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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Dying to Join 


The Emperor Misha (who first brought the cartoon in the post directly underneath this one to my attention) provides a link to this help-wanted ad posted by one of his readers. I am not responsible for any ruined keyboards.

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"Leftists Love Their Country, Too" Files 




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Dumber-Than-Dirt Alert! 


Welcome to the first edition of my blog's Numskull News™, designed to keep you informed about the hair-brained schemes of the world's idiots, gasbags, and hot-air artists. Today's guest is acclaimed director Oliver Stone, who has just traveled from the Cuban workers' paradise (by plane, of course -- all other travelers had better pack shark-repellant) to share his thoughts on his new hagiography of Fidel Castro, Looking for Fidel.

Numskull News™ will typically feature commentary by Cato the elder, who damn well deserves to give his opinion after wading through this tripe and extracting the juicy bits. For our first installment, however, it seems appropriate to simply let Stone's responses to his interviewer's questions (that would be Ann Louise Bardach -- may we have pity on her soul, amen) go uncommented upon. It seems almost profane to interrupt Stone's stupefying string of stupidity, which begins to acquire an awe-inspiring quality by dint of sheer repetition. We are in the presence of a master:

ALB: Do you know that the Cubans are refusing visas to virtually all reporters and not allowing them back in the country?

OS: You know, the advantage I have is to be a filmmaker. [Castro] seemed to love my movies. Apparently he liked my presence, and he trusted that I wouldn't edit him in a way that would be negative from the outset. But I did tell him, the second trip, that I would try to be tougher, not disrespectfully so. As you see, several times [in the film] he does get upset.

ALB: I gather you rejected the idea of demonizing him.

OS: Of course. My role here was not as a journalist. It really was as a director and filmmaker. In my job, I challenge actors. I provoke them.

ALB: Let me ask you about the part [in the film] where Castro's in front of eight prisoners charged with attempting to hijack a plane [to Miami]. He says to them, "I want you all to speak frankly and freely." What do you make of that whole scene, where you have these prisoners who happened to be wearing perfectly starched, nice blue shirts?

OS: Let me give you the background. He obviously set it up overnight. It was in that spirit that he said, "Ask whatever you want. I'm sitting here. I want to hear it too. I want to hear what they're thinking." He let me run the tribunal, so to speak.

ALB: But Cuba's leader for life is sitting in front of these guys who are facing life in prison, and you're asking them, "Are you well treated in prison?" Did you think they could honestly answer that question?

OS: If they were being horribly mistreated, then I don't know that they could be worse mistreated [afterward].

ALB: So in other words, you think they thought this was their best shot to air grievances? Rather than that if they did speak candidly, there'd be hell to pay when they got back to prison?

OS: I must say, you're really picturing a Stalinist state. It doesn't feel that way. You can always find horrible prisons if you go to any country in Central America.

ALB: Did you go to the prisons in Cuba?

OS: No, I didn't.

ALB: So you don't know if they're any different than, say, the prisons in Honduras then?

OS: I think that those prisoners are being honest.

ALB: What about when you ask them what they think is a fair sentence for their crimes, and one of them starts to talk about how he'd like to have 30 years in prison?

OS: I was shocked at that. But Bush would have shot these people, is what Castro said. … I don't know what the parole system is.

ALB: There is none unless Fidel Castro decides to give you clemency. [...] I'm suggesting that they had no choice but to appear there, and that in some ways it was a bit of a mini-show-trial, sort of "Look how well we treat our prisoners."

OS: It does have that aura, absolutely. But I do maintain that if it were a Stalinist state … they certainly do a great job of concealing it. [...] [Castro] was a huge part of the state, and now, as he points out, he has less power. … There is a functioning congress.

ALB: Do you really think that anything happens in Cuba without his approval?

OS: I don't know. [...]

ALB: [...] As far as I know, Comandante has the first footage of Fidel with his son Fidelito and grandson, aside from formal receptions, etc. How did they respond to each other?

OS: I think Fidel said something to the effect that, at the end, he could have been a better father. [...]

ALB: How did you end up in a hospital with him getting an EKG?

OS: I went with him to see a functioning hospital in the heart of the city. Spontaneously, he took his shirt off, and said, "Well, I need one. Give me one." The [EKG results] looked good.

ALB: In other words, he's saying to you, "All these rumors about me dying and my poor health, let me dispel them once and for all"?

OS: No, he didn't say that.

ALB: But by doing this, in essence, he's saying that?

OS: In essence. But I had not heard these rumors about him dying. In the first documentary he showed us his exercise regime in the office, pacing back and forth. He walks three miles in his office.

ALB: Did it strike you as interesting that at one point in the scene with the prisoners, Castro turned to the prisoners' defense lawyers, who just happened to be there, and he says, "I urge you to do your best to reduce the sentences"?

OS: I love that. I thought that was hilarious. Those guys just popped up.

ALB: Is there a show-trial element here?

OS: Yeah. I thought that was funny, I did—the prosecutor and Fidel admonishing them, to make sure they worked hard. There was that paternalism. I mean "father knows best," as opposed to totalitarianism. It's paternalism, that's what I meant. It's a Latin thing.

ALB: So after 60 hours with Castro, what do you make of this man?

OS: I'm totally awed by his ability to survive and maintain a strong moral presence [...] Fidel is not the revolution, believe me. Fidel is popular, whatever his enemies say. It's Zapata, remember that movie? He said, "A strong people don't need a strong leader."

ALB: So you think that if he went off the scene the revolution would continue?

OS: If Mr. Bush and his people have the illusion that they're going to walk into an Iraq-type situation, and people are going to throw up their arms and welcome us, [they are] dead wrong. These people are committed. Castro has become a spiritual leader. He will always be a Mao to those people.

ALB: Did you ask him about his relationship with Juanita in Miami?

OS: God, I don't remember. There were so many women.

ALB: Juanita is his sister.

OS: Juanita's his sister? ... He seemed to be a very straight-shooter, very kind of shy with women.

ALB: I've called him the movie star dictator. Did you get that sense about him?

OS: Totally. I think it would be a mistake to see him as a Ceausescu. I would compare him more to Reagan and Clinton. … They were both tall and had great shoulders, and so does Fidel. [...]

ALB: Did you ever think to bring up why he doesn't hold a presidential election?

OS: I did. He said something to the effect, "We have elections."

ALB: Local representative elections. But what about a presidential election?

OS: We didn't talk about it, especially in view of the fact that our own 2000 elections were a little bit discredited.

ALB: In the first film, Comandante, he asked you, "Is it so bad to be a dictator?" Did you think you should have responded to that question?

OS: I don't think that was the place to do it. … You know, dictator or tyrant, those words are used very easily. In the Greek political system, democracy didn't work out that well. There were what they called benevolent dictators back in those days.

ALB: And you think he might be in that category?

OS: Well, not benevolent to everybody, no.

ALB: Can't it be said in fact that Castro is quite cynical—the master debater, master lawyer?

OS: Well, nobody's perfect.
Somebody get me a drink and some Tylenol, quick.


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Hmmm... 

The Vote that Dare Not Speak Its Name
The Weekly Standard
Fred Barnes
(04/19/04)

Bobby Jindal led polls in the Louisiana governor's race last fall right up to Election Day. And for good reason: He was one of the most impressive candidates either party had fielded in any election in any state in recent years. Then he lost. A 32-year-old Republican from Baton Rouge, Jindal is the son of emigrants from India. Because he is dark-skinned, there was a worry he would lose the so-called Bubba vote--code for the racist vote. Now it's clear that that's exactly what cost him the governorship.

Two political scientists from Hamilton College in New York compared the areas where David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klansman, ran well in 1991 with the vote for Jindal's Democratic opponent, Kathleen Blanco, in 2003. There was a remarkable correlation. Where Duke did well, Blanco did well.

Blanco, who'd served as lieutenant governor before being elected governor, did not make any racial appeals in the campaign. Yet she benefited enormously from race-influenced voting. "Our results indicate that a significant number of those who voted for David Duke, the most racist statewide candidate of the post-civil rights era, contrary to previous elections and even after controlling for other factors, swung their support from the non-white Republican to the white Democrat," Richard Skinner and Philip A. Klinkner concluded in their study. [...]

In circumstances similar to those in Louisiana, Republicans are blamed by Democrats and the media for winning by attracting racist votes. The conservative appeal is said to send a favorable signal to bigots.

But Jindal's fervent conservatism certainly didn't. He ran as an economic and social conservative with a strong Christian faith. The 2003 results, said Skinner and Klinkner, "indicate that racial divisions in Louisiana are not limited to the black-white divide and that the racial conservatism of many Louisiana whites extends to other racial groups."

Jindal has never attributed his loss to race. [...]

The two researchers also compared Blanco's vote with that of other statewide Democrats. Both Blanco and Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, re-elected in 2002, won with 52 percent of the vote. "The geographic pattern of the Landrieu vote was very typical for a Democrat with a correlation of .98 with the average Democratic vote in the1996 and 2000 presidential elections," Skinner and Klinkner found. For Blanco, the correlation was .60, "indicating that Blanco was drawing support from a different set of voters."

Indeed, she was. In the 26 parishes where Duke won a majority, Blanco averaged 10 points better than Landrieu, who defeated a white Republican. The pattern was especially striking in northern Louisiana, Bubba country. In parishes where Duke got more than 55 percent, Blanco averaged 17 percentage points more than Landrieu.
Question: Should Republicans adopt the tactics of the Democrats by charging certain electoral losses to racial animosity, even when those charges happen to be true?


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You Can Either Be "The Stupid Party" Or...This 


Hey, everyone! The Pollys have arrived! Sit back and take a whiff:

What college takes the top award for the most shocking example of political correctness in higher education? According to the Collegiate Network's 7th annual Campus Outrage Awards, also known as the "Polly Awards," two schools are tied for first place.

At Yale University, a student-sponsored "Sex Week at Yale" used school funds, facilities and the help of school faculty and administrators. The events were co-sponsored by an adult film company and even included a porn star as a keynote speaker.

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, a student received kudos from professors and administrators for his Chicano Studies thesis, "Gay Men of Color in Porn," a project that was presented as part of the UCSB Multicultural Center's tax-payer funded "Race Matters Series" in an effort to legitimize pornography as an academic pursuit.

Number two on the list goes to The University of California, Berkeley, where the Associated Students of the University of California and the Graduate Assembly illegally spent $31,000 of mandatory student fees on a campus campaign to defeat Proposition 54, a racial privacy initiative to ban the state from collecting race data on school admissions forms.

Although the Associated Students of the University of California violated its own spending rules forbidding use of student funds for off-campus political activities, the administration granted ASUC and the Graduate Assembly a "one-time exception."

Coming in third is Northwestern University where a student filed a false police report claiming racial slurs were written on his door and claiming he was later attacked at knifepoint by thugs who called him a "spic." [...]

The school has yet to take disciplinary action against him, despite the fact the police charged him with disorderly conduct for filing fake police reports.

In fourth place is Duke University where the chair of the Philosophy Department justified the 17-1 Democrat to Republican ratio among the school's professors by claiming conservatives are not smart enough to teach at Duke.

"We try to hire the best, smartest people available. If, as John Stuart Mill said, stupid people are generally conservative, then there are lots of conservatives we will never hire," said Robert Brandon.

And the fifth place winner is Georgetown University where Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, as commencement speaker, reiterated the church's teaching on sexual ethics, claiming "the family is...mocked by homosexuality."

His remarks led some students and faculty to walk off stage, followed by an e-mail apology from the Dean of Georgetown College, Jane McAuliffe, and an offer for counseling session to those students who suffered psychological trauma from the speech.
A few impressions: First of all, I have come to expect much higher standards of degeneracy from the Left Coast. If California colleges can't even place three top-finishers in the Polly Awards, then we'd all better prepare ourselves for the End Times plague of boils and the Second Coming. Second, some readers of this blog might be shocked by the mention of Georgetown, since it is a Catholic institution. Do not be fooled! Georgetown is run by the Jesuits, not by any breed of Catholics.

Frankly, I thought Berkeley's offense was a bit tame -- I was expecting something about edible phallus-symbol mood rings being distributed during Bulimia Awareness Decade by the People's Society of Feminist Co-ops. Northwestern, meanwhile, can both retaliate for its Polly Award and honor its old football coach by inaugurating the First Annual Gary Barnett Sensitivity Hugfest -- to be sponsored by the campus GOP, which would lure the perjurious Hispanic student to the event before descending on him with plastic baseball bats. As for the Duke professor...well, let's just say he's a "Cameron Crazy."

And Yale? Well, I suspect William F. Buckley would be turning over in his grave if he weren't still alive.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Take Out Toby Keith, Put In Richard Harris 


'Blender' Names 50 Worst Songs
MSN Entertainment -- AP
(4/20/04)

According to Blender Magazine, "Don't Worry, Be Happy," and "Dancing on the Ceiling," may have been catchy tunes and big hits, but they still stink.

The music magazine is publishing its list of the 50 worst songs in its May issue. The songs were selected for "crap-tastic melodies," were poorly performed, or just didn't make any sense to the folks at the magazine.

Starship's "We Built This City," from 1985 topped the list.

"The truly horrible sound of a band taking the corporate dollar while sneering at those who take the corporate dollar," the magazine said of the tune.

Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart" was second, followed by Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight." "If this song was a party, you'd lock yourself in a bathroom and cry," quipped Blender. [...]

The post-Sept. 11 anthem "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," by Toby Keith was Number 22. The magazine says Keith's song was "so vengeful, it makes 'The Star-Spangled Banner' sound like 'Give Peace a Chance.'"

Even The Beatles made the list with "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," which the magazine said sounded like "the desperately chirpy songs Cockneys used to sing to keep their spirits up while the Luftwaffe rained death on them during the Blitz."
No Macarthur Park?


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Next Up: Impeach the Interviewer 

The New York Times conducts an interview with Kenneth Starr, now the head of Pepperdine's law department. Check out some of the questions they asked him (I've put in his unitalicized responses when it is the only way to make sense of a question):

Do you feel your work as an independent counsel helped the country in any way or just added to cynicism about government? [...]

At the moment, you are representing the mother of the 9-year-old girl whose father wants the Supreme Court to strike the words ''under God'' from the Pledge of Allegiance. [...]

Do any other countries have a pledge of allegiance to their flags? [...]

[T]he phrase ''under God'' wasn't initially part of the pledge, was it?

No. Congress added the words ''under God'' in 1954. The American political philosophy was viewed in the 1950's as standing in sharp contrast to the political philosophy of the other side of the cold war.

But don't you think it trivialized religious belief to evoke God that way, as a handy weapon against Communism? [...]

Do you pray every night? [...]

I am going to decline to get into that.

Do you believe that atheists go to hell? [...]

I am not going to get into theology.

You're impeding my investigation. You won't answer anything, although you investigate everyone else. [...]

And are you reading anything interesting now?

I am rereading Dickens's ''Bleak House.''

Now that is a book that certainly explains how getting obsessed with legal procedure can cause one to lose sight of the larger issues, namely justice.

One of my favorite quotes is from Justice Frankfurter, who said, ''The history of liberty has largely been the history of procedural safeguards.''
Back during the whole Monica business, my brother -- then in the eighth grade -- spotted an A&E special on Ken Starr. He laughed when he told me of how A&E had noted Starr's reputation for honesty during his high school days. He seemed genuinely surprised when I asked how he knew that Starr was a dishonest man. Not overly interested in politics at that time, my brother had simply gone with the endlessly-reiterated media storyline on Starr, which depicted him as a corrupt, sexually-repressed Inspector Javert. Plenty of other people did the same: his approval rating throughout the impeachment was in the mid-20s. Rarely have I seen a defamation campaign as revolting as the cavalcade of Clinton administration lies and media deceit that forever destroyed this brave man's shot at a seat on the Supreme Court.

That said, with the exception of the SCOTUS, Starr clearly does not belong in government. I listened to part of a speech he gave at the Heritage Foundation, and I remember being struck by how unusually nice he was. I always thought he was utterly clueless about the ferocity of his enemies (this was perhaps a blessing in some ways; it hurts to know how much people hate you), and he has an almost supernatural gift for walking into political ambushes.

He was a perfect target for the Democrats because he didn't have the anger or the political acumen to fight back against their vicious slanders (it didn't help that some of the records he could have used to defend himself were under seal). Let's hope he didn't expect anything less than vituperation when he agreed to be interviewed by the New York Times.

Oh, and Time magazine still ought to be ashamed of itself. Not that I expect better from the magazine that gave us this.


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We've Got a Friend in Pennsylvania 

Congressman Pat Toomey, who is doing his level-best to persuade Pennsylvania voters to dump The Worst Republican Senator (that would be National Review lingo for Arlen Specter), may be about to drop gigantic cans of whup-ass on the country-club GOP establishment. And if you think Toomey can't get elected, please pick up a copy of The Almanac of American Politics and check out who the other Pennsylvania senator is.

As if the poll numbers weren't good enough, Toomey has just been endorsed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in an article posted on his campaign website. Newspaper op-eds tend to mimic the views of their readers -- a professor of mine once told me of a socialist friend who was required to write pro-Republican pieces for the Omaha World-Herald -- and so we can possibly get a clue as to what Pennsylvania voters are thinking by reading them:

[...] Three-term U.S. Rep. Patrick Toomey, 42, who represents the Lehigh Valley, is challenging four-term incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, 74, of Philadelphia. Mr. Toomey is a Reagan Republican, a rock-ribbed conservative unfairly smeared as an "extremist" by his opponents. Specter is a Rockefeller Republican, a weaselly liberal implausibly promoted as a "moderate" by his supporters.

We have spent time with Toomey, locally and in Washington. And we like what we see. No, we don't agree with his every position. But if a Republican Party that has degenerated into a phylum of profligates on par with Democrats ever is to be returned to its principles, it will be because of sound fiscal stewards such as Toomey.

From matters constitutional to those fiscal, Specter is a twisting, porking, Scottish law-invoking wild-card sophist whom Republicans serious about reforming government can no longer afford or trust. Specter as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee? Horrors!

A quarter-century of Arlen Specter, who has had as many positions as the JFK assassination "magic bullet" he invented had trajectories, is enough. Pennsylvanians deserve better. That's why we wholeheartedly endorse Patrick Toomey for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
I'm sure that most fellow Republicans will agree with me when I say, with only a hint of hyperbole, that a Specter chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee would be the end of life on earth as we know it.


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Thursday, April 15, 2004

"Byrd-Brain" and the "Dodd-ering Fool" 




"The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth in West Virginia...It is necessary that the order be promoted immediately and in every state in the Union. Will you please inform me as to the possibility of rebuilding the Klan realm of W. Va?"
-- letter to Ku Klux Klan's Imperial Wizard from Robert Byrd, 1946.

"[I will] never submit to fight beneath that banner [the American flag] with a Negro by my side. Rather would I die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
-- Robert Byrd, 1947 letter

"I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm gonna use that word. But we all just need to work together to make our country a better country."
-- Robert Byrd to Tony Snow, Fox News Sunday, 2001


David Lightman of the Hartford Courant has penned an informative but absurdly-slanted article on the uproar over Sen. Chris Dodd's comments about Robert "Sheets" Byrd during his 17,000th vote as a Senator. There's a good chance you haven't heard about this story, since the corporate-owned, vicious, right-wing lap-dog media of Eric Alterman's imagination isn't much covering it, but here's the lowdown: Sen. Dodd publicly praised former KKK Grand Kleagle Byrd for his legislative accomplishments (i.e., keeping the streets of West Virginia paved with bacon), and said he would have been right for the country "at any time," including the Civil War.

Not that you'd know that from scanning this article; it takes Lightman 20 paragraphs to finally specify just what the hell all the uproar is over, most of it spent making the Republicans look like vicious bastards for supposedly not accepting Dodd's "apology" for praising a former Klan member (who incidentally had a cameo role as a Confederate soldier in Gods and Generals). After quoting Dodd's words, for example, Lightman darkly writes: "Conservatives were still not satisfied"; not "Conservatives remained unsatisfied" or some variant of that phrase. No, they're still not satisfied.

Lightman also informs us that Dodd, who is "a savvy politician," has "a long history of good relations with the black community" -- which is liberal-speak for "the NAACP likes him." And indeed, the NAACP does like him: when Dodd called NAACP official Hilary Shelton to apologize, he was told that no apology was necessary. Try to imagine Trent Lott wiggling off the hook that easily.

Lightman also takes Dodd at his word, saying that he "felt he should say he was sorry so there would be no misunderstandings." If this were a Republican speaking, Lightman surely would have written "According to Senator X, he felt he should say..."

To heighten the hypocrisy charge, Lightman mentions that a number of senators, including some Republicans, praised Byrd prior to his vote, and then quotes effusive praise from three senators, all Republicans, before mentioning Dodd, who merely "joined the chorus." All of those GOP senators did indeed say nice things about the West Virginia senator. What none of them said was this:

"I do not think it is an exaggeration at all to say to my friend from West Virginia that he would have been a great senator at any moment [...] [s]ome were right for the time. Robert C. Byrd, in my view, would have been right at any time.

"He would have been right at the founding of this country. He would have been in the leadership crafting this Constitution. He would have been right during the great conflict of civil war in this nation." [my emphasis]
He would have been right at Jefferson Davis' side, too, but somehow Dodd skipped that part.

Anyway, let's forget about Dodd for a moment, since Lightman's psychological profile is so much more entertaining. He clearly suffers from paranoic obsession with conservatives:

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, under relentless conservative fire for his remarks [...]

Conservatives were still not satisfied. [...]

Ian Walters, American Conservative Union communications director, agreed [...]

What's inciting Dodd critics, and has become a favorite topic in the conservative media [...]

"What Lott said was hurtful, and he paid a price at Sen. Dodd's urging," said Kevin Martin, a spokesman for Project 21, another conservative group. [...]

Other conservatives have weighed in. [...]

Conservatives maintained those are fine points. [...]
But let some scholar at a liberal think-tank pipe in, and Lightman's political-labeling fixation goes out for a bathroom break:

Stephen Hess, an analyst at Washington's Brookings Institution [...]
Lightman, to his credit, does quote Bryd's now-infamous "white niggers" remark (I'm sure every conservative he talked to exhorted him to mention it), but he goes on to basically absolve Bryd of any wrongdoing by mentioning his remorse over his past. I don't remember anybody defending Trent Lott because Strom Thurmond repented from his racism and became one of the first senators to hire black staffers. I guess liberals play by different rules.

Actually, there's no "guess" about it: the article naturally assures us that the Lott and Dodd imbroglios are quite dissimilar:

There are some differences between the Dodd and Lott flaps. No colleague from either party has publicly criticized Dodd, and Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle last week said there was "no parallel" between the two cases.
Hmmm. Comments praising a one-time racist. Check. Comments saying he'd have been a great statesman during a time of racial strife. Check. Comments saying he'd be a wonderful leader during the time when said senator was a racist (remember that Dodd said Byrd would be "a great senator at any moment"). Check.

But of course there's no parallel. Byrd, after all, is a Democrat. And that's enough to take him off-limits to the infamously-spineless GOP senators.

Oh, and did you know that Dodd has a great civil rights record? You do? Lightman already mentioned it? Well, in case you need a reminder:

Dodd has a strong civil rights record [...]
Oh, and Trent Lott is racist slime on legs:

[...] whereas Lott had come under fire for his civil rights sympathies even before the Thurmond comments.
In other words, he supported having state institutions treat people equally, rather than pigeonholing them on the basis of race. The colorblind position is "racism"; the discriminatory view is a "strong civil rights record." Freedom is slavery, after all. Arbeit macht frei!

Here's a disturbing thought: How many similar stories did the press manage to bury back when conservatives only had the David Lightmans of the world to rely on? Fox News, I salute thee.


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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Uh, Maybe We Just Made a Rotten Movie? 

Ben Domenech points out this USSR Today review that says The Alamo has received "mixed reviews." Let's count up the excuses:

•It assumed audiences knew the story. The studio may have overestimated the public's knowledge of the 1836 Texas battle, says Brandon Gray of BoxOfficeMojo.com. [...]

•No big-name stars. Ron Howard and Russell Crowe were once attached to the film, but backed out. [...]

•The John Wayne factor Older moviegoers, who were the target audiences for TheAlamo, still probably remember the famous John Wayne epic The Alamo from 1960. "Substituting Billy Bob Thornton for John Wayne is going to be a turn-off unless you've something else big to offer," [movie critic Brandon] Gray says. "This movie didn't."

"That movie took a lot of possible people out of the theater" for The Alamo.

But "if there's good word of mouth, The Alamo may have a chance to stick around," says Paul Dergarabedian of box office tracker Exhibitor Relations. "Word of mouth is particularly effective with historical epics." Reviews of the film were mixed.
Question: Do these reviews look "mixed" to you?


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Personally, I Always Figured He Preferred Crepes... 

Hey, guess what? John Kerry enjoys waffles. Lots and lots of waffles. Like Weird Al Yankovic, he's the waffle king!

Don't miss out. We're gonna "leggo' his ego" -- his big ego -- on November 2nd. Pass the syrup.


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Thursday, April 08, 2004

Blast from the Past -- Sedition Version 

David Cohen of Brothersjudd.com has posted this picture of John Kerry shaking hands with Daniel Ortega, the leader of the Nicaraguan Sandanistas during the 1980s. Notice how Tom Harkin looks on in awe at the disgusting old commie. I assume this was taken during Harkin and Kerry's mid-80s trip to Nicaragua, after which they returned to America and vocally opposed all funding for the Contras. Harkin was also a "good friend" of the Nicaraguan defense minister.

In brief: Kerry and Harkin were chumming around with people who would most certainly have replaced American democracy with rank totalitarianism if they had had the choice. Since that option was closed to them, they chose to stomp their boots on the neck of Nicaragua and were stopped only when voters told them to get lost (an election result that infuriated Jimmy Carter, by the way).

Remind me again why it's wrong to question Kerry's patriotism?


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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The Online Standard-Bearer for the Democrats Speaks! 

And let me tell you, it's not pretty. Here is what Marcos Zuniga, who runs the hugely-popular Daily Kos blog, had to say about the recent deaths of Americans in Fallujah.

If you chose not to click on the above link, perhaps anticipating its horrid contents, I'll give you the lowdown: Kos states that he feels no sympathy -- none -- for the dead American workers. After all, they weren't soldiers, like he once was. No, they were mercenaries for the greedy capitalist system that sought to leech off Bush's imperialist, fascist, unilateral, "insert-your-own-pejorative-here" war.

For the information of readers who may be unaware of the blogging universe, Daily Kos isn't a nobody blogger with only a few demented daily readers. Far from it: he may be the most popular blogger with a liberal viewpoint in the nation today -- according to Republican writer Bobby Eberle, he averages over 2.5 million unique visits every month. And, as Eberle points out, he has connections. Lots of connections. To a certain major political party, for example.

Kos is already feeling the heat -- the Kerry campaign has dropped his link from their website, and conservative blogger Michael Friedman has already persuaded some advertisers to drop their support. Even Ben Domenech has called him a "pathetic bastard" -- which is about as profane as Mr. Domenech ever gets.

Kos has already lost the courage of his deplorable convictions: he has issued a "non-apology apology" (A "non-apology apology" is a statement in which the transgressor backs off a bit but uses his putative confession to score further political points -- a method perfected by Paul Krugman, to name one odious practitioner of this method). Kos now says he really did feel sympathy for the workers -- so much of it, in fact, that he explicitly denied feeling any sympathy at all.

If you believe that, then I've got an old joint Bill Clinton didn't inhale from to sell you.

When you think about it, what is the necessity for an apology? Mr. Kos gave voice to sentiments that millions of Democrats probably harbor but are too scared to articulate. Is it truly plausible to think that the man with perhaps the most popular liberal blog around today is really very far out of step with his fellow ideological soulmates on this one issue? If he is, how out of step is he? How many liberals privately share his feelings?

I'm not sure I want to know the answer.


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Soon To Be Worst Republican Ex-Senator 

Specter faces primary trouble in Northeast, poll says
by Brett Marcy
www.timesleader.com
(3/31/04)

HARRISBURG - U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey has plenty of political watchers doing a double-take these days.

The Allentown Republican has gained substantial ground statewide on U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter in the Senate primary race - even passing him in Northeastern Pennsylvania, according to a recent poll.

Toomey leads Specter, R-Philadelphia, by 4 points in the northeast, the only area of the state where he leads the incumbent less than a month before the April 27 primary election.

The same poll shows Specter with a 9 percent lead statewide.

Another poll conducted in January showed Specter with a commanding 23 percent lead.

Local officials say Catholics and social conservatives in Northeastern Pennsylvania have latched onto Toomey's candidacy because of his Catholic background and conservative stances.

On abortion - among the nation's most divisive issues - Toomey is anti-abortion and Specter advocates abortion rights.

With at least one, and possibly two U.S. Supreme Court justices expected to retire soon, Specter could play a key role in the judicial nominating process because of his position as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"We're comin' to take you away, uh-huh, we're comin' to take you away..."

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

It's Like Clockwork... 

The New York Times once again runs one of their "the guy in the street hates/distrusts/plans to vote against Bush" stories. They also toss in a couple of pro-Bush quotes at the end, in the hopes that the "nonpartisan" makeup will make everybody forget their political whoring, but they ain't foolin' anyone -- except the already foolish.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 31 —From the beginning, Judy Pappas questioned the quickness with which the Bush administration went to war in Iraq.

She voted for President Bush, and considers herself a lifelong Republican. But by the time Mr. Bush's former counterterrorism chief, Richard A. Clarke, appeared on television last week saying that the administration had focused too much on Iraq and not enough on terrorism, she was doubting that she could vote for Mr. Bush again.

"It's a tough call, it's just one man," said Ms. Pappas, 58, a legal secretary, as she bought her morning coffee across from the Capitol here. "But I feel we were set up. Do I believe Clarke? Yes, I do."

Still, Ms. Pappas is not convinced she wants to vote for John Kerry, the likely Democratic candidate. "He's not a proven entity in my book," she said. "Not yet."

In three dozen interviews this week in this swing state, a number of undecided voters sounded the same note as Ms. Pappas, saying they were growing ever more undecided the more they heard from Washington.

Among partisan Democrats and Republicans, the testimony from Mr. Clarke and the Bush administration's reaction to it has only reinforced partisan feelings: those who firmly oppose Mr. Bush said they saw Mr. Clarke's testimony as confirmation that the president could not be trusted. Those who firmly support the president said Mr. Clarke was shifting his story to sell books.

"Clearly, he's got his own agenda," said Bill Gibson, 50, an investment banker. "When he says the book has nothing to do with his timing, it's just absurd.`

Jonathon Alexander, 39, walked into an upscale gym proclaiming: "It's the first time I'm really excited to vote. I can't wait to get this guy out of office."
Of course he was walking into an upscale gym. And what's this stuff about how "quickly" Bush went into Iraq? The words "quick" and "eighteen months" don't exactly go together most of the time.

Rush Limbaugh recently told Jay Nordlinger of National Review that he quit reading the New York Times when he noticed that they were, like most of the media, a gigantic cliche -- and that he knew them like his knew his entire naked body, head to toe. This article does not, to say the least, dispel that impression.


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