Friday, August 26, 2005

The Return of Captain Chaos

Last week I blogged about Roger Ebert's review of the film "Chaos" and the "open letters" he exchanged with the filmmakers. These have resulted in what the editor of his web site calls "an unusual number of impassioned and thoughtful responses from readers." They've reprinted some of them here.

I especially like the letter by someone named Karlheinz Noise (great name!), who writes in part:

You neglected to mention one thing: The only victims who did anything "wrong" were women. Were we to take the message seriously, it is this: that women (especially young and pretty ones) should stay home and do what they're told, and if they don't, they DESERVE to get tortured, raped, and killed. This is a classic example of what feminists call the "protection racket," and there's probably enough in this one movie to fuel a dozen Susan Sontag books.

you let them off much too lightly when you simply called it a "surrender." The filmmakers claim that they "tried to give you and the public something real." This claim has a simple rebuttal: Their film is not a documentary. It is fabricated out of whole cloth -- more accurately, out of the celluloid scraps of better films, as you and others pointed out.

I must say this may be the most thought-provoking film that I have no expectation of seeing I've ever heard of...

Things I didn't know about Tennessee

A mere eighty-five years ago, American women gained the right to vote. The 72-year battle waged by American feminists finally paid off when Tennessee became the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment. The Tennessee legislature passed the Susan B. Anthony Amendment by one vote.

Brothers and sisters...pump up the volume!

Good article on Salon (you'll need a "day pass" if you're not a member) today about the feminist and abortion rights activists who have been saying for a while now that John Roberts is a big problem. Bigger than some moderate, and tellingly mostly male, "liberals" were saying he is...until more of his past was brought to light.

It's also revealing about a divide that I'd like to think isn't as great as it probably is between those moderate males and the female women's rights advocates. Basically the fear, seemingly justified, is that these men would throw women's rights overboard if it means the difference in winning an election.

Is it true? I dunno, but I'm reminded that we already know Bill Clinton counseled Kerry to sell out gays in the last days of the 2004 campaign.

I don't want to turn this into a long post about abortion and my feelings on a woman's right to choose. Suffice it to say, I believe there are things we need to compromise about, but basic civil and human rights are not among them, and neither is Roe v. Wade. And I believe some people aren't necessarily as enlightened as they think they are, or as they want you to think they are, or both.

What profits a party if they gain the presidency but lose their soul? I want a democrat back in the White House, but more than that, I want a Democrat back in the white house.

I wonder where we could find one?

America, America, god shed his grace on thee

Poll: People overwhelmingly support right of critics to openly protest Iraq war

An overwhelming number of people say critics of the Iraq war should be free to voice their objections -- a rare example of widespread agreement about a conflict that has divided the nation along partisan lines.

Nearly three weeks after a grieving California mother named Cindy Sheehan started her anti-war protest near President Bush's Texas ranch, nine of 10 people surveyed in an AP-Ipsos poll say it's OK for war opponents to publicly share their concerns about the conflict.

"Part of the Constitution is the First Amendment," said Mike Malone, a salesman from Odessa, Fla. "We have the right to disagree with the government."

With the U.S. death toll in Iraq climbing past 1,870 with an especially bloody August, the public's opinion of the Bush administration's handling of the war has been eroding over the past two years.

The poll found that most people disapprove of the Bush administration's conduct of the war and think the war was a mistake. Half believe it has increased the threat of terrorism. Democrats overwhelmingly question the president's policies, while Republicans overwhelmingly support them.

Public doubts about the war have gotten new attention since Sheehan, who lost her son Casey in Iraq last year, took her protest to Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 6.

Depends what your definition of "advocate" is

See how quickly they shit in the waters of truth. It's pretty amazing. I mean, you would think a remark as indefensibly stupid as Robertsons would be, in fact, hard to defend. I think you underestimate a little idiots favorite named Sean Hannity.

The Brothers Grimm

Terry Gilliam! For me, the anti-Tim Burton. A genuinely visionary (not a word I throw around) director who also knows the importance of story and respects writers. No doubt coming up with Monty Python, a team of five writers prepared to fight to the death for their work, helped.

When he's directed other people's screenplays, as on 12 Monkeys and The Fisher King, by all accounts he's been respectful to their intentions in the extreme. He involves them in decisions more meglomaniac directors reserve for themselves alone.

And when he's serving his own vision (Brazil, Time Bandits, the ridiculously underrated Adventures of Baron Munchausen), he has enough of a brain to know what his weaknesses are. And he asks good writers to help him. Who? Oh, only Tom Stoppard, Michael Palin--people like that.

He is my favorite director, and not only because he was smart enough to know Watchmen couldn't be condensed into one movie. I don't write the kinds of things he makes, but he's one of the only directors I'd give one of my scripts to in a minute.

And yet, to follow Terry Gilliam's career is to see a man who again and again finds himself on troubled productions. I don't know if he brings it on himself or what, and lord knows I don't think he was wrong in many or all of these cases.

But, it started with clashing with his fellow Pythons on Holy Grail. His battle with Universal to release Brazil in the form in which he wanted it is legendary. The production of Munchausen was a nightmare, but at least a truly remarkable film resulted. The same cannot be said of his aborted attempt to film Don Quixote, the ill-fated production of which is documented in Lost in La Mancha.

Reading between the lines of recent interviews Gilliam has given, you get the impression that here he ran afoul of the infamous Weinstein brothers, who are known to keep a heavy hand on their films. For one thing, they forcibly replaced his preferred director of photography. And the film, especially in the first half, seems to have the fingerprints on it of someone saying come on, come on, cut faster, get to the moment, no lingering, no beauty shots, come on come on come on come on come on!

But I don't want to let him entirely off the hook just because he is my favorite director. Who is to blame when a film is only just all right? The director, the screenwriter are the most obvious culprits when a movie is truly terrible, but when it's enough, 'twill serve? What then? There are too many things we don't know about what goes on behind closed doors.

This is my way of saying that The Brothers Grimm is minor Gilliam, but even minor Gilliam is always interesting. It contains enough of a glimpse of the way the Grimm fairy tales would look through his eyes to make me wish this film had been simply that.

But, unfortunately, we're lumbered with a story in which most of the parts mesh, but far too often the resulting beast just lies there, it doesn't sing, it doesn't soar, it doesn't swell with pride.

The main thing I came away with is a desire to see more of one of the supporting players, Lena Headey, an actress whose face is new to me.
She's a very attractive woman and seems, inasmuch as you can tell, to have the chops to embody a better character than this one. But although she starts out well and strong, in the end the film forces her into a box.

I'm just left thinking how very long it's been since we've had what I would call a "pure" Gilliam film. One that seems, as co-writer Charles McKeon described Brazil, like taking off the top of his head and peering around inside.

It's been too long, and I hope he's allowed to make another one soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Or am I a page in your

Okay, so here's the trick (courtesy of Bill Sherman):

A.) Go to; B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function; C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

As I couldn't figure out how to "strike through" songs I've decided to italicize the ones I hate instead. Which brings us to 1989...

1. Look Away, Chicago
2. My Prerogative, Bobby Brown
3. Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Poison
4. Straight Up, Paula Abdul
5. Miss You Much, Janet Jackson
6. Cold Hearted, Paula Abdul
7. Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler
8. Girl You Know Its True, Milli Vanilli
9. Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird, Will To Power
10. Giving You The Best That I Got, Anita Baker
11. Right Here Waiting, Richard Marx
12. Waiting For A Star To Fall, Boy Meets Girl
13. Lost In Your Eyes, Debbie Gibson
14. Don't Wanna Lose You, Gloria Estefan
15. Heavan, Warrant
16. Girl I'm Gonna Miss You, Milli Vanilli
17. The Look, Roxette
18. She Drives Me Crazy, Fine Young Cannibals
19. On Our Own, Bobby Brown
20. Two Hearts, Phil Collins
21. Blame It On The Rain, Milli Vanilli
22. Listen To Your Heart, Roxette
23. I'll Be There For You, Bon Jovi
24. If You Don't Know Me By Now, Simply Red
25. Like A Prayer, Madonna
26. I'll Be Loving You (Forever), New Kids On The Block
27. How Can I Fall?, Breathe
28. Baby Don't Forget My Number, Milli Vanilli
29. Toy Solider, Martika
30. Forever Your Girl, Paula Abdul
31. The Living Years, Mike and the Mechanics
32. Eternal Flame, The Bangles

33. Wild Thing, Tone Loc
34. When I See You Smile, Bad English
35. If I Could Turn Back Time, Cher
36. Buffalo Stance, Neneh Cherry
37. When I'm With You, Sheriff
38. Don't Rush Me, Taylor Dayne
39. Born To Be My Baby, Bon Jovi
40. Good Thing, Fine Young Cannibals
41. The Lover In Me, Sheena Easton
42. Bust A Move, Young M.C.
43. Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Great White
44. Batdance, Prince
45. Rock On, Michael Damian
46. Real Lov, Jody Watley
47. Love Shack, B-52's
48. Every Little Step, Bobby Brown
49. Hangin' Tough, New Kids On The Block
50. My Heart Can't Tell You No, Rod Stewart
51. So Alive, Love and Rockets
52. You Got It (The Right Stuff), New Kids On The Block
53. Armageddon It, Def Leppard
54. Satisfied, Richard Marx
55. Express Yourself, Madonna
56. I Like It, Dino
57. Soldier Of Love, Donny Osmond
58. Sowing The Seeds Of Love, Tears For Fears
59. Cherish, Madonna
60. When The Children Cry, White Lion
61. 18 And Life, Skid Row
62. I Don't Want Your Love, Duran Duran
63. Second Chances, .38 Special
64. The Way You Love Me, Karyn White
65. Funky Cold Medina, Tone Loc
66. In Your Room, Bangles
67. Miss You Like Crazy, Natalie Cole
68. Love Song, Cure
69. Secret Rendesvous, Karyn White
70. Angel Eyes, Jeff Healey Band
71. Patience, Guns N' Roses
72. Walk On Water, Eddie Money
73. Cover Girl, New Kids On The Block
74. Welcom To The Jungle, Guns N' Roses
75. Shower Me With Your Love, Surface
76. Stand, R.E.M.
77. Close My Eyes Forever, Lita Ford
78. All This Time, Tiffany
79. After All, Cher and Peter Cetera
80. Roni, Bobby Brown
81. Love In An Elevator, Aerosmith
82. Lay Your Hands On Me, Bon Jovi
83. This Promise, When In Rome
84. What I Am, Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians
85. I Remember Holding You, Boys Club
86. Paradise City, Guns N' Roses
87. Iwanna Have Some Fun, Samantha Fox
88. She Wants To Dance With Me, Rick Astley
89. Dreamin', Vanessa Williams
90. It's No Crime, Babyface
91. Poison, Alice Cooper
92. This Time I Know It's For Real, Donna Summer
93. Smooth Criminal, Michael Jackson
94. Heavan Help Me, Deon Estus
95. Rock Wit'cha, Bobby Brown
96. Thinking Of You, Sa-fire
97. What You Don't Know, Expose
98. Surrender To Me, Ann Wilson and Robin Zander
99. The End Of The Innocence, Don Henley
100. Keep On Movin', Soul II Soul

I'm actually a fan of Chicago's 16 and 17 albums, but once Peter Cetera left they were done. Which may be the most damning statement I can make: When Peter Cetera's departure means you collapse creatively...

At the time I either didn't like or wouldn't admit to liking "The Look," "Rock On" or Duran; today I think the first two are at least dumb fun and the last one of my favorite new wave bands (even if the reunion album's a disappointment).

And ah, god bless the B-52's...

"Sowing The Seeds Of Love" is a close runner-up for my favorite hit of that year, but I decided I couldn't deny the brilliance of the greatest rap lyric ever: "She's in yellow, she says hello, come sit next to me, you fine fellow."

Point of order: One-hit wonders When In Rome's one hit was "The Promise," not "This Promise." Call it what you like, it was a great single, especially the 12-inch. The album's not bad either; in fact I'd say it's underrated.

"Smooth Criminal." The bass-line alone is enough to make me at least a little sorry that Michael Jackson has now gone so beyond-help, batshit insane. And speaking of batshit (and insane), I'm sure Prince wrote the Batman album in his sleep, but it's still the last one of his I've liked.

For the second week in a row...

Gary Hart says some good things. Here's a little to get you started, but I highly recommend reading it all:

what will history say about an opposition party that stands silent while all this goes on? My generation of Democrats jumped on the hot stove of Vietnam and now, with its members in positions of responsibility, it is afraid of jumping on any political stove. In their leaders, the American people look for strength, determination and self-confidence, but they also look for courage, wisdom, judgment and, in times of moral crisis, the willingness to say: "I was wrong."

To stay silent during such a crisis, and particularly to harbor the thought that the administration's misfortune is the Democrats' fortune, is cowardly. In 2008 I want a leader who is willing now to say: "I made a mistake, and for my mistake I am going to Iraq and accompanying the next planeload of flag-draped coffins back to Dover Air Force Base. And I am going to ask forgiveness for my mistake from every parent who will talk to me."

She said what?

Ok, it's offical, the theme of today's batch of Dictionopolis in Digitopolis posts is Stupid Things Republicans Have Said Recently.

Now, I know I should have long ago had enough of Ann Coulter saying stupid things. This is, after all, the woman who smeared a former Senator who is also a silver star-winning, triple-amputee veteran because he was not patriotic enough to please her. This is the woman who once declared "God said 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours."

You'd think I'd have had enough of her to have grown cynical. Never. I'm constantly amazed.

Blogger Ed Cone found this:

Ann Coulter questions the courage of New Yorkers in the face of terrorism.

She says of terrorists, "it's far preferable to fight them in the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York (where the residents would immediately surrender)."

That's what Ann Coulter thinks of the cops and firemen of New York City, and of the family members of those lost on 9/11, and of the everyday people who refused to let the attacks keep them from going on with their lives.

Actually, though, I'm glad she said that. Because it reminds me that a couple of weeks ago when I was talking about the new issue of Vanity Fair, I forget to mention something I wanted to mention.

The issue contains a moving excerpt taken from a forthcoming memoir, written by the widow of one of the firemen who lost his life on 9/11.

By "surrendering," no doubt...oh no, wait:

The captain announces Dave died trying to save a child.

Seriously: What's wrong with Ann Coulter? I mean, what's wrong with Ann Coulter? How do you do that and look at yourself in the mirror, or sleep at night?

Okay, the Robertson thing

Anne from Peevish says it best...

(Why is everyone so wound up about Robertson making stupid remarks? Has it escaped everyone's attention that he regularly makes half-stupid remarks? He's a nutcase who would be a big nobody if the national media didn't keep handing him headlines.)

"Hoo-hoo dilly?"

So there's this documentary series to be broadcast on, I believe, the Sundance Channel, about "transgender" students as they go through their transitions--two boys becoming girls, and vice-versa.

I won't pretend to understand what makes a person feel they need to do that, but you know what's great? I don't have to. So long as no one's kidnapping me and forcibly performing the surgery, it's none of my business and does me no harm.

There are, of course, people who feel differently. People like...sigh..."Doctor" Mike Adams of the University of North Carolina, who plans to attend a campus screening of the film and ask a few questions.

Questions like...

Will the two new men get their new hoo-hoo dillies from the two new women?

As Jesse from Pandagon points out, this is

a grown man who plans to go in public and use the phrase "hoo-hoo dilly".

And he's not, so far as we can tell, trying to be funny. Then again maybe we should be grateful, because when he does...

When a woman has a hoo-hoo dilly surgically attached, does that not legitimize Freud’s sexist notion of penis envy? Is that something the Women’s Center really wants to touch - figuratively speaking?

Bwa ha! Bwa ha ha ha! Oh, those republican comedians. My sides! My sides are splitting!

We're through the looking glass here, people

I'm not sure who coined it--I got it from Oliver Willis-but there's a term one or two of the Democratic blogs have been using: "The Tinkerbell Caucus." It refers to those war supporters who seem to believe that everything will be all right if we believe in president Bush and clap our hands real hard.

Here's a couple of examples. David Frum, a former speechwriter for president Bush who is said to have come up with the phrase "axis of evil," thinks Bush just isn't giving good enough speeches.

By now it should be clear that President Bush's words on the subject of Iraq have ceased connecting with the American public. His speech yesterday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars is the latest - and one of the most serious to date - manifestations of the problem. The polls tell us that the American public is losing heart. A substantial majority (56%) now say that the war is going either "very badly" or "moderately badly." More than 50% now regard the war as a mistake. One-third want an immediate and total withdrawal. Maybe most fatefully: a plurality now say that they believe that the president deliberately misled the country into war.

And why would this be? I mean, it couldn't be that the war is going badly, and was a mistake that we should get out of as soon as humanly possible, and that the president did lie to us about, now could it?

Nah. Must be a PR problem.

Again and again during the Bush presidency - and yesterday most recently - the president will agree to give what is advertised in advance as a major speech. An important venue will be chosen. A crowd of thousands will be gathered. The networks will all be invited. And after these elaborate preparations, the president says ... nothing that he has not said a hundred times before.

What an unbelivable coincidence. The thing that can save Bush's war, and probably his presidency, just happens to be a skill Frum belives he has. I mean, it couldn't be that Bush has nothing to say he hasn't said a hundred times before, could it?

ETA: Michael Crowley, guest-blogging for Joshua Micah Marshall in Talking Points Memo, observes:

when even erstwhile allies like David Frum are complaining that "President Bush's words on the subject of Iraq have ceased connecting with the American public," it's hard to see how repeating the same old soundbites, even with precise casualty figures empathetically thrown in, will do the trick.

P.S. Note Frum's comment that he's been flooded with emails -- from National Review readers, remember -- agreeing with him. Republicans are nearing a state of panic over Iraq.

Meanwhile, Town Hall columnist Tony Blankley thinks it's those darn generals' fault:

It is hard to argue that the war is going optimally, and the administration argument that more troops wouldn't help is, at the least, counterintuitive. The president says he is sending as many troops as the generals ask for -- which is true. But recently, retired generals, and others, are saying that they are afraid to ask for more. If that is true, it is rather unheroic of the generals not to give the president the unvarnished truth of what is needed.

Yes, because we all know how well this president takes unvarnished truth. That's why he's attended so many military funerals. That's why he takes the issue of sending troops into battle so seriously, and would never, ever think there was anything funny about it. That's how we know, in fact, we went to war for good and sufficent reason--because of this president's ability to look the truth right in the eye and not blink.

If the unvarnished truth ever touched George W. Bush's little toe, he'd shrivel up into a little ball of skin and die.

Blankley finishes with a truly touching show of belief in his president:

The president rightly says that Iraq is currently the central front on the war on terror.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Place your bets

From The N.Y. Times...

Americans continue dying in Iraq, but their mission creeps steadily downward. The nonexistent weapons of mass destruction dropped out of the picture long ago. Now the United States seems ready to walk away from its fine words about helping the Iraqis create a beacon of freedom, harmony and democracy for the Middle East. All that remains to be seen is whether the White House has become so desperate for an excuse to declare victory that it will settle for an Iranian-style Shiite theocracy.

(Via Hoffmania)

Wait a minute

According to U.S. News and World Reports...

Conservative Republicans are becoming increasingly convinced that Virginia Sen. George Allen will run for president in 2008--and win. "He's got the right pedigree," says a longtime Bush adviser. "He's conservative, he's a former southern governor, and he's likable."..."People like him," the official says. "He's the one in the race who's got that Bush quality."...A former Bush aide says 2008 is shaping up as a "Bush legacy" election

I certainly hope so. Ok, can anybody tell me what I'm missing here? BUSH IS NOT LIKABLE, YOU MORONS. You know how I know that? BECAUSE THE COUNTRY DOESN'T LIKE HIM.

They're acting as though more than 36% of Americans approve of the way Bush is handling his job and less than 58% disapprove. But then, they are conservatve republicans, after all.

It's a sad day for somebody like me whose favorite music has always been synthesized

Robert Moog, the inventor of the synthesizer that bore his name, has died.

He was one of the very few folks who could truly say he changed the way music was made and the way it sounds.

At the height of his synthesizer's popularity, when progressive rock bands like Yes, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Emerson, Lake and Palmer built their sounds around the assertive, bouncy, exotically wheezy and occasionally explosive timbres of Mr. Moog's instruments, his name (which rhymes with vogue) became so closely associated with electronic sound that it was often used generically, if incorrectly, to describe synthesizers of all kinds.

More recently, hip-hop groups like the Beastie Boys and rock bands with more experimentalist leanings, from They Might Be Giants to Wilco, have revived an interest in the early Moog synthesizer timbres. Partly because of this renewed interest, Mr. Moog and his instruments were the subjects of a documentary, "Moog," which opened in the fall of 2004. In an interview last year with The New York Times, Hans Fjellestad, who directed the film, likened Mr. Moog to Les Paul and Leo Fender, who are widely regarded as the fathers of the electric guitar.

To All The Girls I've Loved Before

I'd just like to apologize to those of you women in Dictionopolis in Digitopolis' vast reading audience whom I've shamed by having some form or another of sex with you (One percent, according to the most recent polling data).

(Maybe 1.5).

I didn't mean to make you so miserable, I mean I actually thought I usually tried to show you a pretty good time. But according to this article Amanda Marcotte found, I never really appreciated you as a person.

You can imagine my embarassment. I mean, here I thought I was a sensitive, considerate and giving lover, at least when I'm at my best. But no, apparently, I treated you as though you were one of the girls from Sex & the City, some ho in a rap video, or an excercise bike. Oh, and I've been telling all my buddies that I had you.

Apparently I've been doing that, because apparently that's what we all do. Sorry about that.

You know...

I wouldn't want to be accused of being someone who doesn't support our president at all, and has no confidence in him whatsoever. But I can understand how you might get that impression. So, I'd like to take a minute now to say that there is one thing George W. Bush is doing that I have complete confidence in, and in which he has my complete support.

And that is chasing his popularity numbers to the bottom of the ocean. A while back, those of us on the left were chortling about the fact that Bush was less popular than Bill Clinton had been on the day he was impeached.

It's gotten even better now. George W. Bush is officially less popular than Richard Nixon was during the height of Watergate. His popularity ratings are in the 30s, and I don't think they've hit bottom yet.

In fact, I say, if this president really puts his shoulder to the wheel, he can drop below 20%. And need I add, he has my complete and utter support in this endeavor? C'mon, George! We know you can do it! We're counting on you!

This can't be a Democrat speaking

I mean, this is both smart and right. And when was the last time a Democrat was either of those things, let alone both?

Senator Feingold: the Democratic Party and Democratic leaders decided to take a pass on the Iraq war. They decided to defer to the President, and I have to tell you many Democratic leaders knew better. This was a bad idea, but they allowed the Bush administration to brilliantly intimidate them into not standing up and saying this doesn’t fit in with the fight against Al Qaeda and the terrorists that attacked this country on 9/11...And now we're making the same mistake, now that it’s clear that the administration took us into Iraq under false premises. We have a situation where they are doing a terrible job managing this war. They are doing a terrible job of having a plan to win the war and win the peace. Yet, Democrats are allowing the President to set the terms of the debate.

I must have water in my ears--no way that's a Democrat speaking...

Oh, for the love of god

ETA: You know what, Digby says it a lot better than I do over in Hullabaloo:

...for those of us who have been bellowing until we are hoarse for the last four years about the magical thinking about Iraq, it is ineffably galling to still be treated as if we are the starry eyed hippies when in it's the allegedly sophisticated savants of the foreign policy establishment who have behaved as if this war could be won by clicking the heels of Laurie Myleroie's ruby slippers.

We are the ones who pointed out the fact that Bush's delusional PNAC/TeamB/CPD braintrust had been wrong about everything since the dawn of time and were the last people who should be trusted with a pre-emptive war doctrine. We're the ones who noticed that you didn't have to be a nuclear scientist to see that the "evidence" of Saddam's arsenal had a bit of a comic book flair to it. (The drone planes should have been a tip-off.) We're the ones who understood that people tend to not like being invaded by foreign troops even when they despise their own leaders.

It was the sophisticates of the establishment who bought every bit of snake oil the administration was selling, not us. And yet we still have to be condescended to from the people who were flat out, 100% wrong?

There's a story in the Washington Post about how Democrats are basically running around like chickens with their heads cut off. It seems they were caught by surprise by the President's dishonesty and incompetence about the war, which most of them supported.

Now they don't know what position they should take.

The wariness, congressional aides and outside strategists said in interviews last week, reflects a belief among some in the opposition that proposals to force troop drawdowns or otherwise limit Bush's options would be perceived by many voters as defeatist. Some operatives fear such moves would exacerbate the party's traditional vulnerability on national security issues.

I'm gonna make this real simple. They should say, over and and over, as many times as possible, these words:

"I was wrong...Howard Dean and the protesters were right."

Still, the Democratic discord has provided solace for Bush advisers at a difficult time. Although Bush's approval ratings have sunk, the Democrats have gained no ground at his expense. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll in June, just 42 percent of Americans approved of congressional Democrats, a figure even lower than Bush's.

Gee, I wonder why that would be?

Oh, good. Joan Baez has weighed in.

Isn't there some way you can show your support for Cindy Sheehan without having to listen to Joan Baez?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

And now for a commercial break

If you look over to the right there and click the View my complete profile link you'll find, among other things, a link to my Wish List. If you're amazed at the quality of posts on this site (I know I am), please consider making a small donation to the Buy Ben Those Books and CDs He Can't Score Through The Ink 19 Gig Fund. I thank you.

One Mother's Son

Frank Rich has a good column today; his opinion is that the attempted " Swift Boating" of Cindy Sheehan failed. And that this is a sign of the growing unease of the American people with regard to the war.

I hope he's right. But the thing that jumped out at me, and why I'm linking to it even though I can imagine some of you have had your fill of Ms. Sheehan (agree with the way she's done what she's done or not) is this:

Casey Sheehan's death in Iraq could not be more representative of the war's mismanagement and failure, but it is hardly singular. Another mother who has journeyed to Crawford, Celeste Zappala, wrote last Sunday in New York's Daily News of how her son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was also killed in April 2004 - in Baghdad, where he was providing security for the Iraq Survey Group, which was charged with looking for W.M.D.'s "well beyond the admission by David Kay that they didn't exist."

As Ms. Zappala noted with rage, her son's death came only a few weeks after Mr. Bush regaled the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association banquet in Washington with a scripted comedy routine featuring photos of him pretending to look for W.M.D.'s in the Oval Office. "We'd like to know if he still finds humor in the fabrications that justified the war that killed my son," Ms. Zappala wrote.

Again, this may be the one single thing that I find most loathesome about Geprge W. Bush. It's not that he's an incompetent. It's not that he's a liar. It's that he doesn't even seem to be serious about the things he's incompetent at and lies about.

The man makes jokes about sending men and women to their deaths. And that's not funny.

I believe just about anything can be funny in the right context, but a Commander-In-Chief cracking wise, in public, about decisions that cost the lives of American soldiers? That's not funny. That's not funny at all.

Well. Well, well, well, well well, well well...

There's this woman named Michelle Malkin. She's a favorite punching bag of the more Democratic-leaning blogs, a Republican columnist, and most recently, one of the pack of attack dogs set out after Cindy Sheehan.

She's also the author of a book defending the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Don't you just love the internet sometimes? Because it turns out, she also wrote this statement (via Atrios):

The government has apologized and provided cash compensation to victims who were forced into camps. There is no denying that what happened to Japanese-American internees was abhorrent and wrong.

Now I know what you're thinking: Being the author of a book defending the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the writer of that statement are mutually contradictory.

Maybe you didn't hear me. I said, she's a Republican columnist...