This page shows all the posts for the "Odds & Sods" Category from E Pluribus Unum
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November 19, 2007

Odds & Sods #45: Optimist's Edition

October 12, 2007

Odds & Sods #42: “Historic Mass Flowers” Edition

  • Congratulations to Al Gore. Wow -- an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Nobel all in one year. Not even Liza Minelli did that.

  • Why is everyone so upset with Ann Coulter? She's only said what any Christian learns from the time they start Sunday School. And another thing: if she's so heinous why does CNBC (or NBC, or CNN or FNC) put her on the air in the first place? Lastly, isn't it true that you can be a girl and still have a Y chromosome? IJS.

  • "Hunh. A resolution condemning genocide. I think you gotta go 'yes' with that one. [If not], what is the right response to historic mass killings? Historic mass flowers?"

  • And, speaking on behalf of the entire Armenian community, I would like to say we are thrilled that Aasif Mandvi has been named The Daily Show's Senior Armeniologist.

  • I read the Wall Street Journal and I know they loooooove to complain that the richest 10% of Americans already pay 2/3 of all taxes, as though that proves their taxes are too high. What you never hear is what percentage of their total income this tax load represents. When THAT number reaches 30-50% or more (as it does for middle-class families) then we can talk about taxes being too high. Not only that: I say they should be paying 90% or more of all taxes in this country. And if they want to become tax exiles, then good riddance. They weren't real Americans after all, were they?

  • George W. Bush can grow up a mean, nasty, coke-snorting drunk but once he accepted Jesus, it wiped the slate clean. Rudy Giuliani can rail against the gun lobby as Mayor of New York, but in a post-9/11world he's in bed with the NRA -- and they're on top. So what now for Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center -- now that he's accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior? Maybe he and Ann Coulter can go on a National Reconciliation Tour.

October 04, 2007

Odds & Sods #41: “Fred Thompson vs. The Soviet Union” Edition

  • Judge to Sen. Craig: You're stuck with your plea: Are Republicans stuck with Craig? [Answer: Yes.]

  • Kudos to Obama: Blocks odious FEC Republican nominee Spakovsky...for now.

  • Conservative "pro-family" activists would rather vote for a third party candidate than they would vote for Rudy Giuliani. I'll believe it when that candidate hands Florida to the Democrats in 2008. IJS. That said, maybe it's time for Rudy to claim he's pro-life now. After all -- 9/11 changed everything!

  • Now that Pete Domenici has announced his retirement, will Bill Richardson quit his run for the White House and try for the Senate instead? His campaign says, no, they're in it to win it and they are "confident" of their chances. Right.

  • Speaking of losers, do you ever get the impression that Fred Thompson is just going through the motions? What ever could he have been thinking? (Answer below.)

  • Sleep-walking his way through Iowa, Thompson tries to out-Reagan the rest of the Republican field by slamming "the Soviet Union." Yes, you heard me. The Hunt For Red October is on again, baby!

  • Speaking of the USSR, today is the 50th anniversary of the launch into space of Sputnik. Did you know that what the Soviets were really trying to do was draw attention to the ICBM that launched the little-satellite-that-could?

  • Speaking of Sputnik, here's an interview with Arthur C. Clark (now nearing 90) wherein he remembers where he was that fateful day when his prediction finally came true.

  • Props to Sergey Korolyov, the genius behind the Soviet space effort. He was called "The Chief Designer" because his identity was deemed a state secret by the Politburo.

  • A new AP-Ipsos poll has Bush's approval ratings at 31 percent, the "lowest level" ever recorded in that poll's history. Not sure if they mean lowest for any president or just lowest for the Bush family.

  • Surprise! People still really, really like Bill Clinton.

And here it is, your moment of Zen:


September 10, 2007

Odds & Sods #40: Petraeus Day Edition

August 07, 2007

Odds & Sods #39: Constitution Day Edition

July 20, 2007

Odds & Sods #38: Tale-of-Two-Harry's Edition

  • Patrick Fitzgerald for ... Attorney General?
  • Hillary asks SecDef Gates if he supports Under Secretary Edelman's smear of her. I think she's being far too 19th-century-polite. I would have gone all Harry Truman on his -- and Edeleman's -- ass.
  • And while we're at it, let's define what a smear really is: attacking someone's reputation instead of their message.
  • Colbert finally gets his free iPhone.
  • Wake me up when September ends. LIke, for example, in November.
  • A couple of weeks ago, dick Cheney declared there were four branches of government. Now, the White House is claiming there are only two.
  • And in a related story, Sen. Leahy points out that charging Harriet Miers with "inherent contempt" of Congress would likely result in a trial in the Senate presided over by -- wait for it -- dick Cheney.
  • Saturday night at midnight the last Harry Potter book will be released from captivity. Or not. The NYTimes has already gotten a copy -- from a legit source, they say -- and published a review. Sorry, no link -- Miss Julie made me promise. JK Rowling is shocked -- and saddened. Noting the tremendous costs associated with sequestering the book copies until the witching hour ($20 million, not counting Fedex shipping costs), Seth Godin has a solution, should a publishing phenomenon like this occur ever again. "Books are great at holding memories," he says, "They're lousy at keeping secrets."

June 30, 2007

Odds & Sods #37: The Jesusphone Edition

  • Supreme Court reverses itself on Gitmo case. Why do I have a creepy feeling they're going to rule for the Bushies this time?

  • No Satisfaction this Year. This year the Rolling Stones will not be performing in...Israel. Insurance costs are sky-high. I guess this means they won't be performing for the troops in Iraq either?

  • Lots of first impressions of the iPhone by new owners. Here's one from TechMeme. Here's a fetishistic photo spread on the actual unboxing of a new iPhone. Here's Xeni's report (calling it the Jesusphone). Here's a guy who tears the iPhone down -- literally.

  • Fred Thompson in New Hampshire: Republicans say his speech there was underwhelming. I'd say "where's the beef," but that would be so 80s. Or so Walter Mondale.

  • Woz spotted in line for an iPhone. When the crowd recognized him, they stepped aside and put him at the front of the line. Awwwww.

  • Prince is releasing his new CD ... in Sunday's edition of London's Daily Mail. The recording industry is pissed. I'm trying to imagine who's still reading a newspaper on any day of the week. Answer: nobody in Prince's audience.

  • When I saw that that iPhones are turning up on eBay, I remembered one important fact: "i" before "e" except after "c" (for "cash").

  • ...and finally, after watching the one laugh-out-loud moment of Thursday's Dem debate, I wondered: is Barack Obama a dutiful husband, homophobic, or just seeing Joe Biden on the down-low? You decide...and don't miss Al Sharpton's scowl -- it'll melt the hair off your arms:

June 18, 2007

Odds & Sods #36: The Renegade Edition

May 24, 2007

Odds & Sods #35: Neville Chamberlain Edition

  • If I'm Harry Reid, I guess I can always take some solace (as Reagan did) in the fact that I'm getting fire from both ends of the political spectrum. I mean come on! -- when was the last time a politician was accused by both Sean Hannity AND Keith Olbermann of being the second coming of Neville Chamberlain?

  • Note to Keith Olbermann: I love you, dude, but enough with the Chamberlain references -- first Bush, now Reid? WTF?

  • Is there anything more entertaining than reading Brian Williams write about The Sopranos on Slate magazine?

  • Well, even my presence in Bothell, WA this week couldn't help Blake Lewis -- so Jordin Sparks becomes the new American Idol. I guess it's no surprise: how many Melinda Dolittle posters were going to get sold anyway?

  • And speaking of the Democrats (and the netroots), I'm with Kos:
    The conservative movement spent three decades building up their machine and completing the takeover of their party. And some of you want to quit after one setback?

    That's embarrassing.

    Buck up. We still haven't completely lost this Iraq supplemental battle. And if we do, instead of crying and taking your ball home, resolve to fight even harder. We owe it to our troops in Iraq, to our families, to our neighbors, to ourselves.

    I have served for many years on the boards of several organizations and the politics at that level are apparently the same as the politics at the highest levels -- the stakes are just different. It's all about what you want to get done and how you work with (and against) people to get there. It's about having the votes to pass your motion, it's about building alliances (some temporary, some not) it's about winning and losing -- and surviving to fight another day. To me it's exciting but to others it's exhausting. To some it's personal, to others it's just business. So when I see what's happening with the Iraq supplemental bill, I'm not turned off -- I just see another opportunity to fight -- again, perhaps another day -- for what I believe in.

May 07, 2007

Odds & Sods #33: Freedom's Just Another Word Edition

  • Bush at 28%. Old School: invoke Truman's name. New School: freedom's just another word...for nothing left to lose.

  • Sarkozy wins, vowing to out-poodle The Poodle. And why not? After all...he's French!

  • An Iraqi blogger visits New Orleans and is shocked at how much it reminds him of home...but not in a good way. Adding insult to injury, he observes that, after the 1991 Gulf War, the despised Saddam rebuilt the infrastructure of Iraq within months.

  • Speaking of rebuilding, the reconstruction of Greensburg, Kansas, destroyed by tornados last week, likely will be delayed because a lot of the needed equipment is in...(wait for it)... Iraq.

  • Religious fundamentalist murderer Ayman al Zawahri releases a tape...and the White House (and Brit Hume) agrees with what he says. Gosh, in the good old days, they at least made a show of disagreeing with him.

  • John Aravosis meets John Kasich. Interesting on so many different levels.

  • The reaction to Tenet's book has been interesting. So far, Douglas Feith and Bob Woodward have reviewed it in the WSJ and the Washington Post, respectively. Not surprisingly, they've been pretty critical of Tenet's account as well as his performance in office. But then, they have an agenda, no? Feith wants to deflect blame and Woodward wants to sell his own account of what really happened -- including the now infamous "slam dunk" quote from Tenet.

  • Attention gamers: you are now officially middle class and you suck like the rest of us. Why? Because you can now earn World of Warcraft gametime when you use your World of Warcraft Rewards Visa card.

May 01, 2007

Odds & Sods #32: “Mission Accomplished” Edition

  • Did you see the Moyers show on the Iraq war? If not, you can watch it again on PBS and also online.

  • Christopher Hitchens has a new book blasting religion. Problem is, he's plenty cozy with the Family Research Council. What's up with that, Hitch?

  • Murray Waas finds proof that Gonzalez wasn't the functioning pinhead he portrayed himself to be. Leahy's seen the article and is madder than hell.

  • That jug-eared, mealy-mouthed, comb-licker Paul Wolfowitz hints that he might be convinced to step down from the World Bank after all.

  • How creepily adoring of George W. Bush is Condi Rice? Plenty, folks, plenty.

  • Jonathan Powers, Iraq war veteran, says Bush betrayed the troops and urges the president to sign the Iraq war funding bill. Oh, and happy anniversary to "Mission Accomplished."

  • Atrios thinks George Tenet is a dim bulb. He's got a point.

  • Bill Kristol wants to debunk Tenet's assertions because he got a date wrong. In return, Crooks and Liars digs up the video that shows Perle saying exactly what Tenet remembered.

  • Sen. Inhofe: Media invented WMD excuse for Iraq invasion.

  • Wanker of the Day: Howie Kurtz.

  • Oh, no -- not again!: Fox News anchor Dick Morris named by DC madame as patron.

  • Chris Weigant has some post-veto strategic advice for the Democrats: Whatever happens, make sure everyone knows this is Bush's war.

April 12, 2007

Odds & Sodds #32: The “So-It-Goes” Edition

I'm back in town long enough to do some laundry and then I'm off again. I'll be back Monday of next week. See y'all then. In the meantime, here's my take on a few things that popped up on my radar while I was gone.

  • I did a double take when reading about the Green Zone suicide bomber that killed (among others) 3 Iraqi MPs. That's "Members of Parliament" not "military policeman." Holy crap. Wonder what McCain thinks of the surge now?

  • Kurt Vonnegut has died. Or maybe he's just come unstuck in time. So it goes.

  • Paul Wolfowitz has a girlfriend? Who knew?

  • Don Imus is off the air, perhaps for good. I've always considered myself a fan. Where else are you going to go to hear an interview with Shug Knight and Orin Hatch -- both on the same morning? That said, he was capable of the most brutal (and brutally honest) commentary on the air. I believe Don Imus was the guy for whom they invented the phrase "shock jock." So I'm still trying to answer the only question worth asking: "Why now, after all he's said, after all these years?" Maybe he just finally pissed off the wrong combination of people at the wrong time. And/But maybe it isn't about women or African Americans at all, but just about harassing a group of basically decent college kids who were only minding their own business. Oh well: live by the insult, die by the insult.

March 20, 2007

Odds & Sods #31: Muckraking Edition

  • TPMmuckrakers have swarmed the 3,000 page DoJ document dump like a bunch of hungry ants and dismantled it tout de suite. The result? Oh, baby -- lots of juicy tidbits for sure.

  • Gonzalez cancels a Thursday meeting with a House committee. Will he really still be here by then...or not?

  • Enough already with Web 2.0.

  • Mitt's Macaca Moment? Poor baby. Let Ann kiss it and make it better.

  • Obama says it wasn't anyone in his campaign that did the now ubiquitous Mac-1984/Hillary mash-up. Whoever it was, it's done pretty well -- check out the Obama logo on the girl's tank-top. Cool.

  • M.J. Rosenberg cries foul when Hamas gunmen kill an Israeli electrician -- but only because he was attacked inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel. This is exactly the kind of pointy-headed intellectual drivel I so hate from otherwise sensible liberals.

  • Ditto Kristof.

  • Holy crap! Even more juicy tidbits from the DoJ document dump.

  • Anybody here hang out at Flixster?

  • Apparently Heather Mills made quite an impression last night. Anyone see it?

  • That new glass-bottom observation deck at the Grand Canyon gives me vertigo just reading about it: it projects 70 feet out beyond the cliff's edge and you can see 4,000 feet straight down to the bottom of the Canyon.

  • Despite what Tony Snow says, there is apparently no precedent barring White House staff from testifying in front of Congress.

  • While they were rationalizing about dumping selected US attorneys, insiders at the DoJ were ready to rank Patrick Fitzgerald as "not distinguished." If any of the ones that they DID fire were half as professional as Fitz, then for sure these hacks at Justice (and the WH) were out of control.

  • This is weird: among 454 likely Democratic primary voters in Michigan, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama 45%-29% in a statewide primary. It's weird because I know lots of people in Michigan and I haven't met anyone yet that admits to wanting Hillary to get the nomination. Ditto Louisiana.

December 26, 2006

Odds & Sods #30: The “Long Run” Edition

  • Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 days. He does 200 miles just for fun. He'll race in 120-degree heat. Here are 12 secrets to his success. [Preview: He carries a cell phone and regularly orders an extra-large Hawaiian pizza -- while running a marathon.]

  • Anonymous Liberal observes that "our system attributes to people in their capacity as voters the very truth-detection skills that it assumes they do not have in their capacity as consumers."
    As a result, we end up with a system in which you have to be scrupulously honest when selling a toaster, but you can pretty much say anything you want when you’re selling the next president of the United States.
    He asks (and answers) why.

  • Speaking of business and government, it's wrong to think that we'd all be better off if the government was "run like a business." Our system is precisely designed to prevent that very thing from EVER happening. Think about it: in business you have an all powerful Chairman of the Board. Where is the analgous position in our government? The president is the chief of the executive branch -- but that branch is merely co-equal with the other two branches. No business would ever try to organize itself along those lines. More on this another time.

December 15, 2006

Odds & Sods #29: The Boing Boing Edition

If you don't already visit Boing Boing at least a couple of times a week, you're missing out on a lot of good stuff.

December 08, 2006

Odds & Sods #27: The Hollywood Edition

December 07, 2006

Odds & Sods #26: The Ladies in Red Edition

December 06, 2006

Odds & Sods #25: The Cut-and-Stay Edition

  • By the time you read this, the Iraq Survey Group will have released their report. But, really, is there any incentive for their recommendations to be taken seriously? Matt Taibbi:
    [W]ith the midterm elections over, and George Bush already a lame duck, the Iraq war is no longer an urgent problem to anyone on the Hill who matters...The Baker-Hamilton report is being praised for its cautious, sensible, bipartisan approach to the Iraq problem (Time magazine even called it "genius") but actually all it is is a tacit recognition of this pass-the-buck dynamic in Washington.

  • Al Gore has some advice for Bush: "[T]ry to separate out the personal issues of being blamed in history for [the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States] and instead recognize it’s not about [you]." Ouch.

  • Speaking of waking up to reality, the Wall Street Journal editorial page recently ran a short paean to John Bolton. [Sorry no link -- I got this out of the newspaper.] What a bunch of wankers:
    The announcement that Mr. Bolton will resign as US Ambassador to the UN...was no doubt cheered in Tehran, Damscus, Caracas, Pyongyang, and Christopher Dodd's Senate office.
    Right. Because it really is us against the rest of the world and if you're against John Bolton, you're a terrorist sympathiser. Whatever. Actually, what caught my eye and made me laugh was this statement about Bolton: "He has understood that the essence of realism is, or ought to be, to see the world as it is." Well then, this might come as a rude surprise to, say, George W. Bush. After all, the world changes all the time whereas we know that Bush's opinion of the world is as constant as the Northern star.

  • Holy crap -- Mary Cheney is pregnant. And, just to make things more interesting, she and her partner live in Virginia:
    The [newly enacted anti-gay marriage amendment to the state constitution] ensures that Mary's partner has no legal rights whatsoever in their child, or in what happens to Mary (or vice versa), such as if one partner has to go the hospital, the other can't visit. The law may even nullify any wills that Mary and Heather write regarding each other...

December 05, 2006

Odds & Sods #24: The Suzy Creamcheese Edition

  • December 4th was the 13th anniversary of the death of Frank Zappa. We could use a guy like him today:
    Zappa: When you have a government that prefers a certain moral code derived from a certain religion and that moral code turns into legislation to suit one certain religious point of view and if that code happens to be very, very right wing almost toward Attila the Hun...

    Lofton: Well then, you are an anarchist. Every form of civil government is based on some kind of morality, Frank.

    Zappa: Morality in terms of behavior - not in terms of theology.

  • Speaking of theology, the Dennis Prager story -- wherein he demanded that Rep. Keith Ellison use a Bible (not a Koran) to take his oath of office for the House -- has developed legs. Sorry to mix metaphors, but Prager's attitude is just the tip of the iceberg. Glenn Beck's outrageous insinuation that Ellison is some sort of al-Qaeda operative and the shameful conduct of US Airways in booting six Muslim clergymen off a flight in Minneapolis are all part of the same anti-Muslim hysteria that is becoming more and more common in this country.

  • And speaking of what's just under the surface, James Wolcott makes a valuable observation about the relative moral values promoted by right-wingers:
    It is symptomatic of the moral-spiritual-political-human degradation of the right blogosphere that its receptors register more indignation over some fugitive fatuous quote from Gwyneth Paltrow than over the Orwellian torture of a prisoner and American citizen convicted of no crime, Jose Padilla, whose mind has been subjected to finest deprivation techniques American tax money can buy.(james wolcott)
  • And speaking of ruthless overkill, Rudy Giuliani is riding high in the polling for '08 presidential candidates largely on the myth that he rescued New York (and the rest of America) on 9/11. But Cintra Wilson reminds us that he's really an authoritarian narcissist -- and we certainly don't need another one of those in the White House.
    His political career may have been defined by his willingness to confront scary bogeymen, but during slower periods when there were no obvious villains around, Giuliani's interpretations of who or what constituted an immediate threat became increasingly bizarre, personal, puritanical and dangerous. Before the planes hit, when he had too much power and not enough to do, Giuliani, like an old soldier who comes home and starts abusing his family in lieu of a real enemy, was pulling a Great Santini on New York, rooting around in our sock drawers with a Maglite, looking for vices to confiscate and sins to punish. By the mid-'90s, Mayor Rudy was abusing authority according to the whims of his own paranoid, hyper-defensive personality disorder in way that would have made Tiberius self-conscious.
  • Carl Levin will be running for re-election in '08. And, gosh -- he's 72?? I guess we're all getting old. I remember when Carl Levin was a Detroit City Councilman. IIRC, he went straight from there to the US Senate, which has to be some sort of record. [P.S. He is the longest-serving Senator in Michigan history.]

December 04, 2006

Odds & Sods #23: The Octopus-Thru-A-Tiny-Hole Edition

  • The Washington Examiner editorial board thinks the 6 imams who got yanked off a US Airways flight in handcuffs (and no offer for a replacement flight home) got what they deserved. Unfortunately for the airline, the Examiner won't be the judge and jury in this case.

  • Frank Rich believes that Bush isn't in a State of Denial but rather in The Final Days.

  • I am not a rabid Michigan Wolverines football fan. I am, in fact, notorious for being a fair-weather fan of any of native state's home teams. That said, I think the Woverines got screwed in the BCS standings when Florida was chosen over Michigan to play Ohio State for the national title. Mitch Albom speaks for me:
    You can spin this thing any way you want. It was strictly about fresh versus familiar. In the end, Ohio State will play Florida on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz., because people with votes want to see that game more than they want to see a rematch of Michigan-Ohio State. This was all about the line of thinking that says: "Give someone else a chance."

    But if the system were about giving everyone a chance, they wouldn't call it a poll, they'd call it a donkey ride

    And speaking of beasts of burden, I hope OSU beats Florida like a rented mule.

  • John Bolton resigns! No, he didn't! Well, whatever you call it, he's gone. It all reminds me of that joke from "Bobcat" Goldthwaite: "I didn't lose my job. I know exactly where it is. I went back to work the other day and found it right where I left it -- except someone else is doing it now." [P.S. Remember when "pugnacious arrogance" was considered sexy? Yeah, well, neither do I.]

  • And remind me again...what exactly did we do for amusement in the days before we could watch as a big octopus squeezes itself through a little hole?

  • If you were in charge of creating the 2007 Official RNC Calendar, what would you put on every single month's page? That's right -- pictures of George W. Bush! Now there's the perfect holiday stocking stuffer from a party that just got socked in the jaw by an angry electorate. [Note: Actually Bush is only on 11 of the pages -- "Dick" Cheney is Mr. August. In a white cowboy hat. I kid you not.]

  • I knew it, I knew it, I knew it: deep down, Ken Starr knows that Jesus hates Democrats.

  • Never mind all the junior high school crap about who gets to chair a committee: Robert Reich says (and I agree) that the first real test of Democratic seriousness is over the fight between Big Pharma vs. Medicare.

December 02, 2006

Odds & Sods #22: The Morning-After-Cherry-Nyquil Edition

December 01, 2006

Odds & Sods #21: The Bigfoot Edition

  • I was in Chicago Tues-Thurs and flew out yesterday morning just ahead of that monster storm. I understand 265 flights were canceled at O'Hare alone. It was cold in Baton Rouge last night too -- we got hit by the same cold front and the temp this morning just after sun-up was 40 degrees.

  • There are a few speakers who I always want to listen to if I have the chance, e.g., Robert Reich, Mario Cuomo, Arianna Huffington, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Clinton, Camille Paglia, Newt Gingrich and Kristina Vanden Heuvel are a just a few off the top of my head. I don't always agree with them and often I am diametrically opposed to their positions; but they are always interesting, articulate and challenging. David Gergen is also in that group.

  • Speaking of a collection of "Bigfoots," the Baker Commission's recommendations are due out next week and can I tell you that I have SO moved on in my mind to other stuff. To be blunt, it sounds like they've come up with a solution that is designed to please everyone but will, in fact, piss everyone off to one degree or another. Besides which, Maliki has already said that he wants the US to begin pulling out of Iraq by next summer -- and "don't let the door hit you in the butt yadda yadda yadda."

  • Speaking of Maliki, you had to laugh reading the Hadley Memo's description of the Iraqi leader as someone who is the captive of "a small circle" of advisors who are "coloring his actions and his interpretations of reality." Ouch!

  • Speaking of hypocritical bigfoots, it seems that Gov. Mitt Romney hired illegal immigrants to do landscaping at his private home.
    Asked by a reporter yesterday about his use of Community Lawn Service with a Heart, Romney, who was hosting the Republican Governors Association conference in Miami, said, "Aw, geez," and walked away.
    Brilliant comeback, Governor!

  • At least Romney's lame comment was brief, unlike the logorrhea that Dennis Prager, et. al, suffer from. It seems that they're upset that -- wait for it -- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) wants to be sworn into office using a copy of the Koran and not the Bible!. Prager & Co. remind me of what Lincoln said about an acquaintance: "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." [P.S. Did you know that Congressmen are routinely sworn in without resting their left hand on any book at all?]

  • Crikey -- first we hear that two British Airways planes showed traces of radioactivity and now ABC News is reporting that an Italian security expert who met that Russian ex-spy has tested positive for a radioactive substance. Quick! Turn out the lights! You know you're going to have a bad day if you glow in the dark.

  • Speaking of medical tests for bigfoots, I hear that Sen. Obama will publicly be tested for AIDS. Let's see Hillary top that!

  • Speaking of bigfoots running for president, Kerry wants everyone to forget the botched joke and focus on serious stuff. Good luck on that, Senator. Maybe you should call Howard Dean for advice on just exactly how that works.

November 28, 2006

Odds & Sods #20

  • Newt Gingrich has a new theme for Iraq: "Victory or Death." Jaysus, that sounds like something out of a gladiator movie. Nonetheless, he invokes George Washington at Valley Forge with it. A bit of advice: if he wants to refer to the Founders, why not quote Patrick Henry instead -- "Give me liberty or give me death." No, wait, can't have that -- warrantless wiretapping and the rest of the president's agenda would be flushed down the toilet.

  • Is there anything more totally pointless than NBC's self-aggrandizing announcement that Iraq is now in the midst of a "civil war?" I guess if your memory is long enough, you can remember when the Vietnam war was described that way -- the conclusion being that we had no business getting in the middle of their argument. So maybe that's the import of this declaration. That said, aren't Matt Lauer and Brian Williams showing up kind of late to the party? In reality this just emphasizes what most of us already know: that the words "NBC News" have now officially become an oxymoron.

  • It's official: the Iraq war has now gone on longer than WWII. That war, of course, was fought by draftees, this one by volunteers. In our history, are there any other wars, fought by an all-volunteer army, that lasted this long? Could you count the Revolution in that select group? Correct me if I'm wrong.

November 27, 2006

Odds & Sods #19: Dems Get Their Republican Lame Ducks In A Row

  • The Post has a piece about how Bush can still escape being useless for the next two years. His staff is studying the Clinton (1994) and Reagan (1986) examples. But Leon Panetta gets his two cents in as well:
    "He really has to make a fundamental decision, and if he hasn't made it by now, it may be too late," said Leon E. Panetta, who was Clinton's chief of staff in 1994 and now serves on a bipartisan commission on Iraq. "He has to decide whether he's going to be willing to sit down with the Democratic leadership and cut deals and get things done. And he has to decide whether Iraq is going to be his whole legacy, good or bad, or whether he wants to get other things done."
    He also has to decide (if such a thing is possible) what role "Dick" Cheney will have in these last two years. It's Cheney who wants to go "full speed ahead" on Iraq; it's Cheney who wants to play X-treme hardball with judicial nominees and so forth.

    Lastly, while we're studying history, let's not forget to study Lyndon Johnson and the midterms of 1966 when the Vietnam war was falling out of favor and the Dems lost 47 seats making it impossible for Johnson to pass any additional Great Society legislation. Two years later, Johnson essentially resigned his office.

  • The quote from Leon Panetta reminds me that the Baker/Hamilton Commission will be coming out with their recommendations soon. And it looks like the fix is in:
    By the time the commission publishes a report it will have worked eight months coming up with a verbose, “centrist” way to say “Stay the course.”

  • Taking bets: Bush's first veto of legislation from the Dem-controlled Congress will be on: (a) Spending, (b) Foreign policy, (c) A social issue, (d) Intelligence.

  • Getting their ducks in a row: On Tuesday, December 5, House Democrats hear a presentation on Iraq from Dr. Z. Brzezinski, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, and Major General John Batiste, among others. The next day, they'll hear a presentation on the economy by former Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin.

  • Out of the Running? Rep. Alcee Hastings is losing hope that he'll be named chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. But that doesn't mean that Rep. Jane Harman gets the nod; Pelosi is leaning toward a compromise candidate: Rep. Silvestre Reyes, "a quiet Texas lawmaker and former Border Patrol official who opposed the Iraq war from the outset." He gets bonus points for being a member of the so-far-chairless Hispanic Caucus.

November 22, 2006

Odds & Sods #18

If you think politicians are bad, you should see their consituents; forget elections: follow the Nielsen ratings instead; forget approval ratings, follow the Nielsen ... oh, sorry; Mitt Romney's disastrous health care initiative; Nancy's boys come to work; Republicans leave a budget mess behind; Hagel gives up; gimme some bootleg OJ!

  • Mean Jean Schmidt escapes defeat to serve another term in Congress. At least she'll be in the minority this time. As much as I dislike her (and that's a lot), I figure she's just a reflection of her constituency.

  • Watching 24 means America approves of torture? Wasn't the opposite true a few years ago when watching Murphy Brown meant we were going to hell in a handbasket? Bottom line, people: It's. A. TV. Show.

  • Speaking of the Nielsen ratings, run, don't walk, and rent American Dreamz. It's like the Zucker Bros. met Blake Edwards and they decided to make a movie about the time the President of the United States decides to boost his approval ratings by becoming a judge on American Idol. Not quite in the same league as Wag The Dog, but it's close.

  • Mitt Romney's health care policy yielded some disastrous results in Massachusetts. His approval rating is 34% (third most unpopular governor in America). And this guy wants to run for president? Bring it on.

  • Nancy Pelosi will convene the House on January 4 and actually work -- in session! -- through Bush's SOTU. What a concept! And a great way to control the news cycle.

  • Republicans have trashed their hotel room and left the Democrats to clean it up. Class act, those Republicans.

  • Sen. Hagel thinks the time for more troops in Iraq has passed. But then, even McCain doesn't really believe it would make a difference, does he?

  • How long before a bootleg (translation: "free") copy of O.J. Simpson's book and TV show hits the Internets?

November 21, 2006

Odds & Sods #17

Bush 43 now even less popular than his pop, an Iraqi comedian is among the latest casualties, a cartoon that will make you wince, Robert Reich takes a flyer at deciphering McCain, and a plea for better blog headlines.

  • Poll: "More Americans prefer Bush's father." Jaysus -- how bad do you have to be to rank below Bush 41? And, in a related note, what on earth was Jeb Bush thinking?

  • Walid Hassan was a rare individual. He was an Iraqi comedian and broadcaster in a country where speaking out can get you in trouble. He made fun of the fallout from the war -- the lack of safety and security, the blackouts, the gas lines, the corrupt politicians. People would stop him on the street and tell him their stories; Walid would then work them into his act. He was beloved. Now he's dead, his bullet-riddled body found on the street.

  • You might have to be "of a certain age" to get this cartoon, but here it is anyway. Click to see a larger version.

  • Robert Reich thinks he's figured out John McCain's real plan for Iraq. In brief: stand for something that NO ONE wants or thinks can happen, e.g., more troops, then when Iraq collapses simply say, "if you'd listened to me we wouldn't be in this fix." Then he (and he alone -- no Dems, please) can remain clean in 2008. Does this mean the Dems have to be for more troops? No. But it does mean that they should be careful not to buy into the Baker Commission's solution -- simply because then THEY'LL be left holding the bag. They'll own it going into 2008.

  • I wish more bloggers (starting with me) would take the time to learn how to write great headlines. It would make reading blogs more rewarding because you could zero in on the articles that had information in them that was of interest to you and leave the rest unread.

November 20, 2006

Odds & Sods #16

Nixon's back, the stock market is up (or is it?), warrantless wiretapping is DOA, we long for a smart president and are there really any Dems out there, flying under the radar?

  • Nixon's face on the dollar coin? Look for it in 2016. In between now and then, let's figure out what the coin is REALLY good for, e.g., do they still have pay toilets anywhere?

  • Woo hoo! The stock market is at or near an all-time high! But, as Cunning Realist points out, "the Dow would have to rise several thousand more points to reach a 'real' all-time high after accounting for inflation."

  • Is it possible that the lame duck Congress will NOT legalize Bush's warrantless wiretapping program? Could be.

  • Remember what it was like to have a smart president? Maybe we'll have another one someday. In the meantime, Bill Clinton is the gold-standard. When Clinton speaks, you want to hear what he has to say.

  • Speaking of (Hillary) Clinton, I still think we may not have caught sight yet of the Democratic nominee for 2008. Here's Jonathan Alter:
    ...[T]he Democratic nominee could easily be neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama. Two years before the 1992 election, the presumed Democratic front runners were Mario Cuomo and Al Gore. Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, an African-American candidate, was considered an intriguing choice. Far down the list of possibilities, languishing in polls as Evan Bayh and Chris Dodd are today, was an obscure governor named Bill Clinton.
    That's less likely to happen today; since 1990 we've gotten talk radio and the Internet and not much flies under the radar anymore. And yet, in early 2003, who thought Howard Dean was anyone significant?
    Joe Lieberman……29%
    Dick Gephardt……15%
    John Kerry………..13%
    John Edwards…….8%
    Al Sharpton……….5%
    Howard Dean……..2%

November 19, 2006

Odds & Sods #15

  • gerrySpence.jpgSome of you may have a hard time remembering who Gerry Spence is. He was a CNN legal analyst during the O.J. trial -- you remember, he wore the buckskin jacket. Kind of a gentle, folksy guy with a deep voice and friendly, laid-back manner. I think he lived in Montana or Wyoming. Anyway, he has a new book out: Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power: The Rise and Risk of the New Conservative Hate Culture. Not such a folksy title, eh?
    Generalized hate often has a narrow base. It’s easy to hate gays if one can’t find a job that pays more than the minimum starvation wage. It’s easy to jump on the patriotic band wagon to blow the hell out of half the innocent people in Iraq if one has, in effect, been blown to some sort of economic hell and is equally innocent. When people feel hurt they hurt back.
    Um, wow. [P.S. He'll be making the rounds and I'm sure he'll have something to say about the O.J. book as well.]

  • From the Dept. of Unfortunate Metaphors: The Boeing 747 used by the president as Air Force One was grounded in Ho Chi Minh City Sunday because of a mechanical problem.

  • Lieberman's "Party of One" -- and it isn't Lieberman. Jaysus! Whatever happened to party unity?

  • Fox News is preparing a right-wing Daily Show. Gosh, I thought The Colbert Report already covered that territory. What? Oh.
    It would take aim at what [executive producer Joel Surnow] calls "the sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other comedy shows. "It's a satirical news format that would play more to the Fox News audience than the Michael Moore channel," Surnow said. "It would tip more right as 'The Daily Show' tips left."
    The Fox News audience demographic is older than dirt. And since when did Michael Moore get a channel? Bottom line: it sounds deadly....boring.

Odds & Sods #14

O.J. and Kissinger speak, the president ditches his turban, and TomKat may not realllllllly be married after all -- not that there's anything wrong with that. And the game of the century lived up to the hype.

  • Could O.J. Go to Court Again? If he did it, here's what might happen.

  • It used to be a truism that the president must never -- ever! -- be allowed to pose for pictures in any kind of funny hat. That said, look for Bush and the other world leaders to play dress-up for the cameras at the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference wearing traditional Vietnamese outfits called ao dai ("ow zai") complete with turbans -- please God! (click for larger picture, umbrella optional)

  • ...and, right on cue but sans the turbans, here they are!

  • Speaking of Vietnam, Kissinger speaks: "No Military Victory in Iraq"

  • Hollywood's non-wedding of the century: Cruise and Holmes are joined in make-believe holy matrimony? That reminds me: privatize marriage!

  • Ohio State beats Michigan, 42-39 in what we used to call "a barn-burner." If you turned it off at half-time, you missed a whole lot of football! Woody and Bo would have hated the game plan, but not the effort.

November 18, 2006

Odds & Sods #13

  • Mark Foley's father died this week after complications from cancer. I'm sorry for the man's family. [P.S. There's a few chapters for a novel there, eh?]

  • Fox Network, whose news channel champions red-state values and traditional customs, will be airing a Fox television interview "tied to the promotion of a book by O.J. Simpson, in which he describes how he would have murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman -- if he'd done it." That depends on if you agree on the meaning of "if." Seriously, Red-staters, where's the outrage? Liberals always knew Fox (and Murdoch) were full of crap, so this is nothing new. But Bush loyalists -- how do you sleep at night?

  • One thing about being in the majority in Congress: you can play offense, forcing the other guys to play defense for a change.

  • Bush (translation: Cheney) can play offense, too, ramming more conservative judicial nominees through the pipeline at the Dems. Then we'll see if the Dems can stop the play and get the ball back. Bipartisanship? Don't watch what they say, watch what they do...with judicial nominees.

  • Speaking of Murdoch, Universal filed suit against MySpace, claiming piracy. Bummer. And/But note that they did NOT sue YouTube because those two parties have a strategic partnership already in place. What that exactly means is unclear. Nonetheless, somewhere, a MySpace executive is nursing his scorched ass.

November 17, 2006

Odds & Sods, Friday afternoon

  • From the NY Daily News:
    For all the focus on the Democrats, a former Bush official who predicts a coming bloodbath between the White House and disgruntled conservative Republicans brushed off the Pelosi-Hoyer tussle as much ado about process. "The Democrats are the sideshow," he said. "Bush self-destructing is the big story in town."
    Bring it on.

  • Speaking of Bush, he finally made it to Vietnam after 35 years of dodging that trip. While he was there, he suddenly felt that he understood what the lesson of that war was and how it related to Iraq: "We'll succeed unless we quit," the president said.

  • General Abizaid tells Sen. McCain that more troops into Iraq isn't going to help the situation. Watch the video.

  • On Election Day, Nov. 7, right-wing talk-show personality Laura Ingraham urged listeners to jam the phone lines of 1-888-DEM-VOTE, a voter assistance hotline sponsored by the Democratic Party. She thought is was funny. Now, Sen. Pat Leahy, incoming Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee wants the Justice Department to investigate the incident.

  • Rep. "Dollar" Bill Jefferson of New Orleans is in a runoff election against Karen Carter to see who gets to represent the 2nd CD of LA. It seems that "many of the endorsements for Jefferson from former candidates are because they expect to see him indicted and removed from office (voluntarily or involuntarily) before the 2008 elections. If Carter is elected, many would be kissing goodbye their shot at a congressional seat for many years to come. If Jefferson is re-elected, well, that leaves the door open for their own personal political ambitions," according to Tim Tagaris.

November 16, 2006

Political Odds & Sods, Thursday afternoon

  • Hoyer beats Murtha. Honestly I'm thrilled that there is a Democratic Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. The rest is detail. As for the traditional media calling it "a setback for Pelosi," get a life -- she's the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives. So far, so good. [P.S. Apparently, the Blue Dogs are not happy with Pelosi's pick, Alcee Hastings, for the Intelligence Committee.]

  • Rahm and Dean shake hands and call it a day. And Carville? Not so much.

  • I saw the headline about the University of California police shooting a student with a taser and ignored it. Why borrow trouble, you know? Then, after seeing it several more times, I finally watched the cellphone video. Honestly, there isn't much to see but, my God, the audio alone is profoundly disturbing. What I don't get is why they tased him, again and again, once he was on the ground. If all they wanted was to take him away, they should have simply cuffed him and dragged him off after the first taser brought him down.

  • The Times wrings its hands in despair over Iraq:
    ...[W]e are sure that even a few weeks more of drift and confusion will guarantee more chaos and suffering once American troops leave. Voters gave the Democrats the floor — and are now waiting to hear what they have to say.
    That's rich -- the Times went along for years while Bush's disastrous Iraq policy unfolded; now that the voters have thrown those bums out of Congress, the editors demand that the Democrats do something about it NOW, or else.

  • Arianna's on a Time Magazine panel to discuss their upcoming Person of the Year issue. Her top pick is Murtha; but her fallback picks are more interesting, among them Stewart & Colbert.

  • Sen. Dodd (D-CT) introduced legislation on Thursday to amend the horrific Military Commissions Act, restoring habeas corpus, narrowing the definition of "unlawful enemy combatant," limiting the authority of the President to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions, barring the use of information obtained through coercion, and more. Not a moment too soon.

  • I grew up in Michigan during the years that George Romney was the governor (and a one-time presidential aspirant). So I'm familiar with Romney family mojo. That said, I didn't take Mitt Romney's presidential aspirations seriously until I read today that it was Romney's Bain Capital group that was one of the parties that bought Clear Channel Communications for a cool $19 billion. Holy crap! Most candidates just buy ad time. Romney bought an advertising empire.

Political Odds & Sods on Thursday morning, Nov. 16

  • Sid Blumenthal quotes F. Scott Fitzgerald in discussing "Sonny's" mess in Iraq -- and how James Baker has been sent over to clean things up AGAIN:
    They were careless people ... They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
  • Meanwhile, deep under the murky waters off the coast of the state of Denial, Larry King asks Roseanne if the Internet "as a political medium [is] viable?"
    BARR: Yes, it’s like the only one left, absolutely, and that’s not just me saying it. That’s everybody saying it.

    KING: But there’s 80 billion things on it.

    BARR: Yes, but if you know where to look, you know, it all can come together....

    KING: I’ve never done it, never gone searching.

    BARR: Oh, my God! It just opens up the whole universe. It’s so awesome. You would love it.

    KING: No, I wouldn’t.

    BARR: Anything you want to know.

    KING: The wife loves it. I wouldn’t love it. What do you punch little buttons and things?

  • CNN's Glenn Beck challenges the first-ever Muslim congressman with this: "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies." Wanker. Actually, in all fairness, we should point out that apparently Congressman Keith Ellison's Minnesota district does have a lot of Somali immigrants in it. So perhaps Beck can be excused for wetting his pants -- maybe he's having some sort of Blackhawk Down flashback or something.

November 15, 2006

Odds & Sods, Wednesday afternoon

  • Bill in Portland Maine has some advice for Democrats:
    You will memorize the following phrases and use them when the traditional media tries to push an inaccurate frame or outright lie about you or the Democratic agenda:
    • "Where do you come up with this stuff?"
    • "Who said that?"
    • "You've got to be kidding---is that what you really think?"
    • "You want to step outside and tell me Democrats are weak?"
    You will not let the talking heads off the hook until they either prove their assertion or they admit they're full of bull. If the interviewer has been a total jerk, end the interview with, "Thanks for having me on. I hope next time we talk you'll do your homework first."

  • The Note has a whole slew of links to newspaper articles that unanimously slam Pelosi's pick of Murtha for Majority Leader. That makes it easier for me to decide -- Murtha is the right choice.

  • Speaking of Pelosi's picks, she is also said to be leaning toward picking Alcee Hastings for House Intelligence Committee chair, over Jane Harman. If you love insider chit-chat, here's a juicy story about Hastings...and Rahm Emanuel:
    Little enraged Emanuel as much as a fellow Democrat who didn't share his unrelenting drive to win. In January 2006, Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat, was quoted in a local newspaper speaking sympathetically of Republican Clay Shaw. Because of his longtime friendship with Shaw, Hastings pointedly declined to endorse Shaw's Democratic challenger.

    Hastings was a colorful figure. A former federal judge, he was removed from the bench by Congress in 1989 for corruption and perjury, only the sixth U.S. judge in history to suffer this fate. He took revenge by winning a seat in Congress. A forceful speaker, Hastings chastised Emanuel in a closed meeting of House Democrats for not recruiting more candidates.

    "He's great on lectures," Emanuel said later. "Phenomenal lecturer. I'm getting a lecture on recruitment when A, you haven't done a . . . damn thing, and B, we've got a [Republican] target and you're out there kissing his [behind] in the press?"

    Hastings refused to back down, saying he was close to both Shaw and his Democratic rival, Ron Klein, and could not in good conscience take sides. "Ron Klein is my friend. I have known Clay Shaw for nearly 40 years," he said. "Far be it from me to insert myself in a race of that kind."

    Hastings was hardly the only Democrat who Emanuel thought was not pulling his weight. Many of his colleagues were doing great work, he said, but dozens of others declined to help him take on their Republican friends.

    "You've got to have a thirst for winning," he said. "You know what our party thinks? `We're good people with good ideas. That's just enough, isn't it?' Being tough enough, mean enough and vicious enough is just not what they want. . . . They just want to be patted on the back for the noble effort. No."

    I'm with Rahm -- nothing happens until you close the sale.

  • Speaking of Rahm, again, he's from Chicago and I'm sure he's seen that scene in The Untouchables where Sean Connery's Jim Malone tells Kevin Costner's Elliot Ness how it's got to be: "You wanna know how you do it? Here's how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way." Emanuel reminds me of Pistons Bad Boy #1, Bill Laimbeer: if he's on the other team, you hate him. If he's on your team, you hate him a little less. But, like Laimbeer, Emanuel is a winner.

  • Is Tom DeLay on crack, or what? Speaking at a Time Magazine luncheon, he said this:
    "I'm going to shock you on two levels. One is I think the real Person of the Year ought to be Nancy Pelosi....I think it's unfortunate that you said I created the culture in Washington. The Democrats, when they lost power, it was like, as John said, it was like losing your plantation - they refused to work with the Republican majority. Back in the good old days they always talk about the Republican minority mindset like the slaves of the plantation and as long as they kept that, the Democrats, they all got along. It's when things got up and changed that we all got more partisan. Nancy Pelosi, I have to give her credit."

  • Chuck Schumer thanks the online community for its help and support during the election campaign.

Odds & Sods on Wednesday morning

  • Jim Webb, retired Marine, former Republican, former Reagan administration official, and Senator-elect from Virginia:
    The politics of the Karl Rove era were designed to distract and divide the very people who would ordinarily be rebelling against the deterioration of their way of life. Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues such as the predictable mantra of "God, guns, gays, abortion and the flag" while their way of life shifted ineluctably beneath their feet. But this election cycle showed an electorate that intends to hold government leaders accountable for allowing every American a fair opportunity to succeed.
    P.S. Webb has been tapped to sit on three Senate committees: Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Veterans Affairs.

  • During the Senate campaign in Montana, incumbent Republican Sen. Conrad Burns spouted the predictable GOP talking point in reference to his opponent Democrat John Tester: "He wants to weaken the Patriot Act." Tester's response? "I don't want to weaken the Patriot Act, I want to repeal it. What it does, it takes away your freedom ... and when you take away our freedoms, the terrorists have won." Boo-yah! It's all about the Constitution, baby.

  • The Republicans' percentage of the Latino vote plummeted from 44 to 29 percent in this last election, no doubt because the Republicans demonstrated a real hostility to Latinos in their immigration policy. And it was a double-whammy: Frank Luntz points out that the #1 reason Republican voters went with the Democrats (he calls them the "Republican Rejecters") was because of "illegal immigration." In response, the RNC picks (Cuban-born) Sen. Mel Martinez as the new party chairman. Hunh? Martinez favors liberalizing immigration laws.. But never mind! He's not really in charge -- turns out Mike Duncan is really running the show. So, instead of being all things to all people, the party now looks like it stands for nothing at all. Right-wingers are, predictably, mad, calling it "another Harriet Miers moment." Ouch. Meanwhile, Latino voters have moved on to something -- anything! -- else in their minds. It may be another generation before the Republicans recover from this debacle.

  • And speaking of Frank Luntz: "The mood of this country has changed since 2004, and because of it, some have already written off Republican chances for recapturing the House and Senate in 2008. The question Americans will be asking is whether Republicans learned anything from this election. The answers will determine the future of the GOP: that of a phoenix or a pariah."
    Lesson #1: "I was wrong." Those three simple words never came from the lips of any Republican anywhere, and it is one reason so many Republicans were defeated. Voters saw hubris instead of humility, and voting against the GOP was the only way they could send a message of rebuke.
  • Those of you still trying to figure out how Ned Lamont lost in Connecticut should read this and this. As for me, it's clear that Connecticut has supported Independents before so Joe Lieberman's re-election is nothing new. And he won't be the only Senator who swings both ways when it comes right down to it; I live in Louisiana where one of my Senators is Mary Landrieu -- The End. And Joe is hardly the first Senator to think that it's all about him and only him. Lastly, I don't think Harry Reid will do anything to cause Joe to jump officially to the other side. So I expect Joe to continue to be an unreliable Democratic vote in the Senate and (worse) to continue to sanctimoniously lecture me about bipartisanship.

  • The Saudis are building a $12 billion fence -- to keep Iraqis out.

  • Tom DeLay is blogging. Oy.

  • Weird headline at The Note: "Gallup poll on pressure facing Dems." But the article says that 61 percent of those surveyed want Democrats to have more influence than President Bush on the direction of the nation. Gosh, if I'm a Democrat, that's not pressure -- that's a mandate!

  • And no post entitled "Odds & Sods" would be complete without a quote from Pete Townsend:
    QUESTION: What would you tell the Pete Townshend of 40 years ago? What would he say to you today?

    PETE:... I think in my letter to young Pete I told myself that I shouldn't worry. There would be no nuclear holocaust. The planet would not become so polluted that we would all have to live in suits like they do in "Dune." I think young Pete told this old fart to mind my own business...

    Great answer.

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