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Monday, January 31, 2005

G&G Movie Review 

So, after being buried in work all month, I finally freed myself today. Got to leave at like 3pm, then I decided to rent Garden State, which I've heard good things about. Well, I'm halfway through it, and I think I can do the one-word review: Brutal. I mean, this was some kind of Sundance Festival darling or something? Wow.

Anyway, I hope normal blogging from me will resume tomorrow.
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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Democracy - Never Done Anything Bad 

I was just watching Fox News, and some female anchor (I think her name may have been Martha - but don't quote me on that) was interviewing James Rubin - Clinton State Department spokesman - about the elections in Iraq. Rubin was expressing the view that Iraq is still a dangerous, potentially unstable situation.

The anchor then asked something along the lines of, "but Mr. Rubin, has a democratic election in history ever led to anything except positive developments for the region?"

Mr. Rubin said, "well, Hitler."

Anchor: "No, I said democratically elected governments - Hitler wasn't democratically elected."

Rubin: "Yes, he was. So was Milosevic."

Just to recap, an anchor on the most-watched cable news network apparently thought until today that no democratic election in history had ever resulted in anything bad. I guess that help explains how 59,054,087 people can be so dumb.
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Friday, January 28, 2005

More Torture Fun at The Corner 

Over at The Corner, Jonah Goldberg continues to demonstrate his inability to grasp the following concept: even if people occasionally do things voluntarily, those same things could still be defined as torture if interrogators force people to do them.

After commenting on the latest story about the sexual interrogation tactics used at Gitmo, Goldberg turns to his readers for comments.
One reader argued that we should be bothered by any attempt to separate a man from his God. How would you feel, he asked, if American soldiers were forced to witness a crucifix being desecrated or a Torah being destroyed? I thought this was interesting, but really not very persuasive. I'd gladly settle for that sort of treatment over beheadings.
Apparently, in Goldberg's mind, as long as the treatment detainees receive is preferable to having one's head slowly sawed off with a knife, it's not torture. It's a point that's been made about a hundred times in this debate, but it bears repeating - the standard for the treatment of prisoners should not be determined by how the other side acts. Why are we allowing a bunch of terrorist thugs to redefine "human rights"?

Goldberg moves on, and shares an e-mail from our old friend, the anonymous person in the military.
Jonah, I have a response to your reader who asks how we would feel if soldier's were forced to watch a crucifix being desecrated or a Torah being destroyed. Those things already happen, and they're paid for by the US Government under the premise that the acts are "art". Maybe we can just say that the people at Gitmo are artists, not interrogators. Then the left would have to appreciate their pushing the envelope. Just a thought.
First of all, these things don't happen - "Piss Christ" was one piece of art funded by the National Endowment for the Arts more than a decade ago, so the past tense might have been appropriate here. However, this military man does have a point. One of the more disturbing incidents of my childhood was the time the NEA troops showed up at our door, tied me, my parents and my siblings up in the living room and forced us to look at an image of someone pissing on Christ. As Democrats, however, my parents supported this use of our tax dollars, as do I. And if it was good enough for us, why, it's good enough for the prisoners at Gitmo.

By the way, I say all this as someone whose feelings on these torture allegations are not as clear as my colleague in blogging. I don't know how I feel about using mini skirts and fake menstrual blood to interrogate prisoners who are likely very religious Muslims. (Well, I do agree with Jonah Goldberg on one thing - the later is, at the very least, "gross.") I don't know if I'd call it torture. I'd like to hear honest debate on the topic. But the way The Corner and much of the Right chooses to debate these issues - by pointing to things that people do voluntarily and arguing that they're the same as certain interrogation techniques being used and therefore acceptable - has got to stop. When I was in the The Music Man, I voluntarily learned how to march. That doesn't mean the Bataan Death March was OK.
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Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hillary 

I think I agree with this post on Kos more than I disagree with it (edited for length by me - click on the link to read the whole thing.)
What the fuck is up with all the Hillary bashing around these parts?

To be clear, she's not my favorite potential presidential candidate for '08, but she's also not my least favorite choice.

Yet the more I thought about the personal attacks she endures from people on her own side, the angrier I got.

Look, there isn't a single person that has suffered worse at the hands of the Right Wing Noise Machine and the Corporate Media...

Yet not only has she parried aside those savage attacks, but she has grown and thrived. That is worthy of respect. She is on the front lines against our enemies and doesn't deserve to be ravaged by her own side. She doesn't go on Fox News to attack fellow Democrats, like some of the others do.

You disagree with her vote on Pet Issue X? Fine. Every elected official will vote against one of your pet issues. Expect 100% agreement with anyone and you WILL be disappointed. Heck, there are fools wailing about Obama this and Obama that already, as though any senator or congressman or governor or anyone will ever heed your every wish.

So disagree with actions X, Y, or Z if you must. But the vitriol sent her way here rivals that dished out.
Like it or not, Hillary could have entered the primaries at any point last year and won. She is a popular figure in this party. We very well may find ourselves supporting her, and I for one won't put her in the Lieberman category of Democrats I won't vote for yet.

On the other hand, she sure fucked up the one chance we had to get a good government health care plan. I'm not sure I trust her with the button.
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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Fox and Friends 

I was watching Fox and Friends this morning - and it had been too long since I had checked in with E.D. Hill and the gang. I saw them interview John Podhoretz, about this editorial in The New York Post. And it was awesome. The gist of the editorial:
They say a leopard can't change its spots. Can a one-time Klansman change his, umm, sheets?
The way Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) acted this week, it's fair to ask.

Byrd was one of three Democratic senators who used a parliamentary maneuver to delay a full vote on the nomination of Condoleezza Rice to be the next secretary of state.

Rice had been approved by the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee by an overwhelming 16-2 margin. The only "nay" votes were from sore-loser John Kerry and loony lefty Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

A full Senate vote was scheduled for last Thursday — the first official business day following President Bush's inauguration.

But Byrd stepped in to block the vote, claiming that Democrats needed more time to "study" Rice's testimony.

Then Kerry and Ted Kennedy jumped in, apparently to give Byrd cover.
When the discussion first started, I had to agree. I don't necessarily think that Robert Byrd voted against Rice because she is black - but it's an abysmal embarrassment to our party and the country that this man is a respected public figure. While it's just a tad hypocritical for the party of David Duke and the late Strom Thurmond to be lecturing us on our racist past, what could a Democrat say when Podhoretz pointed out that Byrd had voted against Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas? Byrd sucks.

But then Brian Kilmeade or one of our friends on Fox brought up the last point - saying something like "and I guess Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer are just trying to cover up for Byrd." All four guests nodded in agreement.

As did I. I cannot think of a single reason why anyone in the Democratic party would want to oppose Rice's nomination except for racism or a desire to cover up racism. I think we owe it to the parents of the 1,578 soldiers who are dead in Iraq to unquestionably approve anyone who was involved in the build-up to the war.

Actually, that is not what I did. I nearly vomited from disgust at how four people could be so stupid. In fact, I became so agitated that I turned off the TV in anger - foregoing the upcoming interview with Tara Reid. In retrospect, I really wish I had seen the interaction between E.D. Hill and Tara Reid. God damn it.
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American Dreams 

Well, Lost isn't on tonight - but I know Goldberg and Guthrie readers have become accustomed to weekly posts about television shows. So I wanted to put in a plug for American Dreams. I always thought this show looked pretty dumb, but my girlfriend watches it and when we began living in sin together I started watching it as well. (For what it's worth, I also now watch General Hospital, I Wanna Be a Soap Star, Gilmore Girls (god what a terrible, terrible show) and Seventh Heaven (also terrible, but more than worth watching just to read the Television Without Pity recap.)

Anyway, with all the utter and complete garbage on network TV (keep in mind, we live in a world where King of Queens and Yes, Dear are hits), I'm sort of surprised this show doesn't get more attention. If you don't know, it's about two families in Philadelphia in the 1960s - one white, one black. The central gimmick of the show is that the main girl - Meg - is a dancer on American Bandstand, which apparently was filmed in Philadelphia. The other gimmick of the show is that any historical event that happened during the 1960s comes to influence the lives of our main characters in the most dramatic way possible.

So, it can be sort of cheesy sometimes - but the American Bandstand scenes actually work. They often have current pop stars imitating the singers - which can be distracting, but they do a good job of keeping it in the background.

The thing I like about the show is that the main characters, while likeable, are subtlely flawed. For example, the dad of the white family owns an electronic store. He opened another store, and let the dad of the black family run it - probably a pretty big deal in the 1960s. So, he's a good guy, and we all learn a lesson that racism is wrong. Then, the white dad runs for city council - and when he can't win (but, importantly, only when he realizes he can't win the white vote) he courts the black vote. The black people go to vote on a bus, but they are pulled over by the racist sheriff - so they walk about 10 miles to get to the polls. And we learn an important lesson about the heroism of civil rights activists. But when the white dad gets on city council, he feels that he can't vote for a black sheriff. He says he has to gain more influence, and the black dad quickly realizes that he's not going to change anything at all. At the end of the last episode, the white dad was openly considering accepting a bribe in order to buy a house for his son - recently returned from Vietnam. So is the white dad a good guy? Obviously, he is less racist and cares more about the black community than 95% of other whites. But doesn't that make his behavior somewhat worse? Anyway, I think it's interesting.

The main plot this year has involved JJ - eldest son in the white family - going to Vietnam. Predictably, many cliches popped up - he went to Cambodia, he met an Apocalypse Now Redux -style French family, he had a relationship with a hot Vietnamese girl. Then he came home (in a pretty good episode). All the while, his sister (Meg) has been protesting the war. Now, the mom is working for a peace group - and is asked to help send a deserter to Canada, which she eventually does - and JJ finds out. I just like that the show doesn't play it in such a way that the mom is obviously right or wrong. I also like that neither JJ nor the mom (nor any of the characters) are too smart - often, when shows deal with issues like this, they make the characters way too smart so they can engage in fascinating debates. Neither JJ nor the mom knows that much about why the US is in Vietnam - their last fight ended with the mom saying she couldn't let another mother go through what she went through and JJ saying, "You're just wrong, Mom, I can't say it any other way."

It's no Lost or Sopranos - the show has its pretty bad episodes and some downright dreadful moments - such as an unspeakable cameo by Nick from The Apprentice. (Not to mention the occasional "why, you have a good voice young, unknown girl - what's your name?" "Linda- Linda Rondstat" moments.) But I think it's profoundly underrated - it's probably the best non-Lost drama on network television right now. The acting is good, the concept is interesting, and the characters just flawed enough to make you think. I can't believe I wrote this much on this show, which I think means I liked it more than I thought I did before I started. I'm going to go so far as to recommend that you watch a few episodes.
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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Everything Fine in Iraq 

Andrew Sullivan links to this Washington Post article and finds it to be a hopeful bit of news from Iraq. Sullivan's "money quote" (emphasis supplied by me):
"I think people will be shocked," said an official of another international organization deeply involved in preparing Iraq's nascent political class for the ballot. The official, who insisted that neither he nor his organization could be identified because of security concerns, said most Iraqis remain intent on exercising their right to elect a government after decades of dictatorships.
I don't know about you, but if the anonymous guy whose organization must remain concealed due to security concerns assures me that everything is going to be fine in Iraq, then gosh darn it I'm convinced that everything is going to be fine.
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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Interesting 

John Derbyshire - who a few days ago referred to the events at Abu Ghraib as "hi jinks" - is now soliciting e-mails in response to his recommendation of a 30 day sentence for one of the American torturers. (God he's an asshole. But moving on...) He only wants the opinion of those in the military or who have military experience... however, he notes this:
I'm getting e-mail from a lot of retired military folk who just want to be heard; I'm also told that a lot of non-military people (e.g. contractors) can send *.mil e-mail, a thing I didn't know; so I'm throwing it open to anyone with military credentials.
Interesting. Now, if you're not a frequent reader of the conservative blogosphere I don't recommend that you start. However, conservative bloggers frequently quote e-mails from members of the military that support everything and anything George Bush and conservatives have ever done. (In fairness, I have seen the same thing on liberal blogs, but not to the same degree.) Just on the front page of The Corner, there are e-mails from people with some military connection here, here and here.

I'm not saying all e-mails from military people on blogs are fake - or even that some of them are. I don't know. (Specifically, I don't know at all whether the ones I linked to are fake - at least one is identified as from "a friend" so I'm pretty sure it's authentic.) The blogosphere should look into this.

Given this bit of information, I think I will have to put less stock in anonymous e-mails on blogs that support the bloggers' position. If G&G ever posts an e-mail from a soldier, I would hope our readers would apply the same scrutiny.
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Mientkiewicz and the Ball 

Dough Mientkiewicz - a back up first basemen on the Red Sox - has the ball that made the last out in the World Series and won't give it back. He's being a jackass, and he has no logical argument that supports the notion that he should owns the ball. If anyone hasn't heard about this story, this article sums it up.

However, Sports Illustrated quotes a "legal expert" in the article whose opinion is not based on anything "legal" and does nothing to indicate expertise in anything.
"It's not Doug's ball. It belongs to all of us," said Roger Abrams, a Northeastern University law professor who has written several baseball books. "He is the trustee of the ball but it is owned by all of Red Sox Nation and it should find a place of special importance, either at Fenway or Cooperstown."
Now I spent more time playing Baseball Stars in Property than taking notes, but one thing I do know is that the baseball does not belong to "all of us." Furthermore, it doesn't belong to all of Red Sox Nation because Red Sox Nation does not legally exist. I guess Mr. Abrams's legal expertise is limited to his knowledge that the word "trustee" exists.
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What We Learned Today 

I should stick with predicting the electoral vote count of general elections rather than pontificating on NFL games. At least we're going to have an entertaining Super Bowl - and the whole "will TO play" will keep me interested - even though it will be annoying. Also, ESPN Classic, ESPN 2, ESPN News or possibly even ESPN Proper will start running the NFL Films Super Bowl specials - meaning that the 1989 Super Bowl special will inevitably come on and I will inevitably watch it and inevitably start tearing up. So we have that to look forward to.
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Conference Championship Sunday 

Well, I am excited for today's games. Of course, as always, there is a chance both games will be blow-outs, but I hope not. I'm not sure if I have anything bright or new to add about these games, so I'll keep this short and see if anyone feels like adding their own wisdom or predictions or whatever in the comments. Philly is favored by 5 over Atlanta, which sounds about right. It's pretty clear that, however great Michael Vick's talents are--and I think they are pretty damn great--McNabb is the superior quarterback. I'd say the defenses are both equally good, but I don't see how Atlanta's terrible receiving corps will get open against Philly's secondary. And I'm less sure of Atlanta's ability to handle Westbrook. So, there's that.

In the other game, the game I think most non-Philly and non-Atlanta area fans care about more, well, no one is giving Pittsburgh a chance at home against a team they demolished earlier in the year. I, personally, maintain that you simply can't run against the Steelers D. Of course, if anyone can figure out how to, it's Belichick, right? And, and this is no wise statement, if Roethlisberger lays an egg like last week, the Steelers will not win. But, I'm rooting for them, so I hope they do. Matchup to watch--Alan Faneca against Vrabel or Bruschi (whichever he has to block when he pulls around on any given play). Of course, Plax vs. various named-for-70s-bands-DBs will also be good, if Big Ben can get the ball downfield.

My two cents.
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Saturday, January 22, 2005

Philadelphia Fans, Defined 

I have no problem with the City of Brotherly Love (irony entirely unintended, apparently), nor with any of its sports teams. Nonetheless, it's clear that Philly fans are, well, scum of the earth. Sometimes people ask me, "Hey, Goldberg, why do you say Philly fans are so bad?" After my auto-response, viz., "Do I know you?" I usually tell the story of Michael Irvin, or, even better because it's less evil than simply mean-spirited, the whole Buddy Ryan bounty-on-various-Dallas-kickers story (which has little to do with the fans, but they did support said bounties).

But, today, via my mom, I get a newspaper article that explains this whole situation much better than I ever could. So, in more of the blatant copyright infringement you've come to expect at G&G, read this:
Eagles Can't Win With Philly Fans
Brutal Home Crowd Puts Pressure on McNabb & Co.

By JIM ARMSTRONG, AOL Exclusive

One of the great misconceptions in the world is that the New York media are the toughest on the planet, that they'd just as soon whack you with their laptops as type on them.

How did such an absurd notion ever get started? I'm not sure, but whoever did it never picked up a sports section in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia media are a rough and tumble bunch. And they're not alone. Philly crowds are tougher than a bar-time steak at Denny's. The first three words a baby learns in Philly are mama, dadda and boo.

When they say they'd boo Santa Claus in Philly, they're not kidding. To wit: The old boy once tooled around Veterans Stadium in a convertible, whereupon he was pelted with snowballs.

How tough are Philly fans? Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin sustained a career-ending injury there and the paying customers cheered like they had just won the Pennsylvania lottery. Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt got booed every time he didn't hit one of his 500-plus career home runs.

Crowds are so rowdy at Eagles games, a judge used to hold court in the basement at Veterans Stadium, meting out instant justice, a la Roy Bean, to every drunk who showed up wearing handcuffs and a bloody T-shirt.

Why the attitude? There's probably a lot of deep-rooted psychoanalytical gobbledigoop involved, but we needn't go there today. Besides, in the end, the answer is simple: Philly teams never win.

No wonder Donovan McNabb, in the days preceding Sunday's NFC Championship Game, said, ''I'm not going to guarantee a win or anything like that.''

Of course he isn't. This is the Eagles we're talking about. This is Philly we're talking about. Philly athletes don't win championships. They screw up, they get booed, and they get run out of town. It's a way of life in Philly, right up there with cheesesteaks and summer sojourns to the Jersey Shore.

OK, so it's not like Philly teams never win.

The Phillies won the World Series in 1980 and the Sixers won the NBA championship three years later. Then, of course, there's Villanova, which shocked the sports world in 1985 by beating Georgetown for the NCAA hoops championship.

That's it for the current generation of Philly fans. Other than that handful of teams, they've seen nothing but losers. The futility is so widespread, it goes beyond humans. Smarty Jones, the pride and joy of Philadelphia Park, seemingly had the Triple Crown wrapped up last summer, only to come up short at the Belmont.

Hey, stuff happens in Philly. The Phillies had a six-game lead with 10 to play in 1964, but didn't win the pennant. The Eagles, the team Philly fans pull for harder than any other, haven't won an NFL championship since the weeks following the Kennedy-Nixon debate in 1960.

The Eagles have played in one Super Bowl - one fewer than the Bengals, for crying out loud. Sure, they were a dominant team back in the day, but it was so long ago that sports writers used scrolls. What, you think I'm kidding? Among the teams those Eagles beat out for the NFL championship were the New York Bulldogs and the Chicago Cardinals.

Even Wilt Chamberlain, who once averaged 50 points a game, couldn't win in Philly. He spent most of the '60s getting beat by Bill Russell and the Celtics. But at least Wilt made the playoffs every year. That's more than the '72-'73 Sixers could say. They finished 9-73, to this day the worst record in NBA history.

Now come the Eagles of the 21st century, the Eagles of McNabb, the Eagles who've played in three straight NFC championship games with nothing to show for it. I'd love to tell you they're going to beat the Falcons Sunday. I'd love to tell you they're going to wipe away all those decades of futility in the span of three hours. But I can't.

Who knows? Maybe they'll win. For that matter, maybe Terrell Owens will come back and they'll win their first Super Bowl. But just so you know? If any team can screw it up, it's one from Philly.
The only thing he gets wrong is the causal relationship between losing and being a dick. Cleveland fans haven't won anything since, what, the 1964 NFL Championship? Then again, after Nickel Beer Night and the bottle-throwing of a few years ago, maybe Cleveland fans should not be my paragon of virtue.
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Friday, January 21, 2005

The Triumphant Return of Goldberg Billmon 

So, I've been a bit MIA here this week, but Guth has been picking up the slack nicely, even honing in on my NFL playoffs posts. I've been busy, and then yesterday I was at a client at a nice suburban office park. About as close as I like my life to get to a David Brooks wet dream, and hopefully as close as it ever will.

In any event, it seems like the Legendary Billmon may or may not have come out of retirement with a string of posts using quotes to make historical analogies and whatnot. They're all pretty good, but this is my favorite for several reasons, none of which is that I have some special affection for Apocolypse Now. I don't, really. But this is good:
Sounds Like Victory

From where I sit in Iraq, things are not all bad right now. In fact, they are going quite well . . . In the distance, I can hear the repeated impacts of heavy artillery and five-hundred-pound bombs hitting their targets. The occasional tank main gun report and the staccato rhythm of a Marine Corps LAV or Army Bradley Fighting Vehicle's 25-millimeter cannon provide the bass line for a symphony of destruction.
Lt. Col. Tim Ryan
Tacoma News Tribune
January 18, 2005

You smell that? Do you smell that? That's napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell — you know that gasoline smell — the whole hill. It smelled like . . . victory.
Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore
Apocalypse Now
1979

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NFL Playoff Pick 

I don't usually have a strong feelings about who will win an NFL game, but if I were a betting man I would put a lot of money on the Steelers this week. I can't fathom that on the basis of one bad game by Big Ben, the Patriots are now mysteriously better than them. The Steelers kicked the Patriots' ass earlier this year - as did the Miami Dolphins. Last week, everything went wrong for the Steelers and they still won. I tend to think that the Patriots' tricky defensive schemes won't work against the Steelers - who will respond by running the ball over and over again. I think this injured Patriots team just isn't as good as the Steelers - and the Steelers have home field advantage.

Not that I really know anything about football, except that the Bengals usually suck. So take this for what it's worth. But since I'm not going to put money on a sporting event, I thought I would publicly make this prediction so that something is on the line. Thank you.
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Hide and Seek 

I'm pretty excited about this horror vehicle starring Robert Deniro and Dakota Fanning. The reason is that for the last several years I've been watching horror movies and thinking - "what this movie needs is a creepy kid that seems depressed and says and does mysterious, scary things." Looks like at long last, Hollywood listened.

Now, if only they would make a movie where Dennis Quaid played a knight who became friends with a talking dragon voiced by Sean Connery.
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Thursday, January 20, 2005

E-mails from John Kerry 

I assume most people who read this blog are on John Kerry's e-mail list. Here is my gut reaction to the e-mails they continue to send.

Why does this loser continue to e-mail me? Why would I sign a petition urging that Rumsfeld resign and Rice not be appointed Secretary of State? Thanks to your inability to beat a man who can only barely form complete sentences, George Bush can appoint whoever the hell he wants. You are not a spokesperson for me anymore - you are one of a long line of losers who, in ten years, have made sure that Democrats have no power on the federal level. It will be a very long time before I can look at you in any other way. Go away.


UPDATE:

As is my wont, I am elevating some of the comments (which have been edited for length by me), because I think it is a good discussion.

Reader RD says:
Seems rather unfair. Yes, the e-mails are ridiculous, but it's a good thing that Kerry isn't going away. He's a fairly powerful senator, and the party needs him... [T]urning on our candidates when they lose close elections doesn't help [D]emocrats to attain federal power.
Reader JK says:
[T]his is the stupidest thing you've ever written. I agree with RD, we can't turn on our own, especially not when there's such an absolute dearth of Democrats in Congress willing to stand up and challenge the administration. Only Boxer and Kerry voted against Rice...

I give Kerry a lot of credit for not curling up and crawling away like Gore did. He was an honorable man who made a true commitment to serving this country who I actually think ran a decent honorable campaign... The GOP did a phenomenal job of using their incumbency to scare the living shit out of this country, the media bought into that hook line and sinker, and there's very little Kerry or anyone else could have done to change that.
I respond with an unfair attack:
Remember when John Kerry voted for the war because it was popular then was against it when it wasn't popular anymore? That was awesome. I wonder how many people are dead because this great leader of our party didn't bother to lead an anti-war movement when it might have mattered...

The Democratic party in general should be ashamed of its conduct leading up to the war in Iraq; I am ashamed of my own behavior during that time.
And JK responds thusly:
I think branding him a loser is completely and utterly unconstructive. I do not think just because he lost we should beat the crap out of him and force him to leave the herd to die a lonely death. What's the point of that? And when so many other Democrats are abdicating their role as a legitimate opposition party... I don't understand why you would attack one of the few who stands up and objects... Your attack concerns me because it's only motivated because he's drawing attention to himself by doing what nobody else is doing - speaking out.
I respond below, but I'll give reader JK the last word on the blog proper for now. Read the comments to see the colorful language I've edited out (which was odd of me to think I had to do given the Corey Dillon post from Sunday).
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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Lost 

... will be on tonight. And this is the episode we have to pay attention to, because something will be revealed. I'll post a comment here - I'm just trying to build up all of the readers' anticipation.

UPDATE: (Spoilers - don't read if you don't want to know what happened on Lost.)

I liked it, although not that much was revealed. As I've said before, the best episodes are where the flashbacks tie into why the characters were on the plane - as I think the writers are figuring out. This was great, because we saw why Michael was in Australia and why there is tension between him and his son. I liked the idea Michael lied to his son to protect him, even though it made him look like the bad guy. And all the stuff with Walt being able to control things with his mind was really well done - the part with the bird hitting the window was great. The only thing that sucked was the CGI polar bear, which looked less realistic than the polar bears in Coke commercials.

One thing, I hope viewers aren't expecting - and the writers don't feel pressured to deliver - some awesome twist ending to the show that will tie everything together and blow our minds. I read the Television Without Pity boards, and it seems like people are waiting for a payoff. Well, this is the payoff. All these people are in this fantastic and somewhat absurd situation, and the point of the show is to reveal who they were before they got to the island and show how they will interact - with each other and with the island (and whoever is already there).

I'm reminded of Twin Peaks - the pinnacle of pop culture and possibly American art. David Lynch never wanted the show to be a mystery - and it was at its best when it wasn't. The idea was to start the show with the murder of the homecoming queen (Laura Palmer) and to use the investigation as a vehicle for learning about the town, Laura and the FBI agent doing the investigating. The murder was supposed to fade into the background, and never really be solved. But other people involved with the show had different ideas - and it was marketed and presented as a mystery - "who killed Laura Palmer?". Of course, once the mystery was solved, the show sort of lost its direction - only to recapture it in Fire Walk With Me - the most underrated movie ever made.

I hope the Lost writers don't feel pressured to come up with a huge twist; to reveal some fact that makes everything fit together. I like the show because it moves so slowly and tells us so much about each of the characters. I'm not waiting for something to happen - I only hope this is how the creators feel and some stupid twist - like, they're all dead or it's all taking place in Walt's mind - doesn't ruin it all.

Also, I do not at all enjoy having George Bush as the President. (You know, to keep with the political theme and all.)
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Naivete Watch 

Gregg "Brother of Frank" Easterbrook is known for writing some whoppers, such as "WWII proved that democratic armed forces are better than totalitarian armed forces" (not a direct quote; don't feel like finding the link), "the Big Bang is suspect, and, oh, by the way, Steven Hawking sucks" and, of course, "Geostationary orbit equals the Earth's circumference." Today, however, he comes up with a new favorite of mine:
Last week the Institute of Medicine, the health-care research of the National Academy of Sciences, issued this report cautioning that herb-based nutritional and medicinal supplements are poorly regulated and may do more harm than good. Many readers of NFL.com, especially high-school kids and young men, may be tempted by the mystery compounds that promise phenomenal muscle growth, 30-second ripped abs and the like. Don't fall for it. Where are the most amazing physical specimens of the modern age found? In the National Football League, which elaborately tests for steroids and many other drugs, including many supplements. NFL players get their physiques the old-fashioned way. Those who get their physiques through chemical shortcuts may end up with long-term health consequences -- Major League Baseball better have a good health-insurance plan for retirees, because there are going to be some very sick former players. If you're gulping mystery supplements, you might as well go into the forest and gulp mushrooms, hoping you haven't grabbed the poisonous ones.
I think Mr. Easterbrook is ripe for a Claude Raines moment: "I'm shocked, just shocked to find out that some NFL players may take steroids."

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Not that I really care, but... 

does anyone think it's odd that no one ever reports that Laura Bush is a chain-smoker. Seems to be pretty bad on the first lady qua role model, no? At least, I would think anti-smoking advocates would point it out and try to get her to quit in some public dispay.

UPDATE: It seems, after further digging and some talking to a more-reliable source than my original source, that what "Bradford" says in comments is more close to the truth than what I wrote above. She seems to only smoke on the road, where she would (often, rarely, not sure) ask reporters to bum smokes and the like. One of her pet causes is heart disease, which is a bit odd in light of that.
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A Post on Politics? What kind of blog is this? 

Now, before Bush is even inaugurated for his second term, I think it's silly to rule out anyone as the Democratic nominee in 2008. Or to support anyone, for that matter. Not John Kerry, not Al Gore, not John Edwards, not Howard Dean, not even the Blogorgeous One (ok, maybe it's ok to rule him out). But I'm very, very skeptical of a HRC candidacy, and I have no real problems with her as a person or politician or a Democrat.
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Monday, January 17, 2005

Martin Luther King Day 

I heard some good stuff on NPR this morning about the Civil Rights Movement. It's a period (in fact, a continuing and continuous struggle) in our nation's history--indeed, in human history--that every man, woman and child should study. In that vein, here is a link to a speech Dr. King made the day before he was assassinated. Read it, study it, listen to it. Read it and recognize why we use this man's birthday as a day to reflect upon the entire Civil Rights Movement. Read it and understand what rhetoric can mean; what force words can have; what it means to be unrelenting in the pursuit of justice; what it means to have courage in the face of barbarians and thugs.

ADDENDUM: And speaking of Memphis and April, 1968, I implore all of you to visit Memphis and the Civil Rights Museum that is at the site of the Lorraine Motel. A tremendously powerful place.
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Sunday, January 16, 2005

Corey Fuck Face Piece of Shit Dillon 

On the CBS right now, the entire CBS sports crew is collectively getting on its knees and blowing Corey Dillon. Shannon Sharpe said getting Corey Dillon from Cincinnati was the biggest steal since the Louisiana Purchase. Bonnie Bernstein said she talked to Corey Dillon, who wondered aloud how amazing his career could have been had he been able to spend it all in New England - rather than having to suffer for years in Cincinnati. But, he said, those years in Cincinnati built his character and made him a stronger person.

Oh, how Corey Dillon must have suffered during those character-building years he spent on the edges of civilization. What agony he must have endured when he was paid millions of dollars to play football. This is in addition to the terrible tragedy he endured when his wife yelled at him and ran into a phone that he was holding - and the subsequent humiliation brought upon him when the local police foolishly thought this seemed like domestic battery. Thank the Lord these shackles were broken and he is now able to sore to amazing heights in New England.

Of course, one reason Corey Dillon had to play in Hellinatti was because every other professional team - including the Bengals - decided he wasn't worth a first round pick. (The Bengals took him in the second round.) The reason they thought this is because they correctly believed that he had a character problem. Oh, and Shannon Sharpe, the reason the Bengals traded him is because he announced publicly that he hated the Bengals; he called Willie Anderson - an All-Pro offensive lineman who had his first holding penalty in half a decade this year - a "bum." And, most awesomely, he said he would rather flip burgers than play for the Bengals - then immediately changed his mind when he decided to accept millions of dollars to play for them rather than sit out a year. Finally, he finished this year by throwing his pads into the stands and quitting - then spent the offseason driving down his trade value to screw over the one team in football that was originally willing to give him a chance.

Anyone can have "strong character" on a 14-2 team that won the Super Bowl last year. Character is revealed when times are "tough" - and - to the extent that being on an NFL team can be a time that is "tough" - when he played on bad teams Corey Dillon revealed that he has no character. He's the one who is a "bum", and a disgrace to the NFL, and I for one hope the Steelers kick the Patriots' ass next week. (Assuming, by the way, no miracle Colts comeback in the next few minutes.) Corey Dillon is a fucking awesome football player - I've said this many times - but over the past few years has revealed himself to be a terrible person. I'd rather go 8-8 without him than 14-2 with him.

Also, I favor Democratic political policies over Republican ones (to keep this post in line with what is allegedly the theme of this blog.)

God bless the Cincinnati Bengals.
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Phil Simms 

Anyone notice what he's wearing for this game?

Also, he probably could use a little product on that hair.
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This isn't Communist China 

On NFL Countdown, they were talking about Vanderjagt's stupid-ass comments about the Patriots. Clearly, he's an idiot. But, Tom Jackson, a hero to all right-thinking people, said "Vanderjagt needs a gag order, or a Code Red, or something."

A Code fucking Red? So, Tom Jackson thinks Vanderjagt should get beat with a bag of oranges by every member of the Colts? Maybe even forced to take an elephant walk with the other on-the-outs players? WTF?

But, Tom Jackson redeemed himself by saying the Greatest Quote of the Weekend. Talking about Vanderjagt's equally stupid comments from last year, either Michael Irvin or Mike Ditka (like most people, I get those two confused, so I'm not sure which one of them said it) said how Tom Jackson defended Vanderjagt last year. Tom Jackson's response: "Why did I give him a second chance? Because this is America."

Exactly. As a great man wearing great shorts once said, "This isn't Communist China."
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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Absurd September 11th Reference Alert! 

From the New York Times review of - I shit you not - Tilt.
And we have become a nation of poker professionals. Gambling has always been popular, despite the Puritans' ban on it or perhaps because of the ban. (Chance was considered the province of the Divine.) Even though more Americans are likely to die of clogged arteries in a day than of terrorist attacks in a decade, the world since Sept. 11 feels riskier. The lure of gambling is highest when the economy is so uncertain that people would rather spend than save.
Good God.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Lost Thread 

I liked it well enough. We're starting to get into "Aragorn over the cliff" territory - i.e., too many "fake deaths." Still, this fake death served a purpose - but it's power was sort of undercut by the Charlie near-death two episodes ago. Am I alone in thinking that the show would be better if Charlie had died? I wonder if they were going to kill him but kept him on because he's popular with the ladies.

On another note, I really hope that Locke turns out not to be a bad guy - the episode with his flashback was so powerful, and it would sort of be ruined if he was bad.

(Most of the fake deaths in The Lord of the Rings were taken from the book - and Frodo after the spider bite is a major plot point. I don't know why they had to add one in the movie. I sort of like a few in those movies, because in my opinion it's setting you up for the realization that Frodo has been slowly dying the entire time.)
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Rather 

I haven't commented on this, because I care very little. But over at The Corner and around the conservative blogosphere, they're calling for Dan Rather's head. They're pissed that he might "get away" with this.

Shouldn't it be the other way around? Didn't the mistake hurt Kerry? Didn't the mistake completely kill the Bush National Guard story - which was, after all, true? Shouldn't we be mad?
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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Obscure Godot-related Outrage 

It's highly likely that nobody reading this will care. I guess that's one of the good things about having a blog.

In my salad days as a theatre major, I was entranced by the works of Samuel Beckett in general and Waiting for Godot in particular. I directed a highly successful production of it as a senior honors project at Otterbein - if you define "highly successful" as "having about 50 people show up and getting an 'A'". (Which is, incidentally, how I define it.)

The most legendary American production of Godot took place at San Quentin prison - but a more popular production took place in 1988 at Lincoln Center. It starred Steve Martin and Robin Williams, and was directed by Mike Nichols. The thing I'd always read about it was that - while something of a critical hit - it was despised by Beckett and his close acquaintances. Beckett was fiercely protective of his work - and he desperately wanted all productions of his plays do be done exactly as he envisioned them. He would not - for example - allow a production of Endgame that was set in a New York subway. He would not allow any version of Godot to be done with females. (I forget the exact quote - but he said it would be like putting a soprano in a baritone part.)

A few days ago, I was watching a PBS special on Bill Irwin - who also appeared in the Lincoln Center production. I'd never seen any clips from the production - but I saw one on this special. I was appalled and disgusted to hear Robin Williams and Steve Martin adding improvised lines during Lucky's monologue. The comic business they were doing was profoundly inappropriate. To me, it seemed that Robin Williams especially could not let his ego get out of the way of Beckett's words. I won't go into what the "point" of Waiting for Godot is - suffice to say, I don't think it's supposed to be a vehicle for a wacky evening on Broadway with TV's Mork.

Of course, what sort of hypocrite am I? I cast a female in the role of "Boy" - mostly because I couldn't find a child actor willing to be in an Otterbein workshop project. I know my production was more fluid than Beckett would have wanted - not to mention that I didn't even include the sun/moon backdrop that he called for. But I admit that I either couldn't do it or was afraid to push it all the way - what excuse does Williams have? He just couldn't help turning it into his own kind of joke. And it's too bad - because if he had done it right he could have been really good.

Nothing to be done.
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The No Fun League, Continued 

King Kaufmann, my favorite sportswriter these days, sheds some light on the Randy Moss incident (and this gives me an excuse to get another dig into Peter King). From his column today:
But here's another thing about those Packers fans that's interesting, especially in light of attitudes like the one expressed by Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who wrote that fake-mooning the customers at Lambeau Field "is like mooning the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."

Really now. Well, never having covered or been to a game in Green Bay, I learned something Monday from Colts coach Tony Dungy, who said he found Moss' pretend mooning "kind of funny." Green Bay fans have a tradition of mooning the visiting team's bus after the game if the Packers win, Dungy said. Real mooning, not pantomime.

That little factoid, which certainly gives some context to Moss' gesture, went absolutely unreported by the TV talking heads Sunday. I can't believe that the Fox announcers and studio crew -- Joe Buck, Cris Collinsworth, Troy Aikman, James Brown, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw -- didn't know about this tradition.

Aside from all of them covering games there over the years and just being around people who would have experienced the mooning, Johnson lost a game in Green Bay as coach of the Cowboys in 1989 with Aikman as his quarterback. Aikman lost another game in Green Bay in 1997, and Howie Long's Raiders lost one there in 1993. Surely they have first, uh, hand knowledge of the mooning tradition. How many games do you think Peter King has covered at Lambeau over the years? And yet he wrote about Moss, "After the game, no one could figure out why he'd done it."

If that's true, then I have to lower my opinion of the collective intelligence of the press box.
Also, Kaufman's readers seem wise enough. Here are what a couple of them had to say:
Joe Haas: Joe Buck getting on his high horse over what I thought was a mild incident was more offensive to me than Moss' action. Who does Joe Buck think he is?

Jeff Alexander: I, too, was taken aback by the vehemence of Joe Buck's reaction, and it occurred to me how strange it is that Eric Barton's cheap shot on Drew Brees is only called "a stupid penalty" while a dumb gesture to the crowd by Moss is worth a sermon from Joe.

Here's my take: A guy makes a late hit to the head of a defenseless quarterback as he is falling down. As the desperation pass left Brees' hand the game -- the QB's season -- was presumably over, so even the most cynical interpretation, that Barton was trying to knock Brees out of the game, makes little sense. Rather, it was a gratuitous, cheap attempt to hurt another athlete to no purpose. But were we treated to shocked admonishment from the commentators?! No, this was seen as a tactical error, not a demonstration of the worst type of sportsmanship and underhanded play. Doesn't this strike you as weird?
Strikes me as some wise thinking all around.
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Monday, January 10, 2005

Geoff Stone v. Bill O'Reilly 

How did I miss this? Apparently, Geoff Stone - professor at The University of Chicago Law School - appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and got into it with the lovable host. From O'Reilly's current column...
On December 17th, I interviewed Professor Jeffrey Stone who teaches law at the University of Chicago on my television program. The topic was whether one could be a loyal American and want to see the USA defeated militarily in Iraq. Stone said yes:

O'Reilly: "I want to make sure you want to stand by your statement, that you can be a loyal American rooting for your country to lose militarily in Iraq. Do you stand by that?"
Stone: "I stand by that. One can be a loyal American and still root against the country."

Stone went on to say that wanting the USA to lose in Iraq could save lives in the long run. I said that any military loss would have to mean more causalities for the U.S. military, which is absolutely true. You don't lose militarily without taking casualities, so how could any loyal American want that to happen?

Subsequently, Professor Stone wrote an op-ed in The Chicago Tribune accusing me of, among other things, spewing "ugly invective" and "inflaming my audience."

Well, here's some more gas for the fire. Believing that the Iraq War is wrong is legitimate dissent, and you might even be right--this may be an unwinnable situation. But feeling any kind of joy or satisfaction when you hear of victories by the "insurgents" means you have crossed the line from dissent into disloyalty.

Rationalizations walk. If you are rooting for the insurgents, you are one.
Note that Bill O'Reilly, an idiot, cannot be bothered to spell Professor Stone's name correctly.

Here is the key excerpt from Stone's column on the incident.
This brings me back to Bill O'Reilly. In our "debate," O'Reilly protested that he did not mean to imply anything about the loyalty of those who "merely" oppose the war in Iraq, as long as they don't "root" for the enemy. Accepting his rather peculiar framing of the issue (it is, after all, his show), I argued that a patriotic citizen could in principle want his nation to lose a war--if the war is unjust and if "losing" means that fewer soldiers and civilians will die for no good reason. After all, patriotic Italians in World War II could well have hoped Italy would lose the war, the quicker the better.

O'Reilly insisted that losing the war in Iraq would necessarily mean that more Americans would die than if we did not lose (whatever "lose" means in this context), and that no patriotic American could therefore want the United States to lose. Of course, this isn't necessarily so. A patriotic American could reasonably believe (rightly or wrongly) that we have no business being in Iraq and that the sooner we get out the better. To cover the evident weakness of his position, O'Reilly resorted to the time-tested spewing of such ugly invective as "despicable," "traitor" and "disloyal" (not at me, but at those who might hold the hypothetical view he was determined to excoriate).

His purpose, of course, was to inflame his audience, without regard to the most fundamental values of the American system he claims to support.

What is the consequence of such demagoguery? As always in our history, it is to foster rage rather than reflection. After the show, I received a flood of e-mails capturing the anger I believe O'Reilly deliberately incited. A few examples:

- "You ought to be arrested, tried and convicted of wartime treason. And I don't have to tell you the penalty for that."

- "You are not only despicable, but should go ahead and move out of the U.S.A."

- "I must imagine that you will look over your shoulder a little bit, because maybe some soldier in a foxhole somewhere might be a tad angered with you. There may be a few GIs who would like to `speak' with you."

- "There is the tendency for citizens to take the law into their own hands in these cases; that is not outside the realm of possibility."

- "If anything happens to either of my loved ones serving overseas, I will hold you responsible."

- "Simply, you are un-American."

And so on.

Of course, these individuals have every right to their views, and the 1st Amendment certainly protects O'Reilly's vile incitement of such hatred.

But he dishonors the Constitution and his profession when he does so. This is not democratic deliberation. It is dividing Americans against Americans just for the sport of it. In my book, for people like political commentators O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh to exploit people's fears and anger in a time of war for nothing more than their own ratings is a pretty good definition of "unpatriotic."
I have to find a videotape of this.
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The No Fun League 

I've always said that, regardless of the fact that every aspect of Vince McMahon's foray into professional football that was known as the XFL was a failure, he totally hit the nail on the head when he called (my beloved) NFL the "No-Fun League." I remember that after St. Louis did the "bob n' weave" after every touchdown, group celebrations were banned--stupidly, as I loved and still love the bob n' weave.

All this by way of introduction to my point: Did anyone else find Randy Moss's simulated mooning of the crowd as funny as I did? Sure, it was classless, but it was still funny. And he'll get fined because squares in the league office and their lackeys suck as Peter King and Joe Buck think it was some terribly criminal act.

btw, I do enjoy reading Peter King. And I also think Joe Buck is pretty good. They just need to lighten up.
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Saturday, January 08, 2005

Playoff Football 

So, I had to go out tonight, so I knew I would miss the Chargers-Jets game. So I Tivo'd it, started it around 11pm. I had my tivo record 4 hours instead of the scheduled three, because games obviously always go over. As I was approaching the four-hours-of-recording mark, I realized it would be close. Then, the Chargers were passed midfield in OT with about 15 minutes of recorded football to go. I felt confident. They attempted the FG with about 1.5 minutes left. Once it missed, I realized I was screwed. That's why I'm online now--to find out who won.

And, for some reason, I think b/c I like Drew Brees, I was really rooting for the Chargers.

On that note, it seemed that the Chargers really didn't give the ball to Tomlinson enought. I mean, it turned out he got his touches, but they didn't run the football much at all in the second half, and even though they were behind, they had plenty of time to run. He's the best back in the league, arguably. I just didn't get that.

Frankly, I'm looking foward to next week's games more than this week. But, Denver-Indy could be good if Indy doesn't blow Denver out.
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So-So Moments in the Passive Voice 

I haven't found a Great Moment concerning Armstrong Williams and White House payola, but here is a run-of-the-mill corporate malfeasance-type Moment in the Passive Voice, from Franklin Raines, who would have been on the short-list for Treasury Secretary but for these scandals and, of course, the fact Kerry lost:
"I have advised the Board of Directors today that I am retiring as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fannie Mae. I previously stated that I would hold myself accountable if the SEC determined that significant mistakes were made in the Company's accounting. Although, to my knowledge, the Company has always made good faith efforts to get its accounting right, the SEC has determined that mistakes were made. By my early retirement, I have held myself accountable."
As always, emphasis was added...by me.
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Friday, January 07, 2005

They Get Letters 

Concerning this wonderful little story, Josh Marshall gets a letter:
Question: who else has been on the payroll?
They sank a quarter of a million into one not so prominent commentator to push a single issue -- not even one where they really needed help -- and they never greased anyone else? Not so credible.

Anyway, just asking . . .

Best,

JRT
True. They've already used taxpayer money for those fake Medicare news reports, and now this. And remember, this is not campaign money, but taxpayer money.
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World O'Crap, Indeed 

Check out world o'crap for the definitive takedown of the Corner's torture-talk.

I see Guthrie linked to this in his post about the Corner's torture day here. My bad. Anyway, you should read this link.

ADDENDUM: Also, we all know the Corner as the super-sweet blog of that stalwart conservative rag The National Review, founded, of course, by fellow Yale alumnus William F. Buckley, Jr. Mr. Buckley's magazine recently celebrated its 50th anniversity. Good for them. Via Atrios, we can celebrate this great event by reading a wonderful unsigned editorial that celebrated periodical ran in 1957:
The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.

National Review believes that the South's premises are correct. . . . It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority.
You can read more about the National Review's ignonomous history here, but I have to warn you that this link is to an article not decrying this old editorial, but celebrating it. So, read it at your own risk.
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Liberal Conspiracy! 

The liberal bias continues unabated, and only brave heroes like Bill O'Reilly are there to fight it for the folks. From yesterday's Talking Points Memo, entitled - hilariously - The Left-Wing Media Kicking Some Proverbial Butt...:
Today across the country, the left-wing media in a seemingly coordinated effort, attacked the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be the new attorney general. "The New York Times" ran a front-page torture story and two anti- Gonzales op-eds. "The Washington Post" ran a front page torture story and an anti-Gonzales editorial. "The Los Angeles Times" ran a torture story and an anti-Gonzales editorial. "The Boston Globe" ran a torture story, as did "The Chicago Tribune."

In addition, the far left Web sites took out ads that blamed Abu Ghraib, among other things, on Mr. Gonzales. All of this happened on a single day. Can you say coordinated attacks?
I would have to agree with that. The fact that new organizations and political web sites just happened to choose the day of Alberto Gonzales's confirmation hearing - of all days - to publish information relating to Alberto Gonzales proves that there is a conspiracy amongst the nation's newspapers to destroy George Bush and his administration.
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Alberto Gonzales 

By the way, some people might understandably think that I'm against Gonzales's nomination because of the torture memos. I'm not. I don't necessarily know what his role was - and, as a lawyer, if someone told him to form an argument justifying torture, then it was within his rights to do so. That's a lawyer's job. To be honest, I find the allegations relating to his evaluation of Texas death row claims more disturbing, because it indicates that he may have done a poor job on a serious issue. He certainly should have been publically called to account on both these issues; as to rather he'd be a good attorney general, I just don't know.
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Torture = Fraternity Hijinks 

A really revolting discussion has been taking place at The Corner over the last few days about torture. One post compared what was done to detainees to what is done to people training to be Navy Seals. That didn't really make any sense, but OK.

And then, from John Derbyshire, this:
A large, interesting, and quite disturbing subset of the reader e-mails I've been getting on the torture issue consists of accounts of the reader's hazing experience at the hands of a college fraternity. Good grief! I didn't know half this stuff went on.

If you've just been tapped for a college fraternity and are curious to know what you might have to go through by way of initiation, you might want to do a close reading of the Abu Ghraib scandals.
And this:
Torture, fraternity style: "My experience: My future 'brothers' broke eggs on top of my head. They took off my socks and broke eggs into them (not comfortable walking around for hours like that), no jacket in December, blindfolded with a Tampon, forced to hold hands with a fellow pledge in this condition while singing Christmas carols in a public, downtown setting. All through the evening, I was screamed at and my manhood was constantly challenged. Looking back, it was pretty funny."
Mostly I'm putting this here in case it disappears down the Corner memory hole. But I doubt it will - there must actually be a group of people who think Abu Ghraib compares to college hazing. And surely their right - I'm sure many of the people who were there or had family there get together and say "looking back, it was pretty funny" right before they blow themselves and 10 American soldiers up. Again, nice work on letting this happen, Bush administration.


UPDATE: See a more thorough discussion of torture day on The Corner here.
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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Liberal Bias! 

On the Corner, some disturbing liberal bias has come to light...
Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore was awarded seven and a half minutes of air time in the 7:30 half hour of Thursday’s "Today" show to offer his political analysis of why the Democrats failed to oust Bush. Katie Couric felt that wasn’t enough, so she invited him back an hour later for another eight minutes and forty seconds of air time, or 16 minutes, 10 seconds overall. While Couric tried to suggest that maybe Hollywood liberalism hurt the Democrats (and even noted the "vitriol...you seem to embody"), she also inaccurately promoted Moore’s latest book as "new" and "currently on many bestseller lists" when it came out in October and is ranked #1,547 on Amazon.com.
So the liberal bias is that a famous celebrity was interviewed about his political opinions and his book was identified as "new" when in fact it is more than 3 months old. Also, it isn't really "currently" on best seller lists, although it was a best seller.

It's hard to fathom how Bush was able to get even a single vote, with this kind of rampant, awful bias going around.
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Election Challenge 

Barbara Boxer is challenging the certification of Ohio's electoral votes right now. So, in an election in which the Democrat won the majority of the popular vote and in which the Democrat could have actually lost the electoral vote due to fraud, no Democratic Senator was willing to issue a challenge. Now, in an election in which the Democrats lost in every conceivable way and where no reasonable person believes that fraud influenced the outcome, a Democratic Senator is willing to issue a challenge.

If the Republicans didn't exist, we really would be the worst fucking party in the world.
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Fox News 

... is awesome. This morning I was watching their fair and balanced coverage. Their introduction to the next story was something like this... "Alberto Gonzales: why are Democrats trying to prevent the nomination of the first Hispanic Attorney General?"

As a Democrat, I can answer this question quite easily. I fucking hate Hispanics. I hate them all. That is the only reason I have any qualms about Gonzales being Attorney General. I would rather be paraded around on a leash while naked and humiliated than see a Hispanic raised to the level of attorney general. I would rather be tied naked to a wall while a dog barked at me and threatened to bite me than let a god damn formerly poor Hispanic person be Attorney General. I would rather have wires attached to my genitals than have a Hispanic attached to the Department of Justice.

I'm just somewhat embarrassed that the ace reporters at Fox News are finally on to us. Looks like we might actually lose the Hispanic vote next time.
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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Lost Thread 

Here's an open thread to discuss tonight's episode of Lost. I thought it was "strong, to very strong," as they say. I thought the suitcase payoff didn't quite match previous epidodes' endings, though. Not sure about the keen-on-Jesus idea, either, but that's just me. And considering the whole no athiests in foxholes idea, I guess it's not so bad. And do you think that chick can really sing that well? I don't.

Hopefully we'll start regular 2005 blogging soon. I've been pretty busy at work and a bit too stressed to think of anything interesting to post. I haven't talked to Guth since 2004, so I don't what his story is.
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Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year 

And, if anyone feels they should have gotten me a Christmas/Hannukah present but didn't, how about this?
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