Monday, July 31, 2006

Ouch.

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez tells GW what he thinks of him.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Recommended Reading

This is a long one, but a good one. Jonathan Schell examines the Constitution-pushing, Empire-embracing tendencies of the Figurehead and his band of Merry Men, and asks whether things are so far gone there may be no coming back.

Funny/True, Part II

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History

Funny/True

How much do you want to bet that this one won't pass without a little controversy...?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"There will be no legacy for Mr. Bush."



That's William F. Buckley, in a wide-ranging CBS news interview, who says the Iraq War has "engulfed" this presidency. Buckley, founder of right wing pub The National Review, and viewed by many as the founder of modern conservatism also offers this choice nugget:

"If you have a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign."

Ouch. Remind me again, who constitutes Bush's base?

Recommended Reading

In case we think that everyone there is marching happily along with whatever their government is doing, Ze'ev Maoz for Haaretz, an Israeli paper:
This war is not a just war. Israel is using excessive force without distinguishing between civilian population and enemy, whose sole purpose is extortion. That is not to say that morality and justice are on Hezbollah's side. Most certainly not. But the fact that Hezbollah "started it" when it kidnapped soldiers from across an international border does not even begin to tilt the scales of justice toward our side.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

From the AFP:

"Israel is determined to carry on the fight against Hezbollah," [Ehud] Olmert said at a press conference Rice, on the latest leg of her tour to discuss a conflict that has now left more than 380 people dead in Lebanon alone.

Olmert said: "We are not fighting the Lebanese government or the Lebanese people. We are fighting against Hezbollah."

Fair enough, but then there's this:

Of the total 373 people killed in Lebanon since hostilities began nearly two weeks ago, 326 were civilians and 27 were Lebanese soldiers and police.

Another 786 civilians and 81 soldiers and policemen have been wounded, as have two members of the UN surveillance force deployed along Lebanon's southern border.

Right now I suppose the Lebanese government and people are grateful that Isreal isn't fighting against them. Then again, by the looks of those numbers, Hezbollah must be pretty grateful Israel isn't doing much fighting against them either...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

What would Jesus do?

From the AP:

"It's terrible, I see a lot of children wounded, homeless, suffering. This is a war where civilians pay a disproportionate price in Lebanon and northern Israel. I hadn't believed it would be block by block leveled to the ground," he said.

He said the "disproportionate response by Israel is a violation of international humanitarian law."

Meanwhile...
The thousands of Christians in Washington -- who came and are staying at their own expense -- will be urging US government "not to restrain Israel in any way in the pursuit of Hamas and Hezbollah", he said.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

"Restraint"

From Reuters:
Rice Urges Isreal to Exercise Restraint

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Israel on Thursday to exercise restraint in its attacks against Lebanese targets and demanded Syria press Hizbollah guerrillas to stop attacking Israel.

"It is extremely important that Israel exercise restraint in its acts of self defense," she told reporters traveling with President Bush in Germany.
Meanwhile, from The New York Times:
U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis

The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said.
'nuff said.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Recommended Reading

Ted Rall on the current insanity in the Mid-East:
"Israel has a right to defend itself," Bush said at the start of the current Middle East crisis. No doubt. But the Israelis aren't defending themselves any more than the Bush Administrative is defending us. Each is using a crime--the kidnapping of two soldiers, the 9/11 terrorist attacks--as an excuse to wage war against innocent people who had nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, the criminals--the kidnappers and those behind 9/11--are allowed to get away scot-free.

More Than Meets the Ear

And speaking of The Transformers, in this tidbit just out of Comicon, it looks like voiceover artist Peter Cullen is returning to the world of talking robots, beating out rumored contenders like George Clooney, to give voice once more to heroic Autobot leader Optimus Prime in Michael Bay's upcoming feature. While Cullen may not exactly be a household name, it's a fair bet that anyone lucky enough to have witnessed the brand's heyday in the mid-to-late '80s would instantly recognize the deep, gravelly inflections he lent Prime in the syndicated animated series. He remains for many the definitive voice for the definitive Giant Robot.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Return of the '80s

Looks like the Hollywood recycle-cycle has clocked in at the '80s, as evidenced by this pair of beloved kid-vid properties making the transition to the big screen.

First, fresh from the big Comicon in San Diego, an all-new CG-animated version of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (the fourth big screen outing for the amphibious foursome for those of you keeping score), now bearing the newer, hipper monicker TMNT. My buddy Sean Coyle worked on this one, so it's with a certain amount of pride that I finally took a gander at some footage.

Second, and admittedly I'm a few weeks late with thiso ne, our initial peek at Michael Bay's splashy live-action Transformers, which made its debut in front of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 (the inexplicable success of which has me utterly perplexed...). Not much to go on just yet, so we'll have to reserve judgement for the time being.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Immoral Equivalence

John Bolton, the proud face of the United States in the UN, explaining which civilian casualties it's okay to get upset about and which ones are just unfortunate "My Bad" accidents:
"I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts," he [Bolton] added, while defending as "self-defense" Israel's military action, which has had "the tragic and unfortunate consequence of civilian deaths".

"It's simply not the same thing to say that it's the same act to deliberately target innocent civilians, to desire their deaths, to fire rockets and use explosive devices or kidnapping versus the sad and highly unfortunate consequences of self-defense."
Here's one recess appointment that can't end fast enough.

Friday, July 14, 2006

In Search of an Exit Strategy

Here's the unfortunate result when, on his current trip to Germany, George W. tried to engage in the tried-and-true "kiss the baby" bit, normally the best friend of any politician.

Guess the kid's a Democrat.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

ROCKY On

Never in a million years did I think the day would come where I'd once again hear Bill Conti's "Rocky" theme unfold over scenes of Sylvester Stallone training for another big bout. Then again, I also never thought I'd get to sit in a theater and hear John Williams' "Superman March" play over an all new movie adventure, but here we are, and here's the trailer for Rocky Balboa, a.k.a. Rocky VI.

Who knew?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sick.

Continuing to win over Iraqi hearts and minds.

Recommended Reading

On this day of national pride, author Howard Zinn asks the same questions I've asked more than once these past few years about nationalism and what it's really gotten us:
One of the effects of nationalist thinking is a loss of a sense of proportion. The killing of 2,300 people at Pearl Harbor becomes the justification for killing 240,000 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The killing of 3,000 people on Sept. 11 becomes the justification for killing tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And then, as if in silent confirmation of Zinn's words, I found this shirt for sale. 'Nuff said.

The President's Man

John Nichols on Joe Lieberman:

Lieberman called for war with Iraq before Bush did -- in a 2001 letter to the president that was also signed by Arizona Senator John McCain -- and he has been such an enthusiastic booster of the occupation that Bush actually kissed the Connecticut senator at the 2005 State of the Union.

Nothing, not realities on the ground in Iraq, nor realities on the ground in Connecticut, has caused Lieberman's loyalties to waver.

Principled? Perhaps.

But it is possible to be principled and wrong. And, in the case of both Lieberman and Bush, it is certainly possible to mistake principle for a stubborn refusal to admit fundamental errors.

Whatever the explanation for the Connecticut senator's "my-president-right-or-wrong" positioning, one thing remains certain: Lieberman's principles are, indeed, Bush's.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Recommended Viewing

Here's Steven Colbert with the best summation yet of the current, ridiculous brouhaha surrounding the New York Times.