From Pine View Farm

August, 2007 archive

Senator Craig Reportedly Gone 1

Via Huffington Post:

Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig will announce Saturday he will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men’s room, Republican officials said Friday.

Craig will hold a news conference at 10:30 a.m. MDT and say that he will resign effective Sept. 30, three state GOP officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Unfortunately, if this is true, he’s resigning for the wrong reasons. He’s resigning because the power brokers in the Republican party have decided he’s gay and they can’t stand the publicity.

Interestingly enough, Barney Frank had something to say about that today–he believes that Craig should not resign. Mr. Frank said that persons should resign over abuse of office, perhaps, but not over who they are. Whether they should lose their jobs because of who they are, in his opinion, is an issue for the voters.

You can go to the website here to listen to the interview or listen directly to it here.

Frankly, as I have tried to make very clear, I don’t give a damn about the sex. For all I care, he could be doing sheep on his ranch. As long as the sheep are consenting, that’s fine with me.

Now, if he were resigning because he is a hypocrite, I could support him in that decision. That would be the right and moral thing to do.

But, as I pointed out here (by lazily piggy-backing on Dick Polman’s blog entry), the Republican Party is the party of hypocrisy and would never abandon someone merely for the sin of hypocrisy.

They will just abandon someone for making them look bad.

Something they can do quite nicely on their own, thank you.


My Letter to My Elected Representatives 0

Feel free to copy it and use it:

Dear (insert name here):

I find the current federal administration’s escalating rhetoric about Iran to be most disturbing.

The administration has already marketed one fraudulent, morally and financially indefensible war to the American people.

Please do every thing you can to keep them from lying us into another one.

Thank you.


Pre-Existing Condition 4

As I said earlier, I cannot buy health insurance for my son and me.

But he is just one of 47 million, according to the United States Census Bureau. Catch that. That’s 15% of the population of the United States.

I looking for links for this post, I found several reputable sites (as well as the usual crowd of industry apologists and wingnut wackos) that attempt to debunk the “47 million” figure

Most noted that some of the persons included in the “47 milion” may be not be citizens (note that “not being a citizen” and being here illegally are two different things, but those “debunking” articles make the leap from “resident alien” to “illegal alien” without a pause–I guess because brown people make up the largest chunk of that portion of the uninsured) and yadda yadda yadda.

CNN Money glibly pointed out that some of the persons included in that figure make more than $50,000 a year and could easily afford health insurance if they wanted it.

Well, I sort of fall in that category, just barely. I guess I could have easily afforded the $600 a month premium for that policy with a $10,000 annual deductible I was trying to buy. And with a little more scrimping and saving, I could have bought that Lamborghini I’ve always dreamed about.

Tell me, what would an additional $600.00 a month expenditure do to your budget?

(Clearly, the hacks at CNN Money have never shopped for health insurance on the open market. But that’s another story.)

I was unable to purchase health insurance because I have the normal wear and tear of over half a century on this planet and because my son had kidney surgery three years ago (no, it wasn’t elective surgery).

My son and I have “pre-existing conditions.” In the fine catch-22 of U. S. (lack of) health care policy, we cannot get insurance because (gasp) we might need it.

Which leads up to this:

Via Susie.

Also posted, in slightly edited form, here.


Drumbeats 0

Another war coming to a venue near you?

Susie hears a back beat.


Two Years Old This Week 0

And still up and running.

Happy Second Birthday


Dueling Reports 1

After I read this, I decided to write something about the difference between a report from the GAO, a bipartisan agency that has earned respect for its dispassionate, factual analysis, and a report from the Current Federal Administration, which makes Baron Munchausen look like Little Lord Fauntleroy, but I got distracted by a root canal and ASZ beat me to it.


Republican Hypocrisy Revealed . . . Once More 0

Dick Polman wondering why Republicans are calling for the resignation of Senator Craig, but not for that of Senator “My Number Was in the Washington Madam’s Phone Logs” Vitter:

So why the double standard? Two points:

1. Whereas Vitter engaged in illicit straight behavior, Craig was seeking to engage in gay behavior. And whereas the Republicans are demonstrably concerned about how gay behavior might impact traditional family values, they are clearly not so concerned about the impact of heterosexual adultery on traditional family values. As Pat Buchanan noted last night on MSNBC, grassroots Republicans, when assessing the severity of sex scandals, are “especially against homosexual activity.” And as social conservative Ross Douthat explained yesterday, “it is easier to demonize gay people” than to talk about “heterosexual divorce rates.”

2. And this is really the crux of the matter. It’s fine for Republicans to display moral outrage against Larry Craig, and demand that he quit, because they know that the Republican governor of Idaho will merely tap another Republican as a replacement, and that therefore the Republican Senate tally will remain at 49. But if they were to bail out on David Vitter, and force him to quit, they would pay a political price. The Democratic governor of Louisiana would tap a Democrat as a replacement, and thus enhance the Democrats’ slim Senate majority.

Which prompts a serious question: If Republican Larry Craig was representing a blue or purple state, with a Democratic governor at the helm, would his colleagues be waxing indignant and demanding his resignation?

Or is the current display of umbrage merely an exercise in no-risk rectitude?

Gosh, how easy it is to ride a moral high-horse when doing so poses no risk to one’s own power and position.

No more moral courage than a Barbie Doll.

I think I shall throw up now. The hypocrisy is sick-making.


Investigative Reporting 0

The local rag, always on top of things, set out to investigate what goes on in airport restrooms. Given that the local airport is usually in the top ten for delays, they had plenty of time for an investigative report:

The senator (Craig–R, Idaho I didn’t know that “hypocrite” started with an “R”–oops, sorry, I did know that) then slid his foot under the stall divider until his shoe was touching the officer’s shoe. Craig said later it was not a come-on. The senator explained that he has a “wide stance” when nature calls.

File that one under “too much information.”

Having interviewed the senator on many occasions, I really did want to give him the benefit of the enormous doubt. So I conducted a brief experiment in the nearest men’s room stall. First, I made sure there was nobody in an adjacent stall with the authority to fire me. In fact, I made sure all stalls were empty. I did so in the usual way, by calling out in a firm voice, “Is that you, Senator?”

The verdict? If a senator is standing, he could conceivably slide a foot underneath the divider. But tapping a foot in this untenable position is the last thing on the potty-goer’s mind.

Follow the link the link for the full steamy expose.

All slapstick aside, today’s lead editorial was spot on.

Once again:

It ain’t the sex.

It’s the hypocrisy.


Emergency Root Canal Today 0

But it was still nowhere near as painful as watching the Current Federal Administration attempt to extract the Bill of Rights from the Constitution of the United States of America.


New Orleans 0

The Current Federal Administrator was playing photo op in New Orleans today, a place he has pretty much ignored, except for photo ops, for the past two years.


Drumbeats 0

If one fraudulent war doesn’t work out, why not try two?

Glenn Greenwald in Salon:

. . . Last month, the Senate unanimously passed a Lieberman-sponsored resolution gratuitously accusing Iran of acts of war against the U.S. — a resolution with no purpose other than to strengthen the case for war against Iran. Clearly, Congress can (or at least will) do nothing to restrain the White House.

More disturbingly still, we have the same exact cast of neoconservative warmongers who brought us the invasion of Iraq, now chirping away ever more loudly, performing their tough guy war dances while courageously beating their little chests and urging on new wars.

More explicit war demands are now issuing from the warped though representative likes of Max Boot (of the Council on Foreign Relations, The LA Times, and Norm Podhoretz’s Commentary Magazine) — who wants to invade Syria and bomb the Damascus airport — and then fueled by fresh-faced war cheerleaders like James Kirchick, who simultaneously (and revealingly) serves as Marty Peretz’s assistant and writes both for the “liberal” New Republic and Podhoretz’s Commentary blog.


SUVs Get Safer 4

From today’s local rag:

Rollover ratings issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for 2007 vehicles show SUVs making progress over previous model years. The ratings give consumers information on the likelihood of rollovers, which kill more than 10,000 motorists in the United States each year – more than a third of motorists killed in the country annually, despite accounting for only 3 percent of all crashes.

Seventy-eight 2007 SUVs received a four-star rating in the rollover tests, according to an analysis by the Associated Press. More than half of the 2007 SUVs had four-star ratings; only 48 of 103 2006 SUVs that were rated earned four stars. Only one SUV received four stars in 2001.

Unfortunately, I can say, based on close personal observation, that their drivers have not.


Highlights Reel 0

Gonzo’s top ten, from Josh Marshall:

Via Susie.


A Fate Worse Than Death 0


Scott McCausland (AKA sk0t), the ex-admin of the EliteTorrents BitTorrent tracker, was sentenced to five months imprisonment after he confessed to uploading copies of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith just before its theatrical release. He was also sentenced to a further five months of home confinement and slapped with a monitoring order after he was convicted of “conspiracy to commit copyright infringement” and “criminal copyright infringement”.


Using monitoring software and wearing a monitoring bracelet were bitter enough pill but switching to Windows is just too much for the Tux-lover, who intends to fight the decision.


Another One Falls out of the Closet (Updated) 2

Republican, that is.

Is it an epidemic or what?

Words fail me.


Once again, it’s not the sex.

It’s the hypocrisy (link added 8/29/2007).

Addendum, 8/29/2007:

Jon Swift makes a convincing case the Senator Craig is merely a conservative.

Balloon Juice examines the right-wing response (with a citation of Glenn Greenwald).


Viet Niraq 0

A lot was written last week while I was on the road about the Current Federal Administrator’s comparison of Viet Nam with Iraq.

The best I read was Trudy Rubin’s column in Sunday’s local rag.

So why would the president raise the specter of a war that haunted Americans for more than a generation? He seemed to imply – though one wonders why he didn’t say it – that we could have won the Vietnam War had we stayed longer. Such a claim is popular with part of his conservative base.

But it is impossible to prove and highly dubious. And it goes to the heart of Bush’s problem: He has yet to give a coherent argument for how we can stabilize Iraq by staying on.

The Vietnam analogy highlights this problem in ways I doubt Bush intended. Late in the day in South Vietnam, the U.S. military began to implement a counterinsurgency strategy that was having some success. But a weak South Vietnamese government was unable to capitalize on the gains.

Will Bunch sums up the analogy here. His post can’t really be summarized. Please just go look at it. And deja vu to you.

And the best thing I heard was here. Listen to segment one.

Iraq is indeed like Viet Nam: a quagmire fathered by deceit, born of lies, and reared in venality.


Gonzo Gonezo 0

Working at home today, I had a chance to hear the developing wingnut story of the Gonzo resignation.

“Gonzo,” it goes, “did nothing wrong. He was hounded out of office by the Democratic witchhunts.” I heard it over and over again from those who make a career of apologizing for those who violate the Constitution.

Such as here. And here. And here.

Give me a bleedin’ break.

The Democratics didn’t fire any U. S. Attorneys and then lie stumble around about it.

The Democrats didn’t suffer amnesia on a massive scale when asked where they were and what they were doing.

Gonzo Bozo

Heck, not even the Republican congresspersons did anything of the sort.

Oh, poor Gonzo. Did ‘ose nasty ole Democwats expect Ooo to tell the twuth. Ahhhhhhh!

Gonzo was the author of his own disgrace. It started years ago when he hitched his wagon to a star(ling).

And now we say good bye, but only as we look back and see a prediction of the future from two weeks ago:


Drinking Liberally 0

Tuesday, Tangier Restaurant, 18th and Lombard, Philadelphia, right behind Jeff.

I won’t be there. I’ll be doing the cooling tower thing.

So take up the torch.

Or the stein.

Or the highball glass.

Or whatever.


Gonzo Gonezo? 1

From the Washington Post:

Embattled Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has resigned from his post, according to an administration official, ending a controversial cabinet tenure that included clashes with Congress over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and the scope of efforts to spy on U.S. citizens.

The official said Gonzales submitted a letter on Friday saying he had decided to step down, but the announcement was withheld until he met with President Bush at the president’s Crawford ranch. His resignation will be announced later today, the official said.

Or maybe not. From Daily Kos:

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, five minutes after having submitted his resignation to President George W. Bush, was asked by a passer-by whether the rumor was true that he had resigned.

“I have no memory of having submitted such a letter or of having any conversation with the President about anything at all,” Mr. Gonzales replied.

The former Attorney General immediately returned to his office at the Department of Justice, though he could not remember what he was supposed to do there.

(Via Phillybits.)

All seriousness aside, I’m betting that the Current Federal Administrator uses a recess appointment to name a successor to Gonzo so as to avoid hearings on a nomination. Gosh, if a nomination were placed before our representatives incongruously assembled, some little bit of truth might slip out. Can’t break a six-year president’s precedent, now, can we?


Worth Watching 0

And it’s not even a Law and Order rerun!