Thursday, June 30, 2005

Some Good News

Last week's Supreme Court ruling that would allow local governments to force the sale of private property for economic development purposes took a hit Thursday. The House voted to use the spending power of Congress to hobble the cruel twist on eminent domain.

The House measure, which passed 231 to 189, would deny federal funds to any city or state project that used eminent domain to force people to sell their property to make way for a profit-making project such as a hotel or mall.

The measure, an amendment to an appropriations bill, would apply to funds administered by the departments of Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development.

The court's ruling was so outrageously unfair to property owners that even Tom DeLay was offended by it. The House Majority Leader referred to it as "a horrible decision," and said he hoped it would cause a backlash.

Read the whole story at the Washington Post site.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Reality-Based Speech

Ahead of tonight's wool-pulling speech by President Bush, in which he will try desparately to regain some lost ground, Sen. John Kerry's opinion piece in the New York Times spells out "The Speech the President Should Give." A few samples:

So what should the president say tonight? The first thing he should do is tell the truth to the American people. Happy talk about the insurgency being in "the last throes" leads to frustrated expectations at home.
The president must also announce immediately that the United States will not have a permanent military presence in Iraq. Erasing suspicions that the occupation is indefinite is critical to eroding support for the insurgency.

Reasonable, thoughtful stuff, don't you think? Presidential, one might say.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Connick Jr. and Marsalis: On the Sunny Side

Saw Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis at Zankel Hall in NYC last night. Probably the most mainstream jazz performance I have ever attended. (Got some comps from a friend.) Good show, though. Audience friendly, to be sure, but with some depth. Quite a bit more harmonic sophistication in Connick Jr.'s playing than I expected to hear. Solid, accomplished blowing by Marsalis--absolutely effortless soprano work. Most of what the duo offered can be heard on the Marsalis Music release Occasion. Opener was "The Sunny Side of the Street," nicely done solo by HCJ. If you have Rhapsody--and you certainly should--check out some cool versions of "Sunny Side" by following the link below. Includes Ella Fitzgerald, Lester Young, Jimmy Smith, Sonny Rollins and more.

Not much Sunday left. Try to enjoy.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Advice for Matt Lauer

Mr. Lauer, the next time you plan a showdown with someone who has the mental acuity and boundless knowledge of Tom Cruise, maybe you'll do the research first. You ought to know better ...

Friday, June 24, 2005


This story, from the New York Times, reports President Bush's determination to stay the course in Iraq, despite diminishing support for his policy seen in recent public opinion polls. The message is: "There are not going to be any timetables," for withdrawal of American troops. A stunningly creative example of weasel wording in the following paragraph is worth noticing. Emphasis is my own:

Mr. Bush declined today to answer directly when asked about apparently differing assessments - or at least differences in language - between Vice President Dick Cheney and Gen. John P. Abizaid, the commander of United States troops in Iraq. Mr. Cheney recently said that the insurgency in Iraq was in its "last throes." But General Abizaid told a Senate committee on Thursday that the insurgency's "overall strength is about the same" as six months ago.

That's some difference. Seems a bit unfair to blame it on language.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

First Post

Who will see this? Very few. If any.

In the coming days, weeks and months, this location will feature posts on many subjects: music, politics, books, movies, technology, TV, etc. There will be photographs. Possibly some short stories. Whatever hits the windshield. Initially, you may expect confusion. A seemingly deliberate lack of organization. Perhaps, as time passes, things will come into focus. Or not. Who can say?

Giant Inflatable Poodle has just been born.

Give GIP a chance.

Everybody's brother and son: