Sunday, September 30, 2007

Does Keith Emerson know about these knives?

How would these knives work on a B3 Hammond Organ?

Saying goodbye to a tree

A tree meets its end. Not just any tree, Robert Frost's tree in Derry, NH.
Derry – The crowd shouted "timber" yesterday as workers began taking down an old maple tree that sat at the Robert Frost Farm when the famed poet lived there.

It was a symbolic gesture, since the maple was not felled like any typical tree. Workers took their time cutting off its branches before spending hours removing the tree carefully to avoid damaging the wood, which will be distributed to artisans and crafters. Wood chips will be given to power plants.

Once the cutting was done, a stump was all that remained of the tree, and the farm's landscape looked markedly different. The tree had been visible to Route 28 commuters and was a favorite photo-op spot for visitors.

The rotting tree was removed after a ceremony, attended by nearly 100 people, during which several speakers read Frost poems. Laura Burnham, chairwoman of the farm's board of trustees, said the ceremony and enthusiastic crowd brightened an otherwise mournful occasion.

"Sometimes, everything just comes together perfectly," she said. "It was the best thing that could happen to a sad day."

Organizers began planning to remove the tree early this year, after Burnham noticed that a large section of it had fallen off. She contacted experts and learned that the whole tree would have to be taken down for safety reasons; the tree was close enough to Frost's former home that it might have caused the structure damage if it fell on its own.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Well this ought to have a few telephone lines burning up

Is the campaign trail wearing on John McCain? Or is he saying what the majority of Americans believe?
GOP presidential candidate John McCain says America is better off with a Christian President and he doesn't want a Muslim in the Oval Office.

"I admire the Islam. There's a lot of good principles in it," he said. "But I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles, personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith."

In a wide-ranging interview about religion and faith with the Web site Beliefnet, McCain said he wouldn't "rule out under any circumstance" someone who wasn't Christian, but said, "I just feel that that's an important part of our qualifications to lead."

A Mormon such as rival candidate Mitt Romney, he said, would be okay.

"The Mormon religion is a religion that I don't share, but I respect.

"More importantly, I've known so many people of the Mormon faith who have been so magnificent," he said.

McCain later clarified his remarks, saying, "I would vote for a Muslim if he or she was the candidate best able to lead the country and to defend our political values."

A Muslim rights group ripped the Arizona Republican's remarks.

"That kind of attitude goes against the American tradition of religious pluralism and inclusion," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

He urged McCain to "clarify his remarks" and "stress his acceptance of political candidates of any faith."

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, could not be reached for comment because its offices were closed for the Sukkoth holiday.

In the interview, the senator also said the "Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation."

There is no mention of God, Jesus or Christ in that entirely secular document.

Leave it to the Onion

Peel away a good laugh.
VATICAN CITY—In the first-ever union of the Word of God and the Synthesizer, the Catholic Church's College of Cardinals voted unanimously Monday to incorporate the lyrics of Yes into the New Testament.

The resulting new Bible, the Revised Standard YesScriptures, will replace the Jerusalem Bible of 1966 as the standard accepted record and vehicle of divine revelation.

"Let us rejoice in this momentous occasion," said Pope John Paul II in a special service at St. Peter's. "And let no man be unmoved, remembering the words of Jesus: 'In and around the lake, mountains come out of the sky, and they stand there.' Amen."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tune in...

It's Drew Carey!


Another one bites the dust

Progress.
U.S.-led forces have killed one of the most important leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq, a Tunisian believed connected to the kidnapping and killings last summer of American soldiers, a top commander said Friday.
And there's more:
Anderson said recent coalition operations also have helped cut in half the previous flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, which had been at about 60 to 80 a month.

He credited the work of the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement and U.S. teams.

Commanders have said previously that the increase in troops ordered by President Bush in January — and the increased operations that followed — have pushed militants into the remote parts of the north and south of the country. Additional operations have been going after those pockets of fighters.

"We're having great success in isolating these pockets," Anderson said.

"They are very broken up, very unable to mass, and conducting very isolated operations," he said. He could not estimate the number of foreign fighters in Iraq but said they commit over 80 percent of suicide bombings in the country.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rewriting history

When it comes to their own history, the British are proving they have no spine. As with most diversity mongers, the end game is collective and ethnic self-esteem. As one reviewer said "Retrofitting square history to fit the round peg of multiculturalism."
In George Orwell's classic novel, 1984, Inner Party member O'Brien tried to teach Winston Smith that the struggle to control history is over. It is what the Party says it is. Today the Daily Telegraph reminds us that this dictum is truer than ever.
Parts of British history need to be rewritten to emphasise the roles played by other races and religions like Muslims, a prominent race relations campaigner has said. Trevor Philips, the chairman of the new Commission for Equalities and Human Rights, said the history of Britain did not properly reflect the contribution of other cultures. ...

Mr Phillips said: "When we talk about the Armada, it was the Turks who saved us because they held up the Armada after a request from Elizabeth I. Let’s rewrite that, so we have an ideal that brings us together so that it can bind us together in stormy times ahead in the next century."
The past, present and future are all one place. In the inimitable words of George Orwell, "he who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future." And wouldn't you know, the screenwriters of Star Trek agree.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We must stop George Soros, hypocrite

George Soros doesn't practice what he preaches. Doesn't surprise us in the very least. Yet he calls his group the Institute for an Open Society.
On the political front, Soros has a great influence in a secretive organization called "Democracy Alliance" whose idea of democracy seems to be government controlled solely of Democrats.

"As with everything about the Democracy Alliance, the strangest aspect of this entire process was the incessant secrecy. Among the alliance's stated values was a commitment to political transparency — as long as it didn't apply to the alliance," wrote Matt Bai, describing how the alliance was formed in 2005, in his book "The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics."

Soros' "shaping public policies," as OSI calls it, is not illegal. But it's a problem for democracy because it drives issues with cash and then only lets the public know about it after it's old news.

That means the public makes decisions about issues without understanding the special agendas of groups behind them.

Without more transparency, it amounts to political manipulation. This leads to cynicism. As word of these short-term covert ops gets out, the public grows to distrust what it hears and tunes out.

The irony here is that Soros claims to be an advocate of an "open society." His OSI does just the legal minimum to disclose its activities. The public shouldn't have to wait until an annual report is out before the light is flipped on about the Open Society's political action.

She will do the right thing for the wrong reasons

The maturation process of Hillary Clinton has begun. She's shunning the netroots, a wise move. They are overwraught and overrated. She needs the vital center to win more than she needs the moonbats. Besides there's a war on terror to win.
In the first place, the netroots candidates are losing. In the various polls on the Daily Kos Web site, John Edwards, Barack Obama and even Al Gore crush Hillary Clinton, who limps in with 2 percent to 10 percent of the vote.

Moguls like David Geffen have fled for Obama. But the party as a whole is going the other way. Hillary Clinton has established a commanding lead.

Second, Clinton is drawing her support from the other demographic end of the party. As the journalist Ron Brownstein and others have noted, Democratic primary contests follow a general pattern. There are a few candidates who represent the affluent, educated intelligentsia (Eugene McCarthy, Bill Bradley) and they usually end up getting beaten by the candidate of the less educated, lower middle class.

That’s what’s happening again. Obama and Edwards get most of their support from the educated, affluent liberals. According to Gallup polls, Obama garners 33 percent support from Democratic college graduates, 28 percent from those with some college and only 19 percent with a high school degree or less. Hillary Clinton’s core support, on the other hand, comes from those with less education and less income — more Harry Truman than Howard Dean.

Third, Clinton has established this lead by repudiating the netroots theory of politics. As the journalist Matt Bai makes clear in his superb book, “The Argument,” the netroots emerged in part in rebellion against Clintonian politics. They wanted bold colors and slashing attacks. They didn’t want their politicians catering to what Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga of the Daily Kos calls “the mythical middle.”

But Clinton has relied on Mark Penn, the epitome of the sort of consultant the netroots reject, and Penn’s approach has been entirely vindicated by the results so far.

In a series of D.L.C. memos with titles like “The Decisive Center,” Penn has preached that while Republicans can win by appealing only to conservatives, Democrats must appeal to centrists as well as liberals. In his new book, “Microtrends,” he casts a caustic eye on the elites and mega-donors of both parties who are out of touch with average voter concerns.

Fourth, the netroots are losing the policy battles. As Matt Bai’s reporting also suggests, the netroots have not been able to turn their passion and animus into a positive policy agenda. Democratic domestic policy is now being driven by old Clinton hands like Gene Sperling and Bruce Reed.

And while Clinton may not go out of her way to offend the MoveOn types, on her TV rounds on Sunday she made it obvious that she’s not singing their tune.

On “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” Clinton could have vowed to vacate Iraq. Instead, she delivered hawkish mini-speeches that few Republicans would object to. She listed a series of threats and interests in the region and made it clear that she’d be willing to keep U.S. troops there to handle them.

The fact is, many Democratic politicians privately detest the netroots’ self-righteousness and bullying. They also know their party has a historic opportunity to pick up disaffected Republicans and moderates, so long as they don’t blow it by drifting into cuckoo land. They also know that a Democratic president is going to face challenges from Iran and elsewhere that are going to require hard-line, hawkish responses.
And of course there is this item.
President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president.

In an interview for the new book “The Evangelical President,” White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said Bush has “been urging candidates: ‘Don’t get yourself too locked in where you stand right now. If you end up sitting where I sit, things could change dramatically.’ ”

Bolten said Bush wants enough continuity in his Iraq policy that “even a Democratic president would be in a position to sustain a legitimate presence there.”

“Especially if it’s a Democrat,” the chief of staff told The Examiner in his West Wing office. “He wants to create the conditions where a Democrat not only will have the leeway, but the obligation to see it out.”

To that end, the president has been sending advice, mostly through aides, aimed at preventing an abrupt withdrawal from Iraq in the event of a Democratic victory in November 2008.

“It’s different being a candidate and being the president,” Bush said in an Oval Office interview. “No matter who the president is, no matter what party, when they sit here in the Oval Office and seriously consider the effect of a vacuum being created in the Middle East, particularly one trying to be created by al Qaeda, they will then begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy.”

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thank God for tabloids

Sums up the occasion. Question for the day: Why is Columbia University's commitment to free speech so selectively applied?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Just finished reading

Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres. I found the book excessively mediocre given the subject matter. In addition, I was put off by the author's attitude that equations trump experts and that intuition is a quaint sensibility. I wonder what the skeptical empiricist Nassim Nicholas Taleb would say about this book.

A brief for the robber barons

C.S. Lewis provides a veritable quote of the day from a discussion at Volokh Conspiracy arguing the role of clerics in economic debates.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
How true!

The Grey Lady - enabling MoveOn.org maggots

Surprise, surprise. Well let's assume that it was a honest mistake. It still doesn't look good.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sting Stung?

Punk versus Pretty Boy. Who's more authentic? Johnny Rotten or Sting? Mr. Lydon or Mr. Sommers?
Punk legend John Lydon has lashed out at Sting - calling The Police frontman a "soggy old dead carcass".

The Sex Pistol, also known as Johnny Rotten, poured scorn on the Eighties band's recent comeback.

Lydon, 51, was speaking as the Sex Pistols prepare for a one-off gig to mark the 30th anniversary of their album Never Mind The B*****ks.

The former punk rebel dismissed Sting as "Stink", saying: "That really is a reformation isn't it? But honestly that's like soggy old dead carcasses.

"You know listening to Stink try to squeak through Roxanne one more time, that's not fun.

"It's like letting air out of a balloon."

The once legendary hellraiser told Virgin Radio that drug-taking was "a bit old fart".

Of Amy Winehouse's and Pete Doherty's problems, he said: "You know you can use drugs for entertainment but you should be quiet about it. That shouldn't be your centre showpiece.

"There's not much going on in their head with them. They're not thinking. They're not doing this for the right reasons.

"They obviously don't enjoy what they're doing. And that's why you turn to drugs. And that's what happened with Sid Vicious, he wasn't happy about what he couldn't do."




Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pot meet Kettle

Hillary exposing herself as a partisan. Not a good strategy. Doesn't look presidential. The less than favorable comments following the story are not unexpected but perhaps well-deserved.

Howie Carr on hold?

Boston Radio Watch has the latest on Howie Carr's move to WTKK-FM 96.9. It's not going to be tomorrow.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What will the Federal Reserve Bank do?

I was listening to Bob Brinker the other day imploring the Fed to cut rates on Tuesday to the tune of 50 basis points. Bob says inflation isn't a really a concern. Arguing for keeping the current rateintact, Brian Wesbury says it will be. A cut in the federal funds rate would be troubling.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wishful thinking

Oh no, liberals really aren't smarter than conservatives. The reality-based community would love this to be true but Bill Saletan disabuses their pretensions handily.

Metaphors may crush you

Doc Searls doesn't understand creative destruction. Russ Nelson takes up his metaphor. Russ understands creative destruction.

The end of the Bush presidency

Et tu Alan? Greenspan disses the Bush tax cuts. The strong economy, in spite of 9/11, speaks for itself but this is ammunition for the Democrats.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Today's Poem: Walt Whitman's "An Ended Day"

Ending my day with Rush's "La Villa Strangiato" on the Media Player and a poem at random from Leaves of Grass which by chance contained the word "rush."
An Ended Day
The soothing sanity and blitheness of completion,
The pomp and hurried contest-glare and rush are done;
No triumph! transformation! jubilate!
There is always a little magic in the day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'd still like to learn Latin

Latin may be impractical compared to learning Chinese. And its supporters may constitute a special interest group that knows how best to pluck resources from the busy majority. But I'd still love to learn Latin. You have to hand it to Tim Harford, the Undercover Economist for explaining the predicament...well very much like an economist.
You correctly observe that Chinese would serve just as well as mental exercise, and conveys the additional advantage of being able to talk to people other than the Pope. The technical term for this is that learning Latin is a “weakly dominated” strategy: it is never superior to learning Chinese, and sometimes inferior.

Unfortunately, you are up against politics here. Public-choice theory suggests that a small group with much to gain from a policy will tend to prevail against a large group who stand to each lose a small amount. The small group knows the stakes and is better organised - which is why we have trade tariffs, which help a small number of people while imposing poorly understood costs on a diffuse majority.

The resilency of the American spirit

AQ sought to bring down the American economy. In the end the catastrophe wasn't economic.
Six years ago, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda weren't just attempting to bring down the twin towers of the World Trade Center. They were trying to smash the American economy as well. Here is what bin Laden himself said about his goals and motivations back in December 2001: "If their economy is destroyed, they will be busy with their own affairs rather than enslaving the weak peoples. It is very important to concentrate on hitting the U.S. economy through all possible means." And here is what al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri said in September 2002: "We will also aim to continue, by the permission of Allah, the destruction of the American economy."

No luck so far, despite bin Laden's recent videotape ravings about our taxes and mortgage debt. Although the towers came down, the resilient American economy didn't. Since September 11, the economy hasn't suffered a single down quarter. In fact, it has notched 23 straight quarters of economic growth. (And despite the subprime mortgage crisis, this is likely to be the 24th straight quarter of growth.) Those numbers are especially amazing when you consider that when the terrorist attacks happened, the Internet stock bubble was in full implosion mode. The economy dipped in the third quarter of 2001 and was slightly negative in two of the previous four quarters. But it's been nothing but growth since then. Overall, the American economy is, adjusting for inflation, $1.65 trillion bigger than it was six years ago. To put that gigantic number in some perspective, the U.S. economy has added the equivalent of five Saudi Arabias, eight Irans, 13 Pakistans, or 15 Egypts, depending on your preference. And while 9/11 did cause the stock market to plunge, the Dow is 37 percent higher than it was on Sept. 10, 2001, creating trillions of dollars of new wealth for Americans. What's more, the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent today vs. 5.7 percent back then. Not bad at all.

MoveOn maggots

MoveOn.org never had any decency. So it's pretty futile to ask if they had a shred. But Peter Feaver in today's Boston Globe chops the netroots down to size. They are a pathetic lot.
It is not legitimate, however, and it is exceedingly corrosive of healthy civil-military relations to question the general's patriotism when his views differ from yours and are inconvenient for one's political agenda.

This is a defining moment for the antiwar faction. They can continue on the path on to which they have veered, repeating some of the worst mistakes in American history. Or they can make a clean break with the past, police their own ranks, and promote a healthy, critical, public debate about the best way forward in Iraq.

Notes on the 'libertarian west'

Libertarians, small and big, are stuck with mixed bags. No politician electable in all of the 50 states, can measure up. The best an analyst can do is size up proclivities. Maybe the leave-us -lone contingent can move the culture. But politics might not be the avenue; federalism just might be.
Back in the real world, the West's libertarian leanings should remind us of the virtues of federalism. If Idaho and New Mexico could set their own rules about land use and marijuana without Washington interfering, they wouldn't become Hayekian utopias, but they would become much freer than they are today. That's valuable whether or not they also serve as swing votes.

But federalism only takes us so far. Foreign policy is set in Washington, not the states, and the same goes for the powers of the national executive branch. When Larry Craig criticizes the PATRIOT Act and Bill Richardson denounces the Iraq War, they may speak for much or most of their region, but that region can't set policy on its own. What it can do is produce politicians who, for all their flaws and inconsistencies, still speak the language of liberty more adeptly then the mad power-grabbers and mealy-mouthed accommodationists who dominate their parties.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Are the Pats cheats?

This would be awful if proven true.
NFL security confiscated a video camera and its tape from a New England Patriots employee on the team's sideline during Sunday's game against the Jets in a suspected spying incident, sources said.

The camera and its tape were placed in a sealed box and forwarded to the league office for investigation, the sources said.

"The rule is that no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game," the league said in a statement from spokesman Greg Aiello. "Clubs have specifically been reminded in the past that the videotaping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals on the sidelines is prohibited.

"We are looking into whether the Patriots violated this rule."

The Patriots' cameraman was suspected of aiming his camera at the Jets' defensive coaches who were sending signals to their unit on the field, the sources said. The league also is investigating some radio frequency issues that occurred during the game.

The league's competition committee could conduct a conference call about the incident, which violates NFL policy, and ultimately recommend a penalty that could cost the Patriots a future draft pick or picks if it verifies that the team was spying on the Jets


Update: The news isn't good. NFL takes the Pats to the woodshed.

George Soros exposed

George Soros no one would pay any attention to him if he weren't a billionaire with intellectual pretensions.
It appears that lurking in the political shadows with billionaire philanthropist and Democratic financier George Soros is a tar pit of old-fashioned sleaze. It’s hard to conclude otherwise in view of two recent election fraud verdicts against political activist groups heavily financed by Soros.

In the first verdict, the Federal Election Commission handed Americans Coming Together the third-largest fine ever levied by the agency. The $775,000 fine against ACT followed an FEC investigation that found the group, which was organized for the 2004 campaign with substantial funding and active encouragement from Soros, spent $70 million of its $137 million budget on “clearly identified federal candidates in a manner that could only be paid for with federal funds.” ACT claimed it spent the money on voter registration drives. The FEC concluded ACT illegally spent the $70 million to support Democratic candidates. A $775,000 fine for a $70 million crime seems a mere pittance, but that’s an issue for another day.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Is the personal savings rate that important

Some economists worry about the nation's personal savings rate. However, others suggest there may be more to savings, properly understood, than we've been told.
Many of the obvious concerns about the negative personal saving rate may be unfounded. The negative value could be attributable to preliminary data, which the BEA could very well revise upward; a temporary depressing effect brought on by higher energy costs; and a dampening effect owing to the surge in corporate share repurchases. Looking at the private sector on a consolidated basis, we find that saving, while quite low, is certainly neither negative nor remarkably lower than it was in the late 1990s. National saving as a whole has also been low, but it has not fallen recently—indeed, the broadest measure has edged up.

Despite the low personal saving rate, aggregate household wealth has risen sharply in the past few years. U.S. households would not be a lot wealthier today—and thus better able to cope with a decline in asset values—if they had been saving at a substantially higher pace over the past few years. Furthermore, we uncover no strong evidence to suggest that low personal saving today would be associated with lower spending growth tomorrow.

Nevertheless, there are reasons to be concerned about the modest levels of household, private, and especially national saving. National saving flows provide the basic wherewithal to finance U.S. ownership of productive assets. Unless the nation’s investments are unusually productive, low saving levels will ultimately imply a slowdown in the growth of income from capital, and thus work to reduce the quality of U.S. living standards over the long run. Households might then be faced with a painful choice: Respond to slower income growth by accepting slower consumption growth than has been the historical norm—or continue normal consumption growth, which could put additional downward pressure on saving and thus jeopardize income and spending even further into the future.

"The world without us"

Thinking the unthinkable leaves us thinking that we humans are more than parasitic bacteria destroying resources. We are stewards of our environment. I wonder, however, if this is the message that Alan Weisman is proffering. Either way the thesis is fascinating. Check out the animation.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The voice is still

Pavarotti is dead. Long sing Luciano!
ROME (AP) - Luciano Pavarotti, opera's biggest superstar of the late 20th century, died Thursday. He was 71. He was the son of a singing baker and became the king of the high C's.

Pavarotti, who had been diagnosed last year with pancreatic cancer and underwent treatment last month, died at his home in his native Modena at 5 a.m., his manager told The Associated Press in an e-mailed statement.

His wife, Nicoletta, four daughters and sister were among family and friends at his side, manager Terri Robson said.

"The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer," Robson said. "In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness."

Pavarotti's charismatic personna and ebullient showmanship - but most of all his creamy and powerful voice - made him the most beloved and celebrated tenor since the great Caruso and one of the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar.

"He has been, of course, one of the greatest tenors ever, one of the most important singers in the history of opera," colleague Jose Carreras told reporters in Germany. "We all hoped for a miracle ... but unfortunately that was not possible, and now we have to regret that we lost a wonderful singer and a great man."
As I prepared dinner this evening, I decided to play Verdi's Requiem in memory of the great singer. I let the Germans led by Herbert Von Karajan handle it. Pavarotti's good friend, Mirella Fireni is the soprano. Beautiful!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Holy Cow!

"I hereby call for a windfall profits tax on dairy producers, or at least those who received federal subsidies. It's time for them to pay that money back to the taxpayers."

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Don't look now but Bush is looking like a winner

There's a problem when you talk a tough game like last year's Democrats who were willing to "change course" on Iraq (read: cut and run). Apparently most Americans felt that way too. But when you don't walk the walk and talk the talk, then the embattled Nixon-like Bush can think to himself: "Go ahead, make my day." Bush, a lame duck, has nothing to lose. Having capitulated to the President on the war and the wiretapping bill, the Democrats have no credibility. It's no wonder why this Democrat-led Congress is rated more poorly than the inept Republican one before it.
Today, the United States has 30,000 more troops in Iraq than on the day America repudiated the Bush war policy and voted the GOP out of power. And President Bush, self-confidence surging, is now employing against Iran a bellicosity redolent of the days just prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

What gives Bush his new cockiness? The total collapse of the antiwar coalition on Capitol Hill and the breaking of the Congress.

Last spring, Bush vetoed the congressional deadlines for troop withdrawals, then rubbed Congress' nose in its defeat by demanding and getting $100 billion to support the surge and continue the war.

Before the August recess, Democrats broke again and voted to give Bush the warrantless wiretap authority many among them had said was an unconstitutional and impeachable usurpation of power. They are a broken and frightened lot.

Comes now evidence congressional Democrats have not only lost the pro-victory vote, but forfeited the peace vote, as well.

According to a Zogby poll the last week in August, just two weeks before Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker report, Americans, by 45 percent to 20 percent, give this Democratic Congress lower grades on handling the war than the Republican Congress it replaced.

Fifty-four percent of the nation believes, contra Harry Reid, the war is not lost. That is twice the support that Bush enjoys for his war leadership, a paltry 27 percent. But, by nine to one, Bush's leadership on the war is preferred to that of the Congress of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.

Incredibly, only 3 percent of the nation gives Congress a positive rating on its handling of the war. Congress has lost the hawks, and the owls, and the doves. No one trusts its leadership on the war.

And George W. smells it. He no longer fears the power of Congress, and his rhetoric suggests he is contemptuous of it. He is brimming with self-assurance that he can break any Democratic attempt to impose deadlines for troop withdrawal and force Congress to cough up all the funds he demands.
The fortunes of Shrub: blessed by his pathetic political enemies: The Democrats.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Jon Keller has a book out

I can't wait to read it. Blue Mass Group, the liberal blog, isn't happy with the book. But former Herald editorial writer Guy Darst praises the book in the WSJ.

This will drive the netroots nuts

Even nuttier than they are.

Karl Rove, walking away very much unlike a frog, waiting for history's verdict.
The Washington Post scorned President Truman as a “spoilsman” who “underestimated the people’s intelligence.” New York Times columnist James Reston wrote off President Eisenhower as “a tired man in a period of turbulence.” At the end of President Reagan’s second term, the New York Times dismissed him as “simplistic” and a “lazy and inattentive man.”

These harsh judgments, made in the moment, have not weathered well over time. Fortunately, while contemporary observers have a habit of getting presidents wrong, history tends to be more accurate.

So how might history view the 43rd president? I can hardly be considered an objective observer, but in this highly polarized period, who is?

However, I believe history will provide a more clear-eyed verdict on this president’s leadership than the anger of current critics would suggest.

President Bush will be viewed as a far-sighted leader who confronted the key test of the 21st century.
Will Rove be correct? It depends on how much the metrics change for the first wartime President in the internet age.

Thumbs down

The Boston Herald's new web site debuts today and I don't like it. Might I say that it's a bit too tabloid for the Herald?