Thursday, March 29, 2007

More than I can bear


One has to be more of a political junkie than I to withstand watching Assistant AG Kyle Sampson bob and weave with the Senate's Judiciary Committee. It's not even noon yet, and Sampson has already told Chairman Pat Leahy that he "can't remember" the intent of a crucial e-mail colloquy he had with Rove aide Scott Jennings. The senator wasn't pleased.

This kind of crap is sure to last all day. I just can't stand to watch it.

Ami? Ima? Aim? Mai? Iam?


Two future all-Americans in some sport:
Former soccer star Mia Hamm, wife of Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra, delivered twin girls late Tuesday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What We Voted For


Highlights from this morning's House of Representatives' Government Reform Committee hearing featuring General Services Administration Chief Lurita Doan are all over the Internet, and a sordid clip it is.

However, as imbecilic as Ms. Doan looks in the hearing, it's good to see the type of accountability Democrats are insisting upon. Without a Democratic majority in the Congress, it's clear that the Bushies would have used—with impunity!—every entity at their disposal (including, obviously, the General Services Administration and the Department of Justice) to so pervert the electoral process that the two-party system in America would surely have been destroyed.

UPDATE — Kevin Drum also highlights this phenomenon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Holy Joe


Once again, Connecticut's citizens have seen the prevaricating ways of Senator Sanctimony.

The same man who stated that "I want to help end the war in Iraq" in August and "No one wants to end the war in Iraq more than I do" in October showed his true colors this afternoon by voting for an amendment to the Iraq spending bill that would have elongated the war.

Fortunately, this heinous legislation was defeated, no thanks to Connecticut's junior senator.

UPDATE — Greg Sargent has more on this phenomenon here.

Tony Snow


I'm struck by Kevin Drum's post about Tony Snow wherein he states that he hopes Snow recovers. More interesting, perhaps, are the comments, a few of which are less than sympathetic.

Purgegate, cont'd


The US Attorneys debacle is becoming more and more complicated. Thank goodness for Josh Marshall, who continues to do Pulitzer Prize worth reporting on the issue.

The latest wrinkle in the story has to do with one Monica Goodling, who let it be known yesterday that she'll take the Fifth rather than testify before Congress in the matter. It's pretty clear that Ms. Goodling has tendentious reason for such an action, but that's where things are now.

As far as I'm concerned, all I need to know about Ms. Goodling is that she's
a 1995 graduate Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., an institution that describes itself as "committed to embracing an evangelical spirit."

She received her law degree at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. Regent, founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, says its mission is "to produce Christian leaders who will make a difference, who will change the world."
Digby adds:
Ms Goodling is a lawyer so people might think it's unusual that she wouldn't know the law. But I'm frankly not surprised Ms Goodling would have some rather unconventional, out of the mainstream, legal views. She's a graduate of Regent University law school (class of 1999)—Pat Robertson's very own college.

Apparently the president of the United States hires the finest legal minds in the Christian Coalition to work in the highest reaches of his administration. I'm not sure he's getting what he prays for.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Internet Stars


Here's VH1's list of the top forty Internet stars. The network showed these clips on a very entertaining program this evening.

I have to admit, I've seen exactly one of these videos ("Lazy Sunday;" chalk it up to reading too many political blogs), but I hope to rectify that soon.

Doggone Microsoft!


Under the weather today, so heaping anathema on Microsoft is about all I can handle.

Oh well. The delay allows me more time to save up for the new Mac.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Culture of Fear


The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.
&mdash H. L. Mencken

While Zbigniew Brzezinski didn't exactly distinguish himself when he served as Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, he's recently shown himself to be an insightful critic of the Bushies. His newly published book, Second Chance, is receiving accolades, and his op-ed piece in today's Washington Post is certainly noteworthy.

In the newspaper column, Brzezinski maintains that
The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.

... The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare -- political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.

But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a "war on terror" did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Support for President Bush in the 2004 elections was also mobilized in part by the notion that "a nation at war" does not change its commander in chief in midstream. The sense of a pervasive but otherwise imprecise danger was thus channeled in a politically expedient direction by the mobilizing appeal of being "at war."
Indeed, the Bushies have used this position to justify any number of anti-American practices—from spying on American civilians to an inane war in Iraq to setting up torture chambers overseas.

While Brzezinski refers to the complicity of too many Americans in all of this, he doesn't emphasize it enough. While more than 60% of Americans now feel that the occupation of Iraq is being mishandled, not enough of them felt that way in 2004. The Bushies had already shown their utter incompetence in the first 21 months of the invasion and occupation; it speaks volumes about the species that 50% of the voting populace thought that somehow the Bushies' plans would get better as time went on.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Fun Facts to Know and Tell



Georgie One-Note argued in his Saturday address this morning for the need "to put partisan politics aside and come together to enact important legislation for the American people."

I can't help but remember the days when Connecticut's unctuous former governor used to say the same thing, apparently not realizing that the time for such co-operation had passed.

The Bushies have already shown their willingness to compromise when they get caught with their hands in the cookie jar.

No, the kind of nonpartisanship they want is of a kind we in Connecticut are only too familiar with.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Sporting Goods

Has there ever big a bigger no-call than the should have been traveling violation on Jeff Green's game-winning shot in the Georgetown-Vandy game? Absolutely ridiculous. And the fact that CBS's esteemed commentators didn't have the courage to call it what it was during numerous replays is even more ridiculous. Nantz and Packer are the worst.

I just watched it a bunch more. He traveled twice. Unbelievable.

Looks like CBS is going to talk about it in the studio. About time. Ludicrous.

UPDATE (10:45): I think I found something more lame than the Nantz-Packer silence in the AP's description of the game. In the seventh paragraph we get this:
Green started to make a move, fumbled the ball. He recovered, made a turnaround move and banked home the short jumper with two Vandy players trying to stop him. Replays seemed to indicate he may have walked by switching his pivot foot.
(Emphasis added) I haven't seen language that equivocal since I tried to explain to my parents what happened to the beer in their fridge on my 20th birthday. Lame. Vandy was cheated.

Quote of the Day


As reported by Tim Grieve at

"I am sorry for my wrongdoing. I fully accept the responsibility for my conduct and the consequences it may have. When a Senate committee asks questions, they must be answered fully and completely and it is not my place to decide whether those questions are relevant or too personal."
-- Steven Griles, the president's former No. 2 man at the Interior Department, pleading guilty to lying to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee about his relationship with disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Ah yes. Another Bushie gets religion. Now we'll see whether this is catching and whether other Bushies will testify regarding the US Attorneys purge.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Just Like Al, Only Honest


When it comes to cocktail-party chatter (at least where I live) the housing market ranks up there with abortion as a topic of conversation likely to split the group in two, uncomfortably. Lately, it’s been difficult to turn on the news, or open the paper, and not find one opinion or another on the explosion of sub-prime mortgages. In an era of extremely low interest rates, sub-prime mortgages were hailed as a way to “democratize” credit, and have pushed the rate of home ownership in the US to a record 69%. According to former Fed Chair Allen Greenspan:
“Where once more-marginal applicants would simply have been denied credit, lenders are now able to quite efficiently judge the risk posed by individual applicants and to price that risk appropriately. These improvements have led to rapid growth in sub-prime mortgage lending . . . fostering constructive innovation that is both responsive to market demand and beneficial to consumers."

So what’s the downside? None, it’s win-win. Constructive, responsive, and beneficial to consumers means more families can partake in the American Dream; and when risks are efficiently judged and appropriately priced markets function efficiently. Keep lending, keep spending! Yet fast forward a couple of years and the numbers look quite different:
“Many more U.S. homeowners were unable to keep up with their mortgage payments in the fourth quarter, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Tuesday, with the rate of homes entering the foreclosure process hitting a record 0.54% and the delinquency rate on U.S. home loans leaping to 4.95% from 4.67% three months earlier…. The rise was led by sub-prime mortgages, where delinquencies increased to 13.33% from 12.56%, and FHA loans, which saw a record-high delinquency rate of 13.46%. Trouble in sub-prime mortgages, made to borrowers with the riskiest credit, has roiled lenders and the stock market in recent days."

Stock markets have certainly been “roiled” and more than one noted investor is predicting financial apocalypse. The Center for Responsible Lending predicts 2.2 million sub-prime barrowers could end-up in foreclosure and notes that this type of efficient judgment and pricing of risk means “"in the sub-prime sector, the most vulnerable borrowers are sold the most dangerous loans."

To all but the cynical why the Maestro himself would have failed to see or react to these risks is a mystery. But at least Al’s English counterpart is a bit more honest. To paraphrase Lord George, former head of the Bank of England, in his confession to a committee of MPs: in the post 9-11 world low interest rates were used to stimulate a weak economy by encouraging consumer spending at the expense of increased consumer debt loads, and the nasty side-effect was rapidly rising home prices, witch further added to the level of personal debt. According to Lord George “we had pushed it up to levels which couldn't possibly be sustained into the medium and long term... my legacy…if you like has been 'sort that out’." Although I doubt we’ll here a similar confession on our side of the Atlantic, considering the similar trajectory of English and American interest rates it’s not a stretch to posit we’re owed one.

So it looks like the democratization of credit has gone as smoothly as the democratization of the Middle East and 2.2 million Americans seem poised to pay the price. Not to worry, the Fed wants to make sure the work-out process on your failed loan is just as efficient as the approval:

"Working together, the federal regulatory agencies will continue to use their supervisory authority to ensure that regulated institutions have policies and procedures designed to treat borrowers fairly, both when seeking new credit and when working through financial difficulties."

George Bush's Amerika, cont'd.


Dr. Marshall neatly sums up the banana republic the US has become under the Bushies.
[The US Attorneys episode is] yet another example of how far this White House has gone in normalizing behavior that we've been raised to associate with third-world countries where democracy has never successfully taken root and the rule of law is unknown. At most points in our history the idea that an Attorney General could stay in office after having overseen such an effort would be unthinkable. The most telling part of this episode is that they're not even really denying the wrongdoing. They're ignoring the point or at least pleading 'no contest' and saying it's okay.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

President Petulant's Legacy


As I view the unraveling of GI George and look at concurrent news stories, I can't help but wonder what the Bushies' legacy will be.

I mean, obviously, they've had an absolutely horrid tenure, but what they'll leave behind is what I'm thinking about.

To be sure, troops will still be in Iraq on January 20, 2009, but what else will still be around? The NCLB is about to become a shadow of its former self, and now we find that the vaunted USA PATRIOT Act also is in the process of being weakened. See here for an additional story.

So, we've got drastic changes coming in Feckless Leader's most important domestic legislation and his security legislation being overhauled. There's still quite a bit of hideous legislation left, but these alterations certainly run counter to the Bushies' policies. With the tax code almost certain to be changed in the next few years, there won't be many memories of the horrid first eight years of the US in the 21st century, thank God.

At any rate, I raise this because more and more it looks like the Bush administration will be a black hole in terms of American policy. (And our president looks more and more like the lamest of the lame ducks because of it.) I'm certainly not complaining—I wish that virtually all of the Bushies' policies were overturned—but Americans deserve some progress from their executive branch in eight years.

Protesting too much


I see that the multibillion dollar corporation, McDonald's, is acting as a language policeman again.
McDonald's Corp. is reviving its campaign to ditch the dictionary definition of "McJob," this time setting its sites on Britain.

The world's largest fast-food company said Tuesday it plans to launch a campaign in the U.K. this spring to get the country's dictionary houses to change current references to the word "McJob."

The Oxford English Dictionary, considered by many wordsmiths as the gold standard for the English language, is one of those that will be targeted. It defines the noun as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector."

... "Dictionaries are supposed to be paragons of accuracy. And in this case, they got it completely wrong," said Walt Riker, a McDonald's spokesman.
It's just the Bushies redux: Up is down, black is white, and a minimum wage paying dead end job really affords its holder myriad opportunities.

As Bill Lumbergh might say, "Riiiiiiight."

Quote of the Day


Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas on the Constitutional confrontation now brewing in Washington: Democrats "think Karl Rove is lurking behind every bush in Washington."

I do believe Senator Cornyn's Freudian slip is showing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bush to Congress: ...


Atrios was right on the money regarding the Boy Blunder's excruciating "press conference" this afternoon.

I don't think I've seen such a petulant performance by a sitting president in more than thirty years.

At any rate, the lines have been drawn: Gorgeous George will not allow his toadies to testify to Congress under oath, and Senator Leahy and Congressman Conyers will have it no other way. It's going to be a very interesting couple of weeks, and I have to admit I've waited four years for this kind of confrontation to occur.

The Richest Nation on Earth?


When dealing with large issues, public perception and reality are always a little out of sync: just look at America’s reaction to global warming. So I have to wonder how it would challenge Joe Six-Pack’s view of America’s place in the world if he knew the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was staring down at him from the moon.

On the financial front, the Chinese government announced the formation of a new agency to oversee the investment of the largest stockpile of wealth the world has ever known: China's $1.1 trillion in foreign currency reserves. The reserves, earned through massive trade imbalances, are held now mostly in low-yield US Treasury bonds, allowing the US Government to finance growing budget deficits while keeping interest rates low. Some estimate the fund will be between $200 and $400 billion at its inception; money that will more than likely be used to invest in resources and raw materials Chinese manufacturing desperately needs. For comparison sake, the largest mutual fund in the U.S., the Magellan Fund, has a "meager" $50 billion in assets. The new Chinese fund will be roughly 4 to 8 times larger than anything ever seen in the US financial markets. At the same time, and after 14 years of debate, the government made sweeping legal reforms to protect personal property from state seizure for the first time since the Revolution. China has also decided to eliminate tax breaks for foreign investors, raising the foreign investment to the same rate paid by domestic enterprise. That is, unless you are investing on long-term infrastructure projects. All three are key signs that China is willing to reform ideologically to compete in a global economy.

Meanwhile, here at home, America’s current account, the broadest number available to measure trade, was over $856 billion in the red for 2006; meaning that each and every day of the year a little over $2.3 billion left the US and ended up in other countries. That number is higher so far this year and China alone has chalked up a surplus of almost $40 billion in the past two months, about $28 billion more than the same period last year. At that rate, China’s exchange reserves will top $1.3 trillion by the end of 2007.

So who is the richest nation on Earth?

Déjà Vu


The so-called document dump related to the US Attorney episode has occurred with the assurance from a Department of Justice spokewoman that the filing will show that "the department did not remove the U.S. attorneys for improper reasons, such as to prevent or retaliate for a particular prosecution in a public corruption matter."

As it turns out, the collection is not complete since—surprise—it includes no communications between the DoJ and the White House. After wondering whether the Bushies would invoke the Star Chamber-like notion of "executive privilege," Americans have rediscovered the secretive nature of the White House. Cripes, it's not as if we haven't been blocked from knowing who served on the infamous Energy Task Force of 2001 or who, exactly, works for Deadeye Dick.

Anyway, by using the tired (and tyrannical) notion of "executive privilege," the Bushies have pretty much brought us right back to the early 1970s. I, for one, am not real glad to be seeing this type of ploy used again.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The iRack


Here's an amusing little item that's making the rounds of the Internet these days. Get your orders in early.

In a Nutshell


Every so often, I find a piece that captures perfectly the attitudes of the Bushies and shows just how horrid the last six years have been. This week's Nation's lead editorial is such an offering.

In discussing the Bushies' transparent attempt to increase and retain their power through the firing of eight US Attorneys, the editors state,
The stakes in the Gonzales Eight scandal are far more profound than the hiring and firing of a few prosecutors. It is by now a shopworn cliché of the Bush Administration to say that the Constitution itself is at stake. But what other assessment is possible? Each of the Gonzales Eight—to a person, competent and admired prosecutors—lost a job because the President, Rove and other GOP bosses sought to warp fundamental American institutions, including elections, criminal investigations and sentencing, for political gain. That is the very essence of corruption ...

Democrats who have been reluctant to pursue investigations of torture, the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina should take two lessons [from this episode]. First, all are aspects of the same scandal: a White House determined to establish extralegal authority both abroad and at home. Second, hearings and subpoenas not only get out the facts but force the Administration to back down. In this case, at least, Congressional Democrats have begun—but only begun—to find their collective voice as a check on Bush's executive power grab.

The case of the Gonzales Eight makes it vividly clear that this Justice Department isn't only covering up illegality in the Nixon mode. From the President on down, the Administration sees no legal limits to presidential power, whether in a US Attorney's office in Phoenix or an interrogation room in Guantánamo. In such an environment, with such permission from the Oval Office itself, the Justice Department is the locus, the engine, the pumping heart of scandal.
Indeed, every move this mob makes is devoted to one goal only: the aggrandizement of power. The Nation is correct in showing this principle as it relates to the US Attorney story and does so in a way that's superior to anything I've seen in a while.

Travel Travails


I realize that complaining about airline service is akin to complaining about the weather—and just as effective—but I see that
Thousands of weary travelers faced a third day [of] waiting to reach their destinations Sunday as US Airways struggled to recover from the ice and snow storm that paralyzed airports in the Northeast.
As one who's had plenty of troubles with USAir when the weather has been good, I can certainly sympathize with the tired and the haggard sojourners.

One might ask how US airline companies survive at all with this kind of shoddy service. JetBlue simply refused to fly on Friday rather than face the public relations nightmare of the type it suffered around Valentine's Day. And passengers who booked for weekend flights on USAir are still waiting to get on a plane. So it goes.

Fortunately, Mrs. Monocle got out on Friday morning before it all hit the fan. She left at 0700 from Bradley on a USAir flight and missed the hideous weather of later in the day. Here's hoping that she'll be able to return from her Georgia sojourn tomorrow in a timely fashion.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Justice and the lack thereof


Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice;
nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.
—Lord Acton

The above can be applied to virtually everything the Bushies (and, for that matter, their Republican predecessors of the last forty years) have ever done, but today it has to do with that august organization, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Washington Post is reporting this morning that the FBI used an illegal procedure to get thousands of phone records—then tried to retroactively legalize its actions, botching that too.

A Justice Department investigation turned up "uncontrolled" usage of "exigent circumstance" letters by the FBI. The letters "circumvented" the law by asking for call records from phone companies, immediately, and indicating that all the legal mumbo-jumbo would be set straight later. In many cases, it never was. Recently the FBI tried to "clean up" the problem by quickly scribbling requests for the information they had already requisitioned, violating the law again in the process. Investigations, hearings, and disciplinary action are sure to follow.

This is just another example of the flagrant attacks on Americans' liberties, which, unfortunately, they seem all too willing to put up with.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thoughts on UNC v. MSU

Sporting Goods

Let me preface my comments by noting that UNC is clearly the superior team and would win nine of ten match-ups against an over-matched MSU team. That said, do you think the officials told Tom Izzo that they were going to job the Spartans? I half expected the officials to take off their stripes to reveal Carolina blue jerseys. Am I revealing a bias here or did anybody else the think the officiating was a little one-sided?

On another note, Tyler Hansbrough travels as he receives every entry pass in the post. He's a good player but his footwork needs a lot of work. He's going to get killed in the league. Hopefully he knows this and sticks at UNC for another year or two.

Oh, and Drew Neitzel is a beloved Spartan and every announcer raves about him but isn't he just the definition of a "chucker"? I don't care how bad his teammates are. He takes some of the worst shots I've ever seen. Sure he makes some difficult shots but isn't a lot of that just a function of the quantity he takes. It is ridiculous.

Of course, nothing is as ridiculous of the 20-13 halftime score of the UCLA/Indiana game. Ugh.

With UConn not in this tourney, and with MSU losing, I have no idea who I'm rooting for the rest of the way. I do like seeing Vandy win. Plus they play Georgetown next. So Vandy is one. But for teams with an actual chance of winning. I guess I'm going UNC or maybe Wisconsin. (Just watched a glowing interview about the Badgers' coach on HBO's Real Sports. He's like the anti-Bob Knight.) UConn fans out there, who are you rooting for?

He's a Rebel


Jury selection for the Phil Spector trial begins on Monday. Oh, to be a resident of (and a prospective juror in) Los Angeles County. Since I'm not, I sure do hope that the trial will air on Court TV.

Details of the case can be found here.

I apologize in advance for the numerous posts that I'm sure I'll create as the trial progresses.


Adam Greenberg

Sporting Goods

ESPN offers an update on the story of Guilford's Adam Greenberg, who was hit in the head on the first pitch of his first (and so far only) plate appearance in the major leagues. (I previously blogged about the story here.) Greenberg seems to be in good spirits and finally healthy both mentally and physically. He's only had four plate experiences this spring and isn't in major league camp but here's to wishing him the best in making it back to the big leagues.

What a mess


I've generally stopped reading stories about the day to day operations of the Army in Iraq because it is simply the same story, with different body counts, every day. That said, I was encouraged when I got to work yesterday and saw this headline on MSNBC, "Wary cooperation between U.S., Sadr" The story goes on to describe the cooperation and the positive effect it is having in Baghdad:
After four years of hostility, Sadr and the Americans are cooperating uneasily as the United States and Iraq attempt to tame Baghdad's sectarian violence. American officials, who in recent months described Sadr's Mahdi Army and other Shiite militias as the biggest threat to Iraq's stability, now praise the Shiite cleric.
"We're very encouraged by what we're seeing on the ground right now in Sadr City," said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the U.S. military's chief spokesman in Baghdad. "There is a tremendous amount of cooperation and dialogue ongoing. It's proven to be very beneficial to both sides."
Finally, a bit of good news. As much as I think the war in Iraq is a strategic nightmare, doomed to failure, I still hope that things get better and it all works out in the end.

Of course, things change quickly in Iraq. Just hours later, this was the headline on MSNBC, "Al-Sadr calls on supporters to resist U.S." Whoops. Reason number 8,001 to get the hell out of Iraq as soon as possible.


Universal Remote

I don't know if anybody caught the new show "Andy Barker P.I." on Thursday, but if you missed it, I highly recommend that you find your way over to and watch the first episode. In fact, if you want, you can watch the first six episodes right now for free at or download them from iTunes.

Quite simply, the show is hilarious. Produced by Conan O'Brien and starring Andy Richter, a personal favorite of mine since his time on Conan and for his short-lived show, "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" (also hilarious), the show reminds me a little of Arrested Development (which means it probably won't last more than these six episodes). If you don't know the general plot, Richter plays Andy Barker, an accountant, who hangs out his shingle and rents an office that used to belong to a private eye. Desperate for money, Barker takes on an investigation when he is mistaken for the former tenet. The series then follows the weekly efforts of an accountant, doing his best Magnum impression while driving a late model family sedan and obeying all traffic laws. I highly recommend the first episode. I can't wait to watch the other five.

On a different note, regular readers might be interested in the profile of comedian Jim Gaffigan that appeared in the New York Times last week. My favorite graf:
Mr. Gaffigan’s big break came in 1999, when he was booked to perform a stand-up set on “Late Show With David Letterman” after five years of trying. As a fellow Indiana native (Mr. Gaffigan grew up in Chesterton, in the northwest corner of the state), he said that he had regarded merely shaking hands with Mr. Letterman as something akin to “meeting Mark Twain.” Among the jokes he told that night was this one: “I’m from Indiana. I know what you’re thinking. Indiana. Mafia.” From behind him, he could hear the host giggling. After Mr. Gaffigan was finished, Mr. Letterman rewarded him with an honor that to this day he bestows only rarely: he invited Mr. Gaffigan to sit down next to him at his desk.
The article also notes Gaffigan's regular appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and the series of two-minute cartoons he presents called "Pale Force" in which animated versions of Gaffigan and O'Brien play superheroes who blind villains with their whiteness. (Check the cartoons out here) It is bizarre to say the least. Check it out.

NCLB's demise?


The original terms of the hideous No Child Left Behind Act are about to run out, and a flurry of activity is taking place in Washington as a renewal of the law is being discussed. Both US News and the Washington Post are reporting that such a renewal is unlikely no matter what the uneducated denizen of the White House may wish.

From the Post:
Republican critics of the No Child Left Behind law flexed their growing muscle [Thursday] as 57 GOP lawmakers, including the national party chairman, endorsed legislation that would undermine President Bush's signature education initiative.

House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who voted for the law in 2001, said he now opposes it because it has shifted control of public schools to the federal government in a more dramatic way than he ever imagined.
And from US News:
The Republican legislation ... would not just delay that process; it would gut the law, releasing states from testing and restructuring mandates without forcing them to lose federal funding. The legislation will almost certainly not win approval, but it did send a clear message: Republican leaders no longer stand strongly behind the Bush administration on education ...

[T]he mutiny is against more than Bush. It is also against the law itself. In just five years, the law has transformed public education, giving the federal government more say over what and how children learn than perhaps ever before. To maintain federal funding, all levels have had to change practice: States have had to develop detailed math and reading standards for third through eighth grade, teachers have had to devote weeks of their school year to testing those standards, and schools have had to live by the tests' consequences, facing sticks like forced restructuring or mandatory after-school tutoring if their students don't perform.
Here's hoping that something comes of this.

This has really been a productive six years, hasn't it? President Unelected's foreign policy is such a fiasco that he doesn't even talk about it anymore, and now the crown jewel of his domestic policy, the primary domestic legislation he's had passed (Remember when he tried to pass himself off as the "Education Candidate" in the campaign of 2000?) in his tenure may very well be eviscerated. And to think we've still got almost two more years of this wheel spinning.

Friday, March 16, 2007



The White House has indicated that it may or may not cooperate with the House's U.S. attorney investigation. It's certainly no surprise that we're finding this out on a Friday afternoon.

From John Conyers' press release:
The White House Counsel's office advised us this afternoon that the White House would not be providing documents to the [House Judiciary] Committee, or providing the White House's position with respect to the Committee securing the testimony of White House officials today. This is contrary to earlier expectations that the Committee would receive these answers and documents today and is, therefore, very disappointing. The Counsel's office has assured me that they will continue to work in good faith to get answers to those questions by early next week.
Mere words can't express how irked I am at this too familiar strategy.

UPDATE — I'm reminded of the Sage of Baltimore's incisive observation: All government, of course, is against liberty.

My head is spinning


Between non-stop basketball, the US Attorney doings, and today's hearings on the Plame outing, it's hard to focus on one subject. However, I think the real story of the day will come from the hearings. Specifically,
In the second panel in the House Oversight Committee hearings this morning, following the testimony of Valerie Plame-Wilson, the Director of the White House Security Office, James Knodell, has stunned the Congress members by disclosing that no investigation into the leaking of Plame-Wilson's covert identity as a CIA operative was ever conducted by his office.
The repercussions of this revelation should be interesting for at least two reasons.

First, Bush outright lied. We all remember President Unelected's promise to fire anyone in his administration who broke the law in the episode. The testimony makes it clear that the promise was baseless as no White House investigation was ever directed to take place.

Second, the testimony sure makes it look as if the Bushies knew what an investigation would uncover, thus making sure not to have such an investigation proceed.

Either one of these scenarios is damning and is the reason I think this incredible testimony will be on tomorrow's front pages.

It goes without saying that this kind of stuff has been going on in the White House since January 21, 2001. It's only because of the hideous occupation in Iraq that the utter incompetence and treachery of the Bushies are coming to light. If the invasion had been a success, such perfidy wouldn't have even been looked into. Now, however, the Iraq fiasco has got people thinking that perhaps the Bushies are capable of other failures.

I don't want to appear callous, but this may be the only argument that can be used to show that the more than 3200 Americans who have died in Iraq did not do so in vain.

(Post edited to remove redundancies.)

Meanwhile, in the real world ...


While the world is focused on bracketology, the blathreskite of the White House Press Secretary continues apace.

What a performance!

The Maverick


John McCain is so crazy, so maverick, always going against the grain...well maybe not always.

You can actually see his NCAA picks here. He predicts 3 upsets in the first round (but only if you consider one nine seed and two 10 seeds to be true upsets), and goes with the wild Final Four of all 4 number one seeds. Well, maybe that is "maverick" since it has never actually happened before.

Come on, the guy didn't even pick Arizona to get past the second round! Weak!

Thursday, March 15, 2007



If you start off your tournament picks 8 for 8, is it OK to brag even though all 8 were the favored seeds? I didn't think so. So, I won't.

But I will say, following up on Monocle's earlier post, today and tomorrow must feature the most unproductive afternoons of the year. I am extremely busy, with tight deadlines to meet, yet I can't go more than 5 minutes without refreshing scores, checking my brackets, and going to talk to my co-workers about the games. Further, while wasting time in a pub in Rye, New York earlier this afternoon (long story), I was amazed at the amount of suits who were in a dive bar for their lunch hour, just so they could catch 45 minutes of the BC-Texas Tech game.

For me, March Madness has come just in time, as I'm already tired of Spring Training, and the accompanying speculation and meaningless games. With the Huskies' season over, this is a year I can fully focus on my brackets and dreaming about the college star who will be sporting Celtic green next year. And by the time that starts to wind down, it will be opening day. Maybe by then I'll remember how to write a blog post with one single theme.

The Great I Am


I have a colleague with whom I—astonishingly—get along. We have a good relationship as long as neither he nor I discuss politics or religion. He crossed this line a week or so ago when he asserted that he believed crap like this. I responded that the Bible demanded that rebellious children be stoned to death. He didn't believe me. It was apparent that we weren't going to convince each other of anything, so we pretty much agreed to drop the subject.

I recount this episode to follow up on something Digby recently posted wherein he opines
[I]t's a little bit odd that the vast majority of people in a country that prides itself as the most religious in the world can't name the writers of the gospel, but really, whose fault is that? The last I heard, there were tens of thousands of churches in this country. Is it too much to ask that they be in charge of religious instruction? Isn't that their specialty?
To answer the question: No.
[M]any of the conservative mega-churches spend most of their time instructing their parishoners on Republican politics and holding Christian rock extravaganzas so they don't have time for actual religious teaching.
I know I've blogged about this before: I'm a nominal Christian who happens to believe that the bases of Christianity should be found in Luke chapters 4 and 25—and not Leviticus 18:22.

This all goes with an item that appeared in USA Today this morning wherein we find (not suprisingly) that
Sixty percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.
Walk the walk? Cripes, most Americans can't even talk the talk. I know it'll never happen for these modern day pharisees, but I wish so-called Christians would quit spouting this crap about the violence associated with Islam or other religions until they know a little bit about their own religion's spotty past.

In other words, I wish they'd look at the plank in their own eyes rather than be so concerned with the speck of sawdust in their brothers' eyes.

And that's today's sermon.

"Mistakes were made"


Thus says President Unelected. Nevertheless, he's going to stand by his blood brother, Alberto—the enabler of 152 Texas executions in the 1990s.

Needless to say, this hiding of culpability behind the passive voice is an old Bush dodge. Like the typical sociopath, he insists on accountability and responsibility from his enemies, (Of whom, the Bushies have many; the e-mails that've appeared in the US Attorney episode are a latter day "Enemies List.") but won't demand any of himself or his toadies.

Oh well. Just another day in George Bush's Amerika.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Aid and comfort to the enemy


Deadeye Dick was at it again on Monday, asserting that those in Congress who pursue a gradual drawdown of American forces are "undermining" the troops and that a withdrawal would represent "a full validation of the Al Qaeda strategy."

I'd heard about his ravings that day, but didn't think much of it. After all, the man is obviously crazy (I'm not being ironic.), and we've heard this kind of paranoiac nonsense before.

Nevertheless, even though the veep is singing the same song he's so often trolled, he certainly got the erstwhile LA Times op-ed columnist, Robert Scheer, excited with his exhortations.

The chickens come home to roost


For those of us waiting for various equity-related shoes to fall, these last few weeks have been a bit discomfiting.
The news in the subprime mortgage market got grimmer Tuesday, helping to drive the stock market down more than 240 points and raising concern the problems could be more widespread than first believed.

Consumers with such loans fell behind on their mortgages at the highest rate in four years in the fourth quarter and foreclosures started on all types of home loans rose to a record high, according to data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association ...

"The speed with which this thing has unraveled is really pretty amazing," said Bose George, an analyst at Keefe Bruyette & Woods in New York.
I suppose that's true, but now that all of the adjustable rate mortgages are moving from around four per cent to ten, it's all really hitting the fan.

Connecticut's senior senator, Chris Dodd, predicts that 2.2 million borrowers could be foreclosed. The ripple effects in construction, retail sales, and many other areas of the economy could be severe if such foreclosures occur.

And, indeed, the data aren't encouraging. For example,
The number of borrowers in Florida who were past due on their mortgages ticked up to 4.86 percent in the last three months of 2006, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

And more borrowers are facing the possibility of losing their homes. Foreclosure actions filed against homeowners nearly tripled in Miami-Dade and Broward counties in January and February, compared to the same two months last year, reports the clerks of court.
The nervousness regarding the state of the economy is often ascribed to unscrupulous lenders who made loans to people who couldn't actually afford them. While such guilt exists, I have to think that the Federal Open Market Committee is mostly to blame. Specifically, when the bust in equities occurred in 2000-2002, the FOMC (And, let's face it: I'm really talking about Alan Greenspan here.) reduced the prime interest rates by more than half. (Greenspan also sanctioned the hideous Bush tax cuts, but that may be another story.) With such a gift from the Fed, prospective home buyers and enabling financiers couldn't resist dabbling in speculative real estate possibilities.

We're currently seeing the results of such thinking: As Greenspan hoped to ease the effects of one bubble, he created another. Moreover, Greenspan demonstrated what too many in Washington currently evince: Create a horrible mess, and then let one's successor(s) try to take care of it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Not unexpected


I think just about everybody could see this coming:
Viacom Inc., the owner of MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and other cable networks filed a $1 billion copyright lawsuit against the video-sharing site YouTube and corporate owner Google Inc.
So, another confrontation between media is in the offing—just like the RIAA-file sharing clash. In other words, we'll get to see a 20th century medium try to aggrandize its antiquated technology in the midst of a newer age. Good luck.

If I had no other reason to support YouTube in this conflict, I'd do it using the old "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" argument.

Channeling Ann Coulter


Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace, responding to a question yesterday about the US military's "don't ask; don't tell" policy:
"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.

"As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy ..."
Good God. Where do we get these people?

The US Attorneys Scandal, cont'd


Josh Marshall promises to be all over the exploding US Atorneys scandal, so I'll just continue to read him and encourage readers of this blog to do likewise.

At this point, I have only one thing to say about the issue: It already seems pretty clear that the Bush Administration (all the way to the president himself) attempted to use the Justice Department for political gains. Once justice is perverted like this, we can pretty much say goodbye to the American system. Nevertheless, such treachery isn't unprecedented, and, to those in my generation, the setup is eerily reminiscent of some very dark times in our lives.



Apparently, the office pool is becoming bigger than the event itself. Anyway, here's a little something on the institution that March Madness has become.

The US Attorneys Scandal


Both Josh Marshall and Digby have extensive posts about the US Attorney scandal currently erupting. With the New York Times and Washington Post devoting a number of column inches to the subject this morning, it's clear that this is a scandal that may have serious repercussions.

At this point, as Digby says, "The Attorney General definitely lied to Congress, as did two of his closest aides," and apparently this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Somebody tell me how

Sporting Goods

To get my bosses to set the bar this low:
Isiah Thomas got a multiyear contract extension Monday, nine months after he was warned the Knicks needed to show "evident progress" or he'd be out of a job.


But with New York (29-34) already six wins better than last season and currently eighth in the Eastern Conference, Dolan said the improvement under Thomas "needs to be recognized now and not wait."
Damn, they aren't even .500. First, Tom Coughlin and now this. If only I could be a coach of a NY sport franchise. Of course this simply re-emphasizes the only thing I've learned in the corporate world. If you are going to screw up, screw up big.


Sporting Goods

Keith Law over at ESPN (and being the Insider firewall so I won't bother linking) talks about the raise given to MVP Ryan Howard. Now I generally enjoy Law's insights and writing but this post doesn't make any sense. Law points out that the Phillies could have paid Howard whatever they wanted this year:
The one place where clubs truly have the upper hand is for players who haven't yet reached arbitration. We're talking mostly about rookies and sophomores who are still developing, so the disparity between their salaries and their performances isn't usually this large.
As such, Law concludes that the Phillies decision to pay Howard $900,000 was a waste of money because they could have paid him the league minimum of $380,000:
So did the Phillies give Howard the extra coin to buy themselves some goodwill when they get to arbitration? I hope not, because that's a myth. There is no evidence that players (or, more accurately, agents) give clubs any kind of discount on arbitration salaries or on long-term deals when the clubs overpay the players during their zero-to-three years.
I have no doubt that Law is correct and that there is no evidence that the Phillies will get a further discount from Howard for the additional $500 grand they threw him this season. So Law is correct. I also have no doubt that if the Phillies decided to nickel and dime Howard now, and paid him the league minimum, they would have garnered an exceptional amount of "badwill" from their best player. That doesn't seem like a very good idea to me. Of course, as a Mets fan, I would have loved to see it happen.

No such thing as Coincidence


Last week was notable to me for the number of stories that, on their surface appear to be about two different things. The first thing I noticed was, after the Libby verdict, the number of stories about the decline in influence of Vice President Cheney. For example, see cover of Time:
Cheney has become the Administration's enemy within, the man whose single-minded pursuit of ideological goals, creaking political instincts and love of secrecy produced an independent operation inside the White House that has done more harm than good.
So the conventional wisdom is that Cheney is the bad guy in the administration. Now I'm not going to point out all the articles in 2000 that said that Cheney was such an asset because he would guide the President with his experience. But I do find it interesting that this story makes the cover of Time right around the same time that this headline appears in the Washington Post, Rove Doing His Part to Help Shape a Positive Legacy for Bush.

Does anybody doubt that throwing the Vice President under the bus isn't a key part of "shaping Bush's legacy"? I guess it is fitting given that the most lasting "legacy" of the Bush administration will be its never ending attempts to pin responsibility and blame for any and all failures on others.



Catching up on a bunch of things that I e-mailed to myself to post about last week but never got a chance to. In an article about the Walter Reed scandal, Newsweek writes about how concerned President Bush is about the care of our veterans. In a article about the contrast between the White House's official silence about the Libby verdict with the immediate response to the Reed scandal, authors Richard Wolff and Holly Bailey include this nugget:
What a difference two years make. Back in 2004, John Kerry repeatedly raised the issue of poor care for veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Bush’s response was dismissive. In their last televised debate, Kerry said Bush “hasn’t fully funded the VA and the VA hospital [sic] is having trouble and veterans are complaining.”

Bush’s response? “Of course we’re meeting our obligation to our veterans, and the veterans know that. We’re expanding veterans’ health care throughout the country. We’re aligning facilities where the veterans live now. Veterans are getting very good health care under my administration, and they will continue to do so during the next
four years.”
This is really interesting and offers everything you really need to know about President Bush. I can't believe that it is offered almost as a throw-away in a Newsweek article.

Dear 24 ...

Universal Remote

Please stop sucking.


Your loyal viewers

Your tax dollars at work, cont'd


Surprise, surprise ...
The White House acknowledged on Sunday that presidential adviser Karl Rove served as a conduit for complaints to the Justice Department about federal prosecutors who were later fired for what critics charge were partisan political reasons.
And while we're at it, Halliburton, a company that has absolutely pillaged American coffers, apparently feeling that it has sucked that source dry, is about to move its corporate headquarters to Dubai.

Friday, March 09, 2007

It'll all be taken care of


What a week it's been in the executive branch. President Unelected assures the US that he'll take care of the Walter Reed debacle, and today
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says there is "no excuse" for the mistakes made [concerning the illegal use of National Security Letters] by the FBI that have been uncovered in a Justice Department audit.

Gonzales says his department is going to fix things as quickly as possible and has ordered further investigation.
Of course, Feckless Leader headed for points south as soon as the words were out of his month, and the AG isn't exactly asking for FBI Director Robert Mueller's resignation.

Once again, we see the Bushies simply blowing smoke.

¡Bush, vai para casa!


It's long been a tradition of failing presidents that they leave the country every so often in order to avoid the hideous news at home, or, at least, change the subject for a day or two. (Most memorable was a trip Richard Nixon took to the Middle East at the height of the Watergate case that nearly killed him as his phlebitis flared up.)

And so it is that President Unelected has left the US and the US Attorneys scandal, the Libby verdict, and the Walter Reed debacle for warmer climes. Unfortunately, our feckless leader has found his sojourn thus far even more uncomfortable than sitting in Washington.
As President Bush flew [to Sao Paolo, Brazil] Thursday on Air Force One, thousands of protesters shouting "Out, Bush!" marched down this city's main drag, Avenida Paulista.

Hundreds of riot police flanked at least 6,000 demonstrators near the city's financial center, and the scent of tear gas hovered along the march route. At least three protesters and a news photographer were reported hurt as baton-wielding police and demonstrators clashed, but there was no immediate word on their condition. Authorities later said that 16 police officers suffered minor injuries.

"We don't want Bush here!" shouted Marcelo Prado, 19. "Tell him to go home!"

Bush arrived Thursday night to begin a five-country visit to Latin America designed to bolster U.S. standing in the region and counter the growing influence of leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. National security advisor Stephen J. Hadley, on Air Force One, said, "The president is going to do what he's been doing for a long time: talk about a positive agenda."
Stephen Hadley is an idiot: There is no "positve agenda" to articulate. This is the same old nonsense: spouting platitudes of good news where none exist.

I might add that it's good to see that at least some people are paying attention and taking to the streets to decry Boy George's hideous policies.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Libby Repercussions


The conservative blogosphere is atwitter over Libby juror Denis Collins—he of the infamous "Where's Rove?" quote—and, I have to admit, I can't for the life of me understand how the defense let him on the jury.

I mean, it's not as if he hasn't written a book on the CIA or anything.

Protecting our soldiers' health


The Walter Reed fiasco has been covered expertly by many, so I'll just add one tidbit.

You could almost hear the relief in President Unelected's voice yesterday when he said
"I've asked two of America's fine public servants, Senator Dole and Secretary Shalala, to chair a commission that will analyze our health care both at the Defense Department and at the Veterans Department, to ensure that not only our soldiers but their families have got complete confidence in the government's upholding its responsibility to treat those who have been wounded. ... And I'm confident that this commission will bring forth the truth. And as I assured the chairmen, I am confident that there will be a quick response to any problems that you may find."
Here's Boy George trying to hang his hat on something, anything, that'll make it look as if he's doing something other than simply hanging around 20500-0003 for the next 22 months, waiting for his successor to clean up the messes he's created.

Of course, the Walter Reed situation is a mess he helped create, and it's one that has to be taken care of (or, typically, at least addressed) on his watch.

People are right to say that this is just another example of bad management and overall neglect by the Bush team. Indeed, it has all the characteristics of the Katrina bungle.

Holy Joe, cont'd


For someone who likes to call himself the "conscience of the Senate," Connecticut's junior senator sure is willing to prostitute himself.
Joe Lieberman was beaming. "Sam Fox represents what America is all about," he said, "and that's why he will be, when confirmed, an extraordinary ambassador."

The scene was last week's Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Connecticut's junior senator was making a highly unusual appearance to lobby for Fox's nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to Belgium.
The truth of the matter is that the unusual drop-in appearance represents what Senator Sanctimony's tactics are all about: an inexorable push toward self-aggrandizement.

Let it not be forgotten that Mr. Fox helped bankroll the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004—the group that torpedoed John Kerry's 2004 campaign with a disgusting raft of half truths and outright lies. Moreover,
The day after the 2006 election, Lieberman, elected as an independent, got a $10,500 contribution from Fox and another $10,500 from Fox's wife. Both are generous GOP donors.
The appearance is a disgusting display of the very partisanship that Connecticut's caviller so piously bemoans.

The truth of the matter is that the junior senator has no conscience and has no shame.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007



These are tough days for the Bushies, and one blogger suggests
There is so much scandal and mismanagement that the Dems will have to tread both heavily and softly at the same time to show that they have the nation's interest at heart, that they aren't simply opportunistically beating a White House that is way down.
To which I say: Screw it. Kick 'em when they're down. God knows the Bushies did it plenty when they had the chance. Moreover, it seems to me that "beating a White House that is way down" is in the national interest as the Dems try to revive a country that is barely breathing as a result of the Bushies' excesses.

The "P" Word


It was no surprise (at least to anyone who had a brain in her head) when Scooter Libby was found guilty on a number of Plame-related charges yesterday. However, like many others, I was in agreement with juror Denis Collins when he asked, "Where's Rove? Where are these other guys?"

And now the liberal blogosphere (and many MSM sources) is atwitter with the possibility of a presidential pardon. (See here, here, and here among others.) Charles Osgood mentioned it on CBS radio this morning, and even the Washington Post has gone so far as to sponsor a "Guess Libby's Pardon Date, Win a T-Shirt" contest.

While I can't believe that President Unelected would be so brazen as to grant a pardon in this case (only because of the mammoth political fallout that would occur), it's certainly within the realm of possibility for these psychos to make it clear that they're above the law.

Perhaps we're about to see just how far the Bushies are willing to push the oligarchic envelope.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The best ever one-sentence explanation of Bush domestic policy


From today's Wall Street Journal: "President Bush said he intends to nominate Michael Baroody, a lobbyist for the National Association of Manufacturers, to be chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission."

(Lifted from

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fool me twice ... (cont'd)


"Official" results be damned, I'm going to start referring to him as "President Unelected" again.



Somehow, it worked out that Senator Sanctimony gave the "Democratic" response to Feckless Leader's blatherings this morning, lecturing the half dozen or so quadraplegic listeners on moral and patriotic responsiblities.

I can't help but wonder how it is that Holy Joe, who is anything but a Democrat, was given this particular assignment, and I'm not alone in my curiosity.

Open Admission


The Constitution State had a farce nearly a year ago wherein the chief justice of the Supreme Court at the time delayed the publication of a court decision about the public release of judicial records in order to grease the skids for the incoming chief justice, who was about to face confirmation hearings. The situation was so outrageous that the aspiring CJ, Peter T. Zarella, was forced to remove his name from consideration for the post. As all of this was going on, Connecticut's governor paid little attention, apparently attending to her macaroni and cheese.

Now it turns out that the governor had paid little attention to the whole process from the get-go.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell launched her ill-fated nomination of Peter T. Zarella as chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court last year without interviewing the nominee about his career, philosophy or vision for the judiciary.

Zarella, 57, an associate justice of the state's highest court since January 2001, told surprised legislators at a hearing Friday that Rell called him and posed only one question last March about a possible promotion to chief justice: Would he take the job?

"It was a very loose way in which the governor handled the most important nomination she will ever have," said Sen. Andrew J. McDonald, D-Stamford, co-chairman of the judiciary committee, after the hearing.
Golly. Ya think?

At any rate, this has been pretty much the modus operandi of Governor Clubwoman from the start: Make sure everyone gets along; don't ask too many questions because, after all, we all want to be friends, don't we?

Twenty-five years ago or so, a few of Connecticut's struggling state colleges tried to fatten their rolls by using an open admission policy. That is, one applied to college pretty much via post card. Bottom line: If the applicant answered "yes" to the crucial question, "Would you like to attend this college," he was accepted.

This might be a good policy for money-starved public institutions, but it's a hell of a way to choose a Supreme Court chief justice.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Coulter: John Edwards is A "Faggot"


Somehow, it seems the height of perversity for a transgender misanthrope to question the sexual orientation of anyone, but what do I know?

At any rate, Mr. Ms. Coulter has man love for endorsed Mitt Romney.

Do we really have 21 months more to go of this nonsense? I'm not sure I can make it.

Which to believe?


In a nutshell, this is the American dynamic of today.

Ultimately, which way will the US go—toward the hopefulness of William Rivers Pitt or the despair of jtree?

My mother threw out all my baseball cards


The 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card is in the news again. Apparently, at least a part of the baseball card market hasn't gone the way of the tulip bubble.

Drum tries to teach Black how to blog


Kevin Drum in a somewhat snarky post addressed to Atrios:
Hey, if you're going to keep linking to stuff behind the Times paywall, can you at least explain what the heck is going on? Inquiring minds etc. etc.
To which I say: Very good point, and one I'm completely in agreement with. Of course, Atrios wouldn't've noticed my complaint; perhaps he'll notice Kevin's.

The end of an era?


The Dallas Cowboys have cut Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe is thus far the Wally Pipp of this century, getting an injury against the Jets in 2001 that allowed second-year player, Tom Brady, to take over the reins as New England Patriots quarterback. The rest, as they say, is history.

Most Patriots fans were extremely frustrated with Bledsoe (I know I was), thinking that with his talent he should have been able to lead the team to more success. Alas, it was left to the former captain of the Michigan Wolverines to take the Patriots to the promised land.

Which is not to say Bledsoe didn't have his moments. He played an oustanding game against his former team in a Buffalo Bills 31-0 shellacking in 2003, and, more importantly, he came off the bench to lead the silver and blue to a victory in the AFC Championship game in 2002.

Ultimately, Bledsoe's habits of holding onto the ball too long in the pocket or attempting to scramble when he saw his protection breaking down did him in, and a more mobile quarterback found the success Bledsoe never achieved. Unfortunately, Bledsoe will forever be categorized as a terrific talent but not a winner.

I assume we won't see Drew Bledsoe in an NFL uniform again.

Nevertheless, Bledsoe isn't the biggest NFL bust Washington State University ever produced.

Justice and US Attorneys


Josh Marshall is all over the US Attorney story, and a sordid story it's turning out to be.
Sen. Pete Domenici and Rep. Heather Wilson of New Mexico pressured the U.S. attorney in their state to speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation that involved at least one former Democratic state senator, according to two people familiar with the contacts ...

David Iglesias, who stepped down as U.S. attorney in New Mexico on Wednesday, told McClatchy Newspapers that he believed the Bush administration fired him Dec. 7 because he resisted the pressure to rush an indictment.

According to the two individuals, Domenici and Wilson called to press Iglesias for details of the case.
I'm sure that Democrats have also been guilty of this kind of flimflam in the past, but, as Dr. Marshall says, "I'm surprised someone who's served in the senate for 35 years or so [such as Domenici] wouldn't know to put a little distance -- an intermediary or two -- between him and the US attorney he was trying to muscle under."

In other words, the flagrant cheek of the move (cf. Tom DeLay's overt grab for power in reapportioning Texas's congressional districts) is what's astonishing. However, we've seen this arrogant megalomania evinced over and over again with this crew. Domenici and Wilson obviously believed they were still working under the 2003 rules, when whatever was thrown against the wall stuck for the Republicans and any tenets of ethics and fair play were abandoned.

This story has a lot of legs. I'll be consulting Talking Points Memo for updates.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The dog ate their DVD


Personally, I don't see how it's possible that José Padilla is competent to stand trial, but it's certainly possible he'll be exonerated anyway.
The government made a secret video of its interrogations of "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla. But now that he's on trial, the Feds claim they don't know where it went ...

The missing DVD dates from March 2, 2004. It contains a video of the last interrogation session of Padilla, then a declared "enemy combatant" under an order from President Bush, while he was being held in military custody at a U.S. Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. But in recent days, in the course of an unusual court hearing about Padilla’s mental condition, a government lawyer disclosed to a surprised courtroom that the Defense Intelligence Agency—which had custody of the evidence—was no longer able to locate the DVD. As a result, it was not included in a packet of classified DVDs that was recently turned over to defense lawyers under orders from Judge Cooke ...

"This is the kind of thing you hear when you’re litigating cases in Egypt or Morocco or Karachi," said John Sifton, a lawyer with Human Rights Watch, one of a number of groups that has criticized the U.S. government’s treatment of Padilla. “It is simply not credible that they would have lost this tape. The administration has shown repeatedly they are more interested in covering up abuses than getting to the bottom of whether people were abused."
I can't say I disagree with Mr. Sifton's assessment as another day sets in George Bush's Amerika.

Fair and Balanced


I see that the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine featured one of my former professors and Alpha Delta advisor, Jeff Hart, in its last issue but one. He sure doesn't have much positive to say about Feckless Leader, although Hart is judging him via a completely different criterion from the way almost everyone else does. (It's a rare exegesis that contrasts Edmund Burke's conservatism with GI George's.) (I'm glad to see that Professor Hart has "sworn off alcohol." I've been told by a fellow alumnus and resident of the Upper Valley that it had started to become a problem for him.)

At any rate, the latest issue of the DAM has an article written by Dinesh D'Souza, which leads one to ask: When did William Kristol become publisher of the magazine?

Senator Sanctimony watch


Time magazine has a two-page spread on Connecticut's junior senator this week. It's entitled "What Joe Wants" as if no one knew.

Juxtaposed with this national exposure is Glenn Greenwald's recent denunciation of Holy Joe wherein the Salon columnist adumbrates the senator's tactics.
[P]eople like Joe Lieberman attempted -- and are still attempting -- to bully and stigmatize those who were trying to alert Americans of the reality of what was going on in Iraq by depicting anyone who challenges the rosy-eyed deceit of the President and Lieberman as the ones who actually bear responsibility for the failures in Iraq, even as subversive and traitorous.

Most despicably, and most destructively, Bush followers like Lieberman ... have actually been insisting that Americans have a duty to allow them to spew their lies about Iraq without challenge. That's what Lieberman means when he demands that Congress "put the brakes on" criticisms of the war and that "instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed."
And he still got 50% of the vote four months ago.

As the Time article points out,
Lieberman's G.O.P. flirtation has its risks--and a time limit. By this time next year, the 2008 election cycle will overshadow anything that happens in the Senate. The longer he waits to capitalize on his moment, the greater the danger that he'll be tagged as one of those politicians for whom having power is more important than using it.

Bacon and eggs


I continue to be shocked when public figures make ridiculously benighted comments in this era of heightened sensitivities. This morning, I give you Cedric Maxwell.
Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell apologized on the air last night for saying that a female referee should "go back to the kitchen" after he disagreed with one of her calls.

Maxwell made the comment during the Celtics' 77-72 victory over the Rockets on Monday. He subsequently said, "Go in there and make me some bacon and eggs, would you?" in reference to referee Violet Palmer.

"If I said anything that might have been insensitive or sexist in any way, then I apologize because she worked extremely hard to get where she is now, end of quote," Maxwell said before the Celtics' game against the Knicks on WEEI-AM, which is owned by Entercom Communications.
Whew! Talk about a non-apology apology. Clearly, this neanderthal isn't aware that he "said anything that might have been insensitive or sexist." Cripes, do we need to draw him a picture?

By the by, in hunting around for this story, I found that Dennis Johnson died last week. Requiescat in pace.

So that's it


I couldn't get onto Blogger for the past few days because apparently I'd forgotten my password. Such is post-vacation airheadedness.

I'll be glad to display any number of photos from the western Gulf with the slightest hint of a request.