Saturday, May 21, 2005
Second, we have the way-too-cutely titled 'Darth Vader's Family Values' by John Tierney, who finds Revenge of the Sith to be a battle between the People's Romance and Adam Smith's invisible hand. For another political view of Revenge of the Sith, see this piece by Lockjaw (hat tip to Lorie Byrd at PoliPundit).
When one of the nation's most prominent columnists is this stale, this predictable, so utterly deviod of imagination that a measly part-time blogger like myself can telescope his columns days in advance, then the newspaper that employs him is, to understate things considerably, not getting a good return on its money. Frank Rich has one idea - it's not a particularly good or original one, either. It is simply this: George W. Bush and his administration are fundamentally liars. That's it - everything else is window dressing. Rubbish...
I don't how good this movie is going to be, but I love the website...
Garfield: political satire since, well, since today, I guess...
Don't forget Howard Dean on Meet the Press tomorrow! Dean won't keep his mouth shut, it seems, once again judging Tom Delay guilty without a trial, a step he refused to take with Osama bin Laden. Captain Ed has much, much more...
PepsiCo President and CFO Indra Nooyi delivered a commencement address May 15 at Columbia University�s Business School.
In speaking about the powerful role America holds in the world today, Ms. Nooyi encouraged these new business leaders to make a positive and personal difference as representatives of this great country. She used the analogy of a human hand to emphasize America�s leadership position and to ensure it continues as the world�s �helping hand.�
Regrettably, the analogy was interpreted in some circles as unpatriotic or disrespectful. As a result of this feedback, Indra issued a formal apology.
What's this all about? A formal apology for the analogy of a helping hand? Who could possibly be offended by that?
For the answer, let's go to the source, the commencement speech itself.
...First, let�s consider our little finger. Think of this finger as Africa. Africa is the little finger not because of Africa�s size, but because of its place on the world�s stage. From an economic standpoint, Africa has yet to catch up with her sister continents. And yet, when our little finger hurts, it affects the whole hand.This is a far cry from the analogy of America as the 'helping hand' that Pepsi is apologizing for - nope, what Nooyi said is America is the middle finger of the world. The undeniable assocation she would like us to draw is of the 'ugly American', coarse, degenerate, rich, and heartless, lumbering around, destroying everything in sight, and giving everyone else a big 'screw you'.
Our thumb is Asia: strong, powerful, and ready to assert herself as a major player on the world�s economic stage.
Our index, or pointer finger, is Europe. Europe is the cradle of democracy and pointed the way for western civilization and the laws we use in conducting global business.
The ring finger is South America, including Latin America. Is this appropriate, or what? The ring finger symbolizes love and commitment to another person. Both Latin and South America are hot, passionate, and filled with the sensuous beats of the mambo, samba, and tango: three dances that � if done right � can almost guarantee you and your partner will be buying furniture together.
This analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents leaves the long, middle finger for North America, and, in particular, The United States. As the longest of the fingers, it really stands out. The middle finger anchors every function that the hand performs and is the key to all of the fingers working together efficiently and effectively. This is a really good thing, and has given the U.S. a leg-up in global business since the end of World War I.
However, if used inappropriately �just like the U.S. itself -- the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I�m talking about. In fact, I suspect you�re hoping that I�ll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I�m not looking for volunteers to model...
...Each of us in the U.S. � the long middle finger � must be careful that when we extend our arm in either a business or political sense, we take pains to assure we are giving a hand � not the finger. Sometimes this is very difficult. Because the U.S. � the middle finger � sticks out so much, we can send the wrong message unintentionally.
Unfortunately, I think this is how the rest of the world looks at the U.S. right now. Not as part of the hand � giving strength and purpose to the rest of the fingers � but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal.
On a certain level, this analogy of Nooyi's is kind of cute, and I'm not going to insult your intelligence by equating her remarks with those of, say, a Noam Chomsky or a Michael Moore. More offensive than the comments themselves is the mentality that backs them, a far too common affliction: the belief that America has so wronged the world that we must beg forgiveness, that we are the oppressor, that we are indifferent to the rest of humanity.
That's bull. If the rest of the world chooses not to see America for what it truly is, the fault is not with us. Here's a short summary of the relations of America to the rest of the world over the last 100 years:
- 1918: American troops die in Europe by the hundreds of thousands in a war that doesn't touch our shores.
- 1941: America institutes Lend-Lease and becomes 'the arsenal of Democracy'.
- 1941-1945: Hundreds of thousands of Americans again die to liberate Europe and Asia.
- 1945-1989: America provides the backbone of the effort against Communism and the Iron Curtain.
- 1950-1953: Tens of thousands of Americans give the ultimate sacrifice to save South Korea from the horrors that have befallen the North.
- 1954 - 1975: America takes over the struggle to keep South Vietnam from Communist rule after the French effort collapses at Dien Bien Phu.
- 1989: The Berlin Wall falls, and the Soviet bloc begins its final collapse, largely under financial and diplomatic pressure brought on by the Reagan Administration.
- 1991: Kuwait liberated by American-led coalition in Operation Desert Storm.
- 1999: U.S. airstrikes in Kosovo break the stalemate in the Balkans crisis.
- 2002: Brutal Taliban regime overthrown in Afghanistan.
- 2003: Saddam Hussein's despotic reign ended by U.S.-led coalition.
UPDATE 5:36 p.m. central: I am indebted to the great PoliPundit for the link; as always, greatly appreciated...
UPDATE 2 6:58 p.m. central: kate, a commenter at PoliPundit questioned the hundreds of thousands for WWI. She's right (and it should have been 1917-1918). There were about 53,000 theater deaths, and 64,000 non-theater deaths in that conflict for American servicemen, so tens of thousands would have been more appropriate.
UPDATE 3 7:58 p.m. central: commenter gs seems to smell a little blogger triumphalism here and may have a point; I'm certainly not calling Nooyi anti-American; I just find her remarks symptomatic of a worldview that places too much emphasis on America's wrongs. In the interest of fairness, I'll print Nooyi's apology here:
Following my remarks to the graduating class of Columbia University�s Business School in New York City, I have come to realize that my words and examples about America unintentionally depicted our country negatively and hurt people.
I appreciate the honest comments that have been shared with me since then, and am deeply sorry for offending anyone. I love America unshakably � without hesitation � and am extremely grateful for the opportunities and support our great nation has always provided me.
Over the years I�ve witnessed and advised others how a thoughtless gesture or comment can hurt good, caring people. Regrettably, I�ve proven my own point. Please accept my sincere apologies.� Indra Nooyi
The Constitution Restoration Act of 2004 [would] acknowledge God as the sovereign source of law and threaten judges with impeachment should they uphold separation of church and state.Anyone see any problems with that? Like, perhaps, that it is so blatantly unconstitutional that it couldn't survive the judicial review of a three-year-old? Shame on Shelby for proposing such a, well, you know what, and shame on Clift for pretending it's a real threat.
Clift assures us that the judicial showdown is the first step of a nefarious agenda that culminates in an attack on gay marriage...uh, wait, no, that couldn't be right..oh, yeah, so it is...hmm. Doesn't the opposite scenario in fact ring truer? Wouldn't it fit reality better to say that liberal activist judges are implementing a radical social agenda against the wishes of the majority of the populace, knowing full well that such actions of judicial fiat are not democratic and could not be achieved through legislation? Is gay marriage, regardless of one's view on it, an enshrined institution that one attacks with a secret plan, or is it in fact traditional marriage that is under siege?
I still fail to see, despite all the mighty efforts of Rich, Dowd, and Clift, how it is that lobbying by religious conservatives is any different than lobbying by abortion supporters, gun owners, business groups, or any other collective entity. Those who think that merely allowing Christians into the political debate will threaten the very anchors of our society have a lot less faith in the durability of the American Constitution than I do.
Friday, May 20, 2005
The digital projection is indeed phenomenal, and has a very convincing depth to it that borders on the three-dimensional. The opening sequence was absolutely breathtaking, and easily the best Star Wars action sequence since the run on the Death Star in Episode IV (yes, that's right, I said that. I don't know how it plays on regular film, but on digital, it's a thrill). Lucas has clearly reached a comfort level with digital technology that is unsurpassed, and that makes me believe that Roger Ebert may be on to something when he says there may yet be that final trilogy. Curiously, some of the scenes from the final battle on the volcanic planet seem 'fakey'; I'm surprised Lucas let them go; perhaps he simply ran out of time.
I've said little about the movie. The movie is a colossal failure if one judges it on a literary or a philosophical plane. The dialogue, as usual, is horrible (though not as bad as some would lead you to believe), the plot has holes big enough to send an Imperial Battle Cruiser through, and worst of all, Anakin's descent into the Dark Side is unconvincing. Whether Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman are good actors trapped by bad material or simply bad actors, I do not know; I do know that to carry all the mythological freight now invested in Darth Vader, it would have taken a great actor indeed.
Having said all that, the movie is a spectacular triumph by the standards of old B-movies, westerns, space operas (of which Star Wars is the progenitor), and all the other pure popcorn entertainment genres; indeed, on that level, the movie may be the best of its kind ever made. One has always had the feeling that the whole six-movie double trilogy has been a bit of a con game; Lucas plays coy with what he did or didn't know, plotwise, but I submit he knew next to nothing. The movies were always about adventure; everything else was secondary. And if he had to pretend to have some epic story arc to get his movies made and try out all his wonderful technological toys (not to mention all of the green stuff he's made), then so be it, here's your epic story.
So, in the end, the story has failed us; we invested too much in it for it to ever meet our expectations. Lucas is not Dostoevsky; he's not Tolkien; he's not even C.S. Lewis. The Star Wars plot has no life, and had precious little to begin with. It's been a grand adventure, though, and to all the critics I ask: aren't you glad you at least took the ride?
It's an open question, I suppose, whether the brutality of war and prison turns a normal person into a sadist, or whether these folks were sadists before they ever joined the military. I'm well aware of the famous college experiment that seemed to show that guards will inevitably become oppressive and cruel. It seems to me, though, that we need to try some sort of psychological screening before allowing people to have access to prisoners.
Regardless, those responsible must be punished, and severely, no matter how high up the chain. If you believe in American exceptionalism, as I do, then you can accept no less.
Chrenkoff the Great has more, much more, on the the troops and the Koran and the emerging 'fake but plausible' cover. Highly recommended...
We are spending way too much time debating with ourselves, or playing defense, and way too little time actually looking Arab Muslims in the eye and telling them the truth as we see it...The greatest respect we can show to Arabs and Muslims - and the best way to help Muslim progressives win the war of ideas - is to take them seriously and stop gazing at our own navels. That means demanding that they answer for their lies, hypocrisy and profane behavior, just as much as we must answer for ours.Exactly...
- Anakin Skywalker turns to the Dark Side, and (get this)...becomes Darth Vader!; and
- (this is even more spectacular) Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father!
How is that relevant? As al-Ahmed points out, many Muslim governments make it official policy to ban Bibles, Stars of David, and other symbols of Christianity and Judaism, yet the U.S. furnished copies of the Koran to its detainees and takes pain to stress our fight is not against the Muslim faith, but rather extremists within it.
His conclusion states it well:
The lesson here is simple: If Muslims wish other religions to respect their beliefs and their Holy book, they should lead by example.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
I don't know what's worse, the unbelievably condescending attitude on display or the incomprehensibility of Hefner's position. Under what possible mode of logic is the Bush administration obligated to clean up after Newsweek?
Let�s ask why the Koran story was credible in the first place. Might it have something to do with the accurately reported (in words and pictures) horrible actions that took place at Abu Ghraib, and allegedly at Guantanamo Bay? Might those events be the source of �lasting damage� to our reputation abroad, especially among Muslim people?
And what�s with the notion that an independent media has an obligation to �help repair the damage?� That obligation is our government�s.
I'm not stupid, and neither are you; we know damn well what Hefner's doing...she's trying to get the reader to accept the canard that because a few idiots did some stupid things at Abu Ghraib, somehow it's acceptable for Newsweek to run a poorly sourced inflammatory allegation, because it's plausible. (Furthermore, she wants you to completely absolve Newsweek of wrongdoing...who printed that false allegation? Why, it was the Abu Ghraib crew...). This is deplorable, and if this is really the new standard, the 60 Minutes II, Newsweek rule of false but possible, then the MSM is in worse trouble than anyone imagines.
No excuses, please - Newsweek ran a story that should have never been run, and people died needlessly. That's the long and the short of it.
For reaction to these poll numbers, let's turn to the Daily Kos...um, the Daily Kos...um, Markos? Hello? How about Josh Marshall? Hey, where'd everybody go all of a sudden?...
The problem is, the bigger the building, the more space is taken up by elevators. Admittedly, the articles I read on Trump's plan are all short, general pieces like this one. Unless Trump had some new brilliant architectural insight, though, I don't see how he can propose two similar buildings with any degree of seriousness.
Of course, the other HUGE problem is that Trump is not a stakeholder anymore than you and I are (although, on some level, we are all stakeholders -see my previous proposal here). Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority, along with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, will make the final decision, and Silverstein's not buying in to Trump's vision. Not everyone agrees with my assessment, of course - for a more enthusiastic reception to Trump's plan, see here and here.
Well, the short version is that Myers had questioned whether the rioting in Afghanistan was related to the Koran desecration story, and liberal blogs and other outlets had pounced. Only problem is, the reality-based community is living in fantasyland here; and before I make a further hash of things, read on for the links that prove it (hat tip to the Instapundit, who has plenty of other linky goodness)...
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Captain Ed has the scoop on yet another lie told by that oh-so-principled hero to the Kossacks Harry Reid...
Anne Applebaum is either extremely foolish or the holder of the biggest scoop of the year (via the Minuteman, the blogger so mighty it takes two blogs to contain him)...
The Conglomerate has more on that Norman Mailer blockbuster (hat tip to Prof Bainbridge)...
TM: I don't think the media should be immune from criticism. I think the elected leader of the United States has his or her hands full, and plenty of things for the elected leader of the United States to do. I think media criticism is a great thing. I think what you do is a great thing. I do not think it's a great thing for the president's spokesperson to begin instructing the media how to go about its business.
HH: He did not. Terry, he did not. That's trying to play a victim card here. You're not the victim. The victim's the American military. The victims are the dead people in Afghanistan.
HH: The victims are the American people generally.
TM: Agreed. I'm trying...what I'm trying to do is establish a principle here, and let me read you the transcript. We would encourage Newsweek to do all they can to help repair the damage. Pointing out what the policies and practices of the United States military are. And today, the president's spokesman said Newsweek should go on Al Jazeera, and other Arab television networks.
HH: Yes, they should. And there's nothing wrong...
TM: As a matter of fact, I agree with you.
HH: I've been a broadcaster for fifteen years. I know demagoguery when I hear it. That's not.
TM: But you practice it.
HH: I do not practice it. I practice good journalism, which is to represent I'm no better than any other American citizen. As a journalist, I don't have...
TM: You're no better than any other American citizen?
HH: Absolutely not. And if the president wants to criticize me, if a Democrat...for example, when Bill Clinton went after Rush Limbaugh, I didn't mind that at all. That's just fine. Rush got a great deal of attention out of it, and the criticism falls where it may. I don't understand...
TM: Well, I defend Rush Limbaugh as well from that.
TM: I completely, as I said at the top of this conversation, I agree completely with the substance of what Scott said. I think Newsweek has an obligation to go beyond it's retraction, which it tried to retract. And Newsweek has an obligation to really do some work here, and to get out into the region and the Arab networks and the Arab media, and explain what happened.
HH: You were in the White House press room when the Texas Air National Guard pledge was made, and there were arguments that Bush had not honored it. It was a frenzy. Why a frenzy then, but not any concern, even a little bit about the SF-180 now?
TM: Well, that is a very good question. I think that the biggest difference, and one for which I'm sure you're grateful, is that George W. Bush is the president of the United States, and John Kerry is the guy who lost the last election.
HH: But who is running again.
TM: There is, in general, a lot less interest in what the loser has done, or is about, or you know, John Kerry is deluding himself, it seems, that he has a continued political life, and perhaps you share that. But I think that when it's the president of the United States, and I agree with you. It was something of a frenzy.
HH: And so, should Kerry follow through on his commitment?
TM: Yes, absolutely.
HH: Are there members of the White House Press Corps, Terry, who actually hate Bush?
TM: I would say the answer to that is yes.
HH: And what percentage of them, do you think that amounts to?
TM: Uh, small, I would say, but some big fish.
HH: Do you read the blogs by the way?
TM: Absolutely. Every day, all the time.
HH: Which ones?
TM: I always start out at Instapundit, I take a look at LGF, I look at Kos, on the other side, and Joshua Micah Marshall. I'm not a frequenter of your blog, but every once in a while, I'll get linked to it. My brother has a blog, Right Wing Nut House.
HH: Oh, I like Right Wing Nut House.
TM: That's my brother's blog.
Alright, I've got a little more respect for the man now...I know that was a long excerpt, but I hope you caught the Kerry references above, particularly regarding the Form SF-180...
As for 2008, by the time the elections have rolled around, this site will be more focused, better organized, hosted, and on either Movable Type, Word Press, or a similar platform. That means categories, candidate profiles filed under respective parties, links to the latest polls...we're gonna have us some fun.
I'm not there yet, but there is no shortage of time. I covered some of these issues in an earlier post, and frankly, I'm bored of navel-gazing and I'm sure my regulars are as well. The blog is what it is; like all blogs, it will evolve over time. I plan to continue to cover current events, related to the election or not, throw in the odd satirical piece here and there, link to other excellent stories in roundups, and yes, cover the candidates and issues of 2008. Alright, enough of that already...
I will take this chance, while we're on the subject, to update my odds on Arnold. The ticking clock has made his candidacy a near impossibility, given the Constitutional Amendment requirement. I'm knocking him down substantially.
CURRENT ODDS: 160-1
What's really going on here is two stories. One involves Newsweek and the ups and downs of U.S. journalism. The other involves a swath of the Islamic world in which anger, fueled by years of gross political misrule, is a chronic feature of life--seeking to acquire a target. What produced these particular riots was the intersection of Islamic-world furies and that brand of U.S. self-absorption in which no subject is more fascinating to the American media than any possible misdeeds of the U.S. itself.Can't improve on that (other than to point out, again, that the fascination with possible misdeeds of the U.S. is personified by Chomskyite 'progressives'); well said...
And, in case you've been living under a rock, the long-awaited "High Noon"-ish judical showdown is nigh...expect endless debate and no action for the time being. Michelle Malkin has links aplenty...
...You could flush a Bible down the toilet in front of Goober in Kabul, and it's unlikely that Mayberry suddenly would be awash in blood.Would that the Kossacks and Deaniacs would take Parker's words to heart...but I'm not holding my breath.
Without disrespecting true believers of Islam, one also could debate the relative miseries of seeing our favorite scripture disappear into the plumbing versus, say, watching airplanes fly into buildings, killing thousands of innocents. Remember, these are terrorist suspects captured after 9/11, not kidnapped members of an Afghan boys choir...
... The same people foaming over a reported act of blasphemy didn't flinch while executing women for stepping outside sans burqa. I'm afraid my moral outrage in favor of the morally outrageous is tapped out.
While the world was reacting in righteous indignation to the Newsweek report, another story was circulating about Turkish women in Germany being executed by family members in "honor killings" sanctioned by certain interpretations of the Koran. Their offense? Acting like Western women. Or, in the pithy words of a 14-year-old Turkish boy who was justifying an execution: "The whore lived like a German." (Now where have I heard that last phrase? Oh, yeah, in the 35 million spam German e-mails I've received in the last week...-Mark)
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
The Instapundit, blogging a storm like nobody's business, is taking offense (and rightfully so) at Andrew Sullivan deigning to tell him what to blog about. The kicker:
...I find the question of what Andrew thinks less pressing than I used to.That's gotta hurt!...
For the definitive take on the Newsweek fiasco, I refer you to the unsurpassed Jay Rosen...
Punditish has a reading comprehension quiz up; I find the results quite interesting...
Fareed Zakaria says the U.S. lacks focus in its North Korean policy...
Is support of gay marriage the only principled position? That's what Massachusetts Democrats are telling John Kerry as they recommend he 'educate' himself...
jp at Americans for Freedom has the scoop on Donald Trump's plan to rebuild the Twin Towers...color me skeptical...
I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark,
When he made Pearl Harbor.
I miss you more then that movie missed the point,
And that�s an awful lot girl.
And now, now you've gone away,
And all I'm trying to say,
Is Pearl Harbor sucked and I miss you...
I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school,
He was terrible in that film.
I need you like Cuba Gooding needed a bigger part,
He's way better then Ben Affleck.
And now all I can think about is your smile,
And that sh**y movie too,
Pearl Harbor sucked and I miss you...
Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies.
I guess Pearl Harbor sucked,
Just a little bit more then I miss you.
Oh, the humanity...does any have a hankie?...
Prove me wrong, Frank, prove me wrong...
UPDATE 8:15 p.m.: Apparently, the photo-sharing part of Blogger (Hello) is down, so you'll have to make do without my brilliant attempt at photo manipulation until later. Meanwhile, I recommend you go to the Instapundit, and just start scrolling. He's on a roll today; can't remember the last time I've seen him post this much...
UPDATE 8:32 p.m.: Okay, we're back!...
The best example of this mentality has been the coverage of Abu Ghraib, which quickly morphed from one disgusting episode into media suspicion of the motives and morals of the entire military chain of command. Certainly the photos of sick behavior on the nightshift by a unit from the Maryland Army Reserve were news. But they were first exposed by the Army itself, through the Taguba investigation that was commissioned months before the photos were leaked.
The press corps nonetheless spent weeks developing a "torture narrative" that has since been thoroughly discredited, both by the independent panel headed by former Defense Secretary Jim Schlesinger and by every court martial to look at the matter. But rather than acknowledge that perhaps the coverage had been wrong, the media reaction has been to declare the many probes to be part of a wildly improbable cover-up.
What the Journal doesn't state explicitly is that this is yet another example of the Chomsky effect at work. The 'progressive' mentality is anti-authoritarian, prone to believe in conspiracies, and distrustful to the point of paranoia of American motives, and no one personality has held the standard higher than the America-hating linguist from MIT. The net effect of relentless unsourced or poorly sourced allegations of the like peddled by Chomsky is to gradually erode the world's opinion of America; our enemies can simply say, 'Look, he's an American professor! He says it, too."
By all means, misbehavior or worse by the armed forces should be reported and punished, but explosive allegations of this nature demand a higher standard of proof before they are broadcast worldwide.
Ten Things I�ve Never Done Before
10. Read War and Peace.
9. Been to Niagara Falls.
8. Danced with the devil in the pale moonlight.
7. Been to an opera.
6. Purchased an album by George Michael or any other former member of Wham!.
5. Wrecked my girlfriend�s car.
4. Been in the same room with any President, current or former.
3. Attended a mass or any other Catholic ceremony.
2. Given up my love of Peanuts cartoon strips.
1. Thought to myself, �Why don�t I stop at the bookstore on the way home and get that new one by Maureen Dowd?�Miriam, Suzanne? Care to enlighten us? How about anyone else?�
Monday, May 16, 2005
Problem is, I know nothing about Perl or PHP, so both environments are a little unfamiliar to me (for that matter, I'm not a whiz at Apache, either) and I want to try out some designs and different looks before I make the transition. Why am I boring you with these details? Because I want you to know I don't plan on going anywhere, and I want to keep things fresh and exciting, and that includes more organization and cleaner visuals and design. Just so you know, it may take a while (who knows, I might not make the move for months), but it's coming. Thanks again for participating in this wacky little experiment called Decision '08. (Karl, how was that? Do you think anyone suspects?)...
Here's an interesting community I found through my comments - the Conservative Fangirls Coalition - I think I'm in love!...
I haven't had a chance to post yet on the Newsweek retraction, but Ryan James has got us covered...
And just because I haven't linked to her in a while, and she's been such a great supporter of this site, why not pay Nettie a visit? She's always up to something...
...let me assure you that I take in stride attacks by the radical right wingers who have not given up demonizing me although I retired over six months ago. They�ve been after me for years now, and I suspect they will be stomping on my grave to make sure I don�t come back from the dead. I should point out to them that one of our boys pulled it off some two thousand years ago after the Pharisees, the Sadducees and Caesar surrogates thought they had shut him up for good. I won�t be expecting that kind of miracle, but I should put my detractors on notice, they might just compel me out of the rocking chair and back into the anchor chair.
Who are they? I mean the people obsessed with control using the government to threaten and intimidate; I mean the people who are hollowing out middle class security even as they enlist the sons and daughters of the working class to make sure Ahmad Chalabi winds up controlling Iraq�s oil; I mean the people who turn faith-based initiatives into Karl Rove�s slush fund; who encourage the pious to look heavenward and pray so as not to see the long arm of privilege and power picking their pockets; I mean the people who squelch free speech in an effort to obliterate dissent and consolidate their orthodoxy into the official view of reality from which any deviation becomes unpatriotic heresy. That�s who I mean. And if that�s editorializing, so be it. A free press is one where it�s okay to state the conclusion you�re led to by the evidence.
There are so many flat-out lies in the above that it would be an insult to your intelligence to list them; and what are we to make of a left-wing journalist who draws a parallel between himself and Jesus, whom he regards as 'one of our boys'? Frank Rich, are you listening?...
...I've known, over the course of my life, a number of individuals for whom nearly every occurrence is "just like" this or that film, television program or cartoon. These sorts become unbearable when one realizes that the only referential lens available to them is popular culture, particularly American popular culture of the last 40 years. They then become an utter bore; most things, I've found, are really not "just like" a film, television program or cartoon. But Frank Rich is just this kind of bore.As they say in the trades, read the whole thing...
By way of elucidating the nature of his "wider war," Chef Rich prepares a preposterous stew. He liberally mixes fact and fiction: Details from the obscure 1962 melodrama "Advise and Consent," Tony Kushner's early '90s drama "Angels in America," David K. Johnson's 2004 cold war history "The Lavender Scare," and a few incendiary, carefully picked Page Six items are hastily thrown together. Voila! It's an instant "war on gay people." In his 1500-word jiffy of an essay these ingredients are agglomerated, then cooked, resulting in an emetic, name-calling melange.
Meanwhile, the fallout from the Newsweek-Koran disaster is spreading. The Instapundit has a rundown under his alter ego, and Michelle Malkin has tons of stuff; just keep scrolling...
"Star Wars" director George Lucas says that although he wrote the original film during the Vietnam War, his six-part saga could apply to the war in Iraq.
''In terms of evil, one of the original concepts was how does a democracy turn itself into a dictatorship,'' Lucas told a news conference at Cannes, where his final episode had its world premiere.
''The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable.
''On the personal level it was how does a good person turn into a bad person, and part of the observation of that is that most bad people think they are good people, they are doing it for the right reasons,'' he added.
Let's see, the democracy (the United States) fought the dictatorship (Ho Chi Minh's North Vietnam and Saddam's Iraq), and a good person (Jane Fonda, George Lucas) turns into a bad person, but thinks (s)he's doing the right things...by God, the parallels really are uncanny!...
UPDATE 12:09 p.m.: Thanks to the great Michelle Malkin for the link - browse around awhile and make yourself at home if you haven't been to these parts before...oh, and make the most out of your Monday...
In a thoughtful piece in U.S. News and World Report, John Leo comes close to formulating a view that reflects my own. In discussing an overly 'politically correct' school textbook, Leo says the following:
In dealing with homosexuality, the job of the school is to teach tolerance, not to disparage traditional views. Gays are our neighbors and should be treated with respect. Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, one of two local groups opposing the curriculum, makes this point clearly. "Teaching respect for persons with same-sex attraction is appropriate and right," the group says. "But demanding affirmation of a homosexual orientation and behavior goes beyond the ethic of tolerance." The curriculum does in fact teach approval of homosexuality. Understandably, gays want that approval, but it can't be imposed by state schools.That's about right, I think, for quite a few conservatives.
A senior Chinese official, Yang Xiyu, told The Times in an interview published last week that it was true that "we do not yet have tangible achievements" in ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program. "But a basic reason for the unsuccessful effort lies in the lack of cooperation from the U.S. side." He cited Mr. Bush's references to Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader, as a "tyrant" who keeps dissidents in concentration camps.China is concerned about, among other things, a flood of refugees across its border if sanctions are imposed. It is of paramount importance, then, that we assure China that we will assist them financially and logistically, preferably with the help of other U.N. Security Council members, in the event of a mass sanctions-caused migration. Playing the ostrich will do the Chinese no good in the long run. We tried reasoning with Kim and he brazenly ignored our agreements. We've moved past that. Too bad China hasn't.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Grandsons are condemned to life-long terms as slave laborers alongside their grandfathers, both equally helpless in the brutal surroundings. Prisoners are arbitrarily murdered by security guards. Women suffer from forced abortions at the hands of unlicensed doctors. Newborn babies are beaten to death. And sons and daughters are publicly executed in front of their mothers.If Stalin and Hitler were the twin princes of evil of the 20th century, Kim Jong-Il is surely their successor. Yet relatively little is being done.
The U.N. is largely silent, more concerned with reviving the image of its hopelessly inept leader than tackling an issue this messy. China is not applying the pressure it could bring to bear; the Left is more concerned with vilifying the Bush administration, the same administration that has done more to bring hope to the Middle East than any other in our lifetime. Regardless, America's military commitments in Iraq preclude the use of force to bring about North Korean regime change, never mind those nuclear weapons Kim has.
Kim is a psychopath. He is evil, or evil has no meaning. He must be stopped. We must use all of our influence with China, whatever goodwill remains in the U.N., and more than anything, we must have more pieces like these to make sure the world is aware of how truly desperate the situation has become. I applaud the Tribune for this series. This blog has a small voice, but it's a voice that will be watching the situation and reporting on it from time to time.
Wouldn't it be nice if the Frank Riches of the world, those who have the benefit of a large platform such as the New York Times, could use that enormous influence to talk about a real issue other than their hatred of George W. Bush? Will Maureen Dowd say at the end of her years (long may they be), well, millions of North Koreans died, but I really stuck it to that Wolfowitz? The petty squabbles that surround us daily pale in significance when one considers the living nightmare that millions of North Koreans wake up to daily.
Silence is an option the world cannot afford.
Eugene Khasilev is none too happy about the Newsweek 'Koran desecration' kerfuffle. Here's more from the Jawa Report; still more from the Instapundit...
Our good friend Miriam has the real estate blues - good luck and hang in there...
Carpe Bonum thinks GOP moderates have been defined out of existence...
Over at the Bernoulli Effect, Jeff is reflecting on Operation Matador...
More on Frank Rich's curious fascination with gay Republicans from Lifelike Pundits...
Historian David Greenberg is exhausted after a tough week of blogging; the Minuteman reflects on the harrowing task. Glenn Reynolds is shocked, SHOCKED I say, at Greenberg's conclusions, but who's gonna listen to a guy who blends puppies? (Note: I have just telegraphed my beagle's next exclusive investigation)...
There is a HUGE difference between supporting gay marriage through judicial fiat and being opposed to active discrimination against gay people, but Rich doesn't see it. He labels it a 'sham', and assures us that Republicans opposed to judicial activism are motivated entirely by anti-gay animosity. How can he be so sure? Why, using his patented technique described above. Some Republicans wanted judges to get involved in keeping Terry Schiavo alive; therefore, we're all hypocrites who don't have a clue as to the complexities of the legal system
Rich, like his colleague MoDo, doesn't write thoughtful pieces, or genuine editorials aiming to influence anyone. He simply throws out red meat to the packs of Republican-haters that largely comprise the Times' readership, and watches them rip it apart. He's a propagandist, not a thinker.