April 1, 2009

Web Reconnaissance for 04/01/2009

A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Russ Dvonch: Heroic Hollywood: Something We Can Believe In – Again - There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth writing about. I’m going to take the boss at his word that the modest objective of Big Hollywood is “to change the entertainment industry. To make Hollywood something we can believe in – again. In order to give millions of Americans hope.” And further: “Until conservatives, libertarians and Republicans…recognize that (pop) culture is the big prize and that politics is secondary, there will be no victory in this important battle.” But what is it, culturally, that Hollywood can do that will make us believe in it again and give millions of Americans hope? What is it we can do win the battle for pop culture? It’s nothing Hollywood hasn’t done before. The only problem is, it’s doing far too little of it lately. Which is a shame, because it’s something that Hollywood does better than anyplace on earth. Hollywood’s gift to America – and the world – is the Hollywood Hero. (READ MORE)

Victor Davis Hanson: The Good—Part III - Ok—after those depressing six “bad” and “ugly” trends, here are three things that bring at least some optimism in otherwise trying times. The Good - 1) Technology. For all the dangers and destruction inherent in access to instant electronic information and communication (cf. the subprime mortgage bundles and computer programs that accelerated innate human idiocy), there often can be much good in such a radically egalitarian enterprise. Today’s peasant in Guatemala with a cell phone or a stop at an Internet café, has more knowledge of market futures at his hands than had aristocratic grandees of the 1940s. I used to tote books and magazines on trips to do research and write contemporary commentary. Now? I can confirm in 10 seconds on the Internet that once again Sen. Dodd is not telling the truth or reread the Melian Dialogue of Thucydides in Greek, or learn what Sun Maid paid on free tonnage for raisins in 1982—whether in rural Fresno County or in a dingy hotel in Mexico. (READ MORE)

Marc Ambinder: The Units - It's about time to write about Sy Hersh's allegation of an 'executive assassination ring" inside the U.S. government: “Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it's called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ... ‘Congress has no oversight of it. It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on.’” The Joint Special Operations Command is a nominally secret branch of the U.S. Special Operations Command responsible for so-called "special mission units." In case you hadn't noticed, they're very, very special. (READ MORE)

Army Girl: To Go or Not - I've been letting people know that I plan on deploying. I notified my unit that I am giving up my WOC slot in order to do so. My sister probably expected it. She just asked, "What about WOC?" and I told her I didn't join the Army to be a Warrant Officer. That's about as simple as I can get with the answer. Then I let my buddy know... and he didn't take it so well. The conversation ended with him telling me he wasn't going to my funeral and my telling him he wasn't invited. He's been going through a lot lately and everything seems to be coming back up. It was at this time three years ago that we were down in Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province. The three year anniversary of our Alive Day is coming up. I know why it's all coming back... the anxiety, the stress, the invasive thoughts. I've learned to live with it. I know what to expect now around about this time of year and I am ok with it. It's just the way it is. (READ MORE)

Cassandra: More Randy Musings... Heh - Interesting discussion over at Grim's on the "Money Speech" I posted the other day. He argues, if I understand what he is saying (and I may not) that men work for love, not money: I agree with Grim's assertion that men (and women, for I know this to be so of my own experience) work harder when they have loved ones to protect. Indeed, for a woman with children, this is very much the case. Children invade all facets of a mother's life; little if anything of her former self or individuality are left to her when she has a houseful of little ones constantly demanding care, attention, feeding. I can remember being utterly absorbed in caring for my two small sons. As many women do, I began to lose myself in caring for them. It was a battle I fought constantly. (READ MORE)

Warner Todd Huston: AP Confuses Criticism of Obama With ‘Racial Slurs’ - Proving that the left cannot tell the difference between “racism” and “criticism,” the AP posted a lengthy March 30 story confusing and conflating the two as it pertains to attacks on President Obama. As far as the AP is concerned it seems the whole country is running around with burning crosses and wearing pointy hoods aiming to cast racial epithets at Obama at every turn. It may as well still be the year 1860 around here. The AP starts its piece by informing the reader that “racial slurs continue” against the president “despite” his “historic achievement.” But the main problem with the piece is that much of the report details political attacks that aren’t really racial in nature but are instead just those normal sorts of political attacks we see against any president. Granted they are tailored for Obama (like his citizenship and religion questions) but they aren’t really “racial” attacks per se. Still, the AP illegitimately lumps any and all attacks against Obama under the rubric of “racial slurs.” (READ MORE)

Melanie Phillips: The suicide of American sovereignty - As London locks down in feverish anticipation of the arrival of The One,Commentary publishes an important essay by John Bolton on an academic paper articulating what he correctly perceives to be the underlying rationale for Obama’s foreign policy – nothing less than the ending of American sovereignty. The progressive classes in Britain and Europe have signed up to this idea for years. Dubbed ‘transnational progressivism’, it is based on the belief that the nation state is in and of itself the cause of all the ills of the world, from prejudice to war. Nations cause nationalism; nationalism causes conflict; abolish nations and you abolish conflict and usher in the brotherhood of man. War is replaced by diplomacy, and transnational institutions and values trump national ones. It’s the rationale behind the European Union: (READ MORE)

ShrinkWrapped: The Height of Immorality - Only in a publication that is the apotheosis of conventional thinking can Tom Friedman be considered an innovative, cutting edge thinker. Today he manages to combine his working "knowledge" of economics with his lack of knowledge about science to coin a new phrase which will soon be part of the elite Conventional Wisdom: “The Price Is Not Right - I don’t expect much from the G-20 meeting this week, but if I had my wish, the leaders of the world’s 20 top economies would commit themselves to a new standard of accounting — call it ‘Market to Mother Nature’ accounting. Why? Because it’s now obvious that the reason we’re experiencing a simultaneous meltdown in the financial system and the climate system is because we have been mispricing risk in both arenas...” Leaving aside the intriguing question of how he went from "mark to market" to "Market to Mother Nature", the presumption that Tom Friedman, or anyone else, understands the "real costs to the environment and real risks of disruptive climate change" is so inane as to be beneath derision. (READ MORE)

Rightwing Nuthouse: THE ILLUSION OF OPPORTUNITY - Patrick Ruffini wrote a post on his Next Right site yesterday where he sees a golden opportunity for the GOP to gain some political ground by running on an agenda that includes healthy cuts in the size of government. He believes the GOP is “galivinized” to make cutting government by a third - back to 2007 levels - the centerpiece of a revival even if, as he realistically points out, not much will change given the huge advantage currently enjoyed by liberals in Congress. It’s an ambitious proposal and is predicated on the idea that people will reject the naked statism being advanced by President Obama and come home to the party of smaller government as a reaction to the bail-out culture as well as the heavy handed attempts by the Administration to gain outright control of companies like GM and AIG. (READ MORE)

Dan Riehl: How Dumb Are They? Republicans Think They Won One Here - The stupidity of establishment Republicans never ceases to amaze me. Obviously the Inside the Beltway boyz are pushing this as a big deal. Remember the knives that came out for Palin in the wake of the worst Republican campaign since Bob Dole's? Well, they haven't been put away. The Republicans in DC should take the advice Chuck Grassley recently offered to AIG execs and take the knife to themselves. You idiots couldn't even easily put away a special election for a District in which Republicans out numbered Dems by tens of thousands. For the most part the GOP has lost touch with the people. And reaching back, or inside is not going to provide them the energy, insight, or leadership they need for the future. If this is the path they choose, you may as well mark Obama as re-elected now, no matter how badly he screws up. The Republican opposition is looking far too lame to compete in a serious race. (READ MORE)

Ed Morrissey: Not an April Fools Day joke: Obama tax hike hits today - And the AP notices that it didn’t target the top 5% of earners, either. The cigarette tax increase that pays for S-CHIP takes effect today, and it will hit working class families the hardest. In fact, AP reporter Calvin Woodward sounds downright offended (via Jim Geraghty): “One of President Barack Obama’s campaign pledges on taxes went up in puffs of smoke Wednesday. The largest increase in tobacco taxes took effect despite Obama’s promise not to raise taxes of any kind on families earning under $250,000 or individuals under $200,000. This is one tax that disproportionately affects the poor, who are more likely to smoke than the rich.” (READ MORE)

SFC MAC: Olbermann vs His Imaginary Twitter Account - Hat Tip to Caleb Howe at redstate.com and Greg Pollowitz at National Review Online. You just can’t make up this shit. Keith Olbermann, the ranting MSNBC moonbat, has been embroiled in a controversy with what he thought was someone faking a Twitter account in his name. He even accused Fox News of being behind it all. Unbeknownst to Olbermann, it turned out that MSNBC was running the account, and to top it off, Olbermann named Twitter “the worst person in the world”. The cast in this comedy includes MSNBC, a Democratic writer named Dan Cooper, an unnamed female admirer of Olbermann and Obama, and Olbermann’s fervid, deranged, internet-challenged brain. Some excerpts about the hilarity: (READ MORE)

David Hambling: Arrests, Armored Vehicles, and 'Space Hijackers' in London Protests - The protests have started in London at last. After prolonged media speculation about the level of violence, and two days of eerie quiet in the City, the event has finally kicked off. And there are signs that things might get ugly. The conditions for this week's G20 Conference amount to almost a perfect storm of protest, with a combination of anti-globalization groups, climate change protesters and anti-war groups all pitching with plans for demonstration. Last week the Metropolitan police warned that they were "up for it, and up to it" if there was any trouble, a statement which was in itself seen as highly provocative. And there was a harbinger last week in Edinburgh, when anarchists broke the windows of Sir Fred Goodwin's house and his Mercedes (as chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland he walked away with a $22 million payout after bringing the bank to near-collapse). (READ MORE)

Don Surber: Where is the new JFK we expected? - Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian: “Someone tore up the script. Here’s how it was meant to go. Barack Obama was supposed to sweep into Europe on his first major trip abroad as the new JFK, greeted by adoring fans moistly waving little American flags.”Part of the reason, is the world has changed. With the demise of the Soviet Union — the allied victory in the Cold War — people feel less frightened and less respectful of authority. Two generations of affluence have divorced the middle class from reality. People think there is a right to an iPod. But quite a bit of it is President Obama’s supporters. As Freelander wrote: “Opposition from the right is wholly expected… From the left the critique has been, if anything, more scathing.” (READ MORE)

Horace Cooper: Hollywood’s Rendezvous with Government Censorship and why Michael Moore Should be Worried - Last week the United States Supreme Court held oral arguments over a fascinating question: whether or not the federal government has the authority to decide if a movie/documentary is a form of entertainment free from most broadcast restrictions or if the video is instead a lengthy attack ad - albeit 90 minutes long - against a candidate for federal office subject to the landmark 2002 federal campaign finance law. The BCRA (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) prevents “electioneering communications” within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election. The case is Citizens United v. FEC and Hollywood should be greatly alarmed by its implications. The movie in question is “Hillary the Movie” and as a low budget documentary it bills itself as providing the untold story of who Hillary Clinton is by presenting nearly “40 in-depth interviews with experts, opinion makers, and many of the people who personally locked horns with the Clintons.” (READ MORE)

Have an interesting post or know of a "must read?" Then send a trackback here and let us all know about it. Or you can send me an email with a link to the post and I'll update the Recon.

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