Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let’s go home (after a little detour)

It seems, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that there’s a fly in the ointment of the Coalition of the Willing’s* plans to leave Iraq in a couple of years.

The New York Times is reporting that a “senior American military adviser in Baghdad” says we should leave Iraq by August 2010, some 15 months ahead of the pull out date which is now scheduled.

Good news. 

Now, will that mean freeing up more troops for duty in Afghanistan?  Or more drones for Pakistan?  How about spending the money on schools for the United States—as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“Let’s go home.  Oh, but on the way…”

*The more or less imminent withdrawal of British troops reduces this entity to, as one wag puts it, “a Coalition of the One.”

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

NPR Tidbits—Health Care, Race 7.29.09

A couple of quickie notes, Dear Gentle Reader(s), which come from today’s broadcast of Morning Edition on NPR.*

Senator Grassley made this point—there is no “Obama Plan.”  All the plans coming out of the Congress are plans which have been developed by Senators or Representatives to far.  The President has laid out some general goals, but the White House has not produced a plan of its own.  So, DGR(s), whenever you read of, or hear, someone referring to the Obama Plan, they are being imprecise; there is no such plan.  If they can’t get that basic bit of info correct, what else, you must ask yourself, do they not know?

In the continuing discussion of race, Inskeep and Williams brought in a couple of new twists—class and power.  That much makes sense.  It’s hard to continue to portray “minorities” as continuing victims when so much of the class and power structures have been integrated to the point we see today.  Steve and Juan could, however, have benefitted from listening to another segment of today’s program where a while man said he didn’t support Obama’s plan (see above) because only minorities would benefit.  He went on to say that the white middle class would end up paying for the plan.  Lesson?  While class and power are shifting around, there’s enough misguided “white” bias against “minorities” to keep niggling us for another couple of generations.

Trust, but verify.

*Playlist link

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Monday, July 20, 2009

An appeal of “The Appeal”?

It seems, Dear Gentle Reader(s), that John Grisham might have the opportunity to write a follow-up to The Appeal.

The West Virginia case which gave Grisham, maybe, an inspiration is going back to the West Virginia Supreme Court in a 3rd try at an appeal.

Judicial bias is the question.

It’ll be interesting to see how the SCOWV will rule this time—now that the eyes of the nation are on it.

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The Underlying Cause

Here, Dear Gentle Reader(s), is a quote from Tom Friedman’s latest column for the New York Times:  “America’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were, in part, an effort to create the space for the Muslim progressives to fight and win so that the real engine of change, something that takes nine months and 21 years to produce — a new generation — can be educated and raised differently.”

That’s the most important “in part” of all.  The only weapon Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and for all that, fundamentalist Christianists, have is ignorance.  Christian and Muslim progressives must fight lack of education at every turn.

Religious leaders of all stripe must somehow accept that, like the evolution of all things on this earth, revelation is ongoing and religions must change.  Religion which has become concretized is religion of virtual blasphemy.

Trust, but verify.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

A virtual perpetual motion machine

Good news, Dear Gentle Reader(s), future energy problems have virtually been solved!  Not, as you might expect, in the laboratories of General Electric, et al., but in the accounting rooms of New Line Cinema—at least, that’s what one can intuit from a little news item floated in the web site for

There’s a lawsuit on behalf of J.R.R. Tolkein’s heirs seeking payment of “7.5% of movie receipts” from New Line Cinema.  Seems simple enough, eh wot?


It seems there’s a catch:  “The 1969 agreement calls for Tolkien's percentage cut of the revenue to kick in only when the film's gross receipts reach a level that equals 2.6 times the cost production and a laundry list of other costs.”

The problem for the heirs is that even with a 6 billion dollar take on movie receipts and associated merchandise, that 2.6 figure hasn’t been reached.  Furthermore, it would seem that with the actors’ take figured in as continuing costs (i.e., the more the film and merchandise make, the bigger the cut given to actors and others), the 2.6% will virtually never be reached.

It’s a virtual moving target which will virtually continue to move, which means the accountants have discovered a virtual perpetual motion machine.

Or something.

Trust, but verify.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Madam Justice Robota

Republicans are such sillies.

The Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee seem to want SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor to be objective in deciding cases which come before her as a sitting judge. 

Objectivity is a state to which human beings might aspire, but it cannot be achieved.  Does Justice Scalia manage to leave behind his sense of entitlement as a male son from an Italian family?  Or Chief Justice Roberts his Angle camaraderie?


We can no more ignore what made us who we are than we can ignore the fatuousness of the opposition party in these nomination hearings.

Nor would we want a Justice to do that.

Trust (Republicans?!?  Shirley, you jest!), but verify.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dick, Dick, Dick, A-dick-a Dick, Dick, Dick

Actually, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the title comes from a song by Cole Porter, “Tom, Dick, or Harry,” in Kiss Me, Kate.  In case you wondered.

Richard Cheney, vice president under W, otherwise knows as “Dick,” for reasons more and more apparent as each day goes by, is in the news again.

This time Cheney’s named as the force behind some faulty CIA intelligence reports given to Congress during a period of time in the previous administration.

The New York Times carries a “news alert” about this particular brouhaha this afternoon.

Poor Dick. 

Poor W.

Poor us.

Dick just gets closer and closer to serious problems.  How much longer can the Obama administration continue to protect this man and the shenanigans he pulled?

Transparency, Mr. Obama.

Trust, but verify.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Um…”…the voice of the majority…” Really?

The battle is engaged, Dear Gentle Reader(s).

The federal court case against Prop (H)8 is shaping up.  The California lawyers defending (H)8 have gained a legal team based in D.C., and the judge has set August 19 for the next case management hearing.

As we go into the public relations segment of the case, it is well to remember some basic facts about language. 

There are others, as will be pointed out in the days to come, but one basic example of “…well, maybe, but…” can be found in a statement issued by a lawyer from the D.C. firm:

We are the only party now defending the statute and essentially being the voice of the majority of Californians.

Well, maybe.  But…

Remember, the population of California, by rough estimates, is 36,756,666.  The number of voters in last November’s Proposition (H)8 election was 7,001,084 “yes” and 6,401,482 “no.”

That gives the law firm the right to say that they represent a majority of 52.3% California voters, not Californians.

Trust, but verify.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

W’s Dangerous Legacy

Forget, Dear Gentle Reader(s), the disastrous foreign policy of the erstwhile Bush II administration, the real danger to the U.S.A. lies in the Supreme Court which W and the fat cats of the United States of Corporation have bequeathed to our endangered liberties.

For an analysis of the Court’s recent term, hie thee to The National Law Journal’s website, and read “Roberts Court takes narrow road to right.” 

If the article doesn’t chill your bones, you’re not paying attention.  Scariest quote:

"This Court can afford to be quite patient," said Thomas Goldstein of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld at a Washington Legal Foundation briefing June 30. Moving rightward by building on narrow precedents one by one rather than all at once "won't look as dramatic," said Goldstein. But instead of describing it as incrementalism, the founder of SCOTUSblog offered the word "actuarialism" to describe his view of the Roberts approach. In other words, by looking at who might leave the Court first (liberals) and who might replace them (liberal President Barack Obama), Goldstein thinks the Court's conservatives foresee as many as eight more years of dominating the Court, allowing them to take the long view.

“The long view…” means that, like a cancer, the changes will be so slow as to call little attention.  Then, Pow!  We’re screwed.

CJ Roberts—alas, a stealth corporate wolf in sheep populist clothing.

Trust, but verify.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dudes! Think!!!

Just about the time, Dear Gentle Reader(s), I finished reading Mike Lupica’s Wild Pitch, the Nashville cops were deep into the investigation of the death of Steve McNair, a former quarterback for the Memphis team.

A mention in New York’s Daily News claims that McNair was murdered by a girlfriend,one Sahel Kazemi, who then committed suicide.

Lupica’s book is all about a sports “hero” who couldn’t keep up with his “gift” because he thought that the right, if not obligation, to par-tay was part of the package.  Since McNair left behind a “devastated wife” and 4 children, it’s logical to think he, too, believed the same.

Not much sympathy here for Steve-o or Sahel.

But, Hey! Athletic dudes of all levels of stardom, the gift comes with responsibility, not par-tay.

Don’t take my word for it; listen to Lupica.

Trust, but verify.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

The Apple and its proximity to the Tree

Ah, Dear Gentle Reader(s), there’s fun over at the Muckroom today.

The fun comes from Jonah Goldberg, son of Lucien Goldberg, she of the spotted blue dress fame.  You remember her, the sneaky-petess most responsible for keeping the dress secure.  A woman of sterling character, no doubt.

Son Jonah has written an open letter to Governor Palin, “A letter to Sarah” in today’s issue of’s email compilation, which, in itself, is almost an effort of expiation for the family’s ills—but that’s most likely a fantasy of yours truly.

First Goldberg, J. touts Sarah’s unique qualifications for the vice-presidency (go figure), then he lists ways in which she is misplaying her hand lately.  Along the way he pulls a couple of croppers, i.e., “For Democrats, fairly or not, you've become a laughingstock.”  (Become?!?  Better been.  From day 2—when she first spoke unscripted.)

And then there’s this extraordinary admission: 

“Yes, you can talk well about the stuff you know -- oil drilling, energy, etc. -- but beyond your comfort zone, you fall back on bumper-sticker language that sounds fine to the people who already agree with you but is useless in winning over skeptics.

President Bush had the same problem you do, which is why there's a hunger for Republicans who can effectively articulate and sell our policies and philosophy.”

That bit of honesty, Bush II was inarticulate, is rare from the Goldberg ilk; but, notice, DGR(s), it isn’t done in the spirit of admitting a mistake—Jonah’s mistake about both Sarah and W.

How tone deaf Goldberg is in this piece.

Hie thee thither and enjoy.


Trust, but verify.

And don’t stand too close to an apple tree.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

No surprise

Today’s edition of the Townhalldotcom’s Muckroom, Dear Gentle Reader(s), has not one story about Republican Mark Sanford’s marital tribulations.

Circling the wagons as the party circles the drain?

Trust, but verify, Mrs. Sanford.

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