Monday, March 6, 2006

Rock On

What do Layne Staley, Keith Moon, Darrell Abbott, and Sid Vicious all have in common? They, and a host of others, are all rockers who died prematurely either by gunshot or drug overdose. Something called "Blender" lists them, in a feature on AOL, with 46 other performers from the music world who died before their time, occasionally by tragic accident but usually because of unfortunate lifestyle choices.

The Blender feature offers interesting, if sometimes vaguely tasteless, background on each of the fifty.

Of Pots and Kettles

Barbra Streisand takes President Bush to task on her blog for his various offenses against Hollywood liberalism. In the course of her excoriation of the President she implicitly derides him for being dumb, referring mockingly to the "arrogance of this 'C' student."

Her post, unfortunately, contains eleven misspelled words, including four in a single sentence, a rather distinctive intellectual achievement, we think. It makes us wonder what Babs' own college GPA was.

Drudge has the details.

Striving For the Silver

The satirical blog The Onion has the scoop. You read it there first:

WASHINGTON, DC-In a press conference on the steps of the Capitol Monday, Congressional Democrats announced that, despite the scandals plaguing the Republican Party and widespread calls for change in Washington, their party will remain true to its hopeless direction.

"We are entirely capable of bungling this opportunity to regain control of the House and Senate and the trust of the American people," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said to scattered applause. "It will take some doing, but we're in this for the long and pointless haul."

"We can lose this," Reid added. "All it takes is a little lack of backbone."

Despite plummeting poll numbers for the G.O.P nationwide and an upcoming election in which all House seats and 33 Senate seats are up for contention, Democrats pledged to maintain their party's sheepish resignation.

"In times like these, when the American public is palpably dismayed with the political status quo, it is crucial that Democrats remain unfocused and defer to the larger, smarter, and better-equipped Republican machine," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said. "If we play our cards right, we will be intimidated to the point of total paralysis."

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) cited the Bush Administration's bungled response to Hurricane Katrina as a model for Democrats. "Grandmothers drowning in nursing homes, families losing everything, communities torn apart-and the ruling party just sat and watched," Lieberman said. "I'm here to promise that we Democrats will find a way to let you down just like that."

According to Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Democrats are not willing to sacrifice their core values-indecision, incoherence, and disorganization-for the sake of short-term electoral gain. "Don't lose faithlessness, Democrats," Kennedy said. "The next election is ours to lose. To those who say we can't, I say: Remember Michael Dukakis. Remember Al Gore. Remember John Kerry."

Kennedy said that, even if the Democrats were to regain the upper hand in the midterm elections, they would still need to agree on a platform and chart a legislative agenda-an obstacle he called "insurmountable."

"Universal health care, the war in Iraq, civil liberties, a living wage, gun control-we're not even close to a consensus within our own ranks," Kennedy said. "And even if we were, we wouldn't know how to implement that consensus."

"Some rising stars with leadership potential like [Sen. Barack] Obama (D-IL) and [New York State Attorney General Eliot] Spitzer have emerged, but don't worry: We've still got some infight left in us," Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said. "Over the last decade, we've found a reliably losing formula, and we're sticking with it."

Dean reminded Democratic candidates to "stay on our unclear message, maintain a defensive, reactive posture, and keep an elitist distance from voters."

Political consultant and Democratic operative James Carville said that, if properly disseminated, the message of hopelessness could be the Democrats' most effective in more than a decade.

"For the first time in a long time, we're really connecting with the American people, who are also feeling hopeless," Carville said. "If we can harness that and run on it in '06, I believe we can finish a strong second."

Unfortunately for the Dems, when all you have to offer people is negativism and mendacity the best you can hope for is the silver. But, hey, second place isn't bad, or at least it wouldn't be if the elections were the Olympics.

The India Deal

Matt Cooper has a good backgrounder on the nuclear ("nucular," if you're president Bush) deal just closed with India. It still has to be approved by Congress, but it's hard to imagine the Democrats mustering the strength to stop it.

Cooper quotes Bush: "Our Congress has got to understand that it's in our economic interests that India have a civilian nuclear power industry to help take the pressure off the global demand for energy....And so I'm trying to think differently, not to stay stuck in the past," says Bush.

India currently uses a lot of the world's oil and burns a particularly dirty species of coal. Helping them to use nuclear power as an alternative will eventually reduce world demand for oil and clean the air. It will also increase the Indian standard of living and open up markets for American goods, if we're still producing anything twenty years from now. The deal will also help cement relations with the world's largest Democracy and a looming power in that part of the world. If China starts flexing its muscles and casting a covetous eye beyond its borders it'll be good to have friends in the region.

All in all, it sounds like yet another success for an administration that Senator Harry Reid recently declared will be remembered only for its incompetency and not for any achievements.

That Senator Reid. He's such a caution.

Where'd They Go?

Those readers who may be interested in understanding the mysterious case of the missing WMD will want to read this interview with Ryan Mauro, who, at the age of 19, is something of a prodigy on this subject. Don't be deceived by his youth. The fellow has an amazing grasp of the relevant intelligence on the question of what happened to the Iraqi weapons and weapons program.

The one sentence summary: The Bush administration was absolutely correct to claim that Iraq had a working WMD program prior to our invasion in 2003. Anyone who seeks to tar Bush with the claim that he lied about WMD is, if Mr. Mauro is to be believed, either ignorant of the evidence or doesn't care what the evidence shows.