Monday, September 29, 2008

Are we doomed yet?


It sure looks like it.

UPDATE - What a mess. Courtney clearly voted against the bill because Sean Sullivan would've killed him on it in the next six weeks.



I'm waiting to read Chill's comments regarding another less than successful season for the Mets.

Connecticut's Constitution


There are any number of groups who are a more than a little concerned about the question being posed in Connecticut on November's ballot.

Nevertheless, the possibility of amending the state's constitution has
piqued the interest of some progressives who [feel] frozen out by the state's political elite. "We shouldn't be afraid of democracy," said Mike De Rosa, head of the Green Party in Connecticut. The party hasn't taken an official position on the question, but De Rosa said it deserves a look. Thirty-one states, including California and Massachusetts, permit direct initiative, or a similar mechanism.

"A lot of conservative groups are looking at it from their own ideological paradigm," De Rosa said. "We see it as an opportunity to free the system, to open it up to more choices and more voices. That's very frightening to people."
Ah, not being afraid of democracy. It's a noble concept, but it sure has given the US its share of morons at all levels of government. Speaking of morons, Governor Clubwoman thinks the whole idea is just swell.

And whenever I hear such sentiments regarding democracy being expressed, I can't help but think of the Sage of Baltimore's deathless definition: Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just a heartbeat away


On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the
White House will be adorned by a downright moron. — H.L. Mencken
Be afraid. Be very afraid.



Let's see ... Tonight do I watch a debate between a buffoon who's made an absolute mockery of the entire electoral process and someone who only an act of God would prevent me from voting for, or do I watch the undefeated state university's football team take on its first real challenge of the season?

It's a real dilemma.



Since I despise the notion of "bipartisanship" because of Senator Sanctimony's slavish devotion to it, I've been really disappointed to hear the word repeated ad nauseam in the last few days.

Anyway, I heard a great definition of the term yesterday. Gail Collins, of the New York Times, suggested that it's really got nothing to do with compromise. Rather, it's got everything to do with covering one's derriere. Bipartisanship, in Ms. Collins' view, simply means voting for (or against) something with the other party in order to escape explaining votes to voters. That is, a "bipartisan" legislator can always justify an aye vote by stating that it was such a good idea that even the other party saw its wisdom. Likewise, he can always say about a bill he votes against that even the other party thought it was a bad idea.

It's just another odious method of self-protection in the world's most exclusive club.



The Republicans have demonstrated that it's not unsecured loans that are toxic; it's the Bushies. In yesterday afternoon's attempt to create an agreement regarding the $700 billion financial bailout,
the smooth-talking House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, surprised many ... by declaring that his caucus could not support the plan to allow the government to buy distressed mortgage assets from ailing financial companies.

Mr. Boehner pressed an alternative that involved a smaller role for the government, and Mr. McCain, whose support of the deal is critical if fellow Republicans are to sign on, declined to take a stand.

The talks broke up in angry recriminations, according to accounts provided by a participant and others who were briefed on the session, and were followed by dueling news conferences and interviews rife with partisan finger-pointing.

In the Roosevelt Room after the session, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., literally bent down on one knee as he pleaded with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, not to "blow it up" by withdrawing her party’s support for the package over what Ms. Pelosi derided as a Republican betrayal.

"I didn’t know you were Catholic," Ms. Pelosi said, a wry reference to Mr. Paulson’s kneeling, according to someone who observed the exchange. She went on: "It’s not me blowing this up, it’s the Republicans."

Mr. Paulson sighed. "I know. I know."
It seems to me that self-interest has won out here. The Republicans seem to have finally realized that taxpayers may not want to throw good money after what may well be irrecoverable and that, most important of all, this is an election year. Those spa treatments and free haircuts might be in jeopardy if they, you know, actually do something. And, of course, you-know-who isn't going to take a stand on anything that might indicate he's actually got an idea in his head.

Sam Stein has more regarding the absolute worthlessness of Senator Septuagenarian in all of this.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's a conspiracy


I was about to suggest that, now that he's with Mother Jones, Kevin Drum seems to have acquired an edge that wasn't always apparent at Washington Monthly.

Upon further review, however, it seems to me that everybody is getting sick of the McCain-Palin shenanigans. Katie Couric, Charles Gibson—they certainly seemed safe when the interviews were scheduled, but even they couldn't take any more once the circumlocutions began. And now, even true blue McCainiacs are starting to get a bit tired of it all.

This campaign has turned out to have a Twilight Zone aura about it. No wonder Senator Septuagenarian wants to suspend it.

"You need a ride to the airport?"


This is hilarious.

A very good update can be found here.

UPDATE — And the beat goes on.

"I'm just going to ask you one more time"


Glenn Greenwald has already blogged masterfully on the Couric-Palin interview of last night, but the excruciating transcript can be found here.

Joe must go


... but not, apparently, until December.
Connecticut Democrats will not consider asking Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman to quit the party until after the November election.

Meeting in Hartford, the party's state central committee voted unanimously Wednesday to postpone until Dec. 17 a debate over whether Lieberman should be censured and asked to resign from the party over his speech in support of John McCain at the Republican National Convention.

"For myself personally, [the speech] was the final straw," said Audrey Blondin of Litchfield, one of two committee members pushing the resolution.

But Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo and many committee members considered the resolution a distraction from the campaign for Barack Obama and the rest of the Democratic ticket.
A distraction, huh? It seems to me that censuring Senator Sanctimony has to do with the upcoming presidential election about as much as suspending a presidential campaign in order to attend a meeting in Washington does.

With Obama currently having a double digit lead in Connecticut, the state's Dems really look pusillanimous in this episode.

Worth A Thousand Words


From my new favorite blog (present company excluded).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Grasping at straws


It surprises me not a whit that Senator Septuagenarian wants to call off Friday's debate and suspend the campaign in order "to convene a meeting [on the current financial mess] with the leadership from both houses of Congress."

At this point, it's clear he'll use any excuse whatsoever so that he (and, God knows, his running mate) can avoid any substantive policy discussion.

UPDATE — Josh Marshall asks rhetorically,
He wants to cancel the debate? And maybe also Palin's debate. Are you kidding? Why not cancel the election too? And because he has to go back to DC to solve the financial crisis? Really? The topic he knows nothing about and after he's shown up less in the senate in the last two years than anyone but Tim Johnson, the guy who had the stroke?

Double, double ...


Just one rather feeble heartbeat away ...

Pleading poverty


Lest people think that the Constitution State is immune from financial woes, Governor Clubwoman would like to disabuse them of that notion.
Last month's state budget deficit has more than doubled to more than $300 million, according to the governor's budget office, which warned Monday that the state's financial picture may get worse.

... Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Monday that the deficit projection is now about $302.4 million because of a $75 million decrease in income tax revenue.

Slot machine revenue from the Indian casinos will be off about $20 million, oil company tax revenue may decrease by $27.4 million, the sales tax could be down $10 million, the real estate conveyance tax may be off $7.6 million and even the cigarette tax is expected to fall short of estimates by $5.2 million.
Now, I'm certain that the anti-Rowland believes these figures, but
House Majority Leader Christopher G. Donovan, D-Meriden, said Monday night that ... he was skeptical about Rell's overall assessment, issued 90 minutes after state offices closed for the day.

"Our nonpartisan staff has not verified these numbers and have been complaining that they're not getting human-services estimates from OPM," Donovan said. "We need to find out what's going on and we need to come together with steps to turn it around."

He said Democrats will meet this week to discuss ways to help the state economy and budget. "During tough times people may need assistance more than ever for education, support jobs and protect retirements," Donovan said.

Donovan recalled that in 2005, Rell predicted a $1.3 billion deficit, which eventually turned into a surplus of nearly a billion dollars.
Again, I don't necessarily want to downplay the governor's concern, but this sure does sound (again) like the ravings of a not necessarily well-informed woman.

This makes sense


ABC News' George Stephanopoulos reports: If Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain doesn't vote for the Bush administration's $700 billion economic bailout plan, some Republican and Democratic congressional leaders tell ABC News the plan won't pass.
It seems clear that, should Senator Septuagenarian win the election next month, legislators will want to know where he stands on the bill, the effects of which will obviously last long after his term in office.

Obama, on the other hand, has been pretty clear as to where he stands on the proposal. Senator Septuagenarian's campaign's basis has been "I'm a former POW" and "My running mate is an NRA member," so it's not surprising that he's loath to take a stand on this—or any substantive—issue.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quote of the day


We're entering an era of the educated establishment, in which government acts to create a stable—and often oligarchic—framework for capitalist endeavor. — David Brooks
Glenn Greenwald elaborates on this new theory of a natural aristocracy.

"An unacceptable proposal"


Paul Krugman's column of yesterday presents the most cogent argument I've found of a) what the current financial crisis comprises; and b) what should (and definitely shouldn't) be done about it.

Monday, September 22, 2008



The question remains: Just how far will Dems bend over for the proposed bailout of the avaricious?
[T]he so-called "mother of all bailouts," which will transfer $700 billion taxpayer dollars to purchase the distressed assets of several failed financial institutions, will be conducted in a manner unchallengeable by courts and ungovernable by the People's duly sworn representatives. All decision-making power will be consolidated into the Executive Branch - who, we remind you, will have the incentive to act upon this privilege as quickly as possible, before they leave office. The measure will run up the budget deficit by a significant amount, with no guarantee of recouping the outlay, and no fundamental means of holding those who fail to do so accountable.
I still think it'll pass as proposed.

The final legacy


People can be encouraged all they want, but I believe the bank-saving bill, which I've gotta believe will pass as proposed, will essentially signal the end of any pretense of equality in the American economic system.

This will be a fitting conclusion to the Bush years.

The elephant in the room


I've been saying this for months.
[I]n what could be a historic year for a black presidential candidate, a new Associated Press-Yahoo News poll, conducted with Stanford University, shows just how wide a gap remains between whites and blacks.

It shows that a substantial portion of white Americans still harbor negative feelings toward blacks. It shows that blacks and whites disagree tremendously on how much racial prejudice exists, whose fault it is and how much influence blacks have in politics.

One result is that Barack Obama's path to the presidency is steeper than it would be if he were white.

Until now, social scientists have not closely examined racial sentiments on a nationwide scale at a moment when race is central to choosing the next president.
Well, it's about time "social scientists" examined this phenomenon closely; God knows they've studied just about everything else to death. Perhaps it was too much of a no-brainer even to bother studying whether American whites distrust American blacks: The anecdotal evidence is certainly overwhelming.

Blue Monday


All the news is bad this morning, not least of which is this:
As the credit crunch threatens to throw the economy into a deep slump, Americans are already cutting back on health care, a sector once thought to be invulnerable to recession. Spending on everything from doctors' appointments to preventive tests to prescription drugs is under pressure.

The number of prescriptions filled in the U.S. fell 0.5% in the first quarter and a steeper 1.97% in the second, compared with the same periods in 2007 -- the first negative quarters in at least a decade, according to data from market researcher IMS Health. Despite an aging and growing U.S. population, the number of physician office visits also has been declining since the end of 2006. Between July 2007 and 2008, the most recent month for which data are available, visits fell 1.2%, according to IMS.
I suppose I shouldn't complain about this state of affairs, feeling as I do that Americans are overprescribed, anyway. Nevertheless, if US denizens (who, God knows, aspire to nothing less than immortality) are cutting back on their own health care, something's really up.

And, clearly, the situation won't be getting any better soon as
In 2009, the combined average premium and out-of-pocket costs for health-care coverage for an individual worker are projected to climb nearly 9 percent, to $3,826 a year, according to an annual study by Lincolnshire-based Hewitt Associates in preparation for open-enrollment season. Companies, meanwhile, will see their health-insurance costs rise 6.4 percent, to an annual tab of $8,863 per employee.
These data certainly won't change any Republicans' minds concerning where they'd like to donate $700 billion of other people's money, but it seems like they should.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Saturday night college football musings


I'm convinced that Ian Johnson and Pat White have played for their respective schools for at least six years. Next year, I'll be saying the same thing about Wake Forest's Riley Skinner.

Notre Dame is much better than last year, but the Irish still need a quarterback. They have some tremendous wideouts on the team, but, cripes, Tyler Lorenzen is better than Jimmy Clausen.

Penn State wins easily despite Joe Pa's disappearance. God, if ever a head coach was superfluous to his team's success, this must surely be the case.

And poor Dartmouth, which should know better than to play outside the Ivy League, lost its tenth season opener in its last eleven attempts.

Sowing what we reap


It's pretty obvious that today's bombing in Pakistan is a retaliation to the unprovoked helicopter assault of US forces earlier this month.

Bring 'em on.

Another rubber check


The Bush administration is asking Congress to let the government buy $700 billion in toxic mortgages in the largest financial bailout since the Great Depression, according to a draft of the plan obtained Saturday by The Associated Press.

The plan would give the government broad power to buy the bad debt of any U.S. financial institution for the next two years. It would raise the statutory limit on the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $11.3 trillion to make room for the massive rescue.
Not a word from the Harvard MBA as to how the country would actually, you know, pay for this. Just raise the national debt; succeeding generations (and administrations) can take care of the details.

President Petulant is trying to talk a good game:
"People are beginning to doubt our system, people were losing confidence and I understand it's important to have confidence in our financial system."
One assumes that free-marketers' heads are exploding after hearing a sentiment like this. After all, they believe that the "system" is supposed to work on its own, without such massive infusions of cash.

Nevertheless, lest anyone think that this is anything other than oligarchs supporting oligarchs, it's the financial institutions that'll receive the benefits of President Trickle Down's sudden largesse.
Democrats are insisting the rescue include mortgage help to let struggling homeowners avoid foreclosures. They also are also considering attaching additional middle-class assistance to the legislation despite a request from Bush to avoid adding controversial items that could delay action. An expansion of jobless benefits was one possibility.

Asked about the chances of adding such items, Bush sidestepped the question and answered by saying he hoped the rescue plan would pass quickly.
We'll obviously see how this shakes out, but no one seems to understand this rush to bailout ("The proposal does not specify what the government would get in return from financial companies for the federal assistance."), so any benefits to anyone other than bankers seems as best problematic.

UPDATE — From Glenn Greenwald:
The people on whose behalf these schemes are being implemented -- the true beneficiaries -- are the very same people who have been running and owning our Government -- both parties -- for decades, which is why they have been able to do what they've been doing without interference. They were able to gamble without limit because they control the Government, and now they're having others bear the brunt of their collapse for the same reason -- because the Government is largely run for their benefit.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The man who killed Motown


I realize that a number of paeans were written for Norman Whitfield this past week, but this column pretty much encapsulates what Whitfield meant to soul music. The money passage:
[Once] Holland-Dozier-Holland stormed out of Motown in early 1968 in a row over profit-sharing, [Whitfield] wrote the hard-driving, socially aware Cloud Nine ... for the Temptations ... It changed Motown overnight.
Indeed it did—unfortunately, not for the better.

I said it then; I'll say it now: If I wanted to listen to drug-oriented songs, I could always listen to Jefferson Airplane. All of a sudden, The Temptations were asked to create a completely different kind of music, and for Norman Whitfield (and Berry Gordy) to have them sing such ridiculous lines as "There's no difference between day and night" and "You're a million miles from reality" was a true perversion of the Motown sound and spirit.

Once Whitfield came on the scene, I pretty much stopped listening to pop music.



No wonder I couldn't figure out what was going on in the Bushies' latest stride toward socialism; no one else can either.
The Bush administration sketched out a multi-faceted effort on Friday to confront the worst U.S. financial crisis in decades, outlining a program that could cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars to buy up bad mortgages and other toxic debt. Relief washed over Wall Street with a surge of buying.

President Bush, flanked by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, acknowledged that the program will put a "significant amount of taxpayers' money on the line."

... Paulson gave few details but said he would work through the weekend with leaders of Congress from both parties to flesh out the program, the biggest proposed government intervention in financial markets since the Great Depression. Members of the Senate Banking Committee said they had yet to receive details of the proposal, but were ready to move quickly when they do.
So apparently something is going to be done, it'll be hideously expensive, but no one knows exactly what it is.

This fly-by-the-seat-of-their pants policy-making has pretty much been the modus operandi of the Bushies since day one. Therefore, it shouldn't be surprising that this latest grab into the pockets of Americans will be any different.

Yet another bailout


The stock market seems to like the big plan unveiled last night by the legislative and executive branches.

I'm waiting for Brad DeLong to explain all of this to me in layman's terms, but he hasn't done so yet. On the surface, I suppose the thing could work, but I suspect I'll no longer be alive when the loans I'm helping float finally become profitable.

UPDATE — DeLong explains it all and doesn't disappoint.

Finally using that dissertation


I've got to think that Condi Rice has waited for this moment for a long time.
In scathing criticism of Moscow, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Russia today that its policies have put it on a path to isolation and irrelevance.

Rice called on the West to stand up to Russian aggression after its invasion of Georgia last month.

"The attack on Georgia has crystallized the course that Russia's leaders are taking and brought us to a critical moment for Russia and the world," she said in a speech at a German Marshall Fund event.
After years of waiting for the shoes to fall, the erstwhile Soviet specialist can now talk tough about something she actually knows about. All those years of her boss looking into Vlad the Impaler's soul and getting a sense of a "man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country" can be pushed aside now that the invasion of Georgia has occurred. One can almost hear a sense of relief in the Secretary of State's words as she treads familiar ground.

Of course, nothing will come of this tough talk directed at a new enemy, but at least it gives Condi a few stories in the papers, which is more than can be said for her boss.

Thursday, September 18, 2008



I suppose this shouldn't surprise anyone:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's husband has refused to testify in the investigation of his wife's alleged abuse of power, and key lawmakers said Thursday that uncooperative witnesses are effectively sidetracking the probe until after Election Day.

Todd Palin, who participates in state business in person or by e-mail, was among 13 people subpoenaed by the Alaska Legislature. Palin's lawyer sent a letter to the lead investigator saying Palin objected to the probe and would not appear to testify on Friday.
Mr. Palin is a private citizen, so he can't hide behind the security blanket of executive privilege. No matter what his excuse might be, this certainly looks like nothing less than contempt of court or of the legislature. How this will play out, of course, is problematic, but it sure does promise to be an interesting few weeks in The Last Frontier.

Isn't this what college is supposed to include?


I'm sorry, but this makes no sense to me:
Virginia quarterback Peter Lalich was dismissed from the team after admitting in court on Thursday that he violated terms of his drinking-related probation by consuming alcohol.

The dismissal, announced in a statement issued by the school, came on the same day that Lalich, 20, told a judge in Charlottesville General District Court that he had consumed alcohol while on probation following his arrest over the summer for underage drinking.

"We have supported Peter, but believe today a point has been reached where it's best for all concerned that he no longer participate on the team," athletic director Craig Littlepage said in announcing the dismissal. "This is my decision and it has the support of head football coach Al Groh. We wish Peter the best in the future. We will have no further comment."
That UVA has terminated a twenty-year-old's Division I NCAA football career because he happened to have a few beers is absolutely insane. For the university's AD to draw such a condescending and puritanical line in the sand ("best for all concerned," my ankle) shows yet again just how ridiculous Boomers have become in proscribing behaviors they themselves participated in.

I'm very sorry for Mr. Lalich, and I'm embarrassed for the university that the famously open-minded Thomas Jefferson founded.

Here comes the cavalry


A few reactions to this item:
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said late Wednesday that the president will continue to work with his economic advisers on the serious challenges confronting U.S. financial markets. Fratto says the health of U.S. financial markets is critical to the nation's economy and the president remains focused on taking action to stabilize and strengthen the markets and to restore investor confidence.
As near as I can tell, the president remains focused only on getting his derrière out of Washington before the lynch mob assembles.

It's exactly these "economic advisers" who've created the terrible mess in the first place. As Treasury Secretaries go, Hank Paulson is a decent tight end.

The only thing the Bushies know regarding regaining "the health of U.S. financial markets" is cutting taxes, and we've seen how successful that strategy has turned out to be.

Meanwhile, Senator Septuagenarian continues to be befuddled by "the worst economic crisis since the Second World War," depending on, of all people, Phil Gramm, "the father of the [current] financial crisis," to assist him in coming up with some kind of sound financial policy. The whole notion is as demented as the rest of his ideas. (See Steve Benen's post for an update on the senator's economic cluelessness.)

Finally, while I certainly haven't experienced the crises of the people who are losing their houses left and right, I, like just about all holders of equities, have really been socked by the awful financial climate. Thank goodness I'm in the public employ and belong to a state retirement system.

McCain in Spain stays mainly to complain


Cripes, Senator Septuagenarian just gets more and more strange.

Thank goodness people seem to be starting to realize this.

UPDATE — And here I thought I was so clever with my title only to find that Josh Marshall was way ahead of me.

UPDATE II — This episode may well become one of the major incidents of the campaign. It actually seems much worse than it appeared at first blush.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Holy Vitamin D!


In an instance of I wish I'd said that, Josh Marshall called the installation of a tanning bed in Alaska's governor's mansion "Taking the Pale out of Palin." At any rate, while it doesn't appear there's any malfeasance involved, the purchase is somewhat reminiscent of another Republican governor outfitting his lakeside hideaway with a hot tub.

Vandal pride


The University of Idaho is just busting its buttons over its now most famous alumna. To be sure, said alumna had a—ahem—checkered academic career, but we denizens of the Constitution State have to be a little envious that Alaska has a governor who graduated from college at all.

... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ...


It seems like just a matter of time before the big one occurs.

Hey, look over there!


It's pretty clear that the McCainiacs have used the politics of indignation to divert attention from their heinous ideas, but perhaps that dust is settling, and real issues can be exposed.

Certainly, Bob Herbert is trying to do his part as he points out that
A study coming out Tuesday from scholars at Columbia, Harvard, Purdue and Michigan projects that 20 million Americans who have employment-based health insurance would lose it under the McCain plan.

There is nothing secret about Senator McCain’s far-reaching proposals, but they haven’t gotten much attention because the chatter in this campaign has mostly been about nonsense — lipstick, celebrities and “Drill, baby, drill!”

For starters, the McCain health plan would treat employer-paid health benefits as income that employees would have to pay taxes on.
This is obviously an issue that Democrats should hammer at daily—yea, hourly—as the Republicans' assault on the middle and lower classes continues.

BTW, I was in Pennsylvania over the weekend and actually saw some political commercials in that swing state. (Needless to say, I haven't seen one in dark blue Connecticut.) They're about as expected: stupid (McCain) and earnest (Obama). But the xenophobes in the Keystone State apparently think that Obama is a Muslim, so many will vote for the party that'll make their day-to-day lives appreciably more onerous.


UPDATE — Steve Benen concurs.

The solution to all our problems


What Atrios said—along with Josh Marshall.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hitting the bottom


Every time it looks like the stock market can't go any lower, another company is heard from. Over the weekend, it was Lehman Brothers; today it was AIG. Tomorrow it looks like it might be Washington Mutual sounding the death rattle.

With all of these major players trading in the single digits, it looks like it's time for many of them to fold up their tents. As a commentator said this morning, these companies just have nothing left to paper over their losses.

The situation continues to worsen, and with the S&P Index closing below the critical 1200 support level, we'd all better fasten our seatbelts for what will inevitably be a very bumpy ride.

Saturday, September 13, 2008



I love this: another "official version." As Huck Finn said, I've got "nothing more to write."

UPDATE — From Tom Toles:

Run for your lives!


By now readers may be aware that, sure enough, David Pollitt's GPS device malfunctioned, and he never did leave the grounds of his sister's Southbury home.

This hasn't stopped Governor Clubwoman from more hysteria, insisting that the state now do everything within its power to ensure that the technology (Query: Can she open her own e-mail?) works so that Connecticut's streets can be made safe for its clubwomen.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just too icky


Keeping the streets safe for clubwomen throughout Connecticut,
Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Thursday urged Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane to seek the immediate imprisonment of serial rapist David Pollitt for violating the terms of his probation.

Pollitt, who had been convicted of attacking women in several Connecticut towns, has been staying with his sister's family at their Southbury home since his release from prison 11 months ago. Probation officials said Pollitt, who wears an electronic monitoring device, left his sister's yard for 15 minutes on Sept. 3 in violation of his strict probation conditions. He could serve almost 20 more years if convicted of violating his probation.

In a letter to Kane dated today, Rell wrote: "As you know, I vigorously opposed Mr. Pollitt's release into the community last year. However, the court freed him, causing widespread and justifiable concern among the residents of the Southbury neighborhood.

"Mr. Pollitt's family has denied that he left the yard and say the GPS unit often malfunctions," Rell wrote. "His defenders say it is unfair to pursue charges for an alleged event that 'only' lasted 15 minutes. This argument is stunningly unpersuasive.
Personally, I see no reason to disbelieve the Pollitts' account, but even if the incident didn't happen as they've reported, the state's chief executive really has no business sticking her nose into what is really a judicial area. If one thinks about it, this is too similar to the heavyhandedness that you-know-who evinced during the Wooten affair.

This just in ...


Alaska's Governor is an airhead. Kevin Drum has more.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Getting away with ...


Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice. —H.L. Mencken

TPM Muckraker is all over the latest instances of "justice" in these United States.



Why is Mike Timlin still in the major leagues?

Seven years later


I see that a 9/11 memorial, "a 2-acre sliver of grass and glass in the midst of Logan International Airport," has just been opened in Boston. While Logan is to be commended for constructing the memorial (Lord knows another eastern city can't seem to do so.), I can't help but have a certain misgiving about Boston's self-indulgence. Logan was, after all, the airport from where two jets departed "in the worst terrorist attack in US history."

And while "no aviation security protocol was violated," I'm still not sure I'm happy with Logan's security that awful day.

Be that as it may, at least those security personnel weren't accused of "financial self-dealing, accepting gifts from energy companies, cocaine use and sexual misconduct."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just kill me


How many more months of this nonsense do we have to endure?

My mantra for the duration will be, "And yet, more than 40% of the electorate will vote for these morons."

UPDATE — From Josh Marshall a few minutes ago: "The man is not morally fit to serve as president."

Monday, September 08, 2008

Richard Widmark, RIP


I realize that some readers of this blog are eminently familiar with the cinema classic, Kiss of Death, but this post includes its most famous scene, which is just too good not to share.

So long, Tom


It certainly was a blast while it lasted.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

All Hail, Queen Sarah


Deference: Great respect or high public esteem accorded as a right or as due; submission.
Apparently the Repubs believe that Alaska's governor should be accorded it. I don't see how she's worthy of "high public esteem" since she seems not to have done much of anything, but perhaps that's just me.

At any rate,
Palin is the incarnation of the Republican slurs. The darling of the hard-right, she gives stem-winding speeches. She pushes all their buttons. But she's such a lightweight, they can't risk letting her answer a few questions. Not even on Fox.
And yet a plurality of Americans would vote for this idiotic team according to the latest Gallup Poll. Sigh.

This and That in College Football


As I assume readers know, I like college football more than the pro variety, and yesterday's semi-hurricane gave me a chance to watch a few games ...

I hate to admit it, but Penn State really looks pretty good this year in spite of Joe Pa. Paul McGuire said on ABC's television coverage that Oregon State wasn't tackling well, but I had to think that you can't tackle what you can't catch, and Evan Royster made the Beavers grasp at air quite a few times.

And the Georgia Bulldogs, and Knowshon Moreno, continue to roll. Moreno scored three more touchdowns, giving him nine for the season—three in each of three games—and he now has rushed for nearly 500 yards in those three games. Not bad for a kid from Middletown, NJ.



I know just about nothing about mortgages—other than that I pay one—but on the surface the FNM and FRE buyout looks like another instance where the oligarchs are protecting their fellow plutocrats to the detriment of the hoi polloi.

Anytime the phrases "largest bailout in history" and "stockholders will lose everything" are used in the same episode, I'm instantly suspicious.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It's kind of appropriate that the phrase is "the elephant in the room"


Josh Marshall on the mushrooming Alaska coverup.

Quote of the Day


"I am not questioning Sen. Obama's patriotism, but you have to question why at times he seems so obviously opposed to public displays of patriotism and national pride, like wearing an American flag lapel pin." —Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
I don't know which emotion is stronger: my loathing of idiots like Inhofe or my pity for the yokels who vote them into office.

Good news for Democrats?


TPM highlights this article wherein we find that
Since the last federal election in 2006 ... more than 2 million Democrats [have been added] to voter rolls in the 28 states that register voters according to party affiliation. The Republicans have lost nearly 344,000 thousand voters in the same states.
But it's been the case for years that Democrats outnumber Republicans. Thus, Republicans have had to play the game of voter suppression in many ways—from jamming phones to denying voter registration applications because of the paper they were printed on to outright hooliganism.

Given the new data and the inveterate desperation of the Repubs, I see no reason why similar incidents won't occur in the next eight weeks.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hail to thee, dear old WRMS


The Repubs leave St. Paul not with a whimper, but a hilarious bang.

Josh Marshall has much more.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

How'd she do?


This morning I listened to a very brief portion of Alaska's governor's speech from last night, but didn't really hear any substantive news reports. David Plouffe sent me a fervent e-mail this morning, accusing the Repubs of all kinds of calumny, but I have yet to find a decent commentary on the speech. Anybody know who's posted a good one?

UPDATE — James Fallows seems to have a pretty keen reaction.

UPDATE II — In their transparent effort to make Hockey Mom Wonder Woman, the Repubs are asserting that Gov. Go-go was even better than she looked.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Smear campaign


To keep up with the Palin fiasco, I'd advise readers to just keep checking with Josh Marshall and his cohorts. The whole thing is just too crazy for an occasional blogger to keep current with.

Currently, the odds are 7-1 that she'll pull out of the race.

Quote of the night


"What, after all, is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this? The answer is simple. I’m here to support John McCain because country matters more than party." — Joseph I. Lieberman
Lies on both counts. He's certainly no Democrat and doesn't even call himself one. And his contention that Senator Septuagenarian espouses country over party has certainly been shown to be untrue with the selection of his running mate.

UPDATE — As usual, Steve Benen has more.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

What's left to say?


Regarding the incredible last 96 hours, Kevin Drum has this to say:
I'm just commented out. This stuff isn't even coming from the gamma quadrant anymore. It's from another galaxy entirely. At this point, I don't think I'd trust McCain to help me shop for a used car, let alone run the country.
What's left to say? Who knows, but Senator Septuagenarian sure won't be saying it to Larry King.

That does it


I know she's a Bible toting NRA member, a person who has virtually no executive experience, a person who uses her political position to screw her enemies, and (lest we forget) a secessionist, but, by God, when she starts attacking librarians, Alaska's governor has gone too far.

Alaska will rise again!


Steve Benen comments on Gov. Go-go's affiliation with the AIP.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Fascism in Minnesota — it gets worse


Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now" has been arrested.

The storm troopers in blue apparently want a new generation to know what Chicago was like forty years ago.

Closing the barn door


MSNBC is reporting that Republican lawyers are finally doing a vet of Sarah Palin up in Alaska.

Now, I don't care one way or another as I wouldn't vote for a McCain-X ticket if it were the only one available, but, Lord knows, VP candidates have been jettisoned for less than what's been found out about Alaska's governor in the last 72 hours.

More fascism in Minnesota


Glenn Greenwald continues to provide details while making the obvious comparison with what the world saw in Beijing last month.

Republican Family Values


Just to follow up on Drift's post below ...

Gov. Go-go has apparently long held to the notion that abstinence is the only viable method of birth control while promoting the type of evangelical family values that are too familiar to all of us. Yet, in the statement she and her husband have released, they promise their love and support of their sexually active 17-year-old daughter. Typically, these Republicans have found that it's only other people they'd like to skewer with their puritanical ideas and their own kin can look forward to support whenever they might wander.

Two more things:

It's ludicrous to believe that Senator Septuagenarian has any intelligence when this disaster waiting to happen was named (obviously without any vetting to speak of) on Friday. (Or, as Steve Benen says, "John McCain's judgment is so comically flawed, the prospect of his presidency is starting to become quite literally frightening.") Nevertheless, the senator's manifest stupidity won't make any difference to too many Americans.

It's apparently problematic whether this is Bristol Palin's first or second pregnancy.

Shotgun Weddings & Family Values


The fact that this statement from the Palin family was released as the threat of Hurricane Gustav was reaching its pinnacle can't be coincidence. I guess the next wave of attack ads will place "shepherding your children to early adulthood without an unplanned pregnancy" on the list of things that clearly indicates you are too egg-headed, love Al Queda, and hate our troops.

For the last eight years being well-spoken, well educated and possessing some urge to approach complicated problems in a reasoned, intellectual fashion has meant you are somehow unqualified for the job of president. Clearly the ability to relate to an out-of-work forklift driver from a small town just west of nowhere in whatever swing state you need to win is clearly the most urgent prerequisite for leadership on a global scale.

The new 50


The Courant on this morning of puff pieces prints an article from the AP regarding how Madonna and her chronological peers are strutting their stuff at the half-century mark. The point of the piece is
that aging is not the inevitability that we might have assumed by watching our fathers. Madonna is proof that exercising and eating right at an early age pays off.
I suppose I can agree with this, although why only fathers are seen as guilty of looking old before their time escapes me. Be that as it may, as one who's been a pentagenarian for appreciably longer than Madonna, Ellen DeGeneres, et al, (and as one who unfortunately succumbed to his appetites for a while in his 50s) I'm aware that exercising and eating right is really the only way to go. (In looking at photographs of people two generations before me, I'm always struck by how much older they look at a similar age, but perhaps I'm fooling myself.)

Having said that, it's pretty easy for the Jane Seymours and Alec Baldwins of the world to put off Father Time for a bit. After all, one assumes that they've got trainers and chefs who'll make sure that the sweet chariot doesn't swing too low at least for a while. It's the other pentagenarians that are of concern. With 2/3 of Americans overweight, it hardly seems like 50 is the new 30, or whatever the beautiful people are trying to promote.

And obesity is almost epidemic in scope. That bastion of fried foods, the American south, now has an obesity rate of more than one in four denizens. So the AP can say all it wants about proper diet and exercise; clearly, the message isn't getting through to many people. (I can attest to how difficult it is to keep the pounds off if one frequently eats fried foods. Last night, I made an Emeril Lagasse recipe of fried peppers (recipe is here; we have a surfeit of peppers this time of year), and a serving contained 280 calories. That is, the peppers themselves comprised 20 calories, but add all the other stuff (flour, corn meal, eggs, etc.), and it comes to fourteen times that.)

Finally, I'm always struck by the fact that the average life span in the United States in 1900 was forty-nine, and in 1998 it was seventy-seven. I still remain unconvinced that the species is supposed to live as long as it does. At any rate, eighty is not the new anything; unfortunately, octogenarians still suffer greatly from losses in physical and mental acumen.

Labor Day, 2008


And it isn't pretty.
This Labor Day finds workers in worse shape than they've been in years, according to a scorecard released today by Rutgers University.

In its first national labor scorecard, the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations said more than 10 percent of Americans are unemployed, discouraged from seeking work, or underemployed. That is a nearly 25-percent increase from one year earlier.

... Other sobering findings:

· The median weekly earnings for American workers have not grown in real terms over the last eight years.

· At $6.55, the federal minimum wage is worth 40 cents less per hour, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was a decade ago.
One hopes that once all the nonsense over who's got more executive experience subsides, the campaigns can get down to brass tacks and discuss what's really important to Americans.

Executive experience


Toady John Boehner (I always pronounce it phonetically.) is trying to argue that the go-go girl
"has more executive experience than Senator Obama or Senator Biden or both of them put together."

"... This is a chief executive of a state, and administrators have to make decisions," [Boehner] told reporters at a luncheon sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. "Senators and congressmen get to vote yes or no."
I'm not convinced, and Hilzoy cogently argues against this lunacy.

And if anyone doubted the imminent end of the republic, consider this: More people consider Alaska's Governor to be qualified to be president than don't. People apparently think that if a petulant frat boy can be president, anyone can.