Monday, August 08, 2005

The Next Keller Novel Will NOT Feature Cows

Bounty-hunters snarl traffic catching cows - Yahoo! News: "NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A cash reward on the heads of New Delhi's stray cows has triggered road chaos in the Indian capital as bounty hunters on motorbikes compete to round up cattle roaming the streets, The Hindustan Times said on Saturday."

Okay, I confess. I considered working this into the next novel. But even I'm not this twisted.

I Can't Wait

Two of My Favorite Noir Authors Collaborate: How can this NOT rock?

BUST by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
(Hard Case Crime, May 2006, 256 pages)

Did Max Fisher ever love his wife Deirdre? Maybe once, briefly—but that was a long time ago. Now he just wishes she were gone, so he wouldn't have to keep hiding his affair with his gorgeous Irish-American executive assistant, Angela. But how do you arrange for an unwanted spouse to disappear?

The old-fashioned way: You hire a hit man. But the man Max hires—an ex-IRA bruiser of Angela's acquaintance—is an uncontrollable sociopath. He's also, secretly, Angela's boyfriend. And he and and Angela have plans for Max that the philandering businessman might not care for...

Screamin' John Makes the Big Time

Latest Newspaper Column

I guess it’s official. Screamin’ John Bolton, the man who visibly and vocally hates the United Nations, the man who said you could “lose ten stories of the U.N. building and it wouldn’t make a difference”, is now our ambassador to that body. The only thing to do now is hope that the guy doesn’t go bat-crazy and bite off the ear of the French Ambassador.
Think I’m engaging in hyperbole? Well, I am, but only a little. There’s a video out there of Screamin’ John in full rant mode, railing against the U.N. and pounding on the table. It makes Howard Dean look like Michael Dukakis. If there was truly a “liberal media” in this country, that video would have been played at least as often as Howard Dean’s famous “scream.” As it is, the only place to find it is on the Internet. At least Dean had the excuse of rallying his supporters…Bolton was raving at a bunch of academics.
And, as more and more evidence shows, it’s not just academics that Bolton is fond of berating. Anyone who crosses his path and who doesn’t hew to the Gospel according to Bolton, from intelligence analysts to USAID workers, is subject to a Bolton tantrum. And this guy’s going to be a diplomat?
The Bushistas and their faithful media mouthpieces have been spinning this as a victory over “obstructionist Democrats.” But if it had been only Democrats uncomfortable with Screamin’ John, he would have breezed through. After all, as Republicans of the “sit down and shut up” variety are fond of crowing, they currently have a majority in the Senate, where ambassadors are confirmed (or not). But it was an intelligence analyst who described himself as a conservative Republican who provided the first troubling evidence that Bolton was fond of bullying those who brought up inconvenient facts. It was another Republican, George Voinovich of Ohio, whose reservations about Bolton caused his nomination to go to the Senate floor without a recommendation by the Foreign Affairs Committee. Voinovich called Bolton the "poster child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be".
Once the nomination got out onto the floor, no one could seem to muster up enough enthusiasm to close off debate and call it for a vote, especially since the Administration stonewalled over documents regarding allegations that Bolton had manipulated intelligence on arms control issues while with the State Department.
Finally, Senate majority Leader Bill Frist was apparently summoned to the White House and given his marching orders: get an up or down vote on Bolton. For whatever reason, it never happened. This may have had something to so with the fact that the State Department did have to finally admit that Bolton’s assertion that he had not been questioned in any investigations in the past five years turned out to be, well, not exactly true. Screamin’ John had indeed been questioned by the State Department’s own Inspector General regarding the sources for claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Whoops. Guess it must have slipped his mind.
So, without even sufficient Republican support to get Bolton confirmed, Bush exercised his power to make a so-called “recess appointment” to get Screamin’ John the job while Congress was out of town for the summer recess. This means Bolton has the job without being confirmed by the Senate…the first American U.N. Ambassador to go there in a recess appointment since the 40’s (and the first one ever, according to the Senate historian. There’s apparently some dispute on the matter). In fact, when Clinton’s nomination of Richard Holbrooke as Ambassador was held up for 14 months, Holbrooke refused to even be considered for a recess appointment.
Unquestionably, Bush had the power to take this step. But there’s one thing that this Administration has never seemed to get: just because you have the Constitutional power to do something doesn’t make it a good idea. Again, even some Republicans, such as Pat Roberts of Kansas, said it would weaken both Bolton and the U.S. to have him appointed this way. Bolton is a lame duck going in, with only 17 months until he has to be either reconfirmed or lose the job. It’s doubtful that anyone at the UN is going to take him seriously when they know all they have to do is wait him out. “Sure, John, those reforms you proposed? We’ll be voting on them in about 18 months. Have a nice day.”
But to the Bushistas, getting their own way, even over the advice and objections of their own party, is more important than having an effective voice at the United Nations. In their arrogance, they never stop to consider the difference between resolve and pig-headedness. It’s that arrogance, unfortunately, for which this Administration will be remembered in history.

Dusty Rhoades lives, writes and practices law in Carthage.