Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Same old, same old

Want a new Alabama Constitution any time soon? Too bad.

State Rep. Demetrius Newton, D-Birmingham, on Tuesday withdrew his bill calling for a public vote on convening a constitutional convention after it became clear that House members wouldn't approve a budget isolation resolution to permit its consideration. In plain English, we didn't even get to the point of a vote on allowing a vote to allow a vote.

Despite public support for a badly needed new constitution, the bill's demise was easy to see coming. Our current charter gives legislators an inordinate measure of power over county affairs, and politicians rarely give up power without a serious fight. Until citizens start voting reform opponents out of office and replacing them with supporters, the cycle likely will continue.

In the meantime, you'll still have the right to learn the name of a tiny town 200 miles away from you, and then weigh in on whether the people there get to play bingo.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Hang up the victory banners

What's with the hubbub over President Bush's second veto ever?

Sure, Bush vetoed an Iraq war funding bill today because it included a bunch of language about timetables and benchmarks and such. He even used the term "date for failure" to refer to a plan to set a date between now and, say, the end of time to begin limited withdrawals of American troops.

But all this talk about failure is odd, because according to Bush, we already prevailed in "the battle of Iraq." It happened four years ago to this day, in fact, on the same day the Pentagon said we also won the battle of Afghanistan. And history has borne those declarations out: "Major combat operations" are pretty much a thing of the past in those nations, as long as your definition of "major combat operations" doesn't include hundreds of deadly bombings and battles with insurgents.

So with the Bush administration having declared our victories years ago, there's no sense in setting any sort of schedule by which Iraqi leaders must show progress toward stabilizing their country on their own, or worrying about the return of the illegal opium trade in Afghanistan or the increasing number of battles with Taliban fighters there, or talking about where the White House's poor planning and execution has left our Afghan and Iraqi operations on the latest anniversary of "Mission Accomplished."

After all, when you've already won, you can't lose.

An early Emmy contender, for sure

A teaser for the upcoming Good Morning America, which will feature an interview with the estranged wife of former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, aired just minutes ago on ABC. That's all well and good, but then came the breathless voiceover question for viewers: "Do you know if your husband is gay?"

Well, do you?