Sunday, December 31, 2006

The year in review, part 2

MISCELLANY

Continuing with my overview of doings on Daily411 during the past twelve months ...

JULY — 'Twas a month for many baseball postings, but the world was paying attention to the Hezbollah-Israel scuffle.

AUGUST — Another Boston Massacre occurred, and Senator Sanctimony lost a primary, but the highlight of the month had to do with a certain movie opening.

SEPTEMBER — The hideous primary season was upon us, and the site reflected it. In a month of fairly gloomy blogs, Darlucky was able to make light of at least one unfortunate situation.

OCTOBER Mark Foley checked himself into rehab, the baseball season wound down, and primary hysteria reached fever pitch.

NOVEMBER — While Connecticut's voters decided that they couldn't live without Senator Sanctimony for another six years, most of the election news was good. Nevertheless, the month's highlight was the first post of Daily411's newest blogger.

DECEMBER — And now here we find ourselves at the end of the year, and most concerns have been of a seasonal variety. Thus, Mr. 31% has done his annual disappearing act while ignoring the ISG report—in fact, doing exactly what was implicitly not recommended. So it goes.

Perhaps the 110th Congress can make things a little better on the home front in 2007.

Meanwhile, it's certainly been a lot of fun sharing my thoughts with the Daily411 team. I much appreciate everyone's patience regarding my natterings. May everyone have a happy, secure, and successful 2007.

The rabble and the pundits

MANIFESTO

In discussing Gerald Ford's obsequies, Josh Marshall makes a very good point:
I had always thought that to the extent Ford had, in the oft-used phrase, restored confidence in the Presidency he had done so by elevating the conduct of those in the White House, raising the office above the shabby habits of his predecessor's men. It had not occurred to me ... that for many people Ford's signature service to the country was calming the waters so that the rabble quieted down and went home. It is in that sense that the pardon of Nixon helped "heal" the country ... All these years later, you can still discern a liberal from a conservative by whether s/he perceives the [1974] protesters or all the President's men as a greater threat to democracy.
And more than thirty years later, we see the same phenomenon transpiring. Who, after all, is a greater threat to democracy—those who would protest unjust actions of the government, or those who would castigate those who are exercising their freedom of speech?

"The Darkling Thrush"

MANIFESTO

I often think of Thomas Hardy's "The Darkling Thrush," on new year's eve as it's a poem written on December 31, 1899. While it contains the typical pessimism of Hardy, an element of hope is nevertheless apparent.
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.

The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seem'd to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.

The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seem'd fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;

An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carollings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,

That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessèd Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.
In 2007, may we all find such joy within "the tangled bine-stems" of our lives.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The year in review, part 1

MISCELLANY

Everybody from the New York Times to Dan Perkins is doing it, so I might as well add my two cents indicating what I thought were 2006's highlights on Daily411. So, without further ado, here're some of my favorite moments of the first six months of the year.

JANUARY — The NSA wiretapping scheme got a certain amount of play, (I'm still astonished that to this day no powers that be seem to be concerned about it.) but the best blog of the month was Sergio's expansive review of 2005's movies.

FEBRUARY — The blog—and everyone else—couldn't get enough of Deadeye Dick's hunting escapades.

MARCH — While the first sign of spring was noted, GI George let it be known that the Iraq debacle wasn't going to end on his watch.

APRIL — The equivocal Chief Executive suddenly decided that he's the decider. (This resolute attitude would come in very handy at the end of the year when GI George sat on his hands in trying to come up with a "new" policy in Iraq.)

MAY — The story of the atrocity at Haditha was just coming to light, but Darlucky wrote the best blogs of the month with his series on the World Cup.

JUNE — June's postings were very sports oriented, including blogs on the Red Sox, UConn men's basketball, the Mets, and the ignominy of Team USA in the World Cup. Nevertheless, for my money, the best blog of the month was Sergio's movie preview. I wish Daily411 included more insightful posts like this one.

That's it for the first half of the year. As can be said about horoscopes: Mix and match them as you see fit.

I'll review the second half of the year tomorrow.

New Year's Eve

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

For those of you going out tomorrow night, may you be in a place this swank and see a performance this astonishing.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Huh?

MANIFESTO

Item: The Nasdaq Stock Market will be closed Tuesday in accordance with the country's national day of mourning for former President Gerald Ford, whose funeral will be held that day.

This is a joke, right?

UPDATE — Apparently, the NYSE will also be closed.

Having their cake ...

MANIFESTO

In her never ending attempt to make everyone happy all of the time, Governor Clubwoman opines in this morning's Courant that "We Can Insure Everyone Without Breaking The State Bank." It's as vacuous as one would expect.

This opus is counterposed to the paper's banner this morning, which is "Flaws Seen In Health Plan," wherein it's shown that, under the governor's plan, the 400,000 or so uninsured adults in Connecticut would have to pay $3,000 a year in premiums. This doesn't contradict Governor Clubwoman's contention, but the plan certainly doesn't seem to do the state's neediest any good.

Meanwhile, after holding his annual well-attended press conference to decry the impact on children of excessive video game sex and violence, it turns out that Senator Sanctimony in 2006 accepted $73,000 from the WWE, a corporation well known for its excessive sex and violence.
"If you're going to portray yourself as a champion against sex and violence on TV and in video games, it certainly doesn't look like you're completely serious if one of your big contributors makes its money from sex and violence," said Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics.
I suppose this goes without saying.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

On to 2008!

MANIFESTO

I really believe even thinking about the 2008 national election is the height of fatuity at this point, but since it's in the news, I'll mention it just this once.

At this point, I prefer Edwards. While I don't think the tack he took in his announcement this morning was particularly striking, I still believe that the "Two Americas" speech he gave in 2003 was one of the best American political speeches given in the last ten years.

I'm still not happy with Hillary because of her non-position on the US's presence in Iraq, and Harpers's story on Obama made me nervous.

So, at this point, for me, it's Edwards.

I promise not to mention this again until early 2008.

Staying the course

MANIFESTO

I see that when President ADD should be planning a "new day forward" in Iraq, he goes back to the same old useless activities that got the US in this hole in the first place.
On his first full day at his Crawford, Texas, retreat, President Bush hit the bike trails hard—pushing against high winds and speeding over wet trails for almost an hour and a half. When his fellow riders went off to recover from the workout, an invigorated president headed out to [what else?] clear brush.
And, in one of the great ironic sentences of the year, we're told that
Bush has said that escaping into the rural landscape of his Crawford estate helps him clear his mind.
As if the empty-headed one needed any help in that process.

Today, in what has already been designated as a "non-decision" discussion, Feckless Leader will be
gathering input from advisors and even critics to form a new strategy for curbing the violence [in Iraq]. And the same president who has been accused by critics of rushing into war says he will not be rushed into a decision.

"The president wants to make sure that he's taking the appropriate amount of time and giving the appropriate consideration to all of the options before making an announcement," said Scott Stanzel, a White House spokesman, at a Crawford news conference.
Whatever you say, Scott. We already saw how GI George refused to do anything about Iraq until the ISG report came out and then refused to consider any of its suggestions, anyway.

Needless to say, I think that absolutely nothing will come of all this ostensible ruminating.
The build-up to the January announcement of Bush's "new way forward" speech has created a sense of suspense around every presidential appearance. Veteran presidential advisor David Gergen told The Associated Press that the hype could mean expectations are too high for Bush to deliver. "He has built up expectations. People are saying, 'OK if you've spent all this time and effort on it, you better have a pretty darn good plan.'"

[The University of Viginia's Sidney] Milkis said Bush should hurry up and announce his new strategy, the sooner the better. "He has to stop putting off this address and speak to the American people. They're waiting for him to say something that shows he has a good sense of what's gone wrong in the past, and how to make things go better in the future."
Don't make me laugh. Both Gergen and Milkis (who're not entirely stupid) give the Boy Blunder much too much credit. Viz., when has the Prez ever come up with "a pretty darn good plan" or shown the ability to ascertain "what's gone wrong in the past and how to make things go better in the future"?

No. Personally, I think GI George has pretty much found his niche in bike riding and brush clearing. That is, as presidents go, he's a very good buildings and grounds man.

404

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

As one who gave a number of iTunes gift cards earlier this week, I couldn't help but notice this story:
Swarms of online shoppers armed with new iPods and iTunes gift cards apparently overwhelmed Apple's iTunes music store over the holiday, prompting error messages and slowdowns of 20 minutes or more for downloads of a single song.
Twenty minutes?! Cripes, people might as well go back to a dialup connection if downloading a file takes that long.

Anyway, I hope the folks to whom I gave iTunes cards haven't been unduly inconvenienced.

At the same time, it looks like Apple's problems aren't limited to problems with its servers.
Shares of Apple Computer fell in European trading after the Financial Times reported that chief executive Steve Jobs was given stock options in 2001 without the authorisation of the company's board.

Company records that appear to show the full board considered a grant of 7.5 million stock options were falsified, the newspaper reported. The US Securities and Exchange Commission was examining the evidence, the report said. Apple shares fell 3 per cent in Germany.

"It does create a certain amount of doubt as to whether Steve Jobs can stay with the company," said Rob Enderle, of the research firm Enderle Group. "It looks more and more serious."
Wow. If Jobs is forced to leave, the company will be in serious trouble. Shareholders may want to take profits—which have been substantial in 2006—now.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford

MANIFESTO

(I seem to be discussing people's deaths frequently these days. Apparently, 'tis the season.)

It's entirely appropriate that Gerald Ford was the only US president never to have been elected to national office as Ford was certainly the most forgettable president of my lifetime. (In a famous quotation, Lyndon Johnson accused Ford of playing football too many times without a helmet.) Serving for only thirty months, Ford's risible "Whip Inflation Now" campaign may have been the only policy he ever got excited about. (I lost my cool red button years ago.) He was almost certainly an alcoholic, but his wife was the only member of the family ever to enter rehab. Ford also admitted to being a less than exemplary father.

Of course, any obit of Gerald Ford has to include his pardoning of the felonious Richard Nixon a month into his presidency. Ford rationalized the pardon by stating that he wished to avoid "prolonged and divisive debate" on the issue and that Tricky Dick had already been punished enough by "relinquishing the highest elective office of the United States." (Any hint of a deal on the part of Ford and the man who'd allowed him to attain the office of the presidency in the first place is virtually ignored in most of today's stories.)

The pardon was among the first of the Republicans' manifestations of refusing to be accountable for any malevolent actions. That is, Ford's decision was based on a system of men and not of laws philosophy. This, I would suggest, is Ford's legacy.

Requiescat in pace.

Monday, December 25, 2006

"I don't care about your past ..."

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

James Brown has died.

Although he started as a niche entertainer, he became one of the greatest showmen and icons of the 20th century. His 1962 Live at the Apollo album is still considered by many the greatest live album ever recorded. It certainly was a seminal effort in the soul genre. Requiescat in pace.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

GPS at Work

ESOTERICA

I'm no Clement C. Moore, but I can point out a story on how a more technological Christmas tradition began.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

"What is the harm?"

MANIFESTO

A very good former Senator died yesterday.
At the time of his retirement from the U.S. Senate in 1988, [Robert] Stafford was widely admired by his colleagues as a man of integrity and conviction. In the Senate he had become a leading advocate for education and the environment.
Stafford evinced the kind of probity that has absolutely disappeared from today's GOP.
When Ronald Reagan became president, the Republicans also took control of the Senate, and as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Stafford successfully opposed Reagan's efforts to turn back the environmental gains of the previous decade. These efforts included Stafford's leadership in voting to override Reagan's veto of a bill strengthening the Clean Water Act.
It's hard (nay, it's impossible) to think of any modern-day Republicans (or "Independent Democrats") who would've taken such a stand against the current resident of the White House.

Of course, those of you who ever had a college loan may recognize the name.

Requiescat in pace.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

HAPPY FESTIVUS

Esoterica

We just finished the airing of grievances, but I wanted to wish all a Happy Festivus before we move on to the feats of strength.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A modern totem

ESOTERICA

Stories like this never fail to amuse me.
[T]he warmth of about 300 vanilla-scented votive candles reaches up to those who pray and place flowers, bills, coins, even a cough drop, near a hacked tree stump ... Some visitors say they see the Virgin Mary’s face in the wood.

Here on Hope Avenue [in Passaic, NJ], the stump, wearing a silver crown and dressed in handmade white Peruvian vestments, stands in a manger engulfed in flowers.
The photo of the "BVM" is enough to make you wonder how homo sapiens has made it to the 21st century.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Has anyone seen James Baker or Lee Hamilton lately?

MANIFESTO

To a certain extent, I've resisted blogging about Feckless Leader's grand plan/non-plan to send additional troops into Iraq. I guess I've been waiting ingenuously for him to come to his senses.

At any rate, I haven't seen too much commentary (this insightful column is an exception) on the disparity between what was said prior to the release of the ISG report and what has been said since it was made public. Viz., GI George indicated that he wouldn't or couldn't do anything other than stay the course in Iraq until the report was released, and then pretty much ignored it after he became aware of its contents.

And now, it appears that the whole thing has been rejected out of hand and has been replaced by a plan to increase troop strength by 20,000 in Iraq. To say nothing of the problem as to where these magical thousand score will come from, it's been clear for some time that such a move will have no beneficial effect in that poor country. (Even US commanders aren't sure such a move would do any good.)

As a military commander, GI George is as AWOL as he was in the early '70s. I can only think that this inane "surge" has come about as a result of the resignation of Donald (Lean 'n' Mean) Rumsfeld, who had a vision of a military manned essentially by robots. Now that the president is no longer on Rummy's leash, he's starting to argue for even more IED fodder.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Good news and bad news

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

It's a great time to buy a flat panel tv.
Prices for LCD TVs fell 50 percent more than Circuit City expected; plasma-TV prices dropped three times as much as the company anticipated.
Deep, deep discounts are available for those interested.

There is, of course, a negative side to this for CC stockholders as
the second-biggest U.S. consumer-electronics retailer reported its first loss in six quarters and lowered its sales forecast for the year, sending its stock price to its biggest one-day drop since 2002.
I hope everyone has the holiday shopping under control as we head for the last weekend of the season.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The G-Men

Sporting Goods

When the book is closed on the 2006 season of the New York Giants, it won't be all the injuries on defense that kept them out of the playoffs (or led to the inevitable early exit). It will be the horrid 56% TD efficiency (before today's ongoing disaster) in the red-zone. From my point of view, this is all a result of absolutely contemptible play-calling. Is there a worse play-caller in football than Tom Coughlin? Multiple attempts in the red-zone today and not one attempt to have Plaxico Burress use his at least 6 inch height advantage. Just a disaster.

Of course, extremely poor special teams, a secondary that plays like they have frying pans glued to their hands, and a penchant for stupid, stupid penalties isn't helping. Man, I really wish I could watch a disciplined well-coached football team. Sadly, I'm not a Jets fan.

UPDATE: Shortly after hitting publish, Will Demps(!!) intercepted a pass, the Giants got the the 25, drew a pass interference penalty by throwing to Burress in the end-zone, and actually converted (barely) on a second and goal from the one. Am I saying I'm sure that somebody at the Giants reads Daily411? No, but...

LATER UPDATE: After taking a one-point lead, the Giants' secondary promptly lets Jeff Garcia carve them up, giving up a touchdown and, on the same play, committing a stupid roughing the passer penalty. Where's that bottle?

Tough Winter

Sporting Goods

For years, the name Scott Boras struck fear in the heart of baseball general managers everywhere. Sports columnists and pundits have made him out to be a character in the mold of a Harry Potter villain, unceasing in his desire to get top dollar for his clients and completely oblivious to their non-monetary desires or needs. And forgot about the fans. They've never been part of the Boras calculation. In the end, Boras always gets the money he wants. Boras always wins.

Then began the 2006 offseason. First there was Daisuke Matasuzaka. Even though Dice-K got $52 million despite having never before pitched in the major leagues, it is never good for a person's credibility, in this case Boras, to say something like this, "Free agent pitchers who are 26 and have Matsuzaka-like ability receive salaries in excess of $100 million over five or six years in free agency," and then take a contract for almost half that amount. Given the vagaries of the "posting" process, I guess that was the only bit of pressure Boras could assert. Still, Boras looks more than a little foolish.

Next, however, may be the disaster that really hurts Boras's reputation. Boras has made a habit out of signing his players to long-term big money deals that include the ability of the player to opt-out before the end of the contract and become a free agent again. Just a brilliant idea for a player who actually lives up to a long-term contract given that every year the salaries increase by an estimated 10%. A-Rod has such a clause. So did J.D. Drew.

Just two-years ago, Drew signed a 5-year, $55 million contract with the Dodgers with a clause allowing him to opt-out after two years. So this year, sensing the crazy baseball market, Boras told Drew to opt-out of his contract. As we all know, Drew did, leaving a guaranteed $33 million on the table, and promptly agreed to a 5-year, $70 million contract with the Boston Red Sox. All's well in the Boras world. His client gets two more years guaranteed and $37 million more in guaranteed money.

Except there is one little snag. Drew failed his physical and the Red Sox refuse to finalize the contract. There is now talk of voiding the contract, or at best for Drew, reducing the guaranteed money and making much of the contract incentive-laden. Or giving the Sox an opt-out if Drew misses a certain number of games.

If Drew ends up getting less than $11 million a year guaranteed, or in the end, gets hurt and doesn't end up making $33 million, it should, but probably won't, destroy Boras's reputation. How could Boras encourage an injury plagued Drew to opt-out of a guaranteed $33 million contract without having him get a physical first? Presumably a physical was done. But if they found any questions about his client's health, which were obviously there, how in good conscience can Boras advise him to opt-out of his deal? This has disaster written all over it.

Of course, this is all preliminary. Maybe the Red Sox are so scared of Boras and so scared that Boras won't direct other clients to the Red Sox that they will cave. Or maybe Drew gets his incentive-laden deal, not get hurt, and everything works out. But if I were a ballplayer looking for an agent, this entire saga would make me reconsider working with Boras. It certainly seems clear that Boras only has one thing in mind, the size of his commission.

Congratulations


MANIFESTO

You are Time magazine's "Person of the Year."

It really does sound like a Publisher's Clearinghouse come-on, doesn't it?

But I understand...

SPORTING GOODS

I know it's bad sportsmanship. But I've been on some really bad basketball teams (work teams) where we were really overmatched. And sometimes we'd be down 30 or more, and our opponents (who I would like to call "a**holes") would decide to keep taking 3 pointers, or pressure the inbounds.

So sometimes one of my teammates, or even me, would not take it well, and would maybe make a hard foul when one of the previously mentioned "a**holes" would decide to press, make a steal, and go for the layup, just to push that lead to 32.

So I'm not saying I condone what the Knicks did tonight ... as Chris Rock would say, "But I understand."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bags

SPORTING GOODS

I'm kind of annoyed that Jeff Bagwell's retirement news is completely tainted by my own internal steroids speculation. He had a great career, although largely silent the last few years, and instead of marveling at his accomplishments and coming on here to make his hall of fame case, I just read every word with a negative view.

Stupid steroids. Thanks for ruining that.

Jeff Bagwell. One of the greatest hitting first basemen ever, and from my old backyard of Killingworth, CT. Great (but awful) goatee. Great stance. Made Larry Andersen the answer to a trivia quetsion. And now officially out of baseball after injury plagued seasons. Will never forget the night I didn't get his autograph at a New Britain Red Sox game while all my friends did, even though I could have probably recited his stats. I was 12 and knew that the Sox should have traded Scott Cooper insteed of him. He should have replaced Boggs. I'm rambling.

Reason for Optimism?

MANIFESTO

Atrios and Kos have both blogged about this phenomenon, but I thought I'd add my two cents.
Voters are feeling more positive about the Democratic Party than about the Republicans as the GOP prepares to hand over control of Congress in January, according to a new NPR poll. And with his approval rating remaining low, President Bush will find it tough to keep Republican lawmakers on his side, the numbers suggest ...

Democrat Stan Greenberg and Republican Glen Bolger conducted the survey of likely voters. They found that unlike some previous elections, the 2006 midterms were not a release valve. In other words, according to Bolger, voters are still angry, mostly at Republicans.

Sometimes when voters get the result they want in an election, they feel better about the country. But the survey showed that although the number of voters who believe the country is on the wrong track stayed the same as before the election, the number of voters who think the country is on the right track dropped.
I'm not particularly surprised by these data. After acknowledging the "thumping" Republicans received at the polls last month (as a direct result of Americans' dissatisfaction with their Iraq policy), Feckless Leader went right back to his modus operandi: insisting that "the job" still had to be done and resisting the ISG report.

It's no wonder that Americans are upset: Even when he's confronted with a tangible electoral result, GI George won't be swayed from trying to lead the nation down the road to ruin.

By the way, today is one member of the demolition squad's last day on the job, thank God.

Your tax dollars at work

MANIFESTO

Think the Department of Homeland Security keeps tabs on those foreigners who are in the US as visitors? Think again.
[D]omestic security officials have for now given up on plans to develop a facial or fingerprint recognition system to determine whether foreign visitors leave the country, officials say.

Domestic security officials had described the system, known as U.S. Visit, as critical to security and important in efforts to curb illegal immigration. Nearly 30 percent of the overall total of illegal immigrants are believed to have overstayed their visas, a congressional report says ...

[I]n recent days, officials at the Homeland Security Department have conceded that they lack the financing and technology to meet their deadline to have exit-monitoring systems at the 50 busiest land border crossings by next December.
As near as I can tell, this news means that the only remaining functions of Homeland Security are to spy on Americans and insure that citizens' airport experiences are as heinous as possible.

More Troops and Economic Cleansing

MANIFESTO

I see that Senator Sanctimony's close call last month hasn't changed his ridiculous stance on Iraq.
Backed by Sen. Joe Lieberman, Sen. John McCain took his controversial proposal for curbing Iraq's sectarian violence to Baghdad on Thursday, calling for an additional 15,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops and joining a congressional delegation in telling Iraq's prime minister he must break his close ties with a radical Shiite cleric.

Lieberman, D-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said they agreed with the Arizona Republican's call for a troop increase.

"We need more, not less, U.S. troops here," Lieberman said.
How did the good people of Connecticut re-elect this moron?

The truth of the matter is that there are few troops to be had. The US has had to redeploy National Guard and Reserve troops who've already been discharged. In some instances, people clearly unable to perform in combat have been forced to go back to Iraq, and still Clueless Joe spouts his mantra.

To be sure, US Army recruitment numbers have had an upsurge, but only as a result of
lavish signing bonuses, revamped ad campaigns, beefed-up recruiting forces and an easing of standards that have allowed in older recruits and more that tested in the bottom third.
In other words, just about the only people enlisting are those who can't find work anywhere else. It's a hell of a way to run an army, but it's probably the only alternative as long as idiots like Lieberman and McCain want more Americans to become IED fodder.

Ahmet Ertegun

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

Recquiescat in pace.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yay for the Guy I've never Seen!

SPORTING GOODS

Oh my dear lord, well that is frustrating. I just wrote a whole post on the Red Sox, and when I went to copy it, for reasons unexplained I hit delete. I will now hurdle myself out the window, and when I become conscious again, will try to re-create it. Here goes:

With the signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka, our long national nightmare is now over! Here are a few quick thoughts:

- I don't care how much money they paid for this guy. Unless every dollar spent on him is a dollar we don't spend elsewhere, then we could have given him $200 million for all I care.
- Then again, that is why "small market" teams hate the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, etc. Why are the Red Sox not considered small market? Boston is not that big, huge chunks of CT, VT, and even MA root for the Yankees. Is there some huge tribe of uber-wealthy woodsmen in Maine that I don't know about?
- In a year where guys like Vicente Padilla and Gil Meche, who could be found on the waiver wires of fantasy baseball leagues across the land, are getting $10 and $11 million dollar contracts (per year!), I think we might have gotten ourselves a steal.
- Now that we have Matsuzaka, I was hoping the Roger Clemens talk would cease. It hasn't.
- With this signing, it is obvious that the Red Sox are looking to win it all this year (surprise!). So can we stop trying to run Manny out of town? I wish some writer for the Globe would tell me how to feel about this.
- So what are we calling this guy? Dice-K? D-Mat? Sookie? I will await the Rem-Dawg's instructions on the final name choice.
- Schilling, Beckett, Dice-K/D-Mat/Sookie, Wakefield and Papelbon. I am very excited about that; now if only they could find someone to close out their many wins. I'm looking at you, Akinori Otsuka of the Texas Rangers. See his awesome numbers here.

That wasn't "a few" nor was it "short" but it's been a while since I was excited about the 2007 Red Sox! And now to hit post without highlighting the whole post and hitting delete ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Feet of clay

ESOTERICA

Because of the Bush connection, this story has gotten a certain amount of play in the Constitution State:
Dozens of parishioners and other supporters greeted the former music director for Christ Church Greenwich with waves and smiles as he pleaded not guilty in federal court yesterday to possession of child pornography ...

President Bush's aunt, Elizabeth Bush, said of [Robert F.] Tate, "I think he's wonderful. He's certainly been a wonderful, wonderful choir director for 36 years. He's just the most extraordinarily talented and spiritual person."

Her husband, Prescott, is former President Bush's brother [and once almost ran for US Senate in Connecticut. The first time I registered as a Republican was for the purpose of voting against him in a primary.].
Christ Church Greenwich is the church where Feckless Leader got his early spiritual training.

At any rate, I know people who know people who know Mr. Tate. It's sure been a rough few weeks for spiritual leaders.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Colbert Report Spoiler!

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

Tonight's Word: Casualty of War.

My wife and I went to see the taping of Colbert Report tonight. It was definitely a fun time. Stephen Colbert is genuinely funny in person (though you wish you got a bit more time with him), they had a great warm-up comedian (who loved us because the audience seemed to have no level of intolerance for inoffensive jokes), and it's surprising how quickly they tape the show. It's almost done in real time, and it's just as funny in person as it is in real life.

After requesting the tickets, the date you'll get is only 6-8 weeks away most likely. The rub is that you really need to get in line around 4:30 or so, for a 7pm taping. But if you, or whoever you might go to see it with, can get in line early, it's a great time.

And that's the Word.

I don't get it, part 2

ESOTERICA

This time of year, the hideous Rocky Mozell is all over the radio airwaves, touting the absolutely worthless International Star Registry. Judging from the number of ads being aired, it's obvious that people actually buy the
beautiful 16" X 12" full color parchment certificate personalized with the star name, date and coordinates [along with a] personalized 16" X 12" sky chart containing the star name, star date, the constellation and the location circled in red where the star is in the sky
for $54 plus shipping and handling, but I'm sure I don't know why.

I don't get it, part 1

MANIFESTO

Nearly two years before the next presidential election, I must be missing something.

Music to his ears

MANIFESTO

It should surprise absolutely no one that Geology George went data mining in order to repudiate the ISG's report, and, indeed, he found what he was looking for.
President Bush heard a blunt and dismal assessment of his handling of Iraq from a group of military experts yesterday, but the advisers shared the White House's skeptical view of the recommendations made last week by the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, sources said.

The three retired generals and two academics disagreed in particular with the study group's plans to reduce the number of U.S. combat troops in Iraq and to reach out for help to Iran and Syria, according to sources familiar with the meeting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was private.
This pretty much echoes what GI George has been saying since the report was released last week. (Viz., first, the other side compromises, then we negotiate.) Now, of course, he can go to the American public (21% favorability rating and all) and say that he can disregard the ISG's findings with impunity.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I don't have words

Universal Remote

I don't get to stay up late enough to watch Conan any more. This story sums up what I, and you, are missing:
The skit, as scripted for the Dec. 4 installment of “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” was about absurdist college sports mascots that the host and his writers would like to see someday.

Among them were “the Boise State Conjoined Vikings,” who had been born locked at the horns, as well as something Mr. O’Brien called “the Webcam manatee” — said to be the mascot of “F.S.U.” — which was basically someone in a manatee costume rubbing himself or herself provocatively in front of a camera (to the tune of the 1991 hit “I Touch Myself”). Meanwhile a voyeur with a lascivious expression watched via computer.
Here's your direct link to the website devoted to the manatee mascot. I'd say it is NSFW but, you know, its a manatee.

Success

MANIFESTO

For those keeping track, the latest definition of success in Iraq is "a country that governs, defends itself, that is a free society, that serves as an ally in this war on terror."

We now have an idea of what the mission is—at least for today. Of course, the Decider couldn't help but add the same old crapola about "the reason why that's vital is because Iraq is a central component of defeating the extremists who want to establish safe haven in the Middle East, extremists who would use their safe haven from which to attack the United States ..."

So, apparently, we're back to the same old Vietnam-era shibboleth of "If we don't stop them in the streets of [fill in city name here], they'll be marching right down Main Street USA."

Gag.

Valedictory

MANIFESTO

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in his farewell address, criticized the Bush administration, warning that America must not sacrifice its Democratic ideals while waging war against terrorism ...

"Human rights and the rule of law are vital to global security and prosperity," Annan's text said. When the U.S. "appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused," he said ...

He said in the text that the U.S. has a special responsibility to the world because it continues to have extraordinary power.

Annan summed up five principles that he considers essential: collective responsibility, global solidarity, rule of law, mutual accountability and multilateralism.
Let's hope that the next group of policymakers elected in 2008 gives heed to these no-brainer tenets that the Bushies have consistently ignored.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why I hate the Bushies, cont'd

MANIFESTO

What a sad sad story this is:
Despite being diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder and rated 70 percent disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, [Waterbury's] Damian Fernandez has been called back to duty and told to prepare for another deployment to Iraq.
Sending pill-popping psychotics into Iraq is obviously the way the Bushies want the conflict to continue so that the mission can be completed, to use Feckless Leader's mantra. Anything less, as far as these morons are concerned, is unacceptable.

May Mr. Fernandez and his family overcome this outrageous turn of events.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bring on the catamites!

MANIFESTO

What a disgusting display of injustice the Foley denouement has become. Americablog is probably the most spirited of all the blogs in its condemnation of this whitewash (starting here), but, for me, perhaps the most irksome part of all of this is that I'll have to help pay for this alcoholic pederast's extravagant House pension.

May such payment not last long.

A pitiful coward

MANIFESTO

Josh Marshall says just about all that need be said about the empty suit in the White House.

Friday, December 08, 2006

NEWS ALERT



Whatever

I certainly do not mean to belittle the death of former Giant Jose Uribe, but seriously, does his unfortunate death merit a breaking news alert on CNN.com? I guess we can expect CNN to keep us informed of the unfortunate passing of all light-hitting, slick-fielding 80's shortstops. I guess that good news for Rafael Santana fans, should the unfortunate happen.

I also find the juxtaposition of the Uribe news with the main story below sort of amusing.

And yes, I'm a bastard.

Greatest ever?

SPORTING GOODS

I know not all of our readers (or writers) are tennis fans, but if you haven't been paying attention Roger Federer is rapidly elevating himself into the "greatest ever" discussion.

Besides playing beautiful tennis, he's had another historic year. Check out this BBC article highlighting some of his accomplishments "by the numbers."

The most impressive is the first one. He entered 17 tournaments, and he failed to reach the final in only one of these.

Merrily we roll along

MANIFESTO

Some time in the future, when we're sitting around in a utopian society, where everyone has a living wage, decent housing, and enough food—where peace prevails, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers have appeared in the land, the time has arrived for pruning the vines, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land, we'll long for days like these.

Quotes of the Day

MANIFESTO

James Baker: "I hope we don't treat [the ISG report] like a fruit salad and say, 'I like this but I don't like that.'"

GI George: "Congress isn't going to accept every recommendation in the report, and neither will the administration."

This certainly seems to demonstrate that the aftermath of the release of the report could be interesting.

And it goes without saying that Feckless Leader's recalcitrance shouldn't surprise anyone. This is, after all, the same Chief Executive who has consistently undermined legislation by arbitrarily determining what portions he'll abide by.

Britney-mania

Whatever

Not that I want to spend too much time focusing on Britney but, in light of recent events, this description seems kind of ridiculous:
Her recent nights out with party girls Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan -- and those uncensored, R-rated crotch shots that were splashed across the Web -- drew disapproval from her fans and other Spears watchers.
If those crotch shots are "R rated" then I am watching the wrong movies.

Stepford Wife

Whatever

As if we really needed any more proof:
Every woman who's ever attended a formal party has had the same concern: What if someone else shows up in the same dress?

As CBS News correspondent Thalia Assurasreports, that's exactly what happened to first lady Laura Bush at Sunday's Kennedy Center Honors, always one of Washington's biggest nights for stars, and glamorous fashion.

[...]

And on Sunday, four women at the reception wore the exact same $8,500 Oscar de la Renta dress, Mrs. Bush among them.
I have no doubt that this is a legitmate fear (although I also have no doubt that that phrasing is more than a little sexist), but really, do we need any more proof that Laura is a Stepford Wife?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Broadcasting the Future

Manifesto


Japan is home to a profusion of quasi-sadistic game shows, the French have a laissez-faire attitude about sex and nudity, and Britain’s quirky sense of humor has found a global following. It’s always interesting to look at another culture’s taste in television and contemplate what it says about the people that watch it. America’s exploding real estate market has spawned both "Flip This House" and “FlipThat House ” - two shows that follow average people as they start down the road to easy money by buying a house and quickly reselling it at a profit. Arguably it’s questionable financial wizardry telling everyone how to make a fortune a few years too late, from a trend well past its prime.

Perhaps the Style network is ahead of the next big trend in the American economy with their new release: "Maxed Out". The stars of “Maxed Out” spend their time being observed by a financial coach who implements a strict budget and helps the “cash-stressed gal” (I guess they'll all be women) learn concepts like “debt reduction, savings, and investment.” The first guest:
Meet Aurora--she's 21 and already $80,000 in debt. Can she put the manicures on hold and give herself a fresh financial start?
I haven’t seen the show, but let’s give Aurora the benefit of the doubt; hopefully she’s sitting on college debt writing checks to Sallie Mae at 4% and not Visa at 22%. If not, she could be in the same spot as an increasing number of Americans. The Wall Street Journal ran a story($) this week about the growing number of sub-prime mortgages that are more than 60 days past due—doubling in the last 12 months, while the number of people finding themselves behind on these mortgages within the first several months after they close is also rising. Sub prime mortgages didn’t exist until recent years, and are made to people with low credit scores or those who can not provide the requisite documentation. Arguably the less financially savvy among us. Common features include lower introductory (“teaser”) interest rates that index to higher rates when the period is over, as well as fees and penalties often glossed over in the documentation.

As for the risk associated with the loans, banks bundle them into securities, and sell them - passing the risk on to someone else. One Merrill Lynch Analyst quoted in the article predicted delinquency rates could rise to be “in the 6% to 8% range" if home prices are flat next year and the "double digits" if home prices fall by 5%. Sub-prime mortgages account for 10 to 12 percent of the $10 trillion US mortgage market, so a few percentage points could add up.

Last hurrahs

MANIFESTO

The last of the Congressional hearings run by Republicans have begun, and if yesterday's Environment & Public Works Committee hearing is indicative of what's coming up, we should all have some good laughs. We'll also be gratified that these cretins are no longer in charge.

Senator James Mountain Inhofe's (R-Twilight Zone) last hearing as committee chairman was devoted almost exclusively to lambasting the hysterical media, which have
"become advocates for hyping scientifically unfounded climate alarmism." Senator Inhofe cited criticism from believers in manmade global warming who have slammed the media for presenting "a quasi-religious register of doom, death [and] judgment" and compared the media’s coverage to the "unreality of Hollywood films."
The best part was Inhofe's statement that "Scare tactics should not drive public policy." This from a member of the party that tried to scare Americans into thinking that terrorists were under every rock, that the US was doomed if it didn't invade impotent Iraq, and that, in the midst of some senseless code (fill in favorite color here) warning, we'd better begin putting together emergency kits including plastic sheeting, duct tape, and a minimum of 3 days supply of food and water.

Inhofe's still in the Senate, but at least he won't be wielding as much power as he has for the past three years.

"Grave and Deteriorating"

MANIFESTO

The big news of the last 24 hours has been, of course, the release of the Iraq Study Group's report. When portions of it started being leaked, I didn't think it would tell us anything we didn't already know, and I still don't. Viz., it essentially recommends that this misbegotten Vietnam-like travesty end in a way that Nixon would have approved of: the Iraqization of the conflict. (AJ at Americablog notes that "either all these smart people took eight months to tell us what we all already knew, or they watered down their opinion for the sake of not making waves.")

And, of course, with the suggestion that a phased withdrawal of troops begin by March 2008, the bipartisans have sanctioned just what GI George wanted—a way to delay withdrawal until he's the lamest of lame ducks. The term, "future presidents," should come to mind when reading this portion of the report.

Of course, whether or not George II will pay any attention to the report is, at best, problematic, anyway. Saying things like "We ... will act in a timely fashion" in responding to the report's release is hardly encouraging—especially since acting in a timely fashion has almost always meant staying the course for this bunch of bozos.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Now That's a Car

Whatever

This story brings a smile:
MILWAUKEE — As a traveling salesman, Peter Gilbert has put a few miles on his car — 1,001,385 miles, to be precise.

It took the Glendale, Wisc, man 17 years to cross the million mile mark with his 1989 Saab 900 SPG. He recently donated the durable vehicle to the Wisconsin Automotive Museum after Saab verified the mileage.
[...]
Gilbert bought the Saab for $29,000.
Sadly, I totaled my 1984 Saab 900 S -- handed down from my dad, a traveling salesman, through my mom and then my older brother -- at around 196,000 miles in 1995. The insurance company only gave us $500 for it. If only they knew how many more miles the car had left in it.

Of course, in its place, my parents let me have my mother's 1987 Saab 9000 S with 197,000 miles on it. My dad sold that car for $500 in 1998 when it had 212,000 miles on it.

Man I loved those cars.

Family Values

MANIFESTO


The hawkish Rep. Jack “Scoop” Kingston (R-GA) made a choice comment about Steny Hoyer’s decision to have a 5-day work week in the House. "Scoop" complained: "Keeping us up here eats away at families, marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families -- that's what this says." According to the WaPo article, Scoop flies home on Thursdays, and returns to DC on Tuesday, serving his country for blistering 3 days each week. Hard to believe a man who loves to toss around the phrase “cut-n-run” when if comes to bringing the troops home could be so callus when it comes to working 5 days a week.

Amazing Race

WHATEVER

In perusing the Toys R Us site while shopping for my second cousins, I came across this gem.

I'm not sure if I'm more disturbed by its existence, or by the fact that Toys R Us doesn't seem to carry any of the 'complementary' sets.

Those can be seen here and by following subsequent links.

He's got the power

MANIFESTO

Given the fact that Gorgeous George has identified Jesus of Nazareth as his favorite political philosopher, I suppose this response during an interview with Brit Hume the other night shouldn't surprise me.
"Laura and I are sustained by the prayers of millions of people," Bush told Hume. "Now that's hard for some to -- I guess chew on."

Hume asked Bush if he "senses" the power of prayers sent his way.

"Absolutely," Bush said. "I feel it ... Because the load is not heavy, I guess is the best way to describe it. Look, somebody said to me, 'Prove it.' I said, 'You can't prove it. All I can tell you is I feel it.' And it's a remarkable country when millions pray for me and Laura. So therefore I am able to say to people that this is a joyful experience. Not a painful experience. And yeah it's tough, but that's OK. It's tough times. And there's a lot of big issues ...

"I know that my relationship with an almighty provides comfort and strength during difficult times, just like it provides comfort and strength during difficult times for others, as well. And so prayer matters to me. And the prayers of others matter a lot in my life and so to those who worry about me, I say: 'Don't worry about me.'"
Mere words can't describe how disgusted I am by this pious crap. At least I have the solace of knowing that he's as foolish about this as he is about all the other nonsense he's foisted on the American public.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Two Bucks a Pound?

MANIFESTO

Growing budget and trade deficit numbers, combined with recent economic reports have the US Dollar setting new lows: a 14-year low against the British pound ($1.97), close to a 2-year low against the Euro ($1.33). The most comprehensive measure of greenback’s clout, the US Dollar Exchange Index (USDX), has been steadily declining, and quite severely for the past two weeks. The index of provides a general barometer of the dollars strength by comparing it to six major currencies, and has been setting new 52-week lows almost daily. While the mainstream media has been relatively quiet on this issue, there are a few people who have noticed.

Iran, an OPEC member, has indicated it will lobby for dramatically lower quotas to raise the price of oil, and it's easy to see why other OPEC members would be concerned, albeit more quietly. OPEC sells oil to the world exclusively for dollars, so when the dollar slides and they go shopping anywhere outside of the US, those same Dollars buy much less than they did just last summer. Like me on my last vacation they're getting killed on the exchange rate, but on a much grander scale, and what's a crowned-prince to do?

Likewise, China is now sitting on over $1 trillion in foreign reserves, with that number growing by an estimated $20 billion each month. An estimated 60 to 80 percent of that is held in Dollars. China has been threatening to reduce its exposure to a weakening dollar for months now. The decision to acquire fewer Dollars would soften the dollar even more, but active selling could be a disaster.

The American Congress and the American public have been on a 6-year spending spree, and it would seem the reality of that profligate spending is about to become evident. Trade and budget deficits are going to yield higher energy prices, and limit our ability to deal honestly with China (or their willingness to deal honestly with us). It also limits the Fed’s ability to set domestic monetary policy: one thing that does make the dollar an attractive investment is the relatively high interest rates when comparing the US to Europe and Japan, meaning as the economy slows lowering interest rates becomes more risky proposition. I wonder if John Q. Public would have paid more attention to W’s spending spree and the cost of the war if they knew it would drive their mortgage rate or credit card payments up?

Favorite son

MANIFESTO

Former President George H.W. Bush came [to Tallahassee yesterday] to talk about leadership and opened his remarks with advice on working with rivals, being patient and building personal relationships.

He then broke down in tears mentioning his son, Gov. Jeb Bush, as an example of leadership and the way he handled losing the 1994 governor's race to popular incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles ...

"He didn't whine about it. He didn't complain," the former president said before choking up in front of lawmakers ...

As he tried to continue, he let out a sob and put a handkerchief to his face. When he spoke again, his words were broken up by pauses as he tried to regain composure.
XLI had to be thinking about the injustice of it all as his other politician son, the President of the United States, can't do much of anything without whining and complaining.

Modern Day Manna

ESOTERICA

Last week's storms in the east caused high seas in the Carolinas and the problems that go therewith. At least one episode, however, didn't have a particularly tragic ending as four massive cargo containers were swept off a ship.
[One] container - about 45 feet long, the size of a standard tractor-trailer - was spotted floating near Diamond Shoals on Wednesday.

Steve Hissey, who runs the tackle shop at Teach's Lair marina in Hatteras, said charter boat captains spotted the container and opened it - in longstanding Outer Banks tradition, which holds that anything coughed up from the Graveyard of the Atlantic is fair game for salvage.

The container appeared to have been filled with about 400 3-foot by 4-foot boxes of Doritos, each holding about 20 individual bags, according to John McCutcheon, Cape Hatteras National Seashore district ranger for Hatteras Island.

The National Park Service spent most of Thursday securing the site and using two bulldozers to remove the container, McCutcheon said. Meanwhile, dozens of people roamed the beach with garbage bags to pick up the chips from the tide line.
Word has it that Frito-Lay is very interested in using the episode for a new commercial.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Rumsfeld memo

MANIFESTO

Even the cretinous Chris Wallace sees Rummy's swan song as emblematic "of the fact that at the same time the president was attacking Democrats for, as he said it, trying to cut and run, the defense secretary was at least raising the same idea."

Everybody in the US is commenting on Rummy's memorandum submitted just two days before he left the job. From its timing to its content, everything about the memo is pretty much incredible, no matter what the felonious Stephen Hadley says.

Personally, I think it's the drivelings of a foolish old man, who really has no idea what's going on. I truly see some of the behaviors exhibited by the dementia-suffering Ronald Reagan on display with the soon-to-be former Secretary of Defense.

The Orange Bowl

SPORTING GOODS

Seeing the college bowl pairings made me think that the two teams in the Orange Bowl each played Connecticut. Further review showed that they also had Syracuse as a common opponent.

Here are the scores of those games:

Louisville 28, Syracuse 13
Louisville 48, UConn 17

Wake 20, Syracuse 10
Wake 24, UConn 13

Needless to say, common opponent scores usually mean squat, but Louisville certainly had the better of it against UConn and the Orange.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

When re-runs go bad

Whatever

Boondocks is in re-runs and looks to remain so. Sadly, that means Aaron McGruder won't be commenting on the Kramer Affair. That said, I can't tell if this re-run loses or gains something in light of recent events.

The Dreaded N-word

Manifesto

In light of Michael Richards's racist rant, people, including people who should know better, want to ban the word n-word. What is interesting is that I strongly disagree with the idea and even I won't type the word. Nevertheless, here's a good editorial summing up the foolishness behind this type of action. In part:
So we're going to banish the n-word - again.

[...]

That's fine with me; I have no use for the word. But as usual when it comes to race, we're content to lop off the tip of the iceberg.

The larger problem, lurking just below the surface, is with some of the people who don't say the word in public.
I also highly recommend the book noted toward the end of the editorial. Of course, I can't tell you what that book is called since the title has now been banned by those far smarter than me.

What is really, really interesting to me about the whole Michael Richards saga, is that fact that everybody is focusing on his use of the n-word when, by far, the most horrific thing he said, and the thing that truly exposes him as a racist with malevolence in his heart was this, "[f]ifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a fucking fork up your ass."

But since we're not ready to combat the racism that leads people to think that lynching was/is acceptable, we'll ban a word, push racism a little deeper out of sight, a little further in the shadows, where it can fester and grow. Hell, out of sight, out of mind.

But it isn't the word that is the problem. Despite all attempts to ban it, the following remains true (from Mos Def's song Mr. Nigga):
White folks got it muffled across beneath they breathe
"I didn't say it.."
But they'll say it out loud again
When they deal with their close associates and friends
You know
Sneak it in with they friends at the job
Happy hour at the bar
While this song is in they car
And even if they've never said it, lips stay sealed
Their actions reveal how their hearts really feel
You want to get rid of the n-word, start focusing on real problems and exposing institutional racism. As they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You want to look for easy solutions, by all means, start banning words. It certainly is the easiest and least effective solution.

Hey Baby, What's Your Number?

Manifesto

I wonder where I fit in in this little information gathering technique:
Every airline passenger entering the United States from next week will be secretly assigned a computer-generated terror threat score, based on information as diverse as their car number-plate and the meal ordered on a flight.

The rating — which will be used to subject people to extra security checks or even arrest — cannot be seen or challenged and will be held on file for 40 years.

The scores, which can be shared with state and local police, foreign governments, courts and potential government employers, are assigned to people after computers assess factors including their travel records, where they are from, how they paid for their tickets, their car records, their seating preference, past one-way travel and what meal they ordered.
I guess I won't order the halal meal next time I fly one way, buying my ticket at the last minute, and paying, of course, in cash. But seriously, I wonder what my business trip to Spain, for three days, with a ticket bought at the last minute, did to my score. Oh wait, I'll never know because it is a secret file, that can't be disputed. Excellent. Due process be damned.

America: where everybody's a suspect!

In Her Element

MANIFESTO

Governor Clubwoman has opened the mansion for tours this weekend and talks about it here (audio link is on the right). Her descriptions of how the dining and living rooms have been decorated (She fulsomely refers to the latter as "a kid's delight.") have got to be among the most cloying things I've ever heard.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A nation of 62,028,285 psychotics

MANIFESTO

This just came up on the radar:
Christopher Lohse, a social work master’s student at Southern Connecticut State University, says he has proven what many progressives have probably suspected for years: a direct link between mental illness and support for President Bush.
I know I suspected this, but to see it demonstrated is still unsettling.

The Seinfeld Chronicles

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

Do not, under any circumstances, miss this.

The horror! The horror!

MANIFESTO

Josh Marshall has put up a few posts having to do with Stanley Kurtz's contention that
The underlying problem with this war is that, from the outset, it has been waged under severe domestic political constraints. From the start, the administration has made an assessment of how large a military the public would support, and how much time the public would allow us to build democracy and then get out of Iraq. We then shaped our military and "nation building" plans around those political constraints, crafting a "light footprint" military strategy linked to rapid elections and a quick handover of power. Unfortunately, the constraints of domestic American public opinion do not match up to what is actually needed to bring stability and democracy to a country like Iraq.
In other words, it's those damn (small "d") democrats who're at fault. If the "constraints of domestic American public opinion" (which, apparently, would prefer not to have 3,000 of its citizens make their final airplane trips in body bags) would only release the hounds of unbridled war, then this venture would've been a success.

Dr. Marshall gives this opinion the treatment it deserves, but Harpers writer Kevin Baker saw nonsense like this coming months ago:
Every state must have its enemies. Great powers must have especially monstrous foes. Above all, these foes must arise from within, for national pride does not admit that a great nation can be defeated by any outside force. That is why, though its origins are elsewhere, the stab in the back has become the sustaining myth of modern American nationalism. Since the end of World War II it has been the device by which the American right wing has both revitalized itself and repeatedly avoided responsibility for its own worst blunders. Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies.
I think we can see this formula being advanced in the thinking and writing of the odious Mr. Kurtz.

Line of the Day

MANIFESTO

From NPR's Peter Sagal: "The Bush twins created an international incident in Argentina, yet they refuse to leave. Daddy is so proud."

Wait, wait ... I see that Jay Leno had a similar line Monday night.