Thursday, September 28, 2006
Light Posting Excuse
Thought of the Day
Steely Dan in My Old School (Countdown to Ecstasy)
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I've Always Liked Denzel, Ever Since St. Elsewhere
Subject: Denzel Washington and Brooks Medical Center
Don't know whether you heard about this but Denzel Washington and his family visited the troops at Brooks Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas (BMAC) the other day. This is where soldiers who have been evacuated from Germany come to be hospitalized in the United States, especially burn victims. There are some buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a Hotel where soldier's families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the Hospital. BMAC has quite a few of these houses on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost all filled most of the time. While Denzel Washington was visiting BMAC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot!
The soldiers were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it. The Question I Have is Why Does: Alec Baldwin, Madonna, Sean Penn, The Dixie Chicks and other Hollywood types make front page news with their anti-everything America trash and Denzel Washington's Patriotism doesn't even make page 3 in the Metro section of any newspaper except the local paper in San Antonio?
A true American and friend to all in uniform!
This needs as wide a distribution as we can create!
Just wish his movies were better lately.
Democrat Plan for the Central Front of the War
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) will chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Democrats win control of the House next year, but his main goal in 2007 does not fall within his panel’s jurisdiction.
“I can’t stop this war,” a frustrated Rangel said in a recent interview, reiterating his vow to retire from Congress if Democrats fall short of a majority in the House.
But when pressed on how he could stop the war even if Democrats control the House during the last years of President Bush’s second term, Rangel paused before saying, “You’ve got to be able to pay for the war, don’t you?”
Rangel’s views on funding the war are shared by many of his colleagues – especially within the 73-member Out of Iraq Caucus.
Some Democratic legislators want to halt funding for the war immediately, while others say they would allocate money for activities such as reconstruction, setting up international security forces, and the ultimate withdrawal of U.S. troops.
“Personally, I wouldn’t spend another dime [on the war,]” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).
No sane person, who loves this country, can vote for a Democrat during this early, perhaps critical period of the long, tough war we face, for fear of putting them in power. You can vote for Democrats, if you must, once we start winning the war against the Jihadists.
This Makes Up for Leaving Out the Indefinate Article
ON JULY 20, 1969, AS COMMANDER OF THE APOLLO 11 LUNAR MODULE, NEIL ARMSTRONG WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO SET FOOT ON THE MOON. HIS FIRST WORDS AFTER STEPPING ON THE MOON, "THAT'S ONE SMALL STEP FOR [A] MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND," WERE TELEVISED TO EARTH AND HEARD BY MILLIONS
BUT JUST BEFORE HE REENTERED THE LANDER, HE MADE THE ENIGMATIC REMARK "GOOD LUCK, MR. GORSKY." MANY PEOPLE AT NASA THOUGH IT WAS A CASUAL REMARK CONCERNING SOME RIVAL SOVIET COSMONAUT. HOWEVER, UPON CHECKING, THERE WAS NO GORSKY IN EITHER THE RUSSIAN OR AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAMS
OVER THE YEARS MANY PEOPLE QUESTIONED ARMSTRONG AS TO WHAT THE "GOOD LUCK, MR. GORSKY" STATEMENT MEANT, BUT ARMSTRONG ALWAYS JUST SMILED.
ON JULY 5, 1995, IN TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA, WHILE ANSWERING QUESTIONS FOLLOWING A SPEECH, A REPORTER BROUGHT UP THE 26-YEAR-OLD QUESTION TO ARMSTRONG. THIS TIME HE FINALLY RESPONDED. MR. GORSKY HAD DIED, SO NEIL ARMSTRONG FELT HE COULD ANSWER THE QUESTION.
IN 1938 WHEN HE WAS A KID IN A SMALL MID-WEST TOWN, HE WAS PLAYING BASEBALL WITH A FRIEND IN THE BACKYARD. HIS FRIEND HIT THE BALL, WHICH LANDED IN HIS NEIGHBOR'S YARD BY THE BEDROOM WINDOWS. HIS NEIGHBORS WERE MR. AND MRS. GORSKY. AS HE LEANED DOWN TO PICK UP THE BALL, YOUNG ARMSTRONG HEARD MRS. GORSKY SHOUTING AT MR. GORSKY, "SEX! YOU WANT SEX?! YOU'LL GET SEX WHEN THE KID NEXT DOOR WALKS ON THE MOON!"
UPDATE: Mark Dunn points me to a site which says this story is a joke which morphed into false history. Sounds right.
This Day in Mid-15th Century History
Thought of the Day
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Andrew Sullivan Completes His Turn
I'll be on AC360 tonight, discussing the torture and detention-without-charge bill. [Is that its real title?]
Talking and thinking this over, I'm trying to look on the bright side. The bill allows this president to continue torturing detainees (and possibly innocent ones). But it doesn't actually authorize the torture methods. And it doesn't formally breach Geneva. So "the program" continues in the shadows of Bush's shadow government. The truly disturbing part is that the only criterion for detaining anyone without charges - citizen or non-citizen, at home or anywhere in the world - is the president's discretion. If Rumsfeld decides you're an enemy combatant, you can be whisked away into a black hole, tortured, or have to prove your innocence in a military commission while he insists on your guilt. The "battlefield" is everywhere; and the war is endless. This is not, to put it mildly, what the founding fathers had in mind. It is one of the darkest hours for Western liberty in a very long time. And most conservatives are cheering. Watching habeas corpus go down the plughole is not something I ever thought I would have to contemplate. Well done, Osama. You won this one big time.
Who did Sullivan think fought our wars in the past, the judiciary? I know one founding father, who as President, our third, confronted and fought against an overseas Muslim threat. Lincoln by proclamation actually suspended habeas corpus for two and a half years in order to fight the civil war without judicial intervention. We seem to have weathered that un-comtemplatable event with the Constitution intact. Oh wait, suspension of habeas corpus under certain circumstances is right there in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 9. Lincoln probably should have had Congress do it then.
I feel like Ripley in Aliens--did IQs drop precipitously while I slept last night?
Proof of Clinton's Lies on Sunday
Read Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's response. Read Byron York's report on what Richard Clarke's book (touted by Clinton as a veritable Oracle of Truth) actually said, and this. Read what Richard Clarke said regarding Clinton's current claim that his administration handed the Bush Administration a comprehensive plan about al Qaeda.
My favorite whopper remains: And I think it's very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn't do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush's neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn't do enough said I did too much — same people. Repeated later in the interview as: The people on my political right who say I didn't do enough spent the whole time I was president saying, "Why is he so obsessed with bin Laden?
Perhaps you don't remember anyone saying Clinton was obsessed with bin Laden. Go ahead and do a Google search on that term. James Taranto did a search like that and reports on the result.
And don't get me started on: Now, I've never criticized President Bush.. Which was immediately followed by criticism of President Bush. Does he even hear himself?
Hugh Hewitt says the 15 minutes of Clinton unleashed on the Fox Sunday show will be mined for years by Presidential historians. Maybe, but if the war goes as I expect it to, we'll soon forget about the ultimate frivolity that was Clinton's Presidency.
Paul Campos--Bleeding Heart For the Jihadists
This law [pending in Congress] will, among other things, clarify the status of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, by making it clear that they may be kept in prison for the rest of their lives, without ever being allowed to plead their case in court. During this "indefinite detention" they may be tortured at the pleasure of the president, if he believes that torturing them is necessary to help keep us safe. (Emphasis added).
Am I wrong to take from that paragraph that Mr. Campos supports giving the Jihadists American Constitutional rights? Isn't he advocating a right to be tried in an American court? What would Mr. Campos want us to prove in court--that the Jihadists was carrying an AK-74? That the Jihadist is a Jihadist? Do we let captured combatants go back to the battlefield to kill more people, including American soldiers, etc.? All I can see in Mr. Campos' arguments is hopeless confusion.
But even more distressing is Mr. Campos' near complete inability to tell the difference between torture and not torture. Every time you call non-torture torture you diminish your proper argument that torture is wrong because people with common sense can tell the difference and they dismiss your argument as the product of your flawed perception. I'm doing it now.
Mr. Campos should look to what he unconsciously proposes as a definition of torture:
[Torture] is wrong because to torture a fellow human being destroys the torturer's own soul as surely as it destroys the body and mind of his victim. (Emphasis added).
Torture destroys the body and mind of the victim. What does not destroy the body and mind of the victim (i.e. mere inconvenience or a brief, non-damaging physical pain--like a belly slap) is not torture. Waterboarding (pouring water onto a cloth over the victim's face) therefore could be torture if you keep it up for a long time, as in hours. Usually it lasts seconds and the longest reported was just over two minutes. That's not torture. (It's not in the Big Book of Torture).
So we can all agree that torture is wrong, but the problem comes from (usually) the lefties' inability to know what is torture and what is not. We don't torture, but we have to do harsh things sometimes to get the Jihadists to reveal plans of coming attacks. Saving 3,000 people with a belly slap (followed by a pizza) is moral behavior, not the reverse. Even if it only saves one life...
You do have to admire Mr. Campos' putting his topsey turvey perception on display each week. If I were that wrong consistently, I'd shut up.
Why Keith Olbermann Has Few Viewers--Part 2
I did and I now want to consult DSM IV R to see if they have a name for what Olbermann suffers from. He calls Chris Wallace a monkey. He calls the serial lies of ex-President Clinton on Sunday the Truth. He signs off with what Murrow used to say. And there's 10 minutes more. Just incredible.
(h/t Dean Barnett)
This Day in American History
Thought of the Day
W. H. Auden
Monday, September 25, 2006
This Day in Science History
(h/t Today in Science History)
Thought of the Day
Hans Johst in his play Schlageter, written in honor of Adolph Hitler's birthday 1933
Usually translated as:
Whenever I hear the word culture I reach for my revolver.
But is more accurately translated as:
Whenever I hear [the word] culture, I unsafe [release the safety catch on] my Browning.
And of course the Browning pistol referred to is not a revolver but an automatic pistol manufactured in Belgium (designed by American mormon gun super genius, John Browning), probably the 1903 or 1910 model, as the masterpiece 1935 model (the High Power) wasn't made until two years after the words were first uttered.
I still don't know what the quote means though. Is culture something we need to arm ourselves against? Did the Nazis think it was a dangerous force? Just weird.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Friday Movie Review (quite late)
The movie said that it was based on true events. I always take that to mean it's set on planet Earth during historical times. And yes Flyboys was based on true events, there was a war in France in 1917 and there was a Lafayette Escadrille. Oh, and they had lion cubs (plural) as mascots, Whiskey and Soda. That is about it for historical fact shown in the movie. There was no 20 plus victory ace named Reed Cassady (played by the doomed boyfriend in The Ring) who died in battle. There was a 9 victory ace Thomas G. Cassady (he claimed 12) but he got many of them in an American outfit (the 28th AEF) and survived the war.
There was no 9 millimeter German machine gun--the Germans used in their American designed Maxim machine gun, manufactured largely in Spandau, a suburb of Berlin, an 8 mm cartridge, the same cartridge as in their rifle, the Mauser 98.
The Zeppelins were filled with flammable hydrogen (America has a monopoly of helium gas) and were used in the war to some small effect but were so vulnerable to air arrack with bombs from above or tracer like incendiary bullets that they were only used at night after 1914. So no daring daylight raid on Paris in 1917 stopped by the non-existent Reed Cassady.
I don't know a lot about air tactics during the Great War but I do know about the Immelmann turn of which you saw one during Flyboys. I think that's too few. Let me explain. There were no air tactics at the beginning of the war because airplanes had never been used at war before. It was a 50/50 thing to line up and fly right at the enemy plane gun blazing, perhaps less than that because who pulled up and who pulled down was not well established so head on crashes were possible. Max Immelmann, a German ace killed in June, 1916, would climb up to stall speed, push down on a tail flap, when the plane turns and comes down you're heading with gaining speed at the enemy plane from the side. If you miss, repeat the maneuver on the other side. (Now an Immelmann turn is a half loop topped with a flipping the plane over so you've reversed your course and gained altitude--but the early German planes didn't have the power to do that).
If you realize that it's mainly BS history but a fun sound and light show, this movie is for you.
I ALMOST FORGOT: There is a scene where the historically somewhat accurate black pilot is asked what his father did for a living. He responds, "he was a slave." What an odd response. This is 1916 and his father had not been a slave for over 50 years. Did he do nothing for that intervening time? Even if the father died at or just before his son's birth in say 1884, he was not a slave for nearly 30 years. I can see saying in another context, "he was born a slave." But to give that response to that question at that time was truly bizarre.
Famous Shakespeare Quotes
I've always taken it to mean, and I believe this is why it is a familiar quote to many, that people who are guilty of wrong are very sensitive to hearing about virtue in the same field. Thus, the quote is a layered window into basic human behavior. In Hamlet, Gertrude, having married her husband's murderer (she didn't know that part) very quickly after his death (she was well aware of that), hates to see another doing the right thing, pledging a chaste mourning period.
I bring this up after watching former President Bill Clinton get very angry and say stupid things during his interview by Chris Wallace. (Rough transcript here). The question to Clinton was generally what do you say to people who think you didn't do enough to get bin Laden. His angry answer went on for about 15 minutes, criticizing in no particular order the question, the network, the right-wingers, Wallace himself, the media, everyone else, and the Republicans who said he was too obsessed with bin Laden (which is a group consisting of not one soul). The ex-President protests too much, I think.
He also criticizes/praises Carl Rove for instilling division and fear into the American people. Wait a minute, is it a false fear or is it truth? Are we facing a real threat to our lives and economy from Jihadists (led at least in spirit by bin Laden, whom Clinton claims he tried so hard to kill) or is it a smoke screen to obfuscate the real important issues which do not include a devastating terrorist attack in our future. Am I wrong to think that Clinton and the Democrats have always (even now) taken this threat less seriously than President Bush? It seems to me that most of the criticism of President Bush vis a vis the Jihadists boils down to he's fighting a war (poorly, whatever he does) rather than fighting a criminal gang like Clinton sometimes did.
I'm watching Bill Clinton right now on the golf delayed interview by Tim Russert. No anger yet. It's not as good television, but perhaps I just think that because I prefer to see Bill Clinton unable to dissemble.
This Day in Canadian History
Thought of the Day
Saturday, September 23, 2006
This Day in American History
And the Americans waged a desperate, bloody battle. Sharpshooting Marines and seamen in BR's tops raked Serapis with rifle fire, clearing the weather decks, even as their ship began to sink beneath them. Only after the BR rammed, and Marines and sailors boarded, the Serapis did Capt. Pearson tear down his colors and surrender his ship. Bonhomme Richard sunk the next day and Jones wisely transferred to Serapis, named after a lesser Egyptian god. The battle was a huge black eye to the British Navy which did not suffer many such defeats until the war resumed in 1812.
Thought of the Day
He who sets out on love's road with an empty wallet takes on greater labors than Hercules.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Our Miss Brooks on Torture
Consider this fair and dispassionate argument (interspersed with my comments in color):
If in doubt, take any of the "alternative" methods that Bush wants to use on U.S. detainees and imagine someone using those methods on your son or daughter. Yeah, the imagine it applied to your children argument--well renowned for inducing clear, unemotional and logical thinking. If the bad guys captured your son and tossed him, naked, into a cell kept at a temperature just slightly higher than an average refrigerator, then repeatedly doused him with ice water to induce hypothermia, would that be OK? It would be much better he suffer that and live than receive the usual treatment from our savage Jihadist enemies--that is, cutting off important body parts including the head. What if they shackled him to a wall for days so he couldn't sit or lie down without hanging his whole body weight on his arms? Better than cutting off his arms. What if they threatened to rape and kill his wife, Better than actually raping and killing his wife or pretended they were burying him alive? Pretend, like in a play or Kill Bill v. 2? What if they did all these things by turns? Would you have any problem deciding that these methods are cruel? No problem deciding they are cruel and if applied merely for the enjoyment of the captors, criminal and wrong, but if applied to obtain information, I have no problem declaring them not torture.
She also ventures into outright falsehood:
That's what the president is so worried about. He knows, too well, that the practices he authorized or ordered violate Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. The recent Supreme Court decision in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld made that explicit, but the court's holding shouldn't have come as a surprise. It only confirmed what most legal scholars (and military lawyers) have been telling the White House for years.
Most legal scholars? Well, maybe the dumb ones. The protections of the Geneva Convention clearly do not apply to illegal combatants who do not wear uniforms and who routinely violate all rules of warfare especially the prohibition against targeting civilians. I think even Professor Brooks could see that. The Supreme Court applied Common Article 3 to the Jihadists by ignoring the context of that section (applying only to Civil Wars) and declaring, totally without any reasoned support, (indeed falsely) that the war declared on and waged against America by the the Saudi leader of an international NGO, al Qaeda, headquartered in Afghanistan is not international in nature. If anyone had said, before the surprising and poorly reasoned section of Hamdan was published, that CA 3 applied to international terrorists, I would have called him or her a fool and few, if any, legal scholars and military lawyers were so arguing. If you know of one, list the name, Rosa. I personally think you're just making that part up.
UPDATE: Professor Brooks is at Georgetown now not UVA but she's on leave I think to write a book. My mistake.
ABMers Needn't Worry
As of today, I still know of none.
Happy New Year
Thursday Rock Review
Let's start with the basics. The Lecture Hall is not destined to be a world renowned concert venue (like Red Rocks is) even thought the sound was fine (not overwhelming) and the seats were comfortable. My youngest daughter had graduation from high school right there and I think it is a better venue for things like that. It did not sell out. The average age was about 38 I think and the ratio of women to men was 13 to one and every woman there we asked admitted she was there because she loved her husband/boyfriend rather than loved Jeff Beck. Everyone (even Jeff Beck) wore jeans--kind of a Levi Fair. He played for just over two hours and did two encores the second of which was a brilliant version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. From the distance we saw him from (20 yards), Beck looked like he indeed has a portrait of incredible ugliness up in his attic while he looks just like he did in 1972 (he's 62). Same hair for sure (although I thought I saw a bald spot on top the size of a quarter). He wore a leather vest over a sleveless white t shirt. Of note to guitar god poseurs all over the world, he played one guitar beginning to end (a Fender stratocaster) with no pick and never even had to tune it despite bending the notes all over the place. At the concert on Monday by contrast, Crow's guitarist changed guitars every other song, one time from a Gibson Les Paul all in gold to a Gibson Les Paul with the sunburst color pattern. That was a head scratcher.
Jeff Beck had said he was digging deep for this tour and indeed he started with a verse-less version of Shapes of Things from The Yardbird days (also on Truth). The majority of the songs sung by the guest vocalist (more on her below) were also from Truth -- Morning Dew, Zeppelin's You Shook Me and I Ain't Superstitious as well as some standard blues. She was a tall, slender looker with great lungs (if you know what I mean) who could belt it out just like Janis--a very welcome addition to the band. Jeff Beck mentioned her name three times but it was swallowed up by his Ron Wood at the end of his sentence imitation so I have no idea who the girl was. Indeed, who of Beck's stature is more taciturn on stage? He rarely said anything on his microphone other than the names of the people in his band (at the end of the concert)--no introduction, no chatting, no 'how you doing Denver?' , no naming the song--you're just supposed to know; he didn't even say thank you but once or twice. I think a lot of musicians should study that part of his performance--literally shut up and play.
There were a lot of songs from the 70s semi jazz albums with a feature on the good songs on There and Back where I think he did his best work last night. He did the good ones from Guitar Shop and a few off the latest album (but not My Thing, darn it), only one from Who Else? which I think is as strong as any album he's made. I've always thought that Jeff Beck could play everything anyone else could play on the guitar but few could play what he could. There were times, like when he was concentrating with the slide to get the precise demi-hemi-quaver, that he was indeed untouchable. When he makes the guitar mimic the human voice, and he's in the zone, there is little modern rock that sounds better (he was in the grove with the Beatles' A Day in the Life and the song from The Wizard of Oz--more like mailing it in with Stevie Wonder's Cause We've Ended as Lovers). Curt, who plays guitar well, was periodically giving his sign for "wow," a nervous laugh of approval, when Beck did something amazing on the guitar. I'm just a guitar sound consumer, not a producer, so I'm taking Curt's numerous laughs as a sign that Beck continues to be amazing on guitar. That's the end of the praise.
Gary, who is a drummer, says the new drummer should be fired. I did notice a few failures to synch up. The new keyboard player was very good and could imitate Jan Hammer to a T but was to my mind uninspired. The same old bassist (who changed basses once or twice??) was great again but ironically he sounded better back away from the stage. I can't explain that. I just wish that he had been more jazzy on the jazz fusion songs (I know that's a flip-flop from the Hornsby concert--so sue me) and drew them out rather than rushed through them. The best thing about Brush with the Blues is the timing of the silence juxtaposed with the technical brilliance of the cooking part and then being instantly back to restraint and perfection. You ruin the song to rush it.
Anyway, it was a solid B+ and I'd still see him anytime, anywhere.
This Day in Mid 19th Century History
Thought of the Day
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Joe Conason--Super Patriot
The president has sent legislation to Capitol Hill that would "clarify" the parameters available to those who interrogate prisoners in the war on terrorism. His bill would apparently permit the use of "waterboarding," which simulates drowning, and "long time standing," which is exactly what it sounds like (with shackles), as well as sleep deprivation, hypothermia and death threats.
To oppose any of these methods, or so the political advertising would claim, is to jeopardize national security and coddle terrorists. That is how Republican strategists hope to make voters forget the incompetence and corruption on display in Washington, Baghdad and New Orleans.
The other thing that completely undercuts Mr. Conason's argument is that everything he describes is not torture. Saying mean things to a person is not torture; holding prisoners of war for the duration of the conflict is not torture; turning up or down the air conditioning is not torture; and, waterboarding, which at least comes close to the line, is not torture.
So count Mr. Conason's desire for us not to employ torture of the fanatical, illegal combatants as 'mission accomplished.' Well done, Joe! You're a true patriot.
This Day in American History
Except for the literary analysis of the book Joseph Smith wrote which, to my mind, raises serious questions about the divine source of the writing, who am I to doubt Mr. Smith? I wasn't there.
Thought of the Day
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Embarrassed Silence in the Face of Madness or Cover?
Oh, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause. (Emphasis added).
Here is the context/exegesis:
The promised perfect human being is the 12th (occulted) Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who disappeared in 874 and who will return at the end of the world. The followers of this cult strive to bring chaos to the world as that is a sign of the return as well as a way to hasten his return, by making it necessary to rescue Islam from the overwhelming forces of evil (that would be us infidels) as well as a general loss of faith and faithful practice among the Muslims.
This is not the first time Ahmadinejad has talked about the hidden Imam, nor is it the first time he has revealed his beliefs to a mainly western audience in a prayer for the imminent return of the Mahdi--he had the same prayer 11 months ago in front of the UN.
Why wasn't this covered at all in the mainstream press?
I'm not feeling too charitable right now so I think either the press in general is too stupid to realize how big a deal this is or they are giving the blood enemy of our good friend Israel a pass for his scary/crazy apocalyptic beliefs--probably the latter, but maybe both.
Neither we nor Israel can allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons and the window of opportunity to prevent that has dwindled to mere months. If it sends oil to $100 a barrel, and the Muslim street explodes and 30,000 Iranians and 2,000 Americans die--we have to do it; because the price Israel and then we will have to pay for failure is too horrible to contemplate. Sorry to go all Cassandra on you at the end there, but no one can be fooling around on this. It's as serious as a heart attack.
M 41 Walker Bulldog
While the Thai leader, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. was in America attending the UN speeches, there was a coup in Thailand as tanks and APCs surrounded the center of the government. Now the coup leader, Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin, is setting a time table for the take over and the former king of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, is supporting the coup.
Of course all I'm interested in is the weapons. I always wondered where our 1950s Walker Bulldog tanks (rumoured to be the most crew comfortable ever) ended up. Now I know.
I think they look pretty good--gleaming and pampered, like the cars Jay Leno collects.
What is and What Should Never Be
Induced hypothermia; forcing suspects to stand for prolonged periods; sleep deprivation; a technique called "the attention grab" where a suspect's shirt is forcefully seized; the "attention slap" or open hand slapping that hurts but does not lead to physical damage; the "belly slap"; and sound and light manipulation.
I looked in my Big Book of Torture and none of these were listed therein.
Seizing a suspect's shirt forcefully. Oh, the humanity!
I've always looked at the fall of Empires as a prolonged wussification unto death. If it's a war crime to grab a suspect's shirt forcefully, we should just hammer our tanks into plowshares and bend our necks to the inevitable fall of a dull scimitar.
This Day in Early Renaissance History
Thought of the Day
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Monday Rock Review
I like John Mayer a lot just for the first album, Room for Squares, which has about 4 good songs-- which makes it a great CD nowadays. (My favorite is 3x5s so of course he didn't play that). They were fun, well crafted pop songs with a good hook/tune and minimal guitar work and his breathynasal voice (but in a good way). His second album Heavier Things was a nightmare with no good songs (the one about daughters was minimally OK) and if he has albums after that, I don't know them.
So how does he seem to position himself now?--as a pseudo guitar god, the new white king of the blues; except that he can't play that well, certainly not well enough to maintain in any person, with a reasonably knowledge of blues history, any abiding interest in his solos, such as they were--he was either stretching a wailing top not or fret wanking sloppily--with very little in between. I do like his new custom fender Strat in a color not found in nature, but it is a poor fan who admires the musician's instrument more than the playing of it, so I guess that's pretty faint praise.
In the possible lawsuit brewing department, one of Mayer's new songs, Mark and I noticed, sounded way too much like a motown tune we couldn't quite place (it finally came to me--it was Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready (Listen) by the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart the singer). It may be an unconscious lifting, but it is a palpable lifting (the tune not the words).
Now on to Sheryl Crow. Man, did she look good, especially her hair. Lance must be kicking himself. Here's the good songs she did--Strong Enough, A Change Would Do You Good, My Favorite Mistake, Soak up the Sun, and Steve McQueen. Here are the awful songs she persisted in singing--If it Makes You Happy, The First Cut is the Deepest, and Everyday is a Winding Road (which I always mis-sing "Everyday I'm a whining bitch.") all of which songs have her doing this wailing let loose line like a shriek. Just awful. Good songs she recorded but which she didn't bother to sing last night--All I Wanna Do and What I Can Do for You. What the heck? Who doesn't sing his or her biggest hit?
There was a time in the middle 70s after the really hot part of the renaissance had cooled a little where every band had 10 members including a conga player and two backup singers (usually women) and it was the death knell for good rock and roll--the Las Vegasation of what had been a youth movement as well as really good music, now and again. It took punk, as awful as that was, to redirect music for a while into semi-goodness. It looks like we're heading that way again with multi-member rock and roll bands past the maximum 5 (even though there were, thankfully, no conga players on stage last night). There was a cello and other strings though. So Sheryl is obviously preparing her act for when Celine Dion gets too old.
All in all the open air venue ate these guys up and robbed us of any intimacy of performance and good sound. (They might have been decent indoors). As for the future with these recording artists; been there, done that, passed on the T-shirt.
Jeff Beck on Thursday. Real music.
Rock Show Review
I bought some Russian egg shaped rocks-- Astro something and something else--I collect polished egg shaped rocks. I also bought bookends, slabs of about 40 pounds of native copper which had been partially and artistically polished to a mirror finish without losing the ver de gris elsewhere. Very nice.
It's more fun with the kids, but it's still fun.
Friday Concert Review
But there are better songs out there; some of the ones that got early radio play (The Way it is--which he played, and Every Little Kiss--which he did not). The bulk of the concert was songs (perhaps all of them) from Hot House, the best of which is Spider Fingers (which I'm led to believe was his nickname when Hornsby played with the Grateful Dead).
Hornsby's band is terrific, especially on the bass and drums, but the white boys on woodwinds and guitar/backup singing and mellotron like keyboards were no slouches. If I had a complaint, it was that he verges too often on jazz for my tastes, with swirling solos and everyone playing alone together until they hit a break and reform as a rock/pop band. And some of the songs were a little loosey goosey in structure, but it was a very fun concert and, no doubt due to his Grateful Dead play ethic, he was still playing when we left after the second encore, with no sign that he'd be stopping any time soon.
Not exactly my taste (guitar over keyboards any day) but you could do a lot worse than attending a Bruce Hornsby concert, a whole lot worse, as I'll talk about soon.
This Day in Ancient History
Thought of the Day
Thomas L. Johnson (and they graduate ever less educated students each year)
Monday, September 18, 2006
The only bright spot in the Colorado race for Governor this year is that Bill's TV spots pretty much suck and make no sense, while Beauprez's are pretty good and say just what he should be saying. We'll see if Beauprez can catch him.
This Day in Ancient History
Thought of the Day
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Sunday Talking Head Shows
McCain should recuse himself on this subject.
Stephen Hadley, the new NSA, made good points in a completely bloodless, well tempered, statesman-like way. I've already forgotten what he said.
Sam Donaldson should go back to his ranch in New Mexico. He states the bleeding obvious, but not in a good way, and he reveals his liberal roots with every word. Will, as usual, is very smart but he only gets in little snippets. Three to one is ABCs idea of fair and balanced. I'm still watching though. Now Cokie is talking about the history of religion in America. Is this really an important question? Sam is completely wrong; he says people face more and more problems so they turn to religion. We have so few real problems our lives seem a constant struggle for meaning and some turn to religion for what civilization has removed from the so called day to day struggle.
Ann Richards is dead and not from liver problems. Oriana Fallaci too, that's a bigger loss, I think. I try to care about lady golfers but I don't care about male golfers so I fail completely. 16 soldiers, etc., killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Better than last week, but still a lot.
Oh boy, Jewell talks about political things. Has anyone there at ABC read her poetry? It is difficult to take her seriously if you have. She looks great though and when you think about it she does have some expertise about breasts. Yeah, let's mandate expanded coverage, that health insurance must fund, for a small subset of the population and drive up costs for all of us. Brilliant. Who will save your soul, indeed?
Over at Fox Sunday they have the Pope story first, Negroponte on the stupidity of some Republican Senators and Boehner for Republican strategy. Negroponte has to be as vague as Hadley had to be because it is stupid to tell the enemy what you do during war time. I think he's doing a good job and it's certainly not a puff piece interview from Chris Wallace. They're quoting Colin Powell at his least thoughtful and taking him seriously. Let me say again that our troops in uniform and completely covered by the Geneva Convention protections have not been the actual recipient of those protections since May, 1945. And Powell is worried about future treatment? Christopher Hitchens says Colin Powell is the most famous mediocre man in America. Could be. Negroponte fends off the cryptic chickenhawk question from Wallace but he didn't answer it. Combat doesn't make you smarter about anything other than how to stay alive and be effective in combat. At least that's my chickenhawk view.
Boehner defends his true statement about those who seem to have a inordinant interest in the rights of the Jihadists. He's giving good examples of Democrat failure on the issue of protection in war. Now he has to defend himself from fuzzy thinking Republicans like Graham and McCain. Boehner doesn't want to talk about the truth of the political fall out from the so called rebellion of the egoist Republicans (I know that formulation doesn't rule out many). Boehner promise the House will not back down from enforcement of border first. I hope he's serious about that. Ethics and the Congress completely bore me. The very idea of professional lobbiests makes that an impossible subject for reform. They don't want it reformed really and the electorate just doesn't care.
Panel time! They start with Bush at his best. Brit Hume demolishes McCain (which as I suspected wasn't that tough). Moira places the focus properly on Virginia Senator Warner. What is up with him? Hume predicts doom for McCain's chances for the Republican nomination in '08 if he doesn't immediately back down; I think he had no chance to start with. Bill Krystol continues to voice my opinions that McCain et al. will loose on this one because they don't really provide cover for Democrats to support this weakness. Colin Powell's reputation continues to be eroded. OK, I've reached saturation on my ability to take in this palaver with interest.
This Day in American History
Thought of the Day
Alexis de Tocqueville
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Local Illegal Immigrant News
In 2005 Raul Gomez-Garcia walked up behind and then shot and killed Denver police Detective Donald Young and shot and failed to kill Young's partner, Detective Jack Bishop. He fled to his native country, Mexico. Denver DA Mitch Morrissey was able to get him arrested in Mexico but that country won't extradite murderers back here if we are seeking the death penalty or even (back then) life in prison without parole. So Mitch, who's a friend, had the awful task of agreeing to limit the penalty for Mr. Gomez-Garcia in order to get him back to the states. The tiny bit of good news from this tragedy is that Mexico will now extradite where the penalty is life without the possibility of parole.
In Colorado, conviction of 1st degree Murder means you get life without the possibility of parole. With 2nd degree murder you can get something like 50 years, but cut that roughly by 55% to get the real time spent in prison, and parole is almost certain for an aged murderer and certain if he has done all the time he has to serve (killed that number, in the prison parlance of the 1980s).
I don't think 2nd degree murder actually exists and I'll steal the explanatory example Diomedes one time gave a jury to explain the difference between 1st and 2nd in Colorado (other than the sentences available). 1st generally means you intended to kill a certain person (depraved indifference and felony murder are possible but let's not complicate things) after some thought--deliberation, pre-meditation. Your thought, the mens rea of the crime, is intent. With second, the mens rea is know, not intend. What? you ask. Let's say Dr. Frankenstein needs a fresh heart for his monster. He goes out to get a heart. He doesn't care which person the heart comes from. He knows, because he's a doctor, that if he removes the heart from the randomly selected individual that person will die, but he doesn't want or intend for that particular person to die (even after he has selected the victim) he just wants a fresh heart; but he knows the result will be death.
So our DA had to agree to only charge Mr. Gomez-Garcia with 2nd degree murder but he could and did charge him with attempted 1st degree murder (attempt of a crime knocks it down a peg in the hierarchy so the penalty could not life without parole) of the officer who survived.
The jury came back with attempted 2nd degree murder for the surviving officer, Jack Bishop. I guess they were being consistent.
The cop killer took the stand and testified that he did not want to kill them (only to scare them because he believed all police officers wear bullet proof vests). I think that's a confession of 2nd degree because he' s using deadly force unlawfully knowing that death is a possibility from his actions and fortunately the jury saw it that way too. He shot at or into the cops 6 times, (all the bullets he had?), and he hit Detective Young in the head. It was Bishops vest that saved him (a lesson I hope all police officers will take to heart).
With the convictions for attempted 2nd and the 2nd, the alien faces most of the rest of his life in prison--he'll be approaching 60 when he kills his numbers, assuming Judge Larry Naves, whom I like a lot, gives him the maximum, which might well be a safe bet.
Bad News from Pakistan
The Pakistanis had to release the killers of Daniel Pearl along with thousands of other al Qaeda captures, just last week.
Really bad freakin' news.
This Day in American History
The Nazis copied our bazooka and called it the panzerschreck. Our soldiers have kept with the bazooka concept, through the LAAWs to the M136 AT4 to the current FGM-148 Javelin. The rest of the world went with the Nazi panzerfaust, the Russian copy of which is now nearly universal, called the RPG.
Thought of the Day
There are other malum in se actions he fails to mention, but I'm with him on malum prohibitum being nonsense. He would have been 100 next July, one of the Gods in the Science Fiction writer pantheon.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Disagreeing with Charles Krauthammer
An attack on Iran will likely send oil prices overnight to $100 or even to $150. That will cause a worldwide recession perhaps as deep as the one triggered by the Iranian revolution of 1979.
Iran might suspend its own 2.5 million barrels a day of oil exports, and might even be joined by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, asserting primacy as the world's leading anti-imperialist.
Oil prices have fallen 17% from the summer high and will fall further because there is a huge glut of oil out there and demand has actually fallen. Traders and speculators do tend to panic and bid up prices during crises but it never trumps supply and demand for long.
There are few non-African nations that could less afford to forego selling their oil resources than Iran and Venezuela. Barring a coup or a miracle, Chavez should not survive the next elections. If Iran were to stop its oil income, the country's already weak economy would decline rapidly to famine stage. Krauthammer continues:
But even more effectively, Iran will shock the oil markets by closing the Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world's exports flow every day.
Iran could do this by attacking ships in the Strait, scuttling its own ships, laying mines or just threatening to launch Silkworm anti-ship missiles at any passing tanker.
This is more likely than Iran suspending oil sales, but I believe we have the military might to keep the Iranian missile launchers away from the shipping channels in the Hormuz strait. Oil prices could rise from increased insurance premiums for the super tankers, but the shipping of oil would continue and we have plenty of super tankers.
Iran does not have sufficient refining capacity to supply its domestic gasoline and diesel needs and has to import fuel. The little refining infrastructure it has could be destroyed really with one airstrike and the ships and trucks bringing it in could be targeted and interdicted. Silkworm launchers are too heavy to be moved by hand.
Yes, the decision to attack Iranian nuclear weapons plants after the current appeasement diplomacy fails will have some costs but it is Iran which is the vulnerable one, not the wider world.
Still, Krauthammer's point that military action is not to be taken lightly is one we should remember; but I, for one, am convinced that dealing with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the real power, the mullahs, is similar to dealing with Hitler in the 30s. It just isn't going to work. And we allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons at the World's peril.
This Day in Ancient History
Thought of the Day
John Stuart Mill
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Tough Talk From John Kerry
Regarding the subject of questions about his what he has claimed about his service in Viet Nam, Kerry apparently has his hackles up:
Kerry says the only reason he didn't compete in more states in 2004 was that he ran out of money. [Did Teresa cut him off?] He says this was also the reason he did not adequately respond to a series of devastating TV ads by Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth, a group that questioned Kerry’s service in Vietnam and criticized his later opposition to the war.
“They had money behind the lies, and we did not have sufficient money behind the truth,” Kerry laments.
Asked if he dreads the prospect of being “Swift-Boated” all over again, Kerry counters that he would relish such a fight.
“I’m prepared to kick their ass from one end of America to the other,” he declares. “I am so confident of my abilities to address that and to demolish it and to even turn it into a positive.”
I am unaware of Kerry, or anyone in his camp, ever adequately addressing even one of the points John O'Neil brought up in Unfit for Command. Oh, several Democrats declared (as Kerry just did) that the questions were lies and just kept repeating that without producing any evidence, but they were never really addressed and certainly not demolished. Creepy Liar!, he explained.
Here's my first question to get the Kerry ass kicking going: Were you on December 24, 1968 five miles inside Cambodia as you claimed in a speech on the Senate floor in 1986 and in a Boston Herald story about Apocalypse Now in 1979?
Answer that one and we'll see how demolished the Swift Boat Veteran's questions are likely to be.
A Real Shootin' War
There's not been a lot of coverage of the fighting in the west of Iraq, but that doesn't mean it's not taking place.
U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Crowley clears the stairway of an abandoned house during a weapons search in Tal Afar, Iraq, on Aug. 27, 2006. Crowley is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey, U.S. Air Force.
This Day in Ancient History
Thought of the Day
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Hypocrisy and Silence
Then there is the second issue of hypocrisy. Few of the present critics worried that a recent fictionizalized film of Ronald Reagan sought to create dialogue that the screenwriter apparently "thought" might best represent what Reagan "might" or "should" or "could" have said--in light of the nature of the evidence and the author's own predispositions. That all such dialogue proved negative to the former president was not so surprising given the political leanings of Hollywood, but still should not have earned such anger from the Right to the point of demanding a cancellation. And such clear bias was not true of "The Path of 9/11," in which Clinton's successors often fared little better in confronting the terrorist challenge.
And what are we to think of Bill Clinton lamenting the movie's supposed deviation from the "truth", or Sandy Berger's concern about protocols, or Madeline Albright's apparent charge of partisanship, this from a former Secretary of State who has traveled the globe plugging her book by faulting her successors to foreign media in a time of war. Although I'm not a fan of docudramas, I found The Path to 9/11, with its disclaimers, far closer to the "truth" about the saga of bin Laden than what turned up in Bill Clinton's "factual" autobiography.
When ABC cut portions of the most controversial segments before airing the film, there was no outcry from the American Civil Liberties Union that has so often and so loudly lectured us on the dangers not merely of government censorship, but of insidious self-censorship as a result of public pressures.
Nor did the New York Times or the law faculty of Harvard University rush to the producers' defense, despite the long-held and self-acclaimed commitments of both to free speech and the First Amendment at nearly all costs. And, of course, we heard none of the current furor when Oliver Stone produced his wacko conspiracies on the Kennedy assassination and the life of Richard Nixon.
Third, a far greater problem, contrary to the current noise, is not with the docudrama per se--especially when the viewer is clearly and often apprised of this new genre's nature and limitations--but rather with documentaries that do not list any such disclaimers and yet distort truth through clever editing of film clips. A great deal of Michael Moore's documentaries was composed of drive-by interviews of the surprised, senile, or bushwhacked. Many interviews encouraged false impressions, and, unknown to the viewer, were not natural or impromptu, but propped or staged, and so taken out context as to imply the very opposite as intended by the speaker.
Note again, for all this, Mr. Moore was not condemned by historians or lawyers, but rather rewarded with a prominent seat at the Democratic National Convention. Even Bill Clinton would confess that Fahrenheit 911 was intended to do far more damage to George Bush than The Path to 9/11 was to himself.
In this regard, concern could be far better voiced about onslaughts against other traditional and trusted genres--Dan Rather's presentation of the news based on forged documents, or Reuters' publishing photo-shopped pictures. And these are neither isolated lapses, nor in the mainstream media do they cut both ways equally against liberals and conservatives. Rather these distortions are concrete manifestations of a long-standing effort on the part of the more theoretical Left to subordinate the means to the ends, as if progressive spirits are to be granted some exemption from bothersome scrutiny and archaic protocols given their purportedly superior moral mission.
This Day in Ancient History (twofer)
Also on this day but in 81 AD, the Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasianus, known to us merely as Titus, who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, dies young at age 41 and is succeeded by his brother, Titus Flavius Domitianus, whom we know as Domitian. He is 30 and reigns for 15 years.
Thought of the Day
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Paul Campos Reveals the Limits of his Expertise
But today he's back with a vengeance, declaring lost the war against Jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq (but don't call him a defeatist). Let's look at some of what he writes and then you can make the call.
He starts by disapproving of President Bush landing on the USS Lincoln after we captured Baghdad. As I recall, the guys and girls (mainly guys) on the carrier ate that stuff up with a spoon and felt pretty special for that day. Campos says it was phony propaganda. I thought the President was really there, but perhaps I quibble.
With a little more than two years remaining in his presidency, Bush is on course to end up as the worst commander-in-chief in the 217-year history of his office.
During the Bush Administration's first term alone, we liberated 50 million people from either 7th Century rigid theocracy or full 20th Century fascist despotism and helped set up fledgling democracies for which we are providing security as we help train their armies, our replacements. It has cost us so far less than 2,700 soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen and women (mainly men) over 5 years. That's a monumentally low casualty rate for the population and physical size of the countries liberated. The British went into Afghanistan in 1839 and of the 16,000 retreating from Kabul in 1842, only one Brit survived. The Soviets went into Afghanistan in 1979 and lost at least 25,000 before retreating ten years later. Those are lost wars, Professor Campos. How many American lives have we lost winning the 5 year war in Afghanistan 200, 250?
As to bad Presidential Commanders-in-Chief, under Campos' simplistic criteria, how about President (not General) George Washington during whose administration General St. Clair in 1791 lost the Battle of the Wabash to American Indians and 1/4 of the entire American Army was killed (around 650)? That was a substantial loss. Therefore, according to Campos, George Washington was a terrible Commander-in-Chief, Fallen Timbers notwithstanding (because it came during Washington's second term of office).
It's easy to make historical comparisons when, like Campos, your grasp of history seems to starts on January 20, 2001.
Then Professor Campos asks us to imagine Hillary Clinton was president and had the same history as President Bush. I didn't quite get the point of the thought exercise, but I played along.
Imagine if Hillary were in the process of losing not one, but two wars against miserable Third World countries whose combined armed forces didn't equal a fiftieth of America's military might.
Professor, we've won both wars (more properly thought of as campaigns in the long war against Jihadist). There is an insurgency going in both countries, but then there's also a wider war being waged against us and our friends around the world. But we're winning those insurgencies too. (Too early to call the bigger war). We are doing especially well in Afghanistan where the Canadians and Australians are just chewing up the Taliban. Bill Roggio said on Hugh Hewitt' s radio show today that the Taliban has lost (killed or captured) 2500 in 7 months. Standing up and fighting does not mean you are winning. The Taliban decided to take on the supposedly weak NATO forces, and its fighters are paying a huge price for that miscalculation, but that does not mean it is winning. The Japanese decided to fight pretty much to the last man on Iwo Jima (118,000 dead Japanese); did that mean they were winning too?
Imagine if she refused to fire the inept buffoon who was her secretary of Defense, despite repeated complaints from across the political spectrum - and even from her own generals - that he had utterly bungled both the wars her administration was in the process of losing.
Defeatists. There I said it. And a pretty massively uninformed one too.
Why Keith Olbermann Has Few Viewers
My copy of the Constitution does not list as one of the responsibilities of the President of the United States the construction of commercial buildings in lower Manhattan, but perhaps Keith has a different copy in his possession. Not only is Keith angry that no new buildings or a memorial have yet been built, but he is also incensed that "The Path to 9/11" is playing. He's blaming the President for that too (while I thought it was ABC and parent company Disney--I must be misinformed).
Mr. Olbermann said the the miniseries was "created, influenced, possibly financed by the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis" Who does he mean? I couldn't tell. He neglected to say.
The sophomoric rant ends with an exegesis of an unnamed, unimpressive and absolutely unconnected episode of the Twilight Zone, a place where Keith Olbermann seems to reside.
This Day in Late 19th Century History
Thought of the Day
Monday, September 11, 2006
Obligatory 9/11 Five Year Anniversary Posting
I have to admit that even after 5 years, I'm still pretty angry.
The crash of the airplane destroyed or blocked all the exit stairways in this tower so these guys were doomed, and faced the harsh choice of being burned alive or jumping to a quicker but still terrible death roughly 800 feet down.
Regarding the Jihadists I say: Turpibus exitium. Destruction for evil men.
This Day in American History
Thought of the Day
Carl von Clausewitz
Sunday, September 10, 2006
You can see it plain as day on Stargate and its spin-off. The Goa'uld, the replicators, and the new religious fanatic badguys, the Ori. They never hug. The weird thing is on Battlestar Galactica, the human form Cylons hug us, but not each other (although they will share a mocha latte down at the Caprica Starbucks). That's why BSG is the better show, the villains are much more complex--almost just like us.
Talking Head Sunday
I'm glad I haven't eaten yet, because Katrina Van den Awful often causes me to throw up a little in my mouth. Mens insana in corpore sano. She clearly doesn't believe we are in a war. I wonder if that puts her in the mainstream of the Democrat party? If I had to guess, I'd say yes. Fareed is a little touchy feely. I'm sorry, but on the 5 year anniversary of our last night of sleeping through the growing threat, I'm not exactly feeling touchy feely. Now she's blaming us for the growing threat. Yeah, it's all our fault. We deserved it. I can feel the bile rising.
Now Katrina is saying our absolutely unproven torture of captured terrorist is causing bad feelings about the United States. I don't know how she can know that; I think they would consider torture to be the normal course of war. The Mid-East nations seem to use it all the time. Maybe she meant it is causing bad feelings in Europe. I'm glad Fareed and Katrina cleared up the difference between a documentary (where apparently you can lie as much as you want without complaint) and a docudrama (where the least factual inaccuracy sends the Democrats into a vaporous case for censorship). I would have thought that it was the documentary that was held to the higher standard of accuracy. More topsey turvey from the Democrats. Of course she will tout the recent Senate report on pre-war intelligence despite the substantial and growing body of evidence the Senate was completely wet on the subject of al Qaeda connection to the government of Iraq. The good news is that it seems The Path to 9/11 will in fact run tonight and Monday.
9/11 widower Gene points out the good works many people do in this world, which actions are apparently nearly invisible to the buggy whip media.
On to the Fox program with Condi Rice up first. I feel that her star is dimming somewhat, but nearly everything she says is a blander version of what I believe. She was good about the Taliban coming back to continue to be killed in great numbers and great about the goodness of deposing Saddam Hussein.
Dean up next. This could be good. Quick prediction--everything the Bush Administration has done ever, without exception, is bad. He let me down, admitting to some improvement. Afghanistan is turning against us? Really? The Constitution is the only thing standing between us and the people we're fighting. I could have sworn it was our military. Is the Constitution explosives proof. It had better be, I think. Democrats are for more judicial review of war actions which is clearly the Executives' (with some support by the Congress) and where the judiciary has absolutely no place. Why? I really don't get that. Is it so they can speak ill of the President? Is it because the judiciary is still largely lefty? Continuing mystery. Howard, phased redeployment is different from cut and run how? New direction seems the staple Democrat talking point these past weeks. Well, retreat certainly is a new direction from what President Bush is doing. No stunning faux pas but a lot of ducking and jiving.
The Looming Tower gets a big plug. We face a terror movement (Jihad) not a terror network.
Chris Walace shows what to me is one of the more embarrassing scenes of 9/11, the Congress singing "God Bless America" Yeah, important moment.
Brit Hume sagely points out that the current bitter disagreement is largely a result of our success. We are not under continuous attack here in the homeland so we can afford to disagree. True, true.
In response to Juan Williams' Democrat talking points that the Republicans are mere fear mongers, Brit points out that this is merely the result of a different world view--the Republicans see clearly that there is a very serious threat out there--the Democrats see at most a crime problem, which could easily be reduced to mere nuisance. I'll add that at the socialist extreme, millions of Democrats believe that the terrorist threat is a complete fraud and the Bush administration (or perhaps, somehow, Israel) was the perpetrator of the 9/11 attack (or the administration was guilty of misprision). That delusion/denial causes a lot of bad feelings on both sides.
Chris Matthews is on. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Tucker Carlson, the token, is sans bowtie. Dancer fashion? Engel is little miss sunshine about Iraq. Carlson is clearly not a Bush supporter regarding Iraq so I suspect the panel is unanimous about that. Fair and balanced indeed. Engle calls the failed Sunni state in the middle of Iraq, Jihadistan. I'll get behind that. Kay has forgotten the recent past. It was a Jordanian who got the ball rolling of wide spread Sunni/Shia endless reprisals. The President is telling the truth, not the Brit named appropriately Katty. Now Tucker has put on the fool's cap, appropriately, and is dancing with himself. His show on... on whatever alphabet network playing it has so few viewers it hasn't been listed on Drudge's list of the triumph of Fox News Channel. I don't think he helped himself a bit.
Matthews says the Press is McCain's base. True, true. I too don't think Giuliani can get the Republican nomination, but I still like the guy. Carlson had the best news, if true, the Iranians believe we will bomb their nuclear facilities. If they act prudently then, and don't try to hide their nuke weapon program (further), maybe we won't have to. He ends with a nice montage of the 9/11 attack footage with recorded FDNY radio traffic that day and a rolling list of what seemed like 250 dead firemen. Well done.
This Day in Science History
Thought of the Day
Saturday, September 09, 2006
My favorite videos in the movie are cutting hay in the summer, children dancing under a shower of sparks, and the "execution" of family members and friends during the 1812 Overture. Brilliant stuff. The movie is ineffably sad, but well worth watching.
Russell is still alive but he hasn't made a good movie since Altered States 26 years ago, but he had a great run in the late 60s early 70s with
Savage Messiah (1972)
The Boy Friend (1971)
The Devils (1971)
The Music Lovers (1970)
Women in Love (1969)
You've Got a Nice Federal License Here, Mr. Iger.
Luigi: You've ... you've got a nice army base here, colonel.
Luigi: We wouldn't want anything to happen to it.
Why am I reminded of that when I read this letter?
Dear Mr. Iger,
We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney’s plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.
Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program.
We look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Byron Dorgan
Because the perpetrators are all Democrat senators, the usual, hysterical, sky-is-falling, civil libertarians will not utter a peep about this attempt at Government censorship of a television program. The Democrats don't want the American people to see 6 hours of TV and have threatened the ABC network of stations with license problems if they show it. So much for freedom of speech.
The irony meter has just burst in a shower of sparks.