Saturday, March 31, 2007
TV: All The News That Prints a Fit
The cyberspace version of animator/director Terry Gilliam keeps us amused with yet another pointed observation, courtesy of the fine folks at Jib Jab. Best commentary yet on why I got rid of cable and haven't bought a newspaper in years (thankfully, there's RSS feeds).
Labels: TV News
Bern, Baby Bern...
On the list of items that individuals running for president don't exactly like, any sentence that has "felony" and "former business partner/employee" in close proximity to one another is high on the list.
It should be noted that the potential charges facing Kerik focus on when he ran the Department of Corrections and the information he gave the feds during his DHS background check; they don't appear to focus on when he was police commissioner (though that, of course, raises questions like, "So, how did you manage to stop being a crook while when you were commissioner, Mr. Kerik?"). Another set of words that Republican presidential candidates don't like hearing close to one another -- "conspiracy to commit illegal wiretapping":
In addition to charges involving false information and tax law, the U.S. attorney's office in New York City is also threatening to charge Kerik with conspiracy to commit illegal wiretapping in his dealings with the 2006 GOP candidate for New York attorney general, Jeanine F. Pirro, the sources said.One of the more interesting anecdotes during Kerik's tenure as police commissioner involved publisher Judith Regan (of the O.J. book fiasco). Regan, Kerik's then-girlfriend (or, one of them, at least) lost her cell phone and necklace and became convinced that Fox News employees had taken them. So, the staffers were quite surprised to find members of New York's Finest -- murder detectives, no less! -- on their doorstep asking about the lost property.
Now, that's a great use of taxpayer monies, no?
So, between that and Mr. Giuliani's latest wife, is it any wonder that a few New Yorkers like to practice their favorite Cary Grant impression ("Judy, Judy, Judy")?
Since the following appears in the pages of a certain New York tabloid that does not employ this writer, I can't independently confirm it, but the above does give it a certain ring of validity:
Murdoch also had an opinion on Rudy. Our source reports the News Corp. chief said: "Giuliani is a one-man show. He doesn't attract good people. But I don't think any of them can beat Giuliani for the Republican nomination."Emphasis added.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Truth on Tillman
Well, even with that explanation, there is now apparently further clarification.
One week after Tillman's death, a major-general (thorougly modern?) wrote the White House to give the president a heads-up on what actually happened. Yet, the military establishment at large allowed the false story to spread -- and continued to delude the family.
The family's anger is understandable -- though their calling it a "conspiracy" and suggesting an intent to kill Tillman goes too far.
The circumstances of Tillman's death in no way undercuts the material sacrifice he made giving up the comfort and relative safety of being an NFL player to join the military and go off to war. In doing that, he was a hero. Allowing that story to be told is good enough.
There was no need to try and make the truth "better."
In any event, after three years, the Tillman family would do well to let the matter, like Pat himself, rest at last.
RAG Obsession Watch Two-fer
2a.) Rudy Giuliani on Bernie Kerik -- and when he learned when his his now-controversial former police chief had some rather shady associations.
2b.) Rudy Giuliani on his plans for the active involvement of his wife in his administration. (Of course, it will be good to find out if a President Hillary Clinton would have her spouse sit in on Cabinet meetings -- though he would have slightly more experience than Judi Nathan).
Keep Thinking Those Happy Thoughts!!
Gosh darn, after all the vitriol a certain RaggedThots contributor spewed this week, I thought we all needed a good HAPPY song from the 1970s. If only pet rocks, pop rocks, mood rings and Shrinky Dinks still ruled the world, I think we would be able to finally achieve world peace and feed the hungry. Since we couldn't find that paragon of positive energy, "Me and You, and a Dog Named Boo" to uplift the blog's readers for the weekend, we settled for my SECOND favorite song (oooooo, just hit me with a happy stick!). Enjoy!!
A Diamond among Trash
My wife pulls a little book out of a box and asks me if I want to keep it. The front of the book says "Autographs". I say, "YES!"
I immediately paged through the book. The names leapt out at me: Ron Jaworski...Hal Carmichael...Randy Logan...John Bunting...Wally Henry...Vince Papale...
Back in the late 70's, my mother took me and a friend up to the Philadelphia Eagles training camp in West Chester, PA. I bought that little autograph book to take with me.
The one autograph I remember the most was Harold Carmichael (he signed his name "Hal Carmichael"). When you are a kid standing right next to him, he was HUGE! It felt like the back of my head had to touch my spine to see his face. But he was a complete gentleman, just like the rest of the Eagles.
The whole experience was one that has stuck with me even to this day. Those Eagles were larger than life figures to me, even now. Those men immortalized themselves in my memory, by doing nothing more than taking a few seconds of their time to sign their name in a book for a kid. God bless them.
When I think of all the great teams of the 70's and 80's, the Eagles stand out for me. Not because they were great on the field, but because they were great OFF the field too. If they had any sins as individuals, those were erased in my mind when they took the time to sign my little book.
When I hear about athletes who won't sign autographs for kids, I think of what a disservice they do to their own legacy. What you do as an athlete on the field may put you in the record books, the Hall of Fame, on television, in commercials, and secure your financial future. But the few seconds it takes to sign a piece of paper for a child is a bond that goes beyond all the fame and accolades. It places you on a pantheon above all other athletes in the mind of that child, for the entire lifetime of that child.
And you want an extra $20 for that?
Thursday, March 29, 2007
A Sure Sign of the Apocalypse
You may recognize Colin Mochrie (playing the "turntable") from Whose Line Is It Anyway.
Can't Get There From Here
The arrest this week of Phillip Thompson, an aide to Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) who carried a loaded pistol into a Senate office building, brought to light a contradiction between the regulations governing the Capitol grounds and the laws covering District streets.Complete and total insanity, of course.
The Capitol grounds are federal property and not subject to the District's strict gun laws, which generally prohibit firearms.
Although some people are allowed to bring guns into the Capitol, they cannot legally get them there, said Lt. Jon Shelton, the longtime head of the D.C. police department's gun unit.
"They can't helicopter them in," Shelton said.
While not directly, ahem, targeted toward this specific aspect of D.C.'s gun statutes, this case covering handdgun ownership can't get to the Supreme Court fast enough.
RAG on NPR
On Tuesday, New York civil libertarian Michael Meyers, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and I discussed a possible Michael Bloomberg presidential run and the NYPD surveillance of 2004 Republican National Committee protesters. Meyers and I mix it up in particular.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The Lam & The Lame
The latter conclusion may be one reason why NRO editors say of AG Alberto Gonzales, "Time To Go".
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
The GOP '08 Conundrum
The GOP has three major problems going into 2008: The war in Iraq, the exhaustion of the Reaganite "tax cuts and small government" domestic agenda, and the fact that the party's culture-war agenda, long a winner for the party, looks increasingly hard-edged and bigoted to many moderate voters. Therefore, what the party needs for the general election is a candidate who can plausibly distance himself from both the failures in Iraq abroad and Grover Norquist at home, and who can find a way to reach out to cultural moderates without abandoning the party's principles on issues like abortion. It needs a heterodox conservative, in other words, and it has a bunch of them in the primary campaign - but the leading contenders have heterodox records on precisely the wrong issues.In other words, one can see how any one of the Republican front-runners could win the general election, but getting through the primary is problematic, at best.
For instance, the party needs someone who's solidly right-wing on issues like immigration or gun control or campaign-finance reform - issues that matter more to the base than to swing voters - and who can use this credibility to be more ideologically innovative on, say, taxes or health care or even foreign policy. Instead, it has a collection of candidates who are heterodox on immigration and gun control and campaign finance reform, and who are therefore rushing to embrace the party line on taxes and the Iraq War in an effort to gain cover for their deviations elsewhere. It needs someone whose pro-life convictions are a given, and who is therefore free to distance himself from the Jerry Falwells in the party without forfeiting the support of most social conservatives. Instead, it has candidates with dubious pro-life convictions who are rushing to embrace the Falwells of the world to cover over their weaknesses on that front. And so on.
However, one of the reasons why there is a seeming spark for Thompson is that he does seem to line up as a conventional conservative on most of the social issues that Douthat outlines above. Immigration may be a notable exception. Oh, yes, and he did vote for McCain-Feingold.
Meanwhile, the one candidate who actually reflects Douthat's profile, including having "heterodox" views on foreign policy -- Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas -- can't get out of the low single digits.
Elizabeth & Tony
In the last six months, I've been to three memorial services/funerals for people who have succumbed to cancer. All were under the age of 60, two younger than 50. Writer Cathy Seipp, a non-smoker, died of lung cancer last week at the age of 49.
As Josh said, these should be incentives to all of us to live each day to the fullest, because no one knows exactly how much time we are granted. And the Big C doesn't care if you're liberal, conservative, black, white, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Buddhist, male or female.
Well, someone has finally come out of the closet. Or, since he's an atheist, maybe it would be more appropriate to say that he came out of the Confessional. Representative Pete Stark, of San Francisco naturally, has decided to let his Faithless Freak Flag Fly High as one of the country's first openly disbelieving politicos.
Sadly, he is also an unabashed tax-and-spend statist liberal and race baiter, so he only gets the sound of one hand clapping from moi. After he burns down the conservative's church, he'll be round to visit all the rest of us to burn through our cash.
Of course, the Sexually Repressed Stepford Wives of America's Red States (by the way, is red the right color for Hannity America?) think that the Congressman is more dangerous to our National Culture than a special guest star on a Chris Hansen program. As they put it, "a Christian worldview is proper for a politican to have." We all know how well such softcore neo-Crusaderism is going over among the general populations of Iraq and Afghanistan. (Or, as The Clash sang in the song Overpowered By Funk, "Don't you loooooove our Western ways?")
For Christmas (which was deemed to be a secular holiday for legal purposes, all you naysayers), I will be sending the Esteemed Congressman a copy of Ayn Rand (repeat after me, Congressman, Godless CAPITALISM, Godless CAPITALISM, Godless CAPITALISM, not SOCIALISM ...). Yes, even though most libertarians consider her slightly nuts these days, a tax-and-grab leftie like Stark needs to begin his reprogramming somewhere. He will also receive a wonderful DVD set from my favorite libertarian, secular mythbusters.
A Big Deal
Well, no one's given it as much attention as Josh Marshall. He addressed why he thinks this is a "big deal":
What we seem to see are repeated cases in which US Attorneys were fired for not pursuing bogus prosecutions of persons of the opposite party. Or vice versa. There's little doubt that that is why McKay and Iglesias were fired and there's mounting evidence that this was the case in other firings as well. The idea that a senator calls a US Attorney at home just weeks before a federal elections and tries to jawbone him into indicting someone to help a friend get reelected is shocking. Think about it for a second. It's genuinely shocking. At a minimum one would imagine such bad acts take place with more indirection and deniability. And yet the Domenici-Iglesias call has now been relegated to the status of a footnote in the expanding scandal, notwithstanding the fact that there's now documentary evidence showing that Domenici's substantial calls to the White House and Justice Department played a direct role in getting Iglesias fired.Josh is a liberal and what he is saying is obviously through his particular prism. However, I think the points he is raising are legitimate.
So what you have here is this basic line being breached. But not only that. What is equally threatening is the systematic nature of the offense. This isn't one US Attorney out to get Democrats or one rogue senator trying to monkey around with the justice system. The same thing happened in Washington state and New Mexico -- with the same sort of complaints being received and acted upon at the White House and the Department of Justice. Indeed, there appears to have been a whole process in place to root out prosecutors who wouldn't prostitute their offices for partisan goals.
This isn't the same as Bill Clinton firing the U.S. attorneys at the beginning of his term; while an extreme, it's about par for the course for a new administration to get rid of the attorneys from the previous one -- especially if they are of a different party. On the other hand, it IS unusual for prosecutors to be canned in the middle of a term.
But, putting all of that aside is the behavior of the attorney general. Alberto Gonzales has forced the president's supporters to accept the fact that the attorney general is either duplicitous or incompetent -- neither choice being a happy one:
- The Corner's Jonah Goldberg: "Some readers are cross with me for using the word "lied" in reference to Gonzales. Okay, he may simply have been deeply, deeply, confused, out of touch and unprepared to give a press conference which was supposed to put an end to the "scandal" and instead poured gasoline on it. ... Maybe, just maybe, a good "CEO" would have asked his staff, "Hey, before I unequivocally tell the world I was out of the loop, let's double check and make sure I wasn't in the loop. Okay?" ... Doesn't Gonzales need to spend more time with his family?
- Captain's Quarters: "Even if Gonzales didn't intend to deceive -- that is to say that he honestly didn't recall sitting in on that meeting -- wouldn't a competent CEO (as he described himself) do some research before making categorical statements? ... Gonzales and others who have presented misleading versions of the project are either incompetent or deceptive. We should not accept either in the office of the highest-ranking law enforcement officer of the United States, regardless of whether he is a Republican or Democrat.
- Power Line's Paul Mirengoff: ".... politics aside, Gonzales should not continue to serve if he lacks the president's confidence. I have no idea where Bush is on this, but my confidence in Gonzales, already shaky, would diminish if it turns out that Gonzales misrepresented his involvement in the firings to the press. As noted, though, it's not clear that Gonzales did this.
Finally, an aide to the AG decides that she will not testify in order to preserve her Fifth Amendment rights -- though in such an odd way as to invite even more questions.
Somehow, after slowly developing over several weeks, this story went zero-to-sixty very suddenly -- a discussion of transcript-less "interviews" between members of Congress and White House aides metastasized into a Fifth Amendment declaration in just days.
Yes, this is now a very big deal.
Monday, March 26, 2007
After Jayson B. & Judith M...
Oh, wait. Um, never mind:
Big trouble at the New York Times Magazine this morning, as an editors' note reveals that one of the women who appeared in last week's cover story on female Iraq veterans never served in Iraq and might have made up much of what she told reporter Sara Corbett in her interview.Based on the information that came to light after the article was printed, it is now clear that The New York Times is not an A-plus quality newspaper -- but it may have become convinced that it once was.
In the original article, 27-year-old Amorita Randall (pictured) claimed to have been stationed in Iraq during 2004. She also said that she suffered a brain injury during a roadside attack, in which her Humvee was hit by an I.E.D. Today, the Times writes that, "Based on the information that came to light after the article was printed, it is now clear that Ms. Randall did not serve in Iraq, but may have become convinced she did."
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Actually, the depiction of the vice-president this season caused me to think on similar lines: This guy is acting like a left-winger's idea of Dick Cheney -- on steroids.