Wednesday, November 30, 2005

PJ Media

Umm. I think there's a problem at PJM.
Was Osama bin Laden killed in last month's earthquake in Pakistan? So said Senate minority leader Harry Reid to a Nevada TV station (video here). More than the news itself that the No. 1 Most Wanted could be dead -it's not the first time the speculation arises, and at least until now it has been never confirmed-, it's the possibility that Reid might have disclosed classified information what is has some angry, though others say that there's not much there there since Reid was only speculating[.]
Who is writing this crap? Oh, and I think the technical term is dash-ma (i.e., "-,")!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Link Whoring

Interesting post at Outside the Beltway that gets to some of my reservations regarding the utility of blogrolls. I'm not particularly surprised that NZBear is considering ways to curtail what looks like rampant -- though not necessarily ill-intentioned -- "gaming" of the current ecosystem.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Very Last Depth

Now I've seen it all. There can be no deeper spring of Moonbat-ery. It is not possible:

On September 25, 2005, in a startling speech at the University of Toronto that caught the attention of mainstream newspapers and magazines, Paul Hellyer, Canada’s Defence Minister from 1963-67 under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Lester Pearson, publicly stated: "UFOs, are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head."

Mr. Hellyer went on to say, "I'm so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something."

Hellyer revealed, "The secrecy involved in all matters pertaining to the Roswell incident was unparalled. The classification was, from the outset, above top secret, so the vast majority of U.S. officials and politicians, let alone a mere allied minister of defence, were never in-the-loop."

Hellyer warned, "The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning. He stated, "The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."

Hellyer’s speech ended with a standing ovation. [Of course it did -- ed.] He said, "The time has come to lift the veil of secrecy, and let the truth emerge, so there can be a real and informed debate, about one of the most important problems facing our planet today."

Screw Mesopotamia. Bush desires to conquer and/or destroy the galaxy and, if left to his own devises, will surely pursue the task. The most frightening aspect of this idiocy is the identity of the idiot himself: a former allied defense minister, though, granted, one of substantial insignificance.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Governor Mitty

Drudge has this outlandish story:

For nearly four decades, [Governor Bill] Richardson, often mentioned as a possible Democratic presidential candidate, has maintained he was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics.

* * *

But an investigation by the Albuquerque Journal found no record of Richardson being drafted by the A's, who have since moved to Oakland, or any other team.

Informed by the newspaper of its findings, the governor acknowledged the error in a story in Thursday's editions.

"After being notified of the situation and after researching the matter ... I came to the conclusion that I was not drafted by the A's," he said.

Topoketa, topoketa, topoketa . . .

The Modern Left

For anyone who came of age in mid-eighties America, there's a song that lies just beneath your consciousness. It's there no matter who you are or what you were into. It happened to crop up in iTunes as I was reading a moonbat comment at another site. Yes, it's perfectly puerile, but it also perfectly captures my disgust with the modern left:

You are so condescending
You're gall is never-ending
We don't want nothing -- not a thing -- from you.
Someone else had the same thought.

The Ebbing of Saint Pancake

Interesting news out of Hevron. It appears that the local Arabs have had enough of the International Solidarity Movement and are looking to the local Jewish community for assistance in ridding themselves of the rabble. Of course, the ISM is the organization that gifted the world with the venerable Saint Pancake (aka St. Jemima), unleavened be her name.

No More Boards?

Recently, I've linked quite a few Grateful Dead shows via the live music archive at It appears, however, that the Grateful Dead has now officially asked the archive to remove all soundboard-sourced recordings from its public servers. This has been a long time coming and I can't say I'm surprised it has finally occured. It is not a reason to be sad, though. What it means is that implementation of the Dead's long-term plan to offer the entirety of its soundboard vault for download is imminent. Sure, we're going to have to pay for the music, but the music will be pristine, sourced from the original masters without the annoying cassette generation that Latvala introduced into virtually every board he seeded from the Vault.

In addition to the soundboard restriction, it also appears that the archive is offering the Dead's live music only in streaming format, i.e., no more flacs and shns for compressionless download. To obtain copies of the show, one must either beat the archive's system, which is possible (though may not be for long) or buy it from the band once it becomes available. To that end, future installments of From the Attics will feature audience-sourced recordings in streaming format. Sadly, the audience collection is not nearly so complete as was the combined audience/board collection. Although that will probably change over the coming year, there is still much to discuss in the record that lingers.

More: Others blogging this loss: E-Scribe, Here Comes the Flood, Dan Bruno, Under Eternity Blue, and BornAgainDeadHead who writes:
If in fact The Dead are pulling these SBD recordings for their own commercial gain (i.e. to boost DP and Download Series sales), then shame on them. That would be very much against the spirit of they have always been about. Considering the popularity of The Archive, I think The Dead need to explain themselves.
Shame on them for seeking to earn money from their effort? What? I strongly disagree with this viewpoint. It's their music, after all. They don't owe this to anyone. Indeed, the Dead's trading policy has always been strictly limited to audience recordings, which they still permit on the archive. That policy just has not, until now, been enforced with regard to soundboards in circulation. With the ability to retain control of their music and make it widely available themselves -- at a profit -- it's no wonder that the band and GDP have finally decided to take a small step toward enforcing the well-known policy. How can anyone begrudge the band the fruit of its labor? Gifts are not entitlements.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I think the producers of Lost made a mistake in not introducing the Tail-Enders last season. The playing out of their story has taken quite a bit of steam out of the show. In particular, the telling of the Island mythos has suffered quite a bit over the last 3 or so episodes. Now that Jack and Anna Lucia are face to face, perhaps the show can get back to the more interesting mysteries (I'd ask if anyone has even bothered to look for Desmond, but that question seems downright silly when there is golf to be played . . .?). There's no denying the show has strayed in Twin Peaks territory, i.e., too much build-up, too little pay-off. I just hope some answers (or at least interesting clues) arrive soon -- and I hope they are better than dancing midgets. I've been worried, though, since little Walt begin speaking backwards . . .

Bonfire of the Vanities

Hit the house lights. Cue the fanfare. Raise the curtain. . . . Hey, you, steady on with that torch . . . wait for it. NOW! Woooof. And mike: Hello and welcome to the 125 Edition of the Bonfire of the Vanities. By now, everyone knows how this thing works. People write crappy, funny, weird, and/or stupid posts. Those same people then send their c/f/w/s posts to the Bonfire, where they are held out for general public ridicule.

So, without further ado, our first entry comes from Technogypsy. At the end of a virtually inscrutible post (that may or may not concern being stuck with something by Indian women from Garland), we get this:
having read Jonathon's emails about the male-female imbalance, made worse by the tendency of most Chinese women to go to college and not want to marry Chinese men (too demanding...I keep getting asked if I have male student. I shudder to think about when Noah gets older), how long before China decides the Romans had a good idea with that whole Sabine women mess?
Just a guess, but I'd say it will be quite some time before China feels the population pinch badly enough to emulate the Romans. Also on the murder and mayhem front, Dodgebloggium focuses his attention on the lighter side of double-homicide.

Speaking of Rome, things have not been going so well in the Province of Gaul recently. However, one French company is bound and determined to take advantage of its recent surge in popularity. Nickie Goomba has the story on Renault's marketing miracle. Continuing on the economic front, Brian Hong at the Wonder Years reports on a perfidious product recently introduced in an effort to exacerbate world hunger and despair.

Moving on, we find Suzi Chen at Special Fried Rice -- host of the upcoming December 6 Bonfire -- worrying about that which all of us who work for a living fear during winter: yes, vampires. Meanwhile, Mark Rayner at the Squib falls victim to an evil more profound:
He opened his eyes; it felt as though his eyelids were covered with coarse grit sandpaper, wielded by a demented carpenter.

The walls were swimming a bit, and he could just barely focus on the floor, where he could see the empty pizza boxes, Coke cans, and what … was that a pair of panties?
No, Mark. No it wasn't. And it certainly didn't belong to Michelle Leslie, Islam's hottest underwear model -- MyPetJawa has the sordid story (with pictures!). Similarly, Mean Ol' Meany appears to be suffering delusions of romance, and, if not delusional, why get hammered? Delusional or not, do not fear: Spirit Fingers is here to walk you down memory lane with a series of very real photos that feel a little bit wrong but will surely take your mind off other problems. Rounding out this portion of the festivities, the American Mind contemplates just what Page Kennedy did to get sacked from Desperate Housewives, while Brian Noggle brags that his blog is the only search result on Yahoo! for: "how to get your wife to agree to a threesome".

Conservative Cat submits a four-in-one post for the Bonfire, one part of which may prove genuinely helpful for those who have experienced problems with standalone track back pinger. Well, maybe not. The big story here is the mysterious One Pixel Shift.

Blog d'Elisson dissects the art of the Shower as practiced by the sexes. Why is he doing this? Well, it all stems from a Bowery Blow:
You know, the technique of blowing your nose by placing your finger over one nostril and expelling air (and miscellaneous Nasal Detritus) from the other nostril, without benefit of handkerchief. I call it the Bowery Blow because it’s the favored technique of street people on the Lower East Side of New York. Very nekulturny, of course…unless you’re in the shower.
Good grief, man. Just, good grief.

Meanwhile, over at 7 Deadly Sins, the Sinner calls someone else a geek -- get that:
I guess just knowing why this person is important sort of blows by previous non-geekdom out of the water, but at least I am not as hopeless as this guy (from where I pinched the link). I mean, The Coding Monkey? ... come on, really ... [dam, I wish I had thought of that...]
On the foreign policy scene, Peakah's Provocations is impressed that, even if he did walk into a locked door, President Bush still managed to avoid the dreaded Bushusuru. LilPoh submits a diatribe on what to do with the Arab World besides pity them. I don't think he reaches any conclusions, but that's probably because he can't decide what the premises are.

From the society pages, Peace Moonbeam Chronicles gives us a "seperated at birth" tale that inspires mortal terror and Interested Participant updates everyone on Michael Jackson's latest kink. Thanks, IP, just what everyone needed to know . . .

As for human interest, Random Yaks posts on the issue of Turkeys and their feathers. I can't characterize it any better than that.

And the final link of this Bonfire goes to Gullyborg at Resistance is Futile. Gullyborg has managed to attract a commentor so deeply-steeped in Moon-Battery that he has become powerless to shut up. As far as I can tell, the comment continues even now in the 6th dimension.

Well, that's it for this week's Bonfire. Thanks to everyone for stopping by the Chateau, to Kevin and Wizbang for the hosting privileges and, most of all, thanks to the contributors.

Don't miss next week's edition at a host to be named later, followed by the 127th edition at Special Fried Rice.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hot Cocoa and Blankets

Good news. Demosthanes arrived before dawn bearing the torch so, if all goes as planned, we'll light the Bonfire of the Vanities at some point later this evening. I know I promised pictures of the arrival ceremony but it was simply too cold this morning to allow for anything approaching a flattering picture of the weary Greek.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tenacious Falsehoods

I think Jeff Goldstein (h/t Instapundit) is absolutely right when, after accurately summarizing the Administration's position on the Iraq war "debate", he says:

These points, taken together, form an easy, concise, and—most importantly—a factually correct counter-narrative to the Dem / MSM narrative that has preached confusion, failure, quagmire, American criminality (torture, WP), and the relentlessness of an insurgency whose battleground savvy and knowledge of the Arab world are thwarting the plans of our confused military leaders and civilian war commanders. Oh. But we LOVE THE TROOPS!

Jeff concludes:

I think the narrative is a good one, but it needs to be repeated as loud and as often as the one the Dems have been peddling.

For my money, it is a national tragedy that Jeff is right, a national disgrace that the factually correct narrative needs endless repeating lest it by swallowed whole by counter-factual piffle. To me, the whole debate is 100% political. It offers nothing. Even if the Democrat's narrative were correct -- and it is demonstrably false -- so what? We're in Iraq now and the decisions we make today and tomorrow will have significant consequences, not only for America but for the people of a (hopefully) free Iraq. The so-called war "debate" does nothing to inform these momentous decisions, at least not as I see it. Regardless, the Left will repastinate this fallow ground because they simply can't help themselves when it comes to seeking political advantage. That the advantage they seek is founded on damned lies doesn't appear to register on their irony meter. So, by all means, let's waste some more time and effort re-establishing the facts. We can't not do it, but we can be pissed at the necessity of having to do so.

General Malaise

The big economic news of the day -- General Motors' announcement of job cuts and plant closings -- can't possibly come as a surprise, can it? Like many other huge American employers, General Motors has, over the years, become something of a welfare state. With each new round of labor negotiations, GM's fixed labor costs inexorably rise. Naturally, though, the UAW denies that it has any responsibility for GM's competitive failures:
"Today's action by General Motors is not only extremely disappointing, unfair and unfortunate, it is devastating to many thousands of workers, their families and their communities," Ron Gettelfinger, the union's president, said in a statement. "While G.M.'s continuing decline in market share is not the fault of workers or our communities, it is these groups that will suffer because of the actions announced today."
While GM's declining market share may not be the fault of any given employee or community, the company's apparent inability to meet contemporary competitive challenges is, in large measure, the unions' fault. Specifically, a tremendous percentage of GM's earnings are tied up in corporate entitlement programs, such as pensions, health care, etc. Those programs drain the very dollars GM would otherwise use to bolster its competitive position, whether through R&D, productivity initiatives, marketing strategies and/or incentive programs. The 30,000 workers who will lose their jobs over the next three years have no one but their Union forbearers to thank. The line worker who retired 20 years ago today draws an enormous pension and enjoys virtually complete medical coverage. If it's left up to him, he will continue to get his checks, regardless of whether today's fathers (and mothers) must be downsized in order to fund them.
Recently, U.A.W. members at G.M. voted to accept modest changes in their health care benefits, which had been virtually free. That agreement is expected to eventually save the company $3 billion in annual expenses before taxes. Despite that, G.M. still faces huge liabilities for retiree health care and pension benefits.
Catch that? A "modest" change that is expected to result in a $3 billion pre-tax savings. How much could GM save by making a significant change? Look, I'm not suggesting that companies shouldn't pay benefits to current and former employees but ask yourself whether, even if they are lucky enough to escape this round of cuts, today's GM employees will ever enjoy the benefits they are compelled to provide those who went before. In order to be benefits, i.e., in order to be beneficial, such things need to be sustainable over the long haul. GM is being eaten alive by so-called benefits because, in the finest of welfare traditions, those who came first ensured that they would reap the largest possible reward. And they left to those who would come later the privilege of footing the bill. GM needs to find its way into Chapter 11 where it can divest itself of obligations that compel current employees to sacrifice their own prosperity and job security.

Also blogging on this topic are Tapscott, who thinks the Unions will blink if presented with a draft Chapter 11 petition, BMEWS, who has a similar take on the retiree versus worker issue, Martini Republic, who pegs GM's debt at a staggering $276 billion, and A Stitch in Haste, who adds:
Like so much of "blue collar" social welfare and government fiscal policy, all that was achieved was to redistribute (not create) income, job security and prosperity, and not from "greedy" businesses such as auto manufacturers, airlines and textile firms, but rather from future employees. The opulence of yesterday's union contracts are being paid for not by white-collar executives, and not even (primarily) by "wealthy" stockholders, but by those blue-collar workers who will lose their jobs today and by those who will never have them tomorrow either.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Another Cynical Ploy

Next week in the House of Representatives should be even more interesting than last week, at least according to Scott Ott. Truth? Satire? The line is so very mucky . . .

Chavez Status Update #8

He can sing if he wants to. He can leave your friends behind. Our favorite tinpot little South American dictator is back to blaming Bush as he sets his sights on singing his way back into the hearts of Mexicans everywhere. You go, Hugo.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says the United States is the reason for the diplomatic rift between his country and Mexico.

Speaking to thousands of his supporters in Caracas Saturday, Mr. Chavez laid the blame for the conflict squarely on President Bush, whom the Venezuelan leader called "Mister Danger."

Mr. Chavez also told the crowd he hoped things "cool off" between Venezuela and Mexico, then he sang several tunes accompanied by a Mexican mariachi band.

Chavez Status

Previous Updates: 8:10pm/11.14.05, 12:27am/11.05.05; 8:02pm/10.31.05; 10:30am/10.22.05; 7:19pm/08.30.05; 1:46pm/08.28.05 and 10:00am/08.24.05.

We Have a Winner

Today's O. Henry Award for Unintentional Irony goes right here. I genuinely like LaShawn's blog, but this is just a bit too rich. We're all allowed a certain amount of passes, though, and she gets one on this. After all, I haven't been paying a whole lot of attention to the OSM sniping -- it may actually be worse than it appears to this casual observer. Don't miss the last paragraph, though, where the OHA was siezed in the best spirits of its rich tradition.

Potentially Good News

LGF links to this:

At least one Arab television media outlet reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of the al-Qaida in Iraq, was killed in Iraq on Sunday afternoon when eight terrorists blew themselves up in the in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The unconfirmed report claimed that the explosions occurred after coalition forces surrounded the house in which al-Zarqawi was hiding.

There's not much more I'd rather see than little tiny bits of Zarqawi cluttering the Iraqi countryside. Let's hope it's true, though I've hoped the same with regard to stories that haven't panned out in the past. In any event, the visual imagery is nice . . .

Wizbang has more.

More: Lawhawk at A Blog for All is all over this emerging story. In the last few hours, the momentum on this one has continued to grow as new facts are uncovered. I don't want to experience another let down, but it's kind of hard not to get a little excited.


Today brought my first blogospheric Caravaggio sighting. Caravaggio was a mystic, a murderer, and a Pope's portraitest, who, through the technique of chiaroscuro, gifted us with perhaps the most emotionally powerful paintings of the Baroque period. Wikipedia has a decent entry. While Caravaggio's art is fantastic, his life story is of equal, if not even greater, interest. The best short biography I have found is Desmond Seward's Caravaggio: A Passionate Life, which I read when it was published in 1998. Seward is not a prose artist, but the material is more than strong enough to compensate.

The Martyrdom of St. Matthew

Next week: Gericault-blogging!

Blogroll Added

After more than a year, I've finally added a blogroll via blogrolling. Eventually, I'll probably categorize the thing to seperate the various types of links (e.g., blawgs, aggregators, big media, etc.) but for now the list includes sites that I try to visit on at least a weekly basis. Folks are undoubtedly familiar with many, if not most, of these blogs and other sites, but there are probably a few that are relatively unknown to those who, from time to time, wind up here.

An appended asterik indicates an update within the last three hours.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

World Toilet Day

I suppose that sanitation really is not something at which to smirk, but, c'mon, World Toilet Day? How is anyone supposed to keep a straight face. One can only wonder how the common man is to mark the occasion . . . so to speak, of course.

Gimme a Break is also blogging on this critical subject:
For those interested in taking toilets to a higher level the World Toilet College (WTC) has been established to respond to the needs of creating an independent world body to ensure that the standards of toilet design, cleanliness, maintenance, quality of work and sanitation technologies are met. Among the courses offered are restroom design, restroom special training and an ecological sanitation course. Can’t speak for others but I’ve already put aside November 19 in order to mark next year’s World Toilet Day. I’m already experiencing the urge to go.
Now that's a life's calling . . . or is that a nature's calling?

Friends of the NEA

Today, Bob Novak reports that the NEA has been letting out its facilities to the Communist Party USA:
The District of Columbia cell of the Communist Party USA has been revealed as holding a monthly luncheon in the cafeteria of the National Education Association (NEA), without the sponsorship but not with the disapproval of the huge, politically powerful schoolteachers union.

The Communist meetings were reported by Chris Peterson in the Washington City Paper edition of Nov. 11-17. A lawyer attending the September meeting bolted from the cafeteria when he learned a reporter was present.

This is the type of activity that those who teach our children believe is fit for their premises. I'd say it's scandalous, but when you're talking about the NEA, that pretty much goes with saying, now doesn't it?

Our English Cousins

Great story in the Telegraph about what the Brits are up to in Iraq these days:
The SAS killed three suicide bombers in Baghdad as part of an undercover, shoot-to-kill operation in Iraq, it can be revealed.

The three terrorists were all killed by SAS snipers armed with specialist rifles. Each terrorist was wearing a suicide vest laden with commercial explosives. It is understood that they were intending to target cafes and restaurants frequented by members of the Iraqi security forces.

A 16-man unit of the SAS, acting on intelligence obtained by an Iraqi agent working for the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), shot dead the would-be bombers in a combined SAS and American operation in July this year.
These three must have went up like fireworks. Good shooting, friends. Nice to know the British SAS and American Special Forces are working together to kill these vermin. I wouldn't want to be wearing an explosive vest with these guys around. It's pleasing to know that our enemy is not quite so smart.

From the Attics #2

This week, I've written a bit about Grateful Dead keyboardists. Necessarily then, it is time for a fun Garcia moment. The Dead played Good Lovin' from their earliest days on through to the end. Played it 428 different times, in fact. It was a Bobby staple and, with only rare exceptions in the band's last 20 years, it found its home as the final song of the show, excluding the encore. They did it well. Even so, the song had something of an inevitable quality about it. Suffice to say that noone was ever surprised to hear it. That's why what happened on September 7, 1987 as the Dead kicked off the fall tour in Providence, R.I. was so much fun. Although the opening night of any tour had a little something extra, the show was, in all material respects, relatively unremarkable. That is, it was until, in the middle of an otherwise routine rendition of Good Lovin', the chord progression subtly changed and, before anyone picked up on it, Garcia stepped to the mike and began belting out La Bamba in perfect spanish. It was one of those laugh-out-loud kinda moments -- a sure signal that, not only had the band fully recovered from its annus horriblis in 1986, but was really and truly having fun again.

La Bamba would show up only 4 times, but that was enough. It was never a serious contender as a permanent addition to the repertoire. It was just silliness with a bit of gusto. Well worth a listen, though. Here's the first version from Providence (this is a taper section recording, so don't expect soundboard crispness) (or track 22 in this stream). Because La Bamba wasn't seperately tracked, you'll have to hear the way we heard it -- in the middle of Good Lovin'. The crowd reaction is priceless. If you're too impatient, here's the seperately- tracked 09.18.87 Madison Square Garden effort (or track 16 in this stream) (.nfo). The other two versions were performed on 09.13.87 in Landover and 09.23.87 in the hallowed halls of the Philly Spectrum.

More: Oh what the hell. One can hardly talk about Good Lovin' without at least mentioning one of the most widely respected versions. Before his death, Pigpen owned this song. And owned it on April 17, 1971 in Princeton he did. Because this version spans three separate tracks to accomodate a six-minute drummer's interlude, best to select track 11 from the stream. The real action begins, though, with track 13 (warning: this is a 9.0 mb 64K .mp3 so, yes, it's long (20 minutes) -- the stream is the best bet all round).

By the by, I use winamp for the streams, though I suspect anything will work.

More: For reasons noted here, many of the links will no longer work.


Speaking of Pelosi (and I try to do that as infrequently as possible) John Miller at NRO has done some very dirty work on our behalf. Even I am surprised how badly the minority leader writes fiction.

I'm reading John Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga these days. I'm not too far into yet to lay it aside and return to Gravity's Rainbow, which I had to put down for a bit just for sanity's sake. Although something of a wonder to his contemporaries, Galsworthy's reputation has steadily declined since his death in 1933. In my view, the decline is not entirely without justification.

Pynchon is something else, entirely. Prior to Gravity's Rainbow, I had only read Vineland, a book that, due to having read it during Mock Trial Nationals, I will forever associate with the great city of San Antonio. At the time of its release, there was much talk about Gravity's Rainbow being to the second half of the 20th Century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. That talk, it seems to me, was -- and remains -- terribly well-founded. It takes some time to pick up the rythym of Pynchon's prose, but it is a very worthwhile endeavor.

Also currently near the top of the to-read pile is Volokhonsky and Pevear's new translation of Dostoevsky's The Gambler (the two have previously done fabulous work with the Brothers K, Demons, C&P, The Idiot, Notes and The Adolescent), Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, Dan Simmons's Illium, and Stephen King's Wastelands.

What am I most looking forward to, though, is Peter F. Hamilton's forthcoming Judas Unchained, which picks up where Pandora's Star left off. It's been all I can do to hold off ordering this from Amazon UK, where it was published in October. I don't read bunches of science fiction, but, back in July, Instapundit put me on the trail of Pandora's Star and I'm glad I gave it a chance.


What's with these people? Only three of them -- bloody THREE -- have the courage of their oft-spouted convictions? How can thinking people on either side of this issue have any use for these people:

Democrats said [the vote] was a political stunt and quickly decided to vote against it in an attempt to drain it of significance.

"A disgrace," declared House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. "The rankest of politics and the absence of any sense of shame," added Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat.
Okay. What? You've been calling for this for months, and when given the opportunity to put your money where your big mouths are, it's a political stunt? Well, I suppose there are some political stunts going on here. I won't ding Murtha for views that he appears to come by honestly. As for idiots like Pelosi and Hoyer, though, if this were Gaius's Rome, they wouldn't merit even the scant dignity of an appointment at the Coliseum. Craven. Simply craven.

We've got a battle to win and a larger war to prosecute. Can you imagine what might be accomplished if many of our leaders weren't overtly shilling for the enemy?

Friday, November 18, 2005

All Things Beautiful

Alexandra at All Things Beautiful is my new favorite person. If only her name were Mercedes . . .

From the Attics #1

Given that the Grateful Dead's ouerve is now available online in its (virtual) entirety -- and linkable with relative ease -- I want to do a little mining, both as a matter of personal interest and as a matter of posterity. With over 2300 shows to their credit, there's a wealth of material to examine. I want to start today with all-time classic, Louie, Louie. Although the band's history with this song extends from May of 1967 through April 1989, the only played it 8 times for an audience. I happened to catch two iterations, one in Manhattan and the final Louie, Louie in -- wait for it -- Louisville, Ky.

The earliest version was played on May 18, 1967 at the Await High School in Mountainview, California. However, the earliest recorded version that currently circulates -- September 7, 1969 -- is from a place called The Family Dog that used to exist in San Francisco. On this night, the Dead were joined by the Jefferson Airplane and vocals for Louie, Louie were provided by Joey Covington. Download and hear the .mp3 file or select track seven from this stream (recording .nfo file here). Two points of added interest from this show: from Louie, Louie, the band seques nicely into their only attempt at the Beatles' Twist and Shout and, at one point, in response to a crowd request, drummers Billy and Mickey drag the band into classic surf tune Wipe Out (or track 5 in the stream).

Compare the Family Dog stuff with Brent's whiskey-soaked Louie, Louie. Here's the April 5, 1988 breakout (or select track 11 from this stream), which arrives 1300 shows after the rowdy Family Dog nght (.nfo). Here's the final version -- a steamy slow blues treatment -- from the April 9, 1990 Louisville show (track 11 in this stream) (.nfo). As an aside on the Louisville show, all throughout SPring Tour 1989, which I did in its entirety, rumors were swirling that the band was ready to reintroduce the classic Help on the Way>Slipknot>Franklin's Tower trilogy back into the lineup. It had been four years since they dropped it from rotation and expectations were high. The strange notes emnating from the stage during the tuneup for what would turn out to be Louie, Louie to open the Second Set had everyone keyed up thinking that Help was indeed on the way. But alas, we'd have to wait another six months for that one. And that weekend in Hampton is another post entirely. The four other Louie, Louies were all attempted during 1988 04.15 (Chicago), 04.22 (Irvine), 05.01 (Palo Alto), 09.20 (NYC) in 1988.

*All .mp3 downloads are (relatively) small 64Kbps files while the streams are vbr m3u.

More: For reasons noted here, many of the links will no longer work.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

End of the World

Well, it sure feels like it given that I find myself agreeing with obnoxious blowhard Joseph Wilson:
Joseph Wilson, the husband of outed CIA operative Valerie Plame, called on Thursday for an inquiry by The Washington Post into the conduct of journalist Bob Woodward, who repeatedly criticized the leak investigation without disclosing his own involvement.

"It certainly gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. He was taking an advocacy position when he was a party to it," Wilson said.

* * *
Before publicly disclosing his involvement in the leak case on Wednesday, Woodward was a frequent critic of Fitzgerald's investigation in television and radio appearances. Woodward has described the case as laughable and Fitzgerald's behavior as "disgraceful" and has referred to him as "a junkyard dog."
I still have less than zero respect for Wilson, but even media-whoring idiots get things right once in a while. And what kind of man needs his wife to get him a job, anyway?

Other comment at Malkin, courtesy of Bryan Preston, whose criticism that Wilson is somehow being hypocritical here due to his involvement in the story I don't find at all persuasive. After all, we all knew where Wilson fit into this. It's not Woodward's advocacy that's the issue, but, as is so often the case, his nondisclosure. Bryan says a bit more at his home base Junk Yard Blog. Although he makes other good points, I don't find anything that butresses the throw-away hypocrisy argument. Wilson can be knocked on many counts, just not this one. More at the Dusty Attic.

Band Chatter

There's a brand new addition to the Dead archive. Jonathan Aizen has uploaded a 22-minute 1987 conversation among the band members that, while focusing on the then-newly recorded In the Dark album, is a wide-ranging and interesting discussion. Brent, as the "new guy" conducts the discussion, which, at its most interesting, has Brent asking Garcia how it felt to almost die (Garcia experienced a severe diabetic coma in 1986). It's available as a .shn download here. If your a fan, it's well worth a listen.

My favorite line:
Mydland: [To Jerry] What body part would you consider injuring and to what degree to save the latest master tapes [of In The Dark]?

Garcia: . . . I think I can probably stand to lose a rythym guitarist, possibly a drummer.
Yep. That's about what I would have expected. In other not-so-news, the Sun had an interesting piece on Garcia's Conservative Children during the summer and, surprise, surprise, last month San Francisco named its new amphitheater after Garcia. As for the Sun piece, here's a taste:

Think back to the ringing guitars, the spinners, the patchouli oil and the haze of pot smoke hanging over an arena - the psychedelic country rock of Grateful Dead concerts seem like an unlikely cradle for today's conservative commentators.

And yet, 10 years to the day after Jerry Garcia's death on August 9, 1995, no less than three of Generation X's most high-profile young conservatives remain dedicated Deadheads: Deroy Murdock, Tucker Carlson, and Ann Coulter.

I've never understood what's so surprising about a conservative deadhead. I've gone from being a "put-that-cow-out" Vegan tourhead hippie to a carnivorous conservative lawyer and my love of the band has remained constant throughout. The thing is this: the band wasn't about anything other than the music. And, as far as live music goes, there's never been better. The freepers have more reaction on this most pressing of issues.

French Affirmative Action?

The most recent topic at the Becker-Posner blog is the French Riots. The economic discussion is interesting. I think, though, that the comparison between what is happening in France and the American experience during the sixties is a little too facile. That said, Posner makes an interesting point on the absence of affirmative action in French society:
Another factor in the recent French riots may be the French refusal to engage in affirmative action. The French are reluctant even to collect statistics on the number of people in France of various ethnicities, their incomes, and their unemployment rates. No effort is made to encourage discrimination in favor of restive minorities (as distinct from women, who are beneficiaries of affirmative action in France) and as a result there are very few African-origin French in prominent positions in commerce, the media, or the government. Affirmative action in the United States took off at approximately the same time as the 1967 and 1968 race riots, and is interpretable (so far as affirmative action for blacks is concerned) as a device for reducing black unemployment, creating opportunities for the ablest blacks to rise, promoting at least the appearance of racial equality, and in all these ways reducing the economic and emotional precipitants of race riots. Of particular importance, affirmative action was used to greatly increase the fraction of police that are black, while the "community policing" movement improved relations between the police and the residents of black communities. French police, traditionally brutal, have by all accounts very bad relations with the inhabitants of the Muslim slums. The French riots are a reminder that affirmative action, although offensive to meritocratic principles, may have redeeming social value in particular historical circumstances.
I am loath to condone the concept of affimative action, but I think that reluctance stems more from current circumstances than an intellectual rejection of the premise. In other words, affirmative action makes no sense -- and is pernicious -- in a society that could otherwise function perfectly well as a true meritocracy. What Posner is suggesting is that France ain't there.

Accepting Posner's premise that affirmative action might be part of the solution, Mickey Kaus at bloggingheads had a different idea: bring back the French draft. It may not be a perfectly bad idea. The French military (smirk) used to function as France's melting pot, throwing all segments of French society into the same hopper and, in the process, generating some mutual respect along the way. Nothing in France's traditionally xenophobic society currently performs that service. Well, it's an idea, anyway, and one probably not quite so given to creating brand new ethnic/class tensions as implementation of affirmative action.

Netowrk Television? What's That?

Frank J. at daily-stop IMAO nails one of the reasons I completely gave up on non-sports television -- and it's not tongue-in-cheek. These days, thanks to dvds, I watch only what I want to watch, and only when I want to watch it (though I confess to having made one exception this year for Lost after watching the 1st season dvd set this fall). For my money, there is nothing that the networks can do to bring me back as a regular viewer. It won't happen.

More: Looks like the Junk Yard Blog has a similar rule for Lost, which really is the best television drama of the last decade. DirectTV describes every show as Comedy, Drama, Sports, etc. For Lost, the description is: Action/Adventure/Drama/Mystery/Crime. And that is why it is so good. For the record, I consider neither Stargate SG-1 nor Xena to be television dramas . . . both of which are available on dvd.

One Machine Readable Copy

The Talent Show is dumping on OSM. Not a blog I generally agree with but I found this kinda sorta odd:
You may not reproduce, distribute, copy, publish, enter into any database, display, modify, create derivative works, transmit, or in any way exploit any part of this site. The only exceptions to this are that you may download material from Our Site for your own personal use, provided such download is limited to making one machine readable copy and/or one print copy that limited to occasional articles of personal interest only. No other use of the content of Our Site is permitted. Please contact our Sales Department if you wish to have rights other than those stated above.
That's half of the OSM copyright statement. Now I realize that, although not explicit in the statement, fair use doctrine will allow anyone to make as much use of OSM's content as they would of any other site's. Still, taken literally . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

You've Gotta Be Kidding

Nothing like doing the opposition's work for them. As Bulldog Brisco would say: This stinks. This is total B.S.

Did Warner and Frist think this wouldn't see the light of day? Click here for the full bill. Simply abominable.

OSM Launches

OSM officially launched today. But enough of that. There's a blogosphere tiff today courtesy of combatants Charles Johnson (lgf) (and the lizardoids) and Ann Althouse (plus the, umm, Altoids, I guess?). Semen, sharks and pus are all involved. So far no Morlocks, though. Somehow Jeff Goldstein winds up in the middle, without even leaving home.

My prediction: This contretemps will outbuzz the OSM launch . . . maybe. In any event, good luck to the OSM crew!

More: Further reaction to the OSM launch and related tiff at Houblog.

Blogrolls -- Reader Opinions?

After spending over a year on the fence, I'm thinking about initiating a blogroll at the Chateau. I know this blog doesn't attract bunches of comments (and that's just fine) but I am earnestly wondering what blog readers think on this question. Do you find blogrolls helpful? I've never used them much. Or are they just largely ignored as clutter? Thanks to anyone who contributes a thought on this topic, which, oddly enough, I've never seen discussed in the blogosphere.

French Riot Alert Level Increased

Surber has the story. Run and see. As a pedantic thing, wouldn't Surrender be a lower level alert than Collaborate? I mean, one can honorably surrender and still not actually help the enemy. Well, that is in places other than France.

For those visiting on Don's RLP (i.e., reciprocal link program), more from me on other topics here.

p.s. Please don't mistake the name of this blog for something Franco-philic. If you know your Dumas and/or history, it's not. We're not very big on the cheese-eaters over here.

More: Wow. Congratulations, Don, on your promotion to Humanity in the TTLB ecosystem. It may have happened a while ago and I missed it. If Don's blog isn't on your daily visit list, it should be. At #25 it seems he's on everyone elses. Congrats again from lowly rodent #5402 (and falling!).

What Next?

You had to ask, didn't you?


This study suggests I've been going about blogging all wrong:

A study of the country's 200 most profitable [law] firms found that more than half of them -- 116, to be exact -- have blue logos, websites, business cards, and other advertising materials.

Why blue? Maybe because it's what's known in the marketing business as a ''low arousal" color, one that elicits a sense of calm and relaxation. Blue also projects an aura of royalty and authority.

Red, in contrast, is an adrenaline-pumping, ''high arousal" color that exudes excitement, action, and aggression, says Tom Simons, founder of Partners + Simons, the Boston ad agency that did the study.

Red has even been shown to raise blood pressure, which may be why only 19 percent of the law firms surveyed chose it for their brand identity.

Well, time to change. There. That's much better. I'll be installing blogads tomorrow.

The Internet Is Safe

. . . at least for the time being. CNN reports that a deal has been struck to leave "control" of the Internet in the hands of ICANN:

Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit.

U.S. officials said early Wednesday that instead of transferring management of the system to an international body such as the United Nations, an international forum would be created to address concerns. The forum, however, would have no binding authority.

The UN with control over the Internet? As they like to say on Fark, what could possibly go wrong?

The Robe Is Off

Article III Groupie at Underneath Their Robes has been unmasked by Jeffrey Toobin as a young-ish AUSA in Newark. UTR, which I admit taking some guilty pleasure in, has gone dark as A3G wrestles the blog's future. Oh, it also turns out that A3G is a he, a factoid that likely gave more than a few lawyers the heebie-jeebies. At any rate, I hope the best for David Lat. I think his unmasking is going to be problematic -- his colleagues and, more significantly, his audience on the 3d Circuit, now know his alterior identity. Here's hoping it's not. The world damn well needs federal judicial hottie contests. And, by God, no righteous bench-slap should escape public notice.

More from the Conspiracy (here and here), Neddy's Palaver, the Jaded JD, and the blog of the Right Honorable Samuel Alito (who finally had to point out the patently obvious!).

More: One more link on A3G. My suspicion was confirmed that my former big firm colleague and friend, Dan Solove, has written about almost nothing but A3G today at Concurring Opinions. To be fair, as I'm usually not where Dan is involved, he's only posted twice today. Dan also has some recent and interesting comments on the Wayback Machine and related issues. If Dan visits, I hope he doesn't A3G me . . . not that it's likely, considering how many Deadhead big firm lawyers he must have been privileged to work with over the years.

Even more: Thanks, Howard, for the link. Also, as Unusued and Probably Unusable points out, the word "alterior" bears but the shakiest of relationships with English . . .

Yet more: I notice that How Appealing has sent quite a few folks from DOJ this way, so, against my better judgment, I'll link an older post they might appreciate. All in good fun, folks.

Perhaps Libby Didn't Lie

Something bordering on a bombshell in the Libby/Plamegate story today. According to the Washington Post, Bob Woodward knew of Plame's identity months before Libby and, get this, had a meeting with Libby during which Plame may have been discussed:
[Woodward] also told Fitzgerald that it is possible he asked Libby about Plame or her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. He based that testimony on an 18-page list of questions he planned to ask Libby in an interview that included the phrases "yellowcake" and "Joe Wilson's wife." Woodward said in his statement, however, that "I had no recollection" of mentioning the pair to Libby. He also said that his original government source did not mention Plame by name, referring to her only as "Wilson's wife."

Woodward's testimony appears to change key elements in the chronology Fitzgerald laid out in his investigation and announced when indicting Libby three weeks ago. It would make the unnamed official -- not Libby -- the first government employee to disclose Plame's CIA employment to a reporter. It would also make Woodward, who has been publicly critical of the investigation, the first reporter known to have learned about Plame from a government source.
Hmmm. What did Libby say? He said he first learned of Plame's identity from a reporter. Now, before we get too worked up, the facts presented in the indictment suggest Libby sourced the information to other journalists, specifically Tim Russert. But Libby's a busy guy who talked to many reporters. He may have simply misremembered the specific source. In any event, this bears watching. Closely.

More from Blogs for Bush, those who will always be the CrushKerry guys to me, Captain Ed, and, of course, Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute who also thinks this borders on good news for Libby:

As to the specifics of the Libby indictment, a bold prosecutor might press ahead - arguably, Libby's statement that he believed he was hearing about Plame for the first time when he spoke to Russert is still false, and arguably, Libby's assertions that he sourced his knowledge to other reporters when he spoke to Miller and Cooper are also false.

But it will take a mighty straight-faced jury to focus exclusively on that if the defense can bring in a parade of reporters that may have, directly or indirectly, put the Wilson and wife story in Libby's ear.

And in the court of public opinion, a Bush pardon in Jan 2009 becomes a lot less politically charged if earnest Reps (and John McCain!) are convinced that the prosecution was deeply flawed.

Good round-up at Decision 08 and the panopticon of the blogosphere, Memorandum.