Sunday, September 30, 2007

City of Quartz

A book recommendation from San Fran folks at a wedding this weekend. "You haven't heard of Mike Davis?"

"You mean the guy who used to play for the A's?"

"No, this awesome writer, City of Quartz, World of Slums."


"That surprises me."

The first amazon review:

"Davis is well-known in radical circles as a popular writer on various issues relating to labor movements and the like. This is essentially a history of the city of Los Angeles and its surroundings from a radical perspective. It's quite well-done and very informative (at least to an ignoramus like me), but Davis goes overboard now and then in seeing a conspiracy to repress the poor behind everything. He also has the tendency to call historical incidences of repression a "holocaust" (he actually uses this word multiple times for different things), which I don't like being used in this manner. Aside from that though, it's a welcome different approach from the usual hagiographic or hip postmodern analyses of conglomeration cities like LA. There's not much more I can say about it, as whether you like his left-wing critical vignettes or not will be mostly a matter of taste - judge it for yourself."

SF. Typical.
It's Called Surrender

Maybe the Islamicists strategy against us is pick after pin prick, elicit a massive retaliation that fails and retreat. Whereafter another pin prick and so forth.

A possible truce in the works with the "good" Taliban. I'm suspicious.
What Matters?

I wrote earlier that the Ahmadinejad gig at Columbia was a laughable affair that did him more harm than good. Which is true, in America. He came across as the fool that he is.

However, in the eyes of the world, Ahmadinejad comes away a victor. He got a) legitimacy by speaking as a guest of a prestigious American University and b) rude treatment by Columbia's President, which stiffens the hand of our enemies.

So the question is: what matters?
Thoughts On Sports

The Forty Niners suck. Really suck. The offense is so bad, it's painful to watch. What the F happened?

Tennis - groundstrokes are a matter of being able to control speed, spin, and angle. Figuring that out and how to improve those elements of your game is the ticket to becoming a better player.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Drug and Oil Companies

I know it's fashionable to diss the drug and oil companies for overcharing us, polluting the environment, contributing to destabilizing regimes, and not providing resources to poor people...

But if we want to really look at the big picture and the scheme of things, shouldn't we be kinda sorta happy about all sorts of drugs that help save people's lives or at least make them feel better and the enormous improvements in living standards which have been fueld by the access to relatively cheap petroleum? I mean - are these really the boogy men we make them out to be? And by doing so, do we discourage smart young people to go into these industries to help make even better products?
Do You Believe In Global Warming?

It's almost as if that's the way hardcore climate controlists want to frame the debate. Either you believe it's happening, in which case we must do everything we can to stop it...or you're an idiot who denies science.

But isn't it much more complex than that? Isn't it a balancing question? How much is it happening? How much is human behavior affecting it? How costly is it to change that behavior?

Why won't Gore debate the topic?
War Supporters and War Opponents

War supporters are sometimes criticized for not actually sacrificing anything themselves for the war effort. It's a variation on the chickenhawk argument - that war support is somehow disengenuous unless it is backed up with appropriate action (ie serving yourself, you pussy!)

But why aren't war opponents held to the same standard? If war opponents are sooooo opposed to the war, why aren't they doing anything to stop it?

Just a thought.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Great Stuff

Including transcripted information on Bush's conversation with the Spanish president on the run up to the Iraq war. It gives evidence of several things: Bush had his mind made up about attacking Iraq, Saddam had all but admitted through back-door negotiations that he had WMD information, and Bush was concerned with the aftermath in Iraq and it figured into his early calculus.

Now, that doesn't take away from the issues that presently face us. But it does suggest that the more anti-Bush hyperbole is dead wrong and that our problems in Iraq come as a result of unintended consequences rather than any sort of purposeful lying or goal of creating chaos or empire.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Digging In

Threats watch gives an clear-eyed and worrisome account of Al Queda's strategy in Pakistan - and how it's working.

Conclusion: AQ wants to take over Pakistan "in tact," and control their state and hence military. Pakistan doesn't have the stomach to defeat AQ in Pakistan as they have already conceded several provinces and don't look to be taking the offensive. Thusly, only American boots on the ground in Pakistan will lead to eventual AQ defeat.

Just so I don't get a bunch of loony comments on my blog, I'm not advocating invading Pakistan. But the time may come when it is necessary. Sad fact: Iraq is giving us good practice on how to fight these kind of wars. If we can't learn to how to win, AQ and other enemies are going to use similar strategies in other places to hobble us.

USC gives up.

They get rid of the "no posting films online" policy. I love the attitude now that it was all this big honest mistake, an old rule written long ago before they knew the internet was going to be so big. In 2007? It took the USC Cinema School - a pioneer in new media and arts until 2007 to realize how big posting short films on the internet was going to be?

All right, I'm being a bit harsh. They are about 2-3 years late - when YouTube became big...which, in the scheme of things, for a big bureaucracy like USC, is not awful. But this policy was in place while I was in the middle of film school and the ridiculous excuses the administrators of the policy used to tell students were totally annoying and stupid (even in hindsight).

As a side note, people posted their films online anyway - despite the policy. There was no way USC could enforce it - who is going to peruse online and do the necessary research to track down the violators? Further, how stupid would they have looked if they tried to prosecute it? So does this matter? Only sort of. USC had to change their rules both because it was the right thing to do and because no one paid attention anyway.

Bush is advising top Democrats. This is how our country should run when it comes to important things.

Monday, September 24, 2007

All Things Considered...

I wish I had been there.

At first, I was annoyed that Columbia would host Ahmadinejad...but the answer to these fools isn't to restrict their speech, but rather to rather to let them talk and make total fools of themselves. Then again, we tried that with Bin Laden pre-9/11 and it didn't seem to work.

In case you missed it, he tells an audience of college students that Iran doesn't have homosexuals like we do. It is a phenomenon that doesn't exist. Also, it is not a crime to be a woman. Gee...thanks for clearing that one up.

Post note: what I find a bit sad is that he gets disdainful laughter when talking about homosexuals, but had he talked about America's disruptive presence in the world, I'm guessing 25-50% would nod their head in secret agreement at an elite college. I hope people realize that without America and all her faults exercising power around the world, countries won't be run by good Samaritans, but rather different degrees of Ahmadinejad's... I suppose I can't prove that to be true, but it is my instinct and history seems to back me up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Who Is Worse at Their Job?

George Bush or Rex Grossman?
8 Random Facts

Okay, I wasn't cool enough to be tagged by anyone, since I don't know any bloggers...but the VPostrel thing was kinda touching. So in the spirit of things, here goes:

1. Of all the first cousins in my generation (8 total), I am the only male.

2. I read a Tale of Two Cities in seventh grade, did a book report, and have never read another Charles Dickens book.

3. There is a museum in Jordan which has a painting named "Gregory" after me. The mother of a close childhood friend is an artist who painted a picture she thought looked like me.

4. The first concert I ever attended was a Grateful Dead show when I was 16.

5. I cannot remember whether the first CD I ever owned was the Pump Up the Volume Soundtrack or Poison by Bell Biv Devoe.

6. Despite being an avid Oakland A's fan growing up, my favorite baseball player was Don Mattingly.

7. When I lived in San Francisco I actually took the cable car to work.

8. Chelsea Clinton dated both my roommate from college and a former soccer teammate.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Good War Myth

Maybe with Ken Burn's documentary coming out on WWII there will be revisited discussion about the war.

To hear Americans today talk about WWII it is almost with a if, why, I wish we had such a noble war to fight. Noble? What was noble about this conflict? We're talking about a genocidal war. The Holocaust gets the most press - but there were multiple theaters of the war which both sides were simply annihilating one another's civilian populations.

Japan razed almost all of Asia from China to the Philippines to Korea to Malaysia. Croatians allied with the Nazis massacred Serbians and Muslims. Russians raped and pillaged Germany when they invaded. Germany killed nearly 20 million Russian soldiers and civilians. Germany bombed London for years. And we torched Tokyo, Dresden, and dropped the big ones on civilian cities.

50 million dead - in total. Entire populations of countries and religions set back generations. Note: there are still fewer Jewish people in the world today than there was in 1930.

Something like 60% of American POWs in Japan died because they treated us like dog shit.

At Nuremberg, the Russians and Churchill wanted the entire class of Nazi leadership summarily executed. We Americans said "No. If anything, this war was fought for the rule of law, and we are above that."

Would we feel differently if we had suffered the way England or Russian suffered? If we had been under siege for four years, or had been invaded and raped and pillaged and blitzkrieged. We sacrificed, suffered, and won...but isn't it a bit sanctimonious to talk about our moral authority and the good war, knowing what we know about how the war was fought?

What is it about WWII that captures our imagination? Is it because we were fighting evil Nazis and the treacherous Japanese? Were they worthier opponents?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hobbit People


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Iraq vs. Afghanistan

One of the reasons cited as evidence that Iraq is a failure is that we are creating more fanatical Muslims by being an occupier. That is probably true. It is certainly true in Central Asia where Islamicist parties in Pakistan gained popularity after the US invaded Afghanistan. But does that fact make the war illegitimate? If it did, it would make both the Iraq and Afghanistan campaign equally problematic.

Call me arrogant, but I could give a shit what these fanatics think about us or how they finally jumped on the fanatic fence after we decided to invade a "fellow" Muslim country. Like there is anything we can do other than submit to their religion that would make them happy.

Likewise, dealing with the insurgency in Iraq is still an ongoing problem, as is a similar fight in Afghanistan with the resurgent Taliban. How do anti-war folks justify pulling out of Iraq vs. pulling out of Afghanistan? Is it ultimately a cost thing? Or does it have to do with the original legitimacy of the invasion? Or does it have to do with post-invasion choices?

It seems stupid of me not to brought these questions up sooner.
Economics of Entertainment

Having gone to film school, most of my peers aspire to be "creatives." I use the term to differentiate between other elements of the industry - which are "business" and "technical," I'd say. Although there is an obvious overlap...particularly in the editing/DP/sound realm between creative and technical and in the producing realm between creative/ can fairly safely say most film students want to be some sort of creative person.

It is taken as conventional wisdom that becoming a "creative" is highly competitive and takes both a mixture of talent, persistence, and connections. Worst of all, you have to toil away without making any money unless you are one of the lucky few who get an easy first hit, or happen to be independently wealthy and can just toil away as a hobby.

But is it any easier to "make it" in the business or technical realms than the creative?

I am not sure. Take the agenting business. It is well established you can get an entry level job at an agency, work hard, get promoted and try to become an agent. Most fail. Most end up in other assistant jobs around town - producing, casting, development, whatever. If you look at it from a writer-agent perspective...and think each agent certainly reps more than one writer...say 10 on can do the simple math and realize for every 10 writers there can only be 1 agent. In the percentage sense, that must mean there are 10 writers for every 1 agent...and probably a similar ratio of wannabes. Add in managers and I suppose you can have a manager for every writer as well.

What about the other positions? For every movie there is at least 3 Producers (per the Oscar's), although there seems to be more, which is why they are changing the rules. Plus there are midlevel, associate producers. There is generally only 1 director. No associate directors or directors in training...there are all the technical, supporting jobs and then all the assisting jobs as well. Then at the studio there are several levels of executives. I don't know, now need to think about this more....

It's Well Worth the Watch

Monday, September 17, 2007

Niners Round Up

Big wins tend to disguise problems and beating the Rams is always a big win for the Niners. But two more feet and it goes the opposite way...and the whole discussion is different.

Here's the thing - the Niners play offensive without any style or panache. I don't like it, but I can live with it because as a team, they play tough. I gotta give Nolan credit for that. In football (and pretty much all sports) the only thing unforgiveable, I think, are teams that don't play hard. The Niners play hard, but they don't play smart. The offensive has no imagination and we've witnessed two mediocre defenses shutting them down.

I know the era of Bill Walsh, offensive genius, is over. We don't have Montana or even Young. Our receivers are mid-level NFL guys. Alex Smith shows moments of being an above average quarterback and a great leader, but lets be honest....moments schomements. If I had a quarter for every football player who showed promise...and witness across the Bay with Eric Chavez on the A's. In his first three years in the majors he hit .280, 30 dingers, 100 rbis, and showed signs of being a great clubhouse leader. He blasted a 500 ft homer in the playoffs against some stud pitcher. He was a young player, 22-24, and Billy Beane touted him as the next Mike Schmidt. The A's decided to sign him long term where they hadn't done the same for Jason Giambi or Miguel Tejada (two AL MVPs), and later with Milton Bradley and Frank Thomas. Since then, he's become a great fielder, is a good clubhouse guy, but his numbers have gone down - .250 and he is injury plagued. In short, showing promise is a lot different that performance...and can actually be misleading in some cases.

All that said, we're 2-0 and our defense looks solid for the first time in ages. Especially the secondary.

But our offense is so predictable, we make it easy on the other team. Are we physically incapable of passing on first down. Did you see Brady last night against the Chargers? That was textbook Niners of old. I know Smith is no Brady and never will be, but for chrissake, we've got this Vernon Davis fellow, use him on first down. Even if it fails, it'll put in the head of the other team that we actually might not run on every single play.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Impartial Surge Analysis

From a good economist, looking at statistical data. Totally non-political.

Conclusion: Read for yourself.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Coddling Terrorists?

Why not? Especially if Bill O'Reilly thinks so.
So That's Why No One Trusts Me

It turns out, diversity might not be beneficial after all. Ouch. A respected sociologist/scholar/writer, Robert Putnman researched a book trying to promote the benefits of diversity, but found the exact opposite. Diversity in the workplace and community corrodes.

"This translates into nine particularly troubling behaviours, including reduced confidence in government and in one's ability to influence politics, reduced voter registration and interest in social change, lowered expectations about the willingness of others to work together cooperatively, less charitable giving and volunteering, fewer close friends, a reduced quality of life and more time spent watching television. Indeed, one could hardly come up with a list of behaviours more likely to undermine democratic society."

Iraq Debate

Now that I think about it...the domestic debate on Iraq is just about one thing: whether to call it a failure or not. That's all it is...the discussion on troop numbers and deployment and tactics is all just a ruse. Anti-war people insist on calling it a failure. Pro-war people insist on the project succeeding. I see no end to this, like an insoluable calculus problem. A good leader would reframe the debate/question. I don't see any rising to the top.
Why Evil

Why is it not sufficient for Bush to be considered incompetent? Why does the left insist he is evil and malevolent? Again, it's back to tactics...
And Not A World About Iraqis

This is for Nate, because this guy seems to sum up how he feels about Iraq.

Without a single mention of the people or the country.
Heathcare or Iraq

There was a discussion on healthcare today on Adam Corolla. The guy had a funny point. People sit around and bitch about the cost of the drug that just saved their life. It was pretty funny.

Is heathcare broken? It depends on how you look at it. Of course, it doesn't work all that well. The question is - can turning it over to the government improve it? I'm skeptical. But then again, I don't really know. I tend to think the solution might be worse than the problem.

Which happens to be the exact opposite of my position on Iraq. We all admit Saddam was a nuisance. Anti-war folks think the alternative is worse. (And so did Dick Cheney and basically the entire national security apparatus back in the day).

Both issues come down to a cost-benefit analysis. It's going to cost a lot of blood and money to try to fix Iraq. Is it worth it? What are the odds of a successful outcome? Same with health care. It will cost a lot to fix it and lives hang in the balance. What are the odds of a successful outcome? Where to we spend our resources?

-on a side note, they brought up the question of whether healthcare is a right or a privilege. Thinking of healthcare as a right is a tricky and misleading notion...but that seems to be the crux of the issue.

Wild Oats is basically a dumbed down localized version of Whole Foods. But it is right below my office and as such, I visit it frequently. They make incredible muffins. Really, really good blueberry muffins. The muffin top is large and crispy on the outside, soft and cakey on the inside. It is not too sweet. It goes fabulously with coffee. I'm not a big muffin fan, but what's good is good.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Questioning Tactics

War opponents (old and new) constantly are questioning the tactics of war supporters and the war architects. Let me turn the tables for a moment. Why do all war opponents make it about Bush? Don't they know that is a divisive tactic? (I will grant that Bush and Rove do the same) Who do they hope to win over to their side by attacking Bush?

Surely, it doesn't help with the Bush supporters. And it certainly doesn't help with people like me. I just start zoning out the minute someone goes on a personal rant about Bush. I don't even like the guy, but it makes me like the arguer less.

Why not just make the point: look, there aren't any good guys to support in Iraq. There is no side to fight on that is significantly better than the other. We're just choosing one group of non-democratic thugs over another. That is a winning argument, if it is true. But is it true? Do war opponents think it is true? I suspect they don't. If they did, the prior argument is sufficient. Instead, they insist Bush lied or he betrayed us and get into all this nonsense...and it makes me think they speaking emotionally and not rationally. And that's fine, just don't expect it to be persuasive.

I liked, didn't love 3:10 to Yuma. It's a great story and there's some fine acting. I particularly liked the homoerotic Charlie Prince performance. Kudos to Luke Wilson for doing a bit part. Vinessa Shaw, I tip my hat. Russell Crowe had a lot of fun playing Ben Wade. Who wouldn't? What an awesome character. Mangold...hmmm...a few bits were awesome directing - getting into Christian Bale and Ben Wade in the room together, by themselves at the end - very good. The hardcore action at the end was very crisp and substantially different from the action up until the big moment.

But there were a lot of little screwed up details. The horse at the end - come on, gimme a break. And the original movie seemed to have a better sense of humor. Anyhow, a good popcorn flick/morality tale.
A Fine Question

Nate asks: "When are you going to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk? Put simply, you yourself aren't mustering any energy or fortitude to fight the foes in question, so it seems strange you would chastise others for a similar lack of action. I'm not calling you a chickenhawk. I just don't get the disproportionate sense of outrage."

His question is in regards to a particular post, but could pretty much apply to all I've written on the WOT on this blog. And it is a fine question I don't mind answering - and appreciate the balls (but perhaps not the sentiment) Nate shows in asking it. Nate doesn't come out and say it, but as I understand it, he's asking - "Why aren't you serving?"

Basically, I'm not a warrior. In the same way that I'm not a lawyer or not a doctor or a football player. Maybe I could be a warrior, if it were put to me. Likewise, I probably could be a lawyer or could have played football (albeit probably only at the JV level). Instead, I chose to become a filmmaker in the same way I chose to play soccer.

I think we have a lot a great soldiers serving our country. For the most part, they do quite a good job and my skill set and personality - in my own estimation - would not add all that much value to the military. Frankly, I just don't think I'd be very good at the same way I'm not all that good at water sports. Thusly, I think the military is doing fine without me.

Where else could I "muster the energy and fortitude" to contribute? I could join the FBI or the police. I could join the foreign service. I could join an intelligence agency. I could run for political office. I could join the fire department. I'm not sure what else...there are probably a host of other jobs that contribute to the WOT in some way or another. In some cases, I don't have the resources (run for political office), in others, the skills - foreign service (don't speak arabic). And others, I simply don't think I want to commit my life to doing the work, like becoming a cop. Shit, if I could, I'd privately finance a personal quest to hunt down and kill Bin Laden. But the fact is, I'm limited by my own time, resources, and ability.

As it is, I am expending quite a lot of energy and fortitude to try to "make it" in the film industry. As such, it is true, I am not contributing much, if anything, to the WOT effort. On a grand scale, however, I do think movies do matter to American cultural attitudes and overall can have an affect on American attitudes towards terrorism. I hope at some point in my career, I'll be able to have an impact on films I make and maybe some small contribution to the American shared cultural experience.

If I had had the time and resources, I'd love to learn Arabic and help the Arabs fight the Islamofascists, I'd love to run for office and help shape the Democratic Party's foreign policy decisions, I'd love to be a writer for the Atlantic, or be a professional tennis player. I think I'd even like to open a small deli and develop a customized sandwich menu. But I'd also love to be filmmaker, and unfortunately there's only 24 hours a day, and I like to sleep.

As far as chastising others for not taking action - I'm not really sure I do that. I chastise politicians for not doing their job well. I chastise other's opinions when they spout them off. I chastise self proclaimed liberals for not really supporting liberal causes. I chastise filmmakers when they make shitty movies. I chastise the 49ers when they play bad. But I don't chastise Mike Nolan for the Iraq war failures. And I don't chastise people for not serving their country. We have a volunteer army and I appreciate that some people devote their lives to serving and performing a duty. I also appreciate cops and lawyers and doctors and teachers and a host of other professions who do really important work. I am passionate about the WOT and am passionate about movies, moreso than the law or healthcare. I don't know what to say - maybe I should be less so.

I'm not sure my answer is sufficient, but it's the choice(s) I made. Maybe they were wrong and maybe they make me uncredible. Fortunately, everyone has the option to ignore me and my blog...which for better or worse, it seems most of the world has opted to do, save about 25 people a day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Different Point of View

Al Queda is planning their exit strategy.

"Are we in America safer than we were before 9/11? Who thought this question would be answered immediately? Demand for instant gratification in the personal choices of Westerners has turned into demand for instant gratification in worldwide matters of life and death. Of course, the war in Iraq rallied jihadists against us; of course, the enemy's plots expanded in number and geographical range. After Britain and France declared war on Germany in 1939, the Nazis succeeded in occupying most of the continent of Europe; after Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invaded and held much of the Asian mainland. War is not a quick fix; politics produces quick fixes, and war is an admission that politics has failed, and that "other means" (in the famous phrase of the military strategist Clausewitz) are necessary."

Interesting point. On 9/11, I was positive that politics had failed. Not sure everyone else saw it the same way.
Too Much and Not Enough

Is there too much reverence for movie directors in Hollywood?

Witness: Death Proof. More than anything, it seems like the movie needed a producer to say, "Look, Quentin, this is no good. You can do much better." Tarantino should be at the peak of his career, yet he seems to be burning out...the Kill Bill's worked as an exercise, but not a movie(s).

Witness: Godzilla and the end of the Lord of the Rings. I liked the LOR trilogy, but they were too long...too long for the story being told. The end of part 3 highlights the artistic problem with the batch. Is anyone giving Peter Jackson honest feedback, or are they all kissing his ass and making sure they have good back end percentages?

Witness: George Lucas. What happened to you man? It's almost as if the guy can't make a movie anymore.

There is an uneveness about Hollywood. At first, they bully filmmakers and re-write writers and don't let talented newcomers direct. And then the moment someone is established, they just let him/her do anything they want and it turns out crap...or at least not as good as it could be if there were some clear headed collaboration or hard nosed feedback given to these guys. Instead, they get puffed up and bloated and fat. Small tweaks in the system could probably produce better work.
All About Iran?

Sullivan (or a reader, rather) asks whether Iraq was all about Iran.

So long as we're being conspiratorial, I would suggest it was never about Iran, but rather about Saudi Arabia. The Saudis control the oil reserves of the world. Only the Saudis can ramp up and down oil production to manage the oil flow in any type of crisis. After 9/11, it was obvious to everyone that the Saudis are incredibly dangerous allies. They are also notoriously secretive and misleading about their oil reserves. This month's Atlantic offers a mathematical analysis showing that the largest oil field in Saudi Arabia may be drying up. The Saudi Wahhabists are hardcore fundamentalists, the population is young, overeducated, and unable to find jobs, the per capita income is much lower than 20 years ago. In short, the world economy is resting on a VERY unstable country.

Which brings us to Iraq...the one country in the Middle East whose oil production was severly under-developed (because Saddam, in addition to being a thug, was also an idiot). Iraq has the second most oil reserves in the world. What we need, medium term, to avoid worldwide recession, is a more stable oil supply. Iraq could be that place...or at least has a better chance at being that place than Saudi Arabia.

Anyhow, the plan doesn't seem to be going very well right now.
Iraq is So Fucked Up


A city worker in Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province, described his ambivalence in strong terms.

"The withdrawal of the occupation forces is a must because they have caused the destruction of Iraq, they committed massacres against the innocents, they have double-crossed the Iraqis with dreams," said Ahmad Umar al-Esawi, a Sunni worker. "I want them to withdraw all their troops in one day."

But, he added, dropping his voice: "There is something that I want to say although I hate to say it. The Americans forces, which are an ugly occupation force, have become something important to us, the Sunnis. We are a minority and we do not having a force to face the militias. If the Americans leave, it will mean a total elimination of the Sunnis in Iraq.

"I know I said I want them to leave, but if we think about it, then I have to say I want them to stay for a while until we end all the suspicions we have of each other and have a strong national government."

We could choose to ignore and Iraq and leave. We could have chosen to ignore Iraq and let it simmer under Saddam. Problem is - it'll never go away. It's like having a son or a younger brother whose deeply fucked up psychologically. Dealing with it is awful, but ignoring it doesn't make it go away. The thing that sucks about the world is that it's filled with people who are willing to treat each other like shit.
Attention Film School Grads

The title of this John August post is "Quitting and the Age Question."

It ain't pretty stuff.
Reproduced and Quoted Entirely, Here At Public Musings

I remember that back in the 80s when I was but a wee child there were a people called Communists. They were very bad, but we also had Rambo and he killed them. Thus we felt safe and happy and would say, "Yea, though there be Communists, verily there is John Rambo to kill them. Things are well in the world."

Today, there no longer are Communists since Rambo killed them all with explosive arrows, but there are terrorists. "Who will kill the terrorists?" we ask, and it is a good question. I think it is the responsibility of the government to kill terrorists. My reasoning on it is thusly: Terrorists live and plot in many different foreign countries with lots of different wacky laws. Thus, it's much easier for the U.S. government to stomp around ignoring those laws than it is for individuals. If I went into those countries to kill terrorists, those countries would say, "Hey, Frank. You are ignoring are laws. You go to prison now." And they would take me to wacky foreign prison, and I would not be able to resist because there would be many of them and they would be mean. But the U.S. government is even bigger and meaner and thus can ignore stupid foreign laws to kill the terrorists.

"When I think of who in the government could be good at killing terrorists, I think of the military."
Since it is resolved it's the government's job to kill terrorists, who in the government should kill them? The I.R.S? Congress? Those nine old people who tell us what the Constitution means? No, I don't think any of those people are properly equipped to kill terrorists. When I think of who in the government could be good at killing terrorists, I think of the military. They have guns and training at killing. They seem to be the perfect candidates for killing terrorists. Thus I say that our military should be tasked with killing terrorists.

Now that I've logically proved that the U.S. military should kill terrorists, it seems strange that some people would want to pull troops out of the Middle East. That's where the terrorists are! I guess eventually they'll come to us a few at a time, but it is so much more efficient to go over there and kill them en masse. When people say, "No! Bring the troops home!" I say, "But there aren't many terrorists at home. They are over there. You are being silly." Why would we move the troops? Who is more important to kill than the terrorists? The Swedes? Certainly not.

When someone tells you we should bring the troops back, ask him who does he think will then kill the terrorists. When he inevitably gives you a dumb answer, punch him in the face as should be the punishment for answers that are stupid. As is obvious, the U.S. military should kill terrorists.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What Is All This Crap?

I've been invited to Involver, LinkedIn, and Facebook all in the last couple days. What's the point of this stuff?
If I Had Money

I'd buy a sick camera, some furniture, and then with this.
I've Been Trying

The logline: Six years after 9/11, it's notable how little the politics of the left have changed.

I've always thought the war on Islamo Fascism should be the liberal's war. These shitpiles stand for everything a good liberal stands against. It should be in the core of our being to oppose them anywhere and everywhere. Yet merely because a born again Christain happened to win a close election in 2000, we've been reduced to overtly or covertly undermining his tactical efforts. Yee gads people, if we can't muster the energy and fortitude to fight the likes of Al Queda, Saddam, and the Iraqi Insurgency...all the polar opposite of what it means to be liberal, inclusive, and rights-minded - what is it exactly that we stand for?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Patraeus vs. Sullivan

When you cut away the bullshit, the real discussion is right here:

"One may argue that the best way to speed the process in Iraq is to change the MNF-I mission from one that emphasizes population security, counter-terrorism, and transition, to one that is strictly focused on transition and counter-terrorism. Making that change now would, in our view, be premature. We have learned before that there is a real danger in handing over tasks to the Iraqi Security Forces before their capacity and local conditions warrant. In fact, the drafters of the recently released National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq recognized this danger when they wrote, and I quote, “We assess that changing the mission of Coalition forces from a primarily counterinsurgency and stabilization role to a primary combat support role for Iraqi forces and counterterrorist operations to prevent AQI from establishing a safe haven would erode security gains achieved thus far.”"

So where, reasonable people, do you stand on this question?
What Sucks About Our Country Today

Is the same thing that sucked about our country when the whole Iraq thing started up five years ago. Petreaus makes his report to Congress. Any reasonable minded person who cares should be eager to hear it and listen to it and evaluate it. Instead, we have hecklers show up before the meeting and running a controversial character assassination in the NYTimes before the report was issued. Why do I hate these organizations and groups? Look at the tactics - designed not to listen or to think. They're designed to silence, interrupt, and impede. They are the equivalent of the person who plugs his ears and sings "Lalalalalalala," so they can't hear the other person make a point.

We liberals and democrats let these people speak on our behalf because they aren't George Bush...because they call themselves liberal. These people are "liberal" because they like being in the "liberal" gang. Don't for a second think it comes from a reasoned understanding of what it means to be liberal American or because they stand for liberal values.

I admit that I may let my anger towards these groups get the better of me. Maybe it led me to not being skeptical enough about how the Bush Admin was handling Iraq, particularly in 2004/2005. But I always took it as a sign of fundamental weakness of the "liberal" position that they were unable to articulate why Iraq was/is a bad idea without tacitly accepting these people as part of the anti-war "team." A strong anti-war position would not need the support of these crazies would actually worry about their support as opposed to accepting it.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I seem to pay attention to sports more when in SF...

This NFL season looks to be awesome. 49ers vs. Cardinals on monday night is going to be a blast. Can't believe they picked that game...the Cardinals with their high powered offense and horrible team history and the Niners with their conservative, smash mouth running game.

Justine Henin is hot. She also hits the ball really hard for a skinny 5'5" French/Belgium girl.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Lower Taxes

Gee, maybe Osama should run for President. In his new tape, he makes an elegant pitch for Americans to overthrow our government and embrace Islam. Yeah - good idea, bro!

"To conclude, I invite you to embrace Islam. There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling 2.5 percent.” that would increase my take home income about 20% in my tax bracket, but the downside is that I'd have to grow a beard, abstain from all worldly pleasures, and join the jihad. Think I'll pass.
The Next Lindsay Lohan

Say hi.
Test of My B-Ness Acumen

The word on the Hollywood street is that Yuma is going to underperform.

I've heard multiple people making similar predictions based upon early reviews, gut instinct, and experience.

Let me state it here as a test of my sensibility...I think they are wrong. I think it will do well. I think they've done a good, not over the top job of marketing the movie, I think the numbers will be decent this weekend...I think it'll be a good movie because the original source material is great, Mangold is competent, and the actors are good. In short, it'll get good word of mouth and be a success.

I haven't seen the movie or heard about whether it's good or's just my instinct on the people involved and the previews...

Please note in the past I made a similar prediction about Zodiac, but only after I saw it. I was proven wrong...although I still think it might have a chance when it gets re-released after it's Oscar nomination.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Sullivan is much better when he's not spazzing out on Bush or Torture. Here is a reasonable post on Iraq.

He rightfully recognizes their are risks to leaving and staying, but thinks we ought to leave because he does not support an indefinite colony in the shit hole of the world. I DON'T EITHER.

If I thought the point of Iraq was to colonize, I'd say F-THAT and get out. I support Iraq as a model. I support the idea that IF the guns were taken away from the moderates heads that the Middle East HAS A CHANCE to move away from the morass of tyrants and fundamentalists. We ought to help them achieve that model because the tyrants and the fundamentalists hate us - deep down they really, really hate us. Some of them hate us so much, they try to kill us, others merely secretly pine for our ill fortune, but the fact remains - as flawed as we are, are fundamentally better and incompatible with thuggish dictators.

If we can get the majority of the Sunni insurgency to chill and join the political process and get a central and local government that is not fundamentally designed to screw one of the ethnic minorities in Iraq...we should start pulling the big numbers of troops back and leave only a cadre to assist with eliminating AQ and not allowing the Insurgency to spike again. That is the goal. A somewhat workable Constitution-based country in Mesopotamia.

When do we fold? Well, I think we fold when progress is no longer being made, when we've exhaused our best options, and don't think it can be pulled off. We pull back to Kurdistan and let the Sunnis and Shiia duke it out and stay around for damage control. So long as the surge is working to quell violence and we allow the window for a political solution to take place...we just see if they can take advantage. If we put our best foot forward and fail, then we tried and lost, and it's bad for us and horrible for Iraq.
The 1/2 Cup of Coffee

My thang to control my coffee intake 'dese days is ta pour me-self 1/2 a cup. Sometimes I don't even finish it. Then if I decide to have another or even a third in a day...I've only really had 1.5 cups of joe. Which isn't that much, EVEN. And plus, I don't like the bottom half of coffee anyway when it isn't hot enough.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Going to be A Good Week

A crazy day at work yesterday was followed up by turning in 80% of my Film Independent stuff, followed by these fun late night US Open games and now I'm getting Miami Vice Season 1 from Netflix. Who's life rules!

Yipes is right.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Draft

The Onion nails it.

There is an honest debate to be had about mandatory service, many countries have it and beyond just filling numbers, it can have positive long term benefits to American culture. Many argue it was the desegregation of the military in 1950s that led to popular support of the Civil Rights movement because many white men in the military actually were forced to get to know black men and being able to know and identify with someone makes it a hell of a lot harder to sit by while their Civil Rights are being violated.

But what's annoying about the idea of a draft is that politicians use it as a scare tactic to try to get people against the war.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Too Fucking Hot

I don't remember it being this hot in LA the past couple years. Miserable days...

Thank God for movie theaters.