Thursday, November 11, 2004

We're for sale.
Where does In Whack sign up? Are there stock options?
Vincent D'Onofrio may be off "the list".
He's freakin' out over the election:
D'Onofrio, a big Kerry supporter, was said to be devastated over President Bush's re-election. "When PAGE SIX [last week] wrote about 'Law & Order' putting up signs forbidding political discussions on set, it was funny," our source said. "Those signs were put up because of [D'Onofrio]."

About a month before the election, D'Onofrio "insisted" on putting up anti-Bush posters and fliers, "and would attack anyone who disagreed with him," the spy added.

In response, "Law & Order" producers posted signs banning political discussions or anything else that would impede work on set, implying that D'Onofrio had held up taping of the show with his political zealotry.

D'Onofrio's co-stars, Kathryn Erbe, Jamey Sheridan and Courtney B. Vance, are said to be fed up with his antics.

"No one — and I do mean no one — talks to him anymore," the insider added.
Now if I can just find some dirt on Ed Hochuli.
It's a Nobel conspiracy!
Best of the Web doesn't say so explicitly, but it sure looks like Nobel Peace Prize winners aren't allowed to talk about other winners negatively. Or they're all just corrupt. Probably the latter. An example:
Jimmy Carter describes Arafat as "a powerful human symbol and forceful advocate" who "was instrumental in forging a peace agreement with Israel in 1993." Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, says: "President Arafat will always be remembered for having . . . led the Palestinians to accept the principle of peaceful coexistence between Israel and a future Palestinian state. By signing the Oslo accords in 1993 he took a giant step towards the realization of this vision."

Carter won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Annan won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.
Remember the list.
LGF refuses to make a eulogy for Arafat.
Good. Others are, though, as he points out. Like Jimmy Carter.

Be sure to check out this list of Arafat's terrorist activity. It's a long list. Keep the list in mind when you hear what a great figure Arafat was.
Joe, your nomination
for Bush warrior reminds me of the guy I fear the most at karate camp. He too is bald and has a beard, not very big (maybe 5 1/2 feet and 160 pounds) and older (pushing 50, I hear) but the guy is an animal. I had to spar with him and I couldn't wait for our time to be up. The guy is relentless, never stops. He had a look on his face like he wanted to kill me and I believed it. Not that he would - he wasn't out of control - but he could. He's like the freakin' Tasmanian devil. He also happens to be a minister, for what it's worth. Probably preaches peace and happiness on the pulpit - he's very nice when he's not fighting - and saves the fire and brimstone for the ring.
The good people
at werenotsorry.com have some pictures up. A consistent theme appears to be that we have bigger guns than the left. For example:



I could see that being used for squirrel hunting.

The Corner had a link to a post where some guy wanted to get into a one-on-one melee tumble with a Bush supporter. I nominate this man:

We were watching CSI NY
when they interrupted and announced Arafat had died. The quick, little bio they ran was too, well, nice, treated him more like a freedom fighter than the terrorist he was. This is appropriate:
The Palestinian Cabinet declared 40 days of mourning for Arafat, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Gaza, a militant group linked to Arafat's Fatah movement, decided to change its name to the Martyr Yasser Arafat Brigades.
They should have been named after him all along, one of the reasons why I thought CBS's account was too benign. Maybe now there is a real chance for peace. We'll see.

On a side note, the CBS reporter (or anchorwoman or whatever her title is) that introduced the story was Melissa McDermott, who used to be one of the anchors at the Wichita, KS NBC station. Looks like she's going places. She looked different, barely recognized her. Her hair used to be dark and she looks younger somehow. Anyway, good for her.

UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh is talking about this now, saying CBS got a ton of complaints from people who'd rather see the end of CSI NY then watch a mini-biography on Arafat. Never fear: CBS will be re-airing the episode on Friday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Just saw on Fox News that
Yasser Arafat has died. Maybe now Israel will be able to work with the PA to end the infatada.
My brother and I
are both Harvard grads. David's class of 1994; I'm class of 1999. We both know, then, some of the joys of the Big Dig. Now, I never drove in Boston -- I relied on the T -- so I don't have direct experience with the confusion the Dig created, but I certainly had my fair share of taxi rides, and when I vacationed their during the spring of 2001, there was a time when I just had the taxi driver just let me out because I could see my destination, but he had no obvious path to get there.

So, with that in mind comes this story. After putting up with the dig for over ten years, Bostonians have got to be supremely happy about this.
I don't know,
but I'd imagine the makers of "The Polar Express" weren't expecting this kind of reaction:
This season's biggest holiday extravaganza, "The Polar Express," should be subtitled "The Night of the Living Dead." The characters are that frightening.
The article even refers to the film as "creepy." Why? The review blames the way the characters were generated -- hundreds of sensors were placed on the major actors to capture their facial expression to create more life-like animation. But there's one crucial caveat:
The results are breathtakingly realistic except for two vital facial areas: the inside of the mouth and the eyes, where the sensors cannot be placed. Therefore, these areas have to be computer generated. It just doesn't work, and this fact is called into sharp relief since the faces of the actors are so incredibly expressive.

To quote an old cliche, the eyes are the windows to the soul -- so these characters look soul dead. When the characters are experiencing extreme emotions, such as fear or surprise, the animation seems to work. But when the characters are still -- and processing information from each other -- they look lifeless.
And as a big fan of Santa Claus, this assessment doesn't bode well, either:
Santa Claus gets his very own category of creepy. In an overzealous effort to make Saint Nick look like he has some kind of benevolent inner glow, the filmmakers make him look downright radioactive. It's enough to make you want to skip the milk and cookies and don rubber gloves and protective clothing on Christmas Eve.
President Bush
has selected a new Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales (here's his White House bio). I see he's a fellow Harvard alum. I wonder if I can get him to speak at the next club meeting.

I doubt the left will launch much of a challenge. He'll be the first Hispanic AG if approved, and he's had a distinguished list of honors:
Among his many honors, in 2003 Gonzales was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame, was honored with the Good Neighbor Award from the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, and received President's Awards from the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the League of United Latin American Citizens. In 2002, he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University by the Association of Rice Alumni and was honored by the Harvard Law School Association with the Harvard Law School Association Award. Gonzales was recognized as the 1999 Latino Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association, and he received a Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas in 1997 for his dedication to addressing basic legal needs of the indigent. He was chosen as one of the Five Outstanding Young Texans by the Texas Jaycees in 1994, and as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas by the Texas Young Lawyers Association in 1992. Gonzales was honored by the United Way in 1993 with a Commitment to Leadership Award, and received the Hispanic Salute Award in 1989 from the Houston Metro Ford Dealers for his work in the field of education.
How do you oppose that?

Ashcroft's resignation is probably for the best. I'm not one of those reflexive libertarians who would twitch and sputter when his name was mentioned. I think much of the vitriol levied against the man was completely unwarranted. However, with his leaving, to paraphrase Nixon, the left won't have John Ashcroft to kick around anymore.
David,
I may be mistaken, but I believe that Brookshire is an atheist/agnostic. He was pointing back to this post by Ramesh Ponnuru, in which Ramesh highlights this paragraph in Hitchens' piece:
I step lightly over the ancient history of Wills' church (which was the originator of the counter-Enlightenment and then the patron of fascism in Europe) as well as over its more recent and local history (as the patron, protector, and financier of child-rape in the United States, and the sponsor of the cruel 'annulment' of Joe Kennedy's and John Kerry's first marriages). As far as I know, all religions and all churches are equally demented in their belief in divine intervention, divine intercession, or even the existence of the divine in the first place.
Ramesh is a devout Catholic and was likely taking offense to Hitchens' view of the church's spotted history. My interpretation is that Brookshire was defending Hitchens.
A product made especially for Rodney.
Sushi-shaped USB drives. Who wants a California roll connected to their PC?
Is this a serious question?
Over at The Corner, Rick Brookhiser, in reference to an article by Christopher Hitchens, asks:
So, who is worse, the honest atheist who supports freedom, or the double-talking Catholic who doesn't?
I'm speechless. I would think the answer is obvious, that the question isn't even worth asking, like "what is worse, a back massage or a hot poker in the face?" Perhaps Brookhiser believes a person's beliefs are invalid, no matter their benefit in this world, if not founded in religion. Sad.
Jonah is wise
for he sees the truth:
If the Democrats won more elections by moving to the middle, it would be bad news for the Republican party, to be sure. But it would be good news for America ? if you believe, as I do, that America would be better off moving in a more conservative direction. Keep in mind that when the Democrats move to the left, the Republicans move leftward to the middle ? that is, to the left. So Republicans who cheer the leftward tilt of the Democrats shouldn't be surprised when the entire political center of gravity moves to the left as well.
I've long believed the Democratic party's recent swing to the left has enticed the Republicans to follow right along. Now, I am hopeful that Bush, in the security of his last term, will show his shed the big-government compassion from his conservativism (what there has been of it) and behave more libertarian-ish. The Republicans will never be libertarian enough (though my plans to use Joe as a secret libertarian operative within the GOP have not had much time to come to fruition), but I have this hope because of what he has said so far about his plans for social security and taxes. If Bush now takes a turn to the right, the Democrats and everyone else will follow. If.
The NYTimes
continues to flog the "terrorists are protected by the Geneva Convention" poppycock today in this op-ed. The final paragraph was particularly fatuous:
It is too early to tell whether a post-John Ashcroft Justice Department will view these issues differently. For now, the administration says it will appeal this week's ruling, which could set the stage for another Supreme Court ruling that it has gone too far. Meanwhile, America's image abroad will take another beating, and our soldiers will be in even greater danger in the future of being denied Geneva Convention protections should they be captured. The administration should drop the appeal and concentrate instead on upgrading its flawed policies.
A few points: First, if this administration really cared about or international image, we'd be kowtowing to the U.N. and Chirac right now. Since that's not going to happen, I think the NYTimes will be waiting for awhile for Bush to care what France thinks about our Gitmo detainees.

Second, what's this stuff about our soldiers "being denied Geneva Convention protections should they be captured?" My military history isn't the strongest, but I do believe that the last few wars we've engaged in haven't exactly given us enemies too keen on the Geneva Convention. The Iraqis, Serbs, Vietnamese, Koreans, and the Japanese weren't too concerned about their treatment of our troops, even though we treated theirs as well as we could. It would seem, then, that arguing that we need to follow the Convention to protect our troops is a little silly, given how that's worked out for us in the past.
One for the Christmas wish list.
Halo 2, that is. I'm dying to play it, but it's close enough to the holidays that I'm willing to wait (not-so-subtle hint!). Read this guy's account of some recent action. I need to play.

UPDATE: My wife's a rabid Indigo Girls fan (rabid, I say!), and this Halo 2 player is channeling them. Cosmic. It's a sign that she will support my hours upon hours of play - I know it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

This is awesome, and kinda funny:
How Hillary Clinton Won the Elections of 2008 and 2012, which a hat-tip to InstaPundit, future Supreme Court Justice.
The folks
over at sorryeverybody.com have been hard at work cataloging the losers. My two favorite recent submissions:



Does anybody besides me get a kick out of the fact that he's wearing a Wimpy t-shirt? Hmmm.



I think his plea probably speaks for a lot of Canadians -- being trapped in a neo-Socialist system with no impact on world-historical events must be frustrating. I blame Quebec.
More freedom, less terrorism.
So it is:
Before analyzing the data, Abadie believed it was a reasonable assumption that terrorism has its roots in poverty, especially since studies have linked civil war to economic factors. However, once the data was corrected for the influence of other factors studied, Abadie said he found no significant relationship between a nation's wealth and the level of terrorism it experiences.

...

Instead, Abadie detected a peculiar relationship between the levels of political freedom a nation affords and the severity of terrorism. Though terrorism declined among nations with high levels of political freedom, it was the intermediate nations that seemed most vulnerable.
So now the question is, do we have the right or obligation to force freedom on people in the name of national security, or for any other reason for that matter. I know a few people who would argue we do not - in principle - have such a right, regardless of whether terrorism would be reduced and lives saved. Then there's the practical side: it's reasonable to argue, given the state of affairs in Iraq, that you can't bring freedom to every state. I don't agree, but I see the point. I believe reasonable people choose freedom, but sometimes their own prejudices, superstitions and fear get in the way.

Ah, but there is this in the article:
Like those with much political freedom, nations at the other extreme - with tightly controlled autocratic governments - also experienced low levels of terrorism.
So maybe we should just swing the pendulum the other way, convert to Soviet-style boot-on-your-face Communism and leave in peace. Those of us not in the Gulag, anyway.
East vs. West
InstaPundit links to this piece on how the U.S. is divided between East and West. Funny, I thought the political division can be more sharply drawn between urban and rural. I thought that was clear from the maps of election results, such as this one.
Okay, The Incredibles was pretty good.
For some reason my six-year-old daughter was bored with most of it, kept trying to talk to me in the middle of the movie, but everyone else enjoyed it. My eight-year-old son's official review is, "Cool!" I thought it was great.

I do have to lament one thing: As atypical as this film is (it's attacks on our litigious culture and on, what was the line?, "inventing new standards of mediocrity", something like that), isn't just typical that the bad guy is the one with the brains? It always has to be an evil genius, the guy that had no super powers, but was bright enough to invent his own. Figures. Seems the only smarty-pants good guy these days is Jimmy Neutron.

This seems somewhat prescient. Yesterday, before I saw the film, I received from my wife one of those e-mails she had received from a friend and she was forwarding to everyone she knows that asks about a questions and you're supposed to fill in the answers and send it back and forward it on to everyone you know, a get-to-know-your-friends-better thing [what a sentence!]. She has sent similar ones to me before. I never forward them on, just reply back to her, but I do fill them out. Anyway, one of the questions was "If you could have a super power, what would it be?" and my answer was "Super-intelligence. I'd figure out how to give myself other super powers from there." So maybe I identify with the bad guy a little.
The moral lessons
of The Incredibles are pretty apparent. The strongest moment, I believe, is (SPOILER ALERT) at the end when they're going to fight the robot, and Mr. Incredible tells his wife and kids to stay behind, because, even though he's super-powerful, he couldn't survive knowing that his family had died. She tells him, basically, that his family makes him stronger. Very pro-family.

Also, the comments about celebrating mediocrity and how, if everyone's special, no one's special, seem like direct swipes at the cult of self-esteem that's surfaced in education. I wonder how some educators will view this film.

Anyway, I thought the film was fantastic -- probably one of the few that I'd be willing to see in the theater more than once.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The big battle for Fallujah
has been going on for some time now. My thoughts and best wishes are with our troops.

I worry a bit. One of my collegues where I used to work used to be in the military and would train others on urban assault. He said combat in a city is extremely dangerous and you can expect far more casualties than combat in open terrain. May it go well.
We're going to see The Incredibles tonight,
and based on Joe's review and this review, I'm pretty excited. Joe, did you see the moral lessons in play as the other reviewer?

Pixar does put out great stuff. My favorite moment is at the very end of Monsters, Inc. when the monster visits the little girl and she's so happy to see him. I find it touching. A father's reaction, I suppose.

We saw A Fish Tale or whatever it was called and its hard not to compare it to Pixar's Finding Nemo. The biggest distinction to me was that Nemo was so much more wholesome and positive. Tale, on the other hand, showed adults lying and getting away with it (you have to admit that Will Smith's character got off lightly). Tale was like the Bizarro World version of Nemo, and I wasn't impressed.

UPDATE: Okay, so it's Shark Tale. That just shows you how much I thought of it.
Ha!
From We're Not Sorry:

The New York Times is openly hoping for Bush's death.
Don't believe me? Read this. Not threatening, I suppose, but hoping.
What is it with
post-election hardships and the Democrats, right now? I sincerely hope that Anne Dean is recovering well, and that her injuries weren't serious.
Jonah Goldberg's
G-File smacks around the main proliferators of left-wing pomposity. My favorite line:
For all their screeching about the politics of fear and division, neither has taken any time to explain how the Democrats' insistence that young people will be drafted, that blacks are being systematically denied the right to vote, and that your disabled relatives won't be able to walk again if Bush is reelected constitute the sort of sunny, upbeat, inclusive politics of hope they favor.
Went and saw
The Incredibles this weekend. Fantastic stuff. Can I just say that Pixar is an amazing company? It also doesn't hurt that I like Craig T. Nelson and Holly Hunter. Anyway, it was number one at the box office, taking in over $70 million.

Disney's deal with Pixar expires following the release of the next Pixar film, Cars. If this does as well as Finding Nemo did, and The Incredibles likely will, Disney's going to be kicking themselves for not renewing their contract.

My basic understanding is that, when the deal was originally created, Disney took much of the control and film rights, etc, given that Pixar was a start-up no one had ever heard of. When they renegotiated, Pixar was a household word with several incredibly successful movies in its repetoire, and they quite sensibly wanted better terms. Disney balked.

Given the incredible flops that Disney's non-Pixar films have been as of late (Home on the Range, Brother Bear, Spirit, and who can even remember some of the others), this has got to be one of the more colossally stupid moves Disney's made.
Over at
The Volokh Conspiracy, there's an interesting post about the Scopes trial. I knew the basics -- William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow have the ultimate legal showdown over the teaching of evolution. But what I didn't know was what the teacher involved was actually teaching. Yes, he was teaching evolution (good for him), but he was also teaching a noxious form of eugenics. From the text Scopes used (called Civic Biology):
At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; The American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.
Or check this out:
If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places and in various ways preventing intermarriage and the possibilities of perpetuating such a low and degenerate race. Remedies of this sort have been tried successfully in Europe and are now meeting with some success in this country.
This little insight is usually left out of discussions of the Scopes trial.

I believe in evolution, and think it should be taught in class, but I think any telling of the Scopes trial should include this additional bit of information, as it more fully informs the motivations of the people against Scopes.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Okay,
so maybe some people did need mental help.