Saturday, July 20, 2002

WE LOVE A GOOD SMART ASS

And one of the best is T.J. Simers, the sports columnist from the LA Times. Today's column is the two-year anniversary for T.J. and we certainly hope he's around for a long, long time. The one thing we quite haven't figured out yet, considering his long-running feuds with the likes of F.P Santangelo and Kevin Brown, is why somebody hasn't taken a poke at T.J. yet.
MAYBE WE'RE JUST GETTING OLD

But we can remember when being named Miss Teen Texas meant something. Aw, maybe we just got spoiled with the spectacularly scandal-free reigns of 2001 Miss Teen Texas, Katherine Perello, and 2000 Miss Teen Texas, Nicole O'Brian, but we found this news (this news, too) to be quite upsetting.




CATFIGHT!! CATFIGHT!!

We've been trying to come up with a really cool title, along the lines of "The Thriller In Manilla", or "The Rumble In The Jungle" for the quarrel that has flared up between Mickey Kaus and The Daily Howler. We kicked around "The Spat On The Internat", and "The Couric-Coulter Discord", before finally settling on "Fighting Blogs Like Cats And Dogs". Well, while we aren't very funny, watching the silliness of our favorite online busker in The Howler, and the bizarre technicalities of the right-of-center Kaus has been quite good fun.






12 STUPID PEOPLE

The most recent missive from our friend Chuck Shepherd in his News Of The Weird column includes this:

A jury in New York City recently awarded $14.1 million to a 38-year-old woman who was badly maimed after she was hit by a subway train after lying down purposefully on an underground track in a probable suicide attempt. According to a New York Law Journal report summarized in a June New York Times story, the jury found that the train conductor, who had already slowed to 15 mph following a report of someone lying on the tracks, should have been going slower. (The judge lowered the award to $9.9 million after finding that it was 30 percent the woman's fault.) [New York Times, 6-25-02]

Now some may claim this is an excellent reason to enact tort reform. We prefer to concentrate on jury reform first. There just has to be a way to get a minimum IQ requirement for jurors enacted, doesn't there?

Friday, July 19, 2002

We are all big fans of Tapped, the Blog from The American Prospect, but where in the name of Larry Linville did this rant come from? Elevator problems? Let us tell you, we are on the second floor of our palatial San Fernando Valley building, and we don't even have an elevator, you whiney creeps!
Most of the editors at In Arguendo are not overly big fans of Laura Ingraham (although one of our younger editors claims to have had a strictly physical affair with Ingraham during Laura's MSNBC days), but we were meandering around the website for her radio show and noticed something striking. Laura's show is on only one tiny Los Angeles radio station (KPLS-830AM on what appears to be a delayed recording of the previous nights program) yet is on 4 different stations in Yakima, Washington. Seriously. KXLE, KGDC, KJOX, and KZXR all feature Ingraham's show. Wow, they must really, really like her Yakima.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Our boss, the C.E.O. of In Arguendo, stormed into the offices today, showed us this from Busy, Busy, Busy and demanded to know why we aren't this funny. Sadly, we had no answer.
Chris Matthews, on Hardball, has officially dropped all pretense of being even handed. Here is how he opened his segment with Newsweek’s political guru, Howard Fineman:

Matthews: It’s Thursday and that means Newsweek’s Howard Fineman is here with some new insight into the political standing of our most favorite topic, President Bush.

Seriously.

Then, after teasing no less that 4 times that Fineman had polling info that could mean bad news for President Bush, the first poll that Matthews shows is a NY Times/CBS News poll showing President Bush with a 70% approval rating. Then Matthews shows the President’s approval rating for handling the economy, (Approve: 57%, Disapprove: 37%). Finally, 5 minutes into the segment, Matthews brings out what he admits is his ‘favorite poll’. Matthews’ favorite poll shows that 42% of the country thinks we are on the right track, while 48% thinks we are on the wrong track. Clearly, the most damaging and embarrassing poll for President Bush is buried when Matthews talks about his “most favorite topic”.

What was possibly more shocking about the Matthews/Fineman verbal fellatio of the President, was this exchange:

MATTHEWS: Any thoughts, being a political analyst of the highest level, and I mean that, why he’s been able to pull this off? Because it is quite a balancing act, quite a stunt.

FINEMAN: So far, because people liked and trusted the man that they met standing atop that rubble pile in Manhattan last September. And I think people are reluctant, most Americans are reluctant,…

MATTHEWS: I made a mistake.

FINEMAN: Yeah,…

MATTHEWS: The…

FINEMAN: They are reluctant to let go…

MATTHEWS: Right…

FINEMAN: …of that image. You know, every other institution seems to be crumbling in one way or another. You know, political, religious, you name it…

MATTHEWS: It sure is.

FINEMAN: They want to hang on to that part of George Bush and so, so far even though they think he’s close to big business as other numbers show and so forth, they still don’t want to let go of him at this point.

MATTHEWS: It's almost like the military in a Latin American country when they have a tremendous, rock ‘em sock ‘em inflation and everybody goes to hell in a hand basket, and the church is in bed with the bad guys, and “Well, at least we got the military.” But in this case we have a democratically elected president.

Matthews then quickly moved to on to discuss another poll, his haste an indication that the topic was fully explored, his was the last word, and we needn’t worry our pretty little heads about the matter.

It seems to us that Matthews is taking a page from the Republican’s playbook. If you repeat a lie often enough, the sheep will believe. Tonight’s is the second time THIS WEEK Matthews has made false claims about the election of 2000. Tuesday night Matthews said, with a straight face, “We know that if the newspapers had counted the votes, Bush won.”

Just out of curiosity, when is Matthews’ contract up? How does the Matthews/O’Reilly NewsHour sound?
Army Secretary Thomas White is expected to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee later today. White's story is another is a long list of stories of men who are pretty lousy businessmen who make boatloads of money and then begin work for this Bush administration. Our prediction: He's got 10 days to clean out his office. Pushed or jumped, who can say, but we can say Thomas White will not see a day in August as Secretary of The Army.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

In case you missed it, and we are completely and utterly jealous of you if you did, Phil Donahue had an interminable interview with two teenage campers about their feelings on the Middle East tonight. OK, in an effort to be fair, the camp, Seeds Of Peace, caters to, predominantly Israeli Jewish campers, and Israeli Arab campers, and promotes peace and tolerance among the campers. That being said, the interview went on forever (Two segments!) and was primarily made up of a fawning Phil Donahue questioning two teenage campers who looked like they just stepped out of the cast of the international “Saved By The Bell” road show. Now, we have nothing against the camp, or these kids, but we here at In Arguendo have a policy that we stick to religiously. If you are younger than the scotch we prefer, then we absolutely do not care about anything you have to say. (In an effort at full disclosure, none of the editors at In Arguendo are parents.)
18 days ago The United States Postal Service implemented a 3 cent rate hike on 1st class stamps. Seems reasonable enough, considering all the extra money the USPS has to spend on fighting terrorism and anthrax and the like. But, what else is the Post Office paying for? Would you believe that 6.5 million dollars a year goes to Lance Armstrong and his racing team? Lance Pugmire has this very interesting story in this mornings sports page from the LA Times. Hey, we have nothing against Lance Armstrong, but should tax payers be covering this high dollar endorsement deal? We think not. Just for clarification: Last year the USPS generated revenues of nearly 66 billion, and it only cost them 67.6 billion to do it.
The Rittenhouse Review and Eric Alterman are, rightfully, up in arms over a NY Post editorial by John Podhoretz. We have nothing to add to the sage and thoughtful comments of Alterman and Rittenhouse, but if you haven't read the column, you really should. Remember when Bush was running for Prez, and we kept hearing how he would surround himself with great advisors? Let's all hope Mr. Podhoretz is not one of them.
It looks like our good friend Ted Barlow is getting caught up in the Republican spin machine. After posting that the President sold his Harken stock two months after signing a "lock-out" letter agreeing NOT to sell for 6 months, the Republican spin is that when Harken's plan to issue more stock fell through, the lock-out letter became null and void. Ah, but there is more to the story, right? You bet, and Joe Conason was all over it in his Blog. The President maintains that he had long planned on selling the Harken stock to pay off his loan for a piece of the Texas Rangers pie. Now, IF the President had long planned to sell the stock, why did he sign the lock-out letter? And the reason the lock-out letter became null and void is because a major bank creditor withdrew it's support. So, if you follow the yellow brick road far enough, if the President knew that the bank withdrew it's support, and that the lock-out letter was null and void, the he had to KNOW that the company was tanking, and he, therefore, could not have been selling into 'good news'.

What did we do before Blogs? Before Blogs, we would never have gotten the enjoyment out of the discussion between our friends over at Cooped Up and The Sideshow over Vermont Guv Howard Dean. We won't want to even try to give you the CliffsNotes version of the discussion, but we will tell you we found it fascinating. As for In Arguendo, we are all big Howard Dean fans. As for whether that translates into votes in the primary season of ought-four, well, who can say?
We know, we know, it's only been about 6 weeks, but we have come to hate seeing John Elliott as the third wheel on the morning news on MSNBC. Ellott joins other forgettables Alex Witt and Rick Sanchez, but he always seems to be delivering the goofy, throw away stories (A story about a dog who saves a neighbor but is now being evicted from it's trailer park? John Elliott is on the case!) Further, he seems to be doing a really, really bad Andy Dick impression. And it's just not us that appears to be unimpressed with Mr. Elliott, as he is one of the few on-camera personalities that doesn't have a picture posted at MSNBC.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

No, we aren't ordinarily a "sports" blog (We checked our archive history and this will be only the second semi-sports related post in the history of In Arguendo), but we would like to point out that all hope is not lost. Opening day for the NHL is merely 85 days away. To set the record straight, we don't care what Jacques Demers says, The Detroit Red Wings will NOT win Lord Stanley's Cup next spring. Remember, you read it here first. You want to know who WILL win the Cup? It just might be these guys.
If you are a baseball fan, and you don't regularly read Rob Neyer, then you are just missing out. Here is a great column detailing how some baseball owners from a century ago would make Ken Lay and Bernie Ebbers look like pikers.
Trent Lott tipped the Republican's hands a little bit tonight on Hardball with Chris Matthews. Matthews asked a typical softball about the Veep's Halibuton problem (Should the SEC continue it's investigation of the Vice President's company?). and Lotts answer tells us how the Reps are going to handle Haliburton.

Lott's answer: I suppose they're going to and I don't think you'd have any problem with 'em taking a look at what was done. I think when the investigation is said and done, though, Dick Cheney will still be recognized as an outstanding man who did a good job at Haliburton. Did uh...Were their accounting principles what they should have been? I don't know. Remember, you know, Arthur Anderson has been a common thread between the problems in several instances. I don't want to overly charge them. and I don't want to condone their practices.

So, what is Senator Lott telling us? Well, first, NO MATTER what comes out in the Haliburton investigation (if there is one), it absolutely will not affect what Republicans feel about Dick Cheney. Second, Cheney is soooooo going to blame Arthur Anderson for anything that spills on him.
We here at In Arguendo chuckle whenever we read a story about how Bill Simon is in a prime position to beat Gray Davis in the California gubernatorial race. We always seem to notice that when those stories pop up, they are from out of state. Here is a good example of the in-state press coverage that Simon is getting, and some of the reasons why Simon has NO CHANCE. We California inhabitants may not be crazy about Davis, but we're not just plain crazy either. Take Davis, and lay the 3 1/2. (Let The Buyer Beware: This link is from the LA Times, so registration may cause frustration.)
Wow, Robert Scheer delivers a haymaker to the Veep in this morning's LA Times. Check out this head-rock of a passage:

In a scathing expose of Halliburton's military contracts, for example, the New York Times revealed that the vice president's old company had been the main beneficiary of the Pentagon's rush to build anti-terrorism military bases around the world. This new work will cost taxpayers many billions, and, according to Pentagon investigators' estimates, without any cost controls the final bill will be considerably higher than if the military's own construction units do the work.

Cheney denies having a role in securing those recent contracts, as he does knowledge of Halliburton's alleged accounting improprieties.

Unfortunately for Halliburton's stockholders and employees, parlaying his Pentagon contacts into profit has proved to be Cheney's only major business success.


We'll link through The Smirking Chimp, to avoid that LA Times registration messiness.

Monday, July 15, 2002

If anybody has a better website than our good friends over at The Daily Howler, we haven't seen it. Today's update has more instances of Ann Coulter dissembling in her new book Slander: Lies About The American Right. By the way, do you think Bush wasn't cleared by the SEC in that Harken mess? You're wrong, and The Howler has the inside dope. Read down to Thursday, July 11th.
From tonight's TV punditry: CROSSFIRE We absolutely love it when Begala dips into his down-home, good ol' boy, Texas straight talk. Tonight's classic example came about when Novak helpfully advised the Democrats that they should find a different line of attack for the President or they will suffer the same fate as Al Gore in 2000. Begala shot back that he didn't work for Gore, he worked for Clinton and he beat the last Bush like a bad piece of meat.