Saturday, November 02, 2002

According to WNYC-AM Tom Golisano (Ind.) has cancelled all of his campaign activities (except for his debate against H. Carl McCall (D), which took place this morning) between now and Sunday night. On Sunday night he will address the state in a paid commercial address on all of the local TV stations and CNN. The rumor is that he is withdrawing and endorsing the Democrat. With Dems having a registration advantage of 2 million+ this could, and I am only saying could, be a bad omen for George Pataki (R).

I've never understood Pataki's appeal. He was elected in 1994 in what we would now call the "Doug Forrestor Paradigm," i.e. I'm not that guy (in his case Mario Cuomo). He ran on two issues: Death Penalty and Taxes.

In eight years he has managed both to cut taxes and increase spending, primarily by issuing new debt. The debt load of New York State has more than doubled under his watch, and the state's bond raiting is in the toilet. New York state is facing a $10b budget shortfall, New York City, $6b. Good job, George!

No convicted murderer has been executed in New York, and the State Appeals court in Albany seems skeptical. I'm always asking people what they like about Pataki, and none has a firm answer. The man is a cipher.

UPDATE: Forgot to include the time that the Golisano announcemnt is to be broadcast. He will be taking to the airwaves at 6:28pm

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Just cleaning out my inbox when I came across this gem from Andy Borowitz.

[From the Borowitz Report]
Little Is Known About Saddam’s Heir-Apparent Son

Is the world ready for "Saddam: The Sequel"?

That is the question being quietly raised in State Department circles these days, where speculation is running rampant that a regime change in Iraq could mean the rise to power of the Iraqi strongman’s little-known son, Saddam W. Hussein.

While information is scant about the younger Saddam, who is known in Iraq simply as “W,” intelligence sources say that Saddam W. Hussein’s ascendancy has been gathering steam in recent years.

Having spent most of his thirties running a series of family-owned oil concerns, the younger Saddam got serious about his political future five years ago, when he ran for governor of a province in Southern Iraq.

Even though he lost the popular vote in that contest, the Supreme Court of Iraq later found in his favor, sending Saddam W. Hussein’s political star on the upswing.

At the State Department, fears now abound that if President Bush succeeds in ousting Saddam the Father, Saddam the Son could be hungry for payback.

“There’s a concern that he’ll be like, ‘this time it’s personal,’” said one State Department insider.

Within Iraq, Saddam W. Hussein is known for his sometimes difficult-to-parse speeches, which even his backers say are chock full of malapropisms and mispronunciations.

In a recent speech, for example, the younger Saddam said that U.N. weapons inspectors would be “accepted” in Iraq when he meant to say “assassinated.”

But State Department insiders warn that Saddam W. Hussein should not be written off just because of his less-than-golden tongue.

“It would be a big mistake to underestimate Saddam W. Hussein,” one insider said. “He’s not as dumb as he looks.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

The always great Calvin Trillin scores a bullseye, actually many bullseyes, with this week's "Shouts & Murmurs" in the current issue of the New Yorker, entitled Unpublished Letters to the Ethicist. "The Ethicist" is a weekly column in the New York Times Magazine by Randy Cohen; Cohen answers letters sent in by readers which set forth various ethical dillemas.

Some of Trillin's fake letters follow:

My husband, who is an anti-abortion activist, sincerely believes that life begins at conception. Recently, he learned that he was conceived while his parents were on vacation in Jamaica, and he has come to the conclusion that he is therefore a Jamaican and is in this country illegally. He is now talking about turning himself in and having himself deported. Am I married to a man of principle or a cuckoo bird?

D.F., Tupelo, Miss.
- - - - - - - - -
I am an adviser to the President of a very powerful country. In order to divert attention from the economy, which happens to stink, I've advised him to talk about virtually nothing but war against Iraq between now and November, when our country is holding an important election. If the economy still stinks after a war with Iraq and I advise the President to talk about virtually nothing but war with North Korea until the next election, would I be "playing politics"?

K.R., Washington, D.C.

- - - - - - - - -

We are advisers to the President of a very powerful country, and we are prominent in a group of so-called hawks urging him to wage war on Iraq. Like every other member of the group, we evaded the war in Vietnam. Some people see an ethical problem in this; they refer to us as chicken hawks. But we figure that if we had gone to Vietnam we could have been killed, and then who would be here to urge the President to wage war on Iraq?

D.C., R.P., P.W.,Washington, D.C.