Nero's Fiddle
A View From The Handbasket

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Fed cuts lending rate by two fishes and a loaf
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:11 PM

Here's Our President announcing the "President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy":

I have asked people from the business world, the faith world, the non-profit world, to join this council in order to come up with recommendations as to how to better educate people from all walks of life about matters pertaining to their finances and their future.

After eight years of ruinous budgets and regulatory laissez-faire, I suppose that prayer might be the best option for the average citizen.

On the other hand, perhaps this is the closest Bush has yet come to publicly acknowledging the tension between his policies and the reality-based community. Which, in light of his oddly endearing phrase "faith world," we should probably term the "real world."

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Friday, January 18, 2008
Huckabee Crazy Watch: Lie Down with Dogs edition
Posted by neros_fiddle at 10:15 AM
In what's becoming a series (which I hope will end with his exit from the race, please), here's the latest in radical Christian cleric Mike Huckabee's nutball observations:

Is it your goal to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible? Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations.

Well, I don’t think that’s a radical view to say we’re going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic.

That's right, folks -- according to Mike Huckabee, being in favor of gay marriage means that you also endorse pedophilia and bestiality. According to Mike Huckabee, gays are morally indistinguishable from child molesters.

A win in South Carolina will give this clown far too much clout. If that happens, I can only hope he gets smothered in the big-state primaries on Feb. 5th. He may in fact be the second-most-dangerous man running for the GOP nomination, after Rudy "Bombs Away" Giuliani.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Huckabee wants to amend Constitution to please "living God"
Posted by neros_fiddle at 3:13 PM
The crazy keeps on coming from the Huckster:

"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards," Huckabee said, referring to the need for a constitutional human life amendment and an amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

I find it fascinating that the only Biblical prohibitions that the fundies seem to care about enshrining in legislation are those that have to do with sex (specifically, sex they don't approve of). Where's the anti-bacon bills? A ban on goatees and tattoos? The regulation of female head covering? How about the death penalty for proselytizing?

One can only conclude that they don't truly care about legislating God's law and are in fact obsessed with sex. Ask Larry Craig about it the next time he's in the next stall over.

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Friday, January 11, 2008
6 million Jews died for Bush's foreign policy
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:31 PM
Here's our President, after visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem (I'm assuming he wasn't wearing his gold-embroidered bathrobe at the time):

I would hope as many people in the world would come to this place, it would be a sobering reminder that evil exists and a call that when we find evil we must resist it.

Never mind that it makes no sense grammatically (is that even a surprise at this point?), just soak in the narcissism on display. The lesson of the Holocaust? For George W. Bush, the lesson of the Holocaust is that his preemptive war strategy is correct.

Of course, if Bush had been President in 1938, we'd probably have invaded Spain.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008
The President gets what he wants
Posted by neros_fiddle at 5:13 PM
The Israelis are very good at sucking up:

Lights in the Old City of Jerusalem will be turned off before dawn this week so visiting US President George W. Bush can get a better view of the sun rising over its ancient walls.

Bush, who arrives in the Middle East on Wednesday for a visit lasting more than a week, had made a request to watch the sun rise over the Old City from his suite at the King David Hotel, a municipal spokesman said on Tuesday.

To make the scene more dramatic, the authorities have decided to turn off the lights illuminating the limestone walls before dawn on Thursday and Friday, the spokesman told reporters.

The gesture is just one of several that Bush's Israeli hosts will extend to the president of their main ally during his landmark three-day visit this week -- the first by a sitting US president to Israel and the Palestinian territories in nine years.

Awaiting Bush at his King David suite -- reportedly costing 2,600 dollars a night -- will be a white terry bathrobe embroidered with his name in gold, local media have reported.

Israeli television broadcast footage of the garment throughout the day on Tuesday.

And the main highway leading into Jerusalem from the west -- already plagued by traffic problems -- will be completely closed in one direction for an hour on Wednesday after Bush arrives to allow the unhindered passage of the convoy containing his hundreds-strong entourage.

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Opinions differ on the antiHuck
Posted by neros_fiddle at 9:48 AM
Here's Josh Marshall's take on who becomes the anti-Huckabee:

Still not looking good for Mitt tomorrow. But the final swing of the pendulum, picked up by various observers like Marc Ambinder and winger reporters like Bob Novak and others is that Romney's regrouped in the final 48 hours and could pull off a surprise by nudging ahead of McCain.

My gut tells me that McCain probably pulls through. But perhaps not.

But let's plot out this map a little further. Let's say McCain takes first tomorrow with Romney a very close second. It's close to fatal for Romney but not quite. What's more, and what you need to look at to game out the significance is what comes next. The next big fight is in South Carolina. And two new polls out today (Rasmussen and SurveyUSA) show Huckabee in a dominant position in the state. So Huckabee looks likely to take Secessionville with either McCain or Romney coming in second.

At that point you'll have to say that Huckabee, who the GOP establishment is roundly against, is the frontrunner in the campaign. And the others are going to coalesce around an anti-Huckabee candidate. It's not clear to me that McCain is a shoe-in for that role.

If the GOP can prop up Romney as the antiHuck, they'd certainly prefer to do so. If he repeatedly loses to McCain, though, it won't be easy. Tonight is vital for Romney. He'd like you to believe that a "close second" is a moral victory, but the fact is that he's assumed victory in NH for a long time and his strategy changes mightily without it. A solid win by McCain would be fatal IMO. A close win by McCain would give Romney a second chance, but there won't be a third. And a Romney win will probably turn this in to Romney vs. Huckabee, in which case the edge would have to go to Romney.

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Monday, January 07, 2008
All the tired horses
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:46 PM
After months of running in place, the now-exhausted field of Presidential hopefuls have started moving forward. Here's some quick thoughts on how they're stumbling along.


The Dems are already winnowed to three, and Obama is looking strong.

HILLARY CLINTON: Third place in Iowa is not what was supposed to happen for Clinton, and the press is writing her off as a result. This is not entirely warranted -- the full weight of the Clinton machine should not be underestimated -- but her campaign appears to be in chaos as they struggle to switch over to underdog mode. A poor showing in NH could be fatal -- not winning in MI or FL definitely would be.

JOHN EDWARDS: Smilin' John is in about the same place he was in '04, with about the same prospects. (In fact, one could say that the whole Dem situation looks a lot like '04 between IA and NH, with Obama playing Kerry, Clinton playing Dean, and Edwards playing himself. Of interest is that the upstart and the establishment candidate have switched places.) He might do well in MI and beat Obama in SC, which would make FL and especially the 2/5 megaprimary vital. The press seems to treat Edwards as yesterday's news, saving most of their ink for the fresh blood.

BARACK OBAMA: Obama has all the momentum on the Dem side, at least if/until Clinton bows out and it becomes Edwards vs. Obama, which could possibly be a slugfest depending on how Edwards does on 2/5. If Obama wins NH convincingly, Clinton is most likely done as without her aura of inevitability she's greatly diminished as a candidate. If Obama then crushes Edwards on 2/5, Obama is the nominee.

As they sing on Gilligan's Island, "and the rest..."

BILL RICHARDSON: He'll hang on until he runs out of money, which should be in a week or two.

DENNIS KUCINICH: Nothing if not stubborn, he'll stick around for the duration and make things a bit more interesting.

MIKE GRAVEL: Dead candidate walking.

CHRIS DODD: My personal favorite has withdrawn after IA.

JOE BIDEN: Bailed after IA.


This is still very murky.

RUDY GIULIANI: After a spectacular December implosion, former golden boy Rudy is reduced to hoping he doesn't get too embarrassed in NH. (When your biggest PR victory of recent weeks is the revelation that the security detail for your mistress was properly paid for, you're probably not doing too well.) An also-ran until proven otherwise.

MIKE HUCKABEE: His schtick plays in Peoria (or at least next door), but whether it translates to the delegate-rich states is the big question. (I see his win in IA much like Pat Robertson's second there in '88.) Should be a relative non-factor in NH and MI, should do well in SC and FL, then will sink or swim on 2/5. Not especially popular among the GOP establishment, but puts butts in voting booths.

DUNCAN HUNTER: Comedy relief only.

ALAN KEYES: See Duncan Hunter.

JOHN MCCAIN: McCain could actually end up getting the nomination by default as voters become exasperated with the weakness of the field. Third was better than expected in IA, and a win in NH could make him the de facto anti-Huckabee. What makes this interesting is that the Republican establishment hates him (Romney is the choice of the smoke-filled room), while the press loves him. If Romney flops, seeing the GOP elite choose between McCain and Huckabee has high comedy potential.

RON PAUL: Yet another internet phenom gets dashed on the rocks of actual voting.

MITT ROMNEY: A poor showing in NH is the end of Romney. His money-driven ride in the polls is played out, and now he has to stand or fall on comparisons to the other guys. Since Romney possesses no coherent record to compare, he fares badly in that arena. A comeback is unlikely.

FRED THOMPSON: Most of the red-meat faithful who hounded poor ol' Fred to run have flocked to Huckabee, and Fred must be wondering why he bothered in the first place. Without a built-in base, Thompson's prospects are very dim.

So, after all that, it's not at all unlikely that we'll have a McCain-Obama general election, which ought to be a whole heap of fun. Stay tuned.

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