Thursday, September 30, 2004

Michael Ledeen on the latest news from Iran:
Several members of the Revolutionary Guards have been killed. Depending on your point of view the catalyst for these clashes was either appeals from outside Iran, or the continued collapse of the mullahs (banks closed, salaries unpaid, teachers locked out of schools, etc.) or the incredible tempo of executions, notably of young people, on charges that seem preposterous. It is clear that opponents of the regime are increasingly armed, there are gunfights in the streets of several cities, and the clashes are going on all over the country.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The stupidity continues...

Barb Nicolosi on pie-in-the-sky Christians who want to convert Hollywood.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Richard the Second is now listed in the Poor Yorick Shakespeare catalogue. You never know where you can find your work on the web....

Update: Yikes! And one reviewer even likes it!!

Monday, September 27, 2004

As I get older, I realize that there are certain kinds of Catholics out there—for example, the ones who think that if you follow all of the church's prescriptions, then you are automatically immunized from...stupidity.

Barb Nicolosi does a great job of explaining why that just isn't so.
This is cool:
Sonic Solutions (Nasdaq:SNIC) announced today that Adobe Systems Incorporated has licensed Sonic AuthorScript(R), the world's leading CD and DVD formatting and burning engine, for use within its new Adobe(R) Photoshop(R) Elements 3.0 software for Windows. By incorporating AuthorScript, Adobe has added key functions to Photoshop Elements 3.0, such as the ability to create photo slideshows on Video-CDs that can be played in most set-top DVD players and the archiving of photos to CD-ROMS and DVD-ROMs.

The Web after ten years: Center for the Digital Future Identifies the 10 Major Trends Emerging in the Internet’s First Decade of Public Use.

Friday, September 24, 2004

I must say, I'm delighted that Everyman is selling. Not a lot, to be sure (let's face it, how many independent movie fans are there out there for productions performed in what is essentially Middle English?). But it's steady. I'm receiving a lot of hits on the production page, mostly from students and teachers, and a few every month decide to get the DVD.

So, thank you to all of you patrons of the struggling artist!
Things aren't so hot these days at Miramax.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

What I was saying below re: Buchanan's rants: Julia Gorin gets it.
Others have gotten in trouble for pointing this out, but let's give up the charade. When a member of the enlightened classes, or Pat Buchanan, makes reference to a "neocon," what he's saying is "yid." That's right, "neoconservative," particularly in its shortened form, when employed by a nonconservative (or by Buchananites) and therefore meant derogatorily, is the modern, albeit more specific, word for "kike" that the left can say—and it has been doing so liberally (no pun intended) ever since American conservatism became yet something else that Jews have managed to benefit from—the conquered, final frontier of that famous Jewish manipulation.

Niall Kennedy has a report on The State of Online Journalism.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Jonah Goldberg's not the only one who thinks Andrew Sullivan has gone way too wishy-washy on Iraq.
Ann Althouse says Aguirre the Wrath of God is one of her favorite films! A fellow traveler! At last! At last!
William Safire, on why CBS needs to track down the source of the forgeries:
Conservatives should stop slavering over Dan Rather's scalp, and liberals should stop pretending that noble ends justify fake-evidence means. Both should focus on the lesson of the early 70's: from third-rate burglaries to fourth-rate forgeries, nobody gets away with trying to corrupt American elections.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

Yep. The Iraqis are playing baseball.
(note to Harvey Weinstein: my agent is Susan Schulman, and all rights for this script are available.)
A while back...meaning about 13 years ago...I started writing a romantic road comedy about some thirty-somethings heading up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for a Memorial Day wedding and all the misadventures that befall them on the way. One of the subplots involved a couple of black-belt brothers, one of whom falls like a ton for a cute Jewish girl on her way to visit an obscure rabbi who has an out-of-print book she wants (I know, I know, I'm way past the 25-words-or-less pitch limit for Hollywood, but bear with me).

Anyway, the black belt hero flattens a couple of thugs when he catches them vandalizing a synagogue—and at the time I thought this scenario a little hoky, as well as far fetched in these civilized days. I mean, vandalizing synagogues in New Hampshire?

Well, comes now this report, showing that, in my own hack way, I, prescient? Not that I'm happy about it. But I guess I don't need to rewrite this script as much as I always thought I did.

Go figure.
It's remarkable to me that in this month's Special Issue of Scientific American on the work of Einstein, the feature article on the Cosmological Constant and the development of cosmology using Einstein's field equations for General Relativity, the authors mention the contributions of Belgian physicist Georges Lemaitre...without ever once giving him credit.

Just one example of how far Lemaitre has dropped off the radar screen. Admittedly, scientists make poor historians by their own admission. Yet, if you're going to point out, as Krauss and Turner do, that Willem de Sitter's model of the universe was "shown to have accelerating expansion," then is it too much to expect them to mention who first pointed this out?
Teresa Nielsen Hayden, excellent teacher as well as editor for Tor Books, has more good advice for writers:

Certain words and phrases are like little genetic markers for scammers. Here’s a non-exhaustive list, non-exhaustively explained:

1. “Giving new writers a chance.” Also: “Helping new writers.”

While agents and publishers frequently do just this thing, they don’t talk about it in those terms. For them, it’s always a specific new book, a specific new author. Making judgements about which book and which writer they’re going to work with is the heart of their job. When you hear someone talking in an indiscriminately general fashion about giving a chance to new writers, there’s something wrong.

Same goes for “helping new writers.” There might be legitimate projects aimed at helping new writers as a class, but the business they’re in isn’t agenting or publishing.

2. “Traditional publishing.”

This term came in with PublishAmerica. It’s their little way of suggesting that they’re a conventional publishing house, which they aren’t. Publishing houses refer to what they do as “publishing.”

Read the whole thing.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Current polls show the National Guard 'story' not only doesn't seem to be hurting Bush, it may be helping...whereupon Jonah Goldberg offers this excellent advice:
If this is the trend when the Guard story is in the news, maybe Bush should start bragging about going to hooker and cocaine parties while he was dodging physicals in Alabama.

Is it bandwidth or storage that really matters?
There have been a number of recent debates/discussions about the viability of full IP-based, download or stream based delivery of video that reaches consumer televisions. There's clearly enormous momentum and energy behind leveraging the open Internet, commodity bandwidth, etc. to deliver media. Two key industry insiders — Mark Cuban, founder of and HDNet, and James Murdoch, current CEO of Sky in the UK — have advocated that storage trumps bandwidth in the delivered media world.

At the core of this belief is an underlying belief in the importance of high-definition (HD) video media, which on a raw storage and bandwidth basis consumes an enormous amount. The argument is that a) given that consumers want high-quality media, and b) that storage is getting cheaper than bandwidth, that storage will trump bandwidth as the vehicle for content.

I question the first and core assumption....

An excellent debate. More here.
What's next for the iPod?
In what may prove to be the next big thing for the iPod, weblogger Adam Curry has released the source code to an application which allows users to automatically download MP3 audio files from weblogs and other web sites to their iPod.

Read more.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

From CBS News:
The Kerry campaign was slow in countering the Swift Boat charges, the allegations persisted and Kerry’s bad August ensued.

Kerry led most polls leading into August. By the second week of September, President Bush had come back and now has a four-to-seven point lead over Kerry, depending on the poll.
I'm just not sure that I buy this argument. I'm sure the Swift Vets are hurting Kerry, but deeper down I think the real reason he's slipping is that as August progressed and people came home from their summer vacations and got back to work, they started really looking at Kerry and don't like what they see.

From a letter to John Ellis:
If CBS were to acknowledge the documents to be a forgery, then they could not claim ethical responsibility to protect their sources. Once implicated, the sources might further implicate those who encouraged them. Where would this lead?

Has any reporter ever gone to jail for protecting the source of a forged document? A document which the reporter himself acknolwedges to be false?

CBS will continue to maintain authenticity. They have no alternative. They have been very clearly advised on this by their attorneys.

The risk calculations are much different than for an ordinary news fraud. The business cost to CBS of acknowledging forgery could ultimately be much larger than mere damage to the brand. Think Arthur Andersen.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Jonah Goldberg on Dan Rather:

Well, if you agree with Rather, maybe you should give just a smidgen more slack to George W. Bush about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Bush's sources were more solid by several orders of magnitude than Rather's, and yet it is "obvious" to so many that Bush lied while Rather deserves the benefit of the doubt. George W. Bush had the head of the CIA, the intelligence agencies of all our allies, the Clinton administration, the United Nations, and most of the establishment media generally backing his understanding of the threat from Iraq. Dan Rather had a couple shoddy Xeroxes — not all of which were examined thoroughly or at all. He interviewed a partisan — Ben Barnes — a huge backer of Kerry whose story has changed several times. But because many who hate Bush believe he lied, they are willing to believe any lies that confirm what they already know to be true.

You might say the same to me, since I'm one of those people who've seen Dan Rather as a joke for a very long time. Fair enough. The difference is that I have better evidence on my side.

Bad news for Apple Computer:

The Beatles' company, Apple Corps., is involved in a legal battle with Jobs' Apple Computer, claiming the hardware manufacturer is in breach of a 1991 agreement that that forbids it from using the trademark for any application "whose principle content is music." The two companies have been involved in a number of court battles over the years involving the use of the Apple trademark.

Word among the legal community is that an out of court settlement could be imminent and that it will massively dwarf the $26.5 million paid to the Fab Four's company in 1991 in a row over trademark use.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Think about this, from Chris Suellentrop at Slate:

Nothing Kerry said in Cincinnati could compensate for the blunder he made the day before when he stood before cameras on the tarmac of the Cincinnati airport and expressed his sorrow for the 1,000th American casualty in Iraq. "More than 1,000 of America's sons and daughters have now given their lives on behalf of their country, on behalf of freedom, in the war on terror," Kerry said. The war on terror? Oops. The mistake was part of the natural reversion to the mean of the Kerry candidacy. After the successful day and a half of campaigning that followed his conversation with President Clinton, the usual Kerry—the New Old Kerry—was back. Kerry took no questions after making his mystifying "war on terror" comment. Crowley called out, "Senator, you've been saying that it's 'wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.' What does that mean about these deaths?" but Kerry, in a typical maneuver, just walked away. It's been more than five weeks since Kerry last took questions at a press conference, or an "avail," as it's called.
Who. Is. Handling. This. Guy?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Apparently Pat Buchanan's new book continues his rants about the supposedly nefarious influence of Jews—er, excuse me, I mean neocons on the Grand Old Party:

I'm reviewing it for TCS. I wondered what his source was for the following passage, on pp. 53-54: "In 1996, Irving Kristol had written: 'With the end of the Cold War, what we really need is an obvious ideological and threatening enemy, one worthy of our mettle, one that can unite us in opposition.' On 9/11 opportunity had knocked. The neoconservatives had a new 'enemy. . . worthy of our mettle' . . ."

So I looked up the Irving Kristol essay in question. I think what Kristol is actually saying is that attempts to understand American foreign policy are doomed to end in frustration since that policy will never be coherent absent such a threat. But whatever Kristol meant--and whatever else he has written--we have reason to doubt that this comment was entirely serious. Here are the lines immediately following the passage Buchanan quotes: "Isn't that what the most successful movie of the year, 'Independence Day,' is telling us? Where are our aliens when we most need them?"

Update: from Slate's Timothy Noah:

Let's turn to page 42 of Where the Right Went Wrong. In a passage introducing the group of Iraq hawks who called themselves "the Vulcans," Buchanan observes that the best known members

were Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle. Perle's depiction of his delight at first meeting the future president reads like Fagin relating his initial encounter with the young Oliver Twist.

Question: can you be this kind of Jew baiter and not expect to be called an anti-Semite?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

"Tell 'em we're coming," it read on the front of the shirts...
"And hell is coming with us . . . ."

No, it's not John Kerry's new campaign slogan (although maybe it should be?).

It's the Red Sox.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on threats of the future:

It would be naïve of us to think that a Venezuela, a Saudi Arabia, or an Iran will ever unite with us to stop such terror, when the direct result of such uncertainty is an enhanced position for their regimes and cash windfalls in the tens of billions of dollars. We should assume instead that within a year or two we may well see a series of coordinated attacks on Russian or Middle Eastern petroleum facilities and tankers, as well as efforts to knock out or flip over a large exporting country; and we should plan right now for that eventuality. Greater fuel efficiency of our cars coupled with careful drilling in the Arctic is the obvious compromise, along with more nuclear power and continued work on hybrid fuels.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Why Yankees Manager Joe Torre is a class act:

Someone mentioned to Torre in the dugout yesterday that the Yankees, by losing 9 of their previous 15 games, had given the Red Sox life. Torre interrupted this fellow in midthought to set the record straight.

"They gave themselves life," he said. "We won five of seven on our trip and lost ground. They are a good team. I said that when they were 10 games behind us."