August 31, 2004

We Interrupt This Wallowing in Shallowness

. . . to tell you what I really think. Wow! Two posts in a row: I'm getting into Wonkette territory, except that I haven't mentioned K-Y yet. Oops.

Arnold I heard more than saw, and it just blows me away that someone who speaks English as a second language can do what he did tonight. I anticipate some reform soon in the rules on who can be President. The second-most-famous Austrian in history may well occupy the White House in my lifetime.

Mrs. Bush did a brilliant job, despite the fact that she's clearly more comfortable reading to fourth graders than to a bunch of delegates in Madison Square Garden. She's not a terrific speaker, and—as with her husband's problems in forming sentences—I'm not sure it's as great a disadvantage as some think: in both George and Laura people see a sort of unpolished greatness that makes them feel they are getting the genuine article. The Bushes come across as very real. And she told the two stories she needed to tell: 1) how social programs under Bush 43 underscore the "compassionate" side of his administration, and 2) the agonizing W. went through when he was making the decision to go to war.

And Mrs. Bush does one thing amazingly well: she has an infectious, piercing smile, which the makeup artist played up beautifully with bright red lipstick that matched elements in the background they provided for her speech. (Did you notice?) She is probably the third most popular first lady in recent history, right behind Jackie Kennedy and Barbara Bush. (Of course, there is Lady Bird, but I'll need someone a little older than I am to tell us how she fits in.)

I think I'd like Teresa as a person: I think she'd be interesting to know. But Laura Bush embodies certain virtues people want to see right now, and if the election were held on the basis of potential first ladies rather than their spouses, it would be a lock. I probably wouldn't bother to vote, even if I did live in a battleground state: it would be whatever is bigger than a "landslide."

Which brings me to the Bush twins. Who approved that copy? Making fun of your grandmother is one thing. Making fun of your grandmother who is a respected icon of dignity and grace is an awful idea. I hear it was supposed to be self-satire about what young troublemakers they are, but the piece of it I heard (I was making a sandwich during much of it) was awful.

However, they are so beautiful that I suspect all will be forgotten in the morning. As many have remarked, it would be a tough, tough race if this were about first daughters: those are four remarkable (and remarkable-looking) young women.

Posted by Attila at 11:08 PM | Comments (2)

If He Weren't So Charismatic

. . . people might notice more how genuinely funny-looking he is.


Of course, I don't think the teeth-whitening treatments are doing him any good: they just highlight his thin, red-looking lips. And then there's the matter of his hair . . .

But what an amazing speaker. Giuliani—whom I missed—couldn't have been any better.

Posted by Attila at 10:35 PM | Comments (4)

You Know . . .

He really is quite an ugly man. Is it wrong to say that? I guess it's unkind. Of course, it was unkind of him to suggest that any President—much less this one—would send young men and women into harm's way to fatten his friends' wallets.


Is that "L" for "lumpenproletariat"?

Via James, who thought Giuliani did well and McCain, less so (except for the Micheal Moore moment). But I've heard some good reviews of both speeches, so I'll have to read the transcripts and let you know what I think. (Yes, I was working all day, and had an evening commitment. This is cutting into my convention coverage, though I guess I could simply post Goldstein-style missives "from New York." Or I could buy a teensy TV and take it to work, sneaking looks at it every now and again, so I could be brilliant about it all when I get home at night.)

Posted by Attila at 12:34 AM | Comments (3)

August 30, 2004

Oooh, nice.

Via Stephen Malcolm Anderson, some of our fine demonstrators strut their stuff in New York City. My favorite, like SMA's, was the People's Cube, which is far superior to the hierarchical Rubik's cube.

Karol Sheinin reports in Dean's World that WaPo actually fell for this. Cool. Shine on, you crazy diamonds.

Lenny, if you're reading this you should definitely check out Anderson's web site; you two have a few things in common.

Posted by Attila at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2004

Stephen Green

Draws his own election map, with his best guess on current realities. If he's right, the GOP comes in at 274 electoral votes—and the Dems bring in 264. "That's tight," he observes.

He concedes that he might be wrong in placing Nevada in the Republican camp, however.

I, on the other hand, feel that Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and possibly even New Mexico are likely to start blushing before the election. Which would make things, you know . . . less tight.

Posted by Attila at 11:09 PM | Comments (2)

On Arab and Muslim Paranoia

Michael Coren is the author of the rather astonishing essay "God Bless America," which most of us have read (and all of us should).

Now (via Kathy Kinsley) he's produced a brace of essays on why the problems in the Arab and Muslim worlds are often falsely laid at the doorsteps of Christianity and Judaism. Start here, and then read the follow-up, in which he responds to his critics.

Posted by Attila at 12:30 PM | Comments (2)

August 28, 2004

Bonny Kate

has her own take on why the Old Media wall finally came tumbling down. A medium scorned, and all that.

Posted by Attila at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

The Captain's Quarters

. . . tells us it's really over, by God. Manhattan, L.A., S.F. and maybe Chicago will likely remain in Kerry's fold. Everyone else will be gone in a few weeks. There are just too many questions about Kerry's record, and the blogosphere (along with talk radio) have finally forced the Old Media to cover some of it.

The L.A. Times and The Washington Post both just ran semi-objective stories on the Swifties. There are still no good answers from the Kerry people. (And no Form 180—no document dump like Bush used against the "AWOL" charges.) Now there are reports that Kerry was present at a Vietnam Vets Against the War meeting in which the assassination of U.S. Legislators was discussed. Naturally, he didn't take that to law enforcement. I've described the Kerry implosion as "Watergate in miniature," but it's not so miniature any more: it's only that the corruption and deceitfulness of the man are being discovered before we elect him, rather than afterward.

All I can hope is that my lefty/liberal friends find some other, less-depressing way to occupy their time on November 2nd. Take that day trip: go to Descanso Gardens. Or Legoland. Hang out at the beach. But stay away from alcohol, 'cause you're going to need it the next day when all the final tallies start coming in. You might want to go to Vegas for a couple of days so you can be half in the bag and playing blackjack when the confirmation arrives that Bush will be serving a second term.

Be good to yourself: learn a new yoga pose. Buy a scented candle. Get a massage. Get your black clothes dry-cleaned, because you're going to be in mourning for a while this fall.

Game over.

Posted by Attila at 10:20 PM | Comments (10)

No, Nothing.

There's nothing happening in Afghanistan, 'cause we deserted it for Vietnam, or El Salvador or some place like that, due to the President's weird, nepotistic intolerance for assassination attempts against former U.S. Heads of State. Oh—and his desire for oil.

Posted by Attila at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

Texas Intuition

Jimmy Carter might have been our most intelligent President. And Bill Clinton, the craftiest. But George W. Bush is just plain smart.

Posted by Attila at 08:09 PM | Comments (2)

Venomous Kate

Has a question about sex. Do you have an answer?

UPDATE: Thought I'd throw the real link in there. But you have to scroll up to get the survey: the permalink apparently lands you on the comments section, rather than on the entry. Wonder if that's a Wordpress issue, or whether I'm still doing something wrong.

Posted by Attila at 02:17 AM | Comments (4)

Can You Handle the Truth?

A Vietnam vet—former Marine Peter W. Davis of Wills Point, Texas—wrote a comment here that I felt deserved its own post:

This Viet Nam vet is minimally interested in The Hee-row's exploits, whatever they really were, in Viet Nam. What interests me is how, after having run for office as a war hero, and lost, he gathered a bunch of 'veterans,' many of whom never wore Uncle's suit at all--many others not having set foot in Southeast Asia--and used their 'experiences' to go before a United States Senate Committee and slime every other man that served. Including the dead.

I'm no more a hero than I am a war criminal. I'm just a guy who wore a uniform and did a job that most people wouldn't. My war had far more to do with loneliness, homesickness, exhaustion and fear than John Wayne-style shooting of some big machine gun from the hip. Yet I served alongside some genuine heroes. A whole lot of them traded their jungle ripstops in and came home wearing shiny aluminum boxes.

John Kerry slimed the names of those men with lies. He deliberately, for political gain, harmed some 58,000 families. He may as well have gone to those 58,000 homes and pissed on every one of those neatly-folded flags. Now he's returned to those homes and is parading around wrapped in those same flags.

I do not consider myself fit to speak for those men; there are others with far more right to do so. Compared to some of the men who are speaking out I can stand in the shade of a dime, comfortably, at high noon. There is, however, one man next to whom I consider myself infinitely more qualified to speak of my comrades: John Kerry. Unlike him I've never slimed them. He is not fit to speak of those men, much less speak for them.

Thank you, Peter, for your four years of service. Thank you for sharing your perspective with us now. If anyone's right of free speech is endowed by the Creator, it is yours.

Posted by Attila at 02:04 AM | Comments (0)

Emperor Misha

Manages to put together a tight, disciplined rant on the subject of . . . John Kerry's Excellent Adventure in Vietnam.

A couple of you guys should probably take a pass on this. The others—go check it out.

Posted by Attila at 01:37 AM | Comments (2)

Click Now.

Thank me later.

Posted by Attila at 01:30 AM | Comments (0)

Comment Policy

I need to spell this out once, now that I'm actually getting some traffic. When you're commenting on this blog, you need to show respect to the opposition. You may attack their ideas, but not them personally. Keep the conversation as civil as possible. If you would not say it in my living room, do not say it here.

That goes for both sides, and it goes for people I know in real life as much as for those whom I only interact with online.

Anyone who sees violations of this policy should let me know, and I will either delete the offensive comment, or leave its author to the tender mercies of my attack cat—and my other articulate readers. From this point on, anything that can be considered trolling will incur the risk of a smackdown (administered with a clear head and a minimum of Gross Personal Attacks—we're talking surgical strikes), and repeat offenders can definitely get themselves banned.

What this means in practice: if you're calling people stupid, idiotic, illiterate, or evil, you're not persuading anyone—and you're on thin ice. Use your thesaurus if you want to retain posting privileges: More honey, less vinegar. Thanks.

Posted by Attila at 12:42 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2004

Scott Ott

. . . declares the November election a "one man race."

Posted by Attila at 04:03 AM | Comments (3)

Whassup With This?

I've been tearing the sofa apart. Nothing. Except some weird looks from my husband.

Posted by Attila at 01:01 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2004


Desert Cat reports that some in the Kerry camp are threatening to sue anyone who posts this:


It is, of course, the cover of Kerry's book. It's also a parody of this picture, of Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima:


Won't Kerry be a busy boy?—he'll have to file suit against the entire internet.

UPDATE: Here's the skinny on the threatened lawsuit.

UPDATE 2: Bill gives you access to the rest of the book. (Via Protein Wisdom.)

Posted by Attila at 11:53 PM | Comments (15)

Hell, No.

Herman Jacobs wrote an excellent piece in today's Opinion Journal. He explores the uneasy political truce we've had in this country over the Vietnam war:

Years ago, wearied by their own arguments as much as by the arguments of their antagonists, sensible majorities of both the supporters and the opponents of the Vietnam War yielded to an unwritten domestic truce, composed of two principles:

* Those who participated in the war, with the exception of anyone at or above the rank of general officer, are entitled to public honor for their service.

* Those who actively opposed the war, with the exception of the most extreme Jane Fonda-types, are not to be branded as cowards or traitors to their country.

This uneasy truce, he argues, conceals a wound that could only be healed by a small number of people:

If a man like John McCain or Bob Kerrey were to ascend to the presidency, he might possess the moral authority to elucidate a shared communal understanding and to dispense--on behalf of all those who sacrificed--the forgiveness that would be necessary to put Vietnam behind us.

And what about John Kerry? Might he have become the man finally to bind up the wounds of Vietnam? Yes, I believe he could have performed that healing, perhaps more completely even than a John McCain or a Bob Kerrey, precisely because John Kerry was both "sinner" and "sinned against." No one could have better explained to the nation how the world looks different with the passage of time.

He could have explained that although he is remains deeply proud to have served his country in war, he is deeply sorry that in his proudly foolish youth he spoke such vile words about the other men who fought in that war, many of whom were still fighting when he dishonored them. He could have explained that there were good men and women who supported the Vietnam War and good men and women who opposed it. He could have explained that, even though he still believes he was right to oppose many things about the war, he now knows he was wrong--unequivocally wrong--to say and do the fraudulent things he said and did when he returned from Vietnam.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Yet we do not fault Mr. Kerry for failing to seek the reconciliation that history seemed to have placed uniquely within his power to achieve. In the absence of healing, the nation could have continued to observe the well-established domestic truce. We all would have been content to continue to "let it alone," just as we have done for the past 25 years.

But now we can't "let it alone." The reason we can't "let it alone" is that John Kerry won't let us "let it alone."

We can't let it alone because Mr. Kerry has pursued a strategy that sounds out old angers with a dissonant message that takes the two prongs of the domestic truce and makes them serve his own advantage. The domestic truce had required that those who served in Vietnam should receive honor. So Mr. Kerry now exalts that half of the truce--not humbly as befits a genuine war hero, but constantly and immodestly waving the bloody shirt of his Vietnam service in the faces of his critics whenever any connection, no matter how illogical, can be drawn between their criticism and Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The predominant quality revealed in Mr. Kerry's spinning and unspinning his personal history in the Vietnam era is that, like everything else in his political life (from the SUVs he owns but doesn't own, to the medals he tossed but didn't toss, to the war in Iraq he supports but doesn't support), he's trying to have it both ways. But because of how the Vietnam era tore this country apart and still weighs on the nation's political soul, Mr. Kerry's trying to have it both ways about that war is so much more telling than his SUV moment or even his flip-flops on the current war.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Yes, it's true that under the strict terms of our long-standing domestic truce, John Kerry was not required to apologize for the things he said 30 years ago, even though he himself had more recently tested that truce with his attacks on George W. Bush's National Guard service. But then in January of this year, to burnish his credentials as a war president, Mr. Kerry's authorized biography reported a story implying that his Swift Boat comrades had fled the scene of an enemy attack while he alone returned to rescue the wounded. Honor being such an insignificant thing to John Kerry, he probably had no idea that--with his biography reviving war crimes accusations and, more specifically, implying cowardice on the part of his fellow Swifties--he had broken the domestic truce.

The truce is over. The Swift Vets and all the other vets John Kerry has freshly maligned are determined that this time around he is not going to have it both ways. Men like Michael Benge, Kenneth Cordier, Joseph Crecca and Jim Warner, who have already lost too many years of their lives to the Vietnam War, would have much preferred that Mr. Kerry had not restarted this fight. But now that he has, they are not going to let it alone.

It's a long piece. But I urge you to pour one more cup of coffee, get a bagel, and read the whole thing. This morning. Now. Especially if you vigorously disagree with me most of the time. Because it will help to explain to you why your sense that John Kerry is a "war hero" doesn't conform to the view of him most Vets—Vietnam vets in particular—have.

I know that some of you are afraid that because George W. Bush never "saw action," he may be casual about sending young men and women to die overseas. You are afraid that he may view their lives as cheap. But I'd like you to consider how cheap the lives of other vets appeared to a young John Kerry years ago, when he advocated that we simply withdraw, leaving the Vietnamese to their fate, and leaving our own POWs to die at the hands of their tormentors.

Please think about that.

This election is not just about Democrats versus Republicans, or whether the war in Iraq was a good idea, or how we are going to approach the issue of combatting terrorism, or how many Western European countries we need as allies.

This election is now—by Kerry's own choosing—about whether we show some respect to those who served their country 30 years ago, or continue to spit on them and call them names.

Posted by Attila at 09:30 PM | Comments (5)

The Commissar

. . . gives us a short, hilarious history of the "Massachurian Candidate," one Ivan Kerrinsky. His memories are a little spotty, but they'll do.

Posted by Attila at 01:55 PM | Comments (2)

August 25, 2004

Fisking Kerry's Bio

Malkin reprints a letter from a Vietnam Vet who says he isn't affiliated with any 527s. He hasn't read Unfit for Command, but he does have a thing or two to say about Tour of Duty, and like many veterans from the Vietnam era—and from other conflicts—he has some issues with Kerry's behavior. Not to mention his command of the facts.

Posted by Attila at 10:51 PM | Comments (3)

Cleland's Stunt in Crawford

This is the text of the letter presented to Max Cleland today when he showed up at the President's ranch to engage in his little bit of political theatre:

Dear Senator Kerry,

We are pleased to welcome your campaign representatives to Texas today. We honor all our veterans, all who have worn the uniform and served our country. We also honor the military and National Guard troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan today. We are very proud of all of them and believe they deserve our full support.

That's why so many veterans are troubled by your vote AGAINST funding for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, after you voted FOR sending them into battle. And that's why we are so concerned about the comments you made AFTER you came home from Vietnam. You accused your fellow veterans of terrible atrocities -- and, to this day, you have never apologized. Even last night, you claimed to be proud of your post-war condemnation of our actions.

We're proud of our service in Vietnam. We served honorably in Vietnam and we were deeply hurt and offended by your comments when you came home.

You can't have it both ways. You can't build your convention and much of your campaign around your service in Vietnam, and then try to say that only those veterans who agree with you have a right to speak up. There is no double standard for our right to free speech. We all earned it.

You said in 1992 "we do not need to divide America over who served and how." Yet you and your surrogates continue to criticize President Bush for his service as a fighter pilot in the National Guard.

We are veterans too -- and proud to support President Bush. He's been a strong leader, with a record of outstanding support for our veterans and for our troops in combat. He's made sure that our troops in combat have the equipment and support they need to accomplish their mission.

He has increased the VA health care budget more than 40% since 2001 -- in fact, during his four years in office, President Bush has increased veterans funding twice as much as the previous administration did in eight years ($22 billion over 4 years compared to $10 billion over 8.) And he's praised the service of all who served our country, including your service in Vietnam.

We urge you to condemn the double standard that you and your campaign have enforced regarding a veteran's right to openly express their feelings about your activities on return from Vietnam.


Texas State Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson

Rep. Duke Cunningham

Rep. Duncan Hunter

Rep. Sam Johnson

Lt. General David Palmer

Robert O'Malley, Medal of Honor Recipient

James Fleming, Medal of Honor Recipient

Lieutenant Colonel Richard Castle (Ret.)

Posted by Attila at 10:25 PM | Comments (0)

Safe Dropping

Just a public service announcement:

When a group of people decide to drop acid together, it's a good idea for one person to abstain, in case there's an emergency. And to order the Thai takeout or pizza. And in case someone has to drive or answer the phone.

This is particularly important when the group is supposedly trying to run a presidential campaign.

I'm finally starting to consider those rumors that the all-powerful Clintons really want Kerry to lose (to set Hillary up for '08) and are making sure he gets the worst possible advice. It's the only other explanation, because this is truly unreal.

"We are the party of censorship. Yes, censorship!—the cure for bad speech is to squash it: take those ads off the air! Kerry's war wounds prevent him from signing a form to provide full release of his military records! Big Daddy Bush, make them stop being mean! Can I have a cookie?"

Is anyone in the Kerry campaign not high?

Via Protein Wisdom.

Posted by Attila at 06:17 PM | Comments (9)

Oh, Wait.

Am I supposed to be following this sports thingie in Greece?

Posted by Attila at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

Old-School News Hounds

I know that the intense left-liberal media bias is part of the reason people get their news and analysis from blogs. I really do.

But every once in a while, I wish that the mainstream guys would try to do their actual jobs.

Now, as the two tenuous connections between the Bush campaign and the Swifties melt away and I reflect on the intimate connection between the DNC and several anti-Bush 527s—along with the underlying attitude, which from the get-go has been "prove that we're in bed together," I feel wistful again, and long for real, old-fashioned journalists to do just that.

Is anyone outside the blogosphere up to the challenge?

Posted by Attila at 02:33 PM | Comments (2)

August 24, 2004

Desperation Time

James has the skinny (via Drudge) on John Kerry's recent phone call to Robert Brent of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Apparently they bunked together in Vietnam, and Brent used to put Kerry back to bed when he was sleepwalking. (James: "that's not a good thing to do in a combat zone.")

Brent, who lost two of his men in Vietnam, is as outraged as many vets at John Kerry's conduct when he came home, joined the antiwar movement, and lied about supposed "atrocities" committed by our guys in southeast Asia.

Kerry wanted to meet face-to-face, and talk about the factual dispute. Brent declined.

Had I mentioned that this election is over?

The problem here is that the Democratic Party thought they could have it both ways with Kerry: here's a guy who got decorated in Vietnam, but came back and protested the war. I suspect the reasoning was that he could appear to be all things to all people. To the antiwar crowd, he could be a peace protester. To those who are concerned about the War on Terror, he could play the war hero and look "tough."

In their attempt to have it both ways, though, they really have it neither way. Those who are infuriated by the war in Iraq are not turned on by this "reporting for duty" bullshit, and those who are very concerned about the terrorist threat—and support the action in Iraq—are nauseated by it.

There's no there there.

Posted by Attila at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

Fair's fair.

Q and O points out that it was Kerry himself who was first questioning the service record of George W. Bush, and—with an able assist from the Wall Street Journal—quickly puts the lie to the notion that the Swift Boat Vets are out of bounds.

I'm still thrilled with the way Bush handled the calls for him to condemn the Swifties. He distanced himself from them, yet rejected the idea of a unilateral disarmament by those who support him (or at least hate Kerry), and brought up the idea that these 527s are even less accountable than the parties are, as a basis for future policy debate. (I think it's worth noting that a few of the Democratic 527s had offices right next to that of the DNC at the Democratic convention.)

Posted by Attila at 11:50 AM | Comments (2)

Okay, I'm Writing

. . . an article that might actually result in renumeration. Therefore, blogging will theoretically be lighter than usual this coming week. Or human nature will kick in, and I'll be online 24/7. One of the two.

Also, I'm expecting to hear more in the "comments" sections from people who don't usually chime in. Remember: you are graded on class participation as much as on your test grades. Raise your hands!

Posted by Attila at 12:23 AM | Comments (2)

Summertime, and the Living is . . . Mass Murder

Photon Courier reads a cartoon by Garry Trudeau:

In the Sunday Doonesbury, Mike has a summer daydream in which: "George Bush never became President..." and "we never invaded Iraq..." and "we didn't torture and kill prisoners..." and "we're not hated around the world..." and "the American people are far more secure."

Shortly after reading this comic strip, I read a post by Omar, who blogs from Iraq. On Al Iraqyia TV, he saw a program about an event that happened in the early 1980s. A member of an opposition group was arrested by Saddam's agents. He was tortured to get him to reveal the name of the leader of the first he resisted but finally broke and said "Sabah, a student in the college"...then lapsed into a coma and soon died. Saddam's goons arrested and killed everyone they could find named "Sabah" in the colleges in Baghdad (except for known regime supporters). There were 40 of them.

Courier concludes by remarking, "what a great summer daydream."


Posted by Attila at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2004

Remedial War Movies

I finally saw Saving Private Ryan tonight. I know, I know: but my husband used to just pop it into the DVD player without telling me: I'd hear it playing downstairs in the media room. And I couldn't, you know, watch it without seeing the beginning. (This is what we call, in the trade, a "rationalization.")

Actually, that might be a great way to watch it—minus that first 20 minutes. I've been hardened in the past two years by Band of Brothers, The Passion of the Christ, The Pianist, and (just last night) House of Sand and Fog. So I guess I was ready. But I knew the landing on Normandy beach would be awful.

Attila-Hub assured me that if I could get through the first 20 minutes, I'd be fine. He didn't tell me it might be the longest 20 minutes of my life.

It's beautifully done, though I don't think it's as good as Band of Brothers, which gives one a good ten hours to get to know these guys. You live with them, drink with them, fight with them, shower with them. They become a part of your life, especially the second time you go through the series.

On the other hand, Saving Private Ryan pioneered the filming techniques that Band of Brothers relied upon. They both have that Tom Hanks imprint.

All I want to do, watching either work, is weep with gratitude for all the men who died so I can be free—or at least so Europe can be. I want to bring them flowers, kiss the earth where they are buried. Maybe I will some day.

And I want to require every single French person to watch at least one of these, especially Private Ryan. They owe us that, dammit.

Posted by Attila at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)

Bob Dole Says "Enough."

Former Presidential Candidate Bob Dole—whose war heroism is bona fide, undisputed, visible to the naked eye, and not sexed-up—has finally had it with John Kerry's brand of "look at me! I was in 'Nam for five minutes and got a hangnail" campaigning:

Former Republican Sen. Bob Dole suggested Sunday that John Kerry apologize for past testimony before Congress about alleged atrocities during the Vietnam War and joined critics of the Democratic presidential candidate who say he received an early exit from combat for "superficial wounds."

Dole also called on Kerry to release all the records of his service in Vietnam.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Dole told CNN's "Late Edition" that he warned Kerry months ago about going "too far" and that the Democrat may have himself to blame for polls that show him losing support among veterans.

"One day he's ... throwing away his medals or his ribbons," Dole said. "The next day he's standing there, 'I want to be president because I'm a Vietnam veteran.' Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million veterans who served. He wasn't the only one in Vietnam."

Dole added: "And here's, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean, they're all superficial wounds."

Kerry campaign spokesman Chad Clanton said: "It's unfortunate that Senator Dole is making statements that official U.S. Navy records prove false. This is partisan politics, not the truth."

Nevermind that those official Navy records are based on Kerry's own accounts of what happened.

Posted by Attila at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

Oh. That Alternate Universe.

Glenn envisions a world in which John Kerry has vision, and isn't whoring his Vietnam record.

N.Z. Bear responds.

And several commenters point out that the John Kerry Glenn has in mind looks a lot like . . . Joe Lieberman. Wouldn't that be a lovely universe? There would be two viable candidates on the ballot, and I'd have an actual decision to make.

Maybe the Democrats should have put some thought into this, instead of saying, "hey. We like your initials, and that Vietnam stuff makes you sound butch. And—most importantly—you aren't George W. Bush.

This Reynolds guy is pretty smart; too bad he doesn't get a bit more exposure.

Via Dean Esmay.

Posted by Attila at 12:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2004

Oh, Man.

Doesn't this look like a fuckin' blast.

h/t: Mikal.

Posted by Attila at 06:07 PM | Comments (2)

August 21, 2004

Teach Your Children Well

Tom Smith at the Right Coast discusses the problem of educating gifted kids.

My experience? It can't be done. Gifted kids educate themselves. Get them library cards, and cut them some slack on the mediocre grades they'll get because they were reading instead of doing their homework.

Posted by Attila at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2004


Having an airheaded moment, here: when was it that John F. Kerry demanded that pull its ads that attack George W. Bush?

I just can't remember at all.

Posted by Attila at 11:26 PM | Comments (2)

And by the Way

. . . when was it that John F. Kerry condemned Al Gore's speech about how President Bush "played on our fears"? When did he distance himself from Gore's statement that G.W. Bush "has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon"?

I'm just having trouble remembering the date. That's all. I'd appreciate it if you could help me out.

Posted by Attila at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

Would Someone Remind Me

. . . when it was that John F. Kerry condemned Fahrenheit 911?

Because the exact date and circumstances appear to have slipped my mind.

Posted by Attila at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Score One for Attila Girl!

All can be told, now that my personal vendetta has been fulfilled. Secretly funded by a Texas cabal, I've been quietly campaigning to have the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth referred to as the "Swifties," rather than the "Swiftees." This effort has taken me days of grueling effort, along with a swift boat load of oil money. Now that the correct term is the dominant one, I feel I can take the next few months off.

Someone wake me up in time for Thanksgiving, okay?

Posted by Attila at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

Dark Days Right Now

James Joyner discusses the . . . interesting look of the campaigns right now:

Overall, Electoral has it at Kerry 301, Bush 213 at the moment while Scott Elliot at Election Projection has an even more sizeable lead based on his predictive formula: Kerry 327, Bush 211.

Clearly, this is Kerry's race to lose at the moment. That's not overly surprising given the fact that we're in the middle of a controversial war. Plus, of the four biggest states, the Democrats have a virtual lock on two (California and New York), while the Republicans have only one gimme (Texas) with Florida as a perennial swing state (although trending Democrat owing to migration trends).

The Republicans need to have a very good convention.

I'm going to hang tough, and repeat what I've been saying all along: It'll be Bush, and by a comfortable margin.

The GOP convention is coming up, and Bush will get a decent bounce from it. The debates are coming up, and he's going to clean Kerry's clock.

When people wake up on Election Day they'll be thinking about their own safety and security more than "let's get a guy into the White House who's fluent in French." And all those people who hate Bush so much they are going to hold their noses and vote for Kerry are going to sleep late that day, rather than stop by the polls on the way to work.

That's how it goes.

Posted by Attila at 01:21 AM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2004

Larry Thurlow

Tells his side of the story.

Posted by Attila at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

Legislative Accomplishments

Scott Ott relates a new smear campaign against Kerry; this one is based on his Senate record.

Posted by Attila at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2004

Speaking of Ho's

You know, if everyone were to simply shut up about Jessica Cutler, she really might go away.

And we could even try it with Ana Marie Cox, while we're at it. No linkage, no WaPo mag cover reproduction = no buzz, no nothing.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by Attila at 02:46 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

I Finally Read

Patterico's famous comparison of the Bush AWOL story with the Swift Boat Vets story, as handled by the Los Angeles Times. Amazing.

Posted by Attila at 11:40 PM | Comments (2)

Forget the Swifties

They've got a bigger problem now.

Even the most passionate Bush-haters are becoming concerned.

(Yeah—I know I said I wouldn't link the Globe any more. But this was compelling, so I made an exception. Too bad, since the Attila Girl boycott had almost brought them to their knees.)

Posted by Attila at 11:23 PM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2004

Why the Dino Media is Dying

Dean is wondering why the mainstream press is still AWOL on Kerry's Vietnam record in general, and the flagrant lie about Cambodia in particular:

It increasingly appears that one of the few of the fellow vets who have been publicly supporting John Kerry may never have served with him at all.

The media blackout on Kerry's Vietnam record is really quite stunning. I've never seen anything quite like this. We know for a fact that 80-90% of working reporters and editors vote Democratic in every election, but this is simply unreal. As John Rosenberg notes, even so respectably mainstream-left a paper as the Washington Post, on its front page no less, is continuing to gush about Kerry's fantastic Vietnam record and the support of his fellow veterans, while saying not one word about any of the Swifties' allegations or the recently uncovered evidence of Kerry's possibly false claims about Cambodia. Or about a man who served on his boat saying he's a liar and a sleaze.

The Post didn't put the gushy praise-sans-criticism in an editorial either. It was there as front page news.

I would have to ask why a single 20 year old drunk driving charge made screaming national headlines four years ago, but none of this is making it into the mainstream press, except on the editorial pages of a few small newspapers.

I am honestly stunned. This isn't bias. This is... it's... I don't even know the word for it. It's obviously not a conspiracy, and people who think it is one should take off their tinfoil hats. But what do you call it? Groupthink? Mass delusion? Blind spot? You cannot gush praise at a guy's military record and then just ignore the fact that he has heavy duty critics. Even if all of those critics were right-wing Republicans, that doesn't make it less of a story.

At this point it is becoming a bit shocking. But look at the polls: Kerry and Bush appear to be in a dead heat, statistically. No liberal editor wants to run a story that might influence a single swing voter in the "wrong" direction.

What's especially hilarious is that a lot of my liberal-left friends maintain that the media bias is in the other direction. Amazing, that.

Posted by Attila at 08:43 PM | Comments (4)

I Was Watching TV

. . . at a friend's house recently, when we heard someone refer to Dick Clark as "the world's oldest teenager."

"I thought I was the world's oldest teenager," I remarked.

"No," my friend corrected me. "You're the world's oldest child."

Glad we got that straight.

Posted by Attila at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

I'll Walk Soft, If I Can Also Carry My Big Stick

On the issue of Dean's Pledge vs. Ironbear's counter-pledge—how we must conduct ourselves if the unthinkable happens and Kerry wins, so that our feelings about Kerry's decisions do not imperil our troops, or embolden our enemies—it turns out the two approaches aren't mutually exclusive at all. Therefore, although I'm a Dean partisan, Ironbear has granted me permission to use his bitchin' cool graphic for those who will be engaged in the resistance during any possible Kerry ad, Kerry admin, he'd be . . . in the White House. I mean, if a guy like him could, you know. Win.



Posted by Attila at 12:20 AM | Comments (4)

August 14, 2004

The Dark Night of the Soul

My mother called me today to leave me the address where my young cousin is . . . incarcerated. He's in a juvenile facility for what I would call "knocking a kid off his scooter," and the law called "assault." A felony.

I'm supposed to send him a birthday card. Looking through my records, I realized that I never did write down his birthday—and I've managed to space two others this very week. Obviously, I need a new tickler system that can help me practic assholism-avoidance.

I don't think I've known many people who were in prison. For years I believed my father had been in prison a couple of times, but it turns out it was only jail. (Once, Mexican jail—which probably means a shakedown, but I don't think my mother or either set of grandparents knew that at the time. They were all good Methodists, equally ill-equipped to deal with either my father's shenanigans or corrupt Mexican officials.)

Let's see. Before I turned 18 I was caught shoplifting, but let go without any charges being pressed. I got arrested at the age of 15 for being drunk in public: a friend of mine and I had gone off with a couple of guys we thought we knew, who plied us with cheap wine. I'd always been light, and it didn't take too many to send me into a blackout. My mother took it out on me for a few days, and then she took it out on my brother, in a series of events that ruined his emotional life. Of course, his realization of my mother's rage-aholic nature helped him to see that our mother-daughter conflicts weren't always my fault, and I had an ally after that.

I've always related to my young cousin, in a certain way, when he started rebelling against authority. I've always wished I could help him somehow. He's never been good in school, but I don't set too much stock in that. He's not an intellectual, but he's reliable, steady, and a sensitive kid. (Yes: in a kiddie prison, that last one has me worried.)

And now he's somewhere where I can't reach him, at a juvenile facility where he's potentially being taught how to be a criminal. And there's nothing I can do, except to send him a birthday card that isn't too "cutesy." (Apparently, they have to open their mail in front of the other juvenile offenders, and he got teased because one of us sent a card with bunnies on it.)

I could make one by hand, I guess--

The cover: black background, saying "ANYONE WHO FUCKS WITH YOU"

Inside: "will find themselves ventilated like Swiss Cheese by 40-caliber bullets."

Signed: "Love, your Glock-packin' cousin."

I dunno. It's a bit butch. Might even set a bad example. I don't want my niece, my young cousins, or my younger sister to have to carry—or even necessarily own—firearms (other than the .22 target pistol every person, no matter how liberal, should own). I only want them to let me know who is messing with them. I will buy the appropriate plane ticket, take care of the situation, and either extract a promise of good behavior or dispose of the body.

Civilization and its discontents, huh? Well, we can deal with my anger— and my budding sociopathy—later on. So far, no bodies in the backyard, since my husband doesn't want to have to buy lime. He's so narrow-minded. But, you know: everyone has his little peculiarities.

So why my macha swaggering, here? It comes from a sense of powerlessness and fear. I understand that I'm supposed to surrender, but I have no talent for that. At this moment it's impossible to assimilate the notion that my cousin is almost certainly going to get beaten up at some point over the next nine months, and might get raped.

Given that I'm not going to do any of the things that would serve those kids right if they touched a hair on his head, I'll just ask for you to pray for a scared kid in a Northern California juvenile facility who might come out of this okay, and might become a genuine criminal when all is said and done. I believe in redemption. I believe this could "scare him straight." But my fears go in the other direction. If you believe in any higher power, intervene on his behalf. If you don't, send him good vibes: that can't ever hurt.

He's a good kid who's made some bad choices. Let's call him "William." Do what you can for Will, okay?

Posted by Attila at 02:49 AM | Comments (0)

Reporting for Slander

In case any of you missed out on the link over at Dean's place, here is the Winter Soldier web site. At the bottom of the home page it tells you how to skim through the material: check out their key points, and take a peek at their reproduction of John Kerry's book The New Soldier, almost in its entirely. The claim is that Democratic operatives have been snapping up so many copies of this book in an attempt to suppress it that a single copy now goes for $500 on eBay.

I wonder what they do with all these copies once they buy 'em. Make a big pile and set it afire?

Please, please. Think carefully before you vote for this guy.

Posted by Attila at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

Dirty Tricks by the Kerry Campaign

Dean Esmay has an open letter to Senator Kerry that everyone should read. A few points will do it right now:

1) The Democratic Party is, at this moment, the party of dirty tricks.

2) Any newspaper that takes the bait the Kerry campaign is giving out—the "brown books"—should not be supported, either online or offline. Cancel your subscriptions, and stop linking any news organization that runs negative biographical material about the Swift Boat Vets, rather than investigating and discussing their actual charges. This is beyond the pale. I will no longer link to or read on paper:

The New York Times;
The Boston Globe; or
Media Matters.

3) Any campaign that addresses a book that factually disputes a candidate's war record, on which he rests his claim to the office of President by threatening a lawsuit has lost its right to anyone's vote. John Kerry has said, regarding his record in Vietnam, "bring it on." Now that someone has, he might consider discussing the actual facts, rather then engaging in the politics of personal destruction.

I haven't been this angry in a long time.

Posted by Attila at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

Gay vs. Corrupt

Apparently they are not mutually exclusive, but there is a difference.

Says Burnt Orange:

He's a dirtbag for misappropriating funds and cheating on his wife, but until November 15 America has its first openly gay governor.

But BoiFromTroy points out that his homosexuality is not the reason he's stepping down:

OMG! The Governor of New Jersey just came out on national TV. Jim McGreevy (D) has left the closet and cited his homosexual relations as the reason he is unable to continue as Governor. Bullshit.

The virtue of having a gay governor is far outweighed by the fact that he's dirty. And it's shameful that he's exploiting his minority status to provide cover for his misallocation of funds. Furthermore, as Sean Hannity—and others—have been pointing out, the delay in his resignation is a naked power grab by the national Democratic Party, which clearly doesn't want a Republican on the ballot this November, because it would enhance GOP voter turnout and transform New Jersey into a swing state.

I also think that it's illuminating that Hannity himself—an obnoxious social conservative a lot of the time—dismisses any idea that the voters really care about a public official being gay. "Most of us are libertarian on that kind of thing." Wish he asserted things like that more often.

Posted by Attila at 03:04 PM | Comments (4)

Siggraph and the Mystery at Lilac Lake

What a great day for a graphics groupie. After taking the day off yesterday, I actually went to the convention floor today, thinking I should act like the whole thing isn't just an excuse to go to parties. While I was there I saw some lovely 3D "printers" (devices that make models of objects, which are first "scanned"). And a handful of so-so 3D display screens—as well as two that were just wonderful.

I can't refer to Mr. Hired Gun as a such anymore, since he's been with the same company for a while. He's now working as a programmer in a company famous mostly for its hardware, and what he does relates more to what he did in the past (while he was doing special effects for movies) than I had realized. He's the Effects Master now.

Mostly I hung out with David Coons, who can be hard on salespeople, because he appears to be very interested in everything. And he is interested in everything, but buys as little as he can get by with, being a small businessman. The hapless salespeople seem to get their hopes up sometimes, talking to him. Of course, at some of the booths he just explained to me what any given technology does, leaving the salesmen and -women to look helplessly on.

"Did he get it right?" I'd ask sometimes. And they always said "yes."

After looking over the whole floor we went back to talk to Effects Master, and asked him if there were plans for the evening. There were, so we invited ourselves along. We ended up at Ciudad restaurant, where the Punk Poetess (Coons's wife) eventually caught up with us.

I love these guys. They are smart and nerdy and subtle and funny—but a different kind of funny than my husband and his friends. (In fairness, Attila the Hub can be absolutely any kind of funny he chooses to be.) Naturally, there are a lot of technical issues I can't understand, but people stopped to explain some of the things that were explainable.

We did not sit around all night and regale ourselves with tales of the Old Days, which is a relief, since I have no desire to do that again. It was just a good, civilized meal.

Keith Goldfarb once again pronounced David "the most knowledgeable person about scanning on the planet."

And then we walked back toward the Convention Center, losing Professor Fractal and Effects Master along the way until we got to the cheap lot where I'd parked my car.

Tonight, a few people were walking in L.A.

My swag so far: a DVD for my husband of a small film that was part of the Electronic Theater; a pin that blinks on and off and requires no pin to secure it (it's held in place by a strong magnet); a walking wind-up teapot; a visor; two small models made by the 3D "printer"; a couple of pencils from Keith's company, Rhythm & Hues; some "silly putty" from Disney.

Most precious moment: we mention two old friends of ours who ended up going into financial analysis—and both at the same company.

"What is it about these science women going into financial management companies?" mused Professor Fractal.

"Do we know any others?" someone asked.

"I feel like we do. Maybe they aren't scientists."

"But I can't remember any females other than The Chemistry Lady who are doing that type of work," I told him.

"Maybe it's just someone who changed their worldview, so it's more . . . corporate," he suggested.

"You're thinking of me," I told him.

He was clearly mortified, of course. For I was right.

Be safe. Make sure your motion-captures are lifelike.

Posted by Attila at 01:07 AM | Comments (2)


has given me my very own blog stamp. Scroll down and see if you can spot which one is me—without peeking!

Juliette was right; I got a good one!

Posted by Attila at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

Speaking of 527s . . .

What fun.

Via Dean Esmay.

Posted by Attila at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2004

Kerry Campaign, RIP

I talked to my husband last night, and got the report from the Midwest. He's been in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Since he's doing interviews about Vietnam, it's almost impossible for the subject of John Kerry not to come up. He keeps talking to lifetime, dyed-in-the-wool Democrats who simply cannot bring themselves to vote for this man.

Could Kerry have been marketable? I kind of think so, had the Democrats used the same strategy with him that they did with Clinton: what's past is past. Vietnam was over 30 years ago.

But by making "Vietnam war hero" his middle name, they have destroyed the possibility of Kerry winning.

NZ Bear maintains that the Swift Boat Vets issue will kill the Kerry campaign:

Up until now, Kerry has gotten a pass on his Vietnam time: the general impression has been "He talks about it too much, but he was some kind of war hero back in Vietnam". Now, there's an alternate perspective: "Not only does he talk about it too much, but he's actually a liar." From the 10,000 foot view of the average voter, the Swifties don't have to prove their case in a court of law for Kerry to take damage: they just have to throw a bit of doubt onto the lily-white image he's portrayed thus far. In that, they've already succeeded.

But it's not that bad: it's actually much worse. The biggest problem for Kerry is that the Swifties' attacks confirm what we really want to believe about him anyway. He's been so damned annoying about his Vietnam record that we secretly want to think the worst of him, and now the Swifties have provided a rational basis for that gut-level irritation that Kerry inspires when he blathers on about his war record. This isn't just bad for Kerry, it's disasterous: the amorphous negative that normal people have when exposed to Kerry's "leadership, courage, and sacrifice" / "three purple hearts" mantra now has a core of fact -- or at least, alleged fact --- around which to crystalize.

And there is the not-uncommon feeling that "real heroes don't blow their own trumpets."

But the Swifties are only part of it. The entire campaign appears to be predicated on the idea that military people are stupid, and you can flip them off, if you do it subtly enough. No Vietnam vet is going to find it easy to support a guy who came back and accused them of war crimes—and the more Kerry brags about his mini-service, the more people are going to be reminded of this.

And then the sloppy salute at the convention. The "reporting for duty" line. Very distasteful to veterans, current members of the armed forces, and their families. (Civilians are not supposed to salute, and even soldiers, sailors and marines don't do this out of uniform.)

Now we have the Swift Vets story, which as NZ points out doesn't have to be proven—their account simply has to be strong enough to create doubt in people's minds. NZ again:

Unless Kerry's campaign manages to completely discredit the Swifties --- which seems increasingly unlikely --- the campaign is over; Kerry is done. And after Election Day has passed, I expect that anyone looking backwards will wonder why in the world the Democrats ever thought making Kerry's Vietnam service a centerpiece was a good idea in the first place.

It wasn't a good idea at all. No matter how weak his Senate record—or his record as Lt. Gov.—marketing him on the basis of four months in Vietnam three decades ago was a terrible strategy.

There are a lot of people out there, many of them working-class and blue-collar folk, who would have loved to vote for practically any sentient being with a "D" after his/her/its name. And they are going to sit this one out.

It's not enough for people to hate Bush; you have to give them a positive reason to pick your guy.

It is over.

Posted by Attila at 08:50 AM | Comments (7)

August 11, 2004

Flight 327

Can we stop arguing about this now? The situation on Annie Jacobsen's flight 327 was just whacked. Not normal. She was not being paranoid; she's been a good citizen by speaking up.

All of you who wanted for Annie to be the problem are just going to have to deal.

Posted by Attila at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

Stamp Out Blogging

Rusty Shackleford, guest-blogging over at The Politburo, is making as much mischief as the Commissar ever did.

Posted by Attila at 04:12 PM | Comments (1)

The Cliff Notes

Cobb gives us a succinct hindsight-is-20/20 defense of the war in Iraq.

Posted by Attila at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

About Last Night

The real pity is that I'm not live-blogging Siggraph. The way to do it, of course, is to have my laptop with me, and take periodic breaks thoughout the day to send some entries out. This blogging-that-night business strikes me as very 20th century. OTOH, last year I was staying at a Motel 6 in San Diego, and could not get internet access from there (they actually rig it so that you can't use phone lines to dial in, I found out later). So I wrote it all out, and published it a few days later when I got back to L.A.

Therefore this is at least being published closer to real time. Who knows?--next time I go to an event like this I may have WiFi, and be able to live-blog the action.

Professor Fractal works at a college in Georgia, and they have a party every year. I was at their event last year in San Diego, and it was there that I finally got to see the good professor. This year they had their event at the top of the Hyatt tower in downtown L.A. I drove in just for this.

I forgot to mapquest the Hyatt, but I figured it was on Hill street, not far from the convention center. How bad could it be? I got off the 110 at the west end of downtown, which is closest to the Staples center (our new mega-ampitheater for sports and music) and the convention center. It's also not too far from skid row. As I got off the freeway, just before the high rises began I saw a row of motels there: low-cost alternatives to staying in the pricey hotels that dot the nicer part of downtown. But why would you stay downtown if you didn't have to? I thought. Don't people realize that the real culture in L.A., the action, is not downtown at all? We never come here unless there's some reason.

And then, driving along eighth or whatever, I saw people. Human beings. Walking around downtown Los Angeles on a Tuesday night. Whaaaaaa . . . . ? All became clear, however, when I saw the red ribbons hanging down from their necks and I realized they were Siggraph attendees. Wow. For a moment I thought downtown had developed a night life; I wasn't prepared to have the world come to an end.

The lovely thing about the Hyatt tower is that it's a large circular room with 360 degrees of view. When I got to the top I tried to get my bearings, but it was harder than I had imagined, since a lot of the buildings I see from the freeway aren't as visible when you're among them: the tops with the logos were too high to see, or they blocked the view of each other. But I figured out which was was West, of course: it's away from the tall buildings—the architecture slopes downward toward the water.

And when I was there I got a chance to ask Prof. Fractal's lovely young student what the current technical challenges are in computer graphics. From having seen the Electronic Theater, I got the feeling that fur is still cutting edge, even after Monsters and the Shrek movies. After all, the Pixar short featured two different kinds of fur. Long hair appears to be very tough as well. And the new badass project seems to be cloth.

"Cloth is still really hard," she told me.

"So the current Harry Potter movie is something of an achievement?" I ask, thinking of how the dementors—and their robes—were highlighted in the HP segment of the Electronic Theatre.

"Oh, yes. They did a nice job."

Apparently, the other type of project considered cutting-edge is to create large crowds of people who all appear to move independently of one another (without having to write programs that dictate what each and every tiny little virtual extra is going to do). Think the Lord of the Rings battle sequences, or the crowd scene in Shrek II. Apparently, if done badly, these scenes can look like there are detectable patterns in the behavior of the crowds—and one can see the hidden hand of the programmer. This is bad.

I still have lots of things I want to ask my friends, but it can wait another day. I'm taking the day off to catch up on some things around the house, and I'll be hitting the exhibits tomorrow. I'm not going to see papers presented, since I wouldn't understand the math/CS therein anyway.

And one more word on Professor Fractal: I spent a couple of minutes listening to his students praise him and talk about what a nice guy he is. They knew I'd known him since high school, and I said I couldn't contradict them—but I know his family,and they are all nice.

"Even so," one of his students pointed out, "some people come from nice families and they are still bastards."

"Fair enough," I replied. "So we may be back to genetics, and nurture vs. nature."

Another student related that when he was deciding where to do his graduate work he had several options, and mentioned to those advising him that he'd like to work with Professor Fractal. "You absolutely can't go wrong with him," he was told.

So he's doing good work, sending bright young people out into the world to make interesting patterns and pretty pictures.

And I remembered when he himself was an undergraduate, and wasn't accepted into the math program at UCLA for some arbitrary reason. A mutual friend fretted on what a crime this was: "he's going to have to go into computer science. And he just won't make the kind of contribution in computer science that he might have in math."

The things that strike us as most fucked-up about the world when we're young sometimes seem to be the things that redeem us—or they unfold like a blooming flower as we move into middle-age.

We talked about that, too—the forty-something elephant in the room—once the youngsters had gone away and it was all just us, former students of Santa Monica High: I'm the only one who doesn't show much sign of aging, so perhaps it's easier on me than on the others. I tried to show them that I have two grey hairs, but I got, "oh, please."

"It's like a second adolescence, though, isn't it?" I asked. "Except that this one is bittersweet, because we're closer to death and we know it."

I got the look, then: wow; we'd forgotten how weird you are.

"I'm just waiting for you to look like you're older than twenty," ventured Scanman.

"Thank you," I responded.

And I came home. Washed my face, looked in the mirror, saw all the fine lines around my eyes. Oh, come on, I thought. It's there. You just have to look close.

I'm a lucky girl with lucky friends. No doubt about that.

Posted by Attila at 02:28 PM | Comments (3)

My Rising Star, and Siggraph Notes

Despite my rather modest traffic, I'm now at #276 in the Ecosystem rankings, up from my usual 550-600 range. Of course, I'm not altogether sure how these are determined—as I understand it they involve actual hits, links, and the quadratic equation.

Meanwhile, my friends from Siggraph are expecting me to provide more convention coverage from my party-hopping tonight. I'm thinking a little sleep first would be terrific, since I have to get up early in the morning to leave some donations on the front porch for Vietnam Veterans of America.

Here's the short story: Party 1 at the Hyatt, Party 2 at Ciudad. Some spirited discussion among computer graphics people on whether it's better to go into industry (as 3 out of 4 of my friends did), or to pursue an academic career (that's one of us, plus another friend who's an academic in another field—note that I say "us," though I've never written a computer program that actually got run on a machine, not ever).

And by far the grooviest thing: there are now plenty of young women who are studying computer graphics. Things aren't as they were 20 or even 10 years ago, when most of the women present were there through an interest in art, and had little or no handle on the technical angles of how to make the pretty pictures happen. There's a whole new crop of whip-smart computer science students who are tackling the complex problems this field represents right now, and a decent number are from my side of the sex fence.

I sat with one of the more talented young women studying at Georgia Tech, and realized that at least one of my friends--and possibly another acquaintance of his--was intensely interested in what she had to say. I tried to tell myself it was because of her mental acuity, but who knows?--she was a stunning and poised young lady.

A good night, all in all. Details later.

Posted by Attila at 03:47 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Baby Steps

Rosemary and Dean have some news.

We hope they are going to register online, and set up a P.O. Box for us to send presents to. Another suggestion that was made: a week-long virtual baby shower.

This won't be the first baby born into a blogging family, but it might end up being the one most spoiled by the blogosphere.

Posted by Attila at 11:00 AM | Comments (0)

Still Life with Siggraph

I eased into the Siggraph thing today; this is the luxury of living in L.A., where it's being held this year.

Drove downtown in the afternoon to get my badge and attend the "Electronic Theater," which is basically a few hours worth of promo reels from the best computer graphics houses in the world—some very artsy stuff mixed in with special effects done for Lord of the Rings, Van Helsing, and the Harry Potter movies.

Last year in San Diego I wandered around with my friend Scanmaster, looking for my other friends, who were elusive. This time I found most of them the first day. As I chatted with Scanmaster's wife, the Punk Poetess, Mr. Mathematics came up and joined us. A few minutes later Professor Fractal emerged from the crowd with some of his students in tow. ("Are these your diciples?" I asked him a little later.)

The Electronic Theater was stunning, though a little long. One highlight came at the beginning, when large inflated oversized silver-matte "beach balls" were released into the audience. We eventually figured out that we were part of an interactive game in which we had to aim the balls toward certain points at the periphery of the theater in order to "win." This required some thought, and cooperation among audience members. But we eventually mastered it, and won a round or two of the game before it was on to the conventional film clips. Despite getting hit on the head once by one of these things (and thereby flashing back to P.E. in grade school), I honestly really got into this game by the time it was over. It was fun: I applauded as loudly as anyone when we won.

I'll be back there tomorrow night for a party, and I'll hit the exhibits on Wednesday and/or Thursday. Art is good, and it's great to be alive.

By the way: God bless capitalism, and—more than that—God bless those visionaries who funded the computer graphics industry back when it wasn't making a dime. We must all realize that places like Pixar were doing cutting-edge films back in the 80s before they ever saw any income from this. Even Disney, much as I love to hate it, put a lot of money into R&D in this field in the 80s. Before Terminator II made it finally look profitable, there were a lot of guys spending a lot of time making shapes rotate on black-background screens, or creating programs that made explosions that resembled plants—and vice versa.

Thank you, Gentlemen, for creating a whole industry and bringing movie special effects to a new level. Thank you, long-term R&D.

Posted by Attila at 01:38 AM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2004


Is back, and badder than ever.

Posted by Attila at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)


Discusses the slippery slope of addiction:

I went to Amy's Ice Cream in the shopping plaza where Cabo's used to be and picked up two random pints and a cup of Dark Velvet.

At first, I used to reward myself with Amy's when I was really good.

Then, I rewarded myself when I was good.

After that, I switched to when I wasn't bad.

Now, it's when nobody faults me for my evils.

Sure, I may have gotten worse over the years, but Amy's ice cream hasn't.

For some of us, these matters have turned into "whenever I can get my hands on it." Of course, that may explain why that extra ten pounds won't go away, but I don't want to talk about it.

Posted by Attila at 12:04 AM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2004

The Nader-Buchanan Connection

Via Kathy Kinsley comes this FrontPageMag piece about the unholy alliance between paleoconservatives and some elements of the antiwar left. (There's a faintly antisemitic smell to their joint projects, as you might imagine.)

Left or right, this is something you need to know about.

UPDATE: The phrase "some elements of" added above to make it clear that I don't think every opponent of the war is complicit in these shenanigans.

Posted by Attila at 10:49 PM | Comments (3)

What Are We Fighting For?

I missed Lileks on Friday, but I'm making up for it now. He discusses what it's like to be his age—my age—with Vietnam potent only in an iconic way:

It was a Symbol and a Warning – a reminder of American failings, not American failure. It was a template, too; every war was seen through the terms of Vietnam, which for us meant THE DRAFT, the ultimate mellow-harsher. Most of my reflexive anti-militarism of the early 80s came not from any deep-seated conviction about the ethics of force, but from a desire to stay in coffeehouses smoking cigarettes and reading books as long as I wanted to. It was selfish and cowardly, but I had a vast body of literature and philosophy to help me convince myself otherwise. As the 80s wore on Vietnam receded in my mind, replaced by fear of nuclear war. That prospect had been a specific terror since I was ten, and I knew it intimately. That one I felt in my gut. Vietnam was a hand-me-down.

Revisiting Vietnam in 2004 seems about as useful as debating the Phillippines war while the troop ships are sending Doughboys to the trenches in France. We have more pressing issues, I think. The news today noted that the men arrested at the Albany mosque were fingered by some documents found at Al-Ansar sites in Iraq, of all places. Iraq! Imagine that. I would sleep better if I could snort sure, it’s a plant and tell myself that it’s all made up, it’s all a joke, a phony show designed to make us look the other way while a cackling cabal of Masons and Zionists figure out how much arsenic they can put in the water next year. (Arsenic: the fluoride of the left.) But no. I am one of those sad little pinheads who think it’s really one war, one foe, with a thousand fronts. And I want us to win.

I do wonder sometimes how much easier life would be if I were like most of my friends, if I could convince myself we weren't locked in a mortal struggle with people who want us to die—not because of anything we did, but because of what we are. But it's not about what's convenient to believe. It's about what's true.

Posted by Attila at 07:08 PM | Comments (1)

Stockholm Syndrome

I should probably just take the Site Meter off this page entirely; it's turned into a caricature of itself. It's one thing that it under-measures traffic, but I've always hoped it under-measured everyone at the same rate, so at least we can use it for comparisons.

But this is just beyond the pale: my numbers are now going backward. A few days ago I reached the 20,000-hit mark. These things are relative, of course, but that's a nice little landmark for a tiny blog. As of yesterday, however, the Site Meter had actually gone backward, so I'm now supposedly back below the 19,000 visits. Several hundred unique visits just vanished. Amazing.

And then there is the matter of the Ecosystem, which still has me at the old Blogspot site. I've sent N.Z. Bear two e-mails, as well as "going through channels" and sending him the updated information through the Ecosystem. It's been over a month, and the link is still incorrect.

If there's someone out there who either ranks higher-than-mammal or has a personal rapport with him, that would be great; I'd like to get that changed, but he has to open my e-mail first.

And if someone has a hit meter that's actually accurate, let me know. I feel like I'm running in sand, here.

Posted by Attila at 10:36 AM | Comments (5)

It Had to Happen

Whaddya know? George W. Bush has a blog now; check it out. (Make sure to read the sample blog page included: the nuclear launch code segment is priceless.)

Via Baldilocks.

Posted by Attila at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

Manchurian Candidate

I saw The Manchurian Candidate. I knew what they were trying to do, but it didn't bother me too much.

What really disturbed, me, though, was the Meryl Streep character. She's obviously someone with a lot to give who has been stepped on in her life. She's essentially misunderstood by most of those around her. It was such a shame to see people react to this sensitive, caring individual as if there were something odd about having ambitions for one's child--as if everyone doesn't have aspirations they'd like their children to fulfill.

And having your own son fail to appreciate you: that must hurt. She's obviously one of those tragic figures who suffer in silence.

I guess I really related to her myself--so sensiitve, so brilliant. So ignored by those who could do so much good if they'd only fall in line. There's tremendous pathos here.

But that's great art--the story of this unfortunate woman whose genius is ahead of her time.

Like mine.

Posted by Attila at 02:22 AM | Comments (0)

Go. Read. Now.

Scrappleface outdoes himself on this one. I won't quote it, since I can't do it justice.

Posted by Attila at 02:08 AM | Comments (0)

August 07, 2004

Diversity—The Good Kind

Baldilocks knows what it is:


Posted by Attila at 01:56 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2004

That Seven Minutes

McQ of QandO gives us the story on what Kerry was doing during the time he now feels Bush should have sprung into action, donning his tights and cape, ready to fight evil.

Posted by Attila at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

Is Language Necessary?

Bill at InDC lays out a spirited defense of Smirky McHalliburton.

(h/t: protein wisdom)

Posted by Attila at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

More Goldstein

He gives us another "real-time empirical observation":

As you read this post, the DNC is drawing up the paperwork for a legal challenge to “right turn on red” laws in a number of key swing states.  Lawyers for the DNC will argue that principalities allowing right turns on red “are creating an unfair advantage for the Republican party by rewarding motorists who turn right.” Because the DNC, as everyone knows, has lost its motherfucking mind.

Now go read his entire main page, which is pure gold. (Or pure Goldstein.)

Posted by Attila at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

Cash and Kerry

Blackfive has the transcript of the TV confrontation between the two men who are arguing about Kerry's Bronze star, and what happened that day in 1969. Good discussion in the comments section (as always, skip past the trolls).

The Swifties are definitely losing some credibility. However, there is a lot of real rage at John Kerry among Vietnam veterans who feel that he betrayed the cause by coming home and agitating against the war. Many feel strongly that he is lying in his allegations of widespread war crimes by Americans.

So this schism between Kerry and most members of the military is not going to go away, irrespective of whether the Swifties are telling the truth.

And we're still waiting to see Kerry's medical records; a lot of people are having trouble wrapping their minds around the fact that this guy bailed out after 120 days or whatever, without having sustained severe wounds. (The "musta been a papercut" allegation.)

Live by your service, die by your service. Kerry opened himself up to this.

Posted by Attila at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)

August 05, 2004

Swift Boat Vets

This is turning into a "he said, they said" kind of situation. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth strongly dispute Kerry's accounts of how he got decorated in Viet Nam. And they appear credible. The catch?—some claim none of these men were actually on Kerry's boat at all. For that reason alone, I'd like to see more from the guys who were actually at Kerry's side. And not those two men who are part of the Kerry campaign, either.

John McCain is furious about the new Swift Boat Vets ad—viewable on the first page of the link above—and says it's untruthful. However: 1) McCain has also asked, in the past, that everyone shut up about Viet Nam, and the Kerry supporters have done no such thing; 2) McCain is, after all, the architect behind Campaign Finance Reform, and clearly isn't any bigger on the first amendment than he is on the second. And these "issue ads" are now a lot more important to the campaigns than they used to be before Campaign Finance muzzled the political parties. This is one unintended consequence of McCain-Feingold. Furthermore, 3) McCain wasn't there. He is a true hero, and he may be inclined to assume Kerry was cut from the same cloth when it isn't so.

The fact is, if Kerry wants to put to rest the speculation about how he might have gotten the wounds that led to his Purple Hearts, he should release his medical records. Until that happens, we only know that they were minor injuries that he himself submitted requests for Purple Hearts for. And we know that once he had accumulated three, he used a little-known clause to end his tour of duty after serving only three months. Heroic? Hardly.

Once he got back, he talked about having participated in war atrocities, which—if they happened—he should have reported at the time. Clearly, either he was lying, or he's a war criminal. Yet no one is asking about these things. Our little Old Media friends are asleep at the switch.

(Thanks to the Commissar for the McCain reaction story.)

Posted by Attila at 03:13 PM | Comments (27)

Calling All Democrats

Bill at INDC mentions the Wall of China separating the Democratic Party from reasonable discourse. Its name, of course, is Michael Moore.

If for nothing else, the post summarizes very quickly the case that Moore shouldn't be taken seriously by anyone (much less a former Head of State), and features a lively comment section that includes reasonable discussion a lot of the time: it's a blogger's wet dream.

Posted by Attila at 05:30 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2004

A Worthy Cause

Dean Esmay points us to one online petition that everyone should sign. This is an issue that is close to most of our hearts—whether we're male or female, black or white, right or left. Please—help out now.

Posted by Attila at 07:20 PM | Comments (4)

Fast Times, Indeed.

The Commissar has once again rounded up the gang. It's the bloggy equivalent of dropping by the diner for a hamburger and dropping a nickel in the jukebox: a good time will be had by all.

Timeless Commissar satire.

Posted by Attila at 02:02 PM | Comments (3)

Big Time

I'll be past the 20,000-hit mark within the week—heck, with my current enhanced traffic, it'll only be a few days. The time that elapses between these watersheds gets shorter and shorter. I know 20,000 doesn't sound like a lot to some of you, but it's all relative. And for a small-time blogger who's only been at this for 16 months, it's a fine thing indeed: I remember when I was getting maybe six hits a day—all from people I knew—and now it's better than ten times that, and growing by leaps and bounds.

Now if I could only get N.Z. Bear to update the link for Little Miss Attila so it goes to this site, rather than the old Blogspot one, I'd be a happy camper.

Posted by Attila at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

On Masculinity

Via Michelle Malkin comes this rather idiotic essay reprinted by Jen Martinez. The original is here; it's by Gramaugus of Frizzen Sparks, and contains a lot of hand-wringing about how men just aren't masculine enough any more:

Ok folks, I have had it. I've taken all I can stand and I can't stand no more. Every time my TV is on, all that can be seen is effeminate men prancing about, redecorating houses and talking about foreign concepts like "style" and "feng shui." Heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, trans-sexual, metrosexual, non sexual; blue, green, and purple-sexual-bogus definitions have taken over the urban and suburban world!

Real men of the world, stand up, scratch your butt, belch, and yell "ENOUGH!" I hereby announce the start of a new offensive in the culture wars, the Retrosexual movement.

Of course, those real men who want to publicly belch and scratch their butts may find it more difficult to behave like heterosexuals . . . unless heterosexuality is only a matter of reading skin magazines with one hand. Or resorting to Jen Martinez. Of course, Martinez won't be interested; she's hopped into her time machine to look for a cro-magnon.

Some characteristics are given for the ideal male, a "retrosexual":

A Retrosexual will have hobbies and habits his wife and mother do not understand, but that are essential to his manliness, in that they offset the acceptable manliness decline he suffers when married/engaged in a serious healthy relationship - i. e., hunting, boxing, shot putting, shooting, cigars, car maintenance.

There's some sort of masculinity point system in play here; men must have lots of macho in the bank, so that they can take the "acceptable manliness decline" it takes to get married. In contrast, my husband gets more masculine with each passing year. Of course, some of us see real masculinity, done right, as a mature shouldering of responsibility, rather than a cheap conglomeration of superficial traits.

Apparently, real men are also adept at dealing with snow:

A Retrosexual man can drive in snow (hell, a blizzard) without sliding all over or driving under 20 mph, without anxiety, and without high-centering his ride on a plow berm.

There are therefore no Real Men in the entire South or Southwest. Unless they moved from somewhere else. If such men do drive in a snowy region they should do it drunk, so they can be free of "anxiety."

Naturally, I was reminded of this stupid chestnut by Kim du Toit, "The Pussification of America," in which he essentially tried to tell me that my brother and father weren't masculine because they don't work on cars, and that my husband is only masculine enough because he owns guns—and barely so, as I understand it. When I first read it I was astonished that someone would actually attempt to dictate to men what their hobbies should be:

Men shouldn't buy "self-help" books unless the subject matter is car maintenance, golf swing improvement or how to disassemble a fucking Browning BAR. We don't improve ourselves, we improve our stuff.

Beautiful, I remember thinking at the time. So if you're an asshole, you get to stay an asshole, because that's more manly. Damned convenient. Character, apparently, never enters into the du Toit conception of masculinity.

Here’s another way of looking at it: a real man doesn’t need to be told by any idiot blogger what hobbies he may or may not have.

My husband got shot while serving his country, and in fact he does like to get together with his best guy friend and watch Westerns. But if he were cooking or knitting or gardening or buying clothes for himself—or, yes, figuring out how to improve the feng shui in the house—he’d damn well have earned the right to do that.

I’m really fed up with people—men and women—who purport to tell us exactly what Real Masculinity should look like, in every particular. They are not liberating us from the stultifying realities of modern life. They are simply dictating, Taliban-style, what society should look like.

Good God, Jen. Find yourself a nice caveman, by all means. And all of you: leave my husband, my brother, and my father alone.

UPDATE Jen apparently didn't write the essay; she reprinted it (without making it a blockquote; hence my [and Michelle Malkin's] confusion). I've re-written the opening paragraphs as best I can and added a link to the original.

Posted by Attila at 02:51 AM | Comments (13)

Risky Business

In case you missed it, The Mudville Gazette is having a caption contest, and it's full of truth, beauty—and speculation about what would have happened to Senator Kerry's finger at this Wendy's photo op had there not been Secret Service agents present, or had these young men not been in uniform. My favorite?—"Nunquam Fi." (Never faithful.)

Go and read. Contribute your own. But don't troll—it's the Marines, after all.


Posted by Attila at 01:11 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2004

Making Things Interesting

According to Drudge, Dennis Hastert is claiming that one centerpiece of the second Bush term will be to abolish the IRS and move toward some sort of flat tax.

I'm waiting for some sort of confirmation from either the White House or the Bush campaign people. It's a great idea, but the timing is a little weird, what with the war going on right now.

Goldstein: "somewhere, Steve Forbes just sprung a chubby."

James has more info and a roundup.

Posted by Attila at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2004

More Warnings

Via James, the financial districts in Washington D.C.; Newark, New Jersey; and New York City are now on a heightened state of alert, according to AP. Specifically:

* The Citicorp building and the New York Stock Exchange in New York City.

* The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank buildings in Washington.

* The Prudential building in Newark.

"The preferred means of attack would be car or truck bombs," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said in a briefing with journalists. That would be a primary means of attack."

Scary stuff. Let's hope and pray this kind of warning makes the difference in a situation like this. Pray the plans are foiled, and pray that if the attacks do happen, that as few people die as possible, and as few are hurt as possible.

And I'll be praying that those responsible be brought to justice, but everyone's spirituality works differently on that point.

Posted by Attila at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in
The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.

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This is one of the last pix
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I fear neither death nor pain." —Eowyn, Tolkien's
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Me Money

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Men Are Kinky

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