Archive for May, 2005

New French PM is a man :)

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

French president Jacques Chirac has appointed former foreign and interior minister Dominique de Villepin — “who is a man,” as ScrappleFace always helpfully points out — as the country’s new prime minister after Jean-Pierre Raffarin resigned in the wake of the “non” vote on the EU constitution.

As foreign minister, de Villepin was a strong opponent of the Iraq war. As interior minister, he launched anti-immigration measures and a crackdown on radical Islam.

The Independent says his appointment as PM “signals [the] end of reform hopes.” It “was met with derision on the left and disappointment and fury among some members of parliament in M. Chirac’s centre-right party.”

The appointment also renews the debate over whether to use the “de” in his name when writing headlines about him. :)

P.S. Speaking of ScrappleFace, they’ve produced several gems recently, including “U.S. Blamed for Koran Harm in WTC Collapse” and “McCain Offers iPod to Dems Who Vote for Bolton.” :)

Meanwhile, in Tedturnerworld…

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

So, today — on Ted Turner’s BIG DAY (his 25th anniversary of CNN) — news breaks of the long-held secret of Deep Throat’s identity. So to begin his spot with Turner over the quarter-century milestone, Wolf Blitzer starts off by asking him what the revelation of the identity of Deep Throat meant to him.

So The Ted replies “It means nothing to me.” He then explains that the news that interests HIM is IMPORTANT news, GLOBAL news, news having to do with WORLD HUNGER, INTERNATIONAL news. News that isn’t ANCIENT HISTORY.

But Blitzer doesn’t give up. He asks, “Isn’t there SOME news that isn’t GLOBAL that can still be very IMPORTANT?”

Turner essentially says no.

Watergate was 30 years ago.

Now, CNN’s founding was 25 years ago.

Turner describes 25-year-old details of that IMPORTANT, GLOBAL, WORLD HUNGER-RELATED, NOT ANCIENT, and INTERNATIONAL event — HIS formation of a 24-hour news service. And he presents his creation of CNN, and his OFFER to go to Iraq in that wartime, of TRULY HEROIC proportions. And when Blitzer calls him on THAT, he continues, “Well, it WOULD have been heroic if I had gone.”

Poor Ted Turner. Imagine if his silver anniversary had fallen on 9/11/01.

Hollywood’s hottest fake romance

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Katie Holmes is so happy about her “relationship” with Tom Cruise, she herself is almost beginning to believe that it isn’t just a publicity stunt. Almost.

The “goddamn secret” is no more: Mark Felt is Deep Throat

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Here’s the Washington Post article announcing that Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Ben Bradlee have confirmed today’s Deep Throat reports. The Post‘s famous anonymous Watergate source was, officially now, former FBI associate director Mark Felt.

The best part of the Post article is this quote from Bradlee, which I can so easily imagine Jason Robards saying with his gravelly voice in All the President’s Men: “The thing that stuns me is that the goddamn secret has lasted this long.” LOL!

Confirming my suspicions, there was some doubt as to whether it was OK to confirm the reports that Felt had revealed himself as Deep Throat, given that he is somewhat senile:

Woodward went ahead despite skepticism that the former FBI official was competent to decide to change the ground rules of their secret relationship [i.e., that his name wouldn’t be revealed until he died]. Felt has been in declining health since suffering a stroke in 2001.

But I guess they bowed to the inevitable.

More on Felt here.

UPDATE: Here are some more photos of Felt, from the PDF version of the Vanity Fair article. (Here’s an HTML version, but it doesn’t include the photos.)

The photo at left shows a young Mark Felt in 1938 with his late wife, Audrey. At right is a more recent photo (taken by Vanity Fair, I believe) of Felt with his caregiver Fereimi Boladau, his daughter Joan Felt, and the family dog, Carlos.

More photos here and here.

P.S. Joel Achenbach: “The revelation that Felt is Deep Throat is a rather boring answer to a fabulous riddle.”

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CNN Breaking News

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005
— Washington Post says ex-FBI official W. Mark Felt is “Deep Throat” source of leaks about Nixon’s Watergate coverup.

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The real slim shady

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

WSJ opinion columnist Brendan Miniter has espoused the theory that Republicans need to reject the McCain philosophy in favor of hardcore conservative values. After all, strong conservative values–not moderate ones–have won Republicans their last four presidential victories.

My first response to this article was to check my calendar to ensure that we hadn’t magically slipped back to April 1st. Upon confirming my suspicions that Miniter is actually serious, I felt the need to share my utter disgust with all of you.

For example, this contention is not only foolish and false, it’s also a dangerously naive portrayal of modern electoral politics and voting:

Conservatives can and do win elections for the Republican Party. What the McCain Myth ignores is that for now a majority of voters nationwide embrace conservative principles.

First and foremost, if the majority of voters embraced “conservative principles,” they would have a very difficult time supporting Bush and his BIG GOVERNMENT, not to mention the Republicans’ recent history of trying to use federal power to quash the state judicial decisions ala Florida and America’s favorite vegetable, Terri.

Secondly, the majority of voters are not “conservative,” as is evidenced by the fact that Bush did not win the popular vote in 2000, and just barely achieved a simple majority in 2004 (50.7%) thanks to the support of many moderates who simply couldn’t stomach John Kerry.

And last but not least, Republicans would do well not to ignore the power McCain holds over them. If, as Mickey Kaus has suggested, McCain chooses to create a third party, it could easily signal the death of Republican victories in the White House for some time.

Something that Republicans would do well to remember is that both of Bush’s victories were so slight that in horseracing, a photo finish might reveal that one horse won because the jockey farted at the right time. Republicans do not have a mandate. They might be in the director’s chair now, but that could change in the blink of an eye.

This type of behavior from both party’s pundits gets my goat. Reagan had a mandate. Bush does not. Call a chicken a chicken, and don’t try to tell me that a cat is a monkey!

Jedi master Frist?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Mickey Kaus spots the real political message of Star Wars: Episode III:

There has been a lot of overhyped talk about how the new Star Wars movie, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, is an allegory for President Bush and the Iraq War. I’ve just seen the film, and can declare with some certainty that the idea that Episode III is a Bush/Iraq allegory is silly. Isn’t it obvious the movie is really an allegory for the filibuster fight? The Sith are judicial activists who would use the Force to satisfy their passions. The Jedi are the believers in judicial restraint (hence their concern with rules and democracy, their quasi-Buddhist self-denial, etc.). The story initially promises a climactic showdown between these two factions, but the violent battle turns out to merely set up the later, definitive conflict in Episodes IV, V and VI. It kicks the can down the road!

Heh.

UPDATE: Briandot thinks so too! But he thinks the Senate Republicans are the Sith. :)

Deep Throat revealed?

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Mark Felt, the former #2 man at the FBI, says he was Deep Throat.

Well, more precisely, his family says that he says that he was Deep Throat. And Vanity Fair says he told them, too. Felt, who is in poor health, has not commented publicly, nor have Woodward, Bernstein or the Washington Post.

(Hat tip: Briandot.)

There has been speculation along these lines before. In 2002, Slate described Felt as “the best guess going about the identity of Deep Throat.” The same Slate article suggests that Felt’s lucidity comes and goes, and it seems possible that he did indeed reveal to his family (and, um, Vanity Fair?) that he is Deep Throat, but that Woodstein do not feel comfortable breaking their silence on that basis, because he is simply too senile to be trusted to act in accordance with his true wishes. If that’s the case, we still won’t get final confirmation of this until Felt dies. (This guy agrees: “something makes me think that Woodward, Bernstein, and Bradlee are going to stay mum.”) [UPDATE: According to MSNBC, “Bernstein issued a statement neither denying nor confirming Felt’s claim. Bernstein stated he and Woodward would be keeping their pledge to reveal the source only once that person dies.“]

Anyway, here’s the latest article from the Washington Post, which is quick to point out, “The Washington Post had no immediate comment.”

Post blogger Joel Achenbach says, “At the moment, the newsroom is a bit abuzz about this. Bernstein won’t confirm, and there’s no word from Woodward or Bradlee.”

Achenbach concludes:

The truth is, Deep Throat is more interesting as an enigma, as a Mystery Man. Uncertainty is liberating. In foggy realms our imagination and creativity are unfettered. If D.T. is just a top FBI official, it’s a huge letdown. First of all, it’d be better (from a dramatic standpoint) if it was a White House insider, rather than someone in law enforcement. (Why does an FBI agent leaking to a reporter not seem as snazzy as, say, a White House lawyer having a spasm of conscience?) But no matter who D.T. is, he’s more interesting when we can project onto him a personality of our choosing.

So I’m hoping this latest D.T. revelation doesn’t pan out. There’ve been so many before (Pat Gray, Fred Fielding, etc.). If Mark Felt really is Deep Throat, all we can say is: Oh. Him. Um, now what do we do?

I still think it was Nixon himself.

Heh. That has long been my dad’s favorite theory… although it tends to lose credibility when you consider that, you know, Nixon has been dead for more than a decade now, and yet we still haven’t heard anything from Woodstein.

Anyway, here’s a link to the Vanity Fair article (PDF). I haven’t read it yet.

UPDATE: Bernstein’s statement notwithstanding, Felt’s identity as Deep Throat has now been confirmed. See my new post, above.

Thank You American Soldiers Everywhere…

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Both of my parents were from Germany.
My mother a German Catholic, My Father a German Jew.
Both of my parents had very different experiences during World War II , both of them learned to love America because of it’s soldiers.

My Father and his family were Holocaust Survivors who came to the United States after the war, settling into life as New Yorkers complete with a Jewish Deli and a goal to become Americans.

My Mother, who’s family hid Jews in their shop and gave their food rations to Jews who could get none , stayed in Germany.

Both of my parents told stories about the America GI’s who gave them Chocolate and food and piggy back rides.
My Father Joined the Army not long after coming To America, they stationed him in Germany as an interpreter.
He met my mother while attending his Sergeants wedding ( he married my Mom’s sister ) and well I guess you could say I am here because of the American Army!

They say that when a baby girl is born, she caries with her all of the eggs she will ever have. I have thought about that fact many times when I reflect on my family. Sometimes I am struck by the thought that World War II could have ended my life before it began.
In a way I lived though World War II as well.
In the end I know that both of my parents loved America, Loved what this country stood for and wanted to raise their children in a place where being a Jew or a Catholic did not matter.

Thank you American Soldiers for giving people hope when they had none, and giving people freedom they so deserved.

Rouge et bleu

Monday, May 30th, 2005

From Le Monde, a look at France’s red and blue states (or rather, red and blue départements) in the referendum on the EU constitution. (Hat tip: Powerline.)

I’m amused that the territory of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, which is off the coast of Newfoundland and thus distinctly closer to North America than to Europe, voted “oui.” :)

UPDATE: Here’s a more detailed map, with percentages for each département (just mouse over the desired département, and the numbers pop up).

Is Hugo Chavez dead?

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Rumors are flying about Venezuela’s dictator, who seems to have gone missing. (Hat tip: InstaPundit.)

Quote of the day

Monday, May 30th, 2005

Movie critic Nicole Sperling on Fox News, discussing the upcoming film Cinderella Man: “It stars Russell Crowe. He plays a down-and-out boxer who inspires people with his success as an underdog. It’s kind of like Seabiscuit. Except it’s not about a horse, it’s about a man.”

Me: “Wait, wait — so you’re saying Russell Crowe doesn’t play a horse?”

Trojan pride, baby!

Monday, May 30th, 2005

My favorite part of The Longest Yard: the random cameo appearance by a kid wearing a Matt Leinart jersey! :)

iPhoto ruins photos!

Monday, May 30th, 2005

When Apple said that “Mac OS X Tiger will change the way you use a computer,” I don’t think “make it impossible to use iPhoto” was what they had in mind. But that’s exactly what Tiger has done!

As I mentioned on Saturday, iPhoto has developed a nasty habit of spontaneously changing the colors of my photos when I am making non-color-related changes in Edit mode. Well, it turns out I’m not alonenot by a longshot. Dozens of Mac users have been reporting the same problem for weeks! As of yet, however, nothing has been done to fix it, nor is there any official word from Apple on when we can expect a solution. (And MacRumors.com suggests that an iPhoto fix will not be included in the next Tiger update! Apple seems to be somewhat in denial about this problem.)

Apparently the bug is with Tiger, not with iPhoto 5.0.2. So I can’t even temporarily solve the problem by downgrading to 5.0 or 5.0.1. I’m at Apple’s mercy, waiting for an OS bug fix. ARRRGH!!!

In summary:

iLife ’05, including iPhoto 5: $79
OS X 10.4 Tiger: $129
iPhoto 5 with Tiger: Priceless Worthless!

Seriously, I can’t believe that such a completely crippling (and easy to detect!) bug, which utterly destroys the functionality of one of Apple’s primary consumer software programs, could make it into a public release of the OS (nay, two public releases now). For shame, Apple QA testers, for shame!

You can see at the top of this post what iPhoto does to a picture when you go into Edit mode, make any change whatsoever, and then save it — ten times. But it’s a gradual process; even editing a photo once or twice is enough to cause perceptible changes, as this animated GIF shows:

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Another nerdypost

Monday, May 30th, 2005

I’ve got another techie question/problem, and I’m hoping one of my fellow Mac nerds will have a suggestion. :)

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