Sunday, November 30, 2003

Hit Blip

Sarah over at Trying to Grok, gives my rant (below) a little mention, causing a blip in my hits. To my three regular readers, and those who get here via weird web searches, I'd like to re-recommend her blog. It's a good read, and (unlike myself) she's pretty durn good about updating it regularly. Not to mention she gives a great roundup about a lot of stuff.


Friday, November 28, 2003

Tim Robbins, Lying Liar?
Well, Fox News has published William La Jeunesse's formal copy of the story I yakked about earlier.

There are differences. For instance the unnamed woman who provided a short soundbite was named.
"It is not propaganda. It is a voice of dissent, which is different than propaganda," said audience member Kadina Dayal-Halday.

They chopped off the end of her statement. It should read, "It's not propaganda, it's a voice of dissent, which is different from propaganda. I think Fox News is propaganda." I kinda understand why Fox News chopped the end off, but it did give insight into what kind of person she was. The way it reads now it sounds much more reasoned, and it's no longer clear that Kadina Dayal-Halday sounds like a typical leftist. I'm guessing that her statement combined with her name would bring visions of ISM to people's mind or because they couldn't get the condescending sneer across in print that was evident in her voice.

When Laura Israel, another audience member, was asked if she thought the play was accurate, she replied: "Yes, not only on what is going on there, but it also showed how we are being lied to by all the networks."

Considering what happened to Dayal-Halday's soundbite, I'm left wondering what else Laura Israel said that Fox News didn't mention in the copy.

Another difference is that the copy mentions that that the play opened to two rave reviews. The number of rave reviews was mentioned in the first instance of the story, but not in the second, but I only managed to record the second instance of the story I saw.

They also name the USMC officer as Maj. Rich Doherty, and I'm glad they did that, since he remained anonymous in the news story.

They do, at the end of the article, mention something that was in the first instance of the news story that wasn't in the second, was that even after the viewing (despite his offer) Robbins refused to be interviewed by La Jeunesse.

The cry of defense from the cast, crew, director and writer is the same used by many who seek to defame; satire. As I've mentioned before I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm pretty sure I know the difference between satire and a lying slam piece. This is Spinal Tap is satire, Monty Python's The Life of Brian and ...The Holy Grail are satire. Heck, MASH dished up a healthy dose of satire, it even had over the top characters that satirized aspects of some pretty whacked out people. From the way La Jeunesse describes some of the characters in Embedded, however, we're not talking about satirized characters based on factual outrageous people, we're talking about imaginary mean-spirited characters totally invented in the author's mind without any basis in reality or real people.

Military members who are mis-characterized in nothing new, but considering the source of this mischaracterization I doubt there was real satire invloved. La Jeunesse reported that "the cast and audience that we spoke to swore that Robbins' version of the war...was what really happens (check out the previous post for what the elipses cut out)." That tells me that their defense of satire is a lie. They know they're bashing the military, they believe things the play claims happens are fact, but they'll claim satire in an attempt to justify, or simply get away with their lies.


Update: It turns out someone came here looking for this actual topic, so I tried a google search also and found this commentary on a blog I'm unfamilliar with, Say Anything. Much better written and thought out than mine and I enjoyed reading it. From the progressive community we read a superficial review that reveals very little about the play unless you've already heard about it. Mind you, Richard Slayton of the LA Times says it's, "a surprisingly touching and balanced play," and we all know that the LA Times wouldn't be biased.

Pissy Hawaiian Alert

Pissed at Tim Robbins today. Oh, okay, I've been pissed at him before and disgusted by him since I found out what his opinions are; though he's a great actor, and I've enjoyed his work, as a person I revile him.

This'll be re-written later, but I wanted to get it out of my system right now.

William La Jeunesse, of Fox News who had been an embedded reporter in Baghdad, went to the play Embedded by Tim Robbins. He took with him a USMC officer. They pointed out a few problems with the play, though I'm sure there were far more that they didn't have time to report on. They weren't little inaccuracies or anachronisms either. In one scene, as I recall, a military officer calls one of the reporters a bitch and says if she doesn't write the story the way he wants he'll write it himself and put her name on it.

Within a few minutes of the play one of the audience members called the officer a Nazi. The cast and audience claims that Robbin's play is an accurate portrayal of what happened.

I'm disgusted.

Oh, though Robbins yet again refuses to be interviewed or defend his views in public, a couple of the cast member had the guts to step up, on camera, and defend their opinions. Stand up people will always get my respect, if only for that.


Update: We're running behind schedule so I had time to transcribe, in hurried and horrid fashion, the piece itself. It's very rough and Fox may release the transcript later. I wish I had recorded the earlier newspiece, being live, there was some difference. It seemed as if William La Jeunesse polished it up a bit and seemed less agry more incredulous.

Well, Patti-Ann, indeed Tim Robbins is a very talented actor, but he’s also unapologetic, anti-war individual. Now of course, that’s his view, he’s entitled to it. Now he’s written a play that reflects it. The play is called embedded, it opened about a week ago, in Los Angeles, to rave reviews. Yet it is a satire, and the audience, however, treats much of it as fact. Now we asked to speak to Robbins about this play, he said “not until we saw it” so we did. Now I was curious because I was an embedded reporter in Bag, along, I brought along with us a marine who was also, uh, served alongside some embedded reporters in Iraq. Now among the cast and crew the writer and director we were the only ones who had actually been to Iraq, who talked to ordinary Iraqis about their life before and after Saddam. And yet the cast and audience that we spoke to swore that Robbins’ version of the war this bush bashing satire, was what really happens. Now it portrays journalists as pentagon puppets, us soldiers as thieves, killers of women and children. The bush cabinet as warmongers hoping to start a war simply to escape the publicity surrounding Enron.

[filmed interview clips]
USMC Major: It was spun to make it look like that leadership started this war simply for its own political agenda.

Unidentified Female: It’s not propaganda, it’s a voice of dissent, which is different from propaganda. I think Fox News is propaganda.

William La Jeunesse: No one looked at my copy, no one touched my tapes, no one edited scenes, no one told me what to say, period. And to leave the impression that we are all puppets and we’re idiots and we are being run by a handler, so to speak, was highly inaccurate, it was grossly inaccurate, it was wrong.

Actor: I think tone of that particular scene was satirical.

Now that actor played Col. Hardchannell he was the military liaison with the press in the play. It was kind of funny because he, in the play, he says to reporters, he calls them a derogatory term for a female dog and says “if you don’t write it the way I want I’ll write it myself and put your name on it.” That’s a joke. That didn’t happen to me, it didn’t happen to the other embeds that we spoke to. The cool part of this was the play was actually entertaining. Although, when I took the major who I’d never met before to this half the time I wanted to apologize to him. Because I’m shaking my head, because of course it’s making part of the military look so bad and so inaccurate.

But, uh, he was good natured about it. One of the individuals, one of the audience members actually called him a Nazi, and the major said, “Thank you very much I enjoyed protecting your freedom over there.”

So it was an interesting night, the play ended at 9:30, we didn’t get out until 11:30, so we had a very interesting discussion with the cast and crew afterwards. Back to you.

Update: Fox News has published an article to go along with the story.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Friday, November 21, 2003

Search Engine

Hmmmm. Interesting. So someone came here after doing a search for "Edwards AFB sucks" and another looking for "Bill O'Reilly hate sites." I wonder if they're looking for sites that hate Bill O'Reilly, or for sites that document hate coming from Bill O'Reilly. Looking at the google results I'm thinking the former.

The Google algorithm needs work. It's a great engine, I use it often, but my blog shouldn't anywhere near the top of these searches. I know, and understand, why it works out this way; it's the links. Still, I find it interesting.


Update: Oh, man, this takes the cake. A search for "sexy germen men gay porn" popped someone here. Geez, gotta love the net.

Update: There's more. "Humanizing Aliens" "Gay Porn" and "Asian Penis Size."

When did this happen?

Blogger has a spell checker. When the heck did this happen? Okay, yeah sure if I were more observant and bothered to post more I probably would have noticed it earlier. It's a nice, neat, nifty for someone, like me, who has horrendous spelling abilities.

What I find odd is that Blogger's spell checker didn't recognize a few words; blog, blogs, Blogger and blogger.

On a Rant and a Roll

I'd like to say something else (DAMN you Motivating Simon!!!). I've read Riverbend and Salam and they are whiny whinys, BUT...

While they are complaining because the US handed them a dinged up beater so many other Iraqis do realize that they have been handed a sweet Motor City muscle car. They're out there getting their hands dirty (and getting killed) with bondo and dent-pullers, dreaming of the day when everyone else at the cafe drools over their "tricked out, cherry fine" machine. These are the people who won't rest until that the twelfth coat of paint has been laid, they are the ones looking forward to those last two layers of clearcoat. They are the ones dream of that first pin-stripe, perhaps flames and Holley carbs. It is those people who understand what they have been given, it is those people who appreciate it, and it is those people who will take this imperfect thing they have today and make it the ongoing project that we have here in America.

To those people I wish to say good luck. I'm pulling for you.

Malama pono 'oukou.

Whiny Whiny

Roger Simon comments on something Lileks says about a post from Salam Pax. Being the big mouth I am I, of course, felt compelled to comment on Roger's comments.

At the end of my comment I wrote "Man, if I updated my blog as often as I comment on other's blogs I'd have several daily updates." So why don't I just start posting my comments here as well? Dunno.
Kinda seems like a decent idea. I've done it before, and rarely does a day go by that I don't rant on someone else's blog.
So here goes.

My take on Salam was that I enjoyed reading his blog, but that he was privileged. Considering how Iraq's situation that meant that his family was pretty well off compared to many. Anyone want to tell me what demographic was the 'privileged' one in Iraq?

I don't believe he was an Arab National Socialist supporter, or even that he was a member of the party. Being privileged his take on Iraq today is going to be different from many others, because they weren't as bad for him before the US smashed Saddam and his government as they were for most others.

Consider that if most of us had to go through a life change that left our living conditions similar to those who live in the backwoods of the Appalachians. Big change for the worse (even for me as a desert rat). The same change for Joe Haiti or Joe Somalia is a huge step up.

It's the same problem I have with riverbend. Privileged; so by her view her life is worse in many ways. I don't know if anyone reads it the same as I, but her writing exudes "privileged, spoiled child."

It strikes many Americans as being ungrateful for two reasons. The first is that looking from the outside and seeing the severe drought of murder, rape, and death that has come to exist in Iraq, we feel they are whining, and second because it is whiny.

The bottom line is that the United States has given the Iraqis a huge, invaluable gift. Certainly because it was in our own best interests, but one they could never earn on their own. What they do with it is important; will they cherish it, throw it away, or whine because it's the wrong color.

Obviously this kind of thing is not limited to the silver spoon set in Iraq. I recall a young fellow student in my drama class at Cal-State Bakersfield who was complaining that his parents were going to buy him a Mercedes if he kept his grades up (I don't think he was anything higher than a sophomore). It seems his parents were hitting on some hard times and he was going to have to settle for an Ford Explorer. Pretty irritating when you're just hoping your own Chevy Camaro POS just keeps running (the word you're looking for is envy).

On the other side of the coin was one young man who had a gorgeous, cherry classic Mustang that his father was going to let him keep when he graduated. The big difference is this young man had been massaging and restoring this car with his father since before he was old enough to have a license. He was allowed to use it for appointments, school and running errands. Aside from the fact that it was a classic, this young man was earning his car in a way that brought far more appreciation for it than the former young man would ever have.

That is close to where the Iraqis stand today. There are those who are working hard to take the opportunity the US has given them and to continue down that path earning the kind of country that is worthwhile. There are other's who will bitch because they weren't handed exactly what they want.

One last comment. I absolutely loved that POS Camaro I had. It was the first car I had ever bought and ever owned (my wife's cars don't count). It was something I owned. No one co-signed for it, no one else paid for it, and no one else helped me buy it. It was all mine in ways that go beyond a name on a pink slip. It's a darn good feeling and writing about that feeling, even now, brings a smile and a tight sadness in the pit of my stomach in a way that the first girl I kissed can never do.


Update: Daniel Drezner weighs in on the other side of the argument.

His argument is that since we encouraged the Iraqis to earn their freedom and they failed that we owed them American blood to do it for them. I've of the "Fuck you" opinion. It isn't our fault they couldn't earn their own freedom. It is our fault that we encouraged them to earn their freedom, as we have for many nations, but to say that we owed it to them to free them since they failed in their own aborted attempt is utter BS. His opinion suggests that either the US should stop encouraging liberty in other countries or that we should pay for it with American blood if other countries fail to earn it themselves.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Spoons has a post on a killing of a dog. A pretty sick killing. I have no problem with Spoons' anger towards that guy. I agree that he needs to go. I need to point out that the crime of killing that dog pales in front of the trauma and terror that he put those children through. It's the kind of tactic that pedophiles and Rawandan death squads use to terrorize children into doing their bidding. Killing and victimizing people and animals that children love to get them to do their bidding.

I'd like to see this guy put away too. I'd like to see him put away for a long time, not for killing the puppy but for what he has done to those children AND because the kinds of people who can do this are a threat. This guy has no problem hacking up a puppy; so where does he go from there? The guy has no problem with hacking up a puppy in front of the children, so where does he go from there? He has already shown himself to be a sick human, and someone capable of that is probably capable of doing far worse.

I love dogs (though I don't consider yippers and rat-dogs as dogs), but I don't consider them on par with humans. I do strongly believe, old tradition, that humans have a responsibility towards dogs that no other animal deserves. They have been a part of our familys and tribes for tens of thousands of years (if not longer). So many of them have the qualities we, as humans, consider noble -- loyalty, courage, and unconditional love.

That said, they taste fine. Oh, and for future reference, if you ever get invited to a party put on by asian plantation workers, be sure to find out what something is before you eat it.


Update: I thought I had posted this Tuesday evening, but it looks like I forgot to hit publish. I seem to have three regular readers, and you know who you are, and to the first two I'd like to be sure to recommend Spoons' blog to them. To the third, I'd like to remind him that other people live in this house and that he needs to spend less time in the bathroom.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

I get Googled. Every so often I read an entry on Instapudit or some other blog commenting about the weird search engine referrel they've gotten. It's nifty for a second or two, but then I usually go on to read something with a bit more meat. At least until now. I'm not going to be able to skim those entries without thinking about what I've found on GoStats. I use GoStats for my counter because...wait for it...
It's free.

One of the neat niftys they have is a list of the last twenty hits and how they got to my blog. Some of them say "Bookmarked or Typed" which is very flattering since it means someone somewhere cared about my ranting enough to put this blog in their favorites or to remember the addy and type it in. That's saying something.

What I found interesting today was the search engine results. It turns out I'm near the top in a Google search for "LtC Allen West." Someone else got here looking for "WOLFOWITZ cartoon", I'd recommend using the image search on google next time. Oh, and the Wolfowitz search came from Google's Belgian page. Some of them made sense, searches for Kamehameha and Illicano, though I have to guess that they must've been listed somewhere around 10,000 on Google.

On the plus side at least people aren't coming here looking for "hairless sexy chihuahuas on acid", though I guess that'll turn up on Google now.


Friday, November 14, 2003

Via Spoons, we find that "The Yankee Pirate has started a web page devoted entirely to keeping up with the government's persecution of Lt. Col. Allen B. West."

That one is going into the blogroller list to the left there.


Thursday, November 13, 2003

A comment by Rick over at Sgt. Stryker's today starts out "WE live in a world where CEOs get "bonuses" and "Incentive plans" to do their ordinary job, without any great effort on their part."

He seems to make a good point, but I feel he's off the mark just a bit. More accurately they get bonuses and such for doing their job, or failing to do their job. Driving a company into the ground will still garner some CEOs a sizable wad of cash. As it is many Executives can do a poor job and still get away with a nice bit of Or.

His comments continue, but more importantly Stryker pulls the story of Pfc. Miller into the limelight. At a time when we've forgotten that we have more than one or two types of heroes, the type that Pfc Miller can claim (but undoubtedly won't) is one that we once celebrated, but we ignore today. I don't think Joe Six-Pack ignores him. Joe still likes Cooper as York, Murphy as Murphy, and thinks the story of Rodger Young is stirring. I know this because Joe made Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers a hit.

There are all kinds of heroes and different levels of heroism. Jessica Lynch was a hero long before Iraq simply because she volunteered. She reached a different level simply by surviving what the enemy threw at her. Pfc Miller is a hero for those same reasons and for other grander feats of heroism. It is not appropriate to try to diminish Lynch's heroism, but it is equally inapporpriate to ignore Miller's heroism simply because he committed acts of greater heroism; a heroic display that is looked down upon by some.
Looked down upon by so many of those who choose what we see in the news.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Incidentally, to build on the chickenhawk rant, there are words whose new definitions bug me. I like the word neo-conservative. When I first heard it I thought it referred to this new generation of South Park Republicans. A type of moderate conservative/moderate liberal. People who believe in a strong United States, a strong American military, and who detest our enemies (both foreign and domestic) yet who support a woman's right to choose, know the names Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson, and vote yes on gay adoption. As it turns out either it was misused when I first heard it, or it has been turned to mean someone who is pretty tradionally conservative. Paul Wolfowitz (sp?) and Dick Rumsfield are called neo-conservatives (usually with a sneer) and those of us who are pretty traditional in our love of country, patriotism and support for real human rights are left with "South Park Republican" being the closest thing to a descriptive term. As of two days ago I'm thinking that the term was hijacked by leftists who turned it into a derogatory term because otherwise it would have become a touchstone label thereby leaving their enemies without a positive sounding name; this because I heard a supporter of refer to Arnie as a neo-conservative.

Maybe we could call ourselves "DWS Americans."
Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy

via Sgt. Stryker, is this rant from Lt. Smash on a Tom Tommorrow cartoon.

Opinions rage from righteous indignation to blase indifference. I looked at the cartoon and took immediate offense. It was pointed out in the comments on Smash's site that the cartoon wasn't aimed at bloggers who are active duty or vets. It probably wasn't aimed that way, but that's the way it hit because the cartoon discounts that such people exists. It also implies that people (such as the cartoonist himself, though I doubt he meant it this way) have no right to voice an opinion on war. He discounts that some military folk may actually support the removal and destruction of evil dictators, regimes and the enemies of the United States. I don't know why it wouldn't occur to him, probably because such desires are alien to him he can't see such motivation in others.

Now on to the 'derogatory' term chickenhawk. You'll notice I put the word derogatory in scare quotes. The reason for this is that chickenhawk is commonly used, today, as a derogatory term. I don't know if it evolved that way because of its homosexual connotations (a chickenhawk was once commonly used to refer to skinny homosexual men in gay porn) or if it evolved that way because of Foghorn Leghorn's influence. What I do know is that when I was in high school I had only heard it to have three meanings. The first being an actual raptor, the second being Foghorn's nemesis, and the third referring to a Vietnam war era helicopter pilot whose auto-biographical novel was entitled Chickenhawk.

It was a great book, following his enlistment, boot, and flight training and going into his experience in Vietnam. I was offended when the word, that I felt had a pretty noble meaning (because of the book, not because of the problems of a giant chicken) , was hijacked to mean a type of gay porn star. It turns out I'm actually a bit miffed about it being hijacked into a derogatory term for people who support war over appeasement, enslavement, or surrender. After all the opposite of war is not always peace, and history shows that it is actually rarely what we would consider peace today.


Update:Right Wing News weighs in on "Chickenhawk."

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Blackfive has an update post on the West affair.

It got me to thinking. In high school JROTC was a mandatory class. There we learned that a leader's priorities are (supposed to be) 1)Mission, 2)Men, 3)Self -- in that order.

So while I was outside having a cigarette tonight, I thought about the case again, though it pops into my head often. I started to think about the consequences of doing what LtC West did. Then I thought, can you imagnine not doing what he did and having to write that letter to the parents?

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Joe America,

Your son or daughter died a hero protecting my pension and appeasing Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Groups around the globe.

Thank you for your sacrifice,

I think that question should be asked of the television and newspaper pundits. What kind of letter would you write and how could you look in the mirror knowing you'd allowed your own people to die?