Politics As Usual

Money
Captain Ed has a post up tonight that shines the bright light of the Blogosphere on a time honored tradition here in South Carolina (and other states, too, we’re sure)…….that of Bag Money.

Your scribe has been on the outer inner circle of a few local campaigns, and knows that Bag Money is real, and effective. It is also implicitly bribery, or payola, or outright vote buying. It stinks, and it’s a core value in political campaigns.

Which is worse, the pol that buys the votes, or the operative that delivers them, or the voter that sells his/her vote for $10?

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Profiles In Courage

From the Blogosphere, two profiles in courage. One from a stratum of society that may still hold with the values of personal courage and duty regardless of cost, The other from a stratum that holds with the values of the post modern, morally relativistic world that confuses venality with principle.

Quotes:

He’ll be a huge target for Al Qaeda Iraq, and he knows it. The thought
of Harry, abandoning his life of incredible luxury, to stand up and
defend the crown gives me goosebumps. That’s leadership, folks. There’s
simply no other word to describe it.

And:

Mr. Murtha said he would attach language to a war funding bill that
would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for
less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months, and
prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their
equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to
“stop the surge.” So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of
the appropriations bill — an action Congress is clearly empowered to
take — rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be
unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations
that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. “What we are saying
will be very hard to find fault with,” he said.

Sic Transit Gloria.

H/T: Neptunus Lex

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Our “Informed” Congress

We all understand and accept principled opposition to our beliefs and opinions. When pressed, your scribe will also allow that strong dissent, well reasoned, can help us achieve a stronger, more balanced position on any issue.

Where the disgust level, and the suspicion meter, rise is on those occasions when opposition and disagreement seem based on petty politics and/or gross ignorance.

John Murtha, D-PA is witness number one in the case listed above. Leading the charge against the Administration’s policy in Iraq, he proposes "solutions" that reek of politics and are void of principle. Known in the Congress as an "operator" and an "appropriator", his term in office has been defined by his sailing up to, and sometimes across, the line of ethical propriety. Known not for legislation, but for his skill in using the "process" to curry friends and favors, he does not seem to be the shining example that the Democrats in the House would push forward.

The proof of this assumption comes from the Washington Post, certainly no supporter of the Administration in the War in Iraq, in an editorial in today’s paper:

Mr. Murtha’s cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about
conditions in Iraq. He continues to insist that Iraq "would be more
stable with us out of there," in spite of the consensus of U.S.
intelligence agencies that early withdrawal would produce "massive
civilian casualties." He says he wants to force the administration to
"bulldoze" the Abu Ghraib prison, even though it was emptied of
prisoners and turned over to the Iraqi government last year. He wants
to "get our troops out of the Green Zone" because "they are living in
Saddam Hussein’s palace"; could he be unaware that the zone’s primary
occupants are the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy?

This portrait of misinformation brings to mind the utterances of the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Silvestre Reyes, D-TX, who has had a bit of trouble understanding the nature of the conflict.

Principle or politics? Is there any difference? Does it matter?

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Worrying About the Big Things

There’s an old joke out there that says: "I worry about the big things, nuclear war, the clash of civilizations, the future of Democracy…..while my wife worries about the little things, you know, the children’s tuition, paying the bills, keeping food on the table…."

Well, for you big thinkers out there, here’s a big problem …..

Asteroid_1

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De-Commercialization or Sanity

Your scribe has been on the case of the increasing frequency of commercials in college football (here), with another link embedded. Now, we are being told that the NCAA committee charged with re-visiting the whole clock issue has issued its report. The Wizard of Odds has more here, with encouraging news. But we search in vain for any verbiage in the report that recommends a reduction in the number of TV time-outs, particularly after changes in possession.

Reporting from the nerve center, we’ll pass along any new information as it develops……..

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Moqtada al-Sadr

Well, this is an interesting development. Worried about the US dropping a bomb on him? We should be so bold. Wonder if he took the sniper rifles with him back to Tehran?

Several points come to mind with all this information pouring in from the Blogosphere. First, does anyone really think we should negotiate with Iran? Second, does anyone really think they are just going to pack up and send back to Iran the EFPs 060401_sadrprofile_vlwidecthat are killing our soldiers, recall their special forces that are training, abetting, and supporting the insurgency, AND stop supporting Hezballah in Lebanon because we commit to multi-lateral negotiations?

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Lindsey Loses A Voter

Here’s a link to a story of generals and senators really telling each other what they think. Seems Sen. Graham did not realize the general was in the house when he suggested a court martial should have been held in her case. The general fired back…..

"Senator Graham," she began, "I am also a resident of South
Carolina." As a wave of chuckles and applause washed over the audience,
Karpinski told Graham how she looked forward to returning home so she
could share his comment with the rest of his district. "Thankfully,"
she intoned, "your opinion doesn’t count for anything."

Karpinski continued with the lambasting, telling Graham, "I consider
you as cowardly as Rumsfeld, (Ricardo) Sanchez, and (Geoffrey) Miller,"
for lobbing accusations without undertaking any real action to uncover
the extent of the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

Karpinski also added that the military "didn’t want me in the courtroom because they would have heard the truth."

Sounds like she has learned a few lessons from the Joe Wilson school of public debate; never accept any responsibility for your work, blame your superiors, and when confronted, hurl insults instead of facts.

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For What It’s Worth

Bf
A while back, we commented about the new clock rules imposed on college football by the NCAA. It was our opinion that over-long games were the consequence of networks seeking increased revenue through artificially imposed time-outs for commercials. Our reader(s) may have agreed, but with a nod, not a comment. Anyway, our wisdom, partially replayed….

First, television caused half-time to be increased from 15 minutes
to 20 minutes, and longer in bowl games. More time, you see, for
advertising. The networks need to recover the costs of television
rights, which increase every time the NCAA puts them out to bid.  More
egregiously, television imposed the creation of the "TV Timeout" at
most changes of possession in a game.  You know what I mean.  Team A
receives the ball at the beginning of the second half.  It runs 3
plays, and punts.  Team B receives the punt, the officials blow the
play dead and signal for a "TV Timeout", which gives the network an
opportunity to generate more revenue through ad sales.  There is no
limit on the number of "TV Timeouts". Each one of these artificial
timeouts adds at least 2 minutes to the game.  The math is
simple…….3 "TV Timeouts" per half (a low number) equals 12 minutes
of added time to the length of a game.

It would be an interesting analysis (and we’re not going to do it,
for now) to look at game length of televised games versus non-televised
games.  We’d bet there is a significant difference.  If the NCAA was
interested in asserting its independence, it would demand a limit to
"TV Timeouts".  As it stands now, games played thus far on television
have produced a dramatic reduction in the number of plays.  Yes, the
games are shorter in length, but they are also shorter in football terms, which is why we watch the game.

Now comes the The Wizard of Odds, affirming the opinion of your scribe. An excerpt from his post, which should be read in its entirety:

On Thursday, we told you that some broadcasters were taking advantage of the new clock rules to cram more commercials into telecasts. On Friday, we told you how the number of plays during most telecasts were in decline.
We prefer not to lecture, but it should be clear to everybody that the
game is not the problem, it’s the commercialization of the game that is
creating longer telecasts. So what is going to happen when the Football
Rules Committee begins its four-day huddle Sunday in Albuquerque to evaluate the clock rules that were put in place before the 2006 season?

Well, I prefer to lecture. Television is a two-edged sword. On the one hand, it provides valuable dollars to college sports programs and offers national exposure for fans and grads. On the other hand, the payer gets the right to tell the payee how to act. The logical conclusion, in an era of increasing rights fees, is an inevitable increase in commercials in an effort to pay the NCAA and cable providers more dollars for access to their fans/subscribers.

We think this is just another example of the people expecting something for nothing, a la the Mommy State, wherein the public will be forced to accede to the money. It’s like the first hit of the crack pipe (we’re told); it just takes one experience to become completely dependent.

In the immortal words of Buffalo Springfield:

"There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear."

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