September 30, 2004

It's Debatable

Allah has the master roundup.

One issue no one has raised: who gets the better soundbites. The Bush team is going to win on that, because Kerry said plenty tonight that can be thrown back in his face in terms of substance. (Bush was awkward, but the Kerry people are going to look silly if they just show Bush struggling to think of a phrase.)

But Kerry lived to fight another day.

Posted by Attila at 09:46 PM | Comments (2)

Not Quite Live

Green is drunk; Joyner isn't. Goldstein is having fun with Photoshop.

Bush and Kerry were both wearing bitchin' suits. And Lehrer did a nice job.

Kerry is more polished, as you might expect. Sometimes it's painful to watch Bush struggle to find a word. But it's more painful to watch Kerry selling his service in Vietnam, particularly in light of the scrutiny he's received for all the things that happened during that time—both in Southeast Asia and here in the States. (And how much rouge was he wearing, anyway?—or is all that color from the infamous fake tan? He managed to negate his height advantage with that.) Bringing that up several times within the same debate is tantamount to hooking.

One of the most dramatic moments was when Lehrer gave Bush the chance to comment on Kerry's character, and he didn't take the bait. Bush is making it clear that he doesn't want to make personal attacks, and he doesn't want this campaign to be about events that took place 30-35 years ago.

There seemed to be a role reversal of sorts going on: Kerry is acting dispassionate, and even tries to smile as the President hammers him. Bush, who often appears to be above the fray, was clearly annoyed as Kerry made his own points. I suspect this was a decision that Bush and his advisors made, and that the intention was to show how engaged his was. To underscore that he's a regular guy.

And, as I've said before, he is now the master of that smirk. He owns it; it doesn't own him like it used to. And he didn't hesitate to play up his real strength, which is the fact that he's doing the job of President now. At every turn he was willing to remind Kerry and everyone else that he's actually doing the work, making the tough choices, and so forth. That it's easy to Monday-morning quarterback the leader of the free world.

The debate was probably a draw, but I don't think it'll change many minds. Most of the people who watch these kinds of things are political junkies to begin with. And there is still the sizzle vs. steak question: what matters at the end of the day is how people will respond to the underlying message. Bush's messages: 1) the President needs to be steady, and not vascillate; 2) we need to stay the course, in Iraq and elsewhere. Kerry's message: George W. Bush has been fucking things up.

What I love though is that we had this debate in the first place. It's essential to Democracy that the President be required to defend his record in this way. And we're alone in doing it in this way, placing our leader on the spot to this degree.

Each guy held his own.

Posted by Attila at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

Didn't I Tell You Guys

. . . not to pick Kerry? But you didn't listen to Aunt Attila, did you? And it's too late, and there you are crying into your Kool-Aid.

Posted by Attila at 02:29 AM | Comments (0)

Beverly Cocco

. . . is a Republican like I'm the reincarnation of Queen Victoria. Which . . . no.

Posted by Attila at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

The Hackers Vote, and the MSM Plays Catch-Up

About five weeks ago My Pet Jawa broke a story about al-Zarquawi's main site getting hacked. It was only down for a while, but Rusty got a screen capture that went into the post: the page was black, with an American Flag across the top and a crossed-out picture of Bin Laden.

A month later a related site was hacked, and this went unfixed for multiple days. Meantime, In the Bullpen was on the case, and he posted the event—with a screen capture of the graphic, a penguin holding a full-auto rifle and the legend, "if you host them, your [sic] next."

Now, the MSM (with MSNBC in the lead) are using screen captures from both postings without giving either gentleman credit for breaking the stories or saving the images for posterity. The attitude appears to be "I found it on the internet fair and square, and I neither need to authenticate it nor give the blogger credit." It's sloppy and amoral, but other than that it's a great approach.

And then there is the current online controversey about whether Americans should be hosting these types of sites in the first place. There have been attempts to shut them down, but at this point various Federal agencies are ordering companies to leave the sites up. So I'm not signing the petitions quite yet (or pressuring the hosting companies), in the hopes that our spooks and special ops guys are mere inches away from bagging Zarquawi.

A girl can hope.

And when we do capture him, I hope it's the Marines who have custody of him first. Because I think they would treat him in a very respectful way at any point wherein there were cameras nearby. That's all I really ask.

Posted by Attila at 01:25 AM | Comments (1)

Bill at INDC Journal

. . . is the Supreme Ruler of the Internet, the Blogging World's Studmuffin Deity.

As most of you know, a few days ago See-BS "covered" the urban legend that a draft is likely over the next few years. They based this on interviews with a woman who's an activist in an antidraft group (but claims to be a Republican), and on e-mails that are circulating like virus warnings and proclaiming we're in danger of instituting a draft.

And Bill just bagged interviews with the reporter involved (Richard Schlesinger), its producer (Linda Karas), and a See-BS spokeswoman, Sandra Genelius. It's an absolutely amazing coup, and I wish Bill would put me in touch with his medicine man or patron saint. The CBS staffers are all in one entry, and even given that it isn't too long—but has plenty of juicy links to follow up on. If you read nothing else this week, get going.

INDC: "A lot of people have a problem with this issue though, because it's specifically something that's been used by the Kerry campaign as a recent talking point. Did this influence ..."

Schlesinger: "No, it was an issue because it was out there. There are issues that we choose to do stories on ... I specifically said in the story, 'both candidates have said they would not support a reinstatement of the draft.'"

INDC: "Probably the main concern with the story is that the e-mails that are shown in the piece are false; they've been debunked on various internet sites long ago ..."

Schlesinger: "The fact is, they were going around. I know several people that got them, and it’s gotten people all riled up. Whether or not there’s any reality to there being a draft, is almost besides the point. Do I think there’s going to be a draft? No. But it's an issue that people are talking about."

That's a hell of a rationale for running urban legends as fact. Maybe See-BS should tackle this one next, interviewing someone who "knew" the aggrieved bride/groom. That kind of thing.

Jeff has a nice roundup on the issue, and a damn funny document recently "unearthed" from the CBS files. So I'm almost sorry I called him a whore. Almost.

Posted by Attila at 12:30 AM | Comments (3)

September 29, 2004


I didn't think I could be shocked by anything CBS does any more, but I was wrong.

At Jeff, via RatherBiased, which is down again just now.

Posted by Attila at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

Scott Ott

Points out that Kerry is hangin' out around The Daily Show,where he can reach the stoned slackers who form his most natural constituency.

Oh, do let's. Let us rock that vote, shall we? Otherwise it'll be Chimpy and his Halliburton advisors, who will come up with more ways to give blood for oil; see if they don't.

Posted by Attila at 04:10 AM | Comments (0)

I've Never Quibbled, If It Was Ribald

Via Christophe comes this rather alarming piece in the Baltimore Sun, which suggests that the Bush Administration is going to be cracking down on smut. Now I would love it if they were planning on tackling smut spam, which is a different issue entirely: I despise the thought that my college-age neice and my grandmother in her 90s are to be subjected to disgusting mailings that promote kinds of sex that they don't even know exists . . . and all couched in such a way as to make sex appear really dirty, and to imply that eroticism degrades women in a way it doesn't men. Women being, I suppose, broken by their desires at the same time men are lifted up by same to become almost godlike. If the spammers are right, the best way for married boy-girl couples to resolve arguments is to simply have sex. This way the man wins, because the woman has betrayed the fact that she has a libido. At the same time, he's proven himself to Have! A! Libido! The man wins, and the woman loses.

That's not quite how it works in my household, oddly enough.

Anyway, my point is that the sex spammers must be crushed, because no one should be subjected to words and images in their in boxes that suggest they, their bodies, their urges—and all women—are ugly. Not unless they seek it out, in which case they should have a good time.

We need to remember prohibition, and the contempt for law that came about when laws were passed and enforced that ran against people's philosophies and expectations.

For the most part, this is a terrible use of precious resources. I see that it's a genuine crusade for Ashcroft, but I hope Bush keeps him on a leash. And I pray that it's only window dressing, like the ill-fated constitutional amendment that was supposed to protect marriage from change—but really protected the President against the charge that he wasn't fighting the culture wars he has little or no interest in.

Posted by Attila at 03:34 AM | Comments (0)

Better Than an Etch-A-Sketch

The Commissar calls our attention to this bitchin' cool site.If you've got a blog (or any website, I should think), it will map out all the links that have gone to you recently, showing where people were before.

It's a juicy invention.

Check it out now, and then go back to it the next time you drop acid.

Posted by Attila at 02:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2004

For a Guy

. . . who made about 500 Jessica Cutler jokes, Jeff really can be a . . . well. A bit of a whore.

Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

And goodness only knows what I'd do for a link from Glenn Reynolds. (Those first five jokes that cross your mind?—don't walk that way, brother.)

(Note to self: Stop biting the various hands that feed you, or you'll go hungry for sure.)

Posted by Attila at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2004

The Commissar

Has a new map. I really ought to be on it, as an amazon or an analyst. Hope he places me near Baldilocks, or possibly near Kathy of "Third Hand."

'Course, last time on the other map of the other continent I became a small sea, the "Sea of Attila." I did like that.

We'll find out if I get any grace here after linking dutifully away.

Otherwise I erase Commissar from all family photos. Never existed! Da! Work of Trotskyites to convince us there ever was a "Politburo Diktat" blog. All figment of imaginations. Ripe for re-education, all readers of Attila Blog.

Posted by Attila at 04:26 AM | Comments (4)

September 26, 2004

Speaking of Tinseltown Cons

Last week Attila the Hub and I saw Rated R: Republicans in Hollywood. One of the film's premises may be that with Mel Gibson's success and Arnold's having catapulted himself to a political office, there is a renaissance afoot of conservatism in the television/film industry.

My husband and I are in the two most left-wing LA industries: entertainment and media. (How did this happen? Well, my husband elected to join a sector wherein if you work hard and enjoy a little luck, you can make good money. Not being the brightest bulb in the marquee, I elected to go for an industry wherein if you work had and enjoy a little luck you might—just might—barely be able to eke out a living.)

My husband is "out," though he doesn't talk politics too much with his colleagues and there are awkward moments for those not "in the know." For instance, he hired a youngish writer to contribute to a television series. The bright young man wanted to please him, so he forwarded an e-mail about Kerry having picked John Edwards as his running mate, and the implications of this for the Kerry campaign. Of course, the mail underscored the importance of defeating Bush this November.

The point is not just that a writer committed a faux pas; the point is that it never crossed his mind his boss wasn't anti-Bush.

Reflecting the hard-scrabble nature of the media business, I haven't been "out," except within the community of gun owners and among "outdoor sport" publications, where I've had a handful of articles published over the years. ("Outdoor sport" means hunting and guns.)

Until a week ago Tuesday. My media industry group meets every month, and we usually go around the room and introduce ourselves. This time, instead of just announcing that I was a freelance copy editor, I mentioned the URL for this web site (though I initially garbled it, and had to correct myself—a sure sign of nervousness). Someone—let's call him Rick—asked me about the actual content.

"It's really libertarian; you'll hate it," I assured him. I did not, however, use the word war, as I didn't want to actually start one within our cozy little publishing group.

But things may be changing in media just as they seem to be changing in entertainment: later in the meeting Rick was discussing the kinds of magazines that appeal to the broader country, and made what he obviously meant to be a classic "the asses are masses" point: "people are voting for Bush," he said.

No one laughed, or followed up on his remark. So he said it again, a little louder, and I'm sure everyone heard him, but there was another subthread going on in the discussion, and people continued to be engaged in that rather than in Rick's "joke." At the time I thought it was curious, and assumed people just didn't want to get into politics in a professional setting. Later on, though, I realized just how strange it was, since usually any media/entertainment gathering has leftism in the air like oxygen is in the air, and there is usually no compunction about bringing this up, as we are "all among friends." That night, though, as I was dropping off to sleep I remembered that our group has more people who are shy of their 40th birthdays than middle-agers like me, and I realized I hadn't been the only one in that room who intended to vote for Chimpy McHalliburton.

The times, they are a-changin'. Maybe. I'm not even asking for parity: only that within both industries we attain critical mass to the point that our points of view are respected, and we aren't blackballed as intellectual lightweights. And that we stop losing jobs over our politics.

Posted by Attila at 03:52 PM | Comments (2)

L.A.'s First Libertarian/Conservative Film Festival

Next weekend. I'd encourage you to check it out if you're based in Southern California. The Liberty Film Festival will be at the Pacific Design Center (the "Blue Whale") in West Hollywood, and runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, October 1-3. I'll be attending with Attila the Hub, and will definitely blog the event. If I can get a WiFi connection established, I'll do some live-blogging, natch.

Tickets must be purchased in advance, over the web. They will not be selling tickets on-site. Move on this now!

To be featured:

• Appearances by Larry Elder, Lionel Chetwynd, and Michael Medved;

• Three cinematic takedowns of Michael Moore, including Michael Moore Hates America, Larry Elder's Michael and Me, which discusses the ways Moore has lied about the Second Amendment issue, and one film that focuses on the distortions in Fahrenheit 9/11;

• A panel discussion on how to get started as a conservative filmmaker;

• A film that discusses Ann Coulter, which I'm very interested in seeing, given the degree to which I've vascillated as to whether she really is "our Michael Moore" (I think not, though her sweeping statements and glib putdowns still bother me);

• A thriller about a planned terrorist attack in L.A. Harbor, put together by the film festival's founders;

• a documentary on Mel Gibson and The Passion.

Posted by Attila at 02:48 PM | Comments (7)

September 25, 2004

Patterico's Post

. . . in which he compares the treatment of Arizona (WRT Bush) with that of California (WRT Kerry) in the L.A. Times coverage is fast becoming a classic; Taranto linked to it, and it was mentioned by Brit Hume on the air.

Don't miss it.

Posted by Attila at 11:36 PM | Comments (2)

Attention Bear Flag Leaguers

1) I'm having trouble accessing my Yahoo account, and can't do it consistently from here. (Though oddly enough, it works on my husband's old backup computer. Go figure.)

The Attila-Hub and I are in for the L.A. version of the election-night party. Definitely into that.

2) Also—and this isn't limited to the Bear Flag League—The Llama Butchers were joking about putting together a big blogfest/psuedo convention in 2005 sometime, in Las Vegas, and it suddenly turned serious. The idea would be to try to bring together bloggers from every region of the country, in the only town in the west where you can always get a cheap hotel room if it's off-season (that is, during the summer, in the heat). And where you can always get a room, period, no matter how late in the game you make your plans. Not to mention cheap airfare from anywhere in the country.

If we decide to have actual panels, or read papers, that shouldn't be too hard. And if we set up small booths and sell each other our CafePress offerings, that wouldn't have to take up more than half a day.

If we don't want to do that, we can just go play the slots or go swimming. Or maybe take bloggy daytrips to the Hoover Dam.

Spread the word and see if there's any interest. This would be an attempt to merge all the little regional groups we've formed, and have one national (or, preferably, international) meeting.

Let me know.

Posted by Attila at 04:09 AM | Comments (3)

September 24, 2004

Writers' Group

Writers' group last night.

Well, it's getting easier to go. My first one two weeks ago nearly killed me: having to read my work aloud to strangers was awful. And by the time everyone shared his/her perspective, I was convinced that my story had no merit whatsoever. Eight pages of "oh, my god; this sucks." By the time I got to the end, I wasn't even using different voices in the dialogue—just droning on in a near-monotone and hoping it would be over soon.

I picked a genre that had as few literary pretensions as possible, and that I happen to find incredibly pleasurable to read. Little did I realize at the time that mysteries are very, very hard to write well. All kinds of clues have to be laid in early, but the significant ones can't be noticeable—or must be explained away early on. Everything must be hidden in plain sight. And unless one is doing a police procedural—and I think my background forbids that—there is the pesky matter of explaining why ordinary citizens go rushing around solving crimes on their own in books, when everyone knows perfectly well that they don't do any such thing in real life. You have to get the reader hooked into the puzzle, because otherwise they won't suspend that disbelief. Why should they?

And of course at its best a mystery also stands alone as a novel; consider some of Dorothy L. Sayers' best Lord Peter mysteries.

Of course, I've given up on being the next Dorothy L. Sayers, and would settle for being readable. And on keeping my readers in the dark as to who actually did the crime until I want them to know.

And after one more session I'm going to run out of finished, polished, existing sequential chapters and will have to actually start writing to keep up with this. Eek.

Wish me luck.

Posted by Attila at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Blogger Bear Codes?

My friend Mikal informed me that I had to take this test. Being as suceptible to peer-group pressure as the next girl, I went ahead and can now proudly share with you my "Blogger Code":

B6 d+ t+ k++ s+ u-- f+ i o x- e+ l- c

Of course, that was three minutes ago and I couldn't possibly tell you what all those things stand for, or whether they matter at all (I imagine not).

Doubtless you're curious about your own standing. And who wouldn't be? Enjoy.

Posted by Attila at 05:05 PM | Comments (7)

I Wasn't Sure

. . . whether to write about the (possible) outing of GOP congressman David Dreier. It's tempting to imagine that the more we say about it, the worse it will be for him. But James wrote about it, and Al Rantel discussed it over the radio last night here in L.A. The toothpaste is out of the tube, and all that. Al Rantel is, of course, fit to be tied. For the record, he repeatedly maintained that it was not clear whether or not this was a real "outing."

That's an important point: I don't think we know for sure at this point whether David Dreier is gay. But then, I don't think a lot of conservatives care about his personal life. That is, after all, the nature of conservatism: what's private is private. The State has no business in your bedroom. The original modern conservative, Barry Goldwater, had a gay son and made it clear that he wasn't interested in legislating morality—or in armed forces weakened by arbitrary rules about whether gays could or could not join.

And I don't think it's hypocrisy for a gay man not to think gay marriage is necessary, for his own happiness or for the good of society. (I happen myself to be in favor of gay marriage, but it's a fine line and I would be happy if there were simply a vehicle for conferring full partnership benefits upon gay couples—including Federal benefits.) It's worth noting that Dreier didn't support the decidedly un-conservative Amendment prohibiting gay marriage. (I tend to think that Amendment was only proposed as political cover: I truly doubt anyone ever expected that turkey to ever succeed.)

But this business of "outing" people has got to be the dirtiest thing I've ever seen in my life. Making the intimate details of people's lives (real or imaginary) a subject of public discourse is disgusting. I am not the least surprised to see Larry Flynt's money behind this, as it was behind the campaign to smear the House Managers during Bill Clinton's Senate trial. (Because God forbid a poor woman like Paula Jones actually have a fair day in court; Clinton's perjury was excusable so the wealthy can retain justice for themselves.)

This "political outing" business is an unbelievable, depraved thing to do. And I hope the people involved feel dirty for the rest of their lives. And I hope Dreier wins re-election by a huge margin, so we can show the left who the real homophobes are.

Hugo is conflicted, but largely negative about outing, thank goodness. Xrlq shows up in his comments section for a lively debate.

BoiFromTroy is unimpressed by the putative "outing": "my advice is, simmer down and get back to me when you have more than innuendo."

Dirty tricks: that's what they've got. It's actually kind of sad.

Posted by Attila at 12:25 PM | Comments (8)

September 22, 2004

That's It!

Iowahawk is going on the blogroll:

It was a slow September night in Manhattan. The kind of sweaty summer night where the mean streets of Gotham run wild with the shadowy scum of the Republican National Convention. The kind of night where mysteries are born. The kind of night I live for.

My name is Rather. And I’m a dick.

If you don't go read it, you'll hate yourself. And you'll die wondering what you might have missed.

Via Goldstein, who really enjoys questioning hapless news anchors. Up to his elbows in that process, I'm afraid.

Posted by Attila at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

Hard-Headed Woman

When I heard about the Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam thing, I was pretty appalled by the Feds' actions. This is really hard, because I really like that man's music, and because he appears, on the surface, to be a "moderate" voice in Islam: something we want, presumably, to encourage. After all, he condemned 9/ll and the actions in Beslan in no uncertain terms.

But if he's given a lot of money to Hamas, he is funding terrorism, and we need to change the mind-set that makes a little killing of innocents here, a few suicide bombings there, okay as long as you mean well.

I love this guy; I can't help it. And I can't help but agree with James:

Truly bizarre. Surely, this guy isn't a sufficient threat to national security that they couldn't have waited until the plan got to Dulles to detain him.

But we need to stop the funding of groups like Hamas, and stop conferring respectability on those who transfer funds to them. I didn't buy Teaser and the Firecat on CD with the notion of killing innocent people.

And what we cannot have is a system in which celebrity confers a sort of immunity upon people, who can do whatever they like as long as they are famous.

I love some of what Islam does: starting schools and the like. But we just cannot welcome rich guys who fund terrorists coming and going as they please.

The whole thing is painful to me, though.

Now I've been cryin' lately, thinking about the world as it is,
Why must we go on hating; why can't we live in bliss?

Posted by Attila at 01:53 PM | Comments (7)

September 21, 2004

Why New Dimes?

What's the big deal? And why do they supposedly comes in twos?

But . . . seriously. Here's The Big Trunk of Powerline, who has a question or two for the brass at CBS.

Posted by Attila at 04:56 PM | Comments (1)

Sharp as a Marble

Gives us this exclusive photo. Some lefties in PJs are actively trying to discredit it, but the image proves Lt. Bush's commitment to TANG.


Via Bill in DC.

Posted by Attila at 04:42 PM | Comments (0)

Media Watchers!

Make sure to stop by Patterico every day. He's all over the various forms of media bias.

Here, he discusses the malpractice at CBS:

These are not people who were duped. And the problem is not how they handled it once they were caught -- though they handled that part badly. Their main transgression was in ignoring the evidence staring them in the face before the story ever ran. At the very least, they could have given some time on the broadcast to the dissenters.

But they didn't. And I've said this before, but it bears repeating: don't fool yourself believing that this is the first time this has happened. Come on. If you have watched "60 Minutes" then you are familiar with that feeling you have at the end of a segment, when you think to yourself: "Wow, everything seems to point to one conclusion." You thought that was because everything really did point to one conclusion?

Nope. It's because everything else was left on the cutting room floor.

We're just seeing one very notorious example where they got caught.

Yeah. They've got caught before, but there wasn't enough "buzz" that they were forced to kind-of sort-of admit it.

It's a whole new world out there.

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

Mark Steyn

Addresses the sinking Good Ship Rather:

By now just about everybody on the planet also thinks [the "Killian" documents are] junk, except for that dwindling number of misguided people who watch the ''CBS Evening News'' under the misapprehension that it's a news broadcast rather than a new unreality show in which a cocooned anchor, his floundering news division and some feeble executives are trapped on their own isle of delusion and can't figure out a way to vote themselves off it.

So the only story you're in a position to break right now is: ''Late-Breaking News. Veteran Newsman Announces He's Recovered His Marbles.'' And, if last week's anything to go by, you're in no hurry to do that.

Instead, Dan keeps demanding Bush respond to the ''serious questions'' raised by his fake memos. ''With respect, Mr. President,'' he droned the other day, ''answer the questions.'' The president would love to, but he's doubled up with laughter.


Why has CBS News decided it would rather debauch its brand and treat its audience like morons than simply admit their hoax? For Dan Rather? I doubt it. Hurricane Dan looks like he's been hit by one. He's still standing, just about, but, like a battered double-wide, more and more panels are falling off every day. No one would destroy three-quarters of a century of audience trust and goodwill for one shattered anachronism of an anchorman, would they?

As the network put it last week, ''In accordance with longstanding journalistic ethics, CBS News is not prepared to reveal its confidential sources or the method by which '60 Minutes' Wednesday received the documents.'' But, once they admit the documents are fake, they can no longer claim ''journalistic ethics'' as an excuse to protect their source. There's no legal or First Amendment protection afforded to a man who peddles a fraud. You'd think CBS would be mad as hell to find whoever it was who stitched them up and made them look idiots.

So why aren't they? The only reasonable conclusion is that the source -- or trail of sources -- is even more incriminating than the fake documents. Why else would Heyward and Rather allow the CBS news division to commit slow, public suicide?

Whatever other lessons are drawn from this, we ought at least to acknowledge that the privileged position accorded to ''official'' media and the restrictions placed on the citizenry by McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform are wholly unwarranted.

Yes. That is where we are. If nothing else, this election cycle should have taught us that McCain-Feingold has got to go.

And it is indeed starting to look like the Democratic Party is in this up to its belly button—at least.

Via The Pirate.

Posted by Attila at 01:14 PM | Comments (1)

Reuters and Its Vocabulary

British news syndicate Reuters is at war with a major Canadian newspaper chain over its refusal to go along with the Reuters policy of referring to terrorists by euphemisms such as "militant." Reuters has asked that its credit be removed when the word "terrorist" is inserted into its stories.

Fair enough, but as one of Smash's commenters points out, how can Reuters report the news if they don't use that word? What is next?—replacing the judgmental word "murder" with something else such as "assisted untimely death"?

Kathy Kinsley recently remarked that the word "militant" now means "terrorist," and we'll simply have to come up with a new word for "militant." We may well be at that point, and it's a shame.

Story is at Smash, via Dean Esmay and Joe Gandelman.

Posted by Attila at 12:09 PM | Comments (3)

September 17, 2004

Light or No Blogging.

I'll be driving up to the Bay Area in about an hour (arriving in El Cerrito at seven or eight, I guess), and I'll be there over the weekend, returning on Monday night in time to do an entry in Pirate-speak only one day late. (There's a chance I'll log in from my mother's computer a time or two, but it may or may not happen.)

In the meantime, check out all the fabulous blogs on my sidebar and don't let Dan Rather get by with any more shit.

Expect another homage to the interstate highway system when I get home.

Posted by Attila at 12:18 PM | Comments (3)


A movie review by guest-blogger Mikal.

A funny, sad, and revealing documentary about Rodney Bingenheimer, a KROQ deejay and LA rock scenester for nearly forty years. Directed by the same guy who worked on Hearts of Darkness, Mayor follows Rodney's life as a sort of superannuated male groupie who's been able not only to insinuate himself with rock royalty from the mid-60s, but to break new acts as a club owner and DJ . . . and yet has virtually nothing to show for his being the first American champion of everyone from David Bowie, to the Ramones, to Oasis. Period clips show Rodney popping up, Zelig-like, in virtually every rock 'n' roll turning point since 1965; one especially interesting piece is a tape recording of him attempting to direct-dial President Kennedy in 1963—speaking with the same halting, wheezy voice as a Mountain View-raised teen that he still sports forty years later.

Rodney comes off onscreen much as he does on the radio. Physically, he's a diminutive, elfin, middle-aged teenager who still sports the same hairdo and clothes ensemble he's had since the late-70s punk/new-wave era. Personally, he's a not-too-bright, unpretentious, likable, good-hearted naif who loves rock 'n' roll, and is only intermittently aware of how much potential success, personal growth and maturity he's sacrificed to the music . . . not as a performer or promoter, but as a mere fan, albeit one who gets to party with his heroes, and occasionally have them shoot him some credit or paid work. He's too kindhearted and courteous to openly badmouth the many people who've exploited him, although the camera does catch one scene where he angrily confronts a prodigy who's returned his kindness by setting up a competing, nearly-identical radio program.

There are plenty of interviews with famous folks who owe their careers to the man, and/or who've tried to help him in return. The standouts are a backstage meeting between Rodney and David Bowie (whom Rodney broke in the USA), and a guest visit on Bingenheimer's KROQ show by the brain-damaged, brilliant Beach Boy Brian Wilson. Fellow scenester, would-be-impresario and uber-asshole Kim Fowley contributes some hilarious observations as well; my favorite is when he answers ex-Runaway Cherie Currie's accusations of past sexual misdeeds with a stinging, self-deprecating riposte.

Watching Mayor of the Sunset Strip brought back memories of listening to Rodney on KROQ on Sunday nights in the late 70s and early 80s. I remember that his show immediately followed Dr. Demento's revue of self-consciously clever novelty records; I was a regular listener. Eventually Rodney's world of punk rock and Sunset-Strip scenesterism proved to be far more fun and refreshing than Demento's retread geekfest, and I joined the burgeoning punk/New-Wave scene.

In other worlds, and more generally, Rodney Bingenheimer saved me from becoming a nerd. Had I—a rather shy music-lover much like Mr. B—not immersed myself in the late-70s L.A. underground, I could very easily have retreated into the dork-world epitomized by Demento and his fans, and spent my college years onward as a Dungeons-and-Dragons-playing, compulsively-punning, socially-illiterate geek. Much of what's been good, interesting, stimulating and just plain fun in my life from 1977 onward can be directly traced to the influence of this funny little guy and his ability to transmit a kind of L.A. rock-n-roll gestalt to both the famous and the fans.

Put me down as yet another individual the Mayor of the Sunset Strip helped, who's only now getting around to giving him his propers.

Mikal is a Bay Area writer and book merchant. As an author, he specializes in the paranormal and the odd; he is most famous for the book Mysterious California: Strange Places and Eerie Phenomena in the Golden State, which is out of print but available here and there. He assures us he's at work on something even wilder.

Posted by Attila at 03:23 AM | Comments (2)

September 15, 2004

Wham, Bam—Thank You, Dan.

I caught most of Rather's interview with Killian's secretary today. It proves that even little old ladies are prey to the temptations everyone else faces: Marion Knox just couldn't resist the chance to help Kerry and get her 15 minutes of fame at the same time.

Rather still wants this whole story to be "Did Bush Bend the Rules To Get Into TANG, And Then Miss His Physical?" When in fact it's "Did Dan Know the Documents Were Fake, Or Not?" I guess we can forgive him for not being able to sniff out the story people actually care about in all this.

I know they've been laying the groundwork for this "forged, but accurate" defense, but it was still startling to see it. I'm going to assume that if Rather got charged with a crime, and there was gossip/innuendo to the effect that he was guilty, it would be okay with him for a cop to plant evidence. After all, the "evidence" so manufactured would be "faked, but accurate." The language is Orwellian, and the logic is circular: "the documents authenticated the rumors; the rumors authenticate the documents. We can all go home early."

But I do have a favorite moment. It was the point when Mrs. Knox asserted to Rather that the young Lt. Bush "didn't seem to think he had to go by the rules that others did."

I'm sure Rather found something to relate to there.

A few little blogger-picky things: Why is Dan Rather asking a TANG secretary questions outside her real area of expertise, pertaining to military procedure and so forth? Memos and files are things she's qualified to discuss, but chain-of-command issues, and the seriousness of not taking a physical, are matters that I would expect pilots and their actual superiors to speak to—not support staff. Why does this matter? Because every pilot from the time who's weighed in on this on the sites I've visited has said that missing a physical wasn't a matter one's commanding officer would normally get involved in. You did it within the month your birthday fell, or you stopped getting paychecks if you were required to maintain your flight status. Or, in Lt. Bush's case, the understanding was, IIRC, that it was more practical for him to let his flying status lapse since he wasn't going to be flying anyway. As I understand it, it was considered wasteful for him to maintain it if he wasn't going to need it.

If Bush really was supposed to have a physical exam, why can't CBS find someone in his chain of command to assert this? Other than a dead guy into whose mouth they are putting words?

And Mrs. Knox admits that medical exams normally took place around one's birthday! She said that in the interview! So why would Killian be leaning on him to get it done earlier in the year, rather than in July?

And then there's the vaguely unpleasant insinuation that a man's secretary is going to have a more accurate memory about his state of mind regarding any given individual than his own wife would. (But then, that's why CBS used Killian's son as the gentle challenge to Mrs. Knox's recollections, rather than his widow.)

If Bush really was resented by his fellow officers for his "attitude" (and that may well be; he's only recently mastered that smirk thing), why can't CBS find one of them?

And there's this weird two step wherein some unknown party saw a file full of Killian's notes (which must have been hand-written, and therefore material Knox didn't necessarily see) pertaining to Bush, and transcribed them. But Mrs. Knox says things were changed so Killian wouldn't get into trouble. Why would a dead man need plausible deniability, anyway? And also: from the news organization's point of view, if you have hand-written notes, you've struck the mother lode. Who in their right mind would transcribe them to make them look more "official"?

If this is the way they want to go, then they need to find those original notes. This may be a problem, since the family maintains they never existed.

And if I were Killian's family, I'd be thinking about slander suits.

Posted by Attila at 10:24 PM | Comments (5)

Rather Clear Now, Thanks.

Jim Treacher updates us on last night's CBS newscast:

Rather Alters Stance on Space-Unicorn Royalty

NEW YORK -- In a stunning reversal yesterday, embattled CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather renounced his claim to the throne of the Space Unicorns, instead declaring himself to be the Bonnukarr, culmination of human evolution, sent back in time from the 857th Century by the warrior-god Kobaltine IV to prepare mankind for the coming Insect Wars.

Via Ilyka.

Posted by Attila at 07:57 AM | Comments (2)

September 14, 2004

The Tragedy of Omelet, Prince of Massachusetts

Is up over at Protein Wisdom. I may do a scene for it later, but don't miss out on Jeff's comments section, which contains a few soliliqies from Omelet that pertain to the situation.

The goal is to finish the entire play, of course. Each blogger does one scene.

Me, I want to do the scene wherein the forest starts moving . . . Oh, wait.

Posted by Attila at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)

Via Dean

The Mudville Gazette parodies Memogate, and some of the big names in the 'Sphere (particularly on the left) while he's at it.

(Yes, the links to the commenters are real. The comments themselves are not. Use your head.)

Posted by Attila at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)


So now I have the new computer mostly set up. I just need a printer cable, and I will (I hope) add the printer to the setup with no problems. (The nice guy at the Apple Store thought I'd be okay using the old cable. He didn't realize that my old Apple is an antique model from 1999.)

I'm on Safari, and I'm running OS 10.3. So I'm having to learn both of these at the same time. And I'm not always sure which new things are a function of which.

This is my fourth Macintosh. My first one was a "Fat Mac," a super-duper 512K model from 1985. State of the art. No hard drive, of course. It's hilarious to think of how far we've come since then. That's part of the reason I got a little more computer than I really felt I needed: I assumed that seemingly exotic functions like the ability to burn DVDs will be commonplace in a few years, and the way I hang on to computers, I thought I'd need functions that appear frivolous right now. Computers aren't like cars: you can't drive the same model for 10-12 years just because it's well-made.

At the moment, I can't access my Little Miss Attila e-mail account from here. I'm assuming that's a function of low memory, and that when I get the Obligatory Mac Upgrade tomorrow it'll be better.

I may be asking questions here from time to time, since that's always been a fast way of finding technical information.

Also, I'm having to reassemble all my e-mail addresses. If you're in my private life and haven't sent me mail in the past eight days or so, you might want to do this. I do have some data from the old computer, but not everything. (If your info is on the Olive web site—and you know who you are—never mind.)

Technical question 1:

How do I copy photos in 10.3? I'm accustomed to just holding the trackpad cursor on the image, with the lever depressed, for one or two seconds, until a dialogue box pops up to ask if I want the image copied. This isn't working.


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

60 Minutes to Investigate 60 Minutes

Jim Geraghty, reporting in yesterday's NRO:

NEW YORK — In a stunning development, the flagship news program of CBS, 60 Minutes, has decided to investigate its Wednesday night counterpart, ‘60 Minutes II.’

60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt came out of retirement in order to investigate the spinoff program, which, he pointed out, was an idea he had always hated and opposed anyway.

“This story has all the classic ingredients of a archetypal 60 Minutes story,” Hewitt said. “Forgeries and lies. A brazen attempt to influence a presidential election. Shadowy political operatives. A powerful institution that is hiding behind short, defiant statements. The whole situation just screamed a need for a hard-hitting reporter to hold the powerful guys in suits accountable. It just happens that in this case, we’re interviewing the powerful guys in suits down the hall.”

The media world is abuzz with excitement about the shocking interview of CBS Evening News host Dan Rather by Mike Wallace. CBS has released one particularly tense exchange:

(Wallace and Rather sit opposite each other, eye to eye, almost mirror images.)

Wallace: Expert… after expert… after expert has declared these documents (dramatically holding up four sheets of paper) to be forgeries. What is your response to them?

Rather: We have solid sources.

Wallace: Who are they?

Rather: I’m not going to say.

Wallace: Why should people trust you?

Rather: Do you know who I am? I’ve been in the news business for 42 years!

Wallace: Do you know who I am? I’ve been in the news business for 53 years! And Christopher Plummer played me in the movie!

Rather: I am 100 percent certain that the chances of this document being real are almost 51 percent.

Wallace: You’re being evasive.

Rather: I’m not being evasive, I’m just being more nimble than a one-legged Texas bullfrog before a prairie thunderstorm!

Wallace: That doesn’t even make sense.

Rather: I’m tired of this criticism coming up with regular frequency, Kenneth.

Wallace: What frequency? And who’s Kenneth?

60 Minutes will present its report, “The Great CBS News Civil War of 2004” on Sunday.

WARNING: The above statement is a parody. So far.

My favorite line? "It just happens that in this case, we’re interviewing the powerful guys in suits down the hall.”

Scroll around the "Kerry corner" while you're in the neighborhood: Geraghty has some interesting insights on what's going on inside CBS right now, and how all these events affect the rest of us.

Posted by Attila at 04:22 AM | Comments (1)


. . . tells us why it is that Memogate Matters. (And then she shows us a picture of her in her jammies, so go to her own blog for that.)

Posted by Attila at 04:14 AM | Comments (0)

These Entries Are Almost Postscripts at This Point

. . . though I know there will still be Memogate dramas, like When Danny resigns. Some say that's going to be very soon. And our entire information-gathering system has definitely been transformed. ("A terrible beauty is born.")

But it's cargo cults that are on my mind. Remember those?—tribal island societies that enjoyed a surplus of exotic/luxury goods when Western pilots landed in their midst (particularly during WWII, though also at other times), and came to associate abundance with planes and pilots. The pilots and other military personnel became connected, in their minds, with godlike ancesters, and when the Westerners stopped using the bases and landing strips the people constructed replica planes out of indigenous materials such as bamboo. They wore faux headsets, made of wood. They lit up the landing strips, now empty. They acted like the Westerners had acted, but without understanding.

And so the Democrats, including the ones at CBS, saw the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth succeed in "smearing" John Kerry's military record, and saw Kerry's lead against Bush melt away. Like islanders constructing wooden headsets, they emulated the form, not understanding the function. They found/manufactured evidence that George W. Bush wasn't such hot stuff in his military career, either. They didn't understand that the potency of the Swifties' claims was not so much in the mechanics of how Kerry got any of his particular medals, but in the startling realization of the common voter that a group of American vets was hurt that badly by John Kerry's actions when he got home—the perception that he got out early on a pretext, and then proceeded to slander them to their families and their countries—that they could never forgive him. Even those whose religious faiths demanded that they at least try.

That's what was important about the Swift Boat ads: America got to see just how much many military men and women—but particularly men from this one war—despised Kerry. And they began to wonder if there might be a reason for that.

And so the decision was made by some Democrat (either inside or outside the DNC, and that little detail does matter) to create scandal about George W. Bush's record during Vietnam. To close the deal that Gore had pitched, and Ann Richards before him: that George W. Bush was AWOL during Vietnam.

In a country that elected Bill Clinton as commander-in-chief twice. Including the time he ran against Bob Dole. It should be obvious that we don't place a huge value on military service— or John McCain would be President of the United States right now.

Clearly, the Dems didn't think it through: they confused the circumstances of a bounce with the true reason for a bounce.

The fact is, Americans don't really vote for their Presidents based on events of 30 years ago. But when the nation is under attack they like having a guy around whom the military establishment feels it can get a thing or two done with. And one whom the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines actually like.

Dan Rather helped his pals in the DNC to build wooden planes without engines. I wonder if he realizes this in the middle of the night when he's trying to figure out how long he can survive.

Posted by Attila at 04:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2004

Tricky Moment for the Internet Watchdogs

Dean Esmay points out that we need to be circumspect while attempting the next phase of the Memogate investigation, and attempting to determine the exact provenance of these documents. It's a much more delicate matter to name names when you're discussing individuals who are not public figures—the more so if they might be mentally disturbed.

Can some of this information be shared via e-mail while more of the facts are being nailed down?

Also, please keep in mind that the person who constructed these documents may well have done it as a joke (that would explain why they are so sloppy—they may not have been intended to deceive).

The focus should be on why Dan Rather accepted these memos at face value without more than a fig-leaf type of fact-checking job. It doesn't matter a whole lot where they actually came from, because they are just that bad: no one Dan Rather's age should have been taken in by them. After all, I'm sure he's seen a typed document or two in his day.

Let's be careful out there.

Posted by Attila at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)

Where Was I?

. . . on Saturday? Glad you asked. Orange County. My husband and I commemorated 9/11 by driving down to a Red Cross building in Tustin and attending an all-day conference on adoption. We were told it was mandatory for approval, and they don't hold them often. So there we were with 15 other couples who were also trying to go through this same agency. It was one of many classes, but the only all-day one. And as usual we felt that there was a lot of good material, but that the class was a bit long. I almost always feel that way.

Most of the other couples looked funny to me—ill-suited to each other, unattractive. I realized first that we probably look that way as well, and second that the reason was that it was early on in the process, and most couples were about to adopt for the first time. So there was still a bittersweet quality to the experience, as many were probably still mourning their infertility. Add to this the sense of a new, invasive experience, and it was the aura of uncertainty and discomfort I was picking up on more than anything else.

At one point my husband leaned over and whispered, "what if we adopt a monkey by mistake?"

I gave him a little smirk, and didn't roll my eyes, but I raised my eyebrows slightly and the look meant, "you don't get the laugh just because we're married. You'll have to do better than that."

"I mean, it would be cute and all, and we'd be really proud."

I started to smile.

"But what about when it finally became a toddler? It wouldn't really toddle, would it, just kind of shamble from side to side, and—"

I broke then, and started laughing out loud, thankful that we were on a break.

"—and start climbing. Wouldn't we feel like maybe we'd made a horrible mistake?"

"You're so evil," I told him. Which is what I always say. He knows it means I'm glad I married him.

Posted by Attila at 06:11 AM | Comments (1)

September 12, 2004

Your Best Weapon

is the power of the almighty dollar.

Please find your local CBS affiliate and complain about the shoddy reporting on the 60 Minutes segment that contained the forged Bush/TANG memos.

In the meantime, though I don't usually like boycotts, I think this is an extreme situation here, and we need to think about what our consumer dollars are supporting.

CBS advertisers include:

Morgan Stanley
Home Depot
Estee Lauder

Consider getting in touch with some of these companies (the link above can help), and explaining to them why you are taking your business elsewhere.

Via Rather Biased.

Posted by Attila at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

What's Frightening

about this is my confidence that there have been other frauds just as egregious as Rathergate by broadcast news organizations, but people either haven't had the resources to check on them, or if they saw the problems they didn't have a way of speaking out. You could have written a letter to the editor, and maybe gotten it printed—but probably not. If it were printed, only a handful of people would read it.

In the 80s and 90s you could make your own video about media bias and typefaces, and hawk it at gun shows to 5-10 people a day. And if mainstream media types even saw this material, it was easy to write you off as a crank.

I'm having that same feeling now that I did when I was ten years old and Walter Cronkite (whom we trusted in those days) came on the CBS Evening News to talk about all the insect parts that had been found by labs in commercially available hot dogs. To this day I'm a Hebrew National Beef Franks kind of girl—partly for the garlic they're laced with, but also for the rabbinical supervision over their production.

When I was ten, the question in my mind was, "how many insects have I eaten in hot dogs over the course of my life?" And now it's "how many flagrant lies have I swallowed because I've assumed that—despite the way the truth is shaded in the MSM—the bare-bones facts had been verified and could be trusted?" Beyond the spin, there were the facts. And they were reliable, or so I thought.

Now I've got less of a feeling that I can really count on any mainstream news organization at all. CBS, the Boston Globe, AP, and NPR have proven completely unreliable with respect to their fact-checking in areas related to the TANG issue (which no one cares about in the first place, BTW—it's not the crime, as they say . . . ).

The Los Angeles Times is trying to report the story, but bury it at the same time. It has, however, stopped short of lying, so we have to place it on the side of the truth-tellers here. Barely. (As Patterico points out, they place the meat of the allegations in the jump, and never use the word "forgery.")

ABC, Fox, the Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Washington Post are interested in preserving their reputations. They are at the top of the cliff, watching the other lemmings fall through the air, and deciding that they aren't interested in that particuar leap.

There are some journalists who realize what's happening, and want to preserve their reputations.

So the glass, going forward, is half-full. If only it weren't for all those metaphorical insect parts I've eaten over the past three or four decades.

Posted by Attila at 02:41 PM | Comments (4)

Exclusive! Must Credit Little Miss Attila! New Information on Dan Rather!

The following document just fell into my hands. It came from a source I can't disclose, but that's okay because it was authenticated by experts whose names I can't disclose. Except for the ones whose names I announced who now say I've been lying all along, but I can't be lying because what I say is always the truth, Q.E.D.

It's a page from Dan Rather's diary! I have a special, special source. Whom I can't disclose.

I'll never give in. They can't prove it, they can't. They can't, they can't, they can't. I'm the great Dan Rather, and they are trying to take my strawberries. I won't admit it, and they can't fire me because I'm the Great. Dan. Rather. Just because I manufactured evidence for something doesn't mean I'm not the greatest journalist who ever lived. When you're a Great Journalist, you're allowed to make the stories up as you go along.

I wish it weren't Kerry; he's a poopy-head. A real poopy-head. But better than Bush. I'm a Great Journalist, and Kerry is a poopy-head.

They say I don't look like I used to, but the boys still pay for my services. They know I'm the Great Dan Rather. A Great Journalist. Worth paying for the privilege.

I've been turning tricks in the Village. And Kerry is a poopy-head. And I will always be the Great Dan Rather.

Oh, and it's typewritten. Or maybe it's in Crayola or something. I have second-generation copies, but I'm only going to let you see my transcription onto this blog. But my Sooper Secret Experts say that's all you need to see.

Posted by Attila at 11:55 AM | Comments (2)

Catching Up?

If you were watching the football games yesterday—or spending the day in sober reflection—make sure to stop by Bill at INDC Journal's place as well as Rather Biased, and Patterico. Also, check out this wonderful essay by Hindrocket at Power Line, who compares the new media paradigm to that we have had to go through with respect to security issues as a nation in the wake of 9/11.

Also: Protein Wisdom has several link-rich updates on this issue, one of which is both a linkfest and a hilarious faux-interview. With Dan Rather's ego, no less.

Posted by Attila at 04:21 AM | Comments (2)

My Particular

blogging outfit is a T-shirt and cutoffs. But I suspect that's close enough.

Posted by Attila at 01:58 AM | Comments (0)

Rather Not

My prediction: if this thing goes legal, Dan Rather is gone before the end of this year. If not, CBS will wait. Then he'll resign in January or February of '05. Personal projects, time with his family, athlete's foot—something.

This document flap is turning into the Watergate of the Fourth Estate.

This difference is, the media is the message this time.

Posted by Attila at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2004

Prayer Requests

Aaron Hawkins of passed away suddenly. Please pray for him, and for his family, if that's the kind of thing you happen to do.

(Via Protein Wisdom; Jeff wrote a few sentences that serve as a nice mini-eulogy.)

Posted by Attila at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

Wizbang . . .

found the Microsoft Soft Word feature involved in the Rather Hoax.

And Politicalities has the more advanced option.

(Via James.)

And yet one more: Jay Reding sends his version of Clippy to Rather Biased, where it displays next to the post on Bernard Goldberg's take on the scandal.

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

Scott Ott

scoops us all on a series of e-mails from the early 70s that prove Bush was AWOL from the National Guard.

Posted by Attila at 06:18 AM | Comments (0)

Raines to Rather: Just Go. Don't Fight the Power.

. . . And CBS should fire anyone else who actually looked at the documents it presented on its 60 Minutes segment. Forget all the subtleties that are apparent to anyone with even a light background in typography. There are two things that should have leaped to the attention of anyone, even a 20-year-old who's never seen a typewriter in his/her life:

1. The signatures on the real documents don't match the ones on the fakes. That should have raised some questions.

2. The person who created the forged documents didn't even use Courier. The shocker isn't that these were forged, but rather the fact that they were done in such a sloppy fashion.

At this moment I believe this is a story about the failure of the mainstream media (MSM), rather than a story about the election this November. That will change if it appears that somene in the Kerry campaign supplied these fake memos—that's Watergate-level stuff.

Your main links are here: the Weekly Standard, which has a concise summary of the major issues with the problem documents. Powerline, which broke the story, and Drudge, who is also providing regular updates. But don't just go to the main Powerline link; scroll the entire main page while you're there, because Deacon, Rocket, and Trunk are constantly updating on the forgery issue. There were 334 trackbacks to that main post when I was last there; amazing.

Here's my question for the rest of the class: 3.If these memos have been in Jerry Killian's personal files (that his family says he never kept) for three decades, and have only recently been spirited out without the knowledge of his family members (who say they know nothing of their origins), how come they've clearly been copied many times? If they were authentic, the paper itself might be yellowed, but where would all those specks have come from? After all, they've just been sitting there in Killian's personal file for three decades . . .?

Here's a summary of the problems that are being reported with the forged memos. It's meant to be a study guide only, as the story is still developing and the blogosphere is still doing its research. In this case there are far too many issues for any one blogger to cover, so I'm giving you an overview. This is what is being said at present (I'll vouch for the first three items):

4. The suspect memos are kerned. Not just proportionally spaced, as an IBM Selectric "golf ball" would have done, but actually kerned. (Type "To" in your word processor, and look at how the two characters get all cozy. A typewriter can't do that.)

5. There is a single "curly quote" used as an apostrophe, rather than the "tick mark" one sees on typed documents from the 1970s.

6. There is a superscript "th" that comes and goes. Micrsoft Word supplies these automatically, but in those days we were supposed to shift the paper in the typewriter to move the letters in ordinals around, and they didn't end up being smaller: just higher in relation to the numerals.

7. The term "memo to file" can be superimposed on the two separate documents that bear it. Very fishy, in two documents supposedly produced four months apart.

8. The paper in use by the military around that time was not 8 1/2 x 11; it was 8 x 10. Yet the suspicious documents have no lines around the edges to show they've been photocopied in a larger-format machine (yet clearly these are supposed to be copied of copies, given the degradation in quality).

9. Some have detected a pattern in the dots that are apparently supposed to signify age in the document.

10. Jerry Killian apparently referred to his unit using different abbreviations at different times, if we are to believe the suspect documents.

11. The phrase "medical examination" was apparently not used. It should be "flight exam," or "flight physical," or "flying physical."

12. The date 04 May 1972 is incorrect; it should be 4 MAY 1972.

13. One of the suspect memos appears to have been written on a Saturday.

14. Medical exams were supposed to occur by the end of the month in which the pilot was born, so there would be no reason for Bush to be examined at any other time than during the month of July (by the end of the month).

15. Exams were never ordered. It was simply understood that if the physical didn't take place, the pilot wouldn't get paid. It was something individuals were responsible for; their superiors didn't get involved in it.

16. There's not SSCI code at the top of the page, and that is critical for all U.S. Military correspondence. (Aha! Maybe Killian just typed it up at the end of a long day, like we do in corporate America when we sense a political shitstorm brewing 'round us that may get us in trouble 30 years later, after we've died. But Killian didn't type.)

17. The protocol for Killian to refer to his own rank was not "Lt. Colonel." It should have been "LC," or "LTCOL," or "Lieutenant Colonel, [branch of service]."

18. "Commander" is incorrect usage for that time. It should have been "Commanding."

19. Killian's widow, Marjorie Connell, says a) Killian didn't keep his own files; b) the suspicious memos don't sound like they use language he'd actually employ; and c) when he needed records, he wrote things down. But mostly he kept things in his head. Morever, d) he liked G.W. Bush.

20. Killian's son maintains some of the documents were forged.

21. The term "MEMORANDUM FOR" is incorrect for that time frame.

22. There should be no periods after the rank, according to the Air Force style manual of the times.

23. Ditto the abbreviation for Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS). Ixnay on the periods.

24. The phrase "not later than" would never have been spelled out. Only the abbreviation (NLT) would have been used.

25. Lt Col Killian's signature block is incorrect for letters from the 1970's. This document employs a three-line signature element; these were only used by colonels and generals in organizations well above the squadron level.

26. The signature element is placed far to the right, instead of being left justified. The signature element was not supposed to be placed to the right of the document until almost 20 years after the date of this letter, per Air Force standards.

UPDATE: Donald Sensing has more on the military irregularities in the problem memos.

See below for the rest of the linkfest.

Jeff Harrell has a few thoughts;

Little Green Footballs gives us a side-by-side comparison of an "old" memo next to a word-processed one from a few hours ago. They line up exactly.

Dale from Q and O reproduces a CBS graphic that needs no Photoshopping at all.

Allah has lots of juicy goodness.

The Ace of Spades speculates on the possibility that Dan Rather will have to retire over this.

Protein Wisdom has some good links—and, oddly enough, a smartass remark or two. Jeff G. also did his own "on the spot" re-creation of one of the suspect memos, which he says took him all of ten minutes.

James has been updating on this issue as well. Do some scrolling.

Posted by Attila at 04:55 AM | Comments (1)

When Johnny Goes Marching Home . . .

WaPo: Among likely voters, 52-43. Some of this could be bounce, of course—but we were supposed to be living in an era wherein bounces were no longer really possible. At least, that's what we were told.

Via James.

Posted by Attila at 02:33 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2004

Turns Out

. . . the President used to drink, and may even have used drugs, in his youth. I'm shocked, shocked.

For crying out loud: it sounds like everythiing in the Kitty Kelley book is either beating a dead horse (the National Guard business; Dubya and booze/drugs) or is obviously made up (crooked business deals by Laura Bush, suspicious deaths, and the like). Some of it is reminiscent of that stuff Kelley made up about Nancy Reagan.

Even Dubya's former sister-in-law, Sharon Bush, maintains that, no, she didn't confirm this notion that G.W. used to do lines of coke at Camp David. And she's no fan of the Bush family at all.

This is just silly. Any "news outlet" that has this woman on it as a guest is just discredited, in my mind. Go. Dig. Fact-check. If you find something true, then talk to her—but giving her credibility before you've done your research is asinine.

Posted by Attila at 04:48 AM | Comments (1)

The Business of Writing

I'm typing this on my husband's desktop computer. Upstairs I have a brand-new Macintosh laptop that I bought yesterday and haven't set up yet. It's beautiful and I love it, but I have a deadline on Friday and I will send this story in on that day if it kills me. I couldn't resist taking the new machine out of the box, but I'm not going to start working on it until I know I have a few hours to devote to being my own techie. ("Plug and play" only means "easier than a non-Mac," not "foolproof.") Likely this will be tomorrow, since I'm within a few hundred words, several phone calls (fact-checking, doncha know), and another several jokes of really being done with this story.

Tomorrow's also a deadline day, since the husband and I start writing workshops then (his in the morning, and mine in the afternoon). Fortunately, I'm only taking a chapter from my long-neglected novel in with me, and merely had to worry about retrieving it from my old hard drive and printing it out. All week, with my computer broken and lots of writing to do, we've been sharing his office. In a way it's been fun, like summer camp for writers.

It's a terrible way to earn a living, though. If only I could do something, like cable installations, that people are willing to pay money for. I've been practicing for having children: "you'll major in English over my dead body!" Hm. Maybe that's wrong: it should be reverse psychology. How about, "your father and I will be very disappointed if you go into a lucrative career."

We'll try that one.

"Goodnight sweet ladies, goodnight."

Posted by Attila at 01:44 AM | Comments (0)

Perfectly Hilarious

Jay at Wizbang! discusses the virtues in having a President who says funny things, and doesn't take himself too seriously.

Has anyone, by the way, tried to parse out what Bush actually meant when he committed his latest gaffe? I believe that instead of OB-GYNs practicing "their love of women," he meant something like "practice the work they love," and got snarled up as usual. But Jay's right: Kerry's idea of self-deprecating humor is to discuss his hair, and when you reduce those jokes down, they essentially mean, "yes, I do have great hair." There's nothing self-deprecating about it. No humility in this man.

"Isn't it funny that I'm perfect?"

"Well, a) no; and b) you aren't."

Via James.

Posted by Attila at 01:25 AM | Comments (4)

September 08, 2004

"I Would Do Better in Some Fashion, But I Don't Have Time To Explain Exactly How"

Protein Wisdom compares and contrasts the various John Kerrys.

Posted by Attila at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

Advanced Quote-Snipping

Patterico continues his fine work as a one-man fact-checking team for the Old Media. Today he shifts his focus from the L.A. Times and onto the AP, which has been Dowdifying Cheney's speech from the convention.

I don't think Cheney was saying, "if you elect Kerry, we'll be hit again." Because I think he—and everyone in the Administration—thinks we will be. Sooner or later, AQ is going to get past our defenses. The danger Cheney was speaking of was of using the old, failed "law enforcement" model when that does happen, which only perpetuates more terrorism.

Posted by Attila at 01:14 PM | Comments (4)

September 07, 2004


I just found out about Blogshares, which grants any registrant an instant $500 in theoretical Monopoly money to invest in upcoming blogs.

Apparently, Little Miss Attila is worth $7,692.48 in not-quite-real money. Of course, I'm a "buy." Someone just sold 4,000 shares of me—a move he'll find himself regretting quite soon.

It's absorbing, because not only do they set a value on me, but they list the future (theoretical) value of anyone who's linked me recently. In fact, this almost appears to be a sort of alternative ecosystem—a way of establishing value in a still-developing, fluid situation.

This has to be the most fascinating computer game/stock market simulation I've ever seen.

Posted by Attila at 10:48 PM | Comments (5)

The Irish Lass

. . . is starting a syndicate of chick bloggers who support Bush, especially in light of his dynamite speech last week. If you're a chick, stop by and sign up. If you're a guy, go over and offer moral support. If you aren't a Bush supporter, rethink your position.


Posted by Attila at 10:22 PM | Comments (6)

Frogs' Legs

Protein Wisdom gives us "9 French government excuses for forging Niger yellow-cake documents," including:

1. The US hyperpower needed to be taught a lesson, and France—well, France brings the lesson hammer!

2. Those were simply practice forgeries. Our real forgeries totally incriminate the Jews.

And so on. Scoot, now.

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

It's Always Breakfast Time

at my house, at your local Denny's, and at Poliblog. Steven Taylor has an extensive Toast-O-Meter up with lots of campaign links, the latest on polls, and his own witty analysis.

Go; spend a while. I'll see you on the flip side.

Posted by Attila at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

It's About Time

. . . we closed the campaign-trail loophole.


I think this qualifies as a pistol grip, even though it isn't the military style of pistol grip that many people think of straight off when they hear the term. And—joking aside—most gun-control advocates do not seem to want to allow transfer of firearms as gifts: more often, the attitude is that the transaction must go through the state. (That is why I didn't give my mother my favorite gun, my Chief's Special: I loaned it to her, long-term. I don't think California allows me to just give it to her.)

I don't know what Kerry's voting record is on transfer of ownership, but I'll bet there is a contradiction, here.

[If you copy the photo, please know that I'm not the one who named it "Kerryrifle." That was several copies ago; people shouldn't name pictures before they have their coffee—or if they are only piss-ignorant members of the mainstream media.]

UPDATE: Cam Edwards weighs in.

Posted by Attila at 02:18 PM | Comments (2)

Don't Forget

. . . to stop by Kathy Kinsley's place for hurricane updates. Her big roundup is here, but be sure to scroll her main page.

Kay has now sent me a few notes, and though they are leaving the plywood up because of Ivan, they've reinstalled the towel racks in the bathroom. Towel racks! You could fill a book with what I don't know about storm preparation.

Posted by Attila at 01:57 AM | Comments (6)

September 06, 2004

Old Media's Death Throes

I missed this last week, since I was working my job job, but Baldilocks saved the day with a link.

Remember that incident wherein a Chinese newspaper used The Onion as a source for a story about American legislators insisting that a new Capitol building be built—or they were going to leave Washington, D.C.? Funny, that. But who expects the Chinese to "get" American humor, right? It's a different culture, and we must make allowances.

Salon just did the same thing. In a story Mark Follman wrote about credentialed bloggers covering the RNC, he cherry-picked a few "frivolous"-sounding quotes from a handful of RNC bloggers, and discussed Protein Wisdom's tidbits about the party surrounding the convention. The problem, of course, is that Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom was home in Colorado, and his articles about such things as literal pissing contests, dwarf-tossing competitions, getting drunk with Ann Coulter, and Michael Moore eating an entire elk were actually, um, a joke. In other words, the Bush twins weren't really taking part in a dwarf-tossing event. Fancy that. And Coulter didn't really write "Joos for Bush" on Jeff's forehead with a lipstick.

The beautiful part is this: after Jeff blogged about Follman's colossal stupidity (my words, not his), Follman actually showed up in the Protein Wisdom comments section to claim that he was in on the joke all along, and was just "playing along" in order to make an obscure point about other bloggers at the RNC. Uh-huh.

The Captain has a nice takedown of Follman's article in which the Goldstein gaffe is mentioned in passing; it's clear that mainstream journalists (besides being sloppy and literal-minded) can't understand that blogging is a different medium entirely than what they're used to.

One of the Captain's commenters, Kris, offers this small glossary:

A 'Lapham' is time-travel journalism, so it doesn't really fit. Perhaps 'Follman' could be coined to mean something else.

Reporting on something without being there? No, wait, that's a 'Blair.'

Falling for a farce or hoax, and then when called on it, pretending you were 'in on the joke' the whole time?


And, of course, there's the original Alex Beam hatchet piece to consider. It's a scary time for Old Media. They are losing readers and viewers by the minute.

And I wonder why.

Posted by Attila at 02:34 PM | Comments (3)


I'm halfway through my silly non-blogging story, if you count the sidebar, which is all done (unless I think of some more pseudo-witty "tips" to add). I'm perhaps a third of the way through the main text.

I'm trying to remember that they want this light, rather than serious and meditative. They say "funny," but mostly people who claim that only want mildly amusing anecdotes, rather than laugh-out-loud material. If it's the latter they're after, they've got the wrong member of this family on the job.

I did ask my husband if maybe I should just write it, and he should "edit" it after I was done. You know: funny it up. I got a look. All right, all right.

One thing that's easy about working in MS Word is this: to make a word italic, all I have to do is highlight it and hit the "italics" button. Look, Ma!—no html!

My mother suggested that I pretend I'm writing one of those chirpy little holiday letters I send around—60s hausfrau that I am—every Christmas.

And it seems to be working. But ye gads! real writing is hard. I'm a bear of very low attention span.

Posted by Attila at 01:03 AM | Comments (3)

Don't Mess with Laurence

The acerbic Texan is back. What's he doing, when he's not linking me? Grouching around beautifully and holding the line against linguistic corruption:

I write a lot on Command Post: Global War On Terror. Every now and then, a category pops up that I will crush like a whack-a-mole.

Someone changed "Palestinians" to "Palestine" yesterday. Nope. Not on my watch. Changed it back. When you can show me Al-Qaidaville on the map, then I'll believe that there's a Palestine. And Oz. And Mordor. And that Perfect place that seems to be full of Wallgreens.

Every now and then, a Lebanon appears. Sorry. No such thing as Lebanon anymore. Lebanon is a fully-annexed property of Syria. They're Syria's bitch. Merged it back. Sorry, Klinger. You'll have to settle for Toledo.

It's hard to argue, actually. But one of Laurence's own readers, Mark L., weighs in with this little datum:

Of course there is a Palestine. It is right here in Texas -- county seat of Anderson County. About 170 miles north-northeast of where you live, Laurence.

Best way to get there from where you live is up I-46 to SH-19 at Huntsville. Then up 19 to Palestine. When you hit Loop 256 take a right. Then go east on US84 a few miles to reach the Texas State Railroad, where you can catch a ride on a train pulled by a gen-u-ine steam locomotive.

When I lived there, half the time mail from the UK would end up getting routed through the PA first. Made for some interesting postmarks.

Of course if you get pulled over by a cop for speeding in Palestine, best tell him that you are in Pal-es-TEEN, rather than Pal-es-TINE. He might figgure you for a local and just give you a warning. Otherwise you'll give yourself away as an outsider.

I want to go back to Texas someday; I haven't seen nearly enough of it. Really—just the panhandle. And there's a lot of it to see.

Posted by Attila at 12:47 AM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2004

Help Me Fact-Check?

WARNING: Click the link below with caution. Per Susie, it may send you to pop-up heck.

I've got a deadline coming up, so anyone who wants to should feel free to jump in here and dissect this.

The gist is that a lot of Republicans simply take for granted the legislative gains that were (supposedly) won by liberal activists and agitators. Some of it's "fish in a barrel" stuff, but there are a few points here that will require a little digging. E-mail me or leave comments if you have special sources or insight.

One of the obvious spinoff topics for discussion: how should a good libertarian feel about unions specifically and collective bargaining in general?

I'm hoping to send it back to the friend who forwarded it at the end of the week—Friday or Saturday very latest. And, of course, I'll link those who helped, both in my missive and here around the ol' blog.

Posted by Attila at 08:09 PM | Comments (3)


has a thing or two to say about dirty campaigning—and how both sides have been doing it for decades.

Posted by Attila at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

Computers and Men

Yesterday I was so bitchy with my husband that I actually looked at the calendar to see if there was a chemical reason for my hyper-sensitivity on whatever it was that I was sure I was right about.

We Had Words over dinner, and then he finished his work and went off to bed. He's got wall-to-wall deadlines right now, and I'm still waxing dramatic about my interior landscape. I'm not altogether clear on why this man lives with me; it could be that I get 99.9% of his jokes.

Late last night, just as it looked like I might be able to get to sleep, I spilled tonic water on my laptop. At first it appeared that I might have sopped it up in time, and I went about my business—until the keys stopped working. Then I heard a hissing sound.

So today, after church and a quick squabble with my long-suffering spouse, I had to tell him that I suspected I'd hopelessly screwed up my hard drive.

"Well," he replied, "we've been talking about the fact that we need new computers anyway. I guess we'll just get yours sooner. But check and see if we can get a discount for buying two at once."

My marriage is full of these moments, wherein I'm positive I'm right about some small thing and have trouble letting it go. Then my husband commits some extreme act of generosity or love, and I feel like a complete asshole. And of course that isn't the way to look at things either: It's a fatal mistake not to recognize that I bring real assets to this partnership.* But finding the middle ground between extreme egotism on the one hand and a complete lack of assertiveness on the other is an awful lot harder than it looks. It's harder than it should be. (Things should be easy, right? I was born in 1962: does that explain anything?)

I'm a very lucky woman, and it's difficult to remember that fact, particularly through the vaguely depressed fog that goes along with long-term, severe underemployment.

All I can say is, I'm glad I made hamburgers last night (the husband's a fan of All Things Beef). I'm glad I brought breakfast on a tray down to the Attila-Hub's office yesterday (where I'm now typing away on his old desktop machine, as he writes on his laptop). I'm glad I've figured out how to meet my deadlines this week without consistent computer access, or the ability to refer to my files. Glad we have a backup computer, along with all the other material blessings that turn invisible when I start wringing my hands over perceived shortfalls.

The economy is moving up and moving along. So am I. And my little friends at Apple think they can save the data from my old hard drive, though the logic board is toast and the entire machine "not worth fixing." I'll know in a week, and by then I'll have the new computer.

P.S. So what say you guys: should I go for the 15-inch-display laptop, or try to save a few bucks and make it a 12-inch-display model? The smaller one might be more portable.

I'm trying to remember that this will end up being a Good Thing: the old PowerMac was five years old, after all. We needed to do this within 6-12 months, in any event.

* M. Mahatma: Insert joke here? I brought a cooler into this relationship, after all.

Posted by Attila at 04:57 PM | Comments (6)

September 04, 2004

It's Been So Long . . .

since I've taken a stupid web quiz. So here goes:


You are The Cap'n!

Some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some slit the throats of any man that stands between them and the mantle of power. You never met a man you couldn't eviscerate. Not that mindless violence is the only avenue open to you - but why take an avenue when you have complete freeway access? You are the definitive Man of Action. You are James Bond in a blousy shirt and drawstring-fly pants. Your swash was buckled long ago and you have never been so sure of anything in your life as in your ability to bend everyone to your will. You will call anyone out and cut off their head if they show any sign of taking you on or backing down. You cannot be saddled with tedious underlings, but if one of your lieutenants shows an overly developed sense of ambition he may find more suitable accommodations in Davy Jones' locker. That is, of course, IF you notice him. You tend to be self absorbed - a weakness that may keep you from seeing enemies where they are and imagining them where they are not.

What's Yer Inner Pirate?
brought to you by The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site. Arrrrr!

Via The Pirate's Blog.

Posted by Attila at 08:53 PM | Comments (2)

Modern-Day Athena

Athena is known as the goddess of war, practical reason, wisdom, and handicraft. She was also known as the protectress of the city of Athens.

I continue to be thankful that on that memorable occasion when Ilkya linked me, I was not the subject of her fisking (rather, someone whose honor she was, in a sense, defending). Because when she works, she sometimes does it slowly, dissecting in a leisurely fashion like a serial killer whose victim is still alive as she cuts away at the organs.

Until she finally gets out the big knife and sticks it into his heart—and he gives up the ghost.

Naturally, I'm happy that she employs her surgical precision for the cause of Truth.

The woman can write. Take the time and read it. And remember not to get on her bad side.

Posted by Attila at 03:44 AM | Comments (2)

Tales of a Hurricane

I've been wondering how to tell Kay's story. I'll start with her decision to stay put in her house in Wilton Manors, north of Ft. Lauderdale. There really weren't many places for them to go: shelters wouldn't work because she has severe allergies (no—I mean severe), and they can't necessarily get out of Frances' path, since that path appears to potentially encompass all of Florida, along with parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

On Wednesday night we were really starting to worry: Frances was being trumpeted as a Category 4 hurricane, and she was going to be everywhere. When I got home from T'ai Chi class my husband was glued to the Weather Channel. I watched, horrified, as the satellite images showed Frances to be twice the size of Charley.

"Call Kay," I told the Attila-Hub. But I e-mailed her that night as well. He and she spoke the next day.

On Thursday word came—and an e-mail confirmed—that Kay and her erstwhile business partner were going to remain in her house. She reasoned that it wasn't too close to the beach, and had been built in the 1950s, when codes were strict. The roof was bolted on. They were springing into action, though, and boarding up all the windows, securing anything loose, and preparing for an indefinite period of time without power. The have a generator, but got batteries anyway: there was every chance they might lose the car.

As their efforts slowed down, we heard that Frances might be a Category 3 after all. On Friday the news was a sense of anticlimax in Florida: the authorities were having trouble keeping people in shelters for a storm that was supposed to land that day, but hadn't yet. Kay sent us more mail: "hurry up and wait" was the slogan.

She wanted us to help with a message for Frances. Kay's good with details like that. "Give a directional for the storm," I suggested. "Like:

250 miles

Maybe you can fake her out."

So they did that. And then there was more waiting. Kay used the remaining power to bake bread. She fretted about the lumber at a nearby construction site, wherein the owners refused to sell boards to locals. It's apparently just sitting there under a carport-style roof—no walls at all—with nothing much to keep the wind from throwing it into the air. A huge pile of missiles. I hope the company gets the pants sued off it from the damage caused by this stuff, 'cause they had a chance to fix the problem.

More family arrived, and people got snippy for a while as they ran out of things to do. I think that happens. In a weird way I almost envy the Floridians, since they get some warning about natural disasters (our worst disasters here are earthquakes, and they just hit when it suits them). But the waiting game doesn't sound like much fun at all.

They are still waiting as I write this. There's still power there: I got a note just an hour ago.

It'll hit during the day on Saturday. Frances is now officially a Category 2 hurricane.

Mother Nature knows all: the storms that aren't supposed to be all that bad turn out awful. The ones that are supposed to swallow the state whole . . . don't (we hope). She gets the last word.

Please keep Florida in your thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE: Kay's mother just sent a note to everyone on her mailing list ("reply all" can be a beautiful thing). The house held up fine, and so did the spirits of hosts and houseguests alike. The generator is working, so they have power for the fridge—but little else. Apparently, it's turning into quite a fine little camping trip. Naturally, I'll hope to know more when Kay herself gets consistent phone access, or goes online.

Thanks for the good thoughts and positive energy.

Posted by Attila at 02:40 AM | Comments (2)


. . . lives up to her name.

Posted by Attila at 01:47 AM | Comments (0)

Burning Man

Scanman reports from Black Rock Desert:

The weather is cooling down somewhat, and the wind report for the burn tomorrow is promising. Rumor has it from the rangers that the pyrotechnic guys have installed a platform of magnesium under the Man, which should generate quite the fireball!

We relaxed the early part of the evening and watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail and an episode of Firefly on DVD. We're such bums.

Met a 16-year old hacker today. He creates websites for people and installed an ftp server on his Windoze laptop pretty damned fast for transferring photos over the local wireless network.


Scanman is on the left. He and his father were the first Republican acid heads I ever met. At the time, the existence of such people blew my mind—but I was narrow in my youth. I'm making up for that now. Of course, Scanman eventually left the party, but nobody's perfect. He's still an arch-capitalist.


I'll bet it's quite the phenomenon. Me, I'd go just to see people play with fire on that kind of scale. You can take that any way you want.

Posted by Attila at 12:56 AM | Comments (1)

September 03, 2004

So . . .

What does everyone think of my spiffy new digs?

Posted by Attila at 12:42 PM | Comments (14)

Didn't the Republicans

—Bush in particular—keep their mouths shut and the spotlight away from them during the Democratic convention?

That's classy. Too bad Kerry can't bring himself to do that.

Posted by Attila at 02:21 AM | Comments (3)

Ahoy, Me Hearties!

Esmay points out that there are only 13 16 days left until International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ay, Maties; it's time to brush up on your pirate-talkin' skills, lest ye sound like a lubber and some bilge rat take your grog away. Smartly!

Posted by Attila at 01:07 AM | Comments (3)

September 02, 2004

I Guess Bush

. . . decided to accept the nomination.

He did a very nice job. He really exceeded expectations with this address.

I didn't happen to mind all the liberal proposals in his domestic policy, because I have such a soft spot in my heart for all that is do-goodism, but it led me to reflect, once more, on how odd it is that Bush is so frequently described as a conservative, or as a conservative extremist. Reagan was a conservative. Bush is just right of center.

It's also worth noting that he's now the master of that infamous smirk, and it doesn't just flash across his face at inappropriate times. Now, when he's delighted with something his eyes light up, and his smiles have extra dimensions to them. I also think he was very effective when he seemed to be on the edge of tears—and that was so much more genuine than the old Clinton-biting-his-lip routine that we've all seen a dozen times or more.

The speech was beautifully written, and stirringly delivered. I simply can't imagine it being any better than it was. Even the protesters were terrific: nice to see the President have to work to keep his thread going. (And, as the husband points out, he may well have had to do this wearing a Kevlar vest, if our buddies in the Secret Service had their way.) And the Secret Service men were wearing baseball hats with their nondescript suits! Because they were in disguise, doncha know.

And the Texas delegates were sooooo cute in their matching outfits with the Lone Star on the breast, waving their ten gallon hats in the air. I swooned.

G.W. can phone in the rest of the campaign if he likes. Tonight he made his case to Middle America ("to the Reagan Democrats," as Rush suggested this morning), and he did it very well.

Sleep well, George. Thanks for making the world a safer place.

UPDATE: Steven Taylor live-blogged it. I was tempted, but had left the laptop upstairs.

UPDATE 2: James Joyner has a roundup of blogger reactions, minus his—since he was out last night and hasn't watched his TiVo yet. (I was wondering what was going on, and figured all the East Coast bloggers were just early-to-bed types.)

Posted by Attila at 11:36 PM | Comments (3)

A Friend

Accuses me of being "in your face" on my blog lately. Hm. It is an election season, and the stakes are rather high this year. So one is going to hear about this stuff.

Still, I think "in your face" would be to post something like this:

Kerry and Edwards are dead in the water. Bush and Cheney are going to win this thing, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it. The slide has started.

Democracy has a beach head in the Middle East, and within a decade this will mean a more peaceful world. Al Qaeda will be vanquished. In a few decades you'll have the chance of looking back and recognizing that you backed the wrong horse. Or not.

Like Ronald Reagan, Bush is the right guy for the right time, and the future democracies of the Middle East will one day look upon G.W. as Eastern Europeans do Reagan, who destroyed the chokehold socialism had on their countries.

Just so you know what it looks like.

Posted by Attila at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

At Lunch Today

My father brought out that old chestnut, "Osama bin Forgotten."

I told him bin Laden would be captured or killed within a year. He asked if I'd post such a thing publicly. Delighted, I replied.

And he wanted to know why I thought this would occur.

"Because this country has lots of money," I told him. "People like money. There isn't too much of it in Pakistan. Sooner or later someone's going to decide they want some of it. And there it will be."

"You think one of his cohorts are going to sell him out?"

"I know it," I replied. "And then the Special Forces guys will be knocking on his door."

My father has declared me "provincial" because I don't read the New York Times. I know, I know: I could play the "Jason Blair" card, but it would be too easy.

Posted by Attila at 10:32 PM | Comments (4)


I don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but Jeff's home. In Colorado. On the couch in front of the TV with his wife. He's reading. She's knitting. Dinner was beef stroganoff, light on the noodles (Atkins, you know). They're feeding the dog and then going to bed early.


Posted by Attila at 10:24 PM | Comments (1)


. . . has a fun little story about an Ikea store that opened in Saudi Arabia. Some of the local denizens hadn't been re-reading their Emily Post, and . . . well . . .

Posted by Attila at 02:22 AM | Comments (2)


. . . has an interesting, meditative little essay on the development of the ARPA net, which of course turned into the internet. Worth a look.

Posted by Attila at 01:49 AM | Comments (0)

The Limb I've Been Out On

for months seems to be getting a lot shorter, all of a sudden.

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


. . . gives us some "bite-sized toast," which is lovely.

But next time could I maybe have some silver-dollar pancakes, please? That would be even better.

With Mrs. Butterworth syrup, if you've got it.

Posted by Attila at 12:40 AM | Comments (3)

September 01, 2004

He May Be a Sonofabitch . . .

But—you know.

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

The Swifties Offer a Truce

Check out their letter, reprinted over at Xrlq's place.

It's an olive branch; wonder what the Kerry people will do with it.

Posted by Attila at 01:40 AM | Comments (5)

Choose Life . . . Or Something Like It

Karol discusses the pro-life element at the RNC, and the pro-choicers there as well. And the fact that they weren't always at each other's throats.

Mandatory reading: this will be covered in your final exam.

Posted by Attila at 12:52 AM | 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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