Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Same...uh...Stuff, Different Day

Ah…the coffee is good this morning! It should go without saying the coffee’s good every morning here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington, but it’s seemingly better than usual today. Same coffee, made in the same measure, but somehow different and more vibrant. Could it be my taste buds are recovering from all those years of all that smoke? Possibly.
The coffee may be good today, but the reading is sub-par. Just one example: more, yet still more, about the federal prosecutor firing “scandal,” a scandal that just might take down the Attorney General. As for Gonzales getting the boot, I agree with Mr. Krauthammer:
KRAUTHAMMER: When the boss is -- when the boss says -- is asked about the chances of you escaping his firing you and his answer is "I hope so, you better start packing.
Look, I said earlier, last week, he's a dead man walking, and it's on the grounds of incompetents. He had an easy way to defend the administration on this issue early on. I would not have the president waste his ammunition in defending him now at the beginning he should have said -- Gonzales should have said, was the White House involved in this, if it was, I'm not sure, if it was, so what, it's perfectly legitimate.
The district attorneys are appointed by the president. Election are fought over priorities in law enforcement, we want that to be known by our district attorneys. Every administration ultimately changes over to enforce, those priorities. It's a perfectly legitimate executive function. We don't have anything to hide or be ashamed of. He didn't say that at the beginning, and now it's too late.
Charles is referring to the President’s response yesterday when asked about Gonzales’ future. I’d be cleaning out my desk too, if my boss said something even remotely similar regarding my prospects for continued employment. As Mr. Krauthammer says, it’s all about “incompetents.” (That’s an easily-explained error in transcription, btw.) I’m simply aghast at the incompetence displayed by Alberto and his staff in this brouhaha. This whole thing could have been cut off at the knees if Gonzales had simply said “so, what?” when the Left began shouting. Incompetence. Gross incompetence. One cannot imagine, say, the Nixon White House (or even the Clinton White House, for that matter) being such rank amateurs.
Dubya needs a win…any sort of win…and soon. There’s just too damned much bad news these days.
This may be a small win for Dubya, the US, and the world at large: Russia Gives Iran Ultimatum on Enrichment:
PARIS, Mar. 18 — Russia has informed Iran that it will withhold nuclear fuel for Iran’s nearly completed Bushehr power plant unless Iran suspends its uranium enrichment as demanded by the United Nations Security Council, European, American and Iranian officials said.
The ultimatum was delivered in Moscow last week by Igor Ivanov, Russia’s Security Council Secretary, to Ali Hosseini Tash, Iran’s deputy chief nuclear negotiator, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a confidential diplomatic exchange between two governments was involved.
For years, President Bush has been pressing President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to cut off help to Iran on the nuclear reactor, which is Tehran’s first serious effort to produce nuclear energy and has been highly profitable for Russia. But Mr. Putin has resisted.
Recently, however, Moscow and Tehran have been engaged in a public argument about whether Iran has paid its bills, in a dispute that may explain Russia’s apparent shift. The ultimatum may also reflect Moscow’s increasing displeasure and frustration with Iran over its refusal to stop enriching uranium at its vast facility at Natanz.
“We’re not sure what mix of commercial and political motives are at play here,” one senior Bush administration official said in Washington. “But clearly the Russians and the Iranians are getting on each other’s nerves — and that’s not all bad.”
“Not all bad,” indeed. I’d say two more things…(a) ‘bout time the Russians got on board and (b) Russia’s threat to withhold fuel probably won’t have any measurable effect on Iranian intransigence. But Captain Ed thinks the Russian threat, if it materializes, may result in Ahmadinejad’s downfall. My first thought is that wouldn’t be all bad, either. My second thought is “be careful what you wish for.”
More potential good news for Dubya: Betraying their base -- the Democrats can do it too:
The GOP grew sweaty and bloated like a fat man at an all-you-can-eat pasta bar, and the voters were right to pry the Republicans' white-knuckled grip from the hot table's sneeze guard.
So here's the ironic part. Suddenly, it looks as if the Democrats are the Republicans on fast-forward. It's early yet, and the Democrats did finish their mini-Contract with America — the so-called first 100 hours — with mixed success on the substance but great fanfare in the media. Yet items like upping the minimum wage and shafting oil companies, although certainly not insubstantial, were primarily symbolic.
The most important issue in the November elections, as every single political observer with a pulse will tell you, was the war in Iraq. The weasel words and euphemisms — "strategic redeployment," "course change," whatever — couldn't conceal the simple fact that the Democrats were elected in large part to end the war. That was certainly how the party's liberal base saw it, then and now.
But look at how the Democrats are behaving. They've completely failed to stop the surge, and their latest efforts to derail the war are so convoluted — timetables on top of timetables — that even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), a cosponsor of legislation to withdraw troops by September 2008, can't explain them.
No kidding. It’s hard to stay on message when there are 17 variants of that particular message, ain’t it?
Speaking of the surge… THE IRAQ SURGE: WHY IT'S WORKING
March 20, 2007 -- 'I WALKED down the streets of Ramadi a few days ago, in a soft cap eating an ice cream with the mayor on one side of me and the police chief on the other, having a conversation." This simple act, Gen. David Petraeus told me, would have been "unthinkable" just a few months ago. "And nobody shot at us," he added.
Petraeus, the new commander managing the "surge" of troops in Iraq, will be the first to caution realism. "Sure we see improvements - major improvements," he said in our interview, "but we still have a long way to go."
What tactics are working? "We got down at the people level and are staying," he said flatly. "Once the people know we are going to be around, then all kinds of things start to happen."
More intelligence, for example.
Good things come in threes, yes?
This is pretty cool: more customization of your search page from the Googleplex. I’ve set my “theme” to Japanese Tea Garden (see the screenshot on the right, click for larger). I haven’t found any Easter Eggs yet, but Hey! It’s only been 30 minutes or so.
Sad news, via Lileks: Blogger and Left-Coast writer Cathy Seipp is in the hospital with terminal cancer and only has days to live. Ms. Seipp was one of the first blogs I ever read, and I’ll miss her.
Today’s Pic: A red rose in a Houston botanical garden… taken in March, 2000. I forget exactly which botanical garden, so I can’t give you a link. I will give you another Houston link, however. When I went and fetched the MFAH link for yesterday’s post, I came across this: The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800-1920. From the description of the exhibit:
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is the sole venue in the United States for this sweeping exhibition of French masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition will present 135 works from New York´s Metropolitan Museum´s treasured collection of French painting. The Metropolitan Museum´s French masterpieces are among the best in the world, and are by the greatest artists active in France between 1800 and 1920, with many, such as Ingres, Corot, Courbet, Delacroix, Millet, Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso, represented by multiple works.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a road-trip. I’m nearly certain about it. The exhibit is running right now, through May 6th. I can’t miss this…


  1. I was just thinking, "How am I going to talk Toby into a trip to Houston?" Maybe you should pick me up on your way.

  2. Lou said: Maybe you should pick me up on your way.

    Now that would be the talk of Duncan for a good long while, wouldn't it?


  3. I can hear it now, "Strange man...met on the internet...one of them little green cars..."

  4. "Strange man...met on the internet...one of them little green cars..."


  5. I'd bet most of the talk would be about "one of them little green cars..." Duncan's in some serious pick-up country.



Just be polite... that's all I ask.