Monday, October 31, 2005



Thanks Midgie!

Occassional EIE contributor and professional skeptic, Midgie Cramblin was out for the weekend. It was a blast. Lots of snickering and beer consumption. We also went to see this exibit..and are both now obessed with the Masons.

Anyway, it was fun Midgie. Thanks!


Meanwhile in Iran

Winds of War?

This link is via Andrew Sullivan. It's an eye opener. While we continue to spin our wheels in Iraq (with no course correction in sight), our enemies are taking notice and making their own plans. I've been worried about Iran's new President for some time now. This doesn't reassure me.

Is we are fighting WWIII as our President says, why aren't we fighting it like it's WWIII?


A Note on Weddings...

Keep it simple people...

I had the pleasure of being invited to share in the wedding of two friends of mine this weekend. The bride, a close friend from Law School, and her fiance. A beautiful ceremony and the bride was a knock out. The ceremony itself reflected the couples eclectic tastes, combining a full Catholic Mass, with a 1/2 dozen blessings from different cultures. It was as beautiful as it was long. Clocking in a 1 hour, 45 minutes. That's in contrast to my brothers wedding, a good, simple Lutheran deal that ran about 25 minutes.

The reception however, rocked. It was held here. A beautiful panorama of the city, and drinking and dancing with the wedding party. Fun.

Thanks for sharing guys, have fun in Spain!


Alito's Way

Harriet Miers He Is Not.

Well, here we go people. Bush has throw Justice Alito into the ring and things are gonna get ugly. Alito's position on Casey is pretty conservative, leaving the Democrats little choice but to try to bullocks up the process. This of course means that the filibuster fight is back on the table. So we're back to the future. It may be ugly.

Friday, October 28, 2005


I always take the wrong day off.

Miers out, Indictments Coming

Well, I'm not blogging today. I'm actually taking the day off to spend with Midgie who is in town. What's funny is that Midgie is a friend of mine from my days back at U of M (Go Blue!) and this year marks the 18th year we've known each other. As of August of this year, we've officially known each other longer than we have not known each other. Worse, is that we were talking last night as now were the age of the chacters from the "Big Chill" (a reunion of U of M Alumns..) How odd that time passes so quickly.

But anyway, a weekend of fun, uncontrolable laughter and making new memories. So, no postings today.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Miers Out

New Responses Due Yesterday...

Usatoday, Drudge and others are reporting Miers has withdrawn.


Time for Some (White) House Cleaning

Bush adrift, Needs Major Administration Shake Up...

Soon after I wrote my long piece about how most of us here in DC are in a malaise from the continued blunders of the Bush Administration, I read this on Andrew Sullivan (See posting titled "What Bush Should Do"). And you know what, he's right.

Bush's second term started out with much fan fare. Supreme Court vacancies, tax reform, social security reform and other bold agenda items that were actually exciting and would probably benefit from a conservative approach. What we got is something altogether different. Ham handed handling of social security (calls for vague reforms, but no specific plan), One brilliant choice for the Court (John Roberts) and one potential goose egg (Miers..or Mires), and a tax reform proposal (bases on current reports) that looks as politically appetizing as the ham handed social security reform.

Then we had the surprises, Katrina, Rita and Wilma that have exposed the extent to which the billions spent on homeland security were wasted and the dangerously fine line between Bush's touted loyalty and just plain cronyism (And sadly, former FEMA director Brown is still on the government payroll).

Iraq too seems to be progressing along on (depending on your slant) an unsatisfactorily slow path or a bogged down mission without a clear end. Through in the Plame case and you've got an administration who at worst, lost control of itself or at best is adrift, lost in the bogs of ineptitude and scandal.

But Bush is supposed to be different, or so we are told. He's a plain spoken man of action and focus. As Sullivan suggests, he should do a major shake up. Dump Rummy, Rove, Libby, Cheney, Chertoff and a few others. It doesn't have to be an admission of anything, but rather a demonstration of a commitment to put things back on track. Critics (I think unfairly) say that Bush isn't the brains of the operation. That Cheney, Rove and Rummy actually run the show. Perhaps so, perhaps no. But Cheney's heavy involvement in the march to war and Rummy's plan to fight the war with inadequate resources are part of the problem. Rove's 'divide and conquer' political machinations seem to have run out of steam and are no longer effective. The Miers nomination has effectively divided congress, but within the GOP ranks, much to Ms. Miers detriment.

My silence or lack of enthusiasm over the last few weeks has been a manifestation of a deep malaise. More of the same from this bunch for the remainder of Bush's term is not just unacceptable, it's downright dangerous for what's left of the so-called conservative agenda. The prospect of a shake up is exciting because it renews the chance for possibility and vision. Absent that we'll see a continued drift and Bush looking more and more (as I've said before) like the Jimmy Carter of the GOP...a good man, but one in circumstances beyond his ability.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Tax Reform Report Due in 5 Days

"Reform" Could be Largest Tax Increase in History

I'm telling you all, this is the sleeper issue of 2006. Framed as tax simplification and reform, it may amount to an actual tax increase on a lot of people (e.i.-Me!) so we can lower taxes on those falling under the AMT(not me!). CNN's picked up on the story here.

What's interesting is that while I don't think the reforming the mortgage interest deduction is politically feasible, the President's commission is putting it on the table, in an election year, and following 2005's disastrous 'debate' on Social Security reform. Of course the Dems. aren't really in a position to capitalize on this, but between the GOP's tax reform, and the Dems tax increases, I'm beginning to buy the hype that maybe there isn't too much of a difference between these parties.

I'd hate to be someone like Senator Talent (R, MO), or Senator Santorum (R, PA) running in a competitive election next year and having to say, "Yes, I voted to cut your tax deductions and cut your social security benefits". (Although to be fair, I have no idea if Senator Talent would vote for either of these options, and he was one of only 14 Sentors to vote to kill the Don Young Bridge to nowhere in Alaska). Santorum, we'll he's a kool-aid drinker.

But the fact remains, that here we are looking at the possibility of major tax hikes on a good lot of us, all in the sheeps clothing of 'reform'. The GOP revolution hasn't just lost its way, it's dead.

Of course, from a political standpoint, these recommendations all seem to have 'no-legs' as they say and may just lumber around in a painfully embarrassing way like the Miers nomination before dying a slow painful (political) death.


DC Invokes Eminent Domain

To Build A Stadium

Hmm...First off, I'm totally against public financing of a baseball stadium. The benefits are dubious and if I as a tax payer have to help build a stadium so the Nationals owners can make a profit, why can't the tax payer help me build a factory or something. Big waste-o-money.

But to make matters worse, the government is using its powers of eminent domain to seize the property from current owners. Eminent domain, at least before the Kelo case, was supposed to be used for taking a persons land for use in the public good. Roads, metro lines, hospitals, etc. While we all enjoy a great day at the ballpark, having the government deprive us or our personal property to build a stadium just doesn't do it for me...even if the compensation paid to the owners of the seized property is fair.

But alas, I'm probably in the minority on this issue.


I Got Nothin'

Indictments, Miers, Etc.

Dude, the past few weeks have been so boring here in DC. The media is in a tizzy about possible indictments for the Plame thingy and the Harriet Miers nomination is still lumbering around like an injured puppy. No new policy initiatives to discuss, no bold leadership on the War or government in general. Just a sense of drift, that the Administration has lost its way (if it ever had a direction at all). Sad, boring and not really fun to talk about.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


How do you spell Agnew?


Well, it is being reported by the NYT so there may be some wiggle room here, but this definitely supports my premise yesterday that the Administration is concerned, or knows, the Plame scandal goes far up in the White House.

It's going to be a long winter....


Rosa Parks


One woman who stood up to a morally bankrupt system, even the great MLK owes his rise to this woman. Just one of many brave people that inspire me.

Monday, October 24, 2005


A Deer in the Headlights

They Don't Say Much

I must admit, for the past few weeks as one debacle after another has emerged from the White House or Congress, I've sort of been sitting here like a deer in the headlights...staring into an oncoming disaster, without the ability to comment or even move. That mood seems to permeate the city lately, especially in light of the potentially forthcoming indictments on the Valerie Plame leak. Today, a couple of events pushed me out of my tupor and back, briefly, into the blogosphere to comment.

Unlike Big Media, I don't like to comment on what has not yet happened. Patrick Fitzgerald, the independent prosecutor appointed to investigate the Plame leak, has yet to issue a report or an indictment. Never the less, the city is abuzz with who will or won't be in his sights. I have no special insights into Mr. Fitzgerald's work, but I do have insight into the political process and two events, at least as reported, have me concerned.

First, is the trail balloon floated by Senator Kay-Bailey Hutchinson pre-emptively hoping that the indictments will be for 'real' transgressions of the law and not some non-crime like perjury. Excuse me?!

I stood with the Republicans during the impeachment of President Clinton because I think that the occupant of our highest office should be held to a high standard. I didn't think Mr. Clinton's personal affairs were of interest, but I took issue with his lying, under oath, about it. We all rolled our eyes at his defense..."It depends on what your definition of is is." The GOP took Mr. Clinton to task (aka they impeached Him) for his perjury, or as his defenders put is, 'a little lie about sex'. But a lie under oath is a lie under oath. Now Senator Hutchinson is suggesting that like President Clinton, any perjury associated with the investigation of the Plame affair, isn't really a crime at all?! Funny how political fortunes change so quickly. (Note: Lefty-Blog Daily-Kos has the goods on what my GOP Colleague said in the Clinton-era on is enlightening).

In the words of Lisa Simpson, they don't expect me to eat this tripe? Do they?

I mean, what's under investigation here is the alleged outing of an undercover CIA agent during a time of war for purposes of seeking vengeance against her husband who was an administration critic. That seems to me to be a hole lot 'heavier' issue than who's woo-woo Slick Willy abused with a cigar. I did not accept perjury for the arguably frivolous, and I will not accept it for a more serious matter like the Plame case.

What's telling is that Senator Hutchinson is not one to go off the reservation if you will. Her comments, based on my experience on the hill, are presumably a trial balloon to test message strategy in the event that a high official is indicted in this incident...most likely Rove or Cheney. I don't know what the Senator's knowledge in this affair is, but this trail balloon tells me that there is serious concern in the White House that there will be some high level indictments. No doubt Ed Gillespie, Frank Luntz and others are testing the waters for possible rhetorical defenses if Cheney or Rove fall to an indictment. I find the leak telling and terrifying.

Another sign I find troubling is this story attacking Mr. Fitzgerald. The oldest adage in the law and politics is that if you can't win on the facts, beat up your opponent. Clinton's team was masterful at this with Ken Starr. (For the record, I've met Mr. Starr on several occasions, my impression of him is that he is not some sexually fixated moralist, but rather a diligent and honest I can only hope to emulate). Now the Bush squad is testing the waters on Fitzgerald. Again, the between the lines take on this is that the Administration is running scared and this issue may run far higher than we realize.

How many of us on the right will drink the Kool-aid on this one? Accepting impeachment for perjury about an affair, but somehow parsing it when it comes to outing a CIA Agent. The spin will not doubt be stunning, and shameless. I'll cringe too when I remember how angry I was when the Democrats all appeared with Clinton after he was impeached, to offer their meager excuses for Mr. Clinton's contempt for our system...demonstrated by his lying under oath. I can only imagine the spin we'll get on this issue, and I can tell you right now it will probably make me even sicker, especially in light of the high standards that GOP claimed they wanted to hold the Presidency to. (Of course they only hold the President to those standards when the President is a Democrat).

So that's what's coming I fear. From what I can glean from these trial balloons being floated I am afraid that the Plame affair goes high up within the administration. We could again be facing another crisis within the Presidency that would be closer to Watergate than to Monica-gate. And the gooey-disgusting rhetoric that will follow will likely be audacious. We liked the GOP because they put their money where their mouth is, results not mealy mouthed excuses...but here we are, five years into the revolution and this is all we results and mealy mouthed excuses.

If this machinations tell me anything, it is that the White House fears that there will be high level indictments, perhaps as far as the Vice President.

Anyway, we gawkers here in DC are all just watching and waiting for the truck to hit us, this is so not what we expect from the GOP.


Corporate America

Why I will never fully trust them...

Ok, blogger wasn't letting me post this morning, which is good, because in the interim I read this article and had a recovered memory episode. I think you'll enjoy it.

This this morning I'm scanning the news and I stumble across an article on CNN's webpage discussing the "World's Wierdest Office Attire." Suddenly, a repressed memory flooded my consciousness, one that will give you a better understanding of my politics and one that explains why I sometimes side with the worker bee over the corporate overlord. Here it is.

Back in the 1980s, in the Midwest (at least in the part where I lived), it was generally considered somewhat cool to have a job at McDonald's. Shocking as though it may seem, this was the culture at the time. So, me and some of my friends from high school ensconced ourselves at a nearby outlet, enjoying the fruits of capitalism (an hours work in exchange for $3.35 in hard cash). Anyway, it was a good gig, or so we thought as the cash could be exchanged for various types of acid washed jeans(Merry-go-Round), Van Halen cassettes (Camelot Music) or numerous hi-tech Atari cartridges.

Then one day, circa 1987 or 1988, some Wharton School grad at Corporate headquarters had a brilliant idea to add some exotic lure to the otherwise stale and greasy Chicken McNuggets. The marketing concept was called "Shanghai Chicken McNuggets." Customers could choose from one of several themed dipping sauces and the program was accompanied by store decorations to promote sales.

Unfortunately one of those decorations was a large, conical, styrofoam Asian hat that the management required the staff to wear. (Since this time I have learned that in Asia, these hats are only worn by women)...So you can see where this is going. For the grand sum of $3.35/hr, for several weeks, we were forced to wear these styrofoam hats while at work. They looked ridiculous, we're probably insulting to Asians, and were terribly uncomfortable. In fact, as the promotion dragged on, the hats became saturated with the grease that permeates the air behind the counter. The hats were slippery. So, stirring the pot, as I was wont to do at the time (no surprise I eventually became a lawyer), we began a campaign to break the styrofoam hats. Within two weeks or so they were gone, as my fellow worker bees and I were liberated...

So, while I am a big fan of Capitalism and tend to give businesses the benefit of the doubt, lurking in the background is a slightly greasy, tired 17 year old in a stifling styrofoam Chinese hat. Consciously or unconsciously this probably has given me the tendency to question authority and remain skeptical of corporate America. Of course, in such a situation, could you blame me?


More trouble for Freedom Tower

Ugly and Apparently Unwanted...

The fortress that is set to be the replacement for the World Trade Center takes another beating, this time from Mayor Bloomberg. Hizonor apparently wants leaseholder Silverstien out and the whole site possible redesigned. Whatever....anything would be better than the current plan for Freedom Tower...(The first 20 stories will have no windows and be all concrete...Ugh)...

Friday, October 21, 2005


Weekend Reading:

Rock-Tober Edition

Fall weather finally arrived in DC this week. Nightime temps as low as 48 degrees and trees begining to turn colors. As usual, the local top 40 radio stations have deemed it "Rock-Tober" and offer an array of local concerts to celebrate. I like the sound of that "Rock-Tober" although I can't remember a time recently when I thought a band 'rocked'. But never-the-less, it meets the requirement, a catchy title for this week's edition of Weekend Reading. Enjoy!

GM and Ford in need of a big overhaul
General Motors and Ford have both reported heavy losses. GM has also announced a breakthrough in negotiations with its unions that will reduce the firm’s crippling health-care liabilities, while Ford says “significant” plant closures are on the way. Both firms need a radical overhaul to avoid bankruptcy

After the Home Run, a White House Balk?
Two months after engineering a nearly flawless confirmation process for Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the Bush administration's bid to add Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has been so riddled with errors, stumbles and embarrassing revelations that some lawmakers and other observers find it hard to believe it emanates from the same White House.

Post-Rove thinking under way at White House
At 7:30 each morning, President Bush's senior staff gathers to discuss the important issues of the day -- Middle East peace, the Harriet Miers nomination, the latest hurricane bearing down on the coast. Everything, that is, except the issue on everyone's mind.

Louisiana Squanders Bond Money...(How shocking!)
As Louisiana officials plead for federal hurricane relief aid, a state money panel agreed Thursday to spend nearly $45 million on construction projects ranging from health labs and water wells to a sports complex and livestock facilities.

Chavez warns U.S. against invasion
Poor Hugo! You can only wish and dream you were this important. I doubt Bush even knows who you are. Of course you can see how Pat Robertson's comments aren't helping the situation any.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Good News!

Chewbacca is now an American Citizen...

Wow, in the midst of ongoing theatrics here in DC..(Harriet Miers lazy and embarrasing response to a Senate Questionaire, Delay's Mug Shot, the defeat of the Coburn Amendment), this managed to make me smile.

(Yeah, lots of Wonkette links, but if you can't laugh about it all...)



Nobody Told Me About the Shots..

I'm wussing out on postings today. I just got back from the ENT and my allergy tests. I've often heard these tests referred to as scratch tests, but for the record, that's a lie. You get shots, lots and lots of little shots. Interestingly enough, I appear to be alergic to just about everything, and my left arm is all welty and itchy...

Another trip to the Dr. next week to discuss treatment..perhaps I'll have to live in a plastic bubble or something...I know, I know..TMI, but hey, at least I'm giving you the reasons why I'm being lazy today.

Thanks and goodnight!


More later...

Allergy Test Thursday...

Off to the ENT to get a series of allergy tests. Since February I've been suffering, pretty much nonstop allergies...I've been trying different medications to keep it under control and after many months, the Dr. and I seem to have found a good balance. It's been frustrating though as I've never had allergies, then suddenly in February...boom...dust and pet dander seem to be the worst triggers. Anyway, get to go over a chest x-ray I had done too...(no problems reported, but I think it'll be cool to see).

TMI? Perhaps, but it is either this or we talk about the whole Valerie Plame thing...and frankly, I'm pretty tired of that.


I Broke the Dam

No, I broke the Dam...

South Park season premier last night! A send up of hurricane Katrina and global warming...very, very funny. Try to catch it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005



Tax simplification proposals draw criticism

What do you expect when you talk tax reform and the results would be the elimination of popular and important tax deductions (and thus higher tax liability). This is the sleeper issue that could bite the GOP hard in 2006....They say tax reform, but as usual it's really just a fancy way of increase. Perhaps we have a new type of politician...The Dems are the Tax and Spend party, the GOP is the Tax Reform and Spend party...Doesn't matter what you call it, any measure that increases my tax liability is a tax increase.

Message to've been warned.


Miers and Abortion

We're not getting the full story

It's interesting to see the media (and Matt Drudge) get their knickers in knots over the report that in 1989, SCOTUS nominee Harriet Miers signed a document saying she'd support a constitutional amendment restricting abortion rights. A-HA! That's the smoking gun, the proof that she'd vote to overturn Roe if a challenge presented itself to the court, or at least that's the angle that's what we are supposed to believe. However, that snap analysis is probably more appropriate for a middle school newspaper than it is as a measure of Ms. Miers constitutional views.

The fact that Ms. Miers allegedly supported a Constitutional amendment restricting abortion isn't a indicia that she'd vote to overturn Roe, in fact, it is probably a tacit endorsement of Roe as valid legal precedent. Why? If Miers is of the school that Roe was improperly decided, it is likely that she holds a very narrow view of the right to privacy, under which the right to choice lies, a constitutional amendment would not be necessary as the Constitutional doctrine underpinning Roe would be, in her view, invalid. A Constitutional amendment is needed when, in the view of the courts, a controversial right (abortion, prayer in school, flag burning, gay marriage) is generally agreed to fall under current constitutional protections. A amendment would serve to remove these rights from current Constitutional protections. So, from that point of view, Ms. Miers can be in support of a "Life" amendment to the U.S. Constitution and still support Roe.

Still, Miers flip flop on Griswold is troubling. Even conservative justice John Roberts easily admitted Griswold that is settled law. Her flip flop on it is not very judicial, and is likely to get her in trouble with Senator Spector, who is crazy-insane (and smart) when it comes to constitutional law. Amateur hour continues.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


The GOP Says "Tax Reform"

I say "Tax Increase"

Yes, I'm no big fan of the current tax system. It's complicated, but at least it's familiar and my investment, spending and savings decisions key off of it. The continued trial balloons floating out of the President's tax reform (read: Increase) commission have me worried. The commission claims that these deduction reductions (tax increases!) are needed to repeal the AMT...but I don't yet fall under the AMT, so who exactly does this benefit me?

Talk is that they will cap the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the deduction for state and local income taxes, eliminate the tax deduction for business to provide health insurance among other proposals. I did a quick check to try to understand the impact of these proposals on me. Here's what I've found:

Impact of discussed reforms on Elephant:

Deduction: Current Deduction New Tax Liability
State and local income tax: $7,664 $2,682.40
Mortgage Interest Deduction (eliminated) $14,510 $4,788.30
Mortgage Interest Capped (-20% reduction)$14,510 $3,830.00

On the very basic level, I estimate that if the proposed reforms are approved (a big if, mind you), my tax liability will increase between $6,500 and $7,500 per year on top of the already 5 figure amount I pay the feds now. It would increase my marginal tax rate by roughly 6%!!! That's not tax reform, that's the largest tax increase I'll see in my lifetime to date. Granted these are pretty rough numbers, but since I don't fall under the AMT, I won't see any benefits from tax reform, just a massive increase in my federal tax liability (which by the way, I have no say in how it's spend as I don't have representation in Congress).

Oh, in the weeks and months ahead, we'll hear how visionary this proposal is, but the truth is, just like back in 1986, this isn't reform, it's a tax increase and by the looks of it, one so sizable that it will make Clinton's tax increases look puny. So much for the Republican revolution...and again, with all this spending and forthcoming coming tax reform/increase proposals just how is the current administration different from a democratic one? Oh yes, the Democratic one wouldn't have increased federal spending as fast.

I'm calling this forthcoming proposal exactly what it looks like at this point, the largest tax increase in U.S. history, brought to you by the Republican Party. Gee thanks guys!


Only in DC...

Judith Miller's Trip to Vegas

Here's another one of those "only-in-DC" stories for you. Judith Miller, the NYTs reporter who went to jail rather than reveal her 'source' in the Valerie Plame scandal, is going to Vegas to get a First Amendment Award for her 'bravery.' But the thing is that Ms. Miller apparently had the source's permission to reveal him prior to going to jail and then earlier this week, she testified that she didn't recall if anyone told her that Valerie Flame was a spy. Dear her a First Amendment Award is like giving Former CIA Director Tenent the Congressional Medal of Freedom for his fine work.

Sullivan links to a good summary here:

Me, I'm holding out for the Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.


Miers Mires

Bipartisan Approval?

It looks like the far right is fixin' for a fight of the nomination of Harriet Miers. More and more folks are calling on her to withdraw, despite the fact that before the nominations began these same folks were saying that "all nominees deserve an up or down vote in the Senate." Those looking to curry favor with the theocrats for 2008 (Senator Brownback, Rick Santorum, perhaps even Senator Frist) will be under tremendous pressure to vote against her. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that there will be enough of a split to kill her nomination outright, absent a filibuster initiated by the Republicans (oh sweet, sweet irony!).

Me, I don't know where I stand on her. As I mentioned some attorneys on my Board of Directors know her personally and have a lot of good things to say about her legal acumen. On the other hand, she is awfully close to President Bush (BFF!) and doesn't have a clear track record or public judicial philosophy. So an airing of her views seems to be in order before she's given a thumbs up, or a thumbs down. But hey, I'm just a guy with a really little blog.


A Long, Slow Implosion

And I'm Still Bored...

So much is happening here in DC right now, the mires confirmation battle, the plane leak investigation, bubbling corruption issues involving key Republican leaders..In other words, business as usual. Unfortunately, the slow implosion of the GOP super-majority, and its continued lack of accomplishments have left me feeling a bit disengaged. I gave up on this administration before the last election, and it looks like a lot of Americans are now seeing the light. George Bush is a folksy man of the people, apparently much in the same vein as former President Jimmy Carter.

Seriously, to what end has the so called republican revolution taken us to? A trumped up war that we don't seem to be fighting to win?, Massive federal spending (in a budget with "no fat")?, ineffective federal agencies run by cronies? For those of you who are still true believers, I need some bucking up. (and saying Bush is better than Kerry would be is not encouragement, it is an excuse).

Having worked for the GOP shortly after they won the House, I had high hopes that they'd take the accomplishments of the Clinton Administration (budget surplus, booming economy, shrinking and more effective government) to the next level. Sadly they seem to have taken it backward to some time around Tammany Hall. The drift we are seeing now will likely continue in the months ahead, leaving little on the agenda to inspire. I'm holding out hope that the President will make a major push for his guest worker program next year. That'd be exciting. But big ideas seem to be followed by ham-handed execution with this bunch, so my enthusiasm is tempered.

Don't Blame Me, I voted for Kodos.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Full Public Debate

Transparency, not Stealth

Frankly, I find myself tuning out on the whole Harriet Miers nomination. Members of my board of directors who know her have nothing but good things to say about her skills and personality. On the other hand we have those gushy, 7th grade BFF notes she sent President Bush, that not only make me question her judgment, but tend to paint her as a complete suck-up. (unless of course the notes were written in jest or some other context we can't glean from their mere revelation). Anyway, Bush can nominate a ham sandwich to the Supreme Court if he wants, it's his perogative.

What bugs me though is that Bush and the Court work for know "We the People." What I find offensive is the potential private assurances given to James Dobson and others over how Miers would rule on certain cases... I mean, if we already know how a judge would rule, despite the particular facts in the given case and existing precedent, why have a judiciary at all? We could just have Bush or Dobson issue proclamations. But that's a different issue. What irks me is not the Mr. Dobson got private assurances (like that doesn't happen with any candidate or President, having key constituents get a heads up), it's the tremendous lack of discipline on Mr. Dobson's part for going out and crowing about it....Pride goeth before the fall.

Of course, the complete irony that Mr. Dobson (some unelected snake oil salesman who tarnishes the good name of Christians for his own political gain) has the balls to b*tch about the tyranny of the unelected members of the Supreme Court, when he is essentially filling that role in the current administration..well let's just say I have to laugh about that.

The bottom line is that bashing abortion and more recently bashing gays is a core part of the electoral strategy. It would be foolish of any Republican President to put forward someone who would tip the balance on this issue on the high court. A majority of American's support some form of access to abortion, although they may not want their tax dollars paying for it. That's why this will be some endless Orwellian battle and that's why Abortion and the FMA will always be so close to passing, yet so far.

We need to remove abortion from the realm of the right to privacy, thus eliminating such personal choices from the realm of politics. If Miers in fact is a stealth opponent of Roe, well then that just moves that day this much closer. But we won't solve these passionate battles thought stealth candidates and private discussions with Mullahs like Dobson, we will solve them with a full and open debate on the issues, regardless of how uncomfortable the topic may be. We're not getting that with Ms. Miers.


If I had a million dollars...

Or perhaps....$340 Million Dollars!

Ohhhhh! I'm so divided about the lottery. It is after all essentially a tax on the poor, but hey, when the jackpot gets to be $340 million, sign me up. Yes, my chances of winning are only slightly better if I actually buy a ticket (and I have a feeling if I won, it'd be like Hurley on Lost), but what the heck. I'll pay my dollar and dream of winning. First things first, I'd buy a deluxe apartment in Paris, A villa in St. Barts, and go to TGI Fridays and buy the wild and mild sampler platters. Oh yes, and I'd go into my final staff meeting and say, "You all are a bunch of bastard people, that's what you are, bastard people."


Some Good(ish) News

Deficit Down...

Perhaps the feds have saved some money by delaying their response to Katrina and/or not sending enough troops to Iraq, I don't know. But I do know that the current numbers of the FY05 deficit leave me a bit sanguine. According to this report, the deficit clocked in at around $319 billion or roughly 2.6% of GDP. That's certainly better than last year's $412 billion deficit, but a far cry from the surpluses we enjoyed a few years back.

Interestingly enough, tax revenues surged by 15%, that's good news. That alone would have helped trim the budget shortfall, expect that Congress increased federal spending by 8% last year. (And I should fear a democratic majority why?!). The challenge comes in FY06 when most of the Katrina relief costs will show up. In another promising sign, a faction of Republicans is setting the stage for spending cuts in 06. With the White Sox in the world series, perhaps hell hath frozen over and the GOP majority could be getting its act together. Perhaps, but I doubt it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Done for the Season

All Done...for now

Ok kids, I did some pretty-fying of the shed this weekend. Added trim to the sides, the roof-peaks and the window as well as threw some pots of flowers in front. That's it, I'm done, at least until spring when I'll have to tackle the issue of a ramp.

Friday, October 14, 2005


While You're At It, Please Kill NASA!

Amtrak "Spin-Off" in the Works?

Hey look, I'm all for rail fact, I think it rocks. Somehow it is more relaxing than flying, at least on short to mid-term distances. Traveling by train in Europe is about as good as it gets, and Amtrak's Acela service on the East Coast (at least until the latest price increases) was a pretty close second. But the U.S.A. isn't Europe. We are larger and not nearly as densely populated, so for most parts of the country, rail service just won't cut it.

So, when Amtrak announced this week that it is splitting off the NE Corridor operations into a separate division, I was pleasantly surprised. We have no need (or much demand) for a nationwide rail service in the fact it is not cost effective to do so. Regional service, between major hubs in more densely populated areas (Boston-NYC-Washington) and perhaps the West Coast may be able to support rail, but I can't imagine why we still subsidize a national network.

For example, if you wanted to travel from DC to LA two weeks from today, here is what it could cost and how long it would take:

Airfare DCA to LAX: Cost $280, Travel Time: 5 hours 47 minutes (One-way).
Amtrak: DC to LA: Cost $376 (for a coach seat only), Travel Time: 96 Hours (One-way)

Now if you don't want to sit in a coach seat for four days, you can get a basic sleeper room, but then the cost jumps to $1695 for the round trip. And that's a heavily subsidized price!

The problem with rail is that it is one of the most expensive forms of transit to build. Land, heavy, reinforced bridges, rails, etc. make it more expensive to build and operate than a four lane highway. That in and of itself is not bad, it just means you need a realistic service area with a dense enough population to generate enough support to make it worthwhile. So, a more sane approach would be to kill Amtrak and to fund or encourage intermodal regional transit solutions..rail, roads, airports, jet packs etc.

Let's move into the 21st century in transit. Kill Amtrak so we can move on to new, innovative and effective transit solutions. Oh yes, and we can fund these solutions by killing NASA while we are at it.


Free Tripe!

It's getting harder and harder to watch this Administration

I caught the President's little 'chat' with the troops yesterday, and it hurt. I am shocked that such events are staged? No, that's pretty much what you get with any press conference. But I am shocked at just how pathetic the whole thing came off. The President, apparently in need of affirmation, even told the troops that he bet they knew who he was..and I am sure they all thought..."Yeah, your the *sshole who keeps Rummy around, that mofo Sec-Def couldn't win a war against France." But fortunately, they seem to have kept their real thoughts to themselves. What we got was some banter that was about as natural as those celebrity presenters at the Grammys.

Seriously, is there anyone left out there that thinks the President still has his 'swagger?'. And whose cockamamie idea was it to do this little press event? More and more it is all symbolism over substance (not uncommon in politics mind you), but you'd at least expect the conservatives to be able to fight a decent war. Behind the scenes right now must be very painful, 'cause I can't imagine that the past few weeks are the result of cooperation and deep thinking within the administration staff. Worse for the President is that as we get into an election year, more and more senior staff, and lower staff with talent, will be making their exodus from the White House to find jobs and opportunities for themselves in the post Bush-era, so the talent pool ain't gonna get any deeper.

And thus, my dreams of what could have been with this administration continue to die on the vine...

Thursday, October 13, 2005


On Harriet Meir's Faith

Bush: Focus on Miers' faith OK

I think it is great that President Bush focused on Ms. Miers faith as his main criteria for her nomination, it so makes sense. I remember a few years back when my church was looking for a new pastor and we really made sure he went to a great law school and had an unsurpassed understanding of constitutional law.

Thus is the reasoning of this time of enlightenment.


Another New iPod!

TV on an iPod...Dreamy...but...

Ok, I do think the new iPods are pretty dreamy, but I don't think the process goes far enough to warrant an upgrade at this point. What is interesting and potentially revolutionary is the ability to buy TV shows from the iTunes site, great idea! Unfortunately, only five shows (mostly sucky) will be available in the near term. It's a start, but hopefully production companies will follow through and make movies and more tv shows available in the future, that'd be enough to get me on board.

Funny thing, it seems that Apple is in touch with the massive shift in TV viewing. I for one, don't really watch much TV anymore. Most of the current crop of shows aren't that good...and even my favorite, The Amazing Race, is currently in the midst of a totally unwatchable family edition. However, I do use my TiVo to pick up some shows, like HBO' s Rome and at Midgie's suggestion I purchased and am currently enjoying season one of the new Battlestar Gallactica (it's actually a decent show..not at all like its cheesy 70s counterpart). Putting more content on iTunes would further this trend, allowing consumers like me to pick and choose which shows to watch and when (How awesome would it be to watch a couple episodes of your favorite show while on a long flight?...answer-quite awesome. So, I am hopeful, but will take a wait and see approach.

Of course networks and advertisers are probably petrified by the implications of all this and will take a defense approach (ala the record companies) in trying to suppress and control their content. It will be futile. They should recognize the potential of the new medium, embrace it and adapt or go they way of AT&T....

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Complete Meltdown?

Dark clouds on the Horizon...

Dude, I'm not one to fall for idle gossip, but did you all catch the President and Matt Lower? Yeah, Matt's a meat head, but Bush looked terrible....all flip and stumbly. May loyal assistant in the office asked, Elephant look at Bush's nose...are those Gin Blossoms? (broken cappilaries associated with drinking...think Ted Kennedy).

Anyway, while I'd hate to think the our leader is off the wagon (or on the wagon or whatever), it would be a comforting excuse for the continued meltdown of administration. Cheney's been awol, Bush has been inconsistent at best, Rove is staying under the radar, and the whole Harriet Meirs thing is spinning out of control. Throw a couple additional indictments into the mix (Frist, Rove, Scooter Libby) and we'll be in full crisis mode.

It's stunning how quickly we've gone to a potential future dominated by the 'values voters' into one that looks as if the next three years will be one policy fiasco after another. Miers nomination is in trouble, the Bush agenda is dead in the water, it appears that the iron triangle within the White House (Bush-Rove-Cheney) has been broken and the evidence of this meltdown is becoming increasingly apparent. We all expected (or feared) great things from this GOP majority and what were getting is bloated arrogance from Congress, and inept cronyism from the White House. We can hope for better, but I have a feeling that in the next few months things are going to get a lot worse.

Will it help the Dems? I'm not certain. They'll pick up some seats in the House for sure, but their message and vision is just as fractured as the Republicans. Seems to me that fair minded folks on both sides of aisle need to send a wake up call to our politicians to get on the ball and focus on our future....and they will if we don't fund their campaigns unless they address policy issues rather than this ongoing partisan bullsh$t.



Time's Square Howard Johnson's Gone:

Ok, I'm back in DC after taking the morning train down from NYC. My little meeting went well and afterward I had time to do a walk about, shunning the rich, delicious food at my city club accommodation for a yummy, grease soaked slice of pizza. Anyway, during the course of my walk about I took a quick jaunt around Times-Square. Me, in a suite, among the throngs of Midwest tourists. Entering the square from 44th Street, I made it about a third of the way around when I was stopped in my tracks...No! I can't be?! The Howard Johnson's on Times Square has closed?!

Was there anything special about this place?! You betcha! The food was stunningly average, but the best part was the whole place was right out of the 1950s..even the waitress uniforms...Alas...another cheesy, overrated iconic place bites the dust..

Maybe this is all an overstatement, Times Square has been a tourist trap for years...but the Hojo was such a throwback, I couldn't help but love it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


The Trouble with Harriet

So Many Questions

Well the whole Harriet saga goes on and on here in DC. Some of my board members where I work actually know her quite well and have a great deal of respect for her abilities. She is, they say, a solid conservative (not surprising) with some moderate tendencies, but she is a conservative.

What I continue to find amazing and amusing is how quickly things change in terms of position and rhetoric. Remember my impassioned pleas just months ago against conservative efforts to force through any Bush nominee, even if that meant limiting the filibuster? Now the possibility exists that the conservative activists (who were pushing to end the filibuster) will actually use the filibuster?! Sweet, sweet irony...

Better yet is how James "Jesus love me" Dobson has been out shooting his mouth off saying he knows things about Meirs he can't share....Again, he's probably being boastful about how important he is (pride goeth before the fall Jimmy!), but Senator Spector is calling his bluff and will ask him to testify..he, he... I'm guessing he'll be all like...uh...I don't know nothin'.

And so it goes, the business of America's politics rolls on in its usual, dignified manner....


Yvan eht Nioj!

New Kid on the Blech.

What has been odd about this year, is that at every turn it seems politics and policy have catapulted beyond the absurd. So much so that it's been hard for me to blog about anything here in DC. News from the government now resembles headlines from the Onion or the Simpsons.

I saw this story this morning and it reminded me of when Bart, Milhouse, Nelson and Ralph are secretly recruited by the Navy to be a front band for their recruiting efforts until Lisa figures out the refrain to their song "Yvan eht Nioj" is back masking for "Join the Navy." Yes, free iTunes....and it may only cost you an arm and a leg...(Literally).


Oh Tuesday!

Off to NYC...

Well, at least I got to be here in DC for 36 hours before heading off on another business trip. Heading up to NYC to talk to a group of nonprofit directors on the potential impact of Sarbanes-Oxley on nonprofit corporations....and yes, it is as boring a topic as it sounds. What will be especially challenging is that most of these folks will be Wall Street, Wharton School types who probably have a much better understanding of these issues than I do...or at least you would think they do. Anyway, if things get to out of hand, I can always pin on a lapel mike and head for the restroom....

Late postings tomorrow...I'll be on the train in the morning.

Monday, October 10, 2005


An Important Discussion


And other made up words from the Simpson's.

It's craptacular, sacrelicious, etc.


Hmmm....Didn't We Discuss This?

Auto industry rocked by Delphi bankruptcy

You may remember that almost six months ago we talked about the coming problems facing Michigan and the auto supplier industry here at EIE. Here's a quote from May, 2005...

"One can only wonder what will happen to Michigan as more and more manufacturers move their operations to China. Delphi & Delco, the two large parts manufactures for American automobiles will likely move their production overseas in the near future at the cost of a couple 100,000 jobs. Marketing and engineering may remain, but the line guys will be left with stocking shelves at Wal-Mart. So far there doesn't seem to be any plan for transitioning the economy to others areas. Grand Rapids (Michigan's second city) has set its sights on becoming a healthcare Mecca, but Detroit still flounders and what was once America's fourth largest city continues to crumble. Perhaps, if they want to see their future, they should look up the road a piece to Flint." Elephant, May 4, 2005


A Public Speaking Nightmare


I'm consistently told that I'm a decent public speaker. My sense of humor, my ability to talk in plain english about what's going on in DC and in the courts, gets me lots of invites and kudos from my member/clients. But yesterday after participating in a rousing discussion of legal and legislative issues, the unthinkable happened.

Usually when I speak the groups are rather small, in the 20 to 40 range. So I don' need to use a mike. But this group was close to 100 folks, so a microphone was in order. My hosts had provided a nice set up, including a lapel microphone. (Can you see where this is going?). So I delivered my first presentation, got a lot of questions and then snuck off to check my voice mail during the second speakers time. Only, I didn't turn off the lapel mike! The HORROR! I didn't pull a Homer Simpson and use the bathroom or anything mortally embarrassing. I simply went to the receptionist and asked if it was ok to use my cell phone in the lobby (I was at a private club and they often ban cell phones). So my question was broadcast into the conference room, interrupting the current speaker....the former speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. My Bad!

Thank goodness the only thing that got transmitted was "May I use my cell phone in the lobby?". It could have been much worse...."Urinal Cake Eroding! Eroding! Gone!"....

I gave a second presentation later that morning and joked that it was merely an example of being aware of privacy issues 'cause you never know who's listening. But yes, it still hurts.


Happy Columbus Day!

DC is sleepy, and so am I...

Well, most folk in DC aren't at work today due to the Columbus Day Holiday. But I am, we don't get today off, we exchanged it for the day after Thanksgiving...Of course that will be nice the day after Thanksgiving, but it kind of sucks today.

I spent the weekend flying out to San Antonio to give a speech. Storms on the East Coast delayed my flight and it took a full 14 hours to get there...(Originally, it was about 4 1/2 hours with a connection). Funny thing about that is I missed the social aspects of the meeting, but was still able to arrive for the work part and my 2, 1 hour speeches. Just once, it'd be nice if that worked the other way...miss the speeches and arrive for the five course dinner. Alas.

Good trip though, Northwest came through and I was upgraded on all segments of my flight...oh so nice.

Friday, October 07, 2005


It's giving me Gas

Up, Up and Away!

Wow, it's going to cost an arm and a leg to heat my house this winter. Possibly 50% more than year, which was outrageously expensive, even with my high-efficiency gas furnace. My only solace is that I don't have a boiler/radiator system like my friend Becky. Becky's got a kick ass four story row house in Columbia Heights, with an old cranky boiler. Last year her heating bill for January was...get this...$1,200... now add another 50% to that! And Beck and her husband aren't your typical DC -DINKS, she's a stay at home mom, so this will be brutal.

You'd think against this backdrop, that the American Gas Association would welcome the chance to talk about this issue and provide consumers with information so they could get ahead of what is likely to be a deluge of bad press this winter. That's what I was thinking when I called their communications department to request a story for the newsletter I publish at work. The newsletter (magazine actually) goes to about 10,000 folks who represent small employers across the country. A great opportunity to explain the situation and offer idea before the MSM gets a hold of this and beats it like a dead horse. So I was excited when they said they'd send over a piece by Friday...three weeks ago. They still haven's sent it over and now they won't return my calls....Oh well, I tried and I'll sit back and laugh and laugh all winter as you all fend off and try to spin bad story after bad story about your industry. I knew my local gas company PEPCO sucked...remember this (Third paragraph) "We Will Install Your Gas Service in March, If You're Lucky ". But I didn't know that would be the standard for the whole Gas Association.


Maybe Barbara Bush Was Right?!

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this – this [she chuckles slightly] is working very well for them.”

Yes, let them eat cake Barbara. But it appears that the fallout from Katrina wasn't as bad as expected, at least according to this report. I find it odd, however, that a city of 400,000 people can be evacuated and basically shut down and the only impact is a net loss of 35,000 jobs. What gives?

Perhaps there are two factors at work here. First, and very plausible, is that the massive displacement of people has not yet been picked up in DOL statistics due to the typical red tape and bizzare filing requirements. On the other hand, the America economy is so dynamic and there is such a need for workers that perhaps a lot of these folks have picked up other employment in the areas they were evacuated to (which does not bode well for resettling NOLA). Finally, this surprisingly low number could be a result of the fact that many organizations have pledged to pay their employees for up to 90 days following the hurricane, which is a threshold we hav not yet reached. More likely is a combination of all three. Either way I still think it is way to early to rejoice about the numbers...Sorry Babs.


I want my free sandwich

I've eaten 12 crappy subs, I want my free sandwich!

Taken from one of my favorite Sienfeld episodes where Elaine is obsessed with getting a free sub sandwich, ala Subway, for her regular patronage of a local sandwich shop. She doesn't like the subs, they are in fact pretty crappy, but she's on a mission and wants her free sandwich.

Well, today I want my free sandwich, only instead of a sandwich, I want my Silver Elite benefits from Northwest Airlines(NWA), which I achieved early last week. Just like the crappy subs Elaine was semi-obsessed with, I've now flown nearly 30,000 miles on what most people consider to be one of the least customer friendly airlines in the country. You may have heard the jokes, they put the "NO" in Northwest or the every popular, Northworst airlines. And as you can expect, these monikers are more or less true.

Well, this year, since I'd booked a flight to China on NWA, I thought I'd try to consolidate my business travel on Northwest to better accumulate miles and to at least enjoy the chance to sit toward the front of the plane or in exit row as an elite flyer. I achieved Elite status on Delta this year through some special program and the minute I met the requirements, my account was upgraded and I enjoyed all the benefits of elite status without delay. Not so on Northwest.

What's odd, is that my account on their webpage reflects that I am silver elite, but I cannot select 'premium' seats (read still crappy coach seats, just closer to the front of the plane) and when I call a NWA agent, they're like...yeah sure you're elite... WTF?

I called yesterday when my account online was upgraded. The NWA agent said it wasn't in their system, and that I'd have to wait to get my elite benefits. How long I asked? I dunno, they replied, perhaps a couple of weeks. Dear Lord, Northwest sucks. I mean I've known it for years, but never really understood to what depth they did suck.

I'll finish out the travel I have booked with them, but I certainly won't be using them as my primary airline in 2006...and neither should you...


Stupid Blogger

Crash and Burn

I just spent a good portion of this am writing a very amusing anecdote about my flight this week from Minneapolis to DC where I was the only non-Chinese citizen, and only English speaker in coach..It was hillarious. But of course, as I am typing out the last paragraph, I get an error message and my internet explorer closes...erasing my little story.

I'll try to retype it, but'd think since it was Friday, I'd catch a break.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Fall from Grace

Bush in Trouble...Big Time...

Okay, I guess I am a softie, I generally abhor concentrations of power and exhibitions of hubris, which have pretty much characterized the Administration for the past five years. Now I find the President's sudden and quick fall from grace a reminder that even when a leader is at an apparent zenith of his power, you just never now how quickly the fall will come. But it looks like it is fast approaching.

First, the greatest irony of all is that for the past three years we've heard the social conservatives remind us how the president has the power to appoint who ever he wants to the Supreme Court, and if the Dems were to block that right, then we need to override the tradition of the filibuster to let him appoint whoever he wants. Now just months after the epic battle over the filibuster (saved by the brave 'Gang of 14"), we're looking at a situation where the Republican majority may not rubber stamp the president's choice, and could even filibuster it if there are enough votes of moderates and Dems to push it through. Yes, very delicious isn't it?!

Next, yesterday the Senate voted to curb the discretion of DOD on the inexcusable treatment of detainees in our custody in the War on Terror. 90 to 9 was the vote. It came after a continued series of allegations (most recently the gore for porn scandal) that began back with prison abuse scandal. A bold and decisive move by the Senate and one that the President has threatened to veto. (He won't, he's never vetoed anything)..but it puts him in an odd position of either supporting torture, or taking the high road.

Finally, as you've been reading in other blogs, indictments of White House staffers in the Plame-scandalette, are looming...and it could go as high as La Rove himself. That coupled with the Delay indictments and the Frist insider trading issues (not to mention the Ohio GOP coin-gate and other state issues) and you've got yourself some perception problems....

Bush is increasingly becoming the GOP's Jimmy Carter. Everyone thinks, more or less, that Jimmy Carter is a hell of a guy - an ordained minister, his work with Habitat for Humanity, etc. I know I do, but he wasn't a great President. If I had to make a prediction today on where Bush would land in the annals of History, I'd say smack dab in the middle of Polk and Carter. I think he can do better, but I increasingly think that maybe he just isn't up to the task.


Tales of the Dental Repentant

Everything is A-Ok, mostly

Whew! Another trip to the dentist is over, thank goodness. No cavities (I haven't had any since I was 11), but some issues with an old filling that has to be just can't win with these people.....


More to Come...

Busy Morning, Feeling Low...

Feeling a bit under the weather this morning and have to go to the Dentist..ughh!, will post in the PM...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


A Note from Housekeeping


Well, I must say that I had a very pleasant trip to America's Dairyland. Folks in Wisconsin are so painfully nice, and every meal is accompanied by some form of cheese. In fact there was a major dairy expo in Madison while I was there and rumors were swirling around the Hilton that the International Butter Queen was staying in my hotel, although I didn't see the security detail one would expect to be accompanying such royalty....perhaps they were undercover.

Anyway, when I checked into my room there was a sweet and somewhat sad hand written note from the housekeeping staff. It read.

"Thank You for Tayng with Us!, Housekeeping"

I pondered for sometime over the author of this enigmatic message. Was she functionally illiterate or perhaps was English her second language? It haunts me still.


Harriet the Spy

Make no mistake, Ms. Miers is a Conservative...

After going through my emails this morning, I had an interesting exchange with some of the attorneys on my Board of Directors. It seems, that some of them are personal friends with Ms. Miers, and they say she is a great attorney, wonderful person and an admirable lawyer. They also are telling me, no holds barred, that Ms. Miers is a no-holds barred conservative, despite her past affiliations with the Democratic Party. I don't know what to make of that other than that sometimes converts are much more dogmatic than those who have always been what they are. Think of militant ex-smokers as an example.

So, despite the bluster from the right (I'd like to say it was all planned out as a ruse, but that would be giving them too much credit wouldn't it?!), Ms. Miers is a conservative wolf in Talbot clothing...Whereas I see Mr. Roberts as being a lawyers-lawyer, with a career that seems to hold the law and its processes above dogma, that's something I'm not yet prepared to say about Ms. Miers...But those complaining on the right should understand that if they want to shift the court to the right, this is the way to do it..stealth..nominating a Bork just won't pass the muster, that a seismic shift will come as a thief in the night...The dems should understand that too.



I leave town for two days and...

Wow, leave DC for a second and the hijinx begins. I'm so bummed I missed the initial buzz, and in some cases fury, over President Bush's surprise selection of Harriet Miers as the next Supreme Court justice. Mostly, I just find it ironic that for the past year we've heard folks on the far right say time and time again that President Bush has the right to nominate who ever he pleases, and if the democrats filibuster any nominee, we should get rid of the filibuster, 'cause you know, the President has the ultimate discretion in selecting the nominee he deems best.

Oh how some of these folks are now singing a different tune! Ms. Miers, who has an impressive background (although no judicial experience) has long been a moderate and even supported Democratic candidates like Llyod Benson and (ugh) Al Gore. So the same folks who were claiming that Bush could nominate who ever he wanted, my find themselves in the position of opposing the his selection. He he! Although, Mme. Drudge is reporting that Harriet converted to the GOP when she found Jesus..(sigh didn't we all- Jesus loves war, the death penalty, tax cuts and deficit spending). Anyway, just when I think I can completely write of Bush, he goes and pulls a maverick move like this, alienates his base, and gets me all teary eyed.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


If it's Monday, this must be..Madison

On the road again

Hey all, I'll be traveling Monday and Tuesday, so posting will be light, if I can find time and or a signal to post. Anyway, I'm headed up to the Badger State to give a speech. I'm wearing a "University of Michigan" lapel pin, you know just to f#ck with em. GO BLUE!


Meet "Shedward"

Nearly Done!

Ok, things are moving along nicely with the shed project. The siding is up and painted. The trim has been started and you can get a pretty good idea of what the finished product will look like. It's probably at about 90% complete, not counting landscaping (To hide that ugly base), but you get the idea. Yeah, the doors are kind of messed up, but I'll fix that later.


Yeah, Uh...Good Luck With That

Bush to "Focus"

I don't know if this is good news, but the "Post".... is reporting that President Bush will be 'focusing' on just three major issues this fall; Katrina recovery, the Iraq War, and energy prices. At least he likes I challenge, and I can respect that, I guess.

The truth is that all three of these seem to be no-win situations. Katrina recovery, although requiring federal dollars, is likely to be plagued with shady deals due to FEMA and other federal agencies over-compensating for their initial failures - lots of bad government contracts, fraud, etc. Iraq, where do I begin with this mess. Elephant was a reluctant supporter of the war, but I support wars that are fought to win, and we never went in with enough troops to do the job right. (Why, pray-tell did it take 500,000 troops to liberate Kuwait, but only 120,000 to liberate Iraq?)...Now things in Iraq, at least from my limited view look more like the heart of darkness (gore for porn?!) than a war we could be proud of...If there is such a thing.

Gas and energy prices will be a huge issue this winter. As a consumer of mass transit the former doesn't directly impact me as much as the latter. Natural gas for home heating could be as much as double last years prices (which were nearly 300% of 2000 prices). That's got me concerned. Last year during January it cost me $400 to heat me house, this year that could climb to $600 or $800 dollars...A MONTH! (Thank goodness we in DC only really need heat for three months.) I'm a lawyer, so I make good $, not great, but good and if this will be a concern for me, it will likely to a major problem for the rest of us. I can't imagine a family of four, making $60,000 a year (which is good money) paying $3/gal for gas and a bazillion dollars a month for's going to be tough. Anyway, my point is that there is very little the president can do in the short term to bring these prices down. He can relax the Clean Air Act so we can build more refineries in the U.S. (we haven't built any since 1976) that would help with gasoline supplies. We could also adopt a uniform clean gasoline mixture for summer. Currently there is something like four different formulations (California, Midwest, Northeast, ect.) which compound supply and price problems. But any way you slice it, getting a grip on high energy costs will take some time.

So, good for President "Bush" for being focused....but I'm not expecting anything different that the same malaise we've had for the last four years.

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