December 31, 2006

3,000

3000 Americans have died in Iraq.

Resolution: To cut this crap out.

December 30, 2006

Proper

The official morning period for Gerald Ford began yesterday. I can think of no better tribute than this classic Saturday Night Live bit:

Ding Dong, the Dictator is Dead

Hell, have just completed the intake for Augusto Pinochet, has to to start the paperwork all over again.

This just in to Craigorian Chant: We are still screwed in Iraq. Our condition remains unchanged at this time. Stay tuned for any further breaking news.

December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford

There is something to be said for the guy who just cleans up the mess. Gerald Ford was very much an accidental President. But when he came in the Country faced Watergate and Vietnam and he put the first to rest and got us out of the second, and took a lot of political hits doing it.

Compare that to the man he replaced, Nixon, who created all that mess. Just like someone will have to come in and clear up after our current accidental President --who is showing us just how bad an exciting Presidency can be.

So lets hear it for the boring Presidents, the fixers, the ones who leave the Country better than they found it.

Rest In Peace Mr President.

December 26, 2006

Santa's Dead

True Story.

Also, rest in peace, Godfather of Soul.

Also the Govenator breaks a leg.

I guess I've had it pretty easy this holiday season.

December 21, 2006

Bill Kristol Vrs Jon Stewart

Go watch

Remember our Battle Cry:

I will beat you. Not because I am right and you are wrong and I Am and You Are, but because I am better at this than you.

December 20, 2006

We Could Take Em

Go read David Weigel and Matthew Yglesias on the new wave of right-wing dystopian novels coming out. Osaman rules the world and Michael Moore rule the United States. Red States and Blue States go to war. Most are just too silly for words, but they do offer an interesting look at the conservative id.

This line by Yglesias struck me:

At the end of the day, everybody knows that if it came down to an armed conflict, the conservatives would win. Which leads to Dave's point -- these books aren't dystopian at all, they're wish fulfillment about a world in which the right gets a legitimate rationale for battling liberalism through brute force.


Would it automatically follow that if a Red State/Blue State Civil war broke out the Reds would win? If we want to play this game (and its fun if played lightly) I think we would have a fighting chance. The conservatives assume that they would win because they have all the guns and we have the gays, which of course cripple your military perpariness. But the blue states are far better off economically than red states, we have Hollywood so our propaganda will be better, not to mention the fact that the Iraq war proves that conservatives are military incompetents. And of course Europe would intervene on the side of blue American. Nobody coming to help the Neocons.

So I like our chances. What do you think?

December 19, 2006

Too Early, Too Late

This poll comes way too early, but it turns out that Hillary Clinton beats both John McCain and Rudy Giuliani in Presidential polls. Not so "unelectable" is she?

This poll
comes way too late, but only 11% of the American people want to increase the number of troops in Iraq.

December 18, 2006

Fix-It

Just anouther day on the job:

Two spacewalking astronauts finished folding up a stubborn, accordion-like solar array Monday, resolving the only complication in space shuttle Discovery's otherwise smooth mission to the international space station.

Shuttle astronauts Robert Curbeam and Christer Fuglesang managed to get the last section of the 115-foot array folded into a box about five hours into the 6 1/2-hour spacewalk. It was the fourth venture outside for Discovery's astronauts during their visit to the orbiting outpost.


Did they bang on it with a wrench? It would make my day if they banged on it with a wrench to get it to work.

The pair used a scraper to try to get the array unstuck, shook the panel and used pliers to tighten the wire that folds it up. It was a stop-and-go process with astronauts inside the space station repeatedly sending remote-controlled commands to fold up the array. Curbeam worked from the end of the space station's robotic arm.

Close.

Rock the Halls

Lets get into the spirit of things.

TIME Again

Three points about TIME. First, let us mock the choice. On some level its a silly cop-out. The profiles are lots of fun, so pick one of them and anoint them at the "Person". Pick the YouTube founders, personify it some way. Really, TIME is just trying to kiss your butt (and mine).

Second, "power of the people" ignores the central lesson of our time: That it is defined by the personality and policy choices of George W Bush. Michael Kinsley first wrote about this, but Bush proves the "Great Man" theory of history. Not that he is "great" but in the sense that Bush really wanted to invade Iraq, that's what happened, and the Iraq catastrophe will define US foreign policy for generations. There is no other explanation for the course we are on.

Finally, despite their dumb choice, everyone is going to talk about it. So well done, TIME, well done.

December 17, 2006

I accept this award...

On behalf of the rest of "You"

That's right, TIME has named "You" the people who blog, write wikipedia articles, and make up the "you" in Youtube as thier Person of the Year.

I figure I make up at least a part of this group, so I should be getting a trophy of some kind. Ok, how about a commemorative dish? A certificate?

December 15, 2006

Happy Hanukkah

System Failure

Most of the time our Democracy works. Unpopular, successful ideas are enacted as policy and unpopular ideas and their advocates are sent packing. So the War in Iraq is very unpopular. There has just been a massive rebuke delivered to the responsible party in a recent election. Despite this, the administration is not only continuing it commitment to this war, but is now contemplating escalating the conflict.

Now sending more troops to Iraq is hideously unpopular. It receives somewhere like 8% to 16% support, depending on the polls. Greenwald asks:

Even the craziest, most despicable ideas can attract more than 8%-16% in polls. More and more Republicans realize the grave political danger posed to them by this war. Are they going to just sit by and let the President sink their party for a generation by "doubling down" and continuing to worship at the altar of its most extremist warmonger elements?

Lowry notes that the "only" group opposed to more troops is the military, specifically Generals Abazaid and Pace, which leads to a glaring question that never seems to be answered by the increase-troop proponents: namely, what are these additional 20,000 troops supposed to accomplish exactly? If Generals Abazid and Pace have no answer to that question, isn't it a pretty good bet that there is no good answer?


There are time when you want the system to fail, There are things that "the people" want that can't and shouldn't be delivered by Government. The classic example is that people would love lots of government spending and pay zero taxes. That would just be dumb. But here we have a case where the American people want the right thing. More troops to Iraq will Break the Army. It won't lead to "victory" Its a bad and unpopular policy. How does it get enacted?

December 14, 2006

Can't Be Good

The Democratic Majority in the Senate hangs by a narrow 51-49 thread. Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson is in critical condition following emergency brain surgery. If he is unable to continue in his job as Senator, the Republican Governor of South Dakota will pick his replacement, which could swing control of the Senate. Not Good.

December 13, 2006

I am Magic

Behold the power of the Craigorian Chant election Prediction Ceremony! It brought forth a prediction of a 30 seat gain for the Democrats in the House. And last night the last outstanding House race was settled with another Republican defeated, putting the Dem's total pick-up at ...wait for it...30. I was off by one seat in the Senate, predicting a five seat pick-up when the Dems's actually got 6. Craigorian Chant's staff of political scientists and mystics are working to revise the process to help ensure better accuracy in the future.

December 12, 2006

21

Just 21% of the Country now approve of the Job Bush is doing in Iraq.

And to add some historic propective:

Opposition to the war is now taking on historic proportions, with 62 percent saying it was "a mistake" to send U.S. troops to Iraq — slightly more than told a Gallup Poll in 1973 that it was a mistake to send U.S. forces to Vietnam.

December 11, 2006

Annoucing

Craig has friends! And they blog too!

Please check out Laura McC's Laura, Queen of Universe and get all your tender, jucy Patriotic Needs fulfilled at Sweet Sweet Freedom.

In technical matters, I now own CraigBaracco.com and CraigorianChant.com and they both point you right here, so you can now skip the typing in the .blogspot part if you don't want to.

Cool, Not Cool

There are lots of bitter former Republican members of the House running around: Cool

Rep. William Jefferson wins reelection, despite a corruption prob that has discovered, amoung other things, $90,000 in cash in the man's freezer: Not Cool

The White House has produced anouther holiday video featuring Barney the First Dog, the cutest (and least dangerous) member of the Administration: Cool

It is necessary to treat President Bush as if he were a child: Not Cool

Augusto Pinochet is still dead: Cool

Our people are still being killed in Iraq: Not Cool

Barack Obama blocks play, appologies, wins a vote, may really be as good as they say: Cool

And finally, Lego U2:



Cool.

December 10, 2006

Mood Music

Brought to by Damien Rice and the letter M for moody:

Snap

Ah Juan Williams.

He's got a standing invitation to any FoxNews panel he wants, cause he never puts up much of a fight. Its a combination of Juan being a reporter by trade and thus being conditioned from birth not to argue, only report. Also, he's got the classic liberal desease of being so fair-minded that he won't even take his own side in an argument.

But they have pushed him too far today. Six years of lies, abuse, and senseless war have taken their toll. Watch him go!

December 8, 2006

Compromised

Well, the fact that the Right hates the ISG report means it can't be all bad, right?

What makes the Right so mad is that there is no way to "win" and the report acknowledges this:

Others, including influential conservative editorialist William Kristol, accused the study group of focusing its nine months of study on how to extricate the United States from Iraq, rather than how to win.

"They do not engage that debate, and I think that's deeply irresponsible," Kristol said. "If they think the war cannot now be won, they need to explain that."


Actually, they don't. There is no debate. There is only overwhelming evidence that Iraq is a disaster and can't be won, and Bill Kristol saying that it can be won. We don't debate the color of the sky and we don't debate the fact that Iraq is an epic mess.

While the report doesn't go far enough to get us out, it does at least achknowledge that Iraq is, in fact, a disaster and cannot be "won." Once you come to terms with that fact, the need to get out will follow. The American public is already there. Official Washington needs to do this ridiculous bipartisan compromise dance in order to get there.

December 7, 2006

Attack Donkey!

Run Away, Run Away:

"Important Bush Administration officials are ready to leave the government rather than undergo two years of hell from Democratic committee chairmen in Congress. Leading the exodus are officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fearing investigation by two chairmen, Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and John Dingell (D-MI)."

From Political Wire.

December 6, 2006

Domestic Front

And in domestic news Mary Cheney is pregnant. Yes, the gay daughter. Cheney's grandaughter has two mommies.

Its Here, Its Here

No time to read it this morning but the much talked about Iraq Study Group report is out today.

It makes 79 recomendations. My guess is the Bush administration is only going to follow 3. Which three? Stay tuned.

Of all the reads on the ISG report I read today instead of working, I recomend Ackerman and Yg.

December 5, 2006

Why Back to the Moon?

Haven't we already done this before?

Mars is next.

Mars.

Update: Looks like there's water on Mars. Not evidence of water a million years ago, but water right now.

We have to go.

Clip of the Day



From Crooks and Liars.

Do One Thing

Why does the nation of Fiji even have a military? It’s a small island nation in the
South Pacific. The CIA factbook doesn't list a single international dispute. It doesn't even have any neighbors that could attack it. Its a collection of Islands in the middle of the Pacific. And In the unlikely event that Japan goes back to its old ways or Australia goes completely insane for no apparent reason, its not like the mighty Fijian military could actually do anything about it. The total force is on 3,500 men, making it one of the smallest in the world. (Wikipedia)

The only possible purpose that the military of Fiji could have is to throw a coup and over through the democratically elected government.

Mission Accomplished.

December 4, 2006

Good Morning!

John Bolton to step down. Better than coffee.

An Army of Marketing

Matt Yglesias makes a great point about military recruiting these day:

If you watch a lot of male-oriented television programming you'll see lots of military recruitment ads of various sorts and they never mention that the modal outcome for a member of the US military these days is to be sent to fight in Iraq.

It is however, unusual in historical terms. If you look at recruiting posters from World War I or World War II the situation was quite different.

It's not merely that these posters didn't obscure the fact that a war was going on. Rather, the fact of the war was the key selling point of the recruitment drives. Which makes sense. Leaving your home and family to go do an arduous job isn't an obviously appealing thing to do. You get money, to be sure, but patriotic appeals are a key part of getting people to volunteer. The war, in these terms, is a reason to sign up -- your country needs you to fight its enemies.


Military ads these days are all about the great skills and personal development you will receive. A lot of ads these days are about trying to get parents to go along with their children signing up. (Father: you looked me in the eye and shook my hand, where did that come from? The Army) These days you join up despite the war in Iraq, not because of it. Keep that in mind when someone says our troops have to keep getting killed in Iraq to honor the troops who have been killed in Iraq.

December 3, 2006

Ack

This is what drives liberals batty about Joe Lieberman. So a memo gets leaked, and it turns out that even the (soon to be) late great Donald Rumsfeld is saying that we need a change of course in Iraq.

And what does Joe say?

The Rumsfeld memo itself is in many ways surprising. He raises possibilities of doing things such as redeploying our troops which he has always said that he was against. I must say, Bob, that the one thing he doesn't raise as a possibility is to increase the number of our troops there.

That's right, Joe Lieberman is to the right of Donald Rumsfeld on Iraq. He wants more troops. I'm not sure what for, or where they are going come from, but Joe Lieberman wants to go charging in.

Arrggg!

December 1, 2006

When Good Sci-Fi Writers Go Bad

Who amoung us doesn't like Ender's Game?

Crooks and Liars
has a good round-up on the sad mess that Orson Scott Card has become.

Charts! Ideology! Shifts! Left!

Really facinating chart at Political Arithmetik showing the ideological shift of all the Chairs of all the committees in the House. Short version: Congress is moving to the left. Big.

November 30, 2006

Get Out, Get Out, Get Out.

So the early leaking from the Baker/Hamilton group is that they will be calling for phased withdrawal. Ah good old phased withdrawal. Not seting a timetable or deadline, mind you, just kind of slowly moving to the exit. Shuffle your feet, slowly back away, however its done, these guys want out of Iraq. Leave fast, leave slow, call it anything you want, just get out.

Next step: The Bush administration doing its best to ignore the report, while making a big deal out of how much they are "considering" it.

UPDATE: More leaks. Now the word is the panel will recomend "withdrawing nearly all U.S. combat units from Iraq by early 2008 while leaving behind troops to train, advise and support the Iraqis, setting the first goal for a major drawdown of U.S. forces. Get Out.

November 29, 2006

Thin Bench

So Bill Frist, the man who lead the GOP from the Majority to the Minority in the Senate, will not be taking those amazing political skill on the Presidential circuit. I'll still wondering who is going to be the Conservative standard bearer in the Republican primary. Someone is going to have to challange the moderates - McCain or Mr. Mayor. Allen and Santorum lost their Senate races, Mitt Romney is from MASSACHUSETTS(No Conservative standard bearers hail from that great state)and there's that whole Mormon thing, that has yet to play out.

As Mara Whatshername was saying on NPR today, this leave the GOP field without a major player from the South or the conservative movement. Its does look like the conservatives have a pretty thin bench.

Ah but she forgot NEWT! NEWT! who just went to a First Amendment award dinner and talked about how we should limit free speech or else the terrorist might win.

that's our guy.

Exposed

Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, is just bringing out the base id of conservative talking heads.

First there was Glenn Beck's "Are you a traitor?"

Now here's Dennis Prager, radio guy, getting his hate on because-

[Ellison] should not be allowed to [swear on the Koran] – not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

What?

Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don’t serve in Congress. . . . Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.


Wow! This is just pure "I hate Muslims." Thanks, Congressman Ellison, for showing us.

Thanks to Lean Left.

November 28, 2006

What's in a Name

Would horrible violence, called a civil war, have as much negative political impact?

NBC news et al has decided to call the Iraq violence a civil war. Words have meanings and there's a reason the Administration has fought so hard to keep people from calling it a civil war. An "insurgency" fighting the "democratically elected government" or a "battle against terrorists" has the suitable us verse evil vibe that Americans need to justify going to war. But a civil war between Sunni rebels allied with Al Qaeda fighting Shia miltia allied with Iran doesn't have any good guys. Suicide bombers against death squads. Can you pick the good guy? Certainly there is no one worth getting Americans killed for. If Iraq is a civil war the natural question is "What the hell are we doing there?"

November 27, 2006

Trouble with Twins

The Bush Twins are vacationing in Argentina.

Seems they are kicking up a real fuss, cause the US Embassy is asking them to leave.

You know if the twins have all this time on their hands, I hear the Army is hiring.

Good Morning!

Rise and shine, it's Monday.

Really fascinating story on the death of New England Republicans here. The last remaining Republican representative is Chris Shays. The entire State of Rhode Island had the same feeling for Lincoln Chafee that I did. Nice guy; got to go. They gave him a 62% approval rating on the same day they voted him out 53%-47%.

Our new SecDef may be a trigger happy nut.

Baker/Hamilton commission: Useless.

Absolutely fascinating international mystery here.

Power to the people: Bahrainis use Google Earth to spy on royals' palaces.

November 26, 2006

Jackpot!

Here it is, the motherlode of cheesy music videos. Over seven minutes long. Grand Epic Song. The kind that makes you throw your head back and make big hand gestures when you sing along. Babes. Motorcycles. Breaking Mirrors. A plot stolen from either Beauty and the Beast or Phantom of the Opera or maybe both. Oh, man, I love it so:

Meat Loaf's I'd Do Anything for Love.


What It All Means

One of the manditory activities post-election is determining "what it all means." This game is a lot more fun after your side wins. After Dems lose by 1% votes we are treated to a round of "Dems are too liberal, Dems are wimps, Dems look funny" and that's why they lose and will keep losing. Of course, some people are so attached to this story that they keep telling it ever after we WIN. Here's MyDD catching Washington wise-man Tom Edsal sticking to the "Dems are losers" script ever after the real world has smacked him along side the head. Pretty embarrassing to release a book called Building Red America which argues that the GOP will be in charge forever right before the 2006 election.

Turn around is fair play, so the only safe conclusion to the 2006 elections is that the GOP is stupid, ugly and has moved too far to the right. They must embrace universal health care if they are to have any chance of regaining political power in the United States.

Alas the Republicans will never hear nor heed my advice, because they already have their answer. Jonathan Chait explains the system:

Republicans, on the other hand, pretty much never change. They're like a Terminator machine (and unlike the governor who played the Terminator and who has dramatically recast his ideology). Crush them in a machine press, or freeze them and blow them into tiny pieces, and they'll just regroup and keep lurching forward, cutting taxes for the rich and jacking up defense spending.

Ever wonder why that is? It's because conservatives have an apparatus in place to interpret every election. If Republicans win, it's because they were conservative. If they lose, it's because they weren't. No matter what the facts may be, they will always conclude that the answer is to run further to the right.


Republicans are never going to change, so the only safe path is to just keep them out of power. Forever.

Better keep winning.

November 24, 2006

Happy Day of Shopping!

Last nights local weather report called the Friday forecast the "shopping-cast." The whole world is in a vast conspiracy to try and sell you stuff today. I for one will be spending today on the couch, with a plate of leftover turkey.

November 22, 2006

Can't Get it Done

So it turns out that the outgoing (Yeah Outgoing!) GOP congress can't even pass the required spending bills.

Keep in mind that passing the budget is the one thing that Congress has to do each year. The Republicans couldn't do it.

Time for the adults to take over.

November 21, 2006

Aaron Sorkin Call Your Office!

The Town of Pahrump, Nevada. (Yes, same town) has just made it makes it illegal to fly a foreign flag.

Oh Please

Check out this line from Newt Gingrich:

"I'm going to tell you something, and whether or not it's plausible given the world you come out of is your problem. I am not 'running' for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen."

I wish to join this movement! Run Newt Run!

I Want to See Him Prove It

Barack Obama says America Is Ready For A Black President.

I'm pretty sure he can do it.

November 20, 2006

His Fear, Our Hope

Bill Kristol, leading intellectual light in the "invade Iraq, Invade Iran, invade everyone" movement, fears that Republican support for the Iraq war will crumble in the next two to three months.

Support for the Iraq war is already gone among democrats. Its gone among Independents. Two thirds of the Country is already debating how big a failure Iraq is and what is the best way to get ourselves out of this mess. There was just an election that supports me on this point. The only thing that's keeping Bill Kristol's war going is support among Republicans. That's what let Bush and his supporters keep pretending that if we just stay longer, everything will be fine. Let's see if they can keep it up if that last third of the Country loses faith with the War.

November 19, 2006

Bond, James

Still cool after all these years. Casino Royal is the new picture and the tastefully named Daniel Craig is the new Bond. Not what you expect, but takes the franchise to interesting places. This movie owes a lot to Batman Begins and the Bourne Movies.

Batman Begins because this is a reboot, that goes back to Bond's first mission, his first kills, his first Martini. (Shaken or Stirred? Does it look like I give a damn!)

This movie also moves in a much more Bourne direction with its action. The fights are much more brutal and real and the high-tech gizmos are almost completely gone. No invisible cars and no laser watches. No "Q" at all.

But the locations remain exotic and the babes remain top-rate. A fun time for all.

November 17, 2006

Learning?

President Bush is in Vietnam:

The president said there was much to be learned from the divisive Vietnam War -- the longest conflict in U.S. history -- as his administration contemplates new strategies for the increasingly difficult war in Iraq, now in its fourth year. But his critics see parallels with Vietnam -- a determined insurgency and a death toll that has drained public support -- that spell danger for dragging out U.S. involvement in Iraq.

"It's just going to take a long period of time for the ideology that is hopeful -- and that is an ideology of freedom -- to overcome an ideology of hate," Bush said after having lunch at his lakeside hotel with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, one of America's strongest allies in Iraq, Vietnam and other conflicts.

"We'll succeed," Bush added, "unless we quit."


So according to Bush, the lesson of Vietnam is "Don't ever stop a war. Ever. No matter how futile or wasteful or stupid."

November 16, 2006

Team Office

It's primarily because of my relatively new cubical-based day job (yesterday I faxed someone 11 blank pages because I put the paper in the machine backwards), but I've really gotten into The Office this season.

Thanks to EW's Popwatch I have found the Best. Office. T-Shirt. Ever:



You can buy them here.

Who the Hell is This Guy?

And why does CNN headline news put him on the air? Here's Glenn Beck saying "[W]hat I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies" to the first Muslim ever elected to Congress.

Here he is calling a letter criticizing Al Qaeda as "surprising," because "the man who wrote it is a Muslim"

Headline news is supposed to do one thing: give us the news every half hour. What the hell are they putting this guy on the air for?

I Can't Dance

Unlike Emmitt Smith, I can't dance. The main reason I can't dance is that I just don't think that its important that I dance. I could spend some time learning and at least become acceptable, but I've got other things I would rather do. So in the rare moments where you drag me out on a dance floor the results are pretty pathetic.

Which brings me to the Bush Administration and Diplomacy. They don't like diplomacy, they like blowing things up. They would much rather threaten than talk, bluster rather than negotiate. The don't want to do it, so they don't work at it. Which means they continue to suck at it, even six years later.

So when they are dragged out on that dance floor the results are embarrassing.

Keep that in mind when the Baker Commission says we should be doing more diplomacy.

November 15, 2006

Stuff to Talk About

Jack Abramoff goes to prison today.

Congresswoman for a Month

Democrat Joe Courtney just won by 91 votes. Congradulations Congressman Courtney! There is now only one Republican Congressman in all of New England.

A look inside Fox News. Deep inside.

What else you got to talk about?

November 14, 2006

Danger! Danger!

The one real hope I have for the Iraq war to end is the fact that a lot of the Republicans who survived this year didn't survive by much. Such near death experiences is likely to change one's thinking. And its clear that the Iraq war is the leading cause of political death and near-death.

There are a whole bunch of Republicans who don't want to run with the Iraq War weighing them down for a second election cycle. So start seeing some heat from Republicans to end the war. Quiet heat, but heat.

Naturally the one Republican who controls our fate in Iraq is the only one who will never face the voters again.

W.

November 13, 2006

Commission Mission

The talk of Washington right now is the so called "Baker Commission" a classic panel of Washington wise men who a going to get us out of Iraq with victory in hand. (uh sure) Its headed up by James Baker - leading fixer for the Bush family.

James Baker has a long resume with lots of high titles like Chief of Staff and secretary of State. But he also headed up the Bush recount team in Florida 2000, so he's pretty much responsible for all the crap that followed.

It remains to be seen if the commissions will offer a way out of Iraq (Call it what you will) or is there to provide two more years of cover so the Bushies can muck this mess off on the next administration. (See Below)

Go see Michael Kinsley for a good background briefing and the proper dismissal this commission deserves.

Already?

That's right-the 2008 Presidential campaign just started. Russ Feingold is out. McCain is in. Craigorian Chant will remain undecided at this early date.

Except to say - please oh please let Newt get the GOP nomination.

Please.

November 11, 2006

Tracking It Down

The Departed (Kind of Gushy Review Here) movie soundtrack features a bunch of 60's rock: "Gimme Shelter" by the Stones and "Comfortably Numb" by Van Morrison. Good stuff, but nothing you didn't hear 1000's of times already and gave parts of the movie a rather dated sound.

But right in the heart of the action comes this amazing song - traditional Celtic instruments combined with hardcore punk guitar and roaring lyrics, like the bastard love-child of the Chiefians and Anti-Flag. It's an absolutly perfect a song for a bunch of Boston-Irish cops and Boston-Irish Mobsters to do epic violence to.

So I finally tracked the song down (Anything on the Internet) It's "I'm Shipping up to Boston" by The Dropkick Murphys. A great Village Voice story on the song and the band and the movie is here:

So it's weirdly thrilling to know that a legendary 63-year-old film director (or at least the music supervisor he hired) thought to include a song from these guys on the soundtrack of a movie that so perfectly reflects the corner of the world they represent. The Departed, after all, is a movie about Irish people doing violent shit in Boston, and the Dropkick Murphys are a band that sing about Irish people doing violent shit in Boston; it's a match made in heaven. Scorsese is better at picking the perfect song for his scenes than any other director working (fuck a Tarantino), but I'm still amazed that he managed to nail this one so completely. "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" also shows up earlier in the movie, as Leonardo DiCaprio does pushups in jail. And the movie wouldn't really suffer if the song played over every single scene, sort of like "Scarborough Fair" in The Graduate.


The song is playing on the band's Myspace Page.

November 10, 2006

Last Gasps

Now the new, improved Congress doesn't take office till the new year, so there's still some time for some last gasps of stupidity.

Like an attempt to get John "I hate diplomacy" Bolton back in as UN ambassador:

Word has just reached me from a well-placed source that the White House has continued to push John Bolton's confirmation prospects as US Ambassador to the United Nations despite the election outcome.

Another highly placed source has informed me that in just a few minutes Senator Lincoln Chafee is calling a press conference to state categorically that he will not support John Bolton's confirmation in the upcoming lame duck session.

The Bolton confirmation will be officially dead in a few minutes.


One last cheer for Lincoln Chafee, who was the best guy in the whole Senate with a R after his name. But we needed that 51st seat, so he had to go.

A lot of the good things that are going to happen with the new Congress will take the form of bad things that don't happen.

November 9, 2006

How to Avoid a Thumping

Move massively to the left. That is the lesson of the Govenator's 2006 reelection, standing proud and true among the Republican wreckage.

Now some will try and spin Schwarzenegger as moving to the "center" but the truth is after his own "thumping" in the 2005 special election, he has been firmly planted on the left. His chief of staff is now an out lesbian, former chief of staff to Grey Davis. In fact, he pretty much working the exact same ground that Grey Davis did.

He's put in big spending increase for education and campaigned (successfully) for a host of bond measures to massively increase infrastructure spending. He's signed a minimum wage increase and a global warming measure. He's said US troop should come home from Iraq. Sure, he's gotten wormy about finances in order to offer no tax increases, but it’s not like Grey Davis didn't play these exact same games.

So given the fact that policy-wise Schwarzenegger is indistinguishable from a Democrat, why not vote for the global celebrity? Its fun. It’s funny. It only stops being funny when Schwarzenegger actually acts like a Republican. Now he knows better.

The same California voters just elected Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown Attorney General by an even larger margin that Schwarzenegger won. Donkeys won for Lt. Governor, SecState and Treasurer, not to mention kept large margins in both houses of the State Assembly and Senate. The Govenator is a party of one.

The lesson of Schwarzenegger is act like a Democrat, get elected like a Democrat. I seriously doubt that this is a model the GOP can export to the rest of the Country.

November 8, 2006

Dedication

These go out to all the Republicans are now Gone Daddy Gone:

My Side

Now Rumsfeld is gone!

I think I just pulled something, I'm gloating so hard.

These elections are fun. We should have them more offen.

Here Come the Boom!

Yesterday was a great party and W got stuck with the bill.

As of right now the Dems have picked up 28 seats in the House with 13 still too close to call. Boom! Madam Speaker!

We have four Senate seats in the books, and leads in two more. The margins are razor thin (>2,000 votes in Montana and >8,000 in Virgina) and headed for recounts, but if those numbers hold up, we got the Senate as well.


Not a single seat the Donkeys were defending was lost.

We also picked up six Govenorships but Schwarzenegger crusied to reelection. More on that later.

John Doolittle has escaped the forces of light. Charlie Brown came so close (49-46) but the little eel sliped away. My guess is the indictments will catch him before Charlie gets another chance in 2008.

Pompo is gone baby gone! Congratulations Congressman McNerney!

There is just so much good stuff happening on this election map I might lose my mind.

Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum lost 59-41!

Katherine "Florida 2000" Harris lost 60-38.

J.D. "Annoy the Hell out of Craig on Hardball" Hayworth is toast.

South Dakota's abortion ban went down hard.

Good Day. Good Day.

November 7, 2006

We got the House

Turns out we can count to 15 after all. Some video from Chris to watch while the rest of the results come in:

Battle On

The first polls are starting to close and the first results are rolling in. Bernie Sanders will be the first Socialist elected to the US Senate, the Dems have won the Govenor's race in Ohio. All the easy races will get called right away. The races that we really care about...will take a little longer.

Refresh...Refresh...Refresh.

You have about two and a half hours left to vote in California. You have about three minutes left if you live in Arkansas.

I'll continue to remained focused like a laser beam on these election resu...oohh look Britney dumpted the lump. Shiny.

Day of Days

Election Day! Can you feel it!

Get yourself to a polling place and vote! Doolittle we are coming for you! Pombo we are coming for you!

The exit polls this year are under lock and key, so early numbers to pore over will be hard(er) to get. Those exit polls only raised false hopes in 2004, so maybe its for the best.

Dick Cheney is spending election day hunting, so if you are in South Dakota today, duck!

Post your exciting tales of voting in comments. Or even your not exciting tales.

Election Day!

November 6, 2006

Let's Review

Links to Craigorian Chant recomendations here and here. Just print them out and take them with you into the polling place.

The Waiting

Is the hardest part.

Prediction Ceremony

I have spent the day in a sweat-lodge of my own construction, burning pages and pages of news articles and polling results and inhaling the smoke. At the end of the ritual, I drink an entire bottle of cough syrup. The results of Tuesday election have come to me in a vision.

The Democrats will gain 30 seats in the House and take control.

They will gain five seats in the Senate, resulting in a 50-50 tie. The strain from all the close votes and having to serve as a constant tie-breaker will drive Dick Cheney to yet another heart attack.

I can see it clear as day. I am now going to go lie down.

November 5, 2006

Work the Steps

So after starting off with a "never did it" and then moving to a "Yes I buy Meth, but I didn't use it" and "Massages only, no sex" super-minister Ted Haggard is today doing confession:

Saying that he was a "deceiver and liar" who had given in to his dark side, the Rev. Ted Haggard confessed to sexual immorality Sunday in a letter read from the pulpit of the megachurch he founded.

The disgraced former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 30 million evangelical Christians, apologized and said "because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn't want to hurt or disappoint them.


Now, here comes the worse part:

"The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life," he said.

The man is gay. He has spent his whole life hating that fact, trying to surpress that fact. He's tried to pray it away. He build a giant church and an entier movement around dening what he is. Now I would hope that exsposing this lie will give conservative Christians some pause, but my guess is next week we will again be hearing about how being gay is a choice and how the evil homosexuals are trying to recruit your kids and blah blah blah.

Heist

The adventures of Ahmad Chalabi in Iraq:

When the election came, Chalabi was wiped out. His Iraqi National Congress received slightly more than 30,000 votes, only one-quarter of 1 percent of the 12 million votes cast - not enough to put even one of them, not even Chalabi, in the new Iraqi Parliament. There was grumbling in the Chalabi camp. One of his associates said of the Shiite alliance: "We know they cheated. You know how we know? Because in one area we had 5,000 forged ballots, and when they were counted, we didn't even get that many." He shrugged.


American Classic The Sting:

Floyd: Doyle: I KNOW I gave him four THREES. He had to make a SWITCH. We can't let him get away with that.

Doyle Lonnegan: What was I supposed to do - call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?

November 4, 2006

Deploy the Quote!

I'm always looking for a chance to deploy my favorite JFK quote:

Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.

So it turns out the Iraq War is now being disowned by a bunch of people whose idea it was in the first place!

November 3, 2006

Oooookkkkkkeeeee.

Here's the lead:

A leading evangelist and outspoken opponent of gay marriage has given up his post as president of the National Association of Evangelicals while a church panel investigates allegations he paid a man for sex.


and here's the kicker:

"It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true. He has willingly and humbly submitted to the authority of the board of overseers, and will remain on administrative leave during the course of the investigation," the e-mail stated. A copy was obtained by KMGH-TV in Denver.


I'm not a big follower of the Evangical community, but TPM assures me that:

this is the conservative equivalent of Jesse Jackson getting caught wearing a hood at a Klan cross burning. The political implications are enormous.

TNR points us to the following pic, which say bit more than a thousand words.

Now this isn't the epic hipocrisy that you think it is. Haggard is an outspoken opponent of gay marriage. He is not an outspoken opponent of three year relationships with gay prostitutes.

November 2, 2006

Not Leaving

Bush made it clear yesterday: Donald Rumsfeld is never leaving. Ever. So long as he is President. A quick check of the historic record reveals that there has never been a Secretaries of Defense that served the full two terms of a Presidency. Ever. The closest was Robert McNamara and you don't want to be mentioned in the same sence as him when we talk Defence Secretaries.

Does anybody think that Rumsfeld is worthy of being the longest serving Defence Secretary in history. Based on all his great achievements? Please.

Poll Action

Ruy Teixeira does the math so you don't have to.

November 1, 2006

Words are Good but Video is Better

Grasping at Straws Time

So the GOP Machine took something Kerry said out of contex, completely misinterprets it, and completely blew even that complete lie completely out of proportion. This is a conservative movement desperate to change the subject. Because the real subject is Iraq and that is devastating.

October 31, 2006

More! More!

There is lot of stuff out. Trying to keep up.

A special shout out for Nevada Question Number 7. It would legalize up to one ounce of pot for any purpose. Nevada: Yes, you can do that!

Time to get local.

The Chant is recommending Yes on Measure L which will approve SMUD expansion into Yolo County. SMUD is a publicly owned power company for the Sacramento region. Being publicly owned, it doesn't screw it customers like for-profit utility companies. Power to the people!

I am completely torn on the measure to raise the sales tax in order to pay for a downtown area for the Kings. On one hand, it looks like a great project. To turn the rail yards from eyesore into a super-duper entertainment center would be great. However, giving massive public financing to a new arena is just a sucker move, considering the Kings are owned by the Billionaire Maloof family. Just in case you weren't sure, here's a Carl's Junior commercial touting both their Billion dollar net worth and a $6,000(!) combo meal offered at the Palms Casino, which they own. Yeah, these guys need our help. The Chant says no.

October 30, 2006

Its Voting Recommendation Time!

Once again I present a handy guild to California ballot measures. We have 13 of these suckers to deal with, let’s get cracking.

1A through 1E: The bond measure. Lets put on some debt and build some stuff. All that stuff you need. Roads and Levees and Schools. People keep coming to California (it’s our celebrity trials and the complete absence of winter) and they are going to need all this stuff. The Chant recommends Yes.

83: More restrictions on sex offenders. Cause if theirs one thing I know, it’s that sex offenders get it easy. Please. Whenever a politico is feeling unpopular they kick sex offenders. Sex offenders are indefensible so no one ever says boo. And they keep having to come up with more and more restrictions and more and more penalties. Well, sooner or later we will have a ballot measure that mandates we torture to death everyone convicted of a crime with the word “sex” in it. The Chant recommends No.

84: More bonds. Yeah. Water. Water good. Get thirsty without it. Of course too much water means we drowned. But this measure deals with that problem too. There is no problem with the word “water” in it that this Proposition doesn’t fix. The Chant recommends Yes.

85: Parental notification for minors seeking abortions. California just voted this down last year. And yet they keep trying. The Chant recommends No.

86: Tax on cigarettes. Sure, why not? Tax those suckers right out of existence. The Chant recommends Yes.

87: Tax on California oil producers. This is the big one. It dings the oil companies to fund new alternative energy programs. If we are serious about global warming, this is how we deal with it. The Chant recommends Yes.

88: Parcel tax for kindergarten. Think of the children. The Chant recommends Yes.

89: Public finance of campaigns. You want big money out of politics? This is a start. The Chant recommends Yes.

90: Eminent Domain “reform.” This comes out of the Kelo decision, which allowed local jurisdictions to buy property for private economic use. I was pretty uncomfortable with Kelo and would be happy to support a limited restriction on eminent domain. But this law contains hidden measures to make any kind of government regulation a “taking” that property owners would have to be compensated for. Environmental regulations, zoning, just about everything local government does would suddenly become too expensive to do. I hate it when they play games with propositions. This one needs to go down hard. The Chant recommends No.

Dick Cheney: Evil

Cheney continues to claim that US election are responsible for the death toll in Iraq.

Office of the Vice-President stepping up paper shredding operation:

You better get crackin’, Dick — that evidence won’t destroy itself!

Stop!

Peter Beinart catches Rove spinning history:

In today's Washington Post, Karl Rove is already spinning midterm defeat. "1938 was a huge wipeout for the Democrats," he notes. "Do you think that was the end of the New Deal?"

Actually, it was the end of the New Deal: Nothing FDR passed after that came close to rivaling the accomplishments of his first term, in particular Social Security and the Wagner Act.


The end of Bushism as a domestic force will be the clearest victim of a Democratic victory. A positive agenda will be hard to do, but the damage will end.

October 29, 2006

Only the Lonely

Pity the poor Senate Candidate, who labors and loses in complete obscurity. At least when Katherine Harris loses everyone will be watching. T-bogg show us the sorry spectacle of Dick Mountjoy (snik), who, in little more than a week is going to lose huge to DiFi here in California and who no one knows about:

And few people seem to know who Mountjoy is, despite his role as one of the architects of 1994's Proposition 187, which would have made it illegal for undocumented immigrants to receive many government benefits. Mountjoy's 29% support among all registered voters in the most recent Los Angeles Times poll is less than the 34% of state voters enrolled as Republicans. And in a July Field poll one of the last to ask the question — 62% of voters said they did not know enough about Mountjoy to have an opinion about him.

Little has changed since then. Feinstein entered the late-summer push with more than $8 million in the bank to Mountjoy's $21,000, making it likely that this will be the second California race in a row for the Senate in which the Republican challenger was unable to air crucial television ads in the final weeks of the campaign.

The next financial reports aren't due until today, but even Republicans seem to have given up. The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee — a key funding and organizing tool for Republican Senate incumbents and hopefuls — doesn't even list Mountjoy as a candidate on its website.


Whats so sad about the situation is that Dick has such a low name reconition when he has such a great name. I think we owe it to the people of California to spread the word.

Learn all about Dick Mountjoy.

October 27, 2006

BattleStar Tonight

Last Week's hot drop was one of the coolest things I have ever witnessed.



Prospect article on SciFi and politics found here. All my nerdy pursuits combined as one.

Quote of the Day

Isn't it interesting that Iraq now -- this Muslim country that 10 years ago nobody even heard of, all right, is now impacting on how we live in America.

Bill O'Reilly, Too Stupid to Live.

How does he remember to breath?

October 25, 2006

Now You're Getting Nasty

Democrat Harold Ford is on the verge of becoming the first Black Senator from Tennessee since Reconstruction. The Republican in the race is running a radio ad where Jungle Drums play in the background every time Ford's name is mentioned.

Freaking Jungle Drums.

Don't Change the Subject!

So the New Jersey Supreme Court is about to issue a ruling on Gay Marrage today:

The New Jersey Supreme Court is poised to release its highly anticipated decision Wednesday in a case brought by seven gay couples who say the state constitution allows them to marry, said Winnie Comfort, a spokeswoman for the state judiciary.

New Jersey is one of only five states with neither a law nor a state constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage. As a result, the state is more likely than others to allow gays to wed, said advocacy groups on both sides.

Only Massachusetts — by virtue of a 2003 ruling from that state's top court — allows gay marriages.


Now, the court could rule agaist gay marrage. But its likely to rule in its favor. Which I wouldn't mind at all, except two weeks before the election. It would change the subject. And right now we don't want to change the subject. Gay marrage would sudenly become a big issue again.

Right now when we talk about serious issues, we are talking about Iraq. When we are talking about wierd/funny/sad, we are talking the Mark Foley scandle. Both of those issues are great for Dems right now. We are winning on those issues right now. I think that liberals will win on Gay Marrage, but not for 10-20 years. We are winning on these other issues right now.

Don't change the subject.

UDATE: The ruling came down: equal rights for all. It give the NJ leg 180 days to act so it kicks the can down the road past the election. It has become just one more story in the news mix, like Rush being an ass Its not that I beleive that this fight should be won, I question if it can be won.

October 24, 2006

I'll give you this

Fine, we will have to score one for Larry's grand conspiracy of voter fraud theory:

U.S. Senate candidate James Webb's last name has been cut off on part of the electronic ballot used by voters in Alexandria, Falls Church and Charlottesville because of a computer glitch that also affects other candidates with long names, city officials said yesterday.


This is just stupid. The computer is cutting off the names of candidates. You will look for James Webb on the ballot and not find it. Conspiracy of dunces.

Under Pressure

The strain is starting to show. Richard Pombo is now refusing to talk to the media completely.

October 23, 2006

Lies in, Lies Out.

Time for a novel idea: Lies got us in to Iraq, lies have been keeping us there, and lies should get us out.

There were no weapons of mass destruction, no connection to 9/11; we were not greeted as liberators. Those are the lies that got us into the war.

Things are not going well in Iraq. Lots of our soldiers are dying. Lots of Iraqi's are dying. Things are not going to get better. These are the lies that keep us in Iraq.

So lies should get us out. We could do the classic "declare victory and leave" that was suggested in Vietnam. Sure the reality will be chaos and death. But since when has reality mattered? Or maybe we could leave Iraq and the Bush administration could just lie and say we are still staying the course. That’s the ticket! US troops leave, Bush still give speech after speech about courage and stay the course and victory is near. The administration still feels like manly men and no more troopers will have to die for the sake of Bush's manhood. I bet we could just never tell Bush we've left Iraq and it will work out fine.

Lies get us in, lies get us out.

Only lies can save us now.

October 20, 2006

Better

For those of you who think that Google would be better if it included a scarcastic, exotic-looking library-babe who mocked your search items, I give you

Ms Dewy

October 19, 2006

Trends I love

Sexy Halloween costumes. Mmmmmmm.

New Number

OK forget the death count for a second. Let look at a different number for Iraq. Reason's Hit and Run (Fun Folks those Libertarian) has got a number:

US forces are firing 275,000 bullets per day in Iraq. Per day.

Is it any wonder that Dems are taking it to the GOP on Iraq. Sex scandels have gotten lots of play lately but if when if when we win it will be because we have won the argument about Iraq.

October 18, 2006

Spike

Ten US Soldiers were killed in Iraq tody. That makes 69 this month and the overall total to 2,782.

How long, how long must we sing this song.

October 17, 2006

Grave Robbing

So I took a little trip to the saddest store in the world: the once-great Tower Records. It started with old man Solomon selling records out of the back of his dad's drugstore. It grew into a global chain and a Sacramento institution. But then came iTunes and Wal-Mart and Chapter 11 and now, the great crash. So now the mother of all going-out-of-business sales is under way. Two-hundred million in stuff has got to go. Craigorian Chant World Headquarters is not eight blocks away from the Tower district where it all started. And where it ends. All the books, CDs and DVDs you want, everything must go.

They are a week into the fire sale now. The shelves are maybe one-third empty. The staff is putting their best face on it, because when the stuff is gone, the job is too.

So I pick through the stuff grab a little here and a little there. A sale is a sale, but it feels a bit like making off with the flowers at a funeral.

I'm keeping the yellow bag with the red store logo the clerk puts my stuff in. Souvenir. In a few weeks they might be selling off bigger stuff. If I time it right I might get the store sign or maybe the "Tower" itself.

We are all on our way out. Act accordingly.

300

The United States now has 300 million people.

Discuss.

Can't Be Good

So over the weekend the UN passed sanctions in responce to the nuclear test.

North Korea is calling these sanctions "a declaration of war"

And you thought the Bush Administration used heated rhetoric.

October 16, 2006

Must...Keep...Track

In 2004 we all went a little crazy keeping track of the Day to Day swings in polls. Which polls were right which sucked and so on. Well that was just one little Presidential race. The 2006 is actually a whole bunch of races. There are something like 7 or 8 Senate races that are worth following and the number of close House races is growing, not shrinking. Its up to something like 50 races at this point. Crunching all these numbers will drive me rather mad, I think.

My best guess is that the Dems will win the House. I know Larry will get on me for chickens and hatching and all that but the number do look really good at this point.

The Senate looks like a 50-50 battle. Literally. I think its going to end up tied 50-50. If the Dems run the table they could end up in control but there's something in the numbers that just calls out 50/50 to me. It would represent a huge gain by the Dems to get to even, but the Vice President breaks ties.

Wait and See. Wait and See.

Movie Review: The Departed

My oh my, what an excellent movie. Just think of it as the slickest, most adult game of "cops and robbers" you ever played. Leonardo DiCaprio (Who I maintain an irrational dislike for) and Matt Damon (who I maintain an irrational affection for) do fine work as an undercover cop and a mobster's police mole. The plot has a beautiful symmetry, as both men try to uncover the identity of the other. I'm trying to remember what thrillers did before cell phones. One of the best scenes in the movie revolves around caller ID.

The supporting cast is a lot of fun. Between Jack Nickelson, Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg(!) there isn't a piece of scenery left unchewed. Marky Mark makes off with many a scene as a foul-mouthed police sergeant.

I need to come up with a movie scoring system unique to Craigorian Chant. Any ideas? This one will score high.

October 14, 2006

Ouch

OK, so no A's in the World Series. Walk off homer, Four game sweep. Guess it just Detroit's year. Well now that the A's are gone and the Niner's suck, I'm a little hard pressed for any kind of sports team worth following.

October 13, 2006

Even

The British want out of Iraq.

We are going to get down to "Bush, Laura and Barney" being the only ones supporting the War in Iraq sooner than you think

October 12, 2006

Video of the Day

Jenna Fisher, who plays Pam on The Office (Mmmmmm) wrote "10 Things You Don't Know About Women" for Esquire. The following is a dramatic reading of said piece by the cast and crew of The Office.

Quote of the Day

"To link me to George Bush is like linking me to an Oscar."

Arnold Schwarzenegger

October 11, 2006

Fine, Fine

I don't want to encourage this kind of behavior, but the anonymous maniac(dude, at least make up a screen name) who keep posting comments on Jerry McNerney-Richard Pombo race does have a point.

McNerney is a good guy and Richard Pombo is a blight on this earth. If Pombo was any more anti-environment he would bite the heads off of bald eagle chicks.

There is no reason for California, of all places to send a man to Congress whose one mission in life is to destroy the Endangered Species act.

McNernery is closing in the polls and has a real shot. Well played anonymous maniac, well played.

Good Job

Study: 655,000 Iraqis die because of war.

If we just stay 50 more years, there won't be any Iraqi's left, no one will fight us anymore and we can go home. Sounds like a good plan to me.

October 10, 2006

Oh Sweet Nectar of the Gods

Beer Flavored Potato Chips

Best idea you will hear today.

Conspiracy of the Fool

Craig's First law of conspiracy: don't attribute to malice what what can be attributed to stupidity.

Well the New Republicahas uncovered the true conspiracy at the heart of the Foley matter. The massive coverup of the fact that the Speaker of the House is a complete lackwit:

I refer here, of course, to the fact that Dennis Hastert is a bumbling half-wit--something that became apparent to the world last week but had been common knowledge in Washington for almost a decade. It was roughly eight years ago, after all, that Tom DeLay installed Hastert as his front-man, knowing full well that Hastert was no more capable of being speaker than the average sheepdog, to which he bears a remarkable resemblance. (Just after Hastert accepted the speaker's gig, a reporter asked him how he felt. Hastert's one-word response: "Scared.") But, rather than call DeLay on this lapse in judgment, House Republicans joined forces with the press to perpetrate an elaborate cover-up.

Reading back over the last several years of Hastert coverage, one is astonished by the lengths to which reporters go to avoid outing him as a guileless nincompoop.


Ah ha! Trueth Revealed!

October 9, 2006

Poll Crack

I can't stop reading polls. So many wonderfully numbers.

One.

After another.

After another.

After another.

Don't Panic

Ok, yes the President of North Korea does seem rather like the villain from a James Bond movie and yes North Korea has just tested a nuclear weapon. And yes this represents a pretty massive strategic failure of the Bush Administration.

But let's not panic. Nuclear Weapons aren't magical. North Korea is still an impoverished little Nation. Its neighbors are much more worried that it will collaspe and trigger a refugee crisis than it start blasting.

Who knows, diplomacy just might happen despite everyone's bad intentions. North Korea can't actually use the nuke without ending as a country. Bush can't attack, no troops and South Korea and Japan would never go alone and we would need their help. And so their is nothing left to do except cut a deal. Or just do nothing. Bush just bring himself to talk to the "evil" and so nothing. Just some fear, and a less stable Far East and a less safe world. So something to worry about.

But don't panic.

October 8, 2006

Cover Fun

Credit Cards

A few years ago I was over at Craig’s place in Sutter Creek watching TV when this credit card commercial came on. They touted themselves as an essential part of life. Like we’re all super sensitive to bee stings and their the adrenaline shot: Don’t leave home with out it! And Craig kept saying: “What’s the big deal!? It’s a credit card!” So I believe the commercial was for American Express. AmEx may have some nice perks, but it turns out that a lot of credit have some cool benefits themselves

Fast forward to June 26th of this year and I’m driving west on 50 to meet Craig at a bar in downtown Sac to watch a World Cup game. When out of nowhere a rock smashes into my windshield creating a starfish shaped impact mark and 16 inch crack!

Now I didn’t buy the optional insurance that Hertz offered me. And I had a good reason not to: A magazine article I read said don’t do it!

Last December I read a “ways to make your 2006 better” piece in a magazine I bought at the airport in St. Louis on my way out to Sacramento. On of the 50 tips was don’t buy the insurance car rental companies offer you because if you rent the car with a Visa it’s automatically covered (turns out other cards besides Visa offer this).

I arrive at the bar and proceed to tell Craig what happened, then I remembered that article. Hmmm, I wondered if it would actually work.

A day later I called Visa and they said they would cover it. The bill from Hertz actually wasn’t that bad: $209 total for the damage (actually it was only $159, but they added $50 for an “admin fee” because they’re a heartless multi-national corporation). However, Visa wasn’t going to make it easy to get reimbursed because, you know, they’re also a heartless multi-national corporation.

Here is their instructions to me and what I needed to provide them with:

*Copy of cardholder's charge receipt and monthly billing statement verifying the rental transaction

*Copy of initial auto rental agreement (front and back)

*Copy of finalized auto rental agreement (front and back)

*Copy of any correspondence from rental company outlining charges from this loss

*Itemized estimate of repair or repair bill*.

*Copy of police report and/or auto rental company accident report(s)*

*Two photographs of damaged vehicle, if applicable or available

*For holders of personal cards (e.g.: Gold, Classic, and Platinum):
--Copy of your Auto Insurance Declaration Page(s), which provides a summary of coverage
and deductible amount, if you rented within your country of residence.

*If the driver at the time of the accident did NOT have personal automobile insurance, provide a notarized statement indicating that he or she had no insurance

*Copy of your insurance company's settlement for this incident (if applicable)

*If the cost of the rental was included in a travel package or was prepaid, provide a copy of the prepaid voucher and a copy of your travel package invoice

*If the rental was under a company card (e.g. business, corporate, purchasing, or government)
--Copy of a letter from your employer stating that the rental was for business purposes.
--If your rental under the company card, was for non-business use, follow the instructions for
personal cards above.


Well I gave them everything the needed and a week ago the payment finally went through! Turns our credit cards companies aren’t that bad after all. Well, as long as you pay your bills on time, use their credit card regularly, don’t go bankrupt....

But since a lot of credit cards provide this benefit, I guess we’re back to Craig’s original question/criticism...”what’s the big deal? It’s just a credit card.”

The other things to consider are what if I get in 3 accidents in a year? Would Visa handle all of them? Is there a situation where getting the insurance would make sense?

I don’t know, flying out for 10 day trip and absolutely needing a rental car makes that said trip fairly expensive. When you add $15 extra per day for the rental car insurance, it just puts it over the top.

So it’s up to you. I will continue NOT to get the rental car insurance because accidents are sufficiently rare and I know Visa will cover it.

Next time you rent a car, remember this post! But don’t just rely on me. Call your credit card company and ask what benefits they provide. Go to their website and read all fine print about each card. It may pay off in the future!

October 6, 2006

Shift

Ok, I'm shifting my metaphor. Speaker Hastert is now an anchor to which the feet of the Republican majority is tied.

Glug, Glug, Glug.

October 5, 2006

Run!

In the middle a pretty bad movie called Without a Paddle, about misadventures in the woods, our heroes are confronted with a bear:

Dan: What are you doing?
Jerry: Taking off my shoes
Dan: Why?
Jerry: Because I run faster with no shoes
Dan: You can't out-run that bear!
Jerry: I don't have to out-run the bear, I just have to out-run you!


Its every man for himself with the House Republicans on le affair de Foley. Everyone is passing the buck, blaming others, and otherwise doing their best to screw their fellows. The slowest guy is the one who will be eaten by a bear. The democrats haven't had to do a thing. They just have to let the GOP tear itself apart.

Oh, and if you have to take bets on who gets eaten, take a look at Speaker Denny Hastert. That is a slow moving man. But for the GOP to dump its House leader a Month before an election is just beyond comprehension. I have no idea how to process the implications.

October 4, 2006

Gamble

Risk much and you will achieve much.

Or give up an inside-the-park home run.

The inspirational posters never tell you about that second part.

Dear Buddha,

All I want is the A's in the Series and a Democratic Majority in the Congress.

And a pony.

al-Qaeda Wants us to Stay in Iraq

They really do.

Winner!

Does Great Britain even have a national lottery? I'm asking cause I've seem to have won. Three times this week. Which is funny because I've been playing the Italian national lottery for years without a win, but have I've seem to have won the British version without even trying. Yahoo! Mail! needs to tweak its spam filter.

What's funny is that for being the people who invented the language, these English lotto officials sure have lousy English. Really its about the same level as those poor Nigerian officials who just need my bank account for a short time to hold a spare million.

October 3, 2006

Sex Kills Republicans

So there is a really interesting Washington Post story today on how Democrats survive sex scandals but Republicans don't.

I would say Dems "get away with it" but public humiliation is pretty much a given. But what happens is that Republicans lose their jobs and Democrats don't. Now with Foley I think the creep factor would have done in a Democrat just as fast, but a Republican pol doing the classic cheating on his wife goes down while a Dem seems to survive. Clinton is only the biggest example.

It really does seem like the Democrats just represent a kinder, more forgiving Nation. A Nation that just isn't as hung up on sex. Kinda like France.

UPDATE:I like Tyler's point that Foley isn't a pedophile. Matt Y makes an ever better case, mainly by strategically deploying a photo of Scarlett Johansson. Foley is some sort of ill defined creep. Predatory, very condemable, very sleazy, but not really pedophilia. Really this is more a definitional quible.

Resume the moral condination!

October 2, 2006

Little Picture, Big Picture

So in the little picture, the Doolittle/Charlie Brown fight is heating up. President Bush is coming into town to fundraise for Doolittle. Airforce One makes a lot of noise when it lands in Sacramento.

Brown is bringing in his own big guns with Westley Clark headlining a fundraiser. I'm connected enought to get an invite to tonight's 500 dollar a plate event, but not rich enought to, you know, actually go.

Big picture - Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House, is taking some serious hits on the Foley scandel. GOPer's are taking shots and the Super-Consertative Washington Times is calling for his resignation.

The real question is does the big picture connect to the little one. Does the fact that Foley has the GOP leadership running for the hills matter to a local Congressional race like Doolittle-Brown? I hope so, but I really don't know.

Catching Breaks

The forces of light have caught some breaks. First, Bob Woodward has a new book out and its highly critical of the President. Now there have been hightly critical books before, but not Bob Woodward books. In fact, Woodward has written three books about the Bush Presidency and others were so positive that the Bush campaign sold the second book from its campaign web page.

But now the worm has turned. Anything Woodward does has a big impact. Nice for him to be critical for a change.

Break number two is our old friend, the sex scandal. Seems that Congressman Mark Foley (R-Florida) has been e-mailing and IMing underage male Congressional pages some rather explicit messages. This is why I always check ID before sending explicit e-mails. Foley has resigned and checked himself into rehad. For extra icky irony, Foley was the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. He may be prosecuted under laws that he wrote himself.

So now the seat is a great pick-up opportunity. The ballots are already printed, so Foley's name stays on the ballot. The GOP can name a replacement, but people will have to vote for the disgraced pedophile creep if they want to vote Republican in that district.

But wait it gets better. It seems that the GOP House leadership knew about Mr Foley activities but did nothing. To try and prevent what is now happening. Coverup always equals a scandal. Who knew what and when.

So now instead of talking about how if the Dems are elected, we are all going to die, the GOP leadership is going to have to answer really embarrassing questions. Big trouble right before an election.

Thus the fate of the Nation turns on the action of a drunken horny Congressman.

September 30, 2006

Weekend Music Club

A tribute to the art of the Mixed Tape.

Semisonic's Singing in My Sleep.



The more literal-named Mixed Tape from Jack's Mannequin.



Explore the art of the mixed tape here.

September 29, 2006

Corruption Watch

Master of Corruption Jack Abramoff had 485 contacts with the White House.

Most fun detail:

"please put Karl Rove in his usual table."

September 28, 2006

Sometimes...

...You are just screwed.

Jacob Weisberg takes a look at the possible alternatives for action in Iraq and ask why no candidacy are advocating for any of them.

He comes to the obvious answer:

Reviewing these proposed strategies suggests another, less partisan reason why House and Senate candidates seem so disengaged from the question of what to do in Iraq. The situation is hopeless. The best that our leading foreign-policy minds have been able to come up with is a grim choice among forms of failure and defeat. In a country of optimists, no politician wants to deliver that message.

No kidding. We are screwed in Iraq. There is no happy ending. We are now down to a choice between bad options. We need to find the least worse course. Most of Washington hasn't come to terms with that yet. My guess is that after the election, once the pressure is off, there is going to be a huge move for withdrawal from both parties in Congress. Of course the Bush administration will be against it, and they will be all that matters. Till January of 2009.

Update: Bob Woodward:

President Bush is absolutely certain that he has the U.S. and Iraq on the right course, says Woodward. So certain is the president on this matter, Woodward says, that when Mr. Bush had key Republicans to the White House to discuss Iraq, he told them, "I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me."

Screwed.