Thursday, October 20, 2005

Say Cheese!

It would be rather unsporting of me to not share "The Hammer's" mug shots. So, here you go!

"How Sweet It Is!!!" - Jackie Gleason

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Vice President Rice?

This little blurb was to be found on the U.S. News and World Report website this afternoon. I will publish it, in its entirety and then I will comment at the end.

“Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“‘It's certainly an interesting but I still think highly doubtful scenario,’ said a Bush insider. ‘And if that should happen,’ added the official, ‘there will undoubtedly be those who believe the whole thing was orchestrated – another brilliant Machiavellian move by the VP.’

“Said another Bush associate of the rumor, ‘Yes. This is not good.’ The rumor spread so fast that some Republicans by late morning were already drawing up reasons why Rice couldn't get the job or run for president in 2008.

“‘Isn't she pro-choice?’ asked a key Senate Republican aide. Many White House insiders, however, said the Post story and reports that the investigation was coming to a close had officials instead more focused on who would be dragged into the affair and if top aides would be indicted and forced to resign.

“‘Folks on the inside and near inside are holding their breath and wondering what's next,’ said a Bush adviser. But, he added, they aren't focused on the future of the vice president. ‘Not that, at least not seriously,’ he said.”

OK, god, where do I begin? First of all, is this woman even remotely qualified? She has never run in an election for anything before. For all we know, she could, quite literally be a tax-dodging, illegal immigrant hiring, lesbian, dwarf-lover. And while only the first, I believe, disqualifies one from being Vice President, the point is a good one. She has never been questioned thoroughly about her beliefs on any number of issues. Is that supposed to happen when the Republican Congress rubber-stamps her within a heartbeat of the Presidency.

Secondly, does anyone really believe that Dick Cheney is stupid enough to have implicated himself in this leak? Even if he did have knowledge of the leak, the information would have gone through so many intermediaries that getting to Cheney would be like trying to bust Tony Soprano.

Neo-Conservatives have pitched a fit about Harriet Mier being a Supreme Court Justice because not enough is known about her. Well, we know plenty about Condi Rice; she is, in fact, pro-choice as the “Republican staffer” asked. Rice is also pro-Affirmative Action. Those are two great big no-no’s with the neo-con set.

This rumor should be treated like the total rubbish that it is. While she has the perfect performance record of consistent mistakes and verbal gaffs to get a promotion from the President, this rumor is just something to fill a “slow” news day. It is something for the people in ridiculous pin-stripe suits in DC to talk about over their Ketel One Martinis at Happy Hour. Perhaps, instead of dealing in the hypothetical the lazy Fourth Pillar of our government could cover some real news, like Tom Delay getting fingerprinted. Now that is news!

Vats of Rat Poison and other nonsense…

Before I write this weeks blog entries, let me get a few point out of the way with brief commentary on several things that are going on or have gone down in the last week.

First and foremost, Bill O’Reilly appeared on the Daily Show last night to promote his book The O’Reilly Factor for kids. He was met with as cool as reception as anyone I have ever seen on the show. At one point, after continuous heckling, O’Reilly threatened to go up into the crowd. OK, I know he is tall, but he has “Total Pansy” written all over him. Does he intimidate any of you? Jon Stewart definitely got the better of O’Reilly proving my point once and for all that when O’Reilly doesn’t control the microphone feed of his guests and the commercial breaks he isn’t really all that overwhelming.

There were a number of zingers that are worth mentioning. In a discussion about O’Reilly’s ongoing boycott of all thing French, O’Reilly defended the boycott stating: “There's a lot of bad people out there and it's our job to go after them.” Without even missing a beat Stewart retorted by asking: “So when are you going to start?”

He continually got under O’Reilly’s skin until old Billy-boy called Stewart a “pin-head”. It was not O’Reilly’s finest hour, by any stretch.

In other news, a warrant was issued today in Austin, Texas for Representative Tom Delay on state conspiracy and money laundering charges. Delay is expected to surrender in his home county outside Houston and be transferred to Austin where he will be booked, fingerprinted and photographed. (On a side note, I will be forever indebted to the first person to post a comment with a link to Delay’s mug shots.) Delay’s lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, is hoping to avoid the fingerprinting and photographing but referred to the whole affair as “a matter of routine.” A matter of routine??? Maybe if you are John Gotti! I must admit to having a smug smile on my face as I type this. Any true conservative who feel that this is a huge loss for the conservative revolution of 1994 needs to read George Will’s column in last weeks Newsweek about K Street Conservatism, it is a great read.

It seems to me that the Tommy “Rat Trapper” Delay is feeling the shoe on the other foot. I wonder if he is enjoying getting “hammered” for a change. And no, I am not referring to drinking too many tequila shots in Juarez!

I read an article last week regarding an American effort, undertaken to correspond with the high level meeting between the Chinese and U.S. government officials taking place this week in Beijing, to convince the Chinese to save less and spend more of their discretionary income. All this is in response to reports that our trade surplus with China is set to exceed $200 billion. This is up from $162 billion just last year.

While Americans save on average less than 1% of our income, the Chinese, on average, save circa 40% of their income. This gap is flabbergasting. It continues to grow. The Chinese are earning more but spending the same amounts on goods and services.

A great quote from the article: “After viewing slabs of fatty pork and nibbling on a fried pastry, Mr. Snow extolled the virtues of the average Chinese buying ‘more stuff,’ be it Chinese-made sofas or new ovens. ‘We see the growth of consumerism ... as going directly to what is most on our mind, which is the global imbalance’ in trade, he said.”

I understand the economic argument that goes into this asinine scheme, but I question the logic. Lets see if I can break it down: 1. Americans save almost none of their income. 2. Americans buy a lot of good from China, creating a trade deficit. 3. The ‘powers that be’ think this is bad for the U.S. economy in the long run (duh!). 4. The U.S. starts an official campaign to get the Chinese people to save less and spend more, instilling America’s consumerist plague on them.

Wouldn’t it simply be easier to promote savings in the United States? No, because then all the corporations that support politicians and make all the useless crap wouldn’t be as rich.

What a joke!