October 30, 2003

miller's crossing

i think it's time that you stop using that simple substitution cypher and just put an r next to your name:

Democratic Sen. Zell Miller of Georgia said Wednesday he will endorse President Bush in the coming presidential election.

"This does not mean I am going to become a Republican," Miller said in a written statement. "It simply means that in the year 2004, this Democrat will vote for George Bush."

Miller first declared his intention in an online interview with The Weekly Standard, saying Bush is "the right man at the right time."

'going to become?' methinks it already happened a long time ago. for all of the lazy potshots taken at lieberman for being a dino (and, hey, who hasn't done that? it's primary season!), his voting record is still more liberal than, oh, john mccain. but zell miller... well, this is the guy who wholeheartedly supported all of bush's tax cuts and anwr drilling. he recently introduced a bill trying to end filibusters being used to block republican judicial nominees, apparently having forgotten how the republicans pulled their rules-changing shenanigans in committtee to control which nominees went to the floor once they got into power. which, of course, is why democrats started using the filibusters in the first place.

superb. and now he endorses bush. thank god he's not going to run again. i mean, i'm all for keeping democratic seats, but it's not like it was doing much good here.

he is also quoted as saying that

The next five years "will determine the kind of world my children and grandchildren will live in," Miller said in an interview. And he wouldn't "trust" any of the nine Democratic presidential candidates with governing during "that crucial period," he said. "This Democrat will vote for President Bush in 2004."

hey, it's for the sake of the children! don't trust those nasty democrats to run the country or the world will go to hell. and zell miller has been fighting for a good world for a long time, like in his bold remarks on 09/12/01:

I say, bomb the hell out of them. If there's collateral damage, so be it. They certainly found our civilians to be expendable.

yeah, for the children!

Posted by kilgore at 05:17 AM | Comments (179) | TrackBack

October 29, 2003

can you feel the love?

you know, he's always trying, that trent lott. obviously, there's no love lost between lott and the bush administration after his ousting as senate majority leader late last year for his little faux de pas about wishing strom thurmond had won the presidency half a century ago. and now, he, like a few other republicans, are starting to break away from the party line of the rosy picture in iraq that the white house keeps telling us exists if only we'd look hard enough. lott, naturally has the perfect solution.

“Honestly, it’s a little tougher than I thought it was going to be,” Lott said. In a sign of frustration, he offered an unorthodox military solution: “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You’re dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out.”

yes, the old 'unorthodox' answer of 'kill 'em all.' i'm sure that wouldn't cause any problems whatsoever. the whole arab world would line up with us in a heartbeat. and maybe we could salt the earth afterwards as an extra little poke in the eye. razing cities, indiscriminate killing -- hey, what are we to do? they hate freedom.

honestly, i don't understand how people actually say these things seriously. the next line in the article is just priceless after this statement.

Republicans fear they could suffer in the polls if the situation does not improve, since the administration’s Iraq policy is so closely associated with Bush.

i think if the military followed lott's advice, the last thing on republicans' minds would be the polls.

Posted by kilgore at 09:03 PM | Comments (102) | TrackBack

October 28, 2003

truth, war & consequences

and, in case you haven't watched it yet, i highly recommend you check out the frontline episode truth, war & consequences. it has interviews with jay garner, paul bremer's predecessor, as well as ahmed chalabi, everybody's favorite iraqi exile. the program also explores the divide between the state department and the pentagon, the bad intelligence leading up to the war, and the difficulty of rebuilding iraq.

it is available online.

Posted by kilgore at 09:50 PM | Comments (303) | TrackBack

get your hands off my briefs!

hey, remember that whole 9/11 commission? the one that's trying to get to the bottom of that little incident, find out what went wrong and how to fix it? well, it seems that somebody's not playing nice.

President Bush declined on Monday to commit the White House to turning over highly classified intelligence reports to the federal commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, despite public threats of a subpoena from the bipartisan panel.

The president said in a brief meeting with reporters that the documents were "very sensitive" and that the White House was still discussing the issue with the panel's chairman, Thomas H. Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey.

Mr. Bush's remarks and subsequent comments from his press secretary suggested that the White House might ultimately refuse the commission's demand for access to the documents, setting up a possible showdown between the White House and the independent investigators.

in his press conference (nice to see one of those again), bush stated that he wanted to protect the process of the daily presidential brief so that future presidents wouldn't have to worry that they might see the light of day. right.

look, we want to know what you knew. at the very least, we want the bipartisan commission to know what was on those briefs. we're not talking about making these things public on the net, but you need outside oversight on this type of thing, especially when your first idea of a 9/11 committee chairman is henry freaking kissinger.

why was ashcroft flying on private jets in the summer of 2001? why weren't fighters scrambled when four airplanes went off course (fighters had been scrambled before 9/11 for much less)? what intelligence was available and how was it used?

the fact that both republicans and democrats on the committee are calling for the papers should tell bush that this is a big issue. hell, dean and lieberman both made statements about this today, and you can bet that it's going to be an issue in 2004 if these things are sequestered under executive privilege. but we can't even get faa transcripts from that day two years after the fact, much less presidential briefings. the commission has already issued subpoenas on those.

it doesn't look like kean is going to back down on this, so it's going to look even worse if the documents have to be pried out of the hands of the administration.

Posted by kilgore at 09:22 PM | Comments (503) | TrackBack

house of the dead (2003)

director: uwe boll
starring: jurgen prochnow, jonathan cherry, ona grauer, ellie cornell, clint howard

this is jurgen prochnow's second foray into movies adapted from video games (wing commander being his first), and i hope he's learned his lesson. 'hey, i need a skipper for a boat. why don't we get the guy from das boot? and then we'll call him captain kirk because then we could make a lame star trek joke!' no, it doesn't get any better.

the basic premise: young, hot twenty-somethings are going to the biggest rave of the year on an island off the coast of seattle. five of them miss the ship to the island, so they charter a fishing boat, helmed by capt. kirk with his first mate, clint howard (oh, another trekkie reference, how clever). it seems the coast guard wants prochnow for something, but they outrun the coast guard and make it to the island, albeit a bit late for the party.

well, what's left of the party, which consisted primarily of a dj and his turntable, some alcohol, a bunch of tents, and about 100 crazy kids. oh, and a giant sega banner. doesn't that just scream 'biggest rave of the year?' i thought so. they all get massacred by zombies, which we learn by viewing it through a guy's camcorder who happened to record it and escape.

well, after preparing their strategy during some oh-so-well-timed exposition to attempt to shake up some semblence of a backstory, the zombies start attacking, the kids freak out, and it turns out that captain kirk is a gun smuggler! so everybody arms themselves to the teeth for the big action setpiece that takes place... halfway through the movie.

i get tired of reminding action directors of this, but save your spectacle for the end, especially if you have little else to fall back on. it's about a ten minute long sequence where the kids, now expert shots with all varieties of weapons, unleash their firepower on the undead. there's even an asian girl who escaped the rave who knows kung fu! with lots of poorly done cgi matrix-on-the-cheap effects, this sequence bores. it's not even that gory. about the only good shot is watching jurgen prochnow in his skipper's cap and slicker shooting zombies with his akimbo pistols, but that's only because it's kinda funny.

after that, we have to go through more backstory (we're not even going to mention the trite and unnecessary romance subplots) to find out why the zombies are there. there are never really good reasons to have zombies. just leave it to a nuclear accident, some weird voodoun curse from long ago, or don't try to explain it at all. the third act is just killing off the main characters one by one until they end up having to face the main bad guy (and you knew there would be a boss character since it's based on a video game).

and it's not like i'm giving anything away, sinec the movie is a flashback that begins with narration from the main kid that says that all of his friends are dead. this robs the viewer of a simple pleasure gained from watching even pisspoor zombie films: who is ultimately going to survive.

as one of the characters in the film says right after the rave attack, 'the sooner we accept the fact that these are zombies, the sooner we can all get out of here.' i couldn't have agreed with her more, but the two other people in the theater and i stayed until the end anyway.

rating: 2/10

Posted by kilgore at 03:59 AM | Comments (173) | TrackBack

October 27, 2003

it's all still going according to plan

the big news today, of course, was the four car bombings in baghdad -- three police stations and a red cross headquarters. 34 people dead and 224 injured, mostly civilians. a fourth police station was targeted, but that one was prevented by iraqi police.

Police officials identified the driver, who was badly wounded, as a Syrian national. "He was shouting, 'Death to the Iraqi police! You're collaborators!' " Sgt. Ahmed Abdel Sattar was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

yes, things are going wonderfully. this caps off a bloody two days in iraq after yesterday's missile attack on the al-rashid hotel, where wolfowitz was staying, as well as the downing of a blackhawk helicopter. and what does bush have to say about this?

"The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can't stand the thought of a free society."

ahh, the desperate killers who hate freedom. it seems to me that people who can pull off four simultaneous bombings, take out a helo, and construct a macgyver missile launcher to attack some of the most fortified zones in iraq aren't exactly 'desperate.' to me, that suggests that they're well-organized, know what they're doing and have the resolve to carry it out.

but this whole 'worse is better' line is starting to drive me nuts. bush wants positive news shown. 'b-b-but the schools are open.' and even here, in what's probably the bloodiest day since the war sorta/kinda ended, he's basically saying, 'other than that, mrs. kennedy, the parade went pretty well.'

not that i really expect a nuanced position from bush on things like this, but i'd rather have his whole evildoers schtick than this. at least then he's saying that they're nasty people who have some metaphysical drive to kill innocent people. but with this language, it seems that they're still underestimating the enemy. yes, we ran over their barely-fighting army with our high-tech wizardry weapons, but this is that whole quagmire thing we were talking about before we even went in. asymmetrical warfare is a whole nother matter.

or, as rumsfeld put it in his memo, a 'long, hard slog ahead.'

would having a real international force in place prevent stuff like this? i don't know, but i think it would have helped. these attacks, even the ones on the red cross, are still aimed against america. you help the americans, you're just as bad as them, so you're a target now. as long as we're seen as the occupiers, they're going to go after the folks we're working with.

and this keeps getting worse. attacks on american troops have doubled in frequency from 15 a day during the summer to 30. a lot of people don't like us there, and while most iraqis aren't going to actually do anything violent, there are quite a few who have to be turning a blind eye to certain things for these types of events to occur. the longer we're there without true international support, the iraqi's perception of us is going to continue to tank, and that's going to be the biggest failure of all.

it's going to be a long ramadan.

Posted by kilgore at 09:37 PM | Comments (292) | TrackBack

here we are... darkling plain... blah blah blah...

right. first post. these are always lame, so i'm not going to pretend that this introduction is going to wow anybody. my friends and i used to publish a little zine that you've probably never, ever heard about. that's fine, since we liked it that way. it died a death of neglect in the summer of 2001, and we've been on a kind of hiatus ever since.

well, now we're back. and we've jumped into this newfangled blog thingamajig that's all the rage these days with the kids. we were running a little mailing list to discuss various topics amongst ourselves, and it seemed that some of the stuff we were talking/ranting about might be enjoyed by folks that didn't know us (well, except for the where are we going to eat tonight discussions).

what can you expect from this site? probably a little bit of everything, if the past is any indication. news & politics, pop culture, music, film, literature, tech stuff, religion... it's all up for grabs. i'm not exactly a focused individual when it comes to interests, so in my attempt to know everything i've ended up with a lot of inane facts in my head about a billion different things. not enough for a doctoral dissertation on any one subject, but i play a mean game of trivial pursuit.

we're still setting this sucker up, so excuse the barebones look. in time, we'll purty it up for you so it doesn't look like the end of the internet. that, of course, was a few pages back before you got here. you're here because you've got nothing else to read.

see? that was lame. it'll get better, i promise. not much better, but there will be a marked improvement.

Posted by kilgore at 07:58 PM | Comments (314)