Friday, February 22, 2002

HOWDY, INSTAPUNDIT READERS! Bookmark and come back often! And if one of you happens to be Michael Moore -- ummm, no, I didn't actually say that you were a big fat liar. That was just a little hyperbole on Glenn's part. What I did say was ...

Thursday, February 21, 2002

REVISIONIST HISTORY: Michael Moore, you are sooooo busted!

On a promotional tour for his latest book which, as a matter of principle, I shall not name or link -- if you really care, you'll have no trouble finding it -- this afternoon Michael Moore was interviewed by the affable Leonard Lopate on New York's public radio affiliate, WNYC. (Link requires Real Audio)

Lopate usually books guests whom he likes and respects, and his puff-piece softball interview with Moore made it plain that he was sympathetic to Moore's brand of ultra-left redistribute-the-wealth liberalism. But my beef is not with Lopate or WNYC or public radio in general. Their bias is a given.

My beef is with that two-faced professional provocateur, Michael Moore, friend to the working man -- unless you happen to be working for Michael Moore. (Sorry, no supporting links -- but the truth is out there.)

Pressed to justify his support for spoiler candidate Ralph Nader, Moore takes the position that (1) Gore should have won convincingly enough that Nader's 3% showing would not have been enough to throw the election to Bush, and (2) "Let's be honest," he said to Lopate. "It was easy for me to vote for Nader. I live in New York. Gore was going to win by 20 points. But I also told people in Florida and the swing states, 'You have a different job. Your job is to stop George W. Bush.' "

In other words, if you voted for Nader in Florida and you're having fits of buyer's remorse, don't come complaining to your humble servant Michael Moore. I did my job right. You just didn't do yours.

Sorry, Mike, but -- nuhhh-uhhh. Let's put your assertion in context, shall we? Here's a snarky little paragraph you wrote on October 7, 2000:
If you need to vote for Gore because you think a free election is nothing more than a game of Tic-tac-toe ("A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush so I'm voting for Gore to block Bush, see?"), then go ahead and play that game. Games are fun. There are 100 million other Americans, though, who are planning to sit the election out because they don't like this game one damn bit.
I dunno, Mike -- let me get this straight. You were out there in the trenches, telling everyone to make a principled symbolic vote for Nader except in those cases where a single, puny little vote might actually make a difference? Doesn't wash. Either you take your principles seriously, or you don't. Who's playing games now?

Wait a minute. Moore had a twofold mission -- to generate enthusiasm for Nader where it didn't matter, and also give tacit support to Gore where it was genuinely needed. But as late as one month before the election, he sure had a funny way to demonstrate that support. Here's what he wrote on October 12, 2000:
"Mike! Back off with this Nader thing! [Moore's e-mail was saying --] Gore is going to lose!" Yes, he might. But, let me ask you -- is this Ralph Nader's fault or Al Gore's? Did Ralph Nader tell Gore to sit there like a wimp [in the debate] last night? Did Ralph Nader tell Gore to just agree with whatever drivel came out of Bush's mouth? Did Ralph Nader abandon the working class backbone of the Democratic Party for 8 years? Why the hell do you think Bush is ahead in most polls "during the greatest economic prosperity in our history?" Voters NEVER want a change when the economy is "booming." NEVER! So why do you think this is happening, my fellow members of the computer and Internet elite?

I am sorry things have turned south for Gore. As I have said before, I have met the man and I believe him to be a decent and good person. But he and his partner lost their way a long time ago. And now he is paying the price. This has NOTHING to do with Ralph Nader. It has everything to do with having the courage of your own convictions.
On October 31, 2000, in an open letter to Al Gore, Moore wrote:
According to your people, all Ralph or I have to do is wave a magic wand and the Nader voters will "come back to Gore." Look, Al, you have screwed up -- big time. ... I will not feel one iota of guilt should you screw up and lose on Tuesday. The blame I do share is that I voted for you and Bill in 1992.
It wasn't until the very day before the election, November 6, 2000, that Moore finally began to sense that his position was untenable. Accordingly, he made this tepid concession:
I completely understand that if you live in a swing state and you feel your conscience telling you that you have to vote for Gore to stop Bush, then do what you need to do. It's not how I would vote, but I understand and appreciate what you are going through. Yes, Nader needs every possible vote in all 50 states, but if you are acting on conscience instead of compromise then that is all I want you to do.
And on Election Day, 2000, Moore politely reiterated his CYA point:

I know many of you in the "swing states" feel a need to vote for Gore to stop Bush. As I've said before, I respect your decision.
And the rest is revisionist history. In today's radio interview, Moore backtracks, towing a new hastily-drawn line in the sand. Symbolic gesture in New York, pragmatic realist in Florida -- with exactly one day's notice. Gee, Mike -- it's just too bad that at least 600 of Nader's 95,000 Florida voters didn't happen to catch your Gore endorsement in time for it to make an impression.

But hey -- no time for regrets. You issued the requisite "small print" disclaimer just under the wire, so your hands are clean. Anyway, you've got a best-selling book to peddle! Scoot!

Read Ted Barlow's screenplay adaptation of the Y2K Election here.

Juan Gato provides color commentary on Michael Moore's latest self-serving promotional announcement here.

Daniel Radosh (now there's a guy who ought to be blogging daily!) digs the dirt here. Moore rebuts and Radosh dignifies him with a reply here.

Click on this link -- -- and see where you end up.

UPDATE: Naaah. Just a run-of-the-mill case of cybersquatting. Note to Patrick Ruffini: The correct URL is

ABOUT THAT GEORGIA CREMATORY GUY: So far, all we've heard are the facts. Where's all the wild speculation? So far, the Blogosphere seems to be ignoring the story en masse. C'mon, folks! You've got upwards of 300 rotting corpses strewn about the premises! What -- you need evidence of cannibalism or necrophilia before this story gains any traction? You'd all rather dash off another 1000 words on anti-American sentiment in Lichtenstein? Gimme a break.

Okay. I guess it's up to me. I figure, it must have happened like this:

Anyone who's ever run a small business knows. Some days, it all comes down to damage control. You can't keep up with the workload. The phones won't stop ringing. You're short-staffed. You've been working 22-hour days non-stop for a week, so tired that that you're literally walking into walls. Then the equipment breaks down.

What to do? The incinerator service technician comes in, gives it a quick look-see, and says he'll have to special-order a replacement part. No, it's not a stock inventory item -- might take three or four days to arrive from the factory.

Four days? That's too late! The Fnurd family is expecting to pick up the remains of Great-Aunt Zelda tomorrow morning! If I don't deliver on time, my reputation in this industry will be ruined! What to do, what to do...?

Eureka! Crematorium Guy rationalized, "Just this one time ... I'll bury the body in the back yard and give 'em an urn full of sawdust. The Fnurds will never know the difference. It's not like they'll ever have the contents inspected and spectrum-analyzed. Yeah ... that's it ... I can get away with it ... just this once."

But the trouble with "just this once," is that once you've taken a little ethical shortcut and gotten away with it, it's just that much easier to do it again. And again. And again... The stakes keep rising -- turns out, there's a son who expects to inherit the family business, but he doesn't know the awful secret. Finally --as in all great screenplays with ratcheting body counts -- the imperfect protagonist is the agent of his own downfall. He's got one more body to bury, and then he'll retire gracefully -- but something goes horribly awry. Though the endgame was completely unforeseeable, Crematory Guy still comes to an inevitable, ironic end -- BURIED ALIVE IN A TOMB OF HIS OWN MAKING!!!.

(Naaah. Pass. Say, how about that cannibalism and necrophilia angle?)

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

IT'S A FACT! My Idiot pal Barry Brooks posts this bit of interesting trivia to the Idiot's Delight Digest today...

February 20 this year will be a historic moment in time.

It will not be marked by the chiming of any clocks or the ringing of bells, but at that precise time, on that specific date, something will happen which has not occurred for 1,001 years, and will never happen again.

As the clock ticks over from 8.01pm on Wednesday, February 20, time will, for sixty seconds only, read in perfect symmetry 2002, 2002,2002, or to be more precise:

20:02, 20/02, 2002

This historic event will never have the same poignancy as the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month which marks Armistice Day, but it is an event which has only ever happened once before, and is something which will never be repeated.

The last occasion that time read in such a symmetrical pattern was long before the days of the digital watch and the 24-hour clock at 10:01am on January 10, 1001.

And because the clock only goes up to 23:59, it is something that will never happen again.

UPDATE: Wrong again. Kathy Kinsley sets me straight -- "It will happen again! Unless you insist on zeros in the middle" -- and cites this example:

21:12 21/12 2112 (9:12pm Dec 21, 2112)

This evening, NPR also rattled off a short list of palindromic dates yet to come.

All of which serves to reminds me of another useless factoid: The year 1961 could be read as the same number when viewed both upside-up and upside-down. You won't be able to do that trick again until the year 6009.

MISDEMEANOR PLAGIARISM UPDATE: Apparently, almost simultaneously, Mark Evanier posted the exact same piece of trivia at POVonline. I plead not guilty.