All posts by Rand Simberg

Idiot Judges

“Big, garish, loud and dumb as a box of Rockettes.”

That’s Frank Swietek’s opinion of Moulin Rouge. Having made the mistake of watching it Saturday night, I think that he’s too kind. Its only redeeming feature was that it was only a little over an hour and a half long.

How in the world did that tragic waste of celluloid garner even one, let alone eight Oscar nominations?

Jack Henry Abbot, Killer

Jack Abbott did the universe a big favor and threw himself a private necktie party. Stormin’ Norman Mailer issued his usual predictable numbskullian apologia:

“His life was tragic from beginning to end,” Mr. Mailer said yesterday in a prepared statement. “I never knew a man who had a worse life.”

Don’t get out much, Norm?

Actually the tragedy was for those who had the misfortune to cross his path. And, yes, perhaps few had worse lives, but it was worse only in the sense that it was a life lived extremely badly. He wasn’t misunderstood, except by the Norman Mailers of the world–he was just a thug who could occasionally put words together. I wonder how long it will be before Mailer’s fellow sob sisters start lamenting his passing?

Anyway, if a beast exists, I’m pretty sure that Jack Abbott is now truly in the belly of it. And Mr. Mailer may not be too far, in time or morality, from joining him.

Bloviation From Toronto

I assume that our weblogging friends from the Great White North will have this cretin for breakfast, but I’ll take my shots at his latest Pilgeresque offering from my location in the more temperate latitudes anyway.

America’s allies and friends were initially reluctant to openly criticize Bush’s philippic, but in recent days the president’s aggressive, triumphalist policies have come under fierce attack around the world, and particularly so in Europe.

Ummm….yes. So? You say this as though it’s a bad thing.

Bush administration spokesmen reject all foreign criticism.

No, not all. Just ignorant, America-phobic criticism. Like this opinion piece.

Secretary of State Colin Powell increased war fever by blasting Iran for “meddling” in Afghanistan. This is rich, coming from the U.S., which just invaded Afghanistan, overthrew its government, installed a client regime in Kabul, and is setting up permanent military bases there.

Well, why don’t we ask the Afghan people (you know, the ones who are no longer being crushed under walls, or having their nails pulled out, or who can once again listen to music or watch a soccer game without executions as half-time entertainment) which country they would prefer to be meddling in their affairs?

Threatening war against Iran for seeking to advance its interests in neighbouring Afghanistan shows just how irrational and imperially arrogant the Bush administration is becoming.

Yes, it’s most important that we allow the people who chant “Death to America! Down with the Great Satan!” to pursue their interests…

India and Russia are also deeply involved in Afghanistan; in fact, Russia has virtually taken over the north. Yet there was not a peep from Washington about these interlopers.

I know that this may be an intellectual concept far beyond your meager neuronal capacity, but have you ever considered the possibility that it might be because neither Russia or India have ever funded people to fly airplanes into American skyscrapers?

Fifty years of painful efforts to build a framework of international law are being swept away by the Bush crusaders, who seem to have convinced themselves they are re-fighting World War II rather than dealing with a dangerous criminal conspiracy made up of a few thousand individuals.

Which “international law” would that be? The one that says that people who hide among civilians to avoid retribution, or who skulk amongst a peaceful people in civilian clothing so that they can deliberately murder thousands of innocents are entitled to POW status? Sorry, I’m not aware of any international law like that.

And what do you propose that we do when those “few thousand individuals” (sounds like an army to me, or at least a division, even if they can’t be bothered to put on uniforms and insignia) are sponsored by foreign governments? Ignore that fact? In your bizarro universe, I guess so…

While most Americans continue to cheer Bush’s bellicose, adolescent rhetoric and crusading zeal, quiet opposition is developing, particularly among the thinking classes.

Is the nonsense being regurgitated in this piece representative of “the thinking classes”? If so, please assign me a seat in whatever other class is available.

Given the current climate of war fever, hysteria, fear and anti-Muslim paranoia being whipped up by the White House and parts of the media, few Americans are ready to criticize government actions.

Gosh, do you think it’s possible that it’s because we’d like to hew to the status quo with our remaining skylines? Do you, in fact, think at all?

This loud silence and war fever have unbalanced the U.S. political system, allowing a coterie of ideological super-hawks to monopolize policy and drive the U.S. toward highly irrational behaviour. Congress and the media have become mere cheerleaders for the so-called war. Critical analysis is urgently needed:

Indeed it is. But based on this spew, we can husband our resources, and not search for it from anyone named “Eric Margolis.”

remember the disastrous consequences caused by lack of public challenge to America’s entry into the Vietnam war.

Yes. People like bin Laden learned the mistaken lesson that America will not respond when attacked.

America has suffered mightily and grievously; but pain and suffering are no excuse for acting foolishly, dangerously, or dictatorially.

No, that is apparently a privilege reserved unto idiotic Canadian editorial writers, who are not responsible for the lives and property of Americans.

Wiser heads abroad are cautioning their American friends.

Thank the heavens for those “wiser heads abroad.” What would we do without them? Well, actually, we seem to be doing just fine, based on the war effort so far. While we appreciate the help from the British SAS, most of the rest of the European aid seems to have consisted of sending celebrity philosophers.

To many foreign governments, the real danger is not Bush’s preposterous “axis of evil,” nor “rogue states” like Iran, Iraq, or North Korea. They are far more worried about a rogue America running amok and igniting conflicts around the world.

Yes, since many of those foreign governments oppress their own people, they should be rightly worried about conflicts being ignited. Particularly when they’re likely to be on the losing end. However, Mr. Margolis doesn’t explain why this should worry us evil Americans, or anyone who is interested in human freedom. Or why he is more sympathetic to those governments than ours, or even his own.

Moer Airline Insecurity Stupidity

A man, appropriately named Bizarro, was arrested for using the bathroom on a Delta flight into Salt Lake.

Now I don’t actually have a problem with dealing harshly with anyone who refuses to follow flight attendants’ orders in this situation, but what was asinine was that the on-board air marshalls made all of the passengers keep their heads on top of their heads for the remainder of the flight.

The theory that this is a secret plot by Norm Mineta to keep us grumpy and ready to fight is making more and more sense. Unfortunately, I think that it’s also keeping people off airplanes. I know that I refuse to fly now unless absolutely necessary, and it’s not because I’m worried about hijackers.

[Update (9:07 PM PST, after reading MoreThanZero]

[embarrassment=full]

Yes, I mistyped, darnit.

While the command was actually only to keep hands on top of heads, it remains idiotic, though not anatomically and logically impossible.

[/embarrassment]

At least it shows that Andreas is still reading my weblog, braindead wordos and all.

You know what they say, “as long as they spell the URL right…”

Interesting Times For California Republicans

Dick Riordan had a rough weekend at the California Republican convention. He lost the straw poll, was booed several times, has received numerous negative endorsements from many party luminaries, and was stalked by a guy in a rhinocerous costume, symbolizing his perception as a RINO (Republican In Name Only). George Deukmajian (former governor) has stated flat out that he will not support a Riordan candidacy.

Bill Simon, who won the straw poll, is coming on strong. He’s getting some key endorsements, and he’s got plenty of his own money. People have been predicting another potential Bloomberg-like win here, with the liberal Riordan running as a Republican of convenience, but I think it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll get the nomination. Party activists tend to be much more conservative than the even the registered Republican voters, especially in California.

And if he does, I fully expect to see a third-party movement spring up, led by Mr. Simon. It’s not clear to me whether he’d pull more votes from Riordan or Davis…

Daschle Senate Control Looking Shaky

Bad news for Tom Daschle. The Senate Plurality Leader is looking more and more likely to become the Senate Minority Leader next fall.

As one bit of evidence, consider this story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune that shows Paul Wellstone in a neck and neck race with his Republican opponent. When an incumbent can only poll forty five percent, it looks pretty grim. Undecideds have more of a tendency to ultimately go to the challenger.

And loss of the Senate to the Republicans would be particularly sweet, considering what it would do to His Pomposity, Jim Jeffords.

Leonardo Who?

According to this article in the New York Daily News, our president is culturally challenged. In fact, if you can believe this, he doesn’t even know who Leo DiCaprio is.

Horror of horrors!!

How did we come to such a state, to have our country led by someone so out of touch, so…uncool? Even wooden Al Gore must have known that.

Bill Clinton might have subverted justice, rented the Lincoln Bedroom, sold pardons and foreign missions and nuclear secrets, and bought votes, and ignored terrorism, but, by God, at least he was hip!

If only we’d known this back in November 2000…

Get That Man Some Dippity Doo

It may be a busy weekend, and I don’t know if I’ll have time to post much. But in the meantime, check out some of the superlative links to the left, and marvel at the man who, according to the Guiness record people, has the world’s longest ear hair. I think that beats a monkey picture any day of the week, and twice on Saturday.