Thursday, September 30, 2004
Damn That Pesky Constitution!
Four, three and maybe even two years ago, I would have laughed at any liberal inclined person who asserted that the President or the GOP had no respect for the Constitution. "Get a job, Hippie!" I'd likely say.
But, sadly like France being right about Iraq, it's looking like criticisms of the GOP's lack of respect for the Constitution is both fair and accurate.
One need look no farther than the agenda the past two weeks in the House of Representatives. First, they passed legislation stripping all federal courts (even the Supreme Court) of jurisdiction to hear cases involving the pledge of allegiance. Second, they voted on the flag burning amendment. Today, they're voting on the Federal Marriage Amendment to override decisions by local legislature on same-sex marriage and to deny gay men and women equal protection under the law. You've got wacky Allen Keyes (and Zell Miller...not technically a republican) calling for the repeal of direct election of Senators.
To top it all off, the powers that be continue to appeal decisions that have struck down the ability of the feds to conduct secret searches of your computer, phone records and who knows what else- with disregard to Constitutional protections against unwarranted search and seizures.
To say I'm disappointed is an understatement and to make it worse it angers me that these attacks on the constitution only serve to lend credibility to whack jobs like Michael Moore and such.
Stuck in the Middle with You.
I'll say it again. I can't think of a single policy, position or act that would deem the current President worthy of reelection. And Kerry, yes Kerry, showing us that desite all the aminmostity toward Bush on both sides of the aisle, failure is still an option. I am hoping tonights debates make things a little more exciting and competitive. If not, I'm writing in my mother on the ballot for President.
While I was at the DMV to change the address on my drivers license, I updated my voter regisatration too. After reading about the imperailism in the House today (FMA, Gun Law Repeal) I decided to switch my party identification to Independent. I still cling to the ideals of limited government, accountable federal agencies, lower taxes and balanced budgets, I'm just not sure if the GOP does anymore. The President talks alot about principle, too bad he doesn't seem to care for the principles that once made the GOP a great party.
Just as an example:
Since 2001, overall government spending has risen 23 percent. Defense
spending at Congress's discretion has increased 48 percent, while non-defense
spending has jumped 27 percent.
The revolution is dead, now all that matters is holding the majority by any means necessary, even if they're contrary to the ideals of the party.
Success at last. Changed my address on my drivers license (20 minutes) and finally secured a permit for a fence at my new house. Thus, the delay in posting this morning. Sorry!
For Elephant, this isn't an issue about the appropriateness or efficacy of gun control measures, but rather about respect for the decisions of a democratically elected local government and respect for acts and measures they pass. DC resident's, through their elected representatives voted to pass one of the more stricter gun control laws in the country. Whether it works or not is immaterial, if it has not been ruled unconstitutional, it's our burden as residents to change it. Not some fifty year-old white representative from Indiana. Republicans used to care about and respect federalism, holding firm to the belief that central authority is not a good substitute for local decision making. But then again, the Republican party used to mean a lot of things they don't seem to care about anymore...like democracy.
Yes, my local government may be laughable, but it's mine and Congress has no right to meddle in their affairs any more than they do to screw with Chicago, Des Moines or any other place.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Whada Know...They ARE Watching Me!
"The tests are designed to determine how effective the electro-optical and
infrared cameras are at detecting potentially threatening movements on the
Yes, threatening movements like reaching from that "Kerry-Edwards" lever on November 2nd."
Foxnews Takes on the Surrogates Question
Military strategist Sun Tzu is credited with suggesting to keep one's friends close and one's enemies closer. But how close â€” or far away â€” does one keep political allies during an election year?
While Rome Burns....
Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the mighty oak tree, but with a majority of the appropriations bills still unpassed, federal spending out of control, intelligence reform pending...you'd think the House would have some more important legislation to bring to the floor.
If I Were A Terrorist: (Which I'm Not)
Last night I was reflecting on the comments by Attorney General Ashcroft that a terror attack was likely between now the the inauguration. I think he's right. But while most pundits have been shouting "Madrid!", I think the terrorists could throw a wrench in our gears that would cause much more damage than a train bombing before the election.
Take the 2000 election for example. It was weeks of litigation before we knew who our next president would be. What if the terrorists had hit us hard during those weeks? Would there be a rush to install someone, anyone regardless of the cost to the integrity of the system? Maybe.
This years election, at least today, looks like it will be a photo finish ala 2000. The margins are small and litigation could follow (Bush and Kerry supposedly have attorneys ready to go in nearly ALL voting districts in the US). What if we're in another 2000 situatation. One candidate is leading by only 500 votes in Florida while the terms of the recount are being litigated. Then suddenly another massive terrorist attack. How long before the Bushites or Kerryians would begin to argue that because of the new crisis we need to just stay the course and scrap the recount. Would the looser cry "Coup!" And could we maintain national unity in such a situation.
The 2000 election highlighted the fragility of our democracy when the electoral results fall with in the margin of error of our voting systems. A similar result, coupled with a well timed terror attack, would be a great way for our enemies to cripple faith in our political institutions.
MLB in DC? Thanks, but no Thanks
Major League Baseball in DC? That's the word this morning as plans are afoot to announce that the downtrodden Montreal Expos are heading for our burg. But what gets under Elephants skin is the proposed $400 million plus, publicly financed stadium. Study after study has concluded that there is little return on the public investment for professional baseball stadiums. The Mackinaw Center, a conservative Michigan think tank put it best in saying...
Government subsidies for professional sports stadiums are not only
economically unsound, they are unfair to sports fans and non-fans alike.
DC as a city has come a long way in the last ten years. Housing is booming, the streets are measurable safer and businesses are investing in previously run down areas. But we still have a long way to go. Our schools usually rank last in national statistics, our subway system is underfunded and crumbling as are our roads. Resident's in South East, the poorest quarter of the city has inadequate health care services, shopping areas, and poor public safety. It makes no sense for DC to cough up $400 million in public money to build a stadium for a group of private investors (that includes Elephant acquaintance David Bradley) to make money.
My message to the DC Council? Go sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.
Subsidizing Baseball: The Mackinaw Center
WaPo: Baseball in DC:
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
$50-Elephant was Off by a Month
So, with oil heading into record territory, it begs the question...Is it the end of cheap oil? I doubt it, but it looks like political instablity in oil producing countries will keep prices up for a while. So what's the fuss all about. Are we running out of oil as the alarmists say? Or not?
The End of Cheap Oil (partial article from Nat. Geo.)
The End of Cheap Oil (This one has graphs so it must be accurate...wink).
Or as Elephant's older brother put it. "If the war in Iraq is about oil, where's my $1/gal. premium?"
WMD: This Sums It Up Nicely
It's Banned Books Week!
I must say that some of the titles on this list don't suprise me, like "Daddies Roomate". But others leave me sadden. I mean can anybody tell me why "Huck Finn" and "Of Mice and Men" are in the top ten?
Top 20 Banned Books:
Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddyâ€™s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Itâ€™s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Dieby Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earthâ€™s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
The full list here:
The Florida Vote
Former President Carter thinks it may be.
Jane Galt says wait a minute.
Cell Phone or Metro, Which is More Annoying?
Elephant says good for the police officer. Of course I wasn't there and don't know whose telling the truth, but frankly aren't we all tried of oblivious cell phone talkers who pollute our commute? How many times on my short commute must I listen to someone halfway across the car loudly talking about a great deal they got on tub socks?
On the other hand there's Metro. DC's once proud subway system. Last night my 20 minute commute took more than an hour, with no announcement of why there was a delay. So maybe Ms. Cell phone talker was just calling home and swearing about the continued decline in service and increasing fares of DC's troubled subway.
Read the story and decide.
Monday, September 27, 2004
What is this? Sugar molecules drifting in space? How long before it gets blamed for the rise in childhood obesity? More improtantly, can I get a couple teaspoons of that in my double shot expresso latte?
Space Sugar a Clue to Life's Origins
You Say It's Your Birthday?!
Elephant turns 35 today. Other things that are 35 years old?
-The Brady Bunch
The Petroleum Reserve: Hurricane's Yes, Iraq No!
Is this a flip-flop on Bush's part? Back in the summer, Elephant called on the President to release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve as instability in Iraq pushed prices into the mid $40/bbl range. But President Bush choose not to do so and the voting public seemed to take higher gas prices in stride and even Elephant seemed to agree that we should probably keep filling rather than tapping the reserves.
Now oil prices are back in the range they were this summer, but strangely, Bush is releasing supplies from the petroleum reserve. The difference? This time a hurricane, rather than Middle East instability is the reported cause for prices spikes.
The Bush administration announced Thursday it would provide U.S. refineries with "limited quantities" of crude oil from the nation's emergency stockpile to help offset supply disruptions along the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Ivan.
As opposed to a few months ago when the line was:
â€œit would weaken the country in its war on terrorâ€�
Maybe the difference is the election is just around the corner. Politics, you gotta love it.
Where are Kerry's Surrogates?
Sunday, September 26, 2004
The Home Stretch
Wow! I can't believe that the first presidential debate is this week! This is it people, the best part of the whole campaign. No hiding behind memo's or swift boat advertisements, no silly commercials. Just two men, two podiums and lots of questions. And I am telling you I can't wait to see it unfold. Kerry has his last opportunity to present himself as a vaild alternative to Bush's much criticized leadership. Bush, whose ability is always underestimated (or misunderestimated as he puts it) has the chance to clearly articultate the current situation in Iraq, why we are there, what it means and what his vision of the future is all about. This could be a great show, perhaps the best reality show on television.
Friday, September 24, 2004
AP is reporting that in an interview on 60 minutes, Fox News Firebrand Bill O'Reilly divulges the following:
He said he is pro-gun control, against the death penalty, for civil unions and for gay adoption (as a last resort instead of state custody). And O'Reilly said he's not necessarily voting for President Bush this November.
"I've known (Democratic presidential nominee John) Kerry for 25 years. He's a patriot. I'm listening to what he has to say," he tells Wallace.
Of course it's on 60 minutes, so maybe its just all made up. Either way it tells the Elephant that he's not alone in being on the edge.
On Track for a Record Month!
I must admit, the last month or so has been hard in terms of coming up with tid-bits to blog about. I'm getting tired of ranting about President Bush, although I think much of the criticism is deserved. At the same time, this little blog is and continues to be a nice little outlet for my thoughts and creative urges. I'm really flattered that at some level you all find something amusing or entertaining about it and I welcome any questions or suggestions for future postings.
Again, thanks for tuning in.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Ride on the Peace Train - or Not?
So, the system allegedly kind of works. I think that's the message we're supposed to take from the recent expulsion from the U.S. of the former Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam. I admit, I don't know much about the current life of Mr. Islam, but I'm vaguely aware of spending hours listening to his albums and watching "Harold and Maude" in an 'altered' state during my college years. Funny thing is that it's being reported that Mr. Islam is actually (or maybe was) a strong supporter of Mr. Bush's policy to fight terrorism. Unfortunately, his crime seems to be having chosen a name that strikes me as possibly being quite common in the Muslim world. What's next? Deporting Bob and Carol Smith as they are trying to return from Tuscany?
As an American-born Muslim of Pakistani heritage and a strong supporter of the Bush administration's essential thesis that it is better to go after the terrorists wherever they hide than to let them migrate to our shores and attack us, I am outraged by the actions of our government in detaining and deporting Mr. Islam. I do not and have never condoned the terrorist activities of Hamas in Israel or anywhere else, nor have I ever supported such groups with a penny of my money.
Another bold move by our government, which to date does not have a single successful terrorist prosecution under its belt. Constitution-Smonstitution I say.
Anne Applebaum gets it right about Big Media. They think more of themselves than we think of them. She also talks about the rising influence of the blogoshpere and its impact on Big Media. For all of us that have suffered through 'news' stories where news anchors interview other news anchors about the news, this article is for you.
Uber-Blogger Andrew Sullivan's pat on the back to himself and other bloggers.
"Bloggers have no checks and balances. [It's] a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas." JONATHAN KLEIN, former senior executive of 60 Minutes, on Fox News.
Listening To Kerry
Elephant agrees with Andrew McCarthy (and not just because of his staring role in the movie "mannequin") that Kerry is on to something in attacking Bush on Iraq. Money quote:
[L]est we forget, what we started was about the vital protection of the United States, not about remaking the World.
With this message will Kerry pierce Bush's Achilles heel, or will it be his swan song?
When will secularism be allowed in the public square?
Another Empty Veto Threat from the President
The White House is threatening to veto yet another spending bill. Elephant was happy to hear this, holding out the slimest hope that Bush had "found religion" on fiscal issues and come back to the tradtional Republican fold. But alas, it wasn't to be. The threatened veto is over the House's plan to ease travel restrictions and family visits to that evil nation....Cuba.
Which begs the question: What makes Cuba so different and more 'evil' than any of the other remaining communist nations like Vietnam, China & Laos? (North Korea is bad news...I get it.). And what makes it soo bad that normal folk like Elephant can't visit, but Congressional Staffers, journalists and other elites can line up for junkets to this lost island nation?
Oh yeah, some 20-odd electoral votes in Florida that could be lost by alienating the Cuba lobby.
The Man Who Knew
Last night I caught the tail end of a rerun of "The Man Who Knew" on Frontline. A great story about John O'Neill, an FBI operative who specialized in Al Qaeda. He was very close to putting all the clues to the 9/11 attacks together before he was chased out of the bureau. A great story that raises some interesting questions about what we knew before 9/11 and if we could have stopped it.
(Full video on the site for those with broad band connections)
The Next War
Lots of news lately about Iran and its nuke program. It's interesting that both Iran and North Korea allegedly have a weapons program that is at an advanced stage, yet we invade Iraq which didn't. Yes, I believe that Iraq was in violation of over a dozen U.N. resolutions, but it really does seem to me that with out military engaged in Iraq, that our options of dealing with true threats like Iran and North Korea are now limited. Despite all his protestations and rosy scenarios, I think one could make a strong argument that the U.S. is less safe in a post Sadaam world.
What's even more intersting is that a larger conflict in the middle east could happen without the U.S. taking any action against Iran. Isreal is unlikely to let Iran go nuclear and any Isreali attack (ala its bombing of an Iraq nuclear reactor in the 1980s) could trigger a wider conflict. Oh Joy!
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
No Wonder Marion Barry Smokes Crack
I'm just wondering if my experiences with DC government are typical of a large municipality or just another one of those things (like crack smoking mayors) that are unique to my area?
It's now officially been a month since I requested a city issued garbage can.
I've been calling the Mayor's City Services Line and keep getting different answers as to why it hasn't been delivered.
(As a note to the reader, the city will only pick up your trash if it is in a city issued supercan).
On the first call I was told there should already be a supercan at the house. I explained that the house was previously abandoned and rehabilitated and that, as a result, there was no can when I moved in. There was a long awkward pause on the other end of the phone. "I don't think you can get a can then..." I hang up.
Calls Number 2 to 6:
The Supercan will be delivered on Tuesday (Which Tuesday?)
The Supercan takes at least a week for delivery.
The Supercan takes at least 15 business days for delivery.
Although the Supercan usually takes 15 business days for delivery, a problem with the contractor who produces the can is causing delays, your new supercan will be delivered in 15 business days.
If you're looking for the Elephant this weekend, I'll be at the Brentwood Impound lot toking up with newly elected City Councilman Marion Barry.
The Saga Continues...
Bush at the UN
I didn't catch the President's remarks to the U.N., I hope it went well, but I'm sure it wasn't a mutual lovefest. Good for him for going though. One thing that stands out for Elephant is this quote.
"Over time, freedom will find a way," Bush said. "Freedom is finding a way in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We must continue to show our commitment to those nations."
My intial thought upon reading this was, "Yes, I hope freedom finds a way, because we don't seem able to find away of not letting the Iraqi people down....again."
Yep, Dan Rather gets paid $7 million a year and probably won't get fired for the whole memogate thing. Meanwhile, since the media has abandoned it's ability to actually research a story, Blogs are increasingly taking them to task and poking their stories full of holes. Viva La Revolution!
Of course my blathering hasn't really upturned any apple carts, but maybe one day someone will mess up on freedom of association or privacy issues and then I'll be all over them.
Unsafe At Any Speed?
Growing up in the industrial heartland, near many auto factories the name Ralph Nader was one that would be said in a whisper and followed by a curse. It held about as much reverence as say Madeline Murray O'Hare. After all it was his famous book "Unsafe at Any Speed" that helped expose the Big Three's disregard for safety and gave the Japanese a leg up in the small car market. But I digress.
In 2000 Nader's candidacy made sense. Al Gore, having served as VP in a very centrist Clinton administration, was running as a centrist/populist, although no one bought the people v. Powerful rhetoric. And President Bush ran as a moderate too. No terrorism war, no 9/11 and the slightly waning tech boom had us all thinking government and history were yesterdays news. As a result, the choice in 2000 was not as stark as it is in 2004. So, Nader tried to stake out the far left and actually succeeded in helping the far right.
This election is quite different than 2000. My liberal friend Midgie said it best. "I can see why people voted for Bush in 2000, but I don't see how people could vote for Bush in 2004." Her point being that Bush has governed from the far right, abandoned core republican values like accountable government, fiscal restraint and libertarian ideals of privacy. He paid lip service to the center and governed from the right. The next two weeks alone illustrate this, as Congress votes on a Flag Burning Amendment, The FMA and sends a bunch or pork laden spending bills to the president who will sign them without issuing one veto.
Kerry too seems to be more to the left of Gore. Although he's cloaked himself in his war service, his proposals are the sort that build up government as the benevolent guarantee-er of opportunity to all, with health care, child care and other domestic issues at the for front of his campaign.
So what's the need for Nader. I mean, what has he contributed to the national debate since taking on GM in the late 1960s? I'd love to hear any thoughts from Naderites as to his appeal, but I don't see him tackling any issues that aren't already subsumed by the Democrats. Could it just be, as un-shocking as it may seem, an ego trip?
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Extra, Extra...Read All About Me!
Hurray for me. I got a small quote in today's New York Times (Sports Section!) and potentially on tonight's HBO Real Sports epidose. I discuss the impact of gay marriage and significant others laws on freedom of association and the right to privacy for private member only organizations.
Wow, Bush is taking the election fight to the Blue states, giving him a big advantage. He's leading in Wisconsin and close in Penn. But things are still tight. Can't wait for the debates.
Presidential Polls Glance,/strong>
Elephant on the Move Update:
Hey! I'm 'working' from home today. A landscaper is supposed to come an install a yard for me today to replace my decorative dirt patch. Funny thing is though that I haven't heard from the contractor since his first visit more than two weeks ago. Any bets on if he shows up?
What strikes me about the latest reported terror alert is how the govenrment is missing a great opportunity to engage the public in the war on terrorism. The latest alleged alert indicated that an attack can come between now and the inauguration. How nice. It totallly lends itself to the argument that we shouldn't change Captians during these troubled times. But there's a better way to handle these alerts. Rather than stirring the pot and let us all know that we should be afraid it'd be better if the administration engaged the public in the efforts.
I'd love to hear one of the fear mongers say something like, "We have data that indicates terrorists may be planning an attack in the next few months. We ask that the public be vigilant, alert and prepared, but not afraid. Working together we can identify and prevent such attacks." But no. We get oddly timed announcements that 'aren't based on any new data' other than the fact that these folks hate us, which we already know.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Tastes of the Far East, on the West Side
Woodley Park's newest addition to restaurant row is a fine and fun mix of Asian flavors. Sake Club sits on Connecticut Avenue directly across from the Woodley Park Metro and is welcome addition to the clutch of cafes along this strech of Conn. Ave.
Sake Club specializes in Sushi, Japanese cuisine with a dash of Korean dishes thrown in. The service is impeccable, the atmosphere exoticm, yet comfortable and the food is delicious. My last foray to the Sake Club I ordered Bibimpop a Korean dish of pickled vegetables served on a bed of rice and a side order of roasted pork. Both were excellent.
Indique, up the street in Cleveland Park, finally delivers creative and delicious Indian food to DC. Located near the Cleveland Park Metro, Indique fills the tables on weekends with its superb offering of Indian (and Sri Lankan) dishes. Tried of gloppy vindaloo, Indique will cure what ails you with roasted chunks of lamb served in a spicy, yet delicate vindaloo sauce. There tandori lamb chops steal the show and unlike a lot of Asian or South Asian restaurants, Indique offers a wonderful selection of desserts.
So Tell Me Something I Don't Know...
Gee John, do you think there's anything to criticize here that most of us haven't already picked up on. The issue isn't that we aren't facing any challenges in Iraq, the issue is what would you do different and how would it be better. Criticizing the President, albeit justified, isn't going beyond what many republican and democratic voters have been doing amongst themselves for the past year or so. The issue is how would things be different under a Kerry Administration. If JFK could articulate that and provide a clear alternative his poll numbers would grow. But despite all the opportunities to provide an alternative vision for our country, the Kerry-Edwards campaign can't seem to break through. Too bad.
Not Your Fathers GOP
On Saturday I attended a birthday dinner for a good friend of mine at Indique in Cleveland Park. (Great food by the way). Anyway, attending were a senior advisor to the treasury secretary, counsel to a Midwestern Senator, an Aging committee staffer and a Chief of Staff/attorney from DOJ's criminal division and thier husbands
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Same-sex marriage ban approved in Louisiana
Friday, September 17, 2004
The Next Four Years
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around why this years election seems more shrill than most and why the focus appears to be on such ancillary topics like what Bush and Kerry did more than 30 years ago. Could it be perhaps that we are all collectively aware of the challenges we face in the next four years and in some effort at avoidance - like our grandmother whisper cancer when asked about the loss of her dear friend - we choose to deal with these 'less filling v. taste great issues'?
I don't think anyone would dispute the fact the we as a nation face a challenge as great as the cold war when it comes to combating religious fundamentalism in the middle east. (or for that matter here at home). We may think that Iraq wasn't worth it, but know that we can't walk away now and leave the populace to face another slaughter as they did when we abandoned them after the first Gulf War. Then there's North Korea and Iran, two countries that appear to be much father along on the WMD road than Iraq ever was. Could we stand back and let Iran and N. Korea go nuclear (if they haven't already)? And if not how would we scrape up the man power to go after them?
On the home front there are many daunting challenges as well. Federal spending is out of control and we're going into debt at a rate approaching 1/2 a trillion dollars a year -at a time we need to be preparing for the retiring baby boomers. How do provide expanded programs like Bush's "Ownership Society" or reform social security when the government is spending 20% more than it takes in?
It'd be nice if the media focused on those issues and us as voters new as much about social security, intelligence, or drug costs as we now know about type faces and 'th's. (Just venting).
I caught this show on Nova this week. Fascinating. Seems that Greek Mathematician Archemedes had developed a form of calculus almost 1,200 years before Newton and Leibniz. Unfortunately the only copy of his treatise was earased in the middle ages so that the parchement could be reused for a prayer book. Perhaps if it had survied we'd now be advanced enough so that I could be driving my long desired Jeston's hover car?
Media Notes: Washington Post
Is Kerry the comeback kid? Is the race suddenly close? Is Bush blowing the lead?
Getting back together is so hard
Fifteen years after the Wall came down, there are still two Germanies
Comparing the Republican Party to its Platform
A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies
Polling, Polling, Polling
Elephant has said many times that he hasn't seen a president so unworthy of re-election in his lifetime than George Bush. Not that Kerry grabs my attention or passion, just that Bush has moved so far from the traditional GOP principles on spending, foreign intervention, interference of government in our personal lives, etc. that I just can't vote for him despite the fact that my career has been built around working for Republicans or Republican causes.
This has gotten me thinking about all the confusing poll numbers that are sloshing around in the so-called media. Is Bush up by 13% or is the race even? Elephant splits the baby and says that both are true. (Yes, how John Kerry of me). But think about it. First, there are a huge number of voters and moderate republicans that are terribly concerned about Bush's policies. We don't like the runaway spending, we're confused and feel betrayed by Iraq (and frustrated by the seemingly deep disconnect between Bush's reality and the progress on the ground) and we're concerned about terrorism. On the other hand we've got John Kerry, who for over a month now has been knocked off message by the swift boat veteran ads and has yet to spell out a coherent message on his vision for America. (at least one that resonates with the media).
So, one day we're all rooting for Bush, then facts on the ground in Iraq slap us in the face and we take a step back. Thus the numbers go up, then down, then up again. Truth is that Kerry tends to come around in the home stretch. If you remember he was written off a dead before the Iowa caucuses only to rise like Lazarus to victory. The Bush campaign, if it gets caught up in the hubris of its reported lead risks forcing the story of Kerry as the comeback kid.
Bush's advantage right now is during the Swift Boat mess, he got a chance to spell out an agenda for the next four years. It's an awful agenda from Elephant's point of view, but its an agenda nonetheless which is more than most people can see from Kerry-Edwards. But that could change with the debates and the numbers will again shift. Until then it's still an open race with an advantage going to Bush.
Oh The Drama!
Geesh people, could we be more dramatic about things. Drudge reported that a little girl at a Bush rally had her Bush-Cheney sign ripped from her hands. He includes a nice picutre of the girl crying. Damn those Democratic Thugs! But wait! It turns out that the alleged perpetrator is the guys own son and that he's been staging these things at least since 1996. Leave it to the blogosphere to uncover what big media misses.
The drudge story
The Bogus Assault -- Father Freeper of the Year (should buckhead not be able to serve)
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Wither Big Media?
Dan Rather is quoted today as saying that the media should still look into Bush's 'missing' year of guard service despite the fact that he now has doubts about the authenticity of the memos critical of Bush he exposed last week. Thanks Dan!
Of course it will be much harder now for any media outlet to put out a story on Bush's potential AWOL-ness during his guard service because of the hack job Rather and CBS did in handling the suspect memorandum. Rather's lapses have given the Republican machine ammo to further the myth of the liberal media elite and cast doubt on even the most accurately researched story.
Sadly, there still remains a question as to Bush's service record that now won't get answered as attention shifts to "Rathergate". As a national network newscast CBS has the obligation to research stories, especially ones that could classify as a 'journalist's wet dream'. Rather and CBS have let the public down and heads should role, including Rather's.
I'm not joining the chorus of Bush backers attacking Rather for being critical of Bush or part of a mcuh larger conspiracy, but I am attacking Rather for doing such a hack job and handing Bush a plateful of public sympathy.
I mean why do they pay you and your staff the big bucks if you can't even do your homework?
Time to change the frequency Kenneth.
Everything is just going fine I tell you, fine!
Have you noticed that anytime there's some controversy surrounding an issue or a member of the Bush administration that person disappears publicly and the issue is not discussed? We really haven't seen Donald Rumsfeld since the Iraqi prison scandal broke, Condi's been MIA since the controversy over her testifying before the 9/11 commission, and as discussed below, Bush broke is commitment to us to provide a road map on Iraq. Is the administration just hoping that the voters don't notice Iraq is not going the direction it needs to?
I've refrained from blogging on the situation on the ground in Iraq as the media seemed to be putting the situation under a magnifying glass from the get go. (Kind of like how the local news has reporters on the street complaining about the lack of plowed roads only 10 minutes into a massive snow storm). Bet now that we're more than a year out from 'Mission Accomplished,' things don't seem any better and in fact seem to be slowly unraveling.
Green Zone is Â‘no longer totally secureÂ’
Back in May, President Bush announced that he was giving a series of 5 speeches to outline the reasons the U.S. was in Iraq and provide a vision for its future. Be gave one speech to a group of military officers before abandoning this endeavor. Meanwhile, despite rightfully committing $18 billion for Iraqi reconstruction, we've only spent about $1 billion due to the continued unrest and danger posed by the security situation for contractors. Meanwhile the leadership is quietly moving $3 Billion from the reconstruction fund to spend on security. Do we have a plan to deal with the situation in Iraq? Why isn't the media asking any tough questions? Why has Bush, whose supporters liken him to Churchill (yes, try not to choke on that one), not kept up the effort to boost the public moral on our mission as so many of our men and women are dying? A reasonable person may start to conclude that there is no vision, plan or purpose to this war.
Toward A Wider War
Well, we haven't finished the job in Iran and our military is stretched thin as it is, so now what do we do about a Islamo-fascist country that may actually be really close to getting the bomb? Our options seem to be limited from a military readiness standpoint as we seem to have invaded the wrong country and have a lot of work left to do there.
It begs the question, with out military devoting so much of its resources to Iraq, can we fight another battle with Iran before they get the bomb? If not then is it true that by invading Iraq, we've become less safe?
Toward A Wider War
Well, we haven't finished the job in Iran and our military is stretched thin as it is, so now what do we do about a Islamo-fascist country that may actually be really close to getting the bomb? Our options seem to be limited from a military readiness standpoint as we seem to have invaded the wrong country and have a lot of work left to do there.
It begs the question, with out military devoting so much of its resources to Iraq, can we fight another battle with Iran before they get the bomb? If not then is it true that by invading Iraq, we've become less safe?
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
John Kerry doesn't excite the elephant. But from my perspective, no president in my lifetime has squandered such opportunity as Bush. From Terrorism to government spending, there was so much opportunity wasted.
The press has made much of the Bush Bounce, but some sources (Zogby, Fox, etc.) have noted that statistically the bounce isn't more than a couple of percentage points. Kerrys relative silence could be compared to his initial primary run where he seemed all but dead only to rise to victory. Could Kerry be playing Bush's game of lowering expectations only to emerge in the debates as the Lazarus candidate? Just thinking out loud
Elephant just booked three flights for business trips yesterday. Flight to NCY- $111 roundtrip, DC to Phoenix-$225 and DC to Houston - $220. Geesh, I'm soo loving the competition in the airline industry right now. In addition, flights back to see my family in the Midwest was dropped since Independence Air entered the market. The formerly $400 flights have plummeted to $140 and sometimes less. Hurray!
Of course the airline industry seems to be pricing itself into bankruptcy and at some point will regain the upper hand in pricing, so travel now my friends.
A Retreat from the World
I've always been a big fan of Will Wright computer games. I can still get lost for hours (usually while stuck in an airport) playing Sim City 4 or the Sims. The best part of both games is that they are non-linear and have no real goal or endpoint but rather focus on a constant evolution and growth of either a city or a person. Fun, fun, fun (in a nerdy way I guess).
But with the news focused on the bad events in Iraq, the joke of a presidential election and now with Marion "The B*tch Set Me Up" Barry back in office, I think I may retreat into a make believe world for a while.
Play a larger game of artificial life in the new 'Sims 2'
Buried in Minutiae
In fact, Elephant thinks the stories don't matter at all. I mean, probably about 1/2 the country and just about every reader of this blog wasn't around when these things allegedly had to take place. Do we care about the now infamous 'th' superscripts? Do the authenticity or fakery of the memos answer the still unanswered questions about Bush's missing year of service? And as for Kerry, he went to Vietnam, perhaps in search of glory to use to further an aspiring political career. So what!
My father put it to me best, "Kerry went, Bush didn't." Even more insightful is that 30 years ago we lived in a different era, a time of cultural change and government irresponsibility (ok maybe not too different). Some of Kerry's harshest critics never served and took advantage of the many deferments available to get out of going to Vietnam. And whose to say that many of Bush's critics didn't do, or wouldn't have taken advantage of the situation like Bush? Elephant's just glad he wasn't anywhere close to having to deal with such questions and as a result cares more about the future of our country, than our past.
Casting Further Doubt
'Crack' in the System
Well, with all the ugliness in politics at the presidential level it seems fitting the the voters of Ward 8 in Washington, DC have decided to return our former crack smoking mayor to the city council. A sad development for a city that has made great strides in the years since Marion Barry left office. As a new homeowner in the city, I hope that this doesn't mark a return to the horrible failure of his former mayorship.
Barry In, 3 D.C. Council Incumbents Out
Ex-Mayor Ousts Allen; Chavous, Brazil Also Lose
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
DC Government 1 - Elephant - 0
Just thought I'd chime in with an update on my attempts to get a building permit for a new fence at my house. This morning I headed over to the DC permit office to get a building permit so I can construct a fence at my new house. The old, four foot high chain link fence dates to the 1940s and I'd like to replace it with a more decorative wood privacy fence.
Last night I downloaded the permit application from the DC government website. Good so far. The permit requires that an applicant submit a survey of the lot. I have a survey that came with the closing documents of the house, but it indicates that I can't use if for a fence permit application - go figure. So, my limited goal today was to get a copy of the plat and submit my permit application. Here's what transpired.
Trying to be savvy, I headed for the permit office first and grabbed a number (88). Then I went around the corner to get a copy of the survey plat (which I already have, but must pay another $30 for a new copy). I fill out the application for the plat and they give me a receipt to take to a different floor to pay. I do this (The cashiers were actually very nice). So, with my receipt I head back upstairs to give the receipt to the survey clerk. She informs me that it will take 7 to 10 business days to get a copy of the plat - again even though the survey book was right there on the counter and despite the fact that I already have a copy of the survey.
So, I go back in the permit line. Unfortunately, I've missed my number and they are on 91. So I get a new number 103. After waiting about 40 minutes, they were still on number 91, so I left.
I'm now trying to reach the landscaping contractor to push back the install date for my fence which was scheduled for next week. Oh Joy!
Elephant on the Move Update:
Well, Elephant's slowly settling in to the new digs and gradually it is starting to feel like home. Having a contractor replace the rusted out chain link fence in the back yard with a wooden privacy fence which of course requires a city permit. So, I've downloaded the permit, gotten my neighbors to sign off on it and now need to obtain a survey diagram of the yard so I can draw in where the fence goes. Ironically the survey diagram that came with my closing a few weeks ago states in large text, "Not to be used for fence permits". Alas! So today I'll spend my lunch hour at the permit office paying the fee to get a permit and now a survey map. The contract is coming in a week, any bets on how long the permits take?
Is New Orleans the Next Atlantis
Well, the resident's of Florida must be relieved that monster hurricane Ivan is headed more West and looks likely to spare the state. But from Pensacola to New Orleans people are preparing for a storm that could be potentially bigger the devastating hurricane Andrew of 1992.
As the storm track moves steadily West, I remembered a show I saw on the Discovery channel about how a monster storm could flood New Orleans to a depth of 20 feet or more. This of course is because the Big Easy sits in a bowl like depression between Lake Pontchatrain and the Mississippi River and parts of the city are well below sea level.
Let's hope that Ivan decides to go elsewhere.
Big Government Republicanism
After President Bush's acceptance speech at the GOP convention, Elephant did a quick tally of the programs announced by the President and including only his healthcare and social security programs, came up with a total of $1.2 trillion dollars. Well, it seems like at least some parts of the press aren't asleep at the switch. The Washington Post did its own tally and came up with these figures:
Spending proposals by Bush= $3 Trillion
Spending proposals by Kerry = $2 Trillion
The Republican's under Bush have destroyed thier reputation on fiscal conservatism. It's laughable to hear Bush's stump speeches go after Kerry on spending when he himself has grown government spending at a rate not seen since the "Great Society" programs on the 1960s. This is not a conservative agenda, and sadly under Bush the Republican party is morphing into a free spending, borderline radical right socail party.
What is a reasonably minded voter to do?
Monday, September 13, 2004
Goodbye USAirways: Update
For the Bush Administration Iran is a four letter word
What's the difference between Iraq and Iran....The "Q" stands for 'quagmire' and the "N" stands for nuclear. Seriously though, while we've now committed our forces to see Iraq to the end, one wonders why we are there in the first place? Yes, I know the administration keeps saying its the WMD issue, but it seems to me that if WMD really were the issue, shouldn't we be doing something about North Korea or Iran? I mean after all these two countries appear to be much father along on the nuclear curve than Iraq ever was. But alas, we really can't go after them can we as our armed forces are tied up in Iraq and it doesn't appear that we have the resources to back up our threats elsewhere in the world.
Mission Still Not Accomplished
Jerry Springer Nation: to the N'th' Degree
Oh the drama! Does any rational voter really care about what Bush or Kerry did more than 30 years ago (before most of the readers of this blog were even born?). More Vietnam drama this week as the Bush 'memos' were released and the media, rather than do its own investigating argued back and forth between the Kerry camp talking points and the Bush talking points. There are so, so many other important issues both candidates need to address like:
Iraq - Why are we there again? What's our plan? How long and how much more $ and lives?
The Deficit - Bush's big government is bankrupting the Treasury and baby boomer retirement is looming.
The Economy - The tech boom is over, what's next? Will my job be going to India or China?
Social Security - 50 Million Baby Boomers, no plan.
Civil Rights - Gay Marriage, Abortion, privacy, Patriot Act . . . Shouldn't the government be out of our personal lives?
Trade - What ever happened to free trade?
From Elephant's perspective, so far, neither of the two major candidates have demonstrated the leadership or vision that would get me to vote for them. Hopefully, someone will rise above the split.
It was probably that bean I ate....
Hmmm, have our intelligence agencies missed another one? Reports this weekend stated that,
South Korea's Yonhap news agency said a mushroom cloud up to 4 km (2.5 miles) in diameter was seen after the blast in an area near missile bases in Ryanggang province in the remote northeast near the border with China.
Elephant's knowledge of explosions doesn't run too deep. Do any EOTE readers have any knowldege of what could cause a blast soo large?
Friday, September 10, 2004
Three Years On
Like most people in Washington, DC or New York on the morning of 9/11/01, I'm haunted by the fact that it was the perfect morning. Cool, sunny and the sky was a brilliant shade of blue. I was putting on my tie to head downtown for a job interview with a large trade association when the Today show cut to footage of a gaping hole in the side of one of the World Trade Center Towers. The affable Katie Curic reported that a small commuter plane had hit the tower, but the firery hole dwarfed the helicopters that were flying past it.
I switched off the TV and jumped on the metro to get to the interview. Meanwhile the second plane had hit. Arriving at the interview the flat panel TV in the lobby was reporting the attack. Not knowing what to do, the HR staff and I continued with the preliminaries of the interview and they shuffled me off to talk the government relations VP. While we chatted, a large plume of smoke appeared in the sky across the Mall. The secretary came in, tears in her eyes and noted that the Pentagon had been hit and the city was being evacuated. The interview closed at this point and I went out into the streets.
Rumors were rampant that Washington Monument was on fire (I looked up and noted it wasn't) and that the USA Today Building and State Department had been hit too. People were pouring out of offices and cars were lined up to get out of the city. Still everything remained quiet and the sky remained hauntingly blue. Most of the police seemed to be engaged in protecting and evacuating members of Congress and the Adminstration and near the corner of 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, a homeless man directed traffic. I stopped for a cigarette infront of the FBI building and then re-evaluated my choice of a resting place. An F-16 fighter jet roared over the street and banked left toward the Pentagon.
I caught up with some colleagues who heard reports that the metro had been shut down (it hadn't), so we ducked into the District Chop house to grab drinks and discuss what was happening. The thing that stands out in my mind is how little we saw or heard from the President that day. As political animals we kept commenting on how important it was that he speak to a shocked nation. We heard from the Taliban before "W" made some feeble comments on the fact that we'd 'apparently' been attacked. (Really, do you think so?!). Thank goodness for Rudy Giuliani, his stoicism and compassion filled the vacuum left by Bush.
We finished our drinks, left a hefty tip for the staff and retreated to our homes passing several humvees. At home, friends gathered to watch the horrifying news on TV.
The next morning I had to drive out to Tyson's Corner for a CLE course. As I approached the memorial bridge you could still see the smoke pouring out of the Pentagon. Some one had draped a flag across on overpass on I-66 and seeing it, I got way choked up.
Rail Ridership Hits New Highs
Reagan Funeral, Return Of Tourism Lift Metro
Dreamless woman remains healthy
A woman who stopped dreaming after a stroke is helping researchers unravel the mysteries of sleep.
Al Gore lives on a street in Nashville.
From a handout that accompanies a weeklong course on Iraqâ€™s customs and history given to U.S. Marines as part of their training. The course, devised by the Marine Corps Division Schools, was introduced last September with the intention of improving relations between Iraqis and U.S. forces.
Godzilla vs. Mothra: The Prequel
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Those Were The Days
I think I may still have a callus from those damned joysticks. For Chirstmas 1981 Elephant and his two brothers got an Atari 2600 as a present. Hours of playing Combat, Astroids, Missle Command and of course Pitfall. How primative by todays standards, but so much fun at the time.
What was your favorite Atari game?
Atari hits gamers with blasts from past
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
White House To Veto Spending Bill!?
Sadly no. Rather than veto one of many spending bills that are loaded with Republican pork, he'll threaten a veto to protect the new Fair Labor Standards Act overtime exemptions. Sad. Sadder is that Bush is providing all these openings and Kerry can't seem to exploit them.
Elephant on the Move Update!
Ok, so I just turned off the Real World and left the basement TV room, headed up to the den to start writing this. The new house is great. Its' much bigger than my old flat and has a big yard that I've enjoyed tinkering around in. I guess I'm feeling kind of grown up, living in this nice place and reaping the rewards for the long nights and days of law school. There is something to be said about living in a smaller downtown flat though, mostly that pretty much everything you need is within arms reach. Here it seems like everything I need is on a different floor. Poor me! It's not the house that's this issue it's the change of environment. It'll pass, but in the meantime it feels like I'm house sitting.
Yes, But I'm Not Bleeding As Fast!
Republican's are for accountable government and fiscal responsibility, or at least they were. When Elephant landed in DC ten years ago he arrived on the heels of a revolution and was proud to be part of it. Republican's took the majority for the first time in a generation by promising to make government live within its means and with a little help from their confrontations with President Clinton they achieved it. But now the only person talking about returning to a pay-go policy is a democrat. Sigh.....
President Bush is many things, but when it comes to the role and size of government, he is not a conservative.
Red ink turns invisible
Oddly, Elephant doesn't have the same level of dissapointment with Dick Cheney as he does with George Bush. Why? I don't know, but maybe it's because Cheney, like Elephant is a DC career operative or maybe its because he was White House Chief of Staff when he was the same age as the Elephant is today. But regardless, Cheney drank the Kool-Aid on Iraq and did not appear with Mary on the stage at the Republican convention. So, Dick Cheney, Elephant and cocktails probably wasn't a good mix, so I skipped the event.
iPod Shame Index: ***--
Hmmm...figure this out. A little hip-hop, classics, latin jazz and cheesy 80s.
1) Golden - Jill Scott
2) Welcome Back- Mase
3) Thorn in my Side- Eurythmics
4) Policy of Truth - Depeche Mode
5) Hit - The Sugar Cubes
6) Soul Sauce - Cal Tjader
7) Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm
8) Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley (Oh the Shame!)
9) Not Enough Time - INXS
10) She Sells Sanctuary - The Cult
Elephant is not high on George Bush because he doesn't act like a republican. Spend, Spend, Spend. But I laughed out loud today when I saw the Kerry Spending Calculator on the GOP website. They criticize Kerry for supporting the president's proposal to spend $500 million on faith based charities.
"* Provide New Funding For Faith-Based Charities, $550 Million?"
Here's the link. Yes, Kerry's proposed a lot, but even if you believe the GOP figures it's still far less than the $2 trillion plus Bush has put us in the hole! And if you examine the list closely you'll see a lot of programs supported by Mr. Bush. One word, shameless!
Pardon the Interruption!
Sorry about the interruption. It couldn't have happened at a worse time. Readership is growing and blogger won't let me post from the office. It seems things are back up and running, again sorry for the lack of postings.
Thank Goodness I Don't Drink
Just found out that the Vice President will be at a small cocktail party I'm attending tonight. All I can say is thank goodness I don't drink as it would probably loosen my tongue in ways that would land me in Gitmo. Don't know if I'll attend now, but would love to ask Mr. Cheney why his daughter Mary didn't appear on the dias at the close of the GOP convention. I'll keep you posted.
Last night Frontline ran a show about the battle to rebuild ground zero. It was fascinating. Politics and power at its worst. On one side there is Daniel Libeskind and Governor Pataki with a coherent and imaginative vision for the site and on the other side is Larry Silvertien and David Childs with the insurance money to rebuild.
Despite winning the competition to build the new towers, Silverstien and Childs basically told Libeskind to go to hell and they'd do their own thing. Pataki intervened and the result is the compromise freedom tower. A fascinating story and interesting topic as we approach this third anniversary of the towers destruction.
Traditional Marriage Watch
How long before our leaders host dances of 20,000 virgins so Bush, Robertson and Santorum can pick thier next bride? I mean the Bible does condone polygamy.
With the way things are going for the 'legacy' airlines (United, Delta, Northwest, Continental, USAir, etc.) it looks like a few of them won't be around in a year or so. I guess we'll all be flying Southwest...ugh.
On Special: Tripe
Uh, yeah, cause Bush-Cheney have done such a good job holding our intelligence community accountable for their failures on 9/11 and in Iraq. How many people were fired? Oh, yes...NONE!
Keyes Says Christ Would Not Vote For Obama
Alan is right of course. Jesus, as a man of Middle-Eastern extraction couldn't vote because he would be detained by the Justice Department for immigration violation.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
While these young people did their job and went to fight, our job is to ask questions and hold our leaders accountable for their sacrifice. I'm still waiting for answers.
Tit for Tat
Let those without sin cast the first stone I like to say. Of course that's right before I start chucking stones left and right. Bush's camp started the fight over the Vietnam issue, now it looks like it's coming back at him.
Of course my favorite is Cheerleaders for Truth. Yes, folks, George Bush as a male cheerleader.
Just in case you're not quite ready to go back to work after a long holiday weekend, here's a little quiz to get you going.
Making the World A Better Place:
While I've strived to give back to the community most of my contributions have been in the form of checks to such worth charities as Christian Children's Fund or material goods given to Good Will. But last night the Elephant got an offer he couldn't refuse- to be a volunteer 'socializer' for the local animal rescue league-a no kill shelter that takes in stray dogs and cats. They need volunteers to come in and walk and play with the animals. Elephant loves pets, especially dogs, but his schedule is not conducive to adopting a pet companion, so I hope this is the next best thing. I'll keep you posted.
Bush's Second Term: $pend, $pend, $pend
Far From Great, Bush's 'Ownership Society' Could Cost Americans in Unseen Ways
Again, this is NOT a conservative policy agenda.
Ugly is as Ugly Does
Kitty Kelly says: George W Bush was a draft dodging coke head who did drugs at Camp David while Laura toked up behind the shed.
Elephant Says: I'm so proud at the level of political discourse in our country as we prepare to elect our next leader!
Stage set for showdown as U.S. Congress returns
Yup, hide the kids, Congress is back in town. With only a month remaining in the 108th Congress, and no budget and only one of two of the thirteen spending bills passed you'd think they'd focus on things like spending, national security, and the economy. You'd think! But no, the revolution demands action on issues of utmost importance like a Constitutional Amendment to Ban Flag desecration, gay marriage and abortion. Another year, another record level of spending and policy drift.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Ivan the Terrible?
More talk about yet another hurrican hitting Florida?! Even Elephant knows that this is getting tired. I watched yet another storm pass directly over my parents winter home in central Florida yesterday...no word yet on any damage. Perhaps Florida just likes attention? I mean Elian, the 2000 election, now the potential for three hurricane's in four weeks? Geesh! Seriously though, my thoughts are with all the Floridians during these trying times....I'm thinking Arizona may be a better retirement locale.
Despite the News, It Ain't Over Yet
Gee the above statement doesn't even seem like a gamble these days. The pundacracy is notoriously wrong on things political. The initial polling seems to indicate a huge bounce for Bush. But, these polls are troubling for two reasons, first, they were conducted during the convention (leaving room for the 'halo' effect) and second they are national polls. Elephant's experience is that polling done during an event like the convention merely tests people's awareness of the event. As time passes and some of the proposals or speeches sink in, the numbers shift as the voting public absorbs the impact of what has been proposed.
I think the President gave a good-ish speech by his standards. It was way to jingoistic and conservative for Elephant and filled with the biggest set of new spending proposals since LBJ's Great Society. I understand why people may like President Bush for his social conservatism and even his war footing, but I cannot understand how people continue to say that he is a conservative with all this crazy spending.
That's all for now! But from the Elephant's standpoint this race is still wide open!
Ahhh America. Land of the free, home of the Swift boat vets. Elephant is celebrating this day of labor by not working. Hurray! Actually, I'm working on the new house, finishing up unpacking the last set of boxes. Too damp to work on the yard, so maybe latter I'll try adding up the projected cost of all those spending programs Bush talked about at the convention.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Friday, September 03, 2004
Hey Big Spender!
Elephant is curious about the cost of President Bush's spending proposals from last night's speech. Using the President's own website and only including the health care proposals and Social Security Reform, the total new spending is at $1.2 trillion dollars. The true number is likely to be much, much higher. I'll keep you posted as I search for government reports that detail costs for these programs. As it stands now, the 'conservative' President just proposed increasing government spending by at least 50%! And I should be worried about Kerry? I don't think so.
Tax cuts were just the beginning: the President is signalling a far more radical agenda. And Silly Elephant was counting on that mortgage interest deduction!
Republicans learn to stop worrying and love Leviathan
I did it my wayâ€”and Iâ€™ll do it again
George Bush accepted the Republican nomination for the presidency on Thursday night. He defended his record, and promised much the same in his second term. John Kerry was quick to respond with a speech that suggests the campaign is about to get even nastier
For much of the 20th century, carmaking was the â€œindustry of industriesâ€�. Now it has to reinvent itself, says Iain Carson
God Hates Florida Update:
When hurricane Charley swept across the Florida penninsula, Elephant noticed the eye of the storm passed directly over the town where his folks have a winter home (think trailer) in the sunshine state. He called his parents and together we watched the radar track the ferocious center as it passed over their town. Now Frances has its sights set on Winter Haven. It's unlikely that the trailer will survive another direct strike. My thoughts are with their neighbors and citizens of Florida. (As snow birds, my parents summer in norther Michigan so they aren't directly threatened.)
Good Luck Florida!
Bush comes out of the convention in a strong position. Despite a vision that alienates the Elephant it was a strong, clear vision. That coupled with goodish economic news (144,000 jobs created) will certainly give an electoral advantage to Bush. But any lead he gets is not insurmountable, as I mentioned his goal to reform pensions, social security and health care leave him vulnerable to attacks on dismantling what little safety net we have in the U.S. Kerry needs to leverage that and perform well in debates to reverse this.
But It's Not Over
President Bush opened up several policy proposals that will provide John Kerry the opportunity to score votes amongst moderates, seniors and fiscal conservatives. First, his proposal to partially privatize socail security will not play well with seniors. Polls consistently show that voters don't trust republicans on social security and Seniors rule the voting both in Florida. It's winnable if Kerry exploits this. Also, Bush's call for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, gay marriage and to dismantle the separation between church and state makes him vulnerable.
Arch conservatives like Bob Barr, and even Dick Cheney support letting states continue their historic role in regulating marriage. Educated women, a hugely important voting block will likely abandon Bush on the abortion issue and libertarians and moderates will become itchy on the merging of church and states.
Kerry needs to attack on these issues and lay out an alternate agenda rather than continue to focus on the Swiftboat issue.
On the Edge No More
I was saguine about Bush's speech last night, and was left both disappointed and unsettled. Classic conservatism as we know it in the Republican Party is dead. Fiscal prudence, gone, libertarian respect for individuals bowed to the whims of the religious right, and endless proposals to expand government. This is not conservatism, but a new ideology that mixes massive expansion in government spending and intervention with far right religious dogma. I have so much I want to say about this, but I think Andrew Sullivan covers it best on his blog this morning and in a way much better than I could have written. Please read it, I think it is well written and really captures the feeling of us moderates.
THE END OF CONSERVATISM: But conservatism as we have known it is now over. People like me who became conservatives because of the appeal of smaller government and more domestic freedom are now marginalized in a big-government party, bent on using the power of the state to direct people's lives, give them meaning and protect them from all dangers. Just remember all that Bush promised last night: an astonishingly expensive bid to spend much more money to help people in ways that conservatives once abjured. He pledged to provide record levels of education funding, colleges and healthcare centers in poor towns, more Pell grants, seven million more affordable homes, expensive new HSAs, and a phenomenally expensive bid to reform the social security system. I look forward to someone adding it all up, but it's easily in the trillions. And Bush's astonishing achievement is to make the case for all this new spending, at a time of chronic debt (created in large part by his profligate party), while pegging his opponent as the "tax-and-spend" candidate. The chutzpah is amazing. At this point, however, it isn't just chutzpah. It's deception. To propose all this knowing full well that we cannot even begin to afford it is irresponsible in the deepest degree. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only difference between Republicans and Democrats now is that the Bush Republicans believe in Big Insolvent Government and the Kerry Democrats believe in Big Solvent Government. By any measure, that makes Kerry - especially as he has endorsed the critical pay-as-you-go rule on domestic spending - easily the choice for fiscal conservatives. It was also jaw-dropping to hear this president speak about tax reform. Bush? He has done more to lard up the tax code with special breaks and new loopholes than any recent president. On this issue - on which I couldn't agree more - I have to say I don't believe him. Tax reform goes against the grain of everything this president has done so far. Why would he change now?
Elephant will not be voting for Bush.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
2008: Return of the RINO
Bush or Kerry, kind of like choosing between leprosy or clamidia. It just dawned on me today that the list of candidates for the Republican nomination in 2008 consists almost entirely of moderate republicans (i.e. real, good republicans) Think about it, Rudy, McCain, Pataki, Hagel. Oh yes there's talk about Frist running, but he's got about as much personality as a wet sock and looks kind of like Lurch. Santorum is very personable, but ultra, ultra conservative in a way that I hope isn't mainstream in 2008.(Plus that whole 'santorum' thing...ick...if you don't know, don't ask)
So, while I'm saddened by the choices this round, I'm hopeful that the party of Lincoln will be heading back to its libertarian roots in the near future.
In the mean time, I volunteered for Hagel 2008 today.
Record Day at EOTE!
Special thanks to Midgie, Donkey, and "B" in Canada for being such loyal readers. Today EOTE saw a record number of hits on our quasi-scoop regarding Zell Miller's praising of Kerry in 2001. Truth be told, liberal blogger (and way, way over the top liberal) Atrios found it first, but EOTE readers are better connected and got the literati folks to look at it. Anyway, rumor has it that none other than the First Lady of Billings Montana is reading our blog! Thanks "J". I promise not to talk about the Great Montana Sparkler Scandal. Also, greetings to our loyal reader in Singapore!
Again, Thanksto all for your readership.
These aren't the driods I'm looking for....
I was totally thinking that Zell Miller looked like the Emperor from Star Wars, but in the hyper fast world of the blog, someone beat me to it! It's funny because it's true...
If you listen closely you can hear Zell say, "Soon the Rebellion will be crushed and young Skywalker will be one of us!".....
Elephant Reader Tips Off Kerry/Edwards
Also, just finished a long interview with the New York Times on freedom of association rights. Will let you know when it runs.
Longing for the Party I Once Knew
Four years later and $2 trillion more in debt, I long for the days when the Republicans stood for fiscal prudence and accountability. Alas, those days are gone.
Is Bob Barr the New Barry Goldwater?
Bob Barr is probably best remembered for his role as an impeachment manager during the Senate trial of Bill Clinton. He was a firebrand conservative cut from Dixiecrat fabric. Despite his rhetoric, he's actually a quite and thoughtful politician. As a Congressman, he'd meet with and listen to just about anyone with ties to his district and give them a fair hearing. (At least from Elephant's experience with his office). Although he came across as dogmatic on the floor of the house, he seemed to be quite open to a pursausive and sound argument.
For those reasons, I liked Bob Barr when he was in Congress. But I find myself liking him more and more as a retired Congressman. A man of apparent principle, he opposes FMA because it flies in the face of years of Republican support of states rights and limited government. Now he takes a stand against the ever growing power of federal law enforcement. He's right, these used to be long held republican principles, one's that I strongly agree with.
The Next War
Like it or not, George Bush took a tough stand by invading Iraq to prevent any of its 'alleged' weapons of mass destruction from falling into terrorist hands. It will be interesting to see how he handles the apparently iminent acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran, a country that exports and finances terrorism on a scale much grander than Iraq could have ever hoped for. After all, we let North Korea slip through the cracks and acquire WMD.
Please Stand Clear of the Doors....Thank You.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure says the Elephant. So, I guess it's a good thing that Metro is doing its best to be prepared. I just wish they'd put as much effort in to maintaining the metro system and making sure the trains run on time too.
1,000 Strong and Growing
Zell Miller: Flip Flopper?
Zell Miller painted a vivid portrait of John Kerry (Pinko Commie-flip-floper-Europhile) in his firey speech last night. Funny that his website has the following posting:
Introduction of Senator John Kerry
Democratic Party of Georgia's
March 1, 2001
It is good to be back in Georgia and to be with you. I have been coming to these dinners since the 1950s, and have missed very few.
I'm proud to be Georgia's junior senator and I'm honored to serve with Max Cleland, who is as loved and respected as anyone in that body. One of our very highest priorities must be to make sure this man is re-elected in 2002 so he can continue to serve this state and nation.
I continue to be impressed with all that Governor Barnes and Lieutenant Governor Taylor and the Speaker and the General Assembly are getting done over at the Gold Dome. Georgia is fortunate to have this kind of leadership.
My job tonight is an easy one: to present to you one of this nation's authentic heroes, one of this party's best-known and greatest leaders â€“ and a good friend.
He was once a lieutenant governor â€“ but he didn't stay in that office 16 years, like someone else I know. It just took two years before the people of Massachusetts moved him into the United States Senate in 1984.
In his 16 years in the Senate, John Kerry has fought against government waste and worked hard to bring some accountability to Washington.
Early in his Senate career in 1986, John signed on to the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Bill, and he fought for balanced budgets before it was considered politically correct for Democrats to do so.
John has worked to strengthen our military, reform public education, boost the economy and protect the environment. Business Week magazine named him one of the top pro-technology legislators and made him a member of its "Digital Dozen."
John was re-elected in 1990 and again in 1996 â€“ when he defeated popular Republican Governor William Weld in the most closely watched Senate race in the country.
John is a graduate of Yale University and was a gunboat officer in the Navy. He received a Silver Star, Bronze Star and three awards of the Purple Heart for combat duty in Vietnam. He later co-founded the Vietnam Veterans of America.
He is married to Teresa Heinz and they have two daughters.
As many of you know, I have great affection â€“ some might say an obsession â€“ for my two Labrador retrievers, Gus and Woodrow. It turns out John is a fellow dog lover, too, and he better be. His German Shepherd, Kim, is about to have puppies. And I just want him to know â€¦ Gus and Woodrow had nothing to do with that.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Senator John Kerry.
Mr. Cheney You've Got A Lovely Daughter
Dick Cheney is a good soldier. He's a loyal adviser to President Bush and he gave an effective speech last night. Yes, he mocked Kerry for his 'sensitive war' comment, even though Kerry stole that line from Cheney himself. It was nice to see Mr. Cheney's family cheering him on from the stands. His lesbian daughter and her parnter sitting next to Lynn in the stands. What a great message it would have been if Mary had appeared on stage with him after his speech. That would be leadership, that would be a demonstration of family values and a FU to Alan Keyes. But alas, either Mary or Dick decided that such leadership wouldn't be displayed.