This is Weird

This from the Dayton Daily News
A staff attorney for the Ohio House Republican Caucus was arrested late Wednesday and police suspect he is the flasher known around Columbus as the "naked photographer."
Wonder what his coworkers say about him?



...to Los Angeles for the weekend to make preparations for the Big Move and to attend the Trippi Summit at UCLA. Hold down the fort, folks. You gonna be attending Hoff? If so, look forward to meeting you. To Paul and the folks up north, hope ya'll have a great NoCal summit, too!

By the way, the co-called Bush energy bill is dead -- woohoo! They say it's not over, but I think it's toast without major revisions that would almost certainly kill it in the House.

P.S. For your enjoyment, today's review of The Cat in the Hat from the Los Angeles Times written in verse by Manohla Dargis with apologies to Dr. Seuss. You have to be a subscriber to get their Calendar section content, so sorry, no link, but here's an excerpt:
Why oh why did they make it like that?
oh why did the ruin "The Cat in the Hat"?

. . .

Critics are paid to suffer bad art,
no matter how icky it is from the start

"So all we could do was to

"And we did not like it.
"Not one little bit."
Have a great weekend!

P.P.S. Just noticed that Hoffmania! is indexing the poor reviews of "The Crap in the Hat" -- see more here and also here.


Yes. We Know. He's The Terminator.

More compassion from our new governor in Colliefoonya. Steve Lopez in the LA Times:

"Go out there. Buy cars," Schwarzenegger implored a few hundred disciples at Galpin Ford on Roscoe Boulevard in North Hills.

New car, used car, any car. Just buy a car, said the governor, and enjoy the benefit of the vehicle tax reduction he enacted Monday, his first day in office.

It was a swell show, but it was a curious way to put an end to special-interest politics, a Schwarzenegger mantra.

Galpin owner H.F. Boeckmann and his wife, Jane, pumped $42,400 into Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial campaign, and Mr. Boeckmann kicked in an additional $10,000 for his inaugural.

Auto dealers statewide funneled roughly half a million dollars to Schwarzenegger. Then, on his first day in office, Schwarzenegger dumped DMV chief Steve Gourley, who had a reputation for cracking down hard on auto financing scams.

"I got a call at about 3:10 in the afternoon" from a Schwarzenegger staffer, said Gourley, who was asked to clear out his office by the end of the day. Gourley, who was having throat surgery the next day, said he didn't know if he could get his things together on such short notice.

"Stay late," he was told. Then make yourself history.

Gourley, a lawyer and former Culver City mayor, told me he expected to get dumped at some point, as gubernatorial appointees usually are after a change in command. But he had offered to help with the transition through December, and had no clue he'd be sent packing just hours after the inauguration.

"I'm buying trash bags to put my belongings into," he said when I reached him by cell phone Thursday, the day he moved out of his Sacramento apartment.
Voted for Arnold because you were sick of politicians beholden to special interests? Your new governor just gave you the finger. Hasta la vista, chumps.


Alternate History

From time to time many of us political junkies sit back with a glass of wine, gaze off into the nether-regions, and hearken back to political races of the past and think "what if..."

What if...Reagan had won the GOP nomination and the presidency in 1976? Would it have ushered in a 12 or 16-year Democratic era in 1980? President Bentsen? President Glenn?

What if...all the votes in Florida were counted in 2000? Would President Gore be riding a wave international appreciation to a re-election blow out in 2004?

This type of revisionist history is practically sport for those of us with an interest in presidential politics (not to mention a little bit of solace for someone like me - who has been on the losing side in three of the last five presidential elections.)

Nigel Hamilton, author of "JFK: Reckless Youth," has a very entertaining piece in today's New York Times. With the 40th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination this weekend, Hamilton takes a crack at how the modern international landscape would been vastly altered had Kennedy been able to finish his presidency.

Nixon is never elected. Instead of a Clinton presidency that is bookended by the name Bush, Hamilton bookends a Ronald Reagan presidency by the name Kennedy! Colin Powell serves for 10 years!!! The author goes a little deeper, hazarding guesses at how domestic and foreign policy may have played out as well.

It's very interesting and quite entertaining; and it makes one realize how one person can shape history.

Update from Wayne: Apparently when you hit the "New York Times" link above, the graphic comes out quite small. To see the Hamilton piece, go to NYT.com, click on editorials, and you'll see the link to this piece on the right.



Tax Baby Schmidt!

I must say, it's been quiet around Points West without my Free-Roaming GOP buddy Kevin Schmidt of Nine Dwarfs fame -- remember the guy who put John Kerry's head on a chicken?

Well, sure, he makes our lives here on the range irritating -- but hey, the comment boards are a little too quiet when he's not around to argue! So, I was getting a little worried yesterday...all manner of those sorts of posts that would typically incite Kev into a gleeful rage....and not a peep, nothing, nada. Well, guess what? Welcome Baby Schmidt -- it's a girl! Kev's wife was a bit overdue, but Mom and the new arrival are -- according to PW's well-placed sources -- doing quite well.

So, from our family to yours, congrats Kev!

While on paternity leave, Kev and yours truly are gonna work our butts off to get Issue Joust up and running, but please go ahead and register and we'll let you know when we launch.

And now for a modest proposal: can't we simply apply The Baby Tax only to the children of Republican parents? Since it's their parent's party's failed policies, li'l ones like Baby Schmidt should pay the sins of the father and the mother -- not us! Why should Paul's kid be forced to pay the same amount as Kev's kid, huh? Hey Baby Schmidt -- you just been punk'd!



The Baby Tax

The national debt is hard to consider in the abstract. If you're not Bill Gates can you even wrap your brain around a number as big as a billion, let alone $6.9 trillion?

How can we, as fiscally responsible Democrats, portray the problem with the national debt in terms that most folks can easily understand? We could get economists to come in and explain why a high debt will eventually force interest rates higher which would be very bad for the housing market. I believe, though, that as soon as someone hears the word "economist" he or she immediately starts looking for the nearest exit.

If it were as easy as dryly explains the risks the national debt poses to our long term fiscal health, we'd have the argument won hands down. We need to put this in terms that are easy to get, easy to remember and easy to repeat. The GOP has been incredibly effective with their use of language (partial-birth abortion, tax and spend liberal, compassionate conservative). The terms they coin that stick are all short, catchy and convey a clear point, albeit in many cases an misleading conclusion of Orwellian proportions.

Well its our turn to strike back.

Right now, with our national debt poised to blow past seven trillion dollars, every man, woman and child in the USA - including every child born today - is already saddled with nearly $23,500 in debt. Assuming compounding interest, the newborn will have to earn nearly $200,000 to pay off his or her share of the debt. With the astronomical deficits that the Bush administration is running, we're adding over $1.5 billion each DAY to the total debt. This amounts increases each newborn's share by about $1,800 a year.

Bush didn't really cut taxes at all, he effectively raised the Baby Tax.

By giving his handouts to the richest among us, Bush has raised the Baby Tax by $1,800 a year and counting. When we talk about a return to fiscal discipline in this country let's not put it in terms of raising taxes on anybody, but cutting the Baby Tax.

Now there's a constituency that nobody bothers to consider anymore since none of them are going to be voting or writing checks any time soon. That's why we must put a stop to Bush's quest to "soak the infants".

By avoiding discipline in our spending AND giving huge hand outs to those who need it least we're just taxing our own future and the future of our children. It isn't right. It isn't fair and our leaders must stand up and acknowledge this as one of the most urgent long term problems facing our society.


SCOTT NOTE: Or, my dream line for Howard Dean: "Raise your taxes? I don't wanna raise your taxes. I want to repeal Bush's Baby Tax, and make no mistake, that's exactly what it is."


standard or philips?

Please let this piece of crap Medicare bill die, too. Both of these stinkers should go down -- and it looks like the GOP is offering us Dems plenty of help... ....by the way, what in Granny's name is up with the AARP? The Dems are fit to be tied:
Even before the forum began, while the crowd waited for AARP President James G. Parkel to speak, one person yelled: "He's on the phone with [GOP House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay." Diana Holtshouser and Beverly Archambault, both 71, expressed disappointment in an organization they joined two decades ago. "I thought AARP was on our side," Archambault said.

When debate moderator Gwen Ifill of PBS introduced the AARP commercial, many in the crowd booed and hissed. The spot includes a montage of average-looking retirees sounding the theme: "While not perfect, we know there are millions of Americans who can't afford to wait for perfect."
Hope you got kissed, 'cause......


Energy, Schmenergy!

From our calling-a-spade-a-spade file -- Collins and Snowe will support a Dem fillibuster of the so-called bush "energy" bill which is actually a super-polluting huge corporate grab-bag of bullsh*t sporting some cheap and pathetic green lipstick. Go Maine!



Kinda Down Under

Dear Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo:

Thanks for the yell! - Points West Blog Team

P.S. While visiting The Bush, check out this post regarding A Marine's Girl -- she has a stalker that makes Luskin seem rather cordial.

P.P.S. And your little 'roo, too!


Tinfoil Hats 1, Sheeple 0

There has been a bit of back-and-forth on the comment boards about a story that appeared recently purporting to confirm a Saddam/Osama connection. The story, originally reported by the Weekly Standard appeared on Fox News as well as the Washington Times and the New York Post.

According to one commentor, any skepticism of the report based on the news outlets of origin qualifies one for the tinfoil hat brigade.

Well it looks like the uncritical acceptance of anything reported in Fox News may be hazardous to one's credibility. On Saturday the Department of Defense debunked the memo that formed the basis of the story.
News reports that the Defense Department recently confirmed new information with respect to contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee are inaccurate.
The delicious coda to the press release was the following admonishment:
Individuals who leak or purport to leak classified information are doing serious harm to national security; such activity is deplorable and may be illegal.
This makes two leaks which potentially harm national security interests in less than six months. Explain to me again how this administration is making us safer?

I'm sure Bush will leave no stone unturned in finding out the identity of the source of the leak.

Update: Well, well well it turns out today that notable bloggers have jumped on this bandwagon. Check out Josh Marshall, Slacktivist and Juan Cole (scroll down to the post titled: Supposed al-Qaeda links with Saddam).


if the shoe fits...

Dean National Jon Emery sends this great Ward Sutton cartoon from The Village Voice:


Massachusetts ban on gay marriage overturned

Another step in the right direction. The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that same-sex couples are legally entitled to wed under the state constitution. However, they stopped short of allowing marriage licenses to be issued to the couples who challenged the law. The Supreme Judicial Court's 4-3 ruling ordered the Legislature to come up with a solution within 180 days.

More on the breaking story here and here.

The court's hesitance to allow marriage licenses serves as a strong reminder as to just how much of a hot potato this issue will be in the coming year. The right wing of the Republican Party is going to make this a huge wedge issue in the presidential campaign.

Just as sure as they are lining up outside Justice Renquist's chambers to appeal this decision, the GOP will now try to force a vote on a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Long time gay-marriage proponent Andrew Sullivan's initial reaction is here. (Sullivan's stance on gay marriage is passionate and well known, which makes his continued support of George W. Bush all the more puzzling. As long as Mr. Bush is in the White House, this movement is in danger. Supporting Republicans is one thing, but a gay man supporting a right wing zealot like Bush strains the brain.)

Today's ruling is a great win in a battle that is far from over.

But, for now, let's enjoy this sweet victory.

SCOTT UPDATE: Why are folks so threatened by us wee mincing fairies?



...and he's off!

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