Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Entry Fee

We are looking at a $100 million entry fee.

-- Michael Toner, chairman of the Federal Election Commission, on the 2008 presidential race.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Huge Debt

I think the Iraqi people owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude.

-- President George W. Bush; cited in Derrick Z. Jackson, "Amid Bloodshed, Bush Wants a 'Thank You'" (Boston Globe, Janaury 18, 2007)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Even If It Fails

Even if it fails, the policy will be worth it. At a minimum it will damp down the charge that we did not do all that we could have done, and this charge will be important in many countries, including our own.

-- Advice given by McGeorge Bundy to Lyndon Johnson in a memo dated February 7, 1965, concerning an escalation plan for Vietnam that Bundy thought might have as little as a twenty-five-per-cent chance of success; cited in Steve Coll, "The Planner" (New Yorker, January 15, 2007)

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Only Time We've Got

Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.

-- Art Buchwald (October 20, 1925-January 17, 2007), American humorist and newspaper columnist, in "Art Buchwald Celebrates His Life" a profile on CNN Newsroom (2 November 2006)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Attack The Establishment

If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.

-- Art Buchwald (October 20, 1925-January 17, 2007), American humorist and newspaper columnist, International Herald Tribune (May 24, 1989)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How Paranoid Is This?

How paranoid is this scenario?

First, add 20K troops to Iraq. It'll take a while to get any results, so this automatically extends the status quo by several months. During this interlude, provoke Iran, or trigger/claim provocations on the part of Iran.

Next, expand the Iraq war into Iran (and Syria?). This ensures that the neocons get to attack Iran, which they've always wanted to do. Perhaps more importantly, from the President's perspective, this ensures no withdrawal from Iraq during the current term (since the expanded war will last into the next administration). Withdrawing from Iraq is unacceptable because it is an acknowledgement of failure in Iraq. Establishing a legacy of success is a prime motivator. If the Iraq War can be pushed into the next administration, and the next administration withdraws (and Iraq fails), then it will be the next administration's fault.

Having Israel launch an early assault against Iran would be another easy way to expand the war (with essentially the same results), without the need for manufactured provocations vs. the US.

Getting Even

People ask what I am really trying to do with humor. The answer is, "I'm getting even." ... For me, being funny is the best revenge.

-- Art Buchwald (October 20, 1925-January 17, 2007) American humorist and newspaper columnist, Leaving Home, 1995

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Travel Companions

It's easier to find a travel companion than to get rid of one.

-- Art Buchwald (October 20, 1925-January 17, 2007), American humorist and newspaper columnist

Monday, January 22, 2007

Lowest Ebb

Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new program comes along to make you wonder where you thought the ebb was.

-- Art Buchwald (October 20, 1925-January 17, 2007), American humorist and newspaper columnist

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Most Important Things

The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.

-- Stephen King

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Reactive Thing

It's a reactive thing, like a Geiger counter; you click whenever you come close to whatever you were built to do.

-- Stephen King

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reading And Writing

If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write.

-- Stephen King

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Creatively Maladjusted

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

-- Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday, January 12, 2007

War On Terror

Cal Thomas: With what you know now, what might you have done differently in Iraq?

Donald Rumsfeld: I don't think I would have called it the "war on terror." I don't mean to be critical of those who have. Certainly, I have used the phrase frequently. Why do I say that? Because the word "war" conjures up World War II more than it does the Cold War. It creates a level of expectation of victory and an ending within 30 or 60 minutes of a soap opera. It isn't going to happen that way. Furthermore, it is not a war on terror. Terror is a weapon of choice for extremists who are trying to destabilize regimes and, [through] a small group of clerics, impose their dark vision on all the people they can control. So "war on terror" is a problem for me.

-- Chicago Tribune, December 12, 2006,0,206705.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Folly's Antidote

A nation informed by a vivid understanding of the ironies of history is best equipped to manage the tragic temptations of military power. Let us not bully our way through life, but let a growing sensitivity to history temper and civilize our use of power.

-- Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., "Folly's Antidote" New York Times, January 1, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Clear And Hold

We could not clear and hold.

-- Stephen J. Hadley, the president's national security adviser, on Iraq strategy. New York Times, January 2, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Iraqi NSA

The nature of the American military is that they won't let go. I understand it because they do it much better than we do. But we have to stand alone. We have to wean ourselves off the coalition and make our own mistakes and learn from our own mistakes.

-- Mowaffak al-Rubaie, Iraq's National Security Adviser, New York Times, December 13, 2006

Monday, January 08, 2007

Patrick J. Fitzgerald's blog

While surfing the Internet the other day I ran across what appears to be the blog of US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald (responsible for the arrest of VP Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff "Scooter" Libby).

Here's how he introduces himself --

Patrick J. Fitzgerald -- Location: U.S. Attorney On Assignment - WDC

Think Globally Prosecute Locally - I grew up in Flatbush, kept my nose clean, went to law school. Now that I am in Chicago and D.C. I have found that the rampant graft and corruption to be a travesty - a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.

Bush Signing Statement

New York Daily News -
W pushes envelope on U.S. spying
By James Gordon Meek, Daily News Washington Bureau
Thursday, January 4th, 2007

WASHINGTON - President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant, the Daily News has learned.

The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.

Bush's move came during the winter congressional recess and a year after his secret domestic electronic eavesdropping program was first revealed. It caught Capitol Hill by surprise.

"Despite the President's statement that he may be able to circumvent a basic privacy protection, the new postal law continues to prohibit the government from snooping into people's mail without a warrant," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the incoming House Government Reform Committee chairman, who co-sponsored the bill.

Friday, January 05, 2007

All Our Misfortunes

If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.

-- Socrates (469?-399 B.C.)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

OK Down Here

We're O.K. down here.

-- Wesley Autrey, from under a New York subway train, after he jumped onto the tracks to save a stranger

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

2006 Mileage

For the year 2006, driving my 1999 Saturn which now has >135,000 miles:

Total miles : 25,111
Total cost : $1,942.72
Total gallons : 776.47
Avg gallons/day : 2.127
Avg days/fillup : 4.9
Avg miles/day : 68.80
Avg cost/day : $5.27
Avg cost/gal : $2.50
Avg miles/gal : 32.77

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Powell Surge

I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work. We have to be very, very careful in this instance not just to grab a number out of the air.

-- Colin Powell, 12/17/06

Monday, January 01, 2007

You Are The Author

If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and every day you have the opportunity to write a new page.

-- Mark Houlahan