Friday, July 09, 2004

What a long week

See...this is why I don't often go on vacations. I end up being crazy-busy when I get back with all the work that piles up whenever I'm out. If I didn't know better, I'd be convinced that this dept. has trouble running without me. And that isn't an ego thing - its a simple statement of facts according to the accumulated evidence.

But, I digress. I suppose I should do a bit of a opinion/news roundup for the week:

John Edwards named Kerry's Veep Nominee: A solid choice. Edwards was not my favorite of the Dems running for President and a part of me really would have liked the idea of a Kerry-McCain team, but it seems obvious that McCain not only isn't interested in leaving the GOP, but he would not enjoy being in his friend's limelight. For all I know, McCain decided to say 'no' as much for Kerry as for himself - I don't think there's any love lost between El Presidente and Senator McCain and from everything I've read, Kerry is a close friend of McCain's. And I wouldn't be surprised if, inside the private election booth, McCain picked Kerry over Bush. But that's rather minor. As for Edwards, he could have done much worse - of the people who would be willing to become a Veep nominee, Edwards was about the best out there. I'm not a big Gephardt fan and while I liked the idea of Vilsack, Edwards seems to be a popular choice within the party and he certainly brings some youthful energy.

Ken Lay Indicted: Couldn't have happened to a better scumbag. About time. The Feds have done a masterful job with their prosecution of the Enron mess, starting with small fish and using pleas and discovery to nail Fastow, Skilling, and now (presumably with help from Fastow and others), Kenyboy, El Presidente's "good friend." Crooked. Greedy. Capitalist. I have nothing wrong with making money, but when you make money while destroying other people's lives, you deserve what you get. I know it'll be tough to prosecute him and it is hardly an open-and-shut case, but one shouldn't discount the power of federal attorney's appealing to a jury to make an example of someone. If you break the law...if you decide to put personal gain above the welfare of your employees and other people...you go to jail. Responsibility has to go all the way to the top, and that is NOT a good justification for not having limits on CEO compensation.

The "missing Marine" saga: Possibily the oddest story all week is that some are now wondering whether this Marine who went missing in Iraq, then pops up in Beiruit, has staged the whole thing as part of some elaborate hoax/fraud/etc. How strange. I haven't an idea how to process that. That place is such a mess. Its been over a year and can anyone say its actually gotten better there? From everything I've read, oil production is STILL below pre-war levels. Wasn't that supposed to pay for all this? Oh...I forget...we went to remove Saddam's weapons of mass destruction...you know...the ones that don't exist.

George Will and Kansas: Several friends have pointed out that George Will wrote a column on Thursday that was highly critical of Thomas Frank's book on Kansas (reviewed below). Having read the the book myself, having grown up in Kansas, being familiar with Will's body of "work" (if I can call it that) in the past...it seems to me that his review is nothing more than his typical liberal-bashing. He seems not to have exactly read the book, nor has he probably ever visited the state, much less lived there, much less grown up there. Typical - just like Coulter, Brooks and the rest...Eastern conservative "elitists" who wax poetic about the simple, honest, and unproblematic people of Kansas who realize that social issues are important because we've destroyed the buisness cycle and more of that nonsense. And yet...I don't see any of them lining up to go live there. Take them out of New York and Washington and they'd be just as lost as eastern liberals. What Will either didn't get from the book (or, more likely, is blinded to by his knee-jerk anti-liberalism) isn't that Frank is longing for the old homo economicus as Will puts it, which makes rational decisions, but that conservatives have tricked them into a rage about social issues that are rather unimportant in the grand scheme of things. As usual, George Will is full of sh*t - that's why I haven't regularly read him for a long time...he hasn't had anything new to offer for awhile now.

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