Sine Qua Non Pundit

And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good -- Need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ------ ------ ------ ------ E-mail: charlesaustin@earthlink.net

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Friday, June 06, 2003
 

A Tip

To achieve the full effect of the last Scourge you need a mouse with a scroll wheel on top. Position your browser to the middle of the "quagmire" and then rapidly move the scroll wheel back and forth with your index finger. The refresh rate on your monitor should produce a visual effect similar to the intellectual fuzziness required to imagine that Afghanistan or Iraq have any relation to Vietnam.

You're welcome.



Thursday, June 05, 2003
 

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. LXXXVI

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

“Alive at both ends but a little dead in the middle” is one of my favorite snippets from a song by Genesis in the post-Peter Gabriel stage, as Phil Collins started to step from the shadows a bit on A Trick of The Tail. It’s not terribly apropos of what follows, but it does remind me a bit of you know who, given that his latest column is titled Of Tricks and Trailers:

Last October, Congress passed a resolution authorizing the president to use force in Iraq.

Check.

It said nothing about bringing democracy to Iraq, reordering the Middle East or getting the Israelis and Palestinians to make nice -- some of the reasons now retroactively advanced to justify the war.

I guess we should have just nuked them, eh, Dick? And the War Between the States wasn't kicked off with a rhetorical flourish about emancipating the slaves either, and yet that was rather breathtakingly used as a justification well into the war and long after it to elevate the sacrifice of so many men to a higher purpose. You did watch Ken Burns’ The Civil War, didn’t you Dick? But, since President Abraham Lincoln didn’t start out to free the slaves, I guess Dick and all the other Democrats wouldn’t have approved. Come to think of it, they didn’t back then. But I digress.

Instead, the resolution talked about the grave threat the United States faced from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and his links to al Qaeda.

Check.

In less than a year, that resolution has gone from a stirring call to war to an outright embarrassment.

I don’t feel embarrassed. But then I’m not Richard Cohen.

The resolution declares that "Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region."

Check.

It says that Iraq "continues to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability."

Check.

It says Iraq is "actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations."

Check.

It says that based on those findings, the president was authorized to go to war.

Check.

He did.

And mate.

You can look it up.

Or I could trust what I read in the papers. Nah, better look it up.

It's too soon to know if the Bush administration was lying, exaggerating or simply mistaken.

Note the subtle introduction of the conclusion before any argument is given.

But it is not too soon to say that the case it advanced concerning weapons of mass destruction was much more tenuous than the administration admitted.

Was it? An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

It somehow forgot to mention all the caveats, doubts and contrary evidence.

No need to. I saw plenty of people holding signs doing that for him.

As for the link with al Qaeda, that was just plain hogwash –

Oh? Well, Saddam did deny it.

… not that it was believed by anyone much in Congress.

And they voted for the resolution authorizing the war anyway. How curious.

Just the American people.

Stupid proles.

I confess that as the war approached, it seemed pretty clear to me that some of President Bush's reasons for it were bogus. No nukes. No al Qaeda connection. I did, however, think that Iraq contained vast stores of chemical and biological weapons -- or, if not that, then the capacity to restart its programs with little effort.

And who might be engaging in a little historical revisionism now?

I confess also to an abiding hatred of Saddam Hussein.

I’ll bet the draft version of this column had George W. Bush scratched out and Saddam Hussein written after it.

I also felt that the United States could not afford to send the Army halfway around the world and not use it.

Um, actually, we kind of did. Most of the Army sat this one out since they couldn’t get Turkey’s permission to stage a northern front in Iraq.

Great powers must not bluff.

Glad to know we are a great power again after eight years of huffing and puffing, though not inhaling, of course.

And Hussein may have been playing his own bluff, pretending to have weapons he might not have had.

May ended a few days ago. It’s June now, so let’s drop all the negative hypotheticals. Ok, Dick?

But I also confess to suspecting that the Bush administration wanted this war with Iraq both for reasons it stated and for ones it did not.

Shocking, isn’t it?

Some of those reasons were suggested by Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, when he told Vanity Fair magazine that Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction hardly represented the only reason for going to war. It was merely "the one issue everyone could agree on."

Wow! This international geopolitical game is really complex.

History may say that Bush was right to rid the world of Saddam Hussein -- no matter what the pretext.

But, Richard Cohen may struggle doing so.

It may say that he freed Iraq from a despot, established the predicates for a Palestinian-Israeli peace and enabled the United States to pull its troops out of Saudi Arabia where they so vexed al Qaeda and other Islamic militants.

But, Richard Cohen may find it hard to admit.

History may also say that he proved to other rogue nations -- Iran, Syria and maybe even nutsy North Korea -- that America would not be trifled with.

But, Richard Cohen may want to hedge his bets now that he’s got a little hindsight.

This little war may have great and good consequences.

But, Richard Cohen still thinks BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION!

Then again it may not.

Uh oh. Here it comes.

And that possible downside -- a quagmire in Iraq, for instance -- may come to haunt the Bush administration.

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We won and it’s still Vietnam! It's so ... spooky.

Already, some commentators are suggesting that Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction.

The use of “some commentators” has to be about the worst journalistic practice around. Richard doesn’t have to stick his neck out, but he’s merely repeating the slander, uh… I mean lies, uh… I mean suggestions that unnamed sources have made. How very brave. I guess the lie repeated often enough still passes for the truth in some circles.

The Gulf of Tonkin incident -- Lyndon Johnson's pretext for greatly escalating the Vietnam War -- has been exhumed.

Exhumed? Hell, the Left has never buried this decrepit corpse. They bring it out for every little soiree they have.

Once again, we are told, a president tricked the American people into a war.

So, how does it feel to be tricked by a dumb guy?

I don't buy it -- not yet, anyway.

Such a bold stance. You're way out there, Dick.

But as if to prove his critics right, Bush acts as if no one in his right mind could question the president's motives.

Uh huh. That’s why he’s doing it, to prove his critics right.

He recently cited two suspicious trailers as proof of Iraq's illegal weapons program.

Another game of chess?

To the ear of the already skeptical it sounded like more of the same -- a thin reed transformed by spin into a mighty redwood.

But let’s be honest, the “already skeptical” is composed mostly of people whose world view is more than a little addled by drugs, nihilism, and a belief that breaking things somehow makes a valid political statement; and those whose feelings toward President George W. Bush – even before the war – could be used for training the next generation of skinheads, brown shirts, or racists.

Two trailers?

This reminds me of the old joke at the bar about raising the ante until a woman would agree to sleep with you, with the punch line that now that we can agree on what you are, we just have to haggle over price. If it was four trailers, would that be sufficient? Forty Trailers? What? (I tried to come up with something for Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson, but failed -- sorry.)

We went to war for that?

Do I really have to respond to a question like this?

A gaggle of congressional committees -- not to mention a CIA oversight panel -- is looking into what, if anything, happened to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

So are a lot of soldiers, sailors and airmen who are still being shot at from time to time.

But Bush himself ought to wonder about what went wrong and offer an explanation to the American people.

If in fact it is necessary to offer an explanation that something went wrong. But given Richard Cohen’s weasel words, he won’t feel obligated to offer any apologies when some really nasty stuff is found – or used.

He might start by rereading the congressional resolution. It authorized a good war -- but for the wrong reasons.

Really? Did it finish with, “Have a good war, Mr. President!”? And as for war being executed for the wrong reasons, if deposing Saddam Hussein was wrong, I don’t want to be right.



 

I Missed the Turn To the Right a Couple of Weeks Ago

Jack Shaffer writes in Slate:

Until a couple of weeks ago, the New York Times was the closest thing left to the Soviet-era Kremlin

Is it just me, or is there some unintentional irony in that lead sentence? Then again, the title of the article is:

Howell's End

Perhaps it became exposed and vulnerable when the usual suspects got their noses out of it.



 

Howell Raines

Was a boyhood friend of my boss when I lived and worked in Alabama. He used to be the executive editor of the NY Times. Remind me to never piss off Andrew Sullivan.



 

Why Did We Invade Iraq?

Simple, really. In the hands of some bastards, shovels are weapons of mass destruction:

"Citizens discovered on May 30 a communal grave close to Debs, in Kirkuk. But this is different from other mass graves discovered since the fall of Saddam Hussein's terrorist regime because it contains the remains of 200 child victims of the repression of the Kurdish uprising" in 1991, the paper said.

"Even dolls were buried with the children," it said.


Yea, I know I'm a day or two late with this reference, but it does solve the question of where the WMDs are. They are everywhere in Iraq.



 

Journalism vs. The Blogosphere, Round 13

As I read about the journalistic abuse by several organizations of Wolfowitz quotes to infer things he did not say, the seemingly endless supply of Dowdalisms, the Jayson Blair affair, Rick's bragging about things he didn't write, and other nonsense at the NY Times that led to the resignation today of Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd, whatever happened to the dictum that reporters are supposed to cover and report the news, not become the news?

In my humble opinion, the primary difference between professional journalists and bloggers can be boiled down to the fact that journalism is a vocation while blogging is an avocation. Journalists do it because they have to (i.e., this is their chosen profession), while bloggers do it because they want to (and boy-oh-boy do they want to!). No amount of passion on the part of the "have to's" can match the passion of the "want to's", especially when you take into account the Borg-like assimilative quality of the blogosphere. Heaven help the blogosphere if somebody finds a way to make it pay, or worse yet, starts conferring some high-brow legitimacy through Pulitzer-like awards. Either of those will be the death-knell of the blogosphere as we know it today as the "high-end" of the blogosphere will then be driven by the same motiviations that drive Big Media journalism today.

If I'm right, I'm not sure where this leaves Tim Blair, Mickey Kaus, or Andrew Sullivan, though.



Wednesday, June 04, 2003
 

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. LXXXV

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Oh my goodness, the mixed metaphors have undergone a magical metamorphosis, nay, they have mystically metastasized into a miasmic menagerie of malicious mollycoddling masquerading as the measured missives of a malingering martinet. In other words, Richard Cohen has written another column in which he belatedly finds it necessary to admit the President George W. Bush isn’t as dumb as Mr. Cohen tries to convince us that he is once, and sometimes twice, a week. And what’s worse, it’s due to young George’s simplisme approach of being direct, saying what he means, meaning what he says, and not being cowed into boyish concerns about what the cool kids of Europe might think of him.

It’s funny that Richard Cohen thinks that calling the President a warrior is just as great an insult as calling him a cowboy, without apparently realizing that neither is a pejorative here in flyover country. Can anyone imagine Bill Clinton or Al Gore being called a warrior in anything but jest? But without further ado, since Richard has adopted one football metaphor for his title, I will counter with another as I line up to block that Dick while Scourging The Warrior Tackles Peace:

If, for some strange reason, you are inclined to do a computer search of the phrase "facts on the ground," you will come up with countless hits -- the vast majority of them relating to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

Ok, I’ll bite. But why do I think that Richard Cohen has never actually used Google, Lexis, or Nexis himself? Anyway, Google returned approximately 1,800,000 hits for “facts on the ground.” While it’s true that the first 4 hits are about the Israeli-Palestinian situation, only 24 out of the first 100 are about the Israeli-Palestinian situation. If 24% constitute a vast majority, well, that helps to explain Richard Cohen’s views and commentary on economic matters and vote counting in Florida, amongst other matters. Strangely enough, ground poultry was gaining rapidly on the Israeli-Palestinian question as I got deeper into the query results. But, I digress.

For years, the Israelis wanted to change the facts their way and the Palestinians, their way.

The Israelis want to change the Palestinians, their way? A bris for everybody!?!

Now, to the surprise of many and the horror of some …

The horror! How dare that cowboy succeed? Why, for some I guess it would be better if the peace process withered and exploded in a new orgy of violence than that President George W. Bush succeed where so many illiberals whose hearts were purer failed.

… George Bush has done a Sinatra -- he changed the facts his way.

Huh? Sinatra changed the facts his way? Here’s the last stanza of My Way, by the way:

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -
And did it my way!

It does seem to fit the President’s actions of late, though I am still struggling with Richard’s inability to acknowledge a master stroke of diplomacy because it was achieved by President George W. Bush, and what seems to be almost as bad, through the firm use of military force. Gosh, maybe he meant Nancy Sinatra.

The president now stands on the brink of what may, surprisingly, be a real chance to make peace in the Middle East.

The unmitigated gall of a president on the brink!

Already the totally unexpected has happened: Ariel Sharon, the hard-liner and architect of Israel's settlement policy, has changed his tune. He has called the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by its right name -- an "occupation" -- and said it cannot last forever.

And his actions were of course immediately reciprocated by the Palestinian Authority in another bold move for peace. Right?

At the same time, Yasser Arafat is no longer the sole leader of the Palestinian people.

The Godfather of sole.

He now shares power with a prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, who has renounced violence and seems determined to reach an accommodation with Israel.

Abu’s got a brand new bag.

For a president who has been accused of doing zilch about the Palestinian-Israeli problem, Bush is suddenly golden.

Why stop with the Palestinian-Israeli problem? The president has been accused of doing zilch about a lot of things without cause or justification. But is the Palestinian-Israeli problem the same thing as the Israeli-Palestinian situation in the last paragraph, or is this something new?

What has happened?

Dick bought a clue?

In the first place, he effectively sidelined Arafat by refusing to deal with him. Bush quickly determined that the Palestinian leader was a liar who talked about peace but encouraged and permitted terrorism.

So the so-called "dumb guy" figured this out quickly, but the “serious” people never could quite catch on. Is that it?

What Arafat could not win at the bargaining table, he thought he could win by suicide bombings.

No doubt, I’ll soon read that it’s still all Sharon’s fault soon.

It has cost him.

Not enough.

But more important, Bush changed the facts on the ground.

Changed? Or recognized the facts on the ground for what they are, terminating the utopian delusions of the bleeding hearts, stopping the moral equivocation, and acting on their merits and demerits as each deserves?

At one time, the most critical of them was that Israel was surrounded by hostile nations. One by one, though, Arab state after Arab state dropped out of what was once a united front. Now Iraq is gone, too.

Well, that was rather casual, now wasn’t it. But last I checked, Iraq is still there -- it's Saddam Hussein who's gone.

The facts haven't been changed so much as obliterated.

And we wonder why fact and opinion co-mingle so easily on the front pages of our “serious” newspapers.

No one recognized the new situation better than Sharon.

Except for President George W. Bush, of course.

He is a keen map reader, and the map has changed. He used to take visiting dignitaries on a helicopter tour of the country to show how exposed it was to foreign invasion -- Tel Aviv being little more than a sniper's shot from the West Bank. For this reason, it was imperative to establish settlements in the West Bank. The pious may have thought they were doing God's bidding, but Sharon -- a secular sort -- was simply looking at the terrain.

And the problem with Sharon’s analysis here is what exactly?

The settlements now serve no defensive purpose -- if they ever did. Jordan is not about to attack. Saudi Arabia has internal problems. Egypt has other concerns. Lebanon is a basket case. Syria remains menacing, but by itself it is no dire threat to Israel, and Iraq -- once fearsome -- is now, like the District of Columbia, run by the federal government.

That’s an interesting analogy. But I do wonder if DC is run as well as Iraq right now?

To the dismay of many, Bush has so far proved effective because he has not shied from using force. He has shown he means what he says.

I swear I wrote the introduction before I read this. I have definitely spent far too much time in the nether regions of Richard Cohen’s conscience.

When he said he wouldn't deal with Arafat, he didn't deal with him.

Compare and contrast with the finger wagging president who “… did not have sex with that woman.”

When he said he would whack Iraq, he whacked it.

No thanks to some.

When he said he would get involved in the peace process, he did.

Does Dick detect a trend developing here?

He not only can bang heads together, he will. His record so far says so.

What a change of pace in the halls of power.

Prudence, experience and life itself caution not to expect too much from the road map, which both Israel and the Palestinians must follow on the way to a peace settlement. So much stands in the way -- Israeli hard-liners, Palestinian terrorists, Sharon's own ambivalence, pie-in-the-sky demands from the Palestinians (the so-called right of return, for instance) and what to do with Jerusalem.

Ok, it’s not all Sharon’s fault. But he is still the only one called out by name.

A century of enmity is not going to fade in a day.

Deep Dick, really deep. Don't loosen that firm grip you've got on the obvious. (Ed. Hmm, I've never heard it called that before.)

But even among Palestinians -- their economy in ruins, their cause given little but lip service by states that once vowed to destroy Israel -- a new realism seems to have set in.

Oh?

To the chagrin of those who criticized Bush for doing nothing in the Middle East, to the horror of those who abhor the use of force, the president may succeed where every American president in modern times has failed.

Did you just feel the earth move?

Like Alexander, he didn't fuss with the Gordian knot. He cut it. It's called changing the facts on the ground.

Oh yes, I promised a connection to Capt. James T. Kirk. Even casual Star Trek fans know that Capt. Kirk had the distinction of being the only cadet ever to beat the "no-win" Kobayashi Maru scenario. Capt. Kirk had secretly reprogrammed the simulation computer, making it possible to win in a test that was designed to make each cadet fail to measure their reactions to stress and failure, thus earning himself a commendation for original thinking. President George W. Bush was thrust into the basket case of the Israeli-Palestinian situation by virtue of holding the office of the President of the United States, and he has succeeded where all others have failed by breaking the rules and doing what he is not supposed to do – whether that is eliminating the threat in Iraq or speaking plainly about what he and America will and will not do. And now, even Richard Cohen has been brought to a point where he must acknowledge that President George W. Bush has to be given an awful lot of credit for pulling off something in two years that not even the husband of the smartest woman in the world could manage in eight years.

But it hurts Dick to do so. I still think Richard Cohen would rather focus on the breaking of the “rules” than the successes that followed. I know most of the Left would.



Tuesday, June 03, 2003
 

Richard Cohen

Pisses me off, but you already knew that. No more time tonight to do it justice, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what President George W. Bush has in common with Captain James Tiberius Kirk, and why Richard Cohen thinks that's a bad thing, in the next Scourge...



 

Flapping Gum Control

I'm concerned as a Soccer Dad about the scary looking semi-auto-biography of Hillary Clinton that is about to be made available to anyone! Without a background check! And no matter what their mental capacity or voting record might be! I'm normally all for this freedom thing and guaranteeing our constitutional rights, but, well, does anyone really need a semi-auto-biography like this. It's not like there's anything we don't already know. And I can only hope that my childrens' schools will show zero tolerance for the violent words and destructive potential of the bigotry, lies, and slander some readers and reviewers of this semi-auto-biography will spray indiscriminately at innocent bystanders or those who may only be accustomed to single author auto-biographies. Does anyone really need ammunition from this lethal low calibre tome with hollow points? The teflon-coating on Hillary has only one purpose -- to allow her flaks to spin the truth and defeat the proper role of truth and honesty in our civil and political discourse. Who will protect us against the onslaught of this semi-auto-biography in the hands of those who hate and seek to sow discord and dishonest dissent?

Don't do it for The Children™!



 

BlogWatchers

There's a blog weight loss contest about to kick off. Details can be found at MTPolitics. That's MT as in Montana, not Movable Type.



 

At the Movies

I took yesterday to sleep in and do a few things with the kids on their first day of summer. So, I took daughter #2 to see Finding Nemo, I went and saw The Matrix Reloaded by myself, and then I closed the evening taking daughter #1 and one of her friends to see X2. I suppose the most surprising aspect to me was how empty the theater was for all three movies, but that's another story.

Finding Nemo is standard Disney fare, without the music or hip cultural references, which can be outstanding, as in Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story and Toy Story 2, or atrocious as in, well, almost every other animated Disney movie the last few years. The story is straightforward and kept the interest of my six-year old with amazing animation and a fairly simple plot. My interest was mostly in the animation, which is incredible. At times they seem to have to dumb it down to remind you that you are watching animation. It won't be long before we won't be able to trust anything we see that's recorded. Computer animtion has certainly come a long way since those late nights in the Digital Computer Laboratory at the University of Illinois in grad school 20 years ago when I was doing wire frame models of the Eiffel Tower. My plans to pursue computer graphics as a career lasted until graduation. Sigh. But, I digress. Good family fare, thumbs up.

The Matrix Reloaded more than anything else highlights what a phenomenal job Peter Jackson has done with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I won't dwell on it here, but LOTR has held my attention and fascination even though I know almost exactly what is going to happen. Compare that to the second installment of The Matrix trilogy where the primary feature would seem to be the "what's going to happen next" that I haven't really experienced since The Empire Strikes Back twenty-three years ago. It has been a real challenge avoiding all the spoilers until I could get out and see it, but I managed. I did read Mr. Lilek's review of it and while he does have a few good points ("put down the bong and step away from the script"), I think my enjoyment was at least five or six times greater than his. No, it's not as good as The Matrix, but that's an awful lot to try and live up to. It was fun to watch, though it seemed a little disjointed to me as only a handful of characters outside the trinity of Neo, Morpheus, and Trinity appear more than once. Here's a handful of observations, criticisms, some positive notes and some speculation on The Matrix Revolutions. Commander Lock seems to be from the school of leadership that believes command is basically just getting angry and yelling a lot. I always find it fascinating to examine how "Hollywood" thinks a military should function, as if it's all about charisma and ordering people about. Somehow, I think Commander Lock will be back for a showdown with Morpheus -- and Niobe. I smell heroic self-sacrifice in the wind. Link's name has some significance which I haven't yet grapsed, but I'm sure it's not accidental. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder whether or not Neo isn't more, or less, than he appears. Perhaps he is a cyborg, which might explain his Ubermensch-like powers in the "real" world towards the end. Yea, I know he was a battery like the others, but remember that he was also a "plant" of sorts by the Architect. On the other hand, if the "real" world just turns out to be a the next recursive layer in a hyper-matrix that goes on without beginning or end, I'm going to be a little disappointed -- especially since I came up with that without the benefit of any hallucinogenic support. When Morpheus stepped onto the stage in Zion, I half expected him to shout out "Can you dig it!", but thankfully he did not in an homage to The Warriors. As opposed to Mr. Lilek's, the Architect scene was my least favorite, primarily because of the Wachowski brothers' overuse of paradox to shock and awe the stupified or drug-addled teenage masses who are looking for some deep philosophical meaning. Nothing like a few paradoxes to keep the kids scratching their heads for hours at a time. I'll give the Wachowski brothers some credit for a couple of real nice touches with continuity that aren't necessarily obvious, so maybe they weren't hitting the bong so much as is occasionally suggested. The guy who carved up his palm and returns at the end as the sole survivor is kind of a cheap theatrical trick that doesn't shock so much as make me snort at the overly contrived convolutions of the plot. A lot of the 3-D stop motion photography seems now to be just for interesting visuals, rather than to help illustrate the uniqueness of what it's like in "the matrix." Yea, it's cool, but I find myself paying attention to it more for the technical buzz like I did while watching Finding Nemo than being engaged and engrossed in the action as an integral part of the plot. I sort of stepped out of the experience and then had to step back in when it was over. Still fun to watch, but no the same as the original. Gosh, I'm not that jaded already am I? Anyway, like I wrote above, I'l give it a thumbs up because it was still fun and I'll go see it again and buy the DVD later, but I now look forward to The Matrix Revolutions with more hope than anticipation. And as I've been typing this, Carrie-Anne Moss has been on my television in Chocolat. Another good movie that increased my appreciation for Johnny Depp. But that's another story for another day in another digression.

X2 was substantially more straightforward. Clearly, there are a lot more X-Men pictures in our future. I won't say a lot more about it other than it was very well done, enjoyable, and that the X-Men series of films will be to my children's generation what the James Bond series of films was for my generation. Thumbs up.



 

Good On You, Mate

Australian Prime Minister John Howard sent me a letter in response to an e-mail I sent him a month or so ago. Sure it's a form letter, but it's a nice form letter and what's best is it doesn't mince words:

... There has always been a special bond between the people of Australia and the people of the United States. We share a common love of freedom and respect for democracy.

The decisive victory of the American-led coalition reflects great credit on the strength and determination of President Bush's leadership. Through its action the coalition has sent a clear signal to other rogue states and terrorists groups alike -- the world is prepared to take a stand.

The Australian Government does not for one moment regret the decision to join the coalition of the willing. Australian military forces have participated with just cause, in an action properly based in international law, which resulted in the liberation of an oppressed people.


Air mail from Australia with a nice script watermark "Australis." How cool is that!



 

Reason #457 Why Al Sharpton Should Not Be President

His extended cameo in Mr. Deeds.





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