Friday, November 09, 2007


Open Thread

Don't forget to take your threads.

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Tricky Bernie

Rudy Giuliani had a rather interesting defense of his former police commissioner Thursday night. He compared him, favorably, with Richard Nixon:

Even after faulting himself for not adequately vetting Kerik, the former mayor praised him as "one of the most decorated cops in the police department," an "exceptional" commissioner for the Department of Corrections, and someone who "did the impossible" as police commissioner.

"But, you know, people are complex," Giuliani said. "Richard Nixon had this very serious problem, but his breakthrough with China was one of the historical things that happened in the 20th century. You can't take that away from him."

When asked if that didn't seem to be excusing the crimes Kerik is alleged to have committed -- receiving free apartment renovations and rent from sources trying to curry favor with him, and failing to pay taxes on those gifts -- Giuliani said, "Of course not. How about: It's reality It's the complexity of human life and the reality of human life. And sometimes in political discussion we get very simplistic and we get to yes and no answers."

"He did a very good job," Giuliani said. "I know people don't like to hear it, but he did."
"Complex". Isn't that a good word?

The fact remains that the first paragaraph in a summary of Richard Nixon is Watergate -- not China. Figure out what the first paragraph in a summary of
Mr. 16-Counts will be. Furthermore, Kerik didn't do "the impossible" with respect to reducing New York City crime. He continued a project of which the lion's share was well under way via the work of predecessors who were on the job for six and a half years of Rudy Giuliani's tenure as mayor. It should go without saying that neither Bill Bratton nor Howard Safir (nor incumbent Commissioner Ray Kelly) have come under state and federal investigation and indictment, even as they did "the impossible."

Meanwhile, John McCain and a certain significant endorser
went for the jugular and said that Kerik was a direct reflection on Rudy's judgment:
McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona, pointed to Kerik's performance in Iraq, along with complaints about how Giuliani treated first-responders after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as reasons why the former mayor's presidential campaign should deserve greater scrutiny from voters.

"I don't know Mr. Kerik. I do know that I went to Baghdad shortly after the initial victory and met in Baghdad with (Ambassador Paul) Bremer and (Lt. Gen. Ricardo) Sanchez. And Kerik was there. Kerik was supposed to be there to help train the police force. He stayed two months and one day left, just up and left," McCain told reporters traveling on his campaign bus.

"That's why I never would've supported him to be the head of homeland security because of his irresponsible act when he was over in Baghdad to try and help train the police. One of the reasons why we had so much trouble with the initial training of the police was because he came, didn't do anything and then went out to the airport and left."

Republican McCain campaigned on Friday with Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and the nation's first secretary of homeland security under President Bush.

"It was clear the mayor and I had a different view what the department does and the kind of leadership it needed," Ridge told reporters. "His judgment would've been different than mine."

He said the situation reflected a fundamental misunderstanding by Giuliani of how the U.S. government works.

"We're not talking about some urban city patronage job," Ridge told The Associated Press. "That's not what a Cabinet secretary's about."
A similar assessment might be made about the difference between being an urban city mayor -- and a U.S. president.

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Thursday, November 08, 2007


Pigskin Pick'em - Week 9 Results AND Week 10 Picks

Who the heck is Audio Dave?

I don't know, but he pops into the Pigskin Pick'em for the first time last week, and ties yours truly for the weekly win:

EdMcGon - 10
Audio Dave - 10

Robert A. George - 9
Bill Barker - 8
David Stefanini - 7
J. Mark English - 7
bl - 6

Thanks to my semi-glorious victory this week, I also managed to close the gap a little on our YTD leader (with the usual weekly wins in parentheses):

David Stefanini(2) - 79
EdMcGon(1.5) - 76
Robert A. George(1.5) - 72
J. Mark English(1) - 67
bl(2) - 60
Bill Barker - 53
FunkyPundit(0.5) - 41
SoloD - 28
Dave O'Leary - 21
Rigel - 17
Audio Dave(0.5) - 10
Snave - 8
Mike - 8

And now for the part of this week's post that I know you all anticipate the most, my picks for this week's game:

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers: The Harrington-Testaverde showdown we have all been waiting for with muted anticipation. VERY muted.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers: The Vikes are fun to watch because of Adrian Peterson, but don't mistake that for a possibility of beating the Pack.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs: Two schizo teams. Without Larry Johnson, can the Chiefs establish the run with Priest Holmes against the poor run defense of the Broncos? Can the Broncos establish ANYTHING against the Chiefs defense? Take the Chiefs at home, but this one is a toss-up.
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins: This game could be a massacre.
St. Louis Rams at New Orleans Saints: This could be a trap game for the Saints.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers: THIS game is what football is all about. When these two teams met in the first week of the season, Charlie Frye was the Browns quarterback. The Browns lost 34-7. Now with Derek Anderson, expect the Brownies to get a little payback in what should be a very close game.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans: Another great AFC South matchup. Don't expect a lot of scoring, but the 4th quarter should bring some highlight reel material. Jags QB David Garrard is banged up, so don't expect him to be effective if he even plays.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: Which Eagle team will show up this week? I am only picking the Skins because they have been more consistent.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens: Two train wrecks. I only pick the Ravens because they at least seem to CARE about winning games.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: Pssst! Hey buddy! Want a little tip? The Lions are pretty good this year.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants: FOX Sports should be a little miffed. They pay more for the NFL than CBS, yet this is the ONLY NFC game worth watching this week. While the G-men may get some payback for their week 1 loss to the Boys, I have to take the Cowboys, who have only lost one game this year (to the Patriots).
Chicago Bears at Oakland Raiders: This would have been an interesting matchup. In 1985. Now it's just two teams trying to figure out what the heck they are trying to do. The Raiders may have a bit more motivation to beat last year's Super Bowl losers.
Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers: Pity the Chargers.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks: THIS is a Monday night game? We have the 49ers, who can't throw the ball, against the Seahawks who can't run the ball. With a well-rested Frank Gore, pick the 49ers and go to bed early.

Pigskin Pick'em Rules:
1. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL games (excluding any Thursday games). Picks will be accepted in the comments section of the following websites:
Politics and Pigskins, Ragged Thots, and American Legends. All picks must be posted by 1 pm Eastern Time on Sunday (otherwise known as "The Barker Rule"), or by the kickoff of the first NFL Saturday game on weeks when that happens.
2. The winner gets...bragging rights! (you weren't expecting money, were you?)
3. And new for this year: I will be keeping a running tally for the season, so the person who gets the most picks correct for the whole season, including the playoffs, gets...even BIGGER bragging rights! (and still no money)


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Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Quote of the Year

Following Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani today, Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council raises a good point:
"9/11 is what Rudy's campaign is fundamentally based on," Charmaine Yoest, a vice president at Family Research Council Action, told us. "This does beg the question -- does Rudy agree with Robertson's comments about 9/11?"

That would be these comments:
During a September 13 appearance by Jerry Falwell on the Christian Broadcasting Network's TV program "700 Club," hosted by Pat Robertson, the following exchange occurred:

JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system.
It should be noted that the inflammatory rhetoric came from Falwell. Though Robertson "totally" concurred.

Anyway, given how inflamed Rudy was over Ron Paul's 9/11 theory (more accurately, Rudy chose to become "inflamed" over his mischaracterization of what Paul actually said), it should be interesting to see him assess Robertson's

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One Year Out

What will it look like one year from now -- post-election day? The gang at NRO take a stab at it.

Me? I say the Clinton-Webb ticket defeats Giuliani-Huckabee. Democrats win all the 2004 blue states -- except for New Jersey. However, they pick up Ohio, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico and Virginia. Democrats also pick up net three Senate seats (including Virginia and New Hampshire).

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Corrupt, But Competent?

Rudy Giuliani's ringing endorsement of his former police commissioner -- AND a promise of what his White House might look like?

Giuliani has accepted responsibility for his role in Kerik's embarrassing 2004 withdrawal as President Bush's Homeland Security nominee after revelation of tax problems. Ethics questions and corruption allegations also have swirled around Kerik. But the former New York mayor said the results of the commissioner's time in New York far outweigh isolated incidences.

"Bernie Kerik worked for me while I was mayor of New York City. There were mistakes made with Bernie Kerik. But what's the ultimate result for the people of New York City? The ultimate result for the people of New York City was a 74 percent reduction in shootings, a 60 percent reduction in crime, a correction program that went from being one of the worst in the country to one
that was on '60 Minutes' as the best in the country, 90 percent reduction of violence in the jails."

"Sure, there were issues, but if I have the same degree of success and failure as president of the United States, this country will be in great shape," Giuliani said.

Given what the Bush administration and the Republican Congress produced in their last few years together, the impulse for competence is admirable. But Rudy's papering over the fact that his former corrections and overall police commissioner was allegedly mobbed up is hardly reassuring. Oh, and crediting Kerik with "74 percent reduction in shootings [and] a 60 percent reduction in crime" is a crock. He was Giuliani's third commissioner -- having the job only for Giuliani's final 15 months in office. The downward trend was already well under way, inititiated by Bill Bratton, continued by Howard Safir (who was problematic in other ways) and then handed off to Kerik.

But Rudy wants to credit his mobbed-up pal with the entire crime plunge in his tenure? Quite a selective memory. With that sort of viewpoint, the country will surely be in "great shape."

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Go$pel of Paul

Funny what the combination of the Internet and a message will do. Ron Paul rising. $4.2 million in 24 hours.

“Remember, remember the 5th of November.”

inside background on their fundraising machine.

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Bloomy For Albany?

Further signs of Eliot Spitzer's problems.

Mike Bloomberg -- governor? Perhaps. Aides to the mayor apparently reach out to NY GOP legendary strategist Bill Powers to explore the viability of challenging Spitzer in 2010. Unlike the Bloomberg-for-Prez boomlet, this has the advantage of being well within the realm of probability.

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The Spitzer Contagion

My colleague Fred Dicker expands on my view from last week that Gov. Eliot Spitzer's stand on driver's licenses for illegal aliens has become the greatest gift that New York Republicans could have ever asked for.

Meanwhile, Spitzer was on a local Sunday public affairs show where he tried to explain why a driver's license wouldn't mean that it would be easier for an illegal immigrant to buy a firearm. Let's just say that the explanation didn't, uh, scan well. Bet you didn't know that you needed a "federal I.D." to get a gun.

Oh, there's no such thing as a "federal I.D.," you say?

Welcome to Eliot Spitzerland.

You can see the entire interview here. The federal I.D. stuff is in the first couple of minutes. The governor also blithely disses NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly in claiming former NY (and current Los Angeles) Commish Bill Bratton's praise of the license idea.

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Monday, November 05, 2007


More Mid-dlin' Than Fair

I was remiss in neglecting to applaud this weekend's great accomplishment of the state-sponsored school across the street from my alma mater. Fortunately, The Washington Post's John Feinstein takes care of it:
Some will see the score, shrug their shoulders and note that the Fighting Irish reached a nadir in dropping to 1-8 on the season while seeing their 43-game winning streak against Navy -- the longest in the history of college football -- come to an end.
In doing so, they will entirely miss the point.

There is simply no way that any Navy team should beat any Notre Dame team at this point in time. Notre Dame -- even a 1-8 Notre Dame team -- is always going to have athletes who are bigger, stronger and faster than Navy's. Notre Dame is one of the glamour teams in college football, even in a bad year. It has more tradition than anybody; more money than anybody; its own network television contract and more blue-chip recruits than anybody.

Navy beat Notre Dame with a 5-foot-9, 195-pound linebacker making a key sack in the fourth quarter. It won with a 5-6, 168-pound slotback producing the eight points that won the game in the third overtime.

It won with a team that -- physically -- had no chance to win, but won because a huge heart can overcome a lot of things, and you can't play football at Navy (or Army or Air Force) for any extended period of time without a huge heart.

The Midshipmen have all the things Dorothy's friends wished for: brains, heart and courage. On Saturday, that was enough. It was even enough to -- once again -- overcome an officiating crew that played the role of Notre Dame's 12th man.
The U.S. Naval Academy is St. John's College's great rival in the gentle sport of croquet -- and the Johnnies have had our way with the Midshipmen in about 21 of the 24 annual tournaments. But even that domination paled in comparison to that of Notre Dame over the Academy in football.

That 43-year streak ended this past Saturday -- in triple overtime. Good for the Midshipmen. Good for Annapolis!

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