Monday, August 31, 2009

Could Cheney Be Right About CIA Probe?

Could Dick Cheney be right about the CIA Probe?   I can't even believe that I'm asking the question as I've always had an issue with Darth Vader and his side-kicks, but Cheney, who recently said that President Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to look into CIA interrogation techniques during the Bush Administration years was "politically motivated", might have a point.
I haven't been able to figure out exactly why the Obama Administration is looking into supposedly past CIA transgressions.  After all, we are talking about "The Company", "The Spooks" (not my friend Chenjerai's former rap group but the name given to CIA operatives), the very people who's job success requires deception.
The micromanagement of CIA Operatives in the field has never been, and should never, in my opinion, be an important goal for the Attorney General to shoot for.  The CIA shouldn't work under it's own rules, that's not what I'm saying, but it should work under guidelines that keep it separate from other organizations.  Why?  Because by it's very nature the CIA is another organization.  It's sole purpose is to gather intelligence that keeps the United States number one in the world.  How it does it may need to change and the Obama Administration can do that, but spending time, money and effort on figuring out the rightness or wrongness of what happened in the past makes no sense to me.
Would it be possible to glean information from prisoners with different interrogation methods?  Maybe, but by opening a can of worms that could quickly become the size of the Capitol Building, the Obama Administration can only be hoping for one thing, deflection.  That has to be the word, right?  Deflection from the fact that unemployment is rampant in our cities and we haven't made any headway in Afghanistan?
The Obama Administration cannot be faulted for either one, but by playing a Bush Administration "card", blaming the past administration for not being able to solve present day issues, the Obama Administration has already proven themselves to be no different than the Bush Administration when it comes to explaining why, after more than 200 days in office, nothing has really changed.  Nothing at all.
But, I digress.  The truth is that the CIA is the CIA for a reason and I have to agree with Cheney on one respect - - there hasn't been a terrorist atttack on American soil since 9/11.
That's a fact.  Maybe, we should leave the CIA alone and let it do its job.  Nobody likes to be micromanaged, after all. 
There are bigger issues to solve than punishing the CIA for what they did under Cheney's and Bush's watch, much bigger.  Let bygones be bygones is what I say.

Monday, August 24, 2009

33 Advertisers Pull Away From Fox's Glenn Beck

After Glenn Beck called President Barrack Obama a racist on national television, he promptly went on vacation.
Well, he's back today, but, thank goodness, thirty-three advertisers have decided not to go back to the Obama bashing with him.  Beck's program, which can only be described as vitrolically stupid, is as fanciful to the right as espousing upon Quentin Tarantino's supposed genius is to those film goers who see more on the screen then blood and pulp.  Hey, I like most of Quentin's stuff too, but let's be honest...after the cringing gore and comedy, what's left?  Not much.
But, I'm not hapring on Quentin because at least he doesn't pretend that he's more than an entertainer.  Beck, and his buffoonish buddy, Rush Limbaugh, do.
Well, Beck's entertainment, or supra-entertainment Fox would lead us to believe, has gotten him in trouble with no less than thirty-three advertisers.  Geez!  And the Philadelphia Eagles thought they'd lose some advertising dollars when they signed Michael Vick!
I suppose I'll have to start describing Beck's program as vilotrilically limp as opposed to vitrolically stupid.  Actually, I doubt Beck will leave the stupidity behind.  After all, he's made a killing off of it.
What's really surprising, almost inspiring actually, is that one of the advertisers who has pulled out of supporting Beck's program is Wal-Mart.  That's right.  The right winger's favorite bastion of Republican economics.
If Wal-Mart hates you, Glenn Beck, then you can be assured that everybody hates you.
Better shore up that resume, buddy.  You're going to need it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Journalist Robert Novak Changed Washington Politics Forever

It used to be that journalism, even tinged with yellow from Hearst like rags from the early part of the last century, meant something in this nation.
That changed in 2003 when Robert Novak released the name of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame, and all hell broke loose in Washington.  For those who don't remember, Valerie Plame is the wife of Joseph C. Wilson.  Wilson, of course, is the whistle blower who came out and said that Iraq had never tried to purchase yellow cake uranium from the African nation of Niger.  The overlord himself, Dick Cheney, decided to fight back by using Scooter Libby, who became the fall guy for this entire ordeal, and Robert Novak to get back at Wilson by outing Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.
It was all very 90201'ish back then and is even more so now considering that no further evidence has come out regarding the Saddam Hussein regime and nuclear weapons. But Scooter Libby going to jail actually wasn't the biggest watershed moment to come out of the yellow uranium case, or scandal, depending on who you speak to.
The most important moment was the fact that those in the media who bat on the right had suddenly become more than just pinch-hitters.  They had become clean-up men.  Novak went from being a guy espousing the Bush Administration's vitrolic ridiculousness to a guy actually putting that ridiculousness into motion.  Take a look at Rush Limbaugh who has so frightened the Republican Party this year that the head of their committe, Michael Steele, actually apologized to Limbaugh for saying that Limbaugh's show was "ugly" and "incendiary", or take a look at Glen Beck who can outright call the President of the United States a racist and not only get to keep his job but remain the focal point of the Fox News Network's belligerent hate talk that they consider journalism.
Beck and Limbaugh run the Republican Party.  Not the politicans.  The media of the right have officially taken over the right.
Who should the nation thank for this?  Robert Novak who passed away today at the age of 78 after battling cancer.  I liked Novak.  I wasn't a big fan of his politics, but I appreciated his wit, his ability to strike hard at his opponents in debates no matter what the issue.  Novak was a commentator and debater that harkened to the days of Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley.  Novak was someone that the left could respect.
Now, instead of Robert Novak, we have Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, but that's Robert Novak's fault.  2003 and Valerie Plame.  That was all Robert Novak and Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby.  Novak opened the door for Beck and Limbaugh.
We should still respect Novak.  We should still offer our condolences to his family and offer a "may you rest in peace" to his spirit, but we shouldn't forget that Robert Novak changed the relationship between the media, politicians, and political decisions forever.
There would be no Glen Beck today without Robert Novak and 2003.  Is that a good or bad thing?  I'll hold my tongue in regards to that question.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zenyatta Wins Clement L. Hirsch but Rachel is Still the Queen

Zenyatta won the Clement L. Hirsch on Sunday at Del Mar, but Rachel Alexandra is still the queen.  Simply put, Zenyatta was all out to beat a field that Rachel no doubt on a dirt surface, would probably have beaten by between 10 to 20 lengths.
I was a bit embarrassed, actually, for both the connections of Zenyatta and Zenyatta's fans as I watched them gush over the brilliant filly.  Yes, Zenyatta is still brilliant, 12 victories in a row means something, but she has yet to run against Rachel Alexandra on a traditional dirt surface and I doubt that her connections will do so claiming, as they have before, that if Team Rachel wants to go out west and take on Zenyatta on an artificial surface than they would be more than willing to tackle her.
It's a ridiculous notion in my mind since I do believe that the artificial surfaces give closers like Zenyatta a huge edge over front-runners like Rachel Alexandra who are prone to tiring much more easily on concoctions like Polytrack or cushion track or Pro-Ride.  Rachel Alexandra has taken on the boys while Zenyatta has run against females.  Rachel Alexandra has won a Triple Crown race while Zenyatta's connections, while she was a three year old, kept her away from any horse that could challenge her.
Rachel's connections have been bold and even though I have said in the past that their boldness was unfounded, I have to give them credit now.  I was wrong.  They were right.
Zenyatta is brilliant.  Rachel Alexandra is special.  Zenyatta is Bobby Charles, the brilliant songwriter/musician from central Louisiana who almost never leaves the swamps of Cajun Country and plays a particular brand of music.  Rachel Alexandra is Bob Dylan who travels the world and changes direction musically every time he steps into a studio.
Who would you rather be?
I'd rather be Rachel Alexandra and I doubt anyone would argue against that.  Zenyatta is brilliant, but she isn't special.  If her connections wish her to go down as a very special horse, then she has to travel out east to take on Rachel Alexandra.
Otherwise, she will end up being spoken about in the same breath as Azeri not Ruffian.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rachel Alexandra Leaves No Doubt

Under a dreary New Jersey sky, and on a rain soaked dirt track, Rachel Alexandra, seemingly under the steady hand of the great huntress Artemis, shot past her two biggest rivals like an arrow from the racing gods to win the $1.25 million Haskell Stakes.

It was the second time in three races that the brilliant filly, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by the cagey Cajun, Calvin Borel, beat the boys.  Rachel put her male rivals in place earlier this year in the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown, but that race wasn't nearly as impressive as this one as Rachel cruised past two other Grade I winners, the Belmont Stakes winning Summer Bird and he King's Bishop winning Munnings, to stake her claim as the best racehorse in the world.

The huge filly was on the hunt early as she sat outside of Munnings and along with that rival ripped off a quarter in 22 and change and 6 furlongs in 109 and change.  The pace was incredibly swift and it looked as if Munnings and Summer Bird, the Belmont winner was on the pace today, would pose a challenge to Rachel, but then the big time filly kicked it into gear and curised to a 6 length victory.

She left no dout that she is the best three year old in the world and perhaps the best female horse of all time, but that's debatable as thoroughbred racing has been embroiled in it's own version of girl power excess in 2009.  Horse racing fans will be hard pressed to remember a time when arguably the two best horses in the United States, and perhaps the world, were both female, but that's exactly what's going on now as both Rachel Alexandra and the undefeated mare sensation, Zenyatta, have dominated racing this year.

Zenyatta's connections have always maintained that they would not run against the boys and that if Rachel wanted to challenge them that she would have a shot to do so in this year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.  That's all well and good, but after Rachel's performance today, the ball is squarely in the Court of Zenyatta.  She's going to have to do much more than beat up on second tier fillies and mares on artificial surfaces on the west coast if she's to stake any claim as the best female horse, much less the best horse, in the world.

Should Rachel Alexandra show up at this year's Breeders' Cup, then expect her to run against the boys again in the Breeders' Cup Classic.  Jess Jackson, her owner whose wines are almost just as smooth as his Grade I winning filly, has already stated as such.

That means that Zenyatta, who is undefeated and quite possibly the second greatest female horse to ever live, is in danger of getting lost once the history of books are updated.  Without beating Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta will always be a second class citizen in the annals of horse racing.

Fair?  Perhaps not, but that's racing.  Zenyatta's owner and trainer, the brilliant John Shirreffs, should take that into consideration when mapping out the rest of Zenyatta's career.  Rachel Alexandra, on the other hand, has solidified her status in racing history.  She's awesome.  Just ask Summer Bird and Munnings who were probably singing her praises, albeit in their own horse language, as she ran past them, the mud from their hooves flying squarely onto their drawn out faces.