Monday, May 08, 2006

Do I hear 20something?

Preznit 31%.

The Maria Meeting.

Senator Maria Cantwell met with a group of anti-war activists, including those who recently sat in at her Seattle office to protest her stance on Iraq. Arthur Ruger has a fairly thorough, and, I think, impressively balanced eyewitness report at WashBlog.

An 'out now' kinda guy going in, Ruger came away unchanged...
I came out of the meeting convinced that Maria is wrong and I am right about Iraq.
...but not unimpressed (my emphasis).

But I also came out of the meeting convinced that where she is wrong has never made her more culpable than any other Democrat AND Republican who voted foolishly when even the dumbest old Veteran in Bay Center, Washington knew that Bush as a viable and effective president was lying through his teeth and had nothing but foolish, unjustifiable and unworthy reasons for taking this country down a road of military shame that would make this nation guilty of the ultimate humanitarian horrors

I also came out of the meeting convinced that Maria is in the right place at the right time. There are no other candidates out there of equal caliber. Those who have presented themselves have not demonstrated any knowledge of how to run, let alone how to lead, how to inspire and how to engender confidence that someone more competent should be at the wheel.

Our competent someone may have not chosen the best route regarding Iraq but she's headed in the right direction and - "it looks to me like ..... " she has the tools to help us get there and may surprise those of us who think she won't.

Nothing is as helpful as turning over the damn cover and reading the book.
I agree with Ruger. Maria is wrong about the war. Not, though, as so frequently charged, because she supports "Bush's war." Maria's position is grounded in Clinton, not Bush, foreign policy. She has been critical of the conduct of the war, the treatment of soldiers and veterans and the paucity of oversight under Bush. The call for transition, rather than withdrawal, may not satisfy all of us, but it's not Bush's policy, it's the policy formulated, however loosely, by the Democratic Congressional caucuses.

It's also, in essence and effect, the policy advocated by Darcy Burner, who I suspect has the support, for good reason, of most of Maria's critics.

If you believe Kos and Jerome (and that's an if about the size of Bush's big fish), then the blogospherian gate crashers aren't bound by ideology, but are, rather, all about the more pragmatic matter of winning elections. Nothing good will happen, after all, until we get new Congressional majority.

The next Senator from the state of Washington will be either Maria Cantwell or Mike McGavick.

Which side are you on?

Fish Story.

"I would say the best moment was when I caught a 7 1/2-pound largemouth bass on my lake."

Someplace along the translation line (the original story was published in German) the fish in question has mutated from a record setting freshwater perch to a stocked bass charitably described as, well, fair sized. The size and species of George's finned prey isn't what really struck me, though.

It was the way he tossed off "…my lake," as though owning your own lake is the most natural thing in the world.

Of course, there's nothing natural about Bush's private man-made lake, or the fish, for that matter, which are planted for his private angling pleasure.

And there it is. After six years as "the most powerful man in the world," the final Decider of all matters of national and international importance, George W. Bush's best moment was the solitary pursuit of a private pleasure on his private lake playing what was, in essence, a game of shoot the fish in the barrel.

Doesn't that seem a bit, I dunno, sociopathic to you?

But we're not

…talkin' 'bout a revolution. Just a little oversight.

Let John Conyers explain…
Perhaps, if we had a little oversight, we wouldn't be mired in a war based on false pretenses in which we have lost thousands of our brave men and women in uniform and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

Perhaps we would not have had an energy policy drawn up in secret with oil company executives that has led to gas prices of more than three dollars per gallon.

Perhaps, if we had a little oversight, we wouldn't have a prescription drug plan written by the pharmaceutical companies, that prohibits the government from negotiating for lower prices with the same drug companies, and that no one really understands.

Perhaps, if we had a little oversight, we would know the extent to which our own government is spying on our phone calls, emails and other communications, contrary to the law of the land.
Just a little oversight.

But first, a new Congress.


Steve M. grumbles a bit (with links)…
Let's see: Here's Atrios complaining about Mark Kleiman complaining about Atrios favorably linking to Digby complaining about Wonkette complaining about Peter Daou complaining about the media refusing to proclaim that Stephen Colbert was funny at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Is it possible that we're getting just a wee bit excessive in our meta-ness here?
For the record, he was funny.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

And now...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ten for today…

The B list.
Booker T. & The MG's - Hip Hug Her
Black Crowes - Hard To Handle
Beau Brummels - Laugh Laugh
Blasters - Border Radio
Beatles - Boys
Black 47 - Watch All The Days
Beach Boys - Let Him Run Wild
Blues Traveler - Run Around
Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys - Uncle Pen
Buddy Holly - True Love Ways

I'll take $20,000.


My blog is worth $45,727.74.
How much is your blog worth?

Friday, May 05, 2006


Just off a conference call with Leader Pelosi. Lots to digest, but here are some quick notes.

Look for the House D's to roll out some good stuff in the coming weeks, starting with energy independence. The Leader promises a plan that will "…send our energy dollars to the mid-west instead of the Middle East."

With an enrollment deadline (and some generally overlooked penalties in store for the tardy) coming up, the "Bush prescription drug tax" will be on the agenda, along with the abandonment of the middle class through cuts in student financial aid program.

Net neutrality seems to be high on Pelosi's personal agenda, and she reports improved prospects within the caucus, but cautions that it can't be done without Republican help.

And, oh yeah. Broadband for every American in five years. I'm so down with that.

The whole thing was so, you know, inspiring...

Andrew's half right, anyway…

…when he writes...
It's high time that Maria Cantwell took a look around and realized that her support of George W. Bush's costly war is having costly repercussions that are hurting her reelection campaign.
Maria's taking a hit, alright, but it's not because she supports "George W. Bush's costly war." While her position isn't mine, it isn't his either. In fact, the Seattle Times guest editorial Andrew uses as a take-off point for his piece makes that pretty clear. While Maria remains in the "we broke it, we bought it" camp, she's pretty uncompromising in her criticism of Bush's efforts, writing that...
President Bush has not provided all the leadership necessary to build international support for stabilizing Iraq and getting the Iraqi troops trained.
She calls for exactly what Bush has failed to deliver...
The formation of the Iraqi government offers a new chance to succeed. But we need to set clear objectives and hold President Bush, Congress, U.S. military leaders and the Iraqis accountable for meeting them.
…and takes him to task for his go-it-alone attitude (with a not too subtle jab at the Veep's old pals)...
The president also needs to recognize that the U.S. cannot and should not rebuild Iraq alone. We can and should enlist international cooperation in that effort. Getting the rest of the world more involved in Iraqi reconstruction may cost Halliburton and others some contracts, but it will benefit Iraq while saving American taxpayers billions.
So, when Andrew writes that…
We will continue to support Maria Cantwell, but unless she changes her views on the administration's handling of the Iraq conflict, that support will be given reluctantly.
…what changes, exactly, is he looking for?

Should Senator Cantwell change her view that the President as offered inadequate leadership? Or her view that the administration should establish clear goals and be held accountable to them? Or should she give up on the idea that the President should be building a stronger international coalition and soliciting greater international investment for rebuilding Iraq?

I'll continue to support Maria, too, but with enthusiasm inspired in part by her ability to bring home the point she's been working tirelessly to make (my emphasis)...

President Bush must act with urgency. He must provide the leadership necessary to make sure that 2006 is the year that the new Iraqi government succeeds and our troops can begin to come home. We must work harder to get that done and we must also develop a long-term strategy to curb our nation's dangerous dependence on foreign oil.
As for State Chairman Pelz' concerns, well, the single issue anti-war crowd may never come around, but "passionate Democrats" need to get over it.

Passionate Democrats support the ticket, and the ticket is Maria.

Lots of new guests today... some of you may have never met the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat...

Speaking of good questions…

BobsAdvice has a timely one.

Does anyone recall the history of the Anthem?

I just thought I would remind everyone.

You know.

How we were fighting the BRITISH in the War of 1812. And now we are fighting to preserve the National Anthem so it shoud be sung only in the language of that enemy we were fighting?
Maybe we should sing it in the language of our true friends (true enough to tell us when we go wrong) through thick and thin, friends who never invaded our country.

You know, the French.

He wasn't perfect, of course...

…but he was certainly funny. Granted, Steven Colbert's timing slipped in spots, he blew one set up so badly he had to acknowledge it during his act and his 'audition' video was in desperate need of some good editing, but he was funny. If you've watched the video you've heard laughter throughout, even though a laugh out loud was likely to make you the target of a glare or two from those around you (and who'da thunk that Justice Scalia had the best sense of humor in DC?).

Even the laughers won't admit it now, though, and Dan Froomkin comes as close to the reason as I've seen in mainstream coverage...
What Colbert was saying about the guy sitting a few feet away from him -- and I think this is what made so many people in that room uncomfortable -- was: Don't believe a word he says.
Of course, there's a related reason that Froomkin touches on as well. The White House press corps got their own dose of plain truth from their guest...
Here they were, holding a swanky party for themselves, and Colbert was essentially telling them that they've completely screwed up their number one job these past six years.
The case typically put forward against Colbert isn't that he was wrong, but that he was rude. Maybe, but if you're going to make that case, you can't use the 'not funny' argument as part of it. What, after all, could be less funny than a satirist who's considerate of his audience's feelings? If folks don't squirm, at least a bit, then the satirist has certainly failed, hasn't he?

What's really surprising isn't anything Colbert said, or any Presidential irritation over the saying, but that we're still talking about a comic performance at a Beltway dinner party. If it's true that Colbert was really reaching past the room to cable and internet audiences across the country (and I think, to an extent, that is true), well, mission accomplished.

Inspired by Atrios.

Howdy! all y'all sent this way by the Daou Report. Feel free to hang around, kick some tires, slam some doors. I think there's some good stuff on the lot.

And come back now, hear?

From the Good Question file…

John Aravosis has a serious one. "With the congressional elections 6 months away," he wonders, "is it time for us to stop criticizing Democrats?"

Actually, he has a larger question than that.
Should the liberal blogs, and the Democrats grassroots more generally, cut back on their criticism of the party until after the November elections? Or is there a role for criticism in making the party better and helping the election at the same time?
To which my reply is yes. And yes.

The second yes first. When Democrats stray ethically, they should, of course, be challenged by a rigorous investigation, just as Nancy Pelosi has called for in the case of William Jefferson. Where there's a credible challenge to a sufficiently wayward Democrat, a primary with a reasonable chance of strengthening rather than weakening our caucus, an open intra-party debate can be a valuable process. When a Democratic official or candidate says something that weakens our case and our cause, he or she should properly be called to task. When Democratic organizations act imprudently, someone has to say so.

So to the second question? Yes.

But is it time, as the ticket for November comes together and public awareness of the impending elections grows, to limit our criticism? Absolutely. For starters, we can drop the snarky, gratuitous generalizations that only feed the stereotypes put forward by our political adversaries. Stuff like this, from the very post in which John poses his questions...
I think at some point we can hurt ourselves by helping create a public perception that our party has no message and is spineless. Then again, it's not like they need much help creating that perception - chicken and egg.
Of course, the messages promulgate by the House and Senate leadership may not be emphasized, or even adopted, by every candidate in every locality, but there is, and always has been, a Democratic message on a very wide range of issues, easily found by anyone who really cares. As to spine, that one was overplayed during the height of Deanmania and it's well past time for retirement. Again, whether it's Murtha on Iraq, Pelosi on corruption or Maria Cantwell taking Enron to the mat, there are excellent examples of Democrats taking strong, often courageous, stands at every turn.

It really goes back to my earlier point about being inspiring instead of bitching about not being inspired. Let's face it, all of us who do this harbor some hope that we can shape opinion, otherwise our sites would just be a compendium of headlines without comment. If we want victory in November, it's time start measuring our efforts against that goal.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm in the $1,450 to $1,550 market myself…

…but I thought I'd push this comment to the front page as a service to the slightly more prosperous.

Frequent commenter (and off-line pal o' Upper Left, via Vets for Kerry connections) Terry Parkhurst, when not brightening this space with his historical and literary gifts, is an automotive journalist. While we're waiting for a new Congress to offer a rational energy policy to the country, Terry reports we have options...
Here's some names for you to remember Denny: Dodge Caliber SE, Honda Fit Sport, Hyundai Accent GLS, Kia Rio5 SX, Missan Versa 1.8SL, Suzuki Reno and Toyota Yaris S. They range in price from $14,560 to $15,500 (with options such as antilock brakes). Highway mileage (what most commuters run) varies from 30 to 40 miles-per-gallon. City mileage varies from 23 to 34 miles-per-gallon (when using five or six-speed manual transmissions). More information is in the May 2006 Car and Driver.

Now if you, I and just half of American drove these kind of machines, instead of the 6,000 pounds of truckular jewelry many of us do, there'd be no need to even consider drilling in ANWR. And most likely, we'd never have gone into Iraq. Those are facts based on what we could do TODAY. We don't need to look to politicians to solve all our problems; although it is nice when they lead in the right direction.

As the little guy in the old Pogo cartoon said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
The 'little guy' is, of course, Pogo hisself…

Not in our house.

The Shadow Speaker sez...
"...the Republicans are all tied together, the names we put forth, under the name of Jack Abramoff. And again, a criminal enterprise operating out of the Leader's office.

Mr. Jefferson is his own behavior, he is responsible for it. The Ethics Committee should investigate him."
Ethical leadership.

Isn't that inspiring?

As always, more inspiration at The Carpetbagger Report.

Tip would say "I told you so."

Eli Sanders visits a conservative enclave in the south end of Darcy Country and makes a point worth repeating...
Much has been made of the Democrats' lack of a coherent national message on Iraq, but the attitudes in Buckley suggest that in fact, a party made up of individual candidates with different takes on the war might actually be more likely to win.
In fact, he finds that...
...the national Democratic Party's vague official message on Iraq—that this should be a "year of transition"—actually synchs up quite nicely with what people here are feeling: a fatigue with the entire project, but a desire not to view it as an utter failure.
I know we're in the era of way-new politics where the gate crashers are busy changing all the rules and stuff, but meanwhile we've got some elections to win, and as someone who knew how to win elections once taught us, all politics is local.

While I'm a Troops Out Now! kinda guy, I understand that 'out now' is something that will, for logistical reasons alone, take months, so "year of transition" is a loose but adequate fit for me. If it works for the folks in Buckley, too, for whatever reason, better yet.

Maybe those widely disparaged DC Dems are onto something after all.

Maria, too.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Fresh from facing the nation…

Senator Maria Cantwell will be talking about gas prices on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer tonight (KCTS 9 in Seattle, KBTC in Tacoma), opposite of one of the GOP's most vulnerable incumbents -- Rick Santorum - at 6:00 PM, PDT (Pacific Daylight Time).
War, peace, jobs, justice - somehow everything is tied to energy issues. It should be a point of pride and a source of inspiration for every Washingtonian that our very own Maria Cantwell is fast becoming the authoritative voice on those issues in the United States Senate.

Hat tip to Andrew at the Northwest Progressive Institute.

Like I always say sometimes…

Like I always say sometimes…

…the only good Republican politician is a retired Republican politician
Former Sen. John Danforth says a conservative push to ban gay marriage through a constitutional amendment is silly, calling it the latest example of how the political influence of evangelical Christians is hurting the GOP.

Danforth, a Missouri Republican and an Episcopal priest, made the comments in a speech Saturday night to the Log Cabin Republicans, which support gay rights. He said history has shown that attempts to regulate human behavior with constitutional amendments are misguided.

"Once before, the Constitution was amended to try to deal with matters of human behavior; that was prohibition. That was such a flop that that was repealed 13 years later," Danforth said.

Referring to the marriage amendment, he added that perhaps at some point in history there was a constitutional amendment proposed that was "sillier than this one, but I don't know of one."
Ron Chusid has a partial transcript at The Democratic Daily. One passage reveals just how difficult it is for some traditional Republicans to face what's become of their party...
It is a concept which is contrary to basic Republican principles. As I understand, the basic concept of the Republican Party is to interpret the Constitution narrowly, not expansively, so that legislatures and especially state legislatures can work out over a period of time the social issues in our country. And not to have these evolving issues fixed and concrete in the Constitution of the United States, taken out of the hands of legislatures and turned over to the federal courts. So this amendment is contrary to what I understand to be a basic tenet of our party.
It's a little startling, really, that John Danforth, an educated man experienced in the world of politics and the affairs of state, can remain blind to the reality of the Republican Party, which may have espoused the kinds of principles he describes when they had no ability to implement them, but which has consistently governed in a manner completely inconsistent with them.

It's the same sort of blind spot which allows people like Lincoln Chafee and Those Women From Maine to remain in the Republican fold, I suppose, though it's a weakness I'm more inclined to tolerate in former than current members of the Senate. While Danforth pines for something that never was, the current crop of Republican 'moderates' are actively complicit in their leadership's campaign to dismantle Constitutional government in the United States.

Specter, too, no matter what kinds of hearings he says he'll hold.

So two cheers for John Danforth, but the bottom line doesn't change.

Inspired by The Carpetbagger Report and The Democratic Daily.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

If this is true...

"...I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English, and they ought to learn to sing the National Anthem in English."
…then I suppose the RNC and it's supporters will suspend all their broadcasts and advertising in languages unfit for citizens, or even aspiring citizens.

Of course, the guy who said it is a well known

Inspired by Greg at The Talent Show.

Think about it.

How would America, how would the world, be different if the founding co-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus was the Chair of the House International Relations Committee? Then go read what Rep. Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the House committee, has to say about Darfur.

Think again.

Chairman Lantos.

Isn't that inspiring?

Hey, if they did this… could end poverty in America and secure my retirement to boot! Jesse Lee offers the GOP a plan...
I think their new plan should be to send out $100 checks to everybody every time they look like clowns.
I mean, hell, if deficits really don't matter...

Monday, May 01, 2006

That Kerry fella…

…doing the work.

Roll Call, via Taegan Goddard...
"Using his federal campaign account, his old presidential primary account and his e-mail list, Kerry has donated, raised or helped Democrats collect more than $7.5 million since November 2004."
You could call it "buying loyalty," I suppose, though I doubt that real loyalty is really for sale.

I call it the job of a Party leader, and Kerry seems to do it very well.

Hostile US Fatalities Since May 1, 2003:


Happy May Day.

Some shake up.

Just in case you thought shuffling the Bushco™ deck and bringing aboard a new staff liar press secretary signaled some kind of new understanding or hope for the future, well, the 'new' Chief of Staff stands ready to set you straight
"I don't think we need to change…"
And they won't until someone holds them to account.

Which won't happen, of course, until there's a new Congress.

A Democratic Congress.

Of course, Bolten got the first part right. He doesn't think. They don't think. They can't be thinking, because, well, what could they be thinking if they're thinking they don't have to change.

Kinda scary, huh?

The only thing scarier is what they might think up if they were thinking...

Sunday, April 30, 2006

It's grade school civics.

No Man Is Above The Law.

Who'da thunk the guy who slept through class that day would become Preznit...
WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.
It's not just him, though. It's the entire Republican Congress, where they've been too busy counting their loot, making court appearances and reportedly pursuing more, umm, interesting extracurricular activities, to hold the Executive Branch accountable to the Constitution.

Yeah, he's the worst Preznit ever, but it's

And now...


"There is something wonderful in seeing a wrong-headed majority assailed by truth."

John Kenneth Galbraith


From the NYT obit

He tutored Adlai E. Stevenson, the Democratic nominee for president in 1952 and 1956, on Keynesian economics.

He advised President John F. Kennedy (often over lobster stew at the Locke-Ober restaurant in their beloved Boston) and served as his ambassador to India.

Though he eventually broke with President Lyndon B. Johnson over the war in Vietnam, he helped conceive Mr. Johnson's Great Society program and wrote a major presidential address that outlined its purposes. In 1968, pursuing his opposition to the war, he helped Senator Eugene J. McCarthy seek the Democratic nomination for president.

In the course of his long career, he undertook a number of government assignments, including the organization of price controls in World War II and speechwriting for Franklin D. Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Flunked Schoolhouse Rock?

Apparently the Republican Congressional leadership and the folks at the White House can't remember the words to "I'm Just A Bill," which has led a group of Democratic Members of Congress to file suit to enjoin implementation of the Deficit Reduction Act, which the Preznit signed despite the fact that it had not passed both branches of Congress in identical versions, as the Constitution requires.

Of course, I wish them well in their effort. It should be a no brainer, but the Republicans have made a mess of the judiciary along with everything else, so who knows.

What really caught my eye in the coverage, though, was the list of the Democratic litigants…
Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member on the Judiciary Committee
Rep. John Dingell, Ranking Member on the Energy and Commerce Committee
Rep. Charles B. Rangel, Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Committee
Rep. George Miller, Ranking Member on the Education and Workforce Committee
Rep. James L. Oberstar, Ranking Member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Rep. Barney Frank, Ranking Member on the Financial Services Committee
Rep. Collin C. Peterson, Ranking Member on the Agriculture Committee
Rep. Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member on the Homeland Security Committee
Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Ranking Member on the Rules Committee
Rep. Fortney "Pete" Stark, Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee
Rep. Sherrod Brown, Ranking Member on the Commerce Health Subcommittee
Except for Rep. Brown, who I trust will be voting for Majority Leader Reid rather than Speaker Pelosi next year, these are men and women in line to become the Chairs of their respective committees and subcommittees. Think about it. Chairman Conyers. Chairman Franks. Chairwoman Slaughter. Chairman Miller. On and on, some of our most progressive Democrats, all empowered to set committee calendars and legislative priorities, to hold hearings and conduct investigations, complete with subpoena power.

Really think about it.

And then tell me you can't get inspired.

Why isn't Ann Coulter behind bars?

Why isn't Ann Coulter behind bars?

A Campus Progress report from Loyola-Chicago, via David Neiwert
The protesting from the balcony only increased with time with shouts of "ANN IS A RACIST" to even an immature, yet mildly amusing, call for "Show us your tits."

Ann addressed her supporters in the crowd with this statement. "You're men. You're heterosexuals. Take 'em out." She chided them further when they did not rise. Before you knew it there was about 25 students marching to the balcony to supposedly "take out" the protestors above. I saw a priest holding students back and deans and security warning the students to go back to their seats. Chaos erupted. Ann left after taking one question.
The allow that kind of thing in Chicago these days? You can go into a crowded room, exhort some in attendance to do physical violence to others and then just walk away from the ensuing mayhem?

I dunno. Disturbing the peace. Inciting to riot. Unauthorized possession of an Adam's Apple.

They shoulda got her on something.

Yeah, he's rude…

…but I'll be damned if he isn't right, and while it's not the kind of language I usually toss around here, New Orleans is fucked. There's no more expressive word for the situation. The Rude One...
Yeah, New Orleans is fucked for the White House and its lackeys in Congress simply have no idea how to accomplish anything that doesn't involve blowing shit up, tearing shit down, or telling people to sit down and shut up.
Yeah, there's more, if you can handle the truth.

A pretty good range…

…of styles and sounds in this week's random ten.
The Beatles - Hold Me Tight
Kerri Powers - F-150
Rick Shea & Bradley Kearns - Trouble And Me
T. Rex - Once Upon The Seas Of Abyssinia
Rickie Lee Jones - Bye Bye Blackbird
Richard & Mimi Farina - Michael, Andrew & James
Dave Matthews - So Damn Lucky
Chris Daniels & The Kings - If I'd Only Taken You Dancing
Prince & Sheena Easton - U Got The Look
June Carter Cash - Wildwood Flower


"How's that project coming?"

Friday, April 28, 2006

From the "I hate what they've done to my Army" file.

A GAO report (PDF)...
MILITARY PAY: Hundreds of Battle-Injured GWOT Soldiers Have Struggled to Resolve Military Debts.

Thousands of soldiers have been injured or killed as a result of hostile fire since the initial deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq in October 2001. Battle-injured soldiers returning to the United States often face the daunting prospect of adjusting to their postwar lives. Many soldiers are faced with multiple surgeries and months of physical rehabilitation. Oftentimes, these soldiers have to reassess their career goals and seek training to accommodate their new physical limitations upon separation from military service. Because these battle-injured soldiers return to the United States before their unit's mobilization period ends, their duty status is not always appropriately updated and they encounter payroll problems related to the failure by the Army to adjust combat pay (entitlements such as hostile fire pay, hardship duty pay, and family separation pay)…
One of the reasons I hate what they've done to my Army is that I hate what they're doing to our soldiers.

Here's a deal for ya. Purple Heart = forgiveness of all public debt. All of it. Army accounting errors, student loans, traffic fines. Take a bullet for your country and your account is paid in full. It's called "supporting the troops."

By the way...

...sometime overnight Upper Left logged its 150,000th unique visit, representing a pretty decent handful of regulars and who knows how many accidental guests. I think some of y'all have probably read all 3902 posts.

Thanks to each and every one of you though. It's a lot more fun writing this thing when you know some folks are going to read it.

Of course, if you're feeling as celebratory about all this as I am, well, you could express your sentiments here.

Or in a comment, of course.

Does she look guilty?

Or just startled? How worried should I be about what the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat has been up to?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

That was kinda fun…

…let's do another one. Stuff like this drives me nuts…
I’m encouraged by the vision of Howard Dean and his commitment to see the 50 State Strategy through, even as the Party elites fight him every step of the way.
Howard Dean, distressing though the thought may be to unreconstructed Deaners, is the "Party elite," or at least one of its most visible, and in some respects powerful, figures. He was elected by the unanimous vote of the most elite assembly of officials in the Party, the Democratic National Committee. Before Joe Trippi molded and sold the image of the onetime DLC poster boy as an insurgent candidate for the Presidential nomination he was so controversial in Party circles that his colleagues elected him to the Chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

It was really no great reach for the Party 'elites' (such as they are, and really, they aren't all that) to elect Howard Dean as their leader, in no small part because he made the 50 State Strategy a central focus of his campaign for Chair. They already knew him because he was already one of them.

The Chairman knew when to fold the 'outsider' card and get about the business of Party building instead of bashing. If all of his fans would just follow suit, imagine what we might accomplish.

The new news isn't…

…well, very inspiring today, so I thought I'd dip into my stash of stuff I save to bitch about. Stuff like this (emphasis in the original)...
The GOP WILL motivate its voters come November. They'll rail on abortion and gays and scary brown people crossing the southern border and how Democrats want to take their Bibles away. And their core supporters will turn out. And Democrats, unless they realize that they need to inspire, will find those huge gains will fail to materialize...

...DC Democrats are afraid to lead. They're afraid to inspire. They're afraid to offend. They're afraid to clearly state their core principles. They're simply afraid.
Of course, if Kos still reads his own blog, he knows that there are all kinds of examples of Democrats, from Harry and Nancy to upstart challengers across the country, not to mention the most recent Presidential nominee of the Party (you know, that Kerry fella) and the Chairman hisself, taking it to the administration and the corrupt, do-nothing Republican Congress every day. They speak, they write, they rant and, umm, rail on about choice and civil liberties and corruption, well, all the stuff the proverbial 'base' is supposed to be all atwitter about.

If that's not what Kos needs for inspiration, well, maybe he's just soaked up one too many Wayne Dyer specials on PBS. The political bidness just isn't that cosmic.

Here's an idea. Instead of whining about waiting to be inspired, what if everyone who has an interest in a Democratic victory this November chose instead to be inspiring. Not to be a Pollyanna, but to find a positive message in each days rush of events, to highlight Democratic successes, marginal though minority successes may be by the exacting standards of those seeking inspiration first, or to promote the agendas of the DNC and the caucuses with at least as much attention given to their positives as to their inevitable imperfections. To accentuate the positive, at least for the next few months.

The best advice I've seen for disgruntled progressives comes from Goldy
In short, you want to make the Democrats more progressive? Make yourself an indispensable part of Democratic success.
Choosing to be inspiring instead of waiting to be inspired is a good place to start.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Reichert's 5% Solution - Too Weak For Washington

Think about it. Under current US cargo screening standards, 95% of the cargo vessels plying Puget Sound, ships that share the sea lanes with elements of our Naval fleet ranging from aircraft carriers to nuclear submarines, ships that cross paths with one of the world's premier public ferry systems, ships that sail by the steady summer stream of cruises launching from the Port of Seattle, ships that dock in our ports, ports that are an essential economic driver for every part of our state escape inspection.

95% of those cargo vessels enter our waters unscreened.

And that's just fine with Dave Reichert…
(Washington, D.C.)– Today, in the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Dave Reichert voted against an amendment that would have guaranteed 100% screening of America-bound cargo...The amendment Reichert opposed would have guaranteed within three years the only containers that can enter the U.S. from larger ports have been inspected for radiation and harmful materials. The amendment also calls for tamper-proof seals after inspection.
I really can't fathom the interest Reichert might have in putting the lives of millions of Puget Sound residents, the security of our fleet and the economic health of our state in jeopardy. Is it the DeLay dollars? Payback for a plum appointment to the Appropriations Committee? Just a desire to keep high marks on his Bushco™ report card?

None of those really seem worth the health and safety of his constituents and their regional neighbors to me, but Reichert's been consistently hostile, in committee and on the floor, to port security measures. Beginning last May, with his first floor vote against increased security standards and funding and continuing through the five separate votes he took to sustain the administration's back door deal with Dubai, he's proven one thing over and over.

Dave Reichert doesn't care about port security, and in these parts, that means he doesn’t care about you.

The Reichert record, via the DCCC:

Reichert Voted Against Increased Port Security. HR 1817, Roll Call #187, 5/18/05

Reichert Rubberstamped an Effort to Block Congressional Oversight on National Security. H Res 702, Vote #18, 3/2/06

Reichert Joins Republicans in Rejecting Efforts to Increase Port Review. House Appropriations Committee Markup, 3/8/06

Reichert Votes Against an Effort to Block the Potentially Harmful Dubai Ports Deal. HR 4167, Vote #21, 3/8/06

Reichert Voted Against $825 Million for Port Security. HR 4939 , Vote #56, 3/16/2006

Reichert Voted to Prevent Congress From Blocking Dubai Ports Deal. HR 4939, Vote #43, 3/15/2006

Reichert Joins Republicans in Rejecting Efforts to Increase Port Review. House Appropriations Committee Markup, 3/8/06
Congressional elections are decided in Districts, but issues like this one are regional, and every one of us has a stake in the outcome when someone with a demonstrated record of recklessness regarding our well being is on the ballot.

"Give like your life depends on it" is usually an overwrought cliché, but in the case of Darcy v. Dave it just might be true.

Was that a pitch? I guess it was. Here’s an appropriate link.

One, two, three…


Darcy's turn…
...I want to be clear about something: our troops have done everything we have asked them to do, and they have done it with courage and a willingness to sacrifice on behalf of the greater good that puts nearly all of the rest of us to shame in comparison.

We asked them to topple a brutal dictatorship, and they did it faster than anyone believed possible.

We asked them to secure the nation and make sure there were no weapons of mass destruction, and they did that.

We asked them to keep the peace while the Iraqis formed an interim government and negotiated a constitution, and they did that.

We asked them to hold back an increasingly violent insurgency while Iraqis held another election, and they did that.

And now, they are there waiting...
From the widely recommended Slog Q&A (quite a scroll down by now).

These are not serious candidates…

…and they don't have serious backing, but their mischief could produce serious trouble. Via Majority Rules...
In addition to McGavick's disclosure reports not being on line yet, those of Mark Wilson, a Democrat running against Cantwell in the Democratic primary were not available. Wilson reported raising $11, 906 as of Dec 31, 2005. He spent it all except for $152.The FEC said they have not received a paper copy of his first quarter forms from the Senate.

Aaron Dixon, running as a Green Party candidate, did file his forms. He reported raising $11,906 in the first quarter and spent all of it except for $642. His funds came from a total of 4 contributors.
If for some reason you didn't get it before, get it now. The next junior Senator from the State of Washington will either be Maria Cantwell or Mike McGavick. Any campaign aimed at Maria is, by default, a campaign in favor of McGavick.

That may be frustrating as hell for the already frustrated, but it’s the truth.

Which side are you on?

A virtual chorus line…

…of girls kicking ass today. Email from Maria

Seven months ago, I sponsored legislation that would make price-gouging a federal crime and strengthen the power of those who regulate the practices of big oil companies. Since I introduced this bill, the Bush administration and Republican Congress have fought our effort every step of the way.

Last week, this failure of Republican leadership became even more obvious as the price of oil hit an all time high. Yet again, the administration's response was to do nothing.
We have had to wait long enough. Today we must act.

Right now I am walking to the floor of the Senate and asking for an immediate up-or-down vote on my gas price-gouging bill. If we get Senate support today, we will have won a major energy policy victory.

Join me in calling for the immediate passage of my Energy Emergency Consumer Protection Act.
Join me as a citizen co-sponsor now.

From the Girls Kick Ass file...


(3 meg video file)
"If you want to be energy independent…and if you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and therefore improve our natural security situation, you can’t do it if you're a Republican…"

One reason…

...for their miserable record of failure is that Republicans are too busy fixing the blame to fix the problem, any problem. DarkSyde explains...
Ask a Republican why Iraq is a disaster? It's the CIA Media Democrats Iraqis General's fault. Ask why the Katrina response was bungled? It's NOAA Mayor Nagin victim Governor Blanco Army Corp of Engineer's fault. Why is the budget deficit at record levels? It's the tax code liberals telletubbies Al Gore retirees your fault.
All those tries and they're still getting it wrong.

They broke it.

They have to pay the price.


…from Joe at AMERICAblog

Bush's ability to further destroy America depends on a GOP-controlled Congress.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I guess it's not true…

…in some circles until there's video, but we've known about General Van Riper for over a week. He's this guy…

Sounds like I scooped Shepard Smith. Cool.

"…the first real wedge issue…

Democrats have had with Republicans."
It's never too late for the Ronald Reagan Medical Research Act of 2004 2005 2006. We can't give this issue away again.

Monday, April 24, 2006


2389 Americans have given their lives for this...
BAGHDAD -- Last Nov. 13, U.S. soldiers found 173 incarcerated men, some of them emaciated and showing signs of torture, in a secret bunker in an Interior Ministry compound in central Baghdad. The soldiers immediately transferred the men to a separate detention facility to protect them from further abuse, the U.S. military reported.

Since then, there have been at least six joint U.S.-Iraqi inspections of detention centers, most of them run by Iraq's Shiite Muslim-dominated Interior Ministry. Two sources involved with the inspections, one Iraqi official and one U.S. official, said abuse of prisoners was found at all the sites visited through February. U.S. military authorities confirmed that signs of severe abuse were observed at two of the detention centers.
No. No goddam more. Not in my name, not with my dollars, not under my flag.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Exactly so…

The LA Times (my emphasis)…
The secretary should go not because he has been criticized by a group of retired generals but because he embodies the smugness and inability to acknowledge error that has characterized both the Iraq war and the wider war on terrorism. Rumsfeld has been the pinched public face of an administration that has cut legal and humanitarian corners in dealing with people -- including U.S. citizens -- suspected of involvement with terrorists.
In fact, it's important to understand that the Generals are only coming forward because Rumfeld "embodies the smugness and inability to acknowledge error" of the administration. He's the current target in a much larger field of fire, the first step up a chain of command that has failed the troops, failed our country and failed the Iraqi people.

Rummy has to go, but there's a more radical cure required for the malady infecting our nation.

Remember in November. Eyes on the prize.

And now...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

After the revolution...

...every day will be Earth Day.

Random tune time...

Badfinger - No Matter What
Wylie & The Wild West - Yodel Boogie
Guy Clark - Rex's Blues
Otis Redding - (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Stevie Nicks - Crystal
The Band - Daniel & The Sacred Harp
Archie Bell & The Drells - Tighten Up
Mollie O'Brien - In My Girlish Days
Paul Thorn - Blue Stew
Roger Miller - It Happened Just That Way
If I was inclined to do one of those hipster self-audit deals, I'd probably think this list (and my own self, by extension) was pretty cool. And Archie Bell? Very cool...

Thirty-five years…

…of that Kerry fella, and he's still right.
"...Just as it was in 1971, it is again right to make clear that the best way to support the troops is to oppose a course that squanders their lives, dishonors their sacrifice, and disserves the American people and our principles."

Hat tip to Pamela at The Democratic Daily

Friday, April 21, 2006

Putting the needle in…

all the way in.

Great news...

…via the Stakeholder...
In an equally significant development, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reported having $23 million in the bank, almost equaling -- for the first time in memory -- the cash balance of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which was $24.4 million.
…but it makes me wonder. Given the parallel success of the DSCC, isn't it likely that a lot of the big dollar donors who would normally be dropping dollars into the coffers of the DNC are choosing to go straight to the Caucus committees this year? After all, there's no national ticket for Dr. Dean's finance committee to sell. Beyond the '50 State Strategy,' all they have to talk about, really, is how important the Congressional campaigns are, and, frankly, most people would rather finance an election than an idea.

In fact, despite the rumored grumbling in some corners, the DNC's ability to raise funds at par or better compared to off-year's in the past seems like an impressive achievement in this "all Congress, all the time" political environment (and make no mistake, I'm all for "all Congress, all the time" this year).

Democrats are enjoying historical fundraising success across the board. That's a big story, largely ignored, and one that deserves celebration.

Bill Frist. Hates cats and soldiers…

…loves defense contracts and machines.

Bill Frist is the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. This is what that's led to...
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate measure to fund the war in Iraq would chop money for troops' night vision equipment and new battle vehicles but add $230 million for a tilt-rotor aircraft that has already cost $18 billion and is still facing safety questions.
This is the Rumsfeld philosophy of military 'transformation' brought to it's ultimate conclusion. Machines over men. Toys for the brass, pork for the Congress and no troublesome morale problems or payroll.
To pay for the Ospreys, the Senate Appropriations Committee - guided by the Corps - cut into funding for night vision goggles, equipment for destroying mines and explosives, fire suppression systems for light armored vehicles and new vehicles that can be transported into battle inside the V-22.
Or maybe "mines and explosives" aren't a problem anymore.

I really don't know the details of the USMC's case for the Ospreys. I do know that an emergency appropriation for Katrina relief and the immediate needs of troops in harm's way is the wrong way to pay for them. This is for expenditures so critical that they must be made, even if they must be made off-budget.

But in a GOP led Senate, those immediate needs can be put off for most anything the Administration and Pentagon would rather push through without the scrutiny of the routine appropriations process.
For example, there's more than $3 billion in funding for an ongoing overhaul of the Army that the Pentagon admits isn't directly related to fighting the war.

Meanwhile, senators have added $228 million to procure seven C-17 Air Force cargo planes that can't be completed until 2008 at the earliest - and would eventually cost a total of almost $2 billion.
We need new leadership in the Senate. Leadership that will produce honest budgets and respect our troops enough not to load their emergency appropriations with irrelevant requisitions.

That requires a new majority in the Senate.

One more reason we must return Maria Cantwell to the Senate.

No catnip mouse is safe...

...when the lovely, talented and instinctively predatory Miss Audrey Hepcat prepares to pounce...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Et tu, Rupert?

FOX News...
President Bush’s approval hits a record low of 33 percent this week, clearly damaged by sinking support among Republicans.

The RNC calls it "political posturing…"

…Democrats call it "citizenship."

While in New Orleans for the spring DNC meeting
Groups of Democratic delegates will clean up lawns and clean out, stabilize and demolish homes in disrepair. Others will distribute clothing and other necessities to victims and pack groceries for the needy.
Keep in mind, these Democratic delegates are the cream atop the Democratic jar. National officers and their staff. National Committeemen and Committeewomen. Elected officials from across the nation. The 'elite,' if you will.

Our leaders. Making us proud, and helping our nation heal.

Call it Reason I'm A Democrat Number…well, I've lost count.

But it's a big one.

A Date With Dick & Darcy?

...or just audacious Darcy…
April 19, 2006
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Vice President:

During your recent trip to Washington State to support White House endorsed candidates, you were quoted by both Seattle newspapers as telling 8th District Representative Dave Reichert that you would “campaign for your opponent if it’ll help.”

As Reichert’s Democratic opponent, I would like to take you up on your kind and thoughtful offer and I cordially invite you to come and spend a day campaigning with me in the 8th District. The district reaches from Microsoft’s Redmond Campus to Mount Rainier National Park and offers a microcosm of America. Here are some of the events I would like to plan for your visit to the 8th…

Read it all at

And don't forget to reward audacious behavior.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sounds to me…

…like Karl just got tired of going to all those meetings...

Q Can you clarify what Karl Rove's role will be?

MR. McCLELLAN: Karl will continue to be Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President. What this will do is it will allow him to focus more on the larger strategic planning, and Joel will focus on the day-to-day management of the policy process. And so this really frees Karl up to focus on bigger strategic issues. He will continue to be a crucial voice and trusted advisor on policy -- Karl will, that is -- as he has been since the beginning of this administration.

Q So he will have less a policy role than he had before?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Joel will do the day-to-day management of the policy process and work closely with all those councils. Karl's voice will continue to be a crucial one in the policy process as it has been all along. But like I said, this is a critical and challenging time that we are in, and this really frees Karl up to focus on larger strategic issues.
…and his security clearance is still intact, for over 1000 days too long.

42 more reasons to support Maria Cantwell…

…courtesy of Mike McGavick hisself via NPI
○ Maria Cantwell voted for the largest tax increase in American history
○ Maria Cantwell voted against the Bush tax relief plans in 2001and 2003
○ Maria Cantwell voted 8 times to reduce the Bush Tax relief package of 2001 (a total of $980 billion)
○ Maria Cantwell voted 31 times to reduce the size of the 2003 tax cut package
That's right. Maria Cantwell rejects the borrow and spend (and spend and spend) philosophy of the GOP and recognizes that government has responsibilities and an obligation to fund those responsibilities.

Maria Cantwell knows that a tax "relief" plan that accelerates the accumulation of assets by those at the top at the expense of those in the middle isn't worthy of support.

Maria Cantwell has supported measures that would, among other things, provide resources to both our troops in the field and our veterans in the hospital, funded by asking the richest among us to make a small contribution to our national security.

Maria Cantwell has drawn a line, standing firmly on the side of the people and her Party, on issues related to equitable tax policy and responsible budgeting by the federal government.

We need Democratic Senators like Maria Cantwell to clean up the mess the corrupt Republican Party has made with its free lunch policies and taxpayer rip-offs.

Another distinction for the Preznit...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

mcjoan's right…

it's all politics of a certain kind, and not the kind we usually see played around the lefty blogosphere...
The main game here is to save the Army, and place the failure on the civilian leadership. These people are not anti-war per se, but they are anti-destroy the Army, and that is what will happen. The idea isn't just to replace Rummy, but get someone they can talk to, like Lieberman.

He may support this colonial adventure, but he's not stupid. Once Rummy is gone, the generals will tell the new SecDef the truth, and then hope to reach the President so they can get the Army out. A new Sec Def, not invested in the Iraq War as his idea, might understand when the generals tell him we've lost. Because that is what they told Jack Murtha.
I'm not sure that Holy Joe is actually their guy, but it's true that these the Generals are speaking out, in part, because Rumsfeld's hostility to infantry, in both its Army and Marine Corps guises, has deafened him to the needs and concerns of our battlefield commanders and infantry-oriented war planners. Rummy's radical 'air force and strike force' design for a 'leaner and meaner' military passed from the theoretical to the experimental phase in Iraq, and the experiment has been a resounding failure.

It quickly became evident that the contrary opinion of Air Force theorists and sundry neocons notwithstanding, when your country goes to war, especially a war which might result in an extended occupation, your military needs to be fatter and stronger (there's abundant evidence that our troops are mean enough already, thank you).

The problem is that Rumsfeld isn't just frittering away some tax dollars on a curiously named research project or pork barrel local attraction. He's getting people killed. It's a situation that has been crying out for credible whistle blowers.

Don't believe for a minute that this is easy for the Generals. While you can rise in the ranks even if you occasionally bend a rule or two to get results, there is a code among officers that transcends the rule book, and you don't rise if you break the code. These men are good soldiers and Marines who have faithfully lived by that code for decades. They're not part of any 'peace movement.' Their primary concern is the preservation of an effective military defense for the United States.

So mcjoan, again, is right when she cautions against the temptation to make the Generals heroes of the left. They're not that.

But they're heroes, just the same, some on the battlefield and all in the defense of our nation and of the health of our armed forces.

Good point...

...about that Kerry fella...
Kerry's refusal to simply disappear into the halls of the Senate was greeted with skepticism in the immediate aftermath of his defeat, but through sheer persistence he has kept himself in the national spotlight for much of the last 18 months and emerged as one of the most recognizable leaders in the Democratic Party. That hard work -- coupled with his continued fundraising success -- keeps him relevant in the '08 conversation.
Never say never...

That's what I'm talking about.

Brenda at the Washington State Political Report picks up this Roll Call story via The Carpetbagger Report, which was my original source...
Led by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Senate Democrats will deliver a letter to President Bush on Tuesday asking him to support legislation to prevent price gouging in advance of summer's anticipated increase, pointing to the federal Energy Information Administration projections.

Democrats will also renew their invitation to Bush to convene a "bipartisan energy summit" to address issues of energy independence and volatility of energy prices.
When I saw the story, I went on a tour of the local blogosphere to get a range of comment, but so far it seems to be just Brenda (You go, girl!) and little ol' Upper Left.

That's a problem.

We can spend the next few months wondering just how much against the war Maria actually is, or whether she wants to have Scalito's child, or why she seems to think it's part of her job to represent eastern Washington agriculture, too, or whatever we choose to whine about.

Or, of course, we can talk about the fact that when the Democratic Leader of the US Senate wants to advance energy issues to the front of the agenda, he turns to our very own junior Senator to get the job done. We can celebrate Maria's willingness to be in the face of Bushco™ (and give a good tweak to Senator Stevens in the process) on those issues. We can be sure we're at least as loud in support of good behavior as we when we complain about our Senator's perceived shortcomings.

C'mon, team!

(And if I missed a local link, shout out in a comment.)

Washington Outsiders weighs in. "Good for our Senator Maria Cantwell."

And good for them! (Hat tip to Carl)

Sometimes two wrongs…

…just mean pretty much everybody is wrong. This is right, though...
Whatever your beliefs are regarding military recruiting at colleges, Michelle Malkin crosses the line of decency by printing the telephone numbers of the students that formed the protest. They have been receiving death threats non-stop.
My beliefs about the assault on free speech by the UC Santa Cruz Students Against War are a matter of record. Even if you thought my crack about brown shirts and peace symbols was over the line perhaps you'll share my observation that Ms. Malkin and her minions have added the colorful arm band and lightning bolt collar tabs to the ensemble.

Malkin's inciting to a virtual riot, and the risk of the entire episode resulting in potentially tragic consequences in meat world is very real. Ezra is too kind, extending pity to a pundit whose only effective rhetorical tool is hatred. No, her act was informed, deliberate and viscious. As misbegotten as their behavior may have been, I don't doubt that the students were acting from a misguided idealism. They thought suppression of speech was a reasonable trade off against stopping the war. They were wrong.

Malkin has no such idealism to claim. Her motive is calculated malice.

Pity her? Ezra's right. He's not supposed to. For good reason.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Via Eli Sanders at Slog
And here is a juicy bit of gossip from someone who was reading the schedule for Dick Cheney's other Washington fundraising stop today, an appearance with McGavick in Spokane: It appears that Cheney and McGavick will be raising money in the Marie Antoinette Ballroom of Spokane's Davenport Hotel.

Yes, that's right: McGavick and Cheney, holding a high-dollar fundraiser in a room named after the "Let them eat cake" monarchist known for being notoriously out of touch with the plight of people.
Dick, of course, prefers the yellow cake - so light you'd think it wasn't even there…

Once more…

…by the numbers.

8 men
22 stars

And (at least*)

4 Silver Stars
6 Bronze Stars
1 Distinguished Flying Cross
3 Purple Hearts
15 Legions of Merit
24 Air Medals
2 Combat Action Ribbons (USMC)
3 Combat Infantry Badges (USA)

…not to mention dozens of commendation and campaign medals.


I know who I'd follow into combat…

(* A note from the tin foil hat department. This list probably misses some good ones, but it was trickier than I thought. For instance, the official USMC bios of Generals Newbold and Von Riper, easily reached just yesterday, get 404s this morning. But the DoD couldn't be scrubbing their sites of the renegade retirees, could they?

Or could they?)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Let us sing about Astarte...

And throw a springtime party
She may dress a little tarty
But She's good enough for me.

Gimme that old time religion...

Happy (insert seasonal fertility ritual of your choice)!

And then there were eight…

Welcome Wes Clark.

Eight men.

Twenty-two stars.

One message.

And now...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A reminder...

...from our friends at Needlenose...

That's right,

...every goddam one of them.

And then there were seven…

...with yet another Marine sounding off...
The grievances aired by half a dozen retired flag officers in recent days resonated with many military veterans. "I admire those who have stepped forward, and I agree with the arguments they are making," retired Marine Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper said in an interview yesterday. "I count myself in the same camp."

Let's see, two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon with gold star. Yep, the General's a stud.

Of course, the other side's got their own generals. Problem is, they're just as nuts as the boss...
Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a military analyst for Fox News and the Weekly Standard, on war in Iran: “I can lay out a campaign today that will take Iran down very quickly.” McInerney on war in Iraq in 2002: “[I]t will be a war that is shorter than” the 1991 Gulf War, which lasted 42 days.

A random dip…

…into c:\mymusic\jazz...
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - Almost Cried
Les McCann & Eddie Harris - Cold Duck Time
Modern Jazz Quartet - Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise
Charles Lloyd - Song Of Her
Ron Brendle & The Lost Dogs - Fables Of Faubus
John Coltrane - Everytime We Say Goodbye
Stan Getz & JJ Johnson - My Funny Valentine
Oscar Peterson - Oh Lady Be Good
Woody Herman - Chip's Boogie Woogie
Jeff Berlin - This Is Your Brain On Jazz

Swiftboating S.O.B.s

They're already at it...


No. No how. No way.

Friday, April 14, 2006

One of these quotes…

…is not like the other.

Tommy Franks on Doug Feith, then...
"I have to deal with the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth almost every day."
...and now...
"I would put Doug Feith in a category as a brilliant man."
Wherever the truth about Feith may lie (and I think I know), it's also true that Tommy Franks is a liar.

Hat tip to John at AMERICAblog.

Umm, Kos...

Meanwhile, it was quite shocking to see just how much local activists hate Sen. Maria Cantwell. It isn't that they're disappointed in her positions on issues like Iraq in an effort to appear "moderate" or "centrist", it's that she won't even talk to them about those issues. The dislike was near universal and truly based on that lack of communication.
With all due respect to the fine folks who advanced your visit, the couple hundred Kosacks, unreconstructed Deaners and sundry 'netroots' malcontents you met in Seattle are likely a poor sampling of 'local activist' sentiment, particularly if you mean local Democratic activists.

And she's talking, but some people just won't listen...

Six men, fifteen stars... message.

Rummy's gotta go!

If it involves getting up...

...and moving about, the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat simply isn't interested...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm sure Ezra won't mind…

…if I spread his mother's amazing Pesach blessing a bit further…
Tonight, right near the location of the biblical Babylonia, in the holiest of lands, there are human beings losing their lives, as though, after thousands of years of history, the lessons of living together still have not been learned. As we are supposed to celebrate and recant tales of ancient hatreds, as we speak of chosen people, of next year in a land that belongs only to us, what happens to the rest of the world, what happens to the dream of a unified world...where all dreams have the right to exist? Where a woman in Baghdad is safe to walk to the market in the morning; where a twenty year old American soldier has the right to be with his young wife and babies, instead of walking down a dusty street with fear in his throat in a land he has never been to before, and fighting for what?

I believe the angels continue to weep in each generation as we sacrifice human life for power and greed. And so, thousands of years later, we continue to wander unmindfully in the desert, following leaders who cannot lead. We walk around the same golden calf, only this time we call it oil.

All people are chosen people, the potential for forgiveness and loving-kindness and compassion is the promise of each generation, and the promised land which is this state of mind, is always within grasp. The promised land exists for all people, and it belongs to everyone. The promised land is not a place, it is a time of peace that we cannot reach because still cannot walk with one another on higher ground.

And so this passover, at this seder, it appears to me, that we are still in the wilderness, still bickering, still unmindful, still suffering because of our own corruptions. G-d gave us the ten commandments. but until we live by them, we continue to be wanderers in the desert. All of us. Miracles are all around us, the manna continues to fall on us just for the asking, the hills are still green and spring will still come, but the ice is melting, the days grow warmer, the hurricanes come. There is still time to honor the rainbow....Hashem continues to wait and watch. He gives us another chance, another season in which to redeem ourselves. May the strife end, may we hammer our swords into plowshares and find our way to the promised land.

And amen.

He's more than gracious…

…(an actual fan? Who'da thunk?) but I'm hoping that Rod will have his breakthrough moment real soon now…
I still don't much care for Maria Cantwell. She's a damn sight better than McGavick, and she's done some fine work on the ANWR and Enron issues, but she leaves me colder than a Copper River sockeye. I should note, however, that there was a time not so long ago when I felt much the same about our senior Senator, Patty Murray. I once believed that she was neither very bright nor very effective; I have since come to feel that I was hasty and unfair in my judgment, and I now like Patty Marray a lot. Perhaps I will experience a similar change of opinion regarding Cantwell one day…
In fact, today would be a good day. It's really time to get past the "yes, but…" stage of the campaign and get a bandwagon going for Maria, because contrary to the impression some folks seem to have, this one isn't going to be easy.

Don't believe me? Ask these guys
The latest Rasmussen Reports election poll of Washington state's Senate race shows Republican Mike McGavick continuing to chip away at the incumbent's lead.

Democratic U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell now leads McGavick 48% to 40%. In March, Cantwell led 49% to 36%.

The new poll is the third in a row in which the incumbent has lost a percentage point of support. And it's the second poll in a row showing her at less than 50% support.
Those aren't solid incumbent numbers, folks. There's very little margin for sniping from the sidelines. If her heroic work on the ANWR filibuster and her defiant assault on Enron aren't quite enough to get you going, remember too that she's been Patty's indispensable ally on veteran's and port security issues. She's been designated Harry Reid's go-to Senator on energy policy. She's been a friend to labor, compiling 100% ratings from AFSCME, the SEIU, the CWA and the Machinists, and an 85% overall AFL-CIO COPE record. Not really the mark of a corporate shill.

That ACLU record is actually 78%, not perfect but an improvement. She's aces on education, solid on public health, and she votes with Americans for Democratic Action (yeah, the liberal outfit that has my own personal Congressman in the head honcho spot) an impressive 95% of the time.

As, if not more, importantly, there's simply no scenario I'm aware of that produces a Democratic majority in the US Senate without a Democratic Senator in the junior seat from the state of Washington. While I don't quite buy his point that Maria and McGavick are simply incidentals, Carl is spot on when commenting that this race is also "between Harry and Whoever the R's replace Doc Stealsalot for leadership of the senate. It's between Ted Kennedy and Arlen Specter for chair of Judiciary." It's critical. Rod knows it...
Mike McGavick must be defeated, and that means a (more or less) enthusiastic vote for Maria Cantwell. On that point, Shaun and I are in wholehearted agreement.
I'm just asking for a the more enthusiastic option. Because it matters, and because Maria Cantwell is a solid Democratic Senator who deserves solid Democratic support.

I'm not a Christian…

…(by the way, Hag Sameach, y'all) but Dr. Streak is, and since he's my authority on such things, I present this as gospel...
Any Christian who doesn't wretch at Delay is more interested in political power than anything resembling Christ.
Don't miss the whole glorious rant.

Never saw the Sun shining so bright…

…never saw things going so right.

I'm an eternal optimist, of course, but Eli sounds a little glum over at Slog over the news that the WaPo has judged Darcy Burner's campaign to be 'third tier' candidate, designating WA-08 as a race in a swing district "where Democrats should have recruited stronger candidates."

Oh my.

I can only hope that all of our weaker third tier candidates managed to organize a campaign that cleared the decks (and secured the endorsements) of multiple potential primary challengers and secured the early endorsement of their state's entire Democratic Congressional delegation while attracting the attention of national Party leaders and out fundraising their Republican opponent by 100% or so in Q1.

Sheesh, what are the strong candidates up to? And how big might our majority become?

Of course, it's not over til it's over, and meanwhile Darcy still needs a little more of your money. C'mon, don't mourn, donate!

Military mystery solved.

All those and hits seem to stem from a blind lead to my "If they don't get it…" post in an 'around the blogs' box here.

Stand To is apparently an in-house newsletter for military officers, though accessible by anyone (some of the more intriguing links can only be reached from .mil machines). I'm impressed by the range of viewpoints they link to. Shouldn't be a surprised, I suppose. Military leaders know better than most that current information from every point on the perimeter is essential for making good decisions.

Still, they cover a broader range of viewpoints than I might have imagined (I never imagined, for instance, that they'd link to an Upper Left post that's mostly a big 'bring 'em home' graphic). Makes me downright proud of my Army, it does.

Anyway, it's worth a look. You might learn something.

I wonder if Rummy reads it...

"I like to believe…

...that I am an American patriot who loves his country enough to address her flaws."

Reverend William Sloane Coffin

A fine tribute here.

Hello soldiers!

This time I really mean it. In the last couple hours I've had an unexpected rush of visitors from .mil and .pentagon addresses. That's great, glad to have you here, but I'm kinda wondering...was it the Generals or the recruiters?

And who sent ya from where?

If they don't get it...

"Iraqis, frankly, in my experience, do not understand democracy. Nor do they understand their responsibilities for a free society."
Maj. Gen. John Batiste, US Army (Ret), Commanding General of The Big Red One in Iraq
…we need to get out.

Return of the son of the night…

…of the Revenge of the Generals.
"I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon. We need a leader who understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to build teams, a leader that does it without intimidation," Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the Germany-based 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, said in an interview on CNN.

In recent weeks, retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton and Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni all spoke out against Rumsfeld…

What Atrios says.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wow, that brown shirt…

…really goes with your peace symbol.

Pamela Leavey offers this newswithout comment at The Democratic Daily, but I've got to register strong disapproval of the strong arm tactics of the these UC Santa Cruz students…
Military recruiters were driven off campus from a job fair Tuesday morning at UC Santa Cruz. Four military recruiters hastily fled the job fair after a “raucous crowd of student protesters blocked an entrance to the building where the Army and National Guard had set up information tables.”
Right off the bat, my civil libertarian knee starts to jerk. Has the 1st Amendment been suspended at UC Santa Cruz? Not just for the folks in uniform, but for anyone who might, for any reason, want to talk to them? Is there a process for approval, some kind of Students Against War authorization for speech? Or are there just some things that can't be said on the grounds of that public institution by anyone?

Of course, that's not what they're trying to say. They're trying to stop the war and stuff...
“We’re saying it’s not OK to recruit on high school campuses, it’s not OK to recruit on university campuses,'’ Marla Zubel, a UC Santa Cruz senior and member of Students Against War, said. “In order to stop the war, you have to make it more difficult to wage war.”
Since this is a college campus, the high school campus remark is a straw man, perhaps, though, a worthy subject for a separate rant. But no, this is a college campus. As college campuses go, UC Santa Cruz is an improbable field for a military recruiter to work, unless I missed the introduction of vegan mess halls and the suspension of random UA's. Still, if they think it's worth their while, they've got a right.

Beyond that, though, it's just silly to think that by kicking the recruiters out of the hallowed halls of academe they've somehow thrown a body blow to the war machine. The more likely outcome of making college campuses less accessible to the military will be a greater concentration of those for whom college is out of reach economically (an ever expanding category given the Buscho™ cuts in financial aid) in the Armed Forces. They could be, joined, perhaps, by others admitted under yet another drop in the standards to absorb those for whom college is out of reach academically.

There will be an Army. It may be better or less educated. It may be broadly representative of the American people, or drawn from a pool defined by class lines. But there will be an Army, though if the UCSC thought police have their way, the soldiers will have one less freedom to protect.

Hello sailors!

From the visitor logs...
Date & Time: Apr/12 10:46 AM

IP Address:

Country: United States

City: Washington

Organisation: NRCC
…or should I say welcome back?

Referrer: bookmark
Either way, why don't you slip Darcy a couple bucks in honor of our guests?

Speaking of that Kerry fella…

…(the other) Washington is whispering...
...Sen. John Kerry is on the fast track to repeat in 2008. We hear that his political action committee, Keeping America's Promise, will soon report raising $1.1 million from 11,000 donors in the past three months. And Kerry will reveal that he gave over 60 percent of that to Democratic congressional candidates. "He's become the fundraiser in chief, and it gets him back in the game to become commander in chief next time around," says an associate who's helping on Kerry's '08 campaign.
The first question to ask candidates in '08 is going to be "Where were you in '06?" Will anyone have a better answer?

By the way...

…if this is your biggest problem with Maria...
For me, Iraq is not the litmus test issue. The litmus test issue was her vote in favor of S. 256, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005...
…you should take some comfort from this...
Vote Summary

Question: On Passage of the Bill (S. 256 As Amended )
Vote Number: 44
Vote Date: March 10, 2005, 06:12 PM
Required For Majority: 1/2
Vote Result: Bill Passed
Measure Number: S. 256 (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 )
Measure Title: A bill to amend title 11 of the United States Code, and for other purposes.

Cantwell (D-WA), Nay

There sure are a lot of realities going around these days.

Now that the coffee's been wiped off my screen…

Not gonna go there.

Wouldn't be, umm, prudent.

Hat tip to Rod.

Quote of the Day

"This year must be a year of transition. In 2006 we must get the Iraqi people back on their feet and bring our troops home."

Senator Maria Cantwell

Hat tip to Andrew, who has an eye witness account.

And, oh yeah, that Kerry fella was there...


I mean, we freed those people, right? So what's their problem now?
"The mortality of children in Basra has increased by nearly 30 percent compared to the Saddam Hussein era," Dr Haydar Salah, a paediatrician at the Basra Children's Hospital, pointed out. "Children are dying daily, and no one is doing anything to help them."
Oh. I thought it might be that old no food/no power/no water business again.

At least those kids won't grow up to be terrists...

Hat tip to Holden.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ezra sums it up…

rather nicely.
...Bush isn't flailing because this White House is insufficiently politically adept. He's flailing because the major policies on which he's staked his presidency are self-destructing. Iraq is a bloodbath, the deficit threatens to swallow the country whole, the Middle East is less stable than ever, economic insecurity is rampant, inequality has risen, the government response to a national disaster was staggeringly incompetent etc, etc.
Repeat daily.

Or you could just say…

…like the thrill that'll get ya when ya get yer picture…

…on the cover of Roll Call, if you happen to be an up and coming Congressional candidate.

Yep, that's Darcy, and here's what the Beltway bigshots are saying...
...Reichert may have to fight tooth-and-nail to become a sophomore.

Reichert represents a classic swing suburban district outside of Seattle that is becoming more Democratic. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) took the 8th district with 51 percent of the vote in 2004, compared to President Bush’s 48 percent, and Reichert won with just 52 percent last time.

“The 8th is a swing, Democratic district,” concedes Reichert’s political consultant Bruce Boram. “Any Democratic opponent who runs against Reichert starts at 43 percent [of the vote].”

...the district “is definitely trending in the Democrats’ favor,” and “it’s an environment where you have to take that seriously,” Boram added.
Yeah, folks, that's his consultant, even if it sounds like a press release from Burner for Congress.

Darcy Burner's standout fundraising performance for Q1 has, as expected, launched her into the national spotlight. She's about to get attention and targeting that no Democrat in WA-08 has ever had.

Celebrate the good news. Chip in a couple of bucks to keep building the buzz.

Hat tip to Eli Sanders at Slog, who liberated a good chunk of the Roll Call piece.