Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Liberty has put my review of Ann Coulter's Slander on the web:

In her zeal to display the flaws of Al Gore, Coulter ridicules his performance in the 2000 debates.

"In the first debate, he was his natural self -- little Miss-Know-It-All . . . In the second debate he overcompensated and became Norman Bates in the last scene of Psycho . . . Naturally, therefore, the entire nation was on tenterhooks waiting to see what new weirdness Gore would unleash in the third debate. . . Even the audience was laughing at Gore for his ridiculous pomposity. Bush was in on the joke, laughing and winking at audience members as Gore grew increasingly insufferable. "

All of which accords, roughly at least, with my memory of the debates, but begs a question that doesn't occur to Coulter: if Al Gore was such a complete laughingstock -- a universally mocked buffoon -- how did he manage to win the popular vote in the 2000 election? Without the timely intercession of Ralph Nader, Al Gore would have won a solid victory. The debates gave voters an unfiltered opportunity to view the candidates. One would assume from Coulter's analysis that Gore would have received only the votes of New York Times editors and of Barbara Streisand's sewing circle, instead of finishing ahead of her champion.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Time to Go

Michael Kinsley takes apart the arguments of Dick Cheney:

We are now very close to that point of general agreement in the Iraq war. Do you believe that if Bush,Cheney, and company could turn back the clock, they would do this again? And now, thanks to Rep. John Murtha, it is permissible to say, or at least to ask, "Why not just get out now? Or at least soon, on a fixed schedule?" There are arguments against this--some good, some bad--but the worst is the one delivered by Cheney and others with their most withering scorn. It is the argument that it is wrong to tell American soldiers risking their lives in a foreign desert that they are fighting for a mistake.

One strength of this argument is that it doesn't require defending the war itself. The logic applies equally whether the war is justified or not. Another strength is that the argument is true, in a way: It is a terrible thing to tell someone he or she is risking death in a mistaken cause. But it is more terrible actually to die in that mistaken cause.

On a related matter, Glenn Reynolds is flogging the notion that the Iraq War is a "reverse Vietnam" in the sense that we are getting more positive reports from troops on the ground than we are from the media. Ironically he buttresses his argument with a link to a Christian Science Monitor article. The Monitor report has lots of heartwarming stories involving cute little girls and kindly old gentlemen in Iraq. What the positive reports from the troops fail to do is counter the notion that Iraq is a country coming apart at the seams due to terrorism, and religious and ethnic strife; or that the US occupation is pouring fuel on the fire instead of putting it out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Good Word For Hate

"After the lunch conference I run into my cousin Nell Lovell on the steps of the Library -- where I go occasionally to read liberal and conservative periodicals. Whenever I feel bad, I go to the library to read controversial periodicals. Though I do not know whether I am a liberal or a conservative, I am nevertheless enlivened by the hatred which one bears the other. In fact, this hatred strikes me as one of the few signs of life remaining in the world. This is another thing about the world which is upsidedown: all the friendly and likable people seem dead to me; only the haters seem alive."
-- Binx Bolling, The Moviegoer

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cretinous Republic

In case anybody has any questions, the Free Republic is still populated by cretinous half-wits, including several who think that Congressman John Murtha is in the Senate, or "Seante."

To: Gargantua

There's old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots. The Seante needs to be outsourced.

3 posted on 11/20/2005 4:10:35 AM PST by Paladin2 (If the political indictment's from Fitz, the jury always acquits.) . . .

. . . I do appreciate Murtha's service to his country, but that gives no one the right to speak against our Commander and Chief.
6 posted on 11/20/2005 4:26:00 AM PST by parthian shot . . .

To: Gargantua

Divide and conquer , The only weapon the commies have found that works for them . The radical left and the aclu are driving the wedge , Murtha is just another one of the pawns , it has nothing to do with losing his nerve . His children and grandchildren would look good in berkas , just ask him .

34 posted on 11/20/2005 6:11:58 AM PST by lionheart 247365 (( I.S.L.A.M. stands for - Islams Spiritual Leaders Advocate Murder .. .. .. )) . . .

And so forth.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Caviar Consumption Through The Roof!

Supply Side High Priest, Larry Kudlow sees a positive economic trend in the continued support of the yacht industry by the rich. No need to worry about those problems at GM and Delphi when Biff just bought a new Bertram. I eagerly await Kudlow's report on the growth in caviar sales.

In the same column, Kudlow predicts a rise in G.W. Bush's stock, in part because "after another successful election in Iraq next month, at least 35,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn in 2006." Right. The Next Election is always the one that will make all the difference.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Jonah "lying is groovy" Goldberg sees one line of defense crumbling, so he is laying the ground to retreat. "What if Bush did lie, big time? What, exactly, would that mean? If you listen to Bush's critics, serious and moonbat alike, the answer is obvious: He'd be a criminal warmonger, a failed president and -- most certainly -- impeachment fodder."

He is planning this retreat presumably because the argument that the Democrats bought into the lie as well doesn't have sufficient resonance. I predict that the next line of defense will be "I hardly even knew that Bush guy."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Andrew Leigh on the forthcoming "Pajamas Media" in NRO: "More than that, however, Johnson and Simon consider the entire blogosphere their fact-checkers. This is a sacred tenet among many bloggers. If a blogger makes a mistake, readers will call him on it right away, either via comment or email. And the blogger is honor-bound to correct it immediately and clearly."

My response: Baloney!

Top Ten List

I added my top ten film list here. The Godfather made the top spot. You will have to click to see the other 19 since I cheated and added ten more after my top ten. Even after that, I still thought of other movies that I might have added.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Success Magazine

Scott McConnell in the latest issue of the American Conservative, suggests that the Weekly Standard is the most successful political magazine ever because of its role in getting the country into a war in Iraq. The article put the question in my head of the equivalent of success for the American Conservative when it is ten years old.

Perhaps it would be Republican nominee Jimmy Duncan crossing party lines to select New York Senator, Bill Kauffman as his running mate in 2012 . . .

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Jonathan Chait explores(registration) the pitfalls of being a political switcher. The best part is about Christopher Hitchens:
Anticipating these shifts in the zeitgeist is not so easy. After 9/11, writer Christopher Hitchens, the left-wing demagogue turned right-wing demagogue, transferred his allegiance to the GOP. In those heady days of moral clarity, Hitchens' old allies were on the defensive, and Bush allies were riding high. He seemed to be having a grand time excoriating Islamo-fascists and waxing eloquent about the plight of the Kurds.

Yet, in retrospect, Hitchens made the mistake of buying into the GOP not when it was at low tide, as the neoconservatives had done, but at the peak of its popularity. Things have not gone so well recently, and now he's stuck with less romantic assignments: defending the innocence of Karl Rove, insisting the invasion of Iraq was not really bungled beyond repair and gamely pointing out that we're torturing far fewer people than Saddam Hussein ever did. Hitchens seems to be having less fun these days. On the plus side, at least he still has a job.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Stephen Green, the "Winecooler Pundit" suggests googlenewsing the words "Radioactive+Iraq" to see how big a threat Saddam was, but the first story to come up is about American soldiers getting sick from depleted uranium shells. Ours:

Wearing buttons that say "no depleted uranium weapons," veterans and their supporters gathered in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs Thursday to say not enough is being done to treat soldiers who have depleted uranium, or DU, in their bodies.

"It just feels like my bones are hurting all the time," said Iraq War veteran Herbert Reed. "I am constantly fatigued. I still have the blood in my urine and my stool."

DU is a slightly radioactive heavy metal left over in the process of creating nuclear fuel. The military uses it in missiles and tanks to make them stronger. But when it's hit or explodes, soldiers can get wounded by radioactive shrapnel or breathe in radioactive particles.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ten Good Movies

In the spirit of this collection of ten best film lists that I was inexplicably not invited to contribute to; here is a list of films. They are not neccessarily my choices for the ten best or even my ten favorites. Just ten good movies. They are presented in reverse chronological order:
  1. Hell's Angels (Howard Hughes, 1930) has a conventional, but well done story line about two brothers -- one courageous and honorable, the other not so much -- who join the RAF to fight in the Great War. What sets the film apart are the stunning visual effects. There are no strings on the airplanes in this movie. Everything looks real. Jean Harlow utters a line so famous that few even know that it came rom a movie. "Would you be shocked if I slipped into something more comfortable.
  2. Dinner at Eight (George Cukor, 1933) features a great ensemble cast including John & Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler and Harlow. Invited guests to a fancy dinner party are variously going broke, dying (and worse), cheating on their spouses and involved in crooked business deals.
  3. Libeled Lady(Jack Conway, 1936). This may be the best film to star William Powell and Myrna Loy. Powell plays a caddish newspaperman sent out to capture Loy in a comprimising position and deflate her lawsuit against his newspaper. A good film is made great by the electricity between the two stars.
  4. The Women(George Cukor, 1939) depicts the fairer sex as scheming, conniving, backbiting, catty and vicious. In other words, it tells the truth. Just kidding.
  5. I Love You Again (W.S. Van Dyke, 1940). This is another great Powell/Loy vehicle. The totally plausible storyline is that Powell is a wise-cracking, hard drinking con man who becomes a nerd after a blow to his head gives him amnesia. Another blow causes him to snap out of it and he hatches a scheme to back to the hick town where he has lived as a nerd and bleed it dry. His plans change when he falls for the nerd's wife, played by Loy, who was planning to divorce the nerd, but falls for the con man. It is very confusing to describe, but makes perfect sense on film.
  6. To Have and Have Not(Howard Hawks, 1944) has a plot similar to Casablanca. My theory is that Bogie let Ingrid Bergman go at the end of Casablanca is that he knew that Lauren Bacall would be coming along in a couple of years. Smart Move.
  7. Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962) isn't particularly faithful to the novel of the same name, but it is still a great film. The acting by all of the main characters is great. Shelley Winters gives one of the all time great performances as "the Haze woman . . . the fat cow. . . the obnoxious mama . . ."
  8. The Godfather, Part III(Francis Ford Coppola, 1990). This one gets a bad rap, but Andy Garcia is great and I love the weaseley and corrupt archbishop. The best visual image from the Godfather Trilogy might just be the sight of his body falling down the center of a spiral staircase in the Vatican after Al Neri whacks him.
  9. Donnie Brasco (Mike Newell, 1997). Al Pacino was great as Michael Coreleone but he shines as a wiseguy with self esteem issues in this picture. It is hard to believe that the Johnny Depp in this film is the same as the one from Edward Scissorhands or Pirates of the Carribean, but he is.
  10. Lost In Translation (Sophia Coppola, 2003). Great pairing of Bill Murray as a perpetually exhausted actor in Tokyo to film a commercial and Scarlett Johansson as the neglected wife of a chinless, whiny photographer.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hail, Hail Fredonia!

Jesse Walker grievously insults the fictional character, Rufus T. Firefly by comparing his sober and mature war leadership to the clowns currently occupying the Whitehouse. For those out of the loop; Firefly -- played by Groucho Marx in Duck Soup -- was the president of Fredonia who invaded neighboring Sylvania when that country's ambassador refered to Firefly as an "upstart." Not only did he have a sounder basis for taking the country to war, but he found a better defense minister than Rumsfeld by hiring a peanut vendor outside of his window.

You decide who makes the best leader:
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Friday, November 04, 2005

Special Counsel

I saw this column by Cal Thomas in today's Knoxville News Sentinel (their version not on the web). He makes a novel argument against Patrick Fitzgerald:

Now comes a different independent counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald. In the run-up to Friday's announcement of a five-count indictment against Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, for obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements, we get from the big media that Fitzgerald is an apolitical straight-shooter who is the definition of integrity. Translation: Everything he alleges about Libby must be true.
Since the Independent Counsel Law was birthed in 1978 in response to the Watergate scandal, there have been scores of investigations, but few convictions of those indicted. It has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Most of those indicted were either acquitted, won appeals judgments, plea-bargained to lesser charges, or were pardoned by the presidents they served . . .

Enough Democrats and Republicans have been forced to run this gauntlet that perhaps a truly bipartisan solution can be found to end it. That Libby's indictments are not about policy, but about who remembers what and when, ought to be the final straw in this ridiculous process.

Perhaps Thomas has been in a coma for several years -- that would explain alot -- but the Independent counsel law actually expired in 1999. He also is in error in claiming that Ken Starr was appointed by Janet Reno. Such counsels were appointed by a panel of judges. On the other hand, Patrick Fitzgerald is a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department.

Cal Thomas gets one thing right -- it is all a matter of who's ox is being gored. "During the Clinton presidency, Democrat partisans James Carville and Paul Begala slandered Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr as a sex maniac with a political agenda . . ." I'm sure that anyone willing to do the tedious research will discover that Thomas and others on the right denounced the investigations of the Reagan administration while they generally cheered those of the Clintons; and that the Democrats did the reverse.

Effective Servants

Glenn Reynolds linked to an editorial from Investor's Business Daily that listed Tom Delay as one of the Republicans "who are guilty of nothing more than being loyal and effective servants of their party and president" I wonder if this general in the Army of Davids will link to an article in Friday's New York Times detailing some of DeLay's methods of being an "effective servant:"

Representative Tom DeLay asked the lobbyist Jack Abramoff to raise money for him through a private charity controlled by Mr. Abramoff, an unusual request that led the lobbyist to try to gather at least $150,000 from his Indian tribe clients and their gambling operations, according to newly disclosed e-mail from the lobbyist's files.

The electronic messages from 2002, which refer to "Tom" and "Tom's requests," appear to be the clearest evidence to date of an effort by Mr. DeLay, a Texas Republican, to pressure Mr. Abramoff and his lobbying partners to raise money for him. The e-mail messages do not specify why Mr. DeLay wanted the money, how it was to be used or why he would want money raised through the auspices of a private charity.

"Did you get the message from the guys that Tom wants us to raise some bucks from Capital Athletic Foundation?" Mr. Abramoff asked a colleague in a message on June 6, 2002, referring to the charity. "I have six clients in for $25K. I recommend we hit everyone who cares about Tom's requests. I have another few to hit still."