Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rice says Iraq war was right thing to do - Yahoo! News:
"Speaking at a news conference ahead of an international conference on Iraq, Rice said she had not read the book by former White House press secretary Scott McClellan, but added that removing Saddam was 'the right thing to do.'"

Sure, getting rid of Saddam was a good thing. But the way they did it was, and continues to be, a very, very bad thing. Ms. Rice still can't realize that, because she sees the world from a perspective where human beings are pawns. Listen to what else she had to say:

"Rice said people often did not understand the full implications of events until long after they had happened."

Unbelievable to me that a US Secretary of State can use this as a defense. Essentially she is saying "I am incompetent." Everything that came to pass in Iraq was entirely predictable, and WAS predicted by many competent persons prior to the invasion.

""It was not the United States of America alone that believed that he had weapons of mass destruction that he was hiding," Rice said."

This is a bald faced lie and one that is often repeated especially by Bush. The rest of the world got their "intelligence" concerning Iraq FROM US! IF they believed it, and there was a lot of other countries who did not believe it, it was because WE told them to believe it. The intelligence was proved faulty PRIOR to the invasion. This is documented.

"She added: 'If the world did not believe that at the time, then I would ask why was Iraq under some of the most severe sanctions that the international community has ever imposed?'"

So she truly believes this? She is not only incompetent but naive.

"The U.N. resolutions showed that the world knew Saddam was a threat, she said. 'Why in the world would you allow the Iraqi people to suffer?'"

Unconscionable. 5 years after the so-called liberation, there is still inadequate WATER, power, safety, basic human necessities in most of the country.

Then she joked about going back to Stanford and overseeing dissertations about how the administration handled the war. Is anyone else sick of seeing these war criminals joking around about this?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ex-White House spokesman says Bush shaded truth on Iraq - Yahoo! News:
"Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan charges in an explosive new book that President George W. Bush and top aides shaded the truth to make the case for the Iraq war, which he declared unnecessary. McClellan, the first Bush insider to write a book criticizing his former boss and fellow Texan, drew instant fire on Wednesday from former White House colleagues with whom he was once close. They wondered why he stayed on the job if he had those feelings that he never expressed to them."

Wow, so many things in this brief article. Let's start with the big picture here and just say that this is yet another in a long line of ex-administration officials with a "tell-all" book way, WAY after the fact. I agree with his ex-cohorts: Why now? Why didn't you make a big stink BEFORE the invasion? And then to say that "they" are to blame? Scott, I have some news for you: YOU were a very big part of "they". And he calls the decision to invade a "misstep". MISSTEP! Like it was all a big misunderstanding or an accident. NO! This was an extremely premeditated crime.

Then we get this graf from Steve Holland the "journalist" who wrote the piece: "The Iraq war was fought over charges that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, which were never found. Bush began building the case for war in 2002 after the violent upheaval caused by the September 11, 2001, attacks." Wrong, wrong, wrong! Mr. Holland needs to say "Bush CLAIMED the Iraq War was fought over charges of WMD..." And we have plenty of eyewitnesses, insiders, memos, that prove that Bush began "building the case for war" way, WAY before 9/11 ever occurred. Recall former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said the first meeting he attended invading Iraq came up. This was also one of the primary reasons for that secret energy meeting Cheney had with his cronies from the oil companies to develop "energy policy". It is ESSENTIAL that reporters stop spewing the lies of the powerful as if they are fact.

Then there is this wonderful bit from McClellan: "Bush and his top aides did not think through the implications of the conflict..." Oh how lovely! You know, we are not talking about buying a new car or considering some vacation property or deciding what to have for dinner or even your next career move. We are talking about making the decision to destroy a country in the most violent way imaginable, committing hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of human lives, as well as the reputation and goodwill America used to have, to the garbage. Was it too much to ask to "think this through" a little more?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Speed Racer (2008)****
Stunningly beautiful, fantastically successful merger of cartoon sensibilities with film's inherent weight and realism, this doesn't quite reach the heights it aspires to, but comes tantalizingly close. It's a long film but it never drags, and there is always something to wow at in each and every scene. Smoothly, stylishly directed and an example of a singular vision lifting a flimsy premise (the cartoon/comic book genre) into a work of art. Kids (probably boys mainly) will love it and fans of the original cartoon will not be disappointed. If you're a fan of movies you should see it and in a theater with digital projection.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Measure for Measure - New York Times Blog:
"In many great songs a larger, universal modicum of truth is revealed and resonates on a personal level with the listener, even when the facts make no sense at all. Sometimes especially when the facts make no sense at all. And, if everything goes well, you can also dance to it."

A fascinating blog by Rosanne Cash, Suzanne Vega and others about songwriting. This particular entry, penned by Ms. Cash, informs us that Elvis Costello does indeed have and respond to emails, and that he, her and Kris Kristofferson just recorded a new song together which is sampled at the site. The quote I selected is about songs specifically, but this post could be about life in general and the relationship, or rather supposed/assumed relationship between facts and truth. Personally, I prefer to throw my lot with facts, as far as they can be known. Truth? Can it be known? Must it be known?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clinton takes Kentucky as Obama claims Oregon:
"His victory was tempered by another late-inning win in Kentucky by his still-hanging-tough competitor, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who bested him by a landslide 35 percentage points. Nonetheless, Obama has won 1,649.5 pledged delegates in the primaries and caucuses, surpassing the 1,627 needed to claim a majority, according to an Associated Press tally."

Because the quality of the "talent" and the writing/editing on television news is so bad, I rarely ever watch it intentionally but sometimes I mistakenly catch a glimpse of the horror. Such was the case last night when I landed upon Nightline for a brief moment after Obama had given his speech in Iowa, and one talking head says to the other "...but Obama supporters have yet another Clinton victory to explain" and the other moron says "Yes, they are having a tough time dealing with that" or some such nonsense. If these guys had any sort of personal understanding about what they are reporting they could offer some sort of perspective for the viewer: Kentucky, West Virginia, these are TINY states with just about 0 electoral importance, especially at this stage of the primary process. Hell, McCain lost to Romney in Utah by 90%! Nobody was running around demanding that McCain supporters explain that or deal with that. It doesn't matter!

And while I'm on the subject, just what the hell is wrong with Hillary Clinton? I never thought she was especially smart or savvy, but I am shocked at just how stupid she wants to be. Apparently she wants to be stupid all the way. Talk about burning bridges. Sheesh.
SFGate: Politics Blog : Schwarzenegger: Maria's Move to Obama was a Surprise:
"The take of the California governor, who has plenty of experience in connecting with an audience: ''When it comes to presidential elections, or any elections, people vote for a lot of things,'' he said. ''Most of them, the person: what does he have to offer, rather than the party...and do I believe him?''

''Now, with the close-ups you have on television, half-shots and three-quarters shots, now you're moving in on the eyes. They see the blinking of the eyes, the swallowing, the nervousness. You say something, they see the color change in the face.''

''They see so much now, and they're very much aware: maybe they cannot articulate the things that they see, but they know that they feel it.''
''And this is why you see, sometimes, changes,'' he said. Shriver's choice shifted, he said, ''because she watched.''"

Interesting insight from The Guvernator, but how does that explain Bush's success? Was there ever a worse candidate than he? He looks like he's lying ordering a cup of coffee! The shifty eyes, the stammering, the head tics... Yikes! Maybe though, it was all so over the top that people felt sorry for the guy? He was so bad he got the sympathy vote.
FRONTLINE: news war | PBS
I just caught the last half of part 3 of this 4 part series last night on PBS and in general it was an interesting look at how we get our news and the continued importance of newspapers to that end. They talked about the LA Times and how it is under pressure to cut costs on a constant basis and they came across this little tidbit that hit me: right now, the LA Times makes a 20% return on costs. TWENTY PERCENT! That is jaw-dropping amazing. And for a minute, the Frontline reporter asks "Well why is the paper under so much pressure then?" The suits tell him why, which is because "investors" demand growth not profits, basically. And then they all moved on! THAT is the story! Profitable businesses are no longer desirable. Isn't that obscene? Everything needs to be bled dry to satisfy someone's insatiable greed. This is the problem with American capitalism today: it is controlled by Wall Street. The tail is wagging the dog and has been for some 40 years.

Anyway they went back to the program and went on talking about how expensive it is to run a paper and how expensive it is to have foreign correspondents and how the LA Times needs to focus on what readers want to read, etc. But the readers HAVE spoken. They DO buy the paper. The paper MAKES MONEY. A LOT of money. What the LA Times are doing is right, smart, perfect. It's the people who want to make money off of the movement of money who are destroying newspapers.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Huckabee quips about gun aimed at Obama:
"Hearing a loud noise and interrupting his speech, Huckabee said: 'That was Barack Obama. He just tripped off a chair. He's getting ready to speak and somebody aimed a gun at him and he — he dove for the floor.'"

Whoa. This is important. The quips and asides and off-the-cuff remarks these people make are usually telling. This should be the end of the career of Mr. Huckabee, but I predict nothing will happen and he may end up as McCain's vp candidate.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bush says gave up golf in solidarity with Iraq dead - Yahoo! News
"President George W. Bush said on Tuesday he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of Americans killed in the war in Iraq. 'I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf,' Bush said in an interview with Yahoo and 'I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,' he said."

And for 5 YEARS he has gone without GOLF! Oh the HUMANITY!!! No, this is not from The Onion. Oh, how I wish it were.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Elvis Costello - Momofuku (2008)****
You can't get recorded music any fresher than this. Written mainly in January/February 2008, "The entire record took a week to record and mix" according to Costello. And these are excellent rock and roll songs. "Go Away" is a standout, as well as "No Hiding Place", "Stella Hurt", and the ballads "Flutter & Wow" and "My Three Sons". Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley lends vocal support and the Imposters and in top form as usual.

UPDATE: I don't want to give the impression that because this record was built so quickly the songs are throwaways or off-the-cuff affairs. Give a listen to "Turpentine", as finely constructed and heartfelt as anything EC has done. This is a mini-masterpiece of guilt and regret all wrapped up in a dreamlike narrative of swirling guitars, keyboards and vocals. Stunning. So far, my Album of the Year.