7/30/2004 03:00:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Puff, puff, GIVE! Quick, what is this from?
One secret of fiction is the creation of unique characters who are precisely defined. The secret of comedy is the same, with the difference being that the characters must be obsessed with unwholesome but understandable human desires. Many comedies have the same starting place: A hero who must obtain his dream, which should if possible be difficult, impractical, eccentric or immoral. As he marches toward his goal, scattering conventional citizens behind him, we laugh because of his selfishness, and because secretly that's how we'd like to behave, if we thought we could get away with it.
That's right. It's the lede of Roger Ebert's review of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. |W|P|109121412946419178|W|P||W|P|7/29/2004 06:38:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|No more drama One of my favorite songs of the moment is "The Cutter" by Echo and the Bunnymen (the best best known for that song at the beginning of Donnie Darko). Long story short, it's a great song - except for the lead-in to the first bridge. Ian McCulloch revs up his vocal chords - "Spare us the cut-tah! Spare us the cut-ah!" And then he rips out with this operatic shriek - "Couldn't cut the ... MUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHH-STAAAAAAAARD!" My point is that "mustard" is a very silly word to scream. I took a poll of my music fan community to reckon what other ridiculous "dramatic" moments graced pop music. - "Mother ... I want to ... MWWRRRAAAAHHHHHGGGGHHH!!!" from The Doors' "The End" - the chorus of "Living on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi - "AAAAAAAAAH/AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH/AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH/OH THAT POOR WOLF" Better known as the coda to Genesis' "Cracker Mountain" - "THEY TOOK PICTURES OF OUR DREAMS!!! RAN TO HIDE BEHIND THE STAIRS!!!!" from Dream Theater's Another Day Anything I'm missing? |W|P|109114120774238243|W|P||W|P|7/29/2004 01:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Coulter's standards One of the standard knocks against USAT during Coultergate has been: Duh! What did we expect? She's a vicious hack bitch goddess! And my favorite: "They probably never read an Ann Coulter column before!" An objective look at her columns would suggest she actually can, and does, do better than the column she flung at us. Take her latest one.
The traditional greeting at the Democratic National Convention is, "Where do you teach?" On rare occasions, the greeting is modified to, "Where does your husband teach?" or "Where does your gay lover teach?" (Democrats could save a lot of money by holding the Democratic National Convention and the National Education Association Convention at the same time.)
Now that is a good lede. That is a readable lede. Why, for USAT, did she lead with "Here at the Spawn of Satan convention?" It goes on:
The Democrats keep loudly proclaiming that Republicans represent only extremely white rich people, while the Democrats represent all Americans. (Bar bet: Among the four major candidates for president and vice president this year, who has the smallest net worth? Answer: George Bush.)
Also good. This is a statement based in fact, and easily sourced, and riffs off actual happenings at the Dem convention. Why, for USAT, did she make up shit about hippie cartoon characters?
Democrats are representative of the nation only if the nation we're talking about is Brazil. For Democrats, there is only the maid and millionaires. There are no Americans in the middle. To the extent Democrats are forced to recognize working-class white men, they call them "fascists."
This is hyperbole, of course, but hyperbole is okay.
To thunderous applause here in the American Taliban, billionaire Teresa Heinz Kerry said she looks forward to a day when "women who have earned the right to be opinionated will be called smart and informed -- just as men are." It's no wonder Democrats weren't interested in liberating Afghanistan and Iraq from woman-hating Islamicist fanatics: They think real oppression of women consists of people calling Teresa "opinionated" right here in the USA.
Another fair joke! Coulter riffs on the NAACP's insane rhetoric and brings in some real Republican anger to the fantastical goo of the DNC - the willfull negligence of the reasons George Bush got into all those wars. Without posting more of this, I think it's clear that this kind of column would have been 95% acceptable for USAT. Indeed, it's what we were expecting - some observations and bullshit-spinning from a writer who's angry at the way Democrats are presenting themselves. But it was easier for Coulter to turn in a poorly-written screed and then cry "censorship." And it's easy for media critics to criticize USAT for getting what we paid for when a cursory look at what we paid for reveals that we got scammed.|W|P|109112303173688986|W|P||W|P|7/29/2004 01:10:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Holy shit, Vol. 2 Michael Moore is right on.

Foreman: Are you going to go to the Republican convention?

Moore: Yes, I am. I already have my credentials.

Foreman: How do you think you'll be received there?

Moore: I think it will be fine. Are you implying that Republicans are not nice people?

Foreman: No. I'm implying that you have a lot of fans here.

Moore:I already have my credentials. And so do my 25 bodyguards. [Laughs] Just kidding. I'm a guest columnist for USA Today. They'll be running my columns, by the way, because I'm willing to work with an editor. You know what happened with Ms. Coulter.
To clarify: Ann Coulter, instead of working on her column with the editors who hired her, fled Boston, printed her column (with her editors' notes) online, and gave interviews to TV hosts and columnists who made no effort to get the other side of the story. |W|P|109112124328388105|W|P||W|P|7/29/2004 12:55:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Holy shit I agree with something in The Gadflyer.
The Reverend [Al Sharpton] gets way too much attention for the level of support he generated during his campaign this year, and worse, he’s self-indulgent. And tonight his self-indulgence – less so, in my mind, for his remarks as for the length of his speech – could jeopardize a schedule intended to feature John Edwards more than anything else. Because Edwards is the party’s best speaker right now, Sharpton's grab imposes a terrible penalty on Edwards, John Kerry and the message tonight and for the week. Edwards needs to be able to take his time tonight, bask in every applause moment, and still finish by 11 EST.
I puzzled over this, too. Why did the party give Sharpton a nigh-prime time slot, considering he won less delegates than Dennis Kucinich? Was it because they feared anything less would be a slight to blacks? That's terribly insulting, for reasons Mark Bowden entailed in The Atlantic (not online) and I touched on here. Sharpton has no base or grounding in modern political reality, but he says he does, and - one last time? - the party fell for it. |W|P|109112086226720262|W|P||W|P|7/28/2004 02:50:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Helpful advice Thank you, Eric, for explaining why my boss should be fired. It was totally inexcusable for us to hire a polemicist to write opinion columns for the opinion page of our newspaper. In future, we will look for a more serious journalist who has the professionalism to demand his own TV show and call a gay pundit "little Roy Cohn." XOXOX, Dave Weigel |W|P|109104123786782709|W|P||W|P|7/27/2004 05:14:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hey, bloggers at the DNC One of my jobs at USA Today consists of compiling opinion from the world 'round and excerpting the best bits for the paper. This week, we're running several such compilations about the DNC. So if you have opinions on what John Kerry should say in his speech, post them. I'm not promising anything, but I'd like to find one good excerpt from a blog. |W|P|109096305824109184|W|P||W|P|7/27/2004 11:29:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Dead hobos I'm fairly skeptical about Jon Stewart's potential to save mankind, but this dialogue with Tom Brokaw is funny:
STEWART: Listen, he`s--I think, you know, if he doesn`t rise to the occasion, he doesn`t deserve to be president. But the interesting thing to me is, with all the challenges that face the country today, whether it be terrorism or the economy or that, the real question is, are the Democratic wives loose cannons? I think that`s really the thing that we should all be talking about. BROKAW: Well, we had a chance to talk with Teresa Heinz Kerry earlier tonight. And she said that reporter mischaracterized what she had said. He came back to her and said, what were you talking about un-American activities? STEWART: Right. BROKAW: And she said certain un-American traits, which is civil discourse in American politics. STEWART: Absolutely. But it is--I think we should focus a lot of time on the wife race, because, as you remember, we nearly lost World War II when Eleanor Roosevelt told the reporter from "The Hartford Times Courant" to sit on it. So, these are issues that we really should be talking about. And Teresa Heinz Kerry, for what it`s worth, yesterday I saw kill a hobo with her bare hands. BROKAW: Now, when you`re down here on the fort, a lot of people come up and ask your opinion. (LAUGHTER) STEWART: You`re going to let me go with that? You`re just going to let me say Teresa Heinz Kerry killed a hobo with her bare hands? BROKAW: Yes. Yes. Right. Yes.
Heh. |W|P|109094230075172582|W|P||W|P|7/27/2004 12:34:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Barack the house, y'all I have a profile/interpretation of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Heaven) up at the American Spectator. Shawn Macomber has a new story there, too. Read that first. UPDATE: I'll be damned, it's the lead story. Very cool, and very humbling. |W|P|109090294096120179|W|P||W|P|7/27/2004 12:07:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Coultergeist To clear up any confusion or possible conflicts of interest: - I work for USA Today's op-ed page. The opinions below are my own. - Coulter turned in a strikingly incoherent column yesterday, which she has now posted on her website. I fact-checked it, but while I did the honchos and Coulter were engaged in some kind of negotiation, and right before deadline a decision was made not to publish. - I think it's a terrible piece of writing. I mean, "Sadly, they won't be fighting to the death as is done in W.W.F. caged matches"? People DON"T FIGHT TO THE DEATH in cage (not "caged") matches! This was way below the level of writing in Coulter's books, which I think were what we thought she would provide to ... you know ... the audience of America's largest-circulation newspaper. - In my view, Coulter has proven a complete jackass in her response to this. I caught her telling Sean Hannity that USA Today wanted her "byline," and were interested in the idea of a conservative writer without having the balls to actually print one. Yeah, Ann. That's right. The paper that prints Michelle Malkin and Jonah Goldberg is afraid to publish a real conservative. UPDATE: Greetings from Kausfiles readers! Judging by my e-mail, at least four of you think I'm a complete idiot. So, welcome! Also, I edited this post a little to smooth down my angry, post-"Hannity and Colmes" rant. As I said, I was the fact-checker - the actual decisions in l'affaire Coulter were made by people who, unfortunately, don't keep up blogs. ANOTHER UPDATE: Greetings from Bookslut readers! |W|P|109090244980786954|W|P||W|P|7/24/2004 11:28:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Declawed Thank Christ. Catwoman is a bomb. |W|P|109068293274180265|W|P||W|P|7/23/2004 11:52:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Temple of the strange There is something, clearly, that makes 7/11 a beacon for fucking insane people. I typically run in to one a week, but tonight I ran in to grab a diet Coke and brushed past a tall, redheaded, Mike Love lookalike who balanced a Double Gulp in his arms as he said, quite clearly: "They sent them to ALGERIA! That's where they CAME FROM!" It was another 5 steps to the soda fountain, and once there I ran into a South Asian fellow who was windmilling his arms wildly like Bart and Lisa in the Simpsons hockey episode. "Hey MAN!" he said. "How you doing? How you doing, man!" With this he sort of scampered forward and windmilled again, striking me on my right forearm. I brushed him off, and said "Pretty good!" Then I filled the Gulp. Looking over my shoulder, I saw the windmiller walking up and down the store's short aisles and Mike Love pacing the sidewalk outside. I sort of hurried to pay for the drink. Once outside, I saw Mike Love walk to the edge of the street and scream - literally SCREAM - "IT WAS A SON! IT WAS A SON!" Needless to say, I peeled the fuck out of there. |W|P|109064167794235282|W|P||W|P|7/21/2004 06:12:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|How soon is now? Many of my music nerd friends agree that the lack of a Smiths box set makes no sense. I figured you could fit their entire recorded output on four discs. Lo and behold, I did. Here is everything the band released in chronological order.
DISC ONE 1. Hand In Glove (single version) 2. Handsome Devil (live Manchester Hacienda 4/2/83) 3. Reel Around The Fountain (Peel session) 4. Handsome Devil (Peel session) 5. What Difference Does It Make? (Peel session) 6. These Things Take Time (David Jensen session) 7. You've Got Everything Now (David Jensen session) 8. Accept Yourself (David Jensen session) 9. Back To The Old House (Peel session) 10. This Night Has Opened My Eyes (Peel session) 11. This Charming Man (Peel session) 12. Still Ill (Peel session) 13. This Charming Man (single version) 14. Jeane (Troy Tate demo) 15. Accept Yourself 16. Wonderful Woman 17. This Charming Man (instrumental) 18. What Difference Does It Make? 19. Back To The Old House 20. These Things Take Time 21. Rusholme Ruffians (Peel session) 22. Nowhere Fast (Peel session) 23. Hand In Glove (with Sandie Shaw on vocals) 24. Jeane (with Sandie Shaw on vocals) 25. I Don't Owe You Anything (Sandie Shaw on vocals) DISC TWO 1. Reel Around The Fountain 2. You've Got Everything Now 3. Miserable Lie 4. Pretty Girls Make Graves 5. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle 6. Still Ill 7. Hand In Glove (remixed by John Porter) 8. What Difference Does It Make? 9. I Don't Owe You Anything 10. Suffer Little Children 11. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now 12. Girl Afraid 13. William, It Was Really Nothing 14. Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want 15. How Soon Is Now? 16. Oscillate Wildly 17. The Headmaster Ritual 18. Rusholme Ruffians 19. I Want The One I Can't Have 20. What She Said 21. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore 22. Nowhere Fast 23. Well I Wonder 24. Barbarism Begins At Home 25. Meat Is Murder DISC THREE 1. Shakespeare's Sister 2. What She Said 3. Stretch Out And Wait 4. Nowhere Fast (live Oxford 18/3/85) 5. Stretch Out And Wait (live Oxford 18/3/85) 6. Shakespeare's Sister (live Oxford 18/3/85) 7. Meat Is Murder (live Oxford 18/3/85) 8. Miserable Lie (live Oxford 18/3/85) 9. What She Said (live Oxford 18/3/85) 10. Asleep 11. Rubber Ring 12. What's The World? (live Glasgow 25/9/85) 13. Money Changes Everything 14. Unloveable 15. The Queen Is Dead/Take Me Back To Dear Old Blighty 16. Frankly, Mr. Shankly 17. I Know It's Over 18. Never Had No One Ever 19. Cemetry Gates 20. Bigmouth Strikes Again 21. The Boy With The Thorn In His Side 22. Vicar In A Tutu 23. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out 24. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others 25. Panic 26. The Draize Train DISC FOUR 1. Ask 2. Cemetry Gates 3. Golden Lights 4. You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby 5. Shoplifters Of The World Unite 6. London 7. Half A Person 8. Sheila Take A Bow 9. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others (live London 12/12/86) 10. Is It Really So Strange? (Peel session) 11. Sweet And Tender Hooligan (Peel session) 12. Work Is A Four Letter Word 13. I Keep Mine Hidden 14. A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours 15. I Started Something I Couldn't Finish 16. Death Of A Disco Dancer 17. Girlfriend In A Coma 18. Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before 19. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me 20. Unhappy Birthday 21. Paint A Vulgar Picture 22. Death At One's Elbow 23. I Won't Share You
If you excise the alternate versions, demos and live tracks, I think you could come up with a 3-disc set. If you dig up more demos for the first disc, make discs two thru four nothing but album tracks, b-sides and 12-inches, and compile all the live stuff on disc five, you could conceivably have a solid 5-disc set. I'd take anything, honestly. The Smiths are possibly the worst-anthologized band of all time. |W|P|109044829117169587|W|P||W|P|7/21/2004 12:33:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Blog is just another word for something else to plug Here's my first, and hopefully not final, article for the American Spectator. |W|P|109038449780220970|W|P||W|P|7/20/2004 05:32:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Ohhhhhhhhh good. Look who's on the RNC's schedule!

-- Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) Sen. Santorum, who has served in the United States Senate since 1995, is now the third ranking Republican in the Senate and serves as Conference Chairman. Sen. Santorum is a leader in the fight to reform and improve America's social welfare system and he has worked closely with President Bush on numerous aspects of his compassion agenda. Sen. Santorum currently serves as co-chair of the Bush-Cheney '04 Pennsylvania Leadership Team.

-- Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) In 1996, the people of Kansas elected Sam Brownback as their 32nd U.S. Senator, filling out the unexpired portion of Sen. Bob Dole's term. In 1998, they re- elected Brownback to a second term. Brownback shares the president's vision of growing the economy through tax relief, vigorously defending this country in the War on Terror, and building a culture of responsibility. Sen. Brownback currently serves as Co-Chair of the Bush-Cheney '04 Kansas Leadership Team.

At least they've still got Arnold.

|W|P|109035923435134522|W|P||W|P|7/20/2004 03:16:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Propaganda > CNN Well, this is what I get for slacking off on posts. When I read Wonkette's collection of Fox memos, I sort of liked how the network was focused on hard news and pressers and pooh-poohed celebrity interruptions. Matthew Yglesias just said the same thing, but better, and as a result I'm sure everyone will be talking about it. I know why he feels this way - my hatred of celeb news mostly comes from watching the BBC in Britain. Now, obvious, we had celebrity scandals break out with regularity. But the only one I remember vividly was the Jill Dando murder, and murder of a TV presenter is a legitimately big deal. I got to watch election coverage, too, and even though Labour hired celebrities (Ginger Spice) for its commercials, the BBC reported on the parties' manifestos and what they had actually done in office. When I think of this and then remember this past Friday, when the possible sentencing of the other guy (the OTHER GUY!) in the Martha Stewart case occupied CNN's airspace for at least an hour, I get misty-eyed. |W|P|109035134850889595|W|P||W|P|7/20/2004 02:53:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Post of the week If you read nothing else today, read this Will Wilkinson post that completely schools the vastly overrated Wonkette. (I'm not saying Wonkette is awful, but for all her hype you'd expect something more than occasional clever posts interspersed with dick and gay jokes.) |W|P|109034972596112587|W|P||W|P|7/19/2004 12:32:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Blog therapy Listening to a C-Span interview with Molly Ivins, because I'm an idiot, I heard a caller comment that's been pissing me off consistently for a few days. The caller, reacting to some rude calls in to the show, and sounding for all the world like that hotel manager in the Schwarznegger prank call, said they sounded like "typical Republicans. Always angry about something, always barking." OK. Feeling better now. |W|P|109025499470043530|W|P||W|P|7/18/2004 02:51:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Rich Lowry suicide watch Andrew Sullivan has an idea.
I'm thinking of finally sitting down and writing a real book about what I think conservatism should be.
Actually, you can also mark this under "Ben Domenech suicide watch." Which isn't the most displeasing idea, really. |W|P|109017696747029342|W|P||W|P|7/17/2004 04:58:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|DavidMark.org My former and still-kinda boss (still-kinda if I pitch him good ideas) finally has a website. |W|P|109009798155099973|W|P||W|P|7/17/2004 12:17:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|David Weigel, 22 David Kirkpatrick, the New York Times' man on the "conservative beat," called me last week for comment on a story about young conservatives and libertarians. I hung up feeling incoherent, but this was apparently not the case.
David Weigel, 22, the former editor of a conservative magazine at Northwestern University, a contributor to the libertarian magazine Reason and an intern at the editorial page of USA Today, said that last spring his college paper had trouble finding any conservatives on campus who supported amending the constitution to ban same-sex marriage. He contended that even young conservatives who maintained a strict moral code for themselves were increasingly reluctant to regulate the behavior of others. "I am personally abstinent," he said, "and I plan to stay that way, but I have no problem with international aid programs that use or distribute condoms."
Well, that's neat. |W|P|109008139259492471|W|P||W|P|7/16/2004 03:56:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The luck continues It turns out my plan to review the game at my parents' computer overlaps with a plan for my entire circle of Delaware friends to head up to Pennsylvania for CJ's movie. They'd talked about this for weeks, but as of yesterday I'd been told it wasn't really certain. I would have been able to go if my computer had simply worked last weekend, and I'd finished the review on schedule. I cannot believe my rotten luck at every turn. Frankly, I'm tired and pissed off. I really just want to punch a CNN producer in the face and blow off steam about this Martha coverage. Something, anything.|W|P|109000807953563431|W|P||W|P|7/16/2004 02:02:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Memo To: TV news channels From: Dave It's very possible something is going on besides the Martha Stewart sentencing. Please find out and cover it.|W|P|109000099050014975|W|P||W|P|7/16/2004 01:43:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Oh SNAP! An interesting Hit and Run discussion inspires a smack-down.
Fat AND Attractive? Sorry, that's an oxymoron. If it were true, I wouldn't have problems finding a girlfriend. Comment by: Mark S. at July 16, 2004 12:17 PM --- You probably have trouble finding a girlfriend because you've fallen for the air brushed pictures you see in your Hustler mags. Comment by: beachgirl at July 16, 2004 12:18 PM
Burned!|W|P|108999985099033101|W|P||W|P|7/16/2004 01:09:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Accentuate the positive. Or don't ABC's The Note notes (ha!) what I've been seeing - the Bush/Cheney 04 ads are exclusively negative against Kerry, barely mentioning the existence of the president.
# The Bush campaign has a pair of ads out questioning Kerry's decision making and values. After several ads this past week on gay marriage from groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and MoveOn.org, there is no news yet on ads from outside groups on any topics for next week. Here's what's on the air for now … # 4 Bush-Cheney ads slamming Kerry's record and priorities # 12 Kerry-Edwards ads touting the team's credentials # 0 anti-Nader ads on television, but 1 radio ad still running # 4 New Democrat Network ads still pushing for Hispanic unity behind the Democratic Party
You can see the ads yourself at the Museum of the Moving Image's website. After airing one ad stressing that Bush made the best of a bad hand, it's been bash bash bash smear bash bash. Kind of expected, although the "priorities" ad torques me off, with the assertion that "the Laci Peterson law protects pregnant women from violence." It protects unborn children from violence, for the love of fuck. I'm more surprised the Kerry/Edwards ads are so positive. At this point in 1992 (the most ready corrolary to this campaign), the Clinton folks had run some hard-hitting stuff against Bush Sr and his handling of the economy. The tag line "America can't AFFORD four more years" is one of the more effective in recent campaign history. This leads me to consider that third-party groups - MoveOn.org, pundits, weblogs - are doing Kerry's work for him by blasting the unholy hell out of Bush on an hourly basis. World events are doing the damage, yeah, but these groups are doing the heavy lifting.|W|P|108999824479179869|W|P||W|P|7/16/2004 01:07:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The luck continues Seriously, apart from catching a few important errors in the paper and correcting them, nothing has broken my way this week. Today I was heading out to start the truncated work day and grabbed the DVDs I need to return by Sunday, midnight. I figured if I threw them in the video store, which is a brief right turn on my way to work, I wouldn't have race home from Delaware in 56 hours. So I head up Glebe, see the turn - and there's construction blocking the path to the parking lot. Goddamn.|W|P|108999777688275819|W|P||W|P|7/15/2004 03:37:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|As if I wasn't depressed enough Here's a scarily detailed Reason story on Kerry's possible drug war policy.
Candidate Kerry's choice for Homeland Security Advisor, Rand Beers, is a seasoned drug warrior who has already shown his loyalty to the well being of the drug war, no matter how many lives it destroys, or how many narco- terrorists are enriched along the way. ... Beers' drug warrior credentials go way back. As he put it in a 2002 deposition, "I first began to work in the counter-narcotics area in 1988 when I was on the National Security Counsel staff." More recently, before he quit his Bush White House position as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Combating Terrorism and joined the Kerry camp, he served in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations' as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; the top cop and chief apologist for America's war on drugs in Latin America. He is also one of the architects of "Plan Colombia," the multi-billion dollar militarization of the drug war in Colombia (which is now funded as part of the "Andean Counterdrug Initiative").
I maintain guarded optimism about whether Kerry might be less stupidly anti-marijuana than Bush, but it appears he's going to keep flushing money on the drug war.|W|P|108992059676269794|W|P||W|P|7/15/2004 10:40:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I lose A political magazine accepted my proposal to write a review of a new computer game where you run for president, Sims-style. I got the free demo, then found my PC couldn't play it. I bought a video card for $80, but couldn't get my PC to read it. So I called a tech guy to come to my place to fix it. On Sunday, the tech guy didn't show up after I waited for 5 hours. Another tech service answered my call and I raced home Monday to meet him. He spent 4 hours trying to install it and decided that he would need to install something besides Windows 2000 on my machine. I still had the option of booting with the Windows ME that came with the computer, but it was corrupt, so I said he should come over tomorrow and install XP in place of ME. Just in case he had to get rid of Win 2000, I backed up all the files I could, but couldn't figure out how to back up my emails or Microsoft Office stuff (Word, Excel). Anyway, he didn't come Tuesday night. He came Wednesday at 8, installed XP, and tried to boot with the video card. It still didn't work. The monitor kept "going to sleep" instead of displaying. The tech guy was sure Win 2000 was to blame, because it was reading my built-in video displayer and defaulting to it every time, rejecting the card. It was 11 pm now and I gave him permission to wipe away my Win 2000 and install XP. I settled on losing the extra programs and 3 years of emails. He installed it. It still didn't work. The tech guy eventually decided that my computer cannot, cannot read a new video card. Its video processes are built into the motherboard, and there's no way to disable them - they always come back to life when we try to boot with the new video card. Windows XP is supposed to read two video cards, but it doesn't matter. I cannot upgrade my computer, cannot play this game, cannot write the article for this magazine. And here's what I lost - - 3 years of email, including passwords, business and personal correspondance - My Microsoft Office programs - I can't find the original disk - The link to my new email provider. I had it saved in Outlook Express, and forgot to write it down. Have no idea how to read or send mail anymore. Oh, and the card cost $80. The Tech support cost $280. A total of THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY DOLLARS. UPDATE: I am going to head home this weekend and load the game on a more adept PC. Still looking for my programs and passwords.|W|P|108990246082982328|W|P||W|P|7/14/2004 02:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|So gay Well, the Senate nixed defining marriage in the constitution. Here's the view outside my window. |W|P|108983039979596263|W|P||W|P|7/13/2004 09:59:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|100% delay Stupidly busy day, still waiting (at 10 pm!) for the PC repairman. Maybe you'll get something tomorrow.|W|P|108977040354339821|W|P||W|P|7/12/2004 04:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Duh. Duh. DUH. Jonah Goldberg on the FMA debate:
Without getting into the merits of DOMA, I don't understand why people get so upset about the Senate holding votes for legislation that won't pass. Should only legislation that is guaranteed passage be brought to the floor? Whether you are for against the Defense of Marriage Act, is it so terrible that the public know where politicians stand during an election year? I just don't get it.
It's because they are putting other legislation on the back burner even though they're going on a six-week vacation on July 26. Jesus Christ. Talk to someone who isn't a connected conservative, Goldberg. We want other shit to get done.|W|P|108966508593458816|W|P||W|P|7/12/2004 02:32:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|More AIDS So there're some complaints about US presence at the AIDS conference.
Dr DeAngelsis says a limited number of individuals have been selected and approved to come to Bangkok by someone in the government. There have been suggestions from a number of scientists that this policy was introduced because Tommy Thompson, US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), was not well received at the last International Aids Conference two years ago. Dr DeAngelsis added: "On further investigation, when I talked to people I know in Washington, it's because Tommy Thompson was booed in Barcelona. "For someone from the United States to object to freedom of speech, this is ridiculous.
Hell yeah! How dare the US not respect freedom of speech?
Thompson was scheduled to give a speech about the U.S. contribution to the global fight against AIDS at the 14th international AIDS conference. Shortly after he arrived at the podium, at least 100 protesters carrying signs and megaphones rushed the stage and began chanting, "No more lies." The placards the protesters carried read, "Bush and Thompson Wanted: For the murder and neglect of PWAs" -- persons with AIDS. The secretary stood and watched the protest for 15 minutes and then did manage to finish an inaudible 10-minute speech before he left the podium.
Sigh.|W|P|108965735087220280|W|P||W|P|7/12/2004 02:04:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV Cliff May has an amusing Joe Wilson piece that caught my eye because of the annoying Vanity Fair graphic on NRO's front page. The article it's culled from really marked the end of my love for the magazine - May calls it a "wet kiss," I think it was rather more cunnilingal. There really was no drive to the article, and no probity. It was just as bad as the blow-dried "Daily Show" interview, where Wilson interrupted Jon Stewart to tell him: "You do great work. You do great work!" My favorite Joe Wilson piece is still Matt Continetti's, though. (Why is it these reporters my age - Continetti, Macomber, Tabin, and sort of Yglesias - are so much more entertaining and thorough than the average New Republic or National Review contributor?)
Then the book tour would begin, with a trip to California ("my fiefdom," he calls it). After California he'd travel to Seattle ("where of course they love me," he says). And after Seattle he'll come back to Washington via Chicago. It's a packed schedule. Wilson says he is looking forward to it. (snip) Wilson's profanity (he tosses f--s and bull--s around like loose change) is one way you can tell that his book was ghostwritten. The language in The Politics of Truth is scrubbed of all vulgarity, indeed of all personality. Another way you can tell the book was ghostwritten is that a well-known ghostwriter, Michele Slung, is mentioned in the acknowledgments. Wilson thanks her for her work as his "editor"--one of three "editors" who worked on the book. And still another reason it's obvious Wilson didn't write The Politics of Truth is the cavalier way he talks about it. "I don't think [Valerie's] read the whole thing from beginning to end," Wilson told the American Prospect's Tara McKelvey last week. "In fact, I'm not sure I have." It's probably better that Wilson not read his book, because The Politics of Truth is an uneven mishmash of memoir, anti-Bush rant, and "investigative journalism." What Wilson did was take his newfound celebrity and use it as an excuse to rewrite and publish several hours of oral testimony about his foreign service career that he delivered to the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training in January 2001. Thus most of the book recounts Wilson's 23 years in government: from his time as a foreign service officer in Niamey, Niger, to his role as chargé in Baghdad during Operation Desert Shield, and concluding with his job as a member of Clinton's National Security Council. It was a varied career with many accomplishments. All of which Wilson shares with the reader at length. For example, he was indeed the last American official to meet Saddam Hussein (back in 1991) before the dictator was pulled from his spider hole in December 2003. He was the architect of President Clinton's tour of Africa in 1998. And he saved the New York Times.
The book really is that bad. I reviewed it (anonymously) a few months back.|W|P|108965597074783314|W|P||W|P|7/12/2004 01:58:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|ALERT It's 2 pm ET and Rick Santorum is on C-Span 2. Debating gay marriage. Mmm-mm.|W|P|108965514391486271|W|P||W|P|7/12/2004 01:12:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Six Feet Under? More like SHIT Feet Under Ellen posts about how fine and dandy "Six Feet Under" is. I want to agree, and I sort of do about the top-flight dialogue. But the show's still a guilty pleasure for me - it's a soap opera with 24-carat production values. I enjoy it no more than I enjoy the very fun "Degrassi: The Next Generation." Regardless, I think it's pretty agreed that the show is going downhill. This excellent article from Slate is more true now than it was in 2002. This piece from the San Francisco Chronicle is as accurate as it was ... err, four weeks ago.
Since when did "Six Feet Under" become so utterly pedestrian, so paint-by- numbers? Have the emotional wallops from the past three seasons been so obvious and it's only now becoming clear to, well, at least one viewer? The truth is, "Six Feet Under" has been given its heft by superb dramatic performances -- Hall, Krause and Conroy leading the way. They have taken material that most other actors would butcher or betray, and elevated it to a kind of beautiful suffering that, over the course of time, sucked in a lot of viewers and brought in the accolades. A neat feat. Maybe now the writing is faltering at such a rate that even continued Emmy-worthy performances are just not enough. This season, "Six Feet Under" seems to telegraph its emotional punches, its dark humor seems far less funny and its pathos rings false. Hell, at this point, only the nudity keeps it from seeming like something from a broadcast network.
What gets me is how terminally boring the new character's are - namely George (James Cromwell) and his estranged son. There was a similar falling off in "Buffy," when the seventh season was polluted with dull (Cassie) or atrocious (Kennedy) new characters who the writers seemed to be utterly pleased with. "Buffy" ended then - hopefully "SFtU" will end now.|W|P|108965288242845582|W|P||W|P|7/12/2004 11:45:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Sex crime (1984) This AP article perplexed me. Actually, Barbara Lee perplexed me.
"In an age where five million people are newly infected each year and women and girls too often do not have the choice to abstain, an abstinence until marriage program is not only irresponsible, it's really inhumane," Lee said. "Abstaining from sex is oftentimes not a choice, and therefore their only hope in preventing HIV infection is the use of condoms," she added.
I cannot parse that. What is this situation in which a woman has sex against her will and is given the option of using a condom? Does she have veto power during a rape? During sex abuse? Really, when are condoms available in circumstances of forced sex? I get that condoms have been proven vital in stopping AIDS transmission in prostutition. That's a consensual situation. A nightmare scenario, where a young girl is fending for herself on the streets and sells sex in order to pay for a next meal, should not be hampered by efforts at promoting abstinence. Should it? Isn't it possible for a state to make condoms readily available for prostitutes and at the same time promote abstinence among young people? But I really have trouble understanding why abstinence education is unacceptable. Let's say there's a disease transferred by diving into those big bins of rubber balls you find at Chuck E. Cheese. Would it make more sense to 1.)supply wetsuits to the general population and encourage them to be cautious about submerging in the rubber balls? Or 2.)not go into the fucking rubber ball bin? UPDATE: Like an idiot, I check out what a BBC talkback solicited on the issue.
Although abstinence is the most reliable way of stopping the spread of Aids it is unrealistic to expect casual sex to stop in a world where sex and sexuality is used to sell everything from cars to films.
Why the passive voice - "casual sex to stop" instead of "people to stop casual sex"? It's really not hard to resist this. Try not going out, flirting, and going home with strange sexual partners.
As a South African, I have seen the ravages of Aids on a personal level. And you think, if only they had been careful. If only they had abstained. If only... but the reality is that human beings are sexual creatures, full stop. Live with it. Deal with it. It is the nature of things.
Yeah. Many people live with it by remainining faithful to their partners. Fascist swine!
Why is there such hostility to abstinence education? Is it verboten in this day and age to use words such as morality, fidelity, monogamy, or abstinence? If so, the enemy we fight is much worse than HIV.
Thank you, Ken in Florida!|W|P|108964771850431744|W|P||W|P|7/12/2004 10:09:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Tech support! Tech suppoooooort!* Steven Den Beste often posts interminable crap about technical issues, and he's fairly popular, so I reckoned I could rant about my own PC issues with no loss of readership. A little while back, I got an assignment that involved reviewing a PC game. The game's maker sent me a demo, which I installed, but was unable to run - I needed 32MB to run the video, but my built-in Intel Graphics Controller only runs 4MB. Since I want to be able to play games like Unreal and Doom 3, I resigned myself to buying a new video card. So after work on Friday I got to Circuit City and dropped $70 on a 64MB card. Took it home. Realized that there were two types of slots in which such cards fit - AGP or PCI. This was an AGP card. I had a PCI slot. Of course! I braved the mysteriously robust traffic on Saturday to go back to the store, exchanging this card for an $80 128MB one. On its face, a good purchase. Then I returned home to install the fucker. Once the card was in, the PC refused to boot normally - the monitor didn't read my old Intel chip. I unscrewed the card, then booted up the PC, then uninstalled the drivers for that chip. This time, the monitor read my new card, and displayed a basic, safe-mode looking purple screen which prompted me to install new drivers. I did so, and rebooted every time I was prompted to. On the third boot, I was prompted to reinstall the Intel drivers. I cancelled out of that. The PC refused to reboot. For some reason, on the third try with the monitor plugged into the old Intel chip, the PC rebooted and displayed the old, 4MB screen. There were the Intel drivers! I copied them into a new folder, then uninstalled the working drivers again. This time, booting off the new card, I was able to install the Intel drivers when prompted. I allowed the computer to restart. And the monitor went to sleep. The next four times I booted, off either the chip or the new card, the PC would whir to life, the monitor would turn on, and then the monitor would display: "Searching for analog input. Going to sleep." I assumed I'd have to take the whole machine in for repairs. But on the fifth reboot with the new card, I had a display all the way through the "Starting Windows 2000" screen. Was it working? No. The monitor nodded off again. On a whim, I replugged it into the Intel chip. Boom, monitor turned on. I caved in and called a tech department in my area to come in on Sunday. Scheduled for a 2:30-4 appointment, I waited til 6, then, when no one showed up, went to the supermarket to buy groceries and stand behind stupid Salvadoran women. I got a call from another tech department today - if I decide to trust them, I'll skip my gym time tonight and head home at 7:00 to accept the house call. And that's it. Go weekend! *ten bucks if you get what movie I'm referencing|W|P|108964227572113968|W|P||W|P|7/11/2004 09:43:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Six Feet Under fan art I'd like to say this took 2 minutes, but when you factor in the search for a good "Chronicles of Riddick" poster, it was more like 10. |W|P|108959670115148022|W|P||W|P|7/11/2004 03:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Personal worsts Ellen links to, and comments on, the Palm Beach Post's too easy guide to the worst songs by good musicians/bands. It's mostly rubbish. Pace Ellen, some comments: WRONG Blinded by the Light, Bruce Springsteen The correct answer is "57 Channels And Nothing On" from Human Touch, with anything off that album or Lucky Town a close second. To this day I'm convinced those records were released on a dare. Shiny Happy People, R.E.M. Mocking this song is like saying Millard Fillmore was a lousy president - everyone's done it, no one really looks at the evidence any more. Fact: It's got at least four great hooks (the out-of-place string intro, Peter Buck's guitar figure, Mike Mills's "dit dit dit" harmonies, "Gold and silver shiiiiiiine"). That's more than "Bang and Blame," their interminable breakout single from Monster, or the horrendous "Undertow" from New Adventures in Hi-Fi. Part-Time Lover, Stevie Wonder No. Correct answer: The Babyface collaboration "How Come How Long." Crocodile Rock, Elton John What the fucking fuck? This would be fair, maybe - MAYBE - if Elton had died in 1975. But he went on to make a disco version of "Johnny B. Goode." That's our winner. Numb, U2 No one who saw that episode of Beavis and Butthead can get on board with this. Plus, "Numb" has all those buried hooks, like the keyboard part pitched out of human hearing range. U2's worst has to be the loud, plodding B.B. King colloboration "When Love Comes to Town" from Rattle and Rum. Yesterday, The Beatles Obviously not, because Norah Jones ripped it off and never got called on it ("Don't know why I didn't come" = "I believe in Yesterday"). The Beatles bottomed out with Ringo's "Don't Pass Me By" on the white album. I mean, duh.|W|P|108957596237358370|W|P||W|P|7/11/2004 03:27:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Life and how to blog it So I haven't been posting on the ins and outs of my life this last week. Hopefully no one will hold this against me. I luxiarated in the DC area last weekend and spent much of these last three days trying to install a video card so I can write a game review. Some high/lowlights: - I rear-ended a guy on Thursday. Nothing dramatic. I was stopped at the interminable Columbia Pike/Glebe intersection and leaned over to check for my ID badge in the glove compartment. My foot sidled off the brake and my Volvo inched up into the Chevy waiting right in front of me. Luckily, I was moving so slow and the object was so close that there was a scratch on neither vehicle. - I completed my "roots of thrash" mix cd, which is to driving what morphine is to spinal injury. My criteria: songs up to and including the first New Wave of British Heavy Metal album, the Iron Maiden debut. This allowed for classics like "Long Live Rock n' Roll" (Rainbow), "Breadfan" (Budgie), "Easy Livin" (Uriah Heep), "Paranoid" and "Symptom of the Universe" (Black Sabbath), and "Hell Bent for Leather" (Judas Priest). - Put together my first bylined graphic for USA Today. It should appear this week.|W|P|108957489866094212|W|P||W|P|7/10/2004 05:07:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|A plea Attn: People who live near me. Subject: Answering your phones. Answer your FUCKING phones! Ammendum: If you have a message from me, return it.|W|P|108949409436903276|W|P||W|P|7/08/2004 02:55:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|I have seen the face of god And it is this. |W|P|108931294103346217|W|P||W|P|7/08/2004 10:33:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|And then we're gonna get 10,000 signatures! And then we're gonna get 20,000 signatures! Shawn Macomber once again presents a story other, bigger news orgs have decided not to cover (lest a vital fact about Scott Peterson go unreported). There's a movement to draft Dean onto Kerry's ticket.
A group determined to see Dean's name on the November ballot is promising to use Democratic Party rules allowing draft petitions at the upcoming national convention in Boston to knock Kerry's VP choice off the ticket. The group has collected 7,000 signatures and is promising to deliver over 10,000 at the convention. This, the petition explains, is "Democracy in action." "It only takes 300 delegates to mount a draft petition at the convention, and we believe we already have that level of support," said Michael Meurer, co-chair of the National Draft Dean for VP Committee (NDVPC). "Dean is the only VP candidate who genuinely excites the progressive base of the party."
I'm actually totally in favor of this. Why have conventions at all if you don't run the risk of chaos and bloodshed?|W|P|108929740848833629|W|P||W|P|7/06/2004 02:32:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|But will the movies still suck? The 10-disc Matrix set.|W|P|108913875849346168|W|P||W|P|7/01/2004 06:19:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Fahrenheit facts Seeing the movie tonight, I wanted to check something I'd read in a widely-linked transcript. This is how the film opens:
NARRATOR: Did the last four years not really happen? Look, there's Ben Affleck. He's often in my dreams. And the taxi driver guy. He was there too. And little Stevie Wonder, he seemed so happy, like a miracle had taken place. Was it a dream? Or was it real? It was election night 2000 and everything seemed to be going as planned. Series of news clips: In New York, Al Gore is our projected winner. / The Garden State is green for Gore. / We project that Mr. Gore is the winner in Delaware. This state has voted with the winner in... / (Tom Brokaw interrupts) Mike, you know I wouldn't do this if it weren't big: Florida goes for Al Gore. / CNN announces that we call Florida in the Al Gore column. NARRATOR: Then something called the Fox News Channel called the election in favor of the other guy. BRIT HUME: Sorry to interrupt you; Fox News now projects George W. Bush the winner in Florida and thus it appears the winner of the Presidency of the United States. NARRATOR: All of a sudden the other networks said, "Hey, if Fox said it, it must be true." TOM BROKAW: All of us networks made a mistake and projected Florida in the Al Gore column. It was our mistake. NARRATOR: Now what most people don't know is that the man who was in charge of the decision desk at Fox that night, the man who called it for Bush was none other than Bush's first cousin, John Ellis. How does someone like Bush get away with something like this?
Here's the very unsympathetic-to-Bush Columbia Journalism Review said about this.
VNS has sent a preliminary report to its members indicating that the mistaken Gore call was "a combination of many factors" -- among them, an unexpectedly large rise in the number of absentee Florida voters, which increased the potential for inaccurate projections. Also: VNS may have overestimated the size of the black vote and underestimated the size of the Cuban vote, both of which mistakes could have made things look better for Gore. The erroneous Bush call, the report shows, was based mostly on incorrect results coming out of Volusia County, as well as on an understatement of Palm Beach County's outstanding votes. As is customary on election days, VNS fed its members three sources of information: exit polls, actual vote results from a sample of precincts, and unofficial county returns. VNS also supplies projections to the member organizations, each of which maintains its own independent decision desk and is individually responsible for the calls it makes. Under an agreement with Congress in 1985, networks call no winners in a state until the majority of its polls are closed. (snip) Exit polls were even less a source of the problem in the egregious projection of Bush as victor just after 2 a.m. With 97 percent of the precincts reporting, Bush enjoyed an apparent 51,000 vote lead with (supposedly) about 180,000 votes yet to be counted, Mitofsky recalls. "We were well aware of the absentee votes, and well aware of where votes were missing. We knew that much of the outstanding vote was going to come from Democratic areas in Broward and Palm Beach counties. At the time we made the call, we expected Bush's lead to drop to about thirty to 35,000. We found out later that there were close to 400,000 votes outstanding, not 180,000. There were errors in Volusia County and elsewhere that nobody told us about. You can't make correct calls if you're looking at wrong data." Volusia County was a morass of problems on election night, NBC's Gawiser remembers. At one point, county officials ran totals through their computer and concluded that the Socialist Workers party got 9,000 votes -- a virtual impossibility. Over at AP, Wolman's analysts were trying to decide if Bush's apparent lead was impregnable. When the networks made Bush the winner, AP's team hurriedly began poring over county returns. "Our decision desk concluded that there were so many Democratic votes out there that Gore might be able to catch up," Wolman recalls. Reuters moved a story at 2:31 that Bush was the new president. At 2:37, AP advised its clients in an urgent update that the race was not over. Then at 3:11, it moved a "cautionary advisory" that Bush's lead in Florida had shrunk to about 6,000 votes and that uncounted returns in two mostly Democratic counties could determine the outcome. Subsequently, in a "special message" to AP's newspaper and broadcast members, AP president Louis Boccardi built some space between his agency and the other five VNS partners. While acknowledging that AP did hand Florida to Gore early in the evening, he added that, on the Bush tally, "the pressure to join the parade was enormous, but AP people . . . held firm, to their great credit." (snip) Two TV-related events conjoined to lead newspapers over the cliff. First: the 2:16 projection for Bush by Fox News, echoed within four minutes by NBC, CBS, CNN, and ABC. (Fox consultant John Ellis, the governor's cousin, got credit for starting the stampede, a gesture that raised prickly questions about the journalistic propriety of a candidate's relative occupying so sensitive a post.) Second: TV reports that Gore had conceded in a phone call to Bush and was heading for the War Memorial in Nashville to make it official. Says Rich Oppel: "I should have relied on AP. But a seasoned editor, looking at those two factors together, has got to put a lot of weight on them. They pretty much ended the contest for most newspapers."
So there's that.|W|P|108872075075389917|W|P||W|P|7/01/2004 01:54:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Rare NRO insight The Corner publishes a (slightly misspelled reminder) that Nelson Mandela, one of the great men of the 20th century, used the now-maligned phrase "Let freedom reign!" in his 1994 inaugural address. I should have remembered - it's the heading of that speech in Penguin's superlative collection of 20th century speeches. Who knew Karl Rove was a Mandela advisor? Big up on him.|W|P|108870473753779076|W|P||W|P|7/01/2004 11:02:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Action is his reward Go Spider-Man 2!|W|P|108869421484218175|W|P||W|P|