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9/30/2004

Hard to believe

Speaking of nasty slurs, did Paris Hilton really drop the N-word on camera? Isn't she best friends with Lionel Ritchie's daughter? I know it's not his biological daughter, but still. Not to sound too PC, but I don't know if I can ever fully enjoy watching one of her tapes again.

Knute Rockne, un-American

For all the talk about the right criticizing the left's patriotism, it's been the Democrats who have been throwing around the word "un-American" with abandon this election, like it's a synonym for "bad". Yesterday it was Kerry campaign spokesman Phil Singer, referring to some "Catholics against Kerry"-type website created by the RNC (the article strangely doesn't refer to the actual site by name, so I can't check it):
"It's unfortunate, it's un-American and John Kerry is going to continue to make his case and make sure his record is not twisted by the Bush attack machine."


This is a few weeks after Edwards unloaded the big U-A on Dick Cheney.

Really, it's getting out of hand. I'm pretty sure "un-American" is reserved for things like selling nuclear secrets to China and advocating violent overthrow of the government.

Link via Spot On.

9/29/2004

Quote of the day

"Particularly offensive and ridiculous is the revival of the old attempts to represent the condition of Russian workers as one of slavery and starvation, the Five-Year Plan as a failure, the new enterprises as bankrupt and the Communist regime as tottering to its fall."

George Bernard Shaw in 1933, during the middle of a Stalin-engineered famine that killed at least seven million people, proving once again that our entertainers tend as a general rule to be complete morons politically.

9/28/2004

I knew her back when she was just the "Mudd Jeans" girl

Someone found this site looking for "halliburton girl" yesterday, and it turns out I'm second place on Google for that search.

Right this way. I'm serious - if anyone from Halliburton is reading this, you should cut her a check and maybe she'll pose for you again. PR this good is hard to come by!

Summer of love

I was up part of last night trying to figure out the chords to Donna Summer's "Love to Love You Baby", which the music director for this play I'm doing just told us we're playing; it'll be either punk-rock style or ska style. Or it might actually be straight-up disco (they never tell me these things ahead of time). If it's disco I'd have to procure some sort of wah-wah pedal. The song's got a nice hook, and I guess it was a big hit at the time. At some point Donna gets sort of quiet, and then she starts moaning, which just immediately tells you you're in the mid-to-late 70's. Marvin Gaye used the female moaning technique too, and so did a bunch of other disco songs I've heard. It was like the go-to sound effect, like what tambourines were 10 years earlier.

I find it embarassing to listen to, yet strangely compelling at the same time. Because it's so sexual and yet cheesy at the same time, you feel dirty for having enjoyed it in the first place. All I can think is, no wonder so many music act spent the first few years of the 80's pretending to be an android. After gagging on all that hedonism you really want to move yourself as far to the other side as possible.

9/27/2004

Fantasy politics

Mike Silverman asks, "Does anyone else think that if Clinton and his campaign team were running against Bush, Clinton would have a 10-point lead?"

It's an interesting question. Kerry has so far failed to muster much support beyond the anybody-but-Bush vote; so what would the election look like if the Democrats had a candidate who could generate some actual excitement on his own? I disagree with the conclusion, though. For all his famed ability to work a crowd, Clinton was just never that popular a president. I think, with the circumstances as they are now, Clinton would still lose to Bush if he ran again, though not by nearly as wide a margin as I'm predicting in November.

Let's look at the numbers: in 1992 Clinton beat George H. W. Bush by 6 percentage points, 43% to 37%. It was a comfortable margin, especially in that he was running against an incumbent, but Ross Perot got a significant 19% of the vote in that election, and his support came mostly from conservatives. It seems likely that, in the absence of Perot's challenge, Bush would have won in 1992, his perceived weakness as a president notwithstanding.

The 1996 race is more interesting. Clinton ran as an incumbent, with an economy that had grown a lot since he came into office. He was running against Bob Dole, a crotchety senator with even less administrative experience than Kerry has (recall Kerry's two years as Dukakis' Lt. Governor), and a muddled campaign partly resulting from having had most of the strong conservative issues (welfare reform, fiscal discipline, gay marriage) "triangulated" away by Clinton. Nevertheless, Clinton only beat Dole by about 8 percentage points, 49% to 41%, with Perot getting 8%. He once again wasn't able to break 50%, meaning that more Americans voted against him than for him.

And all this was before the Lewinsky affair, the impeachment, the last-minute pardons, the botched handling of Osama Bin Laden and various other scandals that are the best-remembered parts of the 2nd Clinton term. Who knows how much any of these issues resonate with the American public, but they certainly couldn't help.

UPDATE: There was one other note I wanted to make in my original post: Bush in 2000 didn't fare much better, essentially tying with Gore at 48% apiece. We'll have to wait till election '04 to see if Bush really is a masterful politician, but my main point was that Clinton's vaunted popularity is overrated.

9/24/2004

Hello travel agents

I still remember DotComGuy way back in 2000, who holed up at home connected only via internet, as a promotional stunt.

Now that doesn't really seem strange anymore; instead we get studies like this.

On the local celebrity front

On Wednesday night I went out with some people and we ended up seeing a show by Nell Bryden, who was in my class in high school and is now a professional singer. She keeps getting a nice blurb in Time Out New York every time she performs, so I figured I had to check her out. She recognized me before the show, which was neat, and we chatted for a while. I was very impressed with the show, she's become quite a powerful singer since high school. I recommend her if you're into the Indigo Girls/Joan Osborne folky-bluesy thing.

Nell Bryden - Day for Night

9/23/2004

Say it loud

Victor Davis Hanson:
Deeds, not rhetoric, are all that matter, as the once unthinkable is now the possible. There is no intrinsic reason why the U.N. should be based in New York rather than in its more logical utopian home in Brussels or Geneva. There is no law chiseled in stone that says any fascist or dictatorial state deserves authorized membership by virtue of its hijacking of a government. There is no logic to why a France is on the Security Council, but a Japan or India is not. And there is no reason why a group of democratic nations, unapologetic about their values and resolute to protect freedom, cannot act collectively for the common good, entirely indifferent to Syria's censure or a Chinese veto.

The past few years could be viewed as the time when extricating ourselves from the U.N. left the exclusive realm of the "black helicopter" crowd and became a part of mainstream conservative discussion.

9/22/2004

Friends - how many of us have them

Just a random question - is anybody on Friendster anymore? It's been nearly a year now since I got my very last friend-linkup request; at some point around two years ago, not to brag or anything, they were coming in two or three a week, many of from people I hadn't seen in years. I thought maybe all the cool kids had all moved on to some other site without telling anyone, but I was just recently invited onto MySpace, which is one of the other well-known ones, and that one seems even sparser (although in almost every other respect exactly the same).

I have to admit, I look back on that period with some nostalgia, when everybody was aware of everybody else's favorite indie movies and French 60's pop singers or whatever.

9/21/2004

Moving on up

I picked up today's copy of the New York Sun, and it's gained a healthy bulk: it's 22 pages, plus a 12-page "fall preview" insert. I still remember the first issues, two and a half years ago, which had only 12 pages each, with just a few ads, and felt more like some sort of right-wing newsletter than a real newspaper.

Circulation seems to be growing at a healthy clip: the last time I wrote about the Sun, they had a circulation of around 40,000, in figures from September '03. In July '04, they had a "guaranteed circulation" of 50,000, according to this Newsday story. Who knows how trusty the numbers are (there seems to be a lot of number-fudging in the newspaper business) but I think the bulk speaks for itself.

Loves the theater, but always comes late

My off-off-Broadway appearance, which I mentioned before, is now definitely happening. The show is called "Puck'd" and it's a modern-day punk-rock version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (the title is I hope a play on "Punk'd" and not something else). It'll be running over the second half of October, in a 99-person theater in Manhattan. It's a quasi-musical and features a rock band playing for much of the show; I'll be in the band, on electric guitar. The thing is, the band appears onstage throughout, with the songs taking the place of the play-within-a-play in the original. Since the band members are quasi-characters, I'll actually have a small speaking part, which makes it a bit of a New York theater debut for me.

The setup is sort of reminiscent of "The Donkey Show", which was a recent off-Broadway musical that had the same concept but with disco music; I never saw it. I guess it's a popular play to do modernized remakes of, given that it features drug use and multiple-partner lovemaking.

This will be my guitar-playing debut as well, barring any sudden speedup in my long-term singer-songwriter plans. I got the gig through the music director, a woman I played with in a production of "Chess" last summer (I was on bass guitar). Hopefully I'll be able to pull it off and rock out in a credible manner.

I'll probably post performance times and such as the show approaches.

Next time, I'll listen to my heart

At long last, John Kerry finally stated yesterday the obvious point that there's no way he would have invaded Iraq had he been president at the time. Before now he's only said that he wouldn't have gone to war "the way this President did"; that was of course after making strongly pro-war statements last year.

Anyway, I'm glad he's finally being honest with the voters. As for the politics of it, coming out as the anti-war candidate could win him some support, though I doubt it: leaving aside that it might bolster the accusation some have made that he's unprincipled (I'm trying to be nice here), there's a fundamental divide even within the Democratic party itself about the rightness of the Iraq war. As Dick Morris noted out in a column a few weeks ago, one poll indicates 36% of Democrats believe the war in Iraq is integral to the war on terror; with another 14% unsure. Either way Kerry goes he's bound to alienate a lot of people. Which of course also goes a long way to explain his previous evasiveness.

9/17/2004

In their words

What do Iraqi bloggers have to say about the recent spate of terrorism and kidnappings in Iraq, most of which has victimized their fellow Iraqis? It appears that they hate the terrorists, and only wish that their government and the U.S. military would take much stronger steps to eliminate them. Here are some quotes.

I'm not cherry-picking here; these are the most well-known (as far as I know) Iraqi blogs, now that Salam Pax is no longer writing.

Iraq the Model:
It’s become more than clear that the terrorists are an obstacle created by known external powers to delay the desired political process in Iraq and the public opinion here agrees with the measures taken by the government to destroy the strongholds of crime and terror. There’s a pole at the popular “ New Sabah” newspaper that demonstrate this clearly as about 93.65% voted as agreeing with the government policy in Iraq.

The Mesopotamian:
As I have said long time ago; without an effective security grip over the cities and particularly Baghdad, the situation will just continue to deteriorate. The kinds of measures that I have proposed then are yet to be implemented and could have been effective in preventing much of what is happening at the present time. Of course, the government and the MNF are working very hard and suffering many sacrifices, and that is something that must not go unappreciated. However, we must admit that there is still much to be done.

Iraq at a Glance:
I think this problem with Muqtada and his thugs will never end, the government lost that chance when those thieves and their leader were in the shrine, the fight would be finished at once, but now, and after AlSistani ordered to end the fight and let the visitors (pilgrims) enter the shrine, all Muqtada’s thieves got out of the shrine with those visitors and no one could catch them, so they went back to their cities in AlSadr City, Amara and other places, and now we are searching for them again!

Hammorabi:
If the Interim Interior Minister of Iraq can NOT protect his own forces how he may provide security to the people? He should step down to allow some one stronger to crush the terrorists and provide security.

Healing Iraq:
Like Al-Sadr, most of these groups have refused to join the political process unless the occupation ends, most of them support armed resistance and some even went far as to justify beheadings, the assassinations of Iraqi figures and other barbaric acts. It is obvious that they have lost dearly from the fall of the dictatorship and they are aware that they have no place in a democratic system since they have no true support.


Johnny Ramone, 1949-2004

Johnny Ramone passed away on Wednesday. Queens native, conservative Republican, punk rock pioneer. During the Ramones' 22-year, 20-album career he played no guitar solos.

UPDATE: Schooled again - commenter Mike D pointed out that the versatile Johnny came out with a guitar solo in 1978's "You Don't Come Close".

UPDATE: Commenter TRB points out "the famous one note solo in "I wanna be sedated"". Actually, I don't recall this, but I'm inclined to believe it's true. I was so wrong!

9/15/2004

No cleanups

Former CSFB high-flyer Frank Quattrone has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for his crimes: not defrauding investors, but merely "obstruction of justice" in prosecutors' attempts to nail him for more serious crimes. And the evidence holding the case together? A single email telling his staff, "clean up those files".

This feels like a show trial, which is in a sense what it was: bringing down one of the high-profile movers of the internet bubble to show that someone was made to pay for the anguish. It's also a miscarriage of justice. The truth is that the complexities of the case would have made a conviction for fraud or "gaming the system" nearly impossible. The article takes the position that "well, he was a bad man, so we might as well lock him up for something". That's vigilante justice, and it has no place in our legal system.

He's currently appealing, so the story's not over yet.

9/14/2004

Celebrity news, local edition

Jessica's becoming famous throughout the blogosphere as the "I Love Halliburton" girl. Who would have thought that would be a ticket to fame? Let me add that she couldn't have picked a more deserving company.

In other news... Karol got Insta-linked again. So did Ari.

Peter and Mike's New York DJ-ing star continues to rise. Esther will be interviewed tomorrow on the New York Fox channel as a Rosh Hashanah expert. Yes, a Rosh Hashanah expert. How you get a gig like that, I don't know.

Me, I got nothing. Well, there is some talk that your correspondent may be appearing in some sort of off-off-Broadway theatrical capacity soon, though it could just be rumors. As they say, DEVELOPING...

UPDATE: And Ellen of Standard Deviance is part of an all-blogger lineup at P.S. 122 on Tuesday.

9/13/2004

Israel vibrations

Yesterday I caught a performance by Matisyahu, the "Hasidic Reggae Superstar" at a free outdoor show at the South Street Seaport. He's a bona fide Hasidic Jew, on stage with his white shirt and black jacket and beard. He had a full band behind him, half Hasidic and half just regular rockers. He sang over reggae beats, mostly his lyrics in English but sometimes Hebrew prayers. It was difficult to make out most of what he was saying because of all the effects; he kept asking for "more reverb".

Don't get the wrong idea; this is no jokey novelty act like MC Paul Barman. He's the real deal, with a great voice and a strong stage presence. Halfway through the set, between songs, he came out of nowhere with a sick beatboxing display.

Jewish themes and reggae really are a natural fit - the Rastafarian reggae singers are always singing about returning to Zion from Babylon and so forth (never mind that these same people often tend to be real-world anti-Semites). His music brought together the commonalities of spiritual longing within Hasidic prayers and reggae music. And simply appearing on stage in a secular setting is a big step forward for a Hasidic performer.

He has a site here, including some music samples. He's about to release his first album.

Fixing bad permalinks in Blogger

I've noticed some people who still use one of the old Blogger templates (like I do) don't have permalinks working; that's because some of those templates are buggy, like mine was. I fixed this problem a long time ago, but I figured I should share the fix here; really, I should have done this much earlier.

Anyway, the problem comes because Blogger's parser swallows up the <a name> tag, which is the within-a-document marker that HTML uses. The old code in the template will look something like this (with a lot of extra spacing in the beginning):

<BlogItemTitle><h2><$BlogItemTitle$><a name="<$BlogItemNumber$>"> </a></h2></BlogItemTitle>
<div class="blogPost">


Here's what you should change the code to (note addition in red):


<BlogItemTitle><h2><$BlogItemTitle$><a name="<$BlogItemNumber$>"> </a></h2></BlogItemTitle>
<div class="blogPost"><a name="<$BlogItemNumber$>"></a>


That should fix the problem up.

9/12/2004

Incidents and accidents

The case on the forgeries appears to be airtight. Besides the much-discussed Microsoft Word similarities, there are dozens of other strong pieces of evidence that these documents are a hoax, nicely summarized here by QandO. Most damningly, in my opinion: one of the officers named in the memo had actually retired a year earlier, in 1972.

The key argument of those who defend the memos, and I'm really surprised by the magnitude and furor of those on the other side, is that why yes, there were in fact, IBM Selectric typewriters/word processors in 1973 that were able to achieve all the effects noted: proportional fonts, superscripting, possibly even the Times font itself. But that's not the issue: the question is whether someone accidentally created a document on one of these machines that exactly matches, down to nearly the millimeter, what is produced simply by entering the text of that document into Microsoft Word and hitting "Print". The line width, the spacing, the font, the perfect centering on some of the documents, all of it. The chances of that are so small that, if true, it would surely have to go down as the greatest coincidence in history.

Here's yet more proof offered using an IBM Selectric.

And yet, say my concerned commenters, forgery or not, the fact remains that Bush was AWOL during some of his National Guard duty.

Well, maybe, maybe not. I wouldn't be surprised if it were true, though, as far as I know there hasn't been any conclusive evidence offered to give solidity to all the Questions Raised. These memos were supposed to be the smoking gun, after all.

The fact remains that such revelations, even if true, simply will not affect Bush's standing. As I've noted before, he's never campaigned on his National Guard record, and the knowledge that he coasted through the Vietnam War on his connections has been known nationally for four years now; everyone knows he was a layabout for pretty much the entire decade of the 70's: it's part of his accepted "life story" and it's already factored into his support.

So my advice to the anti-Bush folks is, cut your losses defending these indefensible memos, and by extension defending CBS News, Dan Rather and the Boston Globe, whose collective reputation is headed over a cliff right now.

We miss you



That includes the deceased even more so than the buildings themselves.

9/10/2004

Someone lied, careers died

Ace of Spades captures an awkward moment in the transition between the old Democratic Party talking point, "Bush was AWOL and we have the documents to prove it", and the new Democratic Party talking point, "these blatant forgeries were probably produced by Karl Rove in an attempt to discredit us".

In a related thought, I expect many people will be tuning in to the CBS evening news tonight.

Carter flubs another one

The Wall Street Journal point out two MIT researchers who say the evidence is clear that Hugo Chavez committed fraud to survive the recall vote against him. This is in contradiction to how the situation looked earlier, after the vote was certified almost immediately by Jimmy Carter and his Carter Center.

What does this mean? That we should recognize that Venezuela is currently being ruled a socialist strongman with no legitimacy. And that Jimmy Carter, who has a long history of coddling dictators from Brezhnev to Castro to Kim Il-Sung to Arafat loses a great deal of credibility in his assumed role of impartial elections observer. It appears there was nothing impartial about his involvement in this fraud.

9/09/2004

Grilled corn done right

Since a reader requested it, here's the recipe for grilled corn with chile-lime butter I made earlier this summer, still probably the greatest thing I have been involved with, food-wise; it's sweet, succulent, and tangy, all at the same time:
Ingredients:
  • 4-8 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Chile-lime butter:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. chile powder
  • large pinch of paprika
  • large pinch of ground cumin
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • juice of 1/4 - 1/2 lime


Combine all chile-lime butter ingredients in a bowl. Using a brush, spread about half of the mixture onto the corn, along with the olive oil, and grill. After grilling, spread the rest of the mixture onto the corn.

Recipe taken, and lightly modified, and wording edited, from the Williams-Sonoma Vegetable Cookbook by Marlena Spieler.

Let me say that it's important to really mince the garlic, so it'll stick to the corn. If you have a garlic press, that's ideal.

Apologies for the timing: I know, grilling instructions after Labor Day. Anyway, I hope it's useful.

Day of 1,000 retractions

I was going to write a post criticizing Dick Cheney for saying that terrorists would only attack if Kerry were elected, thus also burnishing my not-a-Republican credentials, but I see that I shouldn't bother: the AP cut off his sentence to distort his meaning. The AP tends to do such things these days; to me it's clear they're on Kerry's side.

In related need-for-media-skepticism news, shocking documents trumpeted by CBS' 60 Minutes, showing G.W. Bush's National Guard superiors frankly discussing his shirking of military duty, appear to just be really bad forgeries created with Microsoft Word and a photocopier, circa 2004.

I saw The Brown Bunny

I saw Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny" over the weekend. I'd been looking forward to it for a while, and not just because of the, er, knob-polishing that's been the focus of so much attention: I really liked "Buffalo 66", Gallo's only other movie.

I found the movie mostly a disappointment. Gallo plays essentially the same character as he did in "Buffalo 66": a moody, inarticulate loner. But in "Buffalo 66" we understand the source of his anguish: an unloved childhood which serves a rich vein of both humor and pathos. In "The Brown Bunny" he feels cast off because of an isolated event that happened in the past that's hinted at throughout the movie but only revealed at the end, and feels contrived.

There's another movie contained within "The Brown Bunny", one featuring extended, grainy shots of roads and windshields and the vast American landscape, with long minutes of silence punctuated by a nice soundtrack of 60's folk-jazz. The movie might be worth seeing just for these sections, but I think a less artificial framing story would have done a lot to hold the whole thing together.

9/08/2004

Open season


I was at the U.S. Open last night with a coworker; we saw Jennifer Capriati beat Serena Williams and Andy Roddick beat (really trounce) Tommy Robredo. The Capriati-Williams game was marred by some bad calls, but otherwise it was great tennis, and Capriati did seem to be playing the better game. Though, to her credit, Serena does have that certain something. It was a nice time, and I definitely recommend going there if you're from the New York area and you ever get the chance. The U.S. Open is just a subway ride away in Queens, and the stadium we were at, Arthur Ashe stadium, is very well-maintained. It's around $60 for seats in the highest section, which have fine visibility.

Before the games there was a tribute to Althea Gibson, the first major African-American tennis player, who it turns out grew up in Harlem. John McEnroe and David Dinkins were there to pay tribute, among others.

UPDATE: Leave it to me to not realize I was witnessing history in the making. The umpire's calls were so egregious that they're prompting demands for instant replay in tennis. From my vantage, it did look like there were some questionable calls, although only one, right near the end of the match, unfairly called against Serena, looked like an obvious error to me (and to everyone else - the crowd started booing). Must learn to pay more attention to game and not just look at, you know, players' outfits.

9/07/2004

Shooting himself in the foot

I think I've found the unified theory of this presidential election, which is that John Kerry can't do a single thing right. Yesterday, he was handed a gun at a campaign rally and he joked about assassinating the president with it.

"Not even funny anymore", says Karol of Spot On, actually in response to a different gaffe.

Russia's 9/11

This Daily Telegraph piece explains the overall context of last week's horrific Chechen massacre of 350 Russian schoolchildren. The terrorist leader Shamil Basayev "dreams of establishing an Islamic Emirate across the North Caucasus, and to do so, he has been fomenting the Islamic rebellion that plagues states across the broad stretch of territory from the Red Sea to the Caspian."

I have to say I'm quite unfamiliar with the 200+ year history of Islamic separatism in the Russian republic, and the competing viewpoints on the matter, but the Chechens' resorting to killing of children en masse makes it surprisingly easy for me to tune out whatever their side of the issue is. I support the Russian government in any action they take to respond to the attacks.

UPDATE: Kill all the terrorists involved. Locate and destroy their homes. Find all their known family members and kill them too.

UPDATE: Germany continues its tradition of being on the wrong side of just about every issue ever. (Via LGF)

9/03/2004

More RNC stuff

I really need to go back to other topics, but I admit to being a little captivated by all the drama and rhetoric coming out of the Republican National Convention. There are about four or five things going on in the world of greater importance, but there it is.

So, what's the latest? It's pretty evident by this point that, barring something catastrophic like a last-minute endorsement ad from Osama bin Laden, Bush has the reelection all sewn up and in the bag (that one's not likely due to endorser probably being dead). I caught Bush's speech, which I thought did everything it needed to on the foreign policy front and included nice initiatives about simplifying the tax code and partially privatizing social security on the domestic front.

I saw about 10 minutes of Kerry's surprise post-convention speech, before becoming tired and going to sleep. He looked wilted and angry. He kept coming out with "zingers", unrelated to each other and not any sort of rebuttals to the specific attacks that have been made on him over the last weeks. "Now we know what RNC stands for - Really Not Compassionate": audience laughter. How so? I thought he'd be expounding on that thought, but instead it was just on to the next one-liner. Really not coherent.

So it's Bush in November, most likely (as I'd guess) by a landslide. The other interesting bit from last night was seeing George Pataki's speech, because it was sort of his introduction to the national stage. He has a demeanor that plays well in New York but I don't think it would fly in the heartland. I really think he lacks charisma, and I don't think his presidential aspirations are serious. If he was some sort of superb governor that would be one thing, but he doesn't really have a loyal constituency in the state.

Also, as far as the protesters go: there have been no fatalities, only one seriously injured police officer, no anarchy in the streets, no smashed Starbucks windows. As the college kids who came here to protest all pack up their glow sticks and go home, I'd consider this convention, security-wise, a great success.

9/02/2004

Quick hits, RNC-edition

Danger, high voltage

I saw Zell Miller's keynote speech at the RNC last night.

Un. Be. Lievable.

He had the crowd in his hand almost from the first sentence. He was electrifying in his anger: "motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator."

Granted, he's exaggerating to get his point across, but really not by much. When the Democrats give Michael Moore a seat next to Jimmy Carter at their convention, and when John Kerry refers to the war in Iraq as "making war on the Iraqi people", that's essentially the message they're sending.

A lot has been made of left-wing anger in the current election, but there's a lot of right-wing anger in the country too, directed at France and Germany and the "internationalists" in this country who think these countries' approval confers some sort of legitimacy, and Zell Miller tapped right into it. I think it must be some sort of historic first to have the mere mention of the U.N. at a political convention get loud boos.

Smurfday

August is birthday season! I was at a very nice birthday party for Lisa the Smurfette, at a bar called Fondue that's really a big step forward for the Upper East Side compared to when I was living there. Intimate space, comfy couches; it was like being in some person's really awesome living room. Is the Upper East Side poised for a breakout? I wouldn't be surprised.

I met and talked to... well, a lot of people; to save some linking time I'll just say most of those on my blogroll; I hope no one feels offended! Some of them it was a privilege to meet for the first time. Plus some cool blogless people. Plus Funnya. Plus Ivan Lenin, which makes me privileged to have talked at the same party with both a Communist for Kerry and a Billionaire for Bush. Either way the election goes I'll have allies in the administration!

The obligatory 80's-singing at the party too; by "80's" I mean what most people mean when the say 80's, which is approximately just the years 1982-1985. Interestingly enough.

Dawn has a wrapup: "Let me be clear, it wasn't really about how much Sangria I could drink."

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