We're leaving for New Orleans shortly to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my relatives. I hope to get Internet access while I'm down there, but posting will likely be light at least for the next 24 hours or so, if not clear through the weekend.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD helmer George Romero is finally going to be filming more dead folk...except it's not going to be for the fourth DEAD film, DEAD RECKONING, at least not right now. Romero has been hired to direct DIAMOND DEAD, a dark comedy/musical about a 1980s-style rock and roll band who, on the verge of their big breakthrough, die tragically and are resurrected as zombie musicians.
Richard Hartley, the composer for the cult classic THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, is working with Romero on the film. The lyrics for the picture's songs were written by Brian Cooper, the same fellow who wrote the initial draft of DIAMOND DEAD before Romero gave it a polish.
Cosplay is almost always mask free and draws on various video game, manga and anime characters.
...The use of masks makes it kigurumi. These are in origin the same as people in Goofy outfits of whatever at Disneyland. You seem them frequently enough at amusement parks in Japan or doing product promotions in the street. These are also generally drawn from the manga/anime/game world. Now some people do this for a living and some do it as a hobby. Obviously it's a step beyond as these people tend to wear full skin-toned body stockings, unitards and whatever in addition to the masks.
Over at Wampum, Dwight Meredith has the first in what promises to be an excellent series detailing the dishonesty of President Bush. In the first installment, he looks at Bush's "little lies," noting that the GOP spin machine claimed Gore was untrustworthy for what it said was Gore's penchant for distortion.
The true irony of the GOP case against Mr. Gore is that it is itself based on lies, embellishments, distortions and half truths. In fact, the “evidence” they used to paint Gore as a “habitual liar” tells us far more about the honesty of the GOP than of Mr. Gore.
Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler has relentlessly and incomparably documented the lies, distortions and misrepresentations used by Republicans to paint Gore as a serial exaggerator.
Since Republicans in 2000 argued that an alleged pattern of lying about small issues disqualified Gore from being president, it seems appropriate to investigate whether or not the current administration has a pattern of telling untruths about small things.
No bonus points for guessing that such a pattern is easy to spot -- and without resorting to the kind of distortions the Right used against Gore.
That in a sop to the pharmaceutical lobby, the bill abandons free-market principles by preventing the government from using its purchasing power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices (note to clueless journalists: Doing so isn't price controls, it's the free market)
That private health plans needed a US$12 billion bribe in order to participate in the so-called competition
That private companies' ability to cherry-pick healthier customers to insure will drive up Medicare costs and undercut the program (some critics see the bill as the first step toward the GOP goal of abandoning the program entirely)
And that the whole mess is financed entirely by deficit spending
No, he'll only say that he -- he, not Republicans and Democrats in Congress -- delivered a presecription drug benefit. Writing in the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne rightly excoriates the Democrats for taking a dive on this issue, as so many others. He summarizes:
If Democrats wanted to give Bush a political victory, they could have insisted on a much better deal. Instead, their negotiators sold out for a bill full of subsidies to the HMOs that will make it harder to control drug costs. The moral, yet again, is that Republicans are much tougher than Democrats and fight much harder to win.
We can at least take heart that patriots in the Senate have apparently stalled the Bush Administration's pork-filled so-called energy bill for at least the rest of the year. Yay.
Update: Daniel Drezner has some interesting thoughts from the righty perspective, and CalPundit notes that "Tom Daschle ended up on the losing side of both these votes."
The president tells aides he wants to "go over the heads of the reporters" in order to "circumvent" a "hostile press." He later describes his effort to "tell my story directly to the people rather than funnel it to them through a press account."
The year: 1969. The president: Richard M. Nixon.
Yet Nixon's words are eerily similar to those uttered last month by President Bush. "I'm mindful of the filter through which some news travels, and somehow you just got to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the people," he said in an interview with regional broadcaster Hearst-Argyle in one such bid to circumvent what he perceives as a hostile press.
To Nixon historian David Greenberg, it is one of many similarities in style between the two men. From the way they structure their administrations to their many escapes to Camp David and the prominence of American flags on the lapel pins of aides, the likenesses are powerful.
"Ideologically, Bush is the son of Reagan; stylistically, he's the son of Nixon," said Greenberg, who teaches at Yale and just published a book on Nixon's image titled "Nixon's Shadow."
Of course, the American people eventually learned just what the Nixon administration's obsession with secrecty was hiding. I wonder what we'll discover if and when the Bush stonewalling on its energy committee, the 9/11 attacks, its handling of Iraqi intelligence, and other topics finally crumbles?
There's no nice way to explain how the administration uses cooked numbers to sell its tax cuts, or how its arrogance and gullibility led to the current mess in Iraq.
So it was predictable that the administration and its allies, no longer very successful at claiming that questioning the president is unpatriotic, would use appeals to good manners as a way to silence critics. Not, mind you, that Emily Post has taken over the Republican Party: the same people who denounce liberal incivility continue to impugn the motives of their opponents.
Smart conservatives admit that their own side was a bit rude during the Clinton years. But now, they say, they've learned better, and it's those angry liberals who have a problem. The reality, however, is that they can only convince themselves that liberals have an anger problem by applying a double standard.
...The campaign against "political hate speech" originates with the Republican National Committee. But last week the committee unveiled its first ad for the 2004 campaign, and it's as hateful as they come. "Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists," it declares.
Again, there's that weasel word "some." No doubt someone doesn't believe that we should attack terrorists. But the serious criticism of the president, as the committee knows very well, is the reverse: that after an initial victory in Afghanistan he shifted his attention — and crucial resources — from fighting terrorism to other projects.
What the critics say is that this loss of focus seriously damaged the campaign against terrorism. Strategic assets in limited supply, like Special Forces soldiers and Predator drone aircraft, were shifted from Afghanistan to Iraq, while intelligence resources, including translators, were shifted from the pursuit of Al Qaeda to the coming invasion. This probably allowed Qaeda members, including Osama bin Laden, to get away, and definitely helped the Taliban stage its ominous comeback. And the Iraq war has, by all accounts, done wonders for Qaeda recruiting. Is saying all this attacking the president for attacking the terrorists?
The ad was clearly intended to insinuate once again — without saying anything falsifiable — that there was a link between Iraq and 9/11. (Now that the Iraq venture has turned sour, this claim is suddenly making the rounds again, even though no significant new evidence has surfaced.) But it was also designed to imply that critics are soft on terror.
All this fuss about civility, then, is an attempt to bully critics into unilaterally disarming.
Krugman is quite right. He also seems to have shifted tactics. Famously forbidden by the Times for using the word "lie" in connection with President Bush -- a dictum that'd make any honest observer scrambling for a thesaurus -- Krugman now points out how Bush uses carefully crafted weasel words.
In many ways, Bush's habit of misleading statements that can be parsed as literally true -- although no less deceptive -- is worse than outright lies. But regardless, there's simply no question that Bush's rhetoric is misleading. Krugman's attention to his weasel words ought to dent the misguided perception of Bush as a "straight talking" trustworthy fellow. He's nothing of the sort.
My review of Sexy and Dangerous, one of the six Hong Kong DVDs I got myself for my birthday back in August, is now posted over at Destroy All Monsters. (I've also had a chance to check out the pleasing Maggie Cheung/Anita Mui wu xia pian The Moon Warriors, but I have yet to watch, much less review, the others.)
My lovely wife and I had a rare opportunity to go out this afternoon. We attended a performance if the Indianapolis Opera's production of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love. The lighhearted comedic opera proved a magnificent and entertaining production, and received quite an ovation from the appreciative audience. We thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was the first time we'd attended the Indianapolis Opera, but after this pleasing experience, I'm sure we'll go again.