Saturday, June 26, 2004

Bovine University

Finding edible vegetarian cuisine in Disney-like Columbia, MD is difficult, especially if you're sick of eating the same veggie burgers at the same tired chain restaurants all of the time. Looking back on it, my fiancée and I probably would have been wise to follow Troy McClure's advice to little Jimmy.

JIMMY: Uhh, Mr. McClure? I have a crazy friend who says it's wrong to eat meat. Is he crazy?

TROY: Nooo, just ignorant. You see your crazy friend never heard of "The Food Chain". [Flash to a picture of "Food Chain", with all animals and arrows pointing to a silhouette of a human.] Just ask this scientician.

SCIENTICIAN: [Looking up from a microscope.] Uhhh...

However, earlier tonight we enjoyed pretty good nachos and moderately priced beer at this place.

That's all...


Neocon VS. Decepticon

Fall on your knees; hear the angels’ voices... The time is here again.

The following is a (mostly) weekly feature which pits the leaders of Washington's "new conservative" movement against Cybertron's most feared villains. Remember: Your vote matters!


Name: John Ashcroft

Title: Attorney General of The United States

Commands A Small Army Of Ill-Tempered, Transforming Cassette Tapes: Unknown

Defining Moment: On the day John Ashcroft was sworn in to the Senate in January 1995, he met with his ailing father and some friends in a home near the Capitol. After hymn singing and words of heartfelt advice, the Rev. J. Robert Ashcroft, a titan in the Pentecostal Assemblies of God denomination, knelt beside his son and anointed his forehead. He used some Crisco cooking oil from the kitchen.

Famous Quote: "Weapons of mass destruction, including evil chemistry and evil biology, are all matters of great concern, not only to the United States, but also to the world community”


Name: Soundwave

Title: Decepticon Lieutenant

Commands A Small Army Of Ill-Tempered, Transforming Cassette Tapes: Yes

Defining Moment: In the aftermath of fierce fighting at Autobot city, Soundwave and his cassettes were among the few Decepticons who remained loyal to Megatron.

Famous Quote: “Soundwave superior, Constructicons inferior.”

And here are your previous installments of Neocon VS. Decpeticon:
Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Douglas Feith
Elliot Abrams
David Frum


Friday, June 25, 2004

And Jesus? He Wants To Go To Venus

On yesterday's O'Franken Factor, Ron Reagan Jr. raised a good point. Does President Bush believe that the thousands of innocent civilians killed in Iraq are in heaven?

Bush once said that only people who accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior could enter heaven, retracting the statement after a 1998 visit to Israel. “I believe that God decides who goes to heaven,” he said. ”Not George W. Bush.”

"I believe that God decides who goes to heaven," is an artful way of avoiding this issue, yet still indirectly stating the obvious - Bush believes God believes only those who have accepted Christ as their personal savior can enter heaven.

I remember one phone call prior to a meeting with evangelical Christians, in which I warned him about the trick question. James Kennedy would often ask candidates a trick question. He would say, "If you were to die and go to heaven and to appear before St. Peter, or Jesus or whoever, and they were to say, 'Why should I let you in,' what would you say?"


In 1998 or 1999 -- maybe it was even earlier than that, before his re-election as governor, but I think it might've been 1997, before his re-election as governor -- George W. Bush was going to meet with some evangelical leaders. I called him to warn him of this surprise question that they occasionally pop. I repeated the question, which is, "If you were to die and suddenly appear before the pearly gates, and Peter said, 'Why should I let you in?' what would your answer be?"

He cut me off. He interrupted me before I even finished the question, and said, "I know, I know, I know. Because of the blood of Jesus Christ and because of his death for my sins," which is the argument evangelicals make -- that no one can be good enough to go to heaven, that the death of Christ is a sacrifice for our sins and you accept it in faith.


Evangelicals view Bush as one of them, on a very personal level. They just feel like he understands their personal experience. He's had it. He's been on the same journey that they have. And there's a tremendous bond between evangelical voters, many of them, and Bush, for that reason.

Many, if not most, of the innocent civilians killed in Iraq had, presumably, not accepted Christ as their personal savior. Where does President Bush believe their souls have gone?


Movies For Guys Who Like Movies (About How This Administration Is A Godless Whore)

Fahrenheit 9/11 has been garnering lots of praise, including in today's Washington Post. Just for chuckles, let's look at how Post critics Ann Hornaday and Desson Thomson, both of whom gave the film favorable reviews, have a vastly different take on the same scene.

First up, Hornaday:

Most egregious is his treatment of Lila Lipscomb, a Flint mother of a dead soldier who tearfully reads his last letter home. Not content with that display, Moore follows her to the White House, where she breaks down in a fit of tears in a scene that is exploitative and gratuitous. Still, such overkill shouldn't obscure her central question: "For what?"

And on the other side of the fence, Thomson:

Perhaps most persuasive of all is the dramatic turnaround experienced by Lila Lipscomb, a Michigan mother. She changes from patriotic support for the Bush administration to heartbroken despair after she loses a son to the war. In one of the film's most affecting moments, Lipscomb finds herself facing an Iraqi woman who sits before cardboard placards protesting the war on Lafayette Square, right in front of the White House. Two people on opposing sides, suddenly find themselves experiencing common ground. Moments like this mark "Fahrenheit 9/11" as a potential cultural juggernaut -- a film for these troubling times.

So is the scene exploitative garbage or powerful testimony? USA Today's Claudia Puig sees both sides of the argument.

Among the most powerful moments: interviews with once gung-ho military personnel now uncertain about their Iraqi mission. A segment with a grieving mother whose son was killed in the war could appear calculated. But she is a willing participant in her own exploitation, choosing to share her pain in service of a broader message: the inhumanity of the war. Fahrenheit's graphic war footage may work more on our emotions than our intellect, but that doesn't make the film propaganda.

Film critics, of course, are allowed to disagree, it's just fun to watch.


Thursday, June 24, 2004

With Patience Rivaling That Of A Crack Fiend...

If true, this is awful news:

I was concerned about the reports about the BEGINS trailer being paired with SPIDER-MAN 2, which opens next week. Well, according to a CINESCAPE scooper, it ain't going to happen. According to the site's scooper, the plan for is to now complete the BATMAN trailer and pair it to I, ROBOT (opening July 16).

We needs to see our Batman Begins trailer and we needs to see it now!


The Tehran Two Step

From the Washington Post article, Assertive Iran Sends Uncle Sam a Message:

Iran's release of eight British sailors detained after their patrol boats strayed into Iranian territorial waters is just another chapter in a power struggle between the Islamic Republic and Western powers, according to online observers in both countries.


The Tehran Times portrayed the detention of British troops as an act of self-defense.

The generally conservative Web site in the Iranian capital justified the action by quoting a British parliamentarian, Menzies Campbell.

"One has to remember that they are pretty nervous in Tehran at the moment," Campbell was quoted as saying. "There are large numbers of American forces on their doorstep."

Well, so much for stabilizing the region, but at least things are cooling down in Iraq.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - About 100 people were killed and several hundred wounded in Iraq Thursday when insurgents launched bloody assaults in five cities to disrupt next week's formal handover to Iraqi rule.

Three U.S. soldiers were among those killed in bold assaults on Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and the mainly Sunni Muslim cities of Baquba, Falluja and Ramadi.

Iraq's third-largest city Mosul was the worst hit, with suicide bombings killing 62 people and wounding 220, said a senior coalition military official.

He said the attacks showed signs of loose coordination between various groups intent on destabilizing Iraq and warned of more bloodshed before and after the June 30 handover of power to Iraqis by the U.S.-led administration.

"We would expect to see more activity like this as we get closer and closer to June 30, we don't think this was a one-off, we don't think this was an exception, we think we're going to see more of this," the official reporters.

"There's no reason to expect it will stop after June 30."

I wonder if Richard Perle is still celebrating?


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Big Money, No Whammies

Consider yourselves blessed, dear readers, for this eve, a new things fall apart gimmick befalls you. It is with great pride that we introduce "Box Office Psychic," wherein we attempt to predict the opening weekend earnings for a major motion picture release.

In the crystal ball this week, Fahrenheit 9/11; from apple of the progressive eye and all around fat dope, Michael Moore.

Closing my eyes... concept of time... fading... future becoming... clearer.

Fahrenheit 9/11 weekend box office total gross: $81 million.

You may ask yourself, why are we comfortable making such a bold prediction?

From Reuters:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Director Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" has turned on the box office heat in its first day breaking single-day records at the two New York City cinemas where it played.

The movie, which aims a critical eye at U.S. President George W. Bush and his prosecution of the war in Iraq, sold $49,000 (35,000 pounds) worth of tickets at the Loew's Village 7 cinema, beating the venue's single-day record of $43,435 held by 1997's "Men in Black," according to distributors Lions Gate Films and IFC Films.

At the Lincoln Plaza cinema, "Fahrenheit 9/11" took in more than $30,000 to top the $24,013 set by "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in 2000.


Online ticket service Fandango.com on Wednesday reported that "Fahrenheit 9/11" was making up 48 percent of advance ticket sales for the weekend ahead, compared to 11 percent for "Dodgeball" and 9 percent for next week's "Spider-Man 2."

Fahrenheit 9/11, like The Passion of The Christ, but with less Jesus.


When Nerds Collide II

Let me begin by saying World O'Crap belongs in the category of "Blogs I Really Hate." The things fall apart company policy, of course, is to hate any blog which features such frivolous distractions as "readers." However, World O'Crap gets our blood extra-boiling because, while every blog is smarter than things fall apart, only most are both smarter and funnier, (sure, Matthew Yglesias writes for The American Prospect, but let's see him write this) and World O'Crap is one of them.

Yet, let's put all of that aside, and see what glorious bounty hath been wrought by demon-seed World O'Crap's foray into that conservative Xanadu: Townhall. Could it be possible that two of Townhall's pugnacious scribes will contradict each other so strongly, it becomes difficult to believe that both subscribe to the same political movement? Let's find out.

First, Jonah Goldberg:

Removing Saddam has had unforeseeable bad consequences, as well as some foreseeable ones. But it seems to me that liberals who now think we shouldn't have done it, solely because we didn't do it "just right," are falling prey to their own historic pie-in-the-skyism. There is no "just right" way to do things like this. If there were, we would have toppled Saddam with nerf bats.

Beinart is right that conservatives should do some hard thinking about our experience in Iraq. But no matter how cathartic it may be for liberals to sooth their consciences by saying this isn't the war they signed up for, this is the war we've got. And the shoulda-coulda-wouldas can wait until we win.

In other words, even though most of the pro-war contingent assured America that Iraq would be done "just right," (cakewalk, anyone?) Jonah believes liberals should accept that thus far, things in Iraq have gone kinda-sorta-okay. Plus, liberals should stop complaining about the war because, "this is the war we've got." Which is like saying, "that's the way the cookie crumbles."

This reminds of me of post-game interviews with the team that said it was going to win the Super Bowl, but instead lost in the very first round of the playoffs. "Sure, it sucks to lose in the first round, but you play the cards you're dealt. It was great just to make it to the playoffs, and we still had a great season."

All of which leads us to-

Emily Shaheen, who discusses competitive tournament structure, as it relates to the film Dodgeball.

The Championships have no prizes for second, third, or fourth places. This is very different from the feel-good sports of today, including the Olympics, which give almost everyone a prize. Why should a 16th place finisher receive a ribbon? They have not achieved the goal of being the best.

Liberals espouse this same ideology in society. They want all winners and no losers, but this is not real life.

In conclusion: Jonah wants a medal for finishing in 16th place in Iraq, but Emily says it makes him a liberal.

Looks like the Townhall Fourth of July Gala will be extra-spicy this year; and not just because Ben Shapiro swears that this time, he really will sneak a six-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade into the party, instead of just chickening out in the parking lot, like he did at the Christmas Ball.


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

When Nerds Collide

Harry Knowles, of Ain't It Cool News, reviews Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.


Do I Look Like A Mind Reader, Sir?

From MTV.com:

Following a year in which numerous DJs mixed Jay-Z's vocals with the music of the Beatles, Metallica, Weezer and others, the Brooklyn, New York, rapper tipped his hat back to rock fans by performing at two unlikely concerts over the weekend.

The stranger of the two was Friday night during a set by the jam band Phish in Coney Island in Brooklyn, at the group's supposedly final New York-area show (see "Phish Bid New York Fond Adieu At Farewell Shows"). After the veteran rockers played "Wilson," the second song of their second set, Jay hopped onstage and the group backed him on "99 Problems" and "Big Pimpin'."

Is this for real?


Tell Me Lies

George Bush, 06.17.04:

"This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaeda. We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda."

George Bush, 03.18.03:

[Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate]

March 18, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.





Monday, June 21, 2004

Walking In Memphis

Memphis Bleek catches a lot of flak, some of it well deserved. For one, the closest he'll ever get to the title "dopest emcee" is standing next to him onstage. However, if you're looking for a good summer jam, with a classic "fuck you" verse, this works fine.

Yo, yo, yo, yo-

The only thing Bleek spinning/is them chrome wheels spinning/on them new rims/Home suspended from school again/I'm grown/still ill/ladies love the vehicle/like Bleek, can I feel up on your wood and grill?/It's a hood thing/wood grain/off the chain/She give me good brain/Love the way I push my slang/Callin' ma jack/soon as they hop in my V/They catch a contact/high, smoke all in they weave/Bet'cha man can't do it like this/like this/I bet his wrists ain't bluish like this/ like this/And I'm from Marcy/you catch me on anybody's block/Reppin' the-the Roc/Hoes they all clock like-


Memphis Bleek, from "Hey Papi"

Okay, enough hip-hop for now. Back to politics.


Every Way You Look At It We Lose

From CNN Saturday Morning News.

NGUYEN: There are a lot of warnings out this morning urging Americans to leave. Here's yet another one today issued by the U.S. State Department, which says, and I quote, "U.S. citizens in the Persian Gulf are under attack in that region, and more attacks will continue."

Now, this is a bit of a double-edged sword, because if Americans leave that area, then the terrorists essentially win.

Maybe it's just me, but when Americans stay in the area and are consequently kidnapped and beheaded, don't the terrorists "essentially win" then too?


Neocon VS. Decepticon

Friends, join hands and rejoice, for once again, the time has arrived...

The following is a (mostly) weekly feature which pits the leaders of Washington's "new conservative" movement against Cybertron's most feared villains. Remember: Your vote matters!


Name: David Frum

Title: American Enterprise Institute, Scholar; Weekly Standard, Contributing Writer

Transforms From A Cassette Tape Into A Surly Robot With Pile Drivers For Arms: No

Defining Moment: Bursting with pride after hearing the president utter the phrase coined by her husband, "axis of evil," Frum's wife (Danielle Crittenden) sent this e-mail en masse to family and friends.

Dear all,

I realize this is very "Washington" of me to mention but my husband is responsible for the "Axis of Evil" segment of Tuesday's State of the Union address. It's not often a phrase one writes gains national notice—unless you're in advertising of course ("The Pause that refreshes")—so I'll hope you'll indulge my wifely pride in seeing this one repeated in headlines everywhere!!


The e-mail was later rumored to have cost Frum his job as White House speechwriter.

Famous Quote: "For now, let’s say that while the President’s opponents have made much sport of the idea that God called George Bush to the presidency, it’s becoming increasingy [sic] difficult to doubt that God wants President Bush re-elected."


Name: Rumble

Title: Decepticon Infantry

Transforms From A Cassette Tape Into A Surly Robot With Pile Drivers For Arms: Yes

Defining Moment: In the midst of fierce fighting at Autobot city, Rumble and his fellow cassette tapes destroyed the Autobot communications tower.

Famous Quote: "First we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts inside!"

And here are your previous installments of Neocon VS. Decpeticon:
Paul Wolfowitz VS. Megatron
Richard Perle VS. Starscream
Douglas Feith VS. Devastator
Elliot Abrams VS. Kickback


Sunday, June 20, 2004

Happy Father's Day

Enjoy the holiday, I'll be visiting my Dad. Neocon VS. Decepticon will return tommorow.