May 26, 2005

Further Filibuster-Finagle Fallout
— Ace

Powerline:

It is sad that the Democrats have voted en masse against a judge who by any rational standard should be non-controversial. Owen was re-elected to her position as a Justice of the Texas Supreme Court by an overwhelming majority, and received the highest possible rating from the American Bar Association. By contrast, Ruth Ginsburg, whose history as an ACLU lawyer and activist could have made her a more legitimately controversial figure, was confirmed on a 97-3 vote. Historically, Republicans have never adopted the Democratic tactic of first smearing, then voting against judicial nominees with whom they disagree politically. It will be interesting to see what the Republicans do next time we have a Democratic President.

Meanwhile, Decision '08 begins a "Coalition of the Chillin'," bloggers who aren't outraged by this deal.

I'm moving from the outraged camp to the chillin' camp. It's not such a horrible deal, and, if DeWine and Graham are to be believed, the nuke option remains on the table -- even in this Congress -- should their compromise-partners fail to honor the spirit of the deal.

Thanks to the National Journal's Blogometer, which would get a lot of hits if people could actually link to it.

Posted by: Ace at 07:46 AM | Comments (16)
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TiVo Alert: Rosie O'Donnell to Finally Appear on Queer as Folk
— Ace

I haven't been this f'n' psyched since Meadowlark Lemon joined the cast of Hello, Larry. A Harlem Globetrotter and Kim Richards? Almost too much of a boy's dream come true to be real.

She'll be doing three episodes.

Prediction: She'll play a wisecracking, somewhat depressive lesbian.

As with her role as a mentally-challenged woman in Riding the Bus With My Sister, this is an actor who continues to stretch.

Thanks to Chickpea.

I do not think there will be any liveblogging. There is, sadly, always the risk that if you record too many gay-pleasing shows, your TiVo will begin thinking you're gay.

Funny article there, by the way. Very old, of course.

Posted by: Ace at 07:08 AM | Comments (4)
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More Zarqawi-Wounded Rumors: Shot In the Lung, Receiving Piped Oxygen?
— Ace

Obviously, there have been a lot of rumors about Zarqawi, and we can't take them terribly seriously.

But... there seems to be a drip-drip-drip quality to this latest series of rumors. I don't know if that really ads to the credibility of any of them; but it is sort of different that at least these rumors have follow-up rumors.

Posted by: Ace at 06:49 AM | Comments (14)
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A Different Kind of Rainbow Connection
— Ace

Simon & Schuster Young Adult Book Aimed at 14-15 Year Olds Is All About "Rainbow Parties," Where Kids Have Semi-Anonymous Group Oral Sex

Unbelievable.

I guess I have something more to say than unbelievable, but for now, I'll just link Michelle Malkin.

Thanks to Brak.

Cautionary Tale? Bullshit: An unnamed poster notes:


I don't know. It doesn't sound that bad to me. From the USA Today article:

Bethany Buck, Ruditis' editor at Simon & Schuster, came up with the idea for the book and says she hopes it will "scare" young readers.
Suzanne Kelly, a buyer for the Chester County Book and Music Co. in West Chester, Pa., which will stock a limited number of Rainbow, agrees. She says the book's message that oral sex "really is sex" and that teens can contract STDs through such sexual practices far outweigh the controversial story line.

"I can't imagine anyone reading this book and saying, 'Hey, what a great idea. Let's send out invitations...."

The Claw rejoins:

Ah, that explains it...he was never a teenaged boy.

Yes, teenaged boys would send out invitations. All teenaged boys want to do is have sex. I guess some/many/most teenaged girls want to as well, but historically, they've been the brakes on the process.

The whole idea of a "cautionary tale" is just ass. In the fifties, there were dirty-ish magazines featuring names like Teenage Confidential and the like that would be all about good girls going bad and taking barbituates and having lots of sex and then having an epiphany or some tragedy that convinced them that they had chosen the wrong path.

But, obviously, no one was reading those stories for the obligatory moral point cynically packed in to the last two pages. They were reading for the barbituates and the sex.

This is so well-known and so obvious I'm surprised this guy even attempts this spin.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls spoofed this convention -- unbridled transgressive hedonism for an hour and half, capped by a judgmental and moralistic narrative that explained all the "lessons learned" -- and really, apart from the gigantic boobs and lesbianism in the film, it's really only that final two minutes that work at all, because it's funny. The narrator makes so many moralistic points, so ham-handedly, in just two minutes it makes you crack a smile (something the rest of the film failed to do).

If this Rainbow Party book is informative or a "cautionary tale," then really so is Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, or most of Russ Meyers' gigantic-tits-and-Nazi-murderers oevure, because a lot of those movies also have the quaint 50's censor-pleasing convention of the quick recap of "lessons learned."

So why not make Beyond the Valley of the Dolls available in junior high libraries, too?

Posted by: Ace at 05:47 AM | Comments (142)
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Mash-Up: United States of Whatever vs. Dark Lord of the Sith
— Ace

Okay, if you haven't seen Star Wars III yet (and you should wait for DVD, by the way), there's an embarassing moment when Vader is told something sad (take a guess), and he lets out this ridiculous "NOOOOOOOOOO" whine/wail.

So that's what you need to NOOOOOOOOO to find this parody funny.

Great stuff, and I know it's not old, because Dave sent it to me.

Posted by: Ace at 05:31 AM | Comments (10)
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Syria Detains 1,200 Heading For Iraq?
— Ace

...over the past few weeks. So they say, at least.

Syria has arrested more than 1,200 people trying to cross the border into Iraq in recent weeks and sent many back to their home countries because of suspicions they were trying to join the insurgency, Syria's U.N. ambassador said.

Ah. A catch and release program. Typical.

Fayssal Mekdad also denied rumors that terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may be seeking shelter in Syria.

Mekdad said Syria suspected that those arrested — mostly foreigners — intended to carry out illegal activities in Iraq. They were sent back to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Libya and other countries, he said.

"We gave a lot of information to the United States on these issues, which prevented many attacks, but regrettably, the United States did not recognize such kind of help," he said in an interview.

Syria's ambassador to the United States, Imad Mustafa, said Tuesday that Syria had stopped security and military cooperation with the United States in the past few months after Washington failed to respond to repeated Syrian overtures. Mekdad said contacts continued "until a few weeks ago."

Syria provided the United States with intelligence on al-Qaida after the Sept. 11 attacks. But President Bush ordered sanctions against Damascus a year ago after longstanding complaints that Syria was supporting terrorism and undermining U.S. efforts in Iraq — allegations it denies.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has steadily stepped up her rhetorical attack, from saying Syria was not doing enough to guard the border with Iraq to accusing it of permitting insurgents to stage their operations from Syria.

Not sure what to make of this, but it seems Syria is trying to get back in our good graces, despite (because of) our taking a firm stance.

Diplomacy and happy-talk is nice and everything, but sometimes it doesn't hurt, and may even help, to lay down the law.


Posted by: Ace at 05:25 AM | Comments (4)
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Morning Cowbell: 1st Q GDP Revised Upwards, Plus Other Cool Shit
— Ace

I forget now, is the good news in the War on Terror a distraction from the economy, or is the good news about the economy a distraction from the War on Terror? It gets so confusing:

The U.S. economy expanded at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter, faster than the government previously estimated, as the trade deficit shrank and consumer spending was stronger than initially calculated.

The second estimate of gross domestic product, the total volume of goods and services produced in the U.S., follows an advance calculation of 3.1 percent reported April 28 and growth of 3.8 percent in the final three months of 2004, the Commerce Department said today in Washington.

The figures reinforce the suggestion yesterday from Jack Guynn, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, that the U.S. Fed can keep raising interest rates to control inflation and not derail the expansion. The report may also help quell concern that the world's largest economy is losing momentum because of higher energy prices, economists said.

``Energy prices may have contributed to caution in business spending, but consumer spending is still quite strong and real estate is through the roof,'' said Mike Englund, chief economist at Action Economics LLC in Boulder, Colorado, before the report. ``The economy isn't showing much sign of weakening, and with hindsight this looks like a period of strong and steady growth.''

Inflation accelerated from the fourth quarter, although today's report showed no increase in the previous estimates for the January-March period. Corporate profits grew less than in the fourth quarter. Spending on home construction soared.


Thank you, Vinny Falcone, for watching over our economy
and riding its ass, and insuring no loose shit happens during
our quarterly cut-offs.


Thank you, Gene Frenkle, for playing that cowbell...
like the wind.


And thank you most of all, Paul Krugman, for inducing
the economy to grow, by hyp-mo-tizin' it with your crazy-eyes.


Guess what? I got a feeveh. And the only. Prescription. Is more cowbell. I gotta have more cowbell.

Thanks again for that kickin' theme to Blaster's Blog.

And thanks to Morpheus for the actual tip.

Geeze. Lot of thank yous on this. Worse than Sean Penn receiving the Irving G. Thalberg Lifetime Achievement Award for Being a Good Actor While Simultaneously Being a Completely Humorless Prick.

Can We Break Out of the Range-Bound Funk? Update: Sure would be nice to see the Dow finally get above 10,800 or so in the next couple of weeks.

Posted by: Ace at 05:16 AM | Comments (7)
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May 25, 2005

Funny, He Doesn't Look Like a Sex Offender
— Ace

Great Scot, this is a freaky looking dude.

Thanks to Dave. Linked today by the Corner, so I know it isn't old yet.

Posted by: Ace at 01:30 PM | Comments (45)
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The Stupidest/Funnest Link I've Posted This Week
— Ace

Ohhhh God, it's so dumb. It's sooooo dumb. It's such a horrible waste of time.

And yet it's funny.

It's funny, partly because it's well done, which means that, for all the time I just wasted, some poor schmuck spent a hell of a lot more time writing the code.

Sith Sense: Darth Vader "reads your mind" via 20 questions.

Three words. Idi-fucking-otic.

Thanks to Ogre Gunner.

Uggchhhh... It's annoying to be taunted by Darth Vader, especially when he isn't any good at this game. He only got an orange after a whole bunch of guesses, and guessed "gold" even though I told him the thing wasn't yellow. Yeah, he guessed platinum correctly after that, but still.

There's a downside to the darkside-- it makes you a retard.

And yet he just keeps taunting you, despite the fact that a precocious five year old with no midichlorians at all could have gotten those quicker than he did.

Posted by: Ace at 10:21 AM | Comments (53)
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Smoking Gun: Reporters *ARE* Being Targeted in Iraq
— Ace

By terrorists, who consider them high-value targets, and encourage their murders in how-to powerpoint quiz desgined to train jihadis.

Of course, Linda Foley (of "the US military is deliberately killing journalists" infamy) will have nothing to say about that because...

...well, I hate to go to the knee-jerk bomb-throw of accusing her of having sympathies for the enemy, but really, if someone can provide an alternate explanation, I'm all ears.

Posted by: Ace at 09:55 AM | Comments (15)
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Now Iraqis Can Pay For Their Appletinis With Visa
— Ace

It's everywhere you want to be. And, sometimes, places you don't necessarily want to be.

In a move indicating some degree of financial confidence and political stability, Visa just issued its first batch of credit cards to Iraqis -- 30,000 of them.

Not really a lot, when you think about it, and of course mainly issued to those who are quite wealthy and well-connected and can easily pay their debts, but...

It's a start.

Let's see... democracy, whiskey, sexy.

I think those credit cards will help facilitate the last entry on that check-list, if my experience is any guide.

Posted by: Ace at 09:21 AM | Comments (7)
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Air America Stiffs In Ratings, Stiffs Employees On Wages
— Ace

Lizz Winstead, who you never heard of before and hopefully won't hear of again, is suing the "network" for over $300,000 in unpaid back wages.

As this guy points out, her salary of $250,000 per year seemed a touch high for a host on a tiny upstart radio "network."

Thanks to Viking Pundit, who suggests the filibuster deal can't be as bad as we think if the Boston Globe is having conniptions over it.

Posted by: Ace at 09:14 AM | Comments (11)
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"Blogebrity:" A Hoax, of Sorts
— Ace

According to the National Journal's Blogometer:

Last week we stumbled across the website Blogebrity, which purported to be a magazine focusing on bloggers-as-celebrities (see 5/20 Blogometer). We speculated then that the site was a promotional tool for another website; it turns out we were wrong, but close. The website is actually an entry in a contest sponsored by liberal-leaning performance artists/activists at Contagious Media, previously known for a well-publicized prank on Nike and the satirical website Black People Love Us. Gawker Media founder Nick Denton, a "Blogebrity" target, is also involved. The contest will award cash prizes to a completely new website that receives the most unique visitors over a 3-week period ending 6/9. Blogebrity is currently ranked third.

National Journal guys: Allow linking to this feature. It's a good column, and it can't hurt to get the additional traffic and name-recognition that frequent linkings would provide.

No, you're probably not going to get many subscriptions out of the deal, given your rather high subscription rates. But you can throw up a couple of ads on the page and derive some revenue from that.

Posted by: Ace at 08:57 AM | Comments (2)
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Newsweek: Koran-Flush Story Fake But Possibly Accurate
— Ace

Outrageous. Only for Arab/Muslim consumption, appearing on Al Jazeera TV Dan Klaidman, a Newsweek Washington Bureau editor, said Newsweek remains "neutral" as to the story's veracity.

A couple of weeks ago he claimed the story did not demonstrate any "institutional bias" at Newsweek.

But it is awfully strange. Here in America, the story is retracted and apologized for. For Al Jazeera's core demographic of America-hatin' lunatics, it might just be true after all.

When the hell did "it might be true" become the threshhold of evidence needed to run a story and stand by it?

A lot of things might be true. Hell, if we want to be as reckless as Newsweek, we might say it might be true that Vince Foster's body was moved after death in order to prevent the White House from becoming a crime scene.

Is this the standard? Might be true? If so, will the media use the might-be-true standard against the liberal polticians and causes they champion?

Posted by: Ace at 08:53 AM | Comments (14)
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You Say Peoples Gonna Get Third-Degree Burns?
— Ace

We've all wanted to do it-- grab a couple of long fluorescent bulb tubes, fill them with gasoline, set them ablaze, and have a "light-saber" contest.

Wouldn't that be an awful lot of fun?

Well, actually, no. Not so much.

Thanks to Fat Kid, Ogre Gunner, and Raymond.

Posted by: Ace at 08:43 AM | Comments (18)
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More iFilm Fun
— Ace

Remember that AT-ST lookin' robot "land walker" I mentioned here a while ago? (Months after Dave from Garfield Ridge featured it, of course.)

You can see video of it in action here (look for "Land Walker").

Interestingly, the robot's feet seem to be based on the exotic technology that brought us... in-line skating. It's able to turn on a dime without moving its legs; I assume its feet are lined with some large steel ball-bearings or something that allow it to turn in place.

And, you know, if you're over there anyway, you might want to check out Sophie Marceau losing one strap of her dress on the red carpet at Cannes or someplace like that.

It says a lot about the coarsening of our society and the end of public shame and the wanton flouting of long-existing norms of sexual modesty.

Plus, you get to see full-on raw tit, which is just as nice as I imagined it would be since I saw her in Lost & Found.

Suspicions, Suspicions: She seems to dip that shoulder almost deliberately to drop the strap. Trying to revive a stalled career?

I don't know. Seems like a good plan to me, if that's what it was.

Also... Fat Kid tipped me to this a few days ago. Check out "World of War Craft with Leroy." I don't play War Craft, and alas I don't play these sorts of games over the internet -- but it is sort of funny to watch a bunch of dorks work out their plan (via chat over the microphones) and then see a character played by "Leroy" completely get sick of all the talking and just run into the monster's lair.

A total party kill ensues. It's fun to hear them say "Oh gee, oh fuck, oh God" in between calling for the casting of a "Divine Intervention" spell. Maybe if you guys weren't such potty-mouths Thor would be more willing to help you out.

Moderately chuckleworthy, if you're into this sort of Geek Culture.

Posted by: Ace at 07:36 AM | Comments (14)
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Dangerously Theocratic Islamist Iraqi Government... Legalizes Booze
— Ace

Instapundit slices like a hammer, linking both this story and the one below. Hate to keep stealing from him -- I try to avoid that, as I figure most of you read him anyway -- but damn, what I wouldn't do for that man's gmail box o' magic tips.

At any rate... you know that crazy ultrareligious government they've got in Iraq now? The one that's no better -- worse, actually -- than Saddam's rape-ocracy?

They just allowed nightclubs and taverns to start pouring the good stuff.

Alcohol doesn't solve all of life's problems, of course. No more than, I'd say, 80-90%. So the Iraqis have more work to do, but this is a good start.

But seriously-- the idea that a government should basically leave people the f' alone to do what they want is a good one. Porn, booze, "marital aids," birth control -- it's not that we should exult in people engaging in what some consider immoral behavior, but that we should exult in governments that are wise enough to leave most such decisions to their citizens.

And the thought that such a progressive idea is infecting Iraqi politics is a hopeful sign.

Now, of course, anyone wishing to sell booze will of course have to apply for a license. And liquor licenses are basically just a vehicle for governmental corruption, even in more advanced democracies like ours.

But a bit of low-level graft isn't a threat to democracy.

In an odd way, low-level corruption is the canary in the coal mine of democracy. If the state is so omnipresent and powerful as to root out low-level corruption... well, in all likelihood, the state itself is engaging is very high-level megacorruption and kleptocracy.

Posted by: Ace at 07:29 AM | Comments (23)
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Nightline To Once Again Read Names of the Fallen
— Ace

Cherenkoff wonders why they don't devote more time to the accomplishments of the fallen -- and those still alive -- rather than simply noting their deaths. He proposes showing the faces and reading the names of all 170,000 troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That's unworkable, of course.

The media is crafty on this. They know that these fallen heroes do deserve a tribute; conservatives can hardly take the stance of the Daily Kos and say "Screw 'em; I feel nothing for these mercenaries."

These brave men and women deserve an in memorium segment. If an assistant sound engineer on The Wizard of Oz deserves one during the Oscars, surely men and women fighting to defend this country from terrorists deserve one too.

And furthermore, they're quite right that "informing the public" includes informing the public of the sacrifice this country -- and these particular soldiers and their families -- are making/have made in defending us.

No argument.

The trouble is, of course, that they're rather cynical and selective about what "informing the public" requires. Informing the public requires not just wallowing in the deaths and injuries; it requires also showing what these men and women died to accomplish. It would require also showing two liberated peoples, free elections being held in formerly barbaric tyrant-controlled dysfunctional terror-states, and girls being allowed to attend school for the first time.

ABCNews will self-righteously claim they're honoring the lives, and deaths, of these brave men and women by noting their deaths. Well-- seems to me that if a fireman dies rescuing three children from a four-alarm blaze, we just don't note that someone has died, but what heroic service that man died performing.

If ABCNews truly wants to honor these men and women, they would make a special note of their accomplishments.

But they don't actually want to honor the fallen. They want to simply display the list of the dead and nail it to the gate of the White House.

And that's not a tribute to the dead. That's merely a self-serving and cynical use of fallen heroes for rank political purposes.

Posted by: Ace at 07:18 AM | Comments (13)
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The NYT Contrives a Majority Out of... Well, a Minority
— Ace

Typical screeching column about "extremists" on the bench, "overbearing Republicans," and the need for "centrist" (read: dogmatic liberal) nominees for the high court.

It ends oddly:

While the idea of letting the majority rule is at the heart of much in American democracy, it has little to do with the Senate, where some members represent 10 times as many people as others. There is absolutely nothing unfair about allowing a minority that actually represents more American people to veto lifetime appointments of judges who are far outside the mainstream of American thinking.

Yes, darlings, but that is the scheme of the Constitution, isn't it?

Further, this paragraph makes little sense. Sure, I suppose if you added up the populations represented by liberal Senators they might exceed the populations represented by conservative Senators; but then, most of those big states tilting liberal have lots and lots of people who voted Republican, whose interests are being thwarted by this maneuver.

In other words, the New York Times doesn't like Bush because he only won 52.5% of the vote and yet presumes to act on behalf of the country at large. He has no national mandate.

But the New York Times also thinks that Senator Clinton, who received (guessing) 58% of New York's votes, ought to be able filibuster, because she did, apparently, receive a "state mandate" to act on behalf of the majority of voters who actually voted for her, while ignoring the wishes of the rest.

It makes no sense, of course.

But the New York Times op-ed page never really does. As its own "Public Editor" (called an "ombudsman" by everyone else) Daniel Okrent leaves, he delivers this parting shot to the NYT's editorial page:

Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults. Maureen Dowd was still writing that Alberto R. Gonzales 'called the Geneva Conventions "quaint"' nearly two months after a correction in the news pages noted that Gonzales had specifically applied the term to Geneva provisions about commissary privileges, athletic uniforms and scientific instruments. Before his retirement in January, William Safire vexed me with his chronic assertion of clear links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, based on evidence only he seemed to possess.

No one deserves the personal vituperation that regularly comes Dowd's way, and some of Krugman's enemies are every bit as ideological (and consequently unfair) as he is. But that doesn't mean that their boss, publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., shouldn't hold his columnists to higher standards.

I didn't give Krugman, Dowd or Safire the chance to respond before writing the last two paragraphs. I decided to impersonate an opinion columnist.

Ignore the attack on Safire, of course; Okrent's a liberal, and as such, feels that evidence linking Saddam to Al Qaeda -- such as Saddam inviting Al Qaeda to make a base in Iraq -- is not any evidence of a link between Saddam and Al Qaeda. It's his attack on fellow liberals which stings.


Thanks to David of Precision Plain English for pointing out that the NYT's idiot op-ed columnist, as usual, makes no freaking sense at all.

Posted by: Ace at 07:03 AM | Comments (6)
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Wounded Zarqawi Fled Iraq?
— Ace

So says an Al Qaeda message-board, at least.

Your Terrorist Leadership Team

You guys do all the fighting and suicide-bombing. We'll be over here, bravely monitoring the situation on CNN, at a Damascus Fuddruckers.

Posted by: Ace at 06:46 AM | Comments (4)
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