Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Donald Graham Should Be Asking For His Money Back

washingtonpost.com - nation, world, technology and Washington area news and headlines: "On your way out of the White House, don't let the screen door hit you where the dog should have bit you."

Eugene Robinson was paid for this line. Paid money. He gets paid to write that while I am still writing for the "joy" of it. Seriously though, this is awful and published in the Washington Post, one of our lauded and respected institutions. It is fine to dislike the man and even to write that you dislike him, but this requires a refund.

Monday, August 13, 2007


The Fuss Over Rove's Walk is Not Very Well Thought Out

Marc Ambinder: "I could be wrong here, but I distinctly recall conversations with Rove friends who've told me that his struggles with faith did not lead him to Jesus Christ. Yet he knew and understood how to interact with (and manipulate, at times) the standard-bearers of the evangelical right and the Catholic conservative intellectual elite; he studied them like a sociologist; he knew their language, totems and insecurities, and in the White House, he used the powers of government to give them their voice and to fill their ego-needs."

I awoke this morning to Chris Matthews huddling with David Gregory about what could have "pushed" Rove out at this particular time. Citing the investigations and the country's mistrust, the two ignorantly pondered his motivation. Guess what? The campaign strategist is getting out of the White House just before the campaign season. Any other supposition is moronic. Does he want more time with his family? Probably, but he probably wants to get someone else elected more.
The best part of his press conference today was when he was hitting all of the religious g-spots as he said goodbye. It has been more than publicized that he does not think that way, yet he knew how important it would be to the "next chapter" of his life. Whoever he chooses to assist will need the votes of the churchies just as W did.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


When You Dislike the Collective Judgment of Voters…in Iowa

CNN.com - CNN Political Ticker: "Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the Iowa Republican straw poll Saturday and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee had a surprise second place showing, giving both presidential candidates a boost six months before the state holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses. Romney received 4,516 votes to Huckabee's 2,587, while Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback came in third place with 2,192 votes of the 14,302 ballots cast."

In other elections when people were upset by the outcome, I was always a bit taken aback by the sound of superiority. What were those people thinking? How could they be so stupid? I knew, though that complaining about the way they sounded may come back to bite me since there would no doubt be outcomes in the future that I would dislike. Here is one. I am now forced to tone down my distaste, but I still feel uncomfortable with this outcome.
I liked Romney okay when he dealt with the Salt Lake Olympics, but that is not the Presidency. His present day image, and I suppose his image then, is stiff, superficial and too conservative. Really, he just doesn’t come off as an intellectual. I fear problems that he can’t possibly think through. That sounded a bit harsh, but it really will be difficult for a person of faith to look at all sides of an issue. Many sides of the important social arguments are thrown away in religious context. This just further alienates many of the citizens for which he has sworn to work.
Another trap I find myself in is thinking how stupid it was for people to dismiss JFK for his Catholicism, yet now feeling quite comfortable with dismissing Romney for his Mormonism. I am doing it from a different stance as they were Protestants who disliked Catholics, where I am an antitheist entirely. Unfortunately, the trap is still there as I attempt the high-wire act of trying to stay consistent. As just an ordinary citizen, it really doesn’t mean much for me to be inconsistent, but I do want to take into account the lessons that I once felt I was learning.
But can Romney be the JFK-like inspirational leader to the vast majority of the country? Is it possible when social issues are so important to all of us? Will, for example, abortion rights folks be able to take Romney seriously? Will lesbians and gay men be able to see him as their leader? Will antitheists be collectively shut out of the political process? Really, I suppose the question is who can be broadly inspirational?
We also know that leaders select teams that are similar to them. No, that is not just a 43 issue. That is a company down the street and company in China issue. People hire people that are like them and that they can deal with easily. But who are Romney’s sort of people? With whom does this man identify?
Then there is Huckabee. It seems so, so wrong that Mike Huckabee could win anything over Giuliani, anything at all. I am indeed missing something here, something big. I cannot find anything attractive about his delivery or what he is saying that would explain more than two random Iowa widowers taking pity on this political traveler.
The other problem with this outcome is that I think national security should again be the main issue. Neither of these gentlemen have national security bona fides. I can understand folks wanting to think about other issues, but the desire to focus on other things does not lessen the likely danger of once again being hit by those that are indeed promising to hit us. Romney and Huckabee both seem like the kinds of guys that would have “Brownies” in their cabinets, but we really need Keriks.
I guess this problem is not for me to solve, but I certainly hope that moderate Republicans can and soon. It seems that the last thing this country needs is another less than stellar thinker in the White House.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Unpopular Bush Opinion

Bush Rejects Gas Tax as Way to Shore Up Bridges - New York Times: "Asked about the gasoline proposal, which could amount to an increase of 5 cents a gallon under schemes floating around Congress, Mr. Bush said, “Before we raise taxes, which could affect economic growth, I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities.”"

A friend of mine and I were having a conversation on whether I take unpopular stances just to be a renegade. I am, after all, one of three who still support this war. I, of course, said no, that sometimes it isn't so fun being at odds with nearly everyone. He interrupted that I seemed to enjoy it, bask in it. I have to admit, if only the process of arguing out all of the competing points in my head, that sometimes it is fun to feel like a rebel. Boy, is that a ridiculous word to describe me? Do they get any further from my reality? Contrarian is much more like it. I saw an old Berkeley-produced interview with Hitchens the other day, presumably done soon after "Letters to a Young Contrarian's" release. He argued that 'contrarian' was a term that the publishers preferred but that he thought had too negative a connotation. I quite dig it. Seeing as rebel and renegade do not suit me, this is a word that suggests a person who is vetting even their own ideas where most would naively listen and agree. I am proud of that.
With Bush, I am one of the few that allows myself to agree with him when prudent. On taxes, and on gas taxes, in particular, he is right. The Congress, and even state legislatures, have for too long gravitated toward the sexy and away from ordinary and necessary. I understand why, but couldn't possibly excuse it. Bushie is just saying that they shouldn't be asking for more money when they haven't handled the money they have wisely for some time. That is a perfectly appropriate response, and one for which he should be getting more accolades.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Bonds is the King Now. Get Over It.

Opinion: Like Bonds or not, this night was a blast - Barry Bonds - MSNBC.com: "But at the very least, Aaron's endorsement of Bonds' status as the new home run king takes Bonds to a place he couldn't have reached on his own. It did the same for the fence-sitters, and even some who may have thought they'd made their minds up about Bonds and his place in history.
It was an exceedingly classy act, and it was received in kind by Bonds. It infused the night with an unexpected vibe, an unanticipated touch of magic."

Well, I watched. After having heard one of the greatest sports minds, Bob Costas, talk about it last week, and, quite frankly, not being able to get away from the steroids discussion, I realized that I just didn't care. Costas, though very ardent in his belief that this bulky body came from no other place than "The Clear", did say that it can't be cheating if there is no rule. He also says that baseball has been far too lax for far too long in its drug testing. What that says to me is that baseball, meaning the leaders in baseball, like it when people like me, October-watchers, pay attention to McGwire and Bonds. They like it when we get drawn in. Well, I was. I liked it too. Chris Rock on the same Costas episode, made the point that no record, obviously not talking about the Aaron record, prior to baseball's integration could be taken seriously because some of the best were disallowed professional play. There is a point. I would add to that the idea that many of the sports writers and chatters are not athletes at all, wannabes, many of them. Their job is to report in such a way as to get readership or watchers, which often means finding controversy. Though this was placed in their lap, it seems they ran a bit far with it. Truth is, they couldn't have done it themselves, with or without "The Clear", so I am happy watching the man who did do it. I am happy being happy for him, the way we applaud American Olympians and other sports greatness.
I think too that the folks who have said that Bonds has much done this to himself may have a point. He is a cranky bastard, by all definitions, both good and bad. He is difficult to read, even in the moments after the hit, he sat in the dugout alone, no smile, chewing on sunflower seeds, much the way he had done the inning before. Ordinary folks don't understand that or him. To me, he seems fragile, not outwardly. He comes off to me as a guy that has never really understood himself. Instead of saying the wrong thing, and in fear of that, he has chosen to say nearly nothing. And after years of taking a beating on the issue of steroids, you can't really blame a guy who meets that conversation with ire and coarseness.
Bonds is the king now. People can do with that information as they please, but I, for one, enjoyed it. If there was no rule, then Bonds was no cheater. Seems simple enough.

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