:: Sic Transit Gloria ::

A sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament...
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:: Monday, March 31, 2003 ::

Back to the 'Burbs

I didn't post at all this weekend, as I've been back in my hometown of Wilmette, IL this weekend for my little brothers b-day. The kid is 17 years old now, and it's wierd. I remember when he was born, for God's sake. It was March 31, 1986, and I'll always remember it, because that night my dad let me stay up and watch the NCAA Championship game. Louisville won. I forget who they beat. Of course, they fucked up this year and screwed my bracket(And that you so much for eliminating Kentucky, Marquette. It's cool you beat the hated wildcats, but I had them winning it all in four out of five pools. So I'm screwed.

Anyway, I'm writing this from my brothers collapsing computer as I wait for the cab to come and get me an take me to O'Hare. It was good being home. Getting out of DC was nice, and not paying attention to the war for a bit was fun. I hate the war. I support it, but I hate it. The coverage, what the Iraqi's are doing to their own people, the whole shebang. I think we're doing the right thing, but I hate it came to this. We should have taken Saddam out in 1991, or 1998 of course, but we didn't. The US always has past foreign policy screwups haunt us until the end of time. It's like we can't do anything right. Anyway, with my Mom very anti-war, and my dad uncertain, we had some good talks about it, and although they told me to go to church more often(sorry, Mom), it was a nice time. Plus, my brother is always cool to hang out with. I think he's having a much better time in High School than I ever did, and he STILL hates it! I love that. No one should like High School. People who do have something wrong with them. Freaks and sadists, that's who likes High School. Do I have issues? None of your business! And now the cab is here, and I'm off. Thanks for the great weekend, family, and here's hoping our troops take out Saddam soon. Hasta.
:: C.M. Burns 3/31/2003 10:41:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, March 28, 2003 ::
Big Lebowski Quote of the Week

Only one quote this week, and it's awfully confusing...

The Big Lebowski: What in god's name are you blathering about?
The Dude: What I'm blathering about - new shit has come to light, man. She owes money all over town, including to known pornographers, and that's cool... that's cool, and of course they're going to say that they didn't get the money, because... she wants more, man! She's got to feed the monkey...
:: C.M. Burns 3/28/2003 03:10:00 PM [+] :: ::
Why is Colin Farrell a "Rebel"?

Every so often I like to look at what the entertainment "media" covers. I was sorting through the papers today, and before I could avert my gaze, I saw a headline in USA Today(Motto:"The Less Intelligent the Reader the Better"), that stated that Irish actor and current Hollywood "it" man Colin Farrell is a "rebel". It said that because he likes to drink and have sex with various women that he doesn't conform to Hollywood's PC standards. I almost spewed my coffee I laughed so hard. When did Hollywood frown on sleeping around? That late 1930's? And who DOESN'T drink on H-town? I mean, there are so many rehab clinics, I bet most of them own stock in several bars in the town. The only real rebel in Hollywood right now is Russell Crowe, who doesn't put up with the BS most award ceremonies demand from their participants, and he beats people up. Who's the last star to really beat the crap out of people and threaten producers? Not Colin Farrell. He just likes to drink and get women pregnant. That's not rebellious in Hollywood. In fact, if he DIDN'T drink alot and have alot of sex, people out there would probably assume he's gay(Look what happened to Kevin Spacey. He's not telling and they rake him over the coals for it). All in all, Farrell is no rebel. He's a workmanlike actor who seems to have too many parts this year. That's it.

:: C.M. Burns 3/28/2003 02:59:00 PM [+] :: ::
The Perle Resignation

A friend of mine emailed me wondering why I hadn't said anything about the Richard Perle fiasco. I have no good answer for her, so I'll just weigh in now. Perle is the now-former head of the Defense Policy Board, an independent group that advises the Pentagon. On Iraq, he is also an Uber-Hawk, or at least the definition of what an Uber-Hawk would be. He also, as pointed out by journalist Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker, has massive conflicts of interests, especially in his ties to Saudi Arabia and other interests that could profit from the war. See this CNN piece on the controversey for the whole story.

What's my take on it? Well, Perle's connections are really shady, and as top non-government hawk on the war, the whole thing looks ugly. He really shouldn't have been advising teh DoD while at the same time looking for Saudi investors for his own financial gain. I'm not an expert on the laws surrounding this, but something could very well be illegal. His dealings are being looked into, and rightly so. He may go to jail, or at least be fined. Perle should have severed ties with either the government or his private interests before he made any recommendations to anyone. The fact that a single journalist, Seymour Hersh, took him down, made my friend happy. And in a way, it makes me happy, as it certainly proves the media isn't rubber stamping the whole war. Hersh brough the pressure, the networks and papers picked it up, and he's gone. Good investigatory journalism in action. Hersh, by the way, is the man who opened the door on the Mi Lai massacre in Vietnam and helped the Boston Globe's research into the Boston Clergy Sexual abuse scandal. So he's got good credentials.

Some anti-war advocates will now claim the whole Iraq buildup was corrupted by this. I disagree. I think we'd be fighting this war right now with or without Richard Perle. But in keeping with my stupid government tricks tradition, this is one stupid government trick. Vetting these guys is too hard for DoD? Please. Anyway, Perle is gone and under investigation. I don't think this changes the war, but it is a victory for journalism.

(Hats off to EEC for bringing this to my attention and calling me on it)
:: C.M. Burns 3/28/2003 01:37:00 PM [+] :: ::
Wresting Superstars Should Cover the War

I'm gonna start a petition to have the superstars of pro wrestling cover the war from now on, replacing the current crop of dullards the networks have over there. Honestly, the coverage is too much. Perhaps three times a week the wrestlers could do a show, and we could get daily hard news from the newspapers.

I can see it now. Mean Gene Okerland could mediate a debate of the validity of the war between Sgt. Slaughter and the Iron Shiek(I'm showing my age here. It's been a decade since those two were on). Hulk Hogan would be embedded with the Airborne: "Bring on the sandstorm, brother!". Finally, Randy "Macho Man" Savage and Ric Flair(coming out of retirement), could tag team the battle of bahgdad: "Snap into a MOAB!", "Stylin, WHOO!, and urban battling!"
It'd be great, and since we don't take our electronic media seriously now, who would notice the difference.
:: C.M. Burns 3/28/2003 10:29:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, March 27, 2003 ::
Stop The News Crawl

Every so often a cause comes along that we can all get behind. The
"Stop the News Crawl Petition" is one such cause.
:: C.M. Burns 3/27/2003 10:52:00 AM [+] :: ::
Hot New Song

If you need advice on where to take your girlfriend this weekend, just click here.

(Thanks' to Dave Barry's Blog)
:: C.M. Burns 3/27/2003 10:50:00 AM [+] :: ::
RIP Sen. Moynihan

One of the great, traditional liberal thinkers passed away yesterday, former NY Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He was a fine Senator and an exempliary model of service to one's country. He will be missed.

UPDATE: Here is a link to George Will's eloquent obituary for Sen. Moynihan. It's a great tribute to the Senator.
:: C.M. Burns 3/27/2003 09:40:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 ::
From the good folks at www.protestwarrior.com

It's still fun to point out the intellectual bankruptcy of the main anti-war orginization, InternationalANSWER

:: C.M. Burns 3/26/2003 03:57:00 PM [+] :: ::
Wayne Gretzky Only Did Good Things For Canada

A statue of Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky was defaced and the sign "U$ Lackey" was placed on it in Edmonton, where Gretzky had his best years, because Gretzky has publicly supported the war: "Gretzky Statue Defaced". This is too much. He's just a former hockey star who said he supported US efforts to oust a dictator. Dissent is one thing, destruction of property is another. Stupid, stupid people.
:: C.M. Burns 3/26/2003 03:39:00 PM [+] :: ::
Halliburton Update

I got an email from a friend of mine who used to work around the oil industry and knows his shit that Halliburton is one of only five companies in the world tha could handle a contract that size. One is French, one Russian, one Canadian, like we'd ever give it to those guys, and the fourth is a compnay that wold just farm it out to Halliburton anyway, so I feel less bad about the whole thing. Still, maybe they could have made that the second contract, because the "Oil for Blood" crowd is going to jump all over the "implications" of the deal, facts be damned. So, maybe not that stupid government. Way to go.
:: C.M. Burns 3/26/2003 01:31:00 PM [+] :: ::
Sometimes, Ignorance IS Bliss

I'd like to thank CNN.com for making my day all the more enjoyable by putting out this article on the risk of a botulinum attack. This is what people have been injecting into their faces as Botox, too. Who said people are stupid? I would prefer not to know about this threat to my health, though I will no longer be eating at salad bars, thank you very much.
:: C.M. Burns 3/26/2003 10:48:00 AM [+] :: ::
Stupid Government Tricks

I've been accused by those who read this blog, all ten of you, that I'm a little too trusting of the government when it comes to the war. Now, yes, I was for the war, and the government was too, and I guess I trusted them to run it well, which I think they have been doing. But I've been harping about the fact the we have to live up to our promises to the Iraqi people once this is over. We don't pull out until they're on the road to Democracy, and we sure as hell don't want to hand them off to the UN. They'll collapse in weeks if we do that. No, we have to win the peace, too.

So I'm going to keep track of all the stupid things the government does during the course of the war. And I've got a whopper of an example to start this feature off. The other day the US Government awarded the contract to put out oil well fires in Iraq after the war to Haliburton, the oil company that just happens to have had VP Dick Cheney as it's CEO until he was nominated back in 2000. Now, call me a cynic, but this doesn't look good. Did anyone think this through before awarding the contract? That maybe the FIRST oil related deal shouldn't go to someone with ties to the top of the executive branch? Just out of form? Now, my best is Haliburton made the lowest offer, which is how these things usually work, but they're not disclosing how much they're being paid, which just makes the whole thing look incredibly shady. Because if they DIDN'T make the lowest offer, there should be hell to pay. Stupid government. Lets hope the Texas Rangers aren't made the official baseball team of postwar Iraq.
:: C.M. Burns 3/26/2003 09:50:00 AM [+] :: ::
Lieberman Steps Up

In an interview todaw with the Tucson Citizen, Joe Lieberman blasted the UN and said they should have no say in postwar Iraq. Lieberman has always been the most hawkish of the Democratic contenders for President, but in a party that has no "official" position on the war(Just ask Nancy Pelosi), Lieberman has had the guts to buck at least half his party and state for the record that he supports efforts to oust Saddam and that the UN is a failure. If Bush screws up big time, Lieberman has my vote. Sadly, he probably won't get the nod.
:: C.M. Burns 3/26/2003 09:08:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 ::
I Think I'll Beat on Michael Moore Again

Bashing Michael Moore and pointing out his lass of class, facts, a bath, etc. is usually too easy for someone like me. But the recent posts by some of his defenders to my site that say I need to "stop spewing right wing lies" have encouraged me to make fun of him some more. Actually, I'm just linking to other stuff, but I will add some commentary. Today's link is from the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert's home paper. Ebert and Moore have been trading emails about the many factual errors in the Oscar-Award Winning(shudder) "Bowling for Columbine". I wonder how Ebert feels about this, as he really loved "Bowling". I admit I laughed at bowling too, but probably not at the parts Moore wanted me too. Anyway, here's the Sun-Times piece: "Michael Moore's Moment of Shame". They take Moore to task for still whining about the 2000 election results, which, you have to admit, it's taken him a while to get over. Now, no one will ever REALLY agree who won as different sources cite different recount winners: Big surprise: GOP fans say Bush won, Dems say Gore, and Greens scream Gore because they put Bush in the White House. Maybe that's why Moore is so bitter. He never thought his support of Nader would get him W. Whoops. Of course, when it comes to Moore's supporters, you're railing against the wind, as everything he says is gospel, and could never, ever be wrong.

Just to annoy his fans who may have stumbled across this site, I'm permanently linking Moorewatch.com, so that they can go there and get pissed when Moore is called on one of his many lies. And because it's fun to see Liberals turn on their own(Also fun to see Conservatives go at each other, ie the recent David Frum-Robert Novack row), here's a link to a web site that basically accuses Moore of setting back his own cause. And I read positive reviews of his book on this site, so don't say they're right-wing liars. Everyone with a brain knows Moore is an idiot. Here's the link to whatever-dude.com. Have fun, and remember, don't shoot the messenger!
:: C.M. Burns 3/25/2003 05:44:00 PM [+] :: ::
Porn or CNN?

What do you watch more of? Take this quiz: "Blogjam quiz: Saddam Hussein presents 'Despot or Sexpot?'" and see for yourself.
:: C.M. Burns 3/25/2003 02:57:00 PM [+] :: ::
The Long War

A lot of op-ed's all over the web today wondering where the war "went wrong", and how come we're not drinking champagne in Bahgdad yet. Some lambaste the "uberhawks" who predicted a "cakewalk"(I'm quoting Joe Conason in Salon). But neither the administration nor the Pentagon predicted victory in less than a week. If it was anyone, it was the networks, each more hyped than the last, having their retired "experts" claim that we'll be rolling them up. Of course, even that is unfair to the so-called experts. On "Meet the Press about two weeks ago, Gen. Wesley Clark said it would take about two weeks, and we're only at day 5 of the ground campaign, so I think he's safe. In other Clark news, the best analysis comes from he and Aaron Brown on CNN in the evening. Brown is proving to be the anchor of choice for me in this war. He's really stepped up to the plate, unlike other anchors at MSNBC and FOX. FOX is actually pretty funny. They report every rumor as fact, and then retract it. MSNBC isn't much better. These two networks, and a few newspapers(I'm looking at you, USA Today!) are the ones who predicted the quick war. I think most other outlets were careful in prediction, with the occasional hyper-optimist. I just wish they'd simply REPORT on the war, and not editorialize about how we should have been there yesterday and what not.

On embeded journalists. This has proved to be a blessing and a curse, for both the networks and the Pentagon. The blessing is that each network can have people close to the fighting, and the Pentagon can't be accused of hiding the truth, no matter what some activists have been saying. The curse is that the networks themselves have created an atmosphere that demands the war work on their timetable, and when it doesn't you get the same report every 20 minutes. For the Pentagon, it makes it look like nothing is happening, even as the real plan still unfolds.

So the media gets a B- at this point in the war. They've covered the protests here fairly, they've been a little cowed by the Pentagon, but they still do get remarkable stories from time to time. I still like the print media more, as you get a more complete story, but when bullets are flying, I'll turn on CNN.
:: C.M. Burns 3/25/2003 09:41:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, March 24, 2003 ::
I've Got A Secret Admirer!

Well, I checked my stats for the site about 10 minutes ago, and my traffic was way up from the 15 of you who usually visit the site. I figured out why. Someone at this site, part of Chicago Indymedia, posted my website as someplace to go to make fun of right wingers. I got some comments that didn't make any sense on my Michael Moore piece, but that's it. But go visit that guy's site. I had like 100 page hits today! Thanks bud!
:: C.M. Burns 3/24/2003 09:38:00 PM [+] :: ::
Message from Unnamed Army Sources

I have a buddy in the Army who's been sending me his thoughts on the war as it unfolds. I think he brings a good perspective to the whole thing. Here's his thoughts on this weekends developments:

"Quick Thought On The Weekend"


What an interesting weekend. I imagine I probably spent more time analyzing and watching what I could. If any of you can stay up late, the coverage that Aaron Brown and Wesley Clark are doing is phenomenal. Clark just has a great mind and does a great job of explaining stuff. I was up til about 4 sat night watching the clean up operation in Umm Qasr. great stuff, and great job by those marines. very precise and methodical... the way you should do stuff with combat to avoid casualties. As Clark pointed out, emotion and urgency are what get people killed.

I think we are proceeding very well... the obvious tactic i think is to isolate troops in cities and just cut them off from resupply. Thats fine, until you have to go clear. there will be many more incidents. I will say this, the iraqi tactic is a loser, he is giving up too much ground, and will lose his command and control over units when we cut off their lines of communication.

Damn shame about that journalist, but that is his stupid mistake. he shouldn't have been coming back to our lines with armed iraqis in tow. those journalists were told explicity by the dept. of defense that if they were not embedded, they were on their own.

The POWs. well, i guess i am not sure what to say. It sounds like their Lieutenant or the convoy commander in general screwed up and they got caught up in one of those bypassed areas. Everyone is ripping on Al Jazeera. I don't think they are the problem, in fact, i think its good, because they showed the world how dispicable the iraqi army is. Here is why.
The GCs prevent soldiers from being humiliated. Therefore, you can't film them for propaganda. That was staterun Iraqi TV. guilty as charged. Now, you ask why there is that shot of us giving water to an Iraqi POW. That was probably not done by an imbed journalist, and moreover, we don't release that for propaganda purposes.
The GCs say that you cannot ask anything more than name, rank, DOB, and SS number. The IRaqis were asking more than that. Guilty as charged.
Additionally, you cannot take away protective gear. I saw the whole tape, and none those soldiers still had their gas masks or flak jackets.
Lastly, I heard some saying that they were executed. I really hope that isn't true or that it gets down to our infantry and tank gunners, because they will reprise, and we don't tolerate that, at all.

Additionally, I will say that one of them, Specialist Joe Hudson... that guy is a stud. He looked right at that camera and rattled off his info and then shut his mouth. That is seriously fucking hardcore. I was sitting in the shower and I just can't even imagine. I got a little POW training, and I just can't even imagine that... at all. I almost pissed my pants thinking of being in their shoes, and believe you me, mechanics and water guys like them do not ever expect to get caught up in that. Hopefully, they will come home safe and sound. God be with them.

Lastly, I think you will see 4 Infantry moving out this week. they need to be in that area NOW. I think we made a mistake in not moving them down there more quickly... that was a serious strategic mistake, I just think that we have enough squeeze room to make it through. Our air advantage should probably keep us alright. We secure some closer airfields and we should be able to get more sorties in bound, and more quickly.

good luck, gents.
:: C.M. Burns 3/24/2003 09:55:00 AM [+] :: ::
Michael Moore Gets a Fisking

I was not surprised last night when Michael Moore won an Oscar for "Bowling for Columbine", nor was I surprised when he launched an attack on the President. I was a bit surprised that he was booed as loudly as he was cheered. I mean, they gave him the award, what were they expecting. You can almost praise Moore for sharing his opinion while the stars hushed up. It was like he would be their sacrificial lamb, while as the post parties they could all praise him for his courage. Anyway, his rant obviously didn't do anything, but he has a right to bring his opinion to the stage, and I will not challange him for doing so. I'll just call him a big idiot.

Anyway, "Bowling for Columbine" is riddled with inacuracies, most I could find, but one truly shocking one is that he staged the entire scene where he get a gun at a bank. They don't give out guns there. He arranged the entire thing. But he's an honest guy, right? Well read
"The Truth about Bowling for Columbine" by David Hardy and then see what you think of him. It's an eye-opener.

Finally, film legend Peter O'Toole tweaked Moore a bit, but you had to be paying attention to see it. O'Toole gave a really classy speech in accepting his lifetime achievement Oscar. He made one comment that I swear had to be directed at Moore. He said that since he knew he was getting the Oscar beforehand, he had time to "think" about what he was going to say, in direct contrast to Moore's brainless rant. Then he finished by saying how much he liked America. I knew I liked Peter O'Toole for a reason.
:: C.M. Burns 3/24/2003 09:10:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Sunday, March 23, 2003 ::
Surreal Night Ahead

The Academy Awards are still scheduled to go on in half an hour out in LA, and I plan on watching them. I suspect that this will be one of the more surreal events I've witnessed. I think the show should go on. Delaying the Oscars will only give them more credibility than they deserve anyway. One idea I heard tossed around was that they should just mail the winner their Oscars. Not a bad idea anyway. While the movies are improtant during times of conflict, the star-worship you see on networks like E! should dissapear. What I'm really looking forward to is the speaches. Will the winners have the class that even Jane Fonda had when she won for Klute, announcing that their is much to be said, but teh Oscars are not the right time for it? Or will we hear self-serving pap from the likes of Michael Moore. Moore won an independent spirit award the other day, and went on a long anti-Bush screed. I expect he'd do the same if he wins tonight. Hell, if he loses he'll find a camera and tell them he was the victim of a conspiracy. He's sort of crazy, and most mainstream liberals I know don't like him either. He's smug and he's an asshole, and while "Bowling for Columbine" made some interesting points, it wasn't THAT great, especially when applied to a fact-checker.

Anyway, I'm still hoping either "The Pianist" or "The Two Towers: wins, even though "Chicago" seems to have it locked up. If "Gangs" wins, well, the unimportance of the Oscars will be underscored. Anyway, I'm praying for our troops who were apparently captured and executed by he Iraqi's earlier today. Maybe I'll just read tonight. The Oscars seem so...phony. But I could use the diversion. IU lost in the tournament on top of the war overload I'm experiencing, and I guess something different may be needed. It's still gonna be wierd though. Oh, and God Bless the Troops and all those yearning for freedom in Iraq.
:: C.M. Burns 3/23/2003 08:05:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, March 21, 2003 ::
Dance your blues away

If you don't like to think about the war, click here. I guarantee you'll stop thinking about the war for a while.
:: C.M. Burns 3/21/2003 02:58:00 PM [+] :: ::
Liberals & Race, Again

As the Estrada case showed, it's perfectly fine for liberals to say derogatory things about minorities, as long as the minority is Republican. Harry Belefonte called Colin Powell a "House Slave", and now, New Jersey Poet Lauret(!), anti-Semite, and all around nutjob Amiri Baraka has taken a swipe and Condolezza Rice. He called her a name which I will not repeat here, but you can read about here, in a column that demands Baraka be called out for his comments. Another Trent Lott moment for the left. How will they respond now?
:: C.M. Burns 3/21/2003 02:02:00 PM [+] :: ::
Shock & Awe is On

Well, the bombs are dropping on targets in Bahgdad. CNN just reported that it's correspondents are being ordered out of Iraq. It looks like the bombing is much more precise then I could have imagined, but a lot changes in 12 years. One final note: I'm watching the Pentagon news coverage on CNN, and reading the ticker. I know they want to get info up on the ticker quickly, but typing 'Bhadad' and Tiurkey just doesn't cut it. Good luck to the people of Iraq, and good luck to our troops.

P.S: Is it wrong of me to get excited when I hear our move across Iraw described as a "Wave of Steel"? Yeah, I'm a bad person.
:: C.M. Burns 3/21/2003 01:48:00 PM [+] :: ::
Why Cars Will Never Be Replaced

I had a bit of an epiphany on the Metro this morning. It wasn't like a message from God or even a moment of clarity. It was just the simple realization that mass transit will never replace the car, no matter how hard people try. Why did I come to this conclusion, shared, most likely, by many before me? It's simple: Mass Transit makes people more miserable than traffic jams.

It's sort of a damp morning here is DC, and the trains are filled to the brim. At Union Station, people push and shove to get on the train, and I'm carried along with them. I look at the people's faces, and these are the faces of unhappy individuals. If it was monday, I would chalk it up to the fact that another crappy week is starting. But it's friday, and usually people don't look this pissed. I could be wrong though, I've never noticed before. Anyway, I don't mind the noise and the shoving so much because I'm a tall guy, I don't get shoved that often, and I'm listening to Metallica on my MP3 player. Never underestimate the power of "Master of Puppets" when trying to ignore rude people. Anyway, I look at these shoving, muttering masses, and they are miserable. They snip at one another and they look like they wish they were anywhere but there. The people who are sitting down look dutifully ahead, never daring to make eye contact with anyone, and if a seat is seen, there's a mad rush to get it. I found myself thinking that the day I can afford a car is the day I buy one just to avoid having to ride with these miserable, rude SOB's.

Now wait a minute, you say. If you drive you have to pay for gas, parking, the car, and sit in traffic. My friends, I am here to tell you that it is all worth it. If you're stuck in traffic, yeah, it's slow and it sucks, but you're not pressed up against some angry looking fat guy who could kill you with his body odor. You're in a car, you've got ROOM. You have space. Your car is climate controlled. If it's raining, you're not wet. You can listen to music or the radio. Traffic stresses you? Put on some classical music, it's relaxing. You can, too. It's your car, and no one can stop you. Plus, you've got an excuse to get to work late: I was stuck in traffic. With the Metro, there is no excuse unless someone picks that rush hour to end their life by plunging in front of one of the cars, t=and that's REALLY annoying when it happens. You'll have to WALK three miles in the rain to work. Ugh. So I say, bring on hydrogen cars, or solar-powered cars, or the electric car. Just don't take cars away. Despite the traffic, anything is better than sitting in a Metro car listening to some guy talk about how God's coming soon and I have to "get right" with him. Doesn't he know God is in a Limo watching TV on the beltway?
:: C.M. Burns 3/21/2003 10:04:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, March 20, 2003 ::
Autobots Join War Effort

A National Guardsman from NY has changed his name to Optimus Prime. Will Bumblebee and Rodimus Prime join him?
:: C.M. Burns 3/20/2003 03:50:00 PM [+] :: ::
Full War Begins

The situation is moving rapidly, but the full attack seems to be underway. All we can do now is pray it's over quickly and Saddam gets what's coming to him. Good luck to our troops.
:: C.M. Burns 3/20/2003 01:27:00 PM [+] :: ::

Breaking from the war this morning to link to an interesting article in the Boston Globe about how Kevin Spacey has used up all his post American Beauty goodwill with a string of flops.

As the article says, it could be worse. He could be Cuba Gooding, Jr.
:: C.M. Burns 3/20/2003 09:17:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, March 19, 2003 ::
Oscars Suddenly More Watchable

The Oscar's will be more watchable this year, as ABC news has announced it is postponing former serious journalist Barbara Walters interview special that was set to air before the broadcast. So her ass-kissing is gone.

Also proving that war will make the show less offensive is the reports from Oscar Producer Gil Cates that the entire pre-show arrival fesitivites, in which stars are "interviewed" on the red carpet will be scrapped, as the celeb's publisists are worried that their clients will look self-absorbed talking about what they are wearing when there's a war on. Of course, if they had any class they'd just mail the winners the statues and spare us the speaches, but I'm looking forward to Michael Moore's self-important victory speach for his best documentary award for "Bowling for Columbine". I love watching a self-obsessed liberal spew anti-American nonsense. It makes me feel better about myself.

Moore, by the way, is convinced that Sony is trying to sandbag him, claiming they are rigging the Oscars. Now, I think the Oscars are rigged, too(How else to explain "Shakespere in Love" and Julia Robert's Oscar?), but I think they'll rig it so he can win and deliver his insane rant. THAT'S worth watching.
:: C.M. Burns 3/19/2003 03:23:00 PM [+] :: ::
Salon FINALLY Posts a Liberal Case for War

The image below was not created by crazy right-wingers to demonize the left. It was the image you would first see if you visited Salon.com today. Salon has been accusing the administration of just about every crime under the sun for trying to stop Saddam, but today, their top story was from a liberal who understands why Saddam must go, and can't understand the Left's opposition. That story is here. Daily registration required, but it takes 15 seconds, and is free. Enjoy.

:: C.M. Burns 3/19/2003 03:00:00 PM [+] :: ::
Tony Blair IS Churchill

The following is the text of Tony Blair's remarks to the House of Commons yesterday. That is words are eloquent and moving is no surprise. The fact that he goes into great detail about how diplomacy was thwarted not by the US and UK but by French and Germany should surprise many. It is a great piece. No wonder the UK voted for war last night. Also, on that page, you can see a link to a column Clinton wrote for The Gaurdian about why Blair is right. Sure, he's not a fan of Bush, and blamed him last week for the entire mess(where were you in 1998, Bill?), but he knows the right side when the chips are down.
:: C.M. Burns 3/19/2003 02:52:00 PM [+] :: ::
Translating Today's War Catchphrases

Juan Gato has a list of catchprase translations for all you following the war. My favorite: Peace: The complete lack of action from the United States no matter how many must suffer or die
:: C.M. Burns 3/19/2003 02:43:00 PM [+] :: ::
Iraqi Defections Begin

Well, the first Iraqi defections are beginning, and top members of Saddam's inner circle are fleeing, saya the Times of London. Sadly, the reports of Tariq Aziz's death have been greatly exaggerated.
:: C.M. Burns 3/19/2003 02:37:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, March 18, 2003 ::
Big Lebowski Quote of the Day

The Dude: Walter, what is the point? Look, we all know who is at fault here, what the fuck are you talking about?
Walter Sobchak: Huh? No, what the fuck are you...I'm not...We're talking about unchecked aggression here, dude.
Donny: What the fuck is he talking about?
The Dude: My rug.
Walter Sobchak: Forget it, Donny, you're out of your element!
The Dude: Walter, the chinaman who peed on my rug, I can't go give him a bill, so what the fuck are you talking about?
Walter Sobchak: What the fuck are you talking about? The chinaman is not the issue here, dude. I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, dude. Across this line, you DO NOT...Also, dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.

:: C.M. Burns 3/18/2003 04:12:00 PM [+] :: ::
Ring Redux

"The Ring" still haunts me, months after my initial viewing of it, and my watching it on DVD a few weeks ago. I was pleased, though a little chilled, to read this brilliant analysis of the film at Salon.com. I know I never recommend anything at Salon, but they do have great arts & entertainment coverage. You'll have to get the free day pass to read the piece, but if you loved the film, it is well worth it.
:: C.M. Burns 3/18/2003 09:48:00 AM [+] :: ::
U2 at the Oscars

Well, the Oscars are going to go ahead, war or no war on Sunday, and I was thinking of not tuning in this year, as it will undoubtably be anti-war/anti-Bush mania up there. However, U2 is performing their excellent, Oscar-nominated song "The Hands That Built America" live from LA at the show, so I may tune in. And if U2 wins, and Bono wants to say something about the war, I'll pay attention, because he's the one celebrity who at least bothers to have an informed opinion. He and I probably disagree on the war, but what he says will not be full of the Bush hatred that the rest of Hollywood is so fond of. So, good luck U2. Show those celebs how to protest in an intelligent fashion.
:: C.M. Burns 3/18/2003 09:10:00 AM [+] :: ::
More Happy Wake Up News

I love reading stories like this with my coffee. You know, as awful as the Soviet Commies were, some time I miss them. At least you were pretty sure their nukes were safe and would not be used accidentally. Then you read this article:

"Drinking Problem Seen at Nuke Sites"

And you feel a little less safe. Way to go, Russia.
:: C.M. Burns 3/18/2003 08:41:00 AM [+] :: ::
Not For he Faint of Heart

Just when I think "Is this war worth it?", I stumble across an article like
this one in the Times of London. The first paragraph almost made me gag. Read it, and tell me why Saddam should not be removed, and removed now. If we can stop THAT from happening, I say stop it, and stop it now.
:: C.M. Burns 3/18/2003 08:39:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, March 17, 2003 ::
Dennis Miller Rants About War

I think the headline speaks for itself. Go here for stuff like this:

"The French, you might as well gas up the dinghy and go fishing with Fredo because you are dead to me, okay. You know something? These pricks are now putting — they're putting swastikas on our flag in France. You've got all those boys buried in Normandy. And after we had the good taste to chisel the armpit hair off the Statue of Liberty you gave us, you know something, I — always thought that tint was oxdized copper. Little did I know it was green with envy."

:: C.M. Burns 3/17/2003 03:24:00 PM [+] :: ::

I sure hope so. This cult has been misleading people, destroying reputations, and breaking up families for far too long. According to this report, L.Ron Hubbard, mediocre science fiction writer, creator of Scientology, and all-around nutjob based much of his "religion" on the teachings of Alistair Crowley, self-appointed satanist and another whackjob. Hey, if Ozzy wrote a song about him, you know somethings up. Anyway, considering their practices, I don't find the possible link suprising. Now if only Travolta's deal with Satan would expire...
:: C.M. Burns 3/17/2003 02:07:00 PM [+] :: ::
What's Wrong With Today's Democratic Party

I've always liked Peggt Noonan. She's been a thoughtful columnist and not a knee-jerk Hawk, and she is a former Democrat who left the party in th 1970's. In this piece she excellent disects exactly what went wrong with the Democratic Party in the mid-70's onward. Democrats should read it so they can take back their party. Republicans should read it to realize when the current leadership hates the GOP so much.
:: C.M. Burns 3/17/2003 01:38:00 PM [+] :: ::
And so we enter endgame...

Well, the President speaks to the nation tonight at 8pm. Since the lines are drawn, 64%-plus for, 25% against, I don't think he's going to be speaking to change anyone's mind on this thing. I think the bombing starts five minutes after the speech ends, or he says that Saddam has 24-hours to leave the country, and THEN the bombing starts. It's not what I necessarily wanted this to come to, but I see the need for it, and I hope it's over quickly. The biggest tragedy is that Saddam will probably escape. In the end, thsi will probably do more to stabalize the middle east, and put pressure on Iran to reform, as long as we bring democracy to Iraq and support the large number of Iranian students to are tired of being rulled by a thugish theocracy. It's going to be a trying time, now, and I worry about terrorist attacks on the nuclear variety, as pointed out today in the excellent piece by Fred Hiatt in today's Post. All in all, a rought time ahead, but six months from now I hope we'll be better off. Here's to a quick victory with minimal civilian casualties, which is what the Pentagon wants, despite antiwar protests to the contrary.
:: C.M. Burns 3/17/2003 01:34:00 PM [+] :: ::
Dead American Protester in Gaza

You know, it's a real tragedy, and no one deserves to get run over by a bulldozer, but she did stand in front of a heavily armored bulldozer with limited visibility. Others have suggested a Darwin Award for her, and I wouldn't be against it. It is monumentally stupid to go to a war zone and expect not to get injured. Some have tried to compare this to Tiennamin Square, where the lone dissadent stood up aginst tanks. Of course, he stopped them, but his familt paid for the bullet that undoubtably killed him afterwards. This really looks like an accident. A totally avoidable accident. And she wasn't really blocking the destruction of actual housing, just unoccupied buildings that snipers used to fire on the Israelis. So let's chalk it up to her stupidity and move on. Also, I find it hard to dredge up sympathy for someone who was all for "peace", but showed Palestinian children how to burn an American flag and to hate the country of her birthas shown here.
:: C.M. Burns 3/17/2003 01:25:00 PM [+] :: ::
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

As an Irishman(well, half-Irish), I love St. Patrick's Day. Not just for the corned beef and Guinness, but for the remarkable history of St. Patrick himself, my namesake. The BBC has done a great job on Patrick of Ireland's history by going to the source: Patrick Himself. Read about his life in his words here.
:: C.M. Burns 3/17/2003 10:15:00 AM [+] :: ::
Protest if you want, but...

This weekend saw a flurry of anti-war protests across the country, including the biggest ones in DC and Frisco. Now, I'm all for dissent. Please, feel free to march, and I hope you are not molested by the authorities. If you are, I'll march for your rights, if not your cause, but this photo just pisses me off so damn much I don't think I can forgive this generation of antiwar zelots:

I mean, it's one thing to say the President is wrong, and I don't even care if you call him a warmonger. But to basically say you'd support the killing of our own officers by their own men? What the hell is wrong with these people? Are they that hateful, that spiteful, that blindly self-righteous? I mean, antiwar types have been saying they are the ones with their eyes open, they see what the evil Administration is up too. But you want our troops to start killing their officers? This just...ack! I'm sorry if this doesn't make any sense. I have two friends who are officers in the Army, and another in the Navy, and this just pissed me off so much that I don't think I'll ever visit San Fransisco again(that's where the picture was taken). I'm sorry, but that is wrong and evil of them to say, and I hope those people burn in hell. There's protesting, and then there's giving aid and comfort to the enemy. I say arrest them and deport them, and I NEVER even THINK stuff like that about people I disagree with. I'm sorry, I'm could rant for hours, but I think my day is ruined. Fuck those people. I never thought I'd say this, but perhaps they don't deserve to live in America. I'm sorry. The day you hold a sign up as hateful as that, you should just forfit your citizenship. Goddamn it, I'm pissed.
:: C.M. Burns 3/17/2003 09:32:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Saturday, March 15, 2003 ::

Don't kiss anyone strange for a while. This disease is spreading.
:: C.M. Burns 3/15/2003 02:04:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, March 14, 2003 ::
Big Lebowski Quote of the Day

The Dude: Fuck sympathy! I don't need your fuckin' sympathy, man, I need my fucking johnson!
Donny: What do you need that for, Dude?

:: C.M. Burns 3/14/2003 03:50:00 PM [+] :: ::
Thanks Again, China!

Well, according to this article China is admitting that it's blocking diplomatic attempts to get N. Korea to disarm. Thank you so much China! I never thought I'd say this, but maybe MacArthur was right when he said we should have nuked you during the Korean War. Commie punks.
:: C.M. Burns 3/14/2003 03:48:00 PM [+] :: ::
Elizabeth Smart's Parents are Nutjobs

I was happy along with the rest of America to learn of the safe return of Elizabeth Smart. To be honest, I'd forgotten the whole thing, but hey, I don't think I paid much attention to it in the first place. After all, this was 9 months ago when the media was basically pushing the line that your children could be taken at any time, when in reality the number of kidnappings were down. But she was taken from her home, so I think it stuck out more. Anyway, I was reading this article in the Post today, and I decided that while they certianly did not ask for it, and did not deserve it, the abduction of their daughter was entirely the Smart's fault.

Take this paragraph for insatnce:

"The ordeal actually began in November 2001, when Elizabeth's mother, Lois Smart, encountered a long-haired street prophet, in an ankle-length white robe, preaching the words of Jesus on a Salt Lake City sidewalk. She hired the drifter, who called himself Emmanuel, for a day's work repairing the roof of the Smart home."

Yes, they invited a drifter to their house, and not just any drifter, the street preaching variety, who are, in my observations, a lot crazier than just your "Rambo in First Blood" type of drifter. Then tend to speak in tounges and accuse fire hydrants of being the devil. Anyway, Mrs. Smart was bringing random people to her house to help out. Some might call this charity, and no doubt the Smart's saw it as such, but I call it spectacularly stupid. Call me a cynic, but I just don't think I'd trust a random person who ocassionally speaks in "biblical language" around my home, much less near my children. But the Smart's were good God-fearing folk who lived in America's most bizzare non-Southern state, Utah, so I guess they could be par for the course out there. Either way, if Mrs. Smart hadn't asked the "Emmanuel" guy over that day, her kid would never have been taken by him, as he would likely not know where she lived and sleeped, or the easiest way in. No one is taking these people to task enough. Sure they're beating up on the cops for not following the Emmanuel lead earlier, and rightly so, but the blame for the abduction rests on the parents shoulders. People this dumb shouldn't be allowed to HAVE children, but that's another topic.

Anyway, Ed Smart, the father, has taken to yelling at the camera about the National Amber Alert law that has failed to pass the House, so far. It's apparently coming, but some of my Democratic friends say that it's tied up because the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WS) is "an asshole". That's from an unnamed source on deep background by the way. Anyhow, I haven't followed the whole thing, so I'm not sure about that assessment. All I know is that people should ask what the Hell Ed Smart was doing having drifters come to his house. Is it just me? Am I taking crazy pills? Now his kid may have been brainwashed and her favorite movie is the Haley Mills vehicle "The Trouble With Angels"! Wait, that was her favorite movie before. Geeze, talk about unfit parents.

And on this "Miracle" thing that Smart keeps praising God for. There wouldn't have been a NEED for a "Miracle" had you not hired a crazy drifter. And was it really a miracle? Miracles tend to have otherworldly type things associated with them, like Jesus feeding the people with just a few loaves of bread and some fish, or the advent of the iPod. It seems to me that finding Elizabeth Smart was pretty easy once the cops identified a suspect. Her return came just one month after they put out an alert on the guy who took her. Sounds run of the mill to me. If she'd been delivered to her home on a flying chariot pulled by angels, then we'd have a miracle. And I believe in God, but I think he sort of sits on the sidelines and watches us. Does Mr. Smart believe that God took his daughter for a reason, then? Perhaps to teach him a lesson about drifters? I don't. I think God had nothing to do with her return. It was good luck. And I'm happy she's back. Maybe once she's deprogrammed she can yell at her moron parents for inviting crazy, bible verse spewing drifters over to the house. You know she's gonna blame them for the rest of her life, no matter how much therapy she gets. Hell, I still blame my parents for my miserable time in the Catholic school they forced me to go to, and I've been out of there for 12 years. So, lets be happy for Elizabeth Smart, her sister, her friends, and even her nutjob parents. No one deserves this. But this was obviously an avoidable situation. All that was required was common sense.
:: C.M. Burns 3/14/2003 12:27:00 PM [+] :: ::
I can Still bash France

OK, I came across a story on another Blog that the French have officially banned the booing of their National Anthem. Now, I get goosebumps in that scene in Casablanca too, but come on! The French are of course obsessive about their culture, but if I was in France and booed during their National Anthem, I could go to jail. That wouldn't happen here. Sure, I'd be beaten by the crowd, but I wouldn't go to jail. Well, Crossgates Mall might have me arrested, but would later drop the charges. At least we haven't fallen THIS far.
:: C.M. Burns 3/14/2003 11:08:00 AM [+] :: ::
Last Day of "War-Free Week

Right, so it's Friday, and also the last day of my no-war-blogging commitment. I would have extended it to Monday, but there's alot happening, and even if no one reads this thing, I at least want to get some thing off my chest. So enjoy the random posts today, and get ready for more of my unfettered opinion. It's not same old, same old though. I've been doing some hard thinking and have new concerns. But that's for tomorrow. Now I'll just post something about giant chee-toes.
:: C.M. Burns 3/14/2003 10:19:00 AM [+] :: ::
Shatner Beats Up Newer "Star Treks"

Heh. I always liked William Shatner. Sure, he's a complete nutjob, but he's developled the ability to laugh at himself over the years, and he really did kick ass as James T. Kirk on "Star Trek". And as TJ Hooker. Well, not so much the last one. Anyway, he's a ham and he knows it, which makes him OK in my book.

I'm an old "Star Trek" fan, but I never watched "Voyager" and rarely watched "Deep Space Nine". I hear "DS9" got pretty good as time went by, so I may revisit it on DVD, but except for Jeri Ryan in the catsuit, was there a reason to watch "Voyager"? Anyway, Shatner noticed that the series is falling apart, and said so here. I'm glad someone is speaking out against how the series has been betrayed by the current head honcho, Rick Berman, and if anyone can get the complacent fanboys who have let the show laspe get off their couches and make Paramount take back some control, it's Shatner. So good for him.
:: C.M. Burns 3/14/2003 09:30:00 AM [+] :: ::
And William Jennings Bryant Rolls Over in His Grave Again

Fun fact of the day: On this day in 1900, Congress approved the Gold Standard Act. For all those who get my Bryant reference, you have my undying admiration.

:: C.M. Burns 3/14/2003 08:26:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, March 13, 2003 ::
Big Lebowski Quote of the Day

The Dude: Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski". You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
:: C.M. Burns 3/13/2003 03:50:00 PM [+] :: ::
Who Does Gandalfini Think He Is?

Well, obviously, he thinks he's Tony Soprano, and this news: "Report: HBO suspends filming of 'The Sopranos'" is not good for fans who were looking forward to the end of the series. While Gandolfini has a point about money, I guess, it's not like HBO is offering him nothing. They're going to double his frickin' salary from $400 Grand to $800. He'd easily be the highest paid actor on cable.

Plus, there's the suit he filed that claims HBO did not notify him in time that his services would be needed for a 5th season. This is just plain absurd. WHat, was he not paying attention during the 18 month hiatus between Seasons 3 & 4 when they said 5 was a definite go? Did he notice in the last episode of Season 4 that there was still a few plotlines to tie up? Did they actually film an alternate ending to Season 4 in which Tony gets whacked? If they did, maybe he has a beef, but how can he claim he didn't knwo there was going to be a Season 5? That's just stupid, and now I have to blame him for this delay, which is a shame, because he created a great character with Tony, and now he's threatening to take it all down with him. Sad.
:: C.M. Burns 3/13/2003 02:07:00 PM [+] :: ::
And I thought I hated that movie more than anyone.

This Guy gives "I am Sam" the brutal treatment it deserved when it came out. I meerly found it offensive. He finds it to be life-threatening.
:: C.M. Burns 3/13/2003 12:03:00 PM [+] :: ::
The real reason the North won the war

For those of you who doubt the power of Ninja's, I direct you here.
:: C.M. Burns 3/13/2003 11:27:00 AM [+] :: ::
Helen Thomas Gets a Smackdown

I'm not a big fan of Press Secretary Ari Fleisher. He always seems out of his depth in press conferences, and is generally sort of embarassing. However, after reading this article in Slate today, I feel a little better about the man. He's effectively turned Helen Thomas into a joke, or at least let the world see her for the joke she has become. The above article sums up my problems with Bush and the press, and bashes Thomas, too, so everyone can have fun reading it. Enjoy!
:: C.M. Burns 3/13/2003 10:15:00 AM [+] :: ::
NYT Slams Estrada for no good reason...again

In a bold move apparently designed to take away any sort of credibility the paper has left, the NY Times today urged Senate Democrats to "Hold Firm on Estrada". The editorial claims that Estrada has not been forthcoming in his views and that the White House should give up the confidential memos Estrada wrote while working at Justice. Republican's are "changing the subject" when they say it is an unfair invasion of privacy to look at the memos, even though every living Solicitor General, including the Democratic one Estrada served under, has written a letter to Senators attesting to the priavcy those memos should be afforded. The Times says that other nominees have given up their memos, but their situations are different. Both Bork and Reinquist were Supreme Court Nominees. No appelate court nominee has ever been asked for these memos. The Times conveniently forgets this.

They also claim that Estrada has not been forthcoming in responses to questions asked by Senators. Lets us ignore the fact that other judges have been just as hesitant to respond to similiar questions and have sailed through the Senate, and focus instead on what the White House did two weeks back. In trying to get answers to the supposedly pressing questions Democratic Senators needed to ask, the White House sent a letter to every Senator, asking them to submit written questions within two days, and Estrada would answer them all. Not a single Senator issued a question. The Times ignores this. Presumably because they are playing the same game the Dems are, which is block every Bush nominee by any means necessary. The Washington Post published an editorial last week that stated Democrats were harming the process by demanding the impossible of Mr. Estrada. This is a view shared by the ABA and Republican and Democratic judges alike. The only ones who share the Times' view are Senate Democrats. So, the question must become, What Does the Times Know that the ABA, Republicans, Democrats, and all of Estrada's former bosses don't? I'm guessing not that much, except that damaging the judicial nomination process is more important than giving Mr. Estrada a fair vote.
:: C.M. Burns 3/13/2003 09:16:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 ::
WIll Ferrell Is Still God

Hot news here! Will Ferrell, who IS Old School, just got his script Action News picked up by DreamWorks. I've heard the script is pure, bizzare Ferrell, and that is only good news. It starts shooting in June. Set your calanders for a spring 2004 release.
:: C.M. Burns 3/12/2003 04:31:00 PM [+] :: ::
Big Lebowski Quote of the Day

Walter Sobchak: OVER THE LINE!
Smokey: Huh?
Walter Sobchak: I'm sorry, Smokey. You were over the line that's a foul.
Smokey: Bullshit. Mark it 8, Dude.
Walter Sobchak: Uh, excuse me. Mark it zero. Next frame.
Smokey: Bullshit, Walter. Mark it 8, Dude.
Walter Sobchak: Smokey, this is not 'Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
:: C.M. Burns 3/12/2003 04:09:00 PM [+] :: ::
Almost Time for the "Wearin' O' the Green"

Or the 'Reinforcin' O' The Stereotypes' as the Onion puts it. I think I resmebled the guy in the picture three years ago. But I've gotten help. Trust me.
:: C.M. Burns 3/12/2003 03:37:00 PM [+] :: ::
Onlt War Post of the Week

I know I said no war posts this week, but this counter-argument to "containment" is so well written I couldn't help but share. Walter Russell Mead proves to me that it indeed is Deadlier Than War.
:: C.M. Burns 3/12/2003 03:15:00 PM [+] :: ::
So, will Democrats ask Moran to resign?

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va), made some insensitive off the cuff remarks the other day, saying that if it wasn't for American Jews, we wouldn't be headed toward war with Iraq. Moran has since apologized, sort of, but I doubt you'll see him on Israeli television apologizing anytime soon. What's shocking is that the Democrats, while condeming the statement, have not asked for his head on a platter, like when the asked for Trent Lott's after his poor choice of words last December. Of course, back then the heaviest critiques of Lott came from conservatives and the GOP, and it was embarassing. The media was all over it. Where's the media outrage on Moran? Washington Post writer Marc Fisher has called for Moran to resign, and conservatives such as Ramesh Ponnuru have detalied his offensive comments, but where is the real Democratic outrage? Sadly, it's not there, and I think this again proves that when it comes to racisim and anti-semitisim, the Democratic Party has more to hide than it wants us to know.
:: C.M. Burns 3/12/2003 03:11:00 PM [+] :: ::
This is Why I'm not Raising a Family in DC

An interesting piece on school vouchers from National Review online. I'm in favor of giving them a chance to work, as every other attempt to "fix" public education in this country is failing spectacularly. This most striking thing in this article by Deroy Murdock is that half of DC's teachers are incompetent. Scary and sad.
:: C.M. Burns 3/12/2003 02:52:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, March 10, 2003 ::
Light Blogging Ahead

Starting tomorrow I'm going to be spending the next two days at the National Archives finishing research for work, so the new posts here will be light. I'll try to get a Big Lewbowski quote up, and some fun stuff as well. Remember, this is warless week here at the Blog, or at least war lite. Starting on St. Paddy's day, we go code red. So rest up.
:: C.M. Burns 3/10/2003 11:26:00 PM [+] :: ::
Want To Randomly Piss Yourself Off?

If you're in a good mood and want to get in a bad one, prepare yourself for the loss of brain cells and tune in to any random half hour of MTV, paying attention to the commercials. Easily the most insulting things on TV. Of course, this does target MTV's core audience, but that's not a good thing either. Why was I watching MTV? Shut your piehole, that's why.
:: C.M. Burns 3/10/2003 11:24:00 PM [+] :: ::
Big Lebowski Quote of the Day

Walter Sobchak: Those rich fucks! This whole fucking thing... I did not watch my buddies die face down in the muck so that this fucking strumpet...
The Dude: I don't see any connection to Vietnam, Walter.
Walter Sobchak: Well, there isn't a literal connection, Dude.
The Dude: Walter, face it, there isn't any connection.
:: C.M. Burns 3/10/2003 02:36:00 PM [+] :: ::
Widescreen Lament: An Addendum to my Film Comments

After my film class, I never again bought a video in fullscreen format. It seemed like a crime against filmmakers and their vision. With the advent of DVD, all films are now available in widescreen, which is the only way to watch one, if you ask me. As far as I'm concerned, studio's should stop offering the full screen versions of films. Blockbuster Video, being Satan's Own Rentalplace, led the charge for full screen DVD's, afraid their customers wouldn't like "those stupid bars" that show up on screen. I say, how stupid is Blockbuster? DVD was already a success before full screen DVD's came around. The Matrix, the DVD that revolutionized the product, was widescreen only, and it's one of the biggest sellers of all time. Studio's lost out on a chance to erase full screen forever when they started putting out seperate pan and scan discs. The people would still have bought the DVD's, they still would have paid the money. It's a real tragey that now the full screen discs are often touted ahead of the widescreen discs. Full Screen purchasers should not be allowed to buy DVD's. But that's just me.
:: C.M. Burns 3/10/2003 02:15:00 PM [+] :: ::
Rest For The Wicked

I'm going to kick off a relatively warless week here on the old blog with a little something about my love of Film. I wouldn't go as far to say that my little love affair with the movies defines who I am, as I am of course a man of many facets. But it is one of the things that helps define what I am, and since I can write whatever I want in this space, I figured I'd ive it a shot.

I love movies. All kinds, any era, every genre save the musical(sue me). It's easy to trace where this began. It started my Freshman year of college. Now, up to that point I liked movies as much as the next guy, but saw them purely as entertainment. I'd never seen an independent film besides Resevoir Dogs, and I knew next to nothing about directors, cinematography, and film theory.

I still don't know much about film theory. I guess that never took. But I took a class my second semester, Film Study, that changed my favorite medium from the television to the movie screen. The class itself was pretty dull. Our prof. was just a film student himself, and was pretty boring. We had class twice a week, and the only good time was the first 25 minutes of the Tuesday class. You see, every Monday was a special screening of films and documentaires on filmmaking that we were required to attend. It was in Woodburn hall at the IUB campus at 7 O'Clock. Each week I was introduced to a new kind of film. We saw silent classics like Nosfuratu and Battleship Potempkin, Noir thrillers like The Third Man, and dark fables like The Manchurian Candidate and Rear Window. These movies opened me up to different styles of film. I didn't care much for the French New Wave, but Hitchcock immediately climbed to the top of my must-see list.

I saw most of Hitch's movies over the next year. I was, and still am, a bit obsessed with Vertigo. It's such a raw emotional powerhouse, with Hitchcock throwing all of his feelings up on the screen, and Jimmy(Sorry, JAMES)Stewart putting in the performance of a lifetime. Although I love all of Hitchcock's films, this is the one that hooked me on him.

It also gave me a sort of appreciation for Brian DePalma. DePalma has been accused of outright theft from Hitchcock in many of his scenes, especially in his films Blow Out and Femme Fatale, and while it's true that he does use many of Hitch's techniques, I see them as a homage, as he takes them to the next level and blows you out of the water with them. The Untouchables is the perfect example of DePalma striking out on his own. He's made some bad films(Bonfire of the Vanities being the worst), but they've always had a signature style.

Anyway, it was stuff like this that brought to my attention what indivduals bring to movies, how much a film depends on the script, the direction, the cinematography, and the lighting. When I looked for new films, I wanted to see when the next DePalma, Cameron, Woo, or Ridley Scott film was coming out. It wasn't always the plot that got me, it was the director.

Of course, that's not always the case. Sometimes the star makes the movie, such as Denzel Washington in Training Day, and even moreso Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, as Antoine Fuqua is a much more gifted director than Opie, I mean Ron Howard.

So I continue to love film. I own close to 300 DVD's, and I see every one of them as an investment. I'll have that movie tucked away for a rainy day, and then I might just listen to the commentary, or watch the documentaries again. I embrace many B-movies simply because they are b-movies and aspire to nothing else. A B-action or horror film can be much more entertaining than an A-list drama(I'm sorry, The Hours is just dull, and given the choice I'd watch Hard Target over and over again than have to be subjected to Nicole Kidman's nose again). I embrace films because parts of them speak to all of us, whether it's the kid in us in slapstick or the adult in a drama. Film will always be inventive, as filmmakers continue to push the envelope of style, substance, and craftsmanship. I love me some movies. May they reign forevermore. Now, I do have some complaints about the AWARDS...

:: C.M. Burns 3/10/2003 02:14:00 PM [+] :: ::
Carter Gets Fisked

I'm realitively new to the world of blogging, so I don't know if the term is a polite way of saying something more obscene, or a word that just sort of popped up one day. Either way, it means that a commentary is taken apart piece by piece in a rather unforgiving fashion. Blogger Josh Chafetz fisk's Jimmy Carter's Sunday Op-Ed in which he again took the President to task for his Iraq stance. The piece is just as incoherent as Carter has been lately, so the fisking is well deserved. Go to OxBlog for a peanut-farmer bashing good time.
:: C.M. Burns 3/10/2003 09:57:00 AM [+] :: ::
Boring Clinton/Dole on 60 Minutes

Well, I tuned in to "60 Minutes" last night to see the highly touted Clinton/Dole cagematch. What I got sounded like two old ladies arguing over which Bingo match to go to. Clinton and Dole said nothing new on Bush's tax cut plan, with each apparently touting their party line. Dull Dull Dull.

However, since Clinton picked the topic, I have to give him props for not going with foreign policy and picking Iraq. As I noted in a previous post, it is considered bad form for former Presidents to criticise their successors on foreign policy. So here's to Bill Clinton showing more class than Jimmy "Give Me an Award Please" Carter. I didn't know he had it in him. But guys, to keep me from falling asleep next time, try fixing the format so there's some back and forth, and never choose tax cuts again.
:: C.M. Burns 3/10/2003 08:39:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, March 07, 2003 ::
What Conservative Media

Andrew Sullivan gives a good answer to Alterman's claims of a Conservative Media in his column in today's Times of London: "What Conservative Media?" It's a good piece that says that while Conservatives have a foothold on cable, like with Fox, it's all about the market, and that liberal outlets like ABC, CBS, NBS, & PBS still have far more viewers than Bill O'Reiley could ever dream of. It's a good read, no matter which way you think the media swings.
:: C.M. Burns 3/07/2003 03:21:00 PM [+] :: ::
Big Lebowski Quote of the Day

As a new feature here at Sic Transit Gloria, we will be featuring a random quote from perhaps the funniest movie of all time, "The Big Lebowski". I find this appropriate for two reasons: One, the movie takes place during the First Gulf War, so it kinda parallels todays events, and two, the movie is just so fucking funny that I can't stand it. Enough pretense. Now, the quote:

Walter Sobchak: Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

:: C.M. Burns 3/07/2003 01:56:00 PM [+] :: ::
Roger Ebert-Political Pundit

It's been sort of sad reading Roger Ebert's movie reviews since Gene Siskel died. Siskel was a good foil for Ebert, a much harsher critic and much funnier, I would add. Ebert's reviews were always very thoughtful, however, and insightful. You knew that he was a film lover, as well as a critic. His "The Great Movies" series of reviews should be must read for any serious critic. However, without Siskel, Ebert has lost his touch. He's become intellectually dishonest with his reviews now that he has yes-man and film no-nothing Richard Roper as his sidekick on his TV show. I have yet to see Roper make a sensible review of anything, and I challange anyone who actually reads this to let me know about it when he does. Siskel must have kept him honest. How else to explain his positive review of "Daredevil" and other bizzare choices he has made. Ebert should have chosen Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune as his co-host, as Wilmington is at least as pretentious as Ebert is, and has the intellectual muscle to back it up. Plus, Wilmington is actually less attractive than Ebert(Mean, yes, but TV puts looks above all else), and Ebert might have been able to get away from all those "Ebert ate Siskel" jokes.

What I'm getting at is that with Roper in line as his toady, Ebert has let his inner liberal out. His reviews more and more have political tones, mostly jibes at President Bush, as in his review of "The Life of David Gale". Now, I visit his website this week, and find that he has published a column entitled "Public prayer fanatics borrow page from enemy's script". I have no idea how Ebert became an expert on the Constitution or how he knows so much about "horizontal" vs. "vertical" prayer. I do know that if I want to hear opinions on the Constitution, I'll read a law review, and that if I want to hear an analysis on prayer I'll ask a panel of holy men. I hopefully WON'T find it on a movie-review page. I'm not saying Ebert can't write what he wants and put it up for public consumption. That's what I'm doing right now. All I'm saying is that he shouldn't be doing a political commentators job on an issue that his column clearly shows he has no expertise on. Maybe it's time he was put out to pasture. After all, he gave the same number of stars to "Main in Manhattan" and "The Two Towers". Anyone that deluded clearly needs help.
:: C.M. Burns 3/07/2003 12:09:00 PM [+] :: ::
Estrada and the George Will "Hypocricy"

There's nothing like the appearance of hypocricy in the political arena to get a politico's blood boiling, and this goes for everyone, Right or Left. Pointing out a case of "do as I say, not as I do" is, admittedly, a lot of fun, and it really hurts your opponent in the public eye. Today's case is one concerning George Will, and a column he recently wrote regarding the Democratic filibuster of Bush DC-appelate court nominee Miguel Estrada. The entire case already stunk of hypocricy from the Democrats, who have politicized a judgicial nominee in a way not ever seen for a non-Supreme Court nomination. In his column, Will wrote that by entering a filibuster against a judicial nominee was not only bad precedent, but unconstitutional, as super-majorities should not be required for judicial nominees.

Not so fast, say many on the Left. Edward Lazarus, a lawyer and former prosecuter, points out here that in 1993 Will was all for Cloture votes and filibusters as a Constutitionally protected practice. And it's true, Will did say these things, he supported the use of the filibuster. And wow, does it look like hypocricy, becuase he was for it when the Democrats were in power, and against it when the GOP held court. However, Lazarus and the various bloggers that see this as hyprocicy are themselves not telling the whole truth. First, go read Will's entire column, which I have linked to above. Then read what he said in 1993 in Lazarus's cloumn. Notice one important fact that has not been pointed out: In 1993 Will was not arguing for the filibuster for Judicial nominees. In his 1993 piece, Lazarus quotes Will mentioning judicial nominees along with permissibble filibuster. But the quotes he strings together don't actually fit. Lazarus interjects his own analysis of what he saya Will said. Quote:

"Specifically, Will argued that the five instances of supermajority votes listed in the Constitution were the only time supermajority votes could be used for externally-oriented legislation - "the disposition by each house of business that has consequences beyond each house, such as passing legislation or confirming executive or judicial nominees." However, "procedural rules internal to each house," according to Will, "are another matter." And in that sphere, a supermajority cloture vote was fine."

Will's actual position on judicial nominees and the filibuster is not actually quoted verbatim here. In fact, Lazarus seems to be putting in Wills direct quotes where he needs them to support his argument. It is telling that Lazarus does not link to Will''s full article. I don't have Lexis/Nexis here, so I can't go looking for it, but in the blogosphere it is usually good form to link to your sources. Lazarus does not do that. We'll just have to take his word.

I would argue that Will's position on Estrada is not a flip flop. Read what he says. He only derides the filibuster as a tool against judicial nominees, upset at the way Democrats have corrupted the usually dignified way nominees are handled. Read his article for all the precedent that backs up his position. It's also telling that Lazarus cannot produce anything Will has said that would support a filibuster of a judicial nominee. Is it perhaps becuase he never really flipped floped? Then read today's Washington Post editorial that takes the Dems to task for their actions. As I said, it's fun to point out Hypocricy. If you want to have some fun, just check out the Democratic attacks on Estrada. I think what they're demanding of him defines the word "hypocricy". Just don't take my word for it. Check it out yourself.
:: C.M. Burns 3/07/2003 10:06:00 AM [+] :: ::
Breaking the Entertainment News Blackout

Here at Sic Transit Gloria, I've decided not to report any kind of entertainment news that does not have to do with hyping or dissing upcoming film and TV projects. While this article is a little heavy on the celeb side of the news, it does concern the future of The Sopranos. So read on, and see if you think Tony S. is coming back next fall.
:: C.M. Burns 3/07/2003 09:09:00 AM [+] :: ::
Don't Tell PETA

Something tells me PETA wouldn't like the idea of a water-skiing squirrel.

:: C.M. Burns 3/07/2003 09:01:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, March 06, 2003 ::
Night of the Living Dead Bin Laden?

Is Osama bin Laden now a member of the living dead, a walking corpse, feading on the flesh of others? Well, according to our captive al-Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, he's both dead AND alive. Turns out he's giving conflicting information to his interrogators, in what has to be the simplest way to confuse them possible. I mean, when it's a simple yes or no question, the easiest way to confuse them is to tell seperate people different things. That's why you use ONE set of questioners. Duh! Of course, this could be an al-Qaeda plot to create an army of walking corpses, but I don't think Tom Savini is a terrorist.
:: C.M. Burns 3/06/2003 03:34:00 PM [+] :: ::
Ah, Childhood

One of the best sites on the web for reminicing about your childhood(if you were a child of the 80's), is x-entertainment.com. The webmaster, Matt, reviews everything from old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle episodes to cheesy 80's horror flicks. The site is pretty campy, fun, and Matt is frickin' hilarious. I point that out now, because today he's got a review of
the 1st Issue of Nintendo Power Magazine. I don't kknow how many people ever got this Mag back when it first came out, but I did, being the little geek that I was, and this article just brought back so many memories from the good old days. So for your fix of Mario & co. before the games became more advanced than our miltary, click above and go take a stroll down memory lane.
:: C.M. Burns 3/06/2003 12:09:00 PM [+] :: ::
What the...? Powell Should Resign?

While I doubt this is the first time the idea has been floated by those opposed to the war(In fact I heard Bill Mahar say something similiar on his HBO show last night. Yes, I watched Bill Mahar. Just once out of pure curiosity. Newsflash: He's still a pompus ass). In a column in todays Salon.com, Middle East Expert William O.Beeman calls on Sec. of State Powell to resign. He claims it is the only way for Powell to keep his honor intact, as he's obviously been co-opted by the evil uber-hawks at the White House. Beeman claims that in going to the security council to present evidence last month, Powell lost all shred of credibility. I find this argument insulting to the Secretary of State. It shows the kind of pretentious thinking that only a career diplomat like Beeman could employ.

He dismisses the evidence Powell presented to the Security Council as "questionable" with "half-formulated conclusions". Since, in his mind, the evidence is not evidence, Powell has been co-opted. There is, in Beeman's thinking, no way that Powell could seriously agree that Iraq is a threat. Beeman seems to be living in his academic Ivory Tower exclusively these days. He seems to forget that it was Powell who convinced the President to go to the United Nations, that Powell wanted Res. 1441 drafted. He also seems unaware that the French Foreign Minister invited Powell to a dinner ostensibly in good faith and then blindsided him by asserting that the US was too arrogant and that France would oppose any action by the US despite what was in the report. Might this have changed Powell's mind, or the fact that he probably has much more evidence about Iraq's undermining the inspections than he could have told the world, and Mr. Beeman, due to security concerns? Is Powell so weak-willed that he would in Mr. Beeman's mind throw away his credibility for something that he didn't believe in? Powell has always been reluctant to get into politics. He could have had the GOP Presidential nomination in 1996 or 2000 if he wanted it. He didn't. President Bush had to beg him to come on to the cabinet. Do you think that after this occured, Powell wouldn't resign if he thought something was wrong? Apparently, Mr. Beeman does.

Mr. Beeman also says that after the UN Presentation, Powell was pushed to the sidelines, sent to East Asia aftyer he did the "bidding of the White House". Like going to a hot spot in the world is not the job of a diplomat. Like nothing is going on there. Here, Mr. Beeman's argument passes into absurdity. He says Powell has only shown up now and again, ostensibily because he is so opposed to war. Why then was Powell front and center yesterday afternoon, asserting that Iraq is hiding bio and chem weapons in neighborhoods. This was all over the news. Did Mr. Beeman not see it, or did he decided not to rewrite such an eloquent column in the face of ugly facts?

In the end, Mr. Beeman's column will be eaten up by Salon's usual readers who have always had respect for Powell and couldn't concieve a reason, other than blackmail, for his turn into a hawk. I would argue that Iraq's non-compliance and duplicity might have something to do with it, but then again, I don't live in an ivory tower.
:: C.M. Burns 3/06/2003 10:17:00 AM [+] :: ::
Political Blog Update

Because I am too lazy to post to two seperate Blogs, my political page is going to be combined into my main Blog, so now Sic Transit Gloria will offer observations on everything, and anything goes. Except for acceptance of teh Segway. It is an evil machine. Dark magic makes it work, I tell ya.
:: C.M. Burns 3/06/2003 09:36:00 AM [+] :: ::
The Duties of an Ex-President

The big media story this morning is that Bill Clinton and BobDole are going to revive the old Point/Counterpoint segment on 60 minutes. Personally, I think watching it should be alot of fun. However, I have two problems with this: one, they're taping their arguments separately which means no on-screen tension, and two, Ex-Presidents shouldn't critisize their replacements. This is a long-held practice in politics. Until Clinton, the only former President to say negative things about his successors was Jimmy Carter, or to say pretty much anything about politics at all, except at Conventions. Carter has sort of made a career out of second-guessing whoever is in charge. He even did it with Clinton. Now that the Nobel people have given him the Peace Prize for simply disagreeing with Dubya, all his years cozying up to dictators and trashing Reagan have finally yielded fresh fruit for our worst former living President. But Bush Sr. never said a bad word about Clinton in public, even during those first two years when Clinton couldn't do anything right and the GOP could have knocked him out for good. No, George H.W. Bush had too much class. Like Ike and Truman, he recognized that his time in politics was over, and let the new generation take over.

As for Clinton, he is nothing if not obsessed with how the public sees him. He is still very young, and probably cannot stomach the rest of his life as a simple fundraiser who can only lob grenades in the general direction of the GOP, and not the President. He has already been openly critical of Bush. This spot on 60 Minutes will give him a public platform to do so on a weekly basis, and not at a fundraiser. This sets a bad precedent. Yes, anyone should be able to say negative things about President Bush. But former Presidents have always been considered different. They held the office, they knew the pressures, they laid off their successors. I had no problem with Al Gore being critical. Until he pulled himself out of the 2004 race, he had every reason to say and say often where he disagreed with the man he might face in the next election. He still has every right to say it, and since he could always run again, his saying what he thinks bothers me not in the least. But Clinton was President. He SHOULD have more class than to accept this role. I know why CBS picked him: he's charming and well spoken, and he and Dole will make for good TV. But it doesn't make a good precedent, and I wish he'd have more class, though of course we know he has none. This just solidifies that fact.
:: C.M. Burns 3/06/2003 09:22:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, March 05, 2003 ::
Toni Smith & The Flag

By now most people have heard about the young basketball player in New York who turns her back on the flag when the National Anthem is played. And she has been applauded for standing up for her views. Usually, I would not have any problem with what she was doing. Protest IS patriotic, even if the person's opinion is, in my view, misguided. However, after reading the statement she released defending her turning her back, I think she may be a bit confused. She writes that she turns her back because "the government's priorities are not bettering the quality of life for all of its people, but rather on expanding its own power, I can no longer, in good conscience, salute the flag."

Fine. She dislikes the government. However, the flag has never stood for the government. It stands for the ideals the Nation was founded on, not for whoever happens to be President at the time. She seems to agree, she writes: "the American flag stands for individuality and freedom. Therefore, any true patriot must acknowledge and respect my right to be different." I certainly do acknowledge her right to be different. However, when she says the flag stands for individuality and freedom, by turning her back on it the message it sends, if you read her words, is that she does not believe in individuality and freedom. If she were to say "The flag stands for imperalism and death", I would argue that she is wrong, but turning her back on it would not be morally inconsistant. She has a strong opinion, that is to be sure, and if she were wearing a headband that said "No War" or something like that, in the end I would just think her opinion incorrect and move on. But since the flag stands for not the government of our Nation but the ideals our Nation was founded on, and she agrees, the message she sends is not that she opposes war, but that she opposes freedom and individualism.

Now, I don't think that's true. I think she turns her back because she is against the war. But if you're going to protest, at least make sure your reasons are clear and not confused. In the end, she has done more damage to her cause by not fully grasping what she is doing. As long as the flag flies she will have every freedom it represents. Why she would literally turn her back on those freedoms is what has caused the uproar, not that she dissents. Her own actions and words distract from her cause. This is also why I never got flag-burning as a good way of protesting by Americans. Do they not like freedom? I know it goes both ways, and freedom mean snever having to say you're sorry. It's just a wierd way to protest, is all.
:: C.M. Burns 3/05/2003 04:39:00 PM [+] :: ::
I'm not Sure she Understands the Point

Here's an interesting article. A New Zeland woman is offering to be crucified by President Bush in exchange for our not attacking Iraq. In what has to be the most bizzare protest ever, Mary Grierson claims that she is willing to sacrifice her life in exchange for all those that may be lost in the impending conflict. But Bush would have to nail her in himself. She claims doing this would prove his "measure (as) a man". Yes, allowing you to have delusions of granduer and killing you would prove that Bush is a man. She needs to be institutionalized, I think, as I can' t think of anyone since Jesus Christ who has asked to be crucified for the sake of others. She is either a grandstander trying to call attention to her cause, or a mentally ill person with delusions of granduer. Let me offer a counter-proposal. She offers her life up to Saddam in exchange for all the people who will die through his actions over the remainder of his life. You know Saddam would have no problem doing this to her. He's done worse to others. And this would prove he was more of a man, according to this woman. Problem is, how do you enforce it once you're gone? Think that'll he'll honor an agreement with you after bucking the UN. Yet another example of the lackof rational thought on the "anti-War" side.
:: C.M. Burns 3/05/2003 03:36:00 PM [+] :: ::
Skipping Class=Protest?

I hate to rain on the parade of many in the anti-war(anti-liberation, pro-Saddam?) movement, but the idea that any kind of real support can be gauged by checking on how many students decide to leave class early around lunchtime on a random weekday afternoon is absurd. Yes, I know that some people will have to get up and leave before class ends, but as if I know college profesors and the war, I don't think it's going to affect their grades very much. Professors are probably urging students to do it, saying that nothing will happen, go stop our warmongering, evil president. I'll bet that some classes will empty completely. After all, if there's no punishment, why stick around class? It's lunch. I'm actually going to be reading campus papers tomorrow about the "teach-ins" that have been pushed by organizers. It's fine with me if they do this. I just want to see if anyone who has a dissenting opinion will be heard, or shouted down, as is the norm in these kind of situations.

UPDATE: To highlight the absurdity of college students cutting classes being a great indicator of support for the protestors, current IU student and editor of the excellent Hoosier Review blog (fear not, Dems, there is good analysis on both sides) has come up with a"Beer for Bombs" counter-protest. It applies the same logic that campus activists are using, and is damn funny at the same time. Enjoy.
:: C.M. Burns 3/05/2003 02:12:00 PM [+] :: ::
Eat an Animal for PETA Day

After their much maligned effort to equate the Holocaust with the treatement chickens recieve before they end up in the Colonel's Bucket, Peta deserves to hear from all of us who think their tactics are deplorabel. And an intrepid blogger has come up with this idea: Eat an animal for PETA day. Follow the instructions here and eat an animal for PETA and let them know how good it tastes. And then tell them you're donating your money to the ASPCA because PETA is full of morons.

And, if you're a vegetarain, you can participate, too. Jane Galt's blog has come up with Eat A Strata For PETA for all you non-Vegans. You see, PETA's official stance is Vegan, anything else is wrong to them, so if you were to follow Jane's above advice and let them know, you could make a difference. It's fun and easy! Stick it to PETA, make them cry!
:: C.M. Burns 3/05/2003 10:40:00 AM [+] :: ::
The North Korean Quagmire

Stanley Kurtz has an interesting article up about North Korea over at National Review Online. He presents us with some of the truely chilling questions we face regarding the future of the war on Terror and our own security. Agree or disagree with him, it's a good read.
:: C.M. Burns 3/05/2003 09:58:00 AM [+] :: ::
Ash Wednesday

The Catholic holy period of Lent begins today, and I am again faced with a question that has bothered me since my faith went into decline in 1996-Do I get the ashes or not? I've gotten ashes maybe three times in the past 7 years, and last year I even went as far with the tradition to not eat meat on Fridays. Once a week trips to McDonalds for Filet o Fish sandwiches, which may not have had fish but at least also had no meat, became commonplace. It felt good, on a certain level, to do this, to prove that I could not eat meat once a week in the Lenten tradition of sacrifice.

I must admit that I am a bit of a sucker for religious ritual. No, not cult-like rituals, I mean stuff like fasting during Lent, getting the ashes, and even the ritual of Mass, from time to time. I like the tradition. On the other hand, I get nothing out of this spiritually. I get the ashes, I feel like I've done the "right" thing by the church, but I don't really feel touched by God or anything. Same with the no meat thing. It's a personal acomplishment. I actually don't see WHY God would care what I eat, but if giving it up makes me feel good, more power too me, right? As for Mass, well, I'm lazy, which is one of the 7 deadly sins, filed under "sloth", but I don't think Kevin Spacey is going to come to my apartment and kill me in a horrible yet oddly ironic way. Also, if you're not sure what you believe, how does Mass help? It never helped me figure out if God was there or not. Why did I like going, when I went? I figured this one out, it's the community aspect. Everyone else is there, if it's your local church you see familiar faces, and everyone's faith makes you think a little about you own, or lack thereof. I would say that mass has a strong positive psychological affect of me, when I go. Of course, so does watching 24 on DVD at home on Sunday, but you see my point. So in the end, I guess I like the tradition because I can think about why I'm not sure I believe in God in an environment OF believers that at the very least will make me feel better about myself for going to church, or not eating meat, or getting ashes on my forehead.

Adding fuel to this theological fire is the possibility that the psychological uplift I feel upon completing these rituals and sacrifices is actually a spiritual uplift. I admit that I've been so out of touch with religion that I am no longer qualified to judge the difference. Is it God or is it just my mind that is comforting me. I don't know. So in the end, it all comes down to a matter of faith: You either believe or you don't. I want to say I'm on the fence, but there is no on the fence with faith, you either believe or you don't. If you're not sure, you don't believe. So I guess I don't believe. That doesn't mean I don't want to, however, so I think this Lent, even if I don't get the ashes, I will again be missing meat on Friday, and instead of just going to church on Easter, maybe I'll add a day and go on Palm Sunday. It's a start. Oh, and I'm thinking of giving something up for Lent, which is the other part of the sacrifice. I'm thinking of giving up alcohol. Don't laugh. I think I can do it. In fact, I have faith in my ability to do it. It's a start.
:: C.M. Burns 3/05/2003 09:54:00 AM [+] :: ::
You Can't Escape The Emerald Isle

Perhaps it is because both are island nations. Perhaps it is becuase both have or have had larger countries claim soverigenity over them. Or perhaps it's because madness knows no flag. You see, Irish Stepdancing is sweeping Taiwan. That link, by the way, is from the Taipei Times, where my friend Ingrid worked for two years before she came back to the DC area. So that's a shout to you, Ingrid. Can you tell me why the Taiwanese love Irish Stepdancing? Or should it remain a riddle that only the corpse of Albert Einstein could solve? Only time will tell.
:: C.M. Burns 3/05/2003 09:14:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 ::
Before You Die...

You buy a crapy extras-free version of "The Ring", I guess. Which is what I did today. Yeah, I got it on the cheap from Best Buy, and the movie scare me silly, but all they have are one little video prepared by the director? No commentary track? No deleted scenes or alternate endings? No way to just watch the video from the movie on it's own? Bull, I say. I know for a fact that there is an alternate ending that is pretty interesting out there, and that deleted scenes exist. I'm pissed at Dreamworks here people. If a Special Edition set comes out in like 5 months, I'm so not buying it. Well, maybe I will. I have no free will when it comes to these things. Jeebus help me!
:: C.M. Burns 3/04/2003 02:50:00 PM [+] :: ::
Ah, Delicious Irony

OK, Barbara Streisand has done it again. The woman who doesn't know when to stop talking about politics offered up this gem while defending her patriotism:

"It used to be in politics that there was a certain amount of class and eloquence, even though there were strong disagreements over deeply important questions. But, as usual, the Republicans have resorted to name-calling and mean-spiritedness."

Yes, while decrying the lack of class in politics, she declines to show any herself. She could have escaped and made a decent point, but she had to get that last dig at Republicans in. She could have been OK if she hadn't said "as usual". But she did. And that is just priceless. Of course, she's been calling Republicans names for years, and the only reason she's singled out by anyone for ridicule is that she is so consistantly wrong, as when she attributed her "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war" quote to Shakespere. Sure it was the message that was important she says, but you can see how people might not take her seriously anymore. I mean, she can't even spell Dick Gephardt's name correctly. I know, she was "dictating"(right), but you have to have some level of intelligence to be taken seriously, and Babs never shows an ounce of that. Just righteous indignation. Plus, blaming the help is so classless.

:: C.M. Burns 3/04/2003 11:03:00 AM [+] :: ::
Mysteries of the Universe

I just logged onto my reccomendations at amazon, and this came up. I think someone's hacked them. It's the only explaination.
:: C.M. Burns 3/04/2003 10:36:00 AM [+] :: ::
OK, Now I'm Worried

I posted yesterday about how I'm not religious, but hold nothing against those who are. Well, I think I jumped the gun a bit, because this op/ed in today's NY Times by Nicholas D. Kristof scares the pants off me. I had long believed that people who still believed in Creationism and Creation Science were fringe dwellers. According to a recent Gallup poll, it is actually those of us who believe in Evolution that are on the edges of American thinking. The poll finds that a full 48%(!) of Americans believe in Creationism while only 28% believe in Evolution. The rest aren't sure or are leaning towards Creationism.

In the piece, Kristof calls for a greater understanding between believers in God and believers in science, and that the Media has successfully pushed a large number of American's towards the fringe. He argues this is a bad thing. I say "Way to go Media!" I mean, Evolution may not be fact, but I have an easier time accepting that than I do that God created Earth in 7 days and that the planet is only 6000 years old. While it's ture that scientists and skeptics like to marganinalize religious beliefs, and while I am usually against this, in this case I want them to push the Creationism people right off the map. I mean 48 Fucking Percent! That's a whole lot of people who don't believe in science. It's information like this which changes a person's perspective. I'm ready to argue for more public funding for science programs now.

Now, Einstien was right when he said, as quoted by Kristof: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." And I don't think Christians should be ignored by the media because of what they believe. Instead, I think we need to adopt a more serious tone in addressing this problem, as Evangelical Christians are growing in this country, and before we know it, our kids will think the Earth is only 6000 years old and that the Book of Revelation is coming true as we speak. Someone hold me, I'm scared.
:: C.M. Burns 3/04/2003 08:41:00 AM [+] :: ::

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