I've been battling a sinus infection all week and today it is winning so I'm off to bed. Besides I just took some Nyquil and it says to not operate heavy machinery, so it looks like the computer is off limits.
Pre-Friday Random Ten There are men lost in jail Crowded fifty to a room There's too many rats in this cage of the world And the women know their place They sit home and write letters And when they visit once a year Well they both just sit there and stare
Sparkly - Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions Scooby Snacks - Fun Loving Criminals How To Make A Baby Elephant Float - Yo La Tengo Randomness - TV On The Radio Misery Whip - Everclear Drown - Son Volt See Who We Are - X Until The Morning - Thievery Corporation Deadhead - Stereophonics Divine Thing - Soup Dragons
I haven't read Webb's books, so I'm in no position to say whether they are written in such excellent style, and I don't know whether the language Webb wields in his new senatorial guise is all that different from his novelist's approach. But I suspect that what we're seeing is not a man who has instantly succumbed to Washington's ways but a man with a novelist's mentality in a new setting. One way to explain his awkward behavior with respect to the presidential receiving line is that he thought through that scene like a novelist. If you were writing a novel about a character like him going through a receiving line with a President like Bush, wouldn't that be exactly the sort of scene you'd want to think up?
Ordinarily, in all sorts of social and political situations, people try to figure out how other people usually act and to stick to the convention and proceed smoothly along. This is nice enough, but rather boring. In a novel, a conventional social situation tends to be a set up for our hero to do something that shakes things up. The ordinary characters are aghast. They condemn the bad behavior of the protaganist, and we readers, in our armchairs, know how right he is. Of course, a novelist who concocts scenes like that is himself utterly conventional.
I don't think Webb has quickly picked up the Washington style. I think he's got the novelist's style, and he's his own hero Senator in a novel about Washington. And, what immense fun this is going to be!
How wonderful that George Bush was in on the whole improv bit and played Bud Abbott to Jim Webb's Lou Costello, except for that churlish part about "That's not what I asked you,".... "How's your boy?" which was distinctly unfunny. Yesterday it complimented neither man, but Webb sounded "mental". But somehow, in Althousetopia, this story now says more about an "awkward" Jim Webb and not much about an unsympathetic social maladroit like George W. Bush who still hasn't picked up the "Washington style" after six years in office.
Must be a learning disability. I mean, George has one. I don't know what Althouse's problem is.
Everybody has something to say about the Iraq Study Group not- gonna-be-implemented final report and, as usual, Dan Riehl, ever the defender down to the last drop, can't understand it when things are going so well:
-----The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal …
I'd refer you to the lost Roosevelt Eisenhower memo.
---- About those German camps you've scouted out, Ike. We've been taking some losses, so just pull back to the wood line and we'll see what develops. I'll get back to you after the next election.
Exactly the type of worthless watered down piece of crap one would expect from a bi-partisan commission. I'm unaware of any President in history who needed a civilian commission to wage a war.
Of course, the enemy were firing back. Captain Malich himself was hit, but his body armor easily dealt with a weapon fired at such long range. And as the enemy fire slackened, Malich counted the enemy dead and compared it to the number he had seen in the village, moving from building to building. He gave the hand signal that told the rest of his team that he was going in, and they shot at anyone who seemed to be getting into position to kill him as he descended the slope.
In only a few minutes, he was among the small buildings of the village. These walls would not stop bullets, and there were people cowering inside. So he did not expect to do a lot of shooting. This would be knife work.
He was good at knife work. He hadn't known until now how easy it was to kill another man. The adrenalin coursing through him pushed aside the part of his mind that might be bothered by the killing. All he thought of at this moment was what he needed to do, and what the enemy might do to stop him, and the knife merely released the tension for a moment, until he started looking for the next target.
By now his men were also in the village, doing their own variations on the same work. One of the soldiers encountered a terrorist who was holding a child as a hostage. There was no thought of negotiation. The American took aim instantly, fired, and the terrorist dropped dead with a bullet through his eye.
At the end, the sole surviving terrorist panicked. He ran to the center of the square, where many of the villagers were still cowering, and leveled his automatic weapon to mow them down.
The old man still had one last spring in his ancient legs, and he threw himself onto the automatic weapon as it went off.
Captain Malich was nearest to the terrorist and shot him dead. But the old man had taken a mortal wound. By the time Malich got to him, the old man gave one last shudder and died in a puddle of the blood that had poured from his abdomen where two bullets tore him open.
Reuben Malich knelt over the body and cried out in the keening wail of deep grief, the anguish of a soul on fire. He tore open the shirt of his uniform and struck himself repeatedly on the chest. This was not part of his training. He had never seen anyone do such a thing, in any culture. Striking himself looked to his fellow soldiers like a kind of madness. But the surviving villagers joined him in grief, or watched him in awe.
Of course, the 101st Fighting Keyboarders are going to eat this shit up because, when they look in the mirror, what they see is:
But the reality is that, at the sound of a car backfiring, a loud boom in the distance, or hearing a bunch of imams praying in an airline terminal they become:
I welcome our flightless sea-bird overlords. Teach us your waddling and possibly gay ways. Putting the erect in erect-crested penguins
Michael Medved, the Wile E. Coyote of "film critics" (airquotes intentional) runs off of another cliff having moved on to chasing penguins instead of road runners.
In America's ongoing culture war, with ferocious combatants grabbing every available weapon to strike at each other, innocent children and adorable penguins simultaneously qualify as collateral damage. Recent controversies involving environmental and gay-marriage messages in Hollywood cartoons and storybooks for young children show that in our current climate, even the youngest kids and the most endearing denizens of Antarctica can become targets and instruments of powerful propaganda.
Oh dear. Whenever I hear Medved talking about culture wars I reach for my gun, because it must mean that the Silly Season is upon us. Harken to the call of the Medvedloon calling out to well-meaning but dullish common-sense mummies and daddies everywhere.
On the eve of our annual holiday season, Warner Bros. released the lavish animated extravaganza Happy Feet, featuring the voices of Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Elijah Wood in a PG-rated story about a tap-dancing penguin. The studio promoted the picture as a feel-good frolic for the whole family, featuring an endorsement quote that promised, "Adults and kids alike will be dancing in the aisles."
Unfortunately, the marketing never acknowledged the movie's unmistakably alarming, discomfiting and politically potent elements — enraging no small number of unprepared parents. The endearing creatures on screen face the deadly menace of leopard seals, killer whales and, most of all, human pollution, overconsumption and exploitation. In the advance screening I attended, one worried mother of a 5-year-old took her anxious, fretful, anguished little boy from the theater during the film's relentless scenes of cute and cuddly penguins in intense pain and deadly peril. The next week, a correspondent who called himself "MikeP29p" wrote on my website: "Unfortunately I read Michael's movie review a day too late. We took our kids ages 6 and 4 last night because they wanted to go because they saw the commercials. I thought an animated movie about penguins would be OK. One of the darkest most disturbing movies I have ever seen. Needless to say, my 4-year-old was terrified."
Needless to say, these children are probably unaware of the complete works of the Marquis de Disney from the doggy snuff film Old Yeller to the brutal murder of Bambi's mother to the incarceration of Dumbo's mother:
...and who could ever forget the hubris of Simba which leads to the death of his father Mufasa:
Quite frankly they've been mailing it in since 2004's Whoo Hoo! Wiggly Gremlins! and then the urban-flavored (or flava'd) Bitch be Wiggin' failed to capture the all important 3 to 6 year-old Lil' Gangsta demographic.
We kept telling Greg Page that nobody, and I mean nobody, can hang with Courtney Love and live to tell....
If we limit out goals in Iran and Syria to knocking them out of the terror game and don't try to rebuild their societies from the ground up, we can do so relatively easily by crushing the ability of Iran to threaten Persian Gulf shipping and by taking out its refineries. Ironically, Iran is oil-rich, but gas-poor.
Coalition air strikes targeting the Iranian Navy, refineries, and other key targets could bring the mullacracy to it's knees within weeks, without the significant use of U.S. ground forces, and only a (relatively minor) projection of air power. A U.S. Navy blockade of Oman would keep Iran from importing the gasoline it needs to survive.
Syria, minus Iranian support, would be even easier to destabilize.
Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and Hezbollah begins to falter in Lebanon, giving Lebanese democracy a chance. Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and Israeli citizens wouldn't have to worry about Hezbollah's ability to so quickly rearm and instigate another war.
Take Syria and Iran out of the terror game, and manpower, weaponry, and funding for al Qaeda in Iraq begins to abate, as the growing number of Sunni tribes embracing the Sahawa movement hunt down and kill foreign fighters. Take Syria and Iran our out of the terror game, and Muqtada al-Sadr, the thug-leader of Shiites in the Baghdad slums, suddenly finds his Medhi Army militia without new munitions, or training, or financial support, and as his capability as a military threat fades, so does his political power.
You would think after all of the "Iraq is going to be a cakewalk" rah-rahism, these guys would get a clue that Middle East destabilization is not a necessarily a "plan" so much as a "uncontrollable downhill-rolling fuck-up of epic and far-reaching scale".
But, no. And Gomer even has his Apocalypse Somebody-Else t-shirt ready to be printed up at the mall:
You would negotiate with the wolf to be eaten last; I seek to see him starved.
Ooooooo. I bet he practices saying that in front of the mirror, putting the emphasis on different words so he can dazzle the guys over in camping gear.
And he would starve the wolf if only it weren't for that trick knee....
I have often thought that Hugh Hewitt brought Mary Katherine Mallrat and Dean Barnett onto his blog to make himself look smarter. Not smart - smarter. There's a fine distinction there. (And for a guy who wrote the book on blogging and has a radio listenership in the supposed millions, shouldn't the Townhouse blog be doing a tad more traffic? Discuss.) Anyway, the MK-Rat beat seems to be surveying media coverage of any event and sniffing out bias and anti-Americanism and maybe a sale on those cute strappy tops at Wet Seal. The other day she was the Scourge of Black Friday Coverage which didn't pan out so well for her. Today she tackles the ever-evolving story of the six Sunni's who were apparently burnt alive, something that has kept the 101st Fighting Keyboarders all nipply because there was some question about it and if there was some question about it that obviously means that we are winning! in Iraq and the MSM is a bunch of terrorist-luvin' poopyheads. Or something like that. I'll leave it to you to follow her progression of the story as it evolves before her wondering eyes before she finally admits:
Horrible things happen in Iraq. I make no attempt to deny that. Terrible violence happens there every day. But just because this incident could have happened in Iraq, doesn't mean AP reporters are any less obligated to make sure they've got it right. Given that many/most of Hussein's comments to the media have come through al-Bashir, and that CENTCOM says Hussein's not a police officer, I'd think AP would be interested in finding out a lot more about him and al-Bashir.
Because if they find out that al-Bashir is, for example, a Muslim, that could mean that the story is not true no matter how true it is.
Wait till MK-Rat finds out that baby chicks might come out of eggs if you wait long enough. I predict squeals of delight and surprise. Mainly surprise.
(Updated): You have to feel sorry for Flopping Aces who got his blog in the headlines only to have America discover that he was chasing his own tail, the end result being biting himself in the ass...
Okay, you don't have to feel sorry, just keep the giggling down...
This is a soccer post. You have been warned. No bitching in comments. Okay. Maybe a little.
First off, a correction to last Tuesday's game: it was a scrimmage, and therefore doesn't count in the record book. Thank god I cleared that up before some blogger spends days in Google for their A-HAH! moment proving that I was wrong...and that we're actually winning in Iraq.
Anyway, tonight was another scrimmage which, if it wasn't a scrimmage they would have won 4-0, but it was a scrimmage so just pretend it didn't happen, okay? The whole team played well considering they have only had two days of practice together and they are trying to fill six starting spots - due to graduation - including both center mids, their stopper, both left and right defensive backs, and their top scoring forward (if you don't know what these positions are...go ask someone with a funny accent. They'll explain it to you in a delightful way; possibly involving beer bottles.) Casey has been moved up to both right and left midfield, a position she hasn't played since her freshman year, and it's pretty obvious that she has lost a step since last years knee blow-out. The knee is fine but the conditioning isn't and so she is out a lot. This doesn't really bother me so much, since playing in college is pretty much a done deal, and I could live without another major injury between now and March.
Having said that, I'm glad to see her move up from defense because defense is boring and I like saying "Casey got a couple of assists" or "Casey scored off of a corner" instead of "Casey didn't get burned' or "Casey sure cleared a lot of balls today. Boy. Howdy.".
Not much else to say besides the fact that she didn't have a foot in any of the scoring. As for college, she has her acceptance letter in hand, and we're hoping to wrap up the soccer part of it in a few weeks, possibly before Christmas.
But the clearest expression of Gingrich's philosophy of media came in a GOPAC memo entitled "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control." Distributed to GOP candidates across the country, the memo's list of words for Democrats and words for Republicans was endorsed by Gingrich in a cover letter: "The words in that paper are tested language from a recent series of focus groups where we actually tested ideas and language." Next time you hear Gingrich complain about media focusing on the negative, refer back to these lists.
As you know, one of the key points in the GOPAC tapes is that "languagematters." In the video "We Are a Majority," Langauage is listed as a key mechanism of control used by a majority party, along with Agenda, Rules,Attitude and Learning. As the tapes have been used in training sessions across the country and mailed to candidates, we have heard a plaintive plea: "I wish I could speak like Newt."
That takes years of practice. But we believe that you could have asignificant impact on your campaign and the way you communicate if we help a little. That is why we have created this list of words and phrases.
This list is prepared so that you might have a directory of words to use in writing literature and mail, in preparing speeches, and in producing electronic media. The words and phrases are powerful. Read them. Memorizeas many as possible. And remember that, like any tool, these words will nothelp if they are not used....
Often we search hard for words to help us define our opponents. Sometimeswe are hesitant to use contrast. Remember that creating a difference helps you. These are powerful words that can create a clear and easily understood contrast. Apply these to the opponent, their record, proposals and theirparty.
Vietnam Analogies [Jonah Goldberg] There's been a lot of talk here and elsewhere about whether Iraq is like Vietnam. I've never thought much of the comparison for a bunch of reasons, but there's one place where it seems to me it really falls apart: Morale. Maybe I'm just buying into a lot of mythology about Vietnam, but it's always been my impression that the troops in Vietnam were pretty down on the whole thing (with many important exceptions), particularly at the end. Yet, I get lots of e-mail from troops in Iraq and I've never gotten the sense that they see Iraq like a Vietnam. Maybe I'm just getting a very selective sample. But everything I read or see on TV or hear on the radio gives me the same impression. There are lots of stories, many heartbreaking, about family hardships, soldiers missing their homes, battle stress, and the like. But they don't "feel" like stories coming from another Vietnam. Lord knows the press is looking for these kinds of stories. And yet we do hear a lot from troops about how they want to see this through and how they don't want this to be another Vietnam (i.e. they don't want to see America turn its back on the Iraqis the way it did on the South Vietnamese). Maybe I'm missing something(s), but as far as dogs that don't bark go, this is a pretty big dog.
Every time Jonah posts at The Corner, tuition at Goucher drops another $100.
Like winning a People's Choice Award...only this means something
You may have already seen the crawl on CNN, but Norbizness is about to crack the 1,000,000 visits barrier any moment now and he's giving away a years supply of Zima* to the lucky bastard who rolls his turnstile over from 999,999.
* A years supply of Zima is about a half of a bottle for most people. Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited. Pants required. Quit picking at that or it's never going to heal.
The Short Economic Honeymoon of Nancy Pelosi Not so fast there Cindy Lou Ham
The other day I mentioned that Mary Katherine Foodcourt was just so darned sure that the MSM (a wholly owned subsidiary of Democrats-R-Us LLC) last year poo-pooed the holiday Festivus du Jesu retail season because Nancy Pelosi hadn't yet been annointed the boss of us all. But now that Pelosi is wearing Dennis Hastert's tiara and XXXXL sash, all is raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Or maybe not.
Wall Street had its worst day in more than four months Monday as the dollar weakened and concerns about the strength of the retail industry arose following a rare sales decline at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The Dow Jones industrials fell 158 points.
Investors were uneasy after the dollar fell for the fifth straight day and after Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, reported a 0.1 percent drop in same-store sales, those from stores open at least a year. Same-store sales are the industry standard for assessing a retailer’s strength, and while overall retail sales appeared strong last weekend, Wal-Mart’s first deficit in a decade raised concerns about the strength of consumer spending during the holiday season.
At this point, Ms. Mary Katherine ponders a petit jeté allowing her to blame the poor holiday economy on the Democrat party... those Christmas-hating bastards.
No war for us please. We're Dartmouth legacies. Charles Rangel essentially said what we all know to be true. Nobody really wants to go to Iraq to fight and most enter into the service to take advantage of the increased bonuses and educational opportunities. So while John Hinderaker calls it "foolishness", perhaps he can explain why neither he, Paul Mirengoff, or Scott Johnson (all three of whom have children old enough to serve) have yet to have a child enlist to fight this Clash of Civilizations that threatens Apple Valley via Baghdad. It was only today that Paul, writing about Chuck Hagel, said:
Senator George Aiken once said we should leave Vietnam and declare victory. Lacking Aiken's audacity, Senator Chuck Hagel urges that we leave Iraq and declare a draw.
Hagel may not be the biggest fool in the Senate, but after reading his piece in today's Washington Post I'm at a loss to identify a bigger one. Hagel insists that "there will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq." But if the U.S. leaves Iraq and, with our soldiers gone, al Qaeda establishes a base for terrorist operations, that sure sounds like defeat. And if our forced exit, to which Hagel will have contributed, becomes a huge morale victory and recruiting tool for terrorists, as less dramatic past U.S. exits have, surely that would be a defeat too.
If we are going to stay and fight than we're going to need some of our best and our brightest, and that includes the children of bland, white, upper-middle-class attorneys. Anyone unwilling to contribute to the cause, and curbside waving of the flag or pony-wishing doesn't count, must be considered deeply unserious.
Sad, middle-aged loser guy Nobody in the shire will have sex with me
Mark Steyn has another one of those fascinating columns of his that, as usual, says a lot more about him than the world he thinks he's writing about. In this case it's about wimmins, and what's up with them? It's like they're from Venus and he's from Canada.
First there is Fatma An-Najar, a 64-year-old grandmother who recently became the world's oldest not-living suicider:
An-Najar gave birth to her first child at the age of 12. She had eight others. She had 41 grandchildren. Keep that family tree in mind. By contrast, in Spain, a 64-year old woman will have maybe one grandchild. That's four grandparents, one grandchild: a family tree with no branches.
Maybe she was just tired of the incessant cries of "Nana" and slipping 41 $5 bills into 41 birthday cards every year. And don't even get me started on the babysitting every time her grown kids wanted to go to a Death To Israel block party. The important point that Mark is making is that An-Najar and her brood liked to do the 'two-backed Steyn', if you get my drift.
Which leads us on to Katharine Jefferts Schori, the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church who had the audacity to point out to Mark that Episcopalians aren't "doing it" as much as Mark would like to imagine they are doing it ("....mmmmmm...Episcopalian sex"):
She was asked a simple enough question: "How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?"
"About 2.2 million," replied the presiding bishop. "It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than other denominations."
This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: "Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?"
"No," agreed Bishop Kate. "It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."
Now, that may or may not be a great idea, but it's nothing to do with Christianity, only for eco-cultists like Al Gore. If Bishop Kate were an Episcogorian, a member of the Alglican Communion, an elder of the Church of Latter-Day Chads, this would be an unremarkable statement. But, even in their vigorous embrace of gay bishoprics and all the rest, I don't recall the Episcopalians formally embracing the strategy that worked out so swell for the Shakers and enshrining a disapproval of reproduction at the heart of their doctrine.
One imagines the government setting up National Episcopalian Preserves for the few remaining specimens who still wander the earth. Held captive in tasefully appointed homes full of Ethan Allen furniture, they will be subjected to a controlled breeding program where they will be forced to watch American Catholic sex-ed tapes (thoughtfully donated by the Catholic League) to learn the One True Position... but unfortunately they'll keep nodding off and the experiment will be deemed a failure.
Next we have this lovely little naughty bit from Mark about our favorite gal-pal as of late:
Which brings me to our third Jill in the jeep: Scarlett Johansson. Like every other sad middle-aged loser guy, I fell in love with Scarlett's fetchingly pert bottom in the opening of ''Lost In Translation,'' and it pains me to discover she's no different from Bishop Kate's generation when it comes to being in thrall to the cobwebbed pieties of the 1960s. In a bit of light Bush-bashing the other day, she attacked the president for his opposition to "sex education." If he had his way, she said, "every woman would have six children and we wouldn't be able to have abortions." Whereas Scarlett is so "socially aware" (as she puts it) she gets tested for HIV twice a year.
Well, yes. If "sex education" is about knowing which concrete condom is less likely to disintegrate during the livelier forms of penetrative intercourse, then getting an AIDS test every few months may well be a sign that you're a Ph.D. (Doctor of Phenomenal horniness). But, if "sex education" means an understanding of sexuality as anything other than an act of transient self-expression, then Scarlett is talking through that famously cute butt.
That would be this Scarlett: These are not for you Mark
I'm not sure what Mark's point is about Scarlett other than the fact that she is obviously having sex with LOTS of men (or women, if we want to be open-minded about this, and trust us, we do) and none of these people with whom she is having sex is named Mark Steyn whose sperm is so powerful that it would cause her to spontaneously give birth to quintuplets named Mark Jr, Mark III, Mark IV, Mark V, and Steve...thereby saving the human race and Christianity . Is he bitter? Hey, does he look like a hobbit? Of course he is and does.
And then there is this:
Here's the question for Bishop Kate: If Fatma An-Najar has 41 grandchildren and a responsible "better educated" Episcopalian has one or two, into whose hands are we delivering "the stewardship of the earth"? If your crowd isn't around in any numbers, how much influence can they have in shaping the future?
Well, the Episcopal head honcho and even Scarlett Johansson are not the most powerful figures in the world, so let's usher on our fourth Jill: Condoleezza Rice.
"The great majority of Palestinian people," said the secretary of state to Cal Thomas the other day, "they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."
Cal Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: "Do you think this or do you know this?"
"Well, I think I know it," said Dr. Rice.
"You think you know it?"
"I think I know it."
Fortunately, Steyn cut off the interview between Cal Thomas and Condoleezza Rice because, if they were going to start talking about sex, well, that would make all of us stop having sex just like the Episcopalians and nobody wants that.
Reaping George Bush's whirlwind Somebody better put the plans for George W. Bush Victory Square in downtown Baghdad on hold:
In interviews across Baghdad on Saturday, Sunnis and Shiites said they were preparing themselves for upheaval, both violent and psychological. They viewed the bombings that killed more than 200 people Thursday in the heart of Baghdad's Shiite Muslim community of Sadr City as a trigger for more reprisal killings.
"We feel our world has become narrow, and we are being squeezed," said Karar al-Zuheari, 31, a Shiite taxi driver. "We have no place to run."
Since those attacks, quasi-armies of residents in mixed and majority-Sunni Arab neighborhoods have formed to protect their streets. Sunni Web sites are offering advice on how to kill Shiite militiamen. College students and executives pace at their homes, clutching rifles and handguns around the clock. Iraqis are posting pleas on Internet message boards to buy extra ammunition and weapons.
Despite a government-imposed curfew, Iraqis described Shiite militiamen murdering Sunnis at checkpoints, controlling neighborhoods with impunity and conspiring with Iraq's majority-Shiite police force, which the Interior Ministry controls. Other Iraqis spoke of mortar shells raining on their mosques and gun battles outside their houses, deepening their mistrust of Iraq's security forces and elected politicians.
As Sammaraie watched from his front gate, two militiamen stopped a Sunni man who worked in an electrical shop. A local informant looked at him and nodded. Then one of the gunmen shot him dead and left. Two weeks ago, the electrician had complained loudly when Shiite gunmen attacked a nearby Sunni mosque.
I ventured out last year and bought myself a pair of jeans. Yeah, I know. Bah humbug, right? But I'm not ready to shop for anyone else this early in the season.
Early reports last year seemed to indicate that the season would be good, and it was, but a lot of news outlets did their darndest to hide the good under gloomy headlines and misleading ledes on this day a year ago. But now that the New Age of Prosperity in a Time of Democratic Control™ has dawned, the stories look very different on this day after Black Friday, 2006. Let's compare and contrast.
Several major retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Macy's, as well as mall operator Taubman Centers Inc., estimated they drew bigger crowds for the official holiday season launch than last year.
Sure, there were a lot of shoppers, but they were very reluctant.
Millions of crazed Christmas shoppers stormed retailers across the city and the nation yesterday to take advantage of the wee-morning store hours and spectacular sales - making it one of the strongest starts to the holiday season in years.
The National Retail Federation is predicting that sales this holiday season will rise a whopping 5 percent from last year - to $457 billion...
It was absolute madness as those shoppers, armed with lists, circulars and cash to burn, lined up outside stores in the city before dawn to snag the cheapest deals on electronics, toys and clothes.
Of course, you may know the New York Post as the official party organ of the Democratic Party, so you're probably not a flummoxed as Mary Katherine. But then: who is?
The fact of the matter is it doesn't matter how many people come out at 4:30 in the morning the day after Thanksgiving to buy $4 DVD's and a $9.27 Wal-Mart Bag O'Crap™. With the exception of the gotta-have-it items like Tickle-Me Dyslexic Lemo the early dollar shoppers are driven by loss leader items (products sold below cost) which are offered as a bet that those same shoppers will purchase lesser discounted items or, praise be, full-margin items. Says Mary Kate NotOlsen:
The bottom line is I don't think there's a whole lot you can know, scientifically, about Black Friday sales until retailers turn in their numbers on Dec. 1, but there's a whole lot you can learn about the press in the way they approach the early reporting.
Actually, there isn't a lot you can know about Black Friday sales, even when numbers are released on 12/1, if they don't indicate net margins. Any fool can increase same store sales for a month by offering across the board discounts or low-to-no margin promotional goods. But at the end of the day, or more importantly at the end of the fiscal quarter, margin is the king that decides whether you live or die.
Take the Black Friday numbers with a grain of salt.Take MK's words with a jumbo Wal-Mart sized one...
It's those little things you do that make me come back to you
Whenever the erudite and va-va-voomish mrs tbogg and I hop on up to LA we like to stay at The Standard because the locations are great and, although their rooms are still hotel rooms, they don't feel like hotel rooms. They're just much more roomier without the expense of a suite.
I also appreciate a hotel that, along with an elaborate and original mini-bar, offers Mr. Bubble and their own personalized packs of condoms with helpful hints: Good fun
According to Dr. James Dobson, it's going to take about four to five years to get Ted Haggard back on the straight and narrow and, quite frankly, Jimbo doesn't have time for the pain:
KING: Have you spoken to him?
DOBSON: I have talked to him. I was asked to serve on a three person restoration panel and I originally wanted to be of help and said that I would, but I just don’t have the time to do that. And I called my board of directors, we talked about it at length and they were unanimous in asking me not to do that, because this could take four or five years and I just have too many other things going on.
Now I didn't think that Dobson was really gonna go all Cats In The Cradle with Haggard and teach him how to throw (and to this day we still don't know if Haggard is a pitcher or a catcher), but I thought that Dobson might at least follow some of his own advice:
"[T]he boy's father has to do his part. He needs to mirror and affirm his son's maleness. He can play rough-and-tumble games with his son, in ways that are decidedly different from the games he would play with a little girl. He can help his son learn to throw and catch a ball. He can teach him to pound a square wooden peg into a square hole in a pegboard. He can even take his son with him into the shower, where the boy cannot help but notice that Dad has a penis, just like his, only bigger."
One would think that taking a shower with Dr. James Dobson would make just about anyone swear off the dick. No matter how big it is.
And there really will come a time, believe it or not, when a future American President baffled and paralyzed by the latest insanity from the Middle East—whether an Iranian nuke or a Syrian invasion of Lebanon or another Middle East war or the usual assassination and killing of Americans—will ask former president George Bush II for advice, as a then fawning media will look back to his past "toughness" and "determination" when under fire. That seems unhinged now, but it too will come to pass, as they say.
We can't go on together with suspicious minds Sneaky terrorists keeping a low profile
It's just like those wily Islamoaisleseatgrabbers to try and sneak onto an airplane posing as Muslim clerics jibber-jabbering in their weird moonman language saying things like "Allah" and "Ice Age: The Meltdown is the in-flight movie...again? Crap!". But, in a post-9/11 world, you can't slip anything by the sharp eyes of a nation of Annie Jacobsens.
Quite frankly, I know the feeling. Last Friday when the childlike and excitable mrs tbogg and I were at Disneyland, a family of four sat at the table next to us at the Pizza Port, joined hands, and commenced to pray before turning to their over-priced pizza slices. I hate to be, you know, one of those suspicious kind of people, but I couldn't help but wonder if the father was one of those Christian family men I keep hearing about, who sneak off to cheap motels to smoke crank and indulge in tawdry (yet strangely exhilarating) gay sex with masseur-hookers.
I though about alerting security, but we had speedpasses for Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and I didn't want to be late. While eternal vigilance may be the price of liberty, it won't get you to the front of the line to blast Spaceislamicists.
Everyone has been fed including the dogs who had their favorite Thanksgiving meal of... dogfood. The girls are upstairs watching Grey's Anatomy (which is like oxygen to the lovely and talented Casey), so here we go:
Action shot! Beckham in mid-tug-of-war
...and Beckham does the weird ear-nibble thing he does to Satchmo's ear
Satchmo is off to the vet tomorrow (if we can get him in) due to an alarming loss of weight in the past couple of months. Although, uncommon in dogs, he has several symptoms indicating hyperthyroidism. We'll see.
Thanksgiving Random Ten Last winter I found a man and wife Just about daybreak Layin’ in a frozen ditch South of the interstate I wrapped ‘em both in blankets But she’d already died The next day we sent him back alone Across the borderline.
I don’t know where they came from Or where they planned to go But we carried her all night long Through the California snow.
The old iPod picture is messed up so we have a new one. Change is good. Change is great, so let's get going:
My Bag - Lloyd Cole and the Commotions On The Radio - Regina Spektor From A Motel 6 - Yo La Tengo Gravity Rides Everything - Modest Mouse The Land of Rape and Honey - Ministry Untitled 6 - Sigur Ró --- from () California Snow - Dave Alvin Ferry Cross the Mersey - Pay Metheny Jesus Christ Was An Only Child - Sun Kil Moon (Modest Mouse cover) Trouble Man - Marvin Gaye
Bonus #11: La Pistola y El Corazón - Los Lobos ...and now a completely unrelated video:
Completely gratuitous post that only exists because it allows me to use a picture of Scarlett Johannson
Ever since creepy Eric Keroack landed his job at HHS (and don't you love a guy handed a $300 million program who is no longer a certified OB-GYN because he "missed" the recertification deadline. That was a rhetorical question. Of course you love him.)...where was I? Oh yeah, The Corner's K-Lo has been going on and on about sex... and mormons too (wink wink...hint hint...third wife third wife). She even linked to an article she wrote about birth control and how it is bad bad bad. Now she is completely put off by Scarlett Johannson talking about sex and the President:
We're guessing ours, but never mind that. For the record, when K-Lo talks about sex it kind of sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher; wah-wah-wah. But when Scarlett Johannson talks about sex: We hang on every word.
Robert Altman [Jonah Goldberg] His passing is no doubt sad to his friends, family and fans. Though when an appropriate period has passed, we might have a fuller discussion of his merits as a director. Personally, I never saw the genius his fans saw.
Did you see Brokeback Mountain? No. I don't much like movies about men who cheat on their wives with hot chicks. Hence I have considerably less interest in movies about dudes who cheat on their wives with other dudes.
Hollywood has yet to make a "great" movie about Washington. This is the cinematic corollary to the even hoarier cliche that the United States has yet to produce a great novel about the nation's capital. These cliches reign supreme because they happen to be true.
But the recently released Thank You for Smoking comes closer than most.....
In the 1990s, Hollywood produced a string of occasionally amusing but generally absurd films about politics and the presidency. Dave, The American President, Bulworth, Wag the Dog, Air Force One, and so on. TV played its part too, starting in 1988 with Murphy Brown straight through the mercifully soon-to-end The West Wing.
And we know that Hollywood never made any movies about Washington before the nineties, like Advise and Consent, Seven Days In May, Dr. Strangelove, Fail Safe, The Manchurian Candidate, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The Best Man, All The Presidents Men, The Candidate and jumping up to the nineties: Bob Roberts .Oh, and a favorite of mine: Nasty Habits.
No. That is not what the poop deck is for... I'll get a bucket and a mop.
Victor Davis Popeye the Sailor Man Hanson is back from his NRO cruise, which started and ended here in San Diego (I never saw him, but I think I saw his chariot in long-term parking), and apparently he jotted down a few notes while hot-tubbing on the Lido deck with Kate O'Beirne. Like Kate, they're not pretty.
The lovely and talented Casey steps on the field tonight for the first time with her high school team since she blew out her ACL almost eleven months ago. Last years team went 23-3-3 and won the county championship for the thirteenth time in sixteen years, and she got to watch it from the bench.
Let's hope this year goes a little better for her.
They lost. 0-1 on a goal with two minutes left to play. Not that you care, but I do and it's my blog. I'll try to keep the soccer posts to a minimum.
Help Wanted [Jonah Goldberg] I'm gonna need a meticulous, smart, diligent intern/assistant type to help me with the house-cleaning on my manuscript. In particular, I need someone to help get my copious footnotes and the like in order. There will also be some serious research-related stuff to do as we head into galley mode. It would be best if he or she — or conceivably it — went to school or worked in the DC area so we could meet from time to time. I haven't thought through the money question, but you can be assured it won't be lavish. But what's filthy lucre compared to a glowing mention in the acknowledgements and my eternal gratitude? Anyway, anybody interested in said gig should send an email with appropriate info (resume, experience, dancing ability etc) to JonahResearch@aol.com.
It's scheduled to be out 9/11/2007 and, God (if there is one) knows that transfering all of his "copious footnotes" from the assorted Quiznos and Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits napkins is going to be a bitch. I'm not sure that there are too many people who are going to want the "glowing mention in the acknowledgements". That's like being credited with arranging the corn in the poop.
Good taste has many fathers, but bad taste has one mother I teabagged Bernie
Until this past week's dalliance with OJ Simpson, the last time we heard anything about Judith Regan was back when it came out she that she had been playing human wheelbarrow with Bernie Kerik in the shadow of the Twin Towers while the workers were still sifting through the ashes.
As Steve points out, she has a hankering for the maladroit, the obtuse, and the criminal.
I just won my office football pool for the fourth time in six weeks. Not that we do it for money or anything because that is illegal and is probably considered immoral by at least four major religions, two minor ones, and one fake one. No, we do it for funsies, just like our "which one of the Santorum kids is going to be gay" pool.
Yup. It's all in good fun and we like to think of it as the kind of corporate bonding experience you won't find in a Stephen Covey book .
It's been several days now but Kirsten Powers, part-time "Democratic Strategist" and full-time FetalCrat, doesn't seem to have a lot to say about Eric Keroack the anti-sex, anti-birth control loon chosen to be the chief of family planning programs at the Health and Human Services Department. I find this surprising in light of her professed experience in the field of faith based pregnancy counseling.
Before the election, the conventional wisdom was that Howard Dean would be out as DNC Chairman soon after it was over. Now, given the Democrats' success, it's hard to see how the party can get rid of Dean, notwithstanding calls from James Carville and others that he be replaced. That's good for the Republicans; Dean's mouth is sure to get him in trouble more than once over the next two years, and he is a living reminder of the fecklessness of the 2004 Democrats that helped return George W. to the White House.
So..... because Howard Dean was sucessful in helping the Democrats take back both houses it's a good thing for Republicans that he'll be around for the 2008 elections.
Back from LA which is caught up in the post-election euphoria of seeing America come around to its Coastal Elitist ways as opposed to, for example, Cincinnati; which is to say more sodomy and less midwestern gosh-shucks common sense. Refreshing isn't it?
Casino Royale is quite good on the Bond-ometer scale having reclaimed the brutal Ian Fleming prototype away from the mannequins and the cartoons. Director Martin Campbell and the screenwriters did a terrific job remolding Bond in the same way that Christopher Nolan pulled Batman off of the camp slag heap. Watching the film, I got the feeling that Matt Damon's Bourne movies played no small part in reminding the producers that the James Bond character, much like Jason Bourne, is supposed to be a brutal souless government assassin; more cold-blooded killer and less Smoove B. If this doesn't make Daniel Craig into a big star, I'll be quite surprised.
As for Disneyland, this was my first visit in some time and I was amazed that most every ride now has it's genesis in a film, no matter how flimsy the connection to Disney's own studio; Indiana Jones, Star Wars. Needless to say, the Deliverance Whitewater Flume Ride and Country Hoedown was unexpected in more ways than I care to describe. Also there were too many kids there today and, don't get me wrong I like kids as much as the next guy as long as the 'next guy' isn't Mark Foley, but shouldn't they have been in school or buying PS3's or something?
Really Really Really Early Thursday Basset Blogging
The vivacious and cineastastic mrs tbogg and I have been invited to a private screening of Casino Royale up in Hollywood tonight so I'll be otherwise occupied and traveling and schmoozing for the rest of the day and evening. And being the carefree and easy-to-amuse couple that we are, we decided late last night that we would stay over and spend Friday sampling the finest in Southern California entertainment high culture because we have a convertible, a full tank of gas, and we're wearing expensive designer sunglasses.
Yes. We're going to Disneyland where I will be on the lookout for domestic terrorists at the Jedi Training Academy easily spotted by their I (heart) Michelle Malkin t-shirts and Cheetos-stained fingers.
But enough tomfoolery, let's have some hot basset action: Beckham looking less devilish than usual.
...and here is Satchmo looking...well...less dignified than usual. Okay. He looks demented. ..Actually kind of stupid. I'm going to be hearing from his publicist, I just know it...
Really Early Pre-Friday Random Ten I wanna get married I need to cook meals I wanna pack cute little lunches For my Brady bunches Then read Danielle Steele
I Want To Get Married - Nellie McKay Pity for the World - Ten Pound Brown The Seed (2.0) - The Roots Maid In Heaven - Be Bop Deluxe The Burnt-Over District - Hem Park Avenue - Girls Against Boys Cheney Piñata - The Bad Plus Sergio Leone - Jackson Browne Wouldn't It Be Nice - The Beach Boys Today - I Love You But I Have Chosen Darkness
I know I've told this story before, but too bad, here it goes again:
Back in the day, when we were living in a different house, we had a dog-door installed for Cooder the Best Dog In the World. Because our house was located on the edge of a canyon we used to have problems with opossums and raccoons coming into the yard who had no qualms about attempting to come inside looking for a snack. Like most dog doors the one we had installed came with a security door, in this case made out of sheet metal, that slid down in order to block critters from using it from either side. Occasionally, okay...lots of times, I would forget to pull up the security door and Cooder, thinking it was free and clear, would clickity-clack clickity-clack across the room and smack his head (thwack!) up against the door. Now most dogs would either bark to be let out or would deploy the Devastating Big-Eyed Imploring Look of Sadness to get a little help here. Not Cooder. Cooder would go back up to the door and press his head against it, leaning forward on his little stumpy basset legs because he knew, he just knew, that... it... was... going... to... open eventually. I could sit there for almost five minutes and he wouldn't move; he'd just lean. Cooder was a sweet dog, but he was never short-listed for a MacArthur Grant.
White House officials said Wednesday that President Bush would renominate six of his earlier choices to sit on the federal appeals court, leaving Democratic senators and other analysts to ponder what message he is sending.
At least four of the nominations have been declared dead on arrival in the Senate by Democrats who have consistently opposed them as unacceptable. All six nominations will remain before the Senate through the lame-duck session of Congress and then will expire.
When the 110th Congress is seated in January, Mr. Bush can deliver another list of judicial nominees to the Senate, which will by then have a Democratic majority.
Mr. Bush’s motive in sending up the nominations has been closely analyzed, with several Democrats and liberals labeling it as provocative and a sign that he does not intend to seek compromise as he suggested he would after Republican losses in the elections last week.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who will be the leader of the Judiciary Committee, said, “Barely a week after the president promised to change course by working in a bipartisan and cooperative way with Congress, it is disappointing that he has decided to ‘stay the course’ on judicial nominees.”
But Edward Whelan, the president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, who has supported Mr. Bush’s judicial nominations throughout the first term, said Democrats were engaging in “rhetorical gamesmanship.” He said that despite the changed numbers in the Senate, Mr. Bush was not obliged to offer a unilateral surrender. He said the president was resubmitting the nominees for the lame-duck session because Democrats had refused to comply with the usual courtesy and moved to have the nominations expire at the last recess.
The four nominees whose chances of confirmation are viewed as nearly impossible are: William J. Haynes II, the Pentagon’s general counsel who was involved in setting many of the interrogation policies for detainees; William G. Myers III, a longtime lobbyist for the mining and ranching industries and a critic of environmental regulations; Terrence W. Boyle, a district court judge in North Carolina; and Michael B. Wallace of Mississippi, a lawyer rated unqualified for the court by the American Bar Association.
Six years in office and he still hasn't learned a damned thing
Regarding the 39 year-old/lives with his parents/Associates Degree in the Science of Electronics Malkinista:
COOK: Well, I mean, if he is idolizing them, that sounds like hero worship to me. I mean, I think, you know, these, Ann Coulter and Malkin, you know, they sort of present a kind of rhetorical world view where they have their troops out there, and I think he thought of himself as one of their troops and wanted to live up to their standards
And I mean, I don’t think we can always hold these people responsible for the actions of the least hinged of their followers, but I think it is clear that he was an acolyte of the Coulters and the Malkins, and I think that they clearly enjoy having acolytes, and they clearly sort of issue calls to action -- not necessarily to send threatening powder-filled envelopes to you in so many words, but they certainly exhort their followers to let themselves be known.
OLBERMANN: But to that point, I mean, the part—it was one thing—an acolyte is one thing; an emulation is something else. There were students at the University of California at Santa Cruz who protested military recruiters on their campus. Malkin posted their addresses and their personal information on her blog, and then when people harassed the students at their homes, Malkin did the King Henry thing about Thomas Becket, “who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” I never told anybody to do anything. And then this is the problem, right? You can come out, you can directly encourage people to act violently. Ann Coulter has done that. Or you can do it in this sort of thinly disguised way, the way Malkin has.
COOK: Right. But I think what Malkin wants to do is not to tell people to act violently so much as—I do think she wants to sort of introduce a kind of thuggish sort of intimidating tone into the political debate, this kind of let’s not let them boss us around anymore. I think that’s sort of—she has got a very combative kind of truculent rhetorical pose.
Thank you to Wayne in Colorado Springs for the copy of Sexy Beast, a term often heard around the tbogg household if you know what I mean...but you probably think it's about Beckham, so let's just drop the whole thing, 'kay?
Mr. Lieberman received a standing ovation at a caucus luncheon after Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, who is poised to become the majority leader, declared, “We’re all family.”
All of which is particularly touching in light of recent history. It was, after all, just three months ago that Mr. Lieberman became something of a party pariah after losing the Democratic primary in Connecticut but continuing his re-election bid as an independent.
Mr. Lieberman won re-election last week without help from most of his Democratic Senate colleagues, who backed Ned Lamont, his Democratic rival, over their “good friend Joe Lieberman.”
These would be many of the same good friends “who were happy to leave my dad by the side of the road,” as Mr. Lieberman’s son, Matthew, put it in an election night speech. These, presumably, would include “friends” like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, all Lamont supporters.
“It’s clear that the Democrats need him at this point more than he needs them,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, whom Mr. Lieberman genuinely does consider a close friend. “How sweet is this?”
Indeed, it is hard to imagine how Mr. Lieberman could have emerged better from last week’s election. He was re-elected comfortably, and the Democratic Party he still belongs to is now in the majority, assuring him the chairmanship of the powerful Homeland Security Committee.
Yet that majority is slim enough, 51 to 49, to turn Mr. Lieberman into arguably the Senate’s most influential member. If he defects, the Senate would effectively be under Republican control because Vice President Dick Cheney would cast tie-breaking votes.
“It was very painful to him to have all these people he thought were his friends embrace his opponent,” Ms. Collins said. “They just threw him overboard. But now, not only is he re-elected resoundingly, but he is also the key to which party controls the Senate.”
Mr. Lieberman’s situation underscores the precarious calculus of political friendships. People close to him say he remains miffed, if not bitter, about what he considers the betrayal of allies who supported an unknown, untested and unfamiliar candidate.
That would be the candidate that beat him in his own party's primary, but never mind that, because this is just more evidence that the only person that Joe loves more than Joe is still Joe, and now he is coming to terms with the fact that this is the best it is ever going to get for him (unless David Broder's Mystical Magical Unicorn Huggypie Party is found under a leaf in the cabbage patch that was once his brain). So Joe is all set to play "important statesman" and the rest of the Democrats are going to have to grit their teeth and pretend that they like him and that he is a swell guy, and the weekend bobbleheads are going to gobble him up every week because he's their kind of Democrat, and by "their kind of Democrat" I mean: a Republican.
Hard to believe that he could become more loathsome, but there you have it...
Brainwashed RoboBride and former human, Katie Holmes figures if this doesn't work, nothing will:
Tom Cruise’s bride-to-be went to Le Bra Lingerie in West Hollywood and spent more than $3,000 on lacy underthings, more than $1,000 of which was for a “bridal collection” set.
Among the purchases: a Chantilly lace bridal collection, reports a source. Among the goodies: a bra that cost $440, a $340 thong, a garter belt for $220, and silk stockings that went for $95 — for a total of $1,190.
Additionally, Holmes picked out a silk nightgown with a matching robe trimmed with ostrich feathers that set her back $620, a lace bra with Swarovski crystals for $380 and matching thong with crystals for $175, as well as two sets of silk pajamas and matching robes at $425 each.
“They weren’t all white — and they certainly weren’t virginal,” says the source. “But she’s a mom, so I guess that’s appropriate.”
Do you know how many e-meters you can buy for $3000?
Well, I gave my talk at St. Lawrence University last night. And, I should say that I don't think I've ever had a colder audience. I've spoken to scores of college audiences now, including those with vastly more liberal reputations, but this was the iciest reception I've ever had. Quite a few students were clearly sent as class assignments (which is always bad). But it seemed like part of their assignment was to be hostile. I have a bad tendency to tell if an audience is listening by trying to make them laugh. And I'm usually very hard on myself about this sort of thing and I usually know when my material or delivery is off. But this was really amazing. Self-deprecating humor, Bush-bashing humor, humor itself had almost no effect (and anti-liberal humor produced glares and clenched teeth), including all sorts of stand-bys I've used for years to positive effect even with hardcore lefty audiences (I used to be part of a road show that at time featured folks like Ralph Nader, the Indigo Girls et al, so I know from lefty campus audiences). I had a great time with the campus Republicans and some faculty before and after, but I'll tell ya, the longest month I ever spent was the hour I spent talking to kids from SLU.
Actually you have to give credit to Jonah for admitting this. Most of the posters at the Corner usually come back from their college talks pointing out how they totally kicked ass (I'm talking about you, Cliff May). I've seen Jonah on TV and I think he's pretty darn funny...and not in an unitentional way. Maybe they just don't watch The Simpson's at St. Lawrence....