July 28, 2005

I Blame the Extension of Daylight Savings Time

In New Hampshire, 2008 isn't that far off

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

Now We Can Find Out Definitively Whether Republicans Really Do Want to Kill Old People

Now, I really don't wish Helen Thomas ill, but this comment seems to me to be remarkably illustrative of the current Leftist mindset. Either that or Helen has been stricken with a case of terminal Bush Derangement Syndrome -- self-inflicted, of course:

"The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told the HILL. "All we need is one more liar."

Please note that Mr. Cheney doesn't have to win, all he has to do is run for Helen to deprive us forever more of her tendentious and utterly predictable wit and wisdom. Poor Helen of UPI, the face that launched a thousand quips.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:50 PM | Comments (1)

July 27, 2005

My Two Cents

In a comment to this post at Daily Pundit I wrote:

The part of the Declaration of Independence that seems most apropos to me in this case is this:

... deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...

We do this by enacting and enforcing laws, rules, and regulations to govern those interactions that the people see fit through the election of their representatives. As part of that consent we have created and accepted a judiciary to act as the referee between contestants -- the defendant and the state for criminal purposes and between plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) in civil cases -- according to these laws, rules and regulations. If the referee suddenly decides to start rewriting the rule book for any reason whatsoever, no matter how good their intentions or how pure their hearts, then the link to the consent of the governed has been destroyed.

If as many have suggested, the law is an ass, well, we have well documented ways of addressing that problem within the framework of the consent of the governed. However, if the judiciary decides that the consent of the governed is overruled by their ability to discern the ass-ness of the law instead of the applicability of the law, well, the jig is up and we merely substitute a small number of robed oligarchs for our democracy. You think I'm kidding? Remember Florida in 2000?

Personally, this is just another argument for keeping government as small and unobtrusive as possible. Unintended consequences cannot be avoided just because someone cares. And I don't even want to get started on the more malicious and intentionally wicked aspects of government. But I digress.

The really funny thing to me is that people seem to keep forgetting that Judge Roberts came along well after the police made the little girl cry. Nothing he said or did was going to change the past, and by the time this case got to him the rules had already been changed because everyone involved had realized how stupid these rules were. If the little girl didn't cry but had instead coped an attitude and swore at the officers during her entire period of incarceration, would it have been ok then? Would we have ever heard about this case?

I'm far from believing that legal is equivalent to moral (thanks Mr. Clinton!), but the actions the police took when they took them were legitimate as they were enforcing the law of the land, without apparent prejudice or malice. Oh they may have acted with blind stupidity of the kind we see regularly with zero tolerance policies perhaps, but not with prejudice of malice. I believe that is all Judge Roberts said. To read anything else into his opinion is properly called projection, or worse.

I don't think Bill agrees with me though.

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:22 PM | Comments (2)

Senator Leahy Is A Partisan Asshat

But you already knew that:

Leahy said he's worried that Roberts might try to unravel matters that should be settled law.

Or in other words, what's mine is mine and what's your's remains negotiable. Mighty cocky to be in the minority, ain't he?

Posted by Charles Austin at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

Dissent Is Patriotic!

Uh, except in Cuba:

Addressing an auditorium full of Communist Party leaders and handpicked supporters, Castro called the top U.S. diplomat in Havana a "grotesque character," and sternly warned that future protests planned by Cuba's dissidents will be thwarted "as many times as necessary."

No doubt Janeane Garafalo will be right on this, because of the flies.

"The supposed opposition in Cuba does not exist except in the feverish minds of the Cuban-American mafia and the bureaucrats of the White House and the State Department," Castro said a four-hour speech at Havana's Karl Marx Theater on Tuesday night. "They deceive themselves ... with their own lies."

Ok, it doesn't exist but it must be suppressed. But only a four hour speech Fidel? You must be slipping.

Responding to widespread discontent over the blackouts, Castro said the Cuban government has invested $282 million in equipment and material to improve outdated power plants. He predicted Cuba's electrical output would double by the end of the year.

Why stop at doubling it? Since you won't deliver on this promise anyway, why not say it will be 10 times higher? And chocolate rations have been increased by another -5 grams! Viva la revolucion! But on a serious note Cuba has been ht hard by hurricanes. Unfortunately, the people's revolution led by Fidel remains ill-equipped to deal with the restoration of power, even after 46 years.

"As president of the Council of State and government, I dedicate a significant amount of time to this problem," Castro said. "I am not exaggerating what I have said.

Whatever would give anyone that idea?

"All I ask is that you have a little confidence."

Or in other words, "I find your lack of faith in communism disturbing."

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2005

The DNC Agenda

I had to laugh at this:

The Democratic Leadership Council, an organization of influential party moderates, named Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton today to direct a new initiative to define a party agenda for the 2006 and 2008 elections.

This started a discussion over at Daily Pundit in the comment thread about what the DNC agenda has been. Well, here's my view of what the agenda has been since 1998:

"You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival."

And my theory has the side benefit of explaining the ubiquitious Bush=Hitler signs.

Posted by Charles Austin at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

Nuking Mecca

Representative Tancredo made same offhand remarks last week that got a lot of folks in a lather about the pros and cons of nuking Mecca should a nuclear weapon be set off in a major city in the US.

Hmmm..., well, here's a few disjointed thoughts.

Does anyone really think that American's are so bloodthirsty and revenge driven that we would start killing on a massive scale without a purpose? I can't comprehend this and even our closest friends and allies would not go along with it. Would you really want the whole world to be your enemy? Despite some silly pretensions to the contrary, we didn't drop the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki just to kill Japanese. We did it to end the war and prevent an invasion, thus probably saving Japanese lives in the long run. It's extremely hard to see how nuking Mecca is going to save any Muslim lives or encourage those remaining to think that they would then find themselves in anything other than a no holds barred fight that must result in the extinction of either Muslims or non-Muslims.

Oh, should a nuke go off here, I can comprehend some rather significant changes in the rules of engagement across the board that will result in a lot of dead Muslims and many other dead non-Muslims throughout the world. I can envision Damascus, Tehran, Cairo, Islamabad, and a whole lot of other cities being much worse for wear in rather short order. I can imagine Europe cowing in fear and virtually begging us not to retaliate for nothing better than ..., wait for it..., environmental reasons. I can imagine China gettting a little frisky all of a sudden. I can imagine Mosques shut down or abandoned in this country with something resembling Manzanar opening up to house anyone still desirous of praying to the East three times a day. I can imagine the collapse of the worldwide financial markets, the establishment of martial law, and the true end of life as we know it. My, how we'll long for the times when Joe Wilson, Karl Rove and Howard Dean where the leading newsmakers of the day.

In fact, I don't think it is neccesary to set off a nuke in New York, Chicago, L.A., or any other American, or even European city to bring most of this about. As I have argued in this space before, much the same effect can be had by setting a nuke off in Nairobi, Johannesburg, Stanley, Port-Au-Prince, Caracas, or even the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia. Why bother trying to smuggle it in to the US when you can get virtually the same result with perhaps 1% of the risk of getting caught? Now I realize getting caught may seem like a small risk for people who are willing to die, but if you do get caught you chances of actually accomplishing your mission fall dramatically.

The real question is what purpose can the US arsenal of nuclear weapons serve after the next nuclear device goes off? Alas, I am a pessimist and as such I do believe that it is ilikely that a nuclear device is going to be exploded somewhere on the earth in the next twenty years. So, again, the question is what are we going to do next.

As I see it, the US arsenal of nuclear weapons will largely serve the same two purposes it serves today. One, they will be used if we are forced to fight wars on more than two fronts simultaneously. For better or worse, the US and her allies cannot mount Iraq-sized operations in more than two theaters today, and perhaps not even that if the theaters become big enough. Mr. Den Beste has covered this ground in the past. Second, they are athe ultimate trump card. Their use up to today as a trump card has been tied mostly to MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction. But in the future, it won't necessarily be a mutual thing. It may be more along the lines of abdicate, surrender, or turn someone or something over in 48 hours or face AD, assured destruction. As it happens, I don't see this as radically different than how these assets are used today.

As the President is a renowned poker player, he understands that you can only bluff if you are willing to see it through. It is likely that someone will eventually call our bluff force us to obliterate a city. This is unfortunate, but probably inevitable. It may not happen the first or second time we make the threat, but eventually someone is going to think we are bluffing and risk it. But even in this circumstance please note that there was a point to it somewhat better than "nuke Mecca" because a few nutjobs were quite fond of it. There may someday be a reason to nuke Mecca, but bloody-minded tit-for-tat revenge isn't it.

As anyone who reads this blog knows (all twenty of you), I am definitely not sympathetic to Islamic terrorism and I'm more than a little upset with most Muslims for their apparent wilingess to tolerate the slaughter of those they consider to be infidels. Nonetheless, at some point the killing will be over and whomever is left will have to pick up the pieces and live with their sins of omission and their sins of commission. Lowering the bar on the rules of engagement isn't the same as eliminating the bar. I just hope we can keep the bar high enough that even I could still limbo under it successfully. And by doing so preserve enough of civilization to keep it going in a form we can still recognize.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

The Gassy Knoll

A strange echo comes from the gassy Knoll popping off:

After setting off a swirl of protest over her appearance at a slain Marine's funeral last week, Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll yesterday apologized profusely for unintentionally causing the Marine's family any additional pain or distress.

Key words: "last week." Anytime an apology takes a week, I usually infer that it is something less than sincere.

Her appearance, and an article about it in Saturday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, generated an outpouring of letters, e-mail messages and Web log entries from around the country. Writers were angry about Knoll showing up at the funeral in Carnegie of Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, who was killed in action in Iraq July 10. She handed out a business card, appeared to a relative of the soldier to be campaigning and made a puzzling remark that was interpreted as criticism of the U.S. military action in Iraq.

Knoll said, "I want you to know our government is against this war." What exactly is puzzling about that statement at the funeral of a Marine? I understand it completely, and I think everyone else does as well, hence the "outpouring of letters, e-mail messages and Web log entries from around the country."

Knoll yesterday wrote to Amy Goodrich, widow of Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, saying she was "incredibly upset" after learning through press reports that the Goodrich family was offended by her actions.

The looks of shock and anger on the faces of the bereaved apparently had no effect. Or, at least, no effect that mattered.

"I wanted to assure you once again that my intention was not to add to what must be a tremendously heartbreaking, difficult period," Knoll wrote.

So, what exactly was the gassy Knoll's intention?

"I have attended dozens of funerals to offer my sympathy and condolences to the families of soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice."

But, apparently, this one required that little something extra.

Gov. Ed Rendell, during appearances in Pittsburgh yesterday and throughout the weekend, came to Knoll's aid, saying he has confidence in her ability to perform her job.

Well, what with Big Labor starting to abandon the Democratic Party, the former chairman of the DNC realizes he can't afford to lose any more votes.

Knoll said she offered a business card to a Goodrich family member "as a sign of my willingness to help the family through this difficult time in any way I can. To do anything that was deemed insensitive was completely counter to my intent."

Her anti-war comments and media interviews afterwards were also no doubt done only for the benefit of the Goodrich family.

Knoll said that Sgt. Goodrich's military service "was beyond the call of duty. If my regard for his family's grief was seen another way, it is thoroughly regrettable. The fact that you have been offended deserves and receives my most profound apology."

So, the gassy Knoll apologizes for how others may have seen her actions, rather than for the actions themselves. So I gather she wouldn't have felt that she did anything wrong if the family hadn't taken offense.

The letter was released by Knoll's office in Harrisburg. She was said to be away from the Capitol and not available for comment.

Apologies issued by letter from your office while you are unavailable just ooze sincerity.

Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, Rendell insisted Knoll was not campaigning when she gave out a business card at the funeral. Knoll wanted to give the soldier's family a way to contact her if they needed help, he said.

I'm from the government and I'm here to help. Yes, I've heard that somewhere before. I do really like the, "Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh," segue though.

Rendell, a Democrat who is expected to run for re-election next year as is Knoll, said, "Nobody can tell me Catherine Baker Knoll is not a caring and decent person. I know she apologizes for any misunderstanding that her actions caused."

Well, slap my ass and call me Nobody. Even Easy Ed acknowledges that all the gassy Knoll is sorry for is how people took her words and actions.

Rhonda Goodrich, sister-in-law of the slain Marine and the one who raised the issue of Knoll's conduct in a letter to the Post-Gazette, said yesterday she was still puzzled by Knoll's handing out her business card to a Goodrich family member and then doing television interviews outside the funeral home.

Because nothing says "Message: I care" like doing television interviews.

"If she wanted to offer the family help, why didn't she go talk to Joey's wife Amy or his parents?" Rhonda Goodrich said. "She handed a card and introduced herself just like a politician handing out fliers."

Perhaps because of the bad publicity that might result if they actually called for help and the gassy Knoll was out of her office and unavailable for comment.

Rhonda Goodrich said Knoll's action showed "a big lack of judgment" and said she should apologize to the Marines also.

Somehow, I think the Marines couldn't care less for a form letter apology from the gassy Knoll's office.

According to Rhonda Goodrich, Knoll told the family that "our government" is against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The state of Pennsylvania has a foreign policy? Hey, why not? Berkely does.

Not so, Knoll insisted. "I will continue to support our troops in my role as lieutenant governor and support our president as an American," she wrote.

Ah yes, the old I support the troops but not their mission or commander canard. Lovely.

"That I somehow conveyed an impression that was interpreted as other than that will forever be saddening and upsetting to me."

I bloody well hope so, but we're still caught up in this whole interpretation thing, aren't we? Alas, it still seems as though the gassy Knoll thinks she did nothing wrong.

Rendell emphasized that his administration has no official position on the fighting, beyond showing support for U.S. troops.

You go Easy Ed! Although, I would think an official position of U.S. victory might be a good one, if you are going to have a foreign policy and all that.

"We join with every Pennsylvanian in supporting our young men and women who are fighting this global war on terrorism," he said.

So Easy Ed supports the troops fighting, but he is a little more obtuse when it comes to winning. Or am I being a little too harsh?

Rhonda Goodrich said she had no political motive in raising concerns about Democrat Knoll's appearance and statements at the funeral. Goodrich said she's a registered Republican but added, "If [Republican U.S. Sen.] Rick Santorum or President Bush had showed up, I would be all over them, too."

So Bush gets hit for not attending the funerals by Democrats and he would get hit for attending them by Republicans. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Goodrich, who lives in Indiana, Pa., was part of a protest in October about an appearance by liberal, anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She said the program should have included a conservative spokesman to offset Moore, who had just released a film harshly critical of Bush. "I wanted balance in the IUP program," Goodrich said, but strongly denied she had raised complaints about Knoll for political reasons.

That last line is repeated, just in case you didn't get it in the lead of the previous paragraph. I guess those rascally Republicans will even exploit their relatives funerals to score political points. The gall. Oh, and I understand that Mitt Romney's being a Mormon isn't an issue either.

Posted by Charles Austin at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

The But Plug

I've grown weary of people who express some element of common sense or decency and then follow it immediately with a mitigating "but," whether the intent and words are explicit or implicit, courtesy of like-minded media. Future posts of this nature will only feature the quote itself to save time. You may infer my distaste and disgust without further commentary.

Cherie Blair, barrister wife of the British prime minister, lectured on the need to respect human rights in counter-terrorism on Tuesday, four days after UK police shot dead a man mistaken for a bomber. Blair, an expert in human rights law, said in a law lecture in Malaysia that she did not want to make light of this month's horrific bomb blasts in London, and the difficult and dangerous task carried out by British police and intelligence services. But she added: "At the same time, it is all too easy for us to respond to such terror in a way which undermines commitment to our most deeply held values and convictions and which cheapens our right to call ourselves a civilised nation.

Maybe I should start a whole new blog for this one.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:24 PM | Comments (1)

July 22, 2005

Oh Dear

After a potential bomber was shot today by London Police:

The Muslim Council of Britain said Muslims were concerned about a possible "shoot to kill" policy.

Of course, I prefer that to a shoot to wound policy if there is a good faith concern on the part of the police that the perp is a potential terrorist ready to turn the potential energy stored in his rucksack to kinetic energy in a heartbeat. Or should that be to stop heartbeats? Alas, the rules of engagement for the police when confronting potential terrorists and the inevitable complaints from the usual suspects who live in perpetual fear of potential abuse are going to continue so long as most Muslims feel less comfortable dealing with infidels than turning a blind eye to murderous thugs who get a nod and a wink because they are part of the Ummah.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:44 PM | Comments (2)

Stone Casting

Drudge says:

Mel Gibson's next film will feature abundant violence...

What has stirred the passions of so many about Mel's movie-making now that were not stirred previously with the release of Mad Max 2, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 and Lethal Weapon 4? And those are just the sequels! Do Raimi or Bay watch themselves slandered in this manner?

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

"I'm From Hollywood"

Recently, some have been suggesting that Hollywood’s disconnect with Middle America is one of the primary rationales behind the steep decline in box office revenues this year. Considering the selection of well-known conspiracy nut Oliver Stone to direct the first studio movie about 9/11, George Lucas’ puerile incorporation of Move On talking points into the Star Wars prequels, and David Koepp, the War of the Worlds screenwriter, statement that the US military are the Martians in that flick, well, maybe they have a point.

To test this thesis further, I thought perhaps a comparison of Hollywood’s output during WW II could be compared to Hollywood’s output during WW IV, or as is more commonly known, the GWOT – Global War on Terrorism. But to be fair to the current incarnation of Hollywood, I’ll limit the movies, documentaries, and shorts from WW II to those that were under consideration to be nominated for Academy Awards. After all, back in those days, Hollywood lacked the twenty and thirty year-old television sitcoms to remake tired nostalgic covers out of, so they had to focus more closely on the human condition and how it was playing out in real life.

The first thing we have to decide is what time period we should compare for WW II and WW IV. In my humble opinion, the GWOT effectively began on September 11, 2001. The free world was attacked many times previously, but we weren’t fighting back as though we could lose. Still, Bill Clinton did launch cruise missiles into Afghanistan and Sudan on August 20, 1998, so I’ll take that as the starting date for the GWOT. That means that we have been fighting the GWOT, albeit for a while before it was recognized as such, for six years, ten months and twenty-nine days.

Interestingly, determining the date of the start of WW II is just as subjective. Did it begin with the Anschluss on March 13, 1938, which violated the Treaty of Versailles, or did it begin on September 1, 1939 when German troops invaded Poland, or two days later when Great Britain and France declared war on Germany? I will select September 1, 1939 as the start of WW II, since that is when the live firing and massive casualties first occurred. Of course, one could select dates much earlier for the “root causes” of WW II, but the same can be said for the GWOT, so the diminishing returns of trying to put too fine a point on it should permit me to take my assumptions and proceed without further concern or deliberation. For the sake of comparison, adding six years, ten months and twenty-nine days to the chosen start of WW II gives us July 30, 1946 as the end of the WW II period under examination. Since this is after the formal surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945, that effectively ended WW II, I'll take the earlier date as the end of the period under review.

To make this task easier from a research perspective, I’ll round the dates down to shorten the period for WW II and lengthen it for the GWOT giving us:

WW II: January 1, 1940 – December 31, 1944
GWOT: January 1, 1998 – December 31, 2005

So what movies, documentaries and shorts did Hollywood produce during this period after the start of WW II that promoted or spoke highly of patriotism, encouraged self-defense, supported the war effort, and ridiculed our enemies; or if you are so predisposed, movies that proudly say, “Us Good, Them Bad.” And remember, we are only interested in movies, shorts and documentaries that were under consideration for Academy Award nominations, so we’ll gloss over the dross that was inevitably put out even then.

1940 (Whose got the courage today to ridicule our enemies, and can you imagine the second film remade today?)
The Great Dictator
Foreign Correspondent

1941 (Keep in mind, no one had attacked the US prior to December 7, 1941, so it is unlikely any of these went into production on December 8, 1941 and were finished before the end of the year.)
Sergeant York
Dive Bomber
Christmas Under Fire
Churchill's Island
A Letter From Home
Norway in Revolt
Soldiers of the Sky
War Clouds in the Pacific
Buck Privates
Army Champions
The Tanks Are Coming
Flight Command
I Wanted Wings

1942 (Oh my, Mr. Cohan! That'll never do today, just ask Dennis Miller.)
Yankee Doodle Dandy
To the Shores of Tripoli
Wake Island
Africa, Prelude to Victory
The Battle of Midway
Combat Report
Conquer by the Clock
High Stakes in the East
Inside Fighting China
It's Everybody's War
Kokoda Front Line!
Listen to Britain
Little Belgium
Little Isles of Freedom
Mr. Blabbermouth!
Mr. Gardenia Jones
Moscow Strikes Back
The New Spirit
Prelude to War
A Ship Is Born
Twenty-One Miles
We Refuse to Die
White Eagle
Winning Your Wings
This Above All
Der Fuerher's Face
United States Marine Band
Beyond the Line of Duty
Don't Talk
Private Smith of the U.S.A.
Flying Tigers
Friendly Enemies
The Navy Comes Through
One of Our Aircraft Is Missing
The Invaders (aka 49th Parallel)

1943 (You must remember this...)
Watch on the Rhine
Five Graves to Cairo
Flight for Freedom
Mission to Moscow
This is the Army
Thousands Cheer
Air Force
Corvette K-225
So Proudly We Hail!
Baptism of Fire
The Battle of Russia
Desert Victory
For God and Country
Report from the Aleutians
Silent Village
War Department Report
Bismarck Convoy Smashed
Day of Battle
December 7th
The Dutch Tradition
The Labor Front
Land of My Mother
Letter from Livingston
Life Line
Plan for Destruction
The Rear Gunner
Servant of a Nation
Swedes in America
Task Force
To the People of the United States
Tomorrow We Fly
Wings Up
Commandos Strike At Dawn
In Which We Serve
Amphibious Fighters
Cavalcade of Dance with Veloz and Yolanda
Champions Carry On
Women At War
This Is the Army
This Land Is Mine
Crash Dive
The North Star

1944 (Battle fatigue is beginning to set in.)
Address Unknown
Since You Went Away
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
The White Cliffs of Dover
The Fighting Lady
Resisting Enemy Interrogation
Arturo Toscanini
New Americans
With the Marines at Tarawa
Since You Went Away
The Fighting Seabees
Days of Glory
Secret Command
None Shall Escape
The Sullivans

Well now, that's quite a list, don't you think? I'm not sure whether I'm surprised so many of these films, documentaries and shorts were produced or that so many were considered worthy by the Academy. My how things have changed. Can you imagine many of the stars of Hollywood wearing a uniform today, even if it was only for Army's Motion Picture unit narrating training films?

But what has Hollywood produced, whether worthy of the Academy's notice or not, since the beginning of the GWOT that might generously be said to be patriotic, reflecting a right to self-defense, showing our troops in a positive light, advocating the virtues of Western Civilization, and satirizing terrorists; or, again, if you are so predisposed, further perpetuating jingoistic fascism?

Saving Private Ryan

Three Kings


Black Hawk Down

We Were Soldiers

Tears of the Sun

Team America: World Police


My, oh my, the cupboards pretty bare, isn’t it? I mean, it's not as if these any of these are gung ho morale raisers. It is always possible that a slew of films and documentaries will come out between now and the end of the year that would merit inclusion on this list, but I'm not going to hold my breath, and I don't expect to see Oliver Stone's movie until at least next year -- if at all. Oh, I suppose some credit could be given for Fox Television’s 24, or the BBC’s Dirty War, but that would seem to be offset by Hollywood changing the bad guys in Tom Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears from Islamofascists to American white supremacists so as not to offend. And let's not mention the popular documentaries of the last few year or the ritualized abuse of history as represented by Oliver Stone's Alexander and Wolfgang Peterson's Troy.

The paucity of films, documentaries and shorts during the last seven and a half years that put forward a pre-postmodern, non-ironic, dare I say positive spin on patriotism – much less, patronizing or ignoring what at least half the country believes – would seem to be virtually a definition of sins of omission. I’ve heard that talk is cheap, but when it comes to speaking up for America and Western Civilization, Hollywood doesn’t even seem to have two cents to offer. And strangely, given Hollywood’s apparent willingness to ignore, if not insult, half its audience, I guess we can retire that other old aphorism – money talks, bullshit walks – since Hollywood is leaving a lot of money on the table to spout bullshit and maintain ideological purity.

There’s a documentary of sorts about Andy Kaufman’s wrestling career called "I’m From Hollywood" that used to play every twenty-eight days on the Comedy Channel. Whatever else one might think of Andy Kaufman – I think he’s hilarious, though I’ll admit to not understanding or appreciating some of his antics – the condescending attitude that Andy Kaufman displays to the locals while strutting around the old Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, seems somber and majestic in comparison to what we get from the denizens of Hollywood today. Nowadays, whenever I see Alec Baldwin, Oliver Stone, Tim Robbins, George Lucas, Susan Sarandon, or any of the other representatives of Hollywood take a break from their packing – after all, they are leaving the country, don’t you know – to tell us once again how stupid President George W. Bush is, or to remind us that the war in Iraq is being fought for Halliburton and Texas oil interests, or that there are in fact no terrorists at all, just freedom fighters; well, just before they speak I hear Andy Kaufman insanely saying, “I’m from Hollywood.”

(If I've missed any movies, documentaries or shorts, say so in the comments and I'll update the list accordingly. Also, I started to include all the hyper-links, but I lack the addiotional hours necessary to do that at this time. My apologies.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:27 PM | Comments (7)

July 11, 2005


Can anybody help me locate a tape, vinyl, CD, DVD, mp3 or other variant of Eugene by Crazy Joe and the Variable Speed Band. I am willing to pay for it. And please don't give me any bad links from Google to various sources that claim to have the 45 available but really don't.

Thanks in advance.

And now, back to your irregularly scheduled programming.

DOWNDATE: Thanks to Terry for the referral and thanks to Matt for solving my problem at no cost.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:28 PM | Comments (3)

July 07, 2005

There Be Lions Here

In response to the terrorist acts today in London I return briefly from my hiatus and offer my condolences to the long suffering people of Great Britain who have lived through much worse. I would also like to offer two brief comments from Winston Churchill whose words in response to a different terror still seem entirely apropos now.

Excerpt one:

I say to the House as I said to ministers who have joined this government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering.

You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

Excerpt Two:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)