Tuesday, August 31, 2004

One of the "Pretty Girls" Ann Coulter Said Was Missing at the DNC

One of the

Ah, making fun of wounded veterans -- always a good time. I'm sure she's done her part, though. Probably shoved aside a small Japanese-American boy in line ahead of her at the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Sizzler a couple of years ago and told him that it was "for Vietnam," much to his bewilderment, since he was born in Houston. Then she muttered "gook" under her breath and took the whole steam tray back to her table.

Friday, August 27, 2004

You've Been Warned

HA! I love it. "We're going to have our convention in New York, but we don't trust New Yorkers. They're all a bunch of liars and soddomites, mouse carriers and AIDS givers, thieves and charlatans. The only reason we're going there is because we've adopted their civic tragedy as our national tragedy, even though we told them to go [Cheney-esque expletive] themselves when it came time to clean-up."

One has to wonder, why didn't they hold the convention in a Red State? Oh yeah, because while everyone wants to come FROM a Red State, no one wants to GO to one. "Hey, I live in Wyoming, so let's go to Nebraska for a convention! That'll be a nice change! Yee haw!"

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Livin' in the Heartland -- The Soul of America

War in Iraq, Viewed Through the Blurred Lens of Rural America

It is really, really, REALLY easy to point to something like this and say that it's an example of something else writ large. Too easy, and immensely unfair. And yet...and yet....

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Ginsburg Quits

Bush Campaign's Top Outside Lawyer Resigns

Geesh. It'd be fun to compare this to Nixon, but it's not quite the same. Nixon was a boob because the Democratic party was disintegrating int 1972; he didn't have anything to fear. Bush does. Kerry's a good candidate and could probably make a good president. Nothing for W. has quite gone the way he hoped it would -- Iraq and the economy especially. But because they're afraid, they're getting sloppy.

This is getting interesting, but I also think it's only bound to get a lot nastier in the next couple of months. Bushes don't go down easy, and W. is an especially vicious breed of the species.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

But wait, there's more!

"Don Quixote" Too!

Oooh, pretty.

A Gallery of Bible Illustrations by Gustave Dore

Swiftvets for the Artful Dodger

Good discussion in Slate between William Saletan and Jacob Weisberg about the Swift Boat ads.

What I don’t understand about the vets who hate Kerry is this: Okay, you don’t like that he turned against the war after he came back. Fair enough, I guess, but it seems that some of you are pissed that he told tales out of school, not that he made anything up. The crap that others perpetrated and that you knew nothing about has been used to taint you. You have every right to be angry about that, but I happen to think that you’d be better served by being pissed at the ones who committed war crimes. Yes, the Vietnamese committed crimes, too. It was a shitty situation that a bunch of kids who only wanted to do the right thing were thrown into for the greater glory of a bunch of officers who should have known better. That’s what I always thought Kerry’s point was. Vietnam was a folly that was beneath the United States. Still, it’s your right to not vote for Kerry.

What I don’t get it is why you’re supporting Bush. You were, as far as he was concerned, saps. You were dopes who couldn’t figure out how to be born into a well-connected family and stay the hell out of Vietnam. He played you for fools then and he’s playing you for fools now. He’s proud of you and your service, not because of what you did for your country but for what you did for him, namely keeping him for getting shot at.

If you think he gives a damn about the military and the grunts, he doesn’t. He’s clueless. He’s talking about missile defense again. MISSILE DEFENSE! It’s the same crap he was spouting before 9/11/2001. A missile defense shield wouldn’t have kept us safe then, and it won’t work now. In case he hasn’t noticed, they aren’t using ICBMs in Najaf.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Ugh. Just ugh.

An amusing piece about the folly of libertarianism: His Own Private Kingdom

Monday, August 16, 2004

Washingtonienne Won't Die

Steve Gilliard has a post up about Jessica Cutler, a.k.a. Washingtonienne, How to be sad and pathetic without even trying, that isn't very useful. I tried to post this in his comments, but Blogger's not being helpful this morning:

In order to be punished, you have to have some sort of sense of right and wrong, of fairness and unfairness. She doesn’t. She’s not being punished, because there’s nothing that she’s getting that she doesn’t want and that she hasn’t wanted all along. Her tenure in the offices on Capitol Hill is a footnote. She never had political ambitions, or at least not serious ones:

"I HAVE A 'GLAMOUR JOB' ON THE HILL. That is, I could not care less about gov or politics, but working for a Senator looks good on my resume. And these marble hallways are such great places for meeting boys and showing off my outfits."

This is Jessica's very first blog entry, posted at 5:32 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5.
She wanted attention and presents. She got them. And she wasn’t slapped down for wanting them, she was slapped down for not being sufficiently discreet about it.
As for herself, she tries to look on the bright side. "I was only blogging for, what, less than two weeks?" she says. "Some people with blogs are never going to get famous, and they've been doing it for, like, over a year. I feel bad for them."

Now she’s got reporters following her around, asking her for interviews. Publishers are offering book contracts. Playboy is taking her picture. She’s become infamous, but all that matters is the “famous” part. Some of us may cluck our tongues and shake our heads, but what registers for her is that still more people are telling her how pretty she is and offering her bigger and better things than political wonks ever could. She’s enjoying the fifteen minutes, and we’ll be treated to many attempts to extend them into something more substantial.

She’ll show up on TV, probably participating in some reality series, maybe even hosting one, and when people ask why they should know her, they’ll just be told that she had some affair with some politician or something. (Monica Lewinsky hosted one of those things, for God’s sake.) She’ll even become a feminist icon in some small circles, celebrated as a martyr for being punished by the patriarchy for embracing her sexuality for her own pleasure and purposes. The thing is, you can say anything you want about her, but she’s pure Teflon; nothing sticks.
There are certain shades of limelight that can ruin a girl's complexion," she says, quoting the book she read in high school. [Breakfast at Tiffany’s] "That's how I feel. Can't get a job. Can't get a boyfriend. And this did ruin my complexion because I'm dehydrated."

While Jessica was on a recent stroll with girlfriends, some guy recognized her and yelled, "Hey, Washingtonienne." That was kind of cool. In bars, men ask her if she's Jessica Cutler, then give her their business cards and tell her to call.

Jessica has an agent. She's busy writing her novel. "It's kind of 'The Devil Wears Prada,' only set in Washington," she says. "I can't say how it turns out because my agent would kill me.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I Know It's Not What He Meant, But Still

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

President George W. Bush
August 5, 2004

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Would Adding A Picture Destroy The Illusion?

I don't even remember where I found this. The LA Public Library site, I think. I'll assume that it's in the public domain.
Brand Blvd 1925
Originally uploaded by G Collins.

What's It Good For? Huh?

I started flipping channels when I got home from work last night and got sucked into watching a couple of hours of this on the Discovery-Times channel: Reporters at War

It was fascinating and frustrating. There were some amazing stories told, and some candid ones that didn't always show the tellers in the best light, but I still sat and wondered why so much of this doesn't make its way to our TV screens every night. Is it because we'd become inured to it? They won't show it to us because they want it to really mean something when they show it...like when they tell us that we have no idea what the toll is really like...because they won't show us the images on TV.

I also can't help but wonder, and I really had this question nagging at me all through the drive towards Baghdad in March of 2003: How much are the reporters holding back so that they can put the really juicy stuff in their books. You know, the ones they plan on writing when they come back.

There was a segment about the frustration that some reporters do face when they try to file complex or graphic or grisly stories and the editors back in New York or London or Washington or wherever sanitize it, saying that the boundaries of good taste keep them from showing such a thing during the dinner hour, or that they don't want to be accused of undermining support for the war. But I also had to wonder, in this glorious age of personal technology feeding into global audiences, if those reporters whose stories get axed because they don't fit the ongoing narrative of the mighty heroics of our brave men, then why can't these people go to someplace like Blogger and post those stories on their own sites? I mean, sure, you've been sent by ABC or CNN or BBC or one of the many Timeses to cover the story, but if they don't want what you've filed, does it go into a big dead story file, or do you get to keep the rights to what they've rejected? I don't suppose that it will win you any points in your next performance review, since these are all dutiful corporate employees, but if you believe that you serve some higher or nobler purpose, then who cares? It's about telling the story that needs to be told, right?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

It Takes Some Getting Used To

In the midst of a long post about going to a comic convention in San Diego with a stop in Los Angeles, Kip Manley writes this (I didn't even attempt to preserve all of his links. If you want them, go and read the whole post.):
You’ve got to understand: I was always a New York City kind of guy. LA? Please. —It wasn’t just the Woody Allen movies, though those didn’t help: New York City is a goddamn city, with skyscrapers and subways and yellow cabs and Central Park and all the other signs that say you aren’t on the farm anymore. LA is hellish, sunsoaked, shallow sprawl. Wake me when there’s a there there.

This is why John and Lori’s ability to make the place seem downright hospitable is spooky. They’ve got a great apartment in Silver Lake, which doesn’t hurt; from the corner on Sunset you can look one way and see skyscrapers; look the other way, and you’ll see the Hollywood sign, when the weather’s clear. We walked to breakfast both mornings, and that’s sinfully decadent in LA.

It also doesn’t hurt that when we visit Lori and John in LA, we see things like Soapy Smith’s only honest roulette table and the First American Transcendental Exhibition. We go shopping for inflatable furniture in an art gallery full of Taschen books and pieces by Kaz and Baseman and some creepy Struwwelpeter pen-and-inks (pause for a lengthy confab via cell phone with Scott, and Jenn isn’t kidding when she says she can give him the Pantone color of the chair we’re looking at, to match the ones he’s bought). We eat bubbling hot soon tofu and some incredible conveyor-belt sushi.

When Patrick and Tammy roll in we squeeze everybody into the living room on an inflatable mattress and a cot and a sleeping bag and even with the two squirming cats it all works out, even if it does take Patrick and Scott a couple of hours longer to arrange the computers than we’d banked on. —We’ve already been over the corpses, which were ambiguous for different reasons before we saw them, and are ambiguous for other reasons now that I know where some of those bodies might have been found: but there’s more—there’s the glorious Babel of billboards as we tool from one neighborhood to another, Korean and Vietnamese and Spanish, there’s the startling palm trees, there’s the never-ending sprawl of it, and even, God help me, the heat, and the murderous sunlight. Forget the movies, forget the TV shows, forget the skyscrapers and subways and yellow cabs: the first city I was ever actually in, I mean living in a world-class hold-up-your-hands-just-so-and-look-real earnest city, was Tehran; the second was Caracas. And so there’s also the suite of city-signs I’ve built up from places I’ve actually been: cheap 1970’s HoJo concrete construction, and the tang of smog-heavy air lowering over a big bowl full of buildings and people, that sense of being just one among many, with messages flying over and about you meant for other people: why is that guy on the lottery billboard wearing a Viking helmet? If I could read Spanish, I’d maybe know. And it’s not like New York doesn’t have this, it does, if not quite so pervasively, but what it doesn’t have is the light, the heavy, brassy light soaking into everything, baking your bones, the light that shone on thirty-year-old cheap concrete and deliriously unreadable billboards in Iran and Venezuela.

So LA is very much a city, after all.

I mean, it’s the sort of city where you go into a bar (the door is too hot to touch outside and the inside is conditioned to an admirably arctic degree) and as you’re drinking the Mai Tais that the bartender agreed to make despite not having the the recipe, Lori asks you who does the voice of Spongebob Squarepants, because maybe it’s that guy there at the bar, the one from Mr. Show.

But still.

Add this to my ever-growing list of reasons why L.A. is, indeed, a city, but one that's increasingly complex. It's not that there's nothing here, it's that what is here isn't readily apparent. People who think they understand L.A., including it's residents (and I am one of them) really need to go beyond their usual haunts in order to discover that there's a lot -- A LOT -- more than they thought.

It's just that we're all so pressed for time, rushing to get from A to B right alongside everyone else stuck on the freeway with us, waiting to be discovered, that we don't see some of the really cool stuff right around us.

It's not "Blade Runner" all of the time.

Why Bother?

Kevin Drum makes an interesting observation:
Bottom line: the new director heads no agency, doesn't have cabinet rank, doesn't work in the White House, has no budget authority, and apparently has no reporting authority. In other words, he's just a figurehead.

This is a sham. If Bush doesn't like the 9/11 Commission's recommendations he should have the guts to say so. Instead, he and Rumsfeld have cooked up a transparent con: to the public at large it looks like he's acting decisively to take up the commission's recommendations, but anyone who knows how Washington works understands that he's really just giving them the finger.

They're not even trying anymore, are they?

Nope. Howard Dean must be crazy. Absolutely no politicization of intelligence here. The grown-ups are in charge, don't you know.