Friday, October 13, 2006

Sound Familiar?

Bush Is Said to Have No Plan if GOP Loses:

Some Republican strategists are increasingly upset with what they consider the overconfidence of President Bush and his senior advisers about the midterm elections November 7–a concern aggravated by the president's news conference this week.

"They aren't even planning for if they lose," says a GOP insider who informally counsels the West Wing. If Democrats win control of the House, as many analysts expect, Republicans predict that Bush's final two years in office will be marked by multiple congressional investigations and gridlock.

"The Bush White House has had no relationship with Congress," said a Bush ally. "Beyond the Democrats, wait till they see how the Republicans–the ones that survive–treat them if they lose next month." GOP insiders are upset by Bush's seeming inability to come up with new ideas or fresh approaches.

It's all of a piece with this revelation from a few weeks ago:

FORT EUSTIS -- Months before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps said Thursday.

In fact, said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld said 'he would fire the next person' who talked about the need for a post-war plan.


"The secretary of defense continued to push on us ... that everything we write in our plan has to be the idea that we are going to go in, we're going to take out the regime, and then we're going to leave," Scheid said. "We won't stay."

Scheid said the planners continued to try "to write what was called Phase 4," or the piece of the plan that included post-invasion operations like occupation.

Even if the troops didn't stay, "at least we have to plan for it," Scheid said.

"I remember the secretary of defense saying that he would fire the next person that said that," Scheid said. "We would not do planning for Phase 4 operations, which would require all those additional troops that people talk about today.

Planning to Fail: The Bush Way.

Suggested New Slogan For The Republican Party

"The Defendant Pleads Guilty, Your Honor."

My favorite part: "Ney did not resign his seat. Several officials have said the congressman is financially strapped and needs his $165,200 annual paycheck and benefits as long as he can continue to receive them."

Breaks your heart, don't it?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Things We've Known All Along, Part II

Book says Bush just using Christians:

A book coming out Monday called Tempting Faith states, among other things, that:

...some of the nation’s most prominent evangelical leaders were known in the office of presidential political strategist Karl Rove as “the nuts.”

“National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as ‘ridiculous,’ ‘out of control,’ and just plain ‘goofy.’”

There's also this nugget:

In fact, the Bush administration often promoted the faith-based agenda by claiming that existing government regulations were too restrictive on religious organizations seeking to serve the public.

Substantiating that claim proved difficult, Kuo says. “Finding these examples became a huge priority.… If President Bush was making the world a better place for faith-based groups, we had to show it was really a bad place to begin with. But, in fact, it wasn’t that bad at all.”

What? The War on Christians and Christianity was a sham? Who knew?

Oh. That's right. WE DID.

This isn't some Democratic hatchet job, BTW. Like a lot of the people revealing the dirt these days, the writer, David Kuo, is a Republican. And not just any Republican, either; he was a special assistant to the President working on "faith based" initiatives.

Punk'd again, evangelicals.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Y'ever Notice?

Barbra Streisand Curses at Heckler!

Professor Compares Bush to Hitler!

Y'ever notice how these stories seem to spring up on the front pages whenever the Republicans are falling in the polls, followed by a orgy of hand-wringing by pious Republican bloggers about those awful, awful liberals?

Oh my stars! They say bad words! They say bad things about the President! I think I shall faint! We must all vote Republican to keep these nasty people at bay!

After all, the Republicans may turn a blind eye to the sexual harassment of teenaged boys, but at least they don't say 'fuck' in public!

And y'ever notice how there never seems to be a corresponding storm of outrage when someone, say, compares Hillary Clinton to Stalin?

That's your "liberal media" at work, folks. Bought and paid for by the Republican Spin Machine.

Here's a news flash: Barbra Streisand and some obscure UW professor aren't running for anything. If the Democrats take the House, Barbra Streisand will not be head of the Intelligence Committee, however hysterically the Republican bloggers try to spin it.

The Democrats take Streisand's money. They make nice with her for that reason and that reason only. She doesn't make policy. If she says something stupid or behaves badly in public, so what?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Things We've Known All Along

Tucker Carlson to Evangelicals: You've Been Punk'd:

The deep truth is that the elites in the Republican Party have pure contempt for the evangelicals who put their party in power. Everybody in…

MATTHEWS: How do you know that? How do you know that?

CARLSON: Because I know them. Because I grew up with them. Because I live with them. They live on my street. Because I live in Washington, and I know that everybody in our world has contempt for the evangelicals. And the evangelicals know that, and they're beginning to learn that their own leaders sort of look askance at them and don't share their values.

MATTHEWS: So this gay marriage issue and other issues related to the gay lifestyle are simply tools to get elected?

CARLSON: That's exactly right. It's pandering to the base in the most cynical way, and the base is beginning to figure it out.


Would have been nice if you'd been honest enough to bring this up in 2004, you sorry sack of shit masquerading as a journalist.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Any Similarity to Actual Persons, Living Or Dead, etc.

As a lawyer who writes crime fiction, I'm fairly often asked if any of the people in my books are drawn from real cases. So this post from Sarah Weinman's Blog caught my eye:

In January, Joyce Dudley, a deputy district attorney in Santa Barbara, published a crime novel called “Intoxicating Agent.” Its heroine, Jordon Danner, has the same initials and the same job as Ms. Dudley, and the novel concerns a rape case with echoes of a real one. In both, the victim said she had been sexually assaulted after being given an intoxicating drug.

Acting on a motion from the real defendant in a real rape-by-intoxication case, an appeals court in Ventura, Calif., ruled on Thursday that Ms. Dudley’s novel had crossed an ethical line.

“She has a disabling conflict of interest,” Justice Kenneth R. Yegan of the California Court of Appeal wrote of Ms. Dudley for a unanimous three-judge panel. Ms. Dudley must be disqualified, Justice Yegan continued, because the defendant, Massey Haraguchi, “is being prosecuted for raping an intoxicated person while the prosecutor is promoting her novel involving the identical charge.”

The answer I always give to the above question, incidentally is "not directly." My personal rule of thumb is, if the same situation or the same type of character has come up more than twice, it can't be tied to a particular person or case. DeWayne Puryear, for example, the hapless would-be armed robber in The Devil's Right Hand, isn't drawn from any one person...he's practically an archetype in the criminal courts. So I'm not sure why "sexual assault with an intoxicating drug" isn't so common a crime that Dudley couldn't use it. Unless of course, she used something like "Missey Yamaguchi" for the name of the Defendant. Maybe the kicker was having the protagonist share not only the author's job, but her initials, which is a damn silly thing for an author to do anyway.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Foley-Gate Restores My Faith in Republicanism

Latest Newspaper Column:

As one who just joined the Republican Party this year, I have to say that I was extremely disheartened at first by the events surrounding Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley.

Foley, as you may know if you haven't been living in a cave, recently resigned after it was revealed that he had been sending suggestive, sexually explicit e-mails and text messages to male House pages, some as young as 16 years old.

It was disheartening for so many reasons. There's the sleaze angle, of course. Some of these messages are way creepy. But what really disappointed me was the way other Republicans acted at first.

Look, I joined the GOP for one reason and one reason only: because whatever you get caught doing, you can usually depend on the party to rise up as one and rally to your defense.

Whether your little peccadillo involves adultery (Rudy Giuliani), gambling (William Bennett), or even petty theft (Claude Allen), you used to be able to count on party leaders to claim (1) It's all a political ploy; (2) Hey, he said he was sorry, now leave him alone; (3) This is all really Bill Clinton's fault.

Now, just because Foley's sexually harassing teenagers, they started acting like he's radioactive or something. I started asking, have these people forgotten the unofficial motto of the party, namely IOKIYAR (It's OK If You're a Republican)?

As always, I want to make it clear that I have no intention of ever actually needing my fellow Republicans to watch my back. I'm not planning to describe my manly parts to any teenagers, male or female, and certainly not in any medium that can be easily copied and disseminated across the World Wide Web.

Nor have I any plans to gamble away millions, steal from Target, or commit indiscretions with female staffers.

It was just the idea that if I did, there'd be an entire American political party there to defend me that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

It's not like Foley didn't make all the right moves after the scandal came to light. He resigned, said he was sorry and checked himself into rehab.

Now, this last bit may seem odd at first when you consider that Foley claims he wasn't drunk on the House floor when he was sending lewd text messages to teenage boys. But who really cares? When you screw up, you have to check into rehab. How else will people know you're really sorry?

So after Foley did the whole mea culpa dance, did the party do its duty and close ranks behind him? Heck no. There was a whole bunch of "investigation this" and "FBI that" and a lot of hand-wringing about who knew about this ahead of time.

One Republican congressman, Kentucky's Ron Lewis, even said, "If anyone in our leadership has done anything wrong, then I will be the first in line to condemn it."

Sounds more like that liberal mania for accountability than something a good Republican would say. This was not the party I joined a few months ago.

Fortunately, after a few days, some members of the party began to come to their senses and started putting the blame for this whole situation where it really belongs, by which I mean the media and the Democrats.

"You're feeding right into the Democrats," scolded Rep. John Shimkus, who heads the House organization that's tasked with looking out for House pages. "You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. This is an October surprise, and you guys have fallen hook, line and sinker for it."

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert voiced a similar sentiment: "We have a story to tell, and the Democrats, in my view, have put this thing forward to try to block us from telling the story. They're trying to put us on defense."

Now that's more like it! The real crime, after all, is not sexually harassing teenage boys, but reporting about it.

And in election season, while the Republicans are trying to "tell their story," too! What were these reporters thinking?

I mean, Kirk Fordham, chief of staff to the head of the National Republican Campaign Committee, has come forward and revealed that he'd told Hastert's office about Foley's e-mail habits three years ago. If the speaker's office can keep this sort of thing under their hats for three years, shouldn't a few reporters be able to keep their mouths shut to avoid influencing the election? How dare they make a big fuss over the leadership ignoring reports of sexual predation? Don't they care that we're at war with terrorists who want to cut our heads off?

So it's good to know that, while a few weak sisters in the GOP are losing their backbone, there are still a few people who'll stand up for the party's guiding principle, its polar star, if you will: IOKIYAR, even if "it" is propositioning teenage boys.

It restores my faith in the party. Not that I mean to do that, mind you. I'm just saying.