SocraticGadfly: 10/8/06 - 10/15/06

October 14, 2006

Haloscan WITH Trackbacks – on Beta

Yeppers. (No thanks to Google/Blogger/Blogger Beta help, though.)

Go here on Logical Philosopher’s blog to read how. Pop open the comments window, too; some of the fix, such as how far down to delete code w/Blogger Beta to kill Blogger’s comment window, can vary from template to template

George Bush: Petulant dry drunk

HUHHH? Yes, you read that exactly right.

Shrub has never used the term “alcoholic/ism” to label himself or his past behavior, but it’s nonetheless a good descriptive term.

This ”Listen” article from the Washington Post, pointing out his most annoying speech habits, perfectly illustrates what could be called Bush’s “dry drunk” personality. Although not connecting the dots in that particular direction, KKevin Drum does provide more good background.

Shrub himself, as far as we know, never went to Alcoholics Anonymous. Now, I don't buy into everything AA says — in large part because I’m an atheist and the religion-hidden-as-“spirituality” angle is too much. But it's not all wrong, either.

Take its description of the stereotypical alcoholic. If you understand where AA comes from, I think you can accept that as a legitimate description of a certain class of white male alcoholics, into which George W. Bush fits perfectly.

That said, while recognizing that an oft-used term in AA, "dry drunk," can be, and is, used as a control/beatdown label, it has a degree of validity, too.

And that's what you have here: George W. Bush, petulant dry drunk, doing the psychological equivalent of holding his breath until his face turns blue. It’s like a 5-year-old inhabiting a grown-up's body. Of course, I believe that's around the age his sister died, and, without justifying his behavior, there may be a serious connection.

Proof positive Tony LaRussa gets overwound in the postseason

Tony the Red makes a federal case out of reporters accurately quoting Prince Albert, Albert Pujols, dissing pitchers.

This underscores my theory that Tony gets overwound in the playoffs, his teams pick up on this, the players also get too tense, and next thing, it’s Choke City.

October 12, 2006

Serious accusations if true, but …

At a Lancaster Chamber of Commerce lunch today, Lancaster Superintendent Larry Lewis seemed to hint that some opponents of a proposed $215 million bond issue were hinting that might personally profit from the issue if it was approved Nov. 7.

I’ve never heard that.

Now, I have heard, second-had, questions about whether or not consultant Red Whiddon, who advised the district this summer on what he thought needed to be in this bond issue, might profit from some sort of contract if the bond were approved, but that’s all that I’ve heard.

File this under skeptical.

Either way, it’s kind of sad the bond campaign is getting more personal. If somebody is making that allegation, it’s sad that they’re dragging Lewis into the mud. If it’s not true, it’s sad that he’s personalizing the bond campaign so that it’s not“about the kids” any more.

About ready to quit reading B.C.

Johnny Hart is just getting too conservative, and too anti-science, for me too often.

October 11, 2006

Once again, Major League Baseball sucks

Here’s the scenario for tonight’s installment of League Championship Series round playoffs.

The St. Louis Cardinals are in New York to play the Mets in game 1 of the NLCS. Meanwhile, Detroit is in Oakland for game 2 of the ALCS.

That’s a three-hour time-zone difference. Get the A’s-Tigers game to do a 7:30 p.m. start, local time, instead of 7 p.m., while keeping the Cardinals-Mets at 7 p.m., and that’s an extra 30 minutes to play with. Given National League games go faster with no DH, you could easily run this as a doubleheader.

But, noooo. First, we’re getting both games starting at the same “universal” time. Second, even though this is the opening night of the NLCS, Fox in its infinite Republican-influenced? wisdom, is dumping that game onto their cable affiliates.

And I don’t have cable.

Update: I, and the Cardinals, get lucky with a rainout. Chris Carpenter can start Game 2 instead of Game 3, then Game 6 if needed, leaving him available for relief in Game 7.

Reid land sale — Dems still aren’t “clean as a hound’s tooth” on ethics themselves

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, using a limited liability company, cleared $1.1 million two years ago on a suburban Las Vegas parcel. He bought the land personally in 1998, then sold it to the LLC in 2001 and never disclosed that sale on his annual public ethics filing..
Senate ethics rules require lawmakers to disclose on their annual ethics report all transactions involving investment properties — regardless of profit or loss — and to report any ownership stake in companies.

Kent Cooper, who oversaw government disclosure reports for federal candidates for two decades in the Federal Election Commission, said Reid's failure to report the 2001 sale and his ties to Brown's company violated Senate rules.

“This is very, very clear,” Cooper said. “Whether you make a profit or a loss you’ve got to put that transaction down so the public, voters, can see exactly what kind of money is moving to or from a member of Congress.”

“It is especially disconcerting when you have a member of the leadership, of either party, not putting in the effort to make sure this is a complete and accurate report,” said Cooper. “That says something to other members. It says something to the Ethics Committee.”

Other parts of the deal — such as the informal handling of property taxes — raise questions about possible gifts or income reportable to Congress and the IRS, ethics experts said.

Stanley Brand, former Democratic chief counsel of the House, said Reid should have disclosed the 2001 sale and that his omission fits a larger culture in Congress where lawmakers aren't following or enforcing their own rules.

“It’s like everything else we’ve seen in last two years. If it is not enforced, people think it’s not enforced and they get lax and sloppy,” Brand said.

So, how ethical does Reid think the deal was? Well, the AP story says he hung up the phone when asked for comment.

Remember, Reid still has not given back, or given to charity, campaign contributions he received from Indian tribal clients connected to Jack Abramoff, either. I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again, that while the Democrats got a definite improvement over Tom Daschle in a minority leader willing to fight GOP fire with fire, they also got someone who is, well, rough around the edges, and with no signs of smoothing out.

Update: Taking his cues from Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo’s Paul Kiel laments that “The AP’s John Solomon takes another shot at nailing Harry Reid.

Now, it may be true, as Josh has claimed in the past, that Solomon has some personal bias against Reid.

But, Kiel ignores several facts.

One, this story was co-bylined, also being written by Kathleen Hennessey. Yes, Solomon’s the lead writer, but, when you have multiple writers involved, you’re going to have an editor, or bureau chief in the AP’s case, riding at least a little bit of herd. Even if Solomon is assistant or deputy bureau chief, you have somebody else at least available on the side to integrate what the two writers uncovered on their own if there’s any questions about how it fits together, normally.

Second, it’s not as if John Solomon is churning out anti-Reid stories by the dozen. Sourcewatch lists just two such articles with Reid officially headlined in the past 18 months, before this story.

Third: You know, Josh, Paul, Media Matters, et al, there might just be some fire behind the smoke here. This particular article has nothing to do with Reid-Abramoff connections and plenty to do with the often-shady world of Las Vegas politics. And that’s true even if Solomon’s doing heavy-duty ax-grinding. And, there’s just too much in the article for all of this to be ax-grinding, even if that does explain Reid hanging up on Solomon.

October 10, 2006

SCOTUS upholds North Dakota no-robocall law

Should impact political robocalls elsewhere, depending on state laws

The Supreme Court, by not hearing an appeal, upheld a North Dakota law banning robocalls by telemarketers — and others, such as political advocacy groups.
The Supreme Court turned away an appeal today from a northern Virginia political-polling firm that had sought to challenge a North Dakota law that bars telemarketers from making prerecorded interstate calls to that state's residents.

The North Dakota Do-Not-Call law says callers cannot use robo-call machines unless a live operator first obtains the subscriber's consent before a prerecorded message is delivered., the company filing to overthrow the North Dakota law, is also the company behind “Swift Boater” robocalls in Indiana.

Indiana has a law similar to North Dakota’s, and FreeEats recently took it into federal court. A summary judgment in the Indiana case should result, I would think unless the Indiana law has any major differences from North Dakota’s.

Hopefully, this ruling should cut down on such nonsense in general; I hope it inspires states that currently do not have no-robocall laws to adopt them.

October 09, 2006

Iraq: It IS a civil war

What else can you call it?

30,000 Iraqs dead, at a conservative count.

Meanwhile, our costs? In addition to the 2,700 dead and counting, 10,000 troops too wounded to fight, 4,000 injured for life.

But, I’ll bet you five bucks even the vaunted James Baker and vaunted Iraq Study Group can’t get President W(haaatttt?) to do what’s needed to be done.

And, per a reader at Talking Points Memo, the puppetry of Kid Karl Rove may be behind the Baker group’s report anyway.

Do you spell “flu” F-O-L-E-Y?

Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds, chairman of the Republican National Congressional Comitttee and under fire for not doing more about Rep. Mark Foley, was scheduled to be on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday; he confirmed his appearance last Wednesday.

But, he then cancelled.


“Flu-like symptoms.”

You know the GOP is dysfunctional when its lying is that bad.

October 08, 2006

Kim Jong Il goes nuclear; let’s see Bush screw up North Korean diplomacy even more

(I’m assuming this wasn’t a Rove conspiracy to drive Mark Foley off the news pages.)

According to both North Korea and South Korea, it sounds official: North Korea is a nuclear power.

Should this scare us more than, say, Pakistan’s being a nuclear power?

Perhaps, in some ways.

First, given that we don’t know whether Pakistan’s rogue nuclear scientist, A.Q. Khan, is under house detention, or more in the way of house leisure, who’s to say the old Pyongyang//Islamabad connection might not get a jump start?

At the least, Pakistan’s President Musharraf can threaten something like that the next time our own Maximum Leader, George W(hhhaattt?) Bush, talks to him like a 5-year-old, not a fellow head of state.

Second, who’s to say that Kim won’t try to rev up some backdoor connection even without official, or semi-official via the ISI, Pakistani agreement? Or with Iran?

I don’t know if Clinton would have stopped this or not. But, he couldn’t have bollixed up the last five-plus years of diplomacy any worse than it has been.

Doesn’t Al Jazeera have something more important to cover than T.O.?

Or was this about the hedonism of America?

In what must be considered a sign of the secular apocalypse, Arab TV network Al Jazeera asked for a credential to cover the loving homecoming of Dallas Cowboys wideout Terrell Owens to play his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Maybe they decided this would be a nice break from covering Iraq. Or maybe this was an inside favor to Jerry Jones pal Prince Bandar?

(And I refuse to put an Owens tag on this.)

Toyota hybrid commercials have their share of hot air

Yes, it’s nice to have more hybrids than anybody else.

But, it would be nice if all of them actually used hybrids’ full potential.

Take the hybrid Camry, for example.

Toyota BOASTS of getting 40mpg in the city.

But, the Honda Accord hybrid, which is nothing to write home about in terms of hybrid fuel economy, gets 44mpg.

And, I haven’t seen the hybrid Camry’s highway mpg. But, if it gets just 40 in the city, it’s probably only about 35 on the highway, which is the same as the 4-cylinder gas-only Camry,

Toyota looks more and more like an American-based car company all the time, it seems to me.

Who says Kinky’s wrong on wanting to abolish TAKS?

Colorado and Utah have already headed down this road

Everybody is saying Kinky Friedman’s call to get rid of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, the state’s standardized test battery, will mean a loss of federal education funds.

BUT, as the Great Newspaper of Dallas, the Morning News,, has listed in a Sunday column by Ryan Sager, “Colorado and Utah have openly rebelled against No Child Left Behind’s federal testing regime by passing laws exempting themselves from it.”

I knew that, but had forgotten all about it until reading Sager’s column. So, the “Conventional Three” of the Four Stooges are dead wrong on this one.

Any Kinky fans reading this, feel free to spread the idea.

Why Kinky won’t win; comparing him to Jesse

1. Ventura was the only independent in the race in Minnesota; Kinky has to share that appellation with Grandma.

2. The media market is MUCH different. In Minnesota, the only major media market is Minneapolis-St. Paul. Outside of that, you have the medium-small markets of Rochester, Duluth and Moorhead. MSP makes up half the state’s population.

Here, though, Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston are each as big as the entire state of Minnesota. Austin and San Antonio are both major media markets as well. El Paso is a semi-major market. McAllen/Lower Valley and Laredo/Middle Valley are both midlevel markets. Abilene, Midland/Odessa, Amarillo, Waco/Temple/Belton and Longview/Marshall are all as big as, if not bigger, than all of the non-MSP markets in Minnesota.

In short, it takes a LOT of money for TV buys to compete in a statewide race in Texas. The Internet hasn’t changed things that much — at least not yet.

Name recognition may offset some of that, but it’s not like Kinky, nickname and all, has the same recognition level as The Redheaded Stranger himself, Mr. Willie Nelson.

3. The “getting serious” factor. Kinky could have been better coached than he was for the Oct. 5 debate without being sanitized or put in lockdown. And he wasn’t. Ventura had actually had previous political experience, so he didn’t need quite as much coaching or handling.

So, that leaves Grandma and Verizon wondering if they can’t get voters to coalesce behind them to knock off Gov. Helmethair.