October 31, 2005
Player of the Week for Oct. 31 - Patrick Fitzgerald
Patrick Fitzgerald is this week's Political Sports Player of the Week. All last week Washington focused on the Special Prosecutor waiting for the shoe to drop. Straightforward, precise and no nonsense, Fitzgerald never strayed out of bounds. He explained his findings and the indictment against Libby without indulging in politics. He didn't deceive or play any additional games. He played straight, which is something many believe is missing in Washington these days.
October 28, 2005
This is why I love Politics
This article reaffirms comments by Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Israel be wiped off the map. I got to the end and just laughed.
Officials and analysts in Tehran have played down the remarks by Ahmadinejad, a former member of the hardline Revolutionary Guards and traditional religious conservative.
They have said the comments did not mark the start of a new, more aggressive stance toward Israel and that Tehran was not seeking confrontation with the West.
Now let me see if I got this straight, because I can easily get confused. The President of the country advocates wiping Israel off the map. No other President has done something like that during the history of the United Nations. Iran has never made such a blatantly hostile statement before yet we are to believe that the comments did not mark a new, more aggressive stance toward Israel or the United States. That is a joke, right? And does anyone actually believe that? As the cliche asserts, "Sometimes you can't make this stuff up."
Fitzgerald Scores. Now What?
Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald handed down on indictment on Scooter Libby today. Most of you already know that. Many on the left hoped for more, specifically an indictment of Darth Vader Rove, but that didn't happen, at least not yet. Those on the right hoped that nothing would happen. Well, that didn't occur either. But in the political arena the Democrats definitely scored some points. More may be coming, but only Fitzgerald, his staff, and the grand jury know for sure.
I am not going to discuss the nuances of the indictment. There are many others that are more qualified on that score than me. However I can conjecture on what will happen next, which is always fun. We can certainly expect the White House to mount an offensive on a couple of fronts. First, they will have players attacking the indictment and Fitzgerald. Second, Bush will announce a new nominee for the Supreme Court. I don't know if he will pick a hard line right winger to satisfy the fundamentalists in his party or pick someone like Roberts, who is conservative, maybe not super conservative, but is harder for the Democrats to attack. Third, he will probably announce some new domestic initiative, something to change the subject from all his disasters. Once the ball is snapped, his players will spread the defense and force them to play catch up, with all sorts of crossing patterns, options, backs coming out of the backfield, trap blocks, pump fake end around feints and anything else that Karl can think of. Oh boy.
Waiting for the Play - Nothing Happening
Thank goodness that something finally happened. I was getting so amazingly tired of filler on all those news shows. Hours and hours of talking about what the situation was and what might happen. I listened to so many reviews of Niger, uranium, Iraq, Plame, Wilson, and bios of Libby that I thought I would throw up. The thing that often gets me about the MSM, and even bloggers, is that they write to a schedule and not to what is happening or what might be really important. For example, a show has to fill its time slot, so they find something that might be interesting, then do absolutely anything and everything they can think of to make it compelling news, so important that you cannot afford to miss it. And when it is non news, like when the Grand Jury was taking a lunch break yesterday, one can only laugh.
He is What He is
Quote from Trent Lott:
I want the president to look across the country and find the best man, woman, or minority that he can find.
Just a little Freudian slip there. This is in the running for Fabulous Fumble of the Week.
October 27, 2005
Bush Suffers Knockout
Slam! Bang! A hard right, a jab from the left and a HARD overhand right and George goes down for the count. Harriet is gone, out, no longer a threat to the right or left from her high perch on the Supreme Court. There is no way to think anything other than G.W. suffered a big knockout withdrawing Harriet Miers' nomination. Overwhelmed by opposition from the far right, with little support from the Republican Senate and almost no help from moderate Democrats, the President fought alone against heavy handed opponents. He obviously hadn't trained well for this fight. Weakened by the problems in Iraq, the tepid economy, the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and the CIA leak investigation, George was unable to summon the strength or resources necessary to overcome what many preceived as a very weak nominee.
I have mentioned a couple of times recently that Republicans are increasingly reluctant to uncategorically support the President when they perceive him as weak and a potential liability to re-election campaigns next year. Republican candidates need the hard right base to succeed in many Congressional races. Many right wing activists viewed Miers' nomination as a sign that Bush reneged on a campaign committment to put a strong conservative on the court, one who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Consequently, any Republican supporting the nomination could expect serious trouble from within their own fan base. On the other hand, if the President was stronger they would be willing to support him, thinking that he would provide enough help next year that together they could overcome any opposition. However that is not now the case. The lack of support doomed Miers' nomination for a quick trip to the canvas.
Iran Plays a Dangerous Game
Yesterday Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for removing Israel from the face of the Earth. Many countries in the world strongly denounced the statement saying everything you might expect, "deplorable," "we condemn these statements", etc., etc., etc. Some groups in the United States already think that the new President was one of the leaders of the takeover of the American embassy in Iran during Jimmy Carter's administration, though they have no definitive proof at this time.
During a meeting with protesting students at Iran's Interior Ministry, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad quoted a remark from Ayatollah Khomeini, founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, that Israel "must be wiped out from the map of the world."
The president then said: "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism," according to a quote published by Iran's state news outlet, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).
The remarks by Ahmadinejad on Wednesday coincided with a month-long protest against Israel called "World Without Zionism" and with the approach of Jerusalem Day.
He also is not too favorably disposed toward the United States.
So what is the deal? He must have known that the remarks would get huge international attention and condemnation. He obviously did not care about how the west would react. He must think that they could not do anything more to Iran than what they are already doing. On the other hand, his remarks certainly stir up fundamentalists throughout the Middle East. It also reminds those same people, that despite the gains of liberal ideas, i.e. the referendum approving the constitution in Iraq, the pullout of Syria in Lebanon, the de-fanging of Libya, the West's earthquake relief help in Pakistan, and Turkey's attempt to join the EU, that the cause is not lost. He proclaims Iran unrepentant, strong and focused on fundamentalist beliefs. As cheerleader to the team, he urges them onward and to never forget the game plan despite the setbacks.
October 26, 2005
Fitzgerald Takes the Snap
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, takes the snap, he moves back, and moves quickly to his left. His offense line/attorneys hold fast, keeping the powerful defense out of the backfield. No one is quite sure what he is going to do. One end of the grand jury is heading back in a reverse. Another grand jury end is headed quickly downfield cutting hard toward the goalposts. The Roving Linebackers are frozen, unable to decide whether to protect against the potential reverse in the backfield or drop back to help the corners as they try to keep up with the speedy Grand Jury Ends streaking down the field. I can't tell if Fitzzy is just trying to move the Chens or if he is going as far as the Bushes in the back of the end zone. Wow, this is great stuff. Stay tuned, we'll be right back after this word from our sponsors.
October 25, 2005
Watching the Play In Slow Motion
Waiting for the Special Prosecutor to release his report/indictments is a little like watching a play evolve on the field in slow motion. This week the media and blogosphere is fairly consumed with what is happening and going to happen around the Valarie Plame leak investigation. I have been reading and following along, and it is fun. Each move and rumor is dissected ad infinitum. Some on the right contend that lying is no big deal, which reminds me of Clinton. Some analysts project who is getting indicted or not. Others wonder what will happen after. And some think that Fitzgerald doesn't have enough evidence to indict anybody. Think of a quarterback taking the snap, starting to turn, moving one foot, then the other. In this case many of us have already determined how the rest of the play is going to finish, even before he has made the handoff or set up for the throw. Heck, it seems we aren't even keeping track of the receivers or the patterns they are running.
It is fun to engage in conjecture, but there is just so much that we don't know. In a situation like this I try to keep my mouth shut, or just say I don't know much of anything. I sure am having fun watching the game though.
October 24, 2005
Fabulous Fumble of the Week, Oct. 24 - Harriet Miers
Harriet, Harriet, how in the world could you have so badly answered the Senate Judiciary Questionnaire that they had to send it back to you for a "redo"?
Given that the nomination is coming under heavy criticism with many people doubting her qualifications for a position on the Court, it seems amazingly stupid to not take extreme care with all interactions with Congress. In this case she really should have had a team of advisers review the questionnaire before sending it back to the Committee. Now, she has put herself in a deeper hole on defense and provided the opposition with all sorts of opportunities to score points.
Player of the Week for Oct. 24 - Tom DeLay
Love him or hate him, you have to give "The Hammer" credit for his smooth move mug shot.
Many opponents of the controversial Texas Republican were waiting with baited breathe for a typical mug shot of the congressman. They wanted to see him with the typical two shot photo, in black and white, unsmiling with the identification number. But DeLay had other plans. He showed up at a different police station than expected, one which would allow him to dress in a coat and tie and without the usual photo accoutrements. The picture could be a campaign photo it is so flattering. You have to hand it to the guy, he is clever.
October 21, 2005
Syria rejects accusation they murdered Hariri
Syria rejected accusations that they had anything to do with the assassination of Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister.
Assad's government repeated its claim of innocence in the Hariri killing and declared that the U.N. document was heavily politicized because of Syria's staunch anti-Israeli position.
Information Minister Mahdi Dakhlallah said the report lacked hard evidence and was based on witnesses "who are well known for their anti-Syria stands."
The report also said Lebanese intelligence officials helped organize the Hariri killing. It further said Lebanon's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, got a phone call minutes before the assassination from the brother of a prominent member of a pro-Syrian group who also called one of four Lebanese generals arrested later in the killing.
Lahoud's office issued a statement "categorically" denying that the president received such a phone call. "There is no truth to it," the statement said.
So why is this news? Do we really expect them to announce, "Yes, you caught us, we did it and are guilty and will abide by any punishment that you decide, because we trust and believe in your sense of justice." Why does the media give this the time of day? It is a waste of ink or whatever. You can read the entire article here.
Saddam and DeLay
Saddam Hussein and Tom DeLay both attacked the judges in their court appearances this week. DeLay attacked Ronnie Earle, the prosecuting attorney, accusing him of being on a witch hunt and going after political enemies. Saddam doesn't recognize the authority of the government and accuses the government of attacking him as a political enemy. Tom doesn't seem to recognize the authority of any government official who isn't part of his political party, the Baaths, oh excuse me, the Republicans. Both men are attacking the authority of their accusers. Tom DeLay is certainly not the evil person that Saddam is, I think, but the similarities in their tactics here are interesting and amusing.
October 20, 2005
Go Iraq, Go
The day needed another cheerleader nomination. We thank Akmed Obouymahn for sending his nomination for the Iraqi Armed Forces Cheerleading Team.
October 19, 2005
Dems Scoring on WMD issue
The Dems are certainly scoring points with the WMD issue. Though the topic has been on the field for over two years, the Democrats are managing to get more mileage with the public now than anytime in the past. I think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that Patrick Fitzgerald is about to either release a report on the outing of Valerie Plame, announce indictments, or close shop, which seems unlikely. Watch my video analysis here of why I think the Dems were very aware of the sketchy evidence on WMD and went along with the Bush administration explanations for invading Iraq.
Talk is Cheap
From Condeleezza Rice:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday defended U.S. policy in Iraq amid criticism from lawmakers demanding a plan to bring troops home.
In her first appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since February, Rice said the U.S. goals in Iraq are to break the back of the insurgency, keep Iraq from becoming a safe haven for Islamic extremism, turn the corner economically and become a democratic example for the entire Middle East.
She outlined a strategy to clear the toughest areas of insurgents, secure them as a sanctuary from violence and "build durable national Iraqi institutions," which she insisted would "assure victory."
"Our strategy is to clear, hold and build," she told senators. "The enemy's strategy is to infect, terrorize and pull down."
Rice said the Bush administration would "restructure" part of its mission on a model the United States found successful in Afghanistan, where diplomats and reconstruction workers are embedded with the military.
"Provincial reconstruction teams" made up of civilian and military personnel will work together to clear out insurgents, train police, set up courts and help the government establish basic services, Rice said. The first of these new teams will begin work next month.
But the hearing often turned contentious, with Rice facing tough questioning from senators on both sides of the aisle, looking for a timetable to win the peace and begin withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Rice refused to give a timeline for U.S. withdrawal but called Iraqi forces' assumption of responsibility for some of the toughest areas in Iraq "good benchmarks".
At this point it is "Put up or Shut up."
To Important to Ignore
I have not done this in the past, but because of the change in the NY Times online status I copied todays op-ed piece from Tom Friedman, which you can read here. I feel that the points he raises are much too important to either ignore or not read. Please do so.
October 18, 2005
The Global War on Terror, Iraq and WMD
Did we forget the Global War on Terror, that everyone was so gung ho about immediately after 9/11? Where is that support now? Do we no longer see the forest through the trees? The Administration has badly managed the war, no question. However, very little of our invasion had to do with WMD, and it had everything to do with the Global War on Terror. Watch the video as I explain why it was a means to pressure the Saudis to crack down on extremists within Saudi Arabia, it was a way to get the Iranians to dismantle their nuclear weapons program and drop their support of other terrorist organizations like Hezzbollah and Hamas. It was also a way to tell Syria and Libya to shape up and a way to signal to the fundamentalists that the U.S. was not going to act passively and wait while they continually attacked us. The reasons are more varied and numerous than those, but that is a start. We are not thinking about the bigger picture here and I think that is a mistake.
October 17, 2005
The Miers Sailboat Keeps Tacking, Looking for the Right Wind
The Skipper has definitely changed tacks several times over the past week over the Harriet Miers' Supreme Court nomination. First they asked the right wing to "trust me", meaning the President. When that wasn't working they tacked, changed directions, emphasizing her strong, conservative religious beliefs, thinking that would assure the right wing that she would vote pro-life in any potential abortion decision. That wasn't working, so they tacked again stressing her legal qualifictions. Today, the Bush White House had a number of former members of the Texas Supreme Court come to Washington to help convince members of Congress of her qualifications. We'll have to see if that works. The skipper and tactician just can't quite find the wind yet to get the boat really moving. I say that because the skipper keeps saying, "Well, the boat isn't getting much wind over here. Those boats seem to be moving better on that side of the course, let's tack."
I have read the NY Times articles on Judy Miller, Scooter Libby, and the Valerie Plame leak. The articles are long, and relatively complicated to follow, in the sense of not finding clarity in either Miller's explanations or the role of the Times. One thing is clear however is that Ms. Miller is a snake. I would certainly never trust her and never hire her if I was in a position to do so. I recently saw her on one of the news talk shows. My impression after the show and reading the articles is one of arrogance and pretension. This is certainly a strong opinion, so take it with some degree of scepticism, but really, after reading the articles and watching her on TV, would you trust her or hire her to do anything remotely important?
The 21st named storm this year, Wilma, ties the most on record. I found this map of the storm and thought it was so terrific that I had to post it. The map itself has nothing to do with either politics or sports, but it is a beautiful image.
Cheerleader Nomination - Women's Rights
I have been receiving numerous entries for our various cheerleading teams. I can't show all of them, otherwise the site would be all about that rather than politics, but I do want to show some of them for both interest and "comic" relief. This is for the Women's Rights Cheerleading Team.
October 16, 2005
Play(er) of the Week for Oct. 16 - Iraq Referendum & G.W. Bush
Watch the Player of the Week video here.
The big game this week was the referendum on the Iraqi constitution. normally I pick an individual as our Player of the Week, and if I kept to that I would have to pick the President. He has pushed and shoved and done everything possible to get democracy started in Iraq. There is no question that there are problems, many of them. The President has failed and been thrown for more than a few losses. That said, there is no question that the fact that this referendum occurred, with relatively few problems is a major accomplishment. Yes, the constitution is imperfect, and yes, there is no guarantee that the country won't turn into total chaos, but it is a very significant step. Congratulations George, you are Political Sports Player of the Week for Oct. 16th, 2005.
Fabulous Fumble of the Week, Oct. 16 - George and The White House
Watch the video here
One would think that after all the problems that the President has had over the past couple of months that he and the White House would be a bit more careful about deceiving the American public. The teleconference, the denial by McClellan that it was scripted, then the proof that it clearly was scripted, was a massive fumble for the President.
Scott McClellan was asked whether the teleconference the president had with troops in Tikrit was scripted. Here's what he said ...
QUESTION: How were they selected, and are their comments to the president pre-screened, any questions or anything...
QUESTION: Not at all?
MCCLELLAN: This is a back-and-forth.
Here's how the pool reporter, from the designated reporter on the scene, described the event.
The soldiers, nine U.S. men and one U.S. woman, plus an Iraqi, had been tipped off in advance about the questions in the highly scripted event. Allison Barber, deputy assistant to the Secretary of Defense for internal communication, could be heard asking one soldier before the start of the event, "Who are we going to give that [question] to?"
You might think that they would just stop it, stop the nonsense and play straight, for a while at least. However maybe this sort of activity is so ingrained in their psyche that they can't act any other way.
October 13, 2005
Playing Fantasy Football is Not Playing Football & Playing Fantasy Government is Not Governing
Watch the video of this post, it is VERY interesting, insightful(?), brilliant(?), and possesses a much higher "fun-factor" than all the writing. ;-)
I don't play any of the online fantasy sports. I have enough trouble keeping up with the real ones, plus participating in a few myself. I do realize however that many people do, otherwise it would not be as big a phenomenon as it is. Fantasy sports are a great outlet for fans. They get intimately involved in players, teams, coaches, maybe strategies, depending on their interest level, but there is no question or confusion whether they are playing the real game or not.
This brings me to our government and especially today's article on the front page of the NY Times and some statistics via Talking Points Memo. First the Times article, which you can find here.
"Deplorable. Disappointing. Outrageous. That is how I feel about it," said the Atlanta mayor, Shirley Franklin, a Democrat, in a telephone interview on Wednesday. "The federal response has just been unacceptable. It is like talking to a brick wall."
Even conservative housing experts have criticized the Bush administration's handling of the temporary housing response. "I am baffled," said Ronald D. Utt, a former senior official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Reagan administration aide who is now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative research organization. "This is not incompetence. This is willful. That is the only way I can explain it."
...the temporary housing program has been troubled since the start, observers say. Instead of setting up as many as 30,000 trailers and mobile homes every two weeks, as of Tuesday, just 7,308 were occupied. Even counting berths on the four ships that FEMA has leased and rooms on military bases and elsewhere, the agency has provided only 10,940 occupied housing units for victims in the three Gulf states.
And at TPM:
Over at the blog of Reason Magazine, Editor Nick Gillespie has posted a list of how much each two-term president increased spending going back forty years.
Specifically, the list measures increases in discretionary spending over five successive budgets, adjusted for inflation.
Here are the numbers ...
What is one to make of this? Consider the state of the Iraq war, the budget deficits, the Federal response to the hurricanes, the tax cuts for the wealthy, the increase of people living in poverty, the number of folks living without health insurance, the international torture scandals, the legal problems within the Republican leadership, Osama still on the loose, and the runaway spending, exceeding the so-called worst of the Democrats. What can one conclude? Is this incompetence? Or is it truly willful? George Bush and his team campaigned on the promise of competency and better management. That has clearly not occurred. If this is a case of willful action on their part to not only destroy government but to take advantage of everything they can along the way, then it is incredibly heinous.
When we elect leaders we give them a sacred trust to act in good faith, to not lie, cheat, steal or mislead us. We elect them to act according to accepted principles of moral, ethical behavior. Granted Clinton had some serious personal issues and was not the most honest on that score, but this administration has betrayed our trust in ways that Clinton never came close to approaching. It is as if they believe they are really playing a game, like a board game of Fantasy Government. They must believe that what they do has no impact on the lives of real people. They are so very, very wrong. This is no game, it is all too real. Far too many of us are going to suffer by their actions.
October 11, 2005
You Be George's Coach
Your mission, should you agree to accept it, is to define a strategy for good old Georgie to regain his equilibrium and get his presidency back on solid ground. There is no question that he has had a bad few months and the near future doesn't look good either, with the potential indictments coming for Rove and Libby. The offense is definitely sputtering. What do you do, what do you recommend that he do to score some points and turn the tide?
As a coach of an athletic team, whenever we are having problems I usually try to simplify the game, follow the Vince Lombardi philosophy and return to basics. With that in mind, what is the problem? Well, one thing for sure is that people don't think G.W. is being an effective administrator these days. If I were the coach here, I would say to focus on one thing and make sure it succeeds. Get the best people, work hard, and deliver. Second, people are sceptical of all the photo ops. Stop them unless they result in solid acts that provide substantive results, no more fake crap. Third, about Harriet Miers, ask supporters to hold off on the criticism as much as possible and then provide the Senate with information that they want. If she is actually that good, she should be able to stand on her own two feet. She has to establish her own identity, independent of the Presidency. She has to impress the right that she is not against their beliefs. I wouldn't say that she should say that she will do everything they want. I don't think any judge or potential judge should say they will be beholden to any specific political viewpoint, but she can allay some of their fears.
Fourth, regarding Iraq, the President needs to pray a lot, because he really screwed this up. Walking away soon would be an utter disaster, pouring more troops in would be politically and logistically difficult, and staying the course, considering our success or lack thereof, is not promising. Hope that the constitution passes and people settle down to rebuilding rather than destroying their homeland. I know that I would recommend an all out effort to provide aid to the earthquake area of Pakistan. It might not have a direct bearing on Iraq, but it is a center of extreme fundamentalist Islam. Anything we can do there would not only save lives but show those people we are really on their side. Wow, what a mess this is.
There is my basic outline.
This Past Weekend
I wasn't able to post any items this past weekend, I was too busy playing and coaching in a water polo tournament. I love swimming and always have, but I also love team sports. Water polo is the best of both worlds. If you have never had an opportunity to see a game, or better yet, play, I highly recommend it. It is not actually as rough as many people think. It does require a bit of swimming though, so if you can't to that you are probably in trouble. However, there is a variation called Inner Tube Water Polo, where you play in inner tubes. That is fun too. What did you do this weekend?
October 10, 2005
Fabulous Fumble of the Week - Bill Bennett
Political Sports offers a new feature this week called Fabulous Fumble of the Week. Inspired by Bill Bennett's thoughtful comments regarding blacks and crime on his syndicated radio talk show.
"If you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose -- you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.
"That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down," he said.
We feel that Mr. Bennett comments warranted a whole new award. Given the current political climate and flurry of ridiculous political activity I think that we will be able to make this a weekly award, we shall see. Back to Bill though, whether the comment has any validity or not, it was an amazingly dumb thing to say, considering racism and problems that blacks have with the legal system in this country. As a major player with the conservative, Republicans, he really hurt the team with his play at a time when they need all the help they can get.
Player of the Week for Oct. 10
Mohamed ElBaradei is this week's Political Sports Player of the Week. Mr. Baradei and the organization he leads, The International Atomic Energy Agency, won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, which was announced this week. The White House strongly criticized ElBaradei in the period leading up to the start of the Iraq War, contending that his findings, indicating that Iraq did not have any WMD, including nuclear weapons, was absolutely wrong. You can read this interesting article. I have quoted part of it below.
In February 2003 - a month before the U.S. invasion - ElBaradei told the United Nations that nuclear experts had found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He said "We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq." John Bolton - who is now the US ambassador to the United Nations - responded by saying this is "impossible to believe." Vice President Dick Cheney said "I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong." But it turned out ElBaradei was correct. He was also correct when he publicly cast doubt on President Bush's claim that Iraq was purchasing tons of enriched uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapons program. Days before the U.S. invasion, ElBaradei revealed that the U.S. had relied on fabricated documents to come to that conclusion.
Now the U.S. and ElBaradei are at odds again. This time it is over Iran. ElBaradei says the IAEA has no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. But the Bush administration rejects this view and went so far as to spy on him in an attempt try to block his re-election. Last year the Washington Post revealed that the U.S. listened in on dozens of phone calls between ElBaradei and Iranian diplomats in search of ammunition to use against him. When his re-election was initially put for a vote, 34 nations agreed to keep him as head of the IAEA and only the U.S. expressed opposition. ElBaradei has also called on Israel to disarm its secret nuclear weapons program and called for a nuclear-free Middle East.
October 9, 2005
Muslim Extremist Cheerleader
I have been receiving new nominations for our Political Sports Cheerleaders. Since today is Football Sunday I thought I would post another. This one is a nomination for the Muslim Extremist Team.
October 7, 2005
New Poll Ratings by CBS News
Here is the latest CBS News poll on President Bush and the economy. The President has hit the lowest rating for any Commander in Chief in the history of the poll.
This CBS News Poll finds an American public increasingly pessimistic about the economy, the war in Iraq, the overall direction of the country, and the president. Americans' outlook for the economy is the worst it has been in four years. Most expect the price of gas to rise even further in the next few months.
A growing number of Americans want U.S. troops to leave Iraq as soon as possible, rather than stay the course, and the highest percentage ever thinks the United States should have stayed out of Iraq. When given a set of options for paying for rebuilding the hurricane-racked Gulf Coast, only one - taking money from the Iraq War - gets majority support.
President Bush's overall job approval rating has reached the lowest ever measured in this poll, and evaluations of his handling of Iraq, the economy and even his signature issue, terrorism, are also at all-time lows. More Americans than at any time since he took office think he does not share their priorities.
Peruse at your leisure.
First Political Sports Cheerleader Nomination
The first nomination arrived for one of our Cheerleading squads. A member of the Washington Redskins cheerleading team. This cheerleader, name as yet unknown, is one of the "First Ladies of Football". She and her teammates recently wrapped up a morale boosting tour of the Middle East. Way to go team!!!
The Sharks Smell Blood
Right Wing Republicans reacted to President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court much as a group of sharks might respond to fresh blood in the water. Uncharacteristically critical of their fearless leader, they are openly questioning his choice. Their reasoning is probably based on self interest, they sense the President is weak and will not provide them with the support they need to hold the House and Senate next year. In addition they feel that he is reneging on a promise he made to nominate a hard, right wing conservative. Given that Harriet Mier's views are largely unknown at this point, they fear the worst. You can watch my video analysis here.
October 6, 2005
There Are Few Words to Describe
Delay and Blunt linked in donations scheme. I don't have much to say about this yet, other than the cancer keeps spreading. The Republicans picked Blunt to replace Tom DeLay, now he is under suspicion. No wonder people distrust government. You can read the article here.
Tom DeLay deliberately raised more money than he needed to throw parties at the 2000 presidential convention, then diverted some of the excess funds to longtime ally Roy Blunt through a series of donations that benefited both men's causes.
When the financial carousel stopped, DeLay's private charity, the consulting firm that employed DeLay's wife and the Missouri campaign of Blunt's son all ended up with money, according to campaign documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist recently charged in an ongoing federal corruption and fraud investigation, and Jim Ellis, the DeLay fundraiser indicted with his boss last week in Texas, also came into the picture.
They Voted Against the Torture Amendment
These nine Senators voted against the Torture Amendment. For some reason I thought about slavery and checked on the history.
Allard (R-CO) - territory open to slavery
Bond (R-MO) - slave state
Coburn (R-OK) - slave state
Cochran (R-MS) - slave state
Cornyn (R-TX) - slave state
Inhofe (R-OK) - slave state
Roberts (R-KS) -territory open to slavery
Sessions (R-AL) - NA
Stevens (R-AK) - slave state
Too scary and disgusting to want to believe any correlation, however.........
Political Sports Necessities
Sports of all kinds are terrific experiences. I am a huge advocate of participation in some sort of sport. I truly believe that it is healthy and gets one off the couch, moving around, interacting with others, learning about team play, discipline, etc. That said, I also enjoy watching others play. I enjoy seeing my kids play games, learning skills, getting in better shape, performing before a crowd, etc. Of course I enjoy professional and college sports too. I like going to games. The atmosphere is fun. I enjoy the crowds, the view from the stands, perhaps a beer, the music, the cheers, and the cheerleaders. You can see some great ones here.
Political Sports feels that the political arena needs cheerleaders as well. We are announcing an aggressive world-wide search for suitable applicants to represent each team and league. Please feel free to submit any suggestions or contact me for applications.
October 4, 2005
This Game is Getting Mighty Scary
Let's see, Gitmo, the Patriot Act, and now this, President Bush thinking about using the military to quarantine sections of the country in the event that the avian flu mutates, which is impossible under Intelligent Design mind you, to prevent anyone from entering or leaving that particular area. Is it just me, or do I sense a trend here?
President Bush, increasingly concerned about a possible avian flu pandemic, revealed Tuesday that any part of the country where the virus breaks out could likely be quarantined and that he is considering using the military to enforce it.
"The best way to deal with a pandemic is to isolate it and keep it isolated in the region in which it begins," he said during a wide-ranging Rose Garden news conference.
But such a shift could require a change in law, and some in Congress and the states worry it would increase the power of the federal government at the expense of local control.
At the time the order was signed, a spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the Public Health Service would probably recommend home quarantines when possible, but said they would be voluntary. It's unclear whether the federal takeover of state and local quarantine powers that Bush discussed Tuesday would be limited just to travel or involve broader home quarantines as well.
We can trust him, and Karl, and Scooter, and Dick, and Tom and Bill of course, don't you think?
You Think We Have a War Now In Iraq? You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet!
There is not much to say about this except that it almost ensures the Sunnis will resort to even more violence. They will feel that the Shiites and Kurds rigged the election, changed the rules in mid-game, and are not serious about resolving or including them in the new government. This seems like the absolute worst scenario. The Sunnis, with great reason, will be very angry. The NY Times reports:
Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish leaders quietly adopted new rules over the weekend that will make it virtually impossible for the constitution to fail in the coming national referendum.
The move prompted Sunni Arabs and a range of independent political figures to complain that the vote was being fixed.
Some Sunni leaders who have been organizing a campaign to vote down the proposed constitution said they might now boycott the referendum on Oct. 15. Other political leaders also reacted angrily, saying the change would seriously damage the vote's credibility.
Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters - rather than two-thirds of all those actually casting ballots - reject it in at least three of the 18 provinces.
The change, adopted during an unannounced vote in Parliament on Sunday afternoon, effectively raises the bar for those who oppose the constitution. Given that fewer than 60 percent of registered Iraqis voted in the January elections, the chances that two-thirds will both show up at the polls and vote against the document in three provinces would appear to be close to nil.
"This is a mockery of democracy, a mockery of law," said Adnan al-Janabi, a secular Sunni representative and a member of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's party. "Many Sunnis have been telling me they didn't believe in this democratic process, and now I believe they are vindicated."
Who does the U.S. side with in this quarrel? Without Sunni participation a full scale civil war is almost assured. Won't that be a wonderful outcome of our invasion? How much worse can it get?
Harriet "Stealth" Meirs
This lady might be harder to touch than John "The Galloping Ghost" Roberts. Both Republicans and Democrats don't quite know what to make of her. Is she at all liberal, worry the conservatives? And the left think that she might not be all that bad, but they aren't sure and they would love to deny Bush any benefit of the doubt.
With Miers' selection, Bush was looking to satisfy conservatives who helped confirm Chief Justice John Roberts - without inflaming Democrats who repeatedly warned against the selection of an extreme conservative to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has voted to uphold abortion rights and preserve affirmative action.....
Democrats said Miers, with no judicial record, will need to answer more questions than Roberts did during his confirmation hearing. Most of her paperwork from her White House days will not be available to the Senate because it falls under executive privilege or lawyer-client privilege.....
At the same time, the White House worked aggressively Monday to allay concerns over Miers among conservatives determined to turn the court to the right.
It appears that it will be very hard for Democrats to find anything they can use to prevent Miers' confirmation. The fact executive privilege protects most of her history will make life difficult for Democrats ready to attack.
October 3, 2005
VERY Amusing New Web Site
Thanks to Bad Attitudes for the link. This is quite terrific. You can't but help a little chuckle.
Political Sports Player of the Week
John Roberts is this week's Political Sports Player of the Week. It is not every day that someone becomes a Chief Justice of SCOTUS. With so few, 17, in our history, it is a "supreme" accomplishment. Thousands dream from the time they think of the law and law school, but so very few make it. Our congratulations to him. Watch the video here.
Scouting Reports Miers is Fast, Hard-nosed and Slippery
President Bush's pick to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, appears to be similar in many respects to his earlier pick of John "The Galloping Ghost" Roberts. Not much, if anything is known about her judicial opinions. That means that Democrats will have an extremely hard time pinning her down on civil rights, privacy, abortion, etc. They will be left grabbing at thin air as she jumps, wiggles and side-steps her way through the defense. Initial scouting reports suggest that she will stand firmly in her White House roots to play with George's team. Her loyalty has been one of her defining virtues, at least to G.W. Other than the fact that not much is known about her, you can read the Washington Post article about her here, she seems a strong pick. Conservatives might be aprehensive that she is not conservative enough since even they don't know enough about her to make a reasoned judgment. Unless a smoking gun emerges, all indication are that she will score easily.
RIP Great Chief Wahoo - Until Next Year
We honor you in your attempt to scale the great mountain of the eternal Yankee/Red Sox enemies. The Battle may be lost but the war is not over.
October 1, 2005
Never Give Up the Ball
In any sport you never, ever willingly give up the ball, so it comes as no surprise that the U.S. is refusing to relinguish control of the Internet. You can link here.
A senior U.S. official rejected calls on Thursday for a U.N. body to take over control of the main computers that direct traffic on the Internet, reiterating U.S. intentions to keep its historical role as the medium's principal overseer.
"We will not agree to the U.N. taking over the management of the Internet,'' said Ambassador David Gross, the U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy at the State Department. "Some countries want that. We think that's unacceptable.''....
Many countries, particularly developing ones, have become increasingly concerned about the U.S. control, which stems from the country's role in creating the Internet as a Pentagon project and funding much of its early development.
They also want greater assurance that as they come to rely on the Internet more for governmental and other services, their plans won't get derailed by some future U.S. policy.
One proposal that countries have been discussing would wrest control of domain names from the U.S.-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, and place it with an intergovernmental group, possibly under the United Nations.
What is the political advantage to the U.S. of giving up control of the Internet? On a personal level, if you developed something everyone in the world wanted, would you just turn it over to others? Or think about it in our sports metaphors, if you were on offense and scoring lots of points, would you give up the ball just because others asked, especially if there was much at stake? I think not. And in this case I would doubt that the U.S. will give up control of the Internet until they are forced to do so.
Retired General Says Iraq War Biggest U.S. Mistake
A retired U.S. general, Retired Army Lt. Gen. William Odom, stated that he feels the U.S. war in Iraq was a huge strategic blunder along biblical proportions (the biblical part is from me, but he did say huge). Of course that is just one opinion, granted, of a general who should know about these sorts of things, but it is not a fact. You can read the article here.
The invasion of Iraq was the "greatest strategic disaster in United States history," a retired Army general said yesterday, strengthening an effort in Congress to force an American withdrawal beginning next year.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. William Odom, a Vietnam veteran, said the invasion of Iraq alienated America's Middle East allies, making it harder to prosecute a war against terrorists.
The U.S. should withdraw from Iraq, he said, and reposition its military forces along the Afghan-Pakistani border to capture Osama bin Laden and crush al Qaeda cells.
If we go back to George Friedman's book, America's Secret War, for a moment to review his ideas: (1) The U.S. went into Iraq partly to show the militant extremists that we didn't have to rely on coalitions to win - we lose on that ground. (2) The big, bad, tough Americans have no guts, they cut and run when the going gets tough - wow, big loser there.(3) Al Qaeda can beat us - we lose on that ground. (4) Iran would have huge influence in the south - we lose on that too. (5) We can force the Saudis to crack down on their militants because we have major forces on their border and developed a democracy as an example for their people right next door - we lose there. (6) We make sure that Iraq doesn't become a long term training ground for Muslim extremists - big loss there. (7) Iran would assume that we would never attack them for their nuke development if we leave Iraq - another whooping loss there too.
This is war, not some video game. A dirty, horrible, nasty, ugly war that has huge consequences, many of them we are either not aware of or don't think about. The Bush administration has made a mess of executing this, but it doesn't change the problems involved, or the stakes. Death is terrible and it is an extremely sad thing when even one person dies. That said, Americans are exceedingly crazy about death, due in large part to the media, our expectations, and the way we built our country. We don't want anyone to die, which is a good thing. Approximately 1900 Americans have died in the Iraq War. I bring back some statistics that I posted previously.
U.S. Civil War Battles:
Chancellorsville, May 1-4, 1863
Union - 17,000 killed, wounded and missing
Confederate - 13,000 killed, wounded and missing
Fredericksburg, Dec. 13. 1862
Union - 12,653 killed, wounded and missing
Confederate - 5,309 killed, wounded and missing
Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863
Union - 23,000 killed, wounded and missing
Confederate - 28,000 killed, wounded and missing
Day 3 - Pickett's Charge - 10,000 casualties in 50 minutes
I feel we should all take a few minutes and think about the endgame here. War is not nice, or easy. What do we want and how are we really going to achieve it?