March 28, 2003

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Priscilla Owen yesterday. This time, we pretty much know where she stands: somewhere to the right of Scalia. To the barricades.... [link via TalkLeft]
America's favorite xenophobic punditress is back, with an attack on the humanitarianism of Helen Thomas. Let it be said that concern for the human rights policy we follow at G-mo is not the same thing as joining the Republican Guard.

March 26, 2003

Probably not a Natalie Maines fan either: This picture really speaks for itself.
On Matthew Yglesias' site, he's picked up on a thread started elsewhere, which is to identify the point in time that a person first began to notice the events in the outside world. Reading his post, and the comments attached thereto, gave me an unpleasant reminder that I'm starting to get old. Yglesias has one of the best blogs out there, consistently thoughtful and erudite, and yet the first major event he remembers really getting into was Operation Desert Storm. Of course, he's only 21. Other comments generally recited events in the '80's and '90's, with a couple posters mentioning the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis. I was well into high school when the Ayatollah captured our embassy; I even remember arguing with my dad over whether we should support the Shah! And Mr. Yglesias, who basically called me out as a geezer for identifying the assasination of RFK as my turning point, wasn't even born when Ted Kennedy ran for President, was barely a bundle of id when I first started matriculating at Reed College, and claims to have no cognitive memory of world event prior to my second year practicing law. I feel like John Stockton. My life is crap !!
"Michael Kelly" is apparently an embedded pundit these days. Lord, he's funny. Another satirist, Neal Pollack, writes about how his blog has changed the way this war is covered, and the uncanny success of his predictions.

March 25, 2003

QUICKIE TRIVIA: What are Kitana Baker and Tanya Ballinger famous for? Again, the first person to answer gets to accompany me on a night of pub crawling through Santa Monica...

UPDATE: Props to David Johnson, for correctly answering that Kitana Baker and Tonya Ballinger are the stars of a by-now famous Miller Lite ad. (more)
Interesting Wall Street Journal article about soldiers' blogs, giving better than real time coverage of the war. Unfortunately, the article doesn't link to any of them, so we're going to have dig them out ourselves. Embedded journalists can be fascinating to watch, but it can seduce the viewer in the same way a video game might; the women and men who are in harms way 24-7 can instruct us as to what it really means to be in the middle of a war, and right now happen to be a better use of the b-sphere than pseudo-pundits like myself.
UPDATE: Found one. He's a Lileks' fan (sigh). Check it out, anyway. This guy, too.
Matt Welch has a pair of must-link posts (here and here) on two SoCals killed in Iraq, fighting for the country they loved, even if they weren't citizens. And, of course, there's this story, about another brave soldier.
Today, Altercation made this announcement:
Oh, and thanks again to Jeralyn Merritt of the invaluable Talk Left Weblog for recalibrating Altercation’s links to the rest of the blogosphere. Don’t complain to me, complain to her. But if you want to keep your link, I’d plug the hell out of (What Liberal Media)?...I’m just saying… some of those old links are sleeping with the cyberfishes..(emphasis mine)
Hey, pally, that's my site you're talking about. And I plugged
your stupid runaway best-selling book. Repeatedly. I even went to your book signing in LA, and thanked you for putting me in your permalinks. And what do I get? Ingratitude !! Oh yes, and having you tell me that you had never visited my website, and that Jeralyn Merritt was the one, and I quote, "whose ass I should be kissing."

Springsteen sucks. Chipper Jones was right about Mets' fans.

Never mind. Please disregard.
Pardon me if I don't get all weepy about the Academy Award given to Roman Polanski. And if I hear another one of his media shills blame the judge for his having skedadled out of the country to avoid a harsh sentence for raping a thirteen year old girl...I mean, what planet do these people live on? The prosecutor backs away from going after Polanski's hired guns in court and offer him an easy sentence, and the judge doesn't accept that. OK, so the girl in question has now forgiven him; one of the reasons child molestors get sent away for awhile is so they don't do it again a few months later. In the Dwarf's case, he was bonking the teenage Nastassia Kinski (before the Snake Poster and the humiliating performance on Letterman, back when she was still an "actress") as soon as he landed in France.

When the D.A.'s office chickened out on going after Angelo Buono a few years later, the judge hearing the Hillside Strangler case rejected that ploy too, and the State A.G. took over. If Polanski wants to return to the U.S., he should make sure he's carrying his toothbrush at all times. And besides, it was a weak year for films anyway.
A blog that you definitely do not want to miss right now is Daily Kos, published by a veteran of Desert Storm and a liberal. This morning, he puzzles over the significance of the non-destruction of bridges over the Euphrates, and whether the Iraqis have planned something more nefarious for our soldiers once they cross.

March 24, 2003

I have added the following sites to my blogroll, for those who would like to get up-to-the-minute info on the war, and not just the half-informed commentary you get here: The Agonist, Owens War Blog, and Al Jazeera (English). They beat imbedded reporters any day of the week.
FASCISM ALERT: First, it was the book-burners in Deliverance Country that went after Natalie Maines. Now, it's Steve Nash of the Dallas Mavericks who's being told to shut the f*** up and play ball. What these two incidents have in common is that they both involve people who are a part of cultural activities closely associated with conservativism (country music and sports) taking perfectly mainstream positions at odds with that culture. When a country musician calls for the extermination of A-Rabs in response to 9/11, he's viewed as a patriot; when David Robinson demands that all dissenting voices to the war be squelched, he gets a pat on the back from the media. But when Nash and Maines take positions shared by hundreds of millions of people, that the war is wrong, or that Bush is a disgrace to his office, the right wing P.C. crowd freaks out.
Does this picture make me look distinguished?
"We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in a time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons."
For all the reaction that caused, I have yet to hear anyone say that a single word of what Michael Moore said last night was false. Maybe it's politically incorrect to remind people of the fact that Bush lost the popular vote. Certainly, I could have done without the idiotic smirk on his face, and would have preferred a political speech more in keeping with the point of his documentary(ie., gun violence). Ironically, for someone who has become a best-selling writer and documentarian by playing fast and loose with the facts, Michael Moore got booed last night because he told the truth.
Another faux-feminist backs the war, as a crusade to "liberate" Iraqi women. Considering how obsessed this Administration is with shutting down birth control programs for Third World countries, it is amazing to see the myopia of those who believe there will any progressive consequence arising out of our victory in Iraq. It ain't going to happen, just like it didn't happen in Afghanistan, and it won't happen in Saudi Arabia. And just because you make six figures as a web-designer and believe that using the Pill should not be a felony does not make you a "feminist".

March 23, 2003

Some random thoughts on tonight's Academy Awards, from someone who has yet to see any of the nominated movies:
1. Far sadder than any scene he has ever directed was the expression on Martin Scorcese's face when he lost the Oscar to that perverted little dwarf;
2. I had no idea that Jack Palance, Celeste Holm or Olivia de Havilland were still alive: it's like finding out George Sanders was still around;
3. When they had the pageant of past winners, where was Timothy Hutton? Mercedes Ruhle? Anna Paquin? Diane Wiest? You have to figure it's not because they had anything better to do on Oscar night;
4. When did Steve Martin quit being funny? When did Jennifer Connelly stop being thin--she's almost as chubby as Anna Kornikova. Hell, she's almost as chubby as Catherine Zeta-Jones;
5. For all the talk about how the Oscars are dominated by senile, middle-brow voters, it's amazing that they were somehow able to honor Marshall Mathers, and the Grammys weren't;
6. Michael Moore being booed by the crowd was as "shocking" as Vanessa Redgrave receiving the same treatment in 1978, or Peter Davis being heckled in 1976. One of things you have to remember is that this is an "industry" event, and for all the talk about the liberalism of Hollywood, it is a distinctly conservative town when it comes to the bottom line, and even more so when it comes to the Middle East. Michael Moore is not from, or of, Hollywood, so his harsh attack on the President and the morality of this war would never be well-received by an audience consisting largely of studio executives, attorneys, and producers (he later got an ovation from the entertainment press, which has less to do with his populism and more to do with his congeniality over the years with the Fourth Estate; in that respect, he's not unlike the current President).