g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
Eric S. Raymond
Tal G in Jerusalem
Aziz Poonawalla
Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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Sunday, July 11, 2004
23:31 - Extry! Extry! Read aaall about it!
http://instapundit.com/archives/016511.php

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Evidently, if your tastes run to such things, you can now go and spend several hours perusing sites that explore to every last gleefully dancing detail the sudden meltdown of the whole BUSH LIED!!! thing. The upshot being, well, no, those infamous "sixteen words"—the ones about Saddam buying uranium from Niger—have turned out to be correct after all.

Which also simultaneously lets the air out of a whole bunch of other Bush canards, like the "Joe Wilson's CIA wife was outed by the Bush administration to punish him for speaking out against them" and the "BBC guy was murdered to cover up evidence that he sexed-up the Iraq dossier" ones.

Oh well; at least still PEOPLE DIED!!!11, right?

God, I'm still so tired of this stuff... even when it turns out well.


16:25 - Browser insurgency
http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1089566561.shtml

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So it seems that MSIE is starting to lose a little bit of market share to Mozilla/Firefox. Dean Esmay has an essay in which he appears to be calling the browser war back to arms.

Firefox is clearly a better web browser for most internet users. It's faster, it's easier to use, it's more easily extensible. Most of all it's more secure. Your system is significantly less likely to be invaded by spyware and web-based viruses with Firefox or Opera than with Internet Explorer.

I remember when Microsoft decided to take over the web browser market. It was clear to me back then that they were making a technical mistake: they decided to integrate the web browser so closely into the operating system that it was a fundamental part Windows itself. From day one I thought this almost certainly meant that Microsoft's operating systems were going to be unusually vulnerable to security exploits over the internet, and sure enough they are. It's pretty apparent to me that this is not just because Microsoft has such a larger market share, either, but because certain design choices they made with Internet Explorer meant it would always be more vulnerable to attack.

In addition to worrying about the technical dangers of what they did, I also just hated the way Microsoft behaved. They quite intentionally and maliciously decided to crush the folks who had truly innovated the web browser market, Netscape Communications. And they did things that tended to lock consumers into using Internet Explorer, by creating non-compatible standards so that web sites designed just for Internet Explorer would not work in competing browsers. And they pretty clearly did this for no good reason other than to try to destroy competing browsers. In doing so, they hurt consumers, including users of competing, non-Microsoft platforms: Macintosh users, Linux users, users of other browsers on Windows, and so on.

I lost a lot of respect for Microsoft for the way they did the internet community with Internet Explorer. It was an open attempt to lock everyone into using their product, and I was never comfortable with it even though I used many Microsoft products and continued to use them on a daily basis.

When it became apparent which way the wind was blowing, I just gave up and used Internet Explorer as my main browser. I did that for years, just because it was easier. "Microsoft won, okay, whatever, I won't get emotional about it, it's just a web browser" was how I felt about it.

But I take pleasure in the thought that finally it's truly started to backfire on Microsoft. We now have a product that's clearly superior in just about every way to Internet Explorer. I hope more people switch--and I'm pretty sure they will. Today, as it stands, Internet Explorer is an inferior product. It's slower than other browsers. It's got a lot more security problems than any other browser, problems that can cause serious damage to you while you carelessly browse the web. It's also not as smooth and elegant as its competitors. And, the more people switch to alternatives, the less control one company (Microsoft) has over the internet. A control that Microsoft doesn't need to keep in order to stay profitable anyway.

A case can actually be made for the Web being a natural monopoly, just like a similar case can be made for computing platforms in general—it means software/site developers only need to be concerned about coding for one runtime standard, and that can halve your development costs. But as long as there is any way in which the monopoly (e.g. Microsoft) is dropping the ball, there will always be alternative platforms trying to elbow their way into the market, and there will always be a market segment catering to it, and so nobody will ever be able to fully realize the benefits of the true natural monopoly. There will always be customer pressure on software companies and websites to make their products cross-platform; even if those companies don't comply, they still feel the pressure, and they stand to lose business to anyone who chooses to compete with them on the basis of "We're cross-platform and you're not".

And that's in the case where the monopoly company is almost perfect but only falling barely short of the mark in a few key areas. Microsoft is hardly anyone's idea of a perfect natural monopolist. They're not behaving like any kind of specially anointed bannerbearer whose output should be held to a higher standard. They're doing the absolute minimum they can possibly get away with; and as the free market dictates, if they're a monopoly, on the desktop or on the Web, that amount is zero.

It's only in the last few weeks that it's been announced, for example, that the MSIE group is getting back together to work on a new version of the browser. The group has been disbanded ever since the release of IE6. That's three years. Three years during which Microsoft has put zero effort into improving its browser, except to grudgingly plug security holes, the most egregious of which are now causing CERT so much exasperation that they're actively encouraging MSIE users to switch to something else.

Perhaps people are taking that to heart. (Yeah, right.)

In any case, Dean suggests that Firefox is pretty darn good on the Mac; I've tried it, and it does seem solid. But Camino is almost identical in rendering behavior (it's the same engine, after all), and it incorporates Mac OS X-native widgets (buttons, form controls, etc), whereas Firefox uses the rather scummy-looking platform-agnostic Mozilla widget set. Plus Camino has much more "Mac-like" behaviors in things like text input boxes, where pressing Down moves the cursor to the end of the line, and Up moves it to the beginning, like in all other text-input widgets on the Mac (and let me tell you, it is infuriating to use a system where that doesn't exist). Besides, Camino has a more OS X-like Preferences panel, and is generally better integrated into the Mac OS X environment. Safari is still the most polished Mac OS X browser by far, but it's far slower than Camino in table layout and navigation within complex pages, though it is a lot faster to load. Safari's still my choice; at least if you were to rank all the Mac browsers by quality, you'd go through a list of five or six now before you even got near IE.

What we're witnessing right now are market forces in action. Microsoft is proving that even if the web and/or the desktop are natural monopolies, Microsoft is not a suitable company to fulfill that role; evidence of that is in the existence of these energetic companies and open-source communities dedicated to serving the customer better than Microsoft does. If Microsoft were dedicated to solving customer problems above reaping profits, this situation wouldn't exist.

Perhaps no company in the monopoly position would behave any differently from Microsoft. But if that's true, the Web and the desktop are not, in fact, natural monopolies. If we can accept that conclusion, we'll start to have real competition again on both playing fields—the Web and the desktop—and everybody, as is the norm in this sort of situation, wins.

Saturday, July 10, 2004
14:23 - That's what's wrong with that show! Not enough politics!
http://ravishinglight.blogspot.com/2004/07/never-thought-youd-be-so-condescending.ht

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<sobbing quietly into my hands>

Friday, July 9, 2004
18:19 - Oh yes, do go on, please
http://www.jail4bush.org/death4bush/

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Sure! What the hell!

I, David Blomstrom, a candidate for state office (Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction), hereby declare my belief that President George W. Bush deserves and should receive the death penalty, after the appropriate legal or quasi-legal formalities. I urge other patriotic Americans and foreign nationals alike to openly call for Bush’s execution. Furthermore, I sent my first press release announcing my position to Al-Jazeera in symbolic gesture designed to call attention to the corruption that runs rampant in America’s media.

Let me first emphasize that this is not a death threat. Nor is it designed to encourage physical attacks. On the contrary, such an assault would probably accomplish nothing, for a number of reasons.

. . .

The stunning impact of Moore’s movie is a reminder that millions of Americans still care about truth, justice and democracy. Yet millions of Americans still rally behind George W. Bush, whether driven by stupidity, corruption or selfish fear.

In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the French newspaper Le Monde recalled a Revolutionary War partnership when it declared, "We are all Americans." Ironically, the French, Germans, Chinese, Brazilians and residents of other nations are truer Americans than many U.S. citizens.

Rather than celebrate July 4, 2002 as a commercialized commemoration of our national birthday (sponsored by Washington Mutual at Seattle’s Gasworks Park), let’s designate it the beginning of a new revolution, a global class struggle that topples the arrogant and corrupt elite that are returning America to the days of King George, with the entire world his colony. We desperately need a new revolution, and all good revolutions focus heavily on two items that are sadly neglected in America today — accountability and education.

No, this isn't a Something Awful parody. This is what some unemployed guy running for office in the Seattle educational system ground out syllable by painful syllable from behind that slablike brow.

What can one do but tiredly laugh? Just laugh, and laugh, and don't stop laughing for God's sake because the implications of this being how a lot of our citizens think are too depressing to contemplate?

UPDATE: Know what this guy's premise reminds me of?

"Did you know they've reinstated the death penalty for lawyers?"
"Really? For what offense?"
"What do you mean, offense?"


17:39 - Oh, so we've dispensed with the pretense, have we?
http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/index.html?uc_full_date=20040709

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I've usually been under the impression that when Garry Trudeau puts numbers and figures (like from polls and financial statistics and such) in his Doonesbury strips, they're traditionally at least accurate—and he uses them as the basis for his strips' humor content.



What the hell's that?

Does Garry think his readers are all able to tell how facetious he's being here—or does he just figure they'll all believe him? I mean, it stands to reason that all Iraqis hate the occupation, right?! Of course they do! Everybody knows that!

Just like everybody knew that nobody in Iraq wanted the war to happen. Yuh-huh. It's fake-out "news" like this, screwball comedy masquerading as thoughtful op-ed material, that led to the "human shields" being caught completely by surprise by the idea that nearly all Iraqis wanted the war—that the Iraqis assumed that the "human shields" could only be on Saddam's payroll, since nothing else could explain their motives.

Trudeau spends decades building up a reputation as a guy who builds his narrative around real facts and figures. But when the facts and figures don't support his narrative, he slips seamlessly into fantasy numbers—and the readers can't tell the difference. They're not intended to.

If we wonder what could lead to people like Moore blithering about the insurgents representing majority Iraqi sentiment, well, here it is right in front of us. Nice going, Garry.

See Victor Davis Hanson for elucidation of where Trudeau's chosen narrative is leading him:

The war that Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards once caricatured as a fiasco and amoral is now, for all its tragedies, emerging in some sort of historical perspective as a long-overdue liberation. At some point, one must choose: Saddam in chains or Saddam in power. And the former does not happen with rhetoric, but only through risk, occasional heartbreak, and the courage of the U.S. military. If Iyad Allawi and his brave government succeed — and they just may — the United States will have done more for world freedom and civilization than the fall of the Berlin Wall — and against far greater odds. Deanism is dead. Moorism is a fatal contagion that will ruin anyone it infects.

Kerry is only now starting to grasp that a year from now Iraq more likely will not be Vietnam, but maybe the most radical development of our time — and that all the Left's harping is becoming more and more irrelevant. Witness his talk of security and his newfound embrace of the post-9/11 effort as a war rather than a DA's indictment. It is not a good idea to plan on winning in November by expecting us to lose now in Iraq.

So John Kerry is starting to get it that the conventional ignorance of Michael Moore, the New York Times, and George Soros is already anachronistic. You can see that well enough when a grandee like Tom Brokaw, Christiane Amanpour, or a Nightline flunky starts in with the usual cheap, cynical hits against Iraq reformers — only to be stunned mid-sentence, like deer in the headlights, with the sense that they are berating noble and sincere men and women — far better folk than themselves — who at risk to their lives are crafting something entirely new in the Middle East.

I hope Garry's proud of himself.

Thursday, July 8, 2004
02:59 - 3D! For God's sake, 3D!
http://wwws.sun.com/software/looking_glass/index.html

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Wow. Look at what Sun's doing. They're reinventing the desktop! Wooooo! They're making everything three-dimensional! It's called "Project Looking Glass", and it's.... well, look for yourself, I guess.

It's an environment where your desktop is actually a 3D environment, where windows are objects that float in 3D space and can be arbitrarily moved around, rotated, and pushed back into perspective, with traditional window z-ordering transformed into actual 3D layout with arbitrary movability.

Look at the demo video... and tell me that this is designed to solve any real user problems at all.



I applaud the effort, but... I think this is a pretty clear case of "changing things because we can". Do users want to be able to flip a browser around in 3D space and jot a note on its back? Do users find themselves constrained by the inability to push a playing video off to the side of the screen, or to rotate several active windows around in 3D space so they can see them backwards? Does it help the user to be able to hear chirping birds if they've got their interactive 3D environment set to a bunch of flowers and trees?

Further, is there anything here (that the audience is oohing and aahing at) that we haven't already seen before? Translucency—ooh, yay. Videos that play in the minimized icon—oohraw. Active application panels mapped onto oblique surfaces—ho hum. Cubic VR environments—uh huh. Flipping windows around to access stuff on the back—funny, people are already putting that one into play. No, none of this is new technology; though the guy presenting it, while projecting no charisma at all, evokes shock and awe from the developers in the audience, by simply pointing out that "the dominant company that provides the desktop doesn't want to show you" what he's showing you, that "innovation is possible on the desktop".

This stuff might seem impressive to someone used to Windows XP, but to me it just looks weird.

Look: I understand that this is just a technology demo and all; I grasp that it's all in Java and it's all open-source and everything, which is spiffy. But all this does, from a user-interface standpoint, is demonstrate that Sun really doesn't understand what UI design is all about. It's not about flashy effects for the sake of flashy effects. Really, it's not. UI design is about solving problems. It's about allowing people to access their data and applications in ways that are intuitive and simple—and extrapolating the computing experience into a VR universe, just because we now have the computing power to do it, makes about as much sense as 3D movies did. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you have to. Nor does it necessarily mean you should. The presenter says, "If you have a 3D environment, why wouldn't you use it to present all your applications?" Um, well, maybe because it's not necessarily better?

Seriously, guys, more power to ya. I wish you luck. But this smacks of what happens when a bunch of UNIX geeks are finally coaxed away from telling everybody that the command line is the future of the world, and now want to spite everyone by showing off how much like a video game the computing experience can be, with all the zeal of the recently converted. It doesn't show any understanding of UI design philosophy—just a determination to one-up Microsoft without ever mentioning Apple.

Via Dean Esmay.


17:34 - On second thought... yeah, go ahead, scream your fool head off, Mikey
http://www.denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries/2004/07/Muqtadaal-Moore.shtml

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Looks like Steven Den Beste has identified an upside to Michael Moore.

It strikes me that for all the short-term hoopla and enthusiasm about Moore from the left, and trepidation about him from the non-left, that in fact he may turn out to be just the man the non-left needs, appearing exactly when and where the non-left needs him most. A non-left mole couldn't have done a better job framing the LL position to their disadvantage.

Moore has planted his flag smacko in the middle of the Holy City of anti-Americanism. To defend that position, the LL's will now vocally proclaim something many have long believed but avoided admitting: they hate America and everything it stands for. That is not a message that will sell well to the broad electorate. They will proclaim that they love this nation, but... and then make clear that they despise most of the people who live in it, and despise the very features of this nation that the majority of us see as its greatest virtues. And they will poison the leftist political position even for non-loonie leftists. (Since Moore's supporters constitute a significant base of support for the Democratic Party, they're going to represent an ongoing headache for the Kerry campaign by their antics. And that will force him to continue to equivocate about his position major issues, to avoid alienating them, and at the same time avoid alienating the broad electorate.)

Spot-on. The people who say they love America but hate Americans, or who wrap themselves in stars and stripes while claiming that Americans are too stupid to be trusted with democracy, are only hiding under a thin veneer that masks their true nature. Their vision of an ideal America has nothing to do with what America has ever stood for in the past—just what they think some theoretical, post-historical, post-religion, post-monetary, Star Trek version of America should be. "Let America be America," says Kerry, quoting Marxist poet Langston Hughes. Intentionally? One hopes not, but one can't help but suspect so.

So the truth will out, eventually. The timing thing still worries me, though; there's not enough time before the election for people to discover that the economy is doing pretty frickin' hot and that Kerry/Edwards don't present much of a palatable dish for the next four years, and since so much of our public discourse centers around whichever movie is announced using the three-foot-high marquee letters that come out of the Big Box at the multiplex, the Your-Duty-Is-Clear-Mr.-and-Mrs.-American-Voter meme won't dissipate before November. It's well and good to see that Moore is in no better a position to fight in the long term than al-Sadr was. But committing to engaging him and his followers over the long term means acquiescing to a Kerry win this fall, and I don't know if I'm willing to pay that price. Moore is one man, and sooner or later he'll collapse under his own weight and start his own solar system somewhere far away where he can't hurt anybody. But if we let him dictate the first national referendum on our conduct following 9/11, and give the world the perception that America repudiates our every action since that day, then any victory that occurs in the political landscape until 2008 will be small, flavorless potatoes.

But then again, we seem to have been able to operate under a deadline in Iraq, so maybe we can do the same here. Georgie boy, could you please start frickin' campaigning, for Pete's sake?


16:35 - So Kerry's running on the Bush Stole The Election ticket
http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/speeches/spc_2004_0706a.html

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Via Will Collier at VodkaPundit, John Kerry:

"Don’t tell us disenfranchising a million African Americans and stealing their votes is the best we can do."

Um, what?

Let me rephrase that: WHAT?!?

Exactly why hasn't this little tidbit been noted by the national press? With a banner headline? That's not just rhetoric, it's the electoral equivalent of a blood-libel. For one thing, it's a flat-out lie, as reluctantly found by the partisan Democrat-dominated US Civil Rights Commission, which despite months of investigation, noted only 26 people with "disenfranchisement" complaints, most of which were found to be specious (link is to a .pdf file of the minority dissent, see page 32).

Not "a million disenfranchised," but 26 people with complaints, not all of which were valid.

Kerry isn't just lying, he's indulging in blatant, ugly race-baiting (it's noteworty he says nothing about the military personnel whose 2000 absentee ballots were voided at the demands of Gore lawyers--now they were disenfranchised, but since they didn't vote correctly, it's below French John's notice). Why isn't he being called on it by the press?

Scratch that--you already know the answer. The press is on his side.

Seriously, what is up with all the casual racism on the Left these days? Like Ted Rall implicitly calling Condi Rice a "house nigga" (his words)? Do these guys just get away with it because everybody assumes that you can't be racist if you're on the Left, no matter how ugly your language or your deeds or your policies—and you can't not be racist if you're on the Right, no matter how hard you have to scrape and dig to unearth even the slightest hint of racism?

Where did this "racist Republicans" rap come from, anyway? I grew up assuming it as an article of faith. But check out the "Hate Mail" page of Silent No More, a conservative-youth site, where one of the webmasters responds to some brain-donor misusing his copy of Outlook Express:

My name is Gerard, a proud member of the "Right-wing attack machine" and yes, I'm Black. So, I have a unique perspective of the charges you raise in your e-mail.

Founded by abolitionists, the Republican Party has had a 150 year history of fighting for Civil Rights. In contrast, the Democratic Party's active opposition to Civil Rights gave rise to the Ku Klux Klan, Black Codes, Jim Crow Laws and other repressive legislation which resulted in the multitude of murders, lynchings, mutilations, and intimidations (of thousands of black and white Republicans). On the issue of slavery, Democrats gave their lives to expand it while the Republicans gave their lives to ban it.

While Democrats were busy passing laws to hurt blacks, Republicans devoted their time to passing laws to help blacks. Republicans were primarily responsible for the following Civil Rights legislation:

1. The Emancipation Proclamation
2. The 13th Amendment
3. The 14th Amendment
4. The 15th Amendment
5. The Reconstruction Act of 1867
6. The Civil Rights of 1866
7. The Enforcement Act of 1870
8. The Forced Act of 1871
9. The Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871
10. The Civil Rights Act of 1875
11. The Freeman Bureau
12. The Civil Rights Act of 1957
13. The Civil Rights Act of 1960
14. The United States Civil Rights Commission

They also gave strong bi-partisan support and sponsorship for the following legislation

15. The Civil Rights Act of 1964
17. The Voting Rights Act of 1965
18. The 1968 Civil Rights Acts
19. The Equal Opportunity Act of 1972
20. Goals and Timetables for Affirmative Action Programs
21. Comprehensive Employment Training Act of 1973
22. Voting Rights Act of Amendment of 1982
23. Civil Rights Act of 1983
24. Federal Contract Compliance and Workforce Development Act of 1988

The Democrats opposed all of the above and to this day refuse to acknowledge their shameful past. Your charges of racism against [our Editor] are unwarranted, unsupported, and downright foolish. History speaks for itself. Labels have changed, but Republican Party ideals have not. As noted writer Thomas Sowell once said, "If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 50 years ago, a liberal 25 years ago, and a racist today."

The party of Lincoln, remember? And despite what Michael Moore might say, the NRA is not a front group for the KKK. It was founded by Union officers. The KKK's mortal enemies.

Dean says that the big divide in American politics today is between "People who understand pragmatism and the lack of instant change, and those who don't."

I think, from the perspective of race, the divide is between "people who believe that the various races are so different that they can't be reconciled without external force imposing handicaps and promotions to try to 'even things out', and those who think there are no differences that are so great that they won't simply disappear if everybody is treated with true equality".

But equality is racist these days. I get it.


13:05 - And it's all our fault
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3875277.stm

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MoveOn.org has been agitating lately for the US to act more strongly against the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. "The Bush administration has asked for UN sanctions of the country," said a recent e-mail release (paraphrased), "but it's not enough." Implying, apparently, that MoveOn.org supports the US going to war as long as it's not what we actually plan to do. As long as they can criticize us for not doing enough in some godforsaken part of the world, they're ridin' high.

I wonder what they might have to say now that France has declared that it won't be getting involved, and would rather let a million people be slaughtered by the Sudanese government (because, see, as long as other countries aren't involved, there is peace):

“In Darfur, it would be better to help the Sudanese get over the crisis so their country is pacified rather than sanctions which would push them back to their misdeeds of old,” junior Foreign Minister Renaud Muselier told French radio.

France led opposition to US moves at the UN over Iraq. As was the case in Iraq, it also has significant oil interests in Sudan.

Mr Muselier also dismissed claims of “ethnic cleansing” or genocide in Darfur.

“I firmly believe it is a civil war and as they are little villages of 30, 40, 50, there is nothing easier than for a few armed horsemen to burn things down, to kill the men and drive out the women,” he said.

Which makes it all okay.

So glad to know where the French, our moral superiors, stand on all this.

But it's not as though this isn't a shining moment for the BBC as well. Right now, the story has the following snippet:

France led opposition to US moves at the UN over Iraq. As was the case in Iraq, it also has significant oil interests in Sudan.

That's not what it said a couple of hours ago, though. It used to say that the U.S. had "significant oil interests" in both Iraq and Sudan. They "stealth-edited" this paragraph after a huge and damaging lie was posted on their site for long enough for the wire services to all pick it up. An innocent mistake? Oh, I'm sure of it. Anybody can make a simple slip-up like, oh, say, assuming that the U.S. invaded Iraq for oil, and now it wants to invade Sudan for oil—and France, ever the voice of reason and the morally pure guardian against venality, opposes this vile imperialistic maneuver.

Hey, rest of the world? How about you all just go watch TV for a while, or play cricket or whatever the hell you do in your spare time; and we'll go make the world a better place. Believe me, it'll all go better without your "help". We'll tell you when it's okay to look again.

No thanks are necessary.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004
01:03 - It's all good, it's all right; everybody read James tonight
http://www.lileks.com/bleats/archive/04/0704/070804.html

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This means you.

It only takes a little bit of work—a quote juxtaposed next to another quote, a researched statistic, a slight rewording of a statement—to reduce Michael Moore's credibility and intellectual honesty to fat cinders.

James put in a lot of work on this one.


16:19 - There's a mighty judgment coming, but I may be wrong
http://coldfury.com/index.php?p=4615

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Mike at Cold Fury calls it as he sees it; and it ain't pretty.

The Dems laid down with the dogs years ago. All that’s left for them now, and for us, is to watch them scratch at the fleas and puzzle over how they got them. Bush will win in November, barring some incredible and unforeseeable catastrophe. When he does, watch for the now-desperate hard Left to get violent. It’s another battle they won’t and cannot win, but it’s the one that in the end they’ll have no choice but to fight. They’ve done it to themselves, and therefore my sympathy is limited at best.

The Left has been spoiling for a real fight for years now, and they’re most likely going to get it. It’s the awful truth, and I don’t see anything standing in the way of it but the Left’s own innate sneaky cowardice. When push comes to shove, perhaps the Left will be willing to put down their Bushitler signs and go home peacefully. But they’re not the majority, they never will be, and the only way they can win is through deceit, disinformation, intimidation, and, ultimately, violence. Scott’s fighting the good fight here, and we all ought to be out doing more of this sort of thing—speaking out before it’s too late to change the minds of the uninformed, and the dupes are standing shoulder to shoulder on the front lines with their manipulators. God help us if it should come to that at last.

Don't miss what he's responding to, either. On the surface it might look like things are getting a little better, like energy is starting to fizzle out on the sign-wavers' side; but that's just when things get most dangerous. It's when a group feels it's starting to lose its turf that it really begins to claw wildly. Just as with the Mac community in the mid-90s—when Apple was at its lowest ebb of inspiration, the only people left in the Mac camp were the real hard-core survivalists, the scorpions crouching in their holes, the "cold dead hands" types. They're the ones you've really got to watch out for.

A Left that feels it's lost the sympathy it once had when it congregated on the streets, bolstered by a sudden influx of energy from people enervated by Fahrenheit 9/11, is not going to be a pretty thing if Bush should win in November. The timing is too perfect. It's a harmonic convergence, a constructive beat.

I've been feeling lately as though I'm not going to be able to even stand up on Election Day until all the votes are counted, because I won't trust my legs to support me. But I don't even know which of the various outcomes I fear most. A Kerry win, which would let these people pour into the streets transported by joy and vindication, forever inscribing the lesson into history that America is no more steadfast in the face of terrorism and domestic nihilism than Spain or France... or a Bush win, which would send them into transports of rage. If the latter should happen, the evening of November 2nd, this country will be closer to a violent uprising than it has been since the 60s.

I can honestly say that despite people's pious claims that the terror-alert system is designed to keep people like me in a state of fear of another 9/11-like attack, I don't fear another attack at all. I was just up in North Beach in San Francisco, waiting outside the Stinking Rose for Mike Silverman to show up for dinner; I was gazing down Columbus Avenue to the Transamerica Building, the sunset glinting off its windows, framed by the broad lanes and the financial-district towers, and imagining just what I'd do if (unlikely as it is these days) I saw a plane plow into the side of it. I was left feeling strangely unmoved by the apparition. Thinking about seeing San Francisco turned into Lower Manhattan just makes me grit my teeth and narrow my eyes and want to start donating money and filling out forms... but thinking about frantically reloading CNN.com on Election night makes my heart race and my arms quiver even as I type this. I don't fear another 9/11-like terrorist attack. But I do fear what those who rally behind Michael Moore might do to this country if they're kindled.

What's worse: I don't think they're actually afraid of anything. An attack? They get to say "I told you so". Government crackdowns against them? They win the moral high ground. A Kerry win? They get what they want. A Bush win? They get to fight the war they've been itching for. Do they fear what damage it will do to the country in the process? That's all I'm afraid of, and somehow I don't think they would share that vulnerability.

If we make it to the 3rd intact, I'm starting to think I'll have to start believing in Divine Providence after all.


13:41 - The lawyers sleep tonight
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=5575753

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Here's another item of possibly nil, possibly great interest. Who am I to say? But it's a story that I've been in something of a position to watch develop from the beginning.

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African lawyers are suing U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney Co for infringement of copyright on "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," the most popular song to emerge from Africa, the lawyers said on Friday.

If Disney loses, South African proceeds from its trademarks -- including Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck -- could be seized by the courts, lawyers representing relatives of the song's composer said.

The lilting song, initially called "Mbube," earned an estimated $15 million in royalties since it was written by Zulu migrant worker Solomon Linda in 1939, and featured in Walt Disney's "Lion King" movies.

However, Linda's impoverished family have only received about $15,000, the lawyers said.

That would be the song also known variously as "Wimoweh", "Weemaway", and other spellings.

I was contacted (in my position at the helm of the Internet's Lion King fan community) by a journalist from South Africa a couple of years ago, who claimed to be putting together a report on Solomon Linda, the history of the song, and its long sordid history of greatness and stardom while its writer and his family languished in poverty. I wasn't able to provide much information or insight, but it was clear that something was going on, as he asked me specifically whether I thought Disney could be held liable for the kind of damages the lawyers are asking for. I told him I had no idea. It looks like they've gone forward indeed.

Who knows where this will lead? Again, I have no idea. My gut tells me "big settlement time"; after all, though Disney Feature Animation is surely not flush with cash (being disbanded and all), Disney the corporation is still a hard target to miss with a pillowcase full of dung. I don't necessarily think Disney ought to be the one held culpable for this whole mess (they're hardly the first ones to profit from the use of the song, and its use in The Lion King was simply as an offhand nod to a pop-culture meme as old as the hills, and they did pay the Tokens' label for its use); they're just obviously the most easy-to-sue of all potential defendants, so they're kind of stuck. But all the same, it would be nice to see some recognition, at the very least, roll back to the song's original author and his legacy.

I'll bet the author of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" would have done the same if he could.


13:27 - The smellier, the merrier

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I'm not sure if anyone out there would find this particularly interesting or relevant (hell, for all I know, everybody does), but this is an e-mail quote passed on by a friend:

The time has come to let the Governor Swartenagger know that California would like ferrets to be legalized.  It’s easy.  Just call 916 445-2841.  Then press number 2 to respond to legislation issues, press 3 for Bill SB 89, the ferret bill, then press 1 to support it.  And you are done.

I'm not sure who this "Swartenagger" character is, but he seems to have gone to all this trouble to put up an automated opinion-registering system, so it's the least we can all do to use it.


11:42 - Iraqi nukes
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/usnw/20040706/pl_usnw/u_s__removes_iraqi_nu

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Unless I'm very much mistaken, this isn't exactly what anyone ought to call a "smoking gun":

WASHINGTON, July 6 /U.S. Newswire/ — Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announced today that the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Defense (DOD) have completed a joint operation to secure and remove from Iraq radiological and nuclear materials that could potentially be used in a radiological dispersal device or diverted to support a nuclear weapons program.

“This operation was a major achievement for the Bush Administration’s goal to keep potentially dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists,” Secretary Abraham said. “It also puts this material out of reach for countries that may seek to develop their own nuclear weapons.”

Twenty experts from DOE’s national laboratory complex packaged 1.77 metric tons of low-enriched uranium and roughly 1000 highly radioactive sources from the former Iraq nuclear research facility. The DOD airlifted the material to the United States on June 23 and provided security, coordination, planning, ground transportation, and funding for the mission.

Commenters at LGF have noted that these amounts of fissionables have been known about and accounted for since 2000.

But even so, this stuff does exist, it could have been used to make bombs (both dirty and real-live nuclear) and it was in Iraq, under the control of Saddam. And now it's not.

I call that a win.


11:28 - What did he think of Quayle, I wonder?
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,124902,00.html

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You know, he can be sharp under fire.

When a reporter noted that Edwards was being described as "charming, engaging, a nimble campaigner, a populist and even sexy" and then asked "How does he stack up against Dick Cheney?" the president immediately responded, "Dick Cheney can be president. Next?"

Not as sharp as Cheney, though.

Via VodkaPundit.


09:45 - Zippy Nation
http://timblair.spleenville.com/archives/007138.php

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Tim Blair has readers attacking him for daring to question Michael Moore's credibility.

people like you make me sick.

You now most obviouisly smack of DESPERATION.
Trying any way possible to tear apart Michael Moore.
Credit the public with some intelligence, please.

You are panicking because your greedy, corrupt,
controlling, manipulating regime is over.

enjoy your time in those hot fires of hell !!!

Reap as you shall sow.

Ever notice how Moore's followers always seem to emphasize UNUSUAL words in the middle of their SENTENCES by shifting UNEXPECTEDLY into all caps? It's like reading a frickin' Marvel comic.

Gee. Whom could they possibly have learned that habit from?

Tuesday, July 6, 2004
22:39 - Ashamed of Our Warriors
http://www.therazor.org/index.php?p=117

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Via Dean Esmay—check this out. Here's the regard this country now has for the Greatest Generation.

We're this close to ominously telling our misbehaving kids at bedtime to be good, or else you'll grow up to be a soldier and fight for the defense of your country!

Monday, July 5, 2004
23:46 - "Don't want nothin' I can't get myself"

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CapLion finally convinced me to go see America's Heart and Soul, which IMDB honors with a 2.9/10 star rating. No wonder, because it's pretty damn good, which means people rocking the vote from Denmark wouldn't like it one bit. There are a lot of people I could name who might benefit from seeing it—even though it'll probably never play in their neighborhood, being that it comes from the land of Evil.

Can West News Services, owners of several Canadian newspapers including the National Post as well as the Global Television Network commissioned a series of polls to determine how young people feel about the issues that were facing the country’s voters. Dubbed "Youth Vote 2004", the polls, sponsored by the Dominion Institute and Navigator Ltd. were taken with a view to getting more young people involved in the political process.

In one telephone poll of teens between the ages of 14 and 18, over 40 per cent of the respondents described the United States as being "evil". That number rose to 64 per cent for French Canadian youth.

This being Canada, the amount of anti-Americanism that was found is not surprising. What is significant is the high number of teens who used the word "evil" to describe our southern neighbour. As Misty Harris pointed out in her column in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, evil is usually associated with serial killers and "kids who tear the legs off baby spiders." These teens appear to equate George W. Bush and Americans with Osama bin Laden and Hitler, although it is unknown if the teens polled would describe the latter two as being evil. Whether someone who orders planes to be flown into heavily populated buildings would fit that description would make a good subject for a future poll.

. . .

Anti-Americanism played a prominent role in the election strategy of the Liberals. Paul Martin portrayed himself as the saviour of Canadian medicare while saying that if Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada came to power they would introduce "American-style" health care. Martin was happy to take credit for cutting taxes and eliminating the deficit during the 1990s when he was Minister of Finance, but he referred to tax cuts included in the Conservative Party platform as being "American-style tax cuts". Canadians who favour lower taxes or the private delivery of health care services or smaller governments or anything similar to what is found in the United States were called "un-Canadian" by Paul Martin.

Hi guys! We love you too!

I find it interesting that John Mellencamp, who wrote the aforementioned film's theme song, is playing benefits for the Kerry campaign; the song, as much as the movie, is all about self-determination—how the very essence of freedom, that quaint and silly notion we seem to place so much weird importance on in this country, is about the ability to succeed and fail on one's own. Everyone has the same opportunity to do whatever they want, no matter whether they come from a wealthy suburb or straight off the urban alleys, whether they've got the bodies of Olympians or are blind or wheelchair-bound. Nobody asks for handouts—nobody who truly values liberty does, anyway. Even the steelworkers of West Virginia, shows the film, would rather buy out their local steelworks and provide for their own pensions and health care coverage than hike their taxes (and everyone else's) to be guaranteed comfort from the State. Even a little girl's brain tumor, and the disaster that would be implicit in the loss of their self-provided coverage, aren't enough to shake these people's faith in the principle of self-determination.

It's no big mystery why it might seem "evil" for a country to try to dismantle an infrastructure set up to help everybody through redistributing wealth, by instead opting to let everybody fend for himself. That just seems heartless and soulless. But, well, that's why the movie is called what it's called. When everyone holds his destiny in his hands, heart and soul spring into being. This isn't an easy concept to grasp, but once you've seen it in action it's impossible to deny.

Evil? I'll deal. Meanwhile, you can be sure that this documentary won't be getting imported into China, or distributed by Hezbollah, anytime soon.

UPDATE: Yes, yes, I get it—this film is pap, it's feel-good fluff, it's propaganda every bit as much as F911 is, just in the other direction. It's the kind of thing Disney used to make back in the 50s, so loathsome the concept is to us now—for God's sake, it even ends with shots of fireworks against the Statue of Liberty. But there's a difference, you know. Moore's film aims to galvanize you, to make you mad, to convince you of something; whereas this one, while it clearly has a point it's trying to make, doesn't pretend to be anything it's not. It's a travelogue; it's a way to get out and meet a bunch of people who are worth meeting. Besides, you're not likely to get knocked down and spat on by the mobs coming out of this movie.

I resisted going, knowing that AH&S wasn't going to tell me anything I didn't know already. CapLion assured me, though, that even granting that, it was still worth watching. And you know, he's right. It's funny; it's beautifully shot; it's touching. I for one am glad Disney still has it in itself to produce documentaries like this, that the modern age's allergy to sincerity doesn't totally faze them. And at the very, very least I know it was eighty-four minutes of my life I can look back on and say I enjoyed.


19:20 - "I think I should get something for this..."

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By the way... there's a scene in Spider-Man 2 in which an unkempt, bearded garbage man comes into J. Jonah Jameson's office and hands over the Spider-Man suit that he had found in a trash bin. Jameson immediately concludes that he has driven Spidey away through "the power of the press", and commences to gloating and celebrating. The garbage man demands payment for playing his part, saying that he could get twice Jameson's offer on eBay.

My question: Did that garbage man not look just a teeny bit like a certain filmmaker of recent note?


18:46 - No leftist ideology survives contact with the enemy
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/05/1089000082744.html

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This is a breath of fresh air. Via Tim Blair, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (the latest in the ever-growing Hollywood Union of Actresses with Bizarre and Pseudo-Exotic Names) has had the strength of will to pit her anti-war views and reactionary anti-"redneck" prejudice against hot, sandy reality:

Another adventure that Romijn-Stamos is unlikely to have made as a model was a recent trip she and De Niro made to visit US troops in Iraq.

Staunchly anti-war, Romijn-Stamos said the visit had been a real eye-opener and it seemed to have given her a slightly different perspective on life.

"It was unbelievable and I'll never forget it," she said. "I grew up in Berkeley, California, which is the most liberal, left-leaning place you could ever find and I had zero contact with our military.

"So I had a pre-conceived notion they would all be rednecks who were only there because their daddies had been in the army. But I was wrong and I met the most amazing people over there.

"It was 130 degrees [Fahrenheit] and they were walking around in full fatigues and we'd get there to find out they'd been waiting in that heat for three or four hours. And they had so much perspective on it, they were really deep and smart and had a lot of opinions."

As I recall, Sean Penn was decidedly more down-to-earth after his visit to Baghdad, too. So were all those "human shields", let we forget.

Or lest the people in the six lines pouring out the doors from the ticket counter at the movie theater today take the slightest notice. (No, they weren't all there for Spider-Man 2.)


18:04 - Da Beeb
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/04/nbbc04.xml&sSheet=/n

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Over the past few weeks, I've been taken to task by shocked Britons who are absolutely scandalized to discover that I don't have any great regard for what, one told me, is "widely regarded as the world's most trustworthy news organization".

They then turn around and tell me that "It's quite natural for the authorities to make you think that the media is biased, when they become uncomfortable with the information that is coming out", and that "under Bush, the US is becoming a nasty place"—not to mention that "who says you are at war? The use of that word is very deliberate and totally inaccurate".

Oh, would that I lived in England, where the state-owned media is totally unbiased and presents only the most impeccable facts.


17:40 - I've never been so happy to see a Ron Burgundy poster
http://www.angelfire.com/vamp/warposter/

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But I just saw Spider-Man 2, and besides Lance Armstrong rides with an iPod, so even this can't raise my blood pressure too high.

...Okay, a little bit. Razzam frazzam poo.

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© Brian Tiemann