so that it happens the way it should have happened. This is a fundamentally teleological approach to history, in which the esthetic beauty of a conclusion, and the fact that we strongly want it to be true, are more important than whether it is empirically correct. If not, then the universe must change, because the mind and the concept are the most fundamental realities of all.
    Needless to say, RTWT. UPDATE: The Gipper's farewell from the White House warned of such revisionism. Speaking of President Reagan, here are some thoughts on how his legacy should be tought in school, by Robert Mandel, that rarest of breeds these days: a conservative teacher.


    NEW YORK TIMES DISCOVERS SADDAM-BIN LADEN CONNECTION: Set the wayback machine to 1998, Mr. Judd!


    HUGH HEWITT ON THE LA TIMES and their omission of the new (favorable to President Bush) polling numbers: "If the facts don't fit, you must omit". That works equally for their counterpart on the other side of the country. Paging Mr. Goldberg. Mr. Bernard Goldberg to the red courtesy phone. UPDATE: And even if you don't omit it, if the truth doesn't fit, don't bother putting it in the headlines. Note the headline at AP has for this story:

    Putin Says Russia Gave U.S. Intel on Iraq
    And then note the opening paragraph:
    ASTANA, Kazakhstan - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday his government warned Washington that Saddam Hussein's regime was preparing attacks in the United States and its interests abroad — an assertion that appears to bolster President Bush's contention that Iraq was a threat.
    I guess "Putin Confirms Saddam Was Threat" would be too gauche, huh? Or as Jim Geraghty wrote:
    The Left: The war on Iraq is a disaster! The world hates us! You did it unilaterally! You should have gotten Russia on board. You should have gotten Putin to support a U.N. resolution. The support of Russia would show this isn't just America being imperialist, but the whole unified world coming together to face Saddam. The Right: Well, Putin says Saddam was going to attack us with terrorists. The Left: Well, who the hell trusts Putin and the Russians?
    If the facts don't fit...


    KAFKA SAYS GIBSON TOP CELEBRITY: Peter Kafka of Forbes, that is:

    Hollywood turned its back on his bloody Bible flick, a cross that Mel was only too happy to carry himself. With The Passion of the Christ bringing in more than $600 million at the box office, he is likely to make at least $150 million more in the next year. Mel made the top 10 in every category we measured this year: money, magazine covers, press clippings, Web presence, TV/radio hits.
    Who says the auteur theory is dead?


    TERMINAL LOGIC: Over at National Review Online, Megan Basham reviews Spielberg and Hanks' The Terminal:

    The real Viktor Navorski [Tom Hanks' character], a displaced Iranian named Merhan Karimi Nasseri, was stuck in Charles De Gaulle airport for over seven years before the two European governments made any attempt to resolve his situation. Now, sadly, it seems Nasseri has gone a bit mad, and refuses to leave the airport for any country save England, which is not an option for him. With Spielberg and Hanks at the helm, The Terminal is, for the most part, everything one would expect — charming, funny, and possessing its own singular character and visual beauty in much the same way as their last collaboration, Catch Me If You Can. But what it is not is intellectually honest. True, Spielberg most likely could not have set this film in France with as much success. But if he had, it is unlikely he would have made a French immigration authority the villain he makes out of Dixon. Truth, as always, remains stranger than fiction, and Hollywood's fiction, as always, does what it can to undermine the reputation of certain American institutions. The Terminal manages to amuse, entertain, and inspire. But as with almost all things connected to Tinsel Town, just don't expect it to educate — at least, not fairly.
    The same is true of Saved which, as Jonathan Last notes, does something [satire] no other Hollywood film has ever done before [/satire]: make fun of Christians!
    Don R. Lewis, of Film Threat, wrote that "Saved!" is "a sweet and funny movie that starts off with bite but settles into an honest feeling of happiness and acceptance for all types of people and their choices." Of course, he doesn't really mean all types of people. He went on to note that the movie is "a gentle exploration of why the judgments of the Catholic church are so screwed up." ("Saved!" is about evangelical Christians--not Catholics--but you know how it is. They all look alike.) John Leonard of CBS thought the movie "good-hearted," while Manohla Dargis, in the Los Angeles Times, labeled it "a soft-bellied, sweet-tempered satire." Both Newsweek and the New York Times judged as merely "gentle" the ribbing that "Saved!" gives to Christians. Too gentle, for some. The Chicago Tribune lamented that "after bravely lampooning an institution so many consider beyond reproach, Saved! chickens out." Michael Atkinson, from the Village Voice, wrote that American evangelicals--whom he called "warmongers praying for corpse-heaped victory"--need "a good, steel-tipped satiric whipping," and that the movie didn't deliver it. For good measure, he added: "the born-again, one-hand-in-the-air prayer stance. . .resembles a Nazi salute." Ms. Dargis faulted "Saved!" for not having the courage to "admit that some of [God's] most ardent believers will always be invested in hate." Other reviewers were not so dismissive of Mr. Dannelly's grit. "Teasing Christians," said Newsweek, "is risky business." David Denby, in The New Yorker, solemnly nodded, adding that although "Saved!" was not an attack on Christianity, "to make it at all took courage." Actually, it took no courage, since the movie plays straight into Hollywood's smug stereotypes about religion, especially the non-Buddhist variety.
    For all its flaws, audiences instinctively knew that The Passion took its Christianity seriously, propelling a low budget vanity film by Mel Gibson into the box office stratosphere. Will anybody else in Hollywood get the message?


    THE INTIFADA'S OVER, writes Charles Krauthammer. And the Israelis won:

    For Israel, the victory is bitter. The past four years of terrorism have killed almost 1,000 Israelis and maimed thousands of others. But Israel has won strategically. The intent of the intifada was to demoralize Israel, destroy its economy, bring it to its knees, and thus force it to withdraw and surrender to Palestinian demands, just as Israel withdrew in defeat from southern Lebanon in May 2000. That did not happen. Israel's economy was certainly wounded, but it is growing again. Tourism had dwindled to almost nothing at the height of the intifada, but tourists are returning. And the Israelis were never demoralized. They kept living their lives, the young people in particular returning to cafes and discos and buses just hours after a horrific bombing. Israelis turned out to be a lot tougher and braver than the Palestinians had imagined. The end of the intifada does not mean the end of terrorism. There was terrorism before the intifada and there will be terrorism to come. What has happened, however, is an end to systematic, regular, debilitating, unstoppable terror -- terror as a reliable weapon. At the height of the intifada, there were nine suicide attacks in Israel killing 85 Israelis in just one month (March 2002). In the past three months there have been none. The overall level of violence has been reduced by more than 70 percent. How did Israel do it? By ignoring its critics and launching a two-pronged campaign of self-defense.
    RTWT. (Via Steve Green, who's going through the same mind-numbing hell fun of remodeling I went through last year, but left us lots of weekend links in the interim.)


    THE MOD SQUAD: Looking to hot rod your PC? Check out an article I wrote for the July issue of Videomaker Magazine. (Spot the Trogdor reference!)


    9/11 PANEL ADMONISHES MEDIA: Ace of Spades has the details. Fortunately, Newsweek got the story right--in 1999, that is.


    SWIMMING TO BOSTON: Eric Fettman of the New York Post writes:

    The opening night of next month's Democratic convention in Boston is set to feature an emotional party tribute to hometown hero Ted Kennedy, who has served in office longer than every other senator but one. Guess no one at the Democratic National Committee took a close look at the calendar: That July 26 salute to Teddy just happens to coincide with . . . the 35th anniversary of Chappaquiddick.
    Wonder if this writer from the Boston Globewill be covering the event. UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein has a copy of the invitation.

    Thursday, June 17, 2004


    "ENRON, YES. ISLAMIC FASCISM, NO.": James Lileks writes that The clock has been reset to 9/10. For some, that's true. Not for all of us, though.


    ARROGANCE AND ALTERNATIVES: The second half of my interview with Bernard Goldberg is online at Tech Central Station. (If you haven't read part one yet, it's here.)


    "NO ONE ASKED US": It's funny that the left only pulls the chickenhawk sophism out of their rhetorical playbook when they want to oppose something. Which is too bad--they might learn something from this essay by Major Stan Coerr, USMCR SuperCobra attack helicopter pilot and forward air controller, and veteran of the liberation of Iraq from Suddam Hussein.


    ON A MUCH MORE UNSAVORY NOTE, John Hawkins explores Michael Moore's Hezbollah connection.


    THE GIPPER-FDR CONNECTION is explored by Michael Barone, who writes:

    Ambitious to succeed, the young Reagan went off to college, then made a career in radio, then passed a screen test and became a movie star. The 1920s and 1930s radio and 1930s and 1940s movies were universal media, aimed at all Americans, presenting a vision of a friendly and open nation. Those movies were the strongest popular culture since Charles Dickens and, for many, still define the American character. Ronald Reagan was suffused with their spirit and brought it or, rather, brought it back to American politics. Brought it back, because it was the same spirit brought to politics by Franklin Roosevelt, for whom Reagan voted four times. Roosevelt and Reagan both came to office when people had given up on the American economy, and both brought it back toward prosperity and abundance — Roosevelt by expanding government, Reagan by cutting taxes and curbing inflation, freeing the American economy to produce the largely unpredicted surge of prosperity of the past 20 years. Roosevelt and Reagan as presidents both faced a world where totalitarian regimes were on the march and where the United States seemed helpless to stop them. Roosevelt led the American people to victory and the destruction of Nazism and took steps to keep the peace in the postwar world he did not live to see. Reagan pushed the Soviet Union to the brink of collapse and had the satisfaction, before his mind dimmed, of watching the Berlin Wall fall and Moscow's empire crumble. He is buried now near a slab from that wall, overlooking the mountains and the Pacific to the west. Reagan always admired Roosevelt, even as he came to oppose many of his policies, and there were similarities in their characters. Both were optimistic and friendly and seemed open, yet both had hard cores inaccessible even to their closest aides: cold steel beneath the smiles. Both had courage, "grace under pressure," as Thatcher said. Roosevelt, at his speeches, stood in steel braces and with great effort, in enormous pain, walked forward to the microphone and addressed the nation. Reagan, after he was shot, stood and walked from the ambulance into the hospital, taking care to button his jacket. The two men stand now, in history, the two most consequential presidents of the 20th century.
    That grace under pressure may best be summed up by a quote that Reagan himself made: "Uncle Sam is a friendly old man, but he has a spine of steel".


    GHOST TOWN REVISITED:Back in early April, we linked to this site at its old URL and wrote:

    P.J. O'Rourke once wrote a book called Holidays in Hell. If you're up for a virtual one, how about a motorcycle ride past the abandoned hulk of Chernobyl and its nearby deserted ghost towns, with Elena, a beautiful Russian brunette as your guide?
    Steven Den Beste links to Elena's site as the launching pad for an essay on the archeological implications of Chernobyl. Den Beste describes what it tells us about the state of the Soviet Union at the time of the Chernobyl meltdown, only four years after Arthur Schlesinger, just back from a trip to Moscow in 1982, said that President Reagan was delusional about the crumbling state of the Evil Empire:
    "I found more goods in the shops, more food in the markets, more cars on the street -- more of almost everything," he said, adding his contempt for "those in the U.S. who think the Soviet Union is on the verge of economic and social collapse, ready with one small push to go over the brink."


    EARTH TURNING TO DUST, UN SAYS: There's no way this article can be true. Because dammit--Spielberg owes me. I bought miles of property in Trenton, New Jersey after seeing A.I. a few years ago, and I expect to be sitting on prime ocean-front land in a few years!


    BUT DON'T QUESTION THEIR CREDIBILITY: The Chicago Tribune reports their crosstown rival, the Chicago Sun Times trashed large amounts of its own daily run to boost its circulation numbers. Do the environmentalists know about that?


    THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS: At the end of a Washington Times article on John Kerry's campaign trek through Ohio, is this:

    Talking about education yesterday, Mr. Kerry also told the largely black crowd at the day care center that there are more blacks in prison than in college. "That's unacceptable," he said. "But it's not their fault." Rather than the inmates, the former Boston prosecutor blamed poverty, poor schools, a dearth of after-school programs and "all of us as adults not doing what we need to do."
    James Taranto writes:
    What do adults "need to do" to prevent youngsters from turning to crime? Surely, above all, instill in them a sense of personal responsibility. Kerry sends precisely the opposite message when he says of criminals--and, it would seem, only of those criminals who happen to be black--that "it's not their fault." There's a tinge of racism, what President Bush aptly terms "the soft bigotry of low expectations," in Kerry's assumption that young blacks can't be expected to do any better than end up in prison.
    Another staggering Kerry gaffe that old media won't comment on, for several reasons. (Via Joanne Jacobs.)


    WHOOOO'S THAT GIRL?? Meet Esther. She's not quite like a virgin. But she's waiting for you to justify her love! Malcolm Muggeridge--call your offfice! UPDATE: Wow, that was fast! Jeff Goldstein has scored the first interview with Esther.


    FROM THE BOTTOM UP: I have a new (and relatively long) article, which traces the electric bass from the Fender Precision Bass to today's software synthesizers, online at Blogcritics. The article also has lots of tips for home recordists. UPDATE: First comment the article received was posted by this fellow: "Speaking as a working bassist, your kung fu is the best. Thanks Ed, for a fantastic article and reverent homage to the Low End." I really have to do a post with the kudos this site and my writing has gotten. And somewhere "your kung fu is the best!" has to be among them.


    NEWSWEEK AND NPR EXAMINE THE SADDAM-AL QAEDA CONNECTION: Back in 1999, that is:

    There was a time not long ago when the conventional wisdom skewed heavily toward a Saddam-al Qaeda links. In 1998 and early 1999, the Iraq-al Qaeda connection was widely reported in the American and international media. Former intelligence officers and government officials speculated about the relationship and its dangerous implications for the world. The information in the news reports came from foreign and domestic intelligence services. It was featured in mainstream media outlets including international wire services, prominent newsweeklies, and network radio and television broadcasts. Newsweek magazine ran an article in its January 11, 1999, issue headed "Saddam + Bin Laden?" "Here's what is known so far," it read: “Saddam Hussein, who has a long record of supporting terrorism, is trying to rebuild his intelligence network overseas -- assets that would allow him to establish a terrorism network. U.S. sources say he is reaching out to Islamic terrorists, including some who may be linked to Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi exile accused of masterminding the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa last summer.” ....NPR reporter Mike Shuster interviewed Vincent Cannistraro, former head of the CIA's counterterrorism center, and offered this report: “Iraq's contacts with bin Laden go back some years, to at least 1994, when, according to one U.S. government source, Hijazi met him when bin Laden lived in Sudan. According to Cannistraro, Iraq invited bin Laden to live in Baghdad to be nearer to potential targets of terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait....Some experts believe bin Laden might be tempted to live in Iraq because of his reported desire to obtain chemical or biological weapons. CIA Director George Tenet referred to that in recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee when he said bin Laden was planning additional attacks on American targets.” By mid-February 1999, journalists did not even feel the need to qualify these claims of an Iraq-al Qaeda relationship. An Associated Press dispatch that ran in the Washington Post ended this way: "The Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has offered asylum to bin Laden, who openly supports Iraq against Western powers." Where did journalists get the idea that Saddam and bin Laden might be coordinating efforts? Among other places, from high-ranking Clinton administration officials. In the spring of 1998 -- well before the U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa -- the Clinton administration indicted Osama bin Laden. The indictment, unsealed a few months later, prominently cited al Qaeda's agreement to collaborate with Iraq on weapons of mass destruction. The Clinton Justice Department had been concerned about negative public reaction to its potentially capturing bin Laden without "a vehicle for extradition," official paperwork charging him with a crime. It was "not an afterthought" to include the al Qaeda-Iraq connection in the indictment, says an official familiar with the deliberations. "It couldn't have gotten into the indictment unless someone was willing to testify to it under oath." The Clinton administration's indictment read unequivocally: “Al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.”
    I wonder if the 9/11 Commission knows about this. UPDATE: More here. ANOTHER UPDATE: This issue's controversy in an election year is somewhat muted by the fact that John Kerry agrees with the president' position...

    Wednesday, June 16, 2004


    PLANE ESCORTED BACK TO SEATAC WITH F-16 ESCORT? My wife has a friend who's a volunteer fire jumper with a scanner, who says that a Horizon Air passenger flight enroute to Hawaii was in the air for 30 minutes when it was escorted back to Seattle's SeaTac airport with a fighter escort. More on this if and when there are some substantial details to post. A FEW MORE DETAILS: Apparently, it seems the plane was not transmitting on its transponder which may be as simple as a blown fuse, but the fighter jets had to escort it because otherwise it's invisible on the transponder displays which are so crucial to air traffic safety. It's sounds like it's going to land at McChord Air Force Base just outside of Seattle.


    THE KERRY-REAGAN CONNECTION, as explored by Power Line: "Kerry yearns, say his friends, for the era of good feeling that prevailed during the Reagan presidency, highlighted by the Iran-Contra and Bork hearings". Heh.


    ARE REPORTERS ABOVE THE LAW? The obvious answer is "of course not". Over at his MSNBC Blog, Glenn Reynolds explains why. I've always liked Charlton Heston's response when CNN tried to claim some sort of made-up neutrality.


    IT IS THE END OF DAYS: Truly, it is. (Via Jeff Goldstein, who's equally frightened.)


    KERRY MAKES STATEMENT on his repeated absences from the Senate this year. Although he hasn't entered into this poll yet.


    JONAH GOLDBERG TAKES ANDREW SULLIVAN TO TASK for his regular attacks on President Bush, and I think he's got a point:

    A blog which soared with high-minded rhetoric about how the war on terror is the test for this generation and that Bush was the right man to lead that struggle, now day-after-day tries to whittle away at reasons to support Bush in the fall as if the war on terror were merely another issue which can be trumped by any other issue you happen to feel more passionate about.
    "Some days", Jonah adds, "it really sounds like Sullivan wants to jump into the anti-Bush pool but he just can't muster the gumption if others won't join him." UPDATE: Jonah notes that Sullivan has pulled a fast one:
    I must say I was surprised to discover this link from the gay magazine The Advocate. It seems that Andrew had been unequivocal about his opinions on Bush in that publication but not in his blog. In his Advocate essay he writes:
    But it’s time to say something very clearly: Bush’s endorsement of antigay discrimination in the U.S. Constitution itself is a deal-breaker. I can’t endorse him this fall. Like many other gay men and women who have supported him, despite serious disagreements, I feel betrayed, abused, attacked.
    And...
    I will be excoriated by the same people who always denounce anyone who doesn’t toe the Democratic Party line. “What took you so long?” they sneer. Hope, engagement, principle are my answers. I do not regret trying to make conservatism safe for gays. It’s still possible to be in favor of small government, low taxes, a tough foreign policy, and to be a proud gay man. My principles haven’t changed. Nor will they anytime soon. But when a president allies himself with forces that really do want to keep gay people in jail, therapy, or the closet, it’s time to break off. The deal is broken. And no amount of rationalization can make it whole again.
    Now I disagree with much (but not all) of what Andrew says in his essay. But it's an honest and decent position. Still what baffles me is why, to my knowledge, he's made no reference to this essay or his absolutist position on his site. Maybe, I missed it and he has. But I don't think so. Obviously, there's no binding code of ethics governing the blogosphere and even if there were I doubt it would have anything to say about not linking to articles you've written elsewhere or being obligated to express every significant opinion you have. But still, reading Andrew over the last year, you would have gotten the impression that at least theoretically his mind was open on who to support. According to this piece, it isn't. And that strikes me as an extremely significant silence.
    Well, at least now we know. (Via InstaPundit.) UPDATE: Ace of Spades has some thoughts on Sullivan, in a long, detailed post. ONE MORE UPDATE: This sounds like some furious tap dancing to me. A THOUGHT: When Andrew finally does line up for Kerry, watch The New York Times eventually start running him on the Op-Ed page again. OK, ANOTHER UPDATE OR TWO: More from Ace of Spades, here. Meanwhile, Sullivan takes a real cheap shot at Jonah, quoting anti-gay posters from Jonah's mom's site, Lucianne.com. One would assume that when Sullivan endorses Kerry, it will be in spite of some of the more extreme comments written by the folks who post at say, Democratic Underground or IndyMedia.


    IS BILL RICHARDSON out of the Kerry veep running? UPDATE: Is Sam Nunn now in the picture? Will Collier writes, "Dubya should be so lucky".


    Tuesday, June 15, 2004


    NEW HOME AUTOMATION STANDARD PROPOSED BY SMARTHOME.COM, whose CEO was nice enough to stop by my office today at noon (in between stopping by some very high-powered folks in the San Jose area). Here's an article about it on a site called Designtechnica.com. Expect my write-up in the not-too-distant future.


    PROTEIN WISDOM GENTLY REBUKES MICHELLE MALKIN for missing the subtext in Paul Krugman's latest article. (Looks like we missed it as well!)


    POSTMODERN TERROR: Steve Green writes, "I don't buy that the Paul Johnson video is a ransom message. I have the sick feeling Mr. Johnson is already dead". RTWT. UPDATE: Charles Johnson adds, "And now back to Prison Scandal 2004!, brought to you by the mainstream media of the West, currently at war but unable to recognize it".


    DEN BESTE: "I don't necessarily want you to agree with me. But if you disagree, I want you to understand why." Imagine if the elite media had that as their philosophy. It's easy if you try...


    WHY SCHROEDER LOST, and what it means for America: Kevin Hassett writes:

    The Germans now face what is to them an unthinkable possibility. Their eastern neighbors are dramatically more successful than they are and may soon enough be richer. The costs of their lazy socialism are apparent even to their children, and the country is in a panic. "We all recognize," one participant told me, "that Germany needs its own Reagan."
    That's true of several countries in Europe.


    HELL, REVISITED: Last October, when the conventional wisdom was the Howard Dean was going to be The Man that the Democrats would rally around, Jonah Goldberg had a great cover story in National Review about Vermont. The cover's chief headline was set in enormous type and was one word: Hell. (Here's an spin-off article that Goldberg wrote for National Review Online.) C.C. Kraemer picks up the theme, looking at "Green Mountain Statists" in Tech Central Station:

    Vermont is a paradox. It's a relatively poor state filled with low-income families who can use the price breaks brought by discount retailers. But it's also a playground for wealthy progressives and elitists who tend to be concentrated in the Burlington area. They began flocking to state three decades ago because they saw an opportunity to take control of Vermont's policy-making process and force through a progressive agenda. Though their wealth is a product of our capitalist, free-market system, these left-leaning relative newcomers see development and economic advancement as threats to Vermont's rural and quaint small-town flavor. That puts them at odds with much of the more deeply rooted populace that shares neither the elitists' wealth nor their values. As such it becomes clear why the state is the perfect location for the escalating culture clash over Wal-Mart.
    Kraemer concludes, "Most Vermonters could use more Wal-Marts and the low prices and job opportunities the retailer brings. Yet an elite few are willing to make sure they get neither. The world's largest retailer is unwelcome in Vermont and in other self-characterized progressive states and communities across the country. That might be OK for the cocktail party crowd, but it is a disservice to those who rely on Wal-Mart to make their incomes go further".


    THINK DIFFERENT: Then: The Belmont Club writes:

    Sophisticates unwittingly paid Reagan a compliment by calling him a cowboy, by which they meant gunslinger, instead of in the more accurate sense of a man able to see nature without blinders; to know things for what they were. Although Ronald Reagan has left the nation a huge legacy of achievement still it would be incomplete and his bequest to posterity less final if we forget that his greatest strength was to think for himself and dare to do the same.
    And now:
    These days, [leftwing radio personality Phil Hendrie] is more likely to appear on Dennis Miller’s new MSNBC comedy news show, or even to be booed at the recent Aspen Comedy Festival, at a Saturday-morning panel on “Who’s Funnier — the Left or Right?” “I’m delighted to be counted among Phil’s admirers,” says Harry Shearer, “although he’s hopelessly wrong about the war . . . Long and short of it — he’s way too good for KFI.” “Ever since 9/11,” says Hendrie, “as the days tick by, I wonder if I’m insane. I wonder if I’ve overreacted, because I’ve seen the country drift back to this blasé attitude: Maybe 9/11 was this isolated thing, and maybe we should just cool out. And sometimes I doubt myself — should I be as shocked as I was? But I remember those days. Everybody felt it. And it’s changed me a lot. I feel like I need to say this. I’m not going to change anyone’s mind, but I’ve got to get it off my chest. And I’m not a Republican; I am a Democrat. I know I’m a Democrat, and I know what the Democratic Party stands for. I think the president is wrong-minded on certain domestic issues such as gay marriage. I think he’s being badly influenced by, once again, the thing that’s going to tear the Republican Party apart, the religious right. But that said, I don’t think I need to turn my card in just because I don’t hate George Bush. I know war is bad, but this is not the generation that’s going to end it.”


    BLOGGING TODAY'S EARTHQUAKE IN SAN DIEGO: San Jose is awfully far from San Diego, and I wasn't even aware of a quake until I read Glenn's post, unlike the Christmas week quake near San Simeon, which I definitely felt. But several San Diego-era bloggers noticed this one, and The Professor has links to them.


    JOHN HAWKINS LOOKS AT "Press Bias, Teresa Heinz Kerry, & The Myth Of Max Cleland". UPDATE: More on Cleland here.


    NARCISSUS' POND: Bestsy Newmark has some thoughts on Bill Clinton and his presidential portrait.


    WHY DIDN'T THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA COVER the speech given to terrorist Richard C. Reid (the would-be "shoe bomber") by the judge who sentenced him to life in prison? Instead, we get the New York Times printing that "Mr. Ashcroft has yet to convict any actual terrorists". The coverage of our war on terror by the press has all-in-all, been an abomination. Of course, as Lileks noted recently, it makes sense, when you consider that the nihilism of Hunter S. Thompson is the tone journalists love to affect:

    Thompson has less hope than the Islamists; at least they have an afterlife to look forward to. All we have is a country so rotten and exhausted it’s not worth defending. It never was, of course, but it’s even less defensible now than before. He can say what he wants. Drink what he wants. Drive where he wants. Do what he wants. He’s done okay in America. And he hates this country. Hates it. This appeals to high school kids and collegiate-aged students getting that first hot eye-crossing hit from the Screw Dad pipe, but it’s rather pathetic in aged moneyed authors. And it would be irrelevant if this same spirit didn't infect on whom Hunter S. had an immense influence. He's the guy who made nihilism hip. He's the guy who taught a generation that the only thing you should believe is this: don't trust anyone who believes anything. He's the patron saint of journalism, whether journalists know it or not.
    Of course, that doesn't mean the public--you know, the folks who actually buy newspapers and log-on to news Websites--think the same way. Which helps to explain this, doesn't it?


    SHADES OF THE IMPEACHMENT WARS: Remember during the impeachment of Bill Clinton, when the left and feminists (and the feminist left) would twist their arguments to the point where it resembled pretzels and Silly Straws? Pretzel logic, once thought to be fit only for Steely Dan records, is far from dead these days:

    In a sworn statement to be made public Tuesday, University of Colorado President Elizabeth Hoffman said a four-letter word used toward women can sometimes be used as a "term of endearment." The comment comes from Hoffman's latest sworn testimony in connection with a federal lawsuit against the university. 9NEWS received a copy of the passage in question from the university after sources both outside and inside CU told us about it.
    * * *
    In the deposition, Hoffman was asked whether the "c-word" is "filthy and vile." She said she knows the word is a swear word, but "It is all in the context of what--of how it is used and when it is used." She was asked, "Can you indicate any polite context in which that word would be used?" Hoffman answered, "Yes, I've actually heard it used as a term of endearment." A CU spokeswoman said President Hoffman is aware of the negative connotations associated with the word. But, the spokesperson said, because Hoffman is a medieval scholar, she is aware of the long history of the word. She said it was not always a negative term.
    Decorum prevents me from mentioning the school's initials are the same two... ...Well--moving right along now!

    Monday, June 14, 2004


    COUNTRY JOE'S SECOND THOUGHTS: The singer/songwriter whose "Fixin' To Die Rag" was a showstopper in the 1970 documentary film Woodstock (complete with "follow the bouncing ball" on-screen lyrics), has second thoughts about the Vietnam that he and his fellow "peace" activists helped create. Expect a handful of today's anti-American/anti-West/pro-Saddam/pro-Al Qaida, etc., etc., celebrities to have second thoughts as well in the coming years. Of course, as we wrote earlier today, this past week has shown that introspection and second thoughts are a rare commodity in the world.


    NEW PURITANS UPDATE: Tech Central Station says, "They're Coming for Your Shrimp"!


    REMEMBER MICAH WRIGHT? We posted about him briefly here when, as Steven Den Beste wrote today, "He had his fifteen minutes of fame a couple of months ago, though it would be more accurate to call it his fifteen minutes of mortification". He's back though, with an Oliver Stone-like conspiracy theory about the people who did much of the legwork uncovering the fact that unlike his claims, he never actually served in the military.


    DEJA MOO: The feeling that you've heard the same bull once before. Maybe Mrs. Reynolds is more right than she knows. As I was saying...


    MICHELLE MALKIN DOESN'T MINCE WORDS when it comes to her take on Joe Biden and how he uses his son as a pawn in his speechmaking.


    DEPLETING THE URANIUM ARGUMENT: What does the Seattle PI newspaper really believe, Brian Crouch asks. "Is depleted uranium in munitions used by the military somehow more of a radiological threat than a bomb made of non-depleted uranium by a terrorist? I suppose it depends on whose side you're on". I've always thought Sgt. Stryker had the definitive warning on depleted uranium.


    MEET THE NEW IRAQI PRESIDENT: Roger L. Simon writes:

    I find Meet the Press a prime example of the decline of the mainstream media during my lifetime. A show which began years ago with several voices has devolved into the fiefdom of Tim Russert--and the medieval analogy is not accidental. Still, I watch it, even if his questions are not designed to reveal the truth, but rather for dramatic-gotcha effect.
    Simon says that Iraq's incoming president, Ghazi Al-Yawar, did a masterful job of defending himself from Russert's gotcha-games--and the quotes of Al-Yawar confirm it.


    DECONSTRUCTING THE TIMES: Steven Den Beste looks at a New York Times article that "tries to portray Reagan so as to present a sharp contrast to President Bush, and in the end...puts Reagan inside a bunny-rabbit costume and presents him as an accommodating cooperative multilateralist who was only interested in getting along with everyone and who didn't have a confrontational bone in his body". Den Beste concludes, "If you have to lie about something, it's stupid to lie to someone who knows the truth. It's really stupid to lie when 100 million people know the truth, and to tell that lie in a NYT column which lots of them are sure to see". For those who paid attention last week, numerous Websites, but especially the Media Research Center and National Review Online provided a valuable service: examining the original pieces that journalists and broadcasters filed on President Reagan before and during his two terms of office. Never have so many been so wrong about a man, and to this day been loathe to admit it. Why should The Times start now? No wonder the credibility of the press has plummeted. When you can use the 'Net to fact check their asses (to coin a phrase), it's easy to see how often they let their biases get in the way of their reporting. UPDATE: For future Times articles, Jeff Goldstein has an easy to follow template that should make first drafts much easier. CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER UPDATE: H.D. Miller is praising a Times article, something that I doubt happens very often.


    WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK: Gleaves Whitney looks at Ronald Reagan and us.


    JAMES TARANTO IS REALLY ON A ROLL TODAY: Just keep scrolling.


    GOD LIVES: At least for now, in the Pledge of Allegiance. After watching President Reagan's funeral last week, Jonah Goldberg has some thoughts on what a central role He plays in our government. And nice to see another late Republican president's efforts still paying dividends. UPDATE: Joanne Jacobs warnes that "Somewhere in our fair land, there are custodial, pledge-hating parents who are polishing up a lawsuit".


    FROM THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO TO BERNIE SANDERS' STATE: Betsy Newmark looks at what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's sons went through the day after Ronald Reagan was elected to his first term as president.


    Sunday, June 13, 2004


    WHAT IS AN "INTELLIGENT" PERSON? Roger Kimball and Mark Steyn have some thoughts on the subject. UPDATE: As does the Power Line blog.


    A TALE OF TWO LETTERS: Not surprisingly, Oh, That Liberal Media notes a pretty clear double standard at play with the LA Times.


    BUSH 41 TURNS 80, SKYDIVES TO CELEBRATE: George H.W., the first President Bush, decided to celebrate his 80th birthday by skydiving, making a 13,000 foot jump over his presidential library earlier today:

    He made a tandem jump - harnessed to a member of an Army's Golden Knights parachute team - after officials decided the wind conditions and low clouds made it too dangerous for the 41st president to jump alone, which he did when he turned 75. "This was a real thrill for me," said Bush, wearing a black-and-gold jumpsuit. "I felt no fear ... for me to get a chance to jump with the Golden Knights is a dream." With Staff Sgt. Bryan Schnell on his back and a black-and-gold parachute ballooning above them, the former president waved his arms to some 4,000 spectators as he neared the drop zone - a painted logo of "41 at 80" in the center of a football-field-sized area on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M University. "It's been a great day," Bush said after sailing to the ground, landing and scooting a ways on his backside. "This was a day of joy and a day of wonder for the Bush family, certainly for the old guy." The crowd included his wife, Barbara, his son Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev - whom the former president had invited to jump with him. "Afraid," Gorbachev said through an interpreter, explaining why he didn't accept the offer. "Maybe on his 90th birthday. ... For me, it would be a first. At my age, that may kill me." Gorbachev gave Bush flowers and a bottle of vodka.
    This wasn't the first time Gorbachev felt afraid when confronted by a request from an American president... UPDATE: For some reason, this article omits the fact that Chuck Norris and Brit Hume also jumped with President Bush. I had to learn about the latter via "Day By Day" (!) and then Google for another news story!


    THE TEACHER'S T-SHIRT: Other than the gym coach, teachers at my school didn't wear T-shirts when they taught class. Particularly slogans like "War Without End? Not in Our Name" or "A Woman's Place Is in Her Union". As Joanne Jacobs says, "It's hard to get students to think for themselves. It's just about impossible when the teacher is flashing 'correct answer' on her shirt. I'd love to see the reaction of the teacher than Joanne profiles to this T-shirt.


    Saturday, June 12, 2004


    VIDEOTARIANS: Mudville Gazette looks at an unusually idiotic USA Today article on the eeeeeevils of military-themed videogames. "Usually we must wait 'til near Christmas for assaults on the fun toys", Mudville's Greyhawk writes, "but fortunately for ignorant, impressionable, and gullible young men everywhere USA Today reporter Mike Snyder is on a mission to save them".


    ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER: Check out how AP described President Reagan's liberation of Grenada this past week.


    GOOD QUESTION: Jeff Goldstein wants to know why this story isn't the news story in the press today. And he has some thoughts why.


    SYNDICATED COLUMNIST AND AUTHOR MICHELLE MALKIN has own Weblog. All I can say to this post is...heh.


    IS THE INTIFADA OVER? Roger L. Simon has some thoughts on Israel and the Palestinians.


    A SNEAK PREVIEW: The opening of Steven Hayward's The Age of Reagan: Lion at the Gate is online here. The book, the second and concluding volume in Hayward's magisterial series is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2005, according to Scott W. Johnson. We reviewed volume one here.


    Friday, June 11, 2004


    GODWIN'S LAW* forces The Chicago Sun-Times to cease publication after this article. More here and here.


    THEY ARE LARGE, THEY CONTAIN MULTITUDES: Stephen Green notes a self-contradictory article in The Hollywood Reporter on the amount of coverage President Reagan received this week and concludes, "when you read stories like this and feel disdain for the press, remember that the feeling is mutual."


    IT WAS THE CONTENT: "I won a nickname, 'The Great Communicator.' But I never thought it was my style or the words I used that made a difference: It was the content. I wasn't a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn't spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation — from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in principles that have guided us for two centuries. They called it the Reagan revolution. Well, I'll accept that, but for me it always seemed more like the great rediscovery, a rediscovery of our values and our common sense."


    FAREWELL: John Derbyshire has a nice recap of the funeral. "The British, in fact, used to boast that they did this kind of thing -- pomp and circumstance -- better than anyone. I don't see how that boast can any longer be maintained. This was done as well as it possibly could have been."


    PROTEIN WISDOM HAS A TRANSCRIPT of today's episode of the ABC talk fest The View, starring Barbara Walters, Star Jones, Joy Behar and other women lower on the daytime TV foodchain. [ED NOTE: Dude--it's a parody.] It is?? Because it's not very difficult to picture everyone of them saying what Jeff's written. [Trust me, it is.] Hey, you're speaking in italics. How can I not trust you!


    CREDIT THE LIBERATOR, not the dictator.


    GROUP CAPTAIN MANDRAKE: "Isn't it odd how some 'all hail diversity!' liberal types want to see acts of violence done to people who don't agree with them?" Initially it seems that way, but you get used to it after you've seen it for the first thousand times.


    NEVILLE AGAIN: The Arthur Schlesinger-Neville Chamberlain connection, revealed.


    WHEN IT COMES TO THE NEWS, Roger L. Simon turns one of the Gipper's most famous slogans on its head: "Don't Trust; Verify".


    SOLIDARITY: "When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty."--Lech Walesa


    THE SCORPION: Looks like Col. Qaddafi isn't quite the pussycat he's been pretending to be lately. H.D. Miller has a novel way to bring him back to his senses.


    "NICE AIM": Not surprisingly, there's too much good stuff in James Lileks' syndicated column for me to single out. It asks a simple question: "When did we start hating presidents? Openly, that is". So...RTWT, already. (Found via John Hawkins, who did not have the best of days today...)


    Thursday, June 10, 2004


    IMAGINE IF THE GIPPER OR GWB DID THIS: Betsy Newmark looks at how John Kerry asked his aides what behavior they thought would look appropriate when he visited President Reagan's casket at the Reagan Library on Tuesday. A commenter says that Kerry had all of the regular visitors of the library wait outside. "He then went in with his photographers and cameramen and about a dozen shills". He lacks the common touch, as my dad would say.


    SUMMERTIME, AND THE AUTOMATION IS EASY: My latest monthly "Ideas For Every Room" newsletter for Electronic House magazine is on outdoor automation.


    RAY CHARLES DEAD: The Grammy-winning singer was 73.


    REAGANOMICS: Stephen Moore writes:

    In 1982 the Dow Jones industrial average hit a low of 800. After the final pieces of the Reagan tax cuts were installed, the market rocketed upward for 18 consecutive years. From 800, the Dow rose to 10,000 — creating between $15 trillion and $20 trillion in new wealth and industries. The Dow would have to climb to 100,000 by 2020 to match this Herculean performance. By clearing away the wealth destroyers of high tax rates and high inflation, U.S. companies became far more productive, profitable, and valuable. The economy also created 15 million new jobs under Reagan and grew in real terms by 40 percent. Some have likened this to adding a new California to the U.S. economy. By the end of the 1980s, in what was a fitting tribute to the Reagan program, almost all industrialized nations had sharply lowered tax rates to regain a competitive position lost to the U.S. in the decade. Reagan would note that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." In this way, Reaganomics saved not just the U.S. economy from worldwide depression, but the entire global economy as well. The Reagan way was spurned throughout the 1980s as "voodoo economics" (one of George Bush Sr.'s few memorable comments.) Many college textbooks to this day even argue that Reagan's economic policies were flawed because they created record budget deficits. But the textbooks don't mention that as the national debt rose by $2 trillion, national wealth rose by $8 trillion. They also don't mention that the Laffer curve worked: Lower tax rates did generate more tax revenues at the federal, state, and local levels. Federal tax collections rose from $500 billion in 1980 to $1 trillion in 1990.
    Moore quotes Arthur Laffer, who says that at Reagan's first cabinet meeting as president, "Reagan, the seasoned actor, waited for silence in the Cabinet Room. He then stood and said, 'Gentlemen and ladies, I hate inflation, I hate taxes, and I hate Communism. Do something about it.'" They did. UPDATE: Get a load of this quote by Tom Brokaw, from a 1983 interview with far-left magazine Mother Jones:
    “I thought from the outset that his ‘supply side’ [theory] was just a disaster. I knew of no one who felt that it was going to work, outside of a small collection of zealots in Washington and at USC – Arthur Laffer, Jack Kemp. What I thought quite outrageous was the business community, which for years carped and complained that it could never get a President sympathetic to its needs, finally got its champion, Ronald Reagan. Then, to its horror, it discovered that he was actually going to press ahead with supply side – a theory whose disastrous consequences businesspeople began desperately to prepare for, but did not publicly warn the rest of the country about. They knew it simply could not work. But what they did was look to their own little life raft and not to anyone else’s.”
    Lots more quotes in a similar vein via that same link.


    CONGRATS to Mr. And Mrs. Jeff Goldstein and their son on their fourth wedding anniversary. "The fourth year being the fruit (traditional) or flower / appliance (modern) anniversary. So we'll be having sushi". Works for me. (No, really!) I only hope Jeff has gotten his pants back if he's going out.


    THE BERKELEY INTIFADA: Michael J. Totten writes that "A city that prides itself on tolerance and diversity is fast-becoming an epicenter of hate". Totten adds, "Political Correctness is finished. What started out as intolerance of hate has become hatred's enabler. It fails to live up to its own standard and can't possibly become more absurd than it already is. It slid all the way down the slippery slope and annihilated itself." PC kills people. It's driven a wedge between the news media and the customers it's supposed to serve. It's driven a wedge between the blue and red states. It's driven a wedge between the hard left and more moderate liberals. It's shrunk Hollywood and the music industry's audiences. It's driven a wedge between universities and the people and communities they serve. But while Roger L. Simon says that Totten has written its epitaph, PC is actually far from dead.


    WOW, AND I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT SLOPPY REPORTING IN AMERICA: Germany's Der Spiegel mentions former "US president Kissinger" in an article about President Reagan.


    CHRIS COX ON PRESIDENT REAGAN: "Today, the Soviet Union sits on the ash heap of history, and the Reagan legacy can be measured in lives liberated and dreams fulfilled. Before Ronald Reagan became President in 1981, there were 56 electoral democracies on earth. Today, there are 117. Today, more than a billion more people are living in freedom than on the day that he took office. "


    More here. UPDATE: And here. ANOTHER UPDATE: Tim Graham writes:
    Think of everything Reagan did, and then add: He did it all before Fox News. He did it all before the Rush Limbaugh phenomenon. He did it all before the instant battle cry of his defenders could hit the Internet. He did it all before C-SPAN caught on and people could enjoy the game of watching entire speeches and debates and then observing how the network tricksters discombobulated them into liberal hatchet jobs. He did it all when (well, eventually) the only conservative regular on the big networks was ABC's George Will, and at that time Will was still fashionably fussing about Americans being "taxophobic" and spurning Reagan's "Morning in America goo." In the prologue to his book on Reagan Dinesh D'Souza captured the flavor of how Reagan was greeted by the Washington establishment. Everything Reagan sought to accomplish seemed ludicrous and uneducated to the long-standing liberal consensus. Tax cuts would be wildly inflationary. A foreign policy based on the radical notion that Communism should be put on the ash heap of history was dismissed as a bellicose fantasy too dangerous for the nuclear age. At the end of it all, Reagan was the wise man, and all his detractors — Democrats and ersatz Republicans, political scientists and economists, "Sovietologists" and journalists — were the dummies.
    Graham adds, "We should welcome any reevaluation by the reigning pundits of the Reagan era as the truth winning out. We should welcome the warm glow of nostalgia from all Americans who share it. Reagan won over many adversaries by his magnanimity under rhetorical assault. Bitterness at this time wouldn't be Reaganesque." ONE MORE UPDATE: "Were we fools then, or are we dishonest now?" And here's one more for the road. OK, ONE MORE, ONE MORE UPDATE: Virginia Postrel notes the slanted polling questions in this week's MediaBistro poll. "The survey is unscientific, but the dominance of answer five certainly doesn't exactly make the participating journalists look, uh, fair and balanced." Answer five reads, "He was a vacuous ideologue and his death was not unexpected. Enough already". THE RETURN OF THE SON OF ONE MORE UPDATE: "Rest in peace, Mr President. And know that after all these years, you were right - and all these people were clearly, emphatically, embarrassingly, wrong".


    GOTTA GIVE HIM CREDIT FOR BEING HONEST: H.D. Miller spots someone who's gone on the record and actually said that he wishes Saddam Hussein were still in power.


    Wednesday, June 09, 2004


    GOT A FEW HUNDRED MILLION UNDER THE MATTRESS? Fender Musical Instruments is for sale. In other guitar-related news, this man turned 89 today--and he's still going strong. UPDATE: Fender denies it's for sale.


    A DEMOCRATIC NICARAGUA honors President Reagan. I wonder what these three men have to say about that.


    LILEKS ON MR. MISTY, BRAIN FREEZES and chocolate-dipped cones. Like Salieri and Mozart, how I envy this man's talent with a keyboard.


    BABY GOT BURQA: Charles Johnson looks at "Hip-Hop, Islamofascist Style".


    LOS ATHEISTS UPDATE: L.A. Country Board of Supervisors affirms its decision to remove cross from county seal.


    DENIAL: While Stephen Green is busy demolishing his basement, Will Collier, his partner-in-blogging, demolishes the press's reaction to the Pew study we linked to yesterday:

    Expect to see a lot of chatter today and tomorrow over the just-released Pew study of news audience attitudes. Howie Kurtz has a rundown in today's Washington Post, including some crowing from various network/newspaper PR flacks about the results. One of those, from CNN's Matthew Furman, struck me in particular:
    "We're obviously pleased -- once again we've been voted the most trusted news organization in America."
    Man, you talk about burying the lede. That's like being ranked "the most successful professional football team in Atlanta." According to the Pew survey, less than one-third of those "able to rate" CNN said that they believe "all or most of what they see" on the network. Memo to Matthew Furman: When 68% of your potential audience doesn't trust you, you don't have any reason to brag.
    Daaaaamn right, as Isaac Hayes would say. While part of the reason for this lack of trust is that viewers and readers now have more options available to them, there's another reason why. While Bernard Goldberg did yeoman work in Bias and Arrogance to expose many of the medias' follies, William McGowan's Coloring The News is in some ways more impressive. Goldberg showed the rest of the world that bias in journalism exists, something that conservatives have been railing about since the days of the "nattering nabobs of negativism" speech by Spiro Agnew (and written by Bill Safire). And for that, he should be commended. What McGowan (a self-professed liberal like Goldberg, incidentally) did is a bit more subtle, which is why his book has gotten less attention that Goldberg's two titles. The title of his book is somewhat of a misnomer. While it does talk extensively of how the press covers (and in many cases avoids) racial issues, what it's really about is how, by drinking the politically correct Kool-Aide (and gallons of it) in the late '80s, the press took a hard left turn, and went from doing straight reporting to frequently turning routine stories into activist journalism. And this was after the majority of the country elected a conservative president, and the man who campaigned as his successor, in three blow-out victories. (And don't forget, Bill Clinton ran as a "New Democrat", and frequently governed as such--voting for such conservative issues as NAFTA and welfare reform, and was far more fiscally restrained--after the Hillarycare debacle of course--than most previous Democratic presidents had been.) What the press didn't count on was that by the late '90s, there'd be so many choices available via the Internet and cable TV. And as the late Robert Bartley said only a couple of years ago:
    "If it finds the mainstream press lacking, the public will simply find its own sources of information--as declining readership and network news ratings suggest is already happening."
    So I'm not surprised to see, as Will Collier wrote:
    For all intents and purposes, more than half of the populace (everybody except partisan Democrats, and even their numbers for credibility are nothing for most of the press to brag about) has written off the vast majority of the national press. And they're doing so because they believe that the press has written them off. Things have gotten to the point where the President of the United States sees no reason not to ignore the networks and the New York Times. If the coin of your realm is trust, and influence is what you buy with that coin, what do today's viewership realities say about the state of the realm?
    That a lot of people have their head in sand. And it's going to years for them to come up for air (and that doesn't even take into consideration CNN's own enormous credibility problem with Iraq). In the meantime, as Bernard Goldberg told me:
    I'll give you a quote from paragraph one of Arrogance:
    If the media elites don't start to listen to reasonable criticism about them, they're going to become the journalistic equivalent of the leisure suit: harmless enough, but hopelessly out of date.
    The reason why I called that book Arrogance is that these people don't listen to anybody. They don't listen to any criticism! If you point something out to them, they say, "this proves that you're the one with the bias problem". If they continue that, they will be less relevant next year then they are this year, and less relevant two years from now than they will be next year. They're becoming less and less relevant. And proof of this is that once upon a time, not ten thousand years ago, but just in the recent past, the most trusted man in America was Walter Cronkite. Does anybody, no matter what his or her politics are, does anybody think that Americans would pick one of the three network anchors as one of the most trusted men in America today? I don't think so. I don't think so. So they're losing their clout, they're losing their influence, they're losing their relevance, and they continue to fiddle while Rome is burning. They are so arrogant that they can't see straight, and I think it's going to cost them.
    It has.


    JONAH ON REAGAN: "To summarize why I admired the Gipper: He was put on earth to do two things: kick butt and chew gum, and he ran out of gum around 1962. The rest is commentary."


    Tuesday, June 08, 2004


    LET'S FACE IT: It's Bill's world; we just live in it. Even if you're the grieving widow of a recently deceased president. As Mark Levin wrote:

    What matters is not what Bill Clinton wants, but what the Reagan family wants. And somehow, here we are again, discussing Bill Clinton when he has absolutely nothing to do with this event. And once again, we witness the spectacle of Bill Clinton's lack of class and graciousness.
    And as P.J. O'Rourke wrote...


    "STASISTS* ARE DULL", says Roger L. Simon. Read the whole thing. *Click here and here for our takes on the book that that word came from.


    ADVANTAGE ED! A Pew Research Center's survey finds that news audiences are increasingly politicized. Heck, we could have told them that.


    THERE'S A RECORDING STUDIO HIDDEN IN YOUR PC: My latest Electronic House newsletter looks as the basics of getting started with home recording.


    INSTITUTIONALIZING OUR DEMISE: Roger Kimball looks at America vs. multiculturalism.


    THE INTERNET PRESIDENT: James Pinkerton writes:

    Reagan invented the Internet. Well, OK, that's not exactly right, but his administration made the key decision that opened the Internet up to commercial utilization. But wait just a doggone nano-second, you might be saying, didn't Al Gore invent the Net? Or didn't he at least try to take credit for it in 1999, when he told CNN, "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet"? Of course, what started out as Arpanet reaches back to the late 60s, when Gore was still in school. But as for "creating the Internet" as THE Internet, one might turn to a 2000 book written by Reed Hundt, who declares himself to be one of Gore's biggest fans. Hundt's memoir of his tenure as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1993-1997, You Say You Want a Revolution: A Story of Information Age Politics, was written, in part, to help Gore's presidential prospects; in a talk four years ago to the New America Foundation, he described himself as "Al's lieutenant," sent to the FCC to "implement his agenda." Yet even so, the author's basic honesty got in the way of his political advocacy. On page 133 of his book, Hundt noted that a "far-sighted, or accidentally smart" ruling by the Reagan-era FCC prohibited phone companies from levying "access charges" on data, as distinct from voice transmissions. "In the absence of the FCC's decision," Hundt writes, "the Internet would have been so expensive that [founder Marc] Andreesen's Netscape would not have been a hiccup, much less one of the first bubble stocks of the Internet." Let's pause over this for a moment. Even a pro-Gore Democrat concedes that the biggest pro-Internet inflection point dates back to the early 80s. In fact, if one looks up the case -- MTS and WATS Market Structure Order, 97 FCC 2d 682 (1983) -- one sees that the FCC was then chaired by Mark Fowler, a Reagan appointee. And so Gore looks less like a prime mover, and more like a free rider. And Reagan, meanwhile, gets credit -- or should get credit -- for picking free-market heroes such as Fowler. Did the Gipper ever know about the Net? Maybe not, but it hardly matters; even through lean times, such as the 70s, he never lost his faith in the genius of the American people and in the almost-magical powers of the free market. So if someone had told him that American enterprise had created a Next Big Thing that was adding trillions of economic output, he would probably have said, "Well, of course."
    Pinkerton adds, "A quarter-century after my first contact with Ronald Reagan, I now see that he was right: our best days as Americans are still ahead of us, as they are always ahead of us -- because there are no natural limits on the capacity of free minds. Reagan knew it then; I finally know it now."


    L.A. SEAL UPDATE: CNSNews reports, "Removal of Cross from County Seal Brings Lawsuit" I don't know if anything will come of this, but I'm happy to see people fighting back from what was presented to the public as a fait accompli between the county and the ACLU. UPDATE: AP reports (registration may be required, but this is the bulk of the article):

    The County Board of Supervisors plans to reconsider the deal it reached last week to remove a cross from the county seal. The supervisors voted 3-2 to remove the symbol from the seal after the American Civil Liberties Union threatened a lawsuit, saying it was an improper endorsement of Christianity. Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe said their offices have been bombarded with phone calls and e-mails since the decision was made, including from a conservative legal group offering to represent the county for free in a legal battle against the ACLU. The county would probably win such a lawsuit, those groups said, because there have been similar instances were crosses were permitted because they were historical rather than religious symbols. Antonovich estimated it could cost millions of dollars for the county to remove the tiny cross from all its letterhead, officials vehicles, uniforms and buildings.
    OK, so it could cost millions to update the seal, and the County would probably win a suit against the ACLU. But that didn't prevent the supervisors for being so quick to roll over. UPDATE: Oh, That Liberal Media looks at how the L.A. Times has been covering the story, siding with the ACLU "while pretending not to side with the ACLU".

    Monday, June 07, 2004


    CUBA'S REACTION TO PRESIDENT REAGAN'S DEATH: Jonah Goldberg writes that the Gipper wouldn't have it any other way. UPDATE: This quote about the left's reaction sounds almost like something Reagan would have said himself.


    NOT ANTI-WAR--JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE: Reading this nifty piece of original reporting by Citizen Smash, I have to ask: why aren't I reading about Gillian in the L.A. Times? Think the editor of the Times will ask his reporters the same question? Nahh--me neither.


    THE OMBUDSGOD LOOKS at the difference between a militant and a terrorist at the BBC.


    THE PIVOT POINT: David Cohen looks at the decision that made Reagan's presidency great, and signaled victory in the Cold War.


    IRAN-CONTRA: As Paul Harvey would say, "And now, the rest of the story..."


    BATMAN HAS BEEN MY FAVORITE COMIC BOOK CHARACTER ever since I was a wee youngin'. But--honest!--I don't wear a black cape or utility belt. (Sheesh--the stuff I have to put up with whenever I leave Gotham City...) UPDATE: On the other hand, just what was Jeff Goldstein doing with Philip Michael Thomas??


    Sunday, June 06, 2004


    KERRY PLAYS POLITICS...by not playing politics with President Reagan's death, writes Charles Johnson. UPDATE: More on Kerry and President Reagan, here. UPDATE: The more I think about this, the more I do feel that Kerry's in a can't win situation, as some of Charles' readers commented. If he did politicize Reagan's death, he'd be reviled for it, as I did with the shot Kerry inserted into his statement on Saturday. Sitting out the week seems to be the most sensible approach for him--and I'll give him credit for that.


    REWRITING HISTORY: Stephen Green looks at a major bit of revisionism going on by the Germans at D-Day today:

    if Germany wants to rewrite history to show that Hitler and the Nazis were some sort of occupying power in Germany, then they risk forgetting the lesson taught to them at the cost of millions of Allied lives. "Never again" becomes "Never what again?" becomes "It's happening again." We can't afford to let Germany forget what happened, and who was to blame.
    Ironically, Germany's efforts at revisionism come at a time when historians are finally starting to recognize just how welcome and accepted the Nazis were in Germany. And this is in marked contrast to the themes of previous tomes, such as William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. As Orrin Judd noted:
    A perfectly acceptable relic of its time, [Shirer's] book treats Hitler and the Nazi Party as complete aberrations, imposed on a slumbering Germany by a freakish set of circumstances. This view, understandable in a liberal West which finds it necessary to aver "it couldn't happen here" and which found it necessary to rehabilitate Germany into a worthy Cold War ally, has prevailed for the better part of sixty years now. In recent years however at least one book has come along to directly challenge this view, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's excellent Hitler's Willing Executioners. But to my knowledge, British historian Michael Burleigh's Third Reich is the first major one volume history to rival Shirer's work and it is an invaluable corrective, precisely the kind of big idea contrarian history that we could use more of and which, even if the author's claims are ultimately rejected, can serve to clarify the thinking of us all on the issues he broaches. Burleigh apparently draws on some academic work (for instance that by Saul Freidlander) with which I'm unfamiliar, but his central argument will ring a bell with anyone who's ever read Eric Hoffer's great book The True Believer. Burleigh considers the Third Reich to have been the product of a political religion, replete with symbols, hymns, liturgy, martyrs and a Messiah. From this perspective, the German people, defeated in WWI and impoverished by reparations and Depression, emerge, not as unwitting dupes, but as desperate believers in a new state religion propounded by Hitler, a true totalitarianism, suffused with racially motivated criminality, which sought to infiltrate every aspect of their lives.
    As Orrin said, we needed to maintain the fiction that the Nazis were a strange alien virus imposed on innocent Germans, to resuscitate them into a worthy Cold War ally. But as Steve notes, the Germans themselves are returning to that fiction, just as she and France are returning to their shared anti-Semitic roots.

    Saturday, June 05, 2004


    I FINALLY WATCHED TOM SELLECK'S PORTRAYAL OF IKE TODAY. It had been sitting on my PVR's hard drive since Monday, and today seemed like a very good day to view it. I thought Selleck's portrayal of Eisenhower was spot-on, and very much like George C Scott's of Patton: neither actor looks much like the man they portrayed, and neither was trying to do an impersonation, but both captured their essence brilliantly. (Both films share some similarities: in Patton, it was Ike who was the great man just off screen; here, it's FDR.) FDR freed western Europe. President Reagan freed its eastern half, as Scott Johnson describes, here.


    HOW REAGANOMICS MADE THE WORLD WORK: While President Reagan will best be remembered as the man who won the Cold War, he also revitalized our economy when it was in its worst slump since the Great Depression of the 1930s. So it's worth remembering the thoughts of another great man recently deceased, the late Robert L. Bartley, longtime editor of the Wall Street Journal.


    PEJMANESQUE: Pejman Yousefzadeh has several thoughts on President Reagan, here.


    THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION has a comprehensive site remembering President Reagan. UPDATE: Meanwhile, John Hawkins has a primer on the Gipper's legacy, "Reagan 101".


    SCOTT OTT: "In addition to recordings and transcripts of dozens of the most compelling, sincere and influential speeches ever heard, President Reagan also leaves behind an America that is no longer afraid to call evil what it is, and to do something about it".


    ROGER KIMBALL HAS A MOVING POST on The New Criterion's Weblog.


    LBJ'S SERVICE WILL BE MODEL FOR FUNERAL: Orrin Judd has details, here.


    NOT SURPRISINGLY, National Review Online has numerous articles on President Reagan. And here's my review of Steven Hayward's The Age of Reagan, Vol. I from 2002. UPDATE: Speaking of Steve Hayward, here are his thoughts on Ronald Reagan's successful legacy.


    RONALD REAGAN DEAD AT 93. UPDATE: Kathryn Jean Lopez writes:

    As I understand it, Reagan will lie in state in Sacramento, then at the Capitol. Then there will be a memorial service at the National Cathedral, after which RR will be flown back to California for a sunset interment at the RR Library.
    UPDATE: Paul Kengor, author of God And Ronald Reagan has a moving tribute, here. UPDATE: Terry Teachout has this prophetic quote from Reagan In His Own Hand:
    "Communism is neither an ec[onomic] or a pol[itical] system--it is a form of insanity--a temporary aberration which will one day disappear from the earth because it is contrary to human nature. I wonder how much more misery it will cause before it disappears." Ronald Reagan, Reagan, In His Own Hand (written 1975, collected 2001)
    Teachout looks at another collection of President Reagan's writings, here. UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg compares the coverage at CNN and Fox News (I'm watching Fox as I type this, incidentally). UPDATE: John Kerry's statement--complete with a nasty dig at the 40th President--here. UPDATE: Nice tribute to the Gipper from Gabriel Syme of Samizdata. UPDATE: Speaking of nasty digs, check out Slate's coverage of a former president's death: "The Man Who Ruined Republicans". UPDATE: Alphecca, a self-proclaimed "gay gun nut in Vermont" has collected some quotes from a few left-leaning blogs on the Gipper's death. And like Slate, they're not pretty. LAST UPDATE (for now): Many more links here.


    TOO MUCH, TOO LATE: David Gelernter writes that baby boomers are heaping insincere praise on the "greatest generation":

    My political credo is simple and many people share it: I am against phonies. A cultural establishment that (on the whole) doesn't give a damn about World War II or its veterans thinks it can undo a half-century of indifference verging on contempt by repeating a silly phrase ("the greatest generation") like a magic spell while deploying fulsome praise like carpet bombing. The campaign is especially intense among members of the 1960s generation who once chose to treat all present and former soldiers like dirt and are willing at long last to risk some friendly words about World War II veterans, now that most are safely underground and guaranteed not to talk back, enjoy their celebrity or start acting like they own the joint. A quick glance at the famous Hemingway B.S. detector shows the needle pegged at Maximum, where it's been all week, from Memorial Day through the D-Day anniversary run-up.
    RTWT.


    ROCK AND FARKING ROLL: The fabulously talented Photoshoppers of Fark give today's celebrities and politicians some hairmetal-band makeovers. Mullets to the fore! (Via "Hit & Run".)


    HOLY SCHNIKIES! Village Voice calls for all Republicans to be "exterminated". No, really! UPDATE: Charles Johnson writes:

    There's a bad craziness loose among the media elites. That a reputable journalist would write such a thing is bad enough--but for any paper, even the Village Voice, to publish it without a qualm is infinitely worse.
    I thought the whole beef that elites have Weblogs is that there's no editor to fact check and to prevent over the top remarks from being published. With the Village Voice, you have to wonder what's in the water, that would allow an editor to let a quote like that to fly under radar. Of course, as James Lileks presciently wrote this past week:
    To paraphrase an influential thinker of the previous century: The death of millions is a statistic. The reelection of one is a tragedy.
    That's certainly true as far as 36 Cooper Square is concerned. Never mind the fact that a real extermination occurred only a few blocks away from there.


    GOD AND FDR GET CENSORED AT THE WWII MEMORIAL: California Yankee has the details. (Via Betsy Newmark, who has lots of other good stuff today, as usual.)


    Friday, June 04, 2004


    PUTTING ABU GHRAIB into context. (Via Jeff Goldstein.)


    WOW, AND THIS WAS BEFORE I STARTED DRINKING! Proof positive that I was indeed at the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash last Friday. No fault of the photographer (who also has a nifty Weblog), but I really look embalmed in my photo. I think it was taken shortly after I walked in the door and long before Jeff Goldstein took off his pants.


    GIVING UP QUIET RIOT FOR JIHAD: The FBI's "be on the lookout for" list contains the following name: Abu Suhayb Al-Amriki, a.k.a. Abu Suhayb, a.k.a. Yihya Majadin Adams, a.k.a. Adam Yahiye Gadahn. AKA Adam Pearlman. No, really. "Asparagirl" looks at how "the half-Jewish half-Catholic son of rural California goat-farming hippies" ended up converting to Islam and making the charts on the FBI's hit parade as a Johnny Taliban-come-lately.


    ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER: David Brock, the conservative turned liberal journalist who now heads Media Matters, the left's answer to Brent Bozell's Media Research Center recently said this:

    ...journalists have allowed themselves to be cowed by "organized right-wing groups." "I think they are afraid," Brock said. "For a long time, the mainstream media has not stood up. They've essentially allowed Fox to happen. They do not cover Limbaugh -- he is a serious political figure in this country -- they don't write about what he says."
    OK--so the news media is right wing--but they don't cover its most prominent radio talk show host. ....Right. (Oh and by the way, Rush is featured in Time magazine this week. He felt so comfortable talking to the house organ of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy that he also tape recorded the interview himself, in case Time butchered one of his quotes.) UPDATE: Tim Graham of the Media Research Center notes:
    CNN did a whole story promoting their campaign to censor Rush Limbaugh off the Armed Forces Radio Network. Can you imagine how they would have reacted if an MRC had demanded the removal of NPR from Armed Forces Radio because it was too demoralizing to troops? PS: Their Web site is hot and heavy defending George Soros from conservative attack this week. They know who butters their panini.


    CBS POLL SHOWS VETS FAVOR BUSH: Given how veterans have rejected Kerry (not the least of which are those who served directly with him) and are supporting President Bush overwhelmingly, I'll bet the left has turned on a dime from the chickenhawk sophistry they tried to employ last year.


    COMMANDO? Andrew Sullivan notes that the "anti-Western left has come up with a new term for a terrorist". I wonder if Reuters will start using this one.


    Thursday, June 03, 2004


    LILEKS ON LOS ATHEISTS: "I wouldn't join a movement that wanted to add a cross to a public seal. But I am dead-set stone-cold opposed to those who, in this instance, want to take one off". UPDATE: Those crosses probably won't be the last religious symbol to vanish on LA's seal. Hugh Hewitt writes, "The days of law and logic at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have already passed, so Pomona ought to leave with them". Read his interview with some of the more spineless members of the board.


    AS JEFF GOLDSTEIN SAYS, "Mike Wallace: Brillcreamed, rough-hewn, old school... And spanked like Carl Berstein 'on assignment' in Bangkok". UPDATE: Wallace told Bill O'Reilly, "I had no idea C-SPAN was there...Mind you, I should not probably have said it there", at the Smithsonian's "National World War II Reunion". Brent Baker adds, "One wonders what other opinions Wallace shares when C-SPAN cameras aren’t around". In his recent syndicated column, Jonah Goldberg referred to this exchange from a 1989 PBS show, where Wallace admitted that given the choice between saving American soldiers' lives and getting a story out of their being killed in action, he'd simply roll tape and not feel the least but sorry for refusing to help them.


    I'D SECOND SEVERAL OF THE PEOPLE ON THIS LIST: John Hawkins looks at "People On The Right Who Get On My Nerves".


    DR. HUXTABLE MEETS THE BLOGOSPHERE: Matt Rosenberg analyzes how the press covered Bill Cosby's speech at the NAACP two weeks ago and concludes:

    Dick Meyer of CBSNews.com gets it right: "Plenty of white writers or editors simply avoid wading into this altogether because it is perceived as too risky, too easy to be accused of prejudice, or meddling." And that avoidance, as Meyer notes, "ensures the issues become even more buried. Pimp rap goes uncriticized. Schools stay bad." The slow but now-steady spread of the Cosby story illustrates one more way bloggers serve an invaluable function: not just by rebutting or correcting the news; but by watering and "sunshining" stories that are dying on the vine because they disrupt the pre-conceived liberal agendas of media elites. Many bloggers who depend on the news hold in low regard the person whose job title is "Page One Editor," "National Editor," or "Foreign Editor." And rightly so, all too often. These folks play up what they like according to their politics, and downplay what they don't like. What gets two inches on page A12 might really deserve 25 inches, starting on Page One. Enter the humble blogger. True, the percentage of Internet users who report they view blogs regularly is still low. But even then, we're talking some 31 million regular blog viewers. Admittedly, some blogs are about knitting, snow-boarding, or origami. Others are authored by navel-gazing college students, polyamorists, vegan anarchists, or self-declared alcoholics detailing each wretched night's debauch. But watch out for many of the rest. Their reach grows. The Cosby story — like others before it — has shown that a news story can grow "legs" thanks more to repackagers in the blogosphere than to "legitimate" print and broadcast outlets.
    Read the whole thing.


    FYI FOR BOATERS: The international signal flag code has been revised. Boaters should please memorize this list and adjust accordingly.


    Wednesday, June 02, 2004


    ABOUT DENVER: It's been a pretty hectic few days here, and normally, when I want to actually write about something rather simply linking to it, I like a few minutes to think about what I want to say. So I haven't had a chance yet to write about the Denver Blogger Bash on Friday--so let's remedy that. It was a blast. I've been online continuously since 1994 (actually, I was also in CompuServe briefly around 1982, but that didn't last very long). And over the past decade, whenever I've had the opportunity, I've tried to meet in person those people whose pixels I've enjoyed reading. So with the help of some frequent flier miles, it was possible to shoot in and out Denver International Airport fairly quickly. I'm not sure why the Denver area has so many great bloggers around it--but at 1:00 in the morning, while Steve Green was cutting Kim's arguments defending suicide bombers to ribbons, (man I wish I was that articulate after four Martinis) I had an interesting conversation with Darren Copeland's friend about the regional aspects of blogging. I tend to discount them; I'm of the opinion that thanks to the Internet (and especially, thanks to broadband), anybody anywhere who has an opinion can get a Weblog from Blogger or Typepad and get his thoughts online. But having a community of friends for support and to bounce ideas off of is great. And the Denver crowd certainly seemed pretty unified. What was interesting was comparing the discussions of the bloggers with those who don't blog. Steve noted his exchange with Kim, which was pretty darn heated. And simultaneously, I watched Darren's friend pounding the table as his gave us his opinions. And I'm pretty sure that neither of them have a blog. There's something about knowing that your ideas are going up on the 'Net, and that your friends and acquaintances would be parsing them, adding on to them or rejecting them that makes one choose his or her words very carefully. It's a very different medium from the bully pulpit of a newspaper where the communication is much more one way. (See also: Raines, Howell.) So I can see where regular gatherings of bloggers would not only keep those who actively do it psyched to continue, it also provides a subtle push for others to join in the fun as well. Curious, isn't it, that the 'Net, which was supposed to create an global village free of boundaries (that's the mindset if you smoked enough McLuhan, like Wired did) ends up doing a far better job of strengthening regional ties. Incidentally, this was my first trip to Denver, other than changing planes at DIA. But hopefully it won't be my last. It looks like a great city. And the people in it aren't too shabby, either.


    LUMP SUM: Sgt. Stryker wants his reparations--now.


    ANDREW SULLIVAN FISKS HOWELL RAINES, noting that his "fascinating little column" praising Kerry "is a very useful insight into how he turned The New York Times into a crusading left-populist pamphlet" as its former editor. And as Glenn Reynolds' readers have noted, it also has this whopper in it:

    In that Raines article in the Guardian you linked, he writes "As America's FIRST WAR-HERO candidate since John F Kennedy, he ought to be leading the national discussion on what went wrong in Iraq." You would think Howell Raines would have heard of George McGovern or at least George H.W. Bush, right?
    Hey, it's not like an editor checks facts or anything.


    LOS ATHEISTS: Los Angeles County surrenders to ACLU; will remove the crosses on its seal. As Ramesh Ponnuru wrote, "No word on how long the county will be allowed to keep its name". UPDATE: Charles Johnson has contact information for LA County, "if you live in LA and are as outraged about this totalitarian attempt to erase history as I am". I'm sure they'd like to hear from out-of-towners as well.


    BLACKIE: Got a spare $150,000 or so under the mattress? Then one of Eric Clapton's most famous guitars could be yours. (In 1985 I bought my first Fender Stratocaster--which I still own--a black 1957 reissue with a maple fretboard. Guess which guitar I was trying to copy?) Incidentally, "Brownie", Blackie's sister is on display at Paul Allen's EMP Museum in Seattle. It was the guitar featured on the title song and back cover of this album. Consequently, it sold (presumably to Allen or an intermediary) during a previous auction for $497,000. UPDATE: If you decide to take a second or third mortage out to bid on the axe, you might want to avoid Green Point Mortgage...


    Tuesday, June 01, 2004


    THE KUMBAYA KID: If elected, John Kerry promises to make all of the bad people around the world get rid of their nuclear weapons--including North Korea and Iran. Of course if they don't, there's always this option.


    THEN AND NOW: David Lewis Schaefer and Mark Levin each look at The New York Times 50 years ago and today, and find some interesting parallels--and not surprisingly, divergences. Meanwhile, Hyspeed wonders how Fleet Street would have covered World War II had it been dominated by the mindset of today's media. His headline? "BISMARCK SUNK, BRITAIN DOOMED".


    I HAVEN'T LINKED TO JAY NORDLINGER IN A WHILE, and that's an oversight on my part. As usual, he's got lots of great stuff today, so stop on by.


    ANDREW SULLIVAN PUTS THE WAR ON TERROR INTO PERSPECTIVE and concludes that it's "an extraordinary success". "Now watch the media do all it can to accentuate the negative", he adds. Meanwhile, Rod Dreher has a column on that very subject in the Dallas Morning News, and adds:

    I've been getting great e-mails all day from around the country over my DMN column whacking the media for ignoring the good news out of Iraq. One of my correspondents was Mark Tapscott at the Heritage Foundation, who sends along results of a Gallup poll released today. The poll surveyed the confidence Americans had in their institutions. The military got the highest rating, with 75 percent of those polled expressing a "great deal" of confidence, while only five percent saying they had "very little or none" in the military. Compare that with TV news, in which 30 percent of respondents report a "great deal" of confidence, and a nearly equal number reporting "very little or none." It's not much better for newspapers: 30 percent have a "great deal" of confidence, while 25 percent have "very little or none." The U.S. military, then, is the most popular institution in America. The news media are among the least popular.
    "And of course", Dreher notes, "this will be ignored in newsrooms, which have an uncanny ability to ignore handwriting on the wall when it tells them things they don't want to hear". UPDATE: John Hawkins also has some thoughts on the topic.


    GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD: P.J. O'Rourke writes that maybe America should become isolationist again:

    And the best thing about Americans recusing ourselves from global entanglements is that we will be loved again. Imagine a world where American manners and mores set the standard almost everywhere, where American fashions, American ideas and American lifestyles are universally sought out and copied. A world where people avidly listen to American music, eagerly watch American TV and movies, and try to imitate Americans in every way. Imagine a world where the U.S.A. is so admired that people by the millions want nothing more than to come to America and recuse themselves from global entanglements.
    Hey--it could happen!


    TO FREEDOM: Right around the time of the global Live Aid concerts in 1985, Amnesty International began running a slickly produced commercial featuring numerous celebrities, including Glenn Close, who said that in many countries, raising a toast to freedom could get you arrested, and that Amnesty International was fighting for those oppressed people everywhere. Sadly, that was a long time ago.


    THE LEGACY OF CROKNITE: Steven Den Beste has two long, detailed posts on media bias. Makes a nice triple-feature with our interview with Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias and Arrogance.


    A LITTLE LATE FOR MEMORIAL DAY, but there's a terrific new article on Insight Magazine's Website about Les Paul and the fighting music of World War II. (Via Charles Johnson. For our profile of Les Paul, click here.)


    Monday, May 31, 2004


    ED'S ON ACID: Acid Planet that is, where my Blogcritics piece on improving vocals is currently the lead article in the "Dirt from Dave" links. And they made me look just like David Bowie in the photograph they selected, too! (Now you do you sound like you're on acid--Ed. Oh sure--and talking to myself certainly helps matters!)


    Sunday, May 30, 2004


    THE ROAD AWAY FROM SERFDOM: 2004 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek. Arnold Beichman writes that "to remain a Marxist today or a Marxist fellow-traveler when the whole world has voted against the malice of Marxism raises the most profound questions as to the rationality of the true believer". In other ecomomic-related news, Larry Kudlow declares the current economy "a boom with legs":

    Over the past year, following enactment of the president's tax-cut plan, real economic growth has increased 5 percent with only 1.6 percent inflation. After-tax profits have increased 37 percent (fully adjusted for depreciation and capital consumption). Business spending on equipment and software has grown 12.5 percent. Since last August, 1.1 million jobs have been created. Spendable income has increased 4.9 percent in real terms. Consumer spending is up 4.3 percent. The economy is roaring at its fastest in 20 years, and there's no clear reason the prosperity trends won't continue.
    Kudlow asks, "Why can't the naysayers see it?"

    Saturday, May 29, 2004


    HEY STEVE, YOU'RE RIGHT: You really do feel the hangover more when you're a mile above sea level! Others had different kinds of mile high adventures last night. Although to be fair, I don't recall seeing Jeff Goldstein with his pants off. Thanks to Zombyboy, Darren Copeland, and the others who organized the event. A great time was had by all--even if some of the details are still hazy and will require the same attention to forensic detail normally reserved for the Zapruder film to be recalled. Oh, and Sammy was cute when she rolled around the floor. UPDATE: Andrew Olmsted looks at what a diverse crowd attended the Press Club and yet how amicable the conservation was, and concludes, "Rodney King would have been proud".


    Friday, May 28, 2004


    LOOK OUT DENVER: I'm in town and ready for tonight's shindig. (Although to be honest, I haven't been participating in the pre-bash warm-ups as much as Steve Green has been.) I'd like to especially thank the Jennifer Aniston-wannabe sitting next to me on the flight in for accidentally spilling her Sprite on the right cuff of my trousers and my black loafers. (Neither of which I'm wearing tonight.) She was very apologetic; my immediate reaction was an Yngwie-like "YOU HAVE UNLEASHED THE F***ING FURY!!", but it came out with more a Woody Allen-style "That's OK, not a problem. Can happen to anybody." That minor hiccup aside, I'll see whoever shows up in a few hours.


    Thursday, May 27, 2004


    THE RIGHTEST OF THE RIGHT STUFF: Meet William Foxley, hero. And be sure to read to the end.


    PERFECT TOGETHER: Pat Buchanan meets the Arab News.


    ARE UN AMBULANCES BEING USED to transport Palestinian terrorists? Charles Johnson has a damning photo from the Israel Defense Forces web site.


    TOTALITARIANS, HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND AMERICA'S RESPONSE: Peter Burnet looks at the similarities between the left's appeasement of the original Axis of the 1930s and today's Axis of Evil.


    DAVID LETTERMAN, HOSS: He chided CBS for running a sitcom instead of showing President Bush's speech Monday night. "The network feels that the war in Iraq is important, however not as important as the season finale of Yes, Dear. So they couldn't be bothered."


    THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE ED: As James Lileks once wrote, "parachute journalism" is the laziest sort of reporting. "Find a Symbol of America, talk to a guy eating supper, and discern the Pulse of the Culture". Which is why I'll be stopping by the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash tomorrow. If you're attending, you can't miss me--I'll be the guy who sort of looks like this.


    AFTER WATCHING AL GORE FLIP OUT YESTERDAY, John Hawkins writes, "If only we could transfer the towering hate and rage left-wingers like Al Gore & Howard Dean feel towards Republicans to the terrorists who want to kill us all, our country would be better off." On the other hand, Byron York writes that secretly, some Republicans love it. UPDATE: Maybe Morgan Spurlock should investigate Al's choice of cereal in the morning. (Via Will Collier.) ANOTHER UPDATE: Say what you will about Al, he's a unifier, bring disparate people from all walks of life together in harmony. James Taranto writes, "give Gore credit for helping liberals and conservatives find common ground in this era of polarization":

    "It is now clear that Al Gore is insane," writes the New York Post's John Podhoretz. "I don't mean that his policy ideas are insane, though many of them are. I mean that based on his behavior, conduct, mien and tone over the past two days, there is every reason to believe that Albert Gore Jr., desperately needs help. I think he needs medication, and I think that if he is already on medication, his doctors need to adjust it or change it entirely." Maureen Dowd of the New York Times agrees. When he delivered a speech to the far-left outfit MoveOn.org yesterday, she writes, "Mr. Gore hollered so much, he made Howard Dean look like George Pataki." She says the erstwhile veep represents "the wackadoo wing of the Democratic Party."
    And while in the past, we've been no great fan of the former Vice President, we certainly agreed with his comments about Iraq--or at least those he made in 1998.


    DISHING IT OUT, BUT NOT TAKING IT: On Monday, Maria Bartiromo of CNBC confronted Morgan Spurlock, the director of Super Size Me. James Glassman writes that "He was reduced to a fool. It was beautiful to watch". And read. UPDATE: The Internet Movie Database reports:

    Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn films have accused MTV of refusing to air commercials for Super Size Me, the award-winning documentary which landed in the top-ten box-office attractions last weekend, something rare for a documentary. The two companies said in a statement that they were told that the ads were "disparaging to fast-food restaurants," which are big advertisers on the youth-oriented cable outlet. MTV disputed the charge, saying that the distributors balked at a deal. (More here, for when the IMDB link scrolls off.)
    Wait a second--Spurlock told Bartiromo, "we live in a country where people should have the right to say what they want". So why are his backers upset that MTV doesn't want to run their ads? SUPER-SIZE THIS UPDATE: Somebody could make a whole documentary about this.


    BLASTS FROM THE PAST: Stephen Hayward deconstructs Jimmy Carter's failure to prevent the Shah from falling and concludes, "In retrospect, the fall of Iran may have been the single greatest foreign policy blunder of the last 50 years, not excepting Vietnam. Had Iran not become a bastion of international terror, it is unlikely we would be where we are today." (Advantage Simpsons? Well, I wouldn't go that far--Ed) And O.J. Simpson is on a tenth anniversary tour of his most infamous moment, including a photo-op at the scene of the murder.


    THE PRE-TIMES UNIT ROLLS INTO ACTION: It's rare to Fisk an article even before it's written. But thanks to a piece I wrote in March, I'm able to do just that. The Brothers Judd link to an article in today's the New York Times that says:

    The number of bloggers has grown quickly, thanks to sites like blogger.com, which makes it easy to set up a blog. Technorati, a blog-tracking service, has counted some 2.5 million blogs. Of course, most of those millions are abandoned or, at best, maintained infrequently. For many bloggers, the novelty soon wears off and their persistence fades. Sometimes, too, the realization that no one is reading sets in. A few blogs have thousands of readers, but never have so many people written so much to be read by so few. By Jupiter Research's estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs.
    And how many people is four percent of online users? As I wrote in my March Tech Central Station article about a similar piece that appeared on CNN's Website, according to one study, there are 146 million adult Internet users in the US alone. If we assume that only four percent of online users are reading them, that's 5,840,000 readers:
    Scott Ott, the humorist whose Scrappleface Website is a Blogosphere favorite (in January of 2003, Ott coined the brilliant "Axis of Weasels" meme that later graced the cover of The New York Post), puts things into sharp perspective. In one of his typically satiric news articles, he wrote that if only about two percent of Internet users actually write Weblogs, it means that there are more bloggers writing, than people reading USA Today (whose circulation is 2.6 million), The New York Times (1.6 million) or The New York Daily News (805,000). Ott doesn't mention CNN, but since the article most prominently appeared on CNN's Website, it's probably worth noting that in the US, CNN's typically daily viewership is only about 450,000 viewers. (The Fox News Channel, the cable news ratings leader, gets an average of 799,000 viewers during their broadcasting day.) Of course, if I were CNN, I'd be worried about having, in a manner of speaking, all of my viewers, and then some, owning Weblogs.
    That goes double for the Times, where Bloggers had a field day with Howell Raines, Jayson Blair and Maureen Dowd. (And naturally, there's no mention of Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds or Mickey Kaus, who used their Blogs to pummel The Times last year at the height of the Blair scandal). ...and stories like this one, which find the one blogger on the planet who doesn't know what his stats package says:
    Mr. Wiggins, 48, a senior information technologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing, does not know how many readers he has; he suspects it's not many. But that does not seem to bother him. "I'm just getting something off my chest," he said.
    It then concludes, "Indeed, if a blog is likened to a conversation between a writer and readers, bloggers like Mr. Wiggins are having conversations largely with themselves." Oh sure, that never happens at The Times. UPDATE: What did others in the Blogosphere think of the story? Ask Memeorandum! LAST UPDATE: Instalanche! Welcome readers of The Professor.


    UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: Daniel Grant looks at the legal obligations owners of artwork have to their artists. UPDATE: For links and info on artists' rights under the law, my wife suggests this page.


    IRAQ, THEN AND NOW: Brendan Miniter of the Wall Street Journal looks at what might have happened had President Bush #41 liberated Iraq, with Democrats controlling both the House and the Senate at the time. Of course, the elder Bush was assailed by both many on the right, and by opportunists on the left, for not finishing off Saddam. Just as Bush #43 is being assailed by both many on the right, and by opportunists on the left, for doing just that.


    Wednesday, May 26, 2004


    MORE PRISONER ABUSE IN IRAQ: Andrew Sullivan has the details. Scroll up to here, where Sullivan also asks why gays in America have ignored the plight of their counterparts in the Middle East.


    THE END OF DAYS: How else to explain this headline:

    "'Spanky' the Clown Arrested on Child Porn"
    Herschel Krustofsky could not be reached for comment.


    "SOMEWHERE", Richard Baehr writes, "Pat Buchanan is smiling" at the latest round of anti-Semitism.


    THE RUBBER DIPLOMA CIRCUIT: Via Betsy Newmark, Ben Shapiro has an amusing look at who's speaking at college commencements this year. (For what it's worth, my graduating class listened to Malcolm Forbes. It was a fairly pedestrian speech, as I recall. But on the other hand, that's not necessarily a bad thing.)


    LET'S NOT ASSUME THE SALE JUST YET: Kerry's plane has "John Kerry President" on its side. Despite the best efforts of the press, I don't think it's official yet. And I suppose this was inevitable:

    Comparing the plane to aircraft that brought U.S. troops to and ferried them home from Vietnam, Kerry called the plane his ``freedom bird.''
    But after Vietnam, Kerry said:
    I did take part in free-fire zones, I did take part in harassment and interdiction fire, I did take part in search-and-destroy missions in which the houses of noncombatants were burned to the ground. And all of these acts, I find out later on, are contrary to the Hague and Geneva conventions and to the laws of warfare. So in that sense, anybody who took part in those, if you carry out the application of the Nuremberg Principles, is in fact guilty.
    If that's how Kerry feels, why is he naming his plane after those that transported armies of fellow war criminals to and from their destructive tasks? You'd think somebody that ashamed of his actions in Vietnam would want to play them down. UPDATE: Rich Lowry notes that AP didn't pick up on the missing "for" in the "John Kerry President" emblazoned on Kerry's campaign aircraft.


    COMPARE AND CONTRAST: Al Gore has harsh words for anyone with an (R) to the right of his or her name, and thinks that Iraq is a "catastrophe". His running mate in the 2000 elections thinks differently. Will any reporter ask either man why he thinks his counterpart's view is so bi-polar? UPDATE: Actually, I agree with Gore on Iraq. Especially when he says things like this:

    ''We need national resolve and unity, not weakness and division when we are engaged in an action against someone like Saddam Hussein,'' the vice president said on CNN's Larry King Live. Wired for a round-robin of live interviews with five network TV anchors, Gore blanketed the airwaves with a prediction that critics of the president's decision to strike Iraq would change their opinion as they learned more about the situation and received more information from military leaders. ''This action is the correct action,'' he said.
    Whoops--that was in 1998. Nevermind. The press certainly doesn't.


    "NO, I MEAN, WHO IS THE REAL ENEMY?": I don't know about you, but I can absolutely picture this exchange between writer/producer/director Lionel Chetwynd and a Hollywood mogul:

    When he was 17, Ike's screenwriter and co-executive producer Lionel Chetwynd joined the 3rd Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), spending two years in the Canadian peacetime military. During that time he met some veterans of Dieppe, a bloody but necessary dress rehearsal to D-Day that established the futility of invading a fortified European port. Now in his early 60s, Chetwynd is a longtime naturalized American citizen who was born in England and raised in Montreal. He'd remembered from Canadian regimental history that of the 4,400-odd Canadians sent to Dieppe, about 3,600 were killed. Although they knew it was basically a suicide mission, not one man failed to report for duty. Chetwynd asked one of the old soldiers in his regiment, Sgt. Gordon Betts, why. "My generation had to figure out what we were ready to die for," Chetwynd recalled Betts telling him. "You kids don't even know what to live for." Many years later, when Chetwynd was a successful Hollywood writer specializing in historical dramas, he told the Dieppe story during a Malibu dinner party — as a sort of tribute to the men who died there so people could sit around debating politics at Malibu dinner parties. One of the guests was a network head who asked Chetwynd to come in and pitch the story. "So I went in," Chetwynd told me, "and someone there said, 'So these bloodthirsty generals sent these men to a certain death?' "And I said, 'Well, they weren't bloodthirsty; they wept. But how else were we to know how Hitler could be toppled from Europe?' And she said, 'Well, who's the enemy?' I said, 'Hitler. The Nazis.' And she said, 'Oh, no, no, no. I mean, who's the real enemy?'" "It was the first time I realized," Chetwynd continued, "that for many people evil such as Nazism can only be understood as a cipher for evil within ourselves. They've become so persuaded of the essential ugliness of our society and its military, that to tell a war story is to tell the story of evil people."
    Kind of puts it all into perspective when someone living in Hollywood is complaining about "the essential ugliness of our society" and thinks that during WWII the real enemy wasn't the Nazis, but the men who fought them, doesn't it?


    CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER: Orrin Judd praises Bill Clinton.


    Tuesday, May 25, 2004


    QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The hottest part of hell is reserved for those who, at a time of grave moral crisis, steadfastly maintain their neutrality."--Winston Churchill (Via Tom Maguire.)


    THE PURPLE DECADES: Ilya Shapiro writes on being "Stuck in Purple America", which makes a nice trifecta alongside of Rod Dreher's "Crunchy Cons" piece and David Brooks' Bobos In Paradise.


    HOME THEATER IN A BOX: My latest Electronic House newsletter is now online.


    TESTS CONFIRM SARIN GAS in Baghdad bomb. Follow this link to read just how deadly even a single drop of sarin can be. And continue to watch the media keep moving the goalposts. UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan spots Dan Rather spinning the story as only he can. REUTERS "UPDATE": The kings of quotation marks aren't acknowledging this find, either. ONE MORE UPDATE: H.D. Miller has more, here.


    OPENING SOON: Jonathan Last looks at the art of the movie trailer. Last doesn't mention it, but my favorite trailer is the one that Welles narrated for Citizen Kane, where he uses his most ingratiating voice-over style to introduce his cast of then-unknowns. It's included on the DVD, and as RKO's advertising men said of the film, it's terrific.


    Monday, May 24, 2004


    QUOTE OF THE DAY comes from Joe Lieberman, a Democrat who gets it. "If we don't lose our will, someday we'll look back on what we've done in Iraq with pride."


    THE BROKEN WINDOWS THEORY: In his commencement speech at Hillsdale College, Edwin J. Feulner, the president of The Heritage Foundation, applies it to public discourse. Too much good stuff here for me to quote an excerpt. Instead, RTWT. Too bad E.L. Doctorow didn't apply similar reasoning to his commencement speech this weekend. UPDATE: For background on the broken windows theory, read this Atlantic article from 1982 by James Q. Wilson, and this transcription of a PBS program hosted by Ben Wattenberg, who explains how Wilson's theories led to a dramatic increase in the quality of life in Manhattan, and not coincidentally, a drop in its homicide rate, when they were applied by Rudy Giuliani. As Wilson himself said, "The ability to measure the crime rate permits you to test theories, to test competing arguments, to see who is correct."


    LIFE IMITATES THE ONION: Betsy Newmark has two examples, here and here. Malcolm Muggeridge, call your office.


    GLENN REYNOLDS LOOKS AT the latest findings from the Pew Research Center on the political demographics of America's newsrooms. Be sure to read the comments from Mike Gordon, one of Glenn's readers, as well. And click here and then scroll down for James Taranto's thoughts. (Scroll down a little further to the "Red Alert" for the probably-not-all-that-astonishing source of John Kerry's campaign slogan.)


    RATINGS TRUMP WAR FOR CIVILIZATION: None of the broadcast networks are expected to carry President Bush's speech tonight. It will only be available on the cable news channels. UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has some thoughts.


    HUNTER S. THOMPSON, HOLOCAUST DENIER: How else to explain this passage in his ESPN column:

    The long-dreaded 2004 Olympics in Greece will be the ultimate crossroads for sports and politics in this new and vicious century. The recent photos of cruelty at the Abu Grahaib all-american prison in Baghdad have taken care of that. Yes, sir. We have taken the bull by the horns on this one, sports fans. These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport. Not even the foulest atrocities of Adolf Hitler ever shocked me so badly as these photographs did.
    As I said last Sunday, Thompson and the late William S. Burroughs are the prime examples that sooner or later, decades of pharmaceutical excess catch up with a writer--and the results are not pretty. As James Lileks wrote that same day:
    Thompson has less hope than the Islamists; at least they have an afterlife to look forward to. All we have is a country so rotten and exhausted it’s not worth defending. It never was, of course, but it’s even less defensible now than before. He can say what he wants. Drink what he wants. Drive where he wants. Do what he wants. He’s done okay in America. And he hates this country. Hates it. This appeals to high school kids and collegiate-aged students getting that first hot eye-crossing hit from the Screw Dad pipe, but it’s rather pathetic in aged moneyed authors. And it would be irrelevant if this same spirit didn't infect on whom Hunter S. had an immense influence. He's the guy who made nihilism hip. He's the guy who taught a generation that the only thing you should believe is this: don't trust anyone who believes anything. He's the patron saint of journalism, whether journalists know it or not.
    Does anybody at ESPN proof Thompson? Is there an editor who receives his copy and says, "Abu Grahaib is worse than the Holocaust. Yeah, sports fans will love this!" Rush Limbaugh and Gregg Easterbrook were fired from ESPN last fall because of their excesses. It should be interesting to see if anything happens to Uncle Duke. UPDATE: And the Airbrush Award of the month goes to...ESPN. After the Drudge Report had a link to the article which contained the above quote, ESPN doctored it to now read:
    The long-dreaded 2004 Olympics in Greece will be the ultimate crossroads for sports and politics in this new and vicious century. The recent photos of cruelty at the Abu Grahaib all-american prison in Baghdad have taken care of that. Yes, sir. We have taken the bull by the horns on this one, sports fans. These horrifying digital snapshots of the American dream in action on foreign soil are worse than anything even I could have expected. I have been in this business a long time and I have seen many staggering things, but this one is over the line. Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport.
    Gee, and I thought only the BBC airbrushed their stuff. ANOTHER UPDATE: Drudge is mentioning the airbrush, here. Drudge writes:
    But after being linked to the DRUDGE REPORT, a top editor demanded the sentence be immediately edited --without Thompson's okay, according to an ESPN.com staffer. "Hunter can go too far sometimes," the Bristol-based ESPN employee told the DRUDGE REPORT.
    Yes he can. So why aren't Thompson's excesses noticed before ESPN is deluged with email? Of course, as Drudge notes:
    As with the original, Thompson still concludes with the thought: "Now I am really ashamed to carry an American passport."
    Why not move to France?


    LIES AND THE LYING LIARS ON THE LEFT WHO TELL THEM: Fred Barnes writes that he has just the person to look into Michael Moore's lies and distortions: "Al Franken has taken special interest in public liars, writing a bestseller called Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Al, the Moore case is now in your court". Found via "The Corner", where Tim Graham writes:

    If you can't get upset with a film that crazily attacks the president and slanders the war effort, and makes wild accusations about the Bushes being tight with the bin Ladens, then you should take some outrage pills. Then there's all the liberal film critics. The same people who earlier this year sounded like a pack of anthropologists who miraculously all attended the crucifixion of Christ and became fiercely convinced that Mel Gibson is mangling history will now all treat Michael Moore like his documentaries aren't the slightest bit factually mangled.
    Well, this was the year that Hollywood honored Leni Riefenstahl at the Academy Awards.

    Sunday, May 23, 2004


    MOVE ALONG, NOTHING TO SEE HERE: Another railroad-related article, this time about a motion detector being discovered alongside the heavily trafficked Northeast Corridor in Philadelphia, written in the same "nothing unusual here" style as the article we linked to last week about a rocket launcher(!) found near Atlanta's railroad station. Here's another article, about New Jersey railroad lines being videotaped. Here's a brief article in The Washington Times that actually tries to put a few of the pieces together. I really fear that we're going to wake up to another Madrid, only it will be in Manhattan's Penn Station, not Spain.


    DON'T EXPECT TO SEE SGT. STRYKER at either of the chief parties' conventions this year: "I've always thought political conventions were for folks who considered DragonCon way too hip", he says, among other thoughts, here.


    Saturday, May 22, 2004


    ANOTHER CASABLANCA REMAKE: In addition to the David Soul/Hector Elizondo TV series from 1983, Hollywood also remade Casablanca 13 years later...with Pamela Anderson. And as Richard Rostrum emailed to tell me:

    if the thought of Pamela Anderson standing in for Ingrid Bergman turns your stomach, well, don't be too alarmed--her character is not the Ilsa Lund equivalent.
    As James Panero wrote, it's always worse than you think. Especially when it comes to Hollywood.


    THX-1138 STREETS ON DVD ON 9/14: It will also have a limited run in major city theaters as well, around that same time. Like the first three Star Wars films, George Lucas is tinkering with it though, "opening up" the film with new digital special effects, and showing more of the film's underground city. The Digital Bits has the details and additional links, including the film's promotional Website.


    CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER: National Review's Dave Kopel praises Al Franken's radio show in his column for the Rocky Mountain News. However, he's not very fond of The Randi Rhodes Show, which follows it:

    On the radio, hyperbole and invective usually succeed only if they're funny - as they sometimes are on Franken and Limbaugh. With Rhodes, however, all you get is the same kind of flat pronouncements you could hear from a seventh-grader in Boulder: George Bush is "deaf, dumb and blind" and "stupid" and "an idiot" and people who vote for Bush are "morons" and "pathological." For someone with such a smug sense of intellectual superiority, Rhodes is remarkably ignorant. Monday, for example, brought the bizarre claim that United States bombed Dresden after the Germans had surrendered in World War II. Actually, the bombing was three months before the Germans surrendered.
    This sounds like it should be the subject of the next Michael Moore "documentary".


    THERE'S A NEW WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL IN ESTONIA: There's just one problem though: It honors the SS.


    GOT $2.7 MILLION UNDER YOUR MATTRESS? Then the birthplace of Bilbo Baggins could be yours, as JRR Tolkien's home in north Oxford is now on the market. And you can decorate it with this!


    THE OIL-FOR-FOOD SCAM: Claudia Rosett asks, "What Did Kofi Annan know, and when did he know it?"


    S-21: James Bowman reviews a new documentary called S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine:

    Vann Nath reflects on the Party’s favoring the word "destruction" for its enemies, rather than "killing." He says: "If you think about the word ‘destruction’ it’s more than cruel. In the word ‘kill’ there still seems to be a moral aspect, but in ‘destruction’ there’s nothing human left. We become dust, just particles blowing in the wind." From the now-empty site of a mass grave where one of the guards explains how he killed the prisoners — by striking them from behind with an iron bar then cutting their throats and pushing them into the already-prepared grave where they died — to the final scene of the empty prison with the wind sweeping through it and blowing the dust about, the film dramatizes this observation. It never does answer the question, "Why?" No one ever really can. But it is hypnotically watchable.
    I wonder if John Kerry will be in the audience.

    Friday, May 21, 2004


    THE COLD WAR BEGAN HERE: "Once Stalin had got away with [the Katyn massacre], he realized he could get away with anything".


    2004: THE YEAR OF BLOGGERS AND FRIDGES: Not too long ago, I wrote about my experiences focus-testing refrigerators. Today, the fruits of my labor and vast refrigerator knowledge paid off, as James Lileks (I know he's not, but he's close enough to make the headline work) visits the appliance story to inspect the latest in Freon-cooled goodness.


    WHAT GOES UP OFTEN MUST COME DOWN, but that doesn't mean that both events get the same amount of coverage from the press. Especially when it's the rise and decent of Air America.


    GIVE AP A HAND: Remember the story we linked to on Tuesday about the seven Iraqi men fitted with new prosthetic right hands by a Houston hospital after they were chopped off by Saddam Hussein? Stefan Sharkansky writes that AP left off two details, one relatively minor, the other not-so-minor. First, it was originally nine men, but two have since died. Second, Saddam's butchery occurred at Abu Ghraib. As one of Sharkansky's readers says, "gosh, that wouldn't have any relevance to current events now, would it?


    STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: Why is Steve Largent donating money to fund Tom Daschle's re-election campaign? (Via The Corner.)


    DID BILL GATES SHAKE THE BLOGOSPHERE? Bill Gates told Warren Buffett about blogging on Thursday. CNN could not be reached for comment. UPDATE: As Dandy Don Meredith would sing, "Turn out the lights, the party's over"....


    INTO HOME RECORDING? If you're like me, and not the world's greatest singer, it helps to use technology creatively for better vocals. That's the subject of my latest (long) post at Blogcritics.


    DAVID OGILVY WOULD APPROVE: Jeff Goldstein has a terrific new advertising slogan for Emory University.


    Thursday, May 20, 2004


    NANCY PELOSI, MILITARY GENIUS: Patton, Bradley and Schwarzkopf all pale next to the all-powerful strategist from San Francisco. Jeane Kirkpatrick, call your office. UPDATE: More here.


    HAS "JUMPING THE SHARK" JUMPED THE SHARK? Patterico writes that the oft-used phrase "jumped the shark when it was used by the Shark." (The Shark himself replies, "Maybe so, but at least I don't go around using phrases after they've jumped the shark ... ;) )


    MORE FROM THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF NIXON: Yassar Arafat says he'll protect the Olympics from terrorism. Just as he did in 1972. (Via Betsy Newmark.) UPDATE: Following the same theme, since Paul Ehrlich's freshness-date expired right around the same time, Ronald Bailey comments that "Ehrlich has never been right. Why does anyone still listen to him?"


    THE SECRET PLAN: Roger L. Simon looks at how John Kerry is channeling Richard Nixon. UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds picks up the Kerry-as-Nixon theme on his MSNBC page.


    NEWSWEEK EDITOR CALLS BUSH ADMINISTRATION "CLOWNS": as noticed--appropriately enough--by Oh, That Liberal Media, who has some interesting comments on the matter. The editor in question is Jonathan Alter, who has been predisposed against the president even before he took office.


    GOOD NEWS FROM IRAQ: You may very well have read this already, thanks to Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan. If not, click here.


    Wednesday, May 19, 2004


    FOR COMMON SENSE, PLEASE PRESS #1: Michelle Malkin looks at one Democratic ex-governor's anger at multiculturalism.


    QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Kofi? Your move."


    US DISPUTES STRIKE REPORT ON IRAQI WEDDING PARTY: Two questions: What sort wedding finishes at 2:45 in the morning? And even if it was actually a wedding, while I know old customs die hard, isn't rather stupid to be firing weapons to celebrate in a war zone? I thought the tradition in the Middle East was to fire weapons after a military victory. Do they unload a clip at the end of a wedding as well? Why not just break a wine glass? It's so much more civilized. UPDATE: More here. ANOTHER UPDATE: More here as well.


    ANOTHER JOURNALIST COMES CLEAN: On The Today Show this morning, Katie Couric had this to say to David Brock:

    Couric contended that “most people, I think, on the street would say the media it tends, tend to be more liberal than conservative" and she proposed: “Aren't most people in journalism, primarily, except for say on Fox, and in certain conservative publications, aren't they for the most part, and of course the media is, are not monolithic, but pro-choice, you know, against prayer in school, probably favor affirmative action? I mean don't you think that's, that's fairly typical? And if so is it, why isn't it fair to say that liberals, sort of, are controlling the mainstream media?"
    Brent Baker writes, "A lot of journalists, who see no bias in any mainstream media outlet, are magically able to see bias on the Fox News Channel. Couric may be the first to recognize bias beyond FNC." Actually, there have been several other journalists who have gone on the record about media bias recently; something we discussed originally here, and then fleshed out in our interview with Bernard Goldberg, the man who helped to break the logjam.


    THE GREAT ELVIN JONES, drummer for John Coltrane's quintet died, at age 76. For our take on one of the Coltrane quintet's finest hours, click here and here. Sadly, I never got to see Jones live. But I did see McCoy Tyner, Coltrane's pianist, a couple of years ago at the Iridium Club in Manhattan. Not surprisingly, his playing is still world class.


    THE KINGS OF QUOTATION MARKS: Reuters has never met a terrorist it didn't like. Which is why, I suppose the word "heroes" is in quotation marks in this headline, as it refers to those who tried to save innocent lives, as opposed to kill them:

    Giuliani Lauds 9/11 'Heroes' Amid Angry Hecklers


    LEFT EYE'S VIEW: John O'Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds and Neal Boortz have harsh words for the media. UPDATE: More from Reynolds here, including a particularly damning photo.


    FRITZ HOLLINGS: ANTI-SEMITE? AP is reporting that a column he wrote is being "labeled 'anti-Jewish' by some". Jonah Goldberg has a couple of posts on the topic, as does John J. Miller.


    Tuesday, May 18, 2004


    THE BATTLE FOR YOUR LIVING ROOM*: My article on LCD versus Plasma TVs from the debut issue of TechLiving Magazine is now online. *It's the subhead of the article. And yes, I realize how incongruous it sounds at the end of a day's worth of posts on rocket launchers, sarin, amputating limbs, Saddam, Castro, Nader, and Dukakis. Have one of these, and it'll take your mind off whatever ails you. But remember! It "does not contain any drug that depresses the heart, or dopes the mind: a fact quickly noticed, for it is exhilarating instead of stupefying".


    ROCKET LAUNCHER FOUND NEAR ATLANTA RAILROAD STATION: Love the tone of this Ledger-Enquirer piece: rocket launcher found near train station and eight miles northwest of Atlanta International Airport--ho-hum, you can go about your business. Nothing to see here, move along.


    THE SIGNIFIGANCE OF SARIN: Joe Carter has a two part look at just how deadly even a single drop of that nerve gas could be. Keep the numbers that Carter posted in mind as the media spins this discovery. (Via Hugh Hewitt.)


    SPEAKING OF THE MEDIA'S TEMPLATE, Betsy Newmark has a couple of interesting links on the subject.


    CASTRO CAN LIVE TO 140? Of couuuuurse he can. But hey, if I was the personal physician to a murdering communist dictator and had a wife or family I wanted to protect, I'd probably say stuff like that, too. UPDATE: Via James Lileks, this is a great piece of writing on Castro's dissidents, as well as his useful idiots in the US.


    AMERICA LENDS A HAND: Seven of them actually, to men who were once Iraqi small business owners who had their right hands cut off nine years ago when Saddam Hussein punished them for Iraq's collapsing economy. (Nevermind the UN embargo after the invasion of Kuwait and Desert Storm. When in doubt--punish your shopkeepers.) There are many, many more stories like this, involving Americans both here and in Iraq, and yet they're published so infrequently, because they don't fit the media's template. UPDATE: And of course, CNN ran few stories of Saddam's torture while he was in power, because they were in his pocket. Surprisingly though, ESPN did run a piece or two on how brutally Uday Hussein treated Iraq's Olympic athletes. ANOTHER UPDATE: A.M. Rosenthal has harsh words for the paper he used to edit.


    ME AND MY RED CORVAIR: Jim Geraghty looks at how Ralph Nader might do in November. UPDATE: Orrin Judd looks at Nader's net worth, and quips, "As Jesse Jackson knows, there's good money to be made shaking down corporate types". As somebody once said, heh.


    THE SPIN DOCTORS: James Taranto looks at how the media is spinning the sarin story. Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds looks at how the media have become a weapon of war themselves.


    I GUESS OSCAR HAS THE APARTMENT TO HIMSELF NOW: Tony Randall died on Monday, at age 84.


    WE'RE GONNA PARTY LIKE IT'S 1988: Or, maybe we won't. When it comes to the presidential election, James Pinkerton asks, "Is It 1988 Again"?


    Monday, May 17, 2004


    AND IT WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEIR NOSES: Sometimes when you're too close to something, you lose objectivity. Rod Dreher looks at how the Democrats became "The Godless Party", and why the press never even saw it coming. (Via The Brothers Judd.)


    BLESSED BY THE GODS DEPARTMENT: We've been permalinked by "Armavirumque", The New Criterion's Weblog. Thank you!


    "TOO SMALL BY HOLLYWOOD STANDARDS": The New Criterion is blogging about a Hollywood remake of Brideshead Revisited:

    Jude Law will play Sebastian. Notice how this report claims that Castle Howard, the setting of the 1981 series, "was considered too small by Hollywood standards." Nice.
    Castle Howard was also used as Castle Hackton in Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. I actually visited there in 2000--and it's enormous--both the castle and the estate that it's on. James Panero writes:
    I asked James Bowman if it is a Hollywood imperative that all great films be remade as bad films. Even 'Psycho,' he pointed out, was redone--but not yet "Casablanca." Which leads me to wonder, is it only a matter of time before we get "Casablanca, The Reckoning... because, this time, it's personal"?
    Does the TV series that starred David Soul as Rick, and Hector Elizondo as Louis Renault count? It had a mercifully brief run in 1983, but still, it demonstrated the sheer hubris of trying to remake one of the great films of all time. On the other hand: Citizen Kane II: The Wrath of Susan Alexander has yet to be made. But give 'em time...


    CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN IRAQ: Glenn Reynolds notes that the spin as already started. UPDATE: Brian Crouch looks at how Reuters, those kings of quotation marks, are spinning things.


    FIFTY YEARS AFTER BROWN VS BOARD OF EDUCATION, segregation remains a serious problem, writes Arnold Kling, in Tech Central Station.


    FEAR AND LOATHING IN MINNEAPOLIS: James Lileks runs roughshod over Hunter S. Thompson, a man for whom the freshness dating on his writing expired about twenty years ago. Thompson and William S. Burroughs are the prime examples that sooner or later, decades of pharmaceutical excess catch up with a writer--and the results are not pretty.


    Sunday, May 16, 2004


    PUTTING OUT THE FIRE WITH GASOLINE: John Fund writes that Democrats have started to realize that a campaign of hate won't beat President Bush. I'm not sure if a majority of the left has realized this yet, but Fund makes some great points nonetheless. (Via Betsy Newmark.)


    Saturday, May 15, 2004


    THINGS I NEVER THOUGHT I'D SAY: Gene Simmons of Kiss: anti-idiotarian. (Via "The Corner".)


    Friday, May 14, 2004


    KAFKA.COM: Steven Den Beste writes that Belgium and the Netherlands have proposed launching a website where businesses and citizens can report and complain on the administrative burdens caused by the insane quantities of standard issue EU regulations and red tape. The proposed URL? www.kafka.eu. To coin a phrase...heh.


    THE REAL PICTURE SHOW: Roger L. Simon says he has a scoop about some of the content that will soon be broadcast on the new Arab-language television network, Alhurra: photographs and videos of Saddam's henchmen in action, torturing--and I mean torturing--"light years beyond what you have seen from our troops in Abu Ghraib", as Simon puts it. Simon has three questions about this material:

    I would like to know if any of these torturers is actually in Abu Ghraib right now. Let's hope they were not among those let out. I also would like to know what Senator Kennedy has to say about the moral equivalence of our actions after watching these tapes. And finally, I would like to know why it took so long for these to come out.
    All good questions. But don't look for the press to question Ted anytime soon about his recent statements anytime soon.


    I WAS AGAINST THE WAR BEFORE I WAS AGAINST IT: Power Line Blog notes how John Kerry is subtly rewriting his past.


    HOME RECORDING UPDATE: If you use the popular Reason program* (as I frequently do) to record software-driven virtual synthesizers, Propellerhead Software has an update that contains a variety of simulated vintage instruments. ...Because guitarists aren't the only musicians who like the sound of old gear. *Not to be confused with the also popular Reason magazine--which has some great words, but is much tougher to dance to.


    JOHN PODHORETZ ON TIME MAGAZINE:

    Take a look at Time magazine's cover this week. It features an artist's rendering of one of the photographs from Abu Ghraib with the line: "Iraq: How Did It Come to This?" "It" didn't come to "this." "It" is a war to liberate 25 million people and rout Islamic extremists, terrorists and those who thirst for the mass murder of Americans. "This" was an aberrancy that was stopped almost five months ago, when the revelations at Abu Ghraib led to investigations, arrests and the wholesale reinvention of the Iraq prison system. Time's cover line is a vile and grotesque slander against every American in uniform in Iraq. It remains the case, more than two weeks after the public exposure of the Abu Ghraib photographs, that not a single digital photo showing mistreatment has emerged from another cellblock at that self-same prison, or from any of the other 24 prisons in Iraq. Indeed, every photograph shown to U.S. senators yesterday is part of the same set of pictures featuring the same eight dirtbags. The scandal isn't widening. If anything, it's contracting. The focus continues to zoom in on the actual people in the pictures and their disgusting conduct in them. And yet Teddy Kennedy, a man who once let a woman die, feels free to speak the following unspeakable words: "We now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management." The United States is, according to the man in whose car Mary Jo Kopechne drowned, no better than the regime of Saddam Hussein. Teddy Kennedy isn't just some outlier. Teddy Kennedy is the chief surrogate of the Democratic candidate for president of the United States and a lionized figure - so lionized that a worshipful profile of him published in Boston magazine won a major journalism award last year. So let's be clear what's going on here. As we speak, 138,000 Americans are serving under dangerous conditions in Iraq. And our forces in Karbala are fighting against the goons and thugs of Muqtada al-Sadr with some success. They're risking their lives for freedom and honor and duty and love of country. And conventional liberal opinion wants them to lose.
    Back in December, Charles Johnson wrote:
    Am I the only one who thinks it's more than a little weird that TIME Magazine names "The American Soldier" as their "Person of the Year," only days after publishing a story by a TIME reporter who's hangin' out with the mujahideen trying to kill that same "Person of the Year?"
    Linking to Johnson's post, I wrote, "Pick a side boys, so the readers know where you stand". Looks like they have.


    SEX APPEAL: Roger L. Simon looks at two scandals--one with world-changing implications, and one that's pretty minor in the scope of history, and compares and contrasts the coverage each is receiving:

    Drudge (linking Media Life Magazine) is telling us the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times are locked in mortal combat to see who will own the suddenly important Graydon Carter Story. Vanity Fair editor Carter, whose magazine features movieland coverage, has evidently been profiteering off his cozy Hollywood ties, even to the tune of an alleged hundred grand 'consulting fee' from Universal. Creepy, I guess, and unethical... but these same papers don't seem too concerned that the Wall Street Journal and the 'lowly' tabloid New York Post own the UN Oil-for-Food Scandal. Why is that, one wonders, when surely the latter story is vastly more important to the current world situation and to how the international community could conceivably go forward? Yet they seem content to be Missing-in-Action on that. It would be interesting to know how many reporters the two papers have assigned to both stories and hear an explanation of why.
    I suspect that Simon knows exactly why the Graydon Carter story is getting more ink: it's got more sex appeal. And it involves "killing their own". As Woody Allen once said, "intellectuals are just like the Mafia--they only kill their own". The media works much the same way: they love to see one of their peers take a fall. Most importantly, Hollywood and journalistic corruption is nothing new. But if you're a liberal journalist, to believe that the UN is corrupt is to change a worldview you may have held since childhood that the UN is a benign organization full of wonderful humanitarians that helps keep the peace and keeps the "evil" United States in check. And if that's no longer true, then all of those bad things that conservatives have been saying about the UN...may be true! And that can't be possible. Maybe Stefan Sharkansky is right--this is the week the media jumped the shark. UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds reminds us that UNSCAM isn't the only scandal in town among global elites.


    WAS THIS THE WEEK that the mainstream media as we know it jumped the shark? UPDATE: This certainly lends a bit of credence to that theory. ANOTHER UPDATE: As does this.


    Thursday, May 13, 2004


    THE DEFINITIVE INSTAPUNDIT INTERVIEW: Read the whole thing. All I can add is...heh.


    "BOSTON GLOBE PUBLISHES ANTI-AMERICAN PORN": James Taranto has a pretty good link-filled rundown on the duping of the Globe. And Glenn Reynolds has some thoughts on, as he puts it, the Globe's "rather lame" apology for blowing it, big time. As Glenn writes, "Note that it doesn't say, anywhere, that the images were actually fraudulent, though they were. Is this an adequate apology for running explicitly pornographic images that were falsely labeled as representing atrocities by American troops?"


    BUSTIN' MAKES ME FEEL GOOD: There's a surprisingly authentic looking complete Ghostbusters' suit for sale on eBay.


    HOME AUTOMATION AND HOME THEATER: My latest Electronic House newsletter is online. UPDATE: My monthly "Ideas For Every Room" piece is online as well. We look at the high tech--well, really medium tech--kitchen this month.


    WHAT WE WEREN'T TOLD: Shell of Across the Atlantic wants to know why the press hasn't reported that Nicholas Berg was Jewish:

    It doesn't matter what the killers knew. They could put in the story, "Berg was Jewish, and it is uncertain whether his killers knew that." Simple as that. No bias one way or the other. To excuse the *media* for not knowing he was Jewish is ridiculous though. They're reporters. It's their job to find things out. How hard is it to find out someone's religion? Obituary writers do it all the time. The media's theme for this story has been "revenge for Abu Graihb". If they report that he was Jewish, then the theme might become "racists terrorists brutally murder Jewish American". Is that the media's motivation for not reporting something as important as someone's religious identity? I don't know. And I'll say that.
    Questioning the media's motivation is always a good thing. In a link-filled post titled, "Why The Big Media Continue To Lose Their Audience", Glenn Reynolds writes, "big media leaders seem almost desperate to keep the story on Abu Ghraib" But on the Internet, "where users set the agenda, not Big Media editors and producers, it's different". And Nick Berg is the story, as well it should be.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2004


    "STARK RAVING MAD": Joel Mowbray has more on "Pete" Stark's freakout answering machine message last week to a constituent who's a military veteran.


    INCIDENTALLY, sorry for the recent lack of posts--I've been in crunch mode, with several articles due simultaneously.


    FLY ME TO THE MOON: Howard Bart only wrote one hit song in his lifetime. As Mark Steyn writes, it was the only one that he needed:

    In 1969, Buzz Aldrin took a portable tape player up there with him, and “Fly Me To The Moon” became the first moon song to get to the moon itself. “The first music played on the moon,” said Quincy Jones [who arranged Sinatra's definitive version]. “I freaked.”
    Steyn adds:
    Had any other nation beaten NASA to it, they’d have marked the occasion with the “Ode To Joy” or Also Sprach Zarathustra, something grand and formal. But there’s something very American about Buzz Aldrin standing on the surface of the moon with his cassette machine.
    Exactly.


    OUR MEDIA, IN DAMAGE OVERDRIVE: Brent Bozell makes a great point in the middle of his weekly media column, which was probably written before video of Nicholas Berg's beheading surfaced:

    Does America have the "right to know," to see every image of smiling American morons at Abu Ghraib? To see every image of the horrors of the war? Contrary to what they might say on the chat-show circuit, the media themselves do not have an absolute position on that. Look no further than March 31, when a vicious mob shot four American contractors, mutilated them, burned their corpses, dragged them through the streets, and hung body parts from bridges. Like the prisoner-abuse story, this was the ugliness, the horror of war. But in this case, most in the media determined the public did not have a right to see the pictures. Notice the great irony behind the Abu Ghraib pictures. Because they are less graphic and disturbing, since the prisoners are being humiliated, and not killed, they are more acceptable for airing, and then more acceptable for complete over-airing. The end result is that Americans are inundated with visuals of injustices committed by Americans, and lost is the reality of far graver and more frequent atrocities committed against Americans. Reality gives way to the perception of reality, all in the name of "news." [Emphasis mine--Ed] Now, the media elite are showing us the most remembered gloomy images of Vietnam, the war America lost when Americans lost heart. By putting those Iraq pictures next to these, the media are vying for similar results. If not, why make all the comparisons? Why are our media taking sexual humiliation and comparing it to the Kent State shootings, or more outrageously, the mass murder at My Lai? Do they have no ability to distinguish between these, or do the ends justify the means, with one image just as good as the next one?
    It certainly fits the profile of why they justified running footage of Fallujah in March, but not of the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaida on our own soil. Or as Glenn Reynolds writes, the media's viewpoint is that "Publishing images that might inflame Arabs against Americans is responsible journalism. So is not publishing images that might inflame Americans against Arabs." Nicholas Berg's killers directly cited the images from Abu Ghraib as their justification for beheading them. I wonder if the media feels complicit. Well, actually, I don't. UPDATE: Speaking of damage overdrive, one of Steve Green's readers emailed to tell him:
    The Berg family was sandbagged in their grief by an AP reporter who told them for the first time that their family member had been decapitated and the video of the murder was online. An AP photographer was on hand to record the family's response. The father collapsed on the sidewalk in tears.
    Green has contact info for AP, for those who like to discuss this example of fine quality journalism with them.


    I'M MORE OF A MIES VAN DER ROHE AND CORBUSIER GUY MYSELF, but I can think of one or two people who wouldn't mind decorating their digs with Middle Earth Furniture.


    Tuesday, May 11, 2004


    PLACING IRAQ INTO PERSPECTIVE: Something maybe Teddy Kennedy should consider. UPDATE: James Lileks does a little perspective-izing himself.


    ABU WAFFLE: "He was in favor of politicizing the Abu Ghraib issue before he was against it". Heh.


    PETER ARNETT--HE'S EVERYWHERE! I'm doing a product review of an HDTV compatible device. So I plug the unit into my HDTV converter and pull some channels off the air to see what its picture looks like. San Jose's channel #4 is running some sort of 16X9 widescreen high-def demonstration loop, the sort of stuff that looks great in store displays--everything's super sharp, perfectly photographed and lit, mostly outdoors, and just stunning. So far, running in the background, I've seen a woman's BMX race from 2001, some sort of auction of French antiques, and now footage from a US aircraft carrier during the early stages of our war in Afghanistan. Guess who's broadcasting from the flight deck? Peter Arnett! Arnett was fired last year by MSNBC "after the journalist told state-run Iraqi TV that the U.S.-led coalition’s initial war plan had failed and that reports from Baghdad about civilian casualties had helped antiwar protesters undermine the Bush administration’s strategy", according to MSNBC itself. (And he's been fired from numerous other gigs as well.) But I guess he's still your go-to guy when you need narration for a canned HDTV news feed. Because nothing says high-tech like Vietnam-era leftists with six-strand combovers.


    Monday, May 10, 2004


    THE PASSION OF THE DVD: The Digital Bits, whose motto is "We Know DVD!"--and they do--is reporting that The Passion of the Christ will be out on DVD on August 31st:

    There will be few (if any) extras, so that the maximum video bit rate can be achieved for the film presentation. The disc will include both anamorphic widescreen and full frame versions, as well as audio in the original Aramaic/Latin in both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround (with English and Spanish subs). Sources are telling us that a more elaborate special edition release is in the works, for a possible Easter 2005 release.
    They have links to further news about the DVD, as well as a cover photo of the version to be released in August.


    ALAN KING PASSED AWAY THIS WEEKEND AT 76: Jeff Goldstein has some thoughts about--and advice for--the great comedian.


    Sunday, May 09, 2004


    ABUSE OF PRISONERS: The New York Times is noticing that prisoners are abused in US jails, as well as in Iraq. As Glenn Reynolds (sounds like he's feeling better!) writes:

    Bill Lockyer doesn't mind this kind of thing! (Or worse). Neither, apparently, does Eliot Spitzer. This suggests that concern over events in Iraq is overstated, or that concern over prison conditions here is understated. Or maybe both. (Does this mean we should pull out of Pennsylvania?)
    Yes. It's been a quagmire since that incident in 1962 at Faber, and it's time we cut our losses and admitted the truth.


    IS A GENTLEMAN "COOL"? Interesting take by James Bowman on a new book titled The Compleat Gentleman by Brad Miner, a former literary editor of National Review:

    In fact, "cool" is the great killer of gentlemanliness. Cool is Frank Sinatra knocking women around or Miles Davis shooting himself up with heroin and self-pity [Miles knocked a few women around as well--Ed] or Marlon Brando's witheringly ironic portrayals of, um, gentlemanliness.
    Hadn't really thought of it that way before, but it's a great way of putting it. Sinatra, Miles and Brando were great artists at their peak (although each would descend, at times, into self-parody in the collective sunsets of their careers), but that doesn't necessarily make them gentlemen.


    BLOGGER PRO DONE CHANGED THE INTERFACE ON ME! Interesting new design, but it's definitely going take time to get used to it. At first glance though, while it's slicker, it also appears a little slower than the old design. Although that could simply be opening day jitters.


    THIS SEEMS REASONABLE: Greg Cote of The Miami Herald writes that Pat Tillman is a true American hero, but that doesn't mean he deserves to be honored in the NFL Hall of Fame. And he's right--while I could certainly see some sort of memorial to Tillman there (like this virtual tribute), I don't think he deserves a bust in Canton either. Plenty of extremely brave men sacrificed burgeoning NFL careers to serve their country and gave their lives for it in World War II. And if they're not in Canton, then it seems reasonable for the same standard to apply to Tillman.


    AS THE MAN WOULD SAY--and we hope he gets well soon--Heh.

    Saturday, May 08, 2004


    COMPARE AND CONTRAST: Newt Gingrich, in the The Wall Street Journal looks at Abu Ghraib and business as usual in the Middle East:

    Not surprisingly, the anti-American left in our own country and in Europe--with its selective memory, remembering forever any American mistake while forgetting every anti-American and antihuman atrocity by others--is already on radio and television exploiting this as an opportunity to condemn America. The pan-Arab media, with their selective outrage, honor and give prominence to terrorists and barbaric mobs. The smallest American error is given banner headlines, but is, in contrast, excoriated. It is suicidal to reinforce this double standard. One needs to point out that the pan-Arab media said nothing when the Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad destroyed Hama and killed more than 10,000 of his own innocent people, or when Saddam Hussein used poison gas on Iraqis and created 300,000 anonymous graves. Nothing negative was said by the pan-Arab media when Americans were burned, mutilated and dragged through the streets of Fallujah, or when two Palestinian gunmen ambushed a pregnant woman last Sunday in her station-wagon and at point-blank range methodically killed her four children ages two to 11, and then killed her. It is worth remembering that Eason Jordan, a CNN executive, wrote an article admitting that his network had deliberately covered up and ignored Saddam's atrocities to retain access to Baghdad--a policy of caution that, of course, is not reflected in the network's current coverage of charges against America. One American newspaper, with a half-page dedicated to the allegations of brutality in Iraq, referred to the Sunday killings of a mother and her five children as "violence marred the Sunday Likud election." No outrage, no shock, no horror, just another day of viciousness and brutality by our enemies.
    As Orrin Judd writes:
    On the one hand we're asked to believe that torture is something truly awful, but on the other that the prospect of being tortured will be a recruiting tool? If the worst thing these guys can imagine is being led around on a leash by G.I. Jane then why would they risk going to war with us? Meanwhile, there's the argument--offered here--that the Arab world believes this is how we act all the time, but this confirms it. If they believe it already then so what?
    Apropos of nothing, it's also worth considering the double standard of the press--the Abu Ghraib photos being shown endlessly, versus the almost immediate blackout of the images of 9/11.


    DID YOU EVER WONDER who has sex more often--BMW or Porsche drivers? Me neither, but Professor Bainbridge has the answer!


    GEE, AND I REMEMBER WHEN STARVATION was a major global problem. If Sam Kinison were still alive, he'd have lots of fun skewering this topic.


    BARNEY KESSEL DIED: The great jazz guitarist was 80.


    Friday, May 07, 2004


    IN A NEW YORK MINUTE, you can read Roger Ebert's gloriously snarky review of the Olsen twins' new movie, and save yourself having to sit through 91 minutes of geographically-challenged drek:

    Mary-Kate Olsen plays Roxy Ryan, the sloppy girl who skips school and dreams of getting her demo tape backstage at a "punk rock" video shoot. Ashley Olsen plays Jane Ryan, a goody two-shoes who will win a four-year scholarship to Oxford University if she gives the winning speech in a competition at Columbia. Perhaps in England she will discover that the university is in the town of Oxford, and so can correct friends who plan to visit her in London. (I am sure the screenwriters knew the university was in Oxford, but were concerned that audience members might confuse "going to" Oxford and "being in" Oxford, and played it safe, since London is the only city in England many members of the audience will have heard of, if indeed they have.)
    Oh, and this is great:
    Because the movie all takes place during one day and Roxy is being chased by a truant officer, it compares itself to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." It might as reasonably compare itself to "The Third Man" because they wade through sewers.
    There--wasn't that much more fun than actually seeing the film? (Via "Hit & Run".)


    PETE STARK LOSES IT AGAIN, after voting against a House resolution condemning the prisoner abuse in Iraq while commending soldiers serving with honor. One of the constituents of the Democratic congressman from California, a member of the California Army National Guard, life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the American Legion sent Stark a fax questioning his judgment:

    Staff Sergeant Dowd wrote politely and respectfully, "There are many soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen from your 13th congressional district who are serving with pride and distinction." He called Fortney's vote "a disgrace...way out of touch with the people of this district." The fax drove Fortney to call this soldier up and leave this obscenity-laced torrent of insults on his answering machine:
    "Dan, this is Congressman 'Pete' Stark, and I just got your fax and you don't know what you're talking about. So if you care about enlisted people you wouldn't have voted for that thing, either. But probably somebody put you up to this, and I'm not sure who it was, but I doubt if you could spell half the words in the letter. Somebody wrote it for you so I don't pay much attention to it, but I'll call you back later and let you tell me more about why you think you're such a great G--damn hero and why you think that this general and the defense department who forced these poor enlisted (bitter laughter) guys to do what they should shouldn't be held to account. That's the issue. So if you want to stick it to a bunch of enlisted guys have your way, but if you want to get to the bottom of people who forced this awful program in...Iraq, then you should understand more about it than you obviously do. Thanks."
    The last time we noted Stark blowing a gasket was last July, when he referred to a fellow congressman as a "fruitcake" and a "****sucker".


    CONVOY! The Boston Globe reports that while the typical truck driver hasn’t ditched his CB radio, more and more, he’s going out of his way to look for 802.11-equipped truck stops for wireless Internet access. But what would C.W. McCall have to say about this development? (Via Wi-Fi Networking News.)


    GOTTA LOVE THIS HEADLINE: CNS News reports "Million Mom March Hoping to Draw 5,000 to Washington".


    KERRY IN THE DOLE-DRUMS: Back in early March, Bob Dole gave an interview to Juan Williams of NPR, discussing how difficult it was for him to gain any traction in 1996 during the period between winning the primaries, and actually getting the nomination. Flashforward eight years--pollster Robert Moran says that John Kerry is living the Dole nightmare.


    MORE TROUBLE FOR AIR AMERICA? This AP article seems to confirm Drudge's initial take.


    LIFE IN THE POST-BIAS WORLD: Insight magazine looks at "The Crumbling of the Fourth Estate". (Found via I Love Jet Noise.)


    SPEAKING OF PHONES, I have a nifty history of the Bell Atlantic Picturephone in this month's issue of Nuts & Volts, complete with shots from 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Bush baby not included.)


    RING RING RING! Bananaphone! Via Jonah Goldberg. His posting that link on "The Corner" put this stupid melody in my head, so now I'm sharing it with you. Don't everybody thank me at once...


    THE FLAG OF FREEDOM: Vietnamese-Americans in California fight to fly their own flag, not that of the communist regime they fled, according to this Wall Street Journal article. By the way, we first wrote about this trend a year ago. UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge writes:

    This will present campus lefties with a dilemma of their own making. On the one hand, since American universities are one of the last bastions of Marxist and socialist thought, how can they trun their back on one of the last Communist states? On the other hand, a core tenet of the modern multicultural left is avoiding offense to any underrepresented ethnic group.
    Bainbridge's post is titled, "Hoisting the Academic Left on its Own Petard".


    FOOLS FOR COMMUNISM: Devastating piece by Glenn Garvin in Reason. It's actually a book review, but it holds up extremely well as an article in and of itself:

    The speed with which the Soviet empire imploded and the economic ruin and popular revulsion that were revealed have made it clear that baby boomer intellectuals and journalists, viewing the world through the distorted lens of Vietnam, overwhelmingly got it wrong. Peasants ate less and were slaughtered more on the other side of the Iron Curtain; the jails were fuller; the KGB’s list was a lot longer and a lot deadlier than Joe McCarthy’s. A team of French historians calculated the worldwide death toll of communism during the 20th century at more than 93 million. When Hoover Institution historian Robert Conquest used newly available data from the Soviet Union to update The Great Terror, his account of Stalin’s murderous purges of the 1930s, his publishers asked for a new title. "How about I Told You So, You F***ing Fools?" Conquest suggested.
    Needless to say, RTWT.

    Thursday, May 06, 2004


    AMERICAN LAWYER ARRESTED IN MADRID BOMBINGS: Power Line has what few details are currently available. UPDATE (5/7/04): Charles Johnson has more.


    WHAT DID THE BLOGOSPHERE THINK of my Bernard Goldberg piece? Technorati has a pretty good sampling of opinion.


    SEAN HANNITY JUST HAD TED RALL ON: I caught a couple of minutes of it in the car just now. While I admire Rall's chutzpah to go on (and Hannity's for the dressing down he gave Rall over his despicable Pat Tillman cartoon), Rall's "it's all about oooooillllll", claims of civilian atrocities, and telling Hannity "you guys have pushed this country so far to the right" did not serve him well. At one point, Hannity asked him if he'd apologize to the Tillman family. His response? "Not going to happen." As James Lileks wrote the other day:

    I have no idea if Mr. Rall is personally happy, although the one time I met him he didn’t strike me as a jolly old soul. But it has to be hard to be happy when one carries around so much bile and rage. It’s tiring. Anger wears you down, especially when your anger doesn’t seem to accomplish anything. Ted Rall’s cartoons could have run in every paper every day since 9/11 and there will still be kids who saw Tillman’s choice as a remarkable act. (Tillman’s Choice: there’s a phrase that sums up quite a lot, doesn’t it?) People like Rall are sitting on the curb, feet in the gutter, watching the parade go past, smirking at the guy with the baton, sneering at the cheerleaders. Everyone else watching the parade thinks I wonder if there will be elephants! And when they do appear, he rolls his eyes. Elephants. How obvious. You want to live like that? I don’t want to live like that. Because when you see red all the time you miss things. My favorite panel of the cartoon had Tillman signing up and asking “Do I get to go kill Arabs.” Of course Rall knows that it’s not literally true, but it’s true in some metaphysical sense, which makes it truer than reality itself. And it’s a bitter joke, don’t you know, because that’s the unspoken subtext, isn’t it? The notion that there are men literally signing up with the literal desire to literally kill Americans – not even on his radar, apparently. Ah well. Every era has its Bill Mauldin. Every era has its Nast. And every era has its Rall. We just don’t remember them like we remember the Mauldins and Nasts. You know, the guys who were right. And could draw. Again: hate takes too much work.
    Rall sounded like he was working hard on the phone today.


    INTERESTING SLANT ON THE IRAQI PRISONERS STORY by James Taranto:

    No doubt many people enter the military and successfully overcome troubled lives. But it also occurs to us that increasing the quality of military recruits would probably help avoid future Abu Ghraibs. One constructive step toward that end would be for elite universities to drop antimilitary policies, so that the military would have an easier time signing up the best and brightest young Americans. Many academic institutions have barred ROTC or military recruiters from campus for left-wing political reasons--first as a protest against the Vietnam War, and later over the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" law. Whatever the merits of these positions, it's time the academic left showed some patriotic responsibility and acknowledged that the defense of the country--which includes the defense of their own academic freedom--is more important than the issue du jour.
    Steven Den Beste recently wrote:
    For instance, The Truth Is... that "liberals" who suddenly have started talking about reintroducing the draft are not in the slightest concerned with military readiness, and do not believe that filling out the army with draftees is an essential step in winning the war. What's actually going on is that they know that one of the biggest reasons that the people of America ultimately turned against the Viet Nam war was because it was being fought primarily by draftees. And one of the biggest reasons why America's college campuses were particular focal points for anti-war activism was because it was men that age who were being drafted. Said liberals, usually graying Boomers like me, are amazed at the degree to which college-age Americans support this war. They feel somehow cheated; colleges are supposed to be anti-war, aren't they? Of course, there are many critical differences between Viet Nam and the WOT, but regarding the "Millenials" (previously known as "Gen Y") they view the draft as one of the biggest reasons. If they can somehow reinstitute the draft, then said liberals hope they could ignite massive opposition to the war, and would once again see America's college campuses become centers of anti-war activism.
    It seems that before Democrats like Congressman Charlie Rangel call for a new draft, they should call for colleges to allow recruiting on campus again, or risk losing Federal funding. As Stanley Kurtz suggests, "return the ROTC to America's most-prestigious college campuses". ...But that's the problem is isn't it? Republicans would agree with him, and it would actually happen! UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan isn't impressed with Taranto's suggestion.


    MILKEN AND TOFFLER: Arnold Kling of Tech Central Station looks at the role of the "the Innovationist".


    SEEING THINGS THROUGH: Jonah Goldberg has some thoughts on staying the course in Iraq.


    LIFE IN THE POST-BIAS WORLD: Overall daily newspaper circulation is down according to The American Thinker, which notes:

    Only two major papers, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post--both commonly identified as conservative in their editorial policies--reported robust circulation growth.
    And they admit to their biases, unlike many of the newspapers whose circulations are down. As John Podhoretz noted about The New York Post and another conservative publication, The Washington Times he's worked for:
    One of the primary qualities that has distinguished these two papers from most others in the country is that they do not pretend to be something they're not. They are run by conservatives. Readers know it, and are given the opportunity to read them and judge for themselves whether the information in them is improperly colored by the ideological views of the owners and managers. In the world of professional journalists, this lack of pretense is considered a black mark against these institutions. They are criticized and held in lesser regard precisely because they have the integrity to be honest with their readers about what they are. Howell Raines, back when he was Washington bureau chief of The New York Times, refused to acknowledge that the Washington Times was even a newspaper. He called it a "journalistic entity" - which, I have to say, is far more than he is right now.
    The American Thinker noted that even in the post-Raines-era, "The New York Times reported a mere 0.27% circulation growth, to 1,133,763, virtually a rounding error".

    Wednesday, May 05, 2004


    THOSE PHOTOS AND THE TIMELINE: One of the effects of seeing new photos of the torture at Camp Bucca and Abu Ghraib on The Drudge Report is the subliminal feeling that this is going on right now. It isn't--but the timeline is more than a little confusing, especially if you're coming into this scandal cold (or get all of your news from Drudge). Fortunately, Mudville Gazette has a timeline of the events--all of which took place last year. By December or January, these incidents were reported, not by the media, but by a courageous US soldier--and stopped. That doesn't excuse them. And as Charles Johnson notes, what our soldiers did, while abusive--and un-American, pales in comparison with Saddam's unspeakable methods--most of which, as Robert Cox wrote, were literally unspeakable by most of the US media--they went unreported by CNN and the rest of the media. Mudville's timetable was found via James Lileks, who writes:

    The minute I heard Biden refer to Rumsfeld with the magic words - "what did he know, and when did he know it?" - I knew that the Iraqi POW story had jumped the shark. Or rather jumped a pyramid of blindfolded, homoerotic sharks. It's not the question, it's the words: use of the Vietnam and Watergate era terms are like an incarnation that will topple the current administration. I almost expect someone to ask whether there is a cancer on the presidency, a chancre, or a weeping mole. Stop it! STOP LIVING IN THE PAST! What really bastes my brisket (did I just write that? I need a beer.) is the constant desire to return us to the nadir of the post-war era. They want us to think: quagmire. They want us to think: Nixonian scandal. How inspirational. How Churchillian. I have nothing to offer the American people but blood, sweat and Billy Beer.
    Speaking of the bad old '70s, as Jonah Goldberg, and this mock commercial note, what we did also pales in comparison with what Navy Reservist John Kerry claimed to the Senate about what he and his fellow soldiers did in Vietnam.


    JERRY DELA FEMINA, CALL YOUR OFFICE: "There's a Snickers commercial in this story somewhere. 'Poor aim--another unfortunate side effect of hunger!'"


    ADVANTAGE ED! Yesterday, we wondered why The Times' article on Michael Moore "omits previous reports that Disney wouldn't touch the film. Did Moore's agent try to end-run Disney itself by using its Miramax subsidiary?" Today, Marc Cooper links to an Andrew Gumbel article that will appear in Thursday's London-based Independent. Gumbel writes:

    Disney officials appeared to be caught off guard by this onslaught and denied that the company’s decision was motivated by political interests in Florida. They also pointed out they had made it clear a year ago that they wanted no involvement with Fahrenheit 911, which was picked up by Miramax against the wishes of its corporate parent. [Cooper's emphasis.] Both the New York Times and Variety, the entertainment industry trade paper of record, suggested the flap over Mr Moore’s film could drive a further wedge between Michael Eisner, the Disney chairman, and the Weinstein brothers who run Miramax. The Weinsteins and Mr Eisner have been at loggerheads for some time, and speculation is rife in Hollywood that Miramax may prefer to find a new corporate sponsor when its contract with Disney comes up for renewal later this year. In other quarters, the fortuitous timing of the controversy caused some people to wonder whether Mr Moore is really the victim of an attempted corporate muzzling, or whether he is deliberately creating a controversy where little or none exists to generate publicity and trigger a bidding war for the US distribution rights to the film, which have yet to be settled. “This seems almost too good to be true. I smell a rat,” said one well-placed Hollywood source with strong connections to both Disney and Miramax.
    So why didn't the Times check this out?


    PROPER BLOGGING ETIQUETTE: Dean Esmay has some thoughts on getting your blog noticed. I haven't tried his first tip yet, but it'll certainly get you noticed--if not necessarily permalinked.


    MY BACK PAGES: Over the years, I've had the chance to interview some very interesting people, a few of them very well known. I just added a partial list of the interviews that are available online to my Articles page.


    MAN IN SPACE: On this day in 1961, CDR. Alan B. Shepard Jr. became the first American in space. For a look at NASA in its heyday, click here and here. (Via I love Jet Noise.)


    EXPERT SAYS E-VOTING IS "TERRIBLE", and "highly vulnerable and flawed" in this AP article. As the Professor would say, there is a solution...


    BROCK'S CONTENT: Wlady Pleszczynski of The American Spectator has some thoughts on Media Matters, which I mentioned in the lead of my Bernard Goldberg piece. (Via Reductio Ad Absurdum, which has lots and lots of great links to follow.)


    IS COLIN POWELL PLANNING TO LEAVE THE WHITE HOUSE? Stephen Green has some thoughts.


    CAIR'S WAR ON CONSERVATIVE RADIO: Michelle Malkin looks at how the self-described "largest Islamic civil liberties group" in America fabricates quotes to, as Malkin puts it, manufacture "an anti-Muslim hate epidemic that doesn’t exist", and--with the help of a press that eats it all up--squash any conversation about Islamic extremism. (Via Charles Johnson.)


    Tuesday, May 04, 2004


    KERRY'S PURPLE HEART DOCTOR speaks out, and offers the medical description of his first wound.


    WELCOME TO THE POST-BIAS MEDIA: Part One of my interview with Bernie Goldberg, the author of Bias and Arrogance, is online at Tech Central Station.


    GENTLEMAN, START YOUR FISKINGS! Matt Drudge links to a New York Times article titled, "Disney Forbidding Distribution of Film That Criticizes Bush". Of course, it could have better been titled, "Latest Controversial Michael Moore Film Being Slightly Delayed", because even if Disney doesn't distribute Fahrenheit 911, it's a safe bet that somebody will. Because if there's a buck to be made in Hollywood, somebody will rise--or stoop--to the challenge. (Witness: Caligula, the sleazy film version of Bob Woodward's Wired, and Moore's previous propaganda fest, Bowling For Columbine. And those just a handful of examples.) But it's understandable that Disney doesn't want to get near this political hot potato:

    A senior Disney executive elaborated that the company has the right to quash Miramax's distribution of films if it deems their distribution to be against the interests of the company. Mr. Moore's film, the executive said, is deemed to be against Disney's interests not because of the company's business dealings with the government but because Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film could alienate many. "It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle," this executive said.
    Despite the increasingly PC-tone of Disney's films, and its partisan news shows at ABC, hopefully Disney recognizes that a fair number of the attendees of its films, its theme parks, and its television viewers, especially for ESPN, are conservative and moderate folks who aren't Michael Moore's chief audience. Curiously, the Times article omits previous reports that Disney wouldn't touch the film. Did Moore's agent try to end-run Disney itself by using its Miramax subsidiary? Naturally, the multi-millionaire Moore is in his high dudgeon populist "man of the people" mode over (temporarily) losing his distribution:
    Mr. Moore, who will present the film at the Cannes film festival this month, criticized Disney's decision in an interview on Tuesday, saying, "At some point the question has to be asked, `Should this be happening in a free and open society where the monied interests essentially call the shots regarding the information that the public is allowed to see?' "
    Michael--who put up the money for your film? Who's putting up the money to distribute it? At some point, the question should be asked--shouldn't whoever's footing the bill have control over how their money is spent? And as far as the "information", the information itself is fungible--put it out on your Website. Release it as a book. Send the movie straight to DVD. Who's stopping the public from seeing anti-Bush information? Has The Nation's offices been raided? Did a MOAB hit the Village Voice? Have leftwing blogs been shutdown? I guess I missed the article in the Times when John Ashcroft ordered a raid on Moore's 1.9 million dollar Manhattan townhouse. But the issue isn't "the information that the public is allowed to see". The actual issue is whether or not Moore will get his movie distributed to theaters--and how will any profit it makes be distributed, something the Times article does address:
    Miramax is free to seek another distributor in North America, although such a deal would force it to share profits and be a blow to Harvey Weinstein, a big donor to Democrats.
    But Moore's quote implies some sort of broad conspiracy from on high--from the very people who give Moore the money to make his films! Also from The Times:
    Mr. Moore does not disagree that "Fahrenheit 911" is highly charged, but he took issue with the description of it as partisan. "If this is partisan in any way it is partisan on the side of the poor and working people in this country who provide fodder for this war machine," he said.
    Naturally, the Times fails to disclose that Moore was a big Nader supporter in 2000. Or that he stumped for Democrat Wesley Clark in 2004. All in all, this is a surprisingly shoddily written article from "The Newspaper of Record". I can understand them being sympathetic towards the far-left Moore. But they could at least present some of the facts about the guy--and in the issue of appearing to provide non-partisan journalism, at least question some of his statements. UPDATE (5/5/04): Michael Eisner seems to agree with my assessment--"That film will get a distributor easily", he told CNBC.


    ADVANTAGE ED! CNN's Website has an article today called "Gibson hoping to usher in age of digital guitar". I wrote about that topic for Tech Central Station--back in February! EdDriscoll.com: Bringing you tomorrow's innovations first. Except when we don't!


    ARE THESE GUYS NUTS? Electrolux is introducing a competitor to the Roomba. Except unlike the Roomba, which for many is a fun $200 impulse buy, the Electrolux EL520A Trilobite Robotic Vacuum sells for $1800. Unlike the Roomba, it uses mapping software, so there's less tear-assing into walls and furniture. But still, I think Roomba's set the price point, and it's hard to see Electrolux's competitor catching on until--and unless--the price drops considerably.


    THE SHRINK THAT WOULDN'T LEAVE: Will Kelsey Grammer's Frasier Crane character be starring in yet another TV series? It wouldn't surprise me--just as the debut of Law & Order: Special Meter Maids Unit wouldn't as well. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in March:

    the networks can't let go, because every time they cancel an established show, the viewers, particularly the younger ones, vanish. No one thinks it's worth investing in a new show. The rise in reality shows has been cited by many as a sign of creative exhaustion on the part of Hollywood.
    * * *
    I speak to college kids on occasion. And whenever I do, I tend to make references to TV shows and movies because, well, I'm me and that's what I do. At this point you would think that my references would be lost on many of them — and theirs on me. But that doesn't seem to be the case. What's also interesting is that these kids are quoting the same movies that my buddies and I quote, which might be a function of the fact that young men today would rather re-watch, say, Stripes or Roadhouse, than invest time in My Wife and Kids or some other drek. In effect, kids today are living off the entertainment capital of the previous generation.
    And it looks like increasingly, so are the networks.


    SI DISHONOR: Linking to my post last week about Sports Illustrated and Pat Tillman, Nickspace has an open letter to SI journalist Rick Reilly.


    THE BLOGOSPHERE IS ONE SMALL WORLD: The power in my neighborhood went out at about 6:30 PM Monday night, and was out for about three hours. That same blackout also crashed the server for these folks. Purely a coincidence? Probably. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I saw a PG&E truck parked near the grassy knoll tonight...


    WE ARE THE '80s! A couple of years ago, when DirecTV added VH1 Classic to the line-up, it was a real treat to watch--the early days of MTV (roughly 1982 to about 1987) were tremendous fun, back before MTV blew it by cutting back on showing videos, and replacing them with longer shows, "socially relevant programming", "Rock The Vote" (Tabitha Soren in a must see interview with candidate Bill Clinton! "Boxers or briefs, Governor?!"), and other pedantic shows. Eventually, MTV lost the zeitgeist so badly, that even Bart Simpson didn't want his MTV. For those who don't get VH1 Classic on their local cable system, or want a permanent archive of those hazy, crazy days of the mid-1980s, Universal has created a new DVD series of video compilations that parallels their popular "20th Century Masters" collection of CDs--and Matt Rowe reviews some of their offerings.


    Monday, May 03, 2004


    WHINE COUNTRY: James Glassman, (by way of Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider) looks at America's love of whine:

    There is a new culture of complaint in America, and it has surfaced with a vengeance in the recent clamor over outsourcing. Outsourcing—the purchase of services abroad by U.S. companies—is simply another form of trade. And trade, as economists since Adam Smith have pointed, is beneficial to both sides of the transaction. Yes, trade can plunge previously insulated workers into competition with foreigners. That can cause pain and lost jobs. What’s troubling is the reaction here to that competition. Understand that outsourcing is a pebble in the ocean of macro-economic effects, compared to the boost to the economy from tax cuts and low interest rates and the drag from the terrorist attacks. But the recent reaction to outsourcing makes it seem like a tidal wave. The reaction: whining, whining, complaining. Indians and Chinese are stealing our jobs. They work for cheap. “We can compete with anybody…if we have a fair and balanced playing field,” said Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) in an interview with CNN’s Lou Dobbs. “It’s not fair today and we know that.” Not fair! Was life “fair” to the forebears of today’s complainers when they came to America without a job or grasp of the English language, without education, without welfare? Was life fair to the Americans who made their way to, say, the plains of South Dakota, fighting vicious weather and difficult farming conditions? And it’s not just outsourcing that brings out the crybabies. Encouraged by trial lawyers, Americans now seek redress for practically every grievance, including the fact that they are fat, or that banks lend them money when they’re not credit- worthy. “Cable TV made a West Bend man addicted to TV, caused his wife to be overweight and his kids to be lazy, he says. And he’s threatening to sue the cable company,” reported a Wisconsin newspaper recently. The truth is that life in America has improved so much in the past century that we have forgotten what it is to struggle. We hear whines that schools are overcrowded today. Actually, the ratio of students to teachers has gone from 30:1 in 1955 to 19:1 now. We hear whining about pay. Yet total compensation, adjusted for inflation, has tripled since 1947, and the cost of necessities has plummeted. Food in 1950 represented about one third of a family’s total expenditures; today, it’s one seventh. Our advantage over the Indians and the Chinese—and the Italians, for that matter—is that we have the world’s best system of college education, its most vigorous entrepreneurs, its most abundant capital. Is it fair for Americans, with our rich infrastructure, our clean water, our incredible financial markets, to compete against poor Indians who have to climb over sleeping beggars on their way to work? Who should be complaining here?
    I have nothing to add to this, except to paraphrase P.J. O'Rourke--I don't think we'd even be talking about Easy Rider today, if its filmmakers hadn't realized what a dog it was going to be at the box office, and substituted that ridiculously contrived happy ending to the film.


    VIVA PALESTINE? Clifford D. May looks at the mindset required to wear the label of "Pro-Palestinian". Read the whole thing--I'd end up quoting the entire piece, otherwise. David Horowitz's January 2002 piece on Israel makes a nice double-feature with May's article.


    "WELL, IT WAS A GOOD IDEA IN '46": Larry Miller wrings all of the idiocy possible out of a single sentence by Kofi Annan--and as you can imagine, that's quite a bit.


    THE "ARAB STREET" REACTS: Much truth in this Cox & Fortnum cartoon. UPDATE: Here, as well.


    GIVE IT A GOLD WATCH AND SEND IT ON ITS WAY: The Brothers Judd look at the Bay Area's chief PBS station, KQED, which recently turned 50 sclerotic years old.


    19 of 23 OFFICERS WHO SERVED WITH KERRY IN VIETNAM, along with hundreds of military colleagues say he's "unfit to be Commander-in-Chief" in a damning statement. Kerry constantly mentions 'Nam to deflect attention to what he did when he returned to the States from his four month-long swift boat command--but was still in the Navy Reserves. It will be interesting to see if this statement by the men who served with him gains traction.


    NIGHTLINE BLOWBACK: In his breathless, all-caps style, Matt Drudge writes:

    'NIGHTLINE' RATINGS DOWN IN MAJOR CITIES WITH DEATH LIST; LOSES AUDIENCE FROM PREVIOUS FRIDAY WITH READING OF IRAQ WAR CASUALTIES... DEVELOPING... ABCNEWS SPECIAL HITS 9 SHARE IN NYC [FLAT FROM PREVIOUS WEEK]; 14 SHARE IN L.A.; 11 SHARE CHICAGO [DOWN FROM 15 SHARE PREVIOUS FRIDAY ]; 8 SHARE IN PHILLY [OFF FROM 11 SHARE]...
    Michael Graham adds, "No doubt the Nightline spinners will say "See, this proves were weren't doing this during sweeps for the ratings!" I think the more honest answer is, thanks to the publicity, it didn't work". UPDATE (5/4/04): Or...maybe it did. Graham posts today that Nightline's ratings on Friday were 22 percent higher than the week before. No wonder Drudge took the report down fairly quickly. ANOTHER UPDATE: Welcome Moderate Voice and Dean Esmay readers!

    Sunday, May 02, 2004


    WE'RE GONNA PARTY LIKE IT'S 1999: The perfect storm of leftwing cliches in one article--in The New York Times, to boot. As Andrew Sullivan writes:

    There's something really quite beautiful about a New York Times article about a self-described liar, David Brock, setting up a, er, blog, to combat, er, media bias. Brock's argument is that the mainstream media, including the New York Times, is skewed to the right. So why, one wonders, did the New York Times barely mention the emergence of hundreds of similar websites over the last few years that popped up to counter what they believed was liberal bias in the mainstream media? Could it be that the early blogosphere - which didn't require $2 million grants to get in business - was too conservative to be acknowledged in the Times? Even when those blogs played a small but important role in the exposure of the distortions and lies once run as news by Howell Raines' New York Times? No liberal media bias, is there?
    The Times, David Brock, and that silly conservative media bias meme, which Al Gore floated after the 2002 elections--all in one article. As somebody recently said, Bill Clinton is forever. UPDATE: The Times quotes Brock as hoping that "his new project could be as influential as the Media Research Center, a conservative media monitoring group run by L. Brent Bozell III that frequently calls attention to what it calls examples of liberal bias in the news media". But James Taranto writes:
    See the problem here? Brock's new shop is devoted to faulting conservative opinion journalists for expressing conservative opinions. What the Media Research Center does is entirely different; it analyzes liberal bias in the news media, which are supposed to be objective. If liberals are willing to spend $2 million funding a Web site that does nothing more than expose conservative commentators for engaging in conservative commentary, can we really afford to trust them with our tax dollars?


    QUOTE OF THE DAY: "if it finds the mainstream press lacking, the public will simply find its own sources of information--as declining readership and network news ratings suggest is already happening." --The late Robert L. Bartley, as quoted in Coloring the News, by William McGowan. Bartley was referring to the public turning away from the mainstream press towards venues such as talk radio and Fox News, but the quote works pretty well for blogs, as well.


    CORVAIR SUMMER: "Contrary to the conventional wisdom of winter", the Washington Post writes, Ralph Nader "may be poised for a hot summer". Orrin Judd has some thoughts on what that means to not only Kerry, but to other Democratic politicians running in November.


    TESTING IS MURDER according to the Orwellian logic contained in a Washington Post and Newsday column by Margaret McKenna, president of Lesley University. McKenna believes that President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act will lead directly to another Columbine. Fortunately, Joanne Jacobs is on the case.


    THE MANY COSTUMES OF JOHN KERRY: H.D. Miller writes that "He's not just a presidental candidate, he's a one man Village People!"


    HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE--and the babies they bring onto airplanes, writes J. Daniel Janzen of Flak Magazine.


    Saturday, May 01, 2004


    SURPRISE, SURPRISE--PART II: A leftwinger who's pulled the chickenhawk sophism has admitted to lying about his service record. UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has additional links.


    SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Roger L. Simon says that UNSCAM allegations are starting to point towards journalists. As Simon writes, "No real surprise here, considering what we have long known about the malfeasance of CNN and others".


    "BROWN SUGAR": Michelle Bernard explains why a recent "Doonesbury" cartoon is in bad taste.


    THE VEEP STAKES: Jesse Jackson is, not surprisingly, urging Kerry to pick a black vice presidential candidate. Betsy Newmark says, "The only reasonable choice I could come up with from Kerry's point of view is Harold Ford of Tennessee. Ford is a real up-and-comer in Democratic politics and would have a chance of bring Tennessee into Kerry's camp". In contrast, Robert Novak writes that others are urging Sen. John Kerry to consider everybody's favorite plagiarist, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware.


    Friday, April 30, 2004


    IS THIS WHAT TINA BROWN MEANT when she said that she favors a more metrosexual approach to foreign relations?

    "You can't ever make serious progress against terrorism unless you deal with Israel. We are not dealing with Israel. We've backed away. We're afraid of the political consequences." Pat Buchanan talking? No, in fact it was former New York governor Mario Cuomo. Furthermore, said Cuomo in an interview with the New Haven Register, the U.S. should tell Israel: "Up until now it was just you and the Palestinians killing one another - now you are killing us. Now there are people out there who are taking Israel as the provocation to terrorize us all over the globe - in the United States and elsewhere." And Cuomo suggested that Israeli leaders be told that "you have a responsibility to all of us (and) we are going to be more assertive in dealing with you.... So let's sit down and talk." Forty-eight hours after his words appeared in print, a backpedaling Cuomo called the Register to "clarify" his comments. "We have to be more assertive as to both sides, to force them together, not just the Israelis," he said, although he did not retract any of his earlier statements. More surprising than the harsh tone of Cuomo's remarks was that no New York newspaper, or any media outlet, for that matter, reported them. Then again, given Cuomo's status as a Democratic Party hero -- and in light of the relatively positive press coverage he received during a 12-year tenure as governor that was long on rhetorical flourishes and short on tangible accomplishment -- the silence of New York's media lambs was to be expected.
    Ace of Spades writes:
    Bias by commission occurs when the media report a story in a slanted fashion. Bias by omission occurs, most dramatically, when the media simply refuse to report a story whatsoever. The media is constantly offering us what are claimed to be objective and neutral rules which, they imply, more or less dictate that they report a story in a certain way, or don't report a story at all. Trouble is, the "rules" established for, say, giving anti-Jew remarks by a Republican the full-court press suddenly seem inoperative, and not quite "rules" at all, when a Democrat makes similar remarks.
    With tongue probably in cheek, Jeff Goldstein simply says:
    I used to tell the story about how Mario Cuomo once complimented my mother's kishkes. "These are great kishkes," he said. "Fabulous. Best I've ever had!" But f*** him if I'll tell that story anymore.
    Can't say I blame him.


    WATCHED CHARADE LAST NIGHT: I would have loved to have visited the pretty, romantic Paris depicted in that film (and having Audrey Hepburn as a tour guide wouldn't have been too shabby, either). But that France is long, long gone.


    FROM THE HOME OFFICE IN TIKRIT: David Letterman lists "Top Ten Ways Saddam Hussein Celebrated His 67th Birthday".


    I GUESS WE SHOULD HAVE DONE NOTHING AFTER 9/11: The recent attacks on President Bush by two of Sports Illustrated's writers after Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan, and the vicious piece by University of Massachusetts student journalist Rene Gonzalez have a curious tone to them. I thought the general consensus of the left was, "Sure, go after Al Qaida. Afghanistan makes sense. But don't invade Iraq." But SI's Rick Reilly is "furious that these wars keep taking them". And Gonzalez describes Tillman's involvement in the war in Afghanistan as, "defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation". So in their minds, I guess we should have done nothing after 9/11. But we did nothing after the WTC bombing in '93, and the attack on the Coles in 2000, when Bill Clinton was still president. And the result was 9/11. Nearly three years later, terror attacks are at their lowest level in 30 years. But that wouldn't have happened if we had followed their advice. Compare the outbursts by Reilly and Gonzalez with how the left banded together when President Clinton deployed our troops in Kosovo, and cruise missiles against Iraq. As I wrote in February of 2003:

    I'll never forget the conversation I had back around 1999 with an attorney who was an acquaintance of my wife, while we had dinner at a Los Gatos restaurant with another couple and her. A sixty-something hyper-liberal, after she had brought up (God knows how we got on the subject) the importance of liberating Kosovo, I casually mentioned that I didn't see why it was in our national interest to get involved there. She erupted like a volcano with, "We've got to liberate those poor people suffering under Slobodan Milosevic!!!! Don't you understand!!???", Well, no. But I'll bet any amount of money she's against liberating the equally suffering people of Iraq, largely--if not entirely--because of who will get the credit for it.
    On the other hand, as Radley Balko wrote earlier this year, doing nothing has become the left's answer to just about everything.


    TED KOPPEL'S NIGHTLINE RATINGS STUNT is put into perspective by these two Instapundit links. And it's nice to see that John McCain's respect for the First Amendment continues to flourish. UPDATE: John Hawkins and Joe Mariani have some thoughts on Koppel's "tribute". And Glenn Reynolds has a list of items that he hopes Koppel also reads, "Just in the name of balance, you know".


    Thursday, April 29, 2004


    RADICAL CHIC GOES THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: The peasants are revolting--and worse, they're talking out of turn at Manhattan dinner parties! And--heaven forbid--upsetting Tina Brown! For more on Brown--who "favors a more metrosexual approach to foreign relations" (yes, she actually wrote that), click here. And also here, to read of the "neocons of the '30s [who] bitterly reviled FDR as 'that man''"--40 years before neoconservatives came into existence. Last year, Mickey Kaus coined the term "the liberal cocoon", and Mark Steyn ran with it. The New York Times, and to a lesser extent, The Washington Post, which runs Brown's column, exist to keep everyone happy within the cocoon. But sometimes reality intrudes, no matter how carefully one plans the cocktail parties. UPDATE: Brown's article has given us...the Ultimate Kerry Bumpersticker!


    SPEAKING OF THE COMMISSION, Michelle Malkin is not very happy about Bob Kerrey's shenanigans both behind the scenes--and in front of them:

    Catapulted back into the limelight thanks to the mass murder of 3,000 innocent men, women, and children, Kerrey took advantage of his terrorist-induced celebrity to appear on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Now, it would be one thing if Kerrey used his privileged position to inform Stewart's younger audience of the gravity of the 9/11 panel's task. But instead, Kerrey yukked it up. First, he dished with Stewart about President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney's upcoming private meeting with the commission. When Stewart mocked the president's "buddy system," Kerrey guffawed: "He is bringing his buddy, that's exactly right, for safety." Emboldened by audience applause, Kerrey riffed that it was more like "Screw you, buddy." Asked by Stewart whether people were really blaming each other over the terrorist attacks during closed hearings, Kerrey snorted: "Oh, Jee-zus, yeah." More audience approval. (Taking the Lord's name in vain is always good for a few cheap laughs.) Next, echoing a profanity uttered earlier in the show, Kerrey blurted out with a clownish grin: "Life is [expletive bleeped]." When Stewart proposed that Kerrey ask the vice president, "What the [expletive bleeped] is wrong with you people?" Kerrey cracked up and promised to use the question. And when Stewart called Attorney General John Ashcroft a "big [expletive bleeped]," Kerrey chortled some more. After nearly ten minutes of knee-slapping hilarity, it was time for Kerrey to wrap things up. Instead of paying lip service to those who died in the terrorist attacks, Kerrey used his last moments on the program to suck up to Stewart. The Daily Show, Kerrey cooed, was one of the few shows he TiVo'ed. The other, he joked, was [the PBS kids' show] Boohbah. Ho-ho-ho. House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) was spot on Tuesday in his reaction to Kerrey's performance: "His appearance on a program designed to satirize current events proves that Kerrey lacks the seriousness of purpose that this Commission requires and the American people deserve. This is not a laughing matter."
    RTWT. Add this to Harkin and Lautenberg's coordinated chickhawk outbursts, and John Kerry's meltdown this week on Good Morning America, and you have to ask--just what's happened to the party of Roosevelt, Truman and John Kennedy??


    WHEN YOU ADD THE GORELICK CONTROVERSY TO THIS, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the 9/11 commission are now officially a partisan self-parody: sound and fury signifying nothing, except how far the left has fallen. "People out to stay out of our business" was the unbelievably arrogant quote that commission chairman Thomas Kean barked when asked about Gorelick. But just what is your business? (And yes, I know Kean is--or was--a Republican. I wonder if he knows how he's being used?)


    END OF AN ERA: Oldsmobile, the nation's oldest line of cars, has died at age 106.


    THOMAS SOWELL LOOKS AT the greatest singer of the 20th century, Der Bingle. For decades, Crosby has been my father's favorite singer, and he owns darn near every LP--and 78(!) that Crosby ever made. He's also contributed a few odds and ends to some earlier biographies of Bing. Crosby's hiring of this fellow as his guitarist, who would go on to greatly influence Jimmy Page, allowed my dad and I to sort of bridge the gap between our respective tastes in music, and gave me an entry into my father's music when I was a teenager.


    BECAUSE I AM SO HIP: My review copies of the sublime Charade, starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, and Robert Altman's 3 Women, a very strange (even by Altman standards) mid-'70s film that starred Sissy Spacek and Shelly Duvall, arrived today on DVD from the Criterion Collection. Expect a review on Blogcritics in the not too distant future. UPDATE: Speaking of hip, my copy of Craig Anderton's Sonar 3: Mixing and Mastering arrived from Amazon this afternoon. Expect a review of it as well, similar to my review of Izotope's mastering software from earlier this month.


    Wednesday, April 28, 2004


    IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: Playing Keith Richards-style barre chords in open-G tuning on your Fender Telecaster can lead to blisters above the joints of your index finger, until you build up calluses there. Especially if you haven't used that tuning in quite a long time. Take proper precautions.


    WHAT WILL RICK ATKINSON COVER NOW? A Washington Post Iraq war reporter had admitted that he was "against the war before, during and after it". Will The Post continue to allow him to cover the war now that he's gone on the record and admitted he's biased against it and the Bush administration?


    DEMOCRATIC SENATORS DEPLOY THE CHICKENHAWK SLUR: Both Tom Harkin and Frank Lautenberg used the sophism in attacking Dick Cheney. But don't question the left's patriotism! UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt writes, "Reprehensible enough for you? Hypocritical in the extreme considering Lautenberg's support for Bill Clinton? Historically asinine given FDR's role as war time leader of greatness?"

    How to explain the Lautenberg melt-down? Well, many, many callers and e-mailers who heard me play the speech think he was drunk. I don't. I think he is acting in concert with a desperate Kerry campaign. But Lautenberg, like Kerry, has zero understanding of the American people. They have breathed deep the MoveOn.org swamp gas, and they have become as unbalanced as Dean.
    In 1976, Bob Dole, serving as Gerald Ford's vice president, was widely attacked by the press for churlishly referring to the 20th century's four "Democrat Wars"--the two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam--because our involvement in each war was initiated by a Democratic President. Watch Lautenberg and Harkin's remarks to go virtually uncommented on by the traditional chattering classes.


    CALL IN THE SECRET SERVICE? A 15 year old boy draws sketches that show "a man in what appeared to be Middle Eastern-style clothing, holding a rifle"--along with President Bush's head on a pike. The Secret Service are called in to investigate. An interesting discussion ensues on Joanne Jacobs' Weblog.


    LIES AND THE LYING LIARS WHO TELL THEM: Steven Den Beste (by way of Opus of Berke Breathed) speaks truth to power.


    KINSLEY TO HEAD LA TIMES OP-ED SECTION: Hence, the title of this blog.


    INTEGRATING ISLAM INTO LIBERAL SOCIETIES: Canada is allowing Islamic courts to decide disputes. The British government is allowing Muslim women to be exempt from ID card photos. And in the US, as Charles Johnson writes:

    Muslim groups in Hamtramck, Michigan, who want a special exemption from noise ordinances to blare the Islamic call to worship over loudspeakers five times a day, are going to get their wish.
    (Shouldn't the ACLU be all over that last one?) When did multiculturalism triumph over the rule of law in the West?


    IMAGES OF KERRY: Keith Burgess-Jackson writes, "The flap about John Kerry’s medals is much ado about nothing. But those images!":

    Look: This country is still divided about Vietnam. It will be divided for as long as anyone who lived through it is alive. John Kerry may have fought valiantly for his country, but he turned against his fellow soldiers when he came home. Night after night, we see images of John Kerry with long, scraggly hair, wearing military fatigues on the streets of the nation’s capital, in the company of other scruffy protesters, causing trouble. These images are being seared into the nation’s consciousness. Don’t say Kerry was in the right. That’s irrelevant. Many people think the war was right and that those who protested it gave aid and comfort to the enemy. Images don’t lie. We see how Kerry behaved thirty-odd years ago. We see the crowd he ran with. We see the tension he sought to generate. I’m afraid this election is over, folks. Journalists will do everything they can to make it a horse race (for their own selfish reasons), but it’s over.
    Kerry has had numerous opportunities to say, "I was young and stupid. Everybody does stupid, irrational things in their 20s." But he can't ever seem to admit to being wrong, and given the number of flip-flops throughout his career--virtually his entire adult life--some of those positions and statements have to be wrong. Bill Clinton could make contradictory statements such as his famous riff about smoking pot but not inhaling, because they were usually about minor issues, and there was little photographic evidence of his youth (in between the photo of young Bill with President Kennedy (the original and still best JFK) and his becoming governor of Arkansas. The photographic evidence of Kerry's youth is overwhelming, and damning.


    THE POPULATION BOMBS: Will the 21st century turn out to be an era of population decline? Time to dump those shares of Soylent Green.


    "STRAIGHT TALK OF SAVAGERY": A newspaper editor who gets it.


    MUTUAL OF PYONGYANG PRESENTS "Seasonal Moonbat IMF Migration", deep in the whichy thickets of Washington DC. (Via Charles Johnson.) UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein places it all into perfect perspective.


    KERRY AFTER VIETNAM: His 1984 campaign for Senate memo promised cut after cut in defense programs--many of which are in use right now, to liberate Iraq.


    KERRY, BUSH AND VIETNAM: James Taranto and Jonah Goldberg each have some thoughts. UPDATE: As does Chas Rich, who also adds Bob Dole and Dan Quayle into the mix.


    MEMO TO THE GOP: Where are you?


    UNSCAM (AKA KOFIGATE) IN A NUTSHELL: This chart explains all, although the Seattle Times may have added reason for not printing anything about it.


    THE RELIGIOUS LEFT: I was kicking around ways of writing about Al Gore's support of the new film The Day After Tomorrow when I first read the story on Drudge last night. But Steve Green has it nailed:

    It's The Passion of the Christ for the anti-globalization crowd.
    Read the whole thing.


    THOMAS SOWELL TAKES AN UP CLOSE LOOK AT bait-and-switch media.


    Tuesday, April 27, 2004


    ATLAS BLANCHED: Coming soon: Ayn Rand on black velvet?


    MORE BIAS AT SI: As a follow-up to yesterday's post, a reader sent me a subscriber-only story on Sports Illustrated's Website by Rick Reilly, which ends:

    Athletes are soldiers and soldiers are athletes. Uniformed, fit and trained, they fight for one cause, one team. They take ground and they defend it. Both are carried off on their teammates' shoulders, athletes when they win and soldiers when they die. Pat Tillman and Todd Bates were athletes and soldiers. Tillman wanted to be anonymous and became the face of this war. Bates wanted to be somebody and died faceless to most of the nation. Both did their duty for their country, but I wonder if their country did its duty for them. Tillman died in Afghanistan, a war with no end in sight and not enough troops to finish the job. Bates died in Iraq, a war that began with no just cause and continues with no just reason. Be proud that sports produce men like this. But I, for one, am furious that these wars keep taking them.
    Iraq had "no just cause and continues with no just reason"? I guess Reilly would prefer Saddam was back in power. Of course, so would the folks who worked for another part of the Time-Warner conglomerate. My reader added, "Sports writers/journalists try to give themselves intellectual credibility by inundating us with politically correct commentary and asides. My feeling is that they believe this insulates them from the criticism that they are lightweights that 'only write about sports'." Exactly. And it's probably why Paul Zimmerman of SI has a similar story on Tillman which begins with this ee cummings quote:
    Buffalo Bill's defunct who used to ride a watersmooth-silver stallion and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjust like that Jesus he was a handsome man and what I want to know is how do you like your blueeyed boy Mister Death
    Zimmerman's last paragraph begins:
    It's impossible, the whole thing is impossible, the whole crazy world and the fact that young men such as Pat Tillman have to go out and do what they think is right and find death at 27 years old.
    Does Zimmerman feel that volunteering for the Army and defending your country isn't right? That's certainly what's implied by his sentence. And check out "Mister Death" in the cummings quote, which Zimmerman uses as a thinly-veiled reference to the president. Of course, as the man said, "You're making a powerful assumption, young man. You're assuming that you represent the public. I don't accept that". Zimmerman and Reilly represent the public that orbits the SI offices at 1271 Avenue Of The Americas. It's a safe bet they doesn't represent the infinitely larger public who inhabit the blank area of that famous New Yorker cartoon between there and Los Angeles. SOMEWHAT RELATED UPDATE: Over at Tech Central Station, Keith Burgess-Jackson, a self-professed liberal himself, has an article titled, "Explaining Liberal Anger".


    CALIBRATING YOUR HOME THEATER: My latest newsletter for Electronic House is online. Speaking of food, the Stay-Puft Marshmellow Man puts in a brief cameo appearance.


    FOODBLOGGING: Stephen Green's better half certainly sets an amazing birthday dinner!


    THE $1000 HAIRCUT: I realize it's important for presidential candidates to have Very Important Hair. But how do you purport to fight against "the economy of special privilege" when you fly your hairstylist in before a big TV gig, in your wife's Gulfstream private jet? UPDATE: "If I've lost the Village Voice..."


    HOT WHEELS: My review of Randy Leffingwell's Hot Wheels: 35 Years of Speed, Power Performance and Attitude is now on Cleveland.com's Weblog section. It originally appeared in Blogcritics, where the comments were quite fascinating--they went from "hey, I had those toys as a kid" to arguments over gender and marketing!


    YOUR TUITION DOLLARS AT WORK: Big Bird from Sesame Street will be Villanova's commencement speaker this year. Could be worse--it could have been this guy, who spoke in 1999 to Evergreen College in Washington, via satellite.


    Monday, April 26, 2004


    PEARL 2001: Gut wreching emails from a Little Green Footballs regular to his girlfriend written on 9/11 and a few days afterwards.


    "SOMETHING WHICH THE GREATEST GENERATION DID NOT HAVE TO DO": Robert Alt writes:

    There is a temptation to say that Pat Tillman demonstrated a courage and ethic belonging peculiarly to a previous generation—perhaps Tom Brokaw’s Greatest Generation—one in which athletes and movie stars served. But that would be a mistake. This generation should not be underestimated. The young men of today’s military have done something which the Greatest Generation did not have to do: they volunteered to serve after the Brokaws of the world lost faith in the American military. These soldiers have fought valiantly in Afghanistan after the press all but forgot them, and in Iraq after the press, yielding to unfounded accusations, forgot who they were. They have seen recent military victories cast as defeats. They answered the call to higher duty, only to have the elites question it as lower-class service. And despite politicians using the shameful rhetoric of "quagmire," the number of volunteer soldiers is increasing.
    Which ties into Glenn Reynolds' post yesterday about who the media represents, and the vignette he linked to:
    And the reporter then said: Well, how do you then know, Mr. President, what the public is thinking? And Bush, without missing a beat said: You're making a powerful assumption, young man. You're assuming that you represent the public. I don't accept that.


    THE RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB: The New York Post and James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal agree: Rudolph Giuliani should be the US's next ambassador to the U.N. Taranto writes:

    Not only would Giuliani be a bully-pulpiteer in the great tradition of Jeane Kirkpatrick and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but he would bring the penetrating eye of a former prosecutor to the continuing Oil-for-Food scandal--which may well turn out to be the corrupt reason why countries like France and Russia fought so fiercely to keep Saddam Hussein's murderous dictatorship in power in Iraq. To be sure, some of Giuliani's critics, including our colleagues at The Wall Street Journal, are of the view that he was overzealous and unfair in prosecuting white-collar crimes. But that's all the more reason why he's a perfect fit for the U.N., which certainly doesn't suffer from an excess of prosecutorial fervor. Apart from the president himself, it's hard to think of any more powerful spokesman and symbol for America's war on terror than Rudy Giuliani, and not only because of his inspired mayoral leadership after Sept. 11. Giuliani took a stand against terror even when it was unpopular. In 1995 he ordered security to eject Yasser Arafat from Lincoln Center, in an era when the terror boss was being feted at the White House and lavished with Nobel Peace Prizes.
    Works for me.


    BIAS IN THE STRANGEST PLACES: Tim Graham writes:

    Sports Illustrated/CNN.com picks winners and losers in the weekend NFL Draft: "The Pats coming away with Miami defensive tackle Vince Wilfork at No. 21 is the NFL equivalent of the Bush tax breaks for the richest Americans. It just doesn't seem fair."
    Last Wednesday when I arrived early for my focus group, I killed time in the lobby by reading a Sports Illustrated from the week before this year's Super Bowl. There was a section on "Super Bowl Memories from throughout the years", which seemed innocuous enough, with several stories written by veteran sportswriters along the lines of "I watched Hunter S. Thompson do blotter acid at the '72 Super Bowl!" and "Howard Cosell was such a bore when we met him for dinner the night before the '80 Super Bowl". But there were also numerous digs at John Ashcroft, Bush 43, and even Bush 41 scattered throughout by Sports Illustrated's writers. I guess they figure that conservatives don't bother reading SI these days.


    ACTIVIST JOURNALISM AT THE NEW YORK TIMES: Peter Bart of Variety writes that it didn't end after Howell Raines left:

    [The Times] has found its entire experience with Mel Gibson to be a painful one. Prior to its release (and prior to anyone on the paper seeing it), the Times declared "The Passion" an outrage and threat to social harmony. After its release, the Times quoted the predictions of unnamed power brokers in Hollywood that Gibson would be blackballed by the film community, his career ruined. As predictions go, the Times' entire litany could stand major "correction." Despite the fact that Frank Rich compared it to "a porn movie," by the end of its run "The Passion" could rank second only to "Titanic" as the highest-grossing movie ever made. Further, there have been no signs of anti-Semitic outbreaks tied to the film's release -- not even in places like France and Argentina. As for Gibson, there's no indication that his viability as an actor or filmmaker has been compromised. Indeed, Hollywood reveres success, and Gibson's personal take from his film -- somewhere north of $400 million -- will surely be history's biggest. That makes Gibson not an outlaw, but a Hollywood folk hero. It is not my intent here to indulge in Times-bashing. I spent eight very happy years on the Times staff, and I respect that paper's unique role in our journalistic establishment. Still, the Times has vastly stepped up its coverage of pop culture and, in doing so, seems to be bending its normal rules of journalistic fairness. "The Passion" is a prime example.
    Bart adds, "There are legitimate disagreements about the film's take on biblical history. What is beyond dispute, however, is that "The Passion" is a true phenomenon in the history of motion pictures. As such, it is "news" and deserving of objective reporting by the media. Even by the Times." "Objective reporting by the media"? Dude, that's so 1950s!


    WHO IS JAVIER ROBERT? H.D. Miller looks at the UN's Oil For Food debacle, something the mainstream press seems more than a little reluctant to do.


    INFLATION: While there's little fear of it in the national economy, it does seem to be heating up in Des Moines, where the local press spins Kerry's attendance figures at a local rally from "about a 1000" to "3000 supporters". Maybe even more!


    LET'S PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER: If you add up all the information about John Kerry--much of it from his own Website and his own words, you see, in 1971, a 27 year old man who threw away not only the medals of men who served in Vietnam but also of those who served in World War II. And then there's his Winter Soldier speech in front of the Senate on April 22, 1971, the birthplace of the 1970s' "'Nam vets are baby killers meme." All of which occurred while he was still in the Naval Reserves. "Strange that they think there's a way to spin this that doesn't make him unfit to lead our nation", writes Orrin Judd. Captain Ed writes that on Good Morning America today, "Even Charlie Gibson wasn't buying Kerry's explanation, and if Kerry loses ABC, things are definitely going downhill". UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Mickey Kaus has lots of thoughts on Kerry GMA, and even "www.johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway.com", which is an actual (if not for the faint of heart), working URL!


    Sunday, April 25, 2004


    MEET THE DEPRESSED: President Bush has a new strategy for dealing with the press, writes Jay Rosen in a must-read piece. (Via Glenn Reynolds, who adds "If the public thought like the press, no Republican would ever be elected President" among other comments.)


    Saturday, April 24, 2004


    THE NFL DRAFT IS ON: Serious draftnicks will be glued to the wall-to-wall coverage on ESPN, but I'm content to see who's picking up who via the 'Net. As Larry Beil of Yahoo Sports writes:

    We are now "on the clock" for the most-hyped, NON-event in sports history. It is officially known as the 69th Annual National Football League Player Selection Meeting, but you know it best as THE DRAFT. No pass will be thrown (unless Suzy Kolber runs into Joe Namath again), no tackle will be made, no touchdown will be scored, but somehow, someway, THE DRAFT will be one of the most watched NON-events on ESPN this year. Somewhere in this great land of ours are men who willingly sit through every second of this weekend's 17 televised hours of draft coverage. These guys are either single, soon-to-be single or incarcerated, and they eat up the draft like Gilbert Brown attacks hot dogs. The draft is the ultimate reality show, a strangely compelling marathon of mini-dramas. Like "Survivor" in pads. Fortunes rise, fortunes fall, fortunes vanish and it happens at the speed of a root canal. My question is simple: "Why does anybody watch it?" It's like a never-ending episode of "Battlestar Galactica" with Chris Berman starring as Lorne Green.
    I dunno--I think Berman would be a lot more fun than Greene was. Lt. "Double Latte With Foam" Starbuck to your Viper!


    OVERLAP: More on Kerry's overlapping dates of service and dates of protest.


    Friday, April 23, 2004


    YOUR TUITION DOLLARS AT WORK: Rutgers University publishes a viciously anti-Semitic cartoon for its student newspaper's "Holocaust Remembrance Week" issue. Yesterday, John Derbyshire of National Review asked if the elites of the future would ditch diversity for open racism. It looks like we're seeing it already on our campuses.


    ONLY IF YOU ASK NICELY: Protein Wisdom interviews Noam Chomsky. Arising from that social construct known as the English language, though weighed down by years of its tyranny and imperialistic oppression, laughter--and at times even mirth--does occur.


    IT'S A LITTLE KNOWN FACT, but John Kerry served in Vietnam. (Surprising, huh? He rarely mentions it in speeches.) But he's misreported at least two aspects of his service: when he took command of his swift boat, and that the date of his discharge. Kerry's discharge wasn't until 1978, according to Kerry's own Website. Which means that his Winter Soldier shenanigans occurred while Kerry was still in the Naval Reserves! Given how the press hounded President Bush over his National Guard duty, will they now report what Kerry was doing while still a part of the service?


    HOW DO YOU REACH AGE 81, producing a top rated television news show for most of your adult life, and, as Don Hewitt does in this interview, honestly try to claim that you don't have any political biases? UPDATE Maybe Hewitt should read The Dallas Morning News more often.


    PAT TILLMAN DIED YESTERDAY: The former Arizona Cardinals safety was killed in Afghanistan. Dan Wetzel of Yahoo's sports section writes:

    Tillman isn't a hero for dying, but for living. For putting his morals where his mouth was and not just enlisting, but doing it in the most humble and honorable way. When he and his brother arrived at Georgia's Fort Benning to begin their training in July 2002 he "came in like everyone else, on a bus from a processing station," the base's public information officer said then. Tillman promptly turned down hundreds of requests for interviews and went about anonymously being a soldier. No press. No fanfare. No "look at me" publicity stunts. His move shocked professional sports, populated by so many of our most able-bodied Americans. Tillman was the only one to enlist from the NFL, which is fine – there is no shame in not enlisting. But it is difficult to cheer ever again for a knucklehead like [Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end] Simeon Rice, who went on Jim Rome's radio show and said about Tillman, "He really wasn't that good, not really. He was good enough to play in Arizona, [but] that's just like the XFL." After Rome stopped him, Rice finally relented. Sort of. "I think it's very admirable, actually," Rice said. "You've got to give kudos to a guy like that because he did it for his own reasons. Maybe it's the Rambo movies, maybe it's Sylvester Stallone, Rocky, whatever compels him." Or maybe it was just serving his country. Maybe it was being a part of a cause greater than his own self-interest. Maybe it was trying to help in a seemingly helpless situation. In actuality, what Tillman did was no different than what thousands of other American men and women have done. The country needs them and they answer the call. He may have been the only one staring at a $3.6 million contract, but that's money. This, obviously, is something more valuable than that. Tillman probably would cringe at the outpouring of attention and affection that his death will bring. He didn't get into this for that. But if his death can remind Americans about the sacrifices of our soldiers, rich and poor, famous and faceless, then maybe something positive can come of it. Our volunteer military has performed brilliantly overseas. They've served with great skill and made great sacrifices. Not just the NFL millionaire. All of them.
    Amen.


    NORTH KOREAN TRAIN DISASTER: This Blog has lots and lots of information, including links and photos. (Via Instapundit.)


    Thursday, April 22, 2004


    SUPREME COURT BLOCKS CLARETT FROM ENTERING NFL DRAFT: More here.


    MILLIONAIRE ENTREPRENEUR OUTSOURCES JOBS: Americans that could have found work in Website design and server management will have to keep looking, as Michael Moore outsources those jobs to the country located to the north of his native Flint, Michigan. Roger Smith could not be reached for comment.


    INTERESTING REVIEW OF Schindler's List on The Digital Bits Website.


    THE CRACK-UP: Sioux Falls Argus Leader editor Randell Beck discovers Blogosphere, blows gasket. Found via Glenn Reynolds, who writes, "When I see some editor lose it this way, it doesn't fill me with confidence in traditional media". UPDATE: Scott W. Johnson of the Minnesota-based Power Line blog quips, "Funny, we don't look Yahooish". Begging To Differ adds:

    What I find most interesting is this part of Beck's response:
    But there’s a small group of people—and you know, some of them don’t live in South Dakota, not everybody out there knows that. You know there’s a couple of yahoos in Minneapolis and there’s a guy out in Denver, there’s people from outside the walls of South Dakota who are perpetuating this hate campaign.
    So someone from South Dakota—South Dakota!—is calling some bloggers from Minnesota "yahoos"? And here I thought it was only people from around here in the Northeast who look down on people from other states ...
    You just know Lileks is going to have lots of fun with this tonight. ANOTHER UPDATE: In other Daschle news, his lawyer is calling for ad that he doesn't like to be removed. I'd love to get Daschle's take on these three ads.


    TRAIN CRASH IN NORTH KOREA--UP TO 3000 KILLED, AP reports:

    Two fuel trains collided and exploded in a North Korean train station near the Chinese border Thursday, according to South Korean media, which reported large numbers of casualties. One television station said 3,000 people were believed killed or injured.
    * * *
    In another sign of the accident's magnitude, the secretive North Korean government cut international phone lines to prevent news of the collision from leaking across its borders, [South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported], citing no sources.
    (Emphasis mine.) Cut phone lines? And what sort of fuel explosion kills 3000 people? Given North Korea's nuclear weapons program, this sounds mighty suspicious.

    Wednesday, April 21, 2004


    ALL I NEED IS THE AIR THAT I BREATHE: Scott W. Johnson of the Power Line Blog writes that the 2004 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators by Steven Hayward is now out. If you don't want to wade through the whole report, Johnson has a summary. Bottom line?

    For the first time, the Index contains a special section comparing U.S. environmental trends with trends in European Union nations -- a feature of special importance in the Kerry era. This year's Indicators show that the environment continues to be America’s single greatest policy success. Environmental quality has improved so much, in fact, that it is nearly impossible to paint a grim, gloom-and-doom picture anymore.
    That won't stop the doom and gloomers from believing that we're five minutes away from Silent Running or THX-1138, but at least there's a rebuttal.


    ED LEADS THE WAY TO THE KITCHENS OF TOMORROW! I got invited to attend a focus group last week--they actually called for my wife, who's done a few of these, but she was out, I answered the phone, the friendly fellow on the other end said "well, maybe you'd like to attend", and I said, sure. As a result, I spent the past two hours in a room with ten other people and the moderator, and I never saw people argue more passionately over refrigerator designs in my life. Forget the war in Iraq. Forget Israel and the Palestinians. Forget Bush and Kerry. The real burning issue of the day is the placement of the chilled water dispenser! Or so you would have thought with this group, and I felt more than a little in over my head once I got there. Me? I like having the freezer on the bottom so I don't have to stoop when getting a Diet Coke out. That's about the extent of my design preferences when it comes to fridges, so I just sat back and watch the opinions fly. It didn't help matters that one of the fellows (there were four guys including myself, the rest were women. Our ages varied from mid-30s to I guess mid-60s) looked like a tougher version of Ted Turner (good shock of white hair; pencil thin moustache) and sounded a little like Broderick Crawford. 35 years ago, I'll bet this guy was a helluva platoon leader in 'Nam. Ten years ago, I'll bet he kept San Jose streets safe as a hardnosed cop. Tonight, he's busy barking his opinions on every aspect of refrigerator/freezer design. And brother, did he have a lot of opinions! (He blew in, looked at the name cards on the counter and said, "Can I pick who I want to be? I want to be Carol. Can I be Carol?" Carol took a lot ribbing when she next showed up.) On the other hand, I once dated a woman who was a focus group moderator, and have sat a few times with the ad agency or product manufacturers on the other side of the two-way mirror. So I have a sense of what's involved in leading one of these things, and then writing a report based on the data collected. And I'll bet the woman who moderated tonight probably loved this guy egging everyone on and getting them talking about design elements. There's a second part of this tomorrow night, at a hotel instead of tonight's standard-issue focus group room with a two way mirror. It will be interesting to see how they get four hours of discussion out of fridge designs.


    DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! Wanda Baucus, wife of Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, is accused of assaulting a woman yesterday at a Northwest Washington DC garden center. "Mrs. Baucus was upset because another customer was getting help with mulch ahead of her":

    Sources told News4's Pat Collins that Mrs. Baucus dropped a bag of mulch under the woman's car, then struck the woman in the body and face a number of times. Collins reported that Mrs. Baucus drove from the scene, and returned a while later with her husband. That is when she talked to police about the incident.
    Gee, what a class act.


    RED McHEIFER DAYS: McDonald's introduces "Adult" Happy Meals. Reason's Nick Gillespie, and James Lileks each have some (properly disparaging) thoughts about them.


    HE'LL EVEN SPOT YOU THE T: You only get one guess, writes Stephen Green, about which word is missing from The Christian Science Monitor's gushing profile of Yasser Arafat.


    SHARPE DECISION: Tight end Shannon Sharpe, 35, will play for the Denver Broncos for at least one more season.


    THE DOUBLE FLIP FLOP MANEUVER: Senator Kerry has released all his military records--or has he? Just don't question his patriotism!


    STRIKE OUT: Why is the Los Angeles Times distorting its coverage of the Ninth Circuit Court's three strikes decision?


    THE STEELERS' CLASS OF '74: With the NFL draft rapidly approaching, the benchmark is still the Pittsburgh Steelers' class of '74, the only year a team drafted four future hall of famers.


    IF IT BLEEDS, IT LEADS: I guess that's the new motto of what was once (many decades ago) called "The Tiffany Network". According to this article, CBS plans to air photos of Princess Diana, dying in the aftermath of her horrific 1997 auto crash in Paris.


    CLAUDIA ROSETT has some thoughts on how the U.N. can begin paying its debt to Iraq's people.


    THE PASSIVE/AGGRESSIVE COLIN POWELL, as noticed by Anne Applebaum.


    WELCOME NATIONAL TOURING COMPANY OF THE WIZ AND SPINAL TAP! Err wait a second, that's not it; let's try that again! Welcome to everybody clicking over from Blogcritics (where I'm apparently "Blogcritic of the Day"--thanks Eric!) to visit my humble little abode here. Make yourselves comfortable, folks--there's plenty of food in the fridge, plenty of posts in the blog, and for more reading, click over to the essays page.


    NRA TV: Brilliant method by the NRA to circumvent idiotic--and in a sane world--unconstitutional--campaign finance reform laws. Glenn Reynolds writes:

    What lets the NRA go into this business is technology -- setting up a nationwide TV network via the Web is a lot cheaper than relying on broadcasting or even cable, and with the growing penetration of high-speed internet services, NRA News may reach as many people as some cable channels.
    Of course, getting more viewers than CNN is not all that hard to do these days. But the concept is terrific. As I wrote back in early 2002, about a different kind of self-publishing, Weblogs:
    Today, the cost of putting a Web site up ranges from free to a hundred bucks or so a month (that’s simply the monthly fee for a server such as Verio, Hosting.com or Exodus. I’m not talking about graphic design, content, etc.) Compare that to the late 1980s. When Rush Limbaugh began his national radio show in 1988, Ed McLaughlin, his producer, had to go from station to station, to get them to buy his show. In comparison, ten years or so later, when Limbaugh put up a Web site, he was able to reach a national audience (heck, a planetary audience, although I don’t know how well El Rushbo translates in other countries) simultaneously, for the cost of his Web server.
    As Glenn writes, "given that it's easy to enter the media, and that the law treats media organizations more favorably than non-media organizations, we're likely to see a lot more people following the NRA's lead".

    Tuesday, April 20, 2004


    PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY: Interesting tidbits about Republican and Democrat election patterns.


    HEH.


    OIL FOR FOOD CORRUPTION AT THE UN: Andrew Sullivan has some thoughts, adding, "We were so right to intervene [in Iraq]. The alternatives were far, far worse". UPDATE: Not surprisingly, Roger L. Simon links to the article, as he's owned this story for weeks now.


    POTTERY BARN IS MAD AT COLIN POWELL--or is it Bob Woodward, if he invented the quote? In any case this UPI article reads like something Scott Ott would write.


    LA SHAWN BARBER HAS HARSH WORDS FOR TOM BROKAW: "Sorry, Tom, but you and the rest of the Bush-bashers have been exposed. Your industry is just finding out what the rest of America already knows: The mainstream media is biased toward the left". Actually, I think Tom's merely a bit behind the curve. What's been fascinating for me to watch are all of the people in the media who have come forward in the past few years to admit that it's biased. And it's equally fun watching the folks who didn't get the memo still try to claim that there's no bias in the media. (The "conservative media bias" meme seems to have died a relatively quick and merciful death, thank God.)


    CLARETT GOES TO THE SUPREME COURT to try and enter the NFL draft. (See our previous links here.)


    SEATTLE NEWSPAPERS AREN'T ANTI-SEMITIC, writes Stefan Sharkansky: "old ladies with numbers on their arms get sympathy in Seattle. It's socially acceptable to honor victimized Jews and to remember the Holocaust. As long as they don't have the chutzpah to, say, actually defend themselves to prevent another one".


    ARLEN SPECTOR: With friends like these...


    NEED TO KILL AN HOUR OR TWO? This fellow has MP3s of dozens of classic television theme songs.


    FIVE SIMPLE WORDS: Phone sex in Saudi Arabia. Roger L. Simon calls it "An Idea Whose Time Has Come".


    THE DARKEST OF THE DARK HORSE CANDIDATES: It's no surprise that President Bush and Senator Kerry are blowing the doors off of Ralph Nader when it comes to fundraising. What is surprising is who else is--and as of last month, he's has raised nearly ten times as much money as Nader!


    FLIP-FLOPS: NOT JUST A KERRY FASHION STATEMENT: Back in 1998, after reporters and journalists poured over husband's background and records, Hillary Clinton claimed to be the victim of "a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy". Today though, she says "Newspapers Should Press Bush for Info". Chutzpah, thy name is Hillary.


    ONE SMALL STEP FOR ED, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND: Hot on the heels of my Saturn V post in Blogcritics this morning, I have an essay on Spacecraft Films' earlier DVD, on Apollo 11, in my newest Electronic House newsletter.


    VE HAVE VAYS OF MAKING YOU READ DIS: I rarely take exception with what James Lileks writes, and this is a pretty minor one, in the scope of things. But in Monday's "Bleat", he wrote:

    Friday night I decided to dip into the Classic Movie Collection. I usually buy the DVDs of classic movies restored to original luster, just because you want to support that sort of thing. I took down "Dr. Zhivago." I lasted 35 minutes. It's lovely but it's dull and disjointed. It has that sodden pace of an Important Movie. The real deal-killer, though, was the inexplicable fact that everyone spoke with an English accent. Why not a Russian accent? Did they think that a movie about Russia would be somehow unauthentic if the characters sounded like, you know, Russians? I would have accepted French accents among the upper classes. But British? It certainly doesn't help suspend your disbelief. Especially when the first character you meet is Alec Guinness.
    I have similar mixed emotions about Dr. Zhivago. It's far from the ripping adventure yarns that Bridge On The River Kwai or Lawrence of Arabia are, but it's actually aged rather nicely, considering how savaged it was by critics at the time of its release. It is a little too ponderous for me to want to watch as often as the two Lean films that came before it, but I own it on DVD. (And it was one of the first laser discs I bought, back in the dark ages of the late 1980s, when letterboxed movies were A Big Deal and few and far between. And you had to walk 50 miles to the few stores that sold laser discs to get 'em. And those 12-inch discs were heavy and hard to carry back. You kids today don't know how easy you have it with your new fangled five-inch DVDs, dagnamit!) As far as Zhivago's British accents, the reason for that might be that, other than Omar Sharif and Rod Steiger, everybody in the film is British, as is the director, screenwriter and most of the crew. And I tend to respect films set in non-English speaking countries that don't have people talking in fake accents more than those that do. (Liam Neeson's thick German accent in Schindler's List is the exception that proves the rule, I think.) Stanley Kubrick once gave an interview where he said that a critic complained that the soldiers in Paths of Glory should have been speaking with French accents. His response was simple--the entire film was set in France, the characters were supposed to be seen interacting with each other as they normally would, and fake French accents would have been distracting. (The one German character who appears at the end of the film--who would later become the future Mrs. Kubrick--only spoke in German.) I think the same is true for a film set Russia--if the entire cast were speaking in Russian accents, they'd risk starting to sound like Boris and Natasha awfully fast. Maybe The Hunt For Red October did it best--have the characters start speaking in Russian with subtitles, and then just when the audience thinks it's in for a lot of on-screen reading, zoom into a character's mouth and then zoom back out, and have everybody speaking in English. (Doesn't Zhivago have a similar shot early on, but with signage, to explain why all the writing in the film is in English?) Patrick Stewart once gave a speech to the National Press Club in Washington DC that was broadcast by C-Span. Afterwards, a reporter wanted to know if Star Trek's producers ever asked him to do Captain Picard with a French accent. Stewart said he tried it once or twice in early rehearsals, "but it came out sounding rather like Inspector Clouseau. So I quickly concluded that Captain Picard loved the English language so much, he decided to speak it in its native tongue". One thing I will agree with Lileks on is the dangers of increased taxation on petroleum distillates--and he does a thorough job of demolishing Andrew Sullivan's proposal to raise them, which ran in Time magazine no less.


    COALITION TROOPS MAY HAVE TO STAY TEN YEARS IN IRAQ TO KEEP ORDER: Heck that's nothing--we've had to stay for over 50 years here.


    DOLLAR BOOK FREUD: Between an essay on the differences between book and film people, and Freudian essays on writers and what made the Columbine killers tick, we've got your pop psychology quotient for the week right here, baby!


    BEST INTERNET ESSAYS OF 2004, as found by Bill Peschel.


    SOUND ADVICE: "Those who live in yesterday cannot build tomorrow", writes Ralph Peters:

    The game of "this was mine and must be mine again," whether structured along religious lines or in terms of national identity, is as dangerous an enterprise as any in history. One great American strength has been our willingness to leave "the old country" behind, abandoning all claims to repossession. Wherever opposing factions claim the same land for their gods, conflicts are insoluble without extremes of bloodshed. When we insist on chaining God to any patch of earth, we make Him as small as us. Islamic terrorists will not reconquer Spain. But they may do colossal damage to their faith.


    DO WOODWARD AND CLARKE'S BOOKS HELP BUSH? Jonah Goldberg argues that they do cut off certain lines of attack against him. And they reinforce exactly what the key issues of the day are, which may explain these numbers. UPDATE: Scroll up past Jonah's post for some thoughts on the subject by his readers.


    LOADED FOR BEAR: There are too many great lines in Jay Nordlinger's latest "Impromptus" column today. So click on over and RTWT.


    PAYBACK: After being hammered by the press earlier this year over President Bush's military records, the GOP wants John Kerry to reciprocate. Watch the press relentlessly hound Kerry the same way they did President Bush. (I know, I know--I'm just kidding.) UPDATE: Via Instapundit, Joe Gandelman has some thoughts.


    WILL KURT WARNER BE CUT BY THE RAMS on June 1st to reduce their salary cap? Certainly makes sense.


    THE MIGHTY SATURN V: I have a review of Spacecraft Films' newest DVD, the companion to their Apollo 11 disc, up on Blogcritics.


    Monday, April 19, 2004


    FROM WORST TO FIRST: Corey Dillon traded to the New England Patriots for a draft pick.


    JOURNALIST'S LOVE FOR CASTRO IGNORES OBVIOUS: We know the Washington Post leans to the left; that's a given. But don't they have editors smart enough to prevent embarrassing columns like this one from being published? Couldn't they forward such a column to the city's weekly alternative "underground" paper? As Ramesh Ponnuru jokingly writes, "Do you know what's wrong with Cuba? The one thing they need that would make life better? Affirmative action, that's what." And finally, enquiring minds want to know--what does Oliver Stone think about Cuba's affirmative action deficiencies?


    GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK: Orrin Judd looks at the GOP's chances in New Jersey. Could Steve Forbes run for governor in 2005? UPDATE: And (keeping our strained but fun vintage Springsteen theme going), in a "Meeting Across The River" in New York, "Rudolph Giuliani is a clear front-runner for governor in 2006".


    DESTROYING THE CAMPUS NEWSPAPER: It's tactic by leftwingers on both coasts that's growing in popularity, when they don't like what the paper says. The Dartmouth Review has a novel solution, however.


    MAURICE CLARETT UPDATE: A federal appeals court has barred the Ohio State running back from entering the NFL draft as a sophmore. Skip Bayless had some thoughts on the issue, back when it looked like Clarett would be able to enter the draft.


    GIVE ME LIBERTY OR...NEVERMIND: Citizen Smash compares Zapata and Zapatero. As Glenn Reynolds writes, "Socialism ain't what it used to be".


    GEE-WHIZ VERSUS BIG BATTALIONS: Peter Robinson prints an email from a US Army Officer, which compares our occupations of post-Nazi Germany and post-Saddam Iraq, and concludes, "Hi-tech may be a gee-whiz way to win wars rapidly but when it comes to occupation, God still favors the big battalions".


    WILLIAM HAMAS HARRISON: James Taranto has some thoughts on Abdel Aziz Rantissi, who served for month as leader of the Hamas, "the most vicious of the Palestinian Arab terrorist groups, after his predecessor, Ahmed Yassin, bit the dust last month. Like William Henry Harrison, Rantisi took office in March and died the following month, though Harrison actually was in office for a full month". UPDATE: In a related story, USA Today is reporting, "Administration says it wants Hamas 'put out of business'". 'Bout time.


    "FAUX MITZVAHS" are becoming all the rage amongst non-Jewish kids, writes Joanne Jacobs. And of course, there are now Bark Mitzvahs, as well...


    Sunday, April 18, 2004


    WOW: I hope that all is well at Bleat HQ. We do get the odd earthquake in the Bay Area, however, we tend to take the weather for granted (Virginia Postrel wrote a fantastic essay a few years ago on how weather and earthquakes influence east coast/west coast thinking). But I remember numerous severe storms when I lived in New Jersey. Hopefully Lileks and family will ride this one out without incident. UPDATE: James is fine. I'll post a couple of comments about his latest Bleat later today.


    THE LEFT SEIZES THE ALAMO, and Don Feder watches it, so you don't have to.


    SPAM QUESTION: Lately, I've gotten what seems like 57,321 spam emails that start off with the supposition that "A friend has set you up on a blind date". Who's doing it? All my friends know I'm happily married, right? If you're a friend reading this, dude--save the dates for the guys who need 'em, OK? Thanks. (Does anybody fall for this spam approach? I'll bet this fellow would know.)


    ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET DVDs: The early James Bond films are being remastered using an ultra-HD technology. The New York Times describes it as "600 Macs, 4,000 Lines, One Giant Leap for DVD's".


    GRAHAM ON GORELICK: Michael Graham writes that if Jamie Gorelick "does not testify, then the entire 9/11 Commission's report can be rightfully ignored. For such a direct, glaring oversight will show that the Commission's agenda is something other than a complete and thorough investigation of all parties involved. If Gorelick doesn't quit, then the rest of the Commissioners should."


    IS KERRY USING THE ZAGAT GUIDE to foreign policy? Of course, one question still remains: when he goes to the Four Seasons, is he a Grill Room man or Pool Room man? (These are the important issues you ponder after just coming back from brunch at Max's.) UPDATE: Kerry also flip-flopped, as well as hemmed, hawed and squirmed on Meet The Press today over his Winter Soldier activities. But don't question his patriotism! ANOTHER DINING RELATED UPDATE: Check, please! LAST DINING RELATED UPDATE: The service at the Milpitas Sushi Lovers is usually pretty poor, but tonight seemed particularly bad. Sneering waitress, no goodbye or thank you on the way out, and as usual, our order for drinks and appetizers gets taken after we've had several pieces of sushi from the boats--and this on a night when the place was half-empty. And no recognition from the staff that we typically eat there three or more times a week. But now it's in Google...


    ON THURSDAY, Greyhawk posted an obituary of the co-pilot of the B-29 that dropped the second atomic bomb on Japan, which effectively ended WWII without requiring an invasion of Japan that could have killed over a million men. He asked, "Could America drop a nuclear weapon, if it would actually save lives, today?" The Wall Street Journal today makes the case for new low-yield nukes, designed to combat terrorism with a pinpoint response, or to hit targets buried deep underground, rather than the Cold War objective of obliterating whole cities.


    AMERICAN CHRISTIANS DON'T THREATEN JEWS: In the Wall Street Journal, Rabbi Aryeh Spero writes:

    And herein lies one of the most disheartening but salient observations one is forced to make, post-"Passion," about many in the Jewish community: They still don't get it. Even after more than two charmed centuries in America, they confuse contemporary America with medieval and postmedieval Europe, still not realizing how America and American Christians are a category wholly different from those of other nations, other religions and other strains of Christianity.
    * * *
    To be sure, there were justifiable reasons for apprehension given some elements in and circumstances surrounding the film. Aside from the understandable worry that Jews were for the first time being depicted on widely distributed American celluloid as eager for Jesus' death, there was the devilish ugliness in which they were physically portrayed, something not found in the New Testament. The graphic ugliness, blood and gore was thought to be potentially more scorching than the Gospel text. What's more, Mr. Gibson's father is a notorious Holocaust denier. Surmising that perhaps branch follows root, some suspected that the producer-director's intent was to portray Jews as the focal point of evil in the crucifixion episode, to return us to the pre-Vatican II days of Jews as official "Christ-killers." Mr. Gibson declined to distance himself from his father's remarks about Jews, whether because he agreed or simply out of filial loyalty. Added to this mix was the combustible ingredient of Mr. Gibson's subscription to a fundamentalist brand of Catholicism critical of Vatican II. Yet for all this, acts against Jews never materialized. The reason is that anti-Semitism flowers not so much in the seed as in the soil, and the American soil--the disposition of its people--has proved over two centuries to be remarkably resistant to strains of anti-Semitism.
    Read the whole thing. (Via the Brothers Judd.)


    THE WILHELM SCREAM: If you're more of a die-hard Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark or Tarantino fan than I am, this may be old hat to you, but I hadn't read about it until tonight. Common to many, many films is a sound effect called "The Wilhelm Scream". It's a stock sound effect that dates back to early 1950s Warner Brothers films, but it was given new life by Lucas's sound effects man, Ben Burtt, who calls it his personal signature. Whenever a Nazi or Imperial stormtrooper gets it in one of Lucas's films, chances are, you're hearing...the Wilhelm Scream. According to the Internet Movie Database, it's heard in Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs when Steve Buscemi's "Mr. Pink" character "pushes a pedestrian on the sidewalk while being pursued by cops during his escape from the failed jewel heist". I wonder if over time, the Wilhelm Scream will be supplanted as a sound effect by this one. I've already downloaded it and used as a Keith Moon-like scream for a drumbreak in a song I recorded back in February, and these folks have also made good use of it as well.


    Saturday, April 17, 2004


    I'M DREAMING OF AN NFL CHRISTMAS: AP reports that "the NFL schedule, released Wednesday, has two Christmas games--Oakland at Kansas City and Denver at Tennessee. They will begin at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. EST, respectively." If one's a snow game, so much the better. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas--on TV at least! Oh, and on Christmas Eve, the Vikes play the Packers. Since it will be in Minneapolis's Metrodome, not much chance of snow on that field. (If you're as antsy as I am for the season to begin, be sure and check out my essay on the back page of this month's Electronic House magazine.)


    SEN. ZELL MILLER LOOKS AT THE 9/11 HEARINGS, and does not like what he sees.


    FOLLOW THE MONEY: Remember when Jim McDermott and David Bonior spoke in Saddam Hussein's Baghdad in late September of 2002 against President Bush? Orrin Judd links to an AP article which says:

    Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington has returned a $5,000 contribution made to his legal defense fund by an Iraqi-American businessman who has acknowledged financial ties with Saddam Hussein's regime.
    In a post titled, "The Money's Just A Bonus", Orrin writes, "Does anyone really think Mr. McDermott betrayed his country for the money?" What about the other half of the Democratic duo? Back on March 15th, we posted:
    In The Journal today, Robert L. Pollock looks at "Saddam's Useful Idiots", and asks, "Did any Iraqi money filter back to American war critics?" [Scott] Ritter is prominently mentioned, along with Democratic congressman David Bonior as having ties with Shakir al-Khafaji, a Detroit-area businessman whose name was included in a recently published list of individuals receiving oil money from Saddam Hussein.
    And of course Saddam sent ten big ones to this former Democratic congressional staffer as well. And then there are the boys in the UN...


    PATRIOTISM: Pejman Yousefzadeh (by way of Inigo Montoya) says that John Kerry, the old Winter Soldier himself, keeps getting its definition wrong. Pejman also notes that Kerry has dusted off the old chickenhawk sophism, to boot.


    PASS THE DUCHY ON THE LEFT ONE TIME: I'll have whatever Hillary's smoking.


    AT EDDRISCOLL.COM, NEVER LET IT BE SAID THAT WE'RE SEXIST: We believe that many jobs can be performed equally well by men or women. As proof, here's an article about a man who's looking forward to "seeing that bouquet of flowers on my desk" on Monday, National Secretary's Day.


    HOW VERY 1970s: I used to see lots of articles with lines like this one has; they seemed to have died down a bit recently. But over time, you sort of get used to seeing sentences such as, "Just because someone's -- gasp! -- a Republican doesn't mean he doesn't belong on the planet". Insert black/Muslim/Indian/Polish/Jewish/Catholic, etc., and see how well it plays. Political correctness for thee, but not for me. (Via "The Corner".)


    SURE--THEY'RE FOR WHEN THE RAIDERS PLAY THE BRONCOS:

    Dozens of federal, state and local law enforcement agents searched a warehouse near Oakland International Airport Saturday for weapons including rocket launchers, officials said. The exact nature of the raid, which began around 6 a.m. Friday and continued Saturday, was unclear because the federal search warrant was under seal. But U.S. Magistrate Edward Chen told The San Francisco Chronicle: "The warrant was for a bunch of devices for rockets that could be launched from military vehicles and (for) some M-16s," semiautomatic assault rifles used by the U.S. military. Federal agents denied that the search was part of a counterterrorism operation.
    (Emphasis mine. Found via Ruminations.)


    THE IGNOS: "The Invasion of the Duh People" was a very, very funny Florence King essay. ("What did you say your name was?" "King." "How do you spell that?") She followed it up with "The Invasion of the Ignos", who are basically "duh people" with a college degree:

    There's nothing wrong with their gray matter, it's just that it remains virgin soil. They sow it not, and neither do they reap it. It just lies there undisturbed, as fallow as the day it was born, until at last, like other overdue virginities, it loses all capacity for response and you can't do a thing with it. Ignos are the chief crop of Diversity Ed, what sprouts when Western Civ's Dead White Males are eliminated from college curricula and replaced with African oral historians, Aztec vivisectionists, and the diaries of Ana?s Nin. Columnists have made hay with dumbed-down curricula. I've written my share of polemics, but I made the mistake of confining myself to arguments against multiculturalism per se. The narrower but more intriguing subject of Igno psychology is one that I left unexplored until two recent incidents convinced me that we are witnessing the spread of a new kind of stupidity that developed nations have never before had to deal with. The first incident came about when I had to correct a public record involving my Social Security number. I dealt with an administrative assistant, a cordial, seemingly competent woman in her early thirties. She assured me that my problem was all straightened out, but given my natural pessimism, I automatically said, "I can see the handwriting on the wall." That's when she looked at the wall. Turned around and gave it the old up-and-down once-over. Looked back at me with eyes as big as saucers. "It's just a figure of speech," I mumbled.
    If you've ever felt like there was a forcefield when you spoke to someone you thought should have been a like-minded peer, read the whole thing. UPDATE: Cassandra has an encounter with ignos armed with PhDs.


    PETER ROBINSON writes, "A democracy in Iraq would be splendid, of course. But since in all history the Arab world has seen exactly one democracy, that of Lebanon, which lasted only from the 1940s to the 1970s, it would represent a high achievement if we could merely ensure that Iraq proved, on the whole, peaceable and prosperous, becoming, as Mark Steyn has put it, 'the least badly–governed Arab country.'"


    PICARD TO ENTERPRISE: A Next Generation style communicator which clips onto lapels is being tested in hospitals. Hopefully warp drive and the transporter will be next...


    THE AIDS LIE: James Glassman of Tech Central Station looks at how President Bush is fighting AIDS in Africa, and how his critics are (surprise, surprise) distorting his record and policies there.


    Friday, April 16, 2004


    SPEAKING OF PERNOD AND GAULOISES, Denis Boyles writes that France could use a good pub or twenty for the growing number of English expatriates taking up residence there.


    THE ABSOLUTE INTELLECTUAL: Brian C. Anderson looks at Jean-Paul Sartre and sees an early idiotarian:

    What Sartre actually offers us is a paradigmatic example of the leftist mind, in all its dodgy enthusiasms. Sartre’s early existentialism presents a nihilistic conception of human freedom that still informs some forms of liberal thought; his later political writings seethe with the pathologies of the far left, including an admiration for bloodletting, so long as it targets democrats and capitalists and Westerners generally. Sartre may indeed have been “the absolute intellectual,” but only in a negative sense: His oeuvre stands as an absolute warning about the wrong turns that moral and political thought can take when untethered from nature or any sense of reality. Were Sartre alive today, he doubtless would place the blame for September 11 and Palestinian suicide bombings on their victims — defending, as he frequently did, the indefensible.
    Read the whole thing; the Pernod and Gauloise are optional.


    BIG APPLE LOOPHOLES: Heather Mac Donald looks at how New York City evades welfare reform.


    IKEA-STYLE DEMOCRACY: Eric Gibson looks at how Ikea is bringing modernism to the masses, "for those of us who did not grow up with Mies van der Rohe or Alvar Aalto in the family".


    MID-CENTURY MODERN: In some places, it wasn't very modern at all. Raymond Loewy was one of the great designers of the 20th century (with a career ranging from the Pennsylvania Railroad's magnificent GG-1 locomotive to Air Force One to Skylab.) So the photos that Virginia Postrel posts are a tough thing to swallow.


    PATRIOT GAMES, PART DEUX: Jeff Goldstein writes:

    Kerry had his potential Sista Souljah moment teed up for him and he struck out. Worse, he was fanned looking. Which hardly inspires confidence that he'll be able to get the bat off his shoulders when it really matters -- when, say, North Korea decides to posture with nukes, or when a drunk Teddy Kennedy asks to borrow the town car so he can give a ride home to a young staffer.
    For some background, follow the links here.


    NOW THIS IS A CORRECTION! England's Grauniad Guardian displays its vast knowledge of American libertarians and their leading lights:

    In our report, Life after Living Marxism, page 10, July 8, we referred to the Reason Foundation and said its "leading writer, the syndicated columnist Sandra Postrel, is author of the libertarian book The Enemies Of Freedom and frequently talks at the Hudson Institute". The Reason Foundation points out that no one of that name works at the Foundation or for Reason Magazine. The editor-at-large and former editor of the magazine is called Virginia Postrel. She is a columnist for Forbes and the New York Times but not a "syndicated" columnist. Her book is not called The Enemies Of Freedom. It is called The Future And Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise and Progress (Free Press). The Reason Foundation says Ms Postrel has never been to the Hudson Institute and has no connection with the organisation.
    (Via Samizdata.net.)


    ADVANTAGE TARANTO! James Taranto called this one almost a year ago.


    WE'RE GONNA TURN IT ON, WE'RE GONNA BRING YOU THE POWER: Chuck Simmins charts electricity and phone service in Iraq.


    THE FOOD MULLAHS: Nick Gillespie is calling for show trials and forced fitness regimens for Mayor McCheese, Grimace, and all the other McDonaldland characters.


    AFTER THE MUSIC'S MIXED, THE MASTERING BEGINS*: I have a review of Izotope's Ozone music mastering plug-in for PC-based hard disk recording programs, online at Blogcritics. (*If that title sounds even vaguely familiar to you, you were probably once as hardcore a Woody Allen fan as I was.)


    Thursday, April 15, 2004


    FRED OLIVI, the co-pilot of Bocks Car, the B-29 that dropped the second atom bomb on Japan that helped end World War II, died at 82 in the Chicago suburb of Lemont. Mudville Gazette has his obituary, and a question.


    PATRIOT GAMES: On his MSNBC page, The Professor writes that Senator Kerry has a problem with a lack of patriotism in his base. Like this fellow. UPDATE: Ed Cone (no relation) has some thoughts as well. ANOTHER UPDATE: If this ad is real, Kerry's patriotism problems aren't just with his base of voters.


    YOUR TUITION DOLLARS AT WORK: They won't be paying for leading gay rights and gay marriage proponent Andrew Sullivan to speak at Brown University, because...Sullivan is "renowned for his sexist, transgender-phobic/transphobic, and anti-inclusionary writings, statements, and public sentiments". I don't even know where to begin to parse this one out. At some point, idiocy becomes so compact, its molecules so dense, that it's impossible to begin to separate them. UPDATE: Hey, maybe they could get Oliver Stone. Or Fidel could phone in a speech. Err, on second thought...


    ABOUT TIME: The New York Times reports that "The Transportation Security Administration plans to begin testing techniques for improving passenger rail security at a station in New Carrollton, Md., that is served by Amtrak and commuter trains". Back in March, I blogged about the laxity of Amtrak's security in the densely populated, and heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. Reading between the lines though, it seems like the TSA's efforts in New Carrollton are far more for show than to actually get a working system in place that might actually prevent trains from being bombed.


    WHICH KEAN COMES CLEAN? Check out these two quotes by 9/11 commission chairman (and former New Jersey governor, who used to say "New Jersey and you--perfect together" in TV ads with a New England accent thicker than Teddy Kennedy's) Thomas Kean:

    "We made a conscious decision, and part of it was under strong pressure from the [victims'] families, to make this commission as transparent and as visible as possible."--9/11 commission chairman Thomas Kean on commission members' repeated TV appearances, quoted in the New York Times, April 15 "People ought to stay out of our business."--Kean, on allegations that commissioner Jamie Gorelick has a conflict of interest, quoted in the Washington Post, April 15
    (From James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today".)


    UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: Nick Gillespie looks at why your house costs so much, "if you're lucky enough to live in a progressive area with 'inclusionary zoning' ordinances". A.K.A.--the Bay Area.


    BRESLIN UPDATE: Back on Wednesday of last week, we had some thoughts on Jimmy Breslin's alleged faked quotes in his latest essay. It takes him until the last paragraph to say so, but the editor of Newsday writes:

    The April 7 Breslin column should have indicated that it was based on a conversation that took place in 1992. And the column did not adhere to Newsday's standard of publishing only direct quotations that are accurate and precise.
    Maureen Dowd could not be reached for comment.


    TERESA'S TAXES: She's trying to keep them private; Drudge compares her situation to the "ghost of Ferraro", who campaigned to be Walter Mondale in '84. Meanwhile, in Tech Central Station, Kevin Hassett looks at the loophole that her husband would introduce to reduce the taxes of companies that are organized in a particular way....like the HJ Heinz Company. Actually, it's great to see Senator Kerry come out in favor of cutting corporate taxes. As Hassett writes:

    Most other countries have reduced their corporate tax rates sharply in recent years. The U.S. has not, and the result is that we are now one of the highest tax countries on earth.
    But Kerry's had almost 20 years in the US Senate. Why has he waited until now to even jawbone some (minor) tax cutting?


    OLIVER STONE, IDIOTARIAN: His interviewer just demolishes him over his lack of knowledge of Castro, whom he's just made a (thoroughly whitewashed) documentary on. And this is the guy who was going to get to the bottom of the Kennedy assassination!? UPDATE: David Cohen adds, "This interview serves as an important reminder that sometimes there's no conspiracy. Sometimes, at bottom, there is just an ignorant idiot." ANOTHER UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan writes, "Just when you think Stone couldnt get more morally depraved...The man is laughing - laughing - at a gulag".


    MIDEAST BREAKTHROUGH: John Podhoretz writes, "George W. Bush outlined a path for peace between Israel and the Palestinians that has the distinct advantage of being based in reality". President Bush's plan pretty much leaves Yasser Arafat in the dust. But then, Orrin Judd adds, Bush "wrote off Arafat two years ago. When he called for new Palestinian leadership he made it crystal clear that they had to be prepared to cut a deal with Israel. The Palestinians failed to produce such leaders, so he's moving on."


    THERE'S GOT TO BE A MORNING AFTER: I'm not sure if I buy all the arguments that Kay S. Hymowitz makes in this City Journal piece, but it's got a great thesis:

    If you listen carefully, you can hear something shifting deep beneath the manic surface of American culture. Rap stars have taken to wearing designer suits. Miranda Hobbs, Sex and the City’s redhead, has abandoned hooking up and a Manhattan co-op for a husband and a Brooklyn fixer-upper, where she helps tend her baby and ailing mother-in-law; even nympho Samantha has found a “meaningful relationship.” Madonna is writing children’s books. Gloria Steinem is an old married lady. Yessiree, family values are hot! Capitalism is cool! Seven-grain bread is so yesterday, and red meat is back!
    Read the whole thing. (Via Joanne Jacobs, who sums it as "Bourgeois is back!")

    Wednesday, April 14, 2004


    MY MACHINE SHE'S A DUD, STUCK IN THE MUD: Air America hits turbulence, bounces check, gets taken off the air in Chicago and Los Angeles. UPDATE: "Note to George Soros: Next time, buy the stations. Then they have to play what you tell them to play." ONLY TANGENTIALLY RELATED UPDATE: Speaking of cash flow problems, Courtney Love "owes millions" according to this Reuters piece.


    THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES: Matt Welch looks at the state of journalism, both in the US and abroad. Glenn Reynolds also has some related links.


    WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE...AND YOUNG: Charles Johnson reprints an astonishingly powerful 1945 letter by future CBS News president Fred Friendly. It was written when he was an army master sergeant with the unit that liberated the Nazis' Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.


    Tuesday, April 13, 2004


    PRESIDENT BUSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE IS ON RIGHT NOW. But the Washington Post already has it written up in the past tense! (Via Instapundit, who writes, "It's like they've already decided on the storyline or something. . . .")


    HOUSEHOLD HINTS FROM LILEKS: Sick of Heloise? James Lileks has got Hints from Heckoise!


    LOST IN TRANSLATION: Got a hot-looking Japanese tattoo? Chances are it doesn't say what you think it does! (On the other hand, you'll still be hipper than this fellow.) (Via H.D. Miller.)


    OUTSIDE THE WALL: John Ashcroft slamming of Jamie Gorelick is the subject of this Instapundit post. Glenn also has links to lots of other material about Gorelick and her Chinese wall.


    STOCK UP ON HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION, if you're a conservative planning to go to the movies this fall. Click here and here for some of our thoughts on Hollywood's recent efforts. UPDATE: On the other hand, keep these figures in mind: in spite of all of the press coverage it received, Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine grossed $21,244,913. In contrast, Mel Gibson's The Passion grossed $26.5 million. On its first day. As Brian Doherty of Reason wrote when Bowling first hit the theaters, "Grander socialist dreams died with the Soviet Union. All the progressive left has are laments, tears, and tragedies. That suffices to sell movie tickets—moviegoers have always loved tragedy. It isn't enough for a lively and effective political movement."


    THE APPARENT LINK BETWEEN SADDAM AND SCOTT RITTER seems to be getting a little closer.


    FRANKENFEST: Andrew Sullivan tunes into liberal talk radio.


    TO EVERYTHING, BID, BID, BID: Roger McGuinn of The Byrds' 1966 Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar is up for auction on eBay, and can be yours if this price is right--the opening bid starts at a cool $99K.


    IRAQ IS JUST LIKE VIETNAM, writes Ramesh Ponnuru:

    Except that we've captured Ho Chi Minh, we've taken Hanoi, there's no draft, and the boat people have mostly come back. Not all of the comparisons are, however, to our advantage: It took nine years for the Democrats to be willing to cut off funding for the military then. It took seven months this time.
    I recently read The New Dealers' War by Thomas Fleming, who is surprisingly negative about how FDR's administration handled World War II. But at no point that I can remember in Fleming's book, other than possibly a fear of nerve gas, did FDR's men try to compare the second great war to the first. Nor do I recall many of President Clinton's military efforts being compared with Vietnam. As Alvin Toffler wrote in War and Anti-War, the American military's tactics were radically changed after the debacle of Vietnam. Maybe Senators Kennedy and Kerry and the rest of the left never got the memo.


    PEJMAN POWER: Pejman Yousefzadeh has some thoughts on how the Blogosphere has handled the recent Daily Kos scandal, in Tech Central Station.


    NOTHING CAN STOP THE ARMY AIR CORPS: American inventors may have invented powered flight, but it was a long and surprisingly shaky path towards our becoming the world's preeminent air power. Daniel Ford looks at how it happened.


    "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL", Wonkette writes, "but the little dog sort of screams it".


    KERREY CLARIFIES: Dennis Prager writes:

    This is how Bob Kerrey, a member of the 9-11 Commission and former Democratic senator from Nebraska, opened his questioning of Condoleezza Rice before the Commission last week: "Thank you, Dr. Rice. Let me say at the beginning I'm very impressed, and indeed I'd go as far as to say moved by your story, the story of your life and what you've accomplished. It's quite extraordinary."
    Prager adds, "Like many people of his political persuasion and in his political party, [Kerrey] saw her as an extraordinary black and female well before he saw her as an extraordinary individual". Read the whole thing. UPDATE: Kerrey's racism is remarkably subtle in comparison with the blatant stuff that Charles Johnson looks at here. In contrast, there was a remarkable sentence that President Bush uttered tonight:
    "People want to be free. Some people think that if you're Muslim, or if you have brown skin, you somehow don't want to be free. I reject that."
    God, I love that line.


    ...OR MAYBE IT ISN'T: Matt Drudge writes that Florida Democrats have placed an ad threatening to attack Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall", the reasoned, nuanced copy reads, "and say 'This is one of our bad days,' and pull the trigger". This equally reasoned and nuanced fellow would probably agree. UPDATE: Damian Penny agrees:

    The world is splitting into two groups: those who want the Americans to win in Iraq, and those who want the Ba'athists and Islamofascists to win. At least we know which side these guys are on.


    SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY: Florida is ready for 2004.


    TIMING IS EVERYTHING: Powerline Blog writes, "The New York Times assigns two reporters to chew over the really important issue -- the possible impact of [Bill Clinton's] memoirs on the Kerry campaign, of course"


    FOR YOUR THIGHS ONLY: Mark Steyn is able to look beyond--far beyond--conventional wisdom, for his take on who made the best James Bond.


    WE COULD HAVE WON: Mackubin Thomas Owens writes that the conventional wisdom concerning Vietnam is deficient. See also Orrin Judd's review of Lewis Sorley's A Better War, which Owens quotes from. It's not too hard to tie the War on Terrorism to Vietnam. Had we won the latter, it's not that huge a stretch to say that we may not have had to fight the former.


    GANGS OF L.A.: Joanne Jacobs writes that gangs control enrollment at Los Angeles high schools, according to the LA Times. "The district must transfer students out of their neighborhoods to alleviate overcrowding. But a 'blue' (Crips) student can't be sent to a 'red' (Bloods) campus". When did we let the inmates run the asylum?


    ALL WE ARE SAYING...is give Peeps a chance!


    Monday, April 12, 2004


    HEY, LOOK WHO'S ON THE COVER OF FRANCE TODAY! As Orrin Judd writes, "We kid you not".


    SILLY HEADLINES: There's a headline on the Internet Movie Database's "Studio Briefing" page today which I find almost laughable:

    Disney Staggered by 'Alamo' Defeat
    The post under it reads:
    The Alamo fell for a second time over the weekend, and this time, the scope of the defeat, although bloodless, was no less staggering than the original. The $100-million Disney movie took in just $9.2 million, tying for third place with the $12-million urban comedy Johnson Family Vacation, which played in only about half the number of theaters. (Some box-office trackers were predicting that when the final numbers are released later today, The Alamo will finish fourth.) "I'm shocked, quite honestly, at the number," Disney distribution chief Chuck Viane told USA Today. Analysts had predicted a relatively low figure, but had not anticipated the utter debacle that transpired. They also had not anticipated that Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ would be resurrected in first place again four weeks after dropping out of that position. "That's unprecedented. I've never seen that before," Paul Dergarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, told the Associated Press. "The Passion is just rewriting box-office history." (However, Dan Marks of the rival Nielsen EDI told the Los Angeles Times that almost the same thing happened in 1996 when Jerry Maguire returned to No. 1 after dropping out for three weeks.) Passion has now earned a total of $354.8 million and ranks eighth on the all-time domestic box-office list. Other new films also tanked at the box office. The Whole Ten Yards with Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry, debuted with just $6.7 million. The girls' flick Ella Enchanted drew a less-than-enchanting $6.1 million, just ahead of The Girl Next Door, which earned $6 million. And in yet another dose of bad news for Disney, the studio's The Ladykillers, starring Tom Hanks, dropped out of the top 10 after just two weeks.
    Given that the film was originally promoted as a Christmas release, and was then pulled back for four months of additional cutting and possibly reshoots after it bombed in previews, Disney had to know that things did not bode well for their revisionist epic. Also, given the backlash that CBS's attempted smear job of The Reagans received, and Pearl Harbor (another piece of revisionist Disney history) more and more Americans are becoming aware that Hollywood has an increasingly warped view of America and its history, at least when compared to those in the Red States. So when Disney distribution chief Chuck Viane tells USA Today, "I'm shocked, quite honestly, at the number," how honest is he being about being shocked? (Probably about has shocked as Claude Rains was to discover that there was gambling going on at Rick's cafe.)


    MODERNISTS, MARK YOUR CALENDARS: After three years of remodeling, New York's Museum of Modern Art (AKA "MoMA") is scheduled to reopen its 11 West 53rd Street location on November 20th. Some of my favorite days in New York have involved visiting MoMA and then wandering over to the nearby (and equally modernist) Four Seasons for lunch or dinner.


    THIS SHOULD MAKE PETA VERY HAPPY: Beef: It's what's for dinner! Except in Cuba, where killing cattle by citizens was made illegal by Castro's communist state, because their cattle are so rare (pun not intended). Matt Welch writes:

    When I visited Cuba in 1998, a favorite way of getting beyond the grim, mostly meatless food rations was to raise a pig -- illegally, of course -- in your apartment. The only problem was the squealing, so Cubans would simply cut the little porkers' vocal cords.
    Workers' Paradise, indeed.


    "ATTACH ORBITER HERE. NOTE: BLACK SIDE DOWN": Terrrific photos of the 2003 Edwards Air Force Base Air Show, found via Stephen Green.


    SPEAKING OF DISNEY'S VERSION of The Alamo, John Fund looks at Davy Crockett, libertarian. UPDATE: Steve Antler of Econopundit looks at some of the film's critics, including the Times' Elvis Mitchell, who screedily describes the fun, innocent Disney Davy Crockett Fess Parker film series of the 1950s as "poisonously intoxicating".


    Sunday, April 11, 2004


    NFL BROADCASTER PAT SUMMERALL RECEIVES LIVER TRANSPLANT: Summerall, 73, was a very heavy drinker in his heyday, but has been on the wagon since 1992. By the then, though, the damage had been done to his liver. It finally gave out earlier this year.


    BLOWBACK: Glenn Reynolds has some thoughts on the results of the partisan 9/11 hearings.


    CAPT. PIKE'S BEARD: In 2002, Kathleen Parker may have had the first "what if" article that speculated on what the results would have been, had President agressively proactively pursued terrorism prior to 9/11. Considering how contentious Bush's election was, none of this stuff sounds too far fetched.


    POP CULTURE, INTERRUPTED: Kids today are listening to their parents' music in large numbers, according to Jeff Brokaw. And as Jonah Goldberg wrote a while back, they're still watching many of their parents' TV shows as well. (After watching Ice Cube's Barbershop last night on Showtime, I ended up watching a couple episodes of the Cheers first season DVD and an episode of The Cosby Show on Nick at Nite. Those shows both debuted over 20 years ago!) Hollywood Interrupted paints a damning picture of several bankrupt media--music, film, and television. It could be that because the last two have gone from feeling like they need to entertain (as invited guests, in the case of Steve Allen's phrase about TV), to needing to preach to Middle America, their prospective audiences have decided to tune them out, in surprisingly large numbers. Couple this with Bernard Goldberg's looks at media bias, and you have three politically correct media (film, TV, and news), as well as pop music, which have each dramatically failed a very big chunk of the very consumers who buy their products. And in the case of music, there's an interesting paradox: production techniques have never been more slick. But almost in unison, songwriting has gone rapidly backwards. A few times this past week, while I was driving around, Liz Phair's song "Extraordinary" has been on the radio. It's not that great a song--but at least it is a song. It's got verses and choruses (love that refrain--"I'm just your average everyday sane psycho") and a winning performance by its singer. And sadly these days, that alone seems like a remarkable achievement.


    NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE! Scott Ott "reports" that, "Bush Failed to Stop al Qaeda During Clinton Years".


    FLASHBACK: The Alamo was finally released this weekend. It's currently number three on the charts, with The Passion, out for almost two months already, earning double its take. For a look at why a film whose trailers ran last Thanksgiving in anticipation of a Christmas release took so long to finally come out, click here.


    AMEN.


    INSTAPUNDIT HAS A NEW LOOK: It's more of a subtle tweaking of a design that works very well, but I think the new look of having the content on the left, and the links and ads on the right works quite nicely. Stacy Tabb (aka Sekimori) does good work. I'll have to hire her someday to redesign my site!


    THE SAC BEE'S CARTOONIST REACHES A NEW LOW.


    THE BLAIR SWITCH PROJECT: As I've written before, Jayson Blair's efforts (to borrow from a phrase of Tom Wolfe's) to cook the books is nothing new. And it happens in the Blogosphere as well.


    REDNECK PLANET: In Redneck Nation, Michael Graham wrote that during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the left castigated the South for its obsession with race, and then, rather than moving towards a color-blind society as Martin Luther King had rightly demanded, became race and double-standard-obsessed itself. In a recent Tech Central Station piece, Lee Harris writes that the philosophy contained in the late Edward Said's Orientalism, a book which became the intellectuals' guidebook on the Middle East, is itself a strain of racism:

    Orientalism is sophistry; but one that worked quite well as an ideology, as sophistries so often do. Because the West could not see the East from the East's point of view, it could not judge the actions of Easterners by our own ethical standards. Now there are two ways to take this. One is defensible, and it means that no one in the West has the right to interfere with the ethical standards that the Easterners chose for themselves, when they are on their own lands and around their own hearths. The other is madness, and it means that we are not permitted to judge the actions of the Easterners even when these actions are directed toward us; and even when they are clearly meant to harm us. Does it need to be pointed out that such an ideology dehumanizes the very people whose interests it is supposed to be defending? If we exempt a group of people, like the Palestinians and the Arabs, from normal ethical demands we make on Europeans, Americans, and the Asians, are we respecting their culture, or pitying them for having such a rotten one? To say that we must apply a whole new set of ethical rules to the Arabs implies that they are not fit to be judged by ours. Furthermore, to fail even to bring our ethical standards to their attention, is to imply very strongly that they could not appreciate these standards if we did. Thus Orientalism is racism turned to the advantage of the group that is being discriminated against. You cannot judge us the way you judge yourselves; therefore, you must lower the standards for us -- and continue to lower it until we tell you to stop.
    As Harris writes, "To refuse to allow others to rise to your standard because you believe that they are inherently inferior to you is simple racism; but to refuse to demand that others rise to your standard for the same reason is also racism -- just a tad less blatant, and far more cruel." (Found via The New Criterion's Stefan Beck. Be sure to read Beck's comments on Harris's article.)


    Happy Easter!

    Saturday, April 10, 2004


    WELL, THIS IS FUN: Charles Johnson writes, "the Kerry campaign is allowing visitors to create their own web pages". Hilarity ensues...


    STANDING ATHWART THE 21st CENTURY, YELLING STOP: Along similar lines to comments by Jonah Goldberg and Radley Balko, Charles Krauthammer writes on "how times have changed":

    We now know that the secret to curing hunger and poverty is capitalism and free trade. We have seen that demonstrated irrefutably in East Asia, which has experienced the greatest alleviation of poverty in the history of man. In half a century, places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea have gone from subsistence to First World status. And now free markets and free trade are lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty in India and China. And what has been the Democratic reaction to the prospect of fulfilling Humphrey's (and their party's) great dream? Fear and loathing. Democrats today thunder against the scourge of ``outsourcing'' -- American firms giving (what would otherwise be American) jobs to Indians and Chinese and other menacing foreigners. The anti-outsourcing vogue is part of a larger assault on free trade, which until recently -- meaning the Clinton administration -- Democrats had supported. Remember Al Gore's televised debate with Ross Perot, in which Gore demolished Perot's anti-free-trade arguments? Which makes the recent Democratic assault on free trade so jarring, never more so than when John Edwards and John Kerry competed with each other before Super Tuesday to see who was against more trade agreements with more Third World countries.
    Krauthammer adds, "Democrats have given up the mantle of tribune of the world's poor -- precisely at a time when we have finally figured out how really to rescue them".


    MORE FUN WITH CAPTIONS AT AP: Charles Johnson looks at "The Honor of Jihad", with those nutty Hamas activists.


    Friday, April 09, 2004


    SPOCK'S BEARD: Various bloggers have linked to this Gregg Easterbrook post of an alternative history of our actions to prevent 9/11, but I hadn't had a chance to read it until now. If you haven't seen it, definitely read the whole thing. As David Cohen wrote a couple of weeks ago, "So, the criticism is that we should have acted pre-9/11 in Afghanistan the way we acted in post-9/11 Iraq and in post-9/11 Iraq the way we acted in pre-9/11 Afghanistan?" Yes, but if we did--the results would probably have been staggeringly close to what Easterbrook wrote in his Blog. UPDATE: File this under "great minds think alike": Kathleen Parker has a similar essay in TownHall.com, with a similar ending.


    I'VE OFTEN WONDERED WHICH IS WORSE: Listening to Elton John's "Candle In The Wind" or having a wisdom tooth pulled. What I never considered was the diabolical torture of having to submit to both simultaneously, thanks to my dentist's Muzak. Blogging will resume in a bit.


    HACK ATTACK: Matt Welch writes, "when citizens become journalists, and journalists become accountable, the biggest losers will eventually be politicians with something to hide".


    BUILDING THE HIGH-TECH FOYER: My latest newsletter for Electronic House is online.


    RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY: Greg Buete of Tech Central Station writes that we need to stay on course to turn Iraq over on June 30th:

    An arbitrary date? Tell that to Abu Zarqawi and other terrorists opposed to Iraq's democratic transition. What we're witnessing in Fallujah and Ramadi is the execution of Zarqawi's playbook -- in the form of a letter addressing future insurgent strategy. In this letter, captured by Kurdish soldiers, Zarqawi fretted that time is running out for the insurgency. In response, Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist linked to al Qaeda, urged sparking a civil war between Iraq's Shia and Sunni Muslims, and most importantly, to do so before June 30, the date the US officially begins its transition of power to Iraq. At that point, Zarqawi noted, any further insurgency will be seen as a fight against fellow Muslims instead of a fight against America. Zarqawi said, "...if we fight them [Shia], that will be difficult because there will be a schism between us and the people of the region. How can we kill their cousins and sons and under what pretext, after the Americans start withdrawing? The Americans will continue to control from their bases, but the sons of this land will be the authority. This is the democracy, we will have no pretext." Were we to follow the leadership of John Kerry, and push back our transfer date, we would be delivering a gift-wrapped package to the promoters of chaos and instability in Iraq, just as the Spanish population delivered them a victory by capitulating to terror. It is imperative that coalition authorities stay the course. But in a repeat of last summer, armchair strategists are misdiagnosing the issue. With every milestone achieved putting more Iraqis in control, the insurgent factions -- whether former Saddam loyalists, Iranian-supported Shiite extremists or al Qaeda network terrorists -- lose ground. They are threatened by the June 30 transition date because on that day forward an insurgent attack is no longer against "occupiers" but against Muslims. Their argument and support will erode. Sen. Kerry isn't alone, unfortunately. Over the weekend two frequent Republican critics of the president, Senators Richard Lugar and John McCain (but of course!), joined Democratic Senator Joe Biden in advocating moving the transition date. The issue is thus added to the rest of the red herrings that never die in the course of this war: The most notable others being "more troops required" and a lack of an "international face" in Iraq.
    RTWT.

    Thursday, April 08, 2004


    MEET THE NEW GREG PACKER: Just the same as the old Greg Packers.


    FUN, FUN, FUN UNTIL DADDY TAKES YOUR HOT WHEELS AWAY: I have a nifty review of automobile writer Randy Leffingwell's book, Hot Wheels: 35 Years of Speed, Power, Performance Attitude, on Blogcritics. It makes a nice double feature with this recent Tech Central Station by Ralph Kinney Bennett on the rise and continued popularity of Detroit's full-sized muscle cars of the 1960s.


    SO THAT'S WHERE ROSE MARY WOODS WENT TO: A local talk radio station does some selective editing of Condi Rice's testimony. (Via Protein Wisdom.)


    DO YOU YAHOO!? Jeremy Reynalds says that Al-Qaida does.


    ED'S IN ELECTRONIC HOUSE: If you're a football junky trying to survive the offseason, I have some tips on the back page of Electronic House magazine this month.


    IN SEARCH OF THE ELUSIVE LEGAL COLLEGE DRINKER: Leonard Nimoy Jonah Goldberg discovers something that I never saw when I was in high school or college: kids under 21 who said that they don't drink because it's against the law! Of course, the drinking age in New Jersey was raised from 17 to 21 during my senior year in high school, so it was very new, and we were young bucks who wanted to protest. And it was much closer to the '60s and '70s ethos of getting drunk and having a good time on the weekends. As Jonah writes (and he's a few years younger than I am), "I associate college so much with social drinking; I have such an ingrained and generalized contempt for the 21 drinking age; and I’ve simply never met anybody who used this explanation before, let alone heard that this is a fairly widely held attitude among college students. It makes me rethink the power of the law to shape culture in America."


    AT THE SOUND OF THE BEEP, James Lileks has some memories of Joe Zimmermann and the ubiquitous technology he wrought.


    ASYMMETRIC VERBAL WARFARE: Instapundit has some great quotes from Condi Rice's testimony today. Scroll down for her great rebuttal to Bob Kerrey. UPDATE: More on Kerrey in November of 2001, here.


    GREAT MOMENTS IN CAMPAIGN ORATORY: Charles Johnson caught this nuanced bit of oratory from John Kerry:

    Yesterday on CNN, John Effin’ Kerry was asked how he would handle the situation in Iraq, after his strident criticisms of the Bush administration’s handling of the war. His response:
    “Right now, what I would do differently is, I mean, look, I’m not the president, and I didn’t create this mess so I don’t want to acknowledge a mistake that I haven’t made.”
    As someone wrote on Charles' comments section, "I don't see what all the confusion is about, Kerry is clearly forgenst Bush's handling of the war."


    THIS EXPLAINS VOLUMES: Joanne Jacobs explains that the School of Engineering "is a frill" in the postmodern "academic" world of San Francisco State.


    IPCENTRAL REVIEW is a new e-journal focusing on intellectual property issues of interest to both public policy specialists and the general reader. It's put out by the Progress & Freedom Foundation. If IP issues are of interest to you, stop on by!


    Wednesday, April 07, 2004


    LILEKS: "So [Saddam's regime] was a threat, except that it was never a threat. Senator Kennedy either lied to us, or misled us. Right? No other choices". Don't hold your breath waiting for the media to pick up on that particular meme.


    2001: A TYPOGRAPHIC ODYSSEY: Via Bill Peschel, who has some interesting thoughts of his own on the subject. For more on Stanley Kubrick's font fetish, be sure to check out this article in England's Guardian.


    THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE ED: As James Lileks once wrote, "parachute journalism" is the laziest sort of reporting. "Find a Symbol of America, talk to a guy eating supper, and discern the Pulse of the Culture". Which is why I'll be flying into Denver on Friday May 28th to stop by the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash. If you're attending, you can't miss me--I'll be the guy who sort of looks like this.


    SENATOR BYRD'S HITCH IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY--complete with photographic proof! Wow, I knew the guy was old...but not this old!


    WELL, THEY ALREADY CRASHED COLUMBIA: Nothing like having the EPA in bed with NASA and the Air Force. The EPA's order to NASA to change the foam on the space shuttle's external tank may very well have doomed Columbia last year. For its next brilliant move into the final frontier, the EPA is reducing the distance our nuclear missles can fly! StrategyPage writes that he U.S. Air Force "is in the process of replacing the decades old solid fuel rockets of its 500 Minuteman III missiles":

    The last of the Minuteman III missiles will receive their new motors by 2008. It costs about $5.2 million to replace the rockets on each missile. The new rocket motors, which have to comply with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rules, will have a shorter range than the original motors.
    Via James Taranto, who adds, "If nuclear missiles have to comply with EPA regulations, what about the warheads?"


    BECAUSE THE MEN IN THE BABY-BLUE HELMETS CAN'T PROTECT THEMSELVES: Matt Drudge writes that "The United States has asked more than a dozen countries to join a new international military force to protect the United Nations in Iraq, according to late reports from Washington tonight":

    Bush Admin has approached France, which led opposition to the war in Iraq, as well as India, Pakistan and other nations that were reluctant to join the U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq. The list includes 'a good global mix,' said a State Department official familiar with the proposed force. But no Arab countries or neighbors of Iraq are on the list, with Turkey notably absent.
    Senator Kerry told NPR today:
    The alternative to that is to get off your high horse and begin to show a little humility and begin to share responsibility and share risk and ask the world to come to this effort. The world has a legitimate effort, a legitimate interest in not having a failed Iraqi state. The world has a legitimate interest in beating back terror, and it is astonishing to me that given the legitimacy of that interest, this administration has managed to proceed so unilaterally. There are so few allies who are genuinely there both in serious numbers of troops taking risks and serious amounts of money committed to this.
    Let's see if Kerry's friends agree with him.


    THE TORICELLI GAMBIT: Back in February, we posted:

    SOUND ADVICE FROM MICHAEL GRAHAM (especially after the Toricelli and Paul Wellstone episodes in 2002): "Don't assume you know who's on the Democratic ticket until Election Day."
    Recently, Thomas Lifson wrote:
    Keep in mind that there are still almost 200 days left before the election. There is plenty of time for second and third thoughts about Kerry, on the part of America's non-ideological voters, and plenty for them to think over. The vetting of candidate Kerry has only just begun. But of course, Kerry isn't really the nominee yet. He is only the "presumptive nominee." So it is time to seriously wonder if the Democrats might not exercise what we can call the "Torricelli Gambit."
    "And we all know who is waiting in the wings", Lifeson somewhat ominously adds. In a way, it makes a bit of sense. Arnold Schwarzenegger chose the shortened time period of the recall election to announce his candidacy, rather than face the heightened scrutiny of a full campaign slog. He may very well have started a precedent. If you feel you're popular enough to win, and have enough superstar clout to pull it off, why go through a full, bruising campaign when you can abbreviate things? Besides, your biggest attacks invariably come in October. Why not keep your bullets fresh?


    SELF-VANDALISM: Are the numbers of Tawana Brawley wannabes increasing? Michelle Malkin has some thoughts.


    HAMAS AND HIZBALLAH are "a sort of terrorist alignment", says John Kerry. Sort of??


    DID BRESLIN COOK THE BOOKS? I was just thinking the other day that Jimmy Breslin's writing, since I've been reading him on the 'Net in the late 1990s, is no great shakes, considering his superstar rep. Breslin's name was initially made back in the early days of the New Journalism with Tom Wolfe, when they both wrote for the New York Tribune in the mid-1960s. (Scroll down to a Thursday Bleat by Lileks for his take on the Herald Tribune.) Lately, Breslin's writing has seemed partisan, shrill, and downright nasty. And frankly, this news (concerning faked quotes in this article) doesn't surprise me all that much.


    REMEMBER MOVEON.ORG'S Bush=Hitler ads? Kerry has just hired Zack Exley, a strategist with MoveOn.org, as his director of online communications.


    FUTURE SHOCK: Well, I suppose that eyeball jewelry was merely a matter of time.


    Tuesday, April 06, 2004


    THE LOTT DODD DOUBLE STANDARD: Daily Newsbrief compares the two scandals, and notes that Dodd himself said, during the height of the Lott scandal, "If a Democratic leader had made (Lott's) statements, we would have to call for his stepping aside, without any question whatsoever". OK, clock's ticking, Chris.


    IT'S NOT YOUR FATHER'S REPUBLICAN PARTY: Err, unless your father is Cpl. Max Klinger. On the other hand as James Lileks observes in a Minneapolis shopping mall, its influence is spreading...


    STOP THE PRESSES! Reuters manages to use the words Islamic Terror in a sentence--a headline no less--and with nary a quotation mark in sight! Hallelujah! Up off their feet at last! It's probably a mistake, it won't last, and it's pointless to get your hopes up. But it's a nice--if all too brief--change of pace from terrorism's favorite western news source.


    FARK PHOTOSHOPS FRANKEN: Geeks in sticks sics Photoshop on pix.


    GHOST TOWN: P.J. O'Rourke once wrote a book called Holidays in Hell. If you're up for a virtual one, how about a motorcycle ride past the abandoned hulk of Chernobyl and its nearby deserted ghost towns, with Elena, a beautiful Russian brunette as your guide?


    THE AMERICAN THINKER THINKS ABOUT AIR AMERICA:

    All of this fuss over a network whose outlets numbered five low-powered, low-rated AM stations, whose airtime was purchase in blocks by the network. Not one program director in the entire country decided on his own that the potential listenership was attractive enough to merit carriage of the network as a commercial venture. Even worse, Air America’s radio outlets in the two largest markets, New York and Los Angeles, formerly served black and Hispanic ethnic audiences. There has already been one protest rally in New York, as “community leaders” protest the loss of their ethnic broadcasts. Not since Howell Raines published dozens of stories about Martha Burke’s efforts to force Augusta National to admit women members, while she was only able to muster a handful of demonstrators at the climax of her campaign, has there been such an obvious case of obsessive-compulsive coverage. But Raines was one (now-unemployed) editor. The Air America overkill was collective. Nobody who pays attention to the news has been able to escape repeated exposure to the story. All this for an operation reaching, in all probability, fewer people than a single evening newscast in a decent-sized TV market. You don’t have to be a Ronald Reagan worshipper to think to yourself, “There they go again.”
    Thomas Lifson, the author of the piece writes, "The proper term for this phenomenon is clear. It is a death spiral". Needless to say, RTWT. UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has some additional links (there's a shocker!) on the topic.


    THE SILVER LINING IN THE DARK CLOUD: Tremendous essay by Steven Den Beste on Fallujah. Den Beste writes, "The most important thing that happened in the last few days is that many of the most dangerous people in Iraq gave us an excuse to destroy them. CENTCOM won't throw this opportunity away."


    THE REUTERS SYNDROME: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a very selective use of quotation marks when it comes to the war on terror.


    LYNCH MOBS: Virginia Postrel and Mark Bowden have some thoughts on them, and the psychology of those who participate in them, both in the south in the 1930s, and Fallujah in 2004.


    WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S: OK, it was a half-hour, not a weekend. And it wasn't "at", it was from my den via phone. But I just got off the phone after an interview with HBO and former CBS producer Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias and Arrogance, to get his take on how the media's covered events since the release of those two books. I'll let you know when it's online. In the meantime, here's Jonah Goldberg's look at Bias. And here's John Hawkins' interview with Goldberg.


    TEDDY VERSUS JFK: On his MSNBC Blog, Glenn Reynolds writes, "Kennedy doesn't seem to care: What happens to America is second to the all-important task of beating George Bush. Kennedy -- like all too many Democratic party stalwarts in Washington -- sees Republicans, not Islamist terrorists, as the real enemy. That's a formula for disaster at home and abroad."


    PROFILES OF THE FUTURE: Stephen Pollard of England's The Telegraph speaks ill of the late Peter Ustinov and his terrible, pro-totalitarian politics. Expect similar obits of many of today's celebrities in 40 or 50 years.


    THE ATLANTIC CREEPS LEFTWARD: Jonah Goldberg writes:

    The Atlantic is still a great magazine, but it seems to be inching further and further into official Liberal Magazine Land. One can be a liberal magazine and still be a great magazine, The New Republic has proved that more than a few times. But what made the Kelly and post Kelly era Atlantic particularly special was its effort not to be predictably on one side of the political ledger.
    Goldberg writes the Atlantic's current pieces, "contribute to the continued Slateification of the magazine, by which I mean that 'post-partisan smart' is defined as a certain kind of enlightened liberalism which enlightened liberals see as simply correct, not liberal".


    THE KERRY JOBS MACHINE: Wow, this'll be quite a feat! UPDATE: Buried in this New York Times article is another Kerry gaffe:

    He added: "I'm not a church spokesman. I'm a legislator running for president. My oath is to uphold the Constitution of the United States in my public life. My oath privately between me and God was defined in the Catholic church by Pius XXIII and Pope Paul VI in the Vatican II, which allows for freedom of conscience for Catholics with respect to these choices, and that is exactly where I am. And it is separate. Our constitution separates church and state, and they should be reminded of that." Mr. Kerry apparently meant John XXIII, as there is no Pius XXIII.
    I don't expect anybody who's speaking extemporaneously to the press and the public to have a perfect command of the facts. But it does seem that Republican gaffes get far more coverage than Democratic ones, don't they?


    CLELAND UPDATE: Yesterday, I quoted from an Ann Coulter piece on Max Cleland. Mike Spenis of the Feces Flinging Monkey Blog (now that's a Blog name!) emailed me an addendum to it:

    Yes, Cleland was crippled as the result of an accident, not as a result of combat. However, Cleland did win a Silver Star for valor in combat a short time before the accident which ended his tour. A Silver Star is a serious combat medal, not the sort of thing they just hand out to anybody. Coulter said that Cleland was 'no hero', and I think that's what got her into trouble. I'm no fan of either Coulter nor Cleland, but Cleland has earned my respect for his service. He's a victim, and a hero, one right after the other.
    Mike also has news of an amazing marketing feat by Reason magazine, one that's gotten them surprisingly positive press in that other hardcore libertarian publication, the New York Times.


    HUGH HEWITT: "I added as many affiliates this week as AirAmerica assembled in a year. I wonder if the New York Times will call today?"


    Monday, April 05, 2004


    MICHAEL MEDVED HAS A GREAT QUESTION FOR JACK VALENTI: "What happened, Jack, to all those missing moviegoers?"

    Despite his unquestioned eloquence, elegance and charm, Mr. Valenti presided over history's most disastrous decline in the audience for feature films. In 1965, the year before he left the Johnson administration to assume his plush position as chief mouthpiece for the entertainment industry, 44 million Americans went out to the movies every week. A mere four years later, that number had collapsed to 17.5 million. In other words, some potent, puzzling force drove more than half of the nation's film fans to break the habit of movie going.
    Read the whole thing. UPDATE: Meanwhile, Chris Kanis notes the difference a change in administrations makes when it comes to Hollywood and foreign policy.


    NANCY PELOSI URGES FAST ACTION in finding a suitable vice presidental candidate for Senator Kerry. Here's a modest proposal...


    QUAGMIRE WATCH: On February 27th of last year, a month before surprisingly brief hostilities broke out in the war to liberate Iraq (as opposed to the post WWII-like difficulties reconstructing it afterwards), CNN was already declaring the war a quagmire. On Sunday, four months before the actual event, AP declares, " Boston's Democratic Convention a Quagmire"! (Via James Taranto.)


    I'VE READ MICHAEL CROWLEY'S SLATE ARTICLE on former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, and while Crowley writes that, "Cleland...lost two legs and an arm to a grenade explosion in Vietnam", he really, really underplays just how Cleland's accident occurred, and that it wasn't in combat. I'm no fan of Ann Coulter's writing style and sneering tone, but she took an enormous amount of flak for researching and simply writing about the incident:

    Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman – or what Cleland sneeringly calls "weekend warriors." Luckily for Cleland's political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam. There is more than a whiff of dishonesty in how Cleland is presented to the American people. Terry McAuliffe goes around saying, "Max Cleland, a triple amputee who left three limbs on the battlefield of Vietnam," was thrown out of office because Republicans "had the audacity to call Max Cleland unpatriotic." Mr. Cleland, a word of advice: When a slimy weasel like Terry McAuliffe is vouching for your combat record, it's time to sound "retreat" on that subject. Needless to say, no one ever challenged Cleland's "patriotism." His performance in the Senate was the issue, which should not have come as a bolt out of the blue inasmuch as he was running for re-election to the Senate.
    And Crowley never mentions the Dan Quayle like gaffe that Kerry made in January on Meet The Press in defending Cleland:
    We saw what they did to challenge the patriotism of Max Cleland, a triple amputee, a man who left three of his limbs on the ground in Vietnam. They challenged his patriotism. His regret is he didn’t stand up and fight back.
    To be fair though, Crowley does quote a particularly poor choice of wording by Kerry, although he fails to telegraph it to his readers:
    "If they're going to try to question my commitment to the defense of our country, then I'm going to fight back," Kerry said at a February campaign event. "Because they did that to Max Cleland ... and I'm not going to stand for it."
    Neither of course, is Cleland. Had Quayle or George W. Bush made either gaffe, both men would be crucified by the press. But Kerry's gaffes always get a pass. In general though, Crowley is right: the Democrats, in constantly portraying themselves as the party of victims and "losers of life's lottery", may find themselves real losers in November, unless they start offering ideas other than "vote for Kerry, because he's not President Bush." UPDATE: Mike Spenis of Feces Flinging Monkey has an update to Coulter's article. Click here or scroll up to read it.


    14:59 WATCH: Matt Drudge writes that Alanis Morissette strips to her birthday suit in Canada--only she doesn't, she's wearing a body suit with fake nipples and...stuff to protest Janet Jackson and Nipplegate. So it's a fake protest about a fake controversy, done in Canada, rather than in the US itself. In the photo that accompanies Drudge's copy, Morrisette looks surprisingly embarrassed--as well she should. UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg agrees.


    ANOTHER ELDERLY SENATOR WITH A RACIST PAST IS PRAISED, only this time, rather than involving Republicans Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond, it's Chris Dodd praising Robert Byrd, whose checkered background includes time spent as a KKK Grand Dragon. Both episodes began with quotes broadcast on C-SPAN and pushed forward via the Blogosphere and talk radio. In 2002, Lott ended up being disgraced--as a result of the elections that November, he was about to resume his role as Senate Majority Leader. Instead, he's now an anonomous backbencher. Lott's speech was made as part of Thurmond's retirement celebration, and the 100 year old senator from South Carolina died shortly thereafter. To the best of my knowledge, Byrd isn't planning to retire, and if anything, Dodd is more powerful in Democratic circles, than Lott is with Republicans. Let's see if the traditional media picks up on this, and if anything happens to either of Lott or Byrd as a result of this speech and its initial reaction. (Senator Lott Dod, from The Phantom Menace unfortunately could not be reached for comment about his two namesakes.)


    IS CALIFORNIA IN FREEFALL? Greg Ransom writes that California has lost 355,000 manufacturing jobs in the past three years, because the cost of doing business is 32 percent higher in California than in neighboring states.


    Sunday, April 04, 2004


    THERE'S A BUMPER STICKER IN THIS, SOMEWHERE: Joanne Jacobs writes that "The best school system in the U.S. is run by the Defense Department".


    STEYN ON M.C. KERRY: There's always a danger when Republicans try to be too hip, something clearly George W. Bush understands. John Kerry's Dean-like claim that he's "fascinated by rap" illustrates that it's always a danger whenever 60 year old guys who aren't Jack Nicholson try to be too hip:

    ''Oh sure. I follow and I'm interested,'' says John Kerry. ''I'm fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important . . . I'm still listening because I know that it's a reflection of the street and it's a reflection of life.'' Really? You're ''fascinated'' by rap and ''listening'' to hip-hop? You're America's first flip-flopper hip-hopper? The best riposte to Kerry came from an encounter a few years ago between his predecessor Al Gore and Courtney Love, lead singer of the popular beat combo Hole, when they chanced to run into each other at a Democratic party night in Hollywood. ''I'm a really big fan,'' gushed the vice president. ''Yeah, right. Name a song,'' scoffed Courtney. The panicked vice panderer floundered helplessly. Fortunately, his Secret Service guys moved in before he wound up completely riddled by Hole. As wise old campaign consultants always say, the politician's First Rule of Holes is: When you're in one, stop digging. Al introduced us to a Second Rule: When you're with one, stop pretending to dig her. If only that MTV guy had said to Kerry, ''Yeah, right. Name a song.'' Think Kerry could've? Reckon if you bust into his pad and riffled through his and Teresa's CD collection you'd find a single rap album? Of course, you wouldn't find any in George and Laura's CD collection either. The difference is that President Bush doesn't feel the need to pretend.
    Needless to say, read the whole thing. (Hat tip to Betsy Newmark.)

    Saturday, April 03, 2004


    CROSSED OUT CROSSES: James Panero notes that Columbia University has subtly morphed the three crosses in their crown-shaped school crest into denuded vaguely diamond-shaped blobs. Michael Newdow should be happy, at least. Panero describes Columbia's supremely PC gesture as being "in the spirit of radical creep", a subject he's written about before.


    THIS'LL SELL: CNSNews.com is reporting that "Environmental activists are warning church-goers that Palm Sunday services are not compatible with 'environmental sustainability'." Gaia was OK, but her disciples are a bit thick and ordinary...


    Friday, April 02, 2004


    THE GOOD ARE HARD TO FIND, EVEN HARDER TO LOSE: Ron Rosenbaum has some thoughts on why he misses Mike Kelly.


    THE SEATTLE TIMES thinks it's neutral. Stefan Sharkansky disagrees:

    "Neutral" journalism would give equal time to those who argue that slaves were happier than free blacks, that homosexuals should be executed or that Communism works well in practice. Fortunately, that's probably not what the Times has in mind. Meanwhile, newspapers that pretend in earnest to be "neutral" have given rise to the varieties of journalism that inspired us to launch this blog in the first place. The Times would have more credibility if instead of flogging the conceit of "neutral reporting" it simply acknowledged its reporters biases and also extended its "commitment to diversity" to broaden the diversity of opinions in its newsroom.
    As John Poderhertz wrote last year in the New York Post:
    I've worked for two newspapers - this one and the Washington Times. One of the primary qualities that has distinguished these two papers from most others in the country is that they do not pretend to be something they're not. They are run by conservatives. Readers know it, and are given the opportunity to read them and judge for themselves whether the information in them is improperly colored by the ideological views of the owners and managers. In the world of professional journalists, this lack of pretense is considered a black mark against these institutions. They are criticized and held in lesser regard precisely because they have the integrity to be honest with their readers about what they are.
    And as Bob Goldfarb wrote in December:
    I think history will show the faith in unbiased journalistic "truth" to have been a temporary aberration. The national papers of Great Britain, like the American press of the 19th century, are popular precisely because of their well-known ideological positions, not from any pretense of neutrality. They report the news by their own lights, recognizing that readers prefer the news to be filtered through values and beliefs similar to their own. So does The New York Times. The Times has become America's only truly national, general-interest newspaper because it has the best reporting, writing, and editing in the country...and because its worldview matches that of its target consumers. It doesn't need to purport to be unbiased. Okrent believes that his, and presumably the paper's, "only concern" is to be "dispassionate." It will be enough if he and The Times continue to serve its readers' interests rather than their own.
    Somewhat surprisingly, a number of journalists have recently been coming forward to admit their biases. Maybe eventually the Seattle (and New York) Times will join them.


    IF 9/11 DIDN'T CHANGE EVERYTHING IN AMERICA, it changed a lot of things. For proof, check out this Instapundit post. Had it been posted prior to 9/11, I would have taken it as a delayed April fool's joke; it would have been that impossible to be believed.


    HEY, THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR! Back on Wednesday, February 25, I wrote:

    THE PASSION: It opens today; the last film to generate this kind of controversy was probably Oliver Stone's JFK (I was going to say The Last Temptation of Christ, until I remembered the angry debates on shows like Nightline that Stone's film generated at the time of its release about its historical accuracy.)
    In today's review of JFK on The Digital Bits DVD site, Adam Jahnke writes:
    Every so often, a film comes along that draws an ideological line in the sand, making it virtually impossible to simply discuss its merits as a motion picture. You cannot address its strengths and weaknesses as a movie without getting into a debate about its subject matter. Currently, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ is the agent provocateur du jour. I don't imagine Gibson and Oliver Stone would have too much common ground in a political discussion but I can't help but wonder if Gibson solicited Stone's advice on how to deal with the media in the wake of a firestorm of controversy.
    Apropos of nothing, I'm not sure how well Jahnke's analysis holds up. While critical opinion of the film was often on ideological lines, I'm not sure if viewership was. Somewhere I read that a fair number of its audience were African-Americans and Hispanics--and I'll bet that a fair chunk of both groups don't subscribe to National Review. And Roger Ebert, who last year gave an interview to The Progressive on his leftist views, gave The Passion four stars. Meanwhile William F. Buckley, of whom, rumor has it, gets comped his subscription to the conservative NR, had seriously mixed emotions about the film. The ideological complexity holds true for JFK as well. I'd say I'm just ever so slightly to the right of Oliver Stone. But I saw JFK, bought the laser disc and later the DVD, and loved the film. Mind you, I think that other than Kennedy's death and LBJ replacing him in the oval office, it's entirely a work of fiction, but it's tense, dramatic and exciting stuff, just as The Manchurian Candidate, another leftwing paranoid fantasy was. (Incidentally, I passed by the late Clay Shaw's house in New Orleans last week. It's a handsome walled mansion located back and to the left, back and to the left, of Bourbon Street. The conspiracy of men who assassinated JFK--Ed Asner, Jack Lemmon, Gary Oldham, Joe Pesci and Tommy Lee Jones--were nowhere to be found.) UPDATE: I hope I'm not sounding like I'm trashing Jahnke's review of Warner's new JFK DVD. He's very good reviewer, and both his article--and apparently the new disc--are actually quite good. However, I'm also not sure if I agree with this comment of Jahnke:
    The Kennedy assassination was a turning point for this country and continues to be a lightning rod for controversy to this day. Witness the recent brouhaha over a cable documentary that explicitly tied presidential successor Lyndon Johnson to the assassination (even Stone didn't go quite that far).
    He didn't? Watching JFK certainly left me with the impression that Stone implicated Johnson in Kennedy's assassination.


    DEATH IN FALLUJAH: Yesterday we looked at how television was covering it. Today, Glenn Reynolds looks at how some on the left side of the Blogosphere are reacting to it. Be sure and read Roger L. Simon's thoughts on the topic as well.


    RHETORICAL SPAM QUESTION: I have a reasonably solid Spam filter attached to Outlook, but I still check the emails that get sent to the junk mail directory before deleting them, just in case. So why is an email titled, "taiwan dishes" about refinancing?? I know Spammers try seemingly random combinations of words that they hope will get past filters, but with a title like that, I was expecting something a little--heck a lot--racier, if you know what I mean.


    50-50 OR 60-40? The last presidential election revealed a bitterly divided nation, and many experts believe November could be just as close. Others however, believe that the nation may have moved further to the right as a result of 9/11. If either prediction is true, why on Earth is Hollywood alienating at least half its audience? As the Professor writes, "And they wonder why viewership is down". In the old days, television sponsors and network broadcast standards departments kept a close eye on scripts, as well as finished shows before they aired, so as not to offend audiences. They understood that, as the late Steve Allen once put it, "When on television you were the guest of the family in the family's home". And that meant families of both major political parties. Hollywood deliberately chose to forget that idea in the last twenty years--and most modern sponsors don't care as long as profits are up, and the board can rub shoulders with the stars at the next board meeting or trade show. UPDATE: Captain Ed (no relation) also has some thoughts.


    NEVILLE AGAIN: Thanks to Mark Steyn, a meme is born. And as Stefan Beck writes, Spain has discovered that, "a jihadist's promise isn't worth the cassette it's recorded on. On the bright side (if this can be said to have one), this wake-up call did not cost any lives. Let's hope they heed it."


    DEMOCRAT OR CATHOLIC: It sounds like the church is going to make John Kerry choose one or the other. Tom Daschle and former California Governor Gray Davis each ran into a similar wall last year. Guess which choice both men made?


    WE'VE ALREADY SAID GOODBYE: Victor Davis Hanson says it's time we "go now" from Europe. To a great extent, I agree. And it would be amusing to watch the governments try to spend on both a welfare state and a meaningful defence. Sooner or later, one or the other would have to give.


    Thursday, April 01, 2004


    I'M WATCHING SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE right now, and really feeling alienated by it. I'm not entirely sure why. Nicholson and Keaton have great chemistry together, and certainly make a handsome couple. But there's something really offputting about the film. I think it's the notion of watching 50 to 60-somethings act like 22 year olds. On the other hand, having read Hollywood, Interrupted this past weekend, it's pretty obvious that lots of 50 to 60 somethings act like 22 year olds there. Comedies are either typically very broad farces, or they're about real people in wacky circumstances. Woody Allen's best films (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Play It Again Sam, (all of which starred Keaton, of course)) felt like they were about believable people. Neither of these characters felt much like real middle age people to me. And then there's the usual Hollywood anti-smoking stuff--and the French music (and ultimately, a trip to Paris itself), in a film that was probably being shot while we fighting the Iraqs and being screwed by their French allies. And Keanu Reeves as a doctor? "Whoa--stat!" James Bowman was also turned off by the film, but for rather different reasons: he finds it disturbing watching wrinkled people make love. I don't mind that at all--I'd actually like to see a film about mature grown-ups having adult relationships. But mature, adult, and grown-up are sadly what's missing from this film. And from most films these days. UPDATE: OK, film's over. My wife and I talked about it, and came to the conclusion that it's not the PC of the film, it's the crappy writing. We found plot holes you cold drive Nicholson's Mercedes roadster through, and couldn't remember one funny line after the film was over. Whereas the Woody films I listed above all have great catch phrases, snappy dialogue, and (other than Bogie appearing in Woody's bedroom in Play It Again Sam) reasonably believable plots and characters. How do producers get a budget big enough to afford Nicholson and Keaton, and not have a decent script? I suppose that perhaps the filmmakers and studios (Yes, that's plural--Columbia and Warner Brothers both backed this film) believed that once the cast is assembled everything's in the bag. (And the film is pretty well cast, right down to the supporting players: while I don't buy Keanu as a doctor, this is the most human I think I've ever seen him--and while I'm sure he was reasonably well paid, it takes guts for any headliner to accept a supporting role). Something I've written about several times here--since the mid-90s, Hollywood films have repeatedly felt to me like they've been gone into production with a script that should have been rewritten once or twice. This one could have used a lot of polishing before being greenlighted. UPDATE: One of the stranger aspects of Something's Gotta Give are the unbelievably airbrushed photos in its marketing campaign (click on the IMDB link above to see the DVD cover). The whole point of the film is that Keaton looks like a typical 55 year old, wrinkles, jowls, and all (nicely preserved body though, in the ultra-quick flash cuts of her). But the massively Photoshopped DVD box makes her--and Nicholson--each look about 30!


    HEH:


    SADDAM HUSSEIN, TERRORIST: Interesting polling data on the Power Line blog.


    THE FRANK BURNS/JOHN KERRY CONNECTION, as discovered by Hugh Hewitt. I can certainly see it--Kerry's "I don't fall down, the son of a b*itch knocked me over" line does sounds very Burns-like, doesn't it? On the other hand, Hewitt writes, "We lack the information to make any comparisons between Theresa and Major Margaret "Hotlips" Houlihan, but both at least share a tendency toward outspokenness". Hot Lips, whatever her faults, was a career Army nurse and patriot. Can't see her ever doing this to Harry Truman or Ike. While we're on the subject of M*A*S*H, not too long ago, I thought Dean bore some similarities to the worst aspects of "Hawkeye" Pierce. But at least Hawkeye was cool in M*A*S*H's early days as a TV series, and as portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the original film. With his snowboarding shtick and trying to sound hip by defending rap music, Kerry's trying way too hard, to come across as cool.


    QUITE A DOUBLE STANDARD AT ABC: Here's Nightline Executive Producer Leroy Sievers on Fallujah:

    "War is a horrible thing. It is about killing," ABC News "Nightline" Executive Producer Leroy Sievers said in an unusual message to the program's e-mail subscribers discussing the issues posed by Wednesday's killings. "If we try to avoid showing pictures of bodies, if we make it too clean, then maybe we make it too easy to go to war again."
    And here's ABC News chief David Westin on 9/11:
    "The question is, are we informing or titillating and causing unnecessary grief?" ABC News chief David Westin told the New York Times just days after the Sept. 11 attack. Explaining why his network decided not to show any pictures of people leaping to their deaths at the World Trade Center, he said, "Our responsibility is to inform the American public of what's going on, and, in going the next step, is it necessary to show people plunging to their death?"
    As I wrote last year:
    What would [the media] think about showing the gore from the attack on the World Trade Center on television more? Shots of people jumping out of the windows of the WTC to their certain deaths rather than be burned in the fire or smashed by collapsing rubble? I doubt they'd be in favor it. And certainly the media has downplayed--practically eliminated--those images from its library of stock footage because, as ABC News chief David Westin told the New York Times, it was "disturbing".
    Curious, that when it serves their interests and their biases, the media certainly doesn't mind disturbing its viewers. Instapundit also has some thoughts on Sievers' quote:
    terrorism is, in a very real sense, a creature of the mass media. But what strikes me is that after 9/11 they didn't want to show graphic images of dead Americans for fear that it would make Americans want to go to war. Now they are proud of showing graphic images of dead Americans in the hopes that it will discourage Americans from going to war. Now that they've admitted that they're not neutral on this stuff, you have to wonder what side they're on.
    UPDATE: Westin of course, was the fellow who couldn't initially decide if it was wrong for Al Qaida to have attacked the Pentagon on 9/11:
    The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now. The way I conceive my job running a news organization, and the way I would like all the journalists at ABC News to perceive it, is there is a big difference between a normative position and a positive position. Our job is to determine what is, not what ought to be and when we get into the job of what ought to be I think we’re not doing a service to the American people. I can say the Pentagon got hit, I can say this is what their position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong, I mean, that’s perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it’s for me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it’s for my minister at church. But as a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.
    A few days later, after being excoriated, Westin backpedaled:
    Like all Americans, I was horrified at the loss of life at the Pentagon, as well as in New York and Pennsylvania on September 11. When asked at an interview session at the Columbia Journalism School whether I believed that the Pentagon was a legitimate target for terrorists I responded that, as a journalist, I did not have an opinion. I was wrong. I gave an answer to journalism students to illustrate the broad, academic principle that all journalists should draw a firm line between what they know and what their personal opinion might be. Upon reflection, I realized that my answer did not address the specifics of September 11. Under any interpretation, the attack on the Pentagon was criminal and entirely without justification. I apologize for any harm that my misstatement may have caused.
    As Bernard Goldberg asked in Arrogance, why wasn't that Westin's initial take? ANOTHER UPDATE: H.D. Miller and Kevin of The Smallest Minority also have some thoughts.


    JUST BEAT IT: Wow, more surprising announcements: House Republican leader Christopher Cox and Michael Jackson "reached a ground-breaking agreement on a new bill to curb indecency on the public airwaves".


    AND SOME INTERESTING QUOTES FROM THE MEDIA, rounded up today by the Media Research Center.


    SOME INTERESTING PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENTS TODAY: Google debuts Gmail, and gets surprisingly positive press from the New York Times. In the music world, Fender debuts the long overdue Keith Partridge Stratocaster. Bitchin'! It includes "a custom tolex case in the same color scheme as the famous Partridge Family bus"! UPDATE: Google is hiring, looking to fill out their swank new office campus. Bit of a commute for must of us, though.


    SADLY, THIS DOESN'T SURPRISE ME: Jay Nordlinger includes the following anecdote in his latest column:

    A friend of mine from Arkansas writes the following: "Thought you'd appreciate this little anecdote. A co-worker of mine has a daughter in public elementary school, here in Pine Bluff. They're still doing Black History Month stuff, apparently, because the kids were told to come to class dressed as a famous (and presumably accomplished) African-American. My co-worker's kid was told to come as Tina Turner. My co-worker informed the teacher that her child would come as Condoleezza Rice instead. The teacher refused to allow it, on grounds that Rice 'is for white people.' Nice, huh?" Disgusting--and, again, very American. Sadly so.
    (Is the reverse true? The inference the Arkansas teacher makes is that Tina Turner is only for black people. We have at least one of her CDs. Should we return it?) Along with Colin Powell, President Bush has appointed two of the highest ranking blacks in office ever, and has kept on Colin's son, Clinton appointee Michael Powell, as head of the FCC. And still, cracks like this occur. Will a black Republican ever be respected? I'm sure if the teacher was fired, Nordlinger's friend would have mentioned it in his email. This is a rhetorical question of course, but why aren't more teachers let go for such blatantly racist statements?

    Wednesday, March 31, 2004


    LEAVING THE LIBERAL COCOON: Paul Beston, a former NPR producer, describes how he accidentally joined the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy:

    My main responsibility was to distill guests' books into a few single-spaced pages and write interview questions for [longtime public-radio host and producer Larry Josephson] that he could accept or reject while adding his own. As part of my job, I read omnivorously in the conservative literature--books, periodicals and the Web sites that were coming online. Larry had print subscriptions to just about everything, from Reason to Crisis. The piles of conservative magazines lay around my workspace like a stack of Hustler in Saudi Arabia, daring me to look inside. Opening the pages of National Review or Commentary for the first time gave a certain thrill of heresy. It quickly became clear that my understanding of conservatism was a cartoon. The writers took perfectly reasonable positions and argued them with eloquence. Always, there was the sense of limits to what one could hope for--and the warning that taking action could make things worse instead of better. After my years in the fervent environs of the left, the sober skepticism of the conservatives was very appealing. I couldn't help but think that many of my fellow liberals had, like me, assiduously avoided coming in contact with their arguments. That was easy to do in New York City.
    Bernard Goldberg made exactly that last point in Arrogance--he suggested dispersing the news divisions of the big three networks to small town middle America (aka "flyover country") as a way to allow them to at least come in contact with more of their viewers, rather than spending all of their time safely inside of what Mickey Kaus once dubbed the liberal cocoon. And as another Goldberg--Jonah--once noted, isn't it curious that far more people make the journey from the left to the right, than go the opposite direction? Indeed, the phrase "neoconservative" originally began as--and frequently remains--an epithet used by the left to describe apostates who've since changed sides. (Although post-9/11, its been used so frequently by those who have no clue what it means, that it's been rendered almost nonsensical.) (Via The Blog from the Core.) UPDATE: Orrin Judd writes, "One is struck by how often recent converts to conservatism and those who've simply come out of the closet--like Dennis Miller--mention that Rudy Giuliani, and the success of his conservative crime-fighting programs, played the key role in their journey".


    JAMES TARANTO IS LOADED FOR BEAR TODAY: Read the whole thing.


    KARMIC JUSTICE PART II: Pro-Bush blogger Matt Margolis was beaten up at an anti-Bush rally last week. Today, billionaire leftist George Soros (described last fall as "a perfect storm of Angry Leftism and anti-Semitism" by James Taranto) had white glue and water tossed onto the lapels of his navy blue double breasted Saville Row suit while speaking in Kiev.


    KERRY'S AGAINST ANWR: That comes as no surprise. But maybe the Senator should tour America's "vast pestilential wasteland" before describing the place as an "Alaska wildlife refuge". In 2002, a U.S. Geological Survey stated that, as The Washington Post described it, "the most likely drilling scenarios under consideration should have no impact on caribou". I guess Kerry never got the memo. It's also further proof that in the last decade or two, that ironically, it's really become the left that's internalized National Review's old motto, "Standing Athwart History, Yelling Stop". No wonder Radley Balko recently dubbed them, with tongue only slightly in cheek, "the conservative left".


    CONDI'S MOMENT: Mark Goldblatt writes that liberals feel "They stuck it to Bush" by getting National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify under oath. But Goldblatt writes that the fun is just beginning. Michael Novak has some similar thoughts.


    SPEAKING OF KANE, is Kerry's daisy his Rosebud? The secret to his whole life's path? Or maybe it's the snowboard, a 21st century updating of Kane's sled. (And does this mean that Teresa is Kerry's Susan Alexander? Or should I quit this analogy while I'm ahead?) As Glenn writes, "Message to the Kerry Campaign: Release the Daisy Records! America wants to know."


    CITIZEN KUBRICK: A reader sent me this great story from The Guardian on visiting Stanley Kubrick's estate a few years after he died. It really does feel like touring Xanadu shortly after Charles Foster Kane's death, which is rather ironic, considering that Kubrick went out of his way to be as far removed from Orson Welles as possible, both in terms of lifestyle and career path. In the end, it's fascinating how Kubrick's obsessive collecting and archiving paralleled that of Welles' greatest protagonist.


    NADER ADVISES KERRY TO LOOSEN UP: Betsy Newmark writes, "It's pretty bad when Ralph Nader is giving advice to loosen up. Because you know what a wild and crazy, get down and party type guy Ralph is." Besides the general idea of Ralph Nader suggesting somebody else get down and get funky, there's something awfully peculiar about this article. Last time I checked, Ralph was earnestly running for the presidency himself. Since when does a competitor offer his opponent advice? Will The Guardian be soliciting President Bush for his thoughts on what Kerry should do to win??


    Tuesday, March 30, 2004


    MEMO TO KARL ROVE: Sign the guy up who made this home-made ad for President Bush, at once. Or just buy the rights, copy it on 2-inch videotape, and book the airtime for it on TV. You'd have the perfect update to President Reagan's "Morning In America" ad from 1984. UPDATE: The Blogosphere appears to be in broad agreement--this is a great ad.


    KARMIC JUSTICE: CNN, which announced last year that it had been in bed with Saddam Hussein throughout the '90s, and then ran an article that hid the size of its grassroots competition in the Blogosphere, has lost more than half its audience in the last year.


    A BOUNTY OF BUSINESSWOMEN BLOGS: Linking to my recent Tech Central Station piece on the size of the Blogosphere, Kirsten of Re:invention Blog has a nice list of businesswomen with Weblogs. I'd also add Capitalist Chicks, and of course, Virginia Postrel.


    PICTURE PERFECT: I couldn't find Leonard Nimoy, so I'm going solo in my latest newsletter for Electronic House, "In Search of the Ultimate Picture". And for those who missed it, my pieces from two weeks ago on Dolby EX and the Home Office are back online as well, after a server SNAFU left them stranded in digital limbo. Duty now for the future! You'll want the best sound and picture when synthetic MTV stars start getting jiggy with it. (Just in case you missed my TCS article from yesterday.)


    DEAD MEN TELL MANY TALES: In two long posts on "The Corner", Jonah Goldberg looks at:

    the generalized ignorance or silence of mainstream liberals about their own intellectual history. Obviously this is a sweeping -- and therefore unfair -- generalization. But I read a lot of liberal stuff and have attended more than a few college confabs with liberal speakers speaking on the subject of liberalism itself. And it seems to me that liberals are intellectually deracinated. Read conservative publications or attend conservative conferences and there will almost always be at least some mention of our intellectual forefathers and often a spirited debate about them. The same goes for Libertarians, at least that branch which can be called a part or partner of the conservative movement. Just look at the conservative blogosphere. There's all sorts of stuff about Burke, Hayek, von Mises, Oakeshott, Kirk, Buckley, Strauss, Meyer, the Southern Agrarians, et al. I can't think of a single editor or contributing editor of National Review who can't speak intelligently about the intellectual titans of conservatism going back generations. I'm not saying everybody's an expert, but I think everybody's made at least the minimal effort to understand their intellectual lineage and I think that's reflected in conservative writing, for good and for ill. I would guess that the same hold true about the gang over at Reason. I just don't get the sense that's true of most liberal journalists. When was the last time you saw more than a passing reference to Herbert Croly? When was the last time you read an article or blog posting where a liberal asked "What would Charles Beard think of this?"


    BLIX FOR KERRY! James Taranto writes, "Hans Blix stopped short of a full-fledged endorsement, but when asked by the New York Times magazine what he thinks of John Kerry, the erstwhile weapons inspector said, 'I welcome his attitude toward multilateral cooperation. I think he is trying to get back to the traditional U.S. attitudes.'" Setting aside the obvious insult about unilateralism in Blix's statement, is it worth it for Senator Kerry to accept an endorsement from a man who believed that chasing phantom global warming was more important than liberating Iraq from a tyrant? Of course, it makes a nice addition to the other world leaders and opinion makers who have pledged to support Kerry.


    RECONSTRUCTION: In a distant nation, only until recently led by a totalitarian madman who may or may not have had weapons of mass destruction, bent on killing millions of his own people as well as his enemies, savaged by war against a relentless coalition of Allies, reconstruction and efforts to bring a democracy seem grim. In other words, George Orwell looks at Germany in 1945, as World War II was ending. UPDATE: See also these magazine articles from the same period.


    TWO DAYS, TWO GREAT LOST VOICES: Sir Alistair Cooke died today, after only just recently putting down his BBC microphone. Sir Peter Ustinov died yesterday.


    MISTAKEN SIGNINGS: Rob Hurtt of The Sporting News asks, what were these NFL teams thinking when they signed their recent acquisitions?


    THE MORNING BRIEFING: Because I was blissfully away from Clarke, Kerry, Condi, Cheney, et al last week, I'm happy to send you to the Mudville Gazette's 30 Mar 2004 Morning Briefing to bring things up to speed. "Why? So if you run into General Myers in the elevator you'll have something to talk about".


    GOOD AND DECENT C-SPAN: Jonah Goldberg looks at how C-Span is Big Media’s gift to democracy in America:

    Callers will vent about how America is being taken over by corporations, how Rupert Murdoch is poisoning the airwaves with the sound of Sean Hannity's voice, and how tobacco companies want to get puppies addicted to nicotine-rich chew toys, but they almost always preface their comments by saying something to the effect of, 'God bless C-SPAN!' What I've always found so amusing is that the people who are convinced that America's corporate powerhouses are enemies of democracy and goodness see no irony in the fact that C-SPAN is paid for entirely out of the goodness of the hearts of America's greedy Big Media companies.
    By simply turning their cameras on, and leaving them on, C-Span has "broken" many a news story, such as when Trent Lott, as Goldberg writes, "bizarrely declared he wished Strom Thurmond had won the presidency on his segregationist platform", something that Big Media completely missed, but the Blogosphere ran with. And Brain Lamb's Booknotes series of author interviews has introduced many a viewer to books he would have otherwise never heard of.


    SPIM: No, that's not a typo. Lionel of Across the Atlantic writes, "Spim is like spam, but delivered by instant message".


    Monday, March 29, 2004


    BACK FROM THE BIG EASY: I'm back--my wife and our friends and I had a great time in New Orleans. This was my first trip to the South since a few days in Atlanta four or five years ago. The pluses in New Orleans? Good music, friendly people, great food, great seafood, drive-through daiquiri bars (why yes, you did read that correctly). The D-Day Museum that Stephen Ambrose helped to spearhead is a moving experience, one I'll try to write about in more detail later. The minuses? Bourbon Street on a Friday night is like being in the middle of Animal House, except that it's an entire street full of drunken louts instead of one small frat house. Seeing flashes of naked boobage is a very big deal for many drunken young American men. Being able to buy black t-shirts with white text that uses the F-word multiple times is apparently a bold and daring move for many Americans of both sexes, as there were numerous stores selling such products. ("F*** you, you f***ing f***" is a particularly hot selling slogan, it seems--sans asterisks, of course. Remember this next someone complains about censorship by the Bush administration.) While Howard Dean said he wanted to be the president for Confederate flag-waving southern good ol' boys, there are surprisingly few such flags in Louisiana. I counted exactly two: one attached to a flagpole on a house in the middle of nowhere, and the other, a small rolled up flag being carried into the hotel last night by a 40-ish blonde staying at our hotel. Regular blogging to follow shortly. In the meantime, check out my newest article at Tech Central Station!


    Wednesday, March 24, 2004


    OFF TO THE BIG EASY: I'm in the American Airlines Admirals' Club in Dallas right now, in between flights from San Jose to New Orleans, where I'll be until Monday. Blogging will be sporadic, but I will be checking email. So help yourself to the free beer and pretzels, but try to keep the place tidy, OK?


    Tuesday, March 23, 2004


    COMING ATTRACTION: There's a jazz museum coming to Harlem; an idea that's long, long overdue. The man who's bringing it there? Perhaps surprising to some (for instance, me!), it's Leonard Garment, former advisor to President Nixon. On the other hand, as Net Hentoff wrote, "Mr. Garment was the only presidential counsel to have, in his youth, been in Woody Herman's reed section".


    THE DEFINING MOMENT: Brendan Miniter explains why Republicans are running negative ads against Kerry now, rather than waiting 'til the summer.


    DID RICHARD CLARKE block efforts to apprehend Osama bin Laden?


    JOANNE JACOBS FISKS A TIME MAGAZINE article on home schooling.


    Monday, March 22, 2004


    SENTENCES THAT WOULD HAVE MADE NO SENSE before the Blogosphere came into existence: Hugh Hewitt writes, "Powerline's Hindrocket fisks Clarke".


    DAVID ADESNIK OF OXBLOG, linking to my post from the weekend on the subject, has some thoughts on the Jack Kelly/Jayson Blair kerfuffle.


    IDIOT CULTURE: Carl Bernstein quips that President Bush is "the most radical president of my lifetime and perhaps in the century." Err, which century? Since the 21st century actually began on January 1st, 2001, that means that Bill Clinton served 20 days (and about six hours) as president this century (and spent his last night pardoning everybody short of Osama bin Laden), before George W. Bush was inaugurated on January 21st, 2001. So there aren't a whole lot other presidents "in the century" for Berstein to compare Bush to. Unless Bernstein means the 20th century. He does know it's over, right?


    HUGH HEWITT: "The perception that the Democrats are weak on defense and hesitant to engage the terrorists is out there because the Democrats are weak on defense and hesitant to engage the terrorists".


    DOING THE JOB THE MEDIA USED TO DO: Indepundit interviews Rebecca, a representative of the University of California, San Diego chapter of the International Socialist Organization. Rebecca spoke this Saturday--"a white, apparently middle class American girl, standing in the middle of San Diego, advocating support for thugs and terrorists who murder Americans and Iraqis alike".


    DID HILLARY CLINTON REALLY SAY that with Saddam Hussein gone, there have been "pullbacks" in the rights Iraqi women enjoyed under his rule? Nat Hentoff has some thoughts. (Via Betsy Newmark.)


    A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RIGHT AND LEFT COASTS? Earthquakes registering 2.0 on the Richter scale get news articles in Philadelphia. A quake that small is usually the butt of jokes by Californians, who know that the Richter scale moves upward exponentially, and know what a serious earthquake is.


    MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, and its author is apparently threatening bloggers with lawsuits. Instapundit has the details.


    "A HOUSE OF HORRORS" is how John Facenda, the late "Voice of God" narrator of NFL Films once described Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, and in many respects, the epithet certainly fit. But the stadium is no more: it was imploded on Sunday.


    Sunday, March 21, 2004


    SIGN OF THE TIMES, MESS WITH YOUR MIND: John Hawkins writes, "I'd like to see some of these placards that are being carried around by some of these "brave dissenters" show up in the mainstream media sometime. Normally, if there's any hint of controversy, the media just CAN'T wait to slap it on the front page. But when it comes to these anti-war rallies, for the most part it's see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". Hawkins has four photos of some of the signs that were carried this weekend. The last shot is just staggering: as the Professor would say, the person carrying it isn't anti-war, just on the other side. UPDATE: And he's the subject of today's "Bleat" by James Lileks. Read the whole thing.


    HAMAS FOUNDER KILLED in an Israeli missile strike.


    DECISION MADE: If you try really, really, really hard, I'll bet you can guess which of the men running for the presidency just received Noam Chomsky's endorsement. I'll give you a hint: surprisingly, it wasn't Ralph Nader. If you give up, Tim Blair has all the details.


    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS--NOW IT'S TRULY TONE DEAF: Joanne Jacobs writes that in England, the PC clean-up crew is trying to get sign language changed because they feel it relies on outdated social stereotypes. But deaf Britons are resisting. In some respects, written English has already been split into two languages--one that's traditional and one that's PC (for very simple examples, changing Christmas to holidays, mankind to humankind, etc.). It looks like sign language could be headed in the same Babel-like direction.


    IN THE BEGINNING: I like Chris Muir. I think he's a helluva cartoonist. I even interviewed him last year for Tech Central Station. But he's just made me feel like I should I apply for Social Security:

    I cut my teeth on my school's Altair back in '76. It was hooked up to a Western Union teletypewriter, which was being used as its keyboard and printout device. The monitor, a converted television set, would come a little later. Programs were entered in and saved to paper tape, which the machine punched, a bit like a player piano, to save programs. I was about ten at the time. I'll never forget walking into the classroom where it was kept: seeing that machine in its blue and gray box for the first time, was a bit like all of my dreams from watching Star Trek and Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey had come true. And now it's the equivalent of a Model T from 1908. Incidentally, Muir is trying to get Day by Day into newspapers. Please call, write, or email the syndicates he has listed on his site if you'd like to see it there as well.


    COMING NEXT YEAR: THE ANTI-PASSION: Jack Matthews of the New York Daily News writes that Ron Howard's film of The Da Vinci Code is scheduled to be released next year. Matthews' description of the film (and the book it was based on) makes it sound like there could very well be the same sorts of protests against The Da Vinci Code that accompanied The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. And in other Passion news, it was finally knocked off the top of the box office charts--by, ironically enough, The Dawn of the Dead.


    Saturday, March 20, 2004


    JIU-JITSU: Orrin Judd notes that "Mr. Bush is doing something unique in American politics here: he's making the Senator a target of open ridicule. The campaign's message leap-frogged over negative and went straight to dismissive. Even more daring, it's the President himself taking the lead. The key to this will be to stay relatively light-handed and to avoid outright contempt. If they can do that and treat Mr. Kerry as an object of fun, it will be just devastating". Because the press has to cover the president, no matter how much they dislike him, it also forces them to put into print at least some of Kerry's innumerable gaffes and flip-flops, something they've been astonishingly reluctant to do.


    MEET THE PRESS: How will wide receiver Terrell Owens and the press in Philadelphia get on together? Larry Beil of Yahoo Sports has an article called, "Notes Before The Storm":

    Owens often complained that the reporters in San Francisco were too harsh and tried to run him out of town. This guy has no idea about the media buzz saw he's about to encounter in Philly. It'll only take a couple of dropped balls – IN PRESEASON – to get the bubbles of discontent rising. Owens is such an avid basketball fan, you'd think he would have observed Allen Iverson's tumultuous relationship with Philly's media and opted to stick with Baltimore.
    Beil is right--this could be brutal to watch, unless Owens truly delivers a spectacular season. Less than a month after his father died, the Philadelphia media trashed Brett Favre--and his late father. And then there are the boo birds...


    HOPE FOR THE OLD GUYS YET: Warren Sapp signs a seven-year contract with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders still have major problems--not the least of which is an abundance of gray hair on their players' heads. But if he stays healthy, Sapp should help stabilize their defense this year, leaving Norv Turner to focus on what he does best, coaching the offense. While Sapp departs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they're at least getting a new wide receiver this year, as the Cowboys and Bucs have completed their swap of wide receivers Keyshawn Johnson and Joey Galloway. Don Banks of Sports Illustrated wrote that deal took so long to complete (a good month, it seems), "I believe Tom Landry and John McKay initiated the trade talks". UPDATE: Skip Bayless writes that acquiring Sapp is another coup for Al Davis, and payback for getting creamed by the Bucs in the Super Bowl last year. Who's next for the Raiders? Bayless writes, "Don't be surprised if Davis eventually trades for Bengals running back Corey Dillon at Davis' price. Dillon wants to be a Raider."


    WHY NO OUTRAGE OVER KELLY? Yesterday, we had some thoughts on Jack Kelly, who was discovered making stuff up at USA Today. Nick Gillespie of Reason wonders why there isn't the same level of outrage over Kelly as there was over Jayson Blair. Leftwing Blogger Atrios believes it's because of racism, but as one of Gillespie's commenters notes, "USA Today isn't the Times, and hasn't been (as far as I know) under scrutiny for editorial office shenanigans". It's worth remembering that Blair's firing came after three years of Howell Raines reworking the Times from a fairly staid, if left-leaning publication, to an activist one, all the while claiming:

    Our greatest accomplishment as a profession is the development since World War II of a news reporting craft that is truly non-partisan, and non-ideological, and that strives to be independent of undue commercial or governmental influence....But we don't wear the political collar of our owners or the government or any political party. It is that legacy we must protect with our diligent stewardship. To do so means we must be aware of the energetic effort that is now underway to convince our readers that we are ideologues. It is an exercise of, in disinformation, of alarming proportions, this attempt to convince the audience of the world's most ideology-free newspapers that they're being subjected to agenda-driven news reflecting a liberal bias.
    And as Bernard Goldberg made clear in Arrogance, stories that the rest of the media picks up on usually begin in the Times--and rarely, if ever, in USA Today. UPDATE: I just checked Memorandum and Technorati, and found that over 25 blogs, many of whom could safely be classified as conservative, or at least, right-leaning, have linked to the AP story on Kelly. ANOTHER UPDATE: Welcome OxBlog readers!


    THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS MACHIAVELLI: Samizdata.net looks at The Prince. (I really liked 1999 and Purple Rain myself. But he began to lose me with Around The World in a Day and that whole symbol business. Oh wait, wrong fellow--nevermind.)


    THE AP/REUTERS' STYLEBOOK: Steven Plaut takes a satiric flip through "The Mass Media Guide on How to Become an 'Activist'".


    BUCHANAN'S WHITE WHALE: Lawrence Auster of Front Page writes of Pat Buchanan's obsession with Israel, "along with Israel's purported agents in America, the neoconservatives.":

    As a sign of his obsession, at the very moment when America and its Coalition partners were launching the war against Iraq last year, and most Americans were focused on how to win this tremendous battle, Buchanan published a long diatribe in The American Conservative called "Whose War?", in which he charged that President Bush was in thrall to "the neoconservatives' agenda of endless wars on the Islamic world that serve only [emphasis added] the interests of a country other than the one he was elected to preserve and protect."
    David Cohen of The Brothers Judd has some thoughts on Buchanan:
    for about five minutes he thought that he was going to be president, [Buchanan] was captured by the demogoguery he thought he could use and then set aside, and he started his long, strange trip to his current position just the smallest bit to the right of the far left.
    Cohen notes that "even in his heyday, [Buchanan] never met a Nazi war criminal he didn't like".


    FALLING DOWN: Robert Moran notes that "Not all spills are equal at the Washington Post". UPDATE: Powerline Blog looks at Kerry's shopping trip the day before his fall.


    IF AP APPLIED THE SAME SPIN TO PROTESTORS as they do to bloggers, this headline would read, "Few people Protest on Iraq War Anniversary". Charles Johnson notes that yesterday, "Even in the dark heart of idiotarianism, San Francisco, mere "hundreds" turned out for today's feeble-minded protests against the Iraq War". I always thought Scott Ott did a great job of putting the protestors at their peak into perfect perspective in January of 2003. (Sorry about that last sentence. Alliteration? You're soaking in it!) UPDATE: Power Line notes that the protestors aren't protesting against the war--which of course was over shortly after it began. Instead, in San Francisco, they're chaining themselves together and blocking theentrancee to Bechtel, one of the chief contractors involved in rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure. "I can understand how well-meaning people can be opposed to war, one of the greatest evils known to mankind, even in circumstances where their opposition is misguided. But it is a measure of the moral bankruptcy of the left that its protesters now march against reconstruction." Great point. UPDATE (4:20 PM): Roger L. Simon writes, "the real story , the relative failure of the demonstrations, is not addressed at all by CNN and only barely by MSNBC. What's up with that? (Well, it couldn't be more obvious.)" And Power Line (who's done a superb job on these protests, doing the analysis the traditional media used to do) notes who was sponsoring them: "International Action Center and International A.N.S.W.E.R., both Communist front groups run by the Workers World Party, whose leaders openly support Saddam Hussein and Kim il-Jong. Today's protests were led, for the most part, by these Communist front groups. Watch for that to be reported in your local newspaper." Riiiiiight....


    Friday, March 19, 2004


    JFK JR. JR.: It's very difficult for me to imagine the original JFK cursing out a secret service man assigned to protect him during a photo op. On the other hand, it's not at all surprising to read John F'ing Kerry, while snow boarding in front of the press, called his agent a "son of a b*itch". After all, the man drops F-words in magazine interviews, reams out potential voters, and his wife calls a sitting president and his staff, "Asses of Evil". Earlier this week, we linked to an article on "The Perpetual Adolescent". Today, Steven Hayward asks, what sort of 60-year old man snowboards? (I'm waiting for Kerry to show up for a photo op at the skateboard park in the Great Mall of Milpitas in pads, shorts and a helmet, toting his board.) For all his faults, the original JFK, along with his wife, knew how to comport himself in public. The Kerrys could take a lesson from them.


    OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, ONE YEAR LATER: A year ago, we liberated a country from a man who thought nothing of throwing his people, feet first, into plastic shredding machines. Or cutting out their tongues. Or having his female citizens raped by an officially appointed "violator of women's honor". Or having his sons torture his country's Olympic athletes. All the while controlling what was reported by no less a news organization than CNN, who had the gall to dub themselves the "Most Trusted Name in News". For a flashback to how events occurred last year, click here and then start scrolling up. There are numerous dead links and fog of war fuzziness, but I think it's still quite an interesting as-it-happens chronology. By American standards, I had no life last year: I blogged incessantly about the war, because I was living in a hotel room while my home was being remodeled, and the plumbing was off and the front entrance consisted of sheets of plywood nailed in to keep the elements out. In other words, compared to the people who lived in Iraq, I was living a life of unimaginable wealth, not to mention unimaginable personal freedom. (Not the least of which is the ability to say anything I want via this Weblog and my magazine articles, and not fear my new front door being kicked in.) How are things today? Be sure to check out Michael Graham's post on "The Year That Wasn't". The Wall Street Journal notes that "the natives must not be reading Reuters". And Stephen Green notes that "Germans are less optimistic about their future than Iraqis are." The media as a whole won't put the pieces together--won't remind people how despicable Saddam Hussein was. Or the now-unarguable proof that Saddam and Al Qaida worked together. Or the million or more people Saddam killed. Given the speed at which we liberated Iraq, and the astonishingly low number of soldiers killed, this should be a day we remember just as we remember V-E and V-J day. Or the day the Berlin Wall fell. In time, maybe it will be.


    COOKING THE BOOKS CERTAINLY DIDN'T BEGIN WITH JAYSON BLAIR: Jack Kelly, 43, had a 21 year career with USA Today and was five times nominated for a Pulitzer Prize before resigning in January "after admitting he conspired with a translator to mislead editors looking into the veracity of his reporting", according to AP. Their article adds, "USA Today said Friday that an examination of the work of journalist Jack Kelley found strong evidence that the newspaper's former star foreign correspondent had fabricated substantial portions of at least eight major stories".


    Thursday, March 18, 2004


    SEND THE BA'ATH A TUB FULL OF EMAIL! H.D. Miller has the email address for the Ba'ath party of Syria. "Give the Ba'ath a piece of your mind", he writes, "regarding the on-going crackdown against Kurdish pro-democracy demonstrators in Syria." Miller adds, "I probably won't help, but it certainly can't hurt to let these thugs and hoodlums know that the world is watching them."


    SPANISH TOURISM: One thing I haven't seen addressed by the Blogosphere in the back-to-back action of the Madrid train bombing and the replacement of Spain's government with Bush-hating, terrorist-appeasing Socialists is, will Spain's tourism from America take a nosedive? France's certainly did, and curiously, from what I've read, Chirac and company were genuinely surprised. It sort of reminds me of Gray Davis during California's dreadful rolling blackout period of a few years ago. Davis railed on about how he'd tear a new one to any power company who refused to supply him with electricity at rates he deemed appropriate. But when a utility said, "You know what? We think we're going to pass on building a generating station here. California doesn't seem too business-friendly right now. Have a nice life, Governor!", Davis seemed genuinely astonished that a business took his words seriously. (This is a huge paraphrase on my part. I remember the story, but I can't seem to input the right parameters to bring up a Webpage with the details via Google.) I wonder if Spain's new government will be equally surprised when revenue from tourism goes south. They'll draw exactly the wrong conclusion from it: tourists today know that a horrific terrorist attack can--and will--occur somewhere. What they care about is, what are you doing about it? (That's sheer speculation on my part, but it seems like common sense.)Spain's appeasement of terrorism doesn't seem like a message that cries out, "Come visit us! Come back to Spain!" when the subtext is, "We're now two-thirds softer on terrorism!" And that's a shame. I visited Spain for a weekend in the middle of a ten day trip to England back in 2000. At first, it was purely to satisfy my modern architecture Jones, and visit Mies van der Rohe's 1929 Barcelona Pavilion, generally considered to be one of the jewels of modern architecture, even by people who doesn't like much else in the genre. I spent many hours at the Pavilion, taking God knows how many shots of it (I think I went through three or four rolls of film on it alone. And yes, we finally bought a digital camera a year or so later.) But what I discovered beyond Mies's building was Barcelona itself, a marvelous city. I had interviewed Franz Schulze, the Chicago-based architecture critic, journalist and professor, for an article on Mies's furniture for Modernism magazine. He introduced me to the firm that arranges architecture tours for the Illinois Institute of Technology, where Mies taught architecture from the late 1930s (after fleeing Nazi Germany) until the late '50s, designing its campus in the interim. Our tour guide drove my wife and I around Barcelona in a private car with another woman driving, so our guide could concentrate on explaining the city to us. It's a beautiful, beautiful city. (you may very well be reading this and thinking, "no kidding, Sherlock". But sometimes I have to see these things for myself.) Up until 9/11, I wouldn't have hesitated to go back. After that terrible day, I'd probably think about it, and then bite the bullet and say, "what the hell". With an appeasing government in power, that's all changed. And I'll bet I'm not alone.


    WHAT DIGITAL DIVIDE? 200 million Americans, three-fourths of the US population, is online. But only a small minority have Weblogs, of course.


    KERRY'S FOREIGN ENDORSEMENTS: No link yet, but Drudge has an item on his home page that says:

    KERRY: NO FOREIGN ENDORSEMENTS, PLEASE... Kerry Foreign Policy Advisor Rand Beers issued the following statement today: '...It is simply not appropriate for any foreign leader to endorse a candidate in America's presidential election. John Kerry does not seek, and will not accept, any such endorsements'...
    Meanwhile, as it turns out, Kerry's already got one--from former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, complete with an anti-Semitic slur in it. Mohamad, you'll remember, was the fellow who told a summit of Islamic leaders last October that "Jews rule the world by proxy" and the world's 1.3 billion Muslims should unite, using nonviolent means for a "final victory." (President Bush issued Mohamad a stern rebuke shortly thereafter.) Given some of the places where Teresa Heinz has been spending her money, and her generally lackadaisical views on evil in the world, such an endorsement from Mohamad doesn't seem all that surprising. UPDATE: Here's another! Neville Chamberlain will no doubt be endorsing Sen. Kerry posthumously.


    FOURTEEN MINUTES, AND FIFTY NINE SECONDS: Time's almost up on Courtney Love's 15 minutes of fame. UPDATE: Speaking of 14:59, Jayson Blair's book sales aren't exactly shooting through the roof.


    FOLKS, THIS IS WHAT THEY INVENTED WEBLOGS FOR: A Georgia couple was arrested after a heated argument over The Passion turned violent. According to AP, "The two left the movie theater debating whether God the Father in the Holy Trinity was human or symbolic, and the argument heated up when they got home. "According to a police report, Melissa Davidson suffered injuries on her arm and face, while her husband had a scissors stab wound on his hand and his shirt was ripped off. He also allegedly punched a hole in a wall." My wife and I argued and debated the merits of the film for hours after we got home from seeing it on the Friday after it opened. We decided to write his and hers reviews and post them online rather than punching walls and stabbing each other. But hey, that's us!


    THE GLOBAL NEWSPAPER: Roger L. Simon has some thoughts on having the world's newspapers available online.


    Wednesday, March 17, 2004


    SHADES OF TAWANA BRAWLEY: AP reports that a Claremont College (30 miles east of downtown Los Angeles) professor "who claimed she was targeted in a hate crime that stirred student protests at the Claremont colleges is suspected of staging the vandalism herself, police said Wednesday".


    THE QUOTE GENERATOR IS BROKEN AT REUTERS. Charles Johnson spotted it in the shop when it came to a couple of a photo captions featuring Spain's incoming socialists. UPDATE: Johnson spots more madness at Reuters. Better switch from Guinness to Shamrock Shakes next St. Patrick's day, fellows.


    GREAT LINE BY VIRGINIA POSTREL: "True liberation makes the personal apolitical".


    DICK CHENEY opened up a can of whoop-ass on John Kerry today. It's quite a speech. UPDATE: Scott Lindlaw of AP says, "White House political chief Karl Rove said Wednesday that President Bush had just begun to demonstrate the kind of targeted, multi-front campaign he plans against Democratic rival John Kerry." (On the other hand, Lindlaw was the fellow who has inserted blatant bias into his AP copy, so take it all with a grain of salt.)


    THERE'S NO BIAS AT THE NEW YORK TIMES. And when I say there's none, I do mean that there is a certain amount. Just check out the sea of "D's" in the list of campaign donations that San Francisco blogger Michael Petrelis has discovered.


    BOMB DESTROYS BAGHDAD HOTEL, "killing 27 people and leaving a jagged, 20-foot-wide crater just days before the anniversary of the start of the Iraq war", AP notes. And less than a week after the terrorist attack and its appeasement in Spain.


    SPEAKING OF OUTRAGEOUS, this is not something I want to see when I visit a men's room at JFK Airport in New York. I wonder if Virgin will be sued by Mick Jagger--their urinal design looks awfully close to the Rolling Stones' record label. (Wow, there's a sentence I never thought I'd write.)


    IN 1960, COMEDIAN MORT SAHL made a crack on one his records about the South sending "a couple of exchange students into the 20th century". Overall, the region has made enormous strides, but this is just outrageous.


    THE DIGITAL PUB: Vicki Smith has an interesting slant on my Tech Central Station article, and blogging in general. Of course, if the idea of a "digital pub" is what you're really shooting for with your Website, I'm not sure why you would choose Blog software as your site's main platform over say, vBulletin, which allows for a very professional-looking message board to go online quickly and (relatively) easily. (And of course, you could always combine the two--having a Blog for hot news and links, and an online forum for discussion.)


    MEL GIBSON BREAKS HOLLYWOOD'S 10 COMMANDMENTS: I've written about a few of these, in giving my take on The Passion and the incredible and unexpected level of success it's having. But using the "Ten Commandments" theme allows The Hollywood Reporter to lump them together quite nicely. The Blair Witch Project was a terrible film (my equilibrium and thus my stomach have barely recovered from watching two hours of unending handheld camerawork on a 30 foot high screen), but it had a brilliant marketing campaign that really put the Internet on the map in Hollywood's eyes as a marketing tool. It will be interesting to see if Hollywood incorporates any of Mel's unconventional filmmaking and marketing strategies in the future.


    HOWARD DEAN: Open mouth, insert foot.


    Tuesday, March 16, 2004


    "ARE YOU A REPUBLICAN?" By now, you may very well have read or heard the browbeating that Kerry gave a potential voter in a townhall meeting in Bethlehem, PA on Sunday:

    Kerry: No, wait, wait, wait, wait you asked me if I'd met with any leaders. Yes. I have had conversations with leaders, yes, recently. That's not your business, it's mine. I've met with foreign leaders for any [inaudible] purpose--I never said that. What I said was that I have heard from people who are leaders elsewhere in the world who don't appreciate the Bush administration approach and would love to see a change in the leadership of the United States. I'm talking our allies, I'm talking about people who were our friends nine months ago, I'm talking about people who ought to be at our side in Iraq and aren't because this administration has pushed them away in its arrogance, that's what I'm talking about. Are you a registered Republican? Are you a Republican? You answer the question. That's not an answer. Did you vote for George Bush? Did you vote for George Bush? Thank you.
    James Taranto (who set the above lines in bold) has a great slant on this exchange:
    Apparently the man said he did indeed vote for Bush. Perhaps it hasn't occurred to Kerry that if he is to win the presidency, he will have to persuade some Bush voters to support him instead. The only thing Kerry seems to stand for so far is hatred of Republicans, and that's not going to be sufficient to win him the White House.
    How many people who voted for Ike in '56, or the first President Bush in '88 did Kennedy and Clinton get to switch allegiances during their campaigns? Remember the Reagan Democrats of the 1980s? Kerry doesn't. Of course, neither did Dean.


    IN ENGLAND, LIFE IMITATES BRAZIL, where David Blunkett, the Labour Home Secretary, "will fight in the Royal Courts of Justice in London for the right to charge victims of miscarriages of justice more than 3000 pounds for every year they spent in jail while wrongly convicted. The logic is that the innocent man shouldn't have been in prison eating free porridge and sleeping for nothing under regulation grey blankets".


    "THE WARNING KERRY IGNORED": Paul Sperry of The New York Post writes:

    SEN. John Kerry boasts how he "sounded the alarm on terrorism years before 9/ 11," referring to his 1997 book "The New War." Too bad he didn't blast it when it really counted - four months before the hijackings, when he was hand-delivered evidence of serious security breaches at Logan International Airport, with specific warnings that terrorists could exploit them. Former FAA security officials say the Massachusetts senator had the power to prevent at least the Boston hijackings and save the World Trade Center and thousands of lives, yet he failed to take effective action after they gave him a prophetic warning that his state's main airport was vulnerable to multiple hijackings.
    For a guy who views the War on Terrorism as a defensive battle to be fought largely via law enforcement, this is damning stuff. Jeff Goldstein asks:
    So, will this story receive as much mainstream media play as, say, Turkeygate? Yeah, I know. Just kidding.
    Nah--the beer's too watered down for that to happen.


    KERRY'S IMAGINARY FRIENDS: "for an experienced politician with a reputation for caution, Kerry comes out with a remarkable number of off-the-cuff blunders". It's starting to impact him in the polls.


    DOES DOLBY EX DESERVE A PLACE IN YOUR DEN? My latest Electronic House newsletter is now online.


    IRAN ERUPTS? Very interesting post on "The Corner". Glenn Reynolds also has some thoughts and links.


    OK, MAYBE M*A*S*H WAS WRONG: Sometimes, suicide isn't painless, especially when you try to crucify yourself(!), and then discover you're unable to nail your other hand to the board...


    SPREADS OUT THE TARGETS: Mike Wiliams explains why cars are safer than trains when it comes to protecting yourself from terrorism. I'm inclined to agree with him.


    WHAT DID THE BLOGOSPHERE THINK OF MY ARTICLE ABOUT IT IN TCS? Thanks to sites like Technorati and Memeorandum, there's a good roundup of coverage available by reading the blogs that both sites include in their searches.


    SPEAKING OF PERPETUAL ADOLESCENTS, "Like a three-year old throwing a tantrum at the toy store", John Tuvey, senior editor of Fanball.com writes, "Terrell Owens finally got his way", and is now a Philadelphia Eagle. UPDATE: Peter King of Sports Illustrated writes:

    Though I hate the way it went down -- Baltimore was absolutely screwed for listening to the NFL Management Council tell it that San Francisco had a valid contract with Owens and was able to trade him anywhere it wished, meaning the Ravens lost out on every talented receiver in this year's free-agent market -- Owens probably has gone to the team that, with the possible exception of Dallas, could best handle him. [Philadelphis head coach Andy Reid], a mild-mannered, no-crisis guy, is the perfect coach to turn a cancerous player into a team player.
    King says, "How Reid handles Owens will go a long way toward determining whether the Eagles will make it to their fourth straight NFC Championship Game this year. Or further".


    I COULD HAVE WRITTEN THIS ARTICLE ON "The Perpetual Adolescent", and really wish I had. Be sure to read Stanly Kurtz's thoughts on it, as well. UPDATE: Meanwhile in England, Theodore Dalrymple writes that "Mass drunkenness has turned us into a nation of barbarians":

    There is something peculiar about modern British drunkenness, when you observe it close up. There is a quality of desperation, or hysteria, about it. The women shriek and scream in public, and no one laughs except at the top of his or her voice: it is as if everyone is trying to persuade everyone else what a good time they are having, the better to deceive themselves. A feeling of sadness overcomes the observer: these are people who do not know how to enjoy themselves and must therefore pretend. The drunkenness has an ideological component as well. To lack social or personal inhibitions is to distinguish oneself from those poor, misguided older generations who believed that self-restraint, at least in public, was a virtue. What terrible harm all those inhibitions and ideas of self-respect did! Everyone knows that you have to let your hair down at frequent intervals, and that if you do not, you will harm your health and emotional well-being most terribly. The young drunks in the centre of our towns and cities are not just drunk, they are triumphantly, ostentatiously drunk. They are celebrating the triumph of the egotistical lowest common denominator that has so thoroughly vanquished any idea that there is a higher and a lower, a better and a worse, in our culture. The impotent police, who would once have arrested people behaving in like fashion, wander through scenes of drunken debauchery that all too often turn to violence, but do absolutely nothing about them. If by some miracle they did, there would be hundreds of thousands of arrests each night. The drunkenness of the masses in effect taunts them, and represents the liberation of modern man from the social inhibitions that make him a civilised being. The drunkenness in our streets is the victory of brute impulse over all refinement, of stupidity over intelligence; and those who drink in this fashion challenge the rest of us insolently to do something about it.
    "To foreigners", Dalrymple writes, "we are a nation that has lost all self-respect, that is charmless, brutal and stupid. They are right: we are barbarians, savages. If you think I exaggerate, visit the centre of any British town or city on a Saturday night". Thanks to my parents, I got just a taste of grown-up culture. How I long forlornly for its return.


    THE TIM ROBBINS/LYNDON LAROUCHE CONNECTION, revealed. For more on Robbins' play, click here, follow the links. By the way, it looks like Robbins has learned his lesson: he took a lot of flak for voting for Nader's Green Party in 2000. I guess his use of LaRouche-based material signals his return to the Democratic party... UPDATE: Tim Graham looks at the New York Times' carefully nuanced review of the play. ANOTHER UPDATE: Powerline Blog has some thoughts on Strauss, and a marvelous quote by him, as well.


    SHE BULLDOZED HER WAY INTO OUR HEARTS, one year ago today: Rachel Currie, that is. Charles Johnson writes:

    This means that practically every media outlet in America will now run stories on her, tediously repeating all the lies that have long since been debunked. I was going to find a particularly bad one and link to it, but why bother? We all know the drill. They’re going to say she was “run over” by the bulldozer. She wasn’t. They’re going to say she was protecting the “home of a doctor.” She wasn’t. They’re going to say she was clearly visible to the bulldozer driver. She wasn’t. Some of them will even call her death “murder,” though it’s better described as suicide through sheer stupidity. The effort to make propaganda hay out of Rachel Corrie started before her body hit the ground, and has never stopped.
    His photos of her are damning, proving Johnson's point that "Saint Rachel didn’t just hate Israel, she hated America too". Funny how those two hates often go together. And I don't have any urge to revise my initial thoughts from last year.

    Monday, March 15, 2004


    SPEAKING OF THE MEDIA, yesterday I posted about Jayson Blair, and the lingering effects of the Clinton '90s, where "crime pays--if it's a big enough offense, and you're already very successful at the time you commit it". Clarence Page has some thoughts about Blair, along similar lines.


    MARK STEYN ON THE MEDIA and how they've covered Susan Lindauer, the journalist and Democratic staffer charged with working for Saddam's intelligence agency:

    It's one thing for the press to be antiwar and feel Saddam should be given another decade or two to come into compliance with Security Council resolutions. It's quite another to be so smitten with the old butcher that your copy editors internally absorb Ba'ath Party tribal politics and assume that mere second cousinship with members of the Bush clan automatically puts you in the inner circle.
    Steyn writes it's no wonder why "the media are held in such low regard by the public--in polls of the most respected professions we usually come somewhere between Nigerian e-mail scammers and serial pedophiles". That's brutal. Brutally honest, that is. It also explains why the media have been losing its audience--and simultaneously losing its employees--at a rapid clip from the 1990s to today. But there's more from Steyn:
    Anyone who took the war seriously can certainly find fault with the administration. But not if you stand there like a 5-year-old boy and never get beyond pointing your fingers and sticking your tongue out: "Ooh, Bush lied. And Ashcroft's a big bully. And Cheney's stealing it all for his oil buddies. And you shouldn't mention the war in your campaign ads, because it's not fair. Nyaa-nyaa." Two hundred people died in Madrid because of a war Democrats refuse to admit exists. But hey, you never know, maybe the guy who did it will be a third cousin twice removed of Karl Rove.
    Read the whole thing. Will the media learn? This recent "admission" by Boston Globe reporter Patrick Healy that he flubbed a key quote by John Kerry--despite the fact that Kerry has defended that very quote--sounds more like taking one for the team (and Kerry, its de facto leader) than any sort of responsible journalism.


    IS CNN HALF-FULL OR HALF-EMPTY? For CNN, what does 60 people protesting the Iraq war mean? Big news. How do they title an article that reports that the number of people with Weblogs is now in the seven digit range? "Study: Very few bloggers on Net". Thank you, thank you, thank you, CNN: you just made the point of my Tech Central Station article in a nutshell.


    "GOZER DOES NOT DWELL IN MY REFRIGERATOR": A friend sent this to my wife; it's a list of "The 213 Things Skippy is No Longer Allowed to Do in the U.S. Army". While some may view service in the military as requiring unnecessary discipline in order to maintain ranks, numbers 72, 80, and 116 seem especially sound to me.


    LAST APRIL, Jonah Goldberg wrote, "If I was the commanding officer in charge of sifting through these Iraqi files, I would be barking out orders to find the 'R' file -- for [Scott] Ritter." In The Journal today, Robert L. Pollock looks at "Saddam's Useful Idiots", and asks, "Did any Iraqi money filter back to American war critics?" Ritter is prominently mentioned, along with Democratic congressman David Bonior as having ties with Shakir al-Khafaji, a Detroit-area businessman whose name was included in a recently published list of individuals receiving oil money from Saddam Hussein.


    TUBULAR BUNNIES: Ever wandered what The Exorcist would look like if it featured animated bunnies? No? Me neither, to be honest. But these fellows did, and have produced "The Exorcist in 30 Seconds (and Re-Enacted By Bunnies)". Hey, no worse than "Lord of the Peeps"...


    HILTER YOUTH AND NATIONAL BOCIALISM: Joanne Jacobs notes a teachers' union official's attempt to equate charter schools with Nazis, and quotes from a newsletter which has this unintentionally hilarious line written by the president of the Federal Way Education Association, Michael Comstock:

    To paraphrase what Joseph Gerbles, the Nazi propaganda minister said, 'Repeat anything enough times loudly enough, no matter how untrue it is, and people will begin to believe it.'
    Neither Gerbles, Ron Vibbentrop nor Heimlich Bimmler could be reached for comment.


    THE SPANISH DEBACLE: Remember all the "If ___, then the terrorists will have won" cliches shortly after 9/11? After committing Spain's equivalent of 9/11 last week, guess what? They won--at the ballot box. InstaPundit has lots of thoughts and links. UPDATE: Virginia Postrel writes:

    Warning to terrorists: Americans do not draw the same conclusions from massacres that the Spanish did. Americans tend to rally around the president and direct our anger outward.
    At the risk of jettisoning any Kerry-like nuance, damn straight.


    A MODEST PROPOSAL: David Hogberg has some interesting suggestions for Kerry's vice-presidential nominees.


    IS THE DEER HUNTER ANTI-ASIAN? Interesting slant in The New Partisan about a film that captured five Academy Awards in 1979.


    Sunday, March 14, 2004


    "HANNAH ARENDT HAD IT RIGHT", Patrick Moynihan once told an interviewer. "She said one of the great advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive." Which is exactly what the critics of Bjorn Lomborg, the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist have tried to do, time and again. Only this time, as Dean Esmay writes, they've "been publicly upbraided and spanked by the Danish Ministry of Science and Technology".


    THE MUSIC MUST CHANGE: Dean Esmay says that rock is dead. Sadly, I'm inclined to believe him.


    WANT THE BLAIR FACTS? CRIME PAYS. One of the lessons of Bill Clinton and the 1990s was that if you cocked up on a spectacular enough scale, it wasn't necessarily the end of your career, because there's a thin enough line between fame and infamy to survive. So Bill buggers interns and subverts the law, but because he was the president, he'll always have lucrative new speeches to give, new articles and new books to sell, and new talk shows to appear on. While few men living have had the power that Clinton did, numerous celebrities have committed similar crimes and misdemeanors and have managed to maintain whatever level of power or fame they've achieved quite nicely afterwards Speaking of "Crimes and Misdemeanors", 50-something Woody Allen rogered his decade-long partner's adopted teenage daughter, but sells enough tickets in Europe and DVDs around the world, and is enough of a Hollywood icon that a studio will always give him a director's contract. Janet Jackson may have exposed herself to a worldwide primetime audience of parents and their kids and violated the decency standards of the television network which carried it, but so what? She's now probably guaranteed a minimum level of CDs she'll sell, concert halls she'll fill, and TV shows to appear on. And likewise with Jayson Blair. Sure, he cooked the books at The Times, but in his eyes, it's all OK, because the man was trying to keep him down. So let's give him a book deal and book him on all the talk shows! The lesson in all of this? Crime pays--if it's a big enough offense, and you're already very successful at the time you commit it. And morals? They're strictly for suckers.


    IS THE BLOGOSPHERE HALF-EMPTY OR HALF-FULL? I have the lead article in Tech Central Station tomorrow. And it's online now.


    Saturday, March 13, 2004


    ESPIONAGE ON THE CHEAP: Ten grand was allegedly all it took for Saddam to pay off former Democratic congressional staffer and journalist Susan Lindauer. H.D. Miller writes, "Who knew you could buy these peaceniks so cheaply? (I mean, who knew other than Saddam and Sons?)"


    I CAN VOUCH FOR THIS: Whenever I'm on the east coast, I take Amtrak from Penn Station in Manhattan to the New Jersey station nearest to where my parents live. And even after 9/11, security is extremely lax. Which is why the lead to this CNS News article doesn't surprise me:

    In light of terrorist attacks in Spain that killed nearly 200 people, two Republican members of Congress Friday urged Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to re-examine security measures involving the U.S. rail system. And a noted counter-terrorism expert gave U.S. passenger rail security a grade of "F."
    Last month, I saw one serviceman (who with his M-16, camo fatigues and beret looked a bit like John Amos in Die Hard II) standing on the main floor of Penn Station, and none standing near the actual tracks. After this past week, I hope that changes--and fast.


    SOON TO BE APPEARING AT A GLUE FACTORY NEAR YOU: When I first saw the trailer for Hidalgo around Christmastime, when it ran prior the last Lord of the Rings movie, I said to my wife, "Swell--it's Lawrence of Arabia meets Seabiscuit". And made by Disney and starring anti-Bush wag Viggo Mortenson, to boot. Flak's Andy Stilp writes, "Hidalgo emerges barely worthy of being called Seabiscuit II. In the movie, [Mortenson] rides the little mustang that could to improbable victory against the finest Bedouin thoroughbreds in a life-or-death Cannonball Run". Meanwhile, Jami Bernard of The New York Daily News says:

    The title character of Hidalgo is a handsome, feisty horse, a white-splotched mustang that emerges in the first few frames from a landscape of brown earth and frost, like a chunk of the old American West come to life. I have nothing bad to say about that gorgeous beast and the several stand-ins that double for him.
    "The movie on the other hand", she writes, "is a horse of a different color". And unusally bad history, even for Hollywood.


    CHECK THE WEATHER CHANNEL PLEASE, for Hell must have surely frozen over. Roger Kimball writes:

    "the biggest thing you would notice is freedom" Thus quoth Dan Rather on the Larry King show on March 12. I, too, was amazed. Dan Rather, the dyed-in-the-wool, Saddam-Hussein-interviewing liberal. What happened? Mr. Rather went back to Baghdad. He looked around. And he liked a lot of what he saw.
    Oddly enough, maybe that's why Senator Kerry is ahead in this new poll.


    CLARENCE PAGE: "It's not easy to be black. Just ask John Kerry".


    FRITZ EYE FOR THE BLOG GUYS: "On the Fritz" is doing extreme blogspace makeovers. He's got some suggestions for Mission Control.


    TWO WORLDVIEWS: Mel Gibson versus Tom Wolfe, Christ versus Epictetus. (Via The Brothers Judd Blog.)


    CATS AND DOGS, LIVING TOGETHER: Peter Robinson of National Review bumps into Al Gore in Palo Alto last night, and feels sorry for him.


    THE KERRY CAMPAIGN: redefining nuance, even by his staffers!


    SPACE GEEK NIRVANA: I had requested review copies of Apollo 11: Men On The Moon and their upcoming disc on the Saturn V from Spaceflight Films, and while I'll have a more detailed review eventually online, my first impression is that if you're at all a fan of the space program, run, don't walk to your local store (I saw them at Target this past weekend), or buy them online from Amazon. This is absolute space geek nirvana. The Apollo 11 package arrived today, apparently, they'll be shipping the review copy of the Saturn V disc as it gets closer to its release. I was just young enough to not remember firsthand much of the Apollo missions, with the exception of the last one, Apollo-Soyuz. But I certainly devoured lots of books on the subject, as well as the DVDs of For All Mankind and Apollo 13. But watching Apollo 11: Men On The Moon, I felt like that whole period was right before me. Probably because it was! This set of three DVDs was assembled by a small organization run by Mark Gray, a 20 year TV veteran, whose father was worked as a NASA contractor. The discs are distributed by 20th Century Fox. Gray and his team basically assembled all of the 16mm and 35mm film and video that NASA shot to document the mission, beginning with the incredible footage of the Saturn V being assembled, all the way through to the moon landing. (And to the landing back on Earth, but I haven't gotten that far yet!) In a way, it really reminds me of the stately pacing of 2001: A Space Odyssey. On the one hand, this is staggering footage of one of the most important events in mankind's history. On the other hand, because it's largely raw and unedited, it sort of reminds you why the Apollo missions quickly lost the interest of the American public: the pace of a lunar spaceflight, given the enormous distances involved, is waaay too slow to be television friendly. The Saturn V assemblage at the beginning of the film is just astonishing. Seeing the components with men from NASA and Rockwell standing next to them to place them into scale, it's a bit like Mies van der Rohe was asked to make one of his skyscrapers fly: the individual stages of the Saturn are that huge, and the Vehicle Assembly Building they're mated together in is even bigger. And seeing non-stop footage of the tank-treaded platform that hauls the whole thing to the launch pad is equally astonishing: how many skyscrapers move? This isn't Ron Howard's Hollywood version of Apollo 13, so there are only glimpses of the personalities of the Apollo 11 crew, but it's interesting: watching Neil Armstrong on the ground, he seems to have a slight smirk on his face, a slight cockiness. But hey, if I was a hotshot former X-15 test pilot and Gemini astronaut who was about to become the most famous explorer since Christopher Columbus, I'd probably be a little cocky too. It's also an amazing contrast watching the crew in both their white spacesuits, and their off-duty togs: Buzz Aldrin's powder blue turtleneck and cardigan, and the Ban-Lon short-sleeve sportshirts worn by the other two men are just too much. (It reminds me that in a way, the future--our future--is in the past: the space program should be decades ahead of where it is now. We've wasted so much time piddling around with the Space Shuttle.) The DVD also contains the crew's postflight debriefing, and it's interesting to compare their no-nonsense tone talking among fellow NASA personal with their much more jovial attitude when they knew their statements were being beamed back to Earth for live, worldwide consumption. After posing for PR photos, the three men then hop into their space capsule atop the Saturn V, and the whole shebang is launched into orbit. Which is covered by 15 synchronized cameras. That you can click through and choose with your DVD player's remote control. The multi-angle function of DVDs is rarely taken advantage of, and this is a tour-de-force of what it can do. Of course, the whole package is a tour-de-force of what DVD can do. I'll have more thoughts later, or when I upload my actual review. But God, I'm loving what I see so far. If you're a casual fan of the Apollo missions, this in-depth, full immersion treatment may be a bit overwhelming. I'd suggest watching Apollo 13, From The Earth To The Moon, or Criterion's painfully underrated documentary DVD, For All Mankind. But if want to feel like you're actually onboard with Neil, Buzz and Michael, this is your DVD. (Also on Blogcritics.)


    Friday, March 12, 2004


    IT'S HARD TO TELL, but I don't think James Lileks really is looking forward to seeing the remake of Starsky and Hutch. Similarly, we watched Finding Nemo last night. All I can say is: political correctness? You're soaking in it! OK, two other things: now that Pixar has broken off from Disney, hopefully they'll return to making fun buddy pictures, such as the Toy Story films, and Monsters Inc, rather than something like Nemo, which felt far more like it had Disney's uber-PC stamp on it than Pixar's. And you know digital animation has come of age, when you realize a film looks incredible, but you still hate it, and wish it were cut up into millions of digital guitar picks.


    QUOTE OF THE DAY comes from a reader of James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today". Taranto sets it up by writing:

    Somewhat surreally, the bombing, on the semianniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, comes as one of the major American political parties has just nominated a presidential candidate who believes terrorism is principally a law-enforcement matter rather than a war. Reader Andrew Fox pithily puts things in perspective:
    Maybe we can send Spain some state troopers or something to help them clean up the mess. Maybe a team of FBI agents to plot trajectories, determine chemical compositions and give the Spanish national police force lessons on how not to profile ethnically. Or we could tell them that the 101st Airborne Division will remember their families, too, when the time comes to deliver justice.
    Amen to that.
    Taranto also has several links concerning the bombing, Reuters' unending equivocating bobs and weaves, and Susan Lindauer.


    AL FRANKEN AND JANEANE GARAFALO? WHERE DO I SIGN! Sgt. Stryker writes:

    A new liberal radio network, called 'Air America Radio' and featuring Al Franken [and] Janeane Garafalo, is coming to an AM Station near you. No word yet on whether the networks' founders are aware of the irony in having a liberal radio station named after an illegal and undercover CIA operation during the Viet Nam war, as well as a mediocre Mel Gibson film.
    Heh. I'm sure Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative broadcasters are shaking in their Florsheims drooling in anticipation of the new material they'll soon be making sport of.


    "SPYING ON THE LIBERAL MEDIA": Ranck And File and the Mudville Gazette each have great roundups of links on how the media has handled the discovery that a Democratic staffer and former journalist was apparently on Saddam Hussein's payroll. And Media Research Center examines how television in particular handled reporting the news (badly, in a nutshell). Clay Ranck wrote, "I am amazed at how blatant the media spin on behalf of the Democrats has become". I agree. I'm not sure if the combination of relentless criticism by organizations like the MRC, books by Bernard Goldberg, and the Blogosphere have caused them to finally admit that the jig is up, but since last August during Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign, any former pretense of objectivity has been eliminated. What's a curious new element is that more and more big media journalists are willing to admit it.


    DRAMATIC PHOTOS of today's silent march in Washington to honor those killed yesterday in Spain, on InstaPundit.com.


    MORNING IN AMERICA UPDATE: Jerry Bowyer uses a dramatic graph to compare the Bush Boom with other periods of economic growth.


    BBC WHIPLASH: A reader of National Review's "Corner" Weblog watches the BBC turn on a dime in their coverage on our war on terror--and terror's war on us.


    FROM THE HOME OFFICE OF...ME: Next to the media room, in the past ten years, for many, the home office has emerged as the most technology-laden room in the house. While the concept of telecommuting has been around as early as the 1970s, when Alvin Toffler wrote about it in his seminal 1980 classic, The Third Wave, it was only in last decade that it began to explode in popularity. Add to it the ever-increasing number of self-employed in the US, and you’ve got a lot of people working from home. And that number is only going to increase in the 21st century. Which is why my latest "Ideas For Every Room" newsletter for Electronic House magazine is on that very topic.


    Thursday, March 11, 2004


    NOT SURPRISING: Joe Strupp of Editor & Publisher writes, "One other thing I learned about Jayson Blair from interviewing him that I haven't seen anywhere else: He changed his name from Jason to Jayson in eighth grade, but gave no reason why. He said he did not change it legally so, in a sense, even his very name is a lie". Figures. UPDATE: As does this quote by Blair, the latest nominee for Andrew Sullivan's Sontag Award:

    "I could not help but think about the hurt and fear that would cause a group of men to commit suicide by flying planes into the World Trade Center buildings. Anger as a byproduct of hurt and fear was not a foreign concept to me." - Jayson Blair, identifying with the mass-murderers of 9/11 on the day it happened, in his new book, "Burning Down My Masters' House."
    With an attitude like that, no wonder the Times hired him!


    PASSION UPDATE: Yesterday, we linked to a story that said Mel Gibson could make $100 million from The Passion. CNN says double that amount.


    LOOSE LIPS SINK CAMPAIGNS: Balloon Juice