Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Our long New Republican nightmare is over...

via Salon:

The new New Republic: Martin Peretz is owner of the New Republic no more -- Canadian media giant CanWest Global Communications announced Tuesday that it purchased Peretz's remaining 25 percent share in the magazine to become its new full owner. Editor-in-chief Peretz, who has been with the magazine for three decades, told the New York Observer, "It feels like a burden has been lifted from me." The magazine also recently announced it's undergoing a redesign, and it will be going from a weekly to a biweekly starting March 19. (New York Observer)

Well, maybe: see additional post and info 3.10.2007, here, partly in response to Bad Tux in comments.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

in net time

I didn't watch the Oscars this year-- actually I stopped watching them some time ago, having come to the conclusion that even the question of whether they seem less relevant to me now because

A. I'm older and less enamored of the conventional Hollywood worldview, or

B. they ARE in fact less relevant and most movies are increasingly less interesting

itself no longer seems interesting or relevant.

Nevertheless: I was glad to hear that Scorcese finally won, that the still apparently spry Ennio Morricone* was given a lifetime achievement thingie, and that the Al Gore documentary won. I actually found out about Gore from th' Mahablog, who posted a Crooks n Liars videocast of the speech just before midnight(!)

Makes me want to figure out how to post a sound clip of the famous whistle from Fistful of Dollars, hopefully without getting in trouble, although I do see more trouble brewing viz. the copyright heavies and all this ease of communicating.

*He also has a Myspace page-- how bout dat?

Friday, February 23, 2007

She blinded me with science

Frances Allen just won the Turing Prize for computer science for her work on code cracking and weather forcasting when she was with IBM(She has since retired). Jessica Lange, who once played 30s icon Frances Farmer is set to star in the movie about her life. Allen insisted on inventing a time machine so that the producers could go back several years and hire Lange when she was much younger, as well as a substantially less-expensive 1970s cast and crew. "The 200 million we pay Dr Allen will more than pay for itself in savings in overhead when we perfect this labor-saving technology." When asked to comment Allen said, "screw sexism and ageism, I want my movie to make money. Besides, I'm still pissed about the cancellation of the supercollider."

In a special promotional contest, Mary Hart will interview Ms. Lange in 1977 and 2007, and viewers will be encouraged to guess which interview is which.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

some recent items

Skimble: "America's greatest hope: gradual decline"
[whatever you think of the sentiment, I note that a lot of this has been going around lately, such as this article by Chalmers Johnson and this item in Salon(from 2006)by Helena Cobban. -JV]

Avedon Carol: 'I've been thinkin'
I just want to say: The trouble with the "incompetence" meme is that it assumes Bush/Cheney/GOP are operating on the same theory of government as the rest of us are. And while it's true that they hired people who were not competent to run government according to the agenda of the US Constitution, and that they have not run government competently if that was there intention, it is not at all reasonable to assume they have been incompetent at achieving what they wanted. I still think people should talk more about the fact that they are running the country into the ground just the way they wanted to.

"What Reshaping the Middle East Really Means"
I read about this over the summer but not in this much convincing detail. Per usual, The Centre for Research on Globalization is way ahead of the curve. Yes, boys and girls, They aren't just considering literally redrawing the borders of countries, they're actually doing it. This was, as pointed out here (esp. in the first bullet point), part of the reason for the Lebanon War last summer. It comes on the heels of what we did in Afghanistan in the eighties and Bosnia in the nineties, in both cases with the help of Al Qaeda, and it may well be (and I hope it's not) one of the several purposes of making Iraq bleed. In this scenario, Iran would be lucky to be bombed, even with nuclear bunker busters, than to undergo the strife of its neighbors. At least they'd get to keep their land--a dubious gift top military planners aren't even granting our ally Turkey.

Heather Wokusch: 'It’s Not Just Bush: We’re Accountable Too'

Tom Engelhardt: Thelma and Louise Imperialism-- Over the Cliff with George and Dick?

Iraqi Konfused Kid writes:
I'm gonna tell you something that all the Iraqis who pretend they're full of pride and shit don't tell you, every Iraqi who knows what's good for him wants the US military plan to happen - it's a known fact today that while US soldiers do occasionally rape 15-year-olds and add naked photos of our hairy butts to their family albums, they are still infintely more trustworthy than any Iraqi soldier from anywhere. When an American soldier knocks on your door for a search, you go 'oh thank god' but when Iraqis do the same, you are instantly on your toes. Forget about all those Iraqis and Arab bloggers who live outside or have never been in there recently, they don't know what it is like - Iraq is dead - we are living in a newfound, and very real, age of sect. The intellects and all the other deadbeats like you and me who do nothing but bitch about how Iraq is great and how we had a beautiful country before the war are having a hard time accepting this, but they're going to have to deal with it.

(via Healing Iraq)

The pieces by Avedon and Rob strike me as especially prescient, and I may discuss them at some more length in a couple of days. I don't know how to evaluated "Iraqi Kid's" sentiments one way or another; I'm leery of accepting it as anything more than one person's frustration; not so much because of him saying something positive about the US presence-- I reject the notion that liberals must disavow anything and everything the American military does in Iraq-- but because later in his post he says that he hopes "they completely remove Sadr City and Adhamiya from the map."

Monday, February 12, 2007

North Korea:good; Iran: bad; Americans:dumber than a can of paint if they fall for this again

CNN: US to deal with North Korea

11111montage, or, don't get fooled again

the (haphazard)curvature of the lettering doesn't seem to match up with the convex shape of the bomb. maybe the lettering was added to the photo rather than the object photographed; red dots added by me as sight-lines, for emphasis. Enlarge the original and judge for yourself.

there's more, of course: shouldn't the bomb have Arabic script(the alphabet of Farsi) if it's from Iran, as Iranian weaponry genrerally is labeled in Farsi? It's a little like a scene from an old movie in which the American leaves the room and the suspicious foreigners keep speaking to each other in heavily-accented English, for our benefit. The fine folks at The Agonist discuss this, and a few other points(via Avedon). And as Juan Cole has pointed out, it's sunni insurgents who tend to target US troops, not shi'a. I think it's a semi-pathological clue to how brazenly undemocratic these people are that they're pushing this on Lincoln's birthday.

Friday, February 09, 2007

the bomb hugger