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The Tally Ho

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Back for a Day

I have not posted in a long time, and this will continue until early June. Simply put, I have taken on more than I probably should have. I have not decided if I will keep up the Tally Ho or create something new. Either way, it will never be a personal diary kind of blog. Some things that I am keeping track of:

Tom DeLay is not going down quietly. This just seems to be causing more partisanship and while Democrats think that this is going to cost the GOP marginal swing seats in the House - I'm not sure that this just doesn't make moderate Republicans in the Northeast, Great Lakes, and Pacific West coast easier targets to defeat. But does this bring a majority? I wonder how different the GOP would be acting right now if states decided to not create mostly safe districts. But it obviously is having an effect as Texas Governor, err, President Bush has openly backed DeLay and Hastert has caved to the mounting displeasure regarding the change in ethics rules. For more Texas fun, check out this Daily Show Clip. However, hope comes from his poor political decisions on the Shiavo media spectacle and GOP leadership's decision to purge the House ethics committee - just as they did to Chris Smith (R-NJ) on Veterans Affairs. Democrats will run on 1) being the party of adults 2) the party that represents moderates, thus protecting America from radical conservatism 3) and that the GOP will exploit everything possible to get what they want. Anyone else think that the Dr. Frist's media spectacle last week will be looked at negatively by the population as a whole, or does he simply think this will help his certainly lack luster 2008 run for the Presidency? It is amazing that the majority, Republicans, are still harping on about how they are the victims of a vast left wing conspiracy against conservative Christians - especially when 7 Supreme Court Justices were nominated by Republicans. Living in New York I don't think I have a feel if people really believe this victimization talk, or if they recognize that it is just politically expedient - The War on Judiciary. Even Senator Salazar has called them out.

Sen. Chafee. He is beatable. He isn't raising a great deal of money. The White House is not running a candidate against him. This is pragmatic, you have you 55 votes in the Senate, taking out the moderates, who will vote against ending the filibuster on judicial nominees, will only decrease the GOP hold on the Senate. In perhaps the most liberal state in the US, there is no way a Bush or club for growth puppet candidate will retain the seat after winning the primary. This is not any different than the DNC's breadth of Senate representation from very GOP leaning states. DKos seems to think that Mr. Chafee isn't interested in retaining his seat, but Josh Marshall of TPM says that Mr. Chafee made a campaign trip recently with Dr. Frist. So obviously he isn't being passive. My gut tells me that Mr. Chafee will vote to confirm Mr. Bolton as UN Ambassador - either a gesture to the White House or on merit if he thinks the evidence isn't strong enough. On the other hand, the DNC pushed seemingly their best candidate, Jim Langevin, out because he is not pro-choice. Of course has not sat well with many, and leaves the winner of the Matt Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse primary to challenge Chafee in November 2006. Bob Casey, Jr. in Pennsylvania didn't back out because he is anti-choice. Then again, he is running against Sen. Santorum. This raises the question, is there a litmus test on Senate Democratic candidates in the so called blue states? If so, how can one group get so much power to sink a candidacy that as close to a sure thing as possible? As I see it, the two biggest issues facing the judiciary in the next generation are personal rights to privacy (from both corporations and governments - which includes pro-choice issues) and environmental protection.

On John Bolton... lets let Bill Mahr take this one
"I don't understand why they are defending this guy. He is a raging diplomat. That just seems like a contradiction. I think this guy would be perfect as head of Homeland Security. If you need a 'rip off your head and shit down your neck' kind of guy, why don't we put him head of making the airports better? But as far as our top diplomat, it seems insane that this is the guy they want for this job."
Ah, but Bolton is just another typical Bush nominee... take the most controversial person you can find and ram them down our throats. Thank you Senator Voinovich. While I still think he could win his nomination - perhaps this is the time for the GOP led Senate, or those dedicated to the separation of powers to tell the White House they can't get everything they want. They got their War in Iraq. How is that going? They got their expensive Medicare bill. How much did that cost again? They decided to not fund NCLB. How many states have already opted out? By the way, what are those poll numbers on Bush, Congress, the Social Security bamboozle, and their filibuster bamboozle? Not well I see.

The Red Sox need to bat Edgar Renteria in the two spot and Nixon in the sixth - or stop changing Renteria's spots in the order. I also think the Red Sox are going to wish that they would have stuck with Scott Williamson for another year. In any case, their starting pitching is shaky thus far - but hey, the Yanks are hardly better. The Cubs needed to trade Kerry Wood while he is still worth something - pretty soon his hype and reality are going to meet and the Cubs will be stuck with a big contract and take the risk of losing Zambrano or Prior. The Cubs made a mistake by letting the inning eating Clement leave. Only the Cubs seem to think Burnitz can make up for both Alou and Sosa. I would have signed Clement and traded Wood - and made Carlos Beltran or Mags Ordonez off season priorities. I know Mags is down for two months, but it makes sense on paper. Ah, the Yankees. I loved their mid-90s teams, but this one isn't going to win the World Series either. I am still not sold on bringing in Sheffield and A-Rod last season. I thought making Vladimir Guerrero their number one target and Miguel Tajada their number two (to play third) would have had a great long term return. I also thought they should have kept David Wells or added another left handed starter. In the end, I am assuming that the Yankees post season hopes rest more upon Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright pitching a lot of innings. But at least A-Rod can get 10 RBIs in a game wasn't close.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

coalition of the one-ing

The United Nations
Commission on Human Rights
April 15, 2005

In a resolution (E/CN.4/2005/L.28) on the right of everyone to the
enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental
health, adopted as orally revised and by a roll-call vote of 52 in
favour to one against, with no abstentions, the Commission urged States
to take steps, individually and through international assistance and
cooperation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of their
available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full
realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest
attainable standard of physical and mental health; and called upon the
international community to continue to assist the developing countries
in promoting the full realization of the right of everyone to the
enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental
health, including through financial and technical support as well as
training of personnel, while recognizing that the primary
responsibility
for promoting and protecting all human rights rests with States.

The Commission encouraged States to recognize the particular needs of
persons with disabilities related to mental disorders, as well as their
families, including by reflecting their needs in national health and
social policies, such as national poverty reduction strategies; and
called upon them to place a gender perspective at the centre of all
policies and programmes affecting women's health. They also called upon
States to protect and promote sexual and reproductive health as
integral
elements of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest
attainable standard of physical and mental health and decided to
extend,
for a period of three years, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on
the right to everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable
standard of physical and mental health.

The result of the vote was as follows:

In favour (52):
Argentina,
Armenia,
Australia,
Bhutan,
Brazil,
Burkina Faso,
Canada,
China,
Congo,
Costa Rica,
Cuba,
Dominican Republic,
Ecuador,
Egypt,
Eritrea,
Ethiopia,
Finland,
France,
Gabon,
Germany,
Guatemala,
Guinea,
Honduras,
Hungary,
India,
Indonesia,
Ireland,
Italy,
Japan,
Kenya,
Malaysia,
Mauritania,
Mexico,
Nepal,
Netherlands,
Nigeria,
Pakistan,
Paraguay,
Peru,
Qatar,
Republic of Korea,
Romania,
Russian Federation,
Saudi Arabia,
South Africa,
Sri Lanka,
Sudan,
Swaziland,
Togo,
Ukraine,
United Kingdom
Zimbabwe.

Against (1):
United States.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

4/20

Okay, enough about the pot, already. El woke me up today by talking about today's date and all its various connotations. Then, in case I hadn't heard it at home, Morning Edition chimed in with a commentary about Stoners' Day and how we should all use it as an opportunity to talk to our kids. Talk to them about what? Most adults I know haven't been able to formulate a Theory of Marijuana which can be distilled into a sound bite small enough to hold a fifteen-year-old's attention.

Meanwhile, grade schools here in Chicago have given their students a day off school so that parents can come pick up their students' report cards. The idea (a marvelous one) is to bring the student, teacher, and parent to the same table, so that they can all have a little heart-to-heart about academia. K-8 kids have their Pickup Day today, and high schoolers have theirs tomorrow. However, this system is problematic for several reasons:
1) Lots of parents just don't come to report card pickup day, the teachers tell me.
2) Pickup is from 12-6 pm for grade school. Parents who have children in both grade school and high school have to make arrangements to go to their children's schools two days in one week.
3) The kids are at home today, many of them without child care. What are they doing, home alone, on April 20? Smoking up, of course. (For those of you who think grade school kids are too young for these activities: I have seventh graders who are 15 years old right now. If they had a car, these kids could drive themselves to school next year.)

On the plus side, being slightly overweight is apparently good for you. So the next time we get the munchies, we can relax about whether those chips are baked or fried.

For those of us who don't observe Stoners' Day, I might also note that this is the anniversary of Hitler's birthday, the Columbine massacre, and that big tornado that hit Utica. The new Pope is being compared to a Rottweiler, and the Virgin Mary is appearing just a few blocks away to the faithful of Chicago, apparently having taken the old Pope in her arms. (As he presumably hasn't spent much time in the arms of women, this is a big thing.) This week's news is a whirlwind of confusion and fear. Makes me almost want to light up a joint.

Jeffords to Resign

Independant Senator James Jeffords of Vermont, whose defection from the Republican Party roiled the political scene in the spring of 2001, will announce today that he will not seek another term. He is 71 years old and not in particularly good health, an apparently does not feel up to a bruising political campaign.
If Mr. Jeffords retires at the end of his third term, intriguing political possibilities would arise. It would not be surprising, for instance, if Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor whose presidential campaign soared early and flamed out almost as suddenly, decided to try for Mr. Jeffords's seat. Mr. Dean is now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

. . .

"Increasingly, I find myself in disagreement with my party," Mr. Jeffords said in 2001. "I understand that many people are more conservative than I am, and they form the Republican Party. Given the changing nature of the national party, it has become a struggle for our leaders to deal with me and for me to deal with them."

Mr. Jeffords is described in the Almanac of American Politics as one of President Bill Clinton's favorite Republicans. He was the only Republican in Congress who supported Mr. Clinton's ambitious and ultimately futile health-care plan. He left the Republican Party after refusing to go along with all of President Bush's tax cuts in 2001.

I was never a big fan of Howard Dean's presidential campaign, but I feel he would make a fine Senator. I hope he runs.