Monday, June 30, 2008


In the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books, Thomas Powers spells out the problem:
At a moment of serious challenge, battered by two wars, ballooning debt, and a faltering economy, the United States appears to have lost its capacity to think clearly. Consider what passes for national discussion on the matter of Iran. The open question is whether the United States should or will attack Iran if it continues to reject American demands to give up uranium enrichment. Ignore for the moment whether the United States has any legal or moral justification for attacking Iran. Set aside the question whether Iran, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently claimed in a speech at West Point, "is hellbent on acquiring nuclear weapons." Focus instead on purely practical questions. By any standards Iran is a tough nut to crack: it is nearly three times the size of Texas, with a population of 70 million and a big income from oil which the world cannot afford to lose. Iran is believed to have the ability to block the Straits of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf through which much of the world's oil must pass on its way to market.

Keep in mind that the rising price of oil already threatens the world's economy. Iran also has a large army and deep ties to the population of Shiite coreligionists next door in Iraq. The American military already has its hands full with a hard-to-manage war in Iraq, and is proposing to send additional combat brigades to deal with a growing insurgency in Afghanistan. And yet with all these sound reasons for avoiding war with Iran, the United States for five years has repeatedly threatened it with military attack. These threats have lately acquired a new edge.
It would seem that after the experience in Iraq, only a madman would willingly launch a war against Iran, but who among us is willing to say that Bush and Cheney won't take that option?

Those two fools and the incompetents serving under them have botched virtually every aspect of running this nation -- why should anyone support them in their efforts to attack Iran? What reserve of credibility do they have left?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wolf in Sheep's Clothes? 

Why is the chairman of Florida Demands Representation, which has been active in attempting to get Floria's votes to count at the Democratic Convention, also promoting the following?:
Senator John McCain's presidential campaign will participate in a tele-town hall meeting with registered Independents and Democrats from Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Goodbye George 

Few of us will pass on and leave as memorable a part of American culture as George Carlin did with his "Seven words you can never say on TV."

In fact, other than Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?", I can't think of any comedy routine that is as famous.

I remember listening to the routine on his album when it came out -- my sides hurt for days from laughing so hard.

I don't know how people who grew up with cable-tv and rap music would relate to "Seven Words," but it seems to hold up pretty well to me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jumping the Shark 

Gov. Crist was riding high, with the admiration of many (most?) Floridians for his common-sense, inclusive approach to politics.

Then, he does this.

I think this makes it pretty apparent that Crist is more interested in pursuing the Vice Presidential nomination than he is in the long-term welfare of Florida and its citizens.

Oil rigs off the Florida coast will not have any real impact on the price or availability of fuel for decades, if then.

Better that Crist had taken a stand to protect Florida's coasts and advocated conservation and the pursuit of alternative energy sources.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


U.S. Representative Ed Markey:
Last month, while the American people were becoming the personal ATMs of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Saudi Arabia signing away an even more valuable gift: nuclear technology. In a ceremony little-noticed in this country, Ms. Rice volunteered the U.S. to assist Saudi Arabia in developing nuclear reactors, training nuclear engineers, and constructing nuclear infrastructure. While oil breaks records at $130 per barrel or more, the American consumer is footing the bill for Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions.
I'm not sure I don't trust the Iranians with the bomb more than I do the Saudis.

(via The Volokh Conspiracy)

Monday, June 02, 2008

What Did You Think Would Happen? 

There are few people who project greater "inside" information sources and yet are more consistently wrong than the Pompano Beach Sentry's J. P. Bender.

His columns, quite often mean-spirited, offer a litany of what he sees is wrong at Pompano Beach's city hall -- particularly wasted money.

Now comes the big revenue squeeze resulting from the cut in property taxes and now he's bemoaning the fact that some of the cuts will be painful:
If those [19 police] positions remain unfilled, there could be a serious rise in crime rates. Criminals read the papers and can see a difference. If the city manager [Keith Chadwell] allows a continued deterioration of the numbers of road deputies - in the name of budget austerity - then the next release from the FBI will show crime in Pompano Beach is on the rise.
So how will Pompano deal with decreased revenues? It can cut other programs. It can find other sources of revenues to balance the budget. Our bureaucrats have had sufficient time to study the issues - knowing there was going to be an economic shortfall. Trim city hall bureaucrats - especially part-time building inspectors jobs and outside legal contract jobs.
I say, "Mr. Chadwell, leave the policing levels in the city alone for now. We have a contract with BSO for the benefit of our residents - let's honor the levels established in that contract as what is required for adequate police protection. I might not always agree on specific issues with some of the BSO officers or some of the fireman/paramedics in the city, but they are necessary and provide services that are vital to our way of life.
"Cut as you must - but don't leave us naked and unprotected."
The truth is, there just isn't any easy way out of this problem. Former Pompano Beach city manager Bill Hargett was notoriously tight with money -- so now there just isn't a lot of fat in the city's budget.

One might quibble about a small percentage here or there, but the revenue shortfall is going to impact residents.

Perhaps they should have thought about that before they voted for an ill-conceived property tax "reform" that left few homeowners better off, but will have large consequences in terms of municipal services they receive.

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