Monday, April 30, 2007

Randy Moss???


At the risk of sounding provincial, what in the heck do the Patriots think they're doing? Dan Shaughnessy of the Globe is unsure whether Moss's acquisition is a good thing, going so far as to opine,
So there you have it fans. No more talk about how the Patriots are different from everybody else. They very well may be better than everybody else, but talent seems to be the only measurement for a Patriots jersey in 2007.
However, he also tries to put the best face on the situation, noting the resurrection of Corey Dillon in silver and blue and then noting that
it's assumed Moss will drink the Gillette water, see the light, and become a humble, quiet, and selfless team guy. There's some arrogance to this -- the same arrogance that assumes the other 31 NFL head coaches and front offices are clowns and jokers. But there's also some truth to the assumption that a lot of players get smarter and more coachable when they come to New England.
We'll see how this shakes out. At the very least, as Shaughnessy notes, "Foxborough Sundays this fall are going to be wildly entertaining."

Saturday, April 28, 2007



John Harper, in this morning's New York Daily News:
So again, you wonder: Is this the year? Is this the year that, for all of the talent on the roster, the pieces never fall into place? Is this the year that age and injuries and bad karma send the Yankees tumbling down the mountain?
To be sure, it's still April, but the Yankees looked absolutely horrible last night in one of the most tedious games they've played in a long time (fourteen walks by the two teams; game just under four hours long). Jeter looks ok, but A-Rod's cooled off, and Rivera looks like he's got nothing (except, of course, for a 12.15 ERA). To be sure, it looks like a long season for the pinstripers.

Of course, we've been here before. The Evil Empire had an abysmal start in 2005, but bounced back. Perhaps they can do it again even though the arms and legs of the players on the team are two years older.

They get another chance to show their stuff today, but with Jeff Karstens (and his robust 14.54 ERA) going against the Sox, things may again be a bit tough.

I can't believe Boss George is going to let this state of affairs continue much longer. If nothing else, this teams sorely needs some starting pitching.

To see a slightly less objective view, click here.

Iraq'd, cont'd


This morning, it's Kevin Drum's turn to assess the Iraq situation:
Maliki has no authority whatsoever; the Iraqi troops we've been training for the past three years are still useless; there's no political progress in sight; and in the meantime we're stalling for dear life, hoping against hope that something good magically happens. In Republican leadership circles, this is called a "foreign policy." The rest of us have a different name for it.

Another Friday afternoon, another scandal


Word of the resignation of the head of the US Agency for International Development and Director of US Foreign Assistance at the State Department, Randall Tobias, came out late yesterday afternoon. (The liberal blogosphere feels the Bushies purposely make such announcements late in the week so that they'll be ignored by news media. It's clear, however, that the media are onto this dodge, being on high alert after noon on Fridays: National Public Radio made this its lead story this morning.)

The irony of the resignation (initially for "personal reasons") hasn't been lost on many. Let Josh Marshall explain it:
On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the "Pamela Martin and Associates" escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage." Tobias, who is married, said there had been "no sex," and that recently he had been using another service "with Central Americans" to provide massages.

Another service "with Central Americans." That's what he's using now. This is the guy in charge of America's international aid and development assistance to countries around the world. ("I was using one service that sent Thai broads. Now I get 'em to send Central Americans.") I'm glad this bozo is showing our best face to the world and clearing up any misunderstandings about exploiting people in the Third World.
Meanwhile, Gorgeous George just sits at Camp David with his head where the sun don't shine, imagining that somehow this can be ignored.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Jeter's Top Ten


The apparently sensitive (see item #5) Derek Jeter disclosed the top ten little known facts about himself last night on Letterman.

I suppose it's ok if Jeter doesn't play on the same day he makes a very public appearance, but can the same be said about another American League East superstar?

A Policy of Denial


As usual, Josh Marshall puts his finger on why the Iraq occupation has turned into the travesty it has:
[R]ight near the beginning of this nightmare it was clear the sole remaining premise for the war was false: that is, the idea that the Iraqis would freely choose a government that would align itself with the US and its goals in the region. As the occupation continued, anti-American sentiment -- both toward the occupation and America's role in the world -- has only grown.

I would submit that virtually everything we've done in Iraq since mid-late 2003 has been an effort to obscure this fact. And our policy has been one of continuing the occupation to create the illusion that this reality was not in fact reality. In short, it was a policy of denial.
I'm indebted to Dr. Marshall once again for crystallizing what I've been ruminating on, but have been unable to articulate.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

President Unelected


Josh Marshall comments on the latest Purgegate wrinkle wherein he notes that
Karl Rove deputies gave GOP campaign briefings to top officials in at least 15 government agencies last year.

Who's vulnerable, who's not and how you can use your agency's resources for the team effort—that seems to have been the basic idea. Pretty much every department got a briefing.
This subversion of the electoral process is really at the heart of the whole Purgegate episode. That is, Purgegate is simply a symptom of a much larger, wide ranging crime. (In that regard, the Watergate break-in in 1972 was similar: It, too, was just part of an extensive effort to subvert the electoral process to the advantage of Republicans.)

And, if people don't think that the Bushies haven't tried (and been successful at) this kind of tyranny before, one need only take a look at this excellent article wherein Harvey Wasserman conflates Purgegate (and Karl Rove's "missing" e-mails) and Ohio's official result in the 2004 presidential election.

I suspect that most US citizens will never realize why their anti-Republican votes were so important in 2006. The Republicans wanted nothing less than to steal the nation, but the Democrats (as slow on the uptake as they may be) are doing a decent job of at least slowing down this process.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007



The most inane story of the day has to do with America's mayor and his contention that
if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001.

But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped ...

"I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected ..." Giuliani continued, "we will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense."
And we should think this is a bad idea because ...?

It's pretty clear where Rudy Rudy Rudy (and, for that matter, a vast majority of Republicans) stands on the kind of society he wants—one where citizens' civil liberties are curtailed, where presumed "enemies" are brutally interrogated, where sovereign nations are invaded for no reason, and where paranoia reigns.

I think we already saw in the 2006 election where Americans stand on this kind of culture.

UPDATE — Kevin Drum chimes in.

It's all about them


Laura Bush wants you to know that when it comes to Iraq, no one is suffering more than the First Couple.

You'd think Jesus would spare them from this anguish. What a bunch of egocentric jerks.

Oh yeah?


For those of us who believe the essence of politics is confrontation, yesterday was pretty interesting.

First off, Deadeye Dick, fresh from his regular Tuesday lunch with congressional Republicans, stoppped to talk to reporters (which he almost never does) in the Capitol whereupon he stated the same old crap about Democrats' undermining the Iraq war effort and encouraging the enemy—whoever or whatever that is.

Harry Reid, who really has shown a great amount of resolve since he became Senate Majority Leader, then tells the veep to blow it out his nose:
Vice President Cheney should be the last person to lecture anyone on how leaders should make decisions.

Leaders should make decisions based on facts and reality, two words that seem to be foreign to the Vice President

This is the same guy who said Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and that we would be greeted as liberators. And it's the same guy who continues to assert that Saddam Hussein had links to al Qaeda long after our own intelligence agency conclusively refuted this notion. To suggest he lacks credibility would be an understatement.

The Vice President's and others' attacks on those who disagree with their failed policies are signs of desperation. They are lashing out because they know the days are numbered for their failed strategy and that the American people and a bipartisan majority are determined to force this Administration to change course in Iraq.
Good times.

Monday, April 23, 2007

David Halberstam


CNN is reporting that David Halberstam has died in a car crash. I haven't read as much of Halberstam's earlier works as I probably should have, but I was lucky enough to see him speak at my sister's college graduation in 2004.

Funnily enough, I had been completely unaware that Halberstam was the keynote speaker at her graduation, and coincidentally had brought along his The Teammates for the train ride up north. When I heard over pre-graduation dinner that Halberstam would be speaking, I decided to bring along the book to see if I might get it signed. After graduation, I had my chance as he walked to his car, and he was gracious enough to shake my hand and sign the book. And so, when I gave the borrowed book back to my friend Moose, he had a message from the author on its cover page.

I can only recommend The Teammates and his Bill Belichick, but this sad event certainly heightens my resolve to read The Summer of '49. Despite his seeming focus on sports writing, older Americans may best know him for his Pulitzer Prize winning reporting during the Vietnam War era, and his book, The Best and the Brightest, which is credited for changing many Americans' opinions about the winnability of the war.

A smart man, a good man, a great writer. He will be missed.

Saturday, April 21, 2007



At the risk of appearing callous, I have to say I agree with Kevin Drum's position on "grieving" over the Virginia Tech episode. (I also agree with it because the excessive coverage of the murders allows news whores like Faux News to ignore the failure of its president's Iraq policy—no matter what he says.)

I won't be posting for the next 30 hours or so as we're off to the Big Apple to seek some Company.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Chuck Schumer


Congratulations, New Yorkers. You certainly got your senatorial money's worth in today's Judiciary Committee hearing.

I think Schumer's pretty much got it right: Like too many other Bushies, either AG the AG had no clue what was going on in the Department of Justice and should be fired, or he's guilty of undermining basic American legal principles and should be fired.

As New York's junior senator so aptly put it, AG the AG can't have it both ways.

UPDATE — It's been a great day for Schumer. He's also being credited for getting northeastern taxpayers an extension in filing their returns.

Worst Myers decision since "Cat in the Hat"


Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is getting a lot of attention for challenging a reporter to a fight the other night, but the thing that should lose him his job is this action and statement:
"Now that the season has started and we started seeing what we had and kind of how our bullpen looks, we figure that Myers gives us a bigger arm at the back end of our bullpen,'' Manuel said. "We think Myers will, over the course of the year, get in 65-70 games, probably. As a starter, it would be 35."
For those not following the Phillies or fantasy baseball, Brett Myers was Phillies opening day starter, and was given a contract extension during the offseason after a very good year last year. The idea that 210 innings as a solid starter is somehow as or less valuable than 105 innings as a reliever is ludicrous.

Hardball Times agrees:
Incredible. This is perhaps the biggest overreaction to a lousy start that we've ever witnessed. Myers earned the Opening Day start for the Phillies after back-to-back fine seasons and had a great spring. He was coming off back-to-back poor starts, but he had struck out 19 in 15 1/3 innings. Short of turning Ryan Howard into a shortstop and benching Jimmy Rollins, we can't think of anything else the Phillies could have done to better sabotage their chances for this year.

The first slip


AG the AG just really irked Arlen Spector by interrupting him to assert that he "prepares for every hearing." He apologized a minute afterwards, but this just shows how fragile AG the AG's case is.

Certainly, the senior senator from the Keystone State wasn't happy—and doesn't seem to be in further questioning.

I don't care how much AG the AG prepared for this; he's very much in over his head in this hearing.

BTW—C-Span has discontinued its coverage. Thank goodness for public radio.

Popcorn! Getcher popcorn here!


Hunkering down for a day of testimony from the Attorney General. I don't know how long I'll be able to withstand his mendacity and amnesia, but I've made it through Senator Leahy's opening statement, anyway.

I'm sure the blogs I read will be covering this hearing with their usual expertise.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Purgegate, cont'd


More subterfuge:
President Bush's lawyers told the Republican National Committee on Tuesday not to turn over to Congress any e-mails related to the firings last year of eight U.S. attorneys before showing them to the White House.
Paul Kiel blogs about this over at TPMmuckraker, but even he has to admit, "What happens next? I don't know."

This is a rather sticky wicket and, as I've said before, may ultimately have to go to the US Supreme Court, where it could turn out to be as groundbreaking as US v. Nixon was more than thirty years ago.



Apparently, GQ has an interview with St. McCain in its latest issue wherein this gem can be found:
GQ: Then how can you support sending the military on a mission that the American people don’t support?

MCCAIN: Because I know what’s best for the security of this nation. And if we don’t show signs of success, the American public will force us to pull out.
So much for the notion of a public servant.

If the senior senator from Arizona never says another word, this will be enough for me to feel that he's a real danger. The US has had too many autocrats who felt they knew what's best for the country, and in virtually every single instance, the results have been catastrophic.

I am sick unto death of these know-it-alls and their public-be-damned philosophies. They forget too easily, as McCain has done, that in the American system it's the public who's in charge. McCain isn't only proposing a policy; he's proposing a dictatorship.

What Digby Said


From his post of last night:
[The Bushies] are rationalizing this failure [in Iraq] the same way they rationalize all their failures—by blaming them on the cowardice of their countrymen. It's worked very well for hawks and neocons of all stripes for decades now. They think up some hare-brained scheme that inevitably goes awry and they blame the people when they refuse to allow blood and treasure to be spilled indefinitely just to prove their misbegotten theory.
Harpers' Kevin Baker wrote a long essay on this very phenomenon last June wherein he opined:
[T]he 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.
Needless to say, we see this very phenomenon at work in the irrational works and words of demagogues like (This is certainly not an all-inclusive list.) Limbaugh, D'Souza, Cheney, and Coulter.

Thus will it ever be.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Long day


Didn't get power back until mid-afternoon after losing it overnight. Didn't get Internet back until 6:00 or so—hence, the no posting. Still around four inches of water in the basement after pumping for the last six hours. And now I find that Gonzales isn't going to testify until Thursday!

Can the news get any worse? Yes. The Virginia Tech story still has me reeling.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Psychosis Personified


I find it somewhat ironic that CBS has decided to fire Don Imus while continuing to allow Deadeye Dick to spew his pornography on "Face the Nation." From today's program:
When suggested by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer that a majority of Americans want a timetable for American troop withdrawals from Iraq, as has been voted on in Congress, Cheney said, "Well, there is also a majority that I think would prefer to have us win. And there is a fundamental debate going on here in terms of whether or not our objective in Iraq is to quote 'withdrawal' or whether our objective in Iraq is to complete the mission. And I think a majority of Americans would prefer the latter."
As usual, Uncle Dick knows best.
In response to Schieffer's suggestion that Cheney's 2005 remark that the Iraq insurgency was in its "last throes" might make some dispute his optimistic take on the war going forward, the vice president suggested his comments lacked hindsight ("We have to respond to questions from the press and we do the best we can with what we know at the time"), but still spoke that progress in Iraq was evident.

"My statement at the time that you referenced was geared specifically to the fact that we just had an election in Iraq where some 12 million people defied the car bombers and the assassins and for the first time participated in a free election," Cheney said. "We had three elections in 2005 in Iraq: We set up a provisional government, then we got a ratification of a brand new constitution, then elections under that constitution of a new government, the government that is in place now. I still think in the broad sweep of history those will have been major turning points in the war in Iraq."

[Concerning the Attorney General,] "He is a good man," Cheney said of Gonzales. "I have every confidence in him. The president has every confidence in him."

The vice president would not discuss the conviction of [aide I. Lewis] Libby on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice as part of the investigation into the leak of former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. The case is under appeal.

Cheney called the verdict a "great tragedy" but said he had not talked to Libby since he was found guilty on March 6. "I haven't had occasion to do that," he said.
Apparently, he's had other priorities and hasn't had time even to speak to his former top assistant. Real compassion there.

Finally, Deadeye Dick
also refuted claims by [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid that, amid a hostile Congress and the president's declining approval ratings, he and other members of the administration had become more isolated that Richard Nixon's White House during the Watergate scandal.

"It's a ridiculous notion," Cheney said.
One assumes he returned to his bunker immediately after the program.

Purgegate, cont'd


I know I've mentioned this before, but I can't emphasize enough how tyrannical this whole US Attorneys case is.

I'm sure that most Americans see this episode as just another incident of Bushies lying (as the Attorney General is sure to do on Tuesday) and/or punishing their enemies. However, what is likely being missed is the effect the White House wished to create in getting involved in the affairs of US Attorneys.

Specifically, the executive branch wanted nothing less than to rig the electoral process in such a way that victories for Republicans (both in the executive and legislative branches) would be all but assured.

The "voter reform" the Department of Justice attempted to expedite had to do only with removing potential Democratic voters from the rolls. We saw a glimpse of this strategy in Ohio in 2004, but the plan currently coming to light was much more pervasive and heinous than what Kenneth Blackwell accomplished.

Josh Marshall discusses the situation in Missouri, but it's clear that this was a nation-wide attempt to subvert the electoral process and essentially destroy the United States of America.

I doubt seriously whether impeachment proceedings will occur as a result of these high crimes and misdemeanors since it's April of 2007, and the Bushies have shown how adept they are at delaying trials. Nevertheless, I do believe that this blatant attempt at tyranny will ultimately be exposed, and the abominable legacy of George Bush and his mob will be irrevocable.

UPDATE — Josh Marshall follows up on the Republicans' despotic doings.

My way or ...


It'll be interesting to see if various Democratic congressional bigwigs even bother to show up for a meeting anent Iraq at the White House on Tuesday given the intransigence of GI George. Yesterday's inflammatory remarks by President Petulant probably didn't encourage Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, et al, either.

Pelosi's been pretty clear about her feelings regarding the meeting:
[Bush] said he'd invite us to the White House if we agreed to give him a blank check, but there are no more blank checks. This is about a Congress that is accountable to the American people and we will hold the president's policy accountable as well.
Of course, another occurrence is planned in DC for Tuesday that may get a little more publicity than White House no-shows by a bunch of legislators.

Friday, April 13, 2007

It doesn't get any worse than this


Our feckless anti-abortion, anti-public education, born again leader spoke this morning at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

Money quote: "Prayer breakfasts show the true strength of our nation."

I'm going to go lie down now.

Executive Privilege


More and more, it's starting to look as if the Bushies' notion of executive privilege will end up in the Supreme Court. The New York Times this morning is reporting that
White House counsel, Fred F. Fielding, [is] asserting that the administration has control over countless other e-mail messages that the Republican National Committee has archived.
These are communications that have nothing to do with national security or other issues of concern. Rather, they have to do only with the Bushies' activities (and Karl Rove's in particular) in trying to subvert the American electoral process.

I'm sorry to say that in my lifetime I've already seen a conflict over executive privilege where the executive branch declared that presidents possess an absolute right to keep their communications secret. But, as Josh Marshall points out, the Bushies' claims go beyond presidential communications: The Bushies are claiming that all communications even remotely connected to the Executive Branch or the National Republican Party are within the bounds of executive privilege.

Now, to be sure, this position doesn't surprise me. The Bushies have been more secretive than any administration in American history. (This secretiveness started when Deadeye Dick refused even to identify the members of a task force creating a national energy policy and has never let up.) They've always had something to hide and have consistently tried to hide it. I suppose we should thank the American electorate for installing a Congress that won't allow this to happen willy nilly.

But we still have the Supreme Court, which is where I think this confrontation will ultimately end. I'm certainly not confident about the result there. This is, after all, the same institution responsible for one of the worst decisions in American jurisprudence—the hideous and clearly unconstituional Bush v. Gore decision. If anything, the court's makeup has gotten even more authoritarian since 2000.

Moreover, the court has already shown its views in the aforementioned energy task force case, refusing to order the Bush administration to make public the identities of Deadeye Dick's group of plutocrats.

I hope that no matter their political orientation, the justices will be able to see the powers that the two other branches possess, but I have my doubts. We're a long way from a 1973-like unanimous decision on this issue. Nevertheless,
there is no question about which side should prevail. Congress has a right, and an obligation, to examine all of the evidence, which increasingly suggests that the Bush administration fired eight or more federal prosecutors either because they were investigating Republicans, or refusing to bring baseless charges against Democrats. The Supreme Court's ruling in the Watergate tapes case, and other legal and historical precedents, make it clear that executive privilege should not keep Congress from getting the testimony it needs.
It does seem clear, but Lord knows the current Supreme Court is capable of pretty fuzzy thinking.

Separate but not equal


In what was a surprisingly substantial vote,
The [Connecticut] Legislature's Judiciary Committee, after an emotional three-and-a-half-hour debate, voted Thursday to allow same-sex couples to marry.
Committee Co-Chair Rep. Michael P. Lawlor (D-East Haven) perhaps encapsulated this issue best:
"At the end of the day, the real public policy question for us is, if it's in our law that we treat gay and straight couples exactly the same under Connecticut law, why does it have to be under a different name?"
Needless to say, this bill has a long way to go. It still has to go through both houses and to Governor Clubwoman, who will no doubt veto it.

Nevertheless, I'm pleased that my state has seen fit to address this issue in the right way. I know I'm naive, but equal protection under the law seems like a rather simple concept.

Imus, the conclusion


He's gone. I assume he'll end up with Sirius Radio or some such 21st century outlet.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"A Stunning Assault"


With everything going on today, this may be the day's most important story:
A suspected suicide bomber blew himself up Thursday in the Iraqi parliament's cafeteria in a stunning assault in the heart of the heavily fortified, U.S.-protected Green Zone, killing at least two lawmakers and wounding dozens of other people.

The blast in the parliament building came hours after a suicide truck bomb exploded on a major bridge in Baghdad, collapsing the steel structure and sending cars tumbling into the Tigris River, police and witnesses said. At least 10 people were killed.
If even the US-protected Green Zone is vulnerable to an attack of this type, we definitely need to fold up our tents and leave. At the very least, it brings to exactly zero the number of "neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods."

Kurt Vonnegut


A pretty good obituary can be found here.

Vonnegut became a kind of hero to a number of Baby Boomers along with his archetypal characters, Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater. Vonnegut's ability to see the ridiculousness of life was his forte. His experience in the Dresden bombing raid may have been the most important of his life and certainly appeared (at least figuratively) in a number of his works.

I taught both Cat's Cradle and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater at various times and enjoyed both of them immensely—the former for its hilarious jabs at organized religion and the latter for pointing out how willing people are to prostitute themselves. (The abbreviation "FH" still makes me laugh.)

In his later years, of course, Vonnegut became a real harpooner, going after GI George with all the strength he could muster. Even though people thought he was a bit off his rocker, Vonnegut was still a favorite of various blogs because he was just so irasciby quotable.

Needless to say, he'll be missed immensely.

Requiescat in pace.

Sad day


And so it goes.

He wasn't young, but still sad to see my favorite author pass away.

The Rundown


There are three major stories making the rounds today—all of them irksome and all of them related to the overzealousness and/or incompetence of various Bushies—including the head shrub himself.

First, in the area of slavery,
The Pentagon ordered 90-day extensions Wednesday for all active-duty Army troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, stretching their overseas tours from 12 to 15 months in a move that will exert new strain on a struggling military but allow the Bush administration to continue its troop buildup in Baghdad well into next year.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' announcement came amid expectations that the Pentagon was about to order longer tours for some units, but the new policy is a far more sweeping and drastic step, stretching deployments for more than 100,000 members of the Army.
I've said it before; I'll say it again: That's not service; that's slavery. The military has these poor bastards exactly where it wants them, and it's simply not going to let them go. Furthermore, it can't let them go given the severe drop in recruitments in both the active services and guard and reserve forces.

The Pentagon is falling all over itself, trying to say that this extension has nothing to do with the ill-fated surge. Kevin Drum pretty neatly dispels that absurd notion.

Second, we have a case of the missing e-mails.
The White House said Wednesday it had mishandled Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts used by nearly two dozen presidential aides, resulting in the loss of an undetermined number of e-mails concerning official White House business.

Congressional investigators looking into the administration's firing of eight federal prosecutors already had the non-governmental e-mail accounts in their sights because some White House aides used them to help plan the U.S. attorneys' ouster. Democrats were questioning whether the use of the GOP-provided e-mail accounts was proof that the firings were political.
Well, those of us of a certain age can't help but be reminded of an eighteen-and-a-half minute gap in a crucial tape recording in the 1970's. (The erasure of those 18½ minutes is a very funny story in itself as the person culpable was apparently one of the great technophobes of the twentieth century. The story also included an impossible explanation of the erasure involving the extraordinary elasticity of Rosemary Woods, Tricky Dick's sycophantic secretary.)

At any rate, e-mail doesn't disappear as readily as erased audio tape does, so the e-mails may be recovered. Josh Marshall goes so far as to suggest that the FBI's and NSA's vaunted data recovery programs get involved in recovering these "lost" communications. Needless to say, the explanation of the "loss" is really a no-brainer because this administration has hidden things time and time again. This is obviously just another example of their covert ways.

Third, the Duke lacrosse fiasco has finally ended with the assertion that those accused were the victims of a "tragic rush to accuse" by a rogue prosecutor who could be disbarred for his actions.

Golly, in the last six years, we haven't seen anything like this anywhere else, have we? Certainly not in places like Abu Ghraib, or Guantanamo, or any of the other secret "rendition" sites in the Mideast and Eastern Europe.

Like all the others who've been "rendered" by the star chamber that the Bushies call the American system of justice, the former Duke players did nothing wrong, but had to suffer through months of uncertainty and anxiety. And they'll continue to be punished for a crime they didn't commit:
The players no longer face the prospect of years behind bars. They finally have a measure of justice. They can get on with their lives. The damage, however, is done. It all brings to mind the question that former Labor secretary Raymond Donovan famously asked 20 years ago when he was acquitted of fraud and larceny charges: "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"
Or, as the Sage of Baltimore would have it: Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice.

Ho hum. Just another day in George Bush's Amerika.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Poll watching


The Los Angeles Times has just released some poll results that don't make things look good for the Bushies—or the country. Viz.,
[Fifty-three percent of] Americans believe Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales should resign because of the controversy over his office's firing of federal prosecutors, and a big majority want White House aides to testify under oath about the issue, the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll has found.
But wait, there's more.
Americans are also split along partisan lines over pending congressional legislation that would provide new funding for the war in Iraq, but require a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from the country.

Asked whether Bush should accept or veto a bill that included a timetable, 48% said he should sign such a measure while 43% said he should reject it. A significant majority of Democrats — 74% — backed signing the bill; an even bigger majority of Republicans, 80%, supported a veto.
This shows that you really can fool some of the people all of the time.

In the midst of this, however, even more nervousness can be found. Specifically,
The poll found that Americans have grown more pessimistic since the beginning of the year.

About two-thirds, 66%, said they believed the country is "seriously off on the wrong track," up from 61% in a Times/Bloomberg Poll in January.
Notwithstanding the hideous syntax of the statement, it's clear that the US has a serious problem if two out of three of its citizens think the country is in trouble. Yet, they're holding onto that last hope, because according to the same poll,
Americans are worried about the economy and believe that a recession is looming, but their faith in real estate remains fierce [even though stories like this one are becoming all too common] ...

Nearly a third of those polled predicted home values in their neighborhood would increase in the next six months. Only 16% anticipated a decrease. The rest said values would hold steady ... Sixty percent of the poll respondents said a recession was somewhat or very likely within the next year.
Needless to say, poll numbers such as these are usually about as prescient as the National Enquirer's predictions issue, but, at the least, these numbers point to a serious malaise in the American citizenry.

I got your focus group right here


How pitiful is it that GI George has been reduced to peddling his non-plan for Iraq before a few dozen septuagenarian American Legionnaires in Fairfax, VA?

This Nixonian type of insularity is reminiscent—in a perverse sort of way— of Feckless Leader's contention in 2003 that the hundreds of thousands of people protesting the imminent invasion of Iraq were nothing but a "focus group." I think we've seen who, exactly, has gotten desperate in his choice of a friendly audience.

More Imus


Headlining a story that's outside its geographical circulation, the Hartford Courant goes front page with the Imus story this morning while one of its columnists has this to say:
When radio icon Don Imus delivers his personal mea culpa to the Rutgers women's basketball team, they'd better make sure to bar the parents.

If I were the father of one of those young women I'd want to slap the satire out of the venerable morning host for calling the team a bunch of "nappy-headed hos."
At any rate, the whole thing has become tiresome as the actual radio program has turned into a snoozathon of angst and apologia.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The end of an era?


Slate ran a story on Easter (hence my missing it until now) that has just about everything one needs to know about the Spector trial including this lede:
The relative indifference of the non-tabloid press to the murder trial of Phil Spector suggests to me that the market power of baby boomers is waning fast.
Well, I guess it was fun while it lasted.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Why, some of his best friends ...


I think Atrios pretty much nails the flap concerning WFAN's do-gooder.

(Updated to include this article wherein the self-serving I-man lets all know what a really good person he is.)

Gonzo Truth


Just about all the bloggers I read have commented upon this laughable exercise written about by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has virtually wiped his public schedule clean to bone up for his long-awaited April 17 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee—a session widely seen as a crucial test as to whether he will survive the U.S. attorney mess. But even his own closest advisers are nervous about whether he is up to the task. At a recent "prep" for a prospective Sunday talk-show interview, Gonzales's performance was so poor that top aides scrapped any live appearances. During the March 23 session in the A.G.'s conference room, Gonzales was grilled by a team of top aides and advisers—including former Republican National Committee chair Ed Gillespie and former White House lawyer Tim Flanigan—about what he knew about the plan to fire seven U.S. attorneys last fall. But Gonzales kept contradicting himself and "getting his timeline confused," said one participant who asked not to be identified talking about a private meeting. His advisers finally got "exasperated" with him, the source added. "He's not ready," Tasia Scolinos, Gonzales's public affairs chief, told the A.G.'s top aides after the session was over, said the source.
So many scenarios to remember, so little time.

Or as Mark Twain once said, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." Obviously, the AG of very little brain is having trouble memorizing his lines.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A trip around the sports page


So many sports on. Hard to get up off the couch to write about it.

- The team may be 2-2, same as the Sox, but Yankee fans are probably pretty worried about their starting pitching. Through 4 games, the starters have averaged 4 and 1/3 innings and 4 and 3/4 runs. That's an ERA over 9 for you non-math majors, and no Yankee starter has left the game eligible to get a winning decision.

- One subway transfer away, the Mets are really fun to watch aren't they? It's going to be great when they actually come home. Hey Mets fans, the Mets could play .500 ball the rest of the year and have the same record that the Cardinals did last year.

- Speaking of coming home, I can't imagine what it will be like when Dice-K throws his first pitch at Fenway...against Ichiro! I was lucky enough to watch Dice-K's last 4 innings on NESN up at a bar in Boston on Thursday. A million writers and fans have said it, but he is fun to watch. But the part of the game I enjoyed the most may have been Papelbon's entrance. I understand that all the math says that he would be most valuable as a starter. But it sure is nice having that much confidence in a closer, even if it means Julian Tavarez is your fifth starter.

- Missed in the hype of Dice-K's first start, was another big first start. Jon Lester pitched in A ball on Thursday and apparently was great. Would be just an amazing story if he could come back to help the team this year. Either way it's already a good story, and hopefully his test results continue the narrative.

- In case you didn't notice, the MLS is back. I'll definitely keep an eye on it this year, but I just won't get that excited until the Red Bulls have a real stadium.

- With the Celtics playing for nothing but more ping pong balls, I can't say that the NBA really interests me right now. I guess I'm looking forward to the Suns-Mavs Western Conference finals match up (so please don't mess that up Spurs!). My interest took an even bigger dive when the Wizards lost Agent Zero for the rest of the year. Because of Gilbert Arenas, and some of the other players on the team (like UConn alum Caron Butler), I was all ready to root for the Wizards. But with one of the most exciting, and definitely the weirdest, stars out of the playoffs, I just don't really care. At least we can still follow Agent Zero's exploits here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Supply Side Economics


One really gets his money's worth by reading the comments of this blog. Even Krugman gets involved.

No longer operative


St. McCain has backed away from the rosy description of Iraq he offered last week.
"Of course I am going to misspeak and I've done it on numerous occasions and I probably will do it in the future," says McCain. "I regret that when I divert attention to something I said from my message, but you know, that's just life," he tells Pelley, adding, "I'm happy, frankly, with the way I operate, otherwise it would be a lot less fun."
Fun, huh? Try telling that to the more than 3200 families who've lost members in Iraq since this misbegotten adventure started, you bastard.



I blogged about the hideous Sam Fox when he was in contention to be US Ambassador to Belgium. Once President Petulant had withdrawn Fox's name from consideration last week, I thought we'd heard the end of the episode.

Once again, I misunderestimated the arrogance of Gorgeous George.
President Bush on Wednesday bypassed the Senate and used a recess appointment to name St. Louis businessman Sam Fox, 77, to the diplomatic post.
The Dems aren't going to let this happen without a fight. It sure does show the utter disregard for the spirit of the law and any ethics at all on the part of our born again resident of the White House.

Six hundred fifty-four days to go.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Reverting to Norm


Robert Shiller’s book “Irrational Exuberance” detailed the rise and fall of speculative bubbles in the stock market, and was published coincidentally with the market peak that preceded the tech crash it predicted. Over the past several years Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale, has turned his academic attention away from stocks and towards housing. His latest paper doesn’t have any rosy predictions either.


In a more interesting take on that graph than the one I pulled from the NY Times, someone in the blogosphere has take the time to plot the data in computer game "RollerCoaster Tycoon" and posted a video.



I'm with Atrios on this one.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Quote of the day


An apparently smitten Robin Roberts to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on this morning's Good Morning America:
Your message is very strong. The Washington Times also says, forgive me, it's your appearance, that you're right out of casting central because of your, your appearance and that you’re, they even went so far as to say that your hair is presidential. How do you respond when people talk like that?
For what it's worth, I know how I respond when people talk like that, and it's not pretty.

Harry Reid states the bloody obvious


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, released the following statement today after comments made by President Bush at the White House:

"The President today asked the American people to trust him as he continues to follow the same failed strategy that has drawn our troops further into an intractable civil war. The President's policies have failed and his escalation endangers our troops and hurts our national security. Neither our troops nor the American people can afford this strategy any longer.

Democrats will send President Bush a bill that gives our troops the resources they need and a strategy in Iraq worthy of their sacrifices. If the President vetoes this bill he will have delayed funding for troops and kept in place his strategy for failure."

This seems pretty clear to me.



President Petulant held a news conference this morning, which I'll write about presently. Obviously, now that things aren't going his way, he feels the need to scold the Democrats pretty regularly. What a disgrace.

Anyway, not having seen it or much about it, I suspect that Attaturk is correct when he states,
“Surge is working”
“We’re making progress”
“Things are better”
“Baghdad is safer”
“Ah’m the Commander-in-Chief” (it says so on mah jackets)
“Working, is the surge”
“Telling ‘the enemy’ when were leaving”
“Ah want mah money in a clean bill”
“Thanks for that softball Mike Allen”

There, no need to watch it now, those are all the things that will be said.
I'll check to see just how accurate this turns out to be.

The struggling middle class


Kevin Drum has time to do the legwork on something I've written about frequently: the absolute emasculation of the middle and lower classes in this country.

He writes:
I happen to think that median wage stagnation has gone on long enough that it's plainly a serious problem and plainly something that needs to be addressed via policy. For some reason, the free market has disconnected wage gains from productivity gains in recent years, and there's no indication that this is going to change on its own. For that reason, I favor things like a higher minimum wage, looser union organization rules, saner trade policy, more labor-friendly tax policies, and an immigration policy that would have the effect of reducing total immigration.
While I'm not entirely sure I buy all of this, at least the first two suggestions seem eminently reasonable.

God knows the federal oligarchs (who include the free marketers and the supply side crowd) have no desire to improve things for the country's poorer denizens. Perhaps the inexorable Democratic landslide in 2008 will make things better.

The Democrats certainly seem to have the right idea.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Life Takes Visa?


When this story caught my eye yesterday I assumed it was an April Fool’s Day prank, but apparently Hasbro and Visa have teamed up to replace the paper money used in the board game “Life” with a Visa-branded credit card. Players will swipe their Visa card through a “LifePod” to track every aspect of the game – both financial and other events such as buying stock or insurance, having kids, or winning a Nobel Prize. A Visa spokesperson defended the change by saying “You can't win the game without accumulating the most points. You can't accumulate the most points if you spend beyond your means.” Hmmm, that only makes me wonder if the game will allow you to spend beyond your means. Either way, it seems experts quoted in the article agree not only removes the games ability to teach kids valuable lessons about money, but is a shameless way to push credit cards on kids at younger and younger ages.

Credit cards are an inescapable part of modern life, although not on par with starting a family or winning a Nobel Prize. Why not include updates to prepare a kid for modern America’s other financial realities? Can you picture the look on young Johnny’s face when he pulls a game card that reads “Core inflation is 2.4 percent, in spite of the fact your health insurance premium just rose 12 percent, the cost of a house has doubled, and your real wages declined by 1.9%. So save for a retirement without Social Security.” That, my friends, would be a real life lesson.

It's here!


It's time for Wally, Manny, and Papi to put away those short sleeves and break out the wool caps.

I was lucky enough to see the Sox play live down in Florida this spring, but despite the 80 degreees and sunshine, give me the real thing any day. I'll admit, I actually left a tied game heading into the bottom of the 9th so that I could "beat the traffic." That's because spring training is vacation. But opening day? That should be a national holiday.

John McCain is toast


... and Kevin Drum explains why.

Honestly, I can't believe these morons (and Saint John and Holy Joe are the two worst perpetrators) who somehow think that by stating something outrageous it'll somehow come true. We've had over six years of this kind of Tinkerbelle mindset in the executive branch; we sure don't need any more of it in the legislative branch.

Does McCain actually think he can persuade the three-quarters of Americans who finally want to get this hideous invasion behind them that sticking around any longer is a good thing? That some kind of progress is actually being made? As Drum asks, just how stupid does McCain think we are?

It's telling that the only images of the celebrated walk through the market are stills. Had the ambulation been filmed, the sounds of the five aircraft safeguarding the Senator would've surely drowned out any optimistic commentary by the tourist.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Not-so-hidden Agenda


It's pretty clear that the platform of the modern Republican Party is nothing more than to appropriate the assets of the lower and middle classes so that the rich become richer. Kevin Drum shows how this is working.

An adjunct to the platform is that lower and middle class denizens be eliminated either through their immediate deaths in war or via substandard health care.

Catching up


Once again, I find myself in awe of the work that's being done by bloggers regarding the Purgegate episode.

Digby has pretty much brought me up to speed on where it stands now.