December 20, 2003

I think the significance of this has nothing to do with Khadafi being threatened by an assertive U.S. presence in the Mid-East as it does his willingness to make it seem like it did. The things he has promised to do are no different than what Saddam was ostensibly promising, and even if he fully "disarms", he will still have WMD "capability", or whatever his shills now call the rationale Bush is using to justify our adventure in Baghdad. The Libyan strongman has been trying to make peace with the west since 1990; his limited cooperation with the international court trying the Lockerbie killers and the intelligence provided on Al Qaeda after September 11 all pre-date the attack on Iraq. If Khadafi a) normalizes relations with Israel; b) personally apologizes for the murders he has backed in the past (the '72 Munich terrorists were financed and given asylum by the Colonel); c) pursues real democratic reforms, and d) informs the Libyan football federation that they no longer have to play his idiot son (see July 26 post), then I'll know something has changed.

December 17, 2003

One of the stories that obsessed the blogosphere for about five minutes but failed to generate any sort of traction in the real world was Cruz Bustamante's (remember him?) involvement with a group called "MeChA" back in the day. It turned out to be a non-issue because a) Bustamante ran such an inept campaign that he quit being relevant, and Ahnolt Ziffel's supporters probably didn't want to make the election about which candidate had stronger ties to fascist groups; b) the argument was promoted initially by white supremacist websites, who proferred a bogus translation of one of the slogans for the group, and made a number of other statements that simply didn't add up; and c) the people for whom the issue was relevant weren't going to vote for a Latino Democrat anyway. It's one of the problems with opposing affirmative action: if you feel that colleges admit too many black and Latino students in the first place, you probably aren't going to have much credibility telling said students what groups they get to join in college.

Anyways, since there probably will be a "next time" with this issue, Crooked Timber has an interview with a couple of actual, real-life members of MeChA that's worth reading.
Madonna endorses Wesley Clark: Some stories just speak for themselves. Next up, the all-important Gwynnie endorsement....

December 15, 2003

I have seen the future of rock and roll, and it's name is "The Corvids"...terrific concert at the Brown Derby in Los Feliz Friday night, marred only by an audio system that should be immediately scrapped; the ambience of the L.A. landmark was right out of The Last Waltz. Playing a style of music that combines Merle Haggard with the Velvet Underground, this is a group that really should be heard by a larger audience. Their CD comes out later in the month, a perfect holiday present you might think about giving yourself. Blessedly, you can listen to the music without seeing Howard Owens exhibit his interpretive dancing skills, honed no doubt at thousands of Dead shows.

As the self-proclaimed "Alterman of the Corvids", I ended up being invited to the after-party, where I got to hang out and gather material for the book I'm writing on the band. Beer, wine and scotch were plentiful, Matt Welch jammed until the wee hours with a singer who was a dead-ringer for Ray Davies, circa 1971, and a pretty middle-aged redhead, in the throes of an Ecstasy n' bourbon rampage, pointed at a moth and began screaming, "it's a bat, it's a bat !!", not desisting until we warned her that we would otherwise send a representative of the CTA to drive her home. Or so I was told; I passed out briefly fell into a somnolescent state of unconsciousness around 3 a.m., thereby marring an evening on which I had been on my best behavior, so I can't confirm Tony Pierce's story.
I feel pissy, oh so pissy...The capture of Saddam yesterday seems to have brought out the more Stalinist tendencies in the right half of the blogosphere. OK, let's go over this (see the posts for June 6 and March 19) one more time: Saddam was a bad man, and he deserves the righteous justice of his people, and it was wrong for George Bush, Tony Blair, et al., to lie about why we needed to attack a country that was not a threat to us. The Baathists practiced genocide, there are mass graves everywhere in Iraq were the innocent are buried, and the French, Germans, and Russians were in the right in refusing to back our oil grab in the United Nations. The immediate blip upward in Bush's approval ratings will dissipate the next time an American soldier is murdered, especially since the insurgents are going to include a fair number of Shiites now that Saddam is no longer a threat. I know what I have written above might be considered thought-crimes, but it's all true. So f*** yourself if you don't like my lack of blind enthusiasm for our maximum leader.

December 14, 2003

The fact that we captured Saddam alive is a testament to the professionalism of our military. While it won't bring hostilities to an end, it has enormous symbolic value; the fact that he can be put on trial will do much to provide a basis for legitimacy to whatever government takes power in Baghdad, much the same way the first Nuremberg trials paved the way for a fresh start to the post-war German Republic.