Archive for May 2nd, 2006

“In Senate Race, Pork is Portrayed as Bad Politics.” Thus reads the headline of a NYTimes article (reg req’d).

But wait! This isn’t about Montana, this is about Nebraska. And the critics of pork aren’t Democrats, they’re Republicans attacking the Democratic incumbent, Ben Nelson.

Let’s listen to what they have to say:

"In a time of war, and with the costs of Katrina, we've got to look at what we want to have and what we've got to have," said Mr. Ricketts, who has never run for office but was ahead of the two other Republican candidates in a recent poll. "We've got to end earmarks — or at least reform them."

[snip]

[GOP candidate] Mr. Stenberg said the practice was contributing to the federal deficit and suggested that more populous states would secure more money for more projects in such battles.

"Nebraskans are kidding themselves if we think we're going to win the trade-the-bacon race," Mr. Stenberg said…

[snip]

In an interview in his Omaha law office, Mr. Kramer more pointedly criticized Mr. Nelson.

"He is proud as punch of the fact that he brings all sorts of pork to Nebraska," Mr. Kramer said. "I can't be critical of bridges to nowhere in Alaska and rain forests in Iowa if I'm not going to be critical of projects here."

[snip]

"There are some states where it's more of a tradition to bring home the bacon," [Republican secretary of state, John A.] Gale said, "but people in the Midwest really are much more focused on fiscal responsibility and balanced books, and there is a fair amount of resistance around here to excessive use of federal funds. Not every plum that's proposed around here is well received."

Indeed. 

You know, I couldn’t agree with them more. (Note that I’m no fan of Republican-lite, Ben Nelson either.) Earmarking is a shameful practice. Padding, say, emergency appropriations bills with agri-pork, is “tremendously irresponsible,” as the Heritage Foundation writes.

Instead of sending a pork-guzzling, crooked professional politico to Washington to represent Missouri, let’s send a guy who’s actually balanced a government’s budget while in office.

As Matt Singer pointed out, Jon Tester has surged ahead of Conrad Burns in a recent poll, either 48-46% or 48-42%. Either way, that’s excellent news. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I believe – in light of the Morrison ethics scandal – Tester is the more electable Democrat candidate.

If that weren’t news enough, the poll – paid for by Bob Keenan – had more interesting tidbits for digesting. Guess what it concluded? Burns’ ain’t electable. Period

"By any measure, Conrad Burns is in deep trouble in his efforts to win re-election," said Whit Ayres, president of the Alexandria, Va., polling company Ayres McHenry & Associates Inc., said in a memo Monday.

Only 29 percent of Montana voters believe Burns deserves to be re-elected, with 60 percent thinking it's time to give someone else a chance and 11 percent undecided, the poll found. Thirty-two percent of Republicans and 66 percent of independents favored giving someone else a shot at the job.

More numbers: In an informed ballot matchup, Morrson beats out Burns, 50-37%, whereas Keenan beats Morrison, 45-43%. No Tester – Keenan poll was done.

Yes, the best thing that could happen to Montana is a Conrad Burns victory in the Republican primary. And that pretty much seems a lock with Burns leading in polls 62-15%. You think Keenan bridges a 50-point gap by June 6?

Me neither.

Thank you, Conrad Burns.

Links…

Dick Cheney has gout. I don’t know why it’s newsworthy, but I do think it’s funny.

Why do I find humor in another’s suffering? Maybe because he’s involved in domestic spying programs? Trust me, he’s lucky to only be punished with gout for this kind of governance.

Speaking of police states, your cell phone number is for sale! Who’s buying? Why, federal law enforcement agencies, that’s who!

Oops! It appears outing Valerie Plame may have hurt our national security. She was in charge of assessing the readiness of Iran’s nuclear program. On the other hand, the Bush administration doesn’t really want an accurate assessment of Iran’s nuclear program. They want to attack in time for the midterms.

Although they’ll have to find airbases for their planes: Turkey denies the administration permission to use their airbases. Looks like the Bushies shoulda practiced diplomacy a bit more. You reap what you sow.

Marty Caplan ponders the metaphysics of Colbert’s recent President-slamming coup.

Atrios chips in on Colbert, too. And don’t miss Crooks & Liars Colbert post.

Klipper’s asking for someone honest to believe in. I suggested Jon Tester.

The national media covers the dangers of electronic voting…the British national media, that is.

Meanwhile the GOP gets all worked up over an issue they invented: singing the national anthem in Spanish. Atrios: “We are living in stupid times.” I suppose he hates Christmas, too.

Atheists need to take back the Bible: “Like any other public health crisis, the belief in religion must now be treated as a sickness. It is an epidemic, paralyzing our nation's ability to behave in a rational way, and – given our weapons capabilities – posing an increasingly grave threat to the rest of the world.”

Steve Howe

I can’t say I’m surprised by this news; former MLB pitcher and frequent violator of MLB’s drug policies is dead in a car crash. The toxicology report is pending, but I assume we’ll see a positive test for at least alcohol. In an interesting Montana note, the report notes:

While trying to make a comeback in an independent league in 1997, Mr. Howe injured his arm. Later that summer, he was critically injured in a motorcycle accident in Montana and charged with drunken driving.

So far the news isn’t getting much play. Even his Baseball-Reference.com page has an anonymous sponsor. Still, if he hadn’t helped the Dodgers win the World Series in 1981, and later played with the resurgent Yankees of the mid-1990s, no one would remember him.

I remember him as a slight man on the mound, maybe a little too intense for the game. And later as a joke about drug use. A shame to see so much talent wasted.

Matt Leinart

Boy, if there ever was a reason why players should enter the pro sports drafts early, USC golden boy, Matt Leinert demonstrated it.

If he had entered the draft last year, after his junior year in college, he would have been the no-brainer first pick of the draft. Instead he chose to stay one more year – not to finish his credits or get an additional year’s education, the only class he took was ballroom dancing – but to take one more shot at the national title and the Heisman , and, one assumes, to enjoy one last year with Southern California weather and women.

What happened? Well, he wasn’t even the best player on his team. And he lost the title game to Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns. Oh yeah, he dropped from first to tenth pick this Saturday, slipping from the 49ers to the Cardinals. What’s the big deal? Only the several million dollars difference between being the first overall pick and the tenth overall pick. Sure the Cardinals are closer to the playoffs than the Niners, but this is the Arizona Cardinals. A cursed franchise.

Basically staying in school was the wrong thing to do. Now if only someone would tell that to Florida’s men’s basketball team. Joakim Noah is one knee injury away from losing a multi-million NBA dollar signing bonus.

Pete Rose Jr.

Now the son follows in the father’s footsteps. Instead of getting in trouble for gambling, like his father, Rose Jr. ran afoul of the law in a disctinctly 21st-century manner: he distributed steroids to his minor league teammates.

Rose distributed GBL, a “steroid alternative,” whatever that means. According the report, he used the drug as a “sleep aid.”

Sure he did.

But this is the part that gets me:

He also said he supplied half the players on that team with the drug. Rose said his teammates would take GBL to relax after games.

Half his teammates? Yes, I know, never trust a Rose to tell the truth. But this still tells me that steroids and drug use was — is — pandemic in the minor leagues. Disgraceful. Don’t tell me MLB commissioner Bud Selig didn’t know.

But then home runs do draw the fans.




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