Have they no sense of honor? (Small Update)

I was reading through the various blogs I link to, when I found this on Noble Duty:


Not a single elected official from New York is going to attend the launching of this vessel?  Not one current or former official from the 9-11 days is going?  What are these people thinking?

Rudy has begged off.  Pataki said no.  Spitzer said no.  Joe Bruno and Shelly Silver passed.  What about Peter King?  Or Charlie Rangel?  No, and no.  Bloomberg?  A definite maybe.  Representatives from the NYPD, NYFD, and Port Authority will be there, but none of our elected officials.

This one bears a little digging to find out why none of these people will make the one day trip to Mississippi to christen the new vessel.  With 7 tons of steel recovered from Ground Zero at the WTC in it’s prow, one would think the USS New York would have more meaning than what the politicians are giving it. 

I’ll have to fire off a series of emails to as many as I can contact, and see what sort of responses I get, if any.


One NY politician attended the event.  US Rep. Vito Fosella (R) attended and spoke.

I have yet to receive any responses from the emails I sent out.


God Speed Mr.Buckley

It was with a degree of sadness that I learned today of the passing of William F. Buckley jr.  The Conservative and political icon was a force in American political thought for over 50 years.  Rising from relative obscurity, to founding the National Review, to his Firing Line TV show, to his mentoring of various politicians from Goldwater to Reagan, he made more than a mere impression on the landscape of America.

Buckley became the philosopher king of the Conservative movement.  He took what was a moribund movement, fractured, disjointed, and almost irrelevant, and made it a big tent whole that rose to prominence in American politics.  He, more than anyone, made Conservatism acceptable in the liberal post-war world. 

Buckley was unique in the world of American politics.  He was a deep thinker, but had a biting acerbic wit.  A wit and a style that won him many more friends than enemies (Gore Vidal not with standing), even among his political, ideological, and philosophical oppponents.  His debating on TV, on Firing Line, was pure entertainment.  Buckley was a master of words, and of using them to his best advantage.  And he only rarely lost his temper (Gore Vidal again), usually maintaining a calm, almost disconcerting calm in the face of verbal barrages.  That unwavering calm was more disarming to his opponents than any quick turn of phrase or insightful witicism.

Some links:

Yahoo Obit

NRO Notice



I was one of many who enjoyed watching Firing Line.  Buckley attracted a wide variety guests, from pop culture figures, to politicians.  He was what Bill Maher thinks Bill Maher is.  It didn’t matter what the subject matter was, Bill Buckley always had a comment or three, and never strayed from the facts.  Even in jest, he had full command of the subject at hand.

So farewell Mr.Buckley.  God speed.

Myriad Musings

I didn’t want to go into any one subject in depth today.  So what you get are more “sound bite” musings.  Suffer or enjoy as you wish.

Ralph Nader is once again running for President.  Ho-hum.  The only person he’d be a factor for is Hillary, who would lose votes to him.  Otherwise, McCain and Obama have nothing to even worry about.

Obama’s picture in traditional Somali garb is making the rounds.  Even made the Schenectady Gazette.  Big whoop on this one too.  All sorts of people, from Presidents, to diplomats, to Congressional types, to average every day citizens have done things like this.  Another non-story that some how became a story.

Looks like Roger Clemens will be facing a perjury investigation.  He might have avoided it if that picture (yet to be released AFAIK) of him at the Canseco party he said he didn’t go to hadn’t surfaced.  On a related note, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are allegedly looking at signing Barry Bonds.  Honestly, Tampa Bay is too good for Bonds.  Bud Selig should make Bonds sign with Kansas City for the MLB minimum.  That should be good for at least 5 years off whatever he gets from his perjury trial.

Never, ever, play Mahjong with old guys who refer to Confucius as “that young upstart from the country side.”

Jack Cafferty is still an idiot.  How this moron ever got on TV is beyond me.  His inane “rants” and monologues are not entertaining, or informative, or enlightening.  He’s a twit on TV, so people give him undeserved credence.

The Oscar ceremony was on Sunday night.  I, like 99% of planet, did not watch any of it.  The whole Academy Awards thing is so irrelevant now, and is little more than a bunch of Hollywood insiders glad handing each other. 

Robert Mugabe, wanna-be dictator for life of Zimbabwe (aka Rhodesia), expelled a former party loyalist who dared to challenge him for the presidency.  He then threw a lavish birthday party for himself, commandeering buses and taxis to truck the well wishers to a spot outside of Harare (aka Salisbury).  The level of decadence really doesn’t matter, as the nation is already facing a food shortage, and 18,000% inflation. 

Turns out my favorite TV cook, Anthony Bourdain, not only has a really fun TV show, No Reservations, but a blog as well.  Read it here: http://anthony-bourdain-blog.travelchannel.com/

 Been about 3 months since I last posted a comics review.  Mea Culpa.  Deal with it.  But a quick run down of a few things.  Joe Q at Marvel is a twit.  J.Michael Straczynski gets a bit of sympathy from me for his dealings with Joe Q, but he’s still a mediocre hack writer.  DC is ramping up for their “final crisis” event.  Geoff Johns is still the man among comics writers today.  Sergio Aragonnes has returned with a new Groo limited series. Best non-traditional titles are: DMZ, Scalped, Progamme, and Drafted.

The Boston Celtics still have the best record in the NBA.  They’re sliding a bit right now, but what a turn around from last year!

The Red Sox have signed Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal.  An interesting move.  It’s fairly risk free, and whatever Colon gives, as long as it’s better than Joel Pinero will be a bonus. 

Just checked, Jack Cafferty is still a moron.

Ed Morrissey, The Captain’s Quarters, is shutting that down and moving to Hot Air.  I’m not sure I like this move, but will have to wait and see how this effects the Captain’s style and substance.  Here’s to hoping…

Can’t think of anything else at the moment.  Well, except maybe trying to get Jack Cafferty to play Mahjong with some older Chinese gentlemen for real money…

The Hatchet Job (UPDATED)

Let the games begin!  The NY Times has put forth an “article” attacking John McCain.  As has become typical of what passes for journalism at the NYT.  Relying on innuendo, no corroboration, and no identifiable sourcing, they have put forth what can only be called character assassination in print.

The NYT has gone to ground on this one.  They aren’t defending the article, at least not publicly.  While they say they “stand behind” the article, they won’t go on air, either on TV or radio to defend their reporting.  They hide behind memos and releases.  They have refused any and all offers to appear on various shows. They ignore the information provided not only to them, but other press outlets by the McCain campaign, as well as statements by the principles of the alleged incidents.   Not to mention that this has been brewing since October of last year, since when the McCain people have been providing the NYT with information regarding the issue. 

Of course none of that really matters to the NYT.  Where once the motto was “All the news that’s fit to print,” it’s now “All the news we can make fit into our agenda.”  Truth?  Journalistic integrity?  All long gone now from the NYT.  How can anyone be expected to take this scream sheet seriously anymore?  I mean come on, Drudge wouldn’t run the story, but the NY Times will?

And why sit on this until now?  From what’s being reported elsewhere, not only Drudge had the story in December, but the New Republic Online did as well, with both seeking comment from the McCain campaign.  This one smells, and badly.  It reeks not only of bad journalism, but political partisanship, character assassination, and tabloid titilation.

Some links for further reading:

FOX News


The Captain’s take

McCain Press Secretary Jill Hazelbaker


John Weaver’s Comments on the article

Howard Opinsky at Politico

Looks more and more like the NYT fumbled this one almost as bad as Dan Rather did at CBS.  No need for a strong denial as the story has no legs.


Lanny Davis on his role

More from Captain’s Quarters  Be sure to follow links to Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The report from the LA Times about the Boston Globe’s refusal to run the story.

One more from the Captain

Another End of an Era

Well, by now everyone on the planet Earth, except maybe those who rely on Venezuelan State TV, knows that Fidel Castro has “resigned” as “President” of Cuba.  Whle this event is oh say 50 years late in coming, it is welcome news.  It was wonderful to see Little Havana in celebration in Miami. 

What has been interesting to see is how not only have the politicians reacted, but in how the mass media outlets have couched the announcement.  McCain called the announcement “over due,” and that Cuba’s march towards deomcracy was “inevitable.” Read the full statement here: http://politicomafioso.blogspot.com/2008/02/senator-mccain-statement-on-resignation.html  Not to be outdone, and to try to regain some of the Cuban-American vote, Hillary and Obama chimed in as well.  Obama kept with his theme (or is it meme at this point?) of “change,” saying “If the Cuban leadership begins opening Cuba to meaningful democratic change, the United States must be prepared to begin taking steps to normalize relations and to ease the embargo of the last five decades. The freedom of the Cuban people is a cause that should bring the Americans together.” Hillary Clinton tried to sound “Presidential,” but came across as anything but: “And we need a president who will work with countries around the world in Europe and the Western Hemisphere to push Cuba now to join the community of nations and to become a democracy. And I will certainly do that as president.” 

Obama and Hillary quotes from CNN: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/02/19/castro.candidates/index.html#cnnSTCText

On the media front, there is some interesting and intriguing items of note on this.  The biggest of course is how CNN decided to handle the presentation of Fidel’s resignation.  It seems that at least one person at CNN decided that the anchors should focus on the “good” of the Castro regime.  (Hat tip to CrushLiberalism)  Two links of note here: http://thenaturaltruth.blogspot.com/2008/02/cnn-were-extra-fair-and-balanced-for.html http://www.babalublog.com/cgi-bin/mt/hut.cgi/7458

That email is pretty damning, and indicates a lot of bad management at CNN if it got all the way through.  Even if it only had an “advisory” effect, it still puts CNN in a bad light.  Not that CNN hasn’t shot itself in the foot before.  Even so, someone at CNN, someone in a position to actually do something, needs to do a house cleaning.  This sort of thing is just too pervasive in the mass media today, and this is just the latest incident.  It’s not just CNN, but they do get caught more often than others.  We need a return to honest journalism, and not this advocacy masquerading as “news.”

Peace in Our Time (Kinda sorta..)

The war is all but over.  One side has capitulated, and is withdrawing from the field of battle.  No, it’s not what you’re thinking.  I’m talking about the next genertaion DVD format.

After suffering a series of crippling blows to it’s efforts, Toshiba has announced it’s dropping the HD-DVD format.  Not only is it dropping it, but is going to be buying back existing stock from retailers.  This is not just a blow to Toshiba (the master minds of HD-DVD), but to it’s partners as well: Paramount, Universal, Sanyo, and Microsoft.  All had invested a good deal of capital into the HD-DVD format, and in a few cases had banked on it being the next common format (especially for PC’s and lap tops). 

Two links for reading:



I’m happy I that I did not invest in an HD-DVD player or an X-Box 360.  Of course, I never intended to ever buy an X-Box in any form.  So my purchase of a PS3 is looking smarter than before.  Since purchasing it last November, I have added 10 Blu-Ray movies to my collection, and for new movies am looking mainly at Blu-Ray as my prefered format.  In reality, I had planned on getting a PS3 anyway (Final Fantasy addict here!), so the Blu-Ray was a bonus, much like the PS2’s DVD capability was.  In both the case of the PS2 and PS3, they were my first foray into the next generation format.

But more than that, I’m quite pleased to see Microsoft (or Micro$oft, MicroSux, or Micro-Borg) get a bit of a come uppance.  I’m also snickering madly at all those X-Box partisans who were touting the HD-DVD player for it.  Muhahahahaha!!!  Suckers! 

I do feel a bit sorry for all those who plunked down the cash for an HD-DVD player (but not the X-Box add on!).  But as has been said repeatedly on the news and in articles, this was much like the Beta vs VHS fight of the 1980’s.  Back then, Sony lost out with Betmax.  This time they stomped the competition with Blu-Ray.

IMO, the Blu-Ray format is slightly better than the HD-DVD format.  Blu-Ray players tend to be more stable, and less sensitive, and the discs have a greater storage capacity.  The downside, at least until now, was the cost factor.  But even with players at $100-200 less than a Blu-Ray player, HD-DVD could not catch on.  Of course the distinct lack of a marketing effort didn’t help either.  And then there’s who partnered with Toshiba on this.  Sanyo, Paramount, and Universal were good partners.  Paramount and Universal had the movie libraries to get an “in” with consumers, and Sanyo had the manufacturing and distribution assets to help out.  But Microsoft?  Not so good. 

To alot of people (myself included), being associated withMicrosoft is a bad thing.  Microsoft is not exactly known for “high quality products,” as evidence by the numerous buggy Window’s releases, and all sorts of compatibility and development issues.  Plus, Microsoft has a reputtation of wanting to be a monopoly, and stiffle competition.  They want to be your one and only source for all things computer (at least in the home and small business market).  So when they signed on to HD-DVD, it actually hurt Toshiba’s efforts. 

But for consumers at large, this surrender by Toshiba is a good thing.  Actually it didn’t matter who won, as long as one came out on top.  Now, when consumers go to get a nextgen player, there won’t be competing formats, just competing manufacturers.  It will reduce the costs of companies who put out DVD’s in converting to a new format, and streamline the production and distribution of the new discs.

In The News

Reading through the various news sites, a few  stories caught my attention this morning.  All three are WW2 related.  One is a story about MIA’s, the other two Holocost related.  Each has its interesting aspects, and one might be far more important than seems on the surface.

First off is the tale of 3 MIA’s from WW2 being identified:


I need to look into the numbers, but IIRC, several thousand soldiers, sailors and airmen remain missing from WW2.  There are even still MIA’s listed from WW1 and the Spanish-American War.  This is proof that even though WW2 is long over, and our “Greatest Generation” is disappearing at an alarming rate, we still take full advantage of each possibility that arises to determine the fate of our missing soldiers (Ted Sampley not withstanding).

The other two stories are a bit more, “sordid,” and have a certain dark aspect to them.  But don’t let that disuade you.  These are the sorts of stories that must still be told. 

First off, aformer SS guard was deported from Canada to Italy.  The man dubbed the “Beast of Bolzano,” Michael Seifert, was extradited from Vancouver to Toronto then on to Rome.  He had been tried and convicted in absentia in 2000 under an Italian Military Tribunal (where have I heard of those before Hmmmm?).  Canadian authorities tried to strip him of his citizenship for having hid his past when he entered the country in 1951.  The Canadian Supreme Court finally ruled against him, and off he went.  Read the story here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,330809,00.html

The other story comes from France, where they are still dealing with their role not only in WW2, but in how the nation reacted to the attrocities of the Holocost.  This has been a sticky issue in France since they were liberated in 1944, more so as it applies to the Vichy regime.  Some such as the right wing loon Jean Marie LePen, have and will argue against this sort of thing, but that’s part of the whole problem in France and its national memory.

To combat this in a small degree, French President Nicholas Sarkozy has proposed a plan for French school children to “adopt” a Holocost victim.  The story is here: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/15/france.sarkozy.ap/index.html

I find this to be an admirable effort on his part.  The resistance from the Teacher’s Unions, and the LePen rightists is not going to win out hopefully.  I like the concept honestly.  Each school child would “adopt” a child sent off to the camps, learn about them as people, and their eventual fate.  My only disagreement is the level of schooling that this would be implemented for.

I have an 11 year old daughter in the 5th grade.  While she is very intelligent, very observant, and handles complex issues well, I’m not sure or convinced that she has the necessary life experiences and knowledge base to handle such a task.  If this was targeted at 7th or 8th graders (or the French schooling equivalent), I would have no issue at all. 

We don’t have a standard program like this in the US as far as I am aware.  Much of this varies from state to state.  Here in NY we have mandated progams not only on the Holocost, but on the Irish Famine of the 1840’s, and on the Armenian Genocide.  But nothing quite so personal as Sarkozy’s proposal. 

As Sarkozy said, “If you do not talk to them of this tragedy, then you should not be surprised if it repeats itself,” Sarkozy said. “It is ignorance that prompts the repetition of abominable situations, not knowledge. Make our children into children with open eyes.”