The Spectacle Blog
A reporter friend of mine tasked with covering the Bush speech for a major daily newspaper which shall go unnamed here (suffice to say the outlet in question has not been all that friendly to this administration) just remarked to me that the president "hit a home run" in Annapolis and "really reclaimed a lot of momentum." The seasoned reporter was visibly moved just talking about it. I'll be interested to see if his true impression of the event makes it past his editors...
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a recent interview, defended the Administration's policy of detaining potential terrorists, as a necessary component of the "War on Terror." Apparently Administration policy wonks have been re-reading works by 19th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who advocated arresting people from groups with a tendency to commit crimes. Bentham also advocated torture as a means of securing "confessions."
The president will outline his strategy for winning in Iraq today in what is being billed as a major speech to be delivered at the US Naval Academy. According to information being released by the White House, the president will say that victory in Iraq comes in three parts:
*Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.
*Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.
*Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.
Duane Patterson, one of the evil geniuses behind the Hugh Hewitt Show, picked up on the idea of using my new car as a lawn ornament. If you are adept at photoshopping, and want to win a Crosley Solo radio for your imaginative entry, check out the contest we're running on RadioBlogger.com. Some of these are pretty funny. Duane will pick the top ten and post them separately for a listeners' vote to pick the winner. Have at it, folks.
In about 20 minutes, I'll leave my desk for minor shoulder surgery which will put me in a sling for a few weeks. How I'll manage to type, which is life itself for me, I don't know.
So a last blog note before going under. On Yesterday's "On Point" broadcast on NPR, host Tom Ashbrook introduced a show about what he called "a sickening culture of corruption" in the Republican party. I do not sympathize with bribe-takers like Randy "Duke" Cunningham, but I do want to remind Mr. Ashbrook of an earlier Presidential administration. Maybe three names will do the trick: Mochtar Riady, John Huang, Ron Brown.
Now that "Top Gun" has flown the coop, the interesting stuff begins.
Republicans in the House we are talking to say that the Cunningham exit will be the first real test to see how much influence Leader in Limbo Tom Delay actually still has.
Duke Cunningham had a seat on House Appropriations, and now that seat is up for grabs. The thinking is that another California Republican will get it, but word out of leadership office is that that seat is not necessarily a lock for a Left Coast heiney. Appropriations Committee chair, Jerry Lewis, a Californian, has told other committee members that he intends to fight hard to keep Cunningham's seat in California's grips.
Acting majority leader Roy Blunt is said to be pushing to give the Approps seat to a loyal Republican not necessarily from California, though no names have yet been floated. Obviously, Appropriations seats are some of the most coveted in the House.
Put aside the indictments, scandals, and tearful confessions for a moment. "Cute" is not usually a word attributable to almost anything here in DC. But today, the Tai Shan countdown begins. And "cute" is merely one adjective for this newest resident of Washington. D.C's pandas-on-loan from China have paid off in PR, if not in tax dollars, for Washington. Tai Shan (meaning "peaceful mountain" -- yes, yes, the name has evoked lots of chatter in the capital), our little panda, was born to proud parents four months ago, and he will make his inaugural public appearance next week. What an auspicious, harmonious, prosperous, and blessed event this Inauguration will be, for who can possibly hate a little panda?
To see a pre-public video clip, click here.