I don't have too much punditry to add to the particulars of tonight's Oscars, but here's a column I wrote on the cult of Jon Stewart last year and another one on how silly it is to get worked up over the Academy Awards. I will say, however, the one Best Picture contender I saw, Crash, was just about the most ham-handed bit of pseudo-sociological foolishness I've ever seen; truly xenophobic in its paranoid vision of America as the ultimate racist society. Therefore, I believe Brokeback Mountain can and will be upset. Carry on.
The Spectacle Blog
The AP reports on Moqtada al Sadr's latest moves in the pursuit of Iraqi nationalism:
"Extinguish the flames of the sectarian treachery," said the followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and members of the Sunni Endowment, a government agency responsible for Sunni mosques and shrines. "Every drop of blood shed is a waste."
Just so. Why would a package of lies benefit al Sadr more than this basic truth? His support has gone in the past to Shi'ite Prime Minister Ibrahim al Jaafari. But now the PM appears as an obstacle to unity, and al Sadr has shown a consistent willingness to compromise in order to maintain and consolidate political power. My suspicion remains that the power he desires is that independent of Iran. Add to that an intuition that al Sadr will let his support for al Jaafari slip -- and that his profile will continue to rise as a force for anti-sectarianism.
Words to watch for from an Oscar source re tonight's major acceptance speeches. Count who thanks his/her mom, who thanks his/her Dad, who thanks God Almighty. Since 1992, of the 42 major waward speeches (actor, actress, movie) only five actresses have thanked mom, one actor has thanked mom, none have thanked dad alone, only one has thanked God -- Mr. Gibson.
Also, words used only once in all the speeches include "Holocaust," "uxoriousness," "WMD."
He sat down with Chris Wallace this morning on Fox News Sunday. I won't get into the he said/she said business of this. But does anyone else notice that Michael Brown's qualifications aren't even a matter of discussion anymore? Wallace is a tough interviewer, so he's not softballing Brown. The total disappearance of this matter shows how disingenuous that charge was: now that Brown's opposing the White House on the Katrina response, he's a respected expert.
Wal-Mart has buckled under the union and left-wing pressure that they sampled in Massachusetts and decided to stock the morning after pill at all pharmacies nationwide. I wrote about the Massachusetts nonsense a couple weeks ago.
This is now the Wal-Mart that is calling on the federal government to provide health insurance. Corporations should learn that giving in to the socialist tide only emboldens critics and is bad for business. Now that Wal-Mart is running scared, the lefties will push harder. Look for other states to take action similar to Maryland's discriminatory bill that forces the retailer to provide more comprehensive health insurance.
I would also guess that free market conservatives and other defenders of Wal-Mart may be less likely to defend the behemoth from the left-wing onslaught. If it won't defend itself, why bother?
Best signals source reports that on Friday morning 3/3 prayers and sermons in Baghdad and throughout the critical Sunni and Shia mosques of Iraq (and including the critical Wahhabist mosques in Arabia) the message was the same in each case: the Americans are to blame for the Samarra shrine bombing, for the spasmodic mass murder since the shrine bombing, and for the continued threat to peace in Iraq.
In blunt sum, the American occupation of
Dave Holman's cover story today on the efforts of an anti-prolife group calling itself Republican Majority for Choice (RMC) to undermine Sen. Rick Santorum's re-election chances in Pennsylvania caused a nice little brouhaha, with coverage in such outlets as the Huntington Post, Human Events, and RealClearPolitics. It also put on Sen. Arlen Specter on the spot, given that he is a member of the RMC's advisory board. Was this the payback Santorum deserved for his support of Specter's re-election two years ago, which saw Santorum having to choose Specter over true conservative Pat Toomey?
Evidently embarrassed by this turn of events, Senator Specter issued this letter today. A copy was e-mailed to us by one of his staffers earlier this evening, after everyone had gone home:
March 3, 2006
Republican Majority for Choice
1660 L St, NW Suite 609
Washington, DC 20036
To Ms. Stockman and Ms. Merrill:
Quin: If Chertoff gets the boot, which he should, there should be a housecleaning. Removing him isn't enough. And his replacement shouldn't be a spec ops guy. The whole idea is to get someone who can plan things on a large scale or small, is used to thinking in C3I terms -- command, communications and intelligence -- and has real operational experience in senior command levels. Time to separate the staff weenies and academics from the TACAMO crew. Take charge and move out, people.