Sunday, July 31, 2005

Jessica Simpson Mania

The next chapter of Washed Ashore is going to be delayed until late tonight or tomorrow. I want to polish it up a bit, as chapter three introduces the serpent into Eden--or does it? I usually use Saturday to do that, but last night we had a large party at Casa de Polyphemus. Tarrying at the vine is not usually my thing and i often barricade myself in my room when these shindigs occur, but this time I decided to join in. I discovered Tom T. Hall shortchanged watermellon wine. it's worth way more than a solitary dime. so are srewdrivers if you put just the right amount of vodka in them. Yeah, I got plastered. It was the first time I've had any alcohol since I went to Dallas in November 2003. Anyway, once I shape up the chapter, I'll post it.

To the title of this post: Google has finally picked this post up. I have had 57 visitors in the last 24 hours from Google's image search looking for that photo of Jessica Simpson. I note Reese witherspoon has been ignored, just like I said she would. There's no accounting for taste. But visitors are visitors, so here you go, horn dogs. Go wild:

These two are from Jessica's new video, "These Boots Are Made for Walking." The song wasn't a favorite whe Nancy Sinatra belted it out, and I don't care much for jessica's version, either. Man, what a video, though. I am convined that i a bomb squad was working feverishly to disarm a bomb attached to a dam overlooking a city of 100,000 widows and orphans, they'd still be compelled to stop and watch Jessica wiggle it if that video came on.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Frist Flops

Sen. bill Frist has changed his position from opposition to stem cell research to supporting it. The switch is blatant presidential politics--a transparent attempt to distance himself from his unpopular support of Terri Schiavo's right to live, which alienated many moderates.

Frist was always an unexciting presidential prospect. Now he has joined the clueless ranks of John kerry and Rudolph Guiliani as the only three men in A,erica that think they can be elected president.

I still can't accept that a virtual unknow like Sen. Alenn is the frontrunner for the GOP nod. Where are all the gubernatorial propects? one should have popped up by now.
Battlestar Galactica--"Fragged"

Apollo leads a rescue mission to recover the stranded crew on kobol. Unfortunately, he’s a little late, as Crashdown snaps and decides to lead the crew on a suicide run against the Ctlon encampment. The rest of the desperate crew rebel and..well, let’s just say Crashdown doesn’t have to wait for the Cylons to shoot him.

On the galactica, Adama is still out of it, and Col. Tigh defies the elected government by declaring martial law. President Roslin has a few tricks up her sleeve, even though she is still imprisoned. She reveals more of how she is fulfilling prophecy--she’s dying of breast cancer. Civilians and government officials alike rally around her as she promises to lead them to Earth. Oh, and Col. Tigh has a drinking problem that may be impairing his judgment.

Fans are complaining the pacing is too slow and there are too many story arcs going on at once. As a longtime comic book fan who is accustomed to storylines lasting for years, I disagree. I think things are moving along perfectly, and I usually want to see the next episode just as the credits are rolling on the current one. This episode was no different. It reminded me of Platoon and Robert Heinlein’s novel, Starship Troopers. This is a good thing.

(Rating: **** out of 5)
Stargate; Atlantis--"Runner"

After the slam-bang action of the first two episodes, we get a solid installment of character development and a new cast member. Definitely worth the price of admission.

The crew goes to a planet hoping to find the altered Lt. Ford. Instead, several members find themselves held hostage by Ronan, someone the Wraith have been hunting. McCay eventually encounters Ford, who is rapidly losing his grip on humanity. There is some great interaction between the two, as ford tries to impede his increasing savagery and McCay shows a little more of his compassionate side. Very little, but it's there.

Ford escapes towards the end, ensuring that his storyline will extend on into the season. There isn’t much more about Ronan. The crew take him back to Atlantis under the premise of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ which, from the looks of the next episode preview, may haunt them.

(Rating *** out of 5)
Stargate SG-1--"Origin"

Here’s a nifty conclusion to the opening trilogy and introduction to the new bag guys, the Orii. I dug the set up, and the exploration of theological issues. There are so definite Christian overtones here, and usually SG-1 gives Christianity a fair shake. However, in this episode we get Orii missionaries who are absolutely intolerant of nonbelievers--the stereotype of the fundamentalist Christian. Time will tell if the writers have shifted their views to a bias against Christinas--even if it is a caricatured view of real Christian beliefs.

Louis gossett, Jr. makes his first appearance as the fee Jaffa leader. He’s put on a little weight since his last starring role as…uh…well, I don’t know. Where has he been for the last decade?

My favorite scene was the last few minutes. There was a moment between Daniel and jack that was quite nice, but the bit with jack and Col. Mitchell served as a passing of the torch from one SG-1 leader to the next. It was a good ending to Richard Dean Anderson’s eight seasons on the show.

(Rating: **** out of 5)
Media Meme Redux

The Colossus passed the media meme to me a day or two ago. I was already tagged back in June, if anyone else is curious.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Random Political Musings

Here are a few random musings I’ve had lately from the political world that aren’t big enough to merit individual posts. It’s been a slow news week as far as any major events worth blogging about are considered. In fact, I was about to label this post “Bonfire of the Inanities,” my second choice for the name of this blog way back when. I resisted, as I have other plans for the title. Anyhow, on with the show.

The AFL-CIO split spells disaster for the Democrats. It not that unions will now throw their weight behind the Republicans--they won’t--but there won’t be such monolithic enthusiasm for the Democrats. It’s going to be harder to hand the party a good number of solid, committed votes. The split is the second nail in the coffin of the Democrat-union relationship. The first was when john kerry chose John Edwards as his running mate over Dick Gephardt. Gep was a favorite of labor unions and a law school chum of James Hoffa. Kerry let it be known by bypassing Gep that the new bread and butter for the party was trial lawyers, not unions. Now, folks who don’t even like unions have a favorable opinion of the blue collar working class man. Trial lawyers on the other hand are viwed as sharks in Armani suits who drive expensive cars. I don’t think the Democrats have really thought through the implications of openly associating with them.

I’ve been kicking around lately the idea that Russia is funding the Iraqi insurgents as revenge for our covert involvement in the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the ‘80’s. Think about it, Alqeada’s assets have been consistently destroyed since 2001 to the point they are down to building nail bombs as a weapon, yet they have the resources to carry on a Bttle against coalition troops in Iraq. I’m sure there are enough elements of the old Soviet regime still around who feel some connection with the former Baathists who are fighting as well. The Baath Party was founded on Stalinist ideology and the USSR was on of Saddam’s staunchest allies. Putin definitely likes to flex his muscle on the international scene. This wouldn’t surprise me at all. If such a connection existed between Russia and the insurgents, we’d never hear about it until years later. Russia is too important an “ally” to embarrass right now. Keep an eye out for hints anyway.

John McCain has reopened his Straight Talk PAC from 2000, presumably the first step in a presidential bid. As a veteran of the 2000 South Carolina GOP primary, I can tell you that McCain was (fairly or not) successfully cast as a left leaning centrist and the label has stuck. He won’t get very far here, and the road to the White House goes through Columbia and Charleston. The Palmetto State has one of the earliest primaries in the country. It saved Bob Dole’s nomination in 1996 and derailed McCain in 2000. It will likely do so again.

I’ve listened to Nancy Pelosi for the first time in the last few weeks. I’ve never paid her much attention, but her comments on the Kelo decision and CAFTA caught my ears. I say this in all sincerity, without any partisan hackery--she isn’t that bright. The nuances of these political happenings totally bypass her. Why does the Democratic Party not only want her front and center, but has put her in position to be House Speaker if their fortunes turn? Do they really want her setting the legislative agenda? She isn’t very intelligent, she isn’t a visionary, and even on a more basic level, she has no sex appeal. The only reason I can think of to make her the public face of the party is that she must be a fantastic fundraiser. Either that or the Democrats have suicidal tendencies.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I'm not sure if I should be happy or ashamed about this.
Off Her Rocker

Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas has announced she will kill herself if Dick Ceheny runs for president in 2008. Perhaps alec Baldwin will allow her to be buried on the overseas property he bought when he vowed to leave the United States if Bush won in 2004.

Oh, that's right--he didn't keep his word. Darn those celebs and their lack of sincerity.
The Cult of Clinton

No, really. It reminds me of the '80'a sci fi flick They Live starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. I also have to quote some wisdom from Dr. McCoy: Why does God need a starship?
Guns v. Doctors

Statistics courtesy of the Canadian Dept of Health & Human Services: On Doctors
1. The number of doctors in Canada is 700,000

2. Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000

3. Accidental deaths per physician is 17.14%
Statistics courtesy of the RCMP: On Guns

1. The number of guns owned in Canada is 80,000,000 (yes that's 80 million)

2. The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500

3. The number of accidental deaths per gun is 0.001875%.
So statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Remember, guns don't kill people, doctors do.

FACT: Not everyone has a gun, but most everyone has at least one doctor. Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!! Out of concern for the public at large, I have withheld statistics on lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek medical attention.

Then we would be in real trouble.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Recasting the War

The Bush Administration is opting to repackage the war on terror as the ‘struggle’ against terror. I do not approve of the change. I realize the nature of politics in a democracy involves some marketing skills and the word ‘war’ is a tough one to sell, but in this case I think the word is appropriate.

The word struggle implies a sense of helplessness against tough odds. That is not the case here. While the Islamofascists are far from defeated, they certainly aren’t what they used to be. I would never make light of the recent terrorist bombings in London, but the reality is they were a bunch of kids with bombs in their backpacks. That’s a far cry from ramming planes into skyscrapers. If this is the best they can muster these days, this isn’t much of a struggle, but a war in which we are winning.

If the Bush Administration is trying to instill fear in the American people by casting this as a struggle, I think that is underestimating what Americans are all about. The left may like to umply that people are always victims of uncontrollable forces, but Americans don’t really feel that way about themselves. There is a spirit in America that we stand up and fight when the wolves howl at the door. It isn’t a struggle--it’s a fight to the finish.

I think this new game of semantics may backfire on the Administration. It’s going to be much easier for American to separate the current Iraq conflict with the overall war for now, folks see it as another front in the overall war. Soon, they may begin to see it as an fighting an unnecessary “war” when we should be focusing on the “struggle” against terrorism.

You can expect another round of questioning whether invading Iraq was worth it in the next few weeks. There is an August 15th deadline to have a new constitution ready that the Iraqis aren’t likely to make. It is being speculated they will ask for a six month extention. Regardless, anytime a new milestone is about to be reached, the insurgency flares up. This won’t be a time when we to make the conflict seem like anything less than what it is and imply that our military can’t handle it.

We lost the Vietnam War the night Walter Cronkite reported on the Tet Offensive and said live on the air, “I thought we were winning this war.” We were, and we could have finished the job if that simple phrase hadn’t been spoken. It would benefit the Bush Administration to remember the power of words, and how a poor turn of a phrase can swing the resolve of the American public.
Handy Latin

Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes.
The Queen's Representative in Canada

Rick Hansen, a paraplegic who circumnavigated the world in his wheelchair to raise awareness for spibinal cord research may be appointed by Queen Elizabeth to be the next Governor-General of Canada.

The CG is largely a ceremonial position. The duties include touring military bases, bestowing honors, and representing Canada abroad. His only real power would be to dissolve Parliament at the Prime Minister's request to hold new elections. that's just a rubber stamp power, but it is still neat to know an advocate for the disabled is a candidate for such a high profile position.

Politics may rear its ugly head, though. Current thought has it that someone from Quebec may appointed instead to shore up fading support for the current government from the French speaking province. Time will tell.
Maddox Milestone

Former Atlanta Braves star and future Hall of Famer Greg Maddox has joined the elite group of 300wins/3,000K's group. How elite is that? There are only 13 pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball to join. Congratulations, Greg. Now if only you and tom Glavine had stayed with the Braves instead of chasing the almighty dollar...
Child Support Squabble

I keep my eye out for interesting family law cases to pop up. Outside of religious freedom issues, it was the largest emphasi of Regent Law.

Bizarre Child Support Battle in New York: A Brooklyn, New York man who stopped paying storage fees for his frozen sperm after divorcing his wife has filed suit against the sperm bank, his ex, and a notary public after learning she picked up the payments and used the sperm to get pregnant. Deon Francois, who now must pay child support, says he didn't want a child and never gave consent for the use of his sperm.

The general rule is that men are explicitly absolved from paying child support when donating to a sperm bank. However, in this case there seemed to be some implicit consent, as having a child that way was a previous agreement. i can't help but think that his ex wife has done this just to spite him at the expense of an infant child. I'm sure they'll both be Excellent parents, no?

Got to love the weasel lawyer quote at the end, too:
"Well he needs to be compensated and he has to pay child support and it's going to cost maybe several million to raise a child in the 21st century."
What a lovely pantheon of professionals I almost entered.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Star Dreck

Paramount hasn't learned a thing from the failure of Enterprise. Check out the propsal for the next film. in short, it's going to be a prequel set in the near future involving time travelling characters from various Trek series and the Romulan Wars. I don't know what's worse--the dumb story idea or the fact that Rick Berman and Brannon Braga as still in charge of it all.

If someone would see fit to appoint me chairman of Paramount Studios, I would have the two of them banned from the lot with orders to shoot spitballs at them on sight.

What's with the current fascination with prequels anyway? Sure, the latest Star Wars trilogy made a mountain of cash, but they were creatively awful. It was the same with Enterprise. Why keep going back to the well when it ran dry around 1999? We're not interested in the past. Move things foreward!

(....and I say that as a history buff.)
Lose Weight the Asian Way

That was the subject line of a spam e-mail I just deleted. My first thought was, "How? Ten years in a slave labor camp?"
Popular Christianity

I was flipping through television channels yesterday evening when I thought I glimpsed Kirk Cameron on TBN. I’d stumbled across his old show on that network about two years ago. I heard he had found Christ, but was impressed with how ‘on fire” he was. Indeed, it was him on last night as well, so I flipped back and listened a few minutes. It lead me to dwell on a few things. From the frivolous to the important:

First, I’m curious as to why a lot of celebrities big in the ‘80’s have become overtly Christian. Kirk Cameron, Willie Aames, Mr. T, Gary Busey, Devine, and the actress who played Blaire on The Facts of Life (I forget her name, just like everybody else has) have all had conversions and will share testimonies. I don’t recall another era that has produced such a large chunk of conversions. Desmond Wilson, who played Lamont Sanford on Sanford and Son, cleaned up his act and became a minister, but I believe his church is some sort of African spiritualism. That’s it for the 70’s. From the ‘90’s we have MC Hammer and Deion Sanders. What is it about the ‘80’s that prompted folks to become believers?

Second, I don’t watch TBN for any length of time, usually something just catches what’s left of my eye as I am soaking in phosphur dots. The network as always struck me as not having a very rigid theology about what they will put on. It appears that any “Christian” with the money to front production costs can get air time. Maybe I’m being hypercritical, but I am always skeptical of mainstream Christianity. With that in mind, I often view TBN with some amusement and a lot of bemusement.

One thing I am struck bt now is how tied in to right wing politics it is--particularly about Iraq. I have seen some of the missionary shows taping from Baghdad, and interviews with military personal discussing how their faith has helped them decide their mission in Iraq is a good cause. Now, I don’t knock that. I’m actually glad to see it, but I am surprised at what a brand new concept it is. I don’t recall it happening in the first Gulf War. I don’t think any televangelist went to Afghanistan, Grenada, Lebanon, or Vietnam during our conflicts there. It leads me to wonder if there really is something to the idea that the more fundamentalist Christians support the war because they believe attacking Babylon will bring about the End Times.

I can’t imagine anyone ever admitting publicly, but I have grown up around apocalyptic Christians who always believed the End Times were tied to the Middle East. The was always anxiety about it. I noted the apprehension changed often. Originally, it was all about the Soviet Union and China (the Gog and Magog of Ezekial) invading the Middle East and conquering Israel--never mind that the Soviets and the Chinese had been in a state of war with each other for decades. Later, it shifted to the European Union being a revival of the Roman Empire. I don’t need to elaborate how poory that one pans out do I?

I distinctly remember many folks around me claiming the Gulf War was predicted in Jeremiah 50-51. Witness 50:3:
“For out of the north there cometh up a nation against thee [Babylon] which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein. They shall move, they shall depart, both man and beat.”
Witness also 50:41-42:
“Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.

They shall hold the bow and the lance. They are cruel, and will not show mercy, their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to battle against thee, O daughter of Babylon.”
It’s a stretch, but it was enough to have many people around me bracing for the Rapture. Thing is, those Christians thought the Gulf War was a necessary evil and weren’t enthusiastic about it. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Operation Iraqi Freedom. I’m not sure what’s changed in the last 12 years. Perhaps fundamentalist consider Bush to be “one of us” whereas they didn’t feel so strongly about his father. Bush 41’s use of the term “New World Order” fueled some antichrist speculation, and there was still an axe to grind about Pat Robertson losing the 1988 GOP nod for president, maybe they felt someone like him just couldn’t be doing the lord’s work like Bush 43 could.

That’s a lot of armchair quarterbacking just to say that the apprehension among Christians for a war in Iraq was clear in 1991 and has turned to enthusiasm in 2005. I don’t think it’s a matter of bringing about prophecy, either. Christians are banging the drum for the oppressed people of North Korea as well. That regime certainly epitomizes the evils that can be perpetuated by atheism. I assume that is the motivation.

Anyway, I want to slide away from prophecy. Speculating on it makes me uncomfortable on many levels, not the least of which is that I have absolutely no idea who’s right about any of it. Best to leave it alone, then.

Finally, I get nervous at the contemporary feel of TBN. I’m much more traditionalist: a small church, with a friebrand preacher, and old won hymnals. This idea of slick, manicured televangelists heading mega churches, writing pop Christian psychology books like The purpose Driven life, and having praise and worship songs that sound like ‘70’s easy listening seems way too intertwined with the world to me. Some of it is a bit more obvious to me. I’ve seen t-shirts with a mug full of Christ’s blood in it that say “This Blood’s For You,’ a play on Bud light’s motto, “This Bud’s For You.” That crosses a line about being separate from the world that shouldn’t be crossed. I sort of like the upside down Darwin fish that says “Darwin is Dead,” though. I guess it’s a matter of taste, but I am apprehensive about how taste relates to blasphemy.

It’s the music that makes me most uncomfortable. I’ve heard actual pop songs sung with Christian themes in mind, such as Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration” and Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Now, I listen to secular music. In fact, I don’t listen to contemporary Christian, but I have been surrounded for years by people that do, and I am amazed at how many of the trappings of being a rock music fan are evident there. CC fans don’t seem to realize how much they are going through the motions of things they call sin when rock fans do it.

Groupies are the biggest source of amusement for me. What’s the point? In rock, groupies follow bands because they are sexually attracted to the band members and are seeking intercourse. Now, I’ve never been in a group of Christians that didn’t sleep around as much as any secular group, but they at least try to hide it. So you have groupies pretending they are not groupies for the purpose of avoiding sin which they are probably committing any way. I’m sure they’re pulling one over on God quite well, no?

Which leads me full circle. Kirk Cameron was talking about shunning pop culture because of its bad fruit. Pop culture dwells on the negative things natural man enjoys; lust, greed, adultery, gluttony, and the like. To serve pop culture is to not serve the spiritual good fruit. I think he had a good point for those who are engaging in Christian versions of pop culture elements especially. I don’t think you can ever totally get rid of natural man, so I think Cameron is promoting an impossible standard. I also think there are degrees he isn’t considering (there’s a difference between list and attraction, for instance) but he gave me some food for thought---one of the biggest being as much as Cameron dislikes pop culture, I’ll bet he still cashes his royalty checks from Growing Pains.
Generous, But No

A lovesick Kenyan government official has offered Bill Clinton forty goats in exchance for Chlesea's hand in marriage. The official also admires Hillary, which I'll bet bill probably seriously considered swapping.

I would.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Cybermen II

I write about some touchy subjects here: politics, law, and religion. Despite all that, the most controversial post I've ever made was my critique of the Cybermen, a perennial thorn in the side of Dr. Who. That generated several critical posts on other blogs and an e-mail informing me of my idiocy. Poor etiquette all around, but what can you do?

Just to give folks a heads up, the Cybermen will be returning for the next season of Dr. Who. They will most definitely be updated from their past silly appearance--a la the Cylon Centurions on the new Battlestar Galactica-which was the point of my original post anyway. It will be fascinating to see how they've changed for the 21st Century--and if anyone has a coniption fit about it.
Democrat Follies

Hillary Clinton is slowly but surely sliding to the Right on safe issues. It started with her proposal to increase the size of the military by 80,000 (not that we aren't having enough trouble filling the slots we already have0, beginning a crusade against violent video games, and no agreeing to vote in favor of John roberts. Both Clinton's have always been good at convincing voters they are more conservative than they actually are. I don't really think the country is going to fall for it in 2008.

The Democrat party doesn't think so, either. Although Hillary is shifting to improve her electabilty because she knows the nomination is sewed up, some party officials are reaching out to gov. bill richardson and sen. Evan Bayh to convince them to run against her for the nomination. there is a fear that Hillary is too tainted to win a general election.

This infighting, however minor it may actually be, spells doom for the party. The 2004 election was built, not as a "Let's All get Behind Kerry" but as "Anybody But Bush." no new ideas, no grand plan, just get Bush out of office, and we'll worry about how to run the country later. This is true. kerry's foreign policy plan was to ask France and Germany how they'd handle iraq. Now 2008 is shaping up to be worse than that--the party isn't even against the Republican. they don't even like their top candidate!

So what's up with the party these days? No one wanted Howard Dean as head of the DNC, yet there he is. He's totally ineffective as prty officials across the country don't want to be seen with him. The party doesn't think Hillary can win, yet she is a shoo in for the presidential nomination. Who is electing these leaders if no one in the party actually likes them?

Are the democrats trying to manufacture a massive defeat like Barry Goldwater's in 1964 so they can reshape the whole party from th ground up? That was the turning point for the Republican Party from moderate to conservative. Perhaps the Democrats are putting their firebrands front and center for disastrous defeats to discourage further extreme leftists from emerging? It sounds awfully conspiratorial. I think it's more likely the party is too concentrated in megacity enclaves to grasp they need more philosphically diverse candidates spread out over the various regions of the country. This will only occur to them after being denied the White House for a third time in as many tries.
Some Fools Never Learn

Hanoi Jane is going on an anti-war bus tour. At least this time she won't have photos taken with suicide bombs strappped to her waist. It would be feasible anyway, with the burka and all.
Screen Actor's Guild Intrigue

Melissa Gilbert (Laura Ingalls if you aren't cool, Anna Sheridan if you are) has declined to run for a third term as SAG president. Two things are not said in this article. The most important is that this is not an entirely peaceful departure. There has been an increased amount of bitter infighting among members doing her term, not the least of which has been over union merger.

Second,one of the likely candidates to replace Gilbert is the original James West, Robert Conrad. He's still a tough old bird even at his advanced age. Older readers may recall the car battery commercials in which he dared anyone to knock the battery off his shoulder. I guess all those years of battling megalomaniacal dwarves bent on conquering California and Italian Counts with their travelling Circuses of Crime have left him a formidable opponent.

His first order of business should be to track down and beat the living tar out of each and every person responsible for the awful Wild Wild West remake from 1999.
Congratulations on Victory Number Seven

You da man, Lance.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Washed Ashore, Chapter Two

"Ill Winds Blow"

The executive elevator dinged for the ground floor. The doors opened and Alex stepped out. In his red golf shirt and khakis with a perfect crease down each leg, he was the perfect symbol of a former yuppie turned beach bum. He surveyed the quiet lobby as he did every morning. That had been a ritual from the moment he first opened the door to his hotel.

His hotel. The thought still resonated with him, as though he couldn’t believe his good fortune. Indeed, there aren’t many men who are the recipients of largesse quite like he was. He barely knew Nathaniel Gideon. Their relationship was purely profession politician-constituent. Alex was stunned by the gift--Donna even more so--but he never questioned it outside of his own thoughts. To do so, he feared, might make it all go away.

Alex was startled out of his daydream, as he so often was, by Donna barreling down the stairs. Complaining.

“I’ve fixed the shower curtain situation--for the third time,” she grumbled.

“We live in an exotic, tropical paradise. You don’t actually expect it to be an exotic, tropical paradise all the time, do you?” Alex quipped.

“This place is a rich old coot’s idea of a joke,” she said. “I’m just waiting for the punch line to show up and ruin all our lives. Well, more than they have already been.”

Alex rolls his eyes, but before he can respond, the front doors swing open and in strolls Chief Malualua. The chief was a short and fat butterball of a man. As usual, he was wearing nothing but a grass skirt and sandals, but was adorned with an elaborate headdress of feathers and a necklace of shark teeth. Also as usual, he was happy and boisterous.

“Hiya, folks! How’re my favorite clients today?” he bellowed, not caring one whit for what he might be interrupting.

Donna smirked at Alex.

“Speaking of punch lines showing up,” she joked.

Alex glared at her, but didn’t respond. The Chief had long since learned what Donna was like and how to deal with her.

“Ah, the Flower of the tropics. Still charming as ever, I see,” he said.

“It’s hard to be charming when you are stuck on this dead end, backwater island.”

The Chief’s brow knitted in false indignation.

“’Dead end backwater’? I’ll have you know this island is the cultural center of the South Pacific!”

“That doesn’t say much for the South Pacific,” Donna retorted.

“We’ve just added a new television channel, as a for instance.”

“A sister network to the Gilliagan’s Island Channel? I’m impressed. What is it? Hawaii 5-0?”

“No. CNN. What do you take us for, a bunch of rubes?”

Donna threw her hands up in the air and heads back up the stairs.

“I give up. I’m going to find a high window to jump out of,” she said as she stormed off.

“Don’t land on any tourists.” The Chief smiled impishly at Alex. ‘High strung, isn’t she?”

Alex ignored the Chief’s comment.

“I assume you’ve come for your--ahem--licensing fee?” he asked.

The Chief smiled.

“Yes, indeed.”

The two of them walked over to the check in desk. The Chief stayed in front of like any guest would while Alex went behind. The Chief drummed his fingers on the desk while Alex shuffled through drawers to find his checkbook.

“You’re a couple of days early,” he said to the Chief while still rummaging. “What’s the occasion?”

“Let’s just say the natives are getting restless,” the Chief said coyly.

Alex found the checkbook, grabbed a pen, and started writing.

“Can I assume that means the natives are about to raise their already exorbitant price?” he said.

The Chief put his hand over his heart and stumbled back, as if he’d been stabbed in the heart. He straightened up quickly.

“Mr. Masters, you wound me. I and my people go to gret links to entertain your guests in the traditional manner.”

Alex ripped off the check and handed it to the Chief.

“At this price, you should.”

The Chief held the check with both and and studied the amount, just as he always did. He seemed almost entranced by it. Alex had come to expect this, and always gave the Chief a moment of silence. He wasn’t sure if this was some traditional business custom for his people or if the Chief was just a greedy little jerk. Either way, it seemed rude to say anything.

The Chief popped out of his trance and looked at Alex.

“Well, if you aren’t happy here, there are plenty of other islands in the sea if this one doesn’t suit you,’ he said.

“You know we appreciate the setup we have here, Chief.”

“Indeed. It’s not everyday some reclusive, nutty billionaire builds a hotel for you free of charge.”


“Nor will you find such magnanimous islanders willing to throw luaus and do the witch doctor shtick.”

“Debatable. I’ve never comparison shopped. Keep that in mind.”

“Regardless, Nathaniel Gideon is a kind, generous soul to give you the setup you have. It’s the least you can do to help support the poor, indigenous tribe whose hearts are forever tied to this island.”

Alex started to get annoyed by the Chief’s attitude. They didn’t have this conversation often, but every now and then, the Chief would pull this insufferable act. Like Alex hinted before, it usually came when the Chief wanted a raise.

"I see you aren’t afraid for capitalism to invade the hearts of the poor, indigenous tribe who are forever tied to this island,’ he said.

“The white man brought war and disease to us. It’s only fair he bring something useful, too.”

Alex rolled his eyes. Best to change the subject, he though.

“So what are the natives becoming restless about/” he asked.

The Chief turned serious at the question. Alex was taken aback by the change in his demeanor. The Chief always struck him as being too emotionally shallow to care about much of anything. It was a shock to see genuine concern on his face.

“We are truly tied to this island. It is not just our hearts, but are souls. It is symbiotic. When something is wrong with us, she knows, and when something is wrong with her, we know it as well,’ the Chief said.

Alex looked confused.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

‘There is an unbalance. Somewhere, there is a deep wound, and we must be in communion with her to find it.”

“Communion? How do you do that/”

The Chief shook his head.

“I am afraid that is not for outsiders to know. I am sorry,” he aid in all sincerity.”You may not see any of us for many days. That mat diappoint your guests.”

It’s all right, Chief. You’ve entertained a whole lot of them in what I’d guess you consider a gaudy manner. If you need time, you may have it with my blessing.”

“Thank you. We will be back to help you later.” the Chief said. Without another word, he turned and walked out the door.

Alex stood there in silence himself. Perhaps he had misjudged the Chief. Maybe there was a deeper spirit there then he had previously realized. Donna’s voice from the top of the staircase startled him.

“Did the little fruitcake want more money?” she asked.

Alex sighed to himself as she walked down the stairs.

“No, not this time. Just the same money on a different day.”

“Oh. What do you think? Gambling debts or is someone going to repossess his hut?” she smirked.

“Must you always be so sardonic? Every now and then, you could just assume everything is kosher.”

Donna walks behind the desk without an immediate response. She grabs a stack of papers and straitens them up without looking at Alex.

“I still don’t know why we pit up wth him,’ she said after a long moment.

“Because we have a good set up here and the guests like his native islanders motif,” Alex responded.

Before Donna could say anything else, the Masters’ twenty year old son, Sean, came barreling down the stairs wearing long swim trunks and carrying a neon yellow surfboard over his head. He headed straight for the door to the beach without acknowledging his parent’s existence.

“Surf's up, son?,” Alex interrupted before Sean could get halfway to the doorknob. The boy leaned his board up against the wall and respectfully but quietly impatient and approached his parents. Donna couldn’t help but be reminded that Sean was the spitting image of Alex at that age.

“Totally. Some big surfing dudes from Cali are coming in this weekend. They say the Big one is coming and they have figured out that this is going to be the center of it all. The best waves in history are going to be here any day now, so I’ve got to be ready,” he said.

“Sounds…spiritual,” Alex replied with bemusement in his voice. Sean paid it no mind.


That pretty much said it all as Sean gave his dad the hang loose sign. Alex returned it, and Sean rushed off to grab his board and head out the door. Alex smiled.

“Definitely from your side of the family,” he joked to Donna.

“No way,” she said. ‘We were all yuppies. That be pure surfer dude, and definitely from your side.”

“I’m from central California and you’re from southern California, the natural habitat of suferus dudus.”

“He looks like you, he must act like you. Case closed.”

They both laughed. Alex took note of the occasion.

“It’s been a while since you’ve done that,” he said tenderly. Donna froze in place for a moment, not really sure where this was leading.

“What?” she asked.


Donna dropped the papers she was shuffling and looked up at him. There was seriousness in her eyes.

“I haven’t had much to laugh about. I don’t like it here.”

Alex rolled his eyes. He’d heard this argument many times in the last few months.

“Do we really have to get into this again?” he asked.

“Of course not. It won’t do any good anyway.”

Alex let out a deep sigh.

“I know you think I don’t care about your happiness, but you’re wrong,” he said.

Donna put her left hand on her hip.

“Then let’s go back. You could get reelected. Wed have our lives back. Sean could be around normal people again.”

“Look, I know you loved the limelight, but I hated every minute of it. The glad-handing, the meetings, the cameras, the reporters rummaging through our trashcans and hounding Sean at college. Remember all that? It wasn’t just dinner parties with glamorous rich people.”

“So we can set down more ground rules this time. We are the Governor---”

Alex shook his head incredulously.


Suddenly the front door swung open. The Chief stuck his head inside.

“I just thought you would like to know--the volcano is going to blow at any time,’ he told them, matter-of-factly.

He stepped back outside, closing the door behind him. Alex and Donna looked straight at each other.

“What?” they said to each other in unison.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Back to the Drawing Board--Now

An excerpt from the first draft of the Iraqi Bill of Rights:
Any individual with another nationality (except for Israel) may obtain Iraqi nationality after a period of residency inside the borders of Iraq of not less than ten years for an Arab or twenty years for any other nationality, as long as he has good character and behavior, and has no criminal judgment against him ...
I suspect Noah Feldman wasn't consulted on that one. Just doesn't have a Jeffersonian ring to it, now does it?
Update on the London Shooting

Police now say the man they shot had no connection to the bombings. There is much consternation over the fact that the man was shot. I, however, stand by my original opinion. A Muslim appearing man, wearing a thick winter coat, disobeys police when they ask him to stop, jumps a turnstyle and gets on a crowded subway car looks like he is up to no good.

Imagine if the man had set off a bomb and the police hadn't shot him? Police woek is no walk in the park, and I can't fault them for their decision to open fire on a potential risk.

If World War II had been a real time strategy game.
Battlestar Galactica--"Valley of Darkness"

I can’t say this was a very monumental episode, as every thread from the season premiere just rolls along without much change. Adama still lies near death from a gunshot wound, Starbuck is still on Kobol with the Arrow, president Roslin is still out of office, and the landing party is still stranded on Kobol. What is exciting is that we get our first good look at the old robotic Cylons in action as they board the Galactica.

The battle that rages between the marines and the Cylons makes this an episode worth watching, even though the other storylines aren’t much advanced. I am impressed at how many separate story arcs are running at the same time. Even a show as complicated as Babylon 5 usually only dealt with one at a time. That is the indication of BG’s place in history as likely the best science fiction show of all time.

Hopefully, though, things will speed up a bit more than this. Next week promises to add some political intrigue to the proceedings, which is right up my alley.

(Rating: **** out of 5)
Stargate: Atlantis--"Intruder"

This was a neat episode. Advertised as McKay centered--not that his fans will be disappointed--for my money, it was a dr. Weir episode. The crew goes off to find Lt. Ford but is infected with a Wraith virus along the way. That is the bulk of the plot, but the best moments involved Dr. Weir traveling back to Earth.

The pentagon is contemplating replacing her with Caldwell as part of the ramifications for the Wraith attack. The most touching moment was having to tell Lt. Ford’s family that he may be lost forever. It was a very well written, emotional moment.

My favorite bit is the new Asgardian engineer. He makes a great, smart alecky addition to the cast. I especially like how he curses under his breath in his native tongue at the annoying, incompetent humans he is surrounded by. Priceless.

Hopefully this episode is indicative of good things to come.

(Rating: **** out of 5)
Stargate SG-1--"Avalon II"

Nothing new to see here--literally. After resolving the King Arthur’s treasure cliffhanger of last episode, the story devolves into another “touch this alien artifact and see what happens” which results in yet another switched bodies plotline. How many of those has SG 1 done? Seems like there is a at least one variation on the theme in every season.

This time it is Daniel and Vala who are transported to a world similar to medieval Europe, right down to the stereotypical superstitious fundamentalist Christians. These folks worship something called the Orii. Towards the end of the episode, we meet one of these orii, as he(it?) saves Vala after she is immolated in one of the most gruesome scenes the show has aired in its nine years.

Lexa Doig also joins the cast as Stargate Command’s new sawbones. She’s no Teryl Rothery, buy then again, who is? She seems to have some tenuous link to the new General in charge, so I imagine that will be fodder for future storylines.

I enjoyed the emotional scene of Vala’s revival from the dead. Daniel’s pain was moving. But there really wasn’t much else to recommend. There wasn’t any new ground broken or interesting elements added to the whole show. I’m willing to forgive that, as this is the second part of what is at least a trilogy. Hopefully, it will crank up more next week.

(Rating: *** out of 5)

Friday, July 22, 2005

Judge John Roberts

I didn't know much about Roberts before Tuesday night, but now that I have had a chance to read up on him, he gets my thumbs up. My biggest concern was that he might be another Souter. I am confidant now that is not the case. Roberts is a solid, but quiet conservative. He is a textualist in the mold of Scalia and thomas who respects the rule of law and does not believe the Constitution is a living, breathing document.

He won't pass the Left's litmus test for abortion, as his name was on a brief advocating the overturning of Roe under Bush 41, but there isn't much else about him for the Democrats to complain about. I have this sick feeling they may attack his wife, who is part of a pro life feminist group. To do so would only dig the party deeper into the hole in which they are already stuck. That won't stop them, of course. I've never seen a group self destruct as fast as the Democrat Party has.

I found it interesting that Roberts clerked for Rehnquist after law school. It struck me as odd that he would be replacing O'Connor rather than the Chief Justice. I hope this is a sign of Bush's future plan for another SCOTUS pick. Roberts is much more conservative than O'Connor. Hopefully whoever replaces Rehnquist will be just as solid a conservative.

Yes, that means I will start banging my drum for Janice Rogers Brown again. brace yourself for it. No matter what Rehnquist said, he'll retire by Labor Day.
London Shooting

The news channels are buzzubf about this morning's shooting of a suspected suicide bomber in London. The ralking heads are shocked such an aggressive move would be taken in public. i'm not so shocked, or upset, for that matter.

Here's what we know: an a man of Asian appearance, whom police had been watching because they suspected he was one of yesterday's bombers, left his home wearing a heavy jacket. It is seventy degrees in London today. The police asked him to stop, but he started to run. They warned they would open fire if he did not stop. Instead of obeying, he ducked into a crowded subway car. The car was evacuated, and the police opened fire.

Is that excessive? Probably not. With a potential suicide bomber, it was best to take no chances. Yes, it would have been ideal to capture and question him, but these are not ideal circumstances. The police couldn't risk him setting off an explosive. The real question to ask then, is why they didn't open fire before he got on the car to begin with?
Paramount Greed

The Hobbesian Conservative hit on an issue regarding DVDs yesterday in his elegy for James Doohan that struck a minor chord with me. Hobbesian said said he hadn’t purchased any Star trek DVDs because of their exorbitant price in comparison with many other TV series being offered. I joined the ranks of the DVD generation in 2002 and immediately prioritized what movies and TV series I’d like to have. I nixed any thoughts of the Star trek series after seeing the prices. My rationale was that most were seven box sets per show and it just wasn’t feasible to lay down such cash for them at this time. Perhaps when I joined the ranks of the trial lawyers, I’d have a go at them.

Upon further reflection 9in other words, I’ve bought other, cheaper, and better shows on DVD) I have to wonder why these series are so expensive. Currently, there are four Trek series out on DVD. The original series is three separate boxes, but the other three are seven apiece. They will run you $90-$120, depending on which series you want. And, no, I don’t grasp the rationale for the fluctuation. Enterprise will release its first season in a few weeks at $90 as well, and I wouldn’t give you a wooden nickel for the whole shebang, much less the first year. All told, it would cost you the price of a decent used car to get everything. But why?

Star trek has been rerunning constantly since the 1970’s. It’s rerun so much, even people who hate the show are familiar with the most famous half dozen or so episodes. Dedicated fans have poured over them like lost Shakespeare plays to the point they can act out all episodes verbatim. It isn’t like this is some unique thing folks are clamoring to have access to. I’ll bet there isn’t a soul out there who has wanted these shows and hasn’t recorded every slapdog last one of them on video. Really, then, wouldn’t it be sensible to charge around $40 like most other DVD sets?

It isn’t like Paramount isn’t making money hand over fist with Star Trek, anyway. Its their most valuable property. They are making a mint no matter how dedicated or how far out on a tangent you are as a fan. There are the casual folks who occasionally catch the show and have gone to the movies. Then there are the kids who are into the toys. Then you’ve got the dedicated fans who buy replica props. Finally, the tangent fans: the bibliophiles who read the books, the comic book collectors, and the video gamers. All these guys and gals (okay, mostly guys) are forking over their hard earned shekels for this stuff and have been for years.

Why not cut them a break? Because Paramount knows Trekkies will pay any price for their fix, and will charge accordingly. It pure greed, and I’m not falling for it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Of Human Bondage

All right, it looks like Pierce Brosnan will not play James Bond again. But really: Dr. Kovacs? I say thee nay. Bring on Clive Owen while we wait for Ewan McGregor to get a few more grey hairs.
Tourist Distraction

The fellow London police tackled in front of 10 Downing Street was just a guy wearing a backpack. i'm sure he understands that was a necessary precaution, but I'll bet he never plays tourist in the United Kingdom again.
My Stuff

I got a break from all the gloom and doom yesterday. After all sorts of twists, turns, and various other mess involving Regent University, the post office, and UPS, my stuff finally arrived from Virginia. I spent a great deal of time yesterday sorting through it all. I'm glad to have it all back, but I have to admit a sense of melancholy. All this stuff is a tangible reminder of what I've lost, and it's a shame that my life can be reduced to a stack of boxes.
James Doohan (1920-2005)

Scotty from the original Star Trek has died.

Doohan was one of the nicest actors on Star Trek. For years, he travelled to numerous conventions to meet with fans. He showed an appreciation for even the most oversealous of them. Before becomikng an actor, Doohan was part of the Canadian military and took part in the D-Day invasion. He was severely wounded by machinegun fire, losing a finger and nearly his own life, if not for a cigarette case in his front pocket.

Its sad to note that the original cast members are slowly leaving us. In one way it makes me feel old. In another, I am sorry to see such pillars of the sci fi community pass on.

Here's to you, laddie.
About Yesterday

We've had some rotten weather in the last two days. I stayed off the computer and un plugged everything because of the lightning. hemce, there was no blogging. Normal posting resumes, just in time for London to be attacked again by terrorsits.

To answer another obvious question; yes, John Roberts as Bush's SCOTUS nominee surprised me, too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More on the Three Tenets of Postmordernism

Victor Davis Hanson’s article yesterday got me to thinking more about why the Western world has only half heartedly responded to the evils of Islamofascism. More honestly, I can only focus on the United States with any real authority, and even that may be suspect. But, hey, I do what I can with what I have to work with.

First, VDH declares we are plagued by moral equivalency. Yes, we are, and that is nothing new. At no point have people as an aggregate been a paragon of virtue. The book of Genesis says there were no righteous men in the time of Noah but him, and every man did what was right in his own eyes. I’m not sure how different that is from now. What I can say is that nonjudgmental is the only virtue that is widely accepted nowadays. I don’t think we are at the point in which anything goes 9yet) because a lot of folks find much behavior morally repugnant, yet don’t feel like it is their place to catch judgment on it.

Case in point is abortion. I dare say virtually no one outside of a minority of zealots and an idiot or two will claim to be an advocate of abortion. Most will cloak their support of the practice by saying it is none of their business what a woman does with her body. I can’t tel you how many people have said, “I’m personally pro life, but….,” which always irritates me. It is more important to not be accepting of killing a child than it is to insinuate a woman might be committing murder. And pro choice advocates know this. Look at the Orwellian buzzwords they use: the “fetal material undergoes demise.” Do you think the weeds in their flowerbeds “undergo demise” as well? It is a sure sign of squeamishness, but that is still not important enough to take a moral stand against.

So there is an aversion to declaring a difference between right and wrong. Deciding that some action is morally wrong follows that the doer is somehow morally defective. For some reason, we have equated that with decided the person himself is somehow completely defective, and that would be an insult., which as we have established, is an ultimate no-no. I fully understand there are many degenerates who don’t belong in society. I know enough people in lae enforcement and military circles who have said reform is a good idea, but there are some people who need to be locked away in cages for the rest of their lives. Ihat is said with utmost sincerity, and I believe it. Despite that, I’d say the vast majority of people just make poor judgments, either out of desperation or stupidity, and we ought to be more inclined to tell them so. It’s time to reestablish that being judgmental and being enlightened are not contradictory concepts.

Second, VDH asserts that universal pacifism is a problem. He is right about this as well. I understand all war is a crime against humanity, but I think there are many battles worth fighting. I am a person who would like to be a pacifist, but I realize I can’t until everyone else is a pacifist, too. You don’t have to sit through a semester of Deductive Reasoning 101 to figure out that it not going to happen. Only the dead have seen the end of war. For the rest of us, the battle rages on.

The modern day question of whether any battle is worth fighting ties in to VDH’s first point on moral equivalency” to have to fight someone else implies that one side is right and side else is wrong. I think this applies to every conflict to one extent or another, even in the ones where which side you are on depends on which country you were born in. One should never go to war for anything less than moral indignation. We’ve already establish that society considers moral indignation a bad thing, therefore so is resolving conflict through violence, even as a last resort.

Now, to tie this in to the current war on Islamofascism, these pacifists want to claim that it is poverty and social ills that spur on terrorism. Not enough time has passed to really tell, but I’ll bet they’re still singing that tune even after the London bombers of 7/7 were middle class and college educated British citizens. Regardless--because they do not wish to be judgmental--they will assert that social ills are the root cause of their actions.

Now, a lot of folks are uncomfortable talking about the real root of the Islamofascist problem--their militant interpretation of Islam. Religion is a mutually exclusive thing (Uh oh--judgmental) yet every religion other than Christianity is readily accepted by the moral equivalent pacifists. It would help immensely if we could stand up and say, “Militant Islam is evil.” Too bad we can’t. I think at the very least we could acknowledge that declaring militant Islam to be evil is not synonymous with being Christian crusaders.

Yes, many of the terrorist come from poor countries with inept leadership. So do many South American countries, Pacific islands, and a couple of Southern states right here in the US. That hasn’t lead those citizens to strap dynamite to their kids and march them into crowded grocery stores or on trains. It’s the notion of religious martyrdom that does that.

Taking it on a tangent is the issue of blowback. How many times have you seen the 1983 photo of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam? I can’t even count. Somehow that is seen as a reason not to take a stand against Iraq now. Personally, I think such reasoning is a crock that calls for a superhuman amount of foresight. It’s the same logic that says we should not have allied with the Soviet Union in World War II because we eventually had to fight a Cold War with them. You know what? It’s a nasty, nasty world in whixh you allies are sometimes the lesser of two evils. There aren’t many conflicts in which the allies didn’t begin quarreling with each other shortly after the conflict ended. That’s human nature, and no reason to say the first somehow makes the second less necessary.

Finally, VDH speaks of multiculturalism as a bad thing. As a straight, Southern, white, conservative Republican, and a Christian, I am well aware that I can’t make any public statements regarding multiculturalism. But, as I frequently go where angels fear to tread, I am going to anyway. I agree with VSH. I’m fine with the whole “you do your thing, I’ll do mine,’ deal. My first roommate was black. We had many affable discussions on multiculturalism and the different views we had on it. My view was, essentially, I didn’t want to go the Def Comedy Jam with him, and he didn’t want to go to the Grand Old Opry with me, yet the fact that both existed and we were free to attend either or both is a good thing. He readily agreed to that, but added that I needed to respect his Def Comedy Jam and rap music more, as he felt whites would be welcomed into rap circles more readily than blacks would be in country circles. This meant that white people were more intolerant of other culture.

Upon further discussion, I got him to admit that the whites accepted into the rap culture were assimilating “gansta” culture and that a what fellow strolling through a rap concert wearing a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and a George Strait t-shirt wasn’t likely to get out unscathed. I also wondered why a white boy rapper like Vanilla ice was considered an intruder in the 1990’s when Charlie Pride, a black singer, has been popular in country circles since the 1960’s. A lot of it had to do with assimilation. It’s the notion that your culture is fine, but this is the way things are done around here.

I don’t think it is a bad thing to say that. I think a large part of our problem is not that we don’t respect each other’s culture, but that we have separated our cultures so far apart that we don’t relate anymore. I don’t think you can reasonably live in your own enclaves exclusively, speak your own language exclusively, all while projecting stereotypical images in TV, movies, and music, and expect everyone to relate well to you. I understand and respect the right of one to maintain his own culture, but sometimes you have got to pass judgment. Muslims are doing honor killings in the Netherlands, for heaven’s sake. Yes, it is perfectly all right to say certain cultures are violent and evil.

I’m not optimistic that any of these three tents of postmodern religion can be done away with. In truth, I think our allies in the war on terror are going to dwindle down to nothing as time goes on. I have a terrible feeling that when Osama Bin Laden is captured, killed, or otherwise obviously been taken out of the picture, Americans will think the war is over and lose their resolve, too. At that point, I can only ask one question: do you really want the people who bombed New York, Washington, Bali, Madrid, and London to be in charge of countries throughout Asia and Africa? I fear the answer to that question will be, “Sure. It’s none of my business.”
McCain on His Raunchy Movie Role

"I work with boobs everyday." That you do, Senator, and after McCain-Feingold, I'm ready to declare you the Head Boob. Plus, if you pick Mitt Romney as your running mate in 2008, I'm voting Libertarian.
Bush's SCOTUS Pick

It looks like Alberto Gonzales is out of the running, at least for O'Connor's seat. It makes since, not only on a politically correct level to not replace a woman with a man 9although I couldn't care less about such things) but on a practical one. As White House counsel and Attorney General, Gonzales has had a hand in virtually every issue that would come before the SCOTUS in the next few years, from the Patriot Act to gay marriage and Gitmo detainess. he'd have to recuse himself so often, there would be no reason to have in on the Court period.

Now comes word that Judge Edith Clement is the likely nominee. I know next to nothing about her, but her conservative credentials seem solid. I am thinking she is the same judge Bush 41 passed over in favor of David Souter as a SCOTUS pick years ago. I'd be interested in knowing why that doofus was considered an improvwment over Clement at the time.

Oh, and Sen. Arlen Specter hopes Bush will appoint a moderate. Senator, nobody cares what you want.
Gen. William Westmoreland (1914-2005)

The controversial commander of American ground forces in the Vietnam War and South Carolina native has died.

I've mentioned before, during the outing of Mark Felt as Deep Throat, that I have little emotions about the pivotal events of the baby Boomer generations beyong their historical place in the grand scheme of things. Westmoreland was as divisive a man in South Carolina as he was in the rest of the country. Some loved him, many hated him. He was unable to win election as governor, even in a state with a rich military history and large veteran population like South Carolina, because of his association with the Vietnam War.

I make no judgments about the war at this point. For me, Westmoreland's actions in North Africa against Rommel are enough to merit a positive remebrance. I can't fault him for having been in charge of an unpopular war is Southeast Asia. Godspreed, General.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Vanity Plate

Make your own.
Our Wars Over the War

From the ever brilliant Victor Davis Hanson, a primer on the three tenets of postmodern "faith" (moral equivalency, universal pacifism, and multiculturalism):
These tenets in various forms are not merely found in the womb of the universities, but filter down into our popular culture, grade schools, and national political discourse — and make it hard to fight a war against stealthy enemies who proclaim constant and shifting grievances. If at times these doctrines are proven bankrupt by the evidence it matters little, because such beliefs are near religious in nature — a secular creed that will brook no empirical challenge.

These articles of faith apparently fill a deep psychological need for millions of Westerners, guilty over their privilege, free to do anything without constraints or repercussions, and convinced that their own culture has made them spectacularly rich and leisured only at the expense of others.

So it is not true to say that Western civilization is at war against Dark Age Islamism. Properly speaking, only about half of the West is involved, the shrinking segment that still sees human nature as unchanging and history as therefore replete with a rich heritage of tragic lessons.

This is nothing new.
Go read the rest.
Just a Gigolo

At leaat Yoda's version tops David Lee Roth's.
Random Sci Fi Musings

Here’s a few random thoughts that have occurred to me lately that aren’t big enough to merit their own post. Actually, since they are inconsequential science fiction tidbits, they probably don’t merit this post, either. Humor me. It’s been a slow news week.

At the tail end of the Sci Fi Friday premierechype, a reviewer said Stargate SG-1 was dull, but that it had dropped Richard Dean Anderson, and that was always an improvement to any show. Excuse me? First, Anderson left the show to spend more time with his daughter. Not only was he not dumped, the producers wanted him to stay. Second, what show has ever dumped him? As near as I can tell, he has been with every show he’s starred in until the end. As one who still holds a kiddie affection for MacGyver, I’d say that reviewer isn’t taking RDA for the cowboy he is supposed to be.

Speaking of SG-1: Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) was planning to join the reinforcements to Atlantis before he was pretty much drafted back into SG-1. Does anyone else lament that? He would have made a nifty addition to the Atlantis cast. I guess they are trying to make that show as separate from SG-1 as possible. Still, that could have made for some interesting personality clashes. I’m also wondering if that Asgardian was voiced by Michael Shanks, as Thor is. I couldn’t tell, but if so, then Shanks would sort of be on the show. Kinda.

Fans have good ears. Those were human weapons our heroes were ambushed with on Caprica. In an upcoming episode of Battlestar Galactica, we will discover some humans survived the Cylon attack and have formed a resistance movement. Why were they attacking fellow humans? They probably suspect the landing party were Cylon human copies.

Grace Park (Boomer from BG) and Linda Park (Hoshi from Enterprise) are roughly the same age, both born in California, both of Korean descent, and are both the sex symbols of their respective shows, yet are not related. Something that silly shouldn’t fascinate me, yet it does. I must be even easier to amuse than I previously thought.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Close, But No Cigar

Remember on Friday I made the prediction that Jusith miller was not protecting Karl Rove, but another "leak?" I said rove was going to come out clean, then quipped I could be wrong and that the other leak would turn out to be Dick Cheney. Well, i was close.

According to Matt Cooper on this morning's Meet the Press, he also heard about the Wilson/Plame CIA connection from Cheney's Chief of Staff, Lewis Libby. Now, Libby's response to Cooper was essentially, "I heard that, too," which he took for confirmation. all of this leads me to wonder whether Cooper slept through ever journalism class he ever took in college, or if he just wants to be Woodward and bernstein so bad he'll manufacture any idiocy to get his nane out in public.

Either way, I'm tired of this nonstory. It's worse than the will he/won't he watch the press has been doing with Chief justice Rehnquist. Doesn't the press know there is a war going on? Surely they can find something more substantial to talk about there.
Washed Ashore Introduction

The entry below this one re the first chapter of Washed Ashore. I don’t think I first “wrote” Washed Ashore after my retina detached in 2000. The surgery to repair it had been an old fashion under-the-knife deal that took months of slow healing in which I was extremely sensitive to light. I started keeping vampire hours, rocking in a chair by the radio or lying in bed while everyone else slept. To keep from going bonkers (not that I was or am the picture of mental or emotional health0 I composed the novel in my head.

There have been some changes, as time has given me new ideas and perspectives, and some of the characters have more depth than they originally possessed. Wendy, a character you will meet sometime later, was not originally a devout Christian, for instance. The main character is, and always has been, Alex. You may wonder if I see myself as Alex, to which I would have to answer yes. I see aspects of myself in all the characters. Like anyone else, I have played different roles in my life: family member, friend, romantic interest, community citizen, politician (albeit a student one) and a religious follower. I hve felt the unique pressures of each one, and know what it is like to be buffeted by forces beyond my control in each role, all for the promise of an ideal situation.

That is what Washed Ashore, at its heart is about: people trying to fill their respective roles as best they can. Circumstances bring them together at a place they believe they can have their ideal lives, but they will learn that paradise sometimes has it’s own ideas about what they deserve.

Here’s a cast of characters:

ALEX MASTERS: former Governor of California. Hated every minute of it, now runs a small hotel on a South Pacific island.

DONNA MASTERS: his wife. A former debutante who loved being First Lady and all the glamour that went with it. Can’t stand the island life.

SEAN MASTERS: their twenty year old son and a surfing nut.

NATHANIEL GIDEON: billionaire recluse who owns the island. He used to be Alex’s biggest backer in his political career.

CHIEF MALUALUA:: head of a small tribe of islanders who allowed Gideon to move there and tolerates the hotel. Connected spiritually to the island, but is savvy to the ways of the world.

COLONEL JAVIER SANTIAGO: a deposed Latin American dictator, desperately searching for something that can bring him back to power.

PABLO: his longsuffering, but loyal, manservant.

WENDY: a deeply religious girl unsure about romantic relationships, which only gets more complicated when she meets Sean.

I’m having a tough time placing Washed Ashore into a genre. All I can tell you is that if you’ve been reading Eye of Polyphemus for a while now, you can already figure out the mood, tone, humor, and subject matter therein. Feedback is, as always, very welcomed.
Washed Ashore, Chapter One

"Two Ships in the Night"

Nathaniel Gideon was luckier than 99.8% of the people on this planet, for he was the only son of uberwealthy industrialist J. Maxwell Gideon. Maxwell had begun the path to his multibillion dollar fortune by designing airplane engines that eventually caught the attention of NASA. That wasn’t enough for Maxwell. He quickly moved to a more free spending patron with deeper pockets: the United States Department of Defense. Maxwell’s factories rolled out state of the art bombers and spy planes by the hundreds. But Maxwell’s real money was long rumored to come from another, more sinister source.

Many suspected the eccentric businessman had deep ties to the intelligence community. He was a favorite target for the conspiracy theorists who pushed the theory of sinster motives of a monolithic military-industrial complex, and you know what? Sometimes the tinfoil hat crowd gets one right. Unfortunately for Maxwell, that fact was costly.

The summer of 1969 was a tumultuous time for America, and Maxwell. Some of his planes weren’t faring well against Russian made MiGs, sending many young American boys to the Hanoi Hilton. Protests were running high, particularly against weapons manufacturers and Gideon Industries in general. A subsidiary of Maxwell’s company had begun producing a defoliant that had been widely used in Southeast Asia for over a year, and now a large number of American servicemen were returning home and wasting away with fast spreading cancer. Maxwell’s companies were in a public relations tailspin, but that should have been the least of his worries.

Maxwell, like many men in his position, thought he was invincible. Bad public opinion and violent protests didn’t phase him. He was saving the world for freedom, whether the commweal could appreciate that fact or not. Gideon strolled freely about his empire and the halls of power in Washington. He even agreed to visit South Vietnam in the spring of 1970 as a show of resolve and faith in his product.

His chopper was shot down over the Central Highlands. There were no survivors.

Nathaniel Gideon inherited his father’s company at the tender age of thirty. He’d been mostly a playboy, without much need to acknowledge the care of the world. He had recently graduated from Yale, at the top of his class in chemistry and was unofficially heading the biochemistry research of Gideon Industries. It had been a ceremonial Queen of England position until the entire company fell into his lap and then quickly moved to his shoulders. Nathaniel grew up fast when his saw the sickly, dying veterans showing up at his laboratories aroud the country. He immediately ceased production and vowed to purge the company of all injurious military contracts.

It took years and multimillion dollar breach of contract lawsuits, but Gideon successfully ended the company’s ties with the Department of Defense. Afterwards, he set out to reinvent Gideon Industries as a kinder, gentler company.

The son of one of the nation’s foremost industrialist’s had inherited his father’s savvy after all. He was a hands on kind of man, often disappearing into his laboratory for days at a time to personally work on projects he deemed for the benefit of mankind. He began experimenting with genetic agricultural production as well as medical advances. The younger Gideon also sprinkled money liberally for politicians he believed shared his view. He spread the wealth around the country, but he had particular favorites,, a young, up and coming State Senator from his northern California home district, Alex Masters, in particular.

Gideon liked politics, but he hated publicity. He wanted to do good, to redeem his family name from what his father had done, but liked to remain quietly in the background. As his largesse spread, his reclusive behavior increased right along with it. By the early 1990‘s, Gideon had completely disappeared from public view.

At around the time Alex Masters became governor of California, his major patron secretly purchased an island in the South Pacific and exiled himself there. He left the care of his company to a handful of managers. At first, he held meetings with them and made decisions over speaker phone, but that trailed off and eventually ceased all together. Gideon effectively shut himself off from the entire world.

Rumors flew of poor health, kidnapping by foreign governments, assassination by our own government, even alien abduction, for the crowd who buys into such things. There was lots of speculation that he had gone away to die of the after effects of some of his father’s bioweapons. Gov. Alex Masters started to believe some of the rumors about his best campaign contributor as well, up until he got a certain phone call just days after deciding not to run for reelection.

Flash forward a few years.

Alex stepped out of the private elevator that lead to his family’s personal penthouse suite. As was his usual morning tradition, he surveyed the entire ornate lobby of the hotel. His hotel. Even after all these years, he still couldn’t believe his good fortune.

“The Sandhill Hotel, owned and operated by the masters family,” he said to himself, as he did every morning. He wasn’t always so satisfied with life.

Like most members of the baby Boom generation, Alex had been filled with a restless idealism. His father had been a pilot in Vietnam, but he had gotten an educational deferment to study history at Stanford University. Alex actually disliked studying history. To him, it was an endless succession of despots and robber barons preying on the common man. His distaste for history only spurred him to delve deeper into the subject, for nothing motivates quite like righteous indignation.

While a Stanford undergrad, Alex met a pretty, blued, brown haired former teenage beauty queen named Donna Weston. She was a cheerleader, and Alex first saw her at the top of a cheerleader pyramid when he was dragged to a early fall football game by his buddies. It was love at first sight, and he had to meet her. A mutual friend introduced them at a victory party later that night and they hit it off splendidly. Her faher was a Southern California real estate developer who had been introduced to every eligible boy from every prominent family in the Golden State, but none could hold her attention. But that handsome, blond history major was different.

They dated throughout the remaining two years of college, and Donna convinced Alex that he should take his aversion to robber barons and do something good with it. She suggested he go to law school. Alex cocked an eyebrow at the suggestion, but decided, “Why not?”

He and Donna were married after his graduation from Stanford Law. Donna convinced him to take a job with a corporate real estate firm her father had dealings with. Alex wasn’t enthused with the idea. That wasn’t what he went to law school for, but he wanted the best life he could for his new wife, so he agreed. It was a miserable decision for Alex, despite the creature comforts a six figure salary provided.

One day, he wound up in a meeting with clients planning to buy up a municipal park frequented by Boy Scouts. Every big lawyer in the firm and all the representatives of the real esate development company were seated around a large conference table in an ornate meeting room. As Alex slid the final sales contract over to the head developer, he kept his hand on top of it. The developer looked down at the covered contract and back up at Alex.

“Is there a problem?” he asked.

There was a long pause as the developer wiggled a pen in his right hand. Alex’s managing partner leaned in.

“Yes, there is,” Alex answered.

“There’s something wrong with the contract?” asked the managing partner.

“No, the contract is fine, what’s wrong is the deal itself.”

The developer smiled nervously..

“What’s wrong with the deal?”

“You shouldn’t go through with it. You should develop other land. You are a corporation with deep pockets. You can afford to find someplace else to build a shopping mall.”

“This is a solid deal, Mr. Masters. We paid a lot of money for it,” the developer said.

“And you are out of line, Mr. Masters,” the managing partner scolded.

‘No, they are out of line,” Alex retorted. “The city is trapped for cash, so it sells a park to the highest bidder, but this park is the only place for Boy Scouts and civic groups to enjoy for miles. It should stay that way. Let them find another place to develop and keep this the way it is.”

“Our obligation is to the client,” the managing partner began.

“And part of that obligation is to give moral advice.” Alex turned to the head developer. “Don’t develop this land.”

The head developer jumped out of his chair in anger.

“I have never--,” he stammered.

The managing partner got of his hair and attempted to diffuse the situation.

“Understand that mr. Maters is only trying to advise. He’s young, and doesn’t have all the experience of a seasoned attorney.”

“You gave my account to an underling?”

“He was supervised all the way by me, and now I’ll finish the rest of your negotiations.” he turned to Alex. ‘You are off this case. Get out.”

Alex stormed out of the office as the managing partner worked to sooth his client’s ruffled feathers.

That incident was the boiling over point for something Alex had known all along: he just wasn’t fulfilled,. So after three years, he dumped it for a starting position in the district attorney’s office. Donna was not pleased.

Alex was happy, however, and very successful. He rang up a total of sixty straight criminal convictions, which caught the eye of the local Republican Party leaders. They decided Alex was the perfect choice to run for the State House of Representatives seat being vacated by longtime politico, Peter Sanderson. Again, Alex, wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. Most of the despots and robber barons he remembered studying in college had beeen elected officials. But Donna was set on the idea. She said it fit his crusading personality, and he could truly change things in office. At her urging, Alex ran.

The next January, he was sworn in as the new State Representative for the 43rd District of California.

Alec set to work with a vigorous idealism, working for his constituents, particularly military veterans, and fighting corruption. He wasn’t thrilled with the dinner parties, glad handing, and fundraising he had to do, but Donna was thrilled enough for the both of them. She was in her element, and had pretty much forgiven Alex for destroying the lifestyle they could have had if he’d stayed with the real estate law firm.

But the hustle of politicking were thin on Alex, and he contemplated giving up until he caught the attention of industrialist Nathaniel Gideon.

Gideon was impressed with the young State Representative’s sense og ethics. He knew that government needed more people like him in it, but the gears of the system grinded such people down and spit them out. He decided to grease Alex’s way as best he could. The two met each other in the early’80’s and had at first a typical donor-politician relationship. It grww into something else as time moved on--not a friendship, exactly, but a mutual respect.

Their relationship continued on through Alex’s election and service as a State Senator and, eventually, as the reluctant nominee for Governor. Alex saw less and less of Gideon as time went on, but felt his presence constantly. Somehow, Gideon found a way to move any obstacle that got in Alex’s rise to the top.

Donna was having the time of her life as the First lady of California, but Alex was feeling more pressured and isolated by the day. Gideon’s drifting away had been indicative of all Alex’s relationships. When he completely disappeared from public, he cut off all ties to Alex. He took it as a sign. Alex was under constant scrutiny from the press, the party, and the people. It was too much for him, so when the time came to announce his reelection, he politely declined.

Donna was livid as they moved back into their old condominium. This was the seond time he had uprooted her life, and the last. She threatened to leave and take their teenage son, Sean, with them, until Alex got a phone call that forever changed his life.

Gideon was on the other end of the line.

“I want you to come to Eden,” he said.

That was several years ago, when Alex decided to hop on a plane and accept his patron’s generosity one last time. He beamed from ear to ear as he stood on the beach and gazed at the French colonial style hotel before him. He didn’t know how Gideon had built it under everyone’s nose, or why he had decided to give it to him, but Alex wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. After years of turmoil, and raging against the dying of the light, Alex felt like he deserved some paradise.

He was finally home.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Battlestar Galactica--"Scattered"

I had the utmost anticipation for this show to return, thanks in large part to the almost overwhelming praise. Did it live up to expectations? You betcha.

The episode begins second after last season’s ender, in which Boomer shoots Adama. Col. Tigh takes command and orders an emergency hyperspace jump that leaves Galactica stranded from the fleet. On Kobol, the landing party seeks shelter from the Cylons, while on Caprica, Starbuck tries to find a way to deliver the arrow to Roslin.

The largest source of tension--in an episode full of it--is that the fleet’s only doctor has been stranded away from the Galactica, preventing Adama from getting proper medical treatment. On the other side, the landing party on Kobol is constantly under siege by Cylons, even though in one scene, it appears they are ambushed by someone other than Cylons. We don’t get to see the attackers, but the gunfire is clearly more like what the humans carry than the Cylons.

Boomer only appears in half the episode, and there clearly seems to be something up with her. She seems genuinely confused after she shoots Adama, claiming she didn’t have anything to do with it. In an interrogation scene with Col. Tigh later, she appears genuinely relieved to know Adama survived the initial blast.

The only gripe I have is the scenes on Caprica with Starbuck and company are too short. There’s no more info about the arrow she is carrying, just as scene in which the Cylon Boomer strands Starbuck and Helo. Really, all threads from last season are continued with no resolutions being offered this week.

That doesn’t bother me, though. I am still hooked, particularly after the cliffhanger: the metal Cylons wake up and are on the verge of rampaging. Yes, I’m hooked.

(Rating: **** out of 5)
Stargate: Atlantis--"The Siege III"

Ah, yes. We have picked up the pace from last season. Not a moment too soon. This was a fine way to kick off the sophomore season of Atlantis

Earths new battle cruiser, Daedalus, arrives under the command Of Colonel Caldwell and saves Major Sheppard from his suicide run on the Wraith ships. McKay and his team must get the new ZPM installed and raise the city shields to protect Atlantis before the rest of the Wraith fleet arives to take the city. Slam bang action--and a tragic change in Lt. Ford--ensues.

This episode was full of pleasant additions. The new ship and crew offer further exploration possibilities. It’s good to see Mitch Phileggi (Assistant Director Skinner from ,the X-Files) nack in action. Plus the addition of an Asgardian is a neat touch I didn’t see coming.

The other thing I didn’t see coming was the altering of Lt. Ford with Wraith DNA. His character has been one of the least developed and frankly, the most boring. Now that he has run off and Maj. Sheppard vows to find him, they’ve added a extra layer to what was already a fascinating show to watch. I’m wondering home many folks are disappointed at the fate of what was SG-A’s most na├»ve and innocent character? As one who firmly believes in making a viewer like a character, then putting that character up a tree and throwing rocks at him is what entertainment is all about.

This was an action packed episode to start the new season with a bang, and it succeeded. The rest of the season promises some more cerebral offerings, but what a way to begin.

(Rating: **** out of 5)
Stargate SG-1--"Avalon I"

Stargate SG-1 first foray into Artjurian legend shows more promise than I thought it would. It’s still hard to say much, as the first episode of the ninth season was given over to introduction of the new status quo for SG-1 rather than story development--not that easn’t an interesting thing itself.

The episode begin with Col. Cameron Mitchell taking over as leader of SG-1. He meets with his new superior, Gen. Landry, only to discover there are no members of SG-1 left. Mitchell visits them all--Jackson, Carter, and Teal’c--but none are willing to come back. Vala comes through the stargate with SG-12 and things really start to heat up. Val needs Daniel Jackson to help translate an ancient scroll which she believes will lead to a huge treasure trove. The translation leads the reformed SGI-1 (sans Carter and O’Neill) to the United Kingdom and an ancient trap worthy of Indiana Jones.

This is the first part of a trilogy, and it really feels like the pilot for a new show. That lends some credence to my earlier theory that the show may go on without the original SG-1 beyong this season if things go well in the ratings. As it was, much of the episode was getting to know Col. Mitchell. Many scenes were an almost desperate attempt to get you to like him. I also liked the passing of the torch scene between Landry and O’Neill over a game of chess. Landry didn’t warm up to me, but it doesn’t appear that he is going to be a character soaking up a whole lot of screen time.

I feared Arthurian legend would be cliched and not a worthy successor to the long running Gao’uld saga, “Avalon” didn’t delve enough into the Arthurian myth to pass judgement on that, but it did make me want to tune in next week. That is the mark of a worthy relaunch.

(Rating: **** out of 5)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Rove-ing Reporter

There are some interesting developments in the Valerie Plame Affair regarding Karl Rove. The president’s chief advisor testified before the grand jury that he leaned Plaine was a CIA agent from columnist Robert Novak, then informally discussed the matter with a Time magazine reporter During the conversation between Novak and Rove, Novak mentioned Joseph Wilson‘s wife was a CIA agent. Rove answered generally that he had heard something like that.

According to the Time reporter, Matt Cooper, Rove said in an e-mail that Wilson’s wife ‘apparently works for the CIA. Neither Rove’s conversation with Novak noe Cooper seem to implicate him in any wrongdoing, much less blowing the cover of a CIA agent.

Now truth be told, we know next to nothing about the whole grand jury investigation. I have long suspected that, while something unethical and maybe illegal has occurred, most of the bluster is the left taking revenge on Rove for leading Bush to victory in 2000 and 2004. Considering that Henry Hyde admitted a few months ago that the Clinton impeachment was revenge for Nixon‘s fall from grace, it would behoove the Left to choose its battles more carefully, as both parties are vengeful, petty, and have long memories. I have no confidence either party will learn, of course.

Ever since Judith Miller went to jail to protect her source, I have suspected that Rove wasn‘t the leak. Since everyone immediately starting pointing fingers at him, it was obvious he was already being implicated, so why go to jail to protect him? Perhaps there is some journalistic credo at work here that I don‘t understand, but I suspect that Rove isn‘t the leak. The second Bush Administration official is the leak, and Miller is protecting his or her identity.

So who is Miller trying to protect? Ari Fliescher, the former Bush Press Secretary, is a good guess. With him, there is still the same problem I‘ve had with Rove being a suspect--how would a political advisor or a press secretary know the name of a random undercover agent? Maybe they do know a load of ambassados like Wilson, but guys like him are a dime a dozen in Washington. Why would either of them have any particular knowledge of his wife‘s activities, particularly if she is working on something so secret, it is a federal crime to disclose it.

I‘m going to be interested to see how this whole affair pans out. I‘m particularly curious to find out who Miller is protecting and why. It would impress me to no end to discover she has done this on general principle alone. It won‘t restore my faith in journalism, but I‘d still be impressed.

I‘ll make a prediction or two. First, I think the White House is going to avoid talking about the entire issue and let the left and the MSM boil over into a frenzy. Then this will all come out to be some midlevel lackey in the State Department or DoD who blew Plaine‘s cover for some combination of revenge for criticizing the Iraq war policy and just to prove he is “in the know.” Rove comes out clean, and the left looks like it made much ado about nothing.

Recall how badly my Michael Jackson verdict prediction went, and you‘ll realize you should take this with a grain of salt. Now that I‘ve made a prediction, it will turn out the leak was Dick Cheney or something..