Sunday, October 31, 2004

Trick or Treat?

Power, Inc. Public and Private Rulers and How to Make Them Accountable by Morton Mintz & Jerry S. Cohen copyright1976 quotes Arthur S. Miller of the National Law Center of George Washington University: "...accountability, if it means anything, means that those who wield power have to answer in another place and give reasons for decisions that are taken; ..."1*

I admit it. I cheered for the Packers against the RedSkins in the last Washington D.C. home game before the election on the superstitious theory that when the Redskins lose their last homegame before the election the White House switches parties. Check it out, according to this web site, this has been true since 1936:

Saturday, October 30, 2004

World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party

Playing To Win by Jeff Greenfield copyright 1980 "Today, for all of the cynicism about the process, the process itself still attracts thousands of otherwise rational and intelligent people."

College football and Halloween parties are the order of the day.

Last Thursday night, Georgia Tech v. Virginia Tech was instructive. The yellow jackets were leading with around five minutes to go in the game when I was asked "Has Georgia Tech won?"
One of the quickest, most complete turn arounds then resulted in a Virginia Tech victory.

Campaigns pay attention!

When I was supposedly attending the University of Georgia in the 1970's, I ran for Student Body President. On election day, I basically hid under my bed. When the votes were counted later that evening, I missed the run-off by around 100 votes. Most of my aquaintances had failed to vote. A popular t-shirt in college football states: "Finish The Drill."

Less than 100 hours till Election day is supposedly over. (A federal Judge has ruled that overseas uniformed and others have more than a week after that to get their ballots in.)

Stalin has been quoted as saying something about it's not who casts the ballots but it's who counts the votes.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Somewhere, Tip O'Neill is Smiling

Man Of The House The Life and Political Memoirs of Speaker Tip O'Neill with William Novak copyright 1987 "At the first caucus I ever attended, Sam Rayburn addressed the House Democrats. "We're in the minority, now," he said. "But we're still going to be helpful and constructive. Remember, any jackass can kick over a barn door. It takes a carpenter to build one." The year was 1953.

All Politics Is Local. 2/s/thompson/

Do you feel the fear and loathing?

Tiny Indonesia Homonids

Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti copyright 1960 translated from the German by Carol Stewart "There is Nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown."

"Islam Exhibits all the unmistakable traits of a religion of war, but it has, nevertheless, branched out into a religion of lament more concentrated and more extreme than any to be found elsewhere: the faith of the Shiites. This is the official religion of Iran and Yemen, and is strongly represented in India and Iraq." (Extracted from the section of the above book entitled The Pack and Religion.)

What is the nature of a curse?
to be continued....

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Lunar Eclipse

A Nervous Splendor Vienna 1888/1889 by Frederic Morton copyright 1979, in the Preface, "In our world ... achievement must end in irony."

Crown Prince Rudolf born to Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary, King of Jerusalem, King of Bohemia, King of Dalmatia, King of Transylvania, King of Croatia and Slovenia, King of Galicia and Illyria, Grand Duke of Tuscany and Cracow, Margrave of Moravia, Duke of Salzburg, Duke of Bukovina, Duke of Modena,Parma, and Piacenza and Guastalla, Princely Count of Habsburg and Tyrol, Prince of Trient and Brixen, Count of Hohenembs, Grand Voyvode of Serbia, and thirty othertitles, not the least echoing of which was Duke of Auschwitz.

58,000 Missing Absentee ballots in Florida!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Return of Millie Vanilli

Red Scare A Study in National Hysteria, 1919-1920 by Robert K. Murray copyright 1955. "This book is the story of a phenomenon."..."Few occurrences in modern American history have been surrounded with so much mystery. Few have involved so much exaggeration and fear. Nonewas so fraught with rank intolerance and mob violence. And for sheer excitement and drama it certainly has no peer."

Until now.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Deadpan Whimsy

The Discoverers A History of Man's Search to Know his World and Himself by Daniel Boorstin,
copyright 1983, quotes Francis Bacon in The Advancement of Learning (1605), quoting Solomon the king "The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the glory of the king is to find it out"; Boorstin later quotes Einstein "the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility."

So I get a call from Clear Channel Communications asking if I would like to provide some radio commentary on Election night. There are two thoughts that come to my mind. One is my oft repeated phrase that I do not make political predictions because I do not like to show everyone how dumb I am. The second is that being a vain egotistical retiring politician who will be lucky if any one recognizes me on the street once I go out of office and I can no longer help them with their legislative needs, I, of course, say I would love to have the listening public here my deep resonate Darth Vader musings.

This development means, I have to stop spending all day and night surfing the internet feeding my attention deficit disorder, mostly Major league baseball and NCAA college football, and actually come up with some classic anecdotes about politics. I found one - these people "qualified" to receive write-in votes fot the offive of President of the United States in Georgia:
Lawson Mitchell Bone of Fayetteville, Tennessee
David C. Byrne of Kennesaw, Georgia
David Cobb of Eureka Humboldt County, California
John Joseph Kennedy of Atlanta
Ralph Nader of Winsted, Connecticut
James Alexander-Pace of St. Banning, California
Michael Peroutka of Marietta, Georgia
Tom Tancredo of Centennial, Colorado

So two different reporters have called in the last few days wanting to know what I know or what I thought about a couple of different political subjects. Maybe I can actually get paid to do this?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Is Hawaii gettin jiggy on us?

The Kurdish War by David Adamson copyright 1964 quotes an interesting piece of history. "The Emir...Bedir Khan's great-grandfather, the Prince of Bhotan, was the first Kurdish national leader of any consequence; and apart from being somewhat blood-boltered by the massacre of 10,000 Assyrian Christians, he emerged with honour from his defeat by the Turks in 1847.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Baseball World Series v. College Football

A Century's Journey How the Great Powers Shape the World edited by Robert A. Pastor copyright 1999. How come we have not heard anything about the Panama Canal during the "war on terrorism" or this presidential campaign?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Five Manifestations of the Survivor Syndrome

The Last Hurrah by Edwin O'Connor copyright 1956 brings us Frank Skeffington and those words "Far from the madding crowd." "Read," "And reflect." "Government by Pygmies!"

Curse of the Bambino

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville first published in 1835 has an edition translated by Henry Reeve with an Introduction by Joseph Epstein. The first sentence of the Introduction states "the older one gets, the more it becomes clear that it is a great mistake not to have been brillant when very young."

Voting has begun. The stories of misprinted ballots, provisional ballot lawsuits and computer breakdowns has begun.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Tasha, Vallery & Nikki

Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky copyright 1980 starts in the Foreward with a paragraph describing the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). "The subject: subversive activities in the entertainment industry."

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Crematory Deal?

The Hero In History A Study in Limitation and Possibility by Sidney Hook copyright 1943 is a book I borrowed from a retired F.B.I. agent who was stationed in Albany, Georgia during the heat of the civil rights movement and is now dead. Should I give the book back?

TREASURY SECRETARY MANEUVERS TO AVOID DEFAULT ON NATIONAL DEBT Treasury Secretary John W. Snow notified Congress today that he will beginusing a series of accounting maneuvers to keep the $7.4 trillion statutorydebt limit from being breached. House and Senate Republican leadersdecided to put off a politically painful vote on raising the statutorylimit until after the Nov. 2 election. They will have to approve anincrease when they return for a lame-duck session Nov. 16 or risk agovernment default. "Given current projections, it is imperative that theCongress take action to increase the debt limit by November, at which timeall of our previously used prudent and legal actions to avoid breachingthe statutory debt limit will be exhausted," Snow wrote Majority LeaderBill Frist, R-Tenn. John M. Spratt Jr., D-S.C., ranking Democrat on theHouse Budget Committee said: "Today's announcement is the latest in badfiscal news resulting from Republican mismanagement of the budget."

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Baseball as a substitution for life

All Fall Down America's Tragic Encounter With Iran by Gary Sick copyright 1985, the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis, served on the National Security Council staff Under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan.

I had a link to National Journal's insider interview with former President Carter and C.I.A. director Stansfield Turner but became concerned that it would allow non-subscribers acess to other areas of the on-line publication. I urge anybody who may have come this far to try and find this interview!

The Pixies

Veil The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987 by Bob Woodward copyright 1987 is described on a paperback version as "the most revelatory book ever written on current American intelligence, espionage and covert action"-Michael Beschloss, The Boston Globe.

What happens when the administration blends intelligence with ideology?

The Lawless State The Crimes of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies by Morton H. Halerin, Jerry J. Berman, Robert L. Borosage, and Christine M. Marwick copyright copyright 1976 is the product of the collective effort of the staff of the Center for National Security Studies.

Endless Enemies The Making of an Unfriendly World by Jonathan Kwitney copyright 1984, former Wall Street Journal reporter, covers the globe.

So what about this conspiracy rumour that a rump caucus within the U.S. intelligence apparatus is determined and trained to make policy not just implement it. The example usually given is the 1980 Presidential election in which the fear of the disassembling of the "Good old boy network" led to certain players using intelligence and covert operatives to help Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (former director of the C.I.A.) get elected.

If there is any truth to this reoccuring theme, why should we not believe it is happening right now? What about the resignation of the most recent C.I.A. director and the appointement Of Porter Goss? Maybe we shall never know what the October surprise really was?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Who's buried in Columbus' tomb?

The Buffalo Creek Disaster by Gerald M.Stern copyright 1976 is sometimes recommended in law school. A February 1972 coal company dam collapse killed over 125 people. The parent corporation said it was "an act of God."

Football has the "Hail Mary" pass and baseball has steroids. Politics has the "October Surprise."
Some state have already begun collecting ballots via either absentee ballots or early voting.
This is before what is called the last presidential "debate."

I had a friend e-mail the story about President Bush's mysterious "bulge" on his back during the first "debate."
I replied that he must have taken his viagra wrong.

I am collecting stories about the " myth of democracy."
Collect them all!

Friday, October 08, 2004

If you think Mount St. Helens has gas ...

What It Takes The Way To The White House by Richard Ben Cramer copyright 1992 is over 1000 pages of exploring the lives of the candidates who would rub for president in 1988.
I challenge anybody in this country to tell me you actually read this whole tome.

His next book was about the life of Ted Williams. Anybody want to bet which book sold more.

Thus, you have my prediction over what more people will be watching tonight when the second presidential debate takes place versus the Major League Baseball play-offs.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

I approved this message

The Brethen by Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong tells the story of "Inside The Supreme Court." Last Monday was the first session on the new Supreme Court session. Copyright in 1979, this book was written before Ronald Reagan was elected president.

I would like to believe there is a reason for the current court to be resisting retirement, death or disability. The next justice who will be nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate will be examined unlike anybody who has ever offered for public service.

After the Bush v. Gore case of 2000, it could be argued that our American democracy is perched on the precipice.

In the summer of 1990, I traveled to the middle East with a gentleman who has written about the court. Black Hills, White Justice was the first book by Mr. Lazarus which started prying open the secretive deliberations of the U.S. Supreme Court. Closed Chambers came next.
With less then a month before the Presidential election, what role will the nominating of new justices play in the voting choice of the American voting public?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Where's the Beef?

Profiles in Courage by Senator John F. Kennedy copyright in 1955 went on to win a Pulitzer prize. He is also credited with authoring Why England Slept.

American history is sometimes reconstructed by researching the newspapers of the day. What a challenge that would be today because of the state of modern day journalism.

The remembered line from the 1988 vice-presidential debate was uttered by who? What happened to him after the election?

Any one know where I may purchase a futures contract for November delivery of 1 barrel of crude oil (the good stuff)?

I am planning on going to the First game of the Atlanta Braves versus Houston Astros baseball playoffs.