Friday, February 03, 2006


Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman continued to tickle political speculators Thursday, revealing that he met with three high-profile Democratic U.S. senators about a possible run for the Senate.
I know he's a heap of fun and a barrel of laughs and all that, but... seriously?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Cabinet comes out swinging.


Bush vowed to fund research into better batteries for hybrid vehicles and more production of the alternative fuel ethanol, setting a goal of replacing "more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

He pledged to "move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past."

Yesterday, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said: "This was purely an example."
"Yeah, you know that fifty-minute speech the President gave last night? You weren't supposed to, like, take that literally."


Reporter: One clarification on "the long war." Is Iraq going to be a long war?
Rumsfeld: No, I don't believe it is. We're training up these folks and passing over responsibility every day. Another piece of real estate was passed over yesterday and -
Reporter: Didn't you say -
Admiral Edmund Giambastiani1: The size of Kentucky - the size of Kentucky -
Rumsfeld: Was passed over? Is that right?
Giambastiani: On the 26th of January.
Reporter: Say that again.
Giambastiani: On the 26th of January, two areas - one, Diwaniyah and the other one called - I don't know if I have the pronunciation correct - Wasit - W-A-S-I-T in English. They're about the size of the state of Kentucky, were passed over to the Iraqi 8th Army.
"Long war? Iraq? I don't think you're fully comprehending the significance of the Kentucky-sized pieces. There's, uh, Diwaniyah. That's one. One Kentucky. And Whatsit? Whosit? Something else, that's two Kentuckys. You see what I'm saying? Two Kentuckys, people. Christ, it's like pulling teeth."

1 - Vice Chairman, Joint Chiefs

This is excellent.

But in Washington, [Bernanke] is barely on some people's radar screens. Indeed, here is what Senator George Allen of Virginia, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said when asked his opinion of the Bernanke nomination.

"For what?"

Told that Mr. Bernanke was up for the Fed chairman's job, Mr. Allen hedged a little, said he had not been focused on it, and wondered aloud when the hearings would be. Told that the Senate Banking Committee hearings had concluded in November, the senator responded: "You mean I missed them all? I paid no attention to them."
(Thanks to Wake-Up Call.)

What do you think pissed Rep. Bill Young's (R-Fl.) wife off more? That she was being asked to leave the State of the Union, or that she now has something in common with Cindy Sheehan?

"They said I was protesting," she said in a telephone interview late Tuesday. "I said, 'Read my shirt, it is not a protest.' They said, 'We consider that a protest.' I said, 'Then you are an idiot.'"

She said she was so angry that "I got real colorful with them."
Update (8:57pm, 2/1): If Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer was an emoticon, he'd be that sheepish one:
On Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer said neither woman should have been removed from the chamber. "We made a mistake," he told CNN.

He said an apology was made to Bill and Beverly Young, and the congressman has been told that Capitol officers will receive better training. He said they are operating under outdated guidance on House rules regarding demonstrations.
Another Update (3:48pm, 2/2): Beverly Young is turning out to be quite the Anna Benson, isn't she?
After a night of fingerprinting and booking and lockup, Sheehan departed the city. But Young had not, and her response as she enjoyed hugs from supporters yesterday after the apology was to call Gainer "an idiot." Witnesses said her words for him were much saltier the night before.
She was enjoying hugs from supporters?

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor to present your brand new, freshly minted House majority leader: Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)!

He's doing it for the power, sure; he's doing it for the cushy office, past which all the tourists must file; and he's doing it for those daily chin-wags with the chinful Denny Hastert. But most of all - and this is what moves me - most of all, he's doing it for the kids. For the kids!

The Ex-'Burgher has been posting Tecmo Super Bowl playoff previews for a couple of weeks now, and it's worked out pretty well for the Steelers, so he's back with a simulation of Super Bowl XL, his best work yet. The verdict: Steelers 29, Seahawks 14.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

As pointed out by both Last Call and Wonkette: people on the Internet are fast.

The State of the State of the Union
20 hours late

I would have live-blogged this, but for the following three things:
1. I lack the initiative.
2. Can't really stress that first reason enough. And,
3. (The kicker:) Very few people actually read this blog. So it wouldn't have been worth the hassle.

Away we go:

  • Blue tie. The speech hasn’t even started yet, and I’m already behind the 8-ball in the predictions quiz.
  • Top billing to Coretta Scott King was a nice choice.
  • "The state of the union is strong, and together we will make it stronger." 0 for 2.
  • "The terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear." Which I guess makes them aptly named.
  • "America rejects the false comfort of isolationism." Take that, traditional conservatives!
  • "Those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor." We don't do it, of course, but we at least respect the fact that a lot of people expect it.
  • Anyone else notice that he seems to be relying more heavily on the teleprompter on his right side (the Democratic side [and the Sam Alito side]) than the one on his left hand side (the Republican side)?
  • "Freedom is on the march." I didn't particularly admire the rhetoric of that sentence the first time he used it, and that was several years ago. Yet still it continues to thrive. I've got a great mental picture of George W. Bush, 93 years old, while watching the holonews with his virtual great-grandson, saying approvingly of the invasion of Australia by PepsiMobilChina, "Freedom is on the march, little George! Freedom is on the march."
  • "I urge Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent." Finally got one right!
  • What the speech text said: "This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities." What the President said: "This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs... that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities." A little pause can make all the difference in the world.
  • "Our government has a responsibility to provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility." Really? (I half-expected the applause following this particular line to fade out as Members mentally processed the second clause of that sentence.)
  • Topline priority for the Advanced Energy Initiative? Investing in more coal-fired plants. You can't make this stuff up, folks.
  • Closing strong: nearly finished, and we've just hit the highlight of the speech: the President calls on Congress - with a reference to "the Creator," no less - to prohibit the creation of "human-animal hybrids." I surrender.

  • The State of the Audience of the State of the Union
    With pictures!

    I captured a few stills of my favorite audience shots. Four highlights:

    Like Mother-in-Law, Like Daughter-in-Law

    A bit over-the-top, isn't it? The apple-by-marriage doesn't fall far from the tree, I guess.

    Wink, Wink

    A wink or a blink? Your call.

    The Printer Cartridges

    Do you suppose they sat together on purpose? (From left: Sue "Yellow" Myrick (NC-9), Jo Ann "Red" Davis (VA-1), Jean "Blue" Schmidt (OH-2), and Candice "Beige" Miller (MI-10). Also visible in the second picture is Anne "Green" Northrup (KY-3).1)

    You Disgust Me, Liddy

    What the camera doesn't show is that right before these shots were taken, Dole leaned over and whispered, "My husband is better at beating cancer than you are."2

    1 - I'm not completely sure on the identities of Miller and Northrup. Confirmations and corrections are welcome.
    2 - Almost certainly not true.

    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    Jeb Bush, we thought we knew ye:

    "I'm excited you're looking at Florida State. [FSU President] T.K. Wetherell and I are friends. When you come to Tallahassee again, let's hook up with each other. — Jeb Bush"

    That was the text message, as Rolle remembered it, from the state's governor. Rolle said it hit his cellphone the same weekend he hit Florida State for a recruiting visit. Two weeks ago, after sifting through 80-plus scholarship offers, Rolle enrolled at FSU.
    The recruiting implications are what they are, but RGA may have a more pressing concern: it would appear that Jeb Bush wants to "hook up" with Myron Rolle. "Cornerback Mountain" jokes, anyone? (My apologies; too obvious to avoid.)

    Monday, January 30, 2006

    The Washington Post writes about a study linking anti-black bias and Republicanism:

    That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.

    "What automatic biases reveal is that while we have the feeling we are living up to our values, that feeling may not be right," said University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek, who helped conduct the race analysis. "We are not aware of everything that causes our behavior, even things in our own lives."
    Over/under on the number of days before AEI or Heritage produces a study indicating - using complicated statistical analysis - that Brian Nosek is simply trying to cover his own racism by accusing others: 12.

    Ann Coulter: always good for a (nervous) chuckle.

    "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media." ...

    At one point during her address, which was part of a lecture series, some audience members booed when she cut off two questioners. "I'm not going to be lectured to," Coulter told one man in a raised voice. She drew more boos when she said the crack cocaine problem "has pretty much gone away."
    Added Pat Buchanan, who was praying in the wings: "You know who's good at rat poison? God."

    Arguing that "it defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence on our foreign and domestic policy," Joseph Ellis dips into his textbooks to find historical analogues for our response to 9/11:

    My list of precedents for the Patriot Act and government wiretapping of American citizens would include the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, which allowed the federal government to close newspapers and deport foreigners during the 'quasi-war' with France; the denial of habeas corpus during the Civil War, which permitted the pre-emptive arrest of suspected Southern sympathizers; the Red Scare of 1919, which emboldened the attorney general to round up leftist critics in the wake of the Russian Revolution; the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, which was justified on the grounds that their ancestry made them potential threats to national security; the McCarthy scare of the early 1950's, which used cold war anxieties to pursue a witch hunt against putative Communists in government, universities and the film industry.

    In retrospect, none of these domestic responses to perceived national security threats looks justifiable. Every history textbook I know describes them as lamentable, excessive, even embarrassing. Some very distinguished American presidents, including John Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, succumbed to quite genuine and widespread popular fears. No historian or biographer has argued that these were their finest hours.

    Sunday, January 29, 2006

    Saddam's trial takes another flying leap down the road to befuddlement. (Note: I couldn't decide which parts of this magnificent article to quote, so instead I'll summarize it in the manner of the teasers one finds at the end of Lemony Snicket books.)

    [Click here to read an article containing brazen walkings-out, "daughters of a whore," takings of umbrage, and "evil" court-appointed defense attorneys.]
    Seriously, he called his defense lawyers evil. The man's killed like nine billion people, and the best he can come up with is "evil"? Come on, Saddam! Put a little muscle into it!