Calif. Acknowledges ‘Global Warming’; Makes Pact With UK

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, while visiting with the governor of the world’s 7th largest economy, agreed to work together to explore ways to fight the Bush Ad… err.. I mean… global warming.

Gov. Schwarzenegger, never afraid to distance himself from the Bush Administration’s hard-right GOP stance, said: “California will not wait for our federal government to take strong action on global warming.”

schwarzenegger and blair

we shall see what comes of this “green partnership“.

Trading Deadline MADness

greg maddux, dodgerAs if it’s not already the greatest day in a horrific year of being a Cubs fan (after the 4-game weekend sweep of the Cards), GM Jim Hendry completed a couple moves at the trade deadline to significantly brighten up prospects for next year and beyond.

The Cubs parted with 327-game winner Greg Maddux to the faltering — but still not out of the weak NL West race — Dodgers. In return, the Cubs get a few million bucks, and 2005 All Star Cesar Izturis, who is still getting his groove back after off-season Tommy John surgery.

This solidifies the Cubs infield for years to come, with Derrek Lee at first, Izturis at second, Ronny Cedeno at short and Aramis Ramirez at third. Izturis, originally a shortstop, was platooning at third base and in the outfield after coming off the DL this year. I find it hard to believe that the Cubs would be willing to move Cedeno — who has been mopping up as starting campocorto (SS) all season.

The Cubs also dealt veteran 2nd baseman Todd Walker, opening up the infield slot for the speedier and better fielding Izturis. In doing so, they acquired the pitching gem of the San Diego Padres farm system, Jose Ceda, a Dominican power-pitching right-hander who has torn up the Arizona rookie league.

By sending Maddux — a 40-year old with an expiring contract after 2007, and Walker — whom the Cubs have been willing to deal for two years — to two teams struggling to steal a title in a division in which it may only take 80 wins to do so, Jim Hendry pulled yet another coup in his GM stint. Additionally, picking up Ceda helps beef up the Cubs pitching prospects, after they sent stud rookie Ricky Nolasco (who tore up AA for the Cubs last year) to Florida during the offseason in favor of the STILL unproven and running out of time Angel Guzman. Nolasco, by the way is the second stud pitcher we gave the Marlins in favor of Guzman, the other being a lefty named Dontrelle.

Needless to say, not everybody is as optimistic about this trade as I am. Take Death at Goat Riders for example, who posts that he’d rather see Maddux retire as a Cub than see Izturis in Cubbie blue, adding: “Jeez. Hendry just can’t do anything right, can he?”

For more Cubs commentary — see my ‘next year is here’ links on my blogroll. Full details and insight on a rambunctious day of wheeling and dealing through MLB can be found at MLB-content & blog aggregator Ballbug.

Choosing Your Opponent

Time for a much-needed break from the disturbing news world (now what — Tour de France winner Floyd Landis tested positive for medicating his ailing hip during the race)? Correspondent-at-large D Heimpel files from the ring in Iceland.

I’m in the ring and the borders of my vision rattle. Here I am, fighting a guy who is bigger, stronger, faster — the heavyweight champion of Iceland. I have no chance so I decide to attack. If I had been smarter I would have never chosen this fight.

boxing collectibles

My high school was fraught with racial tension. Funny in Berkeley, where hippies from all over rolled out west to fight the man and were stoked by ideals of racial unity. But that wasn’t the case with their mostly white progeny, the first generation Filipinos, the second generation Mexicans or the blacks who hung out on Berkeley High’s “slopes” with a huge map of Africa painted on the ground.

There had been a white party in black South Berkeley, and there had been fights. I was there. I saw white kids dragged out into the night to get stomped. My girlfriend, Janna, had stayed late to ice the eye of a black kid who was missing an eyelid. Because she was helping, I thought I was safe.

We left late and a group of black kids who had been waiting for me fanned out into the dimly lit street. Somebody yelled, “This is for my cousin!” from behind. I felt a thud and woke up back in the house where the party had come and gone. Janna told me I fell flat on my face and was humming on the asphalt.
Continue reading “Choosing Your Opponent”

Constipated Condi & Rhetorician Rumsfeld

Rumsfeld by Alexandr Zudin, St. Petersburg, Russia
The guy really needs a refrigerator box full of dictionaries dumped on his head. This snippet from Rumsfeld speech Tuesday at the Pentagon was spotted by Andrew Sullivan:

Q: Is the country closer to a civil war?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I don’t know. You know, I thought about that last night, and just musing over the words, the phrase, and what constitutes it. If you think of our Civil War, this is really very different…. It clearly is being stimulated by people who would like to have what could be characterized as a civil war and win it, but I’m not going to be the one to decide if, when or at all.

Meanwhile, also in the Middle East (at least they’ve concentrated this war on terror on a smaller-than-China central theater), lots of calls for Syrian interaction. Thomas Friedman (and big high five to David Sirota for breaking down the big-talking faux-know-it-all in this must-read column yesterday) says talks with Syria are better sooner rather than later. Faisal al-Yafai notes that while Syrian foreign minister Faisal al-Meqdad said he was ready to talk to the U.S. it was only because of the U.S.’s insistence that Syria not be invited to the EU / UN / U.S. / France meeting in Rome. This, inherently makes America a big part of the problem. Jonathan Freedland takes the blame even further, stating that Bush’s blind support of Israel combined with the numerous “lethal mistakes” in his diplomatic foreign policy “efforts” is to blame.

Finally, the constipated one, who remains so stubborn and adamant about a practically non-existent foreign policy masked by completely irrational if not impossible (and invisible) diplomacy got taken down big time by the right in the conservative Insight Magazine’s “Dump Condi” article: “…[S]he is incompetent and has reversed the administration?s national security and foreign policy agenda.” Remember when they wanted her to be the next president?!?

Back in the reality-based world, PostGlobal asked a panel of experts how they’d advice Condi. Interesting array of answers have been posted here, capped by David Ignatius’s op-ed.

The multilateral panel that met in Rome is now qualified to call their respective consituents screaming “America is mad” after the U.S. (Sec. Rice & her “birth pangs“) became the primary obstacle in brokering any sort of cease-fire. As Marc Lynch noticed — with one eye on Arabic TV at all times — the Arab world is already more or less convinced that this Israeli offensive is only part of “the American project for a new Middle East.”

So, what now?

Specter Looking Forward? Review & Sue

About a month ago, before Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) suddenly fell under the administration’s spell last week — essentially agreeing to turn the Senate Judiciary’s cheek to Bush’s unconstitutional signing statements (all 800 of them) — he talked big about suing the boss-man.

Now he’s back on the attack — or as he insists, he’s had the ABA on this for a while — but what good is it to “sue” the president for the sole purposes of labeling his actions illegal when essentially it implicates Congress and even the Judiciary as Constitutional abusers and ignorameese.

WH Speaker Tony Snow pretty much summed up the president’s deep concern about the issue at yesterday’s briefing: “The President does not have the luxury of practicing civil disobedience.”

That’s right, Tony — nor does he have the “luxury” of being threatened with imprisonment. Besides, what Bush worry when higher powers have undoubtedly assured him of history’s future positive judgment of his presidency during his most recent Texas trout-fishing epiphany.

Elsewhere, Georgetown Law Professor David Cole examines the significance of the Supreme Court’s Hamdan decision.

Also, an Arab-American group sued Rumsfeld and Rice yesterday over the evacuation of Americans stuck in Lebanon.