Happy Trails

You all want to discuss Sanford, as evidenced by the comments. Go ahead.








Great wingnut headlines

Stuart Taylor ups the ante on the “nine-zip” meme with his headline:

Justices Reject Sotomayor Position 9-0 — But Bigger Battles Loom

To give you an idea of how crazy this “nine-zip” stuff is, George Will, of all people, describes the decision as depressingly narrow.

A few questions about Stuart Taylor:

(1) Why does the National Journal — a publication I have great respect for in general — publish his crap?

(2) Why is his blog called “The Ninth Justice”? Don’t we already have nine justices? Shouldn’t it be called “The Tenth Justice”?








FEC RIP

Pete Martin and Zachary Roth have an excellent piece on how Republican nominees have made the Federal Election Committee disappear. It’s a great example of the kind of story that is too politically loaded for the mainstream media:

FEC watchers say the commission’s three Republicans — Donald McGahn, Matthew Petersen, and Caroline Hunter, each nominated by President Bush — are acting out of philosophical opposition to the very idea of regulating campaign money. “It’s the Republican caucus that actually believes there shouldn’t be campaign-finance regulation,” said Holman. “It is ideological. They are ideologically opposed to the purpose of the Federal Election Commission.”

Whether Obama will do anything about it remains to be seen:

Most experts believe that the White House supports stronger campaign-finance laws as a goal, but, with a host of other issues on its plate, is reluctant to pick a fight with the GOP Senate leader. “They’re picking their priorities, and they don’t want to take on Mitch McConnell right now,” said Hasen. “I consider that unfortunate.”

Holman agreed. McGahn’s term, abridged by the Spakovsky holdup, has now expired as well, and Holman suggested that Obama could play a more active role in nominating McGahn’s replacement — as the president would be within his rights to do — rather than leaving it to McConnell. “The president has to decide,” said Holman. “He’s either going to go with Mitch McConnell’s appointee and render the FEC functionless, or he’s going to break tradition and bring the FEC back to life.”

The cynic in me fears that the Obama administration feels that weak campaign finance law enforcement are to its advantage and that they will do nothing about this.








My Dog Has Fleas

Over the last few weeks, I’ve read several books on raising a dog, watched a few videos, and listened to a whole lot of advice. What I have learned in just a short time is that most of what it takes to make a dog happy and loyal can be broken down to things that are pretty intuitive, and you don’t need to read the Monks of New Skete to figure it out:

1.) Love your dog.
2.) Set a food and sleep schedule and stick to it, and maintain consistent behaviors around your dog.
3.) Walk your dog. Lots.

If you do those three main things, things generally work out ok (at least they have for me)- the rest is nipping around the borders. That isn’t to say it is all useless, just I think the three things I listed above are the big ones, and will be apparent to most people.

Where the advice is really helpful is when it addresses the non-intuitive things. Things like- a harness is probably better for a small dog, use a 6′ lead instead of one of those annoying retracting ones, which kinds of dog food are actually poison and what kinds are good, etc. Things that unless you have direct experience with a dog, you would never know.

Here is one of those things I know nothing about- fleas. Lily apparently has fleas, and I don’t know how to get rid of them. I know there is stuff you can drop between the shoulder blades, one friend swears by something called Frontline, my mother and father swear by stuff called “Natural Chemistry,” and I’ve had a whole bunch of stuff thrown at me and I don’t know how to evaluate, but I do want to get this flea thing under control before the house is infested an Tunch is scratching himself.

So what do I do? Should I get a flea collar? What shampoo should I get, or should I? And so forth.








Most of America Still Disagrees with President McCain

Via Steve Benen, this CNN poll:

A new national poll suggests that that nearly three out of four Americans don’t want the U.S. directly intervene in the election crisis in Iran even though most Americans are upset by how the Iranian government has dealt with protests over controversial election results.

More than eight in ten questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, released Monday, think the election results released by the Iranian government were a fraud, with just one in ten believing the results were accurate. But only three in ten respondents say they are personally outraged by the results, with another 55 percent upset by not outraged.

Most Americans approve of how President Obama’s handled the situation. And 74 percent think the U.S. government should not directly intervene in the post-election crisis, with one out of four feeling that Washington should openly support the demonstrators who are protesting the election results.

Consistently, some the sanest commentary on Iran, at least from my perspective, came from Daniel Larison. With that in mind, here is Larison explaining why President Obama dropped the ball on the Honduras.








Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing

Keeping it real on Sotomayor:

The Supreme Court’s rejection of a decision against white firefighters endorsed by Judge Sonia Sotomayor gives Republicans a renewed chance to attack her speeches and writings but is not expected to imperil her confirmation to the high court, political and legal sources said yesterday.

I guess the summer silly season is as good a time as any for this.








There Will Be Blood

From the NY Times:

After a year in preparation, a much-heralded auction of licenses to develop Iraq’s huge oil reserves began Tuesday but seemed to run into difficulties when oil and gas companies demanded far more remuneration than the authorities were ready to pay.

Symbolically, the sale, broadcast on television, coincided with the formal handover by American forces of security arrangements in urban areas to Iraqi forces — an economic counterpoint to the striving for political military independence underpinning the Iraqi takeover of patrolling Iraq’s restive cities.

I guess the return on our trillion dollar investment is China securing the oil rights.