Archive for July 19th, 2006

Links…

Glenn Greenwald urges the media to hold right-wing bloggers accountable for their hate-filled and violent rhetoric. A must read.

Jonathon Motl turns over Montanans in Action – the supporter of the state’s terrible trio of initiatives – and finds a nest of creepy crawlies.

Ed Kemmick adds the context for a letter in the Gazette condemning President Bush.

Ralph Reed loses his bid for Georgia’s lieutenant governorship, largely because of the Abramoff scandal. Hm, who else do we know running for office who has ties to the crooked lobbyist?

Dean’s 50-state strategy meshes well with the Western Dem strategy. To wit, Gary Trauner of Wyoming.

Neocon and Israeli desire for war stems from a need for moral clarity, blogs Kevin Drum.

Kos has a simpler description: clusterf*ck.

Meanwhile, how are things going in Iraq?

Republican Senators rush through the doomed stem cell research bill to minimize political damage: “It’ll be like a summer storm.”

Bush’s obstruction of the wiretapping investigation raises some Constitutional eyebrows. Will Congress act?

More examination of Bush’s infamous back rub: “You could use this video for sexual harassment training…”

Will Lieberman run as a Republican?

An amusing peek into the mess that is the Republican-controlled House and their recent pet issue, gay marriage.

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I miss Jose Canseco, don’t you?

There was Madonna, the ball bouncing off his head into the stands for a homer (for which he received an offer from a soccer team), and that time he pitched against the Red Sox and ended up tearing a tendon in his elbow. Oh, and there were domestic violence charges against him, too.

But don’t deny you were enthralled by the on-field exploits, too, belting 33 taters in his rookie-of-the-year full first season, becoming the first 40-40 man (stealing 40 bases and hitting 40 HRs in the same year) in baseball history, winning the ’88 MVP, playing an integral part of the powerful A’s team of the late ‘80s…

He also wrote a tell-all, in which he candidly admitted to taking steroids and accused a number of other prominent major leaguers (McGuire, Giambi, Palmeiro, I-Rod, and Juan Gon) of juicing. And isn’t it funny after all the trashing of Canseco that he’s the only one left with any integrity over steroids? You can’t say that about, oh, McGuire, Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, or Bud Selig, can you?

The latest hijinks comes from the Golden Baseball League’s All-Star game, in which Canseco pitched (giving up four runs in a third of an inning) and won the game’s home run derby, despite playing only seven games in the league. Oh, and he won the home run derby’s $250 prize. Disneyland? Hardly.

“I’m going to take these guys out and get them drunk,” motioning toward his teammates on the South team. “I’m going to buy about 400 gallons of beer.”

It sounds like he’s having a good time.

Essentially, I agree with Michael Chabon on this one, although I find Canseco more amusing than informative:

Like all showboats, Canseco courts the simpler kind of admiration, starting in the mirror each morning. He is slick, he drives too fast, he is nine feet tall and four feet wide and walks with a roosterish swagger. But there has always been something about him, about his style of play, his sense of self-mocking humor, his way of looking at you looking at him, that goes beyond vanity and self-aggrandizement, or being a world-class jerk.

Canseco…is a rogue, a genuine one, and genuine rogues are rare, inside baseball and out. To be a rogue, it’s not enough to flout the law, break promises, shirk responsibilities, cheat. You must also, at least some of the time, and with the same abandon, do your best, play by the rules, keep faith with your creditors and dependents, obey orders, throw out the runner at home plate with a dead strike from deep right field.

Above all you must do these things, just as you other times neglect to do them, for no particular reason, because you feel like it or do not, because nothing matters, and everything’s a joke, and nobody knows anything, and most of all, as Rhett Butler once codified it for rogues everywhere, because you don’t give a damn. One day you make that breathtaking play at the plate from deep right. On another day you decide, for no good reason, to take the mound during the late innings of a laugher and pitch, retiring the side (despite allowing three earned runs on three walks and a pair of singles) — and ruining, forever, that cannon of an arm.

I’ve never seen a man who seems more comfortable with who he is than Jose Canseco. Not with who we think he is, like our current president, or with his best idea of himself, like our president’s predecessor, but with himself: charmer and snake, clown and thoroughbred.

Above all, I see Canseco as the perfect symbol for the 80s and 90s: irreverent, mischievous, hot-headed, entertaining. And yet he’s a harbinger of what was to follow, just like Ken Starr and his Congressional allies predicted the current mean-spirited and incompetent GOP leadership and its disastrous effect on the world.

I’ll take Canseco over Bonds any day. Just as Paul Simon’s line from “Mrs. Robinson” — Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you… — encapsulated a sentimental longing for simpler times, so did the AP story on Canseco’s recent independent league heroics affect me. Those old days seems so far away, don’t they?

A study in leadership: Schweitzer v. Bush

Two leaders. One a governor, one a president. It’s the season for potential natural disaster: in Montana, it’s fire season; on the Gulf Coast, it’s hurricane season.

 

Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer:

Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Tuesday that dry weather and lightning will continue to present fire danger and that Montanans should be prepared to protect their own property.The National Guard, if needed, will be called out, Schweitzer said Tuesday morning in Billings before flying over several blazes in south-central Montana.

“We aren’t there yet,” he said referring to the National Guard.

The Governor is obviously paying attention to the fires that threaten to go out of control. He’s got the Guard standing by and has issued official, informed advice on how locals can help fight fires and protect their property.

The fires aren’t a problem. Yet. But if they do become problematic, it’s apparent Schweitzer will know and will react.

President George W. Bush:

With the water coming from the sky and the bottom of the sea, driving with such ferocity that a major American city, New Orleans, followed its face into the water, George W. Bush was at North Island in Coronado, Calif., speaking to a blindingly white audience of 9,000 sailors in uniform.

[snip]

He barely seemed to understand there was a hurricane for the first three days. He was in Coronado, outside San Diego, and in his speech, he managed to mention New Orleans, by saying that people should not return to their homes until rescue crews could do their work.

Nobody had to be told not to return to their homes because they don’t have homes to return to, and no bus fare to go anywhere.

For a reminder of Bush’s performance during Hurricane Katrina, revisit the Katrina timeline. Note that the guitar photo-op took place on Tuesday, August 30, four days after Governor Kathleen Blanco declared a state of emergency in Louisiana, three after Governor Haley Barbour did the same for Mississippi, two days after Katrina was upgraded to category 5 and warnings about the levees’ vulnerability were reported, two days after the National Weather Service issued a special warning:

Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer. … At least one-half of well-constructed homes will have roof and wall failure. All gabled roofs will fail, leaving those homes severely damaged or destroyed. … Power outages will last for weeks. … Water shortages will make human suffering incredible by modern standards.”

The picture was taken more than 31 hours after Katrina made landfall, 30 hours after the White House was informed of the levee breach, 30 hours after Bush shared a birthday cake with Senator John McCain, 18 hours after he received a personal plea from Governor Blanco to intervene, 26 hours before he makes his first public remarks about New Orleans.

You can call me a partisan guttersnipe all you want, but the 2006 elections boil down to one question: who do you trust?




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