Thursday, July 14, 2005

I WISH Hollywood Was That Organized ...

Great article at Kung Fu Monkey that addresses the whole question of "liberal Hollywood." Favorite quote: "I'm not surprised your conservative-toned movie/script/project went nowhere. The vast majority of projects disappear. You rationalize it however you want, but that doesn't make it true. Or, as my friend Orac says "The plural of anecdote is not data."

Read the whole thing. It's great.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Okay, blame this one on Paul Guyot. He got "tagged" in something called an Internet meme wherein you have to answer a few questions then "tag" other people to answer the same ones. This combines the fun of a one of those "Which [blank] are you?" quizzes with the friend-making possibilities of of a chain letter. I got tagged a couple days ago, and I've just now gotten around to answering. Without further ado:

1 - Imagine it’s 2015. You are visiting the library at a major research university. You go over to a computer terminal (or whatever it is they use in 2015) that gives you immediate access to any book or journal article on any topic you want. What do you look up? In other words, what do you hope somebody will have written in the meantime?

Like several others have answered, I’d look up my own name, of course. I'd look to see if I ever sold my idea for a novelization of Steve Earle's Copperhead Road. Then I'd check to see who won the bet between Guyot and David J. Montgomery. I'd look for Lee Goldberg's Reno 911! novelizations.

After that, with fear and trembling, I'd look for the thing I dread most: Private Ears: The Bunny Noir Anthology (Duane Swierczynski, ed.)

2 - What is the strangest thing you’ve ever heard or seen at a conference? No names, please. Refer to “Professor X” or “Ms. Y” if you must. Double credit if you were directly affected. Triple if you then said or did something equally weird.

I’m such a newbie…haven’t been to any conferences per se, but I did have a group of women at a Moveable Feast of Authors tell me that they wanted to sleep with my hero.

3 - Name a writer, scholar, or otherwise worthy person you admire so much that meeting him or her would probably reduce you to awestruck silence.

Man, nobody can shut me up. Neil Gaiman might come close. If I ran into H.L. Mencken, Jim Thompson or Raymond Chandler, I might be silent, not out of awe but out of fear.
Because they're like, you know, dead.

4 - What are two or three blogs or other Web sites you often read that don’t seem to be on many people’s radar?

For superhero fans:

Now, who to pass this on to....

Okay, Bill Crider! C'mon down!

Sandra Scoppettone! C'mon down!

And Polly PI! Put on the writer hat and c'mon down!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

In Which I Find Something Nice to Say About George Dubbya Bush

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Apparently some folks feel I’ve been a little harsh with our President lately. So hopefully this column will come as a comfort to them. I’m going to say something positive about George Dubbya Bush.

I don’t think he should be impeached.

Previously, this hasn’t been on my mind much. I had regarded the cries of “impeach Bush” as the exclusive province of the type of people who line their hats with tinfoil to keep the CIA from using the mind control rays on them. But a surprising poll taken after Bush’s recent speech at Fort Bragg showed some shocking figures.

According to the poll results by Zogby International, “more than two in five (42 percent) voters say that, if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment.” The survey goes on to say that “While half (50 percent) of respondents do not hold this view, supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.”

While the Zogby poll originally predicted a Kerry win in November 2004, let’s not forget that a later one flew in the face of other polls and showed that a majority of Americans opposed removal of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. So it doesn’t seem as if Zogby has any particular political ax to grind.

While I’ll admit there is a part of me that would like to see the president actually show some of that personal accountability that Republicans are always on about, I’m afraid that lying to the people is not an impeachable offense. A president can only be impeached for “high crimes or misdemeanors,” which the Founding Fathers, bless their hearts, never got around to defining. Thank you all very much for leaving that one for us, fellows.

But let’s say, purely for the sake of argument, that the president and his men are guilty of lying rather than, say, gross incompetence or willful disregard for any evidence contrary to what they had already decided. What actual crime has he committed, under federal or even state law? It’s not perjury, because he was never under oath. And lying to people is, after all, what politicians do.

There is some opinion out there that to constitute a “high crime or misdemeanor” doesn’t require the violation of a particular criminal statute. I’m not willing to unchain the concept from any standard whatsoever, even for Dubbya.

Even if there were definable grounds, an impeachment would have to be done by the House, then the Senate, both of which are in Republican hands. So it’s not going to happen until at least 2006, about which more in a moment.

Even if the House and Senate both fell under Democratic control, it takes a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove. Again, the possibility of getting enough votes for that is nil. Even some Democrats (like Joe “Man o’ God” Lieberman) aren’t going to sign on to that. Finally, an impeachment would take months, and Dubbya’s gone in ’08 anyway. I’d hope the Congress’ time could be better spent during those two years.

Another group called Veterans for Peace has released what they call a “Declaration of Impeachment.” The document adopts the same language as the Declaration of Independence, and accuses our own King George of many of the same acts of tyranny set out in that famous document. They also accuse Bush of violating various treaties, which according to the Constitution, constitute part of the “Supreme Law of the Land.”

I know that conservatives only love and respect veterans so long as they remain true to the Republican Party and viciously attack those veterans who dissent. But I honor all our vets. So it is with great sadness that I must respectfully disagree with the VFP. The treaties they cite could arguably be violated by any president who goes to war. Again, while I understand the desire to criminalize war, humanity’s not at a stage in its evolution where that’s a viable idea.

So is there nothing to do? Of course there is. Midterm elections, like the one next year , are typically regarded as a “referendum on the administration.” The party of an unpopular administration tends to fare badly. So if you’re mad at the Republican administration, get out there and vote accordingly. We’ve had a presidency without any check or balance by the legislative branch since 2001. As Dr. Phil likes to say, “How’s that working for ya?”