Kick em while they are down, we always say. James Glassman writes Diversify, Diversify, Diversify- Enron employees aren’t blameless for the bath they took.
By the way, I am back from Pittsburgh. I have a number of stories to tell, none of them are appropriate for this public forum. The folks at the Westing William Penn were very suspicious of us from the get go, and we confirmed their suspicions (hotled must just hate it when 4-5 rogueish looking 30 somethings show up to register on a Friday night carry a wad of cash, a toothbrush, and a liter of vodka). Woke up this morning and went to Wholey’s for some seafood (got some scrod, some crab, and some sea scallops), then to Penns. Macaroni Company where I got a pound of Roquefort blue, a pound of Stilton, 2 pounds of Gorgonzola (man is that just oozing goodness- with those BIG BLUE VEINS), some Asiago, some super sharp, some sweet sopresetta, fresh tortellini, grated romano for my pasta, and a hude monstrous jar of marinated artichoke hearts.
I had to post something before I left. I just saw the footage from Israel with the Palestinian gunmen. The PLO needs to be stomped on and destroyed like vermin. Disgusting sewer trout.
Probably not goijng to be anymore posting until tomorrow night. I am off to Pittsburgh to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and hopefully to eat a couple of gut-bomb Primanti Brothers sandwiches. Then tomorrow, some shopping on the strip (I need pasta, cheeses, seafood, and some other good stuff), and then a relaxing day attached to the idiot box watching football. Until then..
Tim Cavanaugh can go here.
Sarah Jane goes to jail. At last. Maybe in the 10 years to life she is behind bars, she will figure out what she did wrong, because at sentencing she stated this:
Following tearful statements from family and friends, Olson said she was “truly sorry” for causing anyone any pain.
But she denied trying to murder officers by planting bombs under the two police cars in 1975 to avenge the deaths of six SLA members during a shootout with authorities a year earlier. The bombs didn’t explode.
In other words, she pleaded guilty, but isn’t. Oh, those radical 60’s leftist martyrs. Gotta just love em.
Everyone needs to read this post, and then take five minutes, read it again, and then just think. Probably one of the most compelling and interesting posts I have ever read.
I am not sure what the actual Geneva convention mandates are regarding the shaving of body hair, but it seems to me that it is a whole heck of a lot of fuss about not much. Sure the cable news channels are blazing headlines, some protests are happening in the UK, and the UN has piped up with their usual helpful stance (hint- the US sucks), but it seems to me that the main problem is a simple misunderstanding in how the military operates.
I thought about this on the drive home, sitting in traffic, watching all the drivers voluntarily doing what they were supposed to do- staying in the correct lane, stopping at red lights, yielding when appropriate, etc. To someone who does not know the rules of the road, it would seem utterly chaotic. But in fact, it is a monument to self-regulated order (sure there are police- but cops are focussing on the 5-10% of people who do not vuluntarily comply- the majority do). For those of you who have never spent a day in or near the military, the chief reason for its success is compliance to calls for order and discipline. It is simply how it functions. It may not seem orderly, and there is always that one quote (that I can never verify or track down) from the German General who said (and I paraphrase) “The reason the Americans are succesful in war is because war is chaos, and the American military practices chaos on a daily basis,” but by and large the military is EXCEPTIONALLY ordered.
Prior to joining the army, this was not clear, and many times in the army, it was unclear. But when you sit back and look, the necessity of order is abundantly evident. Sure, at time, I did not know why my platoon was told to do a specific act, but I did not have the complete picture, and could not witness from my vantage point the large symphony of coordinated action. The success of the mission depended on everyone doing what they were told to do, being where they were supposed to be, adhering to a sense of ORDER.
So when you read that they are shaving the heads of muslim POW’s, do not immediately assume that it is some politically incorrect slight attempted to humiliate them. That may be a pleasant by-product of the action, but I would take them at their word. They were acting on orders, to maintain and create some order out of a chaotic situation, and to alleviate the spread of lice. Good hygiene, pride in appearance are the very basic aspects of MILITARY ORDER. That is why they send young men away for three months, shave their heads, give them all the same color uniforms, and teach them ‘close order drill’ so that they can march in unison. Order, folks, the backbone of the military, the way our guys operate and function, the reason they are able to have such huge success under horrible circumstances (like being shot at when you have been awake for 4 days and are cold and hungry and in a country whose name you can notspell) is why the Army says they shaved their heads. And I, for one, believe them.
Last night I could not sleep, so I did what I usually do to combat insomnia, I turned on C-Span. Unfortunately, the White House Press Briefing was on, and rather than falling asleep in ten words or less, I was immediately reduced to giggles. I think EVERY press secretary, regardless of administration, deserves a medal of honor for dealing with the ship of fools known as the White House Press Corps. Check out these exchanges:
Q I was going to ask you an Afghanistan question, but I’ll wait until tomorrow. Back to this — I want to make sure I understood the Enron question. You’re saying that the President is interested — the government is pursuing the Justice Department investigation and that, this broader thing of how to make sure that this doesn’t happen before. But that in the White House there is no effort being made to gather together the contacts?
I want to make sure I understand that, because that’s a rather novel way of managing a crisis and I want to make sure. Nobody is interested in who called Enron in this White House or in the government, and getting together those people, what did you tell them, so that you don’t know? But that if we find out about one of these calls, you’ll —
MR. FLEISCHER: Again, if you have any suggestion — and no one has — of any wrongdoing, I urge you, bring it forward, present it, ask it to me, ask of me on the record, ask it to be on background, ask it to me wherever you like, and we will do our best to track it down and find out.
But if you’re asking — if you’re asking if the White House is chronicling any contact with anybody in this administration and anybody at Enron over anything, I think that’s such a broad request that it’s characterized as a fishing expedition. But that’s exactly what the question is.
Q I’m not talking about any — I’m talking about when the company was in trouble, calls they made or did not make to the White House or the senior staff or the Cabinet. You’re telling me you don’t even want to know those calls that might have been made?
MR. FLEISCHER: Calls about what?
Q Help or anything. I don’t — I can’t —
MR. FLEISCHER: See, again, there you go, you’re asking me are we doing something that you can’t even define. You’re saying to me, are you engaged in a — hold it, hold it — you’re asking me are you engaged in a — I’m getting there.
You’re asking me, are you gathering information about any contact with Enron about what? Ask the question.
Q — financial position.
MR. FLEISCHER: Exactly, any communication.
A little bit later, came this exchange, and it was hard to imagine that Ari Fleischer was thinking about anything other than someone’s head on a stake.
Q Two follow ups. One, is the President concerned that his buddies at Enron are going to jail?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President thinks that it is vital for the Department of Justice to pursue this wherever it goes, to whoever it goes and to do whatever it takes to investigate any criminal wrongdoing.
News- Fair and Balanced. Then came this exchange:
Q I’ll try to state this carefully so you don’t have to restate the question, you can just give me a “yes” or “no” if you can. Is the White House determining whether or not administration officials or White House aids have received any calls from Enron since the summer of 2001?
MR. FLEISCHER: On any topic, on anything?
Q That’s my question, have they received —
MR. FLEISCHER: On any topic, on anything?
Q Have they received any calls, are you guys determining whether or not White House officials or administration officials have received calls from Enron since the summer of 2001?
MR. FLEISCHER: Again, the standard the White House has put in place is that if you have any suggestion of any wrongdoing, as opposed to such a broad, open-ended question —
Q I’m asking whether or not you guys are determining whether these calls were made. I’m not asking you —
MR. FLEISCHER: “These” calls meaning which calls?
Q I’m asking you whether or not, yes or no —
MR. FLEISCHER: You said, “these calls.” Describe the calls.
Q — yes or not, is the administration determining who in this administration got calls from Enron in the last six or 10 months.
MR. FLEISCHER: About any — now it’s six or 10 months.
Q Since he summer of 2001.
MR. FLEISCHER: About any topic or anything? Again, the administration is interested, if anybody has any evidence of wrongdoing —
Q I’m asking yes or no —
MR. FLEISCHER: I think you’ve heard the answer.
Q No, no, I haven’t. I want to know if the White House cares enough about this to investigate?
MR. FLEISCHER: The White House views this as a matter of a criminal investigation and a policy review. And if somebody has a suggestion that something was wrong, it will be investigated and reviewed. But other than that, that is such a broad question about any topic, any conversation about anything.
What you’re saying is, communication in itself, that all communication in itself needs to be brought under scrutiny.
Q It’s a simple “yes” or “no.”
Q With all due respect, the question couldn’t be narrower. It’s “yes” or “no,” are you investigating who received these calls? You either are or you aren’t. I’m not asking you —
MR. FLEISCHER: Wrongdoing should be investigated. Communication — I want to again remind everybody here — communication —
Q So the answer is “no”?
Q Why won’t you say “yes” or “no”?
MR. FLEISCHER: Because it is not being handled in the way that I think you all are looking for it to be handled, because you’re trying to make comparisons to previous administrations. That is not the White House approach.
Instapundit broke my Bravenet site-counter. At least I think so- he linked me and twenty minutes later the counter went down for maintenance. I guess the guy tallying my daily hits had to take his shoes and socks off because we had finally eclipsed the ten hits per day threshold.
Thanks to the linkage from the Midwest Conservative Journal.
Gotta go teach and then I am going to try to figure out what I was saying in my Enron blurb last night. Talk about rambling nonsense.
Go to PhotoDude and laugh at Justin Raimondo. I did. Very therapeutic.
Jacob Weisberg is back at it at MSNBC/SLATE, with Enron vs Whitewater, proving the old axiom that a fool and his political agenda seldom part (Ok- I made that up- artistic license).
There are so many flaws with this article that attempting to pick it apart may be akin to worrying about a bloody nose when your leg has been severed at the hip, so I will let you read it in all its glory. Jonah Goldberg and the folks at Protein Wisdom may have the right idea about how to approach this whole Enron mess. I am done commenting about it as well until ANYTHING outside the corporate realm happens.
OK. I am now changing my bet. Iran is not next. Southeast Asia is next (free registration required).
From the Opinion Journal:
Imagine an Afghanistan-by-the-South-China-Sea, a radical Muslim state carved out from renegade regions of Southeast Asia, led by fundamentalist clerics calling for the destruction of the West.
That’s the vision that animates Jemaah Islamia, a group aiming to establish “Daulah Islamiah,” a state that would include parts of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Fortunately, the group’s timetable for paradise on earth has suffered a setback, with the recent arrest of a 13-member unit in Malaysia and a squad of 15 in Singapore
Some other links on what appears to be a slow escalation:
Sgt. Stryker will probably have more info this in a couple of days (I would like to know what bases we have and what carrier groups are in the region, etc.), but he did note one aspect of the Philippine involvement the other day.
My answer is, I hope not. I am not sure why donating to every political campaign for the last 10 years and receiving no favors from the victors is going to spur a renewed interest in campaign finance reform, but watch as the NY Times and her ‘progressive’ (Why are progressives always pushing for the same old tired things- would we be more accurate calling them regressives- or are they called progressives because they naively believe any change is change for the better?) friends push for it. Even the thinking man, Brian Linse at AintNoBadDude, (someone I like a great deal and read daily) confuses me on this one….
“In fact, I’d argue that the previous cozy relations were a major reason that the Bush administration turned their backs on Lay & company. “
By that logic, the more you donate to a political campaign, the more likely you are to not have any help when you are in a jam because people might be embarassed by their connections to you? Or are we to assume that what this really means is that smaller contributors are the ones who get all the favors, because they have given enough money to get attention, but not too much so that they can still fly under the radar? Paging Mr. Machiavelli, paging Mr. Machiavelli.
Let me emphasize, however, that it is still too early (as many conservatives have noted) to call this one a political scandal. But shouldn’t that mean that it’s too early to assume it’s not a political scandal?
It seems to me most every political issue thrown at either party by the other is in a stage in which it is too early to call a scandal or too early to assume it is not a scandal (or it is just flat out a scandal). Remember, nothing is non-scandalous, because every decision is going to be drerided by the opposition. I can hear Henry Waxman now: “We have some serious questions about Bush’s proposal to give every todddler a teddy bear. Questions like, who funded this? Why did he not have a mix of animals.” etc. ad nauseum.
Let’s try this with my personal life. It is too early to say that I engaged in scandalous behavior after drinking 72 shots of Don Eduardo tequila last Friday night, but it is also too early to say I did not engage in scandalous behavior (given my track record with tequila, I would bet on the former). A responsible press would stop drooling and frothing at the mouth, and would ASK me (as I am the only one who knows)- or, get this- let the appropriate authorities question me if there is any EVIDENCE of wrongdoing. You don’t just dig into things for shits and giggles and partisan gain because some toad from California has serious questions (OK- we used to, but we no longer havea special prosecutor). At any rate, all this hyperventilating is getting annoying. Someone make a charge that Bush et al. did something wrong or please put the Bimbo Broadcaster back on (Ashleigh BAnfield). She doesn’t have much to say, but she is a helluva lot better looking than Jonathon Alter.
Perhaps there is a third way with Enron. It is NOT a political scandal, but rather a criminal and financial scandal committed by the CEO’s of Andersen and Enron. Regardless, a lot of good people got the shaft, and someone needs to pay for it. Just keep your eyes on the ball and don’t let the bickering and partisan manuevering in Washington distract you from the real issue, which is not political at this point- despite the best efforts of a select few, and not an argument for CFR, but corporate criminal behavior. FWIW- Enron would then NOT be a scandal, other than the amount of time devoted to it in the media lately, and would be more accurately called a CRIME. And we already have laws for that.
Either way, I still see no cogent or compelling argument for the Large Media Monopoly Enforcement Act (McCain-Feingold). What this really is is a delightful demonstration of the glaring anti-corporate anti-capitalist sentiment that runs through the veins of some in Washington. Like asking the largest energy provider for information when crafting an energy policy is a BAD idea. When my car breaks down, I do not drive to the local coffee shop to ask for advice because I am afraid that asking a mechanic might present a conflict of interest. This of course gets us back to the ‘there is an appearance of a conflict of interest because Enron gave campaign donations’ mantra- the solution to which, of course, is CFR and publicly funded campaigns.
Which is where I draw the line. I already am funding someone’s education, someone’s social security, and a variety of other things against my will. I am not funding Pat Buchanon’s 2004 election, too.
*Note* I should not be allowed to have red wine before I blog.