Friday, June 29, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
The problem is, it's way too early to tell. First, Bloomberg hasn't spent a dime of his billions yet on a slick marketing campaign. Second, Democratic and Republican partisans haven't yet had their favorite candidates rejected in favor of someone else.
Finally, here's another analysis, from Michael Barone, in US News--he also suspects that Bloomberg somewhat hurts the Democrats more than the Republicans, with the caveat that its awfully early to tell.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
It's a mess.
We're not sure the Democrats are going to come up with anything better than the Republicans.
A group of Senate Democrats is pushing coal liquefication. We don't need cars running on coal!
"Democrat" Rich Boucher, of Virginia, is even pushing a measure to prevent states like California from leading the way on reduction of carbon emissions. Must make Bush proud.
Others are pushing to increase subsidies for corn-based ethanol. We don't need more corn ethanol, either. We're already spending billions and all it's doing is raising food prices.
What's wrong with these people!
We're beginning to think we'd be better off without Congress.
Yesterday's Virginia primaries illustrated this. Two moderate Republican state senate incumbents lost to more ideologically "pure" conservative challengers. That may create an opening for Democrats in those races--we'll see.
On the Democratic side, Del. Donald McEachin, an African-American who strongly supported Jim Webb's successful run for the Senate, ousted incumbent Senator Benjamin Lambert, an African-American who made the mistake of casting his lot with defeated Senator George Allen. It was a nice payback for Democrats who felt betrayed by Lambert.
In Arlington, incumbent Treasurer Frank O'Leary easily cruised to victory over a surprising challenger.
And, to show what little the Curmudgeon knows, Morris Meyer--who we recently endorsed in a Fairfax County race for Delegate, lost in the Democratic primary to Rex Simmons. No hard feelings here: we wish Simmons all the best in his race now to unseat the Republican incumbent.
It's always pleasant, however, when someone from the other side surprises you with an unexpectedly enlightened position.
And so, today, we have Bob Barr writing on the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal, in "Don't Ask, Who Cares," to chastise the GOP Presidential wannabes who, in their anti-gay pandering, refused even to endorse lifting the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays.
Barr says "we can no longer afford to bar gays from the military" and even goes so far as state the proposition that "equal treatment of gay and lesbian service members is about as conservative a position as one cares to articulate." While we doubt many conservatives agree with him on the latter point--and indeed Barr's virulent brand of hard-core conservatism is in part responsible for the cowardly positions of the Republican Prez candidates--we're happy to see some realization on the right that discouraging qualified gays from military service is a self-defeating proposition.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
"The one fact I've learned--I can't get out of my mind--is that Rudy Guiliani's been married more times than Mitt Romney's been hunting."
Monday, June 11, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Give up? It was contained in the "Key Judgments" section of a National Intelligence Council report prepared for the White House BEFORE the War in Iraq, entitled "Principal Challenges In A Post-Saddam Iraq."
Now that Bush is using the fact that Al Queda is operating in the Iraqi countryside as an excuse to continue the war, it's worth analyzing further what the White House really knew beforehand.
In the wake of the Iraqi disaster, it's been all too common for commentators and policy-makers on both sides of the aisle to blame the intelligence community, at least in part, for the debacle.
In politics, however, the truth is often hard to find, especially when it's in classified documents.
It turns out the intelligence community accurately forecast the disaster--as did some prescient public figures, most notably former Vice President Al Gore.
In The Other Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, Paul R. Pillar, who before the war served as the National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, describes two recently declassified intelligence estimates prepared under his supervision BEFORE the war, which accurately forecast the chaos that would ensue following an invasion.
It's a terrific read, part of a longer article Pillar is preparing that no doubt should be mandatory reading for future historians of the war.
Pillar states that, in contrast to the much-pilloried intelligence estimate on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (which was ordered up by Congress, not the White House):
"the other two assessments spoke directly to the instability, conflict, and black hole for blood and treasure that over the past four years we have come to know as Iraq. The assessments described the main contours of the mess that was to be, including Iraq’s unpromising and undemocratic political culture, the sharp conflicts and prospect for violence among Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian groups, the Marshall Plan-scale of effort needed for economic reconstruction, the major refugee problem, the hostility that would be directed at any occupying force that did not provide adequate security and public services, and the exploitation of the conflict by Al-Qaeda and other terrorists."
Pillar goes on to state that these assessments have relevance to the debate today over what to do now:
"The assessments support the proposition that the expedition in Iraq always was a fool’s errand rather than a good idea spoiled by poor execution, implying that the continued search for a winning strategy is likely to be fruitless. Some support for the poor execution hypothesis can be found in the assessments, such as the observation that Iraq’s regular army could make an important contribution in providing security (thus implicitly questioning in advance the wisdom of ever disbanding the army). But the analysts had no reason to assume poor execution, and their prognosis was dark nonetheless. Moreover, amid the stultifying policy environment that prevailed when the assessments were prepared—in which it was evident that the administration was going to war and that analysis supporting that decision was welcome and contrary analysis was not—it is all the more remarkable that the analysts would produce such a gloomy view."
You can find the two assessments--quietly released, albeit in heavily redacted form by the Senate Intelligence Committee right before the long Memorial Day weekend--as appendices to a Senate Report here.
History is not likely to be kind to George W. Bush.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Think that's bad?
Take a look at this forecast from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre--a leading authority on global warming--for the average highest temperatures fifty years from now in the eight capitals of the G8 nations. (Hat tip to Capitalweather.com for this one.)
To put this is perspective, the average hottest day in Washington since 1987 has been 37 degrees C--or a toasty 99 degrees F. If global temperatures rise 2 degrees centigrade over the next 50 years, as forecast by the IPCC, then the average hottest day in DC will be 42 degrees C--or 108 degrees F.
(Why, you ask, would the temperature in DC rise more than 2 degrees C if worldwide temps rise an average of 2 degrees C? The answer is that warming is uneven--less at the equator, more in higher latitudes.)
Better hope the old folks home has some good A/C.
Or, maybe we'll all be living in Greenland by then. Today's Washington Post reports on how Greenlanders are rather happily adapting to the warmer temperatures. Turns out that like the rest of us, Greenlanders would just as soon have it be not quite so cold in the winter. With a longer growing season and the opportunity to fish nearly year round, the residents of the not-so-green land are finding better economic prospects up north.
So here's our suggestion to the enterprising Greenlanders: retirement homes. Could be the new Florida!