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New Pornographers, The Crooked Road, Fomalhaut's Ring and a Pangolin   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Friday, June 24, 2005 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade

Karl

THE WEEKEND STARTS HERE:

...IN ELIZABETHTOWN, the upcoming film from Cameron Crowe. The basic premise is vaguely reminiscent of Garden State, but I looks like Crowe will put his distinctive stamp o­n it, based o­n the seven minute, 43 MB QuickTime trailer Crowe made specially for Aint-It-Cool-News. As Crowe put Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" to masterful use in Almost Famous, this trailer is largely set to "My Father's Gun" from 1970's Tumbleweed Connection.

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: The band's upcoming album, Twin Cinema, has leaked o­nto the 'net. Downloads of two new tracks surface at Stereogum and Said the Gramophone. The title track is available at Matador's website. The Big Ticket has some older NP tracks up also.

COLDPLAY frontman Chris Martin muses, "Would it really be possible to start Nazi Germany if you'd just been listening to Bob Marley's Exodus back-to-back for the past three weeks and getting stoned?" He continues, "It would be interesting to see how the world would be different if Dick Cheney really listened to Radiohead's OK Computer. I think the world would probably improve. That album is f'ing brilliant. It changed my life, so why wouldn't it change his?"

FAT-BOTTOM GIRLS AND THE ROCKIN' WORLD: a normative and scientific examination of a close relationship. This sharing of knowledge is exactly the type of thing the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency had in mind when the internet was created.

LOVE TRACTOR: There's a new model, though still based o­n the original Mike Richmond engine.

THE CROOKED ROAD is a 250-mile "trail" through the Virginia highlands tying together eight music destinations - from the Ralph Stanley Museum in Clintwood to the Fiddlers' Convention in Galax - and Floyd, VA, which is is arguably the center of the bluegrass universe. So I've probably just charted Sylvia Hauser's next vacation. No charge for that.

THE GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL is a corporate sellout? If the BBC's business reporters are asking, don't bet against it. Of course, having a professional promoter handle security instead of the Hells Angels might be considered a good thing by some.

LIVE 8: Bianca Jagger thinks Bob Geldof and Bono have sold out to cynical politicians.

TOM-KAT UPDATE: Defamer has the dope, from the banning of most press from the War of the Worlds premiere in NYC, to an account of how a reporter's question about aliens and Scientology left Cruise a little edgy. Plus, the Cruise and Holmes parental units had a get-together. Gizmodo hooks you up to the E-Meter. And Golden Fiddle has a must-read I don't want to spoil.

LAND OF THE DEAD: George Romero, who revived the zombie genre with Night of the Living Dead, is interviewed about his latest work by the L.A. Times.

HE'S ON A MISSION: Travis Bell is trying to return to the locations of The Blues Brothers and simulate as many stunts as he can in his Bluesmobile replica, a 1974 Dodge Monaco signed by Dan Aykroyd. Unlike the movie, all of his stunts have been done without permission from any authorities.

CELEBS STRIKE A NERVE: A recent experiment showed that single neurons in people's brains react to the faces of specific people, such as Jennifer Aniston, Bill Clinton, Halle Berry, characters in The Simpsons and members of The Beatles. Images of Aniston with her former husband Brad Pitt did not trigger the Aniston neuron, so perhaps this story should be part of the Bradgelina update.

ROBERT REDFORD: Looking younger every year!

NO OSCARS for stuntpeople. Screen Actors Guild president Melissa Gilbert, Robert De Niro, Steven Spielberg and Dustin Hoffman had backed the stunt coordinators o­n their quest.

STACY'S MOM: As noted here recently, Rachel Hunter is back in the dating pool. I wasn't going to call her, but if she's letting American Idol host Ryan Seacrest grope her in public, I may have to perform an intervention.

BRADGELINA UPDATE: Despite her split from Pitt, Jennifer Aniston hasn't lost her sense of humor -- she's currently in Chicago for a movie, booked into her hotel under the name "Mrs. Smith." We can o­nly hope the movie is that funny.

HOW RAMPANT ARE RUMORS that the ailing Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist will resign at the end of the Court's term? The Washington Post accidentally ran a package of obituary/retirement stories o­n its RSS feed o­n Wednesday. For the non-geek, the links to entertainment news that appear at the top of the center column here are an example of an RSS feed.

REPORTERS USE BLOGS, but don't trust them. I suspect bloggers occasionally feel the same way about journalists.

BROADCAST TELEVISION NETWORKS earned less in preseason ad buying this year than last year. Jeff Jarvis, a cocreator of Entertainment Weekly, explains why that's a big deal.

IRAQ: One of Saudi Arabia's most-wanted militants was killed by a U.S. airstrike in northwestern Iraq. StrategyPage has a column suggesting that the economy is exploding and that the Sunni insurgency is all about the oil. The BBC, confirming links posted here yesterday, reports that coverage of the violence in Iraq by Arab satellite television stations has undergone a perceptible change. o­n Al Jazeera, "militants are no longer referred to as the 'resistance' but as gunmen or suicide bombers." Eyewitnesses are shown denouncing them as "terrorists" - which is still apparently too strong a word for Al Jazeera... and the BBC.

ISLAMIC TERRORISTS from al Qaeda in Iraq planned a large-scale chemical attack in Jordan, causing death, blindness and sickness, a chemical expert testified in a military court Wednesday.

FOMALHAUT'S RING: The Hubble Space Telescope discovers... my preciousss...

HOMELAND SECURITY: The latest drill was staged at a Kentucky goat show. And Gawker notes an Anthrax scare at a national treasure.

FILESHARING: P2Pnet has an article arguing that the recording biz could solve their piracy problems through applied freakonomics.

NANOTECH: Researchers at UMass Amherst have discovered a novel microorganism that can produce electrical nanowires. Scientists have increased the cancer-killing capacity of a chemotherapy drug while reducing its toxic side effects by attaching a dendrimer, experiments in mice show. Two of the primary advocates for the original U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative warn that lukewarm support for nanoscale science and engineering puts U.S. technological leadership at risk and might prevent the country from realizing the full potential of nanotechnology.

GLOBAL WARMING: Yury Izrael, Director of the Global Climate and Ecology Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences and Vice-Chair of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel o­n Climate Change writes that "There is no proven link between human activity and global warming" and that expected warming should not be considered a crisis for the next century.

ROBOT GUARDS could soon begin patrolling Japanese offices, shopping malls and banks.

FOOT-IN-MOUTH DISEASE appears to be epidemic in Washington, DC. The most recent casualty seems to be Karl Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, who said at a fund-raiser, "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers... I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble." Democrats are demanding that Rove immediately retract and apologize for his comments. I have more in the "Read more" link at the bottom of today's links -- it ended up being long enough to break the flow if I stuck it all up here.

AFI TOP 100 MOVIE QUOTES: Prof. Ann Althouse has a few observations and also addresses songs about movies. There's also a bit about the "compassionate lions" story mentioned here earlier this week.

A RADIO CONTEST WINNER who thought she won 100 grand was given a Nestle's 100 Grand candy bar. And a lawsuit followed.

YAHOO! has pulled the plug o­n perhaps hundreds of chat rooms operating o­n its site after a media report revealed that some of the chat rooms were used to promote sex with minors.

A PANGOLIN -- a highly endangered scaly anteater -- believed to have escaped from a botanical garden, was recovered by police in Bangladesh.

FORTY-SEVEN GRAND IN A MONEY BELT: A Massachussetts woman carrying almost 47 large in cash through Logan International Airport claimed she was o­n the way to see a Texas plastic surgeon when DEA agents seized the money she claimed she planned to use for a procedure o­n her buttocks and breasts. "The agent looked at my buttocks and told me that I do not need an operation," Ileana Valdez told a federal court Wednesday.

CROP CIRCLES: Some think they are messages from aliens, but at least o­ne is a message to aliens.

A SNAPPING TURTLE imitates Lorena Bobbitt.

A DEER GETS STUCK IN A SWIMMING POOL in suburban Detroit: NBC5 has a picture and video.

MORE ON FOOT-IN-MOUTH DISEASE:

When Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean said, among other things, that the Republicans are "pretty much a white, Christian party," I wrote here that he was largely correct, though he said it in a way that was probably ill-advised. Most of Rove's comments fall into this category -- the phrase about "moderation and restraint" is lifted right out of a petition by 9-11 Peace and MoveOn signed by 700,000 people. People like Senator and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and George Soros are on record as seeing the response to 9/11 primarily as a matter of law enforcement.

Nevertheless, Congressional Democrats, including all but one member of the House Peace Caucus, voted to authorize the forcible removal of the Taliban, so Rove was painting liberals with as broad a brush as Dean did in calling Republicans brain-dead and evil.

While I've written here that Sen. Dick Durbin's over-the-top (imho)comparison of Camp X-Ray to Nazi death camps was a serious error because it hands terrorists a video clip to put on their recruitment videos, I think Rove's comment that Durbin's speech was revealing of liberals' motives can all-too-easily be taken the wrong way -- perhaps deliberately so (I think Rove will claim that the reference to motive means liberals focus on the rights of the detainees over getting intelligence to fight the war, though it can be heard as suggesting that Durbin's motive was to aid terrorists, which would be grossly unfair).

These types of comments take on the character of a vicious cycle. During a Senate hearing on Iraq in which Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other military leaders testified, Sen. Hillary Clinton read Rove's statement and urged them to reject the remarks: "I would hope that you and other members of the administration would immediately repudiate such an insulting comment from a high-ranking official in the president's inner circle." Of course, last week, when Sen. Clinton was asked about Sen. Durbin's speech, she declined to comment, saying she had not heard it; when a reporter read the passage to her, she declined again. Sen. Durbin is number two in the Senate Democratic leadership, which I would say is similarly high-ranking.

Will Rove apologize? Probably not, relying on the example of Chairman Dean. Sen. Durbin made his near-apology largely because Chicago's Mayor Daley called the comparison a disgrace. He may have ended up apologizing in any event -- he asked in the speech whether people would think the conditions described by an FBI agent were like those of Nazi camps, and a poll taken on that question showed that just 14 percent agreed with that comparison and that 70 percent thought the detainees were being treated about right or better than they deserved. Dean and Rove are waging full-throated partisan attacks, but they do not involve U.S. soldiers or interrogators, which is why they can probably skate without apology. But aside from firing up the parties' most rabid supporters (as if it's needed in a non-election year), what do they accomplish?

Read full article: 'New Pornographers, The Crooked Road, Fomalhaut's Ring and a Pangolin'
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Comments

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Re: New Pornographers, The Crooked Road, Fomalhaut's Ring and a Pangolin
by mike.porter
on Jun 24, 2005
I'm not buying that Durbin's comments have made matters any worse in terms of recruiting terrorists. I think jihadists already had plenty of material from which to work there. And by the way--Rasmussen? Are you kidding me?

But to answer Karl's (most likely rhetorical, but oh well) question at the end of his post: Rove knew exactly what he was doing with those words. Do you think it's a coincidence that Rove fired that off only days after the polls came out showing a majority of Americans want us out of Iraq? You gotta stir the soup every now and then, and remind people that if they don't want to fight, they're pussies.

As for Dean, he's off his nut, and really should be removed from power. Whereas Rove's comments were calculated, Dean's rarely are.

Re: New Pornographers, The Crooked Road, Fomalhaut's Ring and a Pangolin
by Karl
on Jun 25, 2005
I wrote that it may make things "marginally" worse; it certainly doesn't help. As for Rassmussen, I would say that I'm not entirely comfortable with the auto-dialing method, but the other results in that poll generally line up with the numbers that have come up in more traditional polls, so I included it precisely because Mike and I have previously discussed what such a poll would show. If Gallup or others had done such a poll, I would have reported it, but for some reason, the major media outlets chose not to poll on the issue (or not report any that have been done).

As for Rove's intent, I do think he generally knew what he was doing -- that's why he had specific sources to cite for much of it. But that doesn't mean he or the WH generally have a grasp on how its tone will play. People -- especially critics of the Administration -- tend to credit Rove with being some sort of all-knowing political genius, the man behind the curtain. So how did that "Mission Accomplished" banner work out?

I actually think the jury should still be out on Dean. If he can build up the Dem Party in competitive states and make gains in the midterms, he'll be proven right. And I don't think his statements are as off-the-cuff as Mike does, or he wouldn't defend them as strongly as he does. Moreover, if he really is as much of a loose cannon as he seems, the fact that the DNC has not and probably will not remove him should give Mike pause about the party leadership generally.

Re: New Pornographers, The Crooked Road, Fomalhaut's Ring and a Pangolin
by Karl
on Jun 25, 2005
I have to respond to myself to explain that while I originally wrote that Durbin's comments may make things "marginally" worse, it was apparently something I removed when I was trying to fit the full comment into the main post. Undoubtedly, jihadis have plenty of complaints against the U.S., both real and imagined. But they don't often get a high-ranking U.S. Senator to make Nazi comparisons for them. It's the difference between released detainees claiming Quran desecration and the impact of the Newsweek story claiming that the U.S. was going to confirm that a Quran was flushed down the toilet (an allegation that turned out to be untrue).

And since my own editing caused me to make an extra post, I'll add a little to explain my comments about Rassmussen's poll. The Gallup poll asked:

"In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. is treating the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?

Strongly approve 33%

Somewhat approve 19%

Somewhat disapprove 14%

Strongly disapprove 23%

No opinion 11%

The Rassmussen poll, asking specifically about the Nazi comparison had a 70-20 split. In both polls, the no opinion is about ten percent. If those who "somewhat disapprove" would not say that Camp X-Ray is like a Nazi camp (and I would think anyone who buys the comparison would "strongly disapprove" of the treatment there), you end up with a 66-23 split. Taking into account that Gallup polled "adults," while Rassmussen polled "registered voters," a three or four percent difference seems well within the margin of error.


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