Wednesday, August 31, 2005

You know we've got to find a way...

It has been 782 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Donate Directly Here.

Dear Jon…

Since you asked, yes, yes and yes.

Oh yeah, the rest of you probably want to hear the questions before the answers…

Jon Stahl at Evergreen Politics notes Sen. Maria Cantwell's early endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters and wonders aloud… it hard for you to get over Maria's war-mongering, too? Or am I just being a grump? Am I under-estimating LCV's grassroots mobilization prowess?
You bet it's hard to get over the vote Maria cast for the resolution Bush abused to take the country into war. I don't get it as a vote for war-mongering, though. Not in Maria's case, not in the case of all but perhaps a very few Democrats. It was sold as a vote for saber rattling, not war mongering. There's an argument against either, I suppose, but the one against saber rattling is weaker, and the argument for posing a potent threat to force Saddam to submit to full inspections is strong. In fact, the saber rattling part worked, making the war part superfluous except to the gang of thugs that comprise Bushco™ .

Beside, she's taken worse votes in my view, in circumstances that actually made a difference. CAFTA, anyone?

But yeah, John, you're being a grump of sorts. Maria's good on more than not, and exceptionally good in some areas - veterans, the environment, privacy, technology. She's been an excellent Senator for this state. Does her record stand up to progressive purity tests? Nope. Could she hope to be re-elected if it did? Probably not.

Time to get over it and gin up some enthusiasm, brother. We gotta win this one.

As far as the LCV's ability to generate grassroots activity, it's more powerful than you seem to imagine. I'm not sure why you think they didn't operate on the ground in Washington until '04, but my first experience with their work, including mass canvassing, in these parts was 20 years before that.

Interestingly, there's a Maria Cantwell story involved. Some will remember that Maria came out here in '84 to ramrod Alan Cranston's Presidential campaign. When that closed down, she took the reins of the Congressional campaign of Brock Evans, who came home to run after establishing himself as one of the top environmental lobbyists in the other Washington.

At the time, I was running for the state legislature. I was a recruited candidate facing an entrenched Republican incumbent. The House caucus wanted to challenge the seat to tie up some Republican money in the District. They didn't want to spend too much on the effort, though, and when it was time to put my last mailing together, I could afford to print it, but I couldn't afford the postage.

Enter Maria Cantwell and the LCV. Hearing of my plight, Maria told me that she had hundreds of LCV volunteers hitting the streets over the following weekend. If I could get my boxes of brochures to the Evans office in time, she'd see those canvassers got them to the doorsteps of voters in my Legislative District, which was completely contained in the Congressional District Evans was running in. I did, she did, they did.

I didn't win, of course. Neither did Brock. The LCV can't do miracles. They can, however, round up a lot of folks and deliver a lot of paper. It's not everything, but it's something. Just one thing that might be the one thing that makes the difference.

A postscript. Shortly after the election, I moved out of the old 44th (I'd used some of my rent money for that printing bill). Two years later, my opponent in the House race vacated the seat to run for the State Senate. I'd performed pretty well for an under-funded challenger and got some encouragement to move back into the District and take another shot. I passed, for a variety of reasons, and Maria Cantwell entered the race and won the seat. Now she's in the United States Senate, while I blog and bartend.

So it goes...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

There's far too many of you dying

It has been 781 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Just before today's mystery power outage... at Upper Left World Headquarters, I was watching coverage of rooftop helicopter rescues on the Gulf Coast.

God bless the United States Coast Guard.

Substitute the deity, life force or cosmic muffin of your choice.

But God bless 'em.

It's nice, I suppose…

…to have one's endorsements supported by the facts on the ground, but it's kind of a shame it has to happen this way.

My decision to support Bob Ferguson in the race for the 1st District seat on the King County Council was based more on the skills, experience and commitment that he brings to the table than anything his opponent lacked. Carolyn Edmonds has represented me both in the state legislature and on the current Council. I can't say that I've been particularly disappointed with her performance, although I've viewed her more as a reliable caucus vote than the kind of Democratic leader we always hope each of our representatives will be. The difference in leadership that the candidates offer now and their potential for future leadership were the major factors in my decision to take a stand in the race.

Still, it's a Democratic primary, with a pair of competent incumbents facing off due to redistricting. It was my hope that the campaign could be conducted 'gloves on,' focusing on the respective merits and visions of the candidates. No such luck.

Edmonds' first primary mailing arrived this weekend, and she decided to drop the gloves and go for an early knockout with a series of low blows. There are at least four direct attacks on Ferguson, and a couple that are a bit more oblique. Altogether, it's nothing but a smear. I'll ask Bob to comment on a couple of the particulars, though some are so specious that they shouldn't merit comment. The idea, for instance, that Ferguson opposes public transit because he's spoken out against Sound Transit's 'train to nowhere' boondoggle is absurd on its face. Ferguson is the only member of the current Council who uses public transit for his daily commute to the courthouse. Campaign reality, though, demands that charges made must be laid to rest with an appropriate response. I'm confident Bob can make that response without reducing himself to Edmonds' level, but in the end, she chose to take the fight to the gutter so she can't really expect that no mud will splash back on her.

The smear that should dismay every Democrat is one that relates to an issue that may have been the most definitive in my final decision to endorse Bob Ferguson. A little background is in order for distant readers.

After Washington's old 'blanket primary' system was thrown out by the federal courts, the Democratic majority in the Legislature decided on a version of the so-called 'Montana primary,' which requires voters to select a partisan ballot, but doesn't require partisan registration. One of the options that was rejected along the way was the 'Cajun' primary, in which the top two vote getters advance to the general election regardless of party identification. Our Republican Secretary of State responded with an initiative that threw out the Legislature's plan and installed the 'Cajun' system (that our Secretary of State would look to Louisiana as a model for election reform tells us all we need to know about him, I suppose). The initiative was successful despite doubts about the legality of such a system under the State Constitution.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties rejected the top two primary. Primary elections are inherently partisan exercises, and each qualified party has a right to advance their ticket to the general election, a right which the 'Cajun' system would have likely denied one or the other major party, and virtually every minor party, in many jurisdictions around the state. Instead, both of the major parties decided to nominate candidates via conventions, with the delegates being the elected Precinct Committee Officers, members of the Party rank and file selected by their neighbors in a general election.

As the candidate questionnaire Edmonds submitted to the King County Democrats prior to the PCO convention makes clear, she was a willing, even vigorous, participant in that selection process.
My campaign is comprehensive and involves strategies for winning the Nominating Convention, the Primary and the general. It includes direct mail, doorbelling, using influence makers and neighborhood leaders.

...We have planned at least 6 mailings, 2 for the Nominating Convention, 2 for the Primary and 2 for the General. (emphasis mine)
No indication there that she found the process illegitimate, or that she would spurn the decision of the Party's representatives following the convention.

Of course, she doubtless expected to win. I'm not sure what she based that expectation on, though, particularly after she failed to win the support of the Legislative District she once represented, which also comprises the bulk of the Council district she now represents. The fact of the matter is that the rank and file party workers who made the selection selected Bob Ferguson by an impressive majority. Edmonds immediately rejected the result, declaring that she would fight it out in the primary election despite the controversy and court challenges that surrounded it.

In the end, the State Supreme Court ruled against the 'Cajun' system and re-installed the Legislature's plan. With the opportunity to have a Democratic ticket selected by self identified Democratic voters, the issue seemed to have been resolved and the candidates were free to vie on their merits for a primary nomination that had the favor of the Party.

Edmonds, unfortunately, couldn't leave well enough alone. She's chosen to position herself as the champion of "allowing everyone to have a say" in the Primary. In other words, Carolyn Edmonds prefers that Democratic nominees might be the product of Republican voters and others who refuse to ally with our Party, but who expect a voice in our process. In the process, she slams Ferguson for respecting the Party and its right to select its own ticket, writing (or having the political hit squad at Moxie Media write) that…
Bob Ferguson has supported allowing a convention of party activists to decide who is your next councilmember. He has even gone so far as to tout this process on his campaign materials.
Two things jump immediately to mind. The first sentence is patently false. What Bob Ferguson, and Democratic Party organizations across the state, supported, and what Edmonds appeared to support when she still thought it might serve her ambitions, was allowing Democrats to select the Democratic nominee. The councilmember would still be elected by the general electorate in a general election.

It's true, though, that Ferguson has pointed to his commanding victory at the convention in his campaign material, alongside his endorsements by the King County Democrats, the 46th District Democrats and the 32nd District Democrats. Every time the candidates have been measured by Democrats, Carolyn Edmonds has failed to measure up. In response, she slams our Party's process, principles and clear choice for the Democratic nomination. It's not hard to see why she preferred a system in which Republicans might carry her to victory.

I suppose there are some D's who imagine that we have much to learn from Mr. Rove. Lies, smears and manipulation can, after all, work. Our current federal government provides any number of examples. Most of us, though, I think, prefer to distinguish ourselves from the GOP by our tactics as well as our ideas.

There's a long list of reasons that Bob Ferguson merits the support of Democrats in the 1st Council District. Edmonds attack on his candidacy and our Party provides a reason that Bob Ferguson merits the support of Democrats everywhere. Loyalty to our principles and respect for our process is the very least that Democrats should expect from our candidates. Right now, Ferguson trails a bit in the dash for cash. He makes up some of the deficit by eschewing the services of professional consulting firms, with a campaign that's focused on meeting tens of thousands of voters on their doorsteps and counting on the efforts of the Party rank and file who have repeatedly given him their support.

Still, Edmonds' decision to 'go ugly early' will demand a response, and responding is expensive. Make a difference for a Democratic candidate whose victory will make a difference for the integrity of the Democratic Party. Bob's set up for online contributions now. You can make yours here.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Brother, brother, brother...

It has been 780 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Best laid plans...

I'm working on it. Really.

The cranky generational piece might take a while to pull together, but generational clashes are timeless anyway. I'll have something about Carolyn Edmonds' opening smear in my local County Council race in a bit. It's really about a bigger issue than that campaign, and I'm still connecting the dots.

Meanwhile, I've been OD'ing on Katrina news. Damn.

Hi ho, hi ho…

…and all that, so there won't be a lot happening here till the PM. I think there's some good stuff on deck though, maybe a rant about the young whippersnappers, something about the unusually early but typically dishonest piece of political hit mail that arrived in my snailbox this weekend (sadly, a D on D attack), a couple other things.

Meanwhile, the planet is acting up and folks on the Gulf Coast are in genuine distress. Prayers from here. Send some of your positive engergy however you may.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

There's too many of you crying.

It has been 779 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Good point…

…by Motherlode at No More Apples.
I've read the arguments of many whom I respect in the blogosphere that we have to win the 2006 and 2008 elections in order to change the course of the war (and our own nation), and that we can't do that with a "dove" at the head of the ticket. I reject that as a fallacy. The trick is not to endorse the Bush mission but to change the positioning of the Democrats.
The Democratic Presidential nominee in '08 will have to be someone committed to finishing the job - the job of withdrawal which should be initiated by the new Democratic Congress we must elect in 2006.

Good question…

...from Steve M. at No More Mr. Niceblog.
I have to ask: If right-wingers think the Iraq War was so vitally necessary, why don't they all despise Rumsfeld? Why don't they say that we've "had to fight the war with one hand tied behind our backs" and blame him for that -- as well as the Commander in Chief who hired him and is clearly determined to keep him on, come hell or high water?
Time to fire the bastard if it means driving a stake through his black, withered heart...

And now...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Mother, mother...

It has been 778 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Yeah, Digby again.

Another one for the 'I wish I'd written that' file...
I believe that there is a less than zero possibility that George W. Bush is going to implement any sane plan to withdraw from Iraq, much less one set forth by a Democratic presidential aspirant. And I say this with the greatest assurance that I'm right for the simple reason that George W. Bush has failed on every level, at every moment, from the very beginning to do anything right on Iraq. Why in God's name would we think that he will suddenly become sane and do something different today?

What's that smell?

ARG 36%

Harris 40%

Gallup 40%

Oh sure. And next…

…you'll be telling me there's gambling in Casablanca.
...the commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Army Maj. Gen. Jason Kamiya, says he is unaware of his troops' complaints about ineffective Pakistani border police, who sometimes appear complicit with Al Qaeda.

"I have not heard that - no, sir," said Kamiya, who was questioned by the Daily News during a border visit last week. "I don't know much about the Pakistani border police."
Apparently Kamiya's figured out what happens to honest Generals under the Bush regime...

10 more spill out...

...of the randomizer. I almost edited this one a bit (I'll leave it to you to guess where), but I recall Norbizness' admonition that "Stupid songs need the most attention." Indeed they do, and around here they get, well, maybe more than their share...
Billy Bragg & The Blokes - All You Fascists Bound To Lose
Grand Funk - Shinin' On
Bob Dylan - Girl From The North Country
John Hammond - Get Behind The Mule
Humble Pie - 30 Days In The Hole
Ben Harper - Slinding Delta
Indigo Girls - Peace Tonight
Irma Thomas - Dr. Feelgood
Donna Summer - Bad Girls
Kinks - Set Me Free

Friday, August 26, 2005

La de da de de, la de da de da.

It has been 777 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

(Note: With those la de da's, we come to the conclusion of our tribute to GOP pop idol and stalwart Congressional exemplar of Reaganism, Sonny Bono. Fear not, though, the countdown will continue as we turn to the song stylings of yet another rock & roll immortal…)

No clever caption...

...just an unusual shot of the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat at rest in relatively decent light...

Why he can't win. How we can.

In the midst of a longish post that's worth your attention in it's entirety (aren't they all?), Digby offers up a point worth emphasis, one that's too seldom made, but needs to be understood. Looking at Bush's aims in Iraq, the Hullabalooer notes that...
His hope is that Iraq can put together some vague semblance of a working government so that he can declare victory --- and stay.
And stay.

That's key. There's no evidence that it has ever been the intention of the administration to 'win' (whatever that might mean, however it might be accomplished) the war and bring the troops home. There's plenty of evidence that there's been an effort to identify and install a compliant government in Iraq that would tolerate a long term plan for staging American troops in the country from permanent bases. Sadly for Bushco™, there doesn't seem to be any faction in the Iraqi body politic that has any interest in supporting that plan at all.

One of the hallmarks of the Bush administration, of course, has been a persistent refusal to recognize failures and adjust. I have no doubt that the hope Digby describes continues to occupy the mind of the President. The problem is that at every step of the way, it has become increasingly clear that there will never be a working government, or even a vague semblance of one, while we stay.

Digby also passes along a comment from a reader that is not only a useful debating point, but, as he points out, has "…the advantage of being true."

"The Republicans lost the war in Iraq and our continued presence is rousing terrorist sentiment against us."

And there it is. George Bush set out to install a client government that would allow him to establish a permanent staging site for America troops in the middle east. After spending hundreds of billions of dollars and lives, he has failed miserably. Putting our troops in harms way in Iraq is only putting our nation in greater jeopardy.

George Bush doesn't know he's lost. He won't allow himself to know. I'm not sure enough noise can be made, enough people can march, enough moms can camp out, to make him know.

George Bush won't end the war.

Congress can.

2006. It's already here - the recruiting, the fundraising, defining the issues. Be there now.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain.

It has been 776 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

"You're fired!"

The Stakeholder has today's must-read, by guest blogger Stirling Newberry.

Welcome home…

away from home.

Sweet jeebus...

Reuters - U.S. and Afghan forces backed by a giant B-52 bomber, A-10 attack aircraft and helicopters killed an estimated 16 militants in southern Afghanistan in the past two days, the U.S. military said on Thursday.
It's late, maybe I got that wrong.

Nope. Bombers, fighters and gunships, along with a combined infantry assault, battled for 48 hours to kill 16 hostiles.

And they admit it out loud?

Seems the Haliburton model, bill high, deliver light, is infesting every element of our operations in Iraq.

Who's running this mess, anyway?

Oh, yeah…

Just in case…

…you were under the impression that he was anything other than a miserable wingnut hack, Political Wire piles on the last straw.
In an interview with Arizona Daily Star editors, Sen. John McCain endorsed teaching "intelligent design" in the nation's schools because "he believes 'all points of view' should be available to students studying the origins of mankind."
Of course, you can almost understand why a member of the Senate Republican caucus might have doubts about the reality of human evolution...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

...the beat goes on.

It has been 775 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.


It took me a long time to join the American Legion. They weren't exactly welcoming to Vietnam vets back in the day, and the national office has always held to a pretty conservative line on a number of issues that extend beyond the general interest of veterans. Still, the troika of the VFW, the Legion and the Disabled American Veterans constitute the most effective voice for the defense of veterans rights and benefits at the national level. Those things seem to matter more as you get older, and a couple years back I decided it was time to add whatever weight my membership might bring to the strength of that voice.

This convinces me I was wrong.
The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group's national commander called for an end to all "public protests" and "media events" against the war, constitutional protections be damned.

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu.

The delegates vowed to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."
Sorry, Commander Cadmus. That's not what I fought for. That's the kind of thing that really does demoralize our troops, at least the ones who take their oath seriously.

I've got a renewal notice in the hopper right now. Screw 'em. The money's going to these guys.

I second the nomination.

Gary Hart:
In 2008 I want a leader who is willing now to say: "I made a mistake, and for my mistake I am going to Iraq and accompanying the next planeload of flag-draped coffins back to Dover Air Force Base. And I am going to ask forgiveness for my mistake from every parent who will talk to me."
Now to find the nominee...

I got mine.

Get yours.

Hat tip to CoolAqua

Hey, don't just take my word for it.

Andrew passes along the news that the King County Democratic Central Committee has affirmed the results of the Precinct Committee Officer's convention earlier this year.

Just one more bit of evidence that Bob Ferguson is the first choice among rank and file Democratic activists for the newly formed 1st Council District in King County, WA.

Including, of course, your humble correspondent…

Learn more about Bob and do what you can.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

And the beat goes on...

It has been 774 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Quote of the Day

"Accepting the fact of evolution does not necessarily mean discarding a personal faith in God. But accepting intelligent design means discarding science."

Verlyn Klinkenborg

Looks like another PM blogging day...

...with another shift at the pub looming. (Yep, that's seven days in a row. A couple days off on the horizon, though. Whew.)

Meanwhile, I'll be pondering why so many people seem to have just realized that Pat Robertson is batshit crazy...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Bums still cry 'Hey buddy, have you got a dime?'

It has been 773 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Some lines just beg... be swiped and shared. Digby writes a good percentage of 'em.
I keep hearing that the beltway insiders have their money on George Allen to be the Republican nominee in 2008. I assume it is because he is just as stupid as George W. Bush.

Good questions…

…via email from that Kerry fella...
When will the President get it right in Iraq?

When will he deliver to the nation and those sacrificing so much in Iraq a concrete plan for peace and victory?

Why, at this late date, is the Pentagon still struggling to get the right supplies and body armor to America's troops?

When will the President support a military large enough to face the challenges of today's world?

And when will the President stop short-changing America's veterans? When will he stop closing hospitals, cutting benefits, and making veterans wait weeks for a doctor's appointment?
Sign the petition.

Just once…

…wouldn't it be nice to hear an enthusiast for the war admit this
..."I didn't believe we should have gone in there in the first place, and I'm still against the war," said David Howell, 24, of Pensacola. "But I respect anyone over there trying to do their job. It's not the troops' fault, it's the administration. (The troops are) a lot braver than me."

Lest we forget…

…the folks on the other front, The New York Times files from Afghanistan…
Four soldiers were killed Sunday, meaning that 13 have been killed in August alone. Sixty-five Americans have been killed this year.


The latest four were killed when a roadside bomb hit their vehicle in the south….
Roadside bomb, huh? Where have I heard that before?

Oh, yeah, in the other country where foreign fighters are crossing porous borders for the chance to kill Americans by any means available. And like that other country, things have been getting worse. Over a third of all US fatalities on the Afghan front since 2001 have occurred this year.

The decision of our civilian leadership to send under-gunned and under-manned troops into multiple fronts with shifting missions has cost us thousands of American lives, for which we've traded a bountiful opium harvest and a new Islamic republic.

Who's running this mess?

Oh, yeah, another reminder...

Hat tip to Scott Jones at Thought Mechanics.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The cars keep going faster all the time.

It has been 772 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

So now we know.

The 'noble cause' is to create a new Iran in Iraq that will, we hope (without apparent good cause), be just a touch kinder and a bit gentler.



and more.

And now...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Boys keep chasing girls to get a kiss.

It has been 771 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

John Roberts is an unacceptable nominee.

That's a given. George W. Bush simply will not appoint anyone within shouting distance of acceptable to Democrats. No Democrat should vote for him.

That being said, I still lean toward a measured response to the nomination. It doesn't appear that we can stop it, and there's little chance that the next name up would be any better, and a good chance the next name could be even worse.

A good example of the kind of measured response that can help Democrats make their case is the request for documents related to sixteen cases that Roberts dealt with as Deputy Solicitor General during Bush the Elder's tenure in the White House. The request is being stonewalled, and the request is critical. While I'm doubtful about the prospects for stopping Roberts, and generally opposed to making an extraordinary effort to do so, it's important that the upcoming confirmation hearings and the subsequent floor debate be conducted with as full a picture of Roberts' views and activities as possible. Without the information about these key cases during one of the most important periods of his legal career, the picture that will be obtained will be horribly clouded.

Senator Kennedy lays out the case in the Washington Post.
No one has an automatic right to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court. A nominee to the high court must first demonstrate that he has a core commitment to constitutional rights and liberties. He must show that he is in the mainstream of modern judicial thought and that he would not use an ideologically motivated interpretation of our Constitution or laws to reverse the hard-fought gains we have made to make this nation more just. Judge Roberts's early record raises serious questions about his commitment to core constitutional values, and the Senate must have the requested information to fully and faithfully execute its constitutional obligation.
The DNC has initiated an FOIA request for the information as well, and is inviting citizens to join them. Over 30,000 have responded. You can sign on here.

Quote of the Day.

"I think we ought to be getting some intelligent design in our policy in Iraq."

that Kerry fella.
A withdrawal plan would be a good start, Senator. Give Russ Feingold a call...

Someone remind me…

…why did Americans ever like the old battleaxe in the first place?
Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?

Her 'beautiful mind.' My Irish ass…

Random ten...

At This Moment, Billy & The Beaters
A Lot Of Lovin' To Do, Nancy Wilson
Gentle On My Mind, John Hartford
This Magic Moment, The Drifters
Redemption Song, Bob Marley
Got My Mojo Working, Butterfield Blues Band
I Saw A Bird Fly Away, Dar Williams
Fascinating Rhythm, Benny Goodman
One Dime Blues, Etta Baker
Express Yourself, Charles Wright & The 103d St. Rhythm Band
I should be listening to more Dar Williams...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Grandmas sit in chairs and reminisce.

It has been 770 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

If I miss two weeks in a row...

...I'll probably find my favorite shirt shredded or something, but she's off hiding right now, so here's another archive edition of The Adventures of the Lovely and Talented Miss Audrey Hepcat...

Naturally, no squirrels were harmed in the creation of this post...

Front runner?

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold today, at a local Listening Session in Marquette, Wisconsin, proposed a target timeframe for the completion of the military mission in Iraq and suggested December 31, 2006 as the target date for the completion of the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

In June, Feingold introduced a resolution calling for the President to clarify the military mission in Iraq, lay out a plan and timeframe for accomplishing that mission, and publicly articulate a plan for subsequent troop withdrawal. Because of the Administration’s recent flurry of conflicting signals about the duration of U.S. troop deployments, Feingold said he feels obligated to help jump start that process by proposing a specific goal for bringing U.S. forces home from Iraq.
The gauntlet is thrown. Time for all Democrats, including (perhaps particularly) that Kerry fella, to face the question.

How do you ask someone to be the last person to die for their country?

To what end?

For what 'noble cause'?


Kinda scary funny...

Hat tip to Motherlode.

Startling Confession!

Pam spills the beans at Big Brass Blog...
The Homosexual Agenda

6:00 am Gym
8:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am Hair appointment
10:00 am Shopping
12:00 PM Brunch
2:00 PM (Here's the really important part)
1) Assume complete control of the US Federal, State and local Governments as well as all other national governments
2) Recruit all straight youngsters to our debauched lifestyle
3) Destroy all healthy heterosexual marriages
4) Replace all school counselors in grades K-12 with agents of Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels
5) Establish planetary chain of "homo breeding gulags" where over -medicated imprisoned straight women are turned into artificially impregnated baby factories to produce prepubescent love slaves for our devotedly pederastic gay leadership
6) Bulldoze all houses of worship
7) Secure total control of the INTERNET and all mass media for the exclusive use of child pornographers.
2:30 PM Get Forty Winks of Beauty Rest to prevent facial wrinkles from stress of world conquest
4:00 PM Cocktails
6:00 PM Light Dinner
8:00 PM Theater
11:00 PM Bed
I just knew it...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Yes, this is Upper Left...

...and yes, there is scant little graphic evidence of that around here right now. A slight zig in the zag department (well, billing department if you want to get precise) with the ISP that hosts all the pretty pictures should be straightened out pretty soon.

Of course, your help in preventing future occurences is always appreciated....

UPDATE: Wow, everything back to normal while I slept. Have I mentioned lately that I've got the best damn little ISP in the country? Dan and whoever helps him at Zipcon get customer service like no one else. Check 'em out.

La de da de de, la de da de da.

It has been 769 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

I guess Texas really is 'Bush Country'…

…because it looks like Texas hates veterans, too…
A Marine trying to enroll at the University of Texas was surprised to find he was no longer a state resident -- even though he had a Texas drivers license, car registration, and bank records.

The University says he spent too much time outside the state -- serving two tours of duty in Iraq.

That means his tuition shoots up from $500 to $2,600. (FOXNews)
I know it's been a long time since my discharge, but I think Washington still honors your home of record for resident tuition, regarless of how long you may have been posted abroad. Certainly every state should. It might be worth checking on the rules where you are, and rattling the cage of a legislooter or two if your state seems to hate vets, too...

Hat tip to Terry Turner.

UPDATE: (Not quite a) pal o' Upper Left (his choice, not mine) Analog Kid offers some helpful information (and a less useful argument) in comments. The school in question is apparently Austin Community College, not UT. The Marine's military home of record is apparently in conflict with his other residency documentation. The school says it would support a change in the statute to allow returning vets in this situation to enroll as residents.

Like most things, there are bits that are more complicated than a few sentences can really summarize. There's a simple principle involved, though. Should we, as a society, make every reasonable (and maybe the occasional extraordinary) effort to honor and assist returning veterans?

It's a matter of morality, really, and the question is simply 'which side are you on?'.

Four more.



Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain

It has been 768 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

And they say I never report the good news…

Goldy brings glad tidings from the new Rasmussen Report...
Sen. Maria Cantwell and Gov. Christine Gregoire are basking in the adoration of WA voters, enjoying 57 percent and 51 percent favorable ratings respectively.
From our perspective, there's even a bright note in some bad numbers…
Cantwell also benefits from the fact that President Bush’s Approval Rating has dipped to 39% in the state of Washington. Just 25% believe the country is headed in the right direction.
Upper Left. A haven of happiness in a bitter blogosphere.

Quote of the Day

"...the campaign for privatization provided an object lesson in how the administration sells its policies: by misrepresenting its goals, lying about the facts and abusing its control of government agencies."

Time to pull weeds?

The MyDD '08 straw poll is getting a bit unwieldy, tracking 14 possibles (last time I checked, Wes Clark was running away with it). Of course, some aren't running, and some won't run, but there do seem to be a lot of names in play, and I'm trying to keep an open mind this far out. The straw poll selections...
Evan Bayh
Joe Biden
Barbara Boxer
Wesley Clark
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards
Russ Feingold
Al Gore
John Kerry
Bill Richardson
Ed Rendell
Brian Schweitzer
Tom Vilsack
Mark Warner
Maybe it's time to cull the crop a bit. How's this for starters…
Richardson asked to meet with Chris Simcox, the president of the volunteer vigilante group the Minutemen.
Yep. These Minutemen.

Then there were 13...

Remember that conference call..

...with Rahm Emanuel?

Well, Archpundit takes much better notes than I do.

Hat tip to Jesse Lee.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

...the beat goes on.

It has been 767 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

An Upper Left Endorsement

An Upper Left Endorsement

One outcome of last year's election was the passage of a measure which reduced the size of the King County Council from 13 members to 9. When the new maps were drawn, two incumbent Democrats, Carolyn Edmonds and Bob Ferguson, found themselves in the same district, setting up a primary that, given the political geography involved, should prove conclusive regardless of what the local R's do.

I've decided to support Ferguson, despite the fact that Edmonds has represented me as a member of the State House or the County Council since 1999.

Bob Ferguson is already something of a local political legend for his first political campaign in which he upset a 20 year incumbent largely by personally knocking on tens of thousands of doors. Since then he's set a noteworthy standard for public accessibility and accountability.

One important consideration for Democrats when forced into a choice like this should be future prospects. This kind of election is important if we're serious about building the kind of candidate farm team that our adversaries have been generating for years. It's not hard at all to imagine Bob Ferguson, after a time, serving in Congress, perhaps, or the Governor's mansion. In the meantime, he's the kind of open, articulate public servant - with an emphasis on service - that we want our Party to be represented by at every level of government.

I don't find Edmonds future prospects as bright, frankly. In fact, these days the lights seem to dim a bit every time she enters a room. While she boasts an impressive list of endorsements from what she describes as "The Leaders Of The Democratic Party," the loyalty of past and present colleagues seems a small point compared to the support of her actual constituents. It's noteworthy that Edmonds has twice been nominated for, and twice failed to capture, the endorsement of the 32nd District Democrats, the district she represented in the State House and which is fully contained by her Council district. The district Party has gone with Ferguson, as have the 46th District Democrats, which hold a similar place in Ferguson's old district.

In other words, his most active Democratic constituents support Ferguson. So do Edmonds' most active Democratic constituents. That's a powerful message in a Democratic primary.

It's not without good reason. There are those that find that Edmonds has become remote from her roots as a community activist, and has come to regard her position as an entitlement. That may explain her dismissive attitude toward Party process and discipline earlier this year.

Before a court decision that restored the ability for the Democratic Party to have some measure of control over the participants in its primary election, the nomination process was put in the hands of Precinct Committee Officers. The PCOs are grassroots activists, the folks I really mean when I say 'Democratic Party.' The people who show up in church basements and Legion halls to plot campaigns and argue policy over coffee in paper cups and donated cookies.

The people both candidates for this seat pledged to respect before the PCO Convention was held. The people Carolyn Edmonds turned her back on when she was soundly defeated. After the convention, Edmonds announced that she would disregard the results and challenge Ferguson in the state's illegitimate 'Cajun' primary (since found unconstitutional in Washington). As a citizen, that's her perfect right. As a Democrat, especially as an elected Democrat, it's a fundamental breach of trust with the Democratic Party, and the Party's most devoted volunteer base.

You can find out more about Ferguson here, and offer whatever help you may here (from the look of his site, he looks to need a primer on engaging the netroots, but I'm betting he's very receptive to the notion). I'll have more to say as the campaign moves on.


Just as The Pacific Northwest Portal provides a fine regional overview of progressive bloggers via RSS feeds, LeftyBlogs has taken on the task in 48 states. That's not by design, by the way. They've got a 50 state plan of their own, but are still in need of leads to lefty blogs in Mississippi and Wyoming. I'm pretty sure they've got some internets in both of those places, and there definitely Democrats out there. One of them must be blogging. If you know who, click the graphic and drop Lefty Blogs a hint. Meanwhile, check out their state by state listings of folks who are in the right by being on the left.

Those interested in the future of the Democratic Party should bookmark their Western Democrat collection now.

And oh yeah, I'm pleased as punch to note Upper Left's inclusion in the Washington feed!

Quote of the Day...

"The army's wheels are going to come off in the next 24 months. We are now in a period of considerable strategic peril. It's because [Pentagon chief Donald] Rumsfeld has dug in his heels and said, 'I cannot retreat from my position.'"

General Barry McCaffrey, US Army (Retired)
...leading to the related good question. Why is this man still working?

And, of course, the obvious good answer.

Hat tip to natasha at Pacific Views

Monday, August 15, 2005

And the beat goes on…

It has been 766 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Halfway through August…


…we've equaled the US fatalities for the entire month of July. G.I.s are dying at the highest daily rate since April '04.


"Dick Cheney with a better backstory."

Wolcott skewers McCain. Go see.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Electrically they keep a baseball score.

It has been 765 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Quote of the Day.

"Americans do not want to privatize social security. They're too smart to turn social security over to the people who ran Enron."

DNC Chairman Howard Dean

Hat tip to Motherlode.

Once again...

Bushco™ Concedes.

the WaPo tells the tale...
"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

Hat tip to Atrios.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

It's Saturday. Time is tight.

It's Saturday. Time is tight.

Might as well swipe something.

This time from Carla at Preemptive Karma (with just a bit of my emphasis)...

"Congress saw the same intelligence I had, and they looked at exactly what I looked at, and they made an informed judgment based upon the information that I had."

George Bush, Meet The Press

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush issued an order to the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, and his cabinet members that severely curtailed intelligence oversight by restricting classified information to just eight members of Congress.

Raw Story

She has more to say on the story...

And men still keep on marching off to war.

I'm hoping to be back to get in a couple more licks today, but just in case, don't forget…
It has been 764 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Yeah, it's all random...

...but I almost cheated so I could slip the Dave Clark 5's 'Having A Wild Weekend' in there somehow. Can't find the song, though. Maybe it was just the name of the movie. Anyway, it's definitely what I've got in store, with two full shifts at the pub, the wedding of a best friend and the annual picnic of the veteran's group I'm the current Commander of on the agenda, plus, of course, a whole buncha stuff I want to blog about. And oh, yeah. Eating, sleeping and lavishing affection on the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left.


All being done to the beat of these fine selections...
1. Johnny Cash Ballad Of Ira Hayes
2. Barbara Mason Yes, I'm Ready
3. Ian Drury & The Blockheads Blockheads
4. Jimmy Buffett Son Of A Son Of A Sailor
5. The Hollies On A Carousel
6. King Pleasure Swan Blues
7. Donovan Stealing
8. Keb Mo Every Morning
9. Canned Heat On The Road Again
10. JJ Cale After Midnight

Friday, August 12, 2005

Little girls still break their hearts, uh huh.

It has been 763 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Sounds like somebody's off message again…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of roadside bomb attacks by insurgents against U.S. military supply convoys in Iraq has doubled in the past year, the general in charge of logistics for American military forces in Iraq said on Friday.
Apparently somebody cut the French guy out of the 'last throes' loop, but Brig. Gen. Yves Fontaine, US Army, does have some better news about the transportation units under his command.
"Because we've up-armored our vehicles, the casualties have decreased significantly, even though the IED attacks have increased significantly. So now our soldiers are safe in their Humvees and their trucks, and they walk out of the incidents when the incident occurs."
Of course, Gen. Fontaine knows that armor works when you use it, if you have it, but tell it to the Marines. Maybe someday Rummy will set the standard for the rigs that move troops as high as he's got it for equipment convoys now...

When the blogging gets tough…

…the easy way out is to swipe something from Terry Turner, whose Watching Washington is an endless source of bloggity goodness. For instance…
"Part of my duty as the President is to meet with those who've lost a loved one (in war)." --President Bush, August 11, 2005

The White House says President Bush has personally met with family members of about 200 troops killed in the Iraq War. The total number of those killed in the war stands at 1,840 as of today. President Bush has yet to attend any funerals of any of the fallen. (White House)

"...the most crooked, lying group I've ever seen..."

....just another thing that Kerry fella turns out to have been right about.

Think Progress connects the dots that identify a gang of 21 crooks and liars in the White House who are complicit in outing the classified identity of a CIA agent, or who've been implicated in the ongoing coverup of the original offender(s).

The perfect hand of perfect scoundrels?
Karl Rove, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Andrew Card, Alberto Gonzales, Mary Matalin, Ari Fleischer, Susan Ralston, Israel Hernandez, John Hannah, Scott McClellan, Dan Bartlett, Claire Buchan, Catherine Martin, Colin Powell, Karen Hughes, Adam Levine, Bob Joseph, Vice President Dick Cheney, President George W. Bush
Look it up.

Consider this an open letter…

…in response to the latest comment from wingnut pal 'o Upper Left, the Analog Kid (we're still pals, right Kid? I mean, despite my dearth of intellectual honesty and credibility and all?). It got a bit long for comments, and carries a couple thoughts that I think merit wider attention than comments sometimes get…
OK, Kid. Credit where it's due. You did make some effort to, well, if not moderate, at least disguise your vitriol. I get that Cindy Sheehan has proven to be a major embarassment for your side, and that's got to piss you off.

I'm not particularly fond of gratuitous references to National Socialism myself, but it's a cancer that's invaded the discourse of both camps these days, I suppose, to the benefit of neither.

(I'm in awe of your ability to listen to Mike Webb, twice in a week at that. The guy drives me nuts.)

Just as volume doesn't make an argument more persuasive, the use of all caps doesn't make an assertion factual.

I don't have much to say about most of your assertions because I frankly don't much care. I don't know, nor do you, what her motives are. I suspect they are complex, and to some degree in flux.

I haven't seen her bed down for the night myself, so I don't really know much about her living conditions except some second hand reports. I suspect the same is largely true of you. Fact is, for every bit of documentation you can produce that 'proves' that she beds down in satin pillows and is carted from place to place in a padded sedan chair held aloft by a sextet of well oiled body builders, I'll find one that reports that she sleeps in a hair shirt on a bed of nails and crawls prostrate on sharp crushed rocks laid out in a path to her every destination.

It doesn't matter. I care not a whit about her lifestyle, at or away from Crawford. Her motives seem pretty straightforward. She wants to confront Bush about the justifications for the war that took her son's life, and she wants that war to end. It's a good thing that I'm not her tactical advisor, because I never would have imagined she would get the mileage out of her vigil that she's gotten.

Cindy Sheehan's son was killed in a war. She says wants to talk to the Commander in Chief about it. I suspect that if she gets her wish, she'll find the experience singularly unsatisfying. I think she knows that.

He would doubtless find the experience uncomfortable at best, and potentially humiliating. He is not a man noted for grace in such circumstances, after all, and the no conversation with a parent about the death of a child can be comfortable, except perhaps for genuine sociopaths.

All he had to do is talk to her, though, and this story would have blown away with the next news cycle. It's too late for that, now. Until a few days ago, Sheehan had been a fairly minor figure in a diffuse, generally ineffective, anti-war movement. Now she's a central focus in a movement that's growing growing around her exponentially, organically, almost accidentally because of the simple power of one woman's witness.

One thing seems sure. Karl's mojo is gone. Time to dump him...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The grocery store's the supermart, uh huh.

It has been 762 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Know your enemy…

If you wonder why I call the leadership cabal in the GOP 'destructionists,' Digby sums it up nicely. Well, maybe not exactly 'nicely'...
The Republicans...are building an impermeable, corrupt political machine made up of cronies, employees and hangers-on the likes of which we haven't seen since the 19th century. They are court-packing, gerrymandering, impeaching and recalling --- not to mention electronically stuffing ballot boxes and throwing disputed elections to their handpicked Supreme Court judges. They control the DC lobbying process and own a rather large piece of the media landscape. They are not building their "permanent majority" through a civil, democratic process.
Not beanbag, folks...

Speaking of fair…

…fair is fair, and this isn't…
First, the DCCC screwed up the format of the call so that it was one directional. The blogosphere by nature is a fan of communicating-with instead of talking-at. Then Congressman Emanuel actually went out of his way to blab about the one-directional nature being a good thing and then talked about wanting more of it.
I know the truth is pretty mundane, and doesn't serve Bob Brigham's vendetta against the DCCC. I wish he'd let it go. His efforts to paint the institutions of the Party itself as the enemy of the institution of the Party itself is a bit of latent Deanerism (a political philosophy that has about as much to do with the actual Howard Dean as 'Christianity' has to do with the actual Jesus of Nazareth) that serves all Democrats poorly.

What Rahm Emanuel did was joke about how handy it could be if he could impose conference call style rules on conversations with his three elementary school age children, mechanically forcing them to take turns. Showing respect for the rights of others and taking turns can be challenging concepts for elementary school age children. It's really not at all uncommon in the realm of adult conversation, though, and I don't imagine that most folks felt all that constrained by their inability to shout down the Congressman. I don't know how many folks were on the invite list, but lots, I hope. Too many for a wide open gabfest to be practical, I'm sure.

In fact, the great majority of the time was given over to questions, which Rep. Emanuel answered candidly and with an impressive wealth of detail about specific races, candidates and prospective candidates. I don't know how the questions were dispersed, but I got one, and so did Bob Brigham. Seems like a pretty even spread.

Throughout the call, Rahm Emanuel repeatedly demonstrated respect for the potential of the blogosphere and recognition of the need for more communication in both directions. He also told a joke about getting his kids to engage in civil discourse.

Granted, as a comedian, he's an excellent political strategist, but fair is fair, and Brigham's version of the event isn't.

A few words for my wingnut pals...

...and you are my pals, at least some of you, at least if you want to be.

I'm not at all upset by the presence of dissenting voices in the comments here at Upper Left, from either side of the spectrum. In fact, I prefer it that way. I don't, however, want the comments here to become the kind of snakepit that is too typical of too many sites of both left and right slants. As I've said before, principle among the reasons I do this is for fun. I enjoy sharing the stuff I find, and my take on it. I enjoy hearing reactions, and having the occasional tussle.

I don't enjoy seeing the service of American heroes dismissed or disrespected, and I won't offer a platform here for that kind of nonsense. As a general (though not exclusive) rule, in my mind the ranks of American heroes includes anyone who has earned the Combat Infantry Badge or any decoration for valorous service. They are, by defintion, not cowards or traitors, and comments that argue otherwise will be deleted summarily. Call it censorship if you wish (you're wrong). I call it editing.

Similarly, here's the beginning and end of the Cindy Sheehan story as far as I'm concerned. She has suffered one of the most tragic fates that faces any parent, the death of a child during his parent's natural life. It's a violation of the natural order, regardless of the circumstances. In Sheehan's case, the circumstances are special. Her government sent her son to die in an enterprise she doesn't understand.

Some have argued that in her quest for understanding, Sheehan has been inconsistent. The bill for Cindy Sheehan's right to seek some measure of understanding, some small grain of personal peace from the man who set the policy and gave the order that led to her son's death is paid in full by virtue of that death.

It's been charged, in a pointedly offensive manner, in comments no longer to be found here that Sheehan has an unhealthy interest in publicity. Of course, the publicity is only made possible by the intransigence of the President. If only he would have, at the moment her presence became known to him, invited her in for a sit down with a nice glass of sweet tea. If only he might have said "We may never agree, but it's important to me that you know that I truly believe in our cause. I made mistakes along the way, but bringing freedom to an oppressed people is a worthy cause, a cause that gives meaning and honor to your son's sacrifice."

Really, that's all it might have taken. Some genuine human interest. A touch of humility. A moment or two of time. Story over.

Too great a price, apparently, for our President.

Meanwhile, the wingnut wind machine is blowing smoke fast and furious, trying to make this about Cindy Sheehan's motives, about Cindy Sheehan's character. There are many forums in which you find members of the Fighting 101st Keyboarders tossing around their hateful abuse of a woman whose circumstance should at the very least evoke empathy, even where there is disagreement.

This isn't one of those forums. That doesn't mean there isn't fair ground to argue about Sheehan's view of the war, Sheehan's tactical approach to expressing that view, whatever. There isn't, however, any room here for questions about her character, or her right to seek peace, whether personal or universal, in any way she sees fit. Comments that cross the line will simply disappear as I find them. I think the line I draw is pretty bright. I think it's perfectly fair.

I would feel the same way, and invoke the same standard, in the case of a Gold Star mother who was to emerge as a leading voice in favor of the way George Bush has conducted his war. I'm biased. It's no secret. But this is one of those "...I'll defend to the death your right to say it" deals that always makes us liberals look squishy to some folks. After all, "fair" is, in it's essence, a liberal notion.

And, illiberal though this sentiment may be, if you don't agree, well, I just don't care what you think about that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

La de da de de, la de da de da.

It has been 761 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Just gathering my thoughts…

…(and trying to decipher my notes) after a conference call with Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the DCCC, and a batch of bloggers. As I told the Congressman, it was the kind of expression of respect for the blogosphere that I've found typical of the DCCC since I started this thing up almost two years ago now.

There wasn't a lot new in his quick summary of the Hackett race, but Rep. Emanuel had lots to say, and some more to hint, about a wide range of races in a variety of places and circumstances. (Some of it is of regional interest for upper lefties - suffice to say there's news to come in WA-08. Perhaps when 'Johnny' comes marching home.) He openly appealled for an extended partnership with bloggers, not just in fundraising, but in recruiting, organizing and delivering the Democratic message.

I note with some interest that one symptom of post-Hackett blowback is the complaint from some of the 'uber'-bloggers about an exessive number of solicitations for help, primarily in fundraising. "Not us!" the big boys are hollering, "Talk to the local blogs, the regional blogs, get a rep before you give us the pitch."

I, for one, am pleased that the DCCC sees a role for local and regional bloggers beyond a filtration system for folks with a superior hit count. The D-Trip is engaging us directly, and openly, and deserves credit and cooperation in return. They'll continue to get just that around these parts...

Democracy on the march…

…over the cliff. The latest example of Condi's "quiet political progress"...
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 9 - Armed men entered Baghdad's municipal building during a blinding dust storm on Monday, deposed the city's mayor and installed a member of Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia.

The deposed mayor, Alaa al-Tamimi, who was not in his offices at the time, recounted the events in a telephone interview on Tuesday and called the move a municipal coup d'état. He added that he had gone into hiding for fear of his life.

"This is the new Iraq," said Mr. Tamimi, a secular engineer with no party affiliation. "They use force to achieve their goal."
Taking hundreds of US fatalities in pitched battles with the Mahdi Army last spring seems to have worked out typically awful for Bushco™.

There's just no doubt at all...

Dear Mr. President:

We write to respectfully urge you to meet with Cindy Sheehan and other relatives of fallen soldiers who request a meeting to discuss their deep concerns about the war in Iraq. We also request that you help ensure that Ms. Sheehan and her colleagues are not arrested as long as they continue to wait for a meeting with you at their location in the peaceable and legal manner that they have maintained thus far.

Since the loss of her son, Ms. Sheehan and other families have been committed to helping family members of other soldiers who have been lost in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan, in fact, founded Gold Star Families for Peace, a support organization for families of fallen soldiers. For several days now, she has been waiting outside your ranch, hoping to meet with you about the loss of her son and the failure to discover weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan has indicated that she is planning to continue her vigil for the entirety of your vacation at your Crawford complex if necessary.

Given the recent tragic loss of American lives in Iraq, and the many deaths and injuries American troops have sustained since the beginning of the war, we hope that you can appreciate why the family members believe it so important that they exercise their rights as citizens to petition their government. We believe it would send an unfortunate message to other relatives and soldiers if grieving parents were arrested while exercising their constitutional rights.

Thank you very much for you assistance with this matter. We hope that you will be able to make time to meet with Ms. Sheehan and her colleagues and also ensure they are treated fairly while awaiting this important appointment.


Reps. John Conyers; George Miller; Maxine Waters; Corrine Brown; Dennis Kucinich; Carolyn Maloney; Jim McDermott; Jim McGovern; Barbara Lee; Zoe Lofgren; Peter Oberstar; John Lewis; Bernie Sanders; Bob Filner; Micheal Honda; Raul Grijalva
Yep, that's my own personal Congresscritter in there. Sic 'em, Jim!

Hat tip to Pam at Big Brass Blog.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain...

It has been 760 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.


...and again and again...
AP - A suicide car bomber struck a U.S. convoy near a crowded square in Baghdad, killing at least seven people, including a U.S. soldier, in a wave of violence in the capital ahead of the resumption of talks on drafting a new constitution.


Good question…

…from Ezra.
What does it say that every time Dobson opens his mouth, I begin to blaspheme?
I don't know the answer, but it happens to me, too.

A distressing note…

…from Kevin at Lean Left, who reports that Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan's vigil in Crawford will result in arrest on Thursday, apparently in hope of shielding the eyes of Condi and a variety of fat cats who will soon be assembling from the face of the war's human cost at home.

It's hard for me to believe that Karl's been knocked so far off his stride that he's going to allow the public arrest of the grieving mother of an Iraq War fatality. But there it is. As Kevin notes, in their ham-handed response to Cindy Sheehan's appeal...
The Bushies have allowed one women to derail the press coverage of Bush’s vacation and put the focus squarely on the quagmire in Iraq.
Which is a perfectly fine place for the focus to be...

Monday, August 08, 2005

...the beat goes on…

It has been 759 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.


Just in case there's a straggler or two who doesn't read Juan Cole every day…
"They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore."

As promised…

…some thoughts on the saga of Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse, the Corps of Engineers Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting (PARC) charged with overseeing contracts related to provisions for our troops in Iraq and for the Iraqi reconstruction.

Over the last year or so, after a string of exemplary performance reports, Greenhouse, who came to her job with two decades of procurement experience, both in the private sector and for the DoD, has found herself demoted and under fire.

Her sin?
She has asked many questions: Why is Halliburton - a giant Texas firm that holds more than 50 percent of all rebuilding efforts in Iraq - getting billions in contracts without competitive bidding? Do the durations of those contracts make sense? Have there been violations of federal laws regulating how the government can spend its money?
Umm, isn't that her job? Isn't that the whole point of Federal Acquisition Requirement 3.101, which dictates that "Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach ... with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none," is all about?

Wingnut conspiracy theorists may muse about Greenhouse (a registered independent, and the wife of a career Army officer) being some kind of liberal plant, but isn't carefully monitoring federal expenditures, making sure that full measure is delivered for every dollar expended, and that every dollar is allocated and awarded in strict compliance with the law an inherently conservative process? Or is this just one more piece of evidence that there are no more conservatives in charge of Republican policy, but a cabal of radical destructionists out to loot our national treasure regardless of the damage left in their wake?

Decribed by General Joe Ballard (USA, Ret.), who originally hired Greenhouse during his tour as the head of the Corps of Engineers, as "...probably the most professional person I've ever met," the treatment Greenhouse is receiving at the hands of the administration is simply a disgrace. Even assuming that Haliburton had a reasonable response to each of her questions, they are still questions worth asking, questions that anyone who fulfills their oath as a federal employee is bound to ask. Greenhouse is very mindful of that oath.
"I took an oath of office. I took those words that I was going to protect the interests of my government and my country. So help me God," she says. "And nobody. Has the right. To take away my privilege. To serve my government. Nobody."
Her hustband, Aloyisus... what is happening to her and tries to bite his lip. "Bunny has a lot of faith. She really believes that someone will stand up and say, 'This is wrong.' But I don't think a person exists like that in the Department of Defense."
Not a single person? Who's running that place?

Oh, yeah…

Bunny Greenhouse is under political attack, and she needs some backup. As Gen. Ballard puts it…
What Bunny is caught up in is politics of the highest damn orde. This is real hardball they're playing here. Bunny is a procurement officer, she's not a politician. She's not trained to do this.

She needs, and deserves, all the help she can get. Contact your representatives in Washington and encourage them to join Congressmember Henry Waxman (D-CA), who has spoken out in support of Bunny Greenhouse. Write a blog post. Write the editor of your local paper. Call some talk shows. Make some noise.

Bunny Greenhouse has our financial back at the DoD. She needs us at her political back today.

Off to the salt mines...

...for a bit, but here's an outrage to tide you over until my return. Read and get mad, we'll talk about it later...

In it's last throes, even…

WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the insurgency in Iraq is losing steam as a political force, even as Democratic congressmen warned Sunday that violence jeopardizes plans for withdrawing some troops.
Ignore those bombs and stuff. Karl says the numbers look good, and we own the voting machines.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

And the beat goes on…

It has been 758 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Good question...

...from an interesting source.
President Bush said we will complete 'the job.' The question remains this week what 'the job' is.

George Will on ABC's This Week

And now...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Teenybopper's our newborn king, uh huh.

It has been 757 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

DC Republicans? Out of touch...

...or just out of their minds?

We report, you decide.

Writing about the Northwest Progressive Institute's campaign against Iniative 912, which would erase the funding for the comprehensive transportation package passed in the last legislative session here in the upper left, Andrew surmises that freshman Republican Rep. Dave Reichert has already spent a bit too much time in the other Washington…
Reichert said even if the gas tax repeal was approved, he would be “shocked” if the state couldn’t come up with the matching funds needed.

“They will find the money,” he said. “They won’t let $220 million slip through their fingers. They could hold a car wash.”
Car wash. Uh huh. Then we can solve that damn Social Security shortfall with a lemonade stand. Maybe cover the cost of Bush's war…err…struggle…no, war…whatever…with a nice 3 family garage sale.

Car wash. Jeebus.

August 6, 1945

Rhythm of the Falling Reign

What was that George W. Bush was saying about this term being the one in which he cements his place in the history books?

Actually, he did that long ago, but not in the way he meant to. What he's finding right now is that his triumphant second term is turning into a giant mess. A tough slog. A... quagmire, one might say. The one thing it seemed he and his GOP brethren could always count on -- blind devotion from the red folks no matter how badly they screwed up the nation -- seems to be sliding off the table. Approval numbers for both the president and Congress have been low for a while, but the spankin' new polls bring information they really weren't expecting. According to an article posted this morning at
Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level yet, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that also suggests fewer than half now think he is honest.

Well what tipped 'em off, do you s'pose? The abundance of evidence that he rushed us to war unnecessarily while lying to Congress in order to get the go-ahead? His penchant for total secrecy in nearly every situation, creating a culture of suspicion the likes of which has never been seen in the White House? His policy of stonewalling over forthrightness, even in the simplest matters? His blatant disregard for his own word in the matter of Karl Rove, a man he should have fired long ago if his word meant a thing? His abuses of power, the most recent of which involved shoving John Bolton up the U.N.'s backside via recess appointment? He's the president who knows no rules, and while some people think that's dandy, most understand the majority of those rules are there for good reason. Hmmm, I wonder what else the poll reveals.
A solid majority still see Bush as a strong and likable leader...

Well, I find that a little hard to fathom. What could they be thinking?
...though the poll indicates the president's confidence is seen as arrogance by a growing number.

Ah. Got it.

Lest you think the drop in Dubya's honesty rating is a meaningless number, consider this:
The drop in the number of people who see Bush as honest was largest among middle-aged Americans as well as suburban women, a key voting group in the 2004 election. A further erosion of trust could make it tougher for Bush to win support for his policies in Congress and internationally.

And with the midterms chugging ever closer, that voting group and others are beginning to see a few things differently on the periphery.

The president's overall approval rating is throwing sparks as it skids along at 42%. That's certainly one for the history books, George.

And again...

...the latest playlist at Upper Left World Headquarters.
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five - The Message
Jerry Jeff Walker - One Too Many Mornings
Carrie Newcomer - Betty's Diner
David Johansen - Ma Mule
Joni Mitchell - Blue
Jimmy Buffett - A Pirate Looks At Forty
Linda Rondstadt - Poor Poor Pitiful Me
Louis Armstrong - On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Kris Kristofferson - Help Me Make It Through The Night
Jerry Butler - Only The Strong Survive

Friday, August 05, 2005

Maybe some ginko would help…

…with the Preznit's apparently faulty memory...
President Bush lamented the deaths of 14 Marines in Iraq Wednesday, calling the deadly attack a "grim reminder" America is still at war.
Of course, he's been real busy lately...
“The president departed Tuesday for his longest stretch yet away from the White House, arriving at his Crawford ranch in the evening to clear brush, visit with family and friends, and tend to some outside-the-Beltway politics. By historical standards, it is the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years.”
…and after all, it's only our military that's actually 'at war,' and he just hates those guys. Still, next time the war slips his mind, all he has to do is check in with one of the 1828 families (so far) who've been 'grimly reminded'...

The miniskirt's the current thing, uh huh.

It has been 756 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Too darn hot...

...especially if you're wearing a black fur coat, so the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat heads for any available shade...


For decades, Bob Novak has been one of America's worst citizens, a man who capped a career based on a foundation of lies, slander and scandal with the public exposure of the classified identity of a CIA operative. Given that, all this brouhaha over him saying "bullshit" on live TV is just, well, bullshit.

At least it got him off the air for awhile, so I guess it's good bullshit...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

History has turned the page, uh huh.

It has been 755 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”
Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

OK, so it's a rationalization…

…but it's my rationalization, so it makes perfect sense to me. Anyway, I'm pretty much resolved to swallow the CAFTA votes of Senators Cantwell and Murray and Rep. Dicks as symptoms of their parochial interest in preserving port jobs and associated economic development in the upper left.

Of course, if I'm wrong, I'd lean toward the more ominous rumblings over at CoolAqua. First, a summary of the dramatic security threat that the current BRAC recommendations have for the northwest (all emphasis in the original)...
To put this in perspective, the area protected by the 147th Fighter Wing is as big as continental Europe. Notably, the USAF has 147 fighter aircraft in Europe. So as is, we only have 10% of the fighters that we have for an equal area in Europe. And if the BRAC Commission recommendations are followed, the number of fighter aircraft used to protect the Pacific Northwest will be about 1.5% of what we have to protect Europe.

FBI Special Agent Robert Jordan testified about how target rich the Pacific Northwest is. The Trojan Nuclear Power plant still has over 800 fuel rods still installed. Hanford Nuclear Reservation has 9 nuclear reactors, high grade plutonium, and countless thousands of gallons of highly radioactive materials. Smaller reactors are also found in more chimercial settings of other areas of the Northwest. In addition to nuclear materials, the Northwest is also a repository of a large number of chemical weapons. And biological facilities with lethal strains of biological materials abound. There are 48 large dams alone in Oregon, and chemical facilities are plentiful. Headquarters of Microsoft, and production facilities of Boeing are located in Washington; industries critical to maintaining a balance of trade; likewise, Oregon's "Silicon Forest" also contains a large number of important high tech facilities.
…and then exploring some apparent irregularities in the BRAC process, including a shocking failure to calculate homeland security needs in the closure equation. The CoolAqua conclusion?
Putting this all together, I can't help but recognize the real possibility that the Bush Administration is attempting to extort NW politicians to fall into line and support his policies. The BRAC Plan militarily is an invitation to our enemies to attack us here in the Northwest. And financially, this plan is only "pork" to southern states at a substantial cost increase to the US Taxpayer.
There's a part of me that wants to think that even Bushco™ wouldn't sink to deliberately placing millions of American lives (including, for instance, mine) at deliberate risk just to, say, secure a "bi-partisan" vote on a trade agreement.

Problem is, the part of me that would like to think that doesn't really believe it...

Over time…

…I've put this blog at the service of the DCCC on a pretty regular basis. There are a number of reasons for that, but without doubt, one of the main ones is that they make it so easy. When it comes to outreach to the liberal blogosphere, the DCCC is head and shoulders above the pack in terms of Democratic Party organizations. Starting with The Stakeholder, always my pick for the best damn institutional blog on the web, and going all the way to DCCC Chair Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, the DCCC is a valuable source of tools and tips for liberal bloggers, and has built a relationship with many national and regional blogs on a basis of mutual trust.

While the activities of the D-Trip, which has a specific and somewhat limited mission, may sometimes fall short of the lofty goals of the lefty blogosphere, at least there's genuine recognition of the role and value of blogs in the context of Democratic campaigns. Executive Director John Lapp lays it out in a MyDD diary
"Resources are not infinite. That is why MyDD, the Daily Kos, and the larger blogosphere are so important. You are critical in the effort to expand the playing field well above and beyond the 30 or 40 districts typically in play."
The whole thing is a must-read for activists in the fight for a new majority in the House of Representatives.

Much of this discussion about the DCCC, ususally not a headline grabbing outfit in off years, comes from some criticism of their strategy and timing in the Paul Hackett race. Whenever you have a loss - even one that's so easily seen as a moral victory - there's room for, and there's bound to be, some second guessing. We'll never know what mighta been, but we do know that on the heels of a quarter million dollar investment by the DCCC at a critical hour, Paul Hackett achieved a historic finish against seemingly immeasurable odds. Some close examination of what might have brought in the last 3% or so and a total victory is worth our while, but backbiting about 'shoulda's doesn't serve anyone on our side.

Jesse Lee has a Hackett summary up, including a breakdown of the D-Trip's $284,000 investment, at The Stakeholder. As usual, he doesn't duck the controversy or pull punches. And as usual, he and his colleagues have earned my thanks and appreciation.

Yours, too, I think.


Credit Atrios with the catch...
We actually misnamed the war on terror, it ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world.

GWB, 8/6/04
The struggle President. Jeebus.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

As if…

…there weren't enough reasons to declare his candidacy DOA, there's this one...
"When asked about his potential competitors, Biden said he would like nothing better than to see his Senate colleague John McCain of Arizona get into the 2008 race, either as his Republican opponent or -- even better -- his running mate."
Some will remember the furor over rumors, denied by both camps, that that Kerry fella had discussed the Veep role with McCain, who was a personal friend. That was before McCain debased himself by publicly demonstrating his submission to the Alpha-R, during the '04 campaign and subsequently.

On the other hand, Joe Biden proves to my satisfaction that McCain isn't the biggest political whore in Washington.

Joe's just said that Republican conservatives can have the vice presidency on a Democratic ticket just for the asking.

Good night, Joe.

Charleston was once the rage, uh huh.

It has been 754 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”

Rove. Treason. Betrayal.

Horse shoes, hand grenades…

…and sometimes, politics. Charlie Cook, via Kos...
...A Schmidt win of less than five points should be a very serious warning sign for Ohio Republicans that something is very, very wrong…
…and, of course, a star is born. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of Major Hackett.

One more day shift...

...this week, so I'll be away for a bit. So, tell me what's going on while I'm gone...

My oh...well.

US HOUSE Ohio 2nd Dist
753 precincts of 753 reporting

JEAN SCHMIDT 57,974 52%

PAUL HACKETT 54,401 48%

On the bright side, the RNCC was forced to drop about a half a million bucks to defend a presumably rock solid safe seat.

And something tells me that Paul Hackett's not going to simply disappear...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My, oh my...

Election Results

Last Updated: 8/02/2005 10:05pm

US HOUSE Ohio 2nd Dist

662 precincts of 753 reporting

JEAN SCHMIDT 49,681 50%
PAUL HACKETT 48,811 50%

La de da de de, la de da de da.

It has been 753 days since Karl Rove violated his obligations under Standard Form 312 without the White House taking “corrective action.”



Okay, Kathy, reward's over

Remember Katherine Harris? Li'l Miss Florida? The ultimate "team player?" Jeb's hatchet girl? She did a very specific batch of dirty jobs during the 2000 election, she was rewarded with a congressional seat. Apparently, Ms. Harris thought that GOP lovin' would keep on comin', but it seems the magic has gone out of the relationship. See, Katie's next conquest is supposed to be the U.S. Senate, but the Republican establishment has other plans.

Recent reports have painted a bleak picture for the woman who systematically scrubbed away the eligibility of black voters in one key Florida precinct and played nudge-nudge wink-wink during the vote recount in 2000. At first it was just a nebulous "they" who seemed to be asking her not to run for Senator Bill Nelson's seat in 2006, but as details came in, "they" became a much more clout-endowed bunch, including Karl "I'll Let You Out" Rove, Florida Governor and First Brother Jeb Bush, and Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

That musta stung.

But why would these loyal Republicans want Ms. Harris, ALSO a loyal Republican, out of the race? Don't they know she's "all that?" She is, after all, part of the future of the Republican Party. Or is she? Even Fox News seemed to be trying to get the message out in this July 25th piece.

According to sources in Washington and Florida, the Republican establishment is not thrilled with the Republican congresswoman's recent announcement that she is strongly considering a run for U.S Senate in 2006. In fact, GOP leaders are actively courting another Florida Republican to run against Harris in next summer's primary.

The resistance from the establishment is based on their perception, and that's based on public and private polling that she would have a very, very hard time winning," said Stu Rothenberg of the Washington D.C-based campaign tracker, the Rothenberg Political Report.

And winning this particular seat is something the Republicans are unusually determined to do. It's not just any seat. Some analysts believe that a GOP loss could bring about a similar fate in the Governor's race, and that mansion is something they're not anxious to give up. They also look at it as a 2-foot put they have to be able to make. Bill Nelson is a very liberal Democrat who won his seat with just 51% of the vote. Rove, Dole and Co. want to blow past Harris and find the perfect candidate who can bury Nelson in the general. As the Washinton Times points out...

Florida Rep. Katherine Harris thinks she is that candidate, but Mr. Rove, Mrs. Dole and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush do not agree. They think she remains a lightning rod because of her role as secretary of state in charge of the bitter ballot recount in the 2000 presidential election George W. Bush won by the skin of his teeth. And they have a thick sheaf of polling data showing, while popular among Republicans, Mrs. Harris is still hated by Democrats and many swing voters, who would turn out in droves to defeat her.

So you figure she'll slink off into the sunset now, having gotten 1/10th of what she deserves, but not yet. Seems she's flipping her uplines the bird. Yesterday she formally announced her candidacy. If those polling figures hold, she may get the entire spanking after all. One can hope.

Meanwhile, the Republicans with power are hot on State Senator Alan Bense to be the guy who takes on Nelson in 2006. Watch the headlines for some infighting that's likely to turn ugly fast.