February 03, 2006

With the Rolling Stones scheduled to perform at halftime Sunday, the New York Times notes an earlier, infamous performance by the band, on the same night as the first Super Bowl:
When the first Super Bowl was played on Jan. 15, 1967, it was called the world championship game and the halftime music was performed by the marching bands from the universities of Michigan and Arizona.

But the Stones were also on TV that day, a few hours later, on "The Ed Sullivan Show." They wanted to sing "Let's Spend the Night Together," but Sullivan insisted they change the lyrics to "Let's Spend Some Time Together."

Jagger consented, reluctantly, but rolled his eyes while he sang. A videotape of the telecast seems to reveal him mumbling one chorus as "Let's Spend Some Night Together." At the end of the sloppy performance, the tape shows Jagger and Sullivan solemnly shaking hands and exchanging what can be best described as cold smiles.
The Times also trots out the inevitable interviews with the actual participants for Sunday, many of whom are young enough to be the grandchildren of the Glimmer Twins, who claim never to have heard of the group.
Just the thought that John Kerry apparently pissed off so many of his comrades in the party caucus, by leading a filibuster that was fated not to succeed, is reason enough to take him seriously in 2008. I mean, really, who cares what Chuck Schumer or Barbara Mikulski, or that matter, any of the other careerists that have put the party in the situation it finds itself in today, think about what is politically opportune?

The filibuster not only exposed what an empty shell the lefty blogosphere is when it comes to mobilizing and effecting political change (snark and mau-mauing the media is easy; politics is hard), but it also proved an eye-opener for revealing what a worthless political vehicle the Democratic Party has become. A party that won't stand and fight in opposition has nothing to offer the public in the unlikely event it ever gains a majority. For all the slams Kerry took after the last election, it should be noted that at least he came within an eyelash of winning, while Reid, Schumer and their compatriots were cratering, losing four seats.

Kerry has learned, a year too late, to fight back, even if it is ineffectual. Too bad the rest of the Party in D.C. hasn't.

February 02, 2006

OIL FOR FOOD!!! OIL FOR FOOD!!! OIL FOR FOOD!!!: I wonder how much play this story is going to get from our Brethren on the Right:
In the United States, a former official has admitted stealing millions of dollars meant for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Robert Stein held a senior position in the Coalition Provisional Authority, which administered Iraq after American and allied forces invaded in 2003. In a Washington court, he admitted to stealing more than $2m (£1.12m) and taking bribes in return for contracts. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Robert Stein's story is one of extraordinary corruption and excess amid the ruins of Iraq. He was in charge of overseeing money for the rebuilding of shattered infrastructure in south-central Iraq in 2003 and 2004.

Mr Stein admitted in court to conspiring to give out contracts worth $8m to a certain company in return for bribes. He also received gifts and sexual favours lavished on him at a special villa in Baghdad.

But it didn't stop there. Robert Stein admitted to stealing $2m from reconstruction funds. Some of that money, the court heard, was smuggled onto aircraft and flown back to the United States in suitcases.
Book him a slot on "Big Brother"...but wait, there's more:
Robert Stein, 50, was entrusted with the reconstruction of the central city of Hillah despite a fraud conviction that was apparently overlooked in his Pentagon background check. The former contracting official admitted yesterday that he had conspired to steal more than $2 million in reconstruction money and take kickbacks worth more than $1 million in the form of cars, jewellery, cash and sexual favours. Stein used the money to buy a single-engine Cessna aircraft, a Porsche and a Lexus, as well as other cars, grenade launchers, machineguns, jewellery and property. In a plea deal, he agreed to plead guilty to five felony counts: conspiracy, bribery, moneylaundering, possession of a machinegun and being a felon in possession of a handgun.

The case, which was initiated by a US audit of reconstruction spending, provides a stark look at corruption inside the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) that governed Iraq after the invasion in March 2003 until June 2004. Five US Army Reserve officers were also allegedly part of the conspiracy. Two have been arrested. An American businessman based in Romania has also been charged.

Stein admitted accepting at least $1 million in cash and cars, jewellery and sexual favours from women, provided by a co-conspirator previously identified as Philip Bloom. Stein said that he helped to steer more than $8.6 million in contracts to companies controlled by Mr Bloom.
The New York Times has even more on Mr. Stein, who apparently was under the impression (accurately, if only for a time) that he didn't have to make any effort to hide what he was doing. Considering that a little under $9 billion disappeared from the control of the CPA, what this guy did was the proverbial drop in the bucket.
Spiteful bastards: At the same time that they were feverishly seeking to discredit Joseph Wilson, the Vice President and Scooter Libby were armed with a report from then-CIA Director George Tenet, stating that Amb. Wilson was correct as to the substance of his report. Rather than humbly acknowledging they were mistaken, they blew the cover of Mrs. Wilson instead. No freaking honor....

February 01, 2006

Too little, too late: Why is NARAL being taken to task for its endorsement of Lincoln Chafee, but not for its support of the equally-flaccid clockpunchers Daniel Akaka, Maria Cantwell, and Joe Lieberman? There were enough votes to sustain a filibuster against Justice Alito if 1) a groundswell of support had developed weeks ago; 2) the Democratic minority in the Senate had stuck together (even without the four members who ended up voting for the nominee; and 3) fencesitters within the party had realized there would be hell to pay if they didn't take a stand. What the hell does Chafee have to do with this?

UPDATE [2/2]: More post-mortems, here, here, here, here and here, as well as fellative pats-on-the-back and/or whines about NARAL and Senator Chafee, here, here, here, and here.
Is there some rule that requires us to blog about the State of the Union address? Are we even required to watch the damn thing? ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz.

January 30, 2006

Barack Obama (D-IL):
"There's one way to guarantee that the judges who are appointed to the Supreme Court are judges that reflect our values. And that's to win elections."
Does anyone honestly believe that the Democrats would have stopped this nomination even if they had a majority in the Senate? When you're a minority party (and remember, Democratic Senators, as a whole, were elected by more people than the GOP "majority"), the filibuster is one of the few tactics that allow you to have any influence. If you're not willing to use it now, then what difference does it make how many Senators you elect? Unless, like the junior Senator from Illinois, you intend to make a career of it in the Senate, and kissing ass and going along with the program becomes more important than, say, defending a woman's right to privacy, or preventing a President from abrogating the Fourth Amendment.

There were nineteen Democrats who voted to end debate this afternoon, who weren't even prepared, like Obama, Biden, Mikulski, et al., to go through the motions of opposing Alito. Five (Lieberman, Akaka, Cantwell, Carper, and Kohl) face the voters in Blue States this year, (btw, all four are pretending to "oppose" the nomination) and both Lieberman and Akaka have strong primary challenges. Support the challengers, and/or encourage said opponents to run as independents in the fall. There should never be a tent large enough to include a Vichy Wing in any political movement.

As a real Democrat once said, I wouldn't piss down their throats if their hearts were on fire.
The time to have mobilized support for a filibuster of Samuel Alito was in early-January, not the final weekend before the vote. If lefty bloggers seem ineffectual and whiny right now, it's their own fault for being more concerned last week with hurt feelings caused by Beltway pundits, rather than the pending approval of the swing vote on the Supreme Court. Setting priorities, then sticking to them, matter.

Filibusters aren't won by convincing a bunch of people to jam the phonelines of Senators at the last second; careerists like Landrieu and Salazar need to be shown that a political price would be paid, that putting a unreconstructed Princeton bigot like Alito on the Supreme Court would not be forgotten, just like Al "The Pal" Dixon's vote for Clarence Thomas wasn't forgotten when he lost his Senate seat in 1992. An angry fax by a non-constituent just doesn't work.

Abramoff is trivial, another D.C. crook in a town notorious for bipartisan corruption. Alito isn't trivial.

UPDATE: Filibuster quashed, 72-25.

January 29, 2006

Going where the traditional media refuses, Kevin Drum asks, "Is Charles Logan a Republican?" I would guess that it's his deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression and his substitution of bluster and arrogance to mask his inadequacies that give the strongest hint....