Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oh Shit! My Legacy!?!?!?!

The joys of watching the President's final year will be enormous:
Over the past few months, Mr. Bush has sounded more like the national Mr. Fix-It than the man who began his second term with a sweeping domestic policy agenda of overhauling Social Security, remaking the tax code and revamping immigration law. Now, with little political capital left, Mr. Bush, like President Bill Clinton before him, is using his executive powers — and his presidential platform — to make little plans sound big.

He traveled to the shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to announce federal protection for two coveted species of game fish, the striped bass and the red drum. He appeared in the Rose Garden to call on lenders to help struggling homeowners refinance. He came out in favor of giving the Food and Drug Administration new authority to recall unsafe foods.

Just this weekend, thanks to an executive order by Mr. Bush, the military is opening up additional air space — the White House calls it a “Thanksgiving express lane” — to lessen congestion in the skies. And Mr. Bush’s aides say more announcements are in the works, including another initiative, likely to be announced soon, intended to ease the mortgage lending crisis.
Well, apart from the opening up of military airspace to passenger flights to help ease congestion in the peak periods --and credit where credit is due, this was a novel suggestion --what's wrong with this picture?

He traveled to the shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to announce federal protection for two coveted species of game fish, the striped bass and the red drum...instead of gutting the EPA and Department of Interior budgets, meaning he could have done this years ago.

He appeared in the Rose Garden to call on lenders to help struggling homeowners refinance....instead of artificially keeping the prime lending rate low, thus igniting the sub-prime debacle in the first place, or hell, even listening to his first Secretary of the Treasury!

He came out in favor of giving the Food and Drug Administration new authority to recall unsafe foods....instead of not turning the agency over to the lobbyists, particularly from the cattle industry, so it's no surprise that beef has been a killer in this country over the past seven years.

Starting to see a pattern? Now that he's allowed his cronies (puns intended) free range to gut and scale back on oversight and regulation in their own interests, suddenly in the last year of his administration, when it will be his name in the ledger books, he's decided to become the Lord High Protector.

Bush wouldn't even make a good pocket protector.
Yet some of Mr. Bush’s new initiatives have had little practical effect. Fishing for red drum and striped bass, for instance, is already prohibited in federal waters; Mr. Bush’s action will take effect only if the existing ban is lifted. And the Federal Aviation Administration can already open military airspace on its own, without presidential action.

Democrats, like Senator Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, who runs the Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee, dismiss the actions as window dressing. “It’s more words than substance,” said Mr. Dorgan said, adding he was surprised to see a president who has often seemed averse to federal regulation using his regulatory authority.

“He’s kind of a late bloomer,” Mr. Dorgan said.
You have to think the policy shop in the White House is scraping hard at the bottom of the barrel in order to come up with some of these.

I have a list of things Mr. Bush can fix, so long as he's interested in making a difference to the common folk.
1) Get American Idol off the air.

2) Mediate the writer's strike in Hollywood.

3) While you're at it, the Broadway stagehands' strike seems to be at an impasse.

4) The filtration system in the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial needs to be cleaned out.

5) You could reglaze the windows in the Capitol. My sources tell me some of the Congressmen have to actually wear sweaters for the drafts.

6) My car could use a waxing.

7) Take out the garbage.

8) Clean ThumbPer's litterbox.

9) There's a pothole at the intersection of Union Turnpike and Francis Lewis. Senator D'Amato used to be really good at getting those filled. Are you saying you're not as good as a Senator?

10) I need someone to climb down into the septic system and scrape the solids out.

11) You could just resign, and admit you're a fuck up.
Other suggestions are welcome in comments. What should Bush do while he waits for the inevitable escort off the grand stage, with a large hook?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday Music Blogging

Las Musicas de las "Go Go's"!

Friday Cat Kitten Blogging

Blogggin es hard werk! I go look at burds insead...

Nobody Asked Me, But...

The post-tryptophan weekly whip-around of news you might have missed, and probably didn't need to know anyway, but you'd be surprised...

1) I wrote an article a few weeks ago about the curious lack of presence of India, given all of Pakistan's troubles. Someone seems determined to end this neutrality.

2) The English national soccer team suffered an humiliating defeat at the hands of Croatia this week, and will have to fight for a spot in the World Cup in 2007, held in its former colony, South Africa. Immediately, the country fired the man responsible for this calamity. If only our country could take the hint.

3) I guess we won't be seeing too many more articles from the right wing fasciofringe about how we're "winning" the war on terror...

4) Could Skype be the next target of the DoJ?

5) I would like to find out two things: first, how would you know that it was less effective at higher doses, and second, where can I sign up for the follow up testing?

6) Global warming strikes again.

7) In case you were wondering why economic royalists are laughing at you as you struggle to make your mortgage payment...

8) This soul is a train wreck in slow motion.

9) Do you get the feeling the US economy is being simply left behind?

10) Putin poo-poos parapluie plan.

11) A bit of a sad note to literature fans everywhere: Anne Frank's tree is dying. eBay to the rescue!

12) Seriously....4 AM?!?!?!?!? I'm sure the store staff *loved* that!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Carl scans the faces of the 50,000-odd people who have visited this blog this year

Thank you all for coming today. Let us bow our heads and pray....don't worry, it's an ecumenical prayer and if you want to edit past the icky religious crap, it's pretty quick...

Dear Lord (see? Quick.)

I am a lucky man. The things I have needed have been provided to me, usually without my asking. Thanks for the resources I have available to me, particularly my family, especially my daughter.

It has been a challenging year, this 2007-- my father died, the car accident, my health concerns, my daughter's transformation to college student, stress and pressures-- and proof that the future holds even greater challenges lies no further than the rehabilitation home my mother is in on this holiday and my multiple caretaking stops.

Somehow, I have found the strength for this, and thanks. A friend of mine, a fellow "of the cloth", once told me "If you pray for strength, the Lord will give it to you, then make even bigger challenges. You want to pray for peace." (oops....sorry...)

I'd be more thankful next year if my challenges were spread out a bit.

I'm thankful for my friends, both old and new. My "old" friends, for being by my side if only in spirit (altho face-to-face has played its role as well) when I've needed them. My "new" friends, for bringing a new joy to my world. Life is a pot luck supper, and each of us brings a different course.

ThumbPer sits here on my lap as I type this, so I'd be very remiss if I didn't thank him for taking his pettings like a cat, particularly when I needed him most, and for taking his job as portrait model with good humour. (ed note: yer welkome dadby!)

I'm thankful to my readers, who make this all worthwhile. I wouldn't do this without you (blogging for yourself, I feel, is the equivalent of shuffling down the street, talking to yourself).

I'm thankful to other bloggers who have linked to this small slice-o-Blogtopia (© Skippy, who is on this list): Most grateful am I to Mike Finn over at Crooks and Liars, who has been a big supporter of SLB since its inception and who asked me to guest blog his Round Up during a very important week for me, the week of the Weblog Awards (See? When I've needed something, it's been there!). I'd also like to thank Nicole and Bluegal for making me feel welcome in my old haunts. In this vein, I'd like to thank Miss Cellania, who's been there since day one.

I'd like to thank Avedon Carol, the gang over at Martini Revolution, Lydia Cornell, MaryScott of My Left Wing, and Michael Stickings of The Reaction, for their surprising uses of my talents, either as co-blogger or by linking out of left field.

I'd like to thank Instaputz for allowing me to be a total jerk in comments. It's helped me sharpen my comedic mind. Likewise, Jesus' General, Jon Swift,

And I made a new friend this year, so I'd like to thank Thers over at Whiskey Fire for extending his hand.

So many things and people to be thankful for...

I'm mostly thankful that the world seems to finally be sorting itself out, that Americans have woken up to the nightmare that is this presidency, and that there's a sense I get that a movement is bubbling up. It won't entail any of the players on the stage right now, but it will be an agent for change.

Given what could have been this year, I'm grateful to still be around and not emanating radiation in some quarantined city because of the misguided bumblings of the Asshat In Chief.

We face great and grave challenges these next few years, but I know that we have a power on our side. Call it fate, call it karma, call it God (sorry!), it will provide what we need when we need it to get the job done. And I'm thankful for that, as well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hump Day Comedy Blogging

The Beatles

Et, vOILa!

I wonder if it's coincidence that this is happening ahead of what is effectively a media blackout for four days...
LONDON (Reuters) - Oil held above $98 a barrel on Wednesday, after closing in on the $100 milestone as the dollar hit new lows and cold weather in the United States, the world's biggest fuel consumer, stirred anxiety over winter supplies.

U.S. light crude surged to a record $99.29 early in the session, but then edged down from this peak to stand at $98.39, up 36 cents at 8:04 a.m. EST.

Prices blasted past the previous $98.62 record, extending a rally that has lifted oil by 45 percent since mid-August as speculative investment rises, supplies tighten and the dollar weakens.
I'm going to speculate for a minute here: if oil passes $100 before next Monday (there are three trading days, if you count time differences in the Asian markets), it will spike over $150 by the end of next summer.

Crude has risen 45% just in the past three months, so a further fifty percent increase ahead of the Beijing Olympics would not be impossible. And none of this is with any reference to Hugo Chavez's rant the other day.

Coupled with the dollar dropping to record lows against the euro, it's gotten so that even the Saudis are making noises about the weak US economy.

Heading into the holiday shopping season, people are understandably edgy. Who wants to choose between Junior's iPod and heating the house for a month?

And where's the President's leadership on all this? Is he more concerned with covering his ass or with helping poor Americans to keep from freezing in the long cold winter ahead?

In 1979, if you're old enough, you may recall that Jimmy Carter was at least concerned enough to speak to Americans nearly weekly, recreating FDR's fireside chats, during that tragic economic period in our history. Carter instituted price controls when oil hit $15.35 a barrel, well before it hit its all-time peak of over $39 a barrel (adjusted for inflation, that would be $101 today).

Bush? Nothing. Not even asking us to turn our thermostats down and wear a sweater. No lowering of Federal speed limits. Bush is less effective than Jimmy Carter. There's your legacy, sir.

We're heading for a very nasty period in American history. We can't lower interest rates for fear the dollar will plummet further, yet we can't maintain them as more and more Americans default on their home mortgages. Neither can we raise them. The Fed's hands are tied, pretty much.

This nation has been destroyed by men (and a few women) hellbent on ideological concretization, with no regard to the one true fact of life: there is no "one right way". Frederick Winslow Taylor is an extinct dinosaur, and rigid dogma will always lose out in the end to the chaos of life and the planet.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


OK, it's nearly that time again, when New York City turns itself into a winter wonderland (minus the snow) ahead of Santa's Christmas visit.

Normally, I'd be drinking heavily in anticipation of all the tourists, both fat Americans from the heartland and svelte foreigners slinking about the streets near my office, getting in my way and making ignorant remarks about my city (most of which I ignore).

This year, I have too much on my plate to really be bothered much by these minor infectious agents of idiocracy ("Gee, that building's really tall! Make sure you use the flash to get the very top in the picture!").

So I'm making a deal: Tourists, I've got all you need to know about New York City right here!

OK, first things first: it's big. It's enormous. It's ginormous. Yes, it's the biggest frikkin' city you've ever seen (you can't count Los Angeles because most days you can't see the whole thing for the smog). How big is it?

Your entire family reunion would fit on one floor of your average office building and yes, I'm including the cousins from Bumfuck, Tennessee who breed like rabbits. And there'd still be space for your neighbors to hold their family reunions!

That's just in Manhattan. Manhattan is the place you usually think of when you think about New York City. Since I don't have time or energy to lead a guided tour, let me point out some spots to you: that's where I was shot and killed by Jerry Orbach on "Law And Order." That's where I arrested the pedophile on "L&O: SVU." I was the third corpse after the office bombing on "CSI:NY" at that building over there (nice elevators, by the way, it made for some interesting conversation with the Japanese bank on the 8th floor when we were in make-up). I'd show you more but we're pressed for time. What? Oh. Yes. Every New Yorker has been on "Law & Order" or "CSI:NY." It's in the contracts.

The Theatre District is loosely defined as Times Square, plus two blocks west of Broadway and anyplace that Nathan Lane is carousing, extending north to around 50th Street. Don't go there. There's a stagehands strike. And besides, the Disney DVDs capture the flavor of the movies more realistically.

No, wait. Go there. Friends of mine own bars and restaurants and I can't keep them in business singlehandedly, no matter how *hic* try I hard.

There's shopping about a half mile down, where you'll run into Macy's. Literally. It takes up an entire city block, and the crowds going into and out of it create a giant black-hole like vortex that will suck you in, even if you're across the street.

North of Times Square is Central Park. No much to know about that except if you ever need to spend ten minutes thinking, that's about the only place in New York where you can, except for some toilets in really quiet French restaurants. Oh. And John Lennon was shot just across the street on 72nd. You'll recognize the building, the Dakota, from its star turn in Rosemary's Baby.

What's that? No, I was a bit too old to play the baby.

Outside of Manhattan are Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx. Queens is pretty cool. You can visit two active movie studios practically by walking across the East, really! Go's safe! It's been specially polluted so that anything that comes in contact with it will bounce. Think of it as a giant rubber floor.

Brooklyn is Brooklyn and aside from Park Slope, and maybe Brooklyn Heights, you can avoid it like the plague. I mean that. People get infectious diseases there (not really, but Brooklynites don't cotton to strangers very nicely). If you're hungry, though, Atlantic Avenue is one of the most diverse food venues in the city, and hence, the world.

Staten Island, no one goes to except to take the Staten Island Ferry (you remember the opening of Working Girl with Melanie Griffith?) so that you can take pictures of the Statue of Liberty. The ferry's a nice ride, and free, so I'd take that, and you can just turn around and reboard, but it's hardly worth it. There isn't a picture you can take that hasn't been taken by a million people, no matter how professional a photographer you are. Buy a postcard and lie to your friends.

The Bronx...well, the more time you spend there, the better it is for you and the residents. I suggest going to Yankee Stadium and squatting on line now for 2008 tickets. They go fast and the scalpers are already setting up their shanty town.

I'm kidding about spending as much time as possible up in the Bronx! Did you ever watch the NYC Marathon on TV? There's a reason they barely set foot in the borough before turning back into Manhattan!!!!

OK, so that's the nickel tour of the city. Let's go over some ground rules that are guaranteed to make your stay more pleasant for everyone:
1) Please, stop right in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk at a map or a building! We encourage it. And nevermind the sharp elbows and toe-step-ons you suffer...that's just our way of welcoming you to the city, newbie.

2) Despite what you see on the TV, the MTV studio windows are not two-way glass, and so they can't see you inside. But be our guests to step out into rush hour traffic for your fifteen seconds of fame on TRL. Your friends will be thrilled for you, and will spend weeks asking you about your trip to St. Luke's Hospital (featured on "Law and Order" too!)

3) We don't allow smoking in our bars and restaurants, but here's a little insider's tip from me to you, because I like you: light up anyway. Riker's Island is a hidden gem and a must-see on your trip!

4) The odds of you seeing a celebrity walking down the street decrease dramatically inversely to the density of the population on said street, so your best bet is on Staten Island, where no one goes anyway. Our celebrities only come out late at night, when they know the hicks are asleep (or overpaying for the encore of a Disney Broadway show). However, some good places to sit a while and stargaze are Sarabeth's on Central Park South (which New Yorkers call 59th Street, so there's a tip for how to blend in a little), Balthazar's on Prince Street, and the fountain in Washington Square Park. Look for anyone wearing dark sunglasses and a hat pulled tightly over their eyes. Be prepared to purchase a souvenir, usually in the form of some of our fine lawns, pulled up and rolled in paper for your convenience, and say hello to Britney for me.

5) You probably wonder where all the people you see scuttling around during the day disappear to after 6. Well, the city itself holds close to 9 million people, and all 9 million descend on Manhattan, plus another million or so from New Jersey and Connecticut (don't ask!). We've had to work it out so the weight is spread out enough that the island itself doesn't tilt up when everyone works on Wall Street. Yes, we all make millions, at least those of us who are native-born. People who move here get robbed. A lot. Don't even think about it.

Unless you have a nice body and are willing to share. Frequently.

6) Be sure to interrupt New Yorkers who look the most determined not to be late for work or for dinner or, God forbid, the Rangers' game at the Garden. They'll be happy to point out that the building you're standing in front of, scratching your head, is the address you're waving in their faces, and will do it most courteously...for an angry drunk SOB who's just had a fight with the wife and gotten a traffic ticket. You may want to wear a face shield for all the spittle.

7) Please buy as many souvenirs from the furtively-browed men who sell them off card tables on the sidewalk as you can. The more money they make ripping you off with cheap knockoffs, the less time they're out robbing our apartments or handing out flyers for Goldfingers.
To add to your survival guide, here are some handy numbers and acronyms you should know:

911 - It's not just a word Rudy Giuliani tosses about like a stevedore cursing, it's a phone number for emergency services. Our police and fire departments are first rate and your experience with them, should the opportunity arise, will be excellent. The trouble might arise as they fight their way through all the traffic you and the other ten million tourists visiting us create. Please understand that they're only doing their job the best they can and that you shouldn't have gotten yourself shot in the first place. No one's ever sold a real Rolex on the streetcorner at 47th and Broadway, and you should have seen before you handed over the grand that it said "Roley".

311 - This is an amazing telephone number, and you can find out practically anything you want to know about the city and what it offers by dialing it. Expect to wait about the length of your vacation to get the information you could have gotten by reading ahead on-line before you left.

611 - This used to be the phone number for telephone repairs, but since that's now been privatized (see next item), you must hangup and dial some bizarre phone number that maintains a near non-relationship to this simple little three digit code, where you will be connected to Verizon telephone company. Pray your hotel or apartment uses them. Actually, pray not. You'll sit on hold for an hour until a tech support representative answers and determines that, yes indeed, it's your fault your phone doesn't work, despite the fact the wiring outside your room is dangling, electrocuting pigeons.

IND, BMT, IRT - These initials stand for the three private subway companies that eventually were bought out by the city when the city realized that three private companies running the subways was ruinous to the city's economy. See, this is why we believe in big government: private owners never give a rat's ass about you, where at least in government, a rat's ass is tossed your way every so often.

GOP - also know as Grumpy Old Pedophilies, if you've found one of these in New York City, step away from him as quickly as possible. They are usually found sitting on a park bench, eyeing little girls with bad intent. Even the mayor, Michael Bloomberg (whom you will be personally introduced to at a private reception at Gracie Mansion, and then promptly arrested for crashing a party), has disavowed them.

NYC - You will see these initials everywhere. New York City is a diverse melting pot of various peoples, languages and religions. "NYC" is just Russian mafia graffiti.

212 - As in Actor212, is the area code for Manhattan Island. Along with 646. And 917. We're not fucking Wyoming. One size does not fit all.

That's a potential 3 billion phone lines, all of them wrong numbers.

One After 909 - An old Beatles tune. Sorry. I was checking to see if you were paying attention.

GWM, SMF, BBF - If you see these initials, among others, you must be reading the personals in the Village Voice. I encourage you to call any phone numbers listed. We call it our "enhanced tourism program," where either a gay white male, straight married female, or bi black female will arrive at your hotel room to discuss in depth what you'd like to do or see. Tipping is encouraged and the billing to your credit card will read "Library Fees".

Oh, and nevermind that sign at the airport that read "Welcome To New York. Leave Your Money And Get Out Now, If You Know What's Good For You". We didn't really mean it.

Well, yea. We did, actually. See...that's your half of the deal.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Maybe There's Hope For Me, Yet?

Amid all the holiday angst-- the deaths, the illnesses, the caretaking, the car accidents, the spats with family-- I find this reply to a post from a year ago:
Carl -

I should have written sooner. I am happy to report that 2006 was free of any "reindeer incidents". I am also happy to tell you that you are currently on my "nice list"... though I wouldn't take any chances for the rest of the year.

I generally stay out of politics. What I will say is that my Holiday is Christmas. I fully respect that others may choose to celebrate the holidays their beliefs lead them to but I have made the same choice and mine is Christmas.

Please know that the Magic of Christmas can work miracles. Keep the faith, Carl.


Santa Claus
CEO, North Pole Inc.

Thanks, Santa! In the words of the immortal Natalie Wood in "Miracle"...I believe... I believe... It's silly, but I believe.

Oh...and I'd like the red iPod shuffle, if it's not too much trouble... :-D

Oh, Brother...

Insanity has been defined as trying the same thing over and over, expecting a different result (meaning insanity is the essence of psychological conditioning, but I digress).

In foreign affairs, especially in the "war" on terrorists, it's a dangerous game to play:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 — A new and classified American military proposal outlines an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the frontier areas of Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as part of a broader effort to bolster Pakistani forces against an expanding militancy, American military officials said.
OK, makes sense: buy a warlord or a dozen, and enlist their help in tracking down Osama and his minions, and capture them.

Right? Eh. Not so much:
But it raises the question of whether such partnerships, to be forged in this case by Pakistani troops backed by the United States, can be made without a significant American military presence in Pakistan. And it is unclear whether enough support can be found among the tribes, some of which are working with Pakistan's intelligence agency.
Why am I uncertain of the efficacy of this strategy?

Afghan Warlord Teams Up With Taliban And Al Qaeda

Afghan Warlord Splits With Taliban

More detail? Here:
Most disturbing to the allied commanders is that at least two of the enemy warlords, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, received many millions of dollars in cash, plus sophisticated weapons from the CIA and the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI), when they were fighting against the Soviet occupation of their country in the 1980s. Those weapons have now been turned against their former providers.

Lieutenant-General Karl Eikenberry, commander of Combined Forces Command in Afghanistan, with 20,000 US soldiers under his control, said western intelligence had identified a "Taliban triumvirate" that has been operating since spring of this year. [...]

At that time, the Americans did not care that Hizb-i Islami, the militant group founded by Hekmatyar, espoused an extremist religious and anti-Western ideology, and attracted thousands of religious radicals to Afghanistan, among them Osama bin Laden himself.

Hekmatyar even became prime minister twice in the 1990s. After September 11 2001, he sided with Osama bin Laden, and was named as a global terrorist by an executive order of the US government. He has issued a tape calling for a jihad against the US and offering rewards for those who kill US troops.
See, the rule of thumb when dealing with allies within factions of a country that one is at war with is, "If you buy them, they should stay bought."

This scenario has not played out, truthfully, in Afghanistan and there is no reason to think that Pakistani tribal leaders won't do the same: take US aid and particularly, arms, then turn around and protect Al Qaeda and the Taliban. They are more Pashtun than Pakistani (or Afghani), and so are the Taliban and much of Al Qaeda in that region.

So you tell me: is blood thicker than a falling dollar?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

T. Boone Chickens

You might have been following the (possibly drunken) mouthings of T. Boone Pickens from the American Spectator dinner the other night:
Sen. John Kerry, whose 2004 presidential campaign was torpedoed by critics of his Vietnam War record, said Friday he has personally accepted a Texas oilman's offer to pay $1 million to anyone who can disprove even a single charge of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

In a letter to T. Boone Pickens, the Massachusetts Democrat wrote: "While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."
Pickens' original boast (again, I'm not discounting the possibility the man was shit-faced and egged on), for incontrovertible proof of one lie, just one, that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth told during the 2004 Presidential campaign.

Hell, I don't have access to any of the factual material and I'd take that challenge on in a heartbeat!

Kerry took Pickens' challenge head on, and good for him, because as with bullies of all stripes...Pickens' chickens out!:
Dear Senator Kerry:
So glad to hear from you regarding the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth political ad campaign, and an offer I made public at an American Spectator dinner in Washington, D.C. last week. I am intrigued by your letter, and am certainly open to your challenge.

My concern at the Spectator Dinner was, and continues to be, that you and other political figures were and are maligning the Swift Boat Veterans, and I want to prevent this important part of American history from being unfairly portrayed.

In order to disprove the accuracy of the Swift Boat ads, I will ultimately need you to provide the following:

1) The journal you maintained during your service in Vietnam.
2) Your military record, specifically your service records for the years
1971-1978, and copies of all movies and tapes made during your

When you have done so, if you can then prove anything in the ads was materially untrue, I will gladly award $1 million. As you know, I have been a long and proud supporter of the American military and veterans' causes. I now challenge you to make this commitment: If you cannot prove anything in the Swift Boat ads to be untrue, that you will make a $1 million gift to the charity I am choosing -- the Medal of Honor Foundation.
Gee...T. never put conditions in your original challenge as the nature of the proof or anything beyond disproving one claim.

Did you wake up the next morning, take a couple of Excedrin, and as you were reviewing your performance the night before while shaving, nick yourself when you came to the sudden realization that, yes, indeedy, the one man who could factually, definitively and factually refute not just one, but any number of claims, would drop that bomb on you?

"Maligning the Swift Boat Veterans" is undoubtedly the funniest turn of phrase I've heard since Bruce Cutler said this in defense of John Gotti: "He has threatened to kill hundreds of people, and all the people that have been threatened on tape by John are alive and well, or, if not, they died of natural causes."

So who is T. Boone Pickens? Well, you could describe him in several ways: failed venture capitalist, failed political king maker, failed philanthropist, failed father...are ya seeing a pattern here?

Oh...and he's an executive director of the Rudy Giuliani campaign.

Nuff said.

Oh...except that he's a chicken.


From today's Washington Post:
We often think of cost simply in terms of dollars spent, but the real cost of a choice -- what economists call its "opportunity cost" -- consists of the forgone alternatives, of the things we could have had instead. For instance, the cost of seeing a movie is not just the dollars you plunked down for the ticket, but also the subtler cost of missing a dinner at home or a cocktail party at work. This idea sounds simple, but if applied consistently, it requires us to rethink and, yes, raise the costs of the Iraq war.

From the Weblog Award winning Simply Left Behind, Tuesday, November 13th:
But what's not talked about, the costs that aren't covered, are the opportunity costs.

When a business makes a decision regarding a major investment, one thing it takes into account is what else they could do with the resources they need to commit to that investment, how much money they have to subtract from other investments, and what those investments might yield instead.

These are called "opportunity costs." If the new investment produces a greater return, then the new investment is made. If it takes too much from other opportunities and doesn't produce enough, it is not made.

Think about the Iraq invasion in this regard: how many National Guardsmen would have been available for Katrina, or the recent rash of California wildfires? Would the I-35 bridge have collapsed and killed as many if the NTSB had been fully funded to even their 2000 levels? How many people have lost vital services because of budget cutbacks to pay for this debacle?
Happy to be of such assistance, Dr. Cowen!

Just kidding. Dr. Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

The question is, what took him so fucking long to do this pitiful analysis, given his resources (I don't have a team of graduate students at my disposal, yet eevn I did a more thoroughly number crunch!)?

I grade you a B-, Needs improvement, Doc...