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Friday, July 18, 2003

Neoconservative Rap 

I wrote a right-wing gangsta rap song in Montreal in Jasa's notebook.She then posted a somewhat mangled version of it on her blog. Todd then made a great beat for it. You can listen to it here. As for my rapping, that, um isn't my real voice. I was trying to sound like Guru, but more Italian. Todd's trying to post it on Young Republican sites, in hopes of attracting hate mail, I guess.
Is the song parodying the far right or the far left's perception of the far right? All interpretation is up to those who choose to listen.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Congratulations to the Winks  

For being voted Best New Vancouver Band by the Georgia Straight (which has quite the URL, incidentally.) To misquote Morrisey, we love it when our friends become successful.

Hasidic rebels 

Fascinating story about an anonymous Hasidic blogger here. Sounds like a tough community:
"People have complained about my blog," says Yeedel. "They say, 'If you want to criticize, criticize in a medium that does not expose us to the outside world.' "

He also offers parallels between his culture and that of harshly restrictive nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia. "Rebbes sometimes give you ridiculous edicts about how long women's wigs should be or how thick their stockings should be," he says. "I find that very similar to what the Taliban did. That's not what Judaism is about."

After the interview, an angry Yiddish counterblog was created to attack him. A translated excerpt:
I am called there a lowly poisonous snake, an ugly castout, and the poisonous spit of a sick dog, among a number of other choice curses. He goes on to wish "a gruesome death to him and a burning hell on his head, a cholera in all his bones, a black year to him, he should be caught by the devil, he should bury himself alive, his eyes shuold be poked out, he should hang, choke, and suffocate."
In some places, this would be called a fatwa.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

But on the other hand, 

A plea for either moderation or unpredictability, from James Lileks:
2. Anyone who writes opinion pieces should consider whether their piece contains a YWP, or “Yeah, Whatever” Point. The YWP is the moment where half your audience automatically stops reading because they know exactly where this is going, and they’ve been there a thousand times before. Sometimes the YWP is triggered by a phrase, but it’s usually a statement of fact that betrays a certain breathless hysteria in the author. In most cases the YWP is triggered by the assertion that we have gone far beyond the standard push-me-pull-you of politics, and have entered a dangerous age in which all we hold dear shall be snatched from our hands, torn to pieces and washed away in a torrent of tears. Sometimes it's the UN and the Contrail pilots who are responsible. Sometimes it's the undead Halliburton Zombie Army. Either side is perfectly capable of generating a YWP, and on any given day either side usually does.

Why do I bring this up? No reason.

Honest Republican Found 

Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb), bravely claiming that up isn't down:
BROWN: What is it you'd like explained?

HAGEL: Well, it isn't just George Tenet that's involved in this intelligence issue. Many people have had their, and still do, arms wrapped around this, the vice president and his office, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, Dr. Rice. To say that the CIA director was the one who alone signed off on and had the influence on putting those 16 words in the president's State of the Union message is not just quite accurate here.

Now, come on, the reality is all these people are involved in our intelligence process and so we need to know what happened. We need to go wider and deeper not just in the 16 words but is there a problem with our intelligence? Is there a process problem? Is there a problem getting it to the decision makers? Is there a flaw here somewhere?

We know it's imperfect but I think a lot of those kinds of questions need to be answered because there are many inconsistencies here as we know the situation today that are coming out.

BROWN: When you talk about inconsistencies and all of this is surrounding, I think, pretty much this whole question of the 16 words and the uranium and the rest, what is the principal inconsistency that you see?

HAGEL: Well, on the particular issue of did the Iraqis contract or try to contract with Niger for uranium that issue was around last year. The CIA questioned that particular intelligence report even early last fall and said it wasn't correct and told the British it wasn't correct.

In fact, it was not put in the president's speech in Cincinnati in early October but yet it ends up in probably the president's most important speech that to the nation and the world, the State of the Union message in January of this year. That would be one inconsistency. How could that happen?

BROWN: Over the weekend it sounded to me and you can characterize this as you wish -- that what the White House was saying was that the 16 words were literally correct, that the British in fact said this. There are people who are -- who would argue that is a sort of Clintonian explanation. Are you comfortable with that explanation coming from the administration?

HAGEL: No, I'm not. This is real stuff here we're talking about. We're talking about intelligence, which drives policy, which drives actions. Intelligence today is probably more important than any time in the history of this country, because we rely on that intelligence for everything. Certainly, it's imperfect. We know that. But when we're talking about the new threats that face this country and the world today -- terrorism, weapons of mass destruction -- that intelligence is critical.

The processing of that is critical. The analysis of that is critical. Who's involved in that process is critical. So some quick answer, like, well, we just shouldn't have had 16 words in the president's speech, we need to go a little deeper and wider than that.

Monday, July 14, 2003

"A bunch of bull" 

AP gets a little sentimental covering Ari's last day:
Fleischer on this day, as on so many before, would defend President Bush against a crowd of aggressive interrogators.
Actually, this may be the first time in the Bush era that Fleischer actually faced 'aggressive interrogators.' But when the going gets tough, Ari Fleischer resigns.
For an Ari Fleischer translator, click here.

"A text is created" 

Who used those words to describe the process of writing? Stanley Fish? Derrida? Foucault?
No! It's Condoleeza Rice.
When asked on Face the Nation how the line got into Bush's speech, Rice described the process this way: "A text is created."
Note the passive voice, the implication that there was no mind that unified the separate literary strands and took responsibility for their authorship. If there's no author, no one needs to be fired. Speeches are created by economic and cultural conditions, and frequently contain messages opposite to the one that the "author" thinks he is transmitting.
After the Florida election battle, the Nation published a brilliant article demonstrating how the Republicans used arguments about the relativity and unknowability of truth to show that no one will ever actually discover the 'real' vote counts in Florida. These arguments sounded suspiciously similar to those of postmodern and deconstructionist literary critics that Lynne Cheney and her ilk spent long books attacking. The pilfering from the Marxists who run English Lit Departments is not over. We now have the Death of the Author, Republican style.

Cruising for neocons 

On the USS Benevolent Hegemon. Only a small price to help Sharon, Perle, and Wolfowitz 'find' WMD's. I am so there.

Mmmm....yellowcake 

I think my problem with the word 'yellowcake' is that it sounds like those round things that freshen up urinals.
Just a thought.

Catblogging 

Thanks to marek, a picture of our cat Boris here. It is so cute that you will disintegrate.

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