Posts from May 2002

Michael Moore = Jerry Lewis

Michael Moore = Jerry Lewis (+ many pounds)
: Shift, the Canadian mag/site, wonders why Michael Moore’s documentary, Bowling for Columbine, is the first chosen to show at Cannes since 1956.

I say it’s the same reason the French take a shining to Jerry Lewis:

They like things that irritate Americans.

What they didn’t know…
: My wise wife asks: If the families of the 9.11 victims knew what we knew today (so far) about the FBI’s bungling of the unconnected dots of clues leading to the terrorist attack, would they have signed on for government grants of money that came with the stipulation that they cannot sue?

Target: Ramallah
: Ken Layne finds two cogent paragraphs in an LA Times story that says there may be evidence tying shoe-bomber Richard Reid with Hamas and Hezbollah. If that’s the case, Ken says quite rightly, then there should be no difference between our response to bin Laden in Afghanistan and our response to these murderers.

Priests and pain
: Peter Manseau writes at Killing the Buddah about his father the former priest watching TV news today:

My father watches and shakes his head. He knew all these guys, knows some of them still. Together they’d grown from altar boys into men of God. John Geoghan, who once remarked he preferred the children of poor families because they were more affectionate, more in need, was a year ahead of my father at the archdiocese seminary. And Paul Shanley — accused of raping a Catholic school boy in, among other places, a confessional — ministered to junkies and street kids in Boston all through the 60s. So did Dad. And so did his good friend George Spagnolia, who thirty years ago offered his church for the wedding of the priest and the nun who would be my father and mother, and who, just last month, left his parish following allegations of abuse. Few in his parish believed the charges against him, but when he admitted he was gay and had not always been celibate, Catholic assumptions pushed him out the door.

Dad’s even dealt with Cardinal Bernard Law, the man at the center of this mess. While shuffling known child-abusers from church to church to save face and hold the priest-shortage at bay, Cardinal Law sought to get priests like my father off the books. A priest who married and refused to be laicized — refused in a sense to declare that he was unfit to be a priest — was thought to be an embarrassment, a public flouter of the authority of the church. The current cardinal and his predecessors have repeatedly called on my father finally to resign his ordination….

Did He walk on water, or surf it?
: A surfer’s Bible in — you get two guesses; no, not SoCal — Australia:

Make God first and he will blow your mind on a daily basis — without a hangover!

Over to you, Bleah. [via Holy Weblog]

Moving day
: Brian Linse gets his own domain. Update those bookmarks.

[For those of you who don’t know how to update bookmarks, on Internet Explorer, right-click on the line in your favorites, click on properties, and change the address. Repeat for Instapundit.

Poison ivy
: I’ve been busy and so I missed my first opportunity to link to Matthew Yglesias‘ reporting on the Jihad commencement speech at Harvard. The story keeps developing; Yglesias met with mucketymucks at Harvard about it today. Good reading.

Assuming the worst
: An apartment building in Encino explodes into flames. We’re all wondering the same thing: Is this the apartment attack the FBI has been warning about? The FBI is going to the site to investigate.

: I have a miserable, rotten chest cold. No, that’s not news. But I have to say that even that makes me ask stupid, paranoid questions. There have been mysterious piles of a white powdery substance showing up on streets around my neighborhood. Looks like sand. But then I got to hacking and I ask: Anthrax?

Well, more absurd things have happened or threaten to. You can see them all on Drudge:

: Now the FBI warns about scuba-diving terrorists.

They’re watching too much James Bond.

Biting the hand
: Andrew Sullivan (he without the working permalinks) is still whining about not writing for the NY Times after he attacks them (or he’s assuming it’s because he attacks them; could just be because they don’t like is writing; it happens; that’s what editors do). But we haven’t heard a peep from him about the affair of the NY Post columnist who was canned after attacking his paper. I think they should start the Association of Canned Complaining Journalists.

Grrrrrr: Extremely, extraordinarily, excessively, extra

: Extremely, extraordinarily, excessively, extra grumpy today. I have my reasons. Sparing you that and my growling posts. Be grateful. Damnit.

Educating Europe: As Bush lands

Educating Europe
: As Bush lands in Germany, David Warren educates Europe on American determination:

I am struck both by the number of web readers I have in New York, and by what they write to me. On Sept. 11th, at least 20 million people could actually see the smoke and debris uttering from the former WTC with their own eyes. It is now written into each of their souls. I have yet to hear from even one of them who is not willing, in reply to further such attacks from the same family of terrorist fanatics, to take out every single Islamic regime, whether “radical” or “moderate”. I don’t think we in Canada, let alone those in Europe, fully appreciate the “commitment” there. That e.g. the moment the U.S. enters Iraq, Hillary Clinton will cry: “Get ‘im!”

: Just heard on NBC news that the target of the Pennsylvania jet was the White House.

Remember that bin Laden goes after targets he misses until he gets them.

The administration should warn itself.

Batteries included
: I’m nominated as sexiest male blogger. Vote early. Vote often. (on the right-hand column.)

Gray beards are very sexy. Ignore the picture of me on the site. Character acting, you know.

: So I stopped by Bryant Park to see David Blaine standing atop a 90-foot tower with no ropes, no nets, for 36 hours before he jumps off in the dying embers of prime time tonight.

It’s New York.

Everybody’s trying very hard to be blase. (Or maybe watching a guy standing there is just boring). Some folks are standing around looking up. The chairs in the park are all turned to the tower where Blaine is statueing. Many are trying to read papers. There are plenty of factotums behind the barricades who are trying to act all rock-show important with their IDs and walkie-talkies and dress blacks. Just another day in New York.

But then it hit me: What if he does, God forbid, fall?

The last thing New York needs is another person falling to his death. The poll he’s standing on even looks like a pillar of the World Trade Center.

I’ve seen enough of that for a lifetime, for eternity. I could not bear seeing it again. The chills came back.

And so, you see, that is what life in New York is really like these days. We find our distractions where we may (and you have to work hard to distract a New Yorker). But even so, even in an absurd event such as this, everything points back to Then.

Does this remind you of Then? Where were you Then? Are you OK since Then? You can’t escape Then.

: In the greatest tradition of tabloids, the New York Post tells New Yorkers to keep a stiff upper lip and stiff middle finger aimed at the terrorist threats against our city.

New York stood, stout-hearted, when the Twin Towers fell.

Ah, but now comes word from Washington – from the FBI itself – meant to send New Yorkers scuttering headlong into hiding.

To fear fear itself.

Threats against New York City have been made by terrorists, says the FBI.

No specifics, apart from the usual suspects – the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and so on.

But run anyway – run and hide!

Hadn’t FBI Director Robert Mueller already warned all of America that additional terrorist violence is “inevitable.”

“We will not be able to stop it!” exclaimed the director.

Mr. Director! Please!

There is a war on.

That’s defeatist talk – and defeatism is not the American way.

It most certainly is not the New York way.

New Yorkers don’t hide!…

Go away, Mr. Mueller.

Come back when you have something useful to say – or don’t come back at all.

New Yorkers aren’t afraid.

Not of fear.

Not of anything.

Well, we talk a good game.

Lileks and Layne both write about New York, wondering what it’s like to live there these days.

It’s OK — until we get a reminder of what it’s really like, until we see a shrine at a firehouse, as Lileks did; until we read yet more profiles of victims in Times; until we see the pictures of Ground Zero on the TV most every night; until we get another warning and threat and, no matter how stupid or cynical or absurd the warnings are, we have to take it seriously; it happened here.

So the impact is still real. I wanted to take my kids into the city this weekend. Probably won’t now. I get sweaty palms on the PATH train. I walk faster past the Empire State Building.

But I’ll get past it. I’m going to wander by Bryant Park and see David Blaine standing on a ten-story pole with, according to Howard, lots of beautiful babes at the base.

Fight absurdity with absurdity. That’s the New York way.

American knowhow
: Atta cased the World Trade Center days before the attack so he could use his American-made global positioning system to bring them down.

The video: Damien Perry on

The video
: Damien Perry on the Pearl video. Don’t watch it. Read him instead.

Blog story du jour
: Sure to be No. 1 on the Blogdex hit parade tomorrow:

SUDDENLY, WEB COMMUNITIES have become one of the hottest topics on the wired frontier: You can see it in the rapid commercialization of the grass-roots Web log movement, as well as the latest research into how the Web organizes itself and how Internet users connect to each other.

Such research builds upon previous studies into the structure of the Web

Blogging as exhibitionism: There are

Blogging as exhibitionism
: There are all kinds of things I cannot say on my blog.

At a recent school event for my kid, a neighbor said that he’d read my blog. I was flattered and shocked. And I realized that I can’t write about the neighbors.

Some colleagues read it. Can’t talk about work.

Family either.

I now understand the appeal of anonyblogs. I’m thinking of taking on a personality, a nom de post, so I can say what I really think. And I’m not telling anybody.

The (aggressive) pursuit of happiness
: Every six months or so, I get fed up with the modern American quest for spirtuality. When I lived in California, that happened every week or so.

Spirituality is, too often, just another way to say self-indulgence: What will make me happy?

I want to slap its practitioners.

Sunday night, I watched much of the end of Survivor and was disgusted by the faux ethnic/religious/spiritual clapcrap: the survivor ladies paddling to an island to spend the afternoon painting (they called it tattooing) symbols on their arms and legs to connect them to some bogus spirituality. They’d have been better off doing their hair.

Next I watched the wonderful Six Feet Under where, at least, they made fun of the screwed up shrink parents’ renewal vows, revealing the vacuum of their souls.

And today, I pick up the New York Times and read about a new program at — one guess — Berkeley promoting the study of peace and love:

The new institution, the Center for the Development of Peace and Well-Being, already nicknamed the joy center, will scientifically explore “inner peace” as it relates to individuals, relationships and communities…

Good, God, I wish cliches were most self-aware.

The world is a screwed-up place that requires real morality and hard work and we can’t solve problems with mumbo-dumbo-jumbo whose only aim is to make us feel good. Sometimes, we should feel bad so we work on the cure and not the symptoms, so we worry about others’ problems and needs and not just our own.

I’m not feeling like peace and love these days. We’re still at war.

: Howard Stern reliably delivers the pulse of America and this morning, he’s pissed at the Bush administration over the 9.11 warnings. Howard says they could have done simple things once warned about hijackings and Arab pilots. They could have put air marshals in planes. They could have looked at the rosters of other flight schools. They could have tightened airport security. Stern likes Bush. But he has said from the start that Bush is a Type B personality and it doesn’t surprise him that his administration did not jump on these warnings. He says that this should cost him another term.

I wouldn’t go that far.

Nonetheless, the pundits and pollsters should listen to Howard’s pulse.

What is needed is cabinet-level accountabilty. We don’t have that today. Cheney is the one being sent out there to draw lightning; he’s the one who warns of another attack so they can say we-told-you-so; he’s the one who refuses to release the hero-FBI agent’s memo. Poor Dick. Meanwhile, the heads of the FBI, the Justice Department, and the Transportation Department are getting free rides. They are the ones who should be feeling the power of vox pop voltage.

There is one answer: RUDY!

Stern says Rudy should be President.

I wouldn’t go that far.

Rudy should be attorney general; I’ve been saying that since October.

We now have an attorney general who’s there to push the far-right agenda — guns, abortion, prayer — and make the far-right happy when what we should have as attorney general is somebody who knows how to catch criminals and protect the people. That is the real job. And the man who could do it: Rudy Guiliani.

A strong crime fighter should be attorney general. That person should be responsible for homeland security so there is cabinet-level accountablity. And if Dick Cheney wants to make himself useful, he should take charge of making sure the FBI, the CIA, and the military communicate, compare notes, connect dots, and work hard to prevent the next attack (just take Ken Layne’s wise suggestion: stop complaining about your old computers and just start a cross-agency Terror Blog).

Howard says that Cheney should not just say that we’re going to get attacked and leave it at that. Howard says Cheney should warn that if we get attack, we are going to nuke the Palestinians or Saudi Arabia, pick a country, any country.

I might go that far.

: Update: Matthew Yglesias gives all the good reasons why Rudy won’t get the job. Still, it would be nice.

Repetitive stress
: Amy Langfield is typing again and it’s a good thing.