Memory Hole

Yeah, it’s embarrassing that the New York Post ran a front-page headline that John Kerry had chosen Dick Gephardt as his VP candidate, the morning that John Edwards got the nod.

But for the Daily News to slam them for it is kinda pissy, especially since the News ran a back page headline last winter that definitively stated Mike Fratello was to be named the Knicks’ head coach. Lenny Wilkens got the job and, Fratello expressly TOLD the idiot NBA-writer at the News BEFORE THE ARTICLE RAN that he wasn’t offered the job and hadn’t even talked to Knicks about it.

Back!

Not exactly rested and ready, but at least the big issue is wrapped, in time for my family’s visit for the next 7-10 days!

To get re-started, here’s a post by The Brooding Persian, about the 4th of July in Iran.

In the Persian calendar, today is 18 Tir, which has become a day of protest for Iranians. It marks the anniversary of the 1999 Iranian students national uprising, which was flat-out massacred by the troops of the theocracy. There are protests and demonstrations going on worldwide, a guide for which can be found here. If there was one in NYC tonight/this afternoon, I’d head out for it.

Update: Here’s a little more background on the events of 18 Tir back in 1999.

Solidarnosc

A leader of Poland’s Solidarity movement gave an interview to Dissent recently, explaining his support for the war in Iraq:

[W]e know what dictatorship is. And in the conflict between totalitarian regimes and democracy you must not hesitate to declare which side you are on. Even if a dictatorship is not an ideal typical one, and even if the democratic countries are ruled by people whom you do not like. I think you can be an enemy of Saddam Hussein even if Donald Rumsfield is also an enemy of Saddam Hussein.

. . .

[W]ho was worse, Ronald Reagan or Leonid Brezhnev? If I were American I would never have voted for Reagan, but as a Pole, I liked the tough position of Reagan toward Brezhnev. Perhaps Reagan did not quite understand what he was doing, and maybe Bush doesn’t understand either. But the facts are that, suddenly, Libya has begun to speak a different language. Syria has begun to speak a different language. Even North Korea has started to speak a different language. This is not to say that Bush is always right. Of course not. But you must see the hierarchy of threats, of dangers. I asked my French and German friends, Are you afraid that tomorrow Bush will bomb Paris? And can you really be sure that terrorists and fundamentalists will not attack the Louvre? So which side are you on?

Read more.

Toss-Up

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve never watched a movie or read a book by Michael Moore. It looks like Christopher Hitchens has, and he’s not happy about what he’s seen.

What’s tough for me is that I wanted to cite the following line from Hitch’s “review” of Moore’s new “documentary”:

Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of “dissenting” bravery.

Unfortunately, he totally topped himself when he called out Moore for quoting George Orwell:

A short word of advice: In general, it’s highly unwise to quote Orwell if you are already way out of your depth on the question of moral equivalence. It’s also incautious to remind people of Orwell if you are engaged in a sophomoric celluloid rewriting of recent history.

All of which is to say: read it!

Capitol Offense II

In March, my lifelong buddy Todd Kutyla provided his first VM guest-blog, about life in Washington, DC. Here’s the next one, which might seem slightly dated, but that’s because he e-mailed it over while I was traveling through California last week. I’ll try to post this stuff more timelily (okay, “in more timely fashion”), and he’ll try to write more often.

Washington DC shuts down for any number of reasons: weather, congressional budget impasses, federal holidays . . . This week it’s the memorial services for Ronald Reagan, our 40th president.

Yesterday, helicopters patrolled the skies and fighter-jets flew the missing man formation as tens of thousands of people lined Constitution Ave. to view the procession to Capitol Hill. I wasn’t among the crowd, though I did see the jets and helicopters. I watched the whole thing on the news last night. Not being a fan of Ronald Reagan, I have to say it is something awesome to behold the death of a leader who is so much a part of the modern American experience.

I guess I’m one of those odd cynics who is still sincerely moved by ceremony. I am touched by the pomp and circumstance of an Easter Mass as much as I am by the sight of a flag-draped coffin making its way down Constitution Ave. on a horse-drawn carriage. If I’m still living in this city when our 39th or 42nd President passes, I’m sure I’ll be among the mourners on the sidewalk.

I will not, however, clap as the funeral procession passes before me. That’s just not right. But, that is exactly what happened as Reagan’s body passed before the crowd yesterday–people clapped. It was odd, to say the least. At what should have been a solemn moment of reflection, people gave a standing ovation to a dead man.

That’s what we do, I guess, when we don’t know what else to do.

Silence is far too awkward. Besides, so much of everyday life has become performance that these memorials might just be a sort of awards ceremony. Not much difference, I suppose, between honoring the memory of famous person and celebrating a superior acting job. I don’t think Ronal Reagan ever won and Oscar. Without making too much of the actor-turned-president thing, I have to admit, the man who sat in the White House through so many of my formative years sure did give us one hell of a performance. As for the rest of the drama? I wasn’t too crazy about the plot but I do think some of the characters were interesting.

The current sequel has little of the subtlety or finesse of the original though, and the main character just isn’t as convincing.

TJK

By any other name

Marc Lacey at the Times interviewed Colin Powell about Sudan recently. Here’s a snippet:

MR. LACEY: Okay. Now, some have used the term “ethnic cleansing” to describe this situation and others outside of the government are even using the term “genocide.” Now, the Government of Sudan calls these terms inflammatory, inaccurate. What’s the right term here? Is this ethnic cleansing? Does this reach the level of genocide?

SECRETARY POWELL: You know, these turn out to be almost legal matters of definition and I’m not prepared to say what is the correct legal term for what’s happening. All I know is that there are at least a million people who are desperately in need, and many of them will die if we can’t get the international community mobilized and if we can’t get the Sudanese to cooperate with the international community. And it won’t make a whole lot of difference after the fact what you’ve called it.