Thursday, May 08, 2003

Gary Hart has decided against running for president in 2004. On his web log, he writes:

For myself, I intend to keep fighting. Through writing, speaking, and teaching, I hope to continue to make an effort to elevate public discourse and dialogue and to change the direction of our nation. I urge you as strongly as I can to do so also. Never give up.

Hart would have brought a well-thought out, well-articulated fight for reform within the Democratic party itself, had he run. His remark some weeks back that Democrats hadn't "had an original idea in 25 years" could have been a dagger pressed, menacingly, to the throat of the party, had he repeated it often and courageously. Without the platform of a candidacy, his writing, speaking and teaching will have a difficult time giving his thoughts anywhere near the profile he would have had in a campaign.

The Washington Wizards fired Michael Jordan yesterday. Every time President Bush gets a little cocky at his approval ratings, he should think about that.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Almost half of America is now married, according to new Gallup numbers.

It's hard to interpret what this means, except that about 72 million Americans are on their way to divorce court. For the other 72 million: Good for you.

For a billiion dollars, don't you think he could do a little bit better than a scratchy audiotape?

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

There's a new AFLACK commercial with Chevy Chase and the AFLACK duck (I believe portrayed by Gilbert Gottfried.) The commercial just debuted on CNBC. The insurance company's CEO says its earnings will be up 15 percent to 17 percent.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Coalition forces have captured "Mrs. Anthrax," according to CNN.

Mrs. Anthrax. Chemical Ali. Dr. Germ. Maybe we didn't need to send the army over there. Maybe we just needed Batman and Robin.

The Gallup people have come up with some interesting numbers on the economy and the president. While most Americans believe we're suffering through a recession right now (58 percent), even more are optimistic things will be better a year from now (63 percent).

One way to read into it is that more Americans feel safer now than they did on Sept. 11, and as long as things are safer, there's reason to be optimistic. Put another way, the public seems to be saying, "It's Homeland Security, stupid."

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Gary Hart, in his latest web log entry, decries a lot of what President Bush has done since entering the White House, especially everything that has been done to combat terrorism and threats to national security - without what Hart believes is an adequate regimen of congressional hearings and public discussion:

Why is this administration so afraid to deal openly and honestly with the American people? If they believe these are truly the best policies, what do they have to hide? Why the secrecy?

Another way to look at it, though, is that it's not really secrecy - it's just been a very quick, turn-on-a-dime response to terrorist threats against American lives. You don't need between six and ten years of studies, hearings, more studies, more hearings, blue-ribbon panels, doctoral theses and policy debate to know who the bad guys are and how to take 'em out. They left their calling card on Sept. 11. As President Bush said last week:

In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused and deliberate and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the victims of September the 11th -- the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States. And war is what they got.

It looks very much like the White House is dealing "openly and honestly" with the American people. And, just as important, it's dealing openly and honestly with the bad guys. If the policy wonks in Washington are offended that they don't get to make endless, tedious policy speeches during endless, tedious congressional hearings, well tough. That doesn't make it secrecy.

Oliver Mackson, a great reporter and columnist for The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y., has a column on a local police/political controversy in Orange County, N.Y.

A story in the Times Pacayune in New Orleans delves into how the Baton Rouge serial killer has gotten into the minds of women in the bayou country.

Jim Treacher has an important, new opinion poll on his blog.

"We're learning, for example, that Tariq Aziz still doesn't know how to tell the truth," Bush said.
"He didn't know how to tell the truth when he was in office; he doesn't know how to tell the truth as a captive." - NY Post coverage of presidential remarks.

Is there a cage with Aziz's name on it at Camp X-Ray? At some point, you'd think he'd be in for a little Texas Justice - if nothing but to send a message to everyone else out there who knows what happened to the WMD.