Friday, December 30, 2005

Political Compulsive Disorder


It’s a funny thing we are seeing these days. Democrats know full well that their tactics of slander and defeatism are not working to win elections, yet they just will not consider their position in any kind of mature light. Strange. Yet we have seen this before, and the problem seems to be based on raw emotion overriding better judgment. Political Compulsive Disorder, or PCD if you will.

Republicans have done it too, of course. Bill Clinton got on Conservative nerves like no one in a long time. This was partly due to his politics, but also his personal character – Conservatives hated the man, and were determined to find a weapon to use on him at almost all costs. That hardly means that the Impeachment was not valid; it was. But the emotions rose and fell at various times, and when it came time to follow, the Republicans in the Senate proved to have no fortitude for the task. And so, despite all the momentum leading up to the Senate trial, the actual event was weak and ineffective.

Of course, it should also be observed that Bill Clinton’s staff was equally obsessed with the same disorder. Just as Richard Nixon never seemed to realize, Bill Clinton failed to understand that he could have avoided all his serious trouble with a bit of candor; both men instead tried to deny and obfuscate and ignore the growing personal crisis, until in both cases the consequences grew too big to handle. In Nixon’s case, it cost him his job and place in history, while in Clinton’s turn it cost him what chance at a legacy he had, and damaged Al Gore’s chances to be President.

As for the Democrats, there’s a lot they need to learn from history. The Democrats owned control of Congress for more than half a century, and the loss to the Republicans has led to a bitter denial of reality in their midst. The PCD phenomenon showed up in the Democrats’ side in their vicious vendetta against Nixon in 1973, never dreaming it could lead to a backlash when an incompetent President put the security of the nation at risk in 1979. A new wave of Leftist PCD rose against Ronald Reagan, who refused to act as if his party were the minority, but instead whose policies and ideals resonated with the American public. That wave failed to harm Reagan, but damaged the fortunes of his successor, the less solid G.H.W. Bush. After Clinton’s election in 1992, under circumstances which outraged Republicans, it was the Conservative turn to suffer PCD, though it led to the beneficial uprising which changed control of the House of Representatives in 1994. But PCD is not a moderate emotion, and it drove GOP leaders to take actions and make statements which appeared immoderate and unstable to many Americans, especially as political gestures became more important to the party than keeping the promises made to gain control of the House. This enabled Clinton to be re-elected and enjoy the majority in the Senate through his time in office.

But time has shown the Leftists’ PCD to be far more severe and permanent. After George W. Bush won the White House in 2000, Democrats and Liberals in particular were extremely angry, just as Republicans were unhappy in 1992. But where most Republicans were able to work past their anger and adjust to reality to their advantage by 1994, the Democrats just got less and less reasonable. The short-lived amity after the 9/11 attacks displayed the intense and bitter hatred most on the Left carried in their hearts, and it drove them to harsh rhetoric and extremely partisan attacks. This, combined with President Bush’s organizational and motivating skills, led to unexpected gains for the Republicans in 2002.

I admit that while I was not particularly worried about President Bush’s chances for re-election in 2004, I did wonder how he would fare in the 2006 mid-term elections, and I sensed that with 5 of the last 7 Presidential elections going to the Republican candidate, the mood for a change might be dominant in 2008. As it happens however, if the Democrats cannot bring themselves to control their emotions and begin to act in a more mature manner, they not only may continue to lose seats in the upcoming 2006 election, but the 2008 as well. The ability to change course after all, is not an immediate thing, and the momentum of the past decade seems to be increasing in a rather unfavorable direction for the Democrats. The key for the Republicans, and especially Conservatives, is to watch for and avoid PCD ourselves if and when it should show again in our own ranks.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Salute A Spook

[ shh ]

You want to talk about 'the few, the proud'? How about a job where you risk your life, but the medals you win will be locked away, because the missions are classified so highly that you can’t even tell your family what you were doing? How about a job where, if someone knew who you worked for, the most common assumption would be that you were practicing deceit, murder, and perhaps the overthrow of legitimate governments? How about a job where even your allies wouldn’t be seen in public with you?

Welcome to the Central Intelligence Agency.

I will say more about the intelligence services over the next few days, but for here and now, I just want to focus on 48 names. There are 83 agents of the CIA who have earned a place in the “Book of Honor”; 48 of those men have been publicly named (and at least six agents have died in the CIA service serving in the present Middle East conflict). All are worth respect, especially seeing as how little of it they saw during their service.

I Salute:

Jerome P. Ginley
Norman A. Schwartz
Robert C. Snoddy
Wilburn S. Rose
William P. Botolex
Frank G. Grace, Jr.
Howard Carey
Chiyoki Ikeda
Leo F. Baker
Wade C. Grey
Thomas W. Ray
Riley W. Shamburger, Jr.
Nels L. Benson
John G. Merriman
Buster E. Edens
John W. Waltz
Edward Johnson
Michael M. Deuel
Michael A. Maloney
Louis A. O’Jibway
Walter L. Ray
Billy Jack Johnson
Jack W. Weeks
Wayne J. McNulty
Richard M. Sisk
Paul C. Davis
David L. Konzelman
Wilbur Murray Greene
Raymond L. Seaborg
John Peterson
John W. Kearns
William E. Bennett
Richard S. Welch
James A. Rawlings
Tucker Gougelmann
Robert C. Ames
Scott J. Van Lieshout
Curtis R. Wood
William F. Buckley
Richard D. Krobock
Lansing H. Bennett, M.D.
Frank A. Darling
James M. Lewele
John A. Celli
Johnny Michael Spann
Helge P. Boes
William Francis Carlson
Christopher Glenn Mueller

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Read Bill Roggio

[ *** ]

I have been remiss in linking to the very important work being done by Bill Roggio, write of the The Fourth Rail. Bill went to Iraq recently, at his own expense and significant inconvenience, to be an embedded reporter and relay the real deal about what’s going on in Iraq. The series of reports from Bill are well worth reading, as noted here, here, and here.

The Washington Post couldn’t bother to get the facts right about Bill’s mission, which only goes to reinforce the value of Bill’s work.

Roggio is thorough, honest, insightful, and extremely credible. If you want to know what’s going on in Iraq and why it matters, read Bill and read him again.

Hypocrisy Does Not Befit You, Madam


A Blogger Responds To A Slap In The Face

I like reading Townhall most of the time. Solid columns which are generally both well-written and intelligent. Sadly, there are a few cases which demand a response, and at times a forceful one. This is such an occasion. Kathleen Parker, an ostensibly educated columnist who directs the Buckley School of Public Speaking and Persuasion, wrote a work which, at best, is foolish and wrongly disrespects the most significant evolution of public debate in our lifetimes, and quite possibly displays the desperation of an archaic aristocracy in denial. In a column titled “Lord of the blogs”, Parker unleashes a series of false presumptions and arrogant insults at the Blogging phenomenon. Accordingly, it seems to me fitting that a blogger should respond to those points, and so I present my answer here.

Parker begins by a brief overview of the Internet, then quickly homes on blogging, which she describes as the “insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility - the angry offspring of narcissism's quickie marriage to instant gratification.”

At that point, I couldn’t help but think of the MSM’s marriage to the Democratic Party, and quick manner in which supposed scandals of public figures are so quickly touted on television and in the mass media. I do not mean just the scurrilous lies thrown out about George W. Bush, but the false allegations in the late 1980s that his father had an affair, and even the disgusting way that the most lurid rumors about Bill Clinton, including many which were far from carrying even a seed of truth, were presented. Parker, however, was not admitting to her own industry’s focus on the seamier side of rumors, but pretending that this was something new, that “Yellow Journalism” somehow began with the Instapundit. Not picking on Glenn, but I suspect a fact- and link-laden site like his is anathema to Ms. Parker. Permit me to doubt your veracity, madam.

Parker then goes on to denounce bloggers as “creepy”, “recently wired squatters”, and to sniff at “power untempered by restraint and accountability.” Parker somehow manages to write this without once considering Rathergate, Mary Mapes, or any of a dozen pathological liars granted prime-time spotlights to throw out allegations without substance, to pursue personal vendettae against anyone of the wrong sort of politics, and to not only display bias in their product, but defend it falsely as objective journalism. Mainstream media demonstrates no sense of responsibility, no duty to the nation or to the rights of the people they attack. And for Parker to blithely dance past the hate-spattered frauds which only came to light because bloggers uncovered them, is beyond the pale. Hypocrisy does not become you, madam.

The money line in the column comes next:

“Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members and better serve its communities.”

That, put bluntly, is a lie. There is clear evidence of a left-leaning bias in the newspaper and television news industry, and not only has this been well-researched and explained (see “Bias” by Bernard Goldberg), the backlash to it in the public has also been noted (see “South Park Republicans”, by Brian C. Anderson). But Parker does not see the inconvenient; she is too intent on her enemy. She goes on to dismiss most bloggers as people who “babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive.”

According to Parker, bloggers “are rich in time and toys, but bereft of adult supervision. Spoiled and undisciplined, they have grabbed the mike and seized the stage, a privilege granted not by years in the trenches, but by virtue of a three-pronged plug and the miracle of WiFi.

“They play tag team with hyperlinks ("I'll say you're important if you'll say I'm important) and shriek "Gotcha!" when they catch some weary wage earner in a mistake or oversight. Plenty smart but lacking in wisdom, they possess the power of a forum, but neither the maturity nor humility that years of experience impose.

Given the behavior at, say, the New York Timesor the Washington Post, I would say a certain parable about ocular lumber needs mention, but I suspect the lesson would be lost on Ms. Parker. She’s here to show us our place, not mess about with facts and truth, you know.

Parker excuses the outright crimes of her professional colleagues by chirping that “[w]hen someone trips, whether Dan Rather or Eason Jordan or Judith Miller, bloggers are the bloodthirsty masses slavering for a public flogging. Incivility is their weapon and humanity their victim.”

Fraud is a felony in the conditions employed by Mr. Rather. And attempting to subvert a federal election as Rather tried, or to falsely indict an innocent man as Ms. Miller appears to have hoped to do, are criminal acts. Excusing such conduct hardly impresses to the public or a discerning mind a desire for accountability or professional standards in your profession, Ms. Parker.

Ms. Parker’s solution to bloggers?

“We can't silence them, but for civilization's sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.”

And the Mainstream Media wonders why they are still losing viewers and readers…

For the record, Ms. Parker: I am forty-five years old, married and a professional in my own field, with decades of experience. I am neither rich, nor do I have an abundance of “toys” or time, but I blog to serve the responsibility to answer aristocrats like yourself, the sort who wrongly think the common man is unable to understand or analyze the complex matters of state, economy, and culture. I am, in a manner, one of those people who has to clean up after the likes of you, presenting facts in place of your lies, the actual history in place of your fables, and an alternative analysis in place of your diatribes. Accountability is instantaneous; my readers will not let me slide on a falsehood, because unlike the MSM, I allow comments and a debate begins immediately upon publication. I give credit to sources and link to them, so that readers can check the facts for themselves, and they do.

You, to be blunt, represent a useless past. The mainstream press can be of great value, but not as long as you continue to lie about standards you rejected long ago because they were inconvenient, and as long as you ignore the public demand for responsible journalism.

Blogging exists for a variety of reasons, but it would not have an audience for commentary and analysis, except that your cadre of politically correct partisans drives people with common sense to seek alternatives and balance. Bloggers do not hate journalists in either the individual or collective sense, but we take on a code of honor which is sadly lacking in your numbers, and when we see a Rather or a Miller act in such an unconscionable way as they have, we present the facts and challenge falsity. Rather and Miller and Jordan received nothing which did not come from their own bad judgment and rash arrogance; indeed their positions have wrongly protected them from a fully just consequence. Rather, as an example, was neither arrested nor censured for his acts, but retired with a large pension and his pride unpricked. That is simply wrong madam, and you know it, or if you remembered your J-school standard, you would.

I am a blogger, and I am very good at what I do. Unlike you, however, I neither pretend to be better than other people, nor do I refuse to look hard into the mirror. And there are many like me. We are the future of journalism, not to replace the people who gather and report the news, but to drive them back to the ideals which used to matter; honesty, integrity, balance.

You know what I find “creepy”? That someone like you would be teaching future journalists. Watch and see, madam. Blogging is neither going away, nor is it ignored. Within ten years, you will start to see major journalism schools take it up as a necessary skill. Within five you will see a blog report segment on the major news networks, at least the ones which can keep their viewers. It’s simple really, just supply and demand – as long as you refuse to supply real news, people will demand it from us.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Back To Basics: Constitution 101


The Democrats have reached a new low; Afraid not only of Republican majorities in the House and Senate, they now seek to dilute the authority of the Executive Branch, by denying the President powers needed to do his job. I am speaking of course, about the recent noise frumped up from the Left over surveillance of communications for purposes of foreign intelligence. The Left would have people believe that warrantless searches are illegal and so use that issue to attack the President. Examination of the actual facts not only proves the falsity of such claims, but demonstrates the shallow and deceitful character of the people who present such charges.

First, as to warrants. I call to the stand Andrew McCarthy, who presented a long list of court-sustained instances where a warrant is not required for a search, and certainly the fact that the intent of this surveillance is to monitor the conversations involving foreign nationals discussing plans to attack the United States meets this standard. And it should be understood as well, that since many of these calls are from non-citizens or to non-citizens, the question about the rights of American citizens is not really at issue.

Also, is it really necessary to remind people of the difference between collecting information for use in a criminal trial, and information used to detect and prevent a terrorist attacks? I’ve said it before, but it needs saying over and over again – we should be shooting terrorists, not reading them rights as if we wanted to avoid getting sued.

But back to the question of President Bush. If there’s anything since 9/11 that Americans ought to agree on, it’s that we must protect the nation from another horrific attack. There can be no doubt that our enemy in this case is one with no scruples against killing innocents, or who would hesitate for an instant to use any weapon which could harm the United States. The 9/11 Commission wanted a better job of “connecting the dots”, which is simply a euphemism for collecting and analyzing intelligence data. Since our enemies are not likely to broadcast their specific plans, that rather means we have to spy on them, their phone calls and their emails and any international communication. It’s obvious to most of us, that if we had been intercepting phone calls between the United States and, say, Afghanistan in late 2000 and early 2001, we might have caught the hijackers before they carried out their plans. And no, terrorists have no expectation of privacy, under any interpretation of the Constitution.

The U.S. Constitution, believe it or not, sets out rather clearly that there are three branches of the Federal Government, each with its own powers and character, all equal to each other. Article I discusses the character and powers of the Legislative Branch of the Federal Government. Article III discusses the character and powers of the Judicial Branch, and between them is Article II, which addresses the Executive Branch. Even schoolchildren are aware that the three branches are equal to each other, with none intended to take precedence or supremacy. Apparently liberals are “re-educated” to indoctrinate them into missing that fact.

As the Constitution makes clear, the “President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices”. This is to say that on a matter of foreign intelligence, especially one which concerns possible military action, it is the President who has authority to act and use his judgment, rather than the Congress or any court, even the Supreme Court. Court reviews have supported this fact before, as John Schmidt observed:

the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, composed of three federal appellate court judges, said in 2002 that "All the ... courts to have decided the issue held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence ... We take for granted that the president does have that authority."

The passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978 did not alter the constitutional situation. That law created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that can authorize surveillance directed at an "agent of a foreign power", which includes a foreign terrorist group. Thus, Congress put its weight behind the constitutionality of such surveillance in compliance with the law's procedures.

But as the 2002 Court of Review noted, if the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches, "FISA could not encroach on the president's constitutional power.

The Supreme Court has also upheld such Presidential authority, inherent in the office, as noted in UNITED STATES v. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, 407 U.S. 297 (1972), citing “the Government's right to protect itself from unlawful subversion and attack” and specifically stating;

We begin the inquiry by noting that the President of the United States has the fundamental duty, under Art. II, 1, of the Constitution, to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Implicit in that duty is the power to protect our Government against those who would subvert or overthrow it by unlawful means. In the discharge of this duty, the President - through the Attorney General - may find it necessary to employ electronic surveillance to obtain intelligence information on the plans of those who plot unlawful acts against the Government. The use of such surveillance in internal security cases has been sanctioned more or less continuously by various Presidents and Attorneys General since July 1946.”

The distinction then, between the normative conditions of legal proceedings and criminal charges, measured against the imperatives of National Security and the collection of foreign intelligence information, is a crucial one.

Leftists often fall back on the Fourth Amendment, but a reading of that article simply notes that searches and seizures must not be “unreasonable”, and as Mr. McCarthy so eloquently cited, there are already literally dozens of conditions in criminal law where a warrant is not required at all. What manner of logic must be used to suggest that a private citizen’s yacht may be searched on the open sea without a warrant, but foreign nationals have a right to privacy for their e-mails to or from places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Iran? I rather suspect that if those emails should later prove critical to advance knowledge of a plot to, say, irradiate Washington D.C. with a dirty bomb, the same leftists now demanding new rights for suspected terrorists would be the first to demand to know why we did not intercept the communications.

In the end, I do not worry overmuch about the Democrats and their agenda. While they manage to smear good people’s names, and have managed to distract focus from the War on Terror all too often, the Democrats can’t fool all the people, most of whom I can trust to recall why we are in this war, and to understand the need for responsible but functional strategy.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Getting The Business From Business School


Gee, how I wish my house was paid for. It appears that I would need to take another mortgage on it, to get the money necessary for a first-class MBA. People I speak to have one and all assured me that getting a top-school MBA will pay for itself, but few can explain how ordinary folks can pay for the thing.

Of course, I'm in a foul mood for a number of reasons besides the sticker shock of schools. My dad has learned he is likely to be completely blind from macular degeneration inside of six months, and this after surgery for cataracts and treatment for glaucoma. Also, my daughter caught Strep Throat last week, and in the process of things my wife and I have come down with it as well, along with those ubiquitous "flu-like symptoms" that could be anything from a bad cold, to the first human cases of the Avian Flu in the United States.

So anyway, here I am trying to figure just what, precisely, I intend to do with my MBA after I earn it. Assuming, naturally, that two years of hard work and sacrifice will result in getting the degree. For a number of reasons, going to a school out-of-town or becoming a full-time student are not feasible options, so that leaves Online or Part-Time. There is a remote but real chance I could get into Rice or Texas (who now offers an MBA course in Houston), but while both of those schools enjoy solid reputations nationally, both run around $74,000 tuition for the program. Well, UT says $67,000 for tuition, but throws in another $7,000 for various fees and costs, so that it amounts to the same thing. My employer would reimburse me, but only up to $5,250 a year maximum. The tax benefits would amount to another $3,000 a year maybe, so that leaves me somewhere around $57,500 short of the deal. Suffice to say, I do not have $57,500 in discretionary funds available to me, which means getting a loan or scholarship. Unfortunately, my age, undergrad degree and GPA, to say nothing of how long ago I earned it, all work against scholarship hopes, and it is very difficult for a Part-Time student to get any love from the Federal Government in terms of a student loan. Argh.

I know, I know. Lots of students bite the bullet and sign on for that devil's deal and get a bank loan, hoping to pay it off after the super-job is lured in by their shiny MBA. But my whole career is Risk-Averse, and the notion of adding that much debt before I have a sure idea of who I will be working for as an MBA, much less how much I will be making, makes that a bad idea on most fronts.

I understand Scrooge much better these days.



Back when I was in college, I loved to play RISK, a board game where the initial objective was to take over the world. As we learned the different layers of the game, however, my friends and I learned that it was often a greater imperative to prevent someone else from taking over. That was because RISK is a difficult game to win, which makes it all the more satisfying if you can do it, and which therefore drives people to form alliances and coalitions with the aim of preventing a specific person from winning. That’s where we are today in the modern world; a lot of nations know they have no chance of “winning” in any global contest, so they band together, not for any constructive purpose or mutual gain, but simply to prevent the United States from “winning”.

Why would nations want to make that kind of useless agreement? In some cases, it’s because the leaders of those nations are tyrants and despots, and they understand that a United States in full power will make their personal position very unstable. Others understand that while they may be able to claim that they are effectively democratic, a superior American influence may force them to abandon uneven practices and tactics, and to live by the terms of their own rhetoric. Still others fear that a victory for American methods and ideals will lead to American dominance in culture and trade.

Historically, there is little for a free nation to fear from the United States, but the dirty secret of the Left is that free elections is feared by Socialists, Communists, and Jihadists, especially the thought of giving votes to women and ethnic minorities; they lose the fulcrum by which they either oppress those groups, or by which they pretend to champion those people. The Welfare State takes many forms, but it kills Liberty even as it pretends its defense.

Another lesson I learned from RISK, is that sometimes a player is far too strong to oppose. When this happens, the only smart move is to be his buddy, so he has less reason to go after you. I wonder how long it will take for the real world to learn that particular lesson.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

And A Little Child Shall Scare Them


Today celebrates the birth of Christ Jesus, the Son of God come to Man for the forgiveness of our sins and the reconcilation of Man with God. This simple proposition has found opposition ever since its first suggestion,and in modern times the very concept of Christianity comes under fire for all manner of supposed evils; the essentials of Christianity are all too often ignored in order to pillory the people leading the faith.

Of course, the rise of mega-churches has led to a peculiar interpretation of the Gospel mesage. Far too many of these self-praising palaces emphasize the pursuit of earthly success, while doing little if anything to remind their members to think of the less fortunate around them. This leads to congregations which are outwardly successful, but wondering why their faith is so weak.

Over on Beliefnet, I have seen a lot of attacks on the Christian faith , deriding it as no better than any other, indeed no different in history or source than many Babylonian and Pagan myths. This is a pretty thinly-veiled attempt to bring those cults up to the moral level of Christianity, but it’s not true.

The whole notion of Christianity was radical for its time. The very notion that the Kingdom of God would have nothing to do with the affairs and priorities of Man, was a revolt against the order of every regime controlled by Man. And the notion that forgiveness was freely given by God to all of His creatures, so that the rituals and complex doctrines of established dogmas was not at all necessary for someone whose heart sought God in truth, was unacceptable to the traditional establishment. Jesus was, in word and action, an observant Jew, an obedient subject to the Romans, and an innocent man. Yet he was hated by most of the Sanhedrin, by the Roman authorities, and by many men, simply because he taught a truth greater than they could control. And a generation after his crucifixion, His followers were quite willing to die for their faith, rather than recant. After Constantine came to power, Christianity gained human favor, and with it temporal power and wealth which has changed in nature and character, but has never quite returned to the original faith of the disciples, except at the individual level, as Christ always taught.

So it is, that many people do not really know Jesus Christ. They see the politics, the money, the history of one church or denomination. It might do, then, to remind people of the Christ whose birth is celebrated today:

God, desiring to reach men directly, took on human form and limitations. This is why we say “The Trinity”, because the Father remained Sovereign in Heaven, but sent His Son Jesus to live as man.

Deserving by his person to live in luxury and comfort, Jesus instead accepted the mean birth in a stable, and a life of relative poverty and disadvantage. This continued all through his life, as men who should have seen him as the promised King of Kings, instead rejected Him, and men who ought to have bowed prostrate in His presence, arranged instead to murder Him. Yet Jesus did not even condemn them for this, but forgave them as the paramount example of mercy and forbearance.

Jesus lived the perfect life by example, and taught the Kingdom of Heaven. He spoke to crowds, but His message was always to the individual, and is a message of hope and solace.

After his death, Jesus rose from the dead, but neither avenged Himself on His enemies, nor sought to overthrow the human order. Instead, he showed Himself to His believers as a sign of His power, but commanded them to spread the Gospel in love and hope and mercy.

That is the child we celebrate today. Far too scary for many to face.

PFL Week Sixteen


Week Sixteen Scoreboard

Teddy Roosevelt (15-0), idle
Washington (15-0), idle
George W. Bush (15-0) 58, Ford (6-9) 0
Reagan (15-0) 56, GHW Bush (7-8) 0
Eisenhower (14-1) 76, Buchanan (0-15) 0
Jefferson (13-2), idle
FDR (13-2), idle
Grant (13-2) 27, Jackson (6-9) 9
Monroe (12-3) 55, Taylor (6-9) 0
Truman (12-3) 58, W Harrison (2-13) 3
JFK (11-4) 51, Pierce (2-13) 3
Polk (11-4) 69, A Johnson (0-15) 0
Lincoln (10-5), idle
Taft (10-5) 25, Arthur (7-8) 12
John Adams (9-6) 45, Coolidge (3-12) 9
Cleveland (9-6) 27, Nixon (7-8) 25
McKinley (9-6) 47, Fillmore (2-13) 3
JQ Adams (8-7) 28, Garfield (3-12) 9
Hayes (8-7) 32, Hoover (2-13) 9
Madison (8-7) 60, Harding (2-13) 10
Wilson (7-8), idle
B Harrison (6-9) 44, Clinton (0-15) 9
Van Buren (6-9) 27, Carter (4-11) 9
LBJ (3-12) 23, Tyler (4-11) 16

Division A
[02] Washington (15-0) Division Champion
[09] Monroe (12-3) Wild Card berth clinched
[12] Polk (11-4) WC3 pending

Division B
[05] Eisenhower (14-1) Playoff berth clinched
[07] Jefferson (13-2) Wild Card berth clinched

Division C
[01] T Roosevelt (15-0) Division Champion
[06] Grant (13-2) Wild Card berth clinched

Division D
[03] George W Bush (15-0) Division Champion
[10] Truman (12-3) Wild Card berth clinched

Division E
[04] Reagan (15-0) Division Champion
[13] Lincoln (10-5) (one game out of 3rd WC slot)

Division F
[08] FDR (13-2) Division Champion
[11] JFK (11-4) WC3 pending
[14] Taft (10-5) (one game out of 3rd WC slot)

Saturday, December 24, 2005



It’s no secret that the Democrats would like nothing better than to impeach President George W. Bush. A lot of their words and actions in recent weeks have been devoted to purusing that goal. Since Republicans own a superior position in both House and Senate numbers, as well as higher public approval by party, it would appear unlikely that the Democrats could hope to produce the conditions where they could actually bring about an impeachment, but at the same time, it would be wise to recall that because the House is always up for re-election every two years, even unlikely events are still possible. And if Democrats were able to claim the House, the likelihood that Bush would be impeached would increase significantly, due to the extremist character of the DNC campaigns, and the unity in hatred of Bush that Democrats have displayed these past three years.

Or would it? Many people believed that as soon as Republicans gained control of Congress, they would immediately put everything in the new order of Conservatism, yet that did not happen, in the main, in the years following the 1994 change in House control. Even now, with solid majorities in both chanbers of Congress, a Republican measure is not a sure thing to pass, to say nothing of a Conservative measure. It is reasonable to presume that Democrats are largely united now, generally as a defensive measure to avoid becoming completely irrelevant to the legislative process. If the Democrats were able to become a majority again in the House, the factions that existed in the past would almost certainly resurface. It should be understood that the desire to impeach President Bush is neither new, nor truly a universal desire among Democrats. Some of the more extreme Democrats began looking for ways to impeach Bush during his first term, simply as punishment for beating Gore. But also, most Democrats understand that impeachment is rare for important reasons, much more important than the spite of bitter extremists like Dean, or sour losers like Kerry or Gore.

Most people, when considering impeachment, naturally recall the case against President Clinton, or the near-impeachment of President Nixon, averted only because Nixon resigned the office. But many people have forgotten that Democrats regularly pilloried President Reagan, and impeachment was suggested by more than one leading Democrat, and for very much the same imagined offense - protecting American interests and advancing freedom in the Middle East. But despite the publicity gained by those most litigious Liberals, the process never really gained steam; Democrats in the main recognized that the American public would not support impeachment of Reagan; he was simply too popular. Modern Democrats, naturally, will not accept any comparison of Dubya to Reagan, especially since they themselves were forced to praise Reagan for his undeniable accomplishments last year. But they would also do well to recall the history of impeachment threats, and why they do not usually come to pass.

Presidents generally get into impeachment-level trouble not because of unpopularity with the public, but conflict with Congress. one may lead to the other, but unless the Congress is outraged, impeachment is not an option. As an example, some of President Lincoln’s actions during the Civil War were unpopular, as were some of FDR’s policies to install the New Deal, but in neither case was Congress sufficiently angry to begin impeachment hearings. Perhaps the earliest example of a case where a President provoked the anger of Congress was the Louisiana Purchase which is now, ironically, 0widely considered to be one of the savviest and succesful negotiations in U.S. history. At the time, however, many Congressmen were unhappy with President Jefferson acting in a capacity which they felt belonged solely with Congress, and for a time Jefferson found it necessary to conduct sensitive diplomatic negotiations with his own Congress. Another good example, and an obvious one for historians, would be President Jackson, who did a great deal to increase the power and authority of the Presidency, and to Congress’ mind this came at the expense of Congressional authority. The Congress stopped short of impeaching Jackson, but he was censured, in a clear ‘shot across the bow’ to warn that he had reached a limit with the Congress.

When a President steps over the line with Congress, the resolution is usually more private than a direct confrontation. When President Truman fired General MacArthur, many Congressmen were outraged, but rather than publicly display a fractured government in time of war, leading Democrats made it known to Truman that he would not have their support for a 1952 re-election campaign, which led to his statement declining a run for another term.

In total, then, President Bush is very unlikely to be impeached, even if the Democrats should somehow take control of the House. Public support for Bush in terms of job approval rises and falls, but the public generally like the man, and support his ideals. Also, it is very likely that Democrats could only take the House by a campaign of reasonable policies; a vendetta against the President would not only be likely to fail in its immediate desired result, but create a backlash which could easily sweep in another Republican as President in 2008, which is the Democrats’ worst-case scenario.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Clinton-Appointed Judge Tries To Coerce President Bush, Demands Less Work At Full Pay


I wonder how many people realize that James Robertson, the judge who “Quit In Protest” over the legal surveillance of terrorist-connected international communications, was a Clinton appointee known for interfering in National Security debates, and who did not actually “quit” at all?

First off, a look at Robertson’s brief bio reveals that Robertson’s private practice work included the District of Columbia bar (not the most even-handed of forums), and included a strong emphasis on defendant’s civil rights, even where none existed in statute. Also, while Robertson has stepped down from his post on the FISA court, he has not resigned his position as a federal judge on the D.C. District Court, nor refunded even one penny of his salary. In actual effect, all Robertson has done is to demand less work for the same pay, and he got in a political swipe in the process.

As Hugh Hewitt noted on his radio show Wednesday, it will mean something if Robertson actually resigns his lifetime post and salary. Until then, it’s just more politics from a liberal unwilling to work in the system when it doesn’t go his way.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Testimony At The Congressional “Hollygate” Hearings

ho ho ho

Washington, D.C. (MSM) – As the controversy over surveillance into Americans’ private conversations and electronic messages continues, the Congress of the United States, holding hearings in a unique Joint Session, subpoenaed and interrogated several high-ranking officials regarding their knowledge of the programs. This report discloses some of the questions asked, and the responses by witnesses.

SEN. REID: I was appalled, as I am sure all Americans are, to discover a secret base used to spy on Americans. I believe this base was constructed with the full knowledge and approval of the President, and so I and my colleagues intend to get to the bottom of all this. I begin with a report from the Central Intelligence Agency, and call to the stand agent Joe Wilson.

SEN. FRIST: Wait a minute, Joe Wilson was never an agent for the CIA!

SEN. REID: You can’t prove otherwise. Morning, Joe. Nice layout of you and the wife in the Post this morning.

WILSON: Morning, Harry. Well, as you know we’re really very private people, but for the sake of the country, we had to do those three talk show interviews and photo shoots on Tuesday. Got four more this weekend.

SEN. REID: I understand completely, and applaud your thankless service. Now then Mister Wilson, how did you first learn about this secret base?

WILSON: I noticed a disturbing trend of unpleasant notes every Christmas morning. For many years now, instead of a pile of well-deserved presents, I have been finding a brief note claiming that I had not been a “good boy”, and so I did not receive my due as an American, which is maximum bling.

MR. HASTERT: Hah! Joe Wilson, you just got what you deserved! You did a lot of lying and cheating and conniving, and now you’re just angry you didn’t get rewarded for it.

WILSON: Well, even if I have, how does anybody know? And what right does anyone have to know I have been “bad or good”? I demand to know how they find out this kind of thing, and who is behind rewarding “good” behavior and punishing “bad” behavior. So I asked around, and there’s this guy named ‘Claus’, who runs a secret base up north of the Arctic Circle, where all kinds of private information gets funneled for his personal use.

SEN. LOTT: Hey, I know Santa Claus, and he’s a really good guy!

WILSON: Just what I mean. Seems this ‘Claus’ likes Republicans a whole lot more than Democrats right now. That is just not fair.

SEN. LIEBERMAN: I also know Mr. Claus, and he’s a very fine man. The wife and I have had him visit for dinner a number of times.

SEN. REID: Shut up, you’re not even a real Democrat anymore!

SEN. LIEBERMAN: Harry Truman might disagree.

SEN. REID: Well, we’re not talking about him. Sorry Joe, please continue.

WILSON: Anyway, my sources led me to a meeting of H.C.U.T.P’s, who-

SEN. FRIST: I’m sorry, what?

WILSON: “Height-Challenged Unknown Technology Professionals”. They manufacture a variety of material items for Claus, but their funding and purpose is unknown.

SEN. FRIST: Oh, you mean elves. They make toys for children.

WILSON, REID, KENNEDY together: There’s no such thing as elves!!!

SEN. FRIST: Whatever. Please continue, Mr. Wilson.

WILSON: It took some talking, but I was able to develop a working idea of how the conspiracy functioned. Claus obtained intelligence by spying on the general public, and then set out on a specific plan to punish his enemies and reward his friends.

SEN. KYL: Oh for the love of – Get over yourself, the man just likes to give out toys to children!

WILSON: People he likes, you mean. If you’re on his bad side, that’s something else entirely. I heard rumors that he literally crushes the tracheas of his enemies.

SEN. KYL: Claus doesn’t do that, you mean Darth Vader!

WILSON: Ever think they might be the same person? I mean, no one has ever seen those two together, have they?

SEN. KYL: You’re sick, do you know that?

SEN. BOXER: You can’t say that to a witness, without first proving they are a Conservative. Please continue, Joe.

WILSON: Actually, that’s pretty much all I have. Except, “Bush sucks”, of course.

SEN. REID: We all agree there.

(significant outcry and dissent from the Republicans present)

SEN. REID: To sort this matter out and prove the allegations the ranking member calls Mister Kris Claus.

CLAUS: Good morning. You had my name wrong a little, but I believe I am the man you meant.

SEN. KENNEDY: Are you contradicting a United States Senator?

CLAUS: Well, most people call me “Santa Claus” or “Kris Kringle”, they don’t usually mix the two like that.

MR. CONYERS: Sir, I don’t think I like your attitude!

CLAUS: Well, I’m sorry about that, but I can’t really be anyone other than who I am.

MS. PELOSI: And that’s what we are worried about. According to Fortune magazine, you are the wealthiest man in the world. Tell me Mister Claus, just how rich are you?

CLAUS: I have no idea. To me, money has no meaning.

SEN. KENNEDY: Mister Claus, you are obviously a man of immense wealth and privilege. How is it that you feel you can judge people who have to work hard for everything they have?

CLAUS: Coming from you, that’s a very odd question.

SEN. KENNEDY: I, sir, am a hard-working representative of the people of Massachusetts. Who the hell are you to question my integrity in representing the disadvantaged?

CLAUS: I gave more last year to people who had nothing, than you spent on liquor. And please do not use profanity, if you can so refrain from it.

SEN. KENNEDY: What the hell is that supposed to mean?

SEN. LEVIN: Getting back on track, isn’t it true, Mister Claus, that you track and record the behavior of private Americans?

CLAUS: Yes, that’s correct. I keep a list, and I check it.

SEN. LEVIN: Isn’t it also true, that you categorize the actions and words of private individuals according to your personal opinion of their merit?

CLAUS: Well, it is true that I know who is naughty, and who is nice.

SEN. LEVIN: Isn’t it true that you even observe the times that individuals go to sleep and wake up?

CLAUS: Sort of. I know if someone is really asleep or not.

SEN. LEVIN: Mmm-hmm. And tell me please, what court approved a warrant for any of these activities of yours?

CLAUS: No court. I just do it.

(murmurs of disapproval among Democrats)

SEN. REID: You have never asked for permission from even a single court to spy on Americans?

CLAUS: I never saw it as necessary.

SEN. REID: And what about this giving-out of presents you do? Who decides what a person gets, and who approves your entry and exits into and from private residences?

CLAUS: Good children get very nice gifts, bad children usually get nothing, although in either case I sometimes leave a note.

SEN. REID: So you might decide to give presents to a child whose family is already wealthy, but you might also decide not to give to a child who lives in a poor neighborhood?

CLAUS: Hypothetically, yes, that could happen.

SEN. REID: Outrageous. And just who lets you in and out of people’s homes?

CLAUS: No one. I let myself in and out.

(anger among Democrats)

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: I believe there is a disturbing correlation between your “good” list and Republicans, and between your “bad” list and Democrats. Is that true, and can you explain that?

CLAUS: Sadly yes, the Democrats have generally been very naughty lately.

(outrage among the Democrats)

CLAUS: I am sorry to have to say so, but you know it’s true. You have been saying some very, very false and mean things recently, and what you’ve been doing – well, it’s just not “nice”. Now, it’s true that many of the people on my “nice” list are Republican, but not all Republicans. I don’t like to point out individuals for hard words, but really Ms. Snowe, Mr. Chafee, Mr. Hagel – have you forgotten what your parents taught you, what you promised your constituents, the commitments you agreed on? So it’s not about the politics, Senator, I have to disagree with you there.

MS. PELOSI: I have had enough of this! We bring in this man, this, this obscenely wealthy neocon troglodyte, to get questions answered about the latest adventure by that cowboy in the White House-

CLAUS: George? He’s a bit headstrong yes, but hardly a cowboy. And I have never heard a word from him trying to tell me how to run my workshop.

MS. PELOSI: So, you admit to being personal friends with the President?

CLAUS: Oh my, yes, the whole Bush family is so very nice. I will never forget five years ago, when Dasher and Dancer had that nasty mishap with the freight truck on I-10. Barbara made a very effective poultice for their legs, Poppy set them in place with Dubya’s help, and the Cheneys came over and helped fix the sleigh in no time at all!

SEN. REID: What intelligence information has the President discussed with you, specific to the War on Terror?

CLAUS: None at all, really. My line of work is bringing presents to children, you know. Not much use knowing anything about terrorists, they are never on the “nice” list anyway.

SEN. LEVIN: So the intelligence provided to you is not used at all for the War on Terror?

CLAUS: I really think you are confused, sir. I use magic, not wiretaps.

MR. RANGEL: You know what I think? I think this whole “magic” and “presents” thing is a cover for how you Republicans stole two elections and manufactured a needless war! People like you gave Bush the White House, in exchange for favors and inside information.

CLAUS: Michael Moore’s version of “Miracle on 34th Street”, sounds like.

MR. RANGEL: What do you mean by that?

CLAUS: Nothing, just an observation. Listen, it was very nice chatting with you all, but I am on a rather tight deadline, and I really do have to go.

But before I do, I have to remind you that no one “gave” the President either of the last two elections, unless you count the American people’s decision to have Mister Bush serve as their President. And there are quite a few brave men serving in dangerous places right now, who deserve your support in reality, and not just a few words when you’re in front of a camera. The really meaningful gifts are not the ones I can deliver, but which come from family, close friends, and from people keeping their word when it really matters. And that brings me to my Christmas wish for you all, but it’s one you have to decide for yourselves to give.

You have a nice country here, full of good people and a lot of opportunity. I have to say though, this city doesn’t reflect that country all too well. If you want to give this nation a really nice gift for Christmas, maybe you should try listening to what your citizens really want and considering what protects them and will mean something to their children.

And with that, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

MS. PELOSI: Can he say something like that in Congress?

SEN. REID: Sergeant at Arms, stop that man!

SERGEANT: Stop who?

SEN. KENNEDY: Where’d he go? He just disappeared into thin air!

SEN. LEVIN: Ted, I warned you about drinking that much for breakfast.

SEN. REID: Never mind, we’ll just subpoena him again.

SERGEANT: Uhhhhh, no, that won’t work.

SEN. REID: Why not?

SERGEANT: We could never serve him the first time. The address search kept coming back empty.

SEN. REID: Then why was he here today?

SEN. FRIST: Maybe he felt like he should make a statement.

SEN. LEVIN: Nevermind. I want to interrogate that reindeer, Rudolf, next. That “shiny nose” could just be neocon code for a spyware or activity tracking device…

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Authority Confirmed


John Schmidt wrote a compelling article for the Chicago Tribune's Editorial page, one which should be required reading for anyone interested or concerned about the question of President Bush’s authority to order domestic surveillance for phone calls and e-mails. Schmidt’s argument is thorough and compelling. I thought about quoting some of it here, but it’s better that you simply read it. All of it.

President Had legal Authority To Order Wiretaps

Now that you have read the article, the matter should be very clear. But there are two additional points I would like to make in this matter. At the bottom of the article, it is noted that Mr. Schmidt served President Clinton as the Associate Attorney General between 1994 and 1997. He is not some neocon trying to justify an extreme action or violation of the Constitution, but a professional with significant and direct experience in the matters of the law as they pertain to National Security. This is not a Democrat or Republican position vis a vis the decision to collect vital intelligence which could decide the life or death of countless innocent Americans, but a serious responsibility of the President, and it carries the necessary authority for him to act on his judgment as the elected Chief Executive of the United States of America.

Also, it should be understood that the War on Terrorism is not some game that Democrats play badly and Republicans play well, but the defense of the nation at the highest stakes. It is grossly unfair to imply that Bill Clinton is responsible for the 9/11 attacks, simply because one might disagree with his decisions or priorities. A lot of the people who served in the Clinton Administration were top-notch people, and as stupid and unreasonable as certain individuals were to common sense, many others have valuable experience and insight that should be considered and employed.

Largely, the real difference between Republicans and Democrats since the 9/11 attacks, is that many Republicans have been willing to work with responsible Democrats, specifically because the Republicans knew that the politics played by Clinton and Gore were not necessarily reflected at the other levels. Unfortunately, the Democrats changed their actions about the middle of 2002, to try to play for political gains, putting pressure on a lot of Democrats who would personally have preferred a higher moral ground. So it is that we are still encountering not only the occasional Republican who seems surprised by the tactics of a Howard Dean or a John Kerry, but also every so often we get a Miller or a Lieberman who decides to put country ahead of politics. As difficult as it is, it is imperative that every voice offering advice in the War on Terror must be given a chance to prove their worth, and as frustrating as this can be in certain respects, it is vital to keep our focus and proper perspective.

Desperate and Foolhardy


There was a time in America, when unions made sense. Dangerous working conditions, disregard for fair compensation, collusion between major owners of factories and industry to deny workers an equitable voice in their own condition, all led to the creation, by necessity, of labor unions to protect and advance the interests of working-class Americans.

However, the present TWU strike in New York City is a strange anomaly in union history, but is also sadly typical of union arrogance in the last generation. According to USA Today, the transit workers already average $63,000 a year in pay, plus pension and benefits. As a comparison, that’s more than an NYPD cop makes, even a veteran. It’s almost twice the starting salary of a FDNY firefighter.

So, what’s the beef? Are the transit workers worried they are about to be laid off? Actually, no, no one has suggested there were going to be layoffs or a reduction in employment numbers. Were they worried about getting a pay cut? Again, no, there was already a 3% annual pay raise planned to take effect. Were they going to lose their benefits. Not really; the Authority wanted employees to contribute 1% of their salary towards their health coverage, very much like tens of millions of Americans already do, although most Americans have to pay far more than 1% towards their healthcare programs. And while it is true that the Authority wanted to move the effective age of pensions from 55 to 62, that is still earlier than the age at which most people expect to see any sort of pension money, assuming they are fortunate enough to have a pension plan offered. In other words, there was no substantive reason for the union to strike. Also, the strike is illegal, and will cost the union millions of dollars, which is to say that many union members will have to pay out of their own pockets for the stupidity and callous arrogance of their leadership, to say nothing of the two days’ wages every union member is being personally docked for every day on strike.

What’s more, the union has chosen an especially poor time and means to bring their grievance to public attention. At the moment, public support appears to be overwhelmingly with the MTA, not the union. And small wonder. Who, facing the dilemma of suddenly having to replan long trips through ice and snow to go to and from a job which generally pays far less in salary and benefits than these workers already enjoyed, would decide that the tactics of shutting down the city to serve their personal greed should be rewarded? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

So, why on earth would the TWU do something like this? Surely they understand that this act of theirs is suicidal, that the more permanent effect of this venture is further loss of credibility and stature, and that choosing a clearly illegal option will cost them in the courts as well. What on earth could possess these people to believe the strike was a good plan?

Simply put, they had little choice. While the unions are largely in denial about the fact, the plain truth is that union membership nationwide is in decline, and what’s worse for these people, they have no relevance to modern conditions. Put simply, the leadership of modern unions have nothing to offer the country, the plane of modern business, or even their own members. All they have left is their history and their pride, and so that is what motivates and drives their decisions.

How did this come about? Remember at the beginning, I noted that unions came about largely to address the grievances of regular employees against their management and company owners. Well, the owners got smart. They created Personnel departments to address employee concerns, and they hired people who had studied Economics and Labor Law, and while no one would say that the upper management of most corporations puts their employees first, it is a fact that companies generally put a high value on employee satisfaction and in rewarding high performers. The unions, for their part, did nothing to move from their base position of addressing all issues in the Collective sense. That is, any union has power and authority only in the sense of Collective Bargaining, not at the level of the individual, and this is a fatal flaw.

Consider that unions exist to primarily protect the collective interests of their members. That is, they will sacrifice the individual to protect the group as a whole. This means that workers who stand out, by definition will find the union unsuited to their personal needs and priorities.

Consider a company, which has determined that to do as well in 2005 as they did in 2004, they needed their factory employees to average producing 400 quality-controlled products a week per employee. Now, let’s say that there are three employees, Adam, Bruce, and Charley, whose average production is 500, 400, and 300 quality-controlled products a week, respectively. Between them, they are averaging the needed 400 q-c products the company needs to stay where they are, and if these three men all worked for a union, the union might claim that should be good enough for the company, but there’s a problem. First, of course, no union is ever happy to just stay where they are, which means this union would be demanding pay and benefit raises for meeting the standard, even though that standard demonstrates no actual improvement in company production as a whole. Also, the company would dislike the union’s position regarding Charley. The company would like to motivate Charley to either improve his performance, or else the company would like to replace Charley with an employee who can keep up with the 400-product standard. The union, holding an obligation to protrect all their members, would necessarily be defending an admittedly poor employee for no reason other than he is a union member. That means that the company’s owners and management would naturally find themselve in opposition to union demands over compensation and standards, from the start.

But the union has a problem, too, and it’s a big one. Remember Adam, the 500 product a week guy? He’s doing an impressive job, and so naturally he wants to be recognized for it. It’s in the company’s interest to reward Adam; he not only represents high productivity they want, but if employees see Adam rewarded for superior work, that may motivate some to also produce superior results. This is great for the company, and great for the employees being rewarded on the real basis of their work. It’s not great for the union, however.

If the union allows Adam to be rewarded for superoir performance, then they end up allowing merit pay, better pay for better work. Inevitably that logic means that poor performers like Charley don’t get the rewards for excellence, and the union cannot allow that kind of system to be put into place. So, the union has no choice but to demand that Adam be denied extra rewards for his superior performance; it’s that sacrifice of the individual to protect the group I mentioned. But the natural effect of this kind of system, is to drive superior performers like Adam away from the union, to other companies which do reward excellence. And the union becomes a group of sup-par performers by definition, as more and more excellence-driven workers seek their hard-earned reward.

So what does the union do? In a work, extortion. If you think about it, that’s all a strike is, for instance – ‘do as I demand, or I will hurt you'. In the end, that kind of strategy is a sure loser. But it also led to union-only shops and contracts for a long time, until the NLRA ruled that practice illegal. But unions continue a number of practices, which could reasonably only be compared in their intent and effect to Organized Crime.

So, what does all this have to do with the TWU strike in New York? The end is near, folks, and the union bosses know it. Just as the Democrats continue to use the courts to try to create laws they could never hope to pass in open legislature, unions hope to create and establish and protect the privileges they have held for so long. They know their membership is declining, their tactics are outraging many millions of honest people, and the tide is moving against them. They are grabbing now whatever they can take, like an Iraqi Baathist in 2002 on his way out the door, they know they don’t have very long, and so this strike is a desperate attempt to grab what they cannot hope to have by any right or agreement. Coercion is all they have available to them. But in the end, all this will do is confirm the need, not to make unions or help them gain power again, but to wipe them out as the corrupt gangs they are in actual fact.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Addressing A Boor


Richard Cohen, feeling rather full of himself, lectures the President of the United States about Accountability. If you have any doubt about what form Cohen’s article took, just recall that Cohen writes under a copyright called the “Washington Post Writer’s Group”.

Anyway, in a rant in the New York Daily News entitled “Enough. Let’s Try ‘Accountability’”, Cohen goes off on Dubya, and like most Liberals, he ignores the facts and just goes off on a tantrum. Given his scale of audience, it seems appropriate to answer him according to context and perspective.

Cohen begins, as a good Liberal, by attacking the President on Iraq, saying “In his Sunday night speech to the nation, Bush once again ran up this tattered rhetorical banner: ``I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq.'"

Yes, Mr. Cohen, the President made clear that the decision to remove Saddam Hussein, install a democratic republic, rebuild the infrastructure and protect the security of the entire region was his choice. That’s hardly “tattered”, Mister Cohen, especially in the light of the just-completed elections in Iraq, where turnout was extremely high and confidence extremely strong. Many millions of people, including many Americans, consider this to be a good thing, actually even a sign of victory and a wise decision by the President. It speaks volumes that Cohen would still regard the decision as a mistake, something which seems to be the starting point for any Liberal talking point.

Cohen goes on:

I take responsibility,'' he said Sept. 13 about the botched Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

Of course, anyone familiar with the actual events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, is well aware that the breakdown began with Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco, and it was only when the federal officials were allowed to take charge, that supplies and organized relief began to work. So again, where the actual actions by the President were effective and useful, Cohen prefers to assign blame, in clear defiance of the evidence and actual events.

Cohen, having displayed clear Liberal credentials, now moves into his true message:

This recitation of the obvious is a bit of clumsy rhetorical strutting, but also a way of ducking the ultimate in responsibility: accountability. This is something Bush will not accept or countenance. He will not be trammeled or constrained or answer to any person. He will, as we recently learned, not give a fig for the law as passed by Congress when it comes to restrictions on domestic spying. He asserts, but does not show, that asking for a warrant from the special intelligence court would endanger the country and -- his idea of a jolly-good debating point -- shows irritation when pressed.”

Here Cohen proves himself quite the fool. In the first place, the Liberal assertion that President Bush must take blame and prostrate himself for the unforgivable sin of doing his job is the usual flame game we see from pompous asses like Cohen in places like New York or Los Angeles. But more, Cohen fails to recognize that the authority for the surveillance came from Congress. As much as Cohen would like to cast Bush as a dictator who cares nothing for the law, Cohen would do well to go back and actually take a look at the Congressional bills passed since September 11th.

I also find the “domestic spying” canard amusing, although the malicious deceit applied by the Mainstream Media is a bit disturbing. That is, the “spying” means that certain phone calls, under certain conditions, are surveilled, examined to see if they represent a threat. This is no different than a police officer following a car which is acting strangely, to decide whether it may be driven by a drunk driver, or whether the driver is involved in some other illicit activity. Drug smugglers have been caught, specifically because a police officer followed their truck or car for a while to see why they were acting strangely. That has never been illegal, and in practical use, paying attention to people who mention bombs, names of specific terrorist individuals and groups, or otherwise reference suspicious behavior.

Further, the United States has done this for years under a variety of circumstances and conditions, it’s not something which just started under President Bush. During the War of 1812, troops would enter the house of a suspected spy to determine whether the person inside was acting against American security. Same during the Civil War, and in all the Wars of the 20th Century, from the First World War through the Second, Korea, and Vietnam, the government regularly intercepted mail and phone calls involving international communications and soldiers, and this was commonly understood to be a necessary security action to protect lives and secrets. That has not changed now, despite Mister Cohen’s intense desire to protect the sanctity of people discussing terrorists and bombs while on the phone to foreign countries.

Undeterred by facts or a functional sense of history, Coehn then says “It was the same with the intelligence failure that was Bush's prime justification for the war. The president asserts repeatedly that he's responsible for that -- but so is Congress. It saw the same intelligence. But it is the president who runs the spy agencies, not Congress, and it is he who ought to be accountable for their dismal performance.”

If anything proves Cohen to be both an idiot and a liar, this claim does it. Liberals have always screamed about the need for a Congressional Authorization for War, even though the 2002 Congressional action was the first undeniable authorization for the use of force in almost half a century. Actually, I think that’s the heart of it – Liberals are outraged that President Bush can point to a clear, specific authorization by Congress.

What’s more, Cohen surely remembers that the reason we went to war in Iraq was because the Intelligence Community, not just here in the U.S., but also in the United Kingdom, in Russia, even in France, agreed that Saddam very likely had WMD, and if he had them he certainly planned to use them. In fact, David Kay explained later that if anything, the instability in Iraq in 2002 made Saddam even more dangerous than we thought, and Kay said the decision to invade was the right one. Does Cohen mean to say that President Bush also controls the opinions and recommendations of Intelligence Agencies in Europe and Asia, too? And no, Bush does not “run” the “spy agencies”, he appoints the Director of the CIA. Other agencies are overseen by the military, and by Congress. We should also recall that the chief deficiency of the Intelligence Community in answering the question of WMD, was Human Intelligence, and for that issue we must fall back to the Clinton Doctrine of depending on Satellite Reconnaissance and reducing field agents. In other words, if you feel you have to pin the Intel blunder on a specific person, the “Gorelick” Wall at the Department of Justice, and the Clinton Doctrine of reducing HUMINT in the region are the two chief causes for the poor information used to make such a critical decision. I have no intention of blaming President Clinton for this, because I understand the limits to what a President can anticipate and plan, but I observe that Cohen has wholly missed the cause and nature of the error – it’s just so much easier for him to lie so that he can blame President Bush.

So, one must wonder why Mister Cohen is so desperate to smear President Bush. Surely he realizes that President Bush, with a rising Approval rate and a solidly Republican Congress, is not about to be cowed by a man who can’t bother to get his facts straight, and whose hatred for the President has clearly unbalanced him. The truth comes out as Mister Cohen closes his little rant:

He works with the same team of happy incompetents who failed him once (bad intelligence), then again (going to war), then again (the administration of it) and then again (postwar reconstruction). A responsible leader would get some people around him with the guts to challenge him. This is a White House of the meek.
Finally, the ``responsibility president'' would understand that his crew has lost all credibility. He cannot expect a nation, and in particular its military, to accept the assurances of people who will be mocked by history or to have faith in leaders whose failures are sadly obvious in the only ledger that really matters -- the body count in Iraq

And there it is. The Bush Administration, far from being the dismal band of failures Mister Cohen hopes we will believe, is actually quite accomplished in their success. It occurs to me that Mister Cohen might perceive what I do; that while Neither Bush nor Cheney will be running for office in 2008 (although Cohen seems to have the Liberal’s requisite fear of anything involving Cheney), there are others within the White House who may do quite well indeed in a Presidential campaign run. Cohen and his ilk would hate, beyond words, the effectiveness of a Republican President elected in 2008, if that Republican happened to be named Rice or Chertoff, or someone who thinks like Bush, say, Kyl or Barbour. So, they must be demonized, by proxy and as a group until they know at whom to aim their vitriol.

In summary, only a fool, a malicious liar, that is to say, a Liberal spokesman, would pretend that the war in Iraq is of no import beyond counting bodies. That was not the ledger for victory in any war of consequence, and it is a typical but mean slap form the Left, to so attempt to diminish the work and accomplishment of our military, and of their Commander in Chief. Millions of Iraqis and Afghanistans are free to build their own future, because of Bush’s decision and the efforts of the U.S. Military. The entire Middle East is more secure because the United States acted with decision and resolve. The authority and influence of the United States is unmatched, because President Bush was clear and thorough in his decisions, promises, and actions. You are fooling nobody, Mister Cohen, and there is no honor in your blatant attempt to smear a far better man than yourself.

Monday, December 19, 2005

What Is Really Going On


Liberals hate the PATRIOT Act. That's commonly understood, but how many people think about why that is so?

In February 2004, POTUS wanna-be John Kerry explained that we need "not only a strong military, but renewed alliances, vigorous law enforcement, reliable intelligence, and unremitting effort to shut down the flow of terrorist funds. " Kerry, however accidentally, endorsed the PATRIOT Act in that statement, because the PATRIOT Act was the most signifiant tool given to agencies to find and apprehend terrorist cells before they could strike American targets. The simple fact is, the tools that Liberals and the MSM are calling 'spying on Americans', are tools which have long been in use to catch mob bosses and child predators. Terrorists certainly deserve no better treatment than the Mafia or some pervert trying to snatch your kid.

Back in January, I wrote this about President George W. Bush, and it is still true today:

"George W. Bush is weird. That’s either a really bad thing, or a really good thing, depending on your perspective. The strong emotions surrounding this President are unique; while every President has his supporters and critics, no one in memory has suffered the absolute hate that has been spewed at Dubya, nor has a President often enjoyed the sort of loyalty that GW Bush has created. I believe this comes, in large part, from the clear and decisive policies and plans of this Bush Administration. Most Presidents try to set their policies in such a manner as to minimize conflict, which reduces outright anger but also dilutes their effectiveness. Dubya puts 100% into accomplishing his goals, but 0% into sugar-coating them".

The PATRIOT Act should not be controversial at all. It should be understood not only for the vital purpose it serves, but also for the fact that without it, we will be significantly more vulnerable. And if you should be wondering about whether renewing it would damage your Civil Rights, consider the number of civil cases won against the Government for civil rights violations via the PATRIOT Act: zero. Padilla's case notwithstanding (which was procedural, rather than a civil rights case per se), there has not yet been even a single case against the U.S. Government, not one suit which has been brought to trial on the claim that a specific person's civil rights have been violated, much less a judgment in support of such a claim. The facts bear out the truth, but there is no truth in the Liberal attack on the PATRIOT Act.

Once again, one stands either with the people defending the nation against terrorists, or against the defenders. There is no other position.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas - The Culture War


Well, it’s that time again, with angry types on the Right complaining that there isn’t enough Christ in Christmas, and angry types on the Left arguing that we should be having Christmas at all. So far, that’s the usual routine. I really think there are people who feel obliged to bicker just to do so, to go through the motions of not only having an opinion, but fighting for it to somehow prove their devotion. At least, that’s the only way I can explain the bitter hostility to things like Santa Claus and Christmas Trees.

Yes, that’s right. Here in Houston there was actually a group protesting displays which included the jolly old elf and brightly decorated trees. I took a few religion courses back in school, and there is nothing in Christian doctrine of any major denomination, which connects the myth of Santa Claus to the faith, nor emphasizes the use of indoor foilage as a sign of piety. But there you are; the fat guy and the gaudy tree have been connected to that whole Christanity thing in the public mind, and so that perception is driving a counter-offensive against it. It seems extraordinarily silly, but then to me, so does proving your love by blowing the limit on your credit card.

Part of it can be blamed on the ‘Narnia’ movies. Liberals, who understand the meaning of symbolism and metaphor, are alarmed at the apparent indoctrination of children to such things as love for others, devotion to truth and good, or a sense of personal responsibility. They apparently prefer to have children made to appreciate class warfare, reverse race and sexism, the campaigns of victimization, or the evils of dominant cultures. Anyway, I think it really hit home this year, when ‘Harry Potter’ introduced not only the sixth book in the series, but also the fourth movie. While extremists on the Right were offended by what they saw as glamorization (pun intended) of Witchcraft, extremists on the Left were appalled to discover that the protagonists in the ‘Harry Potter’ series were exhibiting behavior that could reasonably be described as, gasp, Christian. The horror!

So here we are, with a campaign to abolish Santa Claus. Of course, it’s been in the works for a while; the original Saint Nick smoked a pipe. Can’t have that now. I figure in ten years or so, we’ll start seeing a Santa Claus who is on the latest diet, and would never think of intruding on a family without their knowledge and permission. That is, a non-magic, non-ofensive, totally banal Santa Clause. From ‘HO HO HO’ to ‘hum hum hum’.

As for me, while my faith hardly requires it, it’s a fat, happy, smoking Santa Claus for my decor, and a tree wrapped in foil and lights. It’s not about fighting anything you understand, but my daughter likes such things, and that makes it important for me to encourage her joy.

PFL Week Fifteen

. .

Week Fifteen Scoreboard

Teddy Roosevelt (15-0) 42, Jackson (6-8) 6
Washington (15-0) 31, Polk (10-4) 17
George W Bush (14-0) 61, Fillmore (2-12) 6
Jefferson (13-2) 19, Eisenhower (13-1) 18
Reagan (14-0) 66, Coolidge (3-11) 3
FDR (13-2) 27, JFK (10-4) 9
Grant (12-2) 21, JQ Adams (7-7) 15
Monroe (11-3) 64, A Johnson (0-14) 3
Truman (11-3) 19, Wilson (7-8) 10
Lincoln (10-5) 18, Madison (7-7) 15
Taft (9-5) 32, Tyler (4-10) 9
John Adams (8-6) 61, Harding (2-12) 6
Cleveland (8-6) 39, Buchanan (0-14) 9
McKinley (8-6) 50, W Harrison (2-12) 9
Hayes (7-7) 19, Nixon (7-7) 18
Arthur (7-7), idle
GHW Bush (7-7), idle
Van Buren (5-9) 25, Taylor (6-8) 9
Ford (6-8), idle
B Harrison (5-9), idle
Carter (4-10), idle
Garfield (3-11) 31, Clinton (0-14) 15
LBJ (2-12) 22, Pierce (2-12) 18
Hoover (2-12), idle

Division A
[02] Washington (15-0) Division Champion
[09] Monroe (11-3)
[12] Polk (10-4)

Division B
[05] Eisenhower (13-1) Playoff berth clinched
[06] Jefferson (13-2) Playoff berth clinched

Division C
[01] T Roosevelt (15-0) Division Champion
[08] Grant (12-2)

Division D
[03] George W Bush (14-0) Division Champion
[10] Truman (11-3)

Division E
[04] Reagan (14-0) Division Champion
[13] Lincoln (10-5)

Division F
[07] FDR (13-2) Division Champion
[11] JFK (10-4)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Why I Won’t Be Watching “Brokeback Mountain”

. pew .

The Liberal Glitterati, which is to say Hollywood, is all a-twitter over the Golden Globe nominations for the gay cowboy film “Brokeback Mountain”. And as required in Liberal World bylaws, anyone who is not automatically impressed with a gay film/artwork/business/whatever must ergo be a Neocon fascist. Whatever.

It is true that I have not seen “Brokeback Mountain”, nor do I plan to, but it’s not because the film is about two cowboys who happen to be homosexual. It’s because the film is presented as a gay experience, in essence. It is not so much a story told on-screen, but more a lecture on how we should appreciate gays, an agenda on film, which is to say the director and producer have no idea what the audience wants, or worse, they presume to demand that we abandon entertainment for the purpose of the lesson. I never saw “Showgirls” for the same reason I am giving “Brokeback Mountain” a miss – I want a movie, not an insult to my intelligence. I want a plot, some action, or at the very least a reason to think I will enjoy the film.

Remember Ellen Degeneres? Leave off some of her statements for a minute, and focus on two points, please. The “Ellen” show, her sit-com on television, was funny for a while, enjoyable. Then someone decided it was time for Ellen’s character to “come out” on her show, and suddenly, the show became a critique on the producer’s perception of normative American values. Leaving aside the gross inability of the writers to understand the complexities inherent in a cosmopolitan nation of over three hundred million people, the show stopped being funny. And guess what? When a comedy stops being funny, people stop watching. After “Ellen” became 'Gay Ellen’, it tanked, and naturally the producers blamed conservatives and closed-minded Americans. It never once occurred to them, that we don’t watch sitcoms for social commentary or to be told what to think, we watch sitcoms to laugh. I don’t want to hear a comedian lecture me as if I were uneducated or intolerant, any more than I want that from my deli counter guy when I order a sandwich, or my mechanic when I need to get the brakes fixed. Just do your job, OK?

Well, when I go to the movies, I generally don’t care about politics or the moral outrage of this actor or that director. I want to see romance, comedy, action, whatever I feel is worth my money. I don’t agree much with Ellen Degeneres’ lifestyle choices, but you know what? I liked the job she did in “Finding Nemo”. George Clooney is a raving moron when he tries to lecture people on things he obviously knows nothing about, but I will admit he’s OK in some of his films. I have made an exception for Sean Penn – he’s a great actor, but he’s become so totally demented that I cannot in good conscience spend money which might encourage the man. So no, thank you, I do not feel the need to pay the money I worked for, just to be lectured instead of entertained. The only lectures I feel like paying for, come from academic professionals who really know what they’re talking about, and sorry Mr. McMurtry, you do not meet that standard. I will be happy to pay for a movie which actually offers me an intriguing plot and characters which act more in composition with each other, and who do not seem to be trying to insult the audience. But “Brokeback Mountain” does not meet that standard, and I do not owe you a penny of my money or a moment of my time for something you have not begun to earn.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Generation Geezer And Business School


I admit it; I made a mistake by not pursuing a Business degree at Baylor. But I was turned off by the attitude of so many of the B-School students. Nothing was good enough for them, unless it reflected money. For this attitude to be so prevalent at a Baptist University, was something I found more than slightly annoying.

Now, a couple decades later and here I am, trying to get in the door of a respectable Business School for my MBA. Of course, I could claim that I am not doing this so much for the money, or at least not out of any impulse of greed. It seems so much more palatable to remind myself that my intention is to acquire the tools and knowledge to do my job, to make myself attractive for the positions I should already be in line to receive, and yes, to provide for my family’s material needs in the most effective way possible. Still, I also want to avoid arrogance and foolhardy decisions.

I am going to make the people at the University of Phoenix unhappy with me, but there’s no avoiding that now. By this point in my school search, I have discovered that UoP carries a distinctly bad reputation in business circles, and while this may be unfair to the school, I cannot ignore that factor in choosing a school. In fact, while the for-profit schools boast valid accreditation, at least regionally, and their actual coursework may be everything they claim, there is a real stigma attached to the for-profit schools at the executive level. Anyone with a degree from a for-profit school is going to be labeled as having had to “settle” for a mass-production degree. At my age and with my commitments, that is a liability I cannot accept.

So where to go, then? Fortunately, there are a large number of “traditional” schools which offer an Online MBA, with little or no actual residency requirement, and some of them are even AACSB accredited. Also, there are a number of “traditional” schools in the Houston area, which offer a part-time MBA with schedules I might be able to keep.

I want to stop here and explain why I am writing this article, as well as the ones to come. There are many useful and interesting sites about how to pursue post-graduate education, but most of them are either too biased in favor of one school or type, while many other sites seem to cater to the very young, top-stratosphere students who want to be CEOs before they turn 30. As I am already forty-five years old, with some success in my career but not what the Strato class would call an impressive ‘portfolio’, I have not found much to suggest that people in my position have a great deal of support or even notice. We will fail or succeed on our own, unless we look after each other. These other sites are very useful in terms of information, so I am by no means slamming them, but I think it could be useful to present my experience for other people like me – Generation Geezer, if you will. I cannot help but believe there are other people like myself out there, and if I can succeed, I want to share what I learn with anyone interested.

At this point, I am studying for the GMAT, the requisite test which score will largely decide what schools I can think about for my degree. I also need to seriously decide whether I want to pursue my MBA with a concentration in Accounting, Finance, or whether I should pursue an Executive MBA.

More to come...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

WARNING: Blogger May Be Less Sane Than He Appears

* ^ *

I am, and this sure feels more and more like a risky venture, finally going after my MBA starting in 2006, and I've gotten a lot of good intellectual information, and more than a few intimidating lessons in how far behind the cut I am likely to be, unless I can plan my course very carefully.

I have been to, where I have discovered that being 45 years old with a Liberal Arts degree and a less-than-sparkling GPA, is a distinct liability.

** sigh **

Of course, those guys are all trying to get into the "Elite" schools, while I'm just trying to find the balance between one I can get into and afford, but which degree will be worth everything I will be putting into its attainment.

Lets see. First off, no scholarship. Those are mostly for full-time students, which is not an option for me. I'm going to be either part-time or Online.

Next up, why I'm going for a degree. Like most males, I spent a part of my life making stupid decisions, and three of mine were doozies:

Bad Idea #1: My dad was an engineer, so I had a vague idea at 18, that I would be one too. I figured I would get my B.S. in Chemistry from Baylor, snag a Fellowship and get my M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Texas A&M. That plan fell apart when, as an "Honors" student, I took advanced courses in both Calculus and Chemistry, and failed both of them. Twice each, too.

Bad Idea #2: When it dawned on me that my only way to get through school with any kind of degree was to get away from the Chemistry major (after a 0.4 first-semester GPA, Baylor took care of me and the whole 'Honors Program' thing as any chance of a distraction, and put me instead into another program they called "Academic Probation"), I made a horrible mistake and listened to my Guidance Counselor, who assured me that an English degree was the way to go. It never occurred to me, that someone who had never been in the actual workforce could not speak for actual priorities and conditions in the workforce. As a result, my total number of job interviews my Senior year at Baylor, was zero.

Bad Idea #3: They say when you find yourself in a hole, job one is to stop digging. I did not manage to find a position with a major corporation until 2000, so that while I can honestly say that I have succeeded in my positions, the companies I have worked for are unlikely to open any eyes, much less any doors.

So here I am, having done fairly well for someone with a Liberal Arts BA, but to move up in my present company, or to seriously contend for a position with significantly better career prospects, I need the MBA. I've actually already done the work, I just need to prove the academic documentation.

The University of Phoenix has been relentless in pursuing me, but to be honest I worry about the reputation of a school which does not seem to measure the chance of success before accepting students; they don't even want a GMAT score, for example!

And the people I spoke with at left no doubt that they consider getting an MBA from one of the for-profit schools to be like wearing a duck costume to an interview; sure you can do it, and theoretically it's not supposed to hurt your chances, but they are convinced in reality it won't get me where I need to be. Of course, these are the same people who fully expect to be working for six-figure salaries right after they get their MBA's, so I really need to hear from real-world people.

So here I am, sorting out which schools to apply to, how to pay for the thing, and to make sure I don't get in over my head (or is it too late already?).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lunch With Lyndon


I was sitting at my desk late this morning, trying to decide when to take lunch, when an unexpected visitor sat down and peered at me with a look of consternation.

May I help you?” I asked him. He leaned forward and extended a long arm to shake my hand.

Johnson,” he said. “Lyndon Baines Johnson.”

Well, your parents must have had a different sense of humor,” I began, then I stopped. Johnson was staring back at me with a perfectly straight face. A very familiar face…

Hey, you look just like him.” I muttered, less than brilliantly.

Ah ought to” muttered the man, “even after being dead for a few years.”

Yeah”, was all I could think to say at first. “So, why are you here?”

Lunch, mostly”, replied LBJ, “and to set the record straight on you lambasting mah poor party like you are. And any chance to come back to Texas is as close to Heaven as a poor bastard like me is like to see.

By the way, you got some purple ink all over your finger there. You might want to wash up before we eat.”

Oh, that’s to celebrate the Iraqi voter and show solidarity,” I explained. “And your “poor party” is doing itself no favors, I’m sure you know.”

Huh,” snorted Johnson, “In mah day we didn’t go painting ourselves up to show we’d voted, we picked our man and made sure we got him elected. Ah must’ve voted five, six times myself in some elections.

But yeah, that Dean fella is some kind of freak, yah got me there. And his crowd is no better. Harry S. says he’s got some choice words waiting for them.”

Harry Truman’s in hell?” I asked.

Naw, but he comes by to visit us time and again. Also, he likes to make sure Tojo is getting the full trip he earned.

But enough gab for now, let’s go eat!”

So we set out for Luther’s to get some barbeque.

After we’d eaten a fair portion of flank steak and sausage, I asked LBJ what he was doing, walking around topside.

Well,” he shrugged, “to be honest Ah’ve been roasting in hell, but they let me out every so often for a number of reasons. First off and mainly, Ah’m good to dogs –“

Wait a minute,” I interrupted, “I remember you used to pull your old hound up by her ears-“

Yes, and she liked it,” retorted Johnson. “Now stop interrupting me, it’s not polite.”

Sorry,” I said, and LBJ continued.

Ah also had to get out of there for a little bit, because Tookie’s arriving today, and all the gang-bangers are going absolutely crazy. The Crips and the Al Qaeda are having a big cookout to celebrate.”

Say, that reminds me.” I said. “You seen Osama bin Laden down there? Folks up here would like to know if he’s dead yet.”

Sorry,” replied Johnson. “Ah’m not supposed to let you know things you haven’t already figured out for yourself, but Ah will say that it is not wise to hide in caves when the Yew-Essay has bombs that collapse caverns.

But listen heah,” continued Johnson, as he stuffed more beef and sauce into his mouth, “Ah’m a reasonable man and I know ya’ll gots to have your hobbies, but what do ya’ll blahggers mean by tearing up my beloved Democratic Party?”

Well, we didn’t start it,” I explained. “You ever hear of Dan Rather?”

Fine man, fine man,” nodded Johnson.

Debatable claim,” I retorted, “You may have heard that Rather and CBS tried to sway the last Presidential election? We caught them, and proved they were liars and frauds.”

You ever heah of Waltah Cronkite?” countered Johnson. “Damn, we were winning in Viet Nam, until Unka Waltah said we couldn’t win. No way I could win re-election after that.”

Uhhh, and Senator McCarthy?” I ventured.

Shaddup” muttered LBJ.

We ate in silence for a little while, then Johnson spoke again.

Ya’ll know you have it easy with your boy Dubya in the Oval Office. Ah’d be careful about assuming it will be that easy later on.”

I agree we’ll have a harder time with someone else after Bush,” I agreed, “but you have to admit the Left has not cooperated with him at all.”

Johnson chuckled.

Take a look at History son, and you’ll see the Left wasn’t all too kind to me, or the Rehpublicans either. Ah’ll tell yah son, it’s a breeze being a Righty President with a Righty Congress, not near the same thing being a Democrat President with a so-called Democrat Congress.”

Curious, I asked LBJ to elaborate.

Well hell son, I took a landslide into 1965, got damn near everyone in Congress to sign onto the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and by 1967 I still couldn’t get those bastards to keep their word. At least over on the Right, you have a few straight shooters you can trust.”

And the 'Great Society'?” I asked.

Johnson stopped, and put down his fork.

Look son, I screwed up there, I know that now. But I was trying to do the right thing, and don’t yew doubt for a minute it was an easy job.

“By the way, I’ve been watching your little blogging articles, and Ah’ve read what yew think of me as President. Screw yew! Until yew’ve been in mah shoes for a month, yew don’t have the first idea what kind of slahmballs and con artists you have to get past to make anything happen. It was a different time, and if Ah have to speak on mah own behalf, Ah will insist on pointing out Ah didn’t make any deals with Communists or Preverts

Except Hoover”, I couldn’t resist adding.

Johnson made a face.

Ah swear I nevah knew he was into that stuff!”

Just then, a tall man in a FUBU sweatsuit, with a familiar face and an unruly pile of hair stepped in, looked around, and approached us.

Lyndon? It’s time to go back,” he said, ignoring me. Johnson stared at the man with clear disdain.

Andy, where in the hell did you get the idea this was a good look for you?” demanded Johnson. The face clicked in my mind.

Andrew Jackson?” I asked the tall man standing by us.

Fer Shizzle” quipped President Jackson. Johnson groaned.