The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Hold your breath -- It's good news from Florida. A new Rasmussen poll puts Democratic Senator Bill Nelson ahead of GOP challenger Rep. Katherine Harris 54-31 percent. According to Rasmussen,
it appears that Nelson could not have asked for a better challenger. Harris, at this point in time, only earns 59% of the vote from Republicans in Florida. Among unaffiliated voters, she trails 64% to 18%.
It's about time Florida got something right.

The Indispensable Man -- The massive stroke that has sent Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the hospital in grave condition is a catastrophe. What's remarkable about Mr Sharon is how he has moved from pariah to the indispensable man in just a few short years. Five years ago many people in the U.S. and Israel would have agreed that Ariel Sharon was the one man in Israeli politics who must never come to power. Five years later, he's the one man Israeli politics can't seem to do without. With Yitzhak Rabin dead for more than a decade, only Sharon had the credibility with the voters to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and prepare for unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank.

Sharon's new centrist Kadima party, which had the potential to exile Likud to the far margins of Israeli politics, is now leaderless. Kadima depended on Sharon not just for leaderrship, direction, and policy, but also for its very existence. He created it, gave it a purpose and, most recently, propelled it to the top of the polls in anticipation of the forthcoming Israeli national elections.

So what now?

Nobody knows, exactly. The machinery of government will go on, of course, as will the scheduled elections. However, Kadima does not have a slate of candidates for the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. One will have to be drawn up, presumably by the cadre of Sharon loyalists who formed his top lieutenants in the new party. The immediate successor to Sharon is Ehud Olmert, but he's not regarded as being in the same class as Sharon and is probably nothing more than a caretaker.

And will the Israeli public, exhausted by Labour's fantasies of peace with terrorists and Likud's fantasies of Jewish empire, support Kadima without Sharon at the top? I swear, compared to the Middle East, Ireland is the luckiest country on Earth. If the Middle East has any luck at all, it's bad luck.

The Last Throes -- 100 Iraqis, 5 Americans dead:
Two new suicide bombings rocked Iraq today, killing at least 100 in attacks at a shrine in the Shiite city of Karbala and a police recruiting station in the Sunni city of Ramadi.

Also today, five American soldiers were killed when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device while operating in the Baghdad region, the American military said.

Preliminary reports from Iraqi police said that 52 people were killed and 64 were wounded in Karbala, south of Baghdad. In Ramadi, 50 people were killed and 60 were wounded, according Dr. Ammar Al-Rawi from Al-Ramadi Hospital.

The killings come on top of attacks that left more than 50 people dead on Wednesday, as violence was escalating again after a lull around the time of last month's parliamentary elections.
Remember: last throes.

Gillespie to Allen -- Chuck Todd at The Hotline reports that former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie is joining Senator George Allen [R-VA] as treasurer of his political action committee. That's a nice get for Allen, who is thinking about the presidency in 2008 at least as much as the Senate in 2006.

The Power Poll -- If former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was still alive he’d be a very happy man today. The mastermind behind the league’s incredibly successful parity program – created to ensure any team not owned by Bill Bidwill has a chance at the playoffs – has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. The only NFC team to make the playoffs both this year and last is the Seattle Seahawks. In related news, Seattle Head Coach Mike Holmgren should be shot out of a cannon and into the sun if his team doesn’t make the Super Bowl this year. Now, on to The World’s Most Prestigious Power Poll. As always, this will be the most important thing you read all week. Please commit it to memory.

01. Indianapolis Colts [14-2]: AFC teams hoping the Colts will be too distracted to win the conference are about to be very disappointed. [NC]

02. Seattle Seahawks [13-3]: No excuses this year. The best QB in the NFC. The best tailback in the NFC. Home field throughout the NFC. Even the defense is good. [NC]

03. Denver Broncos [13-3]: Looked good all season and should have no trouble in the playoffs…until they play the Colts. [NC]

04. Pittsburgh Steelers [11-5]: Would surprise no one if they went to Cincinnati this week and came out with a win. [+1]

05. Jacksonville Jaguars [12-4]: The best wild card team since the 12-4 Ravens won the Super Bowl in January 2001. [+2]

06. New England Patriots [10-6]: Number of playoff games Tom Brady has lost: Zero. [NC]

07. Chicago Bears [11-5]: Dominant defense gives them a chance to beat anyone anywhere. [+1]

08. Cincinnati Bengals [11-5]: Giving up 37 points to the Bills in week 16 was bad enough. Only scoring 3 points on the Chiefs defense in week 18 is inexcusable. No playoff team looked so bad the last two weeks of the regular season. [-4]

09. Tampa Bay Buccaneers [11-5]: Anyone know where I can find a voodoo Chucky doll? [NC]

10. Washington Redskins [10-6]: Tampa was the site of Washington ’s last Super Bowl loss. Tampa was the site of Washington ’s last playoff loss. Tampa was the site of Washington ’s most heartbreaking loss this season. Time to get some decent mojo going down there. [NC]

11. New York Giants [11-5]: Tailback is the best player in NFL history to be named after a Polynesian torch. [NC]

12. Kansas City Chiefs [10-6]: I can’t help thinking the NFL playoffs were deprived of the league’s most entertaining team. If only this bunch could play a lick of defense. [NC]

13. Carolina Panthers [11-5]: Saved the season with a great finish against the listless Falcons, but that run defense is cause for concern. First up: Tiki Barber and his 1800 rushing yards. [+2]

14. Miami Dolphins [9-7]: Contrary to what you might think, the Redskins were not the hottest team in the NFL at the end of the regular season, the Dolphins – winners of six straight – were. We’ve seen what Nick Saban can do with Gus Frerotte at quarterback and a flaky pothead for a tailback. Just imagine what he will do with a professional passer. [+2]

15. San Diego Chargers [9-7]: Marty has now broken fans’ hearts in three different cities. [-2]

16. Minnesota Vikings [9-7]: Owner lost cred points with his players when he didn’t use a singing stripper-gram to deliver the bad news to Mike Tice. [+2]

17. Dallas Cowboys [9-7]: It’ll take another face lift to get that look of bitter disappointment off Jerry Jones’ face. Fortunately, I taped it. [-3]

18. Atlanta Falcons [8-8]: Choking, gutless worms. [-1]

19. Philadelphia Eagles [6-10]: Never stopped playing hard. [+3]

20. Cleveland Browns [6-10]: As if having to live in Cleveland isn’t bad enough. [+4]

21. Baltimore Ravens [6-10]: The good news for all of us who can’t stand the Ravens: They really think Kyle Boller is the future. Shhhh. Don’t tell ‘em. [-2]

22. Arizona Cardinals [5-11]: They don’t know it yet, but they need to fire Dennis Green. Bill Bidwill is always the last to know. [-1]

23. St. Louis Rams [6-10]: Showed up to play for the first time in weeks and at The World’s Most Prestigious Power Poll, we reward teams that rub salt in Bill Parcells’ wounds. [+8]

24. Detroit Lions [5-11]: Lions fans think their misery is over for another eight months, but watching Matt Millen run their free agency and draft will prove them very, very wrong. [+1]

25. Buffalo Bills [5-11]: Missing only a quarterback, a defense, a general manager, and a sense of direction. [-5]

26. San Francisco 49ers [4-12]: Didn’t intend to keep the #1 pick anyway. [NC]

27. New York Jets [4-12]: Should be fine next year. After all, their quarterback is Chad Pennington. What could go wrong? [+1]

28. Green Bay Packers [4-12]: Turn those cheese heads into fondue. [+1]

29. Tennessee Titans [4-12]: Steve McNair is owed a $50 million bonus if he is still on the team this year. I think I’m about as likely to collect that money as McNair is. [-6]

30. Oakland Raiders [4-12]: The all-powerful Thunder Gods of Fashion continue to punish the Raiders for Al’s track suits. [+2]

31. San Antonio/Oklahoma City/Baton Rouge Saints [3-13]: Who would take this job? I have a one-word answer for you: Norv. [-4]

32. Houston Texans [2-14]: They earned it. [-2]

The Bandit Returns... -- ...but for how long?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

JESUS LOVES YOU -- But the Family Research Council probably does not:
The show had something to offend everyone... featuring a homosexual couple; a black couple; a Hispanic couple (with lots of kids); an Asian couple (who owned a restaurant); a white couple (country-comes-to-town); a devil- worshiping witch (kid you not); and a Republican couple with tattoos.
Remember that every time the mainstream media treats the FRC as if it were a respectable part of our national polity.

Friday, July 08, 2005

HILARITY AT THE CORNER -- K.J. Lopez, writing about Tony Blair's statement yesterday about the London terror bombings:
"we condemn utterly these barbaric attacks...."

calls it an attack "on civilized people everywhere." Bush is standing behind him glaring down the terrorists.
My emphasis.

Kidding, right? No? Bush glaring down the terrorists?? As if the murderers who carried out these attacks are afraid of Mr Bush? As if he's demonstrating some sort of unique moral courage by standing behind Mr Blair while the latter is speaking? As if the terrorists are impressed by Mr Bush's glare? Glaring down the terrorists? He was probably furrowing his brow trying to remember why he'd come to Scotland in the first place.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

THE GOP LOVES VETS -- Okay, after seeing what happened to John McCain and John Kerry [and will happen to Chuck Hagel if he's foolish enough to take the party crown away from Karl Rove's new golden boy, Bill Frist], we know the GOP does not, in fact, love veterans. And here is more proof:
Worried that House Republican leaders are poised to oust Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) as chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, a wide array of veterans groups is warning that such a move would send the wrong signal to U.S. troops abroad.

Sources on and off Capitol Hill said Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) is the leading candidate to take Smith’s gavel. If GOP leaders appoint Buyer, a loyal supporter of House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), it would signal clearly to the Republican caucus that rebels will be punished.

Smith has been outspoken on veterans funding. He has two more years remaining on the Republicans’ self-imposed term limits for committee chairs, but veterans groups fear he will not finish his term.

Sources said Smith’s chairmanship is to be challenged as the Republican Steering Committee today weighs which lawmakers will chair committees in the 109th Congress.

Dennis Cullinan, national legislative service director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), said it would be an “absolute disaster” that “such an effective chairman would be removed for political reasons.”

He said it would send the wrong message to U.S. troops, adding, “We’re at war.”

Buyer ranks fourth in seniority on Veterans Affairs, behind Reps. Smith, Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla.) and Terry Everett (R-Ala.).

Over the past several years, loyalty to House GOP leaders has been viewed as more important than seniority in securing committee gavels. But removing Smith before his term is up would accentuate Hastert’s demand for loyalty.
Veterans groups have showered Smith and Bilirakis with praise but are wary of Buyer. They fear that under his leadership veterans funding could be cut substantially in 2005, noting that the White House wants to scale back federal spending sharply this year.

While Smith has been outspoken against proposed cuts to veterans programs, sources with these organizations speculate that Buyer would do whatever leadership wants.

One source said Buyer “would toe the party line” and “is ideologically loyal” to leadership.

Leading veterans groups are standing firmly behind Smith. In a Jan. 3 letter to Hastert, 10 organizations, including the VFW, the American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America, urged the GOP leader to make sure Smith remains at the helm.
Well. There you go. The Bush admin and GOP leadership in Congress plan to make deep cuts in spending for U.S. veterans this year and they want a reliable crony running the Veterans Affairs Committee to see that there is no interference to their plans.

The Democrats MUST make something of that!

GOODBYE TO THAT -- Tucker Carlson is leaving CNN and the network is ending its long-running "Crossfire" program. Good. It stunk. Jon Stewart was right.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

BANDIT'S NFL POWER POLL -- It's back and as good as ever. Enjoy.

01. Pittsburgh Steelers [15-1]: Last week I speculated that the team MVP might be TB Jerome Bettis, not QB Ben Roethlisberger. This week they beat a good Buffalo team without either one of them. Perhaps the entire team is the MVP. You know what they usually call teams like that? Super Bowl champs. [NC]

02. New England Patriots [14-2]: The team closest to Pittsburgh in mentality and “who’s going to win it for us this week?” tenacity. TB Corey Dillon had the best year of his career. [NC]

03. Indianapolis Colts [12-4]: QB Peyton Manning is going to the Hall of Fame with an armload of NFL records to call his own—just like his hero Dan Marino. The only question is whether he can do the one thing Marino could not—win a Super Bowl. [NC]

04. San Diego Chargers [12-4]: Competitive every week and they improved as the season progressed. But can they win in cold weather? [+1]

05. Philadelphia Eagles [13-3]: This is the lowest ranking the Eagles have had all year in the world’s most prestigious power poll. Early reports indicate Head Coach Andy Reid is taking this news harder than the news about T.O.’s injury. [-1]

06. Atlanta Falcons [11-5]: It’s eerie how much this team resembles the mid-to-late 1980s Denver Broncos teams. Stronger at RB and weaker at WR than those Denver teams, but like those Broncos, only in the playoffs because of one great quarterback. [No change]

07. Green Bay Packers [10-6]: Winners of nine of their last 11 games, the Packers have almost been forgotten in the NFC. Sure, the defense is terrible, but you don’t want to play the hottest team in the conference. [+4]

08. New York Jets [10-6]: Started out 5-0, finished 5-6, needed help to get into the playoffs and went 0-3 against Pittsburgh and New England . [NC]

09. Denver Broncos [10-6]: Throttled the Colts yesterday, but Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James played one series. Nevertheless, Denver safety John Lynch believes “we sent a message today.” Yes, you did, John. You sent a message that you can beat the Indianapolis J.V. Peyton Manning has a message waiting for you on Sunday: “Enjoy the offseason.” [+3]

10. Buffalo Bills [9-7]: Improving wideouts, a good young tailback, and a great defense are all excellent building blocks for 2005. But how much longer can they stick with Drew Bledsoe? [-3]
11. Jacksonville Jaguars [9-7]: If this team gets another good wideout…[+2]

12. Baltimore Ravens [9-7]: Offense is slowly rising, but the defense is slowly falling. Still a good defense, but not good enough. [+2]

13. Cincinnati Bengals [8-8]: Marvin Lewis has done what some thought impossible: Return the Bengals to respectability. And he did it this year while breaking in a rookie-ish quarterback. The future looks bright. [+2]

14. Seattle Seahawks [9-7]: Probably the most under-achieving team in 2004. [+2]

15. New Orleans Saints [8-8]: Owner Tom Benson is a cheapskate who does not like to pay off coaches, so the team’s late surge could be enough to save Jim Haslett’s job. As usual, though, the Saints under-achieved and Haslett, who is supposed to be a defensive whiz kid, fielded one of the most embarrassing defenses in the NFL. [+2]

16. Carolina Panthers [7-9]: Get healthy, re-sign WR Mushin Muhammad, and challenge the Falcons for the NFC South in ’05. [-7]

17. Kansas City Chiefs [7-9]: Defense. It helps. [-7]

18. St. Louis Rams [8-8]: Vatican researchers confirm that if the Rams actually win a playoff game, they will be on the look-out for the other signs of the Apocalypse. [+2]

19. Minnesota Vikings [8-8]: You know that phrase, it’s better to be lucky than good? My guess is that Minnesota ’s luck runs out on Sunday in Green Bay . [NC]

20. Houston Texans [7-9]: I was just beginning to like these guys when they went out and lost their season finale to the Cleveland Browns. [-2]

21. Dallas Cowboys [6-10]: Bill Parcells did almost nothing to improve this team during the offseason and it showed on the field during the regular season. And that’s why they’ll have no postseason. [NC]

22. Washington Redskins [6-10]: The good news: They played hard all year. The bad news: They didn’t play well all year. [+1]

23. Tennessee Titans [5-11]: Hard to believe that a team virtually synonymous with good defense for years would actually give up more points than the Kansas City Chiefs. [+2]

24. Arizona Cardinals [6-10]: Averaged a league-low 3.5 yards per carry. That’s only 3.5 yards per carry more than I averaged this year and I’ve never played a down in the NFL. The Cardinals are just one good running back away from respectability. [+2]

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers [5-11]: Does it make me a bad person if I enjoy Chucky’s pain? [-3]

26. Oakland Raiders [5-11]: This is God’s punishment for all those hideous track suits, Al. [-2]

27. New York Giants [6-10]: This is one season New Yorkers would like to fuhgedaboutit. [+2]

28. Detroit Lions [6-10]: High hopes undermined by consistent crappiness of the team. [-1]

29. Miami Dolphins [4-12]: Jim Bates leaves with his head held high. [-1]

30. Chicago Bears [5-11]: If Chris Rock were paying attention to the NFL he might suggest that it takes a miracle for a brother to get a top job in the NFL and when one does, they give him a crappy job like this one. [NC]

31. Cleveland Browns [4-12]: Terry Robiskie now undefeated in interim head coaching season finales. Meaning of this statistic: None. [+1]

32. San Francisco 49ers [2-14]: Should consider trading that top draft pick for a freaking clue. [-1]

ALL NFL AWARDS -- What follows is the Bandit's rundown of NFL Awards, the traditional ones and a few of my own devising. Enjoy.

Offensive MVP: QB Peyton Manning [Indianapolis Colts]

Honorable Mention: QB Daunte Culpepper [Minnesota Vikings]

Defensive MVP: S Ed Reed [Baltimore Ravens]

Honorable Mention: CB Shawn Springs [Washington Redskins]

Overall MVP: QB Peyton Manning [Indianapolis Colts]

Rookie of the Year: QB Ben Roethlisberger [Pittsburgh Steelers]

Honorable Mention: WR Michael Clayton [Tampa Bay Buccaneers]

Comeback Player of the Year: QB Drew Brees [San Diego Chargers]

Honorable Mention: TB Corey Dillon [New England Patriots]

Still Got It: TB Curtis Martin [New York Jets]

Honorable Mention: TB Jerome Bettis [Pittsburgh Steelers]

Best Trade: TB Corey Dillon [New England Patriots]

Honorable Mention: Detroit trading 5th overall pick to Cleveland

Worst Trade: QB Mark Brunell [Washington Redskins]

Honorable Mention: No one even comes close.

Best Free Agent Signing: WR Terrell Owens [Philadelphia Eagles]

Honorable Mention: DE Bertrand Berry [Arizona Cardinals]

Worst Free Agent Signing: DE Jevon Kearse [Philadelphia Eagles]

Honorable Mention: TB Eddie George [Dallas Cowboys]

Best 1st Round Draft Pick: QB Ben Roethlisberger [Pittsburgh Steelers]

Honorable Mention: WR Michael Clayton [Tampa Bay Buccaneers]

Worst 1st Round Draft Pick: QB Phillip Rivers [San Diego Chargers]

Honorable Mention: TB Chris Perry [Cincinnati Bengals]

Head Coach of the Year: Bill Cowher [Pittsburgh Steelers]

Honorable Mention: Marty Schottenheimer [San Diego Chargers]

Worst Head Coach of the Year: Butch Davis [Cleveland Browns]

Honorable Mention: Mike Holmgren [Seattle Seahawks]

Assistant Head Coach of the Year: Gregg Williams [Washington Redskins]

Honorable Mention: Jerry Gray [Buffalo Bills]

Black Assistant Coach Who Should Be Promoted, but Probably Won’t: Romeo Crennel [New England Patriots]

Honorable Mention: Jerry Gray [Buffalo Bills]

Best Coaching Staff: New England Patriots

Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Eagles

Worst Coaching Staff: Minnesota Vikings

Honorable Mention: Oakland Raiders

Best Front Office: Pittsburgh Steelers

Honorable Mention: New England Patriots

Worst Front Office: Cleveland Browns

Honorable Mention: San Francisco 49ers

Best Ownership: New England Patriots

Honorable Mention: Green Bay Packers

Worst Ownership: San Francisco 49ers

Honorable Mention: New Orleans Saints/Arizona Cardinals

Biggest Over-achiever in the Playoffs: Pittsburgh Steelers

Honorable Mention: San Diego Chargers

Biggest Over-achiever Not in the Playoffs: Buffalo Bills

Honorable Mention: Carolina Panthers

Biggest Under-achiever in the Playoffs: Seattle Seahawks

Honorable Mention: Minnesota Vikings

Biggest Under-achiever Not in the Playoffs: New Orleans Saints

Honorable Mention: Washington Redskins

THE REAL IRAQ -- Freedom is on the march...backwards:
The war's worse, the insurgency's worse," said a senior U.S. Embassy official in Baghdad, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to talk candidly. "This is not going to be a short fight. Nobody should think it is."

The assessment reflected a new willingness among senior Iraqi and American officials to acknowledge that large tracts of the country remain beyond the control of their combined forces. More than three months ago, interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi asserted during a visit to Washington that 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces were stable and largely peaceful. Now, in interviews, he routinely refers to the situation as "our catastrophe."
Mission accomplished.

THE GRAY LADY -- The American Prospect has an interesting interview with Seth Mnookin, author of the new book Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media. I recommend reading the interview. Once you've read that, you can decide if you want to buy the book.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

BLEEDING IRAQ -- The beat goes on...
Four American soldiers and a marine were killed today and three other soldiers were wounded on a day that also saw the assassination of the governor of Baghdad, one of the highest-profile killings of an Iraqi official in months.

In other violence, a bomb-laden fuel truck killed eight Iraqi commandos and two other people when it crashed into a checkpoint in western Baghdad about 9 a.m. today, according to an Interior Ministry official. Sixty others were wounded in the attack, which happened near the scene of two deadly car bombings on Monday.
As ever, no end in sight.

WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS? -- Actually, it's just more of the same from the Bush admin and their gang of comical accountants.
To show that President Bush can fulfill his campaign promise to cut the deficit in half by 2009, White House officials are preparing a budget that will assume a significant jump in revenues and omit the cost of major initiatives like overhauling Social Security. To make Mr. Bush's goal easier to reach, administration officials have decided to measure their progress against a $521 billion deficit they predicted last February rather than last year's actual shortfall of $413 billion. By starting with the outdated projection, Mr. Bush can say he has already reduced the shortfall by about $100 billion and claim victory if the deficit falls to just $260 billion.

But White House budget planners are not stopping there. Administration officials are also invoking optimistic assumptions about rising tax revenue while excluding costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as trillions of dollars in costs that lie just outside Mr. Bush's five-year budget window.
As in past years, the budget will exclude costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which could reach $100 billion in 2005 and are likely to remain high for years to come. The budget is also expected to exclude Mr. Bush's goal to replace Social Security in part with a system of private savings accounts, even though administration officials concede that such a plan could require the government to borrow $2 trillion over the next decade or two.

Among the costs that are expected in the five years after 2009 are nearly $1 trillion to make Mr. Bush's tax cuts permanent, nearly $500 billion for the new Medicare prescription drug program and at least $400 billion to address widely acknowledged problems with the so-called alternative minimum tax.
Even those librulcommiepinkos on Wall Street are offended by this nonsense.
Many analysts are dubious about the long-term plan. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that deficits will remain well above $300 billion if Mr. Bush's tax cuts are made permanent and if Iraq war costs taper off gradually. On Wall Street, analysts at Goldman Sachs predict that budget deficits will total about $5 trillion over the next 10 years.

"I've been watching this more than 30 years, and I have never seen anything quite this egregious," said Stanley Collender, a longtime author on budget issues and a senior vice president at Financial Dynamics, a communications firm in Washington.

"They are cutting the deficit from a number they never believed in the beginning," Mr. Collender said, referring to the decision to measure progress against the unrealized $521 billion deficit projection. "What if they had forecast that the deficit would be $800 billion last year? Would they take credit for having cut it by half?"

White House officials are making several budgeting decisions that make their tax revenues look higher and their spending look lower than many analysts think is realistic.
And you know what? It'll probably happen. Who is going to stop it? The Democrats are a minority party now. The Republican party long ago decided to abandon its committment to balanced budgets [remember the balanced budget amendment they said they wanted back in the 1990s?] in favor of Mr Bush's plan to bankrupt the country. Cut taxes on the wealthy. Spend money like a lottery-winner on a year-long bender. Tell the next generation [you and me] to pay the bill. And how will that bill be paid? A tax increase, of course. Remember that whenever some hotshot politician runs a big deficit by cutting taxes, he's not really cutting taxes. Not for everyone. For the elderly, it's a tax cut. For everyone else, those who plan on living long enough to see the bills come due, it's actually a tax increase. That's why Bush 1.0 and Clinton both had to raise taxes in the early 1990s, to pay off the then-record budget deficits of the Reagan years.

Of course, by now I'm well familiar with the standard Republican response to things like this: Don't be bitter.

Okay. I'll try to smile when they hand me the bill for their party. You smile, too, smartass Republicans. It's going to be your bill, too. That's the only part that makes it bearable.

Monday, January 03, 2005

CRYBABY -- Christine Todd Whitman wants you to know the GOP needs moderates like her, too. And she feels so strongly about it she's written a book called "It's My Party, Too," in which she dishes the extremist dirt on the Bush administration. The problem, my dear Ms Whitman, is that the GOP has already proven they don't need you.

TOM TOMORROW KNOWS -- Read and know what he knows. You'll probably chuckle a bit, too.