Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Note to Democrats

If you wish to become relevant again, learn to avoid nuance. The Democrats nuance you to death, I mean god forbid you don't appear sensitive to the [fill in the group\name\cause here]. Jeez, ya simply can please everyone and govern. Governing requires priorities and priorities definitionally mean some things are more important than others. Governing is much harder than being the opposition, although you wouldn't know that by watching the Democrats. Effective governing requires a nuance, somethng that ain't a long suit for the current Admin.

The Republicans have repeatedly outflanked the Democrats since '94 with the sole exception of Clinton's reelection by intentionally painting with a broad brush and respectfully stepping to the side to allow Democrats to do a Cleavon Little impresion. (For those who haven't seen Blazing Saddles, he plays a sheriff that points a gun to his own head and warns, "Don't come any closer or I'll shoot").

How's 'bout just keepin' it simple, don't argue just jab,

-where is the federal government on New Orleans (focus on the problem, don't nuance and don't discuss the whole gulf coast),

-financial malfeasance of hurricane relief funds (note, I'm not saying that these items are really any one's fault necessarily, but the idea is merely stay on offense - do what the Republicans have done so effectively, sell doom and gloom),

-focus on Iraqi oil production, or better said the lack thereof,

-focus on the fact that electricity delivery within Iraq remains (Today!) at a level lower than the day we took over management Iraq

-how much was deposing Saddam going to cost? Didn't Wolfowitz tell us it was going to paid for by the Iraqi people through the production and sale of oil. I mean really talk about miscalculation

-demur as to the legal analysis of the NSA wiretapping program, rather hammer on the fact that Alberto Gonzalez by his own words (later echoed Pres. Bush) undermined the legal argument proferred by the Administraion --- they considered asking for a law change but ether (a) didn't think they'd get it or (b) that it would expose methods and tactics (a strained argument that never has been satisfactorily explained, I mean unless they have a mind reading ray. I think that when we're talking methods and tactics it's about all cell phones, sat.phones, e-mails, text msgs., websites, snail mail etc.

-the Iraq war effort is a financial black hole, compare the money spent to the amount spent on education, yes, U.S. education

-how does the administration reconcile Homeland's Security's objective's with our country's de facto [illegal] immigration policy

-how did Chertoff keep his job

-keep talking about Harriet Myers, Bernie Kerik, Mike Brown - don't let 'em die
maybe i'll continue to rant. . .

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bill Frist's Appearance on Meet the Press

I have never seen Sen. Frist looking so unnerved. From the beginning of interview he appeared terribly off his game. It went from bad to worse. By the time he got to the HCA stock situation, he looked pale and nervous. He tried to profer the "blind trust" defense that Russert challenged in a shockingly direct manner that the trust remained at all times self-directed. A "blind trust" in this instance is an absolute oxymoron andFrist seemed to quickly and contritely abandon his feeble defense.

The other big question was regarding his presidential aspirations. He predictably demurred, but I simply don't see it happening. A year and one-half ago, I considered him a leading candidate. He had seemed to carefully cultivate the religiously conservative portion of the republican party that always seem interested in any alternatve to John McCain (let alone Rudy Guiliani). Since Karl Rove effectively engineering his ascention to majority leader (by remaning conspicuously silent when Trent Lott faced challenges as a result of his comments at Strom Thurmond's birthday party), he sought to carefully cultivate that most powerful wing of the party('cept for stem cell). I fear those efforts will now come to naught. For now I rate Frist chances of the '08 nomination a 1 on a scale of 1-10.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Super Bowl Pick

I saying lay the points and take the Steelers. I think that player for player Pittsburgh has a slight edge, but I think the Steelers get the nod on the coaching\game plan aspect. Cowher and his staff have had this team extraordinarly well-prepared throughout the playoffs and there's no reason that changes here. I think the 'hawks may suffer from the "it's great to be here" blues.

While the Steelers haven't been to the big game in a long time they have knocked on the door a number of times dutring the Cowher era. Steelers win and Ben and the Bus head to Disneyworld.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Frey Comes Clean, Sort of . . .

I watched Oprah's show with great interest. I've read both of Mr. Frey's books and followed his story before and subsequent to The Smoking Gun's account.

Quick thoughts:

Oprah scores for effectively admitting being duped,

Oprah gets too much credit for coming clean (with the benefit of hindsight to have done otherwise would have been foolhardy and indefensiveable),

"Non" Nan Talese (the publisher), appeared like a poorly prepared apologist, in the end she accepted no responsibility, although I guessing she's still cashing the checks from the brisk sales of A Million Little Pieces and its follow-up My Friend Leonard (note the sequel starts during Mr. Frey's make-believe 87 day jail term),

Mr. Frey deserves some points for subjecting himself to a public credibility castration, although he seemed to remain intent on dribbling out truth pellets (my guess is that additional "clarificatons" will continue to come out in the near term),

So will Mr. Frey enjoy the great American redemption we afford to those that we publically flog (i.e. Martha, Richard Nixon Pat O'Brien et. al.). I'm not sure, he's all that compelling a character, but there's always reality tv.

That said, I don't think he'll ever hurt for a paycheck (given his recent book sales I don't think he's got any problems in the near term). My real question is whether he's going to go out and drink or use. I certainly don't wish it upon him nor anyone else for that matter, but he's certainly at risk right now. His "My Way" self-prescribed recovery plan, is a risky propostion in the best of circumstances and these, these ain't the best of circumstances.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Yikes!! James "Lies" Frey Live on Oprah 1/26/06

Will Oprah be tough or will she pull a Larry King. Unfortunately, I think Oprah's going to take a dive on this one. I think Frey will be well-prepped to answer questions that appear on the surface to be tough. I hope I'm wrong.

While I like to think I'm an even-handed, open-minded person, I think Frey is a fraud and I'd be shocked if he (and Oprah) can change my mind. His account strains credulity in virtually every chapter, yet I wanted to believe it. Even if the book was written without any creative license, I found it troubling. Show me an addict\alcoholic that successfully recovers by buying a bottle of fortified wine (which he then carries around with for a number of months) or stops at a bar and orders a $20 glass of whiskey (that he eyes, sniffs and admires) all on their first day of freedom (the first after discharge from rehab and the second after being released from jail).

Come On!! We are beng asked to buy this horseshit after all the puffery (I'm being kind) that has been exposed regarding his legal problems. I have the privilege of knowing a number of people that have gotten sober and stayed sober for decades. Ask any one of them how hard they had to work to remain sober, yet we are supposed to accept that Mr. Frey was so impervious to temptation that he spent nght after night in bars. Possible, yes. Probable, no.

Bad Follow Thru - An Apt Moniker

God, I'm either incredibly lazy, empty-headed or unwilling to blog about the things that really matter to me. Probably some combination of all ofthe above. Oh well, I'll keep trying. In the meanwhile I thnk I'll head to Costco and buy some stuff I probably won't use. I'll try to comeup with something while I'm out.

Friday, January 20, 2006

UBL Speaks

God, the news networks live for this. Most of the talking heads seem to barely listen to the answers their guests provide. O'Reilly had Gary Schoer (sp.?) former CIA Middle East operative and author of the book Imperil Hubris. Mr. Schoer tried in vain to explain that the "war" was long-tailed" and, as such, progress is not easily measurable. O'Reilly was absolutely befuddled. His lack of intellectual ability to comprehend anything that can't be shoehorned into a 30 second snippet that jibes with his preconceived black and white notions never ceases to amaze me. The only thing more amazing is that I continue to watch his show regularly. I feel like a daily commuter that can't seem to stop myself from slowing down and gawking at the fender bender of the day.

Market Drop

While I've generally been a mediocre prognosticator of market movements, today's drop didn't surpise me. Oil prices nudge back towards $70, market professionals are fully invested, earnings projections have dimmed a bit, what do ya expect? Well, I expect a couple a gentle rallies next week followed by some blocking and tackling. I'm guessing S&P sits at just below 1250 by month's end. We'll see. I'd suggest that for the near term we're in a stock picker's market.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I'd better figure this out soon . . .

I'm trying to make this all work, not sure why. I guess it's a bit like the classic mountain climbing comment, because it's t[here]. No multimedia yet. Christ, I don't even have pictures. Hey, I did set up a gmail drive that's accessible on my computer and I think it works. Wow, at this pace I'm going to be crashing into 1998 at any moment. Oh yeah, and now I send text messages too, amazin!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Rove Meetings with Cap'n Jack?

Why is the WH stonewalling requests as to staff (read Karl Rove) meeting with disgraced former lobbyist Cap'n Jack Abramoff? Scott McClellan got positively steamed yesterday when reporters asked him whether meetings had been held between Cap'n Jack and WH staff members. You know the WH knows dates, times and participants for each of these meetings.

Senator Richard Santorem

Can it get any worse for Sen. Santorem. Only a year and one-half ago it seemed as though this guy was destined for political deification. Already the number 3 guy in the Senate, young, good looking - he seemed to be the Republican poster boy destined to be ordained by the Republican right for national office. Now it appears that he'll be lucky to keep his Senate seat in '06. The last poll I saw showed him behind his Democratic challenger by double digits. Moreover, he appears to have been the Senate liason for the K Street Republican lobbyists with their now unfortunate connections to Rep. DeLay and "Captain" Jack Abramoff. Ouch....

At today's press conference he looked as though he was about to cry when he was being questioned on his role with the lobbyists and Cap'n Jack specifically.

TiVo - What Happened?

Will somebody just buy these poor bastards out. I'm afraid that its continued existence as an independent company needs to end. I don't think that there's much chance that it will become profitable as a standalone venture anytime soon. I given up trying to own this company, although I am a devoted customer (I actually was a very early adopter). I tried fervently to encourage others to jump on the TiVo bandwagon with extremely limited success (only one person I can think of). Oh well, their loss.

James Frey

Got A Million Little Pieces for A Xmas gift, read it in three days and went and bought My Friend Leonard. in the midst of reading Leonard, The Smoking Gun comes out with its investigative piece on Mr. Frey's "criminal" past (see here). Firstly, congrats to the Gun for its piece. I read the article with a combination of disappointment and chagrin. Mr. Frey's account remains interesting (in retrospect) although now I'm irritated. Please don't sell me something that you hold out as true that falls so horribly short on accuracy.

The fact that he falls so short on facts critical to his story leaves me less than willing to accept the even more fanciful events detailed in his book (i.e., his surreptitious rehab relationship, his crackhouse rescue of his rehab honey with the assistance of rehab staff and his horrifing account of root canal sans novocaine to name 3). Recovery, I am told is all about honesty, if Mr. Frey can't even be honest with the legal acpects of his story how are we to believe the rest. This is particularly the case since Mr. Frey casually (if not angrily) dismisses the all aspects of the suggested path to recovery (various 12 step programs).

Mr. Frey's enfeebled attempts to avoid accountability by cloaking himself in the sphere of protection he calls "memoir" is pitiable. His behavior simply sucks.

Bad Follow Thru

Mission Statement
Oh god, I don't really have a mission. I just figured I needed an outlet for my idle mental meanderings and I didn't have my own blog yet. So here we go . . . .