The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Ultimately, this is why we implode

The Ohio Democratic Party has honked off Paul Hackett, because they believe another Ohio representative has a better chance of getting elected to the Senate this fall:

"It boils down to who we think can pull the most votes in November against [incumbent GOP Senator Mike] DeWine," said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. "And in Ohio, Brown's name is golden. It's just that simple."

They're nuts. And now we've lost exactly the kind of person we need in the party. And we look like idiots.

Actually, the ODP look like idiots, but Harry Ried and the rest of our party didn't come out too well in this one, either. Unless there's something I'm missing about Hackett, he's exactly the kind of person we want running for Senate in Ohio.

Here's Hackett's side of it.

Well, they got Capone for tax evasion

Vice President Cheney has been cited for not having a hunting stamp required for non-residents to shoot birds in Texas.

One assumes he didn't have the proper license to shoot people, either, but that bit is still under investigation.

Also of interest: The Cheney supporter and fund-raiser who owned the property he was hunting on, Karen Armstrong, got a call from Karl Rove less than two hours after the accident:

"Chief of Staff Andy Card called the president around 7:30 p.m. to inform him that there was a hunting accident," a statement released today by the White House said. "He did not know the vice president was involved at that time. Subsequent to the call, Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with Mrs. Armstrong. He then called the president shortly before 8 p.m. to update him and let him know the vice president had accidentally shot Mr. Whittington."

If Card didn't know the Vice President was involved, why bother to inform the President? Who else was there? Or is Armstrong that big a contributor?

The day after that conversation, she spoke to the press. Josh Marshall found an older news item showing her father got Rove his first job, as well.

So I guess it's just a family affair.

Let's review what's going on here. Cheney shot another hunter, which is on its face his fault. The other guy was behind him—behind him—meaning Cheney spun almost all the way around before firing. Now the guy is just leaving intensive care with doctors saying they'll just leave some of the bird shot in his body because it's in too deep. And Cheney and Armstrong are blaming the victim.

It's never their fault, is it?

Maybe we should stop thinking of these people as adults. They're really 10 years old.

Tom Lehrer, meet Dick Cheney

Josh Marshall wonders about Dick Cheney's hunting accident Saturday:

At a minimum it seems a tad ungentlemanly to put out word through your media operation that the guy you just shot was at fault for getting shot.

But I don't know. Tom Lehrer wrote a song about it many years ago:

I always will remember,
'Twas a year ago November,
I went out to hunt some deer
On a mornin' bright and clear.
I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow,
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow.

Anyway, this flap about whether the guy Cheney shot was to blame or not obscures discussion of the truly culpable party. I mean, who gave that man a gun in the first place?

The Washington Post has more.

Washington snowed in

Washington today is getting its biggest snowstorm in three years:

A major snow storm pounded the Washington region overnight and this morning, dumping 20 inches of heavy wet snow in some locations and 8 or 9 inches elsewhere, causing power outages for nearly 200,000 consumers and disrupting travel by road, air and Metrorail.

And in a later story:

The snow swept in lazily yesterday afternoon and was expected to depart by midday today, giving residents ample time to dig out before the start of the workweek. Airlines canceled scores of flights. But schools and most workplaces were already closed, and it was too soon for most to make decisions for tomorrow.
As of 10 p.m. yesterday, reports to the National Weather Service ranged from four inches in Fairfax City to two inches at Camp Springs and less than an inch at Reagan National Airport. Most main roads glistened with moisture, but some were slush-streaked; medians were white.

I was actually in Washington for the 2003 storm. Not intentionally; I was on my way back to a client in Richmond, Va., from a party in New York and got stranded in DC for two days. This is partially because, at the time, the Commonwealth of Virginia (area: 110,771 km², 42,769 mi²) had almost exactly the same number of snowplows as the city of Chicago (area: 1,214 km², 469 mi²). And in 2003, Virginia got hit with 13 snowstorms to Chicago's two. This may prompt a longer entry on tax policy and the division of private and public responsibilities for snow removal, but not right now.

Anyway, here's what the city looked like on 17 February 2003, and what it will probably look like tomorrow:

Zorn on the Danish cartoons

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn makes some good points about the Jyllands-Posten cartoons in his blog today:

[S]ome of the drawings make a point in exactly the same way that any good editorial cartoon makes a point, and they have a grown-up, even sophisticated purpose: To challenge those who use intimidation to block free expression and those who find in their religious texts justification for mass murder. Specifically, Jyllands-Posten commissioned the cartoons to make a defiant statement after learning that several Danish artists had refused to illustrate a children's book about Muhammad because they feared reprisals from Muslims who consider images of their prophet blasphemous.

I think all civilized people agree that cartoons are not justification for murder. The reverse of that statement is also true: all people who agree that cartoons are justification for murder are not civilized.

Two stories more connected than they appear

First, House Majority Leader John Boehner is renting an apartment from a D.C. lobbyist:

Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who was elected House majority leader last week, is renting his Capitol Hill apartment from a veteran lobbyist whose clients have direct stakes in legislation Boehner has co-written and that he has overseen as chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee.
The relationship between Boehner, John D. Milne and Milne's wife, Debra R. Anderson, underscores how intertwined senior lawmakers have become with the lobbyists paid to influence legislation. Boehner's primary residence is in West Chester, Ohio, but for $1,600 a month, he rents a two-bedroom basement apartment near the House office buildings on Capitol Hill owned by Milne, Boehner spokesman Don Seymour said yesterday. Boehner's monthly rent appears to be similar to other rentals of two-bedroom English basement apartments close to the House side of the Capitol in Southeast, based on a review of apartment listings.

I mean, come on. Pretend to have a little distance.

Second, due to Administration budget cuts (part of their effort to reduce people's faith in the federal government), the National Transportation Safety Board can't do its job:

Last year, the agency's accident investigators showed up at 62 percent of all fatal plane crashes, compared with 75 percent of all fatal crashes in 2001, according to NTSB numbers. But data from the Federal Aviation Administration—which is required to send an investigator to every accident and take note of whether the NTSB is on the scene—indicate that NTSB investigators showed up less than half the time last year.
"The consequences are, you're going to miss some things," said Gene Doub, a former NTSB accident investigator who teaches at University of Southern California. "Every one of these are not just dumb pilots. Some are airspace-system or training issues or airworthiness issues."

So once again, budget cuts have real consequences. The NTSB is one of our most important federal agencies—at least, if you ever get into an airplane, car, train, or ship—and needs enough money to do its job.

What's it going to take before we undo the Republicans' gutting of our government?

Drowning the suit puppy in the bathtub

George Deutsch, the suit puppy who wanted to tell NASA scientists about science, has resigned:

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said. Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

Oops.

McCain lies about my man Barack

There was a dust-up between Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) today, in which McCain mistook integrity for mere politics:

"I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics, I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble," the Arizona Republican said in a letter to Obama. "Please be assured I won't make the same mistake again."
In response, Obama sent a letter back to McCain, saying he was "puzzled" by McCain's reaction and insisting he still supported a bipartisan approach to ethics reform. "The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you, nor my willingness to find a bipartisan solution to this problem," Obama wrote.

(Obama has published the entire exchange on his Website.)

Only, once you read the Republican proposal (that would limit the actions of lobbyists) and the Democratic proposal (that would actually address earmarks and other abuses of power), it's hard to fault Obama from not joining the majority.

Plus, McCain's is a peculiar criticism, since Obama never actually committed to anything. Instead, he declined to support the Republican proposal, which is totally different.

Josh Marshall adds a good political perspective:

But the key here to note is what's behind this dust-up. Obama is a rising star among the Democrats. Republicans want to lay a backstory for feature criticisms and character attacks against him. So, for instance, if Obama is the vice presidential candidate in 2008, they want to have a history of attacks on him banked, ones that allege he's a liar, or too partisan, or untrustworthy, whatever. It doesn't even really matter. What matters is that there already be an established history of them. Point being, that in early 2008, they want to be able to simply refer back to Obama's 'character issue', the questions about his honesty, etc. rather than have to make the case on its merits.

McCain v. Obama in 2008? Now that would be a good race.

Disclosure: I contributed time, money, and—no kidding—coffee to the Obama primary and general campaigns in 2004.