Archive for May 2004

Note to the BBC…

MAKE MORE EPISODES OF COUPLING!!!
In 4 years of the show they’ve made a grand total of 29 episodes. That may be 4 seasons worth over there, but over on this side of the pond we’d call that one good sized season.
I can’t think of a funnier series on TV right now. The Season 3 finale that was on ton(And to head off the obvious comment, The Office hasn’t made me laugh once.)

From the “not taking responsibility for your own actions” file:

Student who plagerized and was kicked out of school sues the school because he says they should have caught him earlier and saved him a couple years of tuition.

New poll of Ohio shows Bush lead

The Plain Dealer has a new poll President Bush leading Kerry 47% to 41% with Nader running a close third with 3%. The poll shows that 62% of Kerry’s support is of the “Anything but Bush” variety.
Some recent polls have shown President Bush trailing Kerry by 4.5-7%. It should be noted that the Zogby poll is an internet poll of people who have signed up as interested in being polled, thus possibley skewing the numbers and the ARG poll sampled only 600 people compared to the Plain Dealer’s 1,500. Looking at the polls rounded up over at RealClear Politics I note that polls of Ohio with samples in the thousands seem to show a Bush lead while those with smaller 500-650 person samples seem to show a Kerry lead. Take that for what you will.

Some more on “Cops”

“Cops” creator/executive producer John Langley’s take on the situation:

“Cops” is designed as a realistic view of police officers’ everyday duties, Langley said. From his perspective, City Council members distorted the show’s purpose in a blatant effort at appealing to certain voters.
“It seems like it got politicized, like it was an agenda on someone’s part on City Council,” Langley said. “I found it ignorant, misinformed or both.
“It’s a documentary, for God’s sake. It’s not some perverse reality TV game show where things are distorted or manipulated. It’s pretty straightforward and simple.”
With Cincinnati police undergoing dozens of reforms in a multi-year process sparked by a U.S. Justice Department agreement and a racial profiling lawsuit settlement, City Council has often talked about making its operations more transparent to citizens.
That’s why Langley is puzzled by the cancellation.
“It smacks of hypocrisy to say you want to have an open police department, then say you don’t want to be taped,” he said. “I think (Council is) trying to appeal to some constituency and make it racial, when it’s not.
“I just thought (the footage) would be interesting, raw and a good piece of cinema verite.”
The Cincinnati Post

I hope the silent majority on the Council will follow through and show some backbone here.

Despite a few members’ vocal criticism, the majority sentiment on City Council is to allow the taping. Some members who spoke privately said Mayor Charlie Luken told the chief to call it off, and they hope to persuade “Cops” to return.
“I don’t think we should be bullied so quickly,” one member said.
Luken couldn’t be reached for comment Friday night.
Council Member Sam Malone said Friday he will introduce a measure next week to his colleagues seeking to again roll out the welcome mat to the show.
“This is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Police Department positively,” Malone said in a statement, “and we need to take advantage of this opportunity so the nation can see that Cincinnati is a world class city.”
Malone said Langley assured him the opportunity is still there for Cincinnati officers to be on the show.
“The door is wide open,” Malone said Langley wrote him in an e-mail. “We would be delighted to film with the Cincinnati Police Department.”
The Cincinnati Post

A poll at WLWT is running 83%-17% with those opposed to scrapping “Cops” on the winning side.

Did the books, might as well do the movies

This time drawing from AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies list. Once again, the ones I’ve seen are in bold.
I do much better with movies than with books, having seen 61 100 out of the top 100.

Read more

“How dare Al Gore disgrace this nation”

He never mentioned Nicholas Berg. Or Daniel Pearl. Or a single person killed in the World Trade Center. Nor did former Vice President Al Gore talk of any soldier by name who has given his life in Iraq. And he has the audacity to condemn the Bush administration for having “twisted values?”
Gore spent the bulk of a speech before the liberal group MoveOn.org Wednesday bemoaning Abu Ghraib and denouncing President Bush’s departure from the “long successful strategy of containment.”
Yes, the very same strategy that, under Gore’s leadership, allowed al-Qaeda operatives to plan the horror of Sept. 11 for years, while moving freely within our borders.

How dare Gore say that Americans have an “innate vulnerability to temptation… to use power to abuse others.” And that our own “internal system of checks and balances cannot be relied upon” to curb such abuse.
And this man – who apparently has so much disdain for the nature of the American people – wanted to be elected to lead it?
It is Gore who has brought dishonor to his party and to his party’s nominee. The real disgrace is that this repugnant human being once held the second highest office in this great land.
Boston Herald

–Addendum–
JunkYardBlog has a good homemade political ad on Gore.

Maybe “Cops” isn’t out

WLW is reporting that “Cops” isn’t done with the Cincinnati area. They’ll be taping in Norwood tonight and Sherrif Si Leis and the officials in Covington have invited “Cops” to follow their officers. They also report that Council Member Sam Malone will push City Council to reinvite “Cops” to film with Cincinnati Police.

*grumble* “Cops” out

Link
My thoughts from yesterday.
The Enquirer article even tells us that Chief Streicher would have had final approval of anything that went on the air.
On Smitherman and Reece at least Keith Fangman’s making sense.

Fangman said Smitherman, Vice Mayor Alicia Reece and Councilman Pat DeWine objected because they knew the program would show police in a positive light – and therefore wouldn’t fit with their anti-police agendas.
“Any imbecile who has watched the Cops show knows that they go out of their way to portray police in a very positive light,” Fangman said. “These three remind us of some schoolyard crybabies who, if all the attention isn’t focused on them, throw a temper tantrum and ruin it for everyone.”

Smitherman and Reece are bad enough, but Streicher deserves a good deal of the blaim himself for caving so easily.
Again I think Pepper takes a sensible stance.

Councilman David Pepper said he’s concerned that canceling the show is sending the message that the city is embarrassed by its police officers. He has ridden on patrol with many officers and said he’s been impressed with their work.
“You see professionals doing a very hard job that not very many people want to do,” said Pepper, chairman of council’s Law and Public Safety Committee.

Said Smitherman:

“Sensationalizing a small part of what good police officers do on a daily basis is not helpful for our community-police relations,”

Well not unless you have a pro-police agenda. I could imagine how bad showing good cops doing good things would be for someone like Smitherman.

What the heck, all the cool kids seem to be doing it

The 101 Great Books as listed by the College Board. Books I’ve read are in bold.
Beowulf
Achebe, Chinua – Things Fall Apart
Agee, James – A Death in the Family
Austin, Jane – Pride and Prejudice –Ughh!
Baldwin, James – Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel – Waiting for Godot — Borrrring.
Bellow, Saul – The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte – Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily – Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert – The Stranger
Cather, Willa – Death Comes for the Archbishop
Cervantes, Miguel de – Don Quixote
Chaucer, Geoffrey – The Canterbury Tales — Excerpts only
Chekhov, Anton – The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate – The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph – Heart of Darkness — I feel like I’ve read it, it seems every movie ever made has been based on it.
Cooper, James Fenimore – The Last of the Mohicans — Saw the movie.
Crane, Stephen – The Red Badge of Courage
Dante – Inferno — Cliff’s Notes
Defoe, Daniel – Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles – A Tale of Two Cities — Dickens always seemed a very slow read, but the stories were just interesting enough to keep them barely on the positive side of the spectrum.
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor – Crime and Punishment — Slightly on the negative side of the scale. It had its good points but then there’d be decent sized chunks that just made no sense whatsoever.
Douglass, Frederick – Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass — Did a book report on it. Can’t say it really made much of an impact at all.
Dreiser, Theodore – An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre – The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George – The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph – Invisible Man — I HATED, HATED, HATED, HATED this book. Most boring book I have ever read.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo – Selected Essays
Faulkner, William – As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William – The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry – Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott – The Great Gatsby — Meh.
Flaubert, Gustave – Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox – The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von – Faust
Golding, William – Lord of the Flies — Decent book. Suffered from having it assigned by the English Teacher From Hell.
Hardy, Thomas – Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel – The Scarlet Letter — Meh. Not interesting enough to really form an opinion one way or the other.
Heller, Joseph – Catch 22 — It’s no M*A*S*H.
Hemingway, Ernest – A Farewell to Arms
Homer – The Iliad
Homer – The Odyssey — An ok read as far as 2,000+ year old books go. The stories are good, the prose resulting from the translation can do you in though.
Hugo, Victor – The Hunchback of Notre Dame — Read Les Mis.
Hurston, Zora Neale – Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous – Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik – A Doll’s House — I had completely forgotten about this one. Can’t say I cared for it.
James, Henry – The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry – The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz – The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong – The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper – To Kill a Mockingbird — Good book, probably not as good as it’s made out to be though.
Lewis, Sinclair – Babbitt — Meh. I read it, can’t say any of it stuck with me. I think it may have started with something about a skyscraper.
London, Jack – The Call of the Wild — Wasn’t really good, wasn’t really bad.
Mann, Thomas – The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia – One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman – Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman – Moby Dick — Very long. I was like 10 and I got the book-on-tape and was quite determined to make it through the whole thing. For the life of me I don’t know why though.
Miller, Arthur – The Crucible — Meh
Morrison, Toni – Beloved
O’Connor, Flannery – A Good Man is Hard to Find
O’Neill, Eugene – Long Day’s Journey into Night
Orwell, George – Animal Farm — One of the better books on the list that I’ve read. A good enough read that you don’t find yourself slogging through it like so many books on this list.
Pasternak, Boris – Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia – The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allen – Selected Tales — I’ll count this one. I’ve read the great majority of his stories.
Proust, Marcel – Swann’s Way
Pynchon, Thomas – The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria – All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond – Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry – Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. – The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William – Hamlet — All of Shakespeare’s stuff is pretty hard to properly comprehend nowadays.
Shakespeare, William – Macbeth
Shakespeare, William – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare, William – Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard – Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary – Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon – Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles – Antigone — Meh
Sophocles – Oedipus Rex — Meh
Steinbeck, John – The Grapes of Wrath — An ok book, I did find myself struggling to keep going at times.
Stevenson, Robert Louis – Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Swift, Jonathan – Gulliver’s Travels — An ok book.
Thackeray, William – Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David – Walden
Tolstoy, Leo – War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan – Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — An ok read.
Voltaire – Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. – Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice – The Color Purple
Warton, Edith – The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora – Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt – Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar – The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee – The Glass Menagerie — Decent, didn’t really find anything spectacular about it though.
Woolf, Virginia – To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard – Native Son
I’m actually a fairly prolific reader in my free time. Read pretty much all of Orson Scott Card’s non-Biblical/Mormon stuff. Been trying to work my way through some of the more important stuff recently (at least the important stuff that piques my curiosity), some of Asimov’s robot stuff, Stranger in a Strange Land, most of Rand’s stuff.

Link between Iraq and 9/11?

We realize that even raising this subject now is politically incorrect. It is an article of faith among war opponents that there were no links whatsoever–that “secular” Saddam and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists didn’t mix. But John Ashcroft’s press conference yesterday reminds us that the terror threat remains, and it seems especially irresponsible for journalists not to be open to new evidence. If the CIA was wrong about WMD, couldn’t it have also missed Saddam’s terror links?
One striking bit of new evidence is that the name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam’s son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime’s dirty work. Our government sources, who have seen translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.
This matters because if Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen, it would establish a direct link between Iraq and the al Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. Shakir was present at the January 2000 al Qaeda “summit” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at which the 9/11 attacks were planned. The U.S. has never been sure whether he was there on behalf of the Iraqi regime or whether he was an Iraqi Islamicist who hooked up with al Qaeda on his own.
It is possible that the Ahmed Hikmat Shakir listed on the Fedayeen rosters is a different man from the Iraqi of the same name with the proven al Qaeda connections. His identity awaits confirmation by al Qaeda operatives in U.S. custody or perhaps by other captured documents. But our sources tell us there is no questioning the authenticity of the three Fedayeen rosters. The chain of control is impeccable. The documents were captured by the U.S. military and have been in U.S. hands ever since.

In his new book, “The Connection,” Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard puts together all of the many strands of intriguing evidence that the two did do business together. There’s no single “smoking gun,” but there sure is a lot of smoke.
The reason to care goes beyond the prewar justification for toppling Saddam and relates directly to our current security. U.S. officials believe that American civilian Nicholas Berg was beheaded in Iraq recently by Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, who is closely linked to al Qaeda and was given high-level medical treatment and sanctuary by Saddam’s government. The Baathists killing U.S. soldiers are clearly working with al Qaeda now; Saddam’s files might show us how they linked up in the first place.
OpinionJournal (Coverage at NewsMax) (Hat-tip)