Saturday, July 16, 2005

 

So, Will Madonna Be Doing A Fundraiser For The Senate Campaign?

Who knew? Katherine Harris believes in the curative powers of Kabbalah!

(Though I'm confused about the role of the cardiologist in testing the holy water -- especially for trees!!

Bookmark and Share
|

Friday, July 15, 2005

 

Ouch!!!

Mr. Cole, you could at least try to be a bit more gentle!

I like Monica, but seeing something like this makes it impossible for me to get this song out of my mind.

Bookmark and Share
|  

Another Victim of The Recruitment Problem?

This is just too funny. (Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan. Feel free to go over and show Andrew some love on his Happy Fifth!)

Bookmark and Share
|

Thursday, July 14, 2005

 

Let's Call The Whole Thing Off...

So, a white Jewish Republican billionaire mayor of a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 8-1 suffers two huge humiliating body blows -- losing his West Side Stadium and the 2012 Olympics -- in three weeks.

These were dream projects for the mayor and his closest political advisor, but most New Yorkers were either indifferent or hostile to (indeed Olympics organizers cited the "lack of public support" as one reason that New York failed in its Olympic bid). Meanwhile, many New Yorkers feel that it's becoming increasingly expensive to live in the city -- particularly in Manhattan.

In this atmosphere, one would expect that that GOP mayor would be reeling, right? He would be facing a horde of challengers and collapsing in the polls, right?

Yeah, well, so much for the New York City mayor's "race". It's "race" in quotes, because it is one in name only. Rather than Republican Michael Bloomberg in dire straits, he is in fact completely dominating the political scene. When District 37, the Big Apple's biggest municipal workers union endorses the GOP mayor nearly four months before the general election, this thing is just about over.

For point of reference, four years ago DC 37 first endorsed then-City Comptroller Alan Hevesi in the primary. The union then switched to then-Bronx Borough President Freddy Ferrer for the mayoral run-off. Finally, about a week before the general election, the union went for actual Democratic nominee Mark Green. Bloomberg beat Green in the general.

Apparently, DC 37 decided to skip the middle steps this time around. It's been several years since the union was the political "powerhouse" the mayor claims it is in a press release touting the endorsement. Still, the significance can't be ignored. As the Times says, "Many of the union's members are black or Hispanic, and many are in the lower middle class, representing demographic groups that Mr. Bloomberg's aides said were pivotal to his re-election."

So much for the very groups that would provide the base for leading Democratic candidates, the aforementioned Mr. Ferrer and Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. In one fell swoop, Bloomberg has brought himself some considerable minority support to his campaign. Meanwhile, Fields has allowed a silly photo-shopped campaign flier that should have been a one-day story turn into a full-fledged ongoing media mess now in its second week. Ferrer, after being knocked off-track several weeks ago in a self-inflicted wound over the four-year old death of Amadou Diallo, is now grasping around looking for an issue that might stick with voters.

And this is happening before the campaign even really heats up (the Democratic primary isn't until September). Four years ago, Bloomberg spent about $73 million for his win. Millions more in public funds were spent for the Democratic primary and general election campaigns). Given the way this race is shaping up, the city would be better off scrapping the election and spending the money on something that people care about. The mayor's race ain't it.

Bookmark and Share
|

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

 

Rove If You Want To..

I don't know if Karl Rove knowingly broke the law governing the intentional outing of an undercover U.S. agent.

The truth is no one else definitively knows either -- excepting perhaps the man himself.

Thus, I don't know if Rove is in legal trouble.

After having spent most of the Perils of Pauline Presidency of Bill Clinton in Washington, DC working for the Republican Congress, I can say though that the "gotcha!" glee of Democrats and liberals is premature at best. Eight years of driving conservatives up the wall and despite becoming the first elected president ever to be impeached, Clinton was still standing at the end of the day.

Byron York sketches out what seems to be the initial Rove push-back. The key point here is that, according to Rove's lawyer, Time reporter Matt Cooper called Rove first -- not the other way around. That is important because it seems to undercut what has been called on the left side of the blogosphere, as part of the "Rove System," by which is meant a vicious partisan undercutting designed to question anyone or any "objective" evidence that is contrary to the official "party line."

The question of who called whom and when is thus quite important because it counters the idea that Rove was actively working to undermine Joseph Wilson by "outing" his wife as an undercover CIA agent. York's story, quoting Rove's lawyer, seriously calls into question that particular motive for Rove. Is it completely exonerating? Of course not. After all, this is Rove's lawyer speaking. However, it certainly suggests that there is a long way to go in this story.

If the Clinton years told us anything, it is that, in a highly charged partisan atmosphere, it is especially difficult to "prove" criminal culpability. It is usually the case that either politically powerless (Susan MacDougal) or relatively peripheral characters (ex-Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker?) end up being caught in the web that was originally cast for a much bigger fish.

However, the biggest problem for Rove and the White House at large is not legal (unless prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald brings an indictment on him -- which it is too early to assume). It is political.

The two big problems are: 1) Rove's seeming blanket statement that he didn't leak Plame's name -- or even know her occupation in connection with her husband. That doesn't appear to be the case from what has been revealed thus far.

2)Two years ago, the White House repeatedly dismissed the notion that Rove had a role in the leaking of Valerie Plame's name and role in the story and strongly suggested that anyone caught leaking would be dismissed. Now, it may turn out that whomever imprisoned New York Times writer Judith Miller is covering actually had a greater role in leaking Plame. If so, it may be enough to save Rove. Regardless, Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman has been left out to twist in the wind and the White House's credibilty is in danger. No one should have to go through what he did this week. He recognized that he was completely and totally stuck on what he said back in 2003 concerning Rove and what the WH would do if it turned out that somebody leaked. Since McClellan couldn't use a phrase fraught with historical significance like, "Those statements are no longer operative," the only thing he could do was repeatedly utter his refusal to address anything during an "ongoing criminal investigation" (or variations thereof).

Hardly a reassuring statement. McClellan, sadly, looks out of the loop and embarrassed in front of the press corps. That could have long-term ramifications.

This issue may ultimately come down to who is perceived as more credible in the public eye -- Karl Rove or Joseph Wilson. Partisans have already made up their mind about both men. What will John Q. Public think? Too soon to say.

All of the screaming on both sides could be rendered moot by whatever prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald does. If he ends up bringing indictments, that moves the story into a very different area. If he ends up saying that no crime was committed, this becomes just another silly summer story.

In short, neither the White House's attackers nor outside defenders should feel fully comfortable about where this story is heading.

UPDATE: The always smart John (not Juan) Cole has a series of logical steps trying to build consensus on the basic facts of this case. It's a good read (scroll down to "Another Try" and then work your back up.

Bookmark and Share
|

Monday, July 11, 2005

 

More Reasons to Celebrate/Enjoy Batman Begins?

Well for the center-right side of the blogosphere -- perhaps (reg. required). You have to love any article that quotes the Cato Institute's David Boaz commenting on a comic-book themed movie:


Boaz was happily struck by the fact that the hero was a businessman, he says, ``but I think what was more interesting . . . is that the movie takes a strong stand that some things are evil, some people are evil. Crime is bad. And criminals need to be punished, not to be understood and coddled and let out of jail for more therapy.''
(Hmm...given the depiction of evil businessman Doctor Victor Von Doom in Fantastic Four, I think David will hate it.)

Of course, the idea of criminals being clearly evil and needing to be punished comes through in most comic books -- at least most of DC's heroes and villains which have always tended to be more Manichean and iconic than the more conflicted Marvel variety. Yet, even in Batman Begins, Ra's Al Ghul -- created in the 1970s, not 1940s like the classic Bat-villains -- is probably the most morally ambiguous of adversaries. Understand, that he thinks he is doing good by wiping out Gotham City, which he sees as corrupt.

In any event, the article actually ran in the Washington Post last week. A couple of letters responding to it can be found in Saturday's
Post.

Much thanks to Harry for giving me the heads-up on the story.

Bookmark and Share
|  

The Fantasticks!!!

Well, aside from confusing it with the long-running off-Broadway show, maybe that should have been the title of the latest Marvel-inspired movie. It would have been a perfect circular irony. Heck, more than a few people will think anyway that the live-action superhero movie that opened Friday was ripped off from the animated hit of last summer.

(Last year's irony was that The Incredibles, a seeming "rip-off" of the Fantastic Four, a comic created in 1961, could still turn out to be such a wonderful original work. It was a "rip-off" both in the way the powers of the Incredible family mirrored that of the Richards-Grimm-Storm clan, but also in its adoption of the comic's literary conceit of a superhero team having to deal with the complications of also being an actual "family" -- as opposed to the "adoptee" sense inherent in X-Men).

It's pretty cool to see FF do what the combination of Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg couldn't -- end the box-office doldrums of the last three months. Indeed, it looks like my prediction -- that War of the Worlds would, relatively-speaking, turn out to be something of a flop. Yes, $165 million in the first couple weeks isn't anything to dismiss, but, hey, this was supposed to be the big summer smash and the 52 percent drop from its opening weekend doesn't suggest a long shelf-life.

The number of bad comic-related puns in the first paragragh of this Box Office Mojo
article on the FF's great opening weekend are almost enough to make me stop that awful habit.

Yeah, right.

My take? Sorry, but a few other distractions kept me from seeing the movie, though co-worker
Ali says that she liked it as much as X-Men 2 ("good, but not as good as the first one"). Hey, she's married into a comic-book industry family, so, that should account for something, right?

Lord Jim's nice Rand-y perspective on the FF's origin, his daughter's reaction to the movie and a nice round-up of various reviews can be found
here.

Bookmark and Share
|

Sunday, July 10, 2005

 

Surge of the Giambino

Well, this is actually reall feel-good story! Of all the people implicated in the early-season Balco/steroids, Giambi was the only who basically admitted to/apologized for the scandal. He's been on fire over the last few weeks and is carrying the rest of the team with him (though everyone else is hitting too).

Should be an interesting second half of the season. Sawx shoulda buried the Yanks when they had the chance!

Bookmark and Share
|

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Google
Web raggedthots.blogspot.com
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Technorati search
Search Now:
Amazon Logo
Save This Page
  •  RSS
  • Add to My AOL
  • Powered by FeedBurner
  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  • Subscribe in Bloglines
  • Share on Facebook