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Howard Kurtz Asks…

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz is asking in his column today “Blogs: Good or Evil?”

Your Maximum Leader will not presume to speak for others, but he will vote for evil.

Carry on.

Fixing FEMA

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader wonders if he is the only person out there who thinks that all this talk on Capitol Hill about “fixing” the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is just ridiculous. It is afterall.

The various Senators who want to move FEMA out of the direct control of the Department of Homeland Security, but make the “new FEMA” head report to both the President and the Director of Homeland Security are just wrongheaded. The benefits to this (risky) scheme appear to be that FEMA would have a bigger budget and more control over its budget. Additionally it would be more autonomous and able to react faster and better.

Has anyone actually thought this out? Really now? Anybody? Because this is a bad plan thought up by a bunch of complete fools.

Let us begin with the head of the “new FEMA.” This person (a political appointee by the way) will head up the “new FEMA” and report to both the President and the Secretary of Homeland Security. This position is supposed to be “akin to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” Really? How so? The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is still a military officer reporting to the Secretary of Defense. (The Pentagon org chart even says so.) So while the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff may also act as a military advisor to the President, he still reports to the Secretary of Defense. Also, last time he checked, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doesn’t run his own “independent” government agency separate and apart from the Department of Defense.

So what Senator Collins and others are proposing is that the head of the “new FEMA” is accountable to, but apart from, another Cabinet official; while at the same time being of the same rank (as advisor to the President) as the Cabinet official to whom they report. Is that something only some rareified bureaucrat could think up? Or if not a bureaucrat then perhaps someone taking some hits on a crack-pipe before playing with a Viso org chart?

For those of you who like to see org charts… Here is a quick interpretation of the “new FEMA” relationship as drawn by your Maximum Leader in about 15 seconds.

Lets look at the budget question now. The above linked Washington Post article says:

The new agency would recombine disaster preparedness and response activities, reclaim power over billions of dollars of state and local grants, gain responsibility for securing critical infrastructure, and restore an emphasis on natural, as well as terrorist, threats. Those functions and approaches were dispersed or downgraded by the Bush administration as FEMA was merged into DHS.

Last time your Maximum Leader checked, Federal Budgets were written on a line-item basis. Each line specified an amount of money to a particular agency for a particular function. As FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security, its budget is made up of a number of line items in the overall budget of the Department of Homeland Security. Now knowing what the federal budget process is like, it is possible that a line item for something like trailers for hurricane victims is just added to the DHS budget - but not specifically placed in the FEMA part of the budget. One would suppose that the “new FEMA” would just have this lin item moved over to its budget and removed from DHS. What really is the change there? If FEMA was responsible for buying trailers for hurricane victims before, they will be again. If control of a budget is a problem, why not just specify in the existing DHS budget that certain line items are for FEMA? They can do that you know…

And here is one more point that no one seems to be discussing… Suppose, just for the sake of argument, that FEMA is being run by complete nincompoops. What good will reorganization do? If you reshuffle your idiots, you’ve still got idiots. As your Maximum Leader recalls, the big problem during Katrina appeared to be that no one was in charge. How will any of these proposed changes give clarity to the question of who will be in charge during an emergency?

Think about it. This is just about as stupid an idea as giving everyone a $100 check to offset rising gas prices…

Carry on.

The Smallholder

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader knows that in beautiful Albemarle County, Virginia the manure splattered Smallholder is celebrating a milestone. In that area of the great Commonwealth of Virginia where people still think of themselves as Thomas Jefferson’s neighbour, our friend the Smallholder has turned one year older today.

We haven’t been blessed with his (squishy) centrist musings recently. But deep down all readers of this space know that they are longing for a lengthy post extolling the virtues of clean farm living, hogs, breeding dairy cows, and - of course - toad sexing.

Who knows… Today might be the day that the Smallholder breaks his self-imposed (or should we say - farm-imposed) silence. Then again, this might be just another day spent educating the youth of Viriginia followed by and afternoon of mending fences, feeding hogs, moving cows from one paddock to another, or enjoying view from the front porch with a beer and reflecting on how good his life is.

Happy Birthday Mark.

Carry on.

Nats Fall To Reds

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader went to the Nationals v Reds game yesterday has he mentioned. All your Maximum Leader can say about the game is that it wasn’t pretty… Unless you’re a Reds fan.

As much as your Maximum Leader attempted to direct his powerful personal ju ju towards the Nationals dugout… It was to no avail. At one point your Maximum Leader swore he heard the spectre of RFK himself yelling out “Get a life and… aaah… an ownah you… aaah… bums!”

Speaking of owners for the Nationals… Your Maximum Leader hopes the Lerner Group gets the team. (And soon!) It turns out that your Maximum Leader, indirectly of course, has some connections to the Lerner Group. These connections might translate into a game in the owners box (very infrequently) or at least dibs on some good season ticket seats.

But MLB - the bastards - aren’t in a rush to sell the team. (And your Maximum Leader says again about Bud Selig and MLB: “Bastards!”)

Anyho…

The game experience was marred by a concessions incident. It seems as though ever time your Maximum Leader goes to a Nats game there is a concessions incident. This time your Maximum Leader went to a concessionaire to buy two cokes and two hotdogs (one for your Maximum Leader and one for Villainette #2 - whom he’d taken out of school for a day at the ballpark). The concessionaire said that the hot dogs would be ready “In a minute.” Your Maximum Leader asked “They aren’t ready now?” They were not. The concessionaire said they would be ready in “less than a minute.” Well… 15 minutes later your Maximum Leader got his friggin hot dogs. Your Maximum Leader was greatly angered. It took every measure of self-control he had to keep from maiming some people.

Your Maximum Leader had hoped that they would have figured out how to sell hot dogs after one season… Apparently not…

Carry on.

Favre to Return To Frozen Tundra

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is shaping up for a big sports day… At least to him.

He reads on ESPN that Brett Favre is going to return to the Packers and the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field for one more season as Quarterback.

This news is both pleasing and disappointing. The Packers Fan in your Maximum Leader is grateful to have a legend play for one more season. Even when he stinks Favre is an exciting player to watch and can single-handedly turn games around (for better or worse). So, as an emotional Packers Fan, your Maximum Leader is pleased.

But as a rational fan of the game your Maximum Leader knows that Favre should probably retire. He is not playing for records. He is not going to win a championship. And one hopes that he isn’t playing for the cash. At best he should consider accepting a cut in pay and “platooning” the starter job with another QB. He should help build the future of a franchise. Your Maximum Leader hopes it would be the Packers, but it could be some other team.

In the end, your Maximum Leader will abandon his rationality in this matter and just enjoy Favre’s last season.

Carry on.

Day Game

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is busy now trying to get all of his business attended to in a few hours so that he can go to the Nationals v Red Stockings game today at 1:05. It is too bad that the weather today is not a glorious as it was yesterday. Damn, yesterday was a perfect day for a baseball game.

Now your Maximum Leader can hope that the Nats can raise their record to 2-6 at home…

This is the first (non-weekend) day game your Mximum Leader has attended in a long time. In fact he believes the last (non-weekend) day game your Maximum Leader attended was a Cubs v. Cardinals game at Wrigley Field in Chicago. In 1999. So it has been a while.

Your Maximum Leader hopes all his minions will think of him as he’s enjoying a day at the olde ballpark…

Carry on.

For a (Potential) Minion

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has an acquaintance who is on a quest. This young, attractive and smart woman has been challenged by your Maximum Leader. He has challenged her to find this blog. She does not know your Maximum Leader’s blog persona and was given the most meagre hints to help her find this site. If she finds it by Friday she gets a case of premium North American bottled beer* and a Naked Villainy T-shirt.

If she doesn’t find it… Well… We didn’t work that part out, but it likely involves swearing fealty to your Maximum Leader and foresaking all others besides him.

Carry on.
(more…)

Dead at Ypres

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, like Robert the Llamabutcher, would be a Schoolmaster, Farmer, Bank clerk, Army officer, Clergyman, or Book keeper had he been born in 1905.

See what you would have been.

After scrolling through the possible answers, your Maximum Leader was both amused and filled with a bit of melancholy at how life turns out for most of the men. If you read them all you find that if you were a man born in Britain in 1905 your life was likely going to end at: Ypres, Jutland, Passchendaele, or Gallipolli. Frankly your Maximum Leader was a little surprised they didn’t list the Somne as a possible end. Your Maximum Leaer gets depressed when he contemplates the slaughter of the Great War.

NB: No surprises that our friend Lord Basil Seal turned out the way he did.

Also, thanks to Lord Seal, your Maximum Leader discovers that he is only 87% snob. His result reads:

Close but no Cohiba rolled on the thighs of Cuban virgins, Maximum Leader. You are 87% Snob. If your blood was a touch bluer, your pool a shade bigger, and your settee a chaise lounge, you could be up there with the ultra snobs. Meanwhile be grateful you’re not.

Sad. Your Maximum Leader was hoping to break at least 90%. Perhaps it was that question about his son marrying a stripper…

NB (2) - In the Mike World Order all of your Maximum Leader’s cigars will be Cubans rolled on the nubile thighs of Cuban virgins…

Carry on.

Who Rules?

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is being educated by the Crack Young Staff this morning. While your Maximum Leader always thought that the Pentavirate was actually running the world, it seems as though it is actually Irving Kristol.

Here is something to think about though… If Irving Kristol rules the world, what exactly is Gertrude Himmelfarb’s role in world domination?

Just askin’

Carry on.

Murdering Bastard

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is a murdering bastard. Indeed, it was only last night that he put the blood of many on his hands. He razed the homes of three extended families; and insured that the family members died a fiery death. Indeed, as they tried to escape your Maximum Leader kicked them back into the inferno with his boot-clad foot. As the charred bodies smouldered, the Villainettes were allowed close to look at the carnage.

Your Maximum Leader is speaking about destroying three hovels of Eastern Tent Caterpillars that chanced to inhabit some trees on the grounds of the Villainschloss. He trimmed the affected branches of the two trees and moved the tents to a large concrete pad. He got some kindling and some charcoal lighting fluid. Then it was flame on!

Your Maximum Leader has seen entire groves of trees defoliated by tent caterpillars. Most of the time the trees recover from the attack after a year or so. But sometimes the infestation is so severe that they do not. Your Maximum Leader lives in a wooded area, so it is hard to keep the pests under control. But rest assured there are no tent caterpillars living on the grounds of the Villainschloss.

And if any try to move in they will meet with the same fiery end.

Carry on.

Second Term Shake Up Pt III

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader, two posts ago, wrote that he didn’t think the Republicans should invest heavily in a broad agenda to “get them through” the 2006 elections; but rather that they should rely on the power of incumbency to regain their majorities.

Brian was a little disappointed in this opinion and commented that:

“…few things angered my father more than watching a football team for whom he was rooting go into a Prevent Defense (or, as he called it, the “Prevent a Win Defense). He hated it when a team in ANY sport stopped trying to outscore its opponent and relied instead on shutting down its opponents offense. He believed you should play to win, not play to avoid a loss.”

Well, your Maximum Leader actually agrees in two senses with Brian’s late father. The first sense is that, in fact, the Prevent Defense - in most circumstances - is a horrible strategy in football. Brian’s father, and other commentators like John Madden and your Maximum Leader, are dead right on the Prevent Defense in football.

In a second sense, your Maximum Leader agrees further with Brian’s point. This is to say that if you don’t stand for anything a party is not compelling enough in and of itself to get people to come out to vote. More on this in a moment.

In a second comment, your Maximum Leader’s erstwhile Minister of Propaganda wrote this:

“Say you get two invitations to the prom and you accept one of them. On the night in question, Maximum Leader, you dress yourself up as pretty as can be to meet your date. Before you get to the gym, however, he stops the car, pulls you into the back seat, anally rapes you, and steals your purse on top of it.

The next year rolls around and you, being such a pretty ML, again get two invitations from the same two gentlemen. Now you want to compare agendas? Silly, silly, silly girl.”

Not the analogy your Maximum Leader would have used, but it is terribly illustrative isn’t it…

In a very oblique way the Minister of Propaganda hit on the reason that your Maximum Leader determined that the Republicans should just coast through to November. Their actions as a governing majority have already done enough to disincentify (if that is a word) your Maxmium Leader from supporting them (at least actively). The Republican party hasn’t given your Maximum Leader a reason to support the party. Frankly, the Democrats haven’t either.

In your Maximum Leader’s district he doesn’t have much choice. He will vote for George Allen for Senator. He likes George Allen. And his congressman (Jo Ann Davis, R-VA) is running unopposed. So, your Maximum Leader will vote for Allen and will cast a token vote for Davis. But he doesn’t really have a choice. In a way that is a good thing for him, because he doesn’t have to make a choice. (Well, he’s already made one choice, for Senator, but that is another case.)

If the Democrats could find a decent centrist (or even better Center-Right) person to run against Davis, your Maximum Leader would vote for them. Just as a protest to the Republicans. If the Republicans lost the House as a result… Well… That means more gridlock. And we all know that your Maximum Leader loves his gridlock. So that wouldn’t be all that bad. Hell, it might even force the president to use his veto.

The Republicans shouldn’t try to come up with a grand platform to run on in 2006. Because anything they come up with will beg the question of “what have you done for 6 years anyhow?” It is better not to embarass yourselves and just try to coast on through for another 2 years.

Carry on.

Freshness Date

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been a particularly lazy blogger. He is sure that the last post he published is now well past its freshness date and the site begs for a new post.

Your Maxmium Leader realizes that if he does not update his (few) loyal readers will go elsewhere.

Of course, abandoning your Maximum Leader’s blog is a great and terrible offence. But this once he’ll let it slide.

Your Maximum Leader took a long weekend with his children over the past few days. It was a nice time. Mrs. Villain has some church retreat to attend, this left your Maximum Leader with all three of his offspring. (And his trusted hound…)

Much villainy (unencumbered by mother’s goodness) was imbued into the villainous offspring this weekend. Villainette #1 learned how to bat her eyelashes and make puppy-dog eyes to manipulate men into giving her what she wants. Villainette #2 learned how to throw an elbow at a boy who is picking on her at recess. And the Wee Villain perfected his ability to make the stinkiest diapers imaginable.

Villainy abounded…

NB to readers: Your Maximum Leader had written three posts this morning and thought they were published. But some hiccup occured with the internet connection at the central station and all was lost. Damnation.

Carry on.

Fine Chap that Mr. Seal.

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader has been very pleased to read the blog of (and frankly to be blogrolled by) Mr. Basil Seal. Other noteworthy blogs have made mention of Mr. Seal’s fine work. Now it is time for your Maximum Leader to jump on the bandwagon…

In a post today, Mr. Seal relates a number of quotations from one of your Maximum Leader’s favourite characters, Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman (VC, KCB KCIE). If you’ve not read any of General Flashman’s memoirs you’ve really been missing out. Go and read the Flashman excerpts at Man About Mayfair. Then go and buy some of the memoirs for yourself. (NB: There is even a Sir Harry Flashman Society. Who knew?)

But before you leave Mr. Seal’s site, scroll on down and persue his earlier postings. They are worth the time.

Carry on.

Second Term Shake Up Part II

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader sees that Joshua Bolten’s dictat to White House staffers of “leave now if you think you’re gonna leave” is producing some turn ovr. Scott McClellan is resigning and Karl Rove is giving up some of his responsibility.

All in all this is a good move for the Administration. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (like our own infrequently posting Air Marshal) to figure out that the Bush Administration needs a little stimulation to get going. Contrary to what you might see on “The West Wing,” people get burned out very quickly at the White House. It is hard work that is relentless. The hardest job in the Executive Office of the President has got to be Press Secretary. Your Maximum Leader would last about 5 mins in that job before calling some reporter a whiny-rat-bastard. Then it is likely executions would begin.

Karl Rove, according to the Washington Post, will be giving up some regular policy responsibility and instead focus on the upcoming elections. One wonders if Rove shouldn’t just resign and go to work for the RNC and take some sort of uber-campaign manager role there.

Your Maximum Leader is, frankly, a little conflicted here about some items. His inner conflict boils down to a chicken/egg problem. Should the Republicans focus on winning the upcoming elections and then getting control of a political agenda? Or should they get a narrow focused political agenda and then focus on the elections? In all acutality they must to both simultaneously. But if you had to choose one or the other to do first your Maximum Leader would opt for winning the elections first then getting an agenda.

Some of you might be scratching your head and wondering why your Maximum Leader would say that the Republicans should focus on keeping their majority then worry about an agenda? Well, simply put, the Democrats don’t have an agenda. Further the Democrats don’t seem in a rush to get an agenda. Since the Dems are not pushing any agenda beyond “We’re not Republicans” it doesn’t seem as though the Republicans should try to focus the arguments. Let elections boil down to voters’ feelings about their incumbent. Let the power of incumbency help you out. Then, if you hold on to majorities, you can figure out what to do.

If the Democrats change their mind and start running on issues, well then you have to revise tactics.

Carry on.

Sleep

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader just wanted you all to know that he just got something last night he doesn’t get very often…

Get your minds out of the gutter…

It was 12 full hours of sleep. He isn’t sure how it happened. But after dinner he went to lay down and watch a little TV news. He must have shut his eyes around 7pm last night. He did not stir until 7am this morning.

Carry on.

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