One of my very favorite rituals when I lived in Los Angeles was to tune in on late Saturday mornings to one of the local channels there and watch Bollywood music videos. A great substitute, if you're looking for one, for psychedelic entertainment: outrageous colors and sounds and notions. I think what I was watching were actually clips from the very prolific Indian movie scene; it seems like most of the popular movies from the Subcontinent are little more than a series of musical or dance numbers on the way to some sort of sappy romantic finish.
Anyway, I was watching 60 Minutes tonight and Bob Simon was interviewing the one person whose face I could most definitely remember from my Saturday afternoon video-watching. Her name is Aishwarya Rai and she is absolutely stunning. They say she's the biggest thing in India ---and I have no doubt of it.
You know...Aishwarya's even prettier than SABINE EHRENFELD, THE HOT BABE FROM THE OVERSTOCK.COM ADS.
Clare Short, Cunt Mood:
Try this one on (emphasis added):
United States President George Bush was tonight accused of trying to undermine the United Nations by setting up a rival coalition to coordinate relief following the Asian tsunami disaster.
The president has announced that the US, Japan, India and Australia would coordinate the world's response.
But former International Development Secretary Clare Short said that role should be left to the UN.
Yes. Remember this woman? She's the British cabinet secretary who dramatically resigned over Blair's decision to go to war for Iraq. She believes more in the UN than in her own country, which makes her a traitor by any standard.
"I think this initiative from America to set up four countries claiming to coordinate sounds like yet another attempt to undermine the UN when it is the best system we have got and the one that needs building up," she said.
"Only really the UN can do that job," she told BBC Radio Four's PM programme.
"It is the only body that has the moral authority. But it can only do it well if it is backed up by the authority of the great powers."
What else to say but that Short is an ignorant cunt? The UN has "moral authority"? Get the fuck out of my life.
Jerry Orbach, RIP Mood:
blue Now Playing: the theme from "Law & Order"
I just heard on MSNBC that Jerry Orbach has died. I am really going to miss him. Old timers who know more about the theater and cinema than me will remember Orbach for lots of things, but I just know him from his work as Lenny Briscoe on Law & Order ---one of the ultimate smart-ass cops in all of TV history. As far as I'm concerned, he was the heart of that show.
Osama's Tin Ear
Read this column by Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan (home of the soon-to-be-defeated Wolverines):
In declaring "infidels" all who vote under the "infidel" interim constitution negotiated by Iraqi politicians with US civil administrator Paul Bremer last winter, Bin Laden is seeking to counter the decree of grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani that Iraqis must vote in the upcoming elections or they will be consigned to hell. Bin Laden is arguing, according to the Aljazeera.net in Arabic, that the interim constitution that is the framework for elections is artificial and pagan ("jahili", pertaining to the Age of Ignorance before Islam) because it does not recognize Islam as the sole source of law.
Bin Laden's intervention in Iraq was hamfisted and clumsy, and will benefit the United States and the Shiites enormously. Most Iraqi Muslims, Sunni or Shiite, dislike the Wahhabi branch of Islam prevalent in Saudi Arabia, and with which Bin Laden is associated. Nationalistic Iraqis will object to a foreigner interfering in their national affairs.
It isn't going to matter to the anti-war Left, but the ties between international Islamofascist terrorism and the Saddamites are now unmistakable. Osama has cast his lot with Zarqawi ---a murderer who was in Iraq long before we showed up and who must have had at least Saddam's tacit approval to be there, being a major league Kurd-killer.
Osama's definitely off his game. He's antagonizing Sistani, giving support to the Zarqawiites, and is reduced to issuing pointless fatwas from a cave somewhere. It's going to be sweet when the sight of his rotten corpse is broadcast to the world.
A 150-member Israeli aid delegation canceled its mission to Sri Lanka yesterday after the government in Colombo refused to accept the Israeli team, Israel Defense Forces officials said.
The plane was due to touch down in Colombo for a few hours and return directly to Israel. The Sri Lankan government, however, declined the offer, saying it only needed humanitarian supplies at this time.
Yep. Pride goeth before another ten thousand bloated corpses.
No, no. That's not it. Not pride. Uh, what's it called again?
Ahh, yes: Jew-hatred.
UPDATE: I saw something about the Vatican's stupid remarks on the subject of Israel's offer of aid yesterday, but forgot to post on it.
The Vatican newspaper has denounced a decision by the Israeli army to deny emergency help to disaster victims in Sri Lanka.
Calling for "a radical and dramatic change of perspective" among people "too often preoccupied with making war," L'Osservatore Romano singled out Israeli military leaders for declining a request for emergency medical help. The Vatican paper observed that in what "should be a time for unconditional solidarity," some world leaders seem incapable of escaping a "small-minded approach that restricts their horizons."
What a bunch of ill-informed shitheads. Don't wait for an apology, though. As Ed at the Captain's Quarters said:
Oops! I guess the Vatican doesn't take its mission to provide the Truth to the world too seriously these days. The blogosphere had the Sri Lanka/Israel story hours ago, another short-sighted and pointless example of Islamic anti-Semitism that hurts themselves more than it could ever hurt the Jews bearing the aid the Sri Lankans need. Instead of spending a few minutes getting their story straight, the Vatican mouthpiece wasted little time jumping to a conclusion that has to force Catholics around the world to question the Vatican's true attitude towards Israel and Jews.
The Flavors of Barbasol Now Playing: "Marvelous Things" by Eisley
There's a Barbasol shaving cream ad on the TV lately that refers to their seven different flavors. What are they talking about ---flavors? Is that some sort of advertising trick to annoy people into wondering why shaving cream comes in flavors, thereby keeping the brand fixed in our minds?
Shaving cream's a scam, anyhow. I haven't used anything but Ivory soap for probably 15 years now.
"The Long Tail" Mood:
Thanks to Professor Reynolds, here's a very interesting article by Chris Anderson, the editor-in-chief of Wired, on the economic concept of the "long tail."
Freed from the restrictions of physical retail space and seemingly limited appeal in any one geographical location, there's a lot of success to be had in the volume of aggregation and in serving niche interests.
To get a sense of our true taste, unfiltered by the economics of scarcity, look at Rhapsody, a subscription-based streaming music service (owned by RealNetworks) that currently offers more than 735,000 tracks.
Chart Rhapsody's monthly statistics and you get a "power law" demand curve that looks much like any record store's, with huge appeal for the top tracks, tailing off quickly for less popular ones. But a really interesting thing happens once you dig below the top 40,000 tracks, which is about the amount of the fluid inventory (the albums carried that will eventually be sold) of the average real-world record store. Here, the Wal-Marts of the world go to zero - either they don't carry any more CDs, or the few potential local takers for such fringy fare never find it or never even enter the store.
The Rhapsody demand, however, keeps going. Not only is every one of Rhapsody's top 100,000 tracks streamed at least once each month, the same is true for its top 200,000, top 300,000, and top 400,000. As fast as Rhapsody adds tracks to its library, those songs find an audience, even if it's just a few people a month, somewhere in the country.
This is the Long Tail.
Read the whole thing. And then apply it, as Reynolds does, to democratic phenomena like the blogosphere where there is at least as much profit to be made ---intellectual or commercial or otherwise--- in frequenting small-time venues as there is in simply going with the big names and the "all hits, all the time" mode of information consumption.
Do you suppose it's true that Osama has endorsed Zarqawi, like he was handing over the family business to Michael? I don't know if this latest tape that's said to be his is legit or not, but if it is, what does that say? To me, it says that these Islamofascist nutjobs have wholly embraced the idea of attacking us at our strongest point, which is our military. An excellent choice ---for us. We are attacked there and haven't been attacked here for more than three years. Which tells me that our men and women in uniform are protecting us in every sense and that we should be grateful for their sacrifices.
But these al-Qaedists are doing their damnedest to make Iraq into a nightmare for our military and for the majority of the Iraqi people themselves ---and it is incredibly discouraging to see what damage they cause. Are they that afraid of a democratized Iraq ---or are they just that eager to murder our soldiers and Marines? It must be both because, even if a democratized Iraq, per se, is not so great a threat to their Islamofascist beliefs ---although I think it is--- it's what comes next that almost certainly does disturb these bastards to their core: the whole Muslim Middle East turned inside out and set ---forcefully--- on a path to secularization and popular self-rule. Women on the streets and in the workplaces and in control of their own destinies throughout Arabia and the Maghreb and old Persia. A massive shifting away from the old Mohammedan bullshit and into the alien glare of consumerism and instant telecommunications and instant gratification.
We'll infect them yet ---and laugh in the end. Because wherever we Westerners and capitalists have left our mark, those who fought us before will come to trade with us after.
Osama says that any Iraqi who participates in next month's election is an infidel. How right he is. Say goodbye to your medieval world, jackass. It is coming to an end.
Traffic Cop (The Sabine Ehrenfeld Effect)
Get a load of this: over the past several days, my blog traffic has more than doubled on acount of my having tossed off (as it were) a single reference to the Goddess of All Ambiguous Accents and Divinely Tanned Skin and Satin Robes, one Sabine Ehrenfeld (the lady from the Overstock.com ads on the TV). Isn't that insane? And, more importantly, isn't that an absolute indictment of the quality of this blog? I mean, for Christ's sake, I crank out many dozens of quality blog entries per month, and all it takes is a single reference to SABINE EHRENFELD, THE HOT BABE FROM THE OVERSTOCK.COM ADS, to bump my traffic up that much?
Remember the classic Simpsons episode where Homer is trying to think of some way to increase the business at the bowling alley where he works? After a quick montage descent into the depths of his ignorance of marketing, we find Homer standing outside the bowling alley firing a shotgun into the air as he implores passersby to come and bowl.
Well, after the sanctity of these high holidays has passed, expect me to immediately begin posting nothing but 16 year-old wet cheerleader snizz. Interspersed, of course, with my political views.
L Is for Loser Mood:
Did you hear that New York's 31 Electoral College votes were cast for "John L. Kerry"? That's about as stupid as the anonymous Elector in Minnesota who cast a vote to make John Edwards the President. I mean, if that's supposed to be some sort of a protest vote against Kerry, it certainly doesn't make a lot of sense to lay such an honor at the feet of one of Kerry's biggest mistakes.
Katie Couric's Gams Mood:
don't ask Now Playing: "Dance, Little Sister" by the Rolling Stones
As NRO's Jim Geraghty is reporting:
A little birdie familiar with discussions at CBS News tells me that the network suits will announce Dan Rather's replacement the day they release the report into the fake memos.
I guess that's as smart a way to play it as any other, but don't forget, folks: Dan Rather is still going to be around at CBS News and he's still going to be contributing to the 60 Minutes brand ---despite the fact that he tried to influence a Presidential election by using his clout to knowingly shove a bunch of phony documents down our throats.
Spun Out Now Playing: "Free Four" by Pink Floyd
In the course of performing the post mortems on their campaign, the Kerrion have managed to convince themselves that their nominee merely underestimated the effect that the Swift Boat Veterans' claims would have on his candidacy ---as though it were just a tactical error not to respond more quickly and completely. Of course, this is bullshit. The truth is that John Kerry could never have responded in such a way as to avoid the pressure to release his full military service record.
Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill's "admission" that she underestimated the impact of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is disingenuous, says a producer of the TV ads that helped sink the Massachusetts senator's presidential candidacy.
Rick Reed, a partner with media firm Stevens Reed Curcio and Potholm, said the "idea that Kerry's people miscalculated the impact of the ads is absurd."
"Senator Kerry's problem was that he never addressed one question or issue raised in the ads," Reed said. "This is because there was no good answer. Everything said about Kerry in the ads was accurate, but the Kerry campaign put all its effort into trying to discredit the ads, which didn't work."
Kerry's traumatized supporters also persist with the lie that the Swift Boat Veterans' claims were all debunked. In fact, it was Kerry's claims that were debunked or went unsubstantiated ---mostly because he refused to authorize the release of his full service record. Kerry never went into Cambodia as he says he did, nor did he ever explain how he was able to procure his first Purple Heart when he was initially refused that honor by his immediate superiors. (He only got it later by going around their backs.) Kerry's story behind his Bronze Star is also very suspect, including the bullshit claim that he and his boat were under intense enemy fire for over three miles downstream ---and back--- following the mine explosion that damaged another one of the Swift Boats in his group on the Bay Hap River in March 1969.
It is also quite probable that John Kerry did not receive an honorable discharge from the Navy ---another reason to believe that he had something to hide by keeping his record sealed. Did this have something to do with his meetings with the enemy outside of Paris while he was still an officer in the United States Navy? Who would be surprised to learn that?
Never mind this garbage about underestimating the vicious attacks of those awful Republican-paid operatives. John Kerry lied about his service record. Not only that, he then tried to use it to batter the President by portraying himself as some wonderful hero whose experiences as a combat veteran somehow made him a better choice to be the Commander-in-Chief. That wasn't a tactical error ---it was a strategic error.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 6:47 PM CST
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Updated: Wednesday, 22 December 2004 6:05 AM CST
Saturday, 18 December 2004
It doesn't qualify for the fucking police blotter that is the mainstream media today, but Syria is "redeploying" its troops in Lebanon. So I especially like this observation over at the Captain's Quarters:
Syria has been pressured for years to end its occupation of Lebanon, but has resisted closing out its second front against Israel. Since the American invasion of Iraq, however, Syria has learned that the politics of the region have changed rather dramatically. With George Bush's re-election, the Syrians understand that the forward strategy of engagement will continue for at least another four years.
The likelihood of a continued American military presence in western Iraq makes the Ba'athist regime in Damascus realize that after Iraq stabilizes, the US can act in one of two directions next to continue its war on terror. It appears that Bashir Assad just nominated Iran for that role.
I'm old enough to remember whole Presidencies during which time the received wisdom was that we Westerners dared not interfere with the tyrannical arrangements of the Middle East for fear of creating a "power vacuum." Even the Gulf War itself was essentially fought to return everything to the status quo ante. But no more. Iraq is on the road to democratic control. The Palestinian intifada has largely been defeated. Khadafi has been chastened. The Saudis are facing some long-term changes brought on by necessity. And Iranian people seem ready to make their own bid for legitimate popular sovereignty. These are exciting times, folks. Dangerous, but exciting, times.
Mudville Gazette: Former Saddam Loyalist Looking to Start Singing Career The Mudville Gazette has brought to my attention the very interesting news that a former Saddam loyalist is "looking to start a singing career."
Yeah, okay. I fell for it, too.
Former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz was the sophisticated, intelligent face of a thuggish regime. He was known for his elegant English suits and a fondness for Cuban cigars.
But photos, obtained exclusively by NBC News, for the first time show Aziz as he lives now, in custody. It's a strikingly different image -- Aziz appears frail in orange prison garb and plastic handcuffs.
David Kay -- a former U.S. adviser in Iraq -- spent months questioning Aziz and others. He says Aziz quickly turned on Saddam and could testify at any trial.
Oh, yeah, baby...This is going to get good. Pop a top and grab some peanuts.
NBC News has learned U.N. investigators probing corruption in the U.N. oil for food program were scheduled to question Aziz last week. That session was delayed for security reasons.
The U.N. investigation -- led by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker -- is looking into Saddam's alleged diversion of oil money that was supposed to go for food to U.N. officials and politicians in key countries.
U.S. officials say Aziz already has implicated the French and others, claiming payoffs were made with the understanding that recipients would support Iraq on key matters before the U.N.
I know it'll never happen, but wouldn't it be amazing if Big Media actually made it a point to televise for us these upcoming trials in Iraq? There is so much for us to learn and ponder about Saddam's crimes that the new Iraqi government is now to set to prosecute. Which is why the anti-war Leftist tools in Big Media here won't dare show any of it: it would reveal to the average American just how far they went (as CNN did, the miserable bastards) to minimize the Saddamites' atrocities and, thereby, undercut the reasons for us to have gone to war in Iraq.
I mean, this stuff isn't as juicy and wonderful as goddamned Scott Peterson, but it might be of interest to some of us... Whattya say, Courageous Dan and Comrade Jennings? We're big boys. We can handle it. Even with subtitles.
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 6:37 PM CST
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Updated: Saturday, 18 December 2004 6:45 PM CST
Tilly the Golden Eagle Mood:
Courtesy of Cold Fury here's a link to a really cool Animal Planet online preview of a special featuring Tilly the golden eagle ---flying around with super-light video cameras.
Some beautiful sights. And what a serious face on Tilly! Swing, baby! You're platinum! Heh, heh. Enjoy.
Data Mining ACLUniks
With a big tip of the hat to Professor Reynolds, here's a story in today's New York Times about the ACLU being a bunch of spying hypocrites.
The American Civil Liberties Union is using sophisticated technology to collect a wide variety of information about its members and donors in a fund-raising effort that has ignited a bitter debate over its leaders' commitment to privacy rights.
Some board members say the extensive data collection makes a mockery of the organization's frequent criticism of banks, corporations and government agencies for their practice of accumulating data on people for marketing and other purposes.
I don't care what any of you losers say: the single greatest threat to this country is when municipalities allow Nativity scenes to be displayed on public property. Thank God there's prinicpled organizations like the ACLU out there to crush this obviously fascistic practice.
Rafael Peralta, American
Courtesy of The Mudville Gazette, here's a story from Oliver North about Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta, a true American hero.
As Sgt. Rafael Peralta lay near death on the floor of a Fallujah terrorist hideout, he spotted the yellow grenade that had rolled next to his near-lifeless body. Once detonated, it would take out the rest of Peralta's squad. To save his fellow Marines, Peralta reached out, grabbed the grenade, and tucked it under his abdomen where it exploded.
The Weekly Ass-Kicking
Be sure to go read Victor Davis Hanson's weekly ass-kicking of the Left. This time out, the good professor is wondering about the Left's lack of moral coherence:
What is preached in the madrassas on the West Bank, in Pakistan, and throughout the Gulf is no different from the Nazi doctrine of racial hatred. What has changed, of course, is that unlike our grandfathers, we have lost the courage to speak out against it. In one of the strangest political transformations of our age, the fascist Islamic Right has grafted its cause onto that of the Left's boutique "multiculturalism," hoping to earn a pass for its hate by posing as the "other" and reaping the benefits of liberal guilt due to purported victimization. By any empirical standard, what various Palestinian cliques have done on the West Bank -- suicide murdering, lynching without trial of their own people, teaching small children to hate and kill Jews -- should have earned them all Hitlerian sobriquets rather than U.N. praise.
There's certainly no longer a place for me at the table of a liberal Democratic Party. They do not put first things first and, instead, have made an intolerable pact with the forces of anti-Americanism, both foreign and domestic. Thus, my own convictions about a smarter approach to the so-called war on drugs and full recognition of gay rights and reproductive rights and a dozen other important areas of social concern are buried in the noise of the Democrats' outrageously stupid anti-war rhetoric. Nor will I associate myself with an institution that is very obviously in the grips of what the Right has termed the Bush Derangement Syndrome. It actually makes news if a prominent Democrat steps outside of his party's circus tent to concede a point or to show support for this President. But how often is that happening in the context of this war against the terrorists? Almost never. By default, George W. Bush cannot make a good choice; therefore, by default, a Democrat must oppose anything the President does.
The modern Democratic Party has absolutely abandoned its Truman-era resolve in fighting the forces of totalitarianism. And when you will not stand up to do the right thing against those who would do evil, what does that make you?
Posted by Toby Petzold
at 7:51 PM CST
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Updated: Friday, 17 December 2004 7:52 PM CST