Archive for June, 2004

The Mighty Blair Rolls On

June 30, 2004

The Mighty Tim Blair, that is. I’ve no idea how I missed this; I normally read Blair obsessively. At any rate, he graciously turned his column in The Bulletin (Australia) over to a trio of Iraqi bloggers last week, and the results are facinating.

As Jeff Jarvis observes,

[B]ig-time American journos should be ashamed of themselves they didn’t think of this first. It has been there, on the web, right under their noses, all along.

When Mama Ain’t Happy, Nobody’s Happy

June 30, 2004

Sgt. Mom (of Team Stryker), doesn’t bother taking names today, going directly to the kicking of ass:

This reminds us again of where we came from, as Americans, and why we— or our ancestors left. They were economic migrants, losers in political bun fights, religious non-conformists, convicts, criminals, cranks, deadbeats and weirdoes, fleeing from the law, from conformity, the stake and the lash, from poverty, land clearances, pogroms, men with guns, the dead hand of nobility of both the ready made and inherited kinds, and the intellectual set that whores for established authority. Against all confident expectation, we throve and prospered, prospered to an incredible degree, all these outcasts and ner

Morning Roundup

June 30, 2004

A few things that caught my eye ’round about sunrise:

Saddam’s worst nightmare is coming true. We’ve turned him over to his own people for justice.

Massive pro-democracy demonstrations are on tap in Hong Kong. From the article:

Organizers expect 300,000 people to brave stifling heat to press Beijing to allow them greater voting rights. That is less than the half a million who poured onto the streets on July 1 last year, but the desire for more democracy does not appear to have dwindled.

Last July 1, half a million people poured into Hong Kong’s streets to denounce plans by the local Beijing-backed government to enact a tough anti-subversion law, criticize its handling of the weak economy and demand more political freedom.

The outpouring of public anger shocked Chinese leaders, who fear growing calls for democracy here could spill over into the mainland.

This event deserves major-league blogosphere coverage.

The LA Times realizes (belatedly) that the “Gore Tax” is a huge boondoggle. They can’t quite bring themselves to call for its abolition, but it’s a start.

According to Gallup, 70% of Americans “probably or definitely” won’t be reading Bill Clinton’s new book.

The British Labour Party plans to put a public smoking ban in its next electoral platform. I’ve no idea whether this helps or hurts Tony Blair today, but most of the Brits I encountered when I lived over there in 1990-91 smoked like they had titanium lungs. Still, if it can happen in California, Florida, and New York City, I suppose it could happen in Britain.

If you get stopped by a registration requirement, click over to BugMeNot.com, the second most useful site on the web right now (after Google), for an anonymous login and password.

And finally, the “Ouch” of the day goes to a reader who commented under my “Feedback” post:

Yes? Rush? ZZ Top? Pink Floyd? King Crimson? Aerosmith? How old are you people?

It’d be even funnier if he hadn’t gone on to reference two bands (the Pixies and Cure) who’re currently on 20th anniversary tours themselves…

Tour De Force

June 29, 2004

There are so many great lines in this long Hudson Review piece by Bruce Bawer on European anti-Americanism (via Los Bros Judd), I don’t even know where to start. So just take my word for it, click, and start reading.

Okay, okay, just one:

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the only time I saw pro-war arguments fairly represented in the Scandinavian media was on an episode of

News From The Rear

June 29, 2004

Here’s a facinating first-person account from a recently-returned US Marine about how the Washington Post’s Baghdad bureau is mis-reporting the news (big hat tip to the Blogfaddah). The punchline:

Since I saw [Post bureau chief] Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s integrity up close, I haven’t believed a word he writes, or any story coming out of the bureau he runs. You shouldn’t, either.

Gee, I wonder if the Post will pick this one up as an op-ed?

Since you already know the answer to that, read the whole thing at the link above. Like lots of other important stories, you won’t be seeing it in newsprint anytime soon.

Through The Rings

June 29, 2004

After a seven-year journey, Cassini arrives at Saturn tomorrow night, the voyage culminating with a 96-minute (!) orbital insertion burn that will carry the spacecraft through the planet’s outer rings. Here are a couple of sites for keeping up with history in the making:

Official NASA Cassini site

Cassini Imaging Center

Steyn On The Blob

June 29, 2004

Note to self: Self, don’t ever annoy Mark Steyn. The aftermath isn’t pretty:

Bush has always been the issue for Moore. On September 11 itself, his only gripe was that the terrorists had targeted New York and DC instead of Texas or, indeed, my beloved New Hampshire: “They did not deserve to die. If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC and the plane’s destination of California

Feedback

June 29, 2004

What’s your favorite band?

Are they still around, still recording and/or touring? If so, do you still get that particular buzz of excitement the day the “new” album comes out? Do you drop the disc in your CD player for the first time with an anticipation unmatched by any other album you’ll buy that year?

And do you still fell that pang of sadness as the last new song fades out, that little fear that this might be the last time you hear a new song from that band?

For me, “that band” is Rush, and has been since roughly 1982.

I know, I know. What a surprise, an engineer who’s also a Rush fan–hey, have you heard the one about how a chemistry lab broke out in the middle of one of their concerts?

Yeah, heard that one, but in the immortal words of Barney Frank, let’s move on.

Today is the release date of Rush’s twenty-third album, this one’s titled Feedback. It’s something of a first for the band, an EP (remember EP’s?) of late-60’s covers, songs that inspired the band members themselves to pick up their instruments as teenagers.

I just played it for the first time, and it’s wonderful. It’s been forever since I’ve bought a record (you can get it on vinyl, appropriately enough) that’s as much fun for the fan to hear as it obviously was for the artists to record. The high points are a blistering Who-esqe “Summertime Blues,” a really tasteful take on Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul,” and the closer, “Crossroads,” delivered in a fashion that would make both Robert Johnson and Eric Clapton proud.

Would I rather have an album of new material? Of course I would, particularly given the still-unresolved case of guitarist Alex Lifeson, who is facing very serious criminal charges over a New Year’s Eve fracas in Florida.

But for now, oh man, it’s fun, and the band deserves extra credit for getting a new record out, even a covers record, in the midst of their 30th-anniversary tour. Way too many ageing “classic” acts are hitting the road these days without bothering to release anything other than warmed-over greatest hits packages (if that).

I can’t wait to see which of these songs makes the live set–and if you’ve seen the tour already, and post a spoiler in the comments, I will personally… well, I’ll be very upset. Let’s leave it at that.

NOTE: According to the band members (and assuming Lifeson stays out of jail), Rush is set to start work on an album of new material after this fall’s European tour.

The Quagmire Deepens

June 29, 2004

The Boston Herald today on John Kerry’s Monday kowtow to the local unions, refusing to cross an “informational” picket line and cancelling an address to the US Conference of Mayors:

Every mayor, every governor, every politician who has ever served as a chief executive knows that it requires guts and determination to face down powerful interests. It’s why for nearly three decades voters have chosen for the presidency men with executive branch experience.

This is far more than one cowardly act in the face of union pickets on Kerry’s part. This is a clear indication of the kind of president John Kerry would be – one who would do anything, pay any price to avoid a conflict.

We just spent a week remembering and celebrating Ronald Reagan for being a stand-up guy – whether he was standing up to the air traffic controllers’ union or to the leaders of the old Soviet Union. That’s what Americans expect of their leaders.

So the question today is, if John Kerry won’t stand up to the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, who will he stand up to?

There’s more here.

UPDATE: Looks like there was more to Kerry’s union sop than first met the eye. He (or I suspect, the former Kennedy staffers in his organization) apparently cut a deal to prevent picketing of the Democratic Convention next month. Kerry’s end of the bargain was publicly stiffing the mayors yesterday.

Interesting development. I wonder if it’ll impact the willingness of the Democratic mayors to put their own political machines to work for Kerry in November?

It’d Give A Whole New Meaning To “Roger And Me”

June 28, 2004

Jonah Goldberg says Michael Moore is a porno producer at heart. Jonah has a point, but that’s a mental image I really didn’t need…