The silliness of Frum

David Frum illustrates what is either the illogic or the blatant lying of the pro-war crowd:

Read this,the horrifying account in the London Times of the kidnapping and murder of the Iraqi journalist, Atwar Bhajat….

And then ask yourself this: How can people who decently and humanely call for someone to do something to end the cruelty and violence of Darfur – then turn about and call for leaving Iraq to the killers of Atwan Bhajat?

Gee, that’s a really tough one for anyone capable of scoring above 400 on their SAT verbal. It’s because the former is being perpetrated with the force of government on an unarmed people. The latter is being perpetrated by a group, that, we are repeatedly assured by the likes of David Frum, is a small, unpopular group of violent extremists who are not in charge of Iraq nor are likely to be once we end the occupation.

Unless, of course, Frum means to say that the elected purple-finger government of Iraq, of which he and the neoconservatives are so proud, were responsible for murdering Miss Bhajat.

Sometimes it astounds me to see what passes for an intellectual star in the “conservative” commentariat.

Your window of opportunity is over, neocons. America is not interested in Iraq or Iran any longer. That will of which you all speak so highly and being so vital to win a war? It’s not there. Deal with it.

A few horror stories about bad evil worse-than-Hitler terrorists killing Muslims in ugly ways isn’t going to rile anyone up, especially not a country that enthusiastically goes to see a nasty piece of work like Saw 2.

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A guessing game

While public opinion on the quality of my fiction tends to vary widely, no one considers me to be much of a success in that line, including me. That’s fine, I continue to write for pleasure nevertheless and if I’m not getting rich off my book contracts, well, there are other opportunities out there.

But having recently been apprised by my publisher of precisely how many books of mine remained in stock, (and thus how many had been sold) as part of the amicable severing of our relations, I found it interesting to consider the facts of the Viswanathan scandal. Remember, the young “authoress”, (or rather, the firm marketing her “writing”), received a $500,000 advance and had a film deal going with Dreamworks.

Some writers spend decades trying to break into the biz, and even then, they often can’t make ends meet. For legitimate writers, an unproven teenager landing a $500,000 deal to write two books adds insult to the obvious injury of plagiarism. (Latest reports counted 40 close parallels between Viswanathan’s novel and books by Megan McCafferty.)

Compare that to the princely $2,500 advance Stephen King received in 1974 for his first novel, Carrie. (Even adjusted for inflation, that’s still only about $10,000.) King ultimately made much more from paperback and movie rights, and he’s now known for the blockbuster salaries his books command. Still, I think his first earnings highlight the logical disconnect of a teenaged writer with no experience — or product, for that matter, when the deal was made — getting a contract worth half a million.

All 55,000 unsold copies of Viswanathan’s How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life is being pulled by Little, Brown. Apparently, 9,600 copies had been sold by April 23, before the plagiarism controversy came to light. The movie deal Viswanathan had secured with DreamWorks SKG is off, too.

Given how unknown they remain, and what a small fraction of that advance they were worth, how many copies of The War in Heaven and The World in Shadow would you guess were sold? 1,000? Maybe as many as 2,500? Note that according to Amazon, World is only 466,504 spots behind Viswanathan’s now-infamous tome.

Whoever comes closest wins the right to claim or name a participant in the VPFL this fall.

That’s a new one

An all-too predictable headline from the New York Times:

Rove Is Using Threat of Loss to Stir G.O.P.

In meetings at the White House, aboard Air Force One and in candidates’ home states, Mr. Rove is trying to rally Republicans to stand by the president and his agenda.

He has focused in particular on uniting them behind the administration’s proposals to overhaul immigration, which include guest worker provisions that conservatives despise; the Iraq war, which has driven Mr. Bush’s poll numbers sharply downward; and the Medicare prescription drug program, which the administration says will cost $872 billion from 2006 to 2014 and which Mr. Bush backed enthusiastically despite complaints from conservatives that it was a vast expansion of the social welfare state.

That’s an interesting strategy. Instead of offering them what they want – which many of them wouldn’t buy at this point anyhow – sell them harder on what they hate. The thing is, not even Hillary is enough to scare conservatives to vote for the faux conservatives anymore.

And remember, these programs were supposed to be part of a pragmatic program that would make the administration more popular. The lesson, as always, is that sticking by your principles is not only the correct moral stance, in the long term it is the more effective one.

I quite look forward to the increasingly frantic whining and pleading from the desperate “conservative” commentariat already. You made your deal with the devil, folks, now enjoy the flames.

The Innocent Sex

From the Telegraph:

The wife of the one-time Liberal Democrat leadership contender Mark Oaten, whose political ambitions were ruined by the disclosure of his relationship with a male prostitute, has described to Hello! magazine how she struck him and threw her wedding ring at him after he confessed to the affair….

“It was something almost too big for me to handle,” she explained. “I said an awful lot of horrible things to him at first. I took off my rings and threw them at him and told him never to come back, and I hit him about three times. I’d lost all respect for him.”

Lest you think the PC notion that women can never commit a crime is limited to the USA, note that it may actually be worse in the UK. Do you think the husband of a leading US politician would be left alone by the press after publicly announcing that he’d punched his wife three times?

Also in the UK last week was the interesting juxstaposition of two stabbing cases, one where a woman arranged to meet her husband’s mistress, brought a knife and then stabbed her eighteen times, and another where a man randomly stabbed a pregnant woman he did not know as she passed him in the street.

As you might expect, the man’s attack was lethal, the woman’s wasn’t. As you might not expect, the woman was acquitted of attempted murder despite the premeditated attack and she was ordered to spend 15 months in jail for causing “grievous bodily harm”, which included a punctured lung and permanent blindness in one eye.

Alethea Foster, 61, gasped and stumbled in the dock after a jury of nine women and three men acquitted her of intentionally trying to kill or harm Julie Simpson, 45, a mature student at Cambridge University, last October.

The man’s case hasn’t yet been resolved, he’s in psychological detention. But even being obviously crazy probably won’t prevent him from being convicted of premeditated murder since he is, after all, not one of the Innocent Sex.

To close on a tangential note, if women won’t vote to convict women that they know are guilty of stabbing someone 18 times, do you really think they won’t vote en masse for Hillary Clinton regardless of her many and manifest evils? The temptation to break that unfair glass ceiling will be too great for many Republican women, especially since the Republicans will run someone whose political positions are practically identical to what will be her public positions in 2008.

Remember, she’s always been a Yankees fan….