I lost the sort of reverent awe for the Sopranos that would have led me to be upset about the ending several seasons back, so I can’t say that I was genuinely disappointed by the disappointing conclusion. At the end of the day, every single episode of this final demi-season has been eminently watchable which is more than you can say of, say, the dream episodes from the previous demi-season or else the vast majority of other television shows.
AP reports that “an apparent suicide vehicle bomb brought down a section of highway bridge south of Baghdad on Sunday, wounding several U.S. soldiers guarding the crossing and blocking traffic on Iraq’s main north-south artery. … An Iraqi civilian also was injured.”
Daniel J. Metcalfe, the former director of the Justice Department’s Office of Information and Privacy, said Attorney General Gonzales ran the department like “a political arm of the White House.” He resigned in January because he could no longer tolerate the “sheer political expediency, avoidance of individual responsibility, defensive personal aggrandizement, irresponsible ‘consensus’ decisionmaking (and) disregard for longstanding practices and principles.”
Phil Leotardo, seeking to build support for his proposed decapitation of the Soprano crime family, cites, among other things, the idea that the Jersey mob doesn’t do the initiation ritual properly. I’d read that as nothing more than puffery, but then I read this this afternoon:
New Jersey crime family mobsters talk a good game. They claim to be the models for The Sopranos. They once pulled off a hit for John Gotti when his murderous crew couldn’t get it done.
In Gang Land, however, the Newark-based DeCavalcantes have long been second class wiseguys. [...]
The problem, Palermo told FBI agent Nora Conley, was that decades earlier, legendary boss Simone (Sam The Plumber) DeCavalcante, (left) who took over the family in 1962, had altered important long-standing parts of the initiation rite.
These included the well-known use of a gun, knife and a burning holy card, Palermo said, recalling that during his induction in 1976, “DeCavalcate explained that he did not feel it was necessary to actually use these items in the induction ceremony.”
Shameful stuff, when you get right down to it.
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They muster more enthusiasm for the G-8 declaration than I can:
I don’t refrain from political analysis. Until serious action is taken by all of the G-8 — including us — the hypothesis that our leaders fully acknowledge the results of climate science remains unproven. Anyone who fully accepted the science would take action now.
“Unless Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders step forward,” the newspaper of record opines, the public is in danger of “winding up in worse shape than they were under the Republicans” on energy security and global warming. That seems a bit much — the conservatives did nothing when they were in charge.
Still, they make a strong case:
Exhibit A is a regressive bill drafted by John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat. For starters, the bill would override the recent Supreme Court decision giving the Environmental Protection Agency authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, a decision that even President Bush has reluctantly embraced. It would also effectively block efforts by California and 11 other states to regulate and reduce greenhouse gases from vehicles at a time when the states are far ahead of the federal government in dealing with climate change.
The bill’s fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks are weaker than the president’s proposals and weaker still than standards the National Academy of Sciences says can be met using off-the-shelf technology. And the bill would open the door to a new generation of coal-to-liquid fuel plants favored by the coal lobby that could double the global warming gases of conventional gasoline.
These echo my criticisms, so I can’t disagree too much with the NYT. The only way for the Democrats to prove the Times wrong will be if the leadership steps up and toughens the bill. This will be at important test of the new congressional leadership.
Gilbert Arenas says he’ll opt out of his contract after the 2007-2008 season in search of more money, though he’s hoping to get that money from the Wizards rather than go elsewhere. At his current salary, Agent Zero’s a fantastic bargain, but he also strikes me as the kind of guy (tons of scoring, but not terrible efficient and not much as a rebounder or defender) who’s poised to get overpaid by someone as a free agent.
Tomorrow, the Senate will introduce a no confidence resolution on the management and credibility of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Rarely used throughout American history, the resolution, if passed, would be a “historical black mark” on Gonzales and the Bush administration.
On Fox News Sunday today, White House spokesperson Tony Snow said that if the no confidence vote is passed — even with bipartisan support — it will have “no effect” on President Bush’s confidence in Gonzales. Snow claimed “nobody [has] found anything untoward in terms of what happened” in the attorney scandal. He added, “there’s an attempt to pull this [resolution] like a piece of taffy, seeing if there’s any political advantage in it.” Watch it:
The only people twisting the resolution “like a piece of taffy” are those conservatives trying to provide political cover for Gonzales’ incompetent management at the Justice Department.
Roll Call reported last week that Senate conservatives are trying to “thwart” the resolution using parliamentary procedures:
Republicans are likely to tie up the Senate floor with all kinds of procedural mischief and introduce any number of amendments, including perhaps one on whether the Iraq War is actually “lost” as Reid has suggested.
One example: Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has previously called for Gonzales to resign but refuses to support the no confidence vote, will introduce an unrelated pet amendment, “expressing ‘no confidence’ in Congress’ ability to cut wasteful spending or balance the budget.”
Transcript: Read more
A good AP story on the state of state emissions led to headlines like “Dubious honor: Texas No. 1 in carbon dioxide emissions.” Interesting factoid: Texas emits “more than every nation in the world except six: the United States, China, Russia, Japan, India and Germany.”
The story quotes me:
“There’s no question that some states have made choices to be greener than others,” said former top Energy Department official Joseph Romm, author of the new book “Hell and High Water” and executive director of a nonprofit energy conservation group.
California in particular has been a leader in saving energy and reducing emissions. That’s why, although it is second in total emissions among states, it is 47th (!) in per capita emissions.
Since this was a wire story, it got picked up around the country (with each state spinning it slightly differently): Houston Chronicle and Austin American-Statesman and White Plains Journal News and Winston-Salem Journal and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.