SocraticGadfly: 8/14/05 - 8/21/05

August 16, 2005

Palmeiro and Viagra

Hundreds of people paid more than I, and largely ensconsed on sports pages of major daily newspapers, have already weighed in on whether or not Palmeiro did steroids.

I had this discussion with other editors at my newspaper office this spring.

I first pointed to Raffy's big jump in homers near the end of his time with the Cubs -- before he came to the Rangers and Canseco allegedly started sticking needles in his butt, it must be noted.

Then, I asked rhetorically: Why is a man in prime health in his mid- to late-30s hawking Viagra?

Could it be due to one of the most common and stereotypical effects of steroids? Did Raffy give himself one great bat only to damage another?

What a difference a year makes — especially with too many ‘salute the Democratic presidential candidate’ hypocrites

Many naysayers never thought this would happen. Well, they may still shred, I mean shed, no tears over me. But, I shall arise from the grave of Skillet and Fastone.

It’s been over a year since I started blogging, inspired by, and frustrated by, the invasion of Iraq.

One of my earliest posts, the second after an introduction, to be precise, was about John Kerry’s squishiness on Iraq.

Now, if Joe Biden were spouting this same bullshit on “Meet the Press,” he’d get his ass flamed by Kos, most diarists over at Kos, Atrios, and many others. But, one year ago, with Kerry saying the exact same thing, most Kos diarists were circling the wagons against someone like me, just because Kerry was the Democratic candidate for president.

Well, if it is bullshit now, it was bullshit a year ago.

What’s up with Kenny Boy Lay?

New posts up at my Kenny Boy Lay diaries blog.

So now Expedia’s charging booking fees

At the end of July, I bought a flight from Dallas to Ontario, Calif.

I didn't notice it at the time, but when I got my latest credit card statement, I saw an additional $5 Expedia booking fee.

I've used Expedia, as well as Travelocity and Orbitz, before, and don't recall seeing anything like that from them, or either of the other two big online bookers.

I just e-mailed Expedia's customer service. The customer service webpage promises a response in four hours. We shall see what is in my e-mailbox when I wake up.

Update, later in the day:
Here is the official Expedia confirmation of the policy, via e-mail:

"In order to provide you with the broadest selection of travel options, we charge a nonrefundable booking fee of $5 per ticket. This fee will appear as a separate charge on your credit card statement."

No justice for Indians from Justice

So now the Department of Justice wants Judge Royce Lamberth to recuse himself from a 9-year-old lawsuit filed by American Indian tribes against the government.

Among other things:
The department criticized Lamberth for making a “gratuitous reference” to murder, dispossession, forced marches and other incidents of cultural genocide against the Indians.

Gratuitous? Rather, isn’t this part of the process of showing willful negligence for two centuries by the Department of Interior and State before it in negotiation, and implementation and honoring, of various treaties?

Lamberth’s ruling, the Justice Department complained, described the Interior Department to be a “dinosaur — the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago, the last pathetic outpost of the indifference and anglocentrism we thought we had left behind.”

No shit.

Now, I believe that, to some degree we as an entire nation have to find a way to get tribes, especially those tribes primarily west of the Mississippi with established tribal land holdings, to move into the 21st century while not losing their sense of who they are.

At some point, that will probably involve ongoing changes into the current legal status of recognized tribes vis-à-vis the government. These changes are needed, as anybody who knows anything about Jack Abramoff knows.

And, for people who have followed the Abramoff dealings with various tribes, it also shows that American Indians are most definitely not simon-pure, nor any sort of Rousellian “noble savages.” To the degree many of them, such as Navajos and Hopis of my childhood Four Corners area, or the Gwitchin of sub-Arctic Alaska, want to try to hold on to native life, that relationship has to change for their own good.

Traditionalists in those tribes, such as the Navajos who have twice voted down casino gambling, recognize that.

But, those changes can only take place on the far side of a fair settlement of this lawsuit. Because, until then, Native Americans cannot vest a sufficient amount of trust in this government.

And that’s true of today’s Interior Department, and Bill Clinton’s, not just that of, say, President Grant.

That’s why Judge Lamberth held both Clinton and Bush Interior secretaries Bruce Babbitt and Gale Norton in contempt. Unfortunately, both major parties still refuse to get it.

Meanwhile, some Anglos want to look like friends of American Indians, but only if they can do it on the cheap.
Sen. John McCain R-Ariz., has criticized the government for having “never really even made any serious attempt at keeping track of the revenues” it owed the Indians. McCain says, however, that the $27.5 billion figure is “just way out of sight.”

How do you know, John? You just admitted Interior has no clue as to what the right amount is. What you’re really saying is that, no matter the justice of the tribes’ claim, paying that much is out of your sight.

Well, maybe if we skim some money off the top of the socialist Central Arizona Project, rather than letting fat cat agribusiness and corporate holding company “farmer” friends of yours buy irrigation water for 10 cents on the dollar, we can find part of that $27.5 billion.

August 14, 2005


With a twist of substance abuse psychoanalyzing

Frank Rich is insightful enough to point this out in his Aug. 14 New York Times column.
The approval rate for Mr. Bush’s handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend’s Newsweek poll — a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968.

But, there’s really no comparison.

Despite his crudeness, boorishness, and almost Kennedy-esque level of skirt-chasing, nonetheless, LBJ was an adult, and acted like one, in many ways.

Whereas, when you watch W, if you come from where I’m at, when something goes wrong for him, he gives the impression of being a 6-year-old kid about to break into a major pout.

Of course, grownups who remain stuck in the pouting 6-year-old stage often do so to the accompaniment of alcohol and/or drug addiction.

That, in turn, might shed more light on just what Shrub was doing at Houston’s Project PULL in the summer of 1972.

One civil liberties silver lining in Iraq tragedy

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” for gays in the military may now be “don’t care, don’t matter.”

According to Frank Rich's Aug. 14 New York Times column:
Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout "don't ask, don't tell" and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press.

We can only hope that this remains the case even as the war winds down. If not, surely some gay soldier is going to find the right lawyer.