Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Demons Out!

This might be the funniest thing I've seen in months - intended for immature audiences only:


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Martin "I'm Still Here" Scorsese

After watching the Scorsese/Dylan "collaboration" on PBS last night, I have to agree with Devin McKinney's assessment. The film is more than comparable to 'The Last Waltz', the one is a template of the other - in cinematic inertia, soporific interview-narrative, and an utter contempt for aesthetic and emotional effect. Obviously loathe to take an expansive view of Dylan's body of work, or to draw some kind of inspiration from anything interesting Dylan ever said or did as a youth, he opts instead for trotting out weathered folkie-chums, uninteresting childhood acquaintances, and most atrociously, Allen Ginsberg. Like Dylan (and other idols of the '60s experience), Scorsese lusts after his own departed muse, and gives up any chance he has of capturing the humanity and complexity of a figure whose art is as humane and complex as any in contemporary music. That the film's most inspired moment was circumventing the annoyingly sentimental story of a young Dylan rushing to the deathbed of his own inspiration, an infirmed Woody Guthrie, while probably a deft directorial move, suggests something about Scorsese's creative state.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

The Pence Wing Lashes Out

With the spine of the federal government pressed desperately against the fiscal floodgates, Fred "Big Government Conservatism" Barnes reports that a proposal by Republican Study Committee to cut federal spending by $102 billion in one fiscal year was shot down by the House leadership and the White House's budget director - for being "politically unrealistic." If it is politically unrealistic, than so is the prospect of renewing fiscal conservatism in future Republican congresses and administrations.

As an exercise, try and find a recent Fred Barnes article that doesn't contain a conspicuously illogical sentence such as this:

"Bush has been called a big government conservative (by me), but that label is inapt because it implies he's a liberal."

I see, so a big government conservative is really just a liberal, but George Bush isn't a liberal, nor is he a small-government conservative. If for the sake of argument we were to call this a logical proposition, what does one even call Mike Pence, Jeff Flake, John Sununu and the motley few, fiscally conservative, limited-goverment gadflies in the Republican Party?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Galloway Returns

The always-astute New York Times calls him "a gifted orator with a flair for the verbal showdown." For his own part, he is famed for his effusive praise of Saddam Hussein, Bashar Assad, and Yasir Arafat, once assuring the first that he was resolutely "with you until victory, until victory until Jerusalem!" His monomaniacal ego and propensity for self-flattery is possibly unmatched in Western politics (no mean feat).

And now, at long last, George Galloway - The Book!! (Subtitle: 'The Man Who Set Congress Straight About Iraq). Yes, come one, come all on September 24 to witness what some lost minds truly believe it means to be peace-loving in America today. He'll be speaking at DC's First Congregational Church along with the first and only mother ever to have a son perish in war, THE Cindy Sheehan.

Tomorrow he'll be debating The Hitch, whom he recently castigated as a 'drink-soaked popinjay'. Something tells me Galloway will need a stiff drink after Hitchens is done with him.

UPDATE: Listen to the debate here. As expected, Hitchens got away with a little sophistry, but then again, he was arguing with a complete and utter buffoon, liar, and - as Hitchens points out - sadist. The Hitchens finale was plenty rewarding:

"And with that, that's the end of my pro bono bit. From now on, if you want to talk to me, you'll need a receipt, and I'll be sitting selling books, because this is, after all, America."

I think it was Florence King who said "If Christopher Hitchens is a Trotskyist, I want to be one too."

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bastiat Goes to Basra

I was talking to a friend recently, and the discussion turned to Bastiat, whom I've read in relatively small part (I'd first known him for his Swiftian swipe at trade protectionism, 'The Candlemakers' Petition'.) But he's probably better-known for his analysis of the 'broken window fallacy'. Talking about it, I got to wondering where President Bush, Secretaries Rice and Rumsfeld, and certain strident war-hawks would be without it.

What they would be, however, is honest. It at least makes some sense to wonder what the combined images of our beleaguered occupation of Iraq and the despair of the victims of Katrina recommend to the jihadists. Bush's rhetorical triangulations around whatever 'staying the course' actually implies do not affect the present condition of the country. But what they do permit, as Ivo Daalder observes over at TPMCafe, is claiming as evidence of military success the total number of terrorists killed in three failed attempts to secure the strategically important Iraqi city of Tall Afar.

In this respect, Bastiat's famous fallacy (at least a cognate of it) has become a distinct talking point for the administration.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

No Diplomacy For Oil!

In one corner, The Reverend Pat Robertson thinks we should kill Hugo Chavez to get at his oil. In the other, less illuminated corner,The No Less Reverend Jesse Jackson believes we must maintain a cordial bi-national dialogue and progressive diplomatic relations with the Castroist get at his oil.

Hat tip Julian Sanchez, who's written a great piece on Venezuela's Great Leader for Reason.