Memorial Day - 2007
Labels: The Real World
"Every gross brained idiot is suffered to come into print." ~ Thomas Nash (1592)
"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."
"Impossible to transcend."
Albert A. Gore, Jr.:"An incontinent brute."
Rev. Jeremiah Wright:"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."
Friends of GF's Sons:"Is that really your dad?"
Kickball Girl:"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."
Hired Hand:"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."
Labels: The Real World
Having watched the second Republican debate the other night, it's clear to me the subject today is Fred Thompson, the man who wasn't there. While the other candidates bang away earnestly in a frozen format, Thompson continues to sneak up from the creek and steal their underwear--boxers, briefs and temple garments.
He is running a great campaign. It's just not a declared campaign. It's a guerrilla campaign whose informality is meant to obscure his intent. It has been going on for months and is aimed at the major pleasure zones of the Republican brain. In a series of pointed columns, commentaries and podcasts, Mr. Thompson has been talking about things conservatives actually talk about.
Is he anything beyond a standard Republican conservative? Will he have anything beyond a Mideast policy that consists of win in Iraq, support the surge, and oppose any timetable? Does he stand for any strategic thinking apart from what John McCain unconsciously but aptly characterized as "Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb Iran"? On domestic issues, can Mr. Thompson go beyond standard conservative thought? I happen to be standard conservative myself, but sometimes old things need to be made new, the obvious needs to be made fresh.
Labels: Popular Culture
That's part of the history of the [Mormon] church's past that I understand is troubling to people. I have a great-great grandfather. They were trying to build a generation out there in the desert and so he took additional wives as he was told to do. And I must admit, I can't image anything more awful than polygamy.The governor obviously suffers an imagination deficiency. There may be medication for that. Or he could glance at the front page of tomorrow's paper.
The New York Times today named its next public editor, Clark Hoyt, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor who oversaw the Knight Ridder newspaper chain’s coverage that questioned the Bush administration’s case for the Iraq war.Yes, well: Certainly we can all agree that the primary problem with reporting in the New York Times can be traced to excessive "coziness" with Bush Administration officials. Fix that, and there's no telling where it might lead. And clearly the hiring of a person whose most important qualification is early infection with Bush Derangement Syndrome won't do anything to contribute to "a toxic partisan atmosphere." Nosiree.
Mr. Hoyt said that he could not predict what subjects he might focus on. “They are likely to be driven by what readers care about and complain about,” he said.
But over the last year, he has spoken publicly about his concerns about the future of the newspaper industry, arguing that weakening finances, a toxic partisan atmosphere and coziness with government officials threaten to undermine journalistic courage and integrity.
The 1,363rd most visited Web site in the world tried to diss the president of the United States as not being among the world’s 100 most influential people.
The AP reported that No. 1363 thinks that the lives of the people of Afghanistan are more influenced by an heiress who starred in Blue Movies (OK, peagreen) than they are by the president of the United States.
No. 1363 also asserted that an actress in an American sitcom about an American TV show that is not shown outside the United States is more influential than the leader of the world.
No. 1363 also said a woman best known for her feud with a billionaire landlord who has bad hair is more influential on the lives of Africans than the man who had Congress appropriate more money to fight AIDS on that continent.
Apparently, this is No. 1363’s entire world:
Hollywood — Starting this fall, viewers can see what Jack Bauer was like as a child as Fox will spin off “24″ into a Saturday morning cartoon. “We’ll see a little Jack Bauer as a member of the Cub Scouts, torturing Arab kids at camp who look suspicious,” says “24″ creator Joel Surnow.Of course, if you're a complete idiot, you might not realize this is a joke.
Just like the primetime series, the cartoon, “24: Little Jack,” will depict a 24-hour period in the life of young Jack Bauer.
“Just because we’ll show Jack as a little kid, doesn’t mean he’s going to stop kicking the ass of all those Arabs he runs into,” says Surnow. “We’re getting our message across to adults that it takes a lot of torture to get the truth from these terrorists, and we believe that children need to see that as well because they’re growing up in an extremely dangerous world.”
(2007-05-03) — A librarian at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where 2008 Republican White House hopefuls will meet for their first debate Thursday night, said today that the famous Reagan mantle is “for reference use only, and will not be loaned out to any of the current crop of candidates.”
The Gipper’s mantle and its companion legacy have not been seen in public since the former conservative standard-bearer wrote a letter announcing to his fellow Americans in November 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“The Reagan mantle and the legacy are not items that anyone can just casually pick up and carry around,” said the unnamed librarian, “although it was President Reagan’s intention that they be kept in circulation, so far no one able to bear them has appeared.”
As for the 10 Republican presidential candidates, the librarian said, “They may come. They may look and talk, but they can’t touch this.”
In a couple of hundred years historians will be comparing the frenzies over our supposed human contribution to global warming to the tumults at the latter end of the tenth century as the Christian millennium approached. Then as now, the doomsters identified human sinfulness as the propulsive factor in the planet's rapid downward slide. Then as now, a buoyant market throve on fear. The Roman Catholic Church sold indulgences like checks. The sinners established a line of credit against bad behavior and could go on sinning. Today a world market in "carbon credits" is in formation. Those whose "carbon footprint" is small can sell their surplus carbon credits to others less virtuous than themselves.But no! It is no less an established Apostle of the Unreformed Church of Secular Orthodoxy than Alexander Cockburn, in the May 17 issue of The Nation.
The modern trade is as fantastical as the medieval one. There is still zero empirical evidence that anthropogenic production of carbon dioxide is making any measurable contribution to the world's present warming trend. The greenhouse fearmongers rely on unverified, crudely oversimplified models to finger mankind's sinful contribution--and carbon trafficking, just like the old indulgences, is powered by guilt, credulity, cynicism and greed.
Labels: Global Warming
Labels: Hopeful Signs
Bob Woodward's 2002 effort, "Bush at War," was, in many of its aspects, almost dictated by George Tenet. How do we know this? Well, Tenet is described on the opening page as "a hefty, outgoing son of Greek immigrants," which means that he talked to Woodward on background.In an administration not widely praised for competence or professionalism, Hitchens thinks Tenet stands out as particularly dim and ineffective:
The author is almost the only man who could have known of Zacarias Moussaoui and his co-conspirators—the very man who positively knew they were among us, in flight schools, and then decided to leave them alone. In his latest effusion, he writes: "I do know one thing in my gut. Al-Qaeda is here and waiting." Well, we all know that much by now. But Tenet is one of the few who knew it then, and not just in his "gut" but in his small brain, and who left us all under open skies. His ridiculous agency, supposedly committed to "HUMINT" under his leadership, could not even do what John Walker Lindh had done—namely, infiltrate the Taliban and the Bin Laden circle. It's for this reason that the CIA now has to rely on torturing the few suspects it can catch, a policy, incidentally, that Tenet's book warmly defends.After reciting the litany of Tenet testimony respecting Iraq / al-Qaida connections, Iraqi chemical weapons and nuclear ambitions, Hitchens wonders why Tenet picks out the "slam dunk" remark, and concludes:
A highly irritating expression in Washington has it that "hindsight is always 20-20." Would that it were so. History is not a matter of hindsight and is not, in fact, always written by the victors. In this case, a bogus history is being offered by a real loser whose hindsight is cockeyed and who had no foresight at all.
Labels: Not the New York Times