Wednesday, April 30, 2003

WHAT HENLEY SAID: Go read the Cogent Provocateur on Iraq and WMDs. "You've been had, John Q. Public, and it's for your own good!"

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

YOUR INITIAL NBA REF HATE LINK: Tim Kraus on Steve Javie and "Knick" Bavetta.
JACKIE STILES WATCH: The Topeka Capital-Journal gives you the story of Jackie Stiles, the all-time NCAA basketball scoring leader, former WNBA rookie of the year and now an afterthought, taken by the Sparks in the Portland dispersal draft. An excerpt:

The dream went pro in the spring of 2001, when the Portland Fire made her the fourth pick in the WNBA draft. She received a two-year, $110,000 contract, and began her career as a professional without missing a step, averaging 15 points and becoming the league's rookie of the year.

But sometime during that first year, it all began to unravel. After the adrenaline wore off from a late-season game against the Los Angeles Sparks, Stiles noticed pain in her right wrist. A lot of pain. There were bone spurs and scar tissue and ligament damage and, well, "there was a lot wrong," she said.

She underwent surgery on Sept. 11, 2001, but it didn't take. She was damaged goods from the very start of the 2002 season. Her normal range of motion had been 90 degrees. After surgery, that was reduced to 40 degrees or less.

Her pristine jump shot lost its follow-through. She lost her edge.

"Mentally, I wanted to do everything, but, functionally, I just couldn't do it," she said. "The team expected me to score, and I had no idea where the ball was going when it left my hand."

Not much at all about Stiles in the LA Times, by the way, but you can't slam anybody too much for not caring about the WNBA. I say this a lot, but the WNBA has got to cultify itself if it's going to survive. Which is probably their only choice at this point; the mass-marketing has clearly failed.

Friday, April 25, 2003

LITTLE BIT ON THE DIXIE CHICKS I LIKED: From Capital City Kyle on the DVDVR Board:

[I]f you are going to bash them, it is because the chubby one is a pussy. Anyone can go across seas and bash our elected leader in front of a supportive crowd. But do you think she'd ever say that to a crowd in Texas? I don't. That is what annoys me. She is a coward. If she did, then I'd think she had nuts and I'd be very impressed.

An intriguing analysis--almost as intriguing as the she-male phone ads in the back of Club. Wait....
NBA PLAYOFF POST #5: All praise to the CNNSI scoreboard.

PACERS 83, CELTICS 101: Hey, the Celtics play with a ton more energy than the Pacers. I know I said I wanted them out quick before, but when they are on--or when Paul Pierce is on--they are good to watch.

NETS 103, BUCKS 101: This series, like all Eastern series, is kind of pointless, but it was neat to see Rodney Rogers clank two free throws and then get the rebound and a quick two for the win. The best part of the game was George Karl afterward, blaming the refs for the loss, saying that they missed Kenyon Martin beating up poor little Anthony Mason under the basket before Rogers got the ball. It was amusing when they showed Karl's comments right after showing Mason saying it wasn't any big deal. George Karl, as a coach....he's not so hot.

WOLVES 114, LAKERS 110: During this game you just got the feeling the Lakers didn't want to win--they didn't want to play at a high level and match the Wolves and win on their superior talent. They just looked tired and beat out there. Lakers in six.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

YOU'RE OUT OF YOUR GOURD: "In addition, the State Department warned that Haiti has become "a staging point" for non-Haitians, including Pakistanis and Palestinians, to enter the United States. That raised new fears of a possible terrorist threat." Our government gets goofier by the second. And I become a stronger supporter of Candidate Not Bush in 2004.
KEEP UP WITH YOUR CULTURE: Know who The White Stripes are. If somebody asks at a party, or something.
FIRST THREE 2003 NBA DRAFTEES NOW KNOWN: Carmelo Anthony declares for draft. Go out on top if you can, I guess.
MILLER LITE AD UPDATE: The latest one has the unfortunate girlfriends completely in control of the fantasy, as it now has two handsome males resolving their differences via the free and open expression of emotions--which is, of course, the exact female equivalent of the original catfight. In the end both gentlemen take off their shirts, thus fulfilling the (secondary) female need for eye candy. God bless Miller Lite and this whole fine, goofy campaign. Even though I wouldn't ever buy their product in a million years, these ads have been fantastic.
NBA PLAYOFF POST #4: Let's get to it:

HORNETS 85, SIXERS 90: Thank you for playing, New Orleans Hornets. No Mashburn and no Baron Davis means no fun for the Hornets, especially if the rest of the Sixers are going to step it up when AI isn't quite as hot.

MAGIC 77, PISTONS 89: The Pistons proved their point--that they weren't going to get beaten easily by a number 8 seed. I still think the T-Mac onslaught will prove to be too much in the end.

BLAZERS 99, MAVS 103: Welcome to Blazers First Round Exit Number 27. That team is such a symbol for high-level mediocrity--eternal playoff team, never a playoff winner or a team with a breakout season. I think they need to have a crappy season so they can get in the lottery and start again.

Thanks to the CNNSI scoreboard.
YOUR GREATEST SEARCH THAT FINDS MY WEBLOG POST OF THE DAY: Number 3 for "spongebob squarepants" and "marxism". Ah yes, the eternal dialectic of starfish overthrowing their spongine oppressors...
STATUE STORY: Here's Jesse Walker today:

In Serbia, for instance, university students in 1998 created a non-violent resistance movement, Otpor ("resistance" in Serbian). Its central mission was to peacefully undercut Milosevic. Sometimes this just meant mocking him — the group's "He's Finished" stickers popped up everywhere. Members spray-painted their symbol, a clenched fist, or "Otpor" on walls and distributed thousands of copies of Sharp's strategies for non-violent opposition. As the movement grew, Milosevic's government became less sure that its soldiers and police would obey if ordered to crack down on the rebels.

Clearly, no such popular movement existed in Saddam's Iraq, even though Iraqis had plenty of good reasons to hate their government. It's not because Saddam was especially more oppressive than Iran's rulers: When democratic ferment began in Iran, it faced one of the world's most repressive regimes. And it's certainly not because ordinary Iraqis are incapable of asserting themselves.

One major difference between Iran and Iraq: U.S. sanctions against Iran are much less severe than the ones against Iraq. Except in the Kurds' northern zone, the sanctions rendered Iraq's citizens more dependent on Saddam's government, and thus — perversely — helped crush the independent institutions needed for a real revolution. The end result was symbolized when Saddam's statue came down. In Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, jubilant crowds tore down the hated dictatorships' statues themselves. In Iraq, a much smaller crowd needed Uncle Sam's tanks.

Iraqi civil society is weak; even a completely well-intentioned occupation government will have a hard time transferring power to it. In Iran, however, the population should be able to throw off its oppressors and govern itself when the tipping point comes.

That's worth remembering as Americans mull Iraq's lessons and eye the region's other dictatorships.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

DON'T BLAME THE NADER VOTER WATCH: Green Party muckety-muck responds to Chuck Taylor's slander. There's not enough Clinton-hating in her letter for my tastes, but a lot of Gore-hating, which is fine with me. Again: next time, Al, carry your home state.
NBA PLAYOFF POST #3: Thanks to the CNNSI scoreboard.

BUCKS 88, NETS 85: MUTOMBO need more playing time! Smaller players INFERIOR to LARGEST PLAYER, MUTOOOOOMBO! MUTOMBO key to every victory IN HISTORY OF NBA!

WOLVES 119, LAKERS 91: I don't really expect this to happen again--Troy Hudson can never be this unstoppable again in his entire life. Unless he is. And the Lakers missed too many open threes that would've changed everything and given the Wolves more of an opportunity to wilt. So the first two games are a wash, with the Associate Lakers being on fire in Game One and Troy Freaking Hudson and Rod Strickland being on fire in Game Two. I expect both teams to resume normality in the next four games and for the Lakers to slowly grind this thing out. I mean--it would be crazy to get my Laker-hating hopes up at this point.
WELL THAT'S PRETTY GREAT: Minnesota Wild defeats Colorado Avalanche in Game Seven. Always good to see Patrick Roy out of the playoffs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

PALEOCONS, TRANSFORM, AND FORM....LINCOLNIUS MAXIMUS!: Brief reports from the paleocon-neocon fight from Richard Poe and Jeff Taylor.
STILL SPEAKING OF BEER: Negro Modelo really rules. I like me some Red Stripe sometimes too.
SPEAKING OF BEER: The latest Miller Lite ad has one of the mischievous lads writing himself into the catfight fantasy. He receives his comeuppance in the end, as one of his unlucky dates adds a final twist to the dreamscape, turning it into a nightmarish combat between pasty fratboy and overweight, underloved middle-aged male. I guess with all the outcry about the original ad the Miller Lite higher-ups couldn't let them just have their goofy fantasy. A shame, really. Or not.
REPORT FROM THE PABST BLUE RIBBON FRONT: Fritz Schrank says that PBR never had the reputation of being swill--it was always finer than that. Pabst in fact had its own private Old Milwaukee back in the day--Red White & Blue beer, which I vaguely remember but I haven't seen anywhere in years--and the only place I ever saw it was grocery stores in west Michigan. Again, though, I don't think the gist of that Post story was that PBR is crap and that's why the kids like it; the kids like it because it's somehow a product uncorrupted by marketing in a commercialized society. Like, it's more legit now as a working class beer than say Bud is, because Bud's working class image is a product of its commercials and the way it advertises, whereas the unadvertised, unremarked Pabst simply is. You can't argue with it.

Weisblogg has more. I'd tell you where, but Marc would have to have permalinks for me to do that.
THE ETERNAL DEBATE: Sportsfilter just resurrected the old NBA vs. NHL question; here's my contribution:

For whatever reasons--Canadian government-sponsored Internet access, the close pyschological interrelatedness of nerdity and hockey appreciation--there are about a million more hockey fans than NBA fans online. So there's my explanation why that poll has the 5th American pro sport all over the 2nd American pro sport. Plus hockey has never transcended its hockey cult roots, while the NBA became an important part of our culture starting in the 80s with Magic and Bird and going into full cultural takeover mode during the Jordan era. So--I mean--the cultishness of the NHL has probably driven a lot of fans online, where things that are underserved by mainstream media interests thrive.

I prefer the NBA playoffs myself, as I cannot enjoy the ulcers overtime NHL games give me. Plus NHL series always seem like they're won by luck more than anything else, like you could run through the playoffs 16 different times and get 16 different winners. I dunno. Anyhow, sitting through NHL overtime makes my stomach hurt. Watching Stephon Marbury score a miracle three as time expires makes the world seem like a better place to me.
NBA NONSENSE: Drew Gooden, budding star.
OH AWESOME: Bill Simmons' NBA playoff picks. At long last.
NBA PLAYOFF POST #2: I recap, you decide.

SUNS 76, SPURS 84: The Spurs should keep wearing down the Suns to win this thing, although Tony Parker has been completely smoked by Stephon Marbury--which you would expect, Steph is a budding if-not-quite-there-yet star. But Tony's had nothing and Speedy Claxton was a much better choice last night; I mean, his ten points are almost the margin of victory. And it was really terrible watching Stephen Jackson miss four consecutive threes.


JAZZ 95, KINGS 108: Howboutit, sports fans? Are the Kings finally playing like champions? Imposing their will on teams and all that. Well, maybe.

Thank you, CNNSI scoreboard.

Monday, April 21, 2003

"BUT REASON DOES NOT OFTEN PREVAIL IN THE AFFAIRS OF NATIONS AND STATES. PASSION RULES." There can be only Ralph. Screw Fareed Zakaria, Ralph Peters is the true intellectual king of the moment.
PLAYOFF INEXPERIENCE: Thy name is Orlando Magic:

In the final huddle before victory, the Orlando Magic players thought about how not to celebrate.

"Yo, make sure we walk off the court," Tracy McGrady demanded. "No celebrating."

Darrell Armstrong nodded. "Act like we know what we're doing," he said.
NBA PLAYOFF WEEKEND #1: Let's do a little recapping:

BUCKS 96, NETS 109: I am the world's biggest Nets-doubter coming into the playoffs, but maybe they will pull it all together when it counts.

CELTICS 103, PACERS 100: I have no problem with either of these two teams, but I expect neither to win the East, and in fact lose in the ugliest way possible. Hopefully the Celtics will make it quick.

SUNS 96, SPURS 95: A great game with two miracle threes that gave the Suns overtime and then the win. I really can't imagine the Suns winning the series, tho'.

MAVS 96, BLAZERS 86: Eh, in the battle of Team Dysfunction and Team No Defense I expect Team No Defense to win--though I couldn't possibly predict the form it will take (a sweep, seven games, all points inbetween.)

JAZZ 90, KINGS 96: For series that just have to be played even though the outcome is not in doubt, the NBA should have the series go back to five games. Here's hoping the Kings make this as quick as possible--the Jazz are another team who lose ugly ugly ugly.

MAGIC 99, PISTONS 94: The Magic can and probably will win this series. One Tracy usually beats a bunch of Chaunceys, and the Magic have their own Chaunceyesque figures--Gooden and Giricek. I dunno. This is a 1-8 matchup, but this is the East and there just isn't that wide a gulf between these two teams.

LAKERS 117, WOLVES 98: Thank you for playing, Minnesota Timberwolves. Whatever fantasy I had about the Wolves winning their first playoff series in the toughest and most dramatic way possible is just not going to happen.

HORNETS 90, SIXERS 98: Allen Iverson is so much fun to watch. Sixers in seven and with the most dramatic game seven you can think of. Until the next round.

There you go. Thank you, CNNSI Scoreboard.
IF I HAVE TO EXPLAIN THE FOLLOWING ITEM TO YOU, YOU'RE A BETTER MAN THAN I, GUNGA DIN: An overview of the Decepticon cassettes. Via Neilalien.
OH CRAP: Pabst Blue Ribbon the trendy new beer. Via one of the Volokhs. The weird thing is, it's not a marketing thing, people seem to be choosing Pabst because it isn't marketed:

The increase comes the way a populist trend should: from the ground up. Pabst is Consumer Lite, a refreshing blend of economy and Americana, without all the heavy marketing campaigns, the greasy reinvention, the paid celebrity endorsements. It represents simpler times -- how nice in a world of corporate scandals and missing persons, 24-hour news, terrorism and burst economies.

Pabst sells its image of plainness -- its look of regular-guy health, its artless presence among the racks of imports and million-dollar household names -- in part because Pabst has no other choice.

Its advertising budget is pocket change, its production volume historically low. Stewart says there has not been a PBR television campaign in at least 10 years. Radio spots are limited to local endorsements, and print ads are relegated to the bargain bin of weekly alternative papers.


While part of Pabst's appeal may be its low price, no more than $2.50 a can (or bottle, where available) in bars, most name-brand domestics are sold for not much more. Other sub-premium beers, such as Busch and Natural Light, are priced comparably. Pabst caught on among some elusive Gen-Xers for other reasons, namely because of what it isn't: mainstream.

The popularity of PBR is a lesson in reverse psychology. Young adults have taken to the beer because it wasn't forced down their throats. Like ugly clothes and extreme sports, Pabst's value lies in its expression of individuality and choice, a rejection of consumer society by those who feel manipulated by it. Pabst's selling point is its distinct unpopularity, its unself-conscious existence among beers that reinvent themselves as regularly as political candidates.

When sales started to increase among this demographic, Pabst marketers did something almost unprecedented. They stayed out of the way.

"We want people to discover it," Stewart says. "We allow them to find that it's on the premises, that it's making a comeback. Our marketing is that we really facilitate what the market wants."


For now, low-saturation marketing has paid off. Pabst projects an image of casual earnestness. Buy it or don't buy it. Whatever. It is an image shared with today's indie rock scene, indie film scene, skateboarding scene, art and literary scenes. It is the image that, ironically, sells.

While most young consumers buy clothes and cars to make themselves seem as affluent and desirable as possible, the materialism of many of today's counterculture youth is just the opposite. It is meant to reflect the economics of "reality," of working-class thriftiness, of the notion of America at its best, at its most optimistic, at its blue-collar prime. Of course, this is not America. This is Americana -- and an appetite for what was good when things are going bad.

You should really read the whole thing, it's pretty fascinating. Just the idea of Pabst Blue Ribbon being a pure, authentic beer, when it's pretty terrible stuff--it fascinates me, anyway. In an all-pervasive consumer culture you piss off the squares by returning a fondly-remembered working class beer to prominence. And I think the Pabst label has a lot do with it--it has to be one of the greatest corporate icons ever. And it hasn't changed in a hundred years, which is kind of like being ceaseless and eternal in our culture. So--yes--I do think the constant presence of Pabst of a century of American life is what's fueling its current resurgence. You can but, but you can't market, that kind of authenticity.

Pabst looks coolest in the silver labelled brown bottles--though that review above claims aluminum is a necessary part of the distinctive Pabst taste. But if you're buying it for statement purposes, go with the bottles.
FIRST BABY STEPS TAKEN TOWARDS KOBE HAVING HIS OWN TEAM: Kobe to file for free agency in 2004. Via SPORTSbyBROOKS. Maybe he really is going to follow Jerry West to Memphis. I mean, it's just a rumor, maybe he'll just wait for Shaq to retire and thus for the Lakers to become his team. But still, Shaq and Kobe together are not capturing the public's imagination the way one would think a dominant champion would--in WWE terms the current NBA resembles the Bret Hart interregnum of the late 90s. Maybe chief bookerman D. Stern is whispering in Kobe's ear....

Friday, April 18, 2003

REMEMBER: NBA Playoffs begin tomorrow at 12:30. There's like 18 hours of basketball to be watched, and I'm sure we'll all huddle around our televisions in a communal festival of basketball unity. Well, we should. Why are there like five bloggers who watch the NBA (Tim Kraus, Shanti, Layne & Welch, myself) and like five thousand who watch the NHL? Do the recruitment packages the hockey cult temples offer involve free internet? I don't get it.
I DON'T KNOW ART, BUT I KNOW WHAT I HATE: Saddam palace art. Via Englands' Sword.
NEOCONS, ATTACK!: One of the features of the contemporary neoconservative temperament that most irritates people of a wide variety of views is the compulsion to win every single goddam argument, no matter how ridiculous the contortions they have to put themselves through to do it. Where's the sense of proportion? Why not just say: "Yeah, we screwed up on this looting thing, but you have to put it in perspective, and the net effects of the war looks good overall." That "conservatives" are mouthing excuses for rioting that Jesse Jackson would be ashamed to use is a disgrace. Thank you, iSteve.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

GOOD WNBA ANALYSIS: In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, from Art Thiel, who is realistic about women's pro sports without the usual, obnoxious "women's sports just suck" attitude:

Besides the fact that the women's game isn't the above-the-rim spectacle to which the sports public has become accustomed, the NBA has virtually doomed the WNBA to failure by booking it for the summer. The NBA's owners who controlled their arenas needed filler events to enhance the package for overpriced luxury suites, neglecting to consider the fact that in places such as Portland and Seattle, relatively few want to spend glorious summer evenings indoors (see Kingdome baseball).

Part of the reason the WNBA has had modest success in Washington, D.C., and Houston is because summers there are so insufferable that an evening in an air-conditioned building has appeal.

Then again, the winter version of women's hoops didn't work, either. The late American Basketball League, including the Seattle Reign, played a winter schedule and paid its players well -- stars earned more than $100,000. But it lost $10 million in two years, then folded when the NBA machine muscled it out of existence.

The ABL was growing women's hoops organically, playing in smaller arenas and building a constituency somewhat independent of the men's game. The NBA thought it could invent a major league simply through the power of its marketing. Expanding from eight teams in 1997 to 16 in 2002, when the quality of play was already dramatically inferior to the men's game, was as dumb as forcing front-office staffs to handle chores for both teams. The junior varsity feel has never gone away.

The WNBA was always overreaching, from the very beginning. They should have looked backwards to the NHL--the original cult sport, which started with the fabled "Original Six"--and not pretended from the beginning that the WNBA was this huge major sport. I blame Michael Jordan, the NBA though that after his success they could market anything into existence. Sadly, you have to be an actual marketable commodity to have Jordanesque mass appeal.

UPDATE: An actual hypermarketable commodity to have Jordanesque appeal, I should say. Anybody read this book about Jordan and "the rise of global capitalism"? Any good?
OF NBA INTEREST: Eric Neel interviews Mike Bibby.
OH DOCTOR, THE WAY YOU TELL THAT MONTY PYTHON JOKE, IT'S JUST SO....STIMULATING: Maria Yang on a certain kind of attractive weirdo.
MY FAVORITE BILL SIMMONS THEORY: Is, of course, the one where the league breaks up Shaq and Kobe for the sake of us, the basketball-watching public:

So the question remains: Who wants to watch the two best players in the world share the spotlight on the same basketball team? Instead of Crockett and Tubbs, they're more like Crockett and Crockett, two alpha dogs tugging on the same bone. So far, they've managed to settle their issues by playoff time -- like two bullies calling a truce so they can split everyone's lunch money. Sometimes Shaq takes over, sometimes Kobe does, but neither seems happy about taking a back seat. Their improbable relationship contrasts with every success story in basketball history. Doesn't someone have to emerge as The Guy? How can the Lakers keep winning like this? Is the rest of the league really this crummy?

This year's team stumbled out of the gate like a post-Face/Off Travolta movie, with Shaq nursing his faulty big toe and Kobe unfairly bashed for shooting too much. Years of shaky front-office management were finally taking their toll: A team can only endure so many Samaki Walker and Devean George signings. Now, with Shaq and Kobe each going for 30 every night, everyone is again brushing over their little episodes -- like Kobe gunning for that scoring record in February, shooting so much that Shaq and his disgruntled teammates stopped running over midcourt after awhile, like the human teammates in Teen Wolf. But the fact remains: These things shouldn't happen on quality teams.

Except for the first stages of Kobe's dramatic scoring binge, there's been a joylessness in LA this season. Watching Shaq and Kobe is like watching an old married couple struggle to remember why they liked each other in the first place. Maybe 250-plus games over the past three years have taken their toll; rarely, if ever, does it seem like these guys enjoy playing together. The triangle seems tired, the Kobe-Shaq dynamic seems tired, everything seems tired. When Kobe sinks a game-winning shot, his teammates react like they have to celebrate or they'll get fined.

The Lakers' demise feels inevitable, like watching an episode of Behind the Music and waiting for the band-self-destructs segment. Unlike other NBA dynasties, these guys always seem vulnerable, a makeshift champion too top-heavy for the long haul. Remember that the 2000 Blazers blew a 15-point lead against them, and the Kings squandered so many chances last spring? Eight good players should always beat two great ones: The Lakers lucked out twice. It won't happen again; there's no third above-average player on the roster anymore.

I can't take too much comfort in the fact that Bill is predicting a Lakers collapse this year--he's been wrong before, especially with that Mavs-Kings series last year. I must remain agnostic about the Lakers not winning it until I see them not winning it. It's the only way to avoid, or at least put off for a while, horrible disappointment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

WELCOME TO THE RALPH PETERS FAN BLOG: It's so great, just the way he can passionately praise soldiers and passionately hate the defense industry:

As our soldiers and Marines continue to risk their lives clearing out pockets of fanatics, Washington's masters of spin have begun to twist the facts, lying about this war for advantage and profit.

Business as usual. Except that the Beltway parasites are spitting in the blood of heroes this time.


Yet now we have begun to hear that the ground troops we saw fighting their way to Baghdad really didn't do that much, that they only served to herd Iraqi forces into kill zones where air power destroyed them.

Tell that to the Marines who fought from building to building in Nasiriyah. Tell it to the troopers of the 3rd of the 7th Cavalry who fought the longest uninterrupted series of engagements, in time and distance, in U.S. military history - while blowing sands reduced visibility to handgun range. Tell it to the soldiers and Marines who had to fight their way into, then pacify Baghdad, An Najaf, and Karbala.

You can't even take a surrender from 25,000 feet.

Yet no soldier or Marine would be foolish - or cynical - enough to insist that their service had won the war by itself. The Air Force, though, delivers such tremendous profits to the defense industry that its partisans will insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that this war really did prove that ground forces are outdated and that air power trumps all.

The defense industry wants to sell $200 million aircraft, not inexpensive rifles, canteens and boots. The amounts of money at stake run from hundreds of billions of dollars in the near term to trillions in the out-years. G.I. Joe can defeat our na- tion's enemies, but he can't beat the forces of greed inside the Beltway.

Yes, military technology is a wonderful enabler. Give us more. But make it appropriate technology, not just what corporations want to sell. Demand a strict accounting and rigorous oversight. And don't succumb to the accountant's desire to free up funds by cutting the people our military sorely needs.

He's like the general in Akira, all beset by corrupt money-grubbing civilians who have wormed their way into power. That would make Rummy the short old guy with the crazy hair. I wonder who Tetsuo would be in this whole thing--Dubya? You know, random guy suddenly granted amazing powers? Maybe. Wait, so who's Kanada then? I have no idea. Al Gore? "DUUUBBYAAAAAA!" "AAAAAAAAAAAAALLL!"

UPDATE: Oh right, of course--it's Jacques Chirac. "DUUUUBBBYAAAAA!" "CHIRRRRAAAAAC!"

Repeat your jokes until you get them right, that's my motto.
FOR WHATEVER IT'S WORTH: John Hollinger likes Orlando and Philly in the East. The NBA has reached the point where the Eastern Conference playoffs don't actually matter, but somebody has to get their name in the record books as having played for the championship, and McGrady vs. Iverson sounds like a great series. I'll be watching.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

EEYIKES: Kevin Drum smacks Glenn Reynolds something fierce.
FOREIGN COUNTRIES SURE ARE FOREIGN: How is anybody only getting 18 years for calmly and deliberately killing Pim Fortuyn? Where's the justice? If you're "rationally" dead-set on killing somebody, you can rationally expect to get your liberty removed. I don't get it.
HATE WAR, LOVE WARRIOR: I love how Ralph Peters can hate on Rumsfeld and praise our soldiers at the same time:

[T]he shock-and-awe air campaign was such a disappointment that Pentagon briefers immediately wrote it out of the war's history, much the way Stalin's Politburo used to erase purged figures from official photographs.

The truth is that the strategic air campaign was worth trying. And we may yet learn of unexpected results from the attempted decapitation strikes. But no air effort could have lived up to the hype civilian "experts" imposed on it.

For shock-and-awe type air campaigns to work, there are three requirements: Surprise, truly overwhelming blows and an enemy leadership that regards surrender as an option. But months of schoolyard threats from Pentagon staffers as to what the air campaign would do to Saddam's regime both ruled out surprise and prepared our enemy psychologically. When they finally came, our airstrikes on Baghdad were colorful, but cautious and slight in effect. And Saddam and his cronies never viewed surrender as an option.

The second, graver error was the ideologically motivated refusal to send more troops to the theater of war prior to hostilities. When commanders in combat complained that they needed more troops, senior leaders silenced them. When retired generals insisted that more troops should have been sent, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) shamelessly branded them as disloyal, portraying war heroes as defeatists and distorting their comments to a degree worthy of the Iraqi information minister.

Wait until the soldiers who fought this war write their memoirs. Then judge.

Certainly, we won a magnificent victory. But our military won it despite OSD's micro-management.

Size matters. More troops would have allowed us to seize Tikrit and close the roads to Syria a week earlier, preventing the flight of key Iraqi officials. We lacked the forces to seize Baghdad and continue the attack simultaneously.

Our inability to guard hospitals and the failure to protect Baghdad's National Museum of Antiquities from looters are undeniable stains on an otherwise unblemished record. We needed more troops on the ground to establish a presence throughout Baghdad and elsewhere. Out of sight, our troops were out of mind.

Despite denials from the secretary of defense that more troops were needed, the 4th Infantry Division had to be rushed to Iraq. Other reinforcements - hastily flown in - included an airborne brigade, an armored cavalry regiment, an additional heavy brigade and another light brigade, with more units slated to follow. Have they been hurried to Iraq because they were unnecessary?

This has been a brilliant campaign. But it was won by soldiers, not by civilian "experts" who regard our troops as nothing more than strategic janitors. The recent suggestions by party hacks who disdained military service to the effect that they and their ideas won the war is conduct unbecoming. Even by Washington's standards.

Hate on Rumsfeld, and not even mention his name. He's got it down to an artform.
WHAT THE HEY: Miami Heat retire Michael Jordan's number. Via Sportsfilter. You know, Michael Jordan, the guy who has been involved in so many Miami Heat victories over the years. How completely and utterly nonsensical.

Friday, April 11, 2003

INTERESTING: Discrepancies in the accounts of Rachel Corrie's death. I keep thinking about what Anthony Swofford said about her:

The possibility that an action might be ineffective has never stopped Americans, thank maman for that. Among other things, the protesters are also protesting against the ineffective nature of their footfalls and signs. This desire to hit the street when you know your voice will not budge the mountain is famously and gloriously AMERICAN. I think of the young American woman who died in Israel last week, putting her body between a Palestinian shack and an Israeli bulldozer. What madness! What shrill crazy hope!

[I don't know if you can, but can you get an order for Ons, that's O-N-S,
Junior Market, the address is 1934 East Aneheim, all the windows are
busted out, and it's like a free-for-all in here and uh the owner should
at least come down here and see if he can secure his business-
if he wants to]

April 26th, 1992
There was a riot on the streets
Tell me where were you?
You were sittin' home watchin' your TV
While I was participating in some anarchy

First spot we hit it was my liquor store
I finally got all that alcohol I can't afford
With red lights flashin' time to retire
And then we turned that liquor store into a structure fire.

Next stop we hit it was the music shop
It only took one brick to make that window drop
Finally we got our own p.a.
Where do you think I got this guitar that you're hearing today? ey!


When we returned to the pad to unload everything
It dawned on me that I need new home furnishings
So once again we filled the van until it was full
Since that day my livin' room's been more comfortable
Cause everybody in the hood has had it up to here
It's getting harder and harder and harder each and every year
Some kids went in a store with their mother
I saw her when she came out she was gettin some pampers
They said it was for the black man,
they said it was for the mexican
And not for the white man
But if you look at the streets
It wasn't about Rodney King
It's bout this fucked up situation and these fucked up police
It's about coming up
And staying on top
And screamin' 187 on a mother fuckin' cop
It's not written on the paper it's on the wall
National guard
Smoke from all around!

There you go.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

SPEAKING OF CERTAIN ENGLISH-SPEAKING IMMIGRANTS: The imperial ambitions of Anglosphere-Americans. By Justin Raimondo.
CHOOSE YOUR STUPID TASTELESS JOKE: Will you make Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf into the Black Knight from Holy Grail? Or into Joe Isuzu? Holy Grail jokes make references to a movie we've all seen a jillion times, so they certainly lack freshness. And--by the way--there's at least one little kid who lost three of his limbs in this war. As Bruce and Andrea have pointed out. Joe Isuzu, on the other hand, is actually funny, in keeping with several recent 80s cultural revivals and--this is the clincher--is not the choice of Andrew Sullivan. The choice is clear: when you're making goofy jokes about blatantly ridiculous Iraqi information ministers, choose Joe Isuzu. It's the patriotic American thing to do.
"CAN'T YOU JUST BE HAPPY FOR ONE SECOND???": David Rees gets shrill. There is, of course, a difference between being happy for one second and being able to acknowledge when things go right for one second. Via David Janes.
MY FAVORITE BAATHIST: Franklin Harris has one, the man who shall forever be known as Skippy:

I admit it. I like Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf. Sure, he's the Iraqi information minister, and for all I know he could be a war criminal. But you just have to like a guy who can stand on a rooftop and tell you that U.S. forces are not inside Baghdad even as you can plainly hear automatic gunfire a few blocks away.

And he does it with a straight face.

We've all heard that the first casualty in war is the truth, but this is overkill.

So, if al-Sahhaf survives the war and doesn't wind up in prison, he should come to America. He can have a stellar second career as an advertising pitchman. He can be the new Joe Isuzu.

You should read the whole thing. It is, of course, far funnier if you remember who Joe Isuzu was. Er, links via Franklin.
THIS WAR IS FEEDING MY AMERICAN EGO, ANYWAY: It's that American self-belief that we always--eventually--do the right thing, the self-belief that Casblanca and Three Kings are all about. So I when I saw that statue coming down, it made me glad that Americans were there causing it and that Americans had helped to cause this moment that was pretty much A Good Thing. Because it was good to see a national ideal turn into reality like that. Ideals are ideals; Americans don't always do the right thing--I know that--and maybe we don't even eventually always do the right thing, but we did the right thing this time and it was good to see. Okay? Gawd, we're the goofiest imperialist colonialist superpower ever; what previous superpower just wanted to be liked? That's not in Machiavelli. If you want to understand the American version of power, you better read Peanuts when you're reading your Machiavelli.

The other American self-belief that the statue moment is feeding is that we're not a bunch of racist fuckwads and that anybody can be an American--that we're the nationality that is best at transcending ethnicity. So hopefully the fact that the Marine rubbing an American flag in Saddam's face is an ethnically Chinese child-of-immigrants New Yorker is proof of that, and that a racist past does not guarantee a racist present. I mean, in both cases (racism and Iraq) we have a lot left to do, and in Iraq there's a lot of stuff we could still go wrong with. But it's nice to see ideals in action.
STATUE NEWS: For whatever it's worth, that was not the world's longest-lasting symbol of oppression:

The Marines joined the effort to pull down the Firdos Square statue -- erected last April for the Iraqi president's 65th birthday -- when it became clear a small group of Iraqis would not be able to bring it down on their own.

Saddam was still statue-building only a year ago? Huh.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

FOR THE FIFTH TIME--THIS WEEK: Diana Moon retires.
LEAGUE PASS HATE POST: Lang Whitaker explains why Mavs/Lakers was not on my teevee last night:

On Time Warner's digital cable, the League Pass is on channels 400 through 412. It used to be that channel 400 was what they called TV. During the day they replayed all the old NBA Entertainment specials, which was always cool to park on for a minute and check out. At night, while games were going on, half of the screen was a scoreboard with live scores of every NBA game on the screen. The other half of the screen was highlights from the games, along with occasional "expert" analysis from media people I'd never heard of.

But at some point this season, the NBA decided that we were getting too much for our money, and they yanked the channel and renamed it NBA TV, then made it available only through a separate subscription service. Problem is that right now, Time Warner cable doesn't offer the channel.

All that to say that even though I paid to get all the NBA games on the League Pass, the NBA decided that it was more important to make a buck than show the most important game of the week to the customers that had already bought their product. And you wonder why there are empty arenas around the League...

The same is apparently true for Comcast cable, because that game was nowhere on my digital cable last night either. Thank you, David Stern. And how does Stern continue to allow Sterling to own the Clippers? Does Jerry Buss need a foil that badly? I don't get it.
YOUR TERRIBLE SEARCH THAT FINDS MY WEBLOG POST OF THE DAY: Number 30 for private lynch naked. Oh come on....
THANK YOU FOR PLAYING, DALLAS MAVERICKS: You cannot beat the Lakers and a first-round meeting with them looks inevitable at this point. It was such a promising season; we all wanted you to succeed, we did. But the Kings and the Spurs look like they've figured the Lakers out while you guys stiiiiiink. We wanted the team that was winning the NBA championship to be as entertaing as it was successful. Sadly, it was not to be. The Kings and Spurs will have to do what they can to be entertaining, which they are capable of, because, Kobe aside, the Lakers are not a joy to watch.
WHAT EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY DOES AND DOES NOT DO: Steve Sailer, Man Without Permalinks, uses evpsych to explain the public fascination with Private Lynch:

Despite the advanced views on gender equality put forward in that Gallup Poll, this week's age-old tale of gallant knights rescuing a damsel in distress touched American heartstrings like nothing else in the war.

The great storm of joy and protectiveness that the photos of the West Virginia beauty contestant elicited highlight a general shortcoming of opinion polls. While calling 1,000 people on the phone and asking them questions about whether women should serve in high-risk military situations is a useful tool, it's worth bearing in mind that respondents can't fully anticipate how they'll actually feel about a novel situation until it actually arises.


Nonetheless, the remarkable reaction all across America to the pictures of the girl-next-door from Hometown, USA, is a reminder that polling often fails to plumb the deepest human passions. And, fortunately, on this occasion, these passions include joy and relief at her deliverance.

However, he is on shakier ground here:

From a traditional perspective -- supported in recent years by the new science of evolutionary psychology -- it makes sense for many men to risk their lives to try to free a beautiful young woman. Humans evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in small bands. Fertile females were the critical resource. Even if all the males in the band but one died, he could still face up to his tribal duty and impregnate all the women in the band.

But if too many younger females were killed or stolen by an enemy group, the band's survival was in doubt. As University of Florida zoologist Laura A. Higgins wrote in 1988, "Because fewer of them are needed to produce and maintain offspring, from a population maintenance perspective, males are more expendable than females."

On the other hand, this primordial instinct can get in the way of rational war fighting. In the opening months of the 1947-1948 Israeli War of Independence, women were fully integrated into frontline ranks, but later in the war, the government began withdrawing women from combat. City College of New York sociologist Steven Goldberg pointed out, "The argument that clinched Israel's decision to not use women in combat was the experience of male soldiers taking militarily unwarranted risks to save female soldiers in trouble." Israeli women were then banned from combat roles until a 1996 Israeli Supreme Court ruling.

Lynch's rescue was extremely well planned and executed, and the risks were kept to a minimum. But risks there were. And the political bonanza it reaped shows the pressures and temptations commanders face regarding the fate of nice-looking female soldiers.

I mean--there are indications that this rescue was attempted because the Marines knew a female soldier was involved (via Virginia Postrel):

Mohammed was taking a chance, not only in defying Iraqi authorities but in approaching the Marines. Saddam's Fedayeen and their allies had been dressing in civilian clothes to get close to U.S. troops, sometimes even faking surrender, only to open fire at short range. U.S. troops have also fired on civilians at checkpoints.

But with the mention of a woman soldier, Mohammed got the Marines' attention, and he was quickly ushered in to talk with officers who began grilling him about the hospital and the soldier inside. At the same time, Mohammed instructed his wife to go stay with their family -- and none too soon. That night, friends told him later, the Fedayeen showed up at his house and ransacked the place, searching for something.

It was not enough to simply tell the Americans that one of their own was at Saddam Hospital. Twice over the next two days, he said, they sent him back to the hospital to gather more information. Just to get to the hospital was perilous, he said, because of the U.S. bombs that seemed to be falling all around Nasiriyah. Once in the hospital, he had to make sure he was not spotted by anyone who would inform on him to the Fedayeen.

But it seems more like if anyone was taking a huge, greater-than-average risk out of protective male feelings for women, it was Mohammed--the Iraqi lawyer above who gave up her whereabouts--and not the U.S. Marines. On the other hand, the idea that Private Lynch is a much bigger deal than Private Johnson or Private Piestawa because she's the cutest of the three of them--I mean, it's an ugly idea, but it is probably true. I really hope it isn't because she's the whitest of the three of them.

My non-war question is: how does evolutionary psychology explain away female infanticide in Asia? If women are so precious in evpsych terms, it shouldn't happen at all. So evpsych either has to come up with a reproductive fitness explanation for female infanticide that is still being unconsciously followed to this day--or it has to say that Asian people evolved in a slightly different environment from non-Asian people--or maybe it has to say both, that the latter caused the former or something. Right?

Anyhoo, I guess I think that evolutionary psychology is better at explaining why things--images and ideas; I refuse to use the godawful term "meme"--spread the way that they do within a culture than at explaining why cultures themselves exist and develop. That's where it has more explanatory power for me, anywar. Right, then.

Of related interest: Is Evolution a Secular Religion? Via Charles Murtaugh. That post also explains Charlie's self-defined elitism, which I found interesting.
"BUT THE TIMES IN LIFE WHEN YOU LIKE YOUR ODDS ARE EXACTLY THE TIMES WHEN YOU'RE MOST LIKELY TO BE OVERESTIMATING THEM.": Economics explains why, from every moment of fools rushing in (in the Elvis sense) to every war that takes a little too long:

The same holds true for everything else in life. You might be very good, on average, at estimating the quality of potential mates. But the rare one whose quality you've way overestimated is precisely the one you're most likely to marry. And you might be very good, on average, at predicting how wars will go. But the rare one you've been way overoptimistic about is the one you choose to fight. So, marriages and wars are fraught with disappointment.

Steven E. Landsburg in Slate today. Is it me, or is Slate like cyberland's NPR? Left-leaning, probably grossly unprofitable, steady and reliable for intelligent journalism and analysis. The Dialogues are like Fresh Air. The Dispatches are like NPR's on-site reporters. Kaus is like Todd Munch or somebody. It all makes sense, I tell you what.
ANNIE GARRELS ROCKS: She really does. She's so even-handed and understated and admirably cynical and she's been right there in Baghdad throughout. And I can call her Annie cause I'm down with her like Neal Conan. Here she is getting Sun-Times love:

In the case of NPR's woman in Baghdad, Anne Garrels, there are volumes to be read in the unpolished, unrehearsed, admirably unprogrammed way she reports the news. If some war reporters project a Scud-Studly eager-beaverness, she doesn't mind letting you know how lucky you are not to be in her shoes. There may be no one on the air who better conveys the difficult mood swings that this kind of assignment can produce, or its utter lack of glamor.

Sydney Shanberg, the former New York Times journalist portrayed by Sam Waterston in the Cambodian drama, "The Killing Fields," recently wrote in the Village Voice of "the adrenaline high that fuels this news-gathering drive" and the "subconscious notions of immortality" that "may begin to rattle around in your psyche." Garrels seems fueled by an adrenaline low, her sense of self kept in check after all her years in embattled places--Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel, Tiananmen Square, to name a few--by her highly evolved sense of mortality.

As if chatting with a stateside friend on the phone, she makes little attempt to keep in check her weariness or anxiety or disregard for simplified accounts of what's going on. Embedded with Iraqi civilians, or as much as she can be under the close control of state officials (for her, life in the Palestine Hotel is "kinda like reform school"), she reported how surreal life in the streets was in the days before the initial assaults, when people were doing next to nothing to prepare for them. Through her unjaded commentary, you could appreciate the "thud, thud, thud" of bombs hitting the city and the emotions being felt by the Iraqi people we hear so much about but don't often hear.

I hope when people are writing the media history of this war they give some room for strong individual efforts like Garrels', and don't get bogged down in endless blathering about Al Jazeera and Fox News and so on. Yes I do.
SNAPSHOT OF A WAR: Baghdad citizens pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein--but with the help of an American vehicle. There's your war right there: oppressive regime, America doing good and looking out for its own interests at the same time, Iraqis happy, even as the Arab world knows that the fact that it required Americans to bring down Saddam is yet another sign that their governments have failed them en masse. So you can, I think, condense the whole war and the geopolitics behind it into this jubilant little moment.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

YOUR CAN OF WORMS FOR THE DAY: Gene Expression vs. Mac Diva.
OH WOW: Why Duke players stink it up in the NBA. In Off The Glass, by Paul Forrester, on SI:

Of the two Dookies you can legitimately term stars, Elton Brand has already been traded once (whether you agree or not, at least one NBA GM didn't think Brand was a primary building block), and Grant Hill's career is in jeopardy far before his life as an athlete should be over.

Ironically, the Blue Devil with, perhaps, the most ability, Corey Maggette, is one of the few that coach Mike Krzyzewski did not give his blessing to, thanks to Maggette's early departure from Durham. While the fact that so many Blue Devils make it to the NBA may be something to crow about, the harsh reality is that for a program that recruits so many high-school All-Americans and wins so much, Duke does a rotten job of turning out top-notch NBA players. OTG won't claim to know the cause but here are some possible reasons.


The Mirage of Talent: The fact that Duke plays in so many big games -- and on national TV -- gives its players a sheen of quality that exists only as long as Mike Krzyzewski is coaching those players. Shane Battier won the Naismith and the Wooden awards by scoring 19.9 ppg, grabbing 7.3 rpg and shooting 47 percent from the field during his final season at Duke. Two years later, it's clear that Battier's trophies won't have any company on his mantle soon, what with his 9.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg.

As I said before, it isn't as if the Duke boys don't have NBA skills; they just don't have NBA skills equal to the expectations we fans, and many a general manager, place on them. Trajan Langdon could have been a perfectly serviceable two-guard off the bench. Instead, he's the No. 11 pick in the first round and his inability to do much but shoot is glaringly apparent against other NBA starters. OTG wonders if Atlanta regrets selecting Roshown McLeod with the 12th overall selection in the 1998 NBA Draft before later draftees Ricky Davis, Rashard Lewis and Cuttino Mobley.

And the finale:

The Blue Devil Mystique: While Duke may not be producing future NBA All-Stars each year, no other school is consistently churning them out, either. Steve Francis may have come from Maryland, but so did Joe Smith. Baron Davis was a fabulous choice out of UCLA, quite unlike Jerome Moiso a year later. Still, for the constant flow of high school luminaries Duke receives, very few develop into the pro stars they seem to have the talent to become. Is Krzyzewski's system to blame? Dean Smith had a pretty rigid system in Chapel Hill and still managed to turn out Michael Jordan, Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse. Whatever the reason, talented players don't come out of Duke the same way they came in.

METEORIC RISE: Los Angeles Avengers top seed in the AFL. Wait--"meteroic rise?" Dang it.
OBSCURE SPORTS DEPT.: AVP Pro Beach Volleyball. Hey, they're coming to Jersey.
OH YEAH: I wish I had seen this on tv (the latter part, not the obnoxious Fox News part):

The cable news channels this time have shown they can be entertaining--loved the over-the-top Fox News Channel ad on Wednesday sniping at MSNBC's slogan of "America's News Channel" because it employed Peter Arnett, and the CNN shot of English graffiti on a giant poster of Saddam Hussein that read "Mean People Suck"--but they are not as vital as they were.

That's soooo great. And it's one of the good reasons for going to war. Mean People do Suck, and will Suck The Fist Of American Military Might for the foreseeable future--well, at least until 2004 when we get the adventurists out. Man, I don't know, I'm all for non-intervention, but seeing people beat the hell out of a statue of Saddam Hussein makes me think maybe we are doing the right thing overall. I still don't trust the First Neocon Expeditionary Force, though. Buncha armchair goofballs....

Monday, April 07, 2003


Schundler said arena deals are proven economic flunks - and this one will ultimately cost Pennsauken and the region by replacing permanent jobs with part-time jobs.

"The citizens of New Jersey have overwhelmingly rejected (spending public money on) arenas," Schundler said. "Yet the governor's still supporting this boondoggle spending, which benefits no one outside of his own closest associates."

Bret's dander is up because of the hideous plan to replace one of the finest and certainly the most unique shopping experience in South Jersey--the Pennsauken Mart--with an arena whose only confirmed tenant is a minor-league hockey team. Retailers are fighting back:

Tired of waiting for answers from the county, the mart's 150 small-business owners have turned into impromptu activists, mounting a campaign to save their mart with the help of a former maverick freeholder.

Many of the tenants are recent immigrants who speak little English and had ignored local politics. They are working independently of mart owner Elliot Kattan, who many fear will not look out for them.

"I want to stop the project. But if not, I don't want them to get away with it without a fight," said Pravitz, a 14-year mart tenant. "If we go down, we want to bloody some noses."

Sunday, April 06, 2003

"MAXIM IS FOR YOUNG BOYS WHO ARE AFRAID TO BUY PORNO": Bernie Mac on Saturday Night Live last night. Thank you, Bernie Mac.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

SONG THAT WON'T LEAVE MY HEAD: Why all of Pirates of Penzance, of course, which I have been listening to and watching at saturation levels recently (it's the movie version.)

When the foeman bares his steel,
Tarantara! tarantara!
We uncomfortable feel,
And we find the wisest thing,
Tarantara! tarantara!
Is to slap our chests and sing,
For when threatened with ‚meutes,
Tarantara! tarantara!
And your heart is in your boots,
There is nothing brings it round
Like the trumpet's martial sound,
Like the trumpet's martial sound

And I love this part which stands as the movie's only serious moment:

KING: Although our dark career
Sometimes involves the crime of stealing,
We rather think that we're
Not altogether void of feeling.
Although we live by strife,
We're always sorry to begin it,
For what, we ask, is life
Without a touch of Poetry in it?
(all kneel)

ALL: Hail, Poetry, thou heav'n-born maid!
Thou gildest e'en the pirate's trade.
Hail, flowing fount of sentiment!
All hail, all hail, divine emollient!
(all rise)

In times like these we could all use a little 19th-century pop culture. Penzance is also interesting in that it debuted in New York City and London at the same time in an attempt to get a copyright on it and to prevent bootleg performances like there had been with H.M.S. Pinafore.
REFLECTION ON A RESPONSE TO A REJOINDER: And then there was Ampersand.
STILL GOING: Democrat filibuster still on. Miguel Estrada still a non-judge.
NEW JERSEY GOVERNED BY CRETINS WATCH: Abuse of the Gadsen Flag should not be tolerated.
RESPONSE TO A REJOINDER: Natasha counters my counter-post.
AM I EUROPEAN OR NOT?: Jesse Walker on English national identity.
WAR WITHIN A WAR: CNN closing in on Fox News. Via Oliver Willis. Excerpt:

“Fox News does that thing it does and managed to get on top doing it,” says Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.

“It may be that its distinct personality may be a little too much to take in larger doses, though, where CNN may be easier to take since it has more straight news.”


“There are a number of elements here,” says Thompson.

“One is how long the shelf life of the Fox audience is, and the second is about public opinion. As long as it stays where it is, Fox will do well. But if the war goes on and on and public opinion changes, the question will be whether Fox changes along with it.”

Meanwhile Chris Suellentrop compares Al Jazeera with the American networks, saying: "The war has given lie to the idea that American journalists don't have opinions. One question: Why must we return to the lie when it's time for peace?"
AMERICAN TROOPS LOOTING IRAQ: Carrying off all the priceless artwork.
BLOGS OF DIPLOMACY: Dr. Frank lets all the air out of the Blogs of War/Blogs of War non-controversy. Remember when there was the movie Ghostbusters cartoon and the Filmation "Real" Ghostbusters cartoon? It's kind of like that. Well, not really.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

SPEAKING OF THE FEMINIST REVOLUTION: Ben Domenech proclaims Generation Roe.
YOUR GREATEST SEARCH THAT FINDS MY WEBLOG POST OF THE DAY: Perpetual ladies naked in the philippines. You and me both, li'l buddy. Let me know if you find the secret Amy Chua/Michelle Malkin "I was young, I needed the money" tapes....
THE WAR AGAINST THE WAR AGAINST BOYS: Natasha at the watch has a thought-provoking post up on why conservatives can't be feminists, which--if Natasha hadn't defined conservative feminism out of existence--could be seen as explicating the differences between liberal and conservative feminism, which may or may not be the same differences as those between gender and equity feminism. You can tell which side she is on:

American conservatives have a platform at home that consists of: Rolling back birth control options that make it easier for families to manage their lives. Rolling back family leave statutes that make it easier for parents to spend time with their children. Gutting whistle-blower protections and worker safety regulations. Reducing educational and after-school program spending. Diverting law enforcement resources from violent crime to 'moral' or, essentially, thought crime. And reducing the availability of health care while at the same time increasing health hazards.

These issues are modern feminism in a very definite way. The conservative response? Let them wear miniskirts. As long as you have the right to doll yourself up in public and don't have to wear a headscarf, you shouldn't worry whether you can afford college, if you can find a job, if your children have decent textbooks, or about what they're putting in the water. Don't worry your pretty, little heads.

There is some truth here--witness all the vapid blonde chicks on Fox News. And equity feminism is often defending the rights of hookers and strippers to make money, if only because gender feminism has no interest in defending those lines of work. My main point that I would want to make to Natasha is: didn't feminism win? Isn't everybody a feminist now? Excepting those who take an overt political stance against it, of course. But isn't feminism an established part of our culture now? There should be as many feminisms as there are subsections of our culture, and I don't think you can define them into being illegitmate--they're the mutiple heirs of the feminist revolution. I feel like Blonde Guy #1 in Wrath Of Khan: "Ma'am, NO! You have EQUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW! You can do anything now--" "Damn your eyes, FULL IMPULSE POWER!" ", you can't get away...from hell's heart, I stab at thee...for hate's sake, I spit my last thee.....patriarcheeeeee....."
FINE, FINE NEWS: Tulia, Texas drug convictions overturned. Via Atrios.
THE NOT-SO-HIDDEN AND IN FACT PERFECTLY OBVIOUS SUBTEXT: Is that Private Jessica Lynch is a woman. Virginia Postrel pointed this out:

Reporters on Fox News Channel and MSNBC are displaying an exceedingly annoying habit of referring to Pfc. Jessica Lynch as just "Jessica" in news stories, the better to tug the viewers' paternal/maternal heartstrings. But Jessica Lynch is not the little girl who fell down the well. She is a U.S. soldier serving in harm's way. If you're old enough to be a POW, you're old enough to be referred to as "Private Lynch." Even if you're female.

Meanwhile Steve Sailer, Man Without Permalinks, makes a different point from deep within his stronghold of Uncomfortable Realities Born of Millions of Years of Evolution:

Pretty 19-year-old girl soldier rescued from captivity by special forces operation -- The Israelis used women as combat soldiers in 1947, but took them off the front lines for the second half of the war in 1948. One problem they found was that the male soldiers would take excessive risks to protect them.

Which is a good point, though we don't know if it applies to this rescue or not--whether the special ops guys knew she was there or knew just that Americans were there. Atrios has more, including news about an unsuccessful first rescue attempt.
OBLIGATORY SAUDI-HATIN' POST: Matt Welch brings the goods.
A DAY LATE BUT: The People's Weblog is back, as is its Benevolent Leader And True Friend To All Norwegians Bjorn Staerk.