Hitchens v. Galloway: My first experience at liveblogging.

7:11) Galloway says we "brick-by-brick" destroyed Fallujah. I didn't hear about that, did anyone else? That sure is a big story.

7:12) Galloway quotes the false Lancet study. You're full of crap, Georgie boy.

7:15) Hyperbole mania! Galloway says US and UK are two biggest rogue states.

Hitchens Rebuttal.

Hitchens points can never be dilluted down to one line. It's why I [heart] him.

7:19) Makes note of Galloway's Sleepovers with Bashar Assad.

7:21) Lancet study is a 'Crazed Fabrications'

7:24) The Iraqi branch of your socialist party are victims of the 'Insurgency'. Also, go to hell.

Well, the last part was mine.

Galloway Rebuttal.

7:26) It's John Hopkins University! They couldn't be wrong. Right? Does anyone believe Hitchens? (Round of Applause) Apparently you do.Damn it.

7:27) You supported Algerian Resistance! That's relevant, right? Of course it is!

7:28) Americans killed Native Americans!

7:29) There were no Al Qaeda in Iraq before the war?

7:30) "Hitchens and his friends have created 10,000 Jihadis!" Hitchens: "So sorry about that. Didn't mean to do it."

7:31) 9/11 is our fault. Massive wave of Boos. Hitchens calms them down.

7:32) Random whack at Sharon. A duplicate wave of Boos.

Galloway is so intense and so belligerent that the force of his panting breath is making the microphone crackle. Why would someone tell a crowd of New Yorkers they deserved 9/11?

Hitchens Rebuttal.

He's calm and keeping his wits about him. He's retaining his acerbic sense of sarcasm.

7:36) Hitchens shames Galloway for pulling out 9/11 to a huge wave of applause.

7:39) Hitchen asks Galloway to sign an affidavit proclaiming he didn't discuss oil/food with Aziz. Galloway says, "Buy my Book!"

Galloway Rebuttal.

7:40) Only Christians can run for president in Lebanon!

7:43) You used to be a Trotskyist, but now your politics are different from 40 years ago! Clearly, you're "working for the Devil!" Interesting that Galloway seems quite disappointed that Hitchens is no longer a Trotskyist.


Thought "o" the week

The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who have not got it.
-George Bernard Shaw


Brevity: A Principle I am a Fan of

So I was going to write this long and blustery post about the Puritanical preachers that are blaming Katrina on Katrina's victims when I saw this rhyme, posted by a commenter on Volokh, that pretty much sums everything up. 'Tis attributed to survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake:

If, as they say, God spanked the town
For being over-frisky,
Why did He burn His churches down,
And spare Hotaling's whiskey?

Works for me.


I Blame the Schools

A combination of old ladies, expert satirists, and the grammatically impaired fire off terse, angry letters to the FCC over Robbie Novak's recent outburst. What child of theirs watches CNN at 5 in the afternoon? And isn't it a bit harsh to blame Novak for 'the downfall of family values'? And who sits at home writing letters like this one:

"Robert Novak should not be allowed to use such language
on T.V.He is
out of control and not stable!
Thank you!"

and expects to be taken seriously? Discuss.

House of Saud Avoidance Tactic One

If this is true, it would be a gift from God, if he exists.

Wouldn't it be nice to stand up to King Fahd's descendants and tell them, earnestly, to Fuck Off? Maybe those lazy Colorodoans will be good for something besides snooty ski resorts and half of Vodkapundit. Under the undoubtedly overenthusiastic estimates of Shell, nearly a trillion barrels of oil lay hidden under said state. And isn't it ironic that the state that may one day allow us to flip the bird to Hugo Chavez is a Native American word for 'Red'?

Movies II

A) 'The Great Raid' has gotten a lot of publicity from Reynolds and other Conservative Blogs, but it's really just kind of average. War movies, especially about WWII, have gotten stuck in a 'let's honor them solemnly' mode, and there's not a whit of creativity or innovation in the movie at all. Sure, it's a great story, and sure, they were heroes, but the subject matter was given a treatment virtually identical to every WWII movie made in the last twenty years. If you want a good war movie, go see this or this or this or this. EDIT: Or this or this or this or this or this or this. And of course this. They pack 20x the emotional punch, and they're good movies in their own right. Hell, 'Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault' packed a deeper emotional wallop then 'Raid', and it did it without a budget of dozens of millions of dollars. The subject matter is just too important for mediocre movies to be made about it.

B) 'Insomnia': An unabashed mindfuck with godly cinemotography. Perfect in so many ways.

Of China and Goats

Even mediocore comic strip artisan Stephen Pastis gets it. When will everyone else?


Divine Intervention . . . on a pathetically small scale

On NPR this morning I heard a woman being interviewed who said that in a huge park near her house, several century-old oaks had fallen, but all of them had miraculously missed the statue of Jesus in the center. So, you know, it's a miracle.

If an all-powerful God was willing to lift a finger to save a small statue in the N'orleans suburbs, why is the rest of the town 80% underwater right now? Oh, right, right: It's Sodom to Las Vegas' Gomorroh.

My head hurts.


My Pet Peeves

9) People who take young children to highly cerebral, intricate movies and then see fit to explain to said children, in audible whispers, why the mean old computer-eye won't open the pod bay doors for Dave.
8) Old couples, where one person has to explain the events on screen to a slightly blind/slightly senile spouse.
7) People who eat popcorn with their mouth open, in order to maximize the noise of the crunching kernels as it echoes through the theater.
6) People who receive cell phone calls, but in a lame attempt to cover up the fact that they were too retarded to mute it, don't answer it and let the ring die out naturally.
5) Babies in general.
4) People who end the call, but don't mute it afterwords, so they guy on the other end keeps calling and calling and calling . . .
3) Old couples who complain loudly that movies were better back in the 'Good Old Days', which I take to mean when blacks weren't allowed in theaters and 'Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein' was the top box-office earner of the year.
2) That one sociopath who answered the call and unabashedly held discussions with his secreatary about 'The San Antonio Shipment'.
1) The fact that all of these people held a convention in the one theater where a rare 70mm showing of '2001: A Space Odyssey' was taking place, and I had the misfortune to be there.

Some heroic man had the courage to walk over to the man who was talking to his secretary, pick up the phone, and throw it thirty feet down the aisle. Really, now, who does that? Who is so socially inept as to think that calling his secretary during a movie with 200+ other people is acceptable?

I hate theaters. Hurrah Netflix.



Big-time moonbat Pat Robertson has issued a Fat'wa against small-time dictator Hugo Chavez.

. . .

If Mr. Robertson continues along this line he may seriously damage his credibility. What's this, you say? He has none?

Oh, my . . . well, then, I'm sure he'll alienate some of his base. No? You think they'll twist what he said until it becomes a stirring endorsement of sunshine and rainbows that no one could object to? You cynic, you.

So here is what I'm wondering: If it is illegal for me to stand on a streetcorner and call for the murder of the guy who flipped me the bird on the drive to work this morning, why is it not illegal for a national TV broadcaster to call for the murder of an elected (albeit falsely) leader of a neutral country?

Moonbats shouldn't receive the benefits of the First Amendment.


Stealing from Instapundit

If this is half-true, it strikes me as critical to the continued technological dominance of the nation. I've been interested in space-based solar satellites for some time now, and if we could pull it through I believe it really would be a watershed for the nation


Listening In

Conversations of the rich and powerful.


Movies I

A) Tonight I saw "On The Waterfront" for the first time-I had always thought the talk about Brando's performance was mostly hype. I was most definitely wrong. Incredibly, unbearably wrong. That was the most phenomenal thing I've ever seen a flesh-and-blood human do on celluloid. If only his later performances were that good . . .

B) Saw "Russian Ark" recently, and it was probably the most technically stunning thing I've ever watched. The premise is difficult to explain . . . Never, though, has a nation so efficiently gathered up the folds of its collective history and culture and displayed them so neatly in a ninety-minute format. It was filmed at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg with a cast of 800+ actors and 1000+ extras in one take, meaning that the the entire movie is one elongated scene from beginning to end. If you have an interest in history or art, it would be hard not to enjoy this film. The final scene, where hundreds of aristocrats descend the Grand Stairway after the Last Ball in 1913 and Tsarist Russia takes one final bow before ducking out of History's pages forever is one of the most beautiful and fragile and elegaic moments in all of Foreign Cinema. Sad, so sad, that so many lives and so much beauty has been lost to history forever. . .

C) Saw "High and Low" Yesterday, and although many will find this Heretical, it's my favorite of Akira Kurosawa's films. Interesting take on some societal themes, but mostly just a cool Japanese take on old American noirs. For more Kurosawa noir-ish action, check out "Stray Dog".

Limeys II

Christopher Hitchens has more rhetorical skill in his intestinal villi than Camp Casey has in its entirety. Really, now, who would you rather be stuck in a foxhole with?


Another European confuses the economic success of a nation with the status of its social welfare programs-or, programmes. But he comes to terms in the end.


Kick off yo' Sunday Shoes!

Footloose: Is it

A) A skillful satire of small town prudery, mocking of both the religious figures and older generations, just as Korean T'alch'um derisively mocked the Buddhist monks of the Sejong dynasty?

B) A parable of these two generational elements drawn together by the calming, steadying movements of Kevin Bacon's hips?

C) A woeful microcosm of small-city ways falling to the inexorable march of so-called 'progress' from the city?

D) A chilling, striking portrait of one mans reaction to the loss of his sons, and the venetian blinds he puts on his windows to the joys of life?

E) A naughty portrait of drug- and women-abuse in a small town where economic slumps leave a void to be filled?

F) A symbolic portrait of the 70's and 80's, where after the miasma of the Nixon-Ford-Carter- years, Reagan truly taught us how to be "Foot-Loose"?

G) Another crappy Kevin Bacon vehicle?

Hindsight 20/20

According to some, Al-Qaeda is a bigger threat than the Soviet Union, because, you know, in the end, we didn't get nuked.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

The fact that we didn't get vaporized is a testament to American realpolitik strategy for 50 years. Now, the "Russian Federation", with submarines that get caught in fishing nets, looks benign and tame, but for a large chunk of the 20th century that was not the case. The fact that it all ended well doesn't mean they weren't as vicious or evil as people believed at the time, it means that we won. Enough ICBM's to destroy the earth three times over terrifies me a hell of a lot more than a suitcase nuke. Sure, I know now that the Soviets never used them. But without that knowledge, I imagine things were pretty touch-and-go.

Comparing Al-Qaeda to the Soviet Union isn't only wrong, it does the Russkies a discredit. If the Soviet Union was actually less benign than a shadowy, smallish non-national organization with a ineffective strategy, disastorously misguided leadership, and the inability to bomb a bus correctly, then what the hell was that ICBM fleet and those huge tank columns and a fearsome navy for? That cost a LOT of money! Maybe if they had skimped on the Army and sent 30 guys with C4 to Hungary and Austria instead, they could now afford something better than Submarines that resemble Peppermint Wads that become ensared in traps that are usually responsible for the entrapment of small dolphins.