The Spectacle Blog

Blackhawks, Apaches and Such

By on 12.9.05 | 11:05PM

BAGHDAD AND CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Sorry this is a bit late folks, but this old man was pretty beat last night. We had dinner with Gen. George Casey, the overall commander, late last night. It's now about 0730 in Baghdad and we're leaving shortly to visit the Iraqis' army-in-training.

Their army in training is only a small part of what Iraq is doing to defend itself. Their active army is, as I saw yesterday, something in being. Note to Dr. Dean: you're not needed at home, but the docs in the hospital I visited yesterday can always use a couple of extra hands. Those Iraqis you think aren't fighting for themselves are showing up for treatment, and not for runny noses. The guy in the ICU I saw yesterday had been shot in the stomach. Our people (those docs are fabulous) are giving him the same care our people get (except that he won't be evacuated to the States within hours of being hit). Our troops are surviving really grievous wounds because these docs are working endlessly, skillfully, and with the Air Force's support getting patients back to the States often within a day of being wounded.

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Re: BBSes

By on 12.9.05 | 9:46PM

I actually ran a BBS briefly; it was called A Perfec World, and no one besides me seemed to think that misspelling "perfect" was particularly funny. (I was trying to gently spoof the Zeitgeist -- other local boards were called Elysium and El Dorado -- but I don't think anyone really got the joke.) I also had a soft-spot for the BBS cousin, the DDial; I frequented the legendary Point Zer0 Chat (mentioned in Wikipedia's entry on DDials), though always as a "non" (that is, I never paid the fee to join).

Looking back, I have to say I think Julian over-romanticizes the period just a bit. Some of the really successful boards amounted to the internet writ tiny and reduced to its most adolescent and frivolous core: a raging Mac vs. PC flamewar. There's a reason the Web killed 'em off.

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Re: BBS Revisited

By on 12.9.05 | 4:07PM

J.P., like any self-respecting nerdy kid I too frequented bulletin board services in the early '90s. Now that I think of it, I've been using the Internet for political debate since 1994, when I frequented local BBS's in Missoula to favor Sen. Conrad Burns in his reelection bid. Otherwise, most services had fun games, etc.

But priests telling folks to gather 'round the computer? Bite your tongue! These are pastors -- men of the cloth but not the collar.

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Bulletin Board Services Revisited

By on 12.9.05 | 3:11PM

Julian Sanchez has a great story up (I was late in getting to it, though I try reading him often) about our Internet's humble and cultish origins. Here's an excerpt:

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Mitt Romney’s Balancing Act

By on 12.9.05 | 2:51PM

Pro-life or not? Gov. Romney is having a hard time making up his mind. He advertised himself as pro-abortion friendly to get elected in Massachusetts, then earlier this year sent signals to the right that he's an undercover pro-lifer. Now he's vacillating in the same week. Earlier this week, he supported an exemption in the new requirement that hospitals distribute the Plan B morning after pill for hospitals that objected on moral or religious grounds (i.e., Catholic ones). After his lieutenant governor slammed the position, Romney's legal counsel interpreted the statute yesterday so as not to exempt such private hospitals.

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Lions and Witches and Wardrobes, Oh My!

By on 12.9.05 | 1:29PM

True to Lewis. True to the story. Most of all, true to the best spirit of movie-making.

Last night's lucky audience at the Springfield AMC Theater -- the first people in the DC area to see The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe -- were not disappointed. Cheers, laughs, chills and lumps in throats abounded. One of those rare movies that will be a "must buy" when it is released on DVD.

The performances were A-one (the four kids were perfect and the Cockney-accented Beaver was spot on), as were the effects, the landscapes, the score and the dialogue which hewed closely to that of the book. On film. it remained one of those true children's stories that can engage and enthrall the adult imagination as well.

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For Posterity

By on 12.9.05 | 1:05PM

I was tracking down a web location for the Kerry spokesman's now-infamous comment about Ken Mehlman and Rush Limbaugh. It was read aloud on Wolf Blitzer's show Tuesday. The transcript is here.

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Garden State Produce

By on 12.9.05 | 12:50PM

New Jersey's governor-elect Jon Corzine came through the other day by tapping Rep. Bob Menendez to fill his vacated Senate seat. Some partisans opponents of the nomination couldn't be more outraged. But the New York Times? Listen to its editorializing:

... since entering politics as a corruption-fighting mayor of Union City, N.J., Mr. Menendez has become a proponent of business as usual....Most recently, Mr. Menendez has failed to answer questions about his relationship with Kay LiCausi, a young former aide of his. He has helped her get hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying contracts and political consulting work....The last elected governor, James McGreevey, had to resign over such a situation. And Mr. Corzine got involved with the head of a union representing state workers, then forgave her a loan of more than $400,000 when the relationship ended....

Not since Rome has a one-party state had so many main squeezes on the imperial payroll.

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Simmering Scandal

By on 12.9.05 | 12:17PM

The Abramoff octupus has many tentacles. The Sacramento Bee today covers one of them involving a former congressional aide turned lobbyist who already has invoked the Fifth Amendment in front of John McCain. Although not charged with wrongdoing, he has apparently yet to explain why he billed his membership in Washington's University Club as an expenditure to be covered by the Mississippi Choctaws. Meanwhile, for an under six-figure fee from each he has brought millions in federal money to two Sacramento-area towns, which couldn't be happier with his good work. Nothing illegal there. So why the story?

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Our Next Jimmy Carter?

By on 12.9.05 | 11:48AM

In light of Bill Clinton's Dubai comments undermining American foreign policy, this news is particularly disturbing: the former president is headed to Montreal today to speak at a United Nations climate change conference.

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