Archive for February, 2003

13 Myths About the Case for War with Iraq

Wednesday, February 19th, 2003

More in my continuing stream of anti-war propaganda: from the folks at, 13 Myths about the case for war with Iraq.

Dubya Dismisses Anti-War Protests

Wednesday, February 19th, 2003

It’s obvious why his handlers keep him as far as possible from reporters’ questions and live microphones; as soon as Dubya starts extemporizing, the level of fear, both at home and abroad, ratchets sharply upward. His latest comments, in which he dismissed anti-war protestors as something he needn’t concern himself with, provided a nice example. It’s interesting to me how a presidency turns from hope and promises to whatever derisive epithet a jaded public chooses to file it under. Nixon: crook. Ford: bumbling. Carter: malaise. Reagan: Actually, I don’t know. I guess we never came to a consensus on that one. Befuddled, maybe? Bush the Elder: out-of-touch ( that’s one word, right?). Clinton: philanderer. And with dubya, I don’t think there can be any doubt at this point: arrogant. Check out this nice image, for example, courtesy of Bravo. The president likes to characterize himself as “respectful” towards those he disagrees with, but that’s bullshit. He consistently displays a dismissive arrogance toward dissenting views that is the exact opposite of respect. You can gloss it over if you want, call it “honesty” or “conviction,” say that the president is just being a Texan straight-shooter and calling it like he sees it, but there’s something darker there. There’s an undercurrent of anger, a score he wants to settle, and not just with Saddam Hussein.

Salon on Serkis’s Non-Nomination

Tuesday, February 18th, 2003

The folks at Salon have a story on Andy Serkis’s failure to get a best-supporting nomination from those aging thespians at the Acadamy.

Cockburn with a Final Post-Mortem on Powell’s UN Speech

Friday, February 14th, 2003

Alexander Cockburn has a pissed-off retrospective on the truth value (or lack thereof) in Colin Powell’s speech to the UN on February 5. All I can say is, yeah, really. What was that, anyway?

Ready for War at Clear Channel

Friday, February 14th, 2003

From Jason (the Jason who is actually called Jason, as distinct from the plethora of Jasons called something else), comes this cool memo from Clearchannel Preparing for War. I realize these folks are just doing their jobs, and am not surprised that this type of preparation is going on, but still, there’s something about this that feels horribly wrong. It’s like that story about how the Academy has their contingency plans all ready so the Oscars go off without a hitch even if the war has the bad manners to start in the 24 hours preceding the ceremony. There’s a willingness to view the war as inevitable, as something more or less routine, to be scheduled around trips to the lake and picking up Jimmy at soccer practice and setting the VCR to record the finale of Joe Millionaire. I keep thinking back to September 11, and how there was such a feeling of momentousness in this country afterwards. People were shocked that such a thing could have happened. Someone had coldly reached out and destroyed those high-rises, reducing them to rubble and snuffing out the lives of thousands of innocent people. There was this collective sense of incredulity; you wanted to grab strangers by the shoulders and shake them, make them understand. Forget all those petty details of your life; they don’t matter; this is huge; this is different; we’ve got to stop and look, all of us; my God, what’s going on here? And now here we are, about to unleash precisely the same sort of inhumanity on a few million of our fellow humans over on the other side of the world. And it’s no big deal; just another opportunity for us to do our jobs, working on our bottom line, padding our resumes. February, 2003: Led preparations for Iraq war coverage at KBFK and KSTE; set up interviews with terrorism experts, military recruiting centers, and anti-war types; achieved 23% ratings increase during the February sweeps; received local Emmy for public-affairs programming. Ho hum. Just another war.

Anti-Bush Agitprop from

Thursday, February 13th, 2003

In the interest of maintaining the current high levels of interest being shown in this site by those of the Love Your Country, Right or Wrong persuasion, here’s a nice bit of anti-Bush (both flavors) mockery: George Bush Is No Nazi (Flash required). Thanks to Madison for the link.

Yes, Steve Bing Is STILL a Wanker

Thursday, February 13th, 2003

Let’s see, it’s been how long since producer Steve Bing last made himself look like a horse’s ass by bringing a lawsuit that ended up going against him once the facts came out? A few months, maybe? Here’s the latest one, right on schedule: dueling lawsuits between Bing and actor Sean Penn. Penn claims Bing backed out on a deal to have Penn star in the film Why Men Shouldn’t Marry because he (Penn) refused to lighten up on his protests against the looming U.S. war with Iraq. Bing claims that there never was a movie deal, that Penn never really meant to appear in the film, and that Penn invented this whole stifling-of-his-rights story in an effort to extort $10 million from him. Right.

Pre-Pee-wee Trial Jockeying Continues

Thursday, February 13th, 2003

Prosecutors are doing their best to paint Paul Reubens as a menace to society, based on the 50-year-old images in his vintage gay porn collection, as we continue through the process of pre-trial motions. Fucking Ashcrofts. Don’t you think there might be some children actually being abused out there somewhere who could benefit from some of the time and energy you’re currently devoting to railroading this guy?

Balkin on Patriot Act II

Thursday, February 13th, 2003

From the popunder-ad-spewing (thank God for Chimera’s ad-blocking features) and silly-ass-login-requiring (cypherpunk98/cypherpunk) L.A. Times web site comes Professor Jack M. Balkin’s nice analysis of the Justice department’s proposed update to the US Patriot Act. Apparently the plan was to introduce the new, much scarrier version of the legislation once we were at war with Iraq, when public support for its “security enhancing” features would be higher, and criticism of its impact on civil rights would be easier to paint as a treasonous failure to “support our troops.” Choice quote from Balkin’s essay: The Bush administration and Ashcroft have become addicted to secrecy and are drunk on power; the more they obtain, the more they demand. A copy of the Justice department’s draft bill (which the folks at Justice repeatedly denied existed, until it was leaked) is available at the web site of the Center for Public Integrity, also. Read it while you can, citizens.

No Oscar Nominations for PJ, Serkis, Shore

Tuesday, February 11th, 2003

Nicely illustrating their conservative cluelessness, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has failed to dish up nominations for Peter Jackson, Andy Serkis, and Howard Shore in the Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Score Oscar categories, respectively. The Best Picture nomination for The Two Towers, and the smallish passle of technical-category nominations, were nice enough, I guess, but the Academy is digging themselves a pretty deep hole. Sigh. They’re just going to have to do their best to dig themselves out of it with next year’s The Return of the King.

Scheer on Dubya’s Failure to Make the Case for War

Tuesday, February 11th, 2003

Once more I link unto the lameosity that is the L.A. Times web site, again for a Robert Scheer column. This one is titled House of Cards, on how dubya’s ongoing attempts to justify war with Iraq have turned into a joke. My favorite quote is at the end: Depressing as it is to acknowledge, it now seems clear we are witnessing the tantrum of a woefully untutored and inexperienced president whose willfulness rises in direct proportion to his inability to comprehend a world too complex for his grasp. Ouch.

Conason on the Great Treasury Robbery

Monday, February 10th, 2003

Joe Conason, columnist for the New York Observer, does his best to make the looting of the treasury by Dubya and Co. sound interesting.

Madonna Readies Anti-War Video

Monday, February 10th, 2003

Apparently the new Madonna video for her song “American Dream” will feature a violently depicted anti-war message. You go, girl. (Always nice when I can run a story that is actually about the person whose image I stole for the category image.)

Zunes: Powell is No Adlai Stevenson

Monday, February 10th, 2003

There’s a nice piece at on how far short Colin Powell fell in his UN Security Council speech last week, where he tried to cash in some of his credibility chips in order to make a convincing case for war against Iraq. I have to admit, I’ve had a pretty high opinion of Powell’s honesty ever since that (scary, but awesome) description he gave of the upcoming Gulf War I ground war, when he said of Iraq’s army, “First we’re going to cut it off; then we’re going to kill it.” Especially in the context of Bush the Elder’s campaign to portray the war as a video game without actual casualties, that really blew me away. Too bad we’re getting so little of that Colin Powell these days.

David Brooks’ Anti-Anti-SUV Rant

Monday, February 10th, 2003

From the WSJ, courtesy of Janus, comes this fun essay: The Scarlet SUV. It’s about the silliness of railing against SUV ownership.

Ivins on the Great Liberal Conspiracy

Saturday, February 8th, 2003

Molly Ivins, one of my favorite old-guard Texas liberals (bet you didn’t know I had favorites in that category) has a nice new column where she mocks some of the loony goings on at the recent Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference. For more on the event, you can check out the free teaser to the full article at Salon that Ivins mentions.

DeFazio, Paul Sponsor Bill to Rescind Dubya’s War Permission

Friday, February 7th, 2003

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Ron Paul (R-TX) yesterday introduced legislation to repeal the Iraq Use of Force Resolution passed by Congress last fall. Interesting.

Winona Celebrity Pays Off

Friday, February 7th, 2003

Winona Ryder apparently will appear in Marc Jacobs’ spring advertising campaign, reprising her role as criminal clothes horse from last fall’s trial. You go, girl.

Oscar Ready for War

Friday, February 7th, 2003

The folks at the Academy are ready for anything with this year’s Oscar telecast, according to an article from Variety that has been posted at Favorite quotes: Though the Oscars have in fact been postponed three times before, a cancellation or significant delay is thought to be unlikely this year. At the most, insiders say, the ceremony could be delayed for two days in the case of war. A greater delay, it is thought, would wreak havoc with talent as well as network commitments worldwide. Also, A lot has to do with novelty,” Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz told Daily Variety. “A war that has just broken out gets a huge amount of media attention. A war that has been dragging on for a couple of months becomes more of a back-burner story. So as with so many other things in life, timing is everything.” Isn’t it, though?

Silly Dubya Audio

Thursday, February 6th, 2003

From, via, via ymatt, comes a slightly doctored version of the State of the Union. Enjoy.