The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

William F. Buckley, Jr.

...died last night, aged 82:

William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right's post-World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82.

Wheat price increase foretells great doom: Daily Mash

The UK humor site Daily Mash has a different take than, say, the Chicago Tribune:

THE price of a bushel of wheat rose yet again in the markets of Flanders yesterday presaging a monstrous tribulation and a grave rise in the price of mead, the Lord High Guardian of the King's Purse has warned.

...

The noble lord forewarned that a time of privation would surely be visited on the kingdom, when the peasant would find himself cast from his wretched midden and the knight dispossessed of his estates by the grubby moneychangers of old Lombard Street.

Countrywide may want to improve its process

Via Calculated Risk, in Sunday's Chicago Tribune:

The new buyers of a rundown graystone on the South Side showed up Jan. 9 to look at the house they won at a foreclosure auction. They took the plywood off the front door and went inside to make sure the utilities had been shut off. Then they called the police.

Sitting upright in the corner of a bedroom off the kitchen was a human skeleton in a red tracksuit. Next to him lay a dead dog. Neighbors told police the corpse was almost certainly Randy Johnson, a middle-age man who lived alone in the North Kenwood house.

...

Left holding the bag is Countrywide Home Loans, the nation's largest mortgage lender and a company whose practices are being scrutinized by the Illinois attorney general's office. Countrywide made mortgages of $450,000 on the property. Now it is likely to lose it all because it financed the sale of a home whose rightful owner was in no condition to sell.

Lovely.

Administration drops all pretense of separation of powers

I think Talking Points Memo is sounding just about the right note of alarm:

Attorney General Michael Mukasey...so far [has] dropped two big bombshells. DOJ will not be investigating:

(1) whether the waterboarding, now admitted to by the White House, was a crime; or

(2) whether the Administration's warrantless wiretapping was illegal.

His rationale? Both programs had been signed off on in advance as legal by the Justice Department.

We have now the Attorney General of the United States telling Congress that it's not against the law for the President to violate the law if his own Department of Justice says it's not. ... It is a naked assertion of executive power. The founders would have called it tyrannical.

Can we make it 347 more days without Congress selling the farm?

Once is accident. Twice is coincidence.

Via Bruce Schneier, a fourth undersea cable providing Internet connectivity to much of the Middle East has been cut in as many weeks:

The first three have been blamed on ships' anchors, but there is some dispute about that. And that's two in the Mediterranean and two in the Persian Gulf. There have been no official reports of malice to me, but it's an awfully big coincidence. The fact that Iran has lost Internet connectivity only makes this weirder.

This may not be more important than tonight's primary elections, but it may be important.

I have to thank Mike Huckabee for comic relief just now, too.

Daily Parker post #1000

Yes, this is my 1,000th post since this blog started in November 2005.

I had hoped to write a long, introspective essay on blogging in general and this blog in specific over the years, but it turns out I have work to do today, so that will have to wait until the 2,000th post or so. (Many of you are fighting back tears, I know; though I suspect they're tears of joy.)

No, today I'm just going to mention the two most immediately relevant things that confronted me on my way to work this morning.

First, in the past 24 hours, the temperature in Chicago has dropped 27°C. Spot the cold front:

Second, my preferred candidate, John Edwards, for whom I had planned to vote today at lunch, has dropped out of the race. So I'll vote tomorrow, once I formulate Plan B.

SOTU blogging

(All times EST)

9:01pm: I'm having a strange duality of experience. It's hard enough listening to Dubya; I simply can't subject myself to Tim Russert on top of it. So I'm watching the NBC feed while listening to NPR and hoping there isn't a delay.

9:05pm: Yep. Minor delay. I might have to return to NBC's audio. "Madame Speaker:" now that is cool.

9:08pm: Why NBC, by the way? Dana Hork.

9:11pm: Bi-partisanship...from him? (It's 9:11: do you know where Giuliani is?)

9:13pm: Job growth for 52 straight months still doesn't bring it to 2000 levels. And who grew jobs to those levels? Hmmm.

9:14pm: 116m taxpayers will see more taxes? Yeah, because the 0.1m of them earning in the millions will be paying their fair share again--but everyone else will do better when the tax cuts expire.

9:16pm: He can't help smirking. Surplus in 2012? What happened to the surplus we had in 2000?

9:17pm: Somewhat more muted applause (despite the right from standing up) about cutting earmarks. Wonder why...Public vote for earmarks? Ah, now the Democrats stand up.

9:19pm: "Expanding consumer choice..." with a close-up of Barack. He's not pleased. Pelosi looks like she just sniffed Parker's butt.

9:20pm: Come to think of it, Cheney always looks like he just sniffed Parker's butt, so maybe Pelosi is just unhappy to be sitting next to him.

9:23pm: Wow, he's reaching for the stars there, going for a free-trade agreement with Panama. Hey, I like Panama as much as the next guy, but this is the SOTU.

9:26pm: Chertoff is scary-looking. (Yay! Nucular power!)

9:28pm: America is leading the way to cleaner energy technology and greenhouse-gas emissions? Really? I think the Swedes, Finns, Danish, British, Icelanders, Koreans, Japanese, and several other national groups might disagree.

9:30pm: Life needs to be treated with the dignity it deserves? Tell me, Mr. President, how does torture fit in to this ethic?

9:31pm: Oh, fer gossake, the Democrats have confirmed nearly all of his loony judicial nominees even after holding up nearly all of Clinton's sane ones.

9:34pm: I find it fascinating that the entire Supreme Court can sit there without showing any emotion whatever. I mean, that's control. You know four of them want to pummel the other five, including the one who wants to pummel himself (herself?) just to be in the majority.

9:36pm: The images of liberty abroad contrast slightly with the growing tyrrany at home, now don't they? And he's on shaky ground talking about evil people who hate freedom, what with the torture and all.

9:39pm: What former safe-haven for Al Queda is he talking about? Because, it appears that Afghanistan is still a safe-haven for Al Queda, despite six years of war. The incompetence is mind-boggling, but not nearly as striking as the Orwellian spin on it.

9:41pm: HuffPo has posted the whole speech, which I've just found, and to my horror I can see we're only half-way done.

9:44pm: What if the surge is working because the ethnic cleansing over the past four years was largely successful, meaning there are fewer people to kill?

9:48pm: Parker just started barking at something. Not sure what; possibly he dreamt of a squirrel. In any event, I just returned to the speech at the point where he contrasted "decades of dictatorship and the pain of sectarian violence," skipping over the part how ending one caused the other.

9:50pm: We cannot defeat a concept. Terrorism will always exist. This is why the policies of this administration are either doomed to fail (if the goal is to eliminate the "enemy" of terrorism) or doomed to succeed (if the goal is unending war). Neither is acceptable to freedom-loving Americans.

9:54pm: We do not need to intercept communications to stop terrorism. We need basic human intelligence. Our citizens are in greater danger from our own government snooping on us than from anyone overseas. Giving telecoms companies a free pass in scrapping the 5th Amendment will not make us more free.

10:01pm: He's learning something, too. Think he's ever encountered "Articles of Confederation" before? I mean, except when he flunked history?

10:02pm: Oh thank heaven, it's over. And having turned in my poorest performance ever in Dana Hork's quiz, at least I got the length right.

All right. I'm going to pop in a West Wing re-run and forget we have 357 days, 13 hours, and 54 minutes left in the worst Presidency in history.

10:10pm: Sorry, on NPR, E.J. Dionne: "No one is grasping for the mantle of George W. Bush." That was funny.