#navbar-iframe{opacity:0.0;filter:alpha(Opacity=0)} #navbar-iframe:hover{opacity:1.0;filter:alpha(Opacity=100, FinishedOpacity=100)} Ed's Daily Rant: 07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002

Because face it.
I'm right, and you're wrong.

Monday, July 29, 2002

Lance Armstrong wins his fourth consecutive Tour De France.

A highlight was the following excerpt from a news report (I read it in another blog whose name escapes me)

MONT VENTOUX, France -- As he closes in on a fourth straight Tour de France title, Lance Armstrong is hearing a familiar but unwelcome chant from fans lining the route.

On Sunday, after another strong performance in the mountains extended his overall lead to almost 4½ minutes, Armstrong had heard enough.

"If I had a dollar for every time somebody yelled, `Doe-PAY! Doe-PAY!' (French for 'Doped! Doped!'), I'd be a rich man,'' he said. "It's disappointing.''

The French favorite?

Virenque is one of the riders who's most popular with French fans, even though two years ago he confessed to taking drugs when competing for the Festina team. That whole squad, including Virenque, was thrown out of the 1998 Tour when a stash of banned drugs was found in a team car.

Lance has never failed a drug test. There were some accusations, and reports that he "met" with a doctor who was implicated in doping, but nothing definitive. And I of course am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Yet a friend of mine who is a huge fan of Lance's (he emailed me and my friends to see if we could tape the race for him on tv. That’s right, TAPE a bunch of guys riding bikes for hours on end) told me once that the reason he is so good is because of his peculiar physiology.

Apparently Lance's body for some reason produces lactic acid slower than most people, which is what causes the "burn" in your muscles when they lose oxygen. He also has a heart 1/3rd bigger than normal and it beats at a much slower (hence more efficient) rate.

So the question isn't that he cheats as far as doping is concerned, but doesn't his peculiar physiological advantages consist of a kind of "cheating"?

I mean if Aquaman entered the Olympics he'd win every swimming competition (even with only one hand), all without the benefit of drugs, but would it be fair?

Friday, July 26, 2002

Well another politician is switching parties. Lets see what was said the last time someone switched parties:

Washington Times: "A stark act of astonishing betrayal"
Trent Lott: "The only person to blame here is Jim Jeffords," he said. "The voters of Vermont voted for a Republican, and the person who changed that was Jim Jeffords."
Las Vegas Review Journal:"Politicians who want to leave a party ought to resign and run for re-election under their preferred party label."

Those are the ones I've found so far but I'm sure there’s more. Feel free to add your own. Will Trent Lott release a blistering letter to the press calling Good a traitor? Will the Moonie Times attack him as well? I am not holding my breath.

For the record. I have no problem with him switching parties, nor did I have a problem with Jeffords switching parties, nor when Ben Campbell did it, etc. If a politician feels he is more at home with another party philosophically than he should change parties. Jeffords was a liberal Republican and Goode was a conservative Independent. Although from what I heard Good, who has been voting with Republicans for years, was about to be drawn out of his district by the Republicans through redistricting, so there may have been a certain "incentive" from the GOP in an election year when they face losing power to the Dems. If that is what happened, than the hypocrisy meter gets notched up by about 120%

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Well they finally expelled Trafficant. And the complete ironic beauty of it is that the vote was 420 to 1. The only vote against expelling the convicted felon? Gary Condit.

You can't make this stuff up.

Part of me is going to miss him. The part that slows down to watch traffic accidents. The guy was a complete nutcase, but an entertaining one. The hair, the rants, the corruption. Lets take a look back at the pearls of wisdom Representative James Trafficant has left us….

"I want you to disregard all the opposing counsel has said. I think they're delusionary. I think they've had something funny for lunch in their meal, I think they should be handcuffed, chained to a fence and flogged, and all of their hearsay evidence should be thrown the hell out. And if they lie again, I'm going to go over there and kick them in the crotch. Thank you very much."

"If you don't get those cameras out of my face, I'm gonna go 8.6 on the Richter scale with gastric emissions that'll clear this room!"

"I wanted to have Playboy bunnies come on at night to meet with me. I wanted to be promiscuous with them."

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Chris Matthews has malaria. Ouch.

He's had diarrhea of the mouth for years, its finally spread to places other than his mouth. Looks like he won't be making "hardballs" for a while....

OK, I'll stop, it 's just how often can you make poop jokes about Chris Matthews? (feel free to add your own)

Well, its happened.

Once I heard the ghoulish news regarding the fight over the Ted Williams remains, I knew it was only a matter of time before some columnist came up with a cute little way to make a crack about it. My name is William O'Rourke, and I am oh so clever!


Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Who says the New York Times is stuffy?

Looks like the end of the line for ole Bob "rule of law" Barr. The man who never met a camera he didn’t like. The joke was the most dangerous place in Washington to be was in between Bob Barr and a camera.
The guy has really become a joke. This coupled with the fact that he is suing Clinton for "defamation of character" as well as "emotional distress" just puts the nail in the coffin of his sorry career. Maybe he can make a few bucks by speaking to some more racist groups.
If you're interested in a chuckle go to his website and look at the legislation he has sponsored. In between the usual “Resolution to honor America’s beekeepers” type nonsense, and the usual pro gun, anti abortion stuff are some real gems.

Here is some from his first term in 94. He was still finding his ground here:
H.J.RES.190 : Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to provide that no person born in the United States will be a United States citizen on account of birth in the United States unless both parents are either United States citizens or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence at the time of the birth.

Here is from his second term where he found his voice as a Clinton hater.
H.RES.304 : Directing the Committee on the Judiciary to undertake an inquiry into whether grounds exist to impeach William Jefferson Clinton, the President of the United States.
This beauty was in 1997 before anyone knew about Monica. It died a quick death. Suffice it to say they go on like this (with the exception of a few ones regarding individual liberties I agree with).

Goodbye you racist, opportunistic, hypocritical sleaze. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Great piece by David Halberstam on Teddy Ballgame.

It's that time of year again…

When the going gets tough, placate your base. Bush threw his conservative abse some fresh meat this week in order to try ad keep them in line.
First, he nominated conservative judicial activist, and staunch anti-abortionist Priscilla Owen to the Fifth Circuit Bench. And then he announced he was withholding 34 million in funds for U.N. family planning programs. Apparently urging women in overpopuated third world coutries practice Birth control is against God's plan.
This kind of stuff is boilerplate politics. Clinton did the same thing to placate his liberal base. It's just when Bush does this and continues to harp on the "I'm not Clinton, I'm honest, I don't govern by poll's" crap, it gets my goat.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

I normally wouldn't mention Ann Coulter becuase she's such an easy target, but I find her reasoning interesting. From Donahue on Thursday:
DONAHUE: So you’re a name caller yourself. You acknowledge that.
COULTER: I don’t have any problem with invective. The title of my book is “Slander,” not “Invective.” When I call somebody a name, I assure you, it’s true.

Katie Couric is a Nazi, Clinton, crazy white trash hick who is like a serial kiler, Norm Mineta a "stink Bomb" who "hates America", etc...

Thats invective, not name calling. And she assues us its true that Norman Mineta hates America and Katie Couric is a nazi.

Man she's screwy. (That wasn't me calling her a name, I was using invective)

Friday, July 19, 2002

Ben Frit'z at the American Prospect pretty much echoes what I said about Donahue a few days ago. It is however, only 4 days into his run, so a little leeway should be given. And according to Salon, Donahue had over a million viewers his first night.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Donahue needs to start cracking heads.

Tuesdays edition of Donahue was a sight to see. Watching what started of as a decent debate about the awful Patriot Act devolved into the conservative of the group resorting to lies and Mcarthyite smears. And all the while Phil sat there with a bemused look on his face.

Case in point this exchange:

MAY: Look, no constitutional rights have been taken away from any U.S. citizen or anybody else. But understand that people who are in this country...
GOODMAN: That’s just untrue.

Exactly. That is flat out untrue. Yet May has the temerity to say something he knows for a fact is false.

MAY: Name one American citizen whose rights have been taken away.
Name one.
GOODMAN: Mr. Padilla. Mr. Padilla is now being held. He’s an American citizen. Mr. Hamdi is now being held. Neither of them are being given a right to a trial, a right to even see their lawyer. Their rights are being violated, and that’s what’s going to happen-not only to them, but to many Americans.
MAY: We are at war. We’re at war with people who killed...
GOODMAN: I just gave you an example. You asked for some examples.
MAY: And these are enemies...
GOODMAN: So they’re bad people. Right. So they don’t have a right to go to court? They don’t have a...
MAY: Mr. Goodman, their rights have not been taken away. The Supreme Court decided in 1942, eight Germans came across. They were treated the same way.

Yes. their rights were taken away, thats how they were treated. That's just a commonly accepted fact. Padilla is a United States Citizen whose constitutional rights were also taken away. There's no room to argue that point.

MAY: If someone like Mr. Goodman was fighting World War II, he would have sent our soldiers to shore at Normandy with subpoenas to Mirandize all the German soldiers.

German soldiers were uniformed soldiers fighting for their military and were classified as legal combatants and fell under the Geneva Convention. The ENTIRE argument is regarding how we treat unlawful combatants, the exact OPPOSITE of German soldiers on the shores of Normandy. This is a blatant distortion of the debate and a total smear against Mr. Goodman and May knows it. This is not rational debate. This Is Ann Coulter territory. Suffice it to say the dishonest arguments and smear continued.

My point is this. If you're going to have right wing hacks from some nebulous think tank on, be prepared. Don't let them get away with this stuff. We have enough Limbaughs and Hannity's getting away with blatant distortions and lies. I wish Phil Could just make his show an oasis where the truth is respected. So far he's not up to the task.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Why is Trafficant still allowed in Congress?

The man, despite being a certifiable fruitcake for years, is now a CONVICTED FELON, yet the Congressional Ethics Committee is "discussing" whether he should be expelled?

If being a convicted felon isn't enough, I would guess the paranoid filled rant while testifying before them would seal the deal.

Why I hate political quiz's.

According to this site, a Republican friend of mine who is against vouchers, against an absolute right to gun ownership, against missile defense, pro choice and for hate crimes laws applying to sexual orientation (he's a connecticut Republican, they're a little different) is considered a "moderate right conservative".

Kinda screwy huh?

Me? I'm considered a moderate libertarian. Which is actually kind of accurate.

But listen to how skewed the questions are. If you think we should "Teach moral standards In Public Schools" that means you believe:
Judeo-Christian values are American values. Belief in God is what America was founded upon, so praying in school or other public places does not violate the separation of church and state. "


Sunday, July 14, 2002

I don't care what anybody say's, Klayman's STILL a fruitcake.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

George Herbert Walker Bush, as reported by the UPI on May 8, 1989,
"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

Geroge Herbert Walker Bush in Newsweek regarding Athiest Ted Williams:
"As a Marine pilot he set a tremendous example for other celebrities in America. He believed in service to country, and indeed he served with honor. While many celebrities found ways to avoid real service, Ted was right there, out front, flying fighter planes."

Add yet another to the pile

Bristol Myers Squib is being investigated.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

It looks like Bushs speech was a dud. And like the press corp the day before, The audience laughed at him. Many of his remarks boiled down to him asking CEO's to"be nicer to each other". Asking CEO's to simply act more honorably. No need for laws, I trust you.

Here is the most telling remark from USA Today:
"Bush's speech drew applause from pro-business groups and many CEOs."

It's as if Bin Laden complimented Bush on the War Against Terror.

Upon further investigation, its no wonder. According to the Associated Press, all of the proposals mentioned in the speech (aside from his proposed task force) will need approval from lawmakers, stock market executives, regulators, or the companies themselves.

And as for Bushs' task force, which he called his "SWAT" team, they will have "no direct authority to investigate or prosecute cases and no new financial resources or added staffing for the effort", according to USA Today

So a bunch of toothless proposals. But he didn't stop there. In fact some proposals weren't even proposals. They would charitably fall under the "suggestions" category.

He asked for companies to stop lending money to their executives, and for CEO's to explain "in plain english" their own salaries, yet he asked for no new laws, or regulations regarding these suggestions. He was just asking nicely.

Next up in the war on terror:
Bush ask's Al-Queda to "Puhlease not attack us anymore. Pretty plrease with sugar and a cherry on top."

Thanks to bear left for this gem:

George W, Bush reacting to the 9th circuit court's Pledge decision:
"I believe that it points up the fact that we need common-sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God. And those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench."

Article VI, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution:
"no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

They're paying him how much?

Last night, in a Larry King "Exclusive" (they even had a little "exclusive" graphic in the corner), the big scoop was….
Phyllis Diller retiring from stand up!

And Bill O'reilly thinks beating that in the ratings is some kind of achievement.

Donahue, save us please.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Bush one month ago:
"Let me tell you how strongly I feel about this," he said. "I believe
if somebody is running a corporation, if somebody has got
responsibilities to shareholders and employees, they have the
responsibility to be above-board at all times, to be frank and honest
with all numbers."

Bush today:
"This was an honest disagreement about accounting procedures. And the
SEC took a good look at it and decided that the procedures used by
the auditors and the accounting firm needed to, were not the right
procedure in this particular case, or the right ruling, and therefore
asked Harken to restate earnings, which it did"

Oh what difference a month makes.

It must be my birthday. President Bush had a press conference yesterday. And it was priceless. I’ll just let Mr. “Personal Responsibility” speak for himself (comments in italics)

“ I think by far the vast majority of CEOs in America are good, honorable, honest people who have nothing to hide and are willing the true facts speak for themselves.”
When asked whether he would release all documents relating to the investigation by the SEC of him for possible insider trading, he refused to answer.

Excessive government spending is a drag and--or will be a drag on our economy.
Bush announced today a huge increase in the SEC budget.

"but I have been calling for a renewed sense of responsibility in America. And that includes corporate responsibility."

QUESTION: On the question that the Form 4 was eight months late [inviolation of SEC law], why was it?
Bush: As to why the Form 4 was late, I still haven't figured it out completely.
That’s because this is the third time he has changed his story regarding who was at fault for the violation. The only common thread in all threee different excuses was that it was never his fault. First it was the SEC’s fault for “losing” the documents. Then it was his lawyers fault, etc….

Imagine if this was Clinton…..

QUESTION: Let me ask a question from just before the sale of stock that you mentioned. Could you please explain your role when you were on the board of Harken and the sale of 1999--1989 of its Aloha Petroleum subsidiary, which later caused the SEC to require Harken to restate its earnings. The sale has been described as creating a phantom profit to hide large losses. How did you see it, sir? And do you think that this transaction hurts your credibility on corporate responsibility?
BUSH: This and all matters that related to Harken were fully looked into by the SEC [while his father was President, and a SEC that was headed by Bush loyalist and appointee Richard Breeden, former Bush sr. policy aid].
The dodge Bush uses most frequently is that his daddies SEC “exonerated” him. Yet even that is inaccurate. A letter by SEC Associate Director Bruce A. Hiler stated:
"the investigation has been terminated as to the conduct of Mr. Bush and that, at this time, no enforcement is contemplated with respect to him. However it must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result."

And in this case the system worked. There was an honest difference of opinion as to how to account for a complicated transaction.
At this point the press corp actually laughed.

You're going to find that in different corporations. Sometimes the rules aren't as specific as one would expect, and therefore the accountants and the auditors make a decision.
And then it's the SEC's role to make the determination as to whether or not the accounting procedure used in this particular instance was proper or not. And--let me finish--and they made the decision that Harken ought to restate some earnings, which Harken did. And that's how the system is supposed to work.
Hooray for the system. It kept Harken from continuing there “honest difference of opinion” regarding using dummy corporations to hide debt. No wonder he and Kenny Boy are such good friends.

QUESTION: do you think it is appropriate today, given the fact that you say investors are nervous about the markets, for senior executives of these companies to go before Congress and invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to discuss their dealings in controversial? BUSH: I'll give you my opinion on that.
Bush: Look, I think people, obviously if they're called up, ought to tell what they know, but lawyers have different opinions. And these people are listening to the advice of their counsels.
There’s that darn “difference of opinion” excuse. Maybe bush is just planting the seed regarding possible future 5th amendment invocation himself. Who knows.

QUESTION: Mr. President, if I may ask you, right before the accounting--the sale itself of the subsidiary, did you favor that? Were you involved...
BUSH: You need to look back on the director's minutes
Translation: find out for yourself.

but all I can tell you is is that in the corporate world sometimes things aren't exactly black and white when it comes to accounting procedures.
If you close your eyes, it sounds just like Ken Lay testifying…..

QUESTION: Does it hurt the very market confidence...
BUSH: Well, I think what hurts the market confidence is the--in the recent cases was the inflated numbers. And so people look at balance sheets and wonder if they're real.
So he admits that inflated numbers hurts market confidence. The same phony inflated numbers his company engaged in while he was on its audit board.

BUSH: Again, this is--there was no malfeasance (sic) involved. This was an honest disagreement about accounting procedures. And the SEC took a good look at it and decided that the procedures used by the auditors and the accounting firm needed to, were not the right procedure in this particular case, or the right ruling, and therefore asked Harken to restate earnings, which it did. I mean that's the way the SEC works.
Wow. I mean what can you say to that? Using a dummy corporation to hide losses from investor’s in simply an honest misunderstanding.
Enron, Worldcom, billions of of investor dollars lost. All just a misunderstanding. Nothing to see here. Move along.

QUESTION: Thank you. The accounting procedures that (inaudible) have been compared to what went on at Enron. Would you agree with that?
QUESTION: Why not, sir?
That's the proper role of an oversight group. There was no malfeasance (sic), no attempt to hide anything, it was just a accounting firm making a decision along with the corporate officers as to how to account for a complex transaction.
Harken officers, using money they borrowed from Harken, buy Aloha Petroleum, a company already owned by Harken, at an extremely high price. They then record the profits of that sale as earnings in order to hide Harkens significant losses. And according to Bush it has NOTHING to do with what Enron was doing?
And all this happened while Bush was a member of the Audit board.

And I saved the best for last:
QUESTION: Yes, Mr. President, the NAACP is meeting this week in Houston, as you probably know. And there's been some criticism that you've not attended their convention since the 2000 campaign. How would you respond to that and respond generally to suggestions from some critics that your civil rights record in the administration is not a stellar one?
BUSH: Let's see. There I was sitting around the leader--the table with foreign leaders looking at Colin Powell and Condi Rice.
(he then moves on to the next question)

Monday, July 08, 2002

One of the reasons I can't stand the phony SOB of a President.
Bush is about to make a speech coming down hard on Corporate abuse. In it he plans to trot out the age-old mantra of the right "Blame it on Clinton".

CNN reports that Bush's speech will highlight that the "excesses of the nineties - during the Clinton administration" caused the problems we face today.
Yes, the fact that Clinton got a BJ is the reason why Ken Lay, Lott's buddy Bernard Ebbers, and even Bush and Cheney themselves used phony accounting gimmicks to pump up their stock. Bush is now recommending laws that would have put he and his Vice President in jail if they were passed back in the nineties. Yet it’s somehow Clintons fault.

Lets try a reality check. (with thanks to Nathew Newman and Democrats.com for some of the info)
The year is 1995. The Republican led congress passes the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. This law allows companies to basically lie to their investors about their profits, and make it virtually impossible for plaintiffs to sue corporations for said abuse. (for more info, read this article about the law, and its effects, in Business Week).

Clintons role? He vetoed it. The only veto of his that was overridden by Congress. Bubba spoke prophetic words back when he vetoed it:
“I believe that this bill, as modified in conference, could erode this crucial basis of our markets' strength.”

1997: Barbara Boxer proposes banning investment of more than 10 percent of the total 401(k) plan in an employer's stock. The GOP modifies the bill so that almsot all major comanies are exempt.

1998: Clintons appointee to head the SEC, Arthur Levitt, gives a speech in which he warns about brokerage houses and auditors in bed with each other is a recipe for disaster.

2000: Levitt and his SEC engaged in a heated battle with the Republican congress to ban auditing firms from auditing companies that they are selling other services too at teh same time. After the Republicans promise to delay the vote forever, SEC compromsies and does not get what they ultimatly wanted

Fact: Cheney was CEO of Halliburton during the years when they manipulated their numbers to inflate their profits to the tune of 100 million.
Fact: Bush was a member of Harken’s audit committee in 1994 when they used dummy corporations to inflate their earnings. Bush’s stock options which he cashed out right before Harken fell (and violated SEC laws in the process) were him reaping the benefits of the Enronomics shell game.

This "blame Clinton" crap from the so called prophets of the "responsibility era" drives me nuts.

Teddy ball game was an Athiest.
THe man always did march to his own drummer. While I myself am not an athiest (I fall under the hopeful agnostic category), I have immense respect for those who are.
Any man who would put his life on the line for his country, dedicate his energy to creating the Jimmy fund, AND be an athiest, is a true hero.

Think about it. Give me an athiest Mother Teresa and a devout Mother Teresa and who do I respect more?

The Athiest. because she is doing good works simply because they are good. The devout Mother Teresa has an ulterior motive (If I do good things, I get to go to Heaven!!)

Add another one to the pile.

NEW YORK, July 8 — Drug giant Merck & Co. recorded $12.4 billion in revenue from the company’s pharmacy-benefits unit over the past three years that the subsidiary never actually collected, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It looks as if the United States army has gotten a new job. Video game publisher.

In an admittedly ingenuoes attempt to drum up recruitment, the Army has designed and released, for free, a computer video game based on real life army tactics and missions. The game, caleld Americas's Army, will show you what it is like to be a real life Army soldier.

I never knew army life was so boring.

I don't doubt the versimillitude of spending countless hours shooting at wooden targets in a field to get certified with a weapon. But why do that when I can instantly grab hold of duel uzi's and blow a mans head off twenty different ways in Soldier of Fortune?

Not to sound Like I don't support the brave men and women fighting for our country. But making a video game with enlisted men scrubbing toilets is about as fascinating as this gets.

As a die hard Red Sox fan, this makes me sick to my stomach.

In case anyone doesn't know about John Henry Williams, he's been something of a joke in Boston for a while now. Apparently the Sox front office gave him a tryout with their rookie league team. Most likely out of respect for his lineage. Why do I say this? Because he sucked. Hard.

And now he's proved to everyone that he's scum as well as a lousy ball player. Amazing hes got his dad's gene's in him, cuz they are nowhere in sight.

I'm glad Teddy Ball Game ain't around to see this.

Paul Krugman. Is there a better left of center polemicist out there? If there is, I haven't read him. Really going for the jugular against Bush's shady Harken dealings. His column last week came up in Bush's tet-a-tet with reporters (Bush doesn't do press conferences, for good reason), and caused a classic snippy Bush retort

He now followed it up with this column yesterday.

Note to Ari. Get your spinning shoes on. This may have legs.

Thanks to Maxspeak (one of the many "legitimate" bloggers out there) for pointing out this article on Bush's rapidly bursting post 9/11 bubble.

Sure its from a Canadian,but hey, they were smart enough to manage universal health care.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

My first post. Hopefully not the last. Welcome to my arena of verbal diarrhea.

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