Archive for April, 2004

Apples, Meet Oranges

April 30, 2004

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Chris Matthews and Going Home To Mama

April 28, 2004

I used to watch Chris Matthews compulsively. His CNBC and later MSNBC shows were some of the meatiest political programs available, particularly in the days before Fox News started up. Matthews’ encyclopedic political knowlege, deep guest list, and offended-Catholic outrage over Bill Clinton’s escapades gave his show an edge during 1996-98 that was unmatched by anybody else on television. It was more than good enough to make you overlook Matthews’ filibustering (which, let’s be honest, is often entertaining as hell) and schoolboy infatuation with all things Kennedy (or later, John McCain).

But eventually, Matthews’ previous life as a Democratic Party pol caught up with him. When push really comes to shove, when it’s possible for somebody other than a Democrat (or more conservative than, say, McCain) to actually win power, Matthews infailingly “goes home to Mama.” By mid-2000, he was openly campaigning for Al Gore, and his shows were duller than a Moyers agree-fest on PBS, but only slightly less annoying.

I stopped watching Matthews completely about the time of the conventions, and with the exception of election night of that year (when he, like almost everybody else on television, was commenting on that historic night in respectful awe), I haven’t tuned him in since.

Based on this and other accounts of last night’s “Hardball” interview with John Kerry, it looks like I haven’t missed much.

Pity. There was a time when the guy had the best chops in the business. I’m genuinely sorry to see that he’s become a full-on self-parody.

Today’s Special: Grilled Propagandist

April 15, 2004

Already referenced on several of the major blogs, including Instapundit and Kausfiles, Ann Louise Bardach’s in-person dissection of Oliver Stone’s moral and mental midgetry is not to be missed. Check out this example:

ALB: But Cuba’s leader for life is sitting in front of these guys who are facing life in prison, and you’re asking them, “Are you well treated in prison?” Did you think they could honestly answer that question?

OS: If they were being horribly mistreated, then I don’t know that they could be worse mistreated [afterward].

ALB: So in other words, you think they thought this was their best shot to air grievances? Rather than that if they did speak candidly, there’d be hell to pay when they got back to prison?

OS: I must say, you’re really picturing a Stalinist state. It doesn’t feel that way. You can always find horrible prisons if you go to any country in Central America.

ALB: Did you go to the prisons in Cuba?

OS: No, I didn’t.

ALB: So you don’t know if they’re any different than, say, the prisons in Honduras then?

OS: I think that those prisoners are being honest.

“Casablanca came out in 1942”

April 15, 2004

Lileks today:

I wonder whether Hollywood execs shy from a 9/11 movie because they think it might send the wrong message.

It would anger people anew, and we

Blog-A-Riffic Radio Heads-Up

April 14, 2004

James Lileks is guest-hosting for Hugh Hewitt this evening in the first hour of Hewitt’s radio show. Lileks’ last guest stint included a call from Scott Ott, the one and only Scrappleface. Tonight Lileks is promising an interview with Mark Steyn, and call me crazy, but I somewhat suspect that he might have something funny to say about the Off-The-Air America situation.

Show starts at 6PM Eastern. Don’t miss it.

UPDATE: Steve here, crowding in on Will’s post. We have company coming over tonight, so I won’t be able to catch the webcast — and we don’t get a live broadcast here in Colorado Springs. If someone would be willing to spare a C-90 cassette or two to tape the show, I’d gladly exchange a bottle of something tasty. . .

Still Still Developing

April 14, 2004

Drudge updates:

A Chicago source familiar with the situation said a Multicultural representative showed up at WNTD’s offices Wednesday morning, kicked out Air America’s lone staffer overseeing the network’s feed to the station from New York, switched over to a Spanish-language feed, and changed the locks on the doors…

Air America filed a complaint Wednesday in New York state Supreme Court charging Multicultural with breaching their contract and seeking an injunction to force Multicultural to restore the Air America broadcast on both stations, the TRIBUNE has learned… Developing…

Memo to the Moonbat Radio staff: It’s not exactly a good sign when they change the locks…

UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune (login: dealmac, password: dealmac) runs with the story teased by Drudge. The meat:

Air America and Multicultural had entered into a time brokerage agreement in which the network was essentially renting Multicultural’s airtime, Liu said.

“They bounced a check today,” Liu said. “It’s a default. They have paid only a very small portion of what they owe us.” Liu declined to say how much Multicultural is owed, but did say he is holding $1 million in checks that Air America has asked the company not to cash.

“They’ve been saying, ‘We’re going to get you the money’ for the past two months,” Liu said, referring to a security deposit that he said Air America was supposed to have prepaid in advance of its launch. “They’re not honoring our agreement.”

“That is an outright lie,” said Evan Cohen, Air America’s chairman, in a statement. “Multicultural Radio Broadcasting’s conduct in this matter has been disgraceful…. [I]t is a clear violation of their contractual obligations.”

Air America filed a complaint today in New York state Supreme Court charging Multicultural with breaching their contract and seeking an injunction to force Multicultural to restore the Air America broadcast on both stations.

Going to court to force a radio station to broadcast your programming? It’s been a while since my last Civics class, but I don’t think that one was in the Bill of Rights, guys.

Nelson Muntz “HA-Ha!” Alert

April 14, 2004

According to Drudge, Barking Moonbat Radio (aka “Air America”) is going broke after just two weeks on the air, and has been pulled from affiliates in Chicago and LA.

You have to wonder if Drudge actually has the goods on this one. I figured it would flop, but I don’t think anybody thought it could flop this fast. Still, given Al Franken’s dismal record of failure in television and movies, nobody should really be surprised if the story pans out.

“Developing,” as they say…

“Intelligence just sucks.”

April 10, 2004

Megan McArdle has posted the most even-handed and sensible thing I’ve read to date on the September 11 Commission. A highlight:

[W]e are all seeking some reassurance that we can somehow prevent all this stuff in the future. Everyone is very earnestly asking “What changes do we need to make so that our intelligence doesn’t (for example) tell us Iraq has WMD, or not tell us that Al-Qaeda’s about to attack us?” Almost no one seems prepared to accept the possibility that the answer is “None. Intelligence just sucks.” The energy expended trying to blame this failure on someone–George Tenet, Louis Freeh, Condoleezza Rice, or whoever–goes beyond mere regular partisan bashing. It seems to me to express an underlying conviction that of course someone could have stopped this–it’s only a question of who. For the commission, especially, it’s an unacceptable answer; they simply cannot turn to a frightened American public and tell them that it’s really too bad, but we live in a scary world.

There’s plenty more, and you should read the whole thing, but as Megan notes, the fundamental problem with any commission like this is…

…that they find what they are tasked to look for. If you appoint a government commission on fairy rings, they’ll do their damndest to dig one up, because after all, fairy rings are the reason we’re all assembled in this big, important looking room with the columns and the picture of George Washington.

Unfortunate, but all too true. As Leonard H. McCoy once noted, “The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe.”

Look-At-Steve Post

April 8, 2004

Via Instapundit, John Hawkins at Right Wing News has posted rankings of the 29 most influential sites in the blogosphere. VodkaPundit checks in at a very impressive Number 12 (and I can say that, since this is Steve’s site, and he deserves all the credit–wherever the hell he might be at the moment).

Nice work, Martini Boy.

Sheep No More

April 8, 2004

James S. Robbins at NRO on one of the main and largely unacknowledged reasons why three of the four September 11 hijackings were successful, at least from the point of view of the barbarians:

The al Qaeda attack plan exploited our preconceptions, particularly our knowledge of what a hijacking was. Before 9/11, hijacking was largely a form of theater… The way for innocents to get out of the situation alive was to relax, let the scene play out, and hope that if there is a rescue attempt, that none of the bad guys has a bomb. In short, cooperate, don’t escalate. Don’t be a hero.

This is why box cutters could be used successfully to hijack airliners…

Would the box-cutter scenario work today? Of course not. We are no longer told to be quiescent and leave everything to the experts…

[B]y the time United Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania the paradigm shift had been made. The admonition “Don’t be a hero” was replaced with “Let’s roll.” I suspect this change is permanent. No Americans will ever be led to slaughter that way again. The terrorists exploited a seam that they could only use once.

Yes, exactly. As Robbins also notes, the vaunted 9/11 commission has not even mentioned the forty years of conditioning to act like sheep when confronted by hijackers–which played as much into al Quaeda’s hands as any intelligence or security missteps.

Regardless, there are no more sheep on American airliners. Additional security or no additional security, there will never be another successful takeover of an airliner with American passengers onboard.

UPDATE: A reader points out this staff statement from the commission that does note the hijackers’ expoitation of the prior “Common Strategy” for handling aircraft takeovers. That’s fair enough, and I suppose it’s also fair to note that very few people had actually suggested the possibility of airliners being used as guided missiles prior to September of 2001 (except, er, Tom Clancy in a number-one bestseller, but let’s press on).

All of the above brings up two thoughts in my mind. Number one, that doesn’t excuse the societal message of “be a sheep when confronted with crime or violence” that had been (and still is being) preached by our supposed leaders in government, the media, and academia.

Secondly, why is it okay to give the promoters of the “sheep strategy” a pass while piling on everybody else (at least everybody with an “R” next to their name) for other pre-September-11 miscalculations?