:: Sic Transit Gloria ::

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:: Thursday, August 28, 2003 ::

MTV VMA's: The Decline Continues

Around the mid-90's, possibly in 1997, the MTV Video Music Awards stopped being relevant. They just stopped. A juggernaut at one time, unparalled in coolness and production values, they sunk the final nail in the coffin of the still thrashing corpse that is the Grammy's. I grew up with the VMA's, and during my High School Years it was THE show to watch. PeeWee Herman's surpise appearance in 1991, Dana Carvey as Garth playing along with U2 on drums via satellite the next year, perfromances by U2, Metallica, Nirvana, Pearl Jam & Neil Young in an incredible display of rock power, and finally, Guns n' Fuckin' Roses, first with "Welcome to the Jungle" in '88, then in 1992, the truly awesome live performance of November Rain with Axl & Elton John at the piano(for all you kiddies out there, this was like the Eminem/Elton version of "Stan" at the Grammy's in, what, '01?, but much, much cooler, as Axl was just as homophobic as Slim Shady, but he had Slash on Guitar and shared the song with Elton all the way through.

Anyway, all these awesome moments are etched into my brain, including the bizzare appearance of Howard Stern one year to the Madonna/Letterman schtick that worked so well. So what went wrong? Well, in 1996 Kurt was gone and grunge was on the wain and the brief but oh-so-painful Ska movement was starting, with irritating pop/ska dimbulbs No Doubt taking over. Alt rock made a jump into the mainstream with Odelay from Beck. Rap was strong that year, with B.I.G and Tupac, along with Snoop, dominating. I also think TLC had a hit that year with "Waterfalls". Anyway, the show was pretty good, Dennis Miller hosted, it was fun. 1997 was when things went wrong. This was not host Chris Rock's fault. Rock was funny, and there was one outstanding performance that sticks in my head, which is, of course, the Wallflowers doing the still-haunting "One Headlight" with the Boss himself, Springsteen. It was pretty damn cool. But that year also featured the ascension of the worst thing to happen top music ever, which is, of course, Puffy. Puffy(who I STILL say killed Biggie) launced himself to stardom on the corpse of the man who made him and a stolen riff from Sting, who just made things worse by agreeing to sing along at the Show. It made me sick. I haven't watched the show since, but I've heard enough to tell me that every year it gets worse. The problem-Rappers have begun to take themselves too seriously, rock is no longer fun but angsty, and pop music like Justin, Britney, and Xtina has ruined the party hard image of music. You think Britney and Justin and you see a barbie doll and a dope, and Xtina has fallen into the Whore phase of her career, aparently emulating Madonna(note: once you enter that phase, you can never get out)

Also sullying that year was Marylin Manson with his charming "Beautiful People" which was just.so.damn.awful. Manson was never more than a clever showman in the PT Barnum variety, and for that I give him props, but he never had any talent, and he really never had anything really socially relevant to say, Michael Moore or MTV to the contrary. He was an image, that was all. That his critics focused on the image instead of trashing his pointless music was a victory for Manson, though he hasn't been heard from lately. But he's rich and dating a ultra-sexy nude model, and he's been taking up photography, and judging by the photos of her in Playboy that he took a few months back, I'd say he has a future in Glamour shots.

Anyway, this years awards feature Chris Rock again, which may be a bad thing. His previous two times hosting, in 1997 and 1999, he was at th etop of his comedic game, coming off of Bring the Pain and working on Bigger & Blacker, which are two of the best stand up albums of the 90's. Since then, he has had two major flops, "Down to Earth" and "Head of State", a he took his TV show off the air, and while "Pootie Tang" had about ten minutes worth of laughs, Wanda Sykes, the woman Rock discovered, has made more out of his show that he has. Rock, in short, needs this awards to be good. I have faith in his stand up. He's always funny. Sadly, he cannot act or write for the big screen or direct, yet. His acting will probably not improve, but writing screenplays and directing can get better. Anyway, he's the host for the big 20th anniversary VMA's tonight. And MTV has put a lineup around him that will allow him to show his quick wit and distract the audience if Rock bombs. Coldplay, a good band for being on MTV, performs, as does Metalica, which is playing a medley of past winners, going way back. Considering Metallica recently discovered how to thrash again, it could be fun. I'll tune in. But if the show goes on too long, it will be a sad 20th Anniversary indeed. Why, for instance, are Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen on? They have nothing to do with MTV. Ben Stiller is funny, yes, but not in Musical form. Jason Biggs? Please, his one-note Pie-Fucker routine died after American Pie 2. Hilary Duff? Jimmy "Poor Man's Adam Sandler" Fallon? LeBron James and Serena Williams? What is this, synergy between ESPN and MTV?

Too many stars spoil the show, like too many chefs spoil the soup. Rock should be allowed to be himself. The presenters, if MTV had any sense of class, should be all the former winners, going back the past 20 years. That would be worth watching. Still, at least the VMA's took 15+ years to fall this far. MTV's Movie Awards, which burst onto the scene in 1992, took only 4 years to collapse. MTV has killed music, ruined it's original programming, and made household names out of bands that only knew three chords, and while that's not a problem, it's certainly not part of the solution. Hopefully, MTV will flounder and die. Perhaps the corpse of Rikki Rhatman will rise from the grave, along with the corpses of Kennedy, Dr. Dre(the other one) and Ed Lover, and strom the stage, eating the flesh off the bones of what MTV now-calls on-air "talent". Perhaps even the once promising, now a hack Kurt Loder will rise up against his oppressors and kill Britney, Nelly, DMX, Xtina, and Avril Lavigne in his rage at a career ruined. And while it goes on, the great Johnny Cash can decend and say "I told you so", as he sing "The Man Comes Around". One can dream, at least.


:: C.M. Burns 8/28/2003 03:19:00 PM [+] :: ::
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Last Words on the Ten Commandments

Well, I can't say I'm sorry to see the monument go. Judge Moore is, in fact, a blowhard and really is not fit to serve on the bench. For more on Moore, see Ramesh Ponnuru's post on the subject in The Corner on National Review Online. If his is the last word, his final words sum up the case nicely: "There cannot be an obligation in conscience to keep a particular bloc of granite in a particular place. And when there is no moral obligation to disobey "man's law," there is a moral obligation to follow it." I like it. I have to grudging give the NYT's editorial page credit now, for being the first to recognize that this guy was nuts. They did their research on his case, I didn't. Shame on me. That's about all I give them, though, and I still think they're anti-religion. But they got this one right. Moore should go.
:: C.M. Burns 8/28/2003 01:56:00 PM [+] :: ::
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Everybody Lies in Politics. Did Coulter and Franken just Pick Up on this?

There's a lot of hate out there right now. From Coulter to Conason, Franken to Hannity, we've got lefties and righties tossing a-bombs at each other about how the other side is a bunch of liars. What has pissed me off is that no one says that everyone lies in Politics. If these books have taught me anything, it's that the only truth is that everyone lies. I would write a long, eloquent piece on it, but Jack Shafer beat me to it in Slate today with "Liar, Liar - Liberal writers steal a rhetorical trick from the conservatives". And I agree. Conservatives picked up the Liar trick first, because it works in the fast-paced TV pundit world. Anyway, Shafer says what I think when he writes that if you read Franken, Coulter, Conason, or Hannity, you probably don't want real truth anyway. You just want to feel good about hating the other side. Good read.
:: C.M. Burns 8/28/2003 11:34:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Tuesday, August 26, 2003 ::
I Have A Secret

Yes, I have a secret. One is that I'm actually an alien, but I'll never admit to that. The other, more sinister secret is that I, an avowed conservative, don't care much for Dubya. That's right, if it weren't for his foreign policy, which I see as bold and the only answer to terror, I wouldn't care for him at all. I voted for McCain in the GOP primary in 2000, and in the general election, well, I didn't vote for him OR Gore. I could never vote for Gore and sleep at night, but I've never cast a ballot for George W. Bush. During the buildup to Iraq I defended him daily, though, and on foreign policy I will continue to defend him. However, his domestic policy initiatives have been sad jokes. With a projected budget defecit of $500 Billion, I can't help but think that maybe he's screwed up somewhere. Now, if all that cash was going into the military, I wouldn't care. After all, as a conservative I hate wasteful government programs that sound wondeful but end up failing massively. Give it to the military, and I wouldn't care. But Bush decided to create the utterly pointless Dept. of Homeland Security, which as far as I can tell exists only to frighten us vaguely with it's stupid color-coding. Never mind that it doesn't DO anything, and that it created yet another useless government department with a bloated budget and too many redundant employees. It's not even doing what it set out to do.

What I have to admit is that the boom of the 90's, while mostly due to the tech explosion, was also due to the war between Congressional Republicans and the Clinton White House. Working together, or rather against each other, they managed to cobble together budgets that didn't have deficits, and, while Clinton's foreign policy was the worst since Carter, he didn't really abandon the military, though Rumsfeld's modernization plan is much needed. But Clinton, for his many, many faults, never created a monsterous new federal department that would suck up tax dollars without actually doing anything.

This leads me to an interesting conclusion, one I know my Democratic friends will hate, and one I wasn't so sure of before, but now seem positive about. Losing Newt Gingrich as speaker was a total disaster for the Republican Party, and for the country. Gingrich is a very smart man. You can hate him, but you can't deny it. The Democrats didn't. They were so afraid of him they successfully painted him as the Devil Incarnate. That's why I miss him. Yeah, he was a bastard, but so was Clinton, and Clinton was the greatest politician of our time, the only man who could almost destroy himself but then destroy his enemies instead. But with Newt and Clinton, you had legislation that would go through that didn't screw things up. Clinton might try and pass something stupid, Gingrich would stop him, Gingrich might try to cut social spending far too quickly, Clinton would threaten a Veto, and somehow it worked out, in that "somehow" that is only possible in Washington. Plus, up until Dole left the Senate in 1996, the GOP Majority was doing fine. Only under that incompetent, petty fool Trent Lott did the party flounder. Dole, Clinton, Gingrich. Giants of the 90's. Who would have thunk it.

Now, we have Dubya and his defict, which as a fical conservative I deplore. I don't blame the tax cuts, and I don't blame the economy. I blame just poor management by the GOP. Increadibly poor. After they and Clinton had done so well in the 90's, I have to say that bipartisanship isn't nearly as overrated as I thought it was. So what needs to happen? I don't like the Democratic party much, I'll admit. So I think there needs to be a revolution in the Republican party. Think of it as Reagan redux. The new generation of Republicans need to stand up and toss out the DeLays, Hasterts, Lott's, and Frists, and find real fiscal Conservatives with moderate social views. Clinton put something like that together with his Democratic Leadership Council. Perhaps the GOP needs that kind of retooling. Plus, Dubya needs to regain the confidence of real Conservatives. Ones like me who hate government spending and taxes and like the military, but aren't insane enough to become libertarians. Something in the mold of a Gingrich/Dole/Clinton model. Sound blasphamous? I hope so. We need to light a candle under this baby. The Democrats have again failed to produce a candidate I good vote for in good concience, with the possible exception of Lieberman, so I guess I'm throwing my weight to Dubya this cycle. But by 2008 the GOP needs a new direction or the threat of a backlash looms large. I see the potential of a split in the party. It seems unlikely now, but I'm archiving this file. A split on social issues, maybe, and definitly on spending.

I don't hate Dubya. I don't think he's evil or incompetent, but he needs a kick in the ass, and he needs to drop the elder Bush's old friends from his ranks of advisors, which includes ditching Cheney next year. What the hell good is Cheney doing as veep? He's useless and seen as mean(unfairly, I think, but still useless). And poor Tom Ridge, Sec. of Homeland Security. The man was a fine governor, and he gets that thankless role of leading a useless agency. Come on people! The GOP is growing complacent. Just becuase the Dems have been stupid for the past 3 years doesn't mean that's the way it'll always be. Terry McCauliffe won't be chairman forever. Ach. This turned into a rant, but I don't want to see the GOP fall to pieces. And I don't want a dick like Al Franken or Joe Conason to think they've got us pegged. So, the new GOP. Watch for it soon. I'll get on it right after my 3 month long federally funded fact-finding mission to Barbados.
:: C.M. Burns 8/26/2003 10:01:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Monday, August 25, 2003 ::
Finding Humor in the Horrible

I have a Civil War Desk Calander. I was rather amused by the entry for Saturday, August 23:

"On this day in 1862, the citizens of Bayou Sara, Louisiana, make the mistake of shooting at the USS Essex. The Essex Responds by shelling the town into rubble."

Heh. I guess the even then the Navy didn't have a sense of humor, though whoever wrote this calander did.
:: C.M. Burns 8/25/2003 01:49:00 PM [+] :: ::
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I Am Who I Pretend To Be: How I Went From A Relatively Nice, Laid Back Guy to An Asshole

I am an Asshole. There's no other word for it. I have been an Asshole for some time now. It goes back years. Back to college. If you read this Blog with any regularity, you know that I rant about stupid people and dumb things on top of the political mania. It seems like a joke, but I really do think people are idiots and I really have no compassion left in me. I am, in the end, a jerk. How did this happen? How did I get here? Is there any hope for me? To find out, lets take a trip through time.

Back in High School, I was a realitvely content nobody. I knew most of the people at school, didn't really have any enemies, but I certainly wasn't Mister Popularity. In the first couple of years this bothered my a bit, but I came to terms with it when I found my niche and had a few close friends and was happy enough to get to the end of my four years without having a mental breakdown. I guess that's average. Though something had occured to me during that time: I found that I could make people laugh by saying outrageous things, and I had a talent for it, or something like that. I wasn't witty, per se, but I could get big laughs. I found I liked this. It's a lot like a drug, the ability to make others laugh. It's a rush, a natural high, and the more it happened, the more I liked it. It was with this attitude that I hit college.

I loved college. With the exception of one three month period my Junior year, I have to say that the happiness I had there has never been exceeded. Which by this, my 26th year, isn't so bad, as life is still pretty much in front of me. Anyway, in college, I became an Asshole. Not to my friends, but in general. I had an annoying attitude that if I saw it in a kid today I would scream at him. Snide comments; loud, extended rants on the benefits of profanity and being a jerk. The sort of "smoking makes you cooler, and you all suck" attitude that gets all the laughs. Or did in my extended circle. I made a show out of being ornery and irritable, to the joy of others and, I thought, myself. My motto once I hit 21 "It's all downhill from here. I daresay I would have graduated as a jerk first class had something not happened in 1998.

The summer before my senior year, I worked at Camp Michigania, a family camp in northern Michigan that I have loved since I was about 2 years old. And I made a show out of how much I thought the job sucked and how miserable I was. The joke ran out on me that summer, though, when I actually became miserable. While I would laugh with the other staffers about how if there were staff action figures, my power would be "action Scowl"(The Daily Show used this the other day in reference to a Rumsfeld Action Figure. I can't prove they stole it from me, but I have theories), I was alone and miserable. And in those first few weeks, I finally realized why.

One of my favorite novels is "Mother Night" by Kurt Vonnegut. I loved Vonnegut in High School and College. I've read just about everything he's done, but "Mother Night" always stuck with me. The story is about an American actor working in Berlin during the rise of Nazism. He is married to a German actress, and they are very happy and generally oblivious to the whirlwind growing around them. One day, the actor is approached by a man who says he works for the American OSS, the precursor to the CIA. He tells him that the USA wants him to be a mole for them. The OSS knows that war with Germany is inevitable, and wants the actor, Howard W. Campbell, Jr., to cozy up to the Nazi's and supply the OSS with info. The way to do this, he is told, is to become a voice of Nazi Propaganda, to go on the air, like "Tokyo Rose", and issue hateful speeches about America, the Allies, and the Jews. Imbedded in his speeches would be code phrases that the OSS would interpret regarding troop movement, war plans, etc. Campbell takes the job. It eventually ruins him. He loses his wife, his wealth, his acting, everything. He flees to New York City at the end of the war and stays there, anonymous, because the OSS can not risk revealing that he was a spy due to other opperations. If he is captured by the American Army, he will not be saved. So he is reduced to a life of nothing, until outside forces beyond his control conspire to make him infamous again. The book is hilarious, sad, and compelling, and contains my favorite analysis of human character ever. Campbell, captured by the Israelis and waiting to be tried for war crimes, is writing his memoirs in prison. He writes, "Be careful who you pretend to be, because, in the end, you are who you pretend to be".

"You are who you pretend to be". This hit me one night at Camp like a lightning bolt. In pretending to be this self-important, I hate the world jerk who could get a cheap laugh and not much else, I had BECOME that person. I found myself revolted by the image, and vowed to change. Whether I changed completely I can't say, but I did enjoy camp a lot more, smiled more, and, while still easily annoyed but stupidity, I had a wonderful summer and last year of school. I found a way to be funny but not be a jerk. It was good.

Well, school ended and I came home to Wilmette, IL. I spent the summer working at Camp again, and again I was a jerk in the beginning, but I attribute this to my insecurity about the end of college and the beginning of "real" life. Anyway, I finished with a good note, and hit home. Back to Wilmette with no job, and no prospects. It was difficult, home, and while I did eventually find a job, it was a miserable internship that got me smoking again and eventually led to my shrink putting me on anti-depresents. In the meantime, some of the more angry, bitter parts of the person I had been resurfaced. I felt like the future was so dim I would have to wear high-powered night vision shades. I constantly clashed with my parents, and none of my college friends came to Chicago. I had a very small group that I hung with. Thankfully, the anti-depresents did wonders, and I became focused enough to realize that my life was going nowhere in Chicago. I resolved to go to Grad School, took the GRE, applied to a few, and got in out here in DC at GWU. And then I went back to Michigania for one last summer. And it was great, though I noticed that I was emotionally distant and more removed from the carefree atmosphere that had been the hallmark of the previous two summers. I still had fun, though, and chalked up the wierd feelings to the medication and unrest about the future, as exciting as it was looking.

Anyway, I had a good time my first two years out here. I found getting a job difficult, and lapsed into some debt, but I could handle it. I found some really good friends and excelled in school. I graduated in July of last year, and in August got a pretty damn good paying job with the government. And then this year happened, and all the shit came back, slowly at first, but now in a tide.

2003 dawned cold but full of potential. I quit smoking, I started working out a bit, and I had a steady job with good benefits and good people. And yet, my attitude has been deteriorating since my 26th Birthday in February, which was a sort of High-Water mark. I've lost friendships to pettiness, jealousy, and percieved slights that probably never existed. I've found myself being more and more negative in my outlook. I've grown more abrasive and difficult. I spend far too much time drinking, not alone, but in general. My job has become repetitive and dull. I am in debt. I am an unhappy person, and I've brought it all on myself. Why? Because I let the asshole return, I allowed myself to miss the forest for the trees. This year, with a couple of exceptions, I've let evey good thing that's happened to me over the past three years diminish in some way. Until this weekend, I've blamed everyone and everything else for my problems. But it's me. Always was, always will be. I have become what I despised. I am who I pretended to be, and I need to turn my life around, lest I wallow in misery and self-pity for the rest of my days. I need to help myself. I can't be an asshole anymore. I can't be this split personality I've allowed myself to become. How do I do it?

I think I need to embrace what's good about me. And there is some good. I can be funny without being insulting. I can be a good, decent, "nice" guy. Earlier this year, much much earlier, I good friend who I have since let slip away (due to, well, I'm not sure anymore), told me that I was a nice guy. It was a simple, heartfelt compliment. Yet I, being the self-contemplating "intellectual" that I liked to pretend to be took umbrage at being called "nice", becuase nice guys finish last. What a bullshit response. Being called nice by this person was probably the highest compliment I could have recieved. I need to realize that finishing last isn't the worst thing in the world. Instead of embracing my inner cynic, I need to just find the part of me that is good that my friend saw when she called me a nice guy. Is it so wrong to be nice? Another great quote: "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?". It profits him nothing but misery. In the analysis I came up with while tossing and turning last night I decided that I would rather spend a lifetime trying to be a nice guy and finishing last than to not try at all and slide through, or be an asshole to advance myself. Because I have to try, for as Teddy Roosevelt once said:
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Couldn't have said it better myself. I'm not leaving. I'm still here. And everyday I shall endeavour to better myself. I owe it not just to myself, but everyone else who ever tried. I must dare greatly to be a good person, least I find myself at the end of my days only counting how many ways I think the world has wronged me. All I need is the chance. I have it, anyone who asks for it has it, so I step into a new frontier, resolved to be the person I know I can be, and be content with myself whenever I get there because I was true to myself. It's a long road, but I have to have faith that I can make it. Because the other way lies madness, and because to not try is an insult to what I claim I believe.
:: C.M. Burns 8/25/2003 11:38:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Friday, August 22, 2003 ::
Crazy Judge Religion Melee

I wasn't going to comment on the whole 10 Commandments in the courthouse thing again. After I blasted the NYT's when the case first went to trial for basically calling the judge unfil to sit on the bench because he believed in God, I figured the whole story would go away. It was a non-story. Though give the media time, and get enough people rilled up about something, and the thing won't go away. This culminated in yesterday's bizzare appearance of Alabama Chief Justice Moore talking on the steps of the 'Bama supreme Court Building about how he will never deny God. And all I could think was "Why are we so fucked in the head over religion?"

In my opinion, the placing of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the courthouse does not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Just to keep us up to speed, here's the who amendment, relevent portion empasized: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

So, how does putting the Ten Commandments, laws themselves, most of which we as a nation agree with (well, the first and second are a bit non-inclusive to people who don't believe in God, or the Judeo-Christian one anyway) violate the First Amendment? Well, to understand this truly, we have to look at the way people view religion in this country. Starting with the ban on School Prayer(I agree that no one should be forced to pray. I don't really believe in God that much myself. You pray when you feel like it. Forced prayer is pointless), but really catching steam in the 70's and 80's, laws and judicial rulings focused entirely on what is called the "establishment clause". That is, that Congress should not create an established, government religion. This was increasingly interpreted over this time to mean that no government building at any level, from a public school to a courthouse, good have anything to do with God. The late 80's and early 90's saw frightened school boards trying to do away with bible study groups and even comparative religion classes under the fear that someone would sue them. What happened, in essence, is that Atheists of America, Inc. went on a lawsuit tear throughout the country. If you had a cross anywhere near a public building-lawsuit. If your school had prayer meetings after hours or bible study-lawsuit. If you dared mention God in a public place-lawsuit. They were well-funded and backed by no less than the ACLU on occassion. Christmas and Easter break became Winter and Spring Break. Hell, BC and AD became BCE & CE in science and even history texts representing the new political correctness. Never mind that, although BC stood for "Before Christ" and AD stood for "Anno Domenai"(Year of our lord), no one really put any religious meaning into it. The idea went from Congress not endorsing any religion to government not allowing religion to even be mentioned by it's representatives. The fact that Dubya is a real beliver drives the Atheists crazy, I'm sure.

Anyway, out of all this came a fear that the mention of religion in a government building was a tacit endorsement of the religion, breaking the First Amendment, and sending us on a slippery slope to theocracy. The fact that this thinking is insane is not important. The lawsuit hysteria that the Athiests stirred up put the fear of large payouts into the people. A note on Atheisim. As an agnostic-type who's not all that sure about God, part of me, in general, identifies with the atheists. The problem is that while the government must protect the minority opinion, the Atheist Organization, which truly does hate religious types, wants the government to ignore the will of the majority in a totally unreasonable way. What we have become is a nation of cowards on religion, overly sensitive to a simple list of 10 things that for thousands of years we've followed and for the first 200 plus years of this nation we follwed without creating a theocracy. My question is "why now does a display of the 10 commandments violate the First Amendment?" The answer is, it really doesn't. What we have here is a judiciary that has been interpreting the First Amendment in one extreme to avoid the other, ie, the establishment clause is so over protected that the part about not restricting the free practice of religion is totally forgotten.

People on the Left wonder what makes religious fundys tick. Attacks on simple things like the 10 Commandments is one of the things that mobolizes them. Calling them nutjobs and unfit for office is another. Don't mistake this for approval of all their plans. Teaching creationism in public schools is a mistake, as it is a clear endorsement of a RELIGIOUS view by a government institution. But the simple display of the 10 Commandments is just that, a display. Perhaps if the judge had palced the Code of Hammurabi next to it, nobody would have been upset. But it's such a small thing that has generated so much passion, that it's no wonder Religious folk vote in a block against the left. This never should have gotten this far. Despite the fact that Chief Justice Moore seemed a bit odd yesterday, I'm actually rooting for him. I want to see him win. And I don't think if he does that the country and Constitution will collapse. This is no slippery slope. What it is is a sad commentary on how the judiciary treats those who believe in God with passion. What should have been a nothing story is about to become a National crusade. Something large will come of this, I believe. Anyway, I vow to stop paying attention to this from now on. I think greater, more real threats to our Republic exist.
:: C.M. Burns 8/22/2003 10:21:00 AM [+] :: ::
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Has The World Turned Upside Down?

OK, follow recent events in Israel with me and see if you can guess who get's blamed for breaking the cease-fire in the media. 1)Hamas blows up an Israeli Bus over the weekend. Mostly young children are killed. Hamas claims responsibility. 2)Israel waits two days, which is a miracle in itself, for the Palestinian "leadership" to do something. When nothing happens, they target a Hamas leader and two of his aids, killing only those three members of a known terrorist group(well, not in Europe. Europe calls them "political"). 3)Hamas claims that THIS(the killing of the leader)was a "Despicable Crime", and that their response "God willing, (will) be earthshaking". Then Hamas announced that it was backing out of the cease-fire.

Um, note to Hamas? Didn't you effectively break the cease-fire, ie "back out" of it when you blew up that bus full of kids first? I think the answer is yes. The idea of a cease-fire is not that you stop taking responsibilityu for randomly killing people. The idea, you murdering bastards, is that you STOP RANDOMLY KILLING PEOPLE!

Of course, the story today is how Israeli retaliation caused the cease-fire to break. The New York Times, while surprisingly placing some of the blame on the Palestinians, also dropped a fair share on Israel, which acted with uncharacteristic restraint in first waiting for a Palestinian response, and then only targetted a known terrorist leader. Does Isreal not have a right to defend itself? I'm not the biggest Sharon fan, and I realize Isreal has sometimes been heavy handed, but this is not the case here. What is the moral equivalency between blowing up a city bus with children on it and targeting a terrorist leader with a surgical attack that kills only him and two other terroists? There is none! No equivalency! What the FUCK is wrong with the press? Am I taking crazy pills? How the hell do Palestinian apologists answer this one? And why the hell did the Palestinian Prime Minister stop drawing up a list of militants after yesterday's attack on Hamas? I am so upset at the Media right now, at the arab leadership, and at people who would think that there is no difference between wantonly killing children and killing a known terrorist leader. Fuck.
:: C.M. Burns 8/22/2003 09:21:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Thursday, August 21, 2003 ::
Hanson on Terror, Iraq, and Why We're (Still) Winning

Victor Davis Hanson has been one of the most eloquent voices regarding the war on Terror. He stands alone with Christopher Hitchins in understanding exactly what ending terrorisim means. In the wake of the UN bombing, the NY Times and other media outlets have been jumping on the "quagmire" and "we're losing" bandwaggons(See Slate.com's Kausfiles). In the following piece Phase Three, Hanson makes a very credible case for the recent bombings being the proof that the War on Terror is working. It makes sense, if you read and think about it. The knee-jerk reaction from the anti-War on Terror crowd, people who don't seem to recall that 3000 people died on 9/11/03, is that we can never win. Hanson slices through their arguments like a hot knife through butter. Informative reading.
:: C.M. Burns 8/21/2003 04:14:00 PM [+] :: ::
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:: Tuesday, August 19, 2003 ::
Only In The New York Times

My stomach turned over reading this article in the New York Times: Downside to Fewer Violent Deaths: Transplant Organ Shortage Grows


Yes, the NYT's is LAMENTING the fact that fewer young people have died violently, ie in Homicides or Car Accidents, becuase that means their young, oh so precious organs are remaining in their still alive body's. The macrbe tenor of the article would be hilarious if it weren't so sickening. I mean, can't they write an article about the need for more people to fill out donor cards(I've filled out mine) because the demand has gone up without saying that the decrease in violent death is in ways a negative thing. What was the author and his editor thinking? I understand that we need more donors because science has allowed us to live longer, but it's just such an awful thing. And now I'll be awful. The implication from the article, though it is never explicitly stated, is that the vast majority of people needing transplants are elderly. So what the article is implying is that if only the young folk would kill each other more, ma and pa Kettle could live an extra 5 years. Jesus. I know we're naturally afraid of death, but if I was past 60, and the choice was having some young kid die, or my not making it 5 more years, I might want to consider the greater good and not be so damn selfish. I may be wrong, and maybe I'd secretly want that 17 year old kid with the healthy heart to bite it from a bullet to the head, but I'd like to think I;m a least a human, which is more than I can say for the people who slanted this article. I need to wash now.
:: C.M. Burns 8/19/2003 08:42:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Monday, August 18, 2003 ::
Pepsi Possibly Bad For You. In other "News" the Y2K bug may have been overhyped

I always knew thatr drinking Pepsi would cause your insides to melt. Now, I have the proof. Wonder where Britney and Bob Dole have been lately, or why Michael J. Fox got sick, or why Michael Jackson went insane? It's all Pepsi, baby. The choice of a DEAD generation!
:: C.M. Burns 8/18/2003 02:17:00 PM [+] :: ::
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:: Friday, August 15, 2003 ::
I'm building a Remote cabin stronghold and you can't come

The more I read about division in America, about how everyone hates everyone else, and how poltical correctness is becoming ever more pervasive, I think that maybe society is going to collapse. I draw this from my experience as a blogger. It's been six months of blogging, now, and I still get good traffic, averaging a few hundred hits a month from searches, and the few regular readers I have(you know who you are), I don't get a lot of comments, but I know I have SOME readership as I have software that tells me where my hits are coming from. Most new readers are listed from yahoo or google searches, and occasional links from the few places I've registered. The blank referrals are from regular readers. It's good to know I have some, and the comments I do recieve are always welcome. Anyway, my point is that many people have visited my blog through google searches accompaining specific word combos. One of the most recent I saw, and most troubling, was "Victor David Hansen" and "racist".

Hansen, if you don't know, is a National Review columnist, historian, and social scientist who recentley published a book called "Mexifornia". He takes the state to task for, instead of actually assisting hispanic immagrants, legal or illegal, they instead stick them in poor English as a Second Language programs and basically allow day labor, which he equates with at least endentured servitude if not slavery, to flourish unchecked. He points to this as a reason so many illegals live in Claifornia, and says that the state's future is in jeopardy because the extreme PC attitude of the Legislators, especially the Gray Davis types, is allowing for a generation of poor, undereducated illegals to become a vast source of illegal labor while contributing nothing to society. Many on the far left lable him a racist for this. I had quoted him in a post right before I wrote my attack on Joe P. Kennedy, who I finished up by saying was a racist and a facist. This brought the article to the search engines attention.

Anyway, there were lots of things that I had written and linked to in those searches that contained phrases like "racist" "facist" "stupid" and "socialism". What I've decerned from all this is that American society may be doomed.

I'm hesitant to quote Nicholas Kristof in today's New York Times, especially because he seems so dumbfounded by the occurance, but he seems genuenly shocked to discover that a vast, vast majority of people in this country, even a majority of non-Christians, believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus. Now, if I was a religious fellow, I would not be shocked, and knowing religious types(not fundy's, but casual believers)I am not shocked either. Religion depends on Blind Faith. It's what makes religion religion, and usually this is not a bad thing(for reasons why it can be bad, read the incredibly disturbing account of Fundamentalist Mormonism gone wrong in "Under the Banner of Heaver" by Jon Krakauer, or hell, just read about mormonisim in general), at least for most Americans a little faith can be good for the soul. Kristof tries to reconcile this with numbers that suggest that more scientifically proven theories(well, not proven, lets just say "all but proven")like evolution are less accepted. In general, this is actually not that hard to believe. Science and religion have always clashed, though they don't have to. The reason Kristof bears reading today is that over the last few years, both religion and science, always in a rocky relationship, have begun to distrust each other more. Both sides mock the other in ways that have not been seen in a long time. For religious fundys who believe Earth was created in 6 days(note, I see the bible as metaphor, and the creation story sounds cool, but I don't read it as literal truth), the scientists are pushing their own, secular, godless beliefs on Americans who want religion in their lives. They are partly right, but only partly. Scientists lately do have a nasty habit of looking down a religious types, and not just the total true believers. Even those who say, "yeah, I think God's out there". This can be seen, however, as a reaction to the Fundy view on Creation "Science" that accuses regular evolutionary biologists of basically being liars themselves, and leaders who push their beliefs too far into the limelight as the ultimate "truth". They make fun of the secular scientists, say they are the instruments of Satan, etc. Now, even the most even-tempered scientist would be offended at being called the tool of evil, so the Fundy's, led by the likes of "Christian" leaders such as Pat Robertson(if there is a hell, I think Pat's going to get there. He twists religion in such a way that David Koresh would be proud) are all stupid and ignorant. The problem is, the scientists, perhaps because of their own misunderstanding of religion in American life, cut too large a swath when condemning it, so it's not just say, the Religious Right they tear into as stupid and mindless, it's essentially anyone who believes in God. Confused? good.

What this means to me is two things. For once I'm happy that Dubya has fundamentalist roots, but doesn't let them make his every decision. Check out Rich Lowry's piece in last Sunday's Post Outlook section for Bush's silence on the Culture War. The Religious Right thought they had it made when Bush was elected, but he has been hesitant to get involved, perhaps sensing that politicians shouldn't get invloved in the culture. He's proposed no legislation that forces religion on anyone. Yes, he has his faith-based initiatives, but he honestly thinks private churches, temples, and mosques can do a better job helping people than the government. This is why he is partly a conservative(fiscally he's all over the place). Unfortunately for Bush, the time is coming where he may be forced to speak out on the culture war. He ducked the Gay Marriage issue in a not-so deft manner after the Supreme Court ruling, and Democrats in Congress paint his every nominee as a religious extremist(I've read enough of the Congressional Record to see that if you, say, openly profess a faith in a higher power, Charles Schumer will label you dangerously out of the mainstream, though, oddly, the mainstream seems to believe in God). I believe they don't like devout Catholics, especially considering the shoddy treatment Catholics have had in this country since the founding(see Irish and Italian experiences, and the term "papist". Schumer's tactics actually echo those of the KKK against Catholics back in the early 60's. Yes, I said that, and stand by it.) Now, I'm not a devout Catholic, but I know a few who are lawyers, and never had any problem between the Constitution and Rome. A religious "war" is brewing in the Senate. The Republicans actually stooped to Democratic tactics in Mark Pryors defense(It's OK to lable someone a racist or extremist if they are a Republican judicial nominee, without proof, in the Democrats mind, but to call anti-catholic bigotry anti-catholic bigotry WITH proof is a crime worthy of heavy punishment). Could this religious war split our nation? Maybe, I'm afraid. We already have a culture war, a Liberal vs. Conservative war, a leftist vs. liberal war(greens vs. Dem Mainstream), far-right vs. neoconservative war(Buchanan vs National Review & The Weekly Standard) and your usual Democrat vs. Republican hatred that is rising to a pitch that it didn't even reach during Clinton's impeachment(that was not so much the GOP vs. Democrats as it was the GOP vs. Clinton, who they hate more than anyone, except his wife). With the evil Pat Robertson asking his followers to pray for grave illness or death to befall a Supreme Court judge, what's next? It's so ugly, and yet facinating to watch. Which is why my secret bunker will be somewhere in Washington, so I can come up and watch the fur fly, do my job, and then retreat underground in case one day, when we think we're OK, the whole place goes up. God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddah, Vishnu, whoever, protect us.
:: C.M. Burns 8/15/2003 02:19:00 PM [+] :: ::
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People are Idiots
Another In an Occasional Series

People are generally morons. I person, on his own, thinking, is generally smart, as some of the best political and social thought has come from those who work alone, or in small groups. Some of the worst, as well, espically Marxist/Socialist/Leninist/Stalinist views. But you bring a whole bunch of reasonably intelligent people together, and their IQ drops to Forrest Gump levels. Groups of scientists in town for a conference were crossing against the light during lunch today, barely avoiding some potentially BAD accidents. When they were honked at by two cars that had to slam on the breaks to avoid hitting these dim-bulbs who had just wandered into the street, the people had the gall to shout profanities at the DRIVERS. I don't know about you, but sure, I cross against the light sometimes. When no one is coming, and I've checked the road. If it's a busy intersection, and the intersection of 13th & E NW is rather crowded, I think following the extremely simple instructions provided by the walk/don't walk sign are a good rule of thumb. I see this all the time, and it goes into stupid drivers, too. The ones who honk at people crossing when they should because the driver wants to turn right. Yeah, it's usually cab drivers who don't know green from red from their ass from a whole in the ground, but you ocassionally see some idiotic Teen doing the exact same thing in the SUV mommy and daddy bought them for their 16th birthday. Hell, a cop got cought in the intersection today when he hesitated about going through while trying to beat the yellow, and was stuck as the normal pedestrains crossed legally on a Walk signal. He blocked traffic. No one honked though, but I laughed. Anyway, the social contract is held together by our decision to let government protect us in exchange for our tax dollars. The least we can do it follow the rules that we pay goverment to set up. Otherwise, what the fuck is the point of the contract? Anarachy is next folks. Watch out!
:: C.M. Burns 8/15/2003 01:30:00 PM [+] :: ::
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:: Thursday, August 14, 2003 ::
FOX vs. Franken

FOX News is suing Al Franken over the title of his new book, "Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look At the Right". They claim they have a copyright on "Fair and Balanced". Apparently, this lawsuit is being pushed by Bill O'Reiley, who is pissed that Franken got under his skin at a book convention in LA some weeks back. Now, I don't think O'Reilly is funny, or that useful a journalist. He made his name on "A Current Affair", like Maury Povich, which doesn't make "The O'Reiley Factor" look that great to me. I do, however, think Al Franken in funny. During my Arch-Arch-Conservative days(now I get to be called a neo-Con) I was a big Limbaugh fan. El Rushbo could do no wrong. I read and loved both his books. But I also read "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" by Franken, and laughed my ass off. Franken is a good satirst, his skills honed at SNL, and while his political stances are a tad, shall we say, simplistic and not well developed, who made some good general points about Rush. Part of what he wrote was annoying to me as a person, as he took a couple of shots at Catholics, for some reason, but it was a good read. Even funnier, but sadly less well known, is his 1999 effort "Why Not Me?", a fictional account of his run for president. Honestly, the book KILLS. It is one of the funniest novels I've ever read. Franken succeeds in his satire because he sends everybody up, the Democratic establishment, the GOP(represented by Newt Gingrich. Whoops), and himself in spectacular fashion. He can poke fun at himself, which is a quality I admire in any person, one that O'Reiley most definitly lacks. I'm sure I'll read his new book, too. I'll probably laugh, but there is a chance I'll get pissed, as most political humor is getting meaner and meaner, on both sides. Still, it beats O'Reiley.

Anyway, back to FOX News. Why would they want to give Franken all this free publicity? Apparently his book is climbing in pre-orders at Amazon.com? FOX has had a flawless PR record so far. Every critisicism has bounced off them and they've been beating the stuffing out of CNN on a daily & nightly basis. So what's the deal? I don't think Roger Ailes authorized this. Ailes is too smart to take on Franken, who is a small player and wouldn't hurt FOX News in the least. The approval must have come from FOX owner Rupert Murdoch, who is famous for protecting his "intellectual property", and this move of his is like when NBC told Letterman he couldn't call his show "Late Night", had to call Larry "Bud" Melman by his real name, and threatened to take away the Top 10 lists. It's dumb and plays into Franken's hands. FOX News Execs have been smarte than this. They should drop this stupid lawsuit and tell O'Reiley if he wants to get Franken, have him on the show and see what happens. It's just stupid.
:: C.M. Burns 8/14/2003 11:01:00 AM [+] :: ::
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Stupid Metro Tricks

Washington's Metro Rail is usually the best way to travel through the city, as it is cheap, and since DC isn't as massive as say, Chicago or New York, your longest ride might be 40 minutes, tops. It beats the traffic.

However, the Metro is run by a bunch of deaf, dumb, blind monkeys missing crucial parts of their DNA, or so it seems, as they always find a way to make travel conditions during rush hour just about unbearable. So far this week, I have seen Metro employees performing unnecessary(read "it could wait two hours")matienance on escalators during Metro's busiest period, the morning rush. At Union Station this morning, two escaltors down to the platform were out of service. That meant that on both sides, only one narrow passage was available to get to and from the platform. The lines to go up and down were insane, and I missed a train waiting to simply walk down the escalator. At Metro Center on Tuesday, the down escalator to the Shady Grove platform on the 13th street side was out at 8:30, leaving only one up or down at the busiest part of the station. As the group I was packed into surged up, people coming down were blocked as two tarins came and went. Now, I know that the escalators break down all the time, and Metro is usually pretty good about fixing them quickly, but is it logical to shut down one of the few access routes during the busiest time of the day? If their had been a fire on, say, the Union Station platform this morning, a lot of people would have probably been injured, even killed, as a stampede up that small, single escaltor would have ensued. Why can't Metro wait until, say 9:30, just an hour, to start working on broken escalators? They aren't going to collapse, and they keep the flow of people moving. If it's a union thing, fuck the damn union on this one. Safety issues are more important. If I was a concerned citizen instead of just a blowhard with a blog I might actually sue Metro over this. It's dangerous and stupid of them. On days like today, riding the metro might be considered an extreme sport. God.

One last bitch. Metro just upped their fares by 10 cents. Frankly, it makes sense since they need more money to buy more train cars to get more people from here to there. Yet, at the same time, they expanded their operating hours on weekends. Yes, it's convienient for the drunks who live in Virginia or Maryland, but it costs a lot to pay people to work those extra two hours. So to offset that, I assume, they stopped giving you a $22 card for $20 paid, which used to be a benefit of paying the $20. Well Fuck You metro. I know you're run by the city and that explains your stupidity, but it doesn't excuse it. Jerks.
:: C.M. Burns 8/14/2003 10:04:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Wednesday, August 13, 2003 ::
Nader Hit By Pie, Declares Apple Flavor "Unedible at Any Speed"

Well, that was a weak joke, but somebody hit "Green Party Member" Ralph Nader(I use quotes because Nader belongs to only one political group-whichever one will listen to him at a given moment. He's no Green. Green's, while in my opinion off the charts, at least care about the issues. Nader cares about his image) in the face with a pie the other day. I laughed. It's funny. It was during his endorsement of the Green party's candidate for California Governor in the upcoming unpleasentness in that state. Probably angry Dems who hate Nader for basically taking the White House from Gore. Seriously, people who still bitch about the Supreme Court need to beat the crap out of Nader, without him, Gore wins Florida, no recount. Anyway, it couldn't have happened to a more detestible human being(well, it could have happened to Charles Taylor or Osama bin Laden, but I'd rather see them gunned down than hit with pies. Though maybe you could hit Osama with a pork-pie before you blew him away). Nader deserves all the humiliation he can get. And the Greens should stop kissing his ass. He is NOT their pal. I hope more comedy-inclined Dems throw pies at the Greens. It's fun, and Arnie-fans like me can watch as they destroy each other and Arnie strolls into Sacramento. Heh.
:: C.M. Burns 8/13/2003 11:16:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Tuesday, August 12, 2003 ::
Idiot Move of the Week

AOL wants AOL Time Warner, Inc. to remove the AOL from the front of the company's name, because they feel that Time Warner's recent problems are hurting AOL. What they don't seem to realize at AOL is that AOL's shitty interface, annoying dial-up, and pathetic attempt to have AOL for Broadband that essentially causes you to pay for two services is what's killing AOL. It's time has gone. The younger generation, the Internet post 1995 generation, like my kid brother, don't use AOL for one reason-it blows. They are more techno-saavy then ever, and they are teaching their parents that AOL is a waste. If the anything, Time Warner should take this and not say a word, snickering to themselves about how the morons at AOL think that Time Warner is the problem! Hah, I love it!
:: C.M. Burns 8/12/2003 04:06:00 PM [+] :: ::
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When Alterman Gets in a Snit, I get Happy

Every so often I wander over to "altercation", liberal media critic Eric Alterman's Blog, just to see where the loony left (note: most liberals aren't looney, though if Alterman isn't a looney, I don't know who is)is headed thoughtwise. For those of you who like reasoned analysis from liberals and read, say, Slate or The New Republic man not be familiar with Alterman. I've written about him before. He writes for The Nation, easily the US's most liberal "mainstream"(i.e. not underground) journal of opinion. This is a man who thinks that The American Prospect is part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. He wrote "What Liberal Media?", which proved, if nothing else, that anyone could prove bias about anything if you nitpick enough. My own feelings mirror those of Bernard Goldberg, himself a Democrat who was labled "Conservative" after he suggested that journalists had liberal leanings which they unconciously reflected in their stories. It's a better theory than Ann Coulter's, and Alterman is so obsessed with minutae that he misses the forest for the trees.

Anyway, Al Gore made his really, really, really stupid and hypocritical speach at NYU this weekend. On Sunday, The Washington Post blasted Gore for basically being a hypocrite in their lead editorial. It's a well written, thoughtful peace that uses Gore's own words on Iraq from his days in the Clinton administration against him. Only Salon and far left types embraced the speech, which was actually given before the Bush-Hating members of MoveOn.org, who's own dubious history is recounted here. Now, the editorial doesn't say Gore was speaking to Hard-Core liberals. If the paper was as Conservative as Alterman thinks, then they would have blasted Gore for speaking at such an anti-Bush rally.

Anyway, Alterman blasts the editorial here and promises a fuller attack in The Nation. What this proves, as far as I'm concerned, is that the Post Editorial Board realizes that sometimes you call a hypocrite a hypocrite, especially if that hypocrite is Al Gore. The Post is not considered by Conservatives in general to be a "liberal" paper like Alterman's beloved "New York Times". Actually, I think Alterman has a grudge against tha paper since they gave his book a negative review. If Alterman ever paid attention to Conservative thought, which he doesn't because he thinks that it is beneath him, which is par for the course for many liberal intellectuals(paging Paul Krugman), he would realize that the bellweather of real Conservative thought in this country, National Review, called upon the Post a couple of months ago to pick up the reigns as the nation's new Paper of Record since the Times is so untrustworthy. Again though, in Alterman's mind there is no difference between Conservatives saying that the media is generally biased to the left and his interpretation, which says that Conservatives believe the Media is liberal ALL THE TIME. He takes Coulter as the voice for ALL Conservative thinkers, which if he read Conservative thinkers he'd know isn't true. Because if he did his whole theory would collapse, as it does when his book is held up to any serious scrutiny.

Anyway, Alterman doesn't want balanced news, REAL balanced news not FOX. He wants it his way, all the time. If you scroll up from that link to his page, you'll find a link to Christopher Hitchin's latest Slate piece, in which he critisizes the choice of Daniel Pipes as a member of the US Institute for Peace. Pipes has generated much controversy amongst academics because he holds a view that is not in line with the common Middle Eastern Studies thinking, that being that Arab countries are far too entrenched in Muslim Fundamentalisim and that Isreal gets critisized too much. Anyway, I'm no expert on the matter, but Hitchins gives a well-reasoned, liberal case against Pipes. The funny thing is that in his link to the article, Alterman says "just when you think Christopher has gone around the bend, he write this". Seem, Hitchins used to write for The Nation until he quit over their America-bashing post 9/11. He was for the war. Leading up to Iraq, Hitchins eloquentley made the liberal case for war, and his columns are collected in a short collection entitled "A Long Short War". It's very readable, if you were for or agianst. Hitchins every column was bashed by Alterman, who accused him of selling out and of really being a Conservative, and a Bush stooge, and what not(like a man who thinks Kissinger should be tried for War Crimes and wrote negative things about Mother Theresa is a Conservative. Of course, Hitchins did this while at The Nation, so he wasn't brainwashed yet. Anyway, if Alterman was an honest man, he would realize that Hitchins calls them as he sees them. Like most normal, non-frothing humans, right or left. To disagree with Alterman is to be a Bush cronie, to agree is to be "courageous". I always get a laugh out of him, whether he intends it or not. Plus, he has a bizzare obsessin with Bruce Springsteen. But that is another story. Alterman is a king hypocrite and believes in free speech about as much as Pat Robertson does, which is to say, not at all. But he's funny, so I read him. And Gore, well, read the editorial and decide if he's gotten special intelligence since 2000 that would make him change his stance on Iraq like that. What a dope.
:: C.M. Burns 8/12/2003 03:32:00 PM [+] :: ::
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Outside the Beltway, People are Fucking NORMAL!

Right. So during my vacation last week I was in beautiful Northern Michigan, enjoying the fresh air, sun(most of the time), and the ability to sleep in. I also learned that in the midwest, people can have civil conversations about politics, even if they disagree. Frankly, I was shocked. After three years inside the beltway, I'd forgotten what a healthy debate that didn't resort to name-calling looked like. It was amazing. Liberals & Convservatives getting along together. Even the guy who defended Ann Coulter with the sort of righteousness I'd save for defending, say, Mother Theresa was popular at camp. Sure, he likes Coulter, but then I remembered that her books sell like hotcakes. But the Democrats and Republicans I talked to all liked each other, and not once did I hear Bush or ever Ashcroft called a Nazi. It was incredible. The message, which Beltway outsiders have known for years, is that people inside the beltway are insane, and we all need help. Anyway, it was good to talk about things other than politics in Michigan, too, like National League baseball, and how much we all hate the fucking O's. It was like being around human beings again, not the slobbering partisans who are most likely jackles who have taken human form than infest DC. Oh well, I'm off to start a war of words with some Commie-Libs. Nice to get away though!
:: C.M. Burns 8/12/2003 09:36:00 AM [+] :: ::
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The Post Dumbs Down

I was on vacation last week, so I guess I missed the launch of the Washington Post's MetroRail digest "Express". It's basically a little newspaper that has truncated AP stories and not much else. It is the saddest thing I have seen in my time here in Washington. I know the Chicago papers, the Sun-Times and Tribune, have launched similar digests, aimed at the 20-something reader. They did it for the same reason the Post has launched the "Express": A desire to increase subscriptions to the main paper.

Apparently, the Post has seen a drop-off in subscriptions even as the DC-area population has grown. They biggest has been amongst 20-somethings. So this little paper is launched and given away for free in an effort to get my generation to subscribe. I'll be honest. I read the Post every day of the week, and have a weekend subscription. I don't get it during the week because I read it for free at work. Simple as that. Most young turks like myself in DC can't afford a daily subsciption, and see no need to since every office in town gets several copies. We just read it with our morning coffee, as I just did. The "Express" is intellectually insulting, is littering trains, and has given rise to very, very ugly large yellow boxes where you can pick up a free copy. It's a travesty. If the post wants to increase 20-something readership they should include drink coupons. This little paper of theirs is going to cause more problems than it solves.

:: C.M. Burns 8/12/2003 09:14:00 AM [+] :: ::
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:: Monday, August 11, 2003 ::
But is Mt. Rainier, MD Safe?

Facinating and slightly scary article at the bottom of today's Post about Mount Rainier in Washington State, and the massive volcano that is just waiting to erupt there. Of course, when I first saw the headline, I thought "When did they put a mountain range up in Maryland", then I realized I was an idiot. But I di live in Mt. Rainier, MD for 18 months, so it peaked my interest. Best quote in the article is from Ranger Jill Hawk on potential evac procedures: “I don’t have time to evacuate people,” she said. “I have time to run.” Another classic is: "Tens of thousands of people are being told to “enjoy the volcano in your back yard” but to be prepared to run away from it — fast." Glad I live in DC, which is most likely to be destroyed in Nuclear Fire that will vaporize me so quickly I won't have time to register it. Yay!
:: C.M. Burns 8/11/2003 02:06:00 PM [+] :: ::
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I Go Away for a week...

...And all hell breaks loose. Ah-nold runs for Governor, Al Gore makes an Ass out of himself, and Gigli bombs at the Box Office. Who Knew? Can I just say that I love the idea of Arnold as Governor. Some Conservatives aren't that happy with him, because he favors social spending, is pro-choice, and seems to have little problems with homosexuality. They are upset that the White House is not coming out with an endorsement, and in the free-for-all insanity that has followed the filing date(130-plus including GARY FREAKIN' COLEMAN?!!)many of my brethern seem incensed that a non-conservative Republican might win. Now, who would they have in his place? Richard Rioerdan, who would have beaten Davis in the General Election last fall if Davis hadn't had the time to destroy Rioerdan at the same time that Ultra-Conservative Bill Simon was attacking him, is just as "liberal" a Repubican as Arnie, but not nearly as popular. California is a bell-weather, moderate to liberal state. If the GOP can win with Shwarzenegger, they should. People want to vote for this guy. He's an American success story. There is the fact that his father was a Nazi party member, but he was never convicted, and Arnold himself was born two years after the Nazi party was wiped off the face of the Earth. He was friends with an Austrian who was accused(convicted?) of War Crimes, but I really don't think there in anything in his record that points to him as being intolerent of anyone or anything. He's just happy to be where he is. Plus, if he wins, that means two of the stars of "Predator" will have been governor of a major state, the other being Jesse Ventura. If Carl Weathers runs somewhere, "Predator" could be the movie that launched the most political careers ever! Yes! Soon, a remake of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", with Robert Patrick as the evil Sen. Paine, who gets his ass handed to him by Arnie as the nieve Senator with a hot temper, Carl Weathers as CIA Agent Dillon, who get Arnie the goods on Paine's coke empire, and Ventura as Blain, a man without a past who's good with a mini-gun. I can see it now: Greatest.Movie.Ever. Plus, you can have a dog that looks shifty-eyed, so people think the DOG did it!(20 points if you get the reference). I'm going to start writing it now.
:: C.M. Burns 8/11/2003 10:07:00 AM [+] :: ::
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RIP Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines, who made his career as a Tap Dancer and moved successfully into acting, passed away Saturday at the far too young age of 57. I first remember seeing Hines in Mel Brooks' "History of the World, Part I", which at the young age I saw it seemed to be about the funniest thing I'd ever seen. Actually, it still tickles my funny bone. I've seen "White Nights" and enjoyed "Running Scared", and you could see him being funny or just entertaining every so often. We've lost so many talented people this year. It's a shame that Mr. Hines went to young. I will miss his humor and his talent. God speed, sir.
:: C.M. Burns 8/11/2003 09:28:00 AM [+] :: ::
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