BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 -- As a fuel crisis deepened in Iraq, the government replaced its oil minister with controversial Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi, whose poor performance in the Dec. 15 elections was a setback in his recent attempt at political rehabilitation.He provides BS about WMD, he spies for Iran, and he can't get anyone to support him at the polls, yet he now takes one of the top 3 important jobs in the whole country. Astounding.
Saturday, December 31, 2005
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda," Bush said in explaining his communications strategy last May.
Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
My initial reaction has not changed significantly, but it has softened. Suffice to say that many opiners (with special mention to the authors of this column) caused me to rethink some issues. I will accept that this is a close call.
At this point, current policy is clear for the world: Bush is going to continue what he has been doing. If the policy is not a secret anymore anyway, I see no reason not to have a political debate about it and where to draw the very tricky line.
(For cross-post at Centerfield and comments posted there, click here.)
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Ah, yes, a Worker's Paradise indeed.
A rule that women applying for government jobs in central Hunan province had to show they had symmetrically shaped breasts sparked a public uproar last year and calls for stronger legal protection against job discrimination.
Hunan scrapped its requirement, but China still does not have clear-cut laws ruling out such hiring prejudices.
Career stats: 367 saves, 6th most all-time.
October 25, 1987 at Hubert H Humphery Metrodome (Minnesota Twins)
In the deciding game, neither team gave an inch. Though St. Louis came out with a 2-1 lead in the 2nd inning, the Twins marched back with runs in the 5th, 6th and 8th innings, and Twins closer Jeff Reardon came out in the 9th to bring down the curtain on the Cardinals, and on the '87 Series.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Former major league pitcher Jeff Reardon is charged with robbing a Palm Beach Gardens jewelry store.How sad.
Police said the 50 year old walked into Hamilton Jewelers at the Gardens Mall about 11:50 a.m Monday.
He's accused of handing an employee a note that said he had a gun and the store was being robbed.
Reardon fled the store with an undisclosed amount of cash. Police found him at a nearby restaurant, recovered the stolen money and charged him with armed robbery.
GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian mastermind of the Munich Olympics attack in which 11 Israeli athletes died said on Tuesday he had no regrets and that Steven Spielberg's new film about the incident would not deliver reconciliation. . .
Mohammed Daoud planned the Munich attack on behalf of PLO splinter group Black September, but did not take part and does not feature in the film.
He voiced outrage at not being consulted for the thriller and accused Spielberg of pandering to the Jewish state.
I must say that I am surprised that the Israelis did not take this guy out a long time ago.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Paula was the happiest, most optimistic person around and she had a gift for causing her happiness and optimism to infect those around her.
If you are able and willing, please click here to make a donation.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
He said he believes the American people support President Bush’s terror-fighting strategy. “If there’s a backlash pending,” because of reports of National Security Agency surveillance of calls originating within the United States, he said, “I think the backlash is going to be against those who are suggesting somehow that we shouldn’t take these steps to defend the country.”Poll.
Cheney talked about terrorism and national security amid a burgeoning controversy at home over President Bush’s acknowledgment of a four-year-old administration program to eavesdrop — without court-approved warrants — on international calls and e-mails of Americans and others inside the United States with suspected ties to the terrorist network al-Qaida.
My initial reaction has not changed and, in fact, I became even more skeptical of Bush's eavesdropping arguments than ever once I learned that the court approval could be sought retroactively if he were willing to follow the letter of the law. This is a debate worth having and an investigation and congressional hearings are warranted.
President Bush's approval rating has surged in recent weeks, reversing what had been an extended period of decline, with Americans now expressing renewed optimism about the future of democracy in Iraq, the campaign against terrorism and the U.S. economy, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll.
Bush's overall approval rating rose to 47 percent, from 39 percent in early November, with 52 percent saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job. His approval rating on Iraq jumped 10 percentage points since early November, to 46 percent, while his rating on the economy rose 11 points, to 47 percent. A clear majority, 56 percent, said they approve of the way Bush is handling the fight against terrorism -- a traditional strong point in his reputation that nonetheless had flagged to 48 percent in the November poll.
Still, most people seem to think (1) I'm not a bad guy so the government isn't listening to my conversations, and/or (2) I'm not doing anything wrong so I wouldn't care if the government did listen to my conversations. Add that general indifference to the Cheney drumbeat (“it’s not an accident that we haven’t been hit in four years”), and the good legal arguments against Bush are likely to be overwhelmed politically by the fact that a core segment of the American public does not take for granted that we haven't had a building, a bridge or an airplane blown up recently.
The Democrats should win the battle over the legal issue on the merits, but Bush seems unlikely to be punished politically as a result.
Another activist judge. Thank goodness.
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- A Pennsylvania school district cannot teach in science classes a concept that says some aspects of science were created by a supernatural being, a federal judge has ruled.
In an opinion issued Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John Jones ruled that teaching "intelligent design" would violate the Constitutional separation of church and state.
"We have concluded that it is not [science], and moreover that ID cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents," Jones writes in his 139-page opinion posted on the court's Web site. (Opinion, pdf)
"To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions," Jones writes.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Long a stronghold for Islamic extremists and the world's second-most populous Muslim nation, Pakistanis now hold a more favorable opinion of the U.S. than at any time since 9/11, while support for al Qaeda in its home base has dropped to its lowest level since then. The direct cause for this dramatic shift in Muslim opinion is clear: American humanitarian assistance for Pakistani victims of the Oct. 8 earthquake that killed 87,000. The U.S. pledged $510 million for earthquake relief in Pakistan and American soldiers are playing a prominent role in rescuing victims from remote mountainous villages.Story.
In Tal Afar, according to the president, military success had been followed by the restoration of law and order and the implementation of reconstruction projects to give "hope" to its citizens. . .
More remarkably, the approach of an American military convoy brings people out to wave and even clap, something not seen since the invasion of spring 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
I am going to be staging a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in her honor in connection with my participation in the Phoenix Marathon next month. Please check back this week for more details if you would be willing to make a contribution.
UPDATE: The obituary is here.
Look, I put up a “Christmas tree,” rather than a “holiday tree,” and I’m sure Mr. O’Reilly is right that political correctness leads to absurd contortions this time of year. But when you’ve seen what real war does, you don’t lightly use the word to describe disagreements about Christmas greetings. And does it really make sense to offer 58 segments on political correctness and zero on genocide?
Perhaps I’m particularly sensitive to religious hypocrites because I’ve spent a chunk of time abroad watching Muslim versions of Mr. O’Reilly - demagogic table-thumpers who exploit public religiosity as a cynical ploy to gain attention and money. And I always tell moderate Muslims that they need to stand up to blustery blowhards - so today, I’m taking my own advice.
Like the fundamentalist Islamic preachers, Mr. O’Reilly is a talented showman, and my sense is that his ranting is a calculated performance. The couple of times I’ve been on his show, he was mild mannered and amiable until the camera light went on - and then he burst into aggrieved indignation, because he knew it made good theater.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
(CNN) -- If the results of a recent poll pan out, voters will see two big names from the Big Apple on the ballot in November 2008.
Those names are Sen. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican.
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released Thursday indicated Clinton and Giuliani were the early favorites to win their respective party's nomination.
But those polled said they believe the former first lady would have a smoother path to the nomination than her GOP counterpart. . .Clinton snared the majority of the Democratic voters polled. And with more than two years before the primaries, she was ahead of her two nearest potential competitors by nearly 30 percentage points.
Giuliani, on the other hand, edged out Sen. John McCain of Arizona by only 8 percentage points, 30-22.
Another 18 percent of those polled selected Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, despite her repeated assertion that she has no plans to run.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
"We've sent a message to the world that the United States is not like the terrorists. We have no grief for them, but what we are is a nation that upholds values and standards of behavior and treatment of all people, no matter how evil or bad they are," McCain said. "I think that this will help us enormously in winning the war for the hearts and minds of people throughout the world in the war on terror."This is good policy and important to shore up our international support. It also another amazing political feat by John McCain. He is the right man for "The Job" when it is open in 2008. I have never been involved in campaigning of any sort but, if* McCain runs, I may break that streak.
* I don't think that there is any doubt that he intends to run right now, but a lot of things can happen in 2-3 years, particularly when you are in your 70s.
NEW YORK - Morgan Freeman says the concept of a month dedicated to black history is "ridiculous."
"You're going to relegate my history to a month?" the 68-year-old actor says in an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" to air Sunday (7 p.m. EST). "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history." . . .The actor says he believes the labels "black" and "white" are an obstacle to beating racism.
"I am going to stop calling you a white man and I'm going to ask you to stop calling me a black man," Freeman says.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Anyway, this chart explains what Iraq's new government will look like on New Year's Eve.
Enough about that. I need to go find out more about how Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq so that he could start a war in which we would never find WMDs because he just assumed that no one would notice.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
The "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."But wait.
Sounds to me like success may be more likely than ever right now, despite the gigantic screwups that have occurred along the way.
Dec. 12, 2005 — Surprising levels of optimism prevail in Iraq with living conditions improved, security more a national worry than a local one, and expectations for the future high. But views of the country's situation overall are far less positive, and there are vast differences in views among Iraqi groups — a study in contrasts between increasingly disaffected Sunni areas and vastly more positive Shiite and Kurdish provinces.An ABC News poll in Iraq, conducted with Time magazine and other media partners, includes some remarkable results: Despite the daily violence there, most living conditions are rated positively, seven in 10 Iraqis say their own lives are going well, and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve in the year ahead.
December 15 is going to be a very big day.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Last July, Thor got sick and we didn't know what was wrong for sure, but it seemed like he might die very quickly. He lasted 2 months. We soon started the search for a new puppy. My wife was very interested in a Whippet. My son wanted a Golden Retriever. In the end, there was no conflict because there was not a Whippet available within 500 miles, as far as we could tell. So we got Fenton, and he has been and will always be a great and obedient dog.
As I wrote here, our other dog, 10 year old Ramius, developed a lump on his chest just before Thanksgiving and was soon diagnosed with cancer. We were told that he would most likely live 1 to 2 weeks. The day after his diagnosis, a local Whippet breeder called and told us that a puppy had become available. He said the pick of his August litter, a dog he had selected specially for his aunt, had been returned because of a changed living circumstance for his aunt. Were we interested?
Feelings of fate overcame feelings of guilt of even considering a new dog just when Ramius needs more of our attention, and we went to see the puppy and her breeder on Thanksgiving morning. Named "Crimson" for her red coloring, she was so sweet and loving and, best of all, she went into a very calm mode within minutes of the arrival of 4 new people, including 2 children. She is just a few weeks younger than Fenton, and was born on the day before my daughter's birthday.
We decided that there was an element of fate that was too strong to ignore, but told the breeder that our major problem was that Ramius was sick and that we thought that he needed our attention right now. We thought that it might be unfair to Ramius to bring the second new center of attention in 2 months into the house just as he was going to start getting worse. He understood completely, and we agreed that we would wait 3 weeks to pick up the dog.
After Ramius made it through the first week of his death sentence in good shape, we decided to bring the Whippet home a week earlier than planned. We renamed her "Scarlett," and she immediately fit in perfectly. She plays rough with Fenton. She is generally very calm (when not playing with Fenton). She sits in the kids' laps. She is already sleeping through the night in my daughter's bed and they snuggle all night. And she loves Ramius.
As the pictures above indicate, Ramius has a new best friend. Rather than make his final days less pleasant (as we feared it might), it appears that the arrival of Scarlett was a very positive thing. Oh, and today marks the start of the fourth week since he was diagnosed. At this point, I'm going to predict that Ramius' new little angel is going to help him get through the end of the year.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
WASHINGTON - A 73-year-old man who received a $5 jaywalking ticket after he was struck by a car later died from his injuries, police said Monday. . .
Although witnesses said he was badly injured and unresponsive at the scene, police issued him the ticket. His family found it with his belongings when they went to the hospital.
Monday, December 05, 2005
I suspect that light blogging will continue this week as my thoughts are mostly elsewhere right now.