:: Sic Transit Gloria ::

A sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament...
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:: Monday, September 29, 2003 ::

Is The End Near

I am not a religious man. I believe in God, sorta, but nothing concrete. That said, I am concerned that we are about to face the wraith of a vengeful God. I say vengeful because I like the idea of an angry God. At least for entertainment purposes. Anyway, much has happened lately that causes me to believe the end may be near. Lets go to the board:

1)The Cubs Are in the Playoffs: This has, of course, happened before. This is the fourth time in the past 20 years that the cubs have made the postseason. Certainly a better record than the Expos over that period of time. But this is the Cubs we're talking about. And they're really good this season. They haven't been this good or this complete a team in years. Their pitching is outstanding, and they are dangerous on offense. It's no longer just the Sammy Sosa Show. Now, I love the Cubs, and I want them to win a World Series as much as anybody. And any other year, I wouldn't be worried about this being a sign of disaster ahead, but when coupled with the next sign, I think we may have to worry.

2)The Red Sox are in the Playoffs: The BoSox have the same losing tendency as the Cubs. Boston and Chicago fans often argue over which team is cursed more. Boston has the Bambino Curse, for selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees, which made New York a champion and brought unneeded attention on the damn Yankees. By not only giving away the best player of the day, but giving him to the Yankees, the BoSox have been cursed with coming incredibly close to a Championship, only to have fate pluk it away. The Cubs correllation is the 1984 NLCS against San Diego, in which one of the better baseball teams ever produced was struck down by fate. But it happened more often and more horribly to Boston. Again, in a regular year, not much to be concerned about, but with the Cubs also in, for the first time since both teams got cursed(The Cubs curse, by the way, is Goat-related, which means you should never, ever taunt a Greek man and his goat. Plus, what does a Goat represent? SATAN! How's that for your commie conspiracy theory, Mandrake?), well, the potential exists that these cursed teams may meet up in the World Series. I don't know what will happen if that occurs, but Nostradamus did, so they say, and after the vision he went out and drank until he forgot what he saw. Some believe that the vision was the only true one the Great Seer ever really had, as everything else he said was bullshit. Why would this conflagration destroy the world, potentially? Well, it seems apparent that God intended that these two teams must pay for their sins by never winning a World Series. If they meet up, one teams curse MUST be broken, least God be angered. It's always possible that God might smite one of the teams and just leave it at that, but if he's really pissed, he may blast them and all of us to dust. So I'm sorry Red Sox fans, I'm hoping the BoSox get knocked out in the first round. As for my beloved Cubs, well, if it's just them against say, the Yankees, God would probably let the Cubs win, as Steinbrenner has grown too powerful, and is arrogant in the face of his maker. Plus, he's shilling for Visa, which we all know is owned by Satan, so he'd have incentive to let the Cubs be. But if both cursed teams play in the Fall Classic, look for storms of frogs, fire, and copies of "Left Behind" to fall from the sky. Which brings us to the final reason things are iffy right now.

3) Too many dead famous people: An alarming number of famous people have died recently, mostly good folks, like Bob Hope, John Ritter, and, yesterday, Elia Kazan, the great director. Sure, bad people like Lenio Reifinstahl, Idi Amin, and the worlds oldest man have gone, too(he used to molest children. I swear I have documents), but still, lost of celebrity death. Is God seperating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak? You can't tell. I positive sign for all of us, however, was that the Bennifer wedding was called off. On a side note, when I heard Affleck bought a gun permit, I was hoping he'd use the gun on her and turn it on himself. That would be a sign that God still loved us. Plus, they may get married anyway, so I'm not sure about this one either. Add Madonna's Children's Book at the top of the bestseller list, and I think God wants blood.

So we've got to be careful, here. Freakish weather, dead celebrities, success for losing baseball teams, it's all in Revelation people, read a Bible! Then go and pray that if the Lord cometh, he takes you swiftly, and doesn't make you suffer through the End Times. As I am most likely doomed anyway, I'm gonna buy stock in gun companies and home defense systems. Plus I'm buying a generator and building a fortified cabin in the woods. I'm only inviting supermodels with kinky tastes and a passion for film, and right after society collapses but before the plagues begin, I'm looting a Best Buy so I'll have the Best Damn Entertainment System, period. That, and lots of birth control devcies. See you in hell, folks! Or the lake of fire. I'll be the one gnashing my teeth and pulling my hair. Go Cubs!
:: C.M. Burns 9/29/2003 11:47:00 AM [+] :: ::
Only Political Post Today

Since I'm concerned the world may end soon, I'm only putting up one political post today, and that's just a link to National Review Editor Rich Lowry's article on What Democrats believe, which is just a joke piece, but at the same time interesting because so mych of it rings true. I've read similar What the GOP Believes pieces. These are all in good fun, and since the Apocalypse may soon be upon us, with the judging of sins and the lake of fire and whatnot, I don't want to be too mean today. Enjoy.
:: C.M. Burns 9/29/2003 10:09:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Saturday, September 27, 2003 ::

that is all
:: C.M. Burns 9/27/2003 07:55:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, September 26, 2003 ::
SEGWAY Recalled, Normal People Rejoice

It turns out that the SEGWAY, that annoying scooter thing that was meant to replace walking and revolutuionize city design hase been hit by a PR nighmare as
the "U.S. Issues Recall for Segway Scooters" due to low battery dangers that cause it to basically hurn it's users to the ground. All I can say is that it couldn't happen to a more useless piece of technology. Walking is good for you. The SEGWAY could kill you, and makes you look like a snob to boot. Here's hoping it never comes back.
:: C.M. Burns 9/26/2003 03:34:00 PM [+] :: ::
Bring Me The Head of Metro Board Chairman Jim Graham!

The Washington Metro patted itself on the back yesterday for it's wonderful handleing of the Hurricane Isable Shutdown. Well, as much as I ranted about it, I'll let them say the shutdown was their "Best Decision". They did do a better job than during the snowstorm. And I got two days off, so I guess I should shut up.

Still, I want the current Metro exec's heads on my desk my the close of business today. This morning, once again, the Metro was delayed without announcement, at least the red line. There's nothing like just missing one train and then waiting 10 minutes for another, only to discover it is so packed that it's impossible to get on. In fact, it's great fun to have to wait for the FOURTH train just to squeeze on. And these exec's are talking about another fare increase. I say off with their heads. A shiny new donkey for the first person to get a head in my inbox.

(Note:This is satire. Please, no beheadings. My insurance can't handle it)
:: C.M. Burns 9/26/2003 09:14:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, September 25, 2003 ::
Death To Friends

Tonight Friends returns for it's 10th and final season. I never much cared for the show after season 5. I mean, these characters are so damn dull and lifeless. How could you write ten seasons about them and still get good reviews? Friends has committed so many sit-com sins that it should be locked away in a vault never to be seen again. For instance, it used to mean that when a wedding was part of the plot, it meant the show was out of ideas. Friends has had like 30 weddings. That's not a good sign. There have been at least 3 birth episodes, and two whole seasons dedicated to a characters pregnancy. They've been to Vegas, England, and Oklahoma. One of the marriages actually stuck. How? I don't know. Why a sarcastic schlub like Chandler would even fall in love with an obsessive-compulsive control freak like Monica is beyond me. Hell, why would anyone? Her personality is grating that hearing her voice makes me reach for the remote. Lets rundown the characters, and what would happen to them in real life.

1:Chandler-Is sarcastic, likes porn & Baywatch, doesn't watch sports. In real life, well, when we first met Chandler he had a steady job(which no one understood! Hahahah! Or not) and he seems to be the only sane one out of the bunch. Probably would have continued to move up the corporate ladder and would marry Janice as he has no self esteem. His character is the only believeable one.

2:Rachel-Stupid, petty, materialistic. In real life she would never been hired at any other place than the coffee shop, and would be living in a one-room walk up in the bad part of the worst part of New York.

3.Ross-Makes bad choices when it comes to women, obsessed with Rachel, is a professor. In real life, would have been booted from his job for sleeping with a student, talking in a fake English accent, and probably would have moved in with his parents.

4.Joey-Loveable moron, sort of like Forrest Gump, but he's not smart enough to know what love is. In real life, would have accidently swallowed his tounge by now.

5.Phoebe-Ditzy blonde who writes stupid songs and spent many years homeless on the streets. In real life she would have died of a crack overdose on the streets years before meeting Monica.

6.Monica-Former fatty who is now an obsessive-complusive, ultra competitive psychopath and ironically a cook. A possible danger to herself and others, In real life she would be locked away in a padded room and heavily mediicated.

So there you have it. Also, in the real world, all of these people would not likely have any friends, as they are pathetic and unlikeable. Idiots. So get out the champagne and toast the end of an era. Once this show goes, NBC's hold on Thirsday nights will collapse, and then perhaps the whole idea of "Must-See" TV will pass forever into that good night. My prediction for the finale? Well, since Joey has his own show in LA, I'm guessinf he gets Rachel pregnant again, and becomes a deadbeat dad, changing his name, getting plastic surgery, and running off to LA to be a male stripper. What? He's still an actor you say? I don't care. I say deadbeat dad.
:: C.M. Burns 9/25/2003 12:09:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 ::
Big Day In History

On this day in 1862, President Lincoln recieved word of the Union's small but important victory at Antietam Creek. After hearing the news, Lincoln ordered the preperation of the Emancipation Proclimation, and declared "God decided this question in favor of the slaves".
:: C.M. Burns 9/24/2003 02:38:00 PM [+] :: ::
Man, this is SO wrong. There's something wrong with the Japanese

OK, to be utterly horrified, just click on this link and read a story about Tokyo Train Molestors. I am not making this up. Anyone who has seen Japanese Anime knows they have some messed up ideas, but this story tells me that if I ever have a daughter, she's never going to Japan. Ever.
:: C.M. Burns 9/24/2003 02:13:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, September 23, 2003 ::
Who Needs A Secret Lair?

Need a place to plot world domination? Angry that plutonium supplies are low? Just head on over to VillainSupply.com | Your Online Source For Everything Evil, and you'll find a good bargin. Act quick, as Skull Island is priced to move!
:: C.M. Burns 9/23/2003 02:21:00 PM [+] :: ::
More Murray Love

Over at Fametracker.com, webmistress Wing Chun has written a terrific Fame Audit on Bill Murray, in which she says his deserved level of fame is "Tom Hanks". I couldn't agree more.
:: C.M. Burns 9/23/2003 12:42:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, September 22, 2003 ::

I missed talk like a pirate day on friday because of the storm, me maties, so here's a song:

YoHo, YoHo a pirates life for me....(repeat throughout Disney World ride)

Avast ye! Surrender and prepare to be boarded! ARRRRR!
:: C.M. Burns 9/22/2003 02:47:00 PM [+] :: ::
Giant Marsupials, Anyone? Allegedly they looked like Guinea Pigs. Those are cute

Last post of the day, I think. Since I have a chipped bone in my left ring finger, it takes me too long to type Thought it would be fun, though, to link to this article on Monster marsupials in prehistoric Australia. Apparently, they wighed a lot, and scare the crap out of me. Normally I'm against extinction of animals, but perhaps ancient man had the right idea when they wiped them out relatively quickly 30,000 yers ago. Yikes.

Edit: Apparently THIS is the Giant Guniea Pig story, and they lived a few million years ago. They did weigh 700 KG's though. Yow.
:: C.M. Burns 9/22/2003 02:43:00 PM [+] :: ::
I agree with FAIR-Clark was Pro-War, which makes him...

Well, it doesn't make him very honest. FAIR, the left-leaning media watchdog group(perhaps I'm being too kind with my description, but hey, they do research stuff, which makes them better than, say, Eric Alterman or Joe Conason)released this media alert entitled "Wesley Clark: The New Anti-War Candidate?"

It's a pretty devestating case for Clark being for the war, which I thought was obvious from watching him in the slog towards the conflict early this year and late in 2002. But on Friday, Clark said that he would have never voted for the war. This is causing a lot of debate amongst the anti-war left and interested parties from all other sides, as Clarks first, and only stated position so far, is a rapid flip-flop. Some of the more cynical observers, on both sides, funny enough, are questioning whether Clark is taking marching orders from Terry McCauliffe and the Clintons who don't want Dean to get the nod because he's, well, he's not really credible on terrorism. Nor, it seems, is most of the Democratic field. I'd get into the hypocricy on the Members of Congress running who have lied repeatedly about the Patriot Act, especially John Edwards, who has been quite brazen in his dishonesty, but this Clark thing is interesting. Some think Bubba Clinton wants Clark in there to take the fall against Dubya so Hillary can win the nom in '08, while others think this is a calculated misdirection designed to allow Hillary to come in as the Dem's White Knight in '04. It has made the rather dull primary race interesting, but in the end I think I trust Howard "I can't smile"(TM: Jon Stewart)Dean over the very shady Clark, becuae Dean has never been less than honest. At least I can disagree with him honestly.
:: C.M. Burns 9/22/2003 02:31:00 PM [+] :: ::
Pancakes Anyone?

Click here for pancakes the way God intended for them to be served!
:: C.M. Burns 9/22/2003 02:09:00 PM [+] :: ::
DC Sure Is a Wimpy Town

Long time DC residents will tell you that if it snows two inches, the city will shut down and the mayor will declare a state of emergency. As I learned during the Isabel "crisis" and during a large snowstorm last Febuary, this is not far from the truth. Yes, Isabel did a lot of damage, especially in Virgina and North Carolina, where people are still boiling water and many are without power. However, in the district, we got some rain, we got some wind, and the city went down for the count. The Metro shut down fast, and with it, the government. Now, I understand why the outdoors Metro had to stop, but why the underground? According to Metro sources, they could easily have kept the belowground services running, even on a truncated schedule, which would have at least allowed partial work days, or possibilities of days off for a day worked during the "storm". However, and I read it in the post but don't have the link, they felt that an underground-only schedule would be "too confusing". Excuse me? It takes about 5 minuted to figure out the Metro, and that's if you read at a third grade level. Plus, only usual Metro riders would even ride on that day. Raise your hand if you don't know if your Metro stop is above or below ground. Really? NO ONE! What a surprise. Even more hilarious was the fact that by 3 AM Friday morning, the wind and rain were gone. Metro was fully opperational for the rest of the day. Now, obviously, it made sense to let the government workers in the harder hit areas, ie, not DC, off the hook. They had serious damage. But the city stopped short and had almost no contingency plan in place. Which is another example of why Congress shouldn't control DC's budget, though to be fair, the people making these inane decisions are city employees, who's salaries are paid by my taxes. Don't get me wrong, I loved my 4 day weekend, though I woke up on Sunday thinking it was tuesday. I'm just saying this city, for all it's alleged toughness, wimps out an awful lot. I lost power as did several friends, and we all did OK. The city sees the wind blow a bit and freaks. Funny.
:: C.M. Burns 9/22/2003 02:04:00 PM [+] :: ::
More Entertainment Critisism: I hate the Emmy's

There were only four good things about the Emmy's last night. The first was Bill Cosby. Cosby was honored with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award last night, and started off early in the evening by ripping on Wanda Sykes. She was being dreadfully unfunny(note to FOX-She's only funny when Chris Rock's writing comes out of her mouth. Though it is funny to see Valerie's newscaster boyfriend Derrick from "Fresh Prince of Bel Aire" on TV again. Remember, he died tragically while asking her to marry him on air? When it wasn't too preachy, "Fresh Prince" was damn funny.) Anyway, she talks about how old he is, and really won't shut up, and he says "Yes, back then we spoke English", which was a great knock on Wanda's difficulties with the language. Then, Ray Romano gave him the award. Ray was funny, but after watching "Comedian", the documentary about Jerry Seinfeld's return to stand up and seeing he and Chris Rock talk about Cosby's influence on them and his dedication, I would have liked to see Rock present the award, as Rock, while raunchier than Cosby ever was, is in a way his heir. Seinfeld is as well, as his sit-com defined 90's TV in a way that Cosby's defined the 80's. Anyway, Cosby gave a great speech, a humble speech, talking about his murdered son briefley, and remebering his friend Fred Rogers, who passed away this year. It was a touching, classy moment, which is what Cosby is: Classy.

The second good thing was Tony Shaloub winning for best comedic performance for "Monk". Some think that he should have been in drama, but he gives such a nuanced performance in a role that requires great comic timing and such sadness that his being placed in the "Comedic" category seems a no brainer. He also gave a very emotional speech and was moved to tears thinking about his family. In a cynical industry, this is nice to see(compare his speech to Debra Messings screech-a-thon and that annoying woman from "Raymonds" I'm-so-great speech. How does she beat Kim Cattrall every year? I hate that show, but Cattrall is funny in it.)

The third good thing was Jon Stewart. He gave the funniest monolauge of the night with his "awards" for stupidity to all the cable news outlets. He was god damned hilarious. And then he loses to Wayne Brady for an individual Emmy? WTF? But he also won for writing and for the show, and he gave props to Steven Colbert who wasn't eligible for some reason. That was good.

The final good thing, the best thing, really, was Joe Patoliano winning for his role as Ralph on "The Sopranos". He gave a fantastic performance in every seen he was in last season, and was much more deserving than anyone else who was up for the award. Plus, he thanked hid dad for teaching him that he could get beyond his poor roots to suceed. And he was crying. Talking about your dad and crying always chokes me up, so it was the best moment of the night for me.

The rest was a train wreck. The multiple host thing didn't work, and the last hour was seemingly devoid of any jokes, save Martin Shorts song. The winners were...disapointing. Edie Falco, YES. Gandolfini, who appears to have been drinking and eating his way through that raise HBO gave him, did NOT deserve it this year. Should have gone to Kiefer Sutherland, who was good EVERY SINGLE WEEK in 24 eps, while Gandolfini looked bored halfway through his 13 eps. "Everybody Loves Raymond"? My ass! I'm glad it's not friends, but "Curb Your Enthusiasm" deserved that more than any other. I don't even KNOW anybody who watches "Raymond". I don't love him! Brad Garrett wins over Brian Cranston's Hal on "Malcom in the Middle"? Yeah he fought the networks and won. Apparently cashing in was the criteria this year.

Finally, the most insulting award, coming in just ahead of Tyne Daly, is "The West Wing" winning for best drama in it's worst year ever. The show was the best thing on TV the first two seasons. The last two, the drop off in quality has been very noticable. Hell, the first 3rd of the season was devoted to the incredibly poorly plotted reelection campaign. Why not 24? huh? Why Not the most exciting show on TV? Hell, wa Alias nominated? That's a lot better than The West Wing was this year. Yeah, they wanted to kiss Sorkin's ass since he got the boot from NBC, but come on! Giving people awards for mediocre work isn't going to make it better! In The West Wing hadn't been nominated for Best Drama this season, the Academy could have sent the very real message that the show has declined. The actors and writers might have taken a cue from that and worked harder. Now, since they made Sorkin a saint, the show can never win any awards again. Especially if it gets better. If it gets better, that would prove the academy wrong! ARG!

If you wonder why I get upset about this, realize that I live a dull life and obviously hate myself, because instead of getting paid for ranting about the quality of TV, I do it for free. It is strangely liberating though. Next award show nightmare: Well, I only watch this, the MTV ones for laughs, and the Oscars, so it'll be a few months. Don't expect a Golden Globes or People's Choice awards slamfest. Consider yourselves lucky.
:: C.M. Burns 9/22/2003 12:27:00 PM [+] :: ::
Someone Give Bill Murray an Oscar. NOW!

On Friday, freed from the need to go to work because of Isabel, I went to see Bill Murray's latest film "Lost in Translation", and I came away with three distinct impressions. The first is that Sofia Coppola, who ruined "Godfather Part III" with her dreadful acting(she was Pacino's daughter), should be told that all is forgiven and that she should be given the best scripts and actors in the world. The movie is beautiful to look at, written in a way that allows the actors to breathe life into the characters, and she shows real ability in understanding human behavior and needs at different stages of life. The movie was funny, sad, and, in the end, inspiring. I was actually moved by it. One of the reasons I was moved by it is the subject of my second impression, that in a better world I could marry Scarlett Johansson. She plays Charlotte, a 22 or 23 year old who's in Tokyo with her Photog husband and is totally adrift, unsure of what life is offering her, and what she should do about it. She is sad, beautiful, snarky, and intelligent, and her uncertainty about what comes next in life is very real, let me tell you, as I felt it at 22 after college and still feel it from time to time. She's only 18, yet seems like a pro at this, and thankfully she is 18 because otherwise I could get arrested. Really. I like her that much. Finally, I came to the conclusion, that Bill Murray deserves lots and lots of awards, and if we don't give him all of them, we are a sad society that awards good looks and overacting over depth and honesty. Yes, we usually do that anyway(See Julia Roberts Oscar Win), but Bill Murray is a natural treasure, and I don't just say that because he grew up in my hometown and caddied at the same golf club I did. No, he's awesome. He should have won every award concievable for "Rushmore" in 1999, but since they shafted him then in favor of a poorer Tom Hanks and Ed Harris nomination that year, he wasn't even nominated. If he doesn't win this year I'm going to break into Hank's house and steal his Oscar for "Forrest Gump", which is dumbest award ever given out. Anyway can say lines in a monotone and look confused. Murray deserves this. Hell, looking back at "Groundhog Day" in 1993, I think he deserved awards for that. This man is funny and talented, and he was a Ghostbuster. Let us honor him. Oh. and Scarlett Johansson should be dating me. In 3 years. When she's 21 I'll feel less wierd about it, and I'll still be in my 20's.
:: C.M. Burns 9/22/2003 10:19:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 ::
DC'll Kill Ya, and Not Think Twice

In a paradoy article that is equally hilarious and chilling because of how close to the truth it is, The Onion opens up on DC's return to Murder Capital, USA in "D.C. Once Again Murder Capital, Mayor Brags". So funny, and yet so true. Remember that in DC "if you're from here, you know how to take care of yourself in a city as big and bad as D.C." Next up, the pretentious Blog capital, and I'm contributing as much as I can. True, New York and San Fransisco have the lead there, but we can take 'em.
:: C.M. Burns 9/17/2003 01:55:00 PM [+] :: ::
A Very Important Anniversary

Today is September 17. 141 years ago, at Antietam Creek in Sharpsberg, MD, the Union Army of the Potomac turned back Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North in the Civil War. While Union General George McClellan fumbled an opportunity to smash Lee's Army and end the war that day, the narrow victory was enough for President Lincoln to have cause to issue the Emancipation Proclimation later that year. This officially turned the war into a battle over slavery, which kept the British and the French from recognizing the Confederacy. In the end, while Grant would win startegically more important battles, and while Gettysburg, still 10 months away, would seal the South's fate, the Battle of Antietam was the most crucial and important battle of the war.
:: C.M. Burns 9/17/2003 09:36:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 ::
Madeline Albright's Book, like her Foreign Policy, both Sucks and Blows

Former Clinton secretary of State Madeline Albright has a new book out today. Over lunch, I paged through some of the more relevant chapters before putting it down and realizing that it was essentially revisionist history, in which she attempts to explain the failure of her approach to North Korea and the Clinton Administrations missteps regarding the Middle East are really either Bush's fault or nobody's. Actually, Ike and Harry Truman take some heat for Korea in Albright's book, or seem to. Guess Harry & Ike shouldn't have tried to stop Kim Jong Il from, you know, starving the ENTIRE Korean peninsula, not just his half. Anyway, Albright is easily our worst modern SecState. Appointed for the same cynical political reasons people say Clarence Thomas was picked (a woman. That's her qualification. For dems against Thomas, he was a black conservative, that was it. I'll concede that if you concede she was terrible), Albright has the distinction of being the only diplomat in America who could make Warren Christopher look brilliant by comparison. Whether it's defending Clinton on his shortcomings with terror(Remember that no matter what Al Franken or Joe Conason say, Clinton really didn't go after al-Qaida, and the Bush I-1993 WTC bombing is not comparable to what happened to national security under Clinton. Bush I can get a pass because al-Qaieda was only peripherally involved in WTC I, and after Oklahoma City, Clinton focused way too much anti-terror attention at gun nut-militias(witness Reno burning down Waco or the Ruby Ridge fiasco). She was on TV this morning blaming Bush for everything, apologizing for Clinton, and being fawned over by Katie Couric, for whom critical thought is what happens when you say bad things about Conservatives.

North Korea Nukes-Albright's fault. Osama Rising-Albright/Clinton. The Macarena-hey, she danced to it in the UN in 1994. I know I was embarrassed for our country, and I was only 17. The book is actually more horid than the mea cukpa that Robert MacNamera wrote about 8 years ago in which he "apologized" for Vietnam-sorta. While he remains unforgiveable, at least he had the sense to realize mistakes have been made. I'm not saying Dubya and Crew admit mistakes. They don't, and they should, but Albright's book is like a blueprint on how to deny responsibility for anything. Look for Rumsfeld to write one of things get really bad in Iraq. Maybe he can use her ghostwriter.

:: C.M. Burns 9/16/2003 03:59:00 PM [+] :: ::
Christiane Amanpour Is Insane

CNN news woman Christiane Amanpour told Tina Brown the other day on MSNBC that she feels that the Media and possibly even CNN were either muzzled or self-muzzled during the war. I'm trying to figure out in my head how this is possible. Considering NY Times Reporter John Burns' feelings that members of the media in Iraq during Saddams reign sucked up to the despot, and considering that Ms. Amanpour was often in Bahgdad before the war, one has to wonder if she is defensive about not reporting the massive abuses of Human Rights under Saddam(CNN's non-reporting of this caused a big scandal a few montha back) and has decided to attack Dubya for, gasp, not wanting to kill journalists accidentally by letting them roam free on the battle field. Since anytime a journalist accidentally gets killed in Iraq the leftist conspiracy-mongers say the Pentagon is targeting journalists, I could see how she'd love to see her fellow reporters slaughtered by getting caught in the crossfire so she could attack the Pentagon. Hilariously enough, she says she felt reporters were intimidated by the Administration and their "foot soldiers at FOX news". What this means, I guess, is that she feels CNN was too afraid of the competition to do it's job. In the end, considering the media's cynicisim about Iraq, she probably wishes she could have predicted a quagmire which doesn't really exist. Sad, but Chirstiane has always had a BBC-wannabe style to her reporting, that is, my government is always wrong.
:: C.M. Burns 9/16/2003 03:32:00 PM [+] :: ::
Is Anti-American Sentiment "New"

There is an outstanding article on the history of Anti-American sentiment in the middle east and Europe in the new Foreign Policy. It puts the lie to the claim that Bush has made the world hate us. As the author, Fouad Ajami, points out in "The Falseness of Anti-Americanism". He rightly asserts that America has been widely dispised in Europe and the Middle East for a good long time before that, and the 9/11 attacks could only briefly bring goodwill towards Americans. He also attacks the claim that "they don't hate American's, they hate the government". It's an outstanding read, long yes, but important.
:: C.M. Burns 9/16/2003 12:25:00 PM [+] :: ::
Who's Lazier Than Americans? Europeans!

I just had to link to this article in todays Daily Standard. Economist Irwin Stelzer writes in "European Holiday" that the reason Europe is falling behind economically is because Europeans take something like 40 days off per years, most of it in August. Which is realy gonna hurt the Euro and the European economies down the road. It's also interesting to note that European leaders, when on vacation in August, simply do not do ANYTHING, while our Presidents, and he uses Bush as an example but they've all done it, go away, sure, but never disapear, often go on fact-finding tours, and meet with members of congress and the administration to discuss policy. Oh, and while I don't have the link, the reason so many elderly French people died in August was because of these essentially mandatory vacations that left the already criminally understaffed, government run nursing homes and hospitals REALLY understaffed. Gotta love the French. Or, actually, no, you don't. Good wine though.
:: C.M. Burns 9/16/2003 12:06:00 PM [+] :: ::
My First Hurricane

Hurricane Isabel Heads for North Carolina, and the rest of the Eastern Seabord, and I am just really pumped. I've never been around a heavy-duty level 3 hurricane before. Hell, the closest thing to a 'twister I've ever seen is a waterspout on Lake Michigan. So this weekend I'm hosting an Isabel Party. We're all gonna dress up in foil and hold up golf clubs and the first person to survive a lightening strike gets to try to revive the rest of us.

Seriously though, I can think of worse ways to die than being carried off by a hurricane. A parachute not opening. Stabbed in the eye with a shrimp fork. Sex with Barbara Streisand(James Brolin is a robot, you know. She programs him to say whatever she wants). All worse. So if the Hurricane takes me, maybe I can go flying around in the storm for a bit before being impaled on a fencepost or having teh wind rip me to pieces. It might be fun. Anyway, party at my place, golf clubs provided!
:: C.M. Burns 9/16/2003 09:42:00 AM [+] :: ::

Actually, he's written better, but Will Saletan, Slate political commentator and one of the smartest, offline or online, hits today's column out of the park Sammy-Sosa style. In his article "Pious Bias - Lies and the lying liars who attribute them to the other party." he says something I've been harping on for months-that both parties will lie for politicial gain, he even uses a the phrase "Republican's have no monopoly on these vices" when referring to complaints about circumventing Democracy. I posted something similar on the Daily Show message boards a few months back and was condemned for it. Saletan's article is a must-read for both sides, as he seems to agree that these hysterical accusations BOTH parties toss at each other have gotte out of control. Don't tell Al Franken though. He'll call you a liar and then lie about you on TV.
:: C.M. Burns 9/16/2003 09:34:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, September 15, 2003 ::
My Brother Has a Blog

I recieved an email from my 17-year-old brother last night. He has, apparently, started a blog of his own. It's called "A Momentary Lapse of Integrity", and it can be found right here. He has all of one entry up at this moment at time, and just three links, one, nicely enough, is to my blog. So I thought I would do him a favor and link back. Which I will. You can find it under "Shaun's Blog" in the Link section. His only entry is a rather hilarious ode(tounge in cheek) to Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"(or is it the foutainhead. They're interchangable). It's nice to see he shares the same contempt for her work as I do. He's not very political, but it can be very funny. I'll be giving him advice, and soon you can ignore him as much as you ignore me! Huzzah! Anyway, check it out. I'm going to tell him how to edit it so he can add his email for feedback. Good luck, bro.
:: C.M. Burns 9/15/2003 02:16:00 PM [+] :: ::
Guess Affleck's Been Killing Hookers Again

Well sports fans, it had to happen sometime. That much magic just couldn't last. Better to burn out and fade away I suppose. Yes, the unthinkable has happened, "Beniffer" is no more. The love that was supposed to last forever ended ubruptly this weekend as the beautiful yet vapid superstars called it quits. A J-Lo pal says that one of the reasons was that "Gigli" bombed, and it created a lot of tension. You here that America!? You killed their love? Why couldn't you cough up the cash to see this film? Didn't you want to see J-Lo become the second Lesbian character that Affleck's turned straight(See "Chasing Amy" for the first). Come on, it's every guy's fantasy! Or to here her say "It's Turkey Time, Gobble Gobble Gobble" in an apparent reference to oral sex? I didn't see the movie myself, as frankly I felt the cash could serve me better four a half-hour with an angry domiatrix with a rusty chain, but I'm wierd that way. How could you America? Now there's no chance Affleck will kill her! Or her him! Or they could kill each other like in "War of the Roses", with Matt Damon in the DaVito role. But NOOOOO. Now they are free to continue making trashy, awful films. God help us all.
:: C.M. Burns 9/15/2003 12:05:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, September 12, 2003 ::
RIP, Johnny Cash: 1932-2002

Johnny Cash passed away early this morning. He was perhaps the greatest "country" musician of all time, though he easily crossed genres. He was certanily my favorite country act. His songs, most notably "I Walk The Line", "Folsom Prison Blues", and "Man in Black", all had special places in my heart. He looked at the darker side of human nature in many of his songs, but always found redeption somewhere. His two latest hits came off his final album, "Hurt", a cover of a Nine Inch Nails song that Cash not only makes sound great but soulful, too, and "The Man Comes Around", a sort of apocalyptic vision of a song that seemed to fortell his own passing. I will miss his quiet dignity and the quality of his music. His like has not been seen in some time. Take care, man in black, and go with God.
:: C.M. Burns 9/12/2003 09:46:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, September 11, 2003 ::
Another Animal used as a Bomb. PETA campaign not working

Link here to read about a horse used as a bomb in Colombia that killed 8. When a donkey was used as a bomb in Isreal, the nutjob head of PETA wrote to Arafat urging him not to use animals as bombs. When asked about using PEOPLE as bombs, she had no opinion. I wonder if another letter is heading to Columbia?
:: C.M. Burns 9/11/2003 02:31:00 PM [+] :: ::
Two Years Now

Well, 2 years since that fateful day. This year, I don't feel like pausing more than a minute for reflection. I no longer feel the hurt that I did. I'm taking a page from Chris Hitchens, the staff at NRO, and my co-workers and rededicating myself to finishing the fight and not showing weakness. I won't be watching a memorial program, and I haven't turned on CNN all day. There's a helpful artcile at NRO about how America dealt with Pearl Harbor Day: Mostly not paying attention other than to note that it certainly was no time to start getting all weepy. FDR himself said that what happened on that day must always be remembered, but must never distract us from our goals. So today I choose stoicism. Remember the 11th, rememeber what happened, and let it inspire you to fight on, not to wallow in self-pity.
:: C.M. Burns 9/11/2003 02:28:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 ::
The RIAA Cracks Down and the REAL Reason Sales are Down

Yesterday, the Recording Industry Association of America filed lawsuits against 300 or so computer owners who have downloaded music for free off the internet. This is the latest attempt by the recodring industry to stop file-sharing online, the practice of people sharing music files over the web. This is a PR/Intimidation move, as the numbers indicate that hundreds of millions of users the world over download songs "illegally", which the RIAA claims hurts record sales. Indeed, the past few years has seen a marked decrease in album sales. But to blame internet geeks who like downloading individual songs for the downfall is insane, as most people in America don't have the high-speed connections that REAL piracy requires and recent polls indicate that consumers consider album prices too high, which is especially evident in stores like Sam Goody, Music Warehouse, and other's who sell the industry's CD's at the average price of $17.99 a CD, which at this point is roughly equivalent to the price of a DVD. The reason DVD sales are up is that people who buy DVD's know what they are getting. "The Matrix" wasn't the fastest selling DVD in history because of it's stars or it's packaging. It sold because it was an incredible movie and disc that took the DVD format and ran with it, creating the modern DVD obsession. On the flipside, a CD with roughly 45 minutes of music on it doesn't look so hot at $17.99, especially since on most albums only 15 minutes of most of the music, roughly 4 out of 11 tracks, is actually any good. The rest is filler. The fact is, CD sales have declined because of the lack of good talent in the industry. And nowhere was this more on display than at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The Music Awards, if anything, highlighted the complete sameness of pop, rock and hip-hopR&Brap(all actualy one style). The music that was on display was so simple and mindless, so empty of the qualities that used to sell albums, like originality, meaning, and soulfulness, that it is no wonder the industry is suffering. MTV, which saw Rock and Pop music's rehabilitation in the 80's and allowed quality Rap to got mainstream in the late 80's, early 90's, has, in selling out to younger viewers, the most likely to download illegally, helped wound the acts it touts. True, the acts it touts suck, but the 12 year old with the DSL connection will download the entire Xtina album and burn it for her friends faster and cheaper than if she had to go to best buy to get it, and paying $17.99 for an album is something most parents, especially those who came of age in the mid-80's, can't fathom.

Some acts have taken remedies to make their albums more attractive. 'Enhanced CD's', which feature maybe 10 minutes of video concert footage have hit the market, and Metallica even included a 36-minute DVD on their recent "St. Anger" of them practicing for their tour. The Disc has sold well. At Best Buy, the price the first 3 weeks was $9.99. The album isn't brilliant, but it's good enough to spend 10 bucks on. Universal Music seems to have gotten the message. They announced they are dropping prices to an average of 12.99 a disc starting next month. This is a fine idea. At Best Buy, which sells more music than anyone except, say, BMG music servicem, the average price for most CD's is 12.99. An acceptable price.

So why is the RIAA going on the offensive? Well, the music service is either unwilling or unable to admit it signs poor talent. And MTV doesn't feature videos that are well made. Their younger, not-yet-musically-aware audience demands things be flashy and familiar. So MTV, having destroyed itself musically, reinvented itself as a place where the kids could watch the stars hang out. Hence Cribs, where kids can watch the frontman from "Good Charlotte"(or, as Chris Rock called them 'Mediocre Green Day') in his giant mansion which their allowances paid for. When they look at their CD collections in 3 years and realize that the two half-good songs that band has put out wasn't worth what they paid for it, they're gonna hop online and download.

My final point is that people aren't downloading entire albums off the net. They're either downloading individual songs from old groups, espicially the 80's, and other genre music that MTV doesn't play anymore. I can't think of a single person who downloaded the entire "Eminem Show" Disc. I know a lot of people who bought it, and I know a lot of people who downloaded a couple songs. Same with the 8-Mile soundtrack. People don't like to spend all that cash on essentially three good songs. They'll download it. That's what I did. I didn't download anything else off it. The solution is something like what Apple has done with iTunes, which allows 99-cent downloads, allowing you to burn a good 12-tune disc for less that 12 bucks, or a revamped single campaign. Cassette singles are gone, and paying the average of $7 for a CD single with two new songs and a remix is dead. The RIAA won't save music by sueing some 300 kids. It'll save it when it demands reform and accountability from the record companies who can't market good talent effectively. Now if you don't mind, I'm gonna download some Classical music. I don't think Bach will mind.
:: C.M. Burns 9/09/2003 02:24:00 PM [+] :: ::
Dancing Badgers

Why NOT Dancing Badgers?
:: C.M. Burns 9/09/2003 01:33:00 PM [+] :: ::
Joe Klein on Dean: A Clinton he Doesn't Like

Joe Klein, author of "Primary Colors", the book that lampooned Bill Clinton, and then "The Natural", in which he becomes a Clinton Apologist, took some shots at all of the Dem Candidates this week in Time, but really took it out on Howard Dean(TIME.com: The Temptation Of Howard Dean).

I don't like Dean at all, primarily because being Governor of Vermont is about as challenging as working Denny's and because he, as Klien finally notices, has begun changing his stance based on what polls may be telling him. He started doing it a while ago, but Klein just noticed, which makes it important because Klein is listened to by other pundits and I am not, and if Klein says Dean's flip-flopping, look for other commentators and the other candidates to call him on it. Anyway, there's a really funny line from a Dem insider on Dean, which is why I blogged this. Here it is, and I'm off to lunch: "I think Dean confuses being smart with knowing a lot," says a prominent Democrat who wants Dean to succeed. "I'm not sure he knows a lot."
:: C.M. Burns 9/09/2003 12:19:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, September 08, 2003 ::
Warren Zevon: Rest In Peace

Warren Zevon, rocker and songwriter finally passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer at the far too young age of 56. His just released final album, "The Wind" debuted to critical praise. I came to know him best from the song "Werewolves of London", so tonight I'm going to Trader Vic's dressed as a werewolf to drink Pina Coladas in his memory. My hair will be perfect. Rock on, Warren. You'll be missed.
:: C.M. Burns 9/08/2003 02:03:00 PM [+] :: ::
Offensive Suggestion #135

I was just eating lunch outside today in Lafayette Park, and a homeless man sat in the bench across from me. He was just sitting there, but I was downwind of him, and the smell was overpowering. The woman in the bench next to me left quickly. I stayed as long as I could, but that "homeless" smell was just too much. Which gave me an idea. I'm not all that much on government spending, which is part of the reason I'm angry with Dubya. But I would get behind a plan that would give the homeless showers and clean clothes, like right now. Perhaps funding from the government to shelters to provided water, and donations of clothes directly to these shelters. I'm not not saying strip 'em down and hose 'em off. I'm talking about a 7-minute hot shower with shampoo and soap, a new pair of boxers, slacks, and a nice shirt. This program would obviously be needed most during the summer months. If the homeless are crazy types, you know, the muttering to yourself types, then we should give them help(I'm all for helping those with mental illness. It's not their fault, in the end, that they are homeless). Force it on them, if necessary. We could file it under a beautification program, and it wouldn't be mandatory, but with a shower, shave, maybe a haircut and some clean clothes, I'm betting the homeless could get jobs, real jobs, not jobs handing out the worthless "Express" paper by Metro stations. If they don't shower, perhaps we could have them arrested for violating the clean air act. Then they could shower and be de-loused in prison, where we could feed and educate them. If their only crime was violating the clean air act, then they'd proabably go to Club Fed anyway. And the insane ones get treatment. It's a way that everybody wins, I can walk down the street without holding my nose, the homeless get some dignity, and the crazies maybe stop listening to the voices in their heads. If that doesn't win the war on the homeless, I suggest the Rudy Guiliani method of simply arresting them on sight. But showers first. Everyone deserves one last chance. See you all in hell!
:: C.M. Burns 9/08/2003 02:00:00 PM [+] :: ::
Quote of the Week, Already

"The day we stop laughing at the stupid is the day we start harvesting them for food." -- jto72 at Television Without Pity's Paradise Hotel Thread
:: C.M. Burns 9/08/2003 10:33:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, September 05, 2003 ::
Estrada Was Used and Abused

Miguel Estrada, Dubya's nominee for an open seat on the DC Court of Appeals, withdrew his name from contention yesterday after a 2-year battle with Senate Democrats. Estrada was abused in a way never before seen in the Senate. While it is true that Supreme Court nominees get blasted, no appeals court judge was ever abused like this. I've been following this case for a while. Senate Dems decided to filibuster Estrada because, they said, he had not been forthcoming in his answers to their questions. The opposite it true. In this long letter from the White House Counsel, the shady actions and false acusations against Estrada are shown to be nothing but that-shady and false.

It's interesting to note the tone of the reaction of two newspapers. The NYTimes today, in an editorial, placed the blame for everything square at the feet of Estrada and the White House, claiming, essentially, that the President should not nominate who he wants to the bench, at least if he is an "extremist" in the view of the Times. The Washington Post, in an editorial entitled "Victory for a Smear", takes a more long-term view, lamenting the treatment of Estrada, calling out the Democrats on some of the more awful things they accused him off, and also blaming Republicans for their poor treatment of Clinton nominees, which is certainly valid. No one gets away clean in the editorial from the newspaper that is the most decidedly fair I've seen. That Eric Alterman will lambast the Post for it's "conservative" positon and yell at anyone who dares decry the Times as biased is a certainty. He may have done it already. But the fact is the NY Times stop being balanced a long, long, long time ago. That Al Franken sees fit to defend them as fair in his book is enough to know that Franken, like Alterman, wrote a book for the congregation, that he was not seeking converts, only to comfort the converted. Why can we not admit the Times is biased? Why will Alterman & Co. call the Post biased for calling the Dems on their poor treatment of the nominee? That Republicans did similar things is not the point. That he was smeared in such a personal way is. Oh, it's because to say they have a point might undermine his insane theory that big business, aka Republicans, REALLY control the press. For the record, the Post is privately owned by the same family that owned her when Nixon came crashing down. Same family has owned the Times, too. I would link to Alterman's comment on Estrada's withdrawal, but as it shows no understanding of what really happened, I think I'll pass. A man and a process were used and abused, and we will all suffer the consequences of what Senators Schumer and Kennedy have done.

:: C.M. Burns 9/05/2003 11:45:00 AM [+] :: ::
I Have Another Secret...

Last time i said my secret was that I'm not so fond of Dubya. That's true. I don't dislike him, but he's fading. But this is not that secret. Nor is this the secret of my alien heritage, which I will never reveal to anyone. No, this is my most shameful secret of all: I'm addicted to exploitive reality TV, especially the FOX brand.

Since "Survivor" kicked off the reality TV craze in 2000, FOX has carved out it's own little niche: "romance"(read sex) TV. Starting with "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire" and moving all the way up to their most spectacular achievement ever, the incredibly watchable, totally without positive benefit "Paradise Hotel", FOX is the undisputed king of "Reality". NBC went lowbrow with "Fear Factor", and that's all they've got. ABC keeps revamping "The Mole" to no avail in the ratings, but their "Batchelor(ette)" series has done very well. CBS has "Survivor", had the high-quality "The Amazing Race", and still gets good ratings for "Big Brother", which started as a flop but rebounded. But FOX does them quick and cheap, and milks them for all the faux-Drama you can handle.

Reality TV started way back in the old days, with shows like "This Is Your Life" and "Queen For a Day". It got a little high-concept in the 70's with that PBS show that had a regular American family on TV every night, which led to the disintigration of that family(yeah, they had problems before the cameras got there, but methinks the constant surveiliance touched off their meltdown). Then MTV had "The Real World", which was once cutting edge but is now so mainstream and, dare I say it, TAME, that it is irrelevent. Road Rules fell apart years ago, and shows like "Frat Life", "Making the Band", and "Made" are all aimed at such a young demographic that those shows are not worth mentioning.

Now FOX, FOX is the best. You can say they created the modern reality show with "Cops", which is still extremely popular and interesting. Then, the 2000 Reality craze started. FOX has destroyed the idea of lovemany times over, from Darva Conger to Joe Millionaire. On Temptation Island and Love Cruise, people were shattered like so much fragile glass. Hell, FOX even tried to get people Married by America, which almost worked and was hilariously entertaining, especially when no one got married and everybody got angry. For the longest time I resisted. When Joe and the Joe Ho's came on, I couldn't turn away from the madness. And then, this summer, the most brilliantly insane show ever premiered: "Paradise Hotel"

The premise behind "PH" was simplicity itself. 10 people were put in a fanatastic hotel off Acapulco, 5 men, 5 women. In the beginning, there was no prize. The hotel stay for the summer was the prize. The show taped relatively close to air dates. The goal was for people to stay at the hotel as long as possible, primarily by hooking up, partying, and having fun. One guest was exiled each week, presumably because they either sucked in bed, were jerks, or didn't make friends. A new guest was brought on to have fun. That was it. The ratings were gold. Then, in a move so stupid it borders on genius, the creators changed the rules. FOX wanted more episodes. Summers are no longer dead zones of programming, but original ideas usually get the attention. So the creators decided that there would be an "Ultimate Prize", and suddenly it was a game. And then people got nasty. Backstabbing, bitterness, drunken hookups, and broken hearts now litter the playing field of "Paradise Hotel". The creators are making it up as they go along, or so it seems, as all the previous hotel guests just came back and started harassing everyone they think did them wrong. It's like Lord of the Flies, only with adults and sex. It's so compulsively watchable that I can't rip my eyes from it. it is the GREATEST REALITY TV SHOW EVER. Hands down. The editors are brilliant, they've got cameras EVERYWHERE, and the pathos and angst and sex and drunkeness and stupidity is of a caliber that was previously only seen on FOX sitcoms. I cannot help myself. FOX has made me love Reality TV, with the exception of American Idol, and when Joe Millionaire 2 comes on, I'll watch every second. God help us all. Yahtzee! Game On!
:: C.M. Burns 9/05/2003 11:19:00 AM [+] :: ::
Are We Still At War?

The current situation in the War on Terror is a bit convoluted, and neither the White House or the Loyal Opposition have real nailed down what should happen next. Thank God, then, For Victor David Hanson writing on Iraq on National Review Online. He shows us where we've been, where we are, and gives good ideas about where we should be going. It's a good analysis of the situation put into a solid historical context, and as always Mr. Hanson refuses to dumb down. Good read, and food for thougt.
:: C.M. Burns 9/05/2003 10:54:00 AM [+] :: ::
NFL's Brawl on the Mall

The NFL seems to have been the first pro league to totally embrace the concept of corporate sponsership. Sure, old ad's graced baseball field back walls since they were first built, but the NFL pioneered the "sponsered by" movement in sports. The Super Bowl was where it happened, once the ratings got so big. The only thing that shocks me about the Super Bowl is that there is no direct sponser of the game. It's not like the FedEx Orange Bowl. It's just the Super Bowl, which is fine with me. The NFL just sold everything else, starting with stadiums and going from there. They represent the worst of American Commercialism in that sense, yet offer up the most competitive league in sports without a drop in quality, like the NHL and NBA have. So it should be no surprise that yesterdays NFL kickoff here on the Mall was a total corporate mess, bringing the worst of Corporate Music together with the worst of Corporate sponsership to my favorite two-mile-plus stretch of land in the world, the National Mall.

I was hopping mad all week at the prospect of the sellout, and was ready to write and angry, pissy rant about it today, but
Tom Shales beat me too it. In todays Post he rips the whole damn thing, and rightly so. As much as I enjoy pro football, I hate the NFL. So when Shales writes that President Bush addressed the crowd via tape, saying pro football "celebrates the values that make our country so strong", it's actually cheering to see him write "Like what, violence and greed?". I don't mind the violence of the NFL. That's what makes it fun. What I do hate is the rampant greed. Read it for a laugh.
:: C.M. Burns 9/05/2003 10:29:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, September 04, 2003 ::
John Kerry Takes It On the Chin

There is a piece in today's National Review Online about John Kerry's waffling on Iraq. It's written by NR editor Rich Lowry who always writes excellent pieces and is no Bush administration shill. His account of how Kerry has made no sense on Iraq since voting for the authorization of force last year would seem to be part of the reason Kerry is getting clobbered by Dean. "Dean at least has a coherent position" writes Lowry. It's a tough but fair piece on Kerry, who seems to have lost the nominaion already.

Also, Bob Novak, writing in today's Washington Post takes Kerry to task for not being likable. In this piece Novak points out the Kerry appears to have been lying a year ago when he said he knew Dubya at Yale and that he was "still the same guy" today, ie a partying moron. On Meet the Press on Sunday, Kerry got knocked around by Tim Russert, and said that "President Bush is a very likable fellow", which is damning with faint praise, and a good technique in politics, but not when you were just asked if you lied about knowing him in College.

Anyway, I don't like Kerry much, never have. Since my Dem choice is Lieberman, I guess I'll have to watch two people I despise, Kerry and Dean, duke it out for the nomination. Such is fate.
:: C.M. Burns 9/04/2003 09:57:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 ::
Helpful Advice

"If you wake up one afternoon to find yourself screeching down the interstate off-ramp to hell at 180 per, hugging the white line separates this world and the next so jacked out of your fucking mind on coke and scotch that you don't know whether to kill the stripper in the passenger seat who sold you this E-ticket or marry her, then there's only one thing to do: Reach into the glove compartment, pull out the .38 and blow your goddamned brains out-'cause it don't get no better than this"-Anonymous Member of The State
:: C.M. Burns 9/03/2003 08:28:00 PM [+] :: ::
Share the Madness

How insane are you? Take this quiz and remember that NOTHING is as it seems! Keep Watching the Skies. I only got at 26% insane. Fucking government.
:: C.M. Burns 9/03/2003 04:12:00 PM [+] :: ::
How Do We Define Right & Wrong?

The world is a complex place.

That is, of course, obvious. As much as we are taught as children that there is a line between good and evil, between right & wrong, it is simply, in most cases, not the way the world works. There is evil in the world, yes, and there is good, but it is rare to find them untainted. I would say absolute evil exists in the world of crime, especially when dealing with sociopaths, those who feel nothing for others. They might not turn to evil, held back by societal norms, but those who do have been known to kill, maim and break the law without a second thought. Psycopaths aren't by definition evil, either, but a psychopath can do evil things. No, there is little true evil. It exists in some places, like North Korea's tinpot dictator Kim Jong Il. Saddam was evil, no doubt, and the very personification of evil was Hitler and the Nazi party. But it is rare we see evil so clearly in the world, as we were raised to expect.

The same can be said of good. What is good? Is good defined by good intentions, which have the bad habit of leading to negative consequences, or is it by good actions, which are not necessarily undertaken in the name of good. Good can be just as gray as evil. Was is good to us may seem evil to others. This ranges from sexual activity to prayer, from speaking one's mind to implementing the law. We see ourselves as good, we want to be good, we define ourselves as good and our opponents as evil, more so now more than any time since World War II. Not that this is a bad thing when dealing with terrorisim. But politically in America, it is problematic. Bush is Hitler is a common phrase on the left. Liberal or just simply anti-war equals traitor to the right. Extreme terms have made a frightening comeback.

I say all this to start a discussion, at least in my own mind, about doing what is right in this life. The right thing to do is almost never laid out clearly before us. Nor is it usually the easy path. Doing what we consider right is often extremely difficult, and the right thing for us may not be what is in the best interest of society. So when faced with a difficult decision, what are we to do? Does doing the right thing mean doing what is best to ease our conscience, to make us feel better, even if it ruins other people's lives in the process? It could, if you were coming clean about corruption, or organized crime, or about some other horrible thing that you and a group did in the past. The right thing may ease your conscience, but you have destroyed the others you did the thing with, your "friends". Few would argue this was wrong however, and in the end, it really is the right thing to do, not for you or your friends, but for the victim, victims, or just society as a whole.

However, sometimes what is best for society is not necessarily what eases your conscience. Take the example of the Unabomber's brother. He knew he was putting his brother in jail for life. Although he made the morally and, in th end, personally right decision, it was by his own admission gut-wrentching. He probably suffers to this day over it.

So what is best for us to do? We all face personal crises from time to time, when we must choose between what is right and what is expedient. Moral choices are so difficult. Do you betray a friend who is dangerous to others, even if you are best friends? Do you turn someone into his wife if you catch him cheating, knowing that his marriage may be over but your consience is clean? Or, as a hypothetical, do you oust a dictator of an oppressive regime for reasons you know to be true but cannot prove, leading you to possibly "sex up" scant evidence of crimes you KNOW are taking place? None of these questions has an easy answer. Trust is involved. Friendships are at stake. Lives hang in the balance. It is never easy to determine what is right and wrong, but it is these nearly impossible choices that define our character, tell us who we are, tells others, and perhaps, tells history, if we are so lucky to play a part in the larger human drama. In short, we must never forget that evil exists, and surely as good does, and that distinguishing between the two is difficult, nearly impossible. That it must be done is what makes the choices that much more heroic when they are right, and that much more tragic when they are wrong. All we can do is hope and trust we can recognize the correct path.
:: C.M. Burns 9/03/2003 03:03:00 PM [+] :: ::

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