Team America: Fuck Yeah!

I went to see the movie Team America: World Police today. I liked it a lot. I don’t usually laugh out loud at movies, but I think I laughed out loud at least twice today.

It’s not for everybody (lots of vulgar language, sex, vomitting, etc. but remember it’s all done with marionettes), but if you like South Park then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this movie. It has fun with lots of bad action-movie cliches, and it has some funny songs (stay until the end of the credits for an extra one). If you don’t like South Park (after having given it a fair chance), then I feel sorry for you. I admit that I don’t appreciate the extended vomitting (I didn’t appreciate it in Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life either), but there’s plenty of other stuff in the film that made it a lot of fun.

As for the political content, it tried to appear critical of all sides. Perhaps it’s my own bias, but I really think that it was harsher on the liberals (the “pussies”) who want to deal with terrorists (the “assholes”) by talking to them, than it was on the more agressive people (the “dicks”) who prefer to use force.

The “dicks” might often be stupid and reckless, but the policies of the “pussies” lead to greater disasters.

UPDATE: In the comments, Elliot links to this great interview with the creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, where they lay things out explicitly.

Goodbye Superman

Christopher Reeve died yesterday.

Here is a nice commentary about him.

I can only echo the sentiments of many that he was a very admirable figure who met disaster with incredible grace, determination, and optimism.

One thing to add, perhaps, is that I liked his performance in Deathtrap, as well.

Bremer Clarifies His Statements

I’m sure you’re aware that the press and John Kerry have used recent statements by Paul Bremer, that he would have liked to have seen more troops on the ground in order to better control looting and similar activity in Iraq, as representing a major criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq occupation.

Well, Bremer has made it clear in a New York Times Op-Ed that he was just describing an issue, that was a typical sort of disagreement between reasonable parties, not a major criticism of the administration.

Here’s a key quote, though:

Mr. Kerry is free to quote my comments about Iraq. But for the sake of honesty he should also point out that I have repeatedly said, including in all my speeches in recent weeks, that President Bush made a correct and courageous decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s brutality, and that the president is correct to see the war in Iraq as a central front in the war on terrorism.

I guess we’ll find out whether or not Kerry will bring up Bremer’s statements in the debate tonight in a way that tries to “Mislead the american people”.

UPDATE: It seems that Kerry didn’t repeat his line about Bremer during the debate. Perhaps it was because of Bremer’s clear statement here, and Bush’s likely strong comeback.

Kerry did choose to repeat his lie about the administration forcing the retirement of General Shinseki for suggesting that more troops were needed:

General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, told him he was going to need several hundred thousand. And guess what? They retired General Shinseki for telling him that.

The VP Debate

Who won the Vice Presidential Debate last night?

I guess it depends on what “won” means in this context.

I, personally, thought that Cheney was more persuasive. He came off as intelligent, thoughtful, in command of the facts and arguments relevant to the topics. I thought Edwards was just mouthing slogans that were either wrong or misleading or content-free.

But, then, I came to the debate finding the Cheney line on Iraq, for example, to have merit. If I hadn’t, I suspect that I would have been more likely to see Cheney as misleading and deceitful, and Edwards as an effective critic of the mistakes and proponent of a better alternative.

So, I don’t think many people who had a preference before the debate will have changed it because of the debate (even if they thought that the opposition candidate performed better technically).

So, who won? I guess it depends on which was more effective at swaying undecided likely voters to prefer his side. I don’t claim to understand those people well enough to know which way they are more likely to have been pushed. If they haven’t decided about Iraq by now, they either haven’t been paying attention or they just don’t think about these things in a way I understand.

So…I have no idea. And I don’t have enough confidence in polls to tell me.

The bottom-line, I think, is that neither did so poorly so as to lose existing support. I suspect that it won’t really cause much of a change in the election outcome one way or the other.

Rodney Dangerfield, RIP

Rodney died today.

I was a big fan of Rodney. I enjoyed many of his TV appearances, and I saw him perform in Vegas, too. But, I think my favorite memory of him will always be of his role in Caddyshack. So many great lines…

Hey, I’ve got the DVD, I think I’ll go watch it.

“Hey Whitey! Where’s your hat?

X Prize Winner!!!

Congratulations to Burt Rutan, Paul Allen, Mojave Aerospace Ventures, and everyone who contributed to today’s achievement!

It’s a spectacular demonstration of the power of a small group of private, creative, people to overcome huge obstacles and do great things. I hope that the government clears the way for more private progress (by clarifying liability issues, granting rights to allow these flights, and otherwise generally staying out of the way). The attitude of NASA seems very positive thusfar.

It’s a great day for mankind.

The First Debate

Ok, now that I’ve watched my recording of the first debate, I thought I’d make a few comments.

I didn’t think that the debate was likely to change very many minds about this election, and I still think it won’t. Kerry is a better, more polished, public speaker than Bush; but people already knew that, so they’d forgive Bush minor inarticulateness. The only chance that this debate would have made a difference would have been if one of them (probably Kerry) had made a major gaffe. I don’t think that happened.

The only surprise for me was Kerry’s mention of a “global test“, that seemed to be a pre-condition for the president to order a pre-emptive strike:

“Where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.”

Bush did question this, but I would have liked to see a call for further elaboration.

What does “can prove to the world” mean?

Does “the world” mean every other country, or all UN Security Council countries, or what?

Does “can prove” mean that you must first get their agreement, or that you believe that you have a strong enough case to convince a reasonable foreign leader who takes our security seriously?

If Kerry means that the president must first get the agreement of some set of foriegn leaders, how is that different from the veto power he claims he would not grant them?