Saturday, January 20, 2007

Why Hillary Can Win

Mark Penn makes the case. I'm not sure I'm convinced that she is the best candidate, but he does a good job of arguing that she may be the best Democrat:

Even before announcing her presidential campaign, Hillary has already proved wrong all the pundits who say that people already know her and that voters won't change their minds. In the last year, the percentage of people who have a favorable impression of Hillary Clinton in the CBS poll rose 34 percent (from 32 to 43, the highest of any Democratic contender). In the December Washington Post poll, she now has the highest favorable rating of any known Democrat (56 percent), and these were her best ratings since 1999. Hardcore Republicans don't like Hillary for the simple reason that they know she can win, and if she does, she will change the policies of their hero, George W. Bush. She has a strong appeal among both Democrats and independents, the two groups it takes to win.

Of course, new polls are coming out every day showing one candidate up or another down, and up against these polls from national news sources, there are plenty of other polls out there with less positive numbers -- like a Diageo poll or a Rasmussen poll -- but the major news organization polls, taken before anyone announced, all showed her moving up in favorability and support, moving up in ways many pundits said was simply not possible.

Some of the commentators look at the ratings of people who have not yet been in the crossfire, and say they might have a better chance. Recent history shows the opposite. The last two Democratic presidential candidates started out with high favorable ratings and ended up on Election Day (and today) far more polarizing and disliked nationally (see the CBS poll below). Hillary is the one potential nominee who has been fully tested, with the Republicans spending nearly $70 million in the last decade to try to defeat her. She is not just strong, but the strongest Democrat in the field. Hillary is the only one able to match or beat the Republicans after years of their partisan attacks on her.

Of course, the real question is, who will sign on Bob 'Kiss of Death' Shrum? Tell me that, and I'll tell you the next President.

Back to the top.

Times Discovers Unmarried 15 Year Olds

That study that showed that more than half of all women in the US did not live with a spouse? It counted 'women' down to 15 years of age.

Back to the top.

Democratic Hypocrisy Watch

John Edwards finally succeeded in selling his Georgetown home. He declined to identify the buyer at the time of the sale, but has confirmed that it was bought by the founder of Sunrise Assisted Living, who is being investigated for improper accounting practices, and the related exercise of stock options:

...The house sale comes at a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an inquiry into allegations that the Klaassens, founders of Sunrise Senior Living, and other company insiders cashed $32 million in stock options before Sunrise announced in May an accounting problem that caused its stock to dip.

SEC insider-trading notifications show that the Klaassens withdrew $20 million from their company in the year before they bought the house. Some of that money was taken out the week before the company announced an accounting review in May.

A letter to the board from the Service Employees International Union states that after Sunrise announced the accounting change and filing delay in May the stock value plummeted 34 percent and that the cumulative impact of company restatements will reduce net income for 2003 through 2005 by 26 percent.

The Klaassens sold 600,000 shares, worth about $20 million, in 12 transactions from Dec. 19, 2005, to May 2, 2006 -- the last sales coming one week before the company's accounting troubles came to light and the company's stock plunged, according to public records confirmed by Sunrise sources.

Several stockholders in Sunrise, including two large unions whose support Edwards has courted, have pressed for action.

The 1.8 million-worker SEIU alleges its pension fund lost significant money in its investment in Sunrise, and the union asked for an independent investigator to take over the internal probe of the stock trades and accounting practices. Pension funds for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union filed a class-action lawsuit against Sunrise this week, seeking to recover losses from the stock's fall...

Just doing his part to help the working man.

Back to the top.

America's Best Hot Dogs

Light blogging today: I'm headed to Ben's Chili Bowl:

BEN'S CHILI BOWL | 1213 U Street NW Washington DC 20009.

"First it was taxation without representation. Now, it's taxation without Roadfood representation." So wrote Rod Hendrix when he sent us a long list of places to help alleviate the dearth of Roadfood listings in the nation's capital. None of his suggestions was more glowing with praise than that of Ben's Chili Bowl, which Rod referred to as "Legendary ... true D.C. history!"

Melissa Jordan, another tipster also highly recommended this landmark diner as a "tiny, family-run place with a wonderful story behind it."

With a busy day of meetings and media events to spend in D.C., we prioritized our hit list and put Ben's at the top, managing to stroll in early in the afternoon. There on the right was the griddle, lined up with ravishing hot dogs and half-smoke sausages, sizzling hot and ready to be bunned, dressed, and topped with chili. We ordered a chili dog and a chili smoke, as well as pieces of just-made sweet potato cake and chocolate cake. The man who took our order told us to find a seat, then shortly brought the food, the dogs each presented in a red plastic basket along with a pile of potato chips, the cake served in a see-through take-out box.

The half-smoke is sensational! A taut-skinned smoky link unique to the D.C. area, it is bigger than most hot dogs, well-browned on the griddle. It is firm-fleshed with an unbelievably luscious character. Frankly, next time we visit we are going to order one plain, just to focus on its smoky essence; but the fact is that the chili with which Ben's customarily blankets it is sensational stuff: thick, peppery, full-flavored and positively addictive. The whole package - sausage, mustard and onions, and a heap of chili all piled into a tender bun - is extremely unwieldy, impossible to eat without lots of spillage; but that's ok. Dripping and licking is part of the dining experience.

The big hot dog has plenty of character too. No bland tube steak here; it is hot and spicy and a fine balance for the chili. As for the sweet cakes, they are real home-style dessert: thick layered slices with plenty of frosting. We especially liked the sweet potato cake, which was moist and spicy.

As for Ben's history, there's a whole fact sheet on the counter to take and read (or the historical information is available at Ben's web site). The basic story is that U Street was once known as Black Broadway for all the musical talent that used to perform in clubs along the way. Since its founding in 1958, Ben's has survived the neighborhood's ups and downs, and in 2001, its founders, Ben and Virginia Ali, were inducted into the Washington, D.C., Hall of Fame. In the mid-1980s, actor Bill Cosby made Ben's a cause célèbre when he held a national press conference on premises to celebrate his #1 rated television show. According to Ben's literature, Mr. Cosby never stops in without eating three half-smokes.

If you're not in DC, but are near Los Angeles, Skokie, Fairfield Connecticut, or Mobile Alabama, look here for info on America's other great hot dog places.

Back to the top.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Tim Johnson Continues on the Mend

Good news to hear:

Sen. Tim Johnson is taking part in three hours of physical, occupational and speech therapy every day, and his tracheotomy tube has been removed from his throat, doctors said Friday.

Johnson, who suffered a brain hemorrhage over a month ago, has been working with parallel bars and participating in speech therapy, including naming objects, his office said in a statement.

That includes strengthening exercises to gain mobility on his right side, said Dr. Philip Marion, head of rehabilitation at George Washington University Hospital. Johnson's right side was weak when he arrived at the hospital Dec. 13.

His recovery is expected to take several months.

Our prayers continue to be with him.

Back to the top.

RADM Martoglio Takes over CSG 7, Sets Sail for Pacific

Three days after the customarily terse announcement from OSD declares that Rear Admiral Martoglio, the Secretary of the Navy's senior military advisor, is taking fleet command in California of Carrier Strike Group 7, including the CVN-76 USS Ronald Reagan, comes word that the Reagan will deploy shortly for the western Pacific, to keep tabs on North Korea while the Kitty Hawk continues to gear down for decommissioning and replacement at Yokosuka by the George Washington.

Trenton Makes; the World Takes

U.S. Navy Decoms Trenton, Transfers to Indian Navy

"Indian Commodore P. Murgugrsan speaks with media personnel as the amphibious transport dock USS Trenton (LPD 14) transfers to the Indian navy. Trenton was decommissioned after 35 years of naval service."

"The event marks the first time a U.S. Navy vessel has been transferred to the Indian navy."

Dems Don't Want the U.S. to succeed?

"What shall I say to thee...thou cruel, ingrateful, savage and inhuman creature!"

Fulfilling Promises by Breaking Promises

So, after only about 14 days and 340 hours, House Democrats have done 42 hours of work. They delivered on their promise to pass 6 major legislative items, and to do it in less than 100 hours - at least by their count. the only question is why it took so long. After all, if you stifle debate, eliminate committee consideration, and refuse to allow any debate on amendments and alternatives, it doesn't have to take long.

In delivering on their campaign agenda, the Democrats allowed 41 House votes. Take a look at them here. How many amendments were offered? None. That's how you accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. To get a sense as to what House debate normally looks like, check out a sample of 100 votes from the last - Republican - Congress. You'll recall that the press and the Democrats endlessly droned on about how the Republicans were abusing the minority and the democratic process, and were 'ramming bills through' on a partisan basis. They weren't allowing any input from the Democrats. It was a disgrace.

Do you know what you see if you look at the 100 votes from last Congress? Dozens of amendments and Democratic alternatives. It's a simple, graphic way of showing how open a debate is. The Democrats regarded it as repressive and closed. But how did they behave in the first month of their rule? They eliminate it entirely.

And what reason did the Democrats give for not allowing any alternatives to be discussed? They said they had to eliminate debate in order to deliver on their promise to pass all these measures in 100 hours. But we see that by fixing the clock and counting only the hours they wanted to count, they came nowhere near using 'all 100 hours.' They clearly could have allowed at least some debate and stayed within the 100 hours; they just preferred to dictate the outcome.

They really have changed the way Washington works. Just a few months ago, the major media criticized Congress for lies and hypocrisy. Now they get lauded for it.

Read Pejman Yousefzadeh and Patrick Ruffini as well.

Back to the top.

Krauthammer's 'Fourth Way' on Iraq

Charles Krauthammer is not optimistic about the President's surge proposal. He thinks it's unlikely to succeed, because Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki won't act in good faith as long as he can count on US troops to keep Iraq from falling apart completely.

I find that hard to believe, since I think that domestic political realities in the US will force President Bush to chart a course to have US troops largely out of harm's way in Iraq by the time his successor in the White House takes office. After all, if the surge fails and Iraq remains a problem, the Republican nominee will lose in 2008, and the Democratic President will interpret the election result as a vote to pull out.

Thus, I think Bush will have to lay out the exit strategy - one way or the other - by early 2008.

Getting back to Krauthammer, he proposes a threat that can be used to force Maliki to act in his own interest: pulling US troops back to a few bases and strategic sites, and leaving most of the country to the Iraqi government. I think that this is ultimately what Bush will have to do before the next election, so I guess I agree with Krauthammer:

Its beginning was inauspicious. Months of wrangling produced a coalition of the three major Shiite religious parties, including that of Moqtada al-Sadr. Given Maliki's legitimacy as the first democratically elected leader of Iraq, however, he was owed a grace period of, say, six months to show whether he could indeed act as a national leader.

By November, his six months were up and the verdict was clear: He could not. His government is hopelessly sectarian. It protects Sadr, as we saw dramatically when Maliki ordered the lifting of U.S. barricades set up around Sadr City in search of a notorious death squad leader. It is enmeshed with Iran, as we saw when Maliki's government forced us to release Iranian agents found in the compound of one of his coalition partners...

The administration view -- its hope -- is that, whatever Maliki's instincts, he can be forced to act in good faith by the prospect of the calamity that will befall him if he lets us down and we carry out our threat to leave. The problem with this logic is that it is contradicted by the president's simultaneous pledge not to leave "before the job is done.''

In this high-stakes game of chess, what is missing is some intermediate move on our part -- some Plan B that Maliki believes Bush might actually carry out -- the threat of which will induce him to fully support us in this battle for Baghdad. He won't believe the Bush threat to abandon Iraq. He will believe a U.S. threat of an intermediate redeployment within Iraq that might prove fatal to him but not necessarily to the U.S. interest there.

We need to define that intermediate strategy. Right now there are only three policies on the table: (1) the surge, which a majority of Congress opposes, (2) the status quo, which everybody opposes, and (3) the abandonment of Iraq, which appears to be the default Democratic alternative.

What is missing is a fourth alternative, both as a threat to Maliki and as an actual fallback if the surge fails. The Pentagon should be working on a sustainable Plan B whose major element would be not so much a drawdown of troops as a drawdown of risk to our troops. If we had zero American casualties a day, there would be as little need to withdraw from Iraq as there is to withdraw from the Balkans.

We need to find a redeployment strategy that maintains as much latent American strength as possible, but with minimal exposure. We say to Maliki: you let us down and we dismantle the Green Zone, leave Baghdad and let you fend for yourself; we keep the airport and certain strategic bases in the area; we redeploy most of our forces to Kurdistan; we maintain a significant presence in Anbar province where we are having success in our one-front war against al-Qaeda and the Baathists. Then we watch. You can have your Baghdad civil war without us. We will be around to pick up the pieces as best we can...

As I have indicated, I think this is de facto the greatest presence that the US will be able to manage in Iraq by November, 2008 anyway. Once the debate over 'the surge' is settled, I hope that the White House gets to work on Krauthammer's fourth way.

Back to the top.

Is China Changing?

When I visited Beijing, I counted myself fortunate to be able to enter the Forbidden City. I subsequently learned that it wasn't really 'forbidden' anymore, and lots of people got to see it.

You wonder how open it is? Well, it has a Starbucks. But because of a successful internet campaign launched within China, it may not for much longer:

Managers of China's vast Forbidden City palace are deciding whether to close a Starbucks outlet on its grounds after protests led by a state TV personality, a news report said Thursday.

The Forbidden City, built in 1420, is a 178-acre complex of villas, chapels and gardens that was home to 24 emperors before the end of imperial rule in 1911. It is China's top tourist attraction, drawing some 7 million visitors a year.

"The museum is working with Starbucks to find a solution by this June in response to the protests," the official Xinhua News Agency quoted a palace spokesman, Feng Nai'en, as saying.

A news anchor for China Central Television has led an online campaign to remove Starbucks, which opened in the palace in 2000 at the invitation of its managers, who are under pressure to raise money to maintain the vast complex.

The anchorman, Rui Chenggang, wrote in a CCTV blog that Starbucks' presence "undermined the Forbidden City's solemnity and trampled over Chinese culture..."

A Starbucks spokesman, Roger Sun, said he could not confirm whether the palace and the company were discussing possibly closing the outlet or give other information.

Feng said the decision will be made as part of a palace renovation that already has seen one-third of its shops removed...

So if you're in Beijing, and the Starbucks in the Forbidden City has been closed, it looks like there's one in the Costco not too far away.

Back to the top.

But They Support the Troops...

Half of all Democrats aren't sure they want the US to succeed in Iraq.

Excuse me - aren't sure they want 'the Iraq plan announced by President Bush' to succeed.

Back to the top.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Mary Katharine Ham on MSNBC

Is Mary Katharine single? Would she like to go out with my little brother? I bet they'd get along great:

Hat Tip: uuhhh... Mary Katharine
(which reminds me, mom always said 'self praise stinks.' But I bet she'd still like my brother)

Back to the top.

Gore Ducks Climate Change Debate

Jonathan Adler over at the Volokh Conspiracy has an excellent post on Al Gore's dodging of a discussion with a prominent critic of his climate change theories. Adler draws on a WSJ article that details how Denmark's largest newspaper scheduled a discussion with Gore far in advance of his trip to the country. Yet right before the interview was to take place, Gore's team cancelled:

One can only speculate. But if we are to follow Mr. Gore's suggestions of radically changing our way of life, the costs are not trivial. If we slowly change our greenhouse gas emissions over the coming century, the U.N. actually estimates that we will live in a warmer but immensely richer world. However, the U.N. Climate Panel suggests that if we follow Al Gore's path down toward an environmentally obsessed society, it will have big consequences for the world, not least its poor. In the year 2100, Mr. Gore will have left the average person 30% poorer, and thus less able to handle many of the problems we will face, climate change or no climate change.

Adler describes himself as a believer that human activity is contributing to the warming of the globe. But he criticizes Gore and his allies for refusing to engage in an honest discussion about the costs and benefits of that warming, and how best to address it. Adler's conclusion:

The issue to me is not whether human activities are affecting the climate system (it is almost certain they are). Nor is it whether there should be a policy response — I think there should be, even if it means measures that are otherwise in tension with my fairly libertarian views of government. Rather, the issues are how we assess a risk of this magnitude and how we develop policy responses when the costs of climate policy rival those of climate change itself. Neither apocalyptic environental claims, such as those put forward by Gore, nor ideologically convenient denial of the evidence, does much to advance this debate.

For me, it's refreshing to see someone who's willing to take a position on global warming somewhere between 'it's a baseless scare,' and 'it's the end of life as we know it.' Wherever the truth may lie, we cannot address it as an issue if defensible views are written out before the debate even starts.

Back to the top.

Not Many Care About Stem Cells

There are those trying to assert that the debate over stem cells is a critical reason that Democrats retook Congress. Hotline notes today that voters don't really seem to care.

Back to the top.

Giuliani Ratcheting Up 'Exploratory' Effort

Things like this always make me laugh.

Rudy Giuliani has formed a Presidential 'exploratory' committee, to help him decide if he will actually run for President. It's finding that his potential candidacy is damaged by the belief on the part of some that he is not yet committed to running. So he announces that he is expanding staff and intensifying effort, to convince folks that he is committed.

In the old days, people who wanted to do that would announce.

Back to the top.

When Byrd Attacks

Fear 'Big Daddy' Robert Byrd. Spending your money makes him feel important:

Hat Tip: Andrew Roth

Back to the top.

Saving Taxpayer Money

In Which I Give Karl Rove & Rob Portman Free Advice

I was one of a number of bloggers who had the chance to participate in a conference call with Senator Jim DeMint this afternoon, to talk about earmark reform, the line-item veto, and related issues. (I forgot to ask him why he supports Mitt Romney, though - maybe next time).

It was a good conversation, and Mr. DeMint is clearly one of the leaders in the Senate on both Congressional reform and fiscal restraint. He recognizes that these are good politics and good policy.

It sounds as if Harry Reid has held his conference together to stifle debate on the legislative line-item veto. Instead of voting on it now, as part of ethics reform legislation, Mr. DeMint's amendment will will be considered as an amendment to the minimum wage bill coming down the pike. That will make it tougher to pass, as Democrats will label it extraneous material which doesn't belong on a minimum wage bill (conveniently ignoring that they were the ones who put it there).

Apart from the line-item veto, the Senator pointed out that Congress has yet to address the problem of earmarks added to conference agreements. This is an important point. If you patch 9 holes in a leaky raft and don't fix the 10th, you're still going to sink. In the same way, if Congress leaves itself just one way to insert anonymous earmarks into legislation, you can bet that's how it will be inserted.

And with regard to the LLIV (legislative line-item veto), I think one of the obstacles to enactment is that some people call it a gimmick, and assert that it won't reduce spending. I think there can be a fair debate on the question.

Cato's Stephen Moore is no slouch, and he concluded that when it was in place, it worked. He also suggested that if wielded properly by the President, the legislative line-item veto could save a great deal of taxpayer money. He further noted the 'deterrent effect' of the measure - implying that once Members of Congress see that the President is going to force them to defend egregious and wasteful spending, they would be less likely to propose it in the first place.

So how do you convince people that it will work? The President currently has the authority to propose rescissions, and Congress is free to vote on them or ignore them. With that in mind, the President ought to do precisely that: pick the worst pork-barrel earmarks he can find, and propose that Congress cancel the spending. And he ought to call a great deal of attention to the effort.

For the GOP, this is a no-lose proposition. It puts the Democratic Congress on the defensive - which is inherently a good thing. It puts the onus on them to cancel wasteful spending. If they do, everyone receives political credit. If they don't, then Democrats suffer a black eye and voters question their commitment to 'changing the culture.' It also builds support for the legislative line-item veto, and sets precedent for how it should be used.

The more attention this effort garners, the bigger the political payoff. And because more waste and higher dollar figures will mean more to the public, the President has an incentive to make rescission package a large one - relatively speaking.

Mr. Rove, Mr. Portman, Senator DeMint, Senator McConnell, Mr. Boehner -- this advice comes free of charge. But the next one will cost you.

Update: See also John Hawkins.

Back to the top.

Battle for the House: 2008

I think Chris Cillizza may win the award for the earliest attempt to predict what will happen in the House races of 2008. His conclusion? That it's too early to say. I tend to agree; I won't be ready to make my predictions for November 2008 for at least 3 more weeks.

But while it is too early for predictions, Cillizza starts out with some important points:

Van Hollen makes the point -- quite rightly -- that recent history suggests that the switch in party control will lead to more retirements by the minority party in the following election. In the memo, Van Hollen noted that in 1996, 28 Democrats retired -- nearly double the number of Democratic House members who voluntarily vacated their seats in the next four election cycles.

And as every political junkie knows, open seats are much more likely to change party control than districts held by an incumbent. (Unless, of course, there is an anti-incumbent mood in the country á la 2006 when 20 Republican incumbents lost -- accounting for two-thirds of the total gains made by Democrats...)

One more additional caveat about handicapping the open-seat landscape: All open seats are not created equal. A retirement announcement by Rep. Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.), who will be 74 on Election Day 2008, little difference in the battle for control, as Ehlers's district is reliably Republican. If, on the other hand, Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del), age 67, decides to call it a career, his seat would be a major Democratic pick-up opportunity.

The other major point of disagreement between Van Hollen and Cole is whether a candidate's narrow margin of victory in 2006 predicts serious vulnerability in 2008.

Van Hollen wrote that Democrats are "poised" to win in the 20 districts where Republicans won by less than five percent of the vote last year. Meanwhile, Cole predicted to C-Span's Ben O'Connell that "we'll have a number of our members that lost narrowly last time that we think are very good members probably come back again."

According to the absolutely indispensable Cook Political Report (The Fix's alma mater), 35 Democrats won with less than 55 percent in 2006 while 41 Republicans failed to crack 55 percent.

Of those, just one Democrat -- Rep. Tim Mahoney (Fla.) -- won with under 50 percent of the vote, while six Republicans carried that ignominious distinction: Reps. John Doolittle (Calif.), Marilyn Musgrave (Colo.), Bill Sali (Idaho), Tim Walberg (Mich.), Jon Porter (Nev.) and Barbara Cubin (Wyo.). Sixteen Democrats took between 50 percent and 52 percent of the vote in 2006; 18 Republicans did the same

Again, these numbers don't tell the whole story. Freshmen House members traditionally are more vulnerable than longer-serving incumbents whose close calls in a particular election are often the result of inattention or rusty campaign machinery.

Of the 35 Democrats who won with 55 percent or less last year, 28 of them are freshmen. Just seven of the 41 Republicans who took 55 percent or less are serving their first term in the 110th Congress. And of the seven Republican freshmen, five hold districts that president Bush won with 55 percent or more of the vote in 2004, including two -- Idaho's 1st and Nebraska's 3rd -- where he took 69 percent and 75 percent, respectively...

There are a lot of things that have to happen before we can get any sense as to whether the GOP will be in position to gain the 15 seats needed to reclaim House control. Will this be seen as a failed or overreaching Congress? How many retirements will there be for both parties? How will candidate recruitment go in swing seats? Will the Democratic or Republican Presidential nominee win in a rout, or will they be competitive in non-traditional regions?

I am optimistic about GOP retirements not being particularly high. When they were in the majority, Republican retirements kept pace with Democratic retirements, so there is no great pool of frustrated former committee chairmen now eager to quit.

Further, I think that more of those Democrats who won by narrow margins will be vulnerable in 2008 than will equally-situated Republicans. First off, it's not unusual for an incumbent to face a surprisingly-close race one year, and rebound for a big victory in the next cycle. That's likely to be the case for some Republicans. Also, a number of Democrats won aberrant victories in GOP seats in 2006. Nick Lampson, Zack Space, Nancy Boyda, and Tim Mahoney will have a hard time capturing lightning in a bottle and prevailing again. That's no surprise. Democrats had their best year in decades in 2006; some of those surprise gains are going to be wiped out in 2008.

But beyond that, I think 2008 is up for grabs. We won't know for more than a year whether 15 seats will be in reach for Tom Cole and the NRCC, or a bridge too far.

Back to the top.

When Birds Attack

Bird as arsonist in West Virginia:

A giant bird's nest littered with dozens of cigarette butts is leading investigators to believe that a feathery firebug may have torched a Huntington office building.

Fire Capt. David Bias said a pigeon or another kind of bird may have carried a smoldering cigarette into the Ratcliff Place on Jan. 10. Either that, or the mere volume of decomposing material in the nearly 5-foot-wide nest found in a ceiling may have combusted...

But Bias said that based on everything he's seen and heard during the preliminary investigation, the bird theory isn't for the birds.

"It's a possibility that has to be truely considered," he said.

For starters, the ceiling where the fire started was inaccessible to humans. There were no electrical lines in the area and burn patterns spread away from the nest in three directions.

"Everything points to a slow burn in the attic," Bias said.

About a half dozen businesses, including offices for an optometrist, lawyer and a magazine were displaced by the early evening fire. Three people escaped unharmed.

Reed Cook, a state fire marshal, said he has investigated other instances where a bird's nest, combined with some type of lighted material, started fires.

Thanks goodness this was only one. Imagine if there were many...

Back to the top.

Fun at Indy's Expense

This weekend Peyton Manning's Colts will face Tom Brady's Patriots for the third time in the playoffs. The Patriots have defeated Manning's team in the previous two matches. The Onion predicts the result:

INDIANAPOLIS, IN—Colts quarterback Peyton Manning said Monday he is looking forward to wrapping up his football season and relaxing with friends and family while watching the Super Bowl, a tradition that goes back nine years in Manning's house and far longer in his extended family. "I believe in working hard each and every Sunday, but when the Super Bowl rolls around, that's my day to relax," Manning told reporters during a break from preparing for the upcoming AFC championship matchup against the Patriots. "As far as I myself am concerned, it's never gotten any better than spending Super Bowl Sunday watching the big game on TV surrounded by family and friends, like I have ever since I can remember." Manning said that the experience of watching the game was his main source of enjoyment, but if he was forced to choose, he would probably be rooting for Tom Brady to "win another one."

Back to the top.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reid Better Get up to Speed...

Well, I was one of many who had lots of fun picking on Nancy Pelosi, and talking about what a poor leader she was for the Democratic party. Judging by the early returns on the Democratic Congress, she is at worst the second-worst Democratic leader - because Harry Reid is letting the opposition run rings around him so far.

Andrew Roth, Glenn Reynolds and others have done a great job of chronicling how Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn and others have shamed Reid and Senator Bob Byrd into accepting Nancy Pelosi's proposal for earmark reform - and even tripped up Reid into insulting Pelosi in the process.

Now Judd Gregg seems to have caught Reid off guard with his proposal for a line-item veto (actually, 'enhanced rescission,' which is basically the same thing, but will withstand a constitutional challenge).

Roth again covers this current argument, as does Mark Tapscott. It sounds like Reid has called a timeout to negotiate with Senator Gregg off of the Senate floor.

Check out the Hill for more information on Gregg's enhanced rescission bill.

Update: And while we're at it, let's point out something that few have picked up on - possibly because it's too difficult for a novice like me to follow. As I understand it, Reid was the prime mover behind a last-minute earmark in support of a pipeline from northern Nevada to Las Vegas, where his son Rory is chairman of the County Board. Among the lobbyists in support of the project was a former Reid staffer, and among the beneficiaries is an old friend. Not the sort of thing that looks good when you're committed to 'changing the culture.'

Back to the top.

Franken Closes in on Senate Run

In a light blue state like Minnesota, even Al Franken could be a legitimate candidate. And it sounds like he's laying the groundwork for his candidacy:

Comedian Al Franken has reached out to Democratic lawmakers from Minnesota in recent days, seeking advice on a possible Senate run against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman next year.

Franken, a veteran of "Saturday Night Live" and radio show host, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he's called all of the Democrats in the delegation.

"I didn't call Coleman," he deadpanned. "I want to mainly touch base and get advice and counsel on certain issues."

Franken said he's also been reaching out to campaign veterans, pollsters and others to get their advice. While people have been encouraging, Franken said, they've also warned about possible pitfalls.

One in particular, Franken relayed: "It's unknown how people will respond to a comedian running for the Senate. I need to figure out a way to let people know I'm extremely serious about Minnesotans and their lives..."

Franken has a prickly side, and if his recent performances are indicative, it sounds like he's as angry as he is funny. And he has had problems at public appearances - including a drunken rant at a comedy show, tackling a heckler at a Howard Dean rally, and getting into a shoving match with the producer of a successful radio show.

Apart from that, the chair of Minnesota's Republican party pointed out a few years ago that Minnesota voters are likely to be reticent to buy into a 'star' candidacy only a few years after being disappointed by Jesse Ventura.

I bet that the Minnesota Democratic party would prefer to see a mainline up-and-coming elected official, than the mercurial Mr. Franken.

Expect the guys at the Powerline to cover this in far greater detail.

Back to the top.

UK backs India's bid for Security Council membership: Brown

Now, some countries, like Pakistan, may complain that no Muslim/sharia state would be getting a similar, balancing promotion into the Security Council under Brown's plan, but I respond that the Muslims need only wait 30 years to have France officially in their column.

Dangers of Google Earth?

I noted yesterday that reports from the UK indicate that insurgents in Iraq may be targeting British troops with the help of Google Earth.

I've captured a picture from that application and I have to ask myself, is this level of detail really necessary? The accompanying picture is of a facility that really doesn't need to be depicted quite as precisely as it is, nor 'flagged' so it can be easily located.

I recall that earlier mapping software blurred out sensitive sites.

By the way, I note that I am far from the first to express such concerns.

Back to the top.

Is Pakistan Changing for the Better?

A Chinese 'Miss Bikini' contest indicates the answer may be yes. Hit & Run has the story.

Back to the top.

Advisers to Presidential Candidates

Greg Mankiw notes Robert Samuelson's column in support of a $2 per gallon gas tax increase. Mr. Mankiw notes that he himself, has advocates a $1 per gallon increase. These are positions that make sense, economically.

Bob Novak has noted that Mr. Mankiw is co-chair of Mitt Romney's economic team. This invites the question: what does Mitt Romney think about the gas tax?

For what it's worth, Romney's budget chief reportedly supported a gas tax increase as well.

Back to the top.

Happy Birthday, Muhammad Ali

The champ turns 65 today. Longtime Daily News boxing writer Bill Gallo offers a tribute. Ali was probably the best-known person on the globe for a time. He remains a fascinating and controversial figure. He's also one whose rough edges have been softened by time and illness.

Ali's website is here, and in typically understated style, it notes that he is the 'Greatest of all Time.'

ESPN has a page on Ali here, questioning whether he is the real creator of rap. It has some cool Ali video.

This is a cool video tribute that gives a sense of Ali both in the ring and out:

Back to the top.

Dems Lose by Punting on Iraq

The Democrats are desperately trying to avoid 'ownership' of Iraq, preferring it to stay firmly in the hands of President Bush. But it's hard to see how much they will gain politically by sitting on their hands. If Iraq is ever perceived as a success, it will be the President's success. If it goes wrong, they will eventually be blamed for doing nothing to either 'fix it' or end it.

Skeptical? Well, when New York sportswriters start attacking you for inaction, it might be a sign that you need to take action:

Talk proudly about Madden of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, who took a petition, signed by more than 1,000 just like him, to Congress yesterday, who just by walking up the steps of the Cannon House Office Building did more than big Democrats such as Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are doing these days.

Clinton would rather be photographed with soldiers than do anything for them. The other day on "Face the Nation," Obama looked like he wanted to hide under the desk when Bob Schieffer asked him if he backed Sen. Edward Kennedy's bill that would require congressional approval to fund the troop increases that this President has planned. Obama started talking about a "phased withdrawal" and sounded like somebody trying to explain cricket.

One of the reasons Kennedy (D-Mass.) can do what he does at this stage of his career is because he has nothing to lose. Clinton and Obama are different. They are the headliners of the party in power now, but all they do is talk and talk but say nothing meaningful about Iraq. It tells you everything about how much both of them want to be President, no matter what kind of mess they would inherit in Baghdad.

This isn't about ideals with them as much as ambition. Maybe they can explain to the people on the ground now how important it is for them to find a safe place in this debate.

"I'd tell you that the Democrats are talking a good game, but they're not even doing that," Madden says. "Everybody in Congress has to understand something: If they continue to fund this war, it's not just the President who owns it. They own it, too..."

It is as if Clinton and Obama in particular are terrified of being Swift-boated by the Republicans all over again, made out to be weaklings and cowards if they don't want to continue sending U.S. soldiers over to Iraq to die in a civil war the United Nations now says killed more than 34,000 Iraqi civilians in the last year alone. "This isn't us against the military," Madden says. "It's us against this policy..."

You need go back only a few months to find the last Congressional majority that got punished for inaction.

Back to the top.

Why the Trade Deficit Doesn't Matter

The indispensable John Stossel explains why trade 'deficits' are common and beneficial:

Trade statistics obscure reality. Individuals exchange only when each expects to benefit. If they didn't expect it, they wouldn't trade. That's true even if one party is American and the other Chinese. Trade is trade.

If we don't care about trade balances at the individual level, why does it matter if in a given year Americans as a group buy more from the Chinese than they buy from us?

It doesn't.

In fact, it's a good thing. Foreigners trade cool products (and capital goods) for paper money. They can do only three things with our dollars: buy American goods and services, save them, or invest in the United States (including buying U.S. government debt).

In other words, most of what foreigners don't spend here, they invest here. The trade deficit is mirrored by the capital-account surplus.

And another point: if there's no problem with Florida running a trade deficit with New York (for example), why is there a problem with the United States running a trade deficit with China? Security issues notwithstanding (and they represent a separate question), I can't see any.

Back to the top.

Ronald Reagan: Union Boss

What made Reagan such a success? The answer is over at Publius Pundit.

Back to the top.

More Geek Love

The perfect place to watch Star Trek 11.

Back to the top.

Verdict In: Bonaparte Died of Cancer

Interesting historic trivia: scientists have concluded that the initial verdict was correct; Napoleon Bonaparte died of gastric cancer, and not from arsenic poisoning as later became the conventional wisdom:

An autopsy at the time determined that stomach cancer was the cause of his death. But some arsenic found in 1961 in the ruler's hair sparked rumors of poisoning. Had Napoleon escaped exile, he could have changed the balance of power in Europe; therefore murder speculations didn't seem outlandish.

However, a new study--combining current medical knowledge, autopsy reports, Bonaparte's physician memoirs, eyewitness accounts, and family medical histories--found that gastrointestinal bleeding was the immediate cause of death.

"This analysis suggests that, even if the emperor had been released or escaped from the island, his terminal condition would have prevented him from playing a further major role in the theater of European history," said lead study author, Robert Genta of University of Texas Southwestern. "Even today, with the availability of sophisticated surgical techniques and chemotherapies, patients with gastric cancer as advanced as Napoleon's have a poor prognosis."

Does this mean the French and British can go back to being friends, again?

Update: QandO covers just what good friends the British and French reportedly almost became!

Back to the top.

Al Qaeda Fleeing Baghdad?

It sounds too good to be true, but we can hope. Captain Ed covers the story.

Back to the top.

World Record Subway Riders

A slightly old story I missed over the holidays. A six-pack of old high school friends conquer the New York Subway system and set a world record.

Thankfully, unlike the recent "No pants" ride, these guys seem to have remained trousered at all times. Although according to this photo, one of our riders did wear a Thor sweatshirt, which is equally questionable.

They even took a late-night photo at my old home station, 179th St. in Queens, end of the line on the F Train.

I'm Confused

I have no problem with Saddam and his cronies getting the death penalty. I'm not bothered by the particular method of their execution either. Hanging is fine with me. I don't even lose sleep when one of these hangings is handled so amateurishly it results in decapitation. But when a member of the government we're supporting refers to that decapitation as an "act of God", I have to call for a quick time-out and ask for a clarification.

Hey Basem, did you mean "act of God" as in Force Majeure or did you mean "act of God" as in God's will? I hope it's not the latter because I'm pretty sure we've pledged to hunt down and crush all those who are into the whole "decapitation-as-divine justice" thing.

Sleeping Giant Stirs...

While Britian contemplates eviscerating what's left of the Royal Navy and some of our other NATO allies resist actually going into combat in Afghanistan, it's good to see an ally show signs of taking its military and national security more seriously.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Americans are Unpopular Abroad

But we do seem to have some fans in Afghanistan:

Two civilians thwarted an attempted terrorist attack Tuesday when a vehicle loaded with explosives attempted to crash through the front gate of a U.S. base in the Afghan capital, according to the U.S. military.

The two men, an interpreter and a security guard, dragged the apparent suicide bomber from the vehicle before he could detonate explosives, said Col. Tom Collins, the chief spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

"I think it's a pretty amazing and heroic event," Collins said.

He said that at about 9 a.m. Tuesday (10:30 p.m. ET Monday) a driver crashed his vehicle into Camp Phoenix, the base where the Afghan National Army and police are trained. The driver reached for what appeared to be a cord to detonate a bomb, he said.

"Amazingly, a couple of Afghans who just happened to be on the scene there realized what was happening," Collins said.

"Anyone's inclination would have been to run away but these guys are genuine heroes," Collins said.

The area was immediately cordoned off while authorities waited for a bomb disposal team.

During the attempt to disarm it, the device went off. It's unclear how much or what kind of explosive material was used, Collins said. No U.S. or coalition troops were injured.

Something to think about when you read a story indicating that we've lost the 'hearts and minds.'

Back to the top.

Frist Considering Gubernatorial Race

The man is no dummy. A win in the Tennessee governor's race in 2010 would position him well for a Presidential run - but probably not until 2016. Frist would be a spry 64 by then - still young enough to seek the Presidency:

Former Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is seriously considering a gubernatorial run in Tennessee in 2010, possibly setting up a White House bid further down the road.

Sources in Washington and Tennessee say Frist, who will turn 55 next month, is leaning heavily toward a run for the governor’s office, where he could gain executive experience that might position him to try for the presidency in either 2012 or 2016.

“It’s a done deal,” said a source with knowledge of Frist’s plans.

Frist was considering a 2008 presidential run until late last year, when he announced he would not run, opening the door for a bid at the Volunteer State’s governor’s office.

Waiting three to eight years before making a gubernatorial or presidential bid would provide Frist needed distance from his unenviable tenure as Senate majority leader, a period that culminated in the Democrats’ takeover of Congress last November.

The Senator seems to be taking the long view on this. He's probably more popular in Tennessee than he is on the national stage. And if he has a good run as Governor, no one will remember the disappointment of his tenure as Majority Leader 10 years from now. But a run in 2012 would essentially be out of the question; no one seeks the Presidency right after being elected to a first term as governor.

Update: Welcome Instapundit readers, and thanks Glenn, for the traffic! While you're here, check out the dangers of Google Earth, or just look around.

If the Single Indian Men You Know Seem A Bit Morose Today...'s because she's off the market.

The End of an Era

Yankee Stadium will reportedly host the 2008 Major League Baseball All Star Game. The game will constitute a tribute of sorts, to the House that Ruth Built, which will have served as home to the New York Yankees for 84 years.

Check out the new Yankee Stadium here. The Yankees also have some pictures here.

Back to the top.

Jennifer Love Hewitt & the State of Marriage

I rarely find much worth reading when I see something about Hollywood, but I had to take note of this quote from the Golden Globes:

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were the couple everyone — not only media and fans, but stars, too — most wanted to see. "I love them as a couple," gushed Jennifer Love Hewitt. "I love to see people who are truly about each other and doing it right."

E!'s Ryan Seacrest asked the couple how big a family they're planning — they already have three kids. Said Pitt: "We're thinking soccer team. World Cup. Start our own country, enter the World Cup. And dominate it."

Brad Pitt had an affair with Angelina Jolie while he was married to Jennifer Aniston. She was reportedly disraught over the news - understandably so. Now Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are having a family together without being married. And there is a person on the globe who is capable of characterizing this as 'doing it right?'

As cynical as I am, even I am amazed.

Hat Tip: Colin

Back to the top.

Spock's Brain: For Laughs

Too good not to link. Ace found a comedy revue version of Spock's Brain - probably the worst Star Trek episode. The original is extremely funny, but this may be better.

Back to the top.


The word around Bremerton is that the John C. Stennis set sail today for the Persian Gulf, joining the Eisenhower already on station in the area.

Status of the Navy seems to concur, listing her location only as "Pacific Ocean"

This would put her ETA in the Persian Gulf at about Feb. 13.

Obama Officially Wets His Feet

Here's the money quote from his announcement that he is forming an exploratory committee:

"Our economy is changing rapidly, and that means profound changes for working people. Many of you have shared with me your stories about skyrocketing health care bills, the pensions you've lost and your struggles to pay for college for your kids. Our continued dependence on oil has put our security and our very planet at risk. And we're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged."

I'm not aware that Obama has proposed any legislation to address concretely any of these issues, but I wish him luck in finding some sort of identity on any or all of these issues.

A Few More Cracks in the Facade

Pelosi continues to struggle in her campaign to win friends and influence commitee chairmen. While the superficial newshook of The Hill's story about Rep. Obey's tardy vote is less than compelling, the undertone of tension between Pelosi and the chairmen is one more datapoint on the steadily crystallising curve.

All Roads Lead to Duluth

Minneapolis Star-Tribune profile of new House Transportation Committee Chairman gives little reason to believe that the 30-year veteran Oberstar intends to mend his earmarking ways.

The article also elliptically alludes to the power Oberstar will have in seeing to it that Northwest Airlines comes to satisfactory terms with its creditors to emerge from bankruptcy.

Cheney Takes the Stand

The Scooter Libby trial begins with jury selection tomorrow. Check out Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute, your definitive source for all things Wilson/Plame.

Back to the top.

Saudis Considering Banning Letter 'X'

Because it looks like the cross:

The letter "X" soon may be banned in Saudi Arabia because it resembles the mother of all banned religious symbols in the oil kingdom: the cross.

The new development came with the issuing of another mind-bending fatwa, or religious edict, by the infamous Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the group of senior Islamic clergy that reigns supreme on all legal, civil, and governance matters in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The commission's damning of the letter "X" came in response to a Ministry of Trade query about whether it should grant trademark protection to a Saudi businessman for a new service carrying the English name "Explorer."

"No! Nein! Nyet!" was the commission's categorical answer.


Well, never mind that none of the so-called scholars manning the upper ranks of the religious outfit can speak or read a word of English. But their experts who examined the English word "explorer" were struck by how suspicious that "X" appeared. In a kingdom where Friday preachers routinely refer to Christians as pigs and infidel crusaders, even a twisted cross ranks as an abomination.

I wonder why 't' and +' have escaped attention.

Back to the top.

Airbus's Unfair Trade Practices

In 1997, the French Chairman of Airbus dropped his trousers to land a key deal with US Airways. And it worked:

Jean Pierson, the colorful Frenchman who built Airbus into Boeing Co.'s biggest competitor, dropped his trousers to seal a key U.S. plane order in 1997, according to a book to be published on Tuesday.

The bizarre tactic worked, and the resulting order helped Airbus take on Boeing in its own backyard, setting up the biggest rivalry in global business, according to "Boeing versus Airbus," by former New Yorker magazine writer John Newhouse.

Pierson, who ran Airbus from 1985 to 1998, was at US Airways' headquarters for what he thought would be a short meeting to tie up a 400-plane deal, the anecdote runs.

At the last minute, US Airways' then-chairman Stephen Wolf started arguing for a 5 percent discount on the selling price.

"Pierson began slowly lowering his trousers and saying 'I have nothing more to give.' He then allowed the trousers to fall around his ankles," says Newhouse in his book.

Wolf replied: "Pull up your pants. I don't need any more money," and the deal was signed, according to the book. The author says he got the story from Pierson himself, and it was confirmed by another person present.

The way things are going for Airbus today, they might need to consider returning to such innovative tactics. Although to be clear, I can find no one on the Airbus board that I would like to see drop trousers.

Back to the top.

Kucinich Favors Republican Congress

Dennis Kucinich says that the Congress is going to look at reinstating the 'Fairness Doctrine.' This is like manna from heaven for GOP organizers.

Whatever else may be true of the Fairness Doctrine, it is seen as a weapon aimed straight at Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other conservative radio hosts. There is probably no better way to get them to attack the Democratic Congress than to try to reinstate this anti-First Amendment policy. And there is no better way to get their listeners angry at that same Democratic party.

While listeners to talk radio are sometimes characterized as right-wing drones, an important segment are populist, swing voters. They respond to the anti-Washington message of people like Lou Dobbs. Many of those voters went Democrat in 2006. The Fairness Doctrine gives them a good reason to vote Republican, without the GOP needing to do one positive thing to win their votes.

And what motivates people like Kucinich to pursue it? Does he think that liberal radio is ready to compete on an equal footing with conservative talk radio? The Air America debacle demonstrates that even when it's well-funded and positioned to succeed, it simply doesn't attract the listenership of conservative talk radio. Does he think that he can shut people like Limbaugh up? If so, he's clearly smoking something. Or does he recognize that liberal radio can't succeed, but if given federal protection, it can limp along? Well, I suppose it might - but what good does it do? I don't see how Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo can add anything to the liberal cause that the Netroots don't already provide.

This is silly. It's a gimme for Republicans, who can only hope that Kucinich doesn't realize the damage he'll do to the Democratic effort.

Back to the top.

Allard's Retirement Creates Tough Race for GOP

Wayne Allard's decision to retire rather than seek re-election in 2008 is not a surprise, but it nevertheless creates a very difficult open race - and it's hard to imagine that any Republican will be better than even money to win the seat. The Colorado GOP is no doubt hoping that Tom Tancredo sticks with his reported plans to run for President, rather than seeking the Senate nomination. Colorado has become a 'purple state' at all but the Presidential level, and might be purple there as well. A perceived one-issue candidate like Tancredo would probably have a very hard time holding the seat, assuming that Democrats nominate a decent candidate:

Colorado Republican Sen. Wayne Allard will not run for a third term in 2008, he announced Monday at a press conference in the state capital of Denver.

The 63-year-old Allard, whose retirement had long been the subject of speculation in national and state political circles, told Congressional Quarterly reporter Daphne Retter last Thursday that he had made a decision and would be unveiling it soon.

Allard pledged when he first ran for the Senate in 1996 that he would serve no more than two terms — which he cited in his retirement announcement Monday. “The people of Colorado placed their trust in me based on a promise I made to them and I am honoring that promise. In an age when promises are cast away as quickly as yesterday’s newspaper, I believe a promise made should be a promise kept,” Allard said, according to an Associated Press report.

Even without the self-imposed term limit hanging over his head, Allard faced the prospect of a difficult campaign next year. After years of Republican pre-eminence in the Mountain West state, Democrats have made significant gains in the past two election cycles, winning open-seat races for a Senate seat, the governor’s office and two U.S. House seats that had been held by Republicans, and wresting control of the state legislature from the GOP. Democratic strategists had previously stated that the Colorado race would be one of their top Senate targets in 2008, regardless of Allard’s decision.

CQ mentions former Rep. Scott McInnis as a potential contender. Expect a lot of talk about the former police officer who held a swing district from 1993 until his retirement in 2005. He would be an excellent candidate.

Update: Forget my speculation about Scott McInnis; attention is focused on a candidate who would clear the field like no other: John Elway. Celebrities and athletes sometimes 'flame out,' since the skills and background of stars don't always lend themselves to politics. Nevertheless, the popularity and name brand is impossible to turn down. And Elway is as probably as close to 'god' status as one can get in Colorado. He sounds like he'd be a formidable candidate.

Back to the top.

More Reason to Fear Google?

According to the UK Telegraph, insurgents in Iraq are using Google Earth to identify targets:

Terrorists attacking British bases in Basra are using aerial footage displayed by the Google Earth internet tool to pinpoint their attacks, say Army intelligence sources.

Documents seized during raids on the homes of insurgents last week uncovered print-outs from photographs taken from Google.

The satellite photographs show in detail the buildings inside the bases and vulnerable areas such as tented accommodation, lavatory blocks and where lightly armoured Land Rovers are parked...

"This is evidence as far as we are concerned for planning terrorist attacks," said an intelligence officer with the Royal Green Jackets battle group. "Who would otherwise have Google Earth imagery of one of our bases?

"We are concerned that they use them to plan attacks. We have never had proof that they have deliberately targeted any area of the camp using these images but presumably they are of great use to them.

"We believe they use Google Earth to identify the most vulnerable areas such as tents."

I don't have Google Earth currently downloaded, and I do not know if they use the same imaging as Google Maps. However, I was surprised at the level of detail displayed on Maps when I searched 'Basra, Iraq.'

Ultimately, easy access to the internet will be part of the downfall of violent islamism.

Back to the top.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

New Yorkers Are Freaks

I count myself as one (don't let anyone tell you different) - so I can say that.

A bunch of wild and crazy free-spirits celebrated the sixth annual 'No Pants!' subway ride. You can tell the intellectual firepower here, by virtue of the quote from the organizer:

"It's not against the law to wear your underwear!"

If it were, there would be millions of us jailed every day.

Perhaps he means to say, 'it's not against the law to wear nothing but your underwear.' As far as I know, he's right. But fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

If you think this is fantastic, check out the daring 'mission' where this group shopped slowly at Home Depot.

Back to the top.