Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Not quite myself

I wanted to blog this morning. For that matter, I'd like to blog now as I have some free minutes. But I do not feel right today. It began with a headache that was boring a hole in my right eye when I got up and went on from there.

I've searched the archive, but I don't see anything about employees running out of meetings to go puke in the men's room. Oh, well. First time for everything I guess.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Where in the World is Waldo?

Well, guess. As I look out my hotel window, I see the majestic illuminated sight of this building:

The new job is off to a flying start, but the irony of location is not lost on me. Take the good with the bad and all that jive. Anyway, my head is swimming with dos, donts, healthcare options, emerging turf battles, and new technology gadgets that will make sure I can be reached anywhere, anytime by anyone...

Anyway, just wanted to jump on and share the rankling irony of my GPS positioning with what's left of our audience. Glad to see the Big Man is back in action and I'll do my best to jump back into the fray as time allows. Hopefully we'll get this thing back on track.

The madness of King Mike

Mike Martz wants back on the side-lines...this season! According to the AP:

"This is the best I've felt," Martz told TV station KMOV on Tuesday. "And when you feel this good, you feel like you should be working."

For the love of all things holy, please don't!

I've been a Rams fan since the late 70's. Seen good times and very bad times. And I've seen Martz-times.

I was a supporter even after he took a superior team and underachieved in SB XXXVI; I was a supporter even after he limped through a horrible 2002 season; I was a supporter even after he discarded a former MVP quaterback in favor of an unkown.

But I'm tired. Tired of the pride, tired of the poor management, tired of the whole thing.

Thanks but no thanks, Mike. Ride off into the sunset with your health and spare yourself and us fans any further heartache. You were the greatest almost-all-time-great head-coach-ever-but-not-quite.

Lets leave it at that, shall we?

Earth to the Anti-Walmart caucus

Anybody home?

I must shake my head and laugh. The city council in Santa Maria closed the door on Wal-Mart in that city a couple of weeks ago. And the newsroom at the Times, for the most part, was supportive of the decision.

I like Steve--he's affable and will talk to anybody, but I think he got it wrong on this. And Mallaby's piece hits it on the head:

But let's say we accept Dube's calculation that retail workers take home $4.7 billion less per year because Wal-Mart has busted unions and generally been ruthless. That loss to workers would still be dwarfed by the $50 billion-plus that Wal-Mart consumers save on food, never mind the much larger sums that they save altogether. Indeed, Furman points out that the wage suppression is so small that even its "victims" may be better off. Retail workers may take home less pay, but their purchasing power probably still grows thanks to Wal-Mart's low prices.

Monday, November 28, 2005

I'm supposed to be surprised...

But I'm not. The Pentagon has a plan to draw down troop levels in Iraq in 2006.

Stop the presses!

They once had a plan to deal with the Soviet's in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis. They have plans now for all kinds of contingencies that us normal folk don't even conceive of in the course of everyday, normal life. 'Cause that's what they do.

Color me not-very-surprised.


What if you held a book-signing and nobody came?

The question is "Why?"

Yesterday, Hugh pointed out a piece from Ron Brownstein in the LA Times that, in his opinion, attempts to exonerate Democrats who supported the war:

The always lefty-reliable Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times sets off this morning (along with Emma Vaughn) to exonerate the Democrats who voted for the war in Iraq. The effect, though, is to paint a picture of utterly empty Democratic opportunists who blew with the wind:

With national security then such a flashpoint in so many campaigns, many Democrats believe, the vote's timing enormously increased pressure on their party's wavering senators to back the president, whose approval rating approached 70% at the time.

"There was a sense I had from the very beginning that this was in part politically motivated, and they were going to maximize the timing to affect those who were having some doubt about this right before the election," Daschle said.

This is something I've been screaming for weeks now as we've watched another go-round over who-said-what about Iraq. The Democrats supported the war in large numbers. The question is, why?

If you take Daschle's quote to heart, it was politically expedient. Hardly inspiring. The only other alternative is that they believed what the CIA and other US intelligence agencies were saying, what foreign intelligence services were saying and concluded that it was a good idea.

If so, they don't get to walk away from their statements so easily. At the same time, such an admission puts them at odds with their base.

Either way, we deserve an explanation!

Shameless self-promotion

I admit that upon my first viewing I allowed myself to be sucked in. And then I chuckled...heartily.

Upon further review though I'm left with a couple of questions: Is it possible for a comic to jump the shark, and if so, does a shameless allusion to the comic's creator qualify?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

New blog

A new find, courtesy of the folks at The Corner.

What caught my attention was the post Byron pointed to on the DeLay money-laundering charges. Byron was right, Sol puts the what-for to Ronnie Earl and makes him look pretty silly:

Well which is it, dude? The $190,000 going from the RNC to the Texas House candidates, or the $190,000 going from TRMPAC to the RNC? Make up your mind. And do you really think you can amend your indictment through the vehicle of a reply brief?

Just when you thought it was safe...

We're back. But where to begin?

In the case of Sim, he's moved halfway across the country and taken a new job. Been there, done that and for him there is no unreasonable expectation that he should be blogging every day in the middle of all of that.

But what's my excuse?

Last you saw me, I was sneaking a morning post more than two weeks ago. We had family in town with us for most of that week, pushing the blog to the bottom of the priority list. That next weekend we were in Sacramento on family business.

The following week began our internet issues which culminated in the suspension of our dial-up account on the 12th. We've been without service since then, though our new DSL line has been active since Tuesday of this week.

Only this morning was a connectivity issue here at the house resolved. And with that, we're all up to speed, so to speak.

Even with renewed access, things will be different around here as both our schedules will demand more of our time than previously. Many of the plans we've concocted for the blog will continue to simmer and must wait for better timing.

Having said that though, we will continue to bring you the same sort of content we've been producing since we first joined forces--just not as often as we'd all like!

So what have we missed? All the sound and fury over the Iraq war, Congressman Point-misser's withdrawal resolution is my personal favorite for best-blog-topic-you-couldn't-write-about, the return of Camp Sheehan and what should be a shut-up-and-sit-down vote in the House.

Awfully good to finally be back in the game!

What's Happening?

A good question, indeed. The MyDogs team is taking an unscheduled sabbatical due to our respective moves and new jobs. Additionally, Paul is having some Internet access problems. But we have resolved to continue our work here as soon as possible. I myself will try over the next couple of days to write some stuff before I leave for a week on my consulting gig. And then, hopefully over the holidays we will have some more time.

Apologies all around.

The Management.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cherry-picking the intel

Stephen Hayes takes a good clean whack at Carl Levin this week, and lands a pretty good one. The money quote:

The Phase I report criticized Tenet for his failure to note that the intelligence on Iraqi training of al Qaeda had come from sources of "varying reliability." It may be a reasonable criticism. But if Levin and his colleagues want to show that statements from senior Bush administration officials went "way beyond the intelligence," this seems like an odd way to do it. The head of the U.S. intelligence community made the same claim Bush did--using almost exactly the same words--some four months after Bush's speech.

Put on the thinking-caps and tell me why that poses a problem for anyone making Levin's argument.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Where there' a camera, there's a way

Hugh takes on Senator McCain today:

McCain's problem is that many people view his every action as the product of self-serving calculation, and a need to be seen as being "apart" and "different." Even on the issue of harsh interrogation of detainees, McCain's very public approach based on his long imprisonment and suffering only reinforces his profile as a man who not insists on being heard, but insists on being seen as being heard.

After watching the man up-close-and-personal for more than three years, I'm convinced that the man thinks far more highly of himself and his performance as a Republican than many Republicans do.

When he bombs again in '08 ("When McCain loses Republican primary after Republican primary in the winter and spring of 2008, it will be because of deep differences such as these, and no other reason."), perhaps he'll finally get the message.

In the meantime, why is this Arizona Senator being featured in ads for California Prop 75?

Schumer on Schumer

Another in a line of "Who said what, when" posts...we give you everybody's favorite Senator from New York (no, the other one). Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Chuckie took a hit from Chris Wallace when asked about a quote or two from the run-up to war in Iraq.

[Wallace]:I want to play a clip from your statement back in October of 2002 when you voted to authorize the use of force. Here it is.


SCHUMER: It is Hussein's vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, and his present and future potential support for terrorist acts and organizations that make him a danger to the people of the united states.

C. WALLACE: Senator, you read the intelligence and you came to the same conclusion the president did.

SCHUMER: Yes. The bottom line is I wasn't as sure of it as the president was, but I believe in a post-9/11 world, Chris, that the president does need latitude to keep our national security strong. And you know, that is true.

But we also have to make sure, once you give the president that latitude, that you keep him accountable, and that's what we tried to do in the Senate the other day. Just because you give the president latitude, that's not at all a blank check.

And it seems that subsequent to that time, the president made many, many, many mistakes in the use of intelligence, and all we got from the committee — and there was a lot of talk that the White House was directing Pat Roberts (search) to do so. He's the chairman of the Intelligence Committee — was stonewalling on the use of intelligence.

And I think it's really important not to point fingers of blame, not to gain any political advantage, but so we don't make the same mistakes again. After all, we have an Iran. We have a North Korea. We have other problems that are going to come down the road for this president or future presidents. And we ought to see where things went wrong and correct them.

Now, if you hear the clip aside from just reading it, Chuck comes across as forceful and sincere. Rather than admit that he believed what the intelligence was saying, he throws up some lame answer that is supposed to differentiate his "support" of the conclusions drawn from the President's case relying on the same information: The bottom line is I wasn't as sure of it as the president was...

Like I said the other day: As you try, I will laugh out loud while you explain to your rabid anti-everything base that you weren't duped and can still be trusted with power in spite of your incompetence; or weren't abdicating your constitutional authority for oversight by rubber-stamping the President's policy; or lastly how you didn't actually agree with what the pre-war intelligence seemed to be saying.

We will shape the future

Or else we will suffer it.

Californians go to the polls tomorrow in a special election, focused on a number of ballot propositions put forth and campaigned for vigorously by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Vote yes, vote no...just go vote!

The Simian Magician

Has done a fairly amazing disappearing act for the last week, for which he apologizes. What our faithful readers may not realize is that the Simster is moving on the 14th and is in the midst of boxing everything up and dealing with the kinds of hassles Paul recently described. For example, renting a storage facility yesterday was so excrutiatingly painful that I will spare you the description. But missing two of LT's four TDs yesterday made it all the worse.

So where am I moving? Suffice it to say that it is a secure, undisclosed location. With any luck, I'll be bunking with Vice-President Cheney. Word on the street is that his mattress is stuffed with billions of Halli-dollars, so I imagine they must be comfy. But in any case, I am moving closer to family and am looking forward to that. There will also be a new job which should mean I will struggle with blogging after my arrival, as well. I seem to be like three months behind Paul on everything LOL.

So I might be popping in occassionally, but can't promise anything. You know me, I'm commitment-phobic. But if things go according to plan, I should re-emerge sometime late next week.

See you on "the other side."

Go Bolts!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Life Goes On

Been slow around here. But you've already noticed that, no doubt. Life is busy here.

The great unpacking has been completed, now comes the Great Settling In. New routines at work and at home have left me scrambling for blogging time. I get snippets here and there but not much.

In the meantime, Sim has been AWOL for the better part of a week. His life is topsy-turvy, so no telling when he'll get back to some semblance of a normal writing schedule. In the meantime, it's catch-as-catch-can here.

A couple of things to chew on for the next day or two or three:

-Jim Geraghty of NRO tackles the Mary Mapes version of Rather-gate.

"The Wilson Gambit"

-The Cheney Administration is over, and other things you'd never know if you didn't read New York Magazine.

-Another attempt at bringing sanity to the never-ending-argument about Iraq, WMD and intelligence courtesy of WSJ.

Some guy named Smush

Who is Smush Parker and how is he averaging 20.5 points a game?

Yes, I realize Kobe hit the game-winner in Thursday's opener, but not for Parker's clutch three-pointer and the Lakers lose that game in regulation.

With 21 in the home-opening loss to the Suns on Thursday night, he's averaging 20.5 points-a-game with 3 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game thrown in. Is this what we've come to?

Some guy named Smush pulling this proud franchise's bacon out of the fire? Interesting times, indeed!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

With what motive?

The Left trumpets the indictment of Scooter Libby and hails it as the beginning of the overdue bringing-to-justice of the Bush Administration. But something just doesn't make sense here.

Irish Pennants, a blog written by journalist Jack Kelly, discussed the indictment last week in a post entitled "Scooter Libby evidently lied." I read it (HT: RealClearPolitics) over the weekend and was unable to push it out of my mind.

Kelly's big-line, for me anyways, was this: But what Fitzgerald had to say in his news conference about national security being endangered in the Plame Name Game was a crock, and we'd better be prepared to fight back against the criminalization of conservatism.

I believe he's right (see "proxy fight on Iraq war"). But beyond that, I can't get one most-basic of questions out of my head: Why would Libby lie?

Of course with a charge of perjury and making false statements, the assumption is that any false statements given were made knowingly with the intent to deceive. This makes no sense when you consider that there are no indictments--and likely none forthcoming later--on the original focus of the investigation, the "outing" of Valerie Plame.

In accusing Libby of lying, Fitzgerald (it is presumed) knows what Libby's actual true behavior (and assumed also, his intent) in the affair was. How else of course can he say that Libby's testimony was un-true?

If Libby's true behavior is known, and that behavior was illegal vis-a-vis the outing of Plame, it stands to reason there would be indictments along those lines. There are none.

So either Plame didn't fit the bill as a covert agent, and anything Libby told anyone was not a crime, or Libby didn't "out" her by virtue of his conversations with journalists. Either way, there is no crime.

And if there is no crime, there is no motive to lie because there is nothing to protect, nothing to hide. Rich, in his comments to Jack's posting, put it far more eloquently than I:

What were the lies relevant and material to?

If there is no underlying crime, then by definition, the lies could not be relevant or material to an underlying crime.

So what is left? The lies were relevant and material to an investigation of non-criminal conduct?

If so, then any lie is a crime. Lies in these circumstances, although detestable, should not be a crime.

Or were the lies relevant and material to the determination of whether there was an underlying crime. If so, then the potential/possible underlying crime should be identified in the indictment, i.e. the lies were relevant and material to whether or not so and so did such and such.

The indictment did not identify a possible/potential crime. So, does the indictment state a crime on its face? Or is the defendant required to guess the nature of the charge against him.

Remembering an Anniversary

In K-Lo's mailbox yesterday:

Am I the only one who has realized that this is the one year anniversary of Bush's re-election? And my, look how nothing has changed...Dems still crazy, Repubs still weak.

Sad but true.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blogger envy

Often petty, but it's never very pretty. Especially coming from a "group-blog" with fewer hits in two years than the object of derision gets in an hour.

Back where we started

After yesterday's closed session in the US Senate, Hugh wrote snidely that Senate Dems have given back the initiative. A mere four days after their perceived "victory" in the Plame leak, they are left posing for all of America with their closed-session stunt, crying yet-again about lies, deceit and a President who mislead us all because he was gung-ho to git Iraq!

After getting home late last night, I caught a replay of CNN's The Situation Room. Among others interviewed, Wolf spent a few minutes with Jay Rockefeller on the topic of "Phase 2" of the SIC report that Democrats were crying about yesterday. This is the portion of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report which was agreed upon as an investigation into alleged manipulation of pre-war intelligence by the Administration.

Yes, that's right. We're back where we started it seems. NO WAR FOR OIL!!

Frankly, I'm so tired of picking up this turd and looking at it from every possible angle that I don't know whether to scream or laugh. I mean, how many times will these otherwise-respectable gentlemen from the Senate stand in front of a camera and tell us how they are sure that the Bush Administration lied their way to war in 2003?

At this point, I'm inclined almost to not say a peep about it; have your investigation, and when it's over I wish you luck when it comes time to reconcile your current bleating and blustering with your pre-war statements.

As you try, I will laugh out loud while you explain to your rabid anti-everything base that you weren't duped and can still be trusted with power in spite of your incompetence; or weren't abdicating your constitutional authority for oversight by rubber-stamping the President's policy; or lastly how you didn't actually agree with what the pre-war intelligence seemed to be saying.

Either way,--makes no mind to me anymore--you lose.

Halloween tragedy

Small towns, invariably it seems, deal with these kinds of stories. Or maybe it's just that they resonate more because its a small town. It happened at my high school as a sophomore, it happened during college as well. Seems it happens too often in too many places.

Monday night, three teenage boys--all members of the Lompoc High football team--were involved in a one-vehicle accident as they sped up A street in Lompoc. One was pronounced dead at the scene, a second died yesterday and the third clings to life after major surgery on Tuesday afternoon.

The campus and the town at-large are left trying to understand what to take away from such a tragic event. Often in situations like this there is something to point to--alcohol or drug use, or some other mitigating circumstance. None of that happened here.

This time, three teenage boys lost control of the vehicle they were riding in and crashed into a telephone pole. Now two are dead and the third, should he survive, will live a life much different than the one he had dreamed and hoped of.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Always Good for a Laugh

I present you, Hugo Chavez:

President Hugo Chavez cautioned Venezuelan parents to protect their children from Halloween with a spooky warning that the US tradition is rooted in "terrorism." "What they have implanted here, which is really a 'gringo' custom, is terrorism," Chavez said, quoted in the local press. "They disguise children as witches and wizards, that is contrary to our culture."

Like Death warmed-over

This is always how it feels. The morning after the hypo-glycemic episode-the-night-before is never fun.

I realize at 3:30 that I'm awake and in the middle of every diabetic's least-favorite thing, a nocturnal hypo-glycemic episode. An insulin reaction, as they called it in the old days.

Of course, my wife has already known it since about three when she first began talking me through it and feeding me something sweet. My only recollection of course is the last few pieces of candy and the final assurances that I'm back to normal.

It's still hours before we must get up, but my body is now wide-awake and amped by the 15+ grams of sweet carbohydrates I've just taken in. Sleep doesn't come until around 5 AM. The alarm rings at six.

Moving through the morning is like walking through thick molasses. I always say I feel like I've been hit by a truck.

While it is true that such episodes left untreated can be serious, the vast majority of the time they are not. But they do leave me feeling awful, so I feel no shame in wise-cracking about it to relieve the mental and emotional stress it puts on both of us.

It's kind of like a visit from Death, Jr. Not there to pull the plug, only to harass and annoy.

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