December 27, 2007

Fear and Loathing in London - movie review

Movie review for Sweeney Todd:

Sweeney slits throats,
Mrs Lovett cooks stiffs,
Pirelli's shaved close,
Judge Turpin damns kids.

The Beadle's shriek-whistle,
Sweeney's tipping contraption,
Meat pies and their gristle,
All give satisfaction,

But it's not for the queasy.
I'm slightly reserved about Johnny Depp
Who impersonates Sweeney
Without any depth,

Fear and Loathing in London,
Scissorhands in a slasher,
Willy Wonka with vengeance,
Jack Sparrow with razors.

His singing is honest
His acting's quite fine
But the role's painted on him
It's not from inside.

The pacing is spot on,
The visuals astonish,
2 thumbs up to Burton
And 3 thumbs to Sondheim.

December 18, 2007

LDS, RDS, bs

John Hawkins mocks Romney's alleged lachrymosity. Hawkins' Right Wing News was the second blog I read regularly. He's astringent and often objective, but his arguments against Romney are mostly bullshit. He suffers from RDS, Romney Derangement Syndrome, LDSophobia from an adherent of a competing faith. If Romney is the nominee. then RDS will flourish in that other competing faith, Atheism.

December 17, 2007

Bad botox day

To gloss on Mick's post on Hillary's bad botox day photo: voters consider whether it will be pleasant to view a face for the next 4-8 years. A weathered face is fine. A lined face is fine. A botoxed face like Pelosi's or Clinton's reminds me of official portraits of Mao, Stalin or Kim Il Sung. A deflated botox face like this reminds me of the Picture of Dorian Grey, corrupt.

December 15, 2007

Amazing Amazon, eBay at bay

'Why Amazon Should Buy eBay' reminds me of the fabulous service I've had from Amazon.....from product research to teapots to cameras, even books, especially used books, my 1-click account just works. My single problem, a faulty hard drive, was solved with zero angst. I've had no fraud, no junk mail from affiliates, just satisfaction. Amazon has the business model to become Walmart to the planet. Ebay by contrast I've given up's sticky affiliate, Paypal, generates persistent unwanted mail and solves no problem I need solved. Ebay generates fraud, hijacked accounts and zero customer service. Typical comment:
For sellers, eBay is a nightmarish quagmire. I’ve been selling for eight years and I truly dread posting new ads. Recently, my username was stolen and my account was deactivated, just before my need to post items for Christmas sales. After endless attempts to contact a human being, I never succeeded and I never got any explanations. I changed my passwords and I haven’t posted yet. The fraudulent emails are never-ending. eBay customer service has always been awful. No wonder they’re struggling with growth. Reasonable sellers will only tolerate so much abuse and then they leave.
Amazon need not buy eBay for $quillions., Amazon is uniquely positioned to compete with eBay at a development cost a long way south of 1 $quillion.

December 04, 2007

Unintelligent designs

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, has been widely queried. Instance the assertion that Iran stopped its military nuke program in 2003 due to pressure from 'the international community'. In 2003 the US deleted the fascist regime next door to Iran with WMD as a significant casus belli. That 'pressure' prompted Libya to de-nuke and, apparently, Iran too. A fair evaluation would be that removing Saddam prevented at least 3 of America's enemies from pursuing a military nuke program..Iraq,Iran and Libya. Suppose a Blixian inspection regime had kept Saddam bottled up indefinitely (far-fetched, but suppose), we now know that Iran and Libya had their own programs. So the collateral benefits of the Iraq war include some meaningful stiflement of the nuke ambitions of those terrorist regimes. Not bad.

This NIE may bring unforeseen consequences. At first the Baker Report seemed an efficient rebuke of the US infliction of raw power on its incalcitrant enemies. Appeasers wallowed in Baker's nostrums...'negotiate with Iran from a position of weakness' etc, but Baker marked a fork in the road; it brought into view the humiliation and danger of appeasement and surrender, while advocating those very things. The looming debacle of US defeat led to the Surge and that may lead to 'victory' and that may lead to a conservative President in 2009 and that may lead to 'we win, they lose' at a far lower cost than World War 3 against Islamofascism.

The NIE brings these truths hard up against our noses:

1. America's 'intelligence community' is unintelligent, waffling, inefficient and self-confessedly incapable of spying on crucial enemies. It needs scrapping and reforming under strong, patriotic, intelligent leadership which operates as tho America were in a life-or-death war.

2. Iran has run a military nuke program at least until scared off by the Iraq invasion. It may have re-started or it may be disguised within the technically ambiguous civilian program. The American 'intelligence community' hasn't a clue.

3. Iran may already have the ingredients for a nuke and, if not, it may buy them. American intelligence doesn't know and likely won't know when the chips are down.

A rational actor contemplating that lot would find that regime change in Iran is the least worst option. America can't risk being taken by surprise or getting drawn into a facedown with an enemy which may be a suicide bomber with nuclear bombs. The lack of good intelligence should force America to a more risk-averse, ie more threatening, posture than just whistling in the wind to find out whether Iran gets nukes. So, against intuition, the NIE may induce clear thinking and a steelier resolve. Moreover fixing Iran now sends an offer that's hard to refuse to future would-be threats like a desperate Chavez, an Islamofanatic Pakistan or nuked-up Norks. That is, "Don't raise the stakes, America doesn't bluff."

Update: The New York Sun:
when the historians look back on this period, they will see that by sabotaging our diplomacy, our intelligence analysts have clarified the choice before the free world — appeasement or war.

December 03, 2007

How I learned to stop worrying..

The US says that Iran hasn't been running a military nuke program since 2003 thanks to international pressure.
The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is most likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies "do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."
What a load of cobblers!
Bush and vice-president Dick Cheney have been claiming without equivocation that Tehran is bent on achieving a nuclear weapon, with the president warning in October of the risk of a third world war. They were briefed on the national intelligence estimate (NIE) on Wednesday.
Apart from the contradiction with previous Estimates and the appearance of a President at odds with his own Intel, this is likely a flock of arse-covering bureaucrats sticking their fingers in the wind and spinning an Estimate to cover their ignorance and save their careers in case of a Democrat President on top of a Democrat Congress. Note that Iran can just buy weapons grade plutonium off the shelf.
We continue to assess with low confidence that Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material, but still judge with moderate-to-high confidence it has not obtained enough for a nuclear weapon. We cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad—or will acquire in the future—a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon.
The WMD is the regime. Ayatollahs delendi sunt.

P.S.16 spy agencies?!*!?

P.P.S. Powerline: "I assess with moderate to high confidence that the CIA is a joke."

December 01, 2007

The savages are revolting!

A British citizen is in a spot of bother in Sudan. She 'insensitively' allowed a 7 yo pupil to name a teddy bear 'Muhammed' after himself.
"Spitting hatred, thousands of hardline Islamists called for British teacher Gillian Gibbons to be shot yesterday."

We should send the Royal Navy to let the Islamosavages know that bad acts have bad consequences. Oh, wait...