Friday, October 29, 2004

It seems
the NEA has been abusing its tax-exempt status. That comes as a shock. You mean, a union might actually be using its members' dues in a way that isn't directed toward the actual mission of the union (e.g., engaging in collective bargaining)? Seems they were paying for Kerry campaign material from their general operating budget. That's a no-no.

The NEA has been accussed of this sort of thing before. There was a pretty hefty fine ($800,000) slapped on them a couple of years ago for misappropriation of dues. Seems the union has a hard time remembering that a significant number of the members (as much as 33%) are Republicans. I imagine that most GOPers don't want their union dues going to John Kerry, etc.
Jesse, in comments,
... still cannot believe that he won a Nobel Peace Prize in '94. Of course, they awarded one to Carter also, who is extremely friendly with tyrants. Fascinating kind of "peace" they are rewarding.
Well, this is the same Nobel Committee whose most recent Peace Prize winner, Kenyan Wangari Maathai, is on record as saying AIDS is a conspiracy to kill Africans.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

It seems that
Yassar Arafat is terminal. I'm sure the French will treat him well. I try, really, not to wish ill on people, especially something as horrible as stomach cancer. However, if I was a believer in divine retribution, I'd say this is long over due.

When he dies, I wonder if the likes of Ted Rall will say, as he did about Ronald Reagan, that he's turning a crispy brown about now.
Today's non-political announcement:
The person who first combined chocolate and peanut butter deserves (or deserved, most likely) a big medal and lots of cash. Just thought it needed to be said.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

About not being noticed when moving 380 tons of explosives
(as Joe notes): Glenn Beck was on the radio this morning saying someone did the math and figured it would take 100 men 10 days at 12 hours per day with 40 trucks to move that much stuff. It's an understatement to say someone was bound to notice.
I was perusing
this article at MSNBC on portrayals of presidents (fictional and non-fictional) when I was caught by the final paragraph, the last sentence in particular, as the critic describes the plot for the Kevin Kline film, Dave.
This transformation is handled “Prisoner of Zenda” style. Kline plays two roles: the elected president, who is felled by a stroke, and his lookalike replacement, who utterly charms the skeptical press as well as the president’s distant wife (Sigourney Weaver). It is, alas, a fantasy.
Is the critic, John Hartl, expressing his dismay that President Bush hasn't suffered a debilitating stroke? This would be sick if it were in an opinion piece (note the Guardian's recent apologies for calling for the assassination of the President), but in a film review?

What the hell?
Those who know me,
or at least, those who have been to my home, know that I'm something of a bibliophile. I may not be the world's most voracious reader, but I own a lot of books. Oddly, I dislike libraries. Books, if they are good enough to be read, should be owned. I think libraries are akin to Communism.

Therefore, I am enamored of bookstores, Borders in particular. My wife can leave me at a Borders while she runs errands, and I won't notice that two hours have passed before she comes back for me. I am perfectly content to spend hours wondering around the aisles gazing at the books. (Hint: If anyone is looking for a Christmas gift for me, I'll always happily accept Borders gift cards.)

This past weekend, I was at a Borders bookstore, and I made a few acquisitions. First, I found a few books to add to my collection of Philip K. Dick. Then, I decided to pick up a book by an author I've never read -- Zora Neale Hurston. I picked up Their Eyes Were Watching God.

I walked into the literature section and began to look for her book. I found Hugo, then Huxley, but no Hurston. I scanned the H's for a while, trying to figure out why an author of Hurston's renown wouldn't be present. Borders, surely, wouldn't be so un-literary as to ignore her.

Then it occurred to me: Hurston is black, and I was in the literature section. Silly me to think that black authors belonged in the literature section with everyone else. So, I found (with some difficulty) the African-American literature section, and found what I was looking for.

Now, I'm not trying to accuse Borders of racism -- they didn't deliberately segregate the black authors in an effort to maintain some kind of 50's Southern racial purity. No, I'm sure their organization falls along the lines of politically correct pieties of what books belong where.

I have never considered the race or gender of an author when deciding what books I want to read. I don't think to myself, "You know, I haven't read any African-Americans for a while," or "I haven't read any women for a while." Rather, I think, "I need to read more Nabokov," or "I've had my fill of heavy reads; I think I'll read some sci-fi," or "I've heard good things about Hurston, maybe I should look at this book." But, now, I have to consider the race of the author. If I want to read Hurston or Baldwin or Hughes or Morrison, I have to stop and remember that they're black and, therefore, they won't be in the literature section. They're segregated.

How odd that we've come full circle.

I also noticed, in the DVD section, a shelf for gay and lesbian videos. This led to me think about whether this will extend into literature soon. I've never considered the sexual preferences of any author I've read, but, like the African-American authors now, does this mean that some day there'll be a gay/lesbian literature section? What would that do to categorizing James Baldwin?
Sullivan has given
a link to his article at TNR endorsing Kerry. Here's his comment:
JOHN KERRY FOR PRESIDENT: The endorsement I once never thought I'd write. Here's a free link, courtesy of TNR. I'm now headed to an undisclosed location.
Now, as I said before, anyone who's paid any attention to Sullivan wasn't surprised he's endorsed Kerry. This "endorsement I thought I'd never write" crap is crap.
Andrew Sullivan's readers
have asked him to retract his statements criticizing the Bush administration for the looting at al Qaqaa.

I think the most compelling reason to believe that this stuff was gone before we showed up is the most obvious: You don't move 380 tons of explosives without someone somewhere noticing something. Don't you think we would have noticed, I don't know, a bunch of Arabs running around a munitions depot, operating heavy loading equipment, putting tons of boxes onto scores of cargo trucks? Seems like that would stand out.
A final thing
about Andrew Sullivan today. He links to this piece by James Lileks, which, basically, rips apart Sullivan's article endorsing Kerry. Sullivan's response:
I think it comes down to: he doesn't trust Kerry in any way. If that's your opinion, then I think you have to vote Bush. But it isn't mine. One other thing: there is nothing in his piece about Bush's record. Reading James is always a pleasure. But he could have written this piece a year ago without changing a jot. Has he learned anything from what has happened in Iraq? Or is he just not telling?
That's it? The guy ripped apart the basic reasons you support Kerry, and Sulivan's response is, "Well, he didn't say anything about Bush?"

The most useless comment was, "...he could have written this piece a year ago without changing a lot." So? That just shows how consistent Kerry is in his unflappable peacenik-ness. The events of the past year do not erase Kerry's 20 years in the Senate. The events of the past year do not change the fact that Kerry just doesn't get it.
I was shocked, yes, shocked, I say,
when I saw that Sullivan was endorsing Kerry. I may not be able to sleep for weeks, as overcome with surprise as I am.

Was anyone really surprised? Sullivan seemed to make a big deal out of the fact that he hadn't endorsed any candidates (I seem to recall him responding tersely to e-mailers calling him a Kerry flack), and then does what we all knew he was going to do anyway, and pretends it's a big surprise. Here's the TNR article.

Sullivan's arguments aren't convincing in any way. Problems with the current war effort? Sure, there are. Kerry's somehow going to conduct himself better? With his anti-military record? I don't see how.

That's something else that bothers me. Sullivan acknowledges that the Right has pointed out serious flaws in Kerry's record on national security, but then he waves his hand and says, in effect, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain: Look only at Kerry's campaign speeches." Please. Kerry's the Senator who stood on the wrong side of history during the Cold War, who voted to decrease the intelligence budget after we were attacked by terrorists, voted against every major weapons system that came along, etc. You can't make 20 years of dovishness disappear by making a few stump speeches.
I'm executable. That doesn't sound too good.

You are .exe When given proper orders, you execute them flawlessly.  You're familiar to most, and useful to all.
Which File Extension are You?

I should be offended
by this movie, but it's too funny.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Andrew Sullivan has endorsed Kerry.
No big surprise there. In fact, I predicted it, although it took him a while longer than I expected (and pay no attention to the countless other predictions I have made that are completely wrong). I bet Joe is shocked at this. Shocked, I say!
Kerry's anti-war efforts were directed by the North Vietnamese?
Seems a bit to convenient to me to be true, and as much as I dislike Kerry, I doubt he would be so stupid and so, well, treasonous. But LGF has the reference to a WorldNetDaily piece titled Discovered papers: Hanoi directed Kerry:
One freshly unearthed document, captured by the U.S. from Vietnamese communists in 1971 and later translated, indicates the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese delegations to the Paris peace talks that year were used as the communications link to direct the activities of Kerry and other antiwar activists who attended.

Kerry insists he attended the talks only because he happened to be in France on his honeymoon and maintains he met with both sides. But previously revealed records indicate the future senator made two, and possibly three, trips to Paris to meet with Viet Cong leader Madame Nguyen Thi Binh then promote her plan's demand for U.S. surrender.
Pardon my French (heh), but holy crap! Now that's an October surprise.
I was hoping for .sln, because I want to be a solution, but oh well.
At least my presence is found beneficial to others.

You are .inf You are informative.  When you are gone you make life very difficult for others.
Which File Extension are You?

Now, does that mean that when I'm gone I intentionally make life difficult for others? Hmmm...
Kerry won't let go of the 9/10 mindset.
So says Jonah. The conclusion:
The world may or may not be safer today because of what Bush has done, but who cares? The aim is to make the world safer tomorrow. George W. Bush has certainly made his share of mistakes conducting the war on terrorism, but he understands that it's a war that needs to be fought. It's hard to shake the impression that so many 'pro-war' writers want to punish George W. Bush for his mistakes by voting for Kerry. How childish. The choice isn't between punishing Bush or rewarding him: It's between electing a president who understands the fight we're in and one who denies we even need to be in one.
Read the whole thing.
So the whole missing 380 tons thing
turns out to be a non-story. This had led Kerry to attack Bush rather hard, and why wouldn't he? If true, that would have But now that it's all bunk, I'd like to know what he'll say. "Sorry, pal, I was going with the data I was given", or some variant of the it-may-be-false-but-it's-accurate thing. I guess the latter.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus
is full of gems today, as is to be expected. I'll forgo pasting the entire thing in here and highlight the good stuff, but it would be best if you read the whole thing:
I know, I know: John Kerry doesn't pledge to quit the War on Terror; he pledges to wage it more intelligently. Tell me another one: I believe this is a general-election pose, not too different from his recent, public hunting.

Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Michael Moore are not supporting Kerry because they think he'll continue the War on Terror — certainly not because they think he'll do a better job of it. They are supporting him because they think he doesn't mean it. I bet they're right.

In my view, this election is not a contest to determine how we'll fight the War on Terror; it's a contest to determine whether we will fight it at all. And the decision made by the Americans will be fateful.
And then there's this, which I think is funny while conveying a bit of truth:
In last Thursday's Impromptus, I published a letter containing the old wisdom, "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll eat for life." Another reader wrote, "I think the more appropriate line about fishing is, 'Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he'll try to replace you with someone who'll give him fish every day.'"