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:: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 ::

A Conspiracy Thoery Michael Moore Won't Touch

As you may know, Micahel Moore loves Conspiracy Theories. His newest film is full of them. However, I have one that Moore himelf won't touch, one so shocking and disturbing, that, if true, could bring down, well, no one, but it bears looking into.

It's is an indisputable fact that Michael Moore is overweight. Obese. Fat. A Whale. Gigantic in proportion. Now, wait, I'm saying this to make fun of him. It's simply the truth. He's at his ideal weight if he were 10 feet tall. Anyway, I was looking back at some pictures of Moore over the years, starting with the cover art for "Roger and Me", the doc that made him. He looks a little overweight, but not brando-sized, like he is now. a few years later, he made TV Nation, and again, not yet getting huge. Hell, just two years ago, when "Bowling For Columbine" came out, he didn't look unhealthy, just plain fat.

Now, however, Moore is what I think any doctor would call "morbidly obese". Now to the crux of the conspiracy. It's hard to find a pic of Moore looking truly as fat as he currently is. He wears black alot, and it's hard to tell. The shot from Cannes is as close as you can get. Hell, Moore even photoshopped a different body onto his head for the "F9/11" teaser poster. The point-Moore doesn't want you to know how fat he is, for insidious reasons. My theory-Michael Moore was, in the past few years, possibly right after he finished "Bowling for Columbine" diagnosed with some inoperably, deadly disease. It's probably from all the food that makes him fat. Anyway, he knows he may well soon be dead. Now, how will he get his message to the masses if he's six feel under? Simple-he will instruct his circle to burn all copies of his autopsy report, have the circumstances of his death and burial be kept secret, and then have his family saty quiet about it. Implication to Moore's band of loonies? Moore was KILLED BY BUSH! Or Republicans. Or the NRA. In fact, it may be that Moore is keeping his condition from everyone, and will simply "dissapear" right before he passes, giving ample fodder to his conspiracy loving fans. It's brilliant and evil and would make him a legend, forever cementing the image of crusader for truth in the mind of his drooling fans. This is a hot one folks. The only hole is that if Moore IS in fact dying, he probably wouldn't be smart enough to not tell anyone, but would instead opt to tell EVERYONE and blame the GOP. That will only galvanize his followers, but Moore probably doesn't have the smarts or at least the finesse to pull of the mysterious dissapearence. Still, if he does go missing, remember: You heard it here first!
:: C.M. Burns 6/30/2004 11:23:00 AM [+] :: ::
So What's Clinton's Legacy? Lets Ask His Fans

Clintonmania is once again sweeping the Nation as Bill's "My Life" dropped last week with considerable fanfare. Apparently, as a book, it's either US Grant good, or Reagan boring(and Reagan's was REALLY BORING). Anyway, that's kinda irrelevent to most autograph seekers. I myself am considering standing in line next week for an autographed copy. Why? Because he was President, and I like collecting author signatures. My first was Tom Clancy, and I've gotten Gulianni's, Christopher Moore's, and others.

Well, Evan Coyne Maloney has a new video up of him interviewing people waiting in line for the signing in New York. Maloney has pioneered Video Blogging(vlogging?) and has a keen intellect and sense of humor, and unlike, say, Michael Moore, he doesn't treat those he interviews with contempt. His new video, is funny and honest and it's at it's best when he asks them about their favorite Clinton policy. Just watch.
:: C.M. Burns 6/30/2004 09:13:00 AM
[+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 ::
I Guess There's A Reason Newspapers Have Lousy Iraq Coverage...

They have lousy beareu chiefs. At least that's what Marine Reservist ond Commentator Kevin Johnson has to say. He rips the head of the Washington Post's Iraq Bearue for basically being an inexperienced, agenda-packing anti-US propagnadist. For a while, people who have been over to Iraq and served there have been saying that the media paints an unfair portrait. Now we know why-they have poor reporters covering the place. And this is AFTER CNN's "we covered up Saddam's attrocities for better access" non-apology. It's a shame you can't trust what you read in the paper any more, but, hey, you can't.
:: C.M. Burns 6/29/2004 03:00:00 PM [+] :: ::
My Jack Ryan Connection, or Fuck You, Chicago Tribune

I ranted a bit ago about the Chicago Tribune's unholy crusade to unseal the CUSTODY battle document from the Jack Ryan/Jeri Ryan divorce. And make a note that it is the CUSTODY battle, not the divorce. The divorce records were always available. The media just didn't say that, because saying CUSTODY might make people think they had less of a reason to be opened. Can't have that. Anyway, I was quite pissed that my hometime paper the Trib was running into the gutter to get at records that both parties in the custody case wanted sealed. I felt they were no ones business. Also, I was personally invested because at the time I was just about to leave DC for a job on his campaign. So yeah, I guess I had some personal reason to not see anything damaging come out. That the story itself wasn't even as wierd as the papers made it out to be wasn't all that surprising. It was just a mildly embarrassing accusation that he denied in court and which the judge at the time obviously thought inconsequential as he awarded joint custody. But the Trib's headlien was "Ryan Divorce Records Bombshell!" and the headline took up the entire front page, or most of it. The story was hyped by the Trib and WLS-TV in Chicago because they spent months going after the records. And in doing so, unnecssarily embarrassed and ruined one man Jack Ryan, humiliated his ex-wife, Jeri Ryan, and probably messed up his kid, too. I think it's rough. Some Dems thought it was only fair and Clinton got the same treatment, but Clinton's thing wasn't about just sex, or lack of it in Ryan's case. Clinton's also involved BREAKING THE LAW, which no one thought was even IN Ryan's file. Anyway, the whole thing was only made worse by the total incompetency of teh Illinois Republican Party, which decided to shoot itself in the foot by going after Ryan because he wasn't "their man". If they had stood by him, he might have survived. They forced him out.

But the real villian remains the Chicago Tribune. They went farther than most would to obtain a set of documents that contained to evidence or even allegations of real wrongdoing, but were embarassing nonetheless, and then went on to hype them with a massive front page headline. If this isn't a case of the media creating a story, I don't know what is. The Trib defended itself over the weekend in the most absurdly awful editorial defense I've ever read, eventually comparing it's crusade against Ryan to journalists going after the Watergate Tapes! The WATERGATE TAPES! Here's the link if you don't believe me(you have to be registered). I'm shocked. I'm also upset at columnist Eric Zorn, who decided that Ryan was "using" his son to protect himself, and is now saying that the Tribune should join any lawsuit to unseal the records of John Kerry's first marriage, which ended MUCH worse than Ryan's. Great. I thought the lesson of the Clinton years was that private life wasn't important. Apparently, I was wrong. And I don't think Kerry's records should be revealed if both parties want them sealed. If his ex says that the public should see them, well, they can duke it out in court, but I swear to God this is not how you cover a campaign. Who needs a dirty tricks shop or opposition researchers when you've got the media doing all the dirty work for you? I'm sickened by the Tribune, it's writers, it's editors, WLS-TV, and the Illinois GOP for not standing behind Ryan. It's no wonder the idiots threw away a quarter century of control in the Governor's Mansion. Should Ryan have told the total truth about his divorce? Well, I still think he did. Allegations are not truths, especially in custody battles, though I guess Ryan can be faulted for thinking he had any privacy left. So fuck the Tribune, Fuck, WLS-TV in Chicago, and Fuck the whole Illinois GOP Leadership, gutless wonders that they are. I swear, it's enough to turn me into an apathetic slacker. Well, not really, but I hate them all the same.
:: C.M. Burns 6/29/2004 10:23:00 AM [+] :: ::
Sullivan Fisk's Moore, Raspberry

Reading yesterday's Washington Post, I felt that familiar, sickening feeling in my stomach that I get when a otherwise rational human being falls for Michael Moore's crap. The poor soul in this case was William Raspberry, long time Post columnist, a very smart man who's columns I usually enjoy, and an unabashed liberal. He wrote a bizzare column about Moore's "Farenheit 9/11" that is as full of contradictions as Moore's "documentary"(or op-ed, or pile of shit, etc.). He writes that the movie plays fast and loose with the facts but that Moore's attitude is right. It's pretty wierd. Anyway, the man who mastered the art of the fisking, the critical approach to columns that destroys them line by line, Andrew Sullivan, blasts both Moore and Raspberry out of the water by providing us with a line by line reading that shows just how specious Raspberry's reading of the film is. Read the thing, it's ggod for what ails ya.
:: C.M. Burns 6/29/2004 09:39:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, June 23, 2004 ::
How We Beat Al-Sadr

Jumping into my old war-blogging shoes, I feel it's necessary to link to the story of how the 1st Armored Division beat back the militia of radical Mullah Muqtada al-Sadr. If you remember, Al-Sadr was about to plunge the entire nation of Iraq into civil war and was going to prove we were "losing" Iraq. Well, he's finished now. Not that media in general will report it. It goes against the "No News That's Good News" policy that seems so prevelant. I wonder what Sen. Kerry thinks about this?
:: C.M. Burns 6/23/2004 12:26:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 ::
Sullivan Slams Rather for Really Poor Clinton Interview

As I said the other day, I thought that Dan Rather did a fawning, pathetic job interviewing Bubba for "60 Minutes". Well, Andrew Sullivan, because he gets paid to, rips Clinton and Rather in a new post at The New Republic. Can you believe some on the Left think Rather was too HARSH with Clinton? THAT'S comedy.
:: C.M. Burns 6/22/2004 03:21:00 PM [+] :: ::
Michael Moore Pillaged By Hitchens, Too Fun Not To Link To

Well, the talk of the web today is Slate's Christopher Hitchins' massive assault on "Farenheit 9/11" and it's agitating director, Michael Moore. The vicousness of the attack is surpassed only by the accuracy of it. Hitchins does come off as a man with a bone to pick, but he's been infuriated with the Left(Remember, he's a solid socialist) since 9/11, and while that has come out in little bits, the Left's wholesale embrace of Moore has obviously unleashed all the fury Hitch can muster. It's funny and he makes some serious arguments about Moore's points that Moore's team better get on. Hitch also says that they group "moveamericaforward.com", that's trying to get theaters not to show the film is wrong, as it's just what an ass like Moore wants. I agree. Hitchins suggests going to the film and calling people out when they applaud incorrect things in the film. I would, but I don't want to die. Maybe if I lived in, say, Kansas.

Also on Slate, Jack Shafer rails against Moore's threats of Libel suits against detractors, calling them empty and indicative of Moore's clever media manipulation. Shafer dares Moore to sue Slate and Hitchins. He doubts it will happen. So do I. Moore and Clinton are all over the place lately, so I've bogged myself down in watching "Dodgeball", and reading a new bio on Lincoln. I need to disconnect.
:: C.M. Burns 6/22/2004 12:08:00 PM [+] :: ::
A WWII Anniversary The French Would Like to Forget

Just 18 days ago, America, Great Britain, Australia and Canada remembered D-Day on it's 60th anniversary. I don't include France "remembering" it because they still like to think DeGaul won the whole thing. Anyway, today marks the 64th Anniversary of another day the French would like to forget the day they caved to Hitler and surrendered, ushering in 4 years of compicity in the Holocaust, actually sending troops to fight the American invasion of Africa, and solidifying for all time that the French a bunch of, in the words of Groundskeeper Willie, "cheese-eating surrender monkeys". Actually, I mostly blame the spineless French leaders and the Parisians, who would gladly accept Nazi rule if it meant that they didn't have to fight. Pussies. Anyway, happy "Capitulation Day" France, who giant, whiny, smelly losers.

P.S: Proving the NY Times has no sense of history, in their "On this Date" section that marked this occassion, they called the French surrender "stunning", like it was unexpected. I don't think Winston Churchill would have used those words. He would have said "what took them so long". Stupid French.
:: C.M. Burns 6/22/2004 09:14:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Monday, June 21, 2004 ::
Moore is Too Much

Michael Moore, the man who gives Liberal Muckraking a bad name(TM: Washington City Paper), has his most controversial film coming out this Friday in DC area theaters. "Farenheit 9/11", which is about 18 different things if you ask Moore, has already won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, and is already being bandied about as Oscar fodder. Anyway, the movie is coming and Moore's doing publicity. And he just can't stop fibbing, as is his wont. I was going to link to specific examples, but just go to "MOOREWATCH - Watching Michael Moore's every move" and scroll through all these well-documented little lies Moore tells to sell his story. It's fun, and you can try to get his followers to have a breakdown or hear wild conspiracy theories about how Moore's never told a fib ever and it's a right-wing conspiracy that allows people to think that the things that come from Moore's mouth are anything but the truth.

But that's not the point. I was asked today if I was going to see the movie. My answer: not in a theater. I will see it. Perhaps I'll download a pirated copy from the interweb. More likely, since I'm an A/V geek, I'll wait until it hits DVD to watch it. And then I'll judge it. I consider myself well-informed, and don't need Moore to tell me what's what, but I admit to an interest in the film. Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" was spectacularly entertaining, if just as misleading, and I want to see what the fuss is about. But there is no way that I'll see the film in a crowd full of Moore-lovers who will laugh and applaud everything on film. A crowd like the one I saw "BfC" with, that applauded at a small Dupont Circle theater. I want to watch it by myself, without conservative or liberal friends providing commentary, and I will take notes and I will compare his "facts" with what I know to be true. I've read a lot of email to movie sites about how they don't want to see Moore's film, and the response is equally vapid, most notably from film commentator Jeff Welles, who tells people that by not listening to Moore, they are closeminded and can't face the truth. Well, people like Welles and Ebert also don't want to hear that Moore is a documented liar. Watching his film isn't going to change them, just as if, say, I did an in-depth doc about how Iraq isn't the nightmare the media says it is wouldn't change their minds. Accusing people who don't want to view Moore's film as "closeminded red-staters" helps no one. I'll watch it in due time. It won't change my vote, but I'll look at it objectively, which would be impossible in a theater in DC. Anyway, I think Moore is full of shit, and I won't let him try and fool me again, but you can't refute what you haven't seen, so I will see the bastard liar's smear-fest and see what I see. But I think I'll see Dodgeball again this weekend instead of "F9/11"
:: C.M. Burns 6/21/2004 03:22:00 PM [+] :: ::
Clinton Through The Glass Darkly

Well, Clinton Mania Part Deux took off last night with Dan Rather's creepily Barbara Walters like interview with Bubba. Clinton was his usual self. Unapologetic, spiteful towards his enemies, and generaly being Slick Willy. It was especially humorus to watch Rather play all those old clips from 1992 when he went on 60 Minutes and denied ever having an affair with Gennifer Flowers, which was a lie, of course, and which Rather mentioned. Actually, the piece documented many Clinton lies, caught on tape or in print. What's funny is that the reviews of the interview call it "unusually candid" and "revealing", even though Clinton or his defenders have been saying the same things for years. Anyway, Clinton was just being Clinton, and he was just as I expected. Rather, though, is headed towards either the old folks home or has become a total shill for Clinton. If you recall, he rated Clinton's memoir as "Five Stars", and compared it to the memoir of Ulysses S. Grant, who's account of his life was perhaps the finest memoir of any leader, ever, in the history of the world. That's some pretty heavy company. Rather is not afraid of hyperbolye of course, and could have been exaggerating, but when you read The New York Times review "The Pastiche of a Presidency, Imitating a Life" you have to wonder who Rather thinks he's kidding. Now, I doubt Rather read the whole book. If it's and mind-dullingly awful as the NYT's reviewer says it was, well, Rather's old and crazy, maybe he just read a couple of parts. Anyway, it certainly got worse treatment by the times than did Hillary's "true" account, which was impossible for me to put down. By which I mean I head to fling it against a wall. I simply could not treat the book gently. But that's the Clinton's for you.

For true, unaduterated hysteria about the reaction to the book, one need look no farther than Howie Kurtz's column today where former Clinton Press Secretary Joe Lockhart utters perhaps the stupidest thing I've heard all month:
"The respect and honor that Democrats have shown, in an appropriate way, for President Reagan will not be shown to President Clinton. They don't live by the same credo. They're mean and nasty people. . . . They aren't self-aware enough to understand the image they'll create for themselves when they trash Clinton at every turn."

It seems that Lockhart has mistaken a controversial President's self-serving memoir release with a controversial President's death. Writing a book doesn't get you kind attention, especially if the book plays fast and loose with the truth. Dying, on the other hand, tends to generate sympathy from almost everyone(DU posters and hard core lefties excluded). Yes, I guess whenever Clinton does slip this mortal coil some hard core righties will bash him, but not the vast, vast majority or us. I don't think Clinton's going to hell or is a horrible person, per se, I just think he was mediocre to poor President who didn't really DO anything. Kurtz is kind enough in his column to point out to the reader that Reagan, despite his controversies, was very popular when he left office and the goodwill only went up, and that 15 years had passed since he left. Clinton was nowhere near as popular as the Gipper and only left office 3 and a half years ago, so maybe Joe Lockhart should relax just a bit.

Finally, I'm not sure if I'm going to read the book. If it is boring and meandering, do I really want to invest my time in a 900-plus page book when more serious or entertaining books are out this summer? If it isn't, well, still. 900-pages. That a lot of beach reading. Perhaps I'll get the book on tape. That way, I can listen to Clinton describe his legacy while I read my copy of National Review. That should balance things out.
:: C.M. Burns 6/21/2004 03:06:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Friday, June 18, 2004 ::
On NYT's 9/11 Coverage...

This is how I feel too. I guess it's "angry at the media" day here. Not a good way to start the weekend.
:: C.M. Burns 6/18/2004 12:02:00 PM [+] :: ::
The Right to Privacy Is Apparently Given Up Easily, or "Fuck the Chicago Tribune"

When I was young, the Chicago Tribune was my favorite paper. Growing up in the Chicago Suburbs, I vastly preferred the Trib to the tabloid-esque Sun-Times. It wasn't until I moved to DC and read the Post on a daily basis that I realized the Tribune only had a decent Sports section but was otherwise only fit for packing material. But I still had a place for it in my heart, and reading it online was a way to keep in touch with home. No longer. It seems the Tribune enjoys digging through people's personal records, and I'm mad as hell about it.

Allow me to explain. Jack Ryan is the Republican Senate Candidate for Illinois against Barak Obama, the Dem, to fill retiring Senator Peter "Waste of Space" Fitzgerald's seat. I actually painted Ryan's home when I was a wee lad of 17(many years ago), and I met him and his very beautiful and very nice then-wife, Jerri Ryan(She's an actress, played seven of nine on Star Trek Voyage, was on Boston Public). She was preganat with their son at the time, and I remember they paid me well for what wasn't that hard a job. Well, they got divorced, it's sad but it happens, and apparently the custody battle got a little rocky. I don't know the details, but nobody was hitting anybody, so it wasn't a disaster. Anyway, the marriage ended, Jerri went on to become the fantasy girlfriend of millions of Trekkies, and Jack went on making millions in investment banking, and has, since 2000, been teaching in poor Chicago school. Good for both of them. Anyway, last year Jack announced he was running for Fitzgerald's seat, along with about a dozen other GOPer's and Dems. The primary was nasty on both sides. The Dem favorite, multimillionair Blair Hull, was destroyed during the last weeks of the campaign when it was revealed that he was abusive to his wife and hit her. Obama picked up the pieces and won, and then said that Divorce records should be private and that he would not support efforts to force the Ryans to release theirs. Good for him. In Ryan's case, there were sealed records pertaining to the custody battle. Both he and his former wife wished them to remain closed because they felt they would be hurtful to the child. They were united on this. Even as his GOP opponents hammered at him over it in the primary, Ryan won rather comfortably. With State Sen. Obama rejecting the idea of going after the records, and discouraging his supporters from doing so, it looked to be a close camapign fought on the issues in an important state. Which is a good thing in today's political climate. Enter the Chicago Tribune.

Since the primaries, the Tribune and WLS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Chicago, have been suing to release the records. DESPITE the insistence of both parties in the divorce, and calls from state leaders in both parties, the Tribune sued in California, where the divorce took place, to unseal the records that had been sealed FOR THE CHILD'S SAKE in 2001. This battle has been ongoing, and a "referee" was appointed to take a look at the files and recommed to the California judge about how they would effect the kid. Two weeks ago, the referee found the public interest in the files lacking compared to the interest of the child. She recommend that only three or four documents be released, none that would harm the kid. Well, the Tribune pushed, and yesterday the judge in California ruled that ALL of the documents be released. All of them. According to the Tribune story, which I refuse to link to, the child may be harmed by the documents, but the Public's right to know outweighs this. Now, as far as I'm fucking concerned, if releasing the documents is going to harm the kid, you don't fucking release the documents. The judge said there were some "embarassing" things for Jack Ryan in the documents. So now, "embarassing" info for the public to know is more important than the welfare of the child. What the fuck is wrong with our society? We claim to respect privacy, but toss it out the window if it benefits us personnaly. If the Tribune got an annonymous tip about what was in the documents that was given illegally(say, after the judge had barred their release), they would have gone to the mat to protect their source. But who cares about a child? Apparently not the judge, the Tribune, or WLS-TV. I'm fucking mad as hell about this, Why are divorce records public anyway? I would understand if the documents were court records from a public trial, but divorce records seem to me to be private, unless the reasons for the divorce involve criminal behavior, such as the abusive behavior of Blair Hull. But when the person who's going to be hurt the most is a kid? What the fuck is so important that the Public needs to know about it? I can't wait to see, now. I can't wait to see what "juicy" secrets are so important that this kid is gonna need protection from them. Yeah, I'm a Republican, and yeah, I wanted Clinton censured, if not impeached, for LYING to a GRAND JURY, but if it was his divorce records and the contents would have only hurt Chelsea, I'd be wishing the scum who went after them a hot time in hell. There is no right to this information. I'm done with the Trib. Now, Sun-Times, all the time. WLS-TV won't get my viewership for news if I ever make it back in Chicago. I hate those fuckers. I'm sure they think they've one a great victory for journalism, but all they've done is killed another part of our private lives in an age when we already live with too many people watching us. How can the media expect people to trust them when this is how they treat private issues? Fuck the Tribune.
:: C.M. Burns 6/18/2004 11:48:00 AM [+] :: ::
Shooting Down Conspriacy Theories

Over at Asymmetrical Information Jane Galt is shooting down voting machine conspiracy theories. These have always been some of my favorites, usually launched at places like Democratic Underground but sometimes even on "reputable" sites like Salon.com. The idea is since the head of Diebold, which makes these machines, and ATM's, and probably Credit Card swipers as well(I'm sorry, I didn't look up their FAQ), since he's a Republican, he'll obviously implant some code into the machines that will make Dubya win in November. Their only PROOF is that since he's a Republican, he's evil. As Jane asks, if the head of Diebold were a Democrat(remember, not all CEO's are GOPer's! I Know, I was shocked too!), whould Deomcrats take Republican claims of conspiracy seriously? Of course not, which is why, even though I think the potential for mistakes are legion in electronic voting machines, I don't think it's a conpiracy. And Democrats were the ones DEMANDING machines like these after 2000's debacle. Now, they claim to be afraid of them. The thing is, if Bush wins in November, their will be a substantial number of Democrats who will claim it was fradulant. Hell, Dubya could win by a good margin, say 52%-47 or 48%, and they would claim fraud. I think all the diebold conspiracy talk is just a way to make an excuse if Kerry never catches fire., which seems likely, as he seems to be made of flame-retardant material. It also distracts from real defects in the machines and the fact that they need a couple more years to work out the kinks. Oh well. I still like conspiracy theories. They're fun. Just don't tell the Trilateral Commission on me!
:: C.M. Burns 6/18/2004 11:08:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 ::
Theresa Heinz Kerry Brings up the Cleland "Smear". Again

The Kerry camapign is obsessed with proving that Republicans are evil based on the defeat of former Georgia Senator and triple amputee Max Cleland. In an interview with CBS Evening News,

the lketchup heiress says that the "shamefull" treatment of Cleland in his 2002 re-election bid caused her to switch party alegiances. While those who actually followed the race, including Georgia Democrats, agree that Cleland lost more because of him being a not very effecting legislator and out of touch with Georgia than the one ad that Mrs. Kerry is referring to. In the ad, Cleland was accused of putting workers unions ahead of national security because he voted against the creation of the Department of Homeland Security based on Union complaints. It was one ad. People did not go around saying, "That Max Cleland, he loves terrorists". Dems have for the past two years been complaining about how Cleland was treated and that the ad was "unconcionable" and evil and what not, which is a load of crap becuase I've seen the ad and I've seen nastier, less factual ads run by school board candidates. While the ad is negative and features terrorist images, the question raised in it is whether Cleland was strong on the very big issue of National Security. No factual errors were in the ad. The Democratic line that Kerry has been parroting is that the GOP attacked Clelands patrotism. Which is bull, but it hasn't stopped a virtual cult to grow up around Cleland. Apparently, calling somone who lost three legs on a poor voting record is mean-spirited and nasty. Heinz-Kerry, if she really believes this, is apparently a very stupid woman. I don't think it's true, so I'm going to assume she's been brainwashed, because only stupid people (like,say, the writing staff at Salon, think Cleland lost because of the ad or because people thought he was unpatriotic. Clearly, Kerry has mesmerized her with his monotone speaking ability.

The two nastiest ads I've ever seen were run against Republicans. The 1964 "Daisy" ad run by LBJ against Goldwater, AFTER he was beating him by about 30 points. That ad did everything but expicitly state that Goldwater was a crazy person who lusted for Nuclear War. Which was BS, and unnessary considering the fact that Goldwater was simply too cranky to get elected abnd was never even close to LBJ in that race. The second ad was run by the NAACP against George W. Bush in 2000. It involved the horrible killing of James Bird, a black man from Texas who was dragged to his death and mutilated by horrible readnecks in 1999. The Texas judicial system found the men guilty and sentenced them to death. The ad was in black & white, and featured a pickup dragging chains behind it. Bird's daughter voiced over that the day then-Gov. Bush veoted hate crime legislation was like hearing her father had been killed horribly all over again. The ad did not state that the two men were already on death row, and implied rather heavily that nothing had happened to them at all, and it was all Dubya's fault. It plies Dubya was a horrible racist who loved letting the killers of black citizens get away scott free. All because he didn't want to sign a useless piece of legislation that was mostly symbolic and really saught to regulate free thought. I actually think liberals would be against ANY legislation that criminlizes what's in a person's heart. It's the actions that matter, not what caused them. Anyway, the implication was much more explicit than the "Cleland loves terrorists" line the Dems have been using for two years. Republicans only bring up the Bird ad every time Dems play holier than thou with Cleland's loss.

Anyway, someone should show Theresa Heinz-Kerry both ads and ask her, point blank, which ads were worse. I doubt she'd pick the Cleland one, but who knows. She is, in her own words, "cheeky".
:: C.M. Burns 6/15/2004 11:02:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, June 10, 2004 ::
Morning in America

I won't be blogging again until Monday. After work today I'm headed to the Rotunda to pay respects. So, I want to leave the week with this, the enduring, most famous photo of a truly great man. God speed, Mr. President.

:: C.M. Burns 6/10/2004 02:44:00 PM [+] :: ::
:: Wednesday, June 09, 2004 ::
Australia Is Going to BE My Second Home

About a month ago I linked to a story about how an Australian Politician encouraged couples to have more sex so that the Australian birth rate would go up. I'm not exactly pro-more kiddies, but I'm certainly pro-sex, and any government that wanted it's citizens to have more fun in the sack was alright by me. Now, the city of Melbourne wants to name a road after AC/DC, the best band to ever come out of the Southern Hemisphere. I want to live on that street when I move there! For those about to rock, I salute you.
:: C.M. Burns 6/09/2004 10:52:00 AM [+] :: ::
PJ O'Rourke On Talk Radio

I don't much listen to talk radio. Not because I find it offensive. I just find it like sitting in an echo chamber. On Rush Limbaugh's show, all the callers just phone up to tell his how much they agree with him. I also don't watch the nightly political yak fests like Hardball or O'Reiley, because I don't like being shouted at. So it was with great pleasure that I read PJ O'Rourke on Talk Radio in the current Atlantic Monthly. PJ likes Rush, as I do, but is annoyed by Coulter, Hannity and "O'Reiley", just like I am. His conclusion, that Conservative and Liberal radio and book screeds are pointless since they preach to the choir is about where I stand, only he's much funnier than I am so go read it. PJ's new book "Peace Kills", is great, too. Get out of here. I'm ornery today.
:: C.M. Burns 6/09/2004 10:45:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, June 08, 2004 ::
Kerry's Real Thought's on Reagan

Just so we don't forget that John Kerry spent most of the 1980's fighting every successful Reagan foreign policy initiative, most importantly backing the communist Sandanistas and supporting the nice sounding yet utterly clueless Nuclaer Freeze movement, we have Rich Lowry giving us an interesting perspective on how partisan Liberals treated Reagan then and how they treat Bush now. Kerry has had admiring words for Reagan, but was a fierce, mean-spirited opponent of the Reagan administration.

Also, what is very interesting about the current coverage is that Reagan was never one to attack people personally, in ads or in public. He'd brush off angry words directed at him. While the Bush campaign in 1988 had negative aspects, despite what liberals say now about "The Republican Attack Machine", it was Clinton/Gore attack dogs Paul Begala and James Carville that pioneered the politics of personal destruction.
:: C.M. Burns 6/08/2004 04:20:00 PM [+] :: ::
Quidditch: Fun To Read About But Makes No Sense

On a lighter note, the Volokh conspiracy has issued a stunning indictment of the obvious flaws in the Wizard game of Quidditch in the Harry Potter series. Because the seeker(Harry's position) controls the outcome of the match, the rest of the players are essentially superfulous. Finally, JK Rowling has been corrected. My only question: Where was Tony Kornheiser on this?
:: C.M. Burns 6/08/2004 02:49:00 PM [+] :: ::
Goodbye to the Gipper

I was three years old when Ronald Reagan took the White House. So I really don't remember him back then. In 1980, my only clear memories are of my mother being pregnant with, and giving birth to, my sister.

My first impressions of Reagan are from Spring of 1984, when we drove from Chicago to the East Coast, and spent some time in DC. We saw all the sights, and got pictures of the White House and goofy postcards with the President and Nancy Reagan on them. Again, no real impression, politically. In second grade later that year, we followed the Reagan vs. Mondale campaign, and we split the class in two, half being Republican, half Democrats, and had faux-conventions and we joked about it. When Reagan massacred Mondale, the Republican group, which I was in, was really happy, and Mondale was a joke to us then, as he in now, even at the age of 7. Still, no big impression.

In 1988, at the age of 11, it was Bush vs. Dukakis, and my impression was that Bush seemed genial, but I really wasn't paying attention. The thing I remember most about Ronald Reagan that year is that I was watching a Cubs game at home with my friends, and he suddenly came into the booth with Harry Carrey and Steve Stone and called a couple of innings. He certianly spoke clearer than Harry did, but then again, Reagan wasn't a goofy alcoholic(not that I don't love Harry). My dad thought it was really great, and told us about Reagan being a sportscaster when he was young. For a group of 11 year olds, that was pretty impressive.

As he lifted off in Marine one from the back of the Capitol building in 1989, leaving Washington, I watched it on TV in sixth grade. As the chopper left sight as it headed to Andrews Air Force Base, I quipped, "Well, it's bedtime for Bonzo", that being the only movie Reagan was in that I had heard of, and it sounded funny. I got booed.

My last memory of the man in the Public Eye is the first after I decided that I was a Republican. It was the disasterous GOP convention in Houston in 1992. However, it's not Pat Buchanan's awful culture war speech that I remember. It's Reagan's address to the crowd, what really was his last major Public Appearance. He strode out, looking like a natural, and gave an incredibly memorable speech. It was inspiring, funny, and optomistic. My favorite line was one he stole from Lloyd Bentson's debate with Dan Quayle in 1988: "(Bill Clinton) likes to compare himself with Thomas Jefferson. Well, I knew Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson was a friend of mine, and you sir are no Thomas Jefferson". The place went wild, Reagan smiled that smile of his, and I think that's when the magic of Reagan hit home for me. He was so natural at it, even though he was already becomiong enfeebled by Alzheimers. When he announced he had it two years later, it wasn't much of a shock.

Reagan died on Saturday, of course, as we all know. I was in Wilmette, IL, my hometown, when I heard. My brother's High School graduation was this past weekend, and I was helping pick stuff up for the party. I grew up in America under Reagan, but I never really knew much of who he was besdies "the President". During my hardcore Conservative years, I read all I could about him, and am looking forward to reading Lou Cannon's book on his years as Claifornia's Governor. When I heard he died, I was filled with sadness, almost like a relative had passed. He was so integral to my youth. I grew up comfortably in the suburbs. America was the greatest Nation in the world. People go along, and even though I knew what nuclear war was(accidentally watching "The Day After" as a child is not something I recommend), I didn't worry about it. My family was happy, and Reagan was there as President. It was sort of comforting. I suppose that's not much, but it's what I have from then. What he did, what he accomplished, the end of the Cold War, well, I appreciated each step towards freedom those newly liberated Soviet Republics took more once I knew that without Reagan and his desire to treat the Soviets as they were, as a truly EVIL regime, they wouldn't be free. I will fondly remember Ronald Reagan, even though I never really was aware of him until after he left the scene. I will remember him because what he accomplished continues to transform the world, and his work is not yet done. The Russians might fall back into tyranny, and the world is still dangerous. To honor him, we must carry on his dream where all people are free. I close with a very appropriate quote from Reagan's '92 convention speech that I stole from Mickey Kaus. It sums up his vision for this country in a way no commentator could:
Whether we come from poverty or wealth; whether we are Afro-American or Irish-American; Christian or Jewish, from big cities or small towns, we are all equal in the eyes of God. But as Americans that is not enough - we must be equal in the eyes of each other.

RIP, Mr. President
:: C.M. Burns 6/08/2004 10:10:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Thursday, June 03, 2004 ::

OK, this homemade anti-Kerry ad is creepy as hell, but also hysterical. There's a lot of these on the net, and some damn funny ant-Bush ones, too. Why is it that the most creative people are languishing away doing real work and only do good ads for fun, while monkeys in suits create the awful, mind-numbingly dull real ads that we're subjected to each year? I think it involves pride and integrity, but I could be wrong.

:: C.M. Burns 6/03/2004 10:03:00 AM [+] :: ::
:: Tuesday, June 01, 2004 ::
More Vietnam Vets for Bush

Always one of the more interesting aspects of Memorial Day on DC is Operation Rolling Thunder, when hundreds of vets, mostly from 'Nam, roll into the Capitol on Harley's to ride for POWs/MIAs and Vets rights. Surprisiningly, this group of very dedicated men seem to be overwhelmingly for Dubya, not their fellow vet Kerry.

On top of that is a CBS poll that breaks down support for the candidates amongst several different groups, including vets as a whole. Overall Dubya leads Kerry by 13 points amongst vets. That entire article, by the way, sums up a good deal of what many veterans feel is wrong with Kerry to them-namely, his infamous "war crimes" testimony in 1971. Also, he has a nasty habit of being pro-Vet when it suits him. You know, this is gonna be a long campaign, but with crap like that utterly skewed "analysis" piece of the Bush camapign ads in the Post yesterday and the fact that the regular media seems to think that all vets love Kerry, I think blogs should continue to get the truth out about this man. Dubya's far from perfect, but I'd rather vote for Howard "crazylegs" Dean than Kerry, if that was the choice. At least Dean is relatively consistant.
:: C.M. Burns 6/01/2004 02:57:00 PM [+] :: ::

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