Friday, July 26, 2002

I made a comment over at Atrios' treehouse that there would be some hyperventilation over at the narcissistic AndyLand over Krugman's citing of him in today's Times column.

Not yet. Just a lot of pouting about how fact-checking is just so hard (after Smokin' Joe nailed him, natch). Yeah, nothing nefarious about not bothering to acknowledge a clean-up of a complete cock-up.


Right after I say that the Democratic Party should be fighting tooth and nail against the creeping Royalism of the Bush administration, they offer to build his throne.

An extremely abbreviated history of "fast track" trade negotiation: The ability for the POTUS to negotiate trade agreements without Congress changing it started during the Nixon administration. "Fast track" then lapsed in 1994, and the newly elected Gingrich Congress didn't want to give that authority to Clinton. This was actually the right decision, as the Constitution specifically authorizes Congress to make trade agreements (Article I, section 8, paragraph 3). (on edit: Fritz Hollings pointed this tiny detail out in Senate debate on this.) The Founding Fathers believed that such an enormous responsibility should not be in the hands of one person. But like many things lately, Congress willingly handed over this power to the Executives.

But let's ignore that 'fast track' is unconstitutional as hell. Let's go back over that history. Fast track under Nixon through Carter - decade of stagflation. Fast track during the Reagan years - improved market at a price of huge debt. Fast track disappears under Clinton - extremely long bull market, debt actually is reduced. And this was with GATT and NAFTA screwing up the works.

[raises hand] Hello! Correlation! Maybe giving the President trade authority is also a crummy idea on the merits, along with giving the President more royal powers than is prescribed.

Scoobie Davis as a guest writer at HorowitzWatch came up with a contest. Since Horowitz wished that Johnny Taliban were simply shot for treason, while conveniently forgetting how he alerted the Soviets to the US breaking their code back in his lefty bed-wetting days, write into therightsentence@hotmail.com for the sentence Horowitz should receive for his perfidy. One warning: capital punishment is not an option, so you'll need to be imaginative.

He's got prizes. Real ones, even.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Trying to include a comment section that even knuckleheads like me can use...

New Howler update. And early, too.

Aside from the usual Coulter fact-checking, which can theoretically go on forever, the Howler prints an exchange on Crossfire between Begala and Carlson about the now-lack-of-investigation into Bob Torricelli. In the exchange, Begala referred to Torricelli not once, not twice, but four times as "cleared" by the US attorney because there was nothing prosecutable. Well, Dr. Squid knows what Bob's getting at, and I suspect Bob would like a bit o' consistency out of those who say that Bush hasn't been cleared over Harken when SEC civil service investigators found nothing of substance there.

Well I, here in puffed-up pompous ass mode, will be consistent. Begala's right on the merits about the Torch, and so is the Howler about Shrub. Nyaah.

Jim Traficant says, "You'll never kick me out. Gimme $800." Meanwhile, the House voted 420-1 to expel Rep. Weedwacker. And who was that one vote to keep him? Why, Gary Condit, of course.

(insert snorting laughter here)

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

The Daily Howler while spending some time trying to debunk some of the mythology surrounding Harken, has devoted much of its time to fact-checking Ann Coulter's pitiful little volume. If Bob tries to fact-check the whole thing the way he's going so far, it'll take him another eight months or so, as he can just open to any random page and find a new column to write. So I request, Bob, sooner or later, stop the madness.

But while he's there, I'll comment on his latest bit, which was on the last page of Slander. It covered the death of auto racing legend Dale Earnhardt, and how Coulter claimed that the liberal elitists at the New York Times was trashing all those Southerners. (Never mind her obvious lie that the Times didn't bother to cover it for three days.) Witness:

Demonstrating the left’s renowned populist touch, the article began, “His death brought a silence to the Wal-Mart.” The Times went on to report that in vast swaths of the country people watch stock-car racing. Tacky people were mourning Dale Earnhardt all over the South!

Well, you can get the rest of the story that the Times writer (Rick Bragg) is originally from Alabama, and his main ambition is to write about the area where he was raised. But there's an obvious conclusion that the Howler is too polite to make: Ann Coulter believes that Southerners are tacky people. Why? Well, it's quite clear from Bragg's piece that he didn't associate "Wal-Mart" with "tacky". But that particular association had to come from somewhere, and it could only come from the wacky brain of Coulter, the Connecticut cultural elitist herself.

Fortunately for her, this unintentional descent into hilarious self-parody that is Slander ended there.

Yesterday's edition of Bartcop included a line from Bill Maher's standup at Montreal's annual Just For Laughs fest. Unfortunately, he was given a bum URL, so here it is.

The line?

It bugs me to see Bush, tacking on another agenda to the war on terrorism by saying 'Drugs fund terrorism.' Trust me. SUVs fund terrorism.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

If people like Andrew Sullivan are going to openly disdain mere academics such as Paul Krugman, would they listen to someone worth a few billion, even if he says what they don't want to hear?

What would Joe Lieberman, fighting to keep corporations from counting stock options as costs, say about Warren Buffett saying this?

Without blushing, almost all C.E.O.'s have told their shareholders that options are cost-free.

For these C.E.O.'s I have a proposition: Berkshire Hathaway will sell you insurance, carpeting or any of our other products in exchange for options identical to those you grant yourselves. It'll all be cash-free. But do you really think your corporation will not have incurred a cost when you hand over the options in exchange for the carpeting? Or do you really think that placing a value on the option is just too difficult to do, one of your other excuses for not expensing them? If these are the opinions you honestly hold, call me collect. We can do business.

Ryan Lizza from the New Republic has a rather amusing piece about a particular SBA loan. It was made to a sex/porn shop in Fort Walton Beach, FL. It serves to illustrate the larger pattern of great quantities of largesse flowing from the Shrubbery to Jeb's state. With a winning margin of -150 votes, you can't do too much in helping the family keep power.

Interesting sidelight: the loan was approved on September 19. I guess those electoral politics take precedence over the nation mourning 9-11, eh?

referred by Smokin' Joe Conason.

I went on vacation during the week of the Fourth of July, and I took the opportunity to think about what it really means to be an American. I also got some perspective by being in Canada for much of that time. As in, what makes a Canadian differ from an American? We're both nations of pioneers; we can both invent our ways out of problems. (I went to the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology for that.) We both enjoy great amounts of freedom. We indeed have a parallel history. So what's the difference? Royalism - Canada has it in the form of the British Crown; we in the U.S. do not. Canada became a nation because the Crown declared them to be an independent nation 135 years ago; we became one because we rejected the Crown 226 years ago. (It's for another post later to celebrate how the US and Canada have fought side by side against the expanding royalism of Germany in the first half of this century.)

Specifically, the Declaration of Independence is an Englishman's rejection of the divine right of kings. The first part asserts that our rights as human beings are not to be at the whim of the king; the second part is a list of grievances against the king; the third part declares that we are no longer to be subject to the king. We fought a war against the Crown for another five years - the Royalists fled the Confederation to the colonies that were still under British control.

We go forward two centuries to the present. The Republican Party like to remind everyone that we live in a republic, not a democracy. One problem - even they don't believe that. To put it quite bluntly, the so-called Republicans are now believers in the divine right of kings. They seemed to be moving in that direction under Richard Nixon. They have since moved farther under the Bush family. It was Barbara Bush who was infuriated by the Clintons because they won the White House, which she felt belonged to her and her family. It was George Bush himself who claimed to have been chosen by God to lead. And the belief has only been amplified by sympathetic ministers and politicians since then. From a Gene Lyons column at RB Ham's site, "The president hit his apex a few weeks back when Meet the Press's Tim Russert and Rudy Giuliani actually urged Laura Bush to affirm that her husband had been chosen by God to save the United States." So even our mainstream media (in the form of GOP errand boy Russert) is espousing the divine right of kings. That is, the party in power, in their assertion of George Bush's divine selection, is setting back the entirety of US history.

Given all of this, the Democratic Party should strike at the heart of their opposition. Cease calling the GOP the "Republican Party", as the very name would be a false description. Refer to them as the "Royalist Party". Remind Americans we fought wars to prevent our rights from being at the whim of our leaders. Remind Americans that should Royalism return to the nation, all other issues will no longer be subject to their consent, but to the whims of the leaders. Quite simply, the opposition as it stands to the Democratic Party needs to be painted, truthfully and accurately, as anti-American to the core. I'll do my part here at GeekPol.

HorowitzWatch has been started by James Capozzola of the always informative Rittenhouse Review. It'll be updated when left-wing-traitor-turned-right-wing-crybaby says something 'interesting' (i.e. silly).

Nothing new yet. Maybe Horowitz just isn't very interesting.

And now, Dr. Squid presents...

Giant squid washes up on Tasmanian beach, may represent new species.

Monday, July 22, 2002

One of the less-mentioned aspects of Shrub's tenure at Harken has been the awarding of a drilling contract in Bahrain. And now we know why it's a less-mentioned aspect; apparently even Shrub thought the idea of Harken drilling in Bahrain stunk. And as is known, Harken came up with dry holes in Bahrain.

Quotes from the article:

Graf 5: "Asked how Harken was chosen, [Yousuf] Shirawi, then Bahrain's minister of development and industry, said in an interview that seismic surveys were promising, but the "big boys" in the oil industry weren't interested. Shirawi said he decided to go shopping for a small American company and found Harken through a Houston oil consultant and longtime friend, Michael Ameen."

From Michael Ameen in the next-to-last graf: "The guy who didn't want into Bahrain was George W. Bush," Ameen said. "He said, 'I don't think we have the expertise, we've never been overseas, and we don't have the money.' "

You don't exactly have to have been a genius to have wanted to unload Harken stock when those dry holes kept coming up. And Shrub certainly ain't no genius... (on edit: I know; cheap shot. But all I claim is that any geek with web access can make comments on current events; the market for members of the pundit class who do the same for a living [koffCoulterkoffkoff] should be really poor. Unfortunately, these doofs get rich, conservative suckers to fart out a lot of dough in their general direction for doing nothing of value for the world.)

Score another one for the Daily Howler's coverage of this.

Tom Tomorrow has his new comic out. Don't say I never did anything for you.

It had to happen some time.

American citizens have fled across the border seeking political asylum in Canada. Given that the war that's not on still doesn't require a draft, no one's fleeing for that. Rather, it's glaucoma and cancer patients who wish to smoke marijuana to relieve the pain and nausea. They're being allowed to stay in Canada while their status is determined in court.

As if to remove all doubt as to why the asylum-seekers claim persecution in the U.S., White House drug war flack Robert Maginnis had this to say, "Providing sanctuary to some of these people who see Canada as an easy place to escape the long leash of US law enforcement is dangerous ... I would hope that the Canadian government would see fit to send them back to the US so they can face charges."

Nice to see the Shrubbery prove the asylum-seekers' point for them, eh?

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Been away as a result of some data collection up at the Advanced Photon Source. And when I got home, I heard some news that disheartened me a bit: Shrub is coming to speak there. (This explains the parking lots at the main building that closed Friday night.) And when Shrub speaks on behalf of some program, its funding gets cut. Suffice it to say I want nothing of the sort to happen at APS.

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