Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are they that stupid?

Will Congress really allow their automatic pay increases to go into effect, and get pay raises as the first order of business in the new Congress?

Imagine if the first two big stories out of the next Congress are the Senate's refusal to seat a black senator from Illinois and the House's $4,700 Congressional pay raises.

A rational Illinois Senate proposal

Roland W. Burris is a decent, good man with a decent, good record. He is of the generation of black men and women (first to graduate here, first to be appointed there, first to get elected where ever) who made possible the election of an African America president. In fact, he is of the generation who made it possible for African Americans to vote in at least a dozen states. Unlike those who now knee jerk oppose his appointment to the U.S. senate because of their opposition to Gov. Blago, Burris fought Blago, the corrupt Illinois state machine, and the corrupt Chicago machine. is

But for his sponsor, Burris would be deemed the ideal interim elder statesman caretaker appointment until an election can be held.

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn and Illinois House Speaker Madigan (as well as President elect Obama and White House COS designate Emanuel, who were two of the main forces behind Blago in 2002, when he was the face of reform, and who endorsed him in 2006, when everyone already knew he was dirty) need to make a decision. Do they want the Obama administration to begin under the cloud of the Blago scandal circus, or do they want to put this behind them?

Let Burris state unequivocably that he will not be a candidate for reelection.

Then, let Quinn and Madigan (and Obama, et al.) agree to the Burris appointment.

And, get this off the front pages.

Blago has demonstrated a few things by his (admittedly very clever) appointment of an African American elder statesman - - he's not stupid, he knows how to play the game, and he's not going away either quietly or without taking others down with him.

The choice is clear. This embarrassment can go on for months (if not years) with the entire state and national Democratic party establishment fighting a qualified, dignified, elderly black veteran of the civil rights movement in court and in the halls of the Senate (will they call security to toss him out? cuff him?). Or, all can agree to Burris, which gets Obama off the hook, gets the Senate Democratic caucus off the hook, and gets the most visible national aspects of the Blago saga off the front pages.

That is, unless you like hearing the phrases "President Obama" and "corrupt Illinois politics" used repeatedly in the same sentence.

BTW - I hope Gov. Paterson takes note. Isn't there a beloved elderly political, social or media figure in New York, with roots in the civil rights, equal rights or other progressive communities, who would make an excellent interim caretaker senator from New York? If le princesse du Bouvier-Kennedy, or l'comte du Cuomo, or any of the serfs want the seat, let them open a campaign account and run for it in 2010.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

As long as we have "hope"

It's war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Al Qaeda-linked terrorists are poised to take over Somalia.

Unpopular decisions are required in Iraq.

And we will have an inexperienced novice in the White House, focusing exclusively on domestic policy. Good times.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Caroline Kennedy, author

Can we please stop crediting ANY celebrity with the authorship of ANY book?

They hire ghost writers.

They don't write "their" books.

Why does the media insist on insisting they do?

And, why does the "reality based community" buy into the lies?

If you repeal Bush's tax cuts . . .

, or let them expire, how have you not raised taxes on those earning under $250,000?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I just got back from vacation . . .

so bring me up to date. What did the released tapes reveal? the transcripts? I'm sure they proved that there was nothing improper discussed between Emanuel and Blagojevich.

Because I'm absolutely sure the tapes and transcripts were released as promised, and I'm sure that they fully absolve Rahm, et al. from any suspicion.

After all, I'm sure Obama's team abided by the crisis management rule of "get it out, get it out early and get it our fully". Let's face it, you only break that rule when you have something to hide.

No way would they let this drag on!

No way would they pull the old "Bush-and-Cheney-talking-about-Scooter" line of "I can't comment on an ongoing investigation". What nonsense that would be. After all, as all the progressives said at the time, why not? Why can't you comment on an ongoing investigation, unless you're part of the cover up? We know our team would never play that game!

And, no way would they have issued some narrowly drawn statement that really doesn't answer the question of who said what to who. I'm sure there was no lawyer-ed up statement like "there were no INAPPROPRIATE contacts about PERSONAL enrichment"

So tell me - - what did the tapes say? Because the full and uncensored release of all information should start to reverse the negative polling data on this issue. oll.obama.blagojevich/

Saturday, December 20, 2008



Talk about out of touch professors

Syndicated by the Los Angeles Times, from Michael Messner, a professor of sociology and gender studies at the University of Southern California:

"Once again this year my December paycheck is a few hundred dollars fatter than those of previous months. That's because December is when my gross annual income hits the ceiling for Social Security taxes. The government collects 6.2 cents from every dollar I earn up to $102,000. Then it stops, and I begin receiving what I call a ``prosperity bonus.''
So am I happy about the windfall? Nope. I don't want it. My message to President-elect Barack Obama and to the Democratic-controlled Congress is this: Tax me more."

What kind of fool thinks that the group we need to tax more are those earning between $102,000 and $150,000 per year? Those are the folks upon whom the major burden of this new proposed tax would fall. Curently, most of them use the extra money on holiday spending, i.e., the only thing currently keeping the economy going. The professor thinks the money's burning a hole in his pocket? He can donate it to charity.

BTW - An article asking for a middle class tax increase by a professor of "gender studies" at the University of Southern California? It sounds like something from The Onion.

A mother of three

I keep hearing that one of Caroline Kennedy's qualifications for the senate is being "a mother of three".

Wasn't it just a couple of months ago when we were told that being a mother of five was a disqualification from higher office?

So, is three the perfect number? One or less, and you're not woman enough. (See Rendell on Napolitano) Five or more, and you'd be too busy taking them to hockey games.

It's like the old episode on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", in which they were discussing how many lovers makes a woman "that kind of woman", and they decided it was six.

I'll say it again. Freedom of choice means the freedom to make ANY choice, not just the politically correct ones. Or, the choices of those you support, at the moment.

By the way, I wonder how these people handle the sudden, constant reversals of their positions on all these issues. One day, against dynasties. Next day, advance Caroline, Jesse, Jr., and Beau. One day, McCain's twelve houses, no good. Next day, Caroline's six + houses, no problem. One day, picket his church. Next day, invite him to give the invocation. What is it? Convenient amnesia? Ambien? Or, callow hypocracy?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Arrest of Iraqi police officers played down?

"Arrest of Iraqi police officers played down - Twenty-three mostly low-ranking police and security officials were detained this week as part of an investigation into attempts to revive Saddam Hussein's banned Baath Party, government officials said Thursday. Some news reports said the officers were trying to organize a coup to unseat Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, but National Police Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf dismissed that as an ''unreal'' possibility. He said Maliki has a direct role in security, and it would be difficult for an officer to stage a coup."

They can "play it down" all they want.

But, remember. We are relying on these police officers to enable our withdrawal from Iraqi urban areas this summer.

You'd think they'd give up already

Every time they insist the Clintons release financial records, over and above what they expect anyone else to release - - complete tax returns, charitable donations, foundation records, etc. - - all they prove is that the Clintons are amazingly successful, and have done nothing wrong.,0,2622682.story

Now we know - - Bill Clinton raised billions for charity from around the world, and spent none of it inappropriately. Applause? Apologies? Still waiting.

BTW - Compare and contrast how they treat Princess Caroline:

"New York’s Assembly will examine whether a charity that U. S. Senate hopeful Caroline Kennedy helps run was properly granted an exemption that allows her and other officials in the organization to avoid disclosing details about their finances.
Democratic Assemblyman James Brennan questions the decision by the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board to exempt the Fund for Public Schools from a law aimed at airing the financial dealings of charities.
Kennedy, who hopes to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate, is vice chairwoman of the not-for-profit organization.
The law requires most volunteer directors of charities working with state and municipal governments to disclose investments, outside pay and other financial connections. It was passed partly to assure that charities aren’t shadow agencies of the governments they support.
On Dec. 10, the city board told Brennan’s Assembly committee that Kennedy’s charity would be exempt from disclosure. The board notice to the Assembly came two days after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg strongly supported Kennedy as a successor for Clinton should she be confirmed as Presidentelect Barack Obama’s secretary of state."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bush looked into Putin’s soul

Remember these words, when Bush “looked into Putin’s soul”, and liked what he saw?

“This was a very good meeting. And I look forward to my next meeting with President Putin in July. I very much enjoyed our time together. He's an honest, straightforward man who loves his country. He loves his family. We share a lot of values. I view him as a remarkable leader. I believe his leadership will serve Russia well. Russia and America have the opportunity to accomplish much together; we should seize it. And today, we have begun. . . . I will answer the question. I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialogue. . . . We share our love for our families. We've got common interests. And from that basis we will seize the moment to make a difference in the world. That's why he ran for the presidency, and it's why I ran for the presidency.”

George W. Bush, 6/16/01

How wrong was Bush?

“Under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, people who fraternized with foreigners or criticized the Kremlin were "enemies of the people" and sent to the gulag. Now there's new legislation backed by Vladimir Putin's government that human rights activists say could throw Russia back to the days of the Great Terror. The legislation, outspoken government critic and rights activist Lev Ponomaryov charged Wednesday, creates "a base for a totalitarian state." . . . The bill would add non-governmental organizations based anywhere in the world that have an office in Russia to the list of banned recipients of state secrets. The government has repeatedly accused foreign spy agencies of using NGOs as a cover to foment dissent. . . . Under current treason statutes, some NGOs are not considered "foreign organizations," meaning a person who passes a state secret to an NGO might not be considered a traitor. Some of Russia's most prominent right activists, including Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva and Civic Assistance director Svetlana Gannushkina, said the bill in fact gives authorities the power to prosecute anyone deemed to have "harmed the security of the Russian Federation." It is "legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler," the activists said in a joint statement — legislation that "returns the Russian justice to the times of 1920-1950s." . . . The legislation expands the definition of treason to include damaging Russia's "constitutional order," and "sovereignty or territorial integrity." The activists believe each proposed addition cynically targets potential threats to the Kremlin, shattering what remains of civil society in Russia. Activists said expanding the term "constitutional order," would effectively outlaw opposition protests. "Territorial integrity" would forbid anyone from calling for independence or perhaps autonomy, an issue of particular concern in the volatile North Caucasus where Chechnya is located. The bill broadening the definition of state treason is the latest in a series of measures taken since Putin's rise to the presidency in 2000 that have systematically rolled back Russia's post-Soviet political freedoms. Rights group say that rollback has shown no signs of stopping since Putin, a former director of the KGB's main successor agency, became prime minister and his protege, Dmitry Medvedev, assumed the presidency.”,0,6488592.story

The next time a former president’s recovering alcoholic, ex-cocaine addict son needs a job, let’s give him a slot on “Celebrity Rehab”, not two terms as president.

Interesting point

How is the Kennedy clan trading their "early endorsement" capital with the Obama crowd for Caroline's senate seat any different from what the Illinois governor is accused of doing?

Even more Illinois democracy

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s attempt to do an end run around the criminal and impeachment processes was rejected by the Illinois Supreme Court.

The court rejected without comment her attempt to misapply the medical disability act to force Gov. Blago out of office. Evidently, and as any first year law student would recognize, the due process rights of the accused and political inconvenience and embarrassment are not “medical disabilities” under Illinois law.

“Wednesday's dramatics were in the Statehouse, but the action was in the state Supreme Court, which rejected what could have been the quickest way to force the governor from office. The court rejected without comment a challenge filed by state Attorney General Lisa Madigan, herself a top candidate for governor in 2010. It was unclear whether the court turned down the case on its merits or on procedural grounds. The attorney general had asked the court to remove Blagojevich, arguing that his legal and political troubles prevented him from performing his duties. Madigan said the governor's problems amount to a disability, so Blagojevich should have been stripped of his authority temporarily just as if he were physically incapacitated. Madigan said she was disappointed by the ruling, saying Blagojevich's refusal to resign has put the state in an ''unsustainable situation.'' She urged the impeachment panel to proceed with ``deliberate speed.''”

Lisa Madigan, “a top candidate for governor in 2010”?

For this abuse of process, and for her dynastic nepotism (her dad is Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan), Lisa Madigan should be rejected out of hand.

Of course, we’re talking about Illinois. Not only will she probably win, but her kids will probably be appointed to congressional vacancies.

How to reverse Democratic gains in the Cuban community (and in Florida)

1. Appoint one of the masterminds behind the Elian mess to be attorney general.

2. Appoint one of the leading Congressional opponents of anti-Castro sanctions to be transportation secretary.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Andrew Sullivan and women

Earlier this afternoon at 12.50 p.m.:

"Palin And Warren. Christianism may be the common thread between their shared and bizarre views of the First Amendment. Warren somehow believes that the existence of my civil marriage violates his freedom of speech. And Palin, remember, had a similar view . . . These people have the strangest understanding of the constitution of the United States - and that strange understanding is rooted in their theocratic view of the world."

Notice how Sullivan can't attack Warren without bringing a woman into it (usually Palin or Hillary).

Little did Sullivan know that Obama would shortly announce the inauguration day schedule - - with Warren giving the invocation. Well, that must be a woman's fault, too. By 3.20 p.m.:

"Ugh. Rick Warren will give the invocation at Obama's inauguration. Warren is a man who believes my marriage removes his freedom of speech and cannot say that authorizing torture is a moral failing. Shrewd politics, but . . . He won't be as bad as the Clintons (who, among leading Democrats, could?), but pandering to Christianists at his inauguration is a depressing omen."

Sullivan just can't go after or express disappointment with a man without somehow blaming a woman. What does Hillary have to do with either Warren or Sullivan's disappointment with Obama? It's not Hillary's inauguration. Don't blame her for the guest list, or use her to deflect attention.

More Illinois Democracy

Everyone sane agrees that special elections to fill the U.S. senate seats of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would be the preferred small “d” democratic option.

This is true in New York, where (1) the unelected governor, who is the son of a former state officer holder, may imminently make a selection between (2) the inexperienced daughter of a president and niece of senators and (3) her ex cousin-in-law, the son of a former governor, to replace (4) the wife of a former president.

This is particularly true in Illinois, where the taint of scandal will attach to anyone selected by the incumbent governor or his successor.

But, we’re talking about Illinois.

“[L]egislation to hold a special election to fill President-elect Obama’s now-empty Senate seat (rather than have that person picked by the governor, who, prosecutors say, was seeking money or a job in exchange for his selection) was never brought to a vote in the Senate on Tuesday. The House also did not take up the proposal before it adjourned on Monday night. Though some Democrats had joined Republicans last week in calling for a special election to remove all taint from the Senate succession, Democratic lawmakers grew leery of the idea because it raised the possibility that a Republican could win the seat. . . . Democrats said they were still trying to sort out how best to select a new senator. They complained that a special election would be expensive. Many seemed hopeful that Pat Quinn, the lieutenant governor and a Democrat, would soon become governor — through Mr. Blagojevich’s impeachment, resignation, criminal conviction or removal by the State Supreme Court — and could make the Senate appointment.”

Isn't that what progressives used to accuse Bush, Cheney and Rove of doing (only respecting the electoral process when your candidate can win)?

Rahm’s 21 Calls

“The well-wired (possibly in more ways than one) Michael Sneed reports that Rahm [Emanuel] appears on "21 different taped conversations" regarding Obama's vacant seat.
He also had a vacant congressional seat in play.”

That’s 21 calls between the Gov. Blago who was seeking a bribe and someone Gov. Blago wanted to arrange for a bribe.

But, nothing “inappropriate” was discussed. Ever. During 21 calls.

And, we must take the word of Rahm Emanuel on this, one of America’s lewdest, crudest, hardest nosed political deal makers.

I’m sure several of those calls were about the latest season of “Entourage”. Several more calls must have been reminiscences about the glory days of Jordan and the Bulls. At least two or three had to have been discussions of Da’ Bears’ season, and maybe some gossip about the Cubs’ off season moves. Just two guys shooting the breeze. (Of course, two guys who we were recently told “were never very close”.)

Obviously, if there’s a few things we as Americans have surely learned, it’s to never be suspicious of our leaders, to put blind faith in the word of our leaders, and to trust our leaders’ assurances without seeking verification. After all, that always works out well.

(Looking at the reactions to this growing scandal, the blind faith of the blind Obama fans is frightening.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Iraqi withdrawal 'deadlines'

"The deadlines sound clear enough in the security agreement: U.S. combat troops must be out of Iraqi urban areas by June, and all Americans should withdraw from the country by Dec. 31, 2011.

However, those deadlines have appeared anything but firm to Iraqis over the past week. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al Dabbagh suggested Thursday that Americans might be needed in the country for another 10 years.

And U.S. Gen. Ray Odierno, the top military commander in Iraq, said Saturday that American forces might remain in Iraqi cities after June, despite the deadline in the security agreement."

I'm still waiting for the "anti war community" to put pressure on the victorious "anti war candidate" to commit to the timeline for withdrawal.

Democracy in Illinois

"On Monday, [Illinois] House Speaker Michael Madigan appointed a bipartisan committee to review potential impeachment proceedings, the latest move by embarrassed politicians eager to force Blagojevich out. ''We're going to proceed with all due speed, but we're going to make sure that what we do is done correctly,'' said Madigan . . ."
"''I've had a chance to get to know Mr. Blagojevich over six years, so I was not surprised,'' Madigan said of the corruption charges that allege the governor tried to put Obama's seat up for auction. ``In light of what we've all seen . . . how can anyone be surprised?''"
Of course, Madigan is "a Chicago Democrat and former co-chairman of Blagojevich's reelection campaign".

Got that? The fellow leading the impeachment battle in the Illinois state legislature knew Blago was bad for six years, but nonetheless co-chaired Blago's reelection campaign two years ago.

By the way - - this Michael Madigan is the father of Lisa Madigan, the Illinois state attorney general who is trying to misapply the medical disability act to force Blago out of office.

Expect four years of scandals to originate in Illinois.

Today's Blagojevich explanation

Day One - No Obama staffer spoke to Blago about Obama's senate seat

Day Two - Obama himself didn't speak to Blago about Obama's senate seat, but staff may have

Today - "[N]o one on his staff had any 'inappropriate' discussions with disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich"

I guess it depends on the meaning of 'inappropriate'.

BTW - Obama's "postponing release of the full review until next week at the request of federal prosecutors investigating Blagojevich for corruption". Isn't it obvious that they're waiting until Christmas week, when no will be paying close attention?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Media bias?

When Obama-cheerleader Chris Matthews interviewed Biden-cheerleader Jay Carney during primary season and before the election, shouldn't NBC's Matthews have disclosed his interest in the Pennsylvania Democratic senate nomination, and shouldn't Time's Washington bureau chief Carney have disclosed his interest in going to work for Biden as director of communications?

If Hillary were the Democratic nominee, or anyone other than Biden the vice president, would either of them have any chance of getting these jobs? Aren't there media rules regarding conflicts of interest?

All About Rahm

There's a great scene towards the end of "All About Eve".

The snobby theatre critic Addison DeWitt confronts the young scheming starlet Eve Harrington, exposing her plots and lies:

"De Witt: San Francisco has no Shubert Theater. You've never been to San Francisco! That was a stupid lie, easy to expose, not worthy of you.
Eve: I had to get in to meet Margo! I had to say something, be somebody, make her like me!"

That exchange contains one of the more famous lines in the movie - - "That was a stupid lie, easy to expose, not worthy of you."

I keep thinking of that as the Illinois bribery scandal unfolds.

I can't understand why the Obama team's first reaction was "we had no conversations with the governor" about the senate seat.

Obviously, Obama cared who replaced him.

Obviously, Obama had a 'first choice' for his replacement.

Obviously, there's nothing wrong with Obama expressing, directly or through aides, his opinion on the subject.

So why, why, why the "stupid lie, easy to expose, not worthy of you"?

Get the truth out, now. And if Blogo asked anyone for a bribe, and it wasn't reported, fire him. Now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

U.S. troops to stay in Iraq past deadlines
We're not going to keep the summer deadline to get out of Iraqi cities.
We're not going to keep the 2011 deadline to get out of Iraq.
Aren't you glad we elected the anti war candidate?

Palin's home church damaged by arson

Can Doonesbury, SNL, late night comedians, the media in general, etc. leave her alone?

She lost, it's over, and now you're just stirring up hatred.

Obama's poll standing

How will it be impacted by the scandal in Illinois?

Whose career is over . . .

Jesse Jackson, Jr. or Rahm Emanuel?
And, Jesse wasn't on Obama's list of acceptable appointees, relayed by Rahm to Blago?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Due process in Illinois

"Illinois' top legal officer went to the state supreme court Friday to try to get scandal-plagued Gov. Rod Blagojevich temporarily removed from office. . . . Madigan . . . told a news conference that a provision of the state law, although never before invoked, allows her to seek the governor's removal through the court. Madigan said she had asked the court for a temporary restraining order declaring the governor disabled and taking away most of his official powers . . . "We recognize the court may be reluctant to take up this matter," she said, since it calls for a broad interpretation of a law that demands action when the governor is "disabled." . . . The state has compiled $4.5 billion in unpaid bills and has had to postpone borrowing in the debt market "indefinitely" because Madigan will not certify debt issues due to the governor's legal problems, state Comptroller Dan Hynes said."

In other words, Illinois' highest law enforcement officer invoked a law clearly intended to cover cases of incapacitation due to health, not criminal indictment. She wanted to do an end run around the impeachment / criminal justice processes, because they take too long. Then, she used the financial uncertainty created by her own maneuvers to further justify Blago's immediate removal.

Have they heard of due process in Illinois?

Bush vs. Congress

"The Bush administration will weigh its options over the weekend, deciding how best to proceed with its promise to keep Detroit automakers out of bankruptcy.

The White House reluctantly said Friday it would consider using money from October's controversial $700 billion Wall Street rescue fund to help ailing automakers, after Senate negotiations on a $14 billion rescue plan fell apart late Thursday night."

Remember when Congressional Democrats opposed Bush's use of executive powers to overrule Congressional decisions?

I guess Charlie is running for president

But does anyone believe it?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Health care: Lost in the news

" . . . [F]ormer Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota to be . . . secretary of Health and Human Services . . . [and] director of a new White House office of health reform, from which he'll direct the administration's quest to curb runaway health care costs and provide insurance to the uninsured.
Obama suggested that he doesn't know how he'd pay for his plans to expand health care. As a candidate, he proposed financing it by raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 a year. Now, he's considering delaying those tax increases lest they slow economic recovery.
"I have not made yet a determination in terms of how we're going deal with the rollback of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans," he said Thursday. He added, however, that some of the cost would be offset by savings from health-care efficiencies. He plans, for example, to push for streamlining medical billing and using more information technology to shave costs."

Let's review: "He doesn't know how he'd pay for his plans to expand health care", because he's not going to repeal the Bush tax cut, and he's not going to increase taxes on the wealthy, and his only source of funding for national health insurance is "streamlining medical billing and using more information technology to shave costs", i.e., pennies on the dollar.

Does anyone doubt that plans for national health insurance will be "delayed due to the economic crisis"?

Bail outs?

"GM says its total hourly labor costs are now $69, including wages, pensions and health care for active workers, plus the pension and health care costs of more than 432,000 retirees and spouses. Toyota says its total costs are around $48."

$69 per hour? That's more than $140,000 per year.

There needs to be a limit on salaries paid by any bailed out entity until all 'loans' are repaid.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We own Iraq

"Britain announced Wednesday it will withdraw all but a handful of its 4,000 soldiers from Iraq next year, ending a mission that was unpopular at home and failed to curb the rise of Iranian-backed Shiite militias in the south. The decision comes as the United States is weighing a drawdown in its nearly 150,000-strong force."

It appears Obama has convinced everyone to withdraw . . . except us. We own the war from here on, with no help or support.

I'm waiting for Obama to begin the promised "immediate redeployment" on January 21.

Jesse, Jr. and Blago

"The first fallout from the scandal also emerged, with U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. denying any misconduct while confirming that he is the Senate candidate mentioned in the federal charges as someone Blagojevich thought would pay money to be appointed to the seat. Jackson, the son of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said he had been assured by prosecutors he was not a target of the investigation."

Isn't the fellow who negotiates paying a bribe just as guilty as the fellow who asks for the bribe? We arrest the hooker and the john. The dealer gets popped for distribution, but we also arrest the buyer for possession.

Of course, we need to suspend judgment until all the tapes are released. But, where did Blago get the idea that Jesse, Jr. would pay at least $500K? And did Jesse, Jr. call the cops when Blago asked for the bribe?

Does anyone in their right mind still think that Jesse's one of the good dynasts, deserving of a Senate appointment?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The "car czar"

Will s/he be more or less effective than the drug czar who was going to stamp out drug abuse, or the anti poverty czar who was going to wipe out poverty, or the energy czar who was going to . . .

Swearing in: 'Barack Hussein Obama'

President-elect Barack Hussein Obama says he plans to use all three of his names when he takes the oath of office in January.

I thought using his middle name was prejudicial and disparaging and inappropriate.;_ylt=AjGz98DTTd0gyKpeSnM2.QJs.aF4

Marcus hurts Kennedy with Post endorsement

Sometimes, an endorsement hurts more than helps.

See Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post, "A Vote for Senator Caroline", endorsing Caroline Kennedy for N.Y. Senate.

"On the question of Caroline Kennedy for Senate, my head says no, on balance. My heart says yes! Yes!"

Okay, so she knows it makes no sense.

"I always find it a bit creepy when children follow the career paths of their parents. It bespeaks a certain undue eagerness to please, not to mention a decided lack of imagination. In particular, even though politics as family business has a lengthy pedigree in American history, I recoil from political dynasties."

Okay, she admits dynasties are bad.

"For one, dynasties tend to illustrate the phenomenon of reversion to the mean: It's rare that the second generation outperforms the first. The Kennedy family itself offers a good illustration of this trend . . ."

Okay, the Kennedys are bad dynasts.

"More unsettling, political dynasties are fundamentally un-American. This is not -- or is not supposed to be -- a country in which political power is an inherited commodity. The notion that Caroline Kennedy could simply ring up the governor and announce, or even politely suggest, her availability grates against the meritocratic ideal."

Okay, the way Caroline handled this "grates against the meritocratic ideal."

Marcus then compares Kennedy's celebrity to Jon Corzine, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura and Sonny Bono.

Okay, let's ignore that these were all self made, up by their own bootstraps individuals who started at the bottom of the barrel and then were elected (not selected) to high office after rising to the highest levels in their chosen fields.

"There are any number of intriguing subplots at work here. Her uncle's illness, and the "dream will never die" emotion of having Caroline in place to carry on his work. The don't-mess-with-my-family payback dynamic of putting in for the job to shove aside Andrew Cuomo, her cousin Kerry's former husband."

Okay, let's make this petty and stupid and turn it into People Magazine / National Enquirer fodder.

"Imagine, by the way, how Hillary Clinton must be feeling. After all that work, after all those years, she not only lost the presidential nomination to Barack Obama, she now may be yielding her Senate seat to a woman who emerged from the political shadows to give Obama the benediction of the Kennedy legacy."

Okay, let's translate this into a dis' of the Clintons (that'll really help the cause, Ruth!)

"What really draws me to the notion of Caroline as senator, though, is the modern-fairy-tale quality of it all. . . . In this fairy tale, Caroline is our tragic national princess. She is not locked away in a tower but chooses, for the most part, to closet herself there. Her mother dies, too young. Her impossibly handsome brother crashes his plane, killing himself, his wife and his sister-in-law. She is the last survivor of her immediate family; she reveals herself only in the measured doses of a person who has always been, will always be, in the public eye."

Okay, let's turn this into a silly Julia Roberts / Sandra Bullock screenplay.

Please protect those I support from the kindness of people like Ruth Marcus!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Nanny for U.S. Senate?

Actress Fran Drescher, star of "The Nanny", who, "since a bout with uterine cancer", "has become an activist for better health care for women and was named a State Department public envoy on the issue in September", recently touring "Eastern European countries to raise awareness of the issue on behalf of the State Department", "has expressed interest in being appointed to the U.S. Senate seat that New York's Hillary Clinton is giving up to become secretary of state".

Yes, it's a dumb idea.

But, Nanny Fine appears to have more governmental, social activist and public speaking experience than the legacy who is apparently the front runner.

How about giving the appointment to a seasoned professional - - a mayor or a congressperson - - who might just be able to hold the seat?


"The FBI affidavit alleges that Blagojevich also sought promises of campaign cash, as well as a cabinet post or ambassadorship in exchange for his Senate choice. . . . The charges also state that in a conversation with Harris on November 11, Blagojevich said he knew that President-elect Obama wanted a specific candidate for the open Senate seat but added "they're not willing to give me anything except appreciation. [Expletive] them.""

Okay, maybe I'm just overly suspicious.

But, if the executive appoints cabinet members and ambassadors, doesn't this imply that someone in the incoming administration discussed "a cabinet post or ambassadorship" with Blago? Because, if they didn't discuss it, how could Blago know who "Obama wanted . . . for the open Senate seat" and that "they're not willing to give me anything"?

How far up does this go? If Blago rolls and pleads out, this could shake things up in a big way.

In fact, it could result in real "change".

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pete Townsend, Kennedy Center honoree

The Who's Pete Townsend is one of the 2008 Kennedy Center Honorees for lifetime achievement in the performing arts.

What do you have to do in our society to become persona non grata?

First Republican in Congress from N.O.L.A. since Reconstruction

As I said after the Georgia runoff, unless Obama acts, acts quickly and turns things around, 2010 willl not be a repeat of 2008. It could be a good Republican year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How I spent my Sunday

Grass roots democracy. And, giving good quotes.

Secret plan?

"Obama offered few details and no cost estimate for the investment in public infrastructure . . . In keeping with the secrecy that surrounds the development of his recovery plan, Obama has given the governors no commitment about how much money they would receive for such projects."

"Obama's fix: public works", Miami Herald, 12/7/08, p. 3A

Secret plans? No public discussion? No public input?

Haven't all the never debated, drafted in secret, bail out plans failed due to lack of debate, discussion and input?

Obama's public works fix

"President-elect Barack Obama said Saturday that he wants to revive the economy and create jobs by upgrading roads, schools and energy efficiency in a public-works program whose scale has been unseen since construction of the interstate highway system in the 1950s.

He offered no price estimate for the grand plan, how the money might be divided or the effect on the country's financial health at a time of burgeoning deficits."

He offered no price estimate for the grand plan, how the money might be divided or the effect on the country's financial health at a time of burgeoning deficits?

The "plan" specifies neither how much nor what.

It's still only pretty speeches.

Search warrants? Arrest warrants?

"The top U.S. commander in Iraq warned his troops Friday to expect subtle changes in combat operations - - including obtaining warrants before searching homes and detaining people - - when the newly approved U.S.-Iraq security agreement takes effect on Jan. 1."

Search warrants? Arrest warrants?

Whenever our troops become overseas cops, it turns into a disaster.

You can't stop to read terrorists and guerillas their Miranda rights.

If that's the new rules, get them out now.

The modified Obama tax plan

discussed on Meet The Press (indefinitely "delayed" tax increases on the rich) sure sounds like the McCain tax plan to me - - cuts but no increases.

Don't hold your breath waiting for criticism from those who attacked McCain for favoring "the rich".

I take this as an endorsement

Cuban dictator Fidel Castro "expressed disappointment with some of Obama's Cabinet choices, including Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state . . . Castro noted that Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed laws that significantly tightened the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba and that Hillary Clinton expressed support for maintaining the embargo. 'I'm not complaining,' Castro wrote. 'I'm simply pointing it out.'"

Unfortunately, Fidel really really likes Obama.

Rolling Stone on Obama and Prop 8

When Rolling Stone criticises Obama, you know there's rumbling on the left.

In its Prop 8 post mortem, Rolling Stone says:

"It didn't help that Barack Obama refused to support gay marriage, and voiced his opposition to Prop 8 as a narrow constitutional matter. Indeed, Obama was so weak on the issue that Schubert [Frank Schubert, the consultant who directed 'Yes on 8'] highlighted the candidate's opposition to gay marriage in a mailer targeting African-Americans, and used his voice in a statewide robo-call. "We were able to quote him directly on the core issue in direct mail and in calls at the end of the campaign," says Schubert. When African-Americans in California went to the polls on Election Day, 70 percent of them voted to ban gay marriage."

Obama was quoted in anti gay marriage mailers, and Obama's voice and words were used in anti gay marriage robo-calls, targeting the black community? Then why is everyone blaming the Mormons? The anger appears to be misplaced.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Senator Jesse Jackson, Jr. (to replace Obama by appointment)?

Senator Beau Biden (to replace Joe Biden after interim place keeping appointment of an aide)?

Senator Caroline Kennedy (to replace Hillary Clinton)?

"There's nothing more appealing in politics than a storybook ending. And so, the idea that Caroline Kennedy might be appointed by New York Gov. David Paterson to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate, the same chamber in which her late father -- John F. Kennedy -- served and the same seat her uncle -- Robert Kennedy -- held, is drawing huge amounts of attention."

Storybook ending?

Aren't these the people who fought Bush and Clinton because they were tired of dynasties?

I guess it depends on which dynasty.

The Republicans deserved to lose Florida

Put aside Iraq, Afghanistan, the financial melt down, Katrina, embarrassing behavior, inarticulate statements, etc. The Republicans would still have deserved to lose Florida.

"Republican Party of Florida chairman Jim Greer charged personal expenses to the state party during a fundraiser this summer, adding fresh details to growing complaints that his money management was hurting the party. Confronted with a $5,100 bill showing he used party money on spa treatments, seafood dinners and limousines during a party fundraiser at the Breakers Hotel, Greer said he would reimburse the party for some of the expenses Friday. The hotel bill obtained by The Miami Herald/St. Pete Times showed that Greer and his wife spent $3,600 on a dinner at the hotel's Brasserie L'Escalier, $200 on spa services, $137 at the seafood bar and $80 on a limousine to the airport during a two-day fundraiser for incoming Florida Senate President Jeff Atwater."

Now put aside the low class petty corruption. (Charging your wife's massage at a luxury hotel to campaign funds? How stupid and tacky!)

"New post-election GOP filings show the state party still had $1.37 million cash at the end of a period extending from Oct. 14 to Nov. 24 with $432,000 in outstanding bills, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission detailing the party's federal election account. Several members of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign in Florida said they were told the party's federal account had been tapped dry in the final weeks, forcing them to scramble for money to buy yard signs and radio ads in Florida. ''They almost had daily rebellions at headquarters because people were begging for bumper stickers yard signs and buttons,'' said Ana Navarro, a major fundraiser for McCain's campaign. ''We had no money for food for volunteers,'' she said. ``Practically every Republican in Florida knew we had no money, so I cannot understand it other than to think they were saving it for another campaign at another time.''

Obama carried Florida by a tad under 250,000 votes. Most of that came from Broward County, which Obama carried by a little over 250,000 votes. And the Republicans sat on $1 million cash on hand? They spent none of that in South Florida to deflate Obama or in North Florida to inflate McCain?

Put aside policy. They deserved to lose Florida for being incompetent!

Bail out vs. severance pay

"Faced with staggering new unemployment figures, Democratic congressional leaders said Friday they were ready to provide a rescue plan for American automakers . . . "
New York Times Service

Not faced with the economic needs of the companies. Not faced with the economic prospects of the companies. Not faced with the viability of the companies. But, faced with the new unemployment figures.

Does anyone think this is it?

Does anyone think the pigs won't be back at the trough?

Does anyone doubt that all these "bailed-out" entities will continue to require more cash infusions?

The lesson of British industry in the '70's is that bailout leads to nationalisation which leads to slow and steady shut down. Basically, bail outs are simply very very very expensive job maintainance schemes. Not job creation. Not investments. Not investing in the future. Just ways to keep the factory humming and the employees occupied until they retire.

Aren't we at the point in American industry where sizable severance packages (sufficient to help the newly unemployed transition to other careers, jobs or locales) are preferable (and cheaper in the long run) to bail outs of dinosaur industries? New industry and jobs are needed, but you won't get them by paying corporate welfare to the Big Three auto makers.

"Change" should mean thinking outside the box, not '70's-style British industrial policy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

More Mormons and Prop. 8

The same Hollywood crowd that hates Mormons because of their church's opposition to and organizing against Prop. 8 in California just loves the Dalai Lama’s Buddhism and Madonna’s Kabbalah.

Does anyone think that Tibet under the rule of the lamas, or Hasidic communities in Poland, were more gay friendly than modern Salt Lake City?

I'm sure all the progressive groups will demand this guy gets fired

Right? Right?

Imagine if a Bush or Clinton chief speechwriter was caught in this compromising position - - worst person in the world, at least?

Iraq box scores

Has anyone else noticed that your local newspaper no longer keeps Iraq war dead "box scores"?

There's no longer a daily running total of "Americans killed in Iraq".


Is it because the media can't handle two big stories at one time (Iraq AND the economy?)

Or, because the fight in Iraq was always secondary to the political fight in America about Iraq?

When Howard Dean muses about whether it's worth fighting over "another 18 months in Iraq", and when Obama appears to have reached a compromise with the Bush / Gates strategy of surge plus stay 'til 2011, I guess there's no 'news' being made.

Except for the fact that Americans are still dieing over there.

Where is the "anti war" community? Where are the the "anti war" politicians?

Did anyone ever really give a damn, or was it just a political football?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Remember The New Party?

Remember The New Party? The semi socialist fringe party that Obama denied ever having anything to do with?

Read this puff piece about Obama's political director, Patrick Gaspard.

About one quarter of the way down, you'll find this item:

"Over the next few years there is remarkable little about Gaspard on the public record, though Lynch says he was heavily involved with the city council and political organizing. An NPR piece from September 1995 described him hosting a meeting for an outfit called The New Party in the basement of his home in Brooklyn. The topic: school board races."

No connection whatsoever!

Another one bites the dust

"President-elect Barack Obama has quietly shelved a proposal to slap oil and natural gas companies with a new windfall profits tax. An aide for the transition team acknowledged the policy shift Tuesday, after a small-business group discovered the proposal -- touted throughout much of the campaign -- had been dropped from the incoming administration's Web site. "President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel," the aide said. "They are below that now and expected to stay below that.""

Wasn't that touted at the debates as a major domestic policy difference between Obama and McCain?

Rendell on Napolitano

Funny, I don't remember any feminist defense of Palin's choices or status, when she was slammed for being a "baby factory" and/or too busy with her kids to do a good job. Nor do I remember any defense when questions were raised about Charlie Crist's and Lindsay Graham's bachelor-boy status. Defending only certain choices or certain peoples' choices is not the same as defending freedom of choice.

"Obama bristled"

"Obama took just three questions during a news conference with (Secretary of Commerce designate Bill) Richardson in Chicago, none on that subject, and did not invite any give-and-take between Richardson and the press. . . . Obama bristled when asked by a reporter to respond to criticism from the Latino community that Richardson's post was a "consolation prize" for not getting to be secretary of state."

If you only take 3 questions (from your 3 favored reporters), without allowing follow ups, it's not a news conference, even if you're going for some phony "daily news conference" record. It's simply feeding your talking points of the day to the press, live and in person.

And, if he's going to "bristle" any time he gets asked to respond to any criticism, he better get used to spending more time "bristling".

BTW - "Bristle" is defined as "to become rigid with anger or irritation" or "to be visibly roused or stirred ".
It's what they say when they like you, and they don't want to say you lost your temper or got angry.

Buyer's remorse

From David Sirota, original supporter of phony populist John Edwards and charter member of the Hillary-haters' club:

"[T]he Obama movement undeniably revolves around the president-elect's individual stardom — and specifically, the faith that he will make good decisions, whatever those decisions are. . . . This is the mythic "independence" we're supposed to crave — a czar who doesn't owe anyone. It is the foreseeable result of a Dear Leader-ism prevalent in foreign autocracies, but never paramount in America until now. . . For better or worse, that leaves us relying more than ever on our Dear Leader's impulses. Sure, we should be thankful when Dear Leader's whims serve the people — but also unsurprised when they don't."

Sirota originally backed Edwards over Hillary because he was "scandal free". (How'd that turn out?)

Then, Sirota gleefully joined the Obama-bots in demanding Hillary get out of the way of history.

Now, Sirota acknowledges that Obama leads a personality driven, values free cult? When anyone said that in October, the Sirota / progressive crowd questioned their motives.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Georgia and 2010

The Georgia senate runoff results indicate that Obama's "new voters", inspired by justifiable ethnic pride and hope, won't turn out when he's not on the ballot.

The potential for a "permanent realignment" is over rated and, unless the economy picks up during the next 18 months, 2010 will be better for the Republicans than the current hype would indicate.

Impeachment tree ornament

"On this year's White House Christmas tree will hang a most unusual ornament: a bulb saluting efforts to impeach President George W. Bush. A bulb by Washington state artist Deborah Lawrence is decorated with pictures and text commending Rep. Jim McDermott's (D-Wash.) efforts to impeach the president, the Washington Post reported. First Lady Laura Bush asked McDermott to select a local artist to decorate bulbs for the tree, and McDermott selected Lawrence."

I can't stand Bush. At the least, I would have supported preliminary investigation into whether grounds existed for impeachment. Pelosi and Reid could have started this process back in 2006. They didn't.

But, this juvenile prank - - surreptitiously slipping in a insult to your host on a tree ornament you've been invited to submit in good faith and in the spirit of the season - - is the equivalent of holding up your middle finger in the class yearbook picture. Are we supposed to be impressed with the cleverness of Rep. McDermott and this artist for getting away with something that obviously must have hurt and embarrassed Laura Bush?

Better enforcement or worse economy?

"It wasn't so long ago that thousands of passers-by would spend a couple of days on a bus to swarm into this cow town in the heart of the Sonora Desert. It was the final stop on the frontier on the way to el Norte, the last place to stock up on Gatorade. Thanks to the crackdown on illegal immigration, Sasabe is now a ghost town. . . .

Has more effective border patrol and enforcement discouraged attempts to illegally enter the country, or has our declining economy taken away the incentive for economic immigrants, documented or not?

Yes, there appear to be fewer "illegal" day workers downtown, but there's also less construction and economic activity. It's probably too soon to celebrate the success of our new high tech cameras, radar and multi billion dollar real and "virtual" border fences. Let's see what happens when the construction and hospitality industries pick up.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Conditions on the ground

"As many as 38 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded Monday in multiple attacks across Iraq, including one in which a man detonated a suicide vest near a convoy of coalition vehicles in Mosul, killing up to 16."

But, now that the election's over, and the "anti-war" candidate reappointed Bush's Secretary of Defense, who cares? Not the "anti war community".

A quick list of the help Obama gave Jim Martin in the Georgia runoff


Lesson: Obama's minority support is not transferable, and he will make no effort to transfer any of it. Ask Jim Martin. Review the California and Florida returns on social issues. It's all about building up Obama, not party building.

A rose by any other name

"The selection of experienced centrists -- Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates and James L. Jones -- to head President-elect Barack Obama's national security team points to the possibility that on Iraq, the incoming commander-in-chief may take a more measured path to ending American military involvement than he described during the presidential campaign."

"[P]oints to the possibility that . . . [Obama] may take a more measured path . . . than he described during the presidential campaign"?

When it was George Bush or Bill Clinton, which adjectives did they use to describe taking a "more measured" approach than promised?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Poor John Kerry!

He wanted to be Bill Clinton's vice president in '92. Bill didn't want him.

He wanted to be Al Gore's vice president in 2000. Al didn't want him.

He wanted to be president in '04. America didn't want him.

And, Kerry ended his presidential race with millions of dollar of unspent campaign funds, which might have prevented the shenanigans that likely cost him the election. Imagine if Kerry spent a few million dollars on legal fees in October, '04, to insure the pro rata distribution of voting machines throughout Ohio and other swing states, avoiding long lines in urban areas. Instead, following dumb advice to hold back some money and try again next time, Kerry lost to a man he felt superior to in every way.

Then, in '06, one silly comment, an easily misinterpreted joke on the eve of the election, and Kerry's '08 hopes were gone. Rumor had it he saw the hands of the Clintons behind the leaks and innuendo by "concerned Democratic strategists".

So, in '08, it was payback time. For real or imagined slights, he took the lustre off Hillary's New Hampshire upset, endorsed Obama at just the right moment, and helped shift the momentum with publicity, money and his contact list. And all Kerry asked for in return was to be secretary of state!

Now, it's back to being the junior senator from Massachusetts, the one with the lesser assignments and the lower profile. The less important one. With literally all the money anyone could ever need or want in his personal fortune, and access to his wife's hundreds of millions of dollars, Kerry can't ever buy what he really wants. How sad.

No criticism allowed !

So I guess any criticism - - left, right or middle - - is verboten lest we "undermin[e] our new President-elect's overall efforts by casting doubt" "because this is a critical - - perhaps fatal - - moment in American history"? Yikes.
Then again, how could any mere mortal critic impede a man with Obama's "understanding of the cosmos"?
Honestly, when I first read this, I thought I was still on The Onion.

Clinton and Gates

The two highest ranking appointed positions in the federal government are going to: (1) a woman Obama called "reckless" in her foreign policy; and, (2) Bush's overseer of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which Obama called "misdirected" and "failures".

I think they're good choices.

But, wouldn't you think the usual suspects would be stunned by the evident reversal? You'd think that appointing multiple winners of "worst person of the day" would be enough to get Olbermann to name Obama as today's "worst person of the day".

Liars figure II

For pointing out that at least 16% (approximately 1 in 6) of California's Obama voters also voted against gay marriage, I was criticised by two visitors from kos-land. See post and comments below.

Of course, according to one commenter, that's a "contemptible attempt to bash black Democrats for Proposition 8". I don't believe I mentioned race in my post. See original post below, and judge for yourself. However, let's get used to it. Any criticism of Obama will be greeted with that same charge for the next 4 years.

Another commenter blames "your fellow McCain voters" who "voted overwhelmingly for" Prop.8. I'll say it again - - the 40% of Californians who voted for McCain were insufficient to get Prop. 8 over the 50% threshold. Where did the other 10% come from?

This is all classic cognitive dissonance. The fact is that OBAMA and BIDEN are the two highest ranking elected officials in America AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE. Again, OBAMA and BIDEN are the two highest ranking elected officials in America AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE. That must hurt Obama supporters who favor gay marriage. I can understand why they are in denial. But, it's true.

Mumbai II

From the Mumbai terrorist attacks, I drew the lesson that "All it takes is 10 crazy people with arms you can buy at any shopping center." See below.

One of my readers commented that the perps were " trained terrorists" and the weapons "were not the sort 'you can buy at any shopping center.'"

I agree and disagee.

Yes, the Mumbai terrorists were not 10 wacky kids on a lark, but trained killers. However, anyone who does something like this is a psychopathic sociopath. So, trained and rehearsed? Yes. Crazy? Definitely.

As to the arms, you can't buy grenades at Walmart. But, you could buy all you need to do something like this at any mall in our country.

Which is why we must be vigilant. And why, unless Obama is a fool, Obama will soon forget all the promises he made "to reverse the Bush administration's 'shredding of the Constitution'". The classified data will prove that there is a threat, and it is real.