Saturday, June 05, 2004

Bored in the Head 

YRHT devotee, Big Event, asks why I haven't been covering the unfolding drama surrounding the sad spectacle that is the Orleans Parish School Board. Unfortunately I've been at a loss of words to adequately describe their "performance" over the years. What is a term for 3,000 fathoms below abysmal?

Every year, these fools destroy more human potential through their incompetence, greed and pettiness than can possibly be imagined. The New Orleans public school system is a sick joke, and functions only as a millstone around the neck of this culturally vibrant city. It limits progress in a host of different areas.

I couldn't exaggerate how bad it is, but I'll try: if, instead of teachers, there were a thousand brown shirt fascists trying to lobotomize as many school age kids as possible, I think we'd still be in better shape than we are with the current school system. The story about the valedictorian who couldn't pass her remedial algebra test to graduate, much less get into college, is but one vivid example.

The crowning absurdity is the School Board's attempt to undo the one good move they've made in the past decade: hiring Tony Amato as the new Superintendant. The pettiness and stupidity of their machinations is well chronicled in the Times-Picayune. But, suffice it to say, electing a completely new board full of devoted, competent, knowledgable, action-oriented citizens is absolutely necessary this fall. So much more than that is needed, but it would be a very promising start.

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Update: YatPundit has more.
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Terrorists for Kerry 

Dick Morris is at it again, this time in his NY Post column.

One of several brain-exploding graphs:

Al Qaeda and the Ba'ath Party want to defeat Bush to avenge his tough stance against them after the 9/11 attacks. They know that John Kerry would usher back the Clinton days of timid U.S. reaction and that the Democrat's likely repeal of vital sections of the Patriot Act would open the door for their terror strikes in America.

To summarize: Al Qaeda attacked Elvis for his weakness, and they now attack Bush for his strength. Noble politicos like Morris can be at the forefront of fighting terrorism, simply by advising the Bush team on how to win.

Lunacy of such Olympic dimension probably does not deserve added spotlight. However, if the American public falls for this crapola, I'm going to fly here, amongst the hobbits.

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Update: Bet on Smarty Jones, or else the evildoers win.
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Friday, June 04, 2004

Central Tenet 

Legal Fiction's intuition is correct. There's a bad odor around Tenet's decision to leave the CIA. The timing was puzzling both politically (because it covered the jobs report and Bush's visit to the Pope) and in terms of national security (changing leadership amidst the chatter and warnings). I never thought Tenet would be forced out, so I'm keenly interested in what he will say as a private citizen; especially as the Plame and Chalabi investigations unfold.

Most importantly-- and this is crucial-- why hasn't some geek made an animated cartoon with the portly Tenet soaring over Shaq, tongue awag, demonstrating what a real slam dunk is? Perhaps Marv Albert narrates, "George skies over O'Neal and serves up a FACIAL!!" How could the scene from Woodward's book not be graphically mocked? After all, isn't the internet precisely for that sort of fun? (Please correct me if I missed something).

I have no clue how Tenet remained beloved in Washington after so many huge mistakes. It reminds me of Leaving Las Vegas where Nick Cage's character is comically attempting to appear sober and competent at his desk job (despite holding the phone upside down), until finally the boss calls him to deliver the bad news. Paraphrased from Figgis:

Boss: "We have to let you go."
Ben: "This [severance check] is too generous."
Boss:"We liked having you around, Ben."

To Jeffrey's chagrin, "Merlin", an "accomplished amateur magician", is now the head spook for the rest of the year. I'll let you compose your own joke about it here:

Perhaps "Merlin" can pull a _____ out of ______'s ______.
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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Downside surprise this time? 

James Cramer of CNBC's Kudlow & Cramer said on his radio show he expects a sub 200k job growth number. The stock market, by moving lower on interest rate fears, thinks another blockbuster 250k+ net gain will be reported at 7:30am Central time Friday. I cite Cramer because I can't help but get caught up in his frenetic enthusiasm. I like his bold analyses and his friendship with Elliot Spitzer. Cramer's Confessions of a Street Addict is entertaining throughout, and reads like a subtle love letter to his wife.

My past few predictions were way off, as I expected anemic job growth to continue this spring. No forecast this month, although since I'm looking into new loans I certainly have a preference.
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Update: Cramer, who probably pays sweet money for a dozen or so forecasting services, was wrong. May jobs up 248k, plus upward revisions in APril and May. Bond Yields continue rising.
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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Al Zarqawi's car found 

Follow Laquidara's "cats" link for the video. (Recommended viewing for only those without even a tincture of compassion or humanity. Scooter, you can click right through.)
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Attaboy Attaturk! 

Great visuals from the Rising Hegemon:

1. New hotness from South Dakota.

2. Big John has willpower.

3. Full service.
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"Agent Slimeball claims the Americans broke our code" 

Certainly not the wisest communication in intelligence history, but that's basically how the CIA got wind of Chalabi's deceit. Isn't it usually some stupid human error (or physical capture) that leads to a code being broken? Even the great Alan Turing who unlocked the Nazi ENIGMA code, didn't start from scratch.

Make a note of the people (Perle, Woolsey, Hitchens, Mylroie...) and organizations (WSJ, NRO) who are defending this oily snake. Then imagine the ramifications if Chalabi and his supporters were as close to FDR's team as they are to the current Bush administration. D-day might still be regarded as the largest and most important surprise attack in the history of world-- only not in our favor.

There's an FBI investigation into who gave Chalabi this sensitive data in the first place. Consult Josh Marshall and Billmon for more.

Developing.... at the speed of pubescence.


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Update #1: Isikoff and Hosenball say it's the tip of the iceberg (thanks Dr. Josh Marshall).

Update #2: Gen. JC Christian, patriot asks Feith for a favor.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Elegance 

Pick either:

1) "We distinguish ourselves from our enemies by our treatment of our enemies." -- John McCain, today's WSJ
or

2) "I'm honored to shake the hand of a brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut off by Saddam Hussein."
-- President Bush, meeting Iraqi amputees at the White House on May 25 (WP).



Try again, South Carolina.
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Monday, May 31, 2004

Carcasse, tu tremblais? 

On my birthday I'll just throw out some quotes. Perhaps you can breathe a beautiful meaning into this (or any) haphazard jumble; organizing chaos is a considerable talent.


Sometimes during a battle [General Turenne] could not help trembling. Then he talked to his body as one talks to a servant. He said to it: "You tremble carcass; but if you knew where I'm taking you right now, you would tremble a lot more." --from Lavisse's Histoire de France (quote translated by W. Kaufmann)


I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. --Romans 8:18


Time is a child playing a game of draughts; the kingship is in the hands of a child. -- Heraclitus


Today your love, tomorrow the world. --Ramones




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Sunday, May 30, 2004

I paid $350 for this advice 

...
but I'll offer this link to it at no charge.


Want more? Fine.

1. Mite bites aren't comfortable, nor is their preference for armpits and gonads. The assistant to the "Bug lady of New Orleans" will say you have birds. "Get rid of the birds, you'll get rid of the mites." But fearing a Hitchcockian episode, you might decide against angering the birds, figuring you can just scratch yourself all summer. Think again. Don't cohabitate; go up to the attic with an airhorn and a broom.

2. Avoid the temptation to "save" money by repairing a broken dryer that was probably assembled at Oscar Schindler's factory. It's time for a new model.

3. Finally, and this can't be repeated enough: don't shave your ass!

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Update: South Knox Bubba adds an invaluable opinion on contracts.
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