May 30, 2005

"Happy Memorial Day"

Goldstein has your holiday dialogue between self and soul (or, in his case, between him and his fictitious deadbeat neighbor).

Conclusions from his comments section: we can remember those who have sacrificed to keep this country free, and then grill chicken and listen to the Steve Miller Band.

And, in my particular case, celebrate having married the funniest guy on earth eight years ago this weekend. (The actual anniversary was Tuesday, but I like to think the whole weekend is an extended celebration of this groovy thang we got goin'.)

Pray and reflect in the morning; fire up the grill in the afternoon. There's room for both.

Posted by Attila at 01:35 AM | Comments (2)

May 29, 2005

Fred Thompson 2008?

Instapundit writes:

Several readers email to say that a Thompson/Rice, or a Rice/Thompson, ticket would suit them just fine for 2008. The GOP could do worse. And probably will!

Weren't we just talking about the general ineptness of the Republican leadership? Glenn's probably right, sad to say.

But putting Thompson on the ticket would be a smart, smart move. People love that man: even liberals find themselves responding to his conservative character on Law & Order.

If I were a democrat, I'd be very afraid of Thompson and Rice—no matter who was at the top of the ticket. I'd be happier to have Rice there as VP versus not being on the ticket at all.

These people are gold.

Here's the man behind the "draft Thompson" campaign, and here's your portal to the "draft Condi" movement.

Grass roots, baby. Get on it.

Posted by Attila at 12:01 AM | Comments (13)

May 28, 2005

I Loved Erica Jong's Books

. . . when I was a teenager. She's a good fiction writer. But she may not belong in the blogging world. You decide: here's a post she wrote in Huffington's blog regarding the preservation of embryos, and here's a response to that by Eugene Volokh, exposing the weaknesses in her argument.

Posted by Attila at 03:28 PM | Comments (3)

May 27, 2005

Star Wars: Episode III

Attila the Hub and I went to see The Revenge of the Sith today, and it was reasonably good. I was unable to figure out what they would have called it if they had stayed with The Revenge of the Jedi in the first trilogy. Would this then have to be entitled The Return of the Sith? You should be glad you aren't me, and don't have to think these thoughts.

It's impossible not to feel a bit wistful, wondering what it would be like to see one of the prequels—this one especially—without knowing ahead of time how they come out. Why, oh why didn't Lucas tell the story the right way around? Well, you know. He just didn't.

And there's a certain annoyance factor in listening to Wookies make that noise they make, and being asked to watch sword fights between Yoda and regular-size people. Well, well, well. At least some of us got over being short, and it's too bad George Lucas isn't one of them. Talk about your wish fulfillment scenes.

But that all goes with the territory: it is Star Wars, after all. I've been watching these movies most of my life. It's bound to wear a person down.

And then there is the political subtext injected into this part of the story with a big on-the-nose needle: "only a Sith would think in black and white." The lefty lines were obvious, and didn't go too well with the rest of the story.

Jason Apuzzo writes in Libertas, the excellent blog by the Liberty Film Festival people:

So what is Episode III? The film is the story of young Anakin Skywalker’s temptation to the Dark Side, and his transformation into the monstrous Darth Vader - the villain who loomed so darkly over the original Star Wars trilogy. Yes, there are other aspects to the film, as have been widely publicized. Yes, there is a kind of muddled liberalism that occasionally escapes the mouths of characters - particularly in important moments, such as the final confrontation between Vader and his one-time friend and mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, Vader mouths lines in that moment that are clearly intended to echo President Bush’s “for us or against us” speech before Congress. But over the course of a 2hr. 20min. film - a film that still somehow feels rushed - these are annoying distractions rather than central components of the story. And I could not help but think as I watched them that these lines were planted precisely to provoke the faux-controversy that now engulfs the film - just another of Lucas’ marketing schemes, to go along with the Pez dispensers and inflatable chairs. [Buy this Wookie coffee mug and win a free on-line subscription to!]

Revenge of the Sith lives or dies - and I believe lives - according to one central relationship in the story. Much as Return of the Jedi hinged on the fraught relationship between Luke Skywalker and his father, Sith revolves around the complex relationship between Anakin Skywalker and his mentor-cum-Mephistophelean tempter, Chancellor Palpatine. The best moments in the film - and by far the best moments in the entire prequel trilogy - come in the quiet, private moments between these two characters, as Palpatine weaves a complex web to ensnare his young charge. Critics have been right to praise Ian McDiarmid for his performance - Lucas and Hayden Christensen should also be praised for what they bring to this aspect of the drama. Much like Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, Anakin suffers from premonitions of harm to others. In Empire Luke fears for the lives of Leia and Han, tortured by Luke’s father in Cloud City. Luke’s fears lead him into a trap. In Sith, Anakin has nightmarish premonitions of his wife Padme’s death in childbirth. He shares these fears with Palpatine, who then tempts Anakin with promises of power over life and death - if only Anakin will succumb to the Dark Side, where such “unnatural” powers can be explored. Palpatine’s seduction is pure Garden of Eden stuff - tempting the young innocent with the ‘knowledge’ of good and evil.

I also found that central relationship interesting. It attempts to answer the question we've been asking since the first Star Wars trilogy: how does a good man turn to evil? And what else does it change about him? How, essentially, does this transformation occur? Some people find it impossible to believe that an impulse as good as wanting to save the life of a loved one could lead to a process of corruption so total, it drives a man mad with power. The film isn't without its flaws, but I do buy that central thesis: we can be corrupted by the decisions we make. I keep remembering a line from one of the Agatha Christie mysteries wherein Hercule Poirot proclaims, "we all know the effect of a murder on the victim. What interests me is the effect on the murderer." And all the best crime writers discuss this issue of moral decay: How a person could get there from here.

That's it. Our choices shape the world around us, but they also shape us. Perhaps not so quickly and dramatically as when Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader, but in other ways. And in real life it usually takes longer. I kept remembering, as I watched this story, about the corruption of Benedict Arnold: his marriage to a loyalist woman, his participation in loyalist society. Life's real seductions take months and years, unlike the speedier ones of a sexual nature. But it does appear to go quickly: next thing you know, you're asking George Washington for command of West Point with the intent of turning it over to the British.

Episode III accomplishes what it needs to. As my husband points out, watching it in the abstract would be rather like seeing The Two Towers on its own: vaguely unsatisfactory. As it is, we're seeing the last piece of a puzzle fall into place.

I kept expecting Obi-Wan to die, and remembering that of course he does not: he needs to stay alive, so he can become the Alec Guinness of my adolescence. The whole telling-a-story-inside-out approach is profoundly odd.

But the movie is visually compelling, and Jar-Jar Binks doesn't utter a word. So I'd call it a worthwhile way to spend the afternoon.

Someday I'd like to see them all, chronologically, within the same weekend—and really get a sense of how well the entire story fits together. Then I'd never have to watch any of them ever again: I'd be done.

Posted by Attila at 10:40 PM | Comments (11)

Lair Had a Rough Day.

Oh, yeah.

Posted by Attila at 12:21 AM | Comments (2)

May 26, 2005


I'm pretty much with Jeff of BA on the "Saddam's tighty-whities" issue. Abu Ghraib was an embarrassment. But this? It's such a tiny sliver—a percentage of a percentage—vs. what the man deserves.

Military people can worry about the professionalism of those who sold these images to the British tabloids. But I'm at peace with it.

(And, off-topic: is that a great picture of Juliette on her home page, or what? I was two seats away from her when it was taken, and I was so happy when she replaced the old pic with it. She has a delicate beauty about her in person that I'd never seen anyone capture in a still before.)

Posted by Attila at 11:31 PM | Comments (3)

Health Update

Thanks for being so sweet, everyone: I'm better now.

I'm pretty convinced that I've had some kind of teensy lung inflammation, because for a lot of the day today I had that sort of sensation I associate with Whittier in the 70s, or the San Fernando Valley in the 80s: that kind of "oh-shit-I-can't-breathe-deep" sort of feeling. But the feeling is 95% gone.

Although I'm not so sure the problem was actually in my lungs. K's theory of pleurisy sounds close, but I was just never in too much pain. I was simply scared, because heart disease is the bogeyman under my bed: I've been hearing about Mr. Heart Disease all my life.

In the past few years my mother has taken to breaking her harangues about heart disease in order to mention that there's cancer on my father's side of the family, and I musn't forget to be terrified of Heart Disease's evil twin, Mr. Cancer. It's a wonder I've ever held down a job at all, what with this sitting around being petrified of heart disease and cancer.

It occurs to me that I've been so busy being afraid of heart disease and cancer, I haven't quite noticed that my actual weaknesses are my tender teeth, sensitive skin, and allergies—or that the realistic danger lies not in carrying nitroglycerin around with me, but having to wheel an oxygen tank everywhere I go in my old age.

Not that there aren't worse things, mind you. But sometimes our preconceived notions hold us back. I may have been fighting the wrong battles.

I like to think I'll somehow make that oxygen tank stylish, though: maybe I can get flames painted on mine, so it resembles the hot rods of old.

Posted by Attila at 11:05 PM | Comments (5)

It's an Ann-alanche!

I seem to have stumbled into a clique of elite legal bloggers, and tripled my traffic in one day. (Seriously: it's at, like, pre-election levels.)

Posted by Attila at 10:39 PM | Comments (1)

May 25, 2005

If I Were Althouse,

I'd be filing that restraining order against Goldstein, not Reynolds.

But, you know: it's her restraining order.

UPDATE: It was Allah! Dang! Goldstein points out that he would have worked the jail sex-angle. Which, of course, he would have. My mistake.

Posted by Attila at 09:29 PM | Comments (4)

Well. Got Out of Balancing My Checkbook.

I had strange chest pains today, and drove myself to the local hospital. Imagine the absurdity: a pre-menopausal non-smoking female in the emergency room complaining of chest pain. One who is 42 years old, but looks 35 or so. I might just as well have shown up and announced I was coming down with hypchondria.

But all my life my mother has drummed it into my head, after all the heart attacks her parents had, that I need to watch out for anything that looks remotely like cardiac illness. And my sister-in-law in the Bay Area has severe heart problems that went undiagnosed for years because they didn't "present" properly.

I wouldn't let my husband drive me; he has a "pitch" tomorrow for a children's television show that I think will be wonderful if the studio in question is smart enough to buy it. I took a book and my cell phone, and set out to make an ass of myself. (It turns out those items are the two most important things to take with you: if you have to choose, take the book.)

I was sort of hoping that the triage lady would check my blood pressure and send me home with some sort of stern words about wasting her time. But no: they drew blood, asked for a urine sample, stuck an IV needle into me (just in case) and hooked me up to a machine to monitor my pulse. The machine also took my blood pressure every 20 minutes or so, like some sort of cyborg nurse: the cuff would suddenly swell, and I was supposed to lie still until it got its reading and deflated iself.

They X-rayed me right there in the bed, and then took an EKG reading.

Everything is normal, though I was there for over four hours. (And it would have been much worse if I didn't live in such a sleepy little town.)

Eventually the nurse gave me what they call a "GI cocktail," which was supposed to make me better if the root cause were/is indeed some sort of upset tummy. I thought their disgusting potion was helping, though in retrospect the reasons I started to feel better afterward were probably 1) a desperate boredom, after I finished my book (make sure that you take something that's several hundred pages long, rather than a slim volume on the Roman Catholic liturgy)—which led to wishful thinking that the sensation was going away, and 2) the fact that I was flat on my back, and not using much oxygen. After all, it only hurts when I breathe deeply.

The worst of it is that I didn't wolf down the peanut butter protein bar I took along. (Make sure to gobble up your protein bar on the way to the hospital.) And now I've been instructed to stick with clear liquids for the rest of the evening. I'm on my second can of chicken broth, the last can of broth in the house.

I wanted to scream at them, "but don't you see? If I do just have an upset stomach, it's from not eating enough today. And now you're making it worse."

But I didn't. I'll hang on as long as I can, and when I do break, it'll be with something bland like rice. What a girl scout.

To my list of complaints about the human body, I'd like to add this one: there should be no such thing as "nonspecific chest pain." All sensations should be localized to a particular organ, rather than free-floating like this. If I have a tummyache, it should damn well feel like a tummyache."

The whole thing is probably a testament to my iron constitution: I so rarely have any kind of digestive problem that when I do it feels like the end of the world. Or at least like a heart attack.

It's been six hours. Isn't this odd?

If I ever do have a heart attack for real, though, I'll try to live-blog it: that would be cool.

Posted by Attila at 07:57 PM | Comments (12)

May 24, 2005

Oh, Those Newsweaklings

Iowahawk has the story on the riots in Dairy Country:

Newsweek Lutefisk Story Sparks Fury Across Volatile Midwest

Decorah, IA - The debris-strewn streets of this remote Midwestern hamlet remain under a tense 24-hour curfew tonight, following weekend demonstrations by rock- and figurine-throwing Lutheran farm wives that left over 200 people injured and leveled the Whippy Dip dairy freeze. The rioting appeared to be prompted, in part, by a report in Newsweek magazine claiming military guards at Spirit Lake’s notorious Okoboji internment center had flushed lutefisk down prison toilets. Newsweek’s late announcement of a retraction seems to have done little to quell the inflamed passions of Lutheran insurgents in the region, as outbreaks of violent mailbox bashings and cow tippings have been reported from Bowbells, North Dakota to Pekin, Illinois.

Whether the violence was triggered by Newsweek’s report of lutefisk desecration or frustration over chronic shortages of Beanie Babies and Old Style, one thing seems certain – occupying U.S. troops face a steep road to reestablish trust in this tinderbox of ancient hatreds and delicious dairy products. Some analysts say the latest outbreak represents the most vexing challenge to US strategy since its invasion of the region three years ago.

“It could be months before we get the area back under control,” said Brigadier Gen. Glen Hastings of the US Army’s Southern Minnesota Command. “We’re hoping the tractor pull and swap meet seasons will help calm down some of the violent elements.”

Read the whole thing. It's funny; you betcha.

Posted by Attila at 11:38 PM | Comments (3)

James Taranto

. . . summarizes the deal for averting procedural changes in the Senate:

We favor an end to the obstruction of judicial nominees via filibuster, and it strikes us that this agreement is likely to accomplish that, at least for this Congress (after which the agreement expires). If so, the nuclear option will have shown its value as a deterrent.

The agreement binds the 14 senators who signed it to vote for cloture (i.e., against a filibuster) of the three remaining nominees the Democrats have most demonized: Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and Bill Pryor. The compromisers expressly "make no commitment to vote for or against cloture" of two additional nominees, William Myers and Henry Saad. The status of two other nominees, Brett Kavanaugh and William Haynes, is unclear. Early this afternoon the Senate voted 81-18 for cloture on Owen's nomination; an actual confirmation vote should come by tomorrow.

The 14 also agreed not to filibuster judicial nominees except "under extraordinary circumstances" and to oppose the nuclear option. Since there are 48 Republicans and 38 Democrats (including Jeffords) who are not parties to the agreement, at least three compromising Democrats would have to find "extraordinary circumstances" in order to sustain a filibuster. If at least two Republicans disagreed and thus concluded the Dems were violating the agreement, they could abandon the pledge and go nuclear.

All this may be academic, though. The most crucial passage in the agreement may prove to be this one: "Each signatory must use his or her own discretion and judgment in determining whether such ['extraordinary'] circumstances exist." As a practical matter, this applies only to the Democratic signatories, since no Republican has ever voted to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee.

The seven Democratic signatories, that is, have now declared that they will decide how to vote on judicial filibusters rather than take directions from the party. Two of them, Robert Byrd and Daniel Inouye, probably did so largely to preserve "Senate tradition"; but the other five--Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor and Ken Salazar--are all generally moderate, and all from red states except Lieberman. Their inclinations and political interests diverge from those of Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy and other far-left blue-staters.

If left-wing Democrats want to filibuster another nominee, they will have to persuade Minority Leader Harry Reid to risk another nuclear confrontation and persuade at least one of the moderate compromising five, plus Byrd, Inouye and every single uncompromising Dem, that it's worth it. It could happen, but we're not betting on it.

Which appears pretty accurate. Now go to the site: it's the best of the web, after all.

Posted by Attila at 11:01 PM | Comments (3)

"Why Would a Libertarian Vote for Bush?"

You asked; Virginia Postrel answered. It's actually fairly compelling.


Posted by Attila at 09:17 PM | Comments (1)

M. Simon

. . . has plenty to say. Go to his main page and scroll down.

Each of the RINOs wanted something for their vote. Frist unlike LBJ don't play that.

And now the Rs are going to strangle their party for funds; because they do not know how to play finesse politics. Where is LBJ when you need him?

So back to square one.

What can the RINOs and Republicans agree on? Get that passed. Forget the rest. This is not religion where absolutes rule. This is politics. And politics has its limits.

I have been saying this since May of '03. Evidently some of you have not been reading my memos and taking them to heart.

And now you want to give up the game because you can't win all the marbles.

Republicans are not going to remake the judiciary. The best they can hope for is to move things a bit in the desired direction. Isn't that enough?

Any idea why the Rs are called the stupid party?

I have a few.

Posted by Attila at 02:22 PM | Comments (1)

The Importance of Unblocking Janice Rogers Brown

Sissy Willis publishes excerpts from Brown's writing, explaining why the liberal establishment could not abide the advancement of such a powerful thinker and writer who knows the evils of collectivism.

Particularly one who is black.

It's true that her advancement is of some importance. Perhaps tremendous importance.

Posted by Attila at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)


. . . has a handgunning question. It's an interesting one.

I suggested a rifle, and then re-read Aaron's original question. Longarms are cheating.

Posted by Attila at 12:39 AM | Comments (6)

May 23, 2005

The Constitutional Option, Averted for Now

First of all, I do think John McCain is one of the most unfortunate legislators in history. The man should be in the sequel to National Treasure: he's certainly done tremendous damage to a document that's pivotal to our history. (Though of course it's the Constitution he's trashing, rather than the Declaration of Independence. He's been especially destructive to the First and Second Amendments. You know: the important ones.)

That said, the rightosphere should take a chill pill regarding today's compromise in the Senate. There's a lot going on here, and everyone has his or her own theory; here's Blackjack's:

I'm not going to sugarcoat it -- the Republicans probably could have gotten a better deal than they did. What I can do for you is tell you why they jumped on the deal and it is also the reason why this deal is ultimately a net win for Republicans. The answer is just three words long:

Janice Rogers Brown

Did you honestly think that opposition to Janice Rogers Brown was based on political philosophy? Yeah, right -- and I'm Pat Freaking Boone. The reason that Democrats didn't like (read: were scared to death of) Brown is because they know two things:

1. Their most solid voting bloc is African-Americans
2. This bloc is slowly eroding over time.

True enough. But the real reason behind this compromise—in my mind—is a second proper noun:

Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The odds are good—or, if you like, the risk is real—that she'll end up in the White House in 2009. If you believe (as I do) that her true convictions are considerably to the left of her behavior in the Senate, you should take very seriously the idea of her nominating judges, particularly to SCOTUS.

The judicial filibuster is a tool that we may well need someday in the not-too-distant future.

I know everyone's going to get mad at me for saying this, but I'm with George Will on this one:

Some conservatives say there is a "constitutional right'' to have an up-or-down Senate vote on nominees. But in whom does this right inhere? The nominees? The president? This is a perverse contention coming from conservatives eager to confirm judges who will stop the promiscuous discovery by courts of spurious constitutional rights. And conservatives eager to confirm judges respectful of the Constitution's text should not read its stipulation that no nominee shall be confirmed without a favorable Senate vote as a requirement that the Senate vote.

     Some conservatives oddly seem to regret the fact that the government bristles with delaying and blocking mechanisms—separation of powers, bicameral legislature, etc. The filibuster is one such mechanism—an instrument for minority assertion. It enables democracy to be more than government-by-adding-machine, more than a mere counter of numbers. The filibuster registers intensity, enabling intense minorities to slow or stop government.

     The crucial, albeit unwritten, rule regarding judicial nominees was changed forever 18 years ago by the Bork confirmation fight: Now both sides in the Senate feel free to judge and accept or reject nominees on the basis of their judicial philosophies. So, conservatives, think:

     The future will bring Democratic presidents and Senate majorities. How would you react were such a majority about to change Senate rules to prevent you from filibustering to block a nominee likely to construe the equal protection clause as creating a constitutional right to same-sex marriage?
 And pruning the filibuster in the name of majority rule would sharpen a scythe that one day will be used to prune it further. If filibusters of judicial nominations are impermissible, why not those of all nominations—and of treaties, too?

Let's try to think long-term, here.

Hat tip: Jeff G., with whom I cannot agree this particular time.

Posted by Attila at 11:32 PM | Comments (13)

It's Important That We Remember

. . . which party was filibustering civil rights legislation.

Posted by Attila at 01:25 AM | Comments (2)

Die, Drug War! Die!

I've always known that Desert Cat and I largely agreed about the evils of the drug war (and in particular Marijuana Prohibition). But I'd never before read this piece of his, in which he explains why his postions are not inconsistent with his evangelical beliefs.

It's pretty convincing.

Posted by Attila at 12:54 AM | Comments (3)

May 22, 2005

I Love Social History.

And I love Dean's set of questions for the elderly. I plan to ask them of my grandmother, who is in her 90s.

I've always been fascinated by the history of housework: how things used to get done before we had little machines to handle it all. How meals got cooked. How it all worked.

Life was hard, and people were much more vulnerable to disease. And yet, there was an acceptance of self-denial that served the Greatest Generation very well.

I was born in 1962, at a time when an overly optimistic world view appeared to promise all of us a world of unending bounty. No more suffering. Just blue skies and big fluffy clouds.

In some ways, it's a good world view to have, but it's never entirely aligned with the flesh-and-blood reality, and there have been a couple of painful adjustments here and there.

Posted by Attila at 11:35 PM | Comments (2)

I Saw George Lucas Plain

. . . outside a dinner honoring Steven Spielberg. That was the first time I realized how truly hellish fame would be. The paparazzi were yelling his name, and the names of anyone else they recognized who walked through the doors. The constant yelling of names had become a very loud whirring of helicopter blades. There was something intensely ugly about it, and Lucas is about my height—that is to say, very short for a man. He almost looked scared, though I'm sure he had become acclimated to these events.

Mira Sorvino was near me on my other side. Her star was just starting to rise, and she was almost in tears from the crush of photographers, and the constant yelling of her name.

Holy fucking shit, I thought. How many people in this country think they want to live this way? No privacy. No boundaries. People in your face day and night. You'd live in a fishbowl. Hell.

Lucas was at a party once in the 90s where a friend of mine had wandered by. She had just started doing some writing for Spielberg, and she got introduced to Lucas, who really seemed to embody the classic engineer sensibility: he wanted to talk to her endlessly. I'm not so sure he was interested in her, exactly. It's just that his lack of social skills made him want to play it safe. Why look for another conversation when you already have one?

She found herself using the word "boyfriend" as much as she could, and plotting about how to exit the conversation without hurting his feelings. And she laughed at the irony of it all: most actresses in this town would have killed to have Lucas pinning them down in conversation at a party.

Yes, you are thinking. But they have nice toys.

No number of toys would be worth living on the front lines in the entertainment industry. Not a car. Not a house. Nothing.

Posted by Attila at 09:24 PM | Comments (3)

Glenn Reynolds

. . . continues his boycott of me. My head is bloody, but unbowed.

It's been suggested that if my site stopped sucking, he'd link to me. Not so!—my site has only sucked for a few weeks. Maybe a month at the outside. And he's been boycotting me for over two years, ever since I started blogging.

I must be a very important blogger to get this kind of negative attention from Glenn. Deep down, he fears my power.

Posted by Attila at 08:51 PM | Comments (5)

This Is Worrisome.

The Syrian Army is in Iraq.

Via Protein Wisdom, where Jeff appears convinced that Malkin and Hewitt are upset about relatively minor things.

Posted by Attila at 08:42 PM | Comments (1)

Cathy Young

. . . discusses the murders of women and gay men, which of course are acceptable under certain conditions.

Via Insty.

Posted by Attila at 12:45 AM | Comments (2)

May 21, 2005

Bill Whittle's Latest

. . . is out. I haven't read it yet, since I want to allow enough time to sink my teeth into it and not rush. After all, his essays are the Russian novels of the blogosphere.

But Sissy Willis has the link, a summary, and a few choice excerpts. A little taste.

Posted by Attila at 07:49 AM | Comments (3)

Links in my comments.

See if you can leave them now. If not, I'm going to have to call in the heavy artillery (people who know what they're doing with web pages).

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

May 20, 2005


. . . contemplates his roots.

Posted by Attila at 11:50 PM | Comments (3)

May 19, 2005

Reynolds and Sullivan

. . . are having a bit of a spat. A very polite one, so far.

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

May 18, 2005

The Ultimate

. . . Toast Roundup, in case you're following the buzz. But don't do that at the expense of reading the site iteself.

Posted by Attila at 09:36 PM | Comments (1)

Someone Was Up Late Last Night

Jeff of BA (Beautiful Atrocities, and the Bay Area) has some suggestions for those of us who just haven't been able to figure out the question of our day—that is, how to flush the Quran down a toilet:

• Flush Cliff's Notes on Quran instead. (This is cheating)

• Place Quran in toilet bowl. Add 1 quart of lye. Let stew for several days. Try to avoid using toilet during this period, or you will have disgusting mess on your hands. (If smell unbearable, add a little Old Spice or Brut.)

• Eat entire Quran page by page. Defecate. If necessary, use Milk of Magnesia

I always want to give up blogging when I stop by Jeff's place. Now read the whole thing.

Posted by Attila at 12:27 AM | Comments (3)

May 17, 2005

When Analogies Mislead

There's a great summary over at Photon Courier of a study that shows people can make analogies from the flimsiest resemblences. In the test scanario, subjects were inspired to find analogies between a hypothetical threat from one nation to another: and it was shockingly easy to get them to see either the Vietnam war or WWII as parallels.

Quite an insight into our teeny tiny minds.

Posted by Attila at 10:51 PM | Comments (6)

May 16, 2005

Best. Blogtitle.


Posted by Attila at 10:51 PM | Comments (2)

The Rosetta Stone

to Huffington's Toast can be found here.

Apparently, there are only two "franchise" characters. One is spelled out in the cast list above. The other is not, so we're still free to speculate. I'm going to go with Jeff Goldstein as Martha Stewart, for obvious reasons. I'm very sad that I was wrong about Moxie's specific role, but I think life will go on. I'm also going to go out on a limb and suggest that Jeff was Harry Reid today.

So as a general rule, there's no telling which blogger wrote which particular parody on that site, making it a collaborative piece not unlike improv comedy—except, of course, that no one is "locked in" to any particular character (with two exceptions).

Let's remember to drop by these bloggers' main sites as well as going for our daily Toast. I'm also going to predict that this parody will still be going even after Arianna gives up on the Post itself.

Posted by Attila at 10:23 PM | Comments (3)

Frank J. on the Newsweaklings

You know, I haven't helped to get someone fired since Mary Mapes, and I've got that itchy feeling again. And I'm not the only one.

Apparently, W. got so mad, he started his own blog:

"So it's rioting in the Middle East and guess who has to deal with it," Condoleezza Rice complained, "Me, that's who. Why couldn't I be Secretary of Defense?"

"Because diplomacy is for women and kill'n is for men," Rumsfeld answered.

"I'll show you killing!" Condi shouted and approached Rumsfeld.

"Let's save our violence for Newsweek," Bush said, "Now hand me my fact-checker."

"The 12-gauge?" Condi asked.

"That'll do."

Laura walked into the room. "Are you going to use violence to solve a problem again?"

"No, dear," Bush answered, stuffing his pockets with shotguns shells.

"You know, when someone in the media writes something that isn't true," Laura told him, "the popular and effective way to combat it is to blog about it."

"Blog!" Rumsfeld yelled, "Sounds like something for homosexuals."

Via Insty.

Posted by Attila at 02:18 PM | Comments (4)

The WTC Site

remains barren; the bureaucrats who are haggling about how to proceed might want to read this Wall Street Journal article.

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


. . . writes about the Supremes taking their sweet time adjudicating California's medical marijuana law; it's a nice summary of the legal issues involved.

Here's my constitutional reasoning: we passed a freakin' law. For the Feds to come in here and arrest cancer patients who are following state law is just outrageous.

Growing dope and then smoking it is not commerce, any more than knitting a scarf and wearing it is. If the weed wasn't purchased, you must acquit.

If SCOTUS upholds the Feds on this, I'm going to scream. And you'll be able to hear me around the world. After that, I'll hold my breath until I turn blue. Then I'll join the tunnel-vision single-issue losers at NORML, out of frustration.

Posted by Attila at 01:53 AM | Comments (13)

Don't Mess With Hillary

Mark Steyn, in his essay "Not Over the Hill" (should be at the top of this page for a while), tells us why we should be concerned about Hillary's impending candidacy.

Why, in short, he thinks she'll probably win.

Posted by Attila at 12:53 AM | Comments (3)


explains that it's sorry it reported that the Koran was being desecrated at Guantanamo, but it's not that sorry, even though people died because of it. And—hey!—look over there! Something shiny!

Posted by Attila at 12:10 AM | Comments (4)

May 15, 2005

Nabil al-Wazer Safe at Home!

Thanks to Jane at Armies of Liberation for pressuring the Yemenis to do the right thing for a change by enforcing their own laws.

Of course, if they want to be taken seriously, the religious persecution within their country has got to stop.

But let's give credit where credit is due: they recovered al-Wazer, and he is apparently safe from both the kidnappers and the crooked people inside his own government.

I was ready for some good news.

Posted by Attila at 04:20 PM | Comments (1)

On Arianna's Toast

There's a nice little roundup of Huffington's Toast here. It's not comprehensive, but it'll get you started.

When all is said and done, I think "Toast" may get a lot more attention that the Huffington Post. It's certainly more interesting (unless Arianna wants me to write for her, in which case of course the "Post" is brilliant and puts the "blog" in "blogosphere").

Posted by Attila at 03:40 PM | Comments (1)

Some Flaws in the Test Design, I Fear:

My friends won't recognize me at all, I'm afraid. But I'm old and it's almost bedtime and I just had cookies, so there's that. (Isn't it cool that popping an Ambien every now and then isn't one of the Seven Deadlies?)

Your Deadly Sins

Pride: 40%
Envy: 20%
Greed: 20%
Sloth: 20%
Gluttony: 0%
Lust: 0%
Wrath: 0%
Chance You'll Go to Hell: 14%
You will die from faulty botox injection.
How Sinful Are You?

Got it from the Llamas, who apparently also have a 14% chance of going to hell. Maybe we can get together and gossip amidst the flames.

Posted by Attila at 12:37 AM | Comments (9)

"Black Waco"

I'd forgotten that Friday was the 20-year anniversary of the MOVE tragedy in Philly.

Via Insty.

UPDATE: Here's a reprint of an article the Wall Street Journal ran ten years ago about that event, and how the MOVE fire, Waco, and Ruby Ridge together appeared to pose questions about our federal and local authorities that never got fully answered.

So we have to keep asking. These jokers work for us.

Posted by Attila at 12:28 AM | Comments (2)

May 14, 2005

My Friend K

. . . is a one-woman news desk. Check out her blog.

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

Nabil al-Wazer Kidnapped

Jane reports that Nabil al-Wazer was kidnapped in Yemen; please drop by to express your support and your hope that he will be found and released, rather than killed (accidentally on purpose) by the government.

It's really important that we shine a bright light on this situation. Please.

Posted by Attila at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)

Just Brilliant.

An underground cabal of funny bloggers have taken up the challenge of a parallel blog—a sort of shadow Huffington Post. It's brilliant: web satirists making fun of nearly everyone in the blogosphere.

This is one case in which the parody will outlive the object of its derision. Because, unlike the Huffington Post, it isn't all about her.


Exercise #1—click all of the links on the blogroll. Sometimes you won't just get the usual thing.

Exercise #2—try to guess who the real bloggers are behind the online personae. I have maybe three guesses at this point, and I'm sure everyone has a few suspicions. I'm hoping they're never confirmed, though: I kind of enjoy the mystery. (Is Allah Michael Moore? Goldstein has to be Martha Stewart, right? And Moxie absolutely must be portraying Huffington herself. I almost think Iowahawk for the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson, though there's no real indication he's involved in the project. But don't tell me for sure. Not unless everyone else knows, and I'll just look uncool for laboring on in the dark.)

The only thing I know for sure is that it's at least several people maintaining that blog at this point, and "Glenn Reynolds" is multiple individuals. Both or all have noticed the Althouse thing over at Instapundit.

Posted by Attila at 01:22 AM | Comments (2)

Cake Kathy

. . . wonders if we're headed toward a "new prohibitionism." I sometimes wonder that, too.

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

"I Kept Stopping by Your Blog,"

he told me. "But I kinda slacked off after a while when I didn't seen much about sex at all. And very little about guns.

And nothing about me."

Okay. Here's a cogent argument for the right to self-defense, and an explanation of why that is spelled S-E-C-O-N-D A-M-E-N-D-M-E-N-T

Posted by Attila at 12:10 AM | Comments (1)

May 13, 2005

Thomas Sowell

. . . smacks the anti-Walmart crusaders. Hard.

Via Beautiful Atrocities. (Don't forget to keep checking Jeff's "outside reading" column, and if you see somethng juicy there, go to it immediately: as he updates the list, the old stuff goes away. So if he finds four interesting stories in one night, four old ones get pushed off. He's trying to train me not to procrastinate.)

Posted by Attila at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005

More on Female Presidents

My cousin Attila, the Pillage Idiot, muses on the protocols involved in having a female president, and quotes the Anchoress, who wonders whether the upcoming Geena Davis series on that subject is supposed to prime the public and make us "ready" for that step.

He would also like to know what the rules will be for flashing the Presidential jugs. Very important to know.

What if the Hollywood establishment got everyone ready for a female President, and that person turned out to be Condi? There would be wailing and gnashing of teeth, for sure.

Posted by Attila at 10:10 AM | Comments (8)

May 08, 2005

Thomas Friedman

. . . discusses the notion of marrying neocon ideals to energy conservation.

I disagree with so much of what he says, yet I find the overall idea so sexy.

Mostly because I'd love to see us in a position wherein we could someday tell the Saudis to take a hike.

I just cannot imagine buying high-gas-mileage vehicle right now (unless it were a classic car, for weekend use only—but if I could do that, I'd be rich).

I'll do what I can, as long as it doesn't mean buying a current-production Prius: they've started to look like hump-backed whales, and they don't get the mileage one hears about. (Check the Consumer Reports figures before you buy one of those things. Really.)

Posted by Attila at 09:12 PM | Comments (7)

Happy Birthday

to Jeffrey John! I'm so glad you were born.

Posted by Attila at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

Yesterday Evening

. . . we went to mass. It's our new rhythm, so I can go to T'ai Chi class on Sunday mornings.

As we walked in I was handed a prayer card with the legend, "blessings to you this Mother's Day" on it. As mass ended we were told that the cards had been given to the mothers in the parish, and I was embarrassed. I do look like a mother, of course: I'm more than old enough.

The Annual Ritual of Humiliation happened then, with the mothers in the church standing for a special blessing. I placed the prayer card in the little rack in the pew that holds the hymnals and misselettes. My husband retrieved it as the prayer went on and on: bless mothers and grandmothers and birthmothers. Finally: bless those who are trying to become mothers. I was crying by then, but only my husband could tell.

I simply cannot see why this is necessary: this is a holiday invented by commercial interests. Why would a church buy into it? That's just my head talking. In reality it's a fine thing to do: thanking people who do a job that's difficult and ofen underappreciated. But my heart aches.

I'm not one of those infertile women who cannot even go to family gatherings if children are going to be present. I still like being around children. But every now and then the pain catches up with me. My former roommate is pregnant now with her second son, and it seems, yes—unfair. This pregnancy is all my friends want to talk about, probably because some of them don't understand why anyone would want to have kids at all. But pregnancy is something I'll never experience again. When the baby comes it'll all be water under the bridge, but at present the whole thing still twists a knife in me.

As we leave church my husband takes the prayer card I had tried to get rid of out of his shirt pocket. "Happy Mother's Day," he tells me. "This should be the last year you have to remain sitting."

"Next month," I respond, "let's find out when, exactly, they are going to celebrate Father's Day, and just ditch church that day. I don't want you to have to go through this." I blink back tears. "At least they remembered birthmothers: this weekend has to be even more painful for them."

Posted by Attila at 09:07 AM | Comments (5)

May 07, 2005

Had You Noticed . . .?

The FDA is run by self-hating closeted gay men.

If they all just got boyfriends, the problem would solve itself.

Posted by Attila at 01:50 AM | Comments (12)

May 06, 2005


After Jane was called a Mason by those who wish to discredit her, one of her readers pointed out that 1) there are lodges of people who call themselves Masons and yet are co-ed or all-female; these are not generally recognized by the majority as true Masons, and 2) there has been a mixed reaction to the Order of the Eastern Star, with British Masons a good deal more skeptical or negative than U.S. Lodges.

I have no first-hand knowledge of this issue, but my family's history is intertwined with Things Mason, so it might be appropriate to comment.

My grandfather was a Shriner and either a 32nd or 33rd degree Mason, depending upon whom one speaks to. Some cousins tell me they are skeptical about the 33rd degree version of the story; it's apparently very rare for this to be granted at all. Let's just say the exact ordinal is a little hazy, but he was way into it.

My grandmother, his wife, was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and I believe a female cousin on his side is as well: she appears to be even more gung ho about the Masonic culture than her husband is, though she holds the belief that females cannot be Masons.

My mother was a member of Job's Daughters, and her younger sister was in the Rainbow Girls.

When my mother took her first long trip away from home she was 16; she was traveling by bus. This would have been in 1952, ten years before I arrived on this planet. As my grandfather drove her to the bus station he told her that if she ever got in trouble or needed help in any way, she should look for someone with a Mason ring, and get help from him.

That is interesting to me: my grandfather was essentially telling my mother that there are some strange men you can trust. If I have a daughter would I ever tell her that she could always trust someone she met through, say, Twelve Step programs? No: there are a lot of crazy people in Twelve Step programs.

But I feel good that there is an organization out there that engenders that level of trust. I like the notion that once in a while there's a way to guess which people might be decent human beings.

At present my aunt wears my grandmother's Order of the Eastern Star ring. I like that. Someday I'll probably wear it myself. It's pretty, and it reminds me that underneath all my family's problems and neuroses, there is a thread of decency, a concern for Doing the Right Thing, at least most of the time. It's nice to think about that every now and again.

Posted by Attila at 11:27 PM | Comments (5)


. . . stop by Masonic Jane's place, and laugh at the stupid things the Yemeni powers-that-be say about her.

Then cry about what's happening in Yemeni villages.

Jane's article about what is happening in Sa'ada is here.

Also, peruse Jane's main page, for continual updates on what the authorities in Yemen are saying about her now.

Post about this if you have a blog, and write letters to everyone you can think of (your representatives, the White House, your family members—anyone) about this situation.

Via Jeff, who's decided he's had enough of military life and doesn't want to be in the Armies of Liberation. Undoubtedly, he has the mistaken impression that he'll need to get another crew cut if he joins.

Posted by Attila at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

May 05, 2005


We're selling the house. With a little luck, we can stay in this area and continue to have access to good schools.

With a little more luck, a child will actually show up to justify our worrying about the quality of schools.

With gobs and gobs of luck, we'll both be working soon and will have money coming in, so we can get the house ready to sell without going too far into debt.

Please send good thoughts.

Posted by Attila at 03:10 PM | Comments (4)

Jeff of BA

. . . has the transcript of the first lady's speech from the other night.

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

May 04, 2005


I'm trading at over $1700 on Blogshares. Too bad it's Monopoly money, or I'd invest in myself.

It's interesting that I appear to be valued higher than a few blogs that have higher traffic than I.

FWIW, the guy who owns most of my shares is one William Fisher. The other ten are held by my ex-boyfriend, who is apparently trying to pay himself back for that $5 I borrowed back in the 1970s. He uses phrases like "compound interest" around me.

I generally respond with "la la la, I can't hear you!"

Posted by Attila at 02:56 AM | Comments (10)

May 02, 2005

The Knuckle-Draggers

Listen. I'm aware that there are some smart so-cons out there. Heck: a lot of my readers are highly intelligent social conservatives.

But there are a few who are just dumb as boards. The hubub over the First Lady doing a comedy routine is a perfect example of the idiocy within the right wing of the party. The Coalition for Traditional Values actually presumes to guess what the "structure" of the First Family is, based on a series of jokes by Laura Bush. Utterly amazing.

Via Outside the Beltway.

UPDATE: Oh, thank God. It was a joke after all. The sun is shining; birds are singing. My beloved war machine coalition can skip merrily around the playground together. Yay!

UPDATE 2: I've been asked how I can leave up a post that shows me being taken in by a hoax. I've also asked how I could have been so stupid as to fall for the old fake-letter-from-a-real-organization ploy.

1) I really try not to take down posts. I've done it, but it seems like an extreme measure. People should be able to figure out what has happened by following trackbacks and reading through archives. Gaps are bad. Truth is good. This is not enough of a public embarrassment to me to be worth taking a post down.

2) It has to be remembered that I was in a Christian cult when I was 12-14, and the attitude expressed in the fake letter is not far from the real thoughts and feelings of my co-religionists at that time. Remember Betty Ford's statement that she hoped her daughter wouldn't have premarital sex, but if that were to occur, she hoped the lines of communication would stay open between mother and offspring? This was condemned in my church as condoning immorality.

I know these people. They exist. That's why I found the letter believable. Thank Bob Hymers.

UPDATE 3: Eric at Myopic Zeal sniffs that

This sounds like something from the Clinton White House, not a comedy routine you would expect to hear from Laura Bush:

Eyebrows were raised by the first lady’s bit about the president’s ranching skills, which Mrs. Bush said her husband lacked because the elite schools he attended, Andover and Yale, “don’t have a real strong ranching program.”

She then added:

“He’s learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What’s worse, it was a male horse.”

Then he remarks:

While the milking the male horse joke may be funny, it simply does not fit the public persona that Mrs. Bush has groomed. I wonder why the change.

He implies that I'm dumb for being taken in by a hoax based on negative reactions to the First Lady's routine. This is irony you could cut with one of the chainsaws at the Crawford ranch.

And anyone who suggests that I was referring to all—or even most—so-cons as dumb should re-read my post. Okay?

UPDATE 4: Okay. Got the names straight, finally. I must bring my fact-checking mindset with me when I blog. The Traditional Values Coalition is the real one, which issued this statement:

The hoax press release distributed under the name of the Traditional Values Coalition is the most recent tactic in an ongoing campaign of harassment of the conservative church group over the past year, according to the Coalition’s Washington office.

So I took that to mean that the names matched. Not quite. The joke press release purported to come from something called the Coalition for Traditional Values. From a Rev. DeLong, which should have tipped me off—but did not.

Posted by Attila at 01:41 PM | Comments (16)

May 01, 2005

The Columnist Awards

John Hawkins at Right Wing News has polled a select number of the rightosphere's best intellects (cough, cough) about their favorite columnists. The results are here: the top twenty opinion-makers of the print [etc.] world. All along, I was convinced that Christopher Hitchens would do well despite being a lefty. I was delighted when Mark Steyn won.

And I still miss Michael Kelly. Badly.

UPDATE: Link fixed.

I will not blog when I'm half-asleep.
I will not blog when I'm half-asleep.
I will not blog when I'm half-asleep.

Posted by Attila at 11:35 PM | Comments (1)


I worked at Conde Nast for a while. It's a whole organization of people who are way smarter and hipper than anyone else on the planet. More stylish. More with it. Basically, a better class of human.

I had to tell one of the senior editors—who was working on a story about Scotland—that the name of a certain city wasn't pronounced "Ehdinburg," with a hard "g" at the end.

And she didn't believe me.


She was too hip to fall for that line of bullshit.

Posted by Attila at 12:11 AM | Comments (1)

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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Main AAC site (Warning: sound-enabled;
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those without swords can still die upon them.
I fear neither death nor pain." —Eowyn, Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings

KhawHeadShot.jpg Free Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani!
See Jane Novak's "Yemeni Watch" blog,
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