Let's run the numbers

Friday, November 25, 2005

Sometimes headlines just write themselves

Like this one from the Washington Post today: Ex-FEMA Head Starts Disaster Planning Firm

Michael Brown certainly has shown he can plan a disaster. Look at how awful Hurricane Katrina was. For preventing or fixing things afterwards, he's not so good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Out of town

I was in Denver last week. I've not had time to get up to speed on the latest Karl Rove revelations, or the latest Supreme Court news. Hopefully soon.

Of late I've spent a lot of time listening to RTE News from the Irish Republic. It's escapism pure and simple. Local news isn't as important as U.S. foreign policy, or domestic policy when that causes espionage and treason, but sometimes I just cannot stand our news. Especially when we're talking about the president's senior political advisor blowing the cover of a CIA agent for political payback. Does anyone remember when Dick Morris was one of Bill Clinton's political advisors, and he was caught sucking the toes of a whore? Remember the outcry? And he wasn't even the deputy chief of staff? Like Bob Dole, I'm asking "Where is the outrage?"

Anyway, since I was in Denver, and everyone on here who has been around for a while knows I like to eat, here are a few favorite places.

One was Sonoda Sushi. We went to the location on Market Street, and it is only the second sushi bar I've been to that does the sweet shrimp properly, bringing out the heads deep fried. The places I've been in DC do not. Tasty sushi.

The other is the Wynkoop Brewery. Great beer, including several hand pumped brews, cask-conditioned gravity feed on Wednesdays, a good scotch lineup, and a good kitchen. I had the grilled elk. Yum. The B3K swarzbier is excellent.

Finally, an all-purpose place near the Brown Palace, when you don't want to pay Brown Palace prices, is the Trinity Grille. The venison dinner platter is excellent, but avoid the beef and cheddar sandwich, it's grilled and too greasy. Coors $3 most of the time, $2 from 4 to 6 PM. And, yes, Coors tastes better out there :)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

What's the deal with Bandar?

You know, Bandar bin Sultan, Ambassador from Saudi Arabia to the US? The guy the Bushes call "Bandar Bush"? Has he resigned? BBC said he has. But then Saudi sources have said that he will return to work at the end of August.

The International Herald Tribune sums it up pretty well. Bandar is not in Washington. King Fahd has been in poor health since he had a stroke in 1995 (I think) and the kingdom is under the de facto caretaker rule by Crown Prince Abdullah. Fahd had a case of pneumonia that put him in hospital recently, and has been declining.

If King Fahd dies, Abdullah becomes king. Prince Sultan, Prince Bandar's father, becomes Crown Prince. Abdullah, like Fahd, is in his eighties. I'm not sure about the age of Prince Sultan. Bandar may be angling to become intelligence chief or defense chief (the position currently held by his father) to increase his chances of becoming Crown Prince, and King eventually.

Or, Bandar is suffering from a recurrance of other health problems. Or, he's just tired after having been Ambassador since 1983.

I really don't know, and news reports are inconclusive. Anybody have any ideas?


New to the blogroll

This blogger is great, even if just for the Friday Nudibranch Blogging. Get your minds out of the gutter and check out the sea slug! Bouphonia: Friday Nudibranch Blogging

Saturday, July 02, 2005

PBS and bias

I've been following the PBS/NPR/Corporation for Public Broadcasting kerflufle for a few days. Basically, the chairman of CPB, Ken Tomlinson, hired a consultant to provide a report to him about liberal bias in PBS and NPR programs. Also, his report analyzed whether or not the shows were favorable of the Bush administration or not. I can almost understand wanting to make sure reporting was truthful, factual, and unbiased. But when they start rating shows based on favorability to the Bush administration, they stepped way over the line.

PBS is not a propaganda outlet for the Bush administration. They've already got Fox News, for crying out loud. To prepare a report like this means that the administration may be trying to turn them into one.This and the recent appointment of Patricia S. Harrison, former Undersecretary of State and former Republican Party co-chair, as head of PBS, call the future of PBS and CPB into question. The Corporation was set up to shield PBS and NPR from political influence. The shield is melting under the onslaught.

CPB Liberal Bias Study Flawed, Critics Say

A consultant who monitored news and talk programs on public radio and TV found that liberal and anti-administration views were widespread, but critics said the consultant's work was itself biased and riddled with errors.

The consultant, Frederick W. Mann, was secretly hired last year by Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the agency that disburses about $400 million in federal tax funds to public broadcasters. In recent months, Tomlinson has criticized National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service for an allegedly liberal bias and has pushed PBS to add programs with a more conservative tone.


The report labels guests on these programs "liberal," "conservative" or "neutral," or categorizes them by such descriptions as "pro-Bush," "anti-Bush," "support administration," "oppose administration." It found "Now" (hosted by Moyers and in part by David Brancaccio) to be rife with liberal views; of 136 segments reviewed, it said 92 "clearly opposed" administration policy, while the balance were "neutral" or "not about policy." It also found that when "conservatives/Republicans" were guests, they "mostly opposed" the administration. Tomlinson has often cited the Moyers show in his public critiques.

Of 46 guests on Rehm's program, "liberal" viewpoints outnumbered "conservative" viewpoints by 22 to 5, according to Mann.

But Mann never explains his labeling criteria or indicates in any detail which specific comment or comments earned a guest a particular characterization.

Dorgan pointed out that "red-blooded" conservatives such as Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and former congressman Bob Barr (R-Ga.) were classified as "liberal" and "anti-administration" apparently for briefly expressing views that differed from administration policy. Dorgan called the report "kind of a nutty project" and an "amateurish attempt to prove a liberal bias," noting Mann had apparently faxed his findings to Tomlinson from Mary Ann's Hallmark, a card store in Indianapolis.


Karl Rove source of Valerie Plame leak

This according to Editor and Publisher, who quote Lawrence O'Donnell on the McLaughlin Group. It's just sad, really. We've got an administration that doesn't really care about policy, good government, or national security. All they care about is what is useful for them now. In this case, national security went by the wayside to extract political payback, "don't fuck with us" points.

MSNBC Analyst Says Cooper Documents Reveal Karl Rove as Source in Plame Case: "NEW YORK Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to federal court, presumably revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant on the name of that source, and what might happen to him or her. Tonight, on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show, Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, claimed to know that name--and it is, according to him, top White House mastermind Karl Rove."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ahh, if we could only get this kind of thing here

This is the kind of government report that shows you have a functioning democracy. The government investigated itself, and found that the Popular Party spun the information it had on the March 11 commuter train bombing in Madrid to influence the electorate, to prevent a backlash for supporting the War in Iraq.

What would the investigation of 9/11, the war in Afghanistan, and the War in Iraq look like if we had a government body with subpoena powers that wanted to investigate this? I guarantee it would hold someone in the executive office accountable rather than saying "Oops" like the 9/11 commission report said.

Spain's govt 'twisted' bombings for gains - report - Yahoo! News

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's previous center-right government 'manipulated and twisted' the Madrid train bombings of March 2004 in a bid to salvage general elections three days later, a parliamentary commission found on Wednesday.

In a 200-page report after a year of bitter wrangling, the commission accused Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party (PP) government of ignoring police warnings that its support for the Iraq war increased the threat from Islamic terrorism in Spain.

The PP, which lost power to the Socialist party amid a backlash at its handling of the Islamic militant bombings, was the only party not to support the commission's findings.

Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, including a tape by an Islamic group saying the attack was a reprisal for Spain's role in Iraq, the PP insisted Basque separatist guerrillas ETA were the prime suspects in the attacks which killed 191 people.

'The objective was to influence public opinion about the authors of the attack and avoid political consequences which might harm the electoral interests of the Popular Party,' read the final report. The report alleged the PP was afraid of public outcry if the bombings were linked to its unpopular support for the Iraq war.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Conch Fritters

I never did get that post done, but here are my two picks. If you like the cornmeal style, almost hush-puppy like fritters, go to Herbie's in Marathon. If you want a more flour-based, a la corn fritters or funnel cakes, go to Alabama Jack's on Card Sound Road, next to the Card Sound Bridge, in Key Largo. Both are excellent examples of their styles, although Herbie's has better blackened Mangrove Snapper sandwiches.


The Daily Show

Note to self: Do not watch The Daily Show with your mother-in-law, especially when they're showing Jim Sensenbrenner cutting off witnesses before the committee, then cutting off the committee, taking his gavel, going home, and on the way out ordering the Democrat's mikes be cut off. She'll just get pissed off that her side isn't understood and is getting made fun of. And then she'll say that Dick Durban is an idiot.

Just for the record, I don't think the Nazi's used peeing on religious texts as a method of controlling prisoners. And I don't think that we've done everything that the Stalin-era gulags, or Pol Pot did. But when you hear about the things we have done, you don't think of America. We used to be better than this. We didn't do anything like this, so the contrast between the light and darkness was stronger. Instead, now we're slipping in that direction, turning grey and muddy, all because of a president who doesn't see anything but as black and white.


Well, that election sucked

I kept hoping that I'd wake up and President Kerry (or dare I say it, President Gore?) would have made everything better. Oh well, back to work.

Update: No, I'm not back just to take cheap shots at my mom-in-law. She's a sweet lady with a minor political problem. But, after having sat on the sidelines, I think I'm remiss if I'm not descending into shrill unholy madness due to the mendacity, stupidity, incompetence, recklessness, and idiocy of the Bush administration and its allies. Not while I've got a *mostly* free soapbox to stand on. Or, as the bumper sticker said, "If your not completely outraged, you haven't been paying attention."

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


A few hours ago, I thought Kerry won. Anyway, I think that he will still win, but my tummy is upset now. Anyway, let's hope that it comes together for Kerry.