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Saturday, March 11, 2006
 
Greatest Comic Novels

If Roger Kimball's got enough smarts to put Leave it to Psmith at the top of this list, then I've got to read the rest of the books he mentions.

1. "Leave It to Psmith" by P.G. Wodehouse (Doran, 1924).

May I begin a survey of superb comic novels by offering the collected works of P.G. Wodehouse--100 volumes, give or take? No? Well, how about "Leave It to Psmith"? Everyone knows about Bertie and Jeeves. Allow me to introduce Rupert Psmith. The "P" is silent, he explains, "as in phthisis, psychic, and ptarmigan." But the comedy is uproarious in this tale of an impecunious though impeccably turned out dandy who impersonates the modern poet Ralston McTodd--a scaly specimen--in order to cadge an invitation to Blandings Castle so that he can pursue the beautiful Eve Halliday. The plot is stuffed with improbable twists, farcical turns, breath-stopping complications and one of the greatest predawn flowerpot-throwing scenes in literature.


The Psmith novel is the linchpin in the Blandings saga and the flowerpot scene is its climactic moment. Wodehouse is, in my opinion, the greatest writer of the 20th century. This is as good a time as any to suggest a visit to the Wodehouse quote generator.

In the late 1980s, the Atlanta Braves had a pitcher named Pete Smith, and of course the back of his uniform read PSMITH, which immediately made him my favorite player. He was pretty much a journeyman player, not as good as the teams he played on.

BTW, several Psmith novels are now in the public domain as are some others and can be read at Project Gutenberg. Unfortunately, Leave it to Psmith is not one of those; if I recall correctly, it's a 1928 copyright, which means it's getting swept up with the Disney rat. However, you can read Something New there, which is the very first Blandings Castle novel.
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Friday, March 10, 2006
 
McCain Showing Smarts

I don't always have nice things to say about John McCain, but this post certainly indicates his heart is in the right place. Kudos to the Ankle-Biters for catching this.

I have to admit, I'm starting to warm up to the concept of a McCain nomination in 2008. It virtually guarantees the Republican Party a win, and unlike the Kossacks I'd rather win half a loaf than lose it all. It's John's turn, and we are a party that generally nominates the person whose turn it is (Ronald Reagan in 1980, George HW Bush in 1988, Bob Dole, 1996). While he's been in the wrong in my opinion on a number of issues (campaign finance reform for example), he's been generally solid on the war on terror. Yes, perhaps he's a little too concerned about "torture", but he experienced it at the hands of his North Vietnamese captors.
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Blogrolling Policy

In general, I am happy to add good blogs to my blogroll. My main criteria are as follows:

1. I don't want to blogroll any brand new blogs. Ask for a link after you've been blogging for a month and shown a consistent history of at least daily postings. Feel free to send me an email prior to that if you'd like a link to a specific post that you consider particularly apt for my readers. You'll get more traffic from a post link than a blogroll link, anyway.

2. Don't send me an email simply requesting a "link exchange" without any indication that you've read my blog and are familiar with the topics I discuss here. I get an appalling number of these and they quickly go into the trash folder. Tell me why my readers would like your blog. Do you blog about politics, economics, finance, heroes or football? Odds are very good my readers will be interested. If you blog mostly about recipes for nesselrode pie, I doubt there's going to be an overlap.

3. I don't blogroll sites that espouse hatred or violence or racism. I prefer sites that don't use a lot of profanity although I don't require a PG rating. Obviously if you're funny, you can get away with more than if you're angry.

4. Preference is always given to bloggers who comment or link here.

5. I generally don't blogroll liberal bloggers, although that's not a hard and fast rule. I'd be happy to blogroll frequent commenter Paul, although I don't know that he wants the folks that come over from here; it's not quite the same thing as nessselrode pie, but still at cross-purposes.

6. I will usually remove a blog from the blogroll if there are no posts for over a month.

7. I reserve the right to revise/break any of the above rules.
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Moron Rachel Corrie



Here's a pretty interesting article on yet another play about Ribbon Girl. (I think this is the third one).

It starts out sounding somewhat sympathetic to the play:

Back in New York, NYTW artistic director James Nicola told Playbill News that he canceled because he and his board "were not confident that we had the time to create an environment where the art could be heard independent of the political issues associated with it."

But the reviewer gets a little tougher here:

A dialogue?

The play is uncritically on Corrie's side. Israel is represented as a big foot crushing innocent Palestinians. The plot features no Hamas-sponsored violence and no suicide bombers bent on earthly havoc followed by spiritual glory.

Not only that, representatives of the Palestine Solidarity Committee are passing out literature in the lobby. There's no table representing Israel.

Isn't ConWorks presenting a monologue instead of a dialogue?

"Well, OK, a monologue then," said Pearlstein. "But all these monologues add up to dialogues during our season."

During the season, will there be plays or artworks of any kind sympathetic to the struggles of the Israeli people?

"I'll have to double-check on that," he said.
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Tribute to Bob Persinger

Third Wave Dave has the best story of the day. Keep your hankies at the ready!
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Rush to Nonjudgment

The journalistic line is beginning to appear: These were good kids who got drunk.

Alabama Department of Conservation Officer Ricky LeCroy was among the first to describe Alabama church arsonists as out-of-towners on drunken joy rides.

Their lawyer pushes the "good kids who did something bad" line.

"This is not racially motivated," Bloomston said. "It's not an anti-Christian motivation. It's not an anti-family values. I think when things come to life these were good kids and something bad happened."

The Satanism discussion will probably die down quickly, although there's a hint of it here:

Cloyd posted this on Moseley's Web page Jan. 9 at www.facebook.com: "To my dearest friend Moseley: The nights have grown long and the interstates of Alabama drunk driverless, the state troopers bored, the county sheriffs less weary, and the deer of Bibb County fearless. 2006 is here, it is time to reconvene the season of evil!"

Get Religion notes what I call the "Rush to Nonjudgment".

So were these simple good old Southern boys out having a wild night with a six pack or two? Could be. But I am still fascinated with the simple, pesky fact that these guys kept driving past lots of other sanctuaries to nail churches — black and white — with the word “Baptist” on the signs out front.

Exactly. If these punks had targeted nine synagogues, would there be any doubt that this was a hate crime?
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Thursday, March 09, 2006
 
Alabama Church Arsonists for Satan

The Alabama church-burning story seems to be getting a little more interesting, just as the media seem to have decided that it's not.

This story about one of the arsonists buries the interesting part after the jump:

DeBusk, whose home address was listed as the Russet Woods subdivision in Hoover, had other interests as well. Friends said he and Ben Moseley were Satanists, which DeBusk told friends was "not about worshipping the devil, but about the pursuit of knowledge," according to Burgess.

Burgess said he and DeBusk discussed religion loosely, debating whether pets go to heaven and what heaven looks like. "He told me I was one of the more intelligent Christians he's talked to," Burgess said. "Coming from a Satanist, I didn't know quite how to interpret that."

Ian Cunningham, a sophomore who lived in the same dorm as DeBusk, recalled returning from the campus chapel recently to snide remarks about being saved from DeBusk and Moseley. "He would constantly mock me," Cunningham said of DeBusk.
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Kos Takes Credit

This is hilarious. Ciro Rodriguez narrowly lost a Texas Democratic congressional primary in 2004 to Henry Cuellar, by a mere 57 votes. In 2006, he was thumped soundly by Cuellar, this time losing by 5,000 votes, despite getting financial and volunteer support from the netkooks.

That's bad enough, but today Kos takes credit:

The bottom line: we helped a campaign that was the walking dead and gave it new life, pumped in resources, and made it competitive. We did much to even the playing field even if ultimately we came up tantalizingly short.

So we didn't kill off Cuellar, but we gave him an ass whooping [I think he means an ass to whoop] where none was expected and made him sweat. That's the reason why Lieberman is sweating in Connecticut and lining up his dog and pony endorsement shows to flex his muscle. He can't take for granted that a no-name businessman with no political experience and zero connections in his state's political establishment will be a non-factor, not with what we've done for people like Dean and now Ciro.


What exactly did he do for people like Dean and Ciro? As Mark Coffey points out, Kos turned them into losers! Dean, despite getting the support of the netkooks got one primary victory, in his home state of Vermont. When the Mad How bowed out, Kos shifted his support to Weasely Clark, who managed to win one primary, although considering it was Oklahoma, I have my doubts as to whether the Kossacks had a strong impact on the race.

Update: For more hilarity, check out the comments on Kos' post. Some of them are priceless:

You think the letter will make it (none / 0)

through the concentration camp censor? Because that's where openly liberal people will likely be living out their days in a few more years if things keep going the way they have been.

by Stem The Evil Tide on Wed Mar 08, 2006 at 01:19:44 PM PDT
[ Parent ]


Or

In the Republican mind there is an INTERNAL WAR raging in this country. Right-wingers are prepared to imprison and execute large segments of the Democratic/Progessive community, and we're still talking about elections?
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Stop The Presses! Lobbyist Claims Closer Connection to Bush

Shocking news, I know.

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff says President Bush knew him well enough to joke with him about weightlifting. "What are you benching, buff guy?" Abramoff said Bush asked him. The president has said he doesn't know Abramoff.

He called him "buff guy"? Sounds to me like old pals!

Vanity Fair is pushing this bit as "evidence" that Bush is lying when he claims he doesn't know Abramoff.

Abramoff told Vanity Fair that he once was invited to Bush's Texas ranch where he would have joined with other big Bush fundraisers. Abramoff, an Orthodox Jew, said he didn't go because the event fell on the Sabbath.

The lobbyist said that when Bush made a speech to fundraisers in 2003, he sat just a few feet from the president. Abramoff, the only lobbyist on the dais, was seated between Republican Sens. George Allen of Virginia and Orrin Hatch of Utah.


Gee, the lobbyist "said" that? Surely they can come up with some photographic evidence? You know how it is; lobbyists tend to exaggerate their connections with politicians.

And Vanity Fair is as bad as Harper's these days in terms of their "get Bush" agenda. Graydon Carter, the editor of the magazine published a book a few years back that might be misconstrued by right-wingers as mildly critical of Republicans. What was the title? Oh, yeah, What We've Lost: How The Bush Administration Has Curtailed Our Freedoms, Mortgaged Our Economy, Ravaged Our Environment and Damaged Our Standing in the World.
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Kurtz on the Latest Conventional Wisdom

He's absolutely right about this:

In recent days, some new conventional wisdom has been hardening like ready-mix cement. To wit, Bush is in trouble, the Republicans are in trouble, Bush is in trouble with Republicans, and the litany of Iraq plus Katrina plus ports plus Miers plus eavesdropping puts the GOP in grave danger in 2006. But . . . the Democrats may be too disorganized to take advantage, thus fumbling away any chance to retake the House.

He cites recent stories in both the New York Times and Washington Post as evidence. But he's puzzled by this reaction from a Lefty blog:

"The entire thrust of this article is to promote the divide between Congressional Democrats and the rest of the party for, what I can only guess is, the purposes of sowing discontent. Between the previous articles that repeatedly revived the Congressional Dems vs. Howard Dean, and now Congressional Dems vs. all other Dems, we are left with the impression of the Washington Post as Republican stooge (truth be told, we already knew that)."

Republican stooge ? Here is who is quoted, by name, in the piece: Reps. Jim Cooper, Rahm Emanuel and Tom Carper, a Pelosi spokesman, Sens. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski. They all talk about grasping to find the right message. Since when did calling up politicians and interviewing them become for "the purposes of sowing discontent"? I had thought it was called reporting.


I strongly suspect that Kurtz has run into the "narratives favor Republicans" meme that is so popular among the liberal blogosphere right now. Peter Daou has been pushing this quite forcefully. I've read some of Peter's posts on this (over at the Huffpo rather than deal with Salon's watch-an-ad nonsense), and I can never quite get my mind around what he's trying to say. Peter seems an intelligent guy, but I feel like a blind man trying to understand the concept of color.

I know the assertion that [supposedly neutral or liberal] reporters favor rightwing narratives blows your mind; after all, the liberal media fiction is hard-wired into the right's political nervous system. But why should I believe your foregone conclusion that these people are left-leaning? Just because you say it with such conviction? Give me concrete examples of bias, not of negative coverage. (How can there not be negative coverage of the mess in Iraq? Or Katrina? Or the Plame outing? Or the NSA fiasco? Or do you want our media to simply fawn over the government? Is anything less than total pro-Bush propaganda considered media bias?)

One of the "narratives" that Peter gets angry about is "Dems have no message", and certainly that is the thrust of both the NY Times and the Washington Post articles, as Kurtz quotes:

"From Arizona to Pennsylvania, from Colorado to Connecticut, Democratic candidates for Congress are reading from a stack of different scripts these days...

"These scattershot messages reflect what officials in both parties say are vulnerabilities among Republicans on Capitol Hill, as well as President Bush's weakened political condition in this election year."


And of course, telling Lefty bloggers that, hey, we quoted Rahm Emanuel is not going to impress them. Emanuel gets about as much respect these days from the portside as Joe Lieberman.
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Best Post of the Day

Our buddy Mr Ugly American interviewed a pair of Iraqi bloggers on their opinion about the Iraq war and its aftermath. The bloggers, while obviously happy that Saddam is gone, are brutally honest in their assessment of the aftermath:

3. Who do you blame for the Violence in Iraq now?

24: Well, that might sound crazy, but I blame us, the Iraqis I mean. It all is in our hands. If we love each other and care about each other, this violence wouldn’t happen. If we just put aside our ambition to be better than our neighbors, our relatives, our friends, and our brothers we will win!

BT: On the first step, I blame the Americans first. I think insurgency started in Iraq after the CPA disbanded the army and police. Many officers and soldiers were left jobless. They thought of taking revenge which foreign fighters like Zarqawi supported.

I also blame the government for failing in providing jobs to the people. Many young men are being tempted by armed groups. Thousands are being paid for blowing up a mosque or a bus.

Finally, I blame the Iraqi people for supporting these insurgents instead of fighting them. These armed men are like cancer spread in allover the Iraqi body.


Highly recommended. You'll learn more from this one interview about the situation in Iraq than you would from a month of watching the news.
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What Blogs Do Congressmen Read?

John Hawkins asked a few Republican congressmen which blogs they read themselves. Mostly it's what you might expect, the major right-wing blogs, but there are a couple of smaller blogs in there focused on individual states. Our buddies at Ankle-Biting Pundits show up on Congressman Bob Ney's list (as do some surprising lefty blogs).

I know my blog gets read at least by some Capitol Hill staffers because I get PR releases from several congressmen.
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Wednesday, March 08, 2006
 
Publish Cartoons Mocking Mohammed? That Would Be Insensitive! Publish Cartoons Mocking Jesus? Okay!

Dang, I gotta visit my buddies' blogs more often. I stopped over at the Leather Penguin's this afternoon after seeing a comment of his on Radio Equalizer, and he pointed me to this terrific story about a college newspaper that was too PC to publish the Mohammed cartoons, but was happy to publish a cartoon showing Jesus, um, servicing a capitalist pig.
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Mike Malloy's Wife Spills Beans On Air America

Brian Maloney catches Mike Malloy's wife deviating from the company line and admitting that Air America will not be at WLIB in New York City much longer. For some real amusement check out the comments from the "reality-based community" on that thread. As our buddy TC says, it's comedy gold!
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Chris Matthews Update

Try not to laugh too hard as you read Peter Daou's report on that nefarious conservative, Chris Matthews.

Open Letter to Chris Matthews has since received an astonishing 313,000 visits. The blog has chronicled a long string of repugnant remarks by a 'journalist' who maintains a veneer of credibility and impartiality. And today, the notion that Matthews is a neutral reporter has just received a fatal blow. On the heels of Matthews' defense of Joe McCarthy, and a day before a damaging new blog-generated report is due to be released on Matthews' Republican-tilted speaking engagements, Media Matters has just released a report entitled "Hardball for the left, softball for the right: Conservatives dominate on Hardball."

Okay, in all probability, you haven't heard Matthews' defense of Joe McCarthy. Apparently he was on the radio with Michael Smerconish, and talking about the movie Good Night and Good Luck, said:

You know, one-sided, to some extent liberal propaganda. Because you know there Communists – I’m sorry…there were Communists in the government…I could go through the whole list – Elizabeth Bentley, Harry Dexter White, and of course Alger Hiss – there’s a whole gaggle of them.

And the biggest nonsense of this sort of revisionist history is that there wasn’t a Communist threat and that McCarthy was just a drunken fool. Well, he may have been a drunk – he certainly was – and he may have been unable to shoot straight, but there were lots of targets there. He just didn’t hit any.


Having a tough time seeing the defense of McCarthy? Daou, and many other liberal bloggers had no problem spotting it; it's the implication that McCarthy wasn't just a drunken fool. Apostasy!

As for that Media Matters study, the synopsis is here.

Employing the same methodology, Media Matters tallied all guests who appeared on Hardball during the first two months of 2006 and coded them based on party affiliation and ideology. (A list of the guests is here.) The data reflected in these charts show that the number of Republican/conservative guests has been significantly higher than the number of Democratic/progressive guests. In January, Republicans/conservatives led Democrats/progressives 55 to 38 -- a difference of 59 percent to 41 percent. By February, that advantage had increased: Republican/conservatives outnumbered Democrats/progressives 55 to 34, or 62 percent to 38 percent.

Now, if you're smart enough to be reading my blog, you can probably guess where the problem lies in this study. It's whom Media Matters considers to be a Democrat/progressive. Here's the data (PDF file).

Howard Fineman is neutral. Dana Milbank is neutral. Tim Russert is neutral. David Gregory is drunk--err, neutral. Jonathan Turley is neutral. David Ignatius is neutral. Douglas Brinkley is neutral.

Update: The Political Pitbull has some excellent commentary on the Media Matters study as well.
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Depressed Dems

The Senate Intelligence Committee decided today not to investigate the wiretapping of Al Qaeda's buddies in the United States. Predictably, the liberal blogosphere is bummed. Out buddy Mr Ugly America takes a look at the reaction, and especially in the comments sections of the Lefty blogs, and finds a lot of moonbats sticking their heads in the oven.
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Carnival of the Clueless Time!

Our buddy Rick Moran has links to plenty of examples of cluelessness.
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Netroots Are Teh Suck

Cuellar easily defeats Ciro Rodriguez:

U.S. House - District 28 - Dem Primary - 274 of 276 Precincts Reporting - 99.28%
Name Party Votes Pct
Cuellar, Henry Dem 23,546 52.73
Rodriguez, Ciro Dem 18,217 40.79
Morales, Victor Dem 2,893 6.48

The netkooks had put all of their hopes and dreams into this race, and they still lost by 12 percentage points.

Is it any wonder that so many liberal bloggers hate election day?

I suppose one of the great ironies of my writing for MyDD is that I actually hate election nights. Even though this is what most of our writing builds up to, and even though our traffic goes through the roof, usually I find it too stressful and too disappointing for words. I am already growing pretty nervous about tonight. The netroots, the LCV, and the AFL-CIO have a lot on the line. Not to mention that is just really important that we get Cuellar out of this seat. Tonight is a big night.

Other reactions:

Decision '08: The progressive blogosphere has crapped out again....

Firedoglake: We did that in this race. We sent a very loud, long message to the Democratic party about what we're willing to fight for. It's extremely difficult to defeat an incumbent and we took a race that wasn't even close in January and made it competitive. That's huge. Hamsher doubles down, opening up a contributions page for Ned Lamont (who is challenging Joe Lieberman). Some people will never learn.

Blanton at Red State: Thus far the lefty netroots has aggressively pushed numerous out of touch losers, but has yet to generate a winner. Lefty netroots support continues to be the kiss of death and that support is, unfortunately, eroding the credibility of the netroots in general. It should be noted that the right side of the blogosphere has not been as aggressive in building and backing candidates (though Jim Demint, Tom Coburn, John Thune, and others have seen help), but the right has managed to show itself more in touch with reality.

Right Wing News notes that the Diebold conspiracists have come out of the woodwork over at the Daily Kos.

As I commented over at Decision '08, winning elections requires the discipline to allocate scarce resources to candidates that actually stand a chance of winning. It didn't matter last night, because there was only one race of real interest. But in November there will be 469 +/- races, and the netroots will have to decide where to invest their time and money.

In 2004, the Daily Kos pushed 15 candidates; all 15 of them lost. Over at Kerry Haters, we pushed two candidates, President Bush and John Thune, and both of them won.

The new meme over on the liberal blogs is that they got in too late to make a difference, that it's too hard to unseat an incumbent, that they fought the good fight but were doomed by politics. Of course, that was not the message they were delivering to their readers in the days before the election. Here's a quote from Democracry for America's email to me yesterday:

With your help, our DFA-List candidate Ciro Rodriguez has closed the gap against Democrat-In-Name-Only ("DINO") Henry Cuellar from fifteen points in December to just five points in the most recent poll. Ciro now has a real chance to knock off Cuellar in today's primary - and you helped get the ball rolling.

But the bigger story is that this race shows the power of Democracy for America to change the complexion of a campaign. A few months ago this race was only a blip on the national radar. "Democrat" Henry Cuellar was cruising to re-election because Democratic voters in the TX-28 didn't know that he supported the Republican prescription drug debacle, voted for CAFTA, and has a horrible environmental record. At the end of 2005, Cuellar had raised four times as much as Rodriguez and had a quarter of a million dollar advantage in cash-on-hand.

Then you kicked in.

On February 10, Democracy for America endorsed Ciro Rodriguez and 1,200 DFA members contributed over $45,000. You took a chance on a candidate and a campaign that you may not have ever heard of. Largely thanks to you, Ciro had more cash-on-hand than Cuellar going into these final days of the race. And today DFA members in San Antonio are working with Ciro's campaign to organize one of the biggest Get-Out-The-Vote drives the district has ever seen.


So there are two options here. Either the netkooks were lying yesterday when they said that Ciro Rodriguez had a chance, or they're lying today, when they say that it was hopeless from the outset.
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Tuesday, March 07, 2006
 
The Amazing Race Recap

Okay, so I missed the first episode last week, and it will take me awhile to catch up on who everybody is this season. We start out somewhere in South America (Brazil?) and the first task is to go to Block F of an office complex. This is a typical TAR bunching maneuver, as it turns out that all teams must wait to access the building. The cluebox reveals a roadblock. One player from each team must climb a circular set of stairs up what looks like to be a 20-story building, then rappelle down the side of the building. I'm no longer much for climbing, although I could do the rappelle with ease. Next up is a trip to a bus station, where we get the artificial separation of three different buses leaving an hour and two hours apart. There is the inevitable "I can't do this" moment before the commercial and then we come back and she breezes through it.

The detour is a choice between climbing a rope up a waterfall with mechanical assistance, or brewing some rum, errr, ethyl alcohol from sugar cane. Amusingly, they have to pile into old VW bugs. The hippies reminisce about their memories of VWs, which of course is silly; they're both maybe in their mid-20s and probably haven't been in a VW anything in their lives. I, on the other hand, had a VW bug for about a year. The thing was a lot of fun, but constantly in need of repair, like all cars back then. The sisters are obviously having trouble with their vehicle.

I've seen that device they were using to climb the waterfall with before, although I've not used one. I could tell that the older couple made a big mistake picking that challenge, because it requires a fair amount of upper arm strength. But the old gal, despite the obligatory "I can't do this" pre-commercial manages to get herself all the way to the top.

At the end, two teams are following a motorcyclist to the pit stop. The frat boys pull off to check on the directions, while the hippies continue to follow their guide. As it turns out, the pit stop was only a klick ahead and so the hippies score a vacation in Tahiti. The frat boys earn an arched eyebrow from Phil when they refer to him as a "woman". A bunch of other people crowd in. The older couple staggers in ninth. The sisters, who experienced a lot of trouble with their car finish last and are Phil-iminated.

One observation: Is the later time intended to allow for some more overtly sexual innuendo? I've only been watching the show for three seasons, but I don't remember it being played up quite this much before.

Eric at Viking Pundit has his usual terrific review posted.
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Operation Soldier Doing Good Works

Our buddy John Bush over at Operation Soldier has been busy!

Operation Soldier is pleased to announce that their Brotherhood of The Badge Project has just sent 20 tons of used police gear to American Forces in Iraq.

Partnering with Spirit of America, who is handling the logistics of the transportation of the equipment, the safety gear is a culmination of contributions made from Police Departments throughout the United States.

The gear includes roughly 1800 bullet proof vests, and hundreds of riot batons, helmets and face shields.

To date, Operation Soldier and their Brotherhood of the Badge Project have sent close to 10,000 bullet proof vests to Iraq. Once American forces take possession of the gear, it will be distributed to Iraqi Police Officers as they complete their training from American and Allied Forces.


John's also put together a terrific video explaining the important work that Operation Soldier does and asking for your contributions. This is a worthy cause that deserves our support.
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Tillman Redux

Haven't posted much about the apparent investigation into whether he was murdered. But I have a strong hunch that this nutbar column will be getting lots of attention from the kooks.

Conservative commentator James Buchanan says it´s likely. And he says the Neocons did it.

Posted to Iraq with his brother, Tillman openly voiced his contempt for the Bush administration, declaring the Iraq War was "so f …ing illegal," and he reportedly urged fellow soldiers to vote for Bush foe John Kerry in the 2004 presidential elections. And according to Tillman´s family, Tillman´s remarks weren´t just idle chatter.

Tillman had the best of both brawn and brains. He was a college graduate who subscribed to The Economist magazine, who´d kept a daily journal since high school, who passionately studied World War II history and the works of writers as diverse as Winston Churchill and radical anti-Iraq War scholar Noam Chomsky, and even had an appointment to meet with Chomsky when he returned stateside.

Three bullets in the forehead later, and Tillman wasn´t talking anti-Bush trash-talk to soldiers, declaring the Iraq War illegal, promoting Kerry for president, or meeting with Chomsky every again.


So "the Neocons" did him in. You know how it is; Leftists tend to think that reading Chomsky is a sign of brilliance; in my world it's a sign that you're a recent college graduate with a head full of mush.

As you can see here, "[c]onservative commentator James Buchanan" is a mental case. He writes regularly for a website apparently run by David Duke. Writing about the explosion that destroyed the golden dome in Iraq, Buchanan opines:

A bombing like this one, against the Askariya Shrine, a great Muslim cultural icon and a beautiful work of architecture by anyone’s standards, must have been done by criminals with a serious hatred for all Muslims. This atrocity was done almost certainly by the Israelis or CIA to inflame ethnic strife in Iraq.
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To All Republicans in Texas' 28th Congressional District

According to an email I received from Robert Novak, you can vote in today's Democratic primary elections. And vote you should, because you have a chance to punch the Move-Ons and the Daily Koses in the snoot. They are pushing the challenger, Ciro Rodriguez, because the Democratic incumbent, Henry Cuellar, is seen as insufficiently antagonistic to President Bush. So if you live in the Laredo-San Antonio corridor, consider making a stop at your local polling place and casting a vote for Cuellar. I'd love to see the netkooks lose this one!

Our buddy Chris suggests in the comments that perhaps a Rodriguez victory would help the Republicans. I'd like to believe that we have a chance to win that seat, but it's unlikely. Cuellar won in 2004 by 20 percentage points, even though (again according to Novak) President Bush carried the district that year.
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NY Times Runs Hit Piece on Bloggers

They try to imply that some bloggers are simply regurgitating the Wal-Mart line. And in fairness, one blogger gives them a little bit to work with:

Brian Pickrell, a blogger, recently posted a note on his Web site attacking state legislation that would force Wal-Mart Stores to spend more on employee health insurance. "All across the country, newspaper editorial boards — no great friends of business — are ripping the bills," he wrote.

It was the kind of pro-Wal-Mart comment the giant retailer might write itself. And, in fact, it did.

Several sentences in Mr. Pickrell's Jan. 20 posting — and others from different days — are identical to those written by an employee at one of Wal-Mart's public relations firms and distributed by e-mail to bloggers.


If you look at the January 20th post, you can see that Pickrell did indeed include those words in his post, and they are not highlighted as quoted material. Not good form, especially since most of the post consists of pull quotes from editorials. Brian responds here that he did use the quote but it came from an email from another blogger. That to me is a distinction without a difference. If it's not highlighted as a quote, it's supposed to be your own words.

Our buddy Crazy Politico gets a mention:

Copies of e-mail messages that a Wal-Mart representative sent to bloggers were made available to The New York Times by Bob Beller, who runs a blog called Crazy Politico's Rantings. Mr. Beller, a regular Wal-Mart shopper who frequently defends the retailer on his blog, said the company never asked that the messages be kept private.

From what I can see, the messages were mostly PR-type stuff. I get emails like this all the time. I'll use the material if it's interesting. But I always put it in my own words except for quotes which are plainly identified as such.

Marathon Pundit has been all over this story; apparently an AFL-CIO weblog falsely claimed that the story would reveal that the bloggers had been paid to write sympathetically about Wal-Mart. As you can see, the Times' article makes no such claims, and the blog that the AFL-CIO referenced, Marquette Warrior (which was the first to break this story on the blogs), also did not mention money at all.

Also see Jack Lewis' take on this story.

PR Linkers does a roundup of the various reactions to the story. Most surprising: Atrios/Eschaton.
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Iran in the Crosshairs?

This ABC report confirms that many of the IEDs being used to kill our soldiers in Iraq were made in Iran.

"I think the evidence is strong that the Iranian government is making these IEDs, and the Iranian government is sending them across the border and they are killing U.S. troops once they get there," says Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism chief and an ABC News consultant. "I think it's very hard to escape the conclusion that, in all probability, the Iranian government is knowingly killing U.S. troops."

However, some of this was already reported, back in August of last year.
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Frankens and the Frankening Frankeners Who Franken

Al Franken gets a little paddling.

In his book, Mr. Skorski exposes not only the lies in Mr. Franken's books but his continual character assassinations in his Air America Radio broadcasts, which Mr. Skorski has monitored and recorded. He also communicated with Mr. Franken in 30 emails and documents his responses to Mr. Skorski's challenges.

I had expected during the interview that Mr. Skorski would weigh in on the Air America scandal involving $875,000 in loans from the Bronx based, taxpayer-funded Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club to the liberal radio network and its former chairman. But Mr. Skorski said he doubts Mr. Franken was involved in any scheme. Yet Mr. Franken did lie in saying he did not know anything about Air America's debt to the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. Mr. Franken's signature is on notarized documents of Air America's liabilities, which listed the club's donation. According to Mr. Skorski, Mr. Franken airily dismissed the entire matter as trivial on his Air America broadcast.

Mr. Skorski insists that his quarrel with Mr. Franken has nothing to do with ideology. He's eager to discuss politics with anyone who disagrees with his own conservative positions. "Franken, however, attacks those who disagree with him on a very personal level. He twists what they say and then says to his audience, 'I never lie. You can trust me.'" Mr. Skorski wrote his book because no one in the mainstream press, liberal or conservative, takes Mr. Franken to task for these distortions. Mr. Skorski provides an exhaustive account of how Mr. Franken indicts conservative pundits for picayune mistakes while he commits himself the larger distortions he accuses them of.
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Monday, March 06, 2006
 
RIP Kirby Puckett

Dead at the age of 44.

He was one of the few star players who appreciated how fortunate he was to be playing major league baseball. Of course, his post-baseball life has not been nearly as lucky.
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Sorry For Not Responding to Comments

I just happened to click on a post that still showed zero comments, and noticed that there were actually a fair number of comments inside. My apologies; apparently Haloscan is not showing those properly. I'll try to check back over the last couple days of posts and respond to any questions/corrections.
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Air America Phoenix Tries To Get Back On Air--By Lying--Updates

This would be hilarious if it weren't so obvious:

On March 1, 2006 our Air America Phoenix station was bought by a Christian Broadcasting company who immediately took us off the air.

In fact, KXXT was bought out on or before February 1, 2006 (this article indicates in late 2005), and the Christian broadcasting company that purchased the station allowed Air America a full month to try to locate a new home. But of course, that doesn't get people angry, so they've changed the story to make it seem like a brave voice of the "reality-based" community was silenced as soon as the God Squad took over.

Also see Iowa Voice.

Update: Save Air America Phoenix changed the text to make it accurate:

On March 1, 2006 our Air America Phoenix station was taken off the air by a Christian Broadcasting company.

But you can still see the uncorrected text here.

As always, check out Brian Maloney's Radio Equalizer for all things Air America.
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Those Hollywood Homophobes

Gotta chuckle at the controversy surrounding Brokeback Mountain not winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

No overtly gay love story had ever won a Best Picture statue and the critics immediately asked whether Oscar votes had not backed off from breaking that taboo.

Uh, obvious question here: How many overtly gay love stories have ever been filmed/considered/nominated for a Best Picture statue? About the only gay love story I can remember was Making Love with Kate Jackson, Harry Hamlin and Michael Ontkean; it was not seriously considered for any major awards.

The Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan saw Brokeback’s failure as a sign that Hollywood was not yet ready to grant the topic of homosexual love mainstream respectability.

That's pretty ridiculous. Of course, Hollywood is ready to grant the topic of homosexual love mainstream respectablility; the only problem is that the rest of America is not. And of course Turan is not about to admit that perhaps the movie just wasn't good enough.

Kitty has an excellent recap of Oscar night.

Kaus adds:

But she says Brokeback was "slow and ponderous." Why, exactly, couldn't that be the reason it lost?

Because there would be no opportunity to scold America if you buy the idea that Brokeback lost for reasons other than homophobia.
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What Would We Do Without Experts

Like Jane Hamsher? Others might be a little intimidated about taking on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on his assessment of the war. But not Jane, who's an expert on all things military and Iraqi:

Pace then takes a detour into Bizarroworld and declares that the militias "are not a long term problem," poo-poohs the notion of escalating violence and impending civil war and takes heart in the active participation of the Iraqi people in fighting the insurgency:

MR. RUSSERT: General, many observers -- objective observers say that you cannot have an insurgency this robust without being enabled by the population. Now, Lawrence Kaplan in The New Republic, who'a supporter of the war, said that he wrote on a story of a young man that called emergency line 130 to report insurgents shooting mortars; no one answered the line. And then he said you don'?t do it again because if you call that emergency line, insurgents get a hold of your phone number and come kill you.

GEN. PACE: Think about the two things that you said. One -- one was that they'?re being supportive, and another is fear. I believe it's the fear factor, not the support factor. The tip line last March was getting about 400 tips per month. Now it'?s upwards of 4,000 tips per month that are coming in from Iraqi citizens telling their government and telling us where -- ?where problems are.


So the ten-fold increase in tips about insurgent violence is, you see, something to be encouraged by. It's not the result of an increase in the violence per se, it's because the Iraqi people have just become a lot more enthusiastic about helping out.

While others were happy to dunk their fingers in the purple ink, General Pace seems to have immersed his entire head. He's now Lizzie Grubman with oak-leaf clusters.


Where does Hamsher get her miltary expertise? Well, she was a producer on Natural Born Killers.
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Communists in Academia

This is actually rather amusing:

The political center at CUNY was no less inverted. Dr. Kathleen McCarthy, for instance, when teaching the American Civil War, confined herself to Northern Female Voluntary Societies who provided needed materials and welfare. Having covered this topic, she then informed us, “This is all you need to know about the Civil War.” Dr. Judith Stein confined her study of the Kennedy administration during 1962 to her own obsessions: his dealing with the steel industry and his capital gains tax cut. No mention was made of the little matter of nuclear warheads in Cuba.

Factional groups were wary of if not hostile toward each other. But there were issues that could unite them. When I confronted Kathleen McCarthy with evidence that perhaps Southern white women on plantations were involved in voluntary efforts as well, she retorted: “Well, their general, Robert E. Lee tried to escape wearing a dress.” (It was in fact, the Confederacy’s Vice President Alexander Stephens.) Meanwhile, despite contributing money to Gore’s campaign in 2000, Dr. Sandi Cooper bemoaned the fact that either way she would be hearing a Southern accent from the president.


Amusing considering that the Cold War is over; it wouldn't be so funny if the communists still had a chance of winning.

Update: Commenter J. Duxx points out that the story of the Confederate trying to escape in a dress is actually about Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, and not Alexander Stephens, and that the story started with confusion about what Davis was wearing. This editorial cartoon and article indicates that Duxx is correct.
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Sunday, March 05, 2006
 
What Motivates the America Haters

Perceptive piece by an Indian journalist.

What lies behind such humour is rank jealousy. Success, no doubt, breeds envy but when your own impoverishment or incapacity adds the curse of dependence envy turns rapidly into dislike. The more the world needs America the more it hates itself for it. And since one cannot swear at oneself, America becomes the next best victim.
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More Bad Writing

Barbra Streisand writes some rather bad prose, with misspellings galore, and gets tag-teamed by Michelle Malkin and Captain Ed for her pains. But at least Streisand isn't known for her composition skills; Gore Vidal, on the other hand, is supposed to be a wordsmith. Talking about Truman Capote:

And it was always about famous people, some he'd barely heard of before. I remember he told me once "I'm the American Proust."

So I said, "So who's your Mme Verdurin?"

"Who?"

He had not heard of one of Proust's principle characters. He was confidently illiterate. It's highly suitable that he would become iconic, because he didn't know anything, and never told the truth. Doesn't he fit in the age of Bush?


Principle?
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Sunday Steyn

Always a delight:

The quagmire isn't in Iraq but at home. For five years, beginning with the designation of "war on terror," the president's public presentation has been consistent: Islam is a great religion, religion of peace, marvelous stuff, White House Ramadan Banquet the highlight of the calendar, but, sadly, every barrel has one or two bad apples, even Islam believe it or not, and once we've hunted those down we'll join the newly liberated peace-loving Muslim democracies in a global alliance of peace-loving peaceful persons. Most sentient beings have been aware that there is, to put it mildly, a large element of evasion about this basic narrative, but only now is it being explicitly rejected by all sides. William F. Buckley and George Will have more or less respectfully detached themselves from the insane idealism of shoving liberty and democracy down people's throats whether they want it or not. And, on the ports deal with Dubai, a number of other commentators I respect plus a stampede of largely ignorant weathervane pols have denounced the administration for endangering American security on the eastern seaboard. I can't see that: The only change is that instead of being American stevedores employed by a British company they'll now be American stevedores employed by a United Arab Emirates company.
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