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Monthly Archives: June 2003


June 20th, 2003 - 1:18 am

Brilliant Howard Fineman article on how the Bush Team is planning to win in ’04.

The surprise? He’ll mostly be playing on domestic problems — and lots and lots of hard money. Here’s the key bit:

Bush and Rove are attempting to do the same thing [as the Clinton '96 campaign], in mirror image. The president has tried to snatch the HIV/AIDS issue from the Democrats, pushing

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Evil Plan, Hatched

June 20th, 2003 - 12:40 am

It has begun.

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Friday Recipe

June 20th, 2003 - 12:35 am

I made this one for my bride’s birthday almost two years ago, just three days after I proposed. She’d already said yes and had a sparkly new rock on her finger, so you’d think I could have slacked off a bit on the cooking for a while

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June 20th, 2003 - 12:11 am

Ah, multitasking.

While blogging tonight, I’m also enjoying a decent Irish whisky, watching The Godfather, and exchanging emails with Matt Traylor.

What I’m about to write isn’t because of the whisky; it’s a firmly-held belief. No matter what the critics or most of the fans say, The Godfather, Part I is still better than Part II. Yeah, II was cool because Mike was, well, Mike from start to finish, without having to deal with him going from war hero to cold-hearted Mob boss.

But I is still better. Why? Because we do see Mike make that change. Besides, by II he’s descended too far into the moral abyss to be sympathetic any longer.

Everyone remembers the big finish to both movies. In the first, Mike has the heads of all the New York Five Families killed, while he maintains a perfect alibi at his nephew’s baptism. All he wanted to do was get his family legit and moved out to Nevada, where he and Kay could be safe together with Little Mike and Baby Sophia Coppola. And killing a bunch of mobsters was the price he had to pay to get his freedom.

That, my friends, is good drama.

Fast-forward to the end of Part II. Mike, mostly safe in Tahoe, kills again. Only this time, he isn’t killing mob bosses who would kill him first, given the chance. Who does he kill? His helpless, repentant, older brother Fredo, a former ally serving time, and an elderly Jew already stripped of his money and power — and also in Federal custody.

Yeah, it’s an interesting character study, seeing how far Michael Corleone has declined. It just doesn’t make for as fine a movie.

You might ask why I haven’t mentioned The Godfather, Part III. The reason is I still haven’t forgiven Francis Ford Coppola for casting his daughter in what should have been the perfect end to a near-perfect trilogy.

UPDATE: Just got to the scene where Mike tells Vito, “I’m with you.” The look on Brando’s face, all pride and regret, is worth the price of admission alone.

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The Polymath Can Do Art, Too

June 19th, 2003 - 9:42 pm

I think we may have the first winnner in the PhotoShop Lileks Contest.

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Sorry, Ladies

June 19th, 2003 - 4:09 pm

Here’s something for my bride not to read. You, however, should.

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June 19th, 2003 - 2:36 pm

Yes, Craig, you get all the credit. Or blame, depending on who’s reading this.

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June 19th, 2003 - 2:27 pm

Bloggers aren’t the only ones upset with Orrin Hatch’s remarks the other day. Reader Clifford Grout was kind enough to forward this letter he sent to the Republican National Committee:

To the Chairman of the RNC:

I am a 44-year old architect in Louisiana, and have proudly been a registered Republican all my life.

Today, that changed.

I just finished reading Sen. Hatch’s shocking comments on copyrights and downloading, where he says a private industry (the recording and entertainment industry) should have the right to destroy my property (my computer) if they do not like what I am doing with it (downloading). The fact that he even considered such an idea makes question what the leaders of the GOP are thinking. Does the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee think sending me a warning e-mail constitutes due process??

Sir, I fully understand copyrights. My designs are protected by copyrights. But by using Sen. Hatch’s logic, I shouldn’t I have the right to destroy a building that was copied from one of my designs? After only sending the Owner a letter???

Of course not.

Sir, I have always believed that the core values of the GOP are freedom, responsibility, and equal treatment under Law. I still believe in those things. Does the GOP? From his comments, it is clear that Sen. Hatch does not. What I heard I would expect from a Rep. Waxman, Sen. Boxer, or Sen. Clinton.

But NEVER a Republican.

For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be a member of the GOP, and am considering changing my party affiliation from ‘Republican’ to ‘Independent’. How the RNC responds to the comments of Sen. Hatch will be the determining factor in my decision. There are clearly ways to handle the file sharing issue other than giving the RIAA police powers over my property.

Yours Sincerely.

J. Clifford Grout III, Architect AIA

And I thought I was harsh on Hillary this morning.

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One More Shot

June 19th, 2003 - 9:44 am

Courtesy of Henry Hanks, read Neal Boortz on blogs and Bill O’Reilly:

Various radio and television websites have been quite full lately of stories about how our good friend Bill O’Reilly has his thong in a wad over Internet “blogs.” Let

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This Time, It’s Personal

June 19th, 2003 - 1:46 am

I had my uninformed say on Iran already this week. For the best continuing coverage, see Pejman.

Read and scroll, kids, just read and scroll.

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Whole Lotta Hate

June 19th, 2003 - 1:33 am

Let’s get this out of the way right out front, so there’s no mistaking where I come from: I hate Hillary Clinton.

To paraphrase Roger Ebert’s review of the Rob Reiner disaster, “North,”:

I hate Hillary Clinton. Hate hate hate hate hate Hillary Clinton. Hate her. Hate every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of her. Hate the sensibility that thinks anyone would like her. Hate the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would vote for her.

There. I feel better now. No, wait, writing about Hillary is like peeing after a six-pack of cheap beer

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June 19th, 2003 - 12:59 am

While I’m busy doing a woe-is-me/whoa-how-cool-is-me evening on the blog, I’d better mind my manners a bit.

Thanks to everybody who emailed while I was on break to check in to see if I had checked out. I was also embargoing emails, so I didn’t get back to you — Glenn, James, Stacy, Deene, David, John, Doug, Charlie, and more people than I can count in the comments section.

Next time I take off — and there will be a next time — I promise to leave a note.

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Back Scratching, Part Deux

June 19th, 2003 - 12:53 am

Dave Cullen is a Denver-based journalist who, by his own admission, “rarely goes Republican.” Also, by his own admission, he’s briefly gone over to “the dark side.”

It’s a good bit on the latest Abercrombie & Fitch brouhaha, and you should read it.

And I’m not just sucking up to Dave because he snagged a couple of quotes from me for an article he’s writing on Denver (and one Colorado Springs) bloggers for the Auguest/September issue of 5280 magazine. He’s a good guy and we spent way too long talking about blogs and such the other night.

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For Your Oohing and Aahing Pleasure

June 19th, 2003 - 12:48 am

Here’s my boy.

Xander at 9 Weeks

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This whole bit of having to catch up on a month’s worth of news has left me without much too say.

Now that we have the bald-faced lie (lying without a beard? And how is that worse than a Van-Dyked lie, or, to be more sinisterly hip, goateed lying?) out of the way, I really spent the day between Home Depot and re-organizing the garage.

Oops, that’s another lie. One can’t re-organize what was never once organized. Thanks to some new wiring, there’s now a power strip over my workbench — a workbench I can see for the first time. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to get a bunch of hangy thingies and hang them off the pegboards, then hang the handtools on the hangy thingies for the out-of-the-way hanginess. (That last sentence should serve as a warning against watching an entire season of Buffy in just four nights. But what’s a fan to do when he’s never seen Season 4 and it just came out on DVD?) Anyway. Even the weedwhacker and the hedge trimmer are off the shelves and hanging on a wall, with a wall-mounted basket for the pair of 18-volt batteries that came with them. I’ve been a busy boy.

Especially since I’ve been to Home Depot

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More Required Reading

June 18th, 2003 - 12:59 am

Austin Bay says this is a tough month for diplomats.

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Spiked Story

June 18th, 2003 - 12:46 am

Admittedly, I’ve been out of the loop for a few weeks, so maybe I missed a bunch of stuff. But going over the front pages of the web editions of various major newspapers this evening, I haven’t seen a single story about Iran.

Not even one in the Los Angeles Times, the biggest paper in the US city with (if memory serves; better ask Pejman) the largest expat Iranian community in the US. Nothing at the Washington Post or the New York Times, either. I’d check WSJ, but I keep forgetting to renew my subscription.

Am I missing something here, or are they?

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Required Reading

June 18th, 2003 - 12:35 am

It’s a bit early in the week for a Friday Recipe, but DoggerelPundit has you covered.

And, yeah, the recipe is a poem. Er, the poem is a recipe.

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Share THIS

June 18th, 2003 - 12:26 am

Anyone still wondering why I’ve haven’t voted straight-ticket Republican since 1988 should read this, found on Drudge:

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday he favors developing new technology to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music from the Internet.

The surprise remarks by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during a hearing on copyright abuses represent a dramatic escalation in the frustrating battle by industry executives and lawmakers in Washington against illegal music downloads.

During a discussion on methods to frustrate computer users who illegally exchange music and movie files over the Internet, Hatch asked technology executives about ways to damage computers involved in such file trading. Legal experts have said any such attack would violate federal anti-hacking laws.

Orrin Hatch isn’t a stupid politician, in the sense that he rarely (never, to my recollection) speaks extemporaneously. He’s no Clinton, thinking aloud in front of the nation then relying on his spinmeisters to clean up the mess. Hatch is as carefully measured as a souffl

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Random Housekeeping Note

June 17th, 2003 - 4:36 pm

Re-hanging bi-fold doors, and getting them to hang true, proves that God can be a mean S.O.B.

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From the Front

June 17th, 2003 - 9:42 am

NRO has this piece written by an Iranian student:

Each night we set to the streets only to be swept away the next dawn by agents of the regime. Two nights ago, on Amirabad Street, we wrote “Down with Khomeini” on the ground. Before long, the mullah’s vigilantes attacked us on their motorcycles. They struck a female student before my eyes so harshly that she was no longer able to walk. As she fell to the ground, four members of Ansaar-e-Hezbollah surrounded her, kicking her. When I and two other students threw stones at them so that they would leave her alone, they threatened us. We escaped into a lane and hid in a house whose owner, an old lady, had left the door open for us. A few minutes later, we saw the young lady being carried away by riot police, her feet dragging on the ground, her shattered teeth hanging out of her still-bleeding mouth.

Read, as they say, the whole thing.

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Parting Shot

June 16th, 2003 - 11:26 pm

Lileks on radio:

The minute you act as though you

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Home Again and Still

June 16th, 2003 - 11:09 pm

Took a little break from the news. No Drudge Report. No GoogleNews. Nothing past the first paragraph of page one stories. Very little InstaPundit. Cheated a little and read Den Beste and Andrew Sullivan some nights, but that was about it. Well, and the daily dose of Lileks.

Nice sabbatical — good for the mental health now and then. Also, lots more time to raise the puppy. Got ourselves a golden and named him Xander Harris Ripple Green.

The “Xander Harris” part is easy to understand, if you’ve ever watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer and known a golden retriever. Ripple was our puppy’s father — a local prize winner, this proud parent feels the need to add. Should have added “Practice” in there somewhere, since that’s one of his jobs — practice for the human-type baby we’re planning for sometime next year.

So life has been housebreaking and rolling on the floor and grass-stained jeans and scraping unmentionables off shoes and such. And squeaky toys. Lots and lots of squeaky toys, sometimes found on the second-to-last stair. In the dark, of course. Now I understand why Mom hated walking around the house barefoot once I got into Legos.

The book proposal? Man, oh, man. Writing a cookbook for people who probably ought not be cooking is a job and a half. Maybe even a job and three quarters. On the fourth re-organization of the thing, finally deciding to leave nothing to chance: entire menus, from apps to dessert, with strict instructions on when to do exactly what. For 50 dinners and picnics and parties. This thing had better sell.

Then, don’t you know it, the day I decide to sit down and get blogging again, some nasty little bug bit my head. So the promised return is a little later than promised.

While I was off, it seems the blogosphere took down Howell Raines, President Bush dove nose-first into the Middle East tar baby, and. . .well, I’m not too sure what else just yet. Lots of catch-up to do this week.

And then there’s Iran. More demonstrations tonight? I haven’t looked yet, but I’m-a-gonna. If so, that’s a solid week of pro-democracy demonstrations throughout the Islamic Republic. Cool.

Some folks (and when I say “folks,” I mean “idiots”) wondered blithely and loudly why we didn’t threaten and coerce Iran the way we did Iraq. The answer then was knowledge that the people of Iran were itching for change, and the hope that they were willing and able to bring it about themselves. We’re watching that hope become real.

If it continues, expect bloodshed.

The ’78-’79 Islamic revolution was, as such things go, relatively blood-free. For all his faults and tyranny, the old Shah turned out to be a decent man. When push came to shove, he left his country rather than fight to the bitter end. I hold no such hope for the mullahs. The Shah fought for worldly power and a modern Iran. The mullahs fight for worldly power and a medieval Iran. And, ominously, for godly power.

Scared men will often cut and run. Scared men who think god and/or history is on their side are capable of most anything. If you want the gory historical details, just think about the Crusades, the Inquisition, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot for a moment. Iran’s mullahs have the zeal of Crusaders, the dungeons of the Inquisition, and the methods and madness of fascist or communist brutes.

If I were a man who prays, I’d pray for the people of Iran right now — they’re going to need it.

Our role in all this? Lot of waiting-and-hoping-for-the-besting, I think. This is their revolution — let’s not take it away from them unless we absolutely must. That’s not to say we can’t provide moral and (some very, very quiet) material support to any Provisional Government that might establish itself somewhere on the Gulf coast or elsewhere.

Or the protests could stall, and Iran could muddle on worse than before, eventually becoming just another overpopulated, poorly-governed Third World basket case — albeit one with lots of oil, a hankering to kill Jews, gays, etc., and nuclear ambitions.

We ain’t out of the woods yet, and neither are the people of Iran. But there is hope, and that’s a lot more than we’ve had, or they’ve had, in a long, long time.

That’s enough pontificating for tonight — time to get all snarky and sardonic again. See you in the morning.


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Stay Tuned

June 15th, 2003 - 10:05 pm

Back on Monday. Thanks for your patience.

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