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« November 13, 2005 - November 19, 2005 | Main | November 27, 2005 - December 03, 2005 »


Happy Thanksgiving, From Sunset Drive!

11/24/2005 12:27 AM  |   |  Comment (5)  |  TrackBack (0)

New Reason Online Column -- "Dirty Bummer: Why the White House should make its case against Jose Padilla, but won't": In which I encourage the Bush Administration to open up the Jose Padilla files, so that we can judge whether contravening the Fifth Amendment and using intense lawyer-free interrogation was worth it in saved American lives.

11/23/2005 10:45 AM  |   |  Comment (6)  |  TrackBack (0)

Your Musical Christmas Gift for Tots, or for the Parents Who Try to Control Them: My great pal Gregory Vaine is a principal in a fab newish musical combo called The Hollow Trees, who play "folk music for families." It's what kids' music should be -- sea-shanties, singalongs, nonesuches, a mix of unknown classics and classic originals, etc.

They've just finished a terrific new CD, and you should just go ahead and buy it. Seventeen songs for just 10 bucks, wonderful CD art by the incomporable Todd Francis, and I show up for harmonies on five numbers or so, including Greg's song "Nelson," (bonus points for guessing the Linda Ronstandt song I'm trying to channel). More samples here. They also have a big CD release party Dec. 10 at The Underground theater on Wilton that I won't be able to go to, dammit; and various bits of attractive merch. Yay Hollow Trees!

11/23/2005 12:50 AM  |   |  Comment (2)  |  TrackBack (0)

Are You a Libertarian-ish Journalist/Writer Under Age 26? Then you should apply for the Institute for Humane Studies' Felix Morley Journalism Competition. Why? I can give you 2,500 reasons....

11/23/2005 12:25 AM  |   |  Comment (0)  |  TrackBack (0)

Speaking of Military Blogs, Check out This Clearinghouse of 720 Military Sites

11/22/2005 09:05 PM  |   |  Comment (0)  |  TrackBack (0)

Please Consider Taking a Look at the Camp Katrina Blog: Run by Specialist Phil Van Treuren of the Ohio National Guard, Camp Katrina is a lively place dedicated to "Proving that the United States military does much more than just kill people and break things."

11/22/2005 09:00 PM  |   |  Comment (0)  |  TrackBack (0)

Make Your Nominations for the Weblog Awards! The Wizbang folks would like your input; nominations close Nov. 26, voting begins Dec. 1. Since they don't have a "best jackass" or "most incoherent" category, looks like I'll be shut out again....

11/22/2005 08:52 PM  |   |  Comment (2)  |  TrackBack (0)

Vladan's Blogging: He's the guy in the blue suit (of course).

11/22/2005 08:40 PM  |   |  Comment (0)  |  TrackBack (0)

The Case of Wyatt Earp and the Telegraphed Correction: Brady Westwater, the eagle-eyed freelance fact-checker who points out the hospital in the photo below was sited before the adjacent Hollywood Freeway was built, brings us this tale of how the L.A. Times basically knew it was printing a misattributed quote before publishing it anyway.

11/22/2005 12:33 AM  |   |  Comment (0)  |  TrackBack (0)

You Can Put Your Pajamas Back on: Smart move, that.

11/22/2005 12:21 AM  |   |  Comment (8)  |  TrackBack (0)

Where Would You Build the Elementary School? A big lot(s) with four or five underused buildings (mostly for warehouse space and parking), with signs that say "for sale by owner," and all tucked up against a hillside that could form a natural border?

Or, on two blocks currently occupied by around 55 residences, many with long-term working-class owners who have lived there for decades in 90-year-old houses like this?

The L.A. Unified School District would rather send bulldozers over this:

Why?

Tom Calhoun, who serves as LAUSD's real estate development manager for the central region ... said LAUSD chose the site at Alvarado and Santa Ynez streets partly because it is farther away from the freeway than others, reducing pollution and traffic concerns.
How much farther away from the freeway is the not-for-sale residential block from the underused for-sale warehouse space? One-tenth of a mile.

Now go back to the top photo, and notice three things: 1) That hospital-looking building towering in the background. It was an abandoned former hospital for most of the 1990s, until a church bought it for $3.9 million. (Funny, how it's OK to site a hospital by a freeway, but not a school...). 2) The lot from which the photo was taken. It's an empty hillside that could conceivably (like the rest of the same hill to the right) be developed. And 3) The dead possum!

11/20/2005 05:16 PM  |   |  Comment (12)  |  TrackBack (0)

Introducing a Narcissistic New Feature -- This Week in MattWelch.com History! In which I look back on the Nov. 20-26s of years gone by, and see exactly what I was yakking about and how I was embarrassing myself. First, the representative samples:

2004: "Inside a Conservative's Mind."
2003: "Vaclav Klaus -- Still Full of Shit, Still Adored by the Anglo Right."
2002: "In Defense of Negative Creeps."
2001: "The Libertine Right." (My first-ever piece for Reason.)
2000: "The Two-Hour Reich." (An account of covering Nader HQ, partying with jubilant Young Republicans, and getting mugged on Election Night in D.C.)
1994: I used to write an unsigned gossip/rant/juvenalia column in the later stages of Prognosis Weekly, and this one talked about the historic 1994 U.S. elections, and "Jesse Helms -- you know, the drooling, white-trash segregationist who now chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee," and ... well, I'm not sure what, but here's a sample:

PW wine expert Hana Lesenarova approached the neglected president [Havel, at a party] and stuck him with a tough question: "So, do you have any time to, you know, pick mushrooms and stuff?"

"No," he said quickly. "I don't pick mushrooms. My wife is in charge of that. If I want to relax I prefer to read a book."

Then she set her sights on aging emigre shoe industrialist Tomas Bat'a, and began lying extensively about ther grandmother used to work for his company in Gottwaldov.... "Zlin," he gently corrected her

1991: Ooh, it's a bit painful to go back and read through the early Prognosis stuff.... I see a whiny attempt at snark entitled "Trying to be a Prague 'Professional'" ... let's move on to the next category.

Bad Predictions: There are at least three. 2003:

I suspect that we still have more or less a 48-48-4 nation (4 being independent & third party), and that the number of hawkish Democrats who will cross the aisle will be roughly approximate to the number of fiscal-hawk Republican defectors
Too rough for government work! 2002:
My prediction: There will be at least two new newspapers in Los Angeles next year. One centrist weekly, to take advantage of the Department of Justice "remedy" to the Village Voice/New Times deal, and one free tabloid daily, probably Monday-to-Friday, launched by whoever has the stones to get there first.
0 for 2! And 2001:
Long after the brief "national unity" has given way to the usual political squabbling, newly warmongering liberals and libertine conservatives may remember how much sensible common ground they found after September 11. It will be harder than ever to demonize one-half of the electorate, and surprising new coalitions may be possible.
Yeah right!

Good Predictions: None really. Unless you count this, from 2001:

Ashcroft is no friend to the Bill of Rights, and threatens to do even worse in one year than the very bad Reno/Clinton gang did in eight.
A little on the hard-to-quantify scale, that one.

Was I really praising that guy? Victor Davis Hanson, 2001.

Whatever happened to... Shiloh Bucher! Looks like her last blog post was a "let's roll" from April 5, 2003. Where you at, Shiloh?

Other retrospective embarrassments or cock-ups: Calling George Will "neo-conservative" in 2000.

Historical curiosities: From the Election Night 2000 story:

Next, I headed around the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the direction of the roaring. Right in front of the White House, I found 75 or so drunk Young Republicans –– crew–cut frat boys with navy blazers and khakis, Texas sorority belles with white plastic cowboy hats and little Bush/Cheney buttons –– singing "Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye!!!" and shaking their fists at Bill Clinton's bedroom.

"No more Communist country!"

"Who's house? OUR HOUSE!! Who's house? OUR HOUSE!!

One group started singing Madness’ "Our House in the Middle of Our Street." The white–teeth gals tried a couple verses of "Deep in the Heart of Texas." One of the only middle–aged people in the crowd, one Steve Isaacs from Castro Valley, near Oakland, approached me.

"This is just like watching the fall of the Berlin Wall!" said Isaacs, who had traveled all the way across the country just to enjoy this moment. "Those countries over there got rid of Communism 10 years ago, and now it's our turn! This here" –– motioning toward the restraining fence –– "is like our Brandenburg Gate!"

He walked off to high–five some more fraternity brothers, who were beginning a chant that would have sent a chill through the Nader after–party, if they could have heard it:

"Thank you, Ralph!! Thank you, Ralph!! Thank you, Ralph!!"

A Spanish TV crew asked the kids if any of them spoke Espanol. "Absolut–a–mente!!" one guy screamed, cracking everybody up. "Yo quiero Bush!! Viva Bush!!" A new chant began.

One of the girls on the side said, quietly: "Thank you, Monica."

Tune in next Sunday for more pain, including the 1992 classic: "Karel Gott: The Sinatra of the East"!

11/20/2005 01:57 AM  |   |  Comment (0)  |  TrackBack (0)

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