Archive: December, 2008
I can't wait for Sam Zell and his caravan of hybrid news trucks to drive to DC to beg for a bailout.
He hasn't been sworn in yet, but Barack Obama has already surpassed Ronald Reagan in one measure: Transition news conferences, In fact, it's a rout. Because there's been something of an, ahem, myth shrouding the 40th president, it's easy to forget this fact about Reagan: The Great Communicator gave more televised speeches than his predecessors, and of course literally invented the White House photo op -- but he also gave fewer news conferences than the presidents who came before him (and most who came after, at least until Bush 43). Answering questions off the cuff as not his forte.
Clearly, the era of unscripted television had not yet arrived in the 1980s. But this anecdote from Reagan's 1980-81 transition is pretty amazing:
Terrorism is,at its core, the most senseless activity known to man. How could anyone with a drop of humanity think that killing a bunch of innocent secretaries and accountants, as on 9/11, is a virtuous cause and a pathway to heaven? Still, as was the case with other political monstrosities like Hitler or Stalin, there are warped and evil objectives lurking behind some terrorist activities. On 9/11, Osama bin Laden presumably sought to not only slaughter innocent people but also disrupt the American economy, raise al-Qaeda's profile by prompting a forceful response, and to get U.S. troops out of Saudi Arabia. Sadly, parts of all these things happened as a result.
The Mumbai terrorists who slaughtered 171 people rated off the inhumanity charts, targeting and apparently torturing some of their victims in a bloody rampage through the city. The attack was well-planned and carefully coordinated -- and. from everything I've seen, makes absolutely no sense, especially when one considers reports that elements of Pakistan's intelligence and military establishment -- if not the Pakistani government itself -- may be linked to the terrorists' training.
The amazing thing about Ed Rendell is that our governor and ex-mayor has put his foot in his mouth so many times there are still old cases I didn't even know about. The national media -- especially America's new sweetheart, Campbell Brown -- is ga-ga over Rendell's "no life" remark on Janet Napolitano, but I'm more in awe of this comment that somehow I missed the first time around:
"But if you put them on the bus they're excited," said Rendell. "They're happy. They have fun. They see bright lights. They hear music. They pull that slot machine and with each pull they think they have a chance to win."
We've already had the Al Franken Decade (unlike a few of you out there, I actually lived through it) and now we could have the Al Franken 6/10-of-a-Decade if his claim that he's taken the lead in the Minnesota Senate race against GOP incumbent and Woodstock veteran Norm Coleman holds up. The thing is, both sides agree that whoever wins this tally, by literally a handful of votes, still won't be the winner yet, that this thing will be decided by the courts and maybe even by the Congress, which I think would be a horrifying event to have happen.
Yes, an election that's decided by 22 votes or so is a teachable moment for all the voters who stayed home at the last minute. But do we really need to have any election that's within a couple of hundreds votes to be decided in a courtroom, by someone's subjective guess on what a hanging chad or stray pencil mark means?
Rest in peace, Zal Chapgar, the 23-year-old who jumped to his death from a Philadelphia highrise hotel on Monday:
He had been suffering from depression and mental illness for the last year, his family said. Because he was an adult, their ability to help him find the treatment he needed was limited.