Plugging Back In

Ken AshfordRandom Musings2 Comments

There’s no point in trying to catch up with a world that keeps on spinning while you take the holidays to be with family.  However, had I been around, I would have liked to comment on a thing or two.  They are, in no particular order…

Schiavelli(1)  Vincent Schiavelli (pictured left) died.  I always liked him.  A good character actor.  Good in Ghost as the crazy ghost in the subway.  Good in Cuckoo’s Nest, too.

(2)  Emily Mark informs me that she’s Not Afraid Of Anything (mp3 – will open a new window; even on a fast connection, it will take several minutes to load and play)

(3)  Wiretapping the UN Security Council?  I guess the "we only tap terrorists" excuse isn’t going to hold much water.

(4)  I photoblogged my car trip home for the holidays.  I’ve deleted those posts now, since they were not very interesting.  Blogger Jeremy Hermanns, however, had quite a different commuting experience yesterday, and he photoblogged it as it happened: Alaska Flight 536 – Rapid De-pressurization and Panic at 30k Feet.  And apparently, Alaska Airlines people are "anonymously" pestering him about his post.

(5)  The mainstream media — Newsweek — goes to #1 lefty blogger Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (of Daily Kos) for some handicapping on the 2006 election races.

(6)  From yesterday’s press gaggle:

Good morning. Let me update you on the President’s schedule. Yesterday, after arriving, he went out and did some cutting and clearing brush, and then was at his home on the ranch. And this morning he had his normal intelligence briefings, and he was out this morning clearing some brush and is right now — or has just recently concluded a bicycle ride and he’ll be spending the rest of the day at home with his wife and mother-in-law.

Is it just me or does Bush’s ranch have an awful lot of brush?  I mean, that’s all he does out there is "clear brush".  Frankly, I think "clearing brush" must be a euphemism for something else, but I’ll let someone with a cleaner mind determine what it really means.

(7)  Conservative blogger Captain Ed rates "The Worst Ten Americans Of All Time".  With the exception of #10 (Jimmy Carter), he’s not off the mark.  My only quibble would be the order.  His posts are here (8 through 10), here (5 through 7), here (2 through 4) and here (#1 on the list – J. Edgar Hoover)

(8)  Lizard Queen is blogging again.

(9)  John Hindrocket at conservative blog Powerline:

[T]he [Washington] Post’s reporters are part of a lavishly funded and monolithic media effort to misreport the Iraq war for the purpose of bringing down the Bush administration.

Really?  That’s funny.  WaPo endorsed the war.  Here’s an excerpt from a February 5, 2003 editorial:

[T]he United States should lead a force to remove Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship and locate and destroy its chemical and biological weapons and its nuclear program. The Iraqi regime poses a threat not just to the United States but to global order.

Once again proving that Time’s 2004 Blog Of The Year is a joke.

(10)  With all due respect, Pope Benedict, they’re really not.

(11)  Did you know… that women outnumber men in colleges now, and the number of white men attending college is experiencing a rather dramatic dropoff?  It’s true.

(12)  Conservative bloggers are making much of this Rasmussen Poll:

Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely.

Just 26% believe President Bush is the first to authorize a program like the one currently in the news. Forty-eight percent (48%) say he is not while 26% are not sure.

I don’t doubt the results, and to a large extent, I am among those who think we should be listening on the conversations of terrorist suspects.  But that’s not what the kerfuffle is about.  The issue is whether the President can order the government do so without a warrant and expressly against statutes written by Congress.  Rasmussen should go back and ask the same people whether or not they think the President break the law whenever he wants to.

Kaus at the Huffington Post says pretty much the same thing:

If the polling question asked was "do you think that the government should be able to listen secretly to any international phone calls to the United States that it wants to on the approval of a shift supervisor at the National Security Agency without a warrant or any court or legislative supervision whatsoever," the numbers would be very different.

By the way, many in the US intelligence agencies think Bush’s tactics hurt them (and by extension, us) in the long run.

Something else needs to be said.  Evidence obtained through these NSA wiretaps are inadmissible in court.  So how can we "bring these terrorists to justice" (to quote Bush)?

(13)  ALICUBlog provides a laugh:


"I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you."

HAW HAW HAW! AW HAW HAW HAW HAW! Thassa good one! Yee-haaa!


"I’m from the government, and I’m here to spy on you and perhaps indefinitely detain you without charges."

That sounds reasonable.

Fredsigned_1 (14)  The "Time To Make The Donuts" actor (pictured, right) is dead, too.

(15)  The Fighting Dem phenomenon continues to grow.

More than 30 Iraq and Persian Gulf War veterans have entered congressional races across the country as Democrats, hoping to capitalize on their military experience to topple the incumbent Republican majority […]

On Dec. 20, Fawcett and Winter joined 35 Democratic veterans running for Congress at a strategy session in Washington, D.C.

The veterans voted on a name for their emerging caucuslike campaign coalition: Veterans for a Secure America. They also agreed that their military backgrounds should be promoted as credentials for leadership across the full spectrum of public policy, said Fawcett, an Air Force veteran of the 1991 Gulf War who has taught at the Air Force Academy and now works as a consultant to Northern Command in Colorado Springs.

The group will reconvene in Washington in February to respond to President Bush’s State of the Union address in a news conference on the steps of the Capitol, Winter said. An attorney and the former president of the grassroots liberal organizing group Be The Change, Winter spent 10 peacetime years in the Marine Corps and the Navy.

Thirty-five Gulf and Iraqi War veterans running for office; and only one Republican.

(16)  Life is not going to be as funny anymore: Dave Barry to stop writing his weekly column.

(17)  The War on Christmas is over.  Treaty signed on Island of Misfit Toys (so says INDC Journal):