Keepin’ it in perspective

Andrew Sullivan:

If someone had said in February 2003, that by June 2004, Saddam Hussein would have been removed from power and captured; that a diverse new government, including Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, would be installed; that elections would be scheduled for January 2005; and that the liberation of a devastated country of 25 million in which everyone owns an AK-47 had been accomplished with an army of around 140,000 with a total casualty rate (including accidents and friendly fire) of around 800; that no oil fields had been set aflame; no WMDs had been used; no mass refugee crises had emerged; and no civil war had broken out… well, I think you would come to the conclusion that the war had been an extraordinary success. And you’d be right. Yes, there are enormous challenges; and yes, so much more could have been achieved without incompetence, infighting and occasional inhumanity. But it’s worth acknowledging that, with a little perspective, our current gloom is over-blown. Stocks in Iraq have been way over-sold. I even regret some minor sells myself. Now watch the media do all it can to accentuate the negative.

Settle with us or we’ll bankrupt you

From the annals of the RIAA’s war against the American people, via Mike Daisey:

Tammy Lafky has a computer at home but said she doesn’t use it. “I don’t know how,” the 41-year-old woman said, somewhat sheepishly. But her 15-year-old daughter, Cassandra, does. And what Cassandra may have done, like millions of other teenagers and adults around the world, landed Lafky in legal hot water this week that could cost her thousands of dollars.

Lafky, a sugar mill worker and single mother in Bird Island, a farming community 90 miles west of St. Paul, became the first Minnesotan sued by name by the recording industry this week for allegedly downloading copyrighted music illegally. The lawsuit has stunned Lafky, who earns $12 an hour and faces penalties that top $500,000. (…)

A record company attorney from Los Angeles contacted Lafky about a week ago, telling Lafky she could owe up to $540,000, but the companies would settle for $4,000. “I told her I don’t have the money,” Lafky said. “She told me to go talk to a lawyer and I told her I don’t have no money to talk to a lawyer.” Lafky said she clears $21,000 a year from her job and gets no child support.

Read the whole thing.

Bangor’s Bachelorette

This is sort of sweet, but mostly funny. A tantalizing snippet:

And the “getting to know” was much tamer than reality TV. Michaels and her dates went to local restaurants, roller rinks, sports centers and pool halls – often in groups. For one memorable date, she and six of the finalists, two on-air contest winners and Butler piled in a schoolbus and headed north to Saint John, New Brunswick, for a 50 Cent concert.

Anyone else wondering how 50 Cent keeps his street cred up at a concert in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada?

Just caught what I believe is the latest Bush/Chen…

Just caught what I believe is the latest Bush/Cheney campaign ad, with the tagline “John Kerry’s problem isn’t that people don’t know who he is…it’s that people do.”

Besides the fact that it’s a great line- could some of these bright Republican ad men go to work for The New York Times and/or CNN please- it seems surprising to me, in that it goes beyond the almost-tired “John Kerry flip-flops” line and makes reference to a newer idea: that Kerry does much better when he lays low (whether vacationing or having surgery).

This is an idea which has played much longer throughout the blogosphere, and much less in the major media- and even then, the MM’s cues were likely taken from blogs.