Sunday, September 30, 2007



John Hall, Jackson Browne, John Amato, Lucas Gardner & your host

So I just got back from the meeting I alluded to below. It was John from Crooks & Liars, Lucas from The Battle School, myself and Congressman John Hall. Music by Jackson Browne. Yeah, it was a benefit concert for John's campaign but he asked us to get their a half an hour early for a meeting so he could explain why he voted against the newspaper ad (not against MoveOn).

It was all that Betray Us headline that caused the problem, not the body of the ad, which he thinks was accurate. John is serious about ending the war and serious about supporting the military. As a congressman he represents West Point and Petraeus' hometown as well. He's on the Veterans' Affairs Committee and one of his biggest concerns in Congress has been the unbelievable and catastrophic increase in severe brain injuries from the war. He said that if Bush's war were to stop today, the American taxpayers would have a trillion dollar bill just in caring for the wounded soldiers from this war so far. And it's not stopping today. Which is why that whole MoveOn fiasco was such a drag for so many of us. It drove a wedge, like the Republicans had hoped it would.

John and I explained as best we could why it was a betrayal for so many Democrats to follow Emanuel and Hoyer and vote against the ad. He had already read the comments at Kos and was more than aware of why progressives and anti-war activists were angry. John is offering an identically-worded bill tomorrow that condemns Limbaugh for the outrageous statements he said about "phony soldiers."

After our talk the fun started. There was good food; John made a nice speech; I got to reminisce with Jackson about how we met when we were teenagers. I had booked a concert at my school with the Jefferson Airplane and a little known band from Seattle called the Daily Flash and Jackson and his two pals, Tim Buckley and Steve Noonan came. After there was a party at my house and many of us had something Owsley gave us. I was shocked Jackson remembered! It was my first real trip.

Anyway, Jackson started playing mostly socially relevant songs, like Lives in the Balance and anti-war songs and he was smokin'! There were like 4--50 people in a really intimate and ideal setting and his voice was incredible. And then John Hall grabbed a guitar and started playing with him. At one point Jackson asked him to leave the stage because he played a song that he thought could get John in trouble with Nancy. It's called "Drums of War" and the line "Why is impeachment not on the table?" brought down the house. I noticed John was applauding as loudly as enthusiastically as everyone else. The song hasn't been properly recorded but Jackson said it would be ok to use this funky early version someone shot live. (Oh yeah and he did stuff like "Doctor My Eyes" and "Running on Empty" and I called friends up from my old college days as well as Jane and held my cell phone up to the speakers.)

"Roll out the drums of war
Roll up the cover of the killing floor
Roll out the drums of war
and let's speak of things worht fighting for
Roll out the drums of war

Time comes when everything you ever thought you knew
comes crashing down and flames rise up in front of you

Roll out the drums of war
Roll back the freedoms that we struggled for
What were those freedoms for?
Huh, let's not talk about it anymore
Roll out the drums of war
Roll out the drums of war

Whatever you believe the necessary course to be
depends on who you trust to identify the enemy
Who beats the drums for war
even before the peace is lost?
Who are the profits for
and who are they who bear the cost
when a country takes a whole world to war?

Who gives the orders
orders to torture?
Who gets the no bid contracts of the future?
Who lies then bombs and calls it an error?
Who makes a fortune from fighting terror?
Who is the enemy trying to crush us?
Who is the enemy of truth and justice?
Who is the enemy of peace and freedom?
Where are the courts, now when we need them?
Why is impeachment not on the table?
We better stop them while we are able

Roll out the drums of war
Roll out the drums of war
If you know what your freedom's for
Roll out the drums of war

Whatever you believe the necessary course to be
depends on who you trust to identify the enemy
Who took this country to war
long before the peace was lost?
Who are the profits for
and who are they who bear the cost
when a country takes the low road?"


"I don't have Exxon and Mobile, I have Jackson and Bonnie (Raitt)."

Labels: , , ,



photo by Mark Cuff

John Amato (C&L), one of the other Blue America bloggers, and I are off now to meet with John Hall(NY-19), one of the victorious candidates we endorsed in 2006. John has been an exemplary congressman, sticking to his guns on the tough issues. His voting record is excellent when it comes to sticking with progressive values and principles, especially for someone in a Republican-leaning district with a tough re-election race. I guess he wants to explain to us why he voted against the MoveOn ad, which pissed us both off. And he probably also wants to explain his plan to prohibit the Bush Regime from sending any more mercenaries into Iraq, which sounds like a good idea to me. I'll report back in a couple hours.

While I'm away, enjoy the Jackson Browne music-- I'll explain that when I get back too-- and please donate to our candidates on Blue America before the end of quarter tonight. I'm matching whatever anyone puts in for the candidates who are facing primaries.

Labels: , ,



Tom Schaller gets it so very right in Whistling Past Dixie when he makes the points that a)- the GOP is rapidly declining into a regional, racist, backward southern party which will be unable to compete in national elections, and b)- that the Democrats can win the presidency without wasting a dime on the Old Confederacy. You may have noticed that yesterday Giuliani was wimpering how even though he's out of step with the traditional reactionary southern values that have come to dominate the contemporary GOP, "The reality is we need a candidate who can run in all 50 states. I can." He may sound like Howard Dean there but he has a very good reason for pointing that up to Republicans who hate him. He says it's because he's the only one of the pathetic pygmies™ who can beat Hillary. But it goes beyond just that. You see, there was another little meeting yesterday, a very closed door one among the power-brokers who control the Hatred and Bigotry part of the Republican coalition that has paired Hatred and Bigotry with Greed and Selfishness. (Giuliani already competes well for the Greed, Selfishness and Fear-mongering contingents.)
A powerful group of conservative Christian leaders decided Saturday at a private meeting in Salt Lake City to consider supporting a third-party candidate for president if a pro-choice nominee like Rudy Giuliani
wins the Republican nomination.

The meeting of about 50 leaders, including Focus on the Family's James Dobson, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who called in by phone, took place at the Grand America Hotel during a gathering of the Council for National Policy, a powerful shadow group of mostly religious conservatives. James Clymer, the chairman of the U.S. Constitution Party, was also present at the meeting, according to a person familiar with the proceedings.

The secretive-- even paranoid-- group of neo-fascist politicians agreed that if Giuliani wins the nomination, they'll bolt and take the South with them, dooming any already far-fetched hopes Giuliani has to win the presidency. Dobson, one of the big dogs in the group has already announced that nothing would permit him to support McCain, Giuliani or Frederick of Hollywood. He was the moving force behind the Gingrich trial baloon, which crashed to earth yesterday when Gingrich admitted that he can't run. Both Romney and Cheney addressed the group earlier in the day. The religionist right doesn't trust Flip Flop Mitt, not just because he changes his positions the way normal people change their socks, but because they view his Mormon religion as a dangerous-- and competitive-- cult. Some left the meeting muttering about finding someone else to run, either another Republican-- Sam Brownback and that Arkansas fella who lost all the weight must feel like shooting themselves about now-- or a third party spoiler. Looking at the Progressive Punch lists of the most reactionary senators and House members, may I suggest John Barrasso or Mike Enzi of Wyoming or, if that's digging a little too deep in the shitpile, how about Miss McConnell or John Cornyn, each facing huge disapproval ratings and possible defeat in his home state? OK, from the House we could go with any of a dozen congressmembers with perfect zeros: Patrick McHenry (if he manages to not get indicted and/or outed before the primaries, Steve King (the Ann Coulter of Congress), Virginia Foxx, Michelle Bachmann (fun at parties), Tim Wallberg. I think any of these would be the perfect representative of what is left of the Republican Party. Go for it, boys!

Oh, and one more thing. You know all that stuff up top about Rudy whining how the GOP has to be inclusive and bring everyone into the party, not just white southern bigots? He was just kidding. As this new video clip shows, he avoided Tavis Smiley's GOP debate that addressed issues important to the minority communities while he kissed up to California Hispanic's most distrusted ex-governor, Pete Wilson... and some former actress who now serves as a beard for Republican closet queens like David Dreier and Mark Foley.

Labels: , , , ,



In your dreams, Willard

Judging by the unending media uproar over that Hsu guy donating money to Hillary's campaign, one can only imagine how the media would explode in fury if it turned out that a presidential candidate were taking money from Bush Regime enemies Venezuela and Iran. Fox would probably do a 24 hour special and the only good thing that could come of it would be that Limbaugh might overdose on oxy and croak.

Unless, of course, we're talking about Republicans. The traditional media never seems to mind when they take campaign contributions from or do business with criminals, child-molesters, or foreign bad guys. Of course all the Republicans do it so... no one ever seems to notice. Take for example, Full O'Mitt... I doubt Giuliani is in a position to attack Romney on this, considering his own extensive business dealings with Venezuela, so we'll have to give Mr. 9/11 a hand today.

Like Giuliani, it looks like the Romney campaign is eye-deep in stinky Venzuelan mitt. And unlike Giuliani, Mitt and his family have some mighty juicy investments in Iran business dealings.

In another typical Piece O'Mitt election stunt, Romney wrote to the Comptroller of New York State demanding that New York's pension fund divest itself of any investments in any countries he and Bush don't like, namely, in this case, Iran. "We want to squeeze the pressure on that country and get them on the right track." Yes we do and now let's take a look at the most disgusting candidate for the Republican nomination and how he proves without a doubt that he's as big a hypocrite as David Vitter, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell and Larry Craig combined.

Labels: , , ,



The idea of an uneducated yahoo for a president worried me a lot more than many other American voters. Bill Clinton, who always seemed brighter than most to me, made it look so easy to be president that millions of voters thought even a dolt who had failed at everything he had ever put his hand to, could lead the nation. That nonchalance helped install George W. Bush in the White House. (Systematic voter fraud and a gaggle of partisan Republican hacks on the Supreme Court didn't exactly hurt his cause either.) And, besides, we were assured, even if he is an unprepared 'tard, he'll have wise and experienced older men around him who will run the show. Reassuring.

When they decided to launch a series of wars against cultures they were all but clueless about-- as though they were invading Iowa or, at best, Germany-- I had a sinking feeling none of them had ever read Thucydides-- except maybe Colin Powell, the military guy none of them ever listened to in the run-up to war. Why Thucydides? No reason. Steven Pressfield would have sufficed. In fact I was reading his book, Tides of War, while Team Bush was busy stealing the presidency in a bloodless electoral coup, already dreaming of the day they could march into Baghdad and on into Tehran.

"Bloodless," though, wasn't what that presaged. I prayed Thucydides' and Pressfield's accounts of the Peloponnesian War weren't about to be lived out on my TV set and in the homes of thousands of American families.

At the time when Alcibiades was the toast of the town, Athens was a major world power with a pretty extensive empire based on its unrivaled naval power. The Peloponnesian War, which lasted nearly 3 decades, was at a stalemate when Athens invaded Sicily with the idea of absorbing Syracuse (a Spartan ally). Athens was a dominant military superpower and Syracuse was a modest regional power with no ability to project any kind of military power beyond Sicily. It must have appeared like a walkover. It ended, though, in the utter and total destruction of the Athenian military expedition, something that was not only incomprehensible but also something that led to a collapse of Athenian power and the end of the Athenian Empire.

I just ordered a newer Pressfield book, The Afghan Campaign. The review in the Marine Corps Gazette caught my attention: “Pressfield has done it again. The Afghan Campaign is yet another gripping historical novel... Although set in ancient times, Pressfield’s narration of the Macedonians’ efforts reveals remarkable parallels to later efforts by the Romans, British, Soviets, and Americans... an intense, fun, and thought-provoking read." Americans? Uh oh.

Even if Bush and the wise older men around him had read Tides of War-- or even the as yet unwritten Afghan Campaign-- it's unlikely they would have walked away with the right lessons, since their collective hubris is probably the only thing more colossal than their collective ignorance. And they could just as well prepared for the invasion of Syracuse as the invasion of Iraq. This morning's Washington Post voices their complaint that "The war has indeed metastasized into something 'completely different,' a conflict in which the roadside bomb in its many variants-- including 'suicide, vehicle-borne'-- has become the signature weapon in Iraq and Afghanistan, as iconic as the machine gun in World War I or the laser-guided 'smart bomb' in the Persian Gulf War of 1991.
IEDs have caused nearly two-thirds of the 3,100 American combat deaths in Iraq, and an even higher proportion of battle wounds. This year alone, through mid-July, they have also resulted in an estimated 11,000 Iraqi civilian casualties and more than 600 deaths among Iraqi security forces. To the extent that the United States is not winning militarily in Iraq, the roadside bomb, which as of Sept. 22 had killed or wounded 21,200 Americans, is both a proximate cause and a metaphor for the miscalculation and improvisation that have characterized the war.

But hard-line maniacs inside the Bush Regime still nurture the on to Iran dream near and dear to the heart contraption that beats in the bosom of the wise old man who would guide the dolt. Just today London's Daily Mail reveals one of the Kagens or Cagens bellowing truculently to a British delegation how she hates all Iranians and how it's Britain's fault Cheney might not get to fulfill his dream.

NY Times columnist Tom Friedman was one of many who beat the drums the hardest and most rhythmically for the Bush-Cheney Regime in the run-up to their premeditated, but poorly planned, invasion (successful) and occupation (catastrophically disastrous) of Iraq. Today he said he "will not vote for any candidate running on 9/11. We don’t need another president of 9/11. We need a president for 9/12. I will only vote for the 9/12 candidate." So no Rudy, Romney, McCain, no Frederick of Hollywood. Not sure if Hillary fits in there, especially since she either appears to be a willing accomplice of the Bush Regime or has learned absolutely nothing whatsoever from her October 10, 2002 authorization votes (the ones that she excuses, lamely, with the "If I had known then what I know now..."). Friedman admits that his reaction to 9/11 made him stupid and knocked him out of balance. That's his excuse for providing the pseudo-intellectual heft for Bush' war agenda? Does that mean he's resigning in disgrace?

No; he has other crazy ideas. "You may think Guantánamo Bay is a prison camp in Cuba for Al Qaeda terrorists. A lot of the world thinks it’s a place we send visitors who don’t give the right answers at immigration. I will not vote for any candidate who is not committed to dismantling Guantánamo Bay and replacing it with a free field hospital for poor Cubans. Guantánamo Bay is the anti-Statue of Liberty." And he's still talking about America helping to create a "progressive Iraq." How about a progressive Florida or Texas? Or a progressive San Bernardino County? How about we fix the problems with reactionaries here first before we start exporting our ideals to countries with very different traditions and very different perceptions than our own?

But Friedman, who has presumably read at least Thucydides, if not Pressfield, never once mentions the devastation Bush and his enablers caused in Iraq or the international destabilization or the cost to American families in blood and treasure. Instead Friedman's point seems to be that tourists don't come here anymore and American business is going to pot. He's supposed to be a smart guy who's thought about this before, no? Can't the Times find better help?

Labels: , , , ,



Or maybe not. I know if they had fingers all the salmon in America would be crossing them and wishing he'd just resign already and leave them alone. Environmentalists and fishermen, on the other hand, do have fingers to cross-- and they've been fighting the arch anti-environmentalist for decades. "Craig, who was removed from leadership posts on the Senate Appropriations and Energy committees after a sex scandal, is known as one the most powerful voices in Congress on behalf of the timber and power industries. Environmentalists have fought him for years on issues from endangered salmon to public land grazing."

While Harry Reid (D-NV) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) are trying to undo some of the ecological damage done by Craig, at the behest of his campaign contributors and the Bush Regime, the Minneapolis-St Paul airport is frantic about the public toilet situation as the day of the Republican National Convention approaches. According to today's NY Times "Dividers intended to make soliciting sex much more difficult will be added to stalls in two men’s rooms at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport."

They figure if they bring the dividers down to two or three inches from the floor, randy Republicans won't be able to annoy innocent patrons with their footsie games and their abominable hand signals.

Anyway, Craig's attorney, Stan Brand, apparently a shameless publicity hound, was on Tweety's cable show Friday and he pretty much said the Senate is stuck with Craig until his term expires-- so much for the self-imposed September 30 deadline-- and if other Republican closet queens (like, say Mitch McConnell, who neatly fits into both categories) don't like it, they can just go suck on a... lemon.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the Ethics Committee. That‘s especially for you working within the Congress on ethics matters.

Can you win his case in the Ethics Committee, if it comes to that? I know that no senator‘s been expelled by the Senate. I-- I think you have to go back almost to the Civil War, when they expelled people for joining and taking an oath to the Confederacy.

BRAND: Right.

MATTHEWS: What is the case? Would they...

BRAND: Well, again...

MATTHEWS: What‘s the worst the Senate could do to a senator...

BRAND: Again...

MATTHEWS: ... if he says, I‘m staying?

BRAND: Yes. Again, I mean, I-- you know, I-- they‘re-- it‘s inconceivable to me that the United States Senate will open the door to bringing cases against senators for misdemeanor, misdemeanors that have nothing to do with the performance of official duties.

I know they say they have the right to discipline people for bringing discredit on the Senate. That‘s a vague standard. That‘s well beyond where we are in 2007. I can‘t imagine that 99 other senators want to be judged by that standard. [Especially not the ones Craig has some interesting information on.]

MATTHEWS: Yes, you wonder about all the traffic violations and other kinds of problems that they would be facing.

Anyway, thank you.

Stan Brand, is your sense that the senator may well be able to hang on until the end of his term?

BRAND: I-- I think that‘s conceivable, especially if he gets some type of relief in Minnesota. But I don‘t think it depends on that.

Funny that Tweety never asked the lawyer if maybe Senator Craig won't resign because he fears that subpoena in the Brent Wilkes corruption trial that he would have to comply with if he wasn't a U.S. Senator.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, September 29, 2007



I've been hearing so many people complaining about "The Democrats." Why aren't they doing what we elected them to do? Why are they wasting time condemning the MoveOn newspaper ad instead of getting us out of Iraq or, crucially important for our country's soul, impeaching Bush and Cheney? Are they as bad as The Republicans? Who are "The Democrats?" We've been telling you about scum like Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer for years. They are as bad as Republicans, even if they do sometimes, for whatever putrid reason, wind up voting for positions our progressive values dictate.

Today is the last day of the quarter for campaign fundraising. Humor me for a moment and open up the Blue America ActBlue page run by DWT, Crooks & Liars, Firedoglake and Digby. No presidentials on that page-- just candidates and incumbents committed to progressive values and ideals. And some of them are in primary races against the other kind of Democrat, the kinds who vote against the interests of working men and women. We only endorse in primary battles when there is a clear case of a progressive versus a reactionary-- a Ned Lamont vs Lieberman situation. In many of these races, the Democratic primary is tantamount either to election or-- worse-- to a choice between a reactionary Democrat and an even more reactionary Republican. Bleeeech!

Now is the time to effect that. Now is the time we can act in concert to derail some of the reactionary Democrats who give Bush the margin of victory to keep his toxic agenda of war and devastation and corruption hurtling down the tracks. Our collective action, in coordination with local grassroots activists, has already frightened off establishment, opportunistic Democrats seeking to get their reactionary asses into races against Darcy Burner and Eric Massa. But some of our Blue America candidates are still facing opposition from the wrong kind of Democrats. These are the ones we should be concentrating on right now.

We have one progressive incumbent, Steve Cohen, being challenged by an untrustworthy DLC-backed candidate in Memphis. Steve's voting record is the 4th most progressive among the freshman class and when it comes to Iraq, to the well-being of our military personnel, to environmental issues, and to health care his votes are 100% on the Progressive Punch scale. Steve has earned our support. If you want another compromising, corrupt reactionary to replace a real Democrat, do nothing to help Steve keep his seat. And now is the time in this district that went 70% for Kerry.

Donna Edwards is an old friend who should be running for president instead of for Congress. But first steps first. She's challenging a Steny Hoyer hack, a corrupt thug who has sold out his constituents on every occasion, the notorious Al Wynn. Donna seemed to have beaten him last year until some suspect last minute ballot boxes turned up. She's far better known now and she has a much better chance of beating Wynn.

Victoria Wulsin nearly beat Mean Jean Schmidt in southwest Ohio last year. This year, far better known, she is poised to close the deal. And wouldn't you just know it, some rich, opportunist shows up to muddy the waters. Vic was one of our favorite candidates in 2006 and we need to back her as strongly this year, now in the primary and then against Mean Jean in November of 2008.

With Denny Hastert finally slinking off in disgrace, we have a chance to elect a Democrat in IL-14. But what kind of a Democrat is up to us. There are two visions competing here-- a Blue Dog who will be a bit better than a Republican and then there's John Laesch, a union carpenter and Iraq War vet who is deeply grounded in progressive values. The choice couldn't be clearer. Unfortunately, though predictably, the Blue Dog is a millionaire eager to buy the seat. John... well, like I said... he's one of us, a working person.

South of John's district is IL-03, currently misrepresented by one of the worst of the Bush Dogs, Dan Lipinski, a Democrat in name only. He firmly opposes women's right to choice (and even stem cell research!) and consistently backs Bush on his war agenda and on domestic spying. Fortunately we have an incredible candidate running against him, Mark Pera, who has a real shot to defeat this slimebag right in Rahm Emanuel's own backyard. Lipinski has enlisted a gaggle of pathetic allies to jump into the race and split the vote, a tactic he employed last year as well. The netroots and local grassroots activists aren't being tricked and the opposition to the odious Lipinski has rallied behind Mark.

Our candidate in upstate western New York, Jon Powers, is taking on rubber stamp Republican Tom Reynolds and he has a great shot at defeating him. But first he has to defeat Alice Kryzan, one of Reynold's financial backers who is running as a "Democrat" to confuse voters. Most Democrats in the district who know her, and that isn't many, know her as the attorney for Occidental Petroleum who called the citizen uproar over the toxic disaster known as Love Canal "hysteria." Jon is a very different kind of candidate and I'd like to urge you to read his live session at Firedoglake and then think about donating what you can to his campaign and the campaigns of the other exceptional candidates mentioned here. Do it right here; it'll make you feel good.

Labels: , , , , , ,



As you may have surmised, DWT doesn't take advertising. I've seen how it can get in the way of keeping bias at bay and the stuff we cover here is just too important to me to take any chances. (I do take ads on the travel site, AroundTheWorldBlog so go over and click on them from time to time.) Anyway, lots of blogs are running this great ad about Miss McConnell and I thought I'd just like putting it up as a freebie for all the American patriots who have banded together to try to hold our out-of-control government accountable. Disclaimer: I'm a proud member of

Labels: , ,

Quote of the day: Chuck Lorre bares the painful history of the miraculous, revolutionary invention by that perfidious genius, Schlomo Tivowitz


Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, and Johnny Galecki in The Big Bang Theory

"Thankfully, it isn't my nature to be bitter. But there are times in my life when I feel a little used."
--TV producer-writer Chuck Lorre, in the end card from the premiere episode of his new CBS sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, reliving his brush with the infamous Schlomo T.

As many of you are aware, at the end of each episode of each show that Chuck Lorre [right] produces, buried after the end credits is a card densely packed with musings on some subject or other which readers gradually come to realize are mused by the master himself. Monday night CBS debuted Chuck's latest creation, an inauspicious-looking shebang called The Big Bang Theory, about a pair of to-the-nth-degree-super-nerd roommates who have a Super-Hot Chick move in across the hall in their dilapidated L.A. apartment building, the gimmick being that one of the nerds is conscious of his nerddom and has--obviously comical--aspirations to be, you know, a real boy. Ha ha.

I must have made my first stab at watching the thing as early as late Monday night, but the first five minutes or so was so discouraging that I postponed further investigation. I finally got back to it today, if only to be able to erase the damned thing--the hard drive of my (non-Tivo) DVR has limited storage capacity--and by episode's end felt ever so slightly more hopeful about the show's prospects.

But the real reward was this dramatic end card:
Back when I was writing and producing Dharma and Greg the only way to read my cards was to record each episode on a VCR and hit the "pause" button. This was not an easy task. The image wobbled like crazy making the tiny words of my weekly tomes very had to see. Then it hit me. What about building a device that records images digitally? Wouldn't this make for a much more precise "pause" function? I took my little notion to an impoverished computer whiz by the name of Schlomo Tivowitz. At the time of our meeting Schlomo was feverishly trying to invent an improved version of the George Foreman Grill. Schlomo's grill would contain a hard drive that remembered all the details of your last barbecue as well as an address book. I didn't really see the point of it, but not being a tech guy, I held my tongue and presented him with my idea. I will never forget his reaction. With hamburger-flecked spittle flying from his blubbery lips, he laughed, called me some very unkind names and demanded that I leave his mother's basement immediately. My hopes dashed, I went back to work on Dharma and forgot about my silly idea. Well, I'm sure you can figure out what happened next. The fact that you're reading this card right now should tell you. Thankfully, it isn't my nature to be bitter. But there are times in my life when I feel a little used -- usually when I've forgotten how to effectively grill a fatty piece of chicken.


For the benefit of nitpickers who may check and find deviations between the above transcription and the actual end card, a few words: C'mon, gimme a break. Probably Schlomo could invent a better system, but--as longtime readers may recall--my crack TV transciption system consists of a cumbersome process necessitated by the fact that the TV with the DVR is in a different room from the computer. So the process is, approximately:

(1) laboriously hand-scribble a draft transcription, usually on the back of an envelope or newspaper or the like;

(2) locate the particular envelope or newspaper or whatever that happens to contain the desired draft transcription (I can't tell you how often, between steps 1 and 2, it turns out that, for the first time in weeks, I've bundled up and disposed of the accumulation of newspapers, including the one that presumably contained the transcription in question);

(3) at the computer, attempt to decipher the scribbling of the draft transcription (having learned the hard way to eschew shorthand-style abbreviations, even for the most common words, on the ground that the best clue to the identity of a hard-to-decipher word is often the shape of the mystery scribble);

(4) return wearily to the DVR-equipped TV and attempt to plug the gaps in the draft transcription; and finally--

(4) keyboard the fully (or as fully as it's going to get) deciphered version of the draft transcription, taking care to introduce some strategic "errors" (or "typos"), to give the end result a more "human" look.

Probably there are already screen grabs and more efficiently produced transcriptions of CLP card #182 all over the Internet. But ask yourself: Did any of them require this amount of gratuitous and utterly pointless drudgery? I've thought of putting out a "TIPS" jar to allow readers to show their appreciation, but so far the exceedingly low volume of street traffic passing my computer has discouraged me.

Labels: , ,



We first met an Iraq-based blogger in the U.S. Army in August, Army of Dude, who doesn't sugarcoat the reports coming out of Iraq. Yesterday, he had something to say about Rush Limbaugh's hypocritical comments on soldiers who disagree with him. (Suggestion, since Limbaugh has been bellowing that his slurs against soldiers were taken out of context: listen to the drug addled draft dodger's own words, in his own context.)
Of course, this is the same Rush Limbaugh who threw a fit about the Petraeus ad, calling it "contemptible" and "indecent." Apparently anyone in the military is above criticism as long as they agree with Rush's brave belief that we should be in Iraq "as long as it takes." And I use the term 'we' loosely, as I believe the closest Rush has ever gotten to combat was watching We Were Soldiers with surround sound.

Over at Salon today, Glenn Greenwald makes the case that this goes way beyond Limbaugh and goes right to the heart of the whole foul Republican propaganda machine. Glenn talks about Fox again trying to convince its mostly very elderly and frightened viewers that poor President Bush is surrounded by "disgraceful military leaders." These rightists want it both ways, don't they?

The Fox commentator and O'Reilly crony of the day is David Hunt and he starts his attack that you might not expect to hear from Fox after a week of non-stop condemnation of MoveOn's newspaper ad" Our generals are betraying our soldiers... Our generals in both the Army and Marine Corps have cared more about their precious careers and reputations than their soldiers and Marines under them... We should be putting these generals on trial. When will Fox condemn itself? When will the Senate and House condemn Fox? Of course, the only really relevant question is to ask when we, the American people, will condemn the whole lot of these right-wing hypocrites and loons and banish them from government entirely.

Even the sleaziest and most opportunistic of political hacks, Piece O' Mitt and McCain have attacked Limbaugh for his idiotic utterances. And you can even watch a White House flack distancing Bush from one of his foremost propagandists:

But so what? Limbaugh is a cyst on the rear end of Bush and McCain and Romney and the rest of these vicious right-wing thugs who have hijacked America fro their own selfish reasons. Forget Limbaugh and his hate comments; he makes them every single day. Instead just keep one thing in mind: More and BETTER Democrats

Labels: , , , , , ,



Newt Gingrich's contentious, polarizing tenure as Speaker of the House from 1995-1999 has left his name in the consciousness of many Americans, mostly with highly negative connotations. The first most people ever heard of Gingrich was in connection to the word "bomb-thrower" and it didn't get much better as time went on with him becoming the face of right-wing obstructionism and of right-wing hypocrisy. He still lusts for... whatever it is that drives politicians to seek higher office. And he doesn't want his main role in the 2008 cycle to be that of the man who named the GOP contenders "a pathetic bunch of pygmies." Today CNN reported that he has definitively decided to not run for the presidency. Yesterday, everyone else reported that he had decided to run.

The NY Times explained that with the DOA candidacy of Frederick of Hollywood a complete bust, Gingrich has been easing towards an announcement that, despite incredibly high negative ratings, he will run as the conservative who can beat the hated Giuliani (if not Hillary, Obama or Edwards). Monday he'll kick off a website that seeks to raise $30 million in grassroots money for a campaign. He says he'll run if he reaches that goal before Halloween, a night that will be scary for many but certainly not for any of the Democrats seeking the presidential nomination-- at least not due to Gingrich.

In some ways Gingrich's well-known personal hypocrisy, his abysmal polling numbers, his right-wing extremism, his abrasive personality are perfect for the Democrats. Gingrich will certainly make mincemeat out of the mental midgets Romney, Giuliani and Thompson and mincemeat out of poor senile McCain; but, except for hard core Republican partisans, American voters won't take him seriously.

Gingrich tried to inoculate himself against all the personal problems by going on hands and knees to right-wing religionist politician Jimmy Dobson. And he is now widely viewed as Dobson's anointed one-- although that seems to have done more harm to Dobson than good for Gingrich. Dobson regularly and viciously eviscerates all the other Republican contenders and has made himself a hated man inside the Party of Hatred. And no one outside of the religionist nutcakes has changed their minds about Gingrich's long life of what right-wingers refer to as "prurient past personal peccadilloes." Hillary's advisors are salivating at the prospect of Gingrich as opponent; it would certainly remove the Republican threat of using her husband's randiness against her.

National Review, a far right propaganda rag, has come out squarely against Gingrich's running, claiming it will lead to a Giuliani victory, something no serious conservative contemplates without a shudder of horror.
[T]he late entry of such a controversial conservative candidate to the presidential field wouldn’t benefit the Republican party, or the Republic. There are already three top-tier candidates-- Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and John McCain-- contending to be the conservative alternative to Rudy Giuliani. With the support he manifestly enjoys among the grassroots, Gingrich would take his share from those conservatives unwilling to back Giuliani. But it’s extremely unlikely he could win the nomination. Legitimate reservations about his electability, his lack of executive experience, and his troubled tenure as Speaker would limit his appeal. Slicing up the considerable conservative vote into smaller shares would not, needless to say, advance the ideas he champions.

The most recent poll on the matter, Rasmussen's, last month, was clear: the majority of Americans hold an unfavorable opinion of Gingrich. 54% give him the thumbs down and only 37% see him in  a favorable light. The same poll showed Hillary's favorables far outstripping his and her negatives, while formidable thanks to years and years of right-wing brainwashing, not nearly as bad as Gingrich's. And this is before the vicious campaigns of Full O' Mitt and Giuliani get to remind American voters about the 3 wives, the 84 ethics charges, the admission of guilt, the fines, the perjury, the constant in-fighting and vicious bickering within the GOP caucus (leading, of course, to a resignation from the Speakership and from Congress, and to political disgrace). Most Americans remember a bad odor attached to Gingrich. Wait til Romney starts writing checks to propaganda firms to remind people exactly why they don't like Newt!


AP is reporting that the Newtster is outster. I bet Hillary is more disappointed than anyone! One of the least ethical men to have ever wormed his way into high office, says there are ethical problems with him running. You think?
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday.

"Newt is not running," spokesman Rick Tyler said. "It is legally impermissible for him to continue on as chairman of American Solutions (for Winning the Future) and to explore a campaign for president."

...Just last week, Gingrich said he had given himself a deadline of Oct. 21 to raise $30 million in pledges for a possible White House bid, acknowledging the task was difficult but not impossible.
He abruptly dropped the idea Saturday, apparently unwilling to give up the chairmanship of American Solutions, the political arm of a Gingrich's lucrative empire as an author, pundit and consultant.

American Solutions, a tax-exempt committee he started last October, has paid for Gingrich's travel and has a pollster and fundraiser on staff. The outfit has raised more than $3 million, mostly from two benefactors who each gave $1 million: Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and North Carolina real estate developer Fred Godley.

Gingrich makes hundreds of speeches each year, many paid. He will not say how much he charges, and neither will the Washington Speakers Bureau, which books him. But some clients have said they paid $40,000 for a speech.

He also has a contract with Fox News for commentaries and specials; Fox said it does not disclose the terms of its contracts. Gingrich also is a senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

So which one of the pathetic pygmies™ will he endorse and campaign for?

Labels: ,



The Republican Party is heading towards a fate they have worked very, very hard to achieve for themselves-- that of a ghettoized regional party with dominance in the rump of the Old Confederacy. I hope you've had a chance to read Thomas Schaller's brilliant analysis, Whistling Past Dixie-- How the Democrats Can Win Without the South because the exception we're seeing in NC-08 is even more startling in that light. Larry Kissell has joined us here before and 667 of us responded with contributions to his 2006 campaign with nearly $11,000. He came closer to beating an incumbent Republican than any other Democrat in the country who didn't win. After a recount only 329 votes separated Larry from rubber stamp Republican Robin Hayes. "That's darn close," Larry told me on the phone a few days ago... "to have come from nowhere. I give the people of this district all the credit. I just stood up; I gave them something and they chose to listen."

Last Saturday they were still listening-- only more so-- when Larry and a mutual friend, Ambassador Joe Wilson, spoke at an Elect Kissell rally in Charlotte. John over at Crooks & Liars has a note Joe sent Blue America after the rally:
"I had the privilege and honor to address North Carolina democrats supporting Larry Kissell for Congress in Charlotte, NC, last Saturday night. It was an easy sell. Larry, a teacher and former textile worker, is passionate for change and has a detailed command of the issues... It should be a piece of cake, but we all know that every election is hard fought and that the Republicans will do everything they can to hold on to power. Even as I was flying into Charlotte, the NRCC was again peddling the lies about me, and I'm not even running. Does anybody still believe that the President was not misleading the country about the justification for the invasion of Iraq? The Republican propaganda machine is still pushing the big lie even though it is so last year. They take the American people to be fools, and will continue to do so until we defeat them decisively. Larry is our man to do that in this race in North Carolina.

This morning is a much-welcomed return visit from an old friend and you might want to take a look at our last session with Larry. He joked with me on the phone that "to say that I was unknown is an injustice to the word 'unknown.'" You can't say that about him any longer and Insider prognosticators rate Larry's race the #1 best shot for a Democrat to beat an incumbent wingnut anywhere in the country.

In 2006 Rahm Emanuel didn't believe in anti-war, grassroots candidates and Larry's race was, tragically, ignored by the DCCC. "We never did get any financial help from the D Triple C. We had some very good friends up there who were saying, 'Give this campaign $100,000 and let them answer that one last set of ads and you'll be guaranteed a victory. But they had their numbers and they were looking at certain things-- which they tell us now, were wrong... They did send out an e-mail for us after we won their National Volunteer Day poll."
"Eventually, when we were down to $31 in the bank they put us on their Red to Blue website... At one time, at the end of the 3rd quarter before the election and we were down to $88 dollars in the bank and my opponent put out a press release saying we weren't serious. How could we be taken seriously with no money, they asserted. We responded that our bank account looks a lot more like the bank accounts of the people of this district than theirs. And the money started rolling in. People started sending $88 checks and $8.88 checks. Someone sent an $888 check. It was amazing how people responded... Over 10,000 individual people donated and many of those were contributing to a political campaign for the first time."

In the end Larry spent $779,341. The Hayes campaign, claiming he wasn't a "serious" candidate, spent $2,475,169 or $40.62 per vote, as opposed to Larry's $12.86 per vote. Imagine if Chris Van Hollen, who is heavily behind Larry's campaign this year, had been DCCC chair in 2006 instead of Emanuel! But Emanuel heard Larry Kissell yelling "Bring the troops home" in February of 2006 and he went south... (and west, to back quasi-Democrat Heath Shuler who won and has been voting more like a Republican than like a progressive).

Thinking back on those early days, Larry holds no grudges against any Democrats. That's not the kind of guy he is. Instead he's recalling how he and others were asking for the war to end then. "I thought we should start phasing the troops out then and now we're in the fall of 2007 and still fighting the same battle. My opponent went on CNN and claimed he had 'proof' that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11... He never questioned the administration's tactics; he never questioned the strategy; he was just 100% behind the war. You know we support the troops and we support the veterans and he will wave the flag but then lets our fighting men and women come home to horrible conditions in situations like Walter Reed. To me, if you're going to support the troops, you ask the tough questions. You don't just support your political party. You support the troops. He's just echoed whatever little theme they've come up with, like 'Defeatocrats.' He's just gone along; he's never scrutinized a thing; it's all just been 'rah! rah! rah!' We need someone in the game, not someone who's just on the sidelines cheering and not looking at what's going on."
"'Support the troops' means a lot more than just supporting blindly what a president says to do. I fully intend to support the troops in all regards; they're putting their lives on the line for us. And the best thing for our nation and the best thing for the troops is for them not to be involved with that war, which is clearly a civil war. As I said in February 2006, it's time to start phasing our troops out. We have a threat. Let's fight that threat in intelligent ways. We have to reassess our relationships around the world. Like a recent National Intelligence Estimate said, we're creating enemies around the world and we're creating more terrorists. There's a way to stop that and a way to start working more intelligently towards our goals.

"I feel that if I had been in Washington, and if more people like myself had been elected... the House leadership would have been offered a stronger dialogue and that they wouldn't have offered the wrong bills on Iraq. The key is cutting out the sanction for the war in a straight up or down vote and de-authorize the war... whatever we need to do to start bringing the troops home [in a safe and orderly fashion]. There should be a straight up or down vote on continuing or ending this war and then let everyone in Congress go home and face their constituents at election time. I would vote to bring the troops home. I've been saying that for 2 years now and that hasn't changed whatsoever. The Democratic leadership put the wrong bill on the floor; they need to fashion a bill-- straight up/straight down-- that is a congressional referendum on the war. We need to have the moral courage to get them out of there, not leave them there in harm's way."

That's someone speaking who is running for Congress from a North Carolina district which includes Fort Bragg and includes thousands of military families. And he's very proud that so many military families are supporting his campaign. They're his people. He takes the plight of his friends and neighbors very seriously. That too, if you remember from last time he visited with us, is the kind of guy Larry Kissell is.

"After the campaign when I went back to teaching, some of my fellow social studies teachers asked me what was my one lasting impression of what I'd been through and I said that North Carolina has some really good congressmen trying to do the right things for the right reasons, supporting Democratic values as I have learned them through my life." Larry and I talked about Brad Miller, Mel Watt, David Price and G.K. Butterfield. "That's the type of congressman I want to be... with Democrats who support the working person." No one mentioned the reactionary North Carolina members from both sides of the aisle who are plumb loco, not just Hayes, but other out and out extremist kooks like Republicans Virginia Foxx and Patrick McHenry as well as 3 of the worst Democrats in the country, Bob Etheridge, Mike McIntyre and Rahm's boy Shuler. One thing I can tell you about Larry; he'll be his own man-- one grounded in strongly-held progressive and democratic values who will make up his own mind for his constituents.

2008 is shaping up to be a good Democratic year in North Carolina. Local races will help bring out lots of Democratic voters in the highest performing district for Democrats in the South without a congressman representing them. Let's help change that. This is our last Blue America session of this quarter. It's no coincidence that I asked Larry to join us here today to field questions from the community. If you like what you hear, Larry's Blue America box is open.

Here's a little 30 second cable TV spot that we can help Larry put up all over NC-08. It costs $44 per run. If $44 is steep, remember $5.00 and $10.00 donations are every bit as valued. The strength of Blue America is our action as a community that puts all those $44 donations and $5 donations together and helps grassroots candidates stand up to the well-financed insiders.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, September 28, 2007



Time to welcome Oklahoma back to the Union

Nothing is for sure in politics, although even Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher's cabinet members are sure enough that voters plan to boot him and his crooked administration out of office that they're already job hunting. According to a recent Lexington Herald-Leader "Kentucky's top state insurance official inquired about getting a new job in the industry she regulates because she thinks Gov. Ernie Fletcher's re-election looks 'bleak... I think I may need a job soon. Latest poll shows 18 pts with 90 days to go,'" wrote Julie McPeak, executive director of Kentucky's office of insurance.

And it is as safe a bet as you want to make in politics that Ernie Fletcher, the least popular governor in America-- and probably the least ethical one as well-- is going to lose his re-election bid in November. Along the same lines, it's a relatively safe bet that Republican rubber stamp senators John Sununu (R-NH), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Gordon Smith (R-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Pete "Sneaky Pete" Domenici (R-NM) will be joining 2008 retirees Larry Craig (R-ID), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), John Warner (R-VA), and Wayne Allard (R-CO) as ex-senators. All are on the wrong side of every important issue their constituents are looking at. That's a lot of new freshmen we'll be seeing in 2009.

And if there's as big a Democratic tidal wave building as it appears, some far less sure bets may pay off as well, namely for Rick Noriega in Texas and Mike McWherter in Tennessee and for whomever takes on Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Ted Stevens (R-AK)-- if Stevens is even his party's nominee and if he isn't in prison by then. And then there's Oklahoma...

I don't think there's a better Democratic senatorial candidate running against a worse Republican incumbents anywhere in the country. Oklahoma's James Inhofe has a voting record on the extreme edge of the Republican right. You'll always find his voting record underneath the bottom of the barrel, even worse than a garden variety rubber stamp Republican. And on Iraq? Inhofe has never once found an issue related to Iraq or to the well-being of our military personnel where he disagreed with Cheney. His ProgressivePunch scores are zero in both categories. On top of that, he's the biggest global warming denier in the Congress and he's such an extremist that he actually almost makes George Bush look pro-environmental!

And his opponent? State Senator Andrew Rice is the newest candidate endorsed by Blue America. He'll be our live blogging guest over at Firedoglake on Saturday, October 6 at 1pm (Oklahoma time), 11am PT and 2pm, EDT. I don't want to give it all away today but... well the guy is no Dan Boren. He's an honest to goodness Democrat with genuine progressive values. And he's proud of 'em and he doesn't hide behind complexities and weasel words. You talk to Andrew Rice and you know where he stands-- on health care, on Choice, on civil unions, on Bush's occupation of Iraq. And he stands with us. If you don't want to wait, his Blue America door is open now. MORE AND BETTER DEMOCRATS!

Labels: , , , ,

The bad news: Just 3 percent of our eligible voters have the power "to stop almost anything" in the Senate. The good news: We can work around this.


"Using Census figures, Geoghegan discovers that the 11 percent of Americans living in the least populated states have enough Senate votes--41--to sustain a filibuster. Yes, 89 percent of the population may support a policy, but 11 percent of the population has the senators to block that policy's enactment. . . .

"Lawmakers trying to keep their jobs only need support from a majority of those who turn out to vote. In those 21 least populated states with filibuster power, that majority is typically about 7 million voters, based on turnout data. That's just 3 percent of America's total voting-age population wielding enough Senate representation to stop almost anything."

--David Sirota, in his latest syndicated column, "Tyranny of the Tiny Minority"

It would be nice, for once, to have some good news about our electoral process.

No, I don't have any good news. However, short of that, maybe we can settle for the occasional bit of new news. Taken by itself, it's just one more piece of bad news, of course, but just maybe, by increasing our understanding of our electoral process, it can enable us to find some creative ways around it.

"Wondering why Congress rarely passes anything the public wants?" David Sirota asks in his new column. "Then grab Thomas Geoghegan's 1999 memoir, The Secret Lives of Citizens."
As Geoghegan [right] notes, in the 100-member Senate, just 41 "no" votes kills most legislation with a filibuster. You might think that if 41 percent of our representatives oppose a bill, maybe it should die. After all, civics class taught us that the Senate is supposed to protect the voice of a significant minority.

But here is what civics class didn't teach: With each state getting two senators regardless of population, 41 percent of the Senate often represents not a significant minority, but an infinitesimal one.

Using Census figures, Geoghegan discovers that the 11 percent of Americans living in the least populated states have enough Senate votes--41--to sustain a filibuster. Yes, 89 percent of the population may support a policy, but 11 percent of the population has the senators to block that policy's enactment. When you go further than Geoghegan and consider the election-focused mindset of politicians, you see the situation is even more absurd.

Lawmakers trying to keep their jobs only need support from a majority of those who turn out to vote. In those 21 least populated states with filibuster power, that majority is typically about 7 million voters, based on turnout data. That's just 3 percent of America's total voting-age population wielding enough Senate representation to stop almost anything.

To see how this works, consider what followed a July CBS News/New York Times poll that found 69 percent of Americans support Congress either enacting a timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq or defunding the war completely. When the Senate voted on timetable legislation that month, 47 senators voted "no"--enough to filibuster.

Should we be surprised that a policy supported by more than two thirds of America drew opposition from almost half of the Senate? No, not when we consider the math.

I can't say I ever thought of it that way.

Of course, once you have thought of it that way, it's hard not to be even more tummy-numbingly discouraged than before you thought of it that way. You have some new appreciation for what we're up against, but you're not apt to break out the champagne for that.

Our David is less easily discouraged, of course, which is why I encourage everyone to read his presentation. He's already come up with two ways of making this knowledge work for progressives.

First, he looks for someplace other than Congress to work for change:
In the Karl Rove age of base politics, this Senate setup means that most domestic reforms will not come from D.C., no matter which party controls Congress or the presidency. Change will come instead from the arenas that are more democratic and have no filibuster: state legislatures.

This isn't wishful thinking. As energy, universal health care and consumer protection initiatives face Senate filibusters, legislatures are acting. For instance, California already passed one of the planet's most far-reaching clean energy mandates and may soon enact a universal health care plan. North Carolina passed predatory lending laws that are setting national standards. Such examples could fill a phone book.

Then, he sketches "a new strategy making the Senate's drawbacks the campaign's strength":
Specifically, Senate Democrats whine about not having 60 votes to pass Iraq-related legislation. They pretend they are innocent bystanders with no means to act, and some anti-war groups give the charade credence by echoing these excuses. Yet, if properly pressured, those Democrats might be able to muster 41 votes to stop war funding bills.

Well, it's a start. And I guess it beats just plain whining, 24/7.

Labels: , , , ,



Larry Craig likes sailor drag too

What do Bob Ney (R-OH), Larry Craig (R-ID), Randy Cunningham (R-CA), and Ted Stevens (R-AK) all have in common? Well, yes, they have all been either convicted or, in Senator Stevens' case, about to be convicted of a career-ending crime. But that isn't news. The news is they all lived on yachts berthed at the Capitol Yacht Clubbefore being exposed as criminals. Craig and Stevens still live there, though probably not for long.
The travails of Mr. Craig, Republican of Idaho, who is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea to charges related to what the authorities say was a sex-solicitation incident at a Minneapolis airport restroom, are only the latest to rock this eclectic Washington neighborhood. Photographers gathered at D Dock on Wednesday to watch him leave for the Senate, carrying a boater’s bag.

One resident describes the strip of Potomac River waterfront as a “floating trailer park” where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Protected by locked gates and security, members of Congress rub elbows with lawyers and lobbyists, judges and bureaucrats, established government contractors and aspiring ones, and others lucky enough to own expensive boats and secure a coveted slip.

A story in this month's New Yorker claims Craig is "a fastidious man who was known to pick up trash around the club." Not just around the club, but in public toilets all over Washington and, apparently, all over America.

Labels: , , , ,



Mike Rogers is very thorough and very careful about who he accuses of being a closet queen. And he's never been wrong. The Republican hypocrites he exposes as closet queens always wind up in panic mode, in denial, in tears... and out of politics. Ed Schock was a right-wing congressman from Virginia; he resigned in disgrace. Mark Foley was a right-wing congressman/child molester from Florida; he resigned in disgrace. Larry Craig is a right-wing senator/toilet troller from Idaho; he's in the process of resigning in disgrace.

Mike has written plenty about North Carolina's diminutive Republican neo-fascist homophobe Patrick McHenry before even if he isn't prepared to make a definitive statement about what "everybody" in DC already knows. Today Mike has taken a giant step in that direction, though, with a blockbuster story about Lil' McNutcase's shady home with a shady GOP operative. Meanwhile, the investigation into McHenry's connection to a string of murders related to a gay escort ring, moves forward... at a snail's pace.

Labels: ,

Quotes of the day: No doubt Chimpy the Prez and his henchthugs need a lesson in accountability, but let's hope they didn't see "The Office" last night


"Guess what, I have flaws. What are they? Oh, I don't know. I sing in the shower. Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I'll hit somebody with my car. So sue me! [Pause] No, don't sue me! That's the opposite of the point I'm trying to make."
--Dunder Mifflin Scranton Regional Manager Michael Scott [Steve Carell, above], the nitwit boss-from-hell of The Office, after sending employee Meredith flying in the company parking lot--and cracking her pelvis--in last night's season premiere, "Fun Run"

"As a farmer, I know that when an animal is sick, sometimes the right thing to do is to put it out of its misery. With the electricity we're using to keep Meredith alive, we could power a small fan for two days. You tell me what's ethical. [To Meredith] Blink once if you want me to pull the plug."
--Dwight K. Schrute [Rainn Wilson, right], assistant to the Scranton regional manager and lifelong beet farmer, while inspecting the medical equipment to which seemingly unconscious Meredith is hooked up in her hospital room, during a reluctant visit ordered by Michael (she quickly comes alive to emphatically nix any thoughts of plug-pulling)

"You spend your life getting people to like you, and then you run over one person with your car, and it's not even one of the popular ones, everybody gets on your case! Doesn't make any sense. God is dead."
--Michael, to the staff gathered in the conference room


Poor Michael gets it in his head that he actually did Meredith [Kate Flannery, left] a favor by mowing her down, because he also got her to the hospital and doctors were able to begin rabies shots promptly, which is how they're most effective--in the event that the patient may actually have been infected with rabies. Michael seems to have it worked out in his head that rabies is a condition Meredith might have contracted spontaneously, independent of her unfortunate interface with his car. (As he puts it later, in launching Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Race For The Cure: "A woman shouldn't have to be hit by a car to learn that she may have rabies. But that is where we are in America, and that does not sit right with me.")

In the glow of his newly self-appreciated heroism, Michael waxes philosophical:

"Is there a God? If not, what are all those churches for? And who is Jesus's dad?"

During the making of the episode: Somebody (Michael imagines) has to raise awareness that there is a cure for rabies, which (he thinks) people don't seem to know was once virtually eradicated in the country!

Labels: ,

Thursday, September 27, 2007



It looks like all that work by the Courage Campaign and the Calitics netroots has paid off-- big time! This evening the L.A. Times reported that the dirty tricks initiative to split up the California electoral votes by counties (without a corresponding split up of the electoral votes in Florida and Texas) has failed. I had heard that polling for it shows that only one in five Californians would vote for it. But the Times says the backers are pulling the plug because they have no money to hire people to get their petitions signed. and, believe me, this was never going to be a volunteer effort.
The Times' Dan Morain reports that the proposal to change the winner-take-all electoral vote allocation to one by congressional district is virtually dead with the resignation of key supporters, internal disputes and a lack of funds.

The Times, of course, tries assigning credit to some big money/Insider Hillary backers. It has more to do with the grassroots action against it, the organizing efforts of the Courage Campaign and the fact that the shady Republicans behind it, Californians For Equal Representation are a bunch of cronies of David Dreier's from Missouri and their actual agenda was the theft of the election for Giuliani.


Although his staffers are professing ignorance, it was a Giuliani pal and fundraiser, NY hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who was putting up the money to rig California's electoral system. Singer has donated well over a million dollars to Republicans and right wing outfits... and to Joe Lieberman.

Labels: ,



I doubt if Bush is penny wise, but he is certainly pound foolish-- or maybe just pure evil. Or are Karen DeYoung and Michael Abramowitz making this stuff up? I mean did Saddam Hussein really say he would go into exile a month before Bush attacked Iraq for a paltry billion dollars (and not even our billion)? Sometimes it sounds like that's what we spend in Iraq every week or two-- not even putting a price on the blood, familial and societal collapse, devastation, and misery Bush has authored in the process.

It all comes from a report in Spain's equivalent of the NY Times, El Pais and it lead to a Washington Post story called "Report Says Hussein Was Open To Exile Before 2003 Invasion." Bush was asked about it yesterday and refused to confirm or deny. It's based on a transcript of a meeting between Bush and then-Spanish Prime Minister Jose Aznar (soon after defeated because of his perceived closeness to the distrusted Bush) at Bush's Crawford Texas pig farm. The transcript makes Bush sound like a school yard bully whose got a big brother with a gun standing behind him.
In the transcript, translated from Spanish by The Washington Post, Bush said that Europeans were insensitive to "the suffering that Saddam Hussein has inflicted on the Iraqis" and added: "Maybe it's because he's dark-skinned, far away and Muslim-- a lot of Europeans think he's okay." But Bush was happy to play the "bad cop," he said. "The more the Europeans attack me, the stronger I am in the United States."

Aznar stressed the importance of U.N. authorization, saying "it was not the same" to act without it. Bush agreed to continue trying to persuade Security Council members, saying that "countries like Mexico, Chile, Angola and Cameroon ought to know that the security of the United States is at stake. [Chilean President Ricardo] Lagos ought to know that the Free Trade Agreement with Chile is waiting for Senate confirmation and that a negative attitude on this could endanger ratification.

"Angola is getting money from the Millennium Account, and those agreements could also be in danger if they don't show themselves to be favorable. And [Russian President Vladimir] Putin ought to know that his attitude is endangering relations" with Washington.

Aznar and the other leading Bush ally on Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, were under intense antiwar pressure at home. Bush needed to appear serious about diplomacy to "help us with our public opinion," Aznar said.

"I'm not asking for infinite patience," Aznar said, but "simply that you do what's possible to get everyone to agree." He asked Bush to expand on reports that Hussein might be persuaded to go into exile.

"The Egyptians are talking to Saddam Hussein," Bush said. "He seems to have indicated he would be open to exile if they would let him take one billion dollars and all the information he wants on weapons of mass destruction."
Later in the conversation, Aznar returned to the subject. "Is it true there's a possibility Saddam Hussein might go into exile?"

"Yes, it's possible," Bush responded. "It's also possible he could be assassinated." In any case, Bush said, there would be "no guarantee" for Hussein. "He's a thief, a terrorist and a war criminal. Compared to Saddam, [former Yugoslav president Slobodan] Milosevic would be a Mother Teresa."




Our survey last night about the Blue America-endorsed candidates who voted in favor of condemning MoveOn generated thousands of responses. Jane, John, Digby and I are still trying to count, analyze, and make sense out of them. I've also been in touch with each of the candidates or their offices and we are trying to arrange for the ones who would like to, to come over to FDL and speak to our communities. The first member to call and ask to come on was Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and we were close to working it out for this morning but she had to be on the floor of the House. She did send this note along for me to share though:
I understand the anger people feel about the MoveOn vote. Although I think that MoveOn erred and that we should avoid personal attacks in public debate, it was unfortunate that so much attention has been paid to this single ad and not to the much larger issues at play here.
Only a few years ago, political operatives attacked Democratic Senator Max Cleland, a decorated veteran who had lost both legs in service to our country, comparing him to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. This was a disgusting act yet many of the same people who criticize MoveOn today were silent then.
In 2004, a highly-partisan political hit group attacked Senator John Kerry, questioning his service in Vietnam. Again, the same group was silent.
Since I entered office, I too have been the subject of vicious attacks on my character. I have been called a “cockroach” and likened to Osama bin Laden.
I believe in freedom of speech. But these attacks demean public debate, and they distract us from the real issue-- the President’s tragic war in Iraq.
I am deeply troubled that that we have spent more than two weeks discussing this newspaper ad while the war in Iraq takes second stage. During this period, American troops have been fighting and dying. Innocent Iraqis have been killed and thousands have been forced to leave their homes. The war grinds on without a firm end in sight.
I will continue to work as hard as I can to redeploy our troops from Iraq and to bring this war to an end. I will not give up. There is too much at stake.

Well, I agree with everything she said but it doesn't satisfactorily explain why she voted with the swiftboaters. I know that unlike the Blue America candidates in safe and relatively safe Democratic districts (Hilda Solis, Jerry Nadler, Steve Cohen-- although he is under attack by reactionary Democrats in his district-- and Tom Allen), Carol, like John Hall, Jerry McNerney, and Patrick Murphy, has a really tough swing district with lots and lots of loud Republicans who are taking part in a well-orchestrated letters to the editor campaign.

One of Carol's constituents, someone who has volunteered in his campaigns and a DWT reader, sent me an e-mail today that I want to share:
I'm dismayed at how quick the blogosphere is throwing Carol under the bus. I get why folks are angry. Though I suspect most of this is about disappointment with the overall performance of Congress.

But you asked your readers to consider the MoveOn vote before making their end of quarter contributions and with regard to continuing to support her through Blue America.

Not her opposition to the FISA bill.
Not her support of the McGovern Amendment.
Not her opposition to the IWA blank check.
Not the Amendment she authored in increase Pell grants.
Not hundreds of good progressive bills she has co-sponsored.
Not her 95% rating with progressive punch (in the top 20 and from a Bush
04 district).
Not her bill on Bush's signing statements.
Not the fact that she has said publicly on a number of occasions that she will not support any funding for Iraq without a hard redeployment date.
Not the fact that she has said publicly that the House should continue to send bills to get out of Iraq over and over again to the Senate and the President and not cave on these appropriations.

The timing and framing of the survey make the result a foregone conclusion. But let's not pretend she hasn't been there for progressives when it really matters. So support us, don't support us, but give me a break with this disingenuous "spineless" or "bush lite" narrative. That is just patently false and you know it.

The language in the resolution wasn't too far off statements Carol has made publicly. She doesn't like personal attacks against members of the Armed Forces. Maybe it is the time she spent at Fitzsimmons with the maimed vets during Vietnam, or maybe just out of her basic sense of decency. She has never liked those kind of attacks, not when it was Cleland not when it was Kerry and not now. She has repeatedly called for a less personal and more rational tone in the debate on the war and she has plenty of personal experience having the attacks slung at her-- the Republicans up here have taken to calling her a cockroach in the letters to the editor.

I don't expect that sentiment to go over all that well on the internets but that is how she feels about public policy debate. And she won 2 upset elections without making any personal attacks but by kicking her opponents asses on the issues. When you can make a better argument you don't have to
resort to the personal stuff.

If the netroots are looking for a meaner Democrat in NH's first district then they probably should look elsewhere. But good luck finding a stronger and smarter progressive voice than Carol. Don't be confused by the fact that the netroots apparently doesn't really have her back-- Carol has
plenty of spine.

Chris and Matt over at Open Left have demonstrated how committed MoveOn and the netroots have been to helping elect Democrats to Congress. Is it too much to expect those congressmen and women to have the spine to stand up and defend them from the swiftboaters when the Republicans start ginning up the hatred?

A couple nights ago I went to dinner with another one of our candidates, Jon Powers (NY-26), an Iraq vet with a very different view on this whole MoveOn matter.
Congress has once again demonstrated how out of touch they are with
the rest of us.

We are currently engaged in the third longest war in our nation's history, a war characterized from its beginning by a lack of planning, unparalleled incompetence, and a continued lack of leadership from this Administration and their allies.

The number of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice during this war is quickly approaching 4,000, and tens of thousands of American soldiers have had their minds and bodies scarred for life.

Despite all of this, we STILL have no plan to bring our troops home or bring lasting stability to an increasingly hostile Iraq.

Yesterday, those loyal to the Bush Administration forced the U.S. House of Representatives to take time out of their schedule to vote on a resolution condemning an advertisement in a newspaper. This was Congress' third such vote on this issue in the last week.

While our Representatives take the time to debate a partisan newspaper advertisement, no one is debating how to hold the Bush Administration accountable for its reckless course in Iraq. No one is debating how to better train our soldiers and provide them with the equipment they need to keep safe. No one is debating how we can best address the needs of our veterans when they return home.

As someone who served in this war, I find the politicization of any man or woman who wears a military uniform unacceptable. Questioning the motives or allegiances of soldiers who are duty-bound to carry out their military mission is giving in to the worst of our impulses.

While I reject the content of this controversial advertisement, I will always remain proud to have worn the uniform of those charged with protecting the right of free speech behind it, and find it totally unacceptable that we have Representatives in Congress who would use this issue for political gain.

The men and women who serve in our military are soldiers, not political pawns. It is absolutely unconscionable with all that is going on in the world that our Congress would take the time to cast
three separate votes on this issue. There are far too many REAL issues to debate.

The 110th Congress has the fewest number of veterans of any Congress in recent history. Perhaps if there were more veterans representing us in Washington, Congress would not be losing focus on the REAL issues. Moments like this make clear how critical it is that we support veteran candidates who could bring true experience and perspective to debates such as this.

Although not all veterans share identical views on this war, I have no doubt they would all agree that the perspective of those that have served is dearly missed in Washington, and I know in my heart that our troops overseas would share this sentiment.

Americans want leaders who will debate the REAL issues, not waste time arguing over partisan newspaper advertisements.

We're still countin' the votes and if you haven't voted yet, there's still time. And there's still time to thank the candidates like Jon Powers, Rick Noriega, and John Laesch and the incumbents who voted to tell the Republicans and the Rahm Emanuels and Steny Hoyers to shove this divisive anti-American crap up their Insider posteriors. It's the end of the quarter. We need to elect more AND BETTER Democrats.

I wonder how the Democrats who joined with the Republicans yesterday to eviscerate MoveOn, will react to Rush Limabugh calling active duty, front line military (like Jon Powers) "phony soldiers." I know how the Republicans in Congress will react; they'll close ranks behind their base-- guaranteed. But what about Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer? Where are those big patriots all of a sudden? Are they hiding behind Nancy's tattered skirts today?

"Someone should tell chicken-hawk Rush Limbaugh that the only phonies are those who choose not to serve and then criticize those who do. I served proudly, so did two of my fellow paratroopers in the 82nd Airborne who spoke out and died just weeks ago. Generations of American veterans have worn the uniform with pride and we know it is no contradiction to serve your country and still disagree with the Bush-civilian leadership that mismanaged this war."

Labels: , , , , , ,