Saturday, September 30, 2006

I'm Sure Republicans Do It Too

It's just that I tend to hang with all liberals...

Why is it if you have an opinion that doesn't conform with their position, the default assumption is that you've been fooled by the Republicans or fooled by Bush?

Is it that inconceivable for differing, intelligent, people to a) have different points of view or b) weigh different issues more and less heavily.
Nate and Company

They have a pretty good debate going on torture at this other new blog.

What's frustrating in this whole debate is the slippery definition of torture.

It's a jihaidist game to point out how evil America is - pointing to say, Hiroshima and then creating a moral equivalence with say, 9/11. The Palestinians pull the same shit with Israel and sadly, it resonates.

Anyhow, the torture debate is coming to that. Republicans are trying to define torture. "Liberals" want to be able to sit on their high horse and finger point - "That's torture"...."And....that's torture"....."And, you can't do that, that's torture...." and they want to define it by judging definitions....rather than actually articulating a definition themselves. Their definition of torture is "You can't do it." Gee, thanks.

Sullivan is a great writer, but he's becoming a bore. To be bad not everyone is as right as him.

And so he sleeps well at night. Well, so do I.
What's Worse?

We have this detainee (or torture) bill going through that liberals and Andrew Sullivan are going crazy over. "We can't let the executive have so much power," they say. "It is a moral catastrophe," they say.

I remember hearing about a pre-9/11 story in which an Israeli intelligence officer was told of the Bin Laden threat to America and he said coldly, "You must kill this man." An American general smugly responded to the Israeli, "We're Americans, we don't do that." As if assasinations and strategic killing were beneath us. That we were somehow morally immune from making such choices. That we have the best of both worlds - we don't torture a) because it's morally wrong and b) because it doesn't yield useful intelligence. We would love for this to be true. And we tell ourselves it is true. Assasinations of terrorists are "beneath" us. In the long term, it's better not to sully our own morals and reputations and get involved with that ugly and dirty world.

What's worse? Playing dirty to win or cloaking self-righteousness in moral certitude.
What I Love About Blogs

When you come across a new one. Blogs are so personal, have so much voice. This is the first time I've read this one, but it's so clearly a new, free, independent sounding voice, it's not like anything you can read in a newspaper. It's like a tidal wave of thoughts, where you see a whole new person, and how they view the world. It's like some sort of magical portal or something into a brain. It's really quite amazing.

In any case, he writes about the unnecessary divisions between the "screw them," vs. "understand them" crowds. We are, of course, talking about Islam/Islamicists. I clearly fall into the "screw them," crowd, for which I am completely unapologetic.

Friday, September 29, 2006


If Kazakhstan wants my advise how to be loved in America....embrace Borat.

These politicians just don't get it.

And why can't I find the video at the Kazak embassy from yesterday?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Go Borat!

"In response to Mr. Ashykbayev's comments, I'd like to state I have no connection with Mr. Cohen and fully support my Government's decision to sue this Jew.
Iraq and Jihadi Rage

I'm perfectly willing to believe the CIA is correct that the Iraq war has fueled Jihadi rage. But who gives a shit? I certainly don't.
The Detainee Issue

I know what bugs me about the whole debate. It's the same thing that bugs me about the entire political landscape today.

Of course the Republicans want a bill that gives too much power to the executive to prosecute the war on terror by denying good treatment to detainees. Of course they want it because it will make the war on terror easier to prosecute and easier to win.

And so of course they introduce legislation granting such power. The democrats and concerned Republicans, react. First, they wait to see what others think, and see how it will impact their reelection campaigns, and then they decide to take the moral high road, proclaiming terrorist detainees deserve habeas corpus and fair treatment.

Okay. So the debate is completely stuck. The bill tries to enumerate how the Geneva Convetions will be intrepreted and states that the executive intreprets Geneva. The democrats oppose this because they don't trust Bush and believe he is willing to torture detainees and not call it torture.

So me, as a citizen is stuck between two parties:

1. The Republicans who've become the party of big government, willing to grant all sorts of absurd power to themselves in order to help then run a clunky war on terror.

2. The Democrats who don't seem to have an original idea in their head about how to fight the war on terror, nor, sadly, do they seem particularly concerned with winning, but are willling to make bold statements about the abuse of executive power.
Bush's War on Terror Position

I rarely watch Bush speak. It always weirds me out a little bit. It's sort of like watching a Spielberg movie to me - there's something underneath it all that I really don't like, but goddamn if I can't appreciate the craft.

The guy is a good politician. I don't quite understand why everyone I come across in California thinks this guy is like an automatic butt of a joke or some type of evil brainwasher.

Listen to him explain the war against Islamic Fundamentalism. I still think he gets the basic premise right. Why liberals don't buy it, I'm not sure. Is it because it's not true? Or is it because it is true?

Either way scares me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Visions of Johanna

Scripts are better when reading them to good music...or maybe just everything is better.
Like I Said

It's not me that's misrepresenting liberals, it's liberals misrepresenting themselves.

I like Clinton, but Instapundit has the right observation, the dude craves attention like a slutty teenage girl.

It ain't good for the Democrats and never has been.

But hey, I like Clinton and slutty teenage girls, sue me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sorry I Missed It

But I really wanted to watch the Saints game tonight, the first time the Superdome reopened after Katrina and the 2-0 Saints were taking on the 2-0 Falcons.

Sports are important to Americans. We are a culture that values success, but above that, we are a culture that believes in in competition, specifically, good, fair competition.

I think people sometimes forget this about Americans. The important thing about the Saints playing tonight wasn't that they ended upon winning 23-3 in a blowout. But that they, as representative and symbolic of New Orleans itself, stood up and did their jobs, played hard, and ended up winning. This is the side of America that I think people miss, and that I, as an American, love. We aren't a society who pities itself. We are a society that picks ourselves up, and although we know there is still a lot of work to be done and rebuilding after a tragedy, we are a society capable of doing just that.

This year, I'm a Saints fan.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I Hope It's A Ploy

Speculation about Bin Laden's death. I hope it's a ploy to get him to come out of hiding so that we can capture and then publically kill him after holding a trial.
Funny Ha Ha!

Family Guy does a Bin Laden.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Kindrid Spirit

Her blog logline summarizes my position better than I ever had. Her magritte reference is spooky because I was once a magritte painting for Halloween. Okay, that's not really that spooky.

Add her to blog roll.
More on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Very good article on why 9/11 conspiracy theories are so popular.

He summarizes:

Yet no civilization can be healthy which nurtures such delusions, for they strike at the very heart of a society's core institutions - family, religion, schools, political institutions, and so forth - and replace the (sometimes critical) allegiance we should feel for them with a corrosive skepticism. Conspiracy theories are only the most extreme symptom of this disease. Less dramatic, but in the long run more dangerous, is the relentless tendency of the Western intelligentsia to denigrate the Western past and present, massively exaggerating the vices of their own civilization and the virtues of its competitors, and putting the worst possible spin on the motives and policies of its current leaders while minimizing or excusing the crimes of its enemies. This would be dangerous under the best of circumstances. It is doubly so while we are at war with enemies who know no such self-doubt and self-hatred.
Good For Them

I stand corrected regarding liberals accepting Chavez's bullshit. Pelosi and Rangel get props.
Fonder in Hindsight, Ex Presidents

It applies to everything. I'm sure I'm going to look back onf film school like how I currently look back upon college - great, innocent, fond years. Ahhh, we will all long for the days of GW in the future.

I saw Clinton last night on CNN. Man, I'd like to have a beer and chit chat with that guy. But I wouldn't bring any women with me.
Idiot Flypaper

I can't help but think Chavez, Amajina-whatever, and other such critics end up helping Bush. I look at the speeches on TV and angered by how such retards conduct themselves. I guess I shouldn't let it bug me. The history of the 20th century is that of nutjob despots and history teaches us that they go away, sometimes after causing a lot of harm (Hitler/Stalin) and sometimes not so much (Castro/Quadaffi).

But when American "liberals" vocally worry about what Chavez says in front of the UN and say, when Amajina-whatever has a point, and basically start agreeing with part of their message, it makes me think, yeah, I don't trust these guys. And for all of Bush's faults, he's not even partially as worrisome to me, as this weird, anti-West, anti-American, anti-Israel, point of view.

Now to define those I don't trust - the American Left or Global Left, whatever you want to call the people who find it relevant to say on the day after Chavez's speech, "The man has a point, or something about how what Chavez says reflects poorly on Bush."

These people, which include intelligent "liberals" I encounter at USC, somehow got themselves all tied up in an awkward place, where they've begun taking this kook's word as something relevant. They've gotten all turned around.

So I know Nate and Ben are worried about how I'm misrepresenting Liberals, or rather, that I'm quoting someone who is misrepresenting Liberals. But in my observation, the Liberals are misrepresenting themselves.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

USC and LA Times

In the sports section of the LA Times today there was an article (need registration, bad link) about USC underproviding student tickets to the Nebraska game, causing a ruckus near the student gate. The beginning of the article:

"Students Take USC to Task Over Tickets
By David Wharton
In a Tuesday night meeting punctuated by bursts of shouting and hissing, USC students vented their anger at administrators over policy changes that resulted in a crush of bodies outside the Coliseum before Saturday's game against Nebraska. >>"

The USC official response to the incident, which resulted in a bunch of people getting smashed and scared at the gate of the football game was something to the effect that "we had no idea something like this could happen."

This is total bullshit. Last year, I attended a couple USC football games and getting into the stadium for student was CRAZY. One time, people started pushing in the big line before the gate and others started screaming and pushing back. It was the closest to a stampede I've ever been involved with. Some douche bag frat guy was purposefully starting it and then some Mexican dudes started threatening to kick his ass. Girls were screaming to stop, police were around, but couldn't really do anything.

It bordered on chaos. And this happened LAST YEAR. When I read about this before a huge game like the Nebraska game and someone pleads ignorance, well, that's either bad communication from the ground up, or negligence. Either way, it's fucked up.
I Don't Like His Recent Movies, But

I gotta give him props. $175 mil to my school. Not bad.
What a Mind

When this guy writes, it's always incredibly interesting.

It's sometimes easy to forget how powerful words can be, but there are some people who have such a distinct way of thinking, it's pretty amazing. This guy Nelson Ascher, for my money, is one of them. His blog is Europundits, but he never updates it.

Update: Maybe I'm fooling myself. Maybe I'm conservative after all. But this guy has so many things right in this article, methinks it scary.

Another Update: Again, he sums up what I've been thinking really well.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006


I've been needing a new pair of everyday shoes for a little while now and so yesterday, I poked my head into Silverlake Shoes. Basically, all they sell are Clarks. I don't know anything about Clarks or that much about shoe fashion in general. They looked pretty stylish and cool - which is rare for men's shoes, which for the most part, is a pretty dull world, vacillating between total boredom to skinny gay styles. For awhile, back in 2000-2002 or so, I really liked Kenneth Cole, they were reliable and cool looking, but I sort of got over my stylish corpo look and reverted back to basically wearing sneakers whenever I could.

For everyday shoes, however, I don't like plain old sneakers, I like something with a little more verve.

Anyhow, I stepped into the store not planning on purchasing, because despite needing shoes, I'm cheap. But of course, the lady convinced me to try on shoes after I asked her whether Clarks were known for being comfortable. She said, "very comfortable."

They looked durable and seemed to be reasonably priced, in the $100 range.

I tried on a couple of pairs. Pretty comfy. I picked the ones that felt less comfortable and more durable because I liked how they looked.

For the record, whenever I try on shoes, I purchase something. Without fail. Something about the effort the shoe salesman has to go through to get the shoes from the back, I feel obligated to buy. It's poor habit, and I think shoe salesmen know it. I suppose if I can't find anything I'd wear or if they didn't have my size, I wouldn't purchase.

I'm wearing the shoes today and I like them a lot already. They've already molded to my feet and feel very comfortable, something I was slightly worried about initially. Comfortable shoes = good.

It's weird. I have a ton of shoes, but only wear a couple pairs. And despite not liking men's shoes that much, the last couple of pairs I've purchased have worked out remarkably well.

First, I purchased a pair of Lacoste white shoes on an impulse because I just saw them and liked them - which, as I mentioned before, is rare for me with respect to shoes. I almost immediately regretted buying them because I think they were overpriced for a simple pair of sneakers just because they were Lacoste. But I liked how they looked and they became my everyday shoes and I wear them all the time. I count that as success. They aren't the most comfortable, but they aren't uncomfortable. They don't breathe particularly well, but I can wear them everyday and be fine. They are not good for athletics. But I've gotten a ton of wear out of the shoes and I don't feel like a jackass wearing them, so I consider them, in hindsight, a good purchase.

Second, I recently splurged on a pair of Nike Tennis shoes. I knew I needed a pair of tennis shoes because the pair of soccer turf shoes I had been wearing were beginning to hurt my feet and not provide enough ankle support. I didn't want to spend a ton of money, but I got to the tennis store and was trying on pairs and this other customer talked me into trying on the Nike's. Oh man. They are definitely one of the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. They fit my feet incredibly well. I've since worn them playing tennis and they're totally awesome. I really like them. I even like playing tennis more when I wear them - I think they've gotten me even more excited about playing.

The one drawback to the Nike's is that they are a bit flashy and I don't think I'd wear them around town much. I like how they look with shorts, but wearing them with pants, it's just looks a little odd. But I suppose that's ok, I don't wear my soccer shoes or golf shoes for anything other than those sports, so it's probably smart to think of Tennis the same way, although traditionally tennis shoes have been dual-use.

And now with this pair of Clarks. Me like right now.

Here is a link to them. I may have overpaid and I like the black...but oh well.
Reggie Bush

The first time I ever saw Bush play, I think he was a freshman. I caught a glimpse on TV, he swung out of the backfield and Leinhart tossed him a pass. The play was busted, there were two linebackers who had the play read and had him cornered up for a no-gain. He made a quick juke and in a sudden burst of inhuman speed, tried to split the two linebackers. He slammed into one and it took all the linebackers strength to keep ahold of Bush and pull him down.

It was a no-gain or a 1 yard gain, but several things struck me in the play.

1. The super sonic quickness and bursting speed. Anyone whose seen Bush knows what I'm talking about.

2. The strength. He's not big, but he flew right into a guy twice his size and because of the speed and strength combination, almost knocked the guy down.

3. And this is the most important, the sheer audacity of trying to SPLIT two tacklers. I've never seen anyone even try to split two guys like that before in football. It actaully reminds me of a soccer move, trying to split two defenders by touching the ball through them and going around them, while they get caught trying not to bang into one another. It works against bad defenders. It's actually a pretty interesting move because sometimes it's easier to get by two defenders than one defender because they both get flat footed and are aware of the other guy taking up space. It's almost like you use them as picks on each other.

But in soccer, it is ball you are using to split the defenders. In the case of Bush, he was trying to split the defenders HIMSELF. It didn't work, but the imagination he used suggested by trying usch a move indicated an amazing on field intelligence.

It is an obvious trend...whenever anyone says anything remotely politically incorrect about Muslims, there are violent outbursts on the streets and other threats or acts of violence.

What I don't understand is the blatant double standard expressed BY MUSLIMS - why can Muslims say whatever they want and the Pope cannot?

Because of Muslim rage? Like Instapundit, I'm a little sick and tired of hearing about "Muslim rage." I don't give a flying shit about Muslim rage any more than I give a shit a bunch of whiney teenagers.

I give the Pope props if he doesn't back down and apologize.
Coke Commercial

I've seen it a couple times now, but I really like the Coke commericial with a young man and his grandfather and the young man makes a little comment about trying Coke Zero for the first time and the grandfather goes on a tirade about how he's had a Coke before and how his memory is solid. The young man has this bemused expression on his face while his grandfather goes off. It's really quite touching.
He's Beaten Me To It

Of course, Frederick Forsyth has beaten me to the punch and written a book about Al Queda and Western Intelligence agencies trying to inflitrate it. I'll read it and steal some ideas.

Friday, September 15, 2006


When people ask me whether I'm liberal, I don't really know how to respond. Now, I begin by responding, "Well, what do you mean when you say liberal."

Many people I have reasonable political with consider me a moderate Republican, despite the fact that I agree with very few Republican domestic policies and have never voted for a Republican in my life - which is not to say that I wouldn't.

It seems to all stem from my hawkish foreign policy perspective. But hawks and doves aren't liberals and conservatives. Hawks simply believe certain wars should be fought to avoid larger, scarier wars. Doves tend to take the view that most wars don't yield any long-term benefits, hence "war is not the answer" bumper stickers.

I've written about it before, the Euston Manifesto, a statement of liberals in England, now being signed by prominent American thinkers, as a statement of what it means to be liberal.

The statement recalls a tradition in American and European liberalism that fought for progressive, domestic reforms at home and did not shy away of projecting American power abroad for liberal ends. FDR and Harry Truman started this tradition by facing down the threats from Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Soviet Russia.

The Euston people admonish Anti-Americanism as a form of racism, and believe the threat of Islamic Fascism to be the great totalitarian struggle of our times (although not all believe it is as large as prior threats from Nazi Germany and Russia). They/we also believe that the United States should not engage in torture or other illiberal behaviours because it ruins our credibility and our moral standing in the world.

To me, these guys get it right. And they are true liberals. I don't believe being anti-Bush and anti-Republican makes anyone a liberal. How can one focus their liberal ire on Bush and America when there is an ideology treating women likes beasts and others with murderous intent? It just doesn't make any sense to anyone with half a brain.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Amnesty International

Has published a report accusing Hezbollah of war crimes.

Interestingly, there seems to be a growing consensus amoung Arabs that Hezbollah was the big loser of the war. Interesting contrast with the West.

In the West, many imagine a world where everyone can be a winner. In the Arab world, many imagine a world in which everyone is a loser.

I don't believe either are true - or actually I should say - both are true - we're all winners and losers.

God, that was my gayest line ever.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Go Frank Miller

He talks about Patriotism and I look forward to reading his new comic where Batman takes on Bin Laden.

Anyhow, these Islamofacists are the smartest or most popular bad guys, but they sure are dedicated and their lust for killing people is scary.

But my guess is that they find out the error of their ways quite soon after they get their death boners.
TONY JONES: Not according to Richard Clarke, for example, who makes the claim that the President himself, only 24 hours after the attacks, came to him urging him to find the evidence that Iraq was involved with the September 11 attacks and he couldn't find that evidence?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: I've read that too. I wouldn't myself have tasked Mr Clarke with that, nor would I have trusted the CIA to get that right, even a tiny thing like that, because they've always got everything else wrong. The CIA continues to say there can't have been a connection, because if one was ever proved - and there's a great deal of evidence for it - they would look stupid. Because they always said, not just that it wasn't there. Do observe this distinction. They said it couldn't be there. They said, by definition, Saddam Hussein could not help Islamic terrorists because his regime was supposedly secular. Now that to anyone who knows anything about Iraq is sheer fatuity. There is an overarching analysis as well that, to some extent, puts these matters of linkage in perspective. When one examined the situation, and realised that al-Qaeda and its co-thinkers have been incubated by what was, in effect, a political slum in the Middle East, which we've been letting rot and decay for far too long and, therefore, it would be a good thing to begin some slum clearance in the region. This meant turning the Pakistani Government from a sympathiser of the Taliban to at least, neutrality. It meant taking away their Afghan colony from them. That's what they've been treating Afghanistan as being. It meant warning the Saudi Arabians we knew what they were doing; it meant undercutting their oil monopoly, by trying to liberate the oil fields of Iraq. And it meant removing the most outstanding supporter of terrorism and jihadism in the region, who was a man with whom we in any case had a political rendezvous. A man who should have been removed from power in 1991. So if you could get over your obsession with this idea that there were invented linkages, you would see there is a broader intersection of argument that favours regime change in the Middle East.
Uh Oh

The Frenchies are on Al Queda's short list to attack...presumably because they've invaded and occupied Iraq and other Muslim lands. Oh, wait a minute, that isn't true. It's actually because....well, they're French.


Well, as much as the evil part of me wants the frogs to get a little taste, I am truly worried about them in that they've seen a bunch of young French jihadis, second generation Muslims going off to Iraq to learn how to fight the infidels and while our troops have been training for years now learning how to kick Jihadis ass, the French have been drinking wine and cheese and protesting labor laws, all the while criticizing America and twiddling their thumbs over whether to go to Hezbollistan to try to keep the peace.

But let's face it. AQ can't attack America, so they're picking weaker targets, targets that don't fight back.

What else can explain it?
When You're Right, You're Right

And she's right.


The Anti-Americanism which drives conspiracy nuts and the frogs and other douche bag foreigners totally pisses me off BECAUSE I hate dumbshit American chest thumping as much as anyone. I remember being embarrassed at World Cup Korea when watching jerk off American's running around with painted chests chanting USA - guys that obviously knew nothing about soccer, and just wanted to be visible...and the fact is the US sucks at soccer, so it makes so little sense.

Anyhow, the only people I hate more than douche bag American's are douche bag Anti-Americans.

I give them all the middle finger.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Everyone's Entitled To Their Own Opinion, But Not Their Own Facts

Good quote, eh. I wish I'd made it up. But it finds it's way into this article about the preponderance of 9/11 conspiracy theorists. I'm just itching for someone to say some stupid conspiracy theory about 9/11 in front of me. Literally itching for some dumb shit in film school to start mouthing off, so I can publically embarrass them. That's how much I hate conspiracy dumbshits.

The irony, of course, is that 9/11 WAS a massive conspiracy - just not perpetrated by the US government, but a cabal of radical Islamicists hell bent on world domination.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 Thoughts

Well, it wouldn't be a blog without them.

It has crossed my mind that if we are to give Bush and company grief about the mishandling of the Iraq war and the general war on terror - specifically the torture policies - should we also be giving him credit for the fact that we haven't been attacked in five years? Should we also give them credit for not allowing severe civil liberty infringements, like internment camps?

Both of these were legitimate worries in the aftermath of 9/11, and although there was the outrage over the wiretapping, let's be honest, there hasn't been widespread mistreatment of Muslims within this country by either the government or the people. Idiots will point a few hate crimes, but no widespread issues have come up, despite everyone keeping their eyes peeled for them. (The press would love such a story).

From 1993 there were escalating attacks against America. 1993 - World Trade Center then five years later the two Embassy bombings in 1998, then two years later the Cole Bombing in 2000, and then 1 year later, 9/11. Since then: Nada. Nothing. The trend reversed.

Of course, it is my obligation to state that it could all change tomorrow with another attack.

But wasn't part of the idea of the Iraq war to take the fight away from America and fight it out in the Middle East with our troops rather than bracing for sneak attacks against our civilians? Would we be silly to say that's exactly what's happening?

Many claim that Iraq is spawning a new generation of Jihadists that hate America. Maybe it's true. But if they can't or aren't able to attack us, does it matter?

And will they, once they realize their inability to strike blows at us and claim victory, continue to fight?

Maybe it's working this way.... More borderline Jihadis become radicalized over the Iraq war, and instead of festering with resentment and anger for years and some of them turning into potential al queda recruits, they all go to Iraq where they either kill themselves or get killed by the Marines.

Some survive and plot terror attacks against the US, but without the operational base of Al Queda to fund them and to provide cheerleading, they can't really get their acts together. They try to plan small scale, localized attacks, but the whole world is more aware of the terror threat, so even that becomes tougher. Eventually, the either get thrown in jail for plots (which now have stiffer penalties), or they grow tired of having no successes to point to, no comrades to share their stories with. They don't have a place to go and train, Afghanistan, they don't have a single source of money, they don't have a place to find expertise, to compete, to have a sense of belonging.

I don't know. I do know Iraq is messy and Bush deserves some of the blame. I also know America hasn't been attacked by a determined foe in five years, and so I imagine Bush deserves some of the credit.
My Ipod is a Retard

It won't turn off. It's totally annoying.
The Path to 9/11

I watched the first segment. For a TV movie, it's pretty good. I'm amazed by the scope of the project. They start way back in 1993 and really develop the Ramzi Yousef character, chasing him all around the world from NY to Pakistan to the Philipines and back to Pakistan.

They also develop the Massoud character, the Northern Alliance Commander allied with the United States, a military legend assassinated by Al Queda on September 9, 2001.

The acting and story telling is up and down. Many of scenes Clinton and company are worried about are the poorer scenes in the movie. The Harvey Keitel character, John O'Neill and a bunch of the FBI and CIA guys who are running around Pakistan and Afghanistan trying to capture the Al Queda guys, are all pretty awesome.

It's a little weird seeing the dad from Wonder Years playing Sander Berger and a Seinfeld reoccuring character playing Richard Clarke. So much for mistaking the dramatization for a documentary.

The filmmaking is all hand held, JJ Abrams and 24 style TV. Okay, nothing amazing.

They are showing the movie without commericals. Awesome. How are they making money, I wonder?

As far as all the political controversy and blah, blah, blah, here's the thing - the movie's basic point of view is that we blew it prior to 9/11. There were a lot of dedicated law enforcement people and spies on the front lines ready to strike some serious blows to Bin Laden and Al Queda, but they were held up by legal and diplomatic pressures. Clinton and company get the treatment because, well, they were the ones in office during the time of the movie. I don't imagine a Republican would have done any better in the same circumstance.

Anyhow, a round up from Instapundit.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Forget the War on Drugs

If this is true.

If it's a choice between fighting drug lords and the Taliban, I'd fight the Taliban any day.
Where Filmmaking Matters

In Indonesia, there's a real culture war going - and filmmakers are in the middle of it.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Worth 10 Minutes

Ten minutes of Youtube worth watching.


The other day I was in Best Buy to purchase the 3rd Season of Arrested Development. I was in a splurging mood, so I decided to make another purchase - either United 93 or Season 2 of the Ali G show. Hmmmm.

A great movie about the biggest event of our times or Season 2 of the Ali G show?

One of the most important movies in the last several years or the Ali G show?

A spectacular work of cinema or the Ali G show?

A great chance to learn from a good filmmaker through the commentary or the Ali G show?

I bought Ali G.

I went home and was watching it with some of my roommates friends last night. Borat going to Mississippi for wine tasting. I cried it was so frustrating and funny. The guy is like a modern day Charlie Chaplin. Seriously. His inability to function in a "normal" way with the physical realities of every day behavior is absolutely hilarious. His ability to stick with the humor is enviable. He never breaks. It's so freaking stupid and endearing. All in one shot. Man.

A's move beyond the first round of the playoffs this year.

So should we be taking this less seriously?
On How to Deal With Terrorism

Posner on the Constitution, a book review.

Instapundit has a good bunch of comments and compliations on the terrorism issue.

But seriously, who's overreacting and puffing out their chests? It would be silly to ignore the Islamo-Fascists who've demonstrated their desire to attack us. Instapundit hits it right when he says, "Before 9/11 -- and what we learned afterward -- I agreed with the basic strategy of trying to contain Islamist terror until it collapsed under the weight of its own stupidity. That was before I realized how widespread it was, and how thoroughly intertwined with hostile states it was. I don't fault the Clinton people for not catching on before I did."

And the thing about 9/11 that was so different from the prior Al Queda attacks was how clever it was. You could see clearly that a mixture of smart planners (KSM and Atta) with good leaders (Bin Laden, Zawahri) could cause such an incredible mess...and all of a sudden it became possible to imagine a much worse scenario given more time, resources, and technology to these groups.

Now maybe, at the very least, you could argue that Al Queda is a unique strand of Islamic Fundamentalism, a freaky one off, like the Blair Witch Project, and we've essentially destroyed that strand and that's the best we can do. Hamas and Hezbollah have no desire to attack the US - so we don't really need to worry about them. Iraq was a complete waste of time and money.

Under that logic you could argue that all the money spent on homeland security, extra airline checks, and so forth is a complete waste, that perhaps we should have put locks on pilots cabins and checked our databases better.

And believe me, I have sympathy for this view. I work at USC, a bureaucratic mess, with untold number of regulations and policies that basically just make it difficult for everyday people to function. There doesn't seem to be any logic to all of it put together - it makes sense from little spheres, but not from a holistic, student or employee approach.

I imagine the Homeland Security Department working the same way, but charged with a semi-impossible task - protect us from attacks. It's a no thanks job. It's a job that isn't appreciated when they're doing it - they're viewed as a burden, but when they don't stop an attack, whether it's their fault or not, well, they're to blame.

Sort of like being a producer on a student movie.

Anyhow, what's the point of all of this?

I certainly think there's been a bit of overreaction in the security apparatus post-9/11, but that's to be expected. The fire department limited Father's Office to only a certain number of patrons until they opened another door. I think that was a bit of an overreaction, too, but that's how the world is. People act and then react and it's not always going to be a perfectly efficient model.

Whether Iraq was an overreaction or not...I still don't think so. I think it's proven a lot tougher and more costly and had we all known what would happen there in hindsight, the realist in me would have balked a little more. But I think the logic for going in intially was solid and wasn't the result of an overreaction to the terrorist threat at all. It made sense in light of the events, the biggest obstacle was and should have been the lack of support from allies.

But anyways, the world goes on, overreaction or not, we learn from our mistakes, get wiser, get older, pass on lessons to the next generation, try do better. What's the big deal?
I'm Watching This Mini Series, Dammit

Somehow, this thing is going to get seen. I hope. Because now I want to watch it, what with all the press and all.
Negroes Can Drive Cars Fast

See, when I say it, it seems sort of racist and inappropriate.

But that's what Jesse Jackson thinks.
Political Parties Have Failed Us

Pre-9/11 the divisiveness and stupidity didn't really matter. Now it does.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

That Just Makes Me Want to Watch It

Whereas I probably wouldn't have devoted the time to watch an ABC mini series on the events leading up to 9/11, now that the Clinton administration officials are squawking about it, I'll probably watch some of it.

Isn't this what you wanted, Phil? Thank god ABC can pick up where Oliver Stone was too scared to tread...

UPDATE: I love how the article says, ABC described the show as a dramatization and not a documentary. Ya think? If Harvey Keitel is playing John O'Neill, how would that be a documentary? Maybe they meant a dramatization and not a re-creation...

UPDATE II: I was always told the answer to bad speech is more speech, not silencing speech. Maybe the movie sucks. Chances are it will. But pulling it? Come on, man...get a life.

UPDATE III: Does Bruce Lindsey seriously think the American people are too dumb to recognize the difference between real life and story telling?
I Kinda Like Jon Carroll...

...but he also kind of makes me want to puke.

Why does it seem like everyone sucks?
Good Lord

We've been talking about Agassi, but Martina Navratilova is still playing doubles. Will she be playing when she's 60?
Criticize Bush

Sullivan's been one of the loudest and most compelling critics of the Bush administration's handling of Iraq - mostly becaues he's sensible enough to understand the problem with Iraq and with Islamic terrorism - and at the same time has no tolerance the Bush Adminstration's sloppiness and handling of the torture issue. In fact, he lambasts Bush's torture speech right here. Ouch.

But he's running into the same problem we all face - what to do instead? Here, he openly advocates sending MORE troops into Iraq to pacify the country, which seems to be an odd position if you believe Iraq to be a failure.

The big question for the pro-war, but hate how it's been handled crowd, is what happens if we send more troops and Iraq still isn't pacified? How do we measure success and failure? It's the same damn issue facing the Bush administration. I understand the tactical change, but don't see how anyone can know for sure if it'll work - or at the very least, work better than the current situation.

If the argument against Iraq has to do with lives and with money, how does putting more lives and more money at risk make any sense?

Maybe going back a step is required. Maybe we need to once again reevaluate the challenges we face as a nation, because for the past 10-15 years it hasn't really been clear. Iraq has turned out more difficult and for different reasons than anyone expected. We should all admit that it's a damn tricky time period.

Say we commit more troops and Iraq is still a mess. Say we committed more troops three years ago and Iraq was still a mess. Would that be Bush's fault to? Would Bush be to blame for things he didn't even do? Of course. He's the president.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


There's a clever trick perpetrated by both the Christian fundamentalists and the rabid anti-Israel crowd.

The Christians ask us to look at Creation science as a legitimate scientific movement on par with the science behind evolution. They argue, each theory has merits and each theory has drawbacks, it's really just a toss up - so you decide. The trick is that it gives cover to those not really interested in science at all, but a reason to believe in creationism and oppose evolution, using scientific terms to a very unscientific end.

Of course, I'm not a scientist, nor have I personally looked at the evidence, but most scientists, when confronted with the evidence, believe evolution is a much more plausible theory than creationism. And to be honest, I don't think it's a close call.

You also see the same type of fakery used by those who oppose the existence of Israel. They argue that Israel is an illegitimate state, gotten by illegitimate means, and that while their Arab neighbors have done some bad things, so have the Israel's, so it's really just a toss up - you decide. It's the same exact trick, trying to use language of legitimate, democratic political values, to a very undemocratic, illiberal end.

I'm not a political scientist, either, but I read a lot about the Middle East and it seems to be Israel was begot by as legitimate means as any of the countries in the region. That is not to say everyone got a fair shake, but if that were the criteria for legitimate states, I doubt there would be any. And that's sort of exactly what the anti-Israelites would like you to think, that no states are more legitimate than others, and to make a case for "moral equivalence," as the Israelis put it.

Well, there's my outrageous connection of today.
Fuck That!

According to this article, Israel is going to exchange 1,400 prisoners for 1 soldier. Yipes!

Is it just me, or does that inviting more kidnappings? Shit, if I were the soldier, I'd be like - f that. I'll stay kidnapped.

Ah, well, what do I know, I got my ass kicked in "You're Bluffing" this weekend.
Serious Games

A long NY Times article I missed on serious games. The redistricing game I'm working on gets a plug.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Why Don't Artists Like George Bush?

Acting, directing, and writing, we are told is about making choices and fully committing to that choice. We respect making a choice and sticking to it.

And yet, in the political theater, we have an actor who has made a real clear choice, a choice after 9/11 to focus America's resources on a broad war on terror and to much criticism, Bush has stuck to his guns and committed to his choice.

Is this worthy of respect? Is it more worthy of respect that not making a choice at all? Or backtracking on a choice and not committing?

On the one hand, there are the critics of the choice itself. I suppose that is fair. Of course, it's easy to critique a performance, much harder to do one. But at the same time, we respect those who make choices that we wouldn't - or make choices that are interesting.

Along the same type of logic, Osama Bin Laden has made a choice. Should we respect that choice? He is committed. Is this what the people meant when talking about 9/11 as a work of art?

Maybe this is the wrong metric to be using when thinking about these things, then again, maybe there's something here....I guess that's what a blog is for.
I Meant to Write This Before

The other day I was reading the LA Times and came across the movie review for a film speculating what would happen if George Bush were assassinated. My first reaction was this sickening feeling in my stomach. Not exactly sure why. Perhaps because it's obvious that a movie like this was bound to be made.

I fancy myself being not being a prude or politically correct and being open to takes on history and the present that are outrageous, wrong, and offensive. So on what basis should I feel sick to my stomach? How am I any different from those who were hurt by the Danish cartoons?

Well, for one, I'm not protesting the movie or threatening death to it's maker. Mostly, the movie makes me sad, because it's so obvious a fantasy of many on the left to see this act of violence committed against George Bush. They'd so much rather see him get killed than to see Zarqawi or Bin Laden get it. It's been obvious for a long time. And to be honest, I don't understand it. Nor do I really want to.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Changing Times

Is there something really good going on underneath the surface, in the fabric of our society?

This may seem like an odd time to be posing such a question, given the incredible amount of dissatisfaction with America, both at home and abroad, stemming from the incredible amount on anger towards the Bush Administration, the war in Iraq, the mismanagement of Katrina, and so forth.

But lurking underneath the political layer of America, there seems to be something else going on...and the indicator I'm referring to, is of all things, sports and business.

Reggie Bush, before having played an NFL game, has already become a huge presense in New Orleans, opting to live in the city as it tries to rebuild, donating unprecedented amounts of money to the victims of Katrina, and being a public do-gooder, on his own.

Then there's Warren Buffet, donating $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. $30 billion. Are you kidding me? And Bill Gates himself, about to retire from Microsoft to focus on of all things, relieving poverty in Africa and changing the education system across the world.


I thought this was the era of selfish, overpaid athletes and CEOs? Aren't we the generation of Terrell Owens and Ken Lay?

What is going on?