.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

The Tally Ho

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

John Kerry: The Most Liberal Senator?

...nppe, according to the National Review he is 12th, Edwards 24th.

Here is a link to the blog John Kerry: The Most Liberal Senator? An Analysis

However, who is counting and what votes mattter. Again, check out Jon Stewart's interview with Harry Bonilla

Monday, August 30, 2004

"The Real Issue: Bush Is Incompetent"

The Real Issue: Bush Is Incompetent is the latest piece by Richard Reeves. I orginally read his previous op-ed, "When Should We Get Out of Iraq" when I stumbled along his latest. In the intro, Reeves writes:
Whether you agree or disagree with the words pouring from the podium over Americans who see reflections of themselves in George W. Bush, the real issue of this election will not be mentioned. The core issue is this: Our president is incompetent. He is not a good president.

Let me count the ways:

Reeves lists includes the following:
(4) He campaigns as a champion of smaller government, but is greatly increasing the size and role of government. Ideological conservatism, it turns out, costs just as much or more than ideological liberalism. Conservative and liberal politicians are both for increasing the reach and power of government. The difference between them is which parts and functions of the state are to be empowered and financed. The choice is between military measures and order, or more redistribution of income. Money is power.

(7) He is diminishing the Constitution of the United States. Cheesy tricks like amending the great text of freedom to attack homosexuality can be dismissed as wedge politics. But it is worse to preach against an activist judiciary while appointing more activist judges who happen to hold different beliefs, particularly the idea that civil liberties are the enemies of patriotism, security and freedom itself.

(8) He has surrounded himself with other incompetents. The secretary of state is presiding over the rape of diplomacy and its alliances. The secretary of defense has sent our young men and women into situations they were never meant or trained to handle, and now they are being ordered into battle by an appointed minister in a faraway land. The national security adviser does not seem to know that her job description includes coordinating defense and diplomacy. And then there was our $340,000-a-month local hire, Ahmed Chalabi, sitting in the gallery of our House.

This is in fact the real issue as I see it. Why does Bush deserve four more years, and what has he done to prove this? They want to run on war against terrorism. But the DoD under Bush's watch we went Blind Into Baghdad, prison abuse at Abu Ghraib, and now the allegation that an analyst with ties to Douglas J. Feith in the DoD is an Israeli spy. Yet has anyone lost their job over these events? So today the Republican National Convention begins in New York and I am wondering what to expect from Bush and the RNC. I am sure that we will hear we must "stay the course" because we have "turned the corner" mixed in with anti-choice rhetoric and reasons why we supposedly need the a federal marriage ammendment. But underneath it are they not trying to convince the public that despite having an unimpressive and controversial first term that widened the divisions within our country after 11 Sept. 2001. So I assume that the case for reelection this week will be about proposing a broad new agenda for the future as opposed asking to be reelected based on the last four years.

More: I listened a bit of Guiliani's speech tonight, and the parts that I listened to it was about 11 Sept. and terrorism. I will watch more and read some of the ones I didn't catch at all, but my impression after day one and from what i read on various sites, it was about terrorism and security. To be honest I turned off Guiliani because 1) I was busy, but 2) said that Iraq was part of the war on terror.

Also I think the Kerry campaign, which for the most part I have thought has been good, didn't have a great couple of weeks before the convention. While I admist that I have been traveling some and occupied at other times, the Swift Boaters seemed to have dominated many media cycles and distracted the Kerry campaign from the issues they really want to talk about. I realize that Kerry needs to respond to the allegations and not roll over, but at the same time I think it took Kerry away from the issues they wanted to discuss before the RNC convention. This was also the first time in a while that I didn't feel sure that Kerry was going to win in November.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

More Promotion

If you live in the NYC area, or plan to be in town for the convention, Planned Parenthood has an event at the Beacon. If you are from out of town, the Beacon is right across from Fairway Market, next door to a liq store and down the street from Zabar's, so for a break you can have a picnic in central park. Or check out Artie's Deli on 83rd street. Anyway, other performers include Joan Osborne, Nellie McKay, Michael McKean, Annette O'Toole, Kathleen Turner, Giancarlo Esposito, and Lou Reed.


Anyway... and yes, I saw this on a banner from a weblog. See, blog ads are useful.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Funny

From dkos diarist km, Delay bombs again at town hall

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Check this Link

http://www.aclu.org/pizza/images/screen.swf

"This is What I Saw that Day"

Elwood sent me a Trib article, This is what I saw that Day is written by Chicago Tribune Editor William B. Rood. Basically, he says SBVFT are lying.
Even though Kerry's own crew members have backed him, the attacks have continued, and in recent days Kerry has called me and others who were with him in those days, asking that we go public with our accounts.

I can't pretend those calls had no effect on me, but that is not why I am writing this. What matters most to me is that this is hurting crewmen who are not public figures and who deserved to be honored for what they did. My intent is to tell the story here and to never again talk publicly about it.

I was part of the operation that led to Kerry's Silver Star. I have no firsthand knowledge of the events that resulted in his winning the Purple Hearts or the Bronze Star.

But on Feb. 28, 1969, I was officer in charge of PCF-23, one of three swift boats--including Kerry's PCF-94 and Lt. j.g. Donald Droz's PCF-43--that carried Vietnamese regional and Popular Force troops and a Navy demolition team up the Dong Cung, a narrow tributary of the Bay Hap River, to conduct a sweep in the area.

The approach of the noisy 50-foot aluminum boats, each driven by two huge 12-cylinder diesels and loaded down with six crew members, troops and gear, was no secret.

Ambushes were a virtual certainty, and that day was no exception.

Read the whole piece.

Also: David Sirota and Jonathan Baskin have an article that can be found at The Washington Monthly titled Follow the Money: How John Kerry Busted the Terrorists' Favorite Bank. Their introduction:
Two decades ago, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) was a highly respected financial titan. In 1987, when its subsidiary helped finance a deal involving Texas oilman George W. Bush, the bank appeared to be a reputable institution, with attractive branch offices, a traveler's check business, and a solid reputation for financing international trade. It had high-powered allies in Washington and boasted relationships with respected figures around the world.

All that changed in early 1988, when John Kerry, then a young senator from Massachusetts, decided to probe the finances of Latin American drug cartels. Over the next three years, Kerry fought against intense opposition from vested interests at home and abroad, from senior members of his own party; and from the Reagan and Bush administrations, none of whom were eager to see him succeed.

Attack of the Links

Here is the new Tom Tomorrow cartoon, The Undecided Voter.

Second, after looking through my email box, I noticed J sent me several links to daily show interviews. Go here and look for the following interviews: Harry Bonilla, Bill Clinton, and Wolf Blitzer. I haven't been following much for the past week, but J says Stewart has been great in not letting talking points through without a challenge. Here is another link from J. Diarist TNliberal on dKos wrote a bit on The Daily Show and Stewart.

This is a Smoking Gun piece titled Swift Change of Heart.

Craig sent me a link to Iraq Coalition Casualties

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Traveling

I will be away for several days. Maybe Sammy, David, or Nico will post something from time to time.

Monday, August 16, 2004

No Convention Boom for NYC? / Charter Schools Lagging

Lydia Polgreen has an article in the Times, City Lowering Its Sights for a Convention Boom. Polgreen writes
City officials have promoted the Republican National Convention as a $265 million wave on the becalmed sea of New York City's summer economy, but now that the convention is two weeks away, signs point to a modest economic boost for a handful of businesses rather than a tide that lifts all boats.

Rooms at some of the city's hottest hotels and tables at some of its most exclusive restaurants are still available, and seats are still there for the taking at hit Broadway shows like "Hairspray" and "Movin' Out." The producer of "I Am My Own Wife," a Pulitzer- and Tony-winning critical hit about a German transvestite, is closing for a week during the convention rather than face many empty seats. Other shows are closing for good.

Also in the Times is an article by Diana Jean Schemo titled Charter Schools Lagging Behind, U.S. Data Reveal. Schemo writes
WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 - The first national comparison of test scores among children in charter schools and regular public schools shows charter school students often doing worse than comparable students in regular public schools.

The findings, buried in mountains of data the Education Department released without public announcement, dealt a blow to supporters of the charter school movement, including the Bush administration.

The data shows fourth graders attending charter schools performing about half a year behind students in other public schools in both reading and math. Put another way, only 25 percent of the fourth graders attending charters were proficient in reading and math, against 30 percent who were proficient in reading, and 32 percent in math, at traditional public schools.

Because charter schools are concentrated in cities, often in poor neighborhoods, the researchers also compared urban charters to traditional schools in cities. They looked at low-income children in both settings, and broke down the results by race and ethnicity as well. In virtually all instances, the charter students did worse than their counterparts in regular public schools.

Charters are expected to grow exponentially under the new federal education law, No Child Left Behind, which holds out conversion to charter schools as one solution for chronically failing traditional schools.

"The scores are low, dismayingly low," said Chester E. Finn Jr., a supporter of charters and president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, who was among those who asked the administration to do the comparison.

Mr. Finn, an assistant secretary of education in the Reagan administration, said the quality of charter schools across the country varied widely, and he predicted that the results would make those overseeing charters demand more in the way of performance.

"A little more tough love is needed for these schools," Mr. Finn said. "Somebody needs to be watching over their shoulders."

She continues:
Amy Stuart Wells, a sociology professor at Columbia University Teachers College, called the new data "really, really important."

"It confirms what a lot of people who study charter schools have been worried about," she said. "There is a lack of accountability. They're really uneven in terms of quality."

Detractors have historically accused charters of skimming the best students, those whose parents are most committed, from the poorest schools. But supporters of charter schools said the data confirmed earlier research suggesting that charters take on children who were already performing below average. "We're doing so much to help kids that are so much farther behind, and who typically weren't even continuing in school," said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, in Washington, which represents charter schools. She said the results reflect only "a point in time," and said nothing about the progress of students in charter schools.

Mike Keefe Cartoons

I was reading leafing through a random paper this morning, and I found a cartoon by Mike Keefe about Bush the "flip-flopper." Normally one just expects it during a political campaign, but team Bush tries to paint Kerry as a "flip-flopper" while ignoring their own. However, the one that caught me was his cartoon Genocide in Sudan. There were a few posts on the Sudan (UK, UN To Sudan?, Rangel Arrested, Joe Hoeffel Arrested) I will imbed the image for a day, but this is a site worth stopping by if you like political cartoons and if he isn't carried by your local paper. I think I will add a cartoon link section.

Mike Keefe and his archives.

J's Review of A vs. P

A few times a year J, I, and whoever else is around try to catch either the worst movie out, or at least something intentionally bad... anyway this is J's review of A vs. P.
Went to go see Alien vs. Predator on Friday. Overall, the first 2/3 was pretty decent, while the final 1/3 was a piece of suck.

From memory, in order.
Opening scene - decent. A bunch of shadows that looked like a queen alien's head. As it rotates and pulls back, it turns out to be a Weyland Corp. satellite that finds a heat source in the Arctic (or maybe it was the Antarctic). My problem with that is that you can not get any details about what the structure looks like through the ice. At best, the ice might show up as a slightly warmer blob than the surrounding ice. Using the vast majority of materials, heat can not be seen through it. This is violated MANY times through the movie.

Now time to round up a group to go explore the pyramid. Some of this was ok, but the scene where they picked up the woman climbing a mountain alone in Nepal. First of all, that is insane. Second, as she is climbing ice on the side of a mountain...her phone rings! Then, she pauses the climb to answer it! By putting a hands free set in her ear! Anyway, as she talks while continuing the climb, which make talking while driving look like a good idea, she is told that Weyland wants to hire her. She says that she can't be back to civilization for at least a week. As she reaches the top, the guy that she was talking to tells her that's not good enough...as he is standing by a helicopter waiting for her. How many things are wrong with that scene? How would she not notice the helicopter landing right above her? Why would he call and distract her when she was less than 60 seconds from the top. Ugh!

I am even getting bored reviewing this, so I'll be brief. When they get to the pyramid and some begin getting impregnated. The big problem with this is that the alien life cycle is very accelerated. I didn't get the impression that people were in the pyramid for more than a few hours, but that was enough for the aliens to grow from embryo to warrior???!!! Ugh!!

Then, the pyramid starts shifting inside. It kinda reminded me of the movie Cube. After the second shift, the guy who was the ancient culture expert decides that is must reconfigure every ten minutes. His logic, The Aztecs were on a base-ten system, so it must reconfigure every ten minutes. The problem here was...The Aztecs didn't know what a minute was!!! Base-ten, fine. Minutes, please! Ugh!!!

Mayhem ensues because the humans find the predator shoulder weapons (preds are suppose to go in without the shoulder weapon, get their guns, then kill all the aliens. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, the climber woman realizes that the things that they found must be their weapons and, following good US Mideast policy (the enemy of my enemy is my friend), she decides to arm the preds. As she gives the pred (which was impregnated earlier, but doesn't know it) it's gun, they are attacked by an alien. She grabs the pred spear, which the alien impales itself on as it attacks her. More aliens come, but the pred fights them off with it's shiny new gun. It starts to walk off, she yells at it and tells it that she is going with it. It then pulls out it's knife, cuts the head off of the alien, somehow scoops the insides out of it. Then, it cuts the tip of the aliens tail off and ties it to a stick. She now has a nifty new shield and spear. They run off. At this point, the audience laughed at how stupid the scene was! UGH!!!

They then find an egg chamber, where the pred leaves his wrist bomb. Now in Predator 2, when Danny Glover cut the preds arm off, the bomb was disarmed. Hmmm...

Anyway, they run out before it blow up, but are chased by the queen. Now, the pred with the alien in him has been attacked by several drones and a queen. In Alien 3, the alien refused to kill Ripley because she had one in her. Hmmm....

Well, the queen kills the pred, but gets shackled to something large and pulled to the bottom of the Arctic ocean (not dead, which leaves possibilities for future movies. Oh the humanity!

Finally, the remaining preds take the dead one on their ship and leave. After the ship takes off and the body is left alone, a alien "hatches". Now this alien has mandibles like the preds. Here is my problem with this and the alien born from the dog (or ox if you saw the special edition), which runs on all fours. How does the alien take on characteristics from the host? An EMBRYO is implanted and uses the host as a cocoon. Presumable no DNA is extracted from the host. How does it take on traits of the host? At this point, the movie ends.

Not Hollow Man bad, but not at all good. It never made me care about any of the characters and killed off many without any development. IMDB rates it at 5.7/10, which is probably high, considering P2 got less. Probably boosted by 13 year old boys. UGHHH!!!!!!

Check out the IMDB message board, it bored.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

March for Women's Lives

March for Women's Lives by Planned Parenthood of New York.


Date: 8/28/2004 from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Hosted By: PPNYC
choicevoice@ppnyc.org
RSVP by: August 27, 2004 at 10:00 am

March for Women's Lives New York
Saturday August 28th, 2004
Assemble at 11:00 a.m. at Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn
Step-off at 12:00 noon across the Brooklyn Bridge
1:00 Rally for Women’s Lives at City Hall Park, Manhattan

Join us on Saturday, August 28th for New York City's biggest, strongest march for reproductive freedom ever!

We will be marching across the Brooklyn Bridge to make sure that issues of reproductive health--global family planning, real sex education, safe and legal abortion, birth control options, and access to health care--are part of the national political dialogue!

Women of all backgrounds in New York and across the country are facing more serious health threats than ever before -- barriers to health insurance, difficult access to birth control and family planning services, dangerously biased sex education programs and assaults on safe and legal abortion. We know that by joining forces will we span the gap to a healthier future for the women, men and young people of New York.

New York City is the birthplace of reproductive freedom. Join us to let elected officials know they need to take women's health seriously, and to show that New Yorkers care deeply about reproductive health and rights!

Join us for weekly March volunteer nights! Click here to sign up: http://www.ppaction.org/ppnyc/upcoming-events.tcl?month=8&year=2004

Thanks Trope, and Happy Birthday!

A Series of Posts from Kos

Bush: flippity floppity steady leadership

LA-05: Lawsuit update (Alexander Party Switch)

The "experts" ready to call it for Kerry

More: David Sirota has a blog titled More Selling Out to PhRMA

Loving the Holiday

While I am not really on vacation, I feel like it. Dinner last night was excellent. I hardly ever eat red meat, but a buddy and I decided to have surf (grilled Cajun salmon) and turf (teriyaki steak) with pesto couscous and a mixed green salad topped with asiago cheese and a raspberry vinaigrette.

For dinner tonight I had penne with shrimp in a butter, wine, basil, a dash of olive oil, and topped with parmesan and asiago.

I like August.

An Email from Jason

WC Fields quotes

10) "During one of my treks through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew. We were compelled to live on food and water for several days."
9) "I exercise extreme self control. I never drink anything stronger than Gin before breakfast."
8) "I was in love with a beautiful blonde once. She drove me to drink, but I never had the courtesy to thank her."
7) "It's a wonderful thing, the D.T.'s. You can travel the world in a couple of hours. You see some mighty funny and curious things that come in assorted colors."
6) "I feel like a midget with muddy feet had been walking over my tongue all night."
5) "Sleep... the most beautiful experience in life... except drink."
4) "Somebody's been putting pineapple juice in my pineapple juice!"
3) "I don't believe in dining on an empty stomach."
2) "I never drank anything stronger than beer before I was twelve."
1) "I don't drink water; Fish fuck in it."

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

New This Modern World

Check out the new This Modern World over at Working for Change.

Editorials

Here is a bit from Paul Krugman's latest Op-Ed, Spin the Payrolls:
So have we returned to prosperity? No: jobs are harder to find, by any measure, than they were at any point during Bill Clinton's second term. The job situation might have improved somewhat in the past year, but it's still not good.

Second, the apologists give numbers without context. President Bush boasts about 1.5 million new jobs over the past 11 months. Yet this was barely enough to keep up with population growth, and it's worse than any 11-month stretch during the Clinton years.

Third, they cherry-pick any good numbers they can find.

The shocking news that the economy added only 32,000 jobs in July comes from payroll data. Experts say what Alan Greenspan said in February: "Everything we've looked at suggests that it's the payroll data which are the series which you have to follow." Another measure of employment, from the household survey, fluctuates erratically; for example, it fell by 265,000 in February, a result nobody believes. Yet because July's household number was good, suddenly administration officials were telling reporters to look at that number, not the more reliable payroll data.

Addition: Also, thanks to Steven R, a DKos diarist, we have this editorial from the Des Moines Register titled Admit it: Tax cuts have failed to create enough jobs. Here is a little:
It's time to admit that tax cuts, as an all-purpose economic policy - indeed the only economic policy of this administration - have failed.

Rather than admitting the mistakes, some continue to cling to the notion that cutting taxes will work. It takes time. Or they point to a different set of numbers in an attempt to prove that the job creation is adequate. This is not only disingenuous, it's damaging.

There is a better way to create jobs than to try doing it indirectly through tax cuts. Do it directly by building things. History tells us so....

If the money the federal government has been borrowing had been spent building things the country needs, everyone would be better off, from those wanting to swim in an Iowa lake to patients treated in crumbling public hospitals.

It's never too late to change strategies.

So is the administration's tax/economic plans pure ideology, or is there another agenda? Do they simply cling to the ideology that massive tax cuts for the wealthiest will pay for themselves in new revenue, or is it that having massive debts will hinder or derail any new possible social benefits (ie. health care for all, better public housing...) while undermining our current benefits? Maybe it is a bit of both, or just the consequence of failed policy.

WS: Keyes to a Fiasco

Weekly Standard contributor Mike Murphy has an article titled Keyes to a Fiasco: Illinois Republicans decide to make a bad situation worse (thanks to the poster, The Other Steve, on Good Intentions). In this article, Murphy writes:
Since then the increasing desperate Illinois Republican have careened off one non-starter, down-market candidate idea to another with Chicago Bears coaching legend Mike Ditka being the last Big Idea. That fizzled and now they've got Keyes. I'd pity them, except you must remember: They invited Keyes to run. One can only lament that there was no humble state representative or local official public spirited enough to take the great honor of the Illinois Republican party's U.S. Senate nomination and proudly run with it. Instead the Illinois GOP has reached into the remainder bin and allowed a serious nomination to become a cheap and cynical exercise that will only hurt and embarrass the party. Republicans in the land of Lincoln should know better.


More about Keyes from Josh Marshall.
I think we may have a winner for the feeblest endorsement of Alan Keyes from a prominent Illinois Republican. In this vaguely Sovietological nod, Cong. Ray LaHood (R-IL) says, "If the party believes he's the best candidate for the race, then I'm with him."

With rather more gusto, Republican Jim Oberweis, who lost out to Jack Ryan in the GOP Senate primary called the Obama-Keyes race "a debate between good on the right and evil on the left" which I take it amounts to an endorsement.

-- Josh Marshall

In another post by Marshall, he writes:
If anyone thought that Alan Keyes was going to start marching around Illinois spouting clownish bombast and giving Barack Obama a chance to play the statesman in the face of the Illinois GOP's cynical nonsense, boy do they have another thing coming.

In case you missed it, Keyes commented that Obama's position on partial birth abortion was the "slaveholder's position." I don't get why the IL GOP wants to run an out of state wingnut for a seat they will definately lose. Are they telling us that there are no moderates or true conservatives in either the state House or Senate worthy or running? Is this suppose to convince moderate IL voters that the IL GOP is serious?

Update: Check out the polling numbers on Obama vs. Keyes via Survey USA. This was before the Keyes announcement and is registered voters.

Obama 67%
Keyes 28%

Kos blogged this...

Mmm, Breakfast

I tried to do something that I always fail at, making an omlette. I had this great idea to use the last of the gorganzola cheese with a fresh tomato and three eggs. By now I should know better, it ended up scrambled because I can't cook eggs. I shouldn't feel bad, most people can't make a proper cup to tea. I think I will stick with tea, fish, pasta, and salad - which I think it actually ends up as intended.

Comment: In response to my comment "By now I should know better, it ended up scrambled because I can't cook eggs. I shouldn't feel bad, most people can't make a proper cup to tea," my friend P writes,
You're right on that one. I am completely inept at making good tea. But I can make you a damn fine omelette.

After P's baking, I believe it. However, as they say - you can either cook or bake, usually not both.

Out of the Loop

CNN.com has an article titled Cuddling new craze for New York's singles.
Everyone needs to be cuddled, especially in lonely New York, say creators Reid Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski, who say it's a good way to meet new and interesting people...

An introduction to cuddling ensues, first by hugging three people. People then get in a circle on their hands and knees, rub shoulders and moo like cows. After a bit of swaying, everyone falls to their side, which puts them into an easy cuddling position.

Cuddle parties are intended for people who are emotionally sound. People in therapy or who are seeing a mental health professional are asked to consult their doctor before signing up for a party and to tell organizers of their situation.

This may be the new fad, but I think I will pass on this new craze.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Guardian: Iraq Sabotage Fear Deepens Oil Crisis/Kay at the Senate

The Guardian Unlimited's Economics Editor, Larry Elliot, writes:
Despite attempts to calm the markets, news that Iraqi armed militiamen were freely roaming the main southern oil production centre and that insurgents had fired mortar rounds at the oil ministry compound in Baghdad prompted speculation that the cost of US crude would soon be testing the $50-a-barrel level.

Iraq has been exporting about 1.9m barrels a day, but a week of violence in the country has rekindled concern about the ability of oil supplies to keep up with strong global demand. With the threat of bankruptcy still hanging over the Russian oil company Yukos, analysts were gloomy about the outlook.

"It looks like the insurgency might threaten oil supply, and that's enough to get this speculative momentum going again," said Marshall Steeves, analyst at Refco Group.

I wish someone would explain to me how pipelines of any kind can be efficently guarded. When I think of a pipeline I think of a miles and miles of pipe surrounded by nothing (desert, or forest, or plains), and I wonder about the logistics of protecting it from sabotage. Seeing how Iraq's future, at least in the relative short term, may be tied to oil production - it seems like an obvious conclusion that this is going to continue to be a serious threat.

Also, this CNN article based on the Transcript by David Kay's Senate testimony.

From the Atlantic

I was reading through my new Atlantic and I came across a tidbit by Ross Douthat titled Rumsfeld's Rules Revisited

Shortly after Donald Rumsfeld was appointed Secretary of Defense, the Department of Defense Web site posted a list of "Rumsfeld's Rules" for "government, business and life." The rules, which the new Secretary had begun touting in the mid-1970s, while serving as chief of staff for President Gerald Ford, were frequently cited as a blueprint for Rumsfeld's managerial style.

Over the past few years Rumsfeld's Rules have drifted away from public attention. Below are a few that seem worth revisiting.

  • "Establish good relations between the departments of Defense and State, the National Security Council, CIA and the Office of Management and Budget."
  • "Don't divide the world into 'them' and 'us.' Avoid infatuation with or resentment of the press, the Congress, rivals, or opponents. Accept them as facts. They have their jobs and you have yours."
  • "Don't do or say things you would not like to see on the front page of the Washington Post."
  • "If you foul up, tell the president and correct it fast. Delay only compounds mistakes."
  • "Be able to resign. It will improve your value to the president and do wonders for your performance."
  • "Your performance depends on your people. Select the best, train them, and back them. When errors occur, give sharper guidance. If errors persist or if the fit feels wrong, help them move on."
  • "It is easier to get into something than to get out of it."

Cubs

Because I am on "holiday," I have watched a few Cubs games recently. It is really nice to read what you want, watch what you want, and hang out with friends with no real schedule to adhere to. Not that anyone would ask, but I have a few suggestions for the Cubs this off season.

1) Nomar Garciaparra has to be signed to a multi-year contract.
2) Resign Todd Walker and let Mark Grudzielanek go, or perhaps keep him as a backup.
3) Sign Pokey Reese to be the backup for both Nomar and Walker. He is an outstandng defender, thus valuable in late innings and is a lifetime .250 hitter - which is acceptable. Martinez can also back up Nomar, but also Ramirez. ESPN lists Walker as the backup first basemen, so this way the infield is covered. Holding onto Jose Macias would also be a good move.
4) Get younger? Moises Alou will be 39 years old next year. While he is hitting .276 with 26 HRs and 66 RBIs this season. However, since June he is hitting .227 with 13 HRs and 31RBIs - that is .100 less. Perhaps getting Carlos Beltran would be worth moving Alou, if not next year - the age difference between the two is substantial enough to justify looking toward the future. Don't get me wrong, Alou is great, but Beltran is going to be star (Patterson could be moved to left). Sosa will stay a Cub as long as he wants.

More: In right field, Sosa, like Alou, has struggled for a few months. Since June he is hitting .238, a .53 point drop off. Over that time Nomar is hitting .326, Ramirez is hitting .345, and Lee is hitting .332. So the third and fourth batters in the Cubs line-up are both hitting close to .100 points less than the second, fifth, and sixth hitters since June. I am not saying that age has anything to do with it, but if Alou moves on, Beltran would be a perfect replacement in the outfield and hitting third.

And Audrey Tautou turned 26 today. She is mostly known for The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Poncho & Bush



Great Quote:
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." - George W. Bush

Friday, August 06, 2004

Traveling: Usually Not Fun

I don't leave my island too often, but when I do it is always memorable (and often miserable). In June, I flew to a wedding in Ohio. While the actual flight wasn't bad, and the man I sat next to was quite interesting, leaving New York was awful. A storm arrives while on the tarmac and we become #54 in line for take off. The way they organized the planes on the tarmac, the left side of our plane was in the exhaust path of a turbo prop. Those of us in the back of the plan inhaled wonderful fumes and listened to people complain. Luckily my trusty moveable bar (it was only serving Jameson) was a few feet away and the only other person had interesting stories about working around the world. It was a fine compliment to a bad beginning.

Next travel experience was a few weeks ago, as I wrote about. "On either end of vacation partying were two flights. The first was worst flight I have ever been on. It was set to depart 4:30ish, we didn't actually board until about 11pm. While waiting we were treated with the greatest cancellation announcement ever! "For those of you flying to Indianapolis and then to Los Angeles, you aren't going to Los Angeles. Please go to the ticket counter and reschedule." My plane was said to have been sent to Baltimore, but somehow when it arrived it came from Pittsburgh. Anyhow, after the long delay and several interesting conversations we boarded the plane. Twenty minutes into the flight a passenger trying to get around a flight attendant decided to lower his shoulder than push him onto two passengers an exit row. The attendant went flying, then popped up and was ready to knock this guy out. The passenger was chased to the bathroom and didn't come out for an hour. Next the attendant was considering having the plane turned around to have him arrested in New York! Everyone in our section freaked out and was willing to bribe him to be arrested in Chicago, not New York. After 7 hours of delays, no one was in a mood to return to New York. About a half hour later, after being stuck in that terminal for 8 hours with no food, no AC, nothing... a monster headache set in.... the rest of a blur." My return trip from Chicago wasn't nearly as bad; I just landed at 12:40am instead of 10:20pm.

My latest summer travel was on Tuesday. Snoozer is leaving New York for San Diego, and instead of flying she wanted to rent a car and do the cross country thing. Needing a week or so away from the heat of the city, I gladly accepted her offer. We set out at 8am on our seven state, one day trip. All was going great. The Snoozer and her lead foot buzzed through midtown like a cabby without a care for her passenger, through the Holland Tunnel, and West on I-78. We switched right before I-76, which by the way is a beautiful drive. Pennsylvania is my favorite state in the North East, Mid-East to drive through. Somewhere between where West Virginia ends and Ohio starts traffic comes to a standstill. The Snoozer and I travel about 25 miles in the next 2.5 hours. Though, we were not without entertainment. Besides the Snoozer cursing whatever state we were in, we saw a great automobile, a GTO... complete with driver! He walked around with his shirt untucked and unbuttoned (gold necklace with a horn of some kind), talking to woman in a mini-van. The Snoozer got checked out by a creepy guy in a truck... and we eventually went through this small town named St. Clairesville. So what we planned on being a 12.5 hour or so trip turned into a 15 hour trip. Despite the length and the standstill, it was still a great time and a lot of time to chat, sing along, and not have to be anywhere we didn't want to be... and despite the late arrival to our destination, libations were still had. It was by far the best travel experience of the summer.

Snoozer picked up a friend in St. Louis and is now many hours past Santa Fe. I already miss her.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Special Treatment?

J, who never posts just sent me this article, titled President's Daughters Get Ride On Diverted Flight.
WASHINGTON -- US Airways confirmed Tuesday that a scheduled flight between Boston and Washington, D.C., was diverted Saturday so some stranded passengers -- including President George W. Bush's twin daughters -- could get on the plane.

The Bush twins were picked up in Albany, N.Y., along with 22 other passengers. However, the move caused a two-hour delay for those traveling from Boston, reported WRC-TV in Washington, D.C...

A mechanical problem with another US Airways flight stranded Jenna and Barbara Bush in Albany. The twins and 22 other passengers were added to the Boston-to-D.C. flight. The plane arrived at Washington Reagan National Airport two hours late.

While US Airways says that this had nothing to do with the first twins, "industry experts say such diversions are extremely rare."

Word of the Day, One of my Favorites

Word of the Day for Thursday August 5, 2004 (from Dictoinary.com's word of the day)

bloviate \BLOH-vee-ayt\, intransitive verb:
To speak or write at length in a pompous or boastful manner.

Anyone who has ever spent an idle morning watching the
Washington talk shows has probably wondered: how did these
people become entitled to earn six-figure salaries
bloviating about the week's headlines?
--Robert Worth, "Quick! The Index!" [1]New York Times, June
3, 2001

After five years as president and thirty years as a
political figure, this colossal oaf is still unable to
discipline his urge to... bloviate.
--R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., [2]American Spectator, December
19, 1997

We follow him minute by minute through a day in his office
-- bloviating amiably with colleagues on the telephone,
letting his secretary rewrite his clumsy letters and
worrying about the possible hatred of his subordinates.
--John Brooks, "Fiction of the Managerial Class," [3]New
York Times, April 8, 1984
_________________________________________________________

Bloviate is from blow + a mock-Latinate suffix -viate. Compare
blowhard, "a boaster or braggart." Bloviation is the noun
form; a bloviator is one who bloviates.

Trivia: Bloviate is closely associated with U.S. President
Warren G. Harding, who used it frequently and who was known
for long, windy speeches. H.L. Mencken said of him, "He writes
the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me
of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing
on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college
yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights. It
is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. It drags
itself out of the dark abysm of pish, and crawls insanely up
the topmost pinnacle of posh. It is rumble and bumble. It is
flap and doodle. It is balder and dash."

References

1. http://www.nytimes.com/
2. http://www.spectator.org/
3. http://www.nytimes.com/

Dictionary.com Entry and Pronunciation

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=9&q=bloviate

Monday, August 02, 2004

Tom Tomorrow & Drudge

While checking to see if Sparkey has still lost his mind, I found this post:

July 31, 2004

Still waiting...
...for Drudge to explain how a photo I took ended up on his site, with oddly clumsy Photoshop alterations, as if someone not very smart were trying to hide the fact that they were ripping off a photo without giving credit. (Details here, if you missed it.)

posted by Tom Tomorrow at 08:55 PM | link

Details here

The "Yellow Cake Trial" / Iran and Transexuality

First, if you have been following the Niger-Yellow Cake issue, check out Sunday's blog by Joshua Marshall on Talking Points Memo. This is Mr. Marshall's introduction:

Today, the Sunday Times of London reports that the Italian middle-man who provided the notorious Niger uranium documents to Italian journalist Elizabetta Burba (she
later brought them to the US Embassy in Rome, you’ll remember) was himself given the documents by the Italian military intelligence service, SISMI.

I can vouch for the accuracy of this account since I have been working on this story for six months. In fact, I interviewed the Italian middle-man in question two months ago at a restaurant in mid-town Manhattan -- the details of that interview I describe below.

This all requires a bit of explanation. So here goes …

Keep Reading...

Did you see Nazila Fathi's article, As Repression Lifts, More Iranians Change Their Sex, in the Sunday NY Times? I just found it especially interesting. Fathi writes:
Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there was no particular policy regarding transsexuals. Iranians with the inclination, means and connections could obtain the necessary medical treatment and new identity documents. The new religious government, however, classed transsexuals and transvestites with gays and lesbians, who were condemned by Islam and faced the punishment of lashing under Iran's penal code.

But these days, Iran's Muslim clerics, who dominate the judiciary, are considerably better informed about transsexuality. Some clerics now even recommend sex-change operations to those who are troubled about their gender. The issue was discussed at a conference in Tehran in June that drew officials from other Persian Gulf countries.

One cleric, Muhammad Mehdi Kariminia, is writing his thesis on transsexuality at the religious seminary of Qum.

"All the clerics and researchers at the seminary encouraged me to work on the subject," he said in an interview. "They said that my research can help change the social stigma attached to these people and clarify religious decrees on the matter."

This is an interesting read.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Berger Clearned, Is it covered?

In case you missed it, Newsblog and David Sirota both covered the clearing of former Clinton Advisor Sandy Berger of all wrongdoing.

Is this the truth, or just bunk?

Tea: Glorious Tea

This deserves its own blog post. My brother, on his way back from Dublin, stopped in last night. He brought me Bewley's Darjeeling and Earl Grey. I just took a sip of the Darjeeling and I thought of his comment about the Bewley's store in Dublin,
Certainly Bewley's is the center of civilization

I will use the Earl Grey for iced tea. Anyway, this is a fine tea. Right up there with my usual PG Tips, Barry's, and Lifeboat. I underestimated the strongness... I shall have a second pot!

Sunday Baseball
BoSox couldn't hold on to their lead. Cubs come back in the 7th to win. Of note, Nomar was 1 for 4. Timlin and Embree couldn't hold the game for the BoSox and get Pedro a much deserved win. Why did they lose (not blaming a Cabrera error)? Nomar was traded, Nixon is out, and Ortiz just started a five game suspension. What does that mean? The Red Sox have no punch in the line-up.

A Beautiful Sight for Cubs Fans


After all those years of stinking, it seems as if they really do want to win...

MTP/CNN Late Edition/Scanning the Blogs

Meet the Press this morning featured Senators Zell Miller (Useless- GA) and Joe Biden (D-DE). Miller was sad as usual, and I actually think at one point he said that the party of diversity was the GOP... other great exchanges between Russert and Miller, Miller was complaining about Sen. Kerry's voting record which prompted Russert to point out that he and Kerry basically identical records on defense measures. Miller really had nothing to say. Biden talked more about his Iraq vote and why instead of explaining Kerry's rationale for his votes and countering the claims that Miller made a few minutes previously.

CNN featured McConnell and Lieberman. You know what to expect from McConnell, but here too, I felt that Lieberman failed to counter the attacks on Kerry. Biden disagreed with Miller, and countered with his own opinions while Lieberman basically echoed the GOP stance and called an end to the partisanship. Howard Dean at least mentioned the possibility of using fear for politics - but more importantly he voiced his displeasure in the total vagueness of the warnings we receive. This is not something that Lieberman even discussed.

Especially after the Democratic Convention, I would have expected Democrats on the Sunday morning shows to be a little more hard hitting in response to the attacks on Kerry.

On The Blogfront

Did anyone else surf by Steve Gilliard's blog recently? I found this, The emeny of the good... while I may not agree with all of it, he raises some good points and there are decent comments.

Baseball

My favorite teams to watch while having a drink are the Cubs and Red Sox. Yesterday Nomar Garciaparra switched from the BoSox to the Cubs. The Cubs instantly are better offensively. My guess is that Nomar will hit second, after what should be Todd Walker. Now, if the Cubs pitchers stay healthy - I think the Cubs will win the wildcard slot. Also, if they can convince Nomar to stay in Chi-town before the end of the season, my hope is that they will evaluate some of their player situations. Lee, Nomar, Ramirez, and Walker are in the prime of their respective careers. Patterson and Barrett are fairly young, but some of their regulars are aging. Grudzielanek is 34, Alou is 38, Goodwin is 36, and Sosa 35. I am not saying that they do not have good years left, but the Cubs line-up is going to continue to age. Keeping an infield of Nomar, Walker, Ramirez, and Lee intact should be a priority, especially considering they are all in their prime or entering it.

I am not sure that this trade works out as well for the Red Sox. What looked like a World Series team last Winter now looks a bit different. They started the season with Nixon and Nomar on the DL. Nixon is back on the DL, Nomar is now in game shape and has been shipped to Chicago. While David Oritz and Manny Ramirez have been excellent all year, they lost Walker's offense due to free agency, Millar started very slow, and Mueller has been injured. As I see it, Boston lost offense but gained much needed defense in Mientkiewicz and Cabrera. This could be a positive for the BoSox because it will open up free agent money next yeat - but it could be for this year if Mueller, Millar, and Mientkiewicz hit closer to their career averages and if Cabrera regains his form from last year, offensively. But what is just as or more important are the starting pitchers lowering their ERAs. Still, Ortiz and Ramirez are the anchors of this team and if they are out for any extended periods of time - it will hurt as they will have a shortage of power in the middle of their lineup. A healthy Nixon would help a lot.