FauxPolitik

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

NFL strikes again: The No Fun League has once more decided, dangit, we're just too succesful and our players are getting too much recognition. We better find a way to take some of the entertainment out of this game. As Pat Yasinskas of the Charlotte Observer said,
That’s what happens when you ask a bunch of guys who think the collective bargaining agreement is interesting reading to determine what’s fun.
I understood cracking down on the throat slashing trend before it got out of hand and I don't want to see in your face taunting but PG-13 style celebrations should be encouraged. It's a highlight on every sports show Sunday night and has a long tradition in the game. It's fun, for god's sake.

Which reminds me, since one of the rules is no celebrations that involve getting down on the ground, don't let me catch any of the more religious minded taking a knee in the end zone and bowing their head in prayer. After all, separation of church and football is right there in the Constitution.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Our Man in . . . oblivion, it seems. Sorry I've been a lousy correspondent. Bad news, too: I'm just weeks away from another sabbatical, since I am beginning rehearsals for Much Ado About Nothing. It's a bit of a wake up call to look in the mirror and think, "Yeah, I could play Don John," only to have the director say, "You can play Leonato." No matter. It's a fine cast, a great crew, and, as with everything in serious theater for the last 5 years, it will be the director's allegorical indictment of "the Bush regime." Sigh. What will liberals do with their time when Bush leaves office?

Er, what's that you say? That I never actually returned from my last sabbatical? I suppose you're right. But it has been the Worst. Winter. Ever. I've been sick at least once a month. And when I wasn't sick, someone else in the family was. Plus, it looks like I might have to (gasp!) get a job! After two fine years staying at home with the boy (that's Little Enobarbus), I am facing the fact that he is now enrolled in full-day preschool and will begin kindergarten in the fall. By gad, man, I've almost forgotten how to work, if I ever knew.

So I see that the Iraqi document declassification project is starting to accord quite nicely with the Volcker Report.

Two Iraqi documents dated in March 2003 — on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion — and addressed to the secretary of Saddam Hussein, describe details of a U.S. plan for war. According to the documents, the plan was disclosed to the Iraqis by the Russian ambassador.


(Editor's Note: The Russian ambassador in March 2003 was Vladimir Teterenko. Teterenko appears in documents released by the Volker Commission, which investigated the Oil for Food scandal, as receiving allocations of 3 million barrels of oil — worth roughly $1.5 million. )

Perhaps I don't fully understand the nature of the oil graft in Iraq, but on what planet does oil go for $.50/barrel? Anyhow, more to come, I'm sure. In most totalitarian regimes, there's a real need to write things down, if for no other reason than to pass the buck when dear leader gets angry and wants to shoot some underling: "See, Excellency, I signed this project off to Habib last Thursday. Allah be praised, his is the head that should roll!"

In passing, I note that Viking Pundit is back on line. Okay, Blogger, you don't suck as hard as I thought, but you still suck TKE house bong water.

Finally, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (the Council of Guardians for the, er, secular theocracy here) has ruled that "local health authorities can restrict smoking inside private clubs." From there, it's a short, short step to criminalizing smoking in my house.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Report from Mardi Gras: Matt Labash tells a great, and long, story of visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras. And he gets tours from all the right people. Not just anybody can ride in Zulu and party at the Rex ball. That boy's got some pull, or they're really depserate for bodies this year.

Via Vodkapundit.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Canterbury Blog Entries: Put this in the "should have seen it coming" category: Chaucer hath a blog.

Bonus: He's offering an advice column:
Ich have herde of thes "adyce columns," and I woot much of counsel and wysdom, and wolde helpen peple spede in their affaires.

Sende worde to me on myne friendster accounte of youre troubles, and Y shal advyse yow. Yow shal remayne anonymouse, like moste of the politicale poetrye in my period. Yow may signe yowr queries wyth an amusyng acronyme if it pleseth yow.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Those funny Brits: From The Weekly Round-Up, silicon.com's Friday newsletter (subscription required):
Moving on, one established online brand, lastminute.com, found itself thrust
into the spotlight this week following a ruling by the Advertising Standards
Agency relating to some of the company's promotional material.
Everybody's favourite travel and entertainment website recently ran an advertising campaign
publicising special offers on children's tickets for shows in London's West End.
The problem was they chose the slogan: "Like Gary Glitter in a sweet shop, you too can have your pick of kiddy treats in London's theatre world."
No really, they did.
Since launching the ad in one of its popular HTML emails, and enjoying some subsequent conversations with the ASA, lastminute.com has admitted there is a line in the sand and the company has accepted that on that occasion it crossed it.
Mentioning the name of a registered sex offender in order to advertise children's theatre tickets,
lastminute.com conceded, was a bit much.
You don't say.
A statement from the ASA said: "The ASA noted the ad played on contemporary, tasteless humour... We considered the reference to a registered sex offender in conjunction with
images of children in an ad for children's theatre was likely to cause serious or widespread offence."
The Round-Up raises an eyebrow at the slightly nonchalant tone of: "The ASA noted...". As though they were perhaps sat around, sipping coffee, shooting the breeze when one of them said: "Hang on a minute... that lastminute.com email with Gary Glitter... does anybody else think that's a touch close to the bone?"
The ASA said lastminute.com had expressed regret that the email had caused offence and added: "They said their aim was to create advertising which stood out."
And they certainly did that.

I mention it only because I know how fauxpolitik likes to follow everything Gary Glitter.

Cheney "targets" Spratt: I love it when headlines write themselves. For once, though, the Charlotte Observer spurned the easy gag headline. Obviously, I can't resist.

In related news, traffic on I-77 and I-485 is a complete nightmare, and I'll be reduced to going home via underground tunnel. Oh well.

Piece o' Shit: Looks like Blogger has f*cked over our buddy Eric at Viking Pundit. I hope he can recover some of his archive of fine posts.

Blogger, you suck.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Isaac Hayes is intolerant of satire: Isaac Hayes, who was famous a couple decades ago for having sex with a lot of women, or something, and had his career resurrected by two funny white guys who draw two dimensional pictures of children flinging poop and making anal sex jokes, no longer thinks their brand of humor shows enough tolerance for delicate sensibilities and devout religious beliefs. And, who knew, his religious flavor is of a particularly satiriizable nature (sorry if I'm making up a word there).

Hayes, who has played the ladies' man/school cook in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said in a statement Monday that he feels a line has been crossed.

"There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins," the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said.

"Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored," he continued. "As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."

Nice to see, though, that Stone and Parker are having none of his shit and won't kiss his ass with some "respectfully disagree" pablum.

"South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem - and he's cashed plenty of checks - with our show making fun of Christians."
What civil rights activism and religious satire have to do with each other, I'm not sure, but I bet it helps Isaac Hayes convince young women to have sex with his droopy, sorry, pathetic ass so I say congratulations and enjoy pretending to be relevant.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Deck Chairs, Titanic? Howard Dean, late of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, is rushing to fill the leadership vacuum in his party by . . . well, by trying to drag the racial spoils system into the presidential primaries.
Minorities have been pushing for more of a voice in the early voting, noting that Iowa and New Hampshire are overwhelmingly white. The new early states could come from the South and West to provide regional diversity as well.
If black people want to vote earlier, let them move to Iowa and New Hampshire, I say. At any rate, this will do nothing to help the Democrats' chances. (All they can hope for is that the GOP nominates a corpse or a criminal in '08 -- though with the Republicans, either one is better than an outside shot.) At best, it will merely be a furniture shift, perhaps intended to hold onto the loyalty of minority groups. (At worst, it could be a signal that the Dems fear minorities defecting to a charismatic Republican candidate.) As I've argued before, the Dems are so in thrall to their splintered pressure groups -- minority groups as much as any -- that a Democrat nominee ends up straitjacketed before the general election even begins. Pushing for minorities to have "more of a voice" in the process is like pushing for labor unions to have more of a voice. It just drags them further off center.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that 2004 was the Dems' perfect storm. The base was fired up, the incumbent was on the ropes in the media, and every Democrat but Hillary wanted to run. Then they let a knucklehead like Dean drag them down the back alley of intraparty conflict, and they ended up sacrificing the old DLC platform (and Joe Lieberman, the best of their candidates) on the altar of the fair-trade-and-nose-ring crowd, who rewarded them by staying home in droves on election day. Afterward, the party punishes Dean by making him their leader. This is crazy thinking.

Best of luck to you, Howard, in your efforts to push the party further left. And give my best to Rove when he stops by with your next check.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tomasky's LQ Test: Piffle. Tomasky's quiz is the very type of inside baseball info that progressive journalists and think-tank types believe is meaningful to governance.

The economy didn't zoom because Clinton knew obscure French political philosophers, as Tomasky admits. "But," Tomasky says, "his knowledge of that and 500 other things like it informed the decisions that made the economy zoom." Typical technocratic socialist wet dream, that trivia-minded bureaucrats create good economies. The economy zoomed because technology increased productivity steadily throughout the 90s, which (as most of us will recall) led to an optimism that made the economy zoom a little too fast at times, claiming gains based mostly on an "irrational exuberance" (and no, you don't get 500 points for knowing who said that) that said that the internet could make us all millionaires.

If the economy was influenced to any extent by policy matters, which it surely was, I would give that credit, in order, to Greenspan for keeping inflation in check through solid monetary policy (remember when libs all thought monetary policy was bunk?); GOP House budget chief John Kasich for being an arm twisting sonofabitch and the closest the House leadership has had to a fiscal conservative since Dick Armey called Barney Frank "Barney Fag"; and, finally, Bill Clinton for getting himself into so many scandals that he was unable to gain any momentum on his big progressive ideas (like his health care "reform," which would have dicked up the economy but good) and had to govern as essentially an incrementalist moderate.

Finally, what some wonk at a liberal mag thinks is essential to the intellectual life of American politicians is in no way dispositive. That John Edwards doesn't know who James Q. Wilson is, is not the same as George Bush not knowing, say, that FDR let Sidney Hillman make trade policy decisions. At least James Q. Wilson is relevant today, given that he is one of the leading social scientists in the country, while FDR and Hillman are both dead.

Anyway, I got 14 correct, which I think is pretty outstanding considering the foolish questions he asks.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

For our resident geniuses: Which I so totally am not. A quiz from The American Prospect's Michael Tomasky. My score was unmentionable. Even by Jonah's "d'oh. Of course!" standards I wouldn't have done so hot, though I would have at least cracked double digits.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I Guess I'll Chime In: My favorite line from John Stewart was shortly after the "Mafia" won for best "song": "For those keeping score: Martin Scorscese -- 0 Oscars; Three-6 Mafia -- 1." I hate Oscars that are given in one category so as to apologize for not giving an Oscar elsewhere.

The Pimp song. The voters must have had a collective attack of white guilt for not giving Hustle & Flow any real accolades, so they vote in this god-awful droning to show that the Academy is down with flow. It's like the make-up nomination. Giamatti gets robbed for Sideways (not even an nomination!), and then they throw him into the mix for Cinderella Man, even though he was just very good in that movie.

Brokeback Mountain was a good first draft as Mrs. Eno put it. But it was still quite moving. As for the controversy, I mean, could there have been a less graphic movie depicting gay sex? I suppose that's the problem with casting straight actors (so they say, anyway!) -- they'll do the kiss and pantomime some other activities, but when it gets down to the fast and furious, well, let's just throw in some stirring guitar riffs and cut to the next morning of sly smiles and stiff walks.

See, I thought Crash was a piece of high art junk. I mean, I didn't mind watching it, and thought there were some good moments, and certainly excellent acting, but I hate these movies where everyone is magically inter-connected, and everyone learns their lessons at the end through overly contrived plot devices. It's more like a piece of video art than a movie -- I felt like I needed thick black glasses and a beret.

For best picture, I don't see what was wrong with Munich, which I thought did about as good a job trying to show humanity in the face of terrible violence as you're ever going to see. That movie had me at jump street. I think that the Academy is just sick of Spielberg -- or maybe it's a punishment for The Terminal. Speaking of which, what is wrong with Tom Hanks' hair? I hope it's just for some serial killer movie -- I didn't think The DaVinci Code had any mysteries hidden in the protagonists's hairline.

Reese Witherspoon was deserving, but the field was very weak. Felicity Huffman is a t.v. actress -- and I say that as praise. She's great in doing shorter scenes, and has a wicked sense of humor. I just don't know that I can stomach her for nearly two hours dressed as an ugly man in drag. Dame Judy -- it's time to well, it's time to stop. I mean, keep acting, but no more nominations. She plays the same character each time.

Clooney is both insufferable and yet damn charming -- I suppose that's why he doesn't get married -- what's the point? By the time the charm wears off, he's moved on. I do applaud him though for really caring about his movies -- I mean, the guy had to get spinal surgery from acting too hard! Not something you'll see Keanu doing anytime soon.

Well, I could go on (and I know you want me to) -- but I must get back to billing clients for my time.

As for Eno's distaste for Pirates -- well, there's two sequels being filmed right now, so there's room for it to grow on you. Snob.

Monday, March 06, 2006

It's hard out here for an unintelligible rap artist with nothing to wear. But not too hard, I guess, to steal the Oscar for best song away from Dolly Parton, whose song "Travelin' Thru", from Transamerica, was the only one of the three nominees that I could even accurately identify as a song, let alone make any judgement along the lines of good or bad. For a song to win an Oscar it ought to be something that you would actually listen to outside of the context of the movie itself. I find it hard to believe anyone would listen to four minutes of moaning by some broad they've never heard of, from a movie they've never seen. And I haven't understood a single rapper since Snoop Dogg. No master of locution, at least when Snoop said something was fershizzle, you could pretend to know what that meant, even if you were as geographically and culturally removed from West Coast rap as possible without actually being an Eskimo.

I mean it, Three 6 Mafia, what the hell are you saying.

Here We Go: Why did "Brokeback" lose? Must be the gay thing, right? Even though George Clooney already told us that Hollywood is so far ahead of you on the moral goodness curve that you can only hope to one day be that . . . um, good.

Plus, Hanks got the nod for "Philadelphia" years ago. And Swank got dykey in "Boys Don't Cry on the Side" or whatever and still took home the gold. So, please, no jive about those famously socially conservative members of the Academy slamming the closet door.

We Like Us, We Really Like Us! The wife (that's Mrs. Enobarbus) and I watched the Oscars last night. Long, long ago, many years B.K. (before kids), we were movie buffs, particularly favoring the Ritz in Center City, so Oscar night was always a tradition. For several years, though, we've really only been able to glance at the show, and we usually haven't even seen all the nominated "Best Picture" films.

Anyhow, I didn't think it possible for Hollywood to become more full of itself, but last night, listening to George Clooney and that sawed-off Academy president, you'd swear that the movies killed Jim Crow, fomented Stonewall, and might cure cancer next week. Who knew?

I liked "Crash." In its own way, it's a bit right-wing in that it offers no easy answers, no formulas, no monochromatic morality, no easy redemption. That's kind of refreshing, I think, in the bubble that is L.A., to have an artistic statement that consciously shuns the "let's all hold hands and sing" liberal panacea.

My comments on "Good Night, etc." are already on record. Good flick, but one-sided fiction.

I didn't see "Brokeback," but I think the controversy is overhyped, and I don't believe it lost because of queer characters. Mrs. Eno saw it and called it "the first draft of a good movie."

I didn't see "Memoirs of a Geisha" since I haven't read the book, and I don't want a cheesy movie to spoil it.

And "Walk the Line"? Jon Stewart was right, it was "Ray" with white people, and I liked it for what it was -- a glossy biopic. But it surely wasn't in the same class as the other nominees.

One question: When is Don Cheadle going to get his due, after being snubbed for "Traffic" and "Crash," then robbed for "Hotel Rwanda" (losing to Jamie Foxx, for god's sake)? Wake the hell up.

Bonus movie note: Netflix sent "Pirates of the Caribbean" last week, so I threw it on right away based on Razor's glowing review. What a piece of unmitigated crap! It was fully twice as long as it needed to be, with a plot overloaded with and overcomplicated by reversals and twists. And Johnny Depp (who is quite overrated in most things) was actually painful to watch in an overmannered performance; even his shambling, loosey goosey physicality seemed stiff and contrived. The typically charming Keira Knightly was wasted entirely, while looking far more masculine than her beau -- that elf guy from that trilogy thing. A failure. Walk the plank, indeed!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What did the AP know and when did they know it: The newly discovered video of Pres. Bush looking clueless in a video conference the day before Hurricane Katrina is all over the news today. It's the smoking gun that everyone's been looking for, proving once and for all that Bush hates black people and likes sending hurricanes to major U.S. cities then laughing away while they await their precious FEMA and National Guard. Interestingly, Michael "Heck Of A Job" Brown, who people wouldn't have let take care their goldfish after the ineptidtude displayed for about four solid days by his agency, is now the smartest guy in the room, or so it seems if you listen to the MSM. Every time he criticizes Bush, Chertoff, DoHS, or the entire administration at large his credibility, and hat size, goes up 50%.

I wondered why it took so long, though, for this video to be released. The transcript has apparently been available since September, but who reads those, right? And the public had a right to know. The press corps needs to be alerted in a timely manner, too. Why was evidence kept under wraps?

Why to sell advertising, of course.

The Associated Press (AP) has officially launched its AP Online Video Network in the U.S. after two months in beta. Powered by MSN Video and using AP
content, the ad-supported service will allow some 4,000 AP newspaper and
broadcast member websites to offer a free breaking-news video content to their
audience, initially totaling 45 million unique visitors.


Only nine hours after the launch of the network, paidContent
points
out
, the AP posted video of President Bush, Homeland Security chief Michael
Chertoff and other government officials being warned about Katrina, a day before
it struck.


Launch an investigation! Call David Gregory!

Update: Scratch that, don't call David Gregory. He's sleeping it off. Via Jeff G.