Saturday, July 17, 2004

Blizzard Of Ozz
From a review of Ozzfest in The New York Times:
"War Pigs," the opener, was the best song of the set and the entire day. To double the force of the music, the giant screens next to the stage showed pictures of President Bush juxtaposed with pictures of Hitler.
It may have been Mr. Osbourne's shrewd answer to the Bush campaign's recent Internet advertisement "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed," which sets film of various Democratic leaders fulminating against films of Hitler fulminating. Another image during the same song showed the president with a red dot superimposed on his nose; the caption read "Bush the Clown." One more showed Mr. Bush's face with a slash across it, reading "Wanted."


False Prophets
Link via Pandagon.
The definition of prophet, as provided by SecondExodus.com:
Prophets communicate from God to the people.
George W. Bush last Friday, speaking to a group of Amish farmers:
“I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.’’
And with that, the prophet Bush moved aside the boulder and returned to heaven, where he is seated at the right hand of the father. 


Friday, July 16, 2004

Blogger Issues
The new Blogger features are pretty cool, but they're screwing with my site and making the archives disappear.
To quote Frank The Tank -- "I like you. You're crazy, but I like you."
Hopefully, I'll have this figured out by morning.


I, Furious
As some of you may know, I've spent most of the past month fiending, like some strung-out heroin addict, for a peak at the
new Batman movie.
A few weeks ago, Cinescape.com reported that the trailer for Batman Begins would be playing before I, Robot.
Last night, I saw
I, Robot.
There was no trailer; when I got home, the
good folks at Cinescape had posted this.

The answer is simple: somewhere, someone at Warner Bros. decided it wasn't the right time just yet to show audiences the BATMAN BEGINS trailer, and so it was yanked from playing on I, ROBOT's scorecard. Instead, we're now told that WB's back-up plan is to have theaters place a trailer for either CATWOMAN or EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING with showings of I, ROBOT.


So there you have it. If you had been one of the many awaiting the opportunity to see what the new Dark Knight looks like on-screen, you'll have to remain patient a little while longer. Nevertheless, it does seem a missed opportunity. Where else could Warners cash in on the combined interest of those eager to check out CATWOMAN? It's not like there's any other major comic book event taking place this month which will have the attention of thousands of comic book fans...

Unless you remember that the San Diego Comic Convention happens next week -- and a BATMAN BEGINS panel just happens to take place one week from today, with one of the film's actors and its screenwriter in attendance. If you're asking if we know something will happen for sure at Comic-Con, we don't...but it sure seems like a pretty good place to show that missing BATMAN trailer, doesn't it?

That's great... The San Diego Comic-Con. It works out perfect for me, here in Columbia, MARYLAND.
Mark my words Warner Bros., you will burn in the hell for this.


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Tin Soldiers And [Rumsfeld's] Coming

From EdCone.com:

Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."

He called the prison scene "a series of massive crimes, criminal activity by the president and the vice president, by this administration anyway…war crimes."

The outrages have cost us the support of moderate Arabs, says Hersh. "They see us as a sexually perverse society."

Hersh describes a Pentagon in crisis. The defense department budget is “in incredible chaos,” he says, with large sums of cash missing, including something like $1 billion that was supposed to be in Iraq.

"The disaffection inside the Pentagon is extremely accute," Hersh says. He tells the story of an officer telling Rumsfeld how bad things are, and Rummy turning to a ranking general yes-man who reassured him that things are just fine. Says Hersh, "The Secretary of Defense is simply incapable of hearing what he doesn’t want to hear."

Why is Seymour Hersh so worried about Iraqi boys being sodomized in US-run prisons? Why doesn't he report on all of the new schools being built in Iraq? Is it because he hates America?


Ur - anium? My - ranium!

From Salon:

Choreographed editorials and Op-Ed pieces on Thursday in the Wall Street Journal and National Review and by conservative columnist Robert Novak signaled the revving up of a Republican campaign to discredit former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his claims that President Bush trumpeted flimsy intelligence in the drive to invade Iraq.


The dispute over the committee report centers on its interpretation of two facts. One is that Wilson told his CIA debriefers that during his Niger trip, he spoke to the country's former prime minister, who told him that members of an Iraqi delegation in the late 1990s expressed interest in expanded commercial contacts with Niger. The former prime minister told Wilson that he interpreted the comment to mean that Iraq was interested in buying uranium, although the word "uranium" was not mentioned in the Iraqis' conversation, he said. The prime minister, fearful of United Nations sanctions that prevented trade with Iraq at the time, dropped the subject, Wilson reported.

But because the ex-minister believed the Iraqis were seeking uranium, the Senate report concluded that whether Iraq sought uranium in Africa remains an open question -- a conclusion Wilson disputes. It further reported that far from debunking the notion that Iraq was seeking uranium for weapons, Wilson's trip to Niger actually bolstered the story, at least in the view of some intelligence analysts, who found the news that the former prime minister believed the Iraqis were trying to buy uranium convincing. But no sale of uranium ever took place, Wilson reported, and that conclusion is not in dispute. Wilson did report that Iraq's neighbor, Iran, had tried to buy 400 tons of uranium from Niger in 1998.

The report also quotes an internal CIA memo written by Wilson's wife, Plame, stating: "my husband has good relations with both the PM (prime minister) and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." Based on Plame's internal memo and other evidence, three Republicans -- Roberts and Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Kit Bond of Missouri -- wrote additional views appended to the report, concluding that "the plan to send the former ambassador to Niger was suggested" by Plame. The three GOP senators criticized their Democratic counterparts on the panel for refusing to endorse this conclusion.

In his letter to the committee, Wilson disputed the Republican senators' characterization. "There is no suggestion or recommendation in that statement that I be sent on the trip," he wrote. A CIA spokeswoman declined to comment. In an interview, Wilson said that his wife was stating facts about his background, not pushing that he go to Niger.

The Washington Post story, meanwhile, took the disputed Senate report conclusions even further. It stated in its lead that Wilson was "specifically recommended for the mission by his wife ... contrary to what he has said publicly." In the interview, Wilson argued that the Post story failed to make clear that only the intelligence panel's Republicans, and not its Democrats, came to that conclusion. He said he has written a letter of protest to the Post.

The Post article also contained one acknowledged error: In trying to build a case that Wilson's Niger trip had actually bolstered the administration's claims, Schmidt wrote that Wilson had told the CIA that Iraq had tried to buy 400 tons of uranium from Niger in 1998. In fact, it was Iran that Wilson said had tried to make the purchase, as the Senate report states. The Post ran a correction.

In other words, the Post's Susan Schmidt printed what amounts to a very biased, partisan reading of the report, probably provided to her by a Republican staffer. Hmmm, where did we hear that, oh, five days ago when the story broke?

I'll dispense with the literary prologue and get right to the point.

Susan Schmidt is known, happily among DC Republicans and not so happily among DC Democrats, as what you might call the "Mikey" (a la Life Cereal fame) of the DC press corps, especially when the cereal is coming from Republican staffers.


Finally, down toward the end of Schmidt's article she writes that: "According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998."

I read the report's discussion of the whole Niger business. And I didn't see that reference. However, on page 44 there is a reference to Wilson reporting to the CIA that "an Iranian delegation was interested in purchasing 400 tons of yellowcake from Niger in 1998 [but that] no contract was ever signed with Iran." (emphasis added).

Perhaps I missed the reference that Schmidt is noting. But it seems awfully similar to the one the report notes about Iran -- same date, same tonnage. Presumably in this case, Schmidt innocently confused the two neighboring and similar-sounding countries, though it's a goof you'd think an editor would have caught.

Go read, or re-read, Josh's original post. As usual, it turns out he was mostly right.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

My Head Won't Leave My Head Alone

The things fall apart Washington Bureau took the night off and headed (literally) across the street to check out the Dave Matthews Band. I feel the band has really gone downhill since the Everyday album; however, when proximity permits tailgating to occur in your own home, the opportunity can not be missed.

Wednesday July 14 2004
Merriweather Post Pavilion

Grey Street
When The World Ends
New Song #3
Rhyme & Reason
Hmm ? [New]
The Stone
New Song #4
One Sweet World
Don’t Drink the Water
New Song #1
I Did It
Where Are You Going
New Song #2
Lie In Our Graves
Too Much


What Would You Say

The Highlights -- Rhyme & Reason, The Stone, Don't Drink The Water and Lie In Our Graves

The Lowlights -- I Did It, followed by Where Are You Going, New Song #1, New Song #2

Overall, the show wasn't particularly bad or good, but it reminds me of almost every other Dave Matthews concert I've ever attended, save for the pair of shows that first got me interested in the band back in 1998.

Go see Kanye West/Usher instead.


Mr. Anderson

At things fall apart, we tend to be pretty hard on CNN. So, in the interest of fairness, it should be noted that Anderson Cooper displayed something resembling real journalism on today's American Morning. Soledad O'Brien should take notes.

COOPER: Well, I've heard you say this before and you criticized them as being not ideologically balanced. I mean are President Bush and Vice President Cheney ideologically balanced?

DOLE: Well, I thought that perhaps John Kerry, in trying to win, would provide some balance, because he is known as a very liberal Massachusetts senator. He's voted 350 times during his Senate career to raise taxes. He's also...

COOPER: Well, actually, let me stop you there. I mean he takes issue with that, I mean, as you well know, that 350 times includes procedural votes. It also includes times that he simply voted not to lower taxes based on some Republican idea. So that 350 figure is sort of a little questionable.

DOLE: Well, I think the record is very clear, though, where he stands in terms of raising taxes and also promising already in the campaign $658 billion in taxes. It's a different philosophy. President Bush and Vice President Cheney have, through the Jobs and Growth Plan, with tax relief, this has enabled our economy to really move forward.

COOPER: But you wouldn't say that they are ideologically balanced, would you?

DOLE: Well, I'm not saying that a ticket has to be ideologically balanced. I was just saying that I expected that Kerry might try to do something like that...

COOPER: Right.

DOLE: ... because he is so very liberal.

COOPER: I see.


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Pocket Full Of Kryptonite

Great news:

Superman may be vulnerable to kryptonite but for the director, McG, the anathema is Sydney. The man Warner Bros pegged to revive its Superman franchise has left the project because he wanted to shoot in New York, not Fox Studios.

Thank God. McG has brought us such classics as Charlie's Angels, and what may be the greatest piece of film making in American cinematic history, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

While the man being rumored to replace him, Michael Bay, has been involved in some less than stellar productions, (the contest between Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis, to see who can sound tougher while reciting the lion's share of their dialogue in a near-whisper, comes to mind) at least Mr. Bay has made a few watchable films.


Speak Poorly And Act Like A Big Dick

Wikpedia, on Teddy Roosevelt:

Whenever he managed to spend time in North Dakota, Roosevelt became more and more alarmed by the damage that was being done to the land and its wildlife. He witnessed the virtual destruction of some big game species, such as bison and bighorn sheep. Overgrazing destroyed the grasslands and with them the habitats for small mammals and songbirds. Conservation increasingly became one of his major concerns. "We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune."

CBS Market Watch, on the Bush administration:

NEW YORK (CBS.MW) -- Seeking to break an impasse created by contradicting federal court rulings, the U.S. Agriculture Department will let individual states decide whether roads can be cut into national forests in 12 Western states

The move tosses aside a rule adopted in the waning days of the Clinton administration that had nearly put a halt to new roadways into nearly 59 million acres of wilderness.


The decision raised the ire of Democrats, led by Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, who sits on the Senate energy and natural resources committee.

"Although the Bush administration promised not to undermine the roadless rule, they broke their promise," he said. "The rollback they proposed today will threaten the future good health of American forests."

The Bush administration said Monday it would reinstate for 18 months a policy that requires the Forest Service to approve any new roads in protected areas.


Monday, July 12, 2004

Rush To Judgment

From an NFL.com preview of the NFC East:

All four head coaches have winning records in the NFL. Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells, Andy Reid and Tom Coughlin have a combined career record of 391-155-1. As a group they have an astounding playoff record of 36-20 and a Super Bowl record of 5-2.

What NFL.com fails to mention is that the Super Bowl record belongs exclusively to Gibbs (3-1) and Parcells (2-1). Let's not rush to include Coughlin and Reid in that group until they at least show up in a Super Bowl, let alone win one outright.



From Talking Points Memo:

There's been a rush of egregious commentary about the Niger uranium story in the last couple days. And one point we hear again and again is that if Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, played a role in recommending him for the trip to Niger, as the SSCI report clearly states, then this wholly changes the legal and political implications of the administration officials' decision to reveal her identity in the press.

As I pointed out a couple days ago, legally it is clearly irrelevant. Political impact is of course both subjective and unpredictable. So, though we might all venture opinions, there's very little way to know.

This whole thing smacks of OJ Simpson-style logic; specifically, the way Simpson lays, at least part of, the blame for his wife's murder at her own feet, due to the fact that she hung out with the wrong crowd.

COURIC: “Are you suggesting that Nicole was hanging out with the wrong crowd, and somehow someone in that crowd is responsible for her murder?”

SIMPSON: “I've always said that. When suggesting? I made it as clear, that somewhere in Faye [Resnick's] life, it's happened before in Faye's life. Same situation happened before in her life, and it happened again. Now you guys make it like, ‘OJ's been hitting this, and hitting that.’ I don't think anybody could be any clearer than me about the judgment, about paying the judgment. About why I think, and who I think was involved with her death, is this group of, I think, just horrible type people that she was hanging around with. People that not only did I not like, people her mother didn't like. We talked about it often back then before her death. That we didn't like this group of people that she was hanging around with.”

Now, just like the issue of whether or not Valerie Plame played a role in her husband's assignment to the Niger investigation, the allegation that Nicole Brown-Simpson was involved in drugs seems plausible. However, regardless of the claim's truth, it bears no relation to the charge in question.

That Nicole Brown-Simpson may have been a party girl who ran with a bad crowd does not excuse her murder; similarly, if Joe Wilson allowed his wife to steer work his way, and even then lied about it, that does not make it okay for high-ranking administration officials to put her life in danger by exposing her undercover status.

Unless, of course, in addition to following OJ-style logic, you also subscribe to the theories of Homer Simpson:

LISA: Two wrongs don't make a right, Bart.

BART: Yes they do.

LISA: No they don't.

BART: Yes they do!

LISA: No they don't!

BART: Yes they do!!

LISA: Daaaad!

HOMER: Two wrongs make a right, Lisa.


Sunday, July 11, 2004

Instadouchebag Redux

Sure, 33 US troops have died in Iraq over the 13 days since power was transferred, (compared to 22 in the 13 days prior) but, nearly 3 years after the US invaded Afghanistan, we're providing water for a small village.

You wouldn't know that by following the mainstream media.

UPDATE: Reader Mike sends this:

Just wanted to let you know, we've got same problem with the media right here in my small town. Our new park finally opened Friday, but the liberal local newspaper was more interested in the three cops who were killed last night. Go figure.

Sounds familiar Mike.

Posted at 7:13 AM by Glenn Reynolds