October 31, 2004
We're experiencing something approaching Indian Summer here in Your Nation's Capital this Halloween afternoon. Unusually warm and quite sunny. I'd say it was Indian Summer, except that we haven't actually had a freeze yet this year, which I believe is one of the definitional elements.
I have to go out in a bit and start in on some of the leaves in the backyard with my mower. (I plan to mulch them up and spread them 'round the garden.) I steadfastly maintain that I don't have to fool with the leaves in the front ditch yet, since the trees aren't even half empty and any such labor would be a waste of time. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
This or the next will probably be the last post I manage to get in prior to the election, so here is my Fearless Prediction: Bush wins. And not only that, we know it Tuesday night. Everything about this election cycle feels far more like 2002 than 2000 to me. I think the polls are chronically undercounting Republican voters. I think the press ignores the genuine enthusiasm of Dubya's supporters and the nose-holding-what-the-hell mentality of many Kerry voters. I also think the allaged army of newly registered folks is going to be far more evenly split than analysts suggest. Note, finally, that going into this last weekend, Bush is on the attack and Kerry is on the defensive.
Finally, I think Osama's taunting has re-raised the fundamental question every voter is going to have to ask him or herself in the booth: Which of these candidates - Bush or Kerry - would you want on your side in a back-alley fight?
Anyway, that's what I think. Later!
October 30, 2004
We do indeed get the Tasty Bits!
The Llamas cover the waterfront (and bring back all the rats grilled to perfection with a nice pesto sauce) so you don't have to!
Proof, you ask?
Viewers today came to us by googling:
not to mention
MEDIA NOTES: I'll be doing a guest spot on WNRN Charlottesville alternative radio tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. EST. on--what else?--the elections. We take calls, which is always a lot of fun. If you'd like to listen, here's their site, and click on the "on the air" button in the top left to hear the live feed.
Taunted by the French Knight
The Brain, deep from the laboratory where his disembodied form sits in a large glass vat, with electrodes flowing out like cyborg jellyfish, bitchslaps Richard Holbrooke and the Kerry team.
Bringing the love to Fallujah
Sarah at Trying to Grok channels Patton....
As long time readers of Trying to Grok (and you do check up regularly, don't you? What? Sheesh, you don't know what you are missing!) have been following, Sarah's hubby has been deployed for nigh on nine months.
Well, today HE'S BACK! Safe and sound.
Just remember to take 5 minutes out to vote Tuesday, guys!
Here's a global quiz for you
To be perfectly honest, though, Osama lost points with me for not mentionning Kathleen Harris....
Meanwhile, Ward Healer Evan Thomas prepares to deliver his 5%...
Supreme Court to Florida election pre-litigation:
I missed this earlier
Osama, Evil Burt, and the Political Futures Markets
First, let's look at the Tradesports political futures markets for the "Bush wins the electoral votes of state X". Using the categories we set up back in February, here's how Bush is doing with just 3 days left:
States where his reelection contract is trading above $80:
25 states worth 212 EVs.
States where his reelection contract is trading between $79-$55:
Six: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
Total EVs of these five states: 59
So right now, if Bush carries all the states the bettors believe he will, he'll have....wait for it....wait for it......271 Electoral Votes.
Two states sit right on the bubble here: New Mexico (which barely went blue last time) and Ohio, worth 5 and 20 EVs.
Basically, what has changed has that Bush's support for winning Ohio has gone soft---with it, it puts him back up to 291, the five point range his aggregate contracts have been at for awhile.
BTW, the Florida and Ohio contracts have traded over 30K combined contracts, and the Bush reelected contract went over a million contracts today.
For the record, here's what the general "Bush reelected" contract looked like today. Remember, as this market is based in Dublin the time is five hours ahead of EDT:
Here's the Kerry contract:
What was the effect of the al-Quack Quack late hit story? Here's how the general Bush reelected contract looked like this week:
UPDATE: SATURDAY NIGHT Reverend Pixy reports similar trends down under in the Australian bookie markets.
October 29, 2004
The return of Osama and Evil Bert
Now we know why Allahpundit has been so quiet as of late:
Color me unimpressed. I mean, sure, rip off a Kurt Russell movie---but Nick Nolte? Is that all you got?
UPDATE: The great people's soviet at the Blogingrad Traktor Works is open all night to discuss the return of OBL. Why am I unimpressed? "He" uses the word "mess"---as in don't mess with Texas. Riiiiiiight. Rusty seems to think this will restoke the fire on our part. I don't know---perhaps it really is him, but it is this new improved mellow Osama courtesy of Wellbutrin XL--with none of the persistent side effects of the old formula (you know, dry mouth, genital itching, impotence, weight gain, desire to spread fire-ee sword of Allah for some serious smotage of the infidels....) You know, a fellow can get through a lot of issues with three years of therapy---I mean, he did shed those harsh autumn colors (camoflage was just so not his color!) for some nice spring tones. Wizbang has pronounced no verdict yet. Michele is underwhelmed, and compared to the continuing threat to the nation posed by an impending "Night Ranger" reunion tour, puts things in perspective.
INDCent Bill investigates the Osama/Moore/Carter connection, which we remember from the Democratic Convention:
Bill also provides his translation, which is worth the price of admission. Cabal of Doom sees a conspiracy: forget The Falcon and the Snowman and go for Osama and the Donut Eater. And Goldstein? Well, it's what you'd expect, the usual Samuel Johson in Vegas on a 72 hour mescaline binge. Key passage:
"I’ll say it: I sincerely hope our intelligence agencies have surreptitiously violated the civil liberties of enough US-based Islamist sympathizers to glean the information they’re going to need to thwart any impending attack.
I’ll go back to being a libertarian once bin Laden’s head is stuffed and mounted on the front of a yellow Cadillac convertible with Texas license plates. "
Dangerously, Dick Morris is employing the "Goldstein/Diamond Nipples" hypothesis and declaring a Bush victory. With allies like that.....The Demosophist wonders about the effect of this on blue collar voters: my sense is if the people of Ohio didn't cater too well to the Guardian trying to influence their votes, they sure as hell won't want bin Laden to. Ace of Spades has a little fun at the expense of Axis Sully and Kaus.
IN ALL SERIOUSNESS Wretchard--of course!--nails it, by looking at what bin Laden is not> saying....
Way back in June at the Fahrenheit premiere we posted this picture:
We also ran with this picture which we put below the fold from the F911 cast party: it's below the fold as it burned the eyes of some....
What to call this October Surprise? What about "weekend at osama's"
This'll teach me to take the late afternoon off....
Just like that dirtbag Osama to schedule HIS comeback to try to preempt Seed of Chucky.
Why all the nerve......
"Mr. Leopard? Your Spots Are On Line Two."
The Missus was listening to Hannity's radio program a little while ago. (I hate when she does this because mopping up the drool is always such a chore.)
Anyhoo, Hannity was talking about J. Francois's attacks against Dubya this week over the Al Quack-Quack munitions business. Hannity's line was (as near as I can paraphrase it from memory):
This man who is now accusing the President and the military of incompetence based on a completely bogus story of disappearing weapons is exactly the same man who, thirty years ago, was accusing our soldiers in Vietnam of rape, murder and torture. He simply does not deserve to be Commander in Chief.
Hannity also hammered on the fact that the whole story was concocted in the first place by disgruntled U.N. officials and an extremely biased American Press.
I don't know what effect Kerry's attacks are having among the Left or swing voters, but I do know that he is managing to freshly enrage the Conservative base. Hannity is going to be pounding on this theme all weekend in his "Hannitize the Vote" push. I wouldn't be surprised to see some especially heavy turn out numbers on the Right come Tuesday. (Rumors of this phenom amongst absentee voters are already beginning to surface. Go check out the Kerry Spot at NRO for frequent updates.)
Don't say he didn't warn us....
Steve Green on Halloween:
Suddenly, Halloween is more exciting than it was even 25 years ago. Only now, I don't have to ask Mom for permission, and the hints of hotness you enjoy as a youth will be replaced with the actual hotness of being a grown-up with a credit line and very little sense of decency.
So if I seem distracted the next 24 days, you'd better believe your spanked bottom that I'm exactly that.
Read the whole thing.
Meanwhile, back on the island, Michele is asking for help:
If you recall, my kids are having a Halloween party Saturday night. They've already decided on the movies - Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Dawn of the Dead, remakes both - so the rest is up to me.
I need to feed/water and entertain about 12 kids between the ages of 11-14. The movies will do most of the entertaining, but I thought I would add to the night by scaring the living shit out of them. Hey, the deserve it. These kids think there's nothing in the world - no movie, no book, no horrible mask - that could make them lose sleep or, at least, give them the screams for a few minutes.
One idea I had was this: during the height of the best part of TCM, I have my husband stand outside the living room window, wearing a leatherface mask and sporting a real, plugged in chainsaw. I'll pull back the curtains and say something like, check this out! and Justin will rev up the chainsaw.
I've been warned that social services will be at my door just a few minutes after one of the kids drops dead of a heart attack. So, maybe not.
I need your help. I'd love to pull some good pranks on them or find a way to give them just the right amount of scare. Without killing any of them, of course. Well, maybe that one whiny kid.
DJ asked that I try to not make the party cheesy. I take it that he won't want to bob for apples, then. Unless, of course, I put razor blades in the apples to make it exciting!
Is it just me, or is Michele turning into the coolest mom on the internet? (I was going to say that she was turning into Stifler's Mom, but then that would play some real havoc with my Dubya=Steve Stifler meme)
One more thought
If Dr. Shackleford and I could ever figure out a way as political scientists to develop a measure of testing the "Goldstein Nipple Hardening" factor in election predictions, perhaps by coming up with a scale (going perhaps from "limp" to "cuts glass"), we could win the first Nobel Prize for political science....
Think of the import for humanity, man!
More Sci-Fi Babes
After "Soft Leia" ran away with last week's vote, John over at TexasBestGrok has his latest poll up. This week, it's the ladies of Star Trek - The Next Generation, featuring Dr. Beverly Crusher, the Troi girls (mother and daughter), Guinan and Tasha Yar.
I'd say it's a toss up between Beverly Crusher and Diana Troi provided that we're talking about the Troi of later in the series when she finally starts wearing a regulation uniform and not the one of early days in her Whole Galaxy Catelog Home-Spun Happy Body Stocking (TM).
The others don't stand a chance. I'll take Lwaxana (or however she spells it) in her earlier incarnation as Nurse Chapel, thanks very much. Guinan? Are you kidding me? And as for Tasha, well, I think the question is moot.
greatest. headline. ever.
Cue the banjo music:
Although this might go down as the greatest blog entry title ever.
UPDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you....PARADE OF THE WAFFLE KING! And Robbo? We need new shades, as Elizabeth is watching....Meanwhile, back in Norway, Random Penseur warns not all is well in the land of the merry Vikings---maybe their ancestors wore those cool helmets, sailed those cool ships, and beat up on the French because they had low serotonin levels and seasonal affective disorder? In the learn something knew everyday category, Rocket Jones sends word that an Ed Wood porn flick has been discovered---which makes me wonder about what type of low-quality production values were worked into the filming....Secret Message to Rocket Jones: Been there, done that! Now for something completely different: did the police discover any hamsters, or otherwise insertable rodents? Too much Amerika around the LLama shop? Then here's Asia by Blog in one neat package. SECRET MESSAGE TO CHAI-RISTA: has this guy been parking lately in the lot next to your building? He sure sounds familiar.
SAWX UPDATE: Because I'm a cruel and heartless person this just made me laugh. Repeatedly. The most delightful thing in all is hearing Yankees fans say, essentially, "wait till next year." Delicious. The Silver Fox has finally sobered up--a bit--to include this gem about Johnny Pesky in the clubhouse, as well as the Cardinals organization opening up the gates of the stadium after the seventh inning to let Sox fans who had come to St. Louis but didn't have tickets see the end. Sheila's having dirty thoughts about Curt Schilling.
Elections? Ace has cowbell, but is it too late? Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities rounds up the most underwhelming slate of endorsements since......what? Loren Michael's promotional efforts for Taxi!
Incompetent and Crooked
Well dang. Now it appears that not only did we fail to guard those munitions at Al QuakQuak adequately - we were the ones who looted them, too!
But you knew that already...
|You Are a Snarky Blogger!|
You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of. And that's why they read your posts as often as they can!
Yips to Michele for some friday morning fun!
Annika's doing poetry again. And if this isn't reason enough to read Annika everyday, I don't what the hell is:
Meanwhile, Anticipatory Retaliation deconstructs the logic of the Kerry folks, how Bush needs to be removed for not seizing Saddam's WMD (and explosives for nuclear devices are a crucial evidence of the search for WMD, no?) and for launching a war based on LIES about Saddam trying to get WMD, which clearly he wasn't. Except the tons of material for a nuclear program..... Who's on first? Meanwhile, the drive to have every vote counted! continues, with every vote being that of illegal aliens and convicted felons, but certainly not members of the Armed Forces. Remember, in Teh-RAY-zuh world, the help is to be seen, not heard. And as American Taliban 2 starts its new season, while somewhere Johnny Taliban Walker is frantically calling his agent from prison.
Meanwhile, Reverend Pixy reports from downunder that Australian bookies---who called the election down there accurately---are going for Bush, to coin a phrase "Big Time!" And you know they're smarter, what with the increased blood flow to the noggin from being upside down all the time....
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Had to run over to school to drop off some items forgotten this morning. The foliage is definitely turning 'round here but it doesn't look like it's going to do so very enthusiastically this year. It didn't matter so much today, as the weather is drizzly and misty and covers everything with a kind of sepia wash anyway. (My very favorite kind of weather in my very favorite season, by the way.)
We had a rocky start this morning - the impetus of my having to make the extra trip - because today is the school's big Halloween costume party and the Llama-ettes required more scraping off the ceiling than usual.
As I might have mentioned in a previous post (Llama Butchers: Now with Alzheimmer Blogging!) my six year old decided to be a plain old ghost this year. Thus, all we had to do was swath her in a flowing white bedsheet and paint her face. I like costumes like that.
My four year old is some species of fairy, vaguely reminiscent of one of Titania's retinue. This is a good costume for her because she has a natural elfin look about her to begin with. This morning, in her frilly skirt and oversized butterfly wings she came up to me and said, "Daddy, do I look beautiful in this costume?" My immediate -and heartfelt - response was, "Sweetheart, you look beautiful in everything you wear." "Thanks!" she said, beetling off.
My two year old is also a fairy, contrary to my earlier belief that she was going as a vampire. Her costume consists of a longish purple gown with a picture of Tinkerbell on the front. The costume in no way actually looks like anything Tinkerbellish, but the child doesn't care. What matters to her is that she has a wand as well. The four year old has one, too, and I had a great deal of trouble convincing this pair of lunatics that wands are not to be used as lightsabers.
Given the chaotic task of jamming everyone into their costume and getting them off to school, I absent-mindedly put my four year old's wings on top of the car while I was shoving her into it and completely forgot about them. Fifteen minutes later, as I was strolling about in the garden, the Missus suddenly reappeared, like the Demon Queen in a pantomime coming up out of a trapdoor, demanding to know where the wings were. Subsequent investigation proved that they were about 70 yards down the road where, braving rush hour traffic, I was able to nip out and secure them. All is well now.
So here I am, house to myself and coffee at my fingertips. Now what did I do with my Age of Empires game......
Donde Esta El Llama Roberto?
Pretty light posting from yours truly today. I'm at home (damn that compressed work schedule!) and stuck with AOL/dial-up. By my clock, it has already taken me approximately 45 minutes just to log on, check the Tasty-Bits (TM) Mail Sack, run through comments and scan Instapundit, RealClearPolitics and NRO. Usually, I can do this in five. I've got time this morning, but not that much.
Oh, I also meant to mention: I'm going to away the first part of next week, which means Steve-O is going to have the conn right through the election. But I sincerely hope all of you are making plans to drop by here a lot for jumbo-sized helpings of his meaty, woolly, snippy updates and analysis.
October 28, 2004
The sound you hear is the LLamas, shredding a phone book and trying to flush it down the toilet
I guess we're all in Rusty's "stable" now
This is cool, as long as I don't have to start calling him "sir."
I really needed this right now!
UPDATE: Steve Green, fresh from manning the sunglasses store so his cousin could watch the World Series, is en fuego today with just the right amount of vermouth to sort through the political news of the day.
If you can imagine the Robot from Lost in Space with a latte and a che beardlet, you get the drift of this theme.
The latest sign of panic from the left from today's Newsday:
Has Kerry been that poor a campaigner that he has failed to provide a reliable alternative to Bush? Has the public been so easily convinced that there is something fundamentally wrong with Kerry that the nation shouldn't take a chance on him, although Bush has failed in so many areas? Is that tough-guy-from-Texas act really so believable?
Yes, Yes, and, um, let me check our records, Yes.
Manipulation of the Political Futures Markets Update
Heavy volume is selling down the "Bush reelected" contract at Tradesports, so that the price is substantially below the "Bush wins the popular vote" contract, let alone when you add up how he's doing in the markets for the electoral votes of each state.
Opportunity to take money from George Soros in a commodities trade?
Isn't there a valley right next door that would be perfect?
Israel to Arafat on burial on Temple Mount: GET BENT!
Class: Why it can't be bought, married into, or faked
Case in point:
Schilling will be Waiving the Bloody Sock for Dubya
The Neo-Breckenridge-ists at the Democratic Party are preparing for defeat by preemptively declaring political violence and secession if the Republican wins. The conlaw list serv has been en fuego with this, which I take as the best sign of real panic on the part of the left.
Shades of November 1860, folks.
Don't you like it when the pasty face Chomskyite pacifists start baying for violence?
As always, any sign of panic on the right--please notify so I can post. I think this can be a somewhat useful indicator going into this bizarr-o weekend.
Here's a quick question
Kerry, as predicted, is trying to jump on the Sox Bandwagon in ridiculous fashion.
The question is, how many Cardinals fans are there in Missouri, Colorado, Wisconisn, and Iowa? And let's face it: the "Red Sox Nation" crap is primarily a blue state phenomena.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Just got word that my six year old first grader aced her first spelling test today. Well done, indeed!
Despite my love of writing, I've always been a horrible speller myself. It would be nice if this is some kind of sign that she'll do a bit better at it than me.
I might Make That Call To Rome Now....
I followed the links over to the Women's Ministries page of the Church's website and came across this response to the article linked by Dean. Apparently, getting outed by the article caused the Church not a little embarrassment. Note, after the hasty we-didn't-know-the-rites-were-copyrighted-and-are-pulling-them defense (what are they afraid of? Being hexed?), the Church can't resist falling into its usual hey-man-we're-not-being-judgmental crouch.
Yup, that's my Church: Six Commandments, Four Suggestions.
Laugh away, Dean. Laugh away. I'm laughing and crying at the same time.
Toasting Prince Hal
Essentially, the article recommends going for sack (i.e., sherry), Bordeaux, Vernaccia (Northern Italian Whites) and Malmsey (the article suggests Madeira as the closest equivalent).
I'm right with this. Dry sherry (especially a good brand like Tio Pepe) is one of my joys in life. I get to Bordeaux less often because I can't afford the stuff worth drinking and don't feel inclined to waste money on the cheaper stuff. Also, since I really don't like white wine, I'll pass on the Vernaccia. But every now and again I pick up a bottle of rainwater Madeira (as in "Have some Madeira, M'dear"). Mm, mm, good.
Yips! to Professor Bainbridge.
A La Recherche Watch
The Crack Young Staff of the Hatemonger's Quarterly routinely serves up some of the choices helpings of snark in the entire Blogsphere. If you're not reading THQ every day, you are missing out indeed.
Today's rant is about that traditional academic Potemkin Village exercise known as Parents' Weekend. I would only add that, along with the Administration, students and parents, the Lords of the Dining Hall are also in on the charade. My experience always was that if the DH was decked out in nice tableclothes and the meal could actually be identified by food group for a change, it meant either Parent's weekend or a Board of Trustees' meeting.
Separated at Birth?
This one's for Steve-O. But don't blame me - blame Yogi Berra!
The Glenn Reynolds/Virginia Postrel Revolution continues
So I'm blogging from the waiting room at our local Jiffy Lube---which now has free wi-fi access, high end coffee, free bottled water, and a wide screen tee-vee.
What is the world coming to?
Drudge is giving the siren treatment to a report that the CIA and FBI have authenticated a new Al Queda terror warning video that ABC has been sitting on this week. Purportedly, the tape shows an American member of AQ warning of a forthcoming attack that will dwarf 9/11.
As I say, ABC has been sitting on this tape, apparently because of the political implications of releasing it just before the election. ABC says it got the tape last weekend and has been waiting for confirmation that it is legit. If this has now happened and as the story is already out on the Internet, my guess would be that ABC now has no choice but to air the thing, at least in part.
For the record, I have no earthly idea whether this latest AQ threat is legitimate or not.
As far as the political implication goes, if knowledge of the thing becomes widespread, my guess would be that people would break back towards the President. Most of the non-moonbat pro-Kerry commentary I've seen involves elaborate intellectual gymnastics to get to a point of grudging acceptance. Something like this bypasses that exercise and instead goes right to the gut. And I believe that if people face up to what they believe to be a real gut-check time, they're much more likely to go with Dubya. In the end, as my old rowing coach used to say, it's a question of who you'd rather have on your side in the back alley.
More Lunar Eclipse Portents
Holy Cow! - Zogby has changed his mind and now thinks Bush is going to win.
I also notice, with some smug satisfaction, that Bob Novak is now saying it's the Eowyn Voters who are going to carry the election. (You will remember that the Security Mom had been dismissed as a non-existent political force some weeks back.) Speaking of which, today is Katie the Resplendant Mango's one year blogiversary. What a fitting time to go on over and wish her well.
Few Steps Back....*
If you go over to CNN's website now, you'll see a photo of John Kerry wearing a very new Red Sawx cap.
I think, perhaps, the love is a little one-sided:
From Good Morning America today:
GIBSON: "Well, well said, Curt and Shonda. You both have certainly lifelong membership now in the Red Sox nation. It was a great thing to watch, and I think everybody – whether they were great Red Sox fans or not — had to admire what this team did. It was extraordinary, and one of the great stories of sport. And sport always produces such great stories. Curt, Shonda, great to have you with us. Congratulations."
SCHILLING: "And make sure you tell everybody to vote, and vote Bush next week."
Yips! to Jim Geraghty.
* As always, Llama bonus points for identifying the quote.
By the way, I forgot to mention that while he is out of town on business, our pal John of TexasBestGrok has left me the keys to his place. So be sure to check over there every now and again, as I will probably put up a couple pieces to keep things fresh.
[Insert sound of evil laughter here.]
So - what should it be? Google-trolling? Lavish praise for Erin Grey? Hang-glider cheesecake? Rush-dissing? I am open to malicious suggestions....
UPDATE: Psyche! I'm having access problems. Perhaps John got cold feet at the last minute. Anyway, we'll see if we can sort it all out. And then, on to pillage.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Waugh!
Today is the 101st anniversary of the birth of Mr. Evelyn Waugh, one of my all time favorite authors. Enoch Soames, Esq., has a complete round-up of all things Waughian and asks which is your favorite novel, character and scene.
I have to say that by far my favorite work is the Sword of Honor trilogy. (I know that's three books, not one, but hey.) It's hard to put into just a few words why, but I think it's a combination of subject matter and scope. Also, I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that Guy Crouchback has always been my favorite character. Also, shallow as it may be, I simply love the "biffing" competition between Apthorpe and Ritchie-Hook over the thunder box in Men At Arms.
Coming a close second, I think, is A Handful of Dust. But while I identify to some extent with Guy, I feel nothing but pity for poor old Tony Last. His fate leaves me full of terror and rage.
Of the, well, lighter fare, certainly Scoop is at the top of my list.
Mr. Soames notes that Waugh didn't produce any really nice female characters. I don't know - Julia Stitch isn't such a bad lot. And frankly, I can never judge Virginia Troy too harshly, since she maintains at least some sense of what's right. Not that I'd want to get mixed up with her for more than an evening myself, but still.....
Perhaps We Should Have A Few More Lunar Eclipses....
What a night, last night!
First, of course, the Sawx won the Series. I haven't looked it up yet, but I assume that coming back from an 0-3 deficit in the pennant race to go 8-0 to win the championship is a record of some kind. Well done, indeed!
Second, it appears more and more likely that CBS's carefully crafted election bomb (in the form of 380 tons of pilfered Iraqi explosives, of course) has gone off prematurely. Oops! Well, maybe it was looted before our troops got to Al QuakQuak. Dang! Maybe Russian Special Forces actually made off with it. Yikes! Did we say 380 tons? Actually, we meant 3 tons. Uh, Dan? Why did this thing suddenly stop tick.........
(I'm going to go out on a Llama limb here and say that J. Francois, by jumping on this story with both feet over the past couple days, just lost the election. Had the story broken Sunday night, as originally intended, the Bush camp would have had no time to refute it. As it is, we go into the weekend with the full force of the blowback punching big, jagged holes in the Kerry machine. Life's a bitch. )
And last, but certainly not least, looks like Ol' Arafat is beginning his final slide into the Pit. Getting a bit warm there, Yasser?
UPDATE: Yikes! Michele has a far more sinister take on things.
UPDATE MORE: Two-L Michelle (Malkin, that is) has more on the blogger influence and notes that Tom Brokaw is calling us names again.
Yesterday's Required Reading
If you didn't read yesterday's Bleat, in which James Lileks left Axis Sully bleeding and unconscious on the barroom floor, go do it now. If you did, go do it again. We'll wait.
Is That A Silmaril In Your Pocket? Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
Our pal Lynn over at Reflections in D Minor picks up an essay on Elf sex. (Insert your own Beavis & Butthead jokes here. Just think of the Google traffic this post is gonna generate! I almost posted this piece twice at Jen's place yesterday, but in the end figured she really wouldn't want that kind of attention.)
Really, tho, the essay culls material directly from Tolkien's writings to paint a picture of his take on Elvish birds and bees. Let's just say it's exactly what you'd expect from an elderly, deeply religious, Oxford don. Elves do not party.
One thing that struck me in particular was the bibliography at the end of the piece. Evidently, Christopher Tolkien has been bringing to light a goodish amount of the Old Man's material in recent years. I read Unfinished Tales a looooong time ago, but don't recognize any of the more recent titles.
Muchos Gracias De Los Llamas!
Once again, big ol' Llama Yips! to our pal Jen for letting us, er, crash at her site while our site, er, crashed yesterday. Don't worry, Jen, that smell will go away eventually.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Even more satisfying than the Death Star Blowing Up
Bitchslapping Axis Sully
Ace shows how it's done.
I've got a longer piece I want to do, but it will have to wait. In class today, we were doing Reconstruction, and I put the question to the class what was the argument for voting McClellan in 1864. Lincoln had no plan for Reconstruction, the war was horribly mismanaged, McClellan was a decorated veteran and Lincoln had no real military experience, McClellan was polished and erudite, Lincoln rough and a rube. It produced an interesting discussion, to say the least....
Paint it red! Tradesports electoral college projection
A quick scan of Tradesports political futures market on the electoral college, a feature we've been following since last February.
Currently, the "Bush wins the Electoral Votes of state X" contract is trading above $80 in twenty five states worth a total of 213 EVs.
In the $55-$79 trading range, there are six states: Nevada (5 EVs) $76.7; Colorado (9 EVs) $71; Florida (27 EVs) $60; Iowa (7 EVs) $60; New Mexico (5 EVs) $58.8; and Wisconsin (10 EVs) $55.5. Added together, they represent 63 EVs.
Add it up: that's 276 Electoral Votes.
Ohio is currently trading at $54. If he's able to seal the deal there, that's a total of 296 EVs.
What's in striking distance, or what are the states that they need to make Kerry spend resources in in the run up to the finish:
Cow Hampshire ($39)
October 27, 2004
D-Lowe wins game 7 against the Yanks, AND the game winner of the Series?
I have to run, as monkeys are currently flying out of my ass.....
UPDATE: Annika and the Commissar have some thoughts, while the Irish Elk is--for once--speechless. Meanwhile, the New England Republican, perched from his aerie high above Kenmore Square, has some advice for chuckleheads who want to celebrate by acting like a bunch of Falluja-igans: "Get Bent!" Sheila waxes rhapsodic, while Tainted Bill? Let's just say he's only got two words to say: "Fuck yeah!" (plus he's got some Tolkein/Sox humor)
Here it is.....
2 outs to go. Fly out to left
1 out to go. strikeout
This one's for you guys....
and Dwight Evans, Rick Burrelson, Rick Miller, Bernie Carbo, el Tiante........
Speaking of Zombies....
and we were, weren't we?
It's the ninth inning, and I can only handle the stress by sitting here at the kitchen table, watching the game on the tee-vee in the family room, banging away at the blog.
And where else would a stressed out Sawx fan go to handle the tension of a potential World Series winning inning for Boston?
A small victory, of course, where Michele has an awesome post about zombies. I needed a good laugh----the piece is the reason why I check in on A Small Victory every day.
For my money (for what THAT'S worth) ASV is the best triple threat blog in the bidness.
Rocket Jones has more zombie goodies....
A Llamabutcher Contest
Which artist is the appropriate singer to provide the mood to this picture?
I picked a bad week to give up Robitussin
I can't breath or type. More later after it's over.
UPDATE: Yeah, like that was going to work.
5 outs. Bronson freakin Arroyo, the Bill Lee for the 21st century.
Okay, he's coming out.
As any Red Sox fan would know but would never tell you (for fear of even mentioning such things would be a jinx of classic proportions) the World Series Championship trophy was actually in the Red Sox clubhouse at Shea in the Ninth Inning of Game Six in 1986---legend has it that there is a picture of Mrs. Yawkey with it, although I've never seen the picture so I don't know. The Series MVP trophy for Bruce Hurst was in there too.
It aint over till Rosie sings.....
Holy freakin crap!
The whole CBS/Kerry story about the missing explosives at Al Qaqaa is completely disintegrating like an evil mummy zombie in the sun. Not that we'll be hearing about it in the core of the dinosaur media. The exception here is NBC---do they realize the stakes on the line at the moment?
Turns out it was the Russian Special Forces who came in and moved the stuff out just before the invasion, and---get this, I know you;ll have trouble believing this---Mohama ElBaradei lied about the whole thing to the UN.
Shocked, shocked I am that a permanent member of the Security Council was removing evidence of Saddam's quest for WMD out from under the scrutiny of the world.
Shocked, shocked I am that two major media outlets---CBS News and the New York Times---ran with a story they knew was thinner than Oliver Twist's gruel in a slanted attempt to influence the outcome of the election in favor of their candidate.
First thing, let's win this freakin election.
Second thing, let's destroy CBS and the Times.
UPDATE: Props to Macktastic Rusty Wicked, who has become a member of the MSM according to Google. Way to go, Rusty!
UPDATE DEUX: INDC Bill has all the details plus a great putting together of the puzzle. Hey, we love to give Bill the proverbial blog-wedgie every so often, but we only do it because Bill's the real thing. Look for INDC Journal in the top ten of the TLLB by Spring.
I picked a bad week to give up huffing glue
Moo Knew was down most of the day, which to be perfectly honest was producing some serious thoughts of secession around these parts. Thankfully, our old pal Jen at Freakin'Jen gave us some shelter from the storm (note to self, hey, that would make a great cheesy song). Thanks, Jen!
You know, by some freak coincidence I have my bi-monthly meeting with my shrink tomorrow, and I can just see how it would go:
Dr: Well, Steve, how are you doing these days?
Steve: Well, let's see: the Red Sox are about to win the World Series, and 1000 people come to visit my "weblog" daily to read the rantings of myself and a good friend named Robbo. Oh yeah, and we pretend to be LLamas.
Dr: I see. Nurse? I'm going to need 500 cee-cees of Thorazine, STAT! And get me those damn jumper cables!
Seventh inning just ended---six outs to go.
October 26, 2004
I got nuthin'. No metaphors, no real feelings one way or the other about the Cards.
Tolkien Geek Watch - Update
Level I - Leaving the Shire - 15 out of 15
Level II - The Fellowship - 18 out of 18
Level III - Two Towers - 18 out of 20
Level IV - Shelob's Lair- 16 out of 20
Level V - The Black Gate - 0 out of 1
Unfortunately, by Level V, you aren't allowed any mulligans. And the very first question had to do with how many days there are in the Quenyan "yen" (year). I haven't the faintest idea.
I think what this means is that I am pretty knowledgeable about the subject without being, well, too geeky. I'm content with that.
At Last, Some Marine Mammal Props
In today's Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Gregg Easterbrook has not one, not two, but three nice things to say about the Dolphins, after they finally got one in the win column this past weekend.
I know what's going to happen - the 'Fins will win their next nine, finish 10-6 and get humilated in the early rounds of the playoffs as per usual.
Meanwhile, Gregg also throws down the gauntlet in front of baseball fans, proclaiming football the more intellectual sport. Them's fightin' words for some folk. But I have to admit that what he says makes a certain amount of sense.
You Love us! You really love Us!
(In your face, Jeff!)
Llama Reading Corner
I was rather horrified to read one of Terry Teachout's recent posts on how fast he reads. Apparently, Terry reads a whoooole lot faster than I do. On the other hand, it's difficult to put to the test. Terry says he can polish off a standard book in three or four hours. Perhaps I could do that, but I can't remember the last time I had three or four consecutive, uninterupted hours to devote to the task. Most of my reading these days comes either in half hour blocks on the Metro, or else in the time I can make for it in the evening, which usually is not much owing to my inability to keep my eyes open. (For example, I sat down with a book last night at about 8:30 and dozed off over it by about 9:15.)
Nonetheless, I forge ahead. I always try to keep at least three books active in the rotation at any one time. By coincidence, I have just started three completely fresh reads. Here is the current starting line-up:
One of my evening reads is The Journals of Lewis and Clark, edited by Bernard DeVoto and with a forward by Stephen Ambrose.
I suppose it was recently finishing off The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico by Bernal Diaz that left me with a hankering for even more first-hand accounts of exploration. From what I've heard of the L&C journals, I won't be disappointed. BTW, the introduction to this edition provides an excellent overview of the geopolitical tussle over the Missouri River Basin at the time and its ramifications in world history, something most people today don't think much about.
My other evening book is The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, by Marcus Borg and N.T. Wright.
This book encapsulates a good deal of the controversy swirling around the Episcopal Church at the moment and was recommended to me by the Assistant Rector at my Church. Borg and Wright basically square off against each other, debating the role of Christ in Christianity. I can tell you that I am no great fan of Borg, from what I've read of his work. He strikes me as embodying precisely that kind of overemphasis on reason in faith that bubbles over into mere cleverness and ultimately, in my humble opinion, cripples the faith. I don't know anything about Wright, except that he comes highly recommended as a top-notch traditionalist. I'll let you know how it goes.
My Metro reading now is Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. All this talk about Plum 'round here lately has whetted my appetite to go through the cycle again.
Oddly, it was in the very first minutes of the episode of Jeeves and Wooster based on this novel that I realized I was going to hate the dramatization. In the novel, Bertie is chucked from his apartment (and loses Jeeves) owing to his infatuation with playing the banjolele. In the tee-vee series, the writers apparently thought this wasn't silly enough and substituted a trombone. Visigoths.
The Crystal Ball Update
From Larry Sabato:
George W. Bush has a slight edge in the last week of the election, but his lead is paper-thin. It must be worrisome to his campaign that he is currently lacking a 3 percent to 5 percent polling advantage in many essential battleground states. Bush may well need this beyond-the-margin-of-error buffer to overcome the torrid Democratic antipathy to the president that could easily produce a larger-than-expected Democratic turnout on Election Day. And let's not forget the Crystal Ball's assessment that the remaining, hard undecided voters--perhaps 4 percent to 5 percent of the electorate--are still inclined to break against Bush, possibly by a sizeable margin. (Yes, some won't vote, but those that do are probably going to tilt to Kerry by 55 percent to 45 percent or even more.) Given the 2000 election results, Bush appears to have a slim overall popular vote lead, but he is not doing as well in many of the key battleground states necessary for an Electoral College victory. (Bush is performing better than he did in 2000 in Democratic states such as Michigan and New Jersey, increasing his chances to capture the elusive popular vote; still, we'll see if this holds up once the inevitable and enormous California popular majority for Kerry is tabulated.)
At the same time, John Kerry is also in the danger zone, having not solidified parts of the Democratic base and even some Democratic-leaning states a mere week before the election. Given Bush's substantial burdens as the incumbent--a contentious war, a mediocre economy, and all the rest--it is an unflattering commentary about Kerry the campaigner that he has not led Bush fairly consistently, as Jimmy Carter did President Ford in 1976 and Bill Clinton did President Bush Sr. in 1992. And Kerry must worry that Karl Rove's carefully planned GOP GOTV program will turn out to be as or more effective than this year's Democratic effort. Of course, one of the 2004 major-party candidates has to win, if not on Nov. 2, then eventually, after the legal interventions and judicial process have worked their will and taken their toll on the nation's psyche. So what is going on?
Here's the context: By mid-year the President faced modest to long historical odds against his reelection, having fallen behind his challenger while bedeviled by a weak economy and an increasingly controversial foreign war. Unlike his father in 1992, who organized poorly for a strong challenge, this Bush and his team put together arguably the most impressive organization ever for a threatened chief executive. Bush fought his way back into contention much as Harry S. Truman did in 1948, and Truman was the only other incumbent in the age of polling to win a second term after having trailed for much of the campaign year. (http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/article.php?id=LJS2004052001) Another notable comparison: Truman inherited his first term upon FDR's death, and Bush's term was part-inheritance from Bush I and part-award from the Supreme Court after losing the popular vote. From the start, both Truman and Bush faced dicey election prospects the next time around.
After a great convention and an even better September, Bush seemed to be cruising to a second term until the debates. As we argued last week (http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/article.php?id=LJS2004101901), Kerry's overall debate victory wiped out the entire Bush margin. But as soon as the debates ended, a slight Bush lead reemerged. Memories are short in America, and Kerry has never--to this day--become completely acceptable as a potential president because of the three L's: liberalism, lack of likeability, and the leadership deficit (indecisiveness/flip-flopping). Given Bush's severe electoral problems, had Kerry been able to break out even on one or two of these measures, he would today be leading Bush by at least a few points, possibly more. Bush has had a weak hand, and it's gotten worse in the last stage of the campaign with the flu shot debacle, rising oil prices, a falling stock market, and the continuing turmoil in Iraq. Yet other than his debating skills, John Kerry has not had the moderate views and personal attributes--such as warmth--needed to capitalize fully on the president's weaknesses and the bad news that has dogged the White House. Moreover, President Bush's post-9/11 image as a strong and decisive wartime leader has kept him afloat--even somewhat dry, despite the deluge.
Still, we believe that the presidential election is teetering on the edge of the butter-knife. Bush may hang on to win, but it doesn't take any mental strain to see the White House falling Kerry's way. Here's why:
1. Bush's lead is minimal for an incumbent: He is below 50 percent of the vote on average, and his mean job approval is barely 50 percent, or a little less. (As measured by our friends at RealClearPolitics.com, a site we highly recommend to our readers.) Obviously, there are polls well above and well below these averages, but like everyone else, we don't know which survey to believe in this crazy year. Contrary to the conspiracy theories floating around on the net, the pollsters are all trying to do their best to screen for likely voters--which is tough when so many new registrants have come onto the rolls in this calendar year. Bush's average lead hovers around 3 percent--enough for us to give him a tiny edge a week out, but not enough for us to have any confidence that he will win Nov. 2.
2. The overall national vote lead for Bush--assuming it is not a mirage--does not always translate to leads where he most needs them. The most compelling case is Ohio. Bush's averages in the state have moved fairly steadily downwards in the last two months, and some reliable surveys now have Kerry leading in a state that Bush needs badly. As we all know, no Republican has ever been elected president without carrying Ohio. Theoretically, Bush could make up for these 20 precious electoral votes in Ohio with some combination of states that Gore won in 2000 but where Bush is competitive, especially Wisconsin (10), Iowa (7), and New Mexico (5). Bush also picked up seven electoral votes in his 2000 states thanks to the last census. Of course, most polls suggest Bush may lose New Hampshire (4) this year, and the scenario we have just outlined assumes no other losses for Bush. This alternative-to-Ohio plan is like threading the eyes of several needles simultaneously: It's possible but difficult.
3. Bush is still not firmly secure in Florida, an absolutely must-win state for him. Even more than Ohio's 20 electoral votes, Bush cannot afford to lose Florida's 27 votes. Game over if that happens. Again, Bush is slightly ahead in the Sunshine State, but a massive Democratic turnout in South Florida could easily upend the current projections.
4. While Ohio especially, and Florida too, are the key Bush trouble spots, the president is not completely out of the woods in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada, and West Virginia. We expect Bush to carry all five states, but an upset in any of them could be fatal to his chances. And every single presidential year since we have closely followed politics has recorded one or more unexpected upsets. (In 2000 Tennessee and West Virginia certainly qualified, both going for Bush.)
5. So what about Kerry? Doesn't he have his fair share of worries? Of course. The Democratic nominee so far is underperforming--compared to winning Democrats--with white men, married women, African-Americans, and Hispanics, just to mention four prominent classifications of voters. In the Electoral College, he may be losing Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Wisconsin--though we expect Kerry to win some or all of these. In addition, Kerry is apparently not doing as well as Gore in Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, though we think Kerry will end up with all three big prizes. Similarly, Bush is faring very well in Hawaii, which Gore carried by 18 percentage points. Despite the current tied polls, we'd bet on a Kerry win there---but it does remind us of 1976, when President Ford shocked Jimmy Carter and nearly carried the Aloha State when almost everyone had expected it to go Democratic by a wide margin. Again, an unhappy surprise for Kerry in any big state on this list would likely end his White House dreams.
Think about the electoral games we have just played. While a handful of states will change sides, and determine the outcome, we are looking at a close replica of the 2000 map, with 40 to 45 states remaining Red or Blue. After all that has happened since November 2000 (9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, recession, etc.) the fact that the states would line up about the same way four years later is startling. Many political science colleagues claim that the polarization of Red versus Blue is exaggerated, and in some ways it is. But the divisions over the Iraq war, the fight against terrorism, the economy, and the social and cultural issues such as gay rights, gun control, the death penalty, abortion, and stem-cell research are very real, and one can argue that the Red states are getting redder and the Blue states bluer. Election night will tell the tale on polarization, to a degree.
We'd like to make a few other points about the final days of this election before we leave you in peace. (Is there any peace in this election season?)
* This is the week for October surprises. Does either campaign, or both, have something up their sleeve, or is the October surprise the absence of any? Given the fears about terrorist activity, a quiet finish would be most welcome. Even the capture of Osama bin Laden, while delightful, would generate furious conspiratorial speculation with unpredictable consequences on Election Day.
* This is also the week for candidates to throw the kitchen sink, plus all handy kitchen appliances, at their opponent. Could there really be any ammunition left, or will we see simply an intense reiteration of the key themes from both sides? Given the closeness of the election, it might be foolhardy for either campaign, or the news media, to toss a tactical grenade at this late date.
* This is the traditional week for the dirtiest of campaign dirty tricks, in part because the media and law enforcement don't have the time or personnel to follow up and bring the perpetrators to justice before the polls close. As though we needed any more mud or vitriol in this depressingly nasty campaign on both sides. (For more information on likely dirty tricks, consider reading Sabato and Simpson's Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics, New York: Random House/Times Books.)
* Finally, this is coattail week, when we begin to get a real sense of the likelihood that down-ballot contests for Senate, House, governor, and even state legislature will be directly influenced by the outcome of the presidential race. We would not be surprised to see a wave develop for the winning party, especially in the competitive Senate match-ups. This year, voters feel so strongly about their presidential choice that we think straight ticket voting will be higher than usual, and ticket splitting will be on the wane. Since so many House races are uncompetitive or unopposed, and there are just 11 gubernatorial contests, the effects of additional straight ticket voting are most likely to show up in close Senate battles. Given the number of tight Senate races in Bush's red states (NC, SC, GA, FL, LA, SD, CO, AK, OK), this could be good news for Republicans fighting for seats in the upper chamber of Congress, assuming Bush's large 2000 margins in most of these states hold up or expand. Again, we'll get some hints as the week unfolds.
Feelilng a bit groggy but more human
The past two weeks since getting back from St. Louis have, in a word, sucked. I've been drifting into a nasty little cold that took full hold at the end of last week, and I haven't been getting good sleep because I've been up late watching the %*@!@! Red Sox. My darling beloved has been quite supportive of it all, "I know, dear, it's important that you watch: the next time they're in the series you could be 56."
This is the type of love and support I get!
Seriously, though, I'm starting to feel a bit better. Last night I went to bed around eight, and slept solidly till around 2:30, when I shot up in bed wide awake. I think I was so used to be functioning on 6 hours that I couldn't process the idea of more sleep. Fortunately, after only about an hour I was able to fall back to sleep.
I'm feeling good about today: I've got a ton of things to do, but for the first time in awhile I'm feeling upbeat about knocking a whole lot of stuff of the to-do list. I'm sure it helps that today the sun is shining for the first time in about a week.
Later today, I'm going to start our daily countdown to the election with two of our installments: Paint it Red!, where we'll do a daily updated look at the electoral college as seen in the political futures markets; and "PANIC WATCH--Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 2004" where we'll be looking for signs of panic and desparation from dinosaur media partisans worried about the viability of their candidate. Last, readers are invited to submit quotes for our "AXIS SULLY WATCH", examples of the most hyperventilated, hiding from the mice up on the chair rhetoric from Andrew Sullivan. Bonus points for correspondents who can update us on Sully's rhetoric out on the college speaking tour.
So until later, let me leave you with these quick links:
1. Whatever the outcome next week, today is the first week of---perish the thought---the 2008 Republican Presidential contest. Let me just say this: Republicans are going to have an awfully long memory about who is going all out for the president this week, and who stays at home and sits on their hands. Anyone not supporting the president this week by working tirelessly for Dubya's reelection can kiss future support in the party goodbye. Obviously, the people most on everyone's mind in this department are McCain and Guliani.
John, you can ride the Straight Talk Express right over a cliff if you sit this week out.
BTW, the picture Annika has up of Cher is priceless. Look for it in our next featured round of INDC Bill mocking....
4. Finally, sports. I'm having a mixed fall so far---obviously, the Sawx in the series is priceless, and Boston College beat Notre Dame like a red-headed step-child, so things are good. But, the Virginia Cavaliers--while having a good season so far--have to play Miami, Va Tech, NC State, and Ga Tech yet. And the Redskins have been stinking out the joint. I know, patience, grasshopper, and all that kah-RAH-tay dojo bullshit. But, all things considered, it could be worse: I could be a Chiefs fan. The Brain details the misery and agony of that experience. And in an unrelated development Reverend Pixy has resurfaced Down Under.
Pick Up Lines
One of my all-time favorites, one that immediately said so much to my sensibilities when I read it despite its minimal length, was the opening sentence from C.S. Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader:
There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrub, and he almost deserved it.
How about you guys?
Axis Sully Watch
I know this is Steve-O's turf, but I can't help making this observation.
Yesterday, Sully was all over the NYTimes story about the 380 tons of explosives missing from the Iraqi ammo dump at Al Quakaa. He actually went so far as to accuse the Administration of "criminal negligence" in the matter. And here let me quote him: And, yes, "criminal negligence" is not hyperbole. Sullivan simply assumed that what the Times told him - that the stuff had vanished while the site was under U.S. control and that it represents a catastrophe of epic proportions - was completely true.
Well, it looks like this story is, in fact, total bunk, a sleazy hatchet job. (Ed - What? By the Times? Perish the thought!). First, the explosives appear to have been cleaned out before we got there. Second, this amount, while enough to do some damage, is chump change compared to what we have secured.
The question is this - will Sully perhaps retract his indictment? Or has he got the three-pronged lure so firmly jammed in his throat as to make this impossible.
Let me emphasize that I have no problem with people criticizing our operations in Iraq beyond pointing out that armchair punditry and Monday-morning quarterbacking are marvelous in their sagacity but rather useless for practical application. What I do have a problem with is people hurling around reckless charges, especially based on information from an organization with such a poor track record of late.
UPDATE: Jim Geraghty has more on the incredible exploding Times story as well.
As some of you know, I grew up in Texas. As a result, I never developed much of a taste for bagels. I still remember my first experience in the dining hall of my college in Connecticut when I asked for toast instead. The girl manning the toaster looked at me as if I had asked for a ferret. And not just any ferret, either. A dead one. That had been in the water a few days.
YIPS from Steve: Mmmmmmmmmm, ferret.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
Can I take a second of your valuable time to brag on my six year old? She read The Berenstein Bears and the Excuse Note right through to me last night, not just getting out the words but emoting enthusiastically. A born actor/lawyer/politician.
I'm reasonably sure I wasn't reading at that level in first grade.
October 25, 2004
Attention Tolkien Geeks!*
Here is the most comprehensive Tolkien-knowledge quiz I've come across. It consists of 111 questions divided over six levels, with each level more difficult that the previous one and a complicated Black Rider-based limit on the number of questions you can get wrong and survive.
In a big hurry and not stopping to think, I got through the first four levels pretty comfortably but came undone in the fifth. I'll have to come back to this when I have the time for it.
*If you've just seen the movies, don't bother trying. (UPDATE: This comes off sounding snarkier than I meant it to. What I meant was that the quiz really is based on the books and there is simply no way you can know this info from the movies. No malice intended. Not this time.)
Last post of the afternoon
Something tells me nuance like this aint gonna help Kerry with the French or the Palestianians....
Kathleen the Cake Eater, blown away by our retaliation for her Ed Asner shot by our desecration of Mr. Darcy, concedes defeat.
Apparently Shea Stadium is on the watery border between Vietnam and Cambodia
UPDATE: And now for something more serious...
Someone's going to be disapointed
Look what google dragged in. I don't even want to know, buddy......
Also, we're under a Jennifer Millerwise assualt today----we're getting a ton of traffic for people looking for the apparently nubile regional spokeswoman for the Bush campaign who posts frequently at the official Bush Blog.
Now, you folks have probably figured out who I'm going to vote for, but heaven help me this sucker screams out for satire.
Anyhoo, back to the original post. This is a notice to all you Jennifer Millerwise fans and trolls out there: stop coming to our site googling for nekkid pictures of Bush campaign staff people! For the love of gawd noooooo! No naked pics of Mary Matalin, Jennifer Millerwise, or Victoria Clarke. Okay, the occasional soft core shot of Margaret Tutwiler, but hey, we're only human. But otherwise, no!
The Black Watch Goes in
(And by Target Center Mass, I sure as hell don't mean no stinkin' volume discount retailer in Worcester, either!)
The Forces of Evil
Bambi the Balrog and a Wraith-Rabbit seen at the Siege of the Butcher's Garden
Just in case you're interested, it turns out the deer have also buzz-cut the hostas along my front walk and have been at the hydrangea by the front door.
UPDATE: The Gunner at Target Centermass has come across the tabasco-sauce rabbit defense. As some of you may recall, I tried that one over the summer and only managed to burn some of the leaves on my plants. So you might want to save the sauce for your own personal consumption. Here's one for you Gunner: tabasco on popcorn. Mmmmmmm.
Michele is starting in on ghost stories for the season.
Let me add one that I've always liked: Feathertop by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It's not especially scary in the vampires-feasting-on-human-souls/don't-go-to-the-lakeside-camping-ground-kids manner. But its exploration of morality by way of the occult has always given me the chills.
I was put on to this story by my college English-major advisor. He was a portly man with a deep bass-baritone voice. To this day, whenever I read Hawthorne, I still think of him, together with the smell of dank sky, dank leaves and woodsmoke and the sound of wind, crows and distant churchbells.
This professor also used to give readings of Edgar Allen Poe at my fraternity on Halloween. If you were in the right frame of mind, he could scare the absolute bejeesus out of you.
Congrats to INDCent Bill for getting an Honorable Mention for "Best Inside The Beltway" coverage.
Too bad that Axis Sully copped "Best Republican Party" coverage. "Best Vichy Coverage of the French Resistance" would be more like.
UPDATE: Our bad! Apparently, our props to Bill were sub-par. By way of humble contrition, here's a little photoblogging we did of our man receiving his acolade:
YIPS from Steve: I have only one thing to say about all this: ELECTORAL FRAUD WORKS!!!!! I just added it up and by my count I voted 178 times for Bill. So what does he do? Makes his reckless accusations of French-coddling on our part. Imagine what would have happened if he had....lost?
BTW, has anyone ever actually met Bill? The one time I tried to do lunch was back in June and he had "other plans"....... which leads me to the question does anyone really know "INDC Bill" is not really a spoof being played on us by Wonkette herself? Wouldn't this be a great marketing move to have the King of the Anti-Wonkette Legion be in fact the Queen herself? As Judge Smails would say, "Welllllllllllllllllllll? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm?"
The Brain fisks Rosie O'Donnell.
I have this mental image of Rosie O'Donnell up on stage, delivering this monologue to an empty club, empty except for the table in center at the back, where a large, opaque and slightly chartruese brain is floating in a viscous vat, with a few electrodes running out from the jar attached to Rosies toes. And every time she delivers one of her over-heated Amerika hating rants, an electrical pulse travels from the brain vat, down the wire, to shock Rosie, hard. She squeals, keeps going, the Brain keeps shocking---frankly, it's high-larious. But then again, I am a deeply disturbed individual.....
STAR WARS BABE POLL WATCH
As always, be sure to go over and vote early and often.
Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, 2004
Today being St. Crispin's Day and all, we're regularizing a new feature here as a subset of "Paint it Red!", our general poll watching info.
Today is the first installment of "PANIC!!!!!! Watch", dedicated to watching for signs of panic within the herd of the dinosaur media as a means to assess the status and chances J. Francois has going into next week. I've decided to call it "Fear and Loathing on the campaign trail" as it describes rather accuaretly the emotions of the core of the dinosaur media covering Dubya.
Our first link goes to Howard Kurtz. Now, Kurtz is not engaging in the panic himself, primarily because Kurtz remains at least in my book as a solid old-school reporter. Plus, he knows a good story when he sees it and he delivers the goods. Here's the good stuff:
The outcome of the race remains in doubt, of course, but there are huge implications for the media -- especially its openly liberal branch -- if President Bush is reelected next week. Some are already using apocalyptic terms. The New Yorker is backing John Kerry today in the first endorsement in its 80-year history.
That's a bit of tongue-in-cheek commentary: has anyone who bothers to read the New Yorker ever had any doubt as to their political preferences?
No? I didn't think so.
"There will be a period of grieving," says Katrina van den Heuvel, editor of the Nation. "We will continue to fight the good fight during what we think is the dismantling of our democracy."
But her liberal magazine has grown from 100,000 in circulation to 170,000 in the past four years. "Bush has been bad for the nation but good for the Nation," she admits.
From the 36-day recount through the Iraq war and beyond, George W. Bush has been at the center of the political and media universe. He's had a testy relationship with the establishment press: the fewest news conferences of any president in more than four decades, an administration that thrives on secrecy and a vice president who has denounced the New York Times and barred its reporters from Air Force Two. Not to mention a special prosecutor who is threatening to put reporters in jail in the Valerie Plame case.
It's no secret that many journalists feel burned by the administration's WMD claims during the run-up to war and that their coverage has gotten tougher over the past year. Will attitudes harden on both sides if they have to coexist for another four years?
"I think journalists will accept the judgment of the public and read the victory as an acceptance that the rules are now changed," says Washington Monthly Editor Paul Glastris, a former Clinton administration official. "The way they've been treated, the way the administration buries information and misrepresents almost anything they want to would just be an accepted fact of life. There will be a defining down of the acceptable standards of what government can do."
Like how Howie slipped the innocuous "former Clinton administration official" in the middle of that sentence?
I think we can add a new line for Alanis Morrisette:
It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take
It's a "former Clinton official" lecturing you on presidential honesty and ethics
Who would've thought ... it figures
He continues, somehow forgetting Paul Begala's two-fer as both a current Kerry aide and a former Clinton staffer:
Here are what some liberals had to say in Glastris's magazine about a second Bush term:
CNN's Paul Begala: "He and his allies are likely to embark on a campaign of political retribution the likes of which we haven't seen since Richard Nixon."
Columbia's Todd Gitlin: "I would not be surprised to see outbursts of political violence the likes of which we haven't seen since the Weather Underground of the 1970s."
Ph, you mean the guys the New York Times had a story on lauding their bombing of the Pentagon in the 60s, which just happened to run the morning of September 11th? What is it about lefties and the desire to incite political violence?
Fortunately, they're the party of gun control, too, so their uprising aint going to go too far. Heaven help the left if the much better armed right starts talking/thinking that way....
Harvard's Elaine Kamarck, a former Clinton aide: "The beginning of the end of American greatness."
Blogger Kevin Drum:"One word: scandal."
Hyperbole, perhaps, but some on the right also see profound consequences. If Bush beats John Kerry and Republicans keep control of the Hill, writes conservative activist Grover Norquist, "the modern Democratic Party cannot survive."
It's hardly unusual for partisans to use tough language in a close campaign. But liberals have a way of talking about the president that fairly drips with disdain. If Bush wins, says Joe Conason, a columnist for Salon and the New York Observer, "I will be worried. I will be concerned for the world."
"Oh man," the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh said recently. "If he's reelected, we're really in trouble."
The New Yorker's editorial says Bush's record is "one of failure, arrogance" and "incompetence." A Nation editorial bemoans "the list of his mistakes, delusions, deceptions, follies, tragedies and crimes." A New Republic editorial accuses Bush of "ideological certainty untroubled by empirical evidence, intellectual curiosity, or open debate." This isn't patty-cake.
New Yorker Editor David Remnick says that he broke with tradition because "the magazine's not a museum; it's a living thing that evolves" and that he and his editors reached a consensus without consulting the owner. "I have no idea who Si Newhouse is voting for," Remnick says.
Part of the White House/Fourth Estate divide may be cultural. Although Bush bestowed nicknames on reporters during the 2000 campaign, he's made clear while in office that he doesn't need them. He's given few interviews other than to sympathetic hosts such as Bill O'Reilly or soft touches like Dr. Phil (though he appears with ABC's Charlie Gibson today, while Kerry chats up NBC's Katie Couric). He says he doesn't read newspapers because he prefers "unfiltered" news from his staff. When Kerry invoked the press during the third debate, Bush shot back: "I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations," before stopping himself with a chortle.
But just as Rush Limbaugh and Fox News thrived during the Clinton years, the Bush era has given rise to liberal blogs, Air America Radio and a slew of Al Franken-like bestsellers. And Bush would remain a fabulous target for outraged liberals who might have to modulate their rhetoric during a Kerry presidency.
In a second term, writes Vanity Fair columnist Michael Wolff, "the take-it-on-the-chin liberal media, the imitate-the-conservative-media liberal media finds a subject -- bad Bush -- that can make it money as well as make it feel good about itself."
It's always possible that if Bush wins, the tensions between the two sides will fade with the campaign -- that is, if there's not another bitter recount.
"When the president is very popular, the press is less critical," Conason says. "I think he'll have a honeymoon for a while. He had a long one last time, even though he didn't win."
There you have it. Any signs of similar panic coming from the right? Not that I've noticed (except from up on the chair at the first sign of a mouse Bill Kristol of course....)
Llama Culinary Bleg
It looks like I'm going to have to go to Memphis in a couple weeks. I've never been before. Anybody out there got some tips on good places to eat?
And So It Begins Again....
NarniaWeb is a one-stop shopping site for all things concerned with the movie version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe currently being filmed in New Zealand.
This article concerns me because it relates some changes being made to the text in order to jazz up the movie. I got a baaaaad feeling poor old C.S. Lewis may get what one might call the "LOTR Treatment".
We shall see.
Rehnquist hospitalized for Thyroid cancer
The Chief underwent surgery for cancer over the weekend at Bethesda. The prognosis for his return is good, although he's 80 and still smokes.
Meanwhile, the ghouls at Tradesports have put Rehnquist top on the list of the next Justice to step down. Here's the chart for the "Rehnquist is the next Justice to leave the Court":
Justice Stevens is second, trading at $25.
Appropos of nothing (just that I was looking around at Tradesports) here's the chart for the "Red Sox win the World Series" contract:
"hunk of Burning Love" Watch
As my mother would say, I don't have the genes to appreciate these things.
On the other hand, I agree with Kathy that this looks like trouble.
YIPS from Steve: This is one of those bizarre times when you know something you are doing is wrong, yet still you must do it!
Kathleen tried to provoke me by exposing the llamas having some back-waxing fun with Ed Asner. THIS is what happens when you mess with us!
Fundamentally, Foghat was wrong: Fear the LLamas!
Al Gore's scorched earth recount campaign in 2000 continues to bear bitter fruit. Here's today's gem from the Arab News:
Arabs Worried About the Impact of ‘Second US Civil War’ Amir Taheri, Arab News
JEDDAH, 25 October 2004 — Normally it is Washington that worries about stability in Arab countries.
These days, however, there is much official nail biting in Arab capitals over the threat of instability in the United States.
“What we are witnessing in the United States is their second civil war,” says an Arab diplomat posted to Washington. “The difference is that this war is waged in the media, in churches, on the hustings, and inside many American homes.”
That next week’s presidential election is the closest in US history seems certain. What is causing concern in Arab and other capitals is that the intense passions unleashed by both sides could provoke instability and violence regardless of who wins.
Arab diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, claim that the Democrats, many of whom believe their party was robbed of victory in 2000, are determined to fight hard to dislodge President George W. Bush from the White House.
Fears that the “American street” might explode, in the fashion often attributed to the “Arab street,” may well be exaggerated. But the possibility of US government becoming paralyzed for weeks, if not months, as a result of disputes over election results cannot be discounted.
Both President Bush and his Democrat challenger Sen. John Kerry start from a solid support base of around40 percent of the electorate each. The remaining 20 percent consists of undecided or floating voters whose decision could affect the outcome in 12states still up for grabs.
In the 2000 presidential election the closeness of the results in the state of Florida provoked a legal duel that was ultimately decided by the US Supreme Court. This time the experience of Florida could be repeated in many other states.
Both Republicans and Democrats have already set up legal headquarters in Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, West Virginia and New Hampshire. Most polls show the two candidates neck-and-neck in those states. That means the outcome could be decided by a few dozen or a few hundred votes. Some of the states have laws under which if the margin of victory is less than half of one percent a recount is automatically conducted. Others have no such laws, forcing the loser to take the matter to court on other grounds such as possible fraud.
The Florida fight in 2000 dragged on for more than a month. Similar fights in a dozen or more states could last longer. And that could put American decision-making on autopilot, so to speak.
“The prospect of the US being unable to take urgent decisions for months cannot be taken lightly,” suggests an Arab diplomat. “Such paralysis could be dangerous in our region where the situation remains volatile. The war in Iraq, the dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the UN fight with Syria over Lebanon, and the Israeli plan to withdraw from Gaza cannot be put on the backburner for months.”
UPDATE: The Commissar has the latest about vote fraud coming out of Ohio.
MUST CREDIT LLAMAS!! EXCLUSIVE!!!! TAKE THAT, BILL---NEENER!!!!
The Llamas have obtained a copy of the controversial ballot from Ohip: notice the absence of punch holes for any candidate other than J. Francois!!!!
UPDATE: Wizbang has further details....
Turn to the Raaight!
I took off last evening from baseball in order to restore my nerves a bit. Instead, I watched Raising Arizona, which is one of those movies that I file in the "Must Watch Whenever It's On" category. Fortunately, it was running on one of the better cable movie channels, which means there was no editing or censoring.
For some reason, I was ready to laugh at everything last night. Dialogue like this kept setting me off:
FBI Man: Was the boy wearing any jammies?
Nathan Arizona Sr. : Of course he was wearing his jammies! Nobody sleeps naked in this house.
FBI Man: Well could you describe the jammies?
Nathan Arizona Sr. : I don't what his damn jammies looked like... they had Yodas and shit on 'em.
Just one of a thousand points of "heh".
One other thing. As many times as I have seen this flick, I never noticed the Mondale/Ferraro bumpersticker on Gale and Evelle's station wagon before.
That's got to be some kind of sign. Right? Right?
Someone keeps googling in here on the search "jennifer +millerwise".
Don't Send for the Undertaker Just Yet
Rumors were building up all day yesterday about a big Kerry bombshell that the Washington Times was going to drop today. Well, via Kevin at Wizbang, here it is: Kerry Lied About Meeting With U.N. Security Council Members.
I don't think this is going to make a single solitary damn bit of difference one way or the other. People who already think Kerry is an unprincipled liar won't need any additional persuasion. And practically everyone I know who supports Kerry does so because they hate Bush, not because they think J. Francois is some kind of saint. Plus, the fact that the story comes from the WashTimes automatically discredits it on the Left. The polls for the last week or so have been slowly trending in Dubya's direction. I really don't see this altering that movement. Sorry, I just don't.
Now, if it had been something like this, then we'd be cooking with gas.
October 24, 2004
"No, we had Thai last night. Let's try freedom tonight instead."
Go on over and give some Yips to up and comer Robert at Let's try freedom.
Meanwhile, while we're spreadinng the linky love around, we'd like to give a LLama shout-out to Gordo the Cranky Neocon, who is deservedly racking up the bling-bling at sitemeter as of late. Gordon's developed a distinctive pshop hitman style that forces me to wear a bib when I'm reading his site, for fear of staining my shirt with that drool you get when you are affixed with uncontrollable giggling. And while we're on the subject of the precocious ones, what's up with Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities dropping Llama porn into the Tasty Bits Mail Sack? If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: the only such stuff we like unsolicited are grainy stills from that surveillance camera of Susan Sarandon giving Ed Asner a brazilian back waxing. Capiche?
Lewis Lapham, eat your heart out!
Goldstein has the scoop on the story of the century!
WAIT, DON'T ORDER NOW! Jeff's also got Martha Stewart's NFL picks for the week, plus some delicious insights about Aardvarks from her prison diary....
Our first stop is Mark Steyn. How best to describe Steyn's column today? How about "what happens when you pass out two irons to a bunch of Miami pensioners and then tell them that you are cancelling bingo?" How about "what happens when you tell Boston PD that there might--might--be a Bush supporter in a large crowd in Kenmore Square who just happens to be a Yankees fan?" How about....well, why don't you just read the durn thing yourself. Here's just a taste:
But the ludicrous defeatism over what's at worst a partial success is unbecoming to a great nation. If the present Democratic-media complex had been around earlier, America would never have mustered the will to win World War II or, come to that, the Revolutionary War. There would be no America. You'd be part of a Greater Canada, with Queen Elizabeth on your coins and government health care.
Speaking of which, if there's four words I never want to hear again, it's "prescription drugs from Canada." I'm Canadian, so I know a thing or two about prescription drugs from Canada. Specifically speaking, I know they're American; the only thing Canadian about them is the label in French and English. How can politicians from both parties think that Americans can get cheaper drugs simply by outsourcing (as John Kerry would say) their distribution through a Canadian mailing address? U.S. pharmaceutical companies put up with Ottawa's price controls because it's a peripheral market. But, if you attempt to extend the price controls from the peripheral market of 30 million people to the primary market of 300 million people, all that's going to happen is that after approximately a week and a half there aren't going to be any drugs in Canada, cheap or otherwise -- just as the Clinton administration's intervention into the flu-shot market resulted in American companies getting out of the vaccine business entirely.
The war against the Islamists and the flu-shot business are really opposite sides of the same coin. I want Bush to win on Election Day because he's committed to this war and, as the novelist and Internet maestro Roger L. Simon says, "the more committed we are to it, the shorter it will be.'' The longer it gets, the harder it will be, because it's a race against time, against lengthening demographic, economic and geopolitical odds. By "demographic," I mean the Muslim world's high birth rate, which by mid-century will give tiny Yemen a higher population than vast empty Russia. By "economic," I mean the perfect storm the Europeans will face within this decade, because their lavish welfare states are unsustainable on their shriveled post-Christian birth rates. By "geopolitical," I mean that, if you think the United Nations and other international organizations are antipathetic to America now, wait a few years and see what kind of support you get from a semi-Islamified Europe.
So this is no time to vote for Europhile delusions. The Continental health and welfare systems John Kerry so admires are, in fact, part of the reason those societies are dying. As for Canada, yes, under socialized health care, prescription drugs are cheaper, medical treatment's cheaper, life is cheaper. After much stonewalling, the Province of Quebec's Health Department announced this week that in the last year some 600 Quebecers had died from C. difficile, a bacterium acquired in hospital. In other words, if, say, Bill Clinton had gone for his heart bypass to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, he would have had the surgery, woken up the next day swimming in diarrhea and then died. It's a bacterium caused by inattention to hygiene -- by unionized, unsackable cleaners who don't clean properly; by harassed overstretched hospital staff who don't bother washing their hands as often as they should. So 600 people have been killed by the filthy squalor of disease-ridden government hospitals. That's the official number. Unofficially, if you're over 65, the hospitals will save face and attribute your death at their hands to "old age" or some such and then "lose" the relevant medical records. Quebec's health system is a lot less healthy than, for example, Iraq's.
One thousand Americans are killed in 18 months in Iraq, and it's a quagmire. One thousand Quebecers are killed by insufficient hand-washing in their filthy, decrepit health care system, and kindly progressive Americans can't wait to bring it south of the border. If one has to die for a cause, bringing liberty to the Middle East is a nobler venture and a better bet than government health care.
He also bitchslaps Kerry on the outsourcing Osama nonesense, and does the deed using a Kerry quote from the time, the nuance of which must have been lost on me.
Why, you say? But of course---because I'm ignorant. That's the theme of Jeff Jacoby's piece today in the Boston Globe, which takes a long, slow, drag on the Democrats' favorite drug, the Adlai Stevenson syndrome. According to Jacoby, the average voter is dumber than a sack of rocks---the implication of which goes unstated that if/when Kerry loses, it's because Amerika the dumb is not worthy of him.
This article is useful for two reasons: 1. to add to the pile of evidence that the Democrat elites are starting to panic going into the last week, and B. one of my favorite themes of how lefty elites disparage small-r republican institutions (like the electoral college) in favor of radical democratic openess, but when the demos goes and acts the way the demos do, by electing republicans, recalling Gray Davis etc., they cry foul at some travesty or miscarriage of justice---if only the people knew what was truly in their interest! Why oh why won't they listen to us---it must be because they are stupid and corrupt! The answer is never "Gee, maybe because they don't like where we are leading them?" Remember: the Vanguard of the Proletariat is never wrong! That's why it can be trusted with absolute power, you bourgeois jackal!
And if THAT doesn't revive you, I know of only one thing that could: how about proof of how Dubya has a higher IQ than Kerry? D'Oh! That's just going to ruin Oliver Willis' day!
Meanwhile, back in the Evil Spock Universe....
The Sox win the first game as Mark Bellhorn smacks the foul pole hard in the bottom of the eighth....
Meanwhile, in a bar off Boylston, a deranged looking guy ran in, claiming his name was "George Bailey" and yelled at a local librarian, claiming they were married and screaming about what old man Potter had done. Fortunately, Boston's finest was nearby and shot him, together with a freaky looking old guy drinking a flaming rum punch.
October 23, 2004
For the duration of the World Series, the LLamabutchers will be your one stop shop for all things Johnny "Chewbacca" Damon.
Here's Johnny celebrating David Ortiz's first inning homerun...
So, if you want Islamic Jihad beheading videos, head on over to Rusty at My Pet Jawa. But if you want to cover centerfield at Fenway with our favorite major league Wookie, check out the Llamabutchers! And I mean hourly.....
UPDATE: Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities has an all things Johnny round-up, including the N' Sync connection that I'm afraid to ask how Jeff knows about (trust me: DON'T for the love of all that is holy get Jeff going on about his favorite boy bands.....)
I'm wondering whether Michele is going to be of two minds of this.....on the one hand any publicity for the blog is good publicity, but...
It's funny, though, as I had always thought of Clemons more of a Kos or Willis guy myself.
I lack the courage to liveblog the game
Maybe tomorrow night---my nerves are too shot after this week to liveblog the Series.
However, here's some shamless pandering to the Omniscient One in hope of further linky-link: I institute our new feature-----YAZblogging!
Fenway looks great---I just hope John Henry sprung the extra $350 for steamcleaners to try to remove the stench of week old beer, piss, blood, stale pretzels, and cigarettes that hang in the air of Yawkey Way.
UPDATE: The Irish Elk has a great round-up of all that you crave Sawx/Cards, including a great pic of Joe Cronin....
UPDATE: Sheila is asking what was the greatest World Series of all time. The correct answer is of course 1975, the last one before free agency mucked everything up.
Is the Israel portion of the Global test multiple choice?
Annika beats on Kerry with a two iron while Krauthammer holds him down....
Spreading the love
The Brain has a new find that's worth checking out.
LLamas Scoop L'Affaire Evan Thomas
However, we had posted the promotional literature from the book back on October 6th showing both covers to the book:
Thanks to Glenn, who notes the link.
Just as reliable an indicator as the electronic political futures markets I think is a subjective assessment of who is losing it. Fear can be smelled, particularly by that bizarre species voterisis swinglitem undedicidedus.
Spasibo back at ya, comrade!
Politburo Diktat turns one today, and celebrates with cake, ice cream, and a link filled round up.
Live-blogging the Slumber Party And the Sox Game
And so it begins.
At the moment, they're busy making pizzas, to be followed by caramel apples for afters.
I understand the movie selection for the evening is Sleeping Beauty, although I'll bet this isn't what they wind up watching. Whatever actually gets run off, they'll be down in the basement for it. I, on the other hand, will be watching the game up here in the Missus' study, so I'll have ample opportunity to fill you in if anything noteworthy occurs in either contest.
Whether this turns into Stephen Green-style live-blogging rather depends on how everybody gets along downstairs. One of my favorite titles from the old Dave Letterman children's bookmobile sketch was Daddy Drinks Because You Cry.
UPDATE: My four year old is whinnying like a horse. Always a bad sign.
FURTHER UPDATE: Popcorn is ready and the movie is just about to go on. My poor two year old has been getting progressively sicker throughout the day and hit meltdown time at dinner. On the other hand, the four year old, in classic little sister style, made it abundantly clear that if we thought she wasn't going to get in on this slumber-party action, we were very much mistaken.
I don't really understand why the Play-Doh people bother sorting the stuff into colors. It all eventually gets mixed up in a uniform purplish, brownish goo. (Of course, I think the same thing about infant and toddler clothing - someone ought to market a line in various shades of food-stain brown and green.)
MORE UPDATE: Okay, movie is running. Time for Daddy to actually have a bite to eat.
STILL MORE: As I suspected, Sleaping Beauty has been preempted by Cinderella. I guess the mice have more appeal to six year olds than do Flora, Fauna and Merriweather. Meanwhile, Daddy has been fed and the Sox are up 7-5 at the top of the 6th. Life is good.
Razzing on the Missus for not being able to immediately identify the National League participant in the Series. Her zinger comeback: "Hey - the Yankees lost. What the hell do I care now?"
UPDATE: Yeouch! Poor Tony Womack. I'm quite sure I wouldn't want a David Ortiz line drive right in my chest either.
MORE: Bottom of the 7th - Manny Ramirez gets busted (justly) for not hustling enough to pick up the double. Run, fat boy!
Also, I have to agree with the Missus about one thing: Johnny Damon - get a haircut, dude!
STILL MORE: God damn Manny Ramirez.
ET CETERA: Middle of the 8th. Dayum, that was close.
MORE: Bellhorn - what a guy! Man, you have a thing for that Right Field Pole.
YIPS from Steve: I can't WAIT to see what type of googlage we're going to get from that one, Rob!
WRAP No. 1: Midnight - all girls out cold. Yesssssss.
WRAP No. 2 and FINAL UPDATE: Fenway Rebel Alliance 11, Cards 9. Yessssssssss.
Bambi the Balrog Watch - Part 3
Upon closer inspection, it turns out my garden was full of deer tracks. Not only had the blighters gone after the hydrangea, they seem to have sampled everything else as well, with the exception of the iris and buddleia. In particular, they did a pretty good job on the hollyhocks.
I put up some netting all the way around the garden fence to the height of about six feet or so. Hopefully, this will keep the dewy-eyed hell-spawn out until everything dies back on its own. It's strictly a stop-gap measure. I'll have to figure out this winter whether to go ahead and make it permanent and if so, how, or else whether to just tear it all down again once the deers' forest habitat comes back. I wouldn't mind making it permanent so as not to have to worry about it any more, except that I've got a white board fence and there isn't much I can put on top of it that isn't going to be rather an eyesore.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
This morning I was chatting with my six year old about her big sleepover party tonight. (I wasn't feeling up to taking the child to her soccer game (ah-choo!), so the Butcher's Wife sportingly offered to sub for me. This is why I'm able to rant about deer and other matters this morning.)
Anyhoo, it turns out that of the three guests, one can't come until after dinner and one needs to go home later this evening. Only one of the girls is going to be here for the entire time. "You see," said my daughter,"she's the only one who doesn't have anything else on her schedule."
The B.W. and I looked at each other.
Now, we are in no way the kind of parents who believe in micromanaging every last second of our kids' lives, jamming them full of activities from dawn til dusk and using Excel spreadsheets and cell phones to keep track of everyone and everything. And we certainly don't use that kind of language to describe their day to day life. (I hate the word "playdate," for example.) But we live in a community that is immersed in this way of thinking and the child evidently is picking up the lingo from her little friends.
I'm not worried so much about the language, frankly, as I am that the kids will somehow also start feeling that there is something wrong if they aren't engaged in wall-to-wall planned activities like their peers. The ability to amuse themselves by themselves in what the so-called professionals call "unstructured time and settings" is one of the most precious we can hope to bestow on them. So far, I think we're doing pretty well. But these little incidents demonstrate the kind of competition we face.
Bambi the Balrog Watch - Part Two
Now this is just plain bizarre. We have a bird feeder sitting on an iron post next to the back patio. (The post is about six feet tall and thin - about half an inch on a side.)
As I went out to investigate the rape of the hydrangea, I noticed that the top of the bird feeder post had been twisted down to within a foot or so of the ground and the feeder itself knocked off.
At first, I suspected the kids had been fooling with it. However, cross examination of them and Mom confirmed that they had not been in the yard this week. The only other explanation I can come up with is that some damned deer hoiked itself up on its hind legs and leaned against the thing trying to get at the seed. I know they come right up to the house because I sometimes find droppings and because they occassionally go after the whiskey barrel impatiens, but I've never seen this before.
Ai! Between the Wraith Rabbits and Bambi the Balrog, I'm really beginning to feel beseiged by the Shadow.
Bambi the Balrog Watch - Part One
I haven't seen much of my garden the past week or so - we were too busy last weekend and it's been a dark and rainy week. But this morning I looked out and noticed that something seemed strange about the appearance of the oak-leaf hydrangea behind the fence. Upon closer investigation, my fears were confirmed - the damn deer have been at it.
Now I planted the hydrangea two years ago. In order to keep the deer off, I strung a fence of mesh behind them. So the set up looks something like this:
----------------- - deer fence
XXXXXXXXXXX - row of hydrangia
========== - Back garden fence
========== - front garden fence
The deer fence is about six feet high. The garden fence is about four. What is happening is that the deer are coming across the lawn, jumping the front garden fence and leaning over the back fence to get at the hydrangea. So far they're being lazy - they've only got at it where there are gaps in the garden borders, and they're only going for the leaves above the level of the garden fence - but still. Bastards.
Now I'm going to have to string deer fence all the way around the garden. I had thought that they wouldn't jump into it for fear of being in too confined a space, but evidently they have summoned up the nerve. This may also explain some sudden occassional lopping of coneflower heads, although I was under the impression deer didn't like the stuff.
My neighbor's father is supposed to come visit this fall and bowhunt the woods behind our houses. He can't get here too quickly for me.
An Evil of the Ancient World Is Come Again
From the Valaquenta, an excerpt from "Of the Enemies" -
Yet so great was the power of [Melkor's] uprising that in ages forgotten he contended with Manwe and all the Valar, and through long years in Arda held dominion in most of the lands of the Earth. But he was not alone. For of the Maiar many were drawn to his splendour in the days of his greatness, and remained in that allegiance down into his darkness; and others he corrupted afterwards to his service with lies and treacherous gifts. Dreadful among these spirits were the Valarankar, the scourges of fire that in Middle Earth were called the Balrogs, demons of terror.
Recent scholarship among Prof. Tolkien's papers has unearthed more information concerning this evil:
Of the Balrogs' part in the tale of woes in Middle Earth, much is lost. However, one name has survived the erosive effect of time on the memory of its Peoples and is held even now by Elves, Dwarves and Men in dread and horror: Bambi. Reckoned amongst the foulest of Morgoth's servants, he took the form of a gentle, dewy-eyed, four-legged creature of the wild. Thus, all the more cruelly for his outwardly adorable guise, Bambi passed hither and thither across the lands of Middle Earth, laying waste the gardens of Arda and replacing them with a black desert in which no life could survive. Despite the fall of his master into the outer darkness, this fiend still stalks the lands with hooves of hell, seeking to devour what it may.
Thus it cometh again, the Bambi Balrog of Morgoth.
October 22, 2004
Well I've certainly heard about this sort of thing but I didn't expect to see such a blatant example:
I was driving home this afternoon around 5. At the corner of Great Falls Street and Old Chain Bridge in McLean, this jogger came around the corner. Without even batting an eye or missing a beat, the guy grabbed hold of a Bush/Cheney sign, yanked it out of the ground and threw it down. Just kept on going after that.
In case you're interested, he was tall and either bald or had very pale, short hair. He had very pale skin as well. He had a black knee brace on his left leg, a blue sweatshirt and red shorts.
And he was, of course, an utter dirtbag.
Actually, I'm not sure he was doing his cause that much good. Glancing back in my mirror, I saw the reaction of several people behind me. All of them looked horrified.
Ace opens up a can of whupazz on Axis Sully---girlie squealing followed by inevitable Orwell references follow as surely as Nyquil while watching a Margaret Carlson-women-in-prison-softcore flick.
Ontology of "The Curse"
The Jonah Goldberg quote featured below ticked me off in an important way: there hasn't always been a "Curse" with Red Sawx fans (I know, I know, even writing such a thing is bad luck! After all, I come from a region of the country which has absolute faith in the idiocy of much of the rest of the country but has absolutely no problem with burying statues of St. Jude and St. Christopher in your lawn to sell your house more quickly). The Curse is a recent thing, an idea that started to appear around the time the "Yankees Suck" stuff started in the late 1970s, but didn't take full form until after the 1986 Series with the Mets.
I'm 38, and grew up rooting for the Sox. I can remember the 1972-73 season: my older brother, who was born in 1964, claims memories of the 1967 "Impossible Dream" season of Yaz, Conigliaro, and the Series against Bob Gibson's Cardinals. The 1975 Series I can remember, but I'm sure my memories of the Series have been shaped and formed by seeing the replays and recountings over the years. I remember the season clearly, though, with the emergence of Jim Rice and Fred Lynn. As a twelve-year old, I was marred by the whole 1978 season. But there wasn't a Curse that was talked of---old timers talked about the 46 World Series with Musial's Cardinals and Johnny Pesky's play, but not in terms of doom and gloom. It was a frustration, but not in the form of a twisted self-hating loathing that came later, following 1986 and the Mets.
If you run "Red Sox" and "curse" through Lexis Nexis for the dates 1918 to 1985, you get two hits to stories by Washington Post sportswriters.
The first is from this March 7, 1979 report from Spring Training:
The sun is warm here, the orange trees lean their full branches over the outfield fences. This spring retreat of the Boston Red Sox, so ripe with fruit, does not look like a haunted house. But it is.
For Carlton Fisk and many another Red Sox, the air still seems crisp, the sky a dazzling autumn azure and one solitary popup hangs high over Fenway Park. The Red Sox have long memories. It is their heritage, and curse.
"I was in the on-deck circle when Yaz popped it up, just like I was when he flied out to end the '75 World Series," said Fisk, recalling Carl Yastrzemski's final out of last October's American League East playoff.
"I knew the season would be over as soon as it came down. It seemed like the ball stayed up forever, like everything was cranked down to slow motion," he said, gesturing as though feeling his way through cobwebs.
"I was trying to will the ball to stay up there and never come down... what a dumb thing to have run through your mind. Even the crowd roar sounded like a movie projector at the wrong speed when everything gets gravelly and warped."
The Sox are an imaginative team -- more's the pity -- susceptible to haunting. They prove that those who cannot forget the past are also condemned to repeat it.
The evil that the Bosox do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their moans.
So it is this spring -- redoubled. Somewhere it must be written that the Carmine Hose shall suffer.
A meme was born. These two Boswell references were the only ones Lexis-Nexis picks up between 1978 (Bucky Dent) and 1986 (Bill Buckner). But after the 1986 series the meme took off, particularly with Dan Shaughnessy publishing One Strike Away, his account of the 1986 season and Series, and his 1990 The Curse of the Bambino. Between Buckner and Shaughnessy's book, there were only ten references in Lexis connecting "Red Sox" and "curse", but after the book was published Lexis counts 964 hits, which I think is an undersampling as they are hitting only newspapers, not magazines, ESPN, sports radio.....
You get the drift.
The point here is that "The Curse" was something that is not 86 years old (since the Sawx last won the Series with Ruth on the mound in 1918) but only 14, since Dan Shaughnessy, a notorious Boston Globe sportswriter, coined a term and decided to drive an entire region of the country into the loving arms of Mother Paxil. It was created to explain and address two bitter, crushing, and improbable defeats to two distinctively obnoxious New York teams: the 1978 Yanks of Billy Martin, Reggie, and the rest of the Bronx Zoo, and the 1986 coke hound Mets of Darryl Strawberry and the rest of their Grand Master Flash compadres (remember the jokes at the time of the Shea groundkeepers keep running out of lime because the Mets kept snorting the baselines?) There was no "curse" needed to explain defeats in 1946 and 67 to the Cardinals or in 1975 to the Reds. Musial and Gibson's Cardinals were outstanding teams from a modest and sincere city, and there was no dishonor or bizzaro coincidences, other than going the distance of seven games both times and coming up short. Ditto with the Reds, which I still hold out as the last "real" World Series----the last World Series before free agency.
In a nutshell, "The Curse" emerged as a meme to explain losing to New York teams in the age of free agency. "The Bambino" angle emerged as a metaphor for losing to New York teams buying victory---remember the distinctive thing about the 1986 Sawx was that their entire starting lineup in the field had all come up through their farm system.
And what made it together with "Yankees-suck"dom a pathology over the past ten years were two things: first, the introduction of the Wild Card which allowed for the Yankees/Red Sox post-season series to occur, and shortly later the reification of Southie Chic with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. But that's a different post.
Here's Shaughnessy in today's Globe:
Let's get one thing straight: the Curse of the Bambino has not been lifted. The job is not yet done.
Let's get one thing straight: Dan Shaughnessy needs to shuthispiehole. He created "The Curse" and it would kill him if it were "lifted." It would be as if The Donald could no longer fire anybody.
What happened in Boston and New York in those magical four days may stand as the most satisfying moment in Red Sox history. Coming back to beat the Yankees four straight times - putting the choke tag on the haughty New Yorkers - may be the ultimate in satisfaction for Red Sox Nation. If the Sox never win a World Series again, citizens of the Nation will forever have an answer for pinstriped knuckleheads who make fun of the Red Sox.
Knock yourself out, Yankee fans. Taunt all you want. In the words of Bogey to Bergman, "We'll always have Paris."
However, it would be pathetic for Sox fans to be satisfied with merely making it to the World Series. The object of any team's baseball season is to win the World Series. Beating the Yankees should not be the only goal - even if it's as pulsating and heartstopping as the event we just witnessed.
This is why Shaughnessy to me epitimizes the charictature of the evil sportswriter Max Mercy played by Robert Duvall in The Natural, the writer who whips up fear, hatred, loathing, and angst as a way to sell papers. Give me loud mouths like Kornheiser or Wilbon any day, and Tom Boswell--a true writer--twice on Sunday. But leave Shaughnessy in the minor leagues, in the stands at the local little league, bloody pen in hand writing a column to wreck the marriage of a local board of ed member because he slighted him at a party.
It was troubling yesterday to hear so many fans and some Sox personnel saying that the Curse is lifted. Headline writers and television teasers also seized the theme.
No, people. Beating the Yankees, great as it is, is not the ultimate goal. The Sox have finished ahead of the Yankees 18 times in the last 86 years. But they are still waiting for a World Series win.
No, people, the ultimate goal is selling books and papers, and if there's no Curse, folks will wake up to the fact that Shaughnessy is a hack, the Mike Barnacle of sports writers.
Disclosure here. I wrote a book entitled "The Curse of the Bambino" in 1990. It was your basic dark history of the Red Sox, tracing the many frustrations and near misses after the Sox sold the greatest player of all time to the Yankees for cash. The title is catchy and the idea of the Curse became an easy theme every time things went wrong for the Red Sox. It spawned a cottage industry of musicals, board games, screenplays, ice cream flavors, cookies, and all forms of signage. But it was never exclusive to Red Sox-Yankees.
Understandably, the Curse has become a tired cliche in these parts. ESPN's Peter Gammons described it as "a silly mindless gimmick that is as stupid as The Wave."
Right. What we have here is the Cheers Bar Complex. The Bull & Finch Pub, a neighborhood bar we loved, became an annoying place to sell T-shirts after Sam and Diane went national. Locals fled the Bull & Finch while tourists filled the joint and took pictures. Same thing with the Curse. Sox fans are sick of it. It's something for out-of-towners.
Personally, I think even Diane Chambers would have boxed Shaughnessy's ears, but hey, that's just me, Mr. Vegas.
John W. Henry and friends were ridiculed when they bought the team and said they wanted to break the Curse. Yet it remains part of the official club mission statement. On page 10 of the Red Sox press guide, under the heading of "A New Day, The Story of the New Red Sox," reads the following: "To end the Curse of the Bambino and win a world championship for Boston, New England, and Red Sox Nation."
There. Breaking the Curse officially is part of the Henry/Werner/Lucchino manifesto. And it involves winning a world championship. Not just beating the Yankees.
Sox CEO Larry Lucchino last night said, "Beating the Yankees damages the Curse considerably, but I think that we've always seen our task here as winning a World Series championship."
Asked if he feared the Sox might be content with just beating the Yankees, Lucchino said, "I think human nature being what it is, that is always a danger, but I don't think our players are guilty of that. And I hope our fans are not guilty of it. We recognize that we've got to keep our eyes on the prize and the prize is winning a world championship."
Hope so. But I get nervous when Werner tells the Herald, "The World Series is great, but we've done something historic."
The World Series is great, but . . . ???
Not the attitude you need to finish the job. Red Sox Nation does not serve its team well by indicating ultimate satisfaction with what the Sox have done thus far.
Late last night, Werner amended his position, saying, "In the end, we'll only be satisfied with a World Series win," but added, "whether we win a World Series or not, nobody can take away what this team just did. But obviously, the ultimate way to break the curse is to win the World Series, and that's our goal."
Sox manager Terry Francona certainly gets the message. While his ballplayers were pouring champagne over one another early yesterday morning, he had the presence of mind to say, "There's more baseball to be played."
That's it. The 1946 Red Sox were the best team in baseball, but did not win the World Series. The 1967 Red Sox gave New England a hardball summer like no other and there was not much disappointment and certainly no disgrace when they failed to win the World Series. Ditto for the 1975 gang. The 1986 team couldn't close the deal against the Mets and permanently planted the idea that the Sox might be operating under a black cloud.
Now the 2004 Sox have a chance to bring a World Series championship to New England for the first time since the doughboys were fighting World War I.
The Yankees series was great, perhaps the greatest baseball event in our town. Ever. But the Curse is not lifted. The job isn't done yet.
There it is---"The Curse" exists only as a marketing plan, one that works in the Sawx favor.
I'm going to stop here before the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, the Chimperor and Halliburton work there way into this. But the final point is this: there was no curse, never was. Just a number of people who liked making money off a run of bad luck and the willful desparation of the secular Calvinism of the New England faithful.
What Is All This Felgercarb?
Frinklin gives the heads up that the recent Sci-Fi Network Battlestar Galactica miniseries is being launched as a regular series in January and has already started airing in G.B. He also has a link over to another site where some Brits have posted initial reactions. (They seem to like it.)
Frinklin is excited about this. Frankly, I don't get it - I thought the miniseries was appalling. Aside from ripping the guts out of the original 70's production in terms of spirit, I thought the thing was poorly written and badly executed, both for its acting and special effects.
Time to scramble the Vipers in defense of the rag-tag fugitive fleet of traditionalists yet again.......
Is it sinking in for the Sawx faithful yet?
But Sheila has some very Sheila-esque observations from watching the game holed up in a notorious Red Sox bar in Hoboken.
The Irish Elk has a link round-up of commentary including this gem from Jonah Goldberg:
This isn't sour grapes. I may technically be a Yankees "fan" but it's only out of vestigial loyalty sort of like the way Madonna is still a "Catholic."
Nevertheless, I do hope the Red Sox lose in the World Series. There aren't many curses left in modern society most people still believe in. We've sanitized the culture of such mysticisms. Or we've elevated them to quasi-religions deserving full respect under the rules of political correctness ("Oh? You're a Pagan? Isn't that wonderful! My hairdresser's a Druid!"). The BoSox curse is old but it's not weird. It's a comfortable bit of lore which adds drama to life. If it disappears the magic and mystery of life will be a teeny bit diminished. Except of course for Red Sox fans, who will be whistling dixie out of every orifice for a year. Depriving them of such joy seems worth the price.
In a word: harrumph! Burke be damned on this one (Edmund, not Ellis of course).
But the Elk has the goods, so read and scroll and savor....
This idea sums it up perfectly to me:
Particularly since Monday is St. Crispins Day, the 589th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt. (BTW, the Elk gives us THIS link to hear Branagh do the St. Cripsin's Day speech. Mmmmmmm.....Branagh!)
YIPS! from Robbo: Our friend Freakin' Jen asked in comments below if I was going to do another series meme a la the ALCS/Star Wars thing. I have to confess that nothing comes to mind. I have no particular feeling about the Cards one way or another except, of course, hoping the Sawx beat them. If it had been the 'Stros, we could have done this whole Roger Clemens = Emperor Palpatine thing. But such is not to be.
Religion and American Politics
Rusty hits pay-sand
"Praise be to Allah, it increased the joy in our hearts that John Kerry, the presidential candidate criticized the Bush governmentfor taking so long in making this declaration. The one who may be president of America [John Kerry] is already struck with terror by our brothers from the Tawheed wal-Jihad Movement [Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group]. The repeated atacks that have targetted the evil Bush are now echoing on Kerry, even though he is not yet a president. This is what Allah means when he commands us to 'terrorize your enemy and the enemy of Allah."
Of course, the problem for me is whenever I read their name, rather than inspiring terror, my inner Beavis starts muttering, "hehehehehe...Taw-WEED"
Tragedy strikes when Barney discovers being French and an internationalist is no protection....
Yup, It's That Time Of Year (ah-choo!)
We met up with Steve-O and family last Sunday to go apple picking. The orchard was located atop an 1100 foot hill in the Virginia Piedmont and there was a wicked north wind howling when we got there. As a result, my four year old picked up a cold and has been wheezy and somewhat off the last couple days.
Sure enough, I seem to have picked it up from her and have been sliding down hill all day. Fortunately, it's Friday afternoon and things aren't too hectic around here.
Unfortunately, we've got a lot going on this weekend. This evening, we're off to River Bend Park in Great Falls, VA for some kind of Halloween campfire thingy. If they need someone to play a walking corpse, I might be well suited for the role by then.
Tomorrow it's my six year old's soccer game at the ungodly hour of 8:00 AM, followed by taking my two year old to her first class birthday party of the year. Then tomorrow night my six year old is hosting her very first slumber party for the other first grade girls in her class. I know I'll be called upon as a combination emcee/chaperone/referee, but if I'm feeling sufficiently grumpy I might just impose marshall law and have done with it.
We've been busted!
Kathy the Cake Eater outs us with this tirade. (For some reason, I can't copy her text, so you'll have to go read it yourself.)
In the name of full disclosure, he's the REAL picture....
Yeah, yeah, yeah---like you'd turn down having Susan Sarandon put you on a leash? (I'm talking to Macktastic Rusty Wicked and INDCent Bill, folks!) Come on, that's one hell of a fluffy sweater---of course I'm not going to ask what type of wool that is. As to Patricia Heaton, we the LLamabutchers would not only allow ourselves to be leashed, but I'd even let her pose with a croquet mallet.
However, in the interest of FULL disclosure, I give you this picture: judge for yourselves who's been holding back on who (or is it whom? I'm tired and need some lunch) in terms of celebrity endorsements of their site...
I'm Getting Tired Of This....
T'other night I was chatting with some folks from Church and the subject swung round to politics. As in almost every such conversation I've had lately, the Three Pillars of Election Wisdom quickly made their appearance. To wit:
1.) The country is more polarized than ever before,
2.) Political campaigning has hit an all-time low in civility, and
3.) Election fraud is at an all-time high.
With all due respect, this is a load of fetid dingoes' kidneys.
First, people who think the current red-blue social division is bad evidently have never heard of the Civil War. Or the Revolution, for that matter, in which members of all classes of society lined up on both the Continental and the Tory sides. Or even the 60's, for Pete's sake. In fact, I'd be rather hard pressed to think of a period in the Nation's history in which some social or political issue or issues wasn't generating sharp rifts in opinion. This isn't a problem, it's who we are, people.
Second, would someone kindly direct me to that historical election cycle when nobody attacked their opponent, but instead did nothing but highlight their own worthiness for office? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Name any presidential candidate you like and with a few clicks on Google I'll find a choice assortment of lies, accusations, slanders and character assassination, the majority of which is likely to meet or exceed anything you see today in terms of invective. This ain't beanbag. And to my knowledge, Mr. Rogers never ran for office.
Third, nobody invented voter fraud in 2000. It only appeared on the Nation's radar screen because the election was so close that year. And it's still on the radar simply because this year's election may be pretty close too. But it's nothing new. I grew up in Texas and used to hear the old joke about the boy sitting on the court house steps in 1960 crying his eyes out. Someone asked the boy why he was so upset and he said, "Because my pa just voted for Kennedy." The man then asked why that should make the boy cry and he said, "Because my pa has been dead for five years!" Other examples of this sort of thing abound through history. By all means, we should do everything we can to stop such shenanigans, but let's not pretend they're a Modern Eeeevil.
All of these talking points, which I suppose are meant to make the speaker sound both informed and caring, really represent a kind of political romantic primativism, a yearning for a mythical Golden Age. Like all such movements, they are, in fact, built on historical ignorance and unrealistic expectations about human nature.
Less of it, please. It's fine to be concerned about problems. But take the time to figure out if something really is a problem, and if so, how much of one, before you start getting all Alan Alda-y about it.
Someone asks: "How big is a llama?"
As we used to say on Steve-O's and my rowing team, "YUGE!"
Because we were down and out yesterday, I wasn't able to note that it was the 199th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Enoch Soames, Esq., provides us with Vice Admiral Collingwood's post-battle dispatch to the Admiralty.
New Babes Of Sci-Fi Poll
I've often thought that the only conceivable reason for watching Star Wars II - Attack of the Clones at all was to see Padme's six-pack abs when she's decked out in Warrior Princess costume. (Needless to say, there is no conceivable reason to watch Star Wars I - The Phantom Menace.) On the other hand, Leia the Slave Girl is something of a cultural icon for those of us over a certain age. Interesting match up.
Sheila's pal Alexandra Billings has a round up of the 30 Greatest Movies of All Time, in Parts One and Two. As you might expect of any friend of Sheila, she has some interesting choices and some interesting commentary.
A couple of these movies stand out in my mind because I've been thinking about them lately. First is His Girl Friday. I haven't seen this in ages, but I love it. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell deliver slick, snappy repartee. And ol' Rosalind is a real eye-full. Time to run it off again, I think.
Second is What's Up, Doc? I loathe Barbra Streisand, not (just) because of her politics, but because her brand of adorable sassiness makes me want to reach for a brick. Also, if international terrorists ever kidnapped me and wanted me to divulge secret information, all they'd have to do is tie me up and force me to listen to Babs sing a medley of cabaret favorites including "Memories," "People," and "Send in the Clowns." I'd squeel like a stuck pig. Despite all this, I happen to think this is a very funny movie with a solid cast, good writing and one of the best chase scenes in the pictures.
But what really got my attention about Alexandra's compilation were her thoughts on Young Frankenstein. Allow me to quote in full:
Well, now, really. I mean....is there anything better? Mel Brooks at his insane best. Yet, the interesting thing is, it never once loses sight of the homage it pays to the original Frankenstein (or is it "Steen"?) It's most definitely a comedy, but the mood Brooks plays into is still very real. Gene Wilder's Frankenstein is classic now, and with help from Chloris Leachman, Terri Garr, Marty Feldman, Kenneth Genius Mars, and the redoubtable Madeline Kahn, how can you fail? All the actors had to do was play the reality of the situation, and the funny happened naturally. The film never comments on itself, yet always has a sense of the ridiculous. "He was my BOYFRIEND!" I mean, please.
There's no way to single out a performance here. The great thing about this film is that it truly plays like an ensemble comedy. But I have to mention the great Peter Boyle at the Monster who utters only one line in the movie: "Putting on the RIIIIITZ", and the brilliant Gene Hackman in an uncredited appearance as the Blind Man who comes into contact with Boyle. Hackman's 5 minute scene is enough to see this picture. As Hackman feels Boyle's massive chest, and blind as a bat, he retorts: "You must've been the biggest one in your class."
*Frankenstein Side Note: Terri Garr was all set to play Wilder's fiancee, but it wasn't until Brooks and Wilder had seen "What's Up Doc?", that they re-thought the idea and cast Madeline as the unsuspecting victim of the Monsters first sexual conquest. The aria Kahn sings in the cave was her own idea. It was an improv that Brook's simply left in, and asked Garr to copy in the last shot of the film.
I think this is exactly right and is why Y.F. is superior to Blazing Saddles, which gives up on trying to stay in character and goes for lampoon and sight-gags instead. I always thought this detracted from the film. The same problem afflicts, to a greater or lesser extent, High Anxiety, which is okay, History of the World, Part I, which Steve-O likes but I think is a dog, and Space Balls, which is deplorably unfunny.
Also, Y.F. has an absolutely superior cast. Not a weak link among 'em. I've always thought that Madeline Kahn and Cloris Leachman in particular ought to have been ashamed of themselves for the way they ate up their characters. One extra Llama Yip! about this. I once saw a tee-vee show about the film that showed a bunch of attempted takes at the scene where Kahn's Elizabeth arrives at the castle, Wilder's Doctor asks Marty Feldman's Igor to help him with the bags and Feldman breaks into his Groucho routine: Soytenly! You take the blonde and I'll take the one in the toyban! They had to film that bit over and over again because everyone kept cracking up. Even in the final shot, you can still see Wilder trying to suppress a smile. That is a sign of a cast having a good time. And it shows throughout the movie.
Might As Well Face It, You're Addicted To Blog
I must say that sitting here all day in front of my computer yesterday without being able to blog was downright maddening. (It's different on the weekends when I'm out and about.) By the end of the day, I felt rather like a cow that has missed its regular milking. So if I'm a little more, er, gabby today than usual, I hope you'll understand.
Meanwhile, I wanted to extend our thanks to all of you who dropped a line in the Tasty-Bits (TM) Mail Sack. In particular, I understand that our absence nearly caused a riot among the Crack Young Staff over at the Hatemonger's Quarterly. On the other hand, Chan the Bookish Gardener provided the Mom-and-chicken-soup touch. (I have a very clear mental image of Chan reading our site. I can just see the slight smile and the shake of the head, and hear the muttered "Oh, those boys....") And in particular, I wanted to send some big Llama Yips! to our pal Freakin' Jen, who very gallantly offered to let us come over and play at her house. Fortunately for her carpets and upholstery, it looks like we won't need to take her up on this.
Thanks to all of you. Yip! Yip! Yip!
Wait For It.......
Sorry about yesterday, everybody. MuNu was completely out all day. My theory was that the server got damaged by a piece of shrapnel when the Yankee Death Star blew up:
(I've been waiting 36 damn hours to do that. Aaaaah-hahahahahaaaaa!)
Yips! to Tainted Bill for the image. I know it's from Episode VI while I was running with the Episode IV meme, but this was the best - unaltered - pic I could find.
October 21, 2004
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.....okay, I do know: laugh, of course. Because the real name for the pointed black chapeau is an asshat, spelled with an umlaut of course.
Gee, what a surprise!
One thing I'd be careful with, boys: since you were meeting in Vienna, you might want to remember that right up to the gates of Vienna are part of dar-al-Islam, the rightful property of the Caliphate....
UPDATE: More nuance from J. Francois...
The Revenge of the Efficient Markets
We've posted a number of theories on whether political operatives were trying to influence the Tradesports presidential futures markets, particularly during the debates. I'm pretty convinced that was taking place.
But a funny thing happened once Glenn, Luskin, your Llamas, and others started writing about this: a large number of people saw it for the opportunity that it was---the prices were depressed because they reflected what some large speculators wanted to happen, not what they believed would happen. Why? Because they were hoping that no one would notice the high volume individual sales trying to drive the prices down, trying on each of the nights of the debates to create the appearance of spontaneous public support emerging for the likelihood of Kerry's election.
But guess what? A lot of folks saw that instead as an opportunity to take money from the Donkey speculator(s), and as efficient market theory would hypothesize, the price for the Bush reelect contract has shot right back up, and the Kerry elect contract has begun to settle.
But what matters, of course, is the Electoral College, and what we find when we parse the numbers is that Bush's support has stayed constant not only from last week, but from last February.
The "Bush wins the electoral votes of state X" is trading above $80 in 27 states worth a combined 227 electoral votes. This is an improvement over last week, with Colorado (9 EVs) is at $82; Nevada (5 EVs) is at $81.9; and Missouri (11 EVs) is at $81.
The Bush wins the state contract is trading between $55-$79 in 3 states worth a combined 57 electoral votes: Florida (27 EVs) at $63; Ohio (20 EVs) at $58; and Wisconsin (10 EVs) is at $57.7. No states that were in this trading band last week dropped out.
The markets anticipate a high degree of confidence that Bush therefore will win 284 electoral votes, a number which has held constant since the late winter.
What's in the close range? Iowa is trading at $54.9, Cow Hampshire at $45, New Mexico at $40, Minnesota at $38, and Pennsylvania at $30.9. All these (with the exception of the Granite Noggin State) all went blue last time.
How does this impact strategy? Look for the Chimperor to put the chips on these states that are somewhat long shots for him like Minnesota and Pennsylvania, but are ALL must wins for Kerry. If he can do this while also covering the bases in in the $79-$55 states of Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida, it's going to work.
What's fun about this is basically taking the approach of "moneyball" and using it in politics.
UPDATE: Is the Times even hedging its bet?
Nice try, Axis Sully!
Moo Knew went down for most of the day----I had this vision of the scene from Airplane!, where the guy pulls the plug in the tower then pops up and says "sorry! tee hee hee!"
But what I'd like to do is give some rousing and hearty Yip Yip Yips! to the most beneficient poo-bah of Moo Knew, the mysterious Reverend Pixy, who not only lets us play in his sandbox, but does such a fab job keeping the community being what it is. Thanks, Andrew!
Anyhoo, Robbo's I'm sure by now a jangling pile of goo, unable to blog lo these many hours. The boy's hooked reeeeeeeeal good. So, Sawx fans do not fret---the picture of the Yankee Death Star exploding is a coming. Patience, grasshopper---we waited twenty-six years to bury Bucky, we can wait one more day to cackle in style. Rusty bade his time well while the Sandcrawler was up on blocks, while Ace spent the day coming up with a new motto: It's like a bazillion monkeys running amok in your ass! Gee, thanks, Ace. Annika is harshing the mellow of Sawx geeks by pointing out the secret of their success: the team is owned by Constable Odo from Deep Space Nine. Yikes. (Although that might explain some of the more compliant umpire calls....) Meanwhile, Patriot Paradox is manning the barricades, and sends frantic word of the issue which is going to seal the deal for the Kerry campaign: Dick Cheney got a flu shot! Egad! Fortunately, Rocket Jones is on the scene to continue the public mockery of CBS.
Tonight was the night our group makes dinner at the Salvation Army, so I'm punching out and heading to bed. I need a shower, as I've got the wonderful aroma of industrial strength meatloaf around me.
SECRET MESSAGE FOR MICHELE: Thanks, girl---you are the definition of class. Of course, Robbo is the model of a modern major general...
First I'm going to breathe, then I'm going to drink a beer, then I'm going to collapse
UPDATE: Don't fear, folks----the picture of the Death Star exploding is coming! Robbo came up with this theme (which can I say turned out to be freakin brilliant!) and I want to let him have all the fun of pasting up the picture of the Death Star blowing up, the Falcon flying away, etc etc. Let Robbo have his fun, you chomping weasels! However, I couldn't resist the Johnny "Chewbacca" Damon joke.....
UPDATE: Allah returns from indepth consultation with the 21 Virgins to post THIS. Suuuh-weet!
October 20, 2004
House o' Payne writes in with this fab idea:
ASV started a webring of Yankee lovers. Is there a webring of Republican/conservative/hawkish Red Sox fans? There are plenty of bloggers who fit that category, including the Butchers, Son of Nixon, Allah, myself, etc. If not, someone should start it, and name it after Schilling, since he's also apparently an anti-idiotarian.
I'm all in favor of this, and we'd like to host. But we need a name: obviously, "Schilling's Ding-a-lings" is a joke. What ideas do folks have?
Also, I've been meaning for some time to start the Coalition of the Neo-Khans, with obviously Ricardo Montalban as our hero, to balance off The Eowyn Voters League. Anyone interested, drop us some TastyBits.
I thought you might appreciate this, even though it's a wee bit late:
This from an emailer to The Corner:
Thought you might get a kick out of an exchange between Schilling and Dan Patrick on Patrick's radio show this morning (assuming you didn't hear it). Patrick asked Curt whether or not he thought ARod's mitt slap was bush-league and Schilling said, "No, it was Kerry-league." He seems to be no fan of ARod or Kerry. Just one more reason to love the guy.
Curt Schilling rocks.
Yips! to Tainted Bill, from whom I lifted the pic.
He's indeed a twisted tyke
Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities rips, errr, Axis Sully a new one. The Mariah Carey diva-crackup angle is gold, I say, GOLD!!!
Pre-Post Series Thank You
Before we actually get down to the final push tonight, I just wanted to thank everyone for indulging me in my little Star Wars meme over the past week. Two things about it that are worth noting:
1) The whole business started out as something of a half-joke, but I've found myself drawn more and more into it as the series has progressed. Some might say this is because George Lucas created a masterpiece about heroic struggle that fits in with my own feelings towards the Sox blah, blah, blah. I think it simply means that I have a problem.
2) My parents, who are regular readers, are probably the only two people on the planet who haven't seen Star Wars. For some reason, I find it mildly amusing that they likely haven't the faintest idea what the hell I've been talking about with all this.
Once again, thank you for your patience.
It simply cannot get any closer than this.
Red Five, having been relieved of pursuing TIE-fighters by Keith "Han Solo" Foulke, is rapidly approaching the exhaust port.
Meanwhile, poised above Fenway Rebel Base:
Intercom: Commence primary ignition......Stand by......Stand by......
Time to channel some serious Obi-Wan:
Trust your feelings, Luke! Let go!
Let me just say on behalf of the entire Llama Regiment of the Fenway Rebel Alliance: May the Force be with you.
Umm, no, it's because you suck.
Ron Silver, self-declared 9/12 Republican, complains that his Republican activism is hurting his career.
My hunch: it might be that his ability to only play slimy yet creepy one-dimesional villains that is hurting his career, but maybe that's just me, Mr. Vegas.
Although, that might make a good sitcom/action show: out-of-work Republican actors who have to work nights as private detectives to cover the bills. Tension between those who are "out" and their Republican friends, living the lie deep in the closet, terrified of being outed. We could call it "The 'R' Word."
I Want My Llama Butchers!
Venemous Kate is pruning her blogroll and has come up with a Survivor-style competition: the top one hundred vote getters get to stay. Everyone else - fffff't!
We've always thought Kate was kinda scary cool and would like to stay on her roll. So if you're willing to help out, please zap on over and add your llama vote. We'd be perfectly happy to return the favor.
J. Francois' nuanced view of dealing with nuisances in conjunction with our valiant friends of the UN.
Nevermind PJ O'Rourke, its The Hatemongers Quarterly
This is perhaps the most vicious piece of satire on college professors I've read in a long time:
“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official Academics Against Remote Oppression that in No Way Affects Them Manifesto (THMQOAAROTINWATM):
We, the undersigned, are deeply troubled by manifold injustices: Capitalism, democracy, &c. Yet we wish to announce that we are untroubled by various issues that would normally trouble such beacons of “social justice” as ourselves.
We hereby declare that the following things do not in any way bother us:
1. The fact that numerous professors at our universities are offered starvation wages and no health-care. As long as they teach the classes we don’t want to bother with, that’s fine by us.
2. The fact that our graduate students live in abject poverty. As long as they teach the classes we don’t want to bother with, that’s fine by us.
3. The fact that our parking spots are far, far better than those held by lowly service employees. Sure, we’re Marxists and all, but we don’t want to take this “fairness” stuff too far.
4. The fact that some students want a balanced liberal arts education, instead of four years of left-wing agitprop.
This is just a taste: read the whole thing.
I'm going to make a copy and put it surreptitously on the door of my favorite Marxist librarian.
UPDATE: Macktastic Rusy Wicked (aka Herr Doktor Professor Schackleford IV) poses the following dare:
PS-I would pay to see Steve put this up on his office door!
Let me get this straight: you would PAY to see this up on my DOOR?!?!?! No problemo, my friend---let me bring in the spycamera on Friday.
The real question is, to put your pimpafied money where your mouth is, how much would you pay to see me introduce this into a motion before our Faculty Senate during a faculty meeting? (Proof of life in the minutes, as witnessed by Chai-Rista?) As Judge Smails would say, "Wellllllllllllllll?"
Flushing out all the evil that is Phil Collins
Who else but the HMQ?
Yips! from Robbo: Unfortunately, I've had that damn "Su-Sudio" playing in my head all afternoon, together with Paul Shaeffer's riffs on it.
Okay, now it's getting weird.
Sure, we've been rolling in the traffic for people googling "Pedro Martinez midget buddy good luck charm." Ditto "Bambino Curse Yankee Death Star Axis Sully Wookie." And we've got the "Olsen Twins Illuminati Trilateral Commission" corner covered.
But whoever was the person coming here looking for "Mary Cheney lesbian nekkid pics" FOR SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!! You'll find nothing of the sort here!
I mean, sure, after Ramadan and all but.....
Good photo taken today from the Mt. Washington Observation Deck.
I've never been up there, despite having knocked around New England a goodish bit. We have a place on Orr's Island, Maine. (Click here to see an old-timey postcard of "The Grotto" - our house is literally right on top of it, over your right shoulder in this view.) Anyhoo, when we go up to visit the 'rents, we almost invariably take the kids for a ride around Casco Bay on the ferry that runs up from Portland every day. It's 90-odd miles from Mt. Washington, but on a clear day you can see the mountain from the water line quite plainly. Very cool.
Yips! to the Irish Elk.
And so it begins
Somehow, someway, sometime in the next two months France is going to come crawling to us as our newest and bestest and oldest friends in the world. Rochambeau, Lafayette, de Grasse will be cited. Normandy (and Belleau Wood and......) will be remembered.
And on that day of their greatest need, they can kiss our whiggish small-r republican fannies.
UPDATE: Our old pal Rae whacks the Frogs upside the head with a metal yard stick attached to the counter with a ball point pen chain. Don't mess with the librarian, comrades....
Fisking Jimmy Carter
Gordon tees off on Jimmy Carter, who is now positioning himself as a historian of the American Revolution to try to draw some parallel between Moqutada al-Sadr and Francis "Swampfox" Marion or something. Gordo takes issue with Carter characterizing the Revolution as the bloodiest war in American history by citing--obviously---the Civil War. However, I'd have to check (and my stuff on this is at home) but the bloodiest war in American history (measured on the impact on the total population) was King Philip's War (here are two different links to sites discussing this war between Massachusetts Bay colonists and the Wamponag which turned into a devastating three-sided civil war in New England in 1675-1676.
Of course, the analogy doesn't work for Carter and the left (other than in a generic Amerika is evillllll sort of way) because there's the tricky problem of the massacres of innocents by religious zealots...
UPDATE: I'm reading this story as reported by Steve Green and I realize I missed the true beauty of Carter's quote: he's arguing that the American Revolution was not justified!
I have no doubt that Jimmy Carter is campaigning for the Secretaryship of the United Nations and will do anything, and say anything, to destroy the United States in the process.
There is only one word for Jimmy Carter: vile.
Moo knew roundup
Annika's back and there's gonna be some trouble, hey now, hey now Annika's back!
Plus, The Brain comes up with the best subject category heading ever....
Why we love to read "Popular Sandcrawler Mechanics"
Lines from Rusty like this:
I saw Team America: World Police last night with the only other Bush supporter on the floor and a Chomsky loving lesbo (the real kind, not the hot ones on TV)--what better way to spend a night out on the town with the guys? No small task for a guy with three kids, but Mrs. Shackleford was so impressed by my birthday gift that she yielded to my endless whining about the movie. As I've already noted so many times, I've been waiting for this movie for months.
What did I think of Team America: World Police? One of the funniest movies ever made. The funniest movie ever.
I laughed so often and so hard that today I have a laughing hangover. I'm being totally seriously here. My body is literally--physically-- sore this morning. I don't think I'll be able to smile for a week.
Go over and read the whole thing, plus his Macktastic Rusty Wickedesque roundup of reactions.
Commies for Kerry Update
Everybody's favorite commie is trying to force ingestion of party line that Nader cost Gore the election in 2000.
Let's repeat the facts again: if Gore had carried the communist vote in Florida, he would have won the election.
Now THis Is A Plum!
If you're in any way a Wodehouse fan, go and read this fascinating article about his early friendship and later bitter falling out with A.A. Milne of Winnie-the-Pooh fame. This is all quite new to me, even though I've read a biography or two of Wodehouse, or else I've simply forgotten about it. Certainly until I read the article, I had no idea that the use of Christopher Robin in The Mating Season was meant to be a dig at Milne. Heh, indeed, Old Companion.
The article compares the temperments and fortunes of the two. Another difference between them comes to mind. If I recall correctly, Milne was a line officer in WWI - he's mentioned by Robert Graves in Goodbye to All That. As demonstrated by Graves himself and Siegfreid Sassoon, trench service seems to have had a terrible long-term effect on some of Britain's writers. I'm sure it must have influenced Milne's personality as well, hardening him in his seriousness. To the best of my knowledge, Wodehouse never served.
One thing, tho'. I am somewhat dubious of the article's claim, in its last line, that Wodehouse only used the word "death" eight times in his 98 novels. "Death, where is thy jolly old sting?" or some variation on it is one of Plum's stock lines. I'd have said the number was much higher.
Yips! to Enoch Soames, Esq.
Is Axis Sully trying to sing a new tune?
Is it just me, or has Axis Sully been a bit diffident lately, a little bit uncertain over whether his swing to Kerry over the summer was......prudent?
Is it just me, or has Ace strapped on the Viking helmet and started swinging the axe in a way to make Chris Berman proud.....?
Clark County to Guardian: "Pound sand, Mister Limey Poofter! And go see a dentist!"
You know the conspiracy to keep the Chimperor in power to serve his Sith Masters at Halliburton knows no bounds: now the Guardian is in the employ of the CIA, engaging in counterintelpro agitprop designed to stir up an Anti-anti-Bush backlash....
This is getting like a bad Dan Brown novel (of course, that would imply that there was such a thing as a good one, no?): further proof the US of A and the Chimperor are in secret league with al-Quaeda, because of our refusal to nuke Fallujah.
Geez, there's no pleasing some folks....
If only he showed such resolve in fighting terrorism
The only thing that pisses me off more than sports coaches using war analogies and language is political operatives using it to describe campaigning, particularly far-lefties who are staking their whole campaign on condidtional surrender and passive aggressive pacifism.
The Kerry Team preparing a war room to fight for a recount? Alanis Morrisette, clean up on aisle five...
Now It's Personal
Madam, you can bite my sweet, woolly backside. The Butcher's Wife happens to be a teacher. You can take it from me that her job is very, very real. And I'd be willing to bet a considerable amount of Llama Chow that she knows a good deal more about what it means to have to earn one's living than you do.
Resistance to your MUnuvian Masters is Futile!
Stephen of Stephenesque is slightly puzzled by our domain name, but nonetheless has some very kind words about us which we greatly appreciate.
What, You Have To Ask?
Gratuitous "Other Voices In Robbo's Head" Equal Air-Time Demand Posting
Let me borrow from the great Maggie Smith in Murder By Death: "Oh...that's kinky."
Hey. Blame it on Sox/Yankees-induced mental and moral exhaustion.
Gratuitous Religious Posting
Tonight is the regular meeting of my Disciples of Christ in Community (or "D.O.C.C.") group so, as is my wont, I've been noodling in a general way some of the discussion themes I want to get going.
I mentioned a few days ago that Episcopal Faith is built on three pillars, scripture, tradition and reason. I also noted that I sometimes think the more progressive brand of Palies overemphasize the reason bit in order to promote an agenda that has more to do with socio-political biases than actual faith.
But I also think too much emphasis on reason sometimes has another detrimental effect. The relationship between God and Man is one of love. Think about this and then think about other loving relationships you've been in where either you or the other person has had, for whatever reason, a compulsion to overanalyze everything, to think too much, to become so obsessed with pursuing the how and why of the relationship that you forget to actually have the relationship. Lordy knows I've been mixed up in some situations like that in the past. Bringing the idea forward again, I also see people falling into the same kind of trap in terms of their faith.
I'm not for a minute suggesting that reason should be abandoned as a pillar of faith or as a tool for better spiritual understanding. Rather, I'm suggesting that at a certain point one has to be prepared to accept that one is not going to find answers to such how and why questions, but instead must rely on trust and just let the relationship be.
Or, to borrow from Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shut Up and Kiss Me.
(Pardon my on-line musing about this. I find that writing these things out - even hastily - helps me focus on them a bit better. Feel free to ignore. As the Pastor of one of the local Evangelical churchs likes to say in his radio ads, "Not a sermon, just a thought.")
UPDATE: Pardon my slight dig, since changed, at the Evangelicals. In these matters, self-mockery is fine but mockery of other faiths really isn't on.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
My two year old has an adorable new line that I must share with you.
When asked about her day in school, she replies, "I ate my lunchbox."
Gnat Lileks has got nuthin' on my gal!
Well That's A Relief
My score actually wound up in negative numbers. (-85, to be exact.) I piled up a modest number of geek points over Mel Brooks, Monty Python, Douglas Adams, Tolkien and the real Star Wars movies but then wiped them out and then some with a big batch of anti-geek negative points (and never you mind which ones).
Pour Robert's Almanac
Just a quick update on the Mr. Coffee front, for those of you who chimed in yesterday - I tried pouring water directly into the cup and got some spillage. So I'm rather inclined to think our extremely brainy correspondent George is probably on to something with his basic hydrodynamics explanation.
If this is the case, then it strikes me that there is something of a design flaw in the product. The spout ought to be longer and narrower in order to increase the flow speed. Obviously, Mr. Coffee is an inferior product. But I suppose Jen and I will just have to suck it up. While I heartily agree with Mr. Enoch Soames, Esq., that Krups makes a superior machine, new coffee-makers aren't in the Llama budget at the moment.
As for Triticale's suggestion that I borrow a page from the Nazi coffee-making playbook, all I can say is, "Ew."
Then there's Matt Navarre. If I take his advice and just shotgun straight from the pot itself, I just may find myself having a Cornholio Moment:
Aaaarrgh! I am Cornholio! I command that you blog more exploding condiments! Raaaagh!
Uh, oh. Cup's empty. Better go get some more......
"You're All Clear, Kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home."
For my money, Keith Foulke gets the Han Solo award for stopping the Yankees' 9th Inning threat last night. But dayum - Schilling was a thing of wonder!
Meanwhile, A-Rod gets the Mos Eisley-dirtbag-barfly-who-gets-his-arm-lopped-off-with-a-lightsaber award for his swipe at Arroyo on the first base line. To invoke a violently different media reference for just a second, HA-ha!
So here we are. The Yankee Death Star has commenced primary ignition of its main weapon. Red Five is locking torpedoes on the exhaust shaft. By some time late this evening, either the Death Star or Fenway Rebel Base is going to be a vast cloud of microscopic dust.
I'm not sure how much more of this I can stand.....
Yankee Death Star 3, Fenway Rebel Alliance 3
I'm drained. Thank goodness this series can only go on for one more game....
Panic? Isn't Michele pulling out the Bucky Dent mojo kind of like J. Francois whoring the draft issue?
October 19, 2004
Use the Force, Luke!
Radar reports indicate the game is unlikely to be called on account of weather this evening. So Curt Schilling has got to make his run. And what of his ankle?
Luke: Artoo, that stabilizer's broken loose again! See if you can lock it down.
Yankee Death Star Minus One Game and Closing.
A Little Touch of Dubya
This photo of Bush hugging Ashley Faulkner, the daughter of a woman killed in the 9/11 attacks, will be part of the most expensive ad campaign of the presidential race, a buy that is aimed at various key states. The ad apparently will also feature Ashley and her father talking about the President. Its main theme is to remind voters of Bush's personal touch.
I distinctly remember getting quite choked up when this photo first flipped around the Internet this past summer. It still has quite an effect on me (which is one of the reasons I reposted it). As a father myself, I know exactly what is going on here. The combination of grief and comfort, anguish and protectiveness, goes right to the heart. Utterly genuine and transcendent.
Unfortunately, we are now into the sprint of the Presidential campaign and there is no way to avoid the political calculus. For what it's worth, I think the piece is going to connect with middle of the road viewers in a big way - many of whom I'd bet have not seen the pictures or heard about the incident before. Coming on top of Kerry's sudden outburst of tinfoil hat conspiracy theories to shore up his base, this might produce some very significant results. We'll see.
Yips! to Glenn, who's also got the full ad linked.
Paging Mr. Wizard
Riddle me this: I've got a small coffee-maker in my office. (Mr. Coffee 4-cup, if you want to know.)
When I make coffee, I fill the pot up with cold water and pour it into the top of the machine. Easy. No problem.
But when I pour the first of the brewed coffee out of the pot and into my cup, it dribbles all over everything. Every. Freakin'. Time.
I cannot figure out why this is.
I thought it might have something to do with the coffee having a slightly greater viscosity than the water, causing it to "stick" more readily to the underside of the spout.
I also thought it might have something to do with the shape of the spout being very slightly altered by the pot alternately holding cold and hot liquids.
Either way, I'm getting tired of having to clean up the mess every time. And the poor table on which the coffeemaker sits is beginning to show signs of wear and tear.
Anybody have an explanation for this phenomenon? And, more importantly, anybody have a way to fix it?
UPDATE: Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Wizard is in the House. Reading the comments below, I feel like Mr. L.B. Gumbee. Oooh, my... brain... hurts...
Doing the Lambeth Walk
Here is the Windsor Report, a document just released by the Lambeth Commission on Communion in response to the firestorm that has erupted within the Anglican Communion since last year's installation of an openly-gay Bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire and the adoption of a public Rite of Blessing of same-sex unions by a Canadian Diocese.
I haven't read the thing yet, of course, except for the forward and a couple of the accompanying statements, but I gather the general thrust is to put what amounts to a Temporary Restraining Order on all such additional Diocesian activity until Canterbury has had the chance to thoroughly study the issue.
In my own parish, my experience of Episcopal/Anglican use of terms like "study the issue" and "dialogue" is that they translate into "figure out a way to embrace the radical change without causing the conservatives to split away altogether." It never encompasses the concept of "asking ourselves if we've gone too far and, if so, working back to the status quo ante."
Yips! to the Derb.
So Much for Nuance
Personally, I think this is a huge mistake for Kerry. The reason he gained so much ground during the debates was that people were given a chance to see him speaking calmly and reasonably, and without the tinfoil hat the Bush Team had nailed to his head so successfully during September. By reverting to the kind of campaigning Brooks and Geraghty note, J. Francois seems hellbent on jamming the ol' reynolds-wrap chapeau right back on his noggin again.
Why? Why on earth?
Brooks offers the following insight into the Lib psyche:
Why is he doing this? First, because in the insular Democratic world, George Bush is presumed to be guilty of everything, so the more vicious you can be about him, the better everybody feels.
But there is a deeper assumption, which has marred Democratic politics for years. Some Democrats have been unable to face the reality that people have been voting for Republicans because they agree with them. So these Democrats have invented the comforting theory that they've been losing because they are too virtuous for the country.
According to this theory, Republicans - or usually some omniscient, omnipotent and malevolent strategists, like Lee Atwater or Karl Rove - have been tricking the American people into voting against their true interests. This year, many Democrats decided, we'll be vicious in return.
Geraghty wonders if it isn't simple desperation.
I think it's both: As you can see from today's RealClearPolitics average tracking graph:
Bush owned Kerry all through September. Much of that deficit was erased by the October debates, but evidently not enough for the Donk's comfort. And judging by the past couple days, it looks like the Big Mo is swinging back in Dubya's direction. If I were a Dem operative, I, too, would be looking at that graph and thinking 1) Karl Rove has got his Mind Control Beam (TM) powered up again and 2) time to panic!
Again, do I think it's going to work? Frankly, no.
Ann Althouse has a post up about a celebrity-designed corset auction to benefit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
Em, sexy undies sale to benefit a sex crimes prevention network? Isn't that sort of like having a wine tasting to raise funds for Alchoholics Annonymous?
If you can see the post on the Nigerian Spammer quiz below, don't click on it. I deleted it from MT, but it is still up at the Shop. That can't be right.
Just walk away.
UPDATE: Never mind. It's gone. I was just a leetle worried that something might infect us and cause the site to start foolscap tylenol Marion Barry high-five wankle rotary engine cows come home mab fab gab hab drab @#$(*)%*)(%)
World Wide Moonbat Early Warning Detection System
The ever-vigilant Australian division sounds the alert!
Advance Australia Fair, bay-bee!
Hadn't thought of that angle
Rusty's aiming the Sandcrawler at the "Willie Hortons of Guantanamo"....
Remember, Russ, we need to be conducting a more sensitive and nuanced war on terror....
I guess this would make Kos Jimminy Cricket...
I realize marionettes are all the rage now due to the success of Team America, but this is just pathetic:
Basil Fawlty On the Grape - A Llama Rant
Oh, yes. A Bordeaux IS a claret. But they wouldn't know that. - from "Fawlty Towers" Episode Whatever, "The Hotel Inspectors"
John Cleese to host a Wine for the Confused tee-vee special.
According to the news story, "[t]he purpose of "Wine for the Confused" is to give a sort of shorthand sophistication to novice wine lovers."
Allow me to rant for just a second. There is so much wrong with that sentence it makes my teeth ache just to read it. There is no such thing as "shorthand sophistication". Three quarters of the problems with modern culture are caused by people who believe otherwise. Sophistication - in any subject - takes years and years of exposure, practice and thought. I also take issue with the notion of a "novice wine lover". You can't truly love something you don't understand and a novice, by definition, does not understand.
Another guts ache-inducing quote: "How do you know what you like? In this case, there literally is no accounting for taste, Cleese said. Don't be afraid to say what you like, regardless of what wine experts say."
Look. If you take something like this show as a baseline from which to learn some of the initial questions that you should ask on the subject, then all well and good. But if you come away from it thinking yourself empowered with some kind of automatic right to have your tastes accepted as being just as legitimate as anyone else's, you are an idiot. Unfortunately, this seems to be at least in part what Cleese is trying to accomplish. I really detest the "whatever turns you on" theme that seems to pervade his remarks. If there are no objective standards of good taste - built up by generations of trial, error and collective opinion - then why on earth even bother with an educational effort of this sort? Of course, there are plenty of times when I feel the Academy has become too rigid or wrapped up in itself in matters of taste or standards. But in such instances, I'm content simply to slay the garrison. Cleese, being the twisted, dark soul that he is, seems bent on pulling down the tower itself. That ain't right.
For all that, it seems that at least part of Cleese's show actually could be moderately informative, as it appears he will talk about the various nuts and bolts factors that influence wine production. We'll see.
Having foamed at length about all this, I will say that I don't pretend to any expertice in the field myself. (That's my Dad's department.) But I can give you one Llama Iron Law: There is no such thing as good Virginia wine. Do not, repeat, do not let anyone try to convince you otherwise. It is vile and horribly overpriced. All of it.
UPDATE: An irate reader writes, "Keith, you're just a snob like the ones Cleese is taking down." No, I'm not. A snob is someone who thinks only a certain elect few can know the Truth in matters of taste. I think anyone with a reasonable amount of natural aptitude can, provided they understand a) that it is not simply a matter of their own personal preferences, b) that it will take a lot of hard work and c) that it won't come from watching tee-vee.
Tradesports market manipulation update
Everybody's favorite commie links to further analysis by Don Luskin of manipulation in the Tradesports political futures markets. More evidence and thoughtful analysis of the question can be foundhere.
This is a subject we've been following closely around here for a couple of weeks now, since we noticed that the markets indicated that Bush had won the first and third debates (measured by a marked increase in the value of the reelect contract) during the debates, only to see the price driven down rapidly in the hours immediately after. At first, I chalked it up to the markets reacting to the formation of the spin, but something else might have been at play here.
Who could/would do such a thing? Who do we know who has experience with what Sgt. Schultz would call "mooooonkey business!" with futures markets?
Except, I've seen THIS bumper sticker driving around DC pasted to the back of a mammoth SUV with NY plates and a "MV" sticker on the side:
That leaves as my suspect:
None other than George "I'm Mister Heat Miser, I'm Mister Hottt de-dah-de-dah!" Soros.
So, our new motto is: Tradesports---no good as a reliable political indicator, but a great way to take money from George Soros!
Gordo is hitting fungos again
The fresh, clean cracking sound of a well struck ball having made contact with solid ash is much like the sound that his subject's noggin's make when Gordo the Cranky Neo Khan gets in the groove.
Today's target? Stoopid rock lyrics. Let's just say that the vision of a tweedy guy with glasses, a cowlick, and a dogeared copy of Natural Right and History sticking out of his blazer pocket taking a bent 2 iron upside the head of Robert Plant is, well, delicious.
My only bone to pick with Gordon is what the heck is wrong with carrot cake? We loves carrot cake! Especially with cream cheese frosting. Mmmmmmmmmm...
SPECIAL TOP-SECRET MESSAGE FOR GORDON: You have a chance to redeem yourself after slurring the Platonic goodness of carrot cake. While grabbing the amazon link for the Leo Strauss joke above, on the page advertising all of Strauss' books there was this graphic:
Your assignment is to pshop this accordingly, giving it the full justice it deserves. My initial thoughts were something along the lines of replacing the products with, say, a crackpipe, a jar of fluffernutter, a vibrator, a sheef of bogus voter registration cards, a University of Chicago Law School tote bag, and a 40 gallon drum of antibiotics, but hey, that's just me, Mr. Vegas. I don't want to impose on your creativity.
Just go ahead and order the new screen and keyboard right now....
Llama undercover correspondent Barry "Huskers Du" S. sends a link to this via carrier pigeon.....
Is there a person in American politics today more superficial and substance-less than John Edwards? For chrissakes, he makes Dan Quayle seem like William Pitt, he makes the President look like Winston Churchill.
Here's a little classic from the TastyBits Archives, from Day 3 of the DNC:
More Plum Posting
Jaime of Something Old, Nothing New, has a nifty little post up on the genesis of Wodehouse's The Return of Jeeves that goes on to explore a bit more the cross-roads between musical comedy and print on which Plum was camped. (Yips! to Mr. Outer Life.)
And speaking of Plum, how about a quote for the morning? The subject is Sir Roderick Glossip, the eminant brain specialist, and his family:
Stop me if I've told you this before: but, in case you don't know, let me just mention the facts in the matter of this Glossip. He was a formidable old bird with a bald head and outsized eyebrows, by profession a loony-doctor. How it happened, I couldn't tell you to this day, but I once got engaged to his daughter, Honoria, a ghastly dynamic exhibit who read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking on a stern and rock-bound coast. The fixture was scratched owing to events occuring which convinced the old boy that I was off my napper; and since then he has always had my name at the top of his list of 'Loonies I have Lunched With'.
- From Very Good, Jeeves, Chapter 3 - "Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit"
Overheard on the Yankee Death Star after last night's game:
Aide: We've analyzed their attack and there is a danger. Should I have your ship standing by?
Gov. Tarkin: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.
The Death Star still remains in orbit above Boston, but Red Squadron is in the trench and heading for the exhaust shaft. This is gonna be real close.
Dropping the Star Wars thing for a moment (and thank you for indulging me in this, btw), I don't know how much more of these kinds of game I can take. I almost hope tonight's game gets rained out just so the players (and I) can get some rest. If not, both teams are gonna have to start recruiting beer vendors to their bullpens.
Yankee Death Star 3, Fenway Rebel Alliance 2
UPDATE: Grand Moff Michele is doing the rain dance, too.
Feelin' The Love
I don't know how or why, but hot dayum - we Llamas are now a Playful Primate in the TTLB Ecosystem - Number 93, baybee!
Putting the "F" back in freedom
I did one for the LLamabutcher, but it's slow in sending it via email, so I'll post it tomorrow.
A friend in need, needs the TastyBits(TM) indeed
Our old pal Rae is suffering through blog withdrawl as she rebuilds the home machine after a spyware invasion.
Head on over to lend her some Yips!
October 18, 2004
Game Six--Back to En Why Cee
I don't think I can take anymore of these extra innings games....
UPDATE: Laugh while you can, monkey boy....
Remind me again why J. Francois believes these people are on our side?
Belmont Club with the latest from Afghanistan. Belgian and French incompetence, arrogance, and subversion are noted.
Notice to those stuck in the Denver airport tonight, wondering exactly who was that dripping the acerbic wit and cutting insight with the laptop in the smoking lounge, now you know.
Cutting up in the back of the room
Nicole Griffin tries to keep it together in class---jailarity results....
The Brain is giving away a free T-Bird
Or something like that.....
What do you mean there was no Reagan Revolution?
In the third debate, John Kerry offered an interesting insight into his political mind:
like Franklin Roosevelt, I don't care whether an idea is a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. I just care whether it works for America and whether it's going to make us stronger.
I did a little political science experiment with John Kerry and the transcripts of the presidential debates to ask the question who does Kerry hold out as his political role model?
The answer was surprising, indeed.
Affirmative presidential citations by John Kerry in the 3 debates:
1. Ronald Reagan (8 citations)
2. tie---JFK and Bill Clinton (6 citations)
3. Franklin Roosevelt (3 citations)
4. Dwight Eisenhower (2 citations)
5. Harry S Truman (1 citation)
6. Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson...... you get the drift. (0 citations)
That's right: according to John Kerry, the president he looks on most authoritatively is Ronald Reagan.
The first debate featured three Reagan references: one in context of his antiterrorism advisor Richard Clarke, and one in context of building quality alliances. This quote was a twofer:
We need to be smarter about now we wage a war on terror. We need to deny them the recruits. We need to deny them the safe havens. We need to rebuild our alliances. I believe that Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, and the others did that more effectively, and I'm going to try to follow in their footsteps.
JFK was cited three times: once in the quote above, once in context glowingly of needing to gain the approval of Charles de Gaulle, and once in context of the test ban treaty.
The only other Democratic president to show up was FDR, only in the boneheaded response about FDR invading Mexico in retaliation for Pearl Harbor. Of course, FDR actually invaded Morocco, but that's another post. (Operation Torch anyone?)
In the second debate, a similar pattern was formed.
One reference authoritatively to JFK, Eisenhower, and Reagan on the subject of building alliances, combined with a mention positively on Reagan and Eisenhower on the subject of force structure of the military. Reagan was authoritatively mentioned two other times: once, in reference to Nancy Reagan on stem cell research, and once on....wait for it....wait for it.....disciplined fiscal policy.
Democrats? Besides the one mention of Jack Kennedy together with the Gipper and Ike, Clinton was dropped three times, once in reference to getting tough with North Korea, once on the the go-go stock market, and once on.....anybody? Bueller?.....getting tough on Saddam during Operation Desert Fox.
The third debate was the one where Kerry actually started citing, like, Democrats. Clinton was cited positively twice, once on affirmative action and once on gun control. JFK, FDR, and that great Democrat stalwart Ronald Reagan were again cited for their alliance building, while Reagan was separately cited for his role in......tax cuts and fiscal policy. FDR was cited for his pragmatism noted at the beginning, and JFK cited JFK on being Catholic.
The odd conclusion to this is that Jimmy Carter was completely absent, while Dwight Eisenhower---EISENHOWER!---passed J. Francois' lips more often than Harry Truman.
What would Adlai Stevenson think?
Finally, an academic conference for the rest of us
The interdisciplinary, international conference In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage marks the fiftieth birthday of the King of the Monsters, commemorating the release of the original film Gojira in Tokyo on November 3, 1954. The conference speakers will consider the Godzilla films and how they were shaped by (and in turn shaped) postwar Japanese culture, as well as the globalization of Japanese popular culture in the wake of the Godzilla phenomenon. Fifteen scholars from a wide range of disciplines - Anthropology, Culture Studies, Film Studies, History, Literature, and Theater - were selected to participate in the symposium through an international call for papers in the fall of 2002. Invited plenary presentations will be made by Ted Bestor (Harvard University), Yoshikuni Igarashi (Vanderbilt University), and Susan Napier (University of Texas, Austin). A variety of related public programming - film screenings, exhibitions in libraries and museums, presentations, and other events - will supplement the formal symposium sessions and engage the community in the event.
International audiences have had extensive exposure to Japanese popular culture exports since the 1950s, from the first black-and-white Godzilla films, through the Speed Racer cartoons, manga (comic books) and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series, and up to the more recent worldwide fascination with anime, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! But despite this long history, serious attention to Japanese popular culture and its global reach has been belated, with significant scholarly investigations only beginning within the past decade. Although the Godzilla films were the first Japanese popular culture product to gain mass appeal in the United States after World War II, and although the Godzilla film series is now the longest running franchise in world cinema history, scholars of Japanese studies and film have generally dismissed Godzilla as trivial, "cheesy" fare for children and a hardcore fan subculture. Yet as Godzilla has become a global pop culture icon - inspiring rap lyrics, novels and plays, countless jokes on The Simpsons, and cinematic remakes from North Korea to Hollywood - the broader cultural and social significance of this Japanese movie monster cannot be denied. Join us in exploring Japan's most famous movie star and his fifty-year impact on global pop culture.
VLAD-Er-mer: Consistent ally, or fairweather friend?
Rusty plows the Sandcrawler into the market of conventional wisdom much like a 78 yr old Palm Beach pensioner looking for a polling place but instead finding the outdoor seating section of the Chilis.
Good News from Afghanistan
Rocket Jones has the details, of course.
Is it just me....
or is the coverage by Tim McCarver for Fox Sports of the Sawx even more "objective" than the NYT covering the Republican Convention?
The Yankee Death Star has Cleared the Planet. The Yankee Death Star Has Cleared The Planet.
Things are looking very bad at Fenway Rebel Base. Can Pedro use the Force tonight?
Leadership, Thy Name Is "National Land Trust Appreciation Day"
Remember in the third presidential debate where Dubya claimed Kerry had only passed five bills during his time in the Senate and Kerry shot back that he'd passed 56? Well FactCheck.Org has, er, fact-checked the issue.
Bottom line, Dubya was technically correct, although there were six other pieces of minor legislation in which Kerry had a hand. Judging from the list, we'll let him have those.
On the other hand, looks like Kerry was including lunch bills he'd paid in his own count. Go on over and check out his sterling record of achievement. What kind of horrible world would we be living in now if J. Francois hadn't ceaselessly labored to get the name of the Committee on Small Business changed to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship? My God in Heaven, just think of it!
Yips! to Taranto.
"Team America" Review - Not
Dr. Rusty evidently is huffing Sandcrawler fumes again because, in comments below, he asks when my "Team America" review is coming out.
Are you freakin' crazy?
It just doesn't work that way at the Butcher's House. If, by extraordinary exertion, we were somehow able to:
1.) Find a free weekend evening some time between now and New Year's; and
2.) Find a babysitter for such evening,
do you really think the Missus is going to agree to go to see a movie that involves marionettes blowing things up and having sex?
In the alternative, do you really think the Missus is going to let your humble Llama go by himself to see a movie that involves marionettes blowing things up and having sex, even if it's all for the benefit of our loyal readers?
Ain't. Gonna. Happen.
I'll be lucky enough if I'm allowed to blow four bucks on this thing when it hits pay-per-view.
UPDATE: The Sandcrawler has now pulled up to the door and the Jawas are hawking a whole line up of "Team America" reviews.
UPDATE III: Tainted Bill thinks this film kicks ass. Respect his authoritaah!!
Mr. Macgregor Was Right!
A lovely vision. My first reaction when I saw it was "Where's my hoe?" Gardening has indeed turned me red in spade and wellies......
(Stolen from Patrick Belton over at Oxblog, to whom we Llamas wish a better fate in re his thesis than we do to any of Sauron's Wraith Rabbits, however cute 'n cuddly they may be.)
Extend Hand Across the Ocean, Pull Back a Bloody Stump
Ace has the update on The Guardian's plan to have sensible Brit Lefties adopt redneck Ohio swing voters.
Heh, Old Boy.
A nice piece of satire
Maybe we've been misunderestimatanding him all these months?
Crisis emerges for Axis Sully:
Belgravia Dispatch makes a powerful argument. I'll respond in detail soon. I should say that, despite the assertions of others to the contrary, I haven't endorsed Kerry - and the fact that I haven't, after my dismay at the staggering mis-steps of this administration, is an indication of how troubling I find his record in foreign policy. I take all Greg's points in this regard.
Finger to the wind with an eye to the speakers circuit, Axis Sully boldly prepares to make a stand........
Best. Blog. Entry. Title. Ever.
"The Heart of Dorkness" commemorating the 30th anniversary of D&D.
And if you are in the 5% of our readers who doesn't know what "D&D" is, well, it's just a sign that you lived a normal, adjusted, happy life in high school.....
Yips! from Robbo: One of the major factors that kept me from slipping completely into the Dork Dark Side way back when is the fact that, while I knew about D&D, I never actually played it.
I know some folks who would readily attest to this one:
Yips! to Bitchalicious Rachel.
Con law prof smackdown!
Professor Althouse takes a ruler to an undisciplined student in the back row who clearly didn't do his homework.
Rachel at Bitchalicious has some thoughts.
Paint it red---Monday morning roundup
Okay, so it's not Monday morning here in the east, but I'm out of class and eating lunch and I think it sounds better than "Monday afternoon roundup." So there.
It's not like two hours doing first ontological conceptions of law and then prosecutorial discretion in formation of juries turned my brain to mush.
Or at least more mush than usual.
Anyhoo, without further delay, here's the roundup:
Physics Geek parses the question of what Sgt. Schultz would call "monkey business" in several polls. Why trust him? Hell, he's a physics geek, for heaven's sake, and to riff off of Officer Malone from the Untouchables musing about Treasury Agents, that's not something someone lies about, is it?
Zogby has it dead even at forty-fives, with seven percent undecided, while Rasmussen has them tied at forty-sevens. Gallup, you ask? Sorry. Gallup's about as composed as Paris Hilton smoking Ho-Hos and speedballing Ritalin. Gallup's about as reliable as Tracey Gold as the hostess at The Pasta Garden. Gallup's about as useful as Jenna Jameson at a political science convention. Gallup's about as dangerous as Wonkette via a PDA in a high school civics class. Okay, I have no idea what the last one meant, but you get my drift. In short: don't get up or down based on what Gallup's saying. And markets? We got yer stinkin' market based indicators right here!
What the heck does it take to be undecided in this race, other than the attention lavished on your civic virtue mojo?
UPDATE: Not everyone's getting increased traffic with the election season..... I think this one is worth the double whammy of the "Heh" AND "Indeed."
The American Daughter is blogging Scotsmen wi' ne trew.
[Insert your own moon joke here.]
Two words: Mo Rons
Look, I'll give these people some points for genuinely wanting peace, love and understanding. But the level of willful ignorance and sanctimonious self-loathing on display here is of such jaw-dropping magnitude as to cancel out any credit for good intentions. These folks are fools. Plain and simple.
I'd like to see the look on some Iraqi's face when, after surviving years of Saddam's murderous regime, he lays eyeballs on one of these pics. Wouldn't blame him one bit for believing that America is truly psychotic.
UPDATE: Sean Gleeson is collecting Saddam Love.
UPDATE DEUX: Michele lets rip in the manner we've come to know and love.
UPDATE TROIS: Gordon the Cranky Neocon weighs in. Money quote: So, these guys are the Frankenstein love-child of International ANSWER and Mr. Rogers.
What Would Dusty Do?
It's the extreme, baby! Wooooooooo-hoooooooo!!!!
The Monday morning chortle
We've been having fun with the WW2 analogies as of late (starting with the whole FDR attacking Morocco to avenge Pearl Harbor meme), but this is downright funny.
I like this part best:
Russia/The Soviet Union sides with the bad guys until a surprise attack on Russian soil: check
France either surrenders or collaborates with the bad guys: check
Is The Sky Still Falling?
Remember that old Bloom County cartoon where Oliver has devised a Grand Unification Theory of the Universe that accounts for everything except flightless waterfowl, causing Opus to disappear before our eyes? Eventually Oliver notices that he forgot to carry the seven, causing a jangled Opus to reappear.
Well, something similar seems to have happened regarding that much-ballyhooed Man-made natural disaster, global warming. According to Richard Muller, Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have uncovered a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program that was used to produce a major study purporting to link a serious warming trend directly to Industrialization.
Remember, there are two fundamental questions in this debate:
1) Is the planet getting warmer?
2) If so, is this the result, in whole or in part, of human activity?
Personally, I believe the answers at this point are 1) maybe and 2) nobody knows. Muller happens to think that the answers are 1) maybe and 2) probably. But we both agree that it is in everybody's interest to recognize and reject bogus data in pursuit of the correct answers, whatever they may be. Unfortunately, given the political issues involved, I doubt very much whether very many people are going to listen to his call.
UPDATE: Message to the Leather Penguin -
Happy Birthday, Plum!
See what I miss when I take a day off? Last Friday was the 120th annivesary of the birth of Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. Mr. Enoch Soames, Esq., has a very nice tribute, citing large wodges of Evelyn Waugh's glowing endorsement of Wodehouse, with which endorsement I, of course, heartily concur.
Meanwhile, in an unfortunate spot of bad timing, Mr. Outer Life chose last Friday to lay into Wodehouse's The Return of Jeeves, as part of his Five Books I Should Have Liked But Didn't series. O.L. does not much appreciate Wodehouse's tinkering with the Bertie and Jeeves formula in this book. (Bertie Wooster is on hiatus here. Jeeves' temporary employer is one Bill Towchester - pronounced "Toaster". Also, the novel is written from a third person point of view, instead of Bertie's usual first person narrative.)
I must say that I don't dislike this book anywhere near as much as O.L. To me, the experiment is fairly harmless (unlike the perfectly awful "Bertie Changes His Mind"). It has enough of the charm and pedigree of Plum's non-B&J novels to scoot over the indiscretion of messing about with the tried-and-true formula that I don't spend the entire time reading it brooding on What Might Have Been. In other words, I don't see it as a mutated Bertie & Jeeves novel. Rather, I read it as a stock non-B&J comedy into which Jeeves has temporarily wandered. (As a footnote, I also enjoy Plum's gentle commentary on British post-war socialism.)
Anyhoo, if one has to pick the worst Bertie & Jeeves novel, certainly The Catnappers (aka Aunts Aren't Gentlemen) rings the bell and is entitled to a choice of cigar or coconut as preferred. A tired, tired rehash of plot, character and dialogue that Plum had done much, much better before.
But let's not end this post (which, after all, is supposed to be a birthday tribute) on a negative note. I've already mentioned in previous posts that The Code of the Woosters and Right Ho, Jeeves are two of my favorite B&J novels. But what about some of Plum's other works? Here is a short list of favorites:
Favorite Blandings Castle Novel: Summer Lightning
Favorite Short Stories: The Heart of a Goof (collected golf stories). Among them, "Chester Forgets Himself" is my absolute favorite.
Favorite non-B&J/non-Blandings novels: Hot Water, Money In The Bank
Favorite Uncle Fred Novel: Uncle Fred In The Spring Time
Favorite Psmith Novel: Leave It To Psmith
Needless to say, these are firsts among equals.
UPDATE: Here is Roger Kimball's tribute. He cites the Bertie & Jeeves short story collection The Inimitable Jeeves as his first encounter with the Master. Mine was another short story collection, Very Good, Jeeves, which my mother gave to me when I was in high school.
One other piece of Wodehouse trivia: Somebody - I forget who- says that Psmith was modelled on Rupert D'Oyle Carte, the son of the Savoy Opera man, who was up at Oxford with a cousin of Wodehouse's. Like Psmith, D'Oyle Carte was long and thin and always perfectly dressed. Whenever asked by a Master how he did, he is supposed to have responded, "Sir, I grow thinnah and thinnah."
Funny, if true. The only other Wodehouse character that I know of who is actually modelled on a real person is Roderick Spode, who is very much a send up of Sir Oswald Mosly, a British fascist leader of the 30's and husband of crackpot Mitford Sister Diana. I am reasonably sure that Diana Mitford was not the role model for Spode's eventual wife, Madeline Bassett.
David Ortiz pulls a Wedge Antilles:
Luke: Thanks, Wedge!
Biggs: Good shooting, Wedge.
Time to dive for the trench.
Yankee Death Star 3, Rebel Alliance 1
YIPS from Steve: D'Oh!
October 17, 2004
Manipulation of the Tradesports political markets
Glenn has a follow up to the question raised after the third debate, with links to Don Luskin who dug into the trading info and found indeed a large movement trader who was manipulating the price.
Does this make Tradesports less useful? I'm certainly taking their general "Bush elected/Kerry elected" contract movements a lot less seriously. But, I think my analysis on the electoral college contracts still holds. But we'll have to see.
How would Axis Sully have stood in the election of 1864?
There was a day when Axis Sully would've taken heart with this and run with it---but now you can imagine him in 1864, as a jaybird abolitionist, explaining how only General McClellan can bring about true civil rights for the freed slave because Lincoln's policies of vacillation and accomodation---not to mention the horrors of the Union prison camp at Utica---mean that Lincoln needs to be sent back to the sticks, rube that he is. You can see Axis Sully raking it in on the college circuit, embracing the Irish Boston pols quick to trash the spending of money let alone extending civil rights to anyone who doesn't fit into their electoral coalition, all the while convincing himself---barely---that it is out of principle, and that Lincoln's inability to reign in his cabinet, his incompetence in the administration of the war, and his willingness to accomodate barbarians like that despicable Grant and the loathesome Sherman and the devil himself Phil Sheridan, instead of the tried, true, and dare we say erudite and well spoken (not to mention dapper) leadership of Little Mac. I mean, after all, McClellan finished second in his class at West Point, and Lincoln never went to school! Isn't the choice obvious?
It's 10 PM---Do you know where you Islamofascist Demagogue is?
It's been eight days since the people of Afghanistan went to the polls---and by people I mean women too!---and not one word from Osama bin Laden......
It's almost like he's dead or something.....
What The....? That can't be right....
We're going to enjoy it while it lasts, but it can't be right.
Somehow, the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem has us ranked as #117.
I'm sure you'll join in with me for a rousing chorus of "that CAN'T be right?!?!?!?!!?"
For some reason, over night our ranking shot through the roof faster than John Kerry fleeing from a Vee-Cee ambush.....faster than the excuses coming from Pedro Martinez's mouth....faster than Michael Moore eating an entire Indian village (sans barbeque sauce, even!).....faster than Andrew "Axis Sully" Sullivan trying to burnish his anti-war creds for the college speaker circuit.....faster than Dan Snyder burning bales of money on another losing season for the Skins.....faster than INDC Bill going postal on us for not renaming our children "INDC Journal."
You get my drift.
Anyhoo, unlike Brady Anderson's fifty home run season, we'd like to think this sudden rise is not due to steroid abuse--although, 'roid rage and blogging do mix---or some secret LLama plan to pump up the inbound uniques. We're not doping, and we're not training at altitude either. Marion Jones hasn't been added as executive editor. And we'd like to think that we'll take the inevitable drop in stride.
But I do think this gives us an excuse to crack into the T-Shirt bidness, and we've been getting feelers (and you know how uncomfortable that can be for men of our age and marital status) as to a certain pent up demand for them. So the question is, what do people want on t-shirt---the classic logo on the right? Our John Kerry foreign policy bit? What about Kerry and Duke in the tank?
October 16, 2004
Zarqwai must be working for the CIA
Time might indeed be on our side.
Shock and Awe, Spleenville style
As some of you have been following, Tim Blair has launched a guerilla campaign against British commie rag The Guardian, to coopt its campaign to swing voters in Ohio by getting Guardian readers to email registered voters to convince them to vote for Kerry.
Of course, if they go through with this the results will be, as they say at Fark, "jaillarious." Gordon gives a little taste of why. Tim's campaign is to get the members of the chimperor's flying attack monkeys in service to our dark Sith Masters at Halliburton to counterattack by blitz-emailing staffers at the Guardian.
We here at the LLamabutchers would like to take the madness to the next level by suggesting to our loyal reader (Hello, Mrs. Robbo's Mom!) to sign up for both the Guardian's email campaign as well as Blair's harrass the Guardian email campaign, and then send to your new penpals a copy of Hugh Hewitt's new book, If it's not close, THEY CAN'T CHEAT. Think of it as a $13.99 campaign donation to Hugh as well as the sheer effect it will have on the Guardian folks when these babies start arriving on doorsteps. Plus, if we get a concerted effort going, FedEx will have to start hiring......
This sounds right to me
Matthew at Froggy Ruminations has some interesting thoughts on the status of Osama bin Laden and the presidential campaign. His argument is A) bin Laden is dead, and was probably killed at Tora Bora; B) we know it, and C) Bush isn't saying anything because to say he's dead would turn him into a glorious martyr, while to let his lifeless corpse be silent in the face of elections in Afgahnistan and progress in Iraq drains the life out of his supporters, drop by drop.
BTW, in case you are confused, "froggy" refers not to "Charles de Gaulle ass-kisser" but "blow shit up underwater."
October 15, 2004
Who won the final debate?
Here's how the candidates did this week at Tradesports:
Bush Reelected Contract
Kerry elected contract
Just Checking In....
Running around today, I had to hit the groc store. At noon, the place was positively jammed. I couldn't figure it out until I got inside and discovered it was mostly people waiting for flu shots.
Jeez - you'd think they were trying to get tickets for lifeboat seats off the Titanic.
Perspective, people, perspective.
Well, I'm off to a meeting of the board of directors of my kids' school, to which I was recently drafted.
Fortunately, we're going to a Church dinner tonight, so I probably won't see most of the game, or if I do, I'll be sufficiently buzzed to take away some of the sharper edges.
Oh, finally, a big ol' boo-rah in support of Steve-O's bloggy thank you posted below. Seriously, all y'all (as we used to say in Texas) rock!
And if you have to ask, well, you might not know the true level of our desparation....
The Irish Elk has the usual pre-game lineup for the true to the end Royal Rooters, as well as this valuable advice for President Bush from Granny Clampett:
Granny: Remember what William Jennings Bryan said, fight hard but fight clean.
Jethro: But you ain't fightin' clean Granny.
Granny: Course I ain't! William Jennings Bryan was a loser!
UPDATE: These are the times that try men's souls....
Yips from the Llamas!
With Robbo out for the day safely ensconsed in the garden, I thought I'd take the opportunity and issue some long overdue "YIPS" to folks who've helped and inspired us over the 11 months we've been doing this. We've been getting traffic as of late, and it's only right to give some payback.
Our first set of "YIPS" go to Reverend Pixy, the benevolant poo-bah and overlord of the Munivinian Universe. For giving us a free sandbox to dispense our mudballs, snark, nooz, and mindless dreck from, we heartily give thanks to thee! And two of our fellow Moo-Knew-ers--John Lanius of Texas Best Grok, and Ted at Rocket Jones--helped get us on the gravy train, and have helped us at countless junctures with all the technical details of moving from the crack shack that is blogger to the dee-lux apartment in the skyyyy that is MT. That, and kept us in the supply of JPEGS so that we could fulfill our desire for being the one-stop-shop that for all your "Babes of the Battlestar" Galactica porn needs.
We'd also like to thank those who gave encouragement early on when we were mere "Petulant Microbes"---Ed at Monkey Watch, who was the first to blogroll us back in December (and the man who personally brought down Gov. John Rowland of CT!) Now, this might have been an accidental link at first, since Monkey Watch lovingly monitors the hilarious excesses of the zoological world, and perhaps he was thinking we were going to be offereing alpaca snuff films or something. No such luck. But, you never forget your first one, as they say (link, that is, not alpaca snuff films you pervs.)
While Steve Green was the first big time blogger to link to us, we benefitted immeasurably from the help, advice, and general support of Dean Esmay and The Commissar. For a grouchy old commie constantly purging the ranks of the loyal followers, he's been extremely willing to answer questions and give encouragement at important times for us. Plus, he's given us a model of how to mix comedy and commentary that's something to aspire to.
One of the things which is interesting to me about blogging is the relationship you form with other bloggers you start at the same time with. It was an unanticipated benefit that's kept us going. To this, we give a rousing round of YIPS to INDCent Bill at INDC Journal, as well as Rusty "That's DOCTOR Rusty to you, bitch!" at My Pet Jawa Report.
Last, there are the blogs who we like to read and help keep the creative juices flowing around here, including Kathleen at Cake Eater Chronicles, the Crack Young Staff at the Hatemongers Quarterly, Gordon at The Cranky Neocon, Nicole at Potomac Ponderings, Lawren of Lawren Mills, Jen of Freakin' Jen (accept no imitation "Jen" blogger substitutes!), the indomitable Willow, the enigmatic Lynn S. at Reflections in d Minor, the scrumptious Eloise at Spitbull, and of course the one and only Sheila O'Malley. Thanks for the inspiration, guys!
UPDATE from Steve: Aint he sweet?
Paint it Red
Zogby's tracking numbers for today--Wizbang has further analysis.
Zogby is key as he was the closest in 2000 (and 1996, if memory serves correctly), and I'll be following his numbers as well as those of Tradesports over the next two and a half weeks.
UPDATE: Andy's getting nervous..... Plus, he has a long-ish defense of how his views haven't changed on things. I'm going to do a larger piece on this, but I think it can be summed up like this: there was more money to be made on the speaking circuit as the former supporter of Bush who is now his chief detractor, in the same way there was a lot of money to be made as the former editor of TNR and supporter of President Clinton as the chief detractor to Al Gore.
My only prediction on this follows: come 2008, Andrew Sullivan will be the chief detractor from and antagonist to the president, regardless of whether it is President Bush or Kerry. If Kerry wins, look for a dewy-eyed honeymoon until, oh, mid summer 2006, when, from the swing in P-Town, he'll discover some new rage and disgust with the administration and then, with the beagle in tow, mount a crusade to get John McCain to run. If Bush wins, look for no honeymoon and the crusade for McCain to start in January. That is unless the exploding toilet interferes, which should push it off to March.
Unless, that is, we're nuked by Iran, of course. But that's a chance we're willing to take to pad the college speaking circuit fees (at $10 grand a pop).....
Minimum Posting Today
It sets our Llama Military Correspondent's teeth on edge just for me to mention it, but I am out of the office today owing to our compressed work schedule. So I won't be manning the keyboard much.
LMC, if it makes you feel any better, I've got a honey-do list as long as your arm to cope with.
Yip at you later!
"Team America" Watch
Allow me to quote for you one Hank Stuever, whose review of the new Trey Parker/Matt Stone movie "Team America" appears in today's WaPo:
Stunned by all the fun, I am almost moved to salute Parker and Stone for their nuanced and careful take-down of American jingoism and the seemingly disastrous foreign policy that Team America stands for.
Only that isn't quite how it played to an audience on Tuesday night, at one of those free-ticket radio station giveaway previews in a packed cineplex in Northwest Washington. The biggest laughs came when "Team America" assaulted any and all concepts of ethnicity, or when the joke was on gays, Michael Moore or a vast left-wing idiocy.
The movie feels like an elaborate inside joke on the very Americans laughing hardest at its easiest gags, oblivious to the sly, allegorical digs at a USA brand of bravado. What I took to be a lampoon of Bushworld seemed to be received, in the seats around me, as a triumph of Bushworld. Pollsters and campaign workers, take note: "Team America" will only further confound your election-year data.
Don't you just luv the dripping condescension? Translation: Miserable right-wing rednecks! Don't even understand when they're being laughed at!
Let me go out on a limb here and suggest an alternate theory based on years of watching "South Park": Stone and Parker are not making fun of "Bushworld" per se. Rather, they're making fun of people like....Hank Stuever, who have created in their own minds the entire concept of "Bushworld". In other words, Stone and Parker are parodying the parody. And I'd be willing to bet a considerable amount of money that this is what is drawing the biggest laughs.
I suppose there is room here for a whole essay on the curious blind spot many (but not all) Elite Leftists have with respect to humor. My theory is that this blind spot is generated primarily by the inability of such people to laugh at themselves, a trait far more prevalent on the Left than on the Right. But I'll save that for another time. Mr. Stuever will do nicely as an example in the interim.
However, I do agree with Stuever's final sentence - "Team America" seems to have the potential to make a serious political impact. This is going to be good.
YIPS from Steve: Ann Althouse weighs in with her review of the review in the NYT.
MORE YIPS from Steve: Eloise at Spitbull has her take on things, plus this delicious quote from our favorite ifBushitlerwinsI'mstrappingonthevestandblowingupaSbarrosmyself lunatic Kos:
What do we [the anti-war crowd] get? Peacenik liberal Hollywood actors coddling up to terrorist regimes (ha ha). If you hate Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin and Janeane Garofalo, then you'll love seeing them get killed in a bloody battle with Team America.
Seals the deal for me! Yet, oddly, I don't think Kos meant that as an endorsement....
SECRET MESSAGE TO BARRY: Dude, Nebraska football sucks, just not as much as the Red Sox. Team America this weekend? Give me a call!!!
Wilma Deering defeats Princess Ardala 53%/47%! Thanks to all of you who helped out. Yip! Yip! Yip!
This week, John's got a brand new Sci-Fi Babe Poll up: The Ladies of Space 1999. Don't worry John, I have no dog in this fight - I doubt I even saw Space 1999 more than three or four times in my entire life.
October 14, 2004
Time to Regroup
General Dodonna: Red Leader, this is Base One. Keep half your group out of range for the next run.
Red Leader: Copy, Base One. Luke, take Red Two and Three. Hold up here and wait for my signal...to start your run.
Sci-Fi Babe Poll Update: Col. Deering Needs Your Help!
[JohnL Threatens Wilma]
Have you voted yet? I mean today? Then get on over to TexasBestGrok and do it right now. In the Battle of the Buck Rodgers Babes, Wilma still has a slim lead on Princess Ardala at the moment, but she needs you to give her the victory and to defeat Ardala's minions.
On the Interconnectedness of All Things
Every now and again, we are fortunate enough to get a quick peek at God's blueprint:
When I was a teenager, I started drinking coffee. I have done so ever since.
When I was a freshman in college I took a course on Fin de Siecle Viennese culture simply because it looked interesting.
Just under a year ago, I joined Steve-O in this madcap project we call The Llama Butchers, whereupon I started to build up a list of other websites that I like to visit daily.
Just a couple of minutes ago, working my way down the current version of that list, I read Mr. Stephen Baldwin's description of Gustav Klimt as "he who created pictures of lesbians shrouded in shiny chocolate bar wrappers".
Now, due to all of these seemingly random events spread out over decades, there are drops of coffee splattered all over my monitor.
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
In Breaking News, Jacques Derrida is still dead.
Leonard Blast has a nifty essay on being a college English major in the midst of the deconstructionist craze which is considerably more thoughtful than my own recent joking about it. I particularly take his point about the difference between Derrida the philosopher and Derrida the literary critic. As a Brit Lit guy myself, I'm not competent to comment much on the former. But I do feel comfortable opining on the latter.
I still believe that, as a literary tool, Derrida's ideas were at best useless, adding absolutely nothing to my understanding of the texts I studied. At worst, they gave socio-political zealots of various "ism" stripes any amount of room for mischief. All in all, I'd have been far better off having never come across him.
Yips! to Terry Teachout's Girl in Chicago.
Voter Fraud 451
Drudge has got the scoop (and a pdf link) on the Donk's plan for first-strike voter intimidation charges:
A 66-page mobilization plan to be issued by the Kerry/Edwards campaign and the Democratic National Committee states: "If no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a 'pre-emptive strike.'"
I think what this means is that the Dem operatives should go ahead and intimidate voters on behalf of their Republican counterparts, since a) we all know the Repubs are going to do it themselves eventually and b) the Donks have to have something over which to file federal election complaints.
Ray Bradbury's arsonist Fire Department has got nothing on these guys....
Post-Debate Burnout Quiz
What Biological Molecule Are You?
You are starch. You are rigid, opinionated,
hard-willed and not too friendly about it. You
keep people out of places, or you keep them in,
and without you a lot of things would collapse.
hopefully you'll never have the authority to
burn people at the stake. Sir. Ma'am.
Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
No surprises here.
Seen hither and yon. Lifted from Brew's World.
How efficient are the political futures markets?
So are the political futures markets being manipulated to create the appearance of momentum one way or another? Glenn has a hunch they are. I'm not so sure.
Opinionated Bastard leaves the following comment worth examining:
Looking at the trade sports line, if you look at the bid/ask data, you see some interesting data on the Kerry side. There's a bid for 981 shares at $.43, but the next bid drops to $.39. So the reality is that the market for Kerry shares is probably pretty soft at the current $.43 number since there's only one guy willing to pay that $.43.
The trading on the Kerry market is about 1/20th the size of the Bush market so its much easier to skew. That's probably also showing that Bush's chances are even better, because there's less of a point in trading shares you think might become worthless, because the only way to make profit is on market movements.
The Bush market is much tighter, with the big dogs with 1000 share trades are split at $.54 bid and $.57 ask. The Kerry market has the split at $.43 or $.39 vs. $.46.
So my conclusion is that the Kerry market isn't going to be very predictive, but the Bush market being more interesting.
OB is right in that the difference in volume between the markets would make the Kerry contract easier to move than the Bush contract in theory, yet their movements are relatively in tandem. But his point about looking at the trades in the queue is spot on: that spread provides an interesting sense of where the market is as well as the depth of info in a positive and negative direction. In other words, eyeballing the queue for not only the prices but more important the quantity that people are willing to wager is an interesting assessment of relative support. I didn't have my on those columns in the first half hour after the debate, so it would have been interesting to see what type of volume moved the price on the Bush contract lower. An easy way to manipulate would be in effect to execute a contract with yourself which would have the practical impact of lowering or raising the price---you would lose money, but if your goal is moving the price in a particular direction, the monetary loss would be outweighed by the perception gained.
But who would know anything about manipulating futures markets?
All kidding aside, until I see proof to the contrary I'm going to assume that the markets are not being manipulated on a large scale. Why? Because I'm a believer in efficient markets given certain assumptions on how they are controlled. I would be willing to accept that a high profile individual contract like the Bush reelect could be subject to a "push" to create an appearence, but I'm more suspicious when you look at the wider market. Where we can focus on the Tradesports markets on the outcome in each individual state. (I prefer to follow Tradesports because of the higher volume, higher prices, and the markets for the individual states).
As long time readers might remember, we've been discussing the Tradesports electoral college markets since the beginning of the year. These longer pieces from February 8th and 9th lay out the electoral college like this:
State >=$80 The Lead-Pipe Cinches
Utah (5), Virginia , Wyoming , Oklahoma , South Carolina , South Dakota , Tennessee , Texas , Alabama , Alaska , Colorado , Georgia 15], Idaho , Indiana , Kansas , Kentucky , Louisiana , Mississippi , Nebraska , Nevada , North Carolina , North Dakota , Montana [all carried by Bush in 2000]
Total Electoral Votes in states where the contracts are trading above $80 = 195
$79---$55 The Locks--just don't lose the key
Arizona , Arkansas , Florida , Missouri , New Hampshire , New Mexico , Ohio  [all except NM carried by Bush in 2000]
Total Electoral Votes in states where the contracts are trading between $55 and $79 = 83
$54---$44 In play
Pennsylvania , West Virginia , Wisconsin , Maine , Michigan 
Total Electoral Votes in states where the contracts are trading between $44 and $54 = 57
So, eight months ago, the markets had Bush trading above $80 in states worth 195 Electoral votes, and between $79 and $55 in states worth 99 EVs for a total of 278.
Eight months and tens of thousands of contract trades later, where does Bush stand?
Using the same criteria, we get these interesting results:
He's trading above $80 in 25 states worth 202 electoral votes. Of the list from February 8th, only Colorado (9) and Nevada (5) have dropped down, but he's added Arizona (10), Arkansas (6), and West Virginia (5).
Bush is trading between $79 and $55 in Colorado (9), Missouri (11), Florida (27), Nevada (5), Ohio (20), and Wisconsin (10), for a total of 82 electoral votes.
Adding the two categories together back on February 8th gave Bush 278 EVs; today, it gives him.....284 EVs. (This is reflected in the Tradesports cumulative electoral votes for Bush contract, which is currently trading at.....$283)
Net result: the Bush/Kerry elected contracts perhaps are subject to manipulation when they are being watched for a high profile move, but the electoral college markets have been steadily efficient so far.
How does this effect strategy? The markets indicate that Bush's chances are really long in Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Of these, the markets give the greatest odds on Iowa ($54.5). Of these states, only New Hampshire went red last time, whereas he's picked up Wisconsin, which went barely blue in 2000. That's a six EV swap in his favor, on top of the 7 EV swing for the red states based on the 2000 Census reapportionment. So, look for the Republicans to put the bulk of their chips on Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Wisconsin, while also spending time in Minnesota, Oregon and perhaps one other wild card blue state (New Jersey?) to force Kerry to defend his blue turf.
The wild cards in the Electoral College are Maine (with its proportional voting) and Colorado, with its ballot initiative for proportional electoral college voting.
A reader emails with this correction:
Maine does not have proportional voting. It has voting by District. If you get 51% in each district, you win both districts (plus the two at-large electors), for 4 EVs to 0 for the guy who got 49%. It is only if you win one district and lose another that the EVs split. Ditto for Nebraska.
I think Gary is right and I'm wrong---I apologize for the error. If anyone spots anything else, please let me know so I can post a correction.
Name THREE of your...
1. Pet Peeves: Ha! ha! Their name is Legion. Three top ones are dithering, forced casualness and hypersensitivity.
2. Favorite Sounds: Thunder (but not too close), horses' hooves and church bells.
3. Biggest Fears: Heights, snakes and (increasingly) claustrophobia.
4. Biggest Challenges: Patience, patience and patience.
5. Favorite Department Stores: We hates shopping.....
6. Most Used Words: No, enough and quiet. All used in the imperative.
7. Favorite Pizza Toppings: Pepperoni, sausage and, er, more sausage.
8. Favorite Cartoon Characters: Side-Show Bob, Wile E. Coyote and Chef.
9. Movies Recently Watched: The Magnificent Seven, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Adam's Rib.
10. Favorite Fruits & Vegetables: Not many to choose from, really. Artichoke, banana and blueberries.
Yips! to Mixolydian Don.
UPDATE: I changed one of my cartoon picks after Pep jiggled my memory with his link. How in Heaven's name could I have forgotten South Park!? Must be getting senile.
Gold Squadron Makes Its Attack Run
Gold Five: Lost Tyree, lost Hutch.....They came from behind.....
Stop the madness!
Getting sick of politics? Me too. Want to find out what happens when Sheila O'Malley hits Chicago again? Me too.
Dammit, I'll tell you who won!
I tried twice to add Yips! to Steve-O's last post. Evidently, he still had the thing open, because both attempts failed.
FWIW, I think Dubya wiped the floor with J. Francois tonight. The Prez looked much more relaxed, competent and in control. Kerry looked tired, irritated, haughty and persnickity. And stop with the goddam hand gestures, already!
I didn't take notes during the actual debate, but two things stick in my mind a few hours later: Kerry's cheap shot about Cheney's lesbian daughter didn't do him any good. And in closing, did he really make a joke about marrying Ther-RAY-suh for her money?
As a further matter, don't you believe that snap market activity. Both camps by now have figured out how to manipulate both Tradesport and the Iowa Electronic Market. Give them 48 hours or so before you take their readings too seriously.
Bottom line, IMHO, is that Dubya got his mojo back. He's back on offense and J. Francois is back on shaky D. GOP base can get back to being fired up. That's a good position going into the final three weeks.
October 13, 2004
So, who won?
First of all: Schieffer (and consquently CBS News) blew it, big time. That was probably the worst performance of a debate questioner from the Dinosaur media since Bernie Shaw's 1988 fiasco.
What did the markets think?
Here's Kerry's election contract at Tradesports for today. Notice the drop during the debate:
Here's the same time period for Bush:
True, the market showed Bush doing well in the first debate, but I have a hunch about this one. The test will be what the market is thinking in about 2 hours.
Bush certainly looked, acted, and spoke human today. If he had this type of performance in Debate 1, we'd be still talking about Oompah-loomphagate and Kos would be strapping on the vest and heading into the nearest Sbarros, only to accidently blow up Oliver Willis, drowning his sorrows in a gallon of calzone dipping sauce.....
BLOGISTAN TECH ROUNDUP:
The creator of worlds is not in the house, but I'm sure for a divine reason. Our pal Nicole at Potomac Ponderings has a great blow by blow, partially via IM with an imaginary friend. Dean gives it to Bush, but hey, what does he know he says? Gordo has no opinion, but an idea for political mischief--count me in! Right on Red weighs in:
Kerry was better than Bush in general, but that’s not hard to do when that vintage relic Bob Schieffer keeps throwing soft balls right up the middle of the plate to Kerry. Nearly all of the questions seemed completely irrelevant, post 9/11. It was just retro. I kept waiting for Willie Horton to show up.
That's perfect---zombie ghost of Lee Atwater walks in, dragging Willie Horton, sits in the front row screaming to Schieffer like Horseshack "OOOOOOO! OOOOOOO! Pick me! Pick me!"
Okay....back to the roundup. Goldstein's nipples are cutting glass, but I'm not sure if the Goldstein Nipple Index is a reliable election indicator. I guess that's why I got into political science..... Steve Green is declaring John Kerry to be the Panderer-in-Chief--but didn't we abandon the 25th Amendment to give Billy that title for life? Glenn sees a crack in the Kerry PR facade. The Brain is still processing, but links earlier to this interesting observation on poverty rates. Bill must be out smoking crack with Marion Barry again, because he thinks Scheiffer did alright. Currying favor with your new pals, Bill? (I'm yanking your leg, buddy!) Ann Althouse gives the verdict that keeps Susan Estrich up at night, screaming: "Dukakis-like." Kevin at Wizbang sees a draw.
Is it just me or is debate night no fun without Allahpundit?
BTW, if you haven't seen it, Bill Hobbs' CNN parody page is a hoot.
ONE HOUR LATER: Bush is down $4 and Kerry up $3.90 since the end of the debate, putting things back where they were before things started.....Kerry right now is at his peak on Friday night, $44.
UPDATE: The Fox local news from DC has just run with the Tony Soprano quote 3 times....the Dick Cheney's a lesbian quote just ran twice.
UPDATE: Glenn links, but with the caveat that he thinks people might be gaming the market to create the appearance of push. I have a hunch that he might be right---the question is whether that continues over the course of the following days. Here's our post on the markets following Debate Two, with the following comment:
The one flaw in the markets is that they could be manipulated by people dumping money to give the appearance of momentum. I don't know if that's the case here---to be perfectly honest, I would be suspicious of that view. But then again its not like George Soros has no experience with this
I've waited a year to say this: Advantage, LLamabutchers!
ALMOST TWO HOURS LATER: Well, I did say check back in two hours, and here goes:
LLama Jinx or the Revenge of Soros? You make the call.
12:31 AM TWO HOURS LATER
I'm going to bed, as I have to rightwing radio tomorrow morning at 7:10 AM.
More on how efficient these markets are in a post above.
"Raising Arizona"--The Official LLamaLiveBlog of the third Presidential Debate
Welcome to the LLamaliveblog of Debate Three. We're going with a "Raising Arizona" theme, in honor of one of the greatest movies of all time, starring Nicholas Cage before he started taking Thorazines the size of coasters and be an "action hero."
Here's a sample: Cage is H.I. McDunnough
Man #1: You're not just tellin' us what we wanna hear?
Hi: : No sir, no way
Man #2: 'Cause we just want to hear the truth.
Hi: Well, then I guess I am tellin'you what you wanna hear.
Man #1: Boy, didn't we just tell you not to do that?
Man #1: OK then.
So, the trick tonight will be bouncing back and forth between the debate, the Yankees/Sawx game, and the Raising Arizona clip page...
Who else is liveblogging tonight? Blogs4Bush have a round-up of a dozen. The Commissar is manning the commanding heights, and he's joined in the weenie roast by LaShawn Barber, Hugh Hewitt, Ann Althouse, the Captain, and of course Steve Green. The creator of worlds will certainly check in at some point soon.
If you're liveblogging, drop us some TastyBits in the mail sack or in the comment section, and I'll link to it. Or, if you have some other Nicholas Cage movie quote suggestions to highlight the debates, let me know.
Sawx down by one, Pedro pitching like crap. It's going to be a long night.
Over at the electronic political futures markets at Tradesports,
Bush's reelect contract is down $2.40 for the day and is currently at $56.6, while Kerry's elect contract is up $4 and is at $45.
Nicole at Potomac Ponderings is cracking it up tonight---Ola!
QUESTION 1: Wait, is this a repeat? Firehouses and container cargo again? Freedom is on the march? Outsourcing Tora Bora?
Good for nailing the issue of "nuisance." But he's smiling too much.
QUESTION 2: Flu vaccine? What the......?
Nice turn of the vaccine issue back on Edwards.
BOTTOM of the Second, 1-0 Yankees. Grrrr.
QUESTION 3: Health care
What? No containers? No out-sourcing Tora Bora? I'm confused....
Interesting...Kerry is dropping at Tradesports....
9:16....Ted Kennedy wanders drunk on stage, pantless, falls down...
QUESTION 4: Taxes
Raising Arizona moment:
WHOA--Tony Soprano quote. Did it leave a mark?
Geek Empire is liveblogging too.
GAME UPDATE: End of 3rd, 1-0 Yanks.
NEXT QUESTION (lost track of the number--you want specifics, go check out Hugh Hewitt, he's got the scorecard up).
9:25---third time Kerry cites Reagan authoratively too his side.....
Ted Kennedy, drunk on floor, gets up "I'd like to thank the Academy...."
GAY MARRIAGE: Andrew Sullivan goes noo-cklear.
Bob Schieffer: "Senator Kerry, when did the President stop beating on Dick Cheney's daughter?"
Third invocation of being an altar boy.......is he trying to tell us something? Hmmm?
Kerry is dropping at tradesports, Bush is rising. Go figure.
Did Kerry just say "God's work has to be our own"? I wonder how that nuanced statement will translate tomorrow in the Arab News....
"Raising Arizona" moment:
Ed: You go right back up there and get me a toddler. I need a baby, Hi. They got more'n they can handle.
Hi: I ain't like that no more. I'm a changed man. You were right, I was wrong. We got a family here, I'm gonna start acting responsibly. So let's go, Honey. (sound of shotgun being cocked) Let's go get Nathan Junior!
QUESTION: HEALTH CARE COSTS
Didn't we just do that?
What the hell was that laugh for? We're going to be seeing that one over the next week, alas.
Radio silence still from the Cake Eater.
Bush is flubbing the health care question, big time.
John Kerry: "My health care solution is simple, Amerika: Marry an heiress. Divorce her and then marry a bigger heiress."
9:41 Was that just a Rathergate joke directed at Bob Schieffer? Geez, it's not like he's already tossing Kerry softballs. What, you want him to bring out the batting tee?
9:46 THE REAGAN REVOLUTION AND REALIGNMENT WAS FOR REAL
Kerry invokes Graham Rudman Hollings (not by name), cites Reagan again. If you didn't know better, you'd think he was running as a 1984 Republican. I wonder what Bruce Springsteen thinks about that....
9:50 Steve Green and Glenn Reynolds are doing "Beavis and Butthead"---this debate sucks....eheheheheheheheh
Hugh Hewitt is scoring it for Bush heavily, but I think he's grading on a curve. I agree with the "they are both sucking" point of view. The question is, if two bears suck in the woods, does it effect the polls?
9:56 Scheiffer: "Senator Kerry, this here press release from the DNC says you'll keep the minimum wage the same. True?"
Kerry: "No, I'll raise it! And for the girls too""
Schieffer: "Wow. Cool. President, why are you going to overturn Roe v. Wade?"
I don't know why the education question made me think of this quote:
Smalls: You wanna find an outlaw you call an outlaw. You wanna find a Dunkin' Donuts call a cop.
10:01 2/3rds of the way home
Kerry running to Bush's right on No Child Left Behind? Huh?
Kerry slips on Supreme Court: "Some other right given under our Courts....."
We're going to see that in ads over the next three weeks in West Virginia and Nevada.
Bush is seeming more human, where Kerry is getting more haughty. But that's just me, Mr. Vegas.
SCHIEFFER: "Senator Kerry: We know Mr. Bush said he's against a draft, but we know he's a liar. Thoughts?"
Bush is up $4 at Tradesports, Kerry has lost half the ground he made today. These things can shift radically, but.....
wait for it......double the special forces?
This is verbatim from #1 and #2.
This was a ridiculous soft-ball question from Schieffer for the domestic policy debate.
Bush is not slouching, or grimacing (I'm watching on CSpan).
Bush: Best way to relieve pressure on the Guard is to win. Good answer. He's being respectfully somber. Nice invocation of the Global Test---I wonder if Schieffer saw that coming....
10:10 Schieffer's question on gun control was absolutely ridiculous.
Was that the first time Kerry has said "Bill Clinton"? I know he durn well hasn't mentionned Jimmy Carter....
10:14 Schieffer: "Senator Kerry, how much of a racist do you think the President is?"
10:15 Schieffer: "Do you pray to a redneck gawd, or you just a simpelton?"
I think Bush's answer is more sincere than Kerry's before with his craven Altar Boy genuflections, but that's just me, Mr. Vegas. (And I say that with 8 years of experience as an altar boy in a RC Church).
I'm not sure about Kerry and Bush, but the loser tonight is Schieffer--BIG TIME!
I wonder how well this overt Christian talk from Kerry is playing with the MoveOn and the communist wings of his constituency? You can almost hear the KFC crumbs flying out of Mike Moore's mouth, his greasy fingers curled around the remote.....
10:19 Schieffer: "Senator Kerry: why did the president piss away the goodwill from 9/11, and is it because he's a rube?"
Kerry's answer is tricky here.....the question is what's going to be the BUT
ah, here it comes. Kerry: "I've never seen such ideological divisions in Congress"
Hmmmmm, what about this:
And Kerry wants what Teh-RAYYY-zuh would call the little people to participate? Here's the list of the top donors to the 527s, and look at all of them who are Democrats and of the further left.
Bush hit the mark on his answer to the question of McCain. Look for McCain and Rudy out on the trail over the next two weeks. And, if they are interested in running in four years, they damn well better....
The stand up straight and not scowl joke was Reaganesque.
the Kerry "marrying up" joke is a killer. Cue the Richard Gere "American Gigalo" music...
10:26 Wow, Kerry invokes FDR. He's still at a net total of Republican president citiations.
Look for the "just as I fought for my nation" line in the next Swift Vet ad.
Bush sum up: personable, even, he's finally in his groove. Four and a half hours of primetime debates, but he didn't really warm up until the last hour.
But then again Stephen Douglas too was a great debater....
Wrap up in a minute.
Thanks for the Memories..
Michael Lopez at Highered Intelligence, a blog new to me, has an interesting piece up about the use of comic books and "graphic novels" to help encourage kids to read.
Michael is an admitted comic book fanatic and as I started reading the piece I cringed at what I thought was coming. As a matter of fact, I was pleasantly surprised - he raises some very sensible points.
What motivated me to link this is that it brought back to mind very clearly a blazing argument I had with my college girlfriend over whether Romeo & Juliet should be taught in comic book form. (In other words, instead of the original script, the li'l darlins should be allowed to enjoy the play in the form of picture books with "modernized" language.) I said this was preposterous. She couldn't see any difference - so long as the kids were reading, that's all that mattered. And as long as the basic plot went unchanged, it was still Shakespeare, as far as she was concerned.
You may decide for yourself what kind of judgment this girl possessed by the fact that she later volunteered for the Dukakis campaign in the belief that it would give her a leg up in Washington political circles. AAAAAH-HAHAHAHA!!!!
Yips! to Lynn S.
Ace has an 80's/90's Pop Culture Trivia Test up.
You can hoot at me all you want, but I couldn't answer a single one of these questions except that:
- the movie Willow stank more than a pair of fetid dingoes kidneys, and
- I think the apocalypse in the Mad Max series was a nuclear war.
You can hoot even more when I confess part of my problem is that I've never seen Fast Times at Ridgemont High. (Now if it had been Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, it would have been a different story.) I've also never seen Alien. And I haven't seen Predator often enough to get the questions. Same deal with Blade Runner and RoboCop. As for the music - are you kidding me? Fuggedabouddit.
For the honor of the Llamas, there is a Kurt Russell question that Steve-O had better nail to the wall.
Notice to Googlers:
Recently, we've had quite a bit of traffic from people searching for the following types of things:
"Pedro Martinez midget mascot" "saran wrap bondage " "John Edwards new warm to the touch KY lubricant" "John Kerry traitor waffles recipe"
And last, and perhaps most despicable:
"Madeline Albright Jeane Kirkpatrick nudie pics"
Who are you people?!?!?!?!?!?!? For the love of gawd, stop already!!!!! You'll find no such things here at the LLamas: no "beheading videos," nothing from "Britney Spears honeymoon home videos", no "Nigerian spam scam," no "plans for the construction of nuclear weapons," no "secrets of the Illuminati," no "Dan Brown secret member of the Knights of Columbus," no "Carlyle Group owns the Yankees," no "Dan Rather is senile," no "fab pics of Olsen Twins and Ted Koppel at Cabo San Lucas," and certainly no "lingere shots of Wonkette".
Well, maybe the Dan Rather thing.
Uh, Spirit? A Little Help Here?
I've got to go off and run my Church group meeting tonight. I must say that I'm not really in the mood, as I'm rather tired. (I think I'm feeling run down mostly because I know that when I get home I'm going to have to face both the debate AND the Game.) Hopefully, I'll get a bit of a bounce before I have to be "on" for my associates.
As part of this group and on a more general basis, I've been noodling a goodish bit lately about the Institutional Church, the formal structure of our religion. The Episcopal Church has three pillars of faith: Scripture, tradition and reason. In an ideal world, all three of these pillars have equal influence. But of course, this isn't an ideal world.
One curious thing I've noticed from talking to a great many people is the way in which they apply this formula to their own relationship with the Church. For example, I know a goodish number of ex-Catholics who have become Episcopalians. These folks tend to lean most heavily on reason and indeed, can be downright hostile to the notion of tradition and even Scripture as guiding principles of Faith. It's well known that converts often make the most fervent zealots. In this case, I think, the natural inclination (for whatever psychological reason) is to embrace that aspect of the Episcopal Faith that is least like their former Romanism.
I tend to go the other direction, being both a Cradle Episcopalian and a Tory. I love tradition and am a firm believer in the accumulation of wisdom across the generations. I also love formalism, ceremony and institutional hierarchy. To me, Reason is not a means by which I can thumb my nose at those aspects of Institutional Faith that I don't agree with. Rather, it is a tool by which I understand why I'm asked to accept the things that are called for by the other pillars of my Faith and by the Church itself.
The greatest strength and the greatest weakness of the Episcopal Church is that it encompasses both of these points of view, along with myriad other combinations. It's true that this "Big Tent" philosophy keeps the Church from blowing to smithereens when it comes up against some big social or spiritual issue. At the same time, it strikes me that the Collective Faith in such a context can become so diluted as to be rendered practically meaningless. (I'm sure you've heard the joke about the Episcopal Church that was so liberal it had six Commandments and four Suggestions.)
Rather frustrating. What to do? Eh. Have a drink. After all, why do you think we're called "Whiskey-palians"?
Instalanche versus Instalunch
Scroll down for these other beauts, like this, which earns our "what the....?" award for the day. Rusty's on a roll!
More Fish In The Water
Jim Geraghty over at the Kerry Spot has the transcripts of two new Swift Boat Vet ads that are part of a $14 Million ad campaign. These guys are going prime time and nuclear. Go read.
Tim Worstall gives us the heads up on a plan by the moonbat U.K. newspaper The Guardian to educate
those bloody Yank redneck rubes the good, upstanding citizens of Clark County, Ohio (pronounced Ah-HY-Ya) on the proper way to vote November 2.
Actually, I think such a plan, if implemented, would backfire horribly. Ohio ain't Manhattan - political advice from some snotty Brit (pace Tim) would not be viewed as a tip from the Gods of Euro-sophistication, but instead would be received with outrage and mutterings about "who won the goddam Revolutionary War in the first place?"
So bring it on, I guess. Any way we could get Le Figaro involved too?
Insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here...
John has his mechanical and aeronautical engineering porn up again....
There is indeed a reason they call it Texas BEST grok...
APOLOGETIC CORRECTIVE UPDATE Yips! from Robbo: Beg pardon, John. You know what these fuzzy-headed academic types are like. Can't trust 'em out of your sight for an instant. Stephen!
A definition of an ally
What is it about those countries that fought so hard to overthrow tyranny understanding the stakes in Iraq today?
I'm sure the Letspretenditarians advocating their policy of Condititional Surrender to the Nuisance will have something snarky to say about gymnasts. But give me the support of the Poles and the Romanians anyday of the week over that of the Vichy.
Llama Public Service Announcement
The following message was forwarded by the O.F. We pass it on as a service to our readership:
Physicians & Guns
Physicians: a. The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000. b. Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000. c. Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171. (Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services)
Now think about this:
Guns: a. The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. b. The number of accidental gun deaths per year (all age groups) is 1,500. c. The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.000188.
Statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.
Remember, "Guns don't kill people, doctors do."
FACT: NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR.
Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand.
(Out of concern for the public at large, I've withheld the statistics on lawyers vs guns for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention.)
Write or phone your Congressperson today!
ACE of spades is on a roll
Read and scroll, just make sure the office door is locked or be prepared to explain why exactly you are on the floor, head leaned into the trashcan, wretching from laughing too hard while eating Doritos.
Not that I know from personal experience or anything......
Rae over at A Likely Story has a post about some arty movies she's seen as of late and highly recommends, both Oscar nominees for best foreign film category a couple of years back.
Speaking of Oscar nominees for best foreign films, I'd like to heartily recommend Escape from LA, the epic with Kurt Russell that came out a couple of years ago but got its attention stolen by The English Patient.
Now, I'm on record for my position that Escape from New York might very well be the greatest truly bad movie of all time. Escape from LA is truly horrible in every way: miscasting (Pam Grier playing a transvestite!), bad special effects (Kurt Russell's wig is worth price of admission in and of itself), and just sheer bastardization and buffoonification of an outstanding original piece of schlock. Just as Independence day schlockifies The Right Stuff AND Battlestar Galactica in the same breath (talk about mixing the sacred and the profane!), Escape from LA so thoroughly Kerryficates the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone with the "Hollywood is hell" movies of Robert Altman (like the dreadful The Player) to produce an outcome that is so nearly unwatchable, it's only possible to watch if you've lost the remote and you're in a hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, and it's raining and you've ordered a pizza from room service. Only then, in that narrow target audience, can the true value of the movie be appreciated.
The sole redeeming part of the movie is the story element that following a series of apocalyptic disasters, the US has become a police state which bans smoking, swearing, red meat, and all the good stuff. The key however is they've moved the capital from Washington to Lynchburg, Virginia.
Or, as its lovingly known around here as Lynch Vegas.
Yips! from Robbo: Let me hasten to add one other bright spot to EFLA: the presence of Mr. Steve Buscemi, poster-child of the American Orthodontic Association.
Sure Sign of Age.....
Sam of Kojinshugi has a thoughtful post up on the anti-humanism of the modern Moonbat Left. But what made me wince the most was his opening sentence:
I really liked Star Trek - The Next Generation, growing up.
Dayum. I graduated from college the year Star Trek TNG premiered.
With the big 4-0 getting closer and closer, I've started developing something of a tick about these things.....
Sounds & Fury has more on Julie Taymor's new production of Mozart's Magic Flute at the Met. Just click over and scroll down. Be sure to hit the links to the various reviews as well. The promised treat that we noted last week seems to have lived up to expectations and then some.
I'm always vaguely apprehensive about visiting S&F for fear of getting hit by the shrapnel. You'll see why if you go over. Suffice to say, Mr. A.C. Douglas does not think much of the Times' music critic Anthony Tommasini. Ouch.
Liveblogging Debate Three
We'll have the Llamaliveblog going later tonight--stay tuned!
The Commissar is cooking up some shennanigans for then too. We'll see if the comrades over at BlogsforBush will link to us as well. Steve Green will be reporting (drunk) for duty, while Ann Althouse is reluctantly returning to the saddle. Glenn's apologizing for not scooping the free ice-cream quicker ("Faster, monkey boy!") Plus, we expect full and continuous updates from our Llama correspondent in Tempe Kathleen the Cake Eater.
UPDATE: In honor of the debate's location, we're going to go with a "Raising Arizona" theme. "Raising Arizona" is perhaps the funniest movie ever made: and in honor of it, and to prepare for tonight, here's a link to a page with all sorts of wav files with all the appropriate lines from the movie.
Here's the theme for the night:
Man #1: You're not just tellin' us what we wanna hear?
Hi: : No sir, no way
Man #2: 'Cause we just want to hear the truth.
Hi: Well, then I guess I am tellin'you what you wanna hear.
Man #1: Boy, didn't we just tell you not to do that?
Man #1: OK then.
Yes, I'm a self-hating Red Sawx fan...
UPDATE: Michele will pay for her perfidy!
Bitch-Slapping Paul Krugman
Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy Donald Luskin's Krugman Truth Squad column? Well I do. And I certainly hope somebody in the Dubya Camp sees today's before the debate.
So I'm A Tolkien Geek - You got a problem with that?
Yeah, Bill, I'm looking at you.
[Y]ou know what I find hard to comprehend? Far-left, Chomsky/Moore types who are also LOTR nerds. I've actually known people like this, and I can't understand it at all. LOTR is all about fighting for what you believe in, fighting for good against evil. Wishing for peace doesn't bring peace, sometimes only savage war that utterly defeats the enemy can do that. It's really a very hawkish book (as if the massive battles don't make that obvious). I realize it's a work of fantasy, but it's not hard to find real-world parallels. I really can't understand the appeal of LOTR for people who, if they were in the shoes of Gandalf, Aragorn, Theoden et al, would decide to hold a summit with Saruman and Sauron and the leaders of the orcs and Uruk-hai so that they could all discuss their differences.
The best explanation I can figure is that such folks would dispute there was any kind of parallel between the pure evil being fought in the books and the, urm, more nuanced Real World. But even given that, I've never understood the appeal the books seem to have to the Left. As Nicole points out, they are very hawkish. They are also quite conservative in terms of morality and the fundamental battle between good and evil. And even though they are pure fantasy, Tolkien hardly created a perfect dreamworld of peace, love and understanding where everyone shares, cares and feels each other's pain. Note, for example, that none of the major races, not even the Elves, are without their sins and errors. (It's true that the Hobbits are for the most part painted as good, simple and free, but it's also made abundantly clear that they would have been wiped off the face of Middle Earth long ago but for the efforts of the other peoples around them.)
So even if you were to grant Far Lefties their argument that there is no parallel between LOTR and current events, you'd still be left wondering what the appeal is. Is it just a shallow taste for things magical and otherworldly? Is it a chance to indulge in the fantasy of guilt-free war-mongering? Is it actually a case of misunderstanding, wilful or otherwise, of what Tolkien was getting at?
I'm just musing out loud here. The short version of my response to Nichole's question is: Ya got me.
The Compass vs. The Windsock
Hugh's obviously stoked by the response. He's also calling for Bush to win 40 states or more. I dunno - this strikes me more as wishful thinking than anything else.
Curt Schilling Violates Porkins' Law
Porkins: I've got a problem here...
Porkins: No! I can hold it!
Biggs: Pull up!
Porkins: No! I'm alrigh..AAAAARRRGHHH!!!
YIPS from Steve:
Unfortunately, this is closer to the truth:
FURTHER YIPS from Steve:
The Silver Fox goes with a different movie analogy.
October 12, 2004
Middle Earth Conspiracy Theories
Fellowship 9/11 . Mike "Bill Ferny's Bitch"* Moore takes a look inside the Aragorn Administration to try and determine who really was responsible for the senseless carnage that was the West's response to the attack at Helm's Deep and why.
Leather Penguin says "Strider Lied, Orcs Died."
Rob of Say Anything pins it all on Gandalf.
Dr. Rusty, from whom I lifted the links, thinks Bilbo is the puppet-master behind Gondor's aggressive foreign policy.
Me, I think they're all getting confused by red herrings. The real power at work here obviously is Treebeard. Think about it. First, the Ents are very old-money conservatives. So they're completely calloused to the horrors of war among elves, men and orcs. Second, Treebeard quite plainly stated that he wasn't on anybody's side - which means he had no problem whatsoever manipulating everyone else for his own purposes. Third, the Ents had their own designs of conquest. All that hooey about wishing to look for the Entwives is a romantic fabrication to cover their territorial ambitions. Again, Treebeard said something to the hobbits about the size of the primeval forest in the Good Old Days. Elrond said something like that, too.
So what better way to get rid of the two main sources of orcs (and axes) that stood in their way than to hustle gullible men into attacking Isengard and Mordor?
Saruman, of all people, was on to them. Remember what he said at the parley at Orthanc about the wild wood demons and how one fine morning Theoden would wake up with a forest in front of his house?* Never mind the Huorns - Once Aragorn and his allies exhausted themselves taking down Saruman and Sauron, Treebeard would be able to mop up the surviving Eorlingas and Gondorians with a squad of rhododenron.
Truth is, Treebeard, wasn't that much different than Old Man Willow.* He was simply better at covering it up and presenting a lovable, folksy image to the world. Sound familiar?
(*If you have to ask, read the damn book.)
[Insert sound of malicious sniggering here.]
The shear jaw-dropping stupidity of Kerry's terrorists-as-nuisance comment aside, I am interested to see what kind of political fallout there might be. My llama senses tell me that Kerry might really, really rue the day he let it slip. With three weeks to go and momentum counting for everything this time around, the man has handed Dubya a two-by-four with nails sticking out of the end. If Dubya doesn't pummel Kerry with it at every opportunity from here on in, well, I guess he doesn't want to get re-elected very badly.
Yips! to Freakin' Jen, who shares with me "Terribly Inconvenient" status.
Who's Out of Touch?
According to Drudge, John Edwards made the following, er, Messianic statement yesterday:
'When John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk. Get up out of that wheelchair and walk again'...
Uh, with all due respect to the deceased, I sure as hell hope not.
Now That's Going to Leave A Mark!
Remind us not to get on the CYS's bad side. Veterinary bills can be mucho expensive.
"You're so.......Hurtful" Yeah, Ain't it cool?
I confess, I haven't paid much attention to this movie up til now. But having read this kind of bad press, I'm suddenly much more keen to see it.
It's been a while since I've seen much mention of South Park Republicans around the 'sphere. I wonder if the opening of this flick will regenerate some of that kind of identification, and maybe add a foreign policy/terrorism aspect to it.
Col. Deering wants you.....Again
I note with some satisfaction that my gal Wilma is ahead in the poll even though I didn't have Internet access over the weekend and so couldn't vote. But it's close. Trust me - the Colonel will thank you for your support.
Our old pal Willow gives a close friend vapor lock.
(And no, you pervs (ie Bill and the Penguin), it's nothing naughty: it's Willow doing what Willow does best....)
This year's Bush v. Gore possibility
Steve Green has the inside perspective on the Colorado Electoral College Initiative on the ballot this fall.
McPherson v. Blacker, anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
This seems about right
The latest take from the indefatigable Larry Sabato:
1. The first debate cost Bush almost his entire lead, and the most reliable national surveys now show Bush and Kerry statistically tied. They have one or the other candidate ahead by a point or two or three, but within the all-important margin of error.
2. Luckily for Bush, Dick Cheney was narrowly judged the winner of the October 5 vice presidential debate--both by the instant ABC News poll and by elite opinion. While vice presidential debates have almost no influence on the final vote, and one can reasonably dispute whether the relatively unpopular Cheney truly helps Bush more than the relatively popular John Edwards aids Kerry, Cheney did arrest the Bush ticket's free fall in the polls.
3. Bush followed up Cheney's good showing with an enormously improved performance on October 8 in the second presidential debate. The President was direct, personable, issue-oriented, and, well, presidential; he took command in a way he utterly failed to do in the first debate. However, Kerry also did well, and the Crystal Ball agrees with the "tie" ratings assigned by the instant polls and elite opinion. As an aside, we also agree with the critics who have pointed out a dozen or more missed opportunities for both candidates in this debate to counter-punch a near knock-out. But try getting up in front of 60 million Americans--with the presidency hanging in the balance--and make no mistakes. Even Ken Jennings would have choked!
4. The final debate this Wednesday, October 13th, is critical, too. Both Bush and Kerry need at least a tie, and for the same reason: the momentum coming out of this final encounter may well carry through to election day, and neither can afford to slide backwards.
5. We disagree that the fourth debate automatically favors John Kerry because its subject matter is domestic policy. First, Bush would never have won the White House in the first place had he not had adequate, even popular, answers on the key domestic policy questions. Second, viewers are judging style as much as substance, as we learned anew in the first debate. We have become a nation of drama critics, shrugging at factual errors and overly lavish promises--being surprised by neither--and often putting greater emphasis on the quality of tans, ties, tailoring, and make-up than on argument.
6. There is no current favorite in this contest. Bush has relinquished the title, but Kerry has not yet grabbed it. Maybe the final debate will decide this, or maybe the final breaking of the undecideds/leaners disproportionately toward one candidate will tell the tale, or maybe some unknown development at home or abroad will do it. The latter category intrigues our readers the most, and we have received missives full of wild and wooly scenarios--from the capture of Osama (no, dear friends, he is not under "cave arrest" waiting to be brought out into the warm lights of television at the last moment, for that would require an impossibility: the successful keeping of a secret for weeks or months by hundreds in the military and government), to a terrorist plot domestically, to a last-minute "scandal" akin to the DUI revelation that likely cost Bush the popular vote in early November of 2000. (With the DUI lesson in mind, whatever have the parties saved up for a climactic finish this year? We fear to ask, and fear even more to know...)
7. We continue to believe that President Bush absolutely, positively MUST have at least a 51 percent approval rating in the nation as a whole to be reelected. Second, given our surmise that the undecideds/leaners will break somewhat more heavily for Kerry, we think Bush needs to have built a lead of at least several points overall to win narrowly. In other words, a polling tie probably results in Kerry's election.
8. Another reason for concern in the Bush ranks ought to be the likelihood of an enormous turnout (by American standards)--somewhere between 55 and 60 percent of eligible adults. The Crystal Ball suspects that the larger the turnout, the more likely there will be at least a slight Democratic tilt to the additional increment of participants. In our travels this election season, we've seen both anecdotal evidence and some statistical proof in the party identification of new registrants that supports our suspicion. We are tempted to argue that Bush actually needed his full 5 to 6 percent September lead to insure a narrow victory.
9. While the contest for the White House gives every indication of closeness, we remind our readers that one needs to reach back to the 1870s and 1880s to find two consecutive, tight presidential elections. That doesn't mean a couple of squeakers can't occur in a row again, just that it would be a rare event--and as unlikely as it appears today, it is possible that either Kerry or Bush may break into a clear lead by election day.
10. The changes at the top of the ballot are having some effect on congressional races below. Given the miserably low number of competitive House elections, it will take a runaway victory to shift control from the Republicans to the Democrats. But the Senate is something else again. George Bush's margin of victory really matters in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Dakota--all places where GOP Senate nominees are in close contests. An extra few percentage points for Bush in these states MIGHT make the narrow difference between victory and defeat for the Republican aspirants. Right now, as our separate analysis shows, the Senate is slightly leaning GOP, but is looking tight. A Kerry victory of decent size could give the Democrats the upper chamber of Congress--and greatly strengthen Kerry's hand as President.
2004 has been a difficult year for the country, but at least the presidential election has not disappointed. It's a barnburner. No doubt our analysis will change in some respects as we count down the remaining weeks with you. Whether you are a Bush backer or a Kerry fan or something else, you can be fascinated--as we are--by the struggle of the American electorate to reach closure on the somewhat unsatisfying choice facing the swing voters. The Crystal Ball is smooth, but it can also be blunt: A small majority of voters appears to want to replace George Bush in the White House, judging him to be too conservative, too stubborn, and too eager to get the nation involved in dangerous foreign conflicts. At the same time, a small though different majority of voters seems resistant to selecting John Kerry, regarding him as too lacking in leadership (the "flip-flop" image), too liberal, and too unlikable personally. Yet finality is essential, and the time draws nigh. Keep an eye on your Crystal Ball, as we peer for you--as best we can see--into this most critical of all political choices, unfolding before us all.
The perils of dual blogging
Steve-O - Jinx-pinx, you owe me a coke!
Lock S-Foils In Attack Position!
Michele is seeking recruits to join the Coalition of the Dark Side, HQ'd at
the Death Star Yankee Stadium.
We Llamas have already got the coordinates for the thermal shaft right below Steinbrenner's box locked into our targeting computers.
There will be a parting of the ways for the next ten days
Michele and the Leather Penguin are two blogs we admire and enjoy, but....they are terminal Yankees fans. As Dick Cheney would say, big time. So for the next week or so of the American League Championship Series, we are technically at war.
In the meantime, if you want online videos of Islamic beheadings? Go check out the Sandcrawler. But if you want all things Red Sawx---Pedro's midget mascot, Bambino curse updates, info on Fenway, check out the Irish Elk or Tainted Bill. In the meantime, I'll be hiding under the bed. Someone wake me in about a week.
Yips! from Robbo: Make sure to check out Dan the Silver Fox for all your Bosox/Clint Eastwood needs!
Now I'm Officially Confused.
Sully is getting chills down his spine about missing Iraqi nuke material. Wait a minute, tho. I thought there wasn't any such material. I thought this whole war had something to do with blind cowboyism and secret oil pipelines and commands from our Halliburton Masters.
Oooooh, my brain hurts!
Eh, That's A Shame
See what happens when you skip town for a few days? Jacques Derrida, the academic huckster responsible for deconstructionism, is dead.
Deconstructionism, if you haven't come across it before, essentially is a theory of linguistic nihilism. Derrida argued that there is no such thing as objective meaning in language. All words are at the mercy of subjective interpretation by the writer and the reader - and not even the writer or the reader can state definitely what the words mean either.
Sound like bunk? Of course it is. But it's been in our schools for quite some time now - I first got subjected to it in a junior Medieval Lit. course in 1985. I thought I would be getting Crestian de Troyes. What I got was a heapin', smelly shovelfull of Derrida instead. Just bear in mind, the next time you're writing that yearly $25,000 tuition check to send yer little darlin' to some top rank college, that he or she is probably getting it as well - Derrida's teaching has spread like kudzu across all manner of academic disciplines. (Deconstructionism: It's not just for English Departments anymore!)
As a matter of fact, from some of what I've read, I've always gathered that Derrida was perfectly well aware of his own fraud and perpetrated it largely for the same reason that the dog licks himself - because he could. The shame is not that he did it, but that the Academy has so thoroughly embraced it.
But then again, what can one expect? Deconstructionism allows one to say Nothing and make it sound like Something. It is, therefore, the perfect theory for undergrads who don't feel like studying, post-grads and tenure track types desparate to mine old academic quarries for new materials and tenured profs who wish to work every single academic discussion, no matter what the actual topic, around to their own pet socio-political causes. Plus, to be perfectly brutal about it, whether you're a college kid, a post-grad or a prof, there aren't many better techniques for convincing some starry-eyed undergrad to come back to your place.
How much worse can it get?
Jesus Christ on crutches! 0 and 5 and now both starting quarterbacks may be out this week? What did we do to deserve all this?
Oh, and in farm club news, the Tennessee Titans (represented by my six year old daughter and seven year old nephew) defeated the Miami Dolphins (represented by your second favorite Llama), 56-49 in overtime on Saturday.
On top of Texas losing to Oklahoma again, and in a shutout to boot, this has not been a good football weekend.
UPDATE: Oh, and someone in the Butcher's House is going to be very crabby by the time this week is over.
Gratuitous Long Weekend Roadtrip Blogging
Have a look at Droop Mountain Battlefield. This is where my family and my brother's family had lunch on Sunday.
I'd never heard of this place before and, unless you are an absolute Civil War fanatic or a local, neither have you. It's about 30 miles north of Lewisburg, West Virginia which, in turn, is about an hour north of Roanoke, Virginia.
Droop Mountain was the site of the last major battle in West Virginia. The main strategic goal of the Union in the area was to cut the Confederate rail lines between Virginia and Tennessee. On November 6, 1863, a Union army under Gen. Averell attacked the Confederates under General Echolls. Despite the fact that the Rebels held the high ground, the Yankees defeated them and drove them out of the state. Owing to manpower needs in the Shenedoah Valley, the Rebs never came back.
My brother had explained all this as we packed our picnic. We figured that we would pretty much have the place to ourselves. But when we got there and drove up to the observation tower, we found ourselves right in the middle of a Confederate encampment! (As I see now from the website, a reenactment of the battle had been scheduled for this weekend.) Just as we pulled up, the Rebs were marching down the hill in column. There were about a hundred of them, altogether. Pretty cool. I had rather an interesting time explaining to my girls that they were neither hunters nor policemen, but soldiers - and only pretend soldiers at that.
Anyway, after we messed about in the tower for a while, we moved over to the picnic area and set up shop. Just as we were getting the fire going for the hot dogs, a battery of cannon opened up somewhere down below us in the trees. They were close enough that you could feel the percussion in your chest. A little bit later, a second battery (presumably the Yankees) opened up from farther off. The two sides kept at it for quite a long time. As we ate, we started hearing musket fire as well and the distant sound of shouting. Never had lunch during a firefight before. Very cool.
All in all, the battle lasted for about an hour or so. I half expected that, in keeping with authenticity, what was left of the Reb column would come running back up the hill in confusion, with the Yanks nipping at their heals. Alas, no such luck. The battle over, the reenacters sauntered back to their digs in very leasurely fashion, dropped their costume and broke camp. A rather large number of them had on History Channel t-shirts under their uniforms, a by-product, no doubt, of employment in the HC's recent binge of reenactment films. (Call it the "Gettysburg Effect," I suppose.)
(Speaking of antiquities, there was a playground by the picnic area that had the kind of equipment I haven't seen in thirty years - big wooden seesaws, tall swing sets with plastic seats and a two story tall metal slide that was only about two feet across and had no railing. Of course the kids were all over it - nearly gave me heart failure.)
October 11, 2004
Okay, now I'm officially confused
Can anybody explain how all this works? I thought I understood the difference between inbounds and inbound uniques, but I guess not. The Commissar approves of the changes, but maybe I was asleep that day in Reeducation 101 at Camp Gulag.
Advance Australia Fair!
Ask Prof. Llamabutcher
Rusty asks a question: my answer is simple.
Ten foot pole, buddy. Open door always. And, when in doubt, act incredibly clueless and absent-minded.
That and not showering.
John Kerry's Idea of a Nuisance
‘’We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance. As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.'’
Not convinced? Here's Ace. And wonder what Rudy Gulianni had to say? Well, Hugh's got it. And don't forget Wretchard at Belmont Club, who also in another post takes a broken bottle of Glenlivet upside Sully's head.
October 10, 2004
Nicole at Potomac Ponderings muses on a subject that I've often thought about: do you let friends and family know that you blog?
Robbo seems to have taken the bold and affirmative YES response, and we often joke about our traffic being traced to Robbo's mom logging on repeatedly. I'm the other way: other than my wife, I haven't told any of my family members for many of the reasons Nicole describes. Long story short: it would cramp the humor (or attempts thereunto).
What? You AREN'T reading Potomac Ponderings on a regular basis? What, are you high or something? The Llamas command: visit Potomac Ponderings!
UPDATE: Michele has some further thoughts.
UPDATE DEUX: Watch out, Michele, you're going to wind up in the dock for a show trial!
The dog that didn't bark
The brain makes an important point.
Trouble at the Purple Palace
All is not happiness and joy and fluffy bunnies cavorting under an azure sky over at Sully's. What with successful elections in Afghanistan and Australia and Kerry's performance on Friday, methinks Sully's having some second thoughts. What's the sole conscience of Tory Gadfly Amerika to do?
Proof? Read Sully today and yesterday, and then read Hugh Hewitt.
Yeah, I'm Talking to Youse!
Leather Penguin lays down the gauntlet.
He posts a picture of a famous catcher, but yet oddly enough this is the one in the Hall of Fame. Hmmmmm, odd.
SECRET MESSAGE TO LEATHER PENGUIN: Don't doubt our devotion to all things jiggy about Margaret Thatcher!
Was Kerry's high tide on Friday afternoon?
Time will tell. But it's going to get interesting as stuff like this starts piling on, and this too. And let's see if INDCent Bill's new found prowess inside the ears of the dinosaur media gets any action out of this story. This won't be followed up on, for sure. Ace ruminates on the Halperin memo (can we call it HALPERINBURTON! ?) And this? Riiiiiiight. John Kerry: I was a dirtbag commie before I wasn't. Son of Nixon also has a story that the dinosaur media won't follow up on. Or this from Annika.
This seems to be the consensus on Debate Three:
One last thing: go over and tell Kathleen the Cake Eater (and you ARE reading Cake Eater every day, aren't you? The LLamas command: eat your damn cake daily, folks!) that she needs to liveblog the debate from Arizona next week. Take one for the team, Kathleen!
Remember when the Nobel Peace Prize meant something other than slandering Amerika?
No? Neither do I.
October 09, 2004
Advance Australia Fair Deux!!
To heck with liveblogging the debates: Reverend Pixy was liveblogging election night down under.
There was a reason I was drinking Fosters last night.....
Advance Australia Fair!!!!!!
Go on over and give some Tasty Bits (TM) love to Tim Blair.
What does this mean?
Sadr surrenders? What's up with this?
All I know is that whatever Andy Sullivan say, I'll believe the opposite.
Debate Deux: The view from Saturday
I admit I was in a bit of a lather over the political futures markets: however, the view from Saturday is looking a bit different.
Then this came in: clearly things are looking up today, even though I didn't have the king of the pomo deconstruction weenies in my dead pool (extra bonus points for the Hatemongers Quarterly to deconstruct Derrida's obituary). Then the news comes of the blowout by John Howard in Australia, whose defeat would have created a "Bush is next" meme in the press. What's even better is that the race was portrayed as close and in the end it wasn't. Heh.
It was a long at-bat, with lots of hanging sliders thrown by President Bush. Kerry fouled off a few, whiffed a couple, and struck out looking.
Bush did well. He botched a few answers—at one point, he said our military should be "more facile"—but he was well-prepared, energetic, and frequently incisive. Democrats thought he'd have trouble fielding hostile questions. They were wrong. Five minutes in, a questioner asked him why Saddam Hussein's theoretical ability to produce weapons of mass destruction was grounds for invasion, given that many other countries meet this standard. Bush tacked the question without hesitation. He said that 9/11 had changed the rules and that a new report from U.S. weapons inspector Charles Duelfer showed Saddam "was gaming the oil-for-food program to get rid of sanctions" and "restart his weapons programs." Later, a questioner told Bush that the Patriot Act "weakens American citizens' rights." Bush respectfully disagreed and explained why.
Kerry, too, was well-prepared, energetic, and incisive. But he failed to do two things that Edwards did against Vice President Cheney. Edwards, like Bush, has message discipline. From the beginning to the end of Tuesday's debate, Edwards hammered one theme: "Mr. Vice President, you are still not being straight with the American people." At the same time, Edwards adapted to the flow of the debate, using Cheney's answers to reinforce the theme. Each time Cheney said something far-fetched, Edwards took that statement and beat it against the cement of reality.
Kerry did neither of those things tonight. The first questioner of the evening raised the charge that he was "wishy-washy." Kerry responded with a canned line about Bush turning his campaign into a "weapon of mass deception." The next questioner asked about Bush's response to the Duelfer report. Bush said the report showed Saddam had connived to restart his WMD programs. This was the first hanging slider of the night: It begged for Kerry to ask, "Is that what the president thinks this report showed? Did he not read it? Did he not see its overriding conclusion that Iraq didn't have the weapons he said it had when he misled this nation into war? His own chief weapons inspector says the rationale for the war was false—and the president still won't admit it?"
Kerry said none of this. He didn't even mention the report. In fact, he changed the subject to jobs, health care, and education. Incredibly, Bush set him up again, saying, "Saddam Hussein was a threat because he could have given weapons of mass destruction to terrorist enemies." Instead of repeating that quote and highlighting the gaffe—"What weapons of mass destruction?"—Kerry began talking about the sanctions.
Two questions later, Bush tossed another fat one over the plate. While arguing that it's better to be right than popular, he allowed, "I've made some decisions that have caused people to not understand the great values of our country." A politician who understood the language of values—Edwards, for example—would have pounced on that quote, saying something like this: "There is no excuse for failing to make clear to the world the values of our country. The way to make others understand our values is to live out those values. And that starts with telling the truth, so that other nations will believe us." But Kerry doesn't understand values. So, instead he called Bush's answer "more of the same" and repeated that Bush had screwed up Iraq.
At this point, Bush uttered an amazing reply:
I remember sitting in the White House looking at those generals, saying, "Do you have what you need in this war? Do you have what it takes?" I remember going down to the basement of the White House the day we committed our troops as a last resort, looking at Tommy Franks and the generals on the ground, asking them, "Do we have the right plan with the right troop level?" And they looked me in the eye and said, "Yes, sir, Mr. President." Of course, I listen to our generals. That's what a president does. A president sets the strategy and relies upon good military people to execute that strategy.
The president of the United States had just blamed the military for screwing up the war. Surely Kerry would seize this chance, before tens of millions of people, to point out that Bush was refusing to reciprocate the loyalty of his troops. But no. Here's what Kerry said: "You rely on good military people to execute the military component of the strategy, but winning the peace is larger than just the military component."
Component? Who runs Kerry's debate prep? Michael Dukakis?
The next question was about the looming nuclear threat from Iran. Bush ended his answer by recalling, "In my speech to the Congress, I said there's an axis of evil—Iraq, Iran, and North Korea—and we're paying attention to it." A shrewd debater would have brought up that quote at the next opportunity, scolding Bush for having squandered our credibility and firepower on the least dangerous member of the axis. Kerry, of course, did not.
Halfway through the debate, a questioner asked Kerry why he had picked a running mate who "has made millions of dollars successfully suing medical professionals." Here's how Edwards began his answer to a similar question Tuesday: "I'm proud of the work I did on behalf of kids and families against big insurance companies, big drug companies, and big HMOs." Here's how Kerry answered tonight: "John Edwards is the author of the Patients' Bill of Rights. He wanted to give people rights. John Edwards and I support tort reform." See the difference? Edwards reframes the question right away, goes on the offensive, and talks about people. Kerry accepts the way the question is framed, plays defense, and talks about legislation.
The next question was about spending. Moderator Charlie Gibson followed up by asking the candidates, "I have heard you both say during the campaign—I just heard you say it—that you're going to cut the deficit by a half in four years. But I didn't hear one thing in the last three and a half minutes that would indicate how either one of you do that." Bush evaded Gibson's question. Here was Kerry's opportunity to score points for candor and specificity by listing the campaign proposals he had already scaled back in view of the growing deficit. But Kerry didn't think of this until the debate had moved on.
Ten minutes from the end, a woman asked about "tax dollars" being used "to support abortion." Kerry said he was Catholic and respected her beliefs but couldn't "take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't" agree. He said he could "counsel people" about "life" and "making other choices," but "you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them."
I know something about abortion politics, so I can tell you how effective Kerry's answer was. It was awful. He defended public funding of abortion, which most Americans oppose, while at the same time he managed to convey ambivalence about the legal right to abortion, which most Americans support. Bush immediately punished him—"I'm trying to decipher that," the president joked—and blasted Kerry for opposing the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and laws requiring parents to be notified when their minor daughters seek abortions. Kerry proceeded to defend his positions on these issues, each of which Bush had brought up precisely because it's a loser for Kerry. Not once did Kerry point out that Bush favors a wildly unpopular constitutional amendment to ban abortions.
Just when it looked as though Kerry would end the debate on a bad note, he got his biggest gift of the night. The final questioner asked Bush, "Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it." Amazing, incorrigibly, Bush refused yet again to concede any significant error. On "the big question about whether we should have removed somebody in Iraq, I'll stand by those decisions, because I think they're right," he said. "On the tax cut, it's a big decision. I did the right decision."
Gibson turned to Kerry. The pitch was hanging there, waiting to be smacked into the upper deck. All Kerry had to do was walk up to the questioner and say, "You just asked the president to name three mistakes. He couldn't name one. He can't correct his mistakes, because he can't see them, even when his own weapons inspector puts it on the front page of the newspaper. You can't change this president. You can only replace him."
Here's what Kerry said instead: "I believe the president made a huge mistake, a catastrophic mistake, not to live up to his own standard, which was [to] build a true global coalition, give the inspectors time to finish their job, and go through the U.N. process to its end and go to war as a last resort." Blah, blah, elaboration, prepositional phrase, caveat, whimper, end.
What's the point of taking notes if you don't use what the other guy says? Is Kerry really listening? Or is he just trying to look like a man who takes notes?
Let the recount begin!
Man, when we said we wanted to bring democracy to Afgahnistan, I didn't realize it would include Democratic Party style "activism."
If you lose, sue! Thanks, Al.
October 08, 2004
I'm heading downstairs
I'm going to go do some canvassing down in the bar. Back in a bit.
The one thing that's sticking with me is how often Kerry invoked Reagan and Eisenhower for foreign policy. Did you ever believe you'd see a Democratic presidential candidate running away from Harry Truman, FDR, and Woodrow Wilson, let alone Eugene McCarthy and Jimmy Carter?
Is that going to sit well with the hard left, or do they know--wink wink nudge nudge---it's just a load of crap?
THE THINGS I'M WILLING TO DO FOR YOU GUYS!
I'm back to check in---the bar at the Marriott is filling up with media types. One table features a bunch of folks from CBS. We've got a LLama undercover reporter over there flirting up a storm pumping them for info. We tried to send over some documents for them to use but somehow they weren't interested....
Market Break for Kerry
THIS isn't funny:
This is the chart for today's trading of the Bush reelected futures contract on Tradesports.
The spread between their two contracts is under five bucks, pointing to an even race. This is a huge movement.
Here's Kerry's elect contract for today
The one flaw in the markets is that they could be manipulated by people dumping money to give the appearance of momentum. I don't know if that's the case here---to be perfectly honest, I would be suspicious of that view. But then again its not like George Soros has no experience with this....
I think Kerry had to look presidential, and he did: unfortunately, it was the as president of Letspretendistan.
Top questions rejected by Charlie Gibson:
"Senator Kerry, what is your favorite chorus to Kumbaya?"
"President Bush, why do you make Baby Jesus cry so?"
"Senator Kerry, of all the experiences in your life, which belongs the most in a new edition of Profiles in Courage?"
"President Bush: I got rebuffed in my favorite bistro in Provence this summer. Why can't we have a foreign policy that makes Amerikan snobs safe in their favorite European expat haunts?"
"Senator Kerry: are the books of Gore Vidal and Noam Chomsky unpopular in Amerika because of John Ashcroft's neo-Nazism, or is it just because the average voter is a mouth-breathing idiot?"
"Senator Kerry: If you could be any type of fluffy puppy, which type would it be? And why is the president so mean?"
"President Bush: do you enjoy persecuting Muslims?"
"Senator Kerry: when did President Bush stop beating his wife?"
9:59 Kondracke and Kristol give it to Kerry.....
UPDATE:Allah's doing his roundup.
More questions too ridiculous even for Charlie Gibson:
-Senator, why won't you pay child support for our love child?
-Mr. President, did your timber company kill any spotted owls?
-Senator, could you please repeat the joke about the Red Sox, I don't think any of us got it the first time?
LLamaliveblog: The St. Louis Debate
7:45 Central Time----Made it in okay, and the Red Sox cooperated by ending the extra innings game and sweeping the Angels. No moral quandry of which event to watch (and can you say Sawx Cardinals World Series? I thought you could)
There isn't wireless in the hotel bar area, so I'm going to do this from the room upstairs. Later, I'll go down and do some live reporting of whatever media types are staying here.
I'm going to do it different this time, instead of doing a whole series of posts I'm going to add on to one post.
Tradesports update: Kerry rose during the day breaking through the $40 barrier, and Bush fell into the high fifties. Expectations for a Kerry victory?
Liveblogging roundup: Steve Green is tivo-ing and watching tomorrow. Hugh Hewitt has set up his scorecard (which is a cool setup, if you ask me). Allahpundit hasn't reported for duty yet but hey, he's the creator of worlds, he's busy. (UPDATE: Allah is in the house). The Commissar is manning the vanguard. Holy smokes, so is the Truth Laid Bear.
If you're liveblogging, drop us some love in the tasty bits mail sack and we'll post the link.
7:59 Halperingate? Any word on whether this memo was typed on a Smith Corona?
8:04 Wishy washy???? That's why I hate the effing town hall format.
Weapon of mass deception?
I do like the lines in the carpet---it's reminiscent of the lines in the carpet in the House of Commons exactly two swords lengths across.
Kerry running to Bush's right on education?
Bush needs to hammer the Howard Dean angle if only to draw Howard Dean back into the race to say something ridiculously stoooopid.
8:08 WMD and North Korea.
9/11---things changed. He needs to hammer this.
He's animated tonight, but not in a surly way as last time (although I admit I liked the surly Gary Cooper look, but hey, that's just me, Mr. Vegas)
UPDATE: LaShawn Barber is liveblogging too.
Kerry---"I've always thought Saddam was a threat..." what about Gulf War I?
8:12---The global test
He needs to hammer this----bring in the French bribery, dammit!
8:13 Rainman gets to ask a question....something about Wapner and Iraq
8:16 Pizza arrives....mmmmmm....pizza
8:19 Drawing the Reagan analogy is good.
So is Shinseki bucking for SecDef in a Kerry admin?
9:26 Bush and Kerry are both rising on Tradesports....
Niave and dangerous line is good....needs to hammer that.
Glenn is liveblogging too.
This is a nice handling of the draft question by praising the all-volunteer army and the transformation of the military.
9:31 Kerry will be more like Reagan?
The Tony Blair point is excellent
9:33 Is it just me, or are these questions ridiculously pro-Kerry? I mean, where's Chris Farley's guy saying, "Senator Kerry......remember when you were in Cambodia at Christmas? That was so awesome....."
8:37 (sorry--my watch is on central time but the clock on the windows bar is on eastern time)
I think Bush is en fuego here.
9:38 Is Rainman just reading DNC press releases?
Talk about being in the lion's den.
Tradesports update: Kerry winning the popular vote contract has crossed to $50 (even money); Bush is at $53
8:43 John Kerry created 23 million jobs in the 90s.......?
WHOA!!!!!! John Edwards supports tort reform?
I guess he can pull that out of his magic hat.....
YIPS---Potomac Ponderings has some good observations...
8:48 Harry Truman comes in, holds Kerrys arms in a full nelson while Bush smacks Kerry in the head with a two by four over not showing up to vote on health care....
8:50 raising taxes during a recession is spot on----economic collapse in 1936-37 anyone?
FDR knew something about not killing the economy during war:
8:54 "Senator Kerry, will you look into the camera and swear to the American people that if elected you'll make sure there's a fuzzy bunny in every hutch?"
You know, this almost makes me pine for the days when you had the old panels of journalists. Almost.....
Alienating the Red Sawx Nation is not a way to win, Senator Kerry....
9:04 Kyoto is flawed, I was there, but you can't walk away from it....?
"Senator Kerry, what is your favorite chorus to Kumbaya?"
"Someone's weeping, Lord." Except if it's someone making over $200 grand, then I'm going to screw them (unless they are a condiments heiress). It reminds me of when I was in Vietnam.....
9:09 Kerry's up $2, Bush is down $2 at Tradesports.....
9:09 "Need some wood?"
Hehehehehehe......he said "wood."
Shut up, Beavis!
9:11 (interesting timing, huh?) Patriot Act Question
"Mr. Bush, why did you implant sensors in my molars when I was at the library?"
I wonder when they're going to ask him what type of puppy he likes best in a smoothie......
9:13 Let's just see for a minute......Kerry was there for Kyoto, he voted for the Patriot Act, he was in favor of both except that he's not......huh?
9:17 Thirteen minutes left
Supreme Court question--FINALLY!
Dred Scott case? What the efffff?
Bush muffed that one, big time.
Tradesports: Bush down $3
BTW, Kerry voted to confirm Antonin Scalia.....
YIPS to Overtaken by Events who are opening up a can of whup ass on Kerry
LINE OF THE NIGHT: You can run but you can't hide (from your record)
LAST QUESTION: "President Bush, give three instances in which you were wrong, and was this because you are 1.) evil; B.) Niave; or III) under the thumb of your Sith Masters at Halliburton?"
Conclusions: Kerry's citing Reagan and Eisenhower as his foreign policy role models, and that he's more in line with them than Bush? Zombie ghost of Adlai Stevenson walks on stage and slaps Kerry in the face with a dog eared copy of Camus' The Plague.
I guess there was an electoral realignment in 1980 after all.
Bush's conclusions: Think what we've been through together.....
Let me get this straight: Kerry is invoking the style of Reagan and Ike, and Bush is invoking FDR's Fireside chats?
Strong closing by invoking Afghanistan election.
Wrap up in a minute.
Someone came to our site after searching for "saran wrapped bondage"
Needless to say, they had a United Kingdom domain source.
What is it about crappy orthdonture and bondage anyway?
So, in the name of political science, I clicked on the search feature, and we were site #4 for that.
UPDATE: Our old demented pal Leather Penguin spits on our distinction, flaunting instead their preeminence when googling "huge gazongas"
Tell ya what, penguin, we would NOT do anything to interfere with your little pervy corner of blogistan. You want gazongas? Go to the Penguin. You want HUGE gazongas? Again, Penguin. You want all sorts of in depth posts about Margaret Thatcher, Condi Rice, and the foreign policy views of the Olsen Twins or Pamela Anderson with no discussions of gazongas, huge or otherwise? Why, it's the Llamas you want. We would never stoop to take your gazonga traffic away. We concede all traffic coming from googling gazongas large medium or small to our friends the penguins. No gazongas here. No llama gazongas. No Margaret Thatcher gazongas. Nosiree, you pervs!
Where the Hoof hits the Highway
Well, I'm off soon. Probably not much blogging before, say, Monday evening or, more realistically, Tuesday morning. In the meantime, Steve-O is primed and loaded and should have another fantastic round of debate live-blogging tonight.
In a way, I'm kinda glad I'm going to miss the big show. Dubya's got to change the momentum back tonight. How much of a performance it's going to take, I just don't know. But there's a whoooole lot riding on it.
All in all, rather more excitement than I really need on a Friday night.
Yip at you later.
This is cool.
Color photography from WWI, courtesy of The Blog Quebecois. Yes, really. Click through and check 'em out. Fascinating.
Yips! to Atrocious Jeff.
Ha! You got that? Ha! Ha!
That's right, Mrs. Butcher, I'm talking to you.
Every year we go through a tug-of-war over this at my house because I point-blank refuse to get the damn things. My reasons are 1) they are next to useless because flu strains mutate so quickly and 2) I hate shots.
Recently, the Butcher's Wife has even enlisted the Llama-ettes to nag me.
Well now which one of us is the selfless, upstanding citizen and which the thoughtless, un-American, dare I even say communist, shot-hog? Huh? Huh? If some little old lady keels over this season because she couldn't get her shot, her blood is on your hands, Madam, not mine.
Oh, and by the way, the Yankees blow! (Another source of friction round these parts come October.)
Pardon me as I'm having a Glenn Reynolds (TM) Moment
Signs that your blog owns you:
1. You get all nervous and jittery because the Truth Laid Bear has not updated the standings in almost two weeks and you're all, like, CRAZY because you're going to lose credit for all the beaucoup linkage you've been getting as of late!!!!!
B. You're sitting in an airport drinking a smoothie and wonder to yourself, "Ted, does this place have wifi so maybe I can blog a wee bit......?"
Anyhoo, if you happen to find yourself hanging out in the Pittsburgh Airport, there's a Ben & Jerry's where they make a nice berry smoothie. And the wifi is free.....
UPDATE: Gordon's having a Prince Spaghetti Day. Go over and say howdy!
Blogger Swanning About
Introducing the "Splendidizer", a gadget embedded in the website for Bright Young Things, the
abomination screen adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies. (No, I haven't seen it. But I'm betting I don't really have to.)
Anyway, you run some text through the thing and it's supposed to "spiff it up" in a way that I guess is meant to make it look like something cool and slick and sardonic from Britain between the wars.
As a matter of fact, the effect is something closer to Truman Capote. Witness the altered text of my post on Wilma Deering from this morning:
John at TexasBestGrok has his latest Sci-Fi Babe Poll up: The blasted Ladies of Buck Rodgers - Wilma Deering vs . Darling, princess Ardala. Ugh, how uncouth!
I've definitely got a simply splendid horse in this race, my dear fellow! Dash me twice, john and I have really been sparring over the simply marvellous relative merits of these two ladies for some time now. Ugh, how morbid! (Indeed, we really, really started getting to know each other pricelessly on line over this business. Splendid! I say, how's that for a frightfully beastly geek confession?)
John's objection to Wilma is shamingly that the spiffing gal's too cold and aloof . Fabulously on the contrary, but what I keep pointing out is horridly that this is frightfully only in public. Inside, the splendid filly's really, really a jolly cauldron of boiling passions. It's so damned unfair! I say, and I can prove it. Rather! I dare say, remember the frightfully beastly episode with that space-vampire Vorvon thing? After it bit Wilma and brought the splendid filly under its spell, she went for Buck with an intensity that made a frightfully horrid terribly, um, big impression divinely on a simply marvellous certain randy teenager, which is just too bogus! Darling, granted the priceless gal was dreadfully possessed at the divine time and was horridly trying to suck his blood, not seduce the dashing fellow, but the simply unbearable raw material was shamingly obviously there. It's just too dull. (I'm assuming Vorvons, like Gandalf, must have something to work on . Fabulously on the spiffing contrary, vorvons can't invent passion any more than Gandalf can burn snow.)
I know what you're thinking: "Tom, you're just indulging in stereotypical dead white European male virgin/whore fantasy."
So sue me. Golly!
And vote for Wilma. Marvellous!
I dunno, after reading it this way I suddenly don't seem to give much of a damn about space babes anymore.
Dash me darling Yips! to Mr. Outer Life.
Wipe Drool Off Keyboard
Terry Teachout has a review of a production of Don Giovanni he saw recently in Chicago. Another pleasant example of a producer who gets it:
Peter Stein's approach is different. “All the drama, all the theater, lies in the music,” Stein says of Don Giovanni, and so he’s produced the opera without any obtrusive conceptual overlay, placing his singers in the midst of Ferdinand Wögerbauer’s startlingly plain sets and directing them with the self-effacing clarity and simplicity of actors in a naturalistically staged play.
Drama and theatre lying in the music? What a concept!
As a general rule, I don't particularly like opera. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I don't like modern opera, starting with the 19th Century. But I do love Mozart's Big Three: Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan Tutte. My favorite among these three is whichever one I happen to be listening to at the time.
I note that Bryn Terfel sings the lead in Chicago. I saw him in a Met production on PBS a couple years back and was rather disappointed. Not with his singing, which is always superb, but because I thought he was miscast and misdirected. The Don is a seducer - Terfel just looked (and acted) like a lout. You can see him here and judge for yourself, at least on the surface, as to how he looks this time around.
As a matter of fact, Terfel was pretty much born for the roll of Figaro. I've got a videotape of a performance of his in Le Nozze with this lot. The video has some poor production values, but the singing is terrific.
YIPS from Steve
I'm going to be on the road today out to St. Louis, so nothing from me until later. Hopefully, I'll be set up in time to blog the debate in real time. It's been good for some laughs so far.
Things to watch for today:
1. how do the political futures markets go? This morning at Tradesports Kerry is rising above $40 and Bush has fallen below $60. I think there are rising expectations from the markets that Kerry will do well in this format.
2. The economic numbers released today on employment.
Why this debate matters: SNL is going to run their opening skit on it, in all likelihood, and whatever "slips" or "screwups" are perceived are going to be magnified by a factor of 1000. Now, don't start bitching about "bias"---this exact phenomena worked tremendously in Bush 41's favor in 1988 (Jon Lovitz, anyone?) as well as in 2000, when Darrell Hammond's Al Gore impersonation cemented the vision of Gore as a pendantic whiner.
See you later today! In the meantime, I leave you in Robbo's capable hoofs with our usual assortment of politics, high and low culture, music, recipes, sports, and, of course, "The Babes of the Battlestar"-esque sci-fi geek drool.
Llama Road Trips
Steve-O is on his way to St. Louis, where I do believe he will be live-blogging from the heart of the storm tonight. I confess that I won't even see the debate - as soon as I get home from work and pick up the wife and childs, we are heading out for a long weekend at my brother's house in West Virginia. (Cue banjo music.)
No, no. Just a little fun. Actually, the Bro and his family live in Lewisburg, a charming little town just up the valley from the Greenbrier. It has a lot of big Victorian houses downtown and is chock-full of artist colony stuff like galleries and craft shops.
Getting there is an interesting trip, tho. Once you escape the gravitational pull of the Beltway, you take I-66 out to I-81 in the Shenandoah Valley. I-81 is a pretty busy highway. (I read somewhere that it has the highest per capita truck traffic of any interstate in the country.) But once you get down to Lexington, you pick up I-64 heading west into the mountains. As soon as you're on 64, you suddenly feel like you've fallen off the edge of the earth. No cars, no trucks, no lights, no anything. And you just keep going UP and down and UP and down. So maybe we should cue that banjo music after all.
Should be a fun weekend in a noisy, frenetic way - the Bro has three kids, a boy and two girls, all roughly the same ages as the Llama-ettes and the cousins all get on very well with each other. In the meantime, he's promised to watch the debate for me and fill me in on the results when I get there. The Bro and his wife are basically Neal Boortz/Dittohead Republicans, so I'll be interested to see what their take is.
Col. Deering Wants You
John at TexasBestGrok has his latest Sci-Fi Babe Poll up: The Ladies of Buck Rodgers - Wilma Deering vs. Princess Ardala.
I've definitely got a horse in this race. John and I have been sparring over the relative merits of these two ladies for some time now. (Indeed, we really started getting to know each other on line over this business. How's that for a geek confession?)
John's objection to Wilma is that she's too cold and aloof. But what I keep pointing out is that this is only in public. Inside, she's really a cauldron of boiling passions. And I can prove it. Remember the episode with that space-vampire Vorvon thing? After it bit Wilma and brought her under its spell, she went for Buck with an intensity that made a very, um, big impression on a certain randy teenager. Granted she was possessed at the time and was trying to suck his blood, not seduce him, but the raw material was obviously there. (I'm assuming Vorvons, like Gandalf, must have something to work on. Vorvons can't invent passion any more than Gandalf can burn snow.)
I know what you're thinking: "Tom, you're just indulging in stereotypical dead white European male virgin/whore fantasy."
So sue me.
And vote for Wilma.
October 07, 2004
Within the past week, three of my favorite daily reads have turned one year old:
Chan's Bookish Gardener
Enoch Soames' Charlock's Shade.
I'm trying to figure out what the gestation period is for blogs and then work backwards to see if there's some natural phenomenon - like a hurricane - to explain all of them popping out at about the same time.
All fooling aside, tho, these folks write the kind of high quality blog that I enjoy the most - balanced servings of the arts, social commentary, personal musings and silliness.
Big ol' Llama Yips! to John, Chan and Mr. Soames! Yip! Yip! Yip!
I'll Bet England Didn't Expect This...
It turns out that the Battle of Trafalgar was a Spanish moral victory!
Yips! to Tim Worstall.
I'm gonna have nightmares about Kos.....
Mu.Nu went down late this morning and only came back on line a few minutes ago. I was starting to suffer withdrawal symptoms. Mussssssst.....possssst....sssssssss
Damn you, Peter Schickele!
The radio is currenting airing (ha ha) the famed Air from J.S. Bach's 3rd Orchestral Suite. A good performance and a piece justly deserving its fame.
Alas, I think it's been ruined for me forever. I am a great fan of Peter Schickele's P.D.Q. Bach parody albums. One of them, P.D.Q. Bach: 1712 Overture and Other Musical Assaults, contains a track called "Bach Portrait". It's Schickele's riff on Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" and contains lots of sweeping Copelandesque music, together with excerpts from some of the letters of J.S. Bach, in most of which the great composer bitched rather loudly about how everyone was ripping him off.
But the piece also contains extracts from a number of J.S. Bach's works, including the Air from the 3rd Orchestral Suite. Schickele, being the fiend that he is, overlays the piece with a slow rendering of "Camptown Races". Now I can't listen to the original without hearing the joke as well.
[Insert "going spare-al" look here.]
UPDATE: Our Llama Military Correspondent busts me on spelling. Unfortunately, I used up my post-quota on "Schickele". My bad.
Why I love reading Sheila O'Malley's writing
It's because of postings like this.
Hey, we've been posting a lot on politics as of late, which is kind of unavoidable considering that what I teach and that's what Robbo does. And we've been getting some nifty traffic as of late, which is fun and all. But to me blogs like Sheila's and the Cake Eater's and Michele's are the gold standard that we aspire to.
Insult of the week
Ladies and gentlemen, now THIS is a bitchslap! Robbo, remind me never to cross Annika....
UPDATE: Nathan over at Brain Fertilizer is busting a cap over discrepancies in the employment reports methodologies. Look for this to be an issue tomorrow when the new employment figures are released.
Election Odds from Down Under
Reverend Pixy---grand and omniscient Poo-Bah of Munuviania---has some interesting thoughts on election odds from his perch in Australia.
The Kerry Doctrine: Outbribe the french
More damning stuff about Saddam's bribery of France before the war.
Back in the old days, this is the sort of thing that would've sent Sully into full overdrive mode.....
Your morning history assignment
I was pulling together notes to do a longer piece on the Battle of Heurtgen Forest, to follow up on the theme from last week about how the campaign against Germany did nothing to avenge Pearl Harbor (using the Kerry Doctrine logic, of course). But then Hugh Hewitt beat me to it, complete with a nice analysis of Tom Dewey's campaign in 1944.
Secret message to Hugh: my other thing is pulling together some notes about the last month of the election of 1864, and McClellan's blistering attacks on Lincoln's "incompetence." But I'm also a bit busy today, so if you could go ahead and beat me to the punch on that one too I would greatly appreciate it......
Communists for Kerry
INDCent Bill (who is in a bit of testy mood as of late) points us to this gem: the Communist Party in America's official endorsement of and advice to Comrade Kerry:
As I talk to friends on the left and center-left, I find too many people picking up on Bush administration propaganda that Kerry is a “flip-flopping” politician, that his stands on the Iraq war are opportunistic and bad, and that his “weakness” is helping Bush. These are mostly people who will vote for Kerry, if they vote, but they are in a passive political mode, preparing to retreat, which is where the Bush administration wants them to be.
Everything that is being said today about John Kerry was said by sections of the broad left about Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 — he was “an opportunist,” a lightweight, a man from a wealthy family with a Harvard education and an uppity wife who couldn’t be trusted to deal with the Depression crisis. But a closer look showed that Roosevelt was, unlike most American politicians, a “principled opportunist,” in that he had represented in his political career broad progressive positions, whatever his shifts on day-to-day politics (by the 1920s these positions began to be called “urban liberalism”). Clearly he was a lot better than the Democrats who had run for the presidency before him: James Cox, John W. Davis, Al Smith.
Of course, Roosevelt was an odds-on favorite to win the election, and a militant left, led by an activist Communist Party, was on the scene fighting to form unions, create public jobs and unemployment insurance, and establish programs to protect poor farmers and save the cities.
When popular movements reached a critical mass in 1934-1935, Roosevelt did not use his power as president to crush them, as all previous presidents including Democrats Cleveland and Wilson had done in response to great strikes. The courage and intelligence of a CPUSA-led left and the “principled opportunism” of FDR interacted dialectically to bring about a center-left coalition politics that produced Social Security, unemployment insurance, the minimum wage, the right of workers to form unions, millions of public jobs for the unemployed, and federally supported public assistance for women with dependent children.
Neither Communists and allied leftists nor New Deal liberals brought this about by themselves. The center-left coalition of the two forces made this far-reaching program possible.
John Kerry’s stands on the major issues of the times, since the 1970s, have been a lot better than those of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, or Bill Clinton. He is a progressive Democratic senator from a liberal pro-labor state, Massachusetts, as Roosevelt was the progressive governor of New York.
Like Roosevelt in 1932, Kerry is saying some ridiculous things. (Roosevelt, for example, criticized Hoover for running deficits and promised to balance the budget. The deficit was not the problem, but a symptom of the Depression. Hoover was spending too little, not too much. After taking office, Roosevelt sharply increased federal spending to provide for people’s needs, which is healthy for society.) But, like Roosevelt, Kerry is articulating broad themes that lead away not only from the sinister nightmare of the Bush administration, but from a generation of right-wing political hegemony in the U.S.
Kerry is condemning the $200 billion already spent on Iraq and saying that money would be better spent for social programs in the United States — the first Democrat to begin to talk about spending more, not less, for people’s needs since the 1970s. He has come out four-square for labor — something neither Carter nor Clinton ever did — and would clearly use his presidential powers as Roosevelt did in the 1930s to advance the labor movement and place progressive judges on the federal judiciary. While his health proposals can be legitimately criticized, they are the first serious proposals to come forward since Clinton’s disastrous failure in 1994 buried the issue of national health “insurance” in the U.S. On civil rights and civil liberties, Kerry, by any standard, has a good record and George W. Bush has a terrible one.
Unlike Roosevelt, Kerry has a difficult fight to make if he is to be elected. What Kerry can learn from Roosevelt is to go after his enemies on the right, as Roosevelt always did, and make it clear that they represent arrogance, selfishness and greed. But everyone on the left who thinks that the U.S. and the world were better off with Roosevelt than Hoover should realize that the U.S. and the world will be much better off with Kerry than with Bush. With Kerry in the White House we have a chance to regain ground lost over a generation. With Bush back in power, we are in the short run digging our own graves, and the graves of people’s movements throughout the world, not the grave of the capitalist system as some ultra-leftists might hope. For those reasons we must not only support the Kerry campaign but work actively for its victory.
What's ironic about all this (and something that still, to this day, makes me double over in howling like a Jackal paroxsyms of cruel laughter) is that the failure to win over the Communist vote is what cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000.
Lefties like bashing the Nader voters for this all the time. But, Al could've won without Nader's voters. Proof, you ask? Check out the "underballot" for the Florida election results. What you find is this:
Monica Moorehead (World Workers Party)............1,804
David McReynolds (Socialist Party)...................... 622
James Harris (Socialist Workers Party)................ 562
TOTAL VOTES FOR COMMUNIST CANDIDATES IN FLORIDA, 2000= 2988
If the voters from any one of the three communist parties had swung their votes to Gore, he'd have won the election, as each of them represented more votes than the final spread, let alone all three. There is something cosmically comic in this, at least to me, and don't think the Democrats didn't notice this, and are doing everything in their power to bring the Communist parties in America back into the fold to win this election.
And yes, I know that making this observation is going to make THIS guy mad, and you don't want to make him mad....
(I know it's cruel, but sometimes I pull up this webpage just to laugh).
Here is a list of popular songs from my senior year in high school (1983).
The only one that really has any particular associations for me is Elton John's "I'm Still Standing". I got dumped pretty hard by my girlfriend of the time and went through a period of listening to this over and over again out of spite.
(Stop laughing or I'll come over there and beat the crap out of you.)
Yips! to Lawren. Hit the link and find out about your own year.
UPDATE: Oh, what the hell. I suppose it was inevitable that I'd chime in on this. JohnL has a longish essay on musical imprinting, following on a discussion started by Mr. Outer Life and picked up by Mixolydian Don, Lynn S. and others.
My youth seems to have been somewhat different from these other folks. There was always music in my house, but it was almost always classical music, with occassional helpings of jazz of various sorts. My parents never, ever listened to pop music (at least in my hearing). The closest I think they ever got was Dad's Simon & Garfunkel album. So I don't have anything in particular to live down. Thanks be. (I believe the first record my parents ever gave me was a collection of Mozart serenades. I believe the first pop album I ever bought - based on a friend's recommendation - was Fragile Yes.)
As a matter of fact, while my own musical tastes are far more eclectic than my parents', I still don't listen to very much pop, and what I do listen to is pretty much sentimental flotsam from my younger days. In this, I agree with JohnL's take. There are a handful of albums and songs that, over the years, have come to represent markers for particular persons, places and events in my life. I still listen to them on occassion, but I do so for the emotional evocation, not really for the artistic merits of the music itself. The particular song is only important because it happened to be the one playing in the background when I experienced that moment of love, hate, sorrow or joy that I wish to remember.
What's that? You want examples? I gave you one hideous example already. I'm not about to disclose any more! (And no, I don't own any Elton John albums - just reading the 1983 list reminded me of that incident.)
In terms of listening to music for its actual artistic merits, I'll stick with classical and jazz.
Ah, October Baseball! Now where are my blood pressure pills?
Goddam Yankees. It's funny - as I sat there yelling at the tee-vee in the 12th, trying to will the Twins to yank Nathan before it was too late, I suddenly started having some serious traumatic flashbacks.
Speaking of Pedro, go Sox!
I have to confess that I don't consider myself to be a real fan. A fan is someone who follows the team all year. Out of respect for such people, I have always called myself a sympathizer instead. Nonetheless, now that we're into the playoffs, I'm a very avid sympathizer.
October 06, 2004
Methinks James Taylor wrote a song about THIS
From, n'cest pas, the HMQ, whose new motto should be "The HMQ: We dispense more hate before 9 AM then al-Jazeera does all day long."
Great. Just great.
As our long time reader (Hi, Mrs. Rob's Mom!) knows, we've been poking Andy Sullivan with a sharp stick for a while now for rhetorical perfidy.
Of course, this has its consequences, as I found out when checking sitemeter that someone found the LLama Shoppe after googling THIS.
So after ten months, we've finally found a subject we won't blog about....
UPDATE: As Ace points out, it could be worse....
We haven't chummed Google lately, so let's let it rip:
Cocoa butter fluffernutter Edwards' performance really sputter Olsen Twins kick in shins Mother Superior seven deadly sins Margaret Thatcher snob Book of Job out of hand throughout the land leather plether feather weather tether heather locklear Illuminati Dan Brown candy corn extra special Joan of Arcadia porn Michael Moore underwear Star Jones truth or dare bowl a strike leave a spare heinous traffic not a care
Where Two or Three Doze Together...
Just the thought of all that lamb, cucumber, youghurt and rice is making me sleepy.......sleeeeeep.......poppies........
If the Spirit should make its presence felt later, I hope it doesn't mind a wee bit of snoring.
Taranto today weighs in on the Did-Cheney-Meet-Edwards kerfluffle:
One of Dick Cheney's best zingers last night was when he said to John Edwards: "In my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."
It turns out Cheney was mistaken, as the Associated Press reports:
On Feb. 1, 2001, the vice president thanked Edwards by name at a Senate prayer breakfast and sat beside him during the event.
On April 8, 2001, Cheney and Edwards shook hands when they met off-camera during a taping of NBC's "Meet the Press," moderator Tim Russert said Wednesday on "Today."
On Jan. 8, 2003, the two met when the first-term North Carolina senator accompanied Elizabeth Dole to her swearing-in by Cheney as a North Carolina senator, Edwards aides also said.
Edwards did remember, and at a postdebate rally, he accused Cheney of "still not being straight with the American people":
"The vice president said that the first time I met Senator Edwards was tonight when we walked on the stage. I guess he forgot the time we sat next to each other for a couple hours about three years ago. I guess he forgot the time we met at the swearing in of another senator. So, my wife Elizabeth reminded him on the stage," Edwards said as the crowd roared.
According to Edwards' staff, Cheney replied, "Oh, yeah."
As it happens, we met Dick Cheney once, shaking his hand after a dinner in Washington. We remember meeting him because he is the vice president of the United States. We would be surprised, indeed flattered, if he remembered us. Blogger Adam Muntner likens Edwards to "a 15 year old girl sniffing about the High School football Captain, 'I guess he forgot about the time three years ago when he sat next to me on the bus!' It conveys that they aren't even in the same league."
Same deal here at the Butcher's Shop. As it happens, both Steve-O and I stood right next to Cheney four years ago in front of the alter at my church, as Cheney's grand-daughter and my middle Llama-ette were baptized in the same service. We even said hello to each other. Cheney was polite and friendly. And he wouldn't know either one of us Llamas from Adam if he tripped over us today.
Message to Edwards: Get over yourself. You're not that big.
Sherman, Set the Way-back Machine for Last Thursday
Bush gave a speech today in Pennsylvania that he should have incorporated into his first debate against Kerry. Go read it.
This is the stuff to serve up. And if Dubya can manage to do so in clear, strong terms come Friday, then Kerry may as well hang it up. If not, the nail-biting is going to begin in earnest around here.
Why Evan Thomas is a highly paid member of the Dinosaur media and I'm just a tenured hack
And it's not like Evan Thomas has a dog in this fight or anything....
What's all this with The Jawa Report crap? LLama no like: it's the Bill Moyers-ization of a once vaunted part of the vast right wing tenured conspiracy smearing machine! You're losing your "street creds," Macktastic Rusty Wicked.
Utt-ohhh, the Commissar is not going to like this at all
Gordon the Cranky Neo-Con (which leads to the inevitable Scalia quote: can you be an orgy guy and a cranky neo-con? Does anyone want to stomach the thought of a Leo Strauss pulling a Michel Foucalt and prancing around office hours in the buff? Didn't think so!) is busting a cap on the New York Times having a hissy over the draft getting smacked down yesterday in the House.
Careful, mon! It's loose talk like that that'll land you before Show Trial #12! (And yes, comrades, that's me turning Gordo in! Long live the Party!)
Well, There's Some Good News...It Did Fly...*
On the basis of their defence, the Dolphins are out of the cellar this week in Dr. Z's Power Rankings.
Okay, it's a reach, but I'll take what I can get.
(* As always, an extra helping of Llama Bonus Points for IDing the movie reference.)
YIPS from Steve: What's all this about Ricky Williams maybe/kinda coming back?
Plus, dare I dream? Or is Lucy going to yank the ball away, again.....
YIPS BACK from Robbo: Following up on my little movie riff from above, here is my new model for Dolphin fanage:
For the rest of the season, I'm just going to ask "What would Dusty do?"
Also, Josh Cohen has some info on the possible return of Ricky. Maybe, just maybe, we could trade the guy and pick something out of the wreckage. But I dunno - the guy is his very own suck zone.
Having finished off Conrad's Lord Jim, I decided that my next commuter read was going to be an old favorite - Wodehouse's Right Ho, Jeeves. In this novel, written in 1934, we are introduced to two major players in the Bertie & Jeeves cycle, Madeline Bassett and Augustus Fink-Nottle.
Madeline is a soupy, sappy, Gawd-help-us. She is passionately loved by Gussie Fink-Nottle, a fish-faced little recluse whose chief hobby is studying newts. Unfortunately, Gussie doesn't have the nerve to tell Madeline how he feels. One major plotline of the story is how Bertie and Jeeves go about pairing these two up. Bertie has this to say about one aspect of the problem:
Gussie, you see, wasn't like some of my pals - the name of Bingo Little is one that springs to the lips - who, if turned down by a girl, would simply say, 'Well, bung-ho!' and toddle off quite happily to find another. He was so manifestly a bird who, having failed to score in the first chukka, would turn the thing up and spend the rest of his life brooding over his newts and growing long grey whiskers, like one of those chaps you read about in novels, who live in the great white house you can just see over there through the trees and shut themselves off from the world and have pained faces.
This passage always induces giggles, no matter how many times I read it, being at once a perfect example of Bertie's narrative style as well as a subtle little dig by Plum against the more heavy-handed excesses of Victorian romantic litterchur.
The book is full of little gems like this. As I say, it is the first of the Gussie and Madeline stories. It is also, I believe, the first full length Bertie and Jeeves novel. And Plum wrote it near the very peak of his creative powers. As such, this book is fresh, energetic and endlessly funny, as well as exquisitely crafted.
UPDATE: Mr. Enoch Soames, Esq., corrects me. In fact, Thank You, Jeeves beat Right Ho, Jeeves by about six months. I had forgotten about Old Pop Stoker and the gang. This is what comes of not fact-checking. My bad.
Fortunately, this is not an either/or proposition: read 'em both!
My name is Robbo and I'm here to Sing, sing, sing!!!
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the Llama Song!
Personally, I'd probably use an Elvis voice instead, but hey, that's me.
Picking through the spin
Larry Sabato's analysis I think is spot-on (Disclosure: I was a teaching assistant for Larry a dozen years ago so I'm biased.) Howie Kurtz's column from yesterday I also think nails it. Kaus goes with the "Shrek v. Breck" theme and points out the missed opportunities for each (while taking a good natured swipe at Andy Sullivan).
UPDATE: Wretchard is beginning to engage Sully with the two by four with the rusty nail. Hilarity ensues.
UPDATE DEUX: Dick Morris agrees with me, which makes me worry that I'm wrong.
Failing the global test
Roger L. Simon on Kerry and the UN/Saddam Bribery scandal.
I thought the summer repeats ended....
Same old show, different year.
The morning after poll roundup
Zogby--the most accurate pollster in 2000 and 96---has Bush up by 1, 46-45. RealClearPolitics is showing a 1.7 spread in the three way (insert Scalia jokes here) and .3 in the head to head. In the Tradesports political futures markets Bush reelect is trading back above $61, and Kerry elected is trading below $40---the difference here being a measurement of what people think is going to happen rather than what they want to have happen. I'm not sure if I would put much stock in this poll from the Washington Post which saw Bush with the same spread as the week after the Convention (right before Rathergate went en fuego), but, hey, whatever floats your boat. (It's the outlier--Pew has a five point spread, all the others are within one or two.)
UPDATE: The Powerline guys are sifting through the entrails of the polls and are not liking what they find...
Cruel, but fun.
October 05, 2004
Thrilla in Vanilla #19--The Wrap-Up
Tradesports has Kerry elected inching up, Bush reelected inching down.
Here's Bush's reelect for the day:
Speaking of the Right Stuff....
Overheard on the CSPAN 2 live feed just before the debate started:
John Edwards : Dear Lord, please don't let me fuck up.
Director : I didn't quite copy that. Say again, please.
John Edwards : I said everything's A-OK.
Dick Cheney : Hey Ridley, you got any Beeman's?
Gwen Ifel: Yeah, I think I got a stick.
Dick Cheney : Loan me some, will you? I'll pay you back later.
Gwen Ifel : Fair enough.
UPDATE: Free linkety bling-bling to the person who correctly identifies the source of the above quotes.
Well, THAT sucks!
Wizbang reports that Rodney Dangerfield has gone to the great green room in the sky. What Shakespeare or the Bible was to an earlier generation, Caddyshack was to mine. He will be missed.
Meanwhile, The Commissar reports that Gordo Cooper, the last of the Mercury Astronauts to go into orbit, and who was so memorably portrayed by the pre-Meg Ryan Dennis Quaid in The Right Stuff, has recently died.
I guess they can finally put his picture up behind the bar at The Happy Hunting Grounds. (Secret Message to Rocket Jones: what was the name of the bar out in the desert in The Right Stuff?)
Michele? A little help?
I'm gonna confess that I did not watch the debate tonight. Too damn tired and anyway, I knew that Steve-O would be all over it. Instead, I watched some mindless entertainment. Here are my impressions:
1. I've never watched the Women's Entertainment Network before. Um. I find back-to-back commercials for Barney videos and yeast infection treatments to be....well....disconcerting, to say the least.
2. The older I get, the less I like Woody Allen. I just have to say this. True, many of his movies are terrific: The early slapstick stuff, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Broadway Danny Rose, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Bullets Over Broadway. But I've noticed that even these don't have the shelf-life one expects of a true classic. Tonight I watched Hannah and Her Sisters for the very first time. Meh. Tired and icky.
3. Trying to keep the eyes propped open, I flipped over to Comedy Central and caught Chris Rock in concert. I don't agree with everything Rock says, but dayum, the man is funny. There is often, but not always, a strong connection between anger and humor. In Rock, the circle is complete.
4. Well. Even with the change of programming, the eyelids drifted shut. I had meant to catch the Letterman rerun on Trio, but couldn't manage it. So....tired. Cripes, I hope I don't have mono again!
5. If you don't understand the title to this post, scroll down to earlier today. This is what we're talking about.
Thrilla in vanilla #18
Okay, who won?
I'm watching the panel on MSNBC, and Matthews and Andrea Mitchell are smacking down Edwards. Ron Reagan Jr. is savoring the last 9 seconds of his second helpings of 15 minutes of fame...
Here's my take:
The clear winner of tonight's debate is Gwen Ifel. She kept the pepper spray out, didn't serve up any tee-balls, and went at both their jugulars. There's just something about Jim Lehrer's deer eyes in the headlight style that annoys the heck out of me.
I thought Edwards' best line was at the beginning when he ran with the Paul Bremer stuff. To me at least his lines were too repetitive of Kerry's---seemingly word for word. And the five mentions of Halliburton I'm sure was steak sauce for the left's tofu, but I'm not sure how that registers with the undecideds. The danger for Edwards was in passing the "can this guy really be president?" test, and when Gwen nailed him with the "what experience do you have to be president?" question he fumbled it. I mean, you can see why Edwards made so much money as a trial lawyer: he comes across as an extremely pissed off crusading Tony Dow.
(ie "Gee, Lumpy, the Amerikan people are not going to sit by while you sell nukes to Libya. Stop, or I'm going to tell the principal!")
Cheney had to do two things: whack Edwards and Kerry harder than a meth crazed biker knocking up a whack-a-mole machine, all the while not looking too much (or more than usual) like Mister Potter foreclosing on the poor old Bailey Building and Loan. You can just see if Dick Cheney were a hit man, he would eschew the sawed off shotgun in the violin case, the baseball bat, or the clean 45, instead going for the stileto, or better yet the garrotte around the neck. He's the Luca Brasi of the Bush Administration.
He did the former, lighting the good Senators up like a tilted pinball machine. Did he avoid the latter? I'm not a good judge of that, as I was kinda looking for him to whisper in John-John's ear "George Bush sends his greetings." But hey, that's just me, Mister Vegas.
Thrilla in Vanilla #17
Ouch. I can almost hear the Democratic Underground types complaining about conservative bias at PBS. Ifel opens up with the "flip flopper" question at 10:24.
Cheney: "I can think of many words to describe John Kerry's record on Iraq, but consistent is not one of them."
Direct hit #4.
Thrilla in Vanilla #16
10:13 Ifel asks the question: how the hell are you qualified to be President, Jo-Jo?
Cheney's going to light him up like a brick of cheap Mexican firecrackers on July 5th.
The zombie ghost of Andrew Jackson drops from the ceiling and pimp slaps John Edwards.
Thrilla in Vanilla #15
Here's a question: how often are we going to hear the Nixon/Kennedy analogy after tonight?
And, in 1960, what percentage of Democrats still pined for Woodrow Wilson?
Thrilla in Vanilla #14
10:09---Bathroom break. I miss anything?
Steve Green is en fuego, as usual.
Thrilla in vanilla 13
Edwards is skirting the issue on gay marriage.
Gwen: Aren't you trying to have it both ways?
Edwards: Let's sue millionaires who own pools! And Dick Cheney is gay! Next question.
Direct hit on Edwards #3, from Gwen Ifel.
Thrilla in Vanilla #12
5 minutes discussion on taxes, Cheney ends with "extending middle class tax cuts, and neither you nor Jocko were there to vote for it."
Direct hit #2
Thrilla in vanilla #11
Cheney lands first direct body blow on Edwards' attendance in Senate, and follows through on the role of Saddam supporting terrorists in Israel.
Half time---not much movement in the political futures market.
Thrilla in Vanilla #10
9:44 Edwards loses all possible help from France by asserting the right of Israel to defend itself.
"Too bad, johnny."
Thrilla in Vanilla #9
What is it with Kerry/Edwards that American unilaterialism is okay in relation with Iran and North Korea but wrong elsewhere?
Thrilla in vanilla #8
Ace takes a different view.
I'm trying to get a sense of Edwards' strategy---he's trying to keep it tight rhetorically. He's doing a good job of staying poised. The question will be whether Cheney can pin him down and start pounding.
9:38 Halliburton again. Howard Dean blows a gasket at the Tony Roma's in Montpelier, yelling at the wide screen, waving his bbq engreased fingers in the air, "That's my f*%&^$ issue, you wussie-ass *Y$Y&@%#!" The three other patrons ask the bartender, Phil, to change the channel to the Yankees/Twins game.
9:41 Halliburton---it's up to 5 times by name. Edwards links it to Libya and Enron. What, didn't Halliburton do business with the Archdiocese of Boston?
Thrilla in Vanilla #7
9:27 Halliburton! Democratic Underground explodes in orgy of seething joy, as thousands of goat-cheese greased hands furiously type one handed cheering for the downfall of the Chimperor.
"You de man, Johnny! Turnkey, bring me another falafel!"
Thrilla in vanilla #5
Kevin has greatest moments in Veep debates.
9:25 Cheney: "If you can't stand up to Howard Dean, how can you stand up to al Quaeda?"
As David Spade said in Tommy Boy, "that one is going to leave a mark."
Thrilla in vanilla 4
9:22 Cheney picks up the two by four with the rusty nail, and sticks it upside Edwards' head, saying, "son, what we have here is a failure to communicate."
Nice line about "you missed that vote."
Thrilla in Vanilla #3
Cheney brought up Kerry's 1970 quote about the UN. I'll find the link. Kerry I believe moved away from that statement, and then Edwards just denied it ever happened.
The El Salvador angle?
Is it just me, or is Edwards repeating verbatim what Kerry was talking about? So far, its the opium, its the Tora Bora thing. Who is more articulate about it? Mistake?
Second, the tone of this debate is much sharper than Cheney v. Leiberman 2000.
thrilla in vanilla #2
Bush Reelect contract day of the 2nd Debate at Tradesports.com
Kerry elected futures contract for today:
Expectations rising for Bush during the day and falling for Kerry. Of course, the same thing happened last Thursday (links after the debate)
The thrilla in Vanilla---Live blogging The Vice Presidential Debate
UPDATE: Welcome folks---the Llamas have it covered for you. Go to our main page, and scroll up from here for the full blow-by-blow of the Thrilla in Vanilla, and scroll down to get this Week's Bonfire of the Vanities.
Yip! Yip! Yip!
Bonfire of the Vanities---Week 66
Yes, it's the 66th week of the most flameworthy postings in the Blogsphere. People often ask us, "Ray, are you guys serving up carved Llama meat, or are you mysterious Andean pack animals, boldy and bravely swinging sharpened cleavers in the name of truth, justice, and free HBO?" To which we respond, "Spain?" Well, we really don't know---it's a conundrum. Or maybe a paradox, we forget. Anyhoo, a similar existential dilemma exists with the Bonfire of the Vanities: is it the chance to torch the week's most fragrantly fetid posts, or is it a chance to illuminate to the world the wacky and the new? We have no idea, so we're going to do both.
We Llamas thought that in celebration, we'd hop in our big old pink Cadillac and go cruising for hitchhikers on Route 66. Just see what we picked up:
Mike the Interested Participant asks "Who the hell is driving!?" Don't worry, Mike - someone's at the helm. And if the kid conks on us, we Llamas don't have opposable thumbs, but we can jam our hooves into the spokes. We'll get ya home.
Hey, who's got a map around here? The Gleeful Extremist goes to the Kerry website as John-John urged during the debate. There he finds the plan for Iraq and tells you what you already know: It sucks. (BTW, Llamas luv guys who write their own copy!)
In the why did you tell me to take this exit? department, Brian Noggle blows the lid on another BushitlerCheneyHalliburton conspyracy!. Okay, you may be saving the world from the Eviiiiil of George Dubya, but I saw you steal my french fries!
It's said that people can go bonkers driving the endless miles of the Great Plains. S'True. Just check out the Editor of the Living Room Section over at Pajama Editors. He's seeing Kerry metaphors in football games. Oh God! They're green and all over me!
Insert Sound of Sniggering
I had to pass along this jewel from the Kerry Spot:
Knight Ridder reporter Tom Fitzgerald, covering Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, filed this tidbit Sunday from a campaign stop in Ohio:
"At one point, Kerry seemed a little irony-challenged. He greeted a young man in a 'Titanic Swim Team' T-shirt and asked what events he swam. The embarrassed kid said he was actually on his high school track team. 'So you stole the shirt?' Kerry joked. 'I thought you were on the swim team. You faked me out there.' "
Heh, as they say, indeed. I guess this comes of all those years of believing in the prowess of the French Army........
Ya want silliness? Go google "snarf snarf sound" and see what comes up.
Number One, Baybee!
Sorry about the dearth of posts today. I've actually been quite busy. Also, we're still fiddling about with this week's Bonfire of the Vanities, which should be up in a while. Patience, my Preciousssssss.......
In the meantime, bravo to Steve for boldly adding our Yips! to Michele's call to keep blogging free-wheeling and not to allow recent events to cause us all to morph into traffic-hungry journo-bloggers. I write because I enjoy it, pure and simple. And while I'm extremely flattered by the readership we've built up, I probably wouldn't change the way I write or what I write about even if we slid back down to ten hits a day. As Michele and Crash Davis both observe, this is fun, goddamit!
In this spirit, I'll round out this post with a bit of silliness purely for the sake of amusement. I've never bothered to research it, but my mother once told me that Mr. John Keats, five foot two, penned the following bit of doggerel:
The sun shines down from Meridian height,
and illumines the depths of the sea.
Cry out the fishes, beginning to sweat,
"Oh, dammit! How hot we shall be!"
This is about football, but not the Dolphins
TMQ has more snarky references to the miserable Marine Mammals than I choose to count today, so we'll just skip over that bit. After cruising past the cheerbabe snaps, I was delighted to see that the New England Small College Athletic Conference made Easterbrook's Obscure College Score of the Week entry. To wit:
Colby 23, Middlebury 6. These hippy-dippy schools play football? Colby and Middlebury are both top academic schools, but known for excruciating PC. At Colby, instead of Saturday night parties, there are anti-globalization teach-ins with Peruvian chicha. Postgame speech of Middlebury football coach Bob Ritter: "Well boys, if I may use an inappropriate gender reference, you did not outscore Colby, but then the whole concept of 'most points wins' is an artifact of the patriarchal repressive social order."
Heh, indeed. Gregg knows of what he speaks.
I went to a NESCAC school myself, as did my brother the Doc. So I am delighted to report this other obscure score from this past weekend: Wesleyan 41, Hamilton 35. Ah, ha ha haaaa! In your face, John!
There's been a suspicious quiet coming from Robbo today, and now I know the reason why.
Political Futures Markets
Just like the day of the last debate, at Tradesports.com Bush's reelection contract is rising and Kerry's is falling.
"Dammit, Jim, I'm a blogger, not a miracle worker!"
Michele Catalano is brooding, and you know that means hilarious wrath is about to be rained down on some unsuspecting but deserving souls.
Is the blogosphere undergoing the tragedy that beset the hip-hop world when it was riven by an angry deity into the "west coast" rappers and the "east coast" rappers? Are we going to be forced to join sides, like Montagues and Capulets? Crips and Bloods? Jets and Sharks? "Tastes Great's" and "Less Fillings'"? Spunky Wolverines and Collaborators with our Soviet Masters? Whigs, and whoever opposed the Whigs (I seem to remember something about "Mugwumps")? Starfleet Admiralty and James Kirk? The movies of Michael Bay and good taste?
If we are, if we are forced to pledge allegiance as some new breed "open-source journalists" or stand bold and proud as "bloggers" we LLamas have but one choice: we are bloggers, dammit! We put the "idiot" in idiosyncratic! We put the "ho" in "pshop commandos"! We are proud that we've been linked by Glenn Reynolds three times: one for inserting Sandy Berger on the cover of the Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers" album, one for inserting John Kerry's face on milk carton as "lost", and once for shamelessly asking Wonkette her opinions on blogging and porn in front of 100 political scientists. We are not serious! We're LLAMAS, dammit!
We're with you, Michele! And thanks for all the laughs that you've provided us over the past two years.
What's cookin' at the LLamas
Today's a big day around the shoppe: we've got the Bonfire of the Vanities coming this afternoon, so Robbo's been busy pouring kerosene all over the tires we've been stacking in the front yard for the past week. Gordon's already come by and brought the back seat of a Honda Voyager Minivan to prop up on blocks to watch. Rusty has had the pimp-tricked Sandcrawler Escalade parked next to my neighbor's, who is the persnickety head of our neighborhood's homeowner's association. I'm sure I'll be visited by the suburban torequemadas before this is all through. That, together with all the interesting traffic that we've been having come through now that we are the one-stop-shop for all your Babes of the Battlestar needs, has made for some fun times for yer ornery Llamas. I mean, just having Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities sucking up to us again is worth the price of admission!
What else do we have in store for you? What, the Bonfire isn't enough? Well, what about some patented Llama time Tasty Bits live blogging of the "Thrilla in Vanilla" Vice Presidential debate tonight between John "I love fluffy puppies" Edwards and Dick "Call me Lord Vader" Cheney. Fortunately, the debate rules are a little looser for this one, as the Chimperor's Sith Master is allowed to bring both a double sided light saber, plus a two by four with some rusty nails sticking out of the end.
I have a feeling the word "pimpslap" is going to be used more than once.
And what does the rest of the week fortend? By coincidence, I'm going to be in St. Louis on Friday for a conference, so we'll have some liveblogging from the center of the political universe. Look for some catch-and-release Moonbat research. I plan on blogging from the bar in the hotel where they filmed the climactic fight scene in the greatest truly bad film of all time, Escape from New York.
It's New To You
[Ed. Note - We're busy putting together this week's Bonfire of the Vanities. I was going to contribute an essay I wrote way back in January when no one was reading us about God the Father and Jesus the Deadbeat Hippy Uncle - I wrote it in response to Howard Dean's confusion about which Testament the Book of Job belongs in. Well anyway, this was back in the Blogger Era: while I found the link, you would have had to scroll waaaaay down to find the essay. Bugger that. Instead, I'll just reprint the thing here for your amusement. Enjoy!]
This May Help Dean Keep It Straight, But I'll Probably Go To Hell
Evenings at the Butcher's House are always something of a struggle. The ritual of finishing dinner, cleaning up, baths, potty, brushing teeth, jammies, bedtime stories, etc., is more like a rugby scrum than anything else: you simply put your head down and shove as hard as you can.
Of course, there are always the grace notes and deviations. Last night was augmented by a fifteen minute argument between my older girls over who asked for the glass of water first. Then, an hour after she was supposed to be asleep, I discovered the two year old in the downstairs loo, splashing about up to her armpits. My, shall we say, Old Testament response to this made me realize there is an easy way to keep your Biblical stories straight: God is a parent. Jesus never had kids.
Think about it.
Start with Genesis. God bends over backwards to create a Paradise. He stocks it with an overabundance of everything Man could want. Just like a parent putting together the nursery. You make sure it's a warm, bright, pleasant place. You fill it with all sorts of fun and educational toys, books and stuffed animals. So what does the kid do? Makes a beeline for the diaper-genie or the electrical outlet. Yup, the forbidden fruit.
Then there is the Israelites' flight from Egypt and wandering in the desert, especially in Exodus and Leviticus. As a typical parent, God starts out hyper-defensive, whaling on Pharaoh for picking on His children. But later on, the old frustration with this pack of wayward, hyper lunatics sets it. "I said no worshipping of false idols, and look what you're doing!" "Eat your manna and stop complaining!" "No, we're not there yet. Just be patient!" "Didn't I tell you not to put those quail in your mouths? Didn't I?" "I want this tabernacle cleaned up RIGHT NOW!"
This is not the talk of a stern, implacable, uncaring, faceless Supreme Being. It is the exasperated talk of an exhausted father of small children who is trying very, very hard not to blow a gasket.
I'll give Dr. Dean a little credit for being tripped up by Job. This is a book written from the perspective of a kid (actually, a teenager). "Omigod. Like I try to do everything He says and he still sends all these afflictions! It's not faiiir!"
But then there is Jesus. He never had kids. He's the deadbeat hippy uncle who strolls in and starts mouthing platitudes about peace, love and understanding while you're simultaneously trying to change a disgusting diaper with one hand, remove a large, black, permanent marker from another child's grasp with the other, and keep the third kid from strangling the cat. Turn the other cheek? When the toddler is having mac-cheese and applesauce for dinner? Are you freekin' crazy?
The business with the money-changers in the Temple is another good example. A little Saturday morning political activism. What the hey, he's got the time to kill. Jesus doesn't have to take Andrew to soccer practice on one side of town and Simon Peter to a birthday party on the other side at the same time. And consider Good Friday. When you don't have any distractions or kids to drag around to the store, it's pretty easy to plan and hold a dinner party for fourteen. And getting yourself hauled off to prison and then judicially murdered, while noble, is a logistical breeze when you don't have to worry about suddenly finding a babysitter late on a Friday night.
These days, people like to say, "What Would Jesus Do?" Well, if he had kids, he'd curl up in a twitching, weeping, quivering ball. After that, I reckon he'd start to sound an awful lot more like his Old Man.
(I can hear the Butcher's Wife laughing from here. My role in managing our brood on a day to day basis is much, much smaller than hers. If she were Jesus, Judas never would have been allowed out in the garden that late, and Pilate would not even have made it into the appointment book.)
October 04, 2004
"Steve the Blogger says"
Visit the Llamas--your one stop shop for all your "Women of Battlestar Galactica porn" needs!
(We're working on a new motto--input and suggestions are welcome!)
Musickal Posting for the O.F.
A NYTimes review of a new staging of Mozart's Magic Flute, directed by Julie Taymor, who directed the Broadway production of Disney's Lion King.
Despite the involuntary cringing that this line initially induced, I was pleasantly surprised. Ms. Taymor seems to have a ready grasp of opera in general and this one in particular:
"I think to go symbolic without being human is ridiculous," Ms. Taymor said after a recent rehearsal. "It's all got to be grounded in these very basic emotions, but that's what fairy tales and myths are based on anyway." When asked how those emotions are conveyed, she took a position that would warm the heart of a composer but not a librettist: "It's in the music," she said.
Ms. Taymor calls the plot of the opera a "classic coming-of-age tale" that also depicts the struggle between the forces of rationality and irrationality and the passage of the "unenlightened" young lovers, Pamina and Tamino, into enlightenment.
"If these young people can get through their trials and their love is pure enough, then they're prepared to go on as a couple into the world," she said. "And because there's been such a separation of male and female - in the beginning of this world of 'The Magic Flute,' the Queen of the Night and her ladies are in a darkness, the men, the priests, Sarastro are in light - it's an incomplete world. So the opera is about completion."
. . . . .
"What is opera?" Ms. Taymor asked. "It's storytelling of large, epic emotions and landscape. You have dialogue, you have communication through language, but on top of that it's stylized, because it's musical. When I say the word 'stylized,' that doesn't mean it's not real. It always comes from a very real place. But it becomes heightened through the music, and when music heightens the emotions, the physicality has to match that."
To that end, she will have singers move to match musical lines, beyond the usual stock operatic gestures, as a way of carving out what she calls "a musical landscape."
That makes a great deal of sense to me and, indeed, can be applied in terms of any opera I can think of off the top of my head. And I think her particular brand of illusory staging, discussed at greater length in the review, works in the context of this opera with its showcase of magic, fantasy and otherworldiness.
Her remarks about the grounding of myth and fairy tale in the reality of basic human emotions reminds me of a line that I once half heard, probably remember incorrectly and cannot attribute to anyone (although I associate it with Chesterton) about a fairy tale being a poetic presentation of a spiritual truth. Concentrating on the music as the basis for emotional and dramatic drive, as opposed to the libretto, allows one to use the form to delve much deeper into this poetic world than otherwise.
Yips! to ACD.
Galactica Babe Pollwatch - Update
Following up on my earlier post, here's a picture of the annonymous bridge officer aboard the Galactica who always did that shaky-voiced countdown of the incoming Cylon raiders. (Sorry the pic isn't better).
I found this snap at this site. If you peddle backwards, you get to this page with lots of additional links. The site identifies the Galactica character as "Flight Corporal Rigel" and says she was played by an actress named Sarah Rush. (Beats the hell out of me, but there you are. It's on the Internet, so it must be true.)
Be that all as it may, I think JohnL should put a special Honorable Mentions section into this poll and include Corp. Rigel.
More important than the Crop report for Orange juice futures...
Let's just hope his long sojourn as a gorilla concubine has made Clarence a little more accurate in his predictions....
Thar She Blows?
Mount St. Helens getting ready to party down hard. If you've not seen it yet, be sure to go check out the VolcanoCam. According to the Forest Service website, this is now the closest active camera to the mountain. The image updates every five minutes or so. Pretty cool.
I'm in perfect agreement on this one.
Personally, I'd be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM)
I must say that I had a really, really good weekend. Exhausting, but good.
Saturday I took my oldest to her soccer game for the first time. (Her first game was actually last weekend, but I couldn't make it.) I was amazed at how well she grasped things, even though she's only been playing for a couple of weeks - good ball control, a real sense of defensive strategy and not at all afraid to mix it up. I complain regularly about the Youth Soccer Nazis around here - for years they have been trying to get the woods in our neighborhood rezoned so they can build more fields - but watching the end result on Saturday I was well pleased.
The thing that struck me most, however, was how fast my little girl is growing up. It was a hot, muggy day. In approved soccer fashion, she had her hair in a ponytail and her sleaves rolled up. Also decked out in cleats and shinguards, she seemed a lot older than her six and a half years and I was suddenly faced with a blinding flash of what she is going to look like as a teenager. That's kind of jaw-dropping, because it is so exciting and terrifying at the same time. It's probably just as well that we have these little experiences early on - perhaps it helps us brace a bit for the real thing when it comes.
Well, exhausted as she was from the game, Llama-ette No. 1 wanted to come home and practice afterwards. So we set up some cones in the yard and had at it. As if to counterbalance what had happened at the game, the little girl reasserted itself in her at home, as our practice quickly morphed into football, then wrestling and then acting out that old Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs wrestles The Crusher.
Yesterday afternoon I achieved something of a fatherhood peak in that I got all three girls, even the two year old, to help me with some yardwork. First, we all chipped in to move a pile of storm-downed branches and sticks out into the woods. Much was made of the fact that eight hands can do a job better than two. Then they helped me weed the garden path. Fortunately, we've had a lot of rain lately and the weeds were easy to get up, roots and all. Once again, my six year old asserted her particular personality: She couldn't get one obstinant weed all the way out. When I assured her that if she did her best it was fine, she started singing that Sarah Evans song Perfect.
Of course, it couldn't last. By dinner time last night I was ready to strangle the lot of them.
Ah, here's to W.S. Gilbert's "felicity of unbridled domesticity".
My sentiments exactly
Mr. Enoch Soames, Esq., indulging in a little Colonial-bashing, posted the words to God Save The Queen over the weekend.
I may have mentioned before that we sing the fourth verse of "America" (the 'Murican version of the anthem) as part of the Offeratory at my Church, bridging into it immediately after the Old Hundredth. I have no earthly idea whether this is a widespread practice or one confined to our parish. The words run:
Our fathers' God to thee,
Author of liberty,
to thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
with Freedom's holy light.
Protect us by thy might
great God our King.
I happen to think the tune is beautiful in its simple elegance. And as simple-minded as it may sound, I always get the shivers listening to the organ's bass arpeggios in the third and fourth lines.
This anthem debuted in G.B. in 1745. "My Country Tis of Thee" came into being not that long afterwards. Although coopting the tune was meant as an act of rebellion and defiance Way Back When, the years have mellowed the act and I sing this verse with relish as a matter of reverence and tradition.
Bonus Tory Link: Bill Buckley's obituary for Evelyn Waugh.
After this, what else is there to say?
A football club from Miami
Finds itself, oh-and-four, in a jammie.
For fans to refrain
from going insane,
It's time just to not give a damme!
I will be calm........calm..........
New Sci-Fi Babe Poll
(Alright, lemme alone. It's Monday morning.)
I don't have any real fire about this one - to me, it's more a process of elimination than anything else. Despite the fact that she is currently ahead in the poll and that she comes from good, solid sci-fi actress stock, I just can't get excited about Anne Lockhart's Sheba. And although I think Jane Seymour is pretty good looking, Serena gets scratched at the post in revenge for Jane's wince-making work as "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman". Feh.
That leaves Cassie and Athena. I'm going with Maren Jensen on this one. Laurette Spang had a gap in her front teeth that always
urked irked me. Plus, Athena happens to be my favorite of all the Greek goddesses, so that is worth a couple extra points as well.
Hey, John! Why didn't you include that bridge officer babe who always had the line, "Enemy ships - ten microns and closing"?
October 03, 2004
Kerry's "global test" explained!
Somehow I think this one's going to get me in trouble...
Kerry doesn't know his ass from his elbow---and the Llamas have the proof!
Via Ace of Spades:
Other caption ideas:
John Kerry---who served in the Navy in Vietnam---explains the meaning of the phrase B*O*H*I*C*A
Someone found us via Googling
Looks like the "long-ago ex-girlfriends of the Llamas" posting is finally paying some traffic dirt!
Does that make me the Katie Couric Anchorskank?
Gordon the Cranky Neo-Con runs with this gem, under the guise "What would happen if the bloggers took over the mainstream media?"
Does that make the Commissar our Don Pardo? Or is he the hyper-active James "JB" Brown of the Blog pre-game show? (Gordo, buyba, you're messing with the theme we were going to use for the Bonfire of the Vanities!)
Score one for Wretchard
The most compelling debate going on in blogistan over the conduct of the campaign in Iraq is in my opinion between Andy Sullivan and Wretchard, proprietorr of Belmont Club. To me this debate is telling because it's between an early and loud cheerleader for the war effort---who can ever really forget Sully's fond posting defending Dubya by comparing him to Sam Gamgee?---and the pseudonymous Wretchard, he of the sophisticated analysis that mixes the keen insights of Claustewitz with the big picture view of a young Alfred Thayer Mahan.
Anyhoo, as we all know, Sully has gone South on the War and on Dubya since the late spring, and has gotten rather frenetic in his analysis, particularly in his continued (and in my opinion highly innacurate) use of the ghost of Winston Churchill. I've begun to delve into why Sully's repeated invocation of Churchill as a club to beat Dubya with is incorrect,, and I have a much longer piece in the works that will lay out the whole argument. (For example, how would Sully's criticisms of Dubya stand when applied to Churchill's decisions involving the bombings of Dresden and Coventry? Not very good, as we'll see. We'll also ask the extremely politically incorrect question of whether the problems of occupation that we are experiencing now in Iraq what we would have seen if we had went through Operation Olympic---the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands? In other words, absent Nagasaki and Hiroshima, would the occupation of Japan followed a similar script as we are seeing today? We'll double down on the political incorrectness and examine the last time you had ethnic Irish pols from the Democratic Party rooting against American Occupation and in favor of "domestic insurgents"----when the Democratic Party pulled out all the stops to end Reconstruction. Is there a moral or ethical difference between the left of the Democratic Party rooting for the Klan in the 1870s and the left of the Democratic Party rooting for Moqtada today? Or, is there really all that much of a difference between Birth of a Nation---and its glorification of the birth of the Ku Klux Klan---and Fahrenheit 911?
Noooooooo, Mister Kotter!
But I digress)
Anyhoo, this latest news from Iraq points to the wisdom of the analysis that Wretchard has been providing as of late: the key to this stage of the fight is the coming of the Iraqi Army to be able to hold and secure places like Fallujah. The weakness in the strategy of the Sunni guerillas (and it is a mistake of the first order to group all the groups together as one insurgency) is for their campaign of car bombings and beheadings to alienate other Iraqis before it has the chance to turn public opinion in America against the war.
October 01, 2004
Mt. St. Helens is blowing again! Rusty has parked the Sandcrawler at a safe distance and has all the info.
Gratuitous Domestic Posting (TM) -Gardening Division
Back in from the garden. The Missus is home with the younger two and the bus will be dropping my oldest off shortly. (I was remiss, btw, in describing the Butcher's Wife as working full time the other day. What I meant was that she works five days a week. She's actually part time and comes home with the younger girls after lunch.)
Nonetheless, I was able to get a moderate amount of work done. Would you like to hear about it?
Well, first of all, I transplanted a few specimens. Most pressing was an orange butterfly weed that had been totally swamped by my big, sloppy Buddleia. These aren't supposed to be very easy to move, as they have deepish taproots, so we'll see what happens. I moved it over in front of some white coneflowers. It'll be a nice effect if it works.
Next was the task of moving a couple of clematis - a jackmanii and an Ernest Markham - from a west-facing fence to a south-facing one. They've done okay this year, but they are stringy rather than lush. They'll get a lot more sun this way and, I think, will be happier.
Project number three was moving my crabby, pouting Improved Blaze from the garden fence around to a spot by the front door. This rose had never been happy where it was. I hope the change of scene will help - the new spot is a bit cooler and doesn't get quite so much concentrated sun.
Finally, I moved the potted oregano on the porch out into the garden. I now have two big clumps of the stuff out there. If anyone needs some fresh oregano, feel free to drop by. Bring scissors.
I'm generally successful when I go to transplant things. The nifty thing this time around, tho, is that I have no particular emotional attachment to any of these plants. If one of them goes belly up, I'll simply shrug and toss its lifeless corpse. But I like the spots where they all are now. If one of them should go to an early grave, I'll certainly bring in a replacement for it.
Last project for the morning was whacking back the big forsythia. I've been good about keeping its sides trim, but less so about its top. The result is that the thing started looking like it was sporting a mohawk. Not any more. Now it looks like a Marine recruit.
Alas, I'm still suffering from this damn cold. A morning in the garden is supposed to be pleasant, not a chore, especially a chore done in a drug-induced haze. Come to think of it, neither is blogging. So perhaps I'll sign off here.
Yip at you later.
9/11 and the Invasion of Mexico - Llama Yips to Steve-O
In re Steve's posts below about FDR and Europe First, may I just quote the great Steve Guttenburg in Policy Academy 2: "Don't mess with a fuzzball!"
9/11 and the Invasion of Mexico, part deux
John Kerry--"Invading Iraq after 9/11 would have been like invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor....." (meant as a joke line)
Hmmm.....Democratic president......distraction from larger war.......invasion of Mexico......
"Who wants to tell me about Vera Cruz and Woodrow Wilson.......anyone?.... ..anyone.....? Bueller?"
9/11 and the Invasion of Mexico, I
Controversy is roiling in the Tasty Bits Comments section over my analysis of why we entered into WW2 against Nazi Germany and the connection (or lack thereof) to Pearl Harbor.
Here's what I wrote last night:
Kerry mentioned our attacking Iraq after 9/11 would have been like FDR attacking Mexico after Pearl Harbor.
Now here's a question: what exactly did Nazi Germany have to do with Pearl Harbor?
If you go and read FDR's "Day of Infamy" speech, there is not one single reference to Nazi Germany or a role for America in the war in Europe. Not one.
Yet, within months, FDR decided to pursue a "Europe First" strategy which involved our putting the core of the United States Army into North Africa and then into Europe, on the other side of the planet from the perpetrators of the Pearl Harbor attack in Japan.
Why did he do this? Partly in response to the belief that Nazi Germany was developing a nuclear weapon.
Can you imagine what would have happened to Tom Dewey if he had tried to rip into FDR in the campaign of 1944 on this issue? He would have been crucified, and rightly so.
And of course, fifty nine years later we still have two US Army heavy divisions stationed in Germany.
First of all, the erudite and classically trained rhetoritician "BUSHIT" writes in "LEARN YUR HERSTORY BEFORE YOU VOMIT FOR THE CHIMPEROR!" Well, I punched it up a bit, but you get the drift. Another writer quite soberly asks if that in fact came later.
The web being what it is, here's a copy of Einstein's letter to FDR dated August 2, 1939. (Link goes to the Argonne National Laboratory operated by the Department of Energy and the University of Chicago) Unlike CBS's documents, these are copies of the real thing:
Was the perception and belief that the Nazis were building an atomic bomb the only motivating factor behind the Europe First strategy? Absolutely not. But it was an important factor among a large group of important factors. FDR recognized that the larger war was against fascism, and that meant attacking Germany and Italy as much as the Empire of Japan. Of course, we experienced quite a Blowback from our support of the Soviet Empire---the Cold War and their ultimate invasion of Afgahnistan, source of so many of our current woes.
The National D-Day Museum in New Orleans has a compelling exhibit on the strategic motivations that drove the Manhattan Project, juxtaposed with the planning for Operation Olympic, the invasion of the Japanese home islands. (I wrote about this on the old blog back in January).
As to the development of the "Europe First" strategy, the key set of meetings led up to the Arcadia Conference in Washington soon after Pearl Harbor. Military historian and retired Army General Charles F. Brower describes the plan succinctly:
First, there is the question as to just what was the agreed upon American strategy for the defeat of Germany. The Japanese attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and the subsequent declaration of war on the United States by Germany thrust the United States into a global and total war. At the hurriedly-called Arcadia Conference in Washington two weeks later, Roosevelt, Churchill, and their military chiefs of staff reaffirmed the strategic decision to defeat Germany first and agreed upon the general strategic concept for victory in Europe.
The five-phased Arcadia Strategy involved the mobilization and build-up of Allied forces and resources; the maintenance and extension of Allied lines of communications; the erosion of Axis strength through a strategic air campaign; the isolation of Axis powers by "closing the ring" around Germany; and the eventual invasion of the European continent and the final destruction of Germany. This strategic framework largely describes the course of American military involvement in the European Theater of World War II.
FDR and Churchill at the Arcadia Conference
For an interesting and thorough analysis of the Arcadia Conference, this piece at the FDR Library has some prescient analogies for the situation today (particularly in light of Sully's one-note appropriation of all things Churchill)
Here's the key passage:
It is well known that cardinal strategic principle guiding Anglo-American war planners was to defeat Germany, the strongest Axis Power, first. But opinion polls in the United States showed that Americans were interested more in beating the Japanese than the Germans and Italians, an attitude clearly reflected on Capitol Hill. Winning a peripheral victory in North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean or the Middle East might be good for the British Empire, but it was clearly not hastening the final victory in Europe and it was definitely delaying the comeback fight in the Pacific for which the American public was clamoring. It was only by a considerable intellectual effort that Americans had been persuaded that Germany not Japan was the most dangerous enemy, Secretary of War Stimson reminded Churchill. "The enemy whom the American people really hated, if they hated anyone, was Japan which had dealt them the foul blow." From the perspective of most Americans, therefore, the Mediterranean road was not the shortest way to victory, and Marshall and the Joint Chiefs believed it would be even slower that it ultimately proved to be. This specter of a long, plodding, costly war that would stretch out for years to come while testing the patience of the American people of a long tortuous approach that would stretch out for years haunted Marshall and the Chiefs and prompted their fierce arguments for an early cross-channel attack. "A democracy," Marshall told his biographer Forrest Pogue after the war, "cannot fight a Seven Years War."
It seems to me that FDR's awareness of the need to devise a strategy that delivered incremental dividends to sustain the nation's investment of blood and treasure helps us to better understand his rationale for overruling Marshall and opting for the North African invasions in 1942.
FDR instinctively appreciated the imperative need to arrest the public's pull to the Pacific, for he believed that the defeat of Japan did not mean the defeat of Germany and that American concentration against Japan in 1942 or 1943 would increase the chance of a complete German domination of Europe and greatly complicate the final task of defeating Germany. On the other hand, he believed that holding Germany in 1942 or 1943 meant the probable, eventual defeat of Germany, and that Germany's defeat would mean the defeat of Japan in short order afterwards. "The necessities of the case call for action in 1942-not 1943," FDR told his military advisers. "I regard it as essential that active operations be conducted against Germany in 1942."
FDR also believed that continued prolonged inaction against Germany until 1943 as the Allies geared up for a cross-channel attack could create enough congressional and domestic pressure to force a shift of strategy toward the Pacific. To sustain support for the Germany First strategy, FDR worried about "finding a place where the soldiers thought they could fight" and concluded that only bloodying American soldiers in combat against the Germans would solve the problem.
Marshall later recalled that he learned an important lesson from the debate over TORCH: "The leader in a democracy has to keep the people entertained. (This may seem like the wrong word, but it conveys the thought.) The people demanded action. We couldn't wait to be completely ready. Churchill was always getting into sideshows and if we had gone as far as he did we would have never gotten out. But I could see that the president had to have something."
Others in the Joint Chiefs, casting an eye toward the November off-year elections, saw more crass political purposes motivating FDR's TORCH decision. Even the stilted bureaucratic style of the JCS minutes of the meeting following the president's decision fails to fully obscure their sentiments and resigned air: "There was an acceptance that apparently our political system would require major operations this year in Africa."
But Clausewitz reminds us that policy must be the guiding intelligence for war and that purely military considerations cannot be determinant in strategic calculations. Marshall may have been right that a 1943 invasion of Europe, made impossible by TORCH, might have shortened the war-though evidence is very strong that a 1943 attack would have been a badly premature and risky venture. Moreover, there remains the question of whether American strategists could have successfully resisted the powerful pull of the Pacific suction pump if major operations were delayed against Germany well into 1943.
As the Commander-in-Chief, FDR understood well that political considerations-especially the nature of his postwar relationship with Great Britain and the Soviet Union and the leadership role he envisioned for the United States in continuing that Grand Alliance into the postwar world and careful attention to considerations of national morale, the will and temper of the American people-must take priority over strictly military considerations. If he failed to arrest the public pressure to turn to the Pacific, if the United States left its European allies and turned to the Pacific, how could FDR hope to position the United States to lead in the postwar world?
These grand strategic political considerations weighed on the president's mind and guided his decisions. Partisan political benefits were to be viewed as a bonus, not as a principal objective. Recall that when military considerations led Eisenhower to set the date of the landings on 8 November, five days after the midterm elections, FDR remained mute. When Steve Early, FDR's press secretary, heard the announcement of the invasion five days after the Democrats had lost 44 seats in the House and 9 in the Senate, he exclaimed: "Jesus Christ! Why couldn't the Army have dome this before the election!" The Commander-in-Chief understood, however.
Nine months later in August 1944, after a successful Normandy invasion and breakout and the German army thought to have been mortally wounded, FDR could not resist crowing a bit to Marshall. "Just between ourselves (a phase we historians know cannot be realistic), if I had not considered the European and African fields of action in their broadest geographic sense, you and I know we would not be in North Africa today-in fact we would not landed in either Africa or Europe." Marshall did not respond. In fact, he never changed his mind about TORCH. But Eisenhower later acknowledged that it was probably the correct decision. The choice to go to North Africa rather than France in 1942 was "the great decision of the European war."
That it was, and one made by a grand strategist par excellence, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Commander-in-Chief.
Read the whole thing, as they say: it is a learned and sophisticated analysis of strategic development in WW2. However, skip it if you enjoy reading Andrew Sullivan, because you'll see through the fraudulent partisan uses to which Sully uses the great man's ghost. The piece focuses in on FDR's decision to aim at Europe First, and how he reshaped public opinion away from immediate vengenance against Imperial Japan. It also details the controversy among the Chiefs of Staff over the decision to invade North Africa right before the congressional elections of 1942, an action General Marshall and other stridently opposed at first as a strategic distraction.
The point here is NOT to chastise FDR but to praise him: he saw the big picture, and realized that the proper course of action was not necessarily the popular or easy one. There is a sense that all Americans--with the exceptions of the nutbags in the German American Bund, and old hacks like old man Kennedy--were united in knowing what we needed to do and how to do it. Nothing could be further from the truth. The road seems linear because we know the decisions that were made and we know their ultimate success. But it is well to understand the context of the decisions and to understand their unpopularity. Europe First was not what FDR called for in the Day of Infamy speech, and was not popular at first among a public bent on getting even with Japan. Invading North Africa before the elections of 1942 was even more unpopular among the general staff, and was seen as a political distraction from the goal of landing in France.
But FDR was right on both counts, in the same way as that country hick who stood up to the war hero in the election of 1864.
My point in all this at first was to point out one mistake that was tossed off during the debate, but the reaction from "BUSHIT" and others points to a larger issue I'm going to explore in greater depth over the coming weeks.
I'm getting ready to go out and play in my garden, since I have the day off and the house to myself. I may get the chance to check in later, but posting will be pretty light.
By the way - note to all you Guys out there - One of the cable networks - I forget which one - is debuting The Scorpion King tonight and running it for the next three nights. Think I'm going to miss The Rock giving Ahnold a run for the title of Most Excellent Barbarian Hero? Not bloody likely!
Yip! at you later.
New Llama Reading Delights
Recently, the Missus let me join one of those history book clubs. She has no intention of actually letting me purchase the regular-price monthly offerings. Rather, she let me do it because the club was doing one of those five books for a dollar introductory promos.
Anyway, my selection arrived yesterday and I am looking forward to getting into them. Here's the list:
Benjamin Franklin, An American Life - Walter Isaacson
Alexander Hamilton - Ron Chernow
Cicero - Anthony Everitt
Personal Memoirs - Ulysses S. Grant
Eats, Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss
[Insert Homer Simpson-like sounds of drooling.]
Can I be really, really pedantic about one thing? The dust jacket of Everitt's biography of Cicero features a photograph of the Colosseum in Rome. The trouble with this is that construction of the Colosseum was started by the Emperor Vespasian and completed by his son Titus in A.D. 80, almost 125 years after Cicero died. The reason I object to this is that it reenforces the popular tendancy to lump all of Roman history into one vague mass. This is not right. The Rome of the end of the Republican Era - as witnessed by Cicero - was very different from the Rome of the post-Julio-Claudian Emperors, politically, socially and even architecturally.
Doesn't mean I'm not eager to read the book. I'm just saying.
George Costanza Watch
They're screwing me!
Actually, I was hoping some of you Llama Fans out there might have some useful insights on a situation in which I suddenly find myself:
In April, 2003, I collapsed from what turned out to be simple exhaustion at work. The DeeCee ambulance was duly summoned and whisked me off to George Washington Hospital.
I didn't give it much more thought. However, just this week, I got a bill from the ambulance service. A day later, I got a note from the insurance company saying they weren't going to pay it because it was filed out of time. The bill is damn near $500. Even though I am a card-carrying henchman of Halliburton/Carlyle Group/Scrooge McDuck/Trilateral Commission, Inc., this ain't exactly chump change to me.
Long story short, I have no intention of paying this. It's not my fault the damned ambulance service can't keep its books straight. I'm going to go into all the legal falderal of it myself, but I was wondering if anyone out there has had a similar experience and might have some useful tips, pointers, etc.
Llama Post-Debate Snap Analysis
Yes, I wound up watching, even though I was stoked up on cough syrup. Quite a hellish experience. I leave the Big Gun analysis to the pro round here. Congrats, btw, to Steve-O for powerblogging his way through the thing.
My perspective, after sleeping on it, is as follows:
Many Republicans were hoping (secretly or otherwise) that Bush would put Kerry away last night. That certainly did not happen.
Many Donks were fearful (secretly or otherwise) that Kerry would let himself be put away last night. Again, that certainly did not happen.
What did happen is that both candidates firmly got across their points of view as well as their differences with each other. I think the Dems probably got a psychological boost because their candidate yet lives. I think the Repubs probably got a well-timed glass of ice water in the face to remind them that we still have five weeks to go and that they can't coast. (And for what it's worth, I actually think this is a good thing.)
So both candidates did okay. Call it a draw. I'm sure neither candidate changed the minds of any supporters of the other one. I have no earthly idea what effect the debate might have on the "swing vote."
One other thing that I will be interested to see: I know from personal experience that one can say things in debate that sound fine at the time but, on further review, are really quite preposterous. It's simply a function of the difference between rhetoric and substance, theatre and content. There is no doubt that after a long career as a prosecutor and a senator, Kerry is a smooth, smooth debater. But I heard him say two very silly things last night. One was that crack comparing the invasion of Iraq to invading Mexico after Pearl Harbor. The other was the line about national security policy having to pass a "global test." I think those gaffes are going to come back to haunt him. My sense is that middle of the road voters probably take visceral impressions away from debates - impressions of strength, character, likeability and so on. Only political junkies wake up the next morning remembering what the candidates actually said. But those sound bites get sliced, diced and chopped and served up in campaign ads and stump speeches. That is where the actual words become more important. And that is where, I think, Kerry may actually have damaged himself.
However, as the Wise Man once said, "we'll see."
The View from the Next Morning
How's this for a different take:
the person who benefitted from low expectations last night was.......John Kerry. I think this was even more pronounced among his supporters than his detractors. Let's face it, the months of August and September were unmitigated disasters for the Kerry campaign, a list which is too long to detail at the moment. (Someone else has and I'll look for it and post it). So the simple fact of the matter that the guy who walked on stage was not John Kerry circa 1971, and he came out without the Clinton A-Team and with the multitude of bullet holes through their own feet, produced I think a palaple sigh of relief from the left.
This of course cuts against what they were saying all week (heck all campaign), as well as the dominant fixation of the Adlai Stevenson Syndrome, which is the belief on the part of the left that their candidate is always the intellectual better of a Republican. I think the left has been in panic mode the past two weeks since the whole Rather thing blew up, to see Kerry, back on stage and on message, was an occasion to break out the Vegan champagne/non-cruelty gathered caviar.
Conversely on the right, I think there was a real sense of triumphalism going into this for the same reasons the left was in a tizzy: again, this isn't what people were talking about, but I think this is what many were hoping. And when the reality of it sets in---ie that this is going to be a fierce race over the next 5 weeks---it's going to be gut check time for the right.
One last point: a detractor wrote in the comments section criticizing my analysis using the Tradesports markets. Let me defend this analysis. As our long time readers (ie Robbo's mom and dad) know, we've been following the electronic political futures markets as an alternative method of assessing public opinion. Polls have some real methodological problems as we've discussed at great length. They are still useful, but need to be taken with a huge grain of salt. The political futures markets are that grain of salt. They are by definition collecting the information not on what people want to happen (which is what polls do), but rather on what people think is going to happen. And because the chance to profit from that is much higher on Tradesports than for the Iowa Electronic Market, and because Tradesports has such a huge volume by comparison, I think it gives an important (let alone fascinating) sense of what is going on. Heck, you can wait till tonight when the networks will release a poll which reached perhaps 800-1000 people---but we were able to tell you last night in real time what thousands of people around the globe were thinking the outcome was and acting accordingly. I think this is a useful piece of information.
Lastly, the commentator wanted to know why I was being as he put it "a partisan hack"---to which I'll use the standard Michele Catalano answer and say, "if you don't like what I say, go get your own damn blog."
What's next? The first thing to realize is that a new frame of analysis is in play. The issues of the past six weeks that were defining the parameters of the campaign are wiped clean---Rathergate, the Swift Vets, the A-Team, all this is gone now in the same way how the story lines for the NFL change once the playoffs begin. To use the football analogy, the regular season (from the conventions to the first debate) is over, and a whole lot of folks who only watch for the playoffs are beginning to tune in. It's a new set of rules.
But the truth of the matter is is that Dubya goes into the playoff period in the lead coming off a solid period where things were breaking his way. Don't forget how folks were writing him off in July. Kerry is down but certainly not out, and if somehow he can triangulate himself away from his disastrous campaign staff, this is going to be a lot closer than people were thinking a week ago.
That's all for right now---I'm doing the radio in Lynchburg in about 4 minutes. Later, I'll clean up the posts from last night (spelling etc). as well as provide links for the post above.
But thanks for coming by!