This page includes posts from
November 7-13, 2004 in the usual reverse
order. Each posting on the home page is perma-linked to these
The Washington Post and the NYT ran a pair of interesting companion pieces relating to the current troubled relationship between the CIA and the Bush Administration.
In classic Beltway fashion, today’s WaPo breathlessly announced that several CIA staffers are feeling disrespected by the Administration, leading to resignations and threats of resignations.
David Brooks’ op-ed piece, on the other hand, shows that the disrespect between the two groups also cuts the other way:
This sort of dust-up was perhaps inevitable. The 9/11 Report and other investigations showed that the intelligence agency has had some competency “issues” regarding the GWOT, as some would say. Therefore, it’s natural to expect some keen defensiveness issuing from Langley as the Administration tries to carry out its policy choices.
Running to the newspapers to complain is simply a standard tactic.
On the other hand, it appears that some members of the Bush Administration are giving Langley’s long-time staffers a choice of either one of the two options made famous by Rodney King.
The agency staff can either get along with the ones who were elected and who are therefore in charge, or some folks could get the crap beat out of them—figuratively speaking, of course.
As Brooks notes, asserting one’s authority in order to accomplish fundamental goals is the Administration’s responsibility. They’ll only have themselves to blame if they don’t.
Below are mini-reviews of the movies I saw during this year's Rehoboth Independent Film Festival.
Each one includes the title, a URL link if one exists, a one-line synopsis, and a rating that uses the same evaluation language and range requested of the Festival participants: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, and Outstanding.
Updates during the weekend will appear below, instead of following the usual blog format.
Updates November 12
Since Otar Left
Dead Heat Under the Shrubs
Updates November 13
Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself
Small World (Mali Svet)
Updates November 14
Beauty Academy of Kabul
The Dud (Der Blindgaenger)
The Phantom Museum
Shadi in the Beautiful Well
Stuff That Bear!
This year's collection was perhaps the best yet.
Six hundred fifty movie buffs filled the seats at the Rehoboth Convention Center last night, for the opening night ceremonies for this year's Film Festival.
It was also the premiere showing of Nothing Beats Fun, a charming if uneven documentary centered on Funland, the primary amusement park on Rehoboth's Boardwalk. The crowd enjoyed it, and then gave a standing ovation to Al Fasnacht, the patriarch of the extended family that has owned and operated Funland since 1962.
The Fasnachts returned the favor with their own surprise, handing out free ride tickets to everyone for next spring's opening.
These folks know a thing or two about marketing.
I'm planning to go to twelve more movie showings over the next days, including two collections of shorts. Mini-reviews will appear here, using the same rating scale applied by the Festival to determine the eventual award winners in each category.
Vitamin D injections may be required by Monday.
Zell Miller, the feisty Georgia Democratic U.S. Senator, was in no mood to let bygones be bygones after hearing Maureen Dowd bitch and moan about red state voters during last Sunday’s Meet the Press.
Dowd appears to have taken the criticism to heart. She reportedly made a startling admission in response:
There could be some long term benefits to her statement.
As we know from AA and other self-help programs, the first step in eliminating problems in one’s life is to first admit one has them.
Then again, this may just be another example of a Dowdified quote, which the troubled Ms. Dowd herself might appreciate as an homage of sorts.
I hasten to point out, however, that impolitic commentary is not the sole province of my fellow Democrats.
The local paper’s editorial page this week quoted the Republican candidate in a hotly contested county race:
It appears that we have a critical mass of ignorant dummies around here.
Bennett lost the election by three votes.
Our friend Sally has ALS.
Sometimes known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a motor neuron disease with progressive muscular atrophy. At this point it is also inevitably fatal.
Sally is also a bright, witty, charming, and brave woman, with a great family. Last week she gave a speech at an ALS dinner in Philadelphia, held to honor Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and his wife Shonda for their efforts on behalf of ALS victims nationwide. Sally used her assistive communication device for the first part, and her three kids completed the speech for her.
She sent us and several other friends and family a copy of her address, and she graciously agreed to my request to post it here.
Tell them Sally sent you.
Thanks very much.
Politically active gays and lesbians seeking to expand marriage rights may find themselves adopting a conservative approach to some hardy perennials of failed legislative proposals, when the Delaware General Assembly reconvenes in January.
The voters’ negative reaction to gay marriage in eleven other state election held last Tuesday, as well as the political campaign stances taken in some Delaware races this fall, would be their motivation.
Several years ago the state amended section 101 of title 13 of the Delaware Code to say that same-gender marriage is void. The law also says that a marriage obtained in another jurisdiction won’t be officially recognized if it wouldn’t be legitimate under Delaware law.
There’s nothing about this issue in the Delaware Constitution, however, which is where the hardy perennial reference above comes in.
It’s very difficult to amend Delaware’s organic document, whose current version dates back to 1897. Short of a constitutional convention for a total rewrite, the only way to amend it is for two successive General Assemblies to adopt the new language, by a two-thirds vote of both houses each time.
For the last several General Assembly sessions, however, one State Senator has tried to add another option, as well as provide for more direct action by the voters to enact legislation.
David McBride, a long-time suburban New Castle County Democratic Senator, has frequently introduced bills to permit voter-adopted constitutional amendments, after a single General Assembly also adopts the same proposal. In addition, on several occasions he has introduced bills to permit initiative and referendum under the state constitution.
The most recent versions were Senate Bills 24 and 25. They were introduced in 2003, assigned to the Executive Committee, and stayed there. So far at least, McBride’s been completely unsuccessful in pushing his direct voter participation ideas any further.
On the other hand, there could be some action on this front by those seeking to prevent any legislative change in the state’s current stance on same-gender marriage, by putting a marriage definition into its constitution.
As Al Mascitti noted in his News-Journal column today:
Parish and those who feel as strongly about this issue as he says he does simply don’t have much to lobby for, other than a constitutional amendment. The current marriage code already does what he wants.
If that’s his plan, then Parish and his allies have the same difficult path as everyone else seeking to make any constitutional change—unless, perhaps, if they’re patient enough to quietly support McBride’s hardy perennials, which could eventually lead to a voter-adopted constitutional marriage amendment.
Under these circumstances, those seeking to expand marriage rights in Delaware have a real incentive to keep McBride’s Progressive-era bills buried in committee if he introduces them again, which is a likely occurrence as I see it. It’ll be very interesting to see who reacts to these bills when they next appear, and what they say about them.
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Official small print disclaimer: This is, after all, a personal web site. Any opinions or comments I express here are my own, and don't necessarily reflect the official position of my work as a government attorney or any of my clients.
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© Frederick H. Schranck 2002-2004