Monday, February 28, 2005

Wal-Mart's not to blame

Wal-Mart has always intrigued me. First because of its explosive growth in the 70s and 80s and, more recently, because it's become trendy to hate it. Robert B. Reich puts some perspective on it in this New York Times essay. And yes, I almost fell out of my chair to read something from Reich that I largely agree with.
Berkeley, Calif. — BOWING to intense pressure from neighborhood and labor groups, a real estate developer has just given up plans to include a Wal-Mart store in a mall in Queens, thereby blocking Wal-Mart's plan to open its first store in New York City. In the eyes of Wal-Mart's detractors, the Arkansas-based chain embodies the worst kind of economic exploitation: it pays its 1.2 million American workers an average of only $9.68 an hour, doesn't provide most of them with health insurance, keeps out unions, has a checkered history on labor law and turns main streets into ghost towns by sucking business away from small retailers.

But isn't Wal-Mart really being punished for our sins? After all, it's not as if Wal-Mart's founder, Sam Walton, and his successors created the world's largest retailer by putting a gun to our heads and forcing us to shop there.
Reich goes into more detail about how we cannot expect competitive pricing for goods and services and then be upset when the more expensive producers go out of business. Or when the low-cost producers don't offer employees the best benefits.

Reich suggests that we legislate requirements for certain employee benefits and raise the minimum wage, which I cannot agree with, but he writes an interesting piece.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Bill on Hillary

Bill Clinton had this to say about Hillary today.
"If she did run and she was able to win, she'd make a very, very good president," Clinton said Sunday. "I think now she's at least as good as I was."
I have no comment.

Confession of BTK

Yesterday's reports were that all of the killings BTK was responsible for occurred while there was no death penalty in Kansas. Today, Dennis Rader's confession suggests he may have been responsible for as many as 13 murders, one of them after capital punishment was reinstated.
Investigators now suspect Dennis L. Rader may have been responsible for as many 13 slayings - including at least one that occurred after the death penalty was enacted in Kansas, a source with direct knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press on Sunday on condition of anonymity.

Discussing '08 candidates already?

This story in the Washington Post lists Presidential contenders for '08 who are currently state governors. The advantage governors have over legislators as presidential candidates--lawmakers have lengthy voting records with which to beat them silly. Governors don't. Last November is a great example.

In another Post story
Senator Joseph Biden says Hillary would be "incredibly difficult to beat" in '08. While her tenure in the senate has been relatively short, her voting record will be scrutinized. Her voting should be very interesting to watch these next few years.

Rock Chalk!

Allen Fieldhouse Posted by Hello

The late Dr. F. C. "Phog" Allen was basketball coach of the Kansas Jayhawks for 39 years after being mentored by the inventor of the game, James Naismith. This building which bears Allen's name will turn 50 years old on Tuesday. It's regarded as one of the most amazing venues for college hoops anywhere. Since the 1984 season, the Jayhawks are an incredible 282-22 in this building.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Kansas on my mind

The University of Kansas in Lawrence Posted by Hello

My home state of Kansas has been in the news a lot this week. Today, Wichita officials announced the arrest of a suspect in gruesome serial killings during the 70s and 80s. Earlier in the week Attorney General Phill Kline made headlines for requesting the medical records of women who received late-term abortions in Kansas. Howard Dean has been stumping for the DNC the last two days in Topeka and Lawrence and today the New York Times ran this really great story about Lawrence where Mrs. THC and I attended college.

Greta's got to love this

Greta Van Susteren has done quite well on her Fox News program covering practically nothing but the Scott and Laci Peterson case. We've wondered what she will do now that the case is drawing to its conclusion. But wait, this is interesting.
But Michael Cardoza, a local lawyer who has been helping the defense, said Geragos had uncovered new evidence. He said a prison inmate had been caught on tape talking to his brother about a burglary at the Petersons' house in which Laci Peterson confronted the robbers. Geragos may argue that authorities withheld evidence that could have been helpful in proving that Scott Peterson was not the killer.
If there's any validity to this it would certainly mean a new trial for Peterson. Yippee.

Spotlight on Wichita

The national media spotlight was on Wichita this morning for the press conference announcing the arrest of BTK, a serial killer allegedly responsible for the deaths of at least eight in the 70s and 80s.
BTK is arrested, said Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams this morning at a press conference at City Hall. Dennis Rader of Park City has been arrested for first-degree murder of the eight victims known to be tied to BTK, Wichita Police Lt. Ken Landwehr said.
Wichita Police officials, the Mayor, Attorney General Phill Kline, et al, should all be congratulated for this arrest. But the lengthy news conference this morning was a love-fest, officials slapping backs and congratulating one another before the national media. BTK resurfaced in the last year and mailed numerous letters, postcards, photographs and other evidence to Wichita newspapers and TV stations. Many speculated that he wanted to be caught.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice really should have gone out while he was still on top, but he just loved playing too much. Now, he's been released by the Seattle Seahawks. What a class act he has been.
Jerry Rice was released by the Seattle Seahawks on Friday, perhaps signaling an end to the career of greatest receiver in NFL history.

Wheels of justice

I must have heard my father, now a retired administrative law judge, say a thousand times "The wheels of justice turn slowly". Proof of that today:
The judge in the Scott Peterson case delayed the convicted murderer's formal sentencing hearing until March 16 today after defense attorneys said they were unprepared to proceed with the final stage of the trial.
A judge gave Terri Schiavo's husband permission to remove the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube in three weeks, handing him a victory in his effort to carry out what he says were his wife's wishes not to be kept alive artificially.
In the Schiavo case the judge's ruling almost assures more court action by delaying for three weeks removing the feeding tube. But he says the case must end. He really just doesn't want to be the judge responsible for the ultimate result.
The judge wrote that he was no longer comfortable granting delays in the family feud, which has been going on for nearly seven years and has been waged in every level of Florida's court system. He said the case must end.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Nancy, what are you for?

Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that she is against anything President Bush is in favor of.
Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, launching what she vowed will be an aggressive effort against President Bush's Social Security privatization, told cheering supporters in San Francisco on Wednesday that the plan is a costly "diversionary tactic'' by the administration and a blatant "attempt to divide the generations" on the values of a crucial social program.
But at some point doesn't she have to say what she's for? Come on Nancy, stop pointing out problems and offer some solutions.

Naked and covered in oil

There aren't many reasons that I can think of for being naked and covered with oil. And none of those reasons would also feature being alone and outdoors at 10:30 in the morning.
A Kansas City man is in jail this morning after Lenexa police said they arrested him driving nude and covered in corn oil.

The 50-year-old man was booked into the Johnson County jail Wednesday after a woman said he was walking outside his van nude.
This arrest, by the way, took place about a mile and a half from where Mrs. THC and I lived for years.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Back at the helm?

 Posted by Hello

Martha Stewart is due to be released from prison next week and might return to the helm of the company she founded, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. The SEC has filed civil insider-trading charges against her but they might consider a deal.

Wead regrets

Doug Wead, who secretly recorded private conversations with George W. Bush and played a dozen of them for the New York Times, has done a one-eighty.
"Contrary to a statement that I made to the New York Times, I have come to realize that personal relationships are more important than history," Wead wrote in a letter to the show's host, Chris Matthews, that MSNBC released to the public on Wednesday. "I am asking my attorney to direct any future proceeds from the book to charity and to find the best way to vet these tapes and get them back to the president to whom they belong. History can wait."
I was convinced that this guy was the biggest sleaze to walk the planet. But Bush's image has been polished; he expresses the same values in private as he does publicly. Wead cancels a TV appearance and says all the right things in his letter to Chris Matthews at MSNBC. Bush and Wead both look good. Is anyone cleaver enough to plan it this way?

Slow news week

The Shaggy Dog thinks it's been a slow news week and offers up this post as proof. Not to be outdone by an unkempt canine, I offer this as further evidence:
MILFORD, Neb. (AP) -- It took nearly four months, but to the relief of neighbors miles around, a burning manure pile has been extinguished.

David Dickinson, owner and manager of Midwest Feeding Co., said Wednesday that several weeks of pulling the 2,000-ton pile apart proved effective by late last week.
I could sure have a lot of fun with this. You know, Nebraska...giant burning manure pile and all. But as a native Kansan, maybe I should just leave it alone.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Thank you, France

I guess it's symbolic. I suppose it's a beginning. President Bush's objective was to have all 26 countries of NATO onboard, and he accomplished his goal. But why is Chirac intent on embarrassing his country at every turn? C'mon, regardless of France's position on the war, isn't now the time to help the Iraqi people protect their foundling government?
The agreement came after France quietly dropped its refusal to take part under a NATO umbrella on Tuesday. It pledged $660,000 to an alliance fund for military and police training in Iraq and has assigned one French midlevel officer to the training mission at the organization's headquarters near Brussels, French and American officials said.
I understand the symbolism of it but $660k and one flunky soldier? Ridiculous.


Barry Bonds showed up at spring training and had this to say about steroid use:
"I don't know what cheating is," he said. "I don't believe steroids can help your eye-hand coordination, technically hit a baseball. I just don't believe it. That's my opinion."
Translation: "I used steroids." The "I don't know what cheating is" was just a really stupid thing to say. It's a good thing he's not a politician or a newsman.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Just like old buddies

It seemed like George and Jacques were just a couple of old buds as they dined and joked together today.
Only months after he criticized countries "like France," President Bush was lavish in his praise of French President Jacques Chirac, one of the sharpest critics of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
I applaud Bush for reaching out to mend relations with France, but it's going to take more than George and Jacques sharing a laugh over lobster risotto to get me back to the Bordeaux isle.

Greatest presidents

The New York Post prints this account of a great presidents poll.
Asked to name the greatest president, 20 percent chose Abraham Lincoln, followed by Ronald Reagan (15), Franklin Roosevelt (12), John Kennedy (11), Bill Clinton (10) and Bush (8). Washington came in seventh, with 6 percent. Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson tied for last, with 1 percent.
Kennedy was not a great president, he is remembered favorably because he was assassinated. Nixon and Johnson both deserve more respect. Where's Hoover?

Do it where you live

This story has been in the local news for a few weeks here in the Bay Area, but I don't think it's gotten any national attention. Perhaps stories about California whackos have become redundant. Anyway...
Stephen Pearcy says the protest art outside his home -- a mock U.S. solider that hung from a noose on Pearcy's roof last week -- is no more than the expression of his personal belief that young American soldiers in Iraq have been left hanging by the Bush administration.
Local news media have shown photos of the soldier hung in effigy and it's nothing anyone would want to see in their own neighborhood. I guess that's why it's hanging from Pearcy's rental home in Sacramento while he lives in Berkeley.

Carnival of Capitalists!

Adam Crouch at The Raw Prawn has up The Carnival of the Capitalists. Holy demand curve, what a concept!

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The mainstream media's demise

Frank Ahrens of the Washington Post ponders the plight of American newspapers.
The venerable newspaper is in trouble. Under sustained assault from cable television, the Internet, all-news radio and lifestyles so cram-packed they leave little time for the daily paper, the industry is struggling to remake itself.
Hugh Hewitt, in Blog, has this explanation for the demise of the mainstream media:
It is over. They are slow. They are perceived as way-left. And they have been caught cheating in the production of their product.
The cheating of course refers to Rathergate and the Jayson Blair embarrassement. Also, way back in 2003, Eason Jordan admitted that CNN had intentionally downplayed the atrocities in Iraq under Hussein for a dozen years because accurate reporting might have endangered journalists there. Meanwhile, CNN can't seem to figure out why their ratings keep falling.

Wall Street sits out

Charles Gasparino at Newsweek thinks it's a "no-brainer" that Wall Street firms would back Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security. So he contemplates the silence.
It seems like a no-brainer that the prospect of privatized Social Security accounts would have Wall Street drooling. If the Bush administration's plan becomes a reality, financial firms stand to reap tens of billions in fees in coming decades as they welcome millions of new investors into the market as part of President Bush's much-touted "ownership society." An added bonus: all that new cash flowing into the market would bolster stock prices.
The truth is that Wall Street firms would most likely lose on the deal. There would not be "tens of billions in fees" from a government run program and the liability and time required dealing with so many inexperienced investors would be enormous. Besides, Wall Street firms are working feverishly now to shed themselves of unprofitable small accounts (typically defined as less than $50,000 in assets). Adding millions of tiny new accounts to their books would be foolish. On the other hand, Wall Street won't publicly oppose a privatization plan because they know it's the right thing to do.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Cabin Weekend

Mrs. THC has dubbed this a "cabin weekend". The forecast for the long holiday weekend in the Bay Area is for rain, rain, rain. Since rainy weather is our surrogate for winter weather, we're going to pretend we're at a winter cabin in Tahoe or Northern Wisconsin or somewhere else cold and wintery and just stay inside. We'll read and knit and quilt, maybe blog a bit. We won't go outside unless we really have to. We'll fix comfort foods and turn on the Heatilator and bask in the glow of the gas logs. We have everything we need, no reason to go out.

With friends like Doug Wead...

From 1998 until just before accepting the Republican nomination for President in 2000, George W. Bush turned to an old family friend for advice. That friend, Doug Wead secretly taped these conversations and now has played many of them for the New York Times.
Mr. Wead said he recorded the conversations because he viewed Mr. Bush as a historic figure, but he said he knew that the president might regard his actions as a betrayal. As the author of a new book about presidential childhoods, Mr. Wead could benefit from any publicity, but he said that was not a motive in disclosing the tapes.
"Might regard his actions as a betrayal"...I'd say that's a given. Publicity for his new book "not a motive"? So he's a scumbag and a liar.

Tribute to Iwo Jima

Bernard Higgins, at A Certain Slant of Light, has a pretty spiffy tribute on this anniversary of the landing on Iwo Jima.

Brent Brents arrested

Glenwood, CO police arrested suspected serial rapist Brent Brents Friday night. Who else believes this guy's problems started as soon as his parents named him?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Moving to Canada, eh?

Jim, at The Shaggy Dog, has been trying to figure out how all those folks are doing who have bailed out on the US, you know, with W's re-election and all, and moved to the more liberal-friendly confines of Canada. Seems he has "Googled till [he's] dizzy" and hasn't found much info on their "outmigration". How the heck are those thousands (or millions) doing in their new digs? Is Canada everything they'd wished for? We'd sure like to know.

Vavoom, from Tedrowdrive offered up the name of a website he thought might have a status report for us, Moving to Canada, eh?. We checked it out and found that it hadn't been updated for nearly three weeks and the most recent visitor comment was left a week ago. Christopher Key, who seems to be a founder of the site, made his last post on December 12, 2004 when he wrote, "God and Canadian Immigration willing, I will make my next post from my adoptive country." Gosh Christopher, we hope you're ok. Or maybe you never left?

How liberal is CBS?

Media Matters for America is suggesting that CBS News doesn't really have a leftward lean:
A Media Matters for America analysis of CBS Evening News broadcasts since the November 2, 2004, presidential election found that the program featured Republicans and conservatives more often than Democrats and progressives.
This couldn't possibly be more meaningless. Sure, maybe CBS featured conservatives more frequently than liberals, but most of the stories were negative. Not to mention Dan Rather's scowl everytime he mentions a Republican.

Smartypants liberals

Boy, that Karl Rove sure is a tough talker.
"The next time one of your smartypants liberal friends says to you, `Well, he didn't have a mandate,' you tell him of this delicious fact: This president got a higher percentage of the vote than any Democratic candidate for president since 1964," Rove said.
Can't you just hear Nancy Pelosi's response: "Liar, liar, pants on fire, hangin from a telephone wire!"

Thursday, February 17, 2005


A friend of mine, and former Marine, sent me this photo a week ago. I've spent days trying to figure out what to say about it. I've decided it's best to let it speak for itself. Posted by Hello

Hillary wants ex-cons to vote

Hillary Clinton today joined John Kerry and other Democrats in urging that Election Day be made a federal holiday and that ex-cons be allowed to vote. The Count Every Vote Act would:
_Require paper receipts for votes.

_Authorize $500 million to help states make the changes in voting systems and equipment.

_Allow ex-felons to vote. Currently an estimated 4.7 million Americans are barred from voting because of their criminal records.

_Require adoption of the changes in time for the 2006 election.
The rationale for making election day a federal holiday is to make it easier for Americans to vote. Those who would have the day off, federal employees, bank and postal workers, etc. would have a high propensity to vote for Hillary in 2008. And the convicted felons...well, the Clintons know a lot of felons.

SUVs and Cigarettes

We don't much care for gas-guzzling SUVs here in the Bay Area (although it seems just about everyone drives one). And we don't care much for cigarette smoking neither. So this story about a Ford Expedition burning to its smoldering frame must have all the Bay Area libs doing little happy dances.

It seems that a young San Francisco man, smoking a cigarette while cruising across the Bay Bridge this morning, went to toss his lit butt out the window. It must have caught a wierd draft because it blew back into the Expedition and set the interior ablaze. The man jumped out and was uninjured but the truck was a total loss.

I must admit, it is kind of funny.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Chairman Greenspan Posted by Hello

Greenspan surprises dems

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan made his semi-annual trek to Capitol Hill today to testify before Congress. Not knowing what he might say about the Social Secuity debate, Democrats were not expected to ask many questions about the "third rail". But they did, and this is what they heard from Greenspan:
"But the demographics are inexorable, and call for action before the leading edge of baby boomer retirement becomes evident in 2008," he added.

At one point, Mr. Greenspan used language similar to what Mr. Bush has been saying of late: "It is risky doing nothing."
It should really be interesting to see how the mainstream media handle this. How many papers will print these quotes and, those that do, how far down on the page?

Jesse Jackson peddling more snake oil

Democrats, intent on embarrassing President Bush, have turned up the attacks especially since the election last fall. They ramble on about the things that have gone wrong in Iraq, problems with the economy and silly reasons to leave Social Security just as it's been for seventy years. But wouldn't the most effective way to embarrass Bush be to offer up better ideas? You'd think. Instead, Democrats complain.

In Jesse Jackson's essay in yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times he complains about Bush for ten paragraphs and then concludes with this gem:
Rather than weaken the safety net that ensures all seniors dignity at the end of a long life of work, let's deal with the real hurdles that cause African Americans to die sooner, or suffer disabilities more. Reduce poverty, guarantee adequate health care, invest in decent schools and affordable housing, raise the minimum wage. Don't remove the floor under seniors while claiming to be helping African Americans.
There it is! "Raise the minimum wage." Geez. Is that the best they have to offer?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

SF's Homeless Count Drops

Mayor Newsom's Care Not Cash program is credited for a big drop in the number of homeless in San Francisco.
San Francisco's homeless population plummeted by more than a quarter in the past two years, the city reported Monday, a dramatic change Mayor Gavin Newsom says is a credit to his policies of cutting cash assistance to street people and aggressively moving them into housing with counseling services.
Prior to Care Not Cash, qualified homeless in SF received cash monthly, as much as $410. Now they are given a shelter bed instead. Homeless advocates, of course don't really want fewer homeless.
The new figures were met with disbelief from homeless advocates who say they don't square with reality on the streets. And they come at a time when most other counties in the Bay Area expect to report an increase in their homeless populations, leading to speculation that perhaps some homeless people are being driven out of the city by its welfare-slashing Care Not Cash program.
Who ever thought that giving homeless folks $410 cash each month was a good idea?

Jordan just wasn't thinking

If Eason Jordan just had a romp in the sack with Sharon Stone, he could have said anything.
Hollywood star Sharon Stone is dating news executive Eason Jordan, according to reports.

The pair have been stepping out since meeting at last month's World Economic Conference in Davos, Switzerland.

Monday, February 14, 2005

A Strong Stand

Bernard Higgins at A Certain Slant of Light is leading the charge to protect the rights of blogger-journalists in Iran. The problems there should be a concern to anyone who has any interest in blogging, journalism, free speech, etc.

Happy Valentine's Day to THC from the Merry Stitcher Posted by Hello

Journalistic Payola

My old hometown is in the news today for journalistic payola. I first spotted this story by Howard Kurtz at Captain's Quarters regarding a little Kansas City controversy:
The issue of pundit payola, it seems, is not limited to inside the Beltway.

Eric Wesson, a columnist for the Call, an African American newspaper in Kansas City, offered plenty of praise last year for the successful House bid of Democrat Emanuel Cleaver. "Rev. Cleaver," he wrote, "has the experience to get things done and getting people to work together, he unites people. . . . Rev. Cleaver is a master at getting others to see his vision and surrounding himself with role players to make the vision become a reality. . . . I admire his honesty."

Cleaver's campaign last summer paid $1,500 to a firm called One Goal Consultants. And the sole owner of One Goal Consultants, according to state records, is Wesson.

"I wrote out some phone scripts for his phone banks," Wesson says. "I think I did about 50 of them and some other miscellaneous things. It had nothing to do with the job I do for the Call. The Call has always written articles favorable to African American candidates. We're an advocacy newspaper."

Readers of the Call, however, were unaware that Wesson was getting cash from the campaign. "Should I have disclosed it in my articles? I don't know," says Wesson. "Would it have made any difference?"
The difference between this and the Armstrong Williams story, besides scale, is that Wesson doesn't seem to think that he's done anything wrong. And, if I'm reading Kurtz correctly, Wesson was on the payroll of the candidate Cleaver and now he's on the payroll of Congressman Cleaver. All the while covering Cleaver for the Call.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

UN Peacekeepers?

The BBC is reporting that six UN peacekeepers from Morocco have been arrested in the Congo for sex abuse against children they were there to protect. Isn't it just a matter of time before Kofi must step down from this corrupt organization?

But Dems are not obstructionists

Democrats are "Mobilizing On Social Security". Someone, please explain how bemoaning one plan while offering no solutions of your own is anything but obstructionism.
Democrats at one time considered offering an alternative plan of their own -- probably emphasizing tax-preferred savings. But with Republican leaders now urging Bush to provide only a broad outline of his plan and to leave the details to the GOP-controlled Congress, top Democratic lawmakers intend to hold back on their ideas for now and instead hammer away at Bush's proposal.
My guess is they don't have any ideas at all.

Churchill Fallout

The woman at Hamilton College who invited Ward Churchill to appear there has resigned.
The woman who asked Ward Churchill to speak at Hamilton College - only to see the invitation rescinded following a firestorm of protest - resigned her post there Friday.

Nancy Rabinowitz said she was resigning "under duress" as director of the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society and Culture, the Hamilton program that was to sponsor Churchill's appearance.
Rabinowitz was also heavily criticized last year for offering a temporary teaching position to Susan Rosenberg. Rosenberg, a 60s radical, was involved in a 1981 armored car heist where a guard and two policeman were killed. She was sentenced to 58 years in prison but Bill Clinton granted her clemency in 2001 on his way out of the White House.

Golf tip from the Bishop

My guess is that the Bishop must have passed on some pretty good tips before being struck by lightning in 1980's Caddyshack.
Pebble Beach -- Actor Bill Murray, singer Michael Bolton and Olympic softball hero Lisa Fernandez were among the few celebrities who made the cut in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Saturday.

Blogging and the MSM

Michael Barone has some very interesting thoughts on blogging and politics.
Going into the 2004 election cycle, just about everyone said the Internet was going to change politics. But no one was sure how. Now we know.
So what hath the blogosphere wrought? The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans.

Schwarzenegger v. California Tearchers Assoc.

Governor Schwarzenegger in a radio address yesterday proposed that teachers pay be tied to their performance.
The governor's two minute, 17 second address called for voters to support his proposed constitutional amendment linking teacher pay to merit rather than tenure."We spend almost half of the state's budget on education and still many of our kids are failing or dropping out," Schwarzenegger said. "To support the kids and the teachers, we need to do more."

He said the current system "does not allow us to reward good teachers."
The California Teachers Association wasn't available for comment yesterday but they will oppose it vigorously. It will be interesting to see how they defend their position.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Dean takes a victory lap

It's official, Howard Dean is the new Chairman of the DNC. From the Washington Post:
In brief appearances before party caucuses, Dean said Democrats should have the moral high ground in the debates over values, but said Republicans have been more successful at delivering a consistent message. He said he hoped to use his chairmanship to help brand the Democrats more successfully.

"People know, or think they know, what the Republicans stand for," he told the DNC women's caucus. "I don't think they really stand for anything they say. But they have a message, right, and it's the same message every day and every year. . . . We know what we are. The trouble is, we haven't been so great at communicating exactly what we are."
Howard Dean gets it. He's wrong about republicans but he does understand what is wrong with his own party.

Eason Jordan is not a left or right issue

Michelle Malkin has a great post about the Eason Jordan story today. And Barbara O'Brien at Mahablog had a post up this morning which she has since deleted that said "righty-bloggers must be doing a happy dance" over Jordan's resignation. (O'Brien also loves to call us "whackjobs" which does wonders for her journalistic integrity). Anyway, to read Malkin and O'Brien, it's apparent that right polibloggers were on this story but the left was curiously absent. Why is that? This is not a left or right issue. If Jordan made the comment that U.S. troops were targeting journalists, why wouldn't everyone be appalled?

Still waiting

In his State of the Union Address President Bush invited democrats to present their own ideas for Social Security reform if they have any. But rather than do anything constructive, they just prefer to whine...
"We won't let President Bush turn this proud legacy of the New Deal into a raw deal for millions of Americans," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told the crowd.
Nancy, even "proud legacies" need a facelift occasionally. Wouldn't you agree?

Friday, February 11, 2005

The push-pull of American politics

About a third of American voters strongly align themselves with neither the left nor the right. So in any given national election millions votes are up for grabs. Are more of those voters going to be drawn to a calm and reassuring figure whose party has well established beliefs and values or to a candidate who does not articulate his position as well, does not instill confidence and whose most vocal followers are, well, a little on the flakey side?

George W. Bush was the candidate in this past election who presented himself as confident and fatherly, a voice of reason during a turbulent time. Even if you don't agree with his positions on relevant issues, at least you know what his positions are. He "pulled" votes from the pool of undecideds.

The Kerry camp found itself in the opposite position. And it wasn't so much the candidate himself as it was his followers who "pushed" voters away. The Hollywood left and Michael Moore are the best examples. Americans don't identify well with the Hollywood elite and Fahrenheit 9/11 probably garnered more votes for Bush than Kerry. A party that is not viewed as calm and reasonable but rather crazed and frenzied just ain't gonna get the votes. Look at how dramatically Howard Dean's popularity dropped after the "screaming incident".

So as long as the Democrat party is led by folks like Howard Dean, Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi, and as long as they attract rabid supporters like Michael Moore, the Republican party will only grow stronger.

Ted or Michael?

This is Ted Kennedy, but don't you suppose, if you put a scruffy beard on him, he could also pass for Michael Moore? Posted by Hello
Thanks to Ace of Spades HQ for the photo.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Would someone please explain to me the rationale for issuing drivers' licenses to people in this country illegally? Anyone?

Ikea is cool

Ikea is pretty cool. There's one a few miles from us in nearby Emeryville, CA, but stabbing and stampeding, it's really not worth it...

Wal-Mart in New York City

The beef against Wal-Mart used to be that it preyed on vulnerable small-town businesses. That must have just been a smokescreen by folks who can't stand to see a business become tremendously successful.
"Wal-Mart is eager to make New York City its next frontier," said the company's eastern region spokeswoman, but many New Yorkers seem ready to welcome Wal-Mart as enthusiastically as a frontier town welcomes a desperado.

Small businesses, union leaders, City Council members and even some mayoral candidates are gearing up to prevent Wal-Mart from setting foot in town, now that the world's largest retailer has acknowledged it wants to open its first New York City store, planned for Rego Park, Queens, in 2008.

Not a crisis

The headline from this story in The Washington Post today reads: "Social Security Problems Not a Crisis, Most Say". This is the first paragraph:
Most Americans are certain Social Security will go bankrupt but are not ready to embrace changes that would shore up the system's finances, according to two surveys by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.

So, Social Security *is* going bankrupt but we shouldn't do anything to fix it? Maybe Democrats' belief that Americans are too stupid to invest their own money has some merit after all.

The study also showed that 47% of Americans believe that the government should be mainly responsible for a minimum standard of living in retirement, while only 35% believe it's the individuals' responsibility. That's really scarey.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Lights! Camera!

It seems that Teddy Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi couldn't take the time to check their figures before jumping in front of television cameras today to protest President Bush "duping" Congress over the cost of Medicare's prescription drug program. They both expressed outrage over a $1.2 trillion figure for ten years of presciption drug coverage. As it turns out the actual figure is $724 billion, but not having a firm grasp on mathematics or the patience to let someone work a calculator for them, they both embarrassed themselves on camera. Ever seen two people so eager to whine?

Catholic Blog Awards

A few short months ago I barely knew what a blog was. I guess I'd seen a few without really knowing what they were, but I wasn't officially introduced to the blogosphere until Julie D., an old college chum, let us know about her new creative outlet, The Happy Catholic.

Julie's blog is about her interests, about her faith and about everything dear to Julie. Her blog is incredible and the inspiration for The Happy Capitalist. Actually the name, The Happy Capitalist, was just a shameless take off of The Happy Catholic. Regardless of one's religous persuasion, The Happy Catholic is an interesting daily visit and I'm grateful that Julie sets such a high bar.

Voting for the 2005 Catholic Blog Awards is going on through Friday noon. Take a look at The Happy Catholic and, if so inclined, cast a ballot for Julie under "Best New Blog".

I think the world needs a drink

Country music artist Terri Clark says it all in her recent release, "I Think The World Needs a Drink".
Politicians flingin' dirt
Got descension in the church
Another lawsuit in the works
Man, you talk about a mess

Harry Reid's got his panties in a wad about the "boys and girls in the White House" not playing nice and the RNC writing some kind of hatchet piece on him.

Eason Jordan reportedly saying something about journalsts being targets of the US military in Iraq.

Howard Dean screaming (and actual words came out of his mouth this time) that he "hates republicans and everything they stand for."

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley is comparing Bush's proposed budget cuts to the September 11th terrorist attacks.

And then there's the whole Social Security debate.
I think the world needs a drink
I think enough's enough
She's been spinnin' 'round so long
I'd say she's pretty wound up
Calm down, sit back, relax
Tear up the contracts and save the ink
Yeah, I think the world needs a drink

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Blue states in jeopardy

According to this story by Reuters, both coasts of the U.S. are vulnerable to tsunamis like the one that devastated areas of the Indian Ocean shoreline in December. Scientists are working to get warning systems in place, but they say it's hard to keep the attention of politicians.

Hmmm. You'd think democrats could stay focused on this. If tsunamis took out both coasts, there wouldn't be many blue states left.

Liberal wins seventh straight

The apron-clad, pancake flipping women of Liberal, Kansas have won their seventh straight Shrove Tuesday pancake race. Jill Wettsein won the American leg with a time of 67.38 seconds for the 415 yard course. The Olney, England winner, Andrea Rawlings, posted a time of 69 seconds. Think about it, 415 yards in under 70 seconds? That's cookin'. Wearing an apron and carrying a skillet of flapjacks, nonetheless.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Pancake Day!

 Posted by Hello

It's Pancake Day and the results of the 56th annual Pancake Race between Liberal, Kansas and Olney, England are being anxiously awaited. For more information, please go to Pancake and check out The Glad Gastronome for a great pancake recipe. Thanks also Julie for the photo. Happy Pancake Day!

Deep Throat is ill

Bob Woodward, half of the Woodward/Bernstein team that's credited for breaking most of the Watergate stories, has advised his executive editor at the Washington Post that Deep Throat is ill. Ben Bradlee, executive editor of the Post during the scandal and one who Woodward confided in, has said that he has already written Deep Throat's obituary. This according to John Dean.

It's not that I'd wish death on anyone, but I'm dying to know who Throat was and if he's got to die for us to find out...

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Tort reform and evolutionism

Legislation in the news recently involving restaurant chains makes great arguments for both tort reform and evolutionism.

An appeals court in New York kept alive this lawsuit in which a couple of teens claim that eating McDonald's food 3-5 times a week made them fat and caused other health problems. Instead, maybe these kids should sue their parents for passing them genetic makeup that somehow prevents rational thought.

In this California lawsuit brought by the state attorney general, restaurant chains including Chili's, Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs and Outback Steakhouse will have to post warnings about the dangers of mercury in seafood. The warning signs must posted near the restaurant's front door, at eye level and with sufficient lighting. These signs are certain to have all of the imact of the warnings on cigarette packages. And isn't it reassuring to see our courts making such great use of our tax dollars and tackling such important issues?

Maybe folks who need the courts to make sure they eat healthy diets should just be allowed to pig out and die before they procreate and pass this intellect on to another generation.

The Ward Churchill Irony

It's certain to be the most famous panel discussion ever and it never happened. Last week, Hamilton College in Clinton, New York cancelled its panel discussion featuring Ward Churchill citing security concerns. The bubbub began when the legacy media, and especailly Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, encited folks by bringing to light comments made by Churchill in his essay "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens". O'Reilly waged a massive campaign against Churchill and urged viewers to email Hamilton officials and aired an email address.

The irony the media is missing has to do with the cancelled panel discussion. It was titled "Limits on Dissent?" The events of the past week are proof that there certainly are limits on dissent and freedom of speech is not absolute. Ward Churchill might not have believed it before, but he must believe it now.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

KU, like a sythe sweeping through the grass

Senior Keith Langford led all scorers and tied a career high with 27. Posted by Hello

Kansas goes to 18-1 and 8-0 in the Big 12 pounding Nebraska in Lincoln 78-65. The Jayhawks gave the Cornhuskers hope in the first half allowing Nebraska to pull away 19-12 but KU mounted an attack and led by 5 at the half. KU shot 62% in the second half and never trailed.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Arrgghh. I looked at it, now I'll go blind! Posted by Hello

Oakland Clock Towers

Oakland City Hall Posted by Hello

The Oakland Tribune Posted by Hello

Walking around downtown Oakland, you can't help thinking time is pretty important to these folks. Or at least it was about a hundred years ago when these buildings went up. With several newer and taller buildings around them now, these beautiful clock towers are not as prominent as they once were.

Comments deleted, again

The blog's been undergoing some improvements and visitors' comments were deleted again. Sorry 'bout that, but I think things are good to go now. Your thoughts and witticisms are always appreciated.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Harry Reid: Lookin' out for #1

This is from Harry Reid's official website:

Repealing the GPO and WEP of page
I am a cosponsor of the Social Security Fairness Act which would repeal these unfair provisions. The government pension offset (GPO) in current law prohibits a spouse, widow, or widower of a government employee from receiving full Social Security spousal benefits and a government pension. The GPO affects more than 376,000 retirees. The average offset caused by the GPO was $276 a month for men and $391 a month for women. The windfall elimination provision (WEP) reduces the Social Security benefits of workers who also have pension benefits from employment not covered by Social Security. These provisions substantially reduce benefits for many public employees and their families.

It certainly looks as if Harry is doing a fine job looking out for his own retirement interests.

Harry, put up or shut up

"The President's plan is so dangerous," said Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader. "There's a lot we can do to improve Americans retirement security." OK, there you have it, "There's a lot we can do..." So, after months of denying that any problem exists, now "there's a lot we can do". It begs the question, Harry, you've been in the House and the Senate for 22 years, if there's so much, why haven't you done anything already?

Here's how it plays out. Even though democrats don't think there's a Social Security problem, they will introduce their own plan. It won't have any hope of doing anything productive but Republicans can't get Bush's plan passed without help from across the isle. They compromise. The end result is a program that is practically useless and is so convoluted it will become known as the Financial Advisors and Accountants Full-Employment Act of 2005.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Old Comments Deleted

I have just installed a new tool on my blog to help me be more responsive to comments by readers (both of you). In doing so, it has deleted all previous comments, which really bums me out 'cause there was some great stuff. Anyway, must move forward. Thanks for stopping by and, leave a comment.


The Spin Stops Where?

The O'Reilly Factor has spun the Ward Churchill story out of control. Every day for almost a week, Bill O'Reilly has bemoaned Churchill's planned appearance at Hamilton College and expressed his moral outrage over an essay Churchill wrote. O'Reilly launched a campaign that would cause Churchill to resign as the Chairman of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado and now the state governor is calling for him to resign as professor. The event at Hamilton has been cancelled.

The essay, "Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens" that is at the center of this controversy, was published on September 12th, 2001. But O'Reilly never mentions that it's nearly three and a half years old. Is that because it would make Bill's outrage less relevant and make the whole controversy less newsworthy? Probably so.

C'mon Bill, neglecting important facts (like dates) is spin too, isn't it? And by the way, where was your outrage three and a half years ago?

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Pelosi is the King of Pop!

 Posted by Hello

Yes, it's true. Nancy Pelosi and Michael Jackson are really one and the same! Posted by Hello