June 30, 2006


It now appears that we were getting worked up over that North Korean missile test for nothing. Instead let us hype the China Threat.

June 29, 2006

Woa There Cowboy

The Bush Administration lost a huge case today in the Supreme Court. Their attempt to set up secrete military tribunals in Gitmo got taken down as contrary to both US law and the Geneva Convention. This ruling calls into question the entire Bush legal approach to the war on terror, which pretty much consisted of pushing the President's power as far as it could go with a "war" on. SCOTUS just jerked Bush's chain big time.

Internationally Bad

I am not a fan of the NRA. They really like guns, and they are really effective in their lobbying activities and they never, ever stop. Not at armor piercing bullets, not at assault rifles and now, at the waters edge.

Go read about how the NRA is now going to war against the U.N. Small Arms Review Conference. This is an international org working on stopping the illegal international arms trade. You know, the way terrorist and thugs the world over get their guns.

But now the NRA has convinced itself that this is some vast UN, black helicopter conspiracy to take away their precious guns. If they are successful at all in jamming up this process the world will be a more dangerous place. The NRA should just stick to keeping the US well armed and dangerous. They should leave the world alone.


...It hard out here for a pimp:

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is hoping to stamp out the sex trade by taxing pimps and prostitutes, then jailing them when they don't pay.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning approved a bill sponsored by committee chairman Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, authorizing at least $2 million toward the establishment of an office in the IRS criminal investigation unit to prosecute unlawful sex workers for violations of tax laws.

As if your hard working pimp doesn't have enough to worry about, now he is going to have the taxman on his back.

June 28, 2006

Going Softly Into the Night

Ezra Klein has a good piece up on West Wing. His thesis is that the show presented a too-nice version of the world, which left liberals too soft for modern politics:

This was the world of The West Wing, a realm of comedy, decency, respectable opponents, and honorable intellectual warfare. A world where the moderate Republicans triumphed and the ideologues got rolled. It laid bare a peculiar, and possibly temporary, quirk of liberals: their aching desire to believe the best of their opponents.

A tour of conservative cultural phenomena doesn't turn up anything quite so generous. Rush Limbaugh has mused that "what's good for al-Qaeda is good for the Democratic Party." Michael Savage predicted that a John Kerry presidency would declare the Bible a "hate book" and create a market in "baby body parts." Compare that with the liberal commuter's favored companion: National Public Radio's comforting, politics-as-Plato-conceived-of-it drone.

Klein has a real point here. West Wing was always liberal wish-fafillment (Clinton without the sex!) not only about ourselves, but our opponents. There is a huge gap in the campaign timeline, the part when the decent pro-choice moderate Republican goes is an embattled underdog in Iowa, then suddenly becomes the GOP nominee. They don't show the in-between part because a guy like Vinick could never win a GOP Presidential Primary campaign. Can't be done. Still I appreate West Wing for giving shape to our dreams, even if it isn't a guide to real world:

So as The West Wing exits stage left, so too does the mindset that created it. Daschle and Gephardt have given way to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, and now it's the Democrats deploying parliamentary jujitsu to force hearings and sink legislation. NPR is still around, to be sure, but Air America has burst on to the scene, boasting a full lineup of enthusiastic airwave warriors. Stephen Colbert has stepped forward, finding popularity and success by parodying the bloviating buffoons of right-wing media. And the blogs have grown fruitful and multiplied, bringing with them an appetite for confrontation and a talent for pugilism thatÂ’s begun to reshape the political landscape.

One could bemoan this, lamenting the exit of civility and the acceptance of trench warfare. But why? The Clinton era, which provided the inspiration for The West Wing, should not have proved a notably tense period. After 12 years of Republican presidents, Democrats had elected a leader who promised to banish that which was most controversial and inflammatory from the party. It was precisely the sort of performance that The West Wing's Republicans would have cheered. And yet it was Clinton, after exiling Jesse Jackson and eschewing so-called "class warfare," who gave rise to the ferocious Newt Gingrich and the hardliners of the Republican Revolution. Whatever goodwill and good faith he initially displayed was met with corresponding increases in partisan rancor and contempt. What explanation is there save that they smelled blood?

It's counterintuitive, to be sure, but it may be that the only way to ratchet down tensions is for both sides to come armed. And that can't happen so long as liberals believe that, deep down, conservatives don't really want to fight. For now, however, rapprochement is a decidedly second-tier consideration. I'm certainly a typical liberal softie who thrilled to The West Wing's world of comity and compassion. But nowadays, I'm also a post-Bush liberal: As much as I want us to all just get along, I'm much more interested in seeing us win.

June 27, 2006


So once again the Senate is chewing on a Constitutional amendment to ban flag-desecration. Of all the most worthless things your government does, this would be the most worthless. A ban on flag desecration would be the most unenforceable law ever. Good Boy Scout that I am, I know the Federal Flag Code, which is the official guide to the proper display of and respect for the Flag. Guess what?

(k) The Flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

So what people are trying to make illegal is the burning of the flag with the wrong mindset. If I'm burning the flag to destroy an old flag in a dignified way, that's ok, but if I burn it in protest, it's going to be a crime? How will this work exactly? What about World Cup costumes? Or flag print bikini's? A few years back at a Super Bowel, Chris Rock cut a hole in a Flag and wore it like a poncho. Are the Feds going to break down his door? Of course not. This is an empty symbol of a law, and everyone involved should know better.

UPDATE: As noted in comments, the amendment failed by just one vote today, 66-34 (67 votes are needed to amend the Constitution.) Let us now praise Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, normally a Republican I dislike, but who's rather absolutist on the first amendment, leading him to oppose both campaign fiance reform and a ban on flag burning.

One more point re: T's comment - Protesters aren't arrested for saying offenses things. They are arrested for things like trespass or blocking traffic. But you can't arrest people because you disagree with the content of their speech.

June 26, 2006

Oh My Head!


Rush Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours Monday at Palm Beach International Airport after authorities said they found a bottle of Viagra in his possession without a prescription.


Ok, so all last week we are subject to a debate over Iraq where the GOP clings to the notion that withdrawing from Iraq equals "cut and run", "surrender" and "cowardice." But it came out over the weekend that the pentagon has a plan to start drawing down US troops in Iraq. So how on earth is this not "cut and run?" Just for added punch, the Iraqi government announced a plan for National reconciliation that included US troop withdrawal. This has got to be the most surreal political argument in history. Everyone is for getting out of Iraq. Everyone. Yet somehow we keep having this argument. The GOP is trying salvage some political juice out of the wreckage. They figure that if they just call the Democrats "cowards" enough times no one will notice that the administration is planning to do exactly what the Democrats are advocating.

June 23, 2006


...Is totally gone. Beat down and eliminated by Ghana. Which of course means that we all need to find a Country to root for. On Country of origin grounds I should go with Italy, but Italy is a bunch of whiny floppers and cheap-shot artist, so I really can't go with them. Goal Post has a found a statistical method to pick a team to root for.

The there is the "hot fan" criteria, but I've found credible evidence for several different countries with this method, including Germany, Argentina, and Mexico.

June 21, 2006

Are you feeling the World Cup Yet? The US plays Ghana tomarrow. After a (literally) bloody 1:1 tie with Italy, the US must beat Ghana and get some help to advance out of group play and into the elimination rounds. Is this fun or what?

Ding Dong

The Bill is dead. Republican in the House are signaling that they will not compromise with the immigration bill passed in the Senate, which means that this a bill which won't become a law. Yeah. As I believe the mighty Yglesias pointed out there will almost certainly be more democrats in both the House and Senate next year, so why try and pass anything on immigration now when you can pass a much better law next year. Actually, this logic applies to every single issue that Congress is considering right now. So here's to a do nothing Congress.

June 20, 2006

See the Future

This November you can see what the future looks like if they ever manage to scuttle Roe v Wade. The really nasty abortion ban that was passed in South Dakota is now going to a vote of the people. The pro-choice people are keeping the option of challaging the law in court, but this is going to be a real test of strength between the two side.

This is what the future holds in a post-Roe world. The abortion issue will be given to the States, which means a big ugly fight times 50. Some States like my own CA the pro-choicers will win easy, and I see little hope in the deep South. But most places the fight will be brutal. Abortion, for all the heat it generates, really doesn't come up for debate these days. Roe v Wade has pretty much settled the issue, except on the margins, like late term abortions, parental notification and public funding. But throw out Roe and everything will be in play again.

June 19, 2006


Remember that kid from school, the one who loved to play with bottle rockets and M-80 and was generally the terror of his neighborhood? The kid who the old man at the end of the street called "not right in the head"? Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. They are threatening to test a missile. Think of it as the Geo-Political equivalent of a bottle rocket. Just like that kid back in the day, this is a cry for attention. And attention they shall get. After all, someone could loose an eye. Or a city.

Shall We Stay or Shall Will Go

The Iraq war debate is churning Congress these days, with both Houses considering different versions of non-binding resolutions to support the troops, the flag, the war on terror and staying in Iraq forever and ever, Amen. The Republicans think that then have an advantage because they are united behind the idea of "stay the course" while Dems are divided between those who wish to withdrawal and those who feel we need to stay. I can see the case for staying - prevent civil war, US troops only thing holding the country together, and so on. But as the song says "If I go there will be trouble/An' if I stay it will be double" I believe that we are going to have to withdrawal eventually anyway, so it might as well be sooner rather than later. Not to mention the government we are backing and creating is clearly a Shia theocracy, complete with death squads, torture and repression.

Its important to note that while debates on the Democratic side are about the length of our stay in Iraq, the GOP has committed itself to stay in Iraq forever. The lines go like this- Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, If we withdraw from Iraq the terrorist have won, 9/11 changed everything, etc, etc, etc. But if an Iraq withdrawal means an Al Queda victory, we can never pull out. Never. That's the rhetorical corner that the GOP has painted itself into. Iraq is not going to be a peacefull place for a generation, maybe ever. So if you don't think we can stay a generation, then we are going to have to leave. The only debate is how we leave and when. If we face up to the fact we are leaving Iraq, then we can have a real debate.

June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.

Clarence Budington Kelland

June 16, 2006

Thy Shall Pay Attention in Sunday School

I starting a movement to declare Steve Colbert some kind of National treasure or monument or something. He asked a Congressman (who sponsored a bill about the Ten Commandments) to name those Commandments. The results are, well, see for yourself.

June 15, 2006


One of those themes that swirl around the Bush Presidency is that while Bush lacks some traits, things like "intelligence" and "curiosity" and the "ability to avoid mistakes that cost the lives of 2,500 American troops," Bush does posses "Charm" and "Social Grace" and what you Oprah watchers might call "Emotional Intelligence. But now comes the "shades" incident. Bush mocked a reporter at yesterday's press conference for wearing sunglasses. The reporter was blind.

Um awkward, No? Bush is like that guy at the party, who thinks he's funny but is not, who's Wife has to come by after and say sorry. Bush has just said whatever he wants, be it rude, or dumb, or just a little weird, all his life. All his life he's been either an important person, or the son of an important person, so everyone just plays along.

June 14, 2006


US plays Italy next in the World Cup. Its expected to be a tough match. I have this link to top secret footage of the Italian sides training.

If you aren't spending time on YouTube, then you aren't wasting time the way it way meant to me wasted.

June 13, 2006


This is the 1000th Post here on Craigorian Chant. I was going to write a lengthy post on the influence of inflationary pressure on the long term-viability of the Social Security System, but instead I'm just going to take a moment to savor the fact that there have been one thousand posts and people are still reading. I'm sure we would have scared away all of you by now.

Thank you.

Thank you everyone for your readership and support.

Getting Away?

Karl Rove's Lawyer announced that Rove will not be charged in the CIA leak case. Damn! Triple Damn!

But he's the bad guy! Bad guys don't get away!

Life is not fair! The World is not Fair!

June 12, 2006

My heroes

Via ThinkProgress I learn that Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) have introduced legislation that would cut interest on student loans in half. Get this legislation passed gentlemen and I shall name you my heroes for All Time. Seriously, I will move to Vallejo or Illinois just to have a chance to vote for you.

Pessimism, that's the Ticket

CNN detects a (slight) uptick in support for the Iraq War in wake of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's close encounter with a 500 pound bomb. But a majority of Americans still think that the war was a mistake. And the majority of Americans would be right. But don't just take my word for it. Political Animal highlights some pessimism from Richard Holbrook. Holbrook was UN ambassador under Clinton, and will be Secretary of State under some future Democratic President. In other words someone who does this crap for real (This crap being US Foriegn Policy). So when he says that Iraq is worse than Vietnam, that is some grade-A world class pessimism.

One World, One Game

I spent the Weekend doing America's pastime, but for the next month its World Cup baby. I know, I know America doesn't do Soccer(Futbol) But pointy headed, one-worlder that I am, I embrace the sport. I like getting into something that the whole world is getting into. Plus, English fans chant "Two World Wars and one World Cup" when England plays Germany. You can't beat that.

If your going to watch World Cup, you have to do it right. So this morning I took in USA-Czech Republic at the Streets of London pub. 9:00 am start and it was standing room only. I had bacon and Guinness for breakfast and watched the US get it's ass handed to it. I didn't know they grew so big Czechs so big. They just pushed the US around in the air. Going to have to do better than that boys.

All your World Cup blogging needs will be met by Goal Post at TNR. Read this and you will know what your talking about when discussing the game over bangers and mash.

June 11, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ball

Went to a Giants games yesterday. (Thanks Sis) Baseball, that most all American of Father-Son bonding activities. Lots of fun. A question. How in the hell do ticket scalpers make any money? We are walking into the Stadium as the National Anthem is being played. In the two blocks before the Stadium, we pass half a dozen guys selling tickets. They each had their tickets fanned out in their hands. The game was about to start, and it seemed pretty clear that the scalpers were going to be left with tickets. So even if they has sold some tickets above sticker price, they were going to eat the cost of lots of tickets. So how does this work out?

June 9, 2006


So I wake up and I think "You know what would make a great gift on this, the day of my birth? If a major and particular vile member of the GOP Congress were to resign today."

And what do you know? Tom Delay has officially resigned from Congress after giving a nasty and weird goodbye speech. Happy Day.

So while I'm asking, how about a sports car, a hottie, two tickets to the Bahamas and a hundred grand in cash?

June 8, 2006

Need Help?

I'm not saying I have a problem. But it's good to know that I have options.

Death. Yeah

So the news of the day is that noted Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a US airstrike. Now everyone will cheer. Those who want us to stay in Iraq will claim that a corner has been turned and that we are now on our way to victory. In a few days it will be clear that nothing has changed, that the violence is continuing, that the political process remains deadlocked. al-Zarqawi's death will be added to the list of "achievements" along with Saddam's capture, three elections, and an untold number of schools getting painted. But the fundamental facts on the ground will remain unchanged. Iraq will remain unsolvable.

June 7, 2006


Gone to Vegas this weekend. Yearly Kos. All the people I read getting together for parties and panel discussions. Wannabe President Mark Warner is offering a super party:

In particular, the conference represents a tremendous opportunity for Warner to introduce himself to the blogs -- most of the top political activist bloggers on the left plan to attend -- through his key-note luncheon speech on Saturday, and also through a little old-fashioned glad-handing. Warner will court the bloggers as though they were primary voters, with a free food and booze fest, billed as Blogosphere at Stratosphere, on Friday night. It promises to be quite a scene, according to the invite:

make sure you don't miss the open bar, the free food, and the free rides (they have crazy rollercoaster rides atop the 100+ floor Stratosphere)

I'm missing an open bar with a Presidential candidate! Just so you know when you give to Mark Waner Leadership PAC, know that the money is going to booze up Liberal Bloggers.

Results Show

The Results are in! Phil Angelides, powered by a last minute Craigorian Chant endorsement, has pulled out the victory in the Govenor's Race, setting up the classic nerd vrs jock dynamic in the General Election. Garimendi made it in for Lt. Govenor. The people of California ignored my wisdom with regard to Jerry Brown as attorney General. That race should be entertaining, to say the least. Both Props lost, so no preschool or new libraries for the children of California. Oh, and the voters of Amador County are too cheap to pass a vector control agency, so they are all going to die of malaria. Overall, the cheepskates showed up yesterday.

Busby (D) lost in the Duke Congressional race. Doh. It was a wild series of events that made her competitive in the first place. Have to settle for the moral victory there.

Really this is just an opening act. The big Show is coming in November.

June 6, 2006

Late Night

So every race worth caring about is too close to call. Governor , Lt. Governor , CA-50. Hell even the race for the all important State Controller is too close to call. Plus Alameda County is having troubles that could hold up the whole State. Best get some rest and sort it all out in the morning.

Today is the Day

Get they self to a voting both! Here in Cali and seven other States. Today is also 6/6/06, so I figure there is at least a 1.5% chance that the world is going to end today. Of course there is a 100% chance the date will be taken advantage of by marketers. They are releasing a "pointless" remake of The Omen today. How would they try and sell stuff during the real end of the world? "Drink gatorade to quench those burning flames that are consuming the world." And the evil Ann Coulter is putting a book out on religion and politics. Its called Godless: The Church of Liberalism. She really is evil, you know. Not movie evil, like the creepy little kid in The Omen, but genuine, pure, no feeling for your fellow human beings evil. Talk about mark of the beast

June 5, 2006

Southland Heat

All the political action is down in San Diego this election. Every political pundint worth anything is looking at the Bilbray/Busby race to replace The Duke. The polls are tied and the Dem, Busby has a real shot in a district which, in any normal year, is a complete GOP cakewalk.

San Diego is also notable for a GOP Congressional Canidate who is so pro-family-values, he had two wives. At once.

June 4, 2006

Seeking Guidence

Election Day is Tuesday. California Primary Day. As always I offer my polite suggestions. Now with a Primary, most of the action is choosing between members of the same party to determine the final showdown in November. Being who I am, this means choosing among Democrats. Picking in a Republican Primary is just picking which kind of boot you're going to kick me in the knee with.

First, the CA governor race. Phil Angelides and Steve Westly must arm wrestle to see who takes on Arnold. I got to go with Angelides here. The guy knows what he's doing, which is something the State really needs. I think the nerd will do well against Arnold in the end. A case can be made for both guys and I won't be broken up if Westly gets the nomination, but the State needs something other than flash right now. The Chant recommends Angelides.

Next Lt. Governor. A three way race between State Senators Jackie Speier
Liz Figueroa, and Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. All three solid candidates, which is surprising for a job that consists of waking up every morning and asking "How are you feeling today, Governor?" Should Governor Angelides suffer a tragic pocket protector accident, Garamendi could step right in and take the reigns. Plus he comes with a tasteful Italian last name. The Chant recommends Garamendi.

For Controller we have Joe Dunn and John Chiang. I am going with Joe Dunn because he is a more boring sounding guy for a boring job. The Controller signs the States Checks. The Chant Recommends Dunn.

The AG race is interesting. Do you like your chief law enforcement officers conventional, or kinda crazy? This race pits former Governor and current Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown against LA City attorney Rocky Delgadillo. Brown was "Governor Moonbeam" back in the day and fairly um "eccentric." Day to day you are never sure what he is going to say or do. Delgadillo is more of what you expect in a responsible lawyer type. While I’m temped to just see what Brown is going to come up with, I got to go with the responsible choice. The Chant recommends Delgadillo.

Quick Shout-Outs for Bill Lockyer for Treasurer, Cruz Bustamante for Insurance Commissioner, Debra Bowen for Secretary of State and Jack O'Connell for Superintendent of Public Instruction. Don't ask me why, just go with me here.

Two ballot measures, they are slacking off from last time. Prop 81 is a library bond act. Libraries are how I became so smart, er, smartass. Support Libraries. The Chant recommends Yes.

Prop 82 is preschool for all. Raises taxes on those making above $800,000 per year. Preschool good and I’m nowhere near making that much money. The Chant recommends Yes.

Any questions? No really, any?

This Weekends Fun

Is Bocce.

June 2, 2006

Road Trip

Planning on a road trip this summer? Do I have idea for you:

The Mongol Rally

Its a London to Ulaanbaatar road rally. No cars with an engine bigger than 1 liter (i.e. total crap only). Last year 43 cars left and 27 reached Mongolia. Two teams were robbed at knife point, one car broke in two, and three people were banned from the nation of Turkmenistan for a year. Nobody died. Good Times.

You can follow the exploits of a New York based team on their blog. They plan to play Rock the Casbah when they reach Mongolia. I love it. The rest of their respective 200-hour-long music playlists are being sumitted to an arbitration committee. They just posted a picture of the car. They are so doomed.

June 1, 2006

Worst Ever

This idea is really starting to take hold:

In a new Quinnipiac University poll, 34 percent of Americans pick Bush as the worst president in modern history, leading the pack and bringing in twice as many votes as a guy named Richard Nixon.

So says Weisberg:

The outcome of the 2000 presidential election looks increasingly like not just a fiasco, but a tragedy. Whether or not one concurs with the judgment of the historian Sean Wilentz that he may be the "worst President in history," George W. Bush has already done enough damage to America's position in the world and its economic future to earn a spot on the bottom tier. And whether or not Al Gore would have been a successful president, it's improbable that he could have made any mistake as disastrous as Bush's unplanned, go-it-nearly-alone occupation of Iraq.