A News and Politics Blog, With a Smattering of Sports

Friday, August 22, 2003

12:29 PM: 
Every so often, you read about an athlete who just seems to have the same child-like giddyness at his own good fortune that you or I would have, if we were so blessed. Dontrelle Willis is such a man. The entire interview (20 questions) is great, but I loved this in particular:
"5. Most awed you've been at any single moment in the big leagues?
'The All-Star Game. It hadn't really sunk in yet, but then I'm sitting in a National League meeting while Dusty Baker is talking. And I don't hear a word he's saying because I'm just looking at the names on the uniforms in the lockers. Gagné. [Kerry] Wood. [Mark] Prior. [Gary] Sheffield. [Barry] Bonds. And then Dontrelle Willis. I just kept staring at my jersey, with the patch and my name on it. It was a joke. Are you kidding me? What's my name doing up there with those other ones? Dusty asked me how I felt afterward, and I just said, 'Man, I don't think I'm supposed to be here. I don't have success or longevity. What am I doing on the same plateau for even a day with Barry Bonds?' Nobody can take that feeling from me.''"

9:20 AM: 
I'll give Howard Dean credit- he occasionally is capable of brilliant truthfulness:
"I will begin by repealing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, and using the revenues that result from the repeal to address the needs of the average American, invest in the nation's infrastructure and, through tax reform, put money in the hands of those most likely to spend it."
There is no group more likely to spend money than government bureaucrats and politicians.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

4:21 PM: 
"The former bodybuilder then underscored his business-friendly, supply-side agenda by telling reporters, 'I told Warren, if he mentions Prop. 13 one more time, he has to do 500 sit-ups.'
Schwarzenegger, in fact, said he would oppose all new taxes and fees, and went to bat for overtaxed Californians. 'From the time they get up in the morning and flush the toilet, they are taxed,' he said. 'When they go get a coffee, they are taxed. When they get in their car, they are taxed. When the go to the gas station, they're taxed. When they go to lunch, they're taxed. This goes on all day long. Tax. Tax. Tax. Tax. Tax.' Not surprisingly, these statements came only days after the actor and businessman spoke for two hours with former Reagan advisor and supply-side guru Arthur Laffer.
So now, instead of raising taxes, Schwarzenegger will seek a constitutional cap on California state spending. 'Now, does this mean that we're going to make cuts? Yes,' he said. Schwarzenegger said he will appoint an outside group to examine the state's books, which fell into complete disrepair under Davis."

4:06 PM: 
Gibbons says he could beat Democrat Reid in Nevada Senate race:
"Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., says he's convinced he could unseat Democratic Sen. Harry Reid next year though he hasn't decided whether to try.
The four-term congressman said he intends to announce by the end of the month whether he'll run against the second-ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate.
'We're very close to making a decision. We are getting the right information that we need to have,' Gibbons said in an interview this week.
'One of the questions is whether or not we have the base of support and the resources to win the race,' he said.
'My belief is that it would be a very winnable race. We could do it,' he told The Associated Press. "
Yes, this is a very winnable seat. The Republicans may lose Illinois, and less likely but still quite possible they may lose Alaska. But they will win in Georgia and South Carolina, and if Gibbons run they will quite possibly win in Nevada, with somewhat lesser chances of winning North Carolina and Florida. And South Dakota. And even possibly North Dakota.

The Democrats need to draw two cards to an inside straight to take control of the Senate.

11:56 AM: 
From that FR thread on Wesley Clark, pokey78 (talking to himself lol) observes the following:
"To: Pokey78

This doesn't even include the most memorable line from Clark's interview on Meet The Press:

"Well, first of all, they were not efficient in terms of stimulating the kind of demand we need to move the economy back into a recovery mode, a strong recovery and a recovery that provides jobs. There are more effective ways of using the resources. Secondly, the tax cuts weren't fair. I mean, the people that need the money and deserve the money are the people who are paying less, not the people who are paying more. I thought this country was founded on a principle of progressive taxation."
4 posted on 08/21/2003 11:16 AM EDT by Pokey78"
I am sure the Federalist papers are just brimming with examples of how progressive taxation are a cornerstone of the America our founders envisioned.

11:46 AM: 
Wes Not Ike: General Clark’s next campaign:
"This is the man who, as NATO shifted from war-fighting mode into peacekeeping mode, ordered his ground commander to deploy a helicopter assault team to block a surprise Russian advance into Kosovo's major airfield — an order his British subordinate answered with a terse and chilling rejoinder: 'I'm not going to start World War III for you.' After both men appealed to their national commanders — a practice permitted under NATO's vague and unwieldy war-fighting conventions — cooler heads in Washington and London agreed with Clark's subordinate, concluding that NATO's unity was more important than Kosovo's airport. A humiliated Clark was forced to rescind his order. Two months later, he was unceremoniously replaced as Supreme Allied Commander-Europe (SACEUR). The turn of events stunned Clark: 'I never saw myself as a 55-year-old retired general,' he later said."
All hail the newest Democrat candidate for President!

9:46 AM: 
Another week gone by, and another bad President voted off my Presidential Surivior contest. The man who made malaise an integral part of the lingo of the 1970's, Jimmy Carter, was the unanimous choice this past week as the worst of the group.

This week's poll will be up shortly, and for the first time I do not see an overwhelming favorite. Group five consists of George H.W. Bush, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, John Adams, and Franklin Pierce. They were chosen at random, so it is interesting that three of them served consecutively. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

3:10 PM: 
I cannot believe I am reading this in the New York Times:
"President Bush stood at a gasoline station near his ranch in Texas today and said he had been calling for an energy bill to modernize the nation's electricity grid 'for a long time.'
Mr. Bush is quite right. A comprehensive energy policy was part of his platform as a candidate for president and seemed prescient from his very first week in office, when he was forced to ensure there was enough power in California to ease the state's rolling blackouts. By May 2001, largely because of the California crisis, Mr. Bush had released his energy plan.
But the president's ambitious policy quickly became a casualty of energy politics and, notably, harsh criticism from Democrats enraged by the way the White House had created the plan. Although the policy included recommendations to improve the nation's electric grid that everyone agreed on, they were lost in the shouting and have been dormant in Congress for the past two years."
I am impressed. I bet in the print copy, though, that it appears buried back on page A17 or worse.

11:53 AM: 
In Today We Face Another 'Watergate', Samuel Dash gets just about every single thing wrong. He does, however, get one thing right:
"It is the time of the anonymous informer"
Sadly, this it is. Slander and libel, deceptions and manipulations, all done under the guise of anonymity.

I wonder if Mr. Dash would agree to a moratorium by the media on anonymous informers. Somehow, I doubt he would.

9:56 AM: 
On that Pipes FR thread, noumenon posted a quiz I have seen before, which still cracks me up.

1.) In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped & massacred by:
(a) Olga Korbutt
(b) Sitting Bull
(c) Arnold Schwarzenegger
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40

2.) In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:
(a) Lost Norwegians
(b) Elvis
(c) A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40

3.) During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
(a) John Dillinger
(b) The King of Sweden
(c) The Boy Scouts
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40

4.) In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
(a) A pizza delivery boy
(b) Pee Wee Herman
(c) Geraldo Rivera making up for a slow news day
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40.

5.) In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked, and a 70-year-old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard by:
(a) The Smurfs
(b) Davy Jones
(c) The Little Mermaid
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40.

6.) In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, & a U.S. Navy diver was murdered by:
(a) Captain Kid
(b) Charles Lindberg
(c) Mother Teresa
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40.

7.) In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
(a) Scooby Doo
(b) The Tooth Fairy
(c) Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid who had a few sticks of dynamite
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40.

8.) In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
(a) Richard Simmons
(b) Grandma Moses
(c) Michael Jordan
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40.

9.) In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
(a) Mr. Rogers
(b) Hillary, to distract attention from Wild Bill's women problems
(c) The World Wrestling Federation to promote its next villain: 'Mustapha the Merciless'
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40

10.) On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked & destroyed & thousands of people were killed by:
(a) Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd
(b) The Supreme Court of Florida
(c) Mr. Bean
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40.

11.) In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
(a) Enron
(b) The Lutheran Church
(c) The NFL
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40.

12.) In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
(a) Bonny and Clyde
(b) Captain Kangaroo
(c) Billy Graham
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40.

13) In 2003, nearly all of the resistance against U.S. and British forces in Iraq came not from secular Iraqis but:
A) the human shields
B) Peter Jennings
C) The Dixie Chicks
D) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 & 40

The last one is mine. I had to make the last question a bit harder, to help separate the wheat from the chaff.

9:43 AM: 
Pipes Makes No Apologies for Muslim Remarks:
"“They are the lobbyists of [Usama] bin Laden and Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei, and they want to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Quran,” Pipes said, referring to the sacred Islamic texts. “There is no surprise that my greatest opposition are the allies of our enemies.” "
He gets it.

I want to say a word or two to any man or lady who does not yet see what we face. I want no one to miss it or not get it, so I will use only easy words.

How can you not see that some men want to kill us? They want us dead. They do not want to talk it over. We can not make them not want us dead.

'We are rich and they are poor' is not why. We can give and give and give. They will take it, and want to kill us. We can give to when they have as much as us. They will want more than us, and to kill us. We can give to the last. They will want us dead.

They want you dead if you know and love God and know he is real. If you know that God is not real, they want you dead too. You can be one of them, but not as you are now. You can not be not one of them and live, if they get what they want.

How many of them do we face? How can we know if you will not see them? How can we stop them, if you do not see that they are? When will you open your eyes?

I do not want to have my kids die. I do not want to die. I do not want you to die. They do.

Get it?

Monday, August 18, 2003

9:35 AM: 
John Podhoretz:
"In the summer of 1977, on the hot night of July 13, the city of New York went dark - and Americans bore horrified witness to a fragile civil society that almost instantly fell to pieces. Entire shopping districts were decimated by looters acting in nefarious concert. From the Upper West Side to Jackson Heights, from Brooklyn's Fulton Street to Third Avenue in The Bronx, the economic carnage was at near-Basra levels. It only took about six hours for faceless mobs to steal and destroy an estimated $2 billion.

Well, baby, take a look at us now."
Podhoretz goes on to give much of the credit to Rudy Giuliani.

I lived on Long Island back during the blackout of 1977. It was an embarrassment what happened to the city. But then, back then much of the city was an embarrassment. It was dirty. Crime was incredibly high. It had all the feel of a city in decay.

It is hard for someone who has never lived in New York, and who did not really know the city under David Dinkins and knows the city post-Giuliani to really comprehend how great a job he did. America fell in love with Giuliani after September 11. New Yorkers already knew.

His policies are more liberal than suit my tastes. Big government solutions only work when the government is run by honest people who do not tolerate graft or indifference under them (and even then, it may not work as well as free market solutions). But Giuliani is an honest man who tolerates no waste or corruption. He made it work, and the transformation of New York was stark. He was a hell of a mayor.

That said, I bet that the fact that this blackout hit when the sun was still up, which gave police time to respond before the cover of night fell (giving would-be looters a bit more anonymity), contributed mightily to the lack of crime.

9:26 AM: 
To Know Them Is To Love Them (Democratic presidential candidates lose popularity):
"Mr. Graham faces similarly low popularity in South Carolina, where his rating has dropped 15 percentage points since he began campaigning. According to surveys conducted by American Research Group, the number of respondents with an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Graham surpasses the number of those with a favorable opinion by nine percentage points.

Graham spokesman Jamal Simmons said the campaign is aware of the problem."
I would hope so-- a campaign should be aware of its candidate.

This article is a bit disingenuous though. It is not uncommon, at all, for there to be a large differential between favorable and unfavorable ratings at the start of a campaign, and to have the gap between them narrow. People, in general, are more willing to say they have a favorable impression of someone who they know little than they are to say they have an unfavorable impression. As campaigns reveal positions, and as opposing campaigns point things out, and as editorials and news stories uncover blemishes, the unfavorables rise.

But they say denial ain't a river in Egypt. Perhaps I was too quick in saying that Graham's campaign really was aware:
"In South Carolina, Mr. Simmons said, Democrats are registering their dislike for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who won his seat in November. In New Hampshire, he said, Democrats are confusing Mr. Graham during telephone surveys with former Sen. Phil Gramm, a conservative Texas Republican who ran for president in 1996."