Thursday, October 27, 2005

Who's Next?

In an obvious move predicted Friday by Krauthammer, Miers is done. Probably for the best, considering she was a wholly unqualified nominee who was only considered because one of her former clients was President.

Understand this, though. When the left blames the wingnuts for her forced withdrawal, that's politics. I cannot imagine Democrats actually voting to confirm Miers. The play now is the spin toward the next (certainly much more controversial) pick. The withdrawal hurts Bush because it reveals weakness and also doesn't force Democrats to go to the wall twice in a row. The filibuster remains on the table.

I have laughed a bit about my agreement with David Frum on this nomination since before it emerged. Sad that on the day of a resounding victory for him, he is already running back into the President's lap. Read this, the entirety of the victory post:
The system worked. And as we all hoped, once again the president got the big decision right. Thank you to all the many NRO readers who have joined this fight - and a special thanks to all who have written so kindly to me today. More later ....

"The President got the big decision right." Anyone who wants to accuse the left of spinning, look no further. Just read the articles and tell me how in the hell there is any justification for saying that Bush got this decision right. Ridiculous. The depths of dumbness. But congratulations nevertheless. Bring out the next nominee. It won't be someone from Texas.

Monday, October 24, 2005

"Ladies and Gentlemen of this Supposed Jury"

Why is Wikipedia my favorite encyclopedia? Not only is it a fascinating experiment in worldwide volunteer collaboration, but it also must be the only one with an elaborate entry for the famed South Park Chewbacca Defence. Here's an audio link for those still in the dark. "If Chewbacca lived on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests." Genius.

(Note: the Defence is not to be confused with the also-defined "Chewbacca Gambit")

The Changing of the Guard (?)

And so the bell tolls officially, perhaps, for Tim Henman in Basel. Oh, how fickle time and lady fortune may be:
Her audit (though delayed) answered must be,
And her quietus is to render thee.
( ________________________________ )
( ________________________________ )

-Shakespeare, Sonnet CXXVI

Friday, October 21, 2005

Shame on Me

Oh my. I almost forgot.

Nicely done, Liam. Next year, fly over for the Scotch tasting ceilidh. Un-expletive-believable. And you're a man who would appreciate it.

Lest you do not click the link, tonight is the 200th of the great naval victory of Horatio. Since I am on my way out, and gin's getting cold, let's sum it up succinctly. Pusser's is the Navy Rum, right? It's nickname? "Nelson's Blood." Truly an icon of Western history.

I look forward to my next (and many) stroll(s) through my favorite London square, where I once saw Mandela. I will forever remember that moment. But I will also never forget the National Gallery's open space's proper name. Nor the man at the top. Trafalgar Square. Years ago I sat and wrote and stared down Whitehall toward Big Ben amidst his lions. For this coarse traveller, he has always been a solid representative of ancient, epic, and magnificent London town. Long may he stare down Parliamentarians.


Kos and Powerline in agreement?! Rightfully so. Hold the politicians to account. Get the Pork out.

I agree with Instapundit on the term limits. And I agree with Kos. It is votes like this that might get me to New Hampshire for Feingold. We'll see.

Quote(s) of this Rum and Coke Friday

My favorite aspect of TFI Friday is that it rolls on reliably once every 7 days. By now, in Scotland, DJ Phil already has them in hysterics. In London, Cooper's table at Motion or Tiger is most definitely primed and full of pitchers. In Italy, Sweden, and France, some of the most beautiful friends are just celebrating the end of another work week. I hope that the 2 pound all you can drink is on tonight at New College, with Mr. Ulyatt presiding.

Here in humble Halifax, the celebrations continue - Highland Park 18, Macallan 18, Johnny Blue, and (so happily) the old standby Talisker stand admirably against all comers. Majestic. Someone should market the smell of the Lagavulin Distillers Edition as a perfume.

Since it's well into the 2 day bender, 2 Friday quotes, from 2 of my favorites. The first one is for Shari, random blogger of similar affinities. The other for CG, fellow travel binger extraordinaire. Sentiments of both, and Goodspeed, to BNS, PJK, and arms as they descend on Bo-town this weekend. Thirsty scholars no longer.

1. I could a done a lot worse than sit
In Skid Row drinkin wine

To know that nothing matters after all
To know there's no real difference
between the rich and the poor
To know that eternity is neither drunk
nor sober, to know it young
and be a poet

Coulda gone into business and ranted
And believed that God was concerned

Instead I squatted in lonesome alleys
And nobody saw me, just my bottle
and what they saw of it was empty

And I did it in cornfields & graveyards

To know that the dead don't make noise
To know that the cornstalks talk (among
one another with raspy old arms)

Sittin in alleys diggin the neons
And watching cathedral custodians
Wring out their rags neath the church steps

Sittin and drinkin wine
And in railyards being divine

To be a millionaire & yet to prefer
Curlin up with a poorboy of tokay
In a warehouse door, facing long sunsets
On railroad fields of grass

To know that the sleepers in the river
are dreaming vain dreams, to squat
in the night and know it well

To be dark solitary eye-nerve watcher
of the world's whirling diamond.

- Jack Kerouac (of course)

2. Look 'round thee now on Samarcand,
Is she not queen of earth? her pride
Above all cities? in her hand
Their destinies?

-Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Celebration of Single Malt

Finer words rarely spoken.
"I am pleased to welcome you to the NSLC's 2nd Annual Scotch Ceilidh, "A Celebration of Single Malt Scotch." Be prepared to experience a wide variety of exciting products from five regions of Scotland, as well as some of the world's finest blended Scotch Whisky.

Tonight we are pleased to feature Highland Park 18 Year Old, recently named "Best Spirit in the World" in the 2005 Spirit Journal 100 Listing of the World's Best 100 Distilled Spirit, by American whisky expert Paul Pacult...

During the Scotch Ceilidh, you will have the opportunity to sample more than 80 products... Enjoy yourself as we celebrate the world of Scotch!

Carrie Cussons
Acting President, NSLC"
If this Christmas only comes around once a year, of course we must take advantage. $50 for the 3 hours of sampling over 80 world-class Scotchs is a ridiculous steal for the Whisky lover. The program linked above has a listing of the many, many spirits on offer. A ridiculous feast. Report to follow. Bring out the 21YO Fine Oak Macallan and Talisker, Distillers Edition. Yes I said yes I will Yes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Kinsella v. Spector, Redux

Kinsella has gone and picked a fight with Norman Spector again over a column published today in the Globe. The charge:

Okay, here's another blogger-style gauntlet, thrown down with gusto (and hopefully the Post will reprint it again, so Norm can't ignore it): Norm, identify one sponsorship grant "handed out in 1995." Just one. One! That's all I ask. You can't do it, Normie, because there wasn't one.

Kinsella amplified his comments later in the day after Spector's initial response:

But, Norm, here's the thing: on this Public Works list of every single goddamned sponsorship-type event ever, ever, ever...NOTHING about what you are whispering about. Fifteen pages, single spaced, but nothing from 1995. Do one of those helpful little Adobe searches - I did. More to the point, can you spot anything AT ALL from 1995? Nope, you can't.
Readers of Kinsella's musings will remember that this spat with Spector dates back to the time of Guite's testimony circa May 4th, 2005 (scroll down to the date). He's right, of course, that the list linked to doesn't seem to include any events in 1995. But does it really list "every single goddamned sponsorship-type event ever, ever, ever..." ? For one, it's dated April 26th, 2004. Note that Spector responded with further detail as follows:

Earlier today, I wrote about a sponsorship which was approved in 1995 and had been managed by a BC agency.

That sponsorship was one of the first in a long line of projects approved before the sponsorship program was established in 2000-01. Here are the details:

The contract number was 771-5-0093. The contract was dated June 16, 1995. The contract referred to a sponsorship by the Government of Canada for an event called "Blue Sky," which was held in Alberta in the summer of 1995. The name of the agency?--Palmer Jarvis.
Admittedly, I know next to nothing about this saga. I am just interested in getting to the substance of what is being debated, partly to pass the time while cheering on the Rams against Indy. The handy "anti-corruption.ca" website has a useful transcript search function that points quickly to the mentions of the concert. I'll highlight three. First off, from Ms. Larose's October 26th, 2004 examination, at p. 84-85, from line 13:

MR. ROY: The contract number is 771-5-0093. Do you know whether this contract refers to a sponsorship by the Government of Canada for an event called "Blue Sky" and which was held in western Canada in the summer of 1995?

MS. LAROSE: If I may, the event was called "Big Sky", and ---

MR. ROY: "Big Sky", I apologize. Thank you.

MS. LAROSE: Yes, and I believe it was held in western Canada in the summer of '95.

MR. ROY: Do you know whether the office of the Prime Minister had asked or recommended that the event be sponsored?

MS. LAROSE: I'm not aware of that.

MR. ROY: You're not aware of that?


MR. ROY: Did you know that this event was one whose main sponsor was the Hudson's Bay Company?

MS. LAROSE: That's possible, yes. I think I read that in the documents, and I remember that the Bay was one of the promoters.

MR. ROY: And in your opinion, which factors were taken into consideration to lead the Government of Canada to agree to invest $300,000 in an event which was essentially being promoted by the Hudson's Bay Company of Canada?

MS. LAROSE: I have no idea.

So apart from making the same error as Mr. Roy (which Kinsella is certain to gleefully highlight), Spector seems to be correct about a potential sponsorship contract "handed out" in 1995 for "Big Sky". Did that amount to a "sponsorship-type event" on par with the later process? That's the rub - and the bald insinuation that they are inextricably linked is surely what has Kinsella pissed.

But look at the examination of Mr. Bilodeau on December 8th, 2004 at p. 68-71, from line 19, also in reference to Big Sky and its connection to "sponsorship".
MR. BILODEAU: I must admit, sir, on rereading the memo that Big Sky did not ring any bells just now.

MR. ROY: It doesn’t ring any bells?


MR. ROY: And you were not aware at the time that the Prime Minister’s Office had recommended that this concert receive funding to the tune of $500,000?

MR. BILODEAU: On reading the memo, certainly, on co-signing it I must have known about it at the time, but at this instant, I could not recall it.

MR. ROY: So, it was in 1995, in July 1995, and sponsorships were being discussed.


MR. ROY: At the time when this document was drafted, had the federal government to your knowledge funded sponsorship projects or activities through the reserve fund?

MR. BILODEAU: I am not aware, sir, that there were others. It was definitely one of the first times, I think, that I saw the word “sponsorship” and that we saw the word “sponsorship”. The sponsorship program became much more structured after the referendum.

MR. ROY: And if I could draw your attention now to the memorandum of the nineteenth of . . .


MR. ROY: . . . July 1995, to the Prime Minister. You will note at the very end . . .


MR. ROY: . . . the Prime Minister is being asked to authorize the disbursement of $250,000 for an activity slated to take place in early September 1995 in Vancouver, namely the Molson Indy.

MR. BILODEAU: Correct.

MR. ROY: And does this reference to the Molson Indy ring any bells with you?

MR. BILODEAU: Not especially. On rereading the memo I of course remembered it, but at this point, not especially.

MR. ROY: Do you recall that that particular sponsorship, since it . . . let me rephrase the question. In your . . . on remembering it or on recalling this event just now, was it a sponsorship in your mind?

MR. BILODEAU: It is certainly similar to a sponsorship, since they’re talking about outdoor advertising and support for the event. I would say, then, that it was indeed a sponsorship.

MR. ROY: And therefore . . .

MR. BILODEAU: Not advertising.

MR. ROY: You would agree with me, then, that this was a sponsorship for the same reasons that the Big Sky concert was also a sponsorship?

MR. BILODEAU: That would appear to be the case, sir.

MR. ROY: In your opinion, were those events or activities forerunners, so to speak, of the activities that followed once everything became more structured a little later on in 1996 and in 1997 . . .

MR. BILODEAU: Those activities are certainly similar to sponsorships that were developed later.
And so on... and, finally, remember Chuck Guite's controversial testimony of May 4th, 2005 - because that is also what Spector hangs his hat on here:
MR. ROY: You will have noted that I did not make reference to the item 2 or the “Événement 2” which is Festival international de Jazz de Montréal because we weren’t able – we weren’t able to find proof that there was indeed a sponsorship that year. And the same comment applies to the number 3 item which is Festival international de Québec. And if you move down the list, Festival de Montgolfière for 1995, we weren’t able to find any reference to a contract awarded to Lafleur for that year. And lastly, item 3, Concert B.-C. for $450,000, we do know that there was a concert that summer in August of ’95 in Alberta, the Big Sky Concert, but that event was handled by Palmer Jarvis. So I have omitted and it was in Alberta; it was not in B.-C. So you are familiar with these events; is that correct?


MR. ROY: Okay. And these would have been, correct me if I am wrong, among the first events sponsored by the Government of Canada and which were handled by an
outside agency, i.e. Lafleur?

MR. GUITÉ: Correct.

MR. ROY: In 1995.

MR. GUITÉ: Correct.

So that's a bit of the background. Make of it what you will. More complicated than either side makes it out to be, in this commentator's humble opinion. Spector would do well to qualify his assertions somewhat, while there is enough of a reference to "sponsorship-type" pre-1997 activity that Kinsella may want to watch the snarky nature of his comments. But we know how likely that is.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Layton Gambit

So Layton has revealed his hand.

Unfortunately, the approach is a veritable smorgasbord that will be difficult for the Liberals to meet. Worse, its lack of specifics will allow the PM to claim progress on all fronts regardless, and so accuse the NDP of opportunism in forcing a Christmas vote. The last thing we need to hear in the next election is Liberal whining about the "forced" vote that "no Canadians want". Layton should be mindful in protecting that flank.

The shrewder plan would have focused squarely on meeting benchmarks re: electoral reform. As far as Layton's party should be concerned, this is the one initiative from which all other blessings are likely to flow. As argued originally back in April when Layton set his initial price, PR (or a lesser derivative) is a popular idea that would help ensure the NDP retains a central role in Parliament in almost every subsequent election.

The NDP must not forget they have just over 6% of the seats in the current Parliament - the electorate is likely to understand if a Liberal Prime Minister balks at instituting the 4th party's entire agenda wholesale. A sounder long-term strategy must focus on how to increase NDP relevance in the House. So, consider this long list of vague demands as an opportunity missed.

On the other hand, the recruitment of former RBC Dominion chief economist and investment analyst Paul Summerville is a most welcome development. The only way to break through their current 20% glass ceiling of support is by gaining economic credibility. St. Paul's is unquestionably a tough seat to crack. But it is nice to see such a candidate in a riding that will assume a high profile when the writ is dropped. Credit where credit is due - Well done.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Name Your Bar

While the debate on the most beautiful song rages on below, here's another great question to discuss over pints or to pass the time on long road trips: If you owned a bar, what would you name it?

Some existing favorites include Ottawa's Honest Lawyer, Oxford's Turf Tavern, and the superbly titled Harvard haunt known as the Thirsty Scholar. But stretch those imaginations. I loved the suggestion we came up with once for a bar known simply as "The House", the kicker being that the pub would be an exact and pain-staking replica of the floor of Parliament, with bars behind the curtains.

But, far and away, my choice is for "Paradise Lost", with Milton and Shakespeare lines hanging about in abundance. One fine morning...

The Most Beautiful Song

Oh, and while I remain on hiatus, here is a question for the 3 people who still read this - the most beautiful song of all time debate. It's a great question to throw out there, because no two people will agree. CG has always favored Bono's "One", which is a good if cliched choice. Before you mock it, try and pick a better one. Trust me, it's tough.

I have a few though, after careful thought. I have always loved the JCash version of SG's "Bridge over Troubled Water" (sail on, silver girl) as a great nominee. But listening to a random garage band tonight, I have another. And oh so Canadian.

"Wheat Kings". Listen to it and love it. The most beautiful song of all time? Difficult to say? The most beautiful Canadian song of all time? Indeed. As an enormous fan of Lightfoot and Stan the Man, I don't say that lightly. I wish Barrett's wasn't so overplayed. But the Hip win this category in my mind. Bring out your challengers.


Well, at least we made it to day #9, which is an accomplishment of sorts. I blame shoddy work at the back of the wagon's hatch. Tell Mr. Keith I'm headed for Bedford, eh?

Fair enough this is a classic, if October 5 dated photo. How I do love the Split Crow. And that is the Keith's spilly talker dude, much much greater in person (though the dreaming of a lake of beer is a great line). The actual, over the top moment? Rum and Coke Fridays, laden as it is with thoughts of TFI. Couldn't do it. Combined with random CIAU games and then (the best) random parties on the walk back toward downtown that are hosted on my favorite street name of the Maritimes (if you guessed "Lucknow Street" you are correct. honestly.) randomness and such are just so much funnier this way. The Rocky Road to Dublin one two three four five.

I now have a wedding to go to next Saturday, after tonight. I have a CD to listen to (if I can find it) and Chelsea fans to ridicule because they have an obsession with Makelele instead of Frankie L. But so it goes, perhaps. Preferences all around. It is now almost 5 in the morning. Tell me I would be laughing like this if I was drinking Ginger/Sprite Tonics.

I didn't think so. I don't think the Democrats should confirm Miers. I am now cheering for the Angels because of a gd umpire who insists on not admitting his stupidity, after one of the worst atrocities in the history of MLB postseason. But the clock ticks on - the NY Football Giants will beat Dallas tomorrow.

What's next, Gongshow? Game on. Get the tickets for the Cup. If I'm going to show up for a CFL game, it might as well be the tops. From Edinburgh to Vancouver. Not a bad trajectory, in the long run. Seeing as it passed through St. Andy's.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

One Month Off

I will continue to gamble on the NFL, and chase the ladies, and read trashy sci-fi. The MacDuff as is known by most will not be that far off his norm.

But, historically, it is time for a break. October 6th to November 5th. I, as I have so often slagged off friends and foes and otherwise, will jump on the (water)wagon for one month tonight after a magical b-day celebration. Extreme, perhaps, but, perhaps, necessary. I will miss my friends, but 30 days has many more properties than a nursery rhyme.

I will also cold turkey the blogging until that date. Let me blame Cooper and McNair, but really, I still feel like everything mentioned at Ahab's now is still as predictable and (possibly) repetitive. I continue to cheer against my natural voting block, laughing always at the imbecility of those PMO's in charge. I continue to wonder why Layton cannot or will not use his moment of glory to push PR. Harper - well... he had opportunities, perhaps others will rise again. I'd be surprised to see it.

There are certainly (and sadly) days that I would rather him instead of PM PM. But so it goes.

See you on 11-06, old esteemed elaborate estate. Or before. Anyone who knows me knows - temptation shall be strong. Time to roll the dice. This is the post that will keep.

Happy 210 Alexander!

Time to don the foam antlers and toast Halifax's greatest brewmaster and mayor. The Waterfront Warehouse's Beer Garden opens in an hour (4PM) and their free concert featuring the Trews and the Joel Plaskett Emergency runs from 5-8 for an especially wonderful early start. Proper thing.

No matter where you are across the globe, be sure to raise your glass tonight to the Man, the Beer, the Legend that is Mr. Keith.

For those who drink it, drink it a lot.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Further Explanation Required

The latest on Dingwall's severance package:
"McCallum responded that lawyers have told the federal government it has no choice but to offer Dingwall a severance package because of relevant laws.

He says those laws are: the Royal Canadian Mint Act, the Financial Administration Act, and Crown corporation general regulations. He didn't explain how those pieces of legislation were relevant."
Well, I am not so ambitious as to actually attempt to mine those Acts for the answer tonight. I would love to see some blogosphere lawyers/clerks take a stab at it. The Liberal lawyers are either wrong, or the law needs to be changed pronto. It certainly shouldn't be common practice to make payouts on wholly groundless claims to avoid lawsuits! Nor should anyone on behalf of the government ever sign a contract in our name that guarantees a severance package upon the employee quitting! This goes beyond any issue of improper expenses.

So, the statutes: The Royal Canadian Mint Act, the Financial Administration Act, and the Crown Corporation General Regulations. I do note that in the three documents, the word "severance" appears exactly once, in the seemingly unrelated s.10(d.1) of the FAA.

I remain unconvinced by the Liberal response of our "lawyers say so... get your own opinion". What is their reasoning? The onus should be on the government to provide further explanation, especially if it plans on hiding behind privacy legislation in dumping a settlement on a former Cabinet colleague.

Simply put: What legal provisions alter the presumptive employment law principle that you do not receive severance pay when you quit? Why is that the case?

Interesting Indeed

Rich Lowry over at NR succinctly sums up the challenge of Miers to those on the Left:
Democrats have an interesting choice. They can accept Miers on the theory that as an unknown quantity she is the best they can hope for from Bush, given that his short list included well-established, intellectually hefty conservatives. Or they can try to deal Bush a blow by attacking her as a crony. If they choose the first course and Miers votes as a down-the-line conservative on the Court, Bush’s pick will, over time, be seen as politically canny. Now it looks like the latest act of an overly insular, increasingly off-key White House.
In other news, Bush trundled on at this morning's press conference. It only took him one question to prove himself either profoundly ignorant or a blatant liar:
QUESTION: Mr. President, of all of the people in the United States you had to choose from, is Harriet Miers the most qualified to serve on the Supreme Court?

BUSH: Yes. Otherwise, I wouldn't have put her on. "Asked by a reporter if she [Miers] was "the most qualified" person he could find in the country, he said, "Yes, otherwise I would not have" named her."
About as believable as Paul Martin in Question Period today, where he stated, in response to Layton, that in the last election only Liberals cared about lower wait times. Sheesh. I wonder if the PM has read Chaoulli yet... He certainly doesn't seem to understand its long-term import.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A Matter of Law?

Off go the Tories on another unsubstantive escapade. How many more election losses until they realize that they need to put forward policies as opposed to attacking mismanagement? Unbelievable.

That aside, I am interested in the following Question Period exchange:

"Will the prime minister acknowledge that this severance package is nothing but
a Liberal damage-control deal," Pallister asked.

In his response, McCallum returned to the same message he'd already conveyed several times. "As I just explained, this is the letter of law," McCallum said. "The government will pay the minimum it is required to pay under the law."

Severance pay is obviously a requirement when employees are terminated, but when an executive quits of his own volition? Does that not seem rather bizarre? Any legal analysts out know much about employment law?

UPDATE: From the text of Dingwall's letter of resignation, it seems clear that he resigned on his own initiative. Additionally, an exchange in the Senate's Question Period on Wednesday, September 28th confirms that at no time was Dingwall called on to leave his post at the Mint:
Senator Stratton: Honourable senators, that letter amounts to nothing but obfuscation and whitewash. Was Mr. Dingwall pushed, was he fired, or did he leave voluntarily?

An independent audit of those expenses must be conducted, not an audit by the board of the Royal Canadian Mint. Was he fired? Was he pushed? Did he voluntarily resign? Those are fundamental questions.

Senator Austin: Honourable senators, I have three points. First, Mr. Dingwall stepped out as President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint on his own initiative. He was not pushed and his resignation was not requested. Mr. Dingwall is showing his high regard for public service and the defence of the institution for which he
was responsible. He does not want the Royal Canadian Mint to be involved in
controversy over his behaviour...

What would be the purpose of law requiring severance pay to people who retire in such circumstances, if there is absolutely no issue of his being forced out? Dingwall has received enough from the Canadian taxpayer.

Powerline on Miers

Nice to see them disappointed. And inconsistent. First they ask the right question, the Democratic reaction is going to be most interesting:
The next move it up to the Democrats; it will be interesting to see what they do. Undoubtedly they will question her qualifications, and you will hear the word "cronyism" from some of them. But will they filibuster? I've been predicting that they will, more or less regardless of the identity of the nominee, and there will no doubt be powerful pressure in that direction from far-left interest groups. But it is going to be very hard to explain publicly the rationale for a filibuster of Ms. Miers. Beyond her being (presumably) a Republican, what would the stated grounds be? She has little or no paper trail, and no track record, obviously, as a judge.

But after wondering aloud how to justify opposition, they state as follows:
"Instead, Bush chose a nominee who makes little sense on either substantive or political grounds: a second or third tier candidate whose choice will be, I think, slight political minus for the President because of her perceived lack of qualifications. I really don't get it.

PAUL concurs: This nominee is a two-fer -- she would not have been selected but for her gender, and she would not have been selected but for her status as a Bush crony."

Sounds like pretty legitimate grounds for criticism to me.


It's Miers. Instapundit has the roundup here: "I don't see what she brings to the table."

Andrew Sullivan: "Think of her as a very capable indentured servant of the Bush family."

There's quite a gulf between her qualifications and those of John Edwards, and the stench of cronyism surrounding this administration won't do this nominee any favours. If the Democrats want to fight, they'll have their opportunity. The main question? Will Bush's next nominee be any better for the Left?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Tart Wisdom

Some great stuff across the way... the fascination and takedown over the age of consent (the straw man of straw men, considering the fact that two convictions in ten years would have been shocking), the wallet contents, the Nuggett nickname, and the use of the word "Corker" as a post in itself.

Magic. You should see the rest of his tricks. Isn't that right kids? And I used to drink the White Lightning and Carbon White while on the Isles. Sad, I well know it.

Two Points

Two Conservative/Republican great thinkers are well-read readers of this excuse for a blog.

At times, they annoy me, even in their eloquence. At times. But that's why free speech and lyricism is valued.

But we often rail against Liberals for hypocrisy, so those engaged in the same on the contrarian side of things deserve the same. So two frustrating points, as follows:

1. Liam comments: "The problem with the Democrats riding anything to do with Bush's spend-happy ways 'til Nov '06 is that they're still usually finding ways to be comparatively worse with the spending."

In a word, no. As Gore should have played up more, as Veep he actually cast the deciding vote on the original Clinton tax hike that ushered in the greatest rise in prosperity (growth) in modern day America. It was key, responsible, gutsy, and correct, and not a single Republican (including Newt) supported him. Bold, fiscally responsible, and the rest. I don't want to hear how reading the lips of GWHB would have served you folks better.

Liam later said as follows on his own blog: "We can't use Iraq or Katrina as evidence of anything." Hands up those who think he would say the same if a Democrat held the purse strings of 1600 at the time. Exactly.

The next tax hike, whether ushered in by Republican or Democrat, circa '10, should be named for W. As Dean loved to say, and so accurately: if you want a fiscally responsible government, you better elect a democrat as President, because no Republican President in the last 34 years has balanced the budget. Not Reagan. I refuse to concede the point to so-called "tories" that no matter how unthrifty the Right's party is, the left will be worse. The evidence does Not bear you out. It is poor argument, and even worse logic. Don't let Delay and co. off the hook just because your ideology claims the other aisle must necessarily be terrible. Chances (and history) state baldly that you are wrong.

2. I had a second point. It is now 5AM or so, and I'm too tired to rant, given the above. Let's just say Rice is an absurd pipe dream, because in the modern day it is impossible to run for President without ever holding electoral office. I'm sorry Scharma, but Wes Clark showed how tough that process can be. Fantasies aside, she'd get steamrolled.

Go Sox!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

10 Random Saturday Afternoon Thoughts

1. To the Westminster City Council: Put Mandela on Trafalgar's 4th plint. He belongs in the heart of the square not off to the side by the Embassy.

2. When is Kinsella going to defend his old boss amidst his embarrassing resignation and the absurdly generous golden handshare that the Liberal cabinet will hand him on behalf of the Canadian taxpayer? And they wonder why people are cynical about politicians...

3. The Hollywood Stock Exchange is a wonderfully hilarious idea and great new addiction. All my money is in Joss Whedon's Serenity right now. Go see the film this weekend, then go rent the 11 episodes on DVD. One of television's great missed opportunities.

4. Speaking of TV shows, I am currently renting the first season of Lost. Spectacular. And though I missed season 6 of the West Wing, last week's opener looks promising. Alda v. Smits will be an election to remember.

5. You know things are bad for Bush when even Conservative writers are saying "No president has looked this impotent this long when it comes to defending presidential powers and prerogatives" and "he is vying to become the most free-spending president ever." Hopefully the Democrats ride this momentum through to November 06.

6. The sandcastle formula, or "Maximum angle of stability of a wet granular pile", has been revealed.

7. Not only does Denmark have a "Professional Santa", but he's just received compensation for the death of one of his reindeer.

8. A new "Icebar" opens today in London. Super Cool. Cooper, write up the review.

9. Paddy Power is in the news again, this time with its controversial "Last Supper" ad. Read the article - it's not the first time various uptight interest groups have complained. I agree with the sentiment of their spokesman: "people aren't supposed to take it as seriously as some people seem to be." Just relax, eh?

10. A man walks into a bar with a giraffe and they proceed to get blitzed. The giraffe, not used to drinking, quickly passes out on the floor. Finally, the man gets up, pays the tab, and heads for the door. The bartender yells out to him, "Hey! You can't leave that lyin' here!" The drunk replies, "It's not a lion. It's a giraffe."

Obama on Roberts and Politics

The Junior Senator from Illinois delivers a remarkable statement to bloggers (!) at Dailykos that well summarizes my thought on Roberts confirmation vote and the wider context of progressive politics in America. Read the whole thing, it is note for note brilliant. The thesis:
Our goal should be to stick to our guns on those core values that make this country great, show a spirit of flexibility and sustained attention that can achieve those goals, and try to create the sort of serious, adult, consensus around our problems that can admit Democrats, Republicans and Independents of good will. This is more than just a matter of "framing," although clarity of language, thought, and heart are required. It's a matter of actually having faith in the American people's ability to hear a real and authentic debate about the issues that matter.

Exactly. Can you imagine a Canadian politician delivering a similar reality check and "adult" type statement to his or her most devoted followers? Answer: Not Yet. When Obama makes his run, he'll have me knocking on doors for him in Concord amidst the January snow.