Political stuff

• Nobody is qualified for office because they are related to a famous president. This Caroline Kennedy thing is just nuts. Instead of swooning over dynasties, you'd think we'd have learned by now to treat them with suspicion.

• Obama's choice of Rick Warren to invoke at the inaugural is perfectly fine. I don't care which theistic poobah they bring in to perform the hocus pocus. He's as good as any.

• Having a poet read at the inauguration is an unfortunate and grandiose tradition. I think Kennedy started it with Robert Frost. The commissioning of a poet to write something for a political event has yet to produce a memorable work, and the poets who try end up looking a bit silly.

• That Illinois governor is really a treat. I don't feel sorry for the people of Illinois--they put him in. Twice! And it was no secret that 1) he was really stupid and 2) that he was on the make.

• Obama is going to start out dangling from the horns of several dilemmas. The most interesting one to me: If he decides to have us rejoin the Geneva Conventions, he is going to have to bring to trial those who authorized our abandoning the Geneva Conventions or he will be considered a war criminal himself.

• I still think these bailouts stink. Did you see that $1.6 billion of the banking bailout money went to the executives of the banks who created the mess? Something is really wrong there.

•Dick Cheney gave a charming interview this weekend where he said that the president is pretty much free from legal and constitutional restraints if he is "protecting the country," a phrase the president is free to define as he wishes. In other words, although the president swore to protect and defend the Constitution, he can ignore it as he does so. Okay, I can see this theory applying to a single emergency that requires a quick response, but to continue the policy indefinitely is to start emulating Vladamir Putin.