Thursday, July 31, 2008

Apple's New Line of Macbooks

Since Apple cryptically announced recently a “new product transition” to be debuted in September, speculation has been rife. Some have posited a touch-tablet computer, akin to a giant I-pod touch. But would someone really wish to type on such? Or read a new novel on one? Ask Amazon. Others have suggested an updating of the I-Mac that would merge with Apple TV. But people won’t watch TV at the same place as they’ll work on their desktop computer, let alone in the same seating configuration.

The answer is readily figured when you hear that Apple has ordered new touch-pads made of glass. The new Macbooks, then, will ...

read the rest please go to STANDPOINT magazine on-line, where I've posted HERE.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Standpoint: on Obama, Iranian Missiles, Hunter S. Thompson

New posts up on my blog at STANDPOINT magazine on-line.

I write about Obama's Iraq dilemma in their newly inaugurated media blog "Lost Illusions" here.

About the Gonzo Photography of Hunter S. Thompson here.

About the faked Iranian missile photos here.

About a dossier of photos Ahmadinejad will allegedly present to the UN here.

Also, there been much talk about the difficulty of creating and delivering political jokes and satire about Barack Obama. I disagree. Here's one:

“A traveling salesman knocks on the door of a farmhouse, and much to his surprise, Barack Obama answers the door. The salesman says, ‘I was expecting the farmer’s daughter.’ Barack Obama replies, ‘She’s not here. The farm was foreclosed on because of subprime loans that are making a mockery of the American dream.’ ”

Maybe its' not so easy after all.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama's Re-Calibrated "Plan for Iraq"

I've just posted on STANDPOINT magazine's "Lost Illusions" media column about Barack Obama's NYT Op-Ed "My Plan for Iraq."

My conclusion?

"Obama's primary posturing, and McCain's hyperbole, aside, differences on Iraq are narrowing. That said, Obama concludes his editorial by again underscoring his long ambition to "End the War"; but as I've twice asked in Standpoint on-line posts: what war does the candidate mean he is ending?

"Over the last year, US, UK and Iraqi forces, fighting together, have virtually ended the conflicts against the various parties attempting to thwart establishment of civil society and democracy in Iraq. They’ve done so by defeating those malefactors.

"It’s now clear that, over the last eighteen months, the best way to 'support the troops' was to let them win."

Read the post HERE, please!

Along with Jonathan Foreman and others, I'll be an occasional contributor to "Lost Illusions," which of course took its name from the Balzac novel of the same name, about the 19th century Parisian world of letters.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Akira Kurosawa's STRAY DOG, Hemingway's Shortest Story

I've been blogging over at STANDPOINT magazine recently, and I've just posted on Akira Kurosawa's great film noir police procedural, as well as Hemingway's shortest story. As I write there:

Many of the finest filmmakers did their finest work in what some, incorrectly, call the lesser genres. Billy Wilder's film noir "Double Indemnity," an adaptation of the James M. Caine novel, compares well to his original "Sunset Boulevard," and in some ways paved the way for that later work. In an upcoming post, I'll offer Wilder's account of working on that adaptation with Raymond Chandler, from a conversation I had with the director shortly before he died. (It was a contentious relationship and in the end Wilder was legally enjoined by the studio from brandishing his riding crop during working hours. A limit was also placed on the number of calls he was allowed to accept from young ladies.)

This week I've been re-watching Akira Kurosawa's film noir "Stray Dog" (1949). That film had its genesis as an unpublished police procedural novel that the great Japanese filmmaker himself wrote over a feverish two month period.

Read the whole thing HERE.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Obama and Iraq again

I've just posted again, at the STANDPOINT magazine site, about developments in Iraq and how success there continues to throw up hard questions for Barack Obama.

Mickey Kaus has waggishly suggested that the looming "tipping point" in Iraq may lead to a "flipping point" on the part of Obama.

Obama himself has gamely allowed that when facts change he changes his opinion... and quite right.

The key question for him, and the Democratic party, is define which Iraq war it was they were against. As I say at Standpoint:

Is the Iraq War they opposed "the invasion of 2003, the subsequent counter-insurgency effort devised by General Petraeus and his strategist David Kilcullen in support of the pluralistic, democratically-elected government in Baghdad... or the long “engagement” dating from sporadic bombing inflicted by the US and UN on a recalcitrant Iraqi regime throughout the 1990s?

"Obama has pledged both to 'end the war' and 'support stability in Iraq.' Of course one way to accomplish those aims would be to WIN the various conflicts in Iraq, including those against al Qaeda, now composed of a rump collection of fighters being pummeled in their last urban redoubt in Mosul, as well the Shiite militias, confronted in Basra and aligned to some degree with Muqtada al Sadr and/or Iran, who may reach some other accommodation with the Iraqi government. Iraqi forces, along with the Coalition, look on the verge of accomplishing just such a win."

Please read the whole thing HERE.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hard Questions for Obama on Iraq at STANDPOINT

Further to my "Hard Question" series below, I've just posted a piece on my new blog at STANDPOINT magazine.

"Barack Obama has had an Iraq problem building over the last ten months. Ever since General Petraeus’s Iraq counter-insurgency strategy, involving “the surge” of troop deployments in theater, has shown signs of success, the Democratic Party and its attendant commentators have been in a quandary."

Read the whole thing HERE.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008