January 19, 2008

Historian Joseph Ellis needs to do a little history reading

Ellis claims Barack Obama’s call to rise above partisanship hales back to the true intention of the Founding Fathers.


Our Founding Fathers crafted the body of our Constitution as a bulwark AGAINST too much democracy, per the excellent revisionist history of the Constitution’s creation, “Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution,” by Woody Holton.

(Page 273: “The Framers designed the Federal government to be much less accessible than it seems.”)

Yet, our idiotic American public puts the entire Constitution, a now-antiquated document, on a ridiculous pedestal. And, even the Bill of Rights is lacking things like an explicit right to privacy amendment like that found in post-WWII Western European constitutions. We don’t need a professional historian making things worse.

Beyond that, it’s arguable the Founders meant a party of debtors, if anything, when they spoke against “party” and “faction,” while they themselves represented the “investor party.” Joseph Ellis could stand to read Holton’s book.

So much for “low, low fares”

And “being free to move about the country.” American Airlines has nonstop flights to Ontario (suburban Los Angeles) from Dallas for $70 cheaper than a Southwest one-stop, as I look ahead two months to spring vacation travel ideas.

Ahh, loyalty oaths… another reason not to vote Democratic

The Texas Supreme Court has said the state Democratic Party is within its rights to keep Dennis Kucinich off the primary ballot March 4 because he refuses to sign a loyalty oath to support the eventual nominee.

Has the Texas GOP asked Ron Paul to sign anything similar? Haven’t heard of it.

Palm oil prices continue to soar, along with other food oils

The fallout is affecting developing world food costs, biodiesel ideas and much more.

And, here in the U.S., the push for corn-based ethanol has put a smaller, but similar, crimp in soybean oil prices.

This shows why government stats that exclude food from “core inflation” are also idiotic.

Schweitzer tells Homeland Security to eff itself on Real ID

The Montana governor says his state will neither try to comply with nor seek an extension to get in compliance with the federal ID law and a teen apparently being framed for allegedly taking part.

He’s asking other resistant states to join him, and already has an alternative to Real ID in mind:
Schweitzer wants Congress to step up and pass alternative legislation that would stop Real ID and re-instate a commission that was working on driver's license rules before the REAL ID Act was slipped into must-pass defense legislation in 2005. …

Schweitzer's letter went out to the governors of Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Arizona, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington.

Unfortunately, allegedly conservative Texas is not among the rebel states. Gov. Rick Perry’s probably getting more money from Bracewell, Giuliani to accept it.

Meanwhile, DHS excuses on the need for Real ID claim it will help in the fight against meth dealers buying pseudoephedrine and even help in the crackdown on teen smoking.

Can’t you just smell Musharraf canceling Pakistani elections?

The arrest of people allegedly set to attack Shi’ites and a teen apparently being framed for allegedly taking part in Benazir Bhutto’s assassination seem almost choreographed to give President Pervez Musharraf excuses to further delay, if not cancel, Pakistani parliamentary elections.

Question: How big a price tag is Inter Services Intelligence charging him?

January 18, 2008

Irony alert, Microsoft division

That’s when Microsoft-based websites and pages have expired or unrecognized security certificates.

More moronity from Adam Nagourney

Sorry, AdNags, but contrary to your claim, Mormons did not found Nevada. The miners of the Comstock Lode did.

For people who claim John Edwards is so progressive, hold on

That list, of course starts with John Edwards himself. But a real progressive Democrat, Sen. Russ Feingold, strongly begs to differ:
I did notice that as the primaries heated up, all of a sudden, all the presidential candidates — none of whom voted with me on the timeframe to withdraw from Iraq — all voted with me and when we did the Patriot Act stuff.

The one that is the most problematic is (John) Edwards, who voted for the Patriot Act, campaigns against it. Voted for No Child Left Behind, campaigns against it. Voted for the China trade deal, campaigns against it. Voted for the Iraq war … He uses my voting record exactly as his platform, even though he had the opposite voting record.

When you had the opportunity to vote a certain way in the Senate and you didn't, and obviously there are times when you make a mistake, the notion that you sort of vote one way when you're playing the game in Washington and another way when you're running for president, there's some of that going on.

That sums it up pretty well. And, it goes far beyond the complaint/observation of Edwards’ sudden conversion to more populist economics, and gets straight to his voting record.

Besides, in South Carolina, Edwards is polling only about one-third of either Clinton or Obama.

January 17, 2008

You know you're getting older, serious division

When you don't have parents anymore.

My mom died in her sleep last Friday night. (Dad died a little less than three years ago.)

With both my mom and dad, I had a fair degree of "distance," in different ways with each one, of which I became more aware, even much more aware, after I went through some adult life changes of my own, and tried to "connect" with both of them on more than the relatively surface level and layers of childhood and early adulthood.

Even though no "breakthroughs" happened with either parent, there's still plenty of emotion, starting with the regrets over those breakthroughs not happening, and going on from there.

January 15, 2008

Selig’s “list of 104” shows his complicity in steroid mess

As Yahoo’s Josh Peter points out, the old Budster, as MLB commissioner, knew a lot more about steroid use a lot earlier than he’d like to admit:
While Mark McGwire was playing the clumsy Cardinal at the 2005 Congressional hearings, commissioner Bud Selig proved an artful dodger, managing to avoid disclosing that Major League Baseball had seen a list of 104 players who federal authorities believed had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. …

In early 2004, after records were seized that federal authorities believed could identify which players had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during the so-called “survey testing” in 2003, MLB and the players’ union cut a deal: MLB postponed any testing of the 104 players until the union notified them that they had tested positive in 2003 and were vulnerable to government search warrants. …

After the 2005 Congressional hearings, MLB had yet another opportunity to disclose it had seen the list of 104 players who federal authorities believed had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. (The number differed from MLB's contention that up to 83 players had tested positive because federal authorities used stricter standards for positives than MLB, according to a source familiar with the results.)

Baseball was less than forthcoming with lawmakers in September 2005, when a congressional committee launched an investigation into whether first baseman Rafael Palmeiro had committed perjury at hearings in March of the same year. The image of Palmeiro pointing his finger at congressmen and forcefully denying under oath that he had taken steroids was startling; so was the news only six weeks later that he tested positive for stanozolol.

That said, when does the NFL get put under the Congressional klieg lights? Ignoring the fact that Congress has more important work to do than monitor professional sports this tightly, why isn’t steroid use in the NFL getting scrutiny?

Does “disrupt” mean “campaign for the opposition”?

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf has given troops orders to shoot anyone trying to disrupt Feb. 18 parliamentary elections.

Given some sort of likely government involvement in the Benazir Bhutto assassination, this is a clear prescription for troops to disrupt opposition rallies and campaign meetings.

Our “oil president” moron

Bush thinks OPEC just needs to pump more oil. What if it can’t?

OPEC member Indonesia is actually an oil importer. Don’t you think it would love to pump more?

A 6-year-old who knows anything about oil depletion can look at stats on Mexico’s Cantarell field and tell how bad the situation there is going to be in just a few years.

Meanwhile, trying to blame oil, rather than Alan Greenspan’s subprime wreck, as the primary cause of our recession, doesn’t fly. And the Saudis politely told Bush that.

January 14, 2008

Paul Krugman also takes a(nother) whack at Obama

This time over his economic stimulus package. Krugman does have some sage words of caution.

Ted Rall takes a whack at Obama

In “The Politics of Dopes,” Rall says Obama’s biggest problem is that he hasn’t created a coherent narrative of why he wants to be president.

In other words to mosh-mash presidents together, his vision thing is all hat and no cattle, Rall is claiming.

January 13, 2008

So, waterboarding IS torture, Mr. Intelligence Chief?

U.S. intelligence czar Mike McConnell says waterboarding would be torture if a person inhaled water or if it were used against him.
“If I had water draining into my nose, oh God, I just can’t imagine how painful! Whether it’s torture by anybody else’s definition, for me it would be torture.”

Nice to see that you take torture so personally. Beyond that, though, Big Mike won’t go, other to say there could be hell to pay:
“If it ever is determined to be torture, there will be a huge penalty to be paid for anyone engaging in it,” McConnell told The New Yorker, which published a 16,000-word article Sunday on the director of national intelligence.

Sorry, didn’t see a link online yet to the full story.