8/31/2003 12:32:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The stupidest idea I've had this week I came up with the germ of a classic teen sex comedy over dinner with friends. They laughed at me. And all of America will laugh at - All Up In That! This Summer, it's everybody to the limit! Julius LaFontaine (Kenan Thompson) is the surly son of wealthy lawyers (Samuel Jackson and Faye Dunaway) who just wants to survive senior year at the prestigious York prep school, play Star Wars on his XBox, and hang out with his best friend, scholarship student and MIT early-admit DeAndre "Dre" Wilson (Kel Mitchell). Sex? Julius doesn't want to think about it. But when he accidentally wins a date with Natalie Portman (playing herself) and the actress jokes about "getting all up in that" on TRL, his virginity becomes a problem - a big problem. Julius and Dre scramble to learn the ways of love, getting help from history teacher Mr. Turtle (Jaleel White, TV's "Urkel"!) and some of the LaFontaines' shady clients (including Chris Rock, Alan Cumming, and Philip Seymour Hoffman!). They get nowhere until the beautiful-but-skanky Eastern European duchess/co-ed Theodora (Hilary Duff!) comes clean - her boyfriend, snotty diamond heir JULIAN LaFontaine (Seann William Scott), had rigged the contest for himself! Theodora wants revenge, so she forms an alliance and teaches Julius EVERYTHING he needs to know about gettin' all up in that. Meanwhile, Dre falls for Theodora, and hilarity ensues! Will Julius hit it off with his dream girl? Will Dre win over Theodora? Will Julian's international ring of ninjas kill them before they get a chance? ... I am such an idiot.|W|P|106230432857098636|W|P||W|P|8/29/2003 02:37:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|What to think Watching chunks of the Video Music Awards put me in mind of how weird my musical tastes are. I hate most popular bands, yeah, but I love some idiotic pop. Off the top of my head (with the help of the Billboard Top 40): GOOD: - Justin Timberlake. He started his solo career right, getting smart producers (Timbaland, The Neptunes) to froth up his decidedly average tunes. The singles from Justified are the "Don't Stop til You Get Enough" and "Billie Jean" of our times. - Shakira. Has produced at least two great singles in English ("Underneath Your Clothes" and "Whenever, Wherever") and her Spanish stuff is unstoppable, catchy dance-pop. - Kelly Clarkson. I like "Miss Independent." I like that there's no pretension about her being some kind of "artist." - Christina Aguilera. A voice that could - and still might - make the sun implode. And I dig that she's insane. - Shania Twain. Mutt Lange writes her songs! He can hardly do wrong. BAD: - Coldplay. Chris Martin is the Eric Roberts of British rockstars. His band is the Showtime Made for TV Movie to Radiohead's box office smash. Offensively unoriginal, plodding, and meaningless. - Britney Spears. I prefer it when you can't see the PR department propping up the star. - The White Stripes. What if the Pixies couldn't write tunes? They'd bleat bullshit lyrics and play dead-end guitar leads like Jack White. Seriously - their latest single is called "The Air Beneath My Fingers." That's inexcusable. - Madonna. Useless since 1991. - Norah Jones. I liked that song better when it was called "Yesterday" by the Beatles. But she is very cute.|W|P|106213906832573360|W|P||W|P|8/29/2003 01:58:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Publicity whore, redefined I'd just finished watching the finale of Buffy season 4 with my friend CJ, remembering what beautiful acting and writing was put into the relationship between Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson). Andrew Sullivan blogged once about the way Buffy directors handled their two lesbians. It was respectful and realistic - it changed the way lots of people looked at that sort of thing. And now we have Britney Spears making out with Madonna. Stupid. Just stupid. It would be forgiveable if Madonna had released a decent single since "Cherish." (Yes, I hated the singles off Ray of Light.)|W|P|106213673555231901|W|P||W|P|8/28/2003 03:16:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Fair and balanced, pt. II The mysterious typist behind TAPPED (The American Prospect's weblog) does a poor job trying to ... is "debunk" the right word? Trying to dismiss the story I blogged last night. They note the same "14 research assistants" passage as me.
Perhaps this is just a fault of unlovely prose, but does Kurtz really believe that the availability of research assistants inspired Franken's voluminous use of footnotes and statistics? Perhaps Franken used a lot of footnotes because, um, he wanted people to be able to judge his evidence for themselves? You know, because he's intellectually honest and stuff? Yeah, that's the ticket.
Oooh! This is news! The American Prospect is calling Ann Coulter "intellectually honest"! What do I mean? Last year, the Prospect fact-checked much of Coulter's book Slander. They were able to so because the book includes several hundred footnotes. Another website credited this part of her book with making their job easier:
In her book she has included, and heavily publicized, 780 or so footnotes, in the hope that their very heft will buy Slander a credibility not shared by the books of, say, Bernard Goldberg, Sean Hannity, or (on the Left) Mike Moore. This symbol of accuracy and scholarship is meant to reduce skepticism, tricking people into thinking that her rants are factually-based rants. (snip) My conclusion is that the book has 780 footnotes for the main purpose of having 780 footnotes.
But it had 780 footnotes. I don't side with Coulter on this one. I side with the old TAPPED and the critics of Slander - Franken is not so intellectually honest as much as he wanted to look like a real pundit. And the fact that he had 14 assistants cannot be written off by any serious person (or any serious anonymous weblogger).|W|P|106209821553858672|W|P||W|P|8/28/2003 01:22:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Fair and balanced Amusing tidbit from the Washington Post on ex-Harvard fellow Al Franken:
"Lies" contains lots of citations and statistics because Franken, during a fellowship this year at Harvard's Shorenstein press center, was given 14 research assistants to help him scour the media archives. Critics will undoubtedly find it as selective as the conservative books (by Ann Coulter and Bernard Goldberg, among others) that he skewers.
Say what you will about Coulter - I say plenty - but she doesn't have funding from America's most respected university, and she doesn't have 14 assistants.|W|P|106204812451207265|W|P||W|P|8/27/2003 01:12:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Idol worship I guess everyone who wants to has already read the New York Times account of the Alabama Ten Commandments ... controversy ... but it threw me for a loop.
Protesters screamed ``God haters!'' and ``Let their wheels crumble!'' as the removal got under way. Even after the monument had disappeared the crowds continued to grow, many wearing their beliefs on their back, with T-shirts bearing slogans like `'Jesus is the standard'' and ``I'm here for God.''
The pictures are a doozy - go here for more. I'm fond of the guy blowing the shofar. This amuses me, of course, because it so blindingly idiotic. It looks a lot like iconodulism, fundamentalists using a slab of rock as the focal point for their faith. That is and has always been abominable, and if you don't want to go back to the golden calf story, just refresh your memory of the Byzantine Empire's iconoclasm and the hundreds of thousands of people murdered for worshipping the wrong toys. It's a little worrying to see huge throngs taking over a courthouse so that they may defend a rock.|W|P|106200435121566368|W|P||W|P|8/26/2003 02:53:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Curiouser and curiouser C-Span 2 is rebroadcasting a 6/27/03 forum from Oakland where lefty journalists (Norman Solomon, Dennis Bernstein) and artists (Ishmael Reed) held forth on the goofiest topics you can imagine - the anti-homeless crusade of San Franciscans (Reed called "Care Not Cash" a "political Bumfight"), the evils of the American media, "chickenhawks," (complete with the joke about Rush Limbaugh's anal cyst. And when did leftists become so pro-Vietnam war?) etc. But Yuri Kochiyama really caught my attention. She referenced a report by "San Francisco writer Ron Paul" that apparently proved the Bush administration's complicity - nay, their direct role - in the attacks of 9/11. An interview with Paul is here. It's gleefully insane.
In my view, a secret team within the U.S. government primarily carried out the 9/11 attacks. The attacks could not have happened without the participation of such a team. In particular this team was responsible for the unprecedented failure to intercept hijacked airliners on the 9/11 morning—one hour and 28 minutes elapsed between 8:15 EDT, the time of the first off-course deviation by American Airlines Flight 11, the airliner that hit World Trade Center Building 1, the North Tower, at 8:48—and the crash into the Pentagon at 9:43 ... But I find such a conspiracy from the inside of the U.S. government far more likely than the absurd cartoon which is the official story—made up of physical impossibilities, incapable pilots, hard-drinking Muslims, indestructible passports, et cetera—a cartoon that both Corporate and supposedly "Left" media continue to parrot and thereby promote.
Hard-drinking Muslims? "Indestructible" passports? Huh? Paul must have his finger on the facts, right? Well, no.
In May of 2002 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued its "World Trade Center Building Performance Study." FEMA's group of professorial experts had a budget of only $600,000 to investigate the collapses that killed almost 3000—compared with the $40 million that was spent for investigation of Bill Clinton's activities with Monica Lewinsky in 1998–99.
That's expressly untrue. Kenneth Starr spent $40 million during his entire tenure as independent counsel, from 1994 to 1999. What other "facts" does he have?
The FBI is on record that an Egyptian, Emid Ali Salem, was its informant within this admitted conspiracy. According to a New York Times piece of October 28, 1993, Emid Ali Salem secretly recorded talks between himself and his FBI supervisor, John Anticev. Salem's tapes reveal that the FBI's Anticev stopped a plan to substitute harmless powder for the nitrate that eventually exploded the huge bomb under the Twin Towers. Remember that 6 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured by this bomb. Salem's statement is that he built the bomb and received $1,000,000 from the FBI for his work. We also know that the rental agreement for the truck that carried the 1993 WTC bomb gives the phone number and address of a Mossad agent, Josie Hadas.
Here's the actual article.
Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast. The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said ... The transcripts do not make clear the extent to which Federal authorities knew that there was a plan to bomb the World Trade Center, merely that they knew that a bombing of some sort was being discussed.
Paul's interview is interesting - more proof that, yes, there really are Americans who think like this. They're allowed to, of course. But don't forget that they're out there, and they're doing a lot of the organizing behind "anti-war" rallies.|W|P|106188078479723485|W|P||W|P|8/25/2003 05:46:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Farewell to a friend I am a nice guy in Jesus' name I have a mean schizophrenia demon in my head My demon racks me with profanity My demon tells me lies and says I'm a jerk, a bum and an asshole My demon keeps me from joy bus riding by torturing me Wesley Willis Wesley Willis Wesley Willis Wesley Willis Kinkos, it's the copy center - Wesley Willis, "Wesley Willis" I found out about the death of Wesley Willis minutes after it was official, when I called Alternative Tentacles records to see if it was true. It was, and it wrecked me. My roommate had turned me on to Wesley in 2000, so I'd had barely three years to appreciate him. You know Pink Floyd, how they suck more and more with every passing year, and how you wish they would have broken the fuck up when they could still write songs? That wasn't an issue with Wesley. He could NEVER write songs. Willis "wrote" new tunes by playing one of three melodies on his keyboard and singing three verses about whatever was on his mind. And I wrote "singing," which is sort of a slander. Willis attacked these subjects like the 6'5'', 350 pounds schizophrenic street artist that he was. Willis's lyrics came out in a yelp, thick with mucus and thin on sense. He sang a song about whupping Batman's ass because "He was running me amok/ He ridiculed me calling me a bum." This was fun music. It offered vicarious insanity, sneak peeks into the mind of a guy who truly thought he was possessed by demons who engaged him in constant combat. And the limited melodies made them easy to replicate - my roommate and I would always write bullshit "tributes" to stuff in the Wesley style, because it was so damn brainless. When I sat and thought about it, like I'm doing now, I liked Wesley because he could only exist in an enlightened liberal democracy. Seriously! Only a free society would allow a mentally ill man to function on his own. And only the free market could have provided a guy like this with a way to make money, release records, and get booked on national radio shows to plug his terrible art. We didn't laugh at Wesley. We loved him. And I'll always wonder what kind of songs he'd be writing if he lived another 30 years. "Howard Dean"? "Nuclear Holocaust"? "Martian Invasion"? We'll miss out on that. And that's too bad.|W|P|106184801552593043|W|P||W|P|8/25/2003 05:05:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|And just when I start blogging ... my finger slips to "templates," and my post is gobbled up instead of posted. How does Glenn do this?|W|P|106184552623773352|W|P||W|P|8/25/2003 04:01:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Blogorama I polished off the second part of John Julius Norwich's magisterial history of the Byzantine Empire this morning. God bless vacation after deadlines. So I guess I can blog now.|W|P|106184168170681419|W|P||W|P|8/24/2003 09:46:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Ron Paul for president! Well, not really, but his speech in favor of the Hickey-Rohrbacker Amendment, which would have defunded federal actions against marijuana in states that have legalized it for medical purposes, is a doozy.
As a cosponsor of the amendment, I rise in support of this amendment and appreciate the fact that the gentleman from New York has brought it to the floor. I would suggest that the previous speaker has forgotten some of the law; and to me, that would be the constitutional law of the ninth and tenth amendments. So changing the law is one thing, but remembering the Constitution is another. This has a lot to do with State law; but more importantly, as a physician, I see this bill as something dealing with compassion. As a physician, I have seen those who have died with cancer and getting chemotherapy and with AIDS and having nothing to help them. There is the case in California of Peter McDaniels, who was diagnosed with cancer and AIDS. California changed the law and permitted him to use marijuana if it was selfgrown, and he was using it; and yet although he was dying, the Federal officials came in and arrested him and he was taken to court. The terrible irony of this was here was a man that was dying and the physicians were not giving him any help; and when he was tried, it was not allowed to be said that he was obeying the State law. That is how far the ninth and tenth amendments have been undermined, that there has been so much usurpation of States' rights and States' abilities to manage these affair, and that is why the Founders set the system up this way in order that if there is a mistake it not be monolithic; and believe me, the Federal Government has made a mistake not only here with marijuana, with all the drug laws, let me tell my colleagues. There are more people who die from the use of legal drugs than illegal drugs. Just think of that. More people die from the use of legal drugs; and also, there are more deaths from the drug war than there are from deaths from using the illegal drugs. So it has gotten out of control. But the whole idea that a person who is dying, a physician cannot even prescribe something that might help them. The terrible irony of Peter McDaniels was that he died because of vomiting, something that could have and had only been curtailed by the use of marijuana. No other medication had helped; and we, the Federal Government, go in there and deny this and defy the State law, the State law of California. Yes, I would grant my colleagues there is danger in all medications. There is some danger in marijuana, but I do not know of any deaths that is purely marijuana-related. If we want to talk about a deadly medication or a deadly drug that kills literally tens of thousands in this country, it is alcohol. And how many people want to go back to prohibition? I mean, nobody's proposing that, and yet that is a deadly drug. The whole notion that we can deny this right to the States to allow a little bit of compassion for a patient that is dying, I would say this is a compassionate vote. If we care about the people being sick, then we have to vote for this amendment. This will do nothing to increase the use of bad drugs. The bad drugs are there; and as a physician and a parent and a grandparent, I preach against it all the time, but the unwise use of drugs is a medical problem, just like alcoholism is a medical problem; but we have turned this into a monster to the point where we will not even allow a person dying from cancer and AIDS to get a little bit of relief. I strongly urge support and a positive vote for this amendment.
Sadly, most of his fellow Republicans voted against the bill for the usual bullshit reasons.|W|P|106177601668397627|W|P||W|P|8/23/2003 06:41:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|One lawsuit, comin' up Now in hardcover ... |W|P|106167849752057526|W|P||W|P|8/23/2003 12:25:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Loonlighting Cybill Shepherd is mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger's political ambitions. Cybill Shepherd should simmer down.
The outspoken former model and ex-Moonlighting star was approached about a White House bid last weekend via a series of talks with her friend, attorney Gloria Allred. Today, Allred said she was "encouraged" Shepherd, 49, is mulling the candidacy. "It's not a trial balloon. I asked her to seriously consider running and she's seriously considering," Allred says.
Was that just Gloria Allred talking? Not really ...
MATT LAUER: You also write in the book about wanting to become President of the United States or at least seriously considering it, in this year 2000. Why did you think you'd be a good candidate? CYBILL SHEPHERD: Well I seriously considered it, in order to bring attention to reproductive freedom because we are approaching a crisis particularly with the presidential election.
Now, what did she say about Arnold?
That would be the worst tragedy in the history of California. I think that we are the laughing stock of the world with Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor.
Celebrity candidate who's a Democrat = legit. Celebrity candidate who's not = national disgrace. Gotcha.|W|P|106165590304323881|W|P||W|P|8/22/2003 02:19:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|They have some standards The New York Times, which glowingly profiled her son Chesa last year, offers a harsh editorial on the release of convicted murderer Kathy Boudin.
In seeking her release, Ms. Boudin and her supporters, including several celebrities, wisely avoided minimizing her crime. The robbery resulted in the deaths of Sgt. Edward O'Grady and Officer Waverly Brown of the Nyack Police Department and Peter Paige, the Brink's guard, and left their nine children fatherless. Instead, the Boudin camp emphasized the length of time she had spent behind bars, and the fact that while there she had helped establish inmate education programs and programs for inmates with AIDS and for incarcerated mothers. Whatever America's flaws were in the 1960's, they were not the fault of Sergeant O'Grady, Officer Brown or Mr. Paige, or their families. Ms. Boudin's lawyer described his client as "hysterically happy" about the parole board's decision (which technically could still be blocked, although that seems unlikely). But any joy that Ms. Boudin is now free to put the Brink's robbery behind her must be tempered by memories of the three men who never will.
I have some sympathy for contrite members of the Weather Underground. Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who raised Kathy's son, are not contrite - they're free because the FBI overreached in prosecuting them, and because Ayers comes from one of the richest families in the Midwest. But at least their terrorism, after the Days of Rage, was plotted to avoid civilian casualities. They never became killers like their comrade Kathy - but does anyone doubt they'll be throwing her a party?|W|P|106157637837517325|W|P||W|P|8/21/2003 08:12:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I am a nerd If you are, too, then check out this promo of the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer video game. The first game was 36 flavors of kickass.|W|P|106151116374295757|W|P||W|P|8/21/2003 01:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Adventures on Planet Kos I generally like the Daily Kos weblog, as much as it is run by a partisan Democrat and I am a marginal Republican. I've posted some useful stuff there in the past, but Kos's own selection of polls and maps is hard to beat on a free website. Nonetheless, the conversation I got into yesterday was ... just silly. We were talking about what is quickly becoming a kneejerk Democratic meme - Republicans oppose democracy and don't accept elections when they don't win. CA Gov. Gray Davis said as much in a speech, much approved of by Kos.
This recall is bigger than California. What's happening here is part of an ongoing national effort to steal elections Republicans cannot win. It started with the impeachment of President Clinton, when the Republicans could not beat him in 1996. It continued in Florida, where they stopped the vote count, depriving thousands of Americans of the right to vote. This year, they're trying to steal additional congressional seats in Colorado and Texas, overturning legal redistricting plans. Here in California, the Republicans lost the governor's race last November. Now they're trying to use this recall to seize control of California just before the next presidential election.
I sighed and posted some questions in the comments.
This is the best tactic for Davis to use, absolutely. Democrats will be fired up enough to ignore that, hey, both parties use dirty tactics to win seats (remember the Jeffords switch? Lautenberg?) Republicans got angry and turned out in 2002 ... Democrats, if their leaders stoke this "STEALING ELECTIONS!" fire enough, could get angry and turn out in 2003.
That got this response:
Hey, Dave: Would you explain just what was "sleazy" about Jeffords bolting a party whose leadership he could no longer stomach? As to Lautenberg bowing out when he did- well, you got me there.
I answered him.
J&G - What was sleazy was the Democratic leadership baiting Jeffords by offering the committee chairmanship he wanted. That's backed up here. Was it illegal for Democrats to swing the majority by courting Jeffords? No. Was it unusual? Well, yeah. Since Jeffords was disgusted with the GOP, was he justified? Hm ... I'd reckon the 1.3 million people who signed the recall petition were disgusted in their way, too. I would prefer every state drew districts the Iowa way, handing the process to judges. What Tom DeLay is doing now is as disgusting as what Phil Burton did in 1980s California. But the "coup! coup! sore losers!" spin is boilerplate nonsense, laughably Manichean, and ... well, it just might win over a bunch of on-the-fence Democrats. P.S. Torricelli dropped out of the NJ senate race after he had won the primary, and Lautenberg was inserted onto the ballot without a primary. Quelle undemocratic!
According to "smartone":
gee dave i guess you forget the long series of southern democrats who switch to republican in the 90s ...
My other critics came out swinging.
Let me get in a couple of licks in answer to your courteous response. 'Smartone' has your number about Jeffords defection. I mean, get real. From the tenor of your remarks, I doubt it possible to convey my certainty that the Bushite GOP is an essentially fascist entity, able and willing to subvert normal democratic processes in their pursuit of power. Of the 1 million Californians who signed-off on the recall petition, not a single one can point to an instance of malfeasance committed by Davis. So let me ask you this: assuming a republican had won the governor's office last November, and had proceeded to conduct him/herself in an honorable (albeit partisan) fashion, would a recall be warranted? Hell no, it wouldn't. I tell you straight on, that if Pete Wilson, a man I disdain, had found himself in a similar spot, I would have voted 'No' to the recall. In fact, I did exactly that when Dianne Feinstein faced a similar challenge circa 1978. I'm a native San Franciscan, and Dianne has always been way too conservative for me, but I made a point of voting against her recall because it was unwarranted. And those that dismiss this criteria when it comes to a recall best think it through. I'd say to them: if you succeed in upending Davis, I will seek to torpedo whomsoever you place in his stead. One million votes? In a polarized state, and with enough dough, they're there for the picking. Most especially when times are tough- as when a state has been methodically raped by a corporation that happens to have been the single greatest contributor to the coffers of an incumbent President of the United States. As to Phil Burton? Yeah, you got a point, but not much of one. Phil, like republican legislators where the cotton was high, did it fair and square: once, after the census at the top of the decade. And Toricelli? I doubt any party could go to the well many more times with that tactic. It did stink.
But he was wrong.
I'm not sure that Smartone has my number. Jeffords' switch swung control of the Senate from Republican to Democrat 6 months after a legitimate election. None of the Southern swings did that. And my point isn't that Jeffords is the devil. Both parties bend the rules. It's always sad to watch. I pretty much agree with your points. I'm just being nitpicky about Davis's speech and what appears to be the key Democratic talking point on the recall. Que sara sara. It wasn't intended to win me over, obviously ...
Logic was useless.
First, a politician switching parties is nothing new. It happens all the time. Our piece of sh*t senator Norm Coleman was a democrat when he first became mayor of St. Paul. In fact, I would say he would not have even had a chance to be mayor of St. Paul if he had not been a democrat. After he was in office he switched to the GOP. Judi Dutcher who if the DFL had any sense would have nominated to run for governor, was once a republican and switched to the DFL. So it happens. ... Bullshit through and through. Back to the circle jerk with you... best to Unka Karl!
Hm. In April 2001, Trent Lott was majority leader. In June 2001, Tom Daschle was majority leader. However, KARL ROVE! So I saw this guy's point. But "Bill" was interesting.
I loved Davis' theme - that the Republicans are subverting the Democratic process. But we Democrats must also recognize that we had a small hand in this trend with the replacement of Sen. Toricelli on the ballot a few weeks before the election just because he was going to lose - after all, isn't that why you have an election! To see who wins and who loses. Clearly, Dems haven't subverted the process to the extent that the Reps have, but we didn't help it with the Toricelli switch. Or, for that matter, with the election of a dead man in 2000.
The moral. I don't know. The internet's weird?|W|P|106148709883253352|W|P||W|P|8/20/2003 07:53:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Drummed! Bill Herbert smacks the stupid out of Kevin Drum. It's excellent.
Drum's standard here is pure hypocrisy: when the BBC falsely reports that Lynch's rescuers fired blanks, he chalks it up to "garden variety mistakes, common in war reporting." But when the military allows information to be leaked about the circumstances surrounding Lynch's capture, and that information turns out to be false, it's a major disinformation campaign. Never mind that the false information was caveated with a "we really haven't evaluated this report yet" disclaimer, or that an Army doctor corrected the record two days later, or that everything else BGEN Brooks said about the raid turned out to have been completely accurate. It's simply inconceivable to Drum -- or, more importantly to the BBC's reporters -- that the pentagon simply made a mistake, and actually believed that their intel could have been accurate at the time. Ditto for the other "lies" the pentagon told about the war. They said they took Um Qasr and Basra. Then it turned out they hadn't completely solidified those vitories. That's war, asshole. Information from the field is almost always sketchy, and often turns out to be wrong. If you want to give the BBC the benefit of the doubt that they believed their own copy, why can't you allow the same possibility for military spokespeople working under the same wartime uncertainties?
Many liberals who criticize Fox News (Russell Mokhiber calls it "Pravda") have taken an interest in defending the BBC at all costs, as the one news organization that can report on America without being blinkered. But its bias is provable, and Chafetz has the goods. Stick to the catblogging, Kevin.|W|P|106142362339151394|W|P||W|P|8/19/2003 05:05:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Racism = not good Barbara Grutter, the (racist, imperialist, Jim Crow etc) plaintiff in the U of M affirmative action cases, has an op-ed in the National Review.
Thirty years ago as a young woman, I entered a sexist work environment, empowered and emboldened by the promise of the equal-opportunity statement, and encouraged by the strides being made — only to find myself 25 years later discriminated against on yet another basis — this time race. That is not progress! Voters are tired of waiting, tired of wasting time, and they are unwilling to turn back the clock. We will never become a truly inclusive society if we continue to discriminate against or disenfranchise one group in the process of including another. Equal protection means the same thing for everyone or it means nothing for anyone. We will not wait, as Sandra Day O'Connor suggests, another 25 years for the principle of equal treatment to become a reality in Michigan.
Sometimes I like it when NR bucks the win-at-any-costism of the Republican party. Sometimes I don't.|W|P|106132712162923037|W|P||W|P|8/19/2003 04:20:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Sanchez 1, Conason 0 Julian Sanchez waves his hand and dismisses Joe Conason's tedious bestseller Big Lies. It's a stellar put-down:
the excerpt is a tedious recitation of cherry picked polls showing that the majority of the American people support big government programs. My first thought when seeing such stats is always... "yeah, they like Paradise Hotel and Chicken Soup for the Soul too... who cares?" But I do sometimes wonder about the mysteries of public attitudes. See, among the polls Conason doesn't cite are those showing that Americans prefer "smaller government with fewer services" to "larger government with more services" by a margin of 54 to 41 percent, even when the polling question doesn't mention higher taxes. (Though when you characterize the services as "needed" people say that providing those—which count as "needed" is left nebulous—is more important than shrinking government by two to one.) Conason looks instead at approval of particular programs, and that's a pretty consistent trend. Ask people whether they want smaller government, and majorities say yes. But ask about particular programs and majorities want to keep them.
When I worked for the Center for Individual Rights, I siezed on a new poll from the Washington Post that tracked opinions of affirmative action. It was a minor bombshell - 1,709 respondents were asked this question:
In order to give minorities more opportunities, do you believe race or ethnicity should be a factor when deciding who is hired, promoted, or admitted to college?
No group supported this. Blacks opposed it 86 to 12. Whites opposed it 94 to 3. Democrats in general opposed it 87 to 8, and Republicans opposed it 96 to 2. But what struck me was how the Post spun its own findings:
Whether out of hostility, indifference or simple lack of knowledge, large numbers of white Americans incorrectly believe that blacks are as well off as whites in terms of their jobs, incomes, schooling and health care, according to a national survey by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. Depending on the question, the poll found that 40 percent to 60 percent of all whites say that the average black American is faring about as well and perhaps even better than the average white in these areas.
Was that the most amazing part of the poll? More amazing then 86 percent of African-Americans opposing racial preferences? The Washington Post thought so, and there was the liberal media in all its glory. Conason's poll selection seems to follow the same pattern (you'd think he'd want to be at least as honest as Ann Coulter, who provided footnotes for all of her assertions in Slander and Treason). He picks and chooses the polls that suit him, which you could never get away with in a college political science or journalism course. Then he uses them to make his point. He takes info that's favorable to progressives at face value. Then he calls the media that provides that info "right-wing." Then he calls us liars. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am an ignorant American who has to get back to his history of Byzantium.|W|P|106132441295211994|W|P||W|P|8/18/2003 04:47:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Mexterminator? Did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger hates Mexicans? It's true! Lalo Alacaraz offers his take in convenient poster format. I like Alacaraz's art and his book Latino USA, but his politics are predictable and silly. Of course, this was the week that the Economist referred to Prop 187 as "a measure that denied rights to Latinos," so maybe facts are passe and Lalo is riding the trend.|W|P|106123966243388649|W|P||W|P|8/18/2003 04:17:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I shot a man just to watch him buy - this wonderful box set! Johnny Cash-Rick Rubin outtakes ahoy!|W|P|106123785269896513|W|P||W|P|8/18/2003 03:20:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Book Review V: Saying Yes by Jacob Sullum You can say what you want about Marc Cooper's political acumen, but in the latest LA Weekly he sums up the feelings of pragmatic progressives with the deftness of a Navy SEAL. The Greens, says Cooper, will lose the California recall. Why?
Camejo has pushed marijuana legalization and instant-runoff voting to the top of his agenda. These might be cutting-edge issues along the Venice boardwalk or in the UC Santa Cruz dorms, but they are not even remotely now on the minds of most California voters.
And here you cue the Hanna Barbara gag horns - Wa, wa, waaaaaa. Those silly Greens! Pot-smokers, slackers, out-of-it hippies - how could they think that legalizing marijuana would excite people? Did you know that there are over 150,000 people in California prisons? That's up more than 100,000 from 1980. As a result, the state has built 21 prisons since 1984, at a cost of up to $118,000 per bed. How many of those prisoners got busted for drug possession? How many became criminals by trying to make money selling drugs? How many extra police have been hired to deal with drug crimes? Drug prohibition is obviously an enormous drain on state resources. Its enforcers, like Drug Czar John Walters, justify spending more than $10 billion per year on policing drug users by warning us (maybe "warning" is too tame a word - did you see the propaganda campaign last year?) that taking pot will destroy our lives. Why do they get away with it? Why can't a politician get taken seriously by talking about decriminalization? Two words. Cheech and Chong. Jacob Sullum's fantastic new book Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use repeats some of the arguments civil libertarians make for legalization, but that's not his only point. He knows that these arguments have no gas because drug users are easily demonized. Heroin users are Trainspotting-style derelicts who lose their homes to pay for their habit (maybe because their habit is illegal, and thus expensive and unregulated?). Crack cocaine users get addicted instantly, then lose their homes (ditto). LSD makes you go insane. Pot users are potheads. When I met Sullum, he groused that the book's library code filed it under "drug abuse" - there was no way to use drugs without abusing them. Forget the Patriot Act - THIS is Orwellianism in all its ugly splendor. Sullum answers all this by providing page after page of interviews with successful drug users. It's almost sad to read this and think of last year's Nevada initiative to legalize possession of under three ounces of marijuana. Like Sullum's subjects, the initiative's backers were wealthy, successful businessmen who used marijuana. Their very existence (if pot ruined your life, why were these guys millionaires?) was ignored. Anti-pot campaigners talked about "raising their kids in a drug-free atmosphere." Since alcohol is legal, are people raising their kids in a booze-soaked atmosphere? The government didn't have to try hard to destroy the initiative - years of "your KIDS are in DANGER!" propaganda did the job. Are kids in danger? Sullum takes that head on, quoting official statements on the effects of drugs and then marshalling the actual findings of scientists. My favorite bit was his demolition of the "marijuana is more potent than ever" trope, noting that the "official" potency of marijuana is based on one bust of weak Mexican weed in early 1970s Texas. Five days after finishing the book, I heard John Walters lie to Lou Dobbs.
Baby boomers and the generation after them all have a great deal of ignorance about that problem. They think marijuana's not an addictive substance, it's not a serious threat. It's more than twice as important as a cause of dependency than the next most important illegal drug, which is cocaine. But most people think of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, those are dangerous substances. Marijuana's the soft drug. In fact, we ought to legalize it, as you say. The fact of the matter is, marijuana is the most dangerous threat across a broader scale, and part of that is because of the ignorance about marijuana and the fact that people don't realize that today's marijuana is not 1 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient of the '80s, it's 9 to 14 percent, and we now have high-potency varieties of 20 to 30 percent, increasing its danger coming from Canada and other places.
All of that stuff is debunked by Sullum. Saying Yes is one of those rare books that takes on power, proves it wrong, and never becomes didactic.|W|P|106123444034752174|W|P||W|P|8/17/2003 05:59:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Where you get them jeans? Casey Newton finally chimes in on the new GAP ad campaign, and the results are typically mirth-inducing.
[Missy] Elliott, in what may be the lamest hip-hop couplet ever written, bravely attempts to rhyme "jeans" with itself. "You're gon' love us in our Gap jeans / We walk by, people ask, 'Where you get them jeans?'" Then Madonna sings "Get into the groove!" one more time, and the cameras stop rolling, and the divas are handed giant sacks of cash.
You can't avoid these commercials. I only watch a few shows (The Simpsons, The Daily Show, Chappelle's Show), and I reckon the GAP ad has assaulted my eyeballs 50 times in the past week. And it's awful, especially for the use of the putrid new single "Hollywood." - "Everybody comes to Hollywood/They want to make it in the neighborhood." As Mark Prindle put it,
You can tell me every fag, junglebunny and kike joke in the world and none of it is going to offend me anywhere NEAR as much as listening to some dumb rich cunt bitching and moaning about how much her life sucks for 50 fucking minutes. Before I delve into her poetry, let me preface this attack by saying that I certainly understand why an artist might choose not to address depressing social issues in their work. Entertainment is entertainment, after all, and lots of us turn to it for an escape from the disturbing reality we're experiencing. But that's not what American Life is. It is NOT escapist entertainment. It is Madonna presenting a series of dark, minor-key, UNHAPPY songs about how fake and plastic the entertainment business is and how it's not enough to make her happy. Hopefully I speak for the majority of Americans when I say BOO FUCKING HOO.
Everybody, pile on Madonna! She makes "Gigli" look good.|W|P|106115756557288262|W|P||W|P|8/14/2003 09:44:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|What's in a coup? I've been covering some aspects of the California recall this week, and I'm getting more and more annoyed by the spin, offered by some Democrats, that the whole affair is a Republican "coup". The easily-impressed Oliver Willis quoted Bill Maher, who brought this line of thinking into the mainstream:
"Between trying to impeach Bill Clinton, Florida 2000, and the recall in California, I'm beginning to think that Republicans will do anything to win an election - except get the most votes."
This is spin - that special brand of spin that allows folks like me to be accused of "spinning" when we note that it's wrong. Basically: - "trying to impeach Bill Clinton." Well, he was impeached, and the articles were specifically related to abuse of power. But if Clinton had been removed, Al Gore would have become president. That would have been one wacky Republican victory. - "Florida 2000." Yeah, hearing that never gets old. But I find the veiled charges of fascism annoying for one reason: This guy. In 2000, Jim Jeffords won election to a six-year term as a Republican. He joined 49 Republican senators and Vice President Cheney to form a GOP majority in January. Not five months later he caucused with the Democrats, swinging the majority without, well, ANY votes. And he didn't do it alone.
On the prowl for disgruntled Republicans, Reid thought Chafee was the ripest target. But after a chance encounter with Jeffords in April, Reid became convinced Jeffords would bolt. Daschle was skeptical but put Reid in charge of the recruitment. Reid and Jeffords had similar personalities--taciturn, press shy, not given to windy speeches in public or private. Reid knew Jeffords hated confrontation and horse trading, so he stuck to high principles in their conversations and never, ever asked him directly to defect. "The issues you stand for are the ones we believe in in the Democratic Party," Reid told him. "Jim, this is beyond you and me. This is for the country." But early on, sources say, Reid dangled the possibility that Jeffords could chair the Environment and Public Works Committee under Democratic rule.
I don't think Tom Daschle is spearheading an anti-democratic agenda. He plays politics to win, but he plays by the rules. So do California Republicans. My impression? Partisan Democrats are way, waaaaaay too trigger-happy when it comes to pinning conspiracies on their foes.|W|P|106091186109180171|W|P||W|P|8/14/2003 09:24:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hiatus explained The last few days found me in upstate Pennsylvania, camping with my friends Dean and CJ at Dean's parents' 75-acre campground. Fun was had, as I will explain shortly.|W|P|106091069542316192|W|P||W|P|8/14/2003 04:35:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The terrorists have won |W|P|106089332040825963|W|P||W|P|8/11/2003 03:07:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Kind of the Best Bands of All Time My 10 favorite groups of the rock era. Subject to change every few months. 10. Fugazi 9. Black Sabbath 8. Guided by Voices 7. The Beatles 6. They Might Be Giants 5. Devo 4. Pet Shop Boys 3. XTC 2. The Ramones 1. The Beach Boys|W|P|106058567758954874|W|P||W|P|8/11/2003 02:45:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The Decline and Fall of the Deadline Empire Done! Now I'll list my 10 favorite rock groups of all time. In like 15 minutes.|W|P|106058433040491046|W|P||W|P|8/07/2003 07:09:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Unhiatus I break from my toil to make a statement - Ha ha! Davis is screwed! See, the anti-recall forces had based their campaign on the bashing of Darrell Issa. It was a reall fish-barrel-gun situation - Issa was a convicted criminal with easily-pigeonholed conservative positions on social issues. Their main flyer was devoted to a critique of his positions. Their website, which set records for lameness, is overrun by Issa info. Hell, check out their talking points:
The recall is not about California's future ... it's about Darrell Issa's future. The recall campaign was going nowhere until Issa arrived with his open checkbook Issa is trying to hijack the recall process so that he can be elected Governor Darrell Issa is aligned with the extreme right wing of the Republican Party Darrell Issa has put in more than $1,000,000 in an attempt to buy a spot on the ballot. Issa's fund raising for the recall violates McCain/Feingold McCain/Feingold bars federal officials from raising money for soft money campaigns, whether for state or federal campaigns Issa has made numerous public statements indicating that he is raising money for the recall campaign "I don't expect to be the largest donor. I certainly won't be the only donor." Issa said, adding he already has several pledges ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. (AP - 5-6-03) Darrell Issa and the extreme right are trying to recall a woman's right to choose It is important to ensure that California women have a Governor who has delivered on our issues - family leave, choice, etc. Darrell Issa has a 0% pro-choice voting record, whereas Gov. Gray Davis has a 100% pro-choice record. Issa favors a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Darrell Issa's recall campaign is about an ambitious politician trying to buy his anti-choice agenda onto a statewide ballot.
There's one solution, in keeping with Davis's strategy thus far - they must file a lawsuit demanding that Arnold Schwarzenegger change his name to "Darrell Issa." Oh, and check out their endorsement from Lt. Gov. Bustamante.
"I will not participate in any way other than to urge voters to reject this expensive perversion of the recall process.
Again: Ha, ha!|W|P|106029778855228600|W|P||W|P|8/06/2003 02:03:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hiatus I'm on deadline for Reason and shouldn't waste time posting until Saturday. So go outside, kick the can - and if you don't want to do that, enjoy this interview with the cutest girl not named Kathleen Sylvester. Yes, it's Alyson Hannigan.|W|P|106014982940330835|W|P||W|P|8/02/2003 02:20:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Gone It's been a long time since I faced the Chronicle with anything but dread. The paper is in debt. Staffers don't do what I tell them to. I will be spending the next few days printing out the paper's freshman orientation issue and reconnecting our server (a job that I'd delegated three months ago), then sorting out our accounts and paying our publishers. This is miserable work, but I'll be done and back here, on deadline, by Tuesday night.|W|P|105984840329444564|W|P||W|P|8/01/2003 06:12:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Another fucking list So John Hawkins polled another bunch of bloggers, and I'm compelled to weigh in once more. This time, the subject was the 15 greatest movies of all time. Let's be frank. This is a bullshit question, not nearly as fun as "your 15 favorite movies." I have a certain cache of movies that hold up under the strictest scrutiny and get viewed more than three times a year. When I find out that a friend has never seen one of these, he's strapped into a chair and tied down. The best of these, not counting made-for-TV miniseries or documentaries - that's my 15. 15) High Fidelity (2000) 14) Vertigo (1958) 13) Annie Hall (1977) 12) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 11) Evil Dead II (1987) 10) Office Space (1999) 9) Time Bandits (1981) 8) Animal House (1978) 7) The Wizard of Oz (1939) 6) Goodfellas (1990) 5) Beauty and the Beast (1991) 4) Dawn of the Dead (1978) 3) Brazil (1985) 2) Rashômon (1950) 1) This is Spinal Tap (1984)|W|P|105973275912618938|W|P||W|P|8/01/2003 05:53:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Insomnia before a flight One of my worst habits. I'll be working on multiple projects today, but tossing and turning last night will probably prove to hinder me. Nonetheless, it's Friday. A bunch of interviews, some writing, and 6 pages of layout for a freshman orientation guide is not too tall an order.|W|P|105973159051787661|W|P||W|P|