Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
The head of TCM shills on Yglesias's site
Might I suggest trying Turner Classic Movies? (disclaimer: I'm the head of programming); today is devoted to Broderick Crawford and the films tonight include "Born Yesterday" ('50) and "All the King's Men" and tomorrow is devoted to Kirk Douglas including "Ace in the Hole," "Gunfight at the OK Corral," "Champion" and several others. Please forgive the plug but there is some great stuff out there.
Posted by Charlie August 25, 2007 5:14 PM
And sure enough, the head of programming for TCM is Charlie Tabesh. It's not enough that TCM has poached all the good movies that AMC used to show, now they have their head of programming on the internets making attempts to subtly steer people away from AMC shows. Way to go, Charlie! (though let me offer my enthusiastic recommendation for Ace in the Hole and TCM in general)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Mad Men backlash
"Mad Men," it turns out, is all ambience and no action. For all the effort put into making the sets as vivid as possible, the show sorely lacks for character development. Like a bad soap opera, the only plot seems to be a mind-numbingly slow march toward sex.
Agreed. The show is unconscionably boring. The characters are not interesting. The situations in which they are placed are not dramatic under any definition I could conjure. To take one example of many, the alleged climax of the pilot episode involves the giddy experience of men pitching their new cigarette campaign to skeptical tobacco company executives. It doesn't get much more gripping than that. Frankly, as I type now, I can't even remember what happened in the second episode. I gave up after that.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
A thousand Moonachians screamed in anguish
It's not "Northern New Jersey," it's "North Jersey"-- a construction which has the added benefit of making the headline more clever.
Annals of Lunacy
They didn't want to deal with the Soviet threat; they wanted to appease it. They want to appease Al-Qaeda. They want to appease Iran. They want to appease everybody. They wanted to appease Hitler They just don't have the stomach for it, no matter what lessons of history have taught them. They have to be dragged kicking and screaming. But it's never been this bad. This is the first time in my life. Vietnam was not this bad in terms of the Democrats literally trying to engineer defeat for their own country and for the US military, and that is leading to the conclusion that the blood of many American deaths is on the hands of a lot of Democrats.
It doesn't make any sense on any logical level. Nevertheless, you'll be hearing a lot of this insanity in the months to come.
A linker, not a thinker
JAY ROSEN ON THE JOURNALISM THAT BLOGGERS DO: And he doesn't even get to things like Rathergate, Eason Jordan, the debunking of Reuters and AP photo-fakery, or numerous other examples.
September 2004. Joseph Newcomer provides comprehensive examination of disputed Killian memos in CBS report. A computer typesetting expert, he uses his knowledge to cast serious doubt on the authenticity of documents "60 Minutes" relied on in its story on President Bush's Air National Guard service.
Even in a blog post of 31 words he can't get it right. How will we ever trust Prof. Reynolds again?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Welfare for Zillionaires
[T]here is something unseemly about watching the avatars of free-market capitalism rely on the government to pay for their bad bets. And there is something scary about contemplating the even bigger bets they’ll make in the future if they know that the Fed is there to bail them out.
His conclusion? The Fed doesn't need to do any more cutting, and the short-term panic won't bleed over into the larger economy. Having no understanding of markets, I have no idea whether this is right, but I'll be watching to see how this plays out.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
It seemed like a good idea at the time
General Petraeus also responded to recent reports by the Government Accountability Office and the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction that were critical of his handling of hundreds of thousands of weapons given to Iraqi security forces when he was previously in charge of training those forces. The weapons were not properly registered by serial number and thousands were lost, potentially to insurgent groups, the agencies found.
General Petraeus said that early in the conflict, he faced the choice of either quickly getting the weapons to willing Iraqi fighters who were defending the country or delaying while the tracking mechanisms were put in place.
The general said he decided to get the weapons out fast, in one case landing in Najaf in Marine helicopters and dumping the weapons out the back hatch to waiting Iraqis.
“We made a decision to arm guys who wanted to fight for their country,” General Petraeus said.
To which Moqtada al-Sadr replied, "Thanks, dude."
Props for honesty, I guess.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Everyone's a journalist!
That Joe Biden is a journalist, not a U.S. Senator.
That Jimmy Carter is a journalist, not a former President
That Stephen Ambrose was a journalist, not a historian
That Michael Bellesiles is a journalist, not a college professor
That Ward Churchill is a journalist, not a college professor
That Joseph Ellis is a journalist, not a college professor
That Jacob Epstein is a journalist, not a novelist
That James Frey is a journalist, not a 'memoirist'
That Doris Kearns Goodwin is a journalist, not a college professor
That Alex Haley is a journalist, not a novelist
That Jesse MacBeth is a journalist, not a fraudulent soldier
Is George W. Bush also a journalist? How about Paris Hilton? Try again, buddy.
[via the ever-panting InstaPundit]
UPDATE: Sadly, No! makes a major contribution to the list.
Occam Strikes Again
Just hours after Howard's last column, Karl Rove resigned from the Bush Administration, probably the biggest political story of the year. Everyone has written about this and offered their viewpoints on the meaning of Rove and his resignation. Rona Barrett probably had something to say about it.
And ever since, Howard Kurtz has remained ... silent. I suspect a Rovian plot to keep Howard from revealing all he knows about the soon-to-be former Bush aide. Or perhaps, a conspiracy among media outlets has kept Howard locked in an old film room, surrounded by tapes of Jerry Dunphy and Bree Walker, attempting to drive him crazy to keep him from revealing their desperation on losing one of their favorite punching bags.
Or maybe he's just on vacation.
He was on vacation, bright boy. Writes Kurtz today: "When I left town a couple of days ago, Karl Rove was still running the world."
Just because you have a "Publish" button doesn't mean you should press it.
Watch it if you also enjoy getting clocked in the head with tire irons.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Obligatory I Got Nothin' Post
LATER: Ugh. Spoke too soon. Bases loaded, nobody out, and you can't score? Classic Phillies.
Monday, August 13, 2007
They perform this critique under the guise of being very reasonable centrists who just happen to have doubts about a rabid leftist fringe publication (that happens to win Pulitzer Prizes for reporting). Says Douthat:
No doubt such a story would draw the most blood if it appeared in NR, but really, it would draw more blood, or at least attract more right-wing attention, if it appeared almost anywhere other than the Village Voice. I'm no great Rudy booster, but I'm much, much more likely to take this kind of story with a grain of salt because it appears in an extremely left-wing alternative weekly (but I repeat myself) that did nothing but bash Hizzoner, sometimes fairly but usually not, throughout his mayoralty. Forget NR: There's a whole world of more mainstream liberal publications that would lend far more credibility to a story like this, and that would be happy, I would imagine, to run a devastating takedown of Giuliani's "hero of 9/11" reputation. And so fairly or not, the fact that it didn't run in the Times Magazine or Time or Newsweek or The New Republic or Vanity Fair or Esquire or almost anywhere else makes me automatically inclined to approach it with more skepticism that it may deserve.
That's quite a statement, considering that A) Douthat and Nyhan offer no substantive criticism that would undermine the article, and B) Douthat offers no evidence whatsoever to back his assertion that the Voice "did nothing but bash Hizzoner, sometimes fairly but usually not."
Look, if you want to smear a reporter and a publication, then give me some evidence to work with. Tell me where the reporting was deficient. Explain to me how The Voice and Barrett may have shaded the truth or omitted crucial evidence or not provided proper context. But don't parade around as if you are the Arbiters of Everything when you can't back it up.
PS. I don't know anyone at The Voice, but I do read the publication from time to time.
CALLER: Did I tell you Rush is one of my all-time favorite guy names?
RUSH: No. But you just did. Quick, let me ask you a question, Bridgette, before you get into golf business here because I have a great way of teaching women to play golf, if you're interested.
CALLER: Private lessons?
RUSH: Yes. You start out with the irons, you gradually work our way into the woods.
CALLER: [Long, uncomfortable pause] Okaaaay. I love it when you flirt.
RUSH: (Laughing) It's an old joke.
You really have to listen to this exchange to get the full flavor. The reaction from the caller is priceless. It's obvious that she's playfully, but not seriously, flirting. And then Limbaugh -- clearly a sociopath -- unleashes his dick "joke" on her. The woman's pause, then the dismissive "Okaaaaay" are all you need to know about how clueless a lech Limbaugh is.
Beware the Invading Hordes
Hey everyone, observe my barely concealed xenophobia and racism!
One of the basic tenets of the contemporary liberal faith is the beauty of "diversity." Every day the dogmas of multiculturalism are promulgated relentlessly by our schools, newspapers and media, and public authorities. The transformation of the United States by waves of immigration from non-European countries is always depicted as a phenomenon to be celebrated, as are the immigrants' religions and cultures.
Minneapolis and St. Paul have been deeply affected by the large number of Somali and Hmong immigrants who have made the Twin Cities metropolitan area their home. Their occasionally disturbing cultural practices and the related social costs are rarely discussed.
Let's just say that this post could have been written about 100 years ago, substituting "Somali" and "Hmong" for "Jew" and "Italian":
Rove Goes bye-bye
The Atlantic ran a fascinating article this month about the Rove White House that detailed, among other items, the President's dealings with Congress. Dick Armey, the former Republican Majority leader, put it best when he said of Bush's treatment of his colleagues:
You can’t call her ugly all year and expect her to go to the prom with you.
Read it all.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Shorter Victor Davis Arab Strap Hanson
Thursday, August 09, 2007
What is a Jawa?
For some reason (don't ask me why) conservatives christen their sites with geek pop-culture references more often than liberals do. The Jawa Report seems to think those hooded midgets at the beginning of Star Wars were acolytes of Milton Friedman...
Now I get it! My Pet Jawa (the blog's original name) is all about George Lucas and stabilization theory or something:
...in my neighborhood... there were a lot of Muslims from Islamic countries who were very cool and were here because they fled the asshat Mullahs of the Islamic Republic or the religious fascists of that Islamic Kingdom and therefore were not Jawas because Jawas is a term saved for Muslims who create the sea for which Islamist Tusken Raiders are allowed to swim...
Hmm. That doesn't sound like it has anything to do with Milton Friedman or Alec Guinness. Well, let's read on, where the proprietor of "My Pet Jawa" describes someone from Saudi Arabia who had the temerity to disagree with him:
...he also would never want to force Sharia on the world but believed Muslims ought to choose to follow Islamic precepts unlilke that camel-loving jawa Muslim from a certain unnamed Kingdom that is ruled by a radical Islamic school of thought...
The proprietor of the site, a man known by the pseudonym "Dr. Rusty Shackleford" also seems to believe that Borat is some sort of documentary about "crazy Kazakhs." He also has a delightful site called Flush the Koran. In a later post, Dr. Shackleford patiently explains to his readers that "Jawa" is not at all a slur against Arabs, but rather, against Afghanis, and I guess Muslims. Or something.
UPDATE: Oh, Geez, how did I miss this?
In a real war, against real enemies, we need some good old fashioned, sweet down-home, funny, bigotted propoganda. Tell me, what would the "greatest generation" think of liberal wusses cringing at words like "kraut" and "nip"? Remember all those great bugs-bunny cartoons demonizing the Nazis? "Nazis is zee craziest people!" Rip-roaring fun with a message: the enemy is real and we are better than they.
So, poke fun at Islam. Make fun of Muhammed. Paint our enemies in the worst light possible. Tell jokes about them. Create art that ridicules them. Sing songs not suitable for prime-time. Offend people that need offending.
Get it now, Mr. Weiss?
LATER: Lest we forget, a prominent "libertarian" site seems to have no problem promoting an avowed racist.
MUCH LATER: Weiss responds via email: "Actually, the Milton Friedman line was a joke."
Huh? As I wrote back to him: "A joke? Can you explain? Was Friedman short or something? Was he partial to hoods?"
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Your daily Beauchamp
Monday, August 06, 2007
The NYT fits what now?
In the end, this will be yet another change that readers will accept and get used to. Of course, in one irony, it will give new meaning to the Times classic slogan, offering just a bit less room for “All The News That Fits."
"All The News That Fits?" That's the slogan? Joe, you might want to take a second look at that hard copy of The Times you plucked out of your driveway this morning. Because mine said "All the News That's Fit to Print" -- like it has for the past century or so.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
When pressed to provide a specific quote from any conservative blog stating that Scott Thomas didn’t really exist, was fabricated, or was an imposter, these and other liberal bloggers have utterly failed to do so.
Why they failed should now be obvious: they made up these claims themselves.
Well, as they say, Sadly, No!
And might I add to that list these brain nuggets from the brightest lights of Blogtopia...
He is a fake. This much has been documented.
Whoops. A media outlet has once again been caught in a Jesse MacBeth-esque attempt to falsely smear US soldiers [MacBeth never served in Iraq, but claimed he did-- jm]
The New Republic's Correspondent a Fake? [The punctuation hedge! -- jm]
The New Republic has published some stuff by a “Scott Thomas,” who may or may not be an American soldier in Iraq. Then again, Jessie McBeth was a fraud (he was cut from the military during basic training, not an Iraqi War veteran). [Note that this post has disappeared from Surber's site; I'm linking to a cached version -- jm]
It turns out that there is a plausible candidate for who "Scott Thomas" might be: Clifton Hicks. The evidence is not conclusive, but it is fairly suggestive [Wrong! -- jm]
UPDATE: And here's some more!
I think Ace’s theory, that TNR plucked this guy from their comments section when he professed some combat experience and hinted at dark tales of American stormtroopers run amok, is more likely but we’ll see. [this comes at the end of a discussion of whether the diarist was a creative writing student -- jm]
Now there are evil people in all walks of life but if your [sic] gonna write a story about such people doing things that shock people at least ensure that its [sic] plausible. None of what this "Scott Thomas" has written is plausible, not from people who served in the same camp around the same time nor from people who know intimately the type of equipment he describes. I can already smell 60 Minutes itching to cover this one....
Guidons, Guidons, Guidons!:
The Fake Diary of a Fake Soldier
If you find any other examples from the Supersleuths of the Internet, let me know.
LATER: Fixed Surber cached link.
VERY MUCH LATER: Surber restores the link to the original post, and provides his own explanation for why he initially made it disappear:
I pulled this post down, but after Scott Thomas was found to be “real” — a real big fat lefty liar — a few little minds asked why I pulled it.
Good question. I have nothing to hide.
Hilarious. Regrettably, that's not much of an explanation at all. But if it allows Mr. Surber to sleep at night, good for him.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Nitwit Quote of the Week
At the end of the incredible trip I have been on, it occurs to me that Minneapolis turned out to be a more dangerous place to be than Israel this week.
Word. And best keep those eyes peeled for the suicide bombers in Audubon Park.
Over the past nine months, his family has suffered one horror after another. In June, his father disappeared while visiting Omer’s sister in a mixed and violent district that has been ethnically cleansed by Shia militias over the course of the year. (Omer’s family is Sunni.) Omer begged the local Office of the Martyr Sadr for information, but the Sadrists denied any involvement. After ten days or so, Omer went with a friend to look for his father at the morgue and found a scene of absolute hell. Bodies were stacked two or three high in the hallways, with no refrigeration, the older corpses beginning to decompose and generate maggots. Holding hands, Omer and his friend examined body after body until they found one that had been shot in the torso and might have been his father; they couldn’t be sure. Morgue officials led them to a room where a few dozen Iraqis, many of them women, were staring at six computer monitors. The screens showed a picture of one corpse’s face for a few seconds, then flashed the next face. Now and then, someone in the room would begin to wail. This was the closest thing to “closure” and dignity in death that the victims’ families could expect. Suddenly, the face of Omer’s father appeared on all six screens.
Yeah, but it's OK. He's Sunni.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Foer calls out wingnutosphere
"There were questions whether this guy exists,” Mr. Foer said. “After we proved that to be false, they just went on to making the next reckless accusation.”
How could you let me do this?
In other news, Matt Sanchez screamed fire in a crowded theater and blamed the resulting rampage on the stupid, herd-like mentality of humans.
And everyone's happy
Now who can we hate?
Oh look, here's one gracious soul already!
TNR’s deliberately vague and obfuscating editorial begs the inescapable conclusion that Scott Beauchamp is a fabulist, one that the editors of TNR have inexplicably decided to stand by. TNR has clambered into its hole, and bizarrely kept digging.
That really is big of the author of that post, considering he already made clear that this was never about whether or not the article was "true" (which it is) but whether Scott Beauchamp and by extension The New Republic were, say, evil.
And here are the kindly souls who got l'affaire Beauchamp rolling, the same ones who employed as a source a former male escort and porn star with credibility issues of his own. Observe the graciousness of the headline:
TNR's 'Investigation' Reveals Beauchamp Was Always a Monster
It really is something to behold. When proven wrong, these folks come through the only way they know how: classy whining and humble goalpost-shifting.
They are the real heroes.
Here is the bottom line on troop numbers in Iraq. There are two paths:
--If things go unexpectedly well and some sort of political reconciliation is achieved, then about April or May of next year troop numbers will start to come down, with about one brigade or more a month being pulled out.
--If things continue to go pretty badly, with a full-blown civil war a live possibility, then about April or May of next year, troop numbers will start to come down, with about one brigade or more a month being pulled out.
The reason is that we don't have replacement troops. So the real questions are these three: How many troops will we take out? How fast will we take them out? And what will be the mission of the residual force?
I don't know about the latter. Haven't we been told for a year now that our troops can't continue the way they've been going? Only to be followed by troops on their third and fourth times around, shortened down time, stop-loss, reserve call-ups and other gimmickry?
Packer gets answers to Iraq questions
I talked to Pollack yesterday. In answer to some of the questions I raised: he spoke with very few Iraqis and could independently confirm very little of what he heard from American officials. In eight days he travelled to half a dozen cities—that’s not much time in each. The evidence that four or five Iraqi Army divisions, with most of their bad commanders weeded out, are now capable of holding, for example, Mosul and Tal Afar, came from American military sources. Pollack found that U.S. officers sounded much more realistic than on his previous trip, in late 2005. He gauged their reliability in answers they gave to questions that he asked “offline,” after a briefing—there was a minimum of happy talk, but also a minimum of dire gloom. The improvements in security, he said, are “relative,” which is a heavy qualification, given the extreme violence of 2006 and early 2007. And it’s far from clear that progress anywhere is sustainable. Everywhere he went, the line Pollack heard was that the central government in Baghdad is broken and the only solutions that can work are local ones.
That doesn't sound like much of a trip. Still, Packer deems it significant that the two came away impressed by the changes they witnessed; whether it's sustainable is another matter altogether. And Packer adds this nugget, which tracks with what he wrote in Assassin's Gate:
This flap illustrates two permanent truths of the Iraq war. No American can assert with authority what the reality in Iraq is like. And, for most commentators here, bragging rights are more important than trying to find out.
That's right. Iraq has always been about point scoring. It's always been about who can spike the ball in someone else's face, grab the crotch and yell, "Booo-yeh!" How about we finally get it right, no?
James Lileks frys an imaginary egg on the sidewalk
Read on if you dare.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Also, what's with all this Genocide-is-bad talk?
Everyone's making a big fuss about the Sunnis leaving the government. But Sunnis are -- what? -- 17 percent of the population. They have to accept that they're the
minority. They'll never return to power. Besides, there's nothing that says a government has to represent everybody.
In fact, he calmly explained, governments that claim to represent all the people are actually bad and stuff, and are probably authoritarian.
Really, that's what he said.
Also, Democrats will be really fearful of a "Victory Parade" (his words) when we win the Iraq war. Then he quoted Bill Bennett quoting a line from a 45-year-old movie ("It is written" -- they like quoting movies!) that apparently means that Democrats want to lose. He then talked about cooking shows.
Note: The above quote is a rough transcript. Not exact, but awfully close.
Crazy, Upside-Down Day
Which in turn transforms all those swaggering, steely-eyed Bushies into calculating, gimlet-eyed Realists.
Kurtz: Our Hills of Hillary article was a non-story
Myself, I didn't think Hillary was wearing anything that you wouldn't see walking down any city street.
In other words, there's no there there. So why, again, was it a story?
Murdoch can't use WSJ for new biz channel
The Journal already has a deal to provide news content exclusively to CNBC, an magreement that the News Corporation discovered is ironclad until 2012. Any move to tie The Journal to the new Fox business channel will require disentanglement.
In other words, Rupert Murdoch would have to fork over a weighty bit of cash to get the WSJ on his new channel. Meanwhile, someone forgot to mention this bit of news to their business columnist:
...[O]wning a pivot point in financial news will create some tidy synergies — content for a new Fox business channel to compete with CNBC on cable television, a global foothold for financial data, coverage of all of his competitors in The Journal.
That is, if a Fox Biz channel is still around in 2012.