1/31/2005 11:49:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Back in action Figured out the internet hiccup. Get this - I'd let my davidweigel.com domain name expire. Since it had been experiencing glitches anyway, I hadn't thought to check the registry when I lost service for more than 24 hours. I should have ... there was a 3-day window wherein the domain name belonged to no man. But I've bought it up agin til 2008, so all's well. Unrelated thought: I unpacked some stuff from home today, including my new passport. I originally got a passport as a minor, in 1997, before my move to England. It bore the stamps from every country I visited in those years - Ireland, France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Italy. But at some point in my multiple moves to and from college housing and to and from summer apartments, I lost that passport. I felt briefly gloomy about this - little bureaucratic mementoes of three years of my life are lost somewhere, forever. But I've decided to treat this naked new passport as a totem of a new beginning.|W|P|110723405549805648|W|P||W|P|1/30/2005 11:57:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Still Ill My davidweigel.com address and corresponding e-mail are still down. I'm going to spend some time on the phone fixing this tomorrow, hopefully finding out a permanent solution in the process. Sorry if you've tried to email me since Friday.|W|P|110714760269977473|W|P||W|P|1/30/2005 05:08:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The end of blogs I didn't think Tom Tomorrow had it in him, but damn if he hasn't posted the most profound inside blogball thought of this brief year so far.
Blogs are to the internet as Mr. Moviephone is to the telephone network. They're a spinoff, sometimes useful, sometimes annoying, but not all that big a deal in the scheme of things either way. And in a few years, they'll be utterly mundane, and it will seem ludicrous that anyone ever wrote articles about them, held conferences to discuss them. The impact of the blogs is probably at its peak right now. These days, if a blog shines a spotlight on some minor media mishap, and a couple hundred blog readers send outraged emails, that's more feedback than most media types are used to getting, and it gets their attention (one of the great secrets of the media being how little feedback they usually receive). But once everyone adjusts to the new reality, those couple hundred emails will mean nothing more than the couple dozen letters that might have physically come in over the transom in the old days. Blogs will become mundane, and expectations will be accordingly adjusted--and a couple dozen bloggers whining, or a couple hundred emails from blog readers flooding an inbox, will simply not have the impact they have today.
You know what? This is exactly right. Blogs are an evolution of the internet-based communication that started with The Well in the 1980s. Whereas The Well was mostly self-contained and self-concerned, blogs by their bottom-up nature are nodes in an expanding community. Participants in The Well could raise money for a cause (like getting a community member out of hock) or spread a forgotten news item - so, on a massive scale can blogs. Blog fundamentalists (cough Hugh Hewitt cough) like to talk about blogs replacing "mainstream media," but they need to media to survive - how else will they get stories to criticize, and how else would the blogs themselves get noteriety without it? What about the idea of blogs becoming mundane? I think we're already there. Case in point ... this weekend, Instapundit did one of his posts linking to a crazy left-wing professor and tut-tutting about how the Democrats must deal with such people before right-thinking Americans ever think of rejoining their party. Lots of people link to it and argue. There's two punchlines. The first punchline - Glenn does this every week. The second punchline - It's about what said professor wrote on September 12, 2001. Three years and four months ago. There's increasingly little under the blogosphere sun - at least, certainly, the political blogosphere. It's bitch, bitch, carp and wish doom upon thine foe. Apart from a deteriorating civility (remember when Instapundit LIKED Oliver Willis?) I don't see how it's changed since before the Iraq war. It's worth considering that the blog revolution is over and we've all just found a new Usenet board. And it's worth bracing to consider that the product of blog triumphalism will be ... more mainstream media pundits. So, maybe not the best revolution ever.|W|P|110708089701495359|W|P||W|P|1/30/2005 05:02:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Incommunicado For some reason I haven't been able to remotely access my main email account. Bummer. I'll fix it tomorrow night ... sorry if you've been trying to reach me.|W|P|110707965902762926|W|P||W|P|1/28/2005 01:21:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The Joys of Little Green Footballs There's a discussion on Barbara Boxer on the enthusiatically pro-torture site. At 7:28, one poster notes that Barbara boxer refers to legislative matches as "battles" (which is pretty much the norm for copywriters of all stripes.) Says he:
Talk to Islamofascists, but battle Republican nominees. They're plumb loco.
You see, the Democrats can't be taken seriously, because they use harsher language talking about Republicans than they do about terrorists! Then two minutes later on this same post:
#7 Sheepdogess 1/27/2005 07:30PM PST She is the enemy. They are the enemy. The fight has just begun.
Jesus, where were these people before there was an internet?|W|P|110689355819785622|W|P||W|P|1/27/2005 11:42:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Hypothetically speaking ... Opinionjournal's "best of the web" jumped the shark many moons ago, but I still occasionally check it for pearls of wisdom like this:
Still, let's say the worst happens and a combination of terrorism and boycotts succeeds in keeping all but a few Sunni Arabs away from the polls. Would that really make the election illegitimate? Before you answer, consider a thought experiment: Suppose that, when South Africa held its first postapartheid election in 1994, Afrikaner turnout had been depressed by similar measures. Would that have made the enfranchisement of a long-oppressed majority any less a cause for celebration?
Short answer: Fucking YES IT WOULD HAVE! Long answer: Of all the fucked-up hypothetical scenarios one could use to shave some indignity off the Iraqi election, this takes the fucked-up cookie. The 1994 South African election was such a celebrated event because few people ever expected such an event to happen. By which I mean they didn't expect a vote to happen. After the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, the Afrikaner Nationalist government banned mainstream black political parties which naturally went underground and percolated up in the form of terrorist groups like Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation). Meanwhile, the Nationalists pursued an openly oppressive and murderous strategy of dealing with dissidents in the black majority. For a very long time, the expectation was that South Africa's government would be toppled by an invasion or a civil war. It wasn't. It bore a lot more similiarities to the 1989-1991 Soviet breakdown than the Iraq situation. Taranto doesn't know what he's talking about comparing them. But if you want to go so far to compare both elections - the 1994 South Africa election was free of black-on-white violence, and no whites were prohibited from voting. (An extra day of voting was allowed after reports of poll problems.) The only serious violence of the campaign came in the form of - yes - the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, which waged a sizable guerilla campaign in the hopes of derailing the election. So, next time James Taranto proposes a hypothetical, why not visit one of the millions of other fine sites on the internet? UPDATE: John Tabin IMed to ask me to clarify this. Well, put simply: If "a combination of terrorism and boycotts" disenfranchised whites in the 1994 South African election, it would indeed have made it "less a cause for celebration." The incredible lack of bitterness on both sides, unimaginable until 1990 or 1991, was the cause for celebration. If whites had been terrorized, it would have been like an election in present-day Zimbabwe - which is assuredly not a cause for celebration.|W|P|110688906808379656|W|P||W|P|1/26/2005 10:31:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Journalism alert I have a short sidebar, spotlighting good news from Iraq, in tomorrow's USA Today. It's embedded in this article. UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! I warn you - this is the blog of a disaffected Ron Paul conservative who works for the MSM. But rest assured, I'm pulling for a democratic Iraq.|W|P|110679676492484949|W|P||W|P|1/25/2005 03:58:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Buy buy buy I was all set to commence saving more of my new paycheck, and then I see that this came out today. I'm going to see if I can wrangle it cheap, and you should, too. One of the best movies of the year, absurdly shut out of the documentary Oscars.|W|P|110668679485485644|W|P||W|P|1/25/2005 03:17:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Out of the loop Wow - I saw more than 40 new movies in 2004, and only one of them made it into the Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, and Original Screenplay categories. That movie was "Sideways," which I do not think was overrated at all. In fact, Paul Giamatti was frigging robbed of a Best Actor nod. But hey, at least the forces of Sauron are pulling the rug out from under us early, instead of say, nominating Bill Murray and having him lose to Sean Penn's insane performance in "Mystic River." ("IS MY DAUGHTER IN THEEEEEERRRRRRGGGHH?") So here are the Best Pics, in declining order of preference. 1."Sideways" - Fantastic movie, the best by a magisterial director (Alex Payne). 2."The Aviator" - A wonderful topic choice for a biopic, and I adore Martin Scorcese. I would have seen this already if I hadn't been focused on catching non-Oscar bait that was quicker to leave theatres. 3."Ray" - Another good idea for a biopic - good enough that I'll get around to seeing it eventually. 4."Finding Neverland" - Meh. 5."Million Dollar Baby" - I'm really souring on Clint Eastwood in my cantankerous old age. Didn't like "Mystic River." Don't think I'd like this. Predicted winner: "Million Dollar Baby." My favorite movie won last year, kicking off the next four-year "let's break Dave's heart" Oscar cycle. Here are the rest of my predictions, which were amusingly wrong in 2004. Best Actor Don Cheadle in “Hotel Rwanda” Johnny Depp in “Finding Neverland” Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Aviator” Clint Eastwood in “Million Dollar Baby” Jamie Foxx in “Ray” If there's one surer route to gold than playing a disabled person, it's playing a disabled person in a biopic. Best Supporting Actor Alan Alda in “The Aviator” Thomas Haden Church in “Sideways” Jamie Foxx in “Collateral” Morgan Freeman in “Million Dollar Baby” Clive Owen in “Closer” Unfortunately, brilliant comic performances are never respected like chair-tossing dramatic performances. Apparently, Clive Owen made his movie, despite being the only non-superstar in it and having originally played another character in the stage version. Best Actress Annette Bening in “Being Julia” Catalina Sandino Moreno in “Maria Full of Grace” Imelda Staunton in “Vera Drake” Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby” Kate Winslet in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” Going out on a limb here. For starters, Hilary Swank already won an Oscar (in another "race" against Annette Bening) for playing a red state tomboy who meets a tragic end. Only Jack Nicholson gets to win Oscars for playing the same character. Annette Bening's role seemed pretty rote - she's been playing the brave, makeup-less middle-aged woman for a damn while. So I think the Academy will pull a Binoche and choose an unheard-of actress who gave a much better performance in a generally-loved little movie. Best Supporting Actress Cate Blanchett in “The Aviator” Laura Linney in “Kinsey” Virginia Madsen in “Sideways” Sophie Okonedo in “Hotel Rwanda” Natalie Portman in “Closer” Virginia Madsen was breathtakingly good in "Sideways," but I fear this is one of those nominations that'll lift her back out of obscurity and ... that's it. Cate Blanchett is one of the great actresses of our time who, in retrospect, deserved an award when last nominated in 1999. Plus, she's playing Katherine Hepburn, and does so (I'm told) with scary accuracy. I may weigh in on the other awards later. This is fun!|W|P|110668588104596586|W|P||W|P|1/25/2005 03:15:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Fuck you I hereby direct a hearty "sit and spin" to whoever designed the white lids on Starbucks coffee cups. For the second day running, my lid has managed to let some coffee leak out when the cup is turned. And today, I was wearing a white shirt. Bastard.|W|P|110668423267066145|W|P||W|P|1/25/2005 10:36:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Back That was an interesting weekend. One of its side-effects was to scare me into researching some stuff for my future, so a small hiatus in blogging should be expected.|W|P|110666759041557380|W|P||W|P|1/22/2005 10:29:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Away I'm in the Research Triangle of North Carolina until Sunday night. If you need me, you probably know me very well and have my number, and can use it.|W|P|110640785222015647|W|P||W|P|1/22/2005 10:17:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Protest Guerriers Explain to me why I should care about these pussies?
Kobrin, accompanied by a dozen members of the conservative group ProtestWarrior, crashed a rally of hundreds of anti-Bush demonstrators at Meridian Park in Washington, D.C. Holding aloft signs that read "Say no to war unless a Democrat is president" and "Not to brag, but Bush won, so shove it!" they had set off earlier on inauguration morning in search of their opposites. The ProtestWarrior contingent didn't have to search for very long; the party came to them. "You can go a [expletive] half-mile away and stand on the first street corner you see!" shouted a self-described anarchist, dressed all in black with a bandana covering his face. As they taunted and threatened and liberally profaned Kobrin and the rest of the group, a member of the D.C. Anti-War Network (DAWN) -- the official organizers of the rally -- tried to break it up. "Your purpose is to instigate people. You're going to have to leave!" shouted the "marshal," DAWN's term for their ad hoc security force. "We're staying here," Kobrin replied. Then he went down under a hail of black boots. Once the marshals pulled the anarchists away, ProtestWarrior sued for peace and made for the exit. Their chant of "Four more years!" was answered by the anarchists' reply: "Wah wah wah!" It wasn't much of a contest. ProtestWarrior's contingent numbered 13, the other side in the hundreds. If they won any hearts and minds, no one said so. "I expected it, but I didn't expect to be kicked in the back," Kobrin said later. His boyish, twentysomething face wore a wry smile and he stood upright, but conceded that he was in some pain.
First of all, since I also hate anarchists, I can say that "Say no to war unless a Democrat is president" is a horrible slogan. These people avowedly planned to protest if Kerry won. They're not Democrats - they're barely Naderites. They're fucking wackjobs. Second, getting beaten up by some crunchy-granola lefties and waiting for cops to rescue you? How French. Think "Germans" for lefties and "Americans" for cops and "invaded" for "beaten up." Third, what kind of nutsoid fascist slogan is "Bush won, so shove it?" Remind me to laugh when one of these dumbasses says we need to bring freedom to some country or another. These guys and the poll thugs from the Ukraine election are kissin' cousins. Fourth - I am obviously skeptical of people who say "if you support Bush, why don't you join the army?" Usually, that's an asinine bit of logic. But a bunch of healthy twentysomethings who support the Iraq war and call themselves "warriors"? Put up or shut up, fuckos!|W|P|110640777048469313|W|P||W|P|1/20/2005 01:17:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Democrats and tar babies I've been thinking of the classic Br'er rabbit story a lot recently. Here's the ending, if you're not familiar.
Then Brer Rabbit started talking mighty humble. "I don't care what you do with me, Brer Fox, says he, "Just so you don't fling me in that briar patch. Roast me, Brer Fox, says he, "But don't fling me in that briar patch." "It's so much trouble to kindle a fire," says Brer Fox, says he, "that I expect I'd better hang you," says he. "Hang me just as high as you please, Brer Fox, says Brer Rabbit, says he, "but for the Lord's sake, don't fling me in that briar patch," says he. "I don't have any string, " says Brer Fox, says he, "Now I expect I had better drown you, " says he. "Drown me just as deep as you please, Brer Fox," says Brer Rabbit, says he, "But please do not fling me in that briar patch, " says he. "There's no water near here," says Brer Fox, says he, "And now I reckon I'd better skin you," says he. "Skin me Brer Fox," says he. "Snatch out my eyeballs, tear out my ears by the roots," says he, "But please, Brer Fox, don't fling me in that briar patch, " says he. Of course, Brer Fox wanted to get Brer Rabbit as bad as he could, so he caught him by the behind legs and slung him right in the middle of the briar patch. There was a considerable flutter when Brer Rabbit struck the bushes, and Brer Fox hung around to see what was going to happen. By and by he heard someone call his name and 'way up on the hill he saw Brer Rabbit sitting cross-legged on a chinquapin log combing the tar pitch out of his hair with a chip. Then Brer Fox knew he had been tricked. Brer Rabbit hollered out, "Born and bred in the briar patch. I was born and bred in the briar patch!" And with that he skipped out just as lively as a cricket in the embers of a fire.
I think of this when I hear right-wing blogs and pundits inveigh on the actions of Democrats. Now, I don't listen to this a lot - I hit a ceiling on election night and I haven't dared to rise back up to it. But occasionally I'll read Powerline or Instapundit or I'll watch Sean Hannity jut his chin for a few minutes. And they have advice which boils down to: - if the Democrats choose Howard Dean as DNC chair, they're doomed! - if the Democrats muck with process, i.e. inauguration protests or Senate filibusters, they're doomed! The question arises: Why would Glenn Reynolds or John Hinderaker or Sean Hannity dispense meaningful advice to Democrats? Do they want them to win elections? Well, God no. If they want Democrats to lose elections, how would they want them to behave? Obviously, docile. This whole "the Democrats better not cross -that- line, or they'll lose votes" stuff just reeks of bunk. I mean, there is a legitimate case to be made for wanting two strong parties in competition. The worst democracy of last century was probably the Conservative-Labour coalition in Britain, in the 1930s, in which the Tories were so dominant that they took a shiftless approach to everything including the rise of fascism. But somehow I don't think that's why these folks are pleading for Democrats to calm down and reject combativeness. I think they're saying, "please don't throw us in the briar patch!"|W|P|110620268904668638|W|P||W|P|1/20/2005 01:11:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Blog of the year Shorter John Hinderaker:
Liberals who write opinion pieces in newspapers are Nazis. Or at least they would be, if the Nazis were in better shape.
Blog of the year!|W|P|110620171592493499|W|P||W|P|1/16/2005 05:45:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|At the movies Three days, three slices o' celluloid. "Control Room" From the maker of the funniest documentary of recent years, "Startup.com," comes this startingly good look at Al-Jazeera. Why was I startled? I have no idea - even on paper, the story of a scrappy Arab news network covering the 2003 invasion of Iraq sounds pretty exciting. Maybe seeing this DVD at kiosks in DC's snootier film houses convinced me it would be dry. But I have to revise my opinion of snooty film houses. This isn't just a good documentary - it's exciting. It starts in March 2003, as Al-Jazeera staff are dumbfoundedly broadcasting Pres. Bush's address giving Saddam Hussein and his family 48 hours to surrender or expect war. We see the usual central casting Arabs angrily calling "bullshit" at this speech. But then we see smart, British-accented, media-savvy Arabs at the TV station saying the same thing, as well as worrying about how their fellow Arabs will react to this. That sets the template of the whole movie. In about 1/3 of the footage, we see the pessimist's history of the Iraq war (including a lot of film and interviews used in "Fahrenheit 9/11"). In the rest we see Al Jazeera reporters joking around, buddying up with American reporters, and really gaining the respect of the main Centcom flack. This flack, by the way, is one of the wonders of the movie - he knows the boilerplate he's supposed to deliver to reporters, but he's ready and willing to dish about how American policy has to change eventually. Like me circa 3/03, he seems to be supporting the war because, well, if it DOES work, we can concentrate on other things to win the Arab world over. There's also a sad and terrifying sequence about the 4/09/03 toppling of the Saddam statue in central Baghdad - the image that led newscasts and newspapers the next day - that quite nearly proves the whole thing was staged. This isn't a conspiracy theory any longer. It's pathetic to remember how everyone bought the story when it came out, but it's hopeful to see this movie and think such an easy suckering might not happen again. "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" Thank God for three months of pissy, negative reviews. My expectations for this movie were knocked down many pegs, and when I finally got around to seeing it, I was expecting a two star mess. Fortunately, the critics had conspired to be stupid and hand me a delightful four-star fantasy. Of the four Wes Anderson films, I'd say this is second best. Why is it better than "The Royal Tenenbaums" or "Bottle Rocket"? Anderson has returned to the smaller, craftier storytelling of "Rushmore." Instead of giving us a a dozen quirky characters to follow, he gives us a protagonist (Steve/Max in Rushmore), a familial sidekick who loves the same woman (Ned/Blume), an oblique love interest (Jane/Rosemary), and a strangely loyal henchman (Klaus/Dirk). The rest of the strange cast, like the strange plot, unfold lazily and naturally around a wonderfully unhinged story. "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" What a piece of shit. Some bright guy decided that the success of the "Resident Evil" games and the first "Resident Evil" film (2.75 stars, at least) was not due to the presence of zombies. Nor was it the result of a woman jump-kicking a zombie dog in the face. No - it was the fact that said zombies had been created by a bumbling evil corportation. I know what you're thinking - Awhuh? But it's true. Most of the plot and exposition of this movie concerns the Umbrella Corporation, "the most powerful commercial entity in the world," and how it's successfully covering up the scandal of resurrected zombies overrunning a fake city. Jesus Christ. The last movie ended with a hot woman cocking a 12-gauge in a zombie-ridden city block. That's a 3-star movie, right there. How these people screwed that up I'll never know.|W|P|110591670608154046|W|P||W|P|2/16/2006 06:42:00 AM|W|P|Anonymous Anonymous|W|P|Wow, I was just messing around and found your page!
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It isnt anything huge but you might still find something of interest.1/15/2005 10:40:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The Kos hoax It looks like the "Kos payola" story is a hoax that could end with an embarrassing WSJ retraction. Here's former Dean official Laura Gross.
So I got a call Thursday from the Jeanne Cummings, The Wall Street Journal reporter who covered the Dean campaign. By all accounts, she did a fine job -- covered all aspects of the campaign, even met the Web team and wrote a long story on their work. She was calling, she said, on behalf of some of her paper's reporters in Boston who were looking into a story about the campaign and the blogs. She said she thought she knew what was going on, and we talked "on background" so she could "just clear things up once and for all" -- that is, not for attribution. By the end of the conversation she had confirmed what she thought -- that there was no news, that this was what she called a "dead story" -- and said that she didn't think there would be any article at all, much less one that mentioned Dean. She said that if for some reason she needed a quote she'd call me back. Next thing I know there appears in the WSJ an article so sloppy and so inaccurate that I spent the morning trying to track Jeanne down to find out what happened. She called me back at 10:30 a.m. -- and actually apologized for the article (written by two colleagues). She said that she wouldn't work with those reporters in the same capacity again, would only give them on-the-record quotes and assured me that she had notified her editors. Jeanne's colleagues committed a journalistic no-no: they took her background conversation with me and made up a quote from "a Dean spokeswoman". Their fake quote had this spokeswoman apparently admitting that the bloggers were paid for promoting the campaign. They completely mischaracterized our conversation -- and Jeanne was rightly upset about it. I was, and am, too.
If this is true, two Wall Street Journal reporters published an innacurate story based on a colleague's notes. For comment, I defer to Hugh Hewitt, author of the new book "Blog."
Journalists can no longer stage hit-and-run attacks and expect to leave the scene quietly with no accountability. ... This is all of the Big Media's problem as 2005 opens: They aren't trusted. And with good reason. It will take a long time for them to get that trust back.
Damn right. I expect Hugh Hewitt to be among the first people to demand explanations - and disclosure - from the WSJ reporters. I expect Instapundit to be next. Then I expect Jeff Jarvis, who accused the bloggers of "sniping and snarking and bitchslapping," to apologize. I also believe in Santa Claus.|W|P|110584760691983974|W|P||W|P|1/14/2005 09:51:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|"Kosscam" Yes, another post about Daily Kos. I'm sorry, but I have to call Hugh Hewitt on his intellectual flatulence. Hewitt posts this:
[Bill O'Reilly] led with a question about Kosscam, and of course there isn't any denying the problem of non-disclosed conflicts of interest among bloggers, and of anonymous attacks.
This is a sneaky lie. "Kosscam" had nothing to do with "non-disclosed conflicts of interests among bloggers." It had everything to do with a disclosed conflict of interest. To wit, here is an article from the San Francisco Chronicle of Jan 15., 2004.
Daily Kos is a political Web log, or "blog," an online diary where diarists can post anything they want. The political blogosphere is divided into right and left halves, and this one is on the liberal side. It's run by a man who is a paid consultant for Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean, although he will accept any Democrat instead of President Bush.
This appeared - I repeat - in January 2004. That was a full year ago. Honestly, when the man lies about a thing like this, how can you trust Hugh Hewitt? I wouldn't read his "Blog" book if you stapled it to my hands. |W|P|110575794082675923|W|P||W|P|1/14/2005 01:57:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Word of advivce Try not to be around me when Firefox burps and eats a post I spent 25 minutes writing. I. Go. Nuts.|W|P|110568419301270659|W|P||W|P|1/14/2005 01:39:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Anyway The post I'd been working on wasn't terribly vital - I was just remarking at how many bloggers were throwing logic and standards out the window to attack DailyKos. Basically, a former Dean campaign honcho blogged about the Dean campaign haven giving Kos money in the hopes he'd continue pumping up Dean. The Wall Street Journal thought this worthy of a full story (by three reporters!), even though - Kos dislosed the campaign payment on his blog. - the relationship started in June 2003 and ended four months later. - it's about the fucking HOWARD DEAN campaign that ended in humiliation 11 months ago. Nonetheless, Instapundit and LGF are stroking their chins, very concerned, about this. The dumbest comment by far comes from Patrick Hynes at the AmSpec.
This mini-scandal is, probably, the blog equivalent of Rathergate or the Williams scandal.
If Rathergate was the story of an anchorman who went on the air, said "I disclose that I am doing consulting work for John Kerry," then made up bullshit about George Bush, then, yes! It would be the same thing. The real scandal of blogdom was the "Daschle v. Thune" incident, for which I refer to that notorious left-wing blog Powerline (quoting CBS).
The two leading South Dakota blogs – websites full of informal analysis, opinions and links – were authored by paid advisers to Thune’s campaign. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader and the National Journal first cited Federal Election Commission documents showing that Jon Lauck, of Daschle v Thune, and Jason Van Beek, of South Dakota Politics, were advisers to the Thune campaign. The documents, also obtained by CBS News, show that in June and October the Thune campaign paid Lauck $27,000 and Van Beek $8,000. Lauck had also worked on Thune’s 2002 congressional race. Both blogs favored Thune, but neither gave any disclaimer during the election that the authors were on the payroll of the Republican candidate.
Anyway, my point is that Kos, no matter what you think of him, had a financial relationship with a campaign more than a year ago, and disclosed it immediately. Note to Hugh Hewitt, Patrick Hynes, and (eventually, I'm sure) James Taranto - slander isn't cool. UPDATE: Boy, that Patrick Hynes column is a disgrace. Hynes rhetorically demands to know if Kos was being paid by Dean when he made stupid comments about murdered contract workers in Fallujah, and when Kos said John Kerry and his campaign team "should be lined up and shot." But the first comment was made in April 2004 and the second in December 2004. Kos's relationship ran from June to October 2003 - and Dean pulled out of the race in February 2004. Either Hynes didn't check this - which is hard to believe, since that Kerry quote was made one month ago - or he deliberately misrepresented information to imply scandal. Whatever the case, he should apologize to Kos.|W|P|110568600068773498|W|P||W|P|1/11/2005 01:41:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Loony left update Quick, who said this?
[Michael Moore] makes some salient points. There was some very expert, elliptical editing going on. However, what the hell are we doing in Iraq? No one can explain to me in a reasonable manner that I can accept why we're there, why we went there, and why we're still there.
Yes, it's Mel Gibson.|W|P|110546904790481987|W|P||W|P|1/10/2005 01:36:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|More movies I'm making a concerted effort to catch the Oscar bait movies I'd heretofore missed out on. And, as usual, I'm renting mediocre movies. Here's an updated 2004 movie list, picking up from where I left off. 36.)Van Helsing 35.)Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed 34.)The Punisher 33.)Shrek 2 32.)The Girl Next Door One of the best-looking movies of the year, which is especially odd considering it's a high school sex comedy. A solid opening act gives way to an increasingly dumb and predictable story. 31.)Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow 30.)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 29.)The Ladykillers 28.)I, Robot 27.)Anchorman 26.)Open Water 25.)Spanglish Bad but fun. Bad because it's so unfocused and the dialogue (especially from Cloris Leachman) rings so totally hollow. EVERY character talks like James L. Brooks. But also fun, because there's a decent lesson and it's impossible for Brooks to totally fail. 24.)Starsky and Hutch 23.)Outfoxed 22.)13 Going on 30 21.)The Chronicles of Riddick 20.)Jersey Girl 19.)Hellboy 18.)I Heart Huckabees 17.)Super Size Me 16.)The Motorcycle Diaries 15.)Mean Girls 14.)Dodgeball 13.)Kill Bill Vol. 2 12.)Mayor of the Sunset Strip 11.)Napoleon Dynamite 10.)Dawn of the Dead 9.)The Passion of the Christ 8.)Shaolin Soccer 7.)Fahrenheit 9/11 There's a scene in this movie that I never hear anyone talk about - around 5 minutes spent with a part-time Oregon cop who patrols a few hundred miles of coastline. Now, is the cop's story true? Does Moore actually care about the issue? Can you actually call this a security hole and blame it on Bush? It's one of many questions raised by this movie. And that's why it's a success - it raises a lot of questions in a time when we should all be politically engaged. Also surprisingly funny. ("There's Ben Affleck! He's often in my dreams.") 5.)Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 4.)Shaun of the Dead 3.)Metallica: Some Kind of Monster 2.)Spider-Man 2 1.)Team America: World Police|W|P|110538615058583169|W|P||W|P|1/07/2005 07:28:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Have some sympathy and some taste In case you want to flog me (or if you're John Derbyshire, torture me) for my more liberal posts of late, please, have some pity. On Tuesday I found a used copy of George Hickenlooper's godlike documentary "Mayor of the Sunset Strip." On Wednesday night I slapped it into my Xbox, which I use as my main DVD player. I fell asleep later, having left the movie in the machine. Then last night, my roommate Evelio and I got the urge to watch "The Shield," so I plopped the DVD in. There was much whirring and humming and finally a message, "cannot read this disc." I tried two other discs when I realize - I had never taken "Mayor" out of there. Sure enough, when I left the DVD tray blank and turned on the machine, I started seeing the opening screens of that movie. Somehow the DVD had come out of the tray and embedded itself into my XBox. The machine has been dropped off at a game store, where I can pick it up sometime between Jan. 16 and Jan. 24 after paying $70.|W|P|110514502519446760|W|P||W|P|1/07/2005 01:32:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Larry Kudlow is a liar; Michael Moore tells the truth For some damn reason I watched part of yesterday's Scarborough Country and caught a segment titled "Moore Lies?" It began with a clip of Michael Moore on Today. (This transcript is from Lexis, but I can add a link to the free transcript later.)
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER/AUTHOR: When we start running people that are beloved by the American public, we are going to win, because we already win on the issues, as I said earlier. The American people generally agree more with the Democratic platform than the [Republican] platform. KATIE COURIC, CO-HOST: What do you base that on, by the way? MOORE: Any Gallup poll, CNN poll, "USA Today" poll.
Scarborough introduces his counterspinner, Lawrence Kudlow.
Michael Moore pronounces that the American people agree with Democrats more than Republicans. And George Bush must have just won because he had the force of personality of Oprah. Let`s talk facts. Do the American people support Democratic positions or Republican positions? LAWRENCE KUDLOW, CO-HOST, "KUDLOW & CRAMER": You know, I think, listen, if Michael Moore wants to go down that road, if the whole Democratic Party wants to go down that road and sink deeper and deeper into the electoral quagmire, so be it. Who am I to stop them. But what he said is just utter nonsense. The Democrats are way out of the mainstream on the war against terrorism and the use of American force. They are way out of the mainstream on religious values and moral values, and they are also way out of the mainstream on tax cuts and class warfare and class envy.
Now, think about it. Michael Moore just said "The American people generally agree more with the Democratic platform than the Republican platform" and cited, as evidence, Gallup/USA Today/CNN polls. Lawrence Kudlow, in rebutting this, did not cite any polls. Why? Because Kudlow is lying. I know this because Moore wrote the same points in his USA Today column at the GOP convention (it's a hobbyhorse of his) and I fact-checked it. He also predicted Kerry would win, which didn't pan out, but his main point was:
As many polls confirm, a majority of your fellow Americans believe in your agenda. They want stronger environmental laws, are strong supporters of women's rights, favor gun control and want the war in Iraq to end.
All that's true. The numbers dipped a little bit after the GOP convention, but they're still true if you use the most recent numbers. On the environment: - 33% of people said they worried "a great deal" about "damage to the earth's ozone layer," while 27% worried a "fair amount" and 26% worried "only a little." Only 14% said they didn't worry at all. (Gallup, April 8) - 39% of people said they worried "a great deal" about air pollution, while 30% worried a "fair amount" and 23% worried "a little." Only 8% said they didn't worry at all. (Gallup, April 8) - 53% of people said they worried "a great deal" about pollution in drinking water, while 24% worried "a fair amount," and 17% worried "a little." Only 6% didn't worry at all. (Gallup, April 8) - 60% of people said John Kerry would "better handle the environment," while 31% said Bush would. (Gallup, Oct. 11) On women's rights (defined in the usual liberal terms): - 24% said abortion should be "legal under any circumstances," and 56% said it should be legal "only under certain circumstances." Only 19% said it should be illegal. (Gallup, Nov. 30) - 46% said John Kerry would "better handle abortion," while 42% said Bush would. (Gallup, Oct. 11) On gun control: - 50% of people support "a law that would make it illegal to manufacture, sell, or possess semi-automatic guns known as assault rifles," while 46% of people would oppose that law. (Gallup, Nov. 8) - 46% of people say a gun makes a home "more dangerous," while 42% say "safer." (Gallup, Nov. 8) On the war in Iraq: - 51% of people disapprove of "the United States' decision to go to war with Iraq." 48% approve. (Gallup, Dec. 17-19) - 58% of people disapprove of "the way the U.S. has handled the situation in Iraq in the past few months." 39% approve. (Gallup, Dec. 17-19) So, Moore is actually telling the truth about these poll numbers. Is it ridiculous to bring this stuff when the other party clearly won the election? Maybe, but everyone does it. Since Scarborough cuts Moore off before he explains just what issues he's talking about, Kudlow makes up his own issues. The terrorism/war thing has already been covered. Moral issues are fuzzy, as we've seen, with the abortion numbers showing the hardcore Republican position is actually not too popular. What about "the mainstream on tax cuts and class warfare and class envy?" Let's check the Gallup polls. From Oct. 18
(Next, regardless of which (2004) presidential (election) candidate you support, please tell me if you think John Kerry or George W. Bush would better handle each of the following issues.) How about...taxes? Kerry - 45% Bush - 51 Same (Vol.) - 1 No opinion - 3
A six-point gap. President Bush leads the Most Liberal Senator from Taxachusetts on the question of taxes by ... six points. You could argue that the Democrats have nowhere to go but up from there, but Kudlow says they're "way out of the mainstream." Well, OK. A more general tax question from Oct. 11
Do you think the tax cuts which Congress passed and George W. Bush signed into law have--mostly helped the U.S. (United States) economy, have had no effect, or have mostly hurt the U.S. economy--over the past three years? Mostly helped - 39% No effect - 23 Mostly hurt - 35 No opinion - 3
So a third of Americans think the tax cuts hurt, a fifth say they did nothing, and a plurality of 4/10 think they've been a boon. What's my point? For starters, Lawrence Kudlow is a liar. Not the most awesome habit for a guy who wants to accuse Michael Moore of eternal perfidy. Beyond that, I wonder: Is the entire anti-Moore campaign a bit of reverse psychology? These polls are pretty easy to check. I've got to more important people than Kudlow have seen them. And they provide evidence that, yes, the modern Republican positions on the environment, war, abortion, and even taxes are not that popular. As a matter of fact, Moore's policy views are FAR more popular than Rush Limbaugh's, who holds the view (along with around 20% of people polled) that the acts at Abu Ghraib were like "fraternity pranks." So are people like Kudlow trying to get Democrats to abandon popular ideas and just crossing their figures to hope the Dems don't double-check their popularity?|W|P|110513552873215435|W|P||W|P|1/06/2005 07:09:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Power down I don't often blog about Power Line, and I don't plan to after this, because the intellectual phoniness at that place is overwhelming. To wit, here's a post about an issue I care about - election reform. The grown man who goes by the name "Hindrocket" says this of the electoral vote challenge in today's session of congress.
The Democrats seek to perpetuate they myth that their votes somehow go uncounted, with the de facto result that all elections they lose are more or less illegitimate.
Nope. First of all, it's not a myth - votes DO go uncounted in every election. Holes are not properly punched, machines get stuck, ballots are spoiled. For evidence, here's a Miami Herald article on the 2004 election. It notes that ballots were spoiled at a high rate in 2000 and a lower rate in 2004. But still, ballots were spoiled - damaged so they could not be counted. For every 200 Miami-Dade county voters, one cast a ballot that did not count. Second, "all elections they lose are more or less illegitimate"? That's Hindrocket's fantasy, not Democrats'. None of the Democrats who challenged the Ohio vote claimed that Kerry had rightfully won. They said, again and again, that there were inherent problems in the voting system aggravated by the behavior of a secretary of state who co-chaired Ohio's Bush campaign. They concluded, basically, that this was evidence we need to reform the election system. Some Republicans (Bob Ney) even agreed, although loudly protested against the method of issuing an official electoral challenge to start this debate. Anyway, Hindrocket follows this up by posting a picture of a kooky activist with a sign saying what no Democrat said, that the election was stolen. So Hindrocket punts and says the activist is making the "the same arguments but in less polite language." Then he delivers his response to the activist:
"Massive election day fraud" and "massive recount fraud" indeed.
Which is a wordy way of saying "your mom!" There's one final bit that deserves criticism. Hindrocket concludes:
Surely they must understand the damage they do to our institutions when they refuse to accept the basic principle of democracy: when you lose an election, the other guys get to govern.
Now, by this definition, what is Dino Rossi doing by contesting the Washington governor's race? What was Viktor Yuschenko doing contesting the Ukraine election? And were his supporters "disgracing themselves"? I think Hindrocket got close to an answer in his December post, "Voter Fraud in Ukraine, and Here." He alleges that there was fraud in Minnesota's election (indeed!). And I'm not mincing words. He literally accuses Democrats of crimes.
As we reported last month, the Democrats stationed designated "vouchers" in hundreds of precincts around the state, wearing badges so that Democrats who had already voted in other states or precincts would know whom to see to vote again.
Hindrocket and the kooky activist are on the same page, and they're both on to something. The basic principle of democracy is that an election is free and fair, and that all votes are counted once. Any weakness in that principle leads to uncertainty, which leads to rancor, which poisons the entire political process. And it does so needlessly. There's less confidence in our elections that there are in elections in any other developed democracy. Clearly, Hindrocket would have more confidence in our system if there were uniform national election standards and a national database for all voters - if Joe Minnesota voted in a precinct in St. Paul, he's checked off the list that every election worker in America has electronic access to. That would be election reform. That's what Democrats were protesting for. If Hindrocket would get beyond partisan hatred for 10 seconds he might see that.|W|P|110505913361734353|W|P||W|P|1/06/2005 05:56:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Strength in numbness Quoth Jonah Goldberg:
I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU GUYS... but I thought the Corner was pretty darn strong today.
OK, what went on at the Corner today? Andy McCarthy:
John is absolutely right that the hijinks at Abu Ghraib were not torture.
Hijinks! LOL! Sez John Derbyshire:
If you've just been tapped for a college fraternity and are curious to know what you might have to go through by way of initiation, you might want to do a close reading of the Abu Ghraib scandals.
Unless your frat hazing ended with you being murdered and being stuffed in a bag. Then you might not be reading The Corner. And here's Jonah Goldberg.
I have no problem with playing a little smacky-face with prisoners. Think about it.
Hmmm... Nah. Still don't like it. It would be easy to say something like "boy, it would make for some hilarious hijinks if Andy McCarthy's wife and children were stripped naked, beaten, kneecapped and murdered." But I think Nietzsche has this one covered. "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."|W|P|110505299339905643|W|P||W|P|1/05/2005 08:49:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Tres drole From John Tabin:
John J. Miller has an anti-Gaullist New York Times op-ed today, touching on themes covered in his and Mark Molesky's fascinating book, Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disasterous Relationship with France. Not long after it went online, someone on a machine set to Central European Time-- that is, France's time zone-- found this site by Googling for "John J. Miller jEW." They never disappoint, do they?
Heh. Vrai.|W|P|110497635200958778|W|P||W|P|1/05/2005 06:50:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Tin soldiers and Boxer's coming If Barbara Boxer does challenge Ohio's electoral votes in tomorrow's session, I'll be pleased. Not for the reasons Jim Geraghty will be.
It will be great for Republicans because I suspect few things can make the Democratic Party seem less relevant or serious to the American people than to charge that Bush’s entire 118,775 vote margin is the result of a vast conspiracy.
The American people won't give a shit. More to the point, they might give as much of a shit as they do right now about the GOP spending a year impeaching Clinton. (Hint: None.) I imagine prominent conservatives will use this as some kind of platform for their favorite Dem-bashing chestnuts - obstruction, hypocrisy, Sore Loserman, yada yada. Big deal. They're already doing that with Gonzales. At the same time, I hope the Washington GOP finds a way to contest that state's election. Why do I favor this in both cases? Because our voting system fucking blows and it won't get fixed until both parties have a stake in fixing it. Put John Conyers and John Fund on a panel together and they'll probably come up with some combination of a national voter registry, paper ballots, uniform numbers of ballot boxes-per-precinct, and nonpartisan election officials. It's not about overturning an election - it's about finally raising our election standards to those of former Soviet republics.|W|P|110497105777429011|W|P||W|P|1/05/2005 03:54:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|WTF? The Gonzales nomination has inspired a strange full court press at NRO, with authors asserting that no, really, Americans are cool with torture. Andrew McCarthy has the most reasonable statement ("The next attorney general's position on this matter is not a radical view. It's America's view.") although in getting there he asserts that Democrats want to sign a treaty with al-Qaeda or something. Jim Geraghty says "if the Democrats try to start a high-profile debate on torture, “coercive interrogation” and related issues, the discussion will quickly devolve into partisan name-calling, and voters who were already skeptical about whether the Democrats are 'tough enough' in the war on terror will consider them 'soft.'" Um, bullshit. The vast, vast majority of Americans opposed the torture at Abu Ghraib. From CNN's poll ...
Of those surveyed, 73 percent said they believed the abuse documented in an Army report was unjustified, and only 23 percent said it could be justified under some circumstances. And 71 percent said the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners should be considered a serious offense rather than a harmless prank.
This isn't a black and white debate, and it's worth arguing what techniques might be used to break down Osama bin Laden versus how harsh we should be on the kind of run-of-the-mill prisoners at Abu Ghraib. But Americans don't like torture. Democrats are not going to suffer by coming out against it. God willing, a fight over Gonzales might lead to some better policy in this regard.|W|P|110495943107034038|W|P||W|P|1/03/2005 11:28:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Oh God yes New Chunklet on its way this month.|W|P|110476975929631897|W|P||W|P|1/01/2005 04:12:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Every movie I saw in 2004 Last year I accidentally started a tradition which has since been echoed: reviewing and ranking all the films I saw in the calendar year. Like last year, I plan to issue a late revision in April, after the movies I missed - and there were lots - hit DVD. The lack of The Incredibles, Sideways, Overnight, Kinsey, and the Aviator, all of which I narrowly missed a few chances to see, will haunt this list til then. Then again, I didn't see Finding Nemo til summer '04. Without furthur ado ... 33.)Van Helsing To paraphrase General Ludendorff, the effects wizards of Van Helsing were lions led by donkeys. Make that 'a' donkey - Stephen Sommers. He was handed a terrific cast, who'd carved excellent performances out of genre films (Moulin Rouge, The Return of the King, X-Men) and put them through a silly, incoherent and dull maze of a movie. However, it IS fun to explain this movie's plot to other people. "Dracula wants to electrically animate his human-bat children, but warewolf blood won't do it, so he needs Frankenstein blood." 32.)Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed Bad for many of the same reasons as Van Helsing, but I expect less of Freddie Prinze Jr. 31.)The Punisher So much potential wasted, again! Thomas Jane clearly has the chops to play a perfect Frank Castle, and the supporting cast is terrific. But the filmmakers cribbed their plot from Garth Ennis's silly version of the comic, and it plays absolutely terrible onscreen. 30.)Shrek 2 Stop the bandwagon, I want to get off. Like its predecessor, this is a mostly witless, derivative grabbag of pop culture gags and single entrendres. The only plot points you can't see from miles away are the ones that make no sense - like the deadly, built-up Puss in Boots switches teams to the good guys for no reason. A poor excuse for a kid's movie. 29.)Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow This, however, is a good kid's movie - close to great. Unfortunately, it was meant for grown-ups. Pretty to look at, but way too airy to become a real action movie or clever retro-kitsch. 28.)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban A semi-decent kid's movie, pretty much ruined by the pointless obviousness of the final act. Just when you've figured out the ending, a plot contrivance makes you watch the less 10 minutes unfold all over again. 27.)The Ladykillers A real low for the Coens - it's so overburdened with their tricks that it actually takes on gravity and slows down. Some funny moments partially save a lousy story. 26.)I, Robot Surprisingly good Will Smith vehicle with one or two ideas and some sweet action. Not much else. 25.)Anchorman Not really a movie as much as a grab-bag of ironic gags. Unfortunately, only around half of the gags hit. Did anyone laugh at the "Afternoon Delite" singalong? Didn't think so. But I did laugh at "Mmmmm, milady, I'm storming your castle on my steed!" 24.)Open Water It could have been much better. The documentary techniques are muffled by the dramatic pacing of the film, and a normal movie soundtrack. But there are some geniune moments of terror. 23.)Starsky and Hutch See #24. Any movie with a Vince Vaughn appearence is in its own weird genre. 22.)Outfoxed Absolutely laughable production values drag down a pretty good documentary, with points that are hard to dispute. Honestly, you hear Rupert Murdoch claim that Fox News is fair and balanced because - wait for it - they employ Alan Colmes. 21.)13 Going on 30 One of the year's big surprises, a usually witty and bright comedy with some amazing acting from Jennifer Garner. This moves into the top 10 if you have a girlfriend to see it with. 20.)The Chronicles of Riddick The most underrated movie of the year - a remake of Conan the Barbarian set in a beautiful sci-fi spacescape. Shitty writing, yes, but some of the best action and plotting of any adventure this year. 19.)Jersey Girl Kevin Smith's worst movie should have been his break-out hit anyway. Only the insanely contrived ending drags it out of the top 12. 18.)Hellboy The bankrolling and release of this movie, based on a fairly obscure (for the mainstream) comic, is weirder than anything in it. Basically, it's a funny and thrilling action movie with some predictable twists and lacking inspiration. Also, a lousy ending. 17.)I Heart Huckabees Surprisingly funny in parts - Mark Wahlberg gives a career-best performance. But a little substance-free for a philosophy movie. And Jude Law is terrible. 16.)Super Size Me Flawed but funny, and important - hey, McDonalds DID get rid of super-sizing last year. Morgan Spurlock has a bright future. 15.)The Motorcycle Diaries One of the laziest movies of the year - mostly in a good Herzog-esque way, but still, lazy. Not exciting, but probably the best movie one could make from Guevara's book. 14.)Mean Girls Before being dragged down by its everyone's-a-winner ending, this is a hilarious and probing high school movie - the best mainstream movie of that stripe since the mid-80s. But the ending is just too chirpy. 13.)Dodgeball The best of this year's crop of Vince Vaughn comedies - the most consistent laughs and least predictable plot. 12.)Kill Bill Vol. 2 About 70% as fun as the first - which is damn fun - but a little too drunk on its bootleg Hong Kong morals for my liking. And I still say the scene with the Mexican Hugh Hefner was overkill. 11.)Mayor of the Sunset Strip Messy and mesmerizing documentary about the tiny, shy, weird actor/DJ who somehow became the kind of Los Angeles rock without playing an instrument (or making any money). 10.)Napoleon Dynamite I saw it before the hype wave reached its full swell, which doubtlessly improved my enjoyment. But I don't see how anyone could really hate this movie. It's like the blue alien robots from the end of "A.I." discovered a burnt reel of an 80s high school movie and tried to replicate it with their awesome technology. 9.)Dawn of the Dead A stunningly great opening act - on its own, probably the best horror since "The Silence of the Lambs" - overcome a lot of little limitations. I could have done with more-rounded characters, or more social commentary a la the orginal film. But the things that work, like the ammo shop owner and the trip down to the mall's basement, work like gangbusters. 8.)The Passion of the Christ Probably nothing can replicate the feeling of seeing this in a packed theatre the first weekend. When several hundred Catholics are crying and chopping up breaths in sync, this is an awesomely powerful event. Without them ... it's still really good. 7.)Shaolin Soccer The best part of this decade, for my money, is the decision of Hollywood to buy up Asian movies and show them in our theatres. My god, if this is only a GOOD Chinese kung fu movie, what have we been missing? 6.)Fahrenheit 9/11 There's a scene in this movie that I never hear anyone talk about - around 5 minutes spent with a part-time Oregon cop who patrols a few hundred miles of coastline. Now, is the cop's story true? Does Moore actually care about the issue? Can you actually call this a security hole and blame it on Bush? 5.)Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 4.)Shaun of the Dead 3.)Metallica: Some Kind of Monster 2.)Spider-Man 2 1.)Team America: World Police|W|P|110461651684368056|W|P||W|P|