Open Pants Thread

I picked up a pair of hemp jeans, Patagonia brand, the other day. I know that you guys care about everything I wear, but hemp is especially awesome. They’re my favorite pair of pants now. It wears lighter than denim, has a cool dress-casual look and the material is practically unbreakable. Of course it’s expensive since hemp, which will kill you from smoke inhalation before you get a buzz, is for some stupid reason ILLEGAL to grow in the United States. I got mine for half off and I’m not telling you where [actually I don’t remember]. I’m just sad that society (and my wife) has rules against wearing the same pair of pants every day.

So, when will America do the sensible thing and legalize the best clothing material since silkworm poop? I’ll start the bidding at never, or as soon as the cotton lobby collectively resigns to take up a career in the musical theater. Whichever comes first.

Consider this an open thread.

Abramoff News

Once again call me late to the party. Let’s make it clear that if Jack Abramoff decides to flip, the GOP has a huge problem on their hands. As I said in my first post on the subject, Abramoff acted as the bagman for a vast network of corrupt and largely illegal cash reserves set up to benefit the GOP.

It’s easy to see this as a perversion of lobbying, which it is, and since lobbying permeates DC the problem is “the system” it indicts all of the parties and we all might as well shrug and move on. See, the Republicans thought you might have that reflex so Norquist, DeLay and Jack Abramoff kicked off a plan (more here) some years back to make DC lobbying an explicitly Republican operation, to revamp the system in to one of, by and for the Republican party. They called it the ‘K street project,’ after the avenue where the top lobbying firms usually reside. It worked pretty well for them.

The problem with owning the lobbying machinery is that when the lobbying machinery turns into a disgusting cancer you own that too. Some Democrats will go down, I have no doubt, and that’s all for the better. But if this smoldering kindling every truly catches fire you’ll see an amazing number of Reps, aides and hangers-on from the right side of the aisle disappear in smoke.

Today’s big story suggests that Abramoff is facing “increasing pressure” to flip. Pressure? You think? That doesn’t sound like news. Abramoff already faces jail time, his cronies have flipped and prosecutors have his records. God knows he’s faced pressure for a while. Reading between the lines, this suggests to me that the NYT has learned that Abramoff is negotiating a deal but can’t say so yet, except to refer elliptically to rumors. If that’s true this story would serve as a kind of placeholder, like a billboard that says ‘watch this space,’ so that when it breaks into the open they can point back and say toldjah-so. Blogically-speaking it’s one of Josh Marshall’s most annoying habits. So, watch this space.

Ten-gallon h/t

Read our previous coverage: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Stories Making The Rounds

* The worst attempt at protecting journalistic sources ever:

The matriarch of the Bush clan is colder than North Pole ice right now to those around her son who she thinks have undermined him. I’ll tell who my sources are if Patrick Fitzgerald gives a call and makes me — but the sources are very close to Poppa Bush (41), who has been traveling a bit with some of his old entourage, including Brent Scowcroft and others of the first Bush regime.

I can’t tell you who wrote that. Secret. But the writer is one of the moderate-left political blogs I’ve read this morning which includes Steve Clemons. On topic, Barb is pissed at everybody but Karen and Junior? Of course she is. Junior’s in the tank and she can’t very well blame her own kid. Well, she could if it was Jeb. George Jr. is “special.”

* Justice Department lawyers concluded that Tom DeLay’s Texas redistricting was illegal, superiors approved it anyway. On a practical level this doesn’t mean much of anything to me since Ashcroft’s already gone, the redistricting seems like a done deal and DeLay’s TRMPAC has already gone down in flames over it. I will gladly be proven wrong if, a) somebody did something prosecutable, which I doubt, or b) this gives ammo to people challenging the redistricting in court.

* The War on the War on Christmas: Has it become an unwinnable quagmire? Carpetbagger reports that the gloves may be coming off.

I’m Not Dead, Either

But I feel like it.

In the never ending struggle to get in shape, I apparently overdid the exercise bike, and am now walking (and feel) like an eighty year old man with chronic muscle pain and arthritis.

Second, for whatever reason (the damn ever-changing weather), I think I am getting the flu. This is weird, because I used to get sick all the time when Ismoke, and since I quit smoking, I have not been sick all year. However, in the last month and a half, this is the third time I have felt crappy. I think it might be all the exposure to the chronically sick undergrads at WVU.

At any rate, don’t expect much from me today (or perhaps tomorrow).

New Exercise Bike

Just got my new recumbent exercise bike put together, and man did I work up an aerobic sweat putting that bad boy together. Tunch, of course, was NO help, jumping in and out of boxes, attacking pieces, etc.

At any rate, the damn thing is up and put together. I do not know why companies that send things like this do not label the actual pieces, but want you to rely on little diagrams. is it too hard to just label each piece, so when it says “Insert seat carriage frame into rear support rod,” i will know what the seat carriage frame and support rod actually are, rather than what I think they are from a dinky little picture?

And another thing. If I ever run a company, I am going to make sure we intentionally ship double the nuts and bolts needed for assembly. As usual, I was one bolt short. Just ship double-triple the bolts needed, for goodness sakes, and put a little warning in the book:

NOTICE- DON’T FREAK OUT. After assembly, you might have some screws, nuts, and bolts left over. We sent you twice what you need, because we know this crap always gets lost in transit or lost during assembly. Just our way of thanks for buying our product.”

Seems to me you did that, word of mouth would get around and you would increase sales The profit margin can’t be that tight that five nuts or bolts will break the company.

Here is a pic:

You can get one at the “O” for a couple hundred bucks.