Saturday, April 03, 2004
Fiction Mash-upsToo much time between now and Saturday night? Be your own DJ, mix the novel you want to read.
Whoever thought this up deserves some points.
posted by kriston at 9:46 AM........
Friday, April 02, 2004
You Tell MeTrouble in paradise?
"I believe my party has gone astray,'' McCain said, criticizing GOP stands on environmental and minority issues.I'm not caught up in the McCainity, I'm just impressed by its enormous potential, I swear. Really, anyone here think Dick Gephardt would be a better running mate?
He was a 'miserable failure' in the primaries, after all.
posted by kriston at 2:58 PM........
Harumph HarumphJob growth surged last month and that's spectacular. Still, my job isn't to go around calling Bush spectacular, so I'll hand the mic to someone else:
"After three years of punishing job losses, the one month job creation announced today is welcome news for America's workers. I hope it continues," said Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee in a written statement. "But for too many families, living through the worst job recovery since the Great Depression has been, and continues to be, far too painful. . . . That's why I've proposed a strategy that revitalizes our manufacturing sector and puts us on track to create 10 million new jobs in the next four years."Guess that's not his job, either. We hope the payola is around the corner, particularly for the manufacturing sector, but maybe we're seeing signs that the economy is ready to overcome the retractionary pressure it's seen for the last few years.
By manufacturing, of course, we're talking about fast food. The economy got biggie-sized.
posted by kriston at 2:38 PM........
BodyguardBlackwater Security Consulting, the company that employed the four contractors killed in Fallujah, also provides security for Paul Bremer. That's really surprising to me, especially given hesitations about these organization's efficacy:
There are some indications that the four security guards killed in Al-Fallujah were mistakenly targeted as U.S. forces. U.S. officials say the attack in Al-Fallujah appears to have been preplanned. And some military analysts have suggested that the security contractors offered particularly vulnerable targets because they were operating without the kind of intelligence information, communications, and backup forces used in U.S. military operations.You'll see critics call these organizations mercenary, and while that's certainly true in some cases, I'm willing to believe that they're not all swarthy Hessians.
It seems to me that no matter how professional these organizations are, it's still a terrible idea to commission them with postwar security. Not because the market can't do it better—it seems like the military is unable or reluctant to parallel all of these MP functions—but because the military can't incorporate them. Whatever level of cooperation exists in Iraq between the military and security firms will never amount to private security playing a fully functional role in the military hierarchy; the further out of that hierarchy a firm is, the more bleed you'll find along the lines of intelligence, coordination, and contingency strategy.
posted by kriston at 2:10 PM........
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Passion of the NESHei Lun at Begging to Differ says that Mel Gibson's Passion is being made into a video game—but I can't find that news anywhere, not even in the link. Wouldn't surprise me, considering Wisdom Tree's fine library of Biblical NES titles, one of which I own. (It's never worked, but I hear it's basically Mario 2 except you're Moses and you pelt Sinners with the Fruit of the Spirit.) The next-gen platforms have been surprisingly resistant to the Lord.
On the ol' NES topic, my favorite 8-bit resource—our political differences aside, he claims a 265-title library, and he recognizes the value of Caveman Games, Pirates!, Baseball Simulator 1.000, and River City Ransom—informs me that in China they still make new NES titles. Road trip!
I'm still waiting for the Cremaster 3 NES adaptation.
posted by kriston at 1:57 PM........
Missile CommandRobin Wright has a bit of investigative journalism in today's WaPo about a speech that Condi Rice was supposed to deliver (on 9/11) outlining the nation's primary security interest: missile defense.
The text also implicitly challenged the Clinton administration's policy, saying it did not do enough about the real threat -- long-range missiles.It ought to be sufficiently clear to Bush's pre-9/11 detractors (and defenders) that al-Q was not at the top of his list. And this would be acceptable—the unfortunate but predictable truth about America after a long decade of prosperity—were Bush not still giving missile defense such high priority.
The Pentagon is foolishly racing to deliver on President Bush's grandiose 2000 campaign promise to have a still unproven, money-munching missile defense system deployed in time for the November election. It's supposed to provide protection against incoming ballistic missiles. But, so far, the rush into the old "Star Wars" dream amounts to an extravagant political shield.After sufficient hand-wringing about Pakistan and North Korea, I think there's a strong case to be made for a missile defense system. Of course, terrorists are blowing shit up right now and deserve the lion's share of our attention and defense budget. Plus it sounds like my old roommates and I plus a PS2 would make a better missile defense shield. Not only is Bush's hasty implementation clearly electioneering, it's a hell of a poison pill, since the next administration is going to have to make it workable after it's been rigged.
You almost hope it's Bush who has to deal with it!
posted by kriston at 12:34 PM........
Fallujah III didn't make it clear below but I think it's extremely important to regain control of Fallujah. Our June deadline for transitioning authority is looming and we don't seem to yet have any authority. While the US has vowed to find the contractors' killers, the security situation in Fallujah sounds grim:
Asked why neither Iraqi police or U.S. Marines intervened in the mayhem Wednesday, Kimmitt said it was "the determination of the personnel in the region that by the time they would have arrived or could have arrived, those persons were already dead and they were being controlled by some of these insurgents.There were also no local Iraqi police or fire units available for response. At the very least, American soldiers were able to retrieve the remains.
Violence like this reemphasizes how extremely important it is for our nation's leaders to be willing and able to testify as to how the Iraqi war has advanced the war on terror. You know, we ought to drag politics in this, because the warnings about post-war violence were everywhere for President Bush to heed and he didn't.
More on Bush and terror later.
posted by kriston at 12:03 PM........
Fish, Barrel, etc.But it's so satisfying. Catherine found this nutjob on one of your daily crazy canvassing centers (aka rank conservative blogs):
I am even more devastating to liberals in personal debate than on the Internet. Most female liberals change their politics when I talk with them in person. Male liberals are really easy to convince because I go after their sexual strategy angle...and they realize that they had only wanted to "compete" with Alpha Males when they were still liberal. I am very convincing.Indeed. His argument here is that being a pussy gets you ass and that's not fair. ("The proper reward for defending one's country should and must be the admiration of the country's women").
Bring to mind my favorite (non-archived) Onion piece: "Yee-haw, My Vote Cancels Out Y'all's!"
I don't think anyone's ever mentioned my sexual strategy angle to me.
posted by kriston at 11:03 AM........
Surgeons, pathologists, embalmers and even the corner butcher know about the little click, in the brain, that lets them look dispassionately at a living or once-living being and see, instead, just flesh, a thing, or meat. Without this shift in the moral vision, we could not heal the sick, bury the dead or eat a steak. And yet a closely related power of objectification is also the root of cruelty. To see a human being only as an object -- an enemy, an occupier or an animal -- unlocks the possibility for war, revolution and genocide.Sounding something like Isaiah Berlin, I think. I know that I argued very passionately after 9/11 that suicide-terrorism was the act of a moral animal, and I was rebuked by a Berlin-informed friend. As Kenicott notes, we can identify some shred of abjectly awful reasoning behind the killings of Matthew Shephard or James Bird, Jr., perhaps because we better understand what is signified by Laromie, Wyoming and Jasper, Texas. Merciless though they were, we're able to scale those deaths into context.
Not that which we saw from Fallujah, Iraq. I don't know if you can draw any conclusions from yesterday.
The passive journalistic voice—'violence flared in Fallujah'—maybe that's the only way to describe what's at work.
posted by kriston at 10:25 AM........
Wednesday, March 31, 2004
...But NY Does Not <3 YouReal venting in the NYPress's 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers. Notables: "art bimbo" Sofia Coppola (#50), Teen People centerfold 50 Cent (#48), iSnobs (#42), "liberal dickwad" Eric Alterman (#39), "sambo queers" (cast of) Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (#21). I sort of feel compelled to stick up for James Whey (#32), whose rehab diary/novel A Million Tiny Pieces sounds like a real affront to literature but ushered in a the literary equivalent of a Biggie/Tupac coastal divide when he told Dave Eggers to eat it. I think loyalty should be lauded, but NY goes so far as to openly loathe a teddy bear (Mr. Wiggles, #24) so it's hard to see where they're coming from.
Via Jessa Crispin of Bookslut.
Note that this list also serves as DC's "People to Watch for 2004!"
posted by kriston at 5:04 PM........
InsustainabilityWired is running a piece on some science-types who say that file-sharing has played no role in the record industry's woes. Even having not done any national polling myself—call me a comic sociologist, like David Brooks—I can only hazard some guesses, but I think I know the answer to this one. Several points:
Ah, remember Alternative Nation? 120 Minutes? That whole music on television venture?
posted by kriston at 3:19 PM........
Ur AmericaAir America dawns today, ushering in the age of liberal talk radio ... but not for me. Much as I think it's a decent way to get the message out, I don't drive, so I only listen to the radio for as long as it takes me to get conscious in the morning. Maybe now that Bob Edwards has left NPR's Morning Edition I'll check it out. (If AA ever finds a DC host.)
I guess AA is a decent gesture, but it's not going to be the cure for the AM echo chamber. Maybe once Mac installs an FM transistor in the iPod, and then sends me said iPod, I'll tune in, but in the urban liberal's world, the auto commute time that incubates talk radio-listenage is missing. But I know people who venture the AM airwaves just because they enjoy the talk radio genre, so maybe they'll prefer the host that cracks a joke to the one that screams himself into an aneurysm.
Let's see them pick up Howard Stern.
posted by kriston at 12:24 PM........
I Second ThatA relevant suggestion for how the Corcoran Gallery might find the money to complete its Gehry wing:
Courtesy of ionarts.
Welcome to our Macintized world.
posted by kriston at 12:01 PM........
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Rice Goes PublicCondoleezza Rice will testify publicly before the 9/11 commission. It would've been reasonable for her to resist testifying—even though this commission is not "the Congress," and the President himself signed it into being—had she not been all over the airwaves with her story. Had they not all been all over the airwaves with their stories.
Had just one Bush administration official co-opted Clarke's mea culpa—really, how hard is it to say that you wish you'd prevented 9/11?—this probably wouldn't have been much of a media fiasco. Kerry hasn't been able to transform the Clarke rush into gains, anyway, but I feel that might change if the conversation turns toward Iraq.
As in, "Um, what are we going to do?"
posted by kriston at 9:33 AM........
Monday, March 29, 2004
Don't Ask, Do TellWonkette, working from anonymous tips, says that the White House's next response to Richard Clarke's allegations will involve telling America that he's gay. Think about it, it's a real concern: How do you entrust national security to someone who will probably just try to do it with all the ICBMs? Why would you let him oversee the cyberterrorism guard when you know what he's going to download?
This is an awesome strategy on so many levels, but especially on the homeland security front. Why should the protection of our marriages, churches, children, boardgame nights and Golden Labs be distinct from the protection of our borders, or our national interests? Roll up the culture wars and the war against terror and the really stupid approach toward the Middle East and we're closing in on a fully centralized war in which the Bush administration tells all foes to eat his burrito. And if a current chief administration official responsible for waging the war against terror gets KIAd in the culture war, well, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades and only steers and queers come from Texas. I don't know what that means. But it's gonna look great on a T-shirt.
We need to name this war, pronto!
posted by kriston at 11:42 AM........
Policy FetishI can't decide which is hotter, this series of pics of sex columnist Julia Baugher or the Wonkette cartoon girl. "Pearl girls." Don't look at me like that.
I've never had to specify before but all G.p content is SFW. Your boss will think less of you, though, if he catches you here.
posted by kriston at 12:32 AM........
Sunday, March 28, 2004
...If It Ain't Got That SwingThis WaPo piece plugs the familiar line that Kerry's campaign isn't sufficiently animated policy-wise to translate Bush's loss into Kerry's gain:
Kerry has emerged from the primaries at the philosophical center of the party if not the country. His greatest strengths are his biography and the perception among Democrats that he has the experience and credentials to defeat Bush. A strategist who worked for one of Kerry's rivals said he worried about whether that profile of what he called the generic Democratic position will be enough to attract swing voters in November.One of the things Howard Dean said during his campaign that caught my attention was that he was against ideology, and wouldn't bring movement liberalism to the White House.
Now that's pretty funny coming from Dr. Dean, but his larger point is a good prescription for John Kerry. As the article above notes, Bill Clinton came in and charmed voters who might have hesitated to vote for a slippy liberal in 1992. What followed was one of the more prosperous decades in American history. Now we're back where we started—minus the charisma.
Dean was right: The President-elect for 2004 is going to have to set aside his imperial world vision and get down to business. And we don't need any more aw-shucks types in the White House. We're not going to get that (or much else personality-wise) from Kerry, either, so I don't see much sense in making sweeping ideological gestures—that sounds like bitter medicine without the spoonful of sugar. A post-W Democratic administration will probably be looking at clean-up policies that are less palatable than the screw-all, let's-go-to-Mars approach Bush has entertained so far.
Here's my blueprint for John Kerry: 1) Let Bush sink his own ship. 2004 is more a referendum on W than on Kerry. 2) Start appointing that shadow cabinet now, right now, especially given Condi's falling star. She looks so mean! 3) Announce John McCain as VP. C'mon, guys, you know it works and you like it. I know, I know, it's not a possibility, but this is my blueprint and I'll reach across the aisle if I want to. Kerry needs a gesture to show that he intends to change the tone, and it should be something that doesn't involve attacking Republicans. That'll pick up the swing voters.
And nix on compassion. That word's out.
posted by kriston at 8:00 PM........