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April 26, 2007

The Pile On

A.G. A.G. is almost out the door. When his former aide Monica Goodling was called to testify before Congress, she pleaded the fifth, saying that she could incriminate herself. Her lawyer called testifying a perjury trap, which, to my ears, sounded like he was promising that Goodling would lie on the stand. In reality, of course, Goodling's ploy was just an effort to cover up for her boss. But yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 32-6 to grant Goodling immunity, cutting her legs out from under her. This metaphorical chop block means that Goodling can (and will) be subpoenaed to testify before Congress.

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The new Monica

The six "nay" votes were all Republicans, led by ranking member James Sensenbrenner, the notorious Bush apologist who introduced the Patriot Act, authored the Real ID Act, and abruptly ended the Judiciary committee's meeting on renewing the Patriot Act when Democrats brought up the potential for human rights abuses. Since the 2006 election, he's done little else but vent steam from his ears. No doubt that steam is coming even faster since most of the 17 Republicans on his committee voted with the Democrats, plunging a dagger deep into Sensenbrenner's back.

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Former Judiciary Committee chairman Sensenbrenner, champion of human rights

So, ere long, we can expect to see Goodling spilling her guts before the committee. And she's not the only one.

The committee will also subpoena Secretary of State Rice over the lies that led up to the Iraq War. Madame Secretary has said she will not heed the subpoena. That should be cute.

In other congressional news, the House voted last night, 218-208 to approve the Iraq War Funding Bill, which includes measures to bring our troops home. The Senate will vote for it today, and then they can ship it over to the president, so he can veto it. And then the Congress can give him another, somewhat similar bill. He can veto that one too, or he can actually allow the troops to get the funds they need. Either way, the Dems win.

In stupid news, check out this letter to the editor. Apparently, daylight savings time actually increases the amount of sunlight that hits the Earth. I had no idea.

While we're talking about stupid, Bob Norman over at The Daily Pulp posted an e-mail forward that he got second hand from Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim "Marie Antoinette" Naugle. I offered a commentary on it that, while completely off the cuff, sums up Antoinette's degenerate greed nicely. If, as the Pulp claims, Antoinette believes that this parable is "powerful enough to spur converts to the Republican Party," then the Democrats are on Easy Street, in downtown Fat City. The fact that Antoinette himself is a registered Democrat isn't really even worth talking about anymore, is it?

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Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle

Speaking of Democrats in Fat City, the first presidential debate happens tonight at 7 on MSNBC. It seems early, I know, but consider that the first debate of the 2004 primary season took place the first week of May, and we're really not that far ahead. Eight candidates will duke it out: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich and .... hey, who'm I missing? Pardon me while I look back at some former blog entries ....


....


....

Oh yeah! Mike Gravel. Totally forgot about him. But then, he's easy to forget. Anyway, here's my predictions.

Tonight's loser: Hillary Clinton. The only reason she's so high in the polls is name recognition. She's a pretty poor orator, relatively speaking, and so when people hear her tonight, it's not going to help her cause, unless she can overcome that canned, overly slick style.

Tonight's winner: Bill Richardson. Folksy, fun, tons of experience that he can highlight tonight that people may not be aware of.

Done after tonight: Chris Dodd and Joe Biden. Candidates in tonight's debate get no opening statement, no closing statement, and have only 60 seconds to answer questions. These two are going to talk over everybody else while somehow managing to say nothing. They're going to look like cheap bullies with no ideas.

Tonight's winner by default: Barack Obama. If he plays it cool and keeps to the positive message, he's set. Hillary goes down, Richardson goes up but not enough to be a challenge, and this becomes Obama's world. Everyone else is just living in it.

April 24, 2007

Today in cosmic news:

Wow.

April 23, 2007

Obama Ties It Up With Hillary

The latest Rasmussens are in, and Obama and Hillary are at 32 points a piece, the first time Obama has tied it up. I'm the first one to throw out the caveat that polls at this early stage mean next to nothing. But check out the story that Rasmussen did on these numbers. Specifically, this graph:

"Obama has been steadily gaining ground during April. Last week, Clinton had a two-point lead. Two weeks ago, it was Clinton by five. The week before that, the former First Lady was up by seven. Our last release in March found Clinton enjoying a double digit lead. Clinton now holds a narrow edge among white voters while Obama leads by 16% among African-Americans."

While a single poll in April '07 means almost nothing in regard to an election in November '08, that sort of trending is definitely remarkable.

All right, that's all I got. It's Monday, after all.

April 20, 2007

Florida Defined in a Single Image:

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It's Raining FBI Raids

What with A.G. A.G.'s testimony and the VT Cocksucker's (in response to the man's release of a manifesto, videos, etc. to NBC in a lame bid at permanent infamy, I am no longer using his name. From this point on, he's the VT Cocksucker.) shootings, raids by the FBI against two congressmen have passed by with nary a word spoken.

A few days ago, the feds raided the home of Republican Congressman John Doolittle of California in an Abramhoff-related investigation. Doolittle announced today that he's stepping down from the House Appropriations Committee.

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John Doolittle reeks of Abramhoff

Then, late last night, the FBI raided the office of Arizona Republican Rep. Rick Renzi's family business. Renzi announced today that he's stepping down from the House Intelligence Committee.

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Rick Renzi, alleged future cellmate of John Doolittle

In other ill-reported news, Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich announced he's pressing ahead with articles of impeachment on Dick Cheney. My first reaction is, natch, to roll my eyes, but why shouldn't Kucinich move forward with this? John Nichols of The Nation mentioned a few days ago about the town meetings in Vermont that have voted to impeach both Cheney and Bush. It's a long way up the ladder from town meetings to Congress, but the word has already moved up the pipeline — recognizing the towns' decision, Vermont's senate passed a resolution to demand impeachment earlier today. How long can Pelosi keep reiterating that impeachment is off the table? How long before the wolves baying in the wilderness come strolling into town?

April 19, 2007

The Hair, the Bomb and the Bible

A.G. A.G.'s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee has broken for lunch, and we've basically learned one important thing — either Gonzales has the worst memory on Earth, or else he's a bumbling dolt whose Justice Department was ran by underlings like Kyle Sampson. Possibly both.

(Tried to find a picture of Kyle Sampson to run here over the caption "Kyle Sampson: Alleged Shadow Attorney-General," but couldn't find a good one. However, I did stumble across Sampson's Brigham Young University alumni update, which includes the eye-popping quote: "Kyle has played a key role in many of the administration's personnel decisions and is the reason so many BYU alumni, including myself, have positions in the Bush administration," says Taylor M. Oldroyd, '91, a friend of Sampson and a White House staff member.

Wow. Haven't seen a quote so unintentionally telling since Dick Cheney's appearance in a promotional video for disgraced accounting firm Arthur Andersen, in which he touted the firm's "good advice" that went "over and above the normal, by-the-books auditing arrangement." )


Forgive the parenthetical digression. It all seemed too much to pass up. But enough of the doomed attorney-general. He's as screwed as Paris Hilton with a video camera. Let's talk elections.

First, federal elections, in which nitpicky details have become the norm.

THE HAIR
John Edwards' $400 haircut caused some consternation. ABC's poltical blog Political Radar ran a story headlined "Edwards Flattens Coif Controversy." One would think that such a headline would lead into an Edwards apologia, but, oddly enough, the story concludes with "The hair cut revelation did little to minimize what some call Edwards' 'Breck Girl' image. Earlier this year, YouTube showcased a video of Edwards fixing his hair before a televised interview, demonstrating the unforgiving power of the site."

Man, few things drive me crazier than anything that follows "Some say ...," "What some call ...," and the like. This is perhaps the laziest and/or most cowardly form of journalism known to man. Using it before the Breck Girl line is particularly troubling for two reasons:
1) I had no idea what a Breck Girl was. After a bit of googling, I determined it was a series of shampoo spokeswomen sometime in the middle of the previous century.
2) "Some" do not call John Edwards "Breck Girl." Rush Limbaugh calls John Edwards "Breck Girl." Anyone who's listened to the man's show in the last year knows this. The "Breck Girl" line is taken straight from the horse's ass. Why can't ABC just say "The hair cut revelation did little to minimize what conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh calls Edwards' 'Breck Girl' image." Why can't they do that? Why be so gutless? Why?
3) Not to get off on another tangent, but you know what other journalistic construct pisses me off? Superfluous pronoun use. This is almost entirely a broadcast phenomenon, but listen for it, and you'll soon be driven as batty as I am. "The Democrats, they oppose the funding plan." "The weather, it looks nasty over the weekend." "The pronouns, they are totally unnecessary in these sentences." Christ. Every time I hear that, I want to slap the "polished" anchor who just said it. Anyone with broadcast experience explain to me the reason behind that crap?

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Edwards and his hair strike a pose

THE BOMB
Speaking of the unforgiving power of YouTube, check out John McCain's cover of a Beach Boys tune. Yikes. Of course, the real troglodyte here is the questioner, but it's still kind of a moronic thing for McCain to say. But, I guess you've got to play to your audience, YouTube be damned.

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McCain dropped a bomb

THE BIBLE
Speaking of playing to your audience, Mitt Romney received the Ronald Reagan Award (seriously!) from the Frontiers of Freedom Foundation (I'm not joking!) last night. According to the Hotline, in his speech at what was apparently a front for tongues-speaking, snake-handling Jesus freaks, Romney said that, after learning about the massacre at Virginia Tech, “the first thing I did was pick up my bible.” Somehow, the line fostered applause, not cynical groans. Romney also referenced the Bible's Book of Isaiah when discussing foreign policy. You can't make this stuff up, ace.

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Former pro-choice, gay-rights advocate Mitt Romney


FLORIDA POLITICS — THE HOOK AND THE CROOK
Moving to the state level, Democrat Ben Graber, the former Broward County commissioner who lost a state Senate bid in 2006, announced he'd run against Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler for the House's District 19 seat in the 2008 primary. Graber said that Wexler was vulnerable due to his support for the Iraq War, which may be true, but given the fact that, Graber debated switching parties to run against Ron Klein in District 20 before deciding on a race against Wexler, he's hardly the Democrat to outflank Wexler from the left. Despite Graber's reasonable name recognition in the district, this race is all over but the crying. Somebody get the hook and get this guy off the stage.

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Get the hook

Meanwhile, Senator Mel Martinez is a crook, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Hardly the first time a candidate has exceeded the legal limits of campaign donations or blatantly disregarded other campaign-financing laws. Hell, it's not even the first time a politico backed by the conservative Cuban crowd has been so disgraced (see: Alex de la Portilla). But it does create the first large chink in the armor of a senator whose lackluster approval ratings have been waiting only for an ax to fall. Well, here's the ax. But who can step in to go against Martinez in 2010? The Dems only have one statewide elected official, and that's state CFO Alex Sink. If she can't or won't run against Martinez, look for a well-known Democratic rep. to step up to the plate in 2010 ... Wexler, maybe? Looks like Graber might have his shot at the District 19 seat after all. He's just an election cycle too early.

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Get the crook

April 18, 2007

Reality Bites

Y'know, I certainly don't want to even try to dismiss the horrorshow at Virginia Tech as anything less than a tragedy, but it's worth noting that, while we express shock and outrage over this homicidal cocksucker's deeds, 233 Iraqis died in Baghdad today, at least 127 of them in a single bombing.

We will, as a nation, eventually move on from this terrible event. But we should remember how it made us feel, and recall that feeling when trying to understand the ongoing meatgrinder of Iraq. Because, horrible as it is to say, "only" 33 deaths would have been a welcome respite in Baghdad. Hell, we've lost twice that many American soldiers in just the first couple weeks of April. But for some reason, you don't see that on the news. Sixty-five American deaths in Iraq since April Fool's Day. And they take this as a sign that the surge is working, an idiocy that, if taken to it's illogical extreme, would mean that if we could just lose a few thousand more American lives over there, this whole thing might be over. Stupidity kills.

April 17, 2007

Explaining the Inexplicable

I had a whole entry planned out yesterday on Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales' (A.G. A.G., as I like to call him) upcoming testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I had read Gonzales 25-page written statement (read it yourself), in which he spends five pages saying the U.S. Attorney firings were essentially the doing of his underling, former chief-of-staff Kyle Sampson, and then spends 20 pages saying, "But look at all the good things the Justice Department does!"

Yeah, I had a whole response set up in my head, ready to go, a round chambered ready to fire. And then, a thousand miles north of here, 23-year-old South Korean Virginia Tech student Cho Seung-Hui grabbed a 9mm automatic handgun, walked down a dormitory hall, opened a door, and stepped into infamy as the deadliest spree shooter in our nation's history.

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The unassuming face of banal evil

What has followed has been 24 hours of trying to explain. We should have more guns. We should have less. We should watch out for these immigrants. We're amazed it wasn't an American. We should ban violent video games. We think you'd have to be a moron to pin this on video games. And so on.

I was just in a diner, having some breakfast while waiting for the public notary next door to open (long story). Fox News was on, and Bill Hemmer, after saying that the president would be on campus during the memorial, referred to Bush as "the consoler-in-chief." Two old men, each with a newspaper, yelled at each other from across the room.

"Watch for the copycats now."

"This never happened before Columbine."

What do you say to such people? Do you point out that Columbine didn't cause copycats — at least not right away? Do you point out that, contrary to the Columbine statement, the worst school shooting incident up until yesterday occurred in 1966, when Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the University of Texas' observation tower with a sniper rifle and opened up? Do you point out that the worst massacre of students in our nation's history actually occurred in 1927, when a schoolboard member, irate over school taxes, blew up a school, killing 44 people, mostly children?

There have always been crazies. And the one horrible truth, the one no one on the news wants to admit — certainly the one truth I have heard no one on the news say — is that these things will happen, these things have always happened, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. You could walk out to your car tomorrow, be fumbling through your pockets for your keys, and look up only to see a broken, once-human monster pointing a gun at your head, and then your life is over.

If someone is both suicidal and homicidal, they are going to kill. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. We could turn universities into mini-police states, with metal detectors, flak jackets for students, plain-clothes police detectives everywhere, lockdown every night, and it would not matter. No one is allowed weapons in prison, and yet prisoners are killed all the time.

The truth of the matter is, there are a little over 300 million people in this country, and every so often, with a population that huge, one of the people is going to go haywire. Maybe they'll just snap a little, and throw themselves off a bridge. Or maybe they'll snap a lot, stock up on guns and ammo, and take a walk around campus. Given how often these things happen, it's a safe bet that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than being the victim of a spree killer. But it does happen. It will happen again. And, especially when the killer does not mind being killed, there is nothing anyone can do about it.

April 12, 2007

So It Goes

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Senate Watch — Is Pete Domenici on the Chopping Block?

An AP story came out today citing widespread rumors that New Mexico senator Pete Domenici may not seek reelection in 2008 due to his connection to GonzalesGate. Domenici put in a threatening phone call over fired attorney David Iglesias' decision not to bring corruption charges against New Mexico state Democrats. According to Iglesias, Domenici asked about the status of the case, and when informed that charges would not be forthcoming, said "That's too bad," and ominously hung up the phone. There's not much about the phone call that Domenici disputes — he has, after all, apologized for the call.

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Sen. Pete Domenici, alleged phone thug

Domenici's an institution in New Mexico — the federal courthouse in Albuquerque is named after him, for God's sake — but it's just bad days to be in the GOP. At this point, not even Republican voters are in a forgiving mood, and photos like this one tend to make even the hardiest souls retch with loathing:

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Not that the GOP doesn't deserve the backlash — rampant corruption and a penchant for authoritarian rule tend to put off voters. In any case, I recently predicted a net gain of two Senate seats for the Dems in 2008, but if Domenici goes, that number could increase by one.

A Domenici-less 2008 Senate race in New Mexico is an easy win for the Dems. In the most likely scenario, it would be a replay of the 2006 House race in New Mexico's first district, pitting Rep. Heather Wilson against former state A.G. Patricia Madrid. Unfortunately for Wilson, she's even more tied in to GonzoGate than Domenici.

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Heather Wilson, alleged phone thugette

Madrid, meanwhile, would gain some cachet from the fact that she's one of those attorneys that have been so sadly maligned by these vicious politicians.

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Patricia Madrid, lawyer — and it's actually a good thing

The only other Republican of statewide promenince is District 2 Rep. Steve Pearce (New Mexico only has three congressional districts, the third is taken by Democrat Tom Udall. Meanwhile, the governor, Bill Richardson, is, as any political junkie worth anything knows, running a quixotic campaign for president). Pearce, however, isn't exactly scandal-free himself.

Madrid lost by only a hair's width in Wilson's largely Republican-leaning district. Statewide, and with Wilson so damaged, this is an easy pickup for the Dems. And even if Domenici stays in, it's a tough race, made even more so if Rep. Udall decides to throw his hat in the ring.

April 10, 2007

Lessons in Journalistic Integrity: In Which the WaPo Engages in Propaganda, I Wallow in Hypocrisy, and the New York Sun Proposes the Unthinkable

First, let's go to seminal liberal blogger Atrios, who illustrates the Washington Post's ugly side. This entry over at his site reveals how the Post took a Reuters story that read:

"Bleichwehl said troops, facing scattered resistance, discovered a factory that produced "explosively formed penetrators" (EFPs), a particularly deadly type of explosive that can destroy a main battle tank and several weapons caches."

And then changed it to read:

"The U.S. military said two U.S. soldiers died in separate roadside bombings in the east and west of Baghdad on Friday.
One of the bombs was an explosively formed projectile, a particularly deadly type of device which Washington accuses Iran of supplying Iraqi militants."

Because, you know, we can't have it known that these Iraqi insurgents, heretofore incapable of producing these surely Iranian-made explosives, are actually building them on their own. I mean, that kinda conflicts with the raison d'etre of the upcoming war on Iran, no?

I've been pretty wary of assuming that we'll go marching into Iran, or even bombing the country, despite its recent belligerence toward Britain, the saber-rattling of the White House, and the fact that, strategically, we've got them nailed to the wall, with fronts along their western border (Iraq) and eastern border (Afghanistan), control of the bodies of water to the north and south, and have even been engaging in some black ops along the southeastern border with Pakistan, where the CIA has been aiding the anti-Iranian Pakistani militia known as Jundullah.

I mean, sure, that adds up to an awfully frightening endgame, and Bush isn't exactly the type of guy I'd depend on to diplomatically extract us from a powderkeg situation, but ... we wouldn't really be stupid enough to attack Iran ... would we?

And even assuming we would do such a disastrously asinine thing, surely a major newspaper that's generally seen as having a liberal bent wouldn't engage in propaganda to try to sell that war ... would it?

Ah well. Stop worrying and learn to love the bomb.

Moving on, I don't know how I could have missed something so spectacular, but almost a week ago, the New York Sun, admittedly as right-wing a rag as they come, called for DICK CHENEY TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT

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Yes, that Dick Cheney.

It boggles the mind. How could any editorialist, no matter how far to one political extreme, actually call for Cheney to run for president? First, there's the political realities to consider. Dick currently polls at about 39 percent, according to Rasmussen. That's bad enough. But when you consider that his unfavorable rating is a majority 55 percent according to the same report, and that, historically, he has polled as low as a staggering 18 percent, making him about as popular among Americans as Caligula was among Romans, a Cheney run becomes a lesson in futility.

And that's not to mention the policy decisions that a Cheney administration would mean. The Sun article states, "for those of us who are concerned with extending Mr. Bush's campaign for freedom around the world and cutting taxes at home, a Cheney campaign is attractive." That line engages in such breathtaking doublespeak, it's difficult to say where to begin. Shall I discuss this "campaign for freedom," a war based on lies that has resulted in numerous war crimes, an American military stretched to the breaking point, and the needless deaths of thousands of Americans? Or maybe I should focus on "cutting taxes at home," citing the disastrous Bush tax cuts, coupled with out of control spending, that has driven our country's economy to the brink of collapse — perhaps not today or tomorrow, but certainly once my doomed generation is old enough to take the reigns of power.

And even if Cheney won the primary but failed to overtake his Democratic opponent, can you imagine the horror of a Cheney campaign? Perhaps no politician engages more often in dissent-is-treason rhetoric than Dick Cheney. The very idea of a Cheney campaign leaves me feeling vaguely queasy, despite the fact that it would almost assure a victory for the party that, at least these days, stands for a more sane approach to our nation's problems. And maybe that's what folks like the editorialists over at the Sun like best of all — a Cheney campaign means pissing off liberals.

Ah well. Stop worrying and learn to love the vampire.

Moving on once again, a while back, while commenting on another blog, I took a fellow to task for trolling the Internet for blog entries written about him. But this got me thinking. If Andy Martin's prowling around out there, I wonder what I could turn up about me. Besides, Doomed Generation turned one year old a week ago, which calls for a look back. Hell, I even learned a few things.

According to the Keynoter, I am a political pundit.

I somehow made it onto the blogroll of BarCamp Miami, despite not having participated in the event.

I'm also on the blogroll of several blogs that I hadn't added to my own roll, including Coconut Grove Grapevine, among others. All y'all have been added to my rolls.

Laura Fiorilli, who keeps on eye on political Web sites for the Tampa Tribune's site, has referrenced my work several times.

The conservative blog Post Political credited me with a photo that I don't deserve credit for.

Speaking of conservative blogs, my entry pointing out that the supposedly independent Draft Condi movement is merely a front for the National Black Republican Association enjoyed a brief life in the conservative blogosphere, cited by Bullwinkle Blog, The Florida Masochist, and even the D.C.-based blog Outside the Beltway, which built upon my initial observation and surmised (rightly, I now believe) that this is more a cheap fundraising ploy by the NBRA than it is a sign of a Condi Rice presidential campaign.

Anyway, all told, a surprising trip through Google. I now take back everything I said about Martin. He does have a life ... I mean, at least I now assume he does.

April 5, 2007

Chuck Hagel: A Man for All Seasons

Despite the title of this blog entry, a veiled reference to the senator from Nebraska's flip-flop on the war, I welcomed him to the anti-war side of the debate. I was glad to see a such a strongly conservative voice see the error of his ways and realize that this war in Iraq represents the worst imperialist arrogance, which is hardly a traditional conservative value.

But one thing I will not tolerate from these anti-war-come-latelys is illustrated by one of Hagel's quotes in his recent interview in Esquire magazine:
"Congress abdicated its oversight responsibility," he says. "The press abdicated its responsibility, and the American people abdicated their responsibilities. Terror was on the minds of everyone, and nobody questioned anything, quite frankly."

Screw that noise, senator. The president and his abettors in Congress (meaning you), along with a healthy portion of the American populace, dragged me kicking, screaming, punching, biting, and thrashing into this war. So don't dare try to lay even a shred of the blame for this crap at my feet. I recall watching Colin Powell's horseshit speech before the U.N., in which he tried to pass off cartoons and grainy photos as proof positive that the Iraqis had chemical and biological weapons. I remember thinking, once the speech ended, "Well, that oughtta sink this stupidity." And yet, when Wolf Blitzer came on, he was falling all over himself to commend the open-and-shut case Powell had just laid out. It was as though we had seen two separate speeches.

No doubt, Senator Hagel, you saw the Blitzer version.

Later in the interview, Hagel goes on to say:

"There were two reasons I [voted for the Iraq War Resolution]. I believed what the administration said, that war would be a last resort, and the second thing is, at a critical time like this, the president needs a strong hand, and to some extent, you've got to trust him, until he lies or screws up or something."

Well, if that's the case senator, then you were both foolish and naive. I agree that you should have some level of trust in your leaders until they "lie or screw up or something." But by the time of the resolution, Bush had already done that many times over. And did you honestly believe that a vote for the Iraq War Resolution would not be used by Bush to go to war? Don't patronize me. For someone as blunt as yourself, it's even less becoming that it is the typical silver-tongued snakes of Washington.

Senator Hagel's uttering of the word "impeachment" is the part of the Esquire article that was spread far and wide after it hit the stands. But, while I welcome Hagel's joining those of us who have always employed reason and critical thinking to our opinions of the Iraq War, I will not let him drag me, and everyone else who saw through the lies and manipulations of the Bush administration's casus belli, through the mud in a vainglorious attempt at revisionist history.

We have always been here, senator. From the moment the first drum beats of war began. Welcome. Pull up a chair. But don't believe for a second that you were the first one to the party.

April 4, 2007

The Obama Bus Leaves the Station

The AP report's opening paragraph summed it up nicely: "Democrat Barack Obama raked in $25 million for his presidential bid in the first three months of 2007, placing him on a par with front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and dashing her image as the party's inevitable nominee."

Dashing her image is one way to put it. Derailing her campaign would be another. Sending her down in flames would be another.

Face it, ace — there are only a couple reasons Clinton enjoyed high numbers up to this point. First, there's the fact that everyone's heard of her. But as the campaign rolls on, this reason goes by the wayside. Second, and perhaps more importantly, many Democrats were convinced that Hillary's party backing and fundraising ability gave her the tools needed to win. With Obama just a cool mil shy of Hillary's $26 million, that reason has now imploded. Hillary is the least anti-war candidate of the major Democratic candidates. There is now no reason for party activists to support her.

Indeed, Hillary's numbers are already down in polls in the initial primary states, where Edwards has seen gains at her expense in recent days. With the news that Obama has as much cash as Senator C., he'll peel away at her lead as well. By the time of the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 22 (not to mention the earlier Iowa and Nevada caucuses), we could see Hillary in third place.

OK, OK. I don't really believe that. But second place in the polls behind Obama and with a third-place Edwards nipping at her heels is a very real possibility.

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Sitting Pretty

This morning on CNN, political correspondent Candy Crowley went through the poll linked above, showing how Edwards had essentially taken voters from Clinton. But Crowley then expressed sheer bewilderment as to why Hillary's favorability rating has also dropped. This being New Hampshire, the obvious answer is a backlash to Hillary inevitability. For a long while now, Hillary has been seen as the given Democratic candidate, the others merely pretenders to the Clinton throne. American voters in general, but especially in independent-streaked New Hampshire, don't like being told that their presidential candidate is unavoidable. It takes something out of the political process, and it screws with their values.

Hell, when's the last time the Democratic frontrunner at the beginning of the race actually turned out to be the winner, assuming there wasn't a successor figure like Al Gore in 2000? Whattaya say, ace? Remember Dean in 2004? Cuomo in 1992? Yeah, me neither. And you'd think somebody like Crowley would pick up on that. Lord knows she's been in the game long enough.

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Ms. Crowley, what went wrong in your head?

The Stupidest Man in the World, Part III: The End of Stupid

It's been a too-long ride for Miles O'Brien, the Stupidest Man in the World. After parts one and two in this series, I figured there wouldn't be a whole lot more to say about the co-anchor of CNN's American Morning. That is, of course, until the news came down today that Miles would be leaving the desk.

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Miles O'Brien issuing another ill-conceived report

Miles will be replaced by veteran anchor John Roberts, who used to fill Dan Rather's massive footwear when the man was away from his desk. More recently, he's been overflowing Miles' smaller shoes. The man will be a welcome change to the only morning cable news show. Hell, the last six words of the previous sentence are desperately sad in and of themselves. With three cable news programs, how is it that I can only get actual news on one channel in the mornings? It boggles the mind. If I flip to MSNBC, I've got the zombified corpse of Don Imus murmuring gutterally through another interview. And God forbig I change the channel to Fox, where Fox and Friends' caffeinated brand of that station's propaganda-as-news formula has been known to cause bleeding from the eyes of unsuspecting viewers.

So, it's down to CNN and their new anchor. Congratulations, Mr. Roberts. You're a new and better man.

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Johnny boy

My only regret with the change is that Soledad O'Brien was caught in the crossfire. She'll be replaced by Lara Croft, who recently came to the station from Fox.

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Croft, a.k.a Kiran Chetry, late of Fox News.

I always liked Soledad, and I always had the feeling that she shared my opinion of Miles. Something in the way she'd look at him when he had just tossed out yet another ignorant opinion. Anyway, both of the old anchors are staying with CNN, so this won't be the last you see of either the melting pot that is Soledad or the dim bulb that is Miles.

April 3, 2007

Back Into Politics Tomorrow, Promise

For now, Alanis Morissette does the Black Eyed Peas "My Humps," somehow turning it into a quasi-feminist social commentary. I have gained back much of the respect I lost for her.

Just How Great Are the Florida Gators?

I mean, is there anything this football champion, two-in-a-row basketball champion, top-50 academic school can't do?

Rumor has it that, after the game, Joakim Noah saved 10 babies from a burning building, brokered peace in the Middle East, and ate the new Wendy's 4-alarm chicken sandwich without taking a sip from his Coke.

Further rumors that Billy Donovan pleasured Thad Matta's wife as she had never been pleasured before are unsubstantiated at this time.


To the Gators! The best college basketball team in the country, bar none!
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To the Gators! The best football team in the country, though Ohio State fans will sob that their team is really better, but just had an off day or some crap.
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To the Swamp! The most dangerous place to play football in college sports!
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And to me! For calling the Final Four, the Championship, and the champions. I rule!
OK, OK. All this Gator love is kinda silly for a Missouri alum, but I've adopted the Gators for a couple reasons:
1) I now live in Florida, so I had to pick between Florida, Florida State and Miami for a team to root for. That choice is no choice at all. Florida State's a bunch of yahoos, and The Canes consider gunplay a college sport.

2) To paraphrase Jules from Pulp Fiction, my girlfriend's a Gator, which more or less makes me a Gator.

Anyway, it was a helluva game last night — well, if you were a Florida fan. The Gators led by 11 at the half, and the Buckeyes never came close through the entire second period. At this point, is it even safe for a Florida fan to enter Columbus? Would anyone in Gators paraphernalia be shot on sight? My own experience with Columbus — an ugly, brutal story that will have to wait for another time, after the statute of limitations has past by — seems to confirm this. Beware, Gator fans — the streets of Columbus are forever closed to you. Unless you're suicidal, of course. But these days, it ain't the Gators that are on suicide watch.
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April 2, 2007

For John McCain, Baghdad Is a Walk in the Park

After John McCain's bizarre idiocy on CNN a few days ago, in which he claimed that Americans can "walk freely" in certain areas of Baghdad, only to be roundly destroyed by Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware moments later, the good senator took a trip to the Iraqi capital. Indeed, he strolled through a Baghdad marketplace ... with 100 soldiers, three Blackhawk helicopters and two Apache gunships. If that's not walking around freely, I don't know what is. Oh, by the way, while McCain strolled through Baghdad, six American soldiers died southwest of the city.


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Sen. John McCain, walking freely in Baghdad

Senator, please don't patronize us. How many more American arms and legs have to be scattered over Iraqi streets? The blood is neverending now, like that horrific scene in The Shining. Terrible, terrible ...

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No, not that horrific scene...

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No, not that one either ... (but, yeah, Christ that's horrific)

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Yeah, that's the one.

But McCain's apparent decision to spend the rest of the campaign season in some idyllic Republican Shangri-La where Baghdad is as safe as suburbia isn't the man's biggest problem. No, that would be fundraising. Most of the big GOP and Dem presidential candidates annoucned their first-quarter fundraising today. The results for the Dems were pretty standard, as far as who was in the lead, but the amounts were staggering. Hillary destroyed the previous record for first-quarter fundraising, posting an unbelievable $26 million. Those are some staggering numbers, ace. There's nothing to compare it to, it dwarfs everyththing that has come before, we are through the looking glass, etc. However, if rumor is to be believed, the Obama campaign has almost as much cash. The link at "rumor" doesn't have an exact number, but I've heard it will be somewhere in the $21 million range. That definitely keeps Obama in the swing of things, and with Edwards at $14 million, he can't be discounted.

Meanwhile, things were more shocking on the GOP side. John McCain came in a distant third at $12 million, Giuliani barely got ahead of him with $15 million and Mitt Romney hauled in $23 million. That is truly bizarre. Romney, considered a distant third up to this point, has blown away the competitors. To those who have been watching closely, though, this shouldn't come as any great surprise. I've pointed out recently that most of the big-money GOP people here in Florida have gotten behind Romney, and I can only assume that similar things have happened in a lot of the other states.

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Mitt and Hillary, so money

In closing, let me just point out that today is Emmylou Harris' 60th birthday. She's still the prettiest gray-haired lady in the world, and her voice will still steal your soul.
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