The Politico Villagers Go Deer Hunting!

elmer-fuddWell, this is exciting! Yesterday on Morning Joe on MSNBC, Mike Allen of Politico proudly announced that he, the managing editor at Politico, John Harris, and Politico executive editor Jim VanderHei all went on their first deer hunt Monday. And, according to Allen, they ALL bagged a large mammal from the Cervidae family.

In plain English, all three of these first time rookie deer hunters managed to take time off from chasing unnamed sources, get dressed, get out of town, track their prey, shoot and kill a real live deer. These are clearly some awesome American Sportsmen!

This would also mean they are such studs that they tracked and finalized the kill on each of the three deer, field cleaned their prey and transported the large carcasses out of the wilds, back to their vehicles, loaded and secured the bodies and drove out of the hunting fields. And they were all back safe and sound at home in time to get a night’s sleep and be in a studio at the crack of dawn to do Morning Joe! Astounding!

All it took was a few hours apparently. These guys must be damn good, because when I was younger, I used to deer hunt with three older men that were knock down dead eye pros, we went for 3-4 days at a time to open the season, and never had the kind of success that beginners Allen, VanderHei and Harris did in seemingly just a few short hours. My coonskin hat is off to all three of them; this is a truly impressive feat.

I am kind of shocked they didn’t run into Dick Cheney, kind of sounds like his type of “hunting” expedition. But, as Allen’s face did not have buckshot oozing from it, I guess not they did not encounter Deadeye Dick. I tried emailing and phoning the three intrepid hunters for more details of their safari, but they failed to return contact.

Fortunately, in an Emptywheel exclusive, we were able to obtain video of the grand hunt!

Late Night: High Seas Hijinx – Pirates and Monkeys Attack!

images.thumbnailArrrrr. Thats right matey, teh pirates be back. It was just last April that US flagged ship the Maersk Alabama was seized by Somali pirates causing a five day standoff finally resolved when Navy snipers took out the pirates which by then had the Maersk captain hostage in a lifeboat. The Maersk, its captain, crew and cargo were all intact and saved.

That was then, this is now; and now the Maersk Alabama, yep the same damn ship, has been involved in yet another pirate attack. This time, however, the pesky pirates were fended off by an onboard security team. From The Guardian:

Somali pirates attacked the container ship Maersk Alabama today for the second time in seven months. Private guards on board the US-flagged ship repelled the attack with gunfire and a high-decibel noise device.

Four pirates in a skiff attacked the ship again today at about 6.30am local time, opening fire with automatic weapons from about 300 yards away, a statement from the US Fifth Fleet in Bahrain said. A security team repelled the attack by using evasive manoeuvres, small-arms fire and a Long Range Acoustic Device, which can beam earsplitting alarm tones.

Vice Admiral Bill Gortney of the US naval forces central command said the Maersk Alabama had followed the maritime industry’s best practices in having a security team on board. “This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take proactive action to prevent being attacked and why we recommend that ships follow industry best practices if they’re in high-risk areas,” he said in a statement.

Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the Chatham House thinktank in London, said the international maritime community was solidly against armed guards, but that American ships have taken a different line.

Aye, they be rough seas for teh Alabama, but she made it through unscathed this time. If you are wondering why the Maersk Alabama was back at it on the same route, refer back to this old post, which explains that when transporting American humanitarian relief supplies, organizations must use a ship chartered in the US, US flagged, and American crew pursuant to US law. There are not that many available for this task, and the Alabama is one of them. Fascinating factoid: the respective captains of the Alabama for the two pirate attacks are good friends and side by side classmates together at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Go figure.

And that is not the only news from the haunts of Davy Jones on the front burner today. Oh no. Back in March, as you may recall, an US submarine had a little ooopsie and collided with an US warship. Turns out it was because those randy sailors were too busy kickin out the jams with their rigged up juke joint boom boxes in the control rooms. From the New York Times the results of the Navy investigation are announced:

The crew aboard a U.S. submarine made dozens of errors before the vessel collided with an American warship in the Persian Gulf, an accident that exposed lax leaders who tolerated sleeping, slouching and a radio room rigged with music speakers, a Navy review found.

Navy investigators placed blame for the March collision on the submarine’s ”ineffective and negligent command leadership,” including what they called a lack of standards and failure to adequately plan for crossing the busy Strait of Hormuz.

Radios? Wacky behavior? The Straits of Hormuz?? Oh yeah, you just know the real culprit is The Filipino Monkey! Oh, and by the way, that darn Filipino Monkey haunts the Potomac too!

Road Trip Friday

Turns out my family seems to be convening on the East Coast this weekend. So McCaffrey the MilleniaLab are road tripping out to join them today.

bmaz has the keys and I’ve stocked up the liquor cabinet (so you all can bust in there and feel like you’re pulling over a fast one on more again). Please be nice to one another.

I”ll be posting somewhat intermittently while on the East Coast and will have one more driving day. But I will be around in case anything exciting happens.

Final Decision: The Dignity Of Judge Karen Williams

Federal judges, whether liberal or conservative – from Reggie Walton on Libby to Vaughn Walker on al-Haramain and the consolidated wiretapping cases in NDCA to the Republican appointees finally giving Guantanamo detainees Habeas consideration to the Supreme Court Justices that were the only check whatsoever on the unitary power grab of the Bush/Cheney brigade – live and serve in mostly quiet and unappreciated dignity.

That is certainly the case with Fourth Circuit Judge Karen Williams:

Karen Williams of South Carolina, the first female chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, stepped down this week shortly after learning that she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, according to her family. Alzheimer’s, for which there is no cure, can cause mental deterioration and memory loss. Williams is 57 years old.

The 4th Circuit, an influential voice on national security issues, hears cases from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the Carolinas. Earlier vacancies have whittled away its strong Republican majority, and the court now has five judges appointed by Republican presidents and five appointed by Democrats. Williams’s departure creates a fifth vacancy, so the court could gain a 10 to 5 Democratic majority during Obama’s term.

Williams’s eldest daughter, Marian Scalise, 39, said yesterday that her mother made a wrenching decision to leave a job she loves but did so promptly after her diagnosis to make sure she retired before any of her opinions could be questioned.

"The court has always been in her life. She has always loved the court, and serving the citizens, and making sure her opinions were correct as far as the law is concerned," Scalise said. "It’s so difficult for her to step away from that.

I had never heard of Judge Williams before tonight, and what seems to be her most famous decision, Dickerson v. United States, I take profound issue with. Heck, even the Rehnquist court, with Rehnquist himself writing the opinion, took issue with it and reversed Williams. That said, my hat is off to Judge Williams for making the call to retire quickly and completely. This is a terrible diagnosis the judge has received, the decision must have been brutal, but Williams appears to have not flinched and looks to have removed herself before she put decisions in serious jeopardy. And, yes, judges with lifetime tenure often do hang on when they have no business whatsoever being there.

Williams’ sudden Read more

The Backstory of Sanford & Sonnets Is Dribbling Out

I was carping, in this post and comments thereto, about what a fascinating backstory must be behind the Sanford hothouse tale. Ask, and ye shall receive. The State from Columbia SC (h/t esseff44) has a new article up:

A Dec. 30 e-mail planted the seeds of believability for a Tuesday-night phone caller who said Sanford had flown to Argentina.Those anonymous tips led The State to have a reporter at the Atlanta airport to interview Sanford. Then, in rapid succession, the paper told Sanford’s aides and a key ally, Davis, that it had e-mails describing an affair between Sanford and a woman in Argentina, and a free-lance journalist knocked on a door in Buenos Aires. A woman at that address initially answered to the name on the e-mails, Maria, then said Maria wasn’t at home.But the damage was done.In eight short hours, the combination of the two anonymous tipsters and three actions — Sanford’s arrival at the Atlanta airport, unveiling the e-mails and finding Maria — took Sanford from would-be president to disgraced adulterer.


Sanford’s long, strange absence — and Jenny Sanford’s chilly public statements about the governor’s whereabouts — had suddenly cast in new light copies of five e-mails purportedly between Sanford and a woman in Argentina.

The e-mail exchanges, pasted into a single e-mail, had arrived Dec. 30 at The State in an account for letters to the editor. The subject field read, “This is your governor.”

The e-mails were from the personal e-mail address of Gov. Sanford to a woman in Argentina named Maria.
Those e-mails outlined a sexual affair.

The editorial page editor who retrieved the e-mail replied to it, asking who the e-mailer was. There was no response.

When the e-mails were sent to the newsroom, a reporter and editor there both e-mailed the AOL account in the United Kingdom, asking questions. There was no response. Then, the reporter e-mailed Maria. Again, there was no response.

Attempts to electronically divine whether the e-mails were genuine also failed to produce results.
With the S.C. Legislature in session and a battle over federal stimulus money escalating, the e-mails went in a drawer.

Then, Knotts announced Sanford was missing.

Please go read the article, it has a plethora of new information and discussion, and is by a full team from The State Newspaper, which is a McClatchy property. You have to hand it to McClatchy, once again they are killing the giants in the newspaper business.

Jenny Sanford Lays The Wood To Lovey Govey

Holy smoke Batman. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape; you don’t spit into the wind. And you don’t mess around with Jen.

AP’s Bruce Smith has, through Yahoo News, put up an interview with Jenny Sanford; and it is a doozy. Do go read the entire piece, it is totally deserving. Many key questions are addressed, and Jenny Sanford puts on a tour de force.

How did Jenny find out about her husband’s affair:

Sanford said she discovered her husband’s affair early this year after coming across a copy of a letter to the mistress in one of his files in the official governor’s mansion. He had asked her to find some financial information, she said, not an unusual request considering her heavy involvement in his career.

Fascinating, and it means Jenny was not the one who forwarded the salacious Romeo/Juliet emails to The State newspaper, because The State received them in December of 2008. I have a feeling that eliminates her father too, and militates in favor of someone in the South Carolina state government, probably around the Governor’s office.**

What does Jenny think of Mark having gone to Argentina to see Maria?

That he had dared to go to Argentina to see the other woman left her stunned. "He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," she said in a strong, steady voice.

Heh, well maybe not that stunned because:

…her husband repeatedly asked permission to visit his lover in the months after she discovered his affair.

Oh. My. That’s gonna leave a mark. It is not the kind of thing you put out on the record unless you are leaving a serious marker to own the narrative, and boy is Jenny Sanford doing that. And Jenny is not blind to anything going on here either; she has a grip.

On her philandering husband’s pelotas.

Think Jenny has any illusions about the extended stroll Mark just took through Buenos Aires? Nuh uh. Asked whether she thinks he has ended the tryst with Maria:

"I guess that’s what we will have to see. I believe he has," she said. "But he was down there for five days. I saw him yesterday and he is not staying here. We’ll just see what kind of spirit of reconciliation he has himself."

As Marcy emailed a bit ago:

The State Read more

The Value Of The Hometeam

Sports are a fickle thing, they bring out the best and the worst of people. Professional sports franchises often come, in a way, to define their cities. Pittsburgh, home of the Steelers. Boston, home of the Red Sox. Detroit, home of the Red Wings. But what is their intrinsic value? What does it mean when they leave? The City of Phoenix may be about to find out:

Less than an hour before the National Hockey League commissioner planned to broker a deal to sell the Phoenix Coyotes and strip team owner Jerry Moyes of his duties Tuesday, Moyes filed for bankruptcy to sell to his own buyer.

Moyes, as part of a Chapter 11 reorganization filing, agreed to sell the team for $212.5 million to a BlackBerry wireless magnate who plans to move the team to a yet-to-be determined location in southern Ontario, Canada.

The move is not a certainty. Already, the NHL and Glendale, which leases Arena to the Coyotes, have objected to Moyes’ tactics. And other investors could outbid BlackBerry executive Jim Balsillie’s PSE Sports & Entertainment LP.

But the Coyotes, who have played in metro Phoenix since 1996, habitually have lost money in the desert, first when they shared an arena with the Phoenix Suns in downtown Phoenix and most recently in Glendale.

Moyes, who since 2001 has invested more than $310 million in the team, declined to be interviewed. Earl Scudder, his financial and legal adviser, said Moyes had no option but to file for bankruptcy because that was the only way to void the team’s lease with Glendale.

There are so many threads here it is hard to know where to start. The arrogance of an owner. The bankrupt state of a national sports franchise. And not just any hockey franchise either, one run by the Great One, the greatest hockey player ever, Wayne Gretzky and playing in one of the newest most state of the art single sport dedicated stadium in the league. Oh, and hey, does the line "no option but to file for bankruptcy because that was the only way to void the team’s lease with Glendale" not sound an awful lot like the mantra of the Obama Administration and the auto manufacturers trying to shed those pesky dealership agreements?

So, apparently the market value of the Phoenix Coyotes is 212.5 million – if the team is shipped off to somewhere in Read more

Yo Ho Yo Ho, It’s The Risk Management Life For Thee

Pirates! Arrrr, they’re teh new sharks matey. Scary! And we should rightly be worried about this pirate problem, because CNN, MSNBC and the print have been relentlessly telling us so. First it was the seizure of the quasi American flagged cargo ship Maersk Alabama, and now the pesky pirates have snared an Italian tugboat too.

Sara related some fascinating background on Maersk and its business:

…. part of Public Law 480 requires that food relief from US Agricultural surpluses, be carried in “American Bottoms” — and US Flagged and owned ships, all have union crews. This ship is owned by Moller/Maersk, which is a vast international Danish Company, but which bought an American Shipping Company, and thus is a bi-national corporation. When it carries American Humanitarian Relief Supplies, they must use a ship chartered in the US, US Flagged, and American Crew. Moller/Maersk is perfectly capable of changing the charter, flag, and crew if it is hired to deliver a non-restricted cargo. For instance, this is the Danish Shipping Company that “sold” Ollie North his ship for shipping the anti-tank weapons to Iran back in the middle of Iran Contra — the ship he took back to Denmark and parked once the story broke, and left the crew without paying their wages. Not covered in the US Press at all — the Danes had a nice little trial in a public court on the Island of Fyn, and took public testimony of all the seamen (all Danes) who were unpaid, and out spilled all the cargo’s they had hauled, and all their ports of Call. Not sure whether North ever paid his fines and got right with the Danish Seaman’s court. Moller/Maersk also was the primary contractor hauling arms to Central America back in the Reagan Days. They’ve done covert stuff for CIA for years.

Shipping, even through troubled waters like those near Somalia, is big business. Isn’t everything these days? Which brings me to the knee jerk question, one I am sure many have asked, of why these big global business ships do not simply arm themselves sufficiently to repel the rag tag Somali pirates? Seriously, the Maersk Alabama is 508 feet long and staffed by a trained and unionized crew, why can’t they fight off these pirates with AK-47s in rinky dink junks and skiffs? Insurance and regulatory liability concerns; and, it turns out, that appears to be a pretty valid explanation. Read more

My Seeds

picture-89.thumbnail.pngMr. ew and I threw a birthday party for ourselves last night and I’m not really able to talk about bailouts and bonuses and whatnot today.

So instead, I thought I’d join the spring planting fun and talk about the seeds I bought last week to plant whenever spring comes to MI (Click the picture for the map of Michelle Obama’s garden).

I belong to a CSA that keeps me in veggies from May to October, so most of what I plant is for storage or funky veggies that we won’t get in the CSA. Here’s what I’m planting this year:

Windy Wood Green Okra: This one I’ll have to start inside. I really like okra and understand it has a beautiful flower–so I’m really looking forward to this.

Black Kabouli Bush Garbanzo Beans: I like growing storage beans fresh–they taste better. And black garbanzo beans sounded like fun.

Triple Play Sweet Corn: People say corn is hard but I planted some a few years ago and it did great–my garden is in a really windy spot. It probably helped, too, that I had just dumped a truck full of the town’s great compost in my garden when I planted it. This stuff is multicolored. I guess I was in the mood for funny colored food the day I bought my seeds.

Texas Indian Moschata Squash: I planted buttercup and acorn squash last year–boring squash varietals but I was stuck with them because I put off buying seeds until all the funky squash was gone. This is supposed to be a great keeper like a butternut (I’ve still got some CSA butternut and some of my own buttercup downstairs).

Temuco Quinoa: I’ve been experimenting with grains lately–so when the apocalypse comes I will have experience growing grains in my backyard. Though I never got around to chaffing the amaranth I grew last year (which was a stunningly beautiful plant), so I can’t yet say I know how to chaff grains I’ve grown in my backyard.

Huazontle (Red Aztec Spinach): Okay, I admit I don’t know what to expect from this (I think I bought it because it looks a lot like last year’s bright red Amaranth). You can eat it raw when it’s young or braise the leaves and the seed head later on. It supposedly retains its red color during cooking so it’ll probably make a lovely stew with my black garbanzo beans  and tri-colored sweet corn. Tune in in August to hear Read more

Getting Their Kicks: The American-Saudi Go Around Come-Around

Despite a decent amount of negativity roiling around the socio-political scene lately, on a fine Saturday night right here in the ole USA, this gives me a lot of heart somehow:

Then, with a scream of revving engines, it begins: a yellow Corvette and a red Mitsubishi go head to head, racing down the road at terrifying speeds, just inches apart. Shouts go up from the sidelines, and another pair of racers shoot down the road, and another.

This may be the most popular sport of Saudi youth, an obsessive, semilegal competition that dominates weekend nights here.

For Saudi Arabia’s vast and underemployed generation of young people, these reckless night battles are a kind of collective scream of frustration, a rare outlet for exuberance in an ultraconservative country where the sexes are rigorously segregated and most public entertainment is illegal. They are, almost literally, bored out of their minds.

“Why do they do it?” … “Because they have nothing else to do. Because they are empty.”

Despite all the shrieking of teh military-industrial class, the iron curtain fell and the cold war subsided because of information, lifestyle and ethos penetration into the supposed enemy. Thing was, they were not the enemy, they were people just like us. And so the walls came down. The Rolling Stones, Beatles and Beach Boys had as much, if not far more, to do with the victory as military might (not to mention the start of the internet and satellite teevee).

The United States government and tunnel visioned world press were too slow to figure out what was really up the first time, and lo and behold, they are biting off on the same steel fisted bunk again. It is cultural progression that is softening the underbelly of yet another clash of the civilizations. Who’d a thunk it? Who will realize it?

Then the car leaps forward, accelerating furiously, and breaks into a sudden skid, spinning around, nearly colliding with a concrete barrier and leaving thick black marks on the pavement. A stifling smell of burnt rubber hangs in the air.

It is not the bombs. It is La Bamba.