January 29, 2009

Get down and give me 50!

Complaining about a steep rise in his health insurance costs, radio host Ed Schultz made an alarming suggestion Wednesday after citing government laws on speed limits, vehicle emissions and smoking in public places --
In fact, you don't have to look very far to find mandates in your own back yard, from your own local folks. Yet when it comes to health care, all of us are allowed to just take a free ride. And you know what? You look at the financial situation, the crisis that we are in globally, you look at the financial crisis that we are in trying to save our financial structure and Wall Street and the trillion dollars that's going to have to be put into infrastructure, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And you can take apart the budget all you want and say, well, this is pork, that is pork. You know what? You and I are pork. Because we are unwilling to accept a mandate from the government that would order us to exercise! I'm serious about this!
Starting with largely sedentary talk show hosts!

January 27, 2009

Five years blogging

As of today -- my first post was on Jan. 27, 2004 while political reporter at the Cape Cod Times, making the Political Notes column published Mondays a continuous online offering from the paper.

First post was about ubiquity of rock n' roll theme songs in presidential campaigns and a few suggestions along those lines --
Will any of us ever again hear John Mellencamp's "Small Town" without thinking of Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, he of the po' boy roots in South Carolina who went onward and upward to Grishamesque fame as an exceedingly well-compensated trial lawyer?

Or U2's once powerful rocker, "Beautiful Day," rendered threadbare by John Kerry's determined overuse?

Or, going back a few years, the Clinton-Gore team's branding of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" to the point it is nearly impossible to hear the tune without conjuring up images of Al and Tipper shedding their erstwhile disdain for rock n' roll to Munster-dance across stage.

In the interest of adding diversity to campaign theme songs, some suggestions for aural alternatives. More to follow as circumstances warrant ...

For Joe Lieberman -- "Living on a Prayer," Jon Bon Jovi; "Happiness is a Warm Gun," "If I Were a Rich Man," the Beatles; soundtrack to "Fiddler on the Roof"

Howard Dean -- "We're Not Going to Take it," Twisted Sister; "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word," Elton John' "I Musta Got Lost," J. Geils Band; "Money for Nothing," Dire Straits; "Yesterday," Beatles.

Wesley Clark -- "Billy, Don't Be a Hero" (by one-hit wonders from early '70s who returned to much-deserved anonymity); "I Love a Man in Uniform," Gang of Four

The Rev. Al Sharpton -- "Play That Funky Music," Wild Cherry; theme from "Shaft," Isaac Hayes; "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," Temptations

John Kerry -- "The Ballad of John and Yoko," Beatles (agreed, list is top-heavy with Fab Four); "The Ballad of the Green Berets," Sgt. Barry Sandler; "Bat Out of Hell," Meatloaf

John Edwards -- "Southern Man," Neil Young; "Walking on Sunshine," Katrina and the Waves

Dennis Kucinich -- "Start Me Up," Rolling Stones; "People are Strange," the Doors; "Four Dead in Ohio," Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana

January 26, 2009

Add to that the rampant hyberbole ...

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a rare lefty who doesn't disavow the socialist foundation of his beliefs, gets a bit carried away Friday in telling Air America's Thom Hartmann about challenges facing Obama --
Then you have just the overall collapse or disintegration of our health care system with 46 million Americans uninsured.
And is it my imagination or is that figure of 46 million marginally larger than it was in the early '90s, when the Clintons sought to nationalize health care, while our population has increased by tens of millions?

January 23, 2009

Rove giving Bush his due

Great column by Karl Rove in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. After initially describing the sentimental plane ride back to Texas, Rove wrote --
Yet, as Mr. Bush left Washington, in a last angry frenzy his critics again distorted his record, maligned his character and repeated untruths about his years in the Oval Office. Nothing they wrote or said changes the essential facts.

To start with, Mr. Bush was right about Iraq. The world is safer without Saddam Hussein in power. And the former president was right to change strategy and surge more U.S. troops.

A legion of critics (including President Barack Obama) claimed it couldn't work. They were wrong. Iraq is now on the mend, the war is on the path to victory, al Qaeda has been dealt a humiliating defeat, and a democracy in the heart of the Arab world is emerging. The success of Mr. Bush's surge made it possible for President Obama to warn terrorists on Tuesday "you cannot outlast us."

Hmm, wasn't there another political figure at the White House confined to a wheelchair?

January 22, 2009

Once again, Caroline has dropped out

So says The Daily Beast after a night of conflicting news

Update, to add snarky comment -- Caroline we hardly knew ye

January 20, 2009

Cause of Flight 1549 crash revealed

So much for market swoon every time Obama speaks

Slumps more than 300 points on first day of Obama presidency.

Among the changes to come, via President Obama

Democrats and liberals no longer blithely disparaging prevention of another terrorist attack as a minor achievement. And media reports that our economy has turned the corner cropping up within days.

January 19, 2009

Well put, Pastor King

"I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law" -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 17, 2009

Congressman Keith Ellison, representing the Democrats' clown caucus

One of the most insipid interviews I've heard, between liberal radio host Ed Schultz and Congressman Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the sole Muslim in Congress as Schultz invariably describes Ellison. Choice morsels from their schmooze on Thursday --
Schultz: All right, congressman, you're on the Financial Services and Judiciary committees. They're going to get a lot of attention in this next session. The incoming Obama administration, should they launch a criminal investigation into the Bush administration officials to see whether they broke the law in the name of national security. Are you for or against a Sept. 11-style commission with subpoena power?

Ellison: Yes. And that's a complete sentence.
And I sincerely mean that, Ed ...

After regaining his bearings, Ellison went on to say that, yes, by all means, let's pursue show trials of Bush junta hooligans for putting the lives of American citizens ahead of the comfort of jihadists.

Schultz and Ellison also talked about proposed Treasury Secretary and tax scofflaw Timothy Geithner, with Ellison playing role of Obama's ventriloquist dummy, mouthing the president-elect's words nearly verbatim but with a vintage Ellison observation to boot --
Ellison: If our standard for being appointed is perfection, then somebody's going to be appointed. There's nobody who is not messed up, screwed up or goofed and I don't think we should have an unreasonable standard.
And the "messed up, screwed up or goofed" are deserving of the most consequential jobs in our government.

Next up, discussion of alleged need for Obama economic stimulus package, seeing how previous government initiatives to print reems of currency and dump it from airplanes have met with resounding success --
Ellison: We had a couple of economists come in last week and month and (what) they said is that time really is of the essence and every day that we delay, you know, more people are going to get laid off, and if you're laid off then you don't want to spend no money 'cause you don't know if you're going to have any money and if you don't spend any money, then people, somebody else is going to get laid off because their company isn't making any money. So there's this ugly, vicious cycle.
Yet despite dire situation warranting immediate attention, the specter of show trials for Bush, Cheney, et al., is impossible for Ellison to shake. Schultz points out that Obama appears lukewarm to such a spectacle.
Schultz: Is this front and center? I mean, I know that the Congress can multitask, we got a lot of things going on, but do you think this will happen in a timely fashion?

Ellison: Well, if I have anything to say about it, it will. I think that there's a number of members of, in Congress, in the Progressive Caucus, in other things like that ... As a matter of fact, earlier today, you know, we had a presentation from some professors on this issue who have studied it quite a bit who said, look, you know, if you guys let this, you know, we've had impeachments based on a president lying about sex. Now if you say that this guy doesn't have to, that there's no rebuking of what he did, we're essentially greenlighting everything he did. And so there is, there's a strong (sic) people in the community who
want something done and there's a number of members of Congress who want something done. So around here, you know, things happen if you put effort behind them and I'm willing to do that.
Among those who want "something done" is the legal arm of al Qaeda, whose members are following developments with keen interest.

January 14, 2009

Details, details

From front-page story in today's Boston Globe under headline, "Treasury pick failed to pay taxes" --
President-elect Barack Obama's pick for Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, failed to pay more than $30,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes over a four-year period, a revelation that could damage his credibility and hurt his chances for an easy confirmation.
Treasurer Geithner, meet Senator Franken. I'm sure you'll have lots to talk about.

January 12, 2009

Timeless wisdom from Edmund Burke

"It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do" -- on the 280th anniversary of Burke's birth

Let me try again to say how refreshing it's been

National Air Traffic Controllers Association vice president Paul Rinaldi, speaking with radio host Ed Schultz on Friday about air traffic problems --
Schultz: Do you think that Obama is open to updating the system?

Rinaldi: Oh absolutely, I know he stands for it. His transition team has been open with us. You know, we have to continue to grow the system. So it's really been, it's been a fresh of breath air. I really, I mean, a fresh of breath air.

January 6, 2009

Harry Reid too puny to admit he was wrong about the surge

Arguably the most inept Sunday talk show appearance in memory, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on the most recent "Meet the Press," especially when new host David Gregory hammered away at Reid's claim in the early stages of the surge that the war in Iraq was "lost" --

A transcript of Reid's remarks, with an accompanying video link, from the MTP website --
MR. GREGORY: Let me ask you about the war in Iraq. In April of 2007, this is what you said: "I believe myself that ... this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything." Were you wrong?

SEN. REID: David, I first met General David Petraeus in Iraq. He was training the Iraqi forces at that time. At that time, he knew it wasn't working. After he became the commander in Iraq, he and I sat down and talked. He said to me, and he said within the sound of everyone's voice, "The war cannot be won militarily." I said it differently than he did. But it needed a change in direction. Petraeus brought that about. He brought it about--the surge helped, of course it helped. But in addition to that, the urging of me and other people in Congress and the country dictated a change, and that took place. So...

MR. GREGORY: But you said the surge was not accomplishing anything. Even Barack Obama said last fall that it exceeded everyone's expectations and succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

SEN. REID: Listen, at that--the time that statement was made, the surge--they weren't talking about the surge. Petraeus added to the surge some very, very interesting things that changed things. He said a lot--just simply numbers of troops is not going to do the deal. What we need to do is work with the Iraqi people, which we haven't done before. That's where the Awakening Councils came about, as a result of David Petraeus' genius. He's done--he will be written about in the history books for years to come. My original statement was in keeping what David Petraeus said; that is, the war cannot be won militarily.

MR. GREGORY: Do you believe that the war in Iraq has been lost?

SEN. REID: I don't think at this stage we can talk about that with any degree of sensibility. That has to be something that will talked about in the history books to come. We...

MR. GREGORY: So you spoke to soon in 2007?

SEN. REID: David Petraeus and Harry Reid spoke at the same time. David Petraeus said that the war cannot be won militarily, I said what I said. Who, who phrased it the best is...

MR. GREGORY: You said that the war is lost. Today, in 2009, that's no longer your view?

SEN. REID: David, listen, someone else will have to determine that as the years go on. What has the war done? It's brought about--it's destabilized the Middle East. We have a civil war going on in Israel. We have a civil war in Iraq, as indicated today, more than 50 people killed with a bomb in Iraq today. We have Lebanon, a civil war there. We have Iran thumbing their nose with every, everyone. And if that weren't bad enough, our standing in the world community is so far down as a result of this war, so--and that doesn't take into consideration the tens of thousands who have been injured...

MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.

SEN. REID: ...and the thousands have been killed in the war. So it's, it's--historians will have to talk about what the war in Iraq did. But I think historians today indicate, as I have, the outline that I've given.

Reid said "this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything" in April 2007. On Sunday Reid claimed when he made this statement, "they weren't talking about the surge." All except Reid, and apparently apropo of nothing. The opposite is true -- "they" sure as hell were talking about the surge, meaning just about everyone who gave a damn about the war.

How about this dandy -- "That's where the Awakening Councils came about, as a result of David Petraeus' genius." Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't liberals said repeatedly that the Sunni Awakening came before the additional troops from the surge?

Nice to see Gen. Petraeus belatedly getting his due, however, seeing how he was slandered by the morons at Moveon.org -- "He will be written about in the history books for years to come. "

Then there was this -- "We have a civil war going on in Israel. We have a civil war in Iraq, as indicated today, more than 50 people killed with a bomb in Iraq today. We have Lebanon, a civil war there."

Got that? Three simultaneous civil wars in the Middle East -- when the actual figure is zero. Until you count the one looming between Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

January 5, 2009

Harry Reid convicts Blagojevich of corruption before trial even held

Perhaps if Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was an accused al-Qaeda terrorist, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would accord him the presumption of innocence. Instead, here's what Reid said on yesterday's "Meet the Press" --
"Blagojevich is obviously a corrupt individual. I think that's pretty clear."
This from a former trial lawyer, no less.

January 1, 2009

Buy now before we give it all away!

Dubious plug in commercial for skin care product Hydroxatone as heard on Air America Radio --
The results are so impressive, Hydroxatone was given away in the VIP gift bags at the Sundance Film Festival!