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Monthly Archives: October 2005

Completely Skippable Reading

October 20th, 2005 - 9:31 pm

My apologies to PJ Media’s Jill Stewart for my least-coherent interview ever. As I explained to Jill before we really got talking, I was willing to hit Mute on the TV during Game Six, but I wasn’t willing to turn it off.

UPDATE: Just booked my flight and hotel for the PJ Media launch party next month. Hopefully, I’ll meet some old friends there, and more than a few new ones. (Ooooh, and maybe some enemies.)

As I noted at the Samizdata party last May, I’m not sure if my cocktail drinking at these functions counts as sociability or performance art.

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Is Anybody Listening?

October 20th, 2005 - 9:17 pm

Well, they aren’t listening to Air America in our nation’s capital:

Air America, the liberal talk network carried on WWRC-AM (1260), went from bad to nonexistent. After WWRC recorded a mere fraction of a rating point in the spring with syndicated shows from the likes of lefty talkers Al Franken, Janeane Garofalo and Stephanie Miller, Arbitron couldn’t detect a measurable listenership for the station this time around.

If I had to take a shot every time a national radio network couldn’t muster “a measurable listernership,” I’d have to rename my blog “SodaPundit.”

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Required Chortling

October 20th, 2005 - 9:13 pm

Hurricane etiquette, from a man who has been there.

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That Hurt

October 19th, 2005 - 10:28 pm

Congratulations to the Houston Astros, for a well-deserved NLCS win. That goes double for Roy Oswalt, who pitched an almost perfect Game Six against my Cardinals. That said, here’s to hoping that Houston gets smeared by the White Sox.


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Vote No

October 19th, 2005 - 10:19 pm

It’s been about six years since I’ve been happy with our Republican Congress. It was then that Congress and President Clinton realized they could pretty much blow through the spending caps, thanks to the exploding stock market. Now it seems I’m not the only one:

The latest wake-up call comes by way of a Gallup poll released yesterday: Public disapproval of Congress is at an astonishing 64 percent. That’s four points higher than in 1994, when the electorate was disgusted by the ruling Democrats after years of scandals and corruption

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Required Linking

October 19th, 2005 - 10:15 pm

Did you know that Human Events has a blog? I don’t always agree with all of their writers – not hardly – but the blog is a fun and feisty read.

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Tom Clancy Drool-Fest

October 19th, 2005 - 10:03 pm

Has Star Trek’s “transparent aluminum” become real? Sort of:

Engineers here are testing a new kind of transparent armor — stronger and lighter than traditional materials — that could stop armor-piercing weapons from penetrating vehicle windows.

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride — ALONtm — as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.

The stuff is expensive, but worth it. Check out the whole thing for all the tech details.

(Hat tip to longtime reader Garrett Banse, who’s been reading my stuff since Ye Olde FidoNet Days.)

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Early Handicapping

October 19th, 2005 - 9:45 pm

Here’s Cindy “Who?” Sheehan on Hillary Clinton:

I thought Mrs. Clinton listened, but apparently she didn’t because immediately afterwards she said the following to Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice:

“My bottom line is that I don’t want their sons to die in vain… I don’t believe it’s smart to set a date for withdrawal… I don’t think it’s the right time to withdraw.”

That quote sounds exactly like what the few Republicans I talked to that week said. Making sure that our children did not die in “vain” sounds exactly like something George Bush says. A “date” for withdrawal? That sounds like Rush Limbaugh to me. That doesn’t sound like an opposition party leader speaking to me. What Sen. Clinton said after our meeting sounds exactly like the Republican Party talking points I heard from Senators Dole and McCain.

Sheehan’s rant gives us an early test for how the Democratic presidential nominee will do in 2008. If this rant gets media play outside the blogosphere, will rank & file Democrats coalesce around Clinton or around Sheehan? Will they move to protect one of their strongest potential candidates, or around the brainwashed hater of Western Civilization?

But that a pretty big “if.” Just like it did last summer, the MSM is likely to ignore Sheehan’s wilder takes on current events.

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Buy Now and Save

October 18th, 2005 - 1:22 pm

It’s amazing to me that Iraq

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Short & Sweet Reviews

October 17th, 2005 - 11:23 pm

A Bigger Bang is the best Rolling Stones album since 1981′s Tattoo You, and the most vital Stones LP since Exile on Main Street came out in ’72. So forget the silly brouhaha over “Sweet Neocon” and get this album already. As an added bonus, Keith sings on one cut. Nice for me especially, since I keep Keith’s solo album, “Main Offender,” on my all-time fave list at all times.

Michael Crichton’s State of Fear. Somewhere in New York, Tom Clancy’s editor is laughing. I don’t know his name, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read English and lacks the dexterity to manipulate a red pen. Anyway

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October 17th, 2005 - 10:33 pm

Terrorism Unveiled gives you some – perspective, that is – on last weekend’s vote in Iraq.

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Talkin’ Baseball

October 17th, 2005 - 10:18 am

Just witnessed the fine end to a fine Game Five of the NLCS.

Now if my Cards can pull out two more wins in the next two games…

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October 17th, 2005 - 9:57 am

The New York Times put two of today’s op-ed columns (here and here) outside the subscriber wall. Would they have done that if the expected hundreds of thousands of people had coughed up the $50 annual fee?

UPDATE: Yesterday, Frank Rich’s column was made available to everybody, too. Of course, giving Rich a wider audience might have been due to simple cruelty on the part of NYT’s editors. (Hat tip, Mickey Kaus.)

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Serenity Later

October 16th, 2005 - 3:56 pm

This is one of those cases when I’m genuinely sorry to have been right, but “Serenity” is officially a box-office flop. Despite all the glowing reviews and sparkling word-of-mouth from the converted, the movie never crossed over to a larger audience. After just over two weeks in release, “Serenity” has only grossed $22 million, and won’t come close to earning back its production budget of $39 million, much less the money Universal put into promoting it over the last several months.

The good news is, in this day and age the box office is not even remotely the last stop for a feature film. Given the size of the established “Firefly” fan base, the movie will certainly turn a profit on DVD (and it won’t surprise me if that release is rushed up, perhaps to just before Christmas). Based on how well that disc sells, creator Joss Whedon may well get the green light for a sequel or two–but they won’t be appearing in your local theater. Direct-to-video is much more likely. It’s very doubtful that Whedon would get another $39 million each to make them, but I imagine he could do pretty well with a half or even a third of that.

Still, too bad, and also a reminder that “blogosphere buzz” has its limits in the larger world.

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What A Wookiee

October 13th, 2005 - 10:11 am

Peter Mayhew, much better known as Chewbacca, becomes an American citizen on Monday:

“I am feeling very happy about it,” Mayhew said. “Whatever people say about America, it is still one of the most wonderful countries in the world, despite the politics, religion and everything else that goes on.”

Better yet, Chewie isn’t just becoming an American–he’s also a Texan.

Cool. Or as they say on Kashyyyk, “GRAAAAAAHNK!”

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It’s About Time

October 10th, 2005 - 6:48 pm

Jack Shafer in Slate is bemoaning the idea that the US Government might actually start enforcing the laws against disclosure of classified information:

Under the espionage statute, continues Johnston, “a government official or a private citizen who passed classified information to anyone else in or outside the government could potentially be charged with a felony, if they transferred the information to someone without a security clearance to receive it.”

National-security reporters

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Tomatillo Chile Verde Chicken Enchiladas

October 8th, 2005 - 4:06 pm

This is tonight’s dinner; I’ll cheat and list the links I ripped off the recipes from, but note my alterations.

For the Tomatillo Chile Verde Sauce, use Emeril’s recipe here (just the sauce), but substitute for the pickled chiles listed one fresh jalapenos and one fresh Anaheim chile, both seeded and chopped. For the chicken enchiladas, use this recipe; once again substitute a fresh jalapeno or two (or even a serrano if you want more heat) for the canned stuff.

We eat in ten minutes, with Spanish rice, beer, and homemade salsa. Like beer, tomatillos are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Gotta go…

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No Suprise

October 8th, 2005 - 8:35 am

Michael Barone:

I am struck by the sublime indifference of most critics of Bush’s Iraq policy to the fate of the Iraqi people. They are totally unexultant about the overthrow of a vicious dictatorship and seem to have no interest at all in what would happen to Iraqis if we leave suddenly.

I don’t understand why anybody as knowledgeable as Barone would be at all surprised. The western Left didn’t give a tinker’s damn for the fates of the Iranians, Lebonese, Nicaraguans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Koreans, Cubans, Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, or even Russians, so long as the eeeevil American right-wingers were dealt a political defeat (and let’s not even start on Israelis).

Why should anybody be surprised thay they could now care less about Iraqis?

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Fine By Me

October 6th, 2005 - 11:29 pm

There’s this:

Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey Jr.’s big lead over Sen. Rick Santorum has grown slightly in a new poll released today. The Quinnipiac University poll of 1530 Pennsylvania voters shows Casey leading the two-term incumbent by 52 to 34 percent — an 18 point lead — in his bid for re-election in 2006.

And then there’s this:

The Republicans are seizing on a disclosure that two researchers at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee improperly obtained the credit report of Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, a Republican who is considering a bid for the Senate seat.

In recent days, Republicans have sought to put Democrats on the defensive, saying the incident underscores just how concerned the opposition is to the prospect of a Steele candidacy.

I’d gladly trade Santorum for Steele in any election.

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Friday Recipe

October 6th, 2005 - 10:23 pm

There are a few classic dishes I’ve never made, because they’re just too easy to find at restaurants. The problem with living in Colorado Springs is finding real Italian – you know, a place where you can order a chicken parmigiana and get something better than a dried-out chicken breast covered in canned marinara and low-fat mozzarella. So last week I learned how to make…

A Damn Fine Chicken Parmigiana

Tyler Florence did this one on Food TV a while back, but I changed it up some. Also, I’ve made the directions a little more explicit, for people like me who don’t manage kitchen time very well.

You’ll need:

2 skinless chicken breasts
Extra virgin olive oil (we almost never measure our olive oil, so just do like us and keep a gallon tin on hand at all times)
2 cloves of garlic, minced or smashed
1 fresh bay leaf
1/2 bunch of basil leaves, chopped or torn
A white onion, chopped
1 large can (28 oz) of whole tomatoes
1 tablespoon Chianti
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
1 cup plain breadcrumbs (the stuff in the cardboard can is fine)
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, or 2 small ones (call it 1/4 pound or so)
A wedge of Parmigianino Reggiano (the undisputed King of Cheeses)
6 oz spaghetti

This first step will make your whole house smell like you’ve been cooking something wonderful all day, but it only takes five minutes. Coat the bottom of a small saucepan with olive oil and bring it up to medium heat. While it’s coming up to temp, roll up your sleeves and hand-crush the tomatoes in a colander. Give’em a good rinse, and leave them be. Now that the oil is hot, drop in the bay leaf, onion, and garlic. Stir for four minutes or so, then add the tomatoes.

Reduce to medium-low heat and let the sauce simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally (and tasting often). Pour the Chianti in there, too, and season with salt and pepper.

Get the oven preheating to 450, and cover the sauce on low heat. Or on no heat, if you’re moving slowly through these steps. You can always bring it back to a simmer later.

Take out two plates and a small bowl. Cover one plate with the flour, and season it thoroughly with salt and pepper. Put the egg in the bowl and whip it lightly. Next to that, cover the second plate with your breadcrumbs.

Now comes the fun part: Abusing dead animals!

Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper, and pound the little bastards until they’re 1/3-inch thick. And here’s a tip learned the hard way: Put the smooth side of the chicken facing up and use the smooth side of the mallet. Much less messy that way.

Put a large pot full of water on the stove to boil.

Place the chicken breasts next to the plate of flour, next to bowl of egg, next to the plate of bread crumbs, next to the stovetop. On the stovetop, take your best 8-inch, oven-safe skillet and bring 2 more tablespoons of olive oil up to medium heat.

Roll up your sleeves if you haven’t already, and remove your watch and rings, too. Take the first chicken breast and lightly coat it in the flour. Dip it in the egg and let the excess drip off. Take the mess you’ve made and cover it in breadcrumbs. Throw it in the skillet and repeat with the second chicken breast. Fry them for no more than 3.5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, but otherwise leave it be.

Here’s where we find out if your skillet really is oven-safe.

Ladle the simmering sauce (very, very generously) on top of the chicken, right there in the pan. Tear the mozzarella and portion it out on top of the sauce. Now take your parm-reg and your best grater, and cover – and I mean cover – the whole mess with parm. If you use less than three ounces, you don’t get any wine with dinner.

Put the pan in the oven and bake it at 450 for 10-12 minutes. If you keep an eye on the cheese, you’ll know when it’s done. As soon as the chicken is in the oven, add the spaghetti to the boiling water, along with a pinch of salt.

Strain the pasta after about nine minutes, by which time the chicken is almost ready to go.

Here’s the really tough part. Do you serve the pasta on the chicken, under the chicken, or with a little olive oil next to the chicken? The choice is yours.

Oh, and that Chianti you opened just to get a tablespoon? Pour a glass, have a sip, and serve dinner already.

Serves two people who love their cheese, but hate dried-out chicken.

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October 5th, 2005 - 9:33 pm

Maybe there will be some blogging tonight, but maybe not. Two things are in the way.

I’m still working on The Monster. That in and of itself shouldn’t be an obstacle. Except that the deeper I get into it, the more I find I have to do actual (I hate using naughty language) research. Also, there’s at least one editor expressing interest in buying the thing, so I have to make it good.

Sigh – all this effort from a guy who usually spells “writing” with a G, L, I, and B.

The other thing is I just downloaded the new Fiona Apple album off of iTunes. I don’t know if you like Fiona or not, but she goes mighty fine with a gin martini.

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“Yeah, I was in the show.”

October 5th, 2005 - 12:51 pm

Is Harriet Miers really Crash Davis in drag?

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Happy Birthday

October 5th, 2005 - 11:09 am

PunditGuy turns one year old today, and says, “When I started this little hobby, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.”

None of us did, buddy – otherwise we’d have kept to trolling Drudge.

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Coming Soon: iFlicks

October 5th, 2005 - 9:36 am

Apple Computer will announce a new product and/or service next week. As per their usual methods, the company isn’t giving many hints as to what that’s going to be, but here’s what I’m expecting.

Most observers are predicting a “video iPod” that will play back video on a hand-sized device. Not me. I’m predicting not a video iPod, but rather an “iFlicks” service (they may or may not use that name) enabled by a new Airport-Express-on-steroids wireless widget with a video out, as well as a snazzy Apple remote control (perhaps looking something like this) for iTunes and iFlicks.

All this will enable Mac G5 owners to download high-resolution (but not HD, not yet) movies from Apple to their hard drives and play them back on televisions in another part of the house. G4 Macs won’t have enough horsepower, this is intended partially to drive G5 iMac sales (so there goes the Mac Mini as an HDPC theory, at least for now), but mostly to establish Apple as the primary source for legal movie downloads.

In other words, Apple makes a bid to become the Blockbuster and Netflix combined of the 21st Century, without the inventory, bricks-and-mortar overhead, or shipping hassles.

This isn’t an original prediction on my part, and I don’t have any inside info (full disclosure: I worked for Apple briefly way back in 1993). Tech pundit Bob Cringely and “As Seen On TV” (an either knowlegable or very gifted fake of a Slashdot poster who suddenly vanished a little while back) have been predicting this for months. I think they’re right.

For what it’s worth, I emailed Cringely this morning, and he agrees. We’ll see on the 12th.

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More on Miers

October 5th, 2005 - 9:18 am

Joe Gandelman rounds up reaction from… everybody, I think.

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(Still) Not Getting It Department

October 4th, 2005 - 11:40 pm

The French are revolting! OK, really they’re only on strike:

French commuters faced serious travel disruptions from a one-day nationwide strike that was also expected to ground hundreds of flights from Paris’ two main airports.

France’s civil aviation authority predicted that 175 short- and medium-haul flights would be cancelled from Orly airport south of Paris and 212 from Roissy Charles de Gaulle north of the capital. No disruptions were expected on long-haul flights.

In the capital, around one underground metro trains in two were operating, while only one third of suburban trains were in service.

Of course, the reasons for the strike are pretty revolting:

Five of the country’s biggest trade unions called the stoppage to protest policies the centre-right government has brought in to invigorate France’s sluggish economy and to push for public sector pay rises.

That’s the way to help your country get out of a sluggish economy – increase public debt while making it impossible for people with real jobs to do anything.


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Speaking of social-conservative overreach, Jeff Goldstein found a doozy of a story from Indiana:

Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant “by means other than sexual intercourse.”

I’d get all angry and write some very nasty words, but Jeff already has it covered.

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Playing Politics – Stupidly

October 4th, 2005 - 10:38 pm

Harry Forbes thinks the RNC has forgotten who their customers are.

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Required Reading/Late Night Rambling

October 4th, 2005 - 9:20 pm

The most brutal savaging George Will ever gave a Republican President was to the first President Bush, back in 1989 or ’90. I don’t have a link to a column that old, but I remember it clearly enough.

Early in his administration, GHWB gave a closed-door speech to a group of high-ranking Federal civil servants – and told them his talk that day would be “the most important” of his entire presidency. And Bush didn’t just throw out those three little words to please his audience. His entire speech was about how important those civil servants were to him and his ideals. If you’re a fan of Will’s, you can probably imagine how he felt about a Republican president making that kind of statement.

Well (as Will himself would say). Will spent about 1,200 words on the back page of Newsweek ripping Bush a new one, in that special way only Will has. You know what I’m talking about – he makes you either want to string him up by that silly little bowtie, or build a shrine to it.

Anyway, all of that invective from 15 years ago pales in comparison to what Will has to say about Bush 43 and Harriet Miers.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to think of Miers. I needed something to say, so I ran quotes from righties who didn’t approve of her, if only for the sheer pleasure of being contrary. I’m still trying to withhold judgment of her until the confirmation hearings

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Pleasure Reading

October 4th, 2005 - 12:33 pm

One of my favorite bits of fiction from this year, Being Good, is now available for free download.

Lucky for those who already have Todd A.‘s debut book, he has a second one on the way.

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