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The sugar plums are rancid!
Being that I bought half of the world’s known consumer goods this year, I was not expecting a ton of gifts at Christmas. Those expectations are still bearing fruit, as one gift from Rhino Handmade, ordered on 12/13, has been put on “backorder.” Oh Jimmy Webb box set, when will you be mine?

The stuff that did arrive is pretty amazing.

The Police – Message in a Box
As I had with Led Zeppelin, I’d forgone buying any Police albums because I knew this box existed. The four-disc monster includes literally every song ever released in any format by the band Sting was in before he sucked. Lots and lots of little songs I’ve never heard are on here, most of which I like. The cons (“Mother”) are pathetically outnumbered by the pros (“So Lonely”).

Kirsty MacColl – Galore
18-track compilation for the singer-songwriter, released before her untimely 2000 demise in Mexico. Top-notch shit like “They Don’t Know” and “He’s on the Beach” predominates, although there are some tracks I don’t love.

Wiseguy – “Sonny Steelgrave and the Mob” and “Mel Profitt”
The first season of Stephen J. Cannell’s badass cop show, starring Ken “the chin” Wahl as undercover spook Vinnie Terranova. The first box pits him against mobster Ray Sharkey, and the second features Kevin Spacey as a blinkered criminal genius straight out of David Lynch.

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When friendship reared its ugly head
This is a cute (but short) feature. I’ve always loved skimming old Entertainment Weeklys for the movies they hyped to hell and back or pegged as Oscar hopefuls, only to never mention again after they were seen to be shit. (To wit: they had three (3) Matrix covers in 2003)

In the end I only saw two of these movies, Sky Captain and Van Helsing. My practically Kucinichian dating abilities are to blame. A whole bunch of times, I “saved” movies for dates that either never happened or got cancelled. So my yearly roundup of movies seen will be slightly truncated next week.

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Plus ca change
It’s pretty damn funny to watch FreeRepublic turn into DemocraticUnderground circa December 2000. From mocking Democrats who whined about the Florida election to calling an election winner “selected not elected” in four short years!

In any case, the presence of a Republican Secretary of State overseeing the Washington race would seem to give this election all the legitimacy in the world.

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More reporter-bashing from Charles Johnson
OK, no more LGF for me. He’s bad enough to make the liberal label for warbloggers – “the 101st fighting keyboarders” – sound way too charitable.

To these people, the death of Yasser Arafat was more important than the death of Ronald Reagan

Of course it was. Reagan’s obituaries had been typed up in 1994, when he announced his illness and left public life. When I got to USA Today, I stumbled across the dummy front page for Reagan’s death – “40th President dead at 89.”

By contrast, Yasser Arafat was a key – perhaps the key – figure in one of the most pressing issues of our time. He was the leader of the Palestinian authority. The would-be peacemakers, Bush and Sharon, were prevented from making peace until the guy was dead or desposed. There was an immediate and momentous effect from his death. There was not for Reagan. He had been effectively dead for years, as even National Review said in its editorial.

Then there’s this shit, about Abu Ghraib.

“the scandal fueled anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world.” Indeed it did. Mission accomplished, AP.

Funny. This is the same Charles Johnson who only yesterday posted in shock! horror! about Daily Kos, when that blogger apparently blamed Bush for the Mosul bombing. He should have blamed the perpetrators, Johnson implied. So does he blame the perpretators for Abu Ghraib? No – he shoots the messenger.

Intellectual consistency aside, the idea that the AP was responsible for hyping Abu Ghraib in the Arab world is fucking lunatic. They have this thing called Al Jazeera, I hear.

Ah, well. Johnson’s an idiot. I’m done with him.

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It’s the only thing
If this pans out and Christine Gregoire is elected governor of Washington by eight votes, will it have any effect on anything? My instinct said yes – I’d be bored and cynical if this was happening in Virginia – but honestly, when has a politician who got into office through a contested recount ever suffered? The two examples that come to mind are Pres. George Bush in 2000 and Sen. Lyndon Johnson in 1948. They excercized their power just fine, thank you, and their opponents faded into obscurity. I’d predict the same thing here.