Friday, June 15, 2007


Open Thread

It's an open "bete noire" thread! ;-)

(The regulars will get it!)

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Tele-novelas, You've Been Targeted For Termination

Schwarzenegger's basic point about how immigrants can better learn English is correct, but it would have greater resonance coming from a guy who could better pronounce the name of the state in which he governs.

Just saying.

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Harry Reid: Incompetent

Democrats may regret for a long time their misfortune of having Harry Reid as their Senate majority leader. Earlier this week, on a conference call with liberal blogers, he referred to outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace as incompetent. The story was reported Thursday in The Politico.

Not surprisingly, all day yesterday, most of the conservative side of the blogosphere, plus
presidential candidate John McCain -- pilloried Reid. Liberal bloggers were relatively silent, except for those that chose to attack the reporting of The Politico (which has been viewed skeptically by those on the left since it first started).

But now that
a transcript of the conversation has come to light, along comes Taylor Marsh, a left wing blogger who puts the fault where it belongs -- with Sen. Reid:

Everyone is now going to be talking about the "context" of Reid's remarks, which is important. He has supposedly told Pace to his face what he thinks of him. Good for Reid, that's what any person of character should do. Senator Reid has many supporters in the military. He's earned them and I'm sure those who support him will continue to do so.

However, it doesn't make this event any less newsworthy. "Context" doesn't matter to most people when you hear the quote. Reid said it. It's confirmed. Cable news and talk radio will now be using it forever against Reid and the Democrats. In addition, when you weigh the Congress, which has a 23% approval rating, against what the American people think of the U.S. military, let's just say Congress loses. You don't get anywhere by calling a chairman of the Joint Chiefs "incompetent." If you're going to level a charge make it specific and cite the situation in which the soldier failed. Letting bin Laden go at Tora Bora comes to mind. But blanket charges just won't get the job done.

The other aspect is that this is a gift for the Republicans. They've been salivating to reclaim their "strong on national security" title, which has been slipping to Democrats through the '06 election. Iraq continues to erode their stength on national security. This issue has always been the political brass ring for the GOP, but now they get to question Reid and the congressional Democrats' "supporting the troops" reality, because they've been handed a quote. This is about restoring confidence in them and winning back what they've lost. It rallies their base big time. As much trouble as they're in they can't afford to pass that up. Lord knows we wouldn't.

As for the conference call itself, this turned into an unnecessary mess. What made it worse is that no one from Reid's office was confirming it, while
Sargent said Reid sidestepped the question on whether he said it, which was the tell in this whole tale, as I wrote earlier.

Now, after a day to let the story unwind, conservatives got to frame it. That's not anyone's fault but Majority Leader Harry Reid and his office. If we were going to get this quote eventually, why not have it ready from the start; or at least confirm that Reid said what he said.
Why not? Well, because Reid doesn't have the courage of his convictions. After being slammed for his "war is lost" comment (an arguably defensible statement), Reid appears gun-shy on military issues. So, he had his fingers crossed that there would be no tape of the conversation (or prayed that no liberal blogger would "out" him).

The thing is that whether Pace is incompetent with respect to his military responsibilities, it seems pretty clear that he is somewhat dense in understanding political Washington: For example, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has no business
writing a letter of support for a defendant in the most politically radioactive case to hit the nation's capitol in years. Even if he thinks Libby is a good guy, Pace's got to think that inserting himself into a case that involves how the Iraq war was "sold" is likely not a wise thing to do when one's re-confirmation is coming up. The JCS chair is, ultimately, a political job and it takes a canny personality to survive it (love him or hate him, Colin Powell, certainly had the political chops to thrive in that job).

So, Reid could have been up front with the press on why he thought Pace wasn't the man for the job; he could have admitted using the "I" word. Instead, he tried to duck it -- and hoped that his liberal blogger troops would protect him from the firestorm that his own words created. That just makes him look craven.

And, of course, the conversation being had right now is about what Harry Reid did or didn't say about Pace -- as opposed to the daily carnage going on in Iraq. When Senate Democrats go seeking competence, do they find any in their leaders office ?

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Friday Funny

A precious little girl walks into a pet shop and asks, in the sweetest little lisp, between two missing teeth,

"Excuthe me, mithter, do you keep widdle wabbits?"

As the shopkeeper's heart melts, he gets down on his knees so that he's on her level and asks,

"Do you want a widdle white wabbit, or a thoft and fuwwy bwack wabbit, or maybe one like that cute widdle bwown wabbit over there?"

She, in turn, blushes, rocks on her heels, puts her hands on her knees, leans forward and says, in a tiny quiet voice,

"I don't think my python weally gives a thit."


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Thursday, June 14, 2007


Politics For An American Idol World...

Contributor Madscribe has been pretty tough on, ahem, A Certain Ethnic Candidate. Well, just to demonstrate that we're not biased here at RT, we hereby present someone with an alternate view:

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Parsing Fred

Over at, Chris Cillizza has parsed the recent presidential poll numbers, and come to the following conclusion about Fred Thompson:
"All of the numbers seem to bear out the conventional wisdom surrounding Thompson's candidacy -- that he is the most electable conservative in the race."

Strong words indeed. But not everyone is so enthusiastic about Fred.

In an editorial on
Newsweek, George Will had this to say about Fred:
"So far, Thompson is 99 percent charm."

While Will takes the view that the Thompson campaign is all charm, no substance, I am not so sure.

If you take the time to read Fred's blogs over at, you will see Fred has a solid foundation of political beliefs (whether you as an individual agree with them is another matter).

For me, the question about Fred is: What are his solutions to the problems? He defines problems well, in a way which I agree 100%. But what will he do as president to solve the problems?

I have my toe on the Thompson bandwagon. As soon as he presents some solutions, I may jump on the rest of the way.


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Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Don't mess with the herd...

This is one of those things you have to see to believe. Lions and crocs and buffalo, oh my!

Special thanks to Myrhaf and NoodleFood for this one.

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Andrew, Andrew...

Clearly, Mr. Sullivan is confused:

Here's a pretty revealing statement:

By a 2-1 ruling, the court held that an alien terrorist who is lawfully in the United States may not be held without trial as an enemy combatant.
Notice that Andy McCarthy knows that someone is an alien terrorist - before any trial or any due process. How does he know? Because the president has said so.
Well, duh, Andrew! Why wouldn't you trust the judgment of the president to be correct in all matters? Next thing you'll be saying that he or his advisers could possibly be wrong in their assessment of who is or isn't an enemy combatant -- or, heaven help us, that the administration might just switch designations to avoid court scrutiny!

Honestly, where does he get these things? Maybe he comes from some country where they don't understand that what the leader of the country says goes, you know?

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Women Other Women Find Hot

In the interests of "bi"-partisanship (ahem!), I pass along this list noted by Kos: the lesbian answer to Maxim's "hot" female celebrity list .

I find the diversity -- in terms of age and physical appearance, as well as ethnicity -- rather interesting.

And, yes, I've thought Tina Fey belonged on a "hot" list for many years.

Let the debate begin!

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Brilliance. Redefined

So, with all the continuing speculation and controversy over the Sopranos finale (thanks for posting, Mark), my friend and long-time THOTS kibitzer, ERA, asks a sensibile question:

Why is it in this day and age of "user created content," blogging and ever greater demand for 'audience participation,' has the finale of the "Sopranos" left people so angry? David Chase left the perfect open ending for all viewers to create their own ending. Hasn't the whole series basically been a Rorschach test (or protracted psychiatry session) on how the viewers seen Tony, his actions and his motivations -- so why not also leave Tony's fate to the viewers?
Great question.

"The movie never ends, it goes on and on and on..." Well, writer David Chase sure figured out a way to keep the Sopranos fascination/obsession going on and on and on.

Explain nothing. Justify nothing. Leave the commentary for everyone else.

I admit that I haven't been a Sopranos obsessive. I watched the first couple of seasons and then went in and out since then. I caught up on the last few episodes before the finale since I like being part of cultural conversations. Like everyone else, I was startled by the jerk into the black screen (I thought I had screwed up my new DVR). But, hey, it forced viewers into activity -- to examine previous episodes, storylines and themes (thus, leaving only part-time observers like myself completely clueless).

Hey, I'm just happy that the show concluded with perhaps my all-time favorite arena-rock guilty pleasure of the '80s.

Don't stop believing, indeed.

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Monday, June 11, 2007


Right vs. Right on Immigration

Veteran Latino conservative pundit Linda Chavez takes on conservative immigration critics -- and calls out several at National Review.

Chavez's piece is lengthy and may not be completely persuasive. One question that she raises is very easy to answer: "But fear of terrorism doesn’t entirely explain why illegal immigration has become such a hot-button issue, even in the face of declining numbers of illegal aliens entering the country."

The answer to this is rather simple: The numbers of illegal aliens entering the country may have declined, but the effects of that wave from a decade are still being felt, sort of like a tsunami that hits after the earthquake (which, being "underground" might not have been felt initially at all). It is, for example, being felt at the state level, at public schools, as many children of illegals are entering public schools. Furthermore, there is greater economic anxiety today than there was six to ten years ago, and nativist sentiment increases with economic anxiety.

Those are just two reasons to explain why the immigration issue has become such a hot-button issue (fears of terrorism aside).

Still, Linda makes some interesting points and her article is worth the read. Good for her for writing it -- and good for National Review Online for running it.

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Sopranos Finale: Horrible or Brilliant?

Imagine if in Super Bowl XXV, when Scott Norwood was lined up to kick a possible game winning field goal against the New York Giants, that suddenly the screen on the TV went blank. The coverage ends before the kick is made. No resolution. Only speculation as to what happened. Did he make the kick? Did it sail wide right? Did the Bills win? Did the Giants win? What the hell?

That is how the Sopranos ended. Everything seemed to culminate with a final scene inside an ice cream parlor. The family all in one place, and a whole lot of questions. Will Tony be killed? Will Meadow get whacked? Will the FBI storm in and arrest Tony? What the hell is going on here? And meanwhile our ears were treated to "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. But to our disbelief, the unbelievable occurred. The screen went blank.

I was watching the show in a separate room in the house from my parents. The TV that I was watching the show on was on a bit of a delay due to the combo of
TIVO and pausing. My Mom hurried in during the final minutes saying she wanted to watch the end with me because the cable had gone out on my Dad's set.

Moments later the same thing happened to mine. Just as I was about to sue
Cablevision, credits began to role for the final installment of the Sopranos.

A friend called in a nanosecond to suggest that the whole nation must have yelled a collective "what the F*%# just happened?"

Another friend suggested that the end was both "brilliant and horrible" at the same time.

So many people thought they knew (including myself) how the show would end. All of us were wrong.

Maybe that is what makes the ending work. They set up so many different expectations, that they decided to pull any answers away from us. They gave you no ending. Nothing.

People will have theories as to what might have happened. None of us will be wrong, none of us will be right. But we'll be talking about it for years to come. The show ended with the ultimate bang. A silent bang.

The ending may have been horrible, and you may have felt cheated. They did that to you purposefully. But isn't that what makes it so brilliant?

I'm off to eat my final
cannoli before bed. So long Tony and the gang. You will be missed.

Della bounanotte!

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Sunday, June 10, 2007


Rudy & Black New York

The Washington Post gives a pretty fair synopsis of Giuliani's problematic relationship with New York's African American community -- however, it took some doing to explore that relationship without mentioning Rev. Al Sharpton once.

That's not to give Sharpton undue credit, but his presence as Giuliani's, ahem, bete noire, is an historical fact. Furthermore, author Perry Bacon overlooks that the relationship between the mayor and New York blacks began to deteriorate less than a month after Giuliani took office partly due to Sharpton's orchestrated outrage over a police confrontation outside of a Harlem mosque.

This was perceived at the time as Sharpton and Co.'s initial "testing" of the mayor. Giuliani refused to take the bait and continued to keep Sharpton at arm's length. That was the right thing to do. Of course, as the article suggests, Giuliani's error was in his relations -- or lack thereof -- with other, far more moderate, black leaders.

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