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

Friday, June 29, 2007

London Car Bombs

Two cars, loaded with explosives, propane tanks, gasoline and nails were discovered about a hundred yards from each other in London's West End.

This is eerily familiar. In Iraq there have been way too many instances of a bomb going off in a crowded area - a market, for instance. Then, when the emergency crews arrive to help the injured and secure the area, a second bomb has been detonated.

The only targets of the second bomb are the rescue, fire, and police crews.

Here is a photo from a car bomb which was exploded outside one of the main gates to the Green Zone in Baghdad in January 2004:

This was not followed by a second blast but look at the size of the hole it put in the street.

There is no photo credit. I took this. You can read the entire posting from January 18, 2004 which was titled In a War Zone; Near a War Zone


Race-based School Districts

In an extremely close vote yesterday, the Supreme Court eased pressures on local school districts on the matter of how much they have to factor in race when drawing attendance areas.

I have not read the opinion(s) (which are available by clicking on the Supreme Court Website) but here's what I think: In 1954 the Supreme Court issued the Brown v Board of Education decision which struck down the "separate but equal" rules. Rules which had institutionalized segregated schools and, in any event, were only half true: Black schools were separate but not even close to being equal.

By my count 1954 was 53 years ago.

Fifty-three years ago we were only eight years beyond the end of WW II; we were in the midst of the Korean war; no one yet knew that Vietnam even existed (except the French); Dwight Eisenhower was President, and the GOP Controlled the House of Representatives for one Congress which would not happen again for 40 years.

A lot of culture has passed under the bridge of American civilization since 1954.

Ozzie and Harriet gave way to Ozzie Osborne on TV. Bakelite dial telephones have yielded to iPhones (effective today). Standard transmission now means four-speed automatic, not a shifter on the steering column.

It seems to me that 50 years is long enough to give one group special treatment - even if that special treatment was not only fair, but absolutely necessary, when it was first invoked.

The hand wringing of the Democrats running for President over this decision was pandering to an audience at Howard University - an historically Black institution.

If we really want to dig into this, it is also well beyond the day when there should be a Congressional Black Caucus in the US House of Representatives.

Prior to the Voting Rights Act in 1965, there were but a handful of Blacks in the House. I would have applauded a group banding together to bring the issues of housing, education, and voting to the attention of their White colleagues.

As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the opinion: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

But this is 2007, not 1954 or 1965. At some point a culture has to assume responsibility for its own success or failure.

It is time to, dare we say it ... move on.

ADDITIONAL READING: Just found a terrific FAQ on the WSJ Online page about this case by Jess Bravin.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Edwards v. Coulter

I am not a huge fan of Ann Coulter. It might be envy. She has sold hundreds of thousands of books. I happen to know the exact number of books I've sold:


Even allowing for that, I come from the "You are my opponent, not my enemy" school of politics so I don't like Coulter's act.

The other day I was on ABC's webcast "Politics Now!"

Sam Donaldson began berating me about Ann Coulter and her dust up with Elizabeth Edwards.

Coulter had been on ABC's Good Morning America on Monday morning. She was there live and in person. I happened to have been on during a Jake Tapper package about ... I forget.

That night - or the next - Coulter was on Hardball with Chris Matthews. It was an obvious set-up because Elizabeth Edwards called in. Hardball is not a call-in show so this wasn't exactly an every-night occurrence.

Sam asked me, in that demanding way he has, whether Ann Coulter's hard line hurt Republicans.

I said: Sam, I didn't put her on the air. You did - or, at least ABC did. So, don't ask me to justify her.

Sam agreed with me which was the first time in our 30-or-so year acquaintance that has ever happened.

Immigration Bill Sent Home

The Immigration Bill has been killed. At least the comprehensive immigration bill has been killed.

Just got off CNN with Paul Begala who got on one of his rants about how great Bill Clinton was and how awful George W. Bush is when I pointed out that the vote to kill the bill was 46 - 53 with 15 DEMOCRATS voting against.

If Majority Leader Harry Reid had been able to keep his troops in line and not have 30% of his caucus defect, the vote would have been 61 - 38. Enough to keep it alive.

Paul was unmoved by this but was moved when I pointed out that the argument "this was going to hurt the GOP in the long run because Hispanics were going to defect to the Democrats" is flawed because, unlike the Black vote which is a solid bloc, the Hispanic vote is most certainly not.

If you want to see which Senator voted click here to go to the Senate webpage.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NY Times ... again

I know I'm becoming fixated on this, but in this AM's edition (at least the on-line edition) of the NY Times' coverage of the CIA papers, they chose to use a photo of Richard Nixon sitting with CIA chief Richard Helms in 1973:

According to the piece, the CIA papers detail improper, immoral, illegal and unethical activities carried out by the Agency under Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson as well as Nixon.

The Times could have chosen any of those sitting with , but they went with their hearts and portrayed Nixon as the evil-est of all.

Another example of the New York Times editorializing on its news pages.


New Emoticon

I got a blistering e-mail rant about the Fairness Doctrine issue from Mullster Elliot Curzon which ended with:
"Sorry for the rant, but this one really barbecues my oyster."

To which I replied:
"Ok, so just to be clear ... we're putting you down as "undecided!"

To which HE replied:
"I wish I knew how to do a wild-eyed raving lunatic emoticon."

To which I replied:

- | -

Good News from Iran

This is good news. The headline on the BBC webpage reads: Iran fuel rations spark violence.

It seems that the geniuses in Tehran have spent so much time rattling their collective scimitars at Israel and so much of their national treasure on a nuclear weapons program that they forgot about building refineries to process the crude which comes up out of the ground like
Jed Clampett's farm.

According to the BBC:
Despite its huge energy reserves, Iran lacks refining capacity and it imports about 40% of its petrol.

Windows were smashed and stones thrown at the stations, and there was traffic chaos as motorists queued to buy fuel.

Iranians were given only two hours' notice of the move that limits private drivers to 100 litres of fuel a month.

(AFP/Behrouz Mehri)

For those, like me, who wouldn't know a litre from a meter, I looked it up for you.

One litre = 0.26417205 gallons or about four litres to the gallon. 100 litres per month is, then, about 26 gallons. That would be one tankful for my 1999 Land Rover Discovery.

Per month.

Get me some stones.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Advice for Bloomberg

The New York Daily News ran this on Sunday. Someone called me about it, but I forgot to look for it until now.

One note: I had nothing to do with the Contract for America. I was out of politics at the time and was running the Middle East for IT company EDS (founded by one of Ed Rollins' former bosses).


Ballot battle plan

Pros offer strategies for Bloomy campaign


Posted Sunday, June 24th 2007, 4:00 AM

Mayor Bloomberg

Mayor Bloomberg has to know the odds are stacked against him getting elected President as an independent.

It's never happened before - just getting on the ballot in 50 states will be difficult, and he's far less well-known outside New York. But Bloomberg has billions of dollars to spend, he can skip the bruising primary elections and he can push an independent message in a time when plenty of Americans are sick of politics as usual.

Here, five political veterans tell the Daily News how they'd manage a Bloomberg for President campaign - even though most think it's a race he can't win.


Experience: Republican strategist, campaign manager for Ronald Reagan in 1984 and independent Ross Perot in 1992

Message: Don't push ideology; run on a platform of sound fiscal management. Use his governance of New York City as an example, but also point to creating a multibillion-dollar business from nothing. "He's a success story, and I think that's what a lot of people are looking for."
Strategy: Stay out of the running until after the Democratic and Republican party primaries - candidates will be wounded and short of money, and Americans sick of the infighting will be ready for a fresh face. "I would run a national campaign. I would not run state-by-state."
Could he win? "Not likely."

Experience: Republican strategist, helped push Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America"

Message: Get out of New York and tour the country, but don't worry about trying to be charismatic. Bloomberg's managerial strength has a natural appeal to voters in all 50 states, even if he isn't a natural politician like Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton. "When people say there has to be a likability factor to run for President, I say two words: Richard Nixon."

Strategy: Talk loud and often about America's big issues, even while Democrats and Republicans are battling in their primaries. Bloomberg would attract media attention and stand out as a clear-headed alternative. "The first thing I would do would be to portray everybody else in both parties at either the left or right edge of American society." Could he win? "I don't think he has a prayer."


Experience: Longtime pollster and political junkie Message: Polls show the top two things voters are looking for in a candidate are competent management and a willingness to cross party lines - Bloomberg's strengths. But the third priority is how to run America's wars, which Bloomberg hasn't addressed. "What people are telling us, at least for now, is that they want to put ideology aside and they want the anti-Bush." Strategy: Don't just look for the moderate middle - reach out to disaffected Republicans and Democrats who aren't happy with their own parties' plans and candidates. "Find those centrist voters. In this era of microtargeting, that's easy to do."

Could he win? "He's got the right stuff this year. The election is going to be won in the center."


Experience: Democratic strategist, spokesman for Clinton White House and Al Gore campaign

Message: Bloomberg's "post-partisan" model is appealing, but he needs more than a management style to get elected - he needs new ideas if he's going to distinguish himself. "You could certainly see him using the candidacy to export the Mike Bloomberg way of leadership to the country."
Strategy: Unveil the campaign slowly, using his enormous financial cushion to avoid jumping in too early - and if the race starts to seem hopeless, drop out and become the Democrats' nominee for vice president. "He could still spend his billion dollars on behalf of the ticket."
Could he win? "It seems very difficult to come up with an ultimate road map to victory."


Experience: Democratic strategist, worked for Gore and John Kerry's campaigns

Message: Bloomberg brings a straight-talk appeal, but he can't coast for too long as the fresh independent face. As the honeymoon ends, he will have to come up with strong plans on tough issues like health care and Iraq. "He has a kind of charisma of anti-charisma. He exudes competence, and his message exudes competence." Strategy: Focus on the Electoral College from the start, and pick up states where he would finish first even with less than 40% of the vote. But he should always weigh whether he would siphon votes away from his natural allies - and whether he would end up being a spoiler. "He has to calculate what are the realistic chances he could win. He has to calculate who does he help and who does he hurt."
Could he win? "It would be difficult, but not impossible."

Cloture Votes

Two votes on the Senate floor this morning are of interest. One was on a "motion to proceed" on S. 800 which is the bill which would allow union bosses to conduct organizing elections without a secret ballot.

This is known as, in the complicated and arcane jargon of Washington, "payback."

Unfortunately for the unions the motion to proceed - which needs 60 votes (it is part of the complex "cloture" procedure) - only got 51 votes. 48 Senators voted not to proceed and so S. 800 - the Union Payback Bill - is off the Senate schedule, at least for now.

The other vote was on the Immigration Bill. That motion to proceed passed by a vote of 64-35. It is not clear to me that everyone who voted to allow debate and amendments to go forward will vote for the final version once that process has been completed.

Here a link so you can see how your Senators voted.

It is very likely that some of those who voted to proceed did so precisely so they can get on record as being for or against one amendment or another (assuming they get separate votes) and/or on record as voting for or against the bill itself.

Stay tuned.

Ain't That a Kick in the Head?

According to the AP (via the NY Times) a jockey was suspended for 30 days and fine $1,000 for kicking his horse in the stomach.

"The decision came ... after a disciplinary hearing for kicking the 2-year-old colt, Yes Yes Ohyes, in the stomach before a race."

First, bad name for anything ... including a horse. Second what do we think Yes Yes Ohyes had done to cause his jockey to kick him? Third, isn't a horse's stomach pretty high? Was it a scissor kick?

Lastly, this. The jockey's agent said "officials overreacted because [the jockey's] kick was televised, prompting fans who saw the act to call the track and complain."

Which leads us to wonder: In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania what is the normal penalty for a non-televised kick to the stomach?

It Depends on Which Church You're In

Barack Obama has declared Jihad on what he calls "the so-called leaders of the Christian Right," who, he tells us are "all too eager to exploit what divides us."

Obama got great coverage (all the way to Australia which you can read here) and, as usual, that coverage in the Popular Press ranged from fawning to uncritical.

The notion that the Religions Right has the corner on the use of religion to drive politics was ignored - at is most obvious level - ignoring the fact that Obama, according to Campaigns & Elections Magazine "spoke to the United Church of Christ in Hartford, Connecticut."

Wait. What? He was complaining about religion in politics at a religious event? I must have come in late.

But that is not, by far, the most glaring rhetorical inconsistency in Obama's argument. That both sides have used Religion to divide us is most easily described in four words:

Jesse Jackson
Al Sharpton.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Individual Performers

ESPN must be running some contest about who was the best male athelete, best female, best game, best hot dog, etc. etc. from last year.

On the Mike & Mike in the Morning program on ESPN Radio the question was - between Roger Federer and Tiger Woods who was the best athelete? Other athletes from team sports were on the list - LaBron James and the like - but when you have outstanding performances from players in an individual sport like tennis or golf, they have to get the nod.

The futher nod, it seems to me, is to give extra weight to a professional golfer over a professional tennis player - all else being equal. The reason? A golfer has to go out and beat the entire field, every time. Tiger Woods did that six straight times last year.

A professional tennis player - because of the bracketing system - has to beat only half the field and it is not unusual for the best player(s) from the other bracket to get knocked out before they get to the semis or the finals.

Thus, Tiger Woods is my guy.

Also, Tiger Woods is my guy because, according to Forbes (see the richest people in today's MULLINGS, Tiger earned $87 million last year.

Here's the list from Forbes via

ForbesBest-paid athletes
Andre Agassi35$26.2 million
Lance Armstrong34$28 million
David Beckham30$32.5 million
Kobe Bryant27$28.8 million
Lindsay Davenport29$6 million
Oscar De La Hoya33$38 million
Jeff Gordon34$23.4 million
Matt Hasselbeck30$22.8 million
LeBron James21$22.9 million
Derek Jeter31$25.5 million
Walter Jones32$23.2 million
Michael Jordan43$33 million
Phil Mickelson35$26.8 million
Shaquille O'Neal34$33.4 million
Manny Ramirez35$24.2 million
Alex Rodriguez30$27.5 million
Ronaldo29$23 million
Valentino Rossi27$28 million
Michael Schumacher37$60 million
Maria Sharapova18$18.2 million
Annika Sorenstam35$7.3 million
Michael Vick25$37.5 million
Serena Williams24$12.7 million
Venus Williams25$6.5 million
Tiger Woods30$87 million

Updated: 2:16 p.m. ET Mar. 22, 2006

© 2007


Do as I Say, Not as I ...

The SF Chronicle has been reporting a nearly unbelievable story about how the chief operating officer of a major California organization is really an illegal immigrant.

Nothing new here? The major California organization is ... the Republican Party of California.


Story is HERE

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The End of of the Redding, CA Saga

From the Editorial Page Editor of the Redding (CA) Record Searchlight:

Blogger Rich Galen has reach, and his fans in the north state haven't let me forget the $100 bet. The Good News Rescue Mission was kind enough to e-mail me a copy of the receipt for the donation I made in his honor today.

Here's her e-mail:


Attached is the receipt for your $100.00 donation that you made on 06/22/07.

Thank you so much for your contribution.

God Bless,

Tiffinni O’Hara
Accounting Specialist
Good News Rescue Mission

And documentary evidence is here.

I should make more such hotheaded early-morning bets. Losing them is good for my soul.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Guy Vander Jagt

Guy Vander Jagt died this morning at a hospice in Washington, DC. You can read the obituary prepared by his family here.

I first went to work for Guy in 1982 as the press secretary for the National Republican Congressional Committee after a two-year turn with Congressman, then Senator, Dan Quayle.

Over the next quarter century our paths crossed many times including one memorable period when he asked me to come to Western Michigan to run his campaign for re-election.

I managed him right into retirement by losing the primary to current Congressman Pete Hoeskstra.

On election night the first returns came in from, I think, Cadillac, Michigan. We should have won that area by a 2-1 margin. Instead we won with a bare majority.

I told his chief-of-staff and we called Guy away from the "victory" party and told him that if we were this close in our strongest area, it was likely he was going to lose as results came in from Holland, Michigan - Pete's home area.

This is classic Vander Jagt: The local TV station was watching the returns - which had Vander Jagt head, remember - and in an on-the-air interview the reporter congratulated Guy on having won an apparent victory.

Guy gently corrected the reporter and said that he was - right at that second, hours before the final returns and maybe before even Hoesktra's campaign knew they were going to win - on the air, Vander Jagt endorsed Pete Hoekstra for the seat Guy had just lost.

Vander Jagt was the last of the great orators. His deep booming voice captured audiences from local political events to the Key Note Address at the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit.

Guy died this morning after a long fight with pancreatic cancer.

I'm sorry he's gone. I'm happy he's at peace.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What??? Reporters are Democrats?

This would generally fall under the heading of "Top Ten Things We Already Knew."

MSNBC has published a list of reporters, TV anchors and others in the news business who have donated to Democratic or Liberal organizations, or to Republican or Conservative organizations.

It will not surprise you to find out that the D to R ratio is about 1,352,573 to 1 in favor of Democrats or Liberal causes.

I think reporters participating financially in the political process is an excellent thing

But here's what we need to think about before we go racing off into the streets in a projectile sweat:
Many of us have been opposed to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law on the grounds that a political donation is free speech and by limiting the amount and scope of donations it, effectively, limited otherwise lawful speech.

No Supreme Court Justice has ever ruled that free speech does not include the right to yell "Republican!" in a crowded Elks Club hall at an Iowa caucus.

You may also agree with me that the remedy for much of what is wrong with money in politics is ... disclosure - which is how NBC built the list of who has given what to whom.

When I write about something in which I have an interest - financial, family, whatever - I generally start out with what I call an Armstrong Williams Alert - Armstrong being the guy who was paid by the Departement of Education to say good things about the Department of Education while he was doing Conservative commentary.

Then, you can decided how to filter what I write or say.

Ok. So, we agree that we are opposed to McCain-Feingold on First Amendment grounds. We agree that disclosure solves a lot of this so the next question is: At what point does a journalist have to sign away his/her Constitutional rights a citizen to practice their craft?

If we agree political donations are guaranteed, then we have to agree they are guaranteed to everyone.

We have known for some time - through other polls - that reporters tend to be Liberals and they don't have to disclose that. We should encourage reporters to give to the political candidates and organizations of their choice - but disclose those donations which would give us a much clearer picture of which writers, producers and anchors stand where on the political spectrum.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Washington Nationals Column

As regular readers know, I am a credentialed reporter covering the Major League Baseball Washington Nationals for the Alexandria Times - known in the RFK Stadium press box as the "Mighty Alexandria Times."

As the MAT is a weekly newspaper, very few people in Alexandria, VA are fooled into thinking they are going to get the box scores, so I write a baseball column.

This was the column from June 11


Last week the Washington Nationals invited the press to tour the new baseball stadium just off South Capital Street. The tour was timed to coincide with the Nationals’ announcement of its ticket prices and seating chart for the 2008 season.

Top price at the new stadium will be about $300 (there is a premium on the premium for front row seats but let’s let that go for now). There are 81 home games in Major League Baseball so that is a pretty hefty investment of $24,300.

Before you think that sounds outrageous, consider similar packages for the Wizards’ NBA home games and the Capitals’ NHL home games. Wiz tickets (again not counting the Jack Nicholson seats) are about $430 per seat for each of the 41 home games. Caps tickets for next season (also 41 home games) have a top price of about $165 per.

Follow me here: Add $430 and $165 and divide by two. What do you get? $297.50.

What a coincidence. Nationals’ team president Stan Kasten happened to come up with a top price which is within a half a hotdog of the average top price for Wizards or Caps games.

While we’re at it, on the low end, the lowest priced ticket for a Nationals’ home game will be $5. The low end of Wiz and Caps are $22 and $15 respectively.

Actually, there is nothing about the Nationals which doesn’t have Stan Kasten’s imprint on it.

Kasten’s sports biography is astonishing. In a backgrounder written by Washington Post reporter Dave Sheinin last year, he pointed out that Kasten had been – simultaneously – the president of all three major sports teams in Atlanta – the Baseball Braves, the Basketball Hawks, and the Hockey Thrashers.

Kasten understand the business of sports. At the news conference Kasten said that the Nationals have to be successful as a business venture but, he said, it is the premium ticket and skybox buyers who allow the team to make seats available to “Joe fan” at $5 and $10.

Kasten also understands the sport of sports. From Sheinen’s 2006 piece: “In 1991, a year after finishing last for the third straight year, the Braves captured the National League West title” and then ran off thirteen straight through the 2005 season.

When D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty was Councilman Fenty he opposed the plan to have the District put up the money for the new stadium. But since becoming Mayor, Fenty has moved consistently to consolidate and streamline decision-making authority for major projects like the stadium and the development of the surrounding area.

Anyone who thinks Stan Kasten hasn’t been in close contact with the Mayor probably doesn’t understand either man. Kasten oversaw the construction and development of the new structures for all three professional teams in Atlanta and Fenty is plenty smart enough to listen to a man who has actually done it.

As I looked down on the construction site which, in about 10 months will be the Nationals’ home stadium, I thought: None of this would be the same without Stan Kasten.

There would be a Major League Baseball team in Washington, but it might not be owned by the Lerners. Even it if were, without Kasten the Lerners might not have decided to invest tens of millions of additional dollars in long-term development because without Kasten there would be zero confidence in the region that a successful team will be built from the bottom up.

Whoever owned the team might well have succumbed to the siren song of buying fan loyalty with high-priced free agent talent. Ask Dan Snyder how that worked out for him.

And, without Kasten, there would be a stadium, but it would probably look like the HUD building with the roof taken off.

Left Wing Offs Hillary

In the wake of the highly touted video of Hillary & Bill spoofing the final Sopranos episode, it seems the Left Wing of the Democratic Party wants to do in the Clinton campaign.

According to the piece, Barack Obama wins Straw Poll written by Ben Smith:

Obama got 29% of the 720 votes cast.
Edwards got 26%
Clinton 17%
Richardson 9%
Gore (as a write-in) got 8%

At some point the Clinton campaign is going to have to come to grips with the fact that she is not BILL Clinton who could charm the socks (or stockings) off any person or group, over any issue, at any time, in any place

Hillary is a good politician. Bill was a legendary politician. Whether you liked him or not he and Reagan were about as good as anyone in our lifetimes.

These straw polls have no meaning other than to indicate which campaign did a good job of organizing the attendees. With only 720 people voting, it is possible that the Clintonistas believed she had enough institutional support to do well. Instead only 122 people voted for her - the other nearly 600 voted for someone else.

This of course does not mean the Clinton campaign is in trouble. It does tend to indicate a level of distrust - probably over Iraq - of Sen. Clinton by the Democratic Party's hardest core, and most likely voters.

Fournier - Back in the Saddle at AP

Ron Founier is a reporter for the Associated Press. He has been a reporter for the AP since he covered Governor Clinton (and the Mrs.) in Little Rock before being shifted to the Washington bureau with the Clintons.

He rose to be one of the handful of national political reporters whom other reporters read because he had developed terrific sources and a clarity of style.

He left reporting for a while to go to an Internet startup, but he's back in the saddle as the AP's on-line editor and so is showing up again at major political events.

All that you-know-what kissing gets me nothing, but you should read his take on Hillary Clinton's feeble attempts to bob-and-weave from answering hard questions.

His take on Hillary's appearance at the Democratic/Liberal/Union love fest (starring Chris Matthews, by the way) is not to be missed.

You can not miss it by clicking on this link: Sen. Hillary Clinton an Artful Dodger

Add to the non-responsive responses to Matthews' softballs her refusal to say whether she would have fired Gen. Peter Pace when Pace said he thought that homosexuality was immoral ("I'll leave that to others") and her waiting until the end of the Senate vote on Iraq funding to see whether her vote would matter (it didn't so she cast the Liberally correct "Nay,") and I think we can see a pattern developing.

Practice this: It depends upon what your definition of "is" ...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bloomberg for President

Mike Bloomberg has left the Republican Party.



I got a call from ... Bloomberg News Service asking what I thought. This is - from memory - what I more-or-less said:

1. A short Jewish guy from New York is not going to play that well in Iowa, or South Carolina or Alabama.

NOTE: As a short Jewish guy from New York I'm allowed to say that. You're not.

2. It goes to show what happens when you have a couple of billion dollars and nothing to occupy your time.

3. There is already a Mayor from New York in this race.

4. It is hard as hell to get on the ballot as an independent. Ask Ross Perot.

5. Speaking of Ross Perot, call Ed Rollins (who ran Perot's campaign and actually LIVES in New York City) and see if he's involved with this.

6. Most Republicans understand Bloomberg only rented the GOP label so his leaving the GOP has no implications nation-wide.

7. How exactly is the Bloomberg News Service intending to cover the Bloomberg for President campaign? [Nervous laugh]

8. Bloomberg - like most New Yorkers - truely see the world the way Steinberg drew it in that famous New Yorker Magazine cover:

Eye-Rack Story

I don't have any idea if this is true or not if only because I don't think (a) there are 1,000 soldiers at Balad who would have the night off at the same time, (b) there is an auditorium large enough to hold them, or (c) even if there were, that they would be allowed to congregate in the same place.

Actually, after I first posted this, I looked up LSA Anacosta on a global security site and found the following:

For entertainment, LSA Anaconda has two swimming pools, which were built by Iraqis before the war. Also, a first-run 35-mm indoor movie theater shows three free movies a day. The theater is huge, and is one of the most hardened structures on the base, providing one of the best sanctuarys on base during mortar attacks.

Religious services are provided by military chaplains, and there are smaller events run by individual soldiers or units.

Show's you what I know.

Nevertheless it's a great story sent in by Rich Bosma

Written by Chaplain Jim Higgins on 5/14/07. LSA Anaconda is at the Balad Airport in Iraq, north of Baghdad.

"I recently attended a showing of 'Superman 3' here at LSA Anaconda.
"We have a large auditorium we use for movies as well as memorial services and other large gatherings.

"As is the custom back in the States, we stood and snapped to attention when The National Anthem began before the main feature. All was going as planned until about three-quarters of the way through the National Anthem something went wrong with the film clip and the music stopped.

"Now, what would happen if this occurred with 1,000 ordinary 18-22 year-olds back in the States? I imagine there would be hoots, catcalls, laughter, a few rude comments, and everyone would sit down and call for a movie. Of course, that is, if they had stood for The National Anthem in the first place.

"Here, the 1,000 soldiers continued to stand at attention, eyes fixed forward. The music started again. The soldiers continued to quietly stand at attention. And again, at the same point, the music stopped.

"What would you expect to happen? Even here I would imagine laughter as everyone sat down and expected the movie to start. But instead, you could have heard a pin drop. Every soldier stood at attention.

Then there was a lone voice, then a dozen, and quickly the room was filled with the voices of a thousand soldiers singing:

'And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave,

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?'

"It was the most inspiring moment I have had here in Iraq. I wanted you to know what kind of Soldiers are serving you here

Monday, June 18, 2007

Now, THAT's some weapon!

When I was in Iraq there was a group which translated the Arab press into English. As part of this effort, there was a weekly download by the translators about rumors they had picked up in the coffeehouses and marketplaces.

Most of the rumors had a basis in (a) "It is the Americans punishing us for ...", or (b) "It is the Mossad [the Israeli Intelligence Service]..., or (c) both.

The daily summary of the translations was/is published in a document named "The Baghdad Mosquit0." All of this because today's Mosquito contained the following translated from the newspaper Al-Mashriq:

US Army Reveals They Have Developed A Sex Weapon

Summary: The US has been using everything possible to defeat their enemies. Recently, the US Air Force revealed that they have been working to produce a chemical material to be the main component of a bomb that can be sprayed using aircraft to make their enemies think about sex and to turn them into homosexuals.

This is real news that has been confirmed by the biological weapons supervision group in
Austin, Texas. They confirmed that the US military has been working to produce this biological material. The research was on a CD that was produced by the American military in 2000. The CD and some documents were handed over to the International Scientific Academy in 2002. The document said that this project cost 7.5 million dollars.

The project named “Sunshine” includes that the military will produce chemical materials to spray on enemy locations. This weapon is not lethal but it has a strong sexual effect because the chemicals make the enemy have homosexual feelings.

Author: Not Given


Which gave me a good laugh. Oh, how these rumors get started!

Then, I came across this from the BBC Website

The US military investigated building a "gay bomb", which would make enemy soldiers "sexually irresistible" to each other, government papers say.