A more frequent publishing of Rich Galen's take on politics, culture and general modern annoyances. This is in addition to MULLINGS which is published Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

OMG More Hurricanes - or not

The headline was:

Hurricane Count Doubles

The two lead grafs were:

A DRAMATIC increase in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes and tropical storms can be fully explained only by global warming, scientists said yesterday.

In the past 100 years, the average number of tropical cyclones forming in the Atlantic each year has doubled. Of these, roughly 55 per cent have been powerful enough to be categorized as hurricanes.

Ok then. If the total number of tropical storms has doubled over the past 100 years, and 55% can be "catagorized as hurricanes," then the number of hurricanes has stayed exactly the same.

As regular readers know I am arithmetically challenged and often get these sorts of things wrong. Plus, I am not a meteorologist (although I do watch the Weather Channel now and again).

If tropical storms and hurricanes are heat redistribution mechanisms of the atmosphere (moving heat from the lower to the higher latitudes) then having more small storms would appear to be a good thing, effectively reducing the probability of mega storms by releasing pressure on the heat exchanger.

Maybe not.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mike Gallagher & Fred Thompson in Dallas

Here's a shot of Salem Broadcasting's nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher after interviewing Fred Thompson last week in Dallas.

Thompson was in Dallas for a fund-raiser but was greeted at the airport by about 150 "Fred Heads" who waited in standard 100-degree summer Dallas heat for a chance to say hello.

... AND because these things are always about me, here's a shot (both taken by Jim Rydell) chatting with Mike prior to the interview.


Iraq Wins Asian Cup

The Iraqi National Soccer team defeated heavily favored Saudi Arabia in the finals of the Asian Cup Soccer (Football) tournament on Sunday.

Here's the London Times' coverage .

A terrific guy named Bill Putnam had the idea - way back in 2003-2004 that Soccer was the only thing which united Iraqis. It cut across religious, cultural, and geographic boundaries. One of his excellent ideas was to have "We Support Iraqi Soccer" stickers (in Arabic with appropriate language) bumper strips on every coalition vehicle.

The photo which is attached to the Rich Galen Biography page:

was taken at the Iraqi National Soccer training facility in Baghdad. Bill convinced me to convince the Army Corps of Engineers to see what it would take to refurbish the practice pitch to bring it back up to international standards.

During the Saddam decades Iraqi soccer players were tortured and/or killed for losing important matches. This, as you can imagine, had a negative impact on recruitment for the various age-level international teams.

During the time I was in Iraq it was not at all unusual for someone to walk into the dining facility with a patch on his head from a bullet wound - the result of a spent celebratory round having come through the roof of his trailer.

Congrats to the Iraqi team. And congrats to Bill Putnam. He was on track four years ago, and still is.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Inside The Fred - 1

25 July 2007

Enroute Dallas, Texas

Yesterday, you might have heard or read, a very good man named Tom Collamore resigned as the manager of the Friends of Fred Thompson operation.

For those who may not live under the all-seeing eye of the Federal Election Commission, the Friends of Fred Thompson is what is known as a “testing the waters” organization. The FEC rules permit a person who is considering a run for a federal office – Congress, Senate or President – to raise and spend money to gauge the level of support which is available.

Based upon that, a person can (a) say, “I have tested the waters and found them empty and cold” and bow out or, (b) say, “The waters are warm and inviting and I am today announcing my candidacy for …” whatever.

Thompson is in the “testing the waters” phase hence the care taken in not referring to Mr. Collamore as the “campaign manager.”

This is the life we’ve chosen …

What the staff does during one of these “testing the waters” periods is to do the nuts and bolts things so that if the potential candidate decides to become an official candidate, the groundwork – legal, financial, press, political, etc. – has been laid so the principal isn’t closed out because someone forgot (or didn’t know they were supposed) to do something.

As you know, I am not an attorney. I am a political hack. Therefore I work with attorneys who are skilled in understanding the constantly shifting sands of FEC rules, regulations and advisory opinions and keep me – and anyone testing the waters – out of hot water.

Working in a political campaign – anything from school board to President of the United States – is, by definition, a temporary position. The only question is: How temporary?

At some point the campaign is going to end either in victory – your candidate takes an oath to well and truly perform his/her duties – or your candidate loses in which case … the campaign is also over.

Note how I careful structured that paragraph: the campaign ended in victory; but the candidate loses.

There is an old golfing story about the PGA tour caddy who is sitting in the clubhouse after a disappointing round which he describes thus: We had pars on one and two. We birdied three. Then the dumb SOB hit it in the water on four.

The Lad’s association with the McCain campaign lasted about six months. Mr. Collamore’s association with the Thompson operation lasted about six weeks. But in those six weeks, Tom Collamore put into place and motion those things which needed to be put into place an motion such that the candidate can make a decision based upon his belief in his candidacy, not his reliance on his campaign.

Too many candidates don’t understand that crucial difference.


Another issue which attends changes in the campaign structure isn’t how the grownups deal with it - We’ve seen this before. We’ve been the one’s packing the boxes before – It is how the younger people – many of whom have never been in the rough and tumble of a campaign – are kept calm, having become very worried about the campaign’s status.

I usually use a metaphor involving a small boat: If you are sitting on the port (or starboard) side of a 12 or 15 foot sailing dinghy and someone decides to get off and someone else decides to get on what happens? The boat gets tippy until everyone is settled in.

After that, assuming the appropriate skills are available, the sails are set, the course is chosen, and the boat sails steadily and well.

A change like Tom Collamore leaving, by its nature, causes some temporary tippiness in the boat. But the appropriate skills are available and, when Thompson decides on a course, the SS Fred will sail true and well.

To Be Continued


Sunday, July 22, 2007


Secret's out:

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (CNN) — Veteran Republican operative Rich Galen has signed on as a senior advisor to former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tennessee, who is exploring a bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

Galen, author of the popular political cyber column MULLINGS, is well known in GOP circles for his savvy political communications skills. He often provides political analysis on CNN.

“Assuming he gets into the race, I think Fred Thompson may well be the best combination of insider-outsider experience and possess the kind of new ideas that don’t exist in either party,” Galen said.

Thompson is expected to make a formal announcement after Labor Day.



Washington Nationals

From the Press Box @ RFK Stadium:

UPDATE The Nationals won 3-0.

While the baseball world keeps an eye on Barry Bonds' progress toward breaking Hank Aaron's all-time home run record (as of this writing Bonds needs two to tie), Major League Baseball Press Box types have been not-so-closely following the progress of the Washington Nationals in their race to lose an all-time high number of games in a season.

The modern record for dreadful play is 120 losses held by the 1962 Mets when they went 40 - 120. (I know that doesn't add up to 162 games. Under the rules if, at the end of the season, a game which was rained-out has no effect on the standings, it is dropped. If such a game would change a division or wild-card race, then it is played.

The 2003 Detroit Tigers came THIS close when they ran their record to 43-119.

When this season started the Nats had so little power and so little pitching that it seemed likely they could surpass - or at least challenge - the Mets and Tigers.

Alas, that is not the case. As we await the start of today's Nats-Rockies game the Washington Nationals have a record of 41-56 after 96 games. Not good, but consider this: In order to get to the 2003 Tigers, the Nats would have to go 2-63 the rest of the way. Not likely.

The goal the Nats are now ready to aim at is losing less than 100 games. At their current pace (.423) they would end the season at 69-93 which would beat the pre-season expectations of every reporter in the press box.

To lose 100 games, the Nats would have to go 21-44 the rest of the way (.323) - not impossible, but not likely, either.

All this is taking place under the guidance of rookie manager Manny Acta and a pitching staff which has had half of the 20 pitchers who have worn a Nationals' uniform this year having spent at least some time on the disabled list.

That's the kind of thing you do when you sit in the press box before a game.

It's very cool.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Draughts ... Checkers?

I THINK they're talking about checkers:

Computers crack famous board game

Now. Follow me here. I understand that the ability to program computers to solve amazingly complex problems is important.

But when you go to your little girl's third grade "What My Daddy Does" program are you proud when you tell the other little girls and boys that your job is to win at checkers?

Daaaaaadeeee. Drop me off at the mall. But DON'T COME IN!


Self Promotional Mullblog Entry

Chuck Muth, long-time Conservative activist, writer, ally and Mullpal has organized the Conservative Leadership Conference in Reno, NV October 11 - 13.

From the website:

The 2007 Conservative Leadership Conference (CLC) will be the first national conference in the western United States to fully utilize the power of blogging and the Internet to promote a conservative, limited-government agenda. This will be a world-class event!

So where's the self-promotion?


Rich Galen to Receive Lyn Nofziger Award at CLC


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

All Night Senate Session

Dear Mr. Mullings:

Why couldn't you quote a Republican in your MULLINGS column?

Tired & Cranky in Indy

Only Democrats spoke which is within the concept of a filibuster: You have to hold the floor. If you give it up, then the other guys get to demand quorum calls, demand votes on motions, etc. etc.

In fact during her blathering, Sen. Landrieu was asked - assumedly by a Republican Senator - if she would "yield for a question" which does not constitute giving up control of the floor - although a question can go on for some time. She simply said, in that way that Southern Democratic Senators have: "NO!"


Monday, July 16, 2007

Shocker from Hollywood

From this AM's Washington Examiner:

Shanna & Travis Split Again

The second time wasn’t the charm for Shanna Moakler and Travis Barker. Although they decided to give their marriage another go — after having filed for divorce — the “Meet the Barkers” couple has reportedly split up for good.

“About a month ago, they separated again,” a Shanna insider confided to People. “She moved out. As far as she’s concerned, it’s over.”

For those of us of a certain age who have no bloody idea who these people are, the Examiner was kind enough to supply a photo of the unhappy couple courtesy Getty Images:

I'm shocked that she's leaving a guy with pointy hair, her likeness tatooed on his neck, and a construction rivet through his lower lip.

These kids today ...


McCain Campaign - West Coast View

George Condon of the Copley Newspaper Universe (and owner of the San Diego Tribune) is one of the most respected writers in Washington.

Here is his take on the McCain campaign which I offer up because I am liberally quoted throughout:

Is McCain poised for revival or exit?


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Harry Potter

While I get geared up for writing about Alaska. I went to the Harry Potter movie on Saturday night.

I am a huge fan of Harry Potter. Author J.K. Rowling has created an entire 360-degree environment which, if you are in the right state of mind, allows you to suspend disbelief for hours at a time.

The actors who play the three main characters are aging twice (or maybe three times) as fast in real life as they are in the movies, so it is not clear whether they can all see the series through to the end.

In any event, the movie followed the book very well. The darkness of the plot was accurately reflected in the art direction, and Daniel Radcliffe is a very good young - not child - actor.

The movie has taken in upwards of $140 million since it opened on Wednesday, so many of you have already seen it.

Back to Alaska.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Alaska Travelogue - Chapter 2

I'm still not in Alaska but I'm getting closer. Take a look. It also has a link to the 42nd High School Reunion Travelogue which is somewhat less boring than this one.

Alaska Travlogue Chapter 2

I PROMISE I will actually get to Alaska. I will entertain you with stories and pictures.

Really. I will.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

McCain II

The column will hit your e-mail at about 8:30 Eastern, but it's up on the website now.

Click here MULLINGS .


Even though I am in Alaska, I know that there has been a major shake-up at the McCain campaign. It includes the two senior advisor/strategists, the campaign manager, the political director and the deputy campaign manager.

The last person in that list is my son, known as The Lad. He resigned at noon today.

I am writing tomorrow's MULLINGS right now with a closer look at Presidential campaigns generally.

The Lad is a talented guy and will do just fine. The problem is: He may well return to California which means that Titus the Granddog will be going with him.

The column will come out early today because of time zone issues (Alaska is one time zone west of PDT), and I will be driving from Soldotna to Anchorage - about a four hour trip.

Look for it at about 4 pm EDT


Sunday, July 8, 2007

Alaska Travelogue - Chapter 1

Here's the link to the first chapter of the Alaska travelogue. I will fix the header later but it is about 6:15 here in Seward and I'm supposed to have dinner with the group to whom I'm speaking tomorrow.

It will look better in the morning. As will I.

Here's the link to the North to Alaska Travelogue Chapter 1.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Beach Volleyball

From Sonoma, California:

Regular readers know I have an interest in beach volleyball. To be more precise I have an interest in photos of women playing beach volleyball. Based upon the number of angry messages from my bait-and-switch Catchy Caption of the Day from Friday's MULLINGS, I am not alone in this.

For example:

Dear Mr. Mullings
When is the annual beach volleyball photo roundup going to be published.?
Curious minds are.....well... waiting.


I have to wait until the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices goes on a trip to a place without Internet access.


Dear Mr. Mullings
The reference to female volley ball players was definitely a snare and a delusion, sir!

Yeah, well in the meantime make due with Miss USA

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Wattaya Workin' for the Power Company?

Leaving lights on when I was growing up was likely to bring that exact response from the old man. You were not, by the way, expected to answer. You were expected to trudge back up the stairs (this was before someone got smart and put the switches at the top AND the bottom of the stairs) and TURN OFF THE LIGHTS!

All that to bring to your attention this from the BBC website:

The growing popularity of hi-tech devices, such as flat-screen TVs and digital radios, threaten to undermine efforts to save energy, a report says

It seems that new, high-tech gizmology like flat-screen TVs use up to three times the amount of electricity as the old, bulky, can't-invite-the-guys-over-for-a-football-game cathode ray tube version.

In fact, according to the BBC, the amount of gagetry being purchased by UK-ans (UK-ites?) will result in "The equivalent of 14 power stations will be needed just to power consumer electronic devices by 2020, the report warned."

So, the question is: If something on the order of 2 BILLION people watch some or all of the Live Earth Concert on Saturday ... how much actual damage to the Earth will be done?

And that will be in addition to the amount of energy needed to recharge the 500,000 new iPhones from Apple. I understand that many - if not most - are replacements for other phones, but there are a lot of people who are going to keep the the phone which was on the T-Mobile (for example) network as well as their new AT&T networked iPhone.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dear Mr. Mullings - Pardon

Dear Mr. Mullings:

You mentioned on the mullblog recently that "a pardon does not expunge the record of the conviction."

What I've always been curious about is this: If I get pardoned for a speeding ticket, does my insurance cost still go up? Can't I get pardoned before my trial date and get off completely?
-Ryan in San Mateo, CA

Assuming your speeding ticket qualifies as a federal offense you should immediately, while the President is in a commutation state-of-mine, call the White House and tell them what you want.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Scooter and the Commutation!

Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. I filed the blog entry just below at about 2:45 Eastern (the time stamp on these is Pacific time).

Scroll down and click on the link to the DoJ Commutation page to better understand what happened this afternoon.

I STILL think the President should have pardoned Libby this past January. He didn't. And the President didn't pardon Libby this afternoon.

The principal difference - and if you are a lawyer and you can help me fix this, please add a comment - between a pardon and a commutation is this: Libby's conviction stands. He has to pay the $250,000 fine (which the President could also have wiped out, but didn't) and he will (or already has) have to surrender his license to practice law.

He will not be able to get a security clearance which in Washington is no small deal.

If Scooter Libby had been pardoned his conviction would have been wiped out and his life would get back on track.

By the way, even a pardon does not expunge the record of the conviction. All of the elements of the case - including the conviction - remain on the record for all to see, for all time to come.

The President did the right thing this afternoon. I hope, that on January 19, 2009, he completes this by issuing a full pardon.


Libby and a Pardon

An appellate court has unanimously declined to allow I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to remain free pending his appeal and he must report to jail at the place and time directed by the US Bureau of Prisons. For the current story take a look at the Washington Post coverage from this afternoon.

The question of a Presidential Pardon comes to us again. There is a regulation which states a pardon may not be requested until five years after any prison time has been served.

The President has unbridled pardon authority under Constitution (Article II Section 2) "... he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of impeachment," so it would be completely legal for the President waive the five year waiting period and grant a pardon outright.

Remember, Gerald Ford didn't wait until five years after Richard Nixon served any prison sentence. Ford pardoned Nixon in advance for any crimes he might have committed connected to Watergate.

Short of a pardon, according to the DoJ webpage Commutation Instructions:
The President's clemency power includes the authority to commute, or reduce, a sentence imposed upon conviction of a federal offense, including the authority to remit, or reduce, the amount of a fine or restitution order that has not already been paid. This form of clemency is different from a pardon after completion of sentence.
BUT - the regs surrounding a commutation include this:
Requests for commutation of a prison sentence generally are not accepted unless and until a person has begun serving that sentence. In addition, commutation requests are generally not accepted from a person who is currently challenging his or her conviction or sentence through appeal or other court proceeding.
So, it may well be that Scooter Libby will have to report to prison and/or agree to drop any appeals before the President will commute his sentence to time served, but, as we've said, the President can waive the rules.

McCain Fundraising

The presser (via conference call) is still going on. McCain reports raising $11.2 million in the second quarter.

That's pretty big news on its own - what with six weeks of immigration causing supporters major acid reflux - it was not unreasonable to suspect the number might have been in the mid-single digits. At best.

The campaign also reported a "restructuring" which means, in politics as it does in business, people were laid off. The campaign didn't give a number, but the AP's Liz Sidoti said some 50 slots had been pared.

Terry Nelson said that the original thinking - that the campaign would raise some $100 million - was obviously wrong. Nelson wouldn't say how much they now thought they could raise through the next six months, but Nelson said the campaign was "considering taking federal matching funds" which the other first-tier candidates will not be doing.

McCain is still standing; still running; but it is not clear how quickly or for how long.


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Oh, Hillary!

Hillary Clinton said in a speech over the weekend "Somebody said to me the other day if there was ever a time for a woman president it's now because we're going to have to do a lot of cleaning."

Cleaning? The White House? After a President has left?

Two words: Blue Dress

This is almost too easy.

Hillary was speaking at a "Women for Hillary" event in Florida. She said to the gals: "Grab your buckets, grab your brooms," Clinton said. "We're going to have to do a clean sweep because there has been a culture of cronyism, corruption and incompetence."

Into the Way Back Machine as we remember that Hillary, when she was still Governor Clinton's spouse, bristled at the notion of staying at home and baking cookies.

What was the line? I'm not a "stand by your man" kind of person - or words to that effect.