Saturday, August 4, 2007

Best flogging of O'Hanlon & Pollack (so far)

I was going to excerpt and comment, but that would be gilding the lily. Click here for the dissection.

Obama's Making Gains

In Iowa

What Could Be Better Than a Personal Submarine?

Your own flying saucer.
From Ananova

Friday, August 3, 2007

Do We Want a Leader that Colors Inside the Lines?

Very funny political ad.
From YouTube.

Tony Blankley's Wrong on General Petraeus

Now, I don't always agree with Tony B. but I usually understand his point. He is a learned man with lots to say. This time he is dead wrong.

For those who are not readers, let me summarize. In 1942 the following resolution was tabled in the English house of Commons,
"That this House, while paying tribute to the heroism and endurance of the Armed Forces... in circumstances of exceptional difficulty, has no confidence in the central direction of the war."
Mr. B. goes on to point out that shortly after that and after firing a string of unsuccessful generals, Churchill promoted General Bernard Law (Monty) Montgomery. Monty took charge and all was good. Mr. B. then makes the astonishing suggestion that General David Petraeus might be Bush's "Monty".

The big difference is simple. Churchill was a man that let his generals lead. If they failed, he sacked them; eventually he found a good one. The current executive branch takes an entirely different tact: they hire generals that can follow.

Churchill did not just listen to his generals (as Bush tells us he does) he did what they said needed to be done.

This argument is not complete without a discussion of the greatest general of WWII, General Dwight David (Ike) Eisenhower. How much instruction to you think he took from FDR? He was given a job --to win-- and the authority to do it his way.

This is where Tony Blankley is wrong.

Petraeus might be a "Monty", or an "Ike", but the current administration has proven themselves incapable of letting competent people do their jobs. If he still there in '09 he might be the next president's "Ike" but he will not be Bush's and it is not his fault.
Read Tony Blankley's opinion here.

Obama's First Big Mistake

I said "Big." Yes, he has made a few little ones, but with his comments on Pakistan he has already caused an international incident and he doesn't even have the nomination yet. This will not serve him will in the primaries and will be devastating if he wins and has to go up against the Republican machine.

The AP is reporting that several senior Pakistan officials are speaking out against using their country to gain political capital at their expense. Those officials are right. This is an party intramural championship to see who will go to the finals and represent the party in the big competition. While stating views on foreign policy is necessary for the constituents to make informed decisions, actually causing international incidents is the job of the victor. Barak has overstepped his position. Angering foreign governments is currently Bush's job.

Mr. Obama needs to find a way to make his positions on international affairs known without prematurely raising the ire of our allies: it is called diplomacy. If he cannot do this and if he gains the nomination, he will give the Republican candidate a winning issue: foreign policy. And make no mistake, foreign policy might be the largest issue of 2008.

On this Hillary is winning hands down.

Homemade Sub --and I don't mean a sandwich

These guys messed up. They piloted their project into restricted waters and might lose everything. Too bad. It looks like fun. Anyone who has ever spent a lot of time on the water (yes, I have suffered from boat ownership --and will again) has dreamt of owning a submarine. These guys built one. How cool is that?
Too bad their poor judgment may cost them.
More on

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Policial Aspirations Not for Republican First Woman.

I did not make that up. It erupted (I can only think erroneously) from the mouth of Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez on the Glenn Beck Show yesterday.


It was during a discussion wherein the self described non partisan Beckers asked Leslie the following question about Jeri Thompson.
Is she Hillary Clinton, involved in everything, or is she Nancy Reagan, fierce defender of the husband?
Non-partisan indeed.

Leslie's response floored me.
...she`s much more Nancy Reagan-esque, in terms of she`s a mom, she`s a wife, and she`s looking out for her husband.
Okay, that part wasn't a shocker, but she went on.
There`s a big distinction: America does not have an appetite for a co-presidency. They knew it with Hillary Clinton. Ultimately they were proven correct in the fact she ran for office and now she`s running for president. They saw that 12-plus years ago in her; that is not the role of a Jeri Thompson or any Republican woman I would say right now.
There you have it. America wants a stay at home First Mom with no aspirations. Sorry Bill.
Read the whole interview on CNN Transcripts.

Car Porn

On YouTube

Will Katrina Be The Dems KO Punch?

I can only assume the Dems have been keeping their powder dry. Really. What other reason could there be for the muted whimpers that the pinko spin-miesters have been mewing over this.

Think about it.

This has the makings of a scandal that could destroy the republicans in '08, from misleading congress to putting thousands of people in significant danger. Believe me, people have not forgotten the horrific images from the Super Dome (if it had been a college run Lord-of-the-Flies-type experiment the professor would have gone to jail).

But this in not a rehashing of the devastation wrought, not by the hurricane itself, but by the government agencies that the people legitimately turned to in the never-ending aftermath.

Today, representatives of the Bush administration defended their awarding of lucrative government contracts to Gulf Coast contractors: an important step in rebuilding is in keeping the moneys in the area.

Some highlights:
--In addition, the review found the five agencies had claimed falsely that 259 contracts were awarded to small businesses when in fact they went to large companies or ineligible recipients. That created the false impression that more than $95 million in contracts was awarded to small companies, when the money actually went elsewhere.

--Overall, about 7.4 percent of Katrina contracts so far have gone to small businesses in Louisiana, down from 12.5 percent in April, according to the committee.

--In addition, 106 contracts worth $13 million were miscoded by DHS as going to small businesses, when in fact they were not. That's up from 61 contracts found by the committee in April.
I love this one:

--For many weeks after the 2005 hurricane, small and local companies were shut out of Katrina work in favor of large concerns with extensive government and political ties. Following public criticism, Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency pledged to rebid four large trailer contracts and give the work to small companies.

FEMA ultimately rebid only portions of the work. Government investigators later found FEMA did not take adequate legal steps to ensure that the new companies were small and locally operated, resulting in a questionable contract award to a large company with ties to the Republican Party.

It goes on, and on, and on...
Since then, Homeland Security has handed out 43 new contracts worth nearly $12 million to large companies or ineligible recipients. In contrast, it modified contracts to small Gulf Coast companies, resulting in a contract loss of $9 million in Louisiana.
My favorite exchange came when Lurita Doan, administrator of the Government services said,
"I would appreciate the opportunity to come back."

Responded Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., who chairs the House Small Business Committee,

"You will"
Now that's good TV.

Back to my point.

This affair, from the moment mother nature left town to the present day is custom made to bring down the administration. All someone has to do is make the case.

If the Dems have any political skills they already have the case made and are keeping their powder dry until late summer '08.
More from The Associated Press via The Guardian.

A New Study, Why We Fornicate

They didn't ask my motivation.
From Science Daily

My Cheney-NTY Reference Rant

Note: The following contains long quotes. This is because the information is important.

Does this ring bells for anybody else? (From Larry King --July 31, 2007)
CHENEY: The real test is whether or not the strategy that was put in place for this year will, in fact, produce the desired results.

KING: Will those results be in place on that day in '09 when you leave?

CHENEY: I believe so. I think we're seeing already, from others -- don't take it from me. Look at the piece that appeared yesterday in "The New York Times," not exactly a friendly publication -- but a piece by Mr. O'Hanlon and Mr. Pollack on the situation in Iraq.
Mr. Cheney on Meet The Press in the 2002 run up to the war.

BILL MOYERS: [V.O.] Quoting anonymous administration officials, the Times reported that Saddam Hussein had launched a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb using specially designed aluminum tubes. And there on Meet the Press that same morning was Vice President Cheney.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: [Meet the Press, 9/8/02] There’s a story in the New York Times this morning. This is -- and I want to attribute the Times. I don't want to talk about, obviously, specific intelligence sources, but --

JONATHAN LANDAY: Now, ordinarily information like the aluminum tubes wouldn't appear in the news. It was top intelligence. And the Vice President and the National Security Advisor would not be allowed to talk about this on the Sunday talk shows. But it appeared that morning in the New York Times, and therefore, they were able to talk about it.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: [Meet the Press, 9/8/02] It’s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring, through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb.

So, veep Cheney is saying, once again, it must be true; it is in the New York Times. Of course later the executive branch was credibly accused of planting the story in the Time so that Cheney could make his assertion the next day.

Was the Larry King Show assertion as wired as the MTP one was in 2002? I think so. Tough to say otherwise. Though I suspect the press manipulation was more Machiavellian this time. O'Hanlon/Pollack wrote their piece after a quick, 8 day visit to Iraq where the twosome saw a carefully orchestrated view of Iraq: visiting a "cleansed" neighborhood and interviewing from a pool of hand picked and well placed soldiers and civilians.

There was no mention of deals. Well, they mentioned them on CNN. I loved that Anderson Cooper followed LK with an interview with Michael Ware, an Australian reporter who has lived in Iraq since the beginning of the war. Now, many will disagree with Ware's politics but no credible person would disagree with his knowledge. Few civilians know more about what is going on over there.

And note the lack of opinion in the exchange with Anderson. The facts are:
COOPER: On the other hand, we have got Michael Ware, who has been there in Baghdad and all across Iraq almost nonstop since the fighting began. Right now, he's embedded with American forces in Diyala Province, coming to us through a nightscope camera. Because of the danger there, they're not allowed to turn on any camera lights. Michael, you just heard the vice president saying he expects General Petraeus to report significant progress when he gives his assessment come September.

What do you think of the vice president's evaluation?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, there is progress. And that's indisputable. Sectarian violence is down in certain pockets. There are areas of great instability in this country. They're at last finding some stability.

The point, though, is, at what price? What we're seeing is -- is, to a degree, some sleight of hand. What America needs to come clean about is that it's achieving these successes by cutting deals primarily with its enemies. We have all heard the administration praise the work of the tribal sheiks in turning against al Qaeda. Well, this is just a euphemism for the Sunni insurgency. That's who has turned against al Qaeda.

And why? Because they offered America terms in 2003 to do this. And it's taken America four years of war to come round to the Sunnis' terms. And, principally, that means cutting the Iraqi government out of the loop. By achieving these successes, America is building Sunni militias.

Yes, they're targeting al Qaeda, but these are also anti- government forces opposed to the very government that America created. And another thing to remember, Anderson, yes, sectarian violence is down, but let's have a look at that. More than two million people have fled this country. Fifty thousand are still fleeing every month, according to the United Nations. So, there's less people to be killed.

And those who stay increasingly are in ethnically cleansed neighborhoods. They have been segregated.


Anderson directly asked about the O'Hanlon/Pollack op-ed piece.
COOPER: Well, the vice president also referred to this "New York Times" op-ed written by -- by Ken Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon, who returned from Iraq. They were applauding the military progress and the Iraqi security forces' ability to hold areas and keep insurgents out.

How much have the Iraqi troops themselves actually improved?

WARE: Well, there has been improvement in the Iraqi troops. They are standing up, to a greater degree, in certain pockets.

But, honestly, Anderson, it is a myth to believe that the Iraqi forces have been rid of their sectarian or militia ties. No matter how much any commander wants to tell you, the minute the American forces turn their backs, these guys revert to form, be that Sunni or Shia lines, Kurdish ethnic lines, or be it militia lines.

So, there is still no sense of unity. And, without America to act as the big baby-sitter, this thing is not going to last. So, all these successes that O'Hanlon and Pollack point to exist. They're real. But the report is very one-dimensional. It doesn't look at what's being done to achieve this and what long-term sustainability there is.

I mean, these guys, unfortunately, were only in the country for eight days. And they point to a success story of a neighborhood in Baghdad called Ghazaliya. They say it's peaceful. We could walk around in a Sunni area.

Yes, that's because it's divided. And the Iraqi army troops won't let the Shia in. And the Shia army troops, just last week, there was an incident where the Iraqi commander of those troops went to remove all the furniture from a Sunni's house. And, when a fellow Shia protested, he arrested that Shia.

To summarize, despite the backward steps that are building a foundation for continued and better armed conflicts between the Sunnis and the Shias there is great progress being made because Dick Cheney and the NYT says there is.

My point? History will show that Vice President Dick Cheney was as truthful Tuesday night on Larry King as he was on MTP in 2002. The big difference is that this time few actually believe his words.

To quote his superior, "Fool me once. Shame on... shame on you... fool me. Ya can't get fooled again." (punctuation mine --if you can suggest a better way to punctuate this, let me know)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Quick Chuckle

Can you imagine if Alberto Gonzales gave the same evasive testimony before Judge Judy?

Gonzales Mea Culpa, Sort of.

Alberto Gonzales has sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. explaining his misstatements during his testimony. Apparently there was a simple little error in his abbreviated reference to the "program".

What?!? He and his handlers/cronies (I assume veep Cheney can be included in this group) don't get it. They don't seem to realize that the issue is no longer just whether or not they conspired to have a medicated official approve a policy that said official was opposed to, the issue now includes his bizarre testimony earlier this week. By suddenly answering the panel's simple question via email he hopes to get a pass on recent events. Insane? Perhaps. Incompetent? Politically. But I fear the adjective that will ultimately stick is unethical --and folks, that is the absolute worst thing that can be said about an Attorney General. An Attorney General without ethics ultimately leads a justice department astray, both by direct action and by setting the wrong example for others to follow.

The court scandals of the past few years are too many to list. The culture of politics over ethics that seems to pervade the department cannot exist, or be seen to exist, at the top.

Alberto's recent testimony clearly placed political agenda over ethics and this needs to be addressed along with the accusations of impropriety over the Terrorist Surveillance Program.
More on The Associated Press via The Washington Post

Bush Sits Down and Takes a Stand.

America pledges to lead the world-wide romantic comedy race. Finally the President takes a stand that will do less harm. Of course, Eleanor Clift will still strongly oppose the effort. (evil grin)
From The Onion

Althouse: E! Online rumormongers about Laura Bush.

Althouse: E! Online rumormongers about Laura Bush.

Ms. Althouse never disapoints. I love this gem almost as much as I hope that W gets back on the program.

The Fall of the Sanctimonious

I have no words that have not been said millions of times about hypocritical (if not contemptible) ministers.
From the Associated Press via The Washington Post

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Innovative Recruitment Strategies

The Dutch politician who is proposing the idea says it would relax the uptight troops. Might aslo bring their numbers up.
From Ananova

Hope for Darfur

Better late than never. The UN voted 15-0 to send 26,000 troops to the devastated region. It's a start.
Full Story on Bloomberg

The British are leaving. The British are leaving.

I find it hard to believe that this story has been so carefully hidden. If the net were a newspaper, this article appears to be placed bottom left, page H14, under the ad for disposable lighter repair.

Folks, this is important. The British army is pulling out of Northern Ireland. 38 years ago the British troops entered in an attempt to restore civil rights to a population violently divided along religious lines. There were successes --and failures. There were insurgents, terrorists, surges, IEDs, friendly fire incidents, "contractors", there was even "bandit country": an un-policable area ruled my groups allegedly involved in nefarious activities. The important thing is that there were lessons learned over the past three decades. We should be paying attention.
Full Story on

Down 20% On Your Home?

Cramer Says, "Walk away"!!!
link to interview

Tony Snow said what?

Tony S. tells the people:
“But let me point out that we have actually made Karl Rove available to that committee under conditions where he's going to tell the truth.” ref
Unless my memory fails me, the White House offered up Mr. Rove to testify before congress under the following conditions: 1.) that the testimony be held in camera (sectret) 2.) that there be no record of the testimony and 3.) that he not be sworn to tell the truth.

Huh? Mr. Snow doesn’t get it. Without the ability to pursue perjury charges in the event that someone chooses to mislead congress there is no point. Yes Mr. Rove might tell the truth. He will definitely tell us that he did (so will Tony S.) but we will forever doubt that he did –and that doubt is poisonous.

It is true that Mr. Rove will commit a crime should he lie to congress, but in this modern world of politics, there is no crime where there is no conviction. Without a record of the testimony there will be no conviction; without a conviction there was no crime; ipso facto: no lie.

Mr. Snow I believe you are misleading the people when you said that Mr. Rove was going to tell the truth. Misleading the people is not your job. It may be what your job has erroneously become, but nevertheless, your job is to inform the people.

It is sad that you have come to be regarded as a propaganda tool, useful only as a subject of ridicule.
Full text of Tony's interview

Monday, July 30, 2007

I Agree (Sort Of)

NAACP Leaders Urge Fairness for Vick

Mr. Vick should not lose what he has rightfully achieved until he is found culpable: this means guilty in criminal court and/or liable in civil court (two very different burdens of proof). I am referring to his NFL contract only. This he achieved on his merits. His endorsement deals were built on reputation and reputation alone. He lost his reputation; he lost his deals. I have no issue with this sequence of events. Still, I watch with sadness as yet another talented athlete is unprepared for success.

Anderson Cleans House on Jeopardy

Vs. Maria Bartiromo & Kweisi Mfume
Fun for me. For Maria B., it was embarrassing (assuming she has the decency to be embarrassed)

The President of the United States of America doesn’t get it.

The President of the United States of America is the one man in the world who is supposed to get it. We don’t need to know what is in his head and his heart, we only need to know that he is able to pilot the USS USA through rough seas. To do this, he has to get it.

What is "it"? Who knows.

But when you have the “the head of the Department of Justice and chief law enforcement officer of the Federal Government” ref committing perjury (yes, he has been given a week to rescind his statement) and when you have the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. stating, "This attorney general has a severe credibility problem," and then under oath and during the proceedings, “I don't trust you", you have a symptom of a far greater threat.

And then you find out that this unabashed liar has the full support of the white house… Am I the only one waiting for someone to shout, “April Fools”! Bush Jr. holds a press con ref to extol the virtues of his friend Al. Mr. Cheney does an interview ref apparently and explicitly to state that Al has not lied under oath.

It is clear to me that Messrs Bush et al. (pun intended) are simply no longer competent to captain America and need to stop. Stop everything. Imagine they have a three party parliament (no, I am not saying that this is a better system, there is too much evidence to the contrary) and a minority government that is unable to pass legislation. It is only for another 17 months or so. Remember, a ship will not hit an iceberg if it is not moving. As for the security of the nation? I do not propose that everything stops, just the president and his outclassed (by nearly every one --bus drivers, cafeteria workers, my sister...) executive branch. Congress and the Senatorial committees can take over for a while. I guarantee it will not be worse.

My point? The President does not get it.

A sad day for late night TV junkies

Broadcasters Tom Snyder Dies at 71

I have fond memories of his Late Late Show, watching him pull incredible stories from tight lipped guests using, wit, charm and understanding. He will be missed