Monday, October 31, 2005

The Inevitable Ethical Comparisons

In the HuffPo, Paul Begala compares the ethical foibles of the Clinton's with Dubya's recent troubles.

Money quote:
...after a seven year non-stop investigato-rama, no senior Clinton White House official was ever even charged with wrongdoing. Much less indicted. Much less convicted. In fact, the highest-ranking Clinton official to be convicted of wrongdoing in connection with his public duties was the chief of staff to the Agriculture Secretary.

Of course, he leave's out the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice against the President himself.

But, otherwise, he makes some good points.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Harriet Post Mortem

Not only do I now realize that she is, perhaps, among the best of us, but that they are among the worst.

Surely, these are not good people.

I will assume that the concept of WWJD is only selectively applicable.

Why Blog?

A few reasons, I guess.

1. I like to write. Since high school, I have been an inveterate journal-keeper. This seemed like a logical extension, though I have to admit that my entries here haven’t yet delved into the sorts of personal topics I might keep in a journal. Maybe because...
2. I like to have an audience. Which I hadn’t entirely realized before. My first aim was to write here for me. But the fact that others might want to read it also has been a nice surprise. And, perhaps sadly, I’ve grown addicted to that little site counter and checking out who’s checked in. So be sure to say “hey” when you stop by!
3. Discussing politics and religion – even among my friends and family – has become touchy. Why? Because it seems people automatically jump to angry when you put forth an opinion that, God forbid, might question the eternal wisdom of the president or the pope. So I do it here – and I can work on my logic and arguments, too, to better prepare for those real-life encounters.
4. Because, much like Dave Mathews, I’ve got so much to say.

Scott Adams, Dilbert creator, recently came up with his own reasons why people blog:

1. The world sure needs more of ME.
2. Maybe I’ll shout more often so that people nearby can experience the joy of knowing my thoughts.
3. No, wait, shouting looks too crazy.
4. I know – I’ll write down my daily thoughts and badger people to read them.
5. If only there was a description for this process that doesn’t involve the words egomaniac or unnecessary.
6. What? It’s called a blog? I’m there!

Can’t say I totally disagree with him.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

This Is the Sound of Me Retching

Words that absolutely, positively, should never, ever, ever, be used together in the same sentence:
  • Bodily secretions
  • Effluvia
  • Tongue
  • Leach
  • Lips
  • Kay Bailey Hutchinson

I think I'm going to be sick.

Best Analogy of the Day in Reference to Ms. Miers', uhm, Withdrawal

She "...is pulling out faster than a Catholic on Prom Night."

As recovering Catholics, we laugh because it bears the residue of the truth.

Oh, and it's kinda cool and fun to see The DCeiver sitting in for the lovely Ana.

A Democratic Alternative to Fiscal Insanity?

I've (among others) long argued that the Democratic Party will continue to be an institutionalized minority, as long as they remain simply AGAINST whatever it is the Republicans are for. Until they are able to clearly and simply articulate what they are FOR - and assuming (big if) that these platforms resonate with the American public - they have a chance at reclaiming some ground.

The current mood of the polity offers them an opportunity. And David Broder in the WaPo today covers it concisely.

Essentially - lead the march of new ideas for getting this nation's fiscal house in order. Wrap it up with ribbons of "cleaning up this mess", "competent governance", and "fiscal sanity".

Generate a bipartisan package of ideas that will help keep us from sticking generations hence with the bill for our current profligate recklessness. Focus on reigning in entitlement programs - both personal and corporate. Attack the most egregious pork. Delay making permanent the tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%.

After all, this was why I voted for W in the first place five long years ago - I trusted him to maintain the fiscal discipline and sanity of the mid-to-late Clinton years.

And he - and this Congress - have failed our nation miserably in that.

If Pelosi, Reid and their ilk would begin to listen more closely to the DLC folks, they could have a shot at relevancy once again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Dreaded Vote of Confidence

Is this the same as when the owner of a major league sports team says of his manager, "Oh, he's doing a fine, fine job"?

Two Thousand

A Kinder, Gentler Wal-Mart?

This is interesting.

Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart, announced a litany of changes aimed at making the behemoth retailer a "better citizen".

Prediciatbly, unions are calling it window dressing, or "not enough". Obviously, there is a public relations aspect to this (much like BP's rebranding as "Beyond Petroleum" - when, in fact, more of their revenue comes from oil than ever before!).

But there are hopeful signs here. This follows on the heels of a large vendor meeting, at which major Wal-Mart suppliers were told that they would be held accountable for the operating standards of their plants in China. Be prepared to be measured against US environmental and social standards for those plants, they were told.

Which is an incredible move, if you think about.

One out of every ten cargo ships plying the Pacific from China to the US is loaded with goods destined for Wal-Mart They have the power - and size - to make a huge difference here.

But, Lee, one question: Why the comment on increasing the minimum wage? You can set your own wages, bud. You don't need the Feds telling you how much to pay folks.

Math is SOOOOOOOO Hard!

Have you seen Harold Myerson on one of Andy Card's recent defenses of the Miers pick?

"He testified to Miers' intellectualism by reminding listeners that Miers had majored in math."

Man, I hate to beat a dead horse/kick someone when they're down/pile on/add your cliche here. But, jeez!

Which brings me to two points:

1. Andy Card is SO gonna take the fall for the recent administration missteps. I predict a thorough housecleaning/reshuffling in the next several months. The House of Card shall fall.

2. Dude - I majored in Chemical Engineering! At a major northeastern engineering school! (hint hint) And it's WAY harder than math!

Can I be on the Supreme Court too?!?!?!?!

Fitzgerald's Folly?

Today, Howard Kurtz digs deeper into Sen. Hutchison's "perjury is a technicality" argument from Sunday's Meet the Press. As always, Kurtz brings a clear, unbiased eye to the topic.

Now, Large Bill (Go, Buckeyes!) made a good point yeserday, differentiating between willful, misleading perjury (meant to obstruct or stymie a prosecutor's case) and a simple, mistaken, mistatement of fact (accidental, no malice intended).

Of course, if that was what the Good Senator intended, she should have said so. In fact, she pulled out Martha Stewart as an example of prosecutorial over-reaching. In fact, Martha's brand of obstruction was willful and intended to derail an invenstigation. It wasn't a simple, incidental mistake.

However, I have to agree (yikes! stop the presses!) with some of what Bill Kristol has been saying: if this isn't out-and-out, steer-them-off-the-trail perjury, it's probably best to let the whole, overblown issue die. Frankly, we all need to take a step back from "gotcha" politics - if indeed that's what this case may turn into.

UPDATE:

On closer reading, it would appear that - if, indeed, Libby and Rove are indicted on obstruction or perjury - the charges could meaningful, and not of the "trivial" variety.

Money quote, from today's WaPo White House Briefing:
Rove is said to have initially told the grand jury he first heard about Plame from some reporter, but he couldn't remember who. Then he said he heard it from Libby.
Libby is said to have initially told the grand jury he first heard about Plame from reporters -- but they denied it. And now, says the Times, Libby's own notes show he heard it from Cheney.


These sound like willfully misleading statements, attempting to put Fitzie's team on the trail of reporters, and away from the Office of the Vice President.

The plot thickens....

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hypocrite of the Day - Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-TX

Yesterday, on Meet the Press:

"HUTCHINSON: I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment . . . that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. . . .
"MR. RUSSERT: But the fact is perjury or obstruction of justice is a very serious crime and Republicans certainly thought so when charges were placed against Bill Clinton before the United States Senate. Senator Hutchison.
"SEN. HUTCHISON: Well, there were charges against Bill Clinton besides perjury and obstruction of justice. And I'm not saying that those are not crimes. . . . I think that it is important, of course, that we have a perjury and an obstruction of justice crime, but I also think we are seeing grand juries and U.S. attorneys and district attorneys that go for technicalities, sort of a gotcha mentality in this country."


In 1999, after voting guilty on the Articles of Impeachment against President Clinton:

"If only the President had followed the simple, high moral principle handed to us by our Nation's first leader as a child and had said early in this episode 'I cannot tell a lie,' we would not be here today."

So, which is it, Senator? A techincality? Or a criminal act, deserving of prosecution?

Also, as Dan Froomkin of the WaPo points out in today's column, there were only two charges against Clinton - perjury and obstruction of justice. There were no others, Senator.

She needs to brush up on here history. Or perhaps it's just that the White House needs to work on the accuracy of their talking points.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Schaudenfraude

The Washington Note has a scoop on an upcoming interview with Brent Scowcroft, dean of the Republican foreign policy establishment.

In it, he will skewer the Bush administration's failed foriegn policy strategy and decisions.

And Papa H.W. Bush is said to level a few of his own critiques too.

Yummy.

I foresee that history will judge W very harshly.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Harriet Screws Up

That cute boy Justin has the funniest take I've yet read on Ms. Harriet's poor homework.

Seems she don't know her ass, I mean the Constitution, from her elbow.

Oh, and Justin? Speaking of ass and elbow....I know you're busy and all with your blogging and pointing out others' inadequacies, and socializing, and just generally maintaining your hotness and all - but there is a difference between "their" and "there" and "they're".

I know, it's a lot to manage. But I think you can do it. You seem like a bright kid.

And hot, too.

More I Heart Fall

Today was one of those days that just bitch-slaps you - WHOOF! Damn. There goes our Indian Summer.

Suddenly, this wonderful Fall of ours has plunged from "nicely 80s" to "50s and pissin rain". Overdue, it was.

And, some how, I love it.

I went out to bring in the dog (Jack, also, if you care to know). The air was as crisp as a MacIntosh apple. I stayed out with him in the yard, looking out past the treeline. V's of geese came honking across, low as dive-bombers.

Then the heavens opened. Raindrops hard and fast as frozen peas came suddenly and soaked us. Pelted, we ran to the patio, to the deck, inside.

Lit the fire. Tended it. Grew a nice ferocious fire, all yellow and orange and red.

Curled up on the floor, snuggled beneath an afghan my grandma knitted (ages and ages ago). It is crimson red and navy blue, and so so soft around the corners.

Sipped upon a nice Oktoberfest. Watched a great film.

The chill left my body. The dog curled tightly between us.

The rain pattered against the windows, impotent. We are warm here as the air grows chill.

I love the Fall.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Take Yer Pick

Ok - quickie poll:

Velma:
Or Daphne: Please cast your votes in Comments.

Harriet Miers' Senate Questionnaire

Now, I'm sure that the members of the Senate Judicial Committee are poring over Ms. Miers' responses to their very nice questionnaire. And I'm sure they're unearthing the interesting bits to probe during the hearings.

But a few points caught my eye as I took a cursory pass through it myself.

So, I'd like to ask the good Senators to please dig into these topics in some detail. (My comments in italics.) To wit:

  • 1964-1969: Computer Center Helper, Southern Methodist University, Computer Center, 3300 University Blvd., Carr Collins Building, Room 130, Dallas, TX 75205. Computer Center Helper? In 1964? At SMU? I think someone's fibbing...
  • Fall 1998-January 2001: Member, Board of Directors, Dallas 2012 Committee, a non-profit organization that represented Dallas in a bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games. Organization no longer exists. Dallas? Like you even thought Dallas had a shot at it? Puh-leeze. I think the IOC learned their lesson in Atlanta - avoid southern hick boomtowns at all costs!
  • Mid-1980's: HM Investments, partnership to hold oil and gas interests, 5115 Royal Crest Drive, Dallas, TX 75229. Oil and gas interests? In the Bush administration? What a surprise.
  • 1987: Chair, Advisory Committee, Girls, Inc. of Dallas, 2040 Empire Central Drive, Dallas, TX 75235. Mmmmmm....girls. Why don't we let Sen. Kennedy probe on this one?
  • 1993-2005: Member, Petroleum Club, a social and business club. Contact: (214) 871-1500. SOCIAL club? Was there Wesson involved? Sen. Kennedy, over to you.
  • 1987: Member, Progressive Voters League, a local political organization. Progressive? Isn't that code for LIBERAL?

There. That ought to settle things.

Saddam on Trial

You know, I was against this whole Iraq adventure from the start, and I think the war and aftermath has been waged incompetently - even criminally so.

But, Good Lord, it did warm my heart to see this murderous bastard in the docket, penned in like an animal.

Not that it was worth 2000 American lives, but still good to see.

More on the GM Welfare State

Following up on yesterday's commentary on the struggles of the US auto industry, George Will has some commentary today on GM's recent moves.

Some incredible facts:
  • GM annually pays out $5.2 BILLION in health care costs, for $1.1 MILLION employees and retirees.
  • $4.0 B of that goes to RETIREES - who help generate NO REVENUE. Now, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but what incompetent business leader EVER agreed to that?
  • GM workers pay ZERO in deductibles, and only slight co-pays. See my question, above.
I love this quote, from Delphi's CEO: "When you buy a Hyundai you get a satellite radio as your option, but if you buy a Chevrolet you get social welfare as an option. Long term, the customer is going to desert you if you try to price for your social-welfare costs."

I'll take the satellite radio, folks.

Leo Mazzone to the O's?

While the good folks at Camden Chat are blogging as if this is a done deal (and maybe they have have the goods on this one), The Sun is reporting merely that the O's are close to hiring Leo Mazzone as their new pitching coach.

Which would be a remarkable thing, should it come to pass.

Quite simply, Mazzone is the best pitching coach of our era. Some will argue that his staff made him great - all those years of Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, and the rest. But let's give him credit for helping to make them great.

And let's also recognize how he has been able to wring the most out of journeyman talents like Bruce Chen, Mike Hampton, and Jaret Wright.

My only question is, aside from his friendship with O's manager Sam Perlozzo (I think they grew up together in western MD), why would he come to this organization?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Abortion Redux

Today, Andrew Sullivan comes pretty close to putting into words how I feel about abortion.

The solution that "feels" the most right: "My pragmatic solution is to allow a woman the legal right to abort her child in the first trimester, where the fetus's claim to personhood is weakest."

Bottom line - anyone who sees this as either all black or all white is most likely wrong.

Delphi's Failure - Who's at Fault? China or America? Or Neither?

Robert J. Samuelson gives his usual coherent opinion today in the Washington Post.

The topic is Delphi's recent bankruptcy and subsequent announcement of potential cuts in benefits and wages. Especially controversial has been the suggestion that retirees over the age of 65 simply move to Medicare and receive no additional supplementary benefits.

Samuelson hits the nail on the head when he points out that the "legacy" US auto industry has turned into a welfare state. How else would you describe an industry in which " laid-off UAW workers essentially get full salary and benefits indefinitely"? Where benefits total $1,600 per car?

With all due respect and sympathy to those individuals and families impacted by the wrenching changes to come, this is simply a market correction that is necessary and overdue.

And the blame for it lies not at the feet of politicians - it belongs to the union and industry leaders who fought for and agreed to contracts and infrastructure that rendered it uncompetitive. How many union leaders ever looked out across a GM showroom and wondered, "Hmmm. My benefits total $1600 per car out there. Wonder how that stacks up against the Toyota showroom across the street? And why the hell has our market share plunged in the last two decades?"

I doubt it. That would be looking in the mirror.

It's not that the legacy US automakers haven't done a ton to improve their products and processes. GM, for example, currently boasts 4 of the 5 most efficient auto assembly plants in North America. But those rich contracts have saddled them like an anchor.

My only quibble with Samuelson's column is his closing shot at China. Yes, there are uncompetitive advantages in its currency. But China Inc has had minimal impact on the US auto industry. I have some experience with China (see my comments at A Stitch in Haste - a great blog, if you haven't checked it out yet).

The bottom line is that, for all the gnashing of teeth over all our manufacturing moving to Asia, US manufacturing output continue to increase, year after year after year. Yes - manufacturing employment has dropped. But that's because we've gotten smarter, more productive, and more competitive.

In the big picture, and in the long run, that's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Morality of "Choice"

So long as the Left waves the banner of abortion-on-demand, they will continue to lose the middle of the electorate.

This column today by Patricia Bauer in the Washington Post really hits it home. Yes - it is one woman's experience. And, yes - it is clearly a more privileged experience than the norm.

However, that does not invalidate the simple truths of her argument.

In a nutshell, she is the mother of an 18 year old girl with Down syndrome. Pre-natal testing told her of her child's disability. She chose not to terminate an "imperfect" child. And, in those 18 years, she has felt society's general disapproval of her choice.

Her point is that abortion has turned into a tool of convenience, a "choice" to avoid the difficulties of an imperfect life, the "freedom" to place one's own comfort above the chance for life of another. Money example:
This view is probably particularly pronounced here in
blue-state California, but I keep finding it everywhere, from academia on down.
At a dinner party not long ago, I was seated next to the director of an Ivy
League ethics program. In answer to another guest's question, he said he
believes that prospective parents have a moral obligation to undergo prenatal
testing and to terminate their pregnancy to avoid bringing forth a child with a
disability, because it was immoral to subject a child to the kind of suffering
he or she would have to endure. (When I started to pipe up about our family's
experience, he smiled politely and turned to the lady on his left.)


I have had experience working with kids with Down, through Special Olympics. They are among the most joyous, effervescence, and appreciative kids I've ever seen. That fact that any would look upon a Down baby as an "avoidable tragic mistake" is simply the worst kind of immorality and selfishness.

If you've read a little about me and my political beliefs, you know that - although I am left leaning - there's something about the whole pro-choice movement that doesn't feel quite right to me. And this is a great illustration of why.

Yes - a perfect child is what we all desire. Yes - a diagnosis of Down (or spina bifida, or CF) would be heartwrenching. Yes - it takes more of everything (money, time, patience) to raise a child with disabilities. But is this where we want our society to be? Are these the values we strive to engender?

Until the Democratic Party can unleash itself from these questionable moorings, from being lockstep with NOW and Planned Parenthood and all the rest, they will continue to serve as a minority party.

Analogies and the Annapolis Boat Show

While my brother was here this weekend, we did some of the typical touristy stuff around town. Fortunately, the Annapolis Power Boat Show was on, so that gave us a good reason to NOT go to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.
As we walked around the City Dock, looking at the boats - each one bigger and pricier than the next - I came to a realization. Most of the folks there were middle-aged-ish men, plumping, with too little hair and too much money. They oohed and aahed and ogled over every last linear foot of shining, glistening waxed fiberglass and polished silver.

Clearly, such a large boat is nothing more than overcompensation for a small penis.

Monday, October 17, 2005

What a Way to Spend a Sunday - Browns/Ravens

From the Brown's very first snap, there was this foreboding that this was the way we would all feel by the end of the afternoon:

Ugh. They didn't follow my advice to, first, establish the run. Counting on Dilfer to throw for 250 yards is a recipe for disaster, especially on the road. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that they didn't come in with a more solid game plan.

A few observations:
- What a great day for football. High, blue skies (I actually got a sunburn), mild temps, a little windy - just perfect.
- I highly recommend the sausage with fried onions and peppers.
- Dilfer got a terrific cheer when he was announced. Good fans, these Baltimorons.
- Otterbein is a beautiful little neighborhood right downtown. If all you know is the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, or Fells Point, do yourself a favory - take a stroll through Old Otterbein. A great mix of old and new - and a wonderful streetscape as the leaves begin to turn.
- $8 for a 20 oz plastic bottle of Bud Light is just about my limit.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

George W. Bush - Man Child

From The Bull Moose, a paragraph that nearly made me wet my pants, once I thought about it:
The Dobsons, Robertsons and the President and his minions have launched the
Crusades on behalf of Holy War Harriet. The right wing elitist, rootless
cosmopolitan, pagan, heathen, secular humanist, Straussian, neo-con, elitist,
Ivy League,
Bavarian Illuminati, Masonic Conspiracy is arrayed against this poor woman who loves the baby Jesus almost as much as she adores the man-child George W. Bush.
Clearly, these reality based conservatives have never experienced the full
Bushie baptismal immersion in the Crawford Creek as has Holy War Harriet.
I mean, I love the Baby Jesus as much as the next guy, but jeez.

Ain't this wild?

Notre Dame Needs a Diet

Man, I loves me some Patriots alums.

After all, Romeo has got my Browns all respectable again (I do indeedy believe they will whup up on the Ratbirds tomorrow).

And now, Charlie Weis has Notre Dame looking like it could be a power again - in the future.

Ah, but there's the rub. The Future. The have that, you need to live. As in, you need for your heart to NOT STOP.

And, Charlie, a belly like this don't help your heart, bud. Have a friggin salad, my friend. And not one with fried chicken on top, dude.

Browns-Ravens Keys to the Game

Now that I've got myself this here fancy-schmancy new blog, I guess I need to prognosticate.

Herewith, my Three Keys to a Browns Victory:

1. Take advantage of the Raven's O-Line. These guys are old and slow. Especially Orlando Brown. Remember when he was young and slow with the Browns? Well, add 4 years.

2. Maintain discipline on Defense - the old bend, but don't break. And wait for the Raven's D to self-destruct again.

3. Run the friggin ball. Even if it's only getting you a yard or two early on, keep going at it. It'll pay off in the fourth quarter.

There. If I'm not right, I'll buy you a beer.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

More Harriett Hearts George


How much you wanna bet it was a yummy broccoli casserole?

So THIS Is What They Mean by FAMILY VALUES


A Daily Kegger congratulations goes out to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggars on the birth of their SIXTEENTH child.

Hope the family is all doing well down there in Rogers, Arkansas. (I've been there. It's, uhm, nice.)

And be sure to download some of the family's favorite recipes. Myself, I'm a big fan of the Broccoli Casserole. Make sure you've got lots of Velveeta on hand!

No Lesbians on Penn State's Gurls Hoops Team

Browns-Ravens Game Moved to MD Prison!

This just in from Crooked River Sports.

My favorite quote:
"Two seasons ago I tackled Jamal Lewis after a running play late in the game, and on the way back to the huddle he asked me if I needed to buy any marijuana", said Browns MLB Andra Davis. "I'm like, dude, you just torched us for 290-some yards and you want to sell me a dimebag? What's up with that?".

STRONG AND BEAUTIFUL - JUST LIKE JACK

For this morning's giggle, check out The Advertising Slogan Generator.

That's mine, above. Hits the nail on the head, I'd say.

Just type in your name - and build your brand!

Hat Tip: SteppinOnToes, via Unadulterated Insanity.

Thanks, gurls.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Attention! Attention!

Memo: to all those dipshits with Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers still prominently plastered to your late model Saabs, your rusting Volvos, your 1986 pale blue Buick Centuries -

It's been nearly a year, folks. True, our nation is pretty much going to Hell in a handbasket, but it's time to accept reality, remove those stickers, and stop making fools of yourselves.

Thank you.

Talking Politics at Lunch

At lunch today, with strongly left- and right-leaning coworkers. The lefty went on and on about W. The righty retorted with a Clinton slam.

The lefty responded:

Clinton? All he did wrong was get a blow job. And, besides, who's not for that?

Ahem. Who, indeed.

What Do Islamofascism and OJ Have in Common?

Last week, the administration fought hard to refocus public attention on what may be the President's only remaining asset: his role as Commander-in-Chief. First, there was his address to the National Endowment for Democracy, where W complained that he wasn't getting enough credit for all the terror plots he's broken up since 9/11 (all three of 'em!)

A few days later, a "senior administration official" (golly, how I love me some anonymous sources) unveiled an intercepted al-Qaida memo.

The administration's point is that Islamofascists are out to take over the world - and this document is evidence of that, they claim. The righty blogoshpere has run with that ball, claiming, among other things, that folks who didn't support going into Iraq just don't get it, that this is as big a threat to Western democracy as Nazi fascism was, that we underestimate the threat of UBL and his ilk.

For example, TopMustang at Six More Months argues (as have others) that this memo reveals al-Qaida's plans to "take over the world".

As much as I respect TM, his writing, and his actions leading on the ground in Iraq, this just isn't the case.

In general, here is my problem with so many of the pro-Iraq arguments, both before and after the invasion - why mislead? why continue to exagerate, embellish, and overstate the case? It smacks of OJ Simpson - why try to frame a guilty party, and risk your credibility in the process?

(Ahh - you were wondering when I'd get to OJ. Yeah, it's a bit of a stretch, but I'm a sucker for catchy titles.)

Why not just tell the simple truth, and let the facts speak for themselves?

Here is the Big Myth - Islamofascists are out to destroy the United States and our freedom-loving allies.

In fact, this memo - which remarkably details al Qaida's overall goals and strategies - says nothing of the sort:

From the WaPo:

The letter of instructions and requests outlines a four-stage plan, according to
officials: First, expel American forces from Iraq. Second, establish a caliphate
over as much of Iraq as possible. Third, extend the jihad to neighboring
countries, with specific reference to Egypt and the Levant -- a term that
describes Syria and Lebanon. And finally, war against Israel.

That's they goal - expel the so-called infidels from what they consider holy land and establish their own Islamic nation.

An interview in Spiegel sheds further light on these goals, in "What al-Qaida Really Wants", an interview with a former al-Zarqawi compatriot.

Yes - these guys are a threat. Yes - their plans are frightening. Yes - we should help defend and support friendly and open governments in the Middle East from radicals such as these. Yes - we have helped further their aims with our invasion and incompetent occupation of Iraq.

But, no, this is not equivalent to WWII.

When you make your arguments, folks, stick to the facts.

Take A Whiff!

Ah, yes. One of life's awkward little moments, perhaps now made less awkward by the fine folks at TakeAWhiff.com.

Uh, oh. There is this one, fairly significant (if temporary) side effect:
The bacterial metabolism caused by the FOS in Whiff produces gas
and bloating. During the first couple weeks of taking Whiff, you may experience
significant flatulence and/or diarrhea.

Yikes.

And then there is a second side effect - perhaps more of a conversation-starter:
Whiff turns your poop a distinct and rich green color
Check 'er out.

Ohio Brewers Try to Get Their Act Together

In all, this is good news, I guess. Anything that can help grow Ohio's fine craft brewing industry.

But to model it after what their doing up in Meecheegan?

Jeez!

While I'm here, let me plug on of my favorite brews - the bedrock of the Great Lakes Brewing Co - much enjoyed when I visit home:
Mmmmmmm.....creamy head.......

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Time for a New Career?

We all have those days, wondering where our career is going, are we in the right place, would a change of venue help.

If not for the latest Ravens Club seats I scored from The Company (with my Beloved Brownies in town, no less), I, too, might have taken a swing at the federal government's latest Human Resources initiative.

Check it out - you're probably more than qualified!

Getting Drunk Dialed by Your Parents

Tell me - what could be worse that that?

Last night, the phone rang at about 8:30pm. My father, shouting: "We're at The Clevelander on South Beach - your Mother and I are loaded!" Or at least nicely toasted.

Christ.


They had just wrapped up a week of revelry in Key West (Mom recommends the digs at the Almond Tree Inn). Now, they are stopping at South Beach for a couple of days.

Then, they will make their way north - Palm Beach, Melbourne, Savannah (more drinks!), Charleston, Richmond, Baltimore (to see yours truly), then home again.

Well, at least they called at a decent hour.

BTW, I recommended they finish off with a nightcap at The Delano - one of my "favorite spaces" in this whole wide world - though a Tanq and Tonic will set you back $15 there.

Harriet Hearts George

It appears the NYT has found George W's old yearbook, complete with scrawls from Ms Miers:
"You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect," Harriet E.
Miers wrote to George W. Bush ... She also found him "cool," said he and
his wife, Laura, were "the greatest!"

And then this:
"You were such a cutie in homeroom!"

Love that gal.

The Yankees Are Finished

Well, so much for my prognosticating. The Angels edged the Hated Yankees last night, advancing to the ALCS.

Yes, I got it wrong. So spank me. Yes, spank. Like that. Yes. Again. HARDER.

A few more predictions:
- The Ravens will whup up on the Browns this weekend
- The Indians WILL NOT win the World Series next year
- I will not get SO LAID tonight

Check back later - I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Yankees Will Win

I hate to say it, but the Yankees are destined to win tonight.

That's just the way it is, the natural order of the universe. When the Angels didn't put them away last night, I knew...I knew. That was their one shot.

The Yankees will win tonight and advance to the ALCS against the White Sox. They'll take the pennant from the Pale Hose in, oh, five or six games, then move on to the World Series against the Cardinals.

It will be an epic, seven-game battle, and go down as one of the greatest of all times.

I hate the fucking Yankees.

From this Year's Senior Olympics...

...dueling riding lawn mowers.

Conservative David Brooks and a Call for Insurrection

I could hug him for so clearly expressing my frustrations with the current state of politics on both the Right and Left.

An excerpt from David Brooks' latest:

After a while, you get sick of the DeLays of the right and the Deans of the left. After a while, you tire of the current Republicans, who lack a coherent governing philosophy, and the current Democrats, who are completely bereft of ideas. After a while you begin to wonder: Did I really get engaged in politics so I could spend months arguing about the confirmation of Harriet Miers, the John Major of American jurisprudence?

And when you begin thinking this way, you find yourself emotionally disengaging from the exhausted clans that dominate the present. You find yourself going back to basics and considering the fundamental questions: What visions originally excited me about politics and government? If it were completely up to me, where would I plant my flag?

Here's where I would plant mine."I believe in the lost tradition of American politics, the tradition of Hamilton, Lincoln and the Bull Moose. In other words, I believe that social mobility is the core of the American experience. I believe that society should be structured so that as many boys and girls as possible can work, and rise the way young Hamilton and Lincoln did...

I know, having learned it from Lincoln and Roosevelt, that individual initiative should always be tied to national union. I know we need a national service program to bind our segmented youth through citizenship. I know we need to protect the natural heritage that defines us. I know America has to persevere in its exceptional mission to promote freedom, and the effort to promote democracy in the Arab world is one of the most difficult and noble endeavors any great power has undertaken.

When I cut myself loose from the push and shove of today's weary political titans, and go back to basics, I find myself strangely invigorated.

It's time for an insurrection.

Indeed. Indeed.

This Year's Cleveland Browns - Four Games In

Some observations from enemy territory:

1. Crennel is the anti-Butch. He is such a straight-shooter so far. I just love reading the transcripts of some of his early pressers (yeah, I'm a football nerd). To wit:

"What's the theme that you have for the team as you go forward?'' he was asked.
"Win,'' Crennel replied.
"All right,'' went the follow-up. "What's the one thing you need to do that you haven't done?''
"Improve and play better,'' Crennel said.


'Nuff said.

2. They try to run the freakin' ball. Yes, people, this is Cleveland. If you can't figure out how to run the ball in October, you're screwed come Novemeber and December. Even though the numbers may not yet be there, their commitment to the run will pay off over time.

3. They have established some roles and are sticking with them. Ruben is the featured back. Yee-ha. We could argue over the pros and cons of Ruben vs. Suggs, but at least they've picked one and are plowing forward with their decision.

4. The attitude is Play To Win, NOT Play Not to Lose. Note Dilfer's aggressiveness throwing the ball with only minutes left on Sunday against the Bears. Result: it put the game away. People, this is how you're supposed to play at home in the NFL.

5. Two words: Trent Dilfer. He is a class act, a leader, and a smart football player. I watched him keep an sputtering offense together here in Bawlmer, one that eventually won the Super bowl. We're lucky to have him.

For more on Trent, I love this Patrick McManamon article from several weeks ago. It focuses on what Dilfer and his family went through when they lost their son, and how it impacted is attitude and career. It's must reading if you don't yet know much about him beyond his NFL resume.

George Will on Harriett Miers

What surprises me most about Will's recent, much-blogged about column is not its harsh tone and unremitting negativity over Miers' suitability for the bench.

It's the brutal honesty and frankness regarding W's, uhm, well, intellectual gifts:
He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated
judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few
presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential
careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such
reflections.

It appears that disdain for this nomination has freed many true conservatives to finally say what they really feel about their so-called standard bearer.

Casey Coleman - Health Update

This is the first I've seen of this story in The Pee Dee. Roger Brown has the details.

And talk about more evidence that Trent Dilfer is just a class guy all around:

the Browns' radio sideline reporter had a notable visitor Sunday night: Browns
quarterback Trent Dilfer, who presented Coleman with a game ball from the team's
earlier 20-10 win over the Chicago Bears. "The support and encouragement I've
been getting from everyone has meant so much," Coleman says

Our prayers are with you, Casey.


Browns - Ravens Tickets!


Score!

Just nabbed two of The Company's club level seats for this Sunday's faceoff between the Browns and Ratbirds.

Best of all, my little brother is coming to visit this weekend, so he'll have a chance to see the resurgent Brownies play in truly hostile territory.

High-five me!

Maybe I can figure out how to live-Blog from my Blackberry.

Anyone, help?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

I Heart Fall



It's mid-October, and I nearly turned on the AC today. I was cleaning the house (Yeah! Fun!), the windows were open, a breeze was blowing, and I was sweating my nuts off.

It was maybe 75 this afternoon, and the humidity stifled. The remnants of Tammy (a white trash storm if there's ever been one) came rumbling through over the last 36 hours. And did it rain.

But the air today, like the last several weeks, remained oppressive.

Then, the storm passed, and a quiet chill filled the air. I took a deep breath. Mmmmm....cool.

I opened the windows, threw on the down comforter, and welcome the Fall.

Finally.

What To Do With The Wahoo

Yes, I do lean left (see below).

And, yes, I do hate silly PC-ness.

And, yes, I think that the NCAA's whole mascot crackdown thing smacks of classic liberal, PC, speech-freeze, and is ripe for opinion and insult.

But, truly, who can any longer defend this? Replace the red with tan or brown - and who could rightly defend that?

I'm not arguing about the Indians name. Hell, yes, keep that (I can't imagine rooting for another, after all). The history of the name is far from certain (whether to honor Louis Sockalexis, an Native American who played for the team, then died young from alcoholism; or to recall the glories of Cleveland's previous National League team; or to better market against the Boston Braves), but it is so generic now as to be inoffensive (maybe?).

Besides, I really don't want to buy a whole new assortment of t-shirts.

That's a joke, people.

That Bush Countdown Thing

I'm not sure I like this think after all. 1199 days (or whatever)? Fuck! Are you kidding me? Do I really need to be reminded of how much longer we need to live with this clown representing the leadership of this great nation?

It's almost too depressing to look at each day.

So...should I get rid of the freaking thing?

So What the Hell Am I All About? Part 1 - Politics

Perhaps you've glanced at some of my posts since I started this thing up, and you've reasoned (not surprisingly) that I an just your typical East Coast, Volvo-driving, Bush-hating, Big Gub'mint-loving liberal.

I can understand that perception.

After all, there's the Bush countdown thing over there ----->

There are my posts about FEMA and the administration's seeming incompetence in making the trains run on time. There's my link to Jon Stewart skewering recent the recent statements on progress in Iraq. Not to mention any number of snarky, left-leaning comments.

How would I classify myself? For starters, fiscally conservative, socially progressive.

But it's not as simple as that. I'm a pretty religious Christian (raised staunchly Catholic, now a practicing Methodist - the music is better). I don't like abortion, for the most part. I don't equate a 10-cell blastocyst with a human life. However, I don't believe in "abortion on demand" at any time during a pregnancy. Where is the line drawn? I have no idea.

Can government solve our problems? No. Yes. Government's fundamental purpose is to do that which is much more difficult (if not impossible) to do individually. Wage war. Protect our borders. Build roads. Inspect meat.

Should gay folks be allowed to marry? Not sure. Should they be granted all the civil benefits of married folks? Of course. Adopt, visit in the hospital, take the tax deduction - sure. The equal protection clauses are a no-brainer, in my mind. Why anyone would want to somehow prevent two adult folks from legally committing to each other simply boggles my mind.

Does government (especially federal) attempt to do too much? Yes. Education, for example, is best managed locally. Should the feds help fund local education? Yes. Equality of opportunity demands it. Should funding for public broadcasting end? Yes, I think so. What is the compelling societal need anymore? Business subsidies (AKA corporate welfare), including agricultural, need to disappear. The government shouldn't be in the business of picking winners and losers, or propping up unprofitable industries and markets.

Do I find right-wingers insufferable? Absolutely. My blood boils when I listen to Rush/O'Reilly/Hannity et. al. The Right Blogosphere's blind commitment to Bush (Miers notwithstanding), regardless of what the facts are, destroys any credibility.

Do I find left-wingers insufferable? Hell, yes. I had the chance to listen to Air America on XM on a recent AirTran flight. I couldn't take more that 10 minutes of it.

I thought that Bill Clinton was a terrific, if flawed, president. He moved to the middle, he helped fix the welfare system, he opened trade, he rebuilt and modernized our military (let's remember - it was his military infrastructure and hardware that performed so brilliantly in Afghanistan and Iraq), and, most importantly, HE BALANCED THE BUDGET.

Which is why I voted for Bush in 2000. I liked McCain initially (still do - perhaps more on that another time). But when the choice finally came down to Bush or Gore, I went Bush for one simple reason - I believed he was the best bet to continue Clinton's conservative fiscal policies and keep the budget balanced.

At the end of the day, I believe that is the single most important issue we face. Aside from the morality of it, poor fiscal policy, carried out long enough, will turn into a national security issue (how about China owning all that debt of ours?).

I bought all the "compassionate conservative" lies. I believed that his Texas record showed someone who knew how - and when - to use government to better people's lives, someone who know how to "make the trains run on time".

I'm not a Bush-hater. I'm simply and extremely disappointed (and growing angry) former supporter. In his nearly six years, he has put this nation in a far weaker position on many fronts (more of which I will cover in the future).

My problem is, who represents me and my leanings? Aside from The Bull Moose, I'm not sure. I like the idea of a McCain run, though he is not as progressive as most folks think on social issues.
Libertarians? In some ways, that's what I am. Government does need to get its freaking nose out of our private business. But they go too far WRT where government shouldn't play.

I just discovered Neo-Neocon, and am really starting to enjoy her stuff. I don't necessarily buy that 9-11 "changed everything", but she has some great opinions. As a former young, idealistic, and Kennedy-philic liberal, I can relate.

So I will vote for the candidate, not the party. I will support the position, not that platform. And I will utilize this forum to rant, vent, question, pontificate, and basically work my way through my uncertainties as best I can.

In any case, thanks for listening.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Casey Coleman - Bad News or Ugly Rumor?


Hmmm...this just crossed the wire of the Daily Kegger. A typically reliable stringer just phoned in with a tip that long-time Cleveland sportscaster Casey Colement is suffering from cancer of the pancreas, and that it may be pretty well-advanced.

Let's hope this story falls flat on its face.

Hang tight, Casey, and we'll be praying for you.

WBAL's Ron Smith Rules

I love Ron Smith. He is my type of conservative - classic and true to the meaning of the word. Nowadays, I don't think that there is a party that truly could be called that, certainly not today's Republican Party and its President.

After all, what conservative would:
- Begin an unprovoked, unnecessary war
- Spend beyond all previous profligacy
- Expand our already-teetering on bankruptcy entitlement system
- Stick the federal government's business in everything from our sex lives to what we listen to on the radio to scientific advancement to how our neighborhood schools run.

Yes, I typically agree with Ron. But that's not why I like him. I like him because he has a sense of humor. Just yesterday, he shared some clips from Jon Stewart's The Late Show. I had to pull over before I wet myself laughing.

Of course, then I had to cry, realizing that these clowns are actually in charge of things.

They Start Dickheads Young Up There

Who else is sick of Red Sox fans?

Ride on, Pale Hose, ride on.

Why the Browns Will Be 2-2



There he is ladies, Purdue's finest, and now the on-field commander of the soon-to-be 0-4 (I think - hell, I just got back from China, so give me a break).

If my resurgent Brownies can't get the job done against this clown, well, then just give me my own bottle of Jack and I'll shut up.

BTW, Kyle, dude, I learned how to stop dribbling down my shirt my sophomore year.

Somewhere Over China


Yes, that's where I've been for the past few weeks. On The Company's dime, yes, well-housed and -fed and, when occasion dictated, -sauced. Their wi-fi ain't so great. Hence, the silence.

We were there to visit The Company's plants, as well as those of our suppliers, and potential suppliers. The work aspect was, of course, engaging and interesting and fun. However, the social observation component was moreso.

Lenin (I think, though perhaps he was putting words into Marx's mouth) said, "Religion is the opiate of the masses."

Actually, no. I-Pods are the opiate of the masses. And DVD players. And XBoxes and PS2s and Game Boys. And every other manner of consumer electronic, status symbol, a emblem of attainment.

In short, my friends, what I saw was that Rampant Materialism and Runaway Consumerism does indeed calm the savage populous.

It seemed that, so long as they had the freedom to pursue the might RMB, well, then who needs freedom of speech.

Disturbing, yes. And more to come, once I've caught up around here.
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