Archive for May, 2009
26 May 2009

Don’t Hold Back, Ralph, Tell Us What You Really Think

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Ralph Peters has a simple solution to the indefinite detention conundrum which keeps wet liberals like Marc Ambinder up all night sobbing into their pillows over the neglected “rights” of terrorists given quarter and taken alive.

Silly narcissistic people, like Ambinder, who make moral statements along with their fashion statements and for the same reasons, will never recognize the inevitable fruits of their eager intrusion into the issue. Bang! goes the gun in the hand of the US soldier or intelligence officer who now knows better than to take any prisoners who are going to serve as the focus of such a costly, idiotic, and self-lacerating domestic debate.

There can be little doubt that what Ralph Peters advocates will de facto be the never-expressed policy.

We made one great mistake regarding Guantanamo: No terrorist should have made it that far. All but a handful of those grotesquely romanticized prisoners should have been killed on the battlefield.

The few kept alive for their intelligence value should have been interrogated secretly, then executed.

Terrorists don’t have legal rights or human rights. By committing or abetting acts of terror against the innocent, they place themselves outside of humanity’s borders. They must be hunted as man-killing animals.

And, as a side benefit, dead terrorists don’t pose legal quandaries.

26 May 2009

An Evening’s Entertainment in Victorian England

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Terrierman has an eminently politically incorrect posting discreetly lamenting humanitarian reform and the abolition of the Rat Pit.

Just look at those four obviously extremely naughty girls, one smoking a cigarette (in public no less), another casually lifting her skirts just clear of the fracas below. The young ladies’ enthusiasm for blood sport and obvious ease in masculine surroundings almost makes one want to classify them as consoeurs of Pierce Egan‘s Corinthian Kate in Life in London (1821), representatives of the Pooter-free epoch predating Victoria, the epoch of the Mohawk, the Corinthian, and the Buck. But, just look at their dresses!

The young ladies are obviously representatives of the gas-light era of Sherlock Holmes, not of the Regency. Moreover, there is that cigarette. The cigarette did not become commonplace until after James Bonsack’s invention of a machine for their manufacture in 1881.

The Rat Pit may have been outlawed in England in 1835, but there they are, enjoying a bout of ratting considerably after the date of the ban. My own surmise would be that these ladies have every intention of concluding their evening at yet another completely illegal establishment of entertainment, too.

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Again, hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 May 2009

Taken (2008)

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In reviewing the recent Liam Neeson film Taken on the occasion of its DVD release, Big Hollywood’s Leo Grin invokes approvingly a quotation from D.H. Lawrence that seems a little familiar somehow.

    He is a man with a gun. He is a killer, a slayer. Patient and gentle as he is, he is a slayer. Self-effacing, self-forgetting, still he is a killer. . . All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted. — D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)

Every once in awhile an action film comes along that revives. That proves that — no matter how strong the political correctness of an age, no matter how pale and pathetic its notions of masculinity, no matter how much Ritalin is force-fed to little boys, no matter how many toy guns, xylophone mallets, and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots get banned from stores and playgrounds — there are certain aspects of the male soul that are inviolate, and certain primal yearnings that are evergreen. Taken (2008) is one of those films, and its release last week on DVD and Blu-ray should be heralded by lovers of all things red-blooded, hairy-chested, and morally sound.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 May 2009

Obama Honors Confederate Dead

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The Confederate Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery

Ignoring loud voices from the Academic left and the moonbat sector of the blogosphere, President Obama chose to continue a presidential tradition dating back almost a century to the Wilson Administration of sending a wreath on Memorial Day for placement at Arlington National Cemetery’s Confederate Memorial.

ABC News

NYM joins Warner Todd Huston in congratulating President Obama for a statesmanlike decision, which avoided the exploitation of divisive historical oversimplifications.

President Obama sent a wreath to the Confederate memorial at Arlington cemetery during the memorial services to recognize the sacrifices and service of the members of our armed forces this week. It has been a tradition since Woodrow Wilson offered a wreath to memorialize Confederate dead at Arlington and a tradition that many on the American far left wanted to see ended. They have been disappointed.

But the president also started a new tradition, one that everyone should welcome and one that we should all hope is continued by every succeeding president that comes after Obama. President Obama also laid a wreath at the African-American Civil War Memorial at Vermont Avenue and U Street Northwest in Washington D.C.

President Obama struck just the right balance on this and he should be commended. By memorializing the fallen from federal service, the fallen from Confederate service, and the fallen memorialized by the African-American monument we have at last a united effort that recognizes the sacrifice of all Americans, equally.

The contemporary left’s enthusiasm for re-fighting the Civil War ignores the historical truth that the war involved larger issues than Slavery, that the majority of men serving in the ranks of the Confederacy owned no slaves, and most prominently ignores with deliberate deceit the services of black confederates.

Scott K. William’s Black Confederates web-site supplies a good deal of information.

It has been estimated that over 65,000 Southern blacks were in the Confederate ranks. …

Frederick Douglas reported, “There are at the present moment many Colored men in the Confederate Army doing duty not only as cooks, servants and laborers, but real soldiers, having musket on their shoulders, and bullets in their pockets, ready to shoot down any loyal troops and do all that soldiers may do to destroy the Federal government and build up that of the…rebels.” …

The “Richmond Howitzers” were partially manned by black militiamen. They saw action at 1st Manassas (or 1st Battle of Bull Run) where they operated battery no. 2. In addition two black “regiments”, one free and one slave, participated in the battle on behalf of the South. “Many colored people were killed in the action”, recorded John Parker, a former slave. …

The Jackson Battalion included two companies of black soldiers. They saw combat at Petersburg under Col. Shipp. “My men acted with utmost promptness and goodwill…Allow me to state sir that they behaved in an extraordinary acceptable manner.”

A quota was set for 300,000 black soldiers for the Confederate States Colored Troops. 83% of Richmond’s male slave population volunteered for duty. A special ball was held in Richmond to raise money for uniforms for these men. Before Richmond fell, black Confederates in gray uniforms drilled in the streets.

In fact, the first memorial in the nation’s capitol to honor black Americans’ military service is the same Confederate Memorial, designed in 1914 by Moses Ezekiel, a Jewish Confederate.


A black confederate soldier (4th from left) marches in the same ranks with other confederates)


A southern officer leaves behind his children in the care of a black servant

25 May 2009

Gay Marriage Will Never Work

Predicts Sam Schulman, who proceeds to explain why Gay Marriage will prove a failure as social experiment, while nonetheless inflicting serious harm on society.

The relationship between a same-sex couple, though it involves the enviable joy of living forever with one’s soulmate, loyalty, fidelity, warmth, a happy home, shopping, and parenting, is not the same as marriage between a man and a woman, though they enjoy exactly the same cozy virtues. These qualities are awfully nice, but they are emphatically not what marriage fosters, and, even when they do exist, are only a small part of why marriage evolved and what it does.

The entity known as “gay marriage” only aspires to replicate a very limited, very modern, and very culture-bound version of marriage. Gay advocates have chosen wisely in this. They are replicating what we might call the “romantic marriage,” a kind of marriage that is chosen, determined, and defined by the couple that enters into it. Romantic marriage is now dominant in the West and is becoming slightly more frequent in other parts of the world. But it is a luxury and even here has only existed (except among a few elites) for a couple of centuries–and in only a few countries. The fact is that marriage is part of a much larger institution, which defines the particular shape and character of marriage: the kinship system.

The role that marriage plays in kinship encompasses far more than arranging a happy home in which two hearts may beat as one–in fact marriage is actually pretty indifferent to that particular aim. Nor has marriage historically concerned itself with compelling the particular male and female who have created a child to live together and care for that child. It is not the “right to marry” that creates an enduring relationship between heterosexual lovers or a stable home for a child, but the more far-reaching kinship system that assigns every one of the vast array of marriage rules a set of duties and obligations to enforce. These duties and obligations impinge even on romantic marriage, and not always to its advantage. The obligations of kinship imposed on traditional marriage have nothing to do with the romantic ideals expressed in gay marriage. …

Sooner rather than later, the substantial differences between marriage and gay marriage will cause gay marriage, as a meaningful and popular institution, to fail on its own terms. Since gay relationships exist perfectly well outside the kinship system, to assume the burdens of marriage–the legal formalities, the duty of fidelity (which is no easier for gays than it is for straights), the slavishly imitative wedding ritual–will come to seem a nuisance. People in gay marriages will discover that mimicking the cozy bits of romantic heterosexual marriage does not make relationships stronger; romantic partners more loving, faithful, or sexy; domestic life more serene or exciting. They will discover that it is not the wedding vow that maintains marriages, but the force of the kinship system. Kinship imposes duties, penalties, and retribution that champagne toasts, self-designed wedding rings, and thousands of dollars worth of flowers are powerless to effect.

Few men would ever bother to enter into a romantic heterosexual marriage–much less three, as I have done–were it not for the iron grip of necessity that falls upon us when we are unwise enough to fall in love with a woman other than our mom. There would be very few flowerings of domestic ecstasy were it not for the granite underpinnings of marriage. Gay couples who marry are bound to be disappointed in marriage’s impotence without these ghosts of past authority. Marriage has a lineage more ancient than any divine revelation, and before any system of law existed, kinship crushed our ancestors with complex and pitiless rules about incest, family, tribe, and totem. Gay marriage, which can be created by any passel of state supreme court justices with degrees from middling law schools, lacking the authority and majesty of the kinship system, will be a letdown.

When, in spite of current enthusiasm, gay marriage turns out to disappoint or bore the couples now so eager for its creation, its failure will be utterly irrelevant for gay people. The happiness of gay relationships up to now has had nothing to do with being married or unmarried; nor will they in the future. I suspect that the gay marriage movement will be remembered as a faintly humorous, even embarrassing stage in the liberation saga of the gay minority. The archetypal gay wedding portrait–a pair of middle-aged women or paunchy men looking uncomfortable in rented outfits worn at the wrong time of day–is destined to be hung in the same gallery of dated images of social progress alongside snapshots of flappers defiantly puffing cigarettes and Kodachromes of African Americans wearing dashikis. The freedom of gays to live openly as they please will easily survive the death of gay marriage.

So if the failure of gay marriage will not affect gay people, who will it hurt? Only everybody else.

As kinship fails to be relevant to gays, it will become fashionable to discredit it for everyone. The irrelevance of marriage to gay people will create a series of perfectly reasonable, perfectly unanswerable questions: If gays can aim at marriage, yet do without it equally well, who are we to demand it of one another? Who are women to demand it of men? Who are parents to demand it of their children’s lovers–or to prohibit their children from taking lovers until parents decide arbitrarily they are “mature” or “ready”? By what right can government demand that citizens obey arbitrary and culturally specific kinship rules–rules about incest and the age of consent, rules that limit marriage to twosomes? Mediocre lawyers can create a fiction called gay marriage, but their idealism can’t compel gay lovers to find it useful. But talented lawyers will be very efficient at challenging the complicated, incoherent, culturally relative survival from our most primitive social organization we call kinship. The whole set of fundamental, irrational assumptions that make marriage such a burden and such a civilizing force can easily be undone.

25 May 2009

National Memorial Day Parade Today

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The Americans Veterans Center in Arlington has brought to my attention that this Monday, May 25, 2009 The National Memorial Day Parade will start at 2:00PM on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th streets NW. The parade has been an annual event since it was revived in 2005 after a 70 year hiatus in the nation’s capital.

This year’s program advises:

It is the largest Memorial Day Celebration in America and will have more the 250,000 in attendance honoring those who have served and sacrificed. There will be marching bands, veterans units, and uniformed military personnel from around the country. The parade will also feature a special tribute to the U.S. Navy, and include Navy vet and Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine, fellow actors and veterans’ supporters Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna, and music star Lee Greenwood. Also participating is Edith Shain, the nurse from the famous World War II “V-J Day in Times Square” kiss photograph.

National Memorial Day Parade web-site

8:56 video of a previous year’s parade.

25 May 2009

Memorial Day 2009

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WWII Victory Medal

All of my grandparents’ sons and one daughter, now all departed, served.

Joseph Zincavage (1907-1998) Navy
William Zincavage (1914-1997) Marine Corps
Edward Zincavage (1917-2002) Marine Corps
Eleanor Zincavage Cichetti (1922-2003) Marine Corps

23 May 2009

SMERSH or SPECTRE Operative?

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The Republican National Committee has a video warning about a dangerous and underhanded enemy of America’s Central Intelligence Agency (and its British ally James Bond).

1:38 video

23 May 2009

On Holiday

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English Hound: Live Oak Apache

There won’t be any blogging Sunday morning as we will be leaving very early to attend the Virginia Foxhound Show, an all day event.

23 May 2009

President Above-It-All

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“In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.”

–Dick Cheney

Rich Lowry hits Obama’s nail right on the head.

Put Barack Obama in front of a Tele PrompTer and one thing is certain — he’ll make himself appear the most reasonable person in the room.

Rhetorically, he is in the middle of any debate, perpetually surrounded by finger-pointing extremists who can’t get over their reflexive combativeness and ideological fixations to acknowledge his surpassing thoughtfulness and grace. …

It’s natural, then, that his speech at the National Archives on national security should superficially sound soothing, reasonable and even a little put upon (oh, what President Obama has to endure from all those finger-pointing extremists).

But beneath its surface, the speech — given heavy play in the press as an implicit debate with former Vice President Dick Cheney, who spoke on the same topic at a different venue immediately afterward — revealed something else: a president who has great difficulty admitting error; who can’t discuss the position of his opponents without resorting to rank caricature, and who adopts an off-putting pose of above-it-all righteousness.

Read the whole thing.

22 May 2009

Cheney Puts Obama on the Defensive

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Toby Harnden thinks yesterday’s speeches by Barack Obama and Dick Cheney represented a major public competition to mold national opinion and that the former Vice President won.

The spectacle of two duelling speeches with a mile of each other in downtown Washington was extraordinary. I was at the Cheney event and watched Obama’s address on a big screen beside the empty lectern that the former veep stepped behind barely two minutes after his adversary had finished.

So who won the fight? (it’s hard to use anything other than a martial or pugilistic metaphor). Well, most people are on either one side or the other of this issue and I doubt today will have prompted many to switch sides.

But the very fact that Obama chose to schedule his speech (Cheney’s was announced first) at exactly the same time as the former veep was a sign of some weakness.

The venues for the speeches said something. Obama showily chose the National Archives, repository for many of the founding documents of the US, and spoke in front of a copy of the Constitution – cloaking himself in the flag, as Republicans were often criticised for doing.

To hear Cheney speak, we were crammed into a decidedly unglamourous and cramped conference room at AEI, favourite think tank of conservative hawks.

The former veep’s speech was factual and unemotional and certainly devoid of the kind of hokey, self-obsessed, campaign-style stuff like this, from Obama’s address today: “I stand here today as someone whose own life was made possible by these documents. My father came to these shores in search of the promise that they offer. My mother made me rise before dawn to learn their truths when I lived as a child in a foreign land.”

In terms of Obama’s purported aim for his speech – to present a plan for closing Guantanamo Bay aimed at placating Congress – he failed. The reception on Capitol Hill was lukewarm with even Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Cheney’s speech wasn’t stylish, there were no rhetorical flourishes and the tone was bitingly sarcastic and disdainful at times. But it was effective in many respects and Cheney showed that Obama is not invulnerable.

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The Politico agrees that Obama is on the defensive.

For the first time in his presidency, Americans are getting a glimpse of Barack Obama on defense.

Over the past few weeks, Obama has been back on his heels over torture and terror, issues on which he surely thought he had the upper hand.

And he spent Thursday battling charges from a man he surely thought he had vanquished in November, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

It took some worried calls from Capitol Hill Democrats, congressional aides said, to convince him otherwise – that he needed to give a speech defending his plan for closing the terror prison at Guantanamo Bay, and rebutting Republican claims that the move would endanger Americans where they live.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others made clear “that we’re going to need a lot more cover if we’re going to be able to deal with this issue,” said one Democratic leadership aide.

So on a day when Obama would have rather been anywhere else – remaking the auto industry or cheerleading an economic recovery – he was sharing TV screens with Cheney. …

“The White House didn’t want to do it — they want to drive the agenda, they want to be focused on health care right now,” said Heather Hurlburt, the executive director of the National Security Network, a Democratic think tank. “The Hill asked him to do this and he did it.”

That forcing of Obama’s hand marks a remarkable turnabout for a president who holds the most commanding position in American politics in two decades.

The most popular politician in the country found himself pushed up against a wall by one of the least popular in Cheney – the leading voice in a budding Republican attack on Obama over national defense, one of the GOP’s oldest (and most successful) cudgels against Democrats.

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Obama’s speech

Cheney’s speech

22 May 2009

11th Circuit: Regulators Not Doctors Should Decide Health Care

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Jeff Emmanuel, at Pajamas Media, warns that a recent federal appeals court decision affirming the right of state bureaucrats in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama to overrule physicians and deny care to patients covered by Medicaid prefigures the federal rationing of health care nationwide.

Earlier this month, a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of three states that filed suit to have final medical decision-making authority transferred from doctors to state bureaucrats.

In March, as reported here at Pajamas Media, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama appealed U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash’s ruling that physicians, not government bureaucrats, were qualified — both legally and medically — to decide what was “medically necessary” for their patients, regardless of bureaucrats’ opinions.

The thrust of the states’ argument in Moore was summed up in the amicus brief filed by the state of Florida, which said, “Treating physicians … cannot be trusted with this sort of decision. When left to their own devices, they advocate for their patients, and deem all manner of unproven, dangerous, ineffective, cosmetic, unnecessary, bizarre, and controversial treatments as ‘medically necessary.’”

The “final arbiter” of medical decisions is and should be “the state,” said attorney Robert Highsmith in March 24 oral arguments — and the panel of the 11th Circuit agreed.

As a result of this ruling, doctors within the 11th Circuit’s jurisdiction will no longer be “left to their own devices” to treat Medicaid patients under their care. However, current events suggest the relegation of medical professionals’ recommendations to the status of mere suggestions pending review by state bureaucrats isn’t likely to be limited to Medicaid cases alone for long.

As taxpayer-funded and bureaucrat-run health care programs like Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) are expanded to include more middle-class Americans, and as the federal government’s control over the health care market grows astronomically under the guise of “health care reform,” the issue of government encroachment on doctor-patient decisions will only increase.

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Moore v. Medows

The District Court held that “[t]he state must provide for the amount of skilled nursing care which the Plaintiff’s treating physician deems necessary to correct or ameliorate her condition.” … While it is true that, after the 1989 amendments to the Medicaid Act, the state must fund any medically necessary treatment that Anna C. Moore requires…, it does not follow that the state is wholly excluded from the process of determining what treatment is necessary. Instead, both the state and Moore’s physician have roles in determining what medical measures are necessary to “correct or ameliorate” Moore’s medical conditions…. The agency may place appropriate limits on a service based on such criteria as medical necessity or on utilization control procedures.” (Citations omitted, emphasis added.)

21 May 2009

Not Governing as Advertised

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Karl Rove notes that now that he’s in office Americans are getting basically the opposite of what Barack Obama promised during the campaign. Obama has continued some of his campaign rhetoric, but has again and again contradicted himself by continuing Bush Administration national security policies.

Barack Obama inherited a set of national-security policies that he rejected during the campaign but now embraces as president. This is a stunning and welcome about-face.

For example, President Obama kept George W. Bush’s military tribunals for terror detainees after calling them an “enormous failure” and a “legal black hole.” His campaign claimed last summer that “court systems . . . are capable of convicting terrorists.” Upon entering office, he found out they aren’t.

He insisted in an interview with NBC in 2007 that Congress mandate “consequences” for “a failure to meet various benchmarks and milestones” on aid to Iraq. Earlier this month he fought off legislatively mandated benchmarks in the $97 billion funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama agreed on April 23 to American Civil Liberties Union demands to release investigative photos of detainee abuse. Now’s he reversed himself. Pentagon officials apparently convinced him that releasing the photos would increase the risk to U.S. troops and civilian personnel.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama excoriated Mr. Bush’s counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, insisting it could not succeed. Earlier this year, facing increasing violence in Afghanistan, Mr. Obama rejected warnings of a “quagmire” and ordered more troops to that country. He isn’t calling it a “surge” but that’s what it is. He is applying in Afghanistan the counterinsurgency strategy Mr. Bush used in Iraq.

On the other hand, during the campaign, Obama promised fiscal moderation, and in that department, too, he is delivering the exact opposite of those campaign promises.

Mr. Obama campaigned on “responsible fiscal policies,” arguing in a speech on the Senate floor in 2006 that the “rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy.” In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, he pledged to “go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work.” Even now, he says he’ll “cut the deficit . . . by half by the end of his first term in office” and is “rooting out waste and abuse” in the budget.

However, Mr. Obama’s fiscally conservative words are betrayed by his liberal actions. He offers an orgy of spending and a bacchanal of debt. His budget plans a 25% increase in the federal government’s share of the GDP, a doubling of the national debt in five years, and a near tripling of it in 10 years.

On health care, Mr. Obama’s election ads decried “government-run health care” as “extreme,” saying it would lead to “higher costs.” Now he is promoting a plan that would result in a de facto government-run health-care system. Even the Washington Post questions it, saying, “It is difficult to imagine . . . benefits from a government-run system.”

Making adjustments in office is one thing. Constantly governing in direct opposition to what you said as a candidate is something else. Mr. Obama’s flip-flops on national security have been wise; on the domestic front, they have been harmful.

In both cases, though, we have learned something about Mr. Obama. What animated him during the campaign is what historian Forrest McDonald once called “the projection of appealing images.” All politicians want to project an appealing image. What Mr. McDonald warned against is focusing on this so much that an appealing image “becomes a self-sustaining end unto itself.” Such an approach can work in a campaign, as Mr. Obama discovered. But it can also complicate life once elected, as he is finding out.

Mr. Obama’s appealing campaign images turned out to have been fleeting. He ran hard to the left on national security to win the nomination, only to discover the campaign commitments he made were shallow and at odds with America’s security interests.

Mr. Obama ran hard to the center on economic issues to win the general election. He has since discovered his campaign commitments were obstacles to ramming through the most ideologically liberal economic agenda since the Great Society.

Mr. Obama either had very little grasp of what governing would involve or, if he did, he used words meant to mislead the public. Neither option is particularly encouraging. America now has a president quite different from the person who advertised himself for the job last year. Over time, those things can catch up to a politician.

20 May 2009

Hollywood’s Next Hit: Three Days of the Dodo Bird

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David Kahane, at National Review Online, finds fuel for the next box office blockbuster in some recent headline.

[W]e still can’t sell scripts about “Muslim terrorists,” but a celebrity death match between the Central Intelligence Agency and the person who stands second to the vice president in the line of succession to the White House should any, you know, unfortunate accident befall the leader of the free world, is right up our alley. Which is why I was first off the mark last week when Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi, the flower of Baltimore and the pride of San Francisco, accidentally pulled the pin on a live hand grenade in front of the fiercely independent Washington press corps and blew herself up.

She wasn’t trying to, of course. She was trying to explain to a bunch of less-than-enchanted media stenographers who would rather be covering Michelle Obama’s workout, or even Bo the dog’s breakfast, that the nasty, un-American CIA has deliberately “misled” her when discussing just precisely how they were going to insert bamboo shoots under the fingernails of a caterpillar that they would then waterboard and introduce into the cell of some totally innocent mujahedin caught up in the lawless Bush-Cheney dragnet during the hysteria that followed the inside job that was 9/11 and . . .

Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

In the other corner we have the Central Intelligence Agency, which we in Tinseltown have been depicting for years as just about the most malevolent organization in the world, outside of the Catholic Church, the Club for Growth, and the Cheney family. In movie after movie, the shadowy CIA guy always wound up as the villain in the last reel. So imagine our surprise when, during the Bushitler interregnum, we discovered that the CIA is on our side, and has been for decades! Screwed up the whole Shah of Iran thing and opened the way for the mullahs? Check! Consistently overrated and then failed to forecast the sudden disintegration of the Soviet Union? Check!! Never did quite figure out what Osama bin Laden was up to? Check!!!

To top it all off, along came super-top-secret agent/Vanity Fair babe Valerie Plame and her dashing, Graydon-Carter-tressed hubby, Joe Wilson, running a sting operation against the hapless Bush White House, whipsawing the president and the veep with Joe’s unprovoked New York Times tale of sipping mint tea with Colonel Kurtz up the Congo and all of sudden there’s shouting about the “sixteen words” in Chimpy’s State of the Union address and Valerie is outed by Cheney flunky Scooter Libby — okay, by Colin Powell flunky Dick Armitage, same thing — and then Judy Miller goes to jail and . . .

Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

[H]ere’s the script that just made me a cool $1.5 mil plus five monkey points plus two first-class tickets to the premiere: Three Days of the Dodo Bird.

We open in Abu Ghraib prison, post-“Mission Accomplished,” where a SHADOWY CIA AGENT gets the bright idea to strike fear into the hearts of America’s “enemies” by photographing completely innocent prisoners in outrageous situations (piled naked on top of each other, led around on a dog leash by a woman, forced to wear panties on their heads) calculated to offend and inflame the sensibilities of the Religion of Peace. Now, you and I both know that these kinds of things happen every week at the right Hollywood parties, and they’re tons of fun, but for some weird cultural reason the photos are deemed offensive, the super-top-secret psy-war campaign winds up on the front page of the Times every day for a year, and the Shi’ites hit the fan.

Read the whole thing.

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