April 12, 2003

Some random thoughts on the rumor that Affleck and J-Lo are remaking Casablanca:
1. I have a feeling that the whole thing is an urban legend. I have yet to see a reputable source (and that incl. the site I've linked to) report this;
2. If they are interested in remaking the film, won't they have to obtain the rights from someone? I mean, it's not so old a screenplay that it would already be part of the public domain;
3. What studio would be willing to back such a financially (and artistically) risky project?
As famous as they are, there is no evidence that either one can put fannies in a multiplex;
4. Why was there such a visceral reaction to this rumor (incl. my own little whine)? I'm not a film critic, studio exec, or related to either Affleck or Lo, so it's not as if I'm obligated to see any movie they're in. If they make this film, and it sucks, it won't really bother me, since I won't go to see it. For that matter, if the movie rocks, it's unlikely I would see it anyway, since movies really don't interest me that much in my old age.
5. If there is any truth to this rumor, then as surely as day follows night, we'll be seeing a story in the next few days about Gwynnie and Chris Martin wanting to remake A Star Is Born. I mean, that's how the show biz news cycle works, right?
Anyways, before you follow my earlier advice to sign a petition, you might like to turn on your bullshit detector until this gets reported in Variety.
For all my love of college basketball, it rarely avails me anything when it comes to winning a bracket pool. This year I finished toward the back of the pack, and had no team in the Final Four. So this I discovered too late to do me any good this year, but it's still interesting to study: a "game theory" model for picking brackets. It's for people who enjoyed A Beautiful Mind for the math, not for Jennifer Connelly.
Finally, someone has compiled a comprehensive list of the awards handed out by Lord Haw-Haw this year. Ever since it became my life's goal to be nominated for a Begala (the award for the most politically-incorrect-but-truthful statement by a figure on the left), I have been disheartened by the seeming randomness of the award, and the deliberate snobbery of his decisions: the award always seems to go to a professor or columnist, never a lowly blogger.

Now, however, I'm not even sure I want the honor. There has to be some selectivity in choosing your nominees for a Begala, or a Sontag, or even a Von Hoffman, but handing out those awards every week waters down the achievement, making it as trivial as the "Player of the Week" award given by Major League Baseball. Standards are important. I dread the day that when I finally get picked, it will be for a post that I take little pride in.

April 11, 2003

Maybe it was all about Syracuse winning the other night. If this picture was taken right after Saddam's statue fell, then the media conned us big time on Wednesday.
Sign this petition NOW !!! If this movie gets made, where will they stop?

April 10, 2003

Fresh from predicting the defeat of Yankee imperial ambitions in the sands of Iraq, Mohammed Said Sahhaf prognosticates more woes for the Yankees (courtesy of Neal Pollack)
People who doubt the power of blogs should check out LT Smash today, a real-life Marine who gives a first-hand account of the fall of Baghdad and the "death" of Saddam. Then have any patriotic feelings that may have been aroused squashed into dust by the chickenhawk crowings of Mr. Samgrass and Lord Haw-Haw.

April 09, 2003

Senate Democrats have effectively plugged the nomination of Prescilla Owen, the President's wingnut de jour nominee for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, until at least mid-summer. As "Operation: Iraqi Freedom" becomes an 8-day story(although check out Oliver Willis, on why we shouldn't let that happen), with Halliburton execs set to follow the Marines into Baghdad, political reality sets in. Bad economy + divided country + public disinterest in foreign affairs=Replay of 1992.
From Smythe's World, March 19, 2003:
D-Hour has passed, and our country is about to go to war. Here are a dozen things we need to keep in mind:
1. Saddam Hussein is bad, and he has bad intentions;
2. Iraq has not attacked us, and is not presently attacking its neighbors;
3. Iraq has not been shown to be involved with the attack on September 11;
4. For the first time in our history, we are attacking a nation that is not engaged in hostilities with us or its neighbors; in fact, we are not even claiming a pretext that they are, as we did with Mexico and Spain in the nineteenth century;
5. There has been no failure in the inspection regime under Resolution 1441 to require that we go to war this instant;
6. The U.S. withheld evidence from the inspectors that might have made discovery of WMD’s possible, but didn’t provide it so as to not minimize the case for going to war;
7. The difference between the relative strength of the US and Iraqi armies is enormous; we are literally going to be tearing the wings off of a fly;
8. Many thousands of civilians will be killed;
9. Most of what we will hear being reported on American television will be untrue, especially in the first few days of conflict; overseas reporting, even Al Jazeera, will be more accurate;
10. No matter how lopsided the battles will be, each soldier and sailor has family back home, who will be worried no end over the fate of their loved ones, EVERY DAY OF THIS WAR;
11. We will discover the full extent of Hussein’s brutality and tyranny when Baghdad is “liberated”;
12. History will not look kindly at us for our prevarications used to justify going to war, for our manipulation of the tragedy of 9/11 to justify these acts, and for the bloody-minded lust that this Administration has pursued this war.

Lord, I'm brilliant !!!
Looks like Baghdad is finally getting the word that Syracuse won the other night.

April 08, 2003

It's now official: the Lakers own Dallas. Shaq and Kobe score only 14 apiece, and they still beat the Mavs for the 25th straight time in LA. Dallas is now tied with San Antonio for the division lead, while the Lakers are now a game behind Minnesota, and a half-game back of the number two team in the East, Detroit. If they finish with a 5-seed, it's 50-50 they four-peat.
For those who were offended by Senator Kerry last week, here are some more terms for the current Administration that may be more to your liking, courtesy of Max Sawicky. Note: the last one is particularly nasty !!
BTW, today is the first anniversary of Smythe's World. My first-ever post was here. A special thanks to my friends Matt, Carolyn and Chris, for reading me everyday; to James Capozzola, for his kind words and generosity(esp. w/regards to the Blogger ad); to Jeralyn Merritt, who single-handedly doubled my visitors; and to Matt Welch, Oliver Willis, and "Atrios", for being good at what they do, and inspiring me to do better.
This story almost throggles the imagination (as Alexander Haig might put it). I sensed last November that a lot of the criticism of the Wellstone Memorial was actually an effort to denigrate the late Senator, and I think Sen. Coleman's classless remarks about his predecessor are evidence of that.

April 06, 2003

Back when we was still an engaging political commentator, Jeff Greenfield wrote a book called Playing to Win. In it, he gave aspiring politicians tips on how to successfully campaign for office, often in a tongue-in-cheek style. Perhaps the best known tip he gave was something called "political jujitsu": using the force of an opponent's attack against him, for your own advantage.

Last week's controversy over the remarks made by John Kerry for "regime change" in Washington brilliantly illustrate the theory. After a bad week, when the focus was on Kerry's anemic fundraising, and the sudden emergence of Howard Dean as a candidate more in tune with the progressive (ie. "Democratic") wing of the Democratic Party, Kerry was able to turn all that around with a stunning display, turning what had seemed a gaffe into a rousing knockout at the expense of the chickenhawks.

First, he allowed his opponents on the far right to attack his rhetoric, and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Racicot, Tom Delay, and others took the bait. Then, his staff responded, with a not-so-subtle dig at the non-service of Delay, et al., during Vietnam. Reminding voters that he was a decorated war hero, while Limbaugh sat out the war with a boil on his butt, and the rest of the chickenhawks had "other priorities", makes it impossible for any attacks on Kerry to get traction. On the other hand, he invigorates Democrats, and enables them to more easily oppose the Bush war policies. Any candidate who can score points at the expense of Rush Limbaugh or Tom Delay instantly wins credibility in the party base. Not a bad display !!