Thursday, March 31, 2005




Just checked into my hotel. Everything seems pretty nice and the folks are really nice. Of course I turned on the TV and saw that sometime while I was on my in the air it appears that the media switched the death watch from Ms. Schiavo to the pope. OMG, Tom Delay is on the television talking about how Ms. Schiavo's death is a "moral outrage!" Newsflash Mr. Delay, you are a moral outrage.


Death of Conservatism

Another Death Possible Today

With President Bush preparing to address the nation, there is a strong likelihood that we could see another passing today. Of course this is a passing in the metaphorical sense, the end of the Republican idea of limited government. To their credit, both the President and Governor went the extra mile for Ms. Schiavo (to the extent, in my opinion, that it denigrated their repeated calls to protect marriage..) but for the most part resisted pressure from the far right to act beyond the scope of the law and seize Ms. Schiavo. It remains to be seen to what extent the GOP will capitalize on this tragedy to 1) further attack the independence of the judiciary and 2) put forth far reaching proposals to grant the state and federal government power over personal decisions like this in the future.

Good can still come out of this, but politics is a great mitigator of ends that are both reasonable and just.


Terri Schiavo

May She Rest in Peace

The tragic days of Ms. Shiavo have ended, and knowing what I know about the Pinellas Hospice, she was likely allowed to go in a peaceful and comfortable manner. But now the real show begins.

Word has it that President Bush will address that nation shortly. Perhaps he will denfend his widely unpopular intervention in this family affair and likely, he (or his operatives) will begin yet another assualt on the judicial branch.


Plays Music

Repels Socialists!

Yesterday I discovered a new use for my Ipod Shuffle. I was making my way home (not an easy task in the springtime as the metro system is totally infested with tourists)...Anyway, I got to my station and was walking toward the exit when a 'crunchy' looking young woman approached. In her left hand (appropriate nes ce pas?) she was holding (proudly) a copy of the "Social Worker" newspaper. As she got closer she noticed the ipod shuffle hanging from its sporty lanyard around my neck. She recoiled in horror and tried to sell her 'crazy' someplace else.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Mary Cheney Is Confusing

No Longer Cheap and Tawdry.

I'm trying to wrap my mind around this. During the campaign, John Kerry mentioned that Mary Cheney was a lesbian. Perfectly appropriate in light of the massive gay baiting engaged in by the GOP. But when he mentioned this widely known fact, he was attacked...

The vice president and his wife, Lynne Cheney, accused Kerry of using their daughter for political gain. Lynne Cheney said Kerry's statements amounted to a
"cheap and tawdry political trick."

No word on the advance Ms. Cheney got for her forthcoming book, but some reports put it as high as $500,000. So it is safe to say, the topic of Mary Cheney is no longer 'Cheap and Tawdry"...just Tawdry (and probably boring).,2933,151892,00.html


Live Blogging From Nashville

As If It Matters..

By reading other blogs, I get the impression that a blogger is supposed to mention every time he or she goes out of town to do something work related. I guess this is supposed to lend some air of credibilty to the individual's blog. Thank goodness we here at EIE have dispelled such notions long ago. Titilation first, facts second! (if CNN and FOX haven't already adopted that as their motos). Anyway, Thursday through Sunday I'll be attending (and speaking) at the ABA Business Law Section Confrence in Nashville. Perhaps, if middle America has WiFi connections, I can do a little man on the street know like "Spunky Senior Citizen Won't Give Up!" and "Local Teen Makes a Difference!" kind of stories....

We shall see.


Tax Returns

That Was Quick

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that e-filing your taxes seems to work pretty well and seems to hasten delivery of your tax return? I filed in late January and got my return (both federal and DC) in a matter of a week or two (and my return was mailed to me as a check, not direct deposit). In addition to that, I filed an amended return just last week and got another check last night. Good job all you processing folks (or computers or whatever) over at IRS...yours is a truly thankless job.


God Vs. Godzilla

I Know the Difference!

I saw this quote in a story today about Terri Schiavo.

Early Wednesday, a man was arrested when he tried to bring a plastic cup of water into the hospice. Police officers stopped him at the gate as he shouted: "You don't know God from Godzilla!"
I am proud to say that I know the difference between God and Godzilla.

First, Godzilla destroys cities in Asia using his laser beam eyes and giant lizzard paws. God on the other hand, destroys cities in Asia using Tsunamis.


With Death, Life!

It Must Be The Water!

Terri Schiavo, The Pope and Johnny much illness and death the past two weeks. But reflecting on recent news from Elephant's friends and colleagues, I realized last night that no fewer than 5 of my friends are expecting babies! Interestingly enough they are all due in September! Congrats to all!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Who Will Protect the Robots!

Robot 'trauma pod' may treat wounded soldiers, Create Ethical Feedback Loops for Fundamentalist Robots

No word yet on whether or not the robots would have 'ethical subroutines' that may require special legislation which would allow them to legally deny procedures that they find offensive to their religion.

Robot Trauma Pods

Lawmakers push for 'conscience clauses' They'd let pharmacists refuse to offer service against their beliefs

But who will protect the Robots?


Blogger Problems

Blogger is super slow this morning, will post more this afternoon.


Please Stand to the Right

Something odd happens in DC toward the end of March and stretching into April and May. Suddenly, like birds migrating north for the summer, the city is besieged by flocks of tour buses that disgorge thousands upon thousands of visitors. I say, "Thanks for coming!" There is nothing better than DC in the spring time. The cherry blossoms give the central core of the city (The Mall and Tidal Basin) a glowing pink hue and the weather is (usually) mild and sunny. So come one, come all and spend your hard earned cash in America's Capitol, it's a great place. But here are some pointers so as not to enrage the locals.

Helpful tips for visitors to Washington DC:

1) If you're here to visit the cherry blossoms, please don't strip the branches off the trees. Yes, that small twig of blossoms behind your ear really goes well with your Dale Earnhart Jr. T-shirt and leggings, but if everyone broke off a little piece, we'd be left with just stumps.

2) Metro is a great way to get around, but unlike the mono rail at Disney World, Metro is the main way a lot of us here get to work. When you're on the escalators (at least the ones that are working) please stand to the right. (You may get a vague sense that this is the right thing to do by all the signs asking you to do this, or by the red faced locals shouting at your to move over).

3) If you and your family need a moment to get your bearings while on Metro, the best place to do it is not at the top of the escalator.

4) When disembarking your tour bus, make sure the tour group spreads out evenly to cover the entire sidewalk, this allows for impromptu games of "Red-Rover" with the locals.

5) No one will really want to watch your video of the really, really long escalators at Woodley Park Station.

On behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia, I thank you.]


Don’t Do As I Do, Do As I Say

More Problems with Rick Santorum

One of the leading advocates of malpractice reform and passing caps on the amount of damages you as a victim can get actually testified in support of his wife in a case that nabbed his family $350,000. Maybe his wife’s injury was legit, maybe it wasn’t, but they got $150,000 more that you’ll be able to collect after passing med. mal caps. Of course this is on top of the $35,000 in Pennsylvania tax payer dollars they collected to send their kids to an online ‘home school’ in Virginia….

Monday, March 28, 2005


Relief for a Rainy Day....

What's Next for Apple?

The real question here isn't what's next from Apple, but when can I hand over my cash. Despite the fact I have a 10 Gig. I-pod, I purchased an I-pod shuffle about a week ago when I stopped into my local Apple store to 'just look around." My rationale? It's cute and small and perfect for the gym and travel. But then that's how I justified my original i-pod purchase. I'm hooked, I can't help it.

And if your wondering about the I-pod shuffle? It rocks....,17863,1037197,00.html?cnn=yes



Burger King to offer whopper of a breakfast sandwich

Hardee's unveils new 'Monster'

Bubba the lobster dies after being moved to zoo
(Preserved in Butter Bath)

Editors Note: Ok, let me put this out here so there is no misunderstanding. Yes, I realize the irony of this posting after a weekend of Terri Schiavo screeds. But frankly, I was moved by the touching story of Burger King and their new monstro-breakfast sandwich. The timing my be bad, but again, I have no agenda here other than to find material to blog about. (Disclaimer void in Tennesee).

Sunday, March 27, 2005


The New Moral Clarity: Part II

Products Liability Lawsuits, End of Life Decisions are OK if you're Tom Delay

Great article in the Los Angeles Times about a similar end of life situation involving Tom Delay and his father. The elder Delay was injured in a freak accident. Was brain dead, and did not have a living will. Fortunately the family agreed on the out come (Randall Terry must have been busy with his revolution that week). But why should Mr. Delay and his family get to decide this matter in private, through the proper legal channels when Mr. Schiavo, Terri's legal gaurdian, must surrender his rights (As determined by almost every court in the universe at this point) to the will of a vocal minority?

What makes it worse to is that the Delays filed several products liability lawsuits against companies they thought were responsible for his fathers injuries. Mr. Delay is one of the lead proponents of limiting vitcims rights to sue companies and doctors in such cases.,0,5710023.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Saturday, March 26, 2005


Randall Terry: Spokesperson for the Schindlers

Advocate of Life, Advocate of Theocracy

Just thought you'd like to know a little bit about the person who is spokesman for the Schindler family in this sad saga. His name is Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue. He is an extremist who wants to overthrow the government and replace it with a "Christain" Theocracy....In other words, a fair and reasonable spokesperson in this difficult debate.

Think I'm exagerating? I quote Mr. Terry...

"Our goal is a Christian nation. ... We have a biblical duty, we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism. ... Theocracy means God rules. I've got a hot flash. God rules."

So, do we want leaders that ignore the courts and the democratic process we as voters have established in order to help the Schindlers? or Mr. Terry? We may sympathize with the former, but we should not forget the aims of the later. I wish Governor Bush reflected on that before he allegedly sent in the troops.


Bush Attempts to Sieze Terri Schiavo?

Does Ideology Outwiegh the Law?

The sad frantic last hours of Terri Schiavo are upon us. Her parents, fighting vigilently (as any parents probably would) have filed appeal after appeal, to no avail. Mean while reports are that Governor Bush had ordered State Authorities to sieze Ms. Shiavo, but the vigilence of local police and their thin blue line, were enough to uphold the law and the ruling of over 20 courts. It's alarming if this report is true and means that your rights as a spouse and guardian, even your rights as decided by a court can be thrown out the window to enforce someone else's ideology. In this case, the parents and their advisor Randal Terrry (An Anti Abortion Terrorist).

I don't fault Governor Bush for filing any appeal he thought prudent, because he was operating within the system. But the fact that he seems to be taking counsel from Mr. Terry and appears to have ordered that state to sieze this woman are alarming developments. The law, it is often said, is an ass. But absent that forum for decided such painfull disputes, we are left with only a political mechanism, which is far less fair and far less consistent.

Friday, March 25, 2005


America Needs A "Baby In A Well" Moment

Could Heal National Divide

Since the State of Florida seems intent on continuing to create issues that tear at our national unity, I find myself increasing hoping for an event so big, so unabashedly unifying, that we have no choice but to pull together as a nation, if just for a moment. There is only one thing that can still pull us together...and that's a good, old fashioned baby falling into well scenario.

My research indicates that such events usually happen in places like Kentucky or Oklahoma or some place like that...


And from Fox News No Less?!

Bush Criticized for End-of-Life Laws
(President a Hypocrite?)

While Americans were riveted by dramatic events unfolding in Pinellas Park, Fla., a five-month-old Houston baby took his last breath after a hospital let him die despite his mother's objections.,2933,151448,00.html


Road Map to the New Moral Clarity

It's Becoming Much Clearer, Isn't It?

America, it is said, loves a leader with a strong sense of right and wrong. Someone who doesn't get caught up in the messy shades of gray that often cloud our moral compass, but rather who can discern the black (bad) from the white (good). The current crop of Republican leaders (DeLay, Frist, Hasstert, Santorum and Bush) are just those type of leaders and thank THANK GOD ALMIGHTY for their moral clarity, 'cause you know, I otherwise might not be able to figure it out on my own.

But over the course of the last year or so, the efforts of the many moral obligations of the GOP leadership are bearing fruit. As a result, those of us who need their vision of moral clarity are slowly able to piece together the very clear and very simple moral rules to obey during this new Great Awakening. Let's see if I can map them out for you.

Marriage is Sacred

First, as we all know now, Marriage (between one man and one women) is a sacred institution that needs to be protected. So much so that traditional notions of states rights and federalism should fall by the wayside and allow for the passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment because of the 'threat' posed to this institution by a handful of states that have adopted the heresy that 'equal protection under the law' might actually apply to gay men and women. But discarding notions of federalism is ok, because the people in these states really didn't want gay marriage or domestic partnerships, they were brainwashed by a liberal media and forced to accept it by 'activist' judges.

Rule #1:
Traditional Marriage and the legal protections that accompany it, require federal government intervention at the expense of 200 years of state regulation of such matters.

Marriage vs. Culture of Life:

Traditional marriage and its associated legal benefits are vital to our nation and should not be diluted or expanded less we rend the very fabric of our society. However, this rule is not absolute, but rather is subordinate to the over arching concept of the "The Culture of Life." In other words, the 'vital' legal rights (the ones we can't grant to unmarried persons or gay folks) like the right to make medical decisions for one's spouse are only 'vital' as long as the spouse making those decision adheres to the orthodoxy of 'life'. When a spouse decides, or communicates that his brain dead(ish) wife's wishes were to die with dignity, rather than be kept alive by artificial means, these 'vital' legal rights and the concept of marriage become subordinate to the need to sustain 'innocent' life at all costs. At this point the Husbands rights as guardian must be terminated and granted to other relatives or the state must seize both physical possession of the wife to save her from the husband. Which leads us to...

Rule #2: The institution of Marriage should be protected and never changed or diluted, unless the legal rights of the husband come into conflict with the rules of the Culture of Life. If a conflict exists between marriage rights and life issues, the state should intervene and terminate the legal rights of the spouse.

Life is Sacred (...Mostly)

If you've made it this far, then you are truly blessed with the ability to see moral issues with a stunning clarity. But our journey is just beginning. Issues of 'life' as you now know, trump the sacredness of marriage. All life is sacred, but as it turns out some lives is more sacred than others. The rights to life are absolute and without question, but inherent in this absoluteness is also an unquestionable hierarchy of sacredness. This hierarchy is arranged as follows from most sacred, to least. Unborn babies, children, known individual adults...less important are...Illegal immigrants, criminals, suspected terrorists and indistinguishable victims of natural disasters who may or may not be Christians.

First, as in the sad case we've witnessed this week. A known individual who is brain dead and has been removed from life support requires the mobilization of the entire federal apparatus, 535 legislators, the President and the federal courts. At the same time the roughly 300,000 victims of an earthquake and tidal wave don't even warrant a public comment since they probably deserved it anyway for 1) Not being Christians and 2) Allowing gay men and women to holiday in their countries. In fact, the initial aid offered to such countries amounted to less than it cost to convene a special session of Congress to pass 'Terri's Law." Also important to understand that the culture of life does not extend to those the government tells us may be involved in terrorism. In such cases these individuals, and never mind if there is any evidence against them, the governments word is good enough, then it's ok to fly them to Syria and torture them to protect life (see: Unborn babies, children, Christians). And of course let's not forget criminals, especially murders, even if they may be mentally disturbed or teenagers or both...they are also outside the culture of life. Which leads us to...

Rule #3:Life is absolute and sacred. It should be protected at all costs. This is especially true when the life in question is Christian, a child or a white person in general. If any confusion arises as to the definition of a life worthy of protection, then decisions should be left to the President and his political party.

See, it's so clear and easy. Just keep listening to our "Dear Leader" and suppress any urges to question the seeming paradoxical notions that have been emerging of late. Such questioning is a sign of a weak mind, on that is not in tune with the universal morals of the new age. If you were able to master and understand the rules above, then you're ready for our next lesson..."Lying is a Sin...unless!" Stay tuned.

God Bless You and May HE continue to bless the United States.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


History of the Schiavo Case

Don't Listen to the Talking Heads or the Politicos, Decide for Yourself

Surprisingly, Foxnews has a link to Findlaw which has posted all the relevant court decisions in the Schiavo case. The current state of the debate has a lot of misinformation floating around, not to mention a lot of kooky 'experts' coming out of the woodwork. Look at the long history of judicial fact finding and testimony before passing judgment.


Bill Benett to Jeb...Ignore The Courts

Apparently Mr. Benett pulled himself away from the casino long enough to write this eloquent, but none-the-less terrifying screed on the Schiavo case. His thesis, the courts are irrelevant, Governor Bush should act and claim a mandate from the people as his justification. Yes, yes! Let's dump or system of deciding these difficult issues based on law and fact and subsitute it with a political mechanism that allows well connected advocates of a particular ideology to make decisions regardless of the law, of the rights of married couples or the principles of limited government.

Money Quote:

"It is a mistake to believe that the courts have the ultimate say as to what a constitution means"

Time to stop studying poker and black jack and start studying government Mr. Bennett.


RIP Conservatism Part II:

Another well written arguement on why the GOP actions in the Schiavo case are contrary to conservative principles....and another alienated Republican....

How Far Will They Go To Kill Conservatism?

The other day, in a conversation with my father, I stated that I was really afraid how far the radicals in my party would go to make sure that Terri Schiavo remains a bed-bound vegetable for the next 40 years. I had predicted that they would convince/coerce someone in the law enforcement community to arrest and charge Michael Schiavo with abuse (or anything, really). They then could 'rescue'Terri, because allowing her to die would be 'destroying evidence... (more)


Quote of the Day

Ryan Seger at Tech Central has a great piece on the last few weeks of GOP Leadership...

The End of Small Government

"In coming years, political historians might look back and try to pinpoint the day or week or month that the Republican Party shed the last vestiges of its small-government philosophy. If and when they do, the week just past should make the short list. For it was in this last week that the Republican-controlled Congress made it clear that it sees no area of American life -- none too trivial and none too intimate -- that the federal government should not permeate with its power.

It can all be summed up in two words: steroids and Schiavo."



Gasoline hits a record after Texas fire


Big Media: Yin and Yang

A Gaint Sucking Sound...

Fox news is reporting that the U.S. has more Mexicans than Mexico, but wait they won't take your job because it's being outsourced to China according to CNN. Fear everything, especially those who are different than you...(Mexicans/Chinese)....

'Assault on the Middle Class'

Grim Picture on Illegal Immigration,2933,151249,00.html


Rainy Day Chaos on Metro

Is That Waterfall Supposed to Be There?

Ok, for the first time in a few weeks, I took (or attempted to take) metro home from work. We had a rainy day yesterday here in DC, about 2 inches on 24 hours, which is a lot of rain, but nothing out of the ordinary. Anyway, I walk down on to the platform at Farragut North and it is teeming with people. I hear rushing water and look across the tracks to the tunnel wall where a large sheet of water is flowing down the side of the station and directly into a lighting fixture. One train arrives (only four cars as opposed to the normal six)'s already full. The message board (it's working today) indicates that the next three trains are out of service and not taking passengers. The platform keeps filling up. I leave.


Apprentice: A Tempest in a Teapot

Apprentice wannabe was intern, not lobbyist

He, he....but hey, intern, lobbyist, WMD, no WMD it's all good...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


More About Terri


I just read an article about Ms. Schiavo and how she's been cared for by the Pinellas Park Hospice in Florida. This institution is very close to me, as they provided comfort and support for my maternal grandfather as he sucummed to various types of terminal cancer- about five years ago. The situation is not the same as Ms. Shiavo's, but none-the-less, the folks at this Hospice are tremendously skilled in easing the pain and suffering of those approaching death. For what it's worth....



IMAX theaters reject film over evolution

What's next, not showing films of women who don't cover their heads?


AARP Watch: Senator Co-Opted

More Proof Bush has Compromising Pictures of McCain:
McCain takes shots at AARP at Bush rally


The Fine Line Between Cheesey and Creepy

Tales of excess at 'Access'

How can it be that coverage of Wars, Terri Schaivo, and oil prices are pushing real news stories like this off the front page. What's next, an embargo on John Tesh press releases?

P.S. - Judging by the outfit, Mr. O'Brien may know the location of the last remaining Chess King Store.

EU foreign policy chief Solana says China arms ban 'unfair'

Mr. Solana is so right! I mean, to have to crush democracy protestors with 30 year old soviet issue tanks when it would be so much more efficient, and lucrative (at least to Europe) to crush them with new, european designed tanks...or perhaps having them sucked into the engines of the new A380 Super Jumbo plane by Airbus....

Of course the United States would never sell arms to a repressive regime that kills its own citizens and stiffles democracy....

Saudi Arabia is America’s top customer. Since 1990, the U.S. government, through the Pentagon’s arms export program, has arranged for the delivery of more than $39.6 billion in foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia, and an additional $394 million worth of arms were delivered to the Saudi regime through the State Department’s direct commercial sales program during that same period. (Foreign Military and
Construction Sales and Direct Commercial Sales are recorded and published by the Dept. of Defense in Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales and
Military Assistance Facts
; the most current online edition includes information through FY 1999.)


Oh No!

Macintosh hacker attacks are on the rise-Symantec


Quotes of the Day....

Schiavo Case:

"This is a clash between the social conservatives and the process conservatives, and I would count myself a process conservative...when a case like this has been heard by 19 judges in six courts and it's been appealed to the Supreme Court three times, the process has worked - even if it hasn't given the result that the social conservatives want. For Congress to step in really is a violation of federalism." - David Davenport of the Hoover Institute, a conservative research organization.

"My party is demonstrating that they are for states' rights unless they don't like what states are doing. This couldn't be a more classic case of a state responsibility. This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy. There are going to be repercussions from this vote. There are a number of people who feel that the government is getting involved in their personal lives in a way that scares them." - Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Dollar Watch:

Fed may get more aggressive


NASA Plans for the Unthinkable

For Nasa Unthinkable Would be 'Competence.'

Yes, it's pick on NASA Tuesday. I saw this article and kind of laughed, which is sad. NASA preps for the unthinkable..basically, how NASA will have to have a spare shuttle on standby to rescue astronaughts if their launch vehicle is damaged.'s an agency that's lost two shuttles (And 14 lives) for basically the same reasons, so another accident doesn't really seem unthinkable. Either way we have a $50 Billion plus space station of questionable use that we can't get to.


I Don't Think I Like The Word "Options"

U.S. and Allies Discussed 'Options' Against N. Korea

I would have thought that Iran was our next target. You've got to give it to the Administration...they keep those tyrants on thier toes...


And Did I Mention...

Red Eye Flight...Long Day in the Office

Oh yes, after my red eye flight into DC, I have to go straight to the office, change into a suit and go to the court house to file some motions....(Yes, 1,000 of attorney's do this every day, but it's 1:12 AM and I'm in the Vegas Airport and I'm tired)...


36 Hours Later...

Making the Most of a Short Business Trip

Well, I'm at the airport, preparing to return to DC having spent just 36 hours in Las Vegas. But, the good news is I did manage to get some fun logged in along with the work I was sent here to do. Arrived Sunday at about 11 AM and hit the strip. Stopping off at the Stratosphere Tower (along with the Space Needle in Seattle, it makes two kitschy tourist spots in one week!), then headed off to the Hilton to ride the Star Trek rides. From the Hilton I set off to the MGM Grand to see if I could get an unsold ticket for the newest Cirque de Soliel show called Ka. I did and it was pretty good (Note: as the Cirque is so surreal, I've given up trying to expain it.)....anyway, I'm sitting in a very crowded airport at what is 1AM eastern time, waiting for my flight home.....

Monday, March 21, 2005


If It's Monday This Must Be...

Vegas Baby!

Sorry for the light posting. I'm giving a speech today in Las Vegas. Arrived yesterday and managed to cram a lot of fun into a short trip. Gambled, shoped and saw the new Cirque du Soliel show at MGM. Give a speech at 10:45 am, check out of my room at noon and I'm homeless until my flight leaves at midnight! More tomorrow!


If It's Monday This Must Be...

Vegas Baby!

Sorry for the light posting. I'm giving a speech today in Las Vegas. Arrived yesterday and managed to cram a lot of fun into a short trip. Gambled, shoped and saw the new Cirque du Soliel show at MGM. Give a speech at 10:45 am, check out of my room at noon and I'm homeless until my flight leaves at midnight! More tomorrow!

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Terri Schiavo: What Would the GOP Do If…

Marriage, The Law, and The GOP

The Terri Schiavo case is tragic to say the least. At the core is a lesson for us all to obtain a living will so that our wishes are clear if we ever find ourselves in a similar situation. Ironically, the same week that the GOP unsuccessfully tried to pass massive cuts in Medicaid (how many lives would that have impacted?), Tom Delay and friends are preening for the camera in an attempt to keep Ms. Schiavo alive, and score a few political points. But let’s examine this issue as a hypothetical…and set up a situation to speculate how the GOP leaders, so eager to ‘help’ would respond.

Imagine if Ms. Shiavo wasn’t married, but rather had been in a 20 year relationship with another woman. Her partner, ‘Carol’ wanted to keep Terri alive. But, despite the fact that they were in a 20 year relationship, Carol and Terri, because they couldn’t marry or even be domestic partners, we legal strangers under the law. Carol’s wishes for Terri have no legal standing. Carol wants to keep Terri alive, but Terri’s parents, who have been appointed legal guardians (and haven’t spoken to Terri since she began the relationship with Carol) want to pull the feeding tube. “Her lifestyle was an abomination to God.� They tell Charlie Gibson on Good Morning America. Would Tom Delay stand up for Terri in that case? I’d love to know.

There are no easy decisions for Ms. Schiavo and her family. But the legal bonds of the marriage between Mr. Schiavo and his wife dictate that he has the power to decide the future course of her medical treatment. Congress intervening in such matters is not only repugnant to respecting the sanctity of that marital bond, it flies in the face of extending the federal government’s powers to the ultimate degree. What happened to protecting ‘traditional marriage?�….

Friday, March 18, 2005


Say it ain't so!

Texas Lawmaker Wants End to 'Sexy Cheerleading'

I say that if Mr. Edwards want's less sexy cheerleeding he should move to Saudi Arabia.,2933,150808,00.html


Say it ain't so!

Texas Lawmaker Wants End to 'Sexy Cheerleading'

I say that if Mr. Edwards want's less sexy cheerleeding he should move to Saudi Arabia.,2933,150808,00.html


Spending Schmending....

GOP Abandons Even a "Pretext" of Fiscal Responsibility

Both chambers manage to pass budget resolutions and ignore the need to reduce spending. Worse yet, GOP leaders rally against an effort to re-introduce 'Paygo' (New spending must be paid for by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget). Of course the GOP pushed Paygo in the 1990's and it helped bring the budget into balance, but fiscal prudence is so last century.

Senate passes $2.6T budget without Medicaid cuts


Who's The Biggest Looser?

I can't decide...

Another day, another sideshow on Capitol Hill. Yesterday was the Steriods in MLB hearing and I can't tell you who repulsed me more...the nosey, holier-than-thou Congressmen who set up the hearings, or the overpaid, taxpayer subsidized, drug abusing baseball players. Better yet, it all had this sort of McCarthyism-lite feel to it. Either way, it's one of those hearings that reminds you that watching democracy in action is like watching someone make sausage.

Baseball Has A Day of Reckoning In Congress
McGwire Remains Evasive During Steroid Testimony

Thursday, March 17, 2005


After MLB Congress Might Want to Investigate This...

Gay Sheep, A Football Player and A Drunken Night on the Town...

Because, you know, the sheep are clearly a threat to 'tradtional sheep marriages'


Goodbye Amtrak

Federal Railroad Funding Gutted...

Ok, on one hand I complain about federal spending, on the other hand I complain about cutting federal spending?! The classic right of the American voter I say! Here in the Northeast, Amtrak is a viable and sometimes preferable alternative for travel. The new Acela trains can get one to New York in about 3:45...about the same as flying if you consider security waits, getting to the airport and such...better yet, you go from Downtown DC to Downtown cabs or long rides to/from airports.

Despite what you may think, pretty much all forms of transportation in the United States are subsidized. Highways consume hundreds of billions in federal subsidies, airports too, so why should passenger rail be any different? I think the Administration is probably right to cut back on funding for a national passenger railroad (a ticket from NY to LA, with about $2,000). But regionally, train service makes sense. Perhaps remnants of Amtrak (or a more vigorous successor) could serve DC to Boston, Detroit-Chicago-St. Louis, LA-SF-Portland-Seattle...who knows...but it doesn't look like I'll be getting to ride a maglev train in the States anytime soon.,0,6142211.story?coll=ny-region-apnewjersey

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Good News

TiVo investors give standing ovation to Comcast deal


Not Good News...

Interest Rates, Gas Prices...The Sky's the Limit

Trade Deficit Hits Record of $665.9B in 2004

Oil Prices Shoot to New Intraday High


I just flew in...and boy are my arms tired!

So Sleepy! So Very Sleepy.

Well, I made the mistake of heading back to my office after arriving at the Airport at 7:30 this morning. My reward? Two speaker cancelations for my upcoming conference, A huge legal issue to deal with, and a headache.

Oh poor me. :)

Monday, March 14, 2005


If It's Monday, this must be . . .Seattle!

Sunny Times in a Rainy City

[Note: I wrote this on Monday, but could not post while on the road!]

No postings today as I was on a plane to Seattle. Funny thing is, that in this city better known for it's rain, the weather is fantastic. Sunny and mid 60s and not a cloud in the sky. Even Mount Ranier is visible looming on the southern horizon. So, what does an elephant do for the few free hours he has? Head to the Space Needle!

Thursday, March 10, 2005


It's Time to Kill NASA

Before NASA Kills Us: America's plans for humans to explore space may cause it to relax its laws on weapons proliferation

A few months back, I wrote about the collosal boondogle that is the International Space Station (ISS). $100 billion dollar tin can in the sky, built for scientific research. (And am I the only one whose tired of hearing that because of NASA we have technology like Mylar ballons and Microwaves). But as I opined then, $100 billion is enough to pay for the Kindergarten through Phd eduction for more than 1,000,000 new engineers or scientists. Alas, it doesn't matter.

But this week's economist touches on two important issues; 1) After this year, NASA will have no way to send astronuaghts to the space station because it's contract with Russia expires, and 2) Russia may be in violation of a non-proliferation treaty, which cloud preclude a renewal of the contract that let's our astronaughts ride on Soyuz spacecraft. Bottom line, with $50 billion spent and another $50 billion planned, we may have a useless space station that we can't get to.


Dollar Watch: Japan Contemplates "Diversification"

Higher Interest Rates Coming?

Deficits don't matter. That's the mantra from the GOP. But it's increasing looking like deficits do matter. This week, interest rates on U.S Treasuries spiked above 4.5%, a pshychological barrier they say. More importantly Japan, one of our biggest creditors, folks who buy U.S. Government Bonds that allow us to finance our massive budget deficits, indicated it's looking at diversifying it's bond holdings. So what you say? Well, Japan and China are the ATM's that grease the wheels of the American economy. We buy their stuff and then their governments use the money to buy our bonds, keeping us afloat to buy more of their stuff. Japan backing way from the dollar and U.S Treasuries is not a good thing, if China follows suit, then things could get interesting...think Argentina (although my economist friends seem to think that's a bit dramatic.)

Anyway, let's just keep telling ourselves that "Deficits Don't Matter..."


No Taxpayer Subsidies for Drug Abusers

MLB Vows to Fight Steroid Subpoenas

They pay their players 100's of millions of dollars, are exempt from federal antitrust laws and are lavished with taxpayer subsidies to build stadiums to play in. So I take offense to MLB saying that Congress doesn't have a right to subpeona players to discuss the use of steriods in baseball.

[Baseball Lawyer] said the committee wanted to violate baseball's first amendment privacy rights and was attempting to "satisfy their prurient interest into who may and may not have engaged in this activity."

Message to lawyer: Your client does not have a first amendment right to engage in illegal activity. If the over paid MLB players don't want to testify, they can always invoke the Fifth Amendment, but that would probably kill their endorsement deals and how can any professional athlete live on only a $70million dollard salary.



Because it Works So Well in France

National Sales Tax Gains Favor

To most in Washington, D.C., Social Security reform is a huge undertaking, but for some in Congress, it's not a big enough challenge. They want to add tax reform to the mix.,2933,149956,00.html

(E.)- Ok, let me get this straight. I'm supposed to hate the French (leaders of socialist Europe) because you know, they don't support the U.S. and they're soo big government..cause they got things like Value Added Taxes and such. But increasingly our good old GOP seems to be looking to Europe as a model to expand the federal government's power to tax everything. Sillly Elephant's VAT is for kids.


Elephant in Exile, Inc.'s Annual Board Meeting

Eat your heart out Ken Lay, We don't even keep record of our accounts.

Ok, I'm taking Friday off of work to pick out EIE's occasional contributor and professional skeptic Midgie Cramblin at the Airport tomorrow.

We're convening the first annual meeting of the EIE board of directors. It seems with all this talk of the GOP cutting subsidies for cotton, that the EIE corporation will have to find other ways to stay on the government payroll. We're thinking that we may be able to get the government to pay us not to grow corn, but we'll have to check up on that. In addition we're trying to line up corporate sponsors for the board meeting...Calls are in to Budweiser and Altria (aka-the Marlboro folks).

Full board minutes will follow next week.


Elephant In Exile, Inc. Annual Board Meeting

Eat your heart out Ken Lay, We don't even keep record of our accounts.

Ok, I'm taking Friday off of work to pick out EIE's occasional contributor and professional skeptic Midgie Cramblin at the Airport tomorrow.

We're convening the first annual meeting of the EIE board of directors. It seems with all this talk of the GOP cutting subsidies for cotton, that the EIE corporation will have to find other ways to stay on the government payroll. We're thinking that we may be able to get the government to pay us not to grow corn, but we'll have to check up on that. In addition we're trying to line up corporate sponsors for the board meeting...Calls are in to Budweiser and Altria (aka-the Marlboro folks).

Full board minutes will follow next week.


Elephant In Exile, Inc. Annual Board Meeting

Eat your heart out Ken Lay, We don't even keep record of our accounts.

Ok, I'm taking Friday off of work to pick out EIE's occasional contributor and professional skeptic Midgie Cramblin at the Airport tomorrow.

We're convening the first annual meeting of the EIE board of directors. It seems with all this talk of the GOP cutting subsidies for cotton, that the EIE corporation will have to find other ways to stay on the government payroll. We're thinking that we may be able to get the government to pay us not to grow corn, but we'll have to check up on that. In addition we're trying to line up corporate sponsors for the board meeting...Calls are in to Budweiser and Altria (aka-the Marlboro folks).

Full board minutes will follow next week.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Question (from CNN): Was al Qaeda targeting Russell Crowe?

Answer: (Elephant) Would anyone really care?


Help Wanted:

Wal-Mart lobbyist quits as chain seeks Hill clout
Wal-Mart’s chief lobbyist resigned this week as the company continues to expand its Washington office in the face of growing criticism from labor unions, small-business groups and minorities.

Funny thing is that of the folks I know on the Hill who have spoken with Wal-Mart about this job, none have any interest in taking it. (Of course you should have no doubt that some lobbyist whore will take this job...'cause we're all whores here) From what I've heard, the job pays pretty low for the largest company in the US and the challenges facing it are too big for such measley pay. In fact, a few weeks ago I got this email (below) from Wal-Mart. I must admit I considered it for about 5 seconds before realizing I'm a Target person.

Hello [Elephant]:

I received your e-mail address from a colleague and was hoping you could help me out. We are currently looking to fill several positions at our D.C. office and our Bentonville office along with several positions around the country for government relations persons. Listed below are the positions, if you or anyone you know might be interested, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at XXX Or give me a call at XXX.

Talk to you soon.

Vp of federal affairs D.C.
Director of Communication D.C.
Director of Health care, benefits, and pharmaceuticals.
D.C. Pac Manager (D.C.)
Manager of corporate affairs D.C.
Senior manager of Benefits and G.R. Bentonville Arkansas.
Senior State Government relations manager (Sacramento CA)
Community relations manager Arizona)
Community relations manager (any of the northeast states)

Again thank you for your assistance and any referrals you might

Corporate Recruiter Wal-mart Stores Inc.

No word yet on if the VP of Government Relations gets locked in the store overnight or is required to work overtime without pay. I'll keep you posted.


What About the Families?

Bankruptcy Bill Punishes Families

You'd think with the fervor that the GOP screamed about protecting families in last year's presidential election, that maybe, just maybe, they'd do something to actually protect families. But, hell, nothing gets you free press like gay cartoon characters or rabbits visiting lesbians on a farm. The truth about the new bankruptcy bill is that it will hurt families and potentially stifle small businesses, who may rely on credit to get their operations up and running.

One of the reasons we have relatively 'liberal' bankruptcy laws in the United States is that they encourage innovation by limiting the downside risk for starting or operating a business. Corporations enjoy some of the most permissive bankruptcy laws in the world. Companies like Enron, United and others get out from enormous debt loads through the bankruptcy process, and in turn, pass on financial liability for things like employee pensions to the federal government. So why can't individuals and families enjoy the same benefits afforded to big bushiness?

A look at bankruptcy statistics shows that a vast majority of personal bankruptcies are triggered by two factors 1). Medical bills and 2) Failure of a small business. Not the typical story of some schlep getting four or five charge cards and going out on a spree, then declaring bankruptcy (Not that this doesn't happen). Individuals should be entitled to similar protections enjoyed by corporations...but sadly, the party of individuals and families decided to side with the credit card industry on this one.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


End Cotton Subsidies!

The Worst Pork Ever

An End to Days of High Cotton?


How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Show

Amazing Race: Cousin Oliver Edition

Ok, maybe it isn't cool, but I am a huge fan of the Amazing Race. Having caught the travel bug after law school, I look forward to taking trips to unusual places and like the excitement and 'drama' of having teams race around the world. But like everything else, in an attempt to expand the franchise, they go and muck it up. In this case the annoucement that the Amazing Race 8 will be a family edition that will include children 8 years and over.

Where the hell are they going to send these folks? No more brick making in Calcutta, but perhaps stops at Disney World, Euro Disney, Tokyo Disney and Disney Land. How boring. Remember when 'Vegas tried to go family friendly? It bombed. This will too.


This is Journalism?

Another Hard Hitting Interview by Katie Couric

To be honest, the last time I remember watching the today show was the morning of September 11, 2001. I was getting ready for a job interview when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. That sad moment aside, my life has been much better since I've tuned out these morning chat fests. In my efforts to avoid real work today, I came across this little gem.

Katie Couric Interviewing Ryan Seacrest. And No, it does not get more inane than this...

Seacrest: I always want to bring Paula but Randy and Simon continue to shut her out. I don't know why. I go shopping with Paula on Sundays to make up for it. Thursday nights we get together and we gossip like a bunch of women.

Couric: Ex-squeeze me?

Seacrest: Ex-squeeze you. Like a bunch of … okay I shouldn't say that. We do gossip though like my mother gossips with her friends – that's more of what I mean. We get together on Thursday nights and we go to a restaurant and we talk about everything in our personal lives. If you could be a fly on the wall you would only know half of it by watching the show. There's a whole other show that happens off “Idol.�

Not quite on the scale of interrupting the Asain Tsunami to announce the Brad and Jennifer are divorcing, but shamelss none-the-less. Enjoy!


I'm on the Fence on This One...

Is Bush Right?
President's Critics Reconsider Democracy's Prospects in the Middle East



Wal-Mart: Maybe Not Evil?

"Like Robin Hood, Only With Parking"

Virginia Postrel links to an interesting article (Discovered by Elephant via Instapundit) that discusses the 'public good' that is the Wal-Mart corporation. Interesting theory, but I still preferr Target.


Many Things to Like About DC....Except...

The Government

Hey, I love living in DC. The neighborhoods, the people, the diversity....but the city government is just gosh darned awful...(Although much better than it was under Marion Barry). Anyway, this story should give you an idea of how bad it can get. I recently discovered (when my tax bill didn't arrive) that the City has yet to properly record the purchase of my house which took place in August 2004!

Building Razing Puts D.C. In Court

Monday, March 07, 2005


Message to Boeing Execs: Keep It In Your Pants.

(Another) Boeing CEO Forced Out Over Relationship

Commercial Aircraft are one of the USA's most valuable exports. Of course we're getting out butts kicked by Airbus, but who cares, Boeing stock holders can always count on Uncle Sam to come bail them out with some boondoggle like the space station. But when a company as important as Boeing fires it's second CEO in a 15 month period, for similar reasons (Condit was fired in part over sexual harassment claims) one must really ask what the hell is going on in the Chicago offices?

Can Boeing really fight the good fight against Airbus when its executives can't keep it in their pants? Perhaps it's being around all those giant aluminum cylinders all day, but frankly it's embarrassing. Time for the board to give the reins of the company to a woman if you ask me.,2933,149597,00.html


Checks and Balances

When Gov't. Grows this Fast, Can Tax Increases be Far Behind?

The short answer is no. My industry is already bracing for new 'user fees' to be levied by the federal government and airlines are fighting a doubling of the 9/11 security fee charged to each of our tickets. Now Senator Graham is making noises about raising the FICA tax (actully raising the salary cap on which FICA Tax is levied). But didn't we vote for the GOP because they traditionally are focused on fiscal prudence, government accountability, and limited power for the feds? Oh yes, that was the GOP circa looks like the excesses of the last four years are coming home to roost and it will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I can tell you that the business community is watching the whole 'tax reform' issue with great interest and concern.


How to Make Flying Even Less Fun...

Sky is the limit for new airline fees

Elephant is a routine flyer, but unfortunately, my travel schedule is not a regular route like most road warriors, so obtaining the coveted 'elite' status is difficult. Seeing the way that airlines categorize you by every concievable factor is enough to make even the most ardent support of capitalism long for a classless society. But with oil prices rising, airlines are looking for new ways to put the screws to us....,1413,36~33~2748570,00.html


Victory for "Little" Media

White House Approves Pass for Blogger

Another signal moment for bloggers is to occur this morning, when Garrett M. Graff, who writes a blog about the news media in Washington, is to be ushered into the White House briefing room to attend the daily press "gaggle."

Friday, March 04, 2005


Weekend Reading

Grab Bag Edition:

Could Evan Bayh Be the GOP’s Worst Nightmare in 2008? (My Answer-No)....
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) isn’t about to announce his candidacy for president just yet. But one look at his team tells me that he’s running

Santorum shifts left for '06 run
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), one of the Senate’s foremost conservatives, has made several statements on tax and wage issues in recent days that suggest he is shifting more to the left.
(Of course it would help if Mr. Santorum actually lived in PA....Elephant)

Going off the (third) rails
Social Security is too expensive, says Alan Greenspan. But reforming it may be too politically costly, fear the Republicans.

When Bad Things Happen to People I know...

I saw this in the paper yesterday and my jaw dropped! take you kid to the hospital, the doctor says...'well she should stay over night, that's my advice...but you probably would be alright to take here home." So you take her home (a few blocks form the Hospital) and then....Social Services comes knocking....

I know David and Hope....They're many things...but negligent parents...well, I've never seen evidence. Now they're forced with proving it to social services....D.C. Family Detoured by Mixed Signals.


Deficits Don't Matter Update:

"The U.S. dollar has fallen in value recently, also, and foreign oil sellers, who control most supplies, want more dollars per barrel to compensate."

- Gas prices might increase 24 cents


The Little People...

'Hobbit' Brain Supports Species Theory

I'm not one who is way into anthropology, but this article is somwhat interesting. A few months back there was a flury of news reports about tiny human like fossils found in a cave in Indonesia. These little people appear to be a subspecies or cousin to us modern folk. More interestingly is that local folklore in the region tells of stories of residents interacting with little elf like people from the woods. Those stories had been dismissed a legend, but now seem to have some new relevance.

Indonesian 'Hobbit' Legends May Be Factual


The FICA Tax and the Solvency Issue

Democrats and Republicans Have Been Ripping Us Off

This is what really gets me. For years the Social Security system has had a massive surplus, as working baby boomers paid into the system, supporting a smaller number of retirees. Of course politicians (from both parties I might add) swarm over money like flies on moths to a flame. So for years, the FICA tax, which is supposed to go to pay out and support social security, has brought in 100s of billions of dollars, which the politicians have promptly spent on other government programs. In exchange for using this money now, they've purchased special government bonds (IOUs) which are held by the government, pay interest and will start coming due around 2019 when the system starts to pay out more that in brings in.

When politicians talk about the system going broke in 2019, it bugs me. What they are saying is that ...'Oops, we spent your retirement money and really don't have the will to pay it back.' This isn't a Bush thing or a Democrat's a politician thing and they've been spending our retirement accounts for the last 40 or so years. Those IOUs will keep the system afloat until at least 2042, but unfortunately, the members of Congress will have a smaller and smaller FICA pie to spend between now and 2019, and after that, have to find money to pay back the IOUs, with interest, out of general revenues. Keep in mind that our good old Congress is already spending $600 billion more than the bring in every year ($500 billion or so if you don't count the FICA revenue they spend) and you get the picture.

And yes, in 2042 there is a statistical funding problem, but the bankruptcy date has consistently proved to be inaccurate. More over under the current projections, even if nothing is done today...the system will still be able to pay out 75% of promised benefits. So, I again turn a jaundiced eye toward the crisis mongers, as for too long the FICA monies coming in have allowed both Democrats and Republicans to spend more than they should.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Frist's Epiphany

Social Security Reform in, no wait let's do it now.

Perhaps Majority Leader first took a look at the calendar and realized that 2006 is an election year and that moving any social security vote back to then would create huge electoral problems for the GOP. Having a vote this year doesn't really help much either, it compresses (and compression creates heat) the debate and mixes in the poisonous partisan wrangling over judicial appointments into the mix. Believe it or not, some GOP Committee Chairs won't even directly speak to their Democratic counter parts on various committees.

Anyway, here's a good way to gauge the soundness of any plan and to see if the underlying motivation is good conservative public policy or just passing a bill and claiming victory. Here's some tips for watching this play out.

Will the administration put forth policy arguments and figures in support of their proposal (remember, private accounts don't solve the funding problem--they exacerbate it) on how much of your private account you get to keep and how much your benefits will be cut (index adjusted') in the future? OR will the administration continue with the private accounts will save social security and if you don't support it you're un-American, liberal, a franophile and probably gay?

If the later is the strategy, we should get used to things like...Majority Leader Reed and Chairwoman Clinton. The GOP has been able to strong arm their opposition into acquiescence over the last four years, forcing a 'solution' to social security could prove problematic in 2006.


Sanity Rearing It's Ugly Head

Chairman Grassley Urges Caution on SS Reform, Bush Goes on Tour

Ok, again, I'm not being critical of Mr. Bush's outline for social security reform. I'm not crazy about what I know of his plan, but again, I welcome debate on this issue. It seems however, that the debate likely to come from GOP lawmakers who are increasingly feeling like they've been left out to dry on this whole situation. Can the administration actually work with GOP lawmakers and Democrats to find a consensus approach to SS reform? It's be a first for the Bush team, whose battles to date reflect the 'with us or against us' rhetoric seen in the 'War on Terra".

Interestingly enough, Mr. Bush is going on a 60 city tour of the country to promote his plan. But how effective can such visits be when the only persons allowed in the hall are those who are screened and closely examined for loyalty to our dear leader. At past stops anyone who was a democrat, had written op-eds or letters to the editor critical of the President were barred from entry. You can't boost the miserable poll numbers on your social security plan if you're out preaching to the choir- as they say. But that really seems to be part of the problem, and one that I really haven't heard a clear message will private accounts save the social security program?,0,3463443.story?coll=la-home-headlines


Culture War Wednesday

The Government Knows What's Good For You!

What happened to the days of personal responsibility, autonomy and personal choice? What happened to the party that eschewed big government and deferred such things to the individual? Oh yes, they became the majority and will do anything to keep it, even if it means expanding the powers of the federal government. Hey Senator Stevens, I find your pork barrel spending indecent!

U.S. Senator Urges Indecency Rules for Cable-TV Shows


Ironic Headlines Department:

Putting a Brave Faith on GOP 'Compassion'

CIA Avoids Scrutiny of Detainee Treatment



The number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq has topped 1,500, an Associated Press count showed Thursday after the military announced the deaths of three Americans, while car bombs targeting Iraqi security forces killed at least three people in separate attacks.



Bubba the lobster dies after being moved to zoo

Personally, I think a better name would have been "Pinchy" or "Clawson", but never the less, this awesome creature, probably over 100 years old, died yesterday. I'm wondering why I saw a semi full of butter headed to the Zoo....

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


AARP Watch: House Leadership Offensive

Not half as good as that ad with the guys kissing

It keeps getting better doesn't it, and this is only the beginning! Coming off a week of getting bashed back in the districts on the President's 'vague' plan to 'save' social security, House leaders Hastert and Delay take shots at the AARP.

The AARP, which claims 35 million members age 50 and over, is "against a solution that hasn't been written yet," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay after a closed-door meeting with the GOP rank and file.

Hastert and DeLay talked with reporters after meeting with lawmakers just back from a week spent sampling public opinion on Social Security. DeLay said the session produced "not one negative comment by the members."

Now there's talk of pushing back any substantive legislation until 2006. As mentioned in an earlier posting, such a complex and contentious debate will take time to find a consensus (a consensus among Republican's that is....). But the danger exists that having this debate in an election year could undermine the GOP's majority as Seniors (one of the most regular group of voters) will hit them hard. . .

Hey, the debate is needed and welcome. However, I think the salesmanship of the GOP has been sorely lacking on this and the program, as discussed, seems rather complicated and bureaucratic (Big Government Conservatism at its best). So, we shall see if they retool the plan, clarify the message or simply just bash their opponents. If they default to the 'bashing' then they're toast.


Even Instapundit Agrees: Alabama is Wacky

Court Decision Upholds Sex Toy Ban
(Virbrating Mobile Phone Sales Surge-wink)

Good Ole Alabama. A State that voted to keep the language of segregation in the states constitution, now a state where sex toys (or more appropriately-the sale of such items) is criminal. Interesting stuff...but then again I think most Alabamians are probably not as wacky as the politicos who are behind this...(lesson learned with Kansas I guess).

But in the battle for the future, as states and cities compete for the best and brightest knowledge workers, it is this kind of backwardness and opressive moralizing that drives professionals to other regions and dooms those left behind to work at that Toyota plant...until, of course the Toyota plant moves to China.

Toying with your freedom

Alabama Vote Opens Old Racial Wounds
School Segregation Remains a State Law as Amendment Is Defeated


Apologies to Kansas

Credit Where Credit is Due:

Seems that Kansans are far more tolerant and accommodating than I or the press would like to give them credit for. This makes me happy and is the reason I think that the GOP's current fixation on the FMA and the far right's 'gay baiting' will ultimately fail. I mean if the message doesn't play in the home town of pastor (God Hates Fags) Phelps, then where will it play?

NOTE: Check out the protestor's sign..."Thank God for the Tsunami", you know it being righteous and all for 200,000 plus people to die because some gay people like to vacation in Phuket. (Sad).

But, underlying this all is that even a bunch of folks who live in the heartland and probably don't agree with the ordinance in question here would rather stand against principle than to stand with the Phelps family....God Bless You All!


Dollar Watch: Asia Starts Planning

Asia To Set Up Monetary Discussion Group

You know Asia right? That hard working, diverse continent whose purchases of U.S. Treasury Bonds keeps our economy chugging along, allowing us to buy more of their stuff and in turn allowing them to buy more of our bonds...and so on.

Well, it seems that some of our Asian creditors are now having discussions on what to do about the dollar. Hmmm...

While I'm concerned about the value of the dollar and the ongoing impact of our government's spending spree, I'm inexplicably becoming skeptical of this dollar doomsday scenario. Oh, don't get me wrong, I think the dollar will continue to slide and our standard of living will continue to erode....but it won't overnight in some dramatic least I hope not.

But with Asian countries financing our spending habits and holding U.S. debt, can we really claim to be stronger, safer and more secure?


The Ridiculousness of the BMI

Based on body index, 56% of NFL players are obese

When you hear facts and figures about the 'obesity epidemic,' keep in mind that many of the stats on who is 'obese' come from the Body Mass Index (BMI) a formula that takes into account a persons height weight and frame in calculating 'obesity'. Now, I'm not denying that we have a little weight problem here in the U.S., but the BMI has always seemed a bit arbitrary to me and the definition of what constitutes 'obese' was changed a few years back...making us all fatter by bureaucratic fiat.


Am I Surprised?...No

Social Security Vote May Be Delayed
Critics Could Force Proposal to Change

So, a week back mingling with the masses has left many GOP lawmakers skitish on the broad outlines of President Bush's Social Security reform plan. Not really surprising if you think about it, Social Security isn't called the third rail of politics for nothing. Debate is good, the President's 'plan' (outline really) is a great point from which to start the discussion. It will all take sometime, besides, having more time will give the backers of 'reform' more time to bash the AARP.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Tuesday, Travel Day

Postings to be Light, Lame

Flying out of here at 7AM today, so postings will come late in the afternoon after I arrive home. If there's a wifi signal along the way, I'll try to post. Here's to hoping the bad weather in the East won't slow me down!

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