November 30, 2004
— Ace It's no big deal if the head of a major network news operation thinks he occasionally talks with the ghost of Edmund R. Murrow, is it?
And more from RatherBiased: the word "blog" was the most searched-for item in Merriam-Webster's databases this year.
— Ace I've been nice and respectable now since Instapundit started blackballing me. I haven't gotten any Instalinks, and damnit, I've seen my traffic plunge precipitously.
I think it's time for Mean Ace again.
Fuck yeah. It's about that time.
Update: Right now I'm looking for someone to douche on, but I'm coming up empty. I can, however, recommend this Son of Nixon post in which he bans anyone who likes Bob Fucking Dylan from his site.
I'll catch hell for this-- I know some readers like Bob Dylan -- but I don't get it. The answer is blowing in the wind? How about a fucking catchy hook blowing in the wind? Would that be possible?
And what the fuck up with his style of singing? The man's voice changed from annoyingly whiny to full-on BrundleFly in ten years. Every time I hear this guy singing I think of Jeff Goldblum stepping out of a transporter pod with a new set of antennae sprouting off his schween.
— Ace But it's no big deal when they do it, because, the French, you see, have a certain, I don't know, je ne se qua about atrocities.
A kind of charming Gallic elan when committing heinous warcrimes.
— Ace It may be too late to watch this, but Fox's obnoxiously crass show Trading Spouses has been indulging in rampant Blue State bashing for some time.
The premise of the show is that two moms switch families. The recent switch is a Cajun Louisianan mom for a San Diego vegan ultra-liberal PETA type.
The latter woman is a complete jackass, forever lecturing, forever hectoring, always asserting her moral and intellectual superiority. The Cajun woman, on the other hand, seems uneducated, but is pretty sharp and wise. The contrast between them-- the PETA type always giving lectures; the Cajun woman taking a more "let us learn from another" take, couldn't be starker.
The Cajun woman was being harrangued by her new liberal family about the fact that, when she finds rattlesnakes near her home, she kills them. The liberal husband said that they employ a catch and release program with rattlesnakes. "So why would you kill one of God's creatures?" the husband wanted to know.
"Because it could kill my child," the Cajun woman said. Which, you know, seemed like a pretty good point to me.
No dummy she, she then asked what these committed PETA types do when they find deadly black widow spiders near the home. After a moment's pause, they confessed they killed them. "Why?" the Cajun woman wanted to know.
The liberal dad said, lamely, "Because they're dangerous."
The Cajun woman let that hang out there, hoping that the irony of it would sink in, but it didn't seem to.
Fox's editing job is particularly mean to the PETA mom, but honestly, she supplies them with so much damn material. It was pretty rich to watch her lecture the extended Cajun family about how meat causes cancer, followed up with a quick cut to her sucking down a cigarette.
I think that particular swap is almost over. Still, if you notice repeats of it coming up, it may be worth a chuckle.
Coupla More Funny Anectodes: The Cajun kid is great. He's precocious and a bit of a wise-ass, but not in that annoying, snide way that some people are wise-asses-- more in the charming, funny way.
Anyway, as the two moms are discussing the meeting they're going to have to mark the end of the swap, the Cajun mom says something bland, like that she just wants to share experiences with the PETA mom.
The PETA mom, on the other hand, has a more focused agenda. "I have to tell her all the mistakes she's making in her parenting," she announces.
Meanwhile, the Cajun kid seems like one of the best-raised kids in the world.
There's another bit where the PETA mom is at a Cajun dive restaurant with the Cajun dad and the kid. The dad and kid and chowing down on fried alligator, which, I gotta tell you, looked tasty.
The PETA mom won't shut up about her veganism, but at one point attempts to sound reasonable. "If I and my family were starving," she offers, "I mean, I would eat a dog if I had to." She meant this to be conciliatory-- for once.
But the Cajun dad said, "I don't know if I'd go that far."
"Why?" the PETA mom wanted to know. "If you were starving...."
The kid had an answer: "Because it's a dog. You don't eat Man's Best Friend."
It was a funny moment. She had been declaring her moral superiority as regards her treatment of animals for weeks, but now these two Cajuns were trumping her, at least as far as dogs go. You may have a rigid code about eating cows, they were saying, but you're not all that. You'd eat a dog. We'd starve first before eating Man's Best Friend.
She seemed a little discombobulated by that, and maybe upset that they'd one-upped her as far as care of animals, at least in regards to one special animal. Kind of a funny moment.
— Ace So says 20/20, and I tend to believe them.
There are several problems with these hate-crime laws. First, they seek to penalize someone for a mere thought, when it is the action and the intent that have long been the only punishable elements of a crime. If you beat someone to death with a bludgeon and take his money, you're just a "mere" murderer. If you do the exact same thing but call him a "faggit" as you do so, now you're something worse than a murderer.
I don't know. To me, it seems that the murder is the really important trespass here. The "faggit" is an impolite and hurtful word that we usually don't jail people for. I think this desire to criminalize illiberal thoughts demeans the justice system, and diminishes the emphasis on punishing actual bad acts.
But in Sheppard's case, I don't sweat this particular problem, because these guys were murderers of one sort or another, and frankly I think they should either be locked in prison for the rest of their lives or put to death, under pretty much whatever which theory you might like.
So I have no real sympathy for them. Did they kill him just because they were greedy, violent criminals hoping to score 20 bucks? Did they kill him because he was a queer? Who cares? Either way, they're banished from society forever, and perhaps should be banished from the tangible, corporeal sectors of the earth as well.
But the problem is that Sheppard's death is taken as more important than, say, mine would be. There will be no HBO miniseries about me, should I fall pray to murder. There will be no prosecutors attempting to "send a message" regarding my hypothetical death. I'm just a white heteorsexual guy-- I don't really count.
Oh, sure, it's kinda bad to kill a white heteorsexual guy; but not super bad, as it is to kill a homosexual like Matthew Sheppard.
It's not so much the differing levels of punishment for hate-crimes that I object to, but the unavoidable differing levels of the valuation placed on human lives this regime creates.
Minorities complain that they are treated as second-class citizens. Often, they might have a point, and surely that feeling must wrankle.
But the law is now set up such that it more or less explicitly says that my death doesn't count as much as minority's. Sure, theoretically, there could be a hate-crime rap brought against a black man who kills a white man out of racial animus, or a homosexual who kills a heterosexual out of hatred of straights. But in practice, that just doesn't happen. Not because such things don't happen-- they do, and there are lots of cases to prove it-- but because prosecutors, the media, and minority lobbying groups just aren't interested in eradicating that sort of hate crime.
Everyone knows the deal-- these laws are intended for the protection of special classes of people. And there's nothing wrong with that, except for the unavoidable implication-- if there are special classes of victims, there must, inevitably, also be not-so-special classes.
And I am, alas, in several of those not-so-special classes.
It's not a good feeling to know that my government has deemed my potential murder as not terribly important, simply because of the color of my skin and my heterosexual orientation.
— Ace In case you missed it:
Moore came out clean-shaven, haircut and groomed, in a blue suit which actually seemed to fit him. He explained, "If you can't beat them, at least look like them."
Did he look good? Well, he looked like a fat homely guy who'd taken an hour to look his best. Not exactly movie-star handsome, but at least he made an effort.
He was a bit chastened and humbled and that made him less vile and obnoxious than usual. He tried to do a bit where he explained how good Bush was for him personally-- he celebrated the fact that he and Jay Leno would do well under Bush's tax cut plan ("Don't drag me into this," Jay said) and that the fact that there would be no gay marriages meant that he wouldn't have to buy wedding gifts for his gay friends. Not really funny, and not terribly inventive, but not his typical arrogant condescension either.
He said that the Republicans "told a good story" -- that since 9-11, we had not been attacked -- and admitted that was a "powerful" story. His body language of course indicated he thought that story was pure bunkum, of course. And he said the Democrats had no "story" of their own.
The most interesting remark, however, came after Jay asked "Why do you think Bush won?" Moore answered, "I think he got more votes."
Memo to Keith Olbermann: When not even Michael Moore is buying your "stolen election" lunacy, maybe it is time, as is so frequently urged, to just MoveOn (TM).
Try Reading Something Other Than Left-Wing Conspiracy Blogs, Keith: I'd suggest his piece by Rich Lowry on the non-stolen Ohio election as a starting point.
— Ace It is a start:
The answer to the big question is that weve got to get serious about being and building a political opposition in this country. To do that weve got to learn to take the Republican majority seriously, as fellow citizens and as political opponents.
That means quit passing around stupid jokes about them, thinking of them in caricatures, treating them with contempt, calling them names. (Though it can be therapeutic to poke fun at a real jackass or a crazy idea from time to time!) It means seeking every opportunity for honest dialogue with Republicans, even looking for the odd patch of common ground on which we can work together. It means listening carefully and respectfully when they talk and learning what we can about them. As Tom McClintock showed in the recent gubernatorial recall campaign, there is sometimes a thoughtful intelligence and real integrity on the other side of the debate. As Peter Camejo showed, there can be well-reasoned and persuasive arguments, and not just slogans, on our side as well.
In college I was a spectator to a fight between two people. One was a conservative, the other a liberal. They were fighting over whether or not the government should provide some social service. The liberal was quite insistent that the conservative's failure to support this service made him a loathesome, selfish person.
He blew up. "What are you talking about?!" he demanded. "You and I do the same things. Neither one of us donates our time or money. We just sit around and bullshit and drink beer. But because you have this political position that costs you nothing in terms of effort or money, you pat yourself on the back for being morally superior!"
I actually think that's a big problem with modern liberalism, especially in terms of its diminishing political appeal.
Liberalism isn't just an ideology. It's not just politics. It's what makes them good people. The political has truly become the personal.
Many liberals take genuine offense at the expression of an anti-liberal political notion. It's not just a political disagreement; to them, it's an attack on them as a person. As the liberal has so much of his sense of personal worth invested in his identity as a liberal, disagreements over policy are actually attacks on the core of his feeling of self-worth.
Not only does this make honest and logical argumentation difficult, but it also has the unavoidable effect of making liberals think that anyone who disagrees with them is a bad person. There's no getting around that implication: If liberal thoughts make one good, then it must be the case that un-liberal thoughts make one bad.
And that's why liberals honestly, genuinely believe that people who disagree with them are just plain bad. Not misguided. Not merely wrong. Not beginning with a different set of unproveable first assumptions which, inevitably, lead to wildly different conclusions. No-- if you disagree, you're a bad person. You're certainly unenlightened, probably stupid, and maybe racist and fascist to boot.
Liberals really have to learn to check that impulse. It's difficult to persuade those who disagree with you when your pitch is made from the standpoint of condescension and barely-disguised contempt. And the fact that so many liberal shibboleths are deemed sacred and simply not open to debate -- after all, if those bromides are questioned, wouldn't that be a confession that perhaps liberals aren't quite so superior as they think? -- make them inflexible and unreasonable even in the face of evidence and declining political appeal.
Just my own two cents. I actually don't pray for the destruction of the Democratic Party, or liberalism generally. Like many other Republicans, I think that one-party dominance leads to arrogance and corruption. A healthy politics requires two parties strong enough to challenge the excesses and corruption of the other.
But to get back to parity, liberals are going to have to commit themselves to the idea that that they're not necessarily morally superior beings whose job it is in life it is to witness to and teach the unenlightened and stupid and retrograde. They believe in one system of political thought, not necessarily any better nor noble than any other, and to sell that system to the public, they're going to have to better engage the public.
And engage them as equals, not as moral exemplars sent by God(dess) to bring light to darkened minds.
Shock: Eleanor Clift Begins to Get It: Six words that barely make any sort of sense when written together, and yet there's evidence that it's true.
Meanwhile, KerrySpot gloats over Ruy Texiera's pie-in-the-sky optimistic predictions of an "Emerging Democratic Majority." The word "cocooning" is mentioned.
We Are the Hollow Men Update: 72Virgins offers what he terms a "paraphrase" of TS Elliot: ""Half the harm in this world is done by people ... who are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
— Ace The low initial number was taken as evidence as a sputtering economy. Now it's just shy of a very healthy 4%.
Bang that cowbell. Bang it like the wind.
Thanks to super-secret government source Deep Stoat.*
* Deep Stoat is really just an "amalgam" of multiple sources created by screenwriter William Goldman to add dramatic oomph to this blog.
Because You Asked For It Update: Guess what? I got a feeveh. And the only. Prescription. Is more cowbell.
November 29, 2004
— Ace A premise lifted directly from Kausfiles: I have the gall and presumption to instruct other bloggers what they should write about.
But honestly, I'm curious. Safire's column makes it sound like there's a lot of bad stuff going on, but either my eyes glazed over or I'm just too dumb but I really don't know exactly what Kofi Annan and his son did wrong.
Don't misread me-- I know they did something wrong. I just don't know what the hell it is.
If someone can make this all a lot clearer than a NY Times columnist, well then there feller, you may have a career in opinion journalism.
Plus, doing so will inform me, and thereby allow me to sound smart at all of those fancy cocktail parties that I don't go to.
— Ace Moving first hand account of democracy in action in Kiev.
Especially touching was this:
All major channels had previously been completely ignoring the millions of people on the streets, never reporting it and instead showing cartoons, classical music concerts and exotic travel destinations. We knew that most journalists from the major channels had either been fired by then or had gone on strike because they refused to continue broadcasting lies. As a result, all news programs on National channels 1 and 2, Inter, 1+1, Noviy, and others simply ceased any and all operations. For 3 days in a row, most of Ukraine, which only has access to the major channels, had no TV news. Imagine that - the very day after a major election - no news for three days, no morning news, no evening news, no news at all! All these channels simply had no creative staff left to produce bogus news. All fired or on strike.
Thursday night it all changed. The management and owners of all of the major channels gave in to the demands of their striking journalists and allowed honest news reporting for the first time in the history of independent Ukraine. Some of the channels like National Channel 1 and 1+1 began their evening news broadcast on Thursday with a group shot of all journalists standing together and one of them reading a statement from the creative staff in which they swore to report honest news and honest news only! This was one of the most unbelievable sights I have ever seen. And then the miracle happened - they showed a direct feed of a million proud Ukrainians on Maidan in Kyiv to the whole country. If there are defining moments in the birth of a Nation, that was certainly one! I am so proud to be able to witness it with my own eyes, in spite of all the tears that covered them at that moment.
Imagine Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Judy Woodruff vowing to... nah, that's just silly.
There's more at the link, of course.
Photographic Evidence of Voter Fraud? DiscoShaman is all over this issue. He's got a tally sheet showing 2000+ votes for Yanukovych and ZERO for everyone else.
Gee, even Saddam missed 1% or so of the vote.
— Ace ...by ways that seem, coincidentally I'm sure, to reduce the President's power to nominate judges of his choosing.
Meanwhile, the GOP is making noises that they really intend to go "nuclear" on this issue, once and for all.
You can tell they're serious, because they're offering a new, friendlier term in place of "nuclear option" -- "constitutional option." Gee, that makes opposing it sound frankly unamerican!
It's good they're changing the lingo. To me, that says they're not thinking of this as a threat anymore but as a tactic they might want to employ.
When they start calling it the "happytime family-values aren't-dogs-cute option," then we'll know they have the votes to pass it.
— Ace Hey, giving Leno ratings doesn't help Moore. I've got the DVR all loaded up.
I've been dying for a comedic premise for two weeks. Hopefully, the Husky Huckster will come through for me.
You know what I think would be a good show? A show about mismatched cops who at first hate each other and then become best buddies. And it would star Keith Olbermann as the fussy, kinda-gay one, and Michael Moore, as the enormously fat and unhygenic one who isn't really gay but you gotta figure he watches some really sick shit when he whacks off.
And of course they'd solve all sorts of "crimes," like the Halliburton corruption deal and the theft of Florida and Ohio. And the gimmick is that they're both a couple of douchebags who don't know a lick about detective work or research or even logical deduction, so they just sit in their Upper West Side apartments "solving" cases by reading BuzzFlash and MoveOn.org.
It would be called Internet Detectives, of course.
Jake and the Fat Man ran for several years. Why not my show?
P.S.: I think we could work in Oliver Willis too. He could be in a kind of lower-rent Lone Gunmen type group, along with Josh Marshall and Daily Kos. They'd be the exposition-bitches that Moore and Olbermann come to when the writers need to advance a plot point quickly.
— Ace Seems to be the question of the day.
I know I've read a bunch of novels twice, but the only one that sticks in my head right now is Catch-22, which I've read five or six times.
I've read a lot of non "literary" novels several times, like most of Raymond Chandler's mysteries. Although Chandler is, I guess, considered halfway literary and respectable now, at least by discerning critics.
And The Hobbit. I've read that eight times. I don't know why there's all that fuss over the Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is tighter, quicker, funnier, more action-packed and generally more delightful in all ways than the lugubrious, plodding LOTR.
— Ace Yes, I know I've been light in my blogging lately. I've been trying to think of interesting stuff to write, but I've been coming up with doodly-squat. Well, actually, I'm working on a couple of okay things, but no really good comedy stuff.
Today I have a genuinely good reason for taking a few hours off blogging. I can't share that reason with you right now, but I hope to soon. Not anything that's going to change your life, but hopefully something that will make mine a little better.
I'll be back as soon as possible. Hopefully by six.
Okay, I'm Back: I'm kind of a private person, but later on I'll let everyone in on the mystery, because 1) it could help someone else and 2) I need the traffic.
— Ace A particularly funny "We're Sorry" picture-- this one not meant in earnest. I kinda like the father giving the half-assed black-power salute.
Thanks to Alarming News, who also has further discusion on realignment.
— Ace Trouble for Bush is that 31% want it overturned, and those 31% are his base.
Tough times ahead for the Republican Party. These intraparty differences can be finessed, so long as you're unable to exert your political power to actually change things (or not change them).
Once you've got that power, you've got to make the decision. And Bush and the Republican conservatives in the Senate will soon be drawn into a very tough wedge issue. Alienate 59% of the electorate, or the 31% of your reliable base, responsible for voting you into office?
This is going to be worse than gay marriage was for the left.
— Ace "The End of the World" -- kind of an old one, but funny if you haven't seen it, or if you haven't seen it in a while.
Pics from a Star Wars wedding. First couple of pages seem to give the impression that the only characters in Star Wars are a couple of Stormtroopers who like to pose for the camera. Later on you get more of a mix of characters, including, I think, "IG-88." And Vader, of course.
You may have heard of this: alcohol in inhalable, gaseous form. For those who just don't have all that time to down four or five shots of vodka in ten minutes.
A very detailed map of the Simpson's home town of Springfield, USA.
Not really safe for work (dirty lyrics): Lost Episode of "The Smurfs."
Ultradork Update: An extensive website about "Victorian-age robots."
Now that's dorky.
— Ace So say Drudge's "immaculate sources" at CBS, so this report might actually be worth the paper it's printed on.
November 28, 2004
— Ace In case any Spaniards weren't sure, yes, we are all Americans now:
MADRID (Reuters) - The FBI has established the clearest link yet between the March 11 Madrid train bombings and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, a Spanish newspaper reported Sunday.
The FBI has told Spanish investigators that one of three men believed to have planned the Sept. 11 attacks from Spain in the summer of 2001 also gave the order to carry out the Madrid blasts, the newspaper ABC reported.
Hijacker Mohammed Atta, believed to have piloted one of the airliners that crashed into New York's World Trade Center, visited Spain two months before the attacks and met two men.
One was Ramzi bin al-Shaibah, who is being held by U.S. authorities, while the other was unidentified.
ABC said investigators now believe that third man was the one who in December 2003 activated the Qaeda cell that carried out the March 11 attacks, which Spaniards call "our Sept. 11."
There's an old joke about two hunters being chased by a bear. One hunter begins stripping off his clothes in order to run faster. "There's no point doing that," the other hunter says. "Naked or not, you can't run faster than a bear."
The first hunter strips off his shirt and says, "I don't have to run faster than the bear; I just have to run faster than you."
That strategy may work with bears, but it doesn't seem to be working with respect to Al Qaeda, as Holland has lately learned.
There are two theories regarding why Al Qaeda hates us. Bush's version is that they hate us "for our freedom," or, more loosely, they simply hate us for what we are and what we represent, including, as Osama bin Ladin so frequently lectures us, 1000 years of Muslim "humiliation."
The other theory is that they hate us for our foreign policy, or, more loosely, for what we do. And if we just change what we do, we can appease them.
The left attacks Bush for what they believe is his childish refusal to accept that if we just sold out Israel, Al Qaeda might be appeased.
But the truth is that both theories are true; they hate us for both what we are and what we do. And this makes Bush's formulation more true, and it makes the liberals' and Europeans' attempts to appease futile. Yes, you can change what you do, but you can never -- short of accepting Islamofascist rule -- change what you are.
Even if Euorpe accepted Al Qaeda's terms jot by tittle, there'd still be that nagging little problem of 1000 years of Muslim humiliation, and that minor little holy imperative to conquer the world and bring it into the Dar al Islam. It's no great victory to be butchered by maniacs who do so with a little less relish than they might reserve for Americans.
— Ace They want you to make genuine flyers, but I doubt the software is sophisticated enough to pick up on sarcasm.
Oliver Willis, you are the gift that keeps on giving. You are the wind beneath my wings.
Aw, Nuts Update: It lets you print a flyer, but you can't type one up and grab an image of it to post on-line. Darnit.
I Think I've Mentioned It Before But It's Still Funny Update: ReBranded Democrat flyers here.
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