It's the New Coke of the new millennium
Fans of Firefly and Serenity have run up the value of the franchise after being invited to viral market the show and now they're being sued by Universal.
UN BE LIEVABLE.
Strutting and fretting in an insane world.
Fans of Firefly and Serenity have run up the value of the franchise after being invited to viral market the show and now they're being sued by Universal.
Consider France. We're sending them the message right now that Osama was right, after all. We are a paper tiger. They have played our media and the Democrats like P.R. men. This could be a textbook example of how to defeat the world's most powerful military. That's not a good message to send them. Charles Johnson points out how James Webb's latest statement sounds a lot like cut and run. It may be that we will withdraw in time, but doing so at the insistence of those trying to destroy the elected government there is a betrayal of our troops and their sacrifices. It doesn't help that one of our major powers has dedicated itself to doing just that.
The Times can't even report on hand sanitizers without turning it into a political issue!
The USC Trojans are coming apart in Corvallis. OSC Beavers up 33 to 10 4:45 left in the third quarter. USC has fumbled about three or four times and turned the ball over. Expect Hugh to be all over this on Tuesday. (I think Monday's show is taped.) Ohio State is running roughshod over Minnesota 30 zip.
Media Matters is claiming that Saddam's verdict is timed to affect American elections. Be indignant. Be very indignant!
Publius reports that Fidel Castro is in a coma and not expected to recover consciousness. Funeral arrangements are being made. Will the new boss be the same as the old boss?
You can hide, but they'll come after you. Canada is being warned that if it doesn't withdraw its troops in Afghanistan, it will be targeted for terrorist attacks. If I were Prime Minister, I'd send more troops, some to Iraq. When you give in to extortion they come back for more.
You know that the New York Hearsay is covering the Cheney remarks about tough interrogation techniques and playing it as an admission. Actually, the Congress passed and the President signed into law, the bill giving our interrogators the cover for coercive interrogation so long as it doesn't become torture. What I've heard about waterboarding is that it does no real phisical harm, but it does frighten the subject and it is effective at eliciting information. If that's true, they should it, but with all the publicity, it wouldn't surprizem me if the terrorists are being taught how to resist it.
The best reason for voting early is probably to bring an end to this kind of squabbling. Lynne Cheney went on Wolf Blitzer's program to promote a new children's book about American, but got ambushed when Blitzer asked her about Dick's alleged waterboarding remark. She was ready and let him have it, then reminded him that she was there to talk about the book not campaign issues. Somehow, she got drug into the Allen-Webb kefuffle over explicit sex in Webb's novels. Basically it confirmed my assessment of Allen's leadership potential and the absolute childishness of the media, who have been pouncing on things he might have uttered 20 or 25 years ago, and the absurd claim that Macaca was meant as a racial slur. I like Webb, but I don't understand why he became a Democrat. America has ceased to be a place to be proud of, but then so has almoste everywhere else. If I'd been Webb, I'd have said, "Oh, grow up!"
The Democrats are using The Common Good as a slogan.
Senate hopeful Bobby Casey Jr. repeated the phrase 29 times in a talk at The Catholic University of America. Other Dems are using it just as frequently, attempting to appeal to "values voters" and evangelicals.That ought to galvanaize the voters! It sure beats the Republicans' "Misery for everybody!"
And just what is the "common good"? Specifics are about as murky as Bush's compassionate conservatism was in 2000 -- which now is known to be a blank credit card slip for reckless spending and entitlements.
According to John Halpin, a senior fellow at the ultraliberal Center for American Progress, the "common good" is "sort of a shared sacrifice, a return to the ethic of service and duty." Actually, it's not that altruistic. In a word, it's more socialism than anything.
Ever heard of "curbing?" Gavin Lyon, a 17-year-old is in the hospital after being beaten and "curbed" --
a violent maneuver where a person’s head is placed against a concrete curb on a street, and someone steps on the back of the head. In most cases, this procedure causes the jaw to break along with several teeth.This isn't hazing or bullying. It's aggravated assault - a third-degree felony but probably higher. They broke his teeth and his neck. The Utah Crimincal Code includes "Mayhem." I feel the same as this boy's dad, "It's everything you can do not to go get a gun and hunt somebody down."
Filler material: NBC turned down the snotty chicks' new movie. We've already had Michael Fox doing political ads. These three are Michael Moore with drawls. Why do people think that being celebrities gives them the right to lecture their audiences on politics?
Amy Sullivan examines why Democrats are losing the culture war:
One answer is that national security is still a major issue, generally favoring Republicans. But more important is the fact that abortion and gay marriage are proxies for deeply held cultural concerns. They tell voters something about the character of a candidate — or a party.When I read the headline, the first phrase in my mind was "something always beats nothing."
Most voters worry about escalating challenges to family stability and the losing battle to instill good values in their children instead of the materialism and coarseness peddled by popular culture. They fear that our society has developed a casualness about life, especially as science has made it easier to manipulate and create beings.
Banning gay marriage and outlawing abortion don't directly address those anxieties. But proposals like these at least acknowledge that the concerns exist and are valid. So while Republicans offer the wrong prescriptions, they get the diagnosis right. And they win because most of the time, Democrats won't admit that anything is wrong. In politics, as in most areas of life, something always beats nothing.
The activist group ACORN registers voters was caught with three registrations in the same handwriting listing three different addresses, plainly fraudulent. You can't trust those newfanged electronic voting machines, but good old voting early and often seems just fine:
St. Louis ACORN workers, who have still not been paid by the way, reveal that all of the people who were being trained at ACORN headquarters (many at the same time) were told to go out and canvas for "(Democrat) Victory 2006" and Claire McCaskill!.
When was it that the New Jersey courts permitted a last minute switch of candidates when Robert Toricelli tanked in the polls? If you want to know how Democrats would govern, New Jersey is a pretty good model to look at. First, its Supreme Court ruled that the State Constitution is violated when gay couples are denied the legal incidents of marriage, but knowing that an outright ruling that gay marriage is required, they handed the hot potato back to the legislature, hinting that civil unions might be all right. (For extra credit, read James Taranto's first item today.) lEverybody in the media and the blogosphere has been saying that it won't make a difference in the New Jersey Senate race, but national polls have shown that gay marriage is unpopular, and now the state's ex-governor Jim McGreevey, who resigned in a scandal when it came out that he had been having a gay affair and had given his paramour a job using state funds, is now on record as desiring to wed his "partner" if the law is changed. That might bring the meaning of that decision home to more people, including some conservatives who were planning to sit out this election. Considering that the Democrat in the race, Senator Robert Menendez, is widely aknowledged be the subject of an FBI investigation, this could help his opponent, Tom Kean, who has regained some momentum he had lost.
There are other famous people who have Parkinson's. Why aren't they all lining up to blast Republicans? Why aren't they all lining up to blast Republicans or at least solicit votes for Democrats? Maybe they'd feel it was kind of undignified to seek the pity of others to benefit a politician, especially when the benefits of embronic stem cell research is pretty speculative. Maybe they're not as sure as Michael is that this research will find a cure, and maybe they don't think that using their illness to campaign for a few politicians is a dignified way of achieving it.
/CNN's poll says that about 60% of Americans think the war on terror has not gone too far in intruding on civil liberties.
Mitt Romney's retort to a reporter's hubris is classic. He's a quick wit and an extremely accurate one. Every conservative who has heard this "the people's right to know" hogwash has wondered to him/herself, "Who elected you?" Romney handled it perfectly.
He says the right things, but he's also selling a book, and, hey, exposing the liberal media bias has been good for Bernie Goldberg. It would be good to see what an actually fair media would be like. Fox News is OK, but I only regularly watch Brit Hume because he's professional and knows how to tell both sides. The rest of the programming is idiosyncratic. Hannity & Colmes has too much yelling and too many cheap shots. I'm not really interested in most of the cases that Greta Van Susteren talks about. And, while I'm too unsure of myself to invest in the stock market, I like watching Neil Cavuto. He has an interesting and common sense perspective on things and he comes across as a real person. It would be nice if we could see real analysis from every news organization. It should be the real test for a news presenter that he/she speaks to the entire audience, without injecting his own opinions. Maybe if more reporters consciously tried to see things objectively instead of following the little rules and tricks to cover your butt with "critics say" when you're really just expressing your own opinions or you feel compelled to throw something in for "objectivity," or reporting for other reporters instead of the real consumers, the news would be more interesting and compelling, and a lot of them would find their personal views changing from the "us vs. them" model to one where we all care about each other and have integrity in our work, instead of seeking the journalistic community's approval. That's how newsmen and women used to be. They had their biases as we all do, but they were professional enough to keep it out of most of their reporting. Nowadays they all sound like they're aiming a Pulitzers or practicing their novels rather than simply getting the facts. We don't need the snide little spin that infests most news reports, especially as they go higher up on the pay scale.
I saw this ad on Fox News last night. I didn't see any racism. The NAACP fought for the repeal of miscegenation laws, but now they're making a big deal of this corny ad where a white bimbo tells Harold Ford to "Call me ..." and blows a kiss. Would they be happier if the character were an African American bimbo? She is portraying one of the women present at a Playboy party Mr. Ford attended.
Violence never solved anythin. At least, not where it hasn't been tried. The cops say that they're in the midst of a civil war. France is becoming Algeria North. The unions and the public they "serve" are increasing at odds. The Welfare State is failing, but, -- how do you say, "France is dying" in French? Non vive la France?
You'd better look out. Nancy Pelosi, mother and grandmother, and therefore has absolute moral authority, may crack down on Democrats playing hooky from their committee meetings. I wondered if she wore less makeup on purpose in that 60 Minutes interview, so she could emphasize her grandmotherly mien. I never knew that she is 66 years old. She's a woman and probably has good genes, but I'm not sure I'll make it to 66. A few things did come through pretty clearly. She's obvious got a steely will and wants absolute control of her messages, and she hates the President. Her explanation that "We're both professionals," as a reason why he shouldn't take a offense as being called criminal, incompetent, not a leader, inept and dishonest doesn't really wash. I wouldn't be warm and fuzzy after that, especially when, in the same breath, she promises greater civility when she's the Speaker. Today, Bush gave her a signal that her idea of professional behavior is different from his.
Richard Holbrooke writes in an open letter to the President:
Broadly speaking, you have three choices: "Stay the course," escalate or start to disengage from Iraq while pressing hard for a political settlement. I will argue for the third course, not because it is perfect but because it is the least bad option.Does anybody think this is honest, disinterested advice? "Stay the course," to Democrats and the media, means stubbornly clinging to tactics that aren't working and hunkering down and taking casualties while Iraq devolves into civil war. I don't know that Iraq is headed for civil war, but neither does Mr. Holbrooke. The sectarian violence is disturbing, but a certain amount of payback is bound to take place when people who have been denied their rights for as long as the Shiites in Iraq have been. I think that Muqtada al-Sadr is a dangerous guy and is working with Iran's revolution, but if the Shiites wanted an Iran-style revolution with Mullahs running things, they could have had it by now. Are they willing to fight for their religion? I think so. Do they want to oppress Sunnis and deny them the right to worship as they wish? I doubt it.
So General Casey has announced a timetable for Iraqis to get finished training and take over their own security. It's not a timetable like the trains used to run on, though. It's more like a goal, which will take longer or shorter depending on events. Those who keep braying that we didn't have a plan for the postwar or than we don't have an "exit strategy" are ignoring that there's been a timetable all along, including elections and negotiations.
The Boston Globe is on the attack against Mitt Romney. The major theme seems to be that he's a (gasp!) Mormon. But it's nothing but a scurrilous hit piece. I thought that discirmination based on religion had been laid to rest when JFK was elected, but the Globe brushes that aside because:
In 1960, JFK made it clear both that he believed in an absolute separation of church and state and that he should not be considered the Catholic Church's candidate. "I do not speak for the church on public matters and the church does not speak for me," he declared.Romney's organization, it is claimed, reached out the the LDS Church for money and help building a grass roots organization.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.We've been called a cult, a sect, non-Christians, heretics and everything else people could think of. We've been driven from our homes, murdered, mobbed, robbed, slandered and had our rights ignored. Most of this persecution was fomented by ministers of other churchs who saw us as a threat to their income and resorted to lies, innuendo and claims that we aren't Christian because we don't accept that God is three persons in one, without body parts or passion, which is tradition from the Catholic Church, not scripture.
12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
We are the Borg. That would scare the hell out of me.
It's called The Great Rish Shift, and it sounds positively like a five-year-old's tantrum:
WHATEVER happened to the good old days of cradle-to-grave security — of a steady job, a lifetime pension and paid-for health care along the way?Here's what happened: we were living in a make-believe world powered by the fact that ours was the only industrial society that came through World War II without being bombed to rubble. We have stopped having families, saving and buying only what we can afford. It's a monument to our capacity for selfishness and irresponsibility that we've consumed it all in just 60 years. In the past, people saved up for their retirement, or they kept working or they turned to their children. But our generation put all that on the backs of their employers and the government, which shifted it in a bit of shady accounting to our children's generation. Where did this guy get the idea that entitlements were real? Instead of us fighting back, it's our children who should be disowning us.
Silent Patriot at Crooks and Liars:
Keith [Olberman] issued arguably his most powerful Special Comment yet tonight. This time he takes on the GOP's newest fearmongering ad which quotes Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri superimposed over pictures of explosions with the sound of a ticking bomb in the background.Olberman has to be the audio-video equivalent of Glenn Greenwald.
This is an unusual election in that the media have not even waited for the polls to open before declaring the results. Indeed, the Associated Press was forecasting a Democratic "landslide" as early as May. And since we all know that everything in the papers is true, if the Republicans end up winning, or at least holding their majorities, it can only mean that Karl Rove stole the election.They'd better be right on this, because nobody will trust any of them again if they're wrong. How confident are you in early exit polls after 2004?
This is an unusual election in that the media have not even waited for the polls to open before declaring the results. Indeed, the Associated Press was forecasting a Democratic "landslide" as early as May. And since we all know that everything in the papers is true, if the Republicans end up winning, or at least holding their majorities, it can only mean that Karl Rove stole the election.They'd better be right on this, because nobody will trust any of them again. How confident are you in early exit polls today?
That's the only way to describe our education of our children in the values that brought us to this point. Our schools have been taken over by the kind of people who rename "tug of war" "tug of peace" and think it's a profound insight and prohibit playing tag because it has winners and losers. (It does? How do you win? I guess by not being 'it' when the bell rings.)
It's really interesting how people, especially in the media, select what's important. One of their favorite topics is Evangelical Christians as if they can tell them what to think or do.
The lefties keeping making a big deal out of the words of various people on the right, as though they aren't allowed to explain what they mean. No context, no explanations, allowed. It's as though they assume that Republicans mean exactly what they would say in a given situation. It reminds me of the lawyer who won't allow a witness to say more than "yes or no" or explain an answer, and thinks it proves anything.
This headline got me thinking. A lot of our crime shows now feature plots involving erotic asphixiation, necrophilia, incest, pedophilia, bondage and sado-masochism, sex clubs, group sex, rape and just about any kind of squirrely way people can come up with to achieve climax as plot devices intended to shock and rivet our attention. I guess people like being shocked, but I get the impression sometimes that the big cities have turned into big brothels where anything goes. It's the escalating effect of drugs, pornography and gambling. We develop tolerance for one dose and go looking for a bigger hit.
When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.
Robert D. Kaplan argues that we can't just leave Iraq.
An emerging school of thought says that the only real leverage we're going to have is the threat of withdrawal, which would concentrate the minds of the various groups to seek modalities with each other for governing the country. That's a bet, not a plan. You could also bet that any timetable for withdrawal will lead to a meltdown of the Iraq Army according to region and sect. Even if we promise that all of our military advisors will stay put, in addition to our air and special operations assets, no one in a culture of rumor and conspiracy theory might believe us.As I have read Vali Nasr's book,I've gone back and forth on this question. On the one hand, if there is to be a Shia/Sunni civil war, there's not much we or anybody but the parties to it can do. But Nasr believes that the Iraqi Shiites are not interested in an Iranian-style theocracy.
Because it turned out we had no postwar plan, our invasion (which I supported) amounted to a bet. Our withdrawal, when it comes to that, must be different. If we decide to reduce forces in the country under the current anarchic conditions, then we are both morally and strategically obligated to talk with Iran and Syria, as well as call for a regional conference. Iraq may be closer to an explosion of genocide than we know. An odd event, or the announcement of pulling 20,000 American troops out, might trigger it. We simply cannot contemplate withdrawal under these conditions without putting Iraq's neighbors on the spot, forcing them to share public responsibility for the outcome, that is if they choose to stand aside and not help us.
What we should all fear is a political situation in Washington where a new Congress forces President George W. Bush to redeploy, and Bush, doing so under duress, makes only the most half-hearted of gestures to engage Iraq's neighbors in the process. That could lead to hundreds of thousands of dead in Iraq, rather than the tens of thousands we have seen. An Iran that continues to enrich uranium is less of a threat to us than genocide in Iraq. A belligerent, nuclear Iran is something we will, as a last resort, be able to defend against militarily. And it probably won't come to that. But if we disengage from Iraq without publicly involving its neighbors, Sunni Arabs—who will bear the brunt of the mass murder—will hate us for years to come from Morocco to Pakistan. Our single greatest priority at the moment is preventing Iraq from sliding off the abyss.
Cliff May's take on what CNN's airing video of an insurget sniper shooting American troops says about modern "news" gathering. You can almost hear Dvorkin thinking, "You kill reporters. This is payback."
Michael Barone looks at our current uneasiness and notes that our good fortune in many area is the result of confronting tough problems and handling them. We don't like hearing about war every day.
We are weary, it seems, and ready to go back on holiday. Some things -- a nuclear attack on the United States, the successful release of a disease pathogen that could kill millions -- are just too horrifying to think about. But maybe we should think more about them. As Leon Trotsky is supposed to have said, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."The terrorists are still out there killing innocent Iraqis and American soldiers. The violence is spiking as they try to influence our elections. The Taliban is trying to come back in Afghanistan. North Korea still has nukes. Iran is still trying to develop them.
The Boston Globe is reporting:
Despite repeated denials by the Mormon Church and Governor Mitt Romney's advisers, e-mails from a key Romney consultant state that the leader of the worldwide church was consulted on an effort to build Mormon support for the governor's potential presidential bid and that a key church leader has been involved in mapping out the plan. One e-mail also describes Romney's personal involvement in the planning.Ah, the scary Mormons! The LDS church does not endorse candidates or campaign for them, but individuals are free. J. Reuben Clarke and Ezra Taft Benson, both apostles, served in government. There are 5 Mormon senators in Congress now, including Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch. The "key Romney consultant" is probably misstating the church's involvement. There are lots of wealthy LDS people who think that Romney would make a great president. There's nothing sinister in that. I suppose the Ted Kennedy gets a lot of support from Catholics, without being endorsed by the Church.
Dinesh D'Souza critiques atheism. I've often thought about what life would be like if we were all atheists. I think it would be a lot like Iraq before we removed Saddam. Without faith, I see no reason for altruism, kindness and other virtues except as tools for manipulating other people. What is your responsibility to others who don't carry your genes? In Darwinian terms, we've probably evolved to believe in a higher reality, because death would be too frightening, societies wouldn't hold together, and there'd be no reason to live, love and strive. Once we realized that we're all rats in a maze, all the sweet memories and little victories would resolve into self-deception and delusions. I suspect that is why we have a problem with teenager suicides.
60 Minutes interviewed Nancy Pelosi tonight. She looks her 66 years, but not bad for that. She says she wants to restore civility to the House, but she defended her references to Bush as criminal, dishonest, incompetent, etc. as mere truth. Somebody needs to write "Hell To Pay II."
There's been a kerfuffle in the U.K. over Muslim women covering their heads and faces in the niqab, or veil. It started when Jack Straw commented that he felt that the niqab was a symptom of subservience of women in Muslim societies. A female schoolteacher was suspended for refusing to uncover her face because she was teaching English as a second language and the children needed to see her mouth. She argued that they could learn all they needed from her eyes, intonations and body language.
(Via Michelle Malkin) Byron Calame, Public Editor at the NYTimes:
My July 2 column strongly supported The Times’s decision to publish its June 23 article on a once-secret banking-data surveillance program. After pondering for several months, I have decided I was off base. There were reasons to publish the controversial article, but they were slightly outweighed by two factors to which I gave too little emphasis. While it’s a close call now, as it was then, I don’t think the article should have been published.. . .Wouldn't it be nice if the Times had made these determinations BEFORE PUBLISHING INFORMATION ABOUT A SECRET COUNTERTERRORIST PROGRAM? Since when is it a newspaper's prerogative to determine the legality or illegality of such a program? I'm pretty confident that they had no information either that private citizens not involved in terrorism were wiretapped by the NSA under authorization by the President. It's as though they were more worried about the terrorists' right of privacy than about the safety of their fellow citizens. When the President decides to classify or declassify information, he's accountable for his actions. When a newspaper decides to publish classified information, who's accountable?
I haven’t found any evidence in the intervening months that the surveillance program was illegal under United States laws. Although data-protection authorities in Europe have complained that the formerly secret program violated their rules on privacy, there have been no Times reports of legal action being taken. [Emphasis mine]