Friday, February 25, 2005

Derek Jeter Center 

Yankee revenge:
The FleetCenter will be re-named the Derek Jeter Center on Tuesday according to the BOSTON HERALD.

Big Apple attorney Kerry Conrad shelled out $2,325 on eBay for the one-day naming rights to sock it to his Sox-lovin' buds in Boston.
But the crew on Causeway Street think they may have to invoke their right to refuse the name.

``I told him that in this town, that name may not be as bad as A-Rod, but it's still considered obscene,'' said arena spokesguy Jim Delaney. ``But he told me, `It's not like I picked the Aaron Boone Center or the Bucky Dent Center.' ''

Ooooh, whatta shiv in the back!

As you're all too aware, the FleetCenter, which is seriously in the market for a moniker ever since Bank of America withdrew its claim on the name, is auctioning off one-day naming rights for charity. March 2-6 are still up for grabs.



These are the top two headlines on UPI World News at 9:33 AM:

World News

Iraqi insurgents killing fewer U.S. troops
Despite a rise since April 2004 in bomb attacks from an average of 25 a day to 30 a day, the percentage of those attacks that injured or killed U.S. troops has fallen from 90 percent to about 25 percent, Lt. Col. Christopher Rodney, an Army 06:05 Feb 25, 2005

U.S. soldiers killed by roadside bomb
BAGHDAD, Feb. 25 ( UPI)- An undetermined number of U.S. troops were killed Friday by an explosion north of Baghdad, the BBC said. 06:05 Feb 25, 2005
Report: Europe

...And they were posted at the same time.


Iranian Mole 

I guess our information on Iranian nuclear/terror activities will now come to an end. From Debka:

DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources reveal: A high-placed Iranian mole has been caught in Iranian president Mohammed Khatami’s office in Tehran.

Hossein Marashai, head of Iran’s cultural heritage council, was caught using a sophisticated US-manufactured listening-long-distance-transmitting device at top-level Iranian leadership meetings. DEBKAfile’s sources calls this the deepest foreign intelligence penetration in all 26 years of Iran's Islamic regime.


Breeding Ground 

Will Iraq become what Afghanistan was?
UNREST in Iraq is providing Islamist militants with training and contacts which could be used in new attacks abroad, the head of the CIA has warned.

In his first public appearance as CIA director, Porter Goss said the conflict had become a "cause for extremists".

Probably a long way off from becoming terror-central-Afghanistan, but increased instability in Iraq, is a good way to speed things up.


Friday, February 18, 2005

A La Carte Catholics 

You've heard of "Soccer Moms" and "Nascar Dads", but get ready for America's new voting bloc catch phrase: "A La Carte Catholics". Description(courtesy of a Dem polling firm)

Catholics, particularly younger ones, raised as Catholics, but only devout in the ways that they feel best fit their lives. Going to church only occasionally or when with family, but also voting for democrats who are not Catholics. Having pre-marital sex, taking birth control, but still getting married in a catholic church. Thinking the pope is divine, but not necessarily listening to him. Believing life begins at conception, but for legal abortion. Not having a problem with homosexuals. Taking communion despite their disagreement with various aspects of the church and the Vatican.

KEY to this group is that although they do not behave politically as a catholic "should" or have a "catholic lifestyle" they still ADAMANTLY identify themselves as Catholics.

also important, many clergy don't fight this, they rather ignore it and take what they can get.

That description sounds like pretty much like every Catholic I know.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Homeland Insecurity 

Well, I guess this now proves that the Department of Homeland Security is pointless and political:
WASHINGTON (AP) Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge met privately with Republican pollsters twice in a 10-day span last spring as he embarked on more than a dozen trips to presidential battleground states, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

Ridge's get-togethers with Republican strategists Frank Luntz and Bill McInturff during a period the secretary was saying his agency was playing no role in Bush's re-election campaign were revealed in daily appointment calendars obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Shake Up 

Big story in The Hill about how the Dems are finally seeing the light on needing new consultants, with fresh ideas:
Durbin said, “We don’t want to turn our backs on anybody that has been good to us. We want to be open to new people.” There were “new people out there” getting results and others “who produce the same cookie-cutter ads with the same results, and we don’t want that anymore,” he added.

A Democratic leadership aide said, “There’s general agreement in both chambers and at the House and Senate political party groups that we need to rethink our relationships with consultants [and have] more accountability for results.

Amen. First consultant against the wall should be Bob Shrum. We no longer can continue to reward failure. I love what Reid is doing.



Well, it is now officially proven that Bush is a "uniter" not a "divider". Unfortunately, they're uniting against us.


Friday, February 11, 2005


Do a Google search using "Bush and Fabulous". I guess I should get back to work...


Thursday, February 10, 2005


Finally, the Democratic "leadership" is growing a pair:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) was asked at a CATO conference in Washington yesterday whether he had persuaded any Democrats to back his plan to rescue Social Security from its financial troubles. Under his legislation (HR 4851), no new taxes would be needed to pay for "transition costs," participation in the new system would be voluntary and individuals would be allowed to divert a portion of their payroll tax into a mutual fund.

A questioner from the audience, stressing his own Democratic credentials, said he believed Ryan's plan should attract members of his own party and wondered whether the Wisconsin lawmaker had secured any Democratic sponsors. Ryan said he had been working with friends on the "other side of the aisle" who were favorable toward his solution, but he faced an enormous problem: intense pressure on his colleagues from the minority leadership.

"We were in planning stages [with friendly Democrats]," said Ryan. But each essentially told him: "I like what you're doing. I like this bill. I think it's the right way to go. But my party leadership will break my back. The retribution that they are promising us is as great as I have ever seen. We can't do it."

Consider the source (Human Events is a conservative rag), but finally Dems who cross the aisle will get punished. I'm all for bipartisanship, but helping the GOP and/or President Bush is not how Dems will get elected. Reid and Pelosi are doing their job


Stuart Smalley for Senate 

Franken is in. Smart guy, huge following, great candidate. The question is, will there be a Daily Affirmation on the Senate floor?


Monday, February 07, 2005

Eagles Lose 

Blah, blah blah. Pitchers and Catchers are reporting to spring training in 11 days...


Friday, February 04, 2005

Max Schmeling Dies 

I hadn't even realized he was still alive, but former German Heavyweight Champion Max Schmeling died yesterday. The man Hitler touted as the example of "Aryan supremacy" in his match against African-American Joe Louis, led an interesting life. Schmeling was actually ardently anti-Nazi, asked Hitler to guarantee that U.S. Olympians would be protected at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, reportedly saved Jews from Concentration Camps, and remained friends with Joe Louis, until Louis's death. Schmeling paid for Louis's funeral. He also used his money from his fights to buy the license to the Coca-Cola franchise in Germany, using it to become wealthy in postwar Germany.


Thursday, February 03, 2005


There are some strange things going on in ex-Soviet states:
TBILISI, Georgia (Reuters) - The prime minister of ex-Soviet Georgia was found dead on Thursday in a bizarre gas poisoning that robs the inexperienced president, Mikhail Saakashvili, of a steadying hand to help run his turbulent country.

Saakashvili said he was taking over the functions of Zurab Zhvania, one of the few heavyweights in his reformist leadership who will be hard to replace. It was not clear if this was a temporary move or not.

Zhvania's bodyguards found the 41-year-old slumped in an armchair near a gas heater at a friend's apartment, said Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili. "This is a tragic accident ... It was a gas poisoning," he said

Don't forget about this...


Eagles will Win 

Tara Reid, actress

I think Philadelphia, Terrell and Donovan together are just like magic.
Because Tara Reid thinks so. Thank you Tara.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Union 

Unfortunately tonight, we'll get to hear all about our Social Security "crisis" and how successful the Iraqi elections were, but I don't expect to hear a damn thing about the real crisis that we're dealing with-the state of our health care system.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
Medical problems played a role in half of all personal bankruptcies, and most people who filed had health insurance at the beginning of an illness, according to a new study.

Researchers cited the pressures of uncovered health expenses and lost income from sickness as primary causes in half of the nearly 1.5 million personal bankruptcies filed in the United States in 2001.

And three-quarters of those who filed a medical-related bankruptcy were insured when their troubles began, according to the study released today by the journal Health Affairs.

"It is like an umbrella that melts in the rain," said Steffie Woolhandler, a Harvard medical professor and a study coauthor. "The insurance is gone right when you need it."
Those are truly scary numbers. It doesn't say much for the state of our insurance plans. I'm sure most that were seeking treatment thought their coverage would take care of them. It isn't just our insurance plans that are the problem though, the rising costs of health care has got to be addressed, it is our real crisis.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Wesley Clark on Kosovo 

My choice as the 2004 Democratic Presidential Nominne, General Wesley Clark wrote an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal (subscription only, so i posted it all below) in which he calls for international action to prevent an outbreak of violence in Kosovo between the Serbs and the majority Muslim population. (As you should know, Clark was NATO's commanding general during our air war against Serbia in 1999 that led to Kosovo's autonomy from Serbia and the subsequent overthrow/defeat of the Serbian dictator Milosevic.)

Set Kosovo Free

By Wesley Clark

In his visionary inaugural address, President Bush talked about the challenges of promoting freedom abroad. Naturally our attention has been focused on the elections in Iraq. But to focus exclusively on Iraq will raise dangers elsewhere, such as in the Balkans. With each passing day, tensions in Kosovo grow, threatening to destroy hard-won freedoms with renewed conflict. In 2005, the U.S. and the international community must address the resolution of Kosovo's final status before it is too late to prevent tragedy. Since NATO's intervention in 1999, Kosovo's final status has never been resolved. It is a U.N.-administered province whose sovereignty still formally rests with Serbia and Montenegro. But after a decade of Belgrade's oppression capped by war, mass expulsion and atrocities, Kosovo's 90% Albanian majority rejects completely any renewed link with Serbia and will not settle for less than independence.

Nearly six years on, Serbs and Albanians still cannot live together. Serbia's avowed aim is to prevent Kosovo from becoming independent. With conflict simmering, Kosovo's Albanian majority regards the Serb minority as a fifth column, and neither side is ready for bridge-building. The puzzle of Kosovo is clearly not going to resolve itself.

Tensions in Kosovo and Serbia are now on the rise again, and a violent collision may occur before year-end if not headed off by a concerted Western effort. Further clashes, like the ones last spring, in which 20 people died and another 800 were wounded, could result in an emergency partition of Kosovo's territory, creating a precedent threatening to unravel U.S. and EU investments in stabilizing multi-ethnic states throughout the Balkans.

After the rioting of last March, some have questioned whether this fragile, volatile and underdeveloped society either deserves or can sustain its own state. While these concerns are valid, it is important to remember that Kosovo has already held two democratic elections and developed the foundations of a modern, functioning economy. It has laid the basis for statehood. But the protection of minority rights cannot be assured without progress in resolving final status. And this, of course, is the key issue.

Some in Serbia's political, security and media establishment have signally failed to move on from the Milosevic era in their attitudes toward Kosovo, and a territorial carve-up takes higher priority in their maneuvering than the welfare of the Serb minority on the ground.

They see advantage in further Albanian frustration and violence, and are making a sustained effort to provoke it in order to force a partition solution that would hive off the Serb-inhabited northern municipalities of Kosovo and part of the divided town of Mitrovica (a perennial flashpoint for violence), while jettisoning the two-thirds of Kosovo's remaining Serbs who live farther south.

A relentless Serbian media campaign predicting new Albanian riots, saber-rattling over the Albanian-inhabited Presevo Valley in south Serbia, and a southward redeployment of the Serbian army in December, may mark just the opening salvoes in a strategy of provocation.

To head off the nightmare scenario of a Kosovo Albanian rebellion triggering all-out fighting over Mitrovica and a Serbian army adventure to secure north Kosovo, a vigorous U.S.-led drive to resolve Kosovo's status has to begin now.

The six-nation Contact Group (the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia) and the U.N. Security Council have set mid-2005 as a date for deciding whether to begin a process to decide Kosovo's future status. Beginning immediately, they should set the ground rules for negotiations and a timeline for a settlement. The framework for Kosovo's future should be: no return to Belgrade rule; no partition of its territory; and no future union with Albania or any neighboring territory. The pace at which Kosovo is allowed to progress toward full independence should be made contingent on its treatment of minorities. This last point is absolutely critical.

The U.N. secretary general should also appoint a special envoy to begin consultations on a draft settlement text, the "Kosovo Accord," to include a new Kosovo constitution guaranteeing minority rights and continuing international monitoring, assistance and security presences in a new Kosovo state.

Finally, an international conference should be organized in late 2005 to finalize and endorse the Kosovo Accord. If Serbia cooperates, it will gain a role in shaping guarantees for Serbs in Kosovo's new constitution, to be drafted by Kosovo's Assembly in agreement with the conference's international sponsors. But if Serbia boycotts the process and refuses formally to relinquish sovereignty, Kosovo is in too fragile a condition to be kept hostage. Similarly, should resolution of Kosovo's status be blocked in the Security Council, the U.S. should lead a coalition of its European allies to organize the conference; endorse a Kosovo referendum for adoption of the new constitution to go ahead in early 2006; and then give diplomatic recognition and sustained support to Kosovo as a new state.

Unlike the case of Iraq, there is today no active conflict in Kosovo. But prompt measures to resolve Kosovo's final status are warranted now, lest we lose both peace and freedom in the Balkans.

It's interesting that Clark calls for us to intervene even if we don't get UN Security Council support-could be tough considering Russia's ties with Serbia. We can't just wait for the UN to act, it would be smart to act before this boils over to a disaster. As Clark correctly notes, "should resolution of Kosovo's status be blocked in the Security Council, the U.S. should lead a coalition of its European allies to organize the conference; endorse a Kosovo referendum for adoption of the new constitution to go ahead in early 2006; and then give diplomatic recognition and sustained support to Kosovo as a new state." Coming to the aid of Kosovo's muslims could even be a good PR maneuver in the War on Terror (although our support for Kosovo's muslims didn't do us any good on 9/11).


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