Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I'm Leaving...

On a Jet Plane...

Well, the time has come! I'm headed out of the office early to go home and pack for my business trip to Boca Raton and then off to China on Monday morning. Yippe! So, much to my hit count's dismay, there will probably be no postings here until I return from China in December.

I'm I excited? Hell yes, for the China trip that is. Boca Raton is in Florida, and I subscribe to the Homer Simpson school of Florida... Homer, "Awww Florida!? That's America's wang." And it so is. But, the mysterious orient awaits me afterwards. I'm headed to Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai.

If you're interested, here are some of the places I plan on going:

1) The Great Wall of China! (and the Great Wall Starbucks!)
2) The Forbidden City (and the Forbidden Starbucks!-which is somehow sad, so I'll skip it)
3) The Museum of the Terra Cotta Warriors!
4) The City Wall of Xi'an
5) The Bund
6) The Shanghai Maglev (aka - A HOVER TRAIN!)
7) The Jin Mao Tower (I'm actually staying here!)

I don't plan on blogging until I return. Content on EIE has been weak the last month or so. I continue to be in stunned disbelief at the ongoing implosion of the GOP's sad. So the vacation will do me some good, and trips overseas are always good for the awkward American in a foreign land story. I'll take notes and report back on my return. In the mean time, you all stay out of trouble.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


10 Minutes in Drudgeland

Bush, Father not Speaking?!

Last night for about an hour of so, Drudge had a link to an article claiming the Bush and his father are not on speaking terms. That's right, wedged between stories on natural disasters and ruffie wielding transvestites, Drudge appeared, for a little while a least, to have a real scoop.

surprisingly, the link was quickly replaced. But it does raise some good questions. A few weeks ago former Bush (I) advisor Brent Scowcroft came out with a withering critique of the march to war. Donkey commented that this was odd, as the Bush dynasty demands such loyalty that Scowcroft was unlikely to make such comments without Bush I's blessing. (Unless there is a rift between Bush I and Scowcroft that I'm unaware of). Anyway, I find these two events intriguing.

George W. Bush's presidency is in trouble, perhaps deep trouble. Scandals cloud the future -The Plame-Leak, The Abramoff Scandal, The March to War, Torture, The War itself. Bush's approval ratings are so low, that apparently more people would trust Bill Clinton than current trust our commander in Chief. A major shake up is required to win back even the smallest speck of hope that anything can be accomplished in the next three years.

Bush is at a crossroads and he must act decisively. Stay on the current path, which is downward spiral, or break with the past and shake things up. Wasn't John Kerry supposed to be the indecisive one?! Looks like Bush has caught that bug too. I'm waiting, but not holding my breath.


Torture, Due Process Move in Senate

Surprising Coopertation

Lindsey Graham and Carl Levin have added their imprint to the ongoing torture/detention issues boiling in the Senate. Designed to go along with the McCain amendment the Graham-Levin amanedment would provide some form of limited due process for detainees. A good thing if you ask me. We don't have to give enemy combatants or other detainees full access to our courts, but at the very least the government should have to make a minimal showing for the reasons for the detention. Andrew Sullivan reports that initially up to 90% of those detained in Guantanamo were innocent.

So, with a painfully slow pace, the Senate is stepping up and doing its job...

Monday, November 14, 2005


Torture Amendments Week

Elephant Supports McCain, Bingaman Amendments

Well, another week and the GOP leadership takes another shot of reconciliation bills. Two amendments on the detention and treatment of war prisoners are up for consideration. The well discussed McCain amendment banning egregious forms of torture and the Bingaman amendment which would allow for habeas corpus petition on war detentions (basically, the prisoner would be brought before a court and the government would have to make a minimal showing of its rational for detention). Elephant supports both amendments.

For to many reasons for me to try to discuss here (most notably other blogs are doing a much better job discussing the torture issue...Andrewsullivan among them.)

Elephant thinks at the very basic level, the federal government should not have an unquestionable, unlimited right to detain foreign fighters and/or American citizens without even the most basic showing of why.

The torture issue is beyond understanding....and I think the Senate should call Bush's veto bluff on it. I mean does anyone think that President "We don't Torture" Bush would veto a bill that bans the very thing we supposedly don't do?! Ah politics.


Countdown to Vacation

7 Days...

Yes, I am giddy and a bit nervous about finding time to get ready for my vacation which begins next Monday. By this time next week, I'll be sitting in Detroit waiting to board a 747 for my flight to China. To say I am excited is an understatement. Hiking the great wall, wandering around the Forbidden City, bargaining with vendors in the markets....Hurray.

Unfortunately, I also have a meeting with my board of directors later this week...Th,Fri, be exact. So It's a flurry of activity, a quick trip to Boca Raton, then return for a day and head off.

Of course leave it to the GOP to spoil things for me. This week, both the Governator and W will be visiting China. (Separately, thank goodness). Never the less, one can only imagine the potential for faux pas....

Anyway, I'm out of the loop from Wednesday of this week until December 2....There is the potential for some postings while in China, but we shall promises... But a big travelogue summary upon my return.


The Dali Lama


Ok, the Dali Lama event at the MCI Center was interesting. He's beyond cool and he talked for about an hour and a half on a wide variety of subjects. What still astounds me about the Bhudist tradition is its intellectual vigor and ongoing inquiry into events, morals and phenomena. But then, a man with the title of "Ocean of Knowledge" probably has to live up to that. Anyway, I was inspired and filled with compassion for my fellow man..until this mornings brutal commute.

More on his Holiness's appearance here.

Friday, November 11, 2005


Bush's Future

Outlook Uncertain

Well, after my apoplexy yesterday about the sheer genius of Majority Leader Frist and Speaker Hastert on the allegations that the U.S. is using former Gulags to torture and secretly hold enemy combatants, I had to consult my magic eight ball on what is increasingly looking like a bleak future for our version of Dear Leader.

As I mentioned yesterday (and Pat Buchanan was so kind as to agree with) the GOP is so far from their key strengths, so off base in their approach to governing that I just can't imagine what they are thinking let alone how we as a country are gonna get through the next three years. It seems to me, things are so bad with Iraq, perceptions of the economy (i.e. fuel costs), federal spending/accountability, etc. that somethings has got to give. So, in a rare Casandra moment, I make the following predictions.

Bush needs a major, major shake up in his administration and the party itself needs a shake up in Congressional leadership, sooner rather than later. Failure to break with the current trend and the longer Bush waits to instigate change, the worse off he may be. At this point things look so bleak I think there are three likely outcomes:

  1. Bush cleans house, dumps Rummy, Rove, Cheney and gets back to basics. Focuses the remainder of his term on spending cuts, fixing Iraq and reforming immigration. (ODDS: snowball's chance in Hell).
  2. Bush continues on current Path: Loses Alito nomination, Congressional GOP abandons Bush and takes up their own agenda dominated by moderates (to save their own collective @sses in 2006), Bush increasingly seen as a combination of Carter-Nixon-Johnson, the shame of the party...He becomes increasingly isolated and generally mocked even by party faithful. (ODDS: better than even)
  3. Bush continues on Current Path: Congressional GOP continues to try to keep the faith and follow Bush's lead, fracturing the Party. Alito's nomination goes down in flames. Dems and critics capitalize on disarray and continue to push for investigations on Iraq War intelligence, CIA leak, the Gulag issue, FEMA/Katrina and other acts of misfeasance. In the process a smoking gun is discovered on Iraq or the CIA leak issue, connecting it to Bush or Cheney. Cheney resigns and pressure mounts on an increasingly inept republican majority in Congress to impeach. 2006 elections give the Senate to the Dems, full out warfare within the party...Possible impeachment proceedings. (ODDS: Better than you might think)

Oh silly Elephant, you say to your self after reading this. Silly perhaps, but who would have thought that any political party in the United States would be so bold (eg.-Stupid) to be using the shameful prisons former Romanian Tyrant Chauchescu in our fight to bring "Freedom" to the world. The leaders within the GOP would not fire a FEMA director who was so inept as to likely exacerbate a huge disaster and laugh off the Gulag issue while spening trillions on wasteful programs and claiming that "there is no fat in the budget." Certainly not me, I never thought it'd get this bad on the GOP watch.

Of course the GOP could always fall back on their old tricks and roll out the whole gay fear mongering thing. Just in case, Senator Brownback's subcommittee on the constitution voted yesterday to approve a new version of the FMA to send to the full committee and then the Senate floor for another vote in 2006.


False Prophets

Testing Our Faith Not Strengthening It.

By now I'm sure you've seen the latest statement by our own home grown Taliban leader Pat Robertson. His message to the residents of Dover, PA...

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

Nice. Of course Pat gets on TV because he says silly things like this, and he doesn't represent a majority of Christians, let alone evangelical Christians. But what is disturbing to me about the Robertsons, Falwells and Dobsons is that they are stealing my faith and sullying the good name of Jesus for their own political power.

Yesterday I had breakfast with my Uncle who was in town for some huge meeting. My Uncle is a super-big wig in the Catholic Church (of which I am no fan). But what was interesting is that he was in town for a summit of legislation or policies the Catholic Church would be supporting in Congress. Among them, immigration reform to reunite families, health care for children, funding for sheltering the homeless, feeding the poor and so on. It was a refreshing reminder that many of the Christian faith are trying to do their best to help their fellow man. It also stood in sharp contrast to the work by the so-called leaders of the family/moral values right. Last I knew, they were raising money to buy TV ads to support bans on gay marriage, fund ads advocating Bush's policies and or court nominees and generally using fear to ganer political power for themselves. I think some one needs to send them a WWJD bracelet.

But that's really the point isn't it. After four years of listening to these false profits tell me everything God wants - from what shows to watch, who to vote for, how we should fear "the gays" and how I need to send them money- I think I've broken through to the other side. My faith has been tested by these showboats for over four years, to the point where I've even considered abandoning my links to the Christian faith. But yesterday it dawned on me that this is the entire point. It's so easy to go around and use God's name as currency and a marketing tool, but it's even harder to try to live a life based on Jesus's path. Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and James Dobson weren't put here to guide our faith, but to test it. "Blessed are the meek" or so we are told. My upbringing and spiritual education have taught me that the best way to try to live up to the ideals of Christianity is to live a life that can be an example to others and that's just want I'm gonna keep on doing. But in the bigger picture, we all need to reject the outrageousness of these so-called moral prophets...because they don't speak for us as Christians or as Americans.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


So Crazy...He's Sane!

Pat Buchanan...GOP in Crisis

I think this answers my earlier question with a double affirmative:

Am I crazy or is Ronald Reagan out there somewhere spinning in his grave?!

It seems that Reagan disciple and so-far-right-he's-left Pat Buchanan agrees
with me. So Reagan is spinning in his grave, and because Pat and I are on the
same page, I am crazy

Money Quote:

What killed the first Bush presidency and is ruining the second is the abandonment of Reaganism and his embrace of the twin heresies of neoconservatism and Big Government Conservatism, as preached by the resident ideologues at The Weekly Standard and Wall Street Journal.



So this is what's it's come to

There used to be a time when the GOP was all about Black-Helicopters and fear of an unaccountable federal government. Of course that's when Clinton was President. Today Senate Majority Leader Frist had this winning statement.

Frist told reporters Thursday that while he believed illegal activity should not take place at detention centers, he believes the leak itself poses a greater threat to national security and is "not concerned about what goes on" behind the prison walls.

Am I crazy or is Ronald Reagan out there somewhere spinning in his grave?! Not only is this a failure to live up the the Reagan legacy of taking on the Soviets, but it also marks the complete abandonment of any principle of federal accountability and limited federal power. It would be nice if I could pin this malignant drift within the GOP on just the Administration. I can't do that any longer. The whole leadership apparatus has jettison nearly all principles that any previous supporter (including me) of the GOP found worthwhile. We can only begin to imagine the costly legacy in terms of conservative policy (Hey, I don't like Bush but that doesn't mean I get all excited about Democrat's policies- living wage, socialized medicine, etc -ick!), we'll be coping with the legacy that's being laid down today for some time to come.

I can't believe this statement came from a member of the U.S. Senate, let alone from the leader of the Republican Party...Well, strike that, with what the party has become, nothing surprises me anymore.

And dealing with this the same day I find out that Michael Brown RESIGNED rather than being fired is just way too much.

I said it first, but I won't be the last, Bush's legacy is looking like a combination of worst of Carter-Nixon with a dash of Johnsonian Great Society thrown in for good measure.

Senator Frist should resign...Immediately.

And Dude...what about the so-called "Culture of Life?!"



Bush-Al Qaida Link?

Stupid is as stupid does

First off, like most people this morning, my thoughts are with the victims of the bombings in Jordan.

I am left scratching my head as to why Jordanians were targeted. Seems to me that Al Qaeda may be borrowing from the Bush Administration play book. Bombing Jordan doesn't seem to me that it would generate a lot of sympathy for their so-called movement. It is such a ham-handed move on the part of terrorists one can only suspect that they must be sharing the same strategists as the White House. I'm only 2/3's joking...



Brown off FEMA Payroll

Hurray, Michael Brown is finally off the FEMA Payroll. Did Chertoff or Bush finally get the cajones to actually fire someone?! Nope!

Money quote:

But Brown ended his contract early, said Knocke, responding to an inquiry about House Democratic demands to remove Brown from the payroll

Seriously, what does one have to do to loose their job in this administration?!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005



It's Super-Natural

Dude, I don't like to look down my nose at the good folk of Kansas, but they keep pulling me in with their ongoing provincialism. In an effort to assuage those of weak faith on the issue of teaching evolution (why again is this an issue?!), they've altered the curriculum standards to redefine the definition of science from "The quest for looking for natural explanations for observed phenomena" to include 'supernatural' explanations. So with that in mind, here are some new theories for natural phenomena in Kansas:

Thunder= Angels Bowling
Intelligent Design= 1) Theory that life is so complex it must have a supernatural designer, 2) All that cool stuff at Target.
Rain: God is crying, probably because of "The Gays"
Eclipses: God is hiding the Sun to punish the wicked, people of faith must execute all local witches to have it return.

Good Luck Kansas..You'll need it.


Hello Dali!

Spokane Trip Cancelled

My trip to Spokane this weekend was cancelled, leaving me with mixed emotions. First I'm happy I don't have to give a two hour seminar, but yet I'm bummed because it was a transcontinental flight (with 50% bonus miles!) and free business class upgrades. Oh well, I need the time at home anyway...

But better news, my consolation prize?! Donkey has an extra ticket to go see the Dali Lama this weekend at the MCI Center. I'm no swooney Richard Gere type when it comes to the Dali Lama, but Buhdism is intriguing and it should be interesting to see what exactly the Dali lama will do in an arena...(I keep thinking "Big Production Numbers")...



GOP Implosion Continues

Geese-Louise. Can I just say how disappointed I am with the GOP (save for Trent Lott and perhaps Senator Tom Coburn (a wack job candidate, an emerging fiscal hawk!) Yesterday the GOP made probably the most idiotic move I've seen in my 12 years in this city. Senator Frist and Speaker Hastert announced an investigation into who leaked information to the Washington Post that the CIA is using former Soviet Gulags to 'torture' enemy combatants captured in the War on Terror. Let me repeat that...The U.S. Government is using former Soviet GULAGS, to 'torture' enemies of the state. First off, is the administration that stupid to miss the symbolism of this?! It guts the legacy of Regan who stoop up to the Soviets on human rights issues, not to mention pretty much shoots whatever credibility we have on human rights issues in the future. Not just dumb, but utterly shameful.

So anyway, information on the use of gulags is leaked to the Washington Post. (Which should win a Pulitzer for this story) and rather than get up in arms about this horrendous allegation and investigate and put a stop to this practice, the GOP majority has chosen to go after whatever brave sole choose to leak this information and shine a bright light on this malignancy. The leaker deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor, but the GOP Majority is focused on @ss covering and has abandoned all pretext of holding the federal government accountable for its behavior. Not only that but Cheney is secretly lobbying to keep the administrations current "Torture" (aka-we don't torture) policy in place.

Better yet, it seems that First and Hastert see this as a way to deflect attention for the leak probes into the Plame Affair. Dude, did they both have a lobotomy for breakfast?! Seems to me that investigating this leak just adds fuel to the fire.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but the current GOP Majority is making me ashamed and embarrassed for my country...A first and yet another reason this elephant is in exile.


Has the Politics of Division...

Run out of Steam?!

Interesting election results from yesterday, with Corzine and Kaine winning gubenatorial elections in NJ and VA. A slap to President Bush? Maybe, but more importantly is that one of the underlying factors in both wins by Democratic candidates seems to be the GOP overplayed its hand with negative ads. In Virginia, Kilgore pushed the bounds of decency with his "Kaine wouldn't execute Hitler" ad, which turned off voters. In New Jersey, a similar ad by Republican Forrester used quotes from Corzine's ex-wife to tell votes, "He'll disappoint you too."

What I make of all this is that the electorate, at least in NJ and VA, wants direction and answers, not hysterical reasons not to vote for a Democrat. In VA, Kaine was helped by current governor Warner, who's focused his energies on fiscal prudence (VA has a budget surplus), education and transportation. Kilgore's focus, from what I saw, was that he was more in touch with Virginia's 'values', of course that message was under cut by his "Hitler" ad. Perhaps too votes in Virginia noticed that under the leadership of Warner, Virginia, unlike the GOP controlled federal government, is focused on keeping its fiscal house in order, improving education and finding solutions to traffic problems. Most telling was that Kaine carried Eastern Loudon County (Near Dulles Airport), Loudon is the epitome of an x-urban county and should have been an easy win for the GOP.

Does this portend the future...Probably not, considering that on a national level the Dems still are in a state of drift. But is does tell us that the electorate may be tired of the politics of division and want candidates (left or right) that focus on issues of governance (roads, schools, budgets) rather than fringy social issues.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


The Roberts Court

It's Not the End of the World After All

Two intersting developments from the Supreme Court this week. Of course newly appointed Chief Justice Roberts is leading the pack now. First is this unanimous ruling on employee rights...a far cry from the cries that a Roberts Court would roll back worker protection. Second was the recent rejection of an appellate court ruling upholding the right of a transgendered individual to sue for discrimination. Interesting.


Why Republican's Are Better than Democrats

George W. Bush = Carter + Nixon

Yes, it's true, Republican's are better than Democrats. I mean, think about it, Jimmy Carter led us through the economic malaise of the late 1970s, but that's about it. Nixon started a secret war, had a currupt VP, and had an enemies list..which of course is three for one. But with George Bush, we get much, much economic malaise, a corrupt VP, a lack of direction, an enemies list, and secret detentions!

Thus, the best president ever.


It's Baaaack

Starbuck's Gingerbread (Crack) Latte

Midgie has informed me that the highly addictive, yet nerve soothing Gingerbread latte is now available at your local starbucks. Yippee...I can no work in a caffine/sugar haze until the Holidays. The only problem is which of the five starbucks within a block of my office to go to.


Tuesday is...


Sorry for the lack of postings this morning. It's been one of those days. First the network was down, rendering the entire staff helpless (funny how I can't write a memo if I can't take a break to check!) Anyway, the network issue was followed by a host of grown up, managerial duties I had to take care of. As a result, postings will be delayed until later today so as not to repeat yesterdays nearly indecipherable babble.


Monday, November 07, 2005


Two Roads Diverged in the Wood

The FTAA, or BTA?

Lot's of protests of Mr. Bush's trip to the Americas Summit this weekend. But behind all the jazz hands of leftist student protestors lies a big decision for the leaders of the Western Hemishpere (The dancingest hemisphere!). The decision is weather or not to sign onto the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. Most are on board, with the exception of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba... Chavez is pushing his Bolivarian Trade concept, leaving us with two approaches...

In the long run, if the U.S. backs off our wasteful farm subsidies, the FTAA would be a boon for all of the Americas. The Chavez concept is more of an anti-us club that looks like it promises to deliver all the riches of the revolution in Cuba. Even if Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela hold out, the FTAA should move forward.


Oh My!

So Much for my Peking Duck...

Well, looks like I won't be having my wish to be eating Peking Duck in Beijing for Thanksgiving. Of course knowing my luck I'll end up being patient zero for this much hyped pandemic. At least I have my tami-flu!...

I guess if I could avoid eating Beef in Britain, I can avoid chicken in China...


Movies I'm Dying to See

Next Stop..Narnia

Dude, I am way past the movie going demographic. I love movies, but mostly these days, I like watching them in my home theater (i.e. -the tv in my basement). But every now and then there is a movie that comes out that demands I see it in a theater (in DC we've got the glorious Uptown Theater). The upcoming release of the Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of those movies. So dreamy... Can't wait for them to do The Magician's Nephew, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Also, looking for suggestions for good DVD's I can pick up to watch on the flight to China.
Midgie suggested "House of Flying Daggers", and I still want to see Star Wars III, but need a few more suggestions for good dvd's to get.

Ideas welcome...


On the Road Again...

All's Calm Before the Storm...

In town this week, then a flury of travel until December! Saturday to Monday I'm off to Spokane/Western Idaho returning in time to leave for meetings in Boca Raton, FL then back for a whole day before I leave for my vacation in China...

So, of course this means I have a month's worth of deadlines compressed into this week. Egad!


Is it just me...

Or is it a no-brainer that Cheney's off the reservation...

Many, many meetings this week, mostly closed door meetings with Cheney pushing hard for secret detentions and exemptions for the excutive branch from torture restrictions. Seems to me as the good guys in this fight, this is a no brainer. McCaine is right and it's pretty cool that he'll be adding his amendment to every bill between now and the end of time.

This issue has done more to hurt our efforts in the War on Terror than any other issue.


Is it just me...

Or is it a no-brainer that Cheney's off the reservation...

Many, many meetings this week, mostly closed door meetings with Cheney pushing hard for secret detentions and exemptions for the excutive branch from torture restrictions. Seems to me as the good guys in this fight, this is a no brainer. McCaine is right and it's pretty cool that he'll be adding his amendment to every bill between now and the end of time.

This issue has done more to hurt our efforts in the War on Terror than any other issue.


The Little Airline that Could....


Independence Air files for bankruptcy...may auction itself off. Too bad, it certainly helped lower fares in the DC market.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Weekend Reading

Puggles are for Cuddling Edition

Meet the Puggle
Last November my neighbors adopted a puggle his name is Charlie. Everyday since I've been thinking of ways to kidnap him, he's that awesome. Foxnews is reporting that others are falling under the Puggle spell too.

Meet the Muddle
Stay What Course? At the start of the Iraq War two and a half years ago, President Bush declared that American troops would stay in Iraq "as long as necessary, and not a day more." How long that would be wasn't clear then, and it isn't any clearer today.

A Cuddling Amendment
Dan Savage, in addition to be hilarious, also has a great proposal for a Constitutional Amendment to protect the right to privacy. Much needed in light of the conservatives continued push into our bedrooms. We must protect cuddling from the feds!

Like Carter, Only Annoying
For the first time in his presidency a majority of Americans question the integrity of President Bush, and growing doubts about his leadership have left him with record negative ratings on the economy, Iraq and even the war on terrorism, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows.

Nanner-Nanner: DC Weekend Weather - Saturday-75 degrees and Sunny!

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Prince Charles Wows DC

How to win Friends and Influence People

Overheard in DC:

PRINCE CHARLES: Pleasure to meet your acquaintance Council Women Cropp. PULL MY FINGER!

Giggles and screams ensue!


So True!

Quote of the Year!

"I was part of that wild and crazy Class of '94 that shook the political landscape by taking over the House after more than 50 years of unfettered Democrat control. We came to Washington full of ideals and conviction. But sadly, what they say about absolute power is coming to reality in the 2005 GOP Washington. Republicans in just 10 years have developed the arrogance it took the Democrats 30 years to develop."

-- Former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK), writing in the Las Vegas Review-Journal

During my tenure on the Hill, I got to work with JC Watts, he's an awesome guy. More importantly he's right. When JC was on the Hill, the GOP and Clinton kept trying to out flank each other on smaller government, federal accountability and spending. The government shrunk, we had a surplus and the economy blossomed.

Now we have lame excuses for negligent spending, claims that there is "No Fat in the Budget" and apparently we're renting out former Gulags to torture enemy combatants. It doesn't shock me that a party in power changes its views to retain the majority, what shocks me is just how quickly the GOP went from the party of accountability and fiscal restraint, to a bloated, excuse mongering, free spending, Big-brother-state-creating bunch of wussy flip-floppers.

We miss you JC! (And reason number 1,432 that I'm in Exile)


A Santorum Three-Way

Dude, You're A Loser.

I'm not a big fan of Pennsylvania (AKA Virginia) Senator Rick Santorum. He represents the very worst of the Do-as-I-say-Not-as-I-Do republicanism. A holy roller, Santorum believes we have too much freedom in the U.S.A and that the federal government should regulate private sexual activity (cough-blowjobs-cough). Pennsylvania can do better.

Now Tricky Ricky tries to one up saying Imus's wife called him to set up a threesome. Dude, shouldn't we be filing FCC complaints at this point?



Hurray for FEMA!

We are soo ready for the Bird-Flu!

Well, we know one thing, if the bird-flu strikes, FEMA will be ready, ready to go out on a spending spree with your tax dollars! Just as reports are coming in that FEMA's failed to pay the promised rent for nearly 160,000 poor, homeless NOLA evacuees, comes this report that FEMA's shoppin' til they drop.

Perhaps, as has been said, FEMA is not a responder, they are mystery shoppers sent into disaster areas to support retail sales.

Oh yes, and Michael Brown is still on the payroll.


Alito's Fate

Decided Today

The Gang of 14, who control the Senate on court nominations meets today to discuss Justice Alito. Despite the calls for filibusters and hearings, the real vote and decisions will be made today. If the gang of 14 gives him a stamp of approval, he's most likely gonna sail through the Senate.

Alito resources here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


U.S. Draw Down In Iraq Begins

Our Troop Reduction begins by sending more troops.

This is all so double-plus good! After repeated hints that we'll soon be drawing down the troop levels in Iraq, we may in fact be sending more troops. Why does Rummy still have a job?! He planned a war on the cheap, against the Powell doctrine (overwhelming force) and seems to continue to ignore the problems we face in securing the country. Our troops deserve better, the Iraqis deserve better. Rummy needs to go..


Tax Reform Proposal: Update

Less Deductions, Higher Liability

Well, I'm pushing through the tax commission report and it's chocked full of suggestions to repeal or curb many popular deductions. Funny thing is though, that the proposals eliminate valuable deductions like the mortgage interest deduction, state/local taxes, but does not offset my higher tax liability, I'd still be in the same tax bracket (although there would be fewer brackets).

I ask again, how does this make me better off?

WaPo has a great summary here.


There is no shortage of Flu Shots!

There just aren't any available

Last years flu shot fiasco looks like it may be repeated this year. I've been in the market for a flu shot as I prepare for my trip to China. I've been to no less than three doctors and a clinic and they are all out of them. The government keeps telling me there is no shortage, so I must be crazy, 'cause you know, the government would never lie or anything and of course the GOP majority is focused like a laser beam on goverment accountability.... sigh...

So with things going so well on the regular flu shots, I just can't wait to see how successful this bird flu thing is.


Oh the Drama!

Dems pull a fast one, Frist cries...

Wow, what a dramatic (and by dramatic I mean 8th grade temper tantrum and/or Real World casts drama..on both sides of the aisle) day yesterday in the Senate. Minority Leader Reid shut down proceedings for an hour or so by invoking rule 21 (National Security) which moved the Senate into a closed door session. The topic, pre-war intel on WMD and the lack of promised follow up hearings by the Senate Intelligence Committee. How delicious, how fun!

Better yet, it clearly knocked Majority Leader Bill Frist for a loop. He and his deputies had a little press conference hissy fit to cast aspersions that this was a stunt (it was) and that the Senate had been hijacked by Dems (it was, but no more so than Frist's proposals to ban the filibuster). All fun and salacious, yet somewhat sad.

Here we are at war (literally) in Iraq and Afghanistan and economically against China, Europe, Japan and others. We can't focus on spending, the feeble way this war is being fought, why our government is sanctioning and committing torture, or the very reasons why we are there in the first place. I suppose this is what you get when you claw your way to power on the coattails of Karl Rove's divide and conquer. Pity.

Of course now the GOP majority will move to change rule 21 and further try to marginalize the Democratic minority. Unfortunately, in the long run, this will probably hurt the GOP more than the Dems as the Grand Old Party has a tendency to over reach and smack itself on the behind. The best strategy is to let the Dems. continue to flounder.


$40 Billion a year on Homeland Security

And all I get is a lecture...

I had such high hopes for HSD Director Chertoff. His first days in office he got rid of the ridiculous do not stand up rule on flights into National Airport, but his subsequent handling of Katrina, Rita and Wilma has left me frustrated. Now comes this....a lecture! We spend $40 billion a year in tax payer dollars on homeland security and apparently all that can pay for is a patronizing lecture on how I'm supposed to have 72 hours of supplies in the event of an emergency. (Enlightening as the initial response to Katrina in NOLA to 96 hours).

Anyway, while I understand that I am responsible for my initial needs after such an event, I find this whole lecture thing a bit insulting.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Paying for Big Government

Tax "Reform" Proposal is out...

Remember when Dick Cheney said that deficits don't matter? Well the tax reform commission came out today with its recommendations for tax 'reform' (aka-tax increase) plan. It turns out that our annual deficits of $300 billion don't matter, especially if you don't like things like mortgage interest deductions, deductions for your state and local income taxes, employer provided health care, etc. Yeah, it's a bipartisan panel, all the better to screw us tax payers to feed the monster that is the federal government.

My favorite talking point is the emerging blather about how allowing a deduction for state and local taxes really is a subsidy for high tax states (like my home DC). Actually,'s not, the reason you are allowed to deduct you state and local taxes is that long ago, Congress felt that it was unfair to force you to pay federal income tax on money you are actually paying out in taxes. A recognition of federalism if you will. Too bad that concept is increasingly looking dead.

Funny thing is, that when we voted in a GOP majority, we expected many things, but massive tax increases in the guise of reform wasn't one of them. Perhaps I'm being a bit chicken little here, but mark my words, in two, three, or five years, we're all gonna be fondly remembering things like the mortgage interest deduction and wondering why we are paying so much more in taxes. This is not's an increase.

I'm actually reading this report tonight..I'll share more on that later...



Emotional work takes its toll at FEMA call center

'Cause you know, there's only so many times you can tell people counting on you for help to "F#ck Off, FEMA is a coordinating agency" before you feel sad.

Evacuees face end of rent, food stamp aid

Compassionate conservatism indeed!


8 Days...

Left of office time for November!

Oh hurray! I just realized that I have only eight days of office time left this month! I have two business trips (Spokane and Boca Raton), then in just 20 short days, I'm jetting off to a fall vacation in CHINA!

I'm starting to get excited about the China trip. My intinarary includes Beijing (Forbidden City, Great Wall), Xi'an (Terra Cotta Army) and Shanghai (Mag-lev train, The Bund, Shopping). Of course I am not looking forward to the twenty or so hour flight (DC-Detroit-Tokyo-Beijing), but that's why I'm headed to the Dr. today to implement my Mr. T/A-Team travel philosophy...e.g. long trips are much better with pharmacutical assistance. Can you say Ambien and/or Xannax?


Oh Brother!

Prince Charles is in town to pontificate...

Dear Lord, Prince Charles is in town and he plans to help educate us Americans on, of all things, religion. First off, despite my love for the people of Great Britain, I'm no fan of the Monarchy and of Prince Charles in particular. It's not a Diana thing, it's a dilettante thing. Here's a guy who's full time job seems to be collecting a huge taxpayer subsidy and then roaming around and spouting off on a variety of topics he may, or may not know anything about. If I wanted to be lectured by a Welfare Queen, I'd watch Jerry Springer.

Prince Charles seems to think we need to be more tolerant of Muslims in the U.S.A. and more tolerant of religion in general. Umm, outside of the Arab world, Mr. Prince, we are one of the more religious countries around and I think President Bush has gone out of his way to praise and reassure the 5 million or so Muslims in the United States that he (and we) respect their faith as a religion of peace. Yes, there is legitimate criticisms of our treatment of war prisoners, but that's not what's being discussed here.

It's often said that the U.S. and Britain are two countries separated by a common language. That's true, but we've got other differences as well. British intellectual elites like to paint us all as swooning over televangelists, toting guns, driving big cars and ignorant of world events. A truism perhaps, but certainly not an accurate view of the whole of America. Some folks across the pond 'get' us, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher did, I'm afraid the spoiled prince does not.

It won't help the cause of U.S. Muslims to have Prince Charles lecture us about them and worse yet it makes me sympathetic to President Bush and I really hate that feeling.


A Big, Ugly Fight...

Alito is Conservative (Shock!) and Likely to Be Confirmed

Well, here we go again. Bush's prospects look bright for the next month or so as he regresses to the mean (ooh a pun!) and returns to his old bag of tricks with throwing out a conservative supreme court nominee that will likely divide the country. Division is the one trick pony of the Bush Administration and I am growing weary of it.

My so far cursory review of Alito's opinions gives me some hope (allowing a Manger to be displayed as part of a larger holiday display on public property) but some trepidation (Upholding Pennsylvania spousal notification law on abortion). However, unlike Harriet Miers, he is apparently quite qualified for the bench and as a result, is likely to be confirmed despite the best efforts of the Democratic minority.


The Government to the Rescue?

Administration unveils Bird-Flu Plan

Oh, I expect such great things from this. (Note: This is sarcasm) Am I supposed to believe that we will be developing a bird flu vaccine when we can't even secure a safe supply of regular flu shots for a second year in a row?

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