Friday, July 29, 2005
Jamboree of Terror!
As we all know we were beaten over the head by BIG MEDIA last summer at each and every turn with stories of shark attacks in Florida. Now my recollection is that there were no more shark attacks last year than in any other year, but the distoring lens of the media (and their incredible inability to think before they speak) verged on hysteria. Or worse, every time some blond white chick goes missing..the media is all over it.
I've noticed something this week. It seems that just about every couple of hours, something bad..dare I say tragic is happening to some Boy Scout Troop somewhere. First it was the electrocutions at the Bi-enial Jamboree, then the scouts were dropping like flies in the 100(F) heat awaiting the arrival of POTUS (Who decided not to show up) also at this Jamboree. Now more terror for the troops as a lightening strike hits a troop in California.
Here's a list of stories from the past few weeks...just one tragedy after another...as if purberty, and being a Boy Scout wasn't hard enough...
Lightning in park kills 1, hurts 7 on Sequoia scout outing
Heat Strikes Scouts Awaiting Bush
Four Scout leaders killed at Fort A.P. Hill.
Boy Scouts fall ill at N.H. camp
Dozens of Boy Scouts get sick at (Colorado ) camp
Boy Scouts’ camping gear stolen (Florida)
Boy Scouts suffer a bad deed: New Castle troop's camp gear stolen
Storm attacks scouts
Yes! We Have no Bananas!
Is the Banana About to Become Extinct?
I really don't like to eat fruit. Oh I know it is healthy and such, but it's too sweet for my tastes. (On the other hand I loooove vegetables...) I do however, like Bananas. Anyway, I stumbled upon this article today and found it stunning! Did you know...
-That all bananas we eat are the same species.
-That prior to the 1960s farmers grew a type of banana called "Big Mike".
-Big Mike was wiped out by a fungus, and inspired that song "Yes, we have no bananas!"
-Now the bananas we eat "The Cavendish" are being attacked by fungus and could be wiped out in as little as five years?!Bottom line, we all might soon be saying..."Yes we have no bananas."
A very interesting article.
Congress leaves town for August, so everybody's workload in DC drops by a half if not more. A month of googling basically. So, here's some reading for you as you get ready to enjoy the weekend, or in the case of us here in DC...August...
Making a Federalist Case
Does it matter whether John Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society?
What can ideological and political opponents say to slag a Supreme Court nominee who, while clearly of a conservative bent, possesses precisely the sort of nauseatingly impressive if thoroughly conventional c.v. (e.g., Harvard undergrad, Harvard law school, clerking for William Rehnquist, a stint in the Reagan White House) that right-wing, centrist, and left-wing establishment types usually slobber over?
The Christian Paradox
How a faithful nation gets Jesus wrong
Only 40 percent of Americans can name more than four of the Ten Commandments, and a scant half can cite any of the four authors of the Gospels. Twelve percent believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. This failure to recall the specifics of our Christian heritage may be further evidence of our nation’s educational decline, but it probably doesn’t matter all that much in spiritual or political terms. (Partial article)
Losing its grip
JUDGED by oratory alone, this week's convention of America's labour federation, the AFL-CIO, in Chicago was a triumph. Teddy Kennedy railed against the “most anti-worker, anti-labour, anti-union administration in memory”. Barack Obama, the Democrats' new black hope, dreamed of when “labour rises again”. Nancy Pelosi blasted free trade. John Edwards scolded chief executives for their “golden parachutes”. The Rev Jesse Jackson called for “massive ground action”.
Jacko's new album flops (or Flying to close to the Sun on wings of pehophilia).
What the Hell is Going On?
In a Hurry, Congress gets stuff done?!
An energy bill?!, CAFTA?!, Stem Cells?! What the hell is going on? Congress is winning back my cynical heart by actually focusing on some pretty decent issues and doing the right thing...there's still hope I guess, at least until next year when it goes back to FMA, abortion, war and such...can't keep the majority unless you keep us scared. (or unless the Dems. keep doing what they're good at...losing elections).
Senate expected to approve U.S. energy bill
Worth the fight on CAFTA bill
Frist to back funding of stem cell research
Thursday, July 28, 2005
I really wasn't following the debate on CAFTA much until I took a trip to Nicaragua in February. Many of the locals expressed optimism at the re-election of President Bush because of his support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement. They loathed John Kerry. So it was with great interest last night that I stayed up until midnight to watch the House vote on this important bill. It passed 217 to 215.
There are so many reasons why CAFTA is important. First and foremost is that is unites the economic interests of the whole of North and Central America. Any observer of the dangerous drift to the far left of Venezuela (Chavez= the Lil' Castro), or the more benign leftishness of Lula in Brazil knows that we had a choice, we could pull in our neighbors in Central America, embrace them as partners, or surrender them to the influence of Venezuela and perhaps China.
Central America will be a great area of low cost (by U.S. standards) labor to help American firms compete with the Chinese, especially in textiles. While textile assembly jobs here may wane, central America buys most of its fabric form US looms, where as China does not. So some good trade offs for a dying industry. More over, it provides investment incentives and protections for those wishing to build factories or start business in C.A. This will help create jobs, at decent wages (by local standards) across the isthmus.
Of course the deal could have been better, especially by using it to kill the horrendous U.S. sugar and cotton subsidies, but I guess that fight is for another day. For now, we've reached beyond our borders to build a better hemisphere. Anyway, credit where credit is due...CAFTA is a good thing.
CAFTA wins vote in House
(Great article on benefits to CA from CAFTA...my prediction...Central America becomes the preferred retirement destination for Americans)...
Today on the International Space Station
Open the Shuttle Bay Doors Doug...
Let's just stop pretending that this whole space station thing is about science, and that the shuttle's return to flight is a good thing. The truth is that with the current safety issues involving the shuttle (which are really management issues at NASA) the reality is that the Space Station as designed will never be finished. Even if it is, the shuttle will be retired around 2010, and we'll have a finished space station with no way to reach it. It's a boondoggle beyond boondogles.
But it seems on today's schedule, they're firing up some software program called DOUG. I think by about 8PM tonight, Doug will achieve sentience and reach the same conclusion as me, that this whole thing is silly...force all the astronauts into a space capsule and then set course for the sun.
Great Moments in Marketing
Catalogue Hell: Level 5
Wow, buy something from a catalogue once, and every bozo with a mail order fetish inundates you with the 'unique' collection of 'whimsy' and "joy".
After swimming home from work (it was 100 degrees with 100% humidity here in DC), I found my mail box again stuffed with these collections of crap. Some were the usual, The Sharper Image, Dell, etc. But among the glossy encyclopedias of bourgeois trinkets was a real gem. The name of it escapes me, but trust me it's a winner.
The catalogue itself seemed strangely obsessed with birds, and focused on chickadees in particular. My favorite is pictured above, it's titled "Mad Blue Bird Signed Photograph", a steal at $89.00 (plus S/H).
The description reads:
A portrait of an adult male Eastern bluebird looking thoroughly grumpy, this delightful image by award-winning wildlife photographer X, first appeared on a National Geographic Brochure (Ed: Brochure?!) Today it may be the most famous bird picture ever taken.
But it just begs the question...What would a signed "Mad Blue Bird" photograph say?
My guess would be...
The Blue Bird.
Like I said, a steal at $89.00 (Plus S/H).
Great Moments In Marketing II
As I mentoned, catalogue hell is brutal. On the same page as the Mad Blue
Bird photo was this stunner...
Chickadee Big Shirt and Beaded Tee.
Here's the product description, everybody try not to call in their orders at
Two cheery shirts to layer or wear separately. Scoop-neck, easy-fit tee features an appliqued chickadee accented with beads and sequins! Hand wash, Chambray big shirt has long sleeves, buttons down the front and at the cuffs, side vents, and a loose, generous fit.
What better way to impress your friends than with a Chickadee BIG shirt. I'm told it's the best shirt available for Porky-Piggin around the office or at home.
P.S- Midgie, I smell a Christmas Present! (Midgie LOVES chickadees...and
general foods international coffees...) Me, I just like Porky-Piggin'
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Big Brother Government
Nothing makes me angrier than government bungling and the red tape run around, expect perhaps Kitty Cat Juggling... Anyway, I have a feeling that for kicks, TSA will drop my name on the no fly list. Here's an interesting story of folks who found themselves barred from flying, and don't know why.
Faces of the ‘No Fly’ list
iPod Shame Index
Wow, haven't done this for a while. He's the latest update on the most listened to songs on my iPod. Shame index, as always is moderate, but I appear to be trending into a classic rock/hip-hop/Lounge Act cover song phase. Who knew...
1) Business- Eminem
2) I would do anyting for love - Meatloaf
3) Back II Life - Soul to Soul
4) Without Me - Eminem
5) Pop Life - Prince
6) Jungle Love - Morris Day and the Time
7) You Outta Know - Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine (Allanis Cover)
8) Kiss - Tom Jones (Prince Cover)
9) Eyes w/o a Face - Paul Anka (Billy Idol cover)
10) Sunday, Bloody Sunday (Mambo version) - Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine.
WH to hold Roberts tax returns
Undocumented worker problem? Bob Jones University donation? Hard to say what's the issue with nominee Roberts tax returns that would cause them to be held from the Judiciary Committee. (Maybe Bush is just saying...he, he...FU All). But is this enough to hold up the confirmation? Probably not. . . But at least it gives the Dems something to complain about in an otherwise slow summer.
White House To Withhold Nominee's Tax Returns
It's hot, still...
It's still gross and hot here in DC. Last night, at around 9pm it was still 90 outside. I'm tired of staying indoors, tired of work and tired of getting all sweaty when I step outside. This is supposed to pass by tomorrow, so maybe that will kick start my motivation...
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Tuesday Productivity Report
As if I didn't need an excuse to be unproductive today. This email came from the office building manager.
Pepco has issued a heat alert requesting all unnecessary electric devices be turned off to avoid blackouts. It would be helpful if you could have your staff turn lights off in unoccupied offices, resource areas, conference rooms and restrooms.
Please feel free to turn the lights on when needed and please turn them off when you leave.
I turned off my office light, which is generally pointless as my office has floor to ceiling windows, but I'm frustrated by the fact I don't have a carpet square so I could take a siesta.
Great Moments in Marketing
Your Company Can Cash in on 9/11
I knew it was a mistake to order that "Asian inspired accent table" from Bombay. While I certainly expected to show up on God-only-knows-what mail lists under the heading of 'sucker', I didn't think my marketing profile would fall to the level of this solicitation.
Yesterday this little flyer found its way into my mailbox. I'm not kidding you. I guess the good news is that if you act now, your company logo can appear on the front of this "tasteful" remembrance of 9/11.
In dedication and honor to those who are missing, hurt, to the families of deceased, to the heroic fire fighters, law enforcement, emergency services, military personnel, and volunteers whose lives have been affected by this tragic event...We will NEVER forget.
The perfect shirt for Patriot's Day (9/11/05), although I'm holding out for the matching fanny pack.
Privatize a Highway?
Give it a try...
$1 Billion Offer Would Privatize Dulles Toll Road
I say, go for it. Virginia has been a leader in using the private sector to build public infrastructure (including the extension of the toll road to Leesburg. Why not give this a shot?
The New Moral Clarity Update:
Purple Hearts pulled from ‘Crashers’ site
Bill introduced in Congress to make using fake medals a crime
Jane Fonda anti-war bus tour, fueled by vegetable oil.
Of course this will also inspire some active young republican's to do a counter tour...on a bus fueled with the blood of baby seals.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Santorum on the Post
Do you like puppies?
Wow, whatever happened to the liberal media? Yesterday on the Washington Post website they had a live chat with Senator Rick Santorum (R, PA). The good Senator is a lightening rod (rightly so) for his over the top conservatism. Most recently he proclaimed that the government needs to pass laws to help curb peoples' desires (as they relate to sex). I've met the Senator on several occasions, and he sharp, charismatic, and very conservative. He's more than capable to handling tough questions. Unfortunately, the Post gave him a cake walk. Thus the headline, Santorum on the Post.
Countdown to August Recess
Wow, talk about a summer malaise. Nothing really exciting is pending here in DC. Oh yes, we've got the Roberts SCOTUS appointment coming up, but that seems to be a done deal, barring any skeletons. The Congress is around for another week or so and is winding down for the long August break. That means things here will be boring, boring, boring. But perhaps, just perhaps, some politician out there somewhere will do something stupid that we can mock....
What did Egypt Do?
We all know that you all believe that the "West" (e.g. American, Spain, U.K) deserve the recent bombings, 9/11, 7/7 and such due to our 'imperialist' foriegn policy. But with the devastating explosion in Egypt over the weekend, it begs the question...What did Egypt do?
So Much to Make Fun of Here...
I'm not really one to look for moral guidance from a man named 'Cooter", but for those that are, it seems he's upset that the Dukes of Hazzard movie isn't as wholesome as the TV show was. Did cooter every watch the TV show? Wasn't it a show about moonshine runners fighting the currupt local goverment officials (Boss Hogg and friends), with the help of Daisy in her shorty shorts? Is Cooter just being...well...anti-Cooter? Too funny.
A Big Storm
Dude, we had the biggest storm in DC late Friday night/Saturday morning. I woke up about 2 am and it sounded like my bedroom was in a washing machine. Awoke Saturday morning to find a large walnut tree on my property line (neighbor's tree) had fallen onto my property. That and about five large garbage bags of debris. No property damage, other than the tree, but the squirrels seemed upset.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Welcome to the Jungle Baby!
From the Desk of Grand Wizard..er...Senator Byrd
"One's life is probably in no greater danger in the jungles of deepest Africa than in the jungles of America's large cities."
I call for reciprocity, if Trent Lott had to step down for his comments, Byrd should suffer some political consequences. Or does GW/Senator Byrd redeem himself with this statement:
"In my judgment, much of the problem has been brought about by the mollycoddling of criminals by some of the liberal judges who have been placed on the nation's courts in recent years."
Perhaps, if you believe that Liberals are the new blacks.
It's been a crazy week here at the office. Congress is winding down for it's August recess and as a result, my work load is light. Yesterday, I totally spaced out for about two hours, not asleep, but not really here. When I came to, I had to shake my head to figure out where I was. Such is life in the DC in the summertime...and I still get paid for this!
Anyway Weekend Reading is back and it's a poturi of topics....Enjoy!
Let a Thousand Filters Bloom
Corporations have one duty, to maximize return on investments for thier stock holders. But lately, interet companies bounding headlong into China have shown a troubling willingness to put freedom in the back seat....literally. Is this a good or bad thing, or is it just a thing? Who knows...
All Happy Families: Lock 'em Up
Funny thing is yesterday Canada legalize same-sex marriage, at the same time the so-called 'Christians' here in the states have gotten their panties in a knot over gay adoption. Better to leave the kids in orphanenges than to have them raised by...gasp....gays. Great article that focuses on the fact that this isn't a battle over preventing gay families from forming...they already are here, but a battle over providing them with the legal rights needed to protect each other and thier children.
Countdown to a Meltdown
Another great 'what if' peice from the folks at the Atlantic. A bit over the top if you ask me. I don't think America will crash on the scale that is suggested here, but rather we'll slowly be eclipsed by China as our power is curtailed by fiscal recklessness here at home. A good read.
Only three articles people, I know thinking-reading-doing are hard this time of year.
Dude, WTF? Another attempted attack on the Underground. Good for the Brits for (cliche warning) keeping a stiff upper lip. I think they are handling it so much better than we would here in DC. I was talking to Donkey last night and he said that if the same thing transpired here in DC over the last two weeks, we'd be invading Canada or something.
Truth be told though, my commute on the Metro last night was uneventful. The customers seemed just as disgruntled as usual, although announcements were reminding us to keep an eye out for unusual activity. Part of me wonders if the attempted bombings that happened in London this week actually took place in NY or DC, would any passengers go "Flight 93" on them? I mean just grab them and start beating the heck out of them until police arrive? I'd hope so.
It also impresses me as incredibly stupid for these folks to try to rile up London. I mean, this is peanuts compared to the Blitz, and the IRA tried for years to upset the apple cart with bombs, but London kept going. Anyway, good for them.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
The Amazing Race 8 Rumors
Readers know that Elephant loves the Amazing Race. Mainly because it gives you some mini insights into various 'exotic' locales around the globe accompanied by the tension of a race and the insane rantings of sleep deprived contestants.
It seems that the next edition of this show will be a 'family' edition - teams of four instead of two, which contestants as young as 8. Midgie hit the nail on the head when she said, "Family edition? Family edition?!, why must everything have a family edition....this will suck." Looks like she's gonna be right.
Googling during lunch yesterday I found some spoilers that discuss the race, which is currently being filmed. You'd think it would be exciting to try to watch a family race through India, while bands of roving minstrels try to snatch their kids to sell into slavery. But no. To keep it safe it looks as if (Text in white, highlight to read)
It looks as if the show is sticking close to home. Some reports have the teams headed to such exotic places as Huntsville, AL and or Talladega. Gee, how exotic and interesting. Per the Wednesday, July 13 Huntsville Times, TAR 8 arrived in Huntsville Monday night between midnight and 4AM, arriving from SC in two buses. Challenges were held at the Space and Rocket Center, and the pitstop was next door at the Marriott. They departed Tuesday afternoon, headed for Talladega, AL. Full story here:Huntsville Times...It's also being reported that they are headed to (Gag) Disney World.
Prediction: Ratings for TAR will plunge. Perhaps they should have shot two shows...An Amazing Race, and an Amazing Race Family. Expand, rather than dilute the franchise.
With the destruction of two shuttles due mainly to bureaucratic bungling, NASA and the Commission assigned to study the shuttle set many requirements before they could return to flight. Safety, they say is their number one goal. Well, as we know, they've already fudged that one by not meeting all the conditions set down by the commission. Now, they're even backing away from their own standards in saying that they won't launch the shuttle unless all the fuel sensors work. (3 of 4 currently work, but they can't figure out why).
So, Nasa's new safety pledge:
We won't launch the shuttle unless it is safe and meets our standards
We won't launch the shuttle unless we've met most of our standards.
We won't launch the shuttle unless all fuel sensors work.
We won't launch the shuttle unless most fuel sensors work.
We will launch on Tuesday.
The problems with the shuttle program before arose from violating their own safety standards. Despite losing two shuttles, they are again violating their own standards. How many times do they have to blow up a shuttle before they learn that? Perhaps the third time will be the charm.
NASA still searching for glitch, sets launch date
Well, seems I was right when I decided to plan a vacation to China this year. Part of my rational was that with the Chinese economy growing so fast, that an appreciation of their currency was inevitable. So, better beat the clock and get there while their currency was still pegged to the dollar at a rate of 8.28 to $1. Alas, China pull the peg this morning. Although it will limit variation in the Yaun to .3 percent per day, it still means my vacation will be more expensive.
(Theoretically, if the Yuan rises every day, the value of the dollar will be 30% less by the time of my vacation).
Oh well...I mean I am going to China...
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Elephant Sayz....Coulter Agrees
Last night and again this morning, I've mentioned that John Roberts position on Roe v. Wade via briefs he writes isn't necessarily representative of his views on the matter. Today, shudder, Ann Coulter agrees. She may be a raving loon, but she's no dummy, Michigan Law Review is no joke. (And Michigan is such a liberal place, it shares the blame in creating Ms. Coulter's public persona.)
...saying that Mr. Roberts argued that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, that comment really doesn't provide an accurate picture. If you look at the cases on which Mr. Roberts was an attorney (as in the case Drudge cites) Mr. Roberts isn't necessarily presenting his views as a justice, rather he is providing his client's views (in the case mentioned the views of Republican administrations). An attorney is a servant to his clients, so his record as an attorney isn't a good reflection of what he may believe as a judge.
It means nothing that Roberts wrote briefs arguing for the repeal of Roe v. Wade then he worked for Republican administrations. He was arguing on behalf of his client, the United States of America.
Roberts has specifically disassociated himself from those cases, dropping a footnote to a 1994 law review article that said: “In the interest of full disclosure, the author would like to point out that as Deputy Solicitor General for a portion of the 1992-93 Term, he was involved in many of the cases discussed below. In the interest of even fuller disclosure, he would also like to point out that his views as a commentator on those cases do not necessarily reflect his views as an advocate for his former client, the United States.”
Metro, always improving service...always
While it is certainly a challenging task to secure an open system like DC's Metro from attack, there has got to be a better way than to conduct random searches of customers. . .You know like public strip searches or anal probes. Seems to me that random searches could possibly deter would be bombers, but New York seems to have a better take on the situation. Dogs can sniff out explosive that are hidden in say a boom box, where as a random search may not.
As it is riding DC's Metro is not a pleasant experience - delays, crowded trains, breakdowns, escalator issues, drivers abandoning their trains, near head on collisons, tunnel fires....in fact, metro is doing a pretty good job of scaring off customers on its own.
CNN is to Clark Kent
Ok, here in DC all the true-believer righties call CNN, the Communist News Network. Those liberally biased reporters who, at the drop of a hat will sell their mother to help fund the Shining Path. At the same time, they laud Fox news, with its "in-your-face" reporters who dish out the news with a large side of smug editorialism. But what has always gotten my goat, is that Fox News seems to get all its anchors from CNN.
Former CNN Anchor Hemmer Joins Fox News
Hard Hitting News from CNN
Really? Ya think? I'm so looking forward to tomorrow's report...Sun to rise in East and Winter Colder and than Summer stories.
More Proof...That I'm Overpaid
A Bunch of Stuff on John Roberts
Ok, seems Mr. Roberts is a conservative (as if President Bush would appoint anyone else?!). But evaluating his record will be tricky because; 1) He's been on the DC Court of Appeals for only tow years, 2) The briefs he wrote as an attorney reflect his clients views, not his own, and 3) It's hard for any lawyer to say what the law would be in a hypothetical, as so many factors come into play with the law. (Good lawyers always answer.."It depends".)
That last point is critical. On hot button issues or even the mundane, it's difficult (if not impossible) to ask a hypothetical of a potential judge. It's probably even wrong for them to answer such questions (shows prejudice). A seemingly simple question..."Do you support abortion rights?" isn't so simple legally. While a potential justice may support a woman's right to choose (or gun rights or whatever) there still is that 'depends' issue. Do you support a woman's right to choose in the case when she could otherwise deliver a healthy baby (e.g. she's in the final week of gestation) or when the person involved is a minor who is pregnant? (Does she need her parents consent? What if it was her dad who knocked her up.) Regardless of the angle of the hypothetical (as you quickly learn in law school) changing one or two facts in a case can alter the outcome. Real life too is often much more bizarre than any hypothetical. So that's not a good gauge to measure the potential judges view.
Anyway, here's some good resources for you to read and err judge for yourself, as we all know both the media and politicians will be too shrill to listen to.
(He he, notice how the justice pic above is on the right...so clever...)
SCOTUS Blog: Roberts and the Gang of Three
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
So Now It's Roberts?
Drudge and others are reporting that the nomination for the Supreme Court vacancy is going to go to John Roberts. Despite Drudge's somewhat melodramatic headlines...saying that Mr. Roberts argued that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, that comment really doesn't provide an accurate picture. If you look at the cases on which Mr. Roberts was an attorney (as in the case Drudge cites) Mr. Roberts isn't necessarily presenting his views as a justice, rather he is providing his client's views (in the case mentioned the views of Republican administrations). An attorney is a servant to his clients, so his record as an attorney isn't a good reflection of what he may believe as a judge. We need to look at the cases he decided when sitting on the bench.
And another aspect that comes into play is "Stare Decisis" or the judicial concept of "let the decision stand." This is a means of assuring continuity within the judicial process and keep precendents from flipping everytime the court's composition changes. A conservative justice is actually more likely to adhere to the principles of stare decisis than is a more liberal judge. (In most cases). Anyway, I'm certain that the media and the politicians will start throwing all sorts of sh*t at the wall as soon as possible...and we'll soon be approaching a new level of hysteria on both the right and left. Ignore it. Look to Mr. Roberts' record as a judge for guidance on what he'd be like as a supreme.
And per my earlier thoughts....it wasn't Edith after all. I can hear her now..."Oh Archie!"
OMG, OMG, OMG! Judge Edith?
Wow! That was fast. It would be interesting to have been a fly on the wall in the Oval Office this week and to listen to the back and forth over who to nominate. Some are saying that the announcement was timed to push the Rove/Plame story off of the front page. I'm less certain.
Since the rumor mill began over the resignation of one or more justices, there has been talk in DC of having the announcement sooner rather than later so that the confirmation hearings could begin and perhaps play out during the August recess, with a full vote in the Senate taking place in early September. I'm also guessing that the WH has had a sort list of potential new justices for some time. So, I'm thinking this isn't a rush on the WH's part...like say..the war in Iraq was.
It will be interesting to see who the nominee is, and if the President will go with a consensus pick..ala the much reported Judge Edith Whatshername, or go with a more in your face approach like Senator Cornyn. I'm still under the belief (perhaps mistaken belief) that it won't be this Edith person, but rather someone else. I won't be watching though, the timing conflicts with reruns of The Amazing Race (season 1) on GSN...got to keep my priorities.
However, when I hear Judge Edith, I can't help seeing her on the court and shouting..."Oh Antonine...what are we going to do?"
Hmm...I'll put off posting more thoughts until this afternoon. Nothing really catching my eye today.....
Ok, I probably understand why someone would do this. They really want a house, housing is getting more and more expensive and they probably assume that even just paying the interest, they can probably eke out some equity in a short time in today's white hot market. But isn't this pretty much like buying stock on margin? We all know how well that works.
Maybe I'm just to risk adverse to buy into this buying a house on margin and hoping for the best. But then, I have a 30 fixed mortgage at about 6%.
'Pick-a-payment' mortgage risks are high
Castro II: Watching, Wary of Venezuela
Well, while we're off in Iraq, we've got a little trouble brewing down in South America. A new tin-pot(ish) strong man in Venezuela. He's bullying his neighbors and using Kim Jung Il like rhetoric to keep his folks in line. (Can you imagine living in a country where the President uses fear to rally the masses?)
Anyway, this is not good for the U.S. or South America in the long term.
Chavez Stokes Confrontation Over U.S. Role in Venezuela
Today on the International Space Station
They're Still Just Floatin' Around
Gosh, it's getting harder and harder to come up with pithy jokes about the daily schedule of the occupants/inmates on the ISS. I mean, look at this agenda...can anyone tell me what the usefulness of any of these action items are? From what I can gather, the daily activities are essentially keeping things running...where's the so called science? I mean how long do we have to wait for even better Mylar balloon technology as a spin-off from this endeavor.
$9,000 a minute and it's all about COX maintenance.
Monday, July 18, 2005
So Uncool....is so Cool.
Yeah, it's probably very uncool to like Tom Jones...The 60's crooner, 70's lounge act is all about cheese and people my mom's age throwing their undergarments on the stage. But I don't care, when Tom Jones appeared on this year's concert series at Wolf Trap, I knew I would be in attendance.
Sexbomb and Kiss, those we're the hooks that pulled me in, and the cheesy yet classic tunes - She's a Lady, It's Not Unusual, Delilah, Momma Told me, and others fed my frenzy. As my colleagues and I jammed with Mr. Jones last night (in the oppressive heat and humidity) we all agreed that part of the appeal was that we all are pretty much convinced that each of us has more dance moves than the Jones. But his voice was pretty awesome as he worked his way through some classic covers, Jerry Lee-Lewis songs and even some gospel. A night of big fun.
Oh, and for the record, I counted about 10 pairs of panties on the stage during the encore....
I'm not very cool, I know it. So Sue me.
Curiouser and Curiouser...
Hmmm....things are looking very interesting on the whole Rove/Plame thing. Time for someone to come up with an appropriate name from this brewing scandal.... _______-gate.
White House senior adviser Karl Rove, after telling Time reporter Matthew Cooper in 2003 that the wife of an administration critic worked for the CIA, closed the conversation by noting "I've already said too much," Cooper said yesterday in recounting his testimony before a federal grand jury.
Throw 'em in Jail!
The almost 1 million unmarried heterosexual Americans who live together in Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia are violating state laws against "lewd and lascivious" cohabitation. '
Rowling in $
All I can say is wow! Good for her....
Friday, July 15, 2005
Rehnquist to World...
Doesn't it strike anyone as a little bit biased that the media and others have been following CJ Renhquist around, looking for any sign, gasp or other clue that he's about to retire. Yes, he has cancer (so do a lot of people), but it's not like he works in a steel mill...he reads briefs (or most likely summaries of briefs prepared by his clerks) and then works with his colleagues to render decisions...Perhaps mentally challenging..but certainly not grueling.
So, I say to our Curmudgeonly Chief Justice...good for you!
Rehnquist Says He's Not Retiring
GOP to Blacks...Our Bad!
The great GOP southern strategy of course was to capitalize on resentment of southern Democrats who supported civil rights, play up the fear and loathing of the black man and win election after election. This of course worked well. But it is now apparently no longer a viable strategy and the GOP is moving to start picking off segments of the African American vote base of the Democratic party, which would help them hold on to the electoral majority they now enjoy. It's a great idea as the Dems really have taken this segment of their base for granted and have offered them little more than handouts and sympathy for being kept down by 'the man.'
But from an electoral standpoint, Black is not the new Black. Interracial marriages, affirmative action and other wedge issues really don't work as well as they used to, especially in a society where racial barriers in entertainment, sports and culture are blurring. Also from an electoral standpoint, the GOP no longer needs to cultivate fear of the Black Boogey man with the Southern-Redneck...err NASCAR Dad voter. They have a new strategy...blame the gays. We've seen it from Choir Boy Senator Santorum this week (Pedophilia in the Catholic Church is caused by the 'liberal' environment in Massachusetts- despite the fact that priest molestation has occurred across the country.) and of course the use of the anti-gay marriage amendments as part of their electoral strategy in 2004. (Again notice how this issue and FMA has all but vanished from public discourse this year? Expect to see it reemerge in 2006 which is an election year). So, this week is historic in that the GOP has publicly abandoned the racial hijinx of its past, but mainly because they find gays to be a much better scapegoat.
GOP: 'We were wrong' to play racial politics
Blah, Blah, Blah
Despite all the talking heads, the verbal gymnastics of folks like Sean Hannity, Norm Coleman and others in defense of La Rove, it's all pretty much been the equivalent of jazz hands. The reams of talking points released this week have been little more than throwing a bunch of excuses or motives at the wall to see what sticks.
It reminds me of the time I was watching my friends dog Alice. Alice was staying over at my apartment and as I was walking her down the stairs (it was a 3rd floor walk up), I noticed that my landlord was on the main landing fixing something or another. I never asked my landlord if I could have a dog over at the house, even on a temporary basis. I liked my landlord and more importantly, I liked my large 1br apartment (with a park view) in a fashionable neighborhood for which I paid the bargain sum of $850/month. My neighbor at the time..Oprah had a cat that she would let roam the public hallway of the row house, and recently said cat had pooped in the hall.
"That's it!" I said to myself. "If she says anything, I'll just come back with...'Oh Yeah?! Well Oprah's cat pooped in the hall!" That, would hopefully deflect her concern.
That's what we're getting from the Republicans this week. No blanket denials that Rove leaked the name (which is telling), but rather a chorus of "[Insert name]'s cat pooped in the Hall." Whether it is the fact that Wilson donated money to the Kerry Campaign (which would be understandable if Bush and Co. leaked his wife's name) or that he's having a press conference with some Democratic Senator nearby, or Barbara Boxer has said something to support him. All cat poop, jazz hands or whatever. Telling us a lot, mostly by what's not being discussed.
The only new and interesting development seems to be that after failing all week with the counter attacks, it's now looking like La Rove and his allies are looking to scapegoat this issue on Robert Novak. Novak is many things (old, arrogant, a representation of all that is wrong with the media) but he is not stupid and is probably now quietly gathering his information to hang La Rove out to dry if they try to pigeon hole him on this issue.
At the very least, it gives us something to talk about.
Rove Got CIA Agent ID From Media
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Newly discovered planet has 3 suns!
It seems they are deadlocked on either Bubby or Uncle Charley.
Transit Security Seen and Unseen
Don't know what's going on with Metro in light of the London suicide bombings, but I haven't noticed any changes. Maybe that's the plan, but somehow, I doubt it.
Here's a good review, and over all discussion of Tim Burton films. I've been torn about seeing the 'revisioned' Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the original is one of my all time favorites. So, I'll probably just rent it at some future date.
Anyway, a good analysis of Tim Burton films...some good, some bad. And sheepishly I must admit, that I was all weepy at the end of Big Fish.
More Rove Commentary
Perhaps it is because he's old, or perhaps it is because (unlike me) he can produce congent, grammatically correct essays, but I heard this yesterday and thought it brought up some interesting points.
I don't have the interest or the time to gather all the Rove developments for you all. But, just to make sure you have your daily allowance, here's one for ya.
CIA ‘outing' might fall short of crime
Of course President Bush didn't say it had to be a crime, he said he'd fire the person who leaked the information...
Talk amongst yourselves...
Super Size This Morgan Spurlock
Last night I attempted to watch the show 30 days on FX. The premise is intriguing. People from different walks of life make some drastic change and try to live with it for 30 days. The show is the brain child of Morgan, Super-Size-Me Spurlock. I heard good things about his movie, but never actually saw it.
Unfortunately, Mr. Spurlock's show managed to do the near impossible, alienate me with its heavy handedness within the first few minutes. It's not that I don't enjoy view points that are different than my own, it's just that on this particular episode, Mr. Spurlock spews out dubious 'facts' like gospel.
Last nights show, or what I saw of it, took two New Yorkers who are addicted to their cars (kind of oxymoronic- a New Yorker with a Car?) and placed them in an eco-village that uses no electricity for 30 days. Great premise! But in started the show Spurlock contends - American's are wasteful (ok-yeah) we use 6 times more energy than is our fair allotment. My hackles are raised. Mr. Spurlock provides no context for this comment. Is his basis merely allocating world energy use on a per capita basis and saying the U.S. uses 6 times more than that figure? We don't know, he doesn't tell us. Context is helpful. For example, who does our energy use compare to Europe or China? Does the fact the United States location in a temperate latitude, which requires parts of the country to use energy for heating (as opposed to say Cambodia which is nice and warm year round) skew those numbers? Again we don't know, as we are merely presented with the fact/truism "American's use 6 times more energy than is our fair share." A value ladened statement that is without context, arrogant and possibly misleading.
While I was looking forward to getting to the part of the show where the two New Yorkers move to the eco-village, I never made it that far. After Mr. Spurlock's sermon about how wasteful we are (again, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with him, just how he presented it as fact, without really backing up his contentions), the two NY'ers are subject to an energy audit to calculate their 'ecological' footprint. Some crunchy lady walks through their apartments with a clip board and jots down notes... Oh my a blender. She makes a notation. A George Foreman Grill. She gives a look like (why don't you just heat your home with baby seals). Anyway after a brief montage of her inspecting the apartment, she sits down at a laptop, punches a few keys and presents the couple with the results.
On the screen are 12 1/2 spinning globes. She informs the couple that if everyone on Earth lived like they do, we'd need twelve planets of resources to meet everyone's needs. Again a compelling statement, but no explanation of how this calculation was reached. Just pronouncements of diminishing resources, dark days ahead, and a subtext of ignorant selfish Americans. To me it harked back to the Malthusian predictions of the 1970s that by 1989, there would be no oil, the planet would be some post environmental apocalypse ala Mad-Max and we'd all be eating Soylant Green (Now with more girls!).
The truth is more complicated than Mr. Spurlock presents. For example, the amount of forested lands in the world is actually greater today than it was 40 years ago. The United states does use a lot of energy, but we use it much smarter than we did just 10, 20 or 30 years ago. And don't even look for acknowledgement that the air we breath is probably the cleanest in a few hundred years thanks to pollution controls and cleaner coal technology. Anybody out there interested in this topic should read Bjorn Lomborg's: The Skeptical Environmentalist.
But perhaps that doesn't make good television. I wanted to so much to enjoy Mr. Spurlock's program. It's a great idea. But his preachy-ness is a major turn off and his over-simplification of the issues and his bias toward the gloom and doom that will result from modern consumerism and the decadent Western lifestyle is trite and offputting...a skinny Michael Moore.
And today, it seems, not even his thesis in "Super Size Me" is bullet proof.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I (heart) Chertoff
A government official cutting back on silly, probably useless security rules?! Egad! Looks like the director of Homeland Security may actually be a rational, smart man. He certainly gets my vote of confidence on this proposal. No word yet on the trade-offs here, e.g. you no longer have to stay seated for 30 minutes, but you must fly naked rule...but on a small scale, some common sense may be seeping into our security measures. Hurray!
Um...Actually I believe it's called the Senate!
Boobs for sure...about 100 of 'em....
This would NEVER happen in DC.
How things work in St. Louis: Want to know the difference between living in DC and the Midwest. This story is a good example. Rose Mary Cook of St. Louis got a water bill from the city for $74,000. Clearly an error as the bill claimed that she used 10 million gallons or water in just one month. She brought the issue to the attention of City Hall, which promptly looked into the matter and determined that, yes, it is pretty much impossible for a residential property to go through that much water in one month. They fixed her bill, her water meter and comped her water charges for the month. That seems like good survive to me.
Here's how that would work in DC. You'd go down to Judiciary Square to appeal the bill. You'd wait for about three hours to get to the counter (even though there would be ten people working and only two people in front of you in line). The lady behind the counter would be talking on her cell phone. She'd tell you that if that's what the water department says, then that's what you have to pay or absent that you have to pay the bill and then file your appeal. You ask where you can file an immediate appeal, as you don't have $74,000 laying around...She says you can't and you should just pay it, but eventually tells you that you can go to this other office down on South Capitol Street to appeal.
You head down to South Capitol Street to some God-forsaken city office that sits between a wig shop and a strip club. You enter and ask to speak to Bob or whomever the lady at the previous office told you to see. Bob is either 1) Dead, 2) on a month long vacation or 3) not seeing folks today. After much begging and pleading you get to talk to Elijah. You've been at this now for about 6 hours and much to your surprise, Elijah looks at the bill and says, "Gosh this is clearly wrong, let's see if I can fix it for you." You hopes rise. But Elijah is new, smart and his spirit has yet to be crushed by the lazy city workers who hate him for his youth and intelligence. Rachel refuses to let Elijah into the billing system to fix the issue. Elijah promises that he will do his best, that Bob will call you when he gets back from vacation. You ask what to do in the mean time, Elijah tells you to send a notarized letter to the department telling them that you are working with them to fix the situation...Send it return receipt he tells you. Of course Rachel starts waving her finger (which is somewhat hypnotic due to her long, beautiful manicured nails that give her a vague resemblance to the Empress Dowager) and says-as you slink out the door, "You should just pay it, 'cause they'll shut off your water." For some reason it doesn't dawn on Rachel or anyone else in the office, save Elijah, that $74,000 is a lot of money. Exasperated, you briefly consider going to the strip club until you see some muscular guys, in ass-less chaps, exit the facility.
It's two weeks later and you've followed Elijah's advice. You've sent a letter, notarized, certified and return receipt to who ever it was you were supposed to send it to. You've called Bob on a daily basis, but he's still off on his vacation. The city has turned your account over to a private collection agency that begins calling you on a hourly basis from about 5 AM to 1 AM each day. You've already pulled in your city councilman/woman to help you out. Everyone, except those with control over the billing system agrees that this is ridiculous, but the folks at the water department insist that nothing is wrong, and if it is, the proper procedure is to pay the bill, then continue through the regular appeals process...which usually takes a year.
Your water is shut off. You've made several visits to your City Councilman/woman, the Mayors Office and even an attorney. The water department refuses to budge. "You must follow our standard procedure to appeal your bill" they say. Finally, as your attempting to drown your rage, and the voices you've been hearing in your head for the last week at a local watering hole, a woman next to you at the bar overhears your muttering. She tells you she works for a the Post or a local news channel and would love to do a story on your plight. You agree as alas you've been beaten down so much that your only hope is the local news.
The story airs and suddenly the Mayor is at your doorstep with your city councilman/woman. The announce a new initiative to streamline the city's bureaucracy (which ironically requires the city to hire more workers and raise your property taxes). Your water is turned back on and over the next several months the water department provides various figures on what you really should have paid...they gradually get smaller..$10,000, $7,000, $3,500, $1200, $500, then back to the $42.77 that your water bill has been month in, month out for the last two years.
The years go by and your seething rage at the total incompetence of the city's operations slowly fades. You have a stellar career and look forward to a happy retirement in some tropical location, or perhaps Paris. You put your house of the market and you get an offer for $200,000 over asking price. At the closing you learn that the City has put a lean on your property for a unpaid water bill from 15 years ago in the amount of $75,000.
That my friends are how things work in this city.
Going all Clinton on Us...
Ok, I'm trying to bring myself up to speed on this whole Valerie Plame/CIA agent leak scandal like thing that seems to have inflamed just about everyone, especially the liberal bloggers who have unleashed a torrent of pithy T-shirts for sale on this very topic. (And they say they hate capitalism). Anyway, here's what I've picked up on so far.
- Someone in the White House or Administration leaked the name of an 'undercover' CIA agent.
- This CIA agent was the wife of Joseph Wilson, a former diplomat and a critic of the Bush Administration.
- Wilson had been sent by the CIA to Niger to investigate claims Sadaam Hussein had tried to buy uranium on the black market. This later proved untrue.
- Early in the 'scandal' Bush said he'd fire whoever was responsible.
- Two reporters had information identifying the source, but refused to turn it over to the federal investigators. (One Judith Miller, is now in jail until she spills the beans).
- It appears that prior to Valerie Plame's name being published, Cooper, the reporter from Time, spoke with Rove who told him that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent.
- Under federal law, it is a crime to reveal certain enumerated employees of the CIA, Ms. Plame, although on desk duty, was in one of these positions.
- Rove and GOP leaders are now claiming that Rove didn't technically 'name' her as he never said her name, he said "Wilson's wife."
- So, therefore we should all move along, there's nothing to see here...
Despite the best defense put out by administration officials, party loyalists and the like, this does not appear to be something that is going to go away anytime soon. The very arguments used by the GOP to attack the left (or far left) of undermining our defense seem ready to come home to roost against Bush and Co. Bottom line is that someone (allegedly Rove) leaked the name of a CIA agent (who happened to be the wife of a critic of the war in Iraq) that may be in violation of federal law. On top of that Bush has promised to fire those responsible. I may say many things critical of Mr. Bush, but one of his biggest strengths is that he is no Clinton or Gore. We're not supposed to have to parse out his words (which is so much easier as most of them are monosyllabic). At this point it appears that the line of defense the GOP is using is that the whole controversy boils down to what 'to name' means. The stuff scandals are made of.
The biggest barometer of if Rove did or did not do what is alleged will come when the special prosecutor closes the case or files charges. What and listen people. If the administration or their allies start trying to paint the investigator ala the dems did to Kenneth Starr, then they're running scared.
GOP on offense in defense of Rove
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Ok, DC finally got it's act together and now has a circulator bus to take folks like me across town. Our metro system is nice (mostly), but it and our bus system are designed to take people in and out of the city in a giant hub-and-spoke like system. So yesterday as I was headed to my gym (nearly a mile from my office), I thought why not try this new cross town bus. It was in the 90s and humid, so what the heck.
I walked a block to the new bus stop and waited. As promised within a matter of minutes, the sleek new circulator bus pulled up to the bus stop, then it kept going. As did the next three. They all had signs that said "VIP Special Bus" and they were all empty. Me and the other potential customers mumbled our gripes and wandered off, on foot, to our destinations.
DC Circulator to go where Metro can't
(Ironically, here's the website for the DC Circulator...like the new buses it doesn't appear to be operational) http://www.dccirculator.com/
When I got home however, I discovered that the Game Show Network is rerunning the first season of The Amazing Race! (My favorite show!). I only caught parts of the first season, so I plan on TiVo'ing it. (I mean even reruns of TAR is better than Dancing with the "Stars". ) So, the bitterness of the the Bush fiasco was soothed by reruns of reality shows.
Or mostly safe...
Or reasonably safe...
Or it's Wednesday...
Shuttle to Blast Off Despite Concerns
What's Up With Rove?
Ahh, another day another potential scandal here in DC. It appears that the White House is backing away from the strong language it used when the story that some-one in the administration leaked the name of a CIA agent to retaliate against her husband for saying something bad about W...or something like that. Originally, the WH said that person would be rooted out and fired. But it seems that person may have been Karl Rove, who is the Co-President or something, so now no one is talking. Fun.
I don't smell Watergate just yet, but perhaps Whitewater....July and August are always steamy in DC.
Bush Aide Deflects Questions On Rove
Democrats Seek Firing in Leak Case
Coming this week to EIE
If a picture's worth a thousand words, then posting some crap will make me have to write less...or something. Blogger's streamlined the photo function, so expect to see some pics soon.
Today on the International Space Station
With the expected arrival of the space shuttle in a few days, life must sure be exciting on the international space station. The $100 billion dollar outpost of science. It's likely that with company coming the crew will have finally found the laptop power cable and have moved on to other daring feats of science, like how to bake a cake for your guests in a micro-gravity environment. No need to worry about the fact that with the shuttle retiring in 2010 we won't have the means to finish the station, or to get to it....it's science, so details like that don't matter.
Actually looking at today's schedule it appears that some house keeping is in order before guests arrive. Smoke detector inspection seems to dominate the agenda as does cleaning. They even appear to have some 'space paper towels' (Brawny no doubt) but in science terms they call 'em 'Dual Sorbent Tube Sampling".
At cost of $9,506 per minute* you gotta work fast.
Daily Space Station Schedule:
*Per minute cost of the space station assuming a total cost of $100 billion and a 20 year life-span.
Bush Hosts Breakfast
While the president has held telephone conversations with the four senators before, Bush's breakfast with the four Tuesday is their first meeting in person about the vacancy...
It's nice to see President Bush reaching out to the leadership of both sides of the Senate, before he lays the smackdown on Reid and Leahy. But yet again, the media misses the most important question...what did they eat?
I'm guessing Fruit Loops or perhaps Count Chocula, fruit cup, a selection of juice and perhaps a danish.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Ticky-Tac Houses, All in A Row...
"...Sports rivalries aside, the world is no longer about towns, cities, counties, metropolitan areas or even states. Those traditional boundaries may become even more parochial as a booming nation of 295 million braces for another 125 million people by 2050."
Yes, but in this brave new world will we finally have the imposition of a Shirly Jackson style lottery to randomly dispense justice and ensure good harvests?
We Have No Time Table.....
We have not timetable to withdraw our troops from Iraq. Or do we?
The Roots of Terrorism...
Here's an interesting story from Britain about how Islamic extremists are recruiting college educated Muslims in Britain as potential terrorist operatives. Like many of the highjackers on 9/11, these folks aren't ignorant, blindly fanatical actors inspired to act by growing in as poor victims of Western imperialism....they're educated, middle class-ish folks who live among us. How do you fight that?
Not Anther Boring Space Launch...
They're Baaack...(As am I)
They're back and ironically, so am I. Painting week went well and now mi casa is totally decked out in appropriate colors. Word on the street is that Congress will use the next three weeks to cram through all the necessary legislation needed to keep the government working (i.e.- spending bills) prior to August recess when attention turns to the SCOTUS nomination.
It's also heartening to hear that La President has been calling members (both R and D) of the Judiciary Committee for input into potential nominees. He probably doesn't care what they have to say, but at least the administration now appears to be going through the motions....
Specter Speculates: O'Connor for Chief?
Friday, July 08, 2005
A third of a billion dollars of debt per year is still way to much, but the deficit forecast is reporting a big drop in red ink. Good news...
Some Good News!
Having grown up in Michigan during the collapse of the industrial economy, I still marvel at living in a city where new buildings are going up and housing developments spread across the countryside (that didn't happen in Michigan in the 1980s). On top of that unemployment was almost European with rates up to 15%. That's why I find it amazing that the unemployment rate came out at 5% in the latest report. Of course it is still 7.1%, but that's probably folks like me get a world class education and move on.
Stiff Upper Lip
Feeling better after watching the British brush off the attacks and flood the pubs for fellowship. Good for them. I also found this somewhat comforting...from the economist...
Thursday, July 07, 2005
They Attacked Us Before Iraq, Afganistan...
Pointing the Finger
Hope the following postings weren't too blustery. Like everyone else, I'm saddened by what happened in London this morning. But please don't get me wrong, the folks who did this didn't do it because we are in Iraq or Afghanistan, they killed 2800 in the World Trade Center before that even happened. Are they fighting imperialism? Nope. They're fighting all the things they think represent the worst in the world...like women's rights, gay rights, religious freedom, tolerance and pluralistic, democratic societies that are the West.
At the same time, I reject claims that those at home who've criticized the war in Iraq are to blame. I mean if we weren't engaged with 100,000 troops in Iraq, just think of the inroads we could have made against Al Qaada? Questioning our leadership and protesting their decisions is one of the very reasons they attack us, because we enjoy a freedom in the West that few Muslim countries enjoy. Attacking those opposed to Iraq is just more divisiveness (That show a lack of leadership as discussed above) and doesn't strengthen our resolve against the enemy.
At the same time, those doing the attacking should take note that although from the outside we here in the State's appear to be a barely cohesive, bickering, and dysfunctional family, attacking us here will only help us find common ground, and perhaps, clearer leadership in the war against you all.
Looks Like It's OBL
How long before they have metal dectors on the Underground? Metro?
Meanwhile, things here continue to be divisive.
What's a good leader? To me it is someone who can pull together a country in a time of conflict. Bush has repeatedly offered divisiveness at nearly every turn. (Yes, the radical left, like the radical right doesn't help..) He ran an election based on fear of gay marriage, his campaign worked to spread lies about John Kerry's actual military service (and I'm no John Kerry fan), when he had a cushy spot in the national guard. That's what makes me nervous. That another terrorist attack on the U.S. will be used not to unite us, but rather as an opportunity to push through agenda items like ultra conservative judges, FMA, immigration curbs (rather than the President's visionary reform effort). Our enemy of course knows this....
At least on the SCOTUS issue, it's business as usual here in DC.
Funny, last year (an election year)...we had more than a few orange alerts. This year we haven't had any?
DC's Metro: No Security
Just a few weeks ago, during a week-long Washington Post expose on negligent maintenance, the director of Metro had metro workers handing out flyers on why the post report was wrong. That same day, a horrific collision between metro trains in a tunnel under the Potomac was avertered only when the two train drivers realized they were headed toward each other. (The track circuits had apparently failed days before). On top of that on any given day, about a 1/4 of metro's escalators aren't working. (I don't mind climbing stairs, but some escalators are more than 500 steps.).
On top of that, Metro has zero security...as any subway system probaly does. Need to rethink the commute.
Sadly, It's London!
Woke up to the sad news that Britain was the victim of an apparent terrorist attack. Feeling both sad and angry. Angry because just a few weeks ago, the new CIA Director Porter Goss did an interview with Time magazine. During the interview he was asked if he new the locaion of Osama Bin Laden. He responded, "I have a pretty good idea where he is, next question."
Who in the current administration is in charge of getting this guy. We seem to be good at getting tin pot dictators like Sadaam Hussien, but nearly four years later, still no Bin Laden and the attacks keep coming. As some one who commutes by subway, do I feel safer? In a word...no.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
For Your Listening Enjoyment
Elephant's college friend the Crow, her husband and children came over for Brunch this weekend. It was a great visit. We reminisced about our time at Michigan and I got to know her husband and children (Both were adorable). Anyway, as a housewarming gift the Crow brought me the above mentioned CD. It's hillarious and very listenable. The Crow of corse knows that the Elephant has really bad taste in music. My favorites: A swing version of Bon Jovi's "It's my life" and the Cure's "Love Cats".
Ok, maybe I'm about a year behind the curve, but last night I watched the epic Troy on HBO. You know, the one staring Brad Pitt. It was, for lack of a better word...terrible. The dialoque was stilted to the level of George Lucas and other than the important discussions that furthered this classic tale, were just cliches strung together. Most notably, with 50,000 Spartans hanging out on the beach in Troy, the dialogue suddenly became self-conciously heterosexual. "Do battle and go home and make love to your wives." 'Cause you know, whenever there's a bunch of men dressed up like gladiators on the beach, we really have to let the audience know it's not Fire Island or something. And another thing...what it is about these epics, Gladiator (which I thought was cheesy, but enjoyable) and Troy and Alexander where people in ancient times speak with a British accent? Is that some kind of union rule?
Anyway, Troy wasn't that good, in fact, I turned the channel to Empire on ABC which was actually enjoyable.
Well, progress is progress I guess. Two rooms down and two to go (Kitchen and Living Room). Will be taking lots of breaks...so will update postings throughout the day.
And if you believe this...
I thought for sure that the Eurocrat heavy IOC would have choosen Paris....which Eurocrats seem to adore. (Truth be told I adore Paris...) Anyway, it went to London..good for them. Can't imagine the traffic and burden on their teeting transit system, but then..I don't live there.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
So I'm taking a break from painting (I like to take breaks) and overhead, a small Cesna plane is puttering along headed toward downtown. No sound of F-16's, so it must be authorized. We'll see, I'm still listening for the explosion.
SCOTUS: No Names Yet and the Right Ain't Happy
No Names yet and some elements on the right are already complaining that Alberto "Torture" Gonzalez isn't conservative enough. Lots of meetings this week, money being raised and I thankfully, am at home painting....
2012 Olympics Announced this week
New York is still in the running, but if you ask me, with everybody still kinda of mad at us about the while Iraq thing, they'll give the games to Paris.
Bid cities pack Singapore with heavyweights
Ahead of Schedule
Ahh the three day weekend, or in my case, the 10 day weekend. Managed to have some fun over the holiday, while still getting alot of painting done. So far everything is ahead of schedule, which means..perhaps...a trip to the beach on Friday!
Friday, July 01, 2005
Maybe I have too much faith in the process, but with Bush's current weakness in the polls (and on capitol hill), I'm thinking that the process may lead to a more consensus candidate. Oh, I don't think Bush will nominate one, that's not Karl Rove's MO (Remember he's got only one trick-divide and conquer). I'm just thinking that if Bush can't get the Bolton nomination through, what are the chances he could get another Bork through? The system is still stacked against him and throw in Frist's wet noodle leadership skills, it won't be smooth sailing by a long shot.
Yes, there is a lot at stake and you should get active if there is an issue of concern for you, but the system will provide many roadblocks and opportunities to ensure that whatever candidate passes the Senate approval process, there should be some level of compromise involved.
Keep the faith!
...And have a great 4th....
And what of Roe v. Wade?
In 2000, the Supreme Court struck down the Nebraska's so-called partial-birth abortion ban. While that case was decided by a 5-4 margin, it's important to read the dicta in that case. While Thomas, Rehnquist and Scalia all noted that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, Justice Kennedy (a Reagan appointee) noted it should not. Thus, the curent Roe majority on the court is 6-3. Justice O'Connor's retirement doesn't necessarily help on this issue, but for now, it is not the end of a women's right to choose.
STENBERG V. CARHART
A good summary on Factcheck.org (It's related to the 2004 presidential campaign, but it is enlightening).
The drama has begun. I've got the TV in my office on and all the talking heads are babbling about how replacing Sandra Day will change the balance of the court. That's partly true, partly not. On separation of church and state as we've seen this week with it's confusing 5-4 decision, that may be true, but on other issues, like Lawrence v. Texas the majority was larger 6-3 (The suspicious and single David Souter). So, despite what we'll here in the media, it's much more complex and subtle than that.
However, I was just thinking about all the meetings that will be happening this weekend and how much it would suck to be a Senate Judiciary Committee Staffer this weekend. I suppose that ACLU employees, NARAL, Focus on the Family and other groups will all be locked away this weekend strategizing. Uggh!
So much is in play, this will be interesting to watch.
Wow! This just threw a wrench into the gears of Washington. Although chief Justice Rehnquist was widely expected to announce his retirement, today, swing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement. It's gonna be a long, hot summer here in DC.
A Rehnquist retirement doesn't approach the high stakes ideological battle that Justice O'Connor's does. After all, Rehnquist's retirement would logically open the door to another conservative judicial appointment without radically altering the balance of the court. O'Connor's retirement is a whole different ball game as she's been a decisive swing vote for almost her duration on the bench. This battle will be ugly and will most likely slow or shut down other legislative activity for the remainder of the legislative session.
Oh yes, does anyone really expect that George Bush will appoint a moderate for this vacancy?
I don't. I'm headed out this weekend to stock up on condoms & porn.
O'Connor to Retire From Supreme Court
Movie of the Week, Week
Last night I caught the very delicious made for TV movie, The Day After. Remember it? It was a nuclear holocaust movie that was released during the hight of the nuclear freeze movement back in 1983. At the time it came out (I was 12 or 13) it seemed scary...now it seems less scary and a little melodramatic.
Tonight it's the classic Sybil with Sally Field. I remember my post-hippie psych teacher in High School making us all watch it. Then after words in a 'rap' session, her going on and on about some friend in college who took LSD and "gouged here eyes out with the sharp end of a paint brush." (That should have been a movie of the week to..) It was all very 'Heathers'.
Anyway, the previews for Sybil shows Sally Field talking to her therapist. The therapist respondes, "Would you like a crying towel?". Could there be a better qoute?! This weekend try to use it on someone you love. e.g....
"Hey, are there any more corn on the cob holders?"
"No, I' m sorry. Would you like a crying towel?"
Sadly, I missed the very best movie of them all...The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Alas!
I think I wrote April on a check the other day. Sheesh! I can't believe it's July. But, I am happy that I've taken all of next week off to work on my house. I'll be painting the Master BR, the hallway, the living room and dining room and the kitchen. (Yuck!). So, blogging will be really light, but perhaps I can try to figure our how to get some pics up on this site.
I'm pretty ambivalent about gun control. (Yes, I know your now shouting at my blog..."So, you think it's ok then for the King of England to come push you around...) I think if a person wants to own a gun, then great. Growing up in Michigan most folks I knew had guns and gun safety classes were kind of a right of passage. (In my public school we'd get the first two days of deer hunting season off!). But DC is not Michigan, (Although we do have wild deer if you can believe that!). If my semi-soviet city council wants to pass a restrictive gun law, that's their right. I can fight it at the ballot box, or I can fight it in court or even run for city council myself. What I and my fellow 580,000 residents (More folks than Wyoming by the way) of DC cannot do is have our views represented and counted in Congress. That's why I find this offensive.
House Votes to Repeal District Gun Restriction
Measure Would Curb Law That Requires Firearms Kept in Homes to Be Unloaded, Disassembled
A Three Day Weekend Means...
Yes, let's face it, we are all sitting in our offices today, listless and only barely able to pretrend we're working on that TPS report. Our toughts are focused on the weekend and backyard BBQ's and cold bottled beer and such. So I'll drop all pretense of even trying to be intellectually stimulating today (as if I've ever..). To get you salivating for the weekend, here's some food related articles.
10 foods that make America great
From coast to coast, a menu full of homegrown delights
I would add these as well: