Drooling on the Pillow

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Weekend Blogging 

Heinz is having a very odd ketchup promotion. I guess it's a promotion. The labels announce that it is a limited celebrity 'edition.' For those first edition ketchup bottle collectors, I guess.

Each label has a (mostly sports) celebrity name (no picture) and a dopey little saying to go with it. The Mia Hamm "I get a kick out of Heinz" edition. Etc. I selected the William Shatner "Fixes burgers at warp speed" edition. It looks like something the boss kicked out over the weekend that had everybody rolling their eyes, but what are you going to do? He's the boss.

There was no Schwarzenegger "I'll be baahk -- with the meatloaf" edition.

That is all.


Laura Mansnerus, the Trenton correspondent for the New York Times has a solution for New Jersey's budget problems. Would you be stunned to learn it involves raising taxes? Her column On Politics in the New Jersey section of the Sunday Times isn't online yet, but trust me.

Her point is that Democrats have a lock on the governorship for probably the next nine years, they own the Assembly and the Democratic Senate isn't up for election until 2007. An ideal time to show 'courage.'

Don't get me wrong, I think there are appropriate times to raise taxes, like when there's not enough unemployment and those occasions when you need to chase businesses to North Carolina. According to Ms. Mansnerus, the time is right to roll back the Whitman tax cuts and impose some new ones.

With the Jim Florio example still (I hope) fresh in their minds the Garden Solons might wonder at the application of the term 'courage' to her plan. If the small subset of base jumpers who disdain parachutes is courageous, well, okay. Otherwise the proper term is 'balls'. A subtle difference.

Wouldn't real courage consist of closing the gap by cutting spending? Of course there would be screams at lost services and no doubt some political careers would come to a screeching halt. But it could be done without further eviscerating the tax base.

Friday, February 11, 2005

More of That Fresh Air They Were Talking About 

I'd like to add to the buzz this morning concerning Acting-like-a-Governor Codey's brother Robert, a long time state prosecutor who recently received the kind of deal you really have to have a governor in the family to get. He was seconded to the Union County prosecutor's office to help in their organized crime unit. This seemingly lateral move bumped his pay to $50,000 above the average for his job title and $20,000 above his direct supervisor. It also allowed Mr. Codey (who is 55 years old) to retire at any time his little heart desires with an annual pension of just under $100,000 or $36,000 above what he would have gotten a year ago.

You start to understand why they need to start taxing our 401(k) contributions.

I first read about this at Shabe's Jersey Side who links to the Star-Ledger article. Patrick's Jerseystyle! and SmadaNek also have their say. Doubtless Roberto at DynamoBuzz will be weighing in.

Give The People What They Want 

According to SmadaNek, Quinnipiac's latest poll brings the news that Sluggo is still locked in a neck to neck race with Lonegan, Caliguire and Schroeder for the Republican nomination for New Jersey governor. Each of us is within the margin of error of '0'. My strategy of appearing to be a clueless dolt seems to be bearing fruit.

Tomorrow's Recipe is Chicken 

I haven't yet seen a quiz to find out which Achewood character I am. I dread taking it because I have an awful feeling I will be Ray.

Most Happy Fella 

Sluggo is the first mention when you Google 'Abondonza'. Now I'm one of the more not Italian people you're going to meet this side of an Innuit village. Fairly shy, not demonstrative, with markedly unexpressive hands. I am a fan of Sinatra, however, and Grace tells me I make the best lasagna she ever had. Coming from a seven-year old Chinese-American, that's high praise indeed.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

We Don't Need No Stinking Border Controls 

David Frum, writing at NRO is touting James Sensenbrenner's bill to mandate stricter federal standards for issuing drivers licenses. My congressman, Rep. Robert Menendez (D., NJ), soon, many believe, to be my senator, offers the prototypical Democratic alternative. Hire 13,000 more border guards. Apparently there's no problem that can't be solved by adding to the federal payroll. Unionized, please.

I'm thinking they could hire enough guards to stand at parade rest on each other's toes from Chula Vista to Brownsville and we're still not going to go short of busboys. People want to get in they'll get in. But long term terrorist plans that require residence, credit, movement and (hello) airplane reservations do require a drivers license.

I believe in wee small government. In state's rights without the unfortunate connotations. But border control is a national concern. Sensebrenner's bill won't solve the problem, but drive-in licenses and voter registration make solving the problem impossible.

UPDATE: The issue is discussed by The Tar Pit from a vantage point closer to the action.

Coolidge, Dutch, W and Cohen 

I'm a Coolidge guy, in a couple of ways. I follow his crisis management style which said that if ten problems are headed down the road at you, eight of them are going to run off into the ditch before they get to you.

I remember just after the stock market crash of 1987 reading a NYT op-ed announcing that what we were seeing was the "end of capitalism". There was a lot of hysterical commentary as stopped-clock opinion enjoyed it's moment in the right. At the time my portfolio consisted of a couple of old Pirate baseball cards, but it's hard at times like those not to get caught up in the eschatology of panic.

President Reagan's response was pretty much "How 'bout those Redskins?." Which was exactly correct. He affected to be blithely, blissfully, comprehensively unaware of any problems more serious than the national jelly bean supply chain. Ahhh, I thought, and went back to trying to nail the lead actress in Antigone. Of course, in the months that followed, steps were taken, adjustments were made, legislation was proposed. These seem to have been effective.

Not everyone can pull this off, of course. Jimmy Carter was a common enough type of leader who tends to make more of things than they are, exacerbating the problem. My wife is not on board with this style of thinking either, especially when I attempt to apply it to household projects and money management.

George W. Bush is kind of in the middle here. On the one hand, he is reviled for not leaping up in that Florida classroom after getting the news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and . . . what? Wave his Presidential wand and make it go away? Make a phone call to find out if Andy Card was punking him? He took five minutes to finish his business with the kids and then, I think, dealt with things pretty effectively. I liked that. Other people found it troubling.

On the other hand, he's not a guy who's afraid to go out looking for trouble if trouble is between him and what he wants to do. He could have passed the terrorism problem on to his successor, as is traditional. Same with Arafat. Same with Social Security. He did not. In fact, he dared us to fire him for not punting.

Now we get to Richard Cohen, who's something of a grab bag himself. His column today in the Washington Post discusses, in a tentative way, the possibility that W might actually be right about a thing or two. Mr. Cohen often qualifies himself from sentence to sentence and column to column and this may be the equivalent of an ass-covering memo that he can point back to in the halcyon days of universal peace of 2008. One sentence takes back the last and one clause snarks on the following. Thus:
First and foremost comes all this talk about freedom
and democracy, a goal for the Middle East, for instance,
that is either bold or foolish -- or both. Whichever, it is
not one that suggests containment, a policy supposedly
resigned to reality, but one designed to change the very
reality of the region and its threats (the home office of
terrorism, after all), seize it by the throat and shake the
corruption and despotism out of it. Good luck, I say --
and a good start, too, at the moment.

How's that for covering your bases?

I'm glad reliable Dems are starting to hedge their bets, but I'm not going to get to wacky about it. Let's just see what makes it down the road to us.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Quest This 

Patrick, at Jerseystyle! announces the beta version of Google Maps is up. It's great!

Jordan Eason 

A blogger named Zed at Resonant Information makes the positive case for Eason Jordan and the notion that U.S. forces targeted 12 journalists for assassination. He doesn't prove it, he doesn't claim to have proven it, but he names the names of the journalists and lists the circumstances of their deaths.

Undoubtedly, this is the same information that prompted Mr. Jordan's remarks in Davos. I know nothing about the quality of Zed's information but it's worth looking at.

Now Jordan has already admitted to burying certain information on the atrocities of Saddam Hussein in order to protect his access. It's certainly possible that, at least in his mind, that's what he's doing now by backing off this story to the extent that he has.

It's hard to figure what would be worse; Jordan's making the allegations out of rumors and innuendo, or burying a story he knew or strongly believed to be true. He boxed himself by saying that the assassination of journalists was U.S. policy. If he knows that to be true he has the story of the century. If not, he's a skeevy, weaseling jackass and should start pulling his paycheck from Al-Jazeera immediately. In any case, bloviating in the way he did, in the forum that he used, with no offer of proof was the act of girl trying to get the attention of the cheerleader clique.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that I got to Resonant Information via American Dinosaur and Cry Freedom.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Woof, Woof 

The Iowahawk's twenty pound scalpel gets to work on Davos and Eason Jordan. Also, via Instapundit.

Airborne Porcines Spotted 

I'm amazed, but a little thrilled and much gratified. According to Power Line, via Instapundit, Bill Moyers made a handsome and complete apology to James Watt for misrepresenting his views in the Op Ed I blogged about here. People on both sides can take a lesson. Mr. Moyers slandered Mr. Watt. The blogosphere (talking about the big boys) noted. Mr. Moyers took another look at the facts and followed the Sluggo Dictum for eating crow: take big bites and go 'mmmm-mm.'

Way to go, Bill.

Gong Si Fa Cai! It's The Thought That Counts 

Posted by Hello
Chinese New Year is tomorrow (year of the Rooster) and, with a Chinese daughter, it's our duty, every year, to take those little red gift envelopes, tape some dough to a card, slap Grace's chop on it and let her hand them out to her chums in school. This year she decided a dollar was too much (who am I to complain?) and wanted to give quarters. My feeling is that it has occurred to her that this would leave .75 per kid (times 19) available for her use. This is thinking I like to encourage. She's a kid that will go far on her looks, but I'm not sure it'll take her far enough to keep her mother and me in Friskies in twenty years.

Google Blogging 

I've gotten more hits for this post than any other one. It's from just about a year ago and in the midst of talking about my favorite movies I made a mention of my favorite fast food. Coney Islander, a joint in Tulsa that made chili dogs and pretty much nothing else. I still get Googled two or three times a day for that. The purpose of this post is to get me from #4 to #1 on the Google. Oh, like you wouldn't.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Don't Confuse Them With The Facts 

It's hard to break old habits. The left is learning that lesson, or maybe not. Bill Moyers should have a chat with Dan Rather about that great tradition of left-wing journalism: making stuff up.

The latest victim is James Watt, once President Reagan's Interior Secretary. If you remember him, you remember that he drove the Democrats crazy and there was virtually nothing bad you could say about him that wouldn't be believed.

According to Power Line the Minneapolis Star Tribune published as an op-ed a speech by Bill Moyers portraying the administration as a crowd of religious lunatics whose every policy is designed to bring on the apocalypse. Really.

Moyers finds a sinister trail leading back twenty years:
Remember James Watt, President Ronald
Reagan's first secretary of the interior? My favorite
online environmental journal, the ever-engaging Grist,
reminded us recently of how James Watt told the
U.S. Congress that protecting natural resources was
unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus
Christ. In public testimony he said, "after the last tree
is felled, Christ will come back."

You will not be surprised to learn that the testimony Moyers references shows Watt's meaning to be the exact opposite of what Moyer's attributes to him. Clearly. Unambiguously.

From the classic canard about catsup as vegetable to the recent outbreak of plastic turkeys, the left has gotten lazy because the mainstream media accepts these notions uncritically.

Bill? Dan? Ask not for whom the blog tolls. It tolls for your ass.

Going In For The Kill 

It was my hope that the success of the recent Iraqi elections would provide renewed confidence in the people for their future and increase their willingness to cooperate with the authorities. Tim Blair provides some evidence that this is happening. I hope and expect that we'll see more stories now about the rolling up of terrorist cells. The violence is nowhere near over and, in fact, may well get worse before it gets better. A cornered rat is the most dangerous rat. But there's nothing like an election to give people the feeling that their fate is in their own hands.

The Armanious Murders 

Readers know how I value and rely on the New York Sun as the areas only conservative broadsheet. It's disappointing that virtually all it's content is locked behind an online subscriber barrier. But they're new, they're almost certainly struggling and the dead tree version is only two bits so we give them a break.

Today there's an interesting op-ed piece by Maria Sliwa on the Armanious murders. For those not in the area that's the case where a family of Coptic Christians was brutally murdered in circumstances that suggested, at least, the involvement of local Islamists. This happened in my neighborhood.

The police have downplayed the Muslim connection. Jersey City has the largest community of Copts in the U.S. A well-educated, hard-working asset to the city. It also has one of the largest Muslim communities in the country, most of whom, obviously, are good citizens. The tension between these two groups has bubbled under the surface for years and the Armanious murders has given it a focal point. The FBI's involved, the local police are closed lipped and the coverage has swayed back and forth as unofficial leaks drip out. At one point it seemed clear to me that the police were sure that this was just a particularly vicious robbery-homicide. My reading of the tea leaves is that they are trying to prepare the public for the news that this was something else. The autopsies won't be released until March 14th. Until then I honestly don't have an opinion. I hope for a resolution and I pray that the authorities are convincing when they do draw a conclusion, whatever it is.

I do know this. There is absolutely no doubt within the Coptic community that the killings were a message to them from their tormentors from the old country.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Danger, Will Robinson! 

I received this email this morning, addressed to Grace:

Dear member.

To your information: you must check your parity of the account
to given e-mail. Please click on this reference:


Differently we cannot inform you about your account.
We thank you for cooperation. Because this is an automated
acknowledgement, we ask that you do not reply to this message.
Again, thank you for using WAMU.

It is my mortgage bank but I was a little curious as to why they were sending this to my seven year old daughter. It's appears that HAL, from Space Odyssey, has a disreputable Nigerian cousin.

Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war! 

Shaking Spears opens that perennial can of worms, "Who Wrote Shakespeare?" He's an Oxfordian. I'm a Stratfordian. All are invited to pile on. But play nice.
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