Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Mission

MANIFESTO

This thought has occurred to me, too.

A Lissome Departure

MANIFESTO

President Bush strongly backed Iraq's prime minister on Thursday, saying Iraqi forces would be trained more quickly to take over security and Washington was not seeking a "graceful exit" for U.S. troops.
I think he's got this right: Any exit from the morass that is Iraq is sure to be, like the rest of the hideous exercise, decidedly clumsy.

Who are these guys? cont'd

SPORTING GOODS

(Before I discuss UConn men's basketball, let me just say that Digby's latest blog is essential reading. Its highlight:
[A]s word finally begins to trickle out from this previously leak-proof administration, it's becoming clear that John DiUlio's early observations of the Mayberry Machiavellis was spot on. There was no "plan." There was just wishin' and hopin' and competing visions and magical thinking. It was as bad as any of us imagined in our craziest blog posts.

This was an unusually incompetent group at everything but domestic electoral politics (and it turns out that they weren't even all that good at that.) They may have had big plans and big ambitions, but they never had even the first clue about how to implement them. And they were led by a man of such shallow character and dim intellect that they could not learn.
We now return to our regular posting.)

I got a chance finally to pay attention to the 2006-2007 version of the UConn men's basketball team last night in their blowout of the Sacred Heart Pioneers. I have to admit I was pretty impressed. I knew some of the names from last year (and the year before; cf. A.J. Price), but the vast majority of the team is made up of freshmen—nine, according to St. Jim's count; eight according to at least one web site.

At any rate, they're all pretty impressive and seem willing to play St. Jim's game, which is to play hard on defense and run, run, run.

At this point, it seems like the Coach is satisfied with no apparent superstars on the team. At any rate, no latter-day Rip Hamilton or Ray Allen has emerged, so the team is satisfied to have four players score in double digits while they all get a lot of playing time.

St. Jim says that he likes the team a lot. Even assistant George Blaney says he likes the team a lot, and that's saying something. Personally, I think they're both so glad to get rid of the head cases they had to babysit the last few years that any difference in the team's personnel is welcome relief.

Anyway, they really were fun to watch against a terribly outmanned Sacred Heart team. We'll see what they can do when they take on some legitimate opponents. Their guard play is outstanding. I think that Jerome Dyson is the best of the bunch, but the Coach could easily play three guards all the time—as Villanova did last year—and have a very successful season.

Having said that, I'm a little concerned about their size in the paint. I realize that we in the state have been spoiled for the last three years as the team always had two or three 6-10 or 6-11 guys available, but a couple of 6-9 guys, as good as they are (and I think Stanley Robinson is an excellent player), may not be enough when it comes to crunch time. It's very possible that St. Jim will redshirt Jonathan Mandeldove, so that the still raw Hasheem Thabeet will be called on more and more to be the presence down low. Will he be able to be a force come March? Time will tell.

I think the most amazing thing about the current roster—if one just looks at it for a moment—is the number of freshmen and sophomores on it. Given the proclivity of gifted college players to leave school after a year or two, it's not surprising, but such transience sure makes it difficult to feel any sense of loyalty to a team. (Insert Seinfeld comment on the impermanence of sports teams' personnel here.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Checkmate?

MANIFESTO

If Prime Minister of Iraq wasn’t the worst job in the world already, it’s getting closer by the hour. One of the stronger domestic political players just upped the ante and shrewdly leveraged the growing rift between Baghdad and Washington. Anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr convinced 30 Iraqi Members of Parliament and 6 Ministers loyal to his party to walk away from the Maliki Government in protest to his meeting with W.

Now that Al-Maliki has been publicly humiliated by the White House he doesn’t have many places left he can turn for support. Al-Maliki knows that not only is the US looking towards the exits, but seems poised to invite Iran in. Option one is to ignore domestic pressures and reconcile with the despised and seemingly soon to depart American Occupational Authority. The second is to turn to the populist Shia cleric who heads the political party necessary to keep the ruling coalition intact, has his own militia, and is closely aligned with Iran. If self-preservation is an instinct Al-Maliki possesses, something tells me it will be the latter.

Will this elevate Al-Sadar to the status of king maker and radically shift the balance of power within the Iraqi government closer to total Shia control? If so, it doesn’t bode well for American troops on the ground or the prospect of ending sectarian violence and creating a secular democracy.

Nickleby, cont'd.

MANIFESTO

Speaking of things the incompetent in the White House has walked away from (see below), The Day of New London editorialized about the No Child Left Behind Act recently.
NCLB must be re-examined and reformed, if for no other reason than most of the teachers simply don't believe in it. Their passion for education deteriorates a little every day, much in the manner of tooth decay. NCLB's primary benefactors haven't been the children as much as the testing companies who have profited from their NCLB-friendly programs.

Congress must understand that children are not robots. Neither are teachers. They are human and must be treated as such. NCLB ties its development to test scores and forces teachers to teach off a veritable script, rather than allowing for any creativity. While test scores certainly measure progress, the progress would come easier if NCLB focused on developing the people in charge of developing the children, enhancing the art of teaching ...

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Rep. George Miller of California are expected to be the chairmen of the Senate and House education committees. They have one of the most important tasks ever assigned to them. They must find resources to fund NCLB's notorious “unfunded mandates.” They must give more resources to schools and to research into educational strategies to improve minority performance. That would begin by addressing the students as people and not the anonymous subjects of a testing company's experiment.
I just want to remember this editorial once the Democrats attain the majority in Congress. My hope is that what the editorial encourages comes to pass.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal continues to hope for the best.

Iraq Inconsistencies

MANIFESTO

I think most blogs have noted Feckless Leader's intransigence recently when he stated that he would not "pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete." Since this is what he's been saying since 2003, I guess we can kiss the notion of bipartisanship goodbye.

It's striking to me, though, that GI George has pretty much taken himself out of the entire Iraq equation by demanding that Iraq Prime Minister al-Maliki come up with a "strategy to be a country which can govern itself and sustain itself." This is the typical Bush modus operandi:Create an immense problem and then insist that others take care of it.

And, of course, the Boy President is already being told that there's no way that Maliki can do what he'd like him to do:
A classified memorandum by President Bush’s national security adviser expressed serious doubts about whether Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had the capacity to control the sectarian violence in Iraq ...

The Nov. 8 memo was prepared for Mr. Bush and his top deputies by Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, and senior aides on the staff of the National Security Council after a trip by Mr. Hadley to Baghdad.
As time passes, this whole escapade becomes more and more incredible.

Ready for Battle

MANIFESTO

As a card-carrying liberal, can someone let me know when this year's War on Christmas starts? I need to make sure I have my armor and weaponry all shiny and ready to go.

Thanks!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Coalition of the Not So Willing…

MANIFESTO

I didn’t realize how much things have changed since I went to Sunday-school, but in the spirit of the season: after a dispute with the board of directors the president elect of the Christian Collation, the Reverend Joel C. Hunter, has decided not to take the job. In a statement picked up by CNN Hunter said he wanted to expand the focus of the group “to include compassion issues such as poverty, justice, and creation care." Hunter’s Logic? “We need to care as much for the vulnerable outside the womb as inside the womb." According to Hunter "After initial willingness to consider these changes, the board of the CCA decided, 'that is fine, but that is not who we are."

God rest ye merry, gentlemen.

Mr. Warmth

MANIFESTO

Quinnipiac University this month asked people around the country to rate what it calls "the warmth of their feelings for leaders."

... Topping the list was Rudolph Giuliani ...

[Connecticut's junior senator] scored well among almost every constituency in the Quinnipiac poll, which surveyed 1,623 registered voters between Nov. 13 and 19. He [was sixth in the poll and] was received warmly by Republicans, Democrats and independents, in red, blue and purple states, and among men and women.
These results can only mean that those surveyed didn't understand the question.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Wheelspinning

MANIFESTO

Reports on the Iraq Study Group's draft report are starting to come out in dribs and drabs. Apparently, the group is likely to promote direct talks with Iran and Syria, which certainly seems like a no-brainer, although the scarecrow in the White House doesn't seem to get it.

It's still unclear, however, as to whether the report will include a guideline for when U.S. troops should start leaving Iraq. In other words, the report, which took months to prepare, may turn out to be essentially worthless.

This on the day after the US celebrated the fact that the war in Iraq has now lasted longer than U.S. involvement in World War II.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekend Summary

Whatever

Spent last night at my 10 year high school reunion. The more things change ... Sadly, it was nothing like the reunion in Grosse Pointe Blank. That said, the following exchange fairly accurately summarizes my feelings about the whole affair:
Marcella: You know, when you start getting invited to your ten year high school reunion, time is catching up.
Martin Blank: Are you talking about a sense of my own mortality or a fear of death?
Marcella: Well, I never really thought about it quite like that.
Martin Blank: Did you go to yours?
Marcella: Yes, I did. It was just as if everyone had swelled.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How about No, OK?

SPORTING GOODS

Once again, the good Boston writers are again hoping that their favorite whipping boy Manny Ramirez will be traded.

I agree with Surviving Grady:
I understand that you want me to get all hot and bothered over the fact that, to paraphrase your words, Manny doesn't like Boston, Manny doesn't like us fans, Manny hates all of his teammates and regularly spikes their thermoses with Fiber-Con, and Manny is coming over to my place later tonight to kick me in the jimmy.

But the fact is, you ain't gonna change my mind, no matter how hard you try. Because I believe that if Manny leaves, this team becomes a little less lovable, a lot less entertaining, and I'm not even gonna get into replacing that consistent production at the plate. So please -- channel your energies elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My AL MVP ballot

SPORTING GOODS

Yes, I may need to turn in my Red Sox Nation ID card, as I voted for Jeter in the Baseball Prospectus fan balloting.

Unlike the NL MVP voting, I don't expect that the actual results will follow too closely with what I've got here. Dye will be much higher, I'm sure, with guys like Thomas/Guillen/Manny probably lower. Who do you think deserves it?

Derek Jeter
Joe Mauer
David Ortiz
Justin Morneau
Frank Thomas
Manny Ramirez
Carlos Guillen
Jim Thome
Johan Santana
Jermaine Dye

edited to add: Morneau wins, Jeter comes in 2nd. I was right about Dye, he came in 5th, and was wrong about Thomas, they actually put him 4th - but Manny gets shafted and doesn't make the top 10. Basically, Manny and Thome were replaced by Vlad and Hafner. I disagree with that.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Boomers

MANIFESTO

Here's a letter published by the Hartford Courant today:
It is broadly accepted that the Democrats won because enough people - including Republicans - wanted a change. No one knows exactly what that will be, but it will happen.

It occurred to me that the people who helped make the Democrats victorious this year are the same people who made the difference in the Vietnam War 35 years ago. People like me.

As a college student in the late '60s, along with thousands of other college students, I protested the war. The effect was monumental and a real lesson in democracy. Then I cut my hair, went middle class and even voted Republican as I got older and thought that electing those who were tough on crime and welfare served the national interest.

But these former hippies, demonstrators and involved students felt anything but satisfied with the state of the union. Their jobs were being shipped to India, college costs were skyrocketing and were we really any safer? Heck, the Republicans wouldn't even allow us to get discount drugs from Canada. And forget about finding a cure for Alzheimer's.

So we took a stand to make a difference that has the potential to shake up the state of the union.
To which I say: Well, aren't you special. But, why was it neccesary for the writer to realize that jobs were being shipped to India, college costs were skyrocketing and ... the Republicans wouldn't even allow boomers to get discount drugs from Canada in order for him to come back to what he believed as a younger man?

I'd feel a lot better about too many people in my generation if they'd stuck to their original beliefs without having to go through an epiphany in their later lives. It shouldn't have to take a war in Iraq to realize that imperialism is wrong; it shouldn't have to take difficulties by the middle class in getting necessary prescription drugs to realize that other people get sick.

(By the way, the funniest letter of the day is the first one. Click on the link if you want to be horrified.)

Carlos the 4th

SPORTING GOODS

While I enjoy ripping moron radio men / writers for their individual opinions on the MVP race, I try not to get too worked up about the actual voting. (But don't get me started on the ridiculous Gold Gloves!)

Anyway, the NL MVP has been announced, and Carlos Beltran finished 4th, getting only one 2nd place vote. My reasoned and of course brilliant August post on why Beltran deserved the MVP was somewhat outdated by the time the season ended, as Beltran cooled off considerably. The Mets had it wrapped up by then anyway. But it seemed that the only people still on the Beltran for MVP bandwagon were hardcore defensive stat geeks, who could show you just how good Beltran was, and how lousy Howard was, in the field this year.

Oh well, Howard it is, at least he is fun to watch.

I voted in the Baseball Prospectus fan awards, here's who I voted on my MVP ballot, and where they actually finished.

1 Albert Pujols (2)
2 Carlos Beltran (4)
3 Ryan Howard (1)
4 Miguel Cabrera (5)
5 Jose Reyes (7)
6 Lance Berkman (3)
7 Alfonso Soriano (6)
8 David Wright (9)
9 Chase Utley (8)
10 Mike Cameron (21)

Besides Cameron, who had a vastly under-rated year, I was mostly just 1 or 2 spots off on each player, so all in all it seems that I was in relative agreement with the writers.

But can someone explain to me how this year's Cy Young Brandon Webb did not get a single point, and therefore did not finish in the top 25, yet Trevor Hoffman came in 10th with 46 points? That's just strange.

Best football game ever?

SPORTING GOODS

At my age, I really don't get too excited about football games that I don't have an emotional stake in (That is, I don't much care about games that don't involve the Patriots, Dartmouth, or Penn State.), but I have to say that Saturday's Ohio State-Michigan game was one of the best games I've ever seen.

I actually heard John Feinstein this morning compare it to the 1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game, which heretofore I've always maintained was the best football game I'd ever viewed.

Here, in chronological order, are the four football games I think are the best I've ever seen (Please note that all of these games were viewed in the comfort of someone's living room and did not involve teams I feel an emotional attachment to.):

1958 NFL Championship game
1971 Nebraska-Oklahoma game
1971 Dolphins-Chiefs playoff game
2006 Ohio State-Michigan game

Anyone else want to add a favorite or two or three?

Midnight madness

MANIFESTO

Avarice personified:
The day after Thanksgiving is "Black Friday," the first day retailers start raking in the dough during the holiday season -- and they're not talking about dough for Christmas cookies.

At least one Massachusetts shopping center has taken the day to the extreme this year, opening at midnight on Nov. 24, even before some folks get over their "turkey comas."
It's stories like this one that make me glad I'm no longer in retail and makes me very sorry for those people who are.

Kicking him when he's down

MANIFESTO

Not only is Rummy gone, but his doctrine seems to be, too.
[A] key Army manual now is being rewritten in a way that rejects the Rumsfeld doctrine and counsels against using it again.

The draft version of the Army's Full Spectrum Operations field manual argues that in addition to defeating the enemy, military units must focus on providing security for the population — even during major combat.
Oh well. It was clear from the beginning—at least to some—that this supercilious toothless maniac had no idea what he was doing at any time. And it took the Army only three years to realize that, also.

Speaking of things military, the Pentagon's secret review of the fiasco in Iraq has apparently come up with three basic possibilities: Go big, go long, or go home.

The first option seems impossible unless a draft is reinstituted, and that will never happen no matter what Charlie Rangel says. No, I'm afraid the country's only melting pot—where every American is mixed in with his fellow citizens no matter their color, creed, background, social beliefs, or IQ—remains public education.

The go long policy is just heinous. US citizens are already tired of the Iraq occupation and to extend it would be political suicide—to say nothing of the additional American lives such a policy would cost.

That leaves us with the go home policy, which really seems like only viable plan being floated. I'm not a big fan of this policy either because it presupposes that we're in Iraq in the first place, a policy that I thought was lunacy from the beginning. (I realize I'm into time machine policy here.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Ho Chi Who?

MANIFESTO

So Feckless Leader finally makes it to Vietnam—a country he dodged like the dickens in the 1970s—to make the astonishing statement that, like the Vietnam engagement, "We'll succeed unless we quit" in Iraq.

GI George might want to get his history straight: The US ultimately did quit in Vietnam, and that country's story has been a success ever since: Its GDP, for example, grew at a robust 8.4% last year. God knows the Republican "starve the beast" policies haven't been able to match a number like that.

Even the Harvard MBA had to admit that Vietnam is "a place with an enormous future." This in a place where the US ultimately gave up on the hideous quagmire it found itself in.

As ThinkProgress.org points out :
The lesson from Vietnam is exactly the opposite of what Bush suggested. In fact, we can succeed by leaving ... Vietnam’s recovery demonstrates that a U.S. withdrawal does not doom a country to civil strife. America’s venture in Vietnam failed not because we left too soon, but because we left too late.

Bo Schembechler, RIP

SPORTING GOODS

Even though I wasn't a big fan of Schembechler's while he coached, you can't say he didn't have a sense of the dramatic—kicking off just a day before the kickoff of the biggest football game the University of Michigan has been involved in in years.

Deck the Halls

MANIFESTO

The Christmas hunting season has officially begun.
On the first day the much anticipated PlayStation 3 hit shelves in stores across the country, two armed thugs in Connecticut targeted game seekers with fat wallets, shooting one person waiting in a Wal-Mart line who refused to give up money, authorities said.

Police were still searching for the suspects.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

UPDATE — Colin McEnroe sees a great irony in this episode.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Milton Friedman

MANIFESTO

I'm struck by the eulogies now being offered on behalf of Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, who almost single-handedly started Republicans thinking that government programs of any type were counter-productive.

While I realize it's impolite to speak ill of the dead, the next time people wonder how anti-environmentalism, opposition to social security, the importance of the so-called "free market," school vouchers, job exportation, and inordinate tax cuts became so important on every Republican presidents'—and candidates'—platform since 1964, they need look no farther than the ideas of a certain professor from the University of Chicago.

Staying the course redux

MANIFESTO

Now that Rummy's gone, it's up to General John Abizaid to endure the slings and arrows of contentious Senate questioning. While the general didn't do what could be called a stellar job before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, at least he had the guts to show up before the panel—which is more than Rummy is willing to do.

At any rate, it might as well be 2003 for all Abizaid is saying: Don't increase troop strength; Iraqis should pull their own weight. Certainly, there's nothing new here, and it wasn't surprising to hear Clinton, McCain, et al, venting their frustrations.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Seizing the moment

MANIFESTO

The fact that Trent Lott will be the Senate's new minority whip, and Mel Martinez will be the new RNC chair is duly noted.

The post-election Grand Old Party: Taking a stand against integration and integrity.

Black Friday

SHOPPING

Just so even more assaults can occur at your local Wal-Mart,
a host of tattletale Web sites have already exposed bargains shoppers can expect [on the day after Thanksgiving].

According to www.BFAds. net, a site operated by teenage San Jose native Michael Brim, those deals include a Motorola RAZR cell phone for $19.99 at Circuit City, a $99.99 diamond bracelet at Sears and a $379.99 HP laptop at Best Buy.
According to the aforementioned site, Best Buy was considering legal action if it didn't remove the Best Buy information. So it's temporarily removed all Best Buy previews.

Scuttlebutt has it that Best Buy will be offering a 32" LCD TV for $499.

Get in line early.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who's counting?

MANIFESTO

Joe Courtney should win in Connecticut's 2nd House District, but apparently people have problems counting votes in the metropolis of Lebanon, CT.
Democrat Joe Courtney’s lead over Republican congressman Rob Simmons has dropped to just 66 votes after election officials in Lebanon discovered a math error had given him an extra 100 votes.

Election officials in Lebanon are calling it human error. A number on one of the machines was simply misread.

Nearly half of the 65 towns in the district were recounting their votes Monday.

All the results are due in the secretary of the state's office by midnight Wednesday.
Miscounting 100 votes in a town of only 6900 would seem pretty difficult even for the worst arithmophobe. Nevertheless, it happened and has added a little excitement to the recount.

We'll know the results tomorrow tonight.

Deliverance

MANIFESTO

Hmmm ... It looks like George H.W. Bush may get a second term, after all.

One has only to listen to David Greene's report on NPR to see just how infantile our feckless leader really is. Virtually everybody he now has in his administration served in XLI's. And now that the cavalry is finally coming to the rescue, we're sure to see a hideous denouement.

(And Tony Snow (yet another XLI veteran) can protest all he wants—"This is not a—this is not bringing in people willy-nilly from the [first] President [Bush's] administration 'to save him.' Wrong."—but saving Private Bush is exactly what the Baker/Scowcroft/Bates, etc. intervention is designed to do.)

The American people, who, God knows, are pretty slow on the uptake, seem finally to have realized just how incompetent the sixty-year-old child in the Oval Office is.

Let's face it: GI George has never held a real job; he's never shown any sense of responsibility; he's never had to actually follow through on commitments (and the one time he was supposed to, he sloughed it off). It's no surprise, then, that he's been so utterly puerile in everything he's undertaken in Washington. And now, once again, Daddy has to rescue him from the error of his juvenile ways.

What a pathetic excuse for a human being.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Democracy in action

MANIFESTO

It's kind of cool to see a number of people huddled around voting machines this morning at my place of employ. They're obviously involved in the recount for last week's Courtney-Simmons election—the one where, at last count, Courtney led by 166 votes.

It's nice to realize that the Secretary of State took a stand early and wouldn't allow the inaccurate electronic voting machines anywhere in Connecticut. Take that, you thieving Diebold.

Borat

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

So I talked Mrs. Monocle into going to see Borat yesterday, and we both came out of the theater with one big question. Viz., how did Sacha Baron Cohen and his crew avoid getting arrested?

Concerning the real estate dinner and Pamela Anderson scenes especially, how is it that this guy was subsequently able to appear on a number of talk shows promoting the movie without wearing leg irons?

I'm hoping that the movie buffs who frequent this blog can answer this.

(By the way, we both guffawed at many points in the film.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Who are these guys?

SPORTING GOODS

If anyone caught UConn's opening b-ball game on Friday night, you probably saw a group of fantastic athletes that don't shoot particulcarly well, and who don't seem to have any cohesion.

They were lucky to hold on to beat Quinnipiac, doing it on sheer will and athleticism, but as I watched I kept waiting for guys that I know to check into the game.

Eventually I stopped waiting.

Here are the guys who returned from last year:
Jeff Adrien
Craig Austrie
Marcus Johnson (no, not Williams)
Rob Garrison
Ben Spencer
Marty Gagne

So basically 3 guys who got any sort of minutes last year, and only one who was meaningfully contributing by year's end. They've got some fantastic freshmen, including a 7'3" beast who will be very fun to watch. And they finally have A.J. Price, who I think is pushing 30 at this point. Insert laptop joke here, but don't forget this guy also redshirted a year to injury/life-threatening illness even before that.

It should be fun to watch this team grow and get better as a team. It will definitely be one of Calhoun's finer accomplishments if he can have this team competing for the Big East title and getting to the Sweet 16 and beyond.

SSS, conclusion

MANIFESTO

It was predicted a few weeks ago that if everything broke a certain way in last week's elections, that Connecticut's junior senator would become the one Senator who might be responsible for the passage—or defeat—of legislative efforts in the next two years. Indeed, on Meet the Press this morning he did little to disabuse anyone of that notion.

Colin McEnroe has the report.

I assume Senator Sanctimony's supporters knew what they were doing when they voted for this cretin.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It wasn't fun while it lasted

MANIFESTO

There are so many despicable Republican politicos that it's hard to quantify who might be among the most loathsome. I certainly won't miss the racist diatribes of George Allen, for example, and, as bad as it's been, the House nevertheless has been a better place since Tom Delay left it.

Be that as it may, I find myself more elated than I might have expected to find out that the unctuous Ken Mehlman will step down from his post as Republican National Committee Chairman when his two-year term ends in January.

Understanding and Knowing

MANIFESTO

From the lame duck's press conference of yesterday:
I understand when campaigns end and I know when governing begins.
This is certainly hard to believe when Karl Rove has an office within the White House.

Typed on my Hemp Keyboard

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

For those of you who foolishly went to bed on Tuesday night rather than wait for Election Results while watching the live Daily Show / Colbert Report, here is the transcript of Colbert's rant as he sullenly called the House for the Democrats / Cowards:

So I guess I am going to have to call this thing for the Democrats. (sarcastic) Woo-hoo! The people have spoken…and apparently they are tired of freedom. Don't get me wrong, I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed. I thought this country would last longer than 230 years.

That's it folks, America is over. At this point, we might as well just give it back to the g***amn Indians. We'll see how they deal with foreign enemies bent on their destruction.

Here is your cake terrorists, there you go, enjoy! (shows cake that says 'Congratulations Terrorists' with Osama holding a bomb). Mmmmmm. Tastes like surrender.

Jimmy you might as well get those subtitles going (Arabic appears on screen). There you go, get used to these. And you know what, we should probably throw a burka over Meg while we're at it.

You know what gets me? You know what gets me? Democrats didn't even win this thing, the Republicans lost it. They ran away from the President. 'Hey, the ship's in trouble, let's drown the captain!' We were this close to having Jesus come back, and you Republicans who turned your back on the President are going to wander in the desert for the next two years. Literally. Someone is going to have to replace those troops in Iraq.

And don't think you're off the hook, voters, you are the ones who made this bed. Now you're the ones who are going to have to move over so a gay couple can sleep in it.

Tomorrow you are going to wake up in a brave new world. A world where the Constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones created in a stem cell research lab, run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags. Where tax and spend Democrats take all your hard-earned money and use it to buy electric cars for National Public Radio, and teach evolution to illegal immigrants. Oh….and everybody's high! Woooo!

You know what, Ive had it! You people don't deserve a Republican majority. Screw this, I quit!

Possibly the funniest 4 minutes in television I've seen in years, but maybe it was enhanced by the giddiness I was feeling over the election results.

Oh, and don't worry. Mr. Colbert immediately cheered up when he realized that he could start blaming the Democrats for how the Iraq war is going.

It's Courtney

MANIFESTO

While a recount has to occur, it's pretty clear that Connecticut's 2nd Congressional District will have a new representative next year.

(I was invited to Courtney's victory party on Tuesday night. I didn't go because it was in Vernon, and I didn't feel like making the drive—especially back. I'm glad I didn't go because certainly nothing was resolved that evening. But this news, although late in coming, is great.)

Henny Penny, the Sky Fell

MANIFESTO

Did Donald Rumsfeld really "resign," or was he pushed out of the door? It's hard to know the un-knowable.
Was he the worst Secretary of Defense ever? That's a big statement.
Was he the worst of my lifetime? I have little doubt.
Is the book he writes about this whole mess going to be laughable? Certainly.
Is anyone going to miss this guy's abilities? No.
Will I miss his ridiculous press conferences? A little bit.

(apologies to O who I used a somewhat similar, somewhat cruder bit with yesterday)

PS - don't miss Monocle's longer post from last evening, which is slowly falling down the page

Déjà Vu

MANIFESTO

So our suddenly abashed and bipartisan (God, has that word been overused in the last 48 hours) Feckless Leader, "after a series of thoughtful conversations", finally accepts the resignation of one of his father's former aides and replaces him with ... another of his father's former aides.

Is it me, or are we spinning our wheels here? Can we freaking get out of the 20th century when it comes to presidential appointments? (And how about not choosing people who skipped serving time by the skin of their teeth?)

At any rate, Carl Levin, soon to be chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, remembers too well when last he spoke with Bob Gates across a committee table. Perhaps the upcoming hearing will be a more pleasant experience.

Posted without comment

ESOTERICA

Pope Benedict XVI features in a 2007 calendar that will be available for readers of Famiglia Cristiana (Christian Family), a popular Italian weekly. A spokesman for the magazine said it was the first time a pope had posed for a calendar.

Many Italian magazines publish calendars, sold at a small extra charge, to boost circulation towards the end of the year. Most prominently displayed at news stands are the offerings from men's magazines, invariably featuring risque pictures of models.

Benedict's calendar will contain pictures, taken on a single day earlier this year, of the 79-year-old Pontiff reading in the library and strolling in the grounds of his summer residence at Castelgandolfo, south of Rome.

One euro of the five-euro ($6.40) price of the calendar, charged in addition to the 1.95-euro cover price of the magazine, will be donated to a children's charity in Rwanda, a cause chosen by the Pope himself, the spokesman said.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Early evening reactions

MANIFESTO

While I refuse to gloat over last night's results, I have to admit that the news just kept getting better as the day progressed.

Viz., it looks like Joe Courtney will end up winning the 2nd District in Connecticut, and it looks like both Jim Webb and John Tester will win their respective Senate seats, thus giving the Democrats majorities in both houses of Congress.

I agree wholeheartedly with DC Bro that Rummy quit in a hurry because he didn't want to appear in front of any Congressional panel to answer questions about his incredible screwups in Iraq. Those pundits who are wondering why he didn't resign last week in order to salvage some Republican wins have it exactly backwards: Right to the end, Rummy held Americans in contempt, feeling that they'd never vote against his moronic military policies. Once they did, he left in a hurry like the craven he's always been. I assume, though, that Rummy, as a private citizen, can be forced to testify about actions he effected while in the government's employ.

But more than a referendum on Iraq occurred yesterday: Voters in a number of states voted to support an increased minimum wage; South Dakota voters repealed the state's oppressive abortion law, and Arizona voters rejected a gay marriage ban. Voters seemed finally to at least consider giving people the dignity they deserve, a position the Bushies have never subscribed to.

Certainly Gorgeous George sounded conciliatory this morning when commenting on the election, but we've seen many times how his words and actions have nothing to do with each other. (To demonstrate this variance, he then said that Rummy had been “a superb leader during a time of change.”) Nancy Pelosi, likewise, seems willing to work with the executive branch in the creation of a new American agenda.

And what is this agenda? My hope is that the Democrats start with a proposal for a minimum wage increase that is a real living wage and a reform of Medicare drug benefits. In addition, it's clear that it's time at least to broach the issues of universal health care, financial regulation to clean up corrupt corporations, and a rational military budget. Even if these latter issues can't be resolved satisfactorily, just putting them on the table will start the ball rolling toward a more just, compassionate, and rational society. When the Bushies ruled the roost with absolutely no oversight, these issues couldn't even be addressed.

Finally, this seems like a positive situation for almost everyone concerned. Even the radio wingnuts are looking forward to the next two years. Rush Limbaugh must be licking his donut-encrusted chops thinking of what he can attack between now and 2008.

The Connecticut Situation

MANIFESTO

Governor Clubwoman won handily last evening, but she'll have to contend with a veto-proof legislature for at least the next two years.

Maybe she'll try to placate Democrats with her famous macaroni and cheese.

Will the Democrats take the Senate too?

MANIFESTO

It looks like it.

And people thought Feckless Leader was a lame duck before?

Early morning reactions

MANIFESTO

I still don't have a Congressman.

Subpoenas, here we come!

I'd be more upset about Holy Joe's victory if the Democrats had done worse. If the Dems actually take the Senate, there's no question as to where Mr. Opportunist's allegiance will lie.

Dante damned people for such mindsets.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

First Tuesday in November...

MANIFESTO

There was something I was supposed to do today. I knew what it was last night, enough to leave out my Hillary t-shirt to wear under my blue button down shirt....but now it's completely gone from my mind.

Oh well, I'm sure it wasn't important.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Dow and Republicans

MANIFESTO

So, is the DJIA up nearly a hundred points at this moment because the Republicans are getting closer to the Democrats, or because Democrats stand a good chance to take at least one house of Congress?

Just wondering.

The most annoying sound in the world

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

Why does Chevy hate football fans?
From the east coast
To the west coast
Down the Dixie Highway
Back home
This is our country
Even internet radio doesn't repeat commercials this often. Good luck getting it out of your head the rest of the day...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pulling a Kerry

SPORTING GOODS

Al Trautwig just now, on the NYC Marathon telecast, to a sideline reporter who had correctly called the top finishers in the wheelchair divisions:
"You've done a really good job handicapping this race."
Nice choice of words Al. I feel like people have been fired for less?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Is this guy delusional or what?

MANIFESTO

U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman said yesterday that if re-elected to a fourth term, he would be poised to help quell the violence in Iraq and stabilize that country.

"I'll be in a position to work to put together a consensus to improve what we're doing and put pressure on the Iraqis," Lieberman said in an interview outside [Norwalk's] Swanky Franks restaurant on Connecticut Avenue.
This guy doesn't need six more years in Washington. Six years in a rubber room is more like it.

Independence

MANIFESTO

Now that the attack ad portion of the Connecticut campaigns is mercifully over (All the Democrats closed the gaps or increased their leads while the Republicans' commercials were running.), it's amusing to see the Republicans (and I include Senator Sanctimony in that group) now touting their "independence"—a word whose definition in this case means "not George Bush's toady."

Of course, this is all nonsense as all four in question—Simmons, Johnson, Shays, and Lieberman—have been carrying water for Feckless Leader (hat tip to DC Bro) for so long that their shoulders are stooped. They've all supported the Bushies' benighted policies regarding Social Security, civil rights, tax policy, etc. And, of course, they've all supported—and continue to support—the idiocy in Iraq.

And speaking of Iraq, in the New York Times' latest poll,
Americans cited Iraq as the most important issue affecting their vote, and majorities of Republicans and Democrats said they wanted a change in the government’s approach to the war. Only 20 percent said they thought the United States was winning in Iraq, down from a high of 36 percent in January.
Needless to say, this appears to be where the chickens are really going to roost. If, in fact, Tuesday's elections become up or down votes on Iraq, the Republicans could really get swamped. (At the very least, the poll justifies Ned Lamont's decision to bring in Wesley Clark in a new commercial.)

The October surprise that so many paranoid Democrats thought was coming turned out to be that over 100 American troops were killed in an unconscionable war that Americans keep hearing we're "winning."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dear Leader to be interviewed by Rush

MANIFESTO

I couldn't believe it when I first read of it, but Limbaugh's web site corroborates it.

Digby says all that need be said about this colloquy of degenerates.