pinkmonkeybird

...busting up my brains for the words

Friday, December 31, 2004

Iowahawk writes: Nick Coleman: The First Draft

Click on the title of this post to read Iowahawk's lampoon of Nick Coleman.

As I've said for many months, the rightwing Neocon conservative movement has more humor in its pinky finger than the entire left foot of the liberal leftwingers. Iowahawk brilliantly blurs the line between perceived Coleman and Coleman's own self-image.
Kafkaesque, to say precisely.
Advice to Nick:
Do not admit to yourself that the old rules have changed. Play an adversarial role with Power Line. Continue full-bore with your viciousness and outrage. It's very entertaining and will keep us reading your column for weeks.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

'Tis the season (time capsule)

I wrote this back in November. Found it, updated a bit while listening to T. Rex.

And speaking of television, I see we have entered that wondrous holiday season of Old Navy commercials.
Oh, we are soooo lucky. Do my British readers know the joys of Old Navy television ads, I wonder?

Update: No, the Brits are unaware of Old Navy Christmas television advertisements. Unless they travel to America, of course, be it Kansas City, Kansas or New Amsterdam at that most wonderful time of the year.
No matter.

Old Navy television ads and, by extension their news print ads and Internet ads, are nostalgic for the American 1960s. There's a vacuousness in the models' faces. There's a Barbie & Ken (isn't this just another way of saying "vacuousness") kind of pose to the bodies of the models.
But one does not have to look for subtleties of lighting and theater when such glaring, sparkling early 1960s fonts are plainly competing for your recompense.
And then there are all those bright colors.
The ad states, "It's the most colorful time of the year."

Beaconing back to "It's the most wonderful time of the year," which is a line from a Christmas song. The 1960s is a decade that has had many cliche's cast before the public in search of a sympathetic vibration. Folk music, early Beatles and soap commercials. Squeakie clean.

In the wake of 9/11 I got it in my head that I should have a tee shirt with the Stars & Stripes on its front. I never did get it. And maybe that's 'cause Old Navy had the corner on that market. I never liked the Old Navy American Flag tee. It felt greedy or false or both. To buy & wear an Old Navy American Flag tee is to wear a sign that says, I'm a schmuck. ("You outta know." - Ed.) It's the most colorful time of the year.

And when you think of it, "I'm a schmuck." is what's brandished across your brow when you even see a commercial from Old Navy. Isn't it? At least, that's my story as to why I don't shop there. In other words, I'm actually repelled by their ads. It would seem that the goal of a t.v. ad should be to convince potential shoppers to give their shop a visit with the credit card in tow.
Of course that whole notion gets flung right out the window when you know that attracting a 51 year old bachelor to shop at your store might not be the pinnacle of casual wear retailing success.
The day that I show up to buy a tee shirt at Old Navy is the day that a thousand suburban teens are inspired to become punk, which happens sometimes so I guess it can be pulled off.

Hey, I can threaten without actually spending money at Old Navy. I could simply walk in, finger the merchandise and leave. The shock of my prospective patronage would resound like a tsunami from sox to chino pants.

Okay. I've mined the depths of greed and pettiness and narcissim with this tome. And to finish it off with a flip off to the victims of nature in Asia recently, well, that's just not acceptable. You've got to atone. Okay.
How about a donation to the relief efforts?
That will do.
How much?
None of your business.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Funny pages

I haven't enjoyed such deep belly laughs in years until just now, having read Nick Coleman's column, Blog Of The Year Goes To Extremes.

Imagine a man pouring a gallon of gasoline over his head and then lighting a match. That's what Coleman does in this article. I first learned about it from The Captain. There, Ed reports that Nick Coleman Goes Insane. I thought the title must be hyperbole...until I'd actually read Coleman's column. But having now done so, I think the title is entirely appropriate. Nick Coleman seems to have lost his faculties and will soon be led away in leather straps, foaming at the mouth.

Funny reality of this turn of events;
I never could stand to read a Nick Coleman article before Power Line and the other Northern Alliance blogs started ripping on him. And now, I find myself reading him for the sheer entertainment of his ineptitude. I've really got to say I am in awe of the Northern Alliance of Blogs. When they go after a target, they hit their mark and the results are devastating. We can see Nick Coleman's vein bulging out of his forehead. And it's funny.

It's funny because Coleman thought he could continue to write dreck with impunity for our breakfast tables. That's even funnier than The Family Circus.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. May God bless our troops defending America. May He guide our leaders to keep our country safe and bring freedom to the world.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Rummy stays

A new sport seems to have arisen in the country called Let's Get Rummy. But this version of the game has a different spin than the way the game was played before, as even NeoCons and Republicans are stacking their chips in.
There is little disagreement that Donald Rumsfeld possesses a style that is seen as abrasive and arrogant by some, even many. For my own part, I love those qualities about Rummy, as they were on high display in just about every press conference I've seen him conduct. For instance, my nose was glued to the television screen the day that Jim Lehrer interviewed the Secretary of Defense exclusively for PBS's News Hour back in September of 2003. (Yes, crowds have been after Rummy's skin for quite some time.) On the question of why all the resistance had not yet been mopped up in Iraq, Lehrer asked Mr. Rumsfeld, "What's taking so long?"
Rummy murdered Jim Lehrer right there with his reactive look before thousands of innocent t.v. viewers.

JIM LEHRER: ... Why can't we find these Baathists and get rid of them?
DONALD RUMSFELD: They are. They're finding them all the time. They're continuing to --
JIM LEHRER: Why is it so difficult? Why is it taking so long?
DONALD RUMSFELD: It's been four-and-a-half months. What's taking so long? Jim! My goodness, four-and-a-half months since May 1st! It's amazing to think that people think that you can take a country the size of California, 23 million people, and 30 years or 20-plus years of Saddam Hussein with a Stalinist economy, with a repressive regime, turn 110,000 criminals loose, have foreigners come in and try to attack the people, have the Baathists with lots of money hiring people to do these things, and you say why is it taking so long?


When Donald Rumsfeld says "My goodness!" to you, you know you're being skewered by one abrasive, arrogant man.
I would posit that it is Lehrer and other "news journalists" who are abrasive and arrogant. Questions like this one asked in the manner that Lehrer asked it should be responded to in the most abrasive and arrogant manner conceivable. Or they should be simply snickered at for their shallowness of understanding.

'"Why is it taking so long?' Ha! Good one, Mr. Lehrer. Okay, can we be serious now?"

One of the most interesting analyses of the Rumsfeld situation is posted by Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters. It's worth reading the whole thing, as it points out that circumstances went contrary to Rummy's wishes in the prosecution of the invasion when the United Nations was courted in the run-up. But then when things got complicated after Rummy's advice was ignored, they blame Rummy.

If a lot of this makes you nervous about a great Secretary of Defense getting ousted for simplistic and political reasons then read John Podhoretz's article from the New York Post. I hope Podhoretz is right, as strong leadership is one of the reasons I voted for George W. Bush last November. Mister Podhoretz's is a voice that can well be trusted when speaking of W. He's made a nitch for himself in understanding how this great president thinks and operates, as anyone who read Bush Country will tell you.

I'm a huge admirer of William Kristol of the Weekly Standard. He's been drumming for the past year that we need more troops in Iraq. But we don't have the luxury of comparing what the situation in Iraq would look like if we'd had those extra troops in Iraq all along. There is something to be said for the line of thinking that more troops in Iraq means more targets for terrorists to kill. If that were the case, then what would we be saying? I think we might might be saying things like, "Even though we've had plenty of troops in Iraq to quell the insurgents, we've lost too many troops and the militants keep popping up like whack-a-moles across the country. It's a quagmire!"

I should qualify that by saying "we" would not be saying those thing. But you know who would.

And to them I say, buy yourself a spine Mr. Lehrer and all the rest of you Rummy critics. This is a two front war we are waging. One front is at flashpoints with terrorism abroad. The other is on the homefront. This attempt to oust the Secretary of Defense plays into the hands of the enemy to cripple or lessen the effectiveness of the president's offensive. Sorry, Bill Kristol, you're wrong.
My cards are held by President George W. Bush who says of Rummy;

Well, first of all, when I asked the Secretary to stay on as Secretary of Defense, I was very pleased when he said "yes." And I asked him to stay on because I understand the nature of the job of the Secretary of Defense, and I believe he's doing a really fine job.
The Secretary of Defense is a complex job. It's complex in times of peace, and it's complex even more so in times of war. And the Secretary has managed this Department during two major battles in the war on terror -- Afghanistan and Iraq. And at the same time, he's working to transform our military so it functions better, it's lighter, it's ready to strike on a moment's notice. In other words, that the force structure meets the demands we face in the 21st century.
Not only is he working to transform the nature of the forces, we're working to transform where our forces are based. As you know, we have recently worked with the South Korean government, for example, to replace manpower with equipment, to keep the Peninsula secure and the Far East secure, but at the same time, recognizing we have a different series of threats. And he's done a fine job, and I look forward to continuing to work with him.
And I know the Secretary understands the Hill. He's been around in Washington a long period of time and he will continue to reach out to members of the Hill, explaining the decisions he's made. And I believe that in a new term, members of the Senate and the House will recognize what a good job he's doing.


And now today, Donald Rumsfeld goes on the offensive against his critics. That outta rile people against this abrasive and arrogant man.

Game.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Time magazine

Some people are excited and jumping up and down with joy that Time magazine has chosen George W. Bush as this year's Person Of The Year. I can't count myself among those people because I don't give two shakes of my dip-stick who they pick for their hollow honor. In my humble opinion, the editors of Time magazine would love to choose anybody but George W. Bush as the person of this or any year. I think they were institutionally disappointed that John Kerry didn't win the office of presidency last month so they could then select him over W for their front cover story. I don't remember ever feeling that Time magazine's Person, Man or Aardvark of any year was a true honor of distinction rather than simply a shallow means of selling boring, irrelevant magazines that sum up the news you knew last week with a decidedly liberal bias spin applied. In any case, they will undoubtedly sell some magazines.

Now, of course I don't want to diminish the importance of President George W. Bush. I just don't see how we need Time magazine to verify this for us. Andrew Card was on ABCs This Week with George Stephanopoulos this morning. He pointed out that the President is not concerned as to who Time magazine chooses as its Person of the Year. His job is serve the American people. Likewise Time magazine's Blog of the Year awarded to Power Line. We don't need Time magazine to honor Power Line. Such an award does more harm than it does good, in my opinion. It's a means of getting the fine bloggers at that site to dirty their hands with the pompous clique club they belong to. Oh sure, we require people to fill the roles of reading the news to us and telling us what is going on in the world. And the blogs are written by human beings who may well fall into the trap of taking themselves so seriously as the likes of Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings and Time magazine. And this is how it begins. They throw laurels at your feet as the Best Blog of the Year. Thus far, the fine gentlemen of Power Line are resisting such self-importance in high style, as the provided link attests. So I don't second guess Power Line's decision to embrace the publicity. I just simply reiterate. I don't need Time magazine to tell me that Power Line is the Blog of the Year.
Just to make sure that the President and Power Line are not offended that I sneer at Time magazine and their Hollywood style awards, I present my own award to these two fine entities. I hereby award George W. Bush the pinkmonkeybird Person of the Year award. I hereby present Power Line the coveted pinkmonkeybird Blog of the Year award.
Do I sound like sour grapes? I don't think so. I just think Time magazine is not worth the pulp its printed on.

I don't know what Bob Dylan's politics are, but Bob had this to say to a Time magazine reporter in 1965 on his tour of England. I think Bob nailed it.

You know the audience that subscribes to Time magazine. The audience of people in the world who wanna know what's happening week by week. The people that work during the day. They can read it. It's small. It's concise. And there's pictures in it. It's a certain class of people that take the magazine seriously. I mean, sure, I can read it. I read it on the airplanes. But I don't take it seriously. If I wanna find out anything I'm not going to read Time magazine. I'm not gonna read Newsweek. I'm not gonna read any of these magazines. I mean cuz they just got too much to lose by printing the truth.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Senate District 60 Christmas Party

I just got back from my local Senate District Christmas Party. It was a nice event. Food. Drink. Republicans dancing nekkid on the table tops. Okay, so I made up that last part just to get your attention.
Our guest speaker was Sarah Janecek. She's one of the most authoritative political analysts in the state of Minnesota. She didn't so much have a speech to deliver to us as she offered her thoughts through a Question & Answer session. We took the opportunity to bounce ideas at her.
I had the honor of being told by her before the entire party that I am wrong.
Piping up that I'd heard her on the Northern Alliance Radio Network only just about a month ago, I asked for her thoughts on the alternative information outlets of radio and the blogosphere. She was happy to say how exciting it is that these media are doing a marvelous job of informing the public and tapping the public mind. But she confessed that she had no idea as to where it is going.
That perplexed me, so I offered a vision. I opined that the blogosphere and the main stream media share a sympathetic relationship. They need each other to do the job of informing the public of the truth. That's when Janecek told me I'm wrong.
UPDATE: Checking my dictionary, I think I'd meant to use the word "symbiotic". def; A relationship of mutual benefit or dependence. I think Ms. Janecek would have agreed with my statement if I'd corrected myself.
I would have loved to have continued the conversation, but she left shortly thereafter. Perhaps I should have tackled her at the door.
My notion of sympathetic relationship is not original thought on my part. I think it was best expressed by Rocketman of Powerlineblog. He points out that bloggers don't have the resources to send reporters off to Myanmar and other far-flung places on the globe to investigate stories. That's the domain of the main stream media.
The blogosphere operates as a watchdog. It examines varying reports from the media and rethinks the conclusions that seem to be drawn. It also taps into the knowledge of people who "know stuff". The blogosphere shortcuts the old world way of sending reporters to find out what people know, as the blogosphere provides those persons with the ready means of coming forward on their own. In other words, the blogosphere is kind of like a gigantic homemade program. It really is a marvelous innovation. It's democratic, it's immediate, it's shimmering with science fiction come alive.
Sarah Janecek has a lot of stuff in her head. Maybe she doesn't know where the blogosphere is going because she has no control over where it goes and can't be bothered by that. If she comes to believe she knows where it's headed, I'll report it here when I know. There have been calls for regulation of the blogs. Maybe she thinks those calls will win out. If so, she didn't say.
In any case, having Sarah Janecek as our speaking guest was indeed an honor. Something clicks inside our brains when we're in the presence of acute political analysts such as she. Her insights inspire energy in further thought about the landscape. For instance, she reiterated her notion expressed on the aforementioned NARN show, that Mark Dayton will not be the DFL candidate for the Senate. No one else I know of is putting this opinion forward. Dayton is assumed to be in the running by most accounts. But I think Janecek is right. We'll learn soon enough if she is.

On a personal note, I was honored with an award. I, along with several other volunteers and GOP leaders, was awarded a certificate of recognition for my work in the campaign that ended last month.

Volunteer Of The Year.

...to pinkmonkeybird for successfully and tirelessly performing several varied and vital tasks for one or more campaigns this year...and for doing so while adding his own style and methods to the suggested activities, thereby increasing their effectiveness.

Thanks, SD 60, for this honor.

I attribute it to the creativity of the GOP. The Republican Party was, by far, the most creative political party of these recent elections. There was more innovation and more heart and more ingenuity imbued in the Republican Party than any other party in the country. And that's why we won the highest office in the land as well as expanding our seats in the Congress and the local offices (Minnesota not withstanding).
That's the glory of this award. I had my heart set on helping to win Minnesota for George W. Bush. We didn't get that. But we decidedly forced the Democrats to divert resources to Minnesota to keep it blue. That was enough to win Ohio and thus, the necessary Electoral College votes to win the White House.
As it turns out, W won very handily in the popular vote as well as the EC.

That's why this party was dubbed "Victory Party". Indeed. Four more years.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

"Enterprise, come in"

I am so happy.
Today I received my package from amazon.com. It's the three seasons package of dvds of the original series of Star Trek.
I had talked myself out of buying this pricey package. But then I got some money for my birthday and then the check from the City of Minneapolis came into my mailbox for my work as an election judge last Election Day. Between the two, I could indulge this guilty pleasure.
After all, I know these episodes inside-out. So I had to rationalize my purchase.
I don't pretend to be as big a nerd as James Lileks, but I love Star Trek's Original Series. I vividly recall racing home on my bike from little league baseball practice in order to plant myself in front of the family t.v. set and see these episodes. There was nothing else like it on television and I loved it.
This dvd commodity is a beautiful thing. It's creative and it's nearly complete. I'm a little disappointed that I don't yet see The Cage included here. The Cage was the first pilot episode that was later recut to create the two part episode called The Managerie. I'd really like to have The Cage in its original form. At least The Managerie has some pop-up notes to explain its genesis. I would love to discover that The Cage is included as an easter egg. But I've only just begun to explore these weird boxes, so I don't know yet.

I have only just begun to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kofi Annan and OFF

Glenn Reynolds has some interesting updates on the United Nations Oil For Food scandal or UNScam. And while some private Americans, such as Marc Rich, are apparently implicated in the scam, so far there is no indication that the U.S. government has its hands dirty in it.
There is a quiet debate going on as to the motivations of the Bush and Blair administrations in their lodged support of Kofi to continue to head the besmirched United Nations. Glenn hints strongly that he suspects it is in order to keep the UN impotent as the illegitimate, corrupt sham that it truly is. But I wonder if there might be another reason that is realpolitik. The world is under the spell of groupthink. The international community has overwhelmingly come to the support of Kofi Annan in reaction to Norm Coleman's call for his ouster. For Bush & Blair to call for replacing Kofi would only throw gasoline on the flames of antiAnglo-American opposition. Much better to quell those flames a bit by uttering some inexpensive gesture of international solidarity with the groupthinkers and the United Nations.

I say that Bush & Blair's voiced support is inexpensive because words are cheap and because the groupthinkers don't respect right from wrong in the first place. There are other legitimate forces in the world that recognize the need for Kofi's ouster besides the executive offices of the US & UK, so there is really no danger that such voiced support will actually keep Kofi in his office for long anyway.
One last thought. Could this stated support for Kofi not be seen as a classic example of reverse psychology? Imagine what they are thinking in France. Bush and Blair both pledged their support and confidence in Kofi Annan to continue to lead the United Nations. Kofi should be expected to be opposed at every turn by Bush & Blair after the many instances of his attempted obstruction to the liberation of Iraq. Not too long ago, Kofi condemned the liberation as "illegal". I can't help but wonder if these French people (and the other groupthinkers) are questioning if Kofi is the right person to remain as Secretary-General if he's being supported by Bush & Blair. "Hey, if they're for him, we must be against him!"

Such is the way children are dealt with, no?


Monday, December 13, 2004

The Peterson sentence

Some guy out in California named Peterson committed a murder, I'm led to believe. He said he was fishing, but a jury found him guilty of murdering his lovely wife and their unborn child. I think he stabbed her.
Anyways, the trial is over now and they agreed that this Peterson guy should receive the death penalty.

This is a horrible crime but justice is not being served.

While Peterson now goes to death row, the American people have been sentenced to endless media coverage on this terrible murder and its consequences. What's worse, CNN television reports that California death row inmates wait an average of 20 years before their sentence is meted out.

That means we get 20 years of endless media coverage of Peterson's appeals and the sordid details of his incarceration. This is insufferable and the media should use its valuable time to inform the American people of the Global War on Terrorism and other important matters. For instance, many people don't know that many useful things are being achieved in Iraq. There is a national election that is scheduled to take place next month.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

A reminder to give

The blogger's challange with Spirit Of America is reaching its deadline. But there's still time for you to give now through the Northern Alliance of Blogs.
There are numerous reasons to give to this cause. It's Christmastime, the season of giving. And it's about contributing to help Iraq and Afghanistan reach freedom and stability in ways that the United Nations' oil for food program failed. And it's about supporting our troops.
Help give the blogosphere a heart. And help troubled lands in the GWOT.

Thank you.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Beer and blogging

I listened to the Northern Alliance Radio Network today. It was a darned good program, as usual. I see this program took a page from the Maxim magazine playbook in its appeal to real men. Fabulous babes and beer were on tap today as the NARN interviewed Ann Coulter and then later, Mark Stutrud of the Summit Brewing Company.
Ann Coulter was an interesting and fun guest on the show. She was true to form in her scathing assessments of liberals. If I had the chance to speak with her I would like to know if she's tempered her opinions on how to win the Global War on Terror since the days immediately following the attacks of 9/11. According to the information I've picked up, she was fired from the National Review magazine for advocating that the Islamic World should be carpet bombed into submission. While it's not difficult for me to understand why someone would say such a thing in the anger of the moment, I hope she has chilled that opinion down to a more reasonable line, such as the policies of the Bush administration.
Still, when liberals need a new blogosphincter ripped for them, there is no one like Ann Coulter to do the ripping. And she's got great legs.

Next was Mark Stutrud of Summit Brewing Company. I phoned in to the show to report that I'm a fan. My fave flavors are the Great Northern Alliance Porter and India Pale Ale. I wonder if the brewery puts some kind of brain juice in their beer, as I've noticed that whenever I have a glass while blogging my posts are almost always exceedingly intelligent. But then there are those occasional times when a few Summits lead to a post that is only saved in Draft form with intentions of publication tomorrow. For some reason, these drafts make no sense the next day and must be deleted. Maybe too much brain juice is bad for intelligence.

At the top of the initial hour, Mitch elicited groans and gasps from his fellow NARNers by making some of his patented Mitch Bergian commentary. Notably, after confusing Bing Crosby with Dean Martin, he quipped that there is little or no difference between a guy who used to slap his kids around and a guy who drank too much.
Gasp!
Hahaha. But it is precisely this kind of irreverence, mixed in with the serious political talk of NARN, that makes this radio show so entertaining. Mitch knows full well that Deano didn't really have a drinking problem. Maybe Bing never did those things his son's book claimed. Mitch has a jocular sense of humor. (Only last Thursday while discussing with Peter Beinart on the Hugh Hewitt Show, Mitch had stated that he and his fellows were "far right wingers". Saint Paul had to correct the record for Mitch. Like I said, jocular.) It was just show business, and Mitch's comments were meant to be taken lightly. Besides, Mitch's fellows had been teasing him over his 5 seconds remark. They pushed Mitch into the offense zone.

Great show, Men of NARN. This was a show for us guys. We had hot babes, beer, off color jokes, sat around in our underwear and farted while discussing politics.

Best show on radio.

Friday, December 10, 2004


What's this? My FTP capability is back? I'm not sure why it ever was down and I don't know why it's back. But seeing is believing. Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Empire Strikes Back

A few weeks ago Richard Miniter guested on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. I'd heard Miniter's name before but had not been familiar with his work. I think I'd seen his name on the byline of the Opinion Journal but I didn't recall any article he'd written. So, Miniter's appearance on NARN was an eye opener for me. I was very interested in his written work as well as the insights he'd provided.
One of my favorite of these was his comment that "The war in Iraq really is a distraction from the war on terrorism, but only for the press." That's a crisp assessment. It's a particularly keen observation because it cuts both ways. It addresses an issue we are previously familiar with, as an issue the press embraces. And it likewise infers that the hard left has been duped by the press, banking on its authority. We often hear the hard left assert this charge.

So I picked up Miniter's book, Shadow War. It's every bit as interesting a read as its author's radio appearance was.

One of the most fascinating chapters in this book is Terror At Sea. Here, Miniter writes of the Predator UAV and its arming with a Hellfire missile. Miniter writes an amazing account of the targeting and killing of Qaed Salem Sinan al-Harethi (aka Abu Ali), a Yemeni "operations chief" for al-Qaeda.

As al-Harethi and five other known terrorists barreled down a two-lane highway in the dry expanse of northern Yemen, a slow-moving bat-like plane found them. Its high-resolution black-and-white video images were beamed back to a control room in Djibouti, some 160 miles away. The CIA team there had no difficulty recognizing al-Harethi; they had been hunting him for months.
The Predator launched its sole Hellfire missile. Direct hit. Al-Harethi, his companions, and their vehicle disappeared in a ball of fire. In the charred chassis, Yemeni intelligence found weapons and explosives.

That's an amazing account of a new kind of war being fought on this planet. It's science fiction become science fact. The greatest superpower on the globe has this incredible robot that blasts a rocket at a landspeed vehicle, blowing it and the religio-conservative rebels inside to bits. Later, Yemeni officials investigated the scene to scrape up bits of goo, test its DNA content and verify that it was indeed Abu Ali.
The only blemish in the analogy to George Lucas' Star Wars movie is that in the real world, the "Empire" is the good guys and the "rebels" are the bad guys.

But getting back to terra firma here, I began to wonder of the details of Miniter's account. How did the CIA recognize al-Harethi through the video cam? Did they know his car? Does the camera have such super-close zoom capability that it had picked up his facial features? Or did the CIA get a corroborating signal from al-Harethi's cell phone and locate it in that car?
While Miniter is vague on my questions, that's what the Internet is for. I Googled Predator hellfire al-Qaeda and came up with this.

I didn't get my details yet, but I'm not finished searching. In any case, not only is this an effective weapons system, it does so at no risk to our men & women in remote control of the robot drone.

NOTE: I'm writing this post while listening to the Internet feed out of KRLA Los Angeles. I'm catching up on the NARN show as they substitute for Hugh Hewitt. As I write I hear Mitch Berg of www.shotinthedark.info say the very name of my post; The Empire Strikes Back. It turns out that another blog has coincidentally chosen the same title as mine. That's weird, as I've been thinking of this post for a couple of days now.
If a third blogger suddenly gets the urge to post with the title; The Empire Strikes Out, it will be a true Yogi Berra moment and the fat lady will sing.

Abu Ali and his accomplices were blasted from the sky in a new kind of war. They were killed as they were engaged in a plan to target innocent victims. So the hunters became the hunted, their lives brought to an end by a soulless machine guided by a remote hand.



Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Rummy & the troops

While I was on the treadmill this evening I tuned in to CNN. The center tv on that floor is always tuned to CNN. I guess it's a good policy as it satisfies us newshound exercisers. Anyway, the story was one that that MSM had blasted in heavy rotation today, that being that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was in Kuwait today and the troops asked him "some very tough questions."
We've grown accustomed, some of us, to the liberal reporting bias of the MSM. Most of us can surmise within reason that the media is spinning the story to the disadvantage our efforts in the Middle East and the neighboring regions. Little Green Footballs has the perspective we suspected to be more true to the realities.

If it weren't for the blogosphere and radio, most of the nation would be at the mercy of MSM's distortions.

New designs

It seems there is a new fad going around in the local blogs; Redesign. A few months ago SCSU Scholars did it, as well as grabbing a new address. A few weeks ago Jo's Attic took the cue, adding a co-writer to its home. And now Bogus Gold is following the fashion.
Nice improvements, all.

I'm not so much interested in redesigning my blog. But I am very interested in regaining the ability to customize my template. This is something that Blogger has informed me they cannot do. Also, I can no longer post pictures. All I have is words.

Well, why don't you jump ship and get a new client, you ask? I was considering that. But I'd recently ordered business cards with my current Blogger address printed on them. If I switched servers, my address would change and my brand new cards would be useless. I'd have to throw them away. Well, sometimes bad luck is actually good luck. Because the printer botched my order or lost my shipment or something. I've been waiting for them for about two months. So I finally asked this printer to please cancel my order and refund my payment. This printer was made known to me via spam in my email. I can't tell you how much I regret the day I decided to take a chance on them. They'd coerced me into using them with the word FREE. Yet somehow, I was billed.

I just said that all I have is words. As you bloggers out there know, sometimes I don't even have that! When Blogger's server is overloaded or is altogether down, I can't post. Some of my posts have been lost forever. So, even my words are in limited supply.

Needless to say, I don't seem to be very lucky with the Internet. But rest assured, I will be sure to back up this very post you are now reading onto my text editor so that the bad luck may not strike me today.

I am aware that I seem to be whining. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm just letting you know what's going on and I'm not too interesting in candy-coating it. Maybe a redesign would help me get beyond these problems.

I'm thinking about it.

Meanwhile, I'm going to the gym every day and that has been cutting into my time to post regularly. I'd like to say that I feel really, really great from all the exercise, but I'm not quite there yet, as I've been trying to kick this nasty cold I picked up in New Orleans. (What? Still whining???) But, yes, I think I will be reporting here on occasion of the benefits of my new regimen. Sort of a redesign of my body, if I may say so. I intend to lose some weight.

Thank you for reading me. Check back, won't you? You never know when I may get a new design.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Reality Tour dvd

My friend Riskitall gave me a copy of this video for my birdday last week.

I saw Bowie play three shows on this tour. Chronologically, those would be Minneapolis' Target Center, Chicago's Rosemont Theater and Austin, TX's Backyard bar. This dvd is a terrific memento to those shows or any shows that may have been seen in over 100 live concerts
throughout that tour. Bowie played Europe and the States and the whole world. My favorite show was at Austin, Texas.

The video plays like the concert, opening with the backscreen computer generated images of New York City, the transAtlantic flight and the band on stage. It occurred to me whilst watching this, Damn! I wasted my money seeing these shows live! The video is so much closer and the sound is that much cleaner. If you believe I'm being sincere then you don't know when I'm putting you on. Far from it, attending these shows was awesome. I met so many great people and experienced so much great music and fun.

Scanning the song list (and it is quite long) it seems to my best recollection that the only number here that I never witnessed live on the tour is Sister Midnight, a song Bowie penned for Mr. James Osterberg aka Iggy Pop. I'm very glad it's on this disk as it's a great song.
There are improvements this disk accomplishes over the live show, imho. For instance, by the third time I'd heard Heathen (the Rays) live, I'd come to the conclusion that Gerry Leonard's guitarwork was decidedly inferior to the beautiful Tony Visconti studio electronics. This video sweetens the sound to the satisfaction of this critic, with no complaint.
Also, it was common knowledge that Bowie was using the vintage Stylophone live in his performance of Slip Away, but I never got a good look at the instrument until seeing my video. Deffo kewl.
I never got the crunch I felt my ears needed (not to mention my chest cavity) when I heard this great band play Cactus live. But this video delivers the crunch. Bigtime. I got crunched to my very soul. Earl Slick is god. Love those guitars.
Sitting in my easy chair at home watching Bowie and band play All The Young Dudes, I got the same shivers up and down my spine as I'd felt in three concert halls. That number is a true communion of Bowie genius and fanlove...it is perhaps the true core of all that is great in David Bowie. So much fun to sing along with David on this one.

Speaking of the breadth of this video, it is very wide; a spot on capturing of the man's impressive career. That's why Bowie fans were so happy about this show. And now it's on our media shelves and in our servos.

If I had to criticize anything about this video it would be that there are no easter eggs. Hey. We BowieNutters like our secrets and our magic passageways. Tease us, we love it.

However, one other plus I give this video is the inclusion of a little piece of the Uncle Floyd television show. Bowie wrote the aforementioned Slip Away as an homage to this zany New Jersey children's program. In the concert, Bowie played a sound loop from the show. But here on video, we are treated with the image as well. Back in 1984 I was also a rock musician in New York City. When we knocked off practice we would find a t.v. and watch Uncle Floyd. To learn that Bowie and his mates were tuned in to this hilarious show was just another connection between my own lonely spirit and David Bowie. Of course, I didn't learn this until Heathen came out in 2002. He has influenced me more than any other artist.

So, yes, I am very happy to own this gift. Thank you Riskitall! Riskitall is my BowieNet friend of Austin, Texas. He's a Bowie fan and he's Right.

Aside from no easter eggs on this disk, it is very smartly packaged. It contains a programmable jukebox so the owner may manipulate the song order and omissions if desired. It also has the obligatory Stereo/5.1 switch. I haven't figured out which sounds best on my minimalist system. Prolly doesn't matter to me now, but in the event that I get a home theater system it will matter a great deal.
I also like the Bowie Discography loaded here. It's a nice review of Bowie's entire recording career. And let me tell you that even for a Bowiefile, I need all the refreshment on those details that I can get, as it's easy to forget how it panned out over the years.

I don't need to remember how. It's all right here on this little shiny silver disk.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Open season

The 2004 Presidential Election has been won by George W. Bush and the United States can now proceed with its successful and "results orientated" agenda.
There can be little doubt that the next four years will be dangerous and deadly years. Iran is arming with nuclear weapons in open defiance of the world. They must be stopped and that will be a perilous moment for the blue marble. If you're reading this and you wonder why they must be stopped, then I advise you to remember that the mullahs of Tehran are bent on the destruction of the United States. If you wonder what's so bad about the destruction of the United States, then I recommend that you submit your name to your nearest FBI office.

But aside from the dangers and threats, I think these next four years will play out very nicely as Open Season to attack and criticize the Main Stream Media (MSM) and the United Nations. These institutions are clearly on the defensive now. Their lies and distortions and graft are being handily exposed and they must be pummelled into the ground until there is no discernible movement or breathing.

In other words, it's time to let go of the gloating that many of us indulged in the wake of W's victory. Press on. For so many, many months we of the pro-W, pro-OIF operation had to weather irrational attacks from the Democrats and the hard left over Abu Graib, not enough troops, illegal war, shock & awe, Haliburton, Dick Cheney, Michael Moore's feverdream...you name it. John Wilson, Richard Clarke, Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry...the list is as nauseating as it is exhaustive.

Well, can you feel the change in the wind? It's Open Season on the duplicious anti-Bush institutions. The United Nations and Kofi Annan are feeling quite a bit of heat right now and it's going to get even hotter.
Rather and Brokaw are leaving their anchor spots. That gives their replacements an opportunity to begin with a fresh slate. Will they? I doubt it. Attack. Attack. Attack.

Hugh Hewitt understands this attack mode. He was heartened by the Bush victory and the recognition of the Evangelical Christians in asserting their power to reelect a Christian president who vigorously defends freedom. He's carried the banner on to attack Target Stores for banishing the Salvation Army from their door.
If JesusLand won the election for president, then Hugh seems to be saying, "You ain't yet seen what JesusLand can do across this country. We can put Target out of business."

Fear JesusLand. It's Open Season.

Pol-blogging blahs

I thought I was prolly the only person who'd felt burnt out in some strange way by the passing of Election Day last month.
Brian Tiemann of Peeve Farm describes his weirdly deflated gas bag in a familiar countenance. Nice to know it wasn't only just me. Well, a vacation will do wonders. Hugh Hewitt is taking his week off now.
Enjoy it Hugh. You'll come back a new man. My vacation seems to have helped me. Maybe I found my mojo down in New Orleans.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Kofi, Norm & Jim Lehrer's News Hour

After several days of impatient viewing of various news programs and the impatient readings of various newspapers, I have noted that few carry stories of the United Nations Oil-For-Food Scandal. They would continue to tell their silly little stories of Spongebob Squarepants inflatables being stolen or more seriously, of more people being killed in Iraq by "insurgents". But across the landscape of news programs from Tom Brokaw to Tim Russert to Caty and Matt (can you tell I've been watching NBC a bit?), there has been NOTHING on this story.

So it was with a Mr. Spock inspired raised eyebrow that I greeted the Jim Lehrer News Hour story tonight on PBS. They covered it and invited Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman and, in the words of NewsHour, "Timothy Wirth, a former Democratic senator and former undersecretary of state. He's now president of the privately funded United Nations Foundation."

"Let's not jump to any conclusions", says Mr. Wirth. It takes some real guts to go on television and say something so absurd on its very face. I don't know how PBS finds these people. Just a few minutes later Mr. Wirth was branding Senator Coleman's call for resignation "absurd".
Anybody out there in the blogosphere care to lay bets as to whether we'll be hearing much more of former Senator Wirth as opposed to hearing more from Senator Coleman? I think that's an obvious outcome.

I've been a regular viewer of the NewsHour for many years, dating back to when Robin McNeil was a co-host. This is a program that is designed to circumvent built-in bias by propping up two perspectives from opposite sides. I've often wondered how they do this. But there can be little complaint from me when they tap Senator Norm Coleman, the leader of an investigative committee into the scandal. Senator Coleman is a bulldog Republican who is a very strident supporter of President Geo. W. Bush and the liberation of Iraq. He is very articulate for his mission. Presenting Coleman on the program cannot be viewed in any way as a softening of the message. Although I did note that Mr. Lehrer himself did not pose any questions to David Brooks or Tom Oliphant in the editorial segment that takes place every Friday.

I view this news piece as a note on the fact that Senator Coleman has called for the resignation of Kofi Annan. It's a process. Of course, someone was dug up who opposes the resignation of Annan. Even in nasty, harsh Washington D.C. and NYC, there is a modicum of decency surrounding the proposition that a man be fired. Mister Annan is taking note, to be sure. He has heard the call. He can dig in and resist the inevitable tide that will rise against him. Or he can resign. In any event, this is the civil time the system has allocated for him to ponder his options.

Resign honorably?

Or be dragged kicking and screaming like spoilt child three months from now?

Let's make nice-nice and let the little man resign.

Wizbang Blogger Awards

On my first visit to this awards page, the site was down. And no wonder. Hugh Hewitt had just announced it on the air. When Hugh invites people to visit a website or a blog there is a palpable shift of electronic flow in the blogosphere. Sometimes it results in a crashed site.
So I browsed elsewhere for another 40 minutes and by the time I revisited the site was back up again.
If you love the blogosphere enough to know a goodly number of the candidates in the various categories, then you'll enjoy clicking on the appropriate radio button.
If, on the other hand, you know little of the blogs and what they do, each of the candidates' names are hyperlinked and you are encouraged to use your mouse and take a look at them.

If you wonder how I voted, well, let's just say that the Northern Alliance of Blogs are tops in my book.
Gee, I wonder how Dan Rather voted.

Spirit Of America

Just before I left town last weekend I became aware of Spirit Of America from Fraters Libertas.

But I shoved it into the back of my mind in the fever of preparing for my vacation. Well, now I'm back and I'm joining up with the Northern Alliance of Blogs to help support this very worthy cause. It's not enough to limit one's self to being a spectator in the struggle to bring freedom to Mesopotamia and Asia. Cheering the troops and informing our elected representatives of our wishes fall short of the accomplishment. Just a small donation in American dollars from many, many people has raised $ 6740.00 on behalf of the Northern Alliance drive.

I hope you will click here to make the difference in the Global War On Terrorism and to do so with the Northern Alliance of Bloggers.

Let those who opposed the liberation of Iraq take note.

We're serious.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

New Orleans

First off, my apologies for not keeping you posted before I left on vacation. I went to New Orleans for a few days just to get away from it all and celebrate my 51st birthday. Erm...I barely touched a computer the whole time. And, no, I don't own a laptop.
Yes, I've been a bit in the dumps since the election. I recall during the last final weeks how I'd dreamt it would be great to take a vacation and make a clean break of everything. Hawaii came to mind. So did Florida. Climes warmer than Minneapolis were beckoning.
I settled on New Orleans because I have a BowieNet friend there and yet another BowieNutter friend offered to meet us there if I chose. That's the way these internet communities work. When we get a chance we commune.
So it was done.
I'd visited New Orleans but once before when I was 18 years old. I suppose a minor could find something to do there, but it's an adult town. And now I am an adult. At least the officials think so.
When you're in New Orleans you'd better try the gumbo or you haven't done it right. And any other dish made with seafood is required. Shrimp, crayfish, oysters, gator, (Tell me, is gator a seafood or a swampfood? Better yet, don't.)

There are many bars in the French Quarter. I managed to visit a few of these wonderful places. I celebrated my birthday by going to Snug Harbor to see Charmaine Neville and her band. She even sang Happy Birthday to me. Wow. That was an honor even though she referred to me as pinkmonkeystuff. Heyyyyy! I just realized, I think she was denigrating me. Pinkmonkeybird is the name. Squawk. Just kidding. She has a bad memory. Couldn't remember her sax player's name either. Reggie Commodore.
This band was the quintessential New Orleans band to see, imho. They just wreaked of rhythm. New Orleans rhythms have a way of taking over your whole body like voodoo. I'm enchanted. Miss Charmaine has all that rhythm in her pinky finger to spare. She's quite an entertainer. Even though she doesn't have the prettiest of voices, she makes beautiful music with her expression and her soul and her cowbell. Check her out if you get the chance.
While part of the reason to go on vaca was to give politics a rest, the city wouldn't quite let me. Just like Minneapolis, there were various Kerry-Edwards signs still flying in defiance of their defeat. And there is actually a current runoff election campaign ongoing in the Big Easy. When I saw Tauzin's campaign placard I'd assumed it was a leftover, too. But I learned that Tauzin's campaign is pending when I saw his television ad. As Lou Reed once said, There are lots of troubles in this world, and ooooheeee none of them are mine.

Meanwhile, Louisiana loses the equivalent of a football field of coastline every 15 minutes.