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Monthly Archives: September 2007

Echos of Reagan

September 30th, 2007 - 3:40 pm

TimesSelect — put back up this wall!

Flip Side

September 30th, 2007 - 2:20 pm

Now up at PJ Media, “Why I Can’t Vote for Any of These Guys II — The Republicans.”

More genial meanness than you can shake a stick at!

Loving the Alien

September 27th, 2007 - 9:50 pm

Good Heavens, What’s That?

CHICAGO (AP) – A car circles a high-rise three times. Someone leaves a backpack in a park. Such things go unnoticed in big cities every day. But that could change in Chicago with a new video surveillance system that would recognize such anomalies and alert authorities to take a closer look.

On Thursday, the city and IBM Corp. are announcing the initial phase of what officials say could be the most advanced video security network in any U.S. city. The City of Broad Shoulders is getting eyes in the back of its head.

Getting a knee to the groin is more like it…

(h/t: Drudge)


September 27th, 2007 - 9:06 pm

FLASH UPDATE!! Victoria Girl Spice Beckham Posh from Starpulse

“I’m quite obsessed with sunglasses. I collect vintage Guccis and Carreras – they can make virtually any outfit look cool. And they also happen to hide the fact that I’ve been up all night with my three children and didn’t have time to put on any eye make-up.”

Hurry, read it while it’s hot! Just don’t look at her boobs. She hates that.

What’s It Worth?

September 26th, 2007 - 6:46 pm

Glenn Reynolds linked to this Craig Sullentrop piece in the NYT, which pretty much says that if John Edwards can’t get endorsed by the Service Employees International Union already, then he’s toast.

Which made me wonder, Now that we’re in an age that the UAW caves to a weak entity like GM in just 48 hours, what does a union endorsement really mean?

I Have My Price

September 26th, 2007 - 1:01 pm

Hey, Mr. Soros? For a mere fifty large, I’ll accuse Bush of molesting my kitties.

Cognitive Dissonance Dumb-Dumb

September 26th, 2007 - 12:03 pm

Poor Katie Couric isn’t comfy:

The Hate That Dare Not Speak Its Name

September 26th, 2007 - 11:45 am

It’s become a popular, if easy, sport in the ol’ blogosphere to say, “This time, Sully has really finally lost it.” I think maybe though we have a can’t-top-that-ever winner. Read from Andrew Sullivan’s latest:

The conservative Washington Establishment is swooning for Hillary for a reason. The reason is an accommodation with what they see as the next source of power (surprise!); and the desire to see George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq legitimated and extended by a Democratic president (genuine surprise). Hillary is Bush’s ticket to posterity. On Iraq, she will be his legacy. They are not that dissimilar after all: both come from royal families, who have divvied up the White House for the past couple of decades. They may oppose one another; but they respect each other as equals in the neo-monarchy that is the current presidency. And so elite conservatives are falling over themselves to embrace a new Queen Hillary, with an empire reaching across Mesopotamia, a recently deposed court just waiting to return to the salons of DC, a consort happy to be co-president for another four years, and a back-channel to the other royal family. She’ll even have more powers than Clinton I, because Cheney has given her back various royal prerogatives: arrests without charges, torture, wire-tapping, and spy-ware on your Expedia account. Only the coronation awaits.

Leave aside the absurd notion that anybody in Washington is eager to make Bush look good to history — especially the conservative establishment. Because A) there barely is one in Washington, and B) Bush has betrayed them more often than Andy skips his anti-screed meds. Now read the rest of Sullivan’s paragraph.

Soak in the words, let the tone rush over you. Then ask yourself: How long before Sullivan has himself so twisted up in knots that he’s forced to endorse Dennis Kucinich while still calling himself a “true conservative?”

Maybe He’s Running for Vice

September 26th, 2007 - 8:40 am

Barrack Obama’s fundraising might have slacked off some, but the sheer numbers continue to impress:

Obama is expected to pull in between $18 million and $19 million during the July-September reporting period, according to spokeswoman Jen Psaki — $14 million to $15 million less than his $33 million second-quarter haul. Another Obama supporter, speaking on condition of anonymity, predicted that number could be somewhat higher, “in the low 20s.”

However, there’s also this:

So far, Obama has not been able to translate his fundraising prowess into popularity in key primary states, trailing Clinton by double digits in all early battlegrounds except Iowa.

Is Obama the Phil Gramm of ’08? If you’ll remember, Gramm bragged he held the secret to victory in the ’96 race — “ready money.” Problem was, he couldn’t turn his warchest into actual votes. And unless Obama is willing to buy votes, I’m not sure how he can turn his dollars into the nomination.


September 26th, 2007 - 7:58 am

The UAW strike is over, a good three days minimum sooner than I thought possible. Of course, who expected the UAW to cave 5-1 to GM

Speaking Truth To Hollywood. Or Not.

September 25th, 2007 - 6:45 pm

What you’re about to read is a true story.

I just got a phone call from an old friend of mine. He was calling from a bar in Puerto Rico, and asked what I knew about director Stephen Soderberg. “Why?” I asked. “You in some kind of trivia contest?”

“No,” my friend said. “He’s three seats away from me at the bar. You go to more movies than anybody else I know, so what could I ask the dude about?”

“Oh,” I said, and proceeded to rack my brains. Then it hit me. “The first thing he ever did was a Yes concert movie. Ask him how the hell you can get somebody as tall as Chris Squire and as short as Jon Anderson in the same shot.”

“That’s pretty good,” my friend said. “But get this. He’s down here making a movie about Che Guevara.”

There was a pause. Finally I said, “Forget the Yes question. Ask him whether the movie is going to show any of the concentration camps that murderous son of a bitch set up for Castro.”

I could practically hear my friend nod through the phone, “Yeah, I don’t think that’s the movie they’re making. Sounds from here like it’s pretty reverential.” He paused himself. “Now that I think about it, I don’t want to ask the guy any questions. Don’t want to talk to him at all, actually.”

“Good call,” I said. “Have a nice time down there.”

“Yep, see you later.”


September 25th, 2007 - 3:39 pm

Robert Farago on the General Motors strike, Day Two:

Even in Chapter 11, GM would have to work with the UAW to find a way to reinvent their relationship. Why wait? GM could use this strike as an opportunity/excuse to approach the UAW ahead of a bankruptcy petition and say

Machete Vows

September 25th, 2007 - 11:01 am

News you can use from Malaysia:

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Malaysian doctors have
reattached a man’s nearly severed penis after his first wife,
enraged by his comparison of her sex skills with those of his
younger second wife, decided to chop it off with a kitchen knife.

Gay marriage? Bring it on. Polygamy? Not so much.

Live on Tape

September 24th, 2007 - 4:12 pm

My masters at PJ Media tell me that they’re having their big XM Radio debut later this week. The “POTUS ’08 Show,” with Ed Driscoll, will air at 3pm Pacific on XM Radio Channel 130.

Jeff Goldstein and I will appear on the premiere broadcast, assuming Ed was able to cut out all the F-bombs.*

Also at PJM, here’s why I won’t be voting for any of the Democrats this coming primary season. Next week: Why I don’t want to vote for any of the Republicans, either.


Slouching Towards La Brea

September 24th, 2007 - 4:09 pm

According to legend, technology giant Bob Metcalfe was once reportedly asked whether the old monopoly telephone companies were evil or just stupid. Metcalfe’s response: “Why can’t they be both?”

Metcalfe’s riposte could clearly apply to the lumbering dinosaurs of the old record companies. Get a load of this interview with Vivendi Universal’s CEO, Jean-Bernard Levy, who first opens fire the record cartel’s only serious source of income in the digital realm:

The split between Apple and (music) producers is indecent … Our contracts give too good a share to Apple.”

Hmm, well, Steve Jobs does have a reputation for driving a hard bargain. Maybe he just doesn’t allow the poor old record suits to keep enough of the income from iTunes sales. Say, just how much is that split worth, anyway?

At present, UMG, the world’s largest record company, gets 0.70 euro ($0.99) out of the 0.99 euro retail price charged by iTunes, Vivendi said.

So, let me get this straight, Jean-Bernard. You’re on the heavy end of a 70-30 spilt with the one company that keeps your products on the Internet from being 100% pirated, and you think you’re getting a bad deal? Where did you learn how to do business? Elementary school?

Oh, wait, I forgot. He’s French. But let’s resume:

Fleshing out UMG’s strategy, Levy said it planned to focus on better exploiting the “monetization of an artist’s image” which included branded clothes and TV shows.

“This is what we hope will revive our business,” Levy said. “People indulge in piracy but spend a lot of money on many other things that are linked to an artist.”

Stop and read that again. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Back now? Good. Now think for a minute about just which “artists” are going to agree to be “monetized” by record companies. You got it–talentless bubblegum pop stars, and that’s the future strategy of one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world: market craptacular American Idolware from no-talent pin-ups to thirteen-year-old girls.

Music? Forget about it. You guys and gals who’ve spent all that time actually learning how to play instruments and write songs? Sorry, not monetizable. We don’t get a big enough cut to worry about selling music. We’re in the t-shirt business now–but we’ll still flatter ourselves by pretending that we promote “artists.”

Stupid. And pretty evil, too.

Christopher Hitchens wonders if a Nobel Peace Prize would be enough to get Al Gore to run for President again, and concludes:

Should he make up his mind not to run, he would retrospectively abolish all the credit he has acquired so far. It would mean in effect that he never had the stuff to do the job and that those who worked and voted for him were wasting their time. Given his age and his stature, can he really want that to be the conclusion that history draws?

I love ya, Hitch, but I pray you’re wrong.

More Photoblogging

September 24th, 2007 - 2:56 pm

Judith Weiss has lots and lots of pictures from today’s anti-Ahmadinejad protest at Ground Zero.


September 24th, 2007 - 2:05 pm

Just messing around at Garden of the Gods with the D70IR body. Some of the highlights are a little blown, but the tiny little camera screen makes it hard to tell while you’re shooting. I’ll have to go back again sometime.

(Click for less scaled-down version.)

Stupid Is As Evil Does

September 24th, 2007 - 1:09 pm

Columbia University President Lee Bollinger shared a stage with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and told him, “When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous.”

I’d argue the same holds true for everybody who helped put Ahmadinejad on Columbia’s stage.

UPDATE: Speaking of ridiculous, does Ahmadinejad think he’s fooling anybody with that combover? Mahmoud, baby, even Rudy gave his up back in the ’90s.

UPDATE: Maybe there is something to this rope-a-dope claim. If so, then Bollinger has my apologies. But I’m right about the combover.

The Hush-a-Boom

September 24th, 2007 - 12:15 pm

The Strange Case of the Bombing that Never Happened gets stranger each day. Former US Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross reports while no one, anywhere admits anything too untoward took place

it appears, something did. The sketchy reports that have emerged, again all citing anonymous sources in Israel or in the intelligence community here, are that Israel took out a facility in northern Syria in which North Korea was helping Syria develop a nuclear capability. The absence of leaks coming out of Israel lends credence to the reports. Israel used to be one of the best keepers of secrets. Excluding this episode, it has become one of the worst. Everything seems to leak–and not in drips, but in torrents. (Once when I was negotiating, the Israeli prime minister at the time insisted on a one-on-one meeting with me because, he told me, this was the only way he could ensure that nothing would leak out of the meeting. He wasn’t concerned with my side, but his.)

So the Israelis, for the first time in years, find exactly one thing they’re not going to leak all over the place. The White House, (mixed metaphor alert!) never a watertight ship in lame duck season, isn’t saying anything either. And the Syrians, always quick to announce their mighty mightiness, aren’t claiming any great victories.

What gives?

Even stranger: Ross thinks, entirely counter-intuitively, that Damascus might be eager for war with Israel. His argument makes sense, in a weird, twisted, only-in-the-Mid-East kind of way. Read the whole thing — you’ll feel both smarter and more confused afterwards.

Rather Embarrassing

September 24th, 2007 - 11:29 am

Dan Rather can’t get no respect anywhere, not even from the Washington Post:

Clearly, this “lawsuit” is a forgery — and a pretty crude one at that.

Read the whole, hysterical thing.

History Repeats Itself, As Farce Both Times

September 24th, 2007 - 11:04 am

Those unnamed foreign leaders sure are a fickle lot. First, they go for John Kerry, but no one could find them. Now they like Hillary… but where are they?

An Event 30 Years in the Breaking

September 24th, 2007 - 10:24 am

The end of the beginning of the end for Detroit begins like this:

DETROIT (AP) — Workers walked off the job and began picketing Monday outside some General Motors Corp. plants after a late morning United Auto Workers strike deadline passed, but the union’s national leadership hadn’t publicly announced whether a strike had begun.

The UAW had extended its contract for nine days after it expired on Sept. 14, but the negotiations became bogged down Sunday, apparently over the union’s quest to protect jobs by getting the company to guarantee that new vehicles would be built in U.S. factories.

The UAW hasn’t called a nationwide strike during contract negotiations since 1976, when Ford Motor Co. plants were shut down. There were strikes at two GM plants during contract negotiations in 1996.

The good news is, GM won’t be producing any money-losing cars during the strike – and pretty much every car they build is a money-loser. The bad news is, GM doesn’t have any cash to spare. Bigger, better, deeper analysis here.

It’s not quite time to say, “So long UAW, hello Chapter 11.” But GM just took a big step in that direction.

Scary Stuff, Kids

September 24th, 2007 - 8:09 am

Fear not, peaceniks! For an attack on Iran is now all but impossible!

Ahmadinejad’s Visit to Columbia, 40 Years On

September 23rd, 2007 - 10:40 pm

Don’t miss Noah Pollak’s post on The Corner.

MoveOn Moves Back

September 23rd, 2007 - 7:03 pm

Drudge links to a statement from Mr. Eli Pariser, the head head of the Move On period organization, in which he gets all bitchy about the fee “error” for his shameful ad in the New York Times and says things like:

Now that the Times has revealed this mistake for the first time, and
while we believe that the $142,083 figure is above the market rate paid by most organizations, out of an abundance of caution we have decided to pay that rate for this ad. We will therefore wire the $77,083 difference to the Times tomorrow (Monday, September 24, 2007)


We call on Mayor Giuliani, who received exactly the same ad deal for
the same price, to pay the corrected fee also.

Oh Eli, Eli, why have you forsaken fees? Don’t wire the money. Nobody wires money anymore. Have one of your lawyers deliver it via private jet.

Paging Skeletor

September 23rd, 2007 - 2:35 pm

Maureen Dowd has been let out from behind the Times Select wall after two years in the digital hinterlands. And what did she come up with for her first out-of-the closet quip? Just that

It might be a valuable lesson for Rudy that guns and marriage don

What I’ll Be Reading This Morning

September 23rd, 2007 - 9:14 am

If you’re interested, DPReview has a deep preview of the Nikon D3, due in November.

The Truth Hurts

September 23rd, 2007 - 9:10 am

“60 Minutes” producer Don Hewitt on Dan Rather:

The (Not So) Nutty Professor

September 22nd, 2007 - 6:03 pm