I had to put this one up. It is simply one of the most beautiful Spanish-lingo songs I've ever heard. It's by two Italian singers, by the way, Nek and the totally sexy Laura Pausini. Both put out tunes regularly in their native italiano as well as Spanish. (Pausini even has an English album out.) And if you think Nek (by the way, what the hell kind of moniker is that for an Italian guy??) has a lisp, he doesn't. He merely acquired the Castilian accent from nearby Spain. So, without further ado, here is "Tan Solo Tú":
As anyone who even remotely checks the news knows by now, former White House mouthpiece Scott McClellan has a "tell all" book out that isn't very flattering to the administration. As the numerous stories about it proliferate, the boners being offered up have as well. Check out this AP article first:
Still, Fleischer said it would have been more "honorable" if McClellan had stepped down, for instance, after the incident involving the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the news media. McClellan was ordered to say that White House aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were not involved in leaking Plame's identity. Later, a criminal investigation revealed that they were.
Actually, it was Richard Armitage that leaked Valerie Plame's identity, not Rove or even Libby -- the only person convicted of a crime in the whole Plame-leak investigation. (Libby got caught lying about his role in the matter.)
Then there was this at CNN.com:
In the book, McClellan said he was specifically lied to about White House staff members' involvement in the leaking of Plame Wilson's identity, including former Bush adviser Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff.
Libby was convicted of lying to investigators and a grand jury about his involvement in the CIA leak case. Bush commuted his sentence.
McClellan also wrote that Bush told him that he had authorized the leaking of Plame Wilson's identity to the press.
This is patently false. McClellan himself says so -- that
"... I had allowed myself to be deceived into unknowingly passing along a falsehood,"(regarding Rove and Libby discussing Plame) McClellan writes. "It would ultimately prove fatal to my ability to serve the president effectively. I didn't learn that what I'd said was untrue until the media began to figure it out almost two years later.
"Neither, I believe, did President Bush. He, too, had been deceived and therefore became unwittingly involved in deceiving me."
CNN obviously is still going by this past November's hype about McClellan's book and the excerpts that seemed to indicate Bush authorized the leak of Plame's name.
What McClellan did write is that the president had authorized the declassification of the 2002 NIE, not Plame's identity. But moonbattery is so intense regarding this matter that sites like the Huffington Post put up phony headlines like "McClellan's Biggest Revelation? Bush Personally Authorized Leak Of CIA Agent's Identity." But nothing in their subsequent article says anything about it, just the info about the NIE.
The info in McClellan's memoir is damaging enough to the administration. So why can't the MSM get even the most basic facts correct?
Courtesy of the ever-hilarious Hatemonger's Quarterly.
Imagine -- just imagine -- if a Republican running for the highest office in the land had done this in Chicago's South Side:
In his first race for office, seeking a state Senate seat on Chicago's gritty South Side in 1996, Obama effectively used election rules to eliminate his Democratic competition.
As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.
The move denied each of them, including incumbent Alice Palmer, a longtime Chicago activist, a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democrat district.
A community organizer that registered thousands of voters ... yet effectively DE-registered many more so that HE could get elected. That sure is some sense of "community," ain't it?
"It is how Barack Obama destroyed his enemies back in 1996 that conflicts with his message today. He may have gotten his start registering thousands of voters. But in that first race, he made sure voters had just one choice." -- John Kass, a veteran Chicago Tribune columnist.
"He came from Chicago politics. Politics ain't beanbag, as they say in Chicago. You play with your elbows up, and you're pretty tough and ruthless when you have to be. Sen. Obama felt that's what was necessary at the time, that's what he did. Does it fit in with the rhetoric now? Perhaps not." -- Jay Stewart of the Chicago's Better Government Association.
'Ya think, Jay?
Today, when liberals/Democrats blast conservatives/Republicans as "racist" and as "disenfranchising the poor" for wanting voters to merely show a photo ID when at the voting booth, Obama got names on petitions thrown out "if names were printed instead of signed in cursive writing," and "if signatures were good but the person gathering the signatures wasn't properly registered."
This, in addition, sure doesn't sound like those Democrats in 2000 that "wanted every vote counted," now does it? Oh wait -- yes it does. Only the votes they wanted counted.
So remember people: Obama is full of s*** when he says he wants a "new" kind politics, and Democrats/liberals are full of s*** when they spew forth that they're the defenders of the oppressed's/poor's/minorities'/elderly's/everyone's right to have their vote counted.
Name other countries you have visited:
6. Costa Rica
Of those, which had ...
... the best food? Canada.
... the best beer? Belgium.
... the hottest women? Costa Rica.
... the best weather? Costa Rica.
... the friendliest natives? Tie: Holland and Costa Rica.
... the most/best personal amenities? Canada.
... the cleanest cities? Canada.
Anything I'm leaving out? Feel free to add on!
Check out this story from the UK:
Ben Smith, 18, was driving back home to Ingram Road in Melksham on Thursday evening after filling up with petrol, when the officer stopped him on a routine patrol.
He checked the tax disc and tyres on his Vauxhall Corsa but when he noticed the flag of St George on the parcel shelf he told Mr Smith to take it down.
Mr Smith, who works for G Plan Upholsterers on Hampton Park West, said: "He saw the flag and said it was racist towards immigrants and if I refused to take it down I would get a £30 fine.
"I laughed because I thought he was joking, but then I realised he was serious so I had to take it down straight away. I thought it was silly - it's my country and I want to show my support for my country."
This is a perfect example of the outright inanity that is political correctness. Why even HAVE a damn national flag at ALL if it may be seen as "racist?"
Ye gads. If such nonsense ever finds its way to this side of the pond, I'd not only refuse to remove the flag, I'd refuse to pay any fine and would reluctantly spend time in jail if need be to protest such depraved logic.
(h/t: Tongue Tied.)
"NFL Rumors: Chad Johnson's intelligence questioned" is the headline at MSNBC's "Scuttlebutt" page:
Chad Johnson has mental agility of soap dish. Despite the fact that Chad Johnson has a bilingual nickname, one lawyer doesn’t think Ocho Cinco is very intelligent. A lawyer representing clients who are suing Johnson over raffle prizes they never received says that 86 has the “mental agility of a small soap dish," and that he doesn’t understand how Johnson could possibly learn a playbook.
My emphasis. Apparently, writer Patrick Dahl's intelligence ain't all that hot, either. "Ocho Cinco" means "85," not "86," but even if you didn't know the Spanish you'd expect a writer that covers football to know Johnson's number, wouldn't 'ya?
Here's a screen capture in case Dahl realizes his idiocy (or, to be nicer, his sloppiness since it just might be a typo):
Because nobody demanded it: Here's Argentina's Santos Inocentes with their electronica/metal hit "Santadélica." I usually disdain anything metal-ish, but this tune is so downright jammin' I can't help but love it.
The new governor of New York, David Paterson, has unilaterally declared that gays can have their "marriages" recognized by his state if performed in another state (meaning, in this case, California). His reasoning:
"We have a time-held and time-tested tradition honoring those marital rights," Paterson said. "I am taking the same approach that this state always has with respect to out-of-state or marriages conducted in foreign governments being recognized here in the state of New York. I am following the law as it has always existed."
But is he? It appears Paterson is referring to the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" of the Constitution, which is Article IV, Section 1:
Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
My emphasis. What that means is that the US Congress can limit or define just what acts and proceedings shall be given said full faith and credit. And didn't Congress do just that in 1996 -- with the Defense of Marriage Act? Section 1 of the Act says
No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
It would seem within Gov. Paterson's purview to order state agencies to so recognize gay "marriages" performed elsewhere. This pretty much, to me at least, means any public entity in the state for all intents and purposes. However, it would be incumbent upon the state legislature to enact a law whereby the state could refuse to recognize same-sex "marriages":
... appellate judges determined that there is no legal impediment in New York to the recognition of a same-sex marriage. The state Legislature "may decide to prohibit the recognition of same-sex marriages solemnized abroad," the ruling said. "Until it does so, however, such marriages are entitled to recognition in New York."
New York failed to pass its own gay "marriage" law in the past. It remains to be seen if they will act against Gov. Paterson's wishes. Volokh doesn't think they will. But if they do, this would be an entirely constitutional action -- at least on full faith and credit terms. As long as gay couples are granted equal protection under the state's laws (the 14th Amendment concern, such as healthcare bennies for partners), the legal question should be settled.
Steve Newton at DE Libertarian has more thoughts.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Why Jews Are Right To Suspect Obama's Advisers by Bookworm Room, and Deep Thoughts with Biggie Smalls by Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|3||Why Jews Are Right To Suspect Obama's Advisers|
|2||Dear Mr Hoyt|
|1 2/3||Strange Device|
The Glittering Eye
|1 2/3||In Which It Gets Worse|
Done With Mirrors
|1||Peacekeepers Raping Children... Again|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|1||Will History Redeem President Bush?|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|2/3||Cowbama Diplomacy and Iran|
|2||Deep Thoughts with Biggie Smalls|
Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal
|1 2/3||Return to Sender|
|1 2/3||Over Red Coffee Cans and Cigarettes|
The Paragraph Farmer
|1 1/3||All the Views They Spit Into Print|
|1 1/3||An Open Letter to Senator Obama on Iran|
|2/3||Democratic Congress Votes to Defund the Future of Military Prepardness|
|2/3||The State of Englishness|
The Brussels Journal
|1/3||Madonna of China: Chinese Policewoman Saves Orphan Babies' Lives by Breastfeeding Them|
The Moderate Voice
... blah blah blah. Whatever.
I have "Hardball" on the tube now and there's FL Representative Bob Wexler actually -- in a hemming and hawing way -- attempting to justify "following the DNC's rules" regarding the disputed votes in Florida's primary.
The same Bob Wexler was the first to find a network camera and scream about the infamous "butterfly ballot" in the 2000 election, and how there should be "something done" about this "disenfranchisement" ... and thus began the debacle of recounts and hanging chads that personified that election??
Yet ANOTHER reason to laugh at Democrats when they state "count every vote."
Of course, the Gray Lady notes this with the headline "Thoughts on Tweaking the ‘War on Terror’ Message."
“It is interpreted in the Muslim world as a war on Islam and we don’t need this,” Under Secretary Charles E. Allen said, adding that it spreads “animus” far beyond the enemy.
It's also "interpreted" by a significant portion of Muslim world that Jews are the personification of evil and that Israel should be eradicated. So?
Where in the phrase "War on Terror" is Islam mentioned? Oh, I get it! It's because at the present time the WoT is actually focused on radical Muslim terrorists! How DARE we "imply" we're battling radical Islam -- even though the term actually .... DOESN'T!!
Clear enough yet? GOOD! Because that's what asinine political correctness DOES -- makes us look like ASSES.
Then there's this great pick-up by a commenter at Ace:
They even blew the military stuff. A pilot is being briefed on the nuclear sterilization of Piedmont. The pilot is warned on what kind of maneuvers to perform after dropping the nuke and cautioned "... but no one actually dropped one of these things since Nagasaki." Aiiiiee! Not only were there dozens of bomb tests dropped from actual bombers in the 1940s and 50s but pilots are WELL aware of HOW to drop a nuke - they practice it all the time!
Let's see how tonight pans out ...
Barack Obama and his memory of World War II:
Obama also spoke about his uncle, who was part of the American brigade that helped to liberate Auschwitz. He said the family legend is that, upon returning from war, his uncle spent six months in an attic. “Now obviously, something had really affected him deeply, but at that time there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain,” Obama said. “That’s why this idea of making sure that every single veteran, when they are discharged, are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder and given the mental health services that they need – that’s why it’s so important.”
Barack Obama yesterday:
On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes — and I see many of them in the audience here today — our sense of patriotism is particularly strong.
Keeping with my earlier post of Top 100 Films of All Time, how 'bout a sports film list, eh guys? The list is from Sports Illustrated's August 2003 edition. Films I've seen are in bold; my comments are in italics.
1. Bull Durham (1988)
Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins.
(Not as great as people think. Harder to watch today due to Robbins' and co-star/wife Susan Sarandon's radical politics. They just don't mix with America's past-time.)
2. Rocky (1976)
Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers.
(The ultimate Cinderella story. All the sequels pale in comparison.)
3. Raging Bull (1980)
Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty.
4. Hoop Dreams (1994)
5. Slap Shot (1977)
Paul Newman, Michael Ontkean.
6. Hoosiers (1986)
Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper.
(I LOVE this flick. Hackman is beyond awesome as the hard-luck coach in this David vs. Goliath b-ball yarn.)
7. Olympia (1936)
8. Breaking Away (1979)
Dennis Christopher, Paul Dooley.
(Best Picture? Wasn't worth that, but still a keeper. Check out a very young Dennis Quaid, in addition.)
9. Chariots of Fire (1981)
Ben Cross, Ian Charleson.
(Frankly, I ain't that interested in a bunch of Brits' efforts in an early 20th century Olympics. No matter HOW much I love running.)
10. When We Were Kings (1996)
11. Bang The Drum Slowly (1973)
Robert De Niro, Michael Moriarty.
12. Dogtown and Z-Boys (2002)
13. A League Of Their Own (1992)
Tom Hanks, Geena Davis.
(The best part is at film's end when we see some of the actual players and coaches.)
14. The Freshman (1925)
Harold Lloyd, Jobyna Ralston.
15. The Endless Summer (1966)
16. North Dallas Forty (1979)
Nick Nolte, Mac Davis.
(One of my FAVE sports flicks, Nolte and Davis are friggin' hilarious as a QB-WR tandem, trying to keep football a game in what is becoming too much a business.)
17. Brian's Song (1971)
James Caan, Billy Dee Williams.
(Been a while since I've seen it; have a lot of tissues handy for the tears.)
18. Caddyshack (1980)
Bill Murray, Chevy Chase.
(Easily one of the funniest damn films of all-time.)
19. Downhill Racer (1969)
Robert Redford, Gene Hackman.
20. Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason.
21. Pumping Iron (1977)
(Helped launch Ah-nuld's career.)
22. The Set-Up (1949)
Robert Ryan, George Tobias.
23. The Hustler (1961)
Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason.
(A must-see classic. Gleason easily eclipses Newman in the acting dept., however.)
24. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
Max Pomeranc, Ben Kingsley.
25. Horse Feathers (1932)
The Marx Brothers.
26. The Bad News Bears (1976)
Tatum O'Neal, Walter Matthau.
(Haven't seen the full film since I was a boy; Matthau is classic as the boozer-coach.)
27. National Velvet (1944)
Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney.
28. Eight Men Out (1988)
John Cusack, David Strathairn.
29. Rollerball (1975)
James Caan, John Houseman.
(Why is this ... ? Never mind. This flick is terrific, but has more to do with omniscient corporatism than sports.)
30. The Rookie (2002)
Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths.
31. Baseball - A film by Ken Burns (1994)
32. Vision Quest (1985)
Matthew Modine, Linda Fiorentino.
(How did THIS make the cut?? Standard cookie-cutter fare with a Madonna soundtrack. Ugh.)
33. Fat City (1972).
Stacy Keach, Jeff Bridges.
34. Everybody's All-American (1988)
Dennis Quaid, Jessica Lange.
35. Million Dollar Legs (1932)
W.C. Fields, Jack Oakie.
36. Jerry Maguire (1996)
Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr.
37. The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (1971)
Arthur Brauss, Erika Pluhar.
38. Field of Dreams (1989)
Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones.
(Terrific family fare.)
39. The Harder They Fall (1956)
Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger.
40. The Longest Yard (1974)
Burt Reynolds, Eddie Albert.
(Classic tale of convicts vs. guards in a football game.)
41. Remember The Titans (2000)
Denzel Washington, Will Patton.
(There ain't many films that are better for promoting racial harmony!)
42. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright.
43. Fists of Fury (1971)
Bruce Lee, Maria Yi: martial arts
44. The Deadliest Season (1977)
Michael Moriarty, Kevin Conway.
45. Grand Prix (1966)
James Garner, Eva Marie Saint.
46. Any Given Sunday (1999)
Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz.
47. It Happens Every Spring (1949)
Ray Milland, Jean Peters.
48. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)
Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor.
49. Phar Lap (1983)
Tom Burlinson, Ron Liebman.
50. Best In Show (2000)
Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy.
NOTABLE OMISSIONS (I've seen all of the following; some may have come out after 2003):
The list as taken from the IMDB. Movies I've seen in bold.
#1. Godfather, The (1972)
#2. Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)
#3. Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
#4. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)
#5. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)
#6. Schindler's List (1993)
#7. Shichinin no samurai (1954)
#8. Casablanca (1942)
#9. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
#10. Star Wars (1977)
#11. Citizen Kane (1941)
#12. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
#13. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
#14. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
#15. Rear Window (1954)
#16. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
#17. Pulp Fiction (1994)
#18. Usual Suspects, The (1995)
#19. Memento (2000)
#20. North by Northwest (1959)
#21. 12 Angry Men (1957)
#22. Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966)
#23. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
#24. Psycho (1960)
#25. Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (2001)
#26. Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
#27. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
#28. Goodfellas (1990)
#29. American Beauty (1999)
#30. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
#31. Vertigo (1958)
#32. Matrix, The (1999)
#33. Cidade de Deus (2002)
#34. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
#35. C'era una volta il West (1968)
#36. Apocalypse Now (1979)
#37. Pianist, The (2002)
#38. Third Man, The (1949)
#39. Paths of Glory (1957)
#40. Taxi Driver (1976)
#41. Fight Club (1999)
#42. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
#43. Some Like It Hot (1959)
#44. Double Indemnity (1944)
#45. Boot, Das (1981)
#46. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
#47. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
#48. Chinatown (1974)
#49. L.A. Confidential (1997)
#50. Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
#51. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
#52. All About Eve (1950)
#53. M (1931)
#54. Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
#55. Se7en (1995)
#56. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
#57. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
#58. Rashômon (1950)
#59. Raging Bull (1980)
#60. Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
#61. Alien (1979)
#62. American History X (1998)
#63. Sting, The (1973)
#64. Léon (1994)
#65. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
#66. Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
#67. Vita è bella, La (1997)
#68. Touch of Evil (1958)
#69. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
#70. Finding Nemo (2003)
#71. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
#72. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
#73. Great Escape, The (1963)
#74. Modern Times (1936)
#75. Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
#76. Amadeus (1984)
#77. On the Waterfront (1954)
#78. Ran (1985)
#79. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
#80. Annie Hall (1977)
#81. Wo hu cang long (2000)
#82. Jaws (1975)
#83. Apartment, The (1960)
#84. Braveheart (1995)
#85. High Noon (1952)
#86. Aliens (1986)
#87. Fargo (1996)
#88. Strangers on a Train (1951)
#89. Shining, The (1980)
#90. Metropolis (1927)
#91. Blade Runner (1982)
#92. Sixth Sense, The (1999)
#93. City Lights (1931)
#94. Donnie Darko (2001)
#95. Duck Soup (1933)
#96. Great Dictator, The (1940)
#97. General, The (1927)
#98. Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)
#99. Princess Bride, The (1987)
#100. Dogville (2003)
The U.S. and Israel didn't make the cut. How 'bout that.
Surprisingly on the list? France:
The French actually have some of the world’s toughest and arguably most effective antiterrorism laws. In France, terrorist investigations are overseen by a special unit of magistrates with unprecedented powers to monitor suspects, enlist the help of other branches of law enforcement, and detain suspects for days without charges. Additionally, prosecutors have a mandate to pursue terrorists abroad if the suspect or victim is French. France is also not shy about deporting Muslim clerics it views as threatening.
Something to keep in mind the next time the Euros seek to lecture us about our anti-terror policies.
“In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed.” -- Barack Obama, May 6.
You remember hearing about this? I mean, 10,000 dead??
Barack Obama to the Cuban American National Foundation:
Since the Bush Administration launched a misguided war in Iraq, its policy in the Americas has been negligent toward our friends, ineffective with our adversaries, disinterested in the challenges that matter in peoples’ lives, and incapable of advancing our interests in the region. No wonder, then, that demagogues like Hugo Chavez have stepped into this vacuum.
Um, Chavez was first elected president in 1998, and reelected in 2000. Bill Clinton was president then.
McCain's excuse is that he's old. What's Obama's?
Jeffrey Toobin: "Democrats are furious about Bush v. Gore. It remains the wounds that won't heal."
They are?? Or, is it only those who favor Hillary Clinton in this year's Democratic primary since they're clearly the most consistent? After all, Hillary initially agreed with the rules established by the DNC regarding Florida and Michigan. But now she's changed her mind and wants all those votes counted. This is akin to Florida 2000 where the rules (laws) were clearly established, but the Democrat-dominated FL Supreme Court ignored these laws and made it up as they went along. (That seven-day deadline for a recount and lack of common vote-determining standard? "Ah, so what, right?" they said.)
On the other hand, there's the Obama camp. Are they bitter about Bush v. Gore? If so, why? Isn't it they who wish to "disenfranchise" over two million Democratic voters in Florida and Michigan ... because doing so favors their candidate?
If anything, Mr. Toobin, this year's farce of a Democratic primary has shown that the Democrats are clearly OVER Bush v. Gore. "Counting every vote" doesn't mean anything to them anymore. In actuality, it never did. Else, why did the DNC penalize two populous states the way they did in the first place, eh?
I stopped over to visit my folks this afternoon, and they related this unintentionally knee-slapping anecdote to me:
A New Zealand driver who used a fake car seat belt to fool police was killed when it failed him in a head-on crash, local media reported Saturday.
Ivan Segedin refused to wear a seat belt while driving and had been fined 32 times in the past five years for not wearing one, a coroner's court heard Friday.
Segedin, 39, died in a crash on July 22 last year from multiple injuries when his car crossed the road and collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle on North Island, coroner Carla na Nagara said.
"Ultimately Mr. Segedin's actions in driving without a seat belt have cost him his life in an accident that he may well have survived had he worn one," the New Plymouth Daily News quoted her saying.
In recent memory, I can think of no better example of irony than this!
Because nobody demanded it: Chile's La Ley and their hit "Fuera de Mi."
Yeah, just imagine the field day the MSM (and especially Keith Olbermann) would have. And in this case, rightly so!
So consider then what NY Times loon Bob Herbert wrote about Ted Kennedy, recently diagnosed with brain cancer:
This is a guy who has experienced every kind of horror, who went down in a plane, who had to fight back after Chappaquiddick, who has had two kids stricken with cancer, and on and on. So who knows?
Yep -- he had to "fight back," all right. "Fight back" to convince the public at large that he didn't needlessly leave behind a woman to drown because it would make him look bad.
What a "fighter."
Yahoo, circa 10:30am Saturday:
Then there's Google:
But hey, even nothing is better than something like this.
The "Electro-Sensitive." I kid you not.
A group in Santa Fe says the city is discriminating against them because they say that they're allergic to the wireless Internet signal. And now they want Wi-Fi banned from public buildings.
Arthur Firstenberg says he is highly sensitive to certain types of electric fields, including wireless Internet and cell phones.
"I get chest pain and it doesn't go away right away," he said.
Firstenberg and dozens of other electro-sensitive people in Santa Fe claim that putting up Wi-Fi in public places is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The city attorney is now checking to see if putting up Wi-Fi could be considered discrimination. (Link.)
Do these folks have TVs? What about the innumerable radio signals that saturate urban areas, um, like constantly? Indeed, as this commenter says:
If they are allergic to wireless internet and cell phones due to electro sensitivity, that would mean eliminating tv and radio signals as well. We would pretty much have to eliminate everything that sends a signal. That just isn't possible. I can't tolerate pollen or dust well. Asking the city to ban it legally isn't logical.
I can't handle pollen either. Maybe I'll just sue, dammit. It's the American Way, after all.
The Messiah is starting the typical general election Democrat "victimization card" early:
"A certain segment has basically been feeding a kind of xenophobia. There's a reason why hate crimes against Hispanic people doubled last year,'' Obama said. "If you have people like Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh ginning things up, it's not surprising that would happen."
And what, precisely, have Limbaugh and Dobbs done to "gin up" this hatred? Oh, right -- they've spoken out forcefully against illegal immigration.
I thought Obama was smart. I thought he was all about a "new kind" of politics.
Two words: Empty and suit.
UPDATE: Hate crimes against the disabled grew a thirty-fold between 2002 and 2007. What do Limbaugh and Dobbs have against the disabled?
My pal Vic Holtreman reports over at Screen Rant that it looks like a "Cap" movie is a go:
Among the news bits are the fact that the Captain America movie will remain titled "The First Avenger: Captain America" instead of the preferred (by most) "Captain America: The First Avenger." They're scheduling the Cap movie to be released only a month and a half before the "Avengers" movie, so the emphasis on the group in the title of his stand alone movie seems to be quite calculated.
As to when the film will take place: World War II timeframe, so it will be a full-on origin story taking place entirely in the past.
I've seen on some message boards some consternation over the title, in particular the "First Avenger" bit. Comics enthusiasts know that Cap didn't appear in modern Marvel continuity until Avengers #4 -- in other words, he wasn't the "First Avenger." He wasn't even a member of the original team! But I think the point is that Cap existed well before the Avengers even came into existence -- he's a product of World War II, hence the film's setting. Towards the war's end, Cap and partner "Bucky" Barnes attempted to stop a Nazi missile launch. Barnes was killed (although he supposedly is back in action today -- again, nobody stays dead in comics) and Cap was thrown into the icy ocean waters. He became encased in ice and suspended animation. Some twenty years later, Earth's Mightiest Heroes (the Avengers, natch) discovered him.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Republicans Ponder The Abyss by Wolf Howling, and Blog For Human Rights -- May 15th, 2008 by The Whited Sepulchre. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2||Republicans Ponder The Abyss|
|1 2/3||George Bush Isolationist|
|1 2/3||Seattle Times Writer Defends Hitler's Aggression!|
Rhymes With Right
|1 1/3||Renaming the Paradigm *UPDATED*|
|1 1/3||No One Will Solve Our Energy Problems For Us|
Hillbilly White Trash
|1||Would You Buy An ObamaMobile From Tom Friedman?|
|2/3||Is Human Moral Progress Inevitable?|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|2/3||Death Toll Continues to Mount|
The Glittering Eye
|1/3||Time To Remember The "Global" In The War On Terror|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
Done With Mirrors
|2||Blog For Human Rights -- May 15th, 2008|
The Whited Sepulchre
|1 1/3||The William Ayers Plan To Turn America's Schoolchildren Into Maoists and How Barack Obama Helped Him|
|1 1/3||Dow Jones: Israel Means Business|
The Elder of Ziyon
|1||The Lord of Perpetual Victimhood|
Western Rifle Shooters Association
|2/3||Turning Down the Volume?|
|2/3||The Love That Dare Not Speak His Name|
|2/3||Is Gasoline Really That Expensive?|
Lone Star Times
|2/3||Judges Can't Judge|
|2/3||More Whining From Obama|
Right Wing Nut House
|2/3||Bush Begs Saudis (Again)|
Middle East Strategy at Harvard
Every other major sports league has it to one degree or another, so why not baseball?
I know one team in particular that wished it existed 23 years ago... (That's for my buddy/commenter "cardinals fan.")
An opening has appeared at the venerable Watcher's Council. If you might be interested, take a gander here for more information.
Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch writes precisely that -- that we will look back one day and, at least in many ways, say "George W. Bush got it right."
As I believe many readers and listeners of my commentaries know, I crossed party lines in 2004 to support the President's reelection, saying at the time that I did not agree with him on a single domestic issue, but I did believe he was the only one running who appreciated the threat of Islamic terrorism to American values and Western civilization and was prepared to wage a war to defend those values.
I have no regrets for having made that decision and helping the President to win a second term. Today, according to the most recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey, "71 percent of the American public disapprove of how Bush is handling his job as President, an all-time high in polling." His position can be compared with that of Harry Truman who left Washington unpopular and alone in 1953. Today, with the passage of time, most historians and certainly the American people, see Truman in a different light, primarily for his willingness to stand firm against Soviet aggression, whether against Greece or South Korea, and proclaim the Truman Doctrine, effectively defending the free world from Soviet efforts to expand their hegemony. Like Truman, George W. Bush, in my view, will be seen as one of the few world leaders who recognized the danger of Islamic terrorism and was willing with Tony Blair to stand up to it and not capitulate.
Koch goes on to explain [what should be] the well-known dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, but conspicuously missing from his argument is a vital ingredient: Iraq. And this, ultimately, makes his argument a lot less convincing. It's one thing to fight against an ideology which is responsible for the most devastating foreign attack ever on US soil, including taking the fight to their home base of Afghanistan. It's entirely another to invade a predominately Muslim country initially on one pretext (WMDs), but later changed (fighting terrorists) when the initial one didn't work out. No one in their right mind actually cares what nutball Osama bin Laden thinks about the United States, including its supposed "occupation" of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia (um, didn't the Saudis sort of invite us there? Sure, and that's why bin Laden hates the rulers of homeland, too). But no one invited us to Iraq.
I've opined numerous times that I understand President Bush's reasons for going into Iraq; I just disagree with them. Certainly, virtually everyone believed there were WMDs in the country, and the pathetic UN wasn't willing (as usual) to back up its own resolutions and threats. But that same "virtually everyone" (and by this I mean other countries; most of the American public was favorable to invasion in 2002-03) also didn't think it wise for the Western superpower to occupy a Muslim country in the middle of a struggle against radical Muslim terrorists. In other words, give Osama bin Laden's own words (at least on this point) virtual exact legitimacy. As DE Libertarian's Steve Newton notes,
The best proof of this (US imperialism in its many forms) is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper states through their disunity and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.
... how large an error do we make when we fail to see (or even fail to try to see) Osama bin Laden accurately through the eyes of the Arab world, the Muslim world, and the developing world?
I am not so much concerned about these perceptions as I am about falling right into bin Laden's hands regarding one obvious perception, one that could have been totally avoided and was unnecessary (again, Iraq). That's the largest error.
But back to Ed Koch. He makes the comparison of George Bush to Harry Truman and how dismal his poll numbers were near the end of his tenure as president. The Korean conflict was unpopular; however, we now look back and largely agree that Truman's actions were correct. But Korea isn't like Iraq (which, again recall that Koch fails to mention) in many respects, not the least of which is that Iraq did not suddenly up and invade one of its democratic neighbors like North Korea did. Iraq was sufficiently "contained" by US/UN forces. And while the UN agreed with Truman about organizing a multinational force to combat the communists in Korea (well, it was fortunate that the Soviets weren't present for the Security Council vote), it did not authorize an invasion by the United States in Iraq.
If George Bush had stuck with the "General War on Terror" and avoided the entanglement in Iraq, Koch may well prove to be prophetic. Then again, I believe the poll numbers for Bush would not be as downright dismal as they are, thus Koch's entire thesis would be moot.
That's what one buddy asked me when he saw my "Favorite Bands A-Z." So, thanks to the magic of YouTube, here they are -- the video for "Miel" ("Honey"), my fave song of theirs.
There's such a ... majesty to Spanish language lyrics that I don't think English can ever quite capture. León Larregui is Zoé's master, much like Gustavo Cerati is Soda Stereo's.
Not to mention whether we should be able to drive SUVs, and how much we should eat!
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," Obama said. (Link.)
Soooo ... how "isn't that going to happen," President Obama? Will the government decide for us (or the UN, if we ask those "other countries" what they want) what temperature our house should be in the winter? Summer? Will a sensor go off at the FBI and they'll then show up at our door?
Will SUVs be forbidden on American roads? Will cops on teh beat have one more thing to be on the lookout for?
Will Americans be issued ration tickets for food to ensure we don't "eat as much as we want"?
... because the Tennessee GOP is running an ad featuring Michelle Obama's [in]famous "For the first time in my adult life I'm proud of my country" remarks from a few months ago.
"Lay off my wife," Obama said.
Normally, I'd agree. However, if Obama has his wife out there speaking on behalf of the campaign, sorry dude -- her remarks are as fair game as yours.
"The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record," Obama said. "If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family."
Ooooh. They should "be careful." What's Obama gonna do, for cripe's sake? Fight 'em? Geez, what an inconsistent grouch. This is the guy who would meet unconditionally with the worst dictators in the world; can't he "reach out" to the Tennessee GOP without preconditions and ... negotiate?
List your favorite bands from A to Z:
B. The Beatles
C. The Cars
D. D'arby, Terence Trent
E. Earth, Wind and Fire
H. Hall and Oates
J. John, Elton
K. K.C. and the Sunshine Band
L. Tie: Los Amigos Invisibles and Level 42
M. Miller, Steve
O. The Ohio Players
P. The Pretenders
S. Soda Stereo
T. Tears for Fears
V. Van Halen
W. The Who
Your Spelling is Perfect
You got 10/10 correct.
Your spelling is excellent. You also have a great memory and eye for detail.
Technological development doesn't make us better. It gives us more choices. And sometimes we choose to make things better with the increased capability we have been given. It's not inevitable that we will make things better, but it does seem built-in for us to try. [I Don't Believe in Atheists author Chris] Hedges is right that we shouldn't view ourselves as the culmination of a process of advancement. We aren't the culmination; we're just the latest step. Nor should we view human nature or the human condition as perfectible. Rather, we should see them for what we have demonstrated them to be time and time again throughout our history -- vastly improvable.
While the author seems to argue that better technology doesn't make us better, he lays out arguments that belie just this. It must be that matter of more choices, I guess:
What if we go back just a couple thousand years. What percentage of the world's population lived in slavery at that time, or a condition we would find indistinguishable from slavery? Yes, it is horrifying to think that pockets of slavery and slave-like conditions still exist in our world today -- but how many billion would have to be slaves today to match the percentages of the era of Julius Caesar?
How many women voted (anywhere, for anything) 300 years ago? All around the world, how many vote now?
How many environmental groups existed 150 years ago? How many exist now?
How many animals benefited from prosthetic technology 25 years ago? How many benefit now?
What he says is that advanced technology -- and all its concurrent benefits -- makes the human condition (including morality) vastly improvable. This is entirely logical; the most technologically advanced societies on Earth (the West, Japan, Australia) have made life so ... "easy" for its citizens that they now have the time to be concerned about things like animal rights, global warming, and even into the absurd like vegetable rights. If you're an average citizen in, say, Chad, these concepts aren't likely to ever enter into your thinking processes.
Which takes me back to the society of "Battlestar Galactica." Considering how much more advanced their technology is than our own (early 21st century Earth, that is), and considering that they are humans exactly like ourselves, it then is quite logical to posit that BSG humanity's "moral improvement" should be quite a bit greater than our own. But this then goes to the heart of my argument from that post: It demonstrably is not.
Of course, the author of the above Speculist article alludes to the fact that human morality is easily disposed of in times of disaster and conflict. This is where BSG's concept of humanity became non-recognizable. After the Cylon-inflicted genocide, BSG humanity retained much of the morality we'd expect such an advanced society to possess: They demanded that democratic institutions be reinstated among surviving humanity, they demanded freedom of the press, they kept jury trials, they even refused to take advantage of an opportunity to wipe out their mortal enemy when the chance came about. However, we saw instances that made little sense for such an advanced civilization (pre-genocide, that is): An inherent planetary caste system, exploitation of workers, religious persecution. This is what drove me nuts about how the writers envisioned BSG humanity.
Back to our own society, just imagine how much more comfortable our own lives are compared to what our grandparents experienced. Just imagine what will happen when we finally develop cheap unlimited energy -- such as fusion power. Imagine how much more free humans will be then (after all, how pricey can power be when the ingredient needed to run it is water?). What about nanotechnology? What if we develop a "nanoforge" like author Joe Haldeman envisioned, which can create just about anything we need? Nanobots, that operate in the human bloodstream that can prevent aging and disease? Just think about how increased human longevity -- coupled with cheap power and easily mass-produced products -- will subsequently increase our "free time," that free time that'll likely be used to expand human morality and rationality.
Mark Steyn has it. I especially like this winner-of-a-passage from tomorrow's NY Times:
There is a feeling among some of McCain’s fellow veterans that his break with them on Iraq can be traced, at least partly, to his markedly different experience in Vietnam. McCain’s comrades in the Senate will not talk about this publicly... And yet in private discussions with friends and colleagues, some of them have pointed out that McCain, who was shot down and captured in 1967, spent the worst and most costly years of the war sealed away, both from the rice paddies of Indochina and from the outside world. During those years, McCain did not share the disillusioning and morally jarring experiences of soldiers like Kerry, Webb and Hagel, who found themselves unable to recognize their enemy in the confusion of the jungle; he never underwent the conversion that caused Kerry, for one, to toss away some of his war decorations during a protest at the Capitol. Whatever anger McCain felt remained focused on his captors, not on his own superiors back in Washington.
Absolutely frickin' incredible. Yeah, McCain didn't "share the disillusioning and morally jarring experiences" of those mentioned; he only "shared" in YEARS of physical torture. He got off "easy," eh?
I especially like how, somehow, Kerry's, Webb's and Hagel's 'Nam experiences are, to the Times, "morally superior" to those of McCain -- or to those of anyone else who served in Southeast Asia that might have a different view of that war's outcome. Or, to that of the current war in Iraq.
Even more pitiful are Iowa Senator Tom Harkin's comments:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain's family background as the son and grandson of admirals has given him a worldview shaped by the military, "and he has a hard time thinking beyond that. I think he's trapped in that ... everything is looked at from his life experiences, from always having been in the military, and I think that can be pretty dangerous...
"He's running for commander in chief, and our Constitution says that should be a civilian ... and in some ways, I think it would be nice if that commander in chief had some military background, but I don't know if they need a whole lot.
"It's one thing to have been drafted and served, but another thing when you come from generations of military people and that's just how you're steeped..."
Gee, not only do Democrats view military service as admirable only when one of their party's presidential nominees has it, but it's also admirable when one wants to pad his resume -- like Harkin himself did back in 2004. A-hole.
In this editorial.
... so low that even when I manage to keep myself awake on Friday night to watch it, I fall asleep during it. Such was the case again last night. Ugh.
For me, it seems the writers are attempting to stretch what could be a two-part episode into a whole season. It's boring, it's uninteresting, it ... sucks, frankly.
Hence, I've deleted the "Battlestar Galactica" section on the Colossus blogroll, and am in the process of expanding the comics blogroll, including an emphasis on Iron Man-dedicated sites.
Indian students riot over exam question about Muhammad.
Courtesy of Andy McCarthy:
Can somebody explain to me ... how Obama sat in Wright's church for 20 years and managed never to hear anything, but hears 20 seconds of a Bush speech that doesn't mention him and perceives a shameful personal attack?
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are "Evolution" = "Growth" by Soccer Dad, and Numb by Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2 1/3||"Evolution" = "Growth"|
|2||Lebanon Becomes Hezbollahstan|
|2||The Audacity of Newsweek|
|1||Where we went wrong|
Hillbilly White Trash
|1||And Tango Makes 420|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
|2/3||BUMPED: McCain Ahead In Electoral Vote Race?|
Rhymes With Right
|2/3||Curiouser and Curiouser|
The Glittering Eye
|1/3||And People think George W. Bush Is a Moron|
The Colossus of Rhodey
Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal
|3||POLITICS: Yes, Experience Matters|
|1 1/3||Is the Criminal-Justice System Racist?|
|1||Holding Things Accountable for What Men Do With Them|
|2/3||Minn: Muslim Students Force Out Disabled Teacher With Dog|
|2/3||Obama on Lebanon: Cognitive Egocentric Porridge|
|2/3||Lebanon's "300" Heroes|
|1/3||Heroes and Villains|
|1/3||"We Are All Jews Now!"|
All Things Beautiful
Ever been driving down a road when all of a sudden a souped-up car flies by you? But -- that car isn't really a sports car (like a Mustang or Camaro). No, it's a Kia, or a Hyundai Excel, or a Dodge Neon. And it's got this ridiculously huge spoiler on the back, a mask in front, and some loud-ass exhaust pipe.
Boy. Color me "impressed." NOT. Only one thought crosses my mind when I see such a vehicle: "What a douche."
The lunacy never ceases at the Gray Lady.
Via Media Blog:
Obama Helped Supporters Get Millions in Illinois State Business
In a speech to the Urban League last July, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., boasted of his efforts in 2001 to help a handful of African American-owned investment firms in Chicago get a larger share of business with Illinois state pension funds. "And in six months, they got about a half-billion dollars' worth of business simply on their excellence," Obama said.
What he did not say in his speech was that the owner of one of the investment firms, John Rogers of Ariel Capital, is a principal campaign fundraiser. Nor did he reveal that employees of the firms he helped have since contributed to or helped to raise more than $765,000 for his campaigns, according to campaign documents. Nor did he mention that two of the firms have allowed him to use their private jets. Nor did he mention that two of the firms have since been dismissed by the state pension fund for "underperformance."
Full story at ABC News.
Oh gee. Obama is upset:
In a speech to Israel's Knesset, Bush said: "Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along."
Obama thought those remarks were directed at him. I wonder why? After all, Obama has said he would meet "unconditionally" with leaders such as Iran's President Ahmadinejad. But in response to President Bush, Obama said
"George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president's extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel."
How could George Bush "know" that, Mr. Obama -- when you yourself said the precise opposite?? Not only did you say you would "engage" with folks like Ahmadinejad, you said you'd do so unconditionally!
I got an interesting letter today in the mail. It was a letter asking me to join a class-action lawsuit against America Online (AOL) to collect "unpaid wages and overtime wages on behalf of current and former unpaid 'volunteers.'"
My first -- and only, really -- response was utter disdain and sneering laughter. No wonder attorneys get a bum rap. It's 'cuz of lawsuits like this. Y'see, back in the mid-90s, a fellow teacher asked me if I had AOL. When I replied that I did, she informed me of a program whereby AOL would give you free unlimited AOL access in return for a certain amount of time volunteering as a "Community Leader," in my case it was working in the "Homework Help" section. There, I'd assist students via message boards and in live chat rooms with homework questions. I did this for about four years. Getting AOL for free in exchange was a decent deal, in my view. I knew the deal and accepted it. Besides, it was fun.
Which brings me back to this lawsuit. Could the plaintiffs really have not known what they were getting into with AOL? If they thought what AOL offered them in return for their time was unjust, couldn't they have simply said ... "no?" Granted, there were many types of "Community Leaders;" some worked more hours than others, I'm sure. Nevertheless, if one wasn't sure of the agreement, either find out or don't do the job. Don't friggin' do the job, then file a friggin' lawsuit years later because you think the set-up was "unfair."
I may have to send this one to Overlawyered.com.
UPDATE: I did some Googling and found some interesting comments, especially on this AOL message board.
Volunteers' Wage & Hour Claim For Back Pay. In deciding workplace rights, labels do not matter. In this case, being called a volunteer does not mean that America Online's chat room volunteer “community leaders” did not perform work covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York law and, as a result, that they are not entitled to back wages for that work. To decide whether a person is a covered employee, a court must look closely at the facts concerning how the services were performed. The FLSA has a very broad definition of employment, that is, “to suffer or permit to work.” Hallissey v. America Online Inc., Case No.99-CIV-3785, (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 20, 2006).
Among the duties the volunteers performed were managing and updating message boards; moderating chat rooms, including preventing inappropriate conduct; updating, deleting, and modifying forum content; running special features; writing reports about sessions and their actions; and providing tutoring services. Volunteers were required to work a minimum number of hours per week. The volunteers believed that to get a paid position, they were required to volunteer for AOL. In fact, the evidence showed that AOL had tended to hire its paid staff from their volunteer staff. In addition, volunteer services were similar to those of paid employees. The court concluded that these facts supported a conclusion that what the volunteers did was work that entitled them to backpay. (Link.)
My emphasis above. What isn't understood about "volunteer"??? And those "required hours" per week were beyond flexible. You could what you had to do when you wanted -- whenever it was convenient for you!
A very good summary of the whole case is here.
Only complete dimwits with their heads in the sand think so.
The Jerusalem Post has a new quote courtesy of Iranian President Ahmadinejad: "Israel is a stinking corpse" on its way to "annihilation."
DE Liberal's dimwitty's new buddy Juan Cole probably thinks this actually means "Israel will produce excellent top soil and is on its way to rebirth." (As The Corner's Michael Rubin suggests.) Then again, he just might have a problem explaining away these posters ... posted in -- wait for it -- Tehran.
"Well, I think if you've got a guy named Barack Hussein Obama, that's a pretty good contrast to George W. Bush."
Who said that? Answer: Barack Obama, PBS's Tavis Smiley Show, October 18, 2007. (Link.)
But no one else say it, hear? You'll be stirring up "ethnic animosities" and "unconscious prejudices." Or some nonsense like that.
UPDATE: Mark from Comic Coverage reminds me in the comments of a four year-old article by Podhoretz in which he blasted comics movies and comics fans in general. I recall blogging about that when it happened (on my old blog, the "Cube") and I happened to have saved that entry for posterity's sake. Here it is:
John Podhoretz is an admitted "anti-comicbook snob," and his review of "Spider-Man 2" demonstrates this.
He admits that Spidey 2 is the best comicbook flick ever made, but makes the analogy that that's like calling "Chicken McNugget the best processed fast-food poultry product ever produced." Well, OK. To each his own. Comicbooks aren't everyone's cup of tea.
Podhoretz seems to think -- mistakenly -- that comicbook fans all fit into one mold. Y'know -- the geeky, nerdy, can't-get-a-date-ever types who, like Jack Black in "High Fidelity," will argue incessantly over the most minute bits of minutae (in Black's case it was music and records). This couldn't be further from the truth. There ARE plenty of these people, sure. They may even be the majority of comic fans, I don't know. But these weren't -- aren't -- the kinds of comicbook fans with whom I associate.
Yep -- I'm a big comicbook fan. I have quite a few friends who're comicbook fans. And we don't resemble Podhoretz's formula at all. We don't put all of our comics in plastic bags for posterity's sake (because we actually like to READ the stories and marvel at their art). We don't obsess on the most intricate of details and get into massive debates online about how strong Spider-Man's web is, for instance, or exactly how mutations work on the X-Men. (As a matter of fact, we frequently LAUGH at folks who do this. Comic fans who engage in such are usually dubbed "Fanboys.") My comic-reading friends and I didn't really have trouble getting dates in school and college, and we're all happily married now, with kids of our own.
Podhoretz also says
"Comic-book snobs of the 1970s always preferred Marvel, though my friend Tod Lindberg always had a soft spot for DC because DC had created a superhero character with the incredibly uneuphonious name of 'Matter-Eater Lad.'"
Why the term "snobs?" I grew up mostly in the 70s and indeed was fiercely loyal to Marvel. How come? Frankly, because DC SUCKED! And it was due precisely to what Podhoretz notes -- idiotic characters like "Matter-Eater Lad," not to mention that their marquee characters -- Superman, Batman, etc. -- lived and operated in fictional cities, were always the winners, never had problems....they SUCKED, in other words.
Marvel icon Stan Lee had completely changed how comicbooks' stories were told back in the early 60s with the debut of "The Fantastic Four." You can see exactly how he told his stories by watching "Spidey 2," too. As Podhoretz notes:
"Spider-Man 2 is more gloomy than its predecessor, and things seem to take an ominous turn as Peter Parker starts getting all complain-y about his lot in life. But for once, you understand why he's feeling the pain. The brilliant stroke here is that because he feels he has to save everybody who's in peril, Peter Parker can't even hold onto a pizza-delivery job. He's broke, he lives in a dump, and his friends and loved ones are furious with him because he never shows up anywhere on time and has no good excuses for his absences. Peter Parker's struggles are truly the struggles of any 22-year-old trying to make a go of it in New York — money and punctuality. And Maguire is a wonderful Average Joe, who conveys with a look and a sigh the intolerable loneliness of being someone with a dangerous secret."
Indeed! You just didn't see this from DC in the 70s. Witnessing their market share dwindle around this time, DC began to change the atmosphere in their books, and it's worked. Some of the coolest stories I've read in the last decade or so have been from DC (the fact that I still don't know much about their characters doesn't detract from good writing). Superman: Red Son is one. It imagines The Man of Steel landing in the Soviet Union as an infant and all the cultural and political ramifications of this event. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller is a spectacular look at Batman in the near future. And, Kingdom Come imagines just about every DC superhero in a world ravaged by these very same "heroes."
Still, Marvel is sales king -- because their basic premise hasn't changed.
But back to Stan Lee. In the 1970s, Stan was on the old "Mike Douglas Show" talking about the phenomenon known as Marvel Comics. Mike told him at one point: "I was reading one of your comics the other day and I gotta tell 'ya -- some of the vocabulary had me scratching my head!" To which Stan replied, "I write my books on the college level. If a kid doesn't know a word and has to look it up in the dictionary, what's wrong with that?"
I know I had my dictionary handy when I was reading Marvel comics. And it came in handy. In 6th grade, I won a spelling bee by spelling the word "grotesque" correctly. I remembered it in an issue of The Incredible Hulk where the green giant battled "The Grotesque Glob." Cool, huh?
Back in the mid-90s, the school I teach at tried something called an "X period" where once a week we'd shorten all our class periods, and then last period each teacher would host a club of their choice. I decided to host a comicbook club. I had about 25 kids who'd bring in their comics, talk about 'em, draw their own characters, and trade hero cards. (I never got into card collecting.) Unbeknownst to me, one of the students dug the club so much he brought the subject up at a district school board meeting! The next day, I got a call from our local paper asking if they could do a story on the comicbook club! To this day, I have the article framed and hanging on my wall. My spelling bee story is the highlight of the article.
And it is the highlight. By reading Stan Lee as a kid, I became enamored with words and storytelling. I became an excellent speller. It also sparked my interest in reading things other than comicbooks, and as a result I now have shelves in my home teeming with books, with everything from science fiction to education to politics and history.
Casual Iron Man fans may not know that Tony Stark has died in the Marvel Universe -- at least twice. The more well-known instance took place in the 1990s, when Marvel had the "brilliant" idea to make Iron Man a teenager. Over a series of many issues (and many different titles, like The Avengers and War Machine), Tony Stark was shown to become the "puppet" of longtime Marvel bad-guy Kang the Conqueror. (Sticklers for detail know by now that it was actually Kang's "other-self" Immortus that was responsible for mentally controlling Stark, but let's not dicker here.) The Avengers (and if you don't know who they are, just stay in the theatre after the "Iron Man" credits finish to get an idea!) ended up traveling back in time to nab Stark when he was a teenager to assist them in defeating [adult] Stark.
The Avengers #395 (above) is where Stark meets his demise. He temporarily overcame Kang's influence to save the Avengers by sacrificing himself.
As mentioned too, in this post, it was only temporary. Death is never permanent in comics. Just ask Superman, right? When Marvel hired then-hotshots Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld to "re-imagine" some Marvel characters in various "volume 2" issues, adult Tony Stark was given new life. However, all of the volume 2 Marvel characters were inhabitants of a "pocket universe;" it was not the Marvel Universe proper. After thirteen volume 2 issues, Marvel decided to "bring back" their characters to their universe. Adult Tony Stark was included among those heroes. "How?" you may ask? It's complicated and would be esoteric to anyone not very familiar with many Marvel characters, but The Avengers Annual 2001 is where the actual "explanation" took place, in case you care.
Two and a half decades before, Iron Man/Tony Stark had died too. Ironically, it was also thanks to Kang the Conqueror. In The Avengers #132 (above), Kang had abducted various Avengers, including Iron Man, to Limbo -- a place where normal time doesn't exist. The time-traveling baddie had resurrected numerous villains from Marvel's past to battle the Avengers. One of these undead characters was the Original Human Torch, one of Marvel's first-ever characters. On Kang's order, the Torch grabbed Iron Man from behind, and held onto him -- until the incredible heat melted Iron Man's chestplate. Without that device to keep his heart beating, Stark soon perished. But not for long. In Giant-Size Avengers #3, Kang's other-self Immortus (again, ironically) gave Stark new life. In effect, Stark had been dead for only one measly issue!
Wilmington News Journal "police" news (first item) from last Thursday.
Here's the Wilmington Police Dept.'s report.
Hmm ... what's missing, I wonder ... ?
Jake Tapper has the scoop on the ridiculous affinity of Barack Obama to blame his staff -- or "oversight" -- for practically everything:
We started covering Sen. Barack Obama's inability to hire good staffers in June 2007, when he blamed staffers for some opposition research trying to link Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, to outsourcing in India; for injecting some venom in the David Geffen/Hillary Clinton fight; and for missing an event with firefighters in New Hampshire.
In December, we noted again that Obama was blaming the answers on a 1996 questionnaire on a staffer; and was blaming his touring with "cured" ex-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin (which antagonized gays and lesbians) on bad vetting by his staff.
And what's to add to the list?
Obama's refusal to denounce Yassir Arafat and expressing support for Israel's security fence: In an e-mail message, Mr. Obama blamed a staff member for the oversight.
During MSDNC's Las Vegas debate in January, "Obama was asked about a document put together by one of his South Carolina staffers that listed comments made by the Clinton campaign that some perceived to be attempting to stoke racial fires." The answer: "Our supporters, our staff get overzealous ...they start saying things that I would not say..."
When Obama was asked about an earmark that went to the University of Chicago while his wife was still employed there: "I don’t think that I was obligated to recuse myself from anything related to the university," Obama said, adding, "when it comes to earmarks because of those concerns, it’s probably something that should have been passed on to [U.S. Sen.] Dick Durbin, and I think probably something that slipped through the cracks."
In March, when Obama was asked about a contradiction in his account of acting on behalf of embattled businessman Tony Rezko: The letter, Obama said, "was essentially a form letter of the sort that I did all time. And that I wasn’t, by the way, aware of. I wasn't even aware that we wrote the letter. The answer that I gave at the time was accurate as far as I knew...This was one of many form letters..."
Obama 2008: "The Buck Stops ... Somewhere."
Minding the Campus has the debate.
A few days ago in this Iron Man Tidbit post, I wrote about what a friggin' total hack 1990s comics "hotshot" Rob Liefeld was (is). Here's a reprint of a segment of a fanzine article I wrote back in late 2004:
In what I could dub “It Came From the Rip-Off Bin,” I actually got for free what is essentially an advertisement for totally lame comic “creator” Rob Liefeld’s AGENT: AMERICA (see below).
Cripes, the utter gall it took to “create” such a rip-off of CAPTAIN AMERICA must’ve known no bounds. After Liefeld was axed by Marvel for his pathetic job on volume 2 CAPT. AMERICA, he founded a co. called “Awesome Entertainment.” There, he acquired the rights to a Jack Kirby character called “Fighting American” who Jack created with Joe Simon in the 50s as an American “Cold Warrior.” Liefeld used his never-realized “ideas” from vol. 2 CAP in AGENT: AMERICA … wait, check that – he ultimately decided to use the old Kirby moniker of FIGHTING AMERICAN. Because …
… considering how pathetically close an imitation AGENT: AMERICA was to CAPTAIN AMERICA, Marvel sued Liefeld. The court’s decision was that Liefeld and Awesome Entertainment could keep FIGHTING AMERICAN (not AGENT, seen at left), but he could never be seen throwing his shield, and Rob had to alter FA’s costume to make it less “Cap-like.”
Yeesh. Doing online research about this story got me pretty confused. I think the above nails down pretty well what transpired. However, I did discover that DC had once revived FIGHTING AMERICAN in 1994 as a pretty straightforward revamp of Kirby and Simon’s character. Thanks to the UK International Hero website and Christopher Vanette for their valuable insight.
Again, if you haven't yet checked out this site dedicated to Liefeld's lameness, be sure to stop by.
I just switched to the beginning of "Meet the Press." Tim Russert's first guest, Senator Chris Dodd, greeted Russert with "Good morning, Tim. Happy Mother's Day."
Russert hesitated for a couple seconds seeming to wonder if it was a joke. So did I!
You may have heard it before: Tony Stark has a drinking problem.
Or, at least he had a drinking problem. In the comics, that is. The first creators to elaborate on this ultimate Iron Man "enemy" were the awesome David Michelinie (a Delaware resident, by the way) and Bob Layton. In Iron Man #128 (below) -- "Demon in a Bottle" -- Stark had to battle through his addiction with the help (mainly) of then-girlfriend Bethany Cabe.
It didn't last very long, however. By issue #169 (below) Stark was drinking again -- this, due to rival businessman Obadiah Stane taking over his company.
Guess who he's talking to on that cover? Yep, Jim Rhodes (Terrence Howard in the movie) who thus begins his stint as the Golden Avenger for about thirty issues. #169 begins one of the most talked about Iron Man storylines ever. Tony Stark actually ends up living on the streets. His fortune is gone. His company is gone. It's rare that a comic can actually ... "touch" me emotionally; however, Iron Man #182 (below) says it all: Stark will either be sober ... or dead in this issue.
Of course, it's the former answer, yet Stark has to go through hell to make it. He fights not only his inner demons, but a killer blizzard to save the life of a fellow drunk's newborn.
Stark teams up with pal Jim Rhodes and two young scientists to start up a fledgling electronics company, and eventually comes back into conflict with Obadiah Stane. The climax occurs in issue #200 with Stark completely recovered -- as an alcoholic and from his fear of becoming Iron Man again.
Anyone remember this CNN/YouTube Democrat Debate question:
QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.
In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?
OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.
But in today's New York Times, Obama's foreign policy adviser sings a different tune:
Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”
Just call Barack Obama "Mr. Nobody," then.
Here's a clip of that CNN/YouTube debate to refresh your -- and Barack's -- memory.
To which I say: So?
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said the euthanized Kentucky Derby horse Eight Belles probably died more humanely than death row prisoners do.
Stevens's comments Friday night came a month after he voted with a majority of the Supreme Court to approve the most widely used method of lethal injection, while saying for the first time that he now believes the death penalty is unconstitutional.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Stevens told an audience of judges and lawyers that he checked into the procedure used to kill Eight Belles and was surprised to learn it is against the law in Kentucky to kill animals using one of the drugs in a three-drug lethal injection cocktail that many states, including Kentucky, use to execute prisoners. (Source.)
In my opinion, murderers are worse than horses (or any other animal) and hence should be treated accordingly. Nevertheless, used properly, lethal injection for executions is painless!
No contest! "IM" easily held off predicted challenger "Speed Racer" on the latter's opening day (yesterday). In fact, "Speed" came in third behind the romantic comedy "What Happens in Vegas."
Oh, and I saw "IM" again today. It's still rocks.
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are Who Cares About Israel, Anyway? by Joshuapundit, and Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks by The Huffington Post. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|4||Who Cares About Israel, Anyway?|
|2||Party Like It's 1980 All Over Again|
Right Wing Nut House
|1 2/3||Obama As Marley|
|2/3||Are You Ready To Be a Democrat?|
|2/3||I Have a Nightmare|
|2/3||Death and the Madam|
Done With Mirrors
|1/3||Fatal Energy Policies|
Cheat Seeking Missiles
The Glittering Eye
|4 2/3||Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks|
The Huffington Post
|1 1/3||Iraqis Begin to 'Despise' the Mahdi Army in Baghdad's Rusafa District|
The Long War Journal
|1 1/3||Escape From A Brooklyn Mosque|
|1||The Liberal Imagination of Frederick Douglass|
The American Scholar
|2/3||Another Gaza Media Moment|
|2/3||Turning the Juggernaut Round|
|1/3||Israel's 60-Year Test|
The Wall Street Journal
|1/3||Rough Time for the Left in the US|
|1/3||If I Didn't Like Hillary Before... [UPDATED]|
|1/3||Outlawing the Pig|
In an assessment that differs sharply with his view today, Dick Cheney more than a decade ago defended the decision to leave Saddam Hussein in power after the first Gulf War, telling a Seattle audience that capturing Saddam wouldn't be worth additional U.S. casualties or the risk of getting "bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."
"And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth?" Cheney said then in response to a question.
"And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."
I wholeheartedly agree, Mr. Vice President. That's why I wrote this some two and half years ago. Perhaps the key line from that post: Removing a dictator and instituting democracy to a country that's never had it is NOT -- NOT -- a job for the US military. Not a single US soldier's life is worth it.
How 'bout Jimmy Carter on the Palestinians:
I don’t consider... I wasn’t equating the Palestinian missiles with terrorism. But when the Palestinians commit terrorist acts, and I mean when a person blows himself up within a bus full of civilians, or when the target of the operation is women and children – such acts create a rejection of the Palestinians among those who care about them. It turns the world away from sympathy and support for the Palestinian people. That’s why I said that acts of terrorism like I just described are suicidal for the popularity and support for the Palestinian cause.
How do you like that? Missiles launched from Palestinian lands against Israel are "not terrorism" according to Carter. But ... someone blowing themselves up on a crowded bus is?? But ... what if those "not-equal-to-terrorism" Palestinian missiles just happen to, y'know, land in the middle of an Israeli apartment complex?
But Carter is right on the other point: If the Palestinians will cease their terrorism, they'll get a lot more popular support. But what Carter leaves out: It also means that Israel will then begin negotiating in earnest about Palestinian independence and return of certain lands.
I think the reason is that the U.S. wants to topple Hamas and [believes] that if it punishes the Palestinian people severely, the Palestinians will have to change their minds. I don’t know how true this is, but it’s not legal, proper, or morally right to deprive an entire people of the basic necessities of life, because they participated in a democratic process and voted freely.
(Video of Carter here, by the way.)
So, because people participated in a democratic process and voted freely -- for a violent terror group dedicated to an entire people's destruction -- it has to be "honored?" Since when? Give me a royal break.
OK, if 'ya don't know by now, 'ol Hube is one big Iron Man fan. He has been since his youngest days as a lad. In the 1990s, I made use of my immense Iron Man knowledge by contributing to an Iron Man fan magazine, or "fanzine" as they're known. When volume 3 Iron Man began (1998, known as "Heroes Return"), I and other fanzine contributors got to know many of the title's creators pretty well. The inaugural artist of volume 3 IM was one Sean Chen. Sean was just then making his big foray into big-time comics, and was quite thankful for the exposure and encouragement our fanzine gave him.
In December of 2001 when my family and another were vacationing in New York City, Sean was gracious enough to invite me to his Manhattan apartment/studio for a visit. Wow -- what a life! And I mean that most enviously. Sean had a terrific view of the Empire State Building, and his domicile was also his studio where he churned out all his work. He was -- is -- one awesome guy.
And unbeknownst to me when I first bought Iron Man volume 3 #17, Sean included a tiny "hat-tip" to yours truly:
Yep, that's the name "Hube" on top of that taxi! The [main] panel is 'ol Tony Stark introducing one his many squeezes to secretary Virginia "Pepper" Potts (who was played by Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie). I said "unbeknownst to me" because I never noticed it when I first read the issue. It wasn't until I received an e-mail from Sean asking me "what I thought of that taxi" that I realized what Chen had did!
In a word or two, how cool is that?
Iron Man was once a teenager.
No joke. No, Tony Stark did not create his Iron Man armor as a teen. He was already an adult when he was taken captive and had to create the Iron Man armor to escape his tormentors. In the mid-90s, Marvel got this "brilliant" idea to attract younger readers -- "Let's turn Iron Man into a teenager!"
It backfired spectacularly.
The ... "experiment" lasted a whole eight issues. Eight. In 1996, Marvel brought in then-heavyweights Jim Lee (well, he's still a heavyweight) and Rob Liefeld (who's an unbelievable total hack) to "reimagine" some of their marquee characters, including the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Captain America and Iron Man. Liefeld, however, was such a disaster on Captain America that they asked him to leave after only half his contracted issues. I mean, just look at the grotesque anatomy he ... "drew" below:
Ugh. And this guy was supposed to be one of the 1990's "hot" talents. Go figure. (Check out this hilarious site which chronicles Liefeld's "40 Worst Drawings.") Eventually, come 1998, Marvel "revamped" their marquee characters again in what was dubbed "Heroes Return." Iron Man was an adult again (thank God!), and all of Marvel was back in their "own" universe.
Now, you may -- just may -- be wondering what the hell happened to Teen Tony Stark. No one really knows. And further, no one really cares. As long as he's just ... gone.
Via the Newsbusters tip line (which goes out to many contributors, not just me):
Left wing media bias? Maybe you should pull your head out of your ass & replace [sic] with yet Another Gay [sic] or Pedaphile [sic] preist [sic]. Its [sic] the conservatives who Abuse Children [sic], Get Our Kids Killed in War [sic] and are a bunch of FAGS, You RACIST PIGS, How [sic] about some more Drugs [sic] for you and Rush? - [sic] Oh, and what a shitty ass [sic] website. Get a real designer [sic]
Wait -- "fags??" I thought liberals were supposed be tolerant!
Joy Behar of ABC's "The View":
Indeed. John McCain, if elected, will "roll back civil rights." He'll appoint judges (like Scalia) that will somehow -- someway -- take away Americans' rights. Let that sink in for a second.
Now wonder how it is that such a complete and utter mental Neanderthal like Behar has such the forum to spout the inanities that she does.
FIRE's Adam Kissel reports:
FIRE is very pleased that the University of Delaware Faculty Senate has delayed a vote on the deeply flawed Residence Life proposal for next year, as I requested. The campus now has a bit less than a week to genuinely debate it. I hope that sincere debate ensues and that Faculty Senate leaders and upper-level administrators do not try to keep pushing the proposal through.
As I have written before, the proposal is soaked in a highly politicized social and political agenda around the idea of "sustainability" as the correct model for "citizenship." A good number of Senate faculty, and one courageous student, spoke up against the program at yesterday's Senate meeting.
I am told that students will be coming out to make their voices heard, and I hope that there is ample time next week for all points of view to be heard.
The Associated Press picked up the story, which has been published by the Delaware News Journal. The UD Review also has published an original article on the story, along with a photo of the students who arrived with literature in protest against the proposal. The National Association of Scholars (NAS) has announced the news here. The point was amply made that in the proposal and for ResLife, sustainability is not just about the environment, as reported by the NAS:Professor Matt Robinson, chairman of the Faculty Senate Student Life Committee, who presented the new Res Life proposal[,] offered the bold claim that, "The concept of sustainability, that's only speaking in terms of environmental." His attempt to package the new program as only conservation and environmental preservation, however, didn't persuade skeptical faculty members who had taken the trouble to read the details. They replied that the term sustainability is being used to sneak in "a curriculum of indoctrination" similar to the one President Harker suspended in November.
The student who spoke up also sent a letter to the Faculty Senate. Here are some thoughtful excerpts addressed mainly to those who defended the program:
You also argued that the definition of sustainability is limited to environmental aspects, but this is not shown anywhere in the plan. Additionally, RAs are taught during their intensive two weeks of training in the fall that sustainability has three components: environmental, social and economic. RAs are to implement this broad notion of sustainability into their position as an influential peer. Although the ResLife program was "shut down" RAs were never given a new definition of sustainability or told to limit their sustainability education with residents to include only environmental aspects. Furthermore, it is clearly illustrated in the current Spring Plan as well as the proposed plan for next year that sustainability is a highly politicized term with broad interpretations relating to a specific political id[e]ology.
You consistently claimed that the problem lies with the implementation plan which is different than the program plan. This is not the case. You can insert the word "optional" in the document hundreds of times, but that does not change the nature of the department. Regardless of how optional floor meetings and programs are, RAs are judged as successful or unsuccessful based upon their ability to get residents to do what ResLife wants...
You have engaged the student population very little throughout this entire process. Any student you talk to usually has a very strong opinion on the topic of Residence Life, yet only a select group of people were allowed to take part in the creation of a future plan. I am very interested in the future direction of the program and I am an active student leader on campus, yet I was never once invited to provide feedback or personal insight into the process of creating the proposed plan. Many other students feel this way as well.
I would like to make a few suggestions. [...] Students pay thousands to get a comprehensive education in the classroom, and if they are passionate about a particular subject, they can join a student group related to their interests. Each residence hall complex has a community council which can take charge of implementing programming that interests students without carrying a political agenda. Resident Assistants are not qualified to "educate" other students and they should not be burdened with such an impossible task as RAs do not even have a bachelor's degree.
As FIRE, the National Association of Scholars, and others on and off campus have argued, it will be a good thing if the proposal is rejected and ResLife continues doing what it reportedly has been doing this spring: running a traditional residential program that does not try to inculcate politicized values into students, a program that does not try to make students conform to ResLife's favorite thoughts, values, attitudes, beliefs, and actions. That seems to me to be what students want-not pizza parties where signs are posted that explain the impact of the party on the environment, not career counseling that pushes sustainability careers as the only ones that responsible citizens would choose, and not floor meetings where students are told they have to opt out of social time with their fellow residents if they don't want to be bombarded with ResLife's sustainability agenda.
I strongly believe that once the members of the Faculty Senate carefully consider and debate the ResLife proposal, they will conclude that this is not a proposal that can easily be salvaged in a way that respects students' freedom of conscience and academic freedom. Again, I think the Faculty Senate should reject it because it is unworthy of a great university or any school that sees itself as providing a liberal arts education.
One of Iron Man's biggest faux pas's occurred back in Iron Man #68 from June, 1974: Tony Stark had the "great" idea of adding a NOSE to the Iron Man helmet:
Needless to say it was pretty ridiculous, and the editors decided to trash it pretty quickly -- it existed for less than twenty issues. By issue #85, Iron Man had a new method of "armoring up," and as such, the nose "had to go" from the faceplate.
Hey, did'ja know that the old Soviet Union (and later Russia) had (have) their very own Iron Man counterpart? Hell, yes! His name is the Crimson Dynamo:
At least six men have worn the Dynamo armor over the years as operatives of the Soviet (Russian) government. Of course, none of them was ever able to best Tony Stark (Iron Man) mainly because 1) Stark is one of the most brilliant minds on the planet, and 2) Iron Man's technology was always one step ahead of whatever the Russians had.
How about a cool $100+ million weekend opening here in the U.S. and over $200 million worldwide? How about the 2nd-best non-sequel opening weekend in box office history? How about the 10th best opening (monetarily) for a film ever?
Not bad for a "second tier" comic character, eh?
And that would be the Iron Man cartoon from 1966:
This theme was used as a phone ringtone in the new movie, by the way.
And that would be the Iron Man (season 2) cartoon from 1996:
Goof Alert: Notice at the very end when IM punches the steel wall? He swings with his right arm, but the impression on the wall is of his left fist! DOH!
Twenty years ago: Tony Stark was shot through the chest by an insane jealous girlfriend!
After going toe-to-toe with his deadly foe the Mandarin, Stark returns home to discover Kathy Dare (at left) -- a clingy spoiled-rich brat whom Stark had dated briefly -- standing there with a gun! Not able to handle being jilted, she puts a bullet right through Stark's mid-section, crippling him!
It was one of the greatest cliffhangers in Iron Man history. For the next few issues, Stark was wheelchair bound (and, of course, it wasn't your typical wheelchair; Stark constructs an anti-gravity chair to get him around!).
Eventually Stark undergoes a radical procedure which essentially gives him an entirely new nervous system. Unfortunately, he never adequately checked the technology behind it. The company that came up with it was a front for some of Stark's rivals; the "nervous system" was actually a clandestine means by which to physically control Stark's body from afar! (See a summary of this whole affair here.) The climax of this storyline led directly to the creation of the War Machine armor and to Jim Rhodes assuming the role of Iron Man for a time.
Being the super-genius that he is, Stark eventually manages to devise a means by which to "overwrite" the programming of the insidious nervous system, essentially creating a new one. After a bit of P.T., he's back in the armor again (Iron Man #300).
He decides that "Iron Man" is an anti-American film. Take it from me: He doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.
Good thing he's getting thrashed in the comments section, including a little nugget from yours truly.
(By the way, some have opined on various forums that I wouldn't trash the flick no matter what 'cause I'm such a fan of the character. To which I say "ARE YOU NUTS??" Seriously, I'd be the very FIRST to shred it if it was warranted. Look no further than "Starship Troopers." It's my favorite sci-fi novel ever, but the film was an utter travesty.)
OK, so maybe you've seen the "Iron Man" movie or at least read about it. You've seen the suit of armor. But did you know that that suit is just one of many? Indeed. Tony Stark has actually devised myriad suits of armor for specific needed purposes. Check some of the better-known outfits:
THE SPACE ARMOR.
There have been several "Space Armors" to date. The first debuted in 1981 courtesy of Iron Man dream team David Michelinie and Bob Layton. The armor is just that -- specifically designed to operate in zero gee, in addition to actually launching itself into orbit in the first place!
THE STEALTH AND UNDERSEA ARMORS.
THE WAR MACHINE ARMOR. Actually titled the "Variable Threat Response Suit," the War Machine armor was structurally tougher and used more "standard" weapons (guns, missiles) than high-tech. Stark only wore the War Machine once, then later built another version of it for pal Jim Rhodes.
HIGH-STRENGTH ARMORS. Waddya do when your opponent is the Hulk? Or Thor? Simple: You build a set of armor to defeat 'em! Cases in point: The Hulkbuster and Thorbuster Armors, respectively.
If there ever was a movie I was going to see on the very first day, this was it. The film opens in the deserts of Afghanistan where billionaire playboy industrialist (and super-genius, mind you) Tony Stark is traveling with some US soldiers in a convoy, coming back from a field test of some of Stark's new anti-terror weaponry. Suddenly, an IED explodes, and the convoy comes under attack!
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
The soldiers are all massacred, and Stark is severely wounded by shrapnel. He's captured by al Qaeda-like terrorists and taken to a cave. There is much shrapnel near his heart. A doctor removes much of it, but a makeshift magnet is installed into Stark's chest to repel the remaining shards from his ticker.
The head terror dude demands that Stark make a weapon for him, or he'll be killed.
FLASHBACK: Director John Favreau blends Tony Stark's backstory brilliantly here as Stark is about to be given an "Apogee" award for his cunning genius. We see old "pictures" of Stark growing up -- as a boy mastermind, along with how his father built up the company, Stark Industries. In addition, Favreau mixes in the deviousness of Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) masterfully; instead of being a Stark business rival, Stane has been at Stark Industries since day one as second in command, and you can right from the start "feel" Stane's resentment at the young Stark having assumed control of the company after the elder Stark died.
BACK TO AFGHANISTAN: Stark and fellow captive Yinsen (named after Professor Ho Yinsen from Iron Man's first issue, Tales of Suspense #39) plot their escape. There's no way they're going to build the weapon the terrorists want as they know they'll be killed regardless (a most logical assumption!). Right under the terrorists' noses they begin constructing the prototype Iron Man armor (they are geniuses, after all!). Stark devises a miniature "arc reactor" (which is what powers his main plant back in the States) for his heart, and this will also serve as the Iron Man's power source.
At the key moment -- when Stark and Yinsen are powering up the armor to finally escape -- the radical Islamists bust into their lab! But ... the Iron Man suit isn't ready yet! In an excellent homage to Tales of Suspense #39, Yinsen sacrifices his life to buy Stark the needed time for the armor to start up. Stark -- Iron Man, now -- busts out of his cave prison and jets away to safety. But he "lands" rather clumsily (a crash landing, to be sure), wrecking the armor. He gets out of the suit (leaving it behind! Oh no!) and begins scrambling for safety. Eventually, a duo of American helicopters find him.
After seeing what his weapons can do in the "field" (and also wondering how in the world so many of his weapons got into the hands of terrorists), upon arriving back home Stark decides to get out of the munitions business and devote Stark Industries to more humanitarian purposes. This pretty much infuriates Obadiah Stane (again, Bridges), who tries to talk some "sense" into Tony. Stane grows more angered as Tony continually refuses to "come to his senses" and continue making weapons.
In his secret basement lab, Stark begins to create the "modern" Iron Man suit we all know and love. Another terrific touch Favreau uses here is the [completely] automated lab Stark has been using pretty much in the comics for about 15 years now. The computer is even named "Jarvis" after his long-time comics butler (who also worked for the Avengers). After numerous tests, Stark decides it's time to put the suit into action!
Iron Man jets back Afghanistan to "pay back" numerous members of that terrorist squad that had captured him, and are now terrorizing a nearby village. And how did they get so many Stark munitions?? This is where we first see the armor in all-out action, and it mesmerizes the senses!! A must for this movie was showing what the armor looked like from Stark's POV, and Favreau doesn't disappoint. The interior helmet displays and graphics are sensational! Probably most cool was when Iron Man picks out all the terrorists among numerous civilians, and uses his targeting computer to shoot all of them. For me, this was a hat-tip to long-time 90s Iron Man writer Len Kaminski. Len made constant use of computerized helmet displays in his stories, and Iron Fans loved him dearly for it!
The "cat is let out of the bag," so to speak, when we see Obadiah Stane arriving at an Afghan terror camp. It has been him who has been clandestinely sending weapons to the terrorists, against company orders. His terrorist "partners" show him what they discovered in the nearby desert: The remains of Stark's first Iron Man suit, pretty much reassembled. They give Stane the plans, and Stane promptly flies back to the US to put these plans to use!
Eventually, Stane gets some technos to assemble his own "Iron Man" outfit (which was called the "Iron Monger" in the comic, but was never specifically dubbed that in the film -- unless I missed it), but they cannot duplicate the power source Stark created, that miniature "arc reactor." In a great scene which is meant to highlight Stark's genius, Stane grabs a techno and screams at him, "YOU IDIOT! TONY STARK MADE ONE OF THESE IN THE DESERT FROM A BUNCH OF SCRAPS!"
To "finish" the Iron Monger, Stane has only recourse: Steal Tony Stark's power source. But ... it's inside his chest, keeping him alive! No matter. Stane hides in Stark's house, incapacitates him, and yanks the mini arc reactor from his chest. Dying, Stark attempts to reach his original device to save his life. He barely makes it. His pal Jim Rhodes arrives in time to witness Stark suit up to go after Stane. In a prescient scene, Rhodes exclaims "Cool! I gotta fly one of these!" Then, after Stark has jetted off, Rhodes glances at Stark's unpainted [modern armor] prototype and says, "Next time!" Indeed, Rhodes replaced Stark as Iron Man for a time in the comic, and eventually was given his own set of armor, dubbed "War Machine."
The climactic battle between Stark and Stane is awesome. The special effects are what you'd expect -- and more. If you thought "Transformers'" F/X were boffo, this is right up your alley. The battle doesn't go well for Stark (he is using a much weaker back-up power source, after all!), and eventually the Iron Monger is on the verge of victory. However, Stark gal Friday Pepper Potts has followed Stark's orders to head down and overload the giant arc reactor which powers Stark Industries' main plant! She succeeds, and the resultant energy discharge fries Stane -- and his armor.
In one of the coolest endings in comics (or any) movies, covert operatives have given Stark a cover story which to read to the press which will "explain" the incident at the plant. The press asks Stark about Iron Man point blank. The cover story says that Iron Man is Stark's bodyguard, which was indeed the case in the comics for much of Iron Man's history! However, only recently (in the comics) has Stark made it known to the public that he is the Golden Avenger. So, when the press asks, Stark replies, "Come on, me? A superhero? No. The truth ... the truth is ... yes -- I am Iron Man!" and then the credits roll alongside some very cool Iron Man schematics animation!
THE GREAT. Robert Downey Jr. is absolutely sensational as Stark/Iron Man. I was among those who had many doubts when word came out that he had the title role; however, he was perfection. Downey had the perfect combo of playboy playfulness, humor, and scientific techno-babble genius that anyone playing Tony Stark needed.
Jeff Bridges as Stane was right there with Downey in the acting dept. Bridges freaked me out as the maniacal serial killer in "The Vanishing;" he brings a lot of that atmosphere with him in "IM," even including some of that spooky-ass voice he assumed in "Vanishing."
The special effects were also kick-ass, needless to say. You might think this is a given in a modern comics flick; now way, man. Just check out the lame effort in the first "Fantastic Four" film.
Other great stuff:
THE GOOD. The supporting cast. How could you lose with Gwyneth Paltrow (Potts) and Terrence Howard (Rhodes)? You couldn't. I especially dug Howard -- he came across as such a natural, as he always does in his films. The only reason these two were just "good" is because they weren't given enough camera time, especially Terrence.
THE BAD. Absolutely nuthin'!
BIGGEST "AW, C'MON!" MOMENT. There was only one in the whole film, which is good for a comics-based movie. "Iron Man's" was this: We witness Tony Stark spending a good deal of time getting used to the Iron Man armor, especially the flying aspect. But somehow, Obadiah Stane jumped right into his Iron Monger armor and was an instant expert at using that suit! He had little difficulty fighting Stark (Iron Man) who somehow needed a lot of practice with his suit, natch!
HUBE'S RATING: FIVE STARS (out of five).
So reports FIRE:
Following the attention given by the Delaware Association of Scholars to the University of Delaware Residence Life position called "Graduate Assistant for Diversity Initiatives," the university has removed the job description from its website. Fortunately, we have an archived copy here. The position's responsibilities include(d) "Resource Development," which include(d) the following:
a.. Serve as a resource in the area of multicultural and diversity issues for Residence Life staff members and residence hall students.
b.. Develop resource files for programs and workshops on such topics as:
a.. Inter-Cultural Communication
d.. Prejudice Reduction
g.. Heterosexism/Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness
j.. Ability Differences
k.. HIV/AIDS Awareness
m.. Values Clarification
n.. Multicultural Jeopardy
p.. Collaborate with various campus offices to create a monthly diversity programming calendar.
Readers may remember that last fall, when ResLife was under pressure, it also began removing controversial and incriminating documents from its website.
Once again, such news confirms reports I have heard that ResLife officials are doing everything possible to run the same program they ran last year but with as much hidden as possible. That's the opposite of the new transparency that ResLife reportedly has promised.
That shouldn't come as much of a surprise. That's how the radical multi-cultis and diversophiles have to operate -- in secret. Any "disinfecting" sunlight shows what a total joke their programs and philosophies truly are, "valuable" to those who can only survive in the comfortable womb of tenured academia.
First, yes -- I did see "Iron Man" today. My review will be posted tomorrow morning. For now I'll just say three words: It. Kicked. Ass.
For the next two weeks or so, in honor of my favorite hero's debut on the silver screen, I'll be featuring a daily "trivia tidbit" about 'ol "Shellhead." Today: The color of the armor you see in the "Iron Man" movie is red and gold for a reason: IM's armor has always been that color. Well, almost. Virtually always.
Iron Man's first "suit" was what us Iron Fans call "clunker gray." But that wasn't Tony Stark's fault. He had to use whatever was available to him to get the hell out of that prison camp. We only saw this "genesis armor" for one issue: Tales of Suspense #39, Iron Man's first-ever appearance.
In the very next issue, #40, Stark painted this gray armor gold. Even though this color scheme only lasted a mere eight issues, it was enough to give the hero a nickname that stays with him to this day: "The Golden Avenger."
Tales of Suspense #48 witnessed the armor hue that would define the character -- red and gold. And so it would be for about 20 years! Though Iron Man's armor changed a bit (in design and technology), the color scheme remained. Then, in 1985, Tony Stark made a big change -- he created a red and silver suit of armor. The reasons for this are several, the biggest being that this armor debut marked the return of Tony Stark after a long bout with alcoholism. He was reluctant to get back into armor at all, but when it became absolutely necessary, he wanted something radically different, so as to remind him as little as possible of the "old" days of Iron Man. Ironically, the red and silver armor was first used against Stark rival Obadiah Stane (in his own armor), who is the main villain in the "Iron Man" film.
This "Silver Centurion" armor lasted for thirty issues, until complaints about its bulkiness -- and non-traditional color scheme! -- led the title creators to give Stark an "excuse" for designing a new -- and red and gold -- set of armor: They destroyed it!
Iron Man has remained red and gold ever since -- another 20 years, that is!
Of course, this whole post is about Iron Man's main suit of armor. Tony Stark has a whole bevy of specialty suits for specific purposes! We'll take a gander at some of these tomorrow!
And now... the winning entries in the Watcher's Council vote for this week are The Total Witlessness of Obama Apologists by Right Wing Nut House, and An Anatomy of Surrender by City Journal. Here are the full tallies of all votes cast:
|2||The Total Witlessness of Obama Apologists|
Right Wing Nut House
|1 2/3||Outfoxed By Obama & The Twelve Unasked Questions|
|1 1/3||Rising Food Prices|
The Glittering Eye
|1 1/3||The Company One Keeps|
|1||An Article About Islam Most Amazing for What It Doesn't Say|
|2/3||Past Is Never Past|
Done With Mirrors
Hillbilly White Trash
|1/3||Moral Relativism Reaches a New Low|
The Colossus of Rhodey
|1/3||Oppressive Speech Regulation|
Rhymes With Right
|4 1/3||An Anatomy of Surrender|
|2||Political Maneuver in Counterinsurgency|
Small Wars Journal
|1||Affirmative Action Abortions|
|2/3||Chevy Bill Ayers: A Classic Ride for Limousine Liberals|
The People's Cube
|1/3||The Obama Aesthetic|
|1/3||Choose Your Identity Group Carefully, Kids!|
|1/3||ID (the Other Kind): Beginning of the Death of the Democratic Party?|
|1/3||Rushing to Blame Israel|
|1/3||Obama's Eagleton Affair|
The American Spectator
Less. Than. A. Day. Away. The initial "buzz" regarding the movie has been overwhelmingly positive; a teaching bud of mine said Howard Stern reported that the film is easily on par with "Spider-Man." That certainly bodes well.
For those not [very] familiar with the Iron Man mythos, do not fret. Do not despair. 'Ol Hube is here today with your guide to the main characters and back story!
THE HERO. Many wondered about the casting of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, billionaire playboy industrialist and weapons manufacturer. I wondered too. If this flick had been green-lighted a decade or so earlier, I'd have gone with Tom Selleck, who really looks like the comicbook version of Stark. Alas, Selleck is now too old.
But what makes Downey a terrific pick is the inherent weakness of Stark. Y'see, Stark has an alcohol problem. Seeing the connection now? A whole fifty or so issues of Iron Man in the late 70s-early 80s dealt with Stark's bout with alcoholism, including a stretch where Stark literally lost his fortune and was living on the streets.
THE GIRL. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Pepper Potts, Tony Stark's long-time secretary and love interest. It will be interesting to see how far the movie takes their romance; in the comic, Stark and Pepper never got beyond an occasional smooch. Early in Tales of Suspense (the title in which Iron Man appeared before he got his own magazine), Pepper and Stark right-hand man Happy Hogan became romantically involved and eventually ended up marrying. There doesn't seem to be a Happy Hogan in the flick.
THE BEST PAL. Terrence Howard is Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes, Stark's pal and confidante. Rhodes wasn't introduced until much later in Iron Man -- issue #118 to be precise. He is the co-creation of Delaware resident and comic writer extraordinaire David Michelinie. In the comic, Rhodes was a soldier in Vietnam who rescued Stark (in his very first Iron Man suit); in the movie it'll apparently be the same situation except the place will be Afghanistan.
In the comic, Rhodes eventually got his own set of armor, becoming the hero War Machine. He had his own Marvel title for a time, and also was a member of the super-team West Coast Avengers. Terrence Howard is quite aware of this history, and has stated that was one of the reasons he agreed to play Rhodes (for a possible future "War Machine" movie)!
THE VILLAIN. Jeff Bridges plays the diabolical Obadiah Stane, one of Tony Stark's main business rivals. In the comic, over about 35 issues, Stane capitalizes on Stark's falling off the wagon, and takes over his company. He happens upon some of Stark's notes on the Iron Man armor, and then has a team of tech guys create his own suit of armor based on these notes. Stane dubs his armor the "Iron Monger," and he eventually has to do battle with a now-sober Stark who's back in the Iron Man armor. The climactic battle takes place in Iron Man #200.
In the film, Stane appears to be a high-ranking employee of Stark's who falls into Tony's bad graces. He later capitalizes on the discovered designs of Stark's prototype Iron Man suit, and uses them to create the Iron Monger (that's the huge suit of armor you see battling Iron Man in some of the trailers/commercials).
THE BACK-STORY. Created in 1963, Iron Man's genesis occurred in the jungles of Vietnam. As a manufacturer of weapons for the U.S. military, Stark took a trip to Southeast Asia to see his work in action. Unfortunately for him, he steps on a boobytrap where a piece of shrapnel lodges near his heart. Captured by the Viet Cong, petty warlord Wong Chu demands Stark make weapons for him, or Stark will be executed. Stark realizes he'll die anyway (either by Chu's hand or by the shrapnel moving into his heart), so he and a fellow prisoner (who happens to be a great scientist!) devise a chestpiece that will keep Stark's heart beating after the metal shard has pierced it. They go a step further and mold a complete set of rudimentary armor.
Stark uses this prototype armor to bust out of (and destroy) the prison camp. Later in Iron Man history we learn that soldier Jim Rhodes had run into the armored man in the thick of the jungle and led him to rescue. (See above: Jim Rhodes.)
Once back in the safety of his corporate empire, Stark slowly undergoes a change of heart. He gradually moves his company away from developing weapons -- and into peaceful applications. He greatly modifies his armor with many incredible capabilities, and decides to remain a "hero" in part to "make up" for the destruction and pain his weapons development had caused over the years.
Word is the movie stays very loyal to this history with only minor changes. Aside from the updated locale change (Afghanistan), it seems the only other [slight] change is Obadiah Stane (Bridges) being an employee of Stark's instead of a rival businessman. It is Stark's decision to move his company away from munitions manufacturing that angers Stane; in retaliation, Stane uses the discovered prototype Iron Man designs (unearthed, it seems, by some terrorists in Afghanistan) to construct the aforementioned "Iron Monger."
See also here for more good info on Iron Man's history.