22 February 2007

While I Was Still Out -- Oddly Enough Already

Sorry folks. Work has been hellish lately. Deposition after deposition after deposition, with 40-page briefs and discovery fights interspersed in between.

Luckily enough, the status in Washington has, essentially, been quo. I don't see anything incredibly new, although (a) the Democrats in the Senate are thinking about doing something binding with respect to Iraq, and (b) Joe Lieberman is floating a deniable balloon about a switch that would throw the Senate to the Republicans. To which I say: ugh. The Dems make some extremely small steps towards where the electorate are, and Joe acts like he lost his binky.

Meanwhile, while the Great American Public focuses on the otherworldly Anna Nicole Smith nonsense, in the real Oconomowoc (which, I will say once again, this site does not represent), a porn fan gets treated to an attack by a swordsman. With an actual sword, yet.

12 February 2007

While I Was Out -- Don't Be Afraid to Give 'er!

Since being dumped, I pulled an all-nighter, lost my wallet, cancelled all my credit cards, found my wallet in (wait for it) my pants pocket a couple of days later, pulled another all-nighter, and contracted a fantastically wonderful cold, which is still present about six days later. I haven't had a good night's sleep in weeks.

And then this weekend. Still working on the cold, and seeking a really good meal (read = waffles!), I found that my car would not start -- requiring Jump Start No. 2 of the current cold snap. Next day, waiting at a drive-thru, a homeless guy walks up. I start to drive off, and he spits on me.

Thus, blogging has been out of the question--much less a deep analysis of policy. I thought about reading through the FY 2008 Budget, which dropped last week. Then the nurse brought my medication--which, oddly enough, cannot unblock my damn ears. (I much prefer not breathing through my nose to not hearing through my ears. There are alternate routes for air; I can't very well listen to people through my armpits.)

But suck it up we must. The House gets full marks for doing what the Senate seems totally incapable of doing--i.e., anything. We have a resolution to debate! And I love the fact that it is simple and direct:

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That—

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

So the GOP can't pull a "you really hate the troops, don't you" on those who vote for this thing. But better than that, it is an on-off vote. You like what the President's doing? Vote no. You don't like what the President's doing? Vote yes. The various resolutions in the Senate were dandy and all, but they were so nuanced that they couldn't quite get together on one that they really, really liked. Now the House is going to (likely) pass this one and send it to (yep) the Senate, where they will have something to pass, or at least kick around for a while.

Yes: it's non-binding. But it wasn't until last year when the Dems began to show even baby teeth on this sort of thing. A small step forward is better than three guys in the Senate sleeping through a quorum call any day of the week.

Debate starts tomorrow at 10. Bring popcorn.

And by the way: Hey, Mr. Howard! Yeah, you--the one standing next to the wife of the Prime Minister of Australia. Which would make you the Prime Minister of Australia. Who the hell asked you anything about Barack Obama? Nobody? Figured.

Of course, this is not the first tangle between the States and Down Under. This too shall pass.

31 January 2007

The Meter -- See You Around, Molly

Well.... oh, screw it.

Me: 0. Let's see here. On Saturday, I get dumped. On Monday, a fellow lawyer throws me under the bus. On Tuesday, I lose my wallet. Wednesday consists of an all-nighter, partially taken up by cancelling credit cards and filling out police reports in the dead of a fucking cold night, and the rest taken up by drafting papers on a tight deadline, all while fighting off sleep like a punch-drunk boxer.

I'm not a Prozac guy, but that could really take the edge off. But, then again, pills aren't candy! No NO NO NO!

Joe Biden: 0. OK. Democratic candidates have to shut the fuck up for the next two months. Joe Biden had to open his mouth, and he's ruined it for the rest of you. Sorry.


Molly Ivins: 10. Damn it. May she and her whip-smart mind rest in peace.

30 January 2007

While I Was Out -- Oh Yeah!

Work continues to suck royally. In fact, I gotta run to the office for some all-night hot briefing action. Which is the only action I am going to get for a while, as my baby done left me, as of this past Saturday. (Awww.)

I would be emoting about it and such, being broken up about it and stuff, but this is a snark zone, which allows no room for sentimentalism, or emotions (other than gleeful derision), or statements designed to bucking oneself up (as in, "she doesn't know what she's missing," or "you won't be lonely forever--it is mathematically impossible"). Nope, no sadness here. No.... sadness.

[collapses on desk in deep, uncontrollable sobs]

Why?! Why do I have to endure this? What did I do wrong? WAAAAAA!


Oh, well. Back to the drawing board. Just like Barack Obama:

Of course, going back to the drawing board has its downfalls. People go back to the drawing board all the time with bright ideas, but it never seems to work out. Even if you try multiple times. (See, e.g., the last 2:41 of this clip.)

24 January 2007

The Meter -- "Who Are Three People Who Have Never Been In My Kitchen?"

So I took the Jeopardy! online contestant test tonight. I did well--maybe well enough to get through to the show. We'll see.

Chuck Hagel: 10. A little bit of whup-ass never hurt anybody. And he delivered some today. Watch and learn:

The reason outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Hagel.

[No. That's Chuck Norris. Sorry.]

23 January 2007

Liveblog Special -- Strong? Please Tell Me The SOTU Is Strong!

Preamble. Well, here we go. I'm exhausted from work, but I have Dunkin' Donuts coffee. (Because I don't speak Fritalian.) And the crowd's filing in, so we should be close. (It's also 1952, so the clock tells me it's close, too.) All of this is fancy talk for I'm sleepy, and might not be totally coherent. But, then again, neither will the President, if recent form holds.

Hors d'oeuvres? In Baraboo, Wis., students have been banned from chanting U-S-A at sporting events? Why? Because it is now a coded message! "You suck ass" cannot be said, much less chanted repeatedly, at a high school, you see. Oh, kids. (Wait! Is it too late to pass a note to the Dems in the House?)

2000 (8 o'clock, don't you know). Game time! Laura looks nice. She always does. And the Supremes come in. Four of them, anyway.

2004. Apparently, instructions from the top: no funny stuff from the Dems tonight. We'll see. It'll be too bad if there isn't a joke or two.

2006. The word on the speech is that Iraq is getting shuffled back in the speech, for obvious reasons. People tuning in might be bent about this, to the point of throwing stuff at the TV in anger. But he's the President, and you're not. So there. Still--how exactly is he going to handle it? It'll be delicious, for sure.

2008. By the way, gang: comment box is open. If I run out of ideas, you are more than welcome to throw down. And... George W. Bush? Come on down!

2011. Nancy Pelosi reax shots. That'll be good. And he's getting to the stairs now.

2013. Nice clam clap from Steven Breyer. And nice applause for Nancy.

2015. Wait, what happened to Norwood?

2016. Not leave problems for the next generation. Ha! Cross the aisle? We'll see about that.

2018. It seems impossible to point out, from either side, that manufacturing jobs are being lost, thousands upon thousands, every month. Unemployment going down is nice, but what kind of jobs are being created?

2019. C-SPAN joke. Dorky.

2020. Why does John McCain always look like he has something up his sleeve? Because he does. Ted Kennedy looking pensive. Or sleepy. I'm with you, pal.

2022. Flexibility in education. Somewhere, teacher union bosses are gnashing teeth. Lukewarmish response from the Dems, but they pick up on the health care note.

2024. Tax deductability of health care insurance? Why do I think this is a big shell game? I get health care from work. Do I get to deduct for money I do not pay out of my own pocket? And for the uninsured? I need more on this one.

2026. Affordable care grants to the states? State legislators are licking their chops at that honey pot.

2027. Junk lawsuits. Speaking as a lawyer: bastard. Pat Leahy looks bemused.

2029. Temporary worker plan--still quite unpopular with the hard right folks, of course. But he may gets some help from the Dems on this one.

2030. Energy policy now. Which means ethanol. The Iowa caucuses have nothing at all to do with that, of course. Chuck Grassley looks like he is going to have a birthday party in his pants.

2032. 20% reduction in gas through CAFE standards? The Big Three are gonna love that. But he doesn't say the word Alaska in this speech. And good for him--he cops to global warming. That didn't take him too long.

2034. Judges should be confirmed, now. Yeah, George, that'll be the day.

2035. Here we go--terrorism.

2038. Greatest hits so far from the President. Nothing new, yet.

2041. Transitional government in 2005. More purple fingers. Then: blowback--including a giveaway in Afghanistan.

2045. "Let us find our resolve," he says. "New plan," he says. Rehash of a couple of weeks ago, pretty much.

2047. Looks like he's building an out--if the Iraqis don't come through, we can split.

2048. New recruits for terrorism? Well, you've done a good enough job of that. And if you split now, you forget 9-11. Nicely done. Jackass.

2052. Volunteer civilian service corps? What ever happened to FreedomCorps anyway?

2054. Big talk on Darfur. And also the great evil that is Minsk. (Which, admittedly, is old-school Russia. Unlike Russia, which is also, well... OK. They're old-school Russia too.)

2055. Speaking of Darfur: no mention of New Orleans tonight, thus far (and probably not at all). Maybe all of the talk in the run-up to the game on Sunday had everybody Katrinaed out.

2056. Mutumbo! Give me a finger-wag, man.

2058. Children's videos in basement. And working with John Walsh, too. That's a pairing you don't hear about a lot.

2100. And Lynne Cheney's a hero too! No, wait... he's wrapping up.

2102. And the state of the union is strong! Yes! We get it at the end. It was as he had to explain it first, so as not to get laughed out of the room.

Postamble. Nothing on Katrina, like I said. Side-stepped stem cells, too--and that one lost him the Senate, all things considered. Other than that, well, it was better than expected. Iran wasn't amped out of all proportion, but maybe he was just setting the table on that one. The Lebanon talk might be a check our Union's collective ass might be unable to cash. Health care and education? Jury's out. The budget's going to be a fight for the next few months, so you can't take too much out of this speech. In the end, though: he didn't fall flat on his face.

Pre-Webbamble. So the Democratic response is up next. Does he kick it up a notch? Should be interesting.

2115. Everyone come to Jamestown! Woo! And New Orleans! Yes!

2116. Dude has an impressive forehead, btw.

2118. Guy's talking like a normal person, it seems. Except when he extrapolates Andy Jackson to Wall Street.

2120. Show and tell! Worked for Ross Perot, right?

2122. Coming in for withdrawal. Well done, in the way he did it.

2124. "If not, we will show him the way." Kicked some butt there.

G'night. Well, that was mildly interesting. I'm beat. Time to zonk out to the soothing tones of... Chris Matthews? OK. Sleep not coming for a while. But I'm out for now. Later.

22 January 2007

The Meter -- Home To A Certain Team

We here at The Big O are very excited about the Super Bowl. But not this excited:

We try to have a certain sense of perspective, you know. Anyways.

John Warner: 10. Chuck Hagel against the surge? Check. John Warner against the surge? Checkmate. And the State of the Union is twenty-four hours away. Not even Jack Bauer can turn this thing around.

So, is the President going to double down, or issue a mea culpa and backtrack? We all know what the answer is--the chips are already moving in. Tune in tomorrow for a snarktastic State of the Union liveblog.

Speaking of which:

George W. Bush: .33. And the crosstabs are worse.

33% support him, but only half of those--17% of the total--"strongly" support him. So over four in five Americans are questioning this guy.

Right-track / wrong-track? Worst ever for this President, or since the federal government shutdown in late 1995, at 26-70. The last time the right-track number went below 20 was 1992, for the whole year. That's not good.

And neither is this. If the American people want to go in one direction or another, 25 would pick Bush's way, while 57 would go with the Dems in Congress.

And if the President says anything tomorrow night about Americans having to trust him, or anything along those lines? Well... his "honest and trustworthy" numbers are at another all time low: 40 to the good, 57 to the not-so-good.

Meanwhile, Congressional approval is up twelve points from its low point in October, and within striking distance (43-50) of outpacing disapproval. Pelosi's job approval is at 54%--beating Newt's numbers at any point in his four years at the top.

The point? The President says that he doesn't pay attention to polls. He had better start. No time like the present, man.