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Month: April 2003

Well that's good then

“President Bush will tell Americans on Thursday evening that the major fighting in Iraq is over and the threat to the United States has ended, a Bush administration spokesman said.”

No, really, that’s what he said. The threat is gone.

What threat was that again? Cause as so elegantly espoused here, we didn’t find any threat. We found no weapons of mass destruction. No evidence that Saddam had a viable nuclear program. Saddam didn’t use the hypothetical weapons of mass destruction as a last gasp. We didn’t find any of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the terrorist base in Northern Iraq.

If Saddam by some miracle smuggled all the chemical warheads into Syria before the war ended, well, then the threat is pretty much not gone — just moved. So that must not be an ongoing hypothesis, which is good, because it was pretty damned unlikely.

We took apart Saddam’s army in under a month; that wasn’t very threatening.

What exactly was Saddam going to do that posed such a big threat to the US? Answers may not postulate chemical weapons until we actually find some.

Guilty, guilty pleasures

So it’s not like I’ve been on the edge of my seat awaiting the next Crow movie. However, if you tell me that Lance Mungia is directing, and that the cast includes Dennis “Time To Make The Rent” Hopper and Danny “Badass For Hire” Trejo? Sure, I’m there. We also get Edward “I Had A Career” Furlong, Tara “Eye Candy” Reid, and David “Looking For That Film Breakthrough” Boreanaz. And, as a special bonus, Tito “I’m Actually A No Holds Barred Fighter” Ortiz. (No kidding. Expect bad acting.) But still! Mungia last directed Six-String Samurai and that earns him some trust in my book.

So it’ll be a glorious piece of cheese, no doubt. Betcha it makes a few million over cost.

Home runs

I got unexpected gift tickets to the Red Sox game tonight. Happy times! Red Sox win, despite an in the park home run by the evil KC Royals. It turns out that if your group decides “Hey, let’s pick up beers for everyone” whenever anyone goes to the bathroom, you wind up with a lot of beer. It’s kind of a positive feedback cycle.

Meaning hazy

When I get spam that says “Copy Anything!!!!”, I kind of expect to be able to buy a product that will copy anything. I mean, what good is a universal copier if you can’t use it to produce more Winona Ryders?

Apparently they were talking about CDs and DVDs. Feh.

Shuffle two, drop one

Not surprising but rather important: the US military presence in Saudi Arabia is ending. This had been coming for a while — the Saudis didn’t let us use those bases for Gulf War II, for example. It’s also a smart move, since those troops have been the source of a lot of tension. Bin Laden will tout it as a victory, which is a minor PR coup for him, but without them there some of his support will also fade.

The interesting question is what happens now. In the short term, we can expect to see something around 100,000 troops in Iraq. Rumsfeld claims there won’t be any permanent bases. I think that the question of a permanent presence in Iraq probably doesn’t need to be made right now, from the administration’s point of view. It’ll be a few years before we can pull out of Iraq, given our stated goals.

(For that matter, even as an anti-war advocate, I couldn’t support pulling out right now. We’d leave the country in worse shape than it was in under Saddam and you could bet on Kurdish/Arab civil war within six months.)

Anyhow, I’d bet that Rumsfeld and Powell are planning on making a decision about permanent bases in Iraq after 2004, if they’re still around, since nobody can really be sure what the Middle East will look like in a few years. Maybe the Palestinian peace process will work. Maybe there’ll be a revolution in Iran. Maybe Syria will display nuclear capacity. No point, from Bush’s point of view, in making the decision until we know more.

Why not us?

Hey! Why aren’t Democrats winning the culture wars? Because conservatives are supporting college Republicans like this while liberals support college Democrats like this. Note in particular the differences between the Conservative Student Conference schedule and the Young Democrats Association schedule. On the one hand, you have a reception and a tour to Niagara Falls. On the other hand, you have lessons (or, if you like, indoctrination) on criticizing “liberal textbook bias” and becoming “a more effective advocate for your beliefs.” Also, one’s in Buffalo and one is in Washington, DC. Which city is more apropos if you want to encourage new blood to participate in the political process?

Similarly, the progressive left is blowing the Democrats away as far as student organization goes. I suspect some Democrats are blithely assuming that this chunk of the left is breeding future Democratic thinkers. Nope; this is the progressive wing of the left and it’s doing an excellent job of creating future progressive thinkers. Think Green Party.

This post should not be taken as approval of any particular segment of the left, or, for that matter, of the right. It’s just an observation, cause I’ve seen a few Democrats talking about party problems lately. Time to stop bitching about Nader and start recognizing the successful tactics of both the radical left and the radical right.

(Hey, I know I have some readers from outside the US. I am deeply curious about the sort of student outreach that exists in Australia and the UK, if there’s any.)

Pod music

All Apple news sites are frantically clogged right now. Not a surprise. MacInTouch: Mac news, information and analysis has some news on the Apple announcement, and I’ve pieced together some more stuff from here and there.

Three new things:

1) New iPods. Yay, 30 GB iPod. Some kind of a docking station, too, which seems unnecessary but whatever. I actually like my Firewire cable that doubles as a power cable when I go mobile so a docking station might be a step back.

2) New iTunes. Supports AAC, which is I guess MPEG-4 audio. Five bucks says that change was so that Jobs could tell the music people that his new online music thingie wouldn’t support evil MP3s. The new iTunes supports Rendezvous for auto-discovery of other iTunes users on your network. I don’t know what that means either — auto-discovery is cool but what does iTunes do with it? Shared music libraries?

Also, the new iTunes supports streaming (“streams can’t be saved”). That’s very cool and steals a march on Microsoft. Hope that works across the Internet. Also hope it’s a stream that WinAmp can read. Anyhow, it’ll take maybe a month before someone figures out how to save the streams.

3) The iTunes Music Store. 99 cents a track, tracks are AAC, and you can burn ‘em to CD. Then you can rip your CD to MP3. Jobs blasted the subscription model, but you know, is only ten bucks a month for unlimited downloads. Jobs better have a really good music library. Emusic has a deal with a lot of labels for their back catalogs, but it also has a substantial library of current indie labels. If Jobs neglected the offbeat stuff… well, maybe not so many people care about that.

Ah. What Jobs needs is a way for people to get their music into his service easily. If he did a deal with, for example, that’d go a long way towards solving the problem. Ease of publishing entry is the key, and you’d think Jobs would know that — it’s certainly a pitch he’s been making since the LaserWriter. It’ll be interesting to see if he listens to himself.

High culture

Pro wrestling’s seen a lot of unusual venues — Pyongyang comes to mind. But I never thought I’d hear about a lucha libre match held at the Tate Gallery. That’s surreal above and beyond the call of duty. The wrestlers are the real deal, too; could be a fun little match.

The artist, Carlos Amorales, apparently uses a lot of lucha libre in his work. I found a few scraps of info (Quicktime video) on him. Pomopro wrestling.