CONTENTS: Burning Bush, In House Poll Projection- MCCAIN WINS it ALL, Dollar Bill Devalues, Gore aces Leno, Welcome Back Cotta + Great Savings Heist , "Good" Shootings?, Commercial Pollution, Big Mac Hack Attack, Murderous Mullahs, Erotic Rendezvous- Feb 18, 2000
A funny thing happened on the way to the White House- Repubs decided they really don't like GW2 that much- he exudes a frat boy slobbiness that isn't tempered by the semi-Brahmin gentility of his father, and his desperate flailing contrasts poorly against McCain's relaxed relish of his sudden superiority. After you've been in a N Vietnamese jail- it's hard to get too worried about this campaign nonsense. Then too- Bush is simply too young and inexperienced for stodgy Repubs- he knows nothing of world affairs- and if the stories of his past indiscretions are true, he could wind up embarrassing himself worse than Billy Boy. Their sniping was so extreme they made "principled" extremist gadfly Alan Keyes... look good. Bush has pulled Texas sleazy hardball tactics like try to keep McCain off the ballots, that have alienated many Repubs. South Carolina is perhaps the most conservative state in the country- the last refuge of the magnolia/plantation/cracker south (Strom)- factors that so favor Bush with his nuclear money + organizational advantages that a win by less than 5 points must be considered a loss. We forcast : Bush in SC, but McCain will beat him soundly in the next several contests + eventually WIN. This came to us in a flash about a week ago before the enormous poll shifts and party defections occurred. I almost flew to Charleston the day it was wiped out by a huge hurricane in 1989 on a $50 RT ticket + have an old college buddy in Anderson (him and Hal were both terrified of women + they both became- note this, girls.. gynecologists).UPDATE: Bush won big, but not without cheating: several dozens of polling stations were closed without notice, with little notes to go elsewhere- bets are that they were in liberal, democratic, + balck areas.
I like McCain much more than Bush, but I think Bush would be a weaker candidate than McCain, not vice versa, as he's trying to smear the SC Dems with that ulterior motive. Crossover dem voting for McCain is actually a deeply disquieting sign for Big Al in the final election. I still have grave doubts about John-John and the pride with which he repeats how he was 5th from the bottom of his class in Annapolis. Does that mean he was a partier or just stupid, like, uh, US!? There's something very wrong about his refusal to be released- the real reason was probably that he'd signed a confession, so he was so ashamed to face his admiral father that he endured 3-odd years of hell on earth. That shows atrocious judgment, as does his principled claim that he would not be released out of order- if true- has the distinct odor of self-righteous extremism. That kind of principled inflexibility is frightening in Presidents- it's the kind of thing that could start a nuclear war.. and any politician that says he would never lie to us as President is a fool and a liar. Unfortunately, a President has many occasions when lying is mandatory. Then again, as I said- in person, McCain is far more conservative- he's been playing to the liberal sensibility of the Press and public, with spectacularly favorable results. Wish I'd met him when I distributed the petition books, but he wasn't in.
Bill Bradley continues to fade for reasons not exactly clear. He has a good rap, an obvious decency and sincerity, and real values (see his book of sports values-lessons for life). But, as I said, he doesn't have the maniacal fire in the belly for this campaign business, and seems to be cruising- after polls put him behind even in NY + home turf New Jersey. My guess is he will keep going for a while, try not to antagonize Gore, and join the ticket as Veep- as a Northern + urban draw. He came to RI to shoot hoops with Providence high school kids Friday and was barely covered by TV. Meanwhile Albert aced Leno with the most personable, relaxed, and smooth public appearance ever. Gone was the zombie like speaking style that makes him appear a radio controlled robot, uncomfortable in his own skin. He was honestly funny + even had dead-on comedic timing. He may finally have hit his stride, for which he should be profoundly grateful to Bradley. I think there is something smooth + powerful about Gore, something wild, like a polar bear permanently returning to the ocean- and I believe he has very deep personal resources.
Received blind mailing the other day that contained personalized address labels from none other than ex-prez Jimmy Carter, promoting his Habitat for Humanity or some such charity. Gee, Jimmy, I could use a house! We've always liked JC, who though not a superstar, got a bad rap for the no-win Iran hostage debacle and uncontrollable inflation. He's acquitted himself with more class + dignity than almost any previous Prez, who've contented themselves with embellishing their record, library, and authorship credentials- or in RR case, immediately flying off to Japan to get $2 mil for a speech. I almost literally ran into JC, or vice versa, when he was jogging around Lakeshore Dr. in Chitown about 20 min after I left it. Still there something a little creepy about a President halking crummy labels in yet another money-raising demand.
Speaking of the Reagan period, reading INSIDE JOB, a book about the greatest theft in US history- about $1000 billion in the saving + loan disaster, which was caused by criminal deregulation + Reagan/state gutting of bank examiners. It allowed individuals to own savings + loans, capitalize them without cash, do things without directors or board oversight, invest money anywhere on earth in the most insanely unwise projects, and lie through their teeth. About half of the money was deliberately stolen by hoods and Mafia guys that systematically looted + destroyed banks- almost no one went to jail + all the bucksi were paid back out of your taxes because it was almost all Federally guaranteed. The Repubs knew it was a massive outrageous scandal by 1984, but they let it go on till 1988 before they got off their soiled hands. Slimy RI Rep St. Germain co-authored the deregulation bill that was a license to steal on a scale never before imagined. Coupled with the 4 1/2 trillion in Reagan/Bush deficits, the Repubs should forever retire their tax and spend accusation against Dems, or they have it stuffed down their throats. For 20 years Dems have been the party exercising fiscal responsibility.
Poor Amadou, who was converted into Emmentaler for the grievous offense of standing in his own apartment house doorway, has again focused attention on trigger-happy politsia. NYC Police, who had no indication of danger or evil, still opened up with a fusillade of 42 shots that may have continued after Amadou was down. So much for fleeing the random racial violence of Africa. This is perhaps the worst nightmare of any citizen- to be shot down like a dog by paranoid pumped-up out-of-control police in a blind racist panic. Working in violent and scum-filled areas like the South Bronx stresses poorly trained and weak-willed cops till they become shell-shocked powder kegs. I've driven through the Bronx on a bicycle- miles of a 2" carpet of broken glass, looming portless hulks of dead buildings, and a howling deathly vacuum that sucks up all memory of civilization. At least the cops involved are being brought to justice, a almost unprecedented event.
Meanwhile, in little Rhody, Providence police blasted a fellow officer- 2nd generation popular black officer Cornel Young- to kingdom come when the off-duty street clothed Young came out of restaurant pointing his gun at a gun-waving suspect in a car. This may have been a tragic mistake- from the newspaper drawings- Young was directly behind the suspect + cops had screamed to "drop the gun" several times- and Young couldn't imagine they were talking to him. But Providence Police have a long history of brutality + blowing people away at minor provocations; after the requisite week of canonization, minority outrage has congealed into a demand for a special prosecutor, probably a lousy idea (since it worked so well with the Clintons)- there's no way they shot him knowing he was a cop. Fire the guys and do a top to bottom retraining - vastly restricting when + how cops can shoot. My very first column was about some poor slob they shot to death for threatening them with a tomato sauce jar- my brother received telephone threats. I suggested that cops, who aren't too restrained in force, should have a nonlethal tranquilizer or bean bag or taser gun to disable people that don't present a deadly threat instead or as well as guns.
Once when driving on the East Side, I came across a running cruiser with all doors open + stopped to investigate. 4 cops burst out of an apartment door with a tall black guy, handcuffed behind his back. With spectacularly bad judgment he broke away and ran 10 feet before they all tackled him and Rodney Kinged him, beating his head with nightsticks for a solid 20 seconds. The human skull rings when hit hard enough with a stick, a terrible sound that can't be forgotten (doonk). I ran up and screamed "Stop it, your KILLING him!!!" and one of the cops looked up at me and screamed in a blind panic, "CALL THE STATION!". There were 4 cops on a handcuffed guy who was now 95% unconscious and this guy was TERRIFIED. Something like that that probably at work in both the Young + Diallo cases: blind irrational panic by poorly trained bullies that suddenly were convinced the tables were turning + they were about to pay for all their transgressions. The victim looked worse than I've ever seen a person look, with 20 half-baseball size welts all over his head as they tossed him into a car. He easily could have died from massive head trauma and clots. I wrote an account of it that even the alternative paper was afraid to run. LA may have to pay up to a $ billion for deliberate police shootings, forged evidence, and frame-ups, and LA police are among the cleanest in the country. I'm convinced, if they weren't cops, half of police would be real criminals (40%? guilty of domestic violence); something NEVER examined in the tens of thousands of hero-cop TV propaganda we are inculcated with.
The somewhat frantic reaction to the denial of service attacks on major Web sites is overblown, as trenchant Newsweek columnist and sometime pal Alan Sloan says. Worse things can + will happen and inability to connect happens often anyway. I find the fact they could commandeer the source computers so easily more alarming than the fact they send out millions of messages/requests. You are far more likely to get your credit card # stolen at an airport phone than on the Web. On the other hand, if they block Datek when I need to sell a crashing stock, I hope they execute them. Ultimately, these things are truly terrible for what they mean about privacy, not security. Now the business + government clamor will go up to put tracers all over the Web that can hunt down anyone... for anything. In HI, my comp shop buddies connected to a web site that showed a picture of every file on our computer- which supposedly could be downloaded + read. Virtually any web site you hook to could do this and every single site you view saves a tiny picture in cache. In the nasty political internecine CIA war against poor sloppy academic DCI Deutsch, they just had to mention that "it seems someone accessed pornography with that computer". That's alot of people subject to blackmail, firing, + humiliation; and a power that will be easily available to businesses, government, and hackers. The possibility existed before in video store rentals, but that was too disparate and difficult to access. Still, the next huge fraud epidemics will be dummy gas stations and convenience stores that swipe and store credit card info for 6-12 months, then disappear and bill $20-100 million in a few days. Broadband Co. is offering free DSL, but you have to apply + fill out a detailed questionnaire on your likes and purchases and have an ad banner present. But they could easily give ONLY 100 people actual free DSL, and take the 5 million applications + peddle them for BIG bucks to targeted marketers, which may be their REAL business.
I'd like to get my hands on the neck of the punk who created the "Tan minivan/I'm better than you are" series of sneering contemptible junior high commercials. They are testaments to greed, jealousy, selfishness, and piggishness; and really make me want to go out and buy a new Mitsubishi (Zero).
And Can't the Feds or some state PROSECUTE those psychic hotline charlatans who suck $3-4 minute out of the pockets of vacuous women, "But you were doing some playing around yourself.. in fact you cheated on him on your trip, didn't you?" Just force these testimonial givers to testify what + when was predicted- match against phone records- sue them all as a RICO enterprise. Lying buffoons preying on the lost + gullible. And mind you, I believe in psychic abilities.
Iranians, emerging from 21 years of oppressive "religious" control of all phases of life, go to the polls today. A country of children bred for the coming worldwide Islamic revolution, 70% of Iran is under 25 + sick to death of restrictions on mixing of the sexes in public, dancing, dress, with revolutionary guards breaking into their homes to seize prohibited liquor or videos or beating people at will. Here's to their final liberation after a long dark twilight of lawless religious brutality by the 3% ruling power-mad mullahs that have perverted every precept of Islam. Early returns show a resounding reformist victory.
In a spectacular achievement that partially redeems some of NASA's recent failures, the NEAR spacecraft went into perfect orbit around the Manhattan size potato asteroid EROS, the equivalent of a rendezvous between 2 spacecraft 160 million miles away. Eros has so little gravity that the orbital velocity is only 2 mph, slower than you can walk. Reason for the great interest?: Eros is one of the biggest Earth-orbit crossing rocks + one that could end human civilization or even life... if it hit us. There are 2000 of these a 1/2 mile diameter or greater that would make a Deep Impact.