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Monthly Archives: August 2005

Party Plans

August 15th, 2005 - 11:24 pm

With just five days to spare, Andy and Zomby have finally revealed the secret location of Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash 4.5.

We’ll be at Minturn Saloon this Saturday starting at 7ish.

The fashionably late won’t miss a thing. The fashionably early will all have really nice buzzes going by the time the fashionably late people get there. Wusses who leave early risk missing out on Zomby buying shots for everyone, and the ritual Singing of the TV Show Theme Songs.

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Doomed from the Start

August 15th, 2005 - 10:40 pm

Reason’s Jesse Walker on Gore TV:

As I read about this top-heavy effort to rebuild something that had already emerged from the ground up, I kept thinking of the Digital Entertainment Network, a short-lived, super-expensive child of the dot-bust era. My colleague Matt Welch worked there for a few weeks in 1999 and wrote a widely circulated memoir of the experience for the Online Journalism Review; he described a dysfunctional but extremely well-compensated corporate hierarchy that kept changing its business model, touted itself as “a cross between CNN and MTV for the Internet Generation,” and didn’t understand the Web well enough to recognize why you might link to other people’s sites. (“I don’t think we need to be sending people away from our site! I don’t think that’s how we make money!”) What I didn’t remember, until Matt kindly reminded me, was that the self-infatuated guru atop the Digital Entertainment Network was a Channel One veteran named David Neuman. Neuman’s current job? He’s programming director for Current TV.

Read the whole thing, because Jesse is really on to something here. However, there’s another reason Current TV sucks, and it has nothing to do with Al Gore or David Neuman.

TV is, by its nature, passive entertainment. You can’t make it participatory by farming out your programming to a large stable of producers. Even today, the Big Four (Five? Six? Seven?) TV networks do just that – and yet somehow people (in declining numbers) just sit there and watch. Why? Because that’s what TV is: Something you watch.

Just because Gore TV picks from a larger stable of producers doesn’t change the fact that somebody – not you – has to choose what to broadcast. Somebody – not you – has to decide what you get to see. Somebody – not you – has to decide what’s worthy.

On TV, the only choices you really get are which pre-programmed station to watch, and for how long (if at all). There aren’t any buttons on the remote to let you do much else. Unlike, say, the internet, where everyone who wants to really can have a voice.

When it comes to TV, you have only a few choices. You can watch what they give you; you can turn the damn thing off; or you can throw a brick through the screen. That last option is what got me to start a blog.

I mean, have you seen the price of bricks these days?

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Required Reading/Mea Culpa/Nukes R Us

August 15th, 2005 - 1:32 pm

Niall Ferguson argues in the LA Times that Iran’s mullahs aren’t going away. That’s the Required Reading portion of this post.

The Mea Culpa portion is, he’s probably right – loathe as I am to admit it.

But what about the nukes? Iran is going to get nukes, period.

Iran’s eastern neighbor, Pakistan, has nukes. So does India, two doors down. As does China. Iran no longer shares a border with Russia, but the “Little Satan” and all her nukes are still uncomfortably close. Two other neighbors, Afghanistan and Iraq, are crawling with Americans – and you know we’ve got nukes.

From Iran’s perspective then, getting their own nukes makes a whole lot of sense. And it really doesn’t matter who is in charge of the place.

UPDATE: Say what you will about Iran building nukes, but you gotta admit they make a handsome sedan.

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Required Reading

August 12th, 2005 - 10:28 am

Kissinger.

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Short & Sweet Movie Review

August 12th, 2005 - 8:51 am

Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.”

I told you so.

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Pardon the Language

August 12th, 2005 - 12:05 am

From Newsday:

WASHINGTON — Cindy Sheehan is the mother of a dead soldier who says she wants two things — a meeting with the president of the United States and American troops to leave Iraq now.

My first thought was of Corrado “Junior” Soprano, when the FBI wanted him to testify against Johnny Sack. Junior replied, “I want to fuck Angie Dickinson, see who gets lucky first.”

(more…)

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Bad Weather Blues

August 11th, 2005 - 11:54 pm

THE PERSEID METEOR SHOWER may be exceptional” this year, but you wouldn’t know it here in Colorado Springs. It’s been overcast and raining since last week, mostly. A shame, too – I’m all hopped up on Red Bull, trying to put the final touches on a little something. Staying up to watch the meteors wouldn’t be a problem. Except for all the fog and clouds.

Remember the drought and the wildfires I spent so much time complaining about? Methinks I didth complained too much. While everyone, everywhere else it seems was baking in record temps, we’ve had maybe one day above 88 in the last eight days. Last week, Melissa borrowed one of my winter shirts to wear to work – she doesn’t yet have any winter maternity clothes.

But I won’t complain – oh, no. If only because this is the first summer in three that big patches of our lawn didn’t die.

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Milestone, Millstone, Whatever

August 11th, 2005 - 11:03 pm

I just now noticed, but sometime in the last few days this site played host to its Five Millionth Visit. Cool.

When I started this thing three years back, I swore I’d quit when I hit that mark. I figured, with a lot of moderate work and not much dilligence, I’d reach 500 people a day – a figure that would keep me blogging for almost 30 years. You know, kind of like a smoker who promises he’ll quit just as soon as he gets up to three packs a day.

Well, I didn’t put forth a whole lot of effort, and I didn’t do so on a regular basis – and people like you kept reading almost ten times as much as I once dared hope.

That’s pretty damn cool. Thanks.

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Notice

August 11th, 2005 - 5:46 pm

Working on a couple of things right now – one blog-related, one not.

The “not” thing I’ve got to finish tonight. The blog thing might have to wait.

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Defining Libertarianism Down

August 11th, 2005 - 10:29 am

Steven Chapman – a Big-L Libertarian I’ve always respected – has jumped the shark. Read what he has to say about Britain’s promise to expel “preachers of hate”:

The problem with Blair’s program is not that he wants to crack down on terrorist activity undertaken by imported radicals. Violence and other forms of criminality deserve vigorous prosecution and punishment. But his plan goes beyond targeting terrorist acts to penalizing forbidden thoughts and words. Just venturing into a radical bookstore could get you the boot.

If a radical Islamic leader is recruiting suicide bombers, helping them plan their crimes or inciting them to kill people, he shouldn’t be deported — he should be convicted and locked up. Blair, however, wants to expel anyone who merely expresses ideas that might conceivably be dangerous.

In case Chapman hadn’t read it the paper he works for, the UK is at war. She’s in a new kind of war – where the parameters have expanded to include civilians. Civilians who hide behind their rights, while calling for the abolition of those very rights. Civilians who, in the case of Abu Qatada, aren’t even subjects of the Queen (or “citizens” as we call them in the US).

No nation at war has any duty to respect the rights of enemy nationals. When the parameters of war have expanded to non-nation state actors like al Qaeda, then the definition of “enemy national” must be extended to those, like Qatada, who declare themselves our enemies by the company they keep and the words they speak.

Tony Blair has no need to wait for them to act. During war, words are enough. During war, even words aren’t needed before taking action. Enemy-national civilians may be deported or locked up, for any reason, period.

Chapman argues that “shutting up a few radical preachers won’t silence their ideas.” True enough. But what Chapman doesn’t say is why Britain should continue to play the lavish host to rude houseguests.

UPDATE: QandO performed a full-frontal fisking on Chapman’s piece. Read it.

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Anyone?

August 11th, 2005 - 10:23 am

It looks like the Brits are finally cracking down:

Described as “Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe”, Abu Qatada once called on British Muslims to martyr themselves in a holy war on oppression.

He has now been detained by police working with the Immigration Service as the Government cracks down on ‘preachers of hate’ in Britain.

The radical cleric, aged 44, had links to shoebomber Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, accused of being the “20th hijacker” in the September 11 attacks, both of whom sought religious advice from him.

My question is – what took them so long?

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Required Reading

August 10th, 2005 - 9:19 pm

George Will says that Jimmy Carter “is a recidivist fibber,” and “the role of ex-president requires a grace and restraint notably absent from Carter.”

Read the whole thing – it’s required.

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You’re Getting to be a Habit With Me

August 10th, 2005 - 4:10 pm

Two days in a row, Jeff? Two fearsome, must-read posts without a single dick joke?

Anyway, click on over already and read the latest Protein Wisdom.

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Handicapping II

August 10th, 2005 - 2:54 pm

More trouble for Hillary? Tony Blankley thinks so:

If Ms. Pirro can mount a campaign capable of gaining a reasonable amount of attention acting as an annoying mosquito day after day and month after month, it is likely to bring out the most unappealing imperial manners in Ms. Clinton — as Queen Hillary ignores or dismisses each of the charges.

As her 63 percent lead dwindles to a still respectable 57 percent or 56 percent or 55 percent next summer, she and her campaign advisers may suddenly feel the need to do something. She may take a liberal stand on a few issues to re-build enthusiasm in her base south of 96 Street. That may well save her re-election bid from embarrassment, but it would undercut her eight-year presidential strategy of pretending to be moderate.

Pirro is looking like a smarter and smarter choice – even though she’d probably lose.

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Nabbed

August 10th, 2005 - 11:54 am

An update to yesterday’s report from Turkey:

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish police have detained a suspected al Qaeda militant from Syria who they believe was organizing an attack on Israeli targets in Turkey, security sources said on Wednesday.

The suspect, believed to be the top figure in Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network in Turkey, was apprehended in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on Sunday as he attempted to board a plane for Istanbul, the sources said.

The suspected militant, identified as Syrian national “Luia Sakra,” was due to appear in an Istanbul court on Thursday, courthouse sources said.

Remember, kids: Fair trial, then hang him.

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Another EU Victory

August 10th, 2005 - 12:08 am

This can’t be good:

VIENNA, Austria (CNN) — Iran has broken the seals on equipment at an atomic processing facility amid Western fears Tehran could use its technology to build a nuclear bomb.

The fact that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seals had been in place until Wednesday indicates the equipment at the nuclear plant had not been used up to now.

Removal of the seals means the uranium conversion plant is now capable of being fully operational, a state-run news agency reported.

Now what?

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Handicapping

August 9th, 2005 - 11:15 pm

Here’s a bit of good news from Japan:

TOKYO (Reuters) – In a sign his political gamble may pay off, public opinion polls showed on Wednesday that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s support rating has risen since he called good newsan election to seek a new mandate for reforms.

Koizumi called an election for Sept. 11 on Monday after 22 members of his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the upper house to help defeat the government by voting against bills to privatize Japan’s postal system, including its vast savings and insurance businesses.

About 46 percent of respondents in a poll by the daily Asahi Shimbun said they supported Koizumi, up from 41 percent in a poll last month.

Koizumi has been a great ally of this country – and his reform proposals are exactly what Japan needs to pull out of its decade-long slump. Here’s to hoping the polls are right.

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Nobody Does It Better

August 9th, 2005 - 10:59 pm

This is why I read Jeff Goldstein.

NOTE: It’s a great post by Jeff, but if you were hoping for dick jokes or naughty words, forget it. You know, this one time.

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A Worthy Cause II

August 9th, 2005 - 10:47 pm

Chris Muir – this warblogger’s favorite cartoonist – needs you to click over to today’s strip, then click on the link below it.

Please.

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A Worthy Cause

August 9th, 2005 - 10:28 pm

This link got a dollar sent to the family of Sgt. Christopher Taylor.

If you’ve got a blog, you should link, too.

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Notice

August 9th, 2005 - 10:22 pm

“Less thinking, more linking.”

That’s this blog’s motto tonight.

Was planning on – finally – finishing up a little essay on the expanding parameters of war, and what that might mean should China ever decided to invade Taiwan. That’s going to have to wait, and so will you.

I’ve got a magazine piece to write, a talk to prepare for, and more household chores than I care to think about while sipping at an icy Citron martini.

You want links? I’ll have a ton of them tonight and Wednesday. You want free what-passes-for-deep-think-around-here essays? Uh… I’ll get back to you on that, but not before Thursday.

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Excuses, Excuses

August 9th, 2005 - 10:17 pm

Just because I forgot to link to yesterday’s Carnival of the Liberties is no reason for you not to read it.

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The Anatolian Front

August 9th, 2005 - 10:16 pm

TKS believes that al-Qaeda is stepping up activities in Turkey.

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Our Digital Age

August 9th, 2005 - 10:15 pm

You really can buy anything on the internet.

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Score

August 9th, 2005 - 10:13 pm

Here’s what looks to be a big intelligence coup in Mosul.

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Overcompartmentalization

August 9th, 2005 - 11:40 am

This is damning:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. military intelligence team identified four Sept. 11 hijackers, including ringleader Mohammed Atta, as likely members of an al Qaeda cell in the United States over a year before the 2001 attacks, a former team member and a Republican congressman said on Tuesday.

The classified eight-member team, code-named “Able Danger,” produced a chart with photographs of Atta and three other hijackers in 2000 and unsuccessfully sought to pass the information on to the FBI.

Rep. Curt Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican who is vice chairman of both the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, said the information was provided to the staff of the Sept. 11 commission but some commissioners were never briefed on the material.

“Asleep at the wheel” doesn’t even begin to describe our pre-9/11 FBI and CIA.

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Handicapping

August 9th, 2005 - 9:44 am

Dick Morris thinks Hillary Clinton might face a real fight for reelection next year:

While Hillary would have no problem dispatching an opponent like Nixon son-in-law Edward Cox or Yonkers Mayor John Spencer (the two other possible GOP contenders), Pirro presents a real problem.

Jeanine Pirro is pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-affirmative action, pro-gay-civil unions and pro-immigration. And, of course, she’s a woman.

In a sense, Hillary will have to end up running against someone who is quite like herself in her public positions: Except, of course, Pirro is a good old-fashioned anti-tax, anti-crime, tough-on-terror Republican from the suburbs.

Of course, Morris has a long track record of being exactly wrong where Hillary is concerned.

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Required Reading

August 9th, 2005 - 9:24 am

Big-government libertarians?

I’m afraid it’s an idea whose time has come. Sigh.

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On the Nightstand

August 8th, 2005 - 11:35 am

Philip Caputo’s Acts of Faith. It’s so good, it’s keeping me from blogging.

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Objectively Pro-Fascist?*

August 8th, 2005 - 11:05 am

Hitch:

Question: Why have several large American cities not already announced that they are going to become sister cities with Baghdad and help raise money and awareness to aid [Baghdad mayor] Dr. Tamimi? When I put this question to a number of serious anti-war friends, their answer was to the effect that it’s the job of the administration to allocate the money, so that there’s little room or need for civic action. I find this difficult to credit: For day after day last month I could not escape the news of the gigantic “Live 8″ enterprise, which urged governments to do more along existing lines by way of debt relief and aid for Africa. Isn’t there a single drop of solidarity and compassion left over for the people of Iraq, after three decades of tyranny, war, and sanctions and now an assault from the vilest movement on the face of the planet? Unless someone gives me a persuasive reason to think otherwise, my provisional conclusion is that the human rights and charitable “communities” have taken a pass on Iraq for political reasons that are not very creditable. And so we watch with detached curiosity, from dry land, to see whether the Iraqis will sink or swim. For shame.

It’s one thing to question the wisdom of getting involved in Iraq in the first place. It’s quite another to act as if victory (and human misery) there doesn’t matter. “For shame,” indeed.

NOTE: The headline refers to a famous George Orwell essay.

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