is older than it's ever been and now it's even older


Back from the brink and around the world, part II

Some pleasures in life are best because they are guilty pleasures. Yesterday, for instance, Maggie and I went to see The Bourne Identity and then immediately snuck in to see Minority Report. It was really fun and both were good movies. Minority is especially good, partially because the whole movie has a really interesting look about it; almost as close to black and white as you can get without being actual B/W, it appears devoid of color; greys and shadows seem to rule. Spielberg himself acknowledged that the film is as much film noir as it is science fiction (and one of the pre-cogs is named Dashiell. Hmmm....), and as a whole, the thing works tremendously well.

As for the state of the world...

Asia, South: India and Pakistan have backed themselves into a corner with this ridiculous near-war over Kashmir. Pakistan is in the wrong because they have allowed their territory to be used as a staging ground for terror. India, however, has ignored UN resolutions and their own promise (dating from 1947) to allow a plebiscite for self-determination in their areas of Jammu and Kashmir, which they reneged on. Both countries are being illogical, and the logic of war begins to take over in that case. "If the terror doesn't stop, that means that we are justified in snuffing out many lives."

Europe: Thank god for a boring continent. (Ducks piles of rotting bananas and newly tarriffed steel.)

Antarctica: I would like to go here before I croak. These scientists would like to leave Antarctica before they croak.

Australia: I tried so hard to find something interesting about Australia to comment on for today. To no avail. Bugger.

Blood? Bowl?

The latest silly game I've been playing is the bizarre fantasy football game called Blood Bowl. I can't really recommend this to you unless you like football a lot or like playing board games with models, or generally like weird board games with many rules and a lot of strategy. And death. If that applies to you, please go find this game now. That is all.


Back from the brink and around the world, part I

The decline of my website began with my admission into law school, but the breaking point came when law.com featured my site as a featured one. With the introduction of my website to my career choice, the edginess was sucked right out of my creativity, which eliminated much of my creative impulse. I can see that now with the detached examination of being a few months since that critical turning point—no more LAPIs(Links Appealing to the Prurient Interest) or other such naughtiness.

Of course, the terrible thing about the withering on the vine that has been HBII in 2002 is that I still didn’t get a legal job; 25-someodd resumes out there and only one interview. I am sorely tempted to turn this into a porn site.

Just kidding! On the other hand, I am more than happy to loose my tongue on some more politically charged subjects, such as current events. Let’s go continent by continent.

South America: I feel very bad for the Argentines right now. 1. They lost in the first round of the World Cup, which even the US made it out of. 2. Their economy is shit. Devalued currency, crashing job market, and worse, a banking policy that has stopped millions of ordinary citizens from even retrieving their money. For ten years the peso and the dollar were pegged 1 to 1, and people deposited dollars in their bank accounts, many going to American banks because our banks were more trusted than the ones indigenous to the area. Then in January, Argentina de-pegged and floated the currency, and soon the exchange rate rose upwards of 4 to 1. Worse, people who deposited dollars or dollar-pegged pesos were only allowed to withdraw newly de-pegged pesos from the banks, when they were able to withdraw at all, which has been not often since the crisis began. Finally, from what I hear, many Argentines are blaming the American banks for these policies, since they seem to be designed to stop bank runs, which would hurt our multinational banking conglomerates. Sad stuff.

North America: I asked Maggie to rank the top five evil people in the Bush Administration, and we came up with this order:
1. John Ashcroft. Pure, unadulterated evil. Hypocrite: in favor of state’s rights, unless the states want assisted suicide or medical marijuana. Evil: uses the war on terror to justify using a petty criminal as a test case to remove constitutional due process rights for a fair trial (see Jose Padilla).
2. Condaleeza Rice. Too smart to associate herself with these people unless she was evil.
3. Dick Cheney. The evil brains of the outfit. Cloistered in a secret hideout, from where he controls the president’s motions by joystick.
4. Karl Rove. The evil propagandist. The Goebbels of the administration.
5. George W. Bush. The pawn; a proxy of the corporate goblins that run the country.

Honorable mentions: Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, whoever came up with the idea of submitting U.S. citizens to the military tribunals, and Ari Fleischer.

In all the recriminations over who knew what before September 11 (by the way, I propose the following referent to that day: TEOSE: The Events Of September Eleventh), I would like to mention the elephant in the room. If the FBI and CIA had been concerned with defending our country instead of fighting the absurd, expensive, worthless, and utterly fruitless war on drugs, they might have put the pieces together. As for the Afghanistan portion of the war; it was prosecuted effectively and was justified. However, that had nothing to do with Bush. If it had been Al Gore (or McCain or Bradley or Gary Bauer or whoever) in the presidency, it would have been the same story. Bush deserves no accolades for allowing the bureaucracies in the Defense and State department to do what they would have, and for permitting the armed forces to do what armed forces do. Bush showed initial leadership and a good face, and proceeded to squander the world’s goodwill towards us by striking out on a unilateralist effort to show that we were still a potent world power. Hardly an impressive presidency so far. Mark my words: As a Republican, there will be a good scandal. The press thought it might be Enron, but there was probably nothing there. There will be.

Asia: the Mideast: Of all the terrible stories going on in the world right now, none is worse than what is happening in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. It breaks my heart to see the Likud government led by Ariel Sharon systematically rolling back every inch of progress made by such courageous fighters for peace such as Itzhak Rabin, and using the pretext that Yassir Arafat supports terrorism to justify destruction of all bastions of the nascent Palestinian state. The Israelis are blind; by keeping the Palestinians in fear, impoverished, and worse, under constant attack by superior military forces, they entrench the conflict and ensure that the underclass remains radicalized against them. Peace building measures are the only way out, yet the Israelis are attempting a military solution to a terrorist problem. Here lies the first major tragedy of the War on Terrorism: the governments that repress and kill their people in the name of suppressing terror. It has become a blank check in Central Asia, Russia, and India, and in Israel it’s being taken to horrifying extremes. And as long as the state of Israel continues to hide behind anti-Semitism as their explanation for why EVERY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD besides the US is against their policies, no real progress is likely.

To be continued.

Obligatory Nixon Link

A fascinating, thorough examination of the search for Deep Throat. Conclusion: Pat Buchanan. (!)

If your dad was governor, and didn’t stay at the governor’s mansion on Friday nights, what would you do? Would you party? Tyrel Ventura did. Considering that Jesse just closed the place after a budget spat with the legislature (he was mad because they wouldn’t fund enough security, in his mind), it makes me wonder if that reason wasn’t pretext. “One more college kid puking in the pool room and I’m CLOSING this mansion!” Indeed.