A blog about Politics, Texas, and Academia

Archive for June, 2007|Monthly archive page

Craig Biggio: Mr. 3000…actually 3002!!!

In Fun Stuff, Houston Astros, Local News, Sports on June 28, 2007 at 11:02 pm

David J. Phillip / AP Mr. 3000

BGO! BGO! BGO!

Horray! He did it! Our 2nd baseman that Houston has been proud of for the past 20 years got his 3000th hit during the 7th inning of Thursday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. 3000 wasn’t good enough for Craig, he ended the night as Mr. 3002! Biggio is the 27th player to reach 3000 career hits.


His 3000th hit brought in Brad Ausmus; however, Craig was tagged out at 2nd. In front of a sell-out crowd at Minute Maid Park, #7 was congratulated by his fellow teammates, his wife Patty, and three children. Overcome with emotion, Craig dragged long-time Astro and friend Jeff Bagwell out to the field to acknowledge the crowd.

Craig Biggio at 3000

Craig has spent twenty years with the Houston Astros – his entire baseball career. I think one of the best things about him hitting 3000 is the fact that he did it at home in front of his friends, family, and fans.

And oh yeah…HE BEAT BARRY BONDS!

Additionally, Craig had 5 consecutive hits during the game! He had only done this once previously – in 2001. The 5th consecutive hit came in the bottom of the 11th. As Craig was on 3rd, Hunter Pence on 2nd, and Lance Berkman on 1st, Carlos Lee hit a Grand Slam to give the Astros the win! Ending the game at 10:55p.m. and 11 innings, the Astros won 8-5!

CONGRATULATIONS BIGGIO and ASTROS!

For more about this story and Craig’s legacy, check out abc13.com.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Advertisements

News Flash: The White House Is Above The Law

In Are you kidding me?, news, Politics on June 28, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Above the Law

One Subpoena, Two Subpoena, Three Subpoena, Four!

This was the tune that I was singing yesterday upon reading this from the AP:

The Senate subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney’s office Wednesday, demanding documents and elevating the confrontation with President Bush over the administration’s warrant-free eavesdropping on Americans.

Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee is summoning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to discuss the program and an array of other matters that have cost a half-dozen top Justice Department officials their jobs, committee chairman Patrick Leahy announced.

So of course this morning I couldn’t do anything but roll my eyes and sigh when I learned this from the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush, moving toward a constitutional showdown with Congress, asserted executive privilege Thursday and rejected lawmakers’ demands for documents that could shed light on the firings of federal prosecutors.

Bush’s attorney told Congress the White House would not turn over subpoenaed documents for former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor. Congressional panels want the documents for their investigations of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ stewardship of the Justice Department, including complaints of undue political influence.

The Democratic chairmen of the two committees seeking the documents accused Bush of stonewalling and disdain for the law, and said they would press forward with enforcing the subpoenas.

“With respect, it is with much regret that we are forced down this unfortunate path which we sought to avoid by finding grounds for mutual accommodation,” White House counsel Fred Fielding said in a letter to the chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. “We had hoped this matter could conclude with your committees receiving information in lieu of having to invoke executive privilege. Instead, we are at this conclusion.”

Thursday was the deadline for surrendering the documents. The White House also made clear that Miers and Taylor would not testify next month, as directed by the subpoenas, which were issued June 13…”Increasingly, the president and vice president feel they are above the law,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. He portrayed the president’s actions as “Nixonian stonewalling.”

 

Sound familiar? Bush has been taking notes from The Cheney Branch of Government. 18 months to go…AND COUNTING.

I couldn’t help but think of the really bad Steven Seagal movie “Above The Law” from the late ’80’s – not that it has anything to do with The White House…but still, the title comes to mind.

 

Also, for some political humor check out this cartoon short from Ann Telnaes.

Ann Telnaes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Edwards on GMA

In Media, news, Politics on June 28, 2007 at 10:46 am

Elizabeth Edwards

Like many who have fallen victim to the whole “war of words” between Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Coulter (see previous post), I admit that I got up early this morning (on my day off – no doubt) to watch Elizabeth on Good Morning America. For the interview in its entirety and the full story from ABC News, click here.

As much as I loathe contributing any more attention to Ann Coulter, I thought it was important to share the other side of this attack.

As long as the public (yes, this includes me) continues to give Coulter the spotlight, she will thrive with more senseless nonsense and bantering about what she views as political discussions. So unless the woman (and I use that term lightly) falls off of a cliff anytime soon, this is the last post about Ms. so-and-so.

Ann Coulter Playing Hardball? Yeah Right…

In Are you kidding me?, Media, Politics on June 27, 2007 at 8:53 am

anncoultercard8iz.jpg

Yesterday Ann Coulter was on Hardball when Elizabeth Edwards phoned in. The “journalist” is making the rounds to promote her new book – which I refuse to promote on this site. The wife of Presidential candidate John Edwards called in to ask Coulter to stop personal attacks on Sen. Edwards and their son who is deceased.

The following is part of the transcript from the show courtesy of MSNBC:

(Note that EE: Elizabeth Edwards, AC: Ann Coulter, CM: Chris Matthews)

EE: You wrote a column a couple years ago which made fun of the moment of Charlie Dean’s death, and suggested that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that said ask me about my dead son. This is not legitimate political dialogue.

AC: That’s now three years ago

EE: It debases political dialogue. It drives people away from the process. We can’t have a debate about issues if you’re using this kind of language.

AC: Yeah why isn’t John Edwards making this call?

CM: Well do you want to respond and we’ll end this conversation?

EE: I haven’t talked to John about his call.

AC: This is just another attempt for –

EE: I’m making this call as a mother. I’m the mother of that boy who died. My children participate — these young people behind you are the age of my children. You’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that’s based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues and I don’t think that’s serving them or this country very well.

APPLAUSE

CM: Thank you very much Elizabeth Edwards. Do you want to — you have all the time in the world to respond.

AC: I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No.

Coulter was actually on Good Morning America on Monday. At that time she stated, “So I’ve learned my lesson. If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future,” she replied. “I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.”

This no-talent twit is really trying my nerves. I am all for the first amendment and such but my God…someone needs to pull her aside by her adam’s apple and open up a big ol’ can of whoop ass on her.

big_ol_can_of_whoop_ass.jpg

Dick Cheney – The 4th Branch of Government

In Are you kidding me?, Politics on June 27, 2007 at 7:14 am

The Daily Show on Comedy Central

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Dick Cheney, Jon Stewart NAILS the subject on The Daily Show.

Watch here. <———-

June’s Political Best Seller List

In Fun Stuff, Politics on June 27, 2007 at 6:50 am

books.jpg

According to the NY Times:

HARDCOVER POLITICAL BEST SELLER LIST

Based on sales for weeks ending May 26 through June 16, 2007

1 The Assault On Reason, by Al Gore. (Penguin Press, $25.95.) The former vice president’s take on how the Bush administration has degraded the political environment through secrecy, fear and the rejection of fact-based reasoning.

2 The Reagan Diaries, by Ronald Reagan. Edited by Douglas Brinkley. (HarperCollins, $35.) Selections from the 40th president’s daily White House diaries.

3 A Long Way Gone, by Ishmael Beah. (Sarah Crichton/Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $22.) A former child soldier from Sierra Leone describes his drug-crazed killing spree and his return to humanity.

4 Presidential Courage, by Michael Beschloss. (Simon & Schuster, $28.) Profiles of nine presidents who had the courage to make unpopular decisions.

5 Where Have All The Leaders Gone?
by Lee Iacocca. (Scribner, $25.) The former C.E.O. of Chrysler protests the lack of political and business leadership on issues like health care and energy policy.

6 Outrage, by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann. (HC/HarperCollins, $26.95.) An attack on illegal immigration, United Nations profiteers, lazy congressmen and high drug prices.

7 A Woman In Charge: The Life Of Hillary Rodham Clinton, by Carl Bernstein. (Knopf, $27.95.) The Pulitzer Prize-winning Watergate reporter presents a detailed portrait of New York’s junior senator.

8 Lone Survivor, by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. (Little, Brown, $24.99.) The only survivor of a Navy Seal operation in northern Afghanistan describes the battle, his comrades and his courageous escape.

9 At The Center Of The Storm, by George Tenet. (HarperCollins, $30.) The former director of the Central Intelligence Agency looks back on his career.

10 The World Is Flat,
by Thomas L. Friedman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $30.) A columnist for The Times analyzes 21st-century economics and foreign policy.

11 Brothers: The Hidden History Of The Kennedy Years, by David Talbot. (Free Press, $28.) The relationship between brothers, John and Robert Kennedy, and the conflicts that tore apart their administration.

12 Crazies To The Left Of Me, Wimps To The Right, by Bernard Goldberg. (HarperCollins, $25.95.) The author of “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America” attacks liberals and accuses Republicans of betraying conservative principles.

13 The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. (Houghton Mifflin, $27.) An Oxford scientist asserts that belief in God is irrational and that religion has done great harm in the world.

14 Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. (Free Press, $26.) A memoir by the Somai-born advocate for Muslim immigrant women, once a member of the Dutch Parliament, who has been threatened with death.

15 The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama. (Crown, $25.) The Illinois junior senator proposes that Americans move beyond their political divisions.

16 Blessed Unrest,
by Paul Hawken. (Viking, $24.95.) Well known environmentalist shares his belief of hope for environmental and social change worldwide.

17 Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, by Jeremy Scahill. (Nation, $26.95.) A detailed investigation of the private military-industrial entity, Blackwater USA, and its role in the global war on terror.

18 The Secret History Of The American Empire, by John Perkins. (Dutton, $25.95.)An economist and businessman’s account of how global corruption helped strengthened the American Empire.

19 Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi. (Norton, $49.95.) A voluminous effort to silence all Kennedy assassination theorists.

20 Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions Of Hillary Rodham Clinton, by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr. (Little, Brown, $29.99.) Two New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters detail Clinton’s personal political career.

Rankings reflect aggregated sales for the weeks ending May 26 through June 16, 2007 at many thousands of venues where a wide range of general interest books are sold nationwide. These include hundreds of independent book retailers (statistically weighted to represent all such outlets nationwide); national, regional and local chains; online and multimedia entertainment retailers; university, gift, supermarket, discount, department stores and newsstands. An asterisk (*) indicates that a book’s sales are barely distinguishable from those of the book above. A dagger (†) indicates that some bookstores report receiving bulk orders. Expanded rankings are available on the Web: nytimes.com/books.

***

In my opinion, “The Reagan Diaries” is a wonderful follow-up to “Reagan: In His Own Hand.” Even if you were not a Reagan fan, his memoirs are intriguing and inspiring. On the left side, I hear that Gore’s “The Assault On Reason” is another good read.

So many books, so little time for me to read. 😦

Dick Cheney – Above It All

In Are you kidding me?, Politics on June 26, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Cheney Emotional Chart

Deja-vu.

Even the Dick Cheney Fan Club is a little mortified to hear their hero placing himself above the rules within the Executive Branch – again.

Last week the V.P. restated his stand that his office is not a part of the executive branch of the U.S. government; therefore, he and his office are not bound by a presidential order governing the protection of classified information by government agencies, according to a new letter from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

Under the order, executive branch offices are required to give the Information Security Oversight Office at the archives data on how much material they classify and declassify. Cheney’s office provided the information in 2001 and 2002, but then stopped.

This is Cheney’s excuse for refusing to file annual reports with the National Archives and Records Administration oversight office for the past four or five years? PLUUUEEEZZZEEEE!

From the NY Times:

The letter said that after repeatedly refusing to comply with a routine annual request from the archives for data on his staff’s classification of internal documents, the vice president’s office in 2004 blocked an on-site inspection of records that other agencies of the executive branch regularly go through.

But the National Archives is an executive branch department headed by a presidential appointee, and it is assigned to collect the data on classified documents under a presidential executive order. Its Information Security Oversight Office is the archives division that oversees classification and declassification.

“I know the vice president wants to operate with unprecedented secrecy,” Mr. Waxman said in an interview. “But this is absurd. This order is designed to keep classified information safe. His argument is really that he’s not part of the executive branch, so he doesn’t have to comply.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Cheney, Megan McGinn, said, “We’re confident that we’re conducting the office properly under the law.” She declined to elaborate.

Other officials familiar with Mr. Cheney’s view said that he and his legal adviser, David S. Addington, did not believe that the executive order applied to the vice president’s office because it had a legislative as well as an executive status in the Constitution. Other White House offices, including the National Security Council, routinely comply with the oversight requirements, according to Mr. Waxman’s office and outside experts.

Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said last night, “The White House complies with the executive order, including the National Security Council.”

***

Of course the While House is going to back him up.

It’s funny how Cheney has now decided that he is independent of the Executive Branch. Remember the whole Energy Task Force ordeal in 2001 and 2002? When others were questioning Cheney’s authority, he asserted that he was a part of the Executive Branch and therefore could censor details in reports concerning the task force.

You can read the Cheney Task Force Records and GAO Authority Report from 2003 here.

Online Politics

In Politics, YouTube on June 25, 2007 at 10:08 am

I recently did a post about politics and the age of online networking sites such as YouTube and MySpace. Today I read another story about this issue.

www.economist.com

From the Economist online:

The presidential race

YouTube politics

Jun 25th 2007 | NEW YORK
From Economist.com

How digital campaigning may help shape the 2008 election

IT HAS been called the YouTube election. America’s 2008 presidential campaign may be remembered as much for the candidates’ frantic activity on the internet as for their stump speeches and television spots. Pundits, inevitably, are talking of the dawn of a new era—or, more precisely, of the maturing of campaign politics on the internet.

The latest splash was a video made by the campaign for Hillary Clinton. Released on her website and widely watched on a video-sharing site YouTube, it was a creative hit. Mrs. Clinton and her would-be First Gentleman sit in a diner, discussing which song she will choose for her campaign theme. They ponder the selections in their table-top jukebox. Finally, just before they make their choice, the screen goes black. It was a clever parody of the recent final episode of cable television’s biggest hit, “The Sopranos”. Viewers then had to go to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign website to find out which song the Clinton’s—encouraged by voters on her website—finally chose. Regrettably, it is “You and I”, by Celine Dion, a Canadian singer.

The previous excited buzz was for an ad for Mrs. Clinton’s rival, Barack Obama. It was produced, as never before possible, by someone not affiliated with Mr. Obama’s campaign, and yet it reached millions of viewers over the internet. Again this was a parody—it directly ripped off a 1984 Apple advert that portrayed IBM as Big Brother, with Mrs. Clinton standing in for Big Brother on this occasion—and yet it has been hailed as a creative masterstroke.

It is unclear how much impact such videos will have on voters, but YouTube and the like are changing campaigns in significant ways. A public mistake, even in the middle of nowhere, now imposes a greater cost. Candidates are under intense scrutiny. George Allen, a Republican who ran for the Senate in Virginia last year, learned that to his cost when he called a rival campaign’s worker, who was Indian-American, macaca. His use of an apparent racial slur caused a furore. His opponent, Jim Webb, who had been trailing in the polls, won a close election and the Democrats now control the Senate by a 51-49 margin. In a previous election Mr. Allen’s comment might have been missed, but in 2006 the young staffer who worked for Mr. Webb had taken to following the Republican and filming him, probably looking for precisely such a slip-up to post on YouTube.

Internet videos are not the only form of new-wave campaigning. The 2004 election saw the advent of serious online fundraising. Howard Dean, a Democrat, was particularly successful. This year all of the candidates are making it a big part of their strategies. Mr. Obama’s success at raising more money online, from a larger number of donors, than Mrs. Clinton has been widely touted as a sign of his campaign’s greater verve.

Times have already changed since the 2004 presidential election. In that year, bloggers wrote about the presidential debates in real-time. In 2008, voters will be able, through YouTube, to send in video-recorded questions to the debate’s moderators. Last time around campaigns introduced stodgy blogs, written by lowly campaign workers, touting their man’s latest speech here or there. This time, well-known bloggers are being brought into campaigns. And the five sons of Mitt Romney, a Republican top-tier runner, have an enthusiastic group blog. Campaigns are also more interesting these days. The droning, top-down television ads touting a candidate’s virtues and his rival’s vices are now supplemented by far more creative message-making.

Assessing the impact of all this is tricky. One way of judging whether the videos on YouTube have an influence is to see whether, and when, television stations start broadcasting them too. Those who actively use the internet may also become particularly vulnerable to it. Mr. Dean used online campaigning to make himself a front-runner in opinion polls and in fundraising, but this failed to win him a single state primary. The internet also helped to hasten his demise, after his famous post-speech shriek was widely mocked online.

This year Mr. Obama seems to have more internet buzz, for example claiming more (possibly, these things are hard to compare) “friends” on MySpace than does Mrs. Clinton. But MySpace friends do not equal votes. Young users of new technology are not as important as the dedicated and capable “ground troops” in a campaign. The latter come from unions, religious groups and other traditionally organized blocks. Once again, Mr. Dean’s story is illustrative—thousands of his enthusiastic workers descended upon Iowa for that state’s early Democratic caucus. But this much-touted “perfect storm” of volunteers, mostly non-Iowan, failed him. Name recognition, money and old-fashioned organization are virtues that no amount of net savvy can replace. Mr. Dean finished a distant third in Iowa, and never recovered.

***

This is the video by Hillary Clinton’s campaign mentioned in the article. Check out the award winning acting!

Then there is the video (based on the old Apple commercial) that was not from Obama’s campaign but created a lot of controversy:

…And just for fun…that infamous scream from 2004:

Evan Almighty Has Arrived

In Fun Stuff on June 22, 2007 at 10:18 pm

Evan Almighty Poster

10/4/07 UPDATE – THE DVD WILL BE RELEASED ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9th!!!

This ties into politics – trust me.

I’ve just seen Evan Almighty, the “sequel” to Bruce Almighty. Go see this movie! It’s more family oriented than the first one but still has a ton of laughs for kids and adults.

Steve Carell returns as Evan Baxter and this time he has been elected to Congress. As he is just settling in with his political responsibilities, Evan is visited by our favorite man from above: Morgan Freeman – I mean…God. Along with his wife Joan (get it? Joan of Arc?) and his three sons, Evan must follow God’s command to build an ark.

Sounds like a very simple plot – and it is; however, there are some great characters in the film that really add to the story. The ark is incredible and it amazing to see REAL animals on Capitol Hill. Lauren Graham, Molly Shannon, John Goodman, and Wanda Sykes co-star.

Although I think it would have been hilarious for Jim Carrey to make an appearance as one of the reporters, Evan Almighty definitely lives up to the hype.

Ron Paul on the Colbert Report

In Politics on June 21, 2007 at 1:07 pm

I saw this on last week’s Colbert Report and thought I would share it with you. Colbert had Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul on June 13th’s show. It might not have been very informative about where Paul actually stands as a Republican candidate but none the less, he is amusing to watch.