Tuesday, February 28, 2006

If Bush's Approval Percentage Were a Stock Price

Only because he was chasing a girl who worked there, the Slangwhanger-in-Chief once spent a year as an interviewer on an economic research project in Texas. Although a confirmed artsie, subspecies English major, to him the process of finding out what and where small businesses and large bought and sold their inputs and outputs was a sufficient diversion for a while. Driving around east central Texas in a convertible didn't hurt none, neither. Only regret: didn't get to interview, or sample, at the Shiner brewery outside San Antonio. (Girl later became a lawyer. No regrets about missing that, though she was the first woman ths S-i-C ever proposed to while drunk. But not the last.)

In any case, at one time the S-i-C knew a number of economists. Now, alas for him though possibly not for them, they are all safely dead. He must therefore ask in public what once he could have sought in private: how would a genuine numbercrunching chartwatching economist or stock maven interpret the graph of Preznit Bush's precipitious popularity fall?

Of course no one would buy any stock in the thing. But how soon would you expect it to crater so far as to require becoming delisted from the exchange?

Simple straight-line projection seems to show him hitting Nixon territory (28% approval) sometime before the Vernal Equinox of 2006. (The first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox is always Easter -- except in Orthodox countries, some of which have been known to have two Easters in certain years. Western Christianity celebrates Easter on April 18 this cycle. The Preznit looks like he will have to be doing a lot more praying by then than he has yet; either that, or change what he is praying for to something actually attainable in this world.)

The adequate replacements for Ana Marie Cox at Wonkette have a great headline for this graph: Majority of Americans Hate America. Channelling Faux News pretty good, they are. The NY Times-generated graph appears to show that he will hit 15% approval about in time for the 2008 Presidential elections.
Certainly this Preznit will spend most of his last two years in office as the Most Unpopular President Since Martin VanBuren. It would be nice to remember which of the S-i-C's more prescient friends predicted, before the 2000 elections, that the Untreated Alcoholic Attention-Deficit Candidate could well be the end of the Republican Party...

Friday, February 24, 2006

DeLay Trails Opponent in Campaign Funds
Disgraced feral beast Rep. Tom DeLay is behind his likely Democratic opponent, Blue Dog former Rep. Nick Lampson, in funds raised in the first 45 days of 2006, as well as in funds on hand.

The cratering of DeLay's support, despite his defiant stance, has been reluctantly enumerated in the Houston Chronicle, which (despite all evidence stretching back to where the mind of man runneth not to the contrary) DeLay's more rabid supporters insist on calling part of the liberal media.

When Republicans start sitting on their wallets instead of supporting one of their most faithful watercarriers, you know that arrogance and criminality have finally taken their toll. It's not so much that Lampson's raising a lot, though he is, it's that DeLay's only raising a little. Though that could change if the Hammer starts hitting up the myriad people who owe him,there's no question the Republicans are unfavorably surprised by DeLay's puny results.

In a copyrighted story on Friday, Feb. 24, 2006, Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau reporter Samantha Levine reports:
Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, trailed his Democratic opponent, former Rep. Nick Lampson, in fundraising and cash in the bank, according to new financial reports that covered the first six weeks of the year.

DeLay, who faces three contenders in the March 7 Republican primary for the 22nd Congressional District, said he raised $154,712 and spent $304,795 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15, the time span covered in the pre-primary filings required of candidates. The lawmaker reported having about $1.3 million in the bank.

Lampson, who is running unopposed in the Democratic Primary, reported having raised $250,970 in the same time frame and having spent $125,027. He said he has more than $1.4 million in cash on hand.

According to his report, DeLay's largest expenditure -- $110,000 -- went towards paying Richard Cullen, the attorney representing DeLay in the investigation of an influence-peddling scandal involving indicted former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

DeLay will not resign his seat even if he is indicted, but a federal indictment would kick him off the ballot. If that glorious day should ever dawn, independent ex-Rep. Steve Stockman and the second-place Republican primary finisher, probably former NOAA Counsel Tom Campbell, would duke it out for the conservative vote in the fall.

With Lampson already leading in cash on hand, and no real possibility of good news for DeLay, Stockman's fortuitous entry as an independent may well guarantee this seat (TX-22) as a Dem pickup.

Stockman is the loon who, you may remember, during his one term received a fax predicting the Oklahoma City rightwing bombing from some militia type. After the bombing, a staffer found the fax and didn't turn it over to the FBI, but to the NRA. Though not personally implicated in that piece of idiocy, Stockman certainly created the climate in which it could flourish. During his malodorous and ineffective House tenure he was also dinged three times for campaign violations and fined $40,000.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Shot, Ensuite

The Carlyle Group is what the Trilateral Commission always wanted to be when it grew up.

On responsible governance the Republican Party has adopted the Vatican policy toward premarital sex: complete, rigid abstinence.

You know Enron's Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling are in trouble when their lawyers object to a randomly-chosen jury as being inherently unfair.

Bush Minor's oil cronies know he's lying when he says he'll do something about America's oil addiction, so why doesn't everybody else?

It may be that not having any backbone is the best thing Congressional Democrats have going for them. Let the Rethugs present all the targets and let the Dems lay back in the tall weeds. It could be that the merest appearance of governmental competence and interest by the Dems will be sufficient to change the House and Senate in 2006. But more probably it is as Damon Runyon observed, "All life is six to five against."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Democratic Reconstitutionalization

Every year a junior Senator is told off to read George Washington’s Farewell Address on President’s Day. The Senate chamber is customarily empty for the exercise. This year, the words rang with a certain heavy relevance.

It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

Wow! What fighting populist rhetoric from a stiff-necked American aristo!

Them ol’ Constitutional-type goats was pretty skeered of another King. But they didn't like legislative supremacy either. They'd seen Britain and the Colonies live through both imbalances in the hundred years previous to our revolution, what with Charlie the Once getting beheaded and then the Cromwealth afterwards. So they thought about this separation of powers stuff a lot more than our generation does.

Now the Dems have a chance to do unto the Republicans what the Rethugs have long done to them: solemnly admonish them, saying piously, "We only want to return to the way the American people have been used to being governed. We're not radicals, not even reformers, we just need to go back to the regular way after all the weird, deranged, sick innovations with which you Rethugs tried to justify your lying, spying, torture and corruption." (Sad wagging of head, a la the faux-folksy style of Reagan the Great Prevaricator.)

And absolutely every Dem running for House or Senate in 2006 ought to be practicing that stance in front of a mirror.

The sharp-edged Meteor Blades brings up Eisenhower's farewell address, wishing a Senator would read it aloud on the floor once a week. Noble thought.

Eisenhower's speech was written by Norman Sherman, a Minnesotan. Here's what another Minnesotan, the late Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy, had to say about Presidential Farewell Addresses on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1996.

I've looked at farewell addresses. There's only two that get much attention. They haven't really had much impact.

One was George Washington's. He warned us against factions, and the development of political parties. And he was supported by John Adams, who said that the worst thing we could have under our constitution was to have two strong political parties controlling our politics. And two hundred years later, in '74-'75, why, we formalized what Adams said was the worst thing we could have, by legalizing the Republican party and the Democratic party in the federal election law.

The second farewell address to receive attention was Eisenhower's. That was when he warned us of the existence of the military-industrial complex. He didn't tell us that it was developed while he was president. If he'd have given it in his Inaugural Address - if he'd quoted deTocqueville and said, "What we've got to look out for is the development of a military-industrial complex," it would have been a great speech. But to come on when he was leaving and to say, "I just want you to know what we've left you, and you'd better beware of it ..."

And we are aware of it, but it's almost too late do anything about it. We'd cut the defense budget to fifteen billion dollars in 1950-51, before the Korean War. During the war it went up to forty [billion] and it never came down. Fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, a hundred, two hundred, three hundred billion dollars a year, and it was built into the system in the roughly eight years of the Eisenhower presidency. So, no farewell address, just to remind you of how inappropriate they are.

The full text of McCarthy's remarks is at the Progressive Populist's site.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Target Recognition Poster

Harried securocrats, alarmed by one more threat, are putting up the below remedial education poster in the Old Executive Office Building where the shotgun-wielding, NRA-rule-breaking VP Dick "Lying Sack of Excrement" Cheney has offices. Also it is to be posted in the VP's official residence on Massachusetts Ave NW, and, of course, in a secret location. (Thanks to the new Wonkettes for image.)

What the Slangwhanger-in-Chief heard is that Cheney's already invited Bush along for the next hunt. And Patrick Fitzgerald for the one after that. (Gotta do this stuff in the right order, as anyone who's ever seen The Wrong Box might know...)

Loved the quote from the landowner: "We've all been peppered [with shot] a little bit in our lives." The admission by a millionairess gunowner of the inherent unsafety of firearms is astonishing in its casualness, as well as its divorce from any notion that public health and safety policy changes might have once again been proved to be in order on this front. Shooting black people, at least historical even if indefensible. But millionaires!?! That's an issue!

UPDATE: Wildly associative Houston Chronicle blogista MeMo secures an interview with the quail in question. And my friendly, local, not-yet-sober, one-eyed Texican reporter friend remarks, "As Robert C. Ruark used to say, 'Always use enough gun.' What was that thing Cheney had, a .410? I usually hunted birds with a 12-gauge. If I'd have shot a lawyer, he'd be dead." I'm amused he noted the victim was a lawyer, whereas I just saw he's a millionaire without caring for the manner of his enrichment.

UP-UPDATE: Tom Toles can't be beat. Ever.

UP-UP-UPDATE: All the late-night comedian jokes are collected here. A sample:

"He is a lawyer and he got shot in the face. But he's a lawyer, he can use his other face. He'll be all right." --Craig Ferguson

"But all kidding aside, and in fairness to Dick Cheney, every five years he has to shed innocent blood or he violates his deal with the devil." --Jimmy Kimmel

"Now, this story certainly has its humorous aspects. ... But it also raises a serious issue, one which I feel very strongly about. ... moms, dads, if you're watching right now, I can't emphasize this enough: Do not let your kids go on hunting trips with the vice president. I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land, or energy regulations they're trying to get lifted -- it's just not worth it." --Jon Stewart

"The Vice President is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Whittington. Now, according to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush. And while the quail turned out to be a 78- year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Wittington's face." --"Daily Show" correspondent Rob Corddry

LAST UPDATE A demonstration of how disciplined the Administration is at staying on message, regardless of the underlying reality, arrived via my cuzzin the Texican videographer from the the internet, Gawd bless it.

Believed Shooting Victim Was Zawahiri, Veep Says

Vice President Dick Cheney revealed today that he shot a fellow hunter while on a quail hunting trip over the weekend because he believed the man was the fugitive terror mastermind Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Mr. Cheney acknowledged that the man he sprayed with pellets on Saturday was not al-Zawahiri but rather Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old millionaire lawyer from Austin, blaming the mix-up on "faulty ntelligence."

"I believed I had credible intelligence that al-Zawahiri had infiltrated my hunting party in disguise with the intent of spraying me with pellets," Mr. Cheney told reporters. "Only after I shot Harry in the face and he shouted 'Cheney, you bastard' did I realize that this intelligence was faulty."

Moments after Mr. Cheney's assault on Mr. Whittington, Mr. al-Zawahiri appeared in a new videotape broadcast on al-Jazeera to announce that he was uninjured in the vice president's attack because, in his words, "I was in Pakistan."

An aide to the vice president said he believed that the American people would believe Mr. Cheney's version of events, but added, "If he was going to shoot any of his cronies right now it's a shame it wasn't Jack Abramoff."

At the White House, President George W. Bush defended his vice president's shooting of a fellow hunter, saying that the attack sent "a strong message to terrorists everywhere."

"The message is, if Dick Cheney is willing to shoot an innocent American citizen at point-blank range, imagine what he'll do to you," Mr. Bush said.

Elsewhere, aviator Steve Fossett completed his three-day journey around the globe, setting a world record for wasting both time and money.

POSITIVELY LAST UPDATE: Don Asmussen's Bad Reporter notes the corporate multimillionaire "liberal media's" failures in covering this momentous story fairly, honestly, or in an unbiassed manner that lets you decide.

ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY LAST UPDATE: Steve Martin at Huffington Post is priceless, incomparable, dead-on, wonderful and has great hair.

''Vice President Dick Cheney, while hunting wild geese in the Rose Garden, accidentally shot President Bush twice, once in the heart and once in the head. 'I didn't really shoot the President twice,' said Cheney. 'The second time I shot him, I was president.'''

Sunday, February 12, 2006

post and abramoff again

jim brady, editor
washington post .com

dear sir:

defending incompetence with arrogance is never successful. stop trying.

the post has got, is getting, and will apparently continue to get it wrong. no abramoff money went to democrats. pretty clear. tribe money went to democrats. pretty clear, too. less tribe money went to democrats under abramoff than before. indisputable.

so take the punishment from upper bloggovia like a man. get the story right in the first place, you won't have to take it. correct it if you're wrong, you won't have to take it. pretend you never made a mistake, you're doomed. pretty simple.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

American War Criminals

In a gesture of sanity, an international tribune of respectably-occupied people has come to the not-unstartling conclusion that the policy of the United States in Iraq violates international law, moral decency, and humane standards. Similar to the Russell Tribunal on the Vietnam war held in Sweden, the reminder that the US acts in accordance with a war-based industrial, agricultural, ecological and social economic system best known as "empire" should come as no surprise. Yet as the site points out, you won't find out about it on CNN.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The John Paul I/Neves/Casey Scenario

The Slangwhanger-in-Chief, presumably for his sins, has recently endured a hectic work schedule that has meanly curtailed his presence here in Scenic Lower Bloggovia. However, the light is where? At the end of the tunnel. And it has done what? Broken on a new day. And how lieved are we? Re.

Never a man to fear to tread where angels won't even crawl, the S-i-C is happy to present a bit of history wrapped around a supposition, and to then infundibulate that tasty little theoretico-historico bagel-dog into a fully-cooked speculation. Oughtta prove nutritious enough to base a little aleatory action on.

To kick it off, here's a bit of the wikipedia article on Pope John Paul I, a humble pastor who was neither a diplomat nor a Curialist, and who perished after a 33-day Pontificate in 1978.

Even those who believe that John Paul I died naturally admit that the Vatican in its handling of the death behaved with at best scant regard for the truth or accuracy. For others, the suspicion remains that the 'smiling pope', who charmed the world, died in a highly suspicious manner that has yet to be explained adequately.

Then there was the strange case of Tancredo Neves. Who? First civilian president of Brazil under the new dispensation. Died before assuming office. Deal was like this.

On January 15, 1985 Tancredo Neves was elected to the Presidency by a majority of the members of Congress. However, just one day before he was scheduled to take the oath of office (March 15, 1985), Neves became severely ill. He suffered from abdominal complications and developed generalized infections. After seven operations, Tancredo Neves died on April 21, 1985. He was succeeded by José Sarney.

Eerie, huh? Wait, there's more.

Remember one William J. Casey, a cold warrior, assassination-orderer whose 1987 brain-cancer death conveniently spared the Reagan Administration much embarrassing Iran-Contra scandal testimony?

Often misattributed to Ian Fleming, the old Royal Naval Intelligence axiom is, "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. But three times is enemy action." In this case, not an external enemy, but that oldest imperial enemy, history itself, is involved.

You already saw where this is going, right? Saw it coming a long way away. Here's the incomparable investigator Murray Waas on Scooter Libby's legal gyrations:

First, [Libby's claim of acting on direct authorization] significantly adds to a mounting body of information that [Vice President Dick "Lying Sack of Excrement"] Cheney played a central and personal role in directing efforts to counter claims by Wilson and other administration critics that the Bush administration had misused intelligence information to go to war with Iraq.

As the Administration's sad and sorry edifice of lying, spying, torture and corruption disintegrates, Cheney is everywhere to be found actually in charge or deeply involved. Driver of the neo-con Israeli branch of the securocrats, Cheney personally wove the greater lies about Iraq and clings to their threadbare texture to this day. He has also insisted on unlimited Presidential power to warrantlessly wiretap whomever whenever. He is the Administration's key torture defender, if not outright instigator. And the Administration's corruption was signalled by his assembling of energy company executives such as the Enron-disgraced Ken Lay to formulate the country's energy policy. Every evil done by this Administration has Cheney's DNA all over it.

And many of us think he might soon be volunteered to "take one for the team," to use a particularly loathsome sports metaphor. The S-i-C is contacting one of the offshore betting sites to see if they will put up an over/under number on days until Cheney is "suddenly stricken." (Personal bet: this summer, so that new-Veep-hoopla distracts from Abramoff-related trials.) The S-i-C is grimly heartened at the possibilities when recalling the seven operations endured by Tancredo Neves, and he hopes that Generalissimo Francisco Franco's medical team can be flown over from Spain to prolong Cheney in a Schiavo-like condition for, oh, say, many, many years.