Please sir, may I have some appropriations?

Northeast as Outsider, Begging for Scraps

With their capture of the Senate last Tuesday, Republicans will hold the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time in half a century (except for a few months early in 2001). At the same time, the Northeast has become the most reliably Democratic region of the country, a bit like a street waif in an old silent picture, nose plaintively pressed against the glass, hungrily watching someone else’s party.

Is the country outside of the Northeast really as different as the politics might suggest?

What would Kirk do?

What kind of Star Trek villian would Saddam be? Been there, done Iraq

Classic Star Trek (1965-1968): Kirk, Spock and McCoy beam down to the planet Iraq to hunt terrorists responsible for blowing up a Federation space station, and are promptly captured by rogue warriors led by a menacing guy named Saddam (to be played by Ricardo Montalban).

Round up a posse

The Bush Administration is looking to repeal the Possee Comitatus Act, the one that keeps the government from using the military to enforce law within the US.

And it’s been obvious and freedom ensuring and clearly enforced for well over 100 years because, well, we aren’t Stalinist Russia, and we aren’t insane, and most of us are well aware that an overzealous military empowered with such draconian authority is essentially what every sociopathic fist-clenched dictator from Marcos to Hitler used to gain power and maintain control and hack away at the very soul of humanity and pick up their personal dry cleaning on the nation’s tab.

Does Dubya have aspirations to be a military dictator?

Over and Above?

Andersen video puts Cheney on spot

In the video Mr Cheney – then Chief Executive of the oil company Halliburton – describes how Andersen gave advice “over and above” what would normally be expected from auditors.
“I get good advice, if you will, from their people based upon how we’re doing business and how we’re operating over and above the just sort of normal by-the-book auditing arrangement,” Mr Cheney says in a short section of the video.

What kind of advice was that?
“Andersen showed me how to construct a complicated series of offshore holding corporations that would allow me to show phony profits to my shareholders, while avoiding paying taxes to the government and making myself personally wealthy at the expense of my employees. Thanks, Andersen!”
“Before we hired Andersen as our auditor, I was afraid that we’d have to lay off some employees. After Andersen, I was able to cash in and get out before anyone else noticed that we were losing billions of dollars a month. Thanks, Andersen!”
“With my last auditor, I could never get in contact with a partner when I needed to. With Andersen, I can get great advice whenever I need it. My auditor has helped me through troubles with my love life and taken my phone calls at 4 AM. Andersen even bailed me out after a DWI incident. Thanks, Andersen!”