Archive for May, 2004

If A Tree-Hugger Screams At NYU, But Nobody Covers It, Did It Really Happen?

May 27, 2004

It’s interesting this morning to look around at the non-reaction to the frothing-at-the-mouth speech Al Gore gave yesterday. Flipping through the home pages of the Washington Post, New York Times, and LA Times, you’ll see hardly a mention of the speech, in which Gore called for the resignations of virtually every Bush Administration cabinet secretary (the Post has a small blurb well below the main headlines; the others don’t mention Gore on the front page at all).

Why the silence? We’re talking about the last vice president of the United States, and a guy who was just 548 votes shy of being the president right now. This ought to be a big story, particularly for papers that had been very supportive of Gore in the past. Is he now considered irrelevant? Does the media think he’s become a nutbag, and thus unworthy of coverage? Could they be embarrassed by Gore’s descent into MoveOn.org moonbattery?

Heck if I know; maybe the answer is “all of the above,” but the coverage of Gore’s rant, or rather the lack therof, is more than a little curious.

UPDATE: Well, Gore isn’t being ignored by everybody…

Parrothead Alert and Drink Recipe

May 26, 2004

Jimmy Buffett’s Atlanta show begins in five hours. Drinking (at least my drinking) will commence in approximately one hour. You do the math.

You can listen to the show live at Buffett’s excellent web radio station, Radio Margaritaville. It pains my Mac-user soul to admit it, but the Windows Media stream is by far the best quality of the three options. I’ll be making my own bootleg at home via AudioHijack software. Show starts at 8PM Eastern, for those who tune in, I’ll be the drunk guy yelling out requests from the lawn section.

Tonight’s Parrothead Tailgating cocktail will be the Fruity Rum Drink (TM), invented by Tom Slappey (his real name) in 1995. The recipe, for those of you playing along at home:

Get a large juice pitcher.

Fill up 2/3 of the way with ice.

Pour in one coffee cup full of dark Bacardi rum, followed by 1/3 coffee cup of Malibu rum.

Fill up with Minute Maid Citrus Punch.

Stir.

Drink.

Repeat as necessary.

I Thought It Got Whacked By An Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator

May 26, 2004

Memo to the Europeans: this isn’t the way you learn how to fix stuff:

The Government and European space chiefs yesterday refused to publish the full report into the loss of the Beagle 2 Mars probe, even though British taxpayers contributed more than

Crushing Of Dissent In Atlanta

May 20, 2004

This is one of the more outrageous things I’ve read in quite a while. The public statements of one Vera Rorie, the Assistant Dean for Campus Life at Emory University in Atlanta, recently found their way onto the internet. Ms. Rorie subsequently received a critical email (gasp!) from an individual not associated with either the university or the local College Republicans chapter. Upon reading said email, Rorie abruptly cancelled a meeting with the CR leadership, and has refused contact with them ever since (nearly three months ago now).

Rorie’s “logic” in cancelling the meeting? Here are her own words, in an email to the CR representatives:

My office had offered to assist the College Republicans in planning an event that would bring a conservative speaker of your choice to campus. In light of the attached email and link it is clear that you are not interested in practing [sic] community. The information you provided to outsiders is the source of the enclosed personal attacts [sic] on me. I am rescinding the offer to meet.I will not participate in email name calling or personal assaults.

You got that? Here we have a high-profile college administrator, whose job is to oversee the “campus life” of students saying, in effect, “If you dare tell anybody else what I’ve said, and they respond to me in a way I don’t like, I’ll cut you off completely, you miserable little fascists.”

Folks, I submit that somebody this immature and thin-skinned has no business dealing with even 18-year-olds. Ms. Rorie should clearly look into a line of work more in line with her sensitive nature. Like, say, kindergarten teacher.

Kudos to Erin O’Connor, Jonah, and Emory’s Dr. Harvey Klehr for getting this story out. Here’s a complete rundown of the story from a mirror of the Emory CR website (the actual site is jammed; just keep scrolling down).

Oh, did I mention that there’s been absolutely no word of this in the local paper? Nah, why bother–you probably already guessed that.

A Peril Beyond Their Reckoning

May 12, 2004

Remember the ending of Braveheart, Mel Gibson’s fictionalized William Wallace bio? After Wallace was brutally tortured to death by the English, the film’s Robert I of Scotland (aka, Robert The Bruce) intones:

After the beheading, William Wallace’s body was torn to pieces. His head was set on London Bridge, his arms and legs sent to the four corners of Britain as a warning.

It did not have the effect that Longshanks planned.

I hesitate to ascribe a great deal of logical reasoning to the thugs who murdered Nick Berg. Barbarians commit such acts first and foremost because they want to, and offer up twisted justifications as an afterthought. That understood, Berg’s killers were undoubtably well-versed in Osama Bin Laden’s “strong horse” theory, nurtured by thirty-odd years of American withdrawls and second-guessing. By butchering an innocent man on camera, they probably sought not only to assuage their own blood-thirst, but also to pull a Saigon/Teheran/Beirut/Mogadishu (or Madrid?)–throw blood in America’s face and watch the ‘weak horse’ turn and trot away from the battlefield.

Time may well change perceptions and soften reactions, but one day on, Berg’s decapitation did not have the effect the jihadis planned.

Despite the newfound squeamishness of the American press, video and pictures of the murder have made the now-familiar end-around to the public via the internet, and the immediate response is not exactly “Let’s quit.” I offer up a few nuggets of anecdotal evidence, the first from a college professor (no, not Glenn Reynolds) posting late yesterday on a non-political message board:

We have moaned and groaned for weeks now concerning the prison photos. We have worried about our perception in the world. Today we were confronted with just whom and what we are at war. War is war and it is not pretty. But we should see it through to the very end, totally humble these people, then build them back up so they may actually give back to civilization. It worked on better societies in the 1940’s, and look at the Japanese and the Germans today. And the Arabic people are far less advanced than the afore mentioned nations. It is time to take the kid gloves off and get down to business. I am reminded of how Rome quelled rebellions and wars: with thousands of dead Jews, Britons, Gauls, and Germans. Worked for them, why can’t it work for us?

Not an appealing prospect, but I daresay this isn’t an unusual point of view in the US today. As others have noted, we hear a lot about the alleged volitility of the ‘Arab street,’ but to date, the ‘American street’ appears to be the group that is not only energized, but also capable of turning its anger into policy–deadly effective policy.

The writer also brings up a point that almost everyone, on every side of the war, has missed or avoided to date. We talk about how Germany and Japan were pacified, democratized, and enriched after World War II. We haven’t talked much about how they were utterly destroyed and broken first.

Consider this as well, from an email to Andrew Sullivan:

I’ve never really liked this war and my disgust for George Bush and his planning for this war is immeasurable. However, I agree with your piece “Insane Spin.” I am still fuming about the beheading of Nick Berg, and people throughout the world need to understand the contrasting images of that situation and the Abu Ghraib prison fiasco. The world needs to understand that we will get to the bottom of this problem no matter where it leads. In contrast, al Qaeda and it’s murderers flaunt this type of cruelty because they believe it will make Americans run away. In fact, it pisses us off and this type of crap needs to shown to the American people so that we all know who we are dealing with.

Taking matters to a disctinctly possible next level, there’s this, from James Lileks:

Simply put: if a US city is nuked, the US will have to nuke someone, or let it stand that the United States can lose a city without cost to the other side. Defining

Small Blog World

May 10, 2004

I beg everybody’s pardon for this brief exercise in self-indulgence.

Today Lileks mentions a book he’s just finished on the building of Rockefeller Center in New York. Along the way, he notes that

the guy who did the interiors for Radio City Music Hall is dead, very dead

… and no doubt that’s correct. However, the guy who did all the original lighting for Radio City is not only very much alive (at age 97), he’s also my wife’s grandfather. Dudley Chambers designed and oversaw the installation of what was then the most advanced indoor lighting system in the world when Radio City was built in the early 1930’s. His system stayed in constant use for 67 years, until 1999, when it was overhauled and updated. The Radio City powers-that-be invited Dudley in for the grand re-opening, in recognition of his original work.

Get Well Soon, Blogfaddah

May 6, 2004

The Oracle of Blog Mountain is under the weather–way under the weather. If you have a pulse, a computer, and you can spell “blog,” you read Instapundit daily (if not hourly), so go hit his tipjar.

Now.