Friday, November 30, 2007

Erin Burnett

Morning News Blitz

Morning News Blitz: Top Headline

New York’s mayor Bloomberg meeting with Barak Obama this morning. One of the tv’s talking heads was fueling speculation that Obama and Bloomberg might be hooking up some sort of political plan but she must have been desperate for ratings. More likely, Barak’s trying to get ahead with New York’s largely Democratic voters. The Clinton’s, of course, have established a fortress in New York—there’s Bill’s digs in the fashionable part of Harlem and of course Hillary is everywhere in NY. Barak’s behind Hillary in support, even among black voters. Hillary’s taking haircuts to a new level with her campaign plan to reach black voters in minority hair salons. It’s not a bad idea.

ABC was carrying the story about Amanda Knox, the American college student living in Italy who is accused of murder. Bizarre doesn’t begin to describe what happened to the young British victim. She had her throat slit after refusing to participate in group perversion activities. Yes, that’s a euphemism. The whole thing makes me too sick and I don’t want to lose my breakfast. There was nothing new about the ABC “news”—they focused this a.m.’s story on Amanda’s rough jail accommodations.

Sometimes those three on the Morning Joe are hitting things pretty well. Willie Geist and Joe Scarborough were burning up the track in the low key sort of way they have decided is “cool.” What really is “cool” about MSNBC is that they have Erin Burnett who makes cameo appearances and makes a lot of hearts beat. I couldn’t describe exactly why Erin Burnett is such a boy magnet but check her out. The voice, the tone, the facial expressions, the modest but slightly suggestive couture, coupled with a sublime intelligence…ah, my heart !…I need to get back to business….

Among the things the Morning Joes were talking about were Rudolph Giuliani’s long ago peccadilloes and fast play with the NYC budget. It wasn’t illegal stuff, I don’t think, but it was a little screwy. Apparently Rudy would get his bank accounts mixed up when he’d zip up to Long Island to visit his main squeeze, currently his wife. He billed the trips to the city budget and then the police budget would replenish the city fund. No doubt, there was a little “duck and cover” in Rudy’s actions but fast play in NYC is the rule. So if Rudy was playing a mayor’s version of three-card monte with the media, people should keep their eyes on everybody over there: Rudy, Hillary, Bill, Reverend Al….everybody! And while we’re doing that, a whole lot other crap will be going on there by people whose names we don’t know. The Post does a great job and so does the NY Daily News, but you can’t cover corruption in the NYC metropolitan area enough, and that includes NJ. And the Eastern part of Pennsylvania.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

CNN Blows the Big One

At a time when voters need to hear the candidates, a lot of attention is instead focused on a Hillary implant into the Republican presidential debate process. CNN, sometimes referred to as the Clinton News Network, failed to properly screen members of the audience when it permitted a gay retired military general who worked for the Clinton campaign to draw the candidates toward a discussion on Gay and Lesbian rights. There was nothing wrong with questioning the candidates about Gay & Lesbian rights, of course, but the gay reserve brigadier general in question, Keith Kerr, is on the gay and lesbian steering committee for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Acknowledging that our gay brothers and sisters have made a large contribution to our society in a variety of ways, I think the retired general’s work for the Hillary campaign should have been up-front, especially when they were tipped off to the Mr. Kerr’s political affiliations beforehand.

You wonder what kind of low-jinks the Hillary Network CNN will try to pull off next. Maybe James Carville disguised as a gay Santa Claus will team up with Anderson Cooper to kick off the next CNN debate.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bernard Lewis Commentary in the Wall Street Journal

Bernard Lewis Pops the Question

One of my least favorite people in all the universe is Iran's Ahmadinajad. A true-to-form Nazi copy, Iran's president felt compelled to negatively comment on the Annapolis Mideast Peace Conference--to no one's surprise. He's a complete idiot. No one expects any conventional progress on the issues, whatever they are. The real accomplishment is that Syria attended along with the other Arab states. Which brings me to one of my favorite people, professor emeritus of Princeton University, the aged sage, Bernard Lewis. Lewis had a short piece in the Wall Street Journal the other day. You should read the entire article; I'll put in the link at the end. Lewis' greatest contribution to Middle Eastern difficulties is his clarity of thought. Here's a the nutshell view:

Herewith some thoughts about tomorrow's Annapolis peace conference, and the larger problem of how to approach the Israel-Palestine conflict. The first question (one might think it is obvious but apparently not) is, "What is the conflict about?" There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence.

If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.

And now you must go on to read the entire article. It is short but here is an area where greater mind's than pea-brain Ahmadinajad must prevail.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hillary Stalls: Zogby Polls Indicate ABH (Anybody But Hillary)

Democrats have a problem. The latest Zogby poll shows that Hillary Clinton falls behind every single one of the Republican candidates by significant margins.

Worse, the polls show that Barak Obama is the candidate who would defeat Republican Party frontrunners. It’s not only Barak who runs first in the latest polls against Republicans; John Edwards’ numbers show that he would also defeat the Republican candidates.

So don’t shoot the messenger. It’s not my fault that a fanatical group of Democrats runs the party as a closely held cabal which ostracizes maverick social Democrats like Joe Lieberman. I said long ago that Hillary was ordained, anointed, chosen by the divine right of queens to be the candidate. Terry McAuliffe is reported to have wet the bed at hearing the news of the latest Zogby polls. Now the problem is this:

1) How to foist candidate Hillary upon naïve democrats who believe that their opinions matter to Democrat cabalists in New York.

2) How to get Barak and John Edwards to lie down and acquiesce to the party’s pre-ordained Hillary-choice for “the good of the nation”.
Democrats have a problem. The latest Zogby poll shows that Hillary Clinton falls behind every single one of the Republican candidates by significant margins.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blackboard Jungle

Attempting to make contact with a sense of humor, I've obtained permission from the editor to repeat a joke which was sent to me. You've probably heard it before in some version or other:

A grade school teacher in upstate New York asked her class how many of them were 'Hillary fans'. All the kids raised their hands except one boy named Johnny. The teacher asked Johnny why he decided to be different.

Johnny: 'I'm not a Hillary fan.'

Teacher: 'Why aren't you a Hillary fan?'

Johnny: 'I'm a George Bush fan.'

Teacher: Can you tell the class why you are a George Bush fan?

Johnny: 'Well, my mom's a George Bush fan and my dad's a GeorgeBush fan, so I'm a George Bush fan!'

Teacher (sardonically) : 'If your mom was a moron and your dad was an idiot ,what would that make you?'

Johnny: That would make me a Hillary fan.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Taking a Leak and Turning It into a Flood

Our era is a bit confused and journalists often see themselves as representatives of countries without borders. Naturally, I appreciated reading a story in The Weekly Standard (Oct 22 2007) by Gabriel Schoenfeld. Coming out of congressional committees are versions of a journalist's "shield law" which might be more properly called "license to betray" legislation. The "free press" is afflicted by group-think and is not so free at all as they jump off journalistic cliffs with the enthusiasm of lemmings.

You ought to read the story yourself but the jist of it is that:

a) Bureaucrats in Washington illegally leak stories to the press to further their own agendas.

b) In their hunger for journalistic fame, reporters are only too anxious to rush such stories into print no matter who gets whacked.

c) Foreign intelligence services and terrorist enemies would wrap themselves in the cloak of a journalistic shield law to "turn" disloyal Americans into collectors of information for adverse interests.

Is there anything so dumb as that. If you're finding this writing too blunt and perhaps simple, read the article yourself to discern the subtle distinctions.

Monday, November 19, 2007

George Will Gets a Star in his Bonnet

Media watching me enjoyed the view in The Washington Post 'Outlook' section. George Will's column is worth reading. It's called Setting the Bar for Corruption .

The column begins with an unkind cut at John Edwards’ “slight public career” and pillories indicted law firm Milberg-Weiss, a “racketeering enterprise” accused of bribery, perjury, and fraud. This sardonic and biting piece details a scam wherein corrupt lawyers pay phony plaintiffs to file class-action lawsuits against companies whose stocks have lost value. The companies are forced to “settle”, avoiding costly legal battles. Guilty pleas and jail sentences await Milberg-Weis attorneys like Bill Zerach who contributed $100,000 to the Clinton Library and raised money for Edwards bid. “Democrats were rewarded for their devotion to trial lawyers,” Will writes, “when Clinton vetoed legislation that would have restricted class-action lawsuits.”

For perspicacious reporting of an unusually high standard, Will gets a star in his bonnet from me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bunker Hillary

I was drawn to a story in New Republic. The title is eponymous and the subtitle equally blunt. Michael Crowley describes how Clinton campaigners have interposed an aggressive strategy for deflecting negative press. Crowley details accounts of bruised reporters who get in the way of the Hillary press express, led by fuzzy attack dog Howard Wolfson. Crowley tells how Senator Clinton’s publicity team joins the battle, refusing access to some reporters, punishing others by rapid backspin and complaints to editors. This acrid account comes from a publication having a center-left orientation, making it all the more interesting. If what Crowley says is true, the Clintonites threaten, the press collaborates.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CNN means the Clinton News Network?

"How do we beat the bitch?" asked a female South Carolina voter of John McCain at a campaign event.

That sally into the unexpected gave the Clinton News Network incentive to dutifully step up its attacks on John McCain, a man of unquestionable honesty and integrity. McCain recovered from laughter and embarrassment sufficiently to announce his respect for Hillary but it's really not his job to carry water for the Democrat's presidential bid. If CNN wants so much to pander and patronize Hillary Clinton, they should leave McCain out of it. The way the played the incident, CNN reporters sounded like a bunch of defiant bed-wetters, peeing their pants in their petulance.

Here's the clip. Take a look. It's kind of funny. If you haven't heard one woman calling another woman a bitch ever in your life, you're living in an ivory tower. I wouldn't use the word to describe Clinton. John McCain wouldn't use the word to describe Clinton. The point is not whether Hillary Clinton is a bitch. The real issue is why CNN is acting like such a bitch....

Tipped Toward Recession?

James C. Cooper's article in Business Week caught my eye as the stock market dips, rallies, and dips again. It's only the brave who can weather the current volatility on Wall Street. For the rest of us, it's just an interesting academic game. Hell, the business economy affects us in invisible ways, doesn't it?

Whereas you don't have to have graduated from the Wharton School of Business to know what the Dollar Dive means. Means you can't buy nuttin'.

Cooper reads the economic indicators and concludes that the scales have tipped toward recession; the view is contrary to the Federal Reserve's view that risks to the economy are balanced. Cooper implies the Fed may shift its stance on December 11, basing his forecast on labor-market trends and rising oil prices. He points to job growth continuing, but at a slower pace than the rise in unemployment claims; other downdrafts on the economy include tighter credit markets and the prospect of oil at $100 a barrel. Cooper's is a sobering outlook, and a convincing one.
in BusinessWeek by James C. Cooper, 19 November 2007
Read more here...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Legislative "Stagflation" is Embarrassment to Democratic Congress

Pay-as-you-go legislation was the rallying cry of the new Democratic congress but the legislation, designed to shrink budget deficits, hamstrings the congress. Fiscal discipline ala pay-go has prevented the passage of renewal energy bills and jeopardized Democratic Party legislative priorities. Lawmakers of both parties face a Sophie’s choice: spending cuts or tax increases. A third choice seems to be winning: doing nothing. Legislative “stagflation” has prompted angry outbursts in Congress. An encapsulated story in the Wall Street Journal tells it all with some deft flourishes. Stalled legislation includes SCHIP, AMT, and higher payments to Medicare doctors. The story's called : Fiscal Responsibility Proves Costly. You can check it out online for free (I think).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lions for Lambs, Goddam!

Top Gun Tom Cruise is now a producer and has a starring role in the breast-beating liberal piety called "Lions for Lambs."

One film I can’t wait to miss for reasons of predictability is Lions for Lambs, starring the great Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, and Robert Redford. If the New Yorker Magazine can say about this film that it “winces with liberal self-chastisement”, then you’d better believe it. Anthony Lane is the reviewer, and no one’s ever accused him of being a Republican Party shill.

You’ve got every liberal ingredient imaginable: a ranting anti-war former college professor of two young men caught on a hillside in Afghanistan as the Taliban attacks. You’ve got wide-eyed liberal reporters (played by Streep) being afflicted with guilty liberal self-aggrandizement. And you’ve got the screw-up pal from college who does “yeah, whatever”….

Tom Cruise plays a warmongering congressmen and that’s the single person whom Lane compliments for a searing performance in the role.

Incidentally, Lane does a nice review of “No Country for Old Men”, based on the Cormac MacCarthy novel of the same name. Gee, maybe I’ll subscribe to the New Yorker for a change.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Giuliani Trips on Firm's Secrecy

The entanglements of running a private sector legal firm may trip up Rudy Giuliani. Republican candidate for presidents who bill themselves as “anti-terror” foes can expect questions about their legal representation of the Qatar government. Qatar has had a checkerboard relationship with U.S. Qatar is ambivalent in its cooperation with U.S. anti-terror initiatives. Neither Giuliani nor his law firm is answering questions about Giuliani Partners’ arrangement with state-run Qatar Petroleum. Watchdogs groups worry about influence-peddling from former business clients. The WSJ pinned down Chase Untermeyer and asked him about the Giuliani firm’s involvement in “important contracts” in Qatar. All that’s in the Wall Street Journal today.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mount Airy Casino: A Pocono Gamble

At the risk of shameless self-promotion, I mention that I write occasionally for other internet websites. Here's a story I wrote recently about the new Mount Airy Casino. Click on the headline (Mount Airy Casino: A Pocono Gamble), why don't you? Thanks. Feel free to comment on the Associated Content site. Or on here if you like.

Waiting for a Slow Train: The Poconos Today

There’s an old David Mamet play called “Things Change.” Nowhere have things changed so much as in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Bucolic, serene, gentle on the eye and sparsely populated has given way to population growth, traffic, long commutes and the attendant problems. The New Poconos is characterized by rising crime, larger police departments, high real estate taxes due to overburdened schools, and a rudeness and lack of civility which would have been unthinkable thirty years ago.

The forces of economics and human nature which have catalyzed this change are a story in themselves but let’s cut to the chase. It is estimated that about twenty to thirty thousand people commute by car or bus every day to New York City or to the nearby metropolitan communities in New Jersey.

The Poconos long ago had excellent train service to Hoboken, NJ and from there it was easy to take a ferry or other transport to NYC. The trains went bust in the sixties, but now the stopped trains have been recognized as a misstep and several groups are pushing hard for renewed train service. That’s so far been a matter of putting your shoulders to the Rock of Gibralter bureaucracy and pushing hard against the immoveable object: federal and state bureaucracy. It’s also touched off some conflict between different factions, including some who oppose the resurgence of public transportation in the form of trains. Here’s a sampling of public opinions in regard to train service from the local newspaper, the Pocono Record:

Guess Who posted: Everyone's' learned to play the "game" and now everything's caught up in unprecedented layers of inefficient bureaucracy. It's hard anymore to tell the forest from the trees. Or the pork-barrel projects from the ones that really ought to be done. Harry Reid doesn't have any trouble building a pork-barrel road through the desert so that his real estate properties can have access to the casinos, but over here where we have thousands of people who have to get to NY and NJ for work, it will take about 20 years to do what simply needs to be done. As sniper says, gas prices will go to $4.00 per gal but I'd have no trouble believing you're looking at $5.00 per gallon gas a year from now. Outside the U.S., people have been paying those high petrol prices for years. There's no hope in the bio-fuels direction, either, since ethanol producers are competing with cereal producers.

This from a poster named “cabin”: Rip up 80 and 33 and put high speed trains in the right of way. The highway right of ways were designed for higher speeds then the rails.

And this from “Reyered”: If we ever get a train it will be no good the bad guys from Bloombergs ville will come up to sell there drugs and steal our cars for the trip back to the city to sell them and get ready for there next trip up on the train.The train will cost to much and be to slow so if it was any good the slot and turnpike sellers would be pushing it.

Not to leave out OICDB: Well at least you commuters will have an option other than driving your gas guzzelling SUV's 100 miles to work everyday. If you weren't squandering fuel maybe our kids wouldn't be over there dying.

Or Wazup: Has anybody factored-in that global warming will cause the east coast (incoluding Hoboken) to be under water within 20 years? I for one do not want to fund a train to nowhere.

So there you have it…in a nutshell, so to speak. With the emphasis, of course, on “nutshell.”

Friday, November 2, 2007

Economics: The Silent Killer

Some of the most entertaining television these days has been coming from the business sector. Having ignored economics for so many years, I slowly began to realize how much it affects us in our daily lives. Make fun of me if you need to, but that's how it is for many people who come from a state of what some erudite writers have called "chill penury." There's little sense in studying what your belly tells you. So the thinking goes...

But now things are much better for us in this great country of ours, and I'm having to play catch-up ball with the rest of world. So I'm fascinated by the DJIA which went over the 14,000 mark a few months ago, dipped, bounced, dipped, and then was buoyed up by a half-percent cut in the federal rate, followed by another quarter point cut just two days ago. Yesterday, there was a fast and sudden drop which triggered a tradiing halt on Wall Street.

The Wall Street Journal broke it down pretty well and I'll paraphrase:

* The down pressure on Wall Street was caused by worries about the credit markets. With so many investment vehicles bundled from mortgages and other credit financing, the effect of irresponsible loans in the credit markets was widespread.

* Having seen the credit markets buoyed up by the half-percent cut, the Wall Street money-lenders expected further support from the Fed. One WSJ writer said that the expectation of another quarter point cut was so great that Fed Chairman Bernanke was locked into it. Otherwise, the thinking goes, the sky would fall. That writer commented to the effect that the Fed had to give in to Wall Street's "tantrum" in order to prevent larger and more violent tantrums later.

Overall, the big picture is fuzzy to me as it is to everyone else. The third quarter growth is up in the U.S, counter to the last quarter point cut. Global growth remains strong. Bernanke told the world that inflation and growth were in balance. Bulk oil prices are heading toward the one hundred dollar mark. Consumer spending has been reasonably strong. Many think that these factors will cause the economy to veer away from the big "R" that some bear market types see tatooed into the ghost of the economy. Others think that high oil prices and geopolitical instability (that's what they call it, honest!) will put a dent into consumer spending in the fourth quarter. A sharp decline in consumer spending followed by an well-timed terror threat (or actuality) could cause serious havoc and have a large impact on the impending presidential elections.

What I really think is that people should start paying more attention to economics. The poor as well as the middle class. The deeper the understanding one has of the forces influencing one's life, the less likely it will be for us to be enslaved by the machinations of demigods.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Something to Cheer About

I'm full of joy today that a judge awarded an $11 million settlement to the parents of a marine who was killed in Iraq. The organization which must pay calls itself a church but it must be the Church of the Poisoned Mind. They're the characters who show up at military funerals to harrass and taunt the grieving relatives. Long live that judge.

It's important for families which have sacrificed so much to know that there is a remedy in law for dealing with such morons. The legal judgement won't compensate for the loss of a son in the cause of freedom but it may be some small comfort to know that American law won't tolerate the psychological torture of those who have given so much.