Berry's World
Saturday, October 25, 2003

Like many Americans, I have closely followed the tragic Terri Schiavo situation. Like a lot of folks, seeing the videos of the poor woman brings tears to my eyes. So, which side am I on?

I’m on neither side.

Now, this might sound crazy, but I tend to think that sometimes situations are so tragic, and so personal to the people involved, that the public, the political pundits, and the legislature should stay out of it.

Terri Schiavo's future should be decided by whoever is legally entitled to make that decision. It shouldn’t become a political volleyball to be beaten back and forth by the pro-life and pro-choice types. It shouldn’t be used by a state legislature and a Governor to score political points. And it sure as hell shouldn’t be used by an overly precocious youngster trying to make a career for himself, right Ben Shapiro?

If it’s me, and I’m lying there for 13 years simply existing and not living? Feel free to remove the feeding tubes. But that decision should be discussed, debated, and made by the people who have the legal authority to do so. It should not be an issue to be grasped by one group or another to increase donations to their cause.

Thomas H. Kean, head of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States which is investigating the 9-11 attacks, said today that he may subpoena the Bush administration for key documents that have not been turned over.

What took him so long?
Friday, October 24, 2003

NOW With Bill Moyers' website has figures taken from The Economist showing executive take home pay relative to factory floor workers pay worldwide:

JAPAN---11 TIMES (Meaning executive take home pay is 11 times greater than factory floor workers pay.)











Yesterday's edition of The Aspen Times had a story admitting that a staff reporter disclosed a source who made 'anonymous' comments concerning the proposed Base Village project in Snowmass Village. The original story identified the comments as coming from a town planner, and used the pronoun 'she' in describing the source.

Unfortunately, the village has only one female town planner. Well, I guess I should say the village HAD only one female town planner as Carolyn Poissant was fired from her post.

The Aspen Times did apologize for the disclosure, but in the 392 word story admitting the disclosure, two words were noticeably missing; the name of the reporter who gave up his source.

I'm not sure why they didn't disclose the reporter's name, as it only took me two or three minutes of searching the website of The Aspen Times to find that Steve Benson wrote the original story.

UPDATE: The Aspen Times has e-mailed me indicating that while Steve Benson did write the original article disclosing Carolyn Poissant's identity, it was an editor who apparently changed the story to disclose the confidential source's identity. The Aspen Times refused to comment on whether any action would be taken against the editor who cost Carolyn Poissant her job.

I'm always amused when I hear people say the most asinine things simply to be on television. The latest example comes from a commercial for a product called Focus Factor, which seems to be some sort of snake oil along the lines of Simpson and Son Revitalizing Tonic. In an effort to drum up business, the company is offering a free bottle of Focus Factor, and elicits spontaneous comments from people on the street. Near the end of the ad, an elderly woman gives us this memorable gem:

'They let you try it free? It must be good.'

Oh yeah. In fact, if it were any better, they would pay you to try it.

In the analysis of a Democracy Corps poll, we get this:

Large majorities of the country think it was right to remove Saddam Hussein.

While that's interesting news, I think that result is due to the question being worded improperly. I would love to see a poll ask this question:

"If you knew that we would not find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, how many American lives would you trade to topple Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein?"

For me, the answer is zero, but I wonder if 'large majorities of the country' would say 347 (through 10-24-03)?
Thursday, October 23, 2003

I like Busy Busy Busy, even though Elton Brand has been too busy busy busy to post in the last few days. I get a kick out of the 'Shorter' concept, but I do kind of miss their stinging commentary, illustrated by this, one of my favorite blog posts of all time.

In this post Atrios refers us to this DMN Daily item detailing a spat between The Simpsons and Fox News. In the episode where Krusty The Clown ran for Congress, he appeared on Fox News to debate his 'adulterous' opponent, and Fox News was not pleased with the 'news crawl' that appeared on the bottom of the screen. Fox wanted to sue over the 'crawl', but The Simpsons stood firm, and the crawl appeared. However, in reruns, the crawl won't appear so viewers shant confuse the animated program with real news.

Luckily, Red Letter Day captured the crawl for all eternity:

CHICKEN (cut off)

On Tuesday night's Hardball, Chris Matthews was sort of mocking Senator John Kerry for saying that he would have waited to get a real coalition together before invading Iraq:

MATTHEWS: Would Kerry still be waiting now to get the French aboard?
KERRY: Why not?
MATTHEWS: OK. That’s a position. I didn’t know you’d go this long. Would you have gone all these months?
KERRY: Why not? Absolutely. It’s cool in the fall as much as it is in the spring.
MATTHEWS: That means Senator Kerry might not have sent troops to Iraq even now.

Matthews' snide comments aside, what would have been wrong with waiting? In fact, I'll go one better, what's the worse case scenario if we simply didn't invade Iraq at all?

For reasons unexplained, ever since I awoke this morning I have had the song "Wonderful Christmas Time" stuck in my head. Please, somebody, make it stop.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003

In 1997 the Florida Marlins went 92-70 and won the World Series in a wild 7th game. The following year, after management gutted the team, the Fish went 54-108 and finished 5th in the National League's eastern division.

I was reminded of this 'first to worst' performance while watching tonight's episode of The West Wing. Tonight's weak effort was titled 'Han', although 'Yawn' would have been a more apt moniker, and it took 4 hours for the hour-long drama to end.

After the last episode, I wondered if the writing has taken a severe hit when Aaron Sorkin left. I'm not wondering anymore. The writing for the once great show has become down right lifeless, listless, and stagnant. What's worse is that it's not funny.

The wonderful thing about The West Wing of the past was the quirky yet hilarious moments of banter. There is none of that this season. No quirkiness. No hilarity. No banter.

There was a moment tonight when Toby was describing the Bartlett administration by saying 'We are drifting'. Sadly, he was actually speaking of the Sorkin-less West Wing. If this keeps up, and I see no reason to hope that it won't, we won't have to worry about dull episodes next season. There won't be a next season.

In news that concerns me no end, Jim Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review and TRR: The Lighter Side Of Rittenhouse announced that he will be taking a break from blogging to deal with real life stuff. For a year and a half Jim has provided his readers with blogs that are interesting, ironic, and funny. I'm gonna miss 'em.

Jim, handle your business and get back. My early morning reading habits won't be the same until you do.

Yesterday evening Nick Confessore responded to this Washington Post story claiming that the Republicans think Congressman Dick Gephardt is the toughest guy for President Bush to face in the '04 election. Confessore has his own take on whether it's true or the GOP is trying to lower the hopes of the guy they really don't to face.

I have to hope it's the latter, as I really feel no inclination to think that Congressman Gephardt would have a hope in hell of beating President Bush. He just doesn't reach me. If he were the Democratic nominee, I would more than likely vote for him, but it would be with absolutely no excitement and absolutely no expectations of victory.

In what is clearly disappointing news to late night talk show hosts, stand-up comics, and webloggers everywhere, sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad has decided to withdraw as his own attorney.

Apparently Muhammad decided to withdraw after receiving his own bill.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Two days before the recall election Arnold Schwarzenegger told Tom Brokaw:

'As soon as the campaign is over I will— I can get into all of the specifics and find out what is really going on. But right now I’m just really occupied with the campaign.'

Now, we have his answer.

The Governor-Elect's aides 'said they are continuing to look for witnesses who could corroborate the allegations, but they are not conducting a full-blown investigation.'

Well, despite that, Democrats pressed forward on the issue, and George Gorton, a top Schwarzenegger adviser, gave them what for:

'Get over it. You lost.'

Apparently winning the recall election is the equivalent of a pardon.

Who are the funniest supporting characters in TV history? Here’s the top 15 in descending order. (Qualifications: Must be a regular cast member of a situation comedy, and not be the star of the show. Decisions of the judges are FINAL.)

15) Arthur Dietrich-Barney Miller---Steve Landesburg, brought in to replace Abe Vigoda, was the original deadpanning smart-ass. He drove Detective Ron Harris nuts, and drove me into fits of giggles.

14) Elliot Carlin-The Bob Newhart Show---Mr. Carlin, played by Jack Riley, was an annoying patient in Dr. Bob Hartley’s ‘group therapy’ who was both full of himself and suffering from low self-esteem. He made a classic appearance on Newhart, complaining to Dick Loudon about Bob Hartley, although that speaks to Bob Newhart’s genius more than Riley’s.

13) Burt Campbell-Soap---Richard Mulligan was a laugh riot in one of the best comedies of all time. He was one of the bigger characters in the show, but Soap had a cast of like 85 people, so he counts. Soap was so good, I could have also included Benson, The Major, and Chester on this list, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

12) Jimmy James-News Radio---Overlooked by the short run of the show due to the death of Phil Hartman, Stephen Root gave us one of the great caricatures of a billionaire in TV history. Root can go from serious to silly in the blink of an eye, and narrowly edged out Matthew, played by Andy Dick, as the shows best supporting character.

11) Manuel-Fawlty Towers---Andrew Sachs took physical comedy, and physical abuse to new heights. While rarely doing anything wrong, he was always there for Basil Fawlty to smack around when the need arose. Oddly, Manuel didn’t die with the series. Sachs released several records as Manuel, appeared on stage as Manuel in ‘Fawlty Years On’, and even appeared at an IMB conference where guests paid 600 pounds to be served by Manuel.

10) Alan Brady-The Dick Van Dyke Show---OK, OK, so maybe Brady wasn’t the most regular of characters on The Dick Van Dyke Show, but when he appeared he was hilarious. Throw in that Reiner created the show, and he makes the list. Reiner, as Alan Brady, also appeared on an episode of Mad About You, and if it was possible, Brady’s ego had gotten larger over time.

9) Moe Szyslak-The Simpsons---How can a bartender who trades a free beer for Barney’s AA chip not make the list? Szyslak was a former member of The Little Rascals, sang with Aerosmith, and reportedly told Bart Simpson ‘Listen, you little scum-sucking pus-bucket! When I get my hands on you, I'm gonna put out your eyeballs with a corkscrew!’ Come on, don’t you feel like a Flaming Moe right about now?

8) Niles Crane-Frazier---David Hyde Pierce plays Frazier’s brother on the long running series. Was a crack up trying to control himself around his future wife Daphne before his feelings became known. Rearranging the letters of doctor Niles Crane gives 'Sardonic Electron'. Might have been higher on the list but for the humiliating beating he took from Doogie Howser on WWWF Grudge Match.

7) Ted Baxter-The Mary Tyler Moore Show---Ted Knight played the loudmouthed, egotistical broadcaster so well that he got typecast. He played a similar character on Too Close For Comfort. Did you know that after MTM Knight starred in The Ted Knight Show, which starred Knight as an escort service owner? It lasted 6 weeks.

6) Jack McFarland-Will And Grace---Star of the one man show ‘Just Jack!’ and all suitable spin-offs, Jack is the flamingly gay best friend of Will. Sean Hayes seems to have been born to play the role, and the only complaint I occasionally have with Will And Grace is that Jack doesn’t get enough to do. His highjynx with Karen almost always induce deep belly laughs. Could still go higher on the list depending on the run of the series.

5) Cosmo Kramer-Seinfeld---He’s out there and he’s loving every minute of it. Michael Richards is the all-time best at physical humor, but he also has a sense of timing that few can match. Some people will argue that Kramer should be higher on the list, but he’s still in awfully good company. Every time I see Kramer tell the story of rushing the pinkie toe to the hospital brings tears to my eyes.

KRAMER: Well, after he heckled Toby, she got so upset, she ran out of the building, and a street sweeper ran over her foot and severed her pinky toe.
GEORGE: That's unbelievable!
KRAMER: Yeah. After the ambulance left, I found the toe. So I put it in a Cracker Jack box, filled it with ice, and took off for the hospital.
GEORGE: You ran?
KRAMER: No, I jumped on the bus. I told the driver, "I got a toe here, buddy, step on it!"
GEORGE: Holy cow!
KRAMER: Yeah, yeah. Then, all of a sudden, this guy pulls out a gun. Well, I knew any delay is gonna cost her her pinky toe, so I got out of the seat, and I started walking towards him. He says, "Where do you think you're going, Cracker Jack?" I says, "Well, I got a little prize for ya, buddy." [Makes punching moves.] Plow! Plat! Ke-yah! Knocked him out cold.
GEORGE: How could you do that?!
KRAMER: Then, everybody is screaming, because the driver, he's passed out because of all the commotion. The bus is OUT of control. So I grab him by the collar, I take him out of the seat, I get behind the wheel. Now I'm driving the bus.
GEORGE: You're Batman.
KRAMER: Yeah, yeah, I am Batman. Then the mugger, he comes to, and he starts choking me. So I'm fighting him off with one hand and I kept driving the bus with the other. Then, I managed to open up the door, and I kicked him out the door, you know, with my foot, you know, at the next stop.
JERRY: You kept making all the stops?!
KRAMER: Well, people kept ringing the bell!
GEORGE: What about the toe? What happened to the toe?
KRAMER: Well, I am happy to say that the little guy is back in place at the end of the line.
GEORGE: You did all this for a pinky toe?
KRAMER: It's a very valuable appendage.

4) Jim Ignatowsky-Taxi---Christopher Lloyd’s rendition of the flaky yet lovable Reverend Jim is only ahead of Kramer because he did it first. Lloyd was the master of the hesitation. The joke would be sitting there, waiting for him to knock it out of the park, and the longer he waited the more you laughed and finally when he swung, it was hysterical.

JIM (whispering to Bobby): What does a yellow light mean?
BOBBY: Slow down.
JIM : What...does...a...yellow...light...mean?
BOBBY : Slow down!
JIM : Whaaaaat...dooooooes...a...yellllllllow...llllllllight...meeeeeean?

3) George Costanza-Seinfeld---Jason Alexander played Costanza perfectly. Costanza is every man, but he’s honest about it. He admits things that we all do, but would never tell anybody. "The sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli". George, in addition to leading the Yankees to a World Series, was one of the all-time great liars in history. ‘It’s not a lie, if you believe it’. George had one of the greatest answering machine messages ever, and invented the most used break-up technique in America:

George: It's not you, it's me.... You're giving me the 'It's not you, it's me' routine? I invented 'It's not you, it's me.' Nobody tells me it's them, not me. If it's anybody, it's me.
Gwen: All right, George, it's you.
George: You're damn right it's me.

2) Barney Fife-The Andy Griffith Show---Don Knotts was acting in a different time, and a different type of comedy. Rather than the quick one-liners that are prevalent today, The Andy Griffith Show made it’s way with longer, subtler conversations. Although: “A dog can't get struck by lightning. you know why? 'Cause he's too close to the ground. See, lightning strikes tall things. Now if they were giraffes out there in the field, now then we'd have trouble”. Barney was nervous, and jittery, yet still considered himself a tough guy. "I don't care if this car belongs to the Governor himself. He's gone and bought himself a traffic ticket compliments of Barney Fife." The bumbling Barney was patrolling the streets of Mayberry 40 years ago, yet when you watch a rerun today, you can’t help but laugh.

Barney Fife: Well, today's eight-year-olds are tomorrow's teenagers. I say this calls for action and now! Nip it in the bud! First sign of youngsters going wrong, you've got to nip it in the bud.
Andy Taylor: I'm going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do?
Barney Fife: Well, don't just mollycoddle them.
Andy Taylor: I won't.
Barney Fife: Nip it! You go read any book you ant on the subject of child discipline and you'll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping.

1) Hank Kingsley-The Larry Sanders Show---Hey now, as the sidekick for Larry Sanders, nobody and nothing could ever embarrass Kingsley. Hank took himself very seriously, yet nobody else did. "When life gives you lemons, you make things out of lemons." Played perfectly by Jeffrey Tambor, Hank had the advantage of being on HBO, meaning he could swear. ‘These guys say they can get me the Labor Day telethon. Ed is stepping down. Jerry, is sixty-nine. I mean, someday it could be Hank's, Kids. They're gonna change my life! I've got a fucking future!’ During the final episode, Hank was finally sick and tired of being the butt of jokes, and appeared to go out with some dignity.

HANK: What is my problem?! I spent the last ten years, being the butt of your jokes, the little, the little, little fucking dog at the end -- at the end of the couch? But, you know -- huh-uh -- it's My fault because I smiled and I let it happen, I -- because this face was being seen by, Millions of People every, every, every night, and there was lots o' money, and there was lots o' pussy--
LARRY: Well. More.. money than pussy..
[HANK rushes at LARRY, who stands, alarmed, but ARTIE quickly intervenes!]
ARTIE: Grrrr! Oooo-oooo-oooohh..
LARRY: What is wrong with you?--
HANK: No more, no more! I swear to god no more! One more -- one more remark an' I -- I -- I -- I swear, I -- I -- I'll fuckin' choke you, with my hands! I'm sorry, muh -- I'm just sorry. I mean -- uh but -- there is a -- There Is A Book Called "Hank Kingsley." But there's a new Chapter, and you! sir, are not In it. And you! Sir. Are Not In it. An' all I gotta say, is, Fuck You. Fuck you. Fuck You for the way you've, for the way you treated me, and the Joke, the Joke you made me out to be. Fuck you.

Hank stormed out, only to return in tears a minute later.

ARTIE: What is it? Oh ho ho ho.
HANK: I'm sorry.. I'm sorry, I..
ARTIE: Ha ha-ha ha-ha ha-ha-ha.. Ah, come on.. Ah ha-uh!
HANK: Oh, it's such a bad day.. Could you..
LARRY: You can have the couch.
HANK: Ah, great, oh, great, great.. Could you give me a hand? I thought I had the car in reverse an', I ran into the fucking dump-ster.. it's, it's Hooked on my bump-er!


In the previous post, I pointed out that I felt it was wrong to blast former First Lady Barbara Bush for a comment she made two decades back. I’m referring to the infamous ‘rhymes with witch’ comment Mrs. Bush made about former Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

The reason for my defense of the former First Lady was this post at Counterspin Central. I was sort of disturbed that a well-respected blogger like Hesiod would stoop to a level usually occupied by Republicans when describing former First Lady Hillary Clinton. What I found even more appalling was the type of nasty and down right evil comments to the post.

How nasty and evil did the comments get? Here are a few of examples:

“she is a nasty old hag, isn't she?”

“And if she's a bitch, that means Dubya is a . . .”

“Hold on a minute... "cunt" doesn't rhyme with "witch"....”

“No, but "fucking insane evil cunt" does. Oh, wait...”

"If she wants to call the Democratic candidates "sorry" then I have just the same right to free speech as that slack-cunted Texas sack of shit."

This kind of stuff makes me sick. I realize that politics is a contact sport, and it’s not for the meek or timid, but some things simply cross the line. This kind of stuff ranks right up there with Republican Ernie Blazar naming a website after the tail number of the plane that crashed killing former Gov. Mel Carnahan.

As Democrats, we should denounce this type of filthy behavior as strongly as possible, for this is not who we want to be, is it? Now, I am all for hammering the Republicans ON THE ISSUES, but let’s leave the Republican-like behavior to the Republican Party. We are better than this, aren’t we?

By the way, just out of curiosity, did Mrs. Bush really say ‘rhymes with witch’?
Monday, October 20, 2003

Hesiod, over at Counterspin Central, sinks to Republican-like depths with this post. He has large picture of former First Lady Barbara Bush with the caption:


Hesiod, who is usually one of the top-notch bloggers, ought to be ashamed. And so should the people on the comment board who are jumping on with both feet. I know that, as a Democrat, I certainly am.

UPDATE: On the comment board for the above post, reader Darryl Pearce takes me to task for being offended by the bashing of the 78-year-old former First Lady. His argument is summed up with this:

Well, they spent years going after my president, stole the 2000 election, and recalled my governor. Intellectually, it don't make sense. But, emotionally, it feels great to throw a few tomatoes!

Apparently, Darryl is a graduate of this school of thought:

Bart: Somebody ought to ruin Gabbo's career the way he ruined Krusty's.
Lisa: Two wrongs don't make a right, Bart.
Bart: Yes they do.
Lisa: No they don't.
Bart: Yes they do!
Lisa: No they don't!
Bart: Yes they do!!
Lisa: Daaaad!
Homer: Two wrongs make a right, Lisa.

The Boston Police Department has decided to seek assault and battery charges against Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia of the New York Yankees for their extracurricular activity in the bullpen during the playoff game in Beantown eight days ago.

Come on now, don't ya think that the cops would have been better served to make this decision before the Yankees put the Red Sox' lights out the other night? Oh, and what are the odds the two Yankees get a fair trial in Boston?

Walking into my apartment building today, I came across a few of the fellas that live here. Apparently I stumbled into some sort of Algonquin Roundtable-like discussion and my neighbor Oscar decided that I possessed the high-minded intellect to settle things once and for all.

“Keith, seriously, what’s the best dating show on TV?” Oscar asked.

“You were wise to come to me,” I answered.

With 5 pairs of eyes trained on me, I realized that I was in a pickle. If I answered truthfully, that would be an implied admission that I watch the dating shows, yet if I say I don’t know I might lose my reputation as the building’s deep thinker.

I decided to be honest.

“Probably Elimidate, but I only watch it when there is one guy and 4 girls.” I told them. Several heads nodded, indicating that my reputation was intact.

Ernesto, however, wasn’t going to let me off the hook so easily.

“Yeah, but don’t you just want to nail that Jillian Barberie?” Ernesto inquired.

“Would I have to talk to her?” I asked.

That got several chuckles until the guys looked at my face and realized that I was dead serious.

“Man, Keith, you really are old.” said Oscar, shaking his head with no small amount of disgust.

“I prefer to think of it as mature.” was the best I could come back with before scurrying up the stairs.

As I opened my door and came inside, I swear I could hear them laughing at me.

MSNBC has the news that Kobe Bryant will stand trial on a charge of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old resort worker. While that is not surprising, considering the low standard the prosecution had to meet, what is surprising is the poll MSNBC is running. The poll asks this question:

Do you believe Kobe Bryant is innocent?

Almost a half a million people have voted and 40% say yes, 34% say no, and 25% say they don't know.

My question is how can the 74% of the people who voted yes or no do that with a straight face? Nobody, other than Kobe and his accuser can know what happened right now. Considering we haven't heard all the evidence, and we haven't heard the entire case from the defense, so how can anybody vote yea or nay? Apparently some folks don't let little things like learning the facts get in the way of spouting their ill-informed opinions.

Like most bloggers, I like to check who has referred readers to my site, and see where they are from. You can only imagine my excitement when this morning at 8:28am somebody from the usdoj.gov stopped by. All I can say is, 'Welcome to Berry's World, Attorney General Ashcroft!'

On Howard Owens' blog, he makes clear that he is on the side of management in the grocery store strike and lockout. When he posted something about the ‘strike’, I posted a comment that pointed out that there was both a strike and a lockout, and far more workers were locked out than were on strike.

Howard responded with this: I don't draw a distinction between strike and lockout.

Oh, really?

Now, I think Howard is a smart guy, and he’s clearly well informed, and truth be told, I enjoy reading his blog. But this opinion is just laughable.

No distinction between a strike and a lockout? I wonder, does Howard have trouble making other distinctions?

Can he make a distinction between murder, and death by natural causes? I mean, the person is still dead, right?

Dog and a cat? Both are animals who walk walk on four legs, aren't they?

Rape and consensual sex? The bottom line is that carnal relations took place, right?

Basketball and football? They are both sports that are played with a ball, aren’t they?

Hey, Howard can side with whomever he wants in the labor situation, but failing to see the difference between a strike and a lockout is just intellectually dishonest.

With the release of her new book Reflections: Life After The White House, former First Lady Barbara Bush has been getting a lot of ink and airtime, and while she sometimes says some pretty infuriating things (Democratic Presidential candidates are a 'sorry group') I just can't help but like her.

I was looking for a recent White House press briefing this morning (I know, anybody who looks for a White House press briefing before 8AM on a Monday morning gets what he deserves), so I pointed my browser to www.whitehouse.org and was completely and totally taken in by the satirical site mocking President Bush. I finally caught on when I was becoming appalled by the doings of the new 'Department of Faith'.

If you haven't visited the site, it's probably worth a couple minutes. Of course, knowing that it's not real ahead of time should really increase your amusement.

A month or so ago I pointed out that Mike Martz, head coach of the St. Louis Rams, was, basically, not a very good football coach. Since then, in a clear attempt to make me look foolish, Martz has led the Rams to 3 straight wins while outscoring their opponents 107-37.

The other day Instapundit announced that Bill Quick, the self proclaimed Daily Pundit, was back after a lengthy vacation. I wondered to myself 'Yeah, how come I haven't read the Daily Pundit recently?'

Of course, one visit to his blog and it all came back to me. I don't read the Daily Pundit because Quick is an utter buffoon.
Sunday, October 19, 2003

Finally, and only 4 weeks too late, Sharon Stone ended her 4 week run as a recurring guest on The Practice. To be honest, I'm not sure how good an acting job Stone did. If her character was supposed to be a quirky yet lovable nut-job, then she missed the mark. However, if the role was written to be the most annoying character in prime-time network television, then give Stone an emmy.

Senator Joe Lieberman's decision to pull out of Iowa can only be looked at as troubling news for a troubled campaign. Early on, I got the feeling that Senator Lieberman felt he could waltz his way to the nomination simply due to his name recognition. It was as if Senator Lieberman decided that because he was the VP nominee in 2000, the 2004 nomination was his simply as a matriculation process.

Then, when Governor Howard Dean showed he was a player, Senator Lieberman tried to bury him by playing the 'national security' card. However, by portraying himself as 'Republican-lite' he alienated a lot of Democrats. Recently he's tried to move to the left, with his tax break for the middle class paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, but it is far too little, and far too late.

When you consider that Senator Lieberman enjoyed the highest name recognition going into the race, and now sits in 5th place in terms of money raised and money remaining, it's clear that he would do well to get somebody working on his withdrawal speech.

On tonight's episode of 60 Minutes, they had a story called Gimme Shelter, which attempted to detail how Ernst and Young, the third largest accounting firm in the country, ran a tax shelter scheme for clients that was, shall we say, extra-legal. The story is told from the eyes of Henry Camferdam, a businessman who sold his computer businessfor 50 MILLION DOLLARS. Then under the advice of Ernst and Young, Camferdam entered into a very, very complex and very, very secret tax shelter that would result in Camferdam paying NO TAXES on the 50 big ones.

The story, reported by Steve Croft, focused on why the accounting firms (Ernst and Young isn't the only company doing this kind of thing) aren't being pursued by the IRS. Where Croft goes wrong is his attempt to portray Camferdam as some kind of victim. In a quote that is mysteriously missing from the 60 Minutes site, Camferdam shows the arrogance of the rich that loses any sympathy from me. Croft asked him if he felt any guilt about not paying any taxes after selling his business for 50 MILLION DOLLARS and Camferdam said:

'I've paid taxes for 35 years.'

Further, he said, he felt absolutely 'no guilt' over trying to cheat the IRS.

Here's the thing; when somebody cheats the IRS, they are really cheating you, and me. As for his claim of paying taxes for 35 years, that is a laughable rationalization. My dad has paid taxes for over 40 years. Is he done?

Hey, I'm all for going after Ernst and Young, as well as any other companies trying to pull a scam like this. But that doesn't earn Camferdam a pass. The bottom line is that in trying to cheat the IRS out of 13 million dollars, Camferdam paid Ernst and Young, among others, 7 million dollars. Now the IRS is knocking on his door and asking for the original 13 million dollars. And I hope they get every penny, even if they have to drive his sorry ass into bankruptcy court.

Shaquille O'Neal is mad at Phil Jackson. Trouble in Laker-land?

Don't bet on it.

Long time Laker watchers know that Shaq is one of those guys who isn't happy unless he isn't happy. The big fella being upset this early could spell trouble for the rest of the NBA, and could bring to an end Tim Duncan's string of two consecutive MVP awards.

Let's play a little game I like to call 'Just Suppose', shall we?

You, whoever you are, are horrified to learn that your wife/husband/life partner has been kidnapped, driven to your bank and forced to withdraw $4000 and turn it over to the kidnapper. The bank, which had no idea that a robbery was taking place at the time, decides that the money is a 'customer loss', as is typically the case. The very next day, five minutes after the bank opens, you call the bank and insult the bank's branch manager. What are the odds the bank changes its mind and returns the money that the robbers stole?

We both know the odds are about the same as the Cubs and/or the Red Sox winning this years World Series.

OK, now, just suppose that you are a United States Senator. In fact, just to make it interesting, let's suppose you are the chairman of a really big committee in the Senate. Let's say, um, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State, and the Judiciary. Let's also suppose that you are rich. Real rich. Millionaire rich. If all of the other facts were the same, what are the odds that you get the money back that was stolen from your wife/husband/life partner?

You're dead right. Senator Judd Gregg had the money replaced in his account within the hour.

Now, I'm not saying that Senator Gregg did anything illegal. He didn't have to. The bank knew who he is, and what he does for a living. What I'm saying is that if you wouldn't have gotten the money back, and believe me, you wouldn't have, doesn't it just seem wrong that a U.S. Senator did?

By the way, did Senator Gregg have to act like such an ass? Couldn't the Senator have simply been nice about things? The fact is that the bank's branch manager didn't steal anything, and deserved to be treated with respect. Of course, when there's 4 grand at stake, respect just seems to fly out the window for Senator Gregg.

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