Friday, July 30, 2004


More Visitors Make the Elephant Happy!

Hey! Looks like more people are finding the Elephant! Unique users are up and we've expanded beyond the initial readership of Midgie, Donkey and Bronson. Welcome all and thanks for checking out the sight! Special thanks to who ever it is who is reading the Elephant from South Africa or Central Europe (Please comment, I'd love to know what your thinking!).

August is traditionally a slow time for us lobbyists here in DC. All the decission makers are back in the states running for re-election, so I'll try to work on original material that continues to examine why the Elephant is so on the Edge about the current administration and why he's so not excited about Kerry-Edwards. Anyway, thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


The GOP Convention

W Needs To Pull It Together

I really think that the Democrats came out of their convention energized and unified in their pursuit of the White House. I'm not as convinced that the GOP is as unified as it should be right now. No, I don't have any scientific polls or hidden agendas, just that gut instinct that has served me well these last ten years in Washington. There are deep divisions across the country, but there are also deep divisions within the GOP that are troubling. Fiscal Conservatives have been ignored and mocked, small government republicans have been targeted for their opposition to a rash of divisive constitutional amendments, and even religious conservatives may be put off by the fact that Bush may not be doing enough for their needs.

I hope that the closeness of this election spurs Bush to search his heart and present a coherent plan for his second term, not the mishmash and drivel he gave us in the State of the Union Address this year, but solid proposals that reflect the GOPs traditional focus on smaller, more accountable government, fiscal restraint and deference to individuals. If not, then many of the swing voters will heed the call that "We Can Do Better."

(Or perhaps, in the case of Bush vs. Kerry, at least we can't do much worse.)

Thursday, July 29, 2004


It Just Got Interesting

Kerry Gets It Right

When push comes to shove, John Kerry can pull off some amazing feats. His acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention was impressive. We all know that candidates in the primaries have to appeal to their base, so Republicans head right and Democrats head left. At their respective conventions, both head more to the middle. Last night John Kerry didn't just drive to the middle, he pulled up onto the Republican's lawn and shouted, "Bring it on." This campaign just got interesting.

Kerry surrendered no ground in his speech. His record in Vietnam was emphasized to no end, most likely as an attempt to inoculate himself against the coming attacks on his Senate record. The subtext being, so what if I voted against bill XXX, I fought in Vietnam, did you? Tactically necessary and brilliantly done.

He also surrendered no ground on patriotism, the flag, values and the Constitution. But two other things really stand out. First, his promise to cut the deficit in 1/2 in four years. Traditionally, I'd laugh out loud at any democrat that claimed the high road on fiscal responsibility, but the Republicans have surrendered that issue through reckless spending over the last four years, much to my disappointment. Secondly, he got it right on religion in quoting Lincoln when he said, "I don't know if God is on our side, but I can pray that we are on God's side." That was refreshing to hear after a year of my party attempting to merge Republicanism and Christianity and it echoes my own personal beliefs.

Traditionally, there are three tests on the road to the White House. Failing any of these three is fatal. First, is selecting a respectable VP which Kerry has done in Jonathan Edwards. Second, is to give a rousing acceptance speech, which if he hit issues that resonate with the Elephant, he most certainly moved some swing voters. The final challenge (which Al Gore failed so miserably at) are the debates, which now look as if they will be dynamic and interesting.

You don't have to like John Kerry or even plan on voting for him to notice that he has accomplished an important task this week, he's united his party to a degree I've not seen since 1992. It will be interesting to see how the GOP responds.

As usual, the Economist sums it up better than I could:


Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

Is The Economy Getting Stronger or Stalling?

Fed finds evidence of Greenspan's 'soft patch'

Up and Down All at Once
Economic Signals Vary Widely in Latest Fed Report


Will the GOP Overplay Their Hand?

At the Convention: Will it be the George Bush of 2003 or the George Bush of 2004?

George Bush is not a great public speaker, but from time to time his cadence and his heart align and he is capable of delivering a moving, if plain spoken, presentation. I think this is best illustrated by his state of the union speech (Sotus) in 2003 where he really did outline an agenda for compassionate converatism, it was the last time I actually felt connected with him. The speech in 2004 was, in my opinion, an unmitigated disaster. It was the epitome of big government conservatism at its worst. Fighting steroid use in professional sports? The U is at war and this is one of our domestic priorities? As much as the 2003 stows showed thought and vision, the 2004 speech showed a lack of imagination and was widely derided in both conservative and liberal circles.

So which GWB will we see in NY in September? The president who called for a global fight against AIDS or the one who wants to test every American student for drug use? I don't know. The Democrats seem to be pulling off a coherent convention with a simple message, the challenge for the Republicans is to do the same. No repeat of the Pat Buchanan debacle of 1992, a balance between highlighting the differences between the GOP and the Dems while highlighting the GOP plan for American over the next four years. (Which I fear consists simply of continued growth of government programs and spending). The Republicans only enemy in September is the tendency for hubris, they should proceed with caution.,2933,127391,00.html


Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Democrat

Well, maybe not angry, but I couldn't resist evoking a great work by an early American and Vice Presidential namesake Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards did good, the underlying theme of the convention, again reiterated by JE, was "We will fight terrorism with strength and wisdom." Yes, now that we are in the third day, I think we all get it, and we also realize that John Kerry served in Vietnam. The underlying strength of the convention, is that the Democrats seem to be focused like never before with a coherent message. Strength at home and strength abroad. They've taken a page from GWB's playbook, highlight a short list of themes, then repeat ad nauseum. Since a great deal of Americans have already made up their minds on the candidates, its unclear if JFK will get a bounce in the polls, but as good a convention from the left as I've seen in sometime.

Jonathan Edwards speech can be found here:,2933,127391,00.html

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Cruel Summer Update:

Crude climbs close to record high

Report Expected to Show Deficit of $420 Bln

Better than expected, but still embarassingly high.|top|07-27-2004::13:25|reuters.html

Suicide attacker kills 68 Iraqis outside police station



Obama Only Highlight of Dem Convention Day 2:
Ok, I have to admit that I was flipping between Trading Spouses on Fox, the Amazing Race on CBS and the Democratic Convention on CSpan, but I got a good sampling of most of last nights speakers. Clearly there is a not so subtle theme carry through all the presentations - We will be tough on terror, but better yet, we'll be smart too!.  Also the not so subtle reminders that Kerry alone is the only candidate who actually served in Vietnam.  Messages that needed to be delivered, but now the focus needs to be on sharing some specifics of the Democratic Plan.

The speakers were rather bland last night. I missed Al Sharpton (a man whose claim to fame was defaming white police officers in the infamous Tawana Brawley case), but did catch Ted Kennedy, Ron Reagan, Teressa Heinz-Kerry and Barak Obama.  Ted was passionate, but somehow he seemed irrelevant, a dinosaur, still lingering in the shadows of his brothers legacy.  Ron Reagan showed some of his father's skill at speaking, but it impressed me that he heavily downplayed the moral issues surrounding stem cell research. (Elephant finds the stem cell issue very complicated).  Mrs. Heinz-Kerry, clearly a smart woman, was less of a loose cannon than I had expected and as a result, kind of dull.  Barak Obama, although he still has room for improving his speaking skills was last night's star.  How much more American could this guy be? His father was a goat herder in Africa who came to the U.S. for college.  Once here he married and they raised their child (Barak) in Hawaii.  There kid goes on to attend Harvard Law School and then ditches offers from white-shoe law firms to work in the inner city. (His former candidate, Jack Ryan had an equally compelling story).  Anyway, Mr. Obama is clearly a rising star in his party.

Tonight, Jonathan Edwards....


Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Political Quiz

Ok, here's another quiz I stumbled across on the internet.  See how you do on 10 questions that mix history and political trivia.  Elephant got 7 of 10 right.

Good luck!



How Far Can Atlanta Spread?
Atlanta is pleasant enough I guess.  A Friendly, bustling regional metropolis.  But in many ways Atlanta represents the aspects of modern cities that us urban dwellers eschew, sprawl.  An interesting downtown and historic core surrounded by miles and miles of blandish, ticky-tack houses that all look the same. USAToday has the goods in an interesting article on the growth or areas beyond suburbia.


They're Watching....

My Gap T-Shirt Is Monitoring Me!

Interesting article on Radio Frequency Identification Tags which are set to replace bar codes in the coming years.  They carry more information than a bar code, will let us go to the grocery store and not have to wait in a check out line, but they can also be used to track us.  Intersting...



The Return of the Clintons

That's Slick Willie for Ya!

I have to say that Bill Clinton's speech last night at the Democratic Convention did in fact make me swoon.  Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't agree with everything he said, it was just so refreshing to see someone speak with passion, self deprication and in complete sentences.  He hit a home run when talking about Kerry's service to his country:

Clinton staunchly defended the Massachusetts senator, saying that when young men such as himself, Bush and Vice President Cheney found ways to avoid going to Vietnam, Kerry volunteered for service there. And he mocked Bush and the GOP for suggesting that Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), would be soft on terrorism. "Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values," he said. "They go hand in hand."

Any student of fan of politics should see this speech, even if you detest democrats, its a great study in political theater.  Enjoy.




Fox News, CNN Troll the Gutters

As a political nerd, I'm one of the few people who actually look forward to the democrat and republican nominating conventions every four years.  They're great political theatre and a great look at our political traditions.  So, when I settled into my couch last night to see what was transpiring up in Boston I was quite surprised to find that none of the major networks were covering the events.  NBC was airing the all important "For Love or Money", and CBS had the popular, but ultra-lame "CSI".  Curious, I thought as I clicked over to Foxnews only to be confronted with Jerry Springer cohosting the coverage.  "Egad!" I actually said out loud, quickly switching to CNN.  CNN was even worst.  Larry King (whose head grows ever larger) was cohosting with some guy named Mo Roca who looked vaguely familiar.  I realized who he was, his other tv appearance includes VH1's "I Love the 80s."

CNN and Fox's coverage was moronic and dull, leaving me desperately searching for CSPAN.  CSPAN's coverage was excellent.  No idiot talking heads, no C level celebrity commentators, just straight convention coverage with all the speakers.  The most important election in my lifetime and the networks carry crappy-assed shows and the news channels dumb it down so much as to cause viewers brain damage.  Thank you CSPAN for letting me watch the convention in uninterrupted peace.

Monday, July 26, 2004


Another Reason to Love the iPod

Does anybody besides me hate airports?  Waiting to board your plane while those around you chat loudly into their cell phones while holding screaming babies!  While the Elephant was waiting for his much delayed plane to Red America this weekend, he was able to relax and tune out to an audio book purchased on iTunes.

So, while the woman in the "Comic Relief #8" T-Shirt chatted away on her cell phone (probably about how excited she is for Comic Relief #9), I was chilling out to "Dress Your Family in Cordoroy and Denim" (***--) by David Sedaris.  Even more interesting is that iTunes has posted audio from the entire set of 9/11 commission hearings that can be downloaded for free. 



Death by Creative Destruction

How the mighty have fallen

Interesting article in Newsweek (snoozeweek) about the looming demise of AT&T.  Fascinating isn't it?  It was only about 20 years ago when the government forced the break-up of AT&T, which at the time was the largest and most profitable company in the world.  Like any debate, there were critics who said if you forced competition on the telephone market it would be a disaster.  Of course is wasn't, phone calls are cheaper than ever and we have an ever growing choice of services like land lines, cell phones and voice over internet.  In fact the Elephant doesn't even have a landline anymore (they are so 20th Century!).

Anyway, just another example of the process of creative destruction where the economy creates new technologies and opportunities out of the remnants of current industries.  Adapt or die!


The Broadcast Networks' Public Disservice

A good article from the NYTs.



Insights from Red America

Not Crazy About Bush, Unsure of Kerry, Wild About Mt. Dew Floats
He went on, "I fought with my family and friends defending Bush's decision, I remain hopeful, but feel somehow cheated."

Others echoed the same set of concerns.  Not that more than a handful would change their vote as a result, but a vast majority of the dozen or so folks I spoke with thought that we were mislead on Iraq.

I had several interesting observations while chatting with the masses at my nephew's baseball game Saturday in the heart of Red America.  First, is that there is a lot of concern and lack of understanding of why we are in Iraq. It's not the Washington, DC chattering class concern, but rather a deeply held, visceral reaction to the lack corroboration of the Administration's rationale for invading. 

As one man put it. "I always thought that America didn't start wars, we finished them."
Or as another put it, "I hate the F'ing French, they betrayed us in the security council and I hate even more that it's looking that they were right."

Besides Iraq, the economy was also first and foremost on peoples minds.  The state has already lost over 200,000 well paying manufacturing jobs which are widely acknowledged not to be coming back. Suprisingly several folks I spoke with commented that they really could careless about the FMA (not a single person thought the government should get involved in this) or a flag burning amendment (again a big yawn) and want leadership on the economy, federal spending and such.

The skepticism didn't translate into being wild about John Kerry though.  Red staters are suspicious of big government and most dems. are seen (rightly so) as advocates of bigger government, which again was another area they seemed to have a beef with Bush on.

So, it seems, If Bush were to take the lead and start offering a vision for the economy and Iraq (as he promised, but never delivered) it seems from my unscientific poll, he could do more to rally his base in the Midwest than all the posturing and posing on the social issues could.  The folks in small town America aren't crazy about either choice. They were however, crazy about the Mt. Dew floats (glass of Mt Dew with a scoop of vanilla ice cream) that were on sale at the concession stand.  We are a fickle bunch aren't we!




Boom Days

Economist: Fed's outlook a return to 1990s 'nirvana' '

The U.S. economy is a pretty remarkable thing. Unlike our European cousins, we favor flexibility and adaptation above economic stability and job security. I don't mean we favor instability, but rather that we don't as a general rule, try to keep jobs in American when it no longer makes sense for them to be here. As a result, while we don't make as many widgets as we used to in the 1950s or 1960s, we do a lot more telecommunications, technology, bioengineering, software development and other knowledge based jobs.  Good if your willing to retrain yourself for a higher paying job, bad if your dream is to use your high school diploma to make $48/hr working in an auto plant. 


Wednesday, July 21, 2004


Weekend Reading

Elephant Migrates North

I'm set for a super-busy Thursday. A full set of meeting on Capitol Hill then fighting rush hour traffic to make the long journey to Dulles. It will be worth it though, I'm heading back to Middle America for a weekend with my family. Cookouts, baseball games and many questions for the locals on how they see the issues. So, it's unlikely that I'll be posting much, if anything through Monday. Thus, Dear Reader, your weekend reading comes a day early. Enjoy!

Shaqsourcing: Lakers' ex-center joins the exodus of jobs from America

Reason Mag makes an attempt to discuss the benefits of outsourcing jobs through a somewhat belabored basketball metaphor.

Welcome to the Traffic Cone Preservation Society

Until the late 20th century, traffic cones were not thought worthy of scientific study. It is the Society's mission to counteract these centuries of neglect. By preserving and studying these "Helpers of Humanity," we hope to allow future generations the opportunity to enjoy these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats.

Why the Japanese Can't Afford to Perserve Traditional Marriage

Marriage in Japan is on the rocks and the downward spiral is leading to economic stagnation and a population crash. What's going on? Well for one thing, Japanese women are increasingly rejecting the burden and limits that "traditional" marriage places on them. It's given rise to one of my favorite terms, Parasite Singles." Sometimes tradions need to change.

Swing states: Florida Enter at your peril
The Economist's series on swing states looks at the biggest prize of all. Once again, everything is not quite as it seems in Florida

Inside Look at Birth of the IPod 

Ben Knauss is a former senior manager at PortalPlayer, the company Apple Computer approached to help develop an MP3 player that would eventually become the wildly popular iPod.,2125,64286,00.html


That Vision Thing

Remember back a May when President Bush annouced that he was giving a series of speeches around the country to spell out his vision for Iraq and reassure the American people of our intent and eventual exit? I do, at the time I thought it was a much needed step and actually showed some leadership on the President's part in talking about an increasingly tough issue.

Bush did give one speech and it was somewhat lame. It was merely reiterating much of the rhetoric we heard in the run up to the war. But it was a good start. However, since then there has been nothing. This is a big missed opportunity for Bush to offer a salve to an increasingly confused and frustrated public that we actually have a plan for Iraq.

Bush's re-election prospects require that he take leadership and responsibility on the issues associated with Iraq. A good start would be to remind us of the mission and the progress we've made, but that sadly, appears to be beyond his leadership skills.


Hey Big $penders....

Senate GOP Defy White House on Highway Bill

The spending spree in the GOP 'controlled' congress continues, assuming the inept Senate leadership can actually pass the bill. Will Bush veto it?,2933,126366,00.html


Timing is Everything!

Is the whole Sandy Berger memo thing a scandal? I'm not sure, the stories I've read so far make Berger sound lame and inept, but as we know the Democrats don't have a monopoly on ineptness. What is interesting to Elephant is the timing of the Berger story.  According to several news accounts it is being reported that:

Berger, [who] has been the subject of an investigation since October

Hmmmm....The government has know about this since October, yet the story breaks the same week as the 9/11 commission report is released. So now the story becomes what was Berger doing or thinking rather than the substance of the commissions report. Politics as usual.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


"The Radium Water Worked Fine until His Jaw Came Off."

Yesterday's Radioactive Supplements

Acentury ago radioactivity was new, exciting and good for you--at least if you believed the people selling radium pendants for rheumatism, all-natural radon water for vigor, uranium blankets for arthritis and thorium-laced medicine for digestion,12543,670526,00.html

Good thing we don't have stuff like this today!
Now where's my bottle of Herbalife?


An Amendment To Be....

Flag Burning Ban Wins Approval From Senate Judiciary

There was a time when the GOP stood for limited government. I think it is safe to say that between the flag burning amendment and the FMA that concept is now dead. Of course the GOP is soo worried about Bush's continued electoral troubles that they are increasingly relying on the values issue to boost his chances, or as a friend of mine on the hill put it, "They've drunk the Kool-Aid". ]

Funny, I wasn't aware there was a crisis of flag burning? Of course the Simpson's got it right last time this issue was up for debate back under Bush I:

An Amendment to Be:

I'm an amendment to be, yes an amendment to be,
and I'm hopin' that they'll ratify me.
There's a lot of flag burners who have got too much freedom.
I wanna make it legal for policemen to beat 'em,
cause there's limits to our liberties.
'Least I hope and pray that there are,
cause those liberal freaks go too far.

Keep it up boys and I'll have to be lobbying Majority Leader Dascle's office come January. But of course Kerry is incapable of capitalizing on this sillyness....


Monorail, Monorail, MONORAIL!

Vegas Goes Space Age!

Maybe it's my memories of visiting Disney World and being wisked away to the Magic Kingdom in these sleek futuristic contraptions, maybe not, but I dig monorails. It's cool to see one put to practicle use too. Yes, Seattle has had one since the 60's, but it was short and only had two stops. Now we can all stumble onto the monorail in a drunken stupor and feebly try to find our way back to our hotels.


Elephant to NWA, GFY!

Independence Air Let's Elephant Escape NorthWest Airlines

Anyone who regularly visits Michigan or Minnesota knows what I'm talking about. Both cities are huge Northwest Airlines hubs and flying into either state usually requires flying Northwest. For years, we've had to deal with high prices (Elephant flew to Paris in April for less than it cost him to fly to Michigan for Christmas) and poor service. Here are some examples:

Flights from DC to Grand Rapids, MI frequently cost more that trips from DC to LA.

A few years ago, I was flying home for Christmas on or about December 21. My flight into Detroit arrived on time, but because there was no-one to operate the jetway, I missed my connection. The agent informed me that they'd rebooked me on another flight, for December 25! No hotel, no apologies, no compensation. I ended up renting a car and driving 4 hours to my destination.

Well, the good news is that DC just got a new carrier, Independence Air. This week they launched an all out fare war with Northwest by offering $58 round trip fares between DC and Lansing, Michigan, plus $25 off your first ticket. So, Elephant is will likely be flying home for his nephews birthday for roughly $33.

Competition is wonderful!


If At Frist You Don't Succeed

Novak Article Reveals Frustration with Majority Leader

An otherwise quiet Capitol Hill was buzzing Monday about conservative columnist Robert Novak’s latest scathing column, in which he denounced Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) as an inexperienced and ineffective leader and implied that GOP Senators are unhappy with Frist.

It's not the other Senators that should worry the GOP leaders, it's the exasperated voter who can't point to any serious policy accomplishment in the last four years save the massive tax cuts.


A Day Late and A Mullah Short

Ummm, is it just me or do others think that this is a day late and a dollar short? I mean shouldn't we have probed an Iran-9/11 connection before we set our sights on Iraq?

Monday, July 19, 2004



Elephant spent some time with various friends who happen to be republican staffers this week. Seems that my dissaffection with the administration is broadly shared by my contemporaries. Like me, none would be thrilled with a Kerry Administration, but increasingly more and more are asking, "Could it be any worse than what we have now?"

Is this just inside the beltway moaning, or part of a larger shift? Just asking.

Sunday, July 18, 2004


9/11 Commission Report Out Thurs

Well, about two weeks ago we learned that the CIA got it completely wrong on Iraq. This week we'll get to hear the complete story of the data and events leading up to 9/11. Hindsight is always 20/20, but reviewing our intelligence failures is crucial if we don't want this sort of stuff happening again. Interesting that the news is already reporting that the commission is urging the appointment of an Intelligence Tsar to oversee the 20-odd intelligence agencies within the federal government. I would expect the President to oppose this provision, just like he opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the press, especially since the administration doesn't have the FMA to hide behind this week.

Summary of the report can be found here:


Power Lunch Monday: Ceiba

Chef Trunks Does It Again

Elephant is a huge fan of Chef Jeff Trunks who operates, in my humble opinion, one of the best power lunch spots in DC, Ten Penh. In fact, I'm such a huge fan of Ten Penh that I just got around to checking out Chef Trunks latest venture, Ceiba. I was not disappointed.

Ceiba, like its sister restaurant Ten Penh, combines traditional American cuisine with a particular ethnic flavors. Ten Penh's food is infused with Asian influences and Cieba has focused on Latin America for its inspiration. Inspired indeed! Last Thursday, I met a senior senate staffer for lunch and although the topic was supposed to be the agenda in the waning days of the 108th Congress, much of our discussion centered around the food.

We started off with a course of soup. As it was your typical hot and steamy day in DC, we both opted for the gazpacho. I was a bit confused when it arrived in a dish that resembled a long canoe filled with fresh vegetables and some bits of crab. Before I had a chance to ask the waiter what this was, out came a small urn. Before you could say "Gaucho" the waiter had filled my little canoe full of cold, yellow tomato soup.

Ordering gazpacho is always a gamble. In most cases, I'd swear that the sous chef merely pours a can of V-8 into a bowl and viola- gazpacho. That's not the case a Ceiba. First, as mentioned, the base of the soup was yellow tomatoes, bursting with an eathy freshness. The fresh cut vegetables that garnished the soup added color and bursts of contrasting flavor of carrot and spring onion. Much to my surprise, an additional garnish of red tomato sorbet helped to keep things cool.

When the entrees arrived, I knew I had made the wrong choice. I had ordered the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna served on a base of
sweet corn polenta and garnished with charred wild onions, costa rican pico de gallo and habanero chilis. The tuna was great and the sweet moistness of the polenta got a kick from the habanero chilis. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was definitely a 10. But alas, Tuna is today's skirt stake and, despite the fine presentation at Ceiba, I was left drooling like Homer Simpson over my dining companion's choice.

My lunch partner ordered on of Ceiba's trademark dishes, pumpkin seed crusted tilapia served with sweet plaintain mash and a Caribbean Creole sauce. (aaaahhhhh, pumpkin seeds.......). She must have seen the glint of envy in my eye as she offered me a bite. The tender tilapia was moist and substantial, but the roasted pumpkin seed coating pushed it into culinary nirvana. The accompanying plaintain mash, although looking like some freaked out Gerber product, was actually a delicious blend of sweet banana salty corn. Yummmm....

Much to our dismay, our delicious luncheon had eaten into our schedules and we had to skip desert to hustle off to some meeting on some issue I don't remember. In Ceiba, Chef Trunks has definitely created an equal for his glorious Ten Penh. Let the Senator's and Congressman go to the tired old steak houses, their Staff and I can be found at Ceiba.


New Terror in the Skies

Just when you thought flying couldn't get any worse. Now, that DC to LAX flight will be spent next to some moron chatting away on their cell phone. I can just see it now. I'm flying out to LA from Dulles, the person next to me is well into their second hour of conevying a minute by minute account of the flight.

"No Carol, I got the Ginger Ale....THE GINGER ALE"

"Yeah, Ted likes the new socks I bought him."

"Oh wait, I'm getting more ginger ale"


Saturday, July 17, 2004


CNN Is Stealing My Mojo

Hey, didn't we talk about the sudden disappearance of Donald Rumsfeld just yesterday on this blog? Seems CNN was thinking the same thing today. (I don't know if that's good) Anyway, here's there story.

My guess is that good old Rummy is being somdomized with glow sticks in some secret basement of the Pentagon. Let's hope those photos aren't released.

Friday, July 16, 2004


Freaky Friday

Opps. My original posting was supposed to mention that I had a staff retreat today and wouldn't be blogging, but its to late for that now. The retreat was at the very same hotel where DC's former Mayor Marion Barry was busted smoking crack with a hooker.

In unrelated news, the hotel no longer serves coke, just pepsi. (Wink)

Thursday, July 15, 2004


FMA: The Day After

Well, as I anticipated in my blog yesterday, proponents of the FMA have taken their rhetoric to the next level. The Traditional Values coalition has unveiled a new website called: "Homosexual Urban Legends". What's the Urban Legend you ask? That homosexuality is distinct from pedophilia. Yep, the new level of debate, the gays are out to get your children. Lying, apparently, is a Traditional Value. Perhaps we should make all gay people were some sort of insignia so we can protect our kids!


How to Undermine Your Own Arguments Part I:

Let the People Have Their Say!

One of the arguments put forth during the heated debate on the FMA this past week was that people should have their say, rather than relying on judges to determine the rights of minorties on constitutional principles. There is a point to that, arbortion remains a contentious issue because it was a right afforded by the courts. But isn't that part of the role of the courts? To use the constitution to balance the more unsavory urges of the majority on certain principles like equal protection under the law? Ever hear of Tyrrany of the majority?

Anyway, the debate over FMA and same-sex marriage is a good thing, people (I hope) will look at their relationships and find meaning rather than relying on poltical rhetoric on both sides. A small number of us may even learn something about people who are different than ourselves. Let the people have their say, that's the Republican's rallying cry on this issue and to some extent I agree. But wait! In light of thier defeat yesterday in the Senate, FMA proponents have a new goal, banning the government of the District of Columbia from recognizing gay marriage from other states. Since we don't have a vote in Congress, we have no say. So far, despite the fear of same-sex marriage spreading, roughly 43 states got to decide this issue for themselves. Five have extended some protections to same-sex couples and thirty eight have choosen not to at this time. So, why can't the resident's of DC decide this for themselves?

If the GOP leadership moves forward with their plans in the House to impose Congress's will on recognition of same-sex marriage in DC, they will further undermine their position by ignoring their own rhetoric of letting we the people have our say.

From Foxnews:

Republican officials also said it was possible they would stage other votes on gay marriage before the fall elections.

The possibilities include a measure to prevent the Washington, D.C., city government from recognizing gay marriages

Learn from your mistakes boys.


The Administration Does Share My Values!

If They Support Sodomy in Iraq, Why Are They Fighting It Here?

US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Maybe I'll hand out glow sticks at the GOP convention.


Donde esta Senior Rumsfeld?

Where's Don Rumsfeld? Have any of us seen him since shortly after the prison abuse scandal broke? Is he locked in the woodshed? I'm guessing he's toast if Bush gets a second term, could W have offered the slot to McCain? (Would explain McCain's newfound coziness with the Bush folk). Just asking....


Apple's Golden Goose

Have You Gotten Your iPod Yet?

I've had my iPod for nearly a year now, it's transformed how I listen to music. I can carry my entire music collection with me where ever I go and can buy music when the mood strikes me. The market seems to like iPod too. When are you going to buy yours?


Meet Me in The Middle RADICAL CENTER.

As "values" emerge as top campaign issue for President Bush and Senator Kerry -- and as Republicans vow to push forward the gay marriage amendment again in the future -- it's easy to assume that we're entering another stage in the culture wars. Some pundits, however, say otherwise. Today's Wall Street Journal featured an editorial by Morris Fiorino, a Stanford political science professor. Fiorino rejects the "new consensus around the proposition that old disagreements about economics now pale in comparison to new divisions based on sexuality, morality, and religion." For Fiorino, the culture war is a theme that's been exaggerated by journalists and politicos to excite readers and voters. He points to research data, like a CBS poll that showed that 76% of Republicans, 87% of Democrats, and 86% of Independents "would like to see elected officials compromise more rather than stick to their principles," to prove that voters' positions have not become polarized. Rather, the Republican and Democrat elites that represent them have taken more radical positions. Fiorino’s piece echoes much of what Robert Samuelson wrote in his column for the Washington Post two weeks ago. Samuelson looked at a study done by Princeton University sociologist that concluded "the public actually has become more unified in attitudes toward race, gender and crime since the 1970s." Samuelson argued that the politics of the elected officials, party activists, advocates, highly engaged voters and commentators have become more radicalized -- and centrist voters, "who do not see the world in such uncompromising absolutes" have been turned off by that rhetoric.


Zero Sums

U.S. Treasury says likely to hit debt limit in Oct

Federal Debt in 2004


Federal Debt in 2000


The Bush Admninistration and the GOP Congress have added $1,7 Trillion dollars in debt in only four years. Now that's fiscal prudence!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


19 Votes Short

Well, it's over. I was wrong in thinking that the leadership would try to avoid this train wreck, but they moved forward and fell short by 19 votes. Haven't seen which Republicans voted against cloture, but the numbers indicate that more than just a few moderates joined in opposition.

It's be nice to think that the screeds and chicken littling on both sides will now ebb and the actual merits of the issue can be discussed, but I expect the rhetoric to just get nastier and the battle moves to the states, which of course was part of the master plan all along.

For today at least, the system works.


A Real Vote To Strengthen Families

D.C. Council Says City 'Would Be Worse Off' With Slots

Good for them. The disfunctional, but increasingly better government of the "Colony" of the District of Columbia (Home of the Elephant), votes to keep slots out. This is good for the District and its families. Let them put the slots in Maryland.


Is Our Military Becoming A Bunch of Pussies?

So sorry, a bad pun is sometimes inevitable.

Tabby Gets Military Rank After Iraq Tour


Maverick Watch

McCain: Same-sex marriage ban is un-Republican

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona broke forcefully with President Bush and the Senate GOP leadership Tuesday evening over the issue of same-sex marriage, taking to the Senate floor to call a constitutional amendment to prohibit the practice unnecessary -- and un-Republican.


Beep, Beep, Beep


Another good summary from

GAY MARRIAGE AMENDMENT VOTE HURTING SENATE LEADERSHIP. Last week -- sensing a solid victory in their attempt to kill the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage -- Senate Democrats leaders announced they would not fight GOP plans to bring the proposed amendment to a straight up-or-down floor vote on Wednesday. John Kerry and John Edwards even announced they would fly back to vote against it. Apparently, that wasn't what GOP leaders were counting on to take place, as they now have GOP Senators who support the amendment filibustering it on the Senate floor in order to block the up-or-down vote. Why? According to the AP, it's because they now fear that an absolute majority of the Senate will vote against the amendment (including Republican Senators Hagel, McCain, Lugar, Grassley, Campbell, Collins, Warner, Snowe, Chafee, and others). Now, it looks like the leadership will -- rather bizarrely -- call a vote to invoke cloture (i.e., "force" an end to the fake filibuster they are coordinating) so that they could then claim a mini-victory if 60 Senators voted to hold a vote on the amendment itself. Some Republicans want to hold votes on two versions of the amendment, even though no hearings were even held on one of the versions. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) says the vote this week is essential because same-sex marriage would be "the death knell of our society." Other GOP Senators want the vote cancelled entirely, feeling they should instead be working on issues relating to the economy and international matters. GOP leaders are reportedly worried they will even fall short of the 60 votes needed for cloture -- even though they are pressing amendment opponents to cast a party-line vote on the cloture question to avoid embarrassing President Bush. Regardless of how the vote goes down, everyone agrees the amendment will fall far short of passage. Amendment sponsor Wayne Allard (R-CO) said "I don't expect it to pass ... It's likely we will have to work on this amendment [in Congress] for several years." Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) also predicted the amendment would certainly fail, but vowed that it "absolutely" will "be back" again for another vote someday.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Wedge Issue For Who?

GOP split on marriage proposals

Yes, I'm soo getting tired of talking about FMA. Sooo much other critical issues to be addressed, but it's the only game in town, and I'm lazy. Here's another interesting development as discussed in the Moonie-Rag: The Washington Times.


9 Reasons from Reason

As mentioned before, Elephant has had the chance to work with the Reason Public Policy Institute on legislative issues in the past. This think tank is a good gauge on my flavor of republicanism, strong defense, accountable government, pro-business and more libertarian in its social views, but make no mistake, these folks are classic conservatives (as distinguished from religious conservatives). I have to say that I agreed with much of what was said in this posting.

Ten Reasons to Fire George W. Bush: And nine reasons why Kerry won't be much better


An Election Perspective

I found this on, totally cracked me up and pretty much how the campaigns will sound for the next few months.


What's Worse than Gambling?

An imperial Congress Tells DC to GFY Again

Gambling, a tough question for the libertarian minded. In the small town from in which my family lives an Indian casino opened up about five years ago. The county gets about 3% of the take 'for education." Talk about an education. Five years later the costs to the residents of the county far exceed the take from the casino. Divorces and domestic violence are up, forclosures have soared and yet the casino keeps on growing.

That's why I plan to vote against a ballot initiative to put a casino in DC. DC's come along way in the last 10 years. In nearly every part of the city, there's a vibrant renewal taking hold. So, gambling is the last thing we need. But, if that's the will of the voters of DC, then so be it. Of course Congress can't keep it's fingers out of our pie. Even if we the voters pass the referendum, Congress (were we have no vote) will likely veto it. Just like they did the medical marijuana act, and our domestic partnership registry. So excuse me if the President and Senate's call to let the people be heard on FMA rings a bit hollow.

Lawmakers Say Congress Won't Allow Slots in D.C.


Giving us the Business

Which Countries are Tops in Business?

The U.S. of course.,15114,662294,00.html?cnn=yes Swing State Update

The Indecisiveness Continues

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Independent polls from four states to report today. In Florida, the new WKMG-TV/SurveyUSA tracking poll shows Senator Kerry-47%, President Bush-44%. Bush won Florida by 0.01% in 2000. In Arkansas, Bush holds a lead over Kerry by a 49% to 47% vote, according to the new KTHV-TV/SurveyUSA poll. Bush won Arkansas by 6% in 2000. In Missouri, the latest KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA shows the gap between Bush and Kerry narrowing. The numbers: Bush-48%, Kerry-46%. Bush won MO by 4% in 2000. Finally, it seems like Virginia needs to be added into the list of battleground states according to the new WSLS-TV/SurveyUSA poll, as Bush's formerly overwhelming lead appears to have dwindled. The new numbers: Bush-50%, Kerry-45%. Bush won VA by 8-points in 2000.

More at


Cruel Summer Update: Insert Theme from "Jaws" Here

9/11 Panel Nears Completion of Report

After last weeks Senate report, which effectively killed the doctrine of pre-emption, guess what's waiting in the wings.,2933,125320,00.html


New Day, Same Old Problem

Ah Leadership

Despite having control of both houses of Congress, the GOP has been plagued by underachievement. Oh yes, they've passed the tax cut, followed by the confusing and expensive Medicare Drug coverage for seniors. But they've failed to pass any spending bills, an energy bill has died at least twice in conference. Now my dear old republicans can't agree on which version of the FMA to pass. Coincidence, I think not. Remember, the state ballot initiatives are part of their electoral strategy, they would be rendered redundant if the FMA moves through the Senate (and they'd be rendered void if it were ratified). So, more mucking it up by the 'leadership'.

Senate GOP Offers 2 Marriage Alternatives,2933,125456,00.html

Monday, July 12, 2004


High Theater & Foregone Conclusions

FMA Debate in the Senate is Theater, GOP Needs and Wants It to Fail

Is it just me or is the debate over the FMA turning kind of lame. I mean today I was surprised to see Senator Orin Hatch say he supports legal rights for gay men and women for things such as insurance, inheritance, etc. Nice. But was left scratching my head when he claimed that the definition of marriage has been unchanged for thousands of years, then went on to talk about his Grandfather who had three wives. Doens't that imply that the definition of marriage does change?

Anyway, none of this is important, because in order for the FMA to achieve its Rovian electoral strategy, it must fail. Passage would render impotent or at least weaken the need for any state level gay marriage ban initiatives which have been put on the ballot in a handful of swing states. The goal isn't to pass FMA, but to continue to manufacture a psuedo-marriage crisis to rally the troops for the fall election. For that reason, everything your seeing this week is high in drama, but low in susbtance. The GOP needs FMA to fail to scare social conservatives to the ballot box on election day because they have nothing else to offer in terms of accomplishments.

Expect the crisis to be taken to the next level when FMA fails to pass the Senate and the social conservative wing of the GOP urges voters to go to the polls to pass initiatives in thier own states. This could have been an interesting debate over a fascinating issue of religious values, conservative principles, states rights and federalism...a chance for true leadership in finding a way to unite our country on a very divisive issue, unfortunately its merely machinations of the Bush re-election machine.

Sunday, July 11, 2004


Is That Smoke Coming Out of the Reichstag?

I've been tired of hearing the screed from the left on how Bush is an Imperial President. I supported his invasion of Iraq on grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and am left scratching my head over the fall out discussed below. Clearly, even though I've spent a good deal of my career working for republicans or republican leaning organizations, I've been disappointed by Bush's "leadership' on spending, the economy, growing the size of government and such. I don't think he's the devil incarnate, I just don't particularly get excited about his particular flavor of republicanism. (As if my bias isn't apparent in my previous writing) But what is more and more alarming is when the government comes out with announcements like this.

Election Day delay options discussed

On one hand, I suppose the old Boy Scout adage to "be prepared" is a good policy. Have a process in place to initiate a return to normal if something dreadful happens.

But, what level of dreadful are we talking about? Another 9/11 event? A nuclear explosion? Who would get to decide? Ridge? The CIA? A bi-partisan commission? How long would the delay be? Would Bush and Kerry be allowed to campaign during the delay and if not who would decide? It seems this leaves the door open to devilish manipulation, even if not today, than by some future unnamed leader that represents everything you the reader despises.

The greater question that needs to be asked (By liberals and conservatives) is under this 'plan' who exactly gets to decide to take away our collective right to bicker among ourselves, than cast a ballot for our favorite candidate? Hobbes wrote of a powerful creature created by man called Leviathan (for the uninitiated Leviathan is government), we all have to be wary of its power.

Yes, discussing options is good, but something about this makes me think of the Emperor in Star Wars saying he really doesn't want to be the Emperor and he'll return his powers as soon as he can. We all know what happened after that.


News From Novak

Conservative Commentator and Curmudgeon Robert Novak writes, and I quote:

"Moderate Republican senators grumble that some longtime contributors are refusing their usual contribution to the Republican presidential campaign. Their biggest grievance: Bush's endorsement of the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment."

Yup, some of us recognize that the true conservative principle is to encourage people (straight or gay) to care for each other rather than rely on the government to do it for them, especially if the only cost involved is granting them a handful of legal rights.


Kang Sayz: Holy, Flircking Shnit!

Drudge is reporting a link between Enron, Delay and Texas redistricting..... From his initial post, it seems this issue could be nuclear, but Drudge would never hype the news, would he? (Wink).

Looking forward to seeing what this is all about.


Beep, Beep, Beep....

That's the ubiquitous noise made by a variety of vehicles backing up. It's also apparently the noise Lynn Cheney made on Sunday. (See Linked Story). I think this is a case of a mother speaking from the heart and I commend her for it.

Lynne, Dick Cheney Differ on Gay Marriage

So, what's the debate in the Senate all about now?

If the votes for FMA aren't there, drop it and move onto more important issues like the deficit, social security and terrorism. I know the strategy is to get Dems. and moderate Republicans on record against FMA to use against them in the election, and to motivate social conservatives, but now those who are accused of opposing FMA can point to both Dick Cheney and Lynn Cheney's position. Puts the administration in a corner if you ask me and of course it may now appear that Bush & Co. aren't standing firm, which will alienate, not motivate social conservatives. As I've said before, FMA will back fire for the Republicans.

Thanks Lynne!

Friday, July 09, 2004


Hiding Behind the FMA Debate

Missing the Real Issues

"The debate over many aspects of the U.S. liberation of Iraq will likely continue for decades," said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), the chairman of the committee. "But one fact is now clear: before the war, the U.S. intelligence community told the president, as well as the Congress and the public, that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and, if left unchecked, would probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade. Today we know these assessments were wrong."


"Death toll for U.S.-led coalition in Iraq tops 1,000"

No wonder they started debating FMA today. Better to scare people about same-sex marriage and how its going to destroy society rather than on the Administration's mistakes and true threats that actually could destroy our society. The media and the Democrats should make hay out of this and rightly so.


FMA Debate: finally, A point that I understand

Senator Shelby Gets It: It's About Equal Protection

Leave it to a Senator from Alabama to get it right. Perhaps he learned from the legacy of Jim Crowe. Shelby notes correctly that it's about Equal Protection, treating people who are equally situated, in an equal manner. It's a constitutional guarantee, so you can't legislate around it. You'll have to amend the constitution itself.

Yes, the amendment is about denying gay men and women equal protection under the law. His rationale is that this is needed to protect "traditional marriage", I disagree, but at least he gets points for acknowledges what he's doing.

Wait, no he's saying if FMA doesn't pass, we'll have high unemployment, high out of birth wedlock, socialism... Sigh...


The FMA Debate: Initial Report

Wow, this is really fascinating. I've got C-Span running in the background on my desktop, listening to the debate. So far I've heard from Senator Gordon Smith. Senator Smith gave a very cogent and well thought out argument discussing his thoughts on marriage, how his grandparents were polygamists and how their were discriminated against in their beliefs on marriage. Not what I call a winning argument, but it was sincere and thoughtful.

Now Orin Hatch is up. I don't think he's doing a particularly good job. In fact I think he's doing substantial damage to the GOP's claims that this is not about the presidential race. He's focused on Kerry's position, Edwards position, Gephardts position and other current and former Democratic Presidential Candidates comments on the issue now and in the past. Wait isn't this about marriage? Hang it up Orin, there's much better arguments for FMA that this....


How to Bury Bad News

CIA Report to Focus on Iraq Intel Failures,2933,125123,00.html

Senate to Debate Marriage Amendment

On the same day that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee releases a report on what went wrong with our intelligence on Iraq, Frist starts debate on the FMA. Which do you think will get the headlines?

Also, I'm still sanguine that a vote will be delayed. It's much easier to use the issue to shake down proponents and opponents of the FMA for campaign cash if the bill is still alive. Color me cynical.


Who is Jane Galt?

She Sums It Up Nicely

I find that discussions of court rulings on abortion and sodomy laws are overheated with personal attacks and moral characterization of legal interpretations. These are difficult discussions to have at the dinner table. In the heat of the discussion lines often begin to blur between:

What the constitution or jurisprudence actually says;
What I'd like it to say;
What someone else would like it to say;
What ought not to be a law (in my opinion), but is constitutional;
What is not constitutional, and therefore also ought not to be a law;
What ought to be a law, but not necessarily a constitutional right;

While I'm not on board with all of her thinking here, she's pretty close to the Elephant in her thinking...and offers an interesting view on personal autonomy issues.



The Homo-eroticism of Matt Drudge.

Dear Matt,

I love you website, mostly because of your copious links to political writers of all strips. But dude, why are you so obessed with John Kerry and John Edwards? A mean healines like "Can't Keep Their Hands Off Each Other"....etc. Last time I checked, these guys are married and have about twice as many kids between them as GWB and DC. Yes, yes, we all love the good joke about how all liberals are pinko-communist fags, but the Simpson's covered that much better about 6 years ago. Me thinks you doth protest too much.

All the Best,

The Elephant


The Federal Government: The Ultimate Trial Lawyer

The Federal Government Should Get off Tabacco's Back

A lot of rhetoric is flying about how John Edwards is an 'evil' trial lawyer. Hey, even though I'm a lawyer, I too am disturbed by how litiginous a society we've become. In fact, I'm attempting to pull down all the cases in which John Edwards was counsel on so I can see if he was really helping the little guy.

But what drives me crazy, is at the same time the federal government wants to limit my ability to sue a coporation, it's engaged in the same sort of high stakes, big money litigation it so heartedly criticizes. Does it matter that the enemy is tobacco? I say no.

The federal government could, with a stroke of a pen, outlaw tobacco products in this country. If the damage caused by tobacco is as costly as they claim, they probably should. But while subsidizing tobacco growing on one hand, allowing the legal sale of tobacco, then turning around a suing the industry for $200 billion seems a bit wacky to me. Outlaw the stuff, or let people take responsibility for their personal choices.

Economist has the goods:

Thursday, July 08, 2004


A New October Surprise, or Just Conspiracy Theory

Mama, Mama, We're All Crazy Now

A lot of very rational friends of mine have been saying this for almost a year. That the administration will announce that it has captured Osama Bin Laden sometime in October, echoing the famous October suprise of 1980, when Regan allies secretly negotiated the release of American hostages (in exchange for arms as it turned out). What's so suprising about this rumor/theory is that it seems to have so much traction amoung the elites here in DC, both Dem. and Rep.

If it turns out to be true, it would be freaky. But I, for one, doubt it.


Ridge predicting al Qaeda attack, winning lotto numbers.

Al Qaeda plans a large-scale attack on the United States "in an effort to disrupt the democratic process" before November's elections, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Thursday. Really?! Duh.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, speaking before the briefing, said the intelligence was "very non-specific" and there was "no reason for panic, no reason for paralysis."

"The reality is of increased risk here in the homeland over the next several weeks, the next several months," Frist said.

Yeah, don't worry about the terrorist, but panic about same-sex marriage.

But always good to be prepared I suppose.


FMA Vote Delay?

Elephant Still Thinks Delay Possible, Christian Coalition Agrees

As mentioned, Elephant thinks there'll be an 11th hour postponement on the Federal Marriage Amendment, although everything I'm hearing from the Hill this week says its still on. I'm just happy to see that I'm not the only one who feels this way. It seems the Christian Coaltion agrees that a delay is possible and even likely. Perhaps they are begining to understand that the some of the FMA proponets are merely using this effort as an excuse to get them to vote.

Money quote:

Although Sen. Frist has scheduled debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment for the week of July 12, some conservatives fear that an actual vote on the FMA may be postponed until after the election -- so lawmakers won't have to take a public stand on the controversial issue before voters go to the polls in November.

The Christian Coalition of America believes that senators will "use every procedural tactic that they can think up" to delay casting a vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment.


From the "Tastes Like Chicken Department"


Potempkin Village Follow Up

National Review Questions GOP Convention Line Up

Moderate, Libertarian Republicans seem only to be welcome at the party during election time...Pitty.


If George Can Do it?

If GW can be President without any experience in national office, than certainly John Edwards can, I don't think experience is Edwards problem, it's his ideology. I kind of liked this cartoon...


Kerry Does His Best To Squander VP Bounce

Someone Please Tell Senator Kerry to Focus

Kerry seems to be doing his best to limit the bounce in the polls by saying silly things like this....

"I want you to know we think this is a dream ticket. We've got better vision. We've got better ideas. We've got real plans. We've got a better sense of what's happening to America," Kerry said.

"And," Kerry added with a grin, "We've got better hair. I'll tell you, that goes a long way."

Can either party focus on issues like the budget, national security, social security and health care?


What exactly does $400 Billion Get Us?

This question continues to haunt me. We spend more than the rest of the world combined on our armed forces, yet can't seem to maintain enough troops to see through the occupation of Iraq and keeping sufficient troops in Afaganistan. Where our are tax dollars going? Congress is now asking some questions about the military's readiness. Good for them.

Lawmakers: Reserves Stretched to Limit


Bush to Veto Spending Bill?!

Breadth of Government Power, not Spending at Issue

I saw this headline today and my first reaction was, Go George! It's about time he took as strong a line against spending as he did against Saddam. But alas, the veto isn't over out of control spending, but rather efforts to reduce some of the more KGB/Black Helicopter provisions of the Patriot Act.

You know George, if you have the courage to stand up to the world on Iraq, shouldn't you have the same courage to stand up to the free spending big government Republicans in Congress? Sadly, the answer seems to be no.

White House Threatens Veto on Spending Bill

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Are You Worthy?

Take The Citizenship Test

Ok, it's a slow day in the office. I stumbled across this, a sampling of questions taken from the U.S. Citizenship test. Let me know how you do, Elephant got 11/11.


I'm now free to move about the country

Hmmm...I'm a big fan of Southwest Airlines. Granted I don't like to fly Southwest as I'm not a big fan of their cattle call seating, but I do like their aggressive competition, it lowers fares across the board in any airport they operate. Take Baltimore-Washington International Airport, they've grown into one of the fastest growing facilities due in large part to the presence of Southwest. Throw in their competitors like JetBlue and America West and you can see why United and US Air are scared. Four years ago I would have had to pay $400 to $500 for a roundtrip ticket to LAX, now I rarely pay over $300.

Southwest to reduce airfares systemwide up to 65%


Cruel Summer Update:

Well, it looks like events are actually going much better than expected so far for the President. Gas prices eased a bit, but are likely to go back up. Iraq's transition is going suprisingly well (thank goodness!), and the economy is doing, not great but ok. However, Elephant still predicts that tough days are ahead for BC04. First, the 9/11 Commission report will soon be released, second oil prices are going back up, third, Kerry's choice of Edwards could put Virginia and North Carolina in play(emphasis in could) or at least force BC04 to spend more money there.

Look for higher gas prices before long

Sept. 11 Panel Repeats Iraq-Osama Tie Weak
But, the economy is still chugging ahead.

Economy Set for Best Growth in 20 Years

This mix of bad and good news will certainly help continue to the running split in the polls.


John McCain: Traitor, Savior, Maveric

How can you not like John McCain. A month ago, House Speaker Dennis Hastert was berating him for not understanding the sacrifices our soldiers are making in Iraq, and suggested that he go and visit so he could learn, all because he had the courage to say the Republicans need to get a handle on the deficit. Yesterday he was the star of a new, and actually pretty good, Bush-Cheney commercial. Shameless, yet fun.



Tuesday, July 06, 2004


First They Came for the Napster

Could the Law of Unintended Consequences Kill the iPod?

The music companies have been working hard to fight the illegal distribution of copyrighted music through on-line peer-to-peer networks for some time now. They've sued teenagers and grandparents and college kids, folks who probably don't have the resources to hire an attorney to defend themselves. Now the music industry is taking their battle back to Capitol Hill to get even tougher penalties on for copyright infringement. (Apparently the $150,000/song from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act aren't enough), they're trying to extend liability to networks and manufactures for customers who use pirated songs on their products. Great way to kill innovation guys.


All Things Just Keep Gettin' Better...In DC

Killings in D.C. at 20-Year Low Point

Well, we don't have a vote in Congress and we've recently had a convicted felon as a mayor, but things continue to look up in the city I call home. The housing market continues to sizzle, more and more folks are looking at DC as a place to live, and shops and cafes continue to open up at a rapid pace. 14th Street between Mass. and U. streets is emerging as the new hip area to shop, eat and see a band, the change is so remarkable considering that just a few years ago 14th street was one of those areas you went to only to go to the "Black Cat" to see a really good band.

Now the WaPo is reporting that our murder rate is at a 20 year low. Horray!


Lowering Expectations

Kerry Soon To Have Big Lead, Says Bush Campaign.

In a mass emailing to supporters, the Bush campaign on Monday sent a warning that they should expect Kerry to move out to a wide lead in national polls by the end of the month. The email -- entitled "Campaign Memo: Expected Kerry Bounce" -- was issued in the name of Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd. "An examination of Gallup polls in presidential elections since 1976 reveals that a challenger's Vice Presidential selection and nominating convention can have a dramatic (if often short-lived) effect on the head-to-head poll numbers. In fact, historical analysis suggests John Kerry should have a lead of more than 15 points coming out of his convention," wrote Dowd. The email even contained a set of charts that showed the two men tied at 47% apiece right now but projected Kerry to grab a 55% to 40% lead by the first week of August. While those numbers seen a bit exaggerated -- likely in a move to claim a victory by "surpassing expectations" -- the Bush campaign is sending a message that the race dynamics are shifting. To help blunt the impact of Kerry's short-term momentum, the Bush campaign is expected to launch a new TV spot this week featuring Senator John McCain -- which is also intended to subtly remind voters that whomever Kerry selects for VP this week was really his second choice.


Monday, July 05, 2004


Don't Bother Me, I'm Watchng TAR-5!

Elephant's favorite show starts tonight on CBS. The Amazing Race 5, sorta like Survivor, but the teams don't just sit around they race around the world! Check it out, it's worth watching.


Summer Reading

Geesh, Elephant is so used to ordering books from that he forgot how hard it can be to find a book in an actual bookstore. In my aimless wandering around the city this weekend, I've been searching for a book titled, "The Future and It's Enemies" by Virginia Postrel. Four book stores later, I got my copy!

I've only read the back jacket, but I'm dying for some down time to peruse this baby. Postrel basically looks at how people adapt to the creative evolution of our society by creating a continuum anchored by those advocating stasis (everything is good, let's keep everything the same) and those advocating dynamic change (We can do better). What will be interesting to see is if the author examines how people cross over from one category to another on different issues. I'm also looking forward to seeing how Postrel's theories synthesize with the recently hot "The Rise of the Creative Class" by Richard Florida.

A full, and hopefully interesting report is forthcoming.


All Bets Are Off on FMA

Elephant is going to go out on a limb (which is dangerous for elephants) and predict that the Senate vote on FMA will not go forward as indicated next week. With the mediocre economic news, Kerry's pending announcement of a VP, and the reported lack of support for the measure a rational party leader pull back and continue to"work" the issue.

A vote that fails, or even fails to get a simple majority on a cloture motion would be a hit to the Republicans who could easily be painted as using gay men and women as a red herring for the lack of real conservative accomplishments during the last four years. Even more important, keeping the FMA alive by delaying a vote (even if the day never comes) will make it easier for the President and his socially conservative allies to scare the bejessuz out of the social right to get them to the polls. After all, the underlying reason for the amendment and the vote is to stir up the base which you can't do if the amendment is still born. FMA is, among other things, one of the pillars of Carl Rove's divide and conquer electoral strategy, Bush, et. al. need to keep stoking the fires and a July vote won't serve their purposes. But then again maybe it will....

Friday, July 02, 2004


It's Just a Little Lie About Sex....Is That So Wrong?!

As I mentioned before, I think Jack Ryan got a raw deal, but when you align yourself with a party that is increasingly puritanical, you really shouldn't be surprised. I mean after all, when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Lawrence v. Texas and legalized private consensual, nonprocreative sex between adults, you had Senator Santorum out their saying that he doesn't think you have a right to sexual privacy.

Anyway, here's Mr. Ryan's quote, it actually made me laugh out loud.

"I think we need more people going to Washington, D.C., who want to engage in marital relations with their wives. I think that's a good thing for this country, not a bad thing."

Hello! Don't you just love quotes like that. I mean who wouldn't agree with that statement? But that's not the issue and Ryan knows it. The issue was wanting to have public sex with his wife, apparently against her wishes and then try to sweep it under the rug. In other words, Ryan is saying..."Hey, it's just a little lie about sex, is that so bad?" Well, the GOP seems to think so, the only other politician I know who recently told a "little" lie about sex was impeached.

Go back to your do-good-by-day, do-others-by-night Mr. Ryan, we don't need you lame spin.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


Don't Harsh His Mellow!

At last, an arch-conservative who gets it!


Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great.


Weekend Reading

Just in case the blogging slows over the holidays, here's some weekend reading for you to enjoy.

The Last Traffic Jam: Too many cars, too little oil. An argument for the proposition that "less is more" (Atlantic Montly, 1972! What they were saying 30 years ago)

The future is still smart (The Economist)

A Confederacy of Dunces


Deficits (Trade and Fiscal) Do Matter II:

Elephant, from time to time talks about his concerns that our free spending government and trade deficit could come back to haunt us soon with an Argentina like currency devaluation. I've even discussed this issue with an economist that works in my building. (Yes, in DC people are actually employed as economists). What makes up different from other countries is that we buy so much stuff from everyone that it would be bad for all if or when these imbalances are 'corrected.' But this can't go on forever.

Here's a good perspective on what I'm trying to say.

America: the world's biggest hedge fund


Campaign 2004: Upcoming Events


Many interesting events coming up in the next few weeks that should shake up the consistently neck and neck poll numbers for Bush/Kerry. First, Kerry should be announcing his pick for VP, which some are saying could be as early as next week. Then in the second week in July, Senator First and his sidekick Senator Santorum are pushing for a vote on FMA (Although recent reports seem to indicate that even Republicans are jumping ship on this and may again be put off). Then the Democratic Convention....

My thoughts on the impact:

Kerry VP Pick: gets Kerry some free media attention he desperately needs, helps numbers.
FMA: Republicans give in to Far Right and Social Conservatives to vote to "Save Marriage," America yawns, effort sidelined. Effort hurts Bush with Moderates/Undecideds

DEM CON:List of liberal rival speakers could suprise us with a clear message and vision for America...yeah right....small or no bounce for Kerry.


Again I ask, "Where are our defense dollars going?"!

If we're dipping into the retirement pool for soldiers what does that say about our military readiness?! We as a nation spend upwards of $400 billion dollars a year on defense (more than the entire developed world, plus China, combined) and we can only field a ground force of 100,000? Is the new plan to send Granpa Simpson to Iraq to bore insurgents with stories of how the Kaiser stole our word for "Twenty" and how he wore an onion on his belt?

Many questions. Any answers out there?

Army Putting Ex-Soldiers Into Uniform,2933,124278,00.html


Endangered Companies: Part I

Kmart is one of those companies that looms large in our collective cultural consciousness. "Blue Light Special - Aisle 4!" But in our less filling/tastes great-coke or Pepsi, liberal/conservative bifurcated world, is their still a place for this aging giant in the bi-polar market of Target and Wal-Mart?

Sadly, Kmart is still struggling and doesn't seem to stand out as a great place to shop - Wal-marts are cheap and Targets are fun...What is Kmart other than the place my parents or maybe grandparents shop? Markets change, tastes change and companies must adopt or perish. Looks like Kmart should be on the endangered list.

Sears to buy up to 54 Kmart stores for $621M


Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Fireworks

Elephant is finding it hard to stay focused at the office as we head toward the holiday weekend. Maybe that's because he's working on some really tedious contract writing projects or maybe its because the weekend will be filled with cookouts, lounging and fireworks. Either way, he can't wait until Friday! Blogging will most likely go on hiatus until Monday...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?