This has got to be a record

December 26, 2008

PEBO* hasn’t even been inaugurated, yet, and already two key members of his "shadow" administration are under investigation. First, it was chief of staff-designate Rahm Emanuel and the open questions of just what was said (and possibly offered) when during conversations with Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Capone) over filling Barack Obama’s now-vacant Senate seat. That’s bad enough.

Now we learn that his Commerce Secretary-designate, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico (D-Under The Table) is under grand-jury investigation for his own "pay for play" scheme, involving steering state business to firms in return for campaign contributions:

New Mexico’s Gov. Bill Richardson, who is the newly named Secretary of Commerce in Obama’s about-to-be Cabinet, is also being investigated by a federal grand jury in his home state for possibly steering state bond business from the New Mexico Financial Authority toward David Rubin, a significant campaign contributor, according to an NBC News report, among others.

NBC’s Lisa Myers reports that two former state officials say they’ve recently been questioned by a federal grand jury specifically about allegations that Richardson or aides pushed state business worth nearly $1.5 million in fees toward CDR Financial Products in 2004. The company is headquartered in Beverly Hills.

This was about the same time as CDR’s founder, Rubin, donated $100,000 to two of Richardson’s political action committees; mainly it appears to cover expenses of the governor and his staff at the Democratic Party’s National Convention in Boston that summer.

Rubin also donated another $29,000 to Richardson’s unsuccessful presidential campaign this year and last.

The ghosts of Presidents Grant and Harding must be jealous. No wonder Obama fled to Hawaii for a vacation. I’d be afraid of what’s going to turn up next, too. Hypnotized

Seriously, Obama needs to get a handle on this lest it hobble his administration before it even gets started. I didn’t vote for him and I don’t agree with his stated policies. But the nation is facing great difficulties right now and will be for the foreseeable future. This is not the time to be seen as weak, a poor administrator, or less than honest by the American people. We need a president who enjoys the confidence of the public, and Obama’s sloppy vetting of candidates and his evasiveness over the Blagojevich affair are putting that confidence at risk. I’ve said before that character matters; now is the time for Obama to show us that his is sterling.

*(As in "President-Elect Barack Obama")


Religion of misogyny watch

December 26, 2008

Allah forbid that women should be educated. After all, that would be against sharia law! Good thing the mujahideen of Pakistan are willing to kill little girls to prevent that from happening.

I guess that makes the holy warriors of Afghanistan moderates for merely throwing acid in the faces of girls who want to learn to read.

Granted, these are extreme examples, but they highlight the miserable state* of women under Islam. Why any sane non-Muslim woman would want to convert is beyond me.

*(See item nine.)

(hat tip: Infidels are cool)


Religion of peace and tolerance watch

December 26, 2008

Remember those brave, brave jihadis who launched a noble raid against pagan Mumbai? Reports have come out today that those Knights of Allah sexually humiliated, tortured, and mutilated their victims, with special attention reserved for, you guessed it, the Jews.

But Islam isn’t part of the problem. Oh, no.

(hat tip: Kathy Shaidle)


The Twelve Days of Global Warming

December 26, 2008

Via Tigerhawk, a Christmas-themed video (not so) gently poking fun at Al Gore and the cult of anthropogenic global warming:


Mockery: the best weapon against the self-righteous. Hee hee

A Team of Rivals

December 26, 2008

A friend was kind enough to give me this book for Christmas. Being a devout fan of Lincoln and given its timeliness (the President-elect has suggested it as a model for his cabinet), I'm looking forward to reading it. By way of balance, I should also link to this review by Professor Pinsker of Pennsylvania's Dickinson College, who provides several serious caveats to Doris Kearns Goodwin's themes:

"Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his Cabinet," is the way Obama has summarized Goodwin's thesis, adding, "Whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was how can we get this country through this time of crisis."

That's true enough, but the problem is, it didn't work that well for Lincoln. There were painful trade-offs with the "team of rivals" approach that are never fully addressed in the book, or by others that offer happy-sounding descriptions of the Lincoln presidency.


By December 1862, there was a full-blown Cabinet crisis.

"We are now on the brink of destruction," Lincoln confided to a close friend after being deluged with congressional criticism and confronted by resignations from both Seward and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase. Goodwin suggests that Lincoln's quiet confidence and impressive emotional intelligence enabled him to survive and ultimately forge an effective team out of his former rivals, but that's more wishful thinking than serious analysis.

Consider this inconvenient truth: Out of the four leading vote-getters for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination whom Lincoln placed on his original team, three left during his first term — one in disgrace, one in defiance and one in disgust.

Obama has already heard rumblings from allies over his choices. Given the strong personalities and questionable character of some of his appointees, he might want to study the evolution of Lincoln's "Team of Rivals" more closely.

Meanwhile, I've got a lot of reading to do. Nerd