Thursday, June 30, 2005


With mounting frustration and a hint of anger, a federal judge said at a hearing Wednesday that he would send two reporters to jail in one week if they did not agree to testify before a grand jury about their confidential sources in the meantime.

Lawyers for the reporters, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, said their clients would accept jail time rather than testify.

Mr. Bennett, too, said there was something curious about the case.

"It's a big step," he said, "to put two people in jail who have committed no crime and who have been caught in what Your Honor has publicly referred to as 'a perfect storm.' " Judge Hogan made that comment in a speech in Montana in April, according to news reports.

Rush, as usual, said it best yesterday when he opined that the media is getting what they deserve since they have celebrated the erosian of other first amendment freedoms. They backed Campaign Finance Reform and the love the court's chic re-evaluation of the establishment clause. It was only a matter of time before freedom of the press meant whatever the court wanted it to mean.

Good work, gatekeepers for all you've done!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Posted by Hello

Thanks to John for sending me this.

If you've seen Ken Burns' Civil War then you know that he stole the show with his soft-spoken gentile southern charm and analysis.

June 29, 2005
Shelby Foote, Historian and Novelist, Dies at 88

Shelby Foote, the historian whose incisive, seasoned commentary - delivered in a drawl so mellifluous that one critic called it "molasses over hominy" - evoked the Civil War for millions in the 11-hour PBS documentary in 1990, died on Monday at a Memphis hospital He was 88 and lived in Memphis.

His death was reported by his wife, Gwyn, The Associated Press said.

Mr. Foote's 89 cameo appearances in Ken Burns's series "The Civil War" were informed by his own three-volume history of the war, two decades in the making, that blended his practiced novelist's touch with punctilious, but defiantly unfootnoted research.

His mission was to tell what he considered America's biggest story as a vast, finely detailed, deeply human narrative. He could focus on broad shifts in strategy or on solitary moments of poignancy, like the tearful but still proud Robert E. Lee picking his way through the ranks of his vanquished army to surrender.

"He made the war real for us," Mr. Burns said.

His goal was to emulate the authoritative narrative voice of the 18th-century British historian Edward Gibbon. Mr. Foote's books carried a great plot, and as academic historians increasingly saw themselves as social scientists armed with the tools of quantitative analysis, he turned to Shakespeare for metaphors and to colloquialisms for literary impact.

"What sort of document was this anyhow?" he wrote of the Emancipation Proclamation, before going on to discuss it.

Facts, Mr. Foote said, are the bare bones from which truth is made. Truth, in his view, embraced sympathy, paradox and irony, and was attained only through true art. "A fact is not a truth until you love it," he said.

Critics suggested that Mr. Foote played down the economic, intellectual and political causes of the Civil War. Some said that Mr. Foote may have played down slavery so that Southern soldiers would seem worthy heroes in the epic battles he so stirringly chronicled.

Mr. Foote is survived by his third wife, the former Gwyn Rainer, whom he married in 1956, and two children, Margaret Shelby and Huger Lee.

Shelby Foote was born on Nov. 17, 1916, in Greenville, Miss., the cultural center of the Mississippi Delta. He was the only child of Shelby Dade Foote, a local businessman, whose roots ran deep in American history, and Lillian Rosenstock Foote. Among the Shelby-Foote direct ancestors was Isaac Shelby, a frontier leader in the Revolution and the first governor of Kentucky. Mr. Foote's great-grandfather, Capt. Hezekiah William Foote, a slave owner, fought for the Confederacy at Shiloh (where, he reported, his saber was bent and his horse's tail was shot off) and later became a judge. Less respectable was his grandfather, Huger Lee Foote, a planter who gambled away what would have been a substantial inheritance.

Under the influence of William Alexander Percy, a local author and the uncle of young Shelby's best friend, Walker Percy, the boy took to books, discovering abiding favorites from Shakespeare to Dickens. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he wrote short stories and poems for the campus literary magazine before dropping out in 1937 without taking a degree. But he did find occasion, with Walker Percy, to visit William Faulkner in Oxford, Miss. The pair were cordially received.

In 1940 Mr. Foote entered the United States Army and served as a battery captain of field artillery in Europe before his Army career ended abruptly in 1944, when he was caught sneaking off to Belfast, Ireland, to see a girlfriend. The Marine Corps recruited him, but the war ended, and in November 1945 he was discharged. He found odd jobs, including a stint as a reporter for The Delta Democrat Times, whose publisher, Hodding Carter, felt he spent too much office time writing fiction. In 1946 he sold his first short story to The Saturday Evening Post, and after rejections and rewrites he sold his first novel, "Tournament," to the Dial Press.

Drawn from his own family history, the tale of a Delta planter who gambles away the family fortune was greeted, somewhat unoriginally, as a promising first novel. Not all critics felt that the promise was redeemed in the four novels, all set in the South, that followed. A New York Times reviewer wrote that "Follow Me Down" (1950), about a Mississippi farmer who murders a teenage girl, showed more virtuosity than depth, but a later reviewer had kind words for "Love in a Dry Season" (1951), a gritty Delta tale. "Shiloh," (1952), which became his best known novel, and a hint of his future achievements, offered an affecting account of the famous Civil War battle through the monologues of soldiers in the blue and the gray. And in 1954 came "Jordan County," seven Delta stories set in reverse chronological order, from 1950 to 1797. He wrote all these books in the garage behind his mother's house. His last major novel, "September, September," set in Little Rock, Ark., during the 1957 school-integration turmoil, appeared in 1978.

In their six-decade friendship, Mr. Foote and Walker Percy exchanged scores of letters about their work. Mr. Foote, who was a few months the junior, played the mentor, but it was Percy who made the more impressive literary mark with his first novel, "The Moviegoer," which won a National Book Award in 1962. Mr. Foote was at his friend's bedside at his death in New Orleans in 1990.

Mr. Foote's novels were treated respectfully: Southern literary journals carried long analyses, with at least one essayist faulting the literary establishment for its shameful neglect of his achievement, and French critics found resemblances in his experiments with time and points of view between the Foote world of Jordan County and William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County). But it was nonfiction that brought him widespread attention.

What began as a Random House proposal for a short account of the Civil War as its centennial approached turned into an opus. Writing in an ornate script with an old-style dip pen in his rambling magnolia-shaded house in Memphis, where the Footes had moved in 1953, he produced the 2,934-page, three-volume, 1.5 million-word military history, "The Civil War: A Narrative." At 500 to 600 words a day, with times out to visit battlefields on the anniversaries of the battles, it took him 20 years. The volumes appeared between 1958 and 1974.

Carrying readers from Fort Sumter to Appomattox, the work was greeted by most reviewers in the spirit of the New York Times Book Review contributor who called it "a remarkable achievement, prodigiously researched, vigorous, detailed, absorbing." Others used words like "monumental," "comprehensive," and "even-handed." In The New York Review of Books, C. Vann Woodward complimented the author on capturing the "intimacy of combat" with his "impressive narrative gifts and dramatic purposes."

Responding to the observation that it took him five times as long to write the war as its participants took to fight it, Mr. Foote pointed out that "there were a good many more of them than there was of me." Inspired by the works of Tacitus, Thucydides, Gibbon and, more surprising, Marcel Proust, Mr. Foote's own specially prized writer for prose style, psychological insight and the sweep of his vision, he created a history as written by a novelist, with due bows to a line that included Tolstoy, Stendhal and Stephen Crane.

In treating North and South evenhandedly and covering the campaigns in both east and west, Mr. Foote accepted the historian's standards of evidence without the baggage of footnotes, for which he was faulted by some academics, who also criticized his sketchy attention to politics, economics and diplomacy. But most were grateful. Louis D. Rubin Jr. summed up in The New Republic: "It is a model of what military history can be."

Among the most vivid scenes was the description of Gen. Robert E. Lee's slow ride after his surrender: "Grief brought a sort of mass relaxation that let Traveller [Lee's horse] proceed, and as he moved through the press of soldiers, bearing the gray commander on his back, they reached out to touch both horse and rider, withers and knees, flanks and thighs, in expression of their affection."

The work brought its author three Guggenheim Fellowships, a Ford Foundation grant and considerably more in royalties than any of his novels had earned, and he was admitted to a distinguished company of Civil War historians that included Bruce Catton, Allan Nevins and Douglas Southall Freeman. "They call you Gibbon and you know that's silly," he told an interviewer. "But if they don't call you Gibbon you get a feeling they're holding back."

Still, it remained for television to carry him to fame. In 1985 Ken Burns, planning his television documentary on the war, called on Mr. Foote, who had been recommended by his fellow Southern writer Robert Penn Warren, to be a paid consultant. The choice of an accomplished stylist steeped in Southern lore was made to order, and Mr. Foote readily established himself as the viewers' surrogate.

The series, a smash hit for public broadcasting, attracted an audience of 14 million over five nights and turned Mr. Foote into a prime-time star. His fans learned that he was a pipe smoker who loved Mozart and Vermeer and Proust (he said he had read "Remembrance of Things Past" from start to finish nine times) and drank bourbon outdoors and scotch indoors. His dog, Booker, an akita, dozed nearby as he wrote. At one point Mr. Foote was getting 20 calls a day from admirers who just wanted to have him over for dinner. He took a page from Ulysses S. Grant who, in reply to the remark "You must get lots of mail," said, "Not nearly so much as I did when I answered it all." Mr. Foote stopped writing back.

Walter Goodman, who died in 2002, contributed reporting and analysis for this article.

A true character is someone who drinks bourbon outdoors and scotch indoors.

Shelby Foote was on Booknotes when I was in graduate school. He told Brian Lamb that he never smiled in photos. Not long after that show aired we took a class photo and I tried the not smiling thing. I came off looking angry. I think of Shelby Foote whenever I run across the photo.

Washington Times

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


This is choice - there are plans in the works to appropriate Justice Souter's personal land to convert it into a hotel, which will presumably increase tax revenues and therefore is allowable under the new eminent domain laws as championed by Souter.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Souter better get himself a good lawyer.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Writing for the court's majority in Thursday's ruling, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including - but by no means limited to - new jobs and increased tax revenue," Stevens wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

"It is not for the courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line nor to sit in review on the size of a particular project area," he said.

Finally a local issue that John Paul Stevens can support -- the seizure or private land to fund more socialism. Our constitution is pretty short and Stevens has found all sorts of things in the document by implication. But he can't see protecting property. Have you seen Wild River (1960) with Montgomery Clift? Clift plays a depression era govt. man come to kick people off their Tennessee Island so they can damn the river for electricity. The movie supported the idea for the common good, and you can follow the logic. But the problem with grand plans about helping people is that eventually those plans only help the politicians and in this case rich developers.

O'Connor gets it right.
"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," she wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

The Case
At issue was the scope of the Fifth Amendment, which allows governments to take private property through eminent domain if the land is for "public use."

Susette Kelo and several other homeowners in a working-class neighborhood in New London, Conn., filed suit after city officials announced plans to raze their homes for a riverfront hotel, health club and offices.

New London officials countered that the private development plans served a public purpose of boosting economic growth that outweighed the homeowners' property rights, even if the area wasn't blighted.

The Gloating socialists
Connecticut state Rep. Ernest Hewett, D-New London, a former mayor and city council member who voted in favor of eminent domain, said the decision "means a lot for New London's future."

"I am just so pleased to know that what we did was right," he said. "We can go ahead with development now."

What if we built a public housing complex for polticians in New London? It would look just like any other inner city project. When someone was elected we'd take their property for public use and make them live close together. They could buy a house of their own only when their time as a leader was served.

What better way to know whether these bums support the public good other than make them suffer to provide it. There is something ugly about taking somebody else's property for the public good without offering your own.

The New London neighborhood that will be swept away includes Victorian-era houses and small businesses that in some instances have been owned by several generations of families. Among the New London residents in the case is a couple in their 80s who have lived in the same home for more than 50 years.


During the filibuster fight we saw a lot of hand wringing about the tradition of the Senate. Well Mr. Byrd, well Mr. Reid, well Ms. Clinton the tradition of private property goes back much further. Where's the hand wringing now you bargain basement Bolsheviks?

Instapundit Roundup.
Tom's APRIL Movies

I'm tough on them this month.

LIFE AS A HOUSE (2001) – I wanted to like this Kevin Kline film. Mary Steenburgen, Kristen Scott Thomas, Hayden Christianson, and even Scott Bakula rounded out the decent cast. But that doggone script got in the way of a good film. The first signs of a wreck happen early when Kline gets fired and smashes the work he’s done through the years. He walks out onto the sidewalk and passes out. It’s terminal cancer. So why not spend the last remaining months building a house with my estranged son? Irwin Winkler has some pretty good Producing screen credits and he should stick to that line of work, because as a director he ain’t all that.

ANCHORMAN (2004) – I liked OLD SCHOOL despite being ready not to. I fully expected to like this and was disappointed. Will Ferrell is only funny in an uncomfortable way which doesn’t work for me. Guys like Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson carried OLD SCHOOL and their brief cameos here can’t pick up the slack.

+LAST DAYS OF CHASENS (1997) – Interesting documentary about the famous eatery where Ron proposed to Nancy. We get to know the staff, many of which have been there for 30+ years. Stars make a brief appearance and the history of the place is revealed. A good example of how an unscripted film can be brought together in tiny pieces successfully in unpredictable ways.
MAGIC CHRISTIAN (1970) Peter Sellers is funny. Ringo too a little bit. There are some funny moments like Sellers in the train car buying a hotdog from the vendor on the platform at 30MPH. The downside is that I saw it only a week ago and I remember little else.

13 GOING ON 30 (2004) – I didn’t pick this one, but it’s not bad for the genre. A female update of the Tom Hanks BIG concept. You don’t need to see it, but it will pass the time.

CLOSER (2004) – Told in an interesting way, but not interesting in and of itself. I liked it a good for a while. Mike Nichols seemed to have cast it well. I just didn’t buy the last ¼ of it. The question of jealousy and unfaithfulness seemed to be better handled in THE SECRET LIVES OF DENTISTS.

+GARDEN STATE (2004) – This is one of the best movies of 2004. I found it to be a modern day combination of THE GRADUATE and HAROLD AND MAUDE with its wayward protagonist and ballad soundtrack. It was funny enough to be a comedy and sweet enough to be a date film. And yet it was nothing like those WHEN HARRY MET SALLY ripoffs we've seen in the last 15 years.

I HEART HUCKABEES (2004) – I can respect an idea taken to the limit and this has a particularly witty screenplay, but I was easily distracted away from it. I think it was a combination of too many characters or maybe just too much Jude Law lately. He's in everything.

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (2004) – The character is funny enough and his uncle is even a little funnier, but the movie doesn’t have much to say or do. The Pedro character was funny in a Wes Anderson sort of way. It was very Anderson like in general, but I was struggling to stay awake for the big dance at the end.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

But give Durbin credit. Every third-rate hack on every European newspaper can do the Americans-are-Nazis schtick. Amnesty International has already declared Guantanamo the "gulag of our times." But I do believe the senator is the first to compare the U.S. armed forces with the blood-drenched thugs of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge. Way to go, senator! If you had a dime for every crackpot Web site that takes up your thoughtful historical comparison, you'd be able to retire to the Caribbean and spend the rest of your days torturing yourself with hot weather and loud music, as well as inappropriately provocative women and insufficient choice of hors d'oeuvres and all the other shameful atrocities committed at Guantanamo.

Just for the record, some 15 million to 30 million Soviets died in the gulag; some 6 million Jews died in the Nazi camps; some 2 million Cambodians -- one third of the population -- died in the killing fields. Nobody's died in Gitmo, not even from having Christina Aguilera played to them excessively loudly. The comparison is deranged, and deeply insulting not just to the U.S. military but to the millions of relatives of those dead Russians, Jews and Cambodians, who, unlike Durbin, know what real atrocities are. Had Durbin said, "Why, these atrocities are so terrible you would almost believe it was an account of the activities of my distinguished colleague Robert C. Byrd's fellow Klansmen," that would have been a little closer to the ballpark but still way out.

One measure of a civilized society is that words mean something: "Soviet" and "Nazi" and "Pol Pot" cannot equate to Guantanamo unless you've become utterly unmoored from reality. Spot the odd one out: 1) mass starvation; 2) gas chambers; 3) mountains of skulls; 4) lousy infidel pop music turned up to full volume. One of these is not the same as the others, and Durbin doesn't have the excuse that he's some airhead celeb or an Ivy League professor. He's the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Don't they have an insanity clause?

If Democrats want to know why they lose elections. . . well. . .what more can be said?

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Howard Dean became chairman because of the support from state campaign leaders not Washington Insiders. Let’s not forget that the Democrat Washington establishment demolished him in Iowa. I mean they laid into the guy. He led for months in every poll until it all started to change for him in the 11th hour. Iowa is a small state and all the power brokers had to do was put their weight behind another candidate. Dean’s visceral reaction that night made him a national joke, but it happened because he was so taken by surprise at the result.

I think Dean’s behavior now is an intentional thumb in the eye of the establishment Democrats as much as anything else. His rants make it hard for Washington Democrats to do anything but react to him. Washington Democrats have to decide with each remark whether pleasing grass roots Democrats is worth alienating the center. And the press is right there to get their comments on record. I can assure you this isn’t the distraction inside the beltway types want to be charging forward with. Not only may they misstep in their denunciation or support, it’s also getting very hard for any of them to make headlines for their other accomplishments. I think Dick Durbin’s remarks were aimed at one-upping Howard in order to get the attention back.

Dean took the Iowa ranting reputation he earned and turned it into a celebrity vehicle. Important Democrats laughed at him when he screamed the names of states. I don't think they're laughing anymore. They've been had.

Dean knows he won’t be President or considered for an administrative job. When Dean is through with this chairmanship he’ll become a talk show host or political pundit or some such and make a good deal of money. He's getting the kind of following that Air America can only dream about. This guy isn’t dumb. He’s serving up the best revenge for his ambush as a nice cold dish of controversy. His enemies get their just desserts and his celebrity shines brightly among the far left. And there's money over there on the far left. How else does Michael Moore write a #1 NYT Bestseller?

Friday, June 17, 2005


I've been writing reviews and not posting. Here is what I saw in March.

– The story of two mountain climbers that run into trouble and how they deal with it. The story is quite compelling and the cinematography is also brilliant. It’s somewhat controversial in that it’s part documentary and part drama. Does that make it a docudrama?

– Another early Walter Mathau film that’s quite entertaining. It doesn’t hurt that it’s directed by the under-rated Don Siegel right at the height of his creative powers. Mathau plays Varrick, a cunning bank robber that attempts to steal a few thousand dollars from a soft rural bank, but accidently steals a couple of hundred thousand dollars in mob money in the process of being laundered. Mathau knows immediately what it means and is worried to death. His partner Andy Robinson (The villain from Dirty Harry) won’t listen to Mathau and really over plays the part. Still it’s an overall entertaining movie and a chance to see the underrated Mathau play another solid role.

GO TIGERS (2001)
– A decent documentary about the Massillon High School football program. The filmmakers portray Massillon as the most storied high school team in the country. They even show parts of a 1950s era documentary called “TOCHDOWN TOWN” about Massillon’s love for the game. Even by 1950, Massillon had already won 10 State Championships in the sport. The school is in the heart of Canton Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The famous Paul Brown went to Massillon as did the recent pro bowl player Chris Spielman. Even soap opera actor David Cannary played football as Massillon. The story in the documentary is how Massillon 4-6 the previous year will rebound. Also weighing on everyone’s minds is whether the city can pass a levy for more school revenue. It’s obvious the school is spending all their money on football and without the levy they’ll fire teachers rather than skimp on pigskin. We also get to know a few of the Massillon players and the DVD gives us an update on their lives this many years later.

+SIDEWAYS (2004)
– Alexander Payne of ELECTION and ABOUT SCHMIDT fame hits the mark again. Two buddies living out a weeklong bachelor party gets the tone of real life in a way most movies do not. I’ve heard complaints that the movie talks about wine too much and that might be true for people who don’t like wine, but I think the screenwriter does a good job of using wine to underscore their lives. Giammati was the victim of Eastwood’s legend and didn’t get a nomination. That will probably be remedied in his next performance.

– Terrance Mallick’s debut film contains much of the style we saw again in the 1998 film, THIN RED LINE. Martin Sheen plays this James Dean look-a-like killer who has a lot of charisma. Cissy Spacek plays the jailbait sidekick. I can see how this move was controversial and how Mallick proved he was a major talent (some might say wasted talent), but since we’ve seen this kind of material played out any number of ways since, the style is the main interest here. I’d recommend it for history and some really well done visuals, but it left me kind of hollow. Maybe that was the point.

THE TERMINAL (2004) – Tom Hanks is well cast as the foreigner in limbo between countries. Catherine Zeta Jones is fetching although seeming a bit overused lately. The story guides along for a good hour, but since conflict is the essence of drama, Spielberg and the screenwriter make a cartoon villain out of the usually reliable Stanley Tucci, after introducing him as a much more complex and interesting character. Tucci’s motivations seem petty and suspect and it’s that central conflict that is supposed to explain the second half of the movie. Skip it unless you like to hear Tom Hanks do accents.

STRAW DOGS (1971) – is much like Badlands in that it’s a violent film in the early 1970s that found controversy. Dustin Hoffman is plays an American living in rural Great Britain with his English wife. Hoffman is a mathematician trying to be productive on sabbatical while his sexy wife is getting bored with his inattention. Although the violence is hinted at early on, the film is into the second half before you see any real ugliness. Anyone schooled on modern films won’t find this terribly worse than what their use to. Still, it has the Peckinpah style that makes you root for more bloodshed. If you like comely English blondes you’ll enjoy Susan George. I won’t see it again, but I’m happy I saw it once.

DeLovely (2004)
– I often forget what a good actor Kevin Kline is and after seeing EMPEROR’S CLUB I decided to see his take on Cole Porter. I’ve always enjoyed porter witty tunes like ANYTHING GOES and deeper ones like I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN. Kline is decent enough as Porter, but the movie is annoying for being gimmicky and slow-moving.

* The Iranian people deserve a genuinely democratic system in which elections are honest - and in which their leaders answer to them instead of the other way around.

* The Iranian people deserve a truly free and democratic society with a vibrant free press that informs the public and ensures transparency.

* They deserve freedom of assembly, so Iranians can gather and press for reform and a peaceful, loyal opposition can keep the government in check.

* They deserve a free economy that delivers opportunity and prosperity and economic independence from the state.

* They deserve an independent judiciary that will guarantee the rule of law and ensure equal justice for all Iranians. And they deserve a system that guarantees religious freedom, so that they can build a society in which compassion and tolerance prevail.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


I watch about one movie a quarter, so there's not much to round up. Yesterday I didn't have any work to do and my family was at the community pool so I took in BATMAN BEGINS at the 12:30 matinee.

It was 45 minutes before Bruce Wayne considers becoming the crimefighter later known as Batman, and for me that was the best part of the film. That is the best part of the Batman story, the foundation without which the character cannot make sense except as another gadget-laden superhero. It was long past due for a big-screen treatment.

I liked how neatly and concisely the filmmaker presented Bruce's complicated inner turmoil and provided anchor points for subsequent flashbacks and lines.

Mixed reviews on the casting. No real quarrels over Bruce Wayne - he was passable in both the Kevlar bat-suit and the tuxedo. Good choice of Gary Oldman for Jim Gordon and well played. Rutger Hauer was sturdy and steely as CEO of Wayne Enterprises, a fine choice. Michael Caine was polished and credible as Alfred. Falcone the crime boss was great. Thankfully no Robin. On the other hand I found the Rachel character completely ridiculous - at her age she would not even be out of law school, much less be Gotham's powerful and threatening Assistant D.A. It was equally absurd that she would not recognize the lower half of Batman's face, which includes his distinctive mouth, as her childhood friend whom she is also in love with. I guess the gravelly voice threw her off. Likewise, the sinister Dr. Crane was much too young to be a Ph.D. or an accomplished supervillain.

Liam Neeson was okay but I wasn't sold on his motivations.

Morgan Freeman was fine but he and the police commissioner were black just to be black.

The effects of Dr. Crane's evil potion on multiple victims at once contradicted the uniquely personal effects as explained earlier in the film.

Most of the joke lines fell flat. "Didn't you get the memo?" was not funny. Twice.

Batman cannot fly. Take your liberties in the big-screen adaptation, but don't change the fundamental elements that make the character great. Batman is such a compelling character because he's just a man, with no X factor or special radiation-induced gift. All the ninja training in the world can't teach you to fly.

I think I'm just too old for car chases, every conceivable fight sequence, and then everything exploding. I used to delight in it, now it's just loud and kind of silly. I thought the same thing when I saw the last Bond movie. There was no payoff for me. I just bought a Volvo, maybe that explains things.

Mostly what I took away from Batman Begins is how critical I am, and a reinforcement of why I don't watch movies, don't read fiction, and am no fun at parties.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Isn't the obvious hole in this theory that he had to fatally crash the car with himself in it?

The theory British royal DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES was murdered has been boosted by the recent discovery her chauffeur received mystery payments amounting to $142,000 (GBP75,000) - just weeks before she died in the car he was driving.

Chauffeur HENRI PAUL died alongside Diana and her lover DODI AL FAYED when the Mercedes he was driving crashed in an underpass in Paris, France in August 1997.

And British detectives investigating the tragedy have fuelled speculation Paul was being paid by British secret service agents, by revealing the staggering sums he received from British banks just before the fatal accident.

Financial investigators have also revealed Paul had staggering amounts of money in 13 bank accounts around the world, despite earning just $38,000 (GBP20,000) a year as a driver for Paris' Ritz hotel, reports British newspaper the DAILY EXPRESS.

A source close to the inquiry explains, "Money was drafted over to Paul from accounts in England. As far as the investigation is concerned, this is a crucial breakthrough.

"Many thousands of pounds arrived from Britain in the weeks leading up to the tragedy. It arrived via a banker's draft and was converted into French francs from sterling.

"We have always wanted to get to the bottom of who was paying Henri Paul all this cash and now we're getting close."

13/06/2005 13:46
JUST DO IT (more from Jeff Jarvis at

Actually, people want you to lead

When he got the job, I said that Howard Dean could resist himself. He hasn't gone to anger-management class. Today, he says:

"People want us to fight," Dean told the national party's executive committee. "We are here to fight."
No, Howard, that's what lost you the primaries.

Both sides are role-playing into each others' hands. Dean is acting like the rabid underdog and the Republicans are acting like cornered kitties and both are ridiculous. See John Cole, Republican, on the Republican act:

And while we are at it, can we conservatives please stop this laughable cult of victimology? We have the Presidency (for the second time in a row and the fifth time in the last seven elections). We control the Senate by a ten seat margin. We control the House by a larger margin. We have dismissed or dismantled virtually every institutional check in order to limit opposition debate and increase institutional control, regardless how short-sighted that might be. We are ramming through just about every judge we wanted, and are about to reload the Supreme Court with Antonin Scalia at the helm.

We control dozens of governors offices and an equal number of state legislatures. We have hundreds of think tanks, hundreds of talk show hosts, hundreds of conservative columnists, millions of bloggers. We have dozens of partisan magazines and pundits, legions of 527's and grass-roots organizations, and dozens of think-tanks. We have, ostensibly, our own damned cable news channel and so many right leaning editorial boards of newspapers I can't even begin to count them. Memes that start in obscure blogs find their way onto the front page of allegedly liberal newspapers in the matter of two days.

We may be a lot of things, but persecuted victims we are not. To assert otherwise is to engage in a self-defeating flight of fancy that should be met with nothing short of outright ridicule.


This post by Jeff Jarvis sums it up nicely.

This one headline from the AP says it all.
2,200 Journalists Await Jackson Verdict
It's wrong not because the story is tacky but because the news is a commodity:

There will be one bit of news that comes out of the end of this trial: Guilty or not guilty. It takes one person to report that and today that word can spread around the world in no time and every news site and every TV and radio station and every blog can know it without sending 2,199 journalists to sit there and wait and repeat the exact same news.

Oh, you want to see how ridiculous Jackson looks under his umbrella as he gloats or mopes? Fine, give that one person a camera and hook it up to the internet. We'll all see it. We'll all be able to comment on it just like the chippies before the camera.

Guilty or not guilty.

You certainly don't need legal analysts to explain that verdict to you. But you'll have them.

Why are those 2,200 journalists there? Ego, pure institutional ego. The Daily Blatt thinks its readers give two hoots that its own reporter is there instead of running the AP's story. MSCNNFOX news worry that without their own reporter and camera there, you'll watch the other guy. But which one you watch is really just a multiple choice question in which all the answers are wrong: You'll hear no newer, better, extra news on this story on one channel or another.

Those 2,199 extra journalists could be off reporting real stories we don't all already know about. Or they could be fired, saving their employers money and saving us their moaning about the state of the news business today.


While Dean is busy mouthing off and firing up the zealots, his counterpart Ken Mehlman is quietly bolstering the majority party. Mehlman was well received by Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh last week.

Hugh Hewitt explains why Dean gets copy and Mehlman gets controversial presidents elected to second terms.

THERE ARE THREE MEDIA ANALYSTS who command wide readership and deserve their influence--Jay Rosen of NYU, who writes PressThink, Jeff Jarvis of BuzzMachine and now the New York Times, and Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post.

Of the three, Kurtz commands the largest audience because he has managed the old media-new media divide admirably, writing for both audiences with humor and spark. But even the best stumble, and Kurtz did so on Tuesday in his Media Notes column, and in a very telling way. Wrote Kurtz about Howard Dean and Ken Mehlman:

"On the other hand, journalists should thank their lucky stars that they have a colorful chairman [Dean] to cover, as opposed to another strictly-on-message Ken Mehlman type."

This is a give-away, a truly candid aside that tells us a great deal about mainstream media. That the media love an easy story is no big surprise, but that they love a loudmouth, vulgar, and easily excitable small-state pol is interesting. But what is really revealing is Kurtz's contempt for Mehlman, who along with Karl Rove is one of the few political geniuses to come along in the past generation.

Mehlman is never not full of facts, and facts of the sort that political reporters ought to love. Mehlman can quickly and accurately summarize every key race in 2006, and update you about the state demographics of the battlegrounds. He's a volcano of facts, just not the sort of facts that interest many in the mainstream media. In short, Mehlman's a great source, but Howard Kurtz thinks journalists are better served by Dean because he's "colorful."

Most Americans can skip the "color" and prefer the facts. But not journalists interested in their own careers and in stirring the pot. Dean is a Godsend to them for the same reasons Dean is a nightmare for the Democratic party: Dean is all about Dean, a celebrity who frees the political press from the dreary work of having to figure out what is happening in the country and reporting it without embellishment.

Dean makes great copy. Mehlman makes majorities.

Very good updating of a classic. Smart and compelling. I have never been a big fan of Denzel Washinton, but with this performance, I get why he is a star. I very much like the Liev Schreiber character and how he comes to understand his role rather than simply dismissing Denzel as a crank. Impressively shot and directed.

Swedish film recommended by Swedish friend. Nice tone and good moments, but I didn't buy one of the characters - she didn't seem real to me. The pretty girl who succumbs to lesbianism in the third act was not pretty or rich enough to have the personality that she began the film with. We know by the end she will be kissing the girl, so the internal change in her seems overly manufactured.

Great visuals, and good blue-screen acting, and some nice camp appeal, but overall, it didn't hold my interest.

Like a lesser Beatles song, this Coen Brothers joint is better than most movies without remotely approaching their own best work. Clooney gives a good performance.

Quantum physics goes mainstream, but not as good as nightly on the Science Channel. The film-makers present quantum randomness for two acts then attempt to impose a message in the third act that falls flat. I used to think that Marlee Matlin was a good actress and kind of cute, but after this outting, I have changed my mind on both accounts. Watch the online-archived THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE for a much better presentation of quantum physics.

Japanese animation master, Hayao Miyazaki, of SPIRITED AWAY fame, cranks out thoughtful family fare. I have seen nearly all of them, and this is the only one that failed to hold my attention through to the end.

A classic of the silent era, from Russia with love. I think I speak for all film lovers everywhere when I declare that silent movies just don't hold up several decades later. Maybe Chaplin is the lone exception, but so much has been done with film since its inception that these old "experimental" films are interesting only for archival purposes. The most interesting aspect of this film today is the snapshot of everyday life in the Odessa of 75 years ago which it provides. It surprised me how European the city looked. If you want to know why, RUSSIAN ARK is a must-see.

Sam Raimi has made several overrated films, but none have been outstanding save for A SIMPLE PLAN, in my humble opinion. I have yet to see SPIDER MAN 2 so I will withhold judgment on that one. I found this film watchable but fairly pedestrian.

This is a great documentary on the history and "personality" of the multi-national corporation. The filmmakers use a clinical checklist of personality disorders to indicate that the corporation as prescribed by law is a psychotic institution. This is a really great film that I highly recommend.

Every bit as weak as you have heard. I thought there was potential in the first act, but I was confounded by Act III. After spending the first two acts convincing us that the women have been replaced by robots, suddenly in the third act, the women merely have brain implants which can be deactivated. How could they possibly think we could miss that? It is not even mentioned in the Frank Oz commentary. Maybe I'm the only one who noticed. I did like how there was one gay couple in which the flamboyant partner was Stepfored into a log cabin Republican.

Standard Will Ferrell vehicle, very poorly written, shot and directed, but with a winning Will Ferrell center stage. I was amazed to find that Mike Ditka's role in this film was not merely a cameo, but a full supporting role as himself. He is very good and funny playing Robert Duval's spiteful neighbor.

Kids liked it, adults found it tedious. Skip it unless you've got young ones hungry to catch up with their peers.

Amazing puppetry, funny gags, and a good lampoon of both sides of the aisle. The film would be even better if it wasn't so unneccessarily crass, although the seemingly endless sequence of puppet sex was pretty choice. A good use of obsenity was the rousing final scene in which our hero describes the whole world as consisting of three kinds of people - dicks, pussies, and assholes. I recommend this film to all but the easily offended.

Too long, meandering and boring - at least there were no token evil Republicans. Good performances by all, but what is the message of this film - that it is okay to be a scounrdrel, so long as you acquire power with the intent of doing good later?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Cheney should have remained above the fray.

A good friend of a good friend was struck by lightning while putting a load of laundry in the washing machine in her basement during a fierce storm here last week. Her husband died recently of a brain tumor. Life may not be short, but it can end suddenly without notice. Not that that's news, but it kind of brings it home.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


from the Financial Times via Roger Simon
Microsoft's new Chinese internet portal has banned the words "democracy" and "freedom" from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing's political censors.

Users of the joint-venture portal, formally launched last month, have been blocked from using a range of potentially sensitive words to label personal websites they create using its free online blog service, MSN Spaces.

Attempts to input words in Chinese such as "democracy" prompted an error message from the site: "This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech from this item." Other phrases banned included the Chinese for "demonstration", "democratic movement" and "Taiwan independence

It's surprising how many people get rich in this country without understanding the element of freedom that got them there. A number of rich liberals are more than willing to defend monsters like Castro without considering what their life would be like in such a country. Now Gates is helping China deny people information that would help foster their natural right of liberty. What have greedy capitalists of the Right done that has caused more harm in the world than this?

Friday, June 10, 2005


I tagged along with Steve for two days as he met with lawyers and ultimately testified before federal court as an expert witness in the sentencing phase of a University of Alabama football booster.

The actual trial was over in February and it involved a Memphis areas businessman, Logan Young, who was approached to help convince a low income family to send their star athlete to 'Bama to play pigskin. A good way to convince them is to present large coarse bank notes, and Logan will now go to jail for the pleasure.

The worst kept secret in sports is the fact that college athletes are paid under the table to play. It's no longer a matter of whether they'll get money to play, but who gets to be the token example every now and then when someone has to be caught. As long as the NCAA makes periodic suspensions and Johnny Law makes the occasional arrest, we who watch college sports are to think that everything is clean again.

The defendant, Logan Young, is the latest token. The charges against the poor guy include racketeering which I think is a good example of how dangerous vague laws can be. Legislation intended to end such things as organized crime can easily be manipulated to go after, in this case, an overzealous fan. The Feds case boils down to this: a poor student athlete was a victim of adults that exchanged money in order for him sign with a certain football program. He was called a slave by the prosecution. No slave in this history of this union was victimized with this kind of payoff. The best they can figure, this kid and his family got a minimum of $60,000.

Logan is also charged with bribing a public official. It’s a stretch, but since the coach of Alabama works for the state of Alabama and since that University accepts money from the federal government, Logan is just as corrupt at Don Corleone.

Anyway, that's over. He's guilty. We're ready to bring the guillotine. Wait. Logan Young has Kidney problems and needs a transplant. Steve is called as a defense witness to describe the bureaucratic nightmare in getting an inmate a transplanted organ.

It began with smooth waters as the defense witness asked Steve to explain the procedures. Having roomed with Steve for two years he would frequently share funny stories about how the federal government operates. Just listening to the chain of command is enough to convince you that inmates would better use their time constructing their own coffins.

The prosecution began piping in with objections. Steve is just a psychologist, what does he know about medical procedures? Ah, but Steve knows the bureaucracy as well as anyone and a number of his psych inmates also needed medical help. He was involved with both. The prosecutor hammered home the fact that Steve wasn't a medical doctor and that he had never known anyone trying to get a kidney transplant from a federal prison. The prosecutor then shared with the court that only one person had ever gotten a kidney transplant in federal prison. The point was to prove that Steve didn't know anyone who had, but it really proved Steve's point that it would be impossible to get.

The prosecution's next witness, a nurse who works as a regional medical director with the federal prisons would tell us that so many people are on the list for these transplants that someday soon we'll have a whole hell of a lot of examples of kidney transplants. I think they were trying to show that a system is in place to help all of these people, but Steve's advance testimony that the bureaucratic machine would ruin those plans hurt the prosecutions argument. Add that to the prosecutor stating that only one such transplant has ever happened, and wala, you put enough doubt into the judge’s mind that such procedures really happen. You have a lot of people waiting on one side and only one completion on the other.

The prosecutor spent most of his time with the nurse establishing him as the real expert. The nurse is a regional health director with 17 years of bureau experience and his testimony was making Steve look like a guy outside of his field of knowledge. Steve was sitting next to me at this time and he would whisper when the guy had it wrong. I felt bad for Steve like he couldn't do anything to defend himself.

It was 3:30pm by now and we were expecting to catch the 5:30 back to Orlando when at recess the defense attorney asked Steve to stick around for a possible rebuttal.

After the recess, the defense attorney got up there and tied the nurse into knots. Steve had brought along with him a bunch of policies straight from the bureau's website. Those policies not only contradicted the prosecutions star witness, but made him look less than an expert. It only took a couple of questions until you realized that the nurse didn't even know the written policies. With not too much work, the defense lawyer had built Steve back into an expert and turned the nurse into a guy licking his wounds in the back row. Steve felt bad for this nurse because bureau people don't even get paid to testify in court whereas Steve was doing it as a freelance job. The nurse was less than hospitable when Steve approached him later. The lesson is that it's easier to be charitable when you turn out to be the credible witness.

Steve never got back on the stand, but we stayed and heard a number of character witness tell us that Logan was a generous guy and nonviolent. He has a lot of ties to the community and isn't a danger to flee.

At some point Steve turned and said, "There goes the plane."
I said, "Who cares. This is more fun."

When it looked like the judge would finally decide the sentence, the oldest of the defense lawyers, an ex-prosecutor that indicted G Gordon Liddy, got out a copy of the Memphis paper and used the words of another defendant to postpone the sentencing. He made the argument that quotes attributed to the ex-high school coach, Lynn Lang, contradict the case made by the prosecution against Logan Young. So now the whole circus begins again on Monday with Lang summonsed to court.

At 6:30pm or so Sir Saunders and I were bunny hopping it over to the Memphis airport in the rain with a car to return off site and no idea whether or not a later flight even existed. Steve was unsure of his performance. The defese lawyer said. "Well you told the truth you couldn't do any more than that."

I was right there and understood the lawyer to mean that the prosecutor had done the best he could to discredit Steve by pointing out Steve's status as a psychologist and not a physician. Steve couldn't pretend to be a doctor. He had to be honest.

It was Steve’s first time as an expert witness and he really needed more feedback from the attorney, but it was obvious that the attorney was already three pages later trying to make his next point about a different subject.

I was particularly impressed with two things that Steve did on the stand. The first was Steve had never had an inmate who needed a kidney transplant, but Steve did have a number of inmates that needed medical procedures that were identical in process to asking for a kidney transplant. The defense lawyer never directly asked this question and from the audience I kept waiting for it to be asked. Finally Steve, who was thinking the same thing, got the information in through the backdoor. Second, I thought the prosecution was harsher with Steve than any other witness we saw. He really talked down to him and tried to belittle his experience. It was obvious that the prosecution was afriad of him. Steve really kept his composure. I’m sure he felt rattled, but he kept the kind of confidence he needed to be credible.

Steve’s most important contribution wasn’t his testimony but a greater understanding of bureau policy and procedure. Steve handed the defense a packet of policy papers the day before and that packet allowed the defense to contradict the nurse as any kind of expert on policy. The audience wouldn’t have known, but the psychologist with half as much time in the bureau knew more about the workings of medical procedure than someone who works as a regional medical director.

We were lucky enough to get another flight and still make our connection in Atlanta. I hope this poor Logan Young gets his kidney and the government gets off his back. If poor kids want money to play football in college I’m not sure why the government thinks they need to step in and keep it from happening. When liberals complain that the war in Iraq is keeping the government from doing their real job here at home, is this what they want, more prosecutions related to college athletics?

The government as a mechanism grows without thought to productivity. One result of such growth is the need to do something proactive about the real or perceived injustices of life. Soon the quest for correcting grand wrongs reaches the margins of inequity until some day people are prosecuted simply for wanting a better defensive lineman at their alma matter. The lesson is that anything can be made illegal if enough people are offended by it, but do we really prosper as a nation that spends its time getting into everyone else's business?

A judge, his staff, a team of federal prosecutors, court reporters, bailiffs, defense attorneys and private citizens will gather again on Monday, spending a bunch of tax payer money to decide whether or not an ardent football fan will be allowed to get his new kidney. Is the taxpayer served by this circus? Isn’t the real problem with budget deficits and high tax rates related right back to how the government is willing to waste taxpayer money on non-violent state-created criminals?

Logan Young didn’t bribe a public official in order to get the government to do his bidding. That’s the point of such a law. You don’t want private citizens buying the strength of the government so that they can break the law with impunity. Logan just wanted a winning season. If he were to die in prison for such a desire, will our country be well served?

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Ann Coulter explains. I've read in the past about all the fictional devices Woodward used to spin his tale. I guess he ushered out truth in reporting and gets permanently grandfathered. The important thing is he got a conservative president removed from office in disgrace.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Received this among today’s spam…

Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.
A backward poet writes inverse.
Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.
A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.
When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.
A bicycle can't stand on its own because it’s two tired.
What's the definition of a will? (It's a dead giveaway.)
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.
A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed.
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.
When a clock is still hungry, it goes back four seconds.
The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
Every calendar's days are numbered.
A lot of money is tainted - It taint yours and it taint mine.
A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
A plateau is a high form of flattery.
A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.
Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.
Once you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.
Acupuncture is a jab well done.
Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

During last year's presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences.

But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.

In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D's in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years.

And Bill Clinton refused to release his medical records although Dole and Bush 41 had no problem doing so.

Monday, June 06, 2005


I just read Michael "Moneyball" Lewis's commencement address to Tulane University's graduating class. Terrific! Following are a few excerpts.

I didn't go to Tulane but I feel as if I did. Like every New Orleans boy I had an important decision to make: Tulane or LSU? Even as a boy I could tell there was a difference. LSU people told jokes about Tulane people. Tulane people told jokes about LSU people. The difference was that Tulane people didn't think of them as jokes. They thought they were true stories. I remember one of these. It was about halftime at the old Sugar Bowl Stadium, during a Tulane-LSU football game. Two guys - one from LSU, the other from Tulane - stand side by side in the bathroom. The Tulane guy finishes, zips up, and walks out. The LSU guy finishes, washes his hands and runs after him. "Excuse me," he says, "but at LSU they teach us to wash our hands after we pee." The Tulane guy turns to him and says, "At Tulane they teach us not to pee on our hands."

My book tour came to New Orleans. When I arrived at my parents' house my mother asked me to go buy her a carton of milk at Lagenstein's. And so there I was walking down the aisle. I was, to put it mildly, pleased with myself. I'm thinking: I've been on Letterman. I've arrived! I'm thinking, even though I was just on Letterman, here I am, still humble enough to buy groceries at Lagenstein's. Just then an elderly woman stops and points. Then she's pushing her cart towards me. And just before I could say, "Ah yes, I'm that guy from Letterman," she says, "You're Malcolm Monroe's grandson, aren't you?" I'd never met the woman. But she pointed to my eyes, and she said, "I see your grandfather in here." I never felt so recognized.

My father's third and final piece of advice came right on the heels of the first two pieces, and more or less contradicted them. Money, he explained, is very important. All by itself it may not make you happy. But it won't make you sad either.

Your parents want you to make them proud. And you should. But you've got to do it yourself. And to do it yourself you may have to ignore their advice. Do what you love before you figure out how much love will cost you.

The commencement address is a sort of art form. The basic formula is to validate having gone to college, assuage the graduates' fear of "real life," tell a few jokes, and encourage them to dream big and follow their hearts. This was a good one. Speeches by writers are so often better than speeches by speakers.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


The Times of London has a good analysis.
WHATEVER YOU think of European integration, there is something inspiring about 20 million people who, having been told what to do by their most respected politicians and after listening attentively, then do the exact opposite.

This week’s referendums in France and the Netherlands are probably the most significant event in European history since the end of the Cold War. As in Germany after its citizens found that they could smash symbolic chunks out of the Berlin Wall with impunity, everyday life in Europe may go on as before, but nothing will ever be quite the same. But don’t expect to hear much serious debate about the significance of this popular revolt against “the idea of Europe” for many months. The first reaction will be to pretend, or even to believe sincerely, that nothing much has happened.

The single market and the merging of foreign trade policies did genuinely create prosperity, but every subsequent project of European integration not only failed to deliver the results politicians promised but also made conditions worse. The single currency has been the most egregious. In exchange for giving up the basic tenet of sovereignty — the right to mint a currency and thereby manage the national economy — the EU promised economic prosperity and full employment. Instead the single currency has condemned the eurozone to stagnation and mass unemployment.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Don't count out Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels as a presidential contender in 2008. Former director of the OMB, former advisor to Reagan, former chief of staff to Sen. Lugar (R-IN), former corporate executive (Eli Lilly), straight talker, problem solver, action taker, from a down-home, industrial, traditionally Republican state.

He calls The Godfather "the best business textbook I ever read" and you can see its influence in his direct approach to thorny problems.

His Inaugural Remarks (1/10/05) and State of the State Address (1/18/05) are candid, blunt, sober, action-oriented, and refreshing. This guy has definite red state appeal.

Dean was such an astoundingly stupid choice for this position. Not that I'm complaining.

Dean wowed the faithful in '04 with his Web-based fund-raising magic. But major business donors still count, and in his new role as party honcho, the feisty doctor seems to be struggling to connect. After achieving money parity with the GOP in 2004, Democrats have fallen far behind. According to the Federal Election Commission, the DNC raised $14.1 million in the first quarter of 2005, vs. the Republican National Committee's $32.3 million. Dean drew about 20,000 new donors, while his rivals picked up 68,200. The bottom line: Republicans have $26.2 million in the bank vs. $7.2 million for the Dems.

according to Human Events

1. The Communist Manifesto
2. Mein Kampf
3. Quotations from Chairman Mao


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Border Volunteers Not So Welcomed in Texas

by Democrats. . . This is so misleading. They couldn't get a single quote from someone in the majority party in that state.

The controversial civilian patrol group that helped capture hundreds of illegal immigrants along the Mexico-Arizona border and won praise from California's governor is getting a pre-emptive cold shoulder in Texas.

But although Minuteman organizers said nearly 1,000 volunteers from around the country were ready, Texas civil rights groups, clergy, newspaper editorial boards and politicians are folding up the welcome mats.

The headline should read: Liberals Pander to Illegals and other Hispanics?