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

Thursday, May 29, 2008


  • On Monday I will begin a new job as the Senior Counselor to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX).

  • The last time I worked in the US Senate was in 1981-82 when I was the press secretary to Sen. Dan Quayle (R-IN). I said to the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices that once every 26 years or so everyone should take another turn in the Senate.

  • I have known Sen. Hutchison since we lived in Dallas through most of the 1990's. When we started talking about this, I am not certain that either of us thought it would lead anywhere, but lo and behold it has.

  • The reason for the title is that the Senate Ethics Committee is mulling over whether or not I can be on the public payroll and continue to write MULLINGS. I am perfectly willing to abide by its decision, but until it does, MULLINGS will take a little break.

  • But not until we spend a little time together on the book allegedly written by Scott McClellan.

  • Speaking with David Jackson of USA Today yesterday I said, "When he stood behind that podium, nobody believed a word he said. Now that he's saying bad things about the president, he's a Delphic oracle."

  • That's what Jackson put in his front pager in USA Today. I also said that I wondered who had actually written the book because it would surprise me to find (given it is 368 pages) that McClellan actually knows that many words.

  • More. I also said that while he was the press secretary, reporters told me that they knew he was told what to say, but not told why he was to say it. Reporters knew McClellan had not been in the meetings when policy was being discussed or decided. And they knew he hadn't been in the meetings because he would have had nothing to offer.

  • It was generally known in Washington that McClellan was such an ineffective spokesman that he would have done better to tack the talking points he had been given to the briefing room wall and leave, rather than waste the press corps' time hectoring him for an hour-or-so every day.

  • I have, on rare occasion, been offered a book deal to write about a former boss. My response has always been (and will always be): When you make the choice to take someone's money you have, in effect, signed a contract to be loyal. Nothing, short of a grand jury subpoena, should be able tempt you to break that contract.

  • The good news about McClellan's book is found in a paragraph in a Fort Worth Star-Telegram piece by Ken Herman:
    "Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida said that McClellan should testify before the House Judiciary Committee to tell what he knows about the White House role in the leak of a CIA operative's name."

  • How poetically judicial would it be if a big chunk of the money McClellan was paid to have this book written ended up in the hands of attorneys he had to hire to advise him in Congressional testimony which was only made necessary by the fact he put his name on this book?

  • I hope McClellan makes enough money on this book to see him through the rest of his life. I can't imagine anyone hiring him because I can't imagine anyone trusting him.

  • Would you?

  • Final thoughts: I am very much looking forward to this next chapter. We lived in Dallas for most of the 1990's and had a wonderful experience. The Lad is a product of the University of Texas at Austin. This will be fascinating.

  • See you soon.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to Ken Herman's Fort Worth Star-Telegram piece and links to Sen. Hutchison's official web pages. Also a Mullfoto of my new home and a Catchy Caption of the Day which demonstrates the state of Hillary's campaign.

  • Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Indiana Jones and the ... Whatever

  • If you don't have an actual job, then you are not actually playing actual hooky when you decide to hit the 11:00 AM opening-day viewing of the new Indiana Jones movie.

  • Here's a trick which works best if, as previously mentioned, you don't have a job. Summer blockbusters often open before most public schools are done for the year. If that is the case, you want to go to a mid-day showing on its opening day. The kids are still in school and those who do have jobs will be … at their jobs.

  • If you do this, you will not have to stand in line nor sit 17 inches from the screen because you didn't get there six hours in advance.

  • Where else can you get tips like these?

  • The full title of the film is "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" which has already been shortened by the Text-Message-Generation to KOCS .

  • It is the fourth in the Indiana Jones series which began with "Raiders of the Lost Ark" in 1981.

  • The second film, "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" followed in 1984 and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" in 1989. Combined, the Indy series has grossed about $1.2 Billion worldwide, not including VCR/DVD rentals and sales.

  • This movie runs a tad over two hours, is rated PG-13 and, as in all three previous films it was directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by George Lucas' Lucasfilms, with the music written by John Williams.


    The PG-13 rating didn't exist until "Temple of Doom." According to popular history, some portions of that movie (including the human sacrifice scene featuring the removal of a beating heart) caused parents to complain that PG should be split into movies to which younger kids could safely accompany them (PG) and one which parents should consider as being more suitable for their older children (PG-13).


  • You may not know this, but I am a serious student of film. As evidence of this, I went into the theater knowing that one of the main characters was being played by Cate Banchette. I also knew that Karen Allen, Indy's love interest in the first movie, was making a return appearance.

  • I thought it was very interesting that the leading women from the first two movies - "Raiders" and "Temple of Doom" were being brought back for this movie.

  • About 27 seconds into the movie when the Cate Blanchette character first appeared on the screen, I couldn't understand how she could look so different from her character in "Temple."

  • She looked way different because she was a different actress. Kate Capshaw, not Cate Blanchette, had been the female lead in "Temple of Doom."

  • I have done this before. When the movie "Ray" was all the rage I didn't understand how Jamie Farr (who is White) had gotten that role. The actor who played Ray Charles was, of course, Jamie Foxx. Jamie Farr had played Max Klinger on the old M*A*S*H series.

  • You now understand why I am rarely (read never) invited to screenings at the Motion Picture Association of America offices which are only about three blocks from mine.

  • Despite the fact that Ford is now 66 and Karen Allen is now 57 they still look pretty good. Cate Blanchette is 11. No, she's the age Harrison Ford was in the first "Indy" film: 39.

  • KOCS is set in 1957 and the bad guys (or gals) are Russian Commies, not German Nazis. To make certain there is no confusion, Spielberg has Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog" playing under the opening credits and first scenes - clearly a post-WWII song.

  • If you like car chases you will love this movie. If you love close-escape after close-escape you will love this movie. If you love people who get dunked into rivers, lakes and wells then show up in the next scene, 25 seconds later in the story, completely dry you will REALLY love this movie.

  • I have a hard time staying awake for the entirety of a two-hour movie at a theater. The Lad once said, "Let me get this straight: You are in a comfortable chair, in the largest living room in the world, in the dark, watching the equivalent of a gigantic TV set, having eaten a pound of popcorn during the previews, and you fall asleep? I'm shocked."

  • These kids today, huh?

  • I did my "first day showing" trick with the last Harry Potter movie. When I watched the DVD several months later, I was surprised at how much of it I had missed.

  • I didn't miss a single frame of KOCS.

  • If you are torn between this movie or "Sex in the City," you may not want to spend the eight bucks.

  • I, on the other hand, may go see it again.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: The IMDB web with all the Indiana Jones movies; a Mullfoto of the title screen; and a head-scratching Catchy Caption of the Day.

  • Tuesday, May 20, 2008

    Girls, Girls, Girls

  • Hillary Clinton split with Barack Obama last night in the Kentucky and Oregon primaries. That was not enough. Clinton needed an upset in Oregon and she didn't get it.

  • The Dems are down to three primaries, Puerto Rico on Sunday June 1, with South Dakota and Montana closing out this longest primary season on Tuesday June 3.

  • But, it is over. Absent some cataclysmic event within the Obama campaign, he will be the nominee. In fact, Obama has begun sending staff into the Democratic National Committee building to start the process of taking control of the national party. This appears to have been done with no complaint from the Clinton campaign.

  • But irrevocable damage to the Democratic coalition might already have been done.

  • My debate partner on Associated Press television last night, Jenny Backus, insisted that Obama will be able to solidify the Democratic party behind his general election campaign.

  • I'm not so sure.

  • The exit polling in Kentucky showed the continuation - indeed the acceleration - of a trend we have been seeing for many weeks. According to the LA Times, the exit polls in Kentucky "found that only a third of Clinton supporters would vote for Obama in November, while about 40% would cast their ballot for Republican John McCain and the rest -- roughly a quarter -- would stay home.."

  • White voters refusing to vote for a Black man? Could be. But it might signal a bigger problem for the Obama campaign as it moves to consolidate power.

  • Hillary Clinton, in an interview with the Washington Post's Lois Romano, got off on a feminist rant:
    "The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable, or at least more accepted …" she said.

    "It does seem as though the press, at least, is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists."


    I looked it up for you.

    From Merriam-Webster's Unabridged:
    Misogynist; one who hates women.


  • Just a Hillary-whine trying - one more time - to be seen as "America's Victim?" Maybe, but there seems to be a growing sentiment that being Black in America is better (at least if you are running for President) than being a Woman in America.

  • In a column published on the San Francisco Chronicle website, Carolyn Lochhead, let fly a misandrist (hatred of men) screed the likes of which we have not read since the glory days of 1960's bra-burning:
    "The Democratic primary campaign uncovered the pervasive and insidious sexism that runs rampant through our country: Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate, and she is being cheated out of the nomination by the good old boys network, the DNC and the Mainstream Media.

    "We need to be counted. We need to stand up and let the DNC know we will not get in line...the DNC thinks we will vote for Obama because like abused women we have no where else to go."

  • Yikes!

  • But wait! There's more! In a Washington Post op-ed, writer Marie Cocco wrote about the end of the primary season, thus:
    "I will not miss the deafening, depressing silence of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean or other leading Democrats, who to my knowledge (with the exception of Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland) haven't uttered a word of public outrage at the unrelenting, sex-based hate that has been hurled at a former first lady and two-term senator from New York.

    "Among those holding their tongues are hundreds of Democrats for whom Clinton has campaigned and raised millions of dollars."

  • Am I the only one detecting a pattern, here?

  • I can hear the Democrats, even now, rehearsing their all-female Kumbaya Pageant which will be the closing ceremonies of the Democratic National Convention.

    Sad Topic:

  • The news that Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass) is suffering from a malignant brain tumor raced through official and unofficial Washington yesterday.

  • Kennedy could have spent his adult life spending the family fortune in warm, sunny climes living on the pages of supermarket check-out magazines.

  • He has, instead, spent the past 46 years being the nation's principle proponent of a Liberal (used here as a point on the political continuum, not as a pejorative) agenda for America.

  • He has served his country with honor in the US Senate.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to all three articles on misogyny listed above; also the history of and lyrics to "Kumbaya"; a Mullfoto showing your tax dollars at work and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

  • Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Think Globally, Act Locally

  • On Friday at noon I was the guest speaker at the regular monthly meeting of the Republican Communications Association - the organization of press secretaries who work for GOP Members of the US House of Representatives.

    SIDEBARS I & I(a)

    Box lunches made up of Chik-fil-A sandwiches were served. I began my lecture by saying I wasn't used to eating Chik-fil-A sandwiches on Fridays; I normally at them on Sundays.

    The press secretaries who represented Members of Congress from Southern districts, laughed.


    My first job on Capitol Hill, in 1977, was for a wonderful Congressman from DuPage County, Illinois named John Erlenborn.

    I asked, after a thoughtful pause, "How many of you were not yet born in 1977?"

    A shocking number of press secretaries raised their hands.

    I had been standing.

    I sat down.


  • After an extremely lengthy (and, I suspect, extremely boring) recitation of my background as a press/communications/media person we got into the meat of the thing and I pointed out that, unless they happened to be the communications director for the Republican Conference, they had one job and one job only: To put their boss in the best possible light for the voters in his or her home District.

  • I reminded them that in every town and in every neighborhood of every city at 10 AM every weekday morning the judge, the real estate broker, the banker, the owner of the department store and the guy who owns the factory on the outskirts of town get together to discuss and/or solve the issues of the day.

  • "Let Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Mullfave Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-FL) and the rest of the leadership worry about the grand theories of this election," I said. "Your responsibility is to be in touch with your District office and know what those guys at the 10 O'clock coffee klatch are whining about."

  • The saying, "all politics is local" is attributed to former Speaker Tip O'Neill (D-MA). Even if someone else said it first, it is still an enormously powerful driver . Or should be.

  • The three-straight losses by House Republicans in open seats which had previously been held by the GOP proves the point.

  • In two of the three - Louisiana and Mississippi - Republicans ran ads against Barack Obama.

  • The national press corps misunderstood the meaning of the fact that the GOP candidates lost after these ads, thinking that means anti-Obama ads won't work in the fall in the race against John McCain.

  • It meant nothing of the sort. What it DID mean was this: You only nationalize Congressional elections when the environment is in your favor. Else, you make the race my guy (the 8-year incumbent who has done so much for this District) against your guy (about whom you know nothing).

  • If something happens in Washington which is good for your District then, by all means, shout from the rooftops what a huge leadership role your boss took in helping get the amendment adopted or the bill passed.

  • If something dreadful happens, shout from those same rooftops that your boss, having fought like Jean Valjean in the barricade scene in Les Misérables, is now limping through Statuary Hall, bloodied but unbowed, vowing to fight on every day against whatever it was that was in the bill which was going to cause your District to fall into the sea.

  • When I went to work in the US House back in '77, Democrats came into the post-Watergate 95th Congress with a veto-proof margin of 292-143. The Democrats had a majority (149 seats) larger than the entire GOP membership.

  • So, I know what it is like to be way, WAY in the minority as a GOP press secretary.

  • I might have just been a rube from Marietta, Ohio 45750 but I knew this: If I had anything to do with it, Rep. John Erlenborn was not going to lose his next election.

  • I did, and he didn't.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Chick-fil-A site about Sunday sandwiches, bios of Tip O'Neill, Newt Gingrich, and Adam Putnam as well as a copy of the handout showing the number of Republicans and Democrats in each Congress since 1971.

    Also a Mullfoto left over from my flight to Amsterdam last month - in COACH along with a pretty good story which I haven't told you yet, and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

  • Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Life is Old There ...

  • As expected, Hillary Clinton beat the you-know-what out of Barack Obama in West Virginia by something on the order of 66% to 27%.

  • This is becoming a White v. Black primary battle. According to the exit polls, 95% of the voters in West Virginia were White and, according to the AP piece written by Dave Espo and Matt Apuzzo:
    "Nearly a quarter were 60 or older, and a similar number had no education beyond high school. More than half were in families with incomes of $50,000 or less, and the former first lady was wining a whopping 69 percent of their votes."

  • If you want this primary campaign to be over, then you write-off the Mountain State and continue your fantasy that Clinton will have some epiphany tonight and wake up tomorrow morning proclaiming Barack Obama is the one and true nominee of the Democratic party.

  • If you are not on illegal drugs, you look at her better than 2-1 win last night and say, "Why would she want to get out after a huge win in a state which is no less legitimate than North Carolina (which Obama won handily last week).

  • The only major difference between the two is that WV is almost completely White and North Carolina is about 22% Black.

  • The issue for Democrats is that according to the 2000 census, Blacks make up less than 13% of the total population of the United States, and so winning even overwhelming majorities of Black voters in November will not be enough to win the Presidency if he is getting the support of a minority of White voters.

  • I am not in favor of people voting on the basis of race but, obviously, people do.

  • Hillary Clinton is a Woman. Barack Obama is Black. John McCain is 71.

  • Those are facts. For most people those particular facts don't matter. For some, maybe for a lot, they do.

  • I did a phone interview with a newspaper reporter yesterday afternoon and after sparring for about 20 minutes, the reporter finally asked me "and you can answer this off the record, if you want" whether I thought America was ready to elect a Black President.

  • I said (on the record) that America was ready for a Black President, but I didn't think it was ready for this particular Black man (Obama) to be President.

  • I reminded the reporter that Obama has been in the US Senate for three years and has been running for President for two of them.

  • Remember, that Hillary Clinton said at the debate in Cleveland this past February that Obama
    "chairs the Subcommittee on Europe. It has jurisdiction over NATO. NATO is critical to our mission in Afghanistan. He's held not one substantive hearing to do oversight, to figure out what we can do to actually have a stronger presence with NATO in Afghanistan."

  • To which Obama responded: "Well, first of all, I became chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007."

  • He was too busy running for President to (a) do the things a Senator is paid to do, or (b) learn the things that a President needs to know.

  • Go figure.

  • I told this reporter that, as far as I was concerned, someone like [NY Congressman] Charlie Rangel might make a formidable candidate for President having served in the US Congress since 1991 and, (according to Wikipedia) is the "Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He is the first African-American to chair the committee. Rangel earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service in the Korean War."

  • Compare and contrast that to Barack Obama who didn't serve a day in military service, and has spent two-thirds of his entire three-year US Senate career running for President.

  • Thus he has been, by his own admission, too busy to do any substantive work on the important Committees to which he is assigned:
    Foreign Relations

    Veterans Affairs

    Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

    Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

  • See what I mean?

  • According to the New York Times, in his eight years as a State Senator in Illinois, Obama "effectively sidestepped" difficult issues by voting "present … nearly 130 times as a state senator."

  • Hillary won big in West Virginia last night and only a fool would bet the family homestead that she will be leaving this race any time soon.

    New Topic: The Lad has, once again, published an essay which I would not have thought of in 1,257,350 years. You can read it from a link on the Secret Decoder Ring page.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the lyrics to the John Denver song about West Virginia, to an analysis of Obama's Committee attendance, to the NY Times look at the number of times Obama voted "present" in the Illinois Senate, and to The Lad's essay on RealClearPolitics.

    Also a Mullfoto which will further erode my popularity in the Garden State and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

  • Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Isn't That Bribery?

    From the Green Room

    Fox Studios

    New York City

  • There is a disturbance in the Democratic Force which holds that Hillary Clinton might exit the race if Barack Obama would promise to help her recoup the reported $11.4 million she has lent to her campaign.

  • Here's my question: If Senator Barry were to call his pal Senator Hillary and offer to help her retire that debt in return for her getting out of the race … wouldn't that be offering a bribe?

  • According to Webster's Third Unabridged a bribe is defined as:
    1: A reward, gift, or favor bestowed or promised with a view to pervert the judgment or corrupt the conduct especially of a person in a position of trust (as a public official)

    2: Something that serves to induce or influence to a given line of conduct

  • Another definition for bribery (from is … "to pay or offer monetary benefits for influencing a person to take an action or decision which he or she would not have done otherwise."

  • Hillary has not indicated she has any intention of getting out of this race. If Obama - either directly or through third parties - has offered to "pay or offer monetary benefits" for her to leave the race ("take an action or decision which he or she would not have done otherwise") isn't that offering a bribe?

  • Isn't that illegal?

  • I know Obama is from Chicago where bribery is, by long custom, is not just accepted, but expected, but still.

  • The reason I was in the Green Room at Fox's NY studios last night was because I was on the Geraldo Rivera program. In the Green Room and on the air we were talking about why Hillary would not get out of the race.

  • I said there were several reasons:
    1. Barack - or more likely Michelle Obama - might make an unforced error. Something on the order of "finally being really proud of being an American," or telling the poor White folks of America they are bitter and use guns and religion as a crutch.

    2. There might be another Jeremiah Wright type character out there.

    3. Both

  • I also pointed out, on the air, that while Hillary should easily win the West Virginia primary tomorrow, the bigger deal will be if she wins the Puerto Rico primary on June First.

  • Why?

  • According to the 2000 Census, West Virginia has a population which is 94.9% White. Given the recent splits in who is voting for whom in the Democratic Primaries that would indicate that Hillary is a lock in the Mountaineer State.

  • Clarence Page wrote in a recent column that while Hillary was getting "about 60% of the White voters in Indiana and North Carolina last week, "Black voters, by contrast, turned out nine-to-one for Obama in Indiana and North Carolina, which is close to the black turnout for Democratic presidential candidates in recent decades."

  • However, the Black vote in recent Presidential elections has been only a little over 11% of the total; so if Obama is only getting 40% of the White vote, that does not bode well for November.

  • If Hillary wins the Puerto Rico primary - which, one assumes, will be largely made up of Hispanics - the public debate will switch from White-Black voting patterns to Hispanic-Black voting patterns.

  • If Obama, as now expected, becomes the Democratic nominee, this will be the question: How much damage might he do to the Democrats' efforts to wrest Hispanic votes away from the GOP - perhaps for decades to come?

    New Topic:

  • A woman swimming in the Gulf of Mexico off Tampa was attacked by a … pelican. It's not funny, in that she had to get 15-20 stitches in her face and the pelican died but this is why the story struck me.

  • She has to tell people she was attacked by a pelican.

  • A couple of weeks ago I had an attack of the gout in my left foot. If you've never suffered from gout, you have no idea how painful it can be.

  • A friend called and heard the strain in my voice and asked me what was wrong. I told him about the gout. He said, "Don't tell anyone that. Tell people you got run over by a tank, or that you were trying out for the US national soccer team, or anything. But don't say you have gout.

  • Memo to that woman in Florida: Say you collided with a nuclear submarine; not a pelican.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Clarence Page and Pelican attack pieces. Also a Mullfoto showing how Fox has FINALLY decided to show proper respect and a Catchy Caption of the Day.

  • Thursday, May 8, 2008

    Good News From Iraq

  • Good news is hard to find coming out of Iraq. In fact, any news coming out of Iraq is hard to find because a good deal of the news is good and therefore is not news.

    Dear Mr. Mullings:

    County, Indiana tried to figure out how to steal the election for Obama, but what in the world did that first sentence mean?

    ASPA - American Sentence Parsers Association.

    You know the old saying, "No news is good news?"

    Yes. We believe we may have heard, read, or seen that once or twice in our lifetimes.

    Well, when it comes to Iraq, the saying is turned on its head: "Good news is no news."

    Good one.

  • Word flashed across the Internet late yesterday afternoon that Iraqi forces had captured a guy named Abu Ayyub al-Masri in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

  • Who is Abu Ayyub al-Masri?

  • Al-Masri is the head of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, is all. According to Al Jazeera:
    He is the successor to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who was killed by a US air attack in 2006.

  • One of the first reporters to break the story was Fox's National Security reporter (and Mullfave) Catherine Herridge who correctly pointed out that it was Iraqi TV and the Iraqi government which had announced this - not the US military, which was being careful to distance itself from the report until independent confirmation could be obtained.

  • According to Reuters, "In late June 2006 the United States put a bounty of $5 million on al-Masri's head."

  • Given the current state of the US Dollar, that is now about $1.57 in 2008 dollars, but never mind.

  • Whether or not the Iraqis have the right guy, the broader point is that the central government is carrying the fight to the insurgents. If al-Masri wasn't snagged last night, he will be at some point.

  • While there are no straight lines in nature, the Iraqis are taking control of their country. Absent a unilateral departure of American and coalition forces (if-you-know-what-I-mean-and-I-think-you-do) Iraq will be a peaceful, successful, democratic ally of the West.

    New Topic:

    NOTE: The following actually had the approval of the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices!

  • What with this being Friday and all we, at Mullings Central, have a hard time being too serious for the entirety of the 750 word effort, therefore we bring to you the HEADLINE OF THE MILLENIUM!

  • I know the MILLENIUM is only about eight years in, but I'm telling you your great-great-great-great grandchildren will remember this one as the best headline.

  • From, of all sources the BBC … and I am not making this up:

    Great Tits Cope Well with Warming

  • As you might well imagine, this headline got my attention.
    Beach Volleyball?

    Hollywood starlets?

    Discovery Health Plastic Surgery Channel?


  • Turns out the Great Tit is a bird. A regular bird. It is a bird whose chicks eat caterpillars and with warmer weather there appear to be more caterpillars for the chicks to eat and, ergo, the Great Tit chicks are thriving.

  • Get me Al Gore on the phone.

  • A few words about Mothers' Day:

  • According to one site:
    In the U.S. Mothers' Day is a holiday celebrated on second Sunday in May. It is a day when children honor their mothers with cards, gifts, and flowers.

  • And, for some of us, schlepping up the New Jersey Turnpike to Exit 8A.

  • Seriously, though, being a Mom is probably the hardest job in the world. No matter how old their children are, they are still the babies. They worry when they don't hear from them; they brag to their friends when they do; and they heave heavy sighs in between.

  • God bless them every one.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Iraqi Al-Qaeda story; also the link to the Great Tit story from the BBC and a link to this somewhat tortured history of Mothers' Day.

    Also, a Mullfoto about McDonalds in other lands and the Catchy Caption of the Day dealing with the Great Tit.

  • Sunday, May 4, 2008

    Dann Foolish

    SPECIAL OFFER: This is an advertisement, please skip down if you don't want to read about it.

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    Please take a second and go to the proposal page which explains what I am offering.

    Thank you,


  • As regular readers of MULLINGS know; when I am correct in a prediction I write about it every day for the next three or four months. When I am wrong, I either ignore it or remind you that there is no way to understand all of the permutations and combinations of events which can affect an outcome.


    At dinner the other night with two other couples we got into a discussion about how many different combinations of glass-clinks could be organized.

    I said, with the absolute conviction I have developed over many years of being a talking head on Fox and CNN, that the formula to determine it was 6x5x4x3x2 divided by 6.

    I had no idea if I was correct and, before you hit the REPLY key, I have no desire, even now, to know whether I was correct.

    I only mention this to remind you to take what I write with not just a grain, but with an entire peck, of salt.


  • Recent events in Ohio prove my point. They have to do with the Ohio Office of Attorney General and the resultant ripples may well last all the way to next January 20.

  • The Attorney General of the State of Ohio is a man named Marc Dann. Marc Dann, a Democrat, was elected in the tsunami of 2006 which swept just about every Republican office holder down the Ohio River in the wake of astonishing scandals which attended to the GOP Governor at the time.

  • Keep that in mind: Scandals swept Republicans out of office in Ohio, and Democrats are now in control.

  • Marc Dann is a Democrat from Youngstown and after he was elected he hired three of his buddies to senior positions in the AG's office.

  • The four of them rented a townhouse in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio which caused an Ohio GOP official to claim that Dann, "turned the attorney general's office into a raunchy frat pad."

  • Putting aside for the moment the obvious redundancy of "raunchy" and "frat pad" it turns out that one of Dann's buds was sexually harassing the office staff (and possibly running his Youngstown construction business out of the AG's office) and at least two other pals were either complicit or turned a blind eye.

  • Not only that, but Marc Dann, the Democratic Attorney General his own self, was using the "raunchy frat pad" to spend quality time with his scheduler - an affair to which he finally admitted late last week.

  • All four of his subordinates were either fired or quit, including the 20-something scheduler with whom Democrat Marc Dann was having the affair in that raunchy frat pad, but Dann, the Democratic Attorney General has not resigned, and says he will not.

  • The Columbus Dispatch pointed out that Democratic the Attorney General's "troubles will be a renewable source of political fodder for the GOP and a form of drip-drip-drip water torture for Democrats."

  • Ohio is a pivotal state in any national election. It was President Bush's victory in Ohio in the 2004 Presidential election by 118,600 votes (out of more than five million cast) which gave him the Buckeye State's 20 electoral votes and cemented his victory over John Kerry.

  • With Marc Dann (D-OH) refusing (as of this writing) to resign it will give the Ohio GOP an easy target to use as a reminder to voters that scandal and abuse-of-power are non-partisan.

  • Joe Hallett wrote in the Columbus Dispatch over the weekend:
    "As John Wayne once said, 'Life is getting up one more time than you've been knocked down.'

    He also said, 'Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid.'"

  • Republicans around the country should send notes of thanks to Democrat Marc Dann. He has single handedly put Ohio back in play in November.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the campaign proposal I noted at the top of the column. Also, lots of links to the scandal(s) involving the Democratic Attorney General of Ohio.

    The Mullfoto compares the cost of filling the Mullmobile with the Skippy Scooter and the Catchy Caption of the Day which is ridiculous even by normal MULLINGS standards.

  • Thursday, May 1, 2008

    Elite in Indiana

    From Marietta, Ohio


  • I know you think I have been hitting this Obama-as-Elitist thing too hard, but here's the lead paragraph from Reuters' Caren Bohan writing from Fort Wayne, Indiana:
    "Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama sought to convince Americans he is not elitist on Thursday as new polls showed his aura of inevitability has declined after weeks of negative headlines."

  • Hillary Clinton, sensing the vulnerability, jumped on Obama's opposition to a Gas Tax Holiday (which both she and John McCain favor) in Brownsburg, Indiana saying:
    "I find it frankly a little offensive that people who don't have to worry about filling up their gas tank … think that it's somehow illegitimate to provide relief for the millions and millions of Americans who are … unable to keep up with their daily expenses."

  • I love that "frankly" thing. Does that mean the rest of the time she opens her mouth she is Shirley not being Frank?


    That "Fort Wayne, Indiana" dateline reminded me of another elitist story.

    Dan Quayle was the Congressman from Fort Wayne. I was Quayle's press secretary when he was a Congressman and a Senator.

    In the 1980 race for US Senate against 18-year-incumbent Birch Bayh, Time Magazine insisted on referring to Quayle the same way that Bayh did: J. Danforth Quayle - a clear attempt to mark Quayle as an elitist man of privilege.

    I called the Time bureau in Chicago and complained that they were giving credence to a ploy being used by Birch Bayh - although I've always thought a guy named "Birch" didn't have much to complain about a guy named "Danforth".

    The editor I talked to said that Quayle's name was James Danforth Quayle and therefore their usage was legit. I countered with the fact that they weren't calling the incumbent President "James Earl Carter". They were using his preferred construct: "Jimmy."

    We finally decided on a test. I asked whether he would accept the name the official publication the "Congressional Directory" used. He said he would.
    vCongressman Quayle was referred to as "Dan Quayle" by Time Magazine for the rest of the campaign.

    I had looked it up. I knew the answer before I had made the bet.


  • Back to the next round of primaries. North Carolina and Indiana are on Tuesday. As recently as Monday of this week Obama had a lead of 15 percentage points over Clinton in North Carolina: 51-36. As of last night the RealClearPolitics average had Obama's lead down to about seven points: 49-42.

  • Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday.

  • Obama's lead in North Carolina has been sliced in half in just four days.

  • In Indiana, over that same period, Obama has gone from being ahead of Clinton by three points - 46-43 to down five 43-48; a switch of eight points in five days.

  • When you read in the Popular Press that Obama has put the Jeremiah Wright business behind him? Look at those numbers.

  • I said on CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer Tuesday that Barack was going to find himself in the same position in North Carolina as Hillary had been in Pennsylvania: A win was not going to be enough. It had to be a BIG win.

  • More: According to the website, a New York Times/CBS poll shows that 51% [of Democratic voters] now say they expect Obama to win the nomination, down from 69 percent on April 3rd, while 34% now expect Clinton to be the nominee, up from 21% a month ago.

  • Not only that - but helping make Hillary Clinton's case to the Super Delegates - the poll said 48% of Democrats now say he is the candidate with the best chance of defeating John McCain, down from 56% in early April. Minus 12.

  • Keep in mind, as we tick toward the Democratic National Convention in Denver in late August, that the Democrats still haven't dealt with that pesky problem of what to do about delegates - or lack of delegates - from Michigan and Florida.

  • What does all this mean? It means that unless something extraordinary happens, the Democratic National Convention is going to be Must See TV.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Reuters piece and to the CBS/NYT poll. Also a Mullfoto of the day proving gas prices are all in your head and a Catchy Caption of the Day.