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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mr. Sanford…

...Nobody would be trying to “railroad” you out of office if you would only do the honorable, decent, and right thing: leave voluntarily.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford brushed off an appeal from Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer on Wednesday to step down, saying that as attractive as it sounds, it would be wrong.

“I’m not going to be railroaded out of this office by political opponents or folks who were never fans of mine in the first place,” he said at a news conference where he announced he was sending a letter to Bauer rejecting his appeal.

Earlier in the day, Bauer called for the embattled governor to step down, saying the state has been crippled by questions over the legality of the governor’s travel, which included trips to visit his mistress.

Sanford cast Bauer’s appeal as an offer that he very much appreciates but cannot accept.

“Me hanging up the spurs 16 months out—as comfortable as that would be, as much as I might like to do that on a personal basis—it is wrong,” he said, explaining that “as much as you might dislike somebody, it is not right to go out and try to rewrite history because we have an incredible record when it comes to watching out for the taxpayer.”

That’s just more selfish, self-justifying behavior from a man who doesn’t seem to understand how much his actions have hurt his family, his party, and his standing as a leader.

It’s at times like these where I remember my bartending days. Every so often, someone would come in and have too much to drink. Sometimes it would be someone I liked, but when they went a few drinks over the edge, they simply couldn’t understand why no one was laughing at their jokes, why no one wanted to have another round, why no one was having as good a time as they were having. They couldn’t quite grasp that the party really was over for them. I would say to them the same thing that I would like to say to Sanford: “Sir, it’s time to leave.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Goodbye, Senator Edward Kennedy

Senator Edward Kennedy has died.

From Fox News online, this;

When John Kennedy was elected to the presidency in 1960, it appeared the Kennedy clan had the makings of a political dynasty. At the time, Robert Kennedy was attorney general and Teddy, as he was affectionately known, was elected to the Senate in 1962.

But Kennedy soon found himself alone on the political stage after his brothers were killed by assassins in 1963 and 1968.

Shouldering the burden of a grieving family, Kennedy delivered Bobby’s eulogy at New York’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in 1968, attributing to Robert a quote by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: “Some men see things as they are and say ‘why.’ I dream things that never were and say ‘why not.’”

He added: “Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today pray that what he was to us, and what he wished for others will someday come to pass for all the world.”

But Kennedy’s own aspirations for the White House were dashed in 1969 when his car plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick on Martha’s Vineyard, killing Robert Kennedy campaign aide Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy swam to safety and only alerted authorities to the accident hours later.

As Kopechne’s body was pulled from the dark sedan, the senator told investigators he panicked.

“That tragedy will live with me for the rest of my life...every day for the rest of my life,” he said.

Rest in peace.

Indeed (and Other Such Gestures of Agreement)

Want to return to growth? Then stop this President and his Congress.

Speak truth to power, brother Vodka.

Drink to Your Health? Protest, Anti-Protest, and Mini-Bash on Friday

Robert Hayes points to something that might interest all of us.

Join OFA [Organization for America] as we show how many support health insurance reform! The OFA national bus tour is stopping in key states to rally supporters in support of President Obama’s efforts to reform health insurance. NOW is the time to have our voices heard.


Time: Friday, August 28 from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Host: Gabriel Lifton-Zoline
Location:
Tivoli Commons, Auraria Campus (Denver, CO)
900 Auraria Parkway
Denver, CO 80217

For some of y’all, you might want to show up and show your support. Me, I’d like to show up and remind folks that there are a lot of us who don’t like their ideas. Either way, it sounds like a good place and time for a little friendly shouting.

And, after, we can raise a beer to each other’s health at a near-by bar. If the Boiler Room at the Tivoli hadn’t closed, it would be the perfect place (at least, I think it’s closed--if anyone knows better, I’d be happy to hear). The default position, of course, would be Weinkoop, but I’m open to suggestion.

Let me know what y’all think, and spread the word.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Told You They Were Killing Themselves (In a Political Sense, That Is)

The post-election talk of a permanent Democratic majority is looking a little funny now--and, whenever I run across a true believer spouting the same kind of talk over the last few weeks in blogs and message boards, it’s downright hilarious. While the American public staged a painful spanking of the GOP, that doesn’t mean it isn’t noticing the bullying, hypocrisy, and overreach by an increasingly out-of-touch and belligerent Democratic majority. While we’re still a long way out from the actual voting, it would be pretty surprising if the right doesn’t take a big chunk out of that supposedly unassailable Democratic majority. Enough, in fact, that they might be able to function as a strong opposition party--a feat that they would be utterly incapable of right now if it weren’t for the left’s incompetence, increasing public outrage over government spending and the handling of some of President Obama’s signature policy issues (specifically, health care and cap-and-trade), and the blue dog Democrats who have made it possible for the Republican’s paltry numbers to be meaningful in this debate.

The GOP should be thanking Joe and Jane Public for taking interest in the political process this year and rank-and-file Democrats for treating Joe and Jane as if they were un-patriotic buffoons for daring to question their policy dictates.

Politically, for the left, the health care debate really is starting to look like political suicide.

It’s the highest stakes ever for a Nevada election, and former boxer Sen. Harry Reid is on the ropes early. Either Republican Danny Tarkanian or Sue Lowden would knock out Reid in a general election, according to a recent poll of Nevada voters.

The results suggest the Democratic Senate majority leader will have to punch hard and often in order to retain his position as the most accomplished politician in state history, in terms of job status.

Nevadans favored Tarkanian over Reid 49 percent to 38 percent and Lowden over Reid 45 percent to 40 percent, according to the poll.

As I’ve said before, though, if the GOP really wants to capitalize on this moment in a meaningful way, it needs to do more than sit back and watch the carnage. It needs to offer a meaningful and substantial alternative to the left’s excesses; it needs to be, again, a conservative party with principled conservative leadership that stands for something other than merely being better than the alternative (and not always even that).

For Democrats, it’s a tough situation. Any Democrat in a centrist or conservative state and any Democrat that won small in their last election probably wants some cover going into the mid-terms. They want the freedom to vote against unpopular legislation regardless of their own position on the subject. With health care, they aren’t getting that cover, and it may well be the defining issue going into the next elections.

It doesn’t help that the president is proving to be less popular and more divisive than many of his supporters expected. Staring down the muzzle of more than doubling the huge national debt over the next decade certainly isn’t helping his cause, but neither is the dismissive tone coming from the White House.

Before White House press secretary Robert Gibbs left town, he tried to clarify President Barack Obama’s comment that “everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up.” Gibbs explained to reporters that what the president meant was that they were a bunch of bed wetters who made too much out of the implosion of the White House health care strategy.

Gibbs has grown more sardonic and patronizing as the summer wears on and Obama’s poll numbers wilt.

The press secretary has lectured reporters on the nature of their jobs — apparently to defend the administration against “misinformation” rather than asking impertinent questions like “How will you pay for it?”

Is the Obama presidency already in danger? Hardly. The Democrats still have numbers and the public still harbors some mistrust of the GOP. But every week that goes by sees the president further and further back on his heels and he is in danger of losing the health care debate--a loss that would probably define him as more politically weak than anyone could have guessed.

For me, this is a tough thing to watch. I had hoped that Obama would govern well--that he would be moderate and careful, that he would reach across the aisle and help give the country some common cause to rally behind. I didn’t vote for him, but I wanted him to succeed (which, in case you’re reading this wrong, meant that I wanted him to have the right policies, the right ideas, and the right kind of leadership for our times). I don’t like watching any president fail because that means that the country is in worse shape at the end of his tenure than it was beforehand.

I’m becoming increasingly worried that we’re going to experience a profoundly failed presidency and that the damage is going to stretch far into our country’s future.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Democrats Want to Commit Suicide (Sadly, They’ll Try to Take the Rest of Us With Them)

It looks more and more like the Democrats will spearhead their health care plan without help from Republicans.

Republicans signaled Tuesday that dropping the public option would not garner additional GOP backing. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), the second-ranking Senate Republican leader, criticized an alternative idea of creating a private insurance cooperative, calling it a “Trojan horse” that was effectively the same as the public option.

“It doesn’t matter what you call it, they want it to accomplish something Republicans are opposed to,” he said. “There is no way that Republicans are going to support a trillion-dollar bill.”

Kyl’s comments came as other conservative Republicans joined in to bash the co-ops idea. Rep. Tom Price (Ga.) said “a co-op that is simply another name for a public option, or government-run plan, will be rejected by the American people.”

One Democratic strategist involved in coordinating the pro-reform message among many like-minded groups said the Republican response was predictable.

“We were always concerned about leading with our glass jaw,” he said. “We felt we probably shouldn’t make health-care reform be about this because it falls so easily into the socialized medicine, big-government theme.”

Groups pushing for a public plan urged the White House on Tuesday to stick to its guns.

Which makes me happy: the Republicans should oppose what the Democrats have proposed (the various ideas, nebulous plans, and scads of talking points) on principle and will hopefully come back with their own, principles reform option. This would be a good time for the GOP leadership to make sure that they get their people in line and stand opposed to any plan that both won’t fix our health care problems and will likely cost the country billions of dollars that we can hardly afford.

The GOP shouldn’t be in the business of providing cover for the left’s mistakes. And bulling through a health care plan while the country is growing in opposition is a mistake that could well lead to a giant flip in the political make-up of the House and Senate after the mid-term elections. The down side to that is very simply that if they manage to pass the wrong reforms, losing their super-majority at the mid-terms will be too late to save us from the damage that the reform would cause.

The Democratic leadership seems intent on committing political suicide (and their progressive “allies” are standing beneath the ledge yelling for them to jump). Which, from where I stand on the right, would be a bit of fun theater if it didn’t mean they were going to do their best to take our economy down, too. The GOP lost big enough--and, in many ways, deservedly--that they can’t stop the legislation on their own; the rest of us have to hope that the blue dogs stand strong.

Steyn has it right on NRO yesterday:

...Right now, if I want a hip replacement, it’s between me and my doctor; the government does not have a seat at the table. The minute it does, my hip’s needs are subordinate to national hip policy, which in turn is subordinate to macro budgetary considerations.
[...]
I don’t think this is any time for NR to be joining the Frumsters and deploring the halfwit vulgarity of déclassé immoderates like Palin. This is a big-stakes battle: If we cross this bridge, there’s no going back. Being “moderate” is not a good strategy. It risks delivering the nation to the usual reach-across-the-aisle compromise that will get Democrats far enough across the bridge that the Big Government ratchet effect will do the rest.

No time for weak knees, no time for happy compromises; this is a time for principled opposition. The GOP will lose some big battles over the next couple years, but America will be better off by far if we can find some way to win this little war.

PS - Check out what Macomber has to say on the subject (and a few others, too).

Short Bits O’ Football

Firstly, no. Just no. Brett, what the hell are you doing?

Secondly, yes, Brandon Marshall deserves better. He’s been playing for a small, mid-draft contract while putting up the numbers of a high, first-round pick. I understand the questions about both his health and his off-field problems, but he’s unlikely to pull the kind of compensation that he’s worth in any kind of a trade and he really can be a big contributor on a team that needs him. There are a number of players on the defensive side of the ball that were rewarded with giant contracts and signing bonuses and who never managed to make any impact at all on the field (I’m talking to you, Moss, and to you, too, Crowder). Marshall, in contrast, contributed big, played out a few years of a highly underpaid contract, and just recently voiced his first bit of disgruntlement. My guess is that he finally realized that NFL players have short careers and that if he wanted to make the kind of money that will take care of him for the rest of his life, he needs to get a good contract before a career-ending injury robs him of the ability to make cuts or push upfield with the same strength that he has now.

While Marshall will make about $2.2 million this years, most of that money comes in the form of incentives. His base salary is closer to half a million while other top wide receivers earn significantly more and Marshall was a top 10 receiver in almost every category last year, easily outpacing TO and Randy Moss, both of whom have much larger contracts. There is little reason to believe he couldn’t hit something like 100 catches and 1300 yards again this season, and that’s the kind of guy who Orton (or Simms) will appreciate down the stretch. That’s no knock against Stokley or Royal, but just an acknowledgement that Marshall’s size, speed, talent, and competitive nature.

Yes, he needs to clean up his private life, but he’s not a lost cause. Give him another chance, give him a better contract, and get one of the most talented young receivers back on the field for the Broncos.

Speaking of second chances, I’m happy as hell that Michael Vick landed with a team and a quarterback who could give him the ultimate second chance. I was a big fan when he came out of college, a bit disappointed the further he got into his career, and mad as hell when he was found to be hip-deep in a dog fighting scandal. But I do believe in second chances and I trust Tony Dungy’s judgement when it comes to players. The man served his time in prison and now has an opportunity to fix the things that he did wrong; how he comports himself from now on will define just how deserving he is of that second chance.

The belief in the potential for redemption--on just about every level of a life--is deeply ingrained in Western, Judeo-Christian culture which is one of the reasons that there most definitely are second acts in American lives. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

About Those Right-Wing Extremists (Updated and Bumped)

Right Wing Extremists Descend Upon Town Halls Nationwide.

With a useful picture to help you spot said political terrorists. Which will be nice for congresswoman Betsy Markey (D-CO) when she finally gets around to talking to her constituents on the subject.

To be fair, I can’t say that I blame any of the Democrats--especially the freshmen or anyone in a more conservative district--who are being saddled with an increasingly unpopular set of shifting proposals on health care, who are watching opinion polls flipping on them dramatically, and who are faced with the probability of very angry voters showing up to their town hall meetings and putting them in the position of having to either say “no” to the Democratic party leadership or saying potentially saying “no” to their own re-election possibilities. I’d want to head off on a fact-finding mission, too; the Middle East seems safer for them.

Some folks--mostly deranged, right-wing extremists from what I hear--are doing their best to ensure that their representatives have a good opportunity to hear their thoughts, though. From a news release I received just a bit ago:

Concerned citizens are making it very easy for Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Tex., to keep his promise to meet with constituents regarding the health care reform bill.  Friday, “town meeting” style rallies will take place at all three of Edwards’ district office locations in Cleburne, Bryan, and Waco.  Simultaneous news conferences will be held at noon to discuss HR 3200, the so-called “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009.”

“Americans are facing an unprecedented event in our history,” said Randy Shelton organizer of the Granbury Tea Party.  “Never before has the private industry that has made America so great been so threatened by a growing government. No where has a government take-over of a private industry worked out well for the private sector. Nowherehas it been successful.”

Edwards has told KBTX-TV in Bryan that he “will not vote for any bill that sets up a nationally socialized plan like Canadian health care, a one-size-fits-all.  That won’t work in America, I won’t support it, and I don’t think it’ll pass Congress.”

But Shelton said such a pledge is meaningless, since Congress isn’t considering moving directly to a Canadian-style system.

I know: crazy bastards. How dare they think they should have a voice in the political process?

Update: There’s an app for that. Awesome.

Is it just me or is PJTV getting better? Some of the stuff I’ve been seeing from them lately is really hitting a good note.

Now, go check out what Combs has to say about the town hall meetings. I suspect that he’s right: if you want your constituents to conduct themselves civilly, treat them with respect and be willing to listen.

New Music on Friday

I’m giving the Soulsavers’ new album, Broken a first listen right now and I am stunned. It is utterly gorgeous and may very well stand as one of the finest things that Lanegan has been involved in for a very long time.

Time permitting, a full review will follow in the next few days, but the upshot is this: go ahead and get this one. It ain’t party music, but it’s a wonderful bit of art.

Pre-Season Hilarity: Broncos v/ 49ers (Updated)

So, the Broncos defense looks like they’re picking up right from where they left off last year.

Which is sad for me.

On the plus side, Brandon Marshall was found not guilty, so he can get right back to the crucial business of trying to get out of Denver.

Which is sad for me.

On the plus-er side, the offense is showing some promise. Not huge plays, but efficient plays, and Eddie Royal and Brandon Stokley look like they’re ready to play.

Which is, well, actually it’s nice for me.

For the record, early in an exceptionally meaningless first quarter of a first pre-season game, Orton is looking pretty good. His arm strength is nowhere near Cutler’s and he works much harder to give the ball some heat, but his accuracy has been good, his field vision has been good...and, damnit, he just threw an interception. And it was entirely his fault.

Which gets us back to sadness.

The second interception (to Dre Bly, former Bronco) is even more painful. But the third is almost funny.

No it’s not.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tonight’s Artistic Wonder

Tonight, as I ponder impending joblessness, I am watching Jim Jarmusch’s strange masterpiece, Dead Man.

Awkward, strange, unsettling, and (self-consciously) odd, Roger Ebert famously said “Jim Jarmusch is trying to get at something here, and I don’t have a clue what it is.” I found it fascinating, funny, and entrancing. It has a Neil Young, electric guitars soundtrack over dusty, black-and-white, cowboys-and-indians story with a roaming cast of famous faces and Scarlet Letter-esque foreshadowings of doom. It is a little bit ridiculous; Ebert had a point.

Which isn’t to dismiss this story of a man named William Blake, an Indian named Nobody, and big heapings of cinematic loneliness. The whole thing heads to an end that is defined early in the film when William Blake, an accountant from Cleveland, is shot. He will die and there is nothing to stop it. In that respect, the movie lets us worry over a fate that we should know that we share--we are all headed (slowly, we hope) toward our own death and it didn’t take a gun to set us on the course. Once that is established, we can settle in to see the story of a man with a poet’s name and precious little poetry in his life. The portrait of Blake is so bleak, in fact, that I found myself simply hoping that he would find some measure of grace before the end.

It’s not the easiest story, its pacing is uneven, and the script can be distracting, but that may be because the story seems to have an almost literary ambition behind its cinematic self-indulgence. Move past those rough bits and open yourself to the varied experiences of William Blake’s last days, and you might find a story worth loving, though. Or, at least, a story worth watching.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Maybe I’ll Join the Border Patrol

I mean, I might do it just to drive the new Raptor.

Important, Big, Ridiculous Request

I am preparing a cover letter and resume for a company who has listed a marketing job that I want. Really want. The thing is that I am only marginally qualified on paper (ridiculously qualified when it comes to capacity to do the job), and, with your help, hoping to shore up one small shortfall: I need some LinkedIn recommends. The company that has posted the listing is hoping to find someone who has been recommended by others--and, like most every other social networking site, I generally ignore LinkedIn unless someone sends me a friend request.

So, back to the point: if those of you who know me, who are in my LinkedIn network, and who genuinely believe I am worth the effort, please do me a favor and give me a recommendation on the site. It’s one of those things that might make the difference between getting an interview and getting a brush-off.

Thanks.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oh, Yeah, Now I See It…

Now I see how some folks could believe that those town hall disruptions and the public’s antipathy toward the Democrat’s health care plan is planted solely in right wing loonies, paid big pharma flacks, and Republican party apparatchiks. The public support is, otherwise, overwhelming.

Or, wait, not it’s not.

New Rasmussen Reports polling shows public support for the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats has fallen to a new low. Data released yesterday shows that 51% fear the federal government more than private insurance companies. Thirty-two percent (32%) favor a single-payer health care system for the U.S. while 57% are opposed.

Because, no, Americans still aren’t fans of the idea of single payer systems and are highly skeptical of anything that might bring us there. Bullying techniques (and, yes, the push to pass something on some ridiculous timeline in a similar style as the cap-and-trade push absolutely is bullying) looked remarkably desperate. That the left had to abandon their efforts in the face of public push-back and party defections was, without a doubt, a big loss for the Democrats. Ridiculing protestors, calling them Nazis, and telling them that their opinions are manufactured and bought by insurance companies and the GOP hasn’t proven to be a good strategy for winning hearts and minds, either.

With a massive public debt, increasing unemployment, unprecedented Federal government spending, and a population increasingly worried about their own futures and the future of the country, now doesn’t seem to be a good time to be piling on a giant new public initiative. Some--like Paul Krugman--would disagree, but the town hall protests seem to show that a good portion of the public shares my concern. Democrats are betting that they bull through some kind of a package, and some are betting their futures on their constituents finally lining up behind whatever reform package that they pass.

That seems unlikely.

The Democrats are losing the mid-term elections right now. For that matter, Obama may well be losing his next election right now, too.

Speed Update:

This can’t help, either.

President Obama today suggested that the health care reform legislation for which he’s pushing has been endorsed by the American Association of Retired Person.

“We have the AARP on board because they know this is a good deal for our seniors,” the president said.

At another point he said: “Well, first of all, another myth that we’ve been hearing about is this notion that somehow we’re going to be cutting your Medicare benefits.  We are not.  AARP would not be endorsing a bill if it was undermining Medicare, okay?”

The problem?

The AARP hasn’t endorsed any plan yet.

Unforced error.

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