...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...

August 31, 2004

Unbelievable . . . Predictable Old Media

Amazing. CNN and Larry King just broadcast the tepid beginning of Michael Steele's speech before the RNC. And (so predictable it shouldn't surprise me) when he got into the middle of his speech and started to hammer on Kerry's record, CNN cut to a floor reporter who had nothing to say.

Yet there's no media bias.

CNN is pulling their oar on the Kerry rowboat with such incredible enthusiasm, they don't even notice that the boat's sinking. And it's taking them with it as it goes down.

In this vein, please, please read Professor Reynold's latest Tech Central Station column, if you are at all interested in the impact of blogging and the new media. i think he hits the nail right on the head.

The rise of the blogosphere is revealing the old media as an emperor with no clothes, which must get its act together or be crushed. Professional journalists are lazy, uneducated hacks, as i've said so many times before. When they have to compete with superb "amateurs" like Reynolds, Volokh, Hinderaker et al., Hewitt, Ed Morrissey, Wretchard, etc.* they can only lose.

Professional journalists simply can't match the top bloggers' ability to research and articulate the news at the speed of light. In the world of the new media, amateurs produce like professionals and the professionals are exposed as amateurs.

Reynolds quotes Hinderaker:

A bunch of amateurs, no matter how smart and enthusiastic, could never outperform professional neurosurgeons, because they lack the specialized training and experience necessary for that field. But what qualifications, exactly, does it take to be a journalist? What can they do that we can't? Nothing. Generally speaking, they don't know any more about primary data and raw sources of information than we do-- often less. Their general knowledge is often inadequate. Their superior resources should allow them to carry out investigations far beyond what we amateurs can do. But the reality is that the mainstream media rarely use those resources. Too many journalists are bored, biased and lazy.
Hack reporters are helpless to fix their own deficiencies, they don't have the brainpower or common sense, nor do they seem to care. They will have to adapt to the new media or wither away, and i'm actually not sure which eventuality i prefer more.

Update: David Boxenhorn points out more strengths inherent in the new media.

Who would you trust more to give you the right answer? Four million randomly chosen people, or your buddies in the newsroom who were all chosen because the boss likes the way they think? The blogosphere has the characteristics of wise crowds, as set down by James Surowiecki:
  1. Divesity of opinion – each person should have some private information, even if it’s just an eccentric interpretation of the facts.

  2. Independence – people’s opinions are not determined by the opinions of those around them.

  3. Decentralization – people are able to specialize and draw on local knowledge.

  4. Aggregation – some mechanism exists for turning private judgments into collective decision.
Even if the mainstream media weren’t ingrown and biased, you would find that the blogs win – always.
Link via Instapundit.

* Yes, in spite of his few successes, i most intentionally omitted Andruw Sullivan, who is an intellectually dishonest, self-promoting shill.

Posted by annika at 07:00 PM | Comments (13)

August 30, 2004

Hitting Hard

The "old media" tomorrow will be saying that the Republicans went "negative" on the first night of the convention.

To that i say: "yesssssss!"

Politics is not a knitting club.

The Democrats are upset because a few delegates are wearing band-aids to mock Kerry's purple heart wounds. They want the RNC to crack down on this "inexcusable" behavior.

i say okay. Just as soon as the DNC cracks down on the "Bush=Hitler" signs outside. And the "Bush=Evil" signs inside MSG.

Until then, why not enjoy a nice cup of STFU, MacAuliffe.*

After Giuliani's rousing, albeit long-ass speech, Mara Liason* commented on the Michael More* moment in John McCain's equally good speech. She didn't like it. She said it was "a gift" to More and out of character for McCain.

i thought it was great, and i bet a lot of people agree with me.

So Mara, how about a nice cup of STFU for you, too.

Giuliani's speech was as if someone had translated Charles Krauthammer's address to the American Enterprise Institute into language that could resonate with the common man. And i was glad he did. It was the meat of his speech and he articulated the pro-war argument better than i've heard anyone in the administration explain it. Too bad the networks didn't cover it.

Terrorism did not start on September 11, 2001. It had been festering for many years.

And the world had created a response to it that allowed it to succeed. The attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics was in 1972. And the pattern had already begun.

The three surviving terrorists were arrested and within two months released by the German government.

Action like this became the rule, not the exception. Terrorists came to learn they could attack and often not face consequences.

In 1985, terrorists attacked the Achille Lauro and murdered an American citizen who was in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer.

They marked him for murder solely because he was Jewish.

Some of those terrorists were released and some of the remaining terrorists allowed to escape by the Italian government because of fear of reprisals.

So terrorists learned they could intimidate the world community and too often the response, particularly in Europe, was 'accommodation, appeasement and compromise.'

And worse the terrorists also learned that their cause would be taken more seriously, almost in direct proportion to the barbarity of the attack.

Terrorist acts became a ticket to the international bargaining table.

How else to explain Yasser Arafat winning the Nobel Peace Prize when he was supporting a terrorist plague in the Middle East that undermined any chance of peace?

Before September 11, we were living with an unrealistic view of the world much like our observing Europe appease Hitler or trying to accommodate ourselves to peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union through mutually assured destruction.

President Bush decided that we could no longer be just on defense against global terrorism but we must also be on offense.

i liked that section. We need to be reminded of the contrast between the weak approach and the strong approach to the problem of terrorism. And i think, when given the choice, most people will opt for the strong approach, like Rudy.

i think it was a good night for us Republicans.

* Nota bene for those new visitors out there: intentionally misspelled.

Posted by annika at 09:27 PM | Comments (6)

August 29, 2004

Get Your Freak On!

C-Span is showing the freakshow in New York right now, and i am lovin' it.

There's so much anger and unfocused rage, it's funny. Whenever the C-Span dude asks anyone to explain themself, they invariably have nothing to say. It's like "err . . . agenda . . . um . . . Ashcroft . . . err . . . I just want Bush out . . . err . . ."

To be fair, there's a lot of normal touristy looking types in the crowd, but 80% or 90% of the signs and t-shirts contain some type of obscenity or insult, which negates any normalcy that a t-shirt and shorts might convey.

No suits and ties, though. The idiot who suggested that idea at DU must never have been to NYC in August.

And what's with all the drummers?

One guy was in complete hysterics, shouting at a group of Bush supporters: "YOU ARE THE THREAT TO THIS COUNTRY, NOT AL-QAEDA, YOU ARE THE AL-QAEDA!"

Oh yeah, that's the way to convert any swing voters watching on TV to your side. They're the people sitting at home, in Springfield or Dubuque or Orlando, shaking their heads and thinking: "That's not me . . . I don't want any part of that."

Keep it up freaks. Keep it up! Like i said, i am lovin' it.

Posted by annika at 10:46 AM | Comments (6)

And They're Off...

The RNC Blogging has begun. Follow it here.

Posted by annika at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2004

See You In A Few...

RN GP.jpg

During my extended blog hiatus, it may seem like i'm gone, but i wont be, really. There may even be some mysterious annika sightings now and then.

Posted by annika at 11:23 AM | Comments (7)

August 18, 2004

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

Here is a lovely, alliterative, difficult, and very spiritual poem by one-time Golden Bear, Archibald Randolph Ammons.

The City Limits

When you consider the radiance, that it does not withhold
itself but pours its abundance without selection into every
nook and cranny not overhung or hidden; when you consider

that birds' bones make no awful noise against the light but
lie low in the light as in a high testimony; when you consider
the radiance, that it will look into the guiltiest

swervings of the weaving heart and bear itself upon them,
not flinching into disguise or darkening; when you consider
the abundance of such resource as illuminates the glow-blue

bodies and gold-skeined wings of flies swarming the dumped
guts of a natural slaughter or the coil of shit and in no
way winces from its storms of generosity; when you consider

that air or vacuum, snow or shale, squid or wolf, rose or lichen,
each is accepted into as much light as it will take, then
the heart moves roomier, the man stands and looks about, the

leaf does not increase itself above the grass, and the dark
work of the deepest cells is of a tune with May bushes
and fear lit by the breadth of such calmly turns to praise.

i had to read this one a bunch of times before i "got" it. Until i did, the beauty of the rhythm and alliteration kept me going back. Notice the scientific metaphors. Ammons had a chemistry degree from Wake Forest and his interest in science is obvious in this poem. He also studied English Literature at Cal Berkeley as a grad student, although i do not think he earned a degree.

This poem's message is definitely spiritual and contemplative. Whether it's also a religious metaphor is up to the reader. For me it is, but i can just as easily see how it wouldn't be for some.

Here's a short bio of the poet, who died in February, 2001.

Posted by annika at 05:50 AM | Comments (2)

August 17, 2004

Commitment To Excellence, annika Style

So you know, blogging might be light this week and almost non-existent starting next Monday. Yesterday was the first day of orientation week. Classes start on the 23rd.


My plan is to post weekly if at all possible, in the style of Anne...straight from the hip (quantity-wise, of course. i could never hope to match her quality-wise).

i'll still try to check in on my regular blog reading, because it's a pleasure i just can't give up that easily.

Besides, i need to taunt Rocket Jones mercilessly some more.

Posted by annika at 12:30 AM | Comments (5)

August 16, 2004

i Hit The Big Time

i am officially big-time. Gennie of Dizzy-girl notified me that i got quoted on the Democratic Underground cranksite. Here's the post:

What a rightwing blog says about protests of Republican Convention

'We can expect a big freak show at the upcoming Republican Convention in New York. The far left nut jobs will ensure Bush's re-election, even though they will think they're doing the opposite. In fact, i hope they go on a total Bush-hatin' rampage in the streets of New York. Everyone knows who's side they're on, and the worse the protesters act, the more people will realize how low the Democratic Party has fallen.'

-The rightwing blog, Annika's Journal, July 26, 2004


If you go, please wear business clothing (suit and tie for a man)
and please don't block traffic.

I'm expecting the police to taser and club peaceful protestors, and I hope things stay calm.

That's a freakin' joke. You usually gotta have a job to own a suit and tie, and none of those people have jobs. If they did, they sure as hell wouldn't have time to be protesting. Plus, asking these professional protesters not to block traffic is like asking shit not to stink. Their whole purpose for existence is to make themselves noticed in the most obnoxious way.

To paraphrase David Crosby: Let your freak flag fly baby!

Posted by annika at 11:42 PM | Comments (7)

August 15, 2004

Steyn Boils It Down

In this Chicago Sun Times piece:

A handful of Kerry's 'band of brothers' are traveling around with his campaign. Most of the rest, including a majority of his fellow swift boat commanders and 254 swiftees from Kerry's Coastal Squadron One, are opposed to his candidacy. That is an amazing ratio and, if snot-nosed American media grandees don't think there's a story there, maybe they ought to consider another line of work. To put it in terms they can understand, imagine if Dick Cheney campaigned for the presidency on the basis of his time at Halliburton, and a majority of the Halliburton board and 80 percent of the stockholders declared he was unfit for office. More to the point, on the swift vets' first major allegation -- Christmas in Cambodia -- the Kerry campaign has caved.
i love that Halliburton analogy. And this too:
Thirty-five years on, having no appealing campaign themes, the senator decides to run for president on his biography. But for the last 20 years he's been a legislative non-entity. Before that, he was accusing his brave band of brothers of mutilation, rape and torture. He spent his early life at Swiss finishing school and his later life living off his wife's inheritance from her first husband. So, biography-wise, that leaves four months in Vietnam, which he talks about non-stop. That 1986 Senate speech is typical: It was supposed to be about Reagan policy in Central America, but like so many Kerry speeches and interviews somehow it winds up with yet another self-aggrandizing trip down memory lane.
Kerry's four brilliant months, so carefully crafted by him over the course of thirty-five years, are now disintegrating into his own "four more [months] of hell."

Re: Kerry as a "legislative non-entity," allow me to recycle an old post of mine, about Clinton's regard for that great senator from Massachussetts, John Kerry. Bill didn't have much to say, in fact.

Link via Mark at The Scrolldown.

Posted by annika at 07:27 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

Olympic Play-By-Play - Opening Ceremonies

[an experiment in contemporaneous blogging]

. . . i despise Katie Kouric. i really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really despise her . . .

. . . i just turned the thing on. What's up with the glowing pregnant chick? That shit is straight up weirding me out . . .

. . . Kouric's tone of voice is soooo condescending. She talks down to the viewing audience like we're a bunch of fucking babies. God she's annoying. She almost makes me not mind the short guy. What's his name? . . .

. . . Costas . . .

. . . Interesting that Bulgaria sent an all male contingent of athletes this year . . .

. . . i'm sure the German team didn't mind following the French team in the parade of nations. Germans are very used to seeing the backs of Frenchmen . . .

. . . Cool, no boos for the Americans. But what's up with that music? Is that a techno version of Albinoni's Adagio? Couldn't they have picked a happier tune for the parade? . . .

. . . i've heard from Europeans that we Americans walk differently and we're easy to pick out from a crowd because of the way we carry ourselves. It doesn't matter what we wear, either. i can't put my finger on the difference, but i see it when i look at our team. It's almost like an optimism, if it's possible to exude optimism while walking . . .

. . . Best looking guys so far have been on the Bosnia-Herzegovinian and Irish teams . . .

. . . Italy too . . .

. . . i bet that blue haired Cameroonian chick was pissed when she saw the blue haired Italian chick steal her idea . . .

. . . Del Harris?! What the fuck are you doing on the Chinese team? He's the Manchurian coach! i hope no one shows him the queen of diamonds. Damn traitor . . .

. . . Time for another beer . . .

. . . The Iraqi team got a nice reception too. That's very cool . . .

. . . The Cook Island team wins the gold for having the most fun during the parade of nations. i wanna party with those guys . . .

. . . More blue hair. This time on a Mexican chick . . .

. . . That guy carrying the flag of Mauritania looks like the black dude from Gladiator . . .

. . . The Brits are all dressed like they just came from the Village. (not Shyamalan's village . . . McGoohan's) . . .

. . . The Olympic Stadium really was worth waiting for. It is spectacularly beautiful . . .

. . . But is there anything more boring than an Olympic opening ceremony? Maybe an Olympic closing ceremony . . .

. . . Still, it is amazing when you think that the Olympics were invented in that exact place, three thousand years ago . . .

. . . AθHNA . . .

. . . Now here come the runners, passing off what appears to be the largest fattie spliff ever rolled . . .

. . . Holy shit. At first i thought the dude was using that fattie to chain light the world's most gigantic joint. But then, as the torch slowly began to rise, it's true symbolism became obvious. Those perv Greeks built a huge working replica of an erect phallus! . . .

. . . i think i'm blushing . . .

Posted by annika at 09:04 PM | Comments (10)

Here's A Great Idea


i've added a new button to my sidebar. Please check it out; i think it's a great idea.

Books For Soldiers is a soldier support site that ships books, DVDs and supplies to deployed soliders and soldiers in VA hospitals, via our large volunteer network.

If you have old, but usuable paperback books sitting around, collecting dust, why not send them to a solider [sailor, airman or marine] for a big morale boost?

Thanks to the other Annika, on whose site i discovered this.

Posted by annika at 11:33 AM | Comments (2)

i Say Again, Don't Believe The Polls

Regular listeners to Professor Hewitt's radio show are already aware of this story, but i thought i'd reiterate it with some links.

In the recent Colorado Senate primary, the pre-election buzz was that the GOP candidates, Pete Coors and Bob Schaffer, were in a statistical dead heat. In fact, AP repeated this assumption on the day of the election.

Then, Pete Coors won by a margin of 61% to 39%!

Twenty-two percentage points is a pretty decent margin of victory, and while the press avoided calling it a landslide (the Democratic candidate won his primary with 73% of the vote) i would not hesitate to call it just that.

How did the pre-election polls get it so wrong? Were the pollsters biased? Maybe not, the primary was between two Republicans, after all. Were the polling methods faulty? i don't know the details of that particular Colorado poll, but in my opinion, most polls are screwy and inaccurate by nature.

The only polls i put any stock in are Zogby's exit polls, because they've been shown to be the most accurate after the last two presidential elections.

Another problem with poll accuracy is that people who do vote are increasingly less likely to pick up the phone, thanks to telemarketing abuse. i don't think this problem necessarily favors one party over the other, but it does make the raw data suspect. And that requires the pollster to make assumptions about who is being underestimated when the pollster adjusts the numbers for "accuracy."

The point i want to make is this: i think there's a lot more support for the GOP, and specifically for Bush-Cheney, than the pollsters and the media are willing to recognize or admit. Most of the presidential polling is deliberately skewed in favor of the Democrats, in my opinion. (Dick Morris explains how the media accomplish and justify thier biased polling in his book, Off With Their Heads.) i'm not saying the pollsters are lying. i just think they overestimate the amount of Democratic support when they adjust the raw data.

The Coors election shows how wrong the polls can be. The lesson i'm hoping to extrapolate from Colorado is that in this post 9/11 era, polling and voting are two vastly different things. i think people are a lot more serious about their vote when they actually get in the booth. They may support any number of candidates during pre-election polls, but when it's time to pull the lever, i think there's a newfound tendency to lean towards the conservative side.

i'll be very interested to see if my theory holds true in November.

Posted by annika at 10:46 AM | Comments (5)

She Does Have A Rodent-Like Quality About Her

Studies Find Rats Can Get Hooked on Drugs

Among the ways to know when a rat's hooked: It keeps trying to get cocaine even when each hit comes with an electric shock.
Or a date before the judge.
Intriguingly, 17 percent of the rats met all three measures and thus were considered addicted — while roughly 15 percent of human cocaine users become addicts . . .
Unless you count musicians and child actors . . .

Posted by annika at 09:00 AM | Comments (1)

August 12, 2004

Whether He Is Or Isn't Is Nobody's Business

MTV.com, a highly respected and perfectly objective news source, thinks that a certain personal lifestyle choice of New Jersey governor James McGreevey's is none of your damn business.

No, i'm not talking about his sexual preference. In fact, i'm sure they're overjoyed that McGreevey has come out of the closet.

But why won't they tell us that he's a Democrat?

Not that there's anything wrong with that . . .

Posted by annika at 03:56 PM | Comments (9)


You haven't really enjoyed the song "Margaritaville" until you've heard it sung to the accompaniment of an ukulele.

Posted by annika at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2004

Wednesday Is Poetry Day

In keeping with today's football related theme, i want to share a pretty cool website i discovered. It's called Football Poets, and it deals with that other football, which Americans call soccer, and which i call kickball.

i may sometimes deride soccer fan, but it's an uncomfortable truth that your average hooligan has a lot in common with your stereotypical Raider fan.

Read the following poem, by a poet named simply, Glenn. Tell me if it doesn't remind you of any beloved black hole dwellers you know.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

He wakes up to the siren of the clock beside his bed,
He rubs his eyes and starts to feel the banging in his head,
It's 8 o'clock on Sunday morn, he's only had five hours,
But he mustn't let his mates down so he summons up his powers.

He drinks a litre of diet coke to ease the dehydration,
Then sets off down to meet his mates at the petrol station,
His lift turns up and they all pile in, squashed and jammed up tight,
The car is filled with smells of beer and curry from last night.

He shouts and swears with all his mates as they change in a cold, damp room,
The boisterousness holds no bounds, it's Sunday in the tomb,
He strides out through the mist that hugs the rutted council pitch,
Up to the centre circle, hand down shorts, attending to the itch.

He tentatively shakes the hand of his foe in black and red,
Then shouts 'tails' as the tarnished coin spins above his head,
He runs, he kicks, he hurts, he spits, his vitriol unchecked,
He courts displeasure of the man, who is in black bedecked.

He leaves the battered field of play, threatening retribution,
Knowing, deep down inside, his worthless contribution,
And afterwards in the bar he's pompous, rude and haughty,
'Cos this is Sunday football and tomorrow he is forty.

He knows his days of mud and blood are nearly at an end,
The paunch that sits upon his belt is now his new best friend,
He'll fill him up with pie and ale until he's fit to burst,
But he will go on drinking to satisfy his thirst.

He staggers off the bus and somehow opens the front door,
He slumps down in the armchair and sleeps three hours or more,
He wakes up to the siren of the ambulance outside
Then cries as he realises, that Sunday football had just died.

Posted by annika at 04:19 PM | Comments (2)

Go Cal Bears!

i was pleased to see that Cal's football team is ranked in the top 25 on at least six pre-season polls. The latest is a number 22 ranking on Sports Illustrated's poll. SI ranks USC at number one, which is no surprise, but guess which Pac-10 team handed the Trojans their only defeat last year?

That's right, it was the Cal Bears!

Some other rankings are:

We're not on the AP's radar yet, but i'm hoping we will be, as soon as the season gets going. Watch returning junior Aaron Rodgers at QB and senior Geoff McArthur at wide receiver. McArthur averaged 115 yards per game with ten touchdowns on his way to a conference leading 1504 total yards. As a passer, Rodgers was second in the PAC-10 in yards per attempt and second only to Matt Leinart in QB rating.

Posted by annika at 02:02 PM | Comments (5)

August 10, 2004

Reminiscing About Jenjis

Isn't the fact that Kerry pronounced "Genghis Khan" as if it were spelled with two J's enough to disqualify him for sheer annoyingness?

Maybe not. But the full quote, considering the fact that it is a BOLDFACED LIE, is more than enough to disqualify him from getting my vote:

. . . not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. . . .

They told the stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam . . .
[emphasis added]

He used pretty specific, absolute and emphatic language to accuse every Vietnam veteran with his shameful broad brush. And i believe he spread those lies solely for reasons of selfish personal ambition.

Whether or not he was in Cambodia or whether he deserved his medals or whatever else he's being pilloried for nowadays, it's the "Winter Soldier" statement that i personally can't forgive him for.

More: Kerry is such a pompous ass, i'm surprised he didn't say "reminiscent of Temujin."

Posted by annika at 04:50 PM | Comments (9)


My copy of Hugh Hewitt's book, If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It, just arrived in today's mail. i ordered it from Amazon because it's been so hard to find in the bookstores.

i went to update my AllConsuming.com account, so that a picture of the book would appear on my sidebar, but lo and behold, i could not seem to access the information for that particular book, despite the fact that 89 other weblogs have mentioned it.

Is it a problem with AllConsuming.com's server, as they claim, or is it something more sinister?

Update: Ha ha, spoke too soon, i can access it now.

Posted by annika at 01:43 PM | Comments (2)

August 09, 2004

Birthday Wishes

Happy birthday to James Lileks. Everybody go over there and wish the king of bloggers a happy day!

Oh that's right. He doesn't have comments. In fact, he doesn't even want to be called a blogger. Oh well, happy happy anyway, James.

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

Movies i Seen This Weekend

This weekend, i finally saw two movies i've been anxious to see for a while. One was awesome, and the other was interesting, but flawed.

The Bourne Identity was the awesome one. i had to pick up the DVD at Best Buy, so that i will be ready to see The Bourne Supremacy next. i'm detemined not to make the same mistake i made with the Lethal Weapon series, when i failed to see number 2 before seeing number three. Seriously, you can't see those movies out of sequence because the existence of Joe Pesci and Chris Rock are not explained and do not make sense in the third one. i was totally confused throughout.

Anyways, i liked The Bourne Supremacy very much. Lots of action, well edited and shot, and Matt Damon is such a cutie. He's so much better than Ben Afflack as an actor. i don't know how they're going to sustain the first movie's interest in the sequel, because a lot of what made Identity good is that the audience knew more than the hero. We knew Bourne's identity, and it was fun to watch him trying to figure it out. Now that he knows it too, i wonder whether Supremacy will be as interesting.

i've heard that the sequel will be about Bourne's getting even. Another revenge movie, like that hasn't been done to death. Now the second movie i saw this weekend, in an actual theater no less, was The Village, by M. Night Shyamalan (or as i like to say: M. Knight Shamalamadingdong). i'd been avoiding all conversation about this movie for some time because i didn't want anyone to spoil it for me. If you haven't seen it, don't read any further because i intend to talk about the secret.

As i watched the Village, i kept wondering what the allegory was. i was totally taken in by the fairy tale quality of the story. Then they had to go and ruin it by injecting reality at the end. They turned a quite charming story into a one punch-line joke. To no good effect, i thought.

In Shyamalan's earlier movie, which i liked a lot better, the one about the kid that sees dead people, he also strung the audience along for the whole movie only to spring the joke on them at the very end. However, in that case, the joke was totally unexpected and caused me to re-think the whole plot for hours after it was over. After seeing The Village, all i did was criticize how it didn't make sense. Plus, i kind of guessed that the village was some sort of "Colonial House," so i wasn't really surprised by the twist.

Posted by annika at 08:21 AM | Comments (7)

August 07, 2004

Europe, Internationalism, And A New Twist On Old Style Balance Of Power Politics

Kenneth Timmerman's The French Betrayal of America is not on my personal reading list, so i'm grateful to Neil Uchitel for doing the reading and the reviewing so i don't have to.

. . . Timmerman shows how this inability of Europe, and especially the French, to wield power has made them pursue 'morally superior' means of checking America’s uncontested power. This is why Dominique de Villepin gave his speech before the U.N. stating that under no circumstances would France support America’s push for war. Not only did France have billions of dollars to lose from their oil contracts with Iraq . . . but it could simultaneously cover this hypocrisy and its inability to keep any rogue power in check (like their failure with the Serbs), but also keep itself among the power elite by morally upstaging America.
In the old days, say pre-WWII, the great powers would keep each other in check by relying on the threat of military force. Now, when Europe essentially has zero ability to threaten force, they cynically feign a moral force that they also do not have. Their appeal to international law and institutions is merely old style balance of power politics, repackaged for a new one-superpower world.

i'm anxious to see if the Timmerman book addresses whether Europe and the French government's coddling of extremist Islam is also part of a strategy to counter-balance America's military and economic advantage.

Posted by annika at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2004

Lest We Forget

Just a blurb on the nightly news to most of us? Twenty seconds of footage and then on to the next story? Hell, i'm just as guilty of it as anybody -- taking for granted what our guys are going through over there. Back here on the home front, we're so easily distracted by the election follies. We're bored. We have short attention spans.

Ironically, the mainstream media, often criticized for sensasionalizing the news, is partly to blame. Stories like this seem so sterile, mundane. Oh no, more fighting, we think. A soldier died. Damn, we were going good there for a few days. Maybe we say a prayer. Maybe we don't. Either way our ass is still on that comfy couch while it's someone else's in a sweat soaked DCU.

But then a blog like CBFTW's will jolt me back to reality.

I'm not going to lie, I didn't want to go back. Fuck that shit, I don't want to get killed. That was the last place on earth I wanted to be. I was scared to death. But we had to go back, and we did.
Shit. Holy shit. And now i remember -- that while i sit here in air conditioned comfort, sipping a coke and wondering how next to avoid that boring work project i've been putting off, and if i should return that guy's call later -- out there in some god-forsaken desert, men's hands grow numb from gripping the handles of a rattling .50 cal, and yeah maybe from fear too, but they fight like hell anyway and sometimes die too, though more often it's the enemy (the one's who would just as easily kill me if they could) that does the dying, and by the truckload, thank God.

And thank the United States Army and Marines.

Via Blackfive, who else?

Update: The story is much more personal for Sarah.

Posted by annika at 03:34 PM | Comments (2)

Kerry To Cornbelt Voters: Shove It!


That line works much better with the visual aids.

Picture nabbed from INDC Journal. Read about Kerry's football faux pas there.

Posted by annika at 09:39 AM | Comments (2)

My Last Convention Related Post (i Think)

Who is this guy Bronco Bomber everybody is talking about? Sounds like a wrestler to me.

Posted by annika at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

Poetry Wednesday

A quick one today, 'cause i'm very busy. Today's selection was written by the 19th century American poet Richard Watson Gilder. i thought it was kinda amusing.

A Woman's Thought

I am a woman—therefore I may not
Call to him, cry to him,
Fly to him,
Bid him delay not!

Then when he comes to me, I must sit quiet;
Still as a stone—
All silent and cold.
If my heart riot—
Crush and defy it!
Should I grow bold,
Say one dear thing to him,
All my life fling to him,
Cling to him—
What to atone
Is enough for my sinning!
This were the cost to me,
This were my winning—
That he were lost to me.

Not as a lover
At last if he part from me,
Tearing my heart from me,
Hurt beyond cure—
Calm and demure
Then must I hold me,
In myself fold me,
Lest he discover;
Showing no sign to him
By look of mine to him
What he has been to me—
How my heart turns to him,
Follows him, yearns to him,
Prays him to love me.

Pity me, lean to me,
Thou God above me!

It's obvious that was written by a man. Sheesh.

Posted by annika at 05:24 PM | Comments (1)

The DNC's New Attempt To Reach Out To Christians

The Democratic Party is the party of anti-Christian hatred, their false "inclusiveness" rhetoric at the convention notwithstanding.

On July 23, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe announced the appointment of Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson as the Senior Advisor for Religious Outreach; she is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
According to Terry McAuliffe, this woman is supposed to reflect "the DNC’s commitment to reaching all people of faith." He said (presumably with a straight face):
Brenda has dedicated her life to showing us all how religion and politics intersect with integrity . . . We are proud to have her join the DNC, in order to spread John Kerry's positive vision to people of all faiths."

Unfortunately, that's complete bullshit.

Catholic League president, Dr. William Donohue said:

Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson was one of thirty-two clergy members to file an amicus curiae brief in behalf of Michael Newdow’s attempt to excise the words ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance. The brief shows infinitely more concern for the sensibilities of atheists like Newdow than it does for the 90 percent of Americans who believe in God. And this is the person the Democrats want to dispatch to meet with the heads of religious organizations? Are they out of their minds? Would they hire a gay basher to reach out to homosexuals? [link omitted]
Now, if you are skeptical, here's the amicus brief. Her name's right there, on the cover page "As Amici Curiae Supporting Respondent Michael A. Newdow."

Thanks Dems. There should now be no doubt about where you stand.

Link via Bill.

Posted by annika at 03:35 PM | Comments (4)

August 03, 2004

Firefighters, Cops And Regular Guys

From NRO, a column by a Los Angeles Police officer makes the following points:

[C]ops and firefighters are inherently conservative in that they understand the importance of following society's rules. Unlike John Kerry, they don't find 'nuance' in every question that confronts them. In their daily duties they see the often-deadly consequences that result when people fail to do what society expects of them. Nearly every call to 9-1-1 is the result of someone concluding that these rules, be they the criminal laws or the fire codes, can be ignored. They did a good job of hiding it last week, but the Democrats are the party of libertinism, the price of which is well known to those who come when people call for help.

Second, cops and firefighters are, if the women in the ranks will forgive the expression, Regular Guys. They drink beer, not wine, and certainly not French wine. They played football and baseball in high school, not lacrosse. Regular Guys think Al Sharpton is a fraud and Michael Moore (who pretends to be a Regular Guy) is a fool, and they think Ted Kennedy is a criminal. Regular Guys do not blame Secret Service agents (who are Regular Guys) for knocking them down on the ski slopes, especially when those agents are there to take bullets for them. And Regular Guys relate to and prefer the company of other Regular Guys; they do not invite people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck to their conventions.

Even with the piles of dough they're sitting on, both George Bush and Dick Cheney still come across as Regular Guys, the kind of men you might find hanging around the fire station or the detective squad room. And with his recent suggestion to Pat Leahy on how he might spend his idle time, the vice president climbed several notches on the Regular Guy scale. John Kerry, on the other hand, owing to his valorous service in Vietnam, might have been a Regular Guy years ago, but he surrendered his membership when he came home to join the Jane Fonda crowd and brand his former comrades as war criminals. And whatever tenuous grip he may have had on Regular Guy status since then was lost when he married his current wife. Old-fashioned notions of chivalry prevent me from offering my full opinion on her here, but Regular Guys do not under any circumstances marry women like Teresa Heinz Kerry.

i would only add that John Kerry was never a regular guy, even when he was on that swift boat.

Posted by annika at 11:26 AM | Comments (7)

Blog Future Feature Failure 1.0

Whatever happened to Rip On Matt Iglesias Week? While doing the research for the upcoming, and feverishly anticipated feature, i discovered that he is actually very boring, despite his impressive credentials. So i lost interest in the idea.

Coming next? A string of teasers related to a blog future feature entitled: Bang On Kevin Drum Week.

Posted by annika at 09:03 AM | Comments (1)

August 02, 2004

A Better Band Of Brothers

On this day, sixty one years ago, the United States Navy motor torpedo boat number 109, commanded by Lieutenant, Junior Grade John F. Kennedy, was struck and cut in half by the 1750 ton Japanese destroyer Amagiri.

The PT boat was creeping along to keep the wake and noise to a minimum in order to avoid detection. Around 0200 with Kennedy at the helm, the Japanese destroyer Amagiri traveling at 40 knots cut PT 109 in two in ten seconds. Although the Japanese destroyer had not realized that their ship had struck an enemy vessel, the damage to PT 109 was severe. At the impact, Kennedy was thrown into the cockpit where he landed on his bad back. As Amagiri steamed away, its wake doused the flames on the floating section of PT 109 to which five Americans clung: Kennedy, Thom, and three enlisted men, S1/c Raymond Albert, RM2/c John E. Maguire and QM3/c Edman Edgar Mauer. Kennedy yelled out for others in the water and heard the replies of Ross and five members of the crew, two of which were injured. GM3/c Charles A. Harris had a hurt leg and MoMM1/c Patrick Henry McMahon, the engineer was badly burned. Kennedy swam to these men as Ross and Thom helped the others, MoMM2/c William Johnston, TM2/c Ray L. Starkey, and MoMM1/c Gerald E. Zinser to the remnant of PT 109. Although they were only one hundred yards from the floating piece, in the dark it took Kennedy three hours to tow McMahon and help Harris back to the PT hulk. Unfortunately, TM2/c Andrew Jackson Kirksey and MoMM2/c Harold W. Marney were killed in the collision with Amagiri.

Because the remnant was listing badly and starting to swamp, Kennedy decided to swim for a small island barely visible (actually three miles) to the southeast. Five hours later, all eleven survivors had made it to the island after having spent a total of fifteen hours in the water. Kennedy had given McMahon a life-jacket and had towed him all three miles with the strap of the device in his teeth. After finding no food or water on the island, Kennedy concluded that he should swim the route the PT boats took through Ferguson Passage in hopes of sighting another ship. After Kennedy had no luck, Ross also made an attempt, but saw no one and returned to the island. Ross and Kennedy had spotted another slightly larger island with coconuts to eat and all the men swam there with Kennedy again towing McMahon. Now at their fourth day, Kennedy and Ross made it to Nauru Island and found several natives. Kennedy cut a message on a coconut that read '11 alive native knows posit & reef Nauru Island Kennedy.' He purportedly handed the coconut to one of the natives and said, 'Rendova, Rendova!,' indicating that the coconut should be taken to the PT base on Rendova.

Kennedy and Ross again attempted to look for boats that night with no luck. The next morning the natives returned with food and supplies, as well as a letter from the coastwatcher commander of the New Zealand camp, Lieutenant Arthur Reginald Evans. The message indicated that the natives should return with the American commander, and Kennedy complied immediately. He was greeted warmly and then taken to meet PT 157 which returned to the island and finally rescued the survivors on 8 August.

Kennedy was later awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroics in the rescue of the crew of PT 109, as well as the Purple Heart Medal for injuries sustained in the accident on the night of 1 August 1943.

As you may know, Kennedy never fully recovered from the re-injury to his bad back sustained in the collision. He lived with the constant pain for the rest of his life (with the help of heavy doses of drugs, it has recently been disclosed). The coconut became a fixture atop his desk in the oval office. The destroyer Amagiri did not survive the war. She struck a mine and sunk on April 23, 1944.

For a more detailed and prosaic version of the story, here's the transcription of a 1944 article by John Hersey in the New Yorker about the events.

Posted by annika at 02:12 PM | Comments (2)

Hacking Arrested

Maybe i'm getting cynical watching the Scott Peterson debacle prosecution in progress, but i'm anxious to see how the Salt Lake DA fucks up this open and shut case.

Posted by annika at 01:21 PM | Comments (2)

Artist/War Correspondent

Here's some amazing war reportage from an artist embedded with the 1st Infantry Division in Baqubah, Iraq.

There’s a huge bang; the 113 rocks and Ledlow, Cliat and Camp fall to the floor. I’m afraid they’re dead. An RPG has just hit the side of our vehicle, between Cliat and Gayer, the driver. Gayer’s fallen too, and Theis is shouting at him through his headphones to get up. Smoke and the acrid smell of magnesium powder are everywhere.

Doc saw the RPG round fired at us by a man from behind a tree, his head covered in a black hood. Later, he says it looked like a baseball coming straight for us. Pulling himself back up, he locates the shooter in his rifle sight, peering from around the tree. Doc fires off two rounds and sees the man fall, but can’t tell if he’s killed him.

. . .

The RPGs are coming from our left; Ledlow has relieved Camp to defend that side. There’s another terrifying explosion against the 113, as a grenade lands low on our left track, damaging but not disabling it. An armor piercing round, it destroys one of the plates, but somehow misses the pin, which would have cut the track and rendered us unable to move. Nevertheless, the sprocket can’t engage and we’ve come to a halt: Gayer can’t get the vehicle to move forward. Theis tells him to reverse it and we lurch backwards.

'What the fuck are you doing?' Cliat shouts at Theis. 'You don’t never go backwards in a firefight! Move this fucking thing forward! Forward!'

Riveting stuff. His watercolors are equally fascinating.

Thanks yet again to Sarah for finding this.

Posted by annika at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)


Is it wrong to eat the rest of the mint chocolate chip ice cream left over from last week's office baby shower for breakfast?

i think not.

Posted by annika at 08:44 AM | Comments (5)